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"in man. But though his idea, that "the gifts of fortune are only an ac"countable fstewardship, makes him "uniformly and perfeveringly upright " and generous, it does not fupply those "nicer touches of the heart which na"ture never originally bestowed. Ex"clufive of what he feels for Geral"dine, I queftion whether his heart "ever acknowleged any fentiment live"lier than univerfal benevolence."
"How came he to marry then?" inquired Lucy. The air of naïveté with which the fpoke would have diverted Mrs. Evans at another time; but when applied to the prefent fubject it recalled painful fenfations. "It was not "a love-match," said fhe, after a long pause; "and I fear lady Powerfcourt "did not study to excite those fenti"ments of efteem and attachment in "fir William's mind, which her en
A TALE OF THE TIMES.
gaging attentions would have infpired. Though I believe he never "felt a ftronger tie than what arose " from habit and compaffion, his na"tural goodness made him behave to "her, during the trial of a long fick"nefs, with fo much tenderness, that " he was univerfally accounted a most "excellent husband. You know, Lucy, "he is not apt to make obfervations
on people or incidents which do not immediately affect himself. The world "flides by unnoticed, if it do not el"bow him; and though this may con"duce to the tranquillity of his mind,
prevents him from enlarging his "ftock of information. Can you, " however, wonder, from what he has "felt and from what he has obferved, "that he should fuppofe mutual attachment unneceffary in a union between "two worthy people? and you will
"allow Mifs Powerfcourt and her cou"fin answer that description."
"Most certainly they have the best "hearts in the world; but is not lord "Monteith too a moft worthy character, and, in point of rank and for"tune, a more defirable match ?"
"Fortune, my dear, though in most "marriages a very neceffary ingredient, "is of little confequence in the difpofal "of Mifs Powerscourt; for her here"ditary affluence is fo great, that fhe may poffefs every indulgence the can "wish for, without the neceffity of " her husband's adding any thing to "the paternal ftock. I am not one of "those who flight the advantages of "rank; I allow it to be defirable: but "if you balance againft it the apparent
r juftice of beftowing a rich heiress on "her father's nearest male relation, "who is educated in the fame princi
ples, and will refide upon the fame "fpot where his ancestors have flourifhed, who will most probably con"tinue to diffuse the same noble bene"volence and patriarchal hofpitality; I "proteft, when I think of these advantages, I can condemn nothing but fir "William's characteristical indifference "to the state of his daughter's affec"tions. But I obferve, Lucy, that of "late you always feem uneafy and filent "when we talk of Henry Powerscourt; " are not you and your old friend and playfellow upon as good terms as ❝ ufual?”
Yes, quite fo.
"Then should you not rejoice at the profpect of his good fortune?"
"So I do ; but poor lord Monteith"I cannot help juft now thinking of "him. I am forry at my very heart
"that he fhould be left unhappy; he is "fo uncommonly amiable."
"Pray," faid Mrs. Evans, "how "came you to know that he is fo un"commonly amiable and excellent?" Mifs Evans confeffed that her informant was Geraldine.
"Ah poor Geraldine !" faid Mrs. Evans, "the eye I fee has outstepped "the judgment; I hope it has not "mifled it. What very amiable qua<lities could fhe difcover in a ball"room? Does the indirect mode of his purfuing your friend, fince her «father's rejection, argue any exalted "excellence?"
"No," faid Lucy, "indeed it does "not; but do, my dear mother, make "allowances for his very ftrong attach«ment. I am afraid too my sweet "friend's heart is irrevocably his; and "ought he to marry Henry Powerf66 court,