Capítulo XXVII
Conferencia terminada

Pronunciadas estas frases grandiosas, clavó nuestra heroína los ojos en Glanville (que maldecía entre dientes a Coriolano y a Cleopatra) y, como no viese señal alguna de alegría en su rostro, añadió con un tono dignísimo:

—¡Permanecéis quieto, Glanville, y no teméis que me retracte!

—No aprecio tanto como vos los favores que me hacéis: no puedo agradeceros una orden, que me priva del placer de veros hasta justificarme de un delito que no he cometido y que es contra la verosimilitud*.

—Pudiera, Glanville, reprocharos el modo con que recibís mis finezas; pero quiero ahorraros esta mortificación. No mudaré, pues, mis favorables disposiciones y continuaré diciéndoos, en el idioma de Cleopatra, que...

—Prima mía, no puedo más conmigo: vuestra Cleopatra es un ente a quien detesto; hablad, os lo suplico, por vos misma, pues ni ella ni nadie en el mundo pueden decirlo mejor.

Tuvo Arabela que morderse los labios para no reír de aquella viveza y le dijo:

—No puedo dispensarme de emplear las mismas expresiones de la heroína. Es posible que estéis justificado en mi corazón por las inquietudes que mostrasteis por mí, por la probabilidad de vuestras razones y por la buena opinión que tengo de vos, pero es menester que vuestra inocencia sea pública, para que Arabela pueda legítimamente volveros su estimación.

Viendo Glanville que nada alcanzaba a curar a su prima de su extravagante heroísmo, salió sin replicar. Su enfado, tomado por efecto de desesperación, produjo un movimiento de lástima y unas reflexiones serias sobre la dureza de las leyes del honor.

Solo ya Glanville, pasó revista a todas las ridiculeces de Arabela y conoció que una mujer de esta naturaleza le daría continuados disgustos, pero estaba su corazón prendado de las gracias de su persona y de otras muchas cualidades amables; solo faltaba a su felicidad verla despojada de sus nociones novelescas. Mientras Glanville se entregaba a estas reflexiones, estaba su hermana hablando con Belmur, que acababa de llegar.

i Unas veces se utiliza la forma verosimilitud y otras verisimilitud; ambas formas son correctas para Aut.

Chapter III
In which the interview is ended, not much to the lover’s satisfaction, but exactly conformable to the rules of romance.

Arabella, when she had pronounced these words, blushed excessively, thinking she had said too much. But, not seeing any signs of extreme joy in the face of Glanville, who was silently cursing Cleopatra and the authors of those romances that had ruined so noble a mind; and exposed him to perpetual vexations, by the unaccountable whims they had raised.

“Why are you not gone,” said she, “while I am in a humour not to repent of the favour I have shown you?”

“You must excuse me, cousin,” said Mr. Glanville, peevishly, “if I do not think so highly as you do of the favour. Pray how am I obliged to you for depriving me of the pleasure of seeing you, and sending me on a wild goose chase, after occasions to justify myself of a crime I am wholly innocent of, and would scorn to commit?”

“Though,” resumed Arabella, with great calmness, “I have reason to be dissatisfied with the cool and unthankful manner in which you receive [176] my indulgence, yet I shall not change the favourable disposition I am in towards you, unless you provoke me to it by new acts of disobedience. Therefore, in the language of Cleopatra, I shall tell you—”

“Upon my soul, madam,” interrupted Glanville, “I have no patience with that rigorous gipsy, whose example you follow so exactly, to my sorrow. Speak in your own language, I beseech you; for I am sure neither hers, nor anyone’s upon earth, can excel it.”

“Yet,” said Arabella, striving to repress some inclination to smile at this sally, “notwithstanding your unjust prohibitions, I shall make use of the language of that incomparable lady, to tell you my thoughts, which are that it is possible you might be sufficiently justified in my apprehensions, by the anxiety it now appears you had for my safety, by the probability which I find in your discourse, and the good opinion I have of you, were it not requisite to make your innocence apparent to the world, that so it might be lawful for Arabella to readmit you, with honour, into her former esteem and friendship.”p. 127

Mr. Glanville, seeing that it would be in vain to attempt to make her alter her fantastical* determination at this time, went out of the closet without deigning to make any reply to his sentence, though delivered in the language of the admirable Cleopatra. But his ill-humour was so visible in his face that Arabella, who mistook it for an excess of despair, could not help feeling some kind of pity for the rigour which the laws of honour and romance [177] obliged her to use him with. And while she sat meditating upon the scene which had just passed, Mr. Glanville returned to his own room, glad that his sister, not being in Arabella’s chamber, where he had left her, had no opportunity of observing his discontent, which she would not fail to enquire the cause of.

Here he sat, ruminating upon the follies of Arabella, which he found grew more glaring every day. Everything furnished matter for some new extravagance; her character was so ridiculous that he could propose nothing to himself but eternal shame and disquiet, in the possession of a woman for whom he must always blush and be in pain. But her beauty had made a deep impression on his heart: he admired the strength of her understanding; her lively wit; the sweetness of her temper; and a thousand amiable qualities which distinguished her from the rest of her sex. Her follies, when opposed to all those charms of mind and person, seemed inconsiderable and weak; and though they were capable of giving him great uneasiness, yet they could not lessen a passion which every sight of her so much the more confirmed.

As he feared it was impossible to help loving her, his happiness depended upon curing her of her romantic notions; and, though he knew not how to effect such a change in her as was necessary to complete it, yet he would not despair, but comforted himself with hopes of what he had not courage to attempt. Sometimes he fancied company, and an acquaintance with the world, would produce the alteration [178] he wished. Yet he dreaded to see her exposed to ridicule by her fantastical behaviour, and become the jest of persons who were not possessed of half her understanding.

While he traversed his chamber, wholly engrossed by these reflections, Miss Glanville was entertaining Sir George, of whose coming she was informed while she was in Arabella’s chamber.

ifantastical] obs. Irrational.