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Chapter II.

In which our Heroine, as we presume, shews herself in two very different Lights.

Arabella, who at her Entrance had perceiv'd some Traces of Uneasiness upon Miss Glanville's Countenance, tenderly ask'd her the Cause; to which that young Lady answering in a cold and reserv'd Manner, Mr. Glanville, to divert her Reflexions on it, very freely accus'd himself of having given his Sister some Offence. To be sure, Brother, said Miss Glanville, you are very vehement in your Temper, and are as violently carry'd away about Things of little Importance as of the greatest; and then, whatever you have a Fancy for, you love so obstinately.

I am oblig'd to you, Miss, interrupted Mr. Glanville, for endeavouring to give Lady Bella so unfavourable an Opinion of me-- I assure you, said Arabella, Miss Glanville has said nothing to your Disadvantage: For, in my Opinion, the Temperament of great Minds ought to be such as she represents yours to be. For there is nothing at so great a Distance from true and heroick Virtue, as that Indifference which obliges some People to be pleas'd with all Things or nothing: Whence it comes to pass, that they neither entertain great Desires of Glory, nor Fear of Infamy; that they neither love nor hate; that they are wholly influenc'd by Custom, and are sensible only of the Afflictions of the Body, their Minds being in a Manner insensible-- To say the Truth, I am inclin'd to conceive a greater Hope of a Man, who in the Beginning of his Life is hurry'd away by some evil Habit, than one that fastens on nothing: The Mind that cannot be brought to detest Vice, will never be persuaded to love Virtue; but one who is capable of loving or hating irreconcilebly, by having, when young, his Passions directed to proper Objects, will remain fix'd in his Choice of what is good.

But with him who is incapable of any violent Attraction, and whose Heart is chilled by a general Indifference, Precept or Example will have no Force-- And Philosophy itself, which boasts it hath Remedies for all Indispositions of the Soul, never had any that can cure an indifferent Mind-- Nay, added she, I am persuaded that Indifference is generally the inseparable Companion of a weak and imperfect Judgment. For it is so natural to a Person to be carry'd towards that which he believes to be good, that if indifferent People were able to judge of Things, they would fasten on something. But certain it is that this luke-warmness of Soul, which sends forth but feeble Desires, sends also but feeble Lights; so that those who are guilty of it, not knowing any thing clearly, cannot fasten on any thing with Perseverance.

Mr. Glanville, when Arabella had finish'd this Speech, cast a triumphing Glance at his Sister, who had affected great In-attention all the while she had been speaking. Sir Charles in his Way, express'd much Admiration of her Wit, telling her, if she had been a Man, she would have made a great Figure in Parliament, and that her Speeches might have come perhaps to be printed in time.

This Compliment, odd as it was, gave great Joy to Glanville, when the Conversation was interrupted by the Arrival of Mr. Selvin, who had slipt away unobserv'd at the Time that Arabella's Indisposition had alarm'd them, and now came to enquire after her Health; and also if an Opportunity offer'd to set her right with Regard to the Suspicions she had entertain'd of his designing to pay his Addresses to her.

Arabella, as soon as he had sent in his Name, appear'd to be in great Disturbance; and upon his Entrance, offer'd immediately to withdraw, telling Mr. Glanville, who would have detain'd her, that she found no Place was likely to secure her from the Persecutions of that Gentleman.

Glanville star'd, and look'd strangely perplex'd at this Speech; Miss Glanville smil'd, and poor Selvin, with a very silly Look--hem'd two or three times, and then with a faultring Accent said, Madam, I am very much concern'd to find your Ladyship resolv'd to persist in-- Sir, interrupted Arabella, my Resolutions are unalterable. I told you so before, and am surpriz'd, after the Knowledge of my Intentions, you presume to appear in my Presence again, from whence I had so positively banish'd you.

Pray, Niece, said Sir Charles, what has Mr. Selvin done to disoblige you? Sir, reply'd Arabella, Mr. Selvin's Offence can admit of no other Reparation than that which I requir'd of him, which was a voluntary Banishment from my Presence: And in this pursu'd she, I am guilty of no more Severity to you, than the Princess Udosia was to the unfortunate Thrasimedes. For the Passion of this Prince having come to her Knowledge, notwithstanding the Pains he took to conceal it, this fair and wise Princess thought it not enough to forbid his speaking to her, but also banish'd him from her Presence; laying a peremptory Command upon him, never to appear before her again till he was perfectly cur'd of that unhappy Love he had entertain'd for her--Imitate therefore the meritorious Obedience of this poor Prince, and if that Passion you profess for me-- How, Sir, interrupted Sir Charles, Do you make Love to my Niece then?-- Sir, replied Mr. Selvin, who was strangely confounded at Arabella's Speech, tho' I really admire the Perfections this Lady is possess'd of, yet I assure you, upon my Honour, I never had a Thought of making any Addresses to her; and I can't imagine why her Ladyship persists in accusing me of such Presumption.

So formal a Denial after what Arabella had said, extremely perplex'd Sir Charles, and fill'd Mr. Glanville with inconceivable Shame-- Miss Glanville enjoy'd their Disturbance, and full of an ill-natur'd Triumph, endeavour'd to look Arabella into Confusion: But that Lady not being at all discompos'd by this Declaration of Mr. Selvin's, having accounted for it already, replied with great Calmness, Sir, 'Tis easy to see thro' the Artifice of your disclaiming any Passion for me--Upon any other Occasion questionless, you would rather sacrifice your Life, than consent to disavow these Sentiments, which unhappily for your Peace you have entertain'd. At present the Desire of continuing near me, obliges you to lay this Constraint upon yourself; however you know Thrasimedes fell upon the same Stratagem to no Purpose.

The rigid Udosia saw thro' the Disguise, and would not dispense with herself from banishing him from Rome, as I do you from England-- How, Madam! interrupted Selvin amaz'd-- Yes, Sir, replied Arabella hastily, nothing less can satisfy what I owe to the Consideration of my own Glory.

Upon my Word, Madam, said Selvin, half angry, and yet strongly inclin'd to laugh, I don't see the Necessity of my quitting my native Country, to satisfy what you owe to the Consideration of your own Glory. Pray, how does my staying in England affect your Ladyship's Glory? To answer your Question with another, said Arabella, Pray how did the Stay of Thrasimedes in Rome, affect the Glory of the Empress Udosia? Mr. Selvin was struck dumb with this Speech, for he was not willing to be thought so deficient in the Knowledge of History, as not to be acquainted with the Reasons why Thrasimedes should not stay in Rome.

His Silence therefore seeming to Arabella to be a tacit Confession of the Justice of her Commands, a Sentiment of Compassion for this unfortunate Lover, intruded itself into her Mind; and turning her bright Eyes, full of a soft Complacency upon Selvin, who star'd at her as if he had lost his Wits-- I will not, said she, wrong the Sublimity of your Passion for me so much, as to doubt your being ready to sacrifice the Repose of your own Life to the Satisfaction of mine: Nor will I do so much Injustice to your Generosity, as to suppose the Glory of obeying my Commands, will not in some Measure soften the Rigour of your Destiny--I know not whether it may be lawful for me to tell you, that your Misfortune does really cause me some Affliction; but I am willing to give you this Consolation, and also to assure you, that to whatever Part of the World your Despair will carry you, the good Wishes and Compassion of Arabella shall follow you-- Having said this, with one of her fair Hands she cover'd her Face, to hide the Blushes which so compassionate a Speech had caus'd--Holding the other extended with a careless Air, supposing he would kneel to kiss it, and bathe it with his Tears, as was the Custom on such melancholy Occasions, her Head at the same Time turned another Way, as if reluctantly and with Confusion she granted this Favour. -- But after standing a Moment in this Posture, and finding her Hand untouch'd, she concluded Grief had depriv'd him of his Senses, and that he would shortly fall into a Swoon as Thrasimedes did: And to prevent being a Witness of so doleful a Sight, she hurry'd out of the Room without once turning about, and having reach'd her own Apartment, sunk into a Chair, not a little affected with the deplorable Condition in which she had left her suppos'd miserable Lover.

Chapter I. | The Female Quixote | Chapter III.