In which one would imagine the Adventure concluded, but for a Promise, that something else is to come.
Lucy now began to think there was something more, than she imagined, in this Affair.
Mr. Hervey indeed, in her Opinion, had seemed to be very far from having any Design to attempt his own Life; but her Lady, she thought, could not possibly be mistaken; and therefore she resolved to carry her Message to him immediately, though it was then late in the Evening.
Accordingly she went to her Brother's, where she had some Hope of meeting with him; but not finding him there, she obliged him to go to the House where he lived, and tell him she desired to speak with him.
William, being let into the Secret of his Sister's frequent Meetings with Mr. Hervey, imagined she had some agreeable News to acquaint him with; and therefore ran immediately to his Relation's House, which was but at a small Distance; but he was told Mr. Hervey was in Bed, very much indisposed, and could not be seen.
This News put Lucy in a terrible Fright: She told her Apprehensions to her Brother; which being such as her Lady had put into her Head, and were now confirmed by Mr. Hervey's Illness, the young Farmer stood amazed, not being able to comprehend her Meaning; and she, without staying to explain herself any further, went home to the Castle, and told her Lady, That what she feared was come to pass; the Gentleman would certainly die; for he was very ill in Bed.
This being no more than what Arabella expected, she discovered no Surprize; but only asked Lucy, If she had delivered her Message to him? Would you have me, Madam, replied she, go to his House? I am afraid the Marquis will hear of it.
My Father, replied Arabella, can never be offended with me for doing a charitable Action.
Ah! Madam, interrupted Lucy, let me go then immediately, for fear the poor Gentleman should grow worse.
If he be sick almost to Death, resumed Arabella, he will recover, if I command him to do so: When did you hear of a Lover dying through Despair, when his Mistress let him know it was her Pleasure he should live? But as it will not be altogether so proper for you to go to his House, as it may be suspected you come from me; I'll write a few Lines, which you shall copy, and your Brother may carry them to him To-morrow, and I'll engage he shall be well in a few Hours.
Saying this, she went into her Closet, and, having written a short Note, made Lucy write it over again. It was as follows: Lucy, To the Unfortunate Lover of her Lady.
My Lady, who is the most generous Person in the World, has commanded me to tell you, that, presumptuous as you are, she does not desire your Death; nay more, she commands you to live, and permits you, in case you obey her, to hope for her Pardon, provided you keep within the Bounds she prescribes to you.
This Letter Lucy copied, and Arabella, examining it again, thought it rather too kind; and, seeming desirous of making some Alteration in it, Lucy, who was extremely anxious for Mr. Hervey's Life, fearing lest she should alter it in such a manner, that the Gentleman might be at Liberty to die, if he chose it, conjured her Lady in such pressing Terms to let it remain as it was, that Arabella suffered herself to be prevailed upon by her Intreaties; and, remembring that it was not uncommon for the Ladies in Romances to relax a little in their Severity through the Remonstrances of their Women, told her, with an inchanting Smile, that she would grant her Desire; and went to Bed with that pleasing Satisfaction, which every generous Mind experiences at the Consciousness of having done some very benevolent Action.
In the Morning, this life-restoring Billet was dispatched by Lucy to her Brother, inclosed in one to him, charging him to carry it to the sick Gentleman immediately.
William, having a strong Curiosity to see what his Sister had written, ventured to open it; and, not being able to imagine Lady Bella had really given her Orders to write what appeared to him the most unintelligible Stuff in the World, resolved to suppress this Letter till he had questioned her a little concerning it.
A few Hours after, Mr. Hervey, who expected to meet Lucy at her Brother's, came in. His Illness having been only a violent Headach, to which he was subject, being now quite off, he remembred the Appointment he had made; but, having waited some time, and she not coming, he returned again to his Cousin's, leaving word for her, that he would see her the next Day.
Scarce was he gone out, when Lucy, who longed to know what Effect her Letter had produced in his Health, came in; and eagerly inquiring of her Brother how Mr. Hervey was, received for Answer, that he had been there a Moment before she came.
Well, cried she, clasping her Hands together, with Surprize, my Lady said, her Letter would cure him, if he was ever so sick; but I did not imagine he would have been well enough to come abroad so soon.
Your Lady! interrupted William, why was it not yourself that wrote that Letter you gave to me? No, truly, Brother, resumed she: How was it possible I should write so fine a Letter? My Lady made every Word of it, and I only wrote it after her.
William, hearing this, would not own the Indiscretion he now thought he had been guilty of, in keeping the Letter; but suffered his Sister to return to her Lady, in the Belief that he had delivered it, resolving, when he saw her next, to say he had lost it; for he knew not what Excuse to make to Mr. Hervey for not giving it him when he saw him.
Arabella received the Account of her Lover's Recovery as a Thing she was absolutely sure of before; and thinking she had now done all that could be expected from her Compassion, resumed her usual Severity, and commanded Lucy to mention him no more.
If he loves me with that Purity he ought to do, pursued she, he will cease to importune me any further: And though his Passion be ever so violent, his Respect and Submission to my Commands will oblige him to Silence. The Obedience he has already shewn, in recovering at the first Intimation I gave, that it was my Will he should do so, convinces me, I need not apprehend he will renew his Follies to displease me.
Lucy, who found by this Discourse of her Lady's, that her Commission was at an End with regard to Mr. Hervey, followed her Directions so exactly, that she not only spoke no more of him to her, but also, in order to avoid him, neglected to go to her Brother's.
His Impatience at not seeing her made him prevail upon her Brother to go the Castle, and intreat her to give him another Interview: But Lucy positively refused; and, to make a Merit with her Lady of her Obedience, informed her what he had requested.
Arabella, resenting a Boldness which argued so little Respect to her Commands, began now to repent of the Compassion she had shewn him; and, commending Lucy for what she had done, bid her tell the insolent Unknown, if he ever sent to her again, that she was resolved never to pardon the Contempt he had shewn for her Orders.
Mr. Hervey, finding himself deserted by Lucy, resolved to give over his Attempts, congratulating himself for his Discretion in not acquainting his Cousin with what he had already done: His Heart not being very much engaged, he found no great Difficulty in consoling himself for his bad Success. In a few Days he thought of Lady Bella no more, than if he had never seen her; but an Accident bringing her again in his Way, he could not resist the Inclination he felt to speak to her; and by that means drew upon himself a very sensible Mortification.