Capítulo IV
Diálogo entre Arabela y Lucía

—Todo lo que puedo deciros, señora, es que nos asustamos mucho cuando os desmayasteis, que hicimos cuanto pudimos para que volvieseis y que, en fin, volvisteis.

—No es eso lo que te pido, sino que me digas lo que me sucedió mientras estuve desmayada, pues sin duda que acaecieron infinitas cosas extraordinarias.

—Os aseguro, señora, que ya os he dicho fielmente cuanto sucedió.

—Pero no me has hablado del desafío de Glanville con su competidor ni de los medios de que se valió para restituirme a mi cuarto.

—Vuelvo a aseguraros que no habéis salido de él y que no ha habido desafío.

—Te han, pues, prohibido que me lo cuentes… y tú conoces que no debo ignorar esta parte importante de mi vida.

—Os he dicho la verdad y no puedo…

—¡No puedes!

—Yo, señora, no sé cómo se forjan historias, pues si supiese, al instante haría una, porque así lo queréis, pero en cuanto os ha sucedido no hay el menor motivo de...

—¡No hay el menor motivo! ¿Así miras una aventura que admirará a los que leyeren algún día mi historia?...

—No os enojéis, ama mía, que os lo suplico y os diré que… yo… hay… os afirmo que no sé cómo contentaros…

—Escucha, buena Lucía: si algún príncipe o princesa te pidiese que les contaras lo que me ha sucedido, ¿no les dirías nada de la aventura de hoy?... Pues bien, supón que soy una princesa que te pide la narración de mis sucesos.

Arabela fijó sus ojos en Lucía y, después de haber esperado algún tiempo, la dijo:

—No te pido un discurso estudiado; vamos, empieza. p. 204

—Pero, señora, si no sé nada, ni de vuestro robo ni de vuestra libertad ni de desafíos ni tampoco he visto nada de todo eso…

—¡Vete, vete de mi presencia, mujer indigna de mi confianza! ¡Ya veo que has vendido tu silencio!

Pasmada Lucía del enojo de su ama, rompió en llanto. Arabela, naturalmente compasiva, la habló con dulzura:

—Te perdono –la dijo–, pero confíame en cuánto has vendido tus servicios, muéstrame la joya que te han regalado.

—Pues, señora, me dieron, a pesar mío, esta media guinea que os presento; me la encontré en la mano en el mismo instante que tirasteis de la campanilla: vi que el señor Tíncel iba a entrar en vuestro cuarto; quise impedírselo; se me opuso y, finalmente, di aquel chillido que os asombró tanto; y esto es, señora, todo lo que ha habido.

Se avergonzó Arabela de un regalo que no tenía ejemplo y la mandó salir del cuarto para ocultar su grandísima confusión. Poco después se resolvió a pasar al salón de concurrencia, donde encontró a su tío engolfado en una conversación, que será el asunto del capítulo siguiente138.

138 ‘abstraído o inmerso en una conversación’.

Chapter XIV
A dialogue between Arabella and Lucy, in which the latter seems to have the advantage.

“Why, madam,” said Lucy, “all I can tell your ladyship is that we were all excessively frightened, to be sure, when you fainted, especially myself, and that we did what we could to recover you.—And so accordingly your ladyship did recover.”

[202] “What’s this to the purpose?” said Arabella, perceiving she stopped here. “I know that I fainted, and it is also very plain that I recovered again.—I ask you what happened to me in the intermediate time between my fainting and recovery. Give me a faithful relation of all the accidents to which by my fainting I am quite a stranger, and which, no doubt, are very considerable—”

“Indeed, madam,” replied Lucy, “I have given your ladyship a faithful relation of all I can remember.”

“When?” resumed Arabella surprised.

“This moment, madam,” said Lucy.

“Why, sure thou dreamest, wench!” replied she. “Hast thou told me how I was seized and carried off? How I was rescued again? And—”

“No, indeed, madam,” interrupted Lucy, “I don’t dream; I never told your ladyship that you were carried off.”

“Well,” said Arabella, “and why dost thou not satisfy my curiosity? Is it not fit I should be acquainted with such a momentous part of my history?”

“I can’t, indeed, and please your ladyship,” said Lucy.

“What, canst thou not?” said Arabella, enraged at her stupidity.*

“Why, madam,” said Lucy, sobbing, “I can’t make a history of nothing!”

“Of nothing, wench!” resumed Arabella, in a greater rage than before. “Dost thou call an adventure to which thou wast a witness, and borest haply so great a share in, nothing?—An adventure which hereafter will make a considerable [203] figure in the relation of my life, dost thou look upon as trifling and of no consequence?”

“No, indeed I don’t, madam,” said Lucy.

“Why then,” pursued Arabella, “dost thou wilfully neglect to relate it? Suppose, as there is nothing more likely, thou wert commanded by some persons of considerable quality, or haply some great princes and princesses, to recount the adventures of my life, wouldest thou omit a circumstance of so much moment?”

“No indeed, madam,” said Lucy.p. 282

“I am glad to hear thou art so discreet,” said Arabella. “And pray do me the favour to relate this adventure to me, as thou wouldest do to those princes and princesses if thou wert commanded.”

Here Arabella making a full stop fixed her eyes upon her woman, expecting every moment she would begin the desired narrative. But finding she continued silent longer than she thought was necessary for recalling the several circumstances of the story into her mind:

“I find,” said she, “it will be necessary to caution you against making your audience wait too long for your relation; it looks as if you were to make a studied speech, not a simple relation of facts, which ought to be free from all affectation of labour and art, and be told with that graceful negligence which is so becoming to truth.”

“This I thought proper to tell you,” added she, “that you may not fall into that mistake when you are called upon to relate my adventures.—Well, now if you please to begin—”

[204] “What, pray madam?” said Lucy.

“What?” repeated Arabella. “Why, the adventures which happened to me so lately. Relate to me every circumstance of my being carried away, and how my deliverance was effected by my cousin.”

“Indeed, madam,” said Lucy, “I know nothing about your ladyship’s being carried away.”*

“Begone,” cried Arabella, losing all patience at her obstinacy, “get out of my presence this moment. Wretch, unworthy of my confidence and favour, thy treason is too manifest, thou art bribed by that presumptuous man to conceal all the circumstances of his attempt from my knowledge, to the end that I may not have a full conviction of his guilt.”

Lucy, who never saw her lady so much offended before, and knew not the occasion of it, burst into tears, which so affected the tender heart of Arabella that losing insensibly all her anger, she told her, with a voice softened to a tone of the utmost sweetness and condescension, that provided she would confess how far she had been prevailed upon by his rich presents to forget her duty, she would pardon and receive her again into favour.

“Speak,” added she, “and be not afraid, after this promise, to let me know what Mr. Tinsel required of thee, and what were the gifts with which he purchased thy services; doubtless, he presented thee with jewels of a considerable value—”

“Since your ladyship,” said Lucy, sobbing, “has promised not to be angry, I don’t care if I do [205] tell your ladyship what he gave me. He gave me this half guinea, madam, indeed he did; but for all that, when he would come into your chamber, I struggled with him, and cried out, for fear he should carry your ladyship away—”

Arabella, lost in astonishment and shame at hearing of so inconsiderable a present made to her woman, the like of which not one of her romances could furnish her, ordered her immediately to withdraw, not being willing she should observe the confusion this strange bribe had given her.

After she had been gone some time, she endeavoured to compose her looks, and went down to the dining room, where Sir Charles and his son and daughter had been engaged in a conversation concerning her, the particulars of which may be found in the first chapter of the next book.


istupidity] stupidity, as she though [sic] it, 1752 (1st).

iibeing carried away] being carried away. All I know is—, 1752 (1st).