Love in Exceſs;
Part the Second.
Printed for W. Chetwood, at Cato’s-Head, under
Tom’s Coffee-houſe, in Ruſſel-ſtreet, Covent Garden;
and Sold by J. Roberts in Warwick-Lane, Price 2s.
Where may be had the firſt Part of Love in Exceſs;
and the Spaniard, or Don Zara del Fogo; a New
Romance, Juſt Publiſh’d.
To Mrs. Eliz. Haywood, On Her Novel Call’d Love in Excess, &c.
Fain wou’d I here my vaſt Ideas raiſe,
To paint the Wonders of Eliza’s praiſe;
But like young Artiſts where their ſtroaks decay,
I ſhade thoſe Glories which I can’t diſplay.
Thy Proſe in ſweeter Harmony refines,
Than Numbers flowing thro’ the Muſe’s Lines;
What Beauty ne’er cou’d melt, thy Touches fire,
And raiſe a Muſick that can Love inſpire;
Soul-thrilling Accents all our Senſes wound,
And ſtrike with ſoftneſs, whilſt they Charm with ſound!
When thy Count pleads, what Fair his Suit can flye?
Or when thy Nymph laments, what Eyes are dry?
Ev’n Nature’s ſelf in Sympathy appears,
Yields Sigh for Sigh, and melts in equal Tears;For iv A2v
For ſuch Deſcriptions thus at once can prove
The force of Language, and the ſweets of Love.
The Myrtle’s Leaves with thoſe of Fame entwine,
And all the Glories of that Wreath are thine!
As Eagles can undazzl’d view the Force
Of ſcorching Phæbus in his Noon-day Courſe,
Thy Genius to the God its Luſtre plays,
Meets his Fierce Beams, and darts him Rays for Rays!
Oh glorious ſtrength! Let each ſucceeding Page
Still boaſt thoſe Charms and luminate the Age;
So ſhall thy beamful Fires with Light divine
Riſe to the Spheres, and there triumphant ſhine.
By an Unknown Hand, To the moſt Ingenious Mrs. Haywood, on her Novel Entitled, Love in Exceſs.
A Stranger Muſe, an Unbeliever too,
That Womens Souls ſuch ſtrength of Vigour knew!
Nor leſs an Atheiſt to Love’s Pow’r declar’d,
’Till You a Champion for the Sex appear’d!
A Convert now, to both, I feel that Fire
Your Words alone can paint! Your Looks inſpire!
Reſiſtleſs now, Love’s ſhafts, new pointed fly
Wing’d with Your flame, and blazing in Your Eye
With ſweet, but pow’rful force the Charm-ſhot Heart
Receives th’ Impreſſion of the Conquering Dart,
And ev’ry Art’ry buggs the Joy tipt ſmart!
No more, of Phæbus riſing vainly Boaſt,
Ye tawny Sons of a luxuriant Coaſt!
While our bleſt Iſle is with ſuch Rays replete,
Britain ſhall glow with more than Eaſtern Heat!
Love in Excess: or, The Fatal Enquiry.
Part the Second.
The Contentment that appear’d in the Faces of the new Married Pair, added ſo much to the Impatience of the Chevalier Brillian to ſee his belov’d Ansellina, that in a few Days after the Wedding, he took leave of them, and departed for Amiens: But as human Happineſs is ſeldom of long continuance, and Alovisa placing the Ultimate of her’s in the Poſſeſſion of her Charming Husband, ſecure of that, deſpis’d all future Events, ’twas time for Fortune, who long enough had ſmil’d, now to turn her Wheel, and puniſh the preſumption that defy’d her Power.B As 002 B1v 2
As they were one Day at Dinner, a Meſſenger came to Acquaint Count D’elmont that Monſieur Frankville was taken ſuddenly ſo violently Ill, that his Phyſicians diſpair’d of his Life, and that he beg’d to ſpeak with him immediately: This Gentleman had been Guardian to the Count during his Minority, and the Care and Faithfulneſs with which that Truſt had been Diſcharg’d, made him with Reaſon regret the danger of Loſing ſo good a Friend: He delay’d the Viſit not a Moment, and found him as the Servant had told him, in a Condition as cou’d cheriſh no hopes of Recovery, as ſoon as he perceiv’d the Count come into the Chamber, he deſir’d to be left alone with him, which Order being preſently obey’d, My dear Charge, (ſaid he taking him by the Hand and preſſing it to his trembling Boſom) you ſee me at the point of Death, but the knowledge of your many Virtues, and the Confidence I have that you will not deny me the requeſt I am about to ask, makes me ſupport the thoughts of it with Moderation. The other aſſuring him of his readineſs to ſerve him in any Command, encourag’d the old Gentleman to proſecute his Diſcourſe in this manner: You are not Ignorant my Lord (Rejoin’d He) that my Son (the only one I have) is on his Travels, gone by my Approbation, and his own Deſires to make the Tour of Europe; but I have a Daughter, whoſe Protection I wou’d entreat you to undertake; her Education in a Monaſtery has hitherto kept her intirely unacquainted with the Gayeties of a Court, or the Converſation of the Beau Monde, and I have ſent for her to Paris purpoſely to Introduce her into Company, proper for a young Lady 003 B2r 3 Lady, who I never deſign’d for a Recluſe; I know not whether ſhe will be here time enough to cloſe my Eyes, but if you will promiſe to receive her into your Houſe, and not ſuffer her artleſs and unexperienc’d Youth to fall into thoſe Snares which are daily laid for Innocence, and take ſo far a Care, that neither ſhe, nor the Fortune I leave her, be thrown away upon a Man unworthy of her, I ſhall dye well ſatisfy’d. D’elmont anſwer’d this Requeſt, with repeated aſſurances of fulfilling it, and frankly offer’d, if he had no other Perſon in whom he rather wou’d confide, to take the management of the whole Eſtate he left behind him, ’till young Frankville ſhould return———The anxious Father was tranſported at this Favour, and thank’d him in Terms full of Gratitude and Affection; they ſpent ſome Hours in ſettling this Affair, and perhaps had not ended it ſo ſoon, if word had not been brought that the young Lady his Daughter was allighted at the Gate; ’tis impoſſible to expreſs the Joy which fill’d the old Gentleman’s Heart at this News, and he began afreſh to put the Count in mind of what he had promis’d concerning her: As they were in this endearing, tho’ mournful Entertainment, the matchleſs Melliora enter’d, the Surprize and Grief for her Father’s Indiſpoſition (having heard of it but ſince ſhe came into the Houſe) hindred her from regarding any thing but him, and throwing herſelf on her knees by the Bed-ſide, waſh’d the Hand which he ſtretch’d out to raiſe her with, in a flood of Tears, accompany’d with Expreſſions, which unſtudy’d, and incoherent as they were, had a delicacy in ’em, that ſhow’d her Wit not inferiour to her Tenderneſs, and that no B2 Cir- 004 B2v 4 Circumſtance cou’d render her otherwiſe than the moſt lovely Perſon in the World; when the firſt tranſports of her Sorrow were over, and that with much ado ſhe was perſuaded to riſe from the poſture ſhe was in: The Affliction I ſee thee in my Dear Child, (ſaid her Father) wou’d be a vaſt addition to the Agonies I feel, were I not ſo happy as to be provided with Means for a mitigation of it, think not in loſing me thou wilt be left wholly an Orphan, this worthy Lord will dry thy Tears. Therefore, my laſt Commands to thee ſhall be to oblige thee to endeavour to deſerve the Favours he is pleas’d to do us in accepting thee for——— He wou’d have proceeded, but his Phyſicians (who had been in Conſultation in the next Room) coming in prevented him, and Count D’elmont taking the charming Melliora by the Hand, led her to the Window, and beginning to ſpeak ſome words of Conſolation to her, the ſoftneſs of his Voice, and graceful Manner with which he deliver’d himſelf (always the inſeparable Companions of his Diſcourſe, but now more particularly ſo) made her caſt her Eyes upon him; but alaſs, he was not an Object to be ſafely gaz’d at, and in ſpight of the Grief ſhe was in, ſhe found ſome thing in his Form which diſſipated it; a kind of painful Pleaſure, a mixture of Surprize, and Joy, and doubt ran thro’ her in an inſtant; her Fathers Words ſuggeſted to her Imagination, that ſhe was in a poſſibility of calling the charming Perſon that ſtood before her, by a Name more tender than that of Guardian, and all the Actions, Looks and Addreſs of D’elmont ſerv’d but to confirm her in that Belief. For now it was that this inſenſibleſenſible 005 B3r 5 ſenſible began to feel the power of Beauty, and that Heart which had ſo long been Impregnable ſurrender’d in a Moment, the firſt ſight of Melliora gave him a Diſcompoſure he had never felt before, he ſympathiz’d in all her Sorrows, and was ready to joyn his Tears with hers, but when her Eyes met his, the God of Love ſeem’d there to have united all his Lightnings for one effectual Blaze, their Admiration of each others Perfections was mutual, and tho’ he had got the ſtart in Love, as being touch’d with that Almighty Dart, before her Affliction had given her Leave to regard him, yet the ſoftneſs of her Soul, made up for that little loſs of time, and it was hard to ſay whoſe Paſſion was the Strongeſt, ſhe liſtned to his Condolements, and aſſurances of everlaſting Friendſhip with a pleaſure which was but too viſible in her Countenance, and more enflam’d the Count. As they were exchanging Glances, as if each Vyed with the other who ſhould dart the fierceſt Rays, they heard a ſort of ominous Whiſpering about the Bed, and preſently one of thoſe who ſtood near it beckon’d them to come thither; the Phyſicians had found Monſieur Frankville in a much worſe Condition than they left him in, and ſoon after perceiv’d evident Symptoms in him of approaching Death, and indeed there were but a very few Moments between him and that other unfathomable World; the uſe of Speech had left him, and he cou’d take no other leave of his dear Daughter than with his Eyes; which ſometimes were caſt tenderly on her, ſometimes on the Count, with a beſeeching Look as it were to Conjure him to be careful to his Charge, then up to Heaven, as witneſs of the Truſt he repos’d in him. 006 B3v 6 him. There cou’d not be a Scene more Melancholly than this dumb Farewell, and Melliora, whoſe ſoft Diſpoſition had never before been Shock’d, had not Courage to ſupport ſo dreadful a one as this, but fell upon the Bed juſt as her Father Breath’d his laſt, as motionleſs as he. It is impoſſible to repreſent the Agony’s which fill’d the Heart of D’elmont at this View, he took her in his Arms, and aſſiſted thoſe who were endeavouring to recover her, with a wildneſs in his Countenance, a trembling Horror ſhaking all his Fabrick in ſuch a manner, as might have eaſily diſcover’d to the Spectators (if they had not been too buſily employ’d to take notice of it) that he was Actuated by a motive far more powerful than that of Compaſſion. As ſoon as ſhe came to herſelf, they forc’d her from the dead Body of her Father (to which ſhe Clung) and carryed her into another Room, and it being judg’d convenient that ſhe ſhould be remov’d from that Houſe, where every thing wou’d ſerve but to remind her of her Loſs; the Count deſir’d the Servants of Monſieur Frankville ſhou’d be call’d, and then in the preſence of ’em all, declar’d their Maſter’s laſt Requeſt, and order’d an Account of all Affairs ſhou’d be brought to his Houſe, where he wou’d immediately Conduct their young Lady as he had promis’d to her Father. If Melliora had been without any other cauſe of Grief, this Eclairciſſment had been ſufficient to have made her Miſerable: She had already entertained a moſt tender Affection for the Count, and had not ſo little diſcernment as not to be ſenſible ſhe had made the like Impreſſion on him; but now ſhe wak’d as from a Dream 007 B4r 7 Dream of promis’d Joys, to certain Woes, and the ſame Hour which gave birth to her Paſſion, commenc’d an adequate Diſpair, and kill’d her Hopes juſt budding.
Indeed there never was any Condition ſo truly deplorable as that of this unfortunate Lady; ſhe had juſt loſt a dear and tender Father, whoſe Care was ever watchful for her, her Brother was far off, and ſhe had no other Relation in the World to apply her ſelf to for Comfort, or Advice; not even an Acquaintance at Paris, or Friend, but him who but newly was become ſo, and whom ſhe found it dangerous to make uſe of, whom ſhe knew it was a crime to Love, yet cou’d not help Loving; the more ſhe Thought, the more ſhe grew Diſtracted, and the leſs able to reſolve on any Thing; a thouſand Times ſhe call’d on Death to give her eaſe, but that pale Tyrant flys from the Purſuer, ſhe had not been yet long enough acquainted with the ills of Life, and muſt endure (how unwillingſoever) her part of Sufferings in common with the reſt of human kind.
As ſoon as D’elmont had given ſome neceſſary Directions to the Servants, he came to the Couch, where ſhe was ſitting in a fix’d and ſilent Sorrow (tho’ inwardly toſs’d with various and and violent Agitations) and offering her his Hand entreated her to permit him to wait on her from that Houſe of Woe. Alaſs! ſaid ſhe, to what purpoſe ſhou’d I remove, who bear my Miſeries about me? Wretch that I am!---a flood of Tears, here interpos’d, and hindred her from proceeding, which falling from ſuch lovely Eyes, had a Magneticknetick 008 B4v 8 netick Influence to draw the ſame from every beholder; but D’elmont who knew that was not the way to Comfort her, dry’d his as ſoon as poſſible, and once more beg’d ſhe wou’d depart; ſuffer my return then (anſwer’d ſhe) to the Monaſtery, for what have I to do in Paris, ſince I have loſt my Father? By no means Madam (reſum’d the Count haſtily) that were to diſappoint your Fathers Deſigns, and contradict his laſt Deſires, beleive moſt lovely Melliora (continu’d he taking her by the Hand and letting fall ſome Tears which he cou’d not reſtrain, upon it) that I bear at leaſt an equal Share in your Affliction, and lament for you, and for my ſelf: Such a regard my grateful Soul paid Monſieur Frankville for all his wondrous Care and Goodneſs to me, that in his Death methinks I am twice an Orphan. But Tears are fruitleſs to reinſpire his now cold Clay, therefore muſt tranſmit the Love and Duty I owed him living, to his Memory Dead, and an exact performance of his Will; and ſince he thought me worthy of ſo vaſt a Truſt as Melliora, I hope ſhe will be guided by her Fathers Sentiments, and believe that D’elmont (tho’ a Stranger to her) has a Soul not uncapable of Friendſhip. Friendſhip! did I ſay? (rejoyn’d he ſoftning his Voice) that term is too mean to expreſs a Zeal like mine, the Care, the Tenderneſs, the Faith, the fond Affection of Parents,——Brothers,——Husbands,——Lovers, all Compriz’d in one one great Unutterable! Comprehenſive Meaning is mine! is mine for Melliora! She return’d no Anſwer but Sighs, to all he ſaid to her; but he renewing his Entreaties, and urging her Father’s Commands, ſhe was at laſt prevail’d upon to go into 009 C1r 9 into his Chariot, which had waited at the Door all the Time of his being there.
As they went, he left nothing unſaid that he believ’d might tend to her Conſolation, but ſhe had Griefs which at preſent he was a Stranger to, and his Converſation, in which ſhe found a thouſand Charms, rather Encreas’d, than Diminiſh’d the trouble ſhe was in: Every Word, every Look of his, was a freſh Dagger to her Heart, and in ſpight of the Love ſhe bore her Father, and the unfeign’d Concern his ſudden Death had given her, ſhe was now convinc’d that Count D’elmont’s Perfections were her ſevereſt Wounds.
When they came to his Houſe, He preſented her to Alovysa, and giving her a brief Account of what had happened, engag’d that Lady to receive her with all immaginable Demonſtrations of Civility and Kindneſs.
He ſoon left the two Ladies together, pretending Buſineſs, but indeed to ſatisfie his Impatience, which long’d for an opportunity to meditate on this Adventure. But his Reflections were now grown far leſs pleaſing than they uſed to be; real Sighs flew from his Breaſt uncall’d: And Melliora’s Image in dazling Brightneſs! in terrible Array of killing Charms! fir’d Him with (impoſſible to be attain’d Deſires) he found by ſad Experience what it was to Love, and to Diſpair. He Admir’d! Ador’d! and wiſh’d, even to Madneſs! Yet had too much Honour, too much Gratitude for the Memory of Monſieur Franckville, and too ſincere an Awe for C the 010 C1v 10 the lovely Cauſe of his Uneaſineſs, than to form a Thought that cou’d encourage his new Paſſion. What wou’d he not have given to have been Unmarried? How often did he Curſe the Hour in which Alovysa’s fondneſs was Diſcover’d? and how much more, his own Ambition which prompted him to take advantage of it? and hurry’d him PrecipitaltyPrecipitately to a Hymen, where Love, (the nobleſt Gueſt) was wanting. It was in theſe racks of Thought, that the unfortunate Amena was remember’d, and he cou’d not forbear acknowledging the Justice of that Doom, which Inflicted on him, theſe very Torments he had given her. A ſevere Repentance ſeiz’d on his Soul, and Alovysa for whom he never had any thing more than an Indifferency; now began to ſeem Diſtaſtful to his Fancy, he look’d on her, as indeed ſhe was, the chief Author of Amena’s Misfortunes, and abhorr’d her for that Infidelity. But when he conſider’d her, as the Bar ’twixt Him and Melliora ſhe appear’d like his ill Genius to him, and he cou’d not ſupport the Thoughts of being obliged to Love her (or at leaſt to ſeem as if he did) with Moderation. In the midſt of theſe Reflections, his Servant came in and deliver’d this Letter to him which had been juſt been left by the Poſt. The Count immediately knew the Hand to be Amena’s, and was cover’d with the utmoſt Confuſion and Remorſe when he read theſe Lines.To 011 C2r 11
To the too Charming and Perfidious D’elmont.
Now Hopes, and Fears, and Jealouſies are over! Doubt is no more! you are for ever loſt! and my unfaithful, happy Rival! Triumphs in your Arms, and my Undoing!—I need not wiſh you Joy, the haſt you made to enter into Hymen’s Ponds, and the more than ordinary Pomp with which that Ceremony was Celebrated, aſſures me you are highly ſatisfied with your Condition; and that any future Teſtimonies of the Friendſhip of ſo wretched a Creature as Amena, wou’d be receiv’d by you, with the ſame Diſregard, as thoſe ſhe has given you of a more tender Paſſion.—Shameful Remembrance! Oh that I cou’d Blot it out!—Erace from the Book of Time thoſe fond deluded Hours! Forget I ever ſaw the Lovely falſe D’elmont! Ever liſtned to his ſoft perſuaſive Accents! and Thought his Love a mighty Price for Ruin!—My Father writes that you are Married, Commands my Return to Paris, and aſſume an Air as Gay, and Chearful as that with which I uſed to appear.—Alaſs! how little does he know his Daughters Heart? And how impoſſible it is, for me to Obey him, can I look on you as the Husband of Alovysa, without remembering that you were once the Lover of Amena? Can Love like mine ſo fierce, ſo paſſionately, tender, e’re ſink to a Calm, cold Indifference? Can I behold the fond Endearments of your bridal Joys (which you’d not be able to Reſtrain, even before me) and not burſt with Envy? No, the Sight wou’d turn me quite Diſtracted, and I ſhou’d commit ſome Deſperate Violence that wou’d Undoe us all.—Therefore, I hide C2 my 012 C2v 12 my ſelf for ever from it, bid an everlaſting Adieu to all the gay Delights and Pleaſures of my Youth.— To all the Pomp and Splendor of the Court.—To all that the miſtaken World calls Happineſs.—To Father, Friends, Relations, all that’s Dear.----But your Idea; and that, not even theſe conſecrated Walls, nor Iron Gates keep out, Sleeping, or Waking you are ever with me, you mingle with my moſt ſolemn Devotions; and while I Pray to Heaven that I may think on you no more: A guilty Pleaſure riſes in my Soul, and contradicts my Vows! All my Confeſſions are ſo many Sins, and the ſame Breath which tells my Ghostly Father I abjure your Memory, ſpeaks your dear Name with Transport. Yes—Cruel! Ungrateful!—Faithleſs as you are, I ſtill do Love you— Love you to that infinite Degree, that now, methinks fir’d with thy Charms (repenting all I’ve ſaid) I cou’d wiſh even to renew thoſe Moments of my Ruin!— Pity me D’elmont, if thou haſt Humanity.— Judge what the rackings of my Soul muſt be, when I reſolve, with all this Love, this Languiſhment about me; never to ſee you more.
Every thing is preparing for my Reception into holy Orders, (how unfit I am Heaven knows) and in a few Days I ſhall put on the Vail which excludes me from the World for ever; therefore, if theſe diſtracted Lines are worth an Anſwer it muſt be ſpeedy or it will not come to my Hands. Perhaps not find me Living.—I can no more----Farewel (thou dear Diſtroyer of my Soul.)
P. S. I do not urge you to write, Alovyſa (I wiſh I cou’d not ſay your Wife) will perhaps think it too great a Condeſcention, and not ſufferfer 013 C3r 13 fer you ſo long from her Embraces.----Yet if you can get looſe.—But you know beſt what’s proper to be done—Forgive the reſtleſneſs of a diſpairing Wretch, who cannot ceaſe to Love, tho’ from this Moment ſhe muſt ceaſe to tell you ſo--- Once more, and for Ever. Adieu.
Had this Letter came a Day ſooner, ’tis probable it wou’d have had but little Effect on the Soul of D’elmont, but his Sentiments of Love were now ſo wholly chang’d, that what before he wou’d but have Laugh’d at, and perhaps Diſpis’d, now fill’d him with Remorſe and ſerious Anguiſh. He read it over ſeveral Times, and found ſo many Proofs in it of a ſincere and conſtant Affection, that he began to pity Her, with a Tenderneſs like that of a Relation, but no more: The charming Melliora had Engroſs’d all his fonder Wiſhes; elſe it is not impoſſible but that Alovysa might have had more Reaſon to fear her Rivalſhip after Marriage than before. That Lady having been without the preſence of her dear Husband ſome Hours, had not patience to remain any longer without ſeeing Him, and making an excuſe to Melliora for leaving her alone, came running to the Cloſet where he was; how unwelcome ſhe was grown, the Reader may imagine, he receiv’d her, not as he was wont; the Gaity which uſed to ſparkle in his Eyes, (at once declaring, and creating Amorous deſires) now gave place to a ſullen Gloomineſs, he look’d not on her, or if by chance he did; ’twas more with Anger than with Love, In ſpite of his endeavours to conceal it; ſhe was too quick flawed-reproduction2 words as all are that truly Love) 014 C3v 14 Love) not to be ſenſible of this Alteration. However ſhe took no notice of it, but Kiſſing and Embracing him (according to her Cuſtom whenever they were alone) beg’d him to leave his ſolitary Amuſement, and help her to Comfort the afflicted Lady he brought there. Her Endearments ſerv’d but to encreaſe his Peeviſhneſs, and heighten her Surprize at his Behaviour; and indeed, the Moment ſhe enter’d the Cloſet was the laſt of her Tranquility.
When with much perſwaſions ſhe had prevail’d with him to go with her into the Room where Melliora was, he appeared ſo diſordred at the ſecond Sight of that Charmer, as wou’d certainly have let Alovysa into the ſecret of his Paſſion, had ſhe not been retir’d to a Window to recover her ſelf from the Confuſion, her Husbands coldneſs had thrown her in, and by that fortunate diſregard of his Looks at that critical Inſtant, given him (who never wanted preſence of Mind) leave to form both his Countenance and manner of Addreſs, ſo as to give no ſuſpicion of the Truth.
This little Company was very far from being Entertaining to one another; every one had their particular Cogitations, and were not diſpleas’d not to be Interrupted in them. It growing late, Alovysa conducted Melliora to a Chamber which ſhe had order’d to be prepar’d for her, and then retir’d to her own, hoping that when the Count ſhou’d come to Bed, ſhe might be able to make ſome Diſcovery of the Cauſe of his Uneaſineſs. But ſhe was deceiv’d, he 015 C4r 15 he ſpoke not to her, and when by a thouſand little Inventions ſhe urg’d him to reply to what ſhe ſaid, it was in ſuch a faſhion as only let her ſee, that he was extreamly troubled at ſomething, but cou’d not gueſs at what. As ſoon as Day broke, he roſe, and ſhutting himſelf into his Cloſet, left her in the greateſt Conſternation immaginable; ſhe cou’d not think it poſſible that the Death of Monſieur Frankville ſhou’d work this Transformation, and knew of no other Misfortune that had happened. At laſt ſhe remembred ſhe had heard one of the Servants ſay, a Letter was brought to their Maſter by the Poſt, and began to reflect on every Thing (in the power of Fortune to determine) that cou’d threaten a Diſturbance, yet was ſtill as Ignorant as ever. She lay not long in Bed, but putting on her Cloths with more Expedition than uſual, went to the Cloſet, reſolving to ſpeak to him in a manner as ſhou’d oblige him to put an end to the uncertainty ſhe was in, but finding the Door lock’d, her Curioſity made her look thro’ the Keyhole, and ſhe ſaw him ſometimes very intentively reading a Letter, and ſometimes Writing, as tho’ it were an Anſwer to it. A ſudden Thought came into her Head, and ſhe immediately went ſoftly from the place where ſhe was, without knocking at the Door, and ſtay’d in a little Chamber adjacent to it, where none cou’d paſs either to, or from the Cloſet, without being perceiv’d by her; ſhe had not waited long, before ſhe heard the Count Ring, and preſently ſaw a Servant enter, and ſoon after return with a Letter in his Hand; ſhe wou’d not ſpeak to him then, for fear of being over heard by her Husband, but 016 C4v 16 but followed him down Stairs, and when he came towards the bottom, call’d to him in a low Voice to tarry ’till ſhe came to him; the Fellow durſt not but Obey, and there being no body near ’em, commanded him to deliver her the Letter: But he either afraid or unwilling to betray his Truſt, excus’d himſelf from it as well as he cou’d, but ſhe was reſolv’d to have it; and when Threats wou’d not avail, condiſcended to Entreaties, to which ſhe added Bribes, which laſt Article join’d to the promiſe ſhe made of never revealing it, won him to her Purpoſe. She had ſcarce patience to forbear opening it before ſhe got to her Chamber: The Superſcription (which ſhe ſaw was for Amena) fir’d her with Diſdain and Jealouſie, and it is hardly poſſible to immagine, much leſs to diſcribe the Torrent of her Indignation, when ſhe found that it contain’d theſe Words.
To the Lovely Amena.
You accuſe me of Cruelty, when at the ſame Time you kill me with yours: How Vile! How deſpicable, muſt I be grown in your Opinion, when you believe I can be Happy, when you are Miſerable.— Can I enjoy the Pleaſures of a Court, while you are ſhut within a Cloyſter?—Shall I ſuffer the World to be depriv’d of ſuch a Treaſure as Amena? for the Crime of worthleſs D’elmont—No, flawed-reproduction1 word Fair, injur’d Softneſs, Return and bleſs the Eyes of every Beholder! Shine out again in your native Luſtre, uneclips’d by Grief. The Star of Beauty and the guide of Love.—And, if my unlucky Preſence will be a Damp to the Brightneſs of your Fire, I will for ever quit the Place.—Tho’ I cou’d wiſh you’d 017 D1r 17 you’d give me leave ſometimes to gaze upon you, and draw ſome hop’d preſages of future Fortune from the Benignity of your Influence.—Yes Amena, I wou’d ſigh out my Repentance at your Feet, and try at leaſt to obtain a Pardon for my Infidelity—For, ’tis true, what you have heard,—I am Marry’d—But oh Amena! Happineſs is not always an Attendant on Himen.—However, I yet may call you Friend—I yet may Love you, tho in a different way from what I once pretended to; and believe me, that the Love of Souls, as it is the moſt uncommon, eſpecially in our Sex, ſo ’tis the moſt refin’d and noble of all Paſſions, and ſuch a Love ſhall be for ever yours. Even Alovysa (who has rob’d you of the reſt) cannot juſtly reſent my giving you that part,—You’ll wonder at this Alteration in my Temper, but ’tis ſincere, I am no more the Gay, the Roving D’elmont, and when you come to Paris, perhaps you will find me in a Condition more Lyable to your Pity than Indignation. What ſhall I ſay Amena? My Crime is my Puniſhment, I have offended againſt Love, and againſt thee, and am, if poſſible, as Miſerable, as Guilty: Torn with Remorſe, and Tortur’d with—I cannot—muſt not Name it—but ’tis ſomething which can be term’d no other than the utmoſt ſeverity of my Fate.—Haſt then to Pity me, to Comfort, to adviſe me, if (as you ſay) you yet retain any remains of your former Tenderneſs for this Ungrateful Man.
Ungrateful indeed! Cry’d Alovysa (Tranſported with Exceſs of Rage and Jealouſie) D Oh 018 D1v 18 Oh the Villain!—What Miſeries? What Miſfortunes are theſe thou talk’ſt of? What Unhappineſs has waited on thy Himen? ’Tis I alone am wretched! baſe Deceiver!
Then, as if ſhe wanted to diſcover ſomething farther to heighten the Indignation ſhe was in, ſhe began to read it over again, and indeed the more ſhe conſider’d the meaning of what ſhe read, the more her Paſſions ſwell’d, till they got at laſt the entire Dominion of her Reaſon: She tore the Letter in a thouſand pieces, and was not much leſs unmerciful to her Hair and Garments. ’Tis Poſſible that in the Violence of her Fury, ſhe might have forgot her promiſe to the Servant, to vent ſome part of it on her Huſband, if her Woman coming into the Room to know if ſhe was ready to dreſs had not prevented her, by telling her the Count was gone abroad, and had left word, that he ſhou’d not return ’till the Evening. Alovysa had thrown herſelf on the Bed, and the Curtains being drawn diſcover’d not the diſorder ſhe was in, and which her Pride made her willing ſhou’d be ſtill a ſecret, therefore diſmiſt her with ſaying, ſhe wou’d call her when ſhe wanted any thing; tho’ Alovysa was too apt to give a looſe to her Paſſions on every occaſion, to the Deſtruction of her own Peace; yet ſhe knew well enough, how to diſguiſe ’em, when ever ſhe found the Concealing of them wou’d be an Advantage to her deſigns: And when the Transports of her Rage was ſo far over, as to give her Liberty of Reflection, and ſhe began to Examine the State of her affection to the Count, ſhe ſoon 019 D2r 19 ſoon perceiv’d it had ſo much the better of all other Conſiderations, that in ſpite of the injuſtice ſhe thought him guilty of to her, ſhe cou’d not perſwade her ſelf to do any thing that might give him a pretence to Quarrel with her. She thought ſhe had done enough in Intercepting this Letter, and did not doubt but that Amena wou’d take his not writing to her ſo much to Heart, as to prevent her ever returning to Paris, and reſolv’d to omit nothing of her former Endearments, or make a ſhew of being in the leaſt Diſoblig’d; this ſort of Carriage ſhe immagin’d wou’d not only lay him more open and unguarded to the diligent watch ſhe deſign’d to make on all his Words and Actions: But likewiſe awaken him to a juſt ſenſe of her Goodneſs, and his own Ingratitude.----She rightly judg’d that when People are Marry’d, Jealouſie was not the proper Method to revive a decay’d Paſſion, and that after Poſſeſſion it muſt be only Tenderneſs, and Conſtant Aſſiduity to pleaſe, that can keep up deſire, freſh and gay: Man is too Arbitrary a Creature to bear the leaſt Contradiction, where he pretends an abſolute Authority, and that Wife who thinks by ill humour and perpetual Taunts, to make him weary of what ſhe wou’d reclaim him from, only renders her ſelf more hateful, and makes that juſtifiable which before was blameable in him. Theſe, and the like Conſiderations made Alovysa put on a Countenance of Serenity, and ſhe ſo well acted the part of an Unſuſpecting Wife, that D’elmont was far from Immagining what ſhe had done: However he ſtill behav’d with that ſame Caution as before to Melliora; and certainly never 020 D2v 20 never did People diſguiſe the Sentiments of their Souls more artfully than did theſe three—Melliora vail’d her ſecret Languiſhments, under the Covert of her grief for her Father, the Count his Burning anguiſh, in a gloomy Melancholy for the Loſs of his Friend; but Alovysa’s Task was much the hardeſt, who had no pretence for grief (raging, and bleeding with neglected Love, and ſtilted Pride) to frame her Temper to a ſeeming Tranquility—All made it their whole ſtudy to deceive each other, yet none but Alovysa was intirely in the dark; for the Count and Melliora had but too true a gueſs at one anothers meaning, every look of his, for he had Eyes that need no Interpreter, gave her Intelligence of his Heart, and the Confuſion which the underſtanding thoſe looks gave her, ſufficiently told him how ſenſible ſhe was of ’em.—Several days they liv’d in this manner, in which time Monſieur Frankville was Interr’d. Which Solemnity, the Count took care ſhou’d be perform’d with a Magnificence ſuitable to the Friendſhip he publickly profeſt to have born him, and the ſecret Adoration his Soul paid to his remains.
Nothing hapned of Moment; ’till a day or two after the Funeral, a Gentleman newly arriv’d at Paris, came to viſit the Count, and gave him an Account of Amena’s having taken the Habit; how, (ſaid D’elmont Interrupting him) is it poſſible?—Has ſhe then profeſt? Yes, anſwer’d the Gentleman; having a Siſter whom I always tenderly Lov’d at the Monaſtery at St. Dennis, my affection oblig’d me to D2 make 021 D3r 21 make it in my way to viſit her. Amena was with her at the Grate, when ſhe receiv’d me, I know not how among other Diſcourſes we hapned to talk of the fine Gentlemen of Paris, which it was Impoſſible to do, without mentioning the Count D’elmont; the Count anſwer’d not this Complement as he wou’d have done at another time, but only Bowing with an humble Air, gave him Liberty to proſecute his Diſcourſe; the moment (reſum’d he) that Amena heard your Name, the Tears ran from her fair Eyes in ſuch abundance, and ſhe ſeem’d oppreſt with ſo violent a Grief, that ſhe was not able to ſtay any longer with us. When ſhe was gone, my Siſter whom ſhe had made her Confident, gave me the Hiſtory of her Misfortunes, and withal, told me, that the next day ſhe was to be Initiated into Holy Orders: My Curioſty engag’d me to ſtay at St. Dennis, to ſee the Ceremony perform’d, which was Solemn; but not with that Magnificence which I expected; it ſeems it was Amena’s deſire that it ſhould be as private as poſſible, and for that Reaſon, none of her Relations were there, and ſeveral of the Formalities of entrance omitted: After it was over, my Siſter Beckon’d me to come to the Grate, where I ſaw her before, and Conjur’d me in the name of her new Siſter, to give this to your Hands; in ſpeaking theſe Words, he took a Letter out of his Pocket, which the Count immediately opening to his great ſurprize found it Contain’d as follows.To 022 D3v 22
To the Inhuman D’elmont.
To be pity’d by you, and that you ſhou’d tell me ſo, was all the recompence I ask’d for Loſs of Father, Friends, Reputation, and Eternal Peace; but now, too late, I find that the fond Maid who ſcorns the World for Love, is ſure to meet for her reward the ſcorn of him ſhe Loves—Ungrateful Man! Cou’d you not ſpare one Moment from that long Date of Happineſs, to give a laſt farewel to her you have undone? What wou’d not this Barbarous Contempt have drawn upon you, were I of Alovysa’s Temper? Sure I am, all that disdain, and rage, cou’d Inſpire Malice with, had been Inflicted on you, but you well know my Soul is of another Stamp. —Fool that I was, and little vers’d in the baſe Arts of Man, believ’d I might by tenderneſs, and faithful Friendſhip gain eſteem; tho’ Wit and Beauty the two great Provocatives to Create Love were wanting. But do not think that I am yet ſo mean as to deſire to hear from you; no, I have put all future Correſpondence with you out of my Power, and hope to drive it even from my wiſh: Whether your diſdain, or the Holy Banner I am liſted under, has wrought this effect, I know not; but methinks I Breath another Air, think on you with more Tranquility and bid you without dying.
P. S. Let Alovysa know I am no more her Rival, Heaven has my Soul, and I forgive you both.
D’elmont was ſtrangely Fir’d at the reading theſe Lines which left him no Room to doubt that his Letter had miſcarried, he Cou’d not preſently immagine by what means, but was reſolv’d if poſſible to find it out. However, he diſſembled his thoughts ’till the Gentleman had taken his leave; then calling for the Servant, whom he had entruſted with the Carrying it, he took him by the Throat and holding his drawn Sword directly to his Breaſt, ſwore that moment ſhou’d be his laſt, if he did not immediately Confeſs the Truth; the poor Fellow frighted almoſt to Death, trembling, and falling on his Knees, Implor’d forgiveneſs, and Diſcover’d all. Alovysa who was in the next Chamber hearing her Husband call for that Servant, with a Tone ſomewhat more imperious than what he was accuſtom’d to, and a great noiſe ſoon after, immagin’d ſome accident had hapned to betray her, and ran in to know the certainty, juſt as the Count had diſcharg’d the Servant at once from his Service and his preſence. You have done well Madam (ſaid D’elmont looking on her with Eyes ſparkling with indignation) you have done well, by your Impertinent Curioſty and Imprudence, to rouze me from my Dream of Happineſs, and remind me that I am that wretched Thing a Husband! ’tis well indeed (anſwer’d Alovysa, who ſaw now that there was no need of farther Diſſimulation) that any thing can make you remember both what you are, and what I am. You, (reſum’d he, haſtily Interrupting her) have taken an Effectual method to prove your ſelf a Wife!—a very Wife!— Inſo- 024 D4v 24 Inſolent---Jealous---and Cenſorious!----But Madam (continued he frowning) ſince you are pleaſed to aſſert your Priveledge, be aſſur’d, I too ſhall take my turn, and will exert the----Husband! In ſaying this, he flung out of the Room in ſpite of her endeavours to hinder him, and going haſtily through a Gallery which had a large Window that looked into the Garden, he perceived Melliora lying on a green Bank, in a Melancholy but a charming Poſture, directly oppoſite to the place where he was; her Beauties appear’d if poſſible more to advantage then ever he had ſeen them, or at leaſt he had more opportunity thus unſeen by her, to gaze upon ’em: he in a Moment loſt all the Rage of Temper he had been in, and his whole Soul was taken up with ſoftneſs, he ſtood for ſome Moments fix’d in ſilent Admiration, but Love has ſmall Dominion in a Heart, that can content it ſelf with a diſtant Proſpect, and there being a pair of Back Stairs at the farther End of the Gallery, which led to the Garden. He either forgot or not regarded what Conſtruction Alovysa might make on this private interview, if by Chance from any of the Windows ſhe ſhou’d be witneſs of it.
Melliora was ſo intent on a Book ſhe had in her Hand, that ſhe ſaw not the Count ’till he was cloſe enough to her to diſcern what was the Subject of her Entertainment, and finding it the works of Monſieur L’fontenelle; Phyloſophy Madam at your Age (ſaid he to her with an Air which expreſt ſurprize) is as wondrous as your other Excellencies, but I am confident, had this 025 E1r 25 this Author ever ſeen Melliora, his Sentiments had been otherwiſe than now they ſeem to be, and he wou’d have been able to write of nothing elſe but Love and her. Melliora bluſh’d Extremely at his unexpected Preſence, and the Complement he made Her; but recollecting her ſelf as ſoon as ſhe cou’d: I have a better Opinion of Monſieur L’fontenelle, (anſwer’d ſhe) but if I were really Miſtreſs of as many Charms as you wou’d make me believe, I ſhould think my ſelf little beholding to Nature, for beſtowing them on me, if by their means I were depriv’d of ſo choice an Improvement as this Book has given me. Thank Heaven then Madam, (reſum’d he) that you were born in an Age ſucceſſive to that which has produc’d ſo many fine Treatiſes of this very kind for your Entertainment; ſince (I am very Confident) this, and a long ſpace of future Time will have no other Theme, but that which at preſent you ſeem ſo much averſe to. Melliora found ſo much difficulty in endeavouring to Conceal the diſorder ſhe was in at this Diſcourſe, that it rendred her unable to reply; and He, (who poſſibly gueſt the occaſion of her ſilence) taking one of her Hands and tenderly preſſing it between his, look’d ſo full in her Eyes, as heighthen’d her Confuſion, and diſcover’d to his raviſh’d View, what moſt he wiſh’d to find: Ambition, Envy, Hate, Fear, or Anger, every other Paſſion that finds Entrance in the Soul, Art, and Diſcretion, may Diſguiſe, but Love, tho’ it may be feign’d, can never be Conceal’d, not only the Eyes (thoſe true and moſt Perfect Intelligencers of the Heart) but every feature, every faculty betrays it! It E fills 026 E1v 26 fills the whole Air of the Perſon poſſeſt with it; it wanders found the Mouth! plays in the Voice! trembles in the Accent! and ſhows it ſelf a thouſand different, nameleſs ways! Even Melliora’s Care to hide it, made it more Aparent, and the Tranſported D’elmont not conſidering where he was, or who might be a witneſs of his rapture, cou’d not forbear Catching her in his Arms, and graſping her with an Extaſie, which plainly told her what his thoughts were, tho’ at that time he had not Power to put ’em into Words; and indeed there is no greater proof of a Vaſt and Elegant Paſſion, than the being uncapable of Expreſſing it:—He had perhaps held her in this ſtrict embrace, ’till ſome Accident had diſcover’d and ſeparated him from her; if the Alarm this manner of Proceeding gave her Modeſty, had not made her force her ſelf from him.—They both ſtood in a ſilent Conſternation, nor was he much leſs diſorder’d at the Temerity, the violence of his ungovernable Paſſion had made him guilty of, than ſhe, was at the Liberty he had taken, he knew not how to Excuſe, nor ſhe, to Reproach; Reſpect (the conſtant Attendant on a ſincere Affection) had tyed his Tongue, and ſhame mixed with the uncertainty after what manner ſhe ſhou’d reſent it, Hers. At laſt, the Natural Confidence of his Sex Encourag’d him to break this mute Entertainment.—There are Times Madam (ſaid he) in which the wiſeſt have not Power over their own Actions.----If therefore I have offended, impute not the Crime to me, but that unavoidable impulſe which for a Moment hurry’d me from my ſelf; for be aſſured while D’elmont can Command his Thoughts they ſhall be moſt obedient to your Wiſhes--- 027 E2r 27 Wiſhes—As Melliora was about to reply, ſhe ſaw a Servant coming haſtily to ſpeak to the Count, and was not a little glad of ſo favourable an opportunity to retire without being oblig’d to continue a Diſcourſe in which ſhe muſt either lay a ſevere Puniſhment on her Inclinations by making a quarrel with him, or by forgiving him too eaſily Treſpaſs againſt the ſtrict Precepts of Virtue ſhe had always profeſs’d: She made what haſte ſhe cou’d into her Chamber, and Carry’d with her a World of troubled Meditations, ſhe now no longer doubted of the Count’s Paſſion, and trembled with the Apprehenſion of what he might in time be prompted to; but when ſhe Reflected how dear that Perſon ſhe had ſo much cauſe to fear, was to her, ſhe thought her ſelf, at once the moſt unfortunate and moſt Guilty of her Sex.
The Servant who gave ’em this ſeaſonable Interruption delivered a Letter to his Maſter, which he opening haſtily, knowing that it came from his Brother by the Seal, found the Contents as follows.
I Hop’d (my Deareſt Friend, and Brother) by this day to have Embrac’d you, but Fortune takes delight to diſappoint our wiſhes, when higheſt rais’d, and neareſt to their Aim.----The Letter I carry’d from her, whom I think it my Happineſs to call Siſter joyn’d with my own Faith, Love, and Aſſiduity; at length Triumph’d over all the little niceties and objections my Charmer made againſt our Journey, and ſhe Condeſcended to order every thing requiſite for our departure from Amiens ſhou’d be got ready.----But how ſhall I Expreſs the Grief, the Horrour, the Diſtraction of my Soul, when the very E2 Evening 028 E2v 28 Evening before the Day we ſhou’d have ſet out, as I was ſitting with her, a ſudden, but terrible Illneſs like the Hand of Death ſeiz’d on her, ſhe fell (oh! my Brother) Cold, and Speechleſs in my Arms— Gueſs, what I endur’d at that Afflicting Moment, all that I had of Man, or Reaſon left me; and ſure had not the Care of the Baroneſs and ſome other Ladies (whom my Cries drew in to her aſſiſtance) in a little time recover’d her, I had not now ſurviv’d to give you this Account: Again, I ſaw the Beauties of her Eyes, again I heard her Voice, but her diſorder was yet ſo great that it was thought convenient ſhe ſhou’d be put to Bed; the Barroneſs ſeeing my Diſpair, deſired me not to quit her Houſe, and by that means I had news every Hour, how her Feavor encreas’d, or abated, for the Phyſicians being deſir’d to deal freely, aſſur’d us, that was her Diſtemper: For ſeveral days ſhe continu’d in a Condition that cou’d give us no hopes of her Recovery; in which time, as you may imagine, I was little Capable of Writing.— The wildneſs of my unruly Grief, made me not be permitted to come into her Chamber; but they cou’d not without they had made uſe of force, hinder me from lying at her Door: I Counted all her Groans, heard every ſigh, the violence of her Pain drew from her, and watch’d the Countenance of every Perſon who came out of her Chamber, as Men who wou’d form a Judgment of future Conſequences, do the Signs in Heaven.---But I trouble you with this tedious recital, ſhe is now, if there is any Dependance on the Doctors skill, paſt Danger, tho’ not fit to Travel at leaſt this Month, which gives no ſmall Alleviation to the greatneſs of my Joys (which otherwiſe wou’d be unbounded) for her Recovery, ſince it occaſions ſo long a Separation from the beſt of Brothers, and of Friends: Farewel, may all your 029 E3r 29 your wiſhes meet ſucceſs, and an Eternal round of Happineſs attend you; to add to mine, I beg you’ll write by the firſt Poſt, which next to ſeeing you, is the greateſt I can Taſte. I am my Lord with all imaginable Tenderneſs and Reſpect your moſt Affectionate Brother and Humble Servant.
The Count judged it proper that Alovysa ſhou’d ſee this Letter, becauſe it ſo much concerned her Siſter, and was ordering the Servant to carry it to her, (not being willing himſelf to ſpeak to her) juſt as ſhe was coming towards him: ſhe had received a Letter from the Barroness De Deronvill, at the ſame time that the Chevalier Brillian’s was brought and was glad to take the opportunity of Communicating the Contents of it, in hopes by this Converſation to be reconcil’d to her Husband: But the gloomy ſullenneſs of the Humour he had left her with, return’d at ſight of her, and after ſome little Diſcourſe of Family Affairs, which he cou’d not avoid anſwering, walk’d Careleſly away. She follow’d him at a diſtance ’till he was got up to the Gallery, and perceiving he went toward his Cloſet, mended her pace and was cloſe to him when he was going in. My Lord (ſaid ſhe) with a voice but half aſſur’d and which wou’d not have given her leave to utter more, if he had not interrupted her, by telling her he wou’d be alone, and ſhutting the Door haſtily upon her, but ſhe prevented his Locking of it by puſhing againſt it withall her force, and he, not exerting his, for fear of hurtinging 030 E3v 30 ing her, ſuffer’d her Entrance: But look’d on her with a Countenance ſo forbidding, as in ſpite of the Natural Haughtineſs of her Temper, and the Reſolution ſhe had made to ſpeak to him, rendered her unable for ſome Moments to bring forth a Word; but the ſilent grief, which appeared in her Face, pleaded more with the good Nature of the Count, than any thing ſhe cou’d have ſaid: He began to pity the unhappineſs of her too violent Affection, and to wiſh himſelf in a Capacity of returning it, however, he (like moſt Husbands) thought it beſt to keep up his Reſentments, and take this opportunity of Quelling all the Woman in her Soul, and humbling all the little remains of pride that Love had left her. Madam, (reſum’d he) with an Accent, which tho’ ſomething more ſoftened, was ſtill imperious enough, if you have any thing of Conſequence to impart to me, I deſire you will be as brief as you can, for I wou’d be left to the freedom of my Thoughts—Alovysa cou’d not yet anſwer, but letting fall a Shower of Tears, and throwing her ſelf on the Ground, Embrac’d his knees with ſo Paſſionate a Tenderneſs, as ſufficiently expreſt her Repentance for having been Guilty of any thing to diſoblige him: D’elmont was moſt ſenſibly touch’d at this Behaviour, ſo vaſtly different from what he cou’d have expected from the greateſt of her Spirit, and raiſing her with an obliging Air. I am ſorry (ſaid he) that any thing ſhou’d happen to occaſion this Submiſſion, but ſince what’s paſt, is out of either our Powers to recal: I ſhall endeavour to think of it no more, provided you’l promiſe me, never for the future to be guilty of any thing 031 E4r 31 thing which may give me an uneaſineſs by the ſight of yours—’Tis impoſſible to Repreſent the Tranſport of Alovysa at this kind Expreſſion, ſhe hung upon his neck, kiſſed the dear Mouth which had pronounc’d her Pardon with Raptures of unſpeakable delight, ſhe ſigh’d with Pleaſure, as before ſhe had done with Pain, ſhe wept, ſhe even Dy’d with Joy!—No, no my Lord, my Life, my Angel, (Cry’d ſhe, aſſoon as ſhe had power to ſpeak) I never will offend you more, no more be jealous; no more be doubtful of my happineſs! You are, and will be only mine, I know you will—Your kind forgiveneſs of my folly, aſſures me that you are mine, not more by Duty, than by Love! A tye far more valuable than that of Marriage. The Count Conſcious of her miſtake had much ado to Conceal his Diſorder at theſe Words, and being unwilling ſhe ſhou’d proceed; as ſoon as he cou’d (without ſeeming unkind or rude) Diſingage himſelf from her Arms, took a Pen in his Hand, which he told her he was about to employ in anſwering the Chevaliar Brillian’s Letter: Alovysa who now reſolv’d an entire obedience to his Will, and remembring he had deſir’d to be alone, withdrew, full of the Idea, of an immagin’d Felicity—Her Heart was now at eaſe, ſhe believ’d, that if her Husband had any remains of Paſſion for Amena, the impoſſibility of ever ſeeing her again, wou’d ſoon extinguiſh them, and ſince ſhe was ſo happily Reconcil’d, was far from repenting her Intercepting of his Letter: But poor Lady, ſhe did not long enjoy this Peace of Mind, and this Intervall of Tranquility ſerv’d but to heighten her enſuing Miſeries.The 032 E4v 32
The Count’s ſecret Paſſion for Melliora grew ſtronger by his Endeavouring to ſuppreſs it, and perceiving that ſhe Carefully avoided all opportunities of being alone with him one Moment, ſince his Behaviour to her in the Garden, he grew almoſt Diſtracted, with the Continual reſtraint he was forced to put on all his Words and Actions: He durſt not ſigh, nor ſend an Amorous Glance for fear of offending her, and Alarming his Wives Jealouſie, ſo lately lull’d to ſleep: He had no Perſon in whom he had Confidence enough to truſt with his Miſfortune, and had certainly ſunk under the preſſure of it, if Alovysa who obſerving an Alteration in his Countenance and Humour, and fearing he was really indiſpoſed (which was the excuſe he made for his Melancholy) had not perſwaded him to go into the Country, hoping that Change of Air might do him good: He had a very fine Seat near Anjerville in the Province of Le Beauſſe, which he had not been at in ſome Years, and he was very willing to comply with Alovysa’s deſires of paſſing the remainder of the Summer in a Solitude, which was now become agreeable to him, the greatest Difficulty was in perſwading Melliora to Accompany them thither; he gueſſed by her reſerv’d Behaviour, that ſhe only waited an opportunity to leave the place where he was, and was not miſtaken in his Conjecture: One day as they were talking of it, ſhe told them that ſhe was reſolv’d to return to the Monaſtery where ſhe had been Educated, that the World was too noiſy a Place for one of her Taſte, who had no reliſhliſh 033 F1r 33 liſh for any of the Diverſons of it: Every word ſhe ſpoke, was like a dagger to D’elmont’s Heart; yet he ſo Artfully manag’d his Endeavours, between the Authority of a Guardian, and the Entreaties of a Friend, that ſhe was at laſt overcome. ’Tis hard for the ſevereſt Virtue to deny themſelves the ſight of the Perſon belov’d, and whatever Reſolutions we make, there are but few, who like Melliora might not by ſuch a Lover, be prevailed upon to break them.
As ſoon as their Coming into the Country was ſpread abroad, they were viſited by all the Neighbouring People of Quality, but there was none ſo welcome to D’elmont as the Baron D’espernay; they had before the Count’s going into the Army been very intimate acquaintance, and were equally glad of this opportunity to renew a Friendſhip, which Time and Abſence had not entirely Erac’d. The Baron had a Siſter young, and very agreeable, but gay even to Coquetry; they lived together, being both ſingle, and he brought her with him, hearing the Count was Married, to viſit his Lady: There were ſeveral other young Noble Men, and Ladies there at the ſame time, and the Converſation grew ſo delightfully Entertaining that it was impoſſible for Perſons leſs prepoſeſt than the Count and Melliora to retain their Chagrin, but, tho’ there were ſcarce any in the Company that might not have liſt’ned with a pleas’d Attention, to what thoſe two admirable Perſons were Capable of ſaying, yet their ſecret Sorrows kept them both in ſilence; F ’till 034 F1v 34 ’till Melantha, for that was the Name of the Barons Siſter took upon her, to divert the Company with ſome Verſes on Love; which ſhe took out of her Pocket-Book and read to ’em: Every Body extoll’d the ſoftneſs of the Stile, and the Subject they were upon. But Melliora who was willing to take all opportunities of Condemning that Paſſion, as well to Conceal it in her ſelf, as to check what ever hopes the Count might have. Now Diſcovered the force of her Reaſon, the Delicacy of her Wit, and the penetration of her Judgment, in a manner ſo ſweetly ſurprizing to all that were Strangers to her, that they preſently found, that it was not want of Noble, and truly agreeable Thoughts or Words to Expreſs ’em, that had ſo long depriv’d them of the Pleaſure of hearing her; ſhe urg’d the Arguments ſhe brought againſt the giving way to Love, and the Danger of all ſoftning Amuſements, with ſuch a becoming fierceneſs as made every Body of the Opinion that ſhe was born only to Create Deſire, not be ſuſceptible of it her ſelf. The Count as he was moſt Concern’d, took the moſt particular notice of all ſhe ſaid, and was not a little alarm’d to ſee her appear ſo much in earneſt, but durſt not anſwer, or Endeavour to Confute her, becauſe of Alovysa’s preſence: But it was not long before he had an opportunity, a few days after he met with one, as full as he cou’d wiſh. Returning one Evening from the Baron Despernay’s whom he had now made the Confident of his Paſſion, and who had Encourag’d him in it, he was told that Alovysa was gone out to take the Air, and Hearing no mention of Melliora’sra’s 035 F2r 35 ra’s being with her, he ſtay’d not to enquire, but running directly to her Chamber, made his Eyes his beſt Informers: He found her lying on a Couch in a moſt Charming Diſſabillee, ſhe had but newly come from Bathing, and her Hair unbraided, hung down upon her ſhoulders with a negligence more Beautiful than all the Aids of Art cou’d form in the moſt exact Decorum of Dreſs, part of it fell upon her Neck and Breaſt, and with it’s Lovely Shadyneſs, being of a Delicate dark Brown, ſet off to vaſt Advantage, the matchleſs whiteneſs of her skin: Her Gown and the reſt of her Garments were white, and all ungirt, and looſely flowing, diſcover’d a Thousand Beauties, which Modiſh Formalities conceal. A Book lay open by her on which ſhe had reclin’d her Head, as if been Tir’d with Reading, ſhe Bluſh’d at ſight of the Count, and roſe from off the Couch with a Confuſion which gave new Luſtre to her Charms, but he was not permitting her to ſtir from the place ſhe was in, ſat down by Her, and caſting his Eyes on the Book which lay there, found it to be Ovid’s Epiſtles, How Madam (Cry’d he, not a little pleas’d with the Diſcovery) dare you, who the other day ſo warmly inveigh’d againſt Writings of this Nature, truſt your ſelf with ſo Dangerous an Amuſement? How happens it that you are ſo ſuddenly come over to our Party? Indeed my Lord (anſwer’d ſhe, growing more Diſorder’d) it was Chance rather than Choice, that Directed this Book to my Hands, I am yet far from approving Subjects of this kind, and Believe I ſhall be ever ſo: Not that I can perceive any Danger in it, as to my ſelf, the Retirement I have always liv’d in, and the little propenſity I find to entertain a Thought of F2 that 036 F2v 36 that uneaſie Paſſion, has hitherto ſecur’d me from any Prepoſſeſſion, without which, Ovid’s Art is Vain. Nay, Madam, reply’d the Count, now you Contradict your former Argument, which was, that theſe ſort of Books were, as it were, Preparatives to Love, and by their ſoftning Influence melted the Soul, and made it fit for Amorous Impreſſions, and ſo far, you certainly were in the right, for when once the fancy is fixed on a real Object, there will be no need of Auxillary Forces, the Dear Idea will ſpread it ſelf thro’ every Faculty of the Soul, and in a Moment inform us better, than all the Writings of the moſt Experienc’d Poets, cou’d do in an Age. Well, my Lord, (ſaid ſhe Endeavouring to Compoſe her ſelf) I am utterly unambitious of any Learning this way, and ſhall Endeavour to retain in Memory, more of the Misfortunes that attended the Paſſion of Sappho, than the Tender, tho’ never ſo Elegant Expreſſions it Produc’d: And if all Readers of Romances took this Method, the Votaries of Cupid wou’d be fewer, and the Dominion of Reaſon more Extenſive. You ſpeak (Anſwer’d D’elmont) as tho’ Love and Reaſon were ImcompatibleIncompatible, there is no Rule (ſaid ſhe) my Lord without Exception, they are indeed ſometimes united, but how often they are at Variance where may we not find Proofs, Hiſtory, is full of them, and Daily Examples of the many Hair-brain’d Matches, and ſlips much leſs Excuſable, ſufficiently Evince how little Reaſon has to do in the Affairs of Love, I mean (Continu’d ſhe, with a very ſerious Air) that ſort of Love, for there are two, which hurries People on to an immediate Gratification of their deſires, 037 F3r 37 deſires, tho’ never ſo prejudicial to themſelves, or the Perſon they pretend to Love. Pray Madam (ſaid the Count a little netled at this Diſcourſe) what Love is that which ſeems at leaſt to Merit the Approbation of a Lady ſo Extremely nice? It has many Branches (Reply’d ſhe) in the firſt Place that which we owe to Heaven, in the next to our King, our Country, Parents, Kindred, Friends, and Laſtly, that which Fancy inclines, and Reaſon guides us to, in a Partner for Life, but here every Circumſtance muſt agree Parity of Age, of Quality, of Fortune, and of Humour, Conſent of Friends, and Equal Affection in each other, for if any one of theſe particulars fail, it renders all the reſt of no Effect. Ah Madam (cry’d the Count not able to ſuffer her to proceed.ceed.) What ſhare of Pity then can you afford to a Man who Loves werewhere almoſt all theſe Circumſtances are wanting, and what advice wou’d you give a wretch ſo Curſt? I wou’d have him think, (ſaid ſhe more Gravely then before) (How Madam,How Madam, reſum’d he)(reſum’d he) think did you ſay? Alas! ’Tis Thought that has undone him, that’s very poſſible (anſwer’d ſhe) but yet ’tis want of thinking juſtly, for in a Lovers Mind Illuſions ſeem Realities, and what at an other time wou’d be look’d on as Impoſſible, appears eaſie then they indulge, and feed their new-born Folly with proſpect of a Hope, tho’ ne’re ſo diſtant a one, and in the vain purſuit of it, fly Conſideration, ’till Diſpair Starts up in the midway, and bar’s their Promis’d view, whereas if they gave way to due Reflection, the Vanity of the Attempt wou’d preſently be ſhown, and the ſame cauſe that bid ’em ceaſe to hope, wou’d bid ’em ceaſe to wiſh: Ah Madam (ſaid he) how little do you know 038 F3v 38 know of that Paſſion, and how eaſily cou’d I diſprove you by the Example of my Friend; Diſpair and Love are of an equal Age in him, and from the firſt Moment he beheld his Adorable Charmer, he has Languiſhed without the leaſt mixture of a flattering Hope. I Grant the Flames with which our Modern Gallants are ordinarily animated, cannot long ſubſiſt without Fewel, but where Love is kindled in a Generous Heart by a juſt Admiration of the real Merits of the Object belov’d, Reaſon goes Hand in Hand with it, and makes it laſting as our Life. In my Mind (anſwer’d Melliora Coldly) an Eſteem ſo Grounded may more properly be aſcribed to Friendſhip, then be it ſo Madam, (rejoyn’d the Count Briskly) Friendſhip and Love, where either are ſincere, vary but little in their meaning, there may indeed be ſome Diſtinctions in their Ceremonies, but their Eſſentials are ſtill the ſame: And if the Gentleman I ſpeak of were ſo happy as to hope his Friendſhip wou’d be acceptable, I dare promiſe that he never wou’d Complain his Love were not ſo. You have a ſtrange way (ſaid ſhe) to Confound Idea’s, which in my Opinion are ſo vaſtly different, that I ſhou’d make no Difficulty in granting my Friendſhip to as many of my Acquaintance, as had Merit to deſerve it, but if I were to Love in that General Manner, ’twould be a Crime wou’d juſtly render me Contemptible to Mankind: Madam (replyed the Count) when I ſpoke of the Congruity of Love and Friendſhip, I did not mean that ſort, which to me, ſeems unworthy of the Name of either, but that Exalted one, which made Oreſtes and Pilades, Theſeus and Perithous ſo Famous. That 039 F4r 39 That, which has no Reſerve, no ſeparate intereſt, or divided Thoughts, That which fills all, —gives all the Soul, and Eſteems even Life a Trifle, to prove it ſelf ſincere—What can Love do more then yeild every thing to the object Belov’d? And Friendſhip muſt do ſo too, or is not Friendſhip! Therefore take heed fair Angel (Continu’d he taking her Hand, and kiſſing it) how you Promiſe Freindſhip, where you ne’re mean to Love. And obſerving ſhe was Silent, Your Hand, (ſaid he) your Lip, your Neck, your Breaſt, your All.—All this whole Heaven of Beauty muſt be no longer in your own Diſpoſal—All is the prize of Friendſhip! As much Confus’d as Melliora was, at theſe Words which gave her ſufficient Reaſon to fear he wou’d now Declare himſelf more fully than ſhe deſir’d; ſhe had Spirit and Resolution enough to withdraw her Hand from his, and with a look, that ſpoke her meaning but too plainly for the repoſe of the Enamour’d D’elmont: I ſhall take care my Lord (ſaid ſhe) how I Commence a Friendſhip with any Perſon who ſhall make uſe of it to my Prejudice.
The Count was now ſenſible of his Error in going ſo far, and fearing he had undone himſelf in her Eſteem by his raſh Proceeding, thought it was beſt at once to throw off a Diſguiſe which in ſpite of his Endeavours wou’d fall off, of it’s ſelf, and by making a bold and free Confeſſion of his real Sentiments, Oblige her to a Diſcovery of hers.—I do not doubt your Caution Madem (anſwer’d he) in this point: Your Reſerved Behaviour, even to me, Convinces me; but too 040 F4v 40 too fully, how little you are diſpoſed to give, or receive any Proofs of Friendſhip: But perhaps (Continu’d he with a deep ſigh) my too preſuming Eyes have rendred me a ſuſpected Perſon, and while you find in me the Wretch I have Diſcrib’d, you find nothing in me worthy of a happier Fortune. You are worthy of every thing my Lord, (ſaid Melliora quite beſide her ſelf at theſe Words) nor are you leſs happy than you deſerve to be; and I wou’d rather that theſe Eyes ſhou’d loſe their ſight than view you otherwiſe than now I ſee you, bleſt in every Circumſtance, the Darling of the World, the Idol of the Court, and a Favourite of Heaven! Oh ſtop! (Cry’d D’elmont haſtily Interrupting her) forbear to Curſe me farther, rather Command my Death, than wiſh the Continuance of my preſent Miſeries: Cruel Melliora, too well, Alaſs, you know what I have endur’d from the firſt fatal Moment I beheld you, and only feign an Ignorance to Diſtract me more: A Thouſand times you have read my Riſing wiſhes, ſparkling in my Eyes, and glowing on my Cheeks, as often ſeen my Virtue ſtrugling in ſilent Tremblings, and Life-Waſting Anguiſh to ſuppreſs deſire. Nay, Madam (ſaid he Catching faſt hold of both her Hands ſeeing her about to riſe) by all my ſleepleſs Nights, and reſtleſs Days, by all my Countleſs Burning Agonies; by all the Torments of my gall’d, bleeding Heart, I ſwear, that you ſhall hear me: I have heard too much (Cry’d Melliora not able to Contain her ſelf) and tho’ I am unwilling to believe you have any farther aim in this Diſcourſe than your Diverſion, yet I muſt tell your Lordſhip that there 041 G1r 41 there are Themes more proper for it, than the Daughter of your Friend, who was entruſted to your Care with a far Different Opinion of your Behaviour to her. What have I done (reſum’d the almoſt Diſtracted Count, falling at her Feet, and graſping her knees) what have I done Inhumane Melliora! To deſerve this Rigour? my Honour has hitherto prevail’d above deſire, fierce, and raging as it is, nor had I any other hopes by making this Declaration than to meet that pity my Misfortunes Merit; and you cannot without Ingratitude deny: Pity, even to Criminals is allow’d, and ſure, where the offence is unvoluntary, like mine, ’tis due: ’Tis impoſſible to gueſs the Conflict in Melliora’s Breaſt at this Inſtant, ſhe had heard a moſt Paſſionate Declaration of Love from a Married Man, and by Conſequence, whatever his pretences were, cou’d look on his Deſigns no otherwiſe than aim’d at the Deſtruction of her Honour, and was fir’d with a Virtuous Indignation. But then ſhe ſaw in this Married Man, the only Perſon in the World, who was capable of Inſpiring her with a tender Thought, ſhe ſaw him reduc’d to the laſt Extremity of Diſpair for her ſake: She heard his ſighs, ſhe felt his Tremblings as he held her, and cou’d not refrain ſhedding ſome Tears, both for him, and for her ſelf, who indeed ſuffer’d little leſs; but the Count was not ſo happy as to be Witneſs of this Teſtimony of her Compaſſion: He had reclin’d his Head on her Lap, poſſibly to hide thoſe that forc’d their way thro’ his Eyes, at the ſame time; and Alovisa’s Voice which they heard below, giving them both an Alarm; they had no further opportuniflawed-reproduction2-4 words the Count was but juſt G gone 042 G1v 42 gone out of the Room and Melliora laid on the Couch in the ſame Careleſs Poſture which he had found her in; when Alovysa Enter’d the Chamber, and after having a little pleaſantly Reproach’d her for being ſo lazy as not to Accompany her in the Walk ſhe had been takeing, ask’d her if ſhe had not ſeen the Count who ſhe had been told was come home: Poor Melliora had much ado to Conceal the Diſorder ſhe was in at this Queſtion, but Recovering her ſelf as well as ſhe cou’d, anſwer’d in the Affirmative; but that he had not ſtay’d there longer than to enquire where ſhe was gone, and that ſhe knew not but he might be gone in ſearch of her: This was enough to make Alovysa take her leave, Impatient for the ſight of her Dear Lord, a happineſs ſhe had not enjoy’d ſince Morning, but ſhe was diſappointed of her Hope. The Count as late as it was in the Evening, went into his Chaiſe, which had not been ſet up, ſince he came from the Baron D’espernay’s, and drove thither again with all the ſpeed he cou’d.
The Baron was Extremely ſurpriz’d at his ſudden return, and with ſo much Confuſion and Melancholy in his Countenance. But much more ſo, when he had given him an Account of what had paſs’d between Him and Melliora, and cou’d not forbear rallying him exceſſively on the occaſion. What ſaid he, a Man of Wit, and Pleasure like Count D’elmont, a Man who knows the Sex ſo well, cou’d he let ſlip ſo Favourable an opportunity with the fineſt Woman in the World; one for whoſe Enjoyment he wou’d 043 G2r 43 wou’d Die.—Cou’d a frown, or a little angry Coineſs (which ten to one was but affected) have Power to freeze ſuch fierce deſires. The Count was not at preſent in a Humour to reliſh this Merriment; he was too ſeriouſly in Love to bear that any thing relating to it ſhou’d be turn’d into Ridicule, and was far from repenting he had done no more, ſince what he had done, had occaſion’d her diſpleaſure: But the Baron, who had deſigns in his Head, which he knew cou’d not by any means be brought to ſucceed, but by keeping the Count’s Paſſion warm, made uſe of all the Artifice he was Maſter of, to Embolden this Reſpective Lover, to the Gratification of his Wiſhes: And growing more grave than he had been, My Lord, ſaid he, you do not only Injure the Dignity of our Sex in General, but your own Merits in Particular, and perhaps even Melliora’s ſecret Inclinations, by this unavailing diſtant Carriage, and Cauſeleſs diſpair.— Have you not confeſt that has ſhe look’d on you with a Tenderneſs, like that of Love, that ſhe has Bluſhed at your ſight, and trembled at your Touch? -----What wou’d you more that ſhe ſhou’d do, or what indeed can ſhe do more, in Modeſty, to prove her Heart is yours? A little Reſolution on your ſide wou’d make her all yours----Women are Taught by cuſtom to deny what moſt they Covet, and to ſeem angry when they are beſt pleas’d; believe me, D’elmont that the moſt rigid Virtue of ’em all, never yet hated a Man for thoſe faults which Love occaſions. All this anſwer’d the Count is what I readily agree to, ---But O her Father’s Memory! My Obligations to him! Her Youth and Innocence are Daggers G2 to 044 G2v 44 to my cool Reflections—Wou’d it not be pity Espernay (continu’d he with a deep ſigh) even if ſhe ſhou’d conſent, to ruin ſo much ſweetneſs? The Baron cou’d not forbear Laughing at theſe Words, and the Count who had ſtarted theſe Objections, only with the hope of having them remov’d, eaſily ſuffer’d himſelf to be perſwaded to follow his Inclinations; and it was ſoon Concluded betwixt them, that on the firſt opportunity, Melliora ſhou’d fall a Sacrifice to Love.
The Count came not home until the next Morning, and brought the Baron with him, for they were now become inſeparable Friends: At his return he found Alovysa in a very ill humour for his being abroad all Night, and in ſpite of the Reſolution ſhe had made of ſhewing a perfect Reſignation to her Husbands will, cou’d not forbear giving him ſome hints, how unkindly ſhe took it, which he but little Regarded, all his Thoughts were now bent on the gaining Melliora. But that Lady Alarm’d at his Late Behaviour, and with Reaſon doubting her own Power of Reſenting it as ſhe ought, or indeed reſiſting any future attempts he might make, feign’d the neceſſity of performing ſome private Rules of Devotion enjoyn’d her as a Pennance, and kept her Chamber that ſhe might not ſee Him.
The Diſquietudes of D’elmont for being forc’d to live; but for three or four days without the happineſs of beholding her, convinc’d him how impoſſible it was for him to overcome his 045 G3r 45 his Paſſion, tho’ he ſhou’d never ſo vigorouſly Endeavour it, and that whatever Method he ſhou’d make uſe of to ſatisfie it, might be excus’d by the neceſſity.
What is it that a Lover cannot Accompliſh when Reſolution is on his ſide? D’elmont after having form’d a Thouſand fruitleſs Inventions, at laſt pitch’d on one, which promis’d him, an Aſſurance of Succeſs: In Melliora’s Chamber there was a little Door that open’d to a pair of Back Stairs, for the Convenience of the Servants coming to clean the Room, and at the Bottom of that Diſcent, a Gate into the Garden. The Count ſet his Wits to Work to get the Keys of thoſe two Doors, that of the Garden ſtood always in it, nor cou’d he keep it, without it’s being miſt at Night, when they ſhou’d come to faſten the Gate, therefore, he carefully took the Impreſſion in Wax, and had one made exactly like it: The other he cou’d by no means Compaſs without making ſome Excuſe to go to Melliora’s Chamber, and ſhe had deſir’d that none might viſit her: But he overcome this Bar to his Deſign at Laſt; there was a Cabinet in it, where he told Alovysa he had put ſome Papers of great Concern which now he wanted to look over, and deſir’d ſhe wou’d make an Apology for his coming in, to fetch them. Melliora imagin’d this was only a Pretence to ſee her, but his Wife being with him, and he ſaying nothing to her, or taking any farther notice, than what Common Civility requir’d, was not much troubled at it. While Alovysa was paying a Complement, to the Recluſe, he was dextroustrous 046 G3v 46 trous enough to ſlip the Key out of the Door, unperceiv’d by either of them.
As ſoon as he had got the Paſsport to his Expected Joys in his Poſſeſſion, he order’d a Couple of Saddle Horſes to be made ready, and only attended by one Servant, rid out, as if to take the Air; but when they were got about two or three Miles from his Houſe, Commanded him to return, and tell his Lady, that he ſhou’d lye that Night at the Baron D’espernay’s, the fellow obey’d, and Clapping Spurs to his Horſe, was immediately loſt in a Cloud of Duſt.
D’elmont had ſent this Meſſage to prevent any of the Family ſitting up expecting him, and inſtead of going to the Baron’s, turn’d ſhort, and went to Angerville, where meeting with ſome Gentlemen of his Acquaintance, he paſs’d the Hours ’till between twelve and one, as pleaſantly as his Impatience to be with Melliora, wou’d give him leave. He had not much above a Furlong to ride, and his deſires made him not ſpare his Horſe, which he tyed by the Bridle, hot, and foaming, as he was, to a huge Oak which grew pretty near his Garden, it was Incompaſſed only with a Hedge, and that ſo low, that he got over it without any Difficulty: He look’d carefully about him, and found no Tell-tale lights in any of the Rooms, and Concluding all was as huſh’d as he cou’d wiſh, opened the first Door, but the Encreaſing Tranſports of his Soul, as he came up Stairs, to be ſo near the end of all his Wiſhes, are more eaſily Imaginedgined 047 G4r 47 gined than Expreſt, but as violent as they were, they preſently receiv’d a vaſt Addition, when he came into the Happy Chamber, and by a moſt Delightful Gloom a Friend to Lovers; for it was neither Dark nor Light, he beheld the Lovely Melliora in her Bed, and faſt aſleep, her Head was reclin’d on one of her Arms; a Pillow ſofter and whiter far than that it lean’d on, the other was ſtretch’d out, and with it’s Extention had thruſt down the Bed-Cloths ſo far, that all the Beauties of her Neck and Breaſt appear’d to view. He took an inexpreſſible Pleaſure in gazing on her as ſhe lay, and in this ſilent Contemplation of her Thouſand Charms, his mind was Agitated with various Emotions, and the reſiſtleſs poſture he beheld her in, rouz’d all that was Honourable in him, he thought it pity even to wake her, but more to wrong ſuch Innocence, and he was ſometimes Prompted to return and leave her as he found her.
But whatever Dominion, Honour, and Virtue may have over our waking Thoughts, ’tis certain that they fly from the clos’d Eyes, our Paſſions then exert their forceful Power, and that which is moſt Predominant in the Soul, Agitates the fancy, and brings even Things Impoſſible to paſs: Deſire, with watchful Diligence repell’d, returns with greater violence in unguarded ſleep, and overthrows the vain Efforts of Day. Melliora in ſpite of her ſelf, was often happy in Idea, and poſſeſt a Bleſſing which ſhame and Guilt, deter’d her from in reality. Imagination at this time was Active, and brought the Charming Count much nearer than indeed he 048 G4v 48 he was, and he, ſtooping to the Bed, and gently laying his Face cloſe to her’s, (Poſſibly Deſigning no more than to ſteal a Kiſs from her, unperceiv’d) that Action, Concurring at that Inſtant, with her Dream, made her throw her Arm (ſtill Slumbering) about his Neck, and in a Soft and Languiſhing Voice, Cry out, O! D’elmont Ceaſe, ceaſe to Charm, to ſuch a height—Life cannot bear theſe Raptures! —And then again, Embracing him yet cloſer, —O! too, too Lovely Count—Extatick Ruiner!
Where was now the Reſolution he was forming ſome Moments before? If he had now left her, ſome might have applauded an Honour ſo uncommon; but more wou’d have Condemn’d his Stupidity, for I believe there are very few Men, how Stoical ſoever they pretend to be, that in ſuch a Tempting Circumſtance wou’d not have loſt all Thoughts, but thoſe, which the preſent opportunity inſpir’d. That he did, is moſt certain, for he tore open his Waſtcoat, and joyn’d his panting Breaſt to her’s, with ſuch a Tumultuous Eagerneſs! Seiz’d her with ſuch a Rapidity of Tranſported hope Crown’d Paſſion, as immediately wak’d her from an imaginary Felicity, to the Approaches of a Solid one. Where have I been? (ſaid ſhe, juſt opening her Eyes) where am I?—(And then coming more perfectly to her ſelfſelf) Heaven! What’s this?—I am D’elmont (Cry’d the Orejoy’d Count) the happy D’elmont! Melliora’s the Charming Melliora’s D’elmont! Oh, all ye Saints, (Reſum’d the ſurpriz’d, Trembling,bling 049 H1r 49 bling, fair) ye Miniſtring Angels! Whoſe Buſineſs ’tis to guard the Innocent! Protect, and Shield my Virtue! O! ſay, how came you here, my Lord? Love, ſaid he, Love that does all, that Wonder-Working Power has ſent me here, to Charm thee, ſweet Reſiſter, into yielding. O! Hold, (Cry’d ſhe, finding he was proceeding to Liberties, which her Modeſty cou’d not allow of) forbear, I do Conjure you, even by that Love you plead, before my Honour, I’ll reſign my Life! Therefore, unleſs you wiſh to ſee me Dead, a Victim to your Cruel, fatal Paſſion, I beg you to deſiſt, and leave me: ‑I cannot—Muſt not (anſwer’d he, growing ſtill more Bold) what, when I have thee thus! Thus naked in my Arms, Trembling, Defenceleſs, Yeilding, Panting with equal Wiſhes, thy Love Confeſt, and every Thought, Deſire! What cou’dſt thou think if I ſhou’d leave thee? How juſtly wou’dſt thou ſcorn my eaſie Tameneſs; my Dulneſs, unworthy of the Name of Lover, or even of Man!—Come, come no more Reluctance (Continu’d he, gathering Kiſſes from her ſoft Snowy Breaſt at every Word) Damp not the fires thou haſt rais’d with ſeeming Coineſs! I know thou art mine! All mine! And thus I-- Yet think (ſaid ſhe Interrupting him, and Strugling in his Arms) think what ’tis that you wou’d do, for forfor a Moments Joy, hazard your Peace for Ever. By Heaven, cry’d he: I will this Night be Maſter of my Wiſhes, no matter what to Morrow may bring forth: Aſſoon as he had ſpoke theſe Words, he put it out of her Power either to deny, or to Reproach him, by ſtopping her Mouth with Kiſſes, and was juſt on the point of H making 050 H1v 50 making good what he had vow’d, when a loud knocking at the Chamber Door, put a ſtop to his Beginning Exſtacy, and chang’d the ſweet Confuſion, Melliora had been in, to all the Horrors of a ſhame and guilt Diſtracted Apprehenſion: They made no Doubt but that it was Alovysa, and that they were betray’d, the Count’s greateſt concern was for Melliora, and the knocking ſtill continuing and growing louder, all he cou’d do in this Exigence, was to make his Eſcape, the way he came, there was no time for taking leave, and he cou’d only ſay, perceiving ſhe was ready to faint with her fears. Be Comforted, my Angel, and reſolute in your Denials, to whatever Queſtions the Natural Inſolence of a Jealous Wife, may provoke mine to ask you; and we ſhall meet again (if D’elmont ſurvives this Diſappointment without Danger of ſo quick, ſo Curſt a Separation. Melliora was in too much Diſtraction to make any Anſwer to what he ſaid, and he had left the Room ſome Moments before ſhe cou’d get Spirit enough to ask who was at the Door; but when ſhe did, was as much ſurpriz’d to find it was Melantha, who deſir’d to be let in, as before ſhe was frightened at the belief it was Alovysa, however ſhe immediately ſlipt on her Night-Gown, and Slippers and open’d the Door.
You are a ſound Sleeper Indeed (Cry’d Melantha laughing) that all the Noiſe I have made cou’d not wake you. I have not been all this time aſleep (anſwer’d Melliora) but I, flawed-reproduction1 word knowing you were in the Houſe, cou’d not imagine who it was that gave me this Diſturbanceflawed-reproduction1 character I heartily ask your Pardon (ſaid Melantha) and 051 H2r 51 and I know, my Dear, you are too good Natur’d to refuſe it me, eſpecially when you know the Occaſion, which is ſo very Whimſical, that, as Grave as you are, you cannot help being diverted with it—But come (continu’d ſhe) get on your Cloths, for you muſt go along with me. Where? ſaid Melliora, Nay, nay, ask no Queſtions (reſum’d Melantha) but make haſt, every Minute that we Idle away here, loſes us the Diverſion of an Age. As ſhe ſpoke theſe Words, ſhe fell into ſuch an exceſſive Laughter, that Melliora thought her Mad, but being far from Sympathizing in her Gayety; it has always (ſaid ſhe) been hitherto my Cuſtom to have ſome Reaſon for what I do, tho’ in never ſo trifling an Affair, and you muſt excuſe me, if I do not break it now. Piſh (cry’d Melantha) you are of the oddeſt Temper,—but I will give you your Way for once,—provided you’ll get your ſelf ready in the mean time. I ſhall certainly put on my Cloaths (said Melliora) leſt I ſhould take cold, for I expect you’ll not permit me to ſleep any more this Night. You may be ſure of it (rejoyn’d Melantha.) But to the Purpoſe,—You muſt know, having an Hour or two on my Hands, I came this Evening to viſit Alovysa and found her in the ſtrangeſt Humour!—Good God! What unaccountable Creatures theſe married Women are?—Her Husband it ſeems had ſent her Word that he wou’d lye at my Brothers, and the poor loving Soul cou’d not bear to live a Night without him. I ſtay’d to condole with her, (tho’ on my Life, I cou’d ſcarce forbear Laughing in her Face) ’till it was too late to go Home.—About twelve a Clock ſhe H2 yawn’d, 052 H2v 52 yawn’d, ſtretch’d, and grew moſt horridly out of Temper, rail’d at Mankind prodigiouſly, and curſ’d Matrimony as heartily as one of Fourſcore cou’d do, that had been twice a Widow, and was left a Maid!—With much ado, I made her Women thruſt her into Bed, and retired to a Chamber which they ſhow’d me, but I had no Inclination to ſleep, I remember’d my ſelf of five or ſix Billet-Doux I had to anſwer,—a Lover, that growing fooliſhly troubleſome, I have ſome thoughts of diſcharging to Morrow—Another that I deſign to Countenance, to pique a third —A new Suit of Cloaths, and Trimmings for the next Ball—Half a hundred New Songs —and—a thouſand other Affairs of the utmoſt Conſequence to a young Lady, came into my Head in a Moment; and the Night being extreamly pleaſant, I ſet the Candle in the Chimney, open’d the Window, and fell to conſidering —But I had not been able to come to a Concluſion what I ſhould do in any one thing I was thinking of, before I was interrupted in my Cogitations with a Noiſe of ſomething ruſhing haſtily thro’ the Mirtles under my Window, and preſently after, ſaw it was a Man going haſtily along toward the great Alley of the Garden.— At firſt I was going to cry out and alarm the Family, taking it for a Thief; But, Dear Melliora, how glad am I that I did not?—For who do you think, when I look’d more heedfully, I perceiv’d it was? Nay, how ſhould I know? (cry’d Melliora peeviſhly, fearing the Count’s inadvertency had expos’d himſelf and her to this fooliſh Woman’s Curioſity) It was Count D’elmont (reſum’d Melantha) I’ll lay 053 H3r 53 lay my Life, that he has been on ſome Intreague to Night: And met with a Diſappointment in it, by his quick Return.—But prithee make haſt, for I long to rally him about it. What wou’d you do Madam? (ſaid Melliora) you wou’d not ſure go to him? Yes, (anſwer’d Melantha: I will go down into the Garden, and ſo ſhall you.—I know you have a Back way from your Chamber—Therefore lay aſide this unbecoming Demureneſs, and let us go, and talk him to Death. You may do as you pleaſe, (ſaid Melliora) but for my part, I am for no ſuch Frolicks. Was there ever any thing ſo Young, ſo Formal as you are! (Rejoyn’d Melantha) but I am Reſolv’d to Teaze you out of a Humour ſo directly oppoſite to the Beau-Monde, and, if you will not Conſent to go down with me: I will fetch him up to your Chamber—Hold! Hold, (cry’d Melliora Perceiving ſhe was going) what do you mean, for Heavens ſake ſtay, what will Alovysa think?—I care not (reply’d the other) I have ſet my Heart on an hours Diverſion with him, and will not be Baulk’d, if the repoſe of the World, much leſs, that of a Jealous, ſilly Wife, Depended on it.
Melliora ſaw into the Temper of this Capricious Young Lady too well not to believe ſhe wou’d do, as ſhe had ſaid, and perhaps, was not over willing to venture her with the Count alone, at that Time of Night, and in the Humour ſhe knew he was, therefore putting on an Air more Chearful than that ſhe was Accuſtom’d to wear well (ſaid ſhe) I will Accompany you into 054 H3v 54 into the Garden, ſince it will ſo much oblige you; but if the Count be wiſe, he will, by quitting the Place, as ſoon as he ſee’s us, Diſappoint you worſe than I ſhou’d have done, If I had kept you here. With theſe Words ſhe took her by the Hand, and they went down the Stairs, where the Count was but juſt paſt before them.
He had not the Power to go away, without knowing who it was, that had given him that Interruption, and had ſtood all this Time, on the upper ſtep behind the Inner Door. His Vexation, and Diſdain when he heard it was Melantha gave him as much Pain, as his Concern while he believ’d it Alovysa, and he cou’d not forbear muttering a Thouſand Curſes on her Impertinence. He had always diſpis’d, but now abhorr’d her: She had behav’d her ſelf to him in a Faſhion, as made him ſufficiently Senſible ſhe was deſirous of engaging him, and he reſolv’d to Mortifie by the bittereſt Slights, both her Pride, and Love, if ’tis proper, to call that ſort of liking which Agitates the Soul of Coquet, by that Name.
The Ladies walk’d in the Garden for ſome time, and Melantha ſearch’d every Buſh, before ſhe found the Count who ſtood Conceal’d in the Porch, which being Cover’d with Jeſſamin, and Fillaree, was Dark enough to hide him from their view, tho’ they had paſs’d cloſe to him as they came out. He had certainly remain’d there ’till Morning, and Diſappointed Melantha’s ſearch in part of the Revenge he ow’d her, if 055 H4r 55 if his Deſires to be with Melliora, on any Terms, had not prevail’d, even above his Anger to the other. But he cou’d not ſee that Charmer of his Soul, and imagine there might be yet an opportunity that Night of Stealing a Kiſs from her (now he believ’d reſiſtleſs Lips) of Touching her Hand! Her Breaſt! And repeating ſome farther Freedoms which his late Advantage over her had given him, without being fill’d with Wiſhes too Fiery and too Impatient to be reſtrain’d. He watch’d their Turning, and when he ſaw that they were near an Alley which had another that led to it, he went round and met them.
Melantha was overjoy’d at ſight of him, and Melliora tho’ equally pleas’d, was Cover’d with ſuch a Confuſion, at the Remembrance of what had paſs’d, that it was happy for her that her Companions Volubility gave her no Room for Speech. There is nothing more certain than that Love, tho’ it fills the mind with a Thouſand Charming Ideas, which thoſe untouch’d by that Paſſion, are not Capable of conceiving, yet it entirely takes away the Power of Utterance, and the deeper Impreſſion it had made on the Soul, the leſs we are able to expreſs it, when willing to indulge and give a looſe to Thought; what Language can furniſh us with Words ſufficient, all are too poor, all wanting both in Sublimity, and Softneſs, and only Fancy! a Lovers Fancy! Can reach the Exalted ſoaring of a Lovers meaning! But, if ſo impoſſible to be Deſcrib’d, if of ſo Vaſt, ſo Wonderful a Nature as nothing but it’s ſelf can Comprehend, how 056 H4v 56 how much more Impoſſible muſt it be entirely to Conceal it! What Strength of Boaſted Reaſon? What Force of Reſolution? What modeſt Fears, or Cunning Artifice can Correct the fierceneſs of it’s Fiery Flaſhes in the Eyes, keep down the Strugling ſighs, Command the pulſe, and bid the Trembling, Ceaſe? Honour, and Virtue may diſtance Bodies, but there is no Power in either of thoſe Names, to ſtop the Spring that with a rapid whirl Tranſports us from our ſelves, and darts our Souls into the Boſom of the Darling Object: This may ſeem Strange to many, even of thoſe who call, and perhaps believe they are Lovers, but the few who have Delicacy enough to feel what I but imperfectly attempt to ſpeak, will Acknowledge it for Truth, and Pity the Diſtreſs of Melliora.
As they were paſſing thro’ a walk with Trees on each ſide, whoſe Intermingling Boughs made a Friendly Darkneſs, and every thing Undiſtinguiſhable, the Amorous D’elmont throwing his eager Arms round the waſt of his (no leſs Tranſported) Melliora, and Printing Burning Kiſſes on her Neck, reap’d painful Pleaſure, and Created in her, a Racking kind of Extaſie, which might perhaps, had they been now alone, prov’d her deſires were little different from his.
After Melantha had vented part of the Raillery, ſhe was ſo big with, on the Count, which he but little regarded, being wholly taken up with other ThouhgtsThoughts, ſhe propos’d, going intoto 057 I1r 57 to the Wilderneſs, which was at the farther end of the Garden, and they readily agreeing to it. Come, my Lord (ſaid ſhe) to the Count you are Melancholy, I have Thought of a way which will either Indulge the Humour you are in, or Divert it, as you ſhall chuſe: There are ſeveral little paths in this Wilderneſs, let us take each a ſeparate one, and when we meet, which ſhall be here, where we part, agree to tell an entertaining Story, which whoever fails in, ſhall be Doom’d to the Puniſhment of being left here all Night: The Count at theſe Words, forgot all his Animoſity, and was ready to hug her for this Propoſal: Melliora did a little oppoſe it; but the others were too Powerful, and ſhe was forc’d to ſubmit: Thou art the Dulleſt Creature, I lay my Life my Lord, (Cry’d Melantha, taking hold of the Count in a gay manner) that it falls to her Lot to ſtay in the Wilderneſs: Oh Madam, (reply’d the Count) you are too ſevere, we ought always to ſuſpend our Judgment ’till after the Tryal, which I confeſs my ſelf ſo pleas’d with, that I am Impatient for it’s Coming on: Well then (ſaid ſhe Laughing) farewel for half an hour. Agreed (Cry’d the Count) and walked away: Melantha ſaw which way he went, and took another Path, leaving Melliora to go forward in that, in which they were, but I believe the Reader will eaſily imagine that ſhe was not long to Enjoy the Priviledge of her Meditations.I After 058 I1v 58
After the Count had gone ſome few Paces, he planted himſelf behind a Thicket, which while it hid him, gave him the opportunity of obſerving them, and when he found the Coaſt Clear, ruſh’d out, and with unhurting Gripe, ſeiz’d once more on the Unguarded Prey. Bleſt Turn of Fortune (ſaid he in a Rapture), Happy, happy Moment!—Loſt, loſt Melliora, (ſaid ſhe) moſt unhappy Maid!—Oh why, why my Lord, this Quick Return? This is no place to anſwer thee (reſum’d he taking her in his Arms, and Bearing her behind that Thicket, where himſelf had ſtood) ’twas in vain for her to reſiſt, if ſhe had, had the Power over her Inclinations, ’till he ſetting her ſoftly down, and beginning to Careſs her, in the manner he had done, when ſhe was in Bed, ſhe aſſum’d Strength enough to raiſe her ſelf a little, and Catching hold of his Tranſgreſſing Hands, laid her Face on ’em, and Bath’d ’em in a Shower of Tears: O! D’elmont (ſaid ſhe) Cruel D’elmont! Will you then take Advantage of my Weakneſs? I Confeſs I feel for you, a Paſſion far beyond all, that yet, ever bore the Name of Love, that I no longer can withſtand the too Powerful Magick of your Eyes, nor deny any thing that Charming Tongue can ask, but now’s the Time to prove your ſelf the Heroe, ſubdue youryour ſelf, as you have Conquer’d me, be ſatisfied with Vanquiſhing my Soul, fix there your Throne, but leave my Honour free! Life of my Life (Cry’d he) wound me no more by ſuch untimely Sorrows: I Cannot bear thy Tears, by Heaven they ſink in to my Soul, and quite unman 059 I2r 59 unman me, but tell me (Continu’d he Tenderly Kiſſing her) Cou’dſt thou, with all this Love, this Charming—Something more then ſoftneſs—Cou’dſt thou I ſay, Conſent to ſee me Pale and Dead, Stretch’d at thy Feet, Conſum’d with inward Burnings, rather than bleſt, than rais’d by Love, and Thee, to all a Deity in thy Embraces: For O! Believe me when I ſwear, that ’tis impoſſible to Live without thee. No more, no more (ſaid ſhe, letting her Head fall gently on his Breaſt) too eaſily I gueſs thy ſufferings by my own. But yet, D’elmont ’tis better to Die in Innocence, than to Live in Guilt. O! why (Reſum’d he, ſighing as if his Heart wou’d burſt) ſhou’d what we can’t avoid, be call’d a Crime? Be Witneſs for me Heaven! How much I have Strugl’d with this riſing Paſſion, even to Madneſs Struggl’d!—But in Vain, the Mounting Flame Blazes the more, the more I wou’d ſuppreſs it—My very Soul’s on Fire—I cannot bear it—Oh Melliora! Did’ſt thou but know the Thouſandth part, of what this Moment I endure, the ſtrong Convulſions of my Warring Thoughts, thy Heart Steel’d as it is, and Froſt’d round with Virtue, wou’d burſt it’s Icy ſhield and melt in Tears of Blood to pity me. Unkind and Cruel! (anſwer’d ſhe) do I not pertake them then?—Do I not bear, at leaſt, an equal ſhare in all your Agonies? —Haſt thou no Charms—Or have I not a Heart?—A moſt Suſceptible, and Tender Heart?—Yes, you may feel it Throb, it beats againſt my Breaſt, like an Impriſon’d Bird, and fain wou’d burſt it’s Cage! to fly to you, the aim of all it’s Wiſhes!—Oh D’elmont! I2 —With 060 I2v 60 —With theſe Words ſhe ſunk wholly into his Arms unable to ſpeak more: Nor was he leſs Diſolv’d in Rapture, both their Souls ſeem’d to take Wing together, and left their Bodies Motionleſs, as unworthy to bear a part in their more elevated Bliſs.
But D’elmont at his returning Senſe, repenting the Effects of the violent Tranſport, he had been in, now was preparing to take from the reſiſtleſs Melliora, the laſt, and only remaining proof that ſhe was all his own, when Melantha (who had Contriv’d this Separation only with a Deſign to be alone with the Count, and had carefully obſerv’d which way he took) was coming towards them. The ruſtling of her Cloths among the Buſhes, gave the Diſappointed Couple leave to riſe from the Poſture they were in, and Melliora to abſcond behind a Tree, before ſhe cou’d come near enough to diſcern who was there.
Melantha, as ſoon as ſhe ſaw the Count, put on an Air of Surprize, as if it were but by Chance, that ſhe was come into his walk, and Laughing with a viſible Affection, bleſs me! You here, my Lord! (ſaid ſhe) I vow this has the look of Aſſignation, but I hope you will not be ſo vain as to believe I came on purpoſe to ſeek you. No Madam (anſwer’d he coldly) I have not the leaſt Thought of being ſo happy. Lord! You are ſtrangely grave (Rejoyn’d ſhe) but ſuppoſe I really had come with a Deſign to meet you, what kind of a Reception might I have expected? I know no Reaſon Madam (ſaid 061 I3r 61 (ſaid he) that can oblige me to Entertain a Suppoſition ſo unlikely. Well then (reſum’d ſhe) I’ll put it paſt a Suppoſition, and tell you plainly, that I did walk this way on purpoſe to Divert your Spleen. I am ſorry (reply’d he, tir’d to Death with her Impertinence) that you are Diſappointed; for I am not in a Humour at preſent, of receiving any Diverſion. Fie (ſaid ſhe) is this an anſwer for the Gay, Gallant, Engaging Count D’elmont, to give a Lady who makes a Declaration of Admiring him—Who thinks it not too much to make the firſt Advances, and who wou’d believe her ſelf fully Recompenc’d for breaking thro’ the nice Decorums of her Sex, if he Receiv’d it kindly.—Madam (ſaid he, not a little amaz’d at her Imprudence) I know of no ſuch Perſon, or if I did, I muſt confeſs, ſhou’d be very much puzled how to behave in an Adventure ſo uncommon: Piſh (anſwer’d ſhe, growing vext at his Coldneſs) I know that ſuch Adventures are not uncommon with you: I’m not to Learn the Story of Alovysa, and if you had not been firſt Addreſs’d, perhaps might have been ’till now unmarried. Well Madam (ſaid he, more out of Humour) put the Caſe that what you ſay were true, I am Married; and therefore, (Interrupted ſhe) you ought to be better acquainted with the Temper of our Sex, and know that a Woman, where ſhe ſays ſhe Loves, Expects a Thouſand fine Things in Return. But there is more than a poſſibility (anſwer’d he) of her being Diſappointed and methinks Madam, a Lady of your Gaity ſhou’d be Converſant enough with Poetry, to Remember theſe too Lines of a famous English Poet.All 062 I3v 62 All Naturally fly, what does Purſue ’Tis fit Men ſhou’d be Coy, when Women Woe.
Melantha was fretted to the Heart to find him ſo inſenſible, but not being one of thoſe who are apt to repent any thing they have done, ſhe only pretended to fall into a violent fit of Laughter, and when ſhe came out of it, I Confeſs (ſaid ſhe) that I have loſt my Aim, which was, to make you believe that I was Dying for Love of you, raiſe you to the higheſt degree of Expectation, and then have the Pleaſure of Baulking you at once, by letting you know the jeſt. —But your Lordſhip is too hard for me, even at my own Weapon, Ridicule! I am mightily obliged to you Madam (anſwer’d he, more briskly than before) for your Intention; however, but ’tis probable, if I cou’d have been drawn into a belief that you were in Earneſt, I might, at ſuch a Time, and ſuch a Place as this, have taken ſome Meaſures which wou’d have ſufficiently Reveng’d me on you—But come Madam, (Continu’d he) the Morning begins to break, if you pleaſe we will find out Melliora, and go into the Houſe: As he ſpoke theſe Words, they perceiv’d her coming towards them, who had only taken a little round to meet ’em, and they all three made what haſt they cou’d in. Count D’elmont asked a formal leave of Melliora to go thro’ her Chamber, none of the Servants being yet ſtirring, to let him into the Houſe any other way, which being granted, he cou’d not help ſighing as he paſſed by the Bed, where he had been lately ſo Cruelly Diſappointed,appointed, 063 I4r 63 appointed, but he had no opportunity to ſpeak his Thoughts at that time to Melliora.
The Count rung for his Gentleman to riſe to undreſs him, and order’d him to ſend ſomebody to take care of his Horſe, and went to Bed, Alovysa was very much ſurpriz’d at his return from the Baron’s at ſo unſeaſonable an hour, but much more ſo, when in the Morning, Melantha came Laughing into the Chamber, and told her, all that ſhe knew of the Adventure of the Night before; her old fit of Jealouſie now reſum’d it’s Dominion in her Soul, ſhe cou’d not forbear thinking, that there was ſomething more in it, than Melantha had Diſcover’d: And preſently imagin’d that her Huſband ſtay’d not at the Baron’s, becauſe ſhe was abroad, but ſhe was more Confirm’d in this Opinion, when Melantha calling for her Coach to go home; the Count told her that he wou’d Accompany her thither, having urgent buſineſs with her Brother. ’Tis almoſt impoſſible to gueſs the rage Alovysa was in, but ſhe Diſſembled it ’till they were gone, then going to Melliora’s Chamber, ſhe vented part of it there, and began to queſtion her about their Behaviour in the Wilderneſs. Tho’ Melliora was glad to find, ſince ſhe was Jealous, that ſhe was Jealous of any Body rather than her ſelf, yet ſhe ſaid all that ſhe cou’d, to perſwade her, that ſhe had no Reaſon to be uneaſie.
But Alovysa was always of too fiery a Nature to liſten patiently to any thing cou dcou’d be 064 I4v 64 be offer’d, to alter the Opinion ſhe had taken up, tho’ it were with never ſo little an Appearance of Reaſon, but much more now, when ſhe thought her ſelf, in a manner Confirm’d: Forbear (ſaid ſhe) Dear Melliora to take the part of perfidy: I know he hates me, I read it in his Eyes, and feel it on his Lips, all day he ſhuns my Converſe, and at night, Colder than Ice receives my warm Embraces, and when, (oh that I cou’d tear the tender folly from my Heart) with Words as ſoft as Love can Form, I urge him to Diſcloſe the Cauſe of his Diſquiet, he anſwers but in ſighs, and turns away: Perhaps (reply’d Melliora) his Temper Naturally is Gloomy, and Love it ſelf, has ſcarce the Power to alter Nature. Oh no, (Interrupted Alovysa) far from it: Had I ne’er known him otherwiſe, I cou’d forgive what now I know, but he was once as kind as tender Mothers to their new Born Babes, and fond as the firſt Wiſhes of Deſiring Youth: Oh! With what eagerneſs has he Approach’d me, when abſent but an Hour —Hadſt thou e’re ſeen him in thoſe Days of Joy, even thou, Cold Cloyſter’d Maid, muſt have ador’d him! What Majeſty, then ſat upon his Brow?—What Matchleſs Glories ſhone around him!—---Miriads of Cupids, ſhot reſiſtleſs Darts in every Glance,—His Voice, when ſoftned in Amorous Accents, boaſted more Muſick than the Poets Orpheus! When e’re he ſpoke, methought the Air ſeem’d Charm’d, the Winds forgot to blow, all Nature liſtn’d, and like Alovysa melted into Tranſport—But he is Chang’d in all—The Heroe, and the Lover are Extinct, and all that’s left, of the once 065 K1r 65 once Gay D’elmont, is a Dull Senceleſs Picture: Melliora was too Senſibly Touch’d with this Diſcloſure, to be able preſently to make any anſwer to it, and ſhe cou’d not forbear Accompanying her in Tears, while Alovysa renew’d her Complaints in this manner, his Heart (ſaid ſhe) his Heart is loſt, for ever Raviſh’d from me, that boſom, where I had Treaſur’d all my Joys, my Hopes, my Wiſhes, now Burns and Pants, with Longings for a Rival, Curſt, Curſt Melantha, by Heaven they are even Impudent in Guilt, they Toy, they Kiſs, and make Aſſignations before my Face, and this Tyrant Husband Braves me with his falſeſhoodhood, , and thinks to Awe me into Calmneſs, But, if I endure it—No (Continu’d ſhe ſtamping, and walking about the Room in a Diſſorder’d Motion) I’ll be no longer the Tame eaſie wretch I have been—All France ſhall Eccho with my Wrongs—The Ungrateful Monſter!—Villain, whoſe well nigh waſted Stream of Wealth had dry’d, but for my kind of ſupply, ſhall he Enſlave me—Oh Melliora ſhun the Marriage Bed, as thou wou’dſt a Serpent’s Den, more Ruinous, more Poyſonous far, is Man.
’Twas in vain that Melliora endeavour’d to pacifie her, ſhe continu’d in this Humour all Day, and in the Evening receiv’d a conſiderable Addition to her former Diſquiet: The Count ſent a Servant of the Barons (having not taken any of his own with him) to acquaint her, that he ſhou’d not be at home that Night. ’Tis well (ſaid ſhe ready to burſt with Rage) let the Count K know 066 K1v 66 know that I can change as well as he, and ſhall excuſe his abſence tho’ it laſts to all Eternity, (gogo Continu’d(Continu’d ſhe, ſeeing him ſurpriz’d) deliver this Meſſage, and withal, aſſure him, that what I ſay, I mean. She had ſcarce made an end of theſe Words, when ſhe flung out of the Room, unable to utter more, and lock’d her ſelf into her Chamber, leaving Melliora no leſs Diſtracted, tho’ for Different Reaſons, to retire to her’s.
She had not ’till now, had a Moments time for Reflection ſince her Adventure in the Wilderneſs, and the Remembrance of it, joyn’d with the Diſpair, and Grief of Alovysa, which ſhe knew her ſelf the ſole occaſion of, threw her into moſt Terrible Agonies. She was ready to Die with ſhame, when ſhe Conſider’d how much the ſecret of her Soul was laid open to him, who of all the World ſhe ought moſt to have Conceal’d it from, and with remorſe, for the Miſeries her fatal Beauty was like to bring on a Family for whom ſhe had the greateſt Friendſhip.
But theſe Thoughts ſoon gave way to another, equally as ſhocking, ſhe was preſent when the Servant brought word the Count wou’d lie abroad, and had all the Reaſon imaginable to believe that Meſſage was only a feint, that he might have an opportunity to come unobſerv’d to her Chamber, as he had done the Night before. She Cou’d not preſently gueſs by what means he had got in, and therefore was at a loſs how to prevent him, ’till Recollectinglecting 067 K2r 67 lecting all the Circumſtances of that Tender interview, ſhe Remembred that when Melantha had ſurpriz’d them, he made his Eſcape by the back Stairs into the Garden, and that when they went down, the Door was Lock’d: Therefore Concluded it muſt be by a Key, that he had gain’d Admittance: And began to ſet her Invention to Work, how to keep this Dangerous Enemy to her Honour, from coming in, a ſecond Time. She had no Keys that were large enough to fill the Wards, and if ſhe had put one in, on the inſide, it wou’d have fallen out immediately on the leaſt touch, but at laſt, after trying ſeveral ways, ſhe tore her Hankerchief into ſmall pieces, and thruſt it into the hole with her Busk, ſo hard that it was Impoſſible for any Key to enter.
Melliora thought ſhe had done a very Horoick Action, and ſat her ſelf down on the Bedſide in a pleas’d Contemplation of the Conqueſt, ſhe believ’d her Virtue had gain’d over her Paſſion: But Alas! How little did ſhe know the true State of her own heart? She no ſooner heard a little noiſe at the Door, as preſently after ſhe did, but ſhe thought it was the Count, and began to tremble, not with fear, but deſire.
It was indeed Count D’elmont who had borrow’d Horſes and a Servant of the Baron, and got into the Garden as before, but with a much greater Aſſurance now of making himſelf entirely happy in the Gratification of his utmoſt wiſhes. But ’tis impoſſible to Repreſent the Greatneſs of his Vexation and Surprize, when all his Efforts to open the Door, were in vain: K2 He 068 K2v 68 He found ſomething had been done to the Lock but cou’d not Diſcover what, nor by any means remove the obſtacle which Melliora had put there. She, on the other hand was in all the Confuſion imaginable: Sometimes prompted by the Violence of her Paſſion, ſhe wou’d run to the Door, reſolving to open it, and then, frighted with the Apprehenſion of what wou’d be the Conſequence, as haſtily fly from it: If he had ſtay’d much longer, ’tis poſſible Love wou’d have got the better of all other Conſiderations, but a light appearing on the other ſide of the Garden, oblig’d the thrice Diſappoint Lover Lover to quit his Poſt. He had ſent away the Horſes by the Servant who came with him, and had no opportunity of going to the Barons that Night, ſo came to his own Fore-Gate, and Thunder’d with a Force, ſuitable to the Fury he was poſſeſt with; it was preſently open’d, moſt of the Family being up. Alovysa had rav’d her ſelf into Fits, and her diſorder Created full Employment for the Servants, who buſily running about the Houſe with Candles fetching things for her occaſion’d that Reflection which he had ſeen.
The Count was told of his Ladies Indiſpoſtion, but he thought he had ſufficient pretence not to come where ſhe was, after the Meſſage ſhe had ſent him by the Baron’s Servant, and order’d a Bed to be made ready for him in another Chamber.
Alovysa ſoon heard he was come in, and it was with much ado, that her Women prevail’d on 069 K3r 69 on her not to riſe and go to him that Moment, ſo little did ſhe Remember what ſhe had ſaid. She paſs’d the Night in moſt Terrible Inquietudes, and early in the Morning went to his Chamber, but finding it ſhut, ſhe was oblig’d to wait, tho’ with a World of Impatience, ’till ſhe heard he was ſtirring, which not being ’till towards Noon, ſhe ſpent all that Time in Conſidering how ſhe ſhou’d Accoſt him.
As ſoon as the Servant whom ſhe had order’d to watch, brought her Word that his Lord was Dreſſing, ſhe went into the Room, there was no body with him but his Gentleman, and he withdrawing out of Reſpect, imagining by both their Countenances there might ſomething be ſaid, not proper for him to hear. I ſee (ſaid ſhe) my Preſence is unwiſh’d, but I have learn’d from you to ſcorn Conſtraint, and as you openly avow your falſhood, I ſhall my Indignation, and my juſt Diſdain! Madam (anſwer’d he, ſullenly) if you have any thing to reproach me with, you cou’d not have choſe a more unlucky Time for it, than this, nor was I ever leſs diſpos’d to give you Satisfaction. No, Barbarous Cold Inſulter! (reſum’d ſhe) I had not the leaſt hope you wou’d, I find that I am grown ſo low in your Eſteem, I am not worth pains of an Invention.—By Heaven, this Damn’d indifference is worſe than the moſt vile Abuſe!— ’Tis plain Contempt!—O that I cou’d reſent it as I ought—Then Sword, or Poiſon ſhou’d revenge me—Why, why am I ſo Curſt to Love you ſtill?—O that thoſe Fiends (continu’d ſhe, burſting into Tears) that have Deform’dform’d 070 K3v 70 form’d thy Soul, wou’d Change thy Perſon too, turn every Charm to horrid Blackneſs, grim as thy Cruelty, and foul as thy Ingratitude, to free that Heart, thy Perjury has ruin’d. I thought Madam (ſaid he, with an Accent Maliciouſly Ironical) that you had thrown off, even the Appearances of Love for me, by the Meſſage you ſent me Yeſterday—O thou Tormenter (Interrupted ſhe) haſt thou not wrong’d me in the Tendereſt point, driven me to the laſt Degree of Miſery! to Madneſs!—To Diſpair? And doſt thou—Can’ſt thou Reproach me for Complaining?—Your Coldneſs, your unkindneſs ſtung me to the Soul, audand then I ſaid, I know not what---But I Remember well, that I wou’d have ſeem’d Careleſs, and Indifferent like you. You need not (reply’d he) give your ſelf the trouble of an Apology, I have no deſign to make a Quarrel of it: And wiſh, for both our Peace, you cou’d as eaſily moderate your Paſſions, as I can mine, and that you may the better do ſo, I leave you to reflect on what I have ſaid, and the little Reaſon I have ever given you, for ſuch Imtemperance. He left the Chamber with theſe Words, which inſtead of Quelling, more Enflam’d Alovysa’s Rage. She threw her ſelf down into an Elbow Chair that ſtood there, and gave a looſe to the Tempeſt of her Soul: Sometimes ſhe Curſt, and vow’d the bittereſt Revenge: Sometimes ſhe wept and at others, was Reſolv’d to fly to Death, the only Remedy for neglected Love: In the midſt of theſe Confus’d Meditations, caſting her Eye on a Table by her, ſhe ſaw Paper and ſomething written on it, which haſtily taking up, found 071 K4r 71 found it the Count’s Character, and read (to her Inexpreſſible Torment) theſe Lines.
The Diſpairing D’elmont to his Repenting Charmer.
What Cruel Star laſt Night, had Influence over my Inhumane Dear? Say, to what Cauſe muſt I Aſcribe, my Fatal Diſappointment? For I wou’d fain believe I owe it not to Thee!— Such an Action, after what thou haſt Confeſt, I cou’d expect from nothing but a Creature of Melantha’s Temper—No ’tis too much of the vain Coquet, and indeed, too much of the Jilt, for my Adorable to be guilty of—And yet—Oh how ſhall I excuſe thee?—When every thing was huſh’d, Darkneſs my Friend, and all my Wiſhes rais’d, when every Nerve Trembled with Fierce Deſires, and my Pulſe beat a call to Love, or Death,—(For if I not enjoy thee, that will ſoon arrive) then, then what, but thy ſelf, forgetting all thy Vows, thy Tender Vows of the moſt Ardent Paſſion, cou’d have Deſtroyed my Hopes?—Oh where was then that Love which lately Flatter’d my fond doating Soul, when ſinking, dying in my Arms, my Charmer lay! And ſuffer’d me to reap each Prologue favour to the greateſt Bliſs.—But they are paſt, and rigid Honour ſtands to Guard thoſe joys which——
There was no more written, but there needed no more to make Alovysa, before half Diſtracted, now quite ſo. She was now Convinc’d that ſhe had a much more Dangerous Rival than Melantha, and her Curioſity who 072 K4v 72 who it might be, was not much leſs Troubleſome to her than her other Paſſions.
She was going to ſeek her Husband with this Teſtimony of his Infidelity in her Hand, when he, remembring he had left it there, was coming haſtily back to fetch it. The Exceſs of Fury which ſhe met him with, is hardly to be imagin’d, ſhe upbraided him in ſuch a Faſhion as might be called reviling, and had ſo little regard to good Manners, or even Decency in what ſhe ſaid, that it Diſſipated all the Confuſion he was in at firſt, to ſee ſo plain a proof againſt him in her Hands, and rouz’d him to a Rage not much Inferior to her’s. She Endeavour’d (tho’ ſhe took a wrong method) to bring him to a Confeſſion, he had done amiſs, and he, to lay the Tempeſt of her Tongue by Storming louder, but neither ſucceeded in their wiſh: And he, ſtung with the bitterneſs of her Reproaches, and tired with Clamour, at laſt flung from her with a Solemn vow never to Eat, or Sleep with her more.
A Wife if equally haughty and jealous, if leſs fond than Alovysa will ſcarce be able to Comprehend the Greatneſs of her Sufferings: And it is not to be wonder’d at, that ſhe, ſo violent in all her Paſſions, and Agitated by ſo many, at once, Committed a Thouſand Extravagancies, which thoſe who know the force but of one, by the Aid of Reaſon may avoid. She tore down the Count’s Picture which hung in the Room, and Stamp’d on it, then the Letter, her own Cloths, and Hair, and whoever had ſeen 073 L1r 73 ſeen her in that Poſture wou’d have thought ſhe appear’d more like what the Furies are repreſented to be, than a Woman.
The Count when he took leave the Night before of the Baron D’espernay, had promis’d to return to him in the Morning, and give him an Account of his Adventure with Melliora, but the Vexation of his Diſappointment, and Quarrel with his Wife, having hindred him all this Time, the Baron came to his Houſe, Impatient to know the ſucceſs of an affair on which his own hopes depended. He was told by the Servants that their Lord was above, and running haſtily up without Ceremony, the firſt Perſon he ſaw was Alovysa, in the Condition I have diſcrib’d.
The Baron had Paſſionately Lov’d this Lady from the firſt Moment he had ſeen her, but it was with that ſort of Love, which conſiders more it’s own Gratification than the Intereſt, or quiet of the object Beloved. He imagin’d by the Wildneſs of Alovysa’s Countenance and Behaviour that the Count had given her ſome Extraordinary occaſion of Diſtaſt, and was ſo far from being troubled at the Sorrow he beheld her in, that he rejoyc’d in it, as the Advancement of his Deſigns. But he wanted not cunning to diſguiſe his Sentiments, and Approaching her with a Tender, and Submiſſive Air, Entreated her to tell him the Cauſe of her Diſorder. Alovysa had always conſider’d him as a Perſon of worth, and one who was entitled to her Eſteem by the vaſt Reſpect he always paid her, L and 074 L1v 74 and the Admiration, which on every opportunity, he Expreſt for her Wit and Beauty. She was not perhaps far from gueſſing the Extent of his Deſires, by ſome looks, and private Glances he had given her, and notwithſtanding her Paſſion, for the Count, was too vain to be offended at it. On the Contrary, it pleas’d her Pride, and Confirm’d her in the good Opinion ſhe had of her ſelf, to think a Man of his Senſe ſhou’d be Compell’d by the force of her Irreſiſtable Attractions to adore, and to Diſpair, and therefore made no Difficulty of Disburthening all the Anguiſh of her Soul, in the Boſom of this, as ſhe believ’d, ſo faithful Friend.
The Baron ſeem’d to receive this Declaration of her wrongs, with all Imaginable concern: And accus’d the Count of Stupidity in ſo little knowing the value of a Jewel he was Maſter of, and gave her ſome hints, that he was not unſenſible who the Lady was, that had been the Cauſe of it, which Alovysa preſently taking hold on, O ſpeak her Name (ſaid ſhe) Quick, let me know her, or own thy Friendſhip was but feign’d to undo me, and that thou hat’ſt the wretched Alovysa. O far (reſum’d he) far be ſuch thought, firſt let me Die, to prove my Zeal —my Faith, ſincere to you, who only next to Heaven, are worthy Adoration—But forgive me if I ſay, in this, you muſt not be obey’d. O why? Said ſhe, perhaps, (anſwer’d he) I am a truſted Perſon—A Confident, and if I ſhould reveal the ſecret of my Friend, I know, tho’ you approv’d the Treachery, you wou’d deteſt the Traytor. O! never (rejoyn’d ſhe impatiently)ently 075 L2r 75 ently) ’twou’d be a Service, more than the whole Study of my Life can pay.—Am I not Rack’d,—Stab’d—And Mangled in Idea? By ſome dark Hand ſhaded with Night and Ignorance, and ſhou’d I not be grateful for a Friendly clue to guide me from this Labyrinth of Doubt, to a full day of certainty, where all the feind may ſtand expos’d before me, and I have Scope to Execute my Vengeance. Beſides continu’d(continu’d ſhe, finding he was ſilent and ſeemingly Extreamly mov’d at what ſhe ſaid) ’tis joyning in the Cauſe of Guilt to hide her from me—Come, you muſt tell me—Your Honour ſuffers elſe —Both that, and pity, plead the Injur’d’s Cauſe. Alas (ſaid he) Honour can ne’er conſent to a Diſcovery of what, with Solemn vows I have promis’d to Conceal, but Oh—There is ſomething in my Soul, more Powerful, which ſays, that Alovysa muſt not be deny’d. Why then (cry’d ſhe) do you delay? Why keep me on the Rack, when one ſhort word wou’d eaſe me of my Torment? I have Conſider’d (anſwer’d he after a pauſe) Madam, you ſhall be ſatisfied, depend on it you ſhall, tho’ not this Moment, you ſhall have greater Proofs than words can give you—Occular Demonſtration ſhall ſtrike Denial Dumb. What mean you? Interrupted ſhe, you ſhall behold (ſaid he) the Guilty pair, Link’d in each others Arms. Oh Espernay (rejoyn’d ſhe) coud’ſt thou do that? —---’Tis eaſie (anſwer’d he) as I can order Matters—But longer Conferrence may render me ſuſpected—I’ll go ſeek the Count, for he muſt be my Engine to betray himſelf—In a Day or two, at fartheſt you ſhall enjoy all the Revenge Detection can beſtow.L2 Alo- 076 L2v 76
Alovysa wou’d fain have perſwaded him to have told her the Name of her Rival, in part of that full Conviction he had promis’d her, but in vain, and ſhe was oblig’d to leave the Iſſue of this Affair entirely to his Management.
The Baron was Extreamly pleas’d with the Progreſs he had made, and did not doubt but for the purchaſe of this ſecret he ſhou’d obtain every thing he deſired of Alovysa. He found Count D’elmont full of trouble and perplexed Thoughts, and when he had heard the Hiſtory of his Diſappointment: I am ſorry to hear (ſaid he) that the fooliſh Girl does not know her own mind—But come (mymy Lord continu(continued he, after a little pauſe) do not ſuffer your ſelf to ſink beneath a Caprice, which all thoſe who Converſe much with that Sex muſt frequently meet with—I have a Contrivance in my Head, that cannot fail to render all her peeviſh Virtue fruſtrate: And make her happy in her own Diſpite. Oh Espernay! (Reply’d the Count) thou talkeſt as Friendſhip Prompts thee, I know thou wiſheſt my Succeſs, but Alas! So many, and ſuch unforeſeen Accidents have happen’d hiterto to prevent me, that I begin to think that the Hand of Fate has ſet me down for Loſt. For ſhame my Lord (Interrupted the Baron) be not ſo poor in Spirit—Once more I tell you that ſhe ſhall be yours—A Day or two ſhall make her ſo.—And becauſe I know you Lovers are unbelieving, and impatient— I will Communicate the means. A Ball, and Entertainment ſhall be provided at my Houſe, to 077 L3r 77 to which, all the Neighbouring People of Condition ſhall be envited, amongſt the number your ſelf, your Lady, and Melliora; it will be late before ’tis done, and I muſt perſwade your Family, and ſome others who live fartheſt off (to Countenance the Deſign) to ſtay all Night, all that you have to do, is to keep up your Reſentment to Alovysa that you may have a pretence to ſleep from her: I ſhall take care to have Melliora plac’d where no Impediment may Bar your Entrance. Impoſſible Suggeſtion! (Cry’d D’elmont ſhaking his Head) Alovysa is in too much Rage of Temper to liſten to ſuch an Invitation, and without her, we muſt not hope for Melliora. How Induſtrious are you (Reſum’d the Baron) to Create Difficulties where there is none: Tho’ I Confeſs this may have, to you, a Reaſonable Appearance of one. But know, my Friendſhip Builds it’s hope to ſerve you on a ſure Foundation—This Jealous, Furious Wife, makes me the Confident of her Imagin’d Injuries, Conjures me to uſe all my Intereſt with you for a Reconcilement, and believes I am now Pleading for her—I muſt for a while rail at your Ingratitude, and Condemn your want of Taſte, to keep my Credit with her, and now and then ſweeten her with a Doubtful Hope that it may be poſſible at laſt to bring you to acknowledge that you have been in an Error; this, at once Confirms her, that I am wholly on her ſide, and Engages her to follow my Advice.Tho’ 078 L3v 78
Tho’ nothing Palls deſire ſo much as too eaſie an Aſſurance of means to gratifie it, yet a little hope is abſolutely neceſſary to preſerve it. The fiery Wiſhes of D’elmont’s Soul, before, Chill’d by diſpair, and half ſuppreſt with Clouding Griefs, Blaz’d now, as Fierce, and Vigorous as ever, and he found ſo much probability in what the Baron ſaid, that he was ready to Adore him for the Contrivance.
Thus all Parties but Melliora remain’d in a ſort of pleas’d Expectation. The Count doubted not of being happy, nor Alovysa of having her Curioſity ſatisfy’d by the Baron’s aſſiſtance, nor himſelf of the reward he deſign’d to demand of her for that good Service, and each long’d Impatiently for the Day, or rather Night, which was to bring this great Affair to a Period. Poor Melliora was the only Perſon, who had no Interval of Comfort. Reſtrain’d by Honour, and enflam’d by Love, her very Soul was torn: And when ſhe found that Count D’elmont made no attempt to get in to her Chamber again, as ſhe imagin’d he wou’d, ſhe fell into a Diſpair more terrible than all her former Inquietudes, ſhe preſently fancy’d that the Diſappointment he had met with, the Night before, had driven the hopeleſs Paſſion from his Heart, and the Thoughts of being no longer Beloved by him were unſupportable. She ſaw him not all that Day, nor the next, the quarrel between him and Alovysa having caus’d ſeparate Tables, ſhe was oblig’d in Decency, to eat at that where ſhe was, and had the 079 L4r 79 the Mortification of hearing her ſelf Curs’d every Hour, by the Enrag’d Wife, in the Name of her unknown Rival, without daring to ſpeak a Word in her own Vindication.
In the mean time the Baron Diligent to make good the Promiſes he had given the Count and Alovysa, for his own Ends, got every thing ready, and came himſelf to D’elmont’s Houſe, to entreat their Company at his. Now Madam (ſaid he) to Alovysa the time is come to prove your Servants Faith: This Night ſhall put an end to your uncertainty: They had no opportunity for further Speech, Melliora came that Moment into the Room, who being ask’d to go to the Ball, and ſeeming a little unwilling to appear at any Publick Diverſion by Reaſon of the late Death of her Father, put the Baron in a Mortal Apprehenſion for the Succeſs of his Undertaking: But Alovysa joyning in his Entreaties ſhe was at laſt prevail’d upon: The Count went along with the Baron in his Chariot: And the Lady ſoon follow’d in an other.
There was a vaſt deal of Company there, and the Count danc’d with ſeveral of the Ladies, and was Extreamly gay amonſtamongſt them: Alovysa watch’d his Behaviour, and regarded every one of them, in their Turn, with Jealouſie, but was far from having the leaſt Suſpicion of her whom only ſhe had Cauſe.
Tho’ Melliora’s greateſt Motive to go was, becauſe ſhe might have the happineſs of ſeeing her 080 L4v 80 her Admir’d Count; a Bleſſing, ſhe had not enjoy’d theſe two Days, yet ſhe took but little Satisfaction in that View, without an opportunity of being ſpoke to by him: But that uneaſineſs was remov’d, when the ſerious Dances being over, and they all joyning in a grand Ballet: He every now, and then, got means to ſay a Thousand tender Things to her, preſs’d her Hand whenever he turn’d her, and wou’d ſometimes when at Diſtance from Alovysa pretend to be out, on purpoſe to ſtand ſtill, and talk to her. This kind of Behaviour Baniſh’d, part of her Sufferings, for tho’ ſhe cou’d Conſider both his, and her own Paſſion in no other view, than that of a very great Misfortune to them both, yet there are ſo many Pleaſures even in the Pains of Love: Such tender Thrillings, ſuch Soul-Raviſhing Amuſements attend ſome happy Moments of Contemplation, that thoſe who moſt Endeavour, can Wiſh but faintly to be freed from.
When it grew pretty late, the Baron made a ſign to the Count to follow him into a little Room joyning to that where they were, and when he had; now my Lord (ſaid he) I doubt not but this Night will make you entirely poſſeſſor of your Wiſhes: I have prolong’d the Entertainment on purpoſe to detain thoſe who ’tis neceſſary for our Deſign, and have order’d a Chamber for Melliora which has no Impediment to Bar your Entrance: O! Thou beſt of Friends (anſwer’d D’elmont) how ſhall I requite thy Goodneſs? In making (reſum’d the Baron) a right uſe of the opportunity I give you, 081 M1r 81 you, for if you do not, you render Fruitleſs all the Labours of my Brain, and make me wretched while my Friend is ſo. Oh! fear me not (cry’d D’elmont in a Rapture) I will not be deny’d, each faculty of my Soul is bent upon Enjoyment, tho’ Death in all it’s various Horrors glar’d upon me, I’d ſcorn ’em all in Melliora’s Arms—O! the very Name Tranſports me—New fires my Blood, and tingles in my vains—Imagination points out all her Charms—Methinks I ſee her lie in ſweet Confuſion—Fearing—Wiſhing—Melting ---Her glowing Cheeks—Her cloſing dying Eyes —Her every kindling—Oh ’tis too vaſt for Thought! Even fancy flags, and cannot reach her Wonders! As he was ſpeaking , Melantha who had taken notice of his going out of the Room, and had follow’d him with a deſign of talking to him, came time enough to hear the latter part of what he ſaid, but ſeeing her Brother with him withdrew with as much haſt as ſhe came, and Infinitely more uneaſineſs of Mind, ſhe was now but too well aſſur’d that ſhe had a greater Difficulty than the Count’s Matrimonial Engagement to get over, before ſhe cou’d reach his Heart, and was ready to burſt with Vexation to think ſhe was ſupplanted: Full of a Thouſand Tormenting Reflections ſhe return’d to the Ball Room, and was ſo out of Humour all the Night that ſhe cou’d hardly be Commonly Civil to any Body that ſpoke to her.
At laſt the hour ſo much deſir’d by the Count, the Baron, and Alovysa (tho’ for various Reaſons) was arriv’d: The Company broke up, M thoſe 082 M1v 82 thoſe who liv’d near, which were the greateſt part went home, the others, being Entreated by the Baron ſtay’d. When they were to be Conducted to their Chambers, he call’d Melantha and deſir’d ſhe wou’d take care of the Ladies as he ſhou’d Direct, but above all charg’d to place Alovysa and Melliora in two Chambers which he ſhow’d her.
Melantha was now let into the ſecret ſhe ſo much deſir’d to know, the Name of her Rival, which ſhe had not come time enough to hear, when ſhe did the Count’s Rapturous Deſcription of her. She had before found out, that her Brother was in Love with Alovysa, and did not doubt but that there was a double Intrigue to be carry’d on that Night, and was the more Confirm’d in that Opinion, when ſhe remembred that the Baron had order’d the Lock that day to be taken off the Door of that Chamber where Melliora was to be Lodg’d. It preſently came into her Head, to betray all ſhe knew to Alovysa, but ſhe ſoon rejected that Reſolution for another, which ſhe thought wou’d give her a more pleaſing Revenge: She Conducted all the Ladies to ſuch Chambers as ſhe thought fit, and Alovysa to that her Brother had deſir’d, having no deſign of Diſappointing him, but Melliora ſhe led to one where ſhe always lay her ſelf, roſolvingreſolving to ſupply her place in the other, where the Count was to come: Yes (ſaid ſhe to her ſelf) I will receive his Vows in Melliora’s Room, and when I find him raiſ’d to the higheſt Pitch of Expectation, declare who I am, and Awe him into 083 M2r 83 into Tameneſs; ’twill be a Charming piece of Vengeance, beſides if he be not the moſt Ungrateful Man on Earth, he muſt Adore my Generoſity in not Expoſing him to his Wife, when I have him in my Power, after the Coldneſs, he has us’d me with. She found ſomething ſo pleaſing in this Contrivance, that no Conſiderations whatever cou’d have Power to deter her from purſuing it.
When the Baron found every thing was ſilent, and ready for his purpoſe, he went ſoftly to Count D’elmont’s Chamber, where he was impatiently Expected, and taking him by the Hand, led him to that, where he had ordered Melliora to be Lodg’d, when they were at the Door, you ſee my Lord (ſaid he) I have kept my Promiſe: There lies the Idol of your Soul, go in, be bold, and all the Happineſs you wiſh attend you. The Count was in too great a hurry of diſorder’d Thoughts to make him any other anſwer than a Paſſionate Embrace, and gently puſhing open the Door, which had no faſtning to it, left the Baron to Proſecute the remaining part of his Treacherous Deſign.
Alovysa had all the time of her being at the Baron’s, Endur’d moſt grievous Racks of Mind, her Husband appear’d to her, that Night, more Gay, and more Lovely if poſſible than ever, but that Contentment which ſat upon his Face, and added to his Graces, ſtung her to the Soul; when ſhe Reflected how little Simpathy their was between them, ſcarce a Month M2 (ſaid 084 M2v 84 (ſaid ſhe to her ſelf) was I bleſs with thoſe looks of Joy, a penſive ſullenneſs has dwelt upon his Brow e’re ſince, ’till now, ’tis from my ruin that his Pleaſure flows, he hates me, and rejoyces in a pretence, tho’ ne’er ſo poor a one, to be abſent from me. She was inwardly toſs’d with a Multitude of theſe, and the like perturbations, tho’ the Aſſurance the Baron had given her of Revenge, made her Conceal them tollerably well, while ſhe was in Company, but when ſhe was left alone in the Chamber, and perceiv’d the Baron did not come ſo ſoon as ſhe expecterd. Her Rage broke out in all the violence Imaginable: She gave a looſe to every furious Paſſion, and when ſhe ſaw him enter, Cruel Espernay (ſaid ſhe) where have you been!—Is this the Friendſhip which you vow’d? To leave me here Diſtracted with my Griefs, while my perfidious Husband, and the Curſed ſhe, that robs me of him, are perhaps, as happy, as their Guilty Love can make them? Madam (anſwered he) ’tis but a Moment ſince they are met, a Moment! (Interrupted ſhe) a Moment is too much the ſmalleſt Particle of Undivided Time; may make my Rival bleſt, and vaſtly Recompence for all that my Revenge can do. Ah Madam (reſum’d the Baron) how Dearly, do you ſtill Love, that moſt Ungrateful Man: I had hopes that the full Knowledge of his Falſhood might have made you ſcorn the ſcorner, I ſhall be able by to Morrow (reply’d the Cunning Alovysa who knew his drift well enough) to give you a better Account of my Sentiments than now I can:‑But why do we delay (continu’d ſhe Impatiently) are they 085 M3r 85 they not together?—The Baron ſaw this was no time to preſs her farther, and therefore taking a Wax Candle which ſtood on the Table, in one Hand, and offering the other to lead her, I am ready Madam (ſaid he) to make good my Promiſe, and ſhall Eſteem no other Hours of my Life happy but thoſe which may be ſervicable to you: They had only a ſmall part of a Gallery to go thro’, and Alovysa had no time to anſwer to theſe laſt Words, if ſhe had been Compos’d enough to have done it, before they were at the door, which as ſoon as the Baron had brought her to, he withdrew with all poſſible Speed.
Tho’ the Count had been but a very little time in the Arms of his ſuppos’d Melliora, yet he had made ſo good uſe of it, and had taken ſo much Advantage of her complying Humour, that all his Fears were at an End, he now thought himſelf the moſt Fortunate of all Mankind; and Melantha was far from repenting the Breach of the Reſolution ſhe had made of Diſcovering herſelf to him. His Behaviour was to her all Rapture, all killing Extacy, and ſhe flatter’d herſelf with a Beleif, that when he ſhou’d come to know to whom he ow’d that Bliſs he had poſſeſs’d, he would not be ungrateful for it.
What a confus’d Conſternation muſt this Pair be in, when Alovysa ruſh’d into the Room;—’Tis hard to ſay, which was the greateſt, the Count’s Concern for his imagin’d Melliora’s Honour, or Melantha’s for her own; but if one may form a judgment from the Levity 086 M3v 86 Levity of the One’s Temper, and the generoſity of the Other’s, one may believe that his had the Preheminence: But neither of them were ſo loſt in Thought, as not to take what meaſures the Place and Time wou’d permit, to baffle the Fury of this Incens’d Wife: Melantha ſlunk under the Cloaths, and the Count ſtarted up in the Bed at the firſt Appearance of the Light, which Alovysa had in her Hand, and in the moſt angry Accent he cou’d turn his Voice to, ask’d her the Reaſon of her coming there; Rage, at this Sight (prepar’d and arm’d for it as ſhe was) took away all power of Utterance from her; but ſhe flew to the Bed, and began to tear the Cloaths (which Melantha held faſt over her Head) in ſo violent a manner, that the Count found the only way to Tame her, was to meet Force with Force; ſo jumping out, he ſiez’d on her, and throwing her into a Chair, and holding her down in it, Madam, Madam (ſaid he) you are Mad, and I as ſuch ſhall uſe you, unleſs you promiſe to return quietly, and leave me. She cou’d yet bring forth no other Words, than Villain,—Monſter! and ſuch like Names, which her Paſſion and Injury ſuggeſted; which he but little regarding but for the Noiſe ſhe made; for ſhame (reſum’d he) Expoſe not thus your ſelf and me, if you cannot Command your Temper, at leaſt confine your Clamours— I will not ſtir (ſaid ſhe, raving and ſtruggling to get Looſe) ’till I have ſeen the Face that has undone me, I’ll tear out her bewitching Eyes— the Curſt Adultreſs! and leave her Miſtreſs of fewer Charms than thou canſt find in me: She ſpoke this with ſo elevated a Voice, that the Count endeavour’d to ſtop her Mouth, that ſhe might 087 M4r 87 might not alarm the Company that were in the Houſe, but he cou’d not do it time enough to prevent her from Schrikeing out Murder.— Help! or the Barbarous Man will kill me! At theſe Words the Baron came running in immediately, full of Surprize and Rage at ſomething he had met with in the mean time: How came this Woman here, cry’d the Count to him: Ask me not my Lord (ſaid he) for I can anſwer nothing, but every thing this Curſed Night, I think, has happened by Enchantment; he was going to ſay ſomething more, but ſeveral of his Gueſts hearing a Noiſe, and cry of Murder, and directed by the Lights they ſaw in that Room, came in, and preſently after a great many of the Servants, that the Chamber was as full as it cou’d hold: The Count let go his Wife on the Sight of the firſt Stranger that Enter’d; and indeed, there was no need of his Confining her in that Place (tho’ he knew not ſo much) for the violence of ſo many contrary Paſſions warring in her Breaſt at once, had thrown her into a Swoon, and ſhe fell back when he let go his Hold of her, Motionleſs, and in all appearance Dead. The Count ſaid little, but began to put on his Cloaths, aſham’d of the Poſture he had been ſeen in; but the Baron endeavour’d to perſwade the Company, that it was only a Family Quarrel of no Conſequence, told them he was ſorry for the Diſturbance it had given them, and deſir’d them to return to their Reſt, and when the room was pretty clear, order’d two or three of the Maids to carry Alovysa to her Chamber, and apply Things proper for her Recovery; as they were bearing her out, Melliora who had been frighted as well as the reſt 088 M4v 88 reſt with the Noiſe ſhe heard, was running along the Gallery to ſee what had happen’d, and met them; her Trouble to find Alovysa in that Condition was unfeign’d, and ſhe aſſiſted thoſe that were employ’d about her, and accompany’d them where they carry’d her.
The Count was going to the Bed-ſide to comfort the conceal’d Fair, that lay ſtill under the Cloaths, when he ſaw Melliora at the Door: What Surprize was ever equal to his, at this View? —He ſtood like one transfix’d with Thunder, he knew not what to think, or rather cou’d not think at all, Confounded with a ſeeming Impoſſibility. He beheld the Perſon, whom he thought had lain in his Arms, whom he had enjoy’d, whoſe Bulk and Proportion he ſtill ſaw in the Bed, whom he was juſt going to Addreſs to, and for whom he had been in all the Agonies of Soul imaginable, come from a diſtant Chamber, and unconcern’d, ask cooly how Alovysa came to be taken ill: He look’d confuſedly about, ſometimes on Melliora, ſometimes toward the Bed, and ſometimes on the Baron; am I awake (ſaid he) or is every thing I ſee and hear Illuſion? The Baron cou’d not preſently reſolve after what manner he ſhou’d anſwer, tho’ he perfectly knew the Truth of this Adventure, and who was in the Bed; for, when he had Conducted Alovysa to that Room, in order to make the Diſcovery he had promis’d, he went to his Siſter’s Chamber, deſigning to abſcond there, in caſe the Count ſhou’d fly out on his Wife’s Entrance, and ſeeing him there, imagine who it was that betray’d him; and finding the Door ſhut, knock’d and call’d to have 089 N1r 89 have it Open’d; Melliora, who began to think ſhe ſhou’d lye in quiet no where, ask’d who was there and what he wou’d have; I wou’d ſpeak with my Siſter (reply’d he, as much aſtoniſh’d then, to hear who it was that anſwer’d him, as the Count was now to ſee her) and Melliora having aſſur’d him that ſhe was not with her, left him no room to doubt, by what means the Exchange had been made: Few Men, how amorous ſoever themſelves, care that the Female part of their Family ſhou’d be ſo, and he was moſt ſencibly mortify’d with it, but reflecting that it cou’d not be kept a ſecret, at leaſt from the Count, my Lord (ſaid he, pointing to the Bed) there lyes the Cauſe of your Amazement, that wicked Woman has betray’d the Truſt I repos’d in her, and deceiv’d both you and me; riſe continu’d he, throwing open the Curtains, thou ſhame of thy Sex, and everlaſting Blot and Scandal of the Noble Houſe thou art deſcended from; riſe, I ſay, or I will ſtabb thee here in this Scene of Guilt; in ſpeaking theſe Words, he drew out his Sword, and appear’d in ſuch a real Fury, that the Count tho’ more and more amaz’d with every thing he ſaw and heard, made no doubt but he wou’d do as he ſaid, and run to hold his Arm.
As no Woman that is Miſtreſs of a great ſhare of Wit will be a Coquet, ſo no Woman that has not a little can be one: Melantha, tho’ frighted to Death with theſe unexpected Occurrences, feign’d a Courage, which ſhe had not in reality, and thruſting her Head a little above the Cloaths, Bleſs me Brother (ſaid ſhe) I vow that I do not know what you mean by all this Buſtle, neither am I N guilty 090 N1v 90 guilty of any Crime: I was vext indeed to be made a property of, and chang’d Beds with Melliora for a little innocent Revenge; for I always deſign’d to Diſcover my ſelf to the Count time enough to prevent Miſchief. The Baron was not ſo ſilly as to believe what ſhe ſaid, tho’ the Count as much as he hated her, had too much Generoſity to Contradict her, and keeping ſtill hold of the Baron, come Espernay (ſaid he) I believe your Siſter’s Stars and mine have from our Birth been at Variance, for this is the third Diſappointment ſhe has given me; once in Melliora’s Chamber, then in the Wilderneſs, and now here, but I forgive herflawed-reproduction1 character therefore let us retire and leave her to her Repoſeflawed-reproduction1 character The Baron was ſenſible that all the Rage in the World cou’d not recal what had been done, and only giving her a furious Look, went with the Count out of the Room, without ſaying any thing more to her at that time.
The Baron with much Entreating, at laſt prevail’d on Count D’elmont to go into his Bed, where he accompany’d him; but they were both of them too full of troubled Meditations to Sleep: His Siſter’s Indiſcretion vext the Baron to the Heart, and took away a great part of the Joy, for the freſh Occaſion the Count had given Alovysa to withdraw her Affection from Him. But with what Words can the various Paſſions that agitated the Soul of D’elmont be deſcrib’d? The Tranſports he had enjoy’d in an imaginary Felicity, were now turn’d to ſo many real Horrors; he ſaw himſelf expos’d to all the World, for it wou’d have been Vanity to the 091 N2r 91 the laſt Degree, to believe this Adventure wou’d be kept a ſecret, but what gave him the moſt bitter Reflection was, that Melliora, when ſhe ſhou’d know it, as he cou’d not doubt but ſhe immediately wou’d be told it by Alovysa; wou’d judge of it by the Appearance, and believe him, at once, the moſt vicious, and moſt falſe of Men. As for his Wife he thought not of her, with any Compaſſion for his Sufferings, but with Rage and Hate, for that jealous Curioſity, which he ſuppos’d had led her to watch his Actions that Night, (for he had not the leaſt ſuſpicion of the Baron) Melantha he always diſpis’d, but now deteſted, for the Trick ſhe had put upon him; yet thought it wou’d be not only unmanly, but barbarous to let her know he did ſo: It was in vain for him to endeavour to come to a determination after what manner he ſhou’d behave himſelf to any of them, and when the Night was paſt in forming a thouſand ſeveral Reſolutions, the Morning found him as much to ſeek as before: He took his Leave early of the Baron, not being willing to ſee any of the Company after what had happen’d, ’till he was more Compos’d.
He was not deceiv’d in his Conjectures, concerning Melliora, for Alovysa was no ſooner recover’d from her Swoon, than ſhe with bitter Exclamations told her what had been the Occaſion, and put that aſtoniſh’d fair one into ſuch a viſible Diſorder, as ſhe had not been too full of Miſery to take Notice of it, had made her eaſily perceive that ſhe was deeply Intereſted in the Story: but, whatever ſhe ſaid againſt the Count, as ſhe cou’d not forbear ſomething, callingN2 ing 092 N2v 92 ing him Ungrateful, Perjur’d, Deceitful, and Inconſtant, Alovysa took only, as a proof of Friendſhip to her ſelf, and the Effects of that juſt Indignation all Women ought to feel for him that takes a Pride in injuring any one of them.
When the Count was gone, the Baron ſent to Alovysa to enquire of her Health, and if he might have leave to Viſit her in her Chamber, and being told ſhe deſir’d he ſhou’d, reſolv’d now to make his Demand. Melliora had but juſt parted from her, in order to make herſelf ready to go home, and ſhe was alone when he came in. As ſoon as the firſt Civilities were over, ſhe began afreſh to Conjure him to let her know the Name of her Rival, which he artfully evading, tho’ not abſolutely denying, made her almost Diſtractedflawed-reproduction1 character the Baron carefully obſerv’d her every Look and Motion, and when he found her Impatience was rais’d to the higheſt Degree; Madam (ſaid he, taking her by the Hand and looking tenderly on her) you cannot blame a Wretch, who has laviſh’d all he had away to one poor Jewel, to make the moſt he can of that, to ſupply his future Wants: I have already forfeited all pretence to Honour, and even common Hoſpitality, by betraying the Truſt that was repos’d in me, and expoſing under my own Roof, the Man who takes me for his deareſt Friend, and what elſe I have ſuffer’d from that unavoidable Impulſe which compell’d me to do all this, your ſelf may judge who too well know the Pangs, and Tortures of neglected Love—Therefore (continu’d he with a deep Sigh) ſince this laſt reſerve is all my Hopes dependance, do not, Oh Charming Alovysa think 093 N3r 93 think me Mercinary, if I preſume to ſet a price upon it, which I confeſs too high, yet nothing leſs can Purchaſe: No Price (reply’d Alovysa, who thought a little Condeſcention was neceſſary to win him to her purpoſe) can be too dear to buy my Peace, nor Recompence too great for ſuch a Service: What, not your Love? ſaid the Baron eagerly kiſſing her Hand: No (reſum’d ſhe, forcing herſelf to look kindly on him) not even that, when ſuch a Proof of your’s Engages it; but do not keep me longer on the Rack, give me the Name and then.— She ſpoke theſe laſt Words with ſuch an Air of Languiſhment, that the Baron thought his Work was done, and growing Bolder, from her Hand he proceeded to her Lips, and anſwer’d her only in Kiſſes, which diſtaſtful as they were to her, ſhe ſuffer’d him to take without reſiſtance, but that was not all he wanted, and believing this the Critical Minute, he threw his Arms round her Waſte, and began to draw her by little and little toward the Bed; which ſhe affected to permit with a kind of an unwilling Willingneſs; ſaying, well, if you wou’d have me able to deny you nothing you can ask, tell me the Name I ſo much wiſh to know: But the Baron was as Cunning as ſhe, and ſeeing thro’ her Artifice, was reſolv’d to make ſure of his Reward firſt; Yes, yes, my Adorable Alovysa (anſwer’d he, having brought her now very near the Bed) you ſhall immediately know all; thy Charms will force the Secret from my Breaſt, cloſe as its lodg’d within my inmoſt Soul.—Dying with Rapture, I will tell thee all.—If that a thought of this injurious Husband can Interpoſe amidſt Extatick Joys. What will not ſome Women venture to ſatisfy a jea- 094 N3v 94 jealous Curioſity? Alovysa had feign’d to Conſent to his Deſires (in hopes to engage him to a a Diſcovery) ſo far, and had given him ſo many Liberties, that now, it was as much as ſhe cou’d do to ſave herſelf, from the utmoſt Violence, and perceiving ſhe had been outwitted, and that nothing but ſhe really yielding up her Honour cou’d oblige him to reveal what ſhe deſir’d. Villain (ſaid ſhe, ſtruggling to get looſe from his Embrace) dare thy baſe Soul believe ſo vilely of me? releaſe me from thy deteſted Hold, or my Cries ſhall force thee to it, and proclaim thee for what thou art, a Monſter! The Baron was not enough deluded by her pretence of kindneſs to be much ſurpriz’d at this ſudden turn of her Behaviour, and only cooly anſwer’d, Madam, I have no Deſign of uſing Violence, but perceive, if I had depended on your Gratitude, I had been miſerably deceiv’d. Yes (ſaid ſhe looking Contemptibly on him) I own thou wou’d’ſt; for whatſoever I might ſay, or thou cou’dſt hope, I Love my Husband ſtill, with an unbated Fondneſs, doat upon him! faithleſs and cruel as he is, he ſtill is lovely! his Eyes looſe nothing of their Brightneſs, nor his Tongue its ſoftneſs! his very Frowns have more Attraction in them, than any others Smiles! and canſt thou think? Thou, ſo different in all from him, that thou ſeem’ſt not the ſame Species of Humanity, nor ought’ſt to ſtile thy ſelf a Man, ſince he is no more: Can’ſt thou, I ſay, believe a Woman, Bleſt as Alovysa has been, can e’re blot out the dear Remembrance and quit her Hopes of regain’d Paradiſe in his Embrace, for certain Hell in Thine? She ſpoke theſe Words with ſo much Scorn, that the Baron skill’d 095 N4r 95 skill’d as he was in every Art to Tempt, cou’d not conceal the ſpite he conceiv’d at them, and letting go her Hand (which perforce he had held) I leave you, Madam (ſaid he) to the pleaſure of Enjoying your own Humour; neither that, nor your Circumſtances are to be Envy’d, but I wou’d have you to remember that you are your own Tormentor, while you refuſe the only means can bring you Eaſe. I will have Eaſe another way (ſaid ſhe, Incens’d at the Indignity ſhe imagin’d he treated her with) and if you ſtill perſiſt in refuſing to diſcover to me the Perſon who has Injur’d me, I ſhall make no difficulty of letting the Count know how much of his Secrets you have Imparted, and for what Reaſon you conceal the other: You may do ſo (anſwer’d he) and I doubt not but you will—Miſchief is the darling favourite of Woman! Blood, is the Satisfaction perhaps, that you require, and if I fall by him, or he by me, your Revenge will have its Aim, either on the Unloving, or the Unlov’d; for me, I ſet my Life at nought, without your Love, ’tis Hell; but do not think that even Dying, to purchaſe Abſolution I’d reveal one Letter of that Name, you ſo much wiſh to hear, the Secret ſhall be Buryed with me.—Yes, Madam (continu’d he with a malicious Air) that happy Fair unknown, whoſe Charms have made you wretched, ſhall undiſcover’d, and ungueſs’d at, Triumph in thoſe Joys, you think none but your Count can give. Alovysa had not an Opportunity to make any Anſwer to what he ſaid; Melliora came that Moment into the Room, and ask’d if ſhe was ready to go, and Alovysa ſay- 096 N4v 96 ſaying that ſhe was, they both departed from the Baron’s Houſe, without much Ceremony on either ſide.
Alovysa had not been long at home before a Meſſenger came to acquaint her, that her Siſter having miſt of her at Paris, was now on her Journey to Le Beauſſe, and wou’d be with her in a few Hours: She rejoyc’d as much at this News, as it was poſſible for one ſo full of diſquiet to do, and ordered her Chariot and Six to be made ready again, and went to meet her.
D’elmont heard of Ansellina’s coming, almoſt as ſoon as Alovysa, and his Complaiſance for Ladies, joyn’d with the extream deſire he had of ſeeing his Brother, whom he believ’d was with her, wou’d certainly have given him Wings to have flown to them with all imaginable Speed, had not the late quarrel between him and his Wife, made him think it was improper, to join Company with her on any Account whatever: He was ſitting in the Dreſſing-Room Window in a melancholly and diſturb’d Meditation, ruminating on every Circumſtance of his laſt Nights Adventure, when he perceiv’d a couple of Horſemen come Galloping over the Plain, and make directly toward his Houſe. The Duſt they made, kept him from Diſtinguiſhing who they were, and they were very near the Gate before he diſcover’d them to be the Chevalier Brillian, and his Servant: The Surprize he was in to ſee him without Ansellina was very great, but much more ſo, when running down, as ſoon as he ſaw he was alighted, and opening his Arms eagerly 097 O1r 97 eagerly to Embrace him; the other drawing back, No, my Lord (ſaid he) ſince you are pleas’d to forget I am your Brother; I pretend no other way to merit your Embraces: Nor can think it any Happyneſs to hold him in my Arms, who keeps me diſtant from his Heart. What mean you (cry’d D’elmont, extreamly aſtoniſh’d at his Behaviour) you know ſo little (reſum’d the Chevalier) of the power of Love, your ſelf, that perhaps, you think I ought not to reſent what you have done to ruin me in mine: But, however Sir, Ambition is a Paſſion which you are not a Stranger to, and having ſettled your own Fortune according to your Wiſh, methinks you ſhou’d not wonder that I take it Ill, when you endeavour to prevent my doing ſo to: The Count was perfectly Confounded at theſe Words, and looking earneſtly on him; Brother (ſaid he) you ſeem to lay a heavy Accuſation on me, but if you ſtill retain ſo much of that ſormer Affection which was between us, as to deſire I ſhou’d be clear’d in your Eſteem, you muſt be more plain in your Charge, for tho’ I eaſily perceive that I am wrong’d, I cannot ſee by what means I am ſo. My Lord, you are not wrong’d (cry’d the Chevalier haſtily) you know you are not: If my Tongue were ſilent, the Diſpair that ſits upon my Brow, my alter’d Looks, and grief-ſunk Eyes, wou’d proclaim your Burbarous—moſt unnatural Uſage of me. Ungrateful Brillian (ſaid the Count, at once inflam’d with Tenderneſs and Anger) is this the Conſolation I expected from your Preſence? I know not for what Cauſe I am upbraided, being Innocent of any, nor what your Troubles are, but I am ſure my own are ſuch, as O need- 098 O1v 98 needed not this Weight to overwhelm me. He ſpoke this ſo feelingly, and concluded with ſo deep a ſigh as moſt ſencibly touch’d the Heart of Brillian. If I cou’d believe that you had any (reply’d he) it were enough to Sink me quite, and rid me of a Life which Ansellina’s loſs has made me Hate. What ſaid you (Interrupted the Count) Ansellina’s loſs? If that be true, I pardon all the wildneſs of your unjuſt Reproaches, for well I know, Diſpair has ſmall Regard to Reaſon, but quickly ſpeak the Cauſe of your Misfortune:—I was about to enquire the Reaſon that I ſaw you not together, when your unkind Behaviour drove it from my Thoughts. That Queſtion (anſwer’d the Chevalier) ask’d by you, ſome Moments ſince, wou’d have put me paſt all the remains of Patience, but I begin to hope I am not ſo unhappy as I thought, but ſtill am bleſt in Friendſhip, tho’ undone in Love— But I’ll not keep you longer in ſuſpence, my Tale of Grief is ſhort in the Repeating, tho’ everlaſting in its Conſequence. In ſaying this, he ſat down, and the Count doing the like, and aſſuring him of Attention, he began his Relation in this manner.Your Lordſhip may remember that I gave you an Account by Letter of Ansellina’s Indiſpoſition, and the Fears I was in for her; but by the time I receiv’d your Anſwer, I thought my ſelf the Happyeſt of Mankind: She was perfectly recover’d and every Day I receiv’d new Proofs of her Affection: We began to talk now of coming to Paris, and ſhe ſeem’d no leſs Impatient for that Journey than my ſelf; and one Evening, the laſt 099 O2r 99 laſt I ever had the Honour of her Converſation ſhe told me that in ſpite of the Phyſicians Caution ſhe wou’d leave Amiens in three or four Days: You may be ſure I did not diſſwade her from that Reſolution; but, how great was my Aſtoniſhment, when going the next Morning to the Baroneſſes to give the Ladies the Bon jour, as I conſtantly did every Morning, I perceiv’d an unuſual Coldneſs in the Face of every one in the Family; the Baroneſs herſelf ſpoke not to me, but to tell me that Ansellina wou’d ſee no Company: How, Madam, ſaid I, am I not excepted from thoſe general Orders, What can this ſudden Alteration in my Fortune mean? I ſuppoſe (reply’d ſhe) that Ansellina has her Reaſons for what ſhe does: I ſaid all that Diſpair cou’d ſuggeſt to oblige her to give me ſome light into this Miſtery, but all was in vain, ſhe either made me no Anſwers, or ſuch as were not Satisfactory, and growing weary with being Importun’d, ſhe abruptly went out of the Room, and left me in a Confuſion not to be Expreſs’d: I renew’d my Viſit the next Day, and was then deny’d Admittance by the Porter: The ſame the following one, and as Servants commonly form their Behaviour, according to that of thoſe they ſerve, it was eaſy for me to obſerve that I was far from being a welcome Gueſt: I writ to Ansellina, but had my Letter return’d unopen’d: And that Scorn ſo unjuſtly thrown upon me, tho’ it did not abſolutely Cure my Paſſion, yet it ſtirr’d up ſo much juſt Reſentment in me, that it abated very much of its Tenderneſs: About a Fortnight I remain’d in this Perplexity, and at the end of it was plung’d into a O2 greater 100 O2v 100 greater, when I receiv’d a little Billet from Ansellina, which as I remember contain’d theſe Words. Ansellina to the Chevalier Brillian. I Sent your Letter back without Peruſing, believing it might contain ſomething of a Subject which I am reſolv’d to encourage no farther: I do not think it proper at preſent to acquaint you with my Reaſons for it; but if I ſee you at Paris, you ſhall know them: I ſet out for thence to Morrow, but deſire you not to pretend to Accompany me thither, if you wou’d preſerve the Eſteem of, Ansellina. I Cannot but ſay, I thought this manner of proceeding very odd, and vaſtly different from that openneſs of Nature, I always admir’d in her, but as I had been always a moſt obſequious Lover; I reſolv’d not to forfeit that Character, and give a Proof of an implicite Obedience to her Will, tho’ with what Anxiety of Mind you may imagine. I ſtood at a diſtance, and ſaw her take Coach, and as ſoon as her Attendants were out of ſight; I got on Horſeback, and follow’d; I ſeveral Times lay at the ſame Inn where ſhe did, but took care not to appear before her: Never was any ſight more pleaſing to 101 O3r 101 to me, than that of Paris, becauſe I there hop’d to have my Deſtiny unravell’d; but your being out of Town, preventing her making any ſtay, I was reduc’d to another tryal of Patience; about ſome Seven Furlongs from hence, hapning to Bait at the ſame Cabaret with her, I ſaw her Woman, who had always been perfectly obliging to me, walking alone in the Garden; I took the liberty to ſhow my ſelf to her, and ask her ſome Queſtions concerning my future Fate, to which ſhe anſwer’d with all the Freedom I cou’d deſire, and obſerving the Melancholly which was but too apparent in my Countenance: Sir, ſaid ſhe, tho’ I think nothing can be more blame-worthy then to Betray the Secrets of our Superiors, yet I hope I ſhall ſtand Excus’d for declaring ſo much of my Lady’s, as the Condition you are in, ſeems to require; I wou’d not therefore have you believe that in this Separation, you are the only Sufferer, I can aſſure you, my Lady bears her part of Sorrow to.—How can that be poſſible (cry’d I) when my Misfortune is brought upon me, only by the change of her Inclination? Far from it (anſwer’d ſhe) you have a Brother—he only is to blame, ſhe has receiv’d Letters from Madam D’elmont which have—As ſhe was ſpeaking, ſhe was call’d haſtily away, without being able to finiſh what ſhe was about to ſay, and I was ſo Impatient to hear: Her naming you in ſuch a manner, planted ten Thouſand Daggers in my Soul!—What cou’d I imagine by thoſe words, You have a Brother, he only is to Blame, and her mentioning Letters from that Brother’s Wife; but that it was thro’ you I was made wretched, I repeated ſeveral times over to my ſelf, what ſhe had 102 O3v 102 had ſaid, but cou’d wreſt no other Meaning from it, than that you being already poſſeſs’d of the Elder Siſter’s Fortune, were willing to Engroſs the other’s too, by preventing her from Marrying: Pardon me, my Lord, if I have Injur’d you, ſince I proteſt, the thoughts of your deſigning my Undoing, was, if poſſible more dreadful to me than the Ill it ſelf.
You will reply’d the Count, be ſoon Convinc’d, how little Hand I had in thoſe Letters, whatever they contain’d, when you have been here a few Days. He then told him of the Diſagreement between Himſelf and Alovysa, her perpetual Jealouſy, her Pride, her Rage, and the little probability there was of their being ever reconcil’d, ſo as to live together as they ought, omitting nothing of the Story, but his Love for Melliora, and the Cauſe he had given to create this uneaſineſs. They both concluded, that Ansellina’s Alteration of her Behaviour was entirely owing to ſomething her Siſter had written, and that ſhe wou’d uſe her utmoſt Endeavour to break off the Match wholly, in Revenge to her Husband: As they were Diſcourſing on means to prevent it, the Ladies came to the Gate; they ſaw them thro’ the Window, and ran to receive them immediately: The Count handed Ansellina out of the Coach, with great Complaiſance, while the Chevalier wou’d have done the ſame by Alovysa, but ſhe wou’d not permit him, which the Count obſerving, when he had paid thoſe Complements to her Siſter, which he thought Civility requir’d Madam (ſaid he, turning to her and frowning) is 103 O4r 103 is it not enough, you make me wretched by your continual Clamours, and Upbraidings, but that your ill Nature muſt extend to all, whom you believe I Love? She anſwer’d him only with a diſdainful Look, and haughty Toſs, which ſpoke the Pleaſure ſhe took in having it in her power to give him Pain, and went out of the Room with Ansellina.
D’elmont’s Family was now become a moſt Diſtracted one, every Body was in Confuſion, and it was hard for a diſintereſted Perſon, to know how to behave among them: The Count was ready to dye with Vexation, when he reflected on the Adventure at the Baron’s with Melantha, and how hard it wou’d be to clear his Conduct in that point with Melliora: She, on the other Hand, was as much tormented at his not attempting it. The Chevalier, was in the Height of Diſpair, when he found that Ansellina continued her Humour, and ſtill avoided letting him know the occaſion of it: And Alovysa, tho’ ſhe contented herſelf for ſome Hours with relating to her Siſter, all the Paſſages of her Husband’s unkind Uſage of Her, yet when that was over, her Curioſity return’d, and ſhe grew ſo madly Zealous to find out, who her Rival was, that ſhe repented her Behaviour to the Baron, and ſent him the next Day privately, a Billet, wherein ſhe aſſur’d him, that ſhe had acquainted the Count with nothing that had paſs’d between them, and that ſhe deſir’d to ſpeak with him. ’tis eaſy to believe he needed not a ſecond Invitation; he came immediately, and Alovysa renew’d her Entreaties in the moſt preſſing manner 104 O4v 104 manner ſhe was capable of, but in vain, he told her plainly, that if he cou’d not have her Heart, nothing but the full Poſſeſſion of her Perſon ſhou’d Extort the Secret from him. ’Twould ſwell this Diſcourſe beyond what I deſign, to recount her various Starts of Paſſions, and different Turns of Behaviour, ſometimes louder than the Winds ſhe Rav’d! Commanded! Threatned! then, ſtill as April Showers, or Summer Dews ſhe wept, and only whiſper’d her Complaints now diſſembling Kindneſs, than declaring unfeign’d Hate; ’till at laſt, finding it impoſſible to prevail by any other means, ſhe promis’d to admit him at Midnight into her Chamber: But as it was only the force of her too paſſionate Affection for her Husband, which had work’d her to this pitch of raging Jealouſie, ſo ſhe had no ſooner made the Aſſignation, and the Baron had left her (to ſeek the Count to prevent any ſuſpicion of their long Converſation) but all D’elmont’s Charms came freſh into her Mind; and made the Thoughts of what ſhe had promis’d Odious and Inſupportable; ſhe open’d her Mouth more than once to call back the Baron, and Recant all that ſhe had ſaid; but her ill Genius or that Devil Curioſity, which too much haunts the Minds of Women, ſtill prevented Her: What will become of me, (ſaid ſhe to her ſelf) What is it I am about to do? Shall I forgoe my Honour—Quit my Virtue,—Sully my yet unſpotted Name with endleſs Infamy—And yield my Soul to Sin, to Shame, and Horror, only to know what I can ne’er Redreſs? If D’elmont Hates me now, will he not do ſo ſtill?—What will this curs’d Diſcovery bring me but added Tor- 105 P1r 105 Tortures, and freſh weight of Woe: Happy had it been for her if theſe Conſiderations cou’d have laſted, but when ſhe had been a minute or two in this Temper, ſhe wou’d relapſe and cry, what muſt I tamely bear it then?—Endure the Flouts of the malicious World, and the Contempt of every ſaucy Girl, who while ſhe Pitys, Scorns my want of Charms— Shall I neglected tell my Tale of Wrongs, (O, Hell is in that Thought) ’till my Diſpair ſhall reach my Rival’s Ears, and Crown her Adulterous Joys with double Pleaſure.—Wretch that I am!—Fool that I am, to heſitate, my Miſery is already paſt Addition, my everlaſting Peace is Broke! Loſt even to Hope, What can I more Endure?—No, ſince I muſt be ruin’d, I’ll have the Satisfaction of dragging with me to Perdition, the Vile, the Curſed ſhe that has undone me: I’ll be reveng’d on her, then dye my ſelf, and free me from Pollution. As ſhe was in this laſt Thought, ſhe Perceiv’d at a good diſtance from her the Chevalier Brillian and Ansellina, in Diſcourſe; the ſight of him immediately put a new Contrivance into her Head, and ſhe compos’d her ſelf as well as ſhe cou’d, and went to meet them.
Ansellina having been left alone, while her Siſter was Entertaining the Baron, had walk’d down into the Garden to divert herſelf, where the Chevalier, who was on the watch for ſuch an Opportunity, had follow’d her; he cou’d not forbear, tho’ in Terms full P of 106 P1v 106 of Reſpect, taxing her with ſome little Unjuſtice for her late Uſage of him, and Breach of Promiſe, in not letting him know her Reaſons for it: She, who by Nature was extreamly averſe to the Diſguiſing her Sentiments, ſuffer’d him not long to preſs her for an Eclairciſment, and with her uſual Freedom, told him what ſhe had done, was purely in Complyance with her Siſter’s Requeſt, that ſhe cou’d not help having the ſame Opinion of him as ever, but that ſhe had promis’d Alovysa to defer any thoughts of Marrying him, till his Brother ſhou’d confeſs his Error: The obliging things ſhe ſaid to him, tho’ ſhe perſiſted in her Reſolution, diſipated great part of his Chagreen, and he was beginning to Excuſe D’elmont, and perſwade her that her her Siſter’s Temper was the firſt occaſion of their Quarrel when Alovysa Interrupted them. Ansellina was a little out of Countenance at her Siſter’s Preſence, immagining ſhe wou’d be Inſenc’d at finding her with the Chavelier; but that diſtreſſed Lady was full of other Thoughts, and deſiring him to follow her to her Chamber, as ſoon as they were ſet down, Confeſs’d to him, how, fir’d with his Brother’s Falſhood, ſhe had endeavour’d to revenge it upon him, that ſhe had been his Enemy, but was willing to enter into any Meaſures for his Satisfaction, provided he wou’d comply with one, which ſhe ſhou’d propoſe, which he faithfully promiſing, after ſhe had ſworn him to Secrecy, diſcover’d to him every Circumſtance, from her firſt Cauſe of Jealouſy, to the Aſſignation ſhe had 107 P2r 107 had made with the Baron: Now, ſaid ſhe, it is in your Power to preſerve both your Brother’s Honour, and my Life (which I ſooner will reſign than my Virtue) if you ſtand conceal’d in a little Cloſet, which I ſhall convey you to, and the Moment he has ſatisfy’d my Curioſty by telling me her Name that has undone me, ruſh out, and be my Protector. The Chevalier was infinitely Surpriz’d at what he heard, for his Brother had not given him the leaſt hint of his Paſſion, but thought the requeſt ſhe made, too reaſonable to be deny’d.
While they were in this Diſcourſe, Melliora, who had been ſitting Indulging her Melancholly in that Cloſet which Alovysa ſpoke of, and which did not immediately belong to that Chamber, but was a ſoft of an Entry or Paſſage into another, and tir’d with Reflection was fallen aſleep, but on the Noiſe which Alovysa and the Chevalier made in coming in, wak’d, and heard to her inexpreſſible Trouble, the Diſcourſe that paſs’d between them: She knew that unknown Rival was herſelf, and condemn’d the Count of the higheſt Imprudence, in making a Confidant, as ſhe found he had of the Baron; She ſaw her Fate, at leaſt that of her Reputation was now upon the Criſis, that, that very Night ſhe was to be expos’d to all the Fury of an enrag’d Wife, and was ſo ſhook with Apprehenſion, that ſhe was ſcarce able to go out of the Cloſet time enough to preventP2 vent 108 P2v 108 vent their Diſcovering ſhe was there; what cou’d ſhe do in this Exigence, the thoughts of being Betray’d, was worſe to her than a thouſand Deaths, and it was to be wondred at, as ſhe has ſince Confeſt, that in that height of Deſparation, ſhe had not put an end to the tortures of Reflection, by laying violent Hands on her own Life: As ſhe was going from the Cloſet haſtily to her own Apartment, the Count and Baron paſs’d her, and that Sight heightening the Diſtraction ſhe was in, ſhe ſtept to the Count, and in a faultring, ſcarce intelligible Accent, whiſper’d, for Heaven’s Sake let me ſpeak with you before Night, make ſome pretence to come to my Chamber, where I’ll wait for you. And as ſoon as ſhe had ſpoke theſe Words darted from him ſo ſwift, that he had no opportunity of replying, if he had not been too much overwhelm’d with Joy at this ſeeming Change of his Fortune to have done it; he miſunderſtood part of what ſhe ſaid, and inſtead of her deſiring to ſpeak with him before Night, he immagin’d, ſhe ſaid at Night. He preſently communicated it to the Baron, who Congratulated him upon it; and never was any Night more impatiently long’d for, than this was by them both. They had indeed not many Hours of Expectation, but Melliora thought them Ages, all her Hopes were, that if ſhe cou’d have an Opportunity of diſcovering to Count D’elmont what ſhe had heard between his Wife and Brother, he might find ſome means to 109 P3r 109 to prevent the Baron’s Treachery from taking effect. But when Night grew on, and ſhe perceiv’d he came not, and ſhe conſider’d how near ſhe was to inevitable Ruin, what Words can ſufficiently expreſs her Agonies? So I ſhall only ſay, they were too violent to have long kept Company with Life; Guilt Honour, Fear, Remorſe, and Shame at once oppreſs’d her, and ſhe was very near ſinking beneath their Weight, when ſomebody knock’d ſoftly at the Door; ſhe made no doubt but it was the Count, and open’d it immediately, and he catching her in his Arms with all the eagerneſs of tranſported Love; ſhe was about to clear his Miſtakeflawed-reproduction1 character and let him know it was not an amourous Entertainment ſhe expected from him; when a ſudden cry of Murder, and the noiſe of Claſhing Swords made him let go his Hold, and draw his own, and run along the Gallery to find out the occaſion, where being in the Dark, and only directed by the Noiſe he heard in his Wife’s Chamber, ſomething met the point, and a great ſhriek following it, he cry’d for Lights, but none coming immediately; he ſtepping farther ſtumbled at the Body which had fallen, he then redoubled his Outcrys, and Melliora frighted as ſhe was, brought one from her Chamber, and at the ſame Inſtant that they diſcover’d it was Alovysa, who coming to alarm the Family, had by Accident run on her Husband’s Sword, they ſaw the Chevalier purſuing the Baron, who mortally Wounded, dropt down by 110 P3v 110 by Alovysa’s ſide; what a dreadful View was this? The Count, Melliora, and the Servants, who by this time were moſt of them rowz’d, ſeem’d without Sence or Motion, only the Chevalier had Spirit enough to ſpeak, or think, ſo ſtupify’d was every one with what they ſaw. But he ordering the Servants to take up the Bodies, ſent one of ’em immediately for a Surgeon, but they were both of them paſt his Art to Cure. Alovysa ſpoke no more, and the Baron liv’d but two Days, in which time the whole Account, as it was gather’d from the Mouths of thoſe chiefly concern’d was ſet down, and the Tragical part of it being laid before the King, there appear’d ſo much of Juſtice in the Baron’s Death, and Accident in Alovysa’s, that the Count and Chevalier found it no difficult matter to obtain their Pardon. The Chevalier was ſoon after Married to his Beloved Ansellina; but Melliora look’d on herſelf as the moſt guilty Perſon upon Earth, as being the primary Cauſe of all the Misfortunes that had happen’d, and retir’d immediately to a Monaſtery, from whence, not all the entreaties of her Friends, nor the implorations of the Amorous D’elmont cou’d bring her, ſhe was now reſolv’d to puniſh by a voluntary Baniſhment from all ſhe ever did, or cou’d Love; the Guilt of Indulging that Paſſion, while it was a Crime. He, not able to Live without her, at leaſt in the ſame 111 P4r 111 ſame Climate, committed the Care of his Eſtate to his Brother, and went to Travel, without an Inclination ever to return: Melantha who was not of a Humour to take any thing to Heart, was Married in a ſhort Time, and had the good Fortune not to be ſuſpected by her Husband, though ſhe brought him a Child in Seven months after her Wedding.