{Print edition page number: 198}

Rivall Friendship


The Sixth ^Seventh^ Book

Perhaps it may with reason be believ’d that scarce ever any so young as I was then, resented [felt] the misfortunes of their Prince with so deep, and afflicting a concerne as my selfe, but yet it would not appeare strange to those who knew what sentiments of Loyalty had even in my Infant dayes been infused into my soule by both my Parents; which had such an Influence on me, that I no sooner learn’d to petition Heaven for blessings on my self, but I sent thither my daily Orisons to implore the prosperity and wellfaire of my King and with many teares did I lament his last and greatest misfortune: But no sooner was that fatall blow struck but Mironides and Brecena (so were my Father and Mother call’d) abhorring a place blasted with the contagious breath of those who had put an untimely period to their Soveraigns, resolv’d to quit it; which in a short space after they did; retireing into the Province of Nota to a little village call’d Causa, where they pass’d away divers yeares in that rurall habitation with as much quiet and content as the miseries of their Country would permit, deploring them much more then their owne perticuler losses. That which enduced them to chuce this place for their aboad was a desire my Mother had to enjoy the comfort of her sister Marione’s society who was married to a certaine Gentleman in that Country nam’d Arnardo. But now, Griefe made a new assault upon my heart to think on my seperation from Merinza who was so deservedly deare to me; in which she so sympathiz’d with me, that it was hard to distinguish which of us were the more concern’d. The Generous Alsinda her Mother perceiving our mutuall trouble, to mittigate it, obtain’d a promise of Brecena that this absence to which we saw our selves destin’d, should be of no long duration, but that I should ere many moneths were past returne to them again: the effect of this promise I found to my great satisfaction; for Luna had not often chang’d her borerow’d light ere I came back to Gracianus’s where I stay’d neere half a yeare. But then my Duty sommoning me home, which I thought my selfe oblig’d to prefer before the satisfaction of my owne desires which prompted me to wish I might alwayes enjoy the pleasing society of the sweet Merinza, I took a second farewell of her with much less regreet then the first, because I was almost [fol. 81 r ] confident I should not be long detain’d from her.

In my returne home I made some stay at Arnardo’s; which Mariones intreaties render’d much longer then I designed: the next day after I came thither, she went to waite on Crisalda the Duches of Verona (who was her neere Neighbour) taking me with her. But just as we came to Crisaldas Gate we were met by a young Gentleman of a good meen [mien] and pleasing aspect, who saluting my Aunt{199} with a Friendly familiarity, told her he was going to waite on Arnardo, but would reserve that visit now to some other time; and so turn’d in againe, leading us to the Duches, from whom I receiv’d a very obligeing treatment. We were no sooner seated but he came and placed himselfe by me; and looking so intently on me as he almost put me out of Countenance, admiring [wondering] what mov’d him so heedfully to regard me: but he soon let me know the reason by saying.

If my fancy delude me not Madam I have seen you in Palermo at Therasmus his house. I then instantly call’d to mind that going thither to see another of my Mothers sisters nam’d Hestrina whom he had married, whilst I was there this Gentleman chanced to come in; but so little notice had I taken of him, as I knew him not again till he reminded me of our meeting there.

Your memory Sir (said I) is much better then mine; for I confess that I had quite forgot that ever I had seen you, but now I very well remember that I saw you there once.

The defect Madam (repli’d he) is not in your memory, but in the inconsiderableness of the object, which merited not from you any perticuler regard; but I am glad however that I have the honour a second time to see you in a place where I have some little interest, and should think my self extreame happie might I but serve you in any thing:

I onely blush’d him an answere, being releas’d from this discourse by the coming in of a Banquet, of which Crisalda (taking me by the hand in an obliging manner) invited me to be a pertaker: Having taken our leaves of the Duchess, we would have done the like of him too, but he would needs waite on my Aunt home, though she would willingly have dispenced with that civility. After our returne, so soon as he was gone, I desir’d Marione to enforme ^me^ who this person was that appear’d so extreame civill, and obliging, for as yet I knew not who he was.

She then told me his name was Loreto, and that he was Crisalda’s youngest son; she likewise acquainted me then with all those things concerning him whereof I have already enform’d your Majesty (continu’d Arthenia) which rais’d in me a very high esteeme of him. She told me moreover, that being constrain’d to quit Sicilie to avoid being made a Prisoner by Ormisdas for serving Clearchus, he had travers’d most of the Asian countries, enforming himselfe both of their manners and customes, and learning their severall Languages, which he so perfectly attain’d, as none of those Countrymen, but might have mistaken him for one of their owne natives.

But the place (went she on) where he made his longest, and last aboad was in Armenia, where he did Ariobarzarnes the King thereof such considerable service in his war with Tigranes King of Media, [fol. 81 v ] that he profer’d him rewards so glorious as might have satisfi’d the most irreguler ambition, if he would continue still in his service; but no recompence how great soever could court his stay abroad when once he had receiv’d Crisaldas commands to returne, with an assurance that he might safely venture home, since she had (though with much difficulty){200} obtain’d from Ormisdas a promise not to molest, or trouble him if he acted no more in publick affaires wherein Claromenes might be concern’d: for it was not till after Clearchus was murder’d, that Crisalda got leave for his returne.

What I have now briefly related to your Majesty touching Loreto (pursu’d Arthenia) Marionie gave me more largly the perticulers of, and thereby very much heightned the esteeme I had for him. The next day he gave us a visit, and fail’d not constantly to do so for severall dayes together; so that no day pass’d wherein we had not his company little or much: at all which times he appli’d himselfe perticulerly to me in all his discourses; and endeavour’d alwayes to divert me by severall pleasant relations he made me of things that he had both heard of and seen in his travells: and indeed, to speak the truth I must needs say I thought him the most civill and complacent [complaisant] person that I had ever seen; nor can I deny but that his conversation was very acceptable to me till such time as Marionie rais’d in me an apprehension of that which before I had not the least suspition of: for, for my part, I look’d on his demeanour towards me, no otherwise then on civility which oblig’d him to pay somewhat more of respect to a stranger, then to those that were his intimate acquaintance. But Marionie taking notice of his so frequent ^visits^ and that extraordinary respect which upon all occations he express’d towards me, both by his words, and actions, let me understand what her thoughts were; for one day as we were seting alone together she said to me.

Tis to you Arthenia certainly that we are oblig’d for the favour of Loretos company. What would you say (added she smileing) if you have brought him into that condition from which Ormisdas promis’d to exempt him: really (pursu’d she looking more seriously) tis my opinion Love has made him your Prisoner.

If that be his Fate (said I, displeas’d with this discourse) it had been a more favourable one had he been Ormisdas’s rather then mine; for I perhaps may prove much more severe: but I cannot admit so ill an opinion of Loretos judgment as once to fancy he can be guilty of so grand an indiscretion as to throw away a thought on one who can pretend to nothing that may invite him to it.

I will not stand to justifie the reasonableness of what I fancy (repli’d she) lest you think I flatter you; but onely tell you, that admit it should happen as I conceive; and that he should declare a passion for you, grounded on an honourable designe, you would not I hope be somuch your owne enemy as to reject so advantagious a proffer. [fol. 82 r ]

Doubtless (said I) I shall reject all things that may abrid[g]e (much more deprive) me of my freedome, wherein I have placed the sole felicity of my life; nor will I ever willingly admit ought into my breast that may be capable of disturbing, or perhaps destroying that satisfaction I propose to my selfe in the tranquility, and innocence of a Virgine Life.

I’le not deny (repli’d she) but that Virginity has fewer cares to attend it then Marriage has; but as it has less of care, so has it less of comfort too: for trust me Cousin (pursu’d she) who can assure you by experience, that there is more reall{201} satisfaction to be found in the society of an affectionate Husband, then in that imaginary content you promise yourself in the pursuance of a single solitude.

I was so disturb’d with this Discourse, so contrary to my inclinations, as I hearkned to it with such impatience that all the respect I bare Marionie was not able to hinder me from shewing the dislike I had of it by my often change of colour; nor was it prevalent enough to have kept me from returning her an answer (perhaps) as little pleasing to her, as what she had{212} said had been to me: but just as I was going to reply, Arnardo call’d her away. No sooner was she gone out of the Roome, but I ris up, and taking a Book with me I went into the Garden, intending to pass away an houre or two with it, to divert the ill humour I was in: but long I had not been there before Loreto came; and enquiring for me, he was told by one of the servants (that had seen me go into the Garden) where I was; which he no sooner knew but he came to seek me, and at length found me in the most private Arbour I could find.

But so intent was I on what I read, that I heard him not when he came in, which he imagin’d by ^my^ not looking up, nor taking notice of him, wherefore supposeing he might startle me if he spoke to me before I saw him, he made some little noise, which produced the effect he desired; for at it I suddenly turn’d my head about, and seeing him there, I thought

I could do no less then invite him to take a seat, which having done at my intreaty; I ask’d him how he had done to find me out in that Place; and whether it were design, or accident that brought him thither.

I assure Madam (answer’d he) it was designe, not chance that conducted me where you were: for hearing you were gone into the Garden I came with a resolution to find you; and Fortune (I thanke her) was so kind as not to let me search invain, though I expected not to have found you here; and am sorry to see that she who has been so kind to me should be so severe to you as to give you any occation that may move you to seeke out retirements which sutes not with a person of your yeares.

I had no other cause (repli’d I) then my naturall temper which has ever too much inclin’d me to Melancholy, and oft times made me prefer a private converse with my owne thoughts, before a publick conversation, it need not be thought strange if I indulge in my selfe this Inclination: but when I consider my present condition, and think to what I was born, and to what I am now reduced; I think none can justly blame me if I chuse solitude, where I may silently sit, contemplating the Worlds vanity, and Fortunes mutability; and sometime lament her cruelty to me.

If you have hitherto had cause to complain of her ^said he^ you may now dispise her, since tis in your [fol. 82 v ] owne power without out[1] her aide to raise your selfe to as high a pitch as that from whence she forced you to descend: tis{202} but accepting the Present I have made you of a Heart which never bow’d to any one before, nor never yet knew what subjection meant till it was Fetter’d by your Charmes, which it had as little the Will as Power to resist. Your victory Faire Arthenia (continu’d he) is absolute, be then so generous as to treat your Captive with moderation, and tyranize not by cruelty or disdaine ore him who to your eyes with Joy gave up his liberty; and has vow’d to love, nay to adore you farre above all Mortalls whilst he breathes.

So strangly was I surpriz’d at a declaration I so little expected, that I had not the power to interrupt him, but suffer’d him a great while to go on at this rate: but at last recovering out of my amaze, darting a look at him wherein he might have read the displeasure he had given me.

Cease Loreto I conjure you (repli’d I) to pursue a discourse I neither understand, nor ever will approve; nor can I longer lend an eare to it without offending my Vertue. I know tis usuall with persons of your sex to make it their study and employment to screw themselves so far into the affections of poor innocent Virgins as to rob them of their hearts, perhaps their honours; cunningly masking their base designes under a Faire Vizard painted with pretences of the truest love: but having once attain’d their ends, they quickly throw off the disguise, proudly insulting o’re those seely [silly] Creatures they have ruin’d by their dissemulations, or else with scoffes deriding them; protesting they lov’d but in sport, and courted them on no other score but for diversion sake.

I confess (said Loreto) too many such there are who are unworthy that the earth should beare them; and justly merit to be abhorred by all men that have any true sense of honour in them, being no less injurious to us then you: since let our passions be ne’re so great, confirm’d with the truest protestations that tongue can utter, the one is not valu’d, nor the other credited. But Madam, none shall ever find Loretos name in that black Lists; for as my passion for you is transcendant, so shall it be endless, and pure as it is perfect: for you would have reason not onely to detest, but fly me as a horrid Monster ready to devoure you, could I so highly sinne against your Vertue, as to admit one thought into my brest, or cherish one single desire that might in the least degree be injurious to that (which I will not scruple to avow) I prize highest in you; for though it was your beauty that first caught my eyes, I had perhaps resisted it no less successfully then I have done that of others; since I have seen the most dazling beauties that Europe, and Asia both can boast, and yet have been unconcern’d; but t’was that Vertue that I am perswaded you are absolute Mistress of which made my heart your willing Prisoner. Then think not Madam that my respects for you are attended with ought but honour; nor that I have any other design then to lay both my self and Fortune at your Feet, wishing no greater glory, nor satisfaction then to make my selfe yours by Hymens sacred tye.

If that passion you pretend (repli’d I) speak no other Dialect I must needs confess I have less reason to be offended with it then I late believ’d; but were it yet more innocent, I must [fol. 83 r ] conjure you to abandon it lest it disturbe your{203} quiet, and hinder my repose, by the trouble your perseverance may create me, to find my selfe reduced to a necessity of becoming ungratfull: for I’le deall clearly with you, that you may owe your sufferings to your owne obstinacy, not my will severity (as haply you may terme it) I have so great a hatered, and destestation to that fond extravagance call’d Love, that I had rather rip my heart from out my breast, than suffer a thought that favour’d it to enter there. Then hope not that I will ere accept, what I can ne’re requite: nor do I prize my liberty at so low a rate as to exchange it for slavery, or prefer the tyranique yoak of marriage before it; not that I account all wemen slaves, or think all men are Tyrants to their Wives; but if they are not they are at least capable of becoming so when ere they please. Content your selfe then Loreto with that esteeme I have for you and seek no more lest you loose what you have already gain’d.

With that, not alowing him time to reply, I ris up, complaining of the coldness of the Aire, and quited the Arbour in such hast as I took from him the opportunity of proffering me his hand to lead me in had he design’d it. With all the speed I could make I got to my Chamber intending to lock up my self till he was gone; but he follow’d me not as I had apprehended, but went immediatly home, as I perceiv’d, looking thorow the Glass of the Window; whereupon so soon as I had a little composed my selfe I ventur’d downe in hopes I should no more that day be importun’d with the sight of Loreto which I thought of nothing somuch now as shunning.

But he still continnu’d his accustomed visits, coming constantly every day to Arnardo’s where, though I could not avoid seeing him, yet I took such care as I was sure he deriv’d but little satisfaction from that advantage; for I so contriv’d it as I never affoarded him so much as one minutes converse in private for many dayes that I stay’d there, though I perceiv’d he diligently courted all occations of renewing his addresses, which I no less solicitously shun’d; so that he was constrain’d to let his eyes speak what I suffer’d not his tongue to utter; and make his sighes the silent Oratours of that passion he had pretended: wherfore to put an end to that trouble of his which I had innocently created, or at least to my owne of being a spectatour of it, I thought it requisit that I return’d home, hoping that when he ceas’d to see me, he might in a little time regaine that quiet which seem’d to have abandon’d him: but when I motion’d my departure, both Arnardo and my Aunt appear’d so averse to it, and declar’d I would so highly disoblige them if I would not afford them my Company longer, that in complacence [complaisance] I was forced to resolve to stay with them for the space of ten days more: but all that time I made my selfe an absolute Prisoner, confining my self to the house, not dareing to stir out lest I might chance to meet Loreto.

But being one day enform’d that he was to go the next morning to Palermo with his two Brothers, I thought I might securely venture to take the Aire, which I design’d to do in a most pleasant Grove Arnardo had neer to his house, where the prety Birds perpetually chanted their rurall Carrolls; and many little Rivolets, on the bankes whereof (cut [fol. 83 v ] on purpose to bring Water thither from{204} a River not far distant) grew all sorts of curious flowers, planted more ^rather^ there by Art then Nature; which rendr’d this place of all that I had seen the most delightfull. And rising more early the next morning then I usually did, not staying to dress me, but in my night Attire taking one of Mariones maides (call’d Ethrea) with me I went out, intending to pass away an houre or two in that delightfull Place. Having walk’d so long till I had almost tir’d my selfe, I sate downe on one of the seates (which were plac’d there for such a purpose) to repose me; sending Ethrea to gather some Violets and other Flowers (such as the Spring yeelded) to make me a Nosegay: but no sooner was she out of sight, but I espi’d a man coming towards me in the Allie where I sate (though at a good distance off) in the posture of a person possest with a deep Melancholy; his pace was slow, his Armes foulded one within the other, his Hat pull’d low over his Eyes, which kept me from knowing him at first sight; but when he came neerer I soon knew him to be Loreto whom I believed to have been neer arriv’d at his Journeys end by that time.

I no sooner saw t’was he, but I repented I had sent Ethrea away, and would have call’d her back had she been within hearing: Fancying he had not seen me yet, I thought if I could but obscure my selfe behind a Tuft of Trees which grew not far from me I might possibly escape his sight; resolving so soon as he was past to go in with all the speed I could: but hasting to fast to that shelter I had design’d I stumbled so as I could not recover my self but fell downe on the ground; the noise I made in falling caus’d Loreto to look up, and seeing me downe, he advanced with all the hast he could make to help me up; but not staying for his assistance, I quickly ris and pursu’d my intention: which he perceiving, instantly guess’d that to avoid meeting him I made such winged speed away; which mov’d him to call to me.

[F]or Heavens sake Arthenia (cry’d he) stay, and give me not cause to think you fly me as a Monster that sought to devoure you. If I have done ought that has offended you I am ready to give you my life in reparation of my Crime. I thinking it in vain ^to stir^ since he had seen me made a stope, and heard him proceed in this manner. I’le dye if you command me; and in that Command, believe it you will be less cruell then in compelling me to suffer Torments so great as the severest Death would be much more supportable; without affording me somuch ease as to complain unless it be to these Trees which are as deafe as you are pityless.

Were those torments you complaine of, as reall (repli’d I turning about) as I believe them feigned, or at least to have no other being then what your Fancy, or imagination may create; I know no reason you would have to charge me with them, since I never did any thing that might occation those torments you complain of: if you will suffer your passion to overcome your reason, can I help that: if I have already told you with all imaginable Candor and sincerity, and once again I will repeat it, that [fol. 84 r ] I was born with an antipathy to Love; then if you will accuse any of severity it ought rather to be those starres that rul’d my birth, then me.{205}

Ah Madam (cry’d he) do not adde injustice to your severity, in believeing me guilty of so grand a dissemulation as to endeavour to create a beliefe in you that I suffer by your cruelty if it were not as great a truth as tongue can utter; yet great as my sufferings are, I would be content to indure them, and that with patience too, were I but assur’d, this aversion you oppose my felicity with would but extend it selfe to all others as well as Loreto: then do but promise Madam that if ever Heaven date a change in your inclinations (so that you may be won either by the services or affection of any one to love) I may be onely he who may boast the being happy in yours: assure me but this, and I will vow never more to importune you with my offencive passion, but silently to wait till Heaven daine to be propitious to my desires.

Had I the free disposall of my selfe (repli’d I) so that I might without controule follow my owne Inclinations, I durst, nay would, engage to this which you request, might it any way tend to your satisfaction; but since my Will depends on that of Mironides and Brecena to whom Heaven has given an absolute power to dispose of me as they think fit; so that perhaps at one time or other they may command me to alter my condition: though if they would give me the freedome to continue alwayes as I am, I should embrace that liberty with a much higher satisfaction then the most advantagious match they could propose to me; yet how much soever I am weded to a single life, I should questionless force my inclinations to comply with their Wills; and then though I might find it difficult, perhaps impossible to affect him whilst onely a lover, yet when once my Husband, my Duty certainly would teach me how to love him then.

But admit Madam (said Loreto) they should e[n]joyne you to make one your choice whose humour and disposition were utterly disagreeable to your owne; and for whose person you might have no less aversion then you declare against Love; would you yet pay them so blind an obedience as to submit to such a Command.

I have hitherto found them so indulgent to me in all respects that I have little cause to apprehend any such harsh treatment from them; but if it should so happen that my hopes, or expectations should be frustrate on this account, I should nevertheless pay that obedience which I owe to all the Lawfull Commands of my Parents (repli’d I) and find however that satisfaction in the performance of my Duty, which I could not in the person of him who was so impos’d upon me.

If this be your resolution (said he) give me leave to hope, that if I may be so fortunate as to obtain the consent of Mironides to make you mine, that you will not be less favourable to me, then any other he should grant that favour too.

I hearing him say so, repented I had ^made^ so ingenious [ingenuous] a discovery of my mind, fearing he might take advantage of what I had said; which to prevent I answer’d him in this manner.

Though I have so freely acknowledg’d to you my intentions; if you design thereby to circumvent me by endeavouring to incite my Father to force me to confer on you that which you ought never [fol.84 v ] to pretend too with^out^ my{206} persmission, I declare you would by such a way so far insense me, that I cannot tell whether that respect and esteeme I have for you, may not be chang’d into aversion; and though haply I might in obedience to Mironides espouse you, I believe the content you would reap thereby would be but little satisfactory to you; since as little as I know of Love, or its effects, I cannot be ignorant of this, that where the affection is not mutuall there ^can^ call but little felicity be found for either Party.

Must I onely then (cry’d he) be the onely person excepted in the generall; this is no less severe then strange; since you affirme you would receive from your Fathers hand a man that you hated, and yet refuse (though authorized by his permission) to gratifie the affection of one you declare you honour with your esteeme. You have shewne me a Path which might conduct me to happiness, and yet tell me if I pursue it I shall at the end of it meet my ruine.

What I have said (repli’d I) will not seeme so strange if you consider the reason which induced me to spake as I did; for since I have so clearely acquainted you with my resolutions you cannot but think I should have much more cause to conceive a prejudice against you, then any other that were ignorant of my mind in this perticuler; because such a Design in you would look as if you resolv’d to compell me (now that you knew the way) to be yours indespight of me: which I should regard as so high a disrespect as it would be very difficult, if not impossible for me not to hate you.

Farre be the least thought of any such intent from me (answer’d Loreto) for though I love you with the greatest passion that ever any soule can be inspir’d with, and that my felicity absolutly depends on a reciprocall returne, yet had I rather be forever the most miserable of men by being deni’d it, then attempt to make my selfe happie by any way you might justly disapprove.

This answere (continu’d Arthenia) which some perhaps might have imputed to indifferency, I look’d on as a mark of his respect; being of an opinion, that none love so well as those who are most fearefull to displease, or disoblige them whom they pretend a kindness for.

But (pursu’d he after a little silence, as it were to hearken what return I would make) must so perfect a passion, so sacred a respect as this I pay you insensible Arthenia obtaine nothing more then a bare esteeme which signifies little to an almost dispairing Lover. I have given you a heart whereof I was absolute Master till that minute I became yours. I have at your Feet resign’d my liberty, and would as freely give up my life if you command it, as a witness to confirme the truth of what I have protested; and all this the Gods can tell (who only know the sincerity of my soule) without the least designe or hope your Vertue might disallow; for that I beare too high a regard too, to admit a thought which if known to you, you might account injurious to it: but Madam tis so naturall to desire some acknowledgment, as you cannot blame me for desiring to inspire you with some part of that affection to which I have devoted my whole life: but if I must not hope to be so happy as to obtain from you a mutuall esteeme, deny me not your pitty; if{207} you neither can, nor will conferre on me you[r] Love, yet let compassion at least incline you to commiserate the sufferings of him whom your insensibility has [fol. 85 r ] rendred the most miserable man that breathes.

I have heard (repli’d I) pitty is so neer alli’d to Love, that should I suffer my selfe to be touch’d with the one, I should find it difficult to defend my selfe from the other: but however could I but believe those sufferings you complain of were any other then imaginary ones, I should doubtless run the hazard how great soever, rather then not afford you my pitty.

Oh insensible Arthenia (cry’d he) Heaven grant you be not punish’d for this incredulity, and that you never suffer for another what I feel for you.

If I do (said I) I believe I shall never come to make my complaints to you: with that, looking about for Ethrea I perceiv’d her hard by, and being resolv’d to pursue this discourse no further, I call’d her to me, and biding Loreto goodmorrow I left him though he importunately desir’d leave to wait on me in.

When I saw Ethrea so nigh me I presently apprehended she had overheard what had pass’d between Loreto and my selfe; at least what was last said, which made me feare she would acquaint Marione with it; which if she did, I assur’d my selfe my Aunt would second him in his persecution of me; for so I then counted his Addresses. At first I thought if it were so that she had been privie to our discourse, if I enjoyned her secrecy she might be silent; but then I thought again, that in case she had not heard us I should by that way but discover what I desir’d should be conceal’d; so that at last I determin’d to take no notice to her of it, but to let happen what would. But as I at first conjectur’d, so it was, for soon after we came in she told her Lady so much as fully acquainted her with Loretos passion and the coldness wherewith I entertain’d it. For that day she [Marione] took no notice to me of it, but the next, Loreto coming thither according to his usuall custome, whether it were that she really perceiv’d more sadness in his lookes then ordinary, or that she onely fanci’d so I cannot tell; but as soon as I had left the Roome (which I did after he had been there some little time) she took notice to him of that alteration she had remark’d in him; pressing him very earnestly to tell her the cause of it: but t’was not all her intreaties could prevaile with him to disclose to him her what she seem’d so desirous to know, but onely procur’d from him this civill, though not satisfactory answere.

I am sorry Madam (said he) my Face should become such a tell Taile as without my permission to publish what I was oblig’d to hide with the greatest care; but seeing it has so contrary to my intentions discouer’d to you that no slight, or ordinary discontent has seated it selfe within my brest, I must beg your pardon if I acquaint you not with the occation of it, which I cannot do without drawing on me the displeasure of a person on whose favour depends all my felicity; then since I am bound by such an indispensable necessity to conceale from all the World (but those who are concern’d in it) what you desire the knowledge of, I hope you will be so just as not to impute it to a distrust of your Friendship that I deny your request; for that I am so far from, that did my life onely depend upon any thinge{208} I might disclose to you, believe it I would have [fol. 85 v ] prevented [anticipated] your desires.

She then finding that she could not draw from him a confession which might confirme what Ethrea had told her, she resolv’d to acquaint him with what she already knew; and thereby let him understand t’was rather a desire to serve him then an ignorance of what disturb’d him which moov’d her to enquire into his Concerns: having performed what she had design’d, he repli’d.

I am really glad Madam that you know without my haza[r]ding Arthenia’s anger by disclosing to you that she is the onely Object both of my Love and Griefe; for somuch do I believe you to be my Friend as I cannot once admit a bot doubt that you will ever in the least oppose what in the World I am most ambitious of.

Since you assure me (answer’d she) your happiness depends upon my Nieces gratifying that kindness you have honoured her with, it shall be my endeavour to assist you (as far as it rests in my ability) in the obtaining what hitherto ^you have^ su’d for invain; but in that I am onely sorry I cannot give you a more difficult proofe of my Friendship, since herein I can act nothing that will not look as if I regarded Arthenias advancement rather then Loretos content.

Those that can have such unworthy thoughts of so high a favour (repli’d he) may he be forever deni’d the fruition of what he most passionatly desires.

The effect of Marione’s promise I quickly found; for no sooner was Loreto gone but she let me know she had been enform’d by her Maid both of his kindness to me, and my severity (as she term’d it) to him; and in this manner reprov’d me for it. Never till now Arthenia (said she) did I question your discretion, but now you give me just occation to do so; and not onely me, but all persons that shall heare with what obstinacy you reject Loreto’s affection, who certainly is every way so well quallifi’d as none but you would be so blind as to refuse him: but say Arthenia (went she on) what makes you disapprove his passion; is it any perticuler dislike you have either to his Person, qualities, or estate: but sure your aversion springes from none of these, since he is both young, and handsome (as I believe you will grant) his birth noble, his education resembling; and to pass by all other things in him which may merit your esteeme, I’le onely mind you of his Courage, that being a quallity I have oft heard you say ^you^ lov’d, and admir’d in any man, and hated all such as were not endu’d with it; but of his he has given such notable proofes as Armenia no less then Sicilie can testifie his Valour: and though he has at present no great reason to boast the largness of his possessions, yet you know very well he has the assurance of so plentious an estate in the future, as in the height of your Fortunes you could not reasonably have ^pretended^ to greater advantages then with him you may attaine too.

I’le not deny (repli’d I) but that Loreto merits all that you have said of him, and perhaps more; but I have often heard there is no reason to be given for Love; nor can I yeeld any for my aversion, which has onely his passion, not him for its{209} object: for let him but divest himself of that, and I shall not faile to pay him the same respect as formerly I shew’d him.

Methinkes tis strang (said she) that you should conceive a prejudice against him [fol. 86 r ] for no other reason but because he loves you. Were his pretences attended with any unworthy or ignoble design, you might justly then not onely slight but hate him I confess; but when he has so seriously protested his respects for you are full of honour, meere gratitude methinkes should teach you to entertaine his kindness with more civility. But perhaps (pursu’d she) you are doubtfull of his reallity, or fearfull he may deceive you through Inconstancy.

I shall never be concern’d (repli’d I) for the truth of that which I care not to believe; nor shall I feare to loose what I desire not to keep.

Well Arthenia (said she) time I hope will change your mind, and let you see how much to blame you are to neglect a reall good, to follow a fancied satisfaction, which you propose to your selfe in the pursuance of a single life; but be not altogether lead by Fancy, nor guided onely by the dictates of your Inclinations which makes you preferre Virginity before a married Life; I’le not deny but the first is the happier estate in many respects, but as your condition is now stated, it cannot in probability be so for you: for do but consider Deare Niece (continu’d she) that by the course of Nature you ought to expect the death of your Parents to preceed your owne; and then if Heaven take them from you, as it has already rendred them uncapable of providing for you after their discease, think then I say how deplorable your condition would be, should you be expos’d (young as you are) to the wide World, destitute of Friends, support, or maintainance; subject to all the blowes of Fortune, and miseries that necessity (that cruell Mistress) can overwhelme you with; which without doubt would be the more insupportable to you by reason of that tenderness wherewith you have been always bred by your indulgent Parents who have not onely endeavour’d to render your education agreeable to your birth, but have likewise maintain’d you in a garbe much above their present fortune; in hopes (possibly by that meanes) to preferre you: and now that Fate seemes to condescend to their designe, by puting it in your owne power to advance your selfe, by proffering you the legitimate affections of a Gentleman every way worthy of you; why will you be somuch your owne Foe as to oppose your better Fortune by such a slighting, coy, disdainfull carriage as that wherewith you treat Loreto. But I’le leave you (added she) to consider of what I have said, and perhaps if you will but seriously reflect on it, you will find divers reasons that may enduce you to embrace what you have hitherto declin’d:

Finishing those words she left me; and no sooner was I alone but I obey’d her last injunction, by intently pondering in my mind the whole summe of her discourse; which after I had done I found, though all the Arguments she had us’d were not powerfull enough to alter my inclinations; yet my Reason was convinced I ought rather to cherish Loreto’s Flame then to extinguish it. But this was not the onely time wherein Marione became his Advocate; for all the time that I continu’d with her she so incessantly pleaded in his behalfe, that the Fortress{210} of my heart which had till then held out against the Forces of his importunities began to yeeld to her his perswasions. But notwithstanding I firmly resolv’d never [fol. 86 v ] to let him know the interest he had in me, till I were as undoubtedly perswaded of his Fidelity, as I was convinced of the reallity of his Love.

But now, my Mother thinking I had been long enough absent, sent for me home; but many dayes had not pass’d ere Marione made my Mother a visit purposly to enforme her and my Father of those Overtures Loreto had made me; how they resented [felt about] this information I know not, but I guess’d it to be very well approv’d of by them, by the reception they gave him when he came to our house, as in a short while after he did with my Aunt, pretending he came to waite on her thither; but after that, he could find the way alone by himselfe, and needed her no more to introduce him. He was quickly no less favour’d both by Mironides and Brecena in his addresses then he had been by Marione, for he never came but I was call’d to entertaine him, and as great a freedome of converse with me allow’d him as he could have wish’d; and if he deriv’d not much satisfaction from those visits he made me, t’was onely to that indifferency wherewith I still treated him that he could impute it: yet I cannot but acknowledge that I believe Love began to make some little impression in my heart; for his company was now less tiresome then it had been of late; nor were the protestations of his Love any longer offencive: yet nevertheless so reserv’d was my demeanour towards him, as he would oft complain to Marione that I gave him more cause to dispaire then hope ever to be happy in my favour; however he continu’d his addresses, but with so respective a perceverance, as had my aversion to Love been as great as ever, I could hardly have conceiv’d any displeasure thereat.

For sometime he conceal’d his Amour from being taken notice of, by pretending business with my Father; but it was not long it could be hid under that Cloud: for divers in the Village where we lived (who had observ’d his so often frequenting our house) began to suspect what drew him thither, in which suspition they were confirm’d by the stay I made at home, so much longer then usuall. This conjecture no sooner got into the heads of some busy persons who took delight in creating newes if they knew none to tell: but that which at first was onely whisper’d soon grew a publick discourse, so that in a short space nothing was somuch talk’d of in Causa then ^as^ Loretos love to me; some confidently affirming that we were suddenly to be married; but had they consulted his opinion, he would doubtless have let them understand the little reason they had to affirme that was so neer a consummation, which he himself as yet had but small hopes of ever effecting.

I’le not deny, but that I had now more of kindness then indifferency for him; yet not somuch as could incline me to a thought of being his till such time as he was possest of that which he onely enioy’d in expectation. I confess when I heard what was reported I was not a little troubled for feare lest it might reach Crisalda’s eares, which if it did, I knew how prejudiciall it might (and I belie’d would) prove to Loreto whose present Fortunes depended chiefliest on her; for{211} though he was intituled to a very considerable estate by an Uncle of his, who at his Death made him his Heire, yet had he not, nor was he to have the possession of it till after the death of Leonora his Lady who surviv’d him many yeares: but however the Duke [fol. 87 r ] of Verona (whom till now I had no occation to mention) knowing Loreto to be so well provided for, took no further care for him, but dying divided his estate between his two elder sons, bequeathing him nought but a Fathers blessing; leaving both his education, and subsistance to Crisalda’s care till such time as Leonora’s death might put him in possession of what by her life he was detain’d from.

Knowing then (as I did) how his condition was stated, I could not but imagine Crisalda would be strangly incenced against her son for throwing his affections away so lavishly on one from whom he could derive no advantage: what I apprehended soon after hapned, for Crisalda having some little intelligence of it, resolving to know the truth, caus’d one of her woemen that waited on her to suborne a servant of Loreto’s by the promise of a great reward to betray his Master by discovering to her this secret which he had indiscreetly trusted him with: but this I must needs acknowledge my selfe the occation of, by an absolute prohibition I gave him not to write to me; assuring him if he did, I would not answere his letters: but in this I must confess I was more nice then wise; for hereby he was constrain’d to make his man privie to many things which he had no other way but by him to acquaint me with.

In fine Madam (continu’d Arthenia) Crisalda was enform’d of all that had pass’d concerning Loreto and I; and as I had guess’d she would; so was she extreamly troubled; and the rather in regard she knew not what course she had best take to frustrate his intentions as she resolv’d to do one way or other: At first she thought best to curbe that passion he had for me by that authority she had over him as his Mother; but then she consider’d, t’was probable should she endeavour by violence to stop the current of his Love, it might probably render it more fervent: therfore she fanci’d it best to dissemble what she knew, and procure some person or other whom Friendship had given a perticuler interest in him to disswade him from the pursute of that which she look’d on as his utter ruine: and finding none more fit to undertake this task then Arnardo whom she had alwayes found very cordially affected to her; having severall times had occation to have recourse both to his Councell, and assistance in divers matters of concernment since the death of the Duke her Husband; and knowing withall that Loreto had a more then ordinary kindness for him, and therefore might the more easily be wrought upon by his perswasions to abandon me, and fix his thoughts upon some other: but when she remembred Arnardo was related to me, she had some little doubt whether or no he would serve her faithfully in this Designe: But this scruple was needless, but Arnardo was too generous not to prefer his Friendship before the interest of a Relation; especially one who could clame no other of him then what was deriv’d from his marriage with Marione. But at length Crisalda waving all Considerations sent for Arnardo, and imparted to him what she had heard of her sons passion, earnestly conjuring him to use his uttmost endeavour to hinder the Union between him and I; which he promis’d to do, if it lay within the compass of his power.

Of this (pursu’d Arthenia) I was as then ignorant; being gone a few dayes before to the [fol. 87 v ] Duke of Felinus’s, having in my opinion been absent wholle ages from Merinza’s beloved company: but besides I was willing the desire I had to see her, I was willing to leave Causa for a season to try if my absence would allay those rumours which I could not but think had spread too farre; further it seemes then I imagin’d, since they reach’d Palermo assoon as I, or else Telamour could not have told you my Lord (added she looking on Gentillus) what he did of my Concerns; for I had not been above two or three dayes with Merinza ere I went to my Cousins to see that Funurall you mention’d, where I had the honour to see you: and now my Lord I believe you begin to be of an oppinion that I was not then that happie person you took me to be; for though all I had hitherto suffer’d deserv’d not the title of misfortunes, compar’d with those I have, and still must undergoe; yet had I never sustain’d greater Infelicities ^then^ those my Parents were involved in, I had certainly no great cause to boast of Fortunes favours.

I confess Madam (answer’d he) I was much mistaken in my beliefe concerning you, for I verily thought you had been one whom Fate ne’re frown’d on; but I see appearances are oft deceitfull.

With that he was silent, and Arthenia went on. I went not into the Country (as Gentillus thought when I left Tellamours) but back to Merinza again with whom I continu’d neer a quarter of a yeare; but in all that time I neither saw Loreto nor heard one sillable of him, which I much admir’d [wondered] at; not that I thought it strang he writ not to me, (because I had formerly enioyn’d enjo him the contrary) but by reason he sent not Hermis to enquire of my wellfare, nor came himselfe to see me as he had promis’d when he took his leave of me at my coming from Causa. I knew the distance of 12 miles would have been of no consequence to have detain’d him from me so long, had he no other reason to obstruct his coming; nor could I imagine, since he would not be perswaded to restrain his frequent visits in a place where they were more observ’d then he could have wish’d they might, that he would forbeare my sight now that I was in where there was not a person in the wholle Family but would have taken a perticuler satisfaction (as he very well knew) in any thinge that tended to my good: but it was not long that I remain’d ignorant of what occation’d this neglect (as I accounted it) for Arnardo calling one day to see me, as we were talking, amongst other questions, ask’d me when I saw Loreto.

Never since I came hither Sir (said I).

And do you not wonder at it (repli’d he) but methinks you should not (added he not giving me time to answere) if you have heard how much he is Madonas servant, and with what an assidious diligence he courts her, or her wealth; it will be then no mervaile he cannot spare time to waite on you.{213}

I was something surprize’d at what I so little expected, or suspected indeed; yet I retain’d so much moderation as calmly to tell him t’was newes I had not heard.

You may believe then (said he) I tell you nothing but what I am confident is true; and let me advize you Cousin as a Friend (pursu’d [fol. 88 r ] he taking me by the hand) not lightly to credit all that carries a shew of reallity: men are fickle, and oft times make larg promises, which are follow’d by slow, or no performances:

I having thank’d him for this friendly Caution, he bid me adue; leaving me in much disorder. No sooner was he gone, but I went to my Chamber, and fastning the Dore that none might enter to disturbe me; I sate me downe to think what might occation this so sudden change in Loreto: love to Madona I was sure it could not be, since she was one to whom Nature had been no less spareing, then Fortune had been prodigall of her bounties; for I never heard that she was counted tollerably handsome in her youth, much less could she now be thought soe; now I say, that she was so far advanced in yeares that had Loreto married her, she had doubtless been taken rather for his Grandmother then his Wife, being at that time above three score and ten yeares of age.

But if I had no reason to apprehend such a Rivall; if I reflected on her youth, or beauty, yet when I consider’d the vastness of that wea^l^th that she was mistress off, and how that she was not more loaded with yeares then riches, I could not thinke it strang if Loreto had swallow’d that Golden Bait which most men in these dayes so eagerly catch at, counting nothing ugly that can but be mask’d with ^a^ gilded Vizard. However I found some pleasure in perswading my self (as I did) that it was Madonas wealth, not person that he courted; from which I believ’d he would derive but little satisfaction though he obtain’d her, being so exceedingly Covetous as I was almost confident she would never suffer him to become Master of her estate whilst she herselfe was living to enjoy it. But yet the small content I fancied he would find in his Venerable Mistress afforded me not half the satisfaction, as it gave me a trouble to be so unhandsomely abandon’d by him after so many protestations as he had made me of an eternall Constancy; and immovable affection. I must acknowledge he had at that time a greater interest in me then ere I did designe him; for so well I lov’d him then, as I verily thought it an impossibility for me ever to admit so much of kindness for any other, though I had never had the confidence to owne it to him; but was desirous he should rather gain assurances of my esteeme from my actions then my words. But however I very much blam’d my self then, for being conscious of a passion misplaced on one who by his slighting me I deem’d onely worthy of my highest scorn.

Ah Arthenia (said I to my self) how couldest thou be guilty of so great a vanity as once to fancy that ought [aught; anything] in thee could be capable of fixing the wavering affections of a Man, then which thou hast been often told the Wind is not more subject to mutability; but thou (it seemest) wouldest credit no other witness but experience, which sure will now convince thee of it, and make{214} thee see how much a Fool thou wert, to let thy Freedome be blown away by the breath of idle courtship, and Airie protestations which quickly vanish, [fol. 88 v ] even in that very Aire that helps to forme them; but I now find (pursu’d I) it is a destiny attends poor Maids to be neglected sosoon as they begin to love: but this comfort I have yet left me, to know Loreto has no great cause to boast of mine; and possibly tis for that reason, that he has so slender an assurance of my affection that he takes this course to sound my Inclinations; by a seeming Inconstancy to try if by my resentment of his change he could discover how I stood affected towards him: but this Design, if it were his, I determin’d to countermine; for I resolv’d when I saw him next (as I question’d not but I should some time or other) to let him understand I was not ignorant of his descerting me, but in so unconcern’d a manner, as if I had no interest in his change.

This a few dayes gave me the opportunity to put in practice; for not long after, one Afternoon as I was passing thorow the Hall I was met by a Kinswoman of Loreto’s call’d Dionella (who was the onely person of his owne Relations that he had acquainted with his passion) and her Daughter the Faire Ardelia, who for the sweetness of her voice, and excellency of her skill was very much admir’d by all that knew her: this young lady I had never seen, though I had oft desir’d it; but seeing her with Dionella I presently fanci’d it might be her (as indeed it was) having saluted them, and going to take Dionella by the hand to lead her into the Parlour, she turn’d about to speak to a man who came with them which till then I had not heeded; but casting my eye upon him I knew him to be Hermis Hariga, Loreto’s man: the sight of him instantly set me into such a trembling, as I could hardly have conceal’d from Dionella the disorder I was in, had she not been busied in demanding of ^Hermis^ Hariga if he had not a message to deliever me from his master: whereupon seeing him coming towards me, I step’d a little back expecting what he had to say; at which bowing his head down to my eare he told me (in a low voice) that his Master intended to wait on me within an houre, and beg’d I would so contrive it, as ^he^ might have the favour of one half houres discourse with me in private.

Having understood he had no more to say; you may tell your Master (answer’d I very coldly) if any convenient opportunity hapens I shall not deny to gratifie his request; but if not, I shall not rack my invention to satisfie his desire: with that, turning from him I pursu’d my first intention, leading the Lady into the Roome where Alsinda and Merinza were sitting who were very well acquainted with them both. Well was it for me that there were others to entertaine Dionella and her Daughter, for I was so taken up with thinking how to carry my self to Loreto when he came, that I was thereby rendred altogether unfit for conversation.

My chiefest care was to fortifie that resolve I had made, to appear to him wholly unconcern’d; and not to seem in the least dejected, but if it were possible, so [fol. 89 r ] farre to master my resentments [sentiments] as to assume a more then ordinary gaiety and mirth both in my countenance and humour; this was to me no little difficulty in regard I could never in my life act a dissemblers part.{215} An houre was scarce past ere Loreto came according to his promise; and as if Fate had conspir’d to gratifie him Alsinda commanded Merinza to shew Ardelia the Gardens which she had a great desire to see; no sooner was this command given but Merinza lead her out, and I instantly follow’d thinking it my duty to wait on them. We had been but a very little while in the Garden, before Loreto came after us, and overtaking me being at a little distance behind them (having stay’d to gather some Flowers with an intent to present them to Ardelia) he ceaz’d one of my hands, and fixing his lips on it with so much ardour, as made me almost disbelieve what I had been enform’d concerning him; beging me not to make such hast to overtake the Ladies in their walk but to allow him that opportunity to impart something to me that he had an earnest desire to acquaint me with.

To which I repli’d, that I thought there was not any thing that he could communicate to me now of such consequence as could excuse the rudeness I should commit in declining the company of his comp Cousin and the Princess Merinza, (since Ardelia was altogether a stranger to me, and therefore ought to be treated with the more respect) to hold a private conferrence with him: nor should you (pursu’d I) who know so well what belongs to civility and good manners, desire me to do a thing so contrary to its rules.

I do not understand (said he) but that we may sometimes without offence (especially when necessity does in a manner constrain it) dispence with a ceremonious punctilio punilio of civility, for the obtaining a satisfaction of more importance: but methinkes being so intimate as you are with Merinza (pursu’d he) you need not feare a censure from her; and for my Cousin I dare assure you, she will rather inpute your quiting their conversation to a constraint impos’d on you by me, then any will in you to desert them; for she cannot but think I would willingly lay hold on any occation that may give me the happiness of a private converse, since she is not ignorant of that passion I have for you.

For me Loreto (said I looking on him with a smile) sure you mistake; you are speaking to Arthenia, not Madona, to whom that expression would now more aptly b[e] appli’d.

Extreamly surpriz’d he was to heare me speak in this manner; as I perceiv’d by his change of colour, but composing himselfe again as well as he could, and fetching a sigh I see Madam (said he) you are no stranger to those pretences I have of late made to Madona; but do not wonder at it, since I took no care to conceale them; yet I wish I had been my selfe the first that had acquainted you with them, that at the same time I might have shewn you the necessity that compelled me to what I have done: but seeing you onely know what I have [fol. 89 v ] done, and not what mov’d me to it, I cannot but admire you should receive me with so calme a brow, and intimate my falsness to me with the lovely language of a smile; and not rather contract your brows, and dart from thence such frownes as might so terrifie me as I should never more presume to appeare before you; nor had I now assumed the confidence to look you in the face were I but half so guilty as appearance renders me.{216}

You need make no Apolligie (interrupted I) to excuse your selfe; for since you lov’d me for your owne satisfaction, I shall not take it ill that you quit me to increase it: nor have I any reason to think it strang that you abandon a person to whom Fortune has declar’d herselfe an utter enemy, for one of her peculier Favourits. Madona has heapes of Gold and Silver to prefer her to your esteeme, whereas Arthenia has nothing but Innocence and Vertue for her dowry.

In having that (he answer’d) you possess more then all Madona’s wealth (were it trebled) could purchace. But give me leave (pursu’d he) to tell you, that this unconcernedness wherewith you support my change appeares to me more cruell then your anger would in its most formidable dress; for had you express’d ought of resentment against me, I might have flatter’d my self with hopes that kindness excited it, being troubled to loose what you had contracted some little value for; but this calme temper shewes too plainly how indifferent I am to you still; for though you declare you will not be offended with me if I relinquish you for my advantage, yet you must pardon me if I cannot take this as an act of your generosity (as perhaps you would have me) but rather as a testimony of your disesteeme; since I am perswaded no person ever lov’d who can on any score whatever be induced to part willingly with what they love.

If my memory deceive me not (said I) I never told you that I lov’d you.

No Madam I confess (repli’d he) you never gave me that assurance of my happiness; but yet pardon me if I say, you permitted me to hope I had some interest in you.

You might with reason have still continu’d those hopes (return’d I) had you not given me cause by your example (in withdrawing that kindness which you so oft have vow’d should never end but with your life) to lay aside that esteeme for you which you had created in me. Would you have me desturbe the serenity of my thoughts with angry resentments [feelings] for your unworthyness; tis you that ought rather to be disquieted that do the injury, then I that suffer it: no no Loreto you shall never so much insult over my weakness as to make Arthenia sigh, or once put on a discontented look for the loss of that which you have thought her unworthy longer to possess. Goe carry your faithless heart, and make a Present of it (if you have not already done so) to Madona; for know I scorne it now tis stain’d with Infidelity, much more then ere I priz’d it.

You would have reason Madam (he repli’d) not onely to scorn, but hate me too, were I such as [fol. 90 r ] I have been represented to you; but I have onely appear’d guilty to secure my innocence, and been a Crimenall seemingly, that I might not be really soe: for my Mother, (by what meanes I know not) having been enform’d of my passion for you, whereas she was incenced to that height as to vow with bitter imprecations, if I did not banish you my thoughts, to banish me her favour, and never to regard me but as a stranger to her blood, and utterly to deprive me of all subsistance, which you know (pursu’d he) for the present absolutely depends on her. This was I assur’d of by a person who had it from her owne mouth: who told me withall, that though he would not councell me to anything{217} so unworthy of me, as perfideously to desert you; yet as I would take his advice, I should endeavour to appeaze Crisaldas fury by seeming to slight you, and making my addresses to some other; then whom he could not think any person more proper to make the Object of my feigned love then Madona; both for the satisfaction my Mother would conceive thereat, to see me fix my mind so much on Wealth and because he was certainly perswaded that Lady design’d never to marry; and thereby I was secur’d from the feare of her acceptance of those Overtures I should make her. This Councell (added Loreto) I found so weighty, as I believ’d I could not do better then to follow it; which I instantly resolv’d to do, in hopes thereby not onely to pacifie Crisalda, but likewise to delude her, so as I might the more securely carry on the Designe I have to be yours, and yours onely.

Though I was satisfi’d with what me thoughts he had so ingeniously declar’d to me, yet I seem’d not to be so; and to that intent, You need not Loreto (said I) have studied for this far fetch’d excuse to palliate your slighting me, since my want of merit would have furnish’d you with a much juster pretence for it.

He would not suffer me to proceed, but catching fast hold of my hand which I had withdrawn from him, and pressing it with a most violent transport: for Heavens sake Arthenia (said he) be not so cruelly unjust as once to fancy that any thing that I have said, has been spoken by me with an intent to extenuate a guilt, that never yet found enterance into any thought of mine: to slight you, did you say; no Deare Arthenia, never think I can commit such a crime as that, wherein I must find a much severer punishment then my most malicious enemy can wish me: but if what I have already told you, does not convince you of the necessity that compell’d me to what I did, let this resolution I have made satisfie you both of my reallity, and Fidelity, which to preserve inviolate I determin’d for a while to leave Sicilie, to avoid all occations of being tempted to violate my faith; not that I distrust my owne stability, but lest Crisalda (by whose instigation I believe it was that I was put upon the design of courting Madona) may again find out some other (or indeed so many others) for me to make love to, till at last she may possibly discover a defect in my Will to be the cause of those [fol. 90 v ] successless Amoures, which if she did it might more provoke her displeasure by imputeing it (as she possibly might) to a designed disobedience: to shun these Rocks it is (continu’d he) that I have made this resolve, which nothing but your commands shall be able to alter; if you disallow it, I shall then renounce it, and make it give place to another resolution (which I long since made, and from which you yourselfe (though in all things else I will with the hazard of my life obey you) shall never be able to perswade me) which is to be intierly at your dispose, and never to owne any other Will then what depends on yours.

For my part (repli’d I) I shall never pretend to any such power over you; but what you give me on this score, I shall resign to you again: you are free Loreto to dispose of your selfe as you please; if your conveniency depends on your abandoning Sicilie I shall not oppose it.{218}

As I came to this period I heard Ardelia at Merinza’s request had just begun to sing, whose voice I had heard so much commended that made me desire to know whether Fame had Flatter’d, or but done her Justice: this desire of mine I having made known to Loreto, he presently lead me to the place where they were seated; but Ardelia had e’ne finish’d her song ere we came to them; wherefore to oblige me he requested her to sing another to us, which I was so extreamly taken with, as I beg’d the favour of her to give it me in writing, which instantly she did with much civility; happing to have a Copie of it about her. The words whereof (as I remember) were these.

A Song

Illustrious Beauties have you still a care
how you abroad unguarded use to range;
for you shall find Deceivers every where
‘mong wandring Lovers who still seek for change.

Trust not their Oathes who sweare your Loves to be
the cause of all their cruell deadly smart;
nor those who sigh, and weep to let you see
their loves, but not their false dissembling heart.

Beware of their inchanting feigned spell
that rifle may your heart, but not there dwell
and wisely set a Guard upon your heart
to Countermine their wanton cunning art.

Believe them not, nor their aluring charmes
they onely live secure that first take Armes
for so you may preserve your honour free
from all designes of Lovers treacherie. . . . [fol. 91 r ]

She had but newly ended when Dionella sent one to tell her she was ready to go, and stay’d for her, which made us hasten in; and having with her Mother together with Loreto taken their leaves, he came to bid me farewell; intreating me to banish all ill thoughts of him which his late carriage might have contracted in my mind, and to assure my selfe, I should either heare of him, or see him again very speedily.

Being gone, I began to run over in my thoughts all that he had said to me at that time, in any which I found so great a probability of truth as I could not find one reason sufficent to perswade me to continue the displeasure I had conceiv’d against him; nay, on the contrary when I consider’d how he offer’d to quit his Country for my sake, and expose himselfe to the mercy of the seas, and all those inconveniencies that Travelours are liable too, rather then he would be tempted to forsake me, I found he was far dearer to me then ever he had been, or could{219} have believ’d he ever would. Certainly had he studied to deck his passion with the most florid expressions, he could never have put it in a more lovely dress, or rendred it more charming then that resolution made it appeare to me: but how great soever the interest was that he now had gain’d in me, I determin’d to seeme wholly unconcern’d for his departure, though I could not be really so, when I thought upon those many dangers he might peradventure encounter abroad: but notwithstanding that trouble which began to ceaze my mind, though it had been (as he affirmed it was) in my power to expell it by enjoyning his stay in Sicilie, yet I absolutely resolv’d not once to open my Lips to solicit him to it, though I did Heaven in secret, to raise some obstruction or other to his Designe.

One morning being somewhat earlyer up then usuall, I was told there was a man below to speak with me; and having sent for him up, I found he was one that my Mother had sent to bring me home; somewhat amaz’d I confess I was at so sudden a sommons, and much admir’d [wondered] what might be the occation of it, which I demanded of the man; but he could not resolve me, onely gave me a letter from Brecena to Alsinda, adding that haply that might enforme me. I was impatient till such time as Alsinda awak’d that I might know what it contain’d; but t’was not long my expectations waited before her Chamber dore was open’d, which so soon as it was I went in, and giving her the goodmorrow I presented her my Mothers letter which she having read told me she found I was sent for, and that my Mother beg’d her to hasten me away as soon as possible[.]

[B]ut to what end (said she) is it that I must post you away with such speed; do you know (added she).

[N]o Madam (answer’d I) nor can I guess.

It may be (said she) you are sent for to be married; if so, I wish Deare Arthenia (pursu’d she, pressing me in her Armes, and kissing me most affectionatly) all true Joy, and reall happiness may perpetually attend your nuptialls.

Having thank’d her for so obliging, and Friendly a wish, I onely told her, I believ’d whatever Concern it was that call’d me home it was not [fol. 91 v ] that, and took my leave of her, having before put my selfe in a readiness for my Journey, and bid farewell to Merinza whom I likewise left in bed: but as I was going to take horse, Alsinda sent me word, that if I were not sent for on that account she had imagin’d, that I should be sure to make a speedy returne to Merinza who was never satisfi’d when I was from her; to which I return’d her answere, that my owne inclinations no less then her Commands would oblige me to that, and so departed.

When I came home I saw great preparations for a more then ordinary entertainment: I could not fancy my self to be the onely Guest that was expected; neither indeed was I, as I quickly learn’d from my Sister, who told me Loreto was to sup there that night; and that it was through his desire that I was sent for, that he might take his leave of me before he left Sicilie, which the next day he design’d to do. Though he had given me notice of his intentions, yet I did not think he would so soon have put them in practice; and besides, I had hoped hitherto hop’d, that{220} some accident or other might have fallen out to hinder his Voiage; but when I saw things arrived to this pass, and that I believ’d there was not any thing now would hinder his departure, I was concern’d for it in good earnest; and that somuch, as in my life I had never been before sensible of so great a sadness as that instant ceaz’d my heart: ^but^ I did all that ever I was able to confine it within my owne brest so closely as it might not be perceiv’d, nor taken notice of by any one.

About two houres before night Loreto came, and with him a Gentleman (call’d Rosanor) who was to accompany him in his Travells. All the evening he made it his business to seek an opportunity to speak with me; not but that he had all the liberty of discourse with me allow’d him as he could desire, but being then to take a long farewell of me, he thought perhaps what he had to say at that time might be too passionate for a publick conferrence, especially before Rosanor: but all his endeavours were to no purpose, for he could not find what he sought till after supper: but whether it were that he were troubled to part from me, or that he was vex’d he could not entertaine me so freely as he wish’d, I know not; but he sat so silent, as I verily think he hardly spoke six words whilst he sat at Table; nor was I much more liberall of my speech then he.

No sooner was supper ended (but finding my self something cold, it being the depth of Winter) I ris, and went to the Fire; which Loreto seeing, and perceiving his Friend engag’d in discourse with my Father and my Mother, he left them, and came to me, and pulling a chaire he sate downe by me; and making a sigh the preface to his discourse.

May I my ador’d Arthenia (said he) without flattery [fol. 92 r ] please my selfe with a beliefe that tis rather to your kindness, then Brecena’s goodness that I am oblig’d for the favour of your company this night.

If it be a favour (repli’d I) tis to my Mother onely that you are indebted for it, for, for my part I pretend no share in it; for I knew not in the least of you[r] being to come hither till since I came home.

But may I not hope (said he) that if you had known it, you would not have oppos’d my enjoyment of this felicity, that perhaps may be the last I may ever obtain.

You may assure you[r] self I would not (answerd I) for since my Parents have commanded me to esteeme you, I cannot think my self blameable in giving you such a testimony of my friendship.

Ah Madam (interrupted he) why would you not say affection; for if I have been so happy as to move you to accept my passion, be now so kind as not to conceale longer from me soe great a bliss; and lay aside a little of that severe humour of yours which makes you think it a crime to say you Love: consider for Heavens sake too, that I have need of more then ordinary comfort to support my exile, in which I shall be uncapable of all Joy or consolation during this cruell absence, if you do not in pitty give me some assurance of your affection.

I cannot tell (repli’d I) if I had that kindness for you as you desire, and perhaps expect; whether I ought to owne it, or whether it were not fitter for me to let{221} you g^u^ess my thoughts, then plainly to unfould them; since absence does many times slacken the strongest bonds of love, and often quite disolve them; which if it should so hapen in you, I should never more be reconcil’d to my self, if I had once own’d a concern for you.

You may be most certaine (said he) that when I leave off loving Arthenia I am no longer one of earths Inhabitants; for Heaven sake let me know then at this instant what you will determine of me, and suffer me not to wander farre off with no other comfort to attend me then that of a groundless hope, which is so faint, and languid, as I cannot but feare it will too soon expire and dye: then give me I beseech you now my finall sentence, and either declare you hate me, or tell me that you love me:

Should I say the first (repli’d I) I might be condemned both of Injustice and ingratitude; and should I affirme the last I know not whether you might take too much advantage of my words: but that I may not seeme too nicely scrupelous, I’le give you this assurance, that if at your returne I find your constancy proofe against those two powerfull enemies Time and Absence, I will as far as it depends on me give you that recompense such a fidelity deserves, and in the mean time to arme you the more strongly to resist them, I give you leave to entertaine any thoughts of me that may conduce to the preserving your Fidelity untainted.

Since you have by so obliging a permission (said he) bound me to be faithfull, may I presume to hope you will your self continue so.

I have not I confess (answer’d I) been very easily perswaded to afford you a place within my brest, but that which I have given you nothing shall be able to dispossess you of unless you youre selfe abandon it.

Which to be sure I never will (repli’d he hastily) [fol. 92 v ] till life abandons me.

But so much out of countenance was I at what I had said which methought nothing could render excusable but that which extorted these ^words^ from me as I should not in a long while have resetled that disorder I was in, had not Rosanor, and Mironides just then risse from the Table and come towards the Fire where we were siting, which put a period to all discourses of this nature; but notwithstanding Loreto let me understand as he took his leave of me (which soon after he did) that he went away as well satisfied with that esteeme I had favoure’d him with, as he was the contrary to leave me; and that he had now no trouble remaining, but that of his separation from me, which he said he hoped I would joyne my prayers with his, might be of no long continuance.

Then taking one of my hands and kising it with the greatest ardency of a passionate Love. Adue Arthenia (said he with a sigh) be but as kind at my returne as I’le be constant and I will ask no more.

With this he went away, leaving me in no little disquiet to think that perchance this might be the last farewell that ever he might take of me, going as he was to expose himselfe to sundry dangers, and perrills of his life: such thoughts{222} as these so intruded themselves into my mind the greatest part of the night, as they suffer’d me not to take much rest; for though I retier’d to my Chamber assoon as he was gone, and went emmediatly to bed; it was rather to hide my trouble, then for the hopes I had to find there any repose; nor did the succeeding day afford me any: and though I did all that in me lay to conceale my discontent, yet my Face was ever too true an Index to my heart, not to charactar on it what trouble soever at any time was engraven inwardly, so that my Mother quickly observ’d it, and not doubting but that Loreto’s departure was the cause of my Melancholly, she thought it might be easier diverted by my return to the Duke of Tellinus’s then by my stay at home which induced her to send me back sooner then she intended.

But I had not been there above twelve or fourteen dayes when passing along the Court one morning, I saw come in at the Gate of it a Gentelman so like Loreto (as had I not verily believ’d him to be at that instant on the sea) I should have absolutely concluded it was he; however I was ^so^ amaz’d as I remain’d immovable, not having the power to go either forward, or backward, never considering how unfit a garb I was in to be seen by a stranger, being but in my morning dress: but when he came neerer, I found I had not been mistaken in takeing him for Loreto; for it was even he indeed; yet could I scarce believe my eyes, but thought they still deceiv’d me, or rather that I walk’d in my sleep (as I have heard some persons use to do) and onely dream’d I saw him:

[B]ut he soon put this fancy out of my head by saluteing me with a smile, and saying, do you not admire Madam to see me here.

Indeed I do (answer’d I) and that somuch as I know not well whether I am awake or asleep:

You are the first without doubt (said he) but though my appearance be unexpected, I hope tis not unpleasing.

I think (repli’d I) I need not declare the contrary since I believe [fol. 93 r ] you are already perswaded of it. But pray Loreto (pursu’d I) tell me what tis has render’d your voyage so short; but tis not that your return is unwellcome, that I enquire the cause:

[W]hich as we went in a dores he told me was occation’d by Ormisdas, who having had some intelligence of his intended travells, imagin’d that he was going over to Claromenes upon some design or other; wherupon he immediatly sent a Pursevant after him, who overtook him at Tauromenion, and brought him back a Prisoner to Palermo, where he was detain’d till that very morning; but had then his liberty restor’d him on condition he attempted no more to go out of Sicilie.

I was not a little joy’d to see the Heavens had been so propitious to my prayers in crossing Loreto’s Voyage, even then when I dispair’d of a returne to those petitions I so oft had made to the Celestiall Powers upon that score; and scarce could I keep my Joy from breaking out into some expression, which perhaps I had after afterwards condemned as undecent.{223}

But after some little silence, may I not (said he) chalenge of you now the effect of that obliging promise you were pleas’d to make me, since I return the same to you I was, unalterable in any thing but in an increase of my passion, which has gather’d strength by this short absence; what would it then have done, had it been of a longer duration.

I have as yet (repli’d I) no additionall proofes of your Fidelity, for the time that you have been absent has not I am confident afforded either yourself or me any tryall of it; for tis not likely (added I with a smile) that you should become enamour’d of Chaines, or Fetters; or fall in love with Prison Walls, and other Objects I do not heare that you have of late encounter’d.

I must confess (said he) I have not been so happy in this I late attempted to meet with any occations that might confirme to you the reallity of that which I so oft to you have sworn; but though I fail’d in my first enterprise, I trust I shall have better fortune in that which I have now determin’d; which is (since Ormisdas has not confin’d me to any perticuler place in Sicilie) to make my owne Country the scean of my Travells, and trace Sicilie thorough out, with all the adiacent Islands belonging to it; and in that I think I shall not go beyond those limits to which I am confin’d. This may possibly take me up no less time then that which I intended to spend abroad, and perhaps afford me no less a satisfaction then what I before propos’d to my selfe, and give you no less convinceing testimonies of what as yet you seem doubtful of; since you are not ignorant Madam I believe that Fame has rendr’d our owne Country famous for beauties above all others in the World; and if I can withstand their forces, you need not question the power of others.

Alass (said I) if you love Arthenia, for nothing but her beauty, I shall have then more cause then ever to question your constancy; nor need you go far to seek ere you may find many who infinitly surpass her in all outward perfections.

Do not injure youselfe Faire Arthenia (repli’d he) so much as to admit any such opinion; but if my memory failes me not, I have already declar’d that there is something more charming in you then the most dazling beauty, which compells me to adore you.

By this time Gracianus having been told of Loreto’s being there, came downe to him, and saluted him with that civility [fol. 93 v ] as he believ’d due to the Duke of Veronas son. To do Gracianus right, I must needs say, that I really think no man better understood civillity, and what belonged to all punctillios of Cerimony then himself; nor did I ever know a person of a more affable, courteous, and every way obliging deportment to all persons, then he: besides he had naturally so taking a way in discourse, mix’d with such eloquence as Cicero so fam’d at Rome scarce excell’d him in that quallity, which render’d his conversation very agreeable to all company; and being so excellently accomplish’d as he was, I thought I should not transgress the rules of good manners if I took that opportunity to steal away to dress me, since I left Loreto him sogood a Companion as Gracianus{224} to entertaine him in my absence; yet made I so much hast to dress me that day as I believe he hardly miss’d me ere I return’d again.

All that day (till towards Evening) he spent with me, but then bad me farewell a second time, with repeated vowes of Love and Fidelity, conjuring me not to be unmindfull of him in his absence. The next day (as I remember) he began his Progress towards the western parts of Sicilie, intending first to visit Leontine the Citty where Crisalda drew her first breath, but here it was that all his designes were terminated; for hapning to come acquainted with a Nobleman in that Citty call’d Issodates, who had been in his youth a profess’d Adorer of Crisalda before she was married to Flavianus, he quickly lost all thoughts of Arthenia, making a present of that his heart to a Daughter of Issodates’s (nam’d Belissa) which he so oft had vow’d none ever should possess but I: yet if any thing could extenuate the Crime of Infidelity, or make an Appollogie for it, I must confess there was enough in Belissa to vindicate Loreto’s change; since she had much the advantage of me in all respects; both as to her birth, which was more noble, her education much more courtly, and her Fortune far exceeding mine; and as to her person, they must have been very partiall that had not given her the prehemenence of me. Her stature was neither tall, nor low, but of a height most generally approv’d: her complexion indeed was not the purest I have seen, yet had she so sweet an aire, and so winning a look about her eyes (which were so delicately black as nothing could equall except her haire) as he must have been of a firmer temper then Loreto was composed of, that could have resisted such powerfull Charmes.

[I]n fine Madam he was caught in them (whether designedly, or unawares I cannot tell) and so caught that he laid so close a siege, as in fewer dayes then he spent moneths in gaining a place in Arthenias heart he obtain’d not onely Belissas love but person too; being married to her in a very short space. We have a saying in Sicilie that those marriages are happiest that are soonest accomplish’d, but the truth of that ascertion Loreto could not find; for he quickly began to be dissatisfi’d with his choice, and repent what he had done, either out of remorse for his injustice to me (as he would afterwards have made me believe) or else out of a humour he had (as I rather think) to dislike, or slight whatever he was once possesst of: for it could be no defect in Belissa that could be capable of lessning his content, since tis most certaine she was every way worthy of a more deserving person then Loreto: but having undertaken my owne story, not his; I shall in [fol. 94 r ] silence pass by those addresses he made Belissa, and the way he took so speedily to gain her, together with the state and grandure of their marriage solemnities; and not insist on ought that relates to him, save onely those things that are intervoven with my owne Concernes.

  1. The scribe incorrectly writes “without out” [sic]. 


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Rivall Friendship by Bridget Manningham Copyright © 2021 by Arizona Board of Regents for Arizona State University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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