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Capítulo XIV
Visita misteriosa

Con impaciencia aguardaba Arabela el instante de ir a verse con su princesa. A cada momento miraba al reloj con tan conocida inquietud, que Glanville se sorprendió y se le aumentó la sorpresa cuando Arabela salió con aire misterioso pidiéndole que no la siguiera. Glanville, confusísimo de lo que veía, se escapó por una puerta falsa, observó que Arabela iba hacia el bosquecillo y no la perdió de vista. Pocos instantes después se llegaron a ella dos damas. (Eran la princesa y su asociada, que convidaron a Arabela a narrar sus aventuras). Nuestra heroína no se hizo de rogar y fue nombrado Glanville como el más celoso y fiel de sus adoradores. Cinecia la felicitó por tener un amante que merecía su estimación y manifestó deseos de ver a un hombre tan dichoso. Arabela, que divisó desde lejos a Glanville, la dijo que su curiosidad podía satisfacerse.

—¡Vedle cabalmente allí! –exclamó señalando hacia él con el dedo.

Miró la princesa a Glanville, dio un grito y cayó desmayada entre los brazos de Arabela. Corrió Lucía y ayudó a su ama a socorrerla. Cinecia abrió penosamente los ojos y los fijó en Arabela.

—¡Ah, señora! –la dijo–. No os maraville mi sorpresa y mi dolor: vos sois la amante del ingrato Ariamenes.

—¡Cielo santo!... ¡Qué me decís!... Pero, ¿no os engañáis?

—¡Ay, señora! Nunca padece el corazón tales equivocaciones... Ese a quien llamáis Glanville es el Ariamenes que me ha engañado. Adiós, señora: me es odiosa su vista en este instante y voy a librarme de ella para siempre… No temáis tener una enemiga en vuestra desventurada competidora, porque nunca podré aborrecer a la sin par Arabela y voy a hacer cuantos esfuerzos son imaginables para dejar de querer al infiel Ariamenes.

Pronunciando estas palabras, tomo Cinecia el brazo de su confidenta y huyó con la mayor celeridad. Nuestra heroína, poco noticiosa hasta aquel momento del estado de su corazón, quedó pasmada de experimentar infinitas sensaciones, cuyos efectos nunca había conocido. Puso negligentemente la mano sobre el hombro de Lucía y dio libre curso a sus lágrimas. Glanville, que la oyó sollozar, se arrimó con expresión y la preguntó el motivo de su pena. Arabela clavó por algún tiempo los ojos en él, sin responderle, y luego, dirigiéndose a Lucía, la dijo majestuosamente:

—Manda a ese traidor que se quite de mi presencia y hazle saber que toda su sangre no basta para lavar la injuria que me ha hecho ni para minorar mi indignación –y luego, volviendo la espalda, se retiró a su casa a toda priesa. p. 227

Maravillado Glanville, quiso ir tras de ella, pero Lucía se le puso delante llamándolo traidor.

—Esto es cosa nueva –dijo–. ¡Qué demonios quiere esta muchacha!

—Señor, os ruego que me dejéis cumplir con las órdenes de mi ama, porque las voy a olvidar, si no me las dejáis decir hasta el cabo: aguardad… traidor…

—Eso ya me lo has dicho.

—Sí, señor, pero hay sangre y lavado… y que no volváis a poneros delante de ella…, porque la sangre disminuida por la injuria que habéis hecho… y lavada por la indignación… ¡Ay, mi Dios, que todo lo olvidé!

—No importa, hija, que iré a buscarla y acaso sabré…

—¡Oh, no, no hagáis eso! Se enojaría mi señora; voy a suplicarla que me repita lo que me dijo y volveré a decíroslo.

—¿Qué tiene tu ama? Estaba afligidísima.

—¡Oh, sí! Pero no me ha mandado que hable de eso: ha llorado muy de corazón y yo también, mas no sé por qué.

—Pues siendo así, ve a buscarla y vuelve a repetirme sus expresiones, si te lo mandare: en mi cuarto estaré.

Aunque impacientísimo Glanville de descubrir aquel misterio, no fue en seguimiento de Arabela por no representar alguna escena ridícula delante de sus criados y procuró proporcionarse una conversación particular con su prima.

Volviose Arabela a casa con tanta ligereza que no pudo alcanzarla Lucía. Metiose en su cuarto y se entregó de nuevo al amargo pesar de verse engañada por Glanville. Sus monólogos eran interrumpidos y semejantes a los de Mandana y Clelia. Así que entró Lucía, púsosela nuestra heroína a mirar con modo dominante:

—¡No vengas –la dijo– a pedirme el perdón de un ingrato, a quien todavía echa menos mi debilidad!

—¡No, señora; os aseguro que no!

—¡No vengas a pintarme sus lágrimas ni su despecho, porque sabe fingir!

Glanville, que había seguido a Lucía, entró en aquel instante.

—¡Os atrevéis a poneros a mi vista, habiéndooslo yo prohibido y con el oprobrio que os cubre!

—Prima mía querida, ¿qué reproche tenéis que hacerme? ¡Por Dios que no me dejéis en el estado cruel en que me habéis puesto!

—Preguntad a Ariamenes cuál es el delito de Glanville: quien engañó a Cinecia puede responder a la pregunta que hace el traidor amante de Arabela.

—Os juro, prima, que no entiendo una palabra de lo que me decís. p. 228

—No abusaréis más de mi credulidad… Tembláis al oír el nombre de Ariamenes, y no podéis escuchar sin confusión el de Cinecia.

—Decidme qué significa esto: ¿qué tienen que ver conmigo Ariamenes y Cinecia?

—¡Falso! ¡Finges ignorar tu crimen! ¿Crees que Ariamenes pueda ser un pérfido y Glanville un amante fiel?

Glanville, que no la había oído nunca delirar tan ridículamente, creyó, de buena fe, que había perdido el juicio; mirola con la más tierna compasión y Arabela le dio a entender, con una seña, que se fuera.

—No puedo dejaros, amada prima, sin justificarme: nada he hecho que pueda desagradaros y quisiera que os explicarais claramente para que me fuese posible sacaros del error en que estáis.

Arabela, que hasta aquí había luchado con los movimientos de su corazón, no pudo ya refrenarse más; reiteró a Glanville la orden de irse y luego se arrojó sobre un canapé soltando la rienda al llanto. Glanville, verdaderamente enternecido, se arrodilló delante, la tomó una mano y se la besó.

—Mi muy amada prima, decidme, en el nombre de cuanto más os importa en este mundo, qué es lo que os aflige… ¿Soy yo la causa de vuestro amargo sentir? ¡Piadosos cielos! ¿Habré yo podido ofenderos?... Hablad, prima mía… ¡dadme a conocer mi delito y después muera yo a vuestros pies para expiarlo!

—¡Pérfido! ¡Te atreves a persuadirte que pueda ser perdonada la ingratitud de Ariamenes! ¡No, no! ¡Nunca más recibiré los homenajes de un corazón que debe ser de Cinecia! Mas haré: la vengaré del inhumano Ariamenes.

—¡Pero, señora*, quién diablos son ese Ariamenes y esa Cinecia! ¿Por qué, si ellos son los delincuentes, he de padecer yo el castigo? ¡Por los cielos que no atormentéis vuestra imaginación!... Os certifico que Ariamenes y Cinecia son dos seres quiméricos.

—El crimen de Ariamenes y el de Glanville son uno mismo; el uno se ha hecho indigno de la princesa de las Galias y el otro merece el desprecio de Arabela. ¡Salid de mi presencia y no me ofrezcáis más vuestro amor! ¡Para siempre os destierro del corazón mío!

—¡Ay, prima! Por Dios, una palabra… una palabra no más… ¿Quién es ese Ariamenes?... ¿Soy yo?... Os han engañado seguramente… Decidme, prima mía, que os lo suplico con ansia…, decidme… ¿Soy yo Ariamenes?

i señora] señor.

Chapter V
A very mysterious chapter.

Arabella, who impatiently longed for the hour of meeting the fair princess, with whom she was extremely delighted, consulted her watch so often, and discovered so much restlessness and anxiety that Mr. Glanville began to be surprised; and the more as she peremptorily commanded him not to attend her in her evening walk. This prohibition, which, though he durst not dispute, he secretly resolved to disobey; and as soon as she set out for the park with her usual attendants, he slipped out by a back door, and keeping her in his sight, himself unseen, he ventured to watch her motions.

[269] As he had expected to unravel some great mystery, he was agreeably disappointed to find she continued her walk in the park with great composure; and though she was soon joined by the imaginary* princess, yet conceiving her to be some young lady with whom she had commenced an acquaintance at Richmond, his heart was at rest; and for fear of displeasing her, he took a contrary path from that she was in that he might not meet her, yet resolved to stay till he thought she would be inclined to return, and then show himself, and conduct her home. A solicitude for which he did not imagine she need be offended.

The two ladies being met, after reciprocal compliments, the princess entreated Arabella to relate her adventures, who not being willing to violate the laws of romance, which require an unbounded confidence upon these occasions, began very succinctly to recount the history of her life, which, as she managed it, contained events almost as romantic and incredible as any in her romances; winding them up with a confession that she did not hate Mr. Glanville, whom she acknowledged to be one of the most faithful and zealous of lovers.

Cynecia, with a sigh, congratulated her upon the fidelity of a lover who, by her description, was worthy the place he possessed in her esteem. And expressing a wish that she could see, unobserved by him, this gallant and generous person, Arabella, who that moment espied him at a distance, yet advancing towards them, told her, with a blush that overspread all her face, that her curiosity might be satisfied in [270] the manner she wished: “For yonder,” added she, “is the person we have been talking of.”

Cynecia, at these words, looking towards the place where her fair friend had directed, no sooner cast her eyes upon Mr. Glanville than giving a loud cry, she sunk into the arms of Arabella, who, astonished and perplexed as she was, eagerly held them out to support her.

Finding her in a swoon, she dispatched Lucy, who was near her, to look for some water to throw in her face; but that lady, breathing a deep sigh, opened her languishing eyes, and fixing a melancholy look upon Arabella:

“Ah! Madam,” said she, “wonder not at my affliction and surprise, since in the person of your lover I behold the ungrateful Ariamenes.”

“Oh heavens! My fair princess,” replied Arabella, “what is it you say? Is it possible Glanville can be Ariamenes?”p. 316

“He,” cried the afflicted princess with a disordered accent, “he whom I now behold and whom you call Glanville was once Ariamenes, the perjured, the ungrateful Ariamenes! Adieu, madam, I cannot bear his* sight; I will hide myself from the world forever; nor need you fear a rival or an enemy in the unfortunate Cynecia, who, if possible, will cease to love the unfaithful Ariamenes, and will never hate the beautiful Arabella.”

Saying this, without giving her time to answer, she took hold of her confidante by the arm, and went away with so much swiftness that she was out of sight before Arabella was enough recovered from her astonishment to be able to entreat her stay.

[271] Our charming heroine, ignorant till now of the true state of her heart, was surprised to find it assaulted at once by all the passions which attend disappointed love. Grief, rage, jealousy and despair made so cruel a war in her gentle bosom that, unable either to express or to conceal the strong emotions with which she was agitated, she gave way to a violent burst of tears, leaning her head upon Lucy’s shoulder, who wept as heartily as her lady, though ignorant of the cause of her affliction.

Mr. Glanville, who was now near enough to take notice of her posture, came running with eager haste to see what was the matter, when Arabella, roused from her ecstasy of grief by the sound of his steps, lifted up her head, and seeing him approach:

“Lucy,” cried she, trembling with the violence of her resentment, “tell that traitor to keep out of my sight. Tell him I forbid him ever to appear before me again. And, tell him,” added she, with a sigh that shook her whole tender frame, “all the blood in his body is too little to wash away his guilt, or to pacify my indignation.”

Then hastily turning away, she ran towards her other attendants, who were at some distance, and joining her women, proceeded directly home.

Mr. Glanville, amazed at this action, was making after her as fast as he could when Lucy, crossing in his way, cried out to him to stop:

“My lady,” said she, “bid me tell you, traitor—”

[272] “Heyday!” interrupted Glanville. “What the devil does the girl mean?”

“Pray, sir,” said she, “let me deliver my message. I shall forget if you speak to me till I have said it all—Stay, let me see, what comes next?”

“No more ‘traitor’, I hope,” said Glanville.p. 317

“No, sir,” said Lucy, “but there was something about washing in blood, and you must keep out of her sight, and not appear before the nation—Oh dear! I have forgot it half. My lady was in such a piteous taking I forgot it, I believe, as soon as she said it. What shall I do?”

“No matter,” said Glanville, “I’ll overtake her, and ask—”

“No, no, sir,” said Lucy. “Pray don’t do that, sir, my lady will be very angry. I’ll venture to ask her to tell me over again, and come back and let you know it.”

“But tell me,” replied Glanville, “was anything the matter with your lady? She was in a piteous taking, you say?”

“Oh dear! Yes, sir,” said Lucy, “but I was not bid to say anything about that. To be sure, my lady did cry sadly and sighed as if her heart would break; but I don’t know what was the matter with her.”

“Well,” said Glanville, excessively shocked at this intelligence. “Go to your lady; I am going home—You may bring me her message to my own apartment.”

Lucy did as she was desired; and Mr. Glanville, impatient as he was to unravel the mystery, yet dreading lest his presence should make [273] Arabella be guilty of some extravagance before the servants who were with her, he followed slowly after her, resolving, if possible, to procure a private interview with the lovely visionary, for whose sorrow, though he suspected it was owing to some ridiculous cause, he could not help being affected.p. 318

 

Chapter VI
Not much plainer than the former.

Arabella, who had walked as fast as her legs would carry her, got home before Lucy could overtake her, and retiring to her chamber, gave way to a fresh burst of grief, and bewailed the infidelity of Glanville in terms befitting a Clelia or Mandana.

As soon as she saw Lucy enter, she started from her chair with great emotion:

“Thou comest,” said she, “I know, to intercede for that ungrateful man, whose infidelity I am weak enough to lament. But open not thy mouth, I charge thee, in his defence.”

“No, indeed, madam,” said Lucy.

“Nor bring me any account of his tears, his desperation, or his despair,” said Arabella, “since questionless he will feign them all to deceive me.”

Here Glanville, who had watched Lucy’s coming and had followed her into Arabella’s apartment, appeared at the door.

[274] “Oh heavens!” cried Arabella lifting up her fine eyes. “Can it be that this disloyal man, unawed by the discovery of his guilt, again presumes to approach me!”

“Dearest cousin,” said Glanville, “what is the meaning of all this?—How have I disobliged you?—What is my offence? I beseech you, tell me.”

“Ask the inconstant Ariamenes,”c replied Arabella, “the offence of the ungrateful Glanville. The betrayer of Cynecia can best answer that question to the deceiver of Arabella. And the guilt of the one can only be compared to the crimes of the other.”

“Good God!” interrupted Mr. Glanville fretting excessively. “What am I to understand by all this? On my soul, madam, I don’t know the meaning of one word you say.”

“Oh dissembler!” said Arabella. “Is it thus that thou wouldest impose upon my credulity?* Does not the name of Ariamenes make thee tremble then? And canst thou hear that of Cynecia without confusion?”

“Dear lady Bella,” said Glanville smiling, “what are these names to me?”

“False man,” interrupted Arabella, “dost thou presume to sport with thy crimes then? Are not the treacheries of Ariamenes the crimes of Glanville? Could Ariamenes be false to the princess [275] of Gaul, and can Glanville be innocent towards Arabella?”p. 319

Mr. Glanville, who had never heard her, in his opinion, talk so ridiculously before, was so amazed at the incomprehensible stuff she uttered with so much emotion that he began to fear her intellects were really touched. This thought gave him a concern that spread itself in a moment over his countenance. He gazed on her with a fixed attention, dreading, yet wishing, she would speak again, equally divided between his hopes that her next speech would remove his suspicion, and his fears, that it might more confirm it.

Arabella, taking notice of his pensive posture, turned away her head (lest by beholding him she should relent, and treat him with less severity than she had intended), making at the same time a sign to him to be gone.

“Indeed, Lady Bella,” said Glanville, who understood her perfectly well, “I cannot leave you in this temper. I must know how I have been so unfortunate as to offend you.”

Arabella, no longer able to contain herself, burst into tears at this question. With one hand she made repeated signs to him to be gone, with the other she held her handkerchief to her eyes, vexed and ashamed of her weakness.

But Mr. Glanville, excessively shocked at this sight, instead of leaving her, threw himself on his knees before her, and taking her hand, which he tenderly pressed to his lips:

“Good God! My dearest cousin,” said he, “how you distract me by this behaviour! Sure [276] something extraordinary must be the matter. What can it be that thus afflicts you?—Am I the cause of these tears?—Can I have offended you so much?—Speak, dear madam—Let me know my crime. Yet may I perish if I am conscious of any towards you—”

“Disloyal man,” said Arabella disengaging her hand from his, “does then the crime of Ariamenes seem so light in thy apprehension that thou canst hope to be thought innocent by Arabella? No, no, ungrateful man, the unfortunate Cynecia shall have no cause to say that I will triumph in her spoils. I myself will be the minister of her revenge; and Glanville shall suffer for the crime of Ariamenes.”

“Who the devil is this Ariamenes?” cried Glanville rising in a passion. “And why am I to suffer for his crime, pray? For heaven’s sake, dear cousin, don’t let your imagination wander thus. Upon my soul, I don’t believe there is any such person as Ariamenes in the world.”p. 320

“Vile equivocator,” said Arabella, “Ariamenes, though dead to Cynecia, is alive to the deluded Arabella. The crimes of Ariamenes are the guilt of Glanville. And if the one has made himself unworthy of the princess of Gaul, by his perfidy and ingratitude, the other, by his baseness and deceit, merits nothing but contempt and detestation from Arabella.”

“Frenzy, by my soul,” cried Glanville mutteringly between his teeth. “This is downright frenzy. What shall I do?”

“Hence, from my presence,” resumed Arabella, “false and ungrateful man; persecute me no more with the hateful offers of thy love. From [277] this moment I banish thee from my thoughts forever; and neither as Glanville or as Ariamenes will I ever behold thee more.”

“Stay, dear cousin,” said Glanville holding her (for she was endeavouring to rush by him, unwilling he should see the tears that had overspread her face as she pronounced those words), “hear me, I beg you, but one word. Who is it you mean by Ariamenes?—Is it me?—Tell me, madam, I beseech you—This is some horrid mistake—You have been imposed upon by some villainous artifice—Speak, dear Lady Bella—Is it me you mean by Ariamenes? For so your last words seemed to hint—”

Arabella, without regarding what he said, struggled violently to force her hand from his; and finding him still earnest to detain her, told him with an enraged voice that she would call for help if he did not unhand her directly.

Poor Glanville, at this menace, submissively dropped her hand; and the moment she was free, she flew out of the room, and locking herself up in her closet, sent her commands to him by one of her women, whom she called to her, to leave her apartment immediately.

______________________________________________

c  This enigmatical way of speaking upon such occasions, is of great use in the voluminous French romances, since the doubt and confusion it is the cause of, both to the accused and accuser, gives rise to a great number of succeeding mistakes, and consequently adventures.

iimaginary] obs. and rare. Supposed.

iihis] this, 1752 (1st).

iiicredulity] incredulity, 1752 (2nd).