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А Б В Г Д Е Ж З И Й К Л М Н О П Р С Т У Ф Х Ц Ч Ш Щ Э Ю Я


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Chapter XIV.

A Dialogue between Arabella and Lucy, in which the latter seems to have the Advantage.

Why, Madam, said Lucy, all I can tell your Ladyship is, that we were all excessively frighted, to be sure, when you fainted, especially myself; and that we did what we could to recover you--And so accordingly, your Ladyship did recover.

What's this to the Purpose, said Arabella, perceiving she stop'd here? I know that I fainted, and 'tis also very plain that I recover'd again--I ask you what happen'd to me in the intermediate Time between my Fainting and Recovery. Give me a faithful Relation of all the Accidents, to which by my Fainting I am quite a Stranger; and which no doubt, are very considerable-- Indeed, Madam, replied Lucy, I have given your Ladyship a faithful Relation of all I can remember.

When, resum'd Arabella surpiz'd?-- This Moment, Madam, said Lucy.

Why, sure thou dream'st Wench, replied she, Hast thou told me how I was seiz'd and carry'd off? How I was rescu'd again? And-- No, indeed, Madam, interrupted Lucy, I don't dream; I never told your Ladyship that you was carry'd off.

Well, said Arabella, and why dost thou not satisfy my Curiosity? Is it not fit I should be acquainted with such a momentous Part of my History? I can't, indeed, and please your Ladyship, said Lucy.

What, can'st thou not, said Arabella, enrag'd at her Stupidity, as she though it.

Why, Madam, said Lucy sobbing, I can't make a History of nothing.

Of nothing, Wench, resum'd Arabella, in a greater Rage than before: Dost thou call an Adventure to which thou was a Witness, and borest haply so great a Share in, nothing? -- An Adventure which hereafter will make a considerable Figure in the Relation of my Life, dost thou look upon as trifling and of no Consequence? No, indeed I don't, Madam, said Lucy.

Why then, pursued Arabella, dost thou wilfully neglect to relate it? Suppose, as there is nothing more likely, thou wert commanded by some Persons of considerable Quality, or haply some great Princes and Princesses, to recount the Adventures of my Life, would'st thou omit a Circumstance of so much Moment? No indeed, Madam, said Lucy.

I am glad to hear thou art so discreet, said Arabella; and pray do me the Favour to relate this Adventure to me, as thou would'st do to those Princes and Princesses, if thou wert commanded.

Here, Arabella making a full Stop, fix'd her Eyes upon her Woman, expecting every Moment she would begin the desir'd Narrative-- But finding she continu'd silent longer than she thought was necessary for recalling the several Circumstances of the Story into her Mind, I find, said she, it will be necessary to caution you against making your Audience wait too long for your Relation; it looks as if you was to make a studied Speech, not a simple Relation of Facts, which ought to be free from all Affectation of Labour and Art; and be told with that graceful Negligence which is so becoming to Truth.

This I thought proper to tell you, added she, that you may not fall into that Mistake when you are called upon to relate my Adventures-- Well, now if you please to begin--, What, pray, Madam, said Lucy? What, repeated Arabella? Why, the Adventures which happen'd to me so lately. Relate to me every Circumstance of my being carried away, and how my Deliverance was effected by my Cousin.

Indeed, Madam, said Lucy, I know nothing about your Ladyship's being carried away.

All I know is-- Begone, cried Arabella losing all Patience at her Obstinacy, get out of my Presence this Moment. Wretch, unworthy of my Confidence and Favour, thy Treason is too manifest, thou art brib'd by that presumptuous Man to conceal all the Circumstances of his Attempt from my Knowleddge, to the End that I may not have a full Conviction of his Guilt.

Lucy, who never saw her Lady so much offended before, and knew not the Occasion of it, burst into Tears; which so affected the tender Heart of Arabella, that losing insensibly all her Anger, she told her with a Voice soften'd to a Tone of the utmost Sweetness and Condescension, that provided she would confess how far she had been prevail'd upon by his rich Presents, to forget her Duty, she would pardon and receive her again into Favour-- Speak, added she, and be not afraid after this Promise, to let me know what Mr. Tinsel requir'd of thee, and what were the Gifts with which he purchas'd thy Services; doubtless, he presented thee with Jowels of a considerable Value-- Since your Ladyship, said Lucy sobbing, has promis'd not to be angry, I don't care if I do tell your Ladyship what he gave me. He gave me this half Guinea, Madam, indeed he did; but for all that, when he would come into your Chamber I struggled with him, and cry'd out, for fear he should carry your Ladyship away-- Arabella, lost in Astonishment and Shame at hearing of so inconsiderable a Present made to her Woman, the like of which not one of her Romances could furnish her, order'd her immediately to withdraw, not being willing she should observe the Confusion this strange Bribe had given her.

After she had been gone some Time, she endeavour'd to compose her Looks, and went down to the Dining-Room, where Sir Charles and his Son and Daughter had been engag'd in a Conversation concerning her, the Particulars of which may be found in the first Chapter of the next Book.



Chapter XIII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter I.