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attractions in the confcioufnefs of poffeffion.

To thefe obfervations Candour replied, that even levity was pardonable in youth and beauty, when it appeared to be the artless offspring of a happy innocent heart; that inexpericace would apelogize for the faults which proceeded from an exuberant flow of animal spirits, a strong defire to please, and a difpofition uncommonly prone to the most generous difinterested confidence; that it was impoffible for her to escape the knowledge of her own perfections, when every tongue was loud in her praise, and there were none to dispute her claim to pre-eminence; and that it was even amiable in her to wish to difplay those excellencies which feemed ever to communicate delight to others. I have ftated the debates which were caused by the appearance and manners of Mifs Powerf

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Powerfcourt, and fhall only obferve, that in point of numbers the applauders had it.

Many were the detractors and imitators which the fair Geraldine excited; but one young lady, who was neither her rival nor her copyift, loved her with unaffected tenderness. The character of Lucy Evans was perfectly her own; it was caft in nature's most artless mould, and finished by the unremitting attention of an intelligent mother and an exemplary father. Inferior to her friend in perfonal charms and expensive ac complishments, she was yet very pretty, very fenfible, very amiable, and as well educated as the daughter of a country clergyman need wish to be. Early taught the difference between a young woman whofe fortune muft arife from the favings of four hundred pounds per annum, and the heiress of twice as many thousands,


she never made the indulgences of Mifs Powerscourt the model for the regulation of her own enjoyments and desires. She had read much, fhe had thought more; her leisure for ftudy and reflection was greater than her friend's, and her mind imperceptibly acquired fuperior energy. Her knowledge of the world was confined to the manor-house and the rectory; at the former fhe sometimes met mixed characters; her fenfibility made her strongly feel their improprieties, and her fincerity generally betrayed thofe emotions.

The ladies were friends in the strictest fenfe of the word; but when I own that there was no other young perfon within feveral miles with whom Mifs Powerf court could properly form an intimacy, my readers will probably condemn me for afcribing the term friendship to an intercourfe which rather proceeded from F 5


chance and locality than from taste and felection, and will probably predict that it was very likely to be annihilated in the rude changes of the jostling world. The following pages will difcover how far they are right; it fhall fuffice for me at present to affirm, that at the time I am treating of the attachment was mutual and fincere.

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While the fair Geraldine bent over the harp with the grace of a Calliope and the execution of a Cecilia, Lucy fat quietly at her plain work in a corner of the room, and enjoyed the applaufe which her friend's mafterly performance ever excited. But when Mifs Powerf court's fkill in mufic, drawing, embroidery, fillagree, and every other fashionable acquirement, had been dif played, Mifs Evans could not wholly escape obfervation, at least if any perfons in company were fufficiently liberal to 13


turn their eyes from the dazzling fplendour of fortune to the mild luftre of mo-deft independence. Though her obfervations did not proceed from a mouth exquifitely formed, nor were enforced by eyes of peculiar brilliancy, they befpoke a correct intelligent mind, and were ac-companied by an arch naiveté, or an ingenuous earneftnefs, which seemed at once to develope the fpeaker's artlefs amiable character. Exulting at the attention which her Lucy's remarks obtained, Miss Powerscourt ever delighted to lead the converfation to topics on which the knew her to excel; and when the party was large, modeft diffidence: was often charmed out of its intended: filence by the affectionate artifices of the mistress of the feaft.

Without attributing too much to the allurements of wealth, it may readily be believed, that Mifs Powerfcourt's hand F 6


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