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Chapter I.

In which is related an admirable Adventure.

Miss Glanville whose Spirits were greatly exhilerated at their Entrance into London, that Seat of Magnificence and Pleasure, congratulated her Cousin upon the Entertainment she would receive from the new and surprizing Objects which every Day for a considerable Time would furnish her with; and ran over the Catalogue of Diversions with such a Volubility of Tongue, as drew a gentle Reprimand from her Father, and made her keep a sullen Silence till they were set down in St. James's Square, the Place of their Residence in Town.

Sir Charles having order'd his late Lady's Apartment to be prepar'd for the Accommodation of his Niece; as soon as the first Civilities were over, she retir'd to her Chamber, where she employ'd herself in giving her Women Directions for placing her Books, of which she had brought a moderate Quantity to London, in her Closet.

Miss Glanville as soon as she had dispatch'd away some hundred Cards to her Acquaintance, to give them Notice she was in Town, attended Arabella in her own Apartment; and as they sat at the Tea she begun to regulate the Diversions of the Week, naming the Drawing-Room, Park, Concert, Ranelagh, Lady -- Assembly, the Dutchess of Rant, Vaux-Hall, and a long &c. of Visits; at which Arabella, with an Accent that express'd her Surprize, ask'd her, If she suppos'd she intended to stay in Town three or four Years-- Law, Cousin, said Miss Glanville, all this is but the Amusement of a few Days.

Amusement, do you say, replied Arabella, methinks it seems to be the sole Employment of those Days: And what you call the Amusement, must of Necessity be the Business of Life.

You are always so grave, Cousin, said Miss Glanville, one does not know what to say to you. However, I shan't press you to go to Publick Places against your Inclination, yet you'll condescend to receive a few Visits, I suppose? Yes, replied Arabella, and if among the Ladies whom I shall see, I find any like the amiable Countess of --, I shall not scruple to enter into the most tender Amity with them.

The Countess of -- is very well, to be sure, said Miss Glanville, yet I don't know how it is, she does not suit my Taste--She is very particular in a great many Things, and knows too much for a Lady, as I heard my Lord Fribble say one Day: Then she is quite unfashionable: She hates Cards, keeps no Assembly, is seen but seldom at Publick Places; and in my Opinion, as well as in a great many others, is the dullest Company in the World. I'm sure I met her at a Visit a little before I went down to your Seat, and she had not been a quarter of an Hour in the Room, before she set a whole Circle of Ladies a yawning.

Arabella, tho' she had a sincere Contempt for her Cousin's Manner of thinking, yet always politely conceal'd it; and vex'd as she was at her Sneers upon the Countess, she contented herself with gently defending her, telling her at the same Time, that till she met with a Lady who had more Merit than the Countess possess'd, she should always possess the first Place in her Esteem.

Arabella, who had from Youth adopted the Resentments of her Father, refus'd to make her Appearance at Court, which Sir Charles gently intimated to her; yet being not wholly divested of the Curiosity natural to her Sex, she condescended to go incog. to the Gallery on a Ball Night, accompanied by Mr. Glanville and his Sister, in order to behold the Splendor of the British Court.

As her Romances had long familiariz'd her Thoughts to Objects of Grandeur and Magnificence, she was not so much struck as might have been expected, with those that now presented themselves to her View. Nor was she a little disappointed to find that among the Men she saw none whose Appearance came up to her Ideas of the Air and Port of an Artaban, Oroondates, or Juba; or any of the Ladies, who did not in her Opinion, fall short of the Perfections of Elisa, Mandana, Statira, &c. 'Twas remarkable too, that she never enquir'd how often the Princesses had been carried away by captivated Monarchs, or how many Victories the King's Sons had gain'd; but seem'd the whole Time she was there to have suspended all her Romantick Ideas of Glory, Beauty, Gallantry, and Love.

Mr. Glanville was highly pleas'd with her compos'd Behaviour, and a Day or two after intreated her to allow him the Honour of shewing her what was remarkable and worthy of her Observation in this great Metropolis. To this she also consented, and for the greater Privacy began their Travels in a hir'd Coach.

Part of several Days were taken up in this Employment; but Mr. Glanville had the Mortification to find she was full of Allusions to her Romances upon every Occasion, such as her asking the Person who shews the Armoury at the Tower, the Names of the Knights to whom each Suit belong'd, and wondering there were no Devices on the Shields or Plumes of Feathers in the Helmets: She observ'd that the Lyon Lysimachus kill'd, was according to the History of that Prince, much larger than any of those she was shew'd in the Tower, and also much fiercer. Took Notice that St. Paul's was less magnificent in the Inside, than the Temple in which Cyrus, when he went to Mandana, heard her return Thanks for his suppos'd Death: Enquir'd if it was not customary for the King and his whole Court to sail in Barges upon the Thames, as Augustus used to do upon the Tyber, whether they had not Musick and Collations in the Park, and where they celebrated the Justs and Tournaments.

The Season for Vaux-Hall being not yet over, she was desirous of once seeing a Place, which by the Description she had heard of it, greatly resembled the Gardens of Lucullus at Rome, in which the Emperor, with all the Princes and Princesses of his Court were so nobly entertain'd, and where so many gallant Conversations had pass'd among those admirable Persons.

The Singularity of her Dress, for she was cover'd with her Veil, drew a Number of Gazers after her, who prest round her with so little Respect, that she was greatly embarrass'd, and had Thoughts of quitting the Place, delightful as she own'd it, immediately, when her Attention was wholly engross'd by an Adventure in which she soon interested herself very deeply.

An Officer of Rank in the Sea Service had brought his Mistress disguis'd in a Suit of Man's or rather Boy's Cloaths, and a Hat and Feather, into the Gardens. The young Creature being a little intoxicated with the Wine she had taken too freely, was thrown so much off her Guard as to give Occasion to some of the Company to suspect her Sex; and a gay Fellow, in order to give them some Diversion at her Expence, pretending to be affronted at something she said, drew his Sword upon the disguis'd Fair One, which so alarm'd her, that she shriek'd out, She was a Woman, and ran for Protection to her Lover, who was so disorder'd with Liquor, that he was not able to defend her.

Miss Glanville ever curious and inquisitive, demanded the Cause why the Company ran in Crouds to that particular Spot; and receiv'd for Answer, That a Gentleman had drawn his Sword upon a Lady disguis'd in a Man's Habit.

Oh Heav'ns! cry'd Arabella, this must certainly be a very notable Adventure. The Lady has doubtless some extraordinary Circumstances in her Story, and haply upon Enquiry, her Misfortunes will be found to resemble those which oblig'd the beautiful Aspasia to put on the same Disguise, who was by that Means murder'd by the cruel Zenodorus in a Fit of Jealousy at the Amity his Wife exprest for her. But can I not see this unfortunate Fair One, added she, pressing in spite of Mr. Glanville's Intreaties thro' the Croud--I may haply be able to afford her some Consolation.

Mr. Glanville finding his Persuasions were not regarded, follow'd her with very little Difficulty: For her Veil falling back in her Hurry, she did not mind to replace it, and the Charms of her Face, join'd to the Majesty of her Person, and Singularity of her Dress, attracting every Person's Attention and Respect, they made Way for her to pass, not a little surpriz'd at the extreme Earnestness and Solemnity that appear'd in her Countenance upon an Event so diverting to every one else.

The disguis'd Lady whom she was endeavouring to approach, had thrown herself upon a Bench in one of the Boxes, trembling still with the Apprehension of the Sword, tho' her Antagonist was kneeling at her Feet, making Love to her in Mock-Heroicks for the Diversion of the Company.

Her Hat and Peruke had fallen off in her Fright, and her Hair which had been turn'd up under it, hung now loosely about her Neck, and gave such an Appearance of Woe to a Face, which notwithstanding the Paleness that Terror had overspread it with, was really extremely pretty, that Arabella was equally struck with Compassion and Admiration of her.

Lovely Unknown, said she to her with an Air of extreme Tenderness, tho' I am a Stranger both to your Name and History, yet your Aspect persuading me your Quality is not mean, and the Condition and Disguise in which I behold you, shewing that you are Unfortunate, permit me to offer you all the Assistances in my Power, seeing that I am mov'd thereto by my Compassion for your Distress, and that Esteem which the Sight of you must necessarily inspire.

Mr. Glanville was struck dumb with Confusion at this strange Speech, and at the Whispers and Scoffs it occasion'd among the Spectators. He attempted to take hold of her Hand in order to lead her away, but she disengag'd herself from him with a Frown of Displeasure; and taking no Notice of Miss Glanville, who whisper'd with great Emotion, Lord, Cousin, how you expose yourself! prest nearer to the Beautiful Disguis'd, and again repeated her Offers of Service.

The Girl being perfectly recover'd from her Intoxication by the Fright she had been in, gaz'd upon Arabella with a Look of extreme Surprize: Yet being mov'd to respect by the Dignity of her Appearance, and strange as her Words seem'd to be by the obliging Purport of them, and the affecting Earnestness with which they were deliver'd, she rose from her Seat and thank'd her, with an Accent full of Regard and Submission.

Fair Maid, said Arabella, taking her Hand, let us quit this Place, where your Discovery may probably subject you to more Dangers: If you will be pleas'd to put yourself into my Protection, and acquaint me with the History of your Misfortunes; I have Interest enough with a valiant Person who shall undertake to free you from your Persecutions, and reestablish the Repose of your Life.

The kneeling Hero, who as well as every one else that were present, had gaz'd with Astonishment at Arabella during all this Passage, perceiving she was about to rob him of the disguis'd Fair, seiz'd hold of the Hand she had at Liberty, and swore he would not part with her.

Mr. Glanville almost mad with Vexation, endeavour'd to get Arabella away.

Are you mad, Madam, said he in a Whisper, to make all this Rout about a Prostitute? Do you see how every body stares at you? What will they think--For Heav'ns sake let us be gone.

What, Sir, replied Arabella in a Rage, Are you base enough to leave this admirable Creature in the Power of that Man, who is questionless her Ravisher; and will you not draw your Sword in her Defence? Hey day! cry'd the Sea-Officer, wak'd out of his stupid Dose by the Clamour about him: What's the Matter here--What are you doing? Where's my Lucy? Zoons! Sir, said he to the young Fellow who held her, What Business have you with my Lucy? And uttering a dreadful Oath, drew out his Sword, and stagger'd towards his gay Rival, who observing the Weakness of his Antagonist, flourish'd with his Sword to shew his Courage and frighten the Ladies, who all ran away screaming. Arabella taking Miss Glanville under the Arm, cried out to Mr. Glanville as she left the Place, to take Care of the distress'd Lady, and while the two Combatants were disputing for her, to carry her away in Safety.

But Mr. Glanville without regarding this Injunction, hasten'd after her; and to pacify her, told her the Lady was rescu'd by her favourite Lover, and carry'd off in Triumph.

But are you sure, said Arabella, it was not some other of her Ravishers who carry'd her away, and not the Person whom she has haply favour'd with her Affection? May not the same Thing have happen'd to her, as did to the beautiful Candace, Queen of Ethiopia; who while two of her Ravishers were fighting for her, a third whom she took for her Deliverer, came and carry'd her away.

But she went away willingly, I assure you, Madam, said Mr. Glanville: Pray don't be in any Concern about her-- If she went away willingly with him, reply'd Arabella, 'tis probable it may not be another Ravisher: And yet if this Person that rescu'd her happen'd to be in Armour, and the Vizor of his Helmet down, she might be mistaken as well as Queen Candace.

Well, well, he was not in Armour, Madam, said Glanville almost beside himself with Vexation at her Folly-- You seem to be disturb'd, Sir, said Arabella a little surpriz'd at his peevish Tone: Is there any Thing in this Adventure which concerns you? Nay, now I remember, you did not offer to defend the Beautiful Unknown. I am not willing to impute your In-action upon such an Occasion, to Want of Courage or Generosity; perhaps you are acquainted with her History, and from this Knowledge refus'd to engage in her Defence.

Mr. Glanville perceiving the Company gather from all Parts to the Walk they were in, told her he would acquaint her with all he knew concerning the disguis'd Lady when they were in the Coach on their Return Home; and Arabella impatient for the promis'd Story, propos'd to leave the Gardens immediately, which was gladly comply'd with by Mr. Glanville, who heartily repented his having carry'd her thither.

Chapter VIII. | The Female Quixote | Chapter II.