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Chapter IV.

In which is related the History of the Princess of Gaul.

My name, Madam, is Cynecia, my Birth Illustrious enough, seeing that I am the Daughter of a Sovereign Prince, who possesses a large and spacious Territory in what is now called Antient Gaul.

What, Madam, interrupted Arabella, Are you a Princess then? Questionless I am, Madam, replied the Lady; and a Princess happy and prosperous, till the Felicity of my Life was interrupted by the perfidious Ariamenes.

Pardon me, Madam, interrupted Arabella again, that my Ignorance of your Quality made me be deficient in those Respects which are due to your high Birth, and which notwithstanding those Characters of Greatness I might read in the Lineaments of your Visage, I yet neglected to pay-- Alas! Madam, said the Stranger, that little Beauty which the Heavens bestow'd on me only to make me wretched, as by the Event it has proved, has long since taken its Flight, and together with my Happiness, I have lost that which made me Unhappy. And certain it is, Grief has made such Ravages among what might once have been thought tolerable in my Face, that I should not be surpriz'd if my being no longer Fair, should make you with Difficulty believe I ever was so.

Arabella after a proper Compliment in Answer to this Speech, intreated the Princess to go on with her History, who hesitating a little, comply'd with her Request.

Be pleas'd to know then, Madam, said she, that being bred up with all imaginable Tenderness in my Father's Court, I had no sooner arriv'd to my Sixteenth Year than I saw myself surrounded with Lovers; who nevertheless, such was the Severity with which I behav'd myself, conceal'd their Passions under a respectful Silence, well knowing Banishment from my Presence was the least Punishment they had to expect, if they presum'd to declare their Sentiments to me.

I liv'd in this Fashion, Madam, for Two Years longer, rejoicing in the Insensibility of my own Heart, and triumphing in the Sufferings of others, when my Tranquillity was all at once interrupted by an Accident which I am going to relate to you.

The Princess stopt here to give Vent to some Sighs which a cruel Remembrance forc'd from her; and continuing in a deep Muse for five or six Minutes, resum'd her Story in this Manner.

It being my Custom to walk in a Forest adjoining to one of my Father's Summer Residences, attended only by my Women, one Day when I was taking this Amusement, I perceiv'd at some Distance a Man lying on the Ground; and impell'd by a sudden Curiosity, I advanc'd towards this Person, whom upon a nearer View I perceiv'd to have been wounded very much, and fainted away through Loss of Blood. His Habit being very rich, I concluded by that he was of no mean Quality: But when I had look'd upon his Countenance, pale and languishing as it was, methought there appear'd so many Marks of Greatness, accompany'd with a Sweetness so happily blended, that my Attention was engag'd in an extraordinary Manner, and interested me so powerfully in his Safety, that I commanded some of my Women to run immediately for proper Assistance, and convey him to the Castle, while I directed others to throw some Water in his Face, and to apply some Linen to his Wounds, to stop the Bleeding.

These charitable Cares restor'd the wounded Stranger to his Senses; he open'd his Eyes, and turning them slowly to the Objects around him, fix'd at last their languishing Looks on me: When mov'd, as it should seem, to some Respect by what he saw in my Countenance, he rose with some Difficulty from the Ground, and bowing almost down to it again, by that Action seem'd to pay me his Acknowledgments for what he suppos'd I had done for his Preservation.

His extreme Weakness having oblig'd him to creep towards a Tree, against the Back of which he supported himself, I went nearer to him, and having told him the Condition in which I found him, and the Orders I had dispatch'd for Assistance, requested him to acquaint me with his Name and Quality, and the Adventure which had brought him into that Condition.

My Name, Madam, answer'd he, is Ariamenes, my Birth is Noble enough; I have spent some Years in my Travels, and was returning to my native Country, when passing thro' this Forest I was seiz'd with an Inclination to sleep. I had ty'd my Horse to a Tree, and retiring some few Paces off, stretch'd myself at the Foot of a large Oak whose Branches promis'd me an agreeable Shade. I had not yet clos'd my Eyes, when the Slumber I invited was dissipated by the Sound of some Voices near me.

A Curiosity, not natural to me, made me listen to the Discourse of these Persons, whom by the Tone of their Voices, tho' I could not see them, I knew to be Men.

In short, Madam, I was a Witness to a most horrible Scheme which they concerted together; my Weakness will not permit me to enter into an exact Detail of all I heard: The Result of their Conference was, To seize the Princess of this Country and carry her off.

Here, pursued Cynecia, I interrupted the Stranger with a loud Cry, which giving him to understand who I was, he apologiz'd in the most graceful Manner imaginable for the little Respect he had hitherto paid me.

I then intreated him to tell me, If he had any Opportunity of hearing the Name of my design'd Ravisher; to which he reply'd, that he understood it to be Taxander.

This Man, Madam, was one of my Father's Favourites, and had been long secretly in Love with me. Ariamenes then inform'd me, that being enflam'd with Rage against these impious Villains, he rose from the Ground, re-mounted his Horse, and defy'd the two Traytors aloud, threatning them with Death, unless they abandon'd their impious Design.

Taxander made no Answer, but rush'd furiously upon him, and had the Baseness to suffer his wicked Associate to assist him: But the valiant Ariamenes, tho' he spoke modestly of his Victory, yet gave me to understand that he had made both the Villains abandon their wicked Enterprize, with their Lives; and that dismounting in order to see if they were quite dead, he found himself so faint with the Wounds he had received from them both, that he had not Strength to re-mount his Horse; but crawling on, in Hopes of meeting with some Assistance, fainted away at last through Weariness and Loss of Blood.

While he was giving me this Account, the Chariot I had sent for arrived, and having made him such Acknowledgments as the Obligation I had received from him demanded, I caus'd him to get into the Chariot, and sending one with him to acquaint the Prince my Father with all that had happen'd, and the Merit of the valiant Stranger, I return'd the same Way I came with my Women, my Thoughts being wholly engross'd by this Unknown.

The Service he had done me fill'd me with a Gratitude and Esteem for him, which prepar'd my Heart for those tender Sentiments I afterwards entertain'd to the Ruin of my Repose.

I will not tire your Patience, Madam, with a minute Detail of all the succeeding Passages of my Story; it shall suffice to tell you, That Ariamenes was received with extraordinary Marks of Esteem by my Father; that his Cure was soon compleated; and that having vow'd himself to my Service, and declar'd an unalterable Passion for me, I permitted him to love me, and gave him that Share in my Heart, which I fear not all his Infidelities will ever deprive him of.

His Attachment to me was soon suspected by Taxander's Relations, who having secretly vow'd his Ruin, endeavour'd to discover if I had admitted his Addresses, and having made themselves Masters of our Secrets, by means of the Treachery of one of my Women, procur'd Information to be given to my Father of our mutual Passion.

Alas! what Mischiefs did not this fatal Discovery produce: My Father, enrag'd to the last Degree at this Intelligence, confin'd me to my Apartments, and order'd Ariamenes to leave his Dominions within three Days.

Spare me, Madam, the Repetition of what pass'd at our last sad Interview, which by large Bribes to my Guards, he obtain'd.

His Tears, his Agonies, his Vows of everlasting Fidelity, so sooth'd my Melancholy at parting with him, and persuaded me of his Constancy, that I waited for several Months with perfect Tranquillity for the Performance of the Promise he made me, to do my Father such considerable Services in the War he was engag'd in with one of his Neighbours, as should oblige him to give me to him for his Reward.

But, alas! two Years roll'd on without bringing back the unfaithful Ariamenes. My Father died, and my Brother who succeeded him, being about to force me to marry a Prince whom I detested, I secretly quitted the Court, and attended only by this faithful Confidant whom you behold with me, and some few of my trusty Domesticks, I came hither in Search of Ariamenes, he having told me this Country was the Place of his Birth.

Polenor, the most prudent and faithful of my Servants, undertook to find out the ungrateful Ariamenes, whom yet I was willing to find Excuses for, but all his Enquiries were to no Effect; the Name of Ariamenes was not known in this Part of the World.

Tir'd out with unsuccessful Enquiries, I resolv'd to seek out some obscure Place, where I might in secret lament my Misfortunes, and expect the End of them in Death. My Attendants found me out such a Retreat as I wanted, in a neighbouring Village, which they call Twickenham, I think, from whence I often make Excursions to this Park, attended only as you see; and here indulge myself in Complaints upon the Cruelty of my Destiny.

The sorrowful Cynecia here ended her Story, to which in the Course of her Relation she had given a great many Interruptions through the Violence of her Grief: And Arabella, after having said every thing she could think on to alleviate her Affliction, earnestly intreated her to accept of an Asylum at her House; where she should be treated with all the Respect due to her illustrious Birth.

The afflicted Lady, tho' she respectfully declin'd this Offer, yet express'd a great Desire of commencing a strict Amity with our fair Heroine, who on her Part, made her the most tender Protestations of Friendship.

The Evening being almost clos'd, they parted with great Reluctancy on both Sides; mutually promising to meet in the same Place the next Day.

Cynecia, having enjoin'd her new Friend absolute Secrecy, Arabella was under a Necessity of keeping this Adventure to herself. And tho' she long'd to tell Mr. Glanville, who came to visit her the next Day, that the Countess was extremely mistaken, when she maintain'd there were no more wandering Princesses in the World, yet the Engagement she had submitted to, kept her silent.

Chapter III. | The Female Quixote | Chapter V.