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The excurfion to Oxford being now as irrevocably fixed as the ancient laws of the Medes and Perfians, lady Monteith privately dispatched her own fervant to town with the best apology her invention could frame to her expected guefts.
On entering the feat of the Mufes,
"Mother of arts
"And eloquence, native to famous wits, "Or hospitable, in her sweet recefs,
City or fuburban, ftudious walks and shades ;"
the countefs felt a refined pleasure, uninterrupted by any painful recollections, till her lord, as he hurried her from the Theatre to the Ratcliffe Library, fuddenly exclaimed, "Have you not fome curiofity of your own to exhibit at "Oxford,-a quondam lover? How <c you blush, you little tyrant! I must "fee him.-I once intended to cut the "fellow's throat; but I am quite in charity with him now.
Where is "he?
"he? we will have him with us at the "hotel this evening."
"Indeed, my lord," stammered lady Monteith, "I am afraid he cannot ❝ come. He is very ill."
"Hl!-O! then we will go and fee "him. What college does he belong to?-Come, we can go to his rooms "first."
"Not without fome previous no"tice," said the countefs. "His "complaint is on his fpirits, and we "fhall only agitate him. It is a low
"A low fever!" replied his lordship with a loud laugh. "A ftrong love-fit you mean. You fpirited him off very cleverly, Geraldine, and just in, "time to fave his life; for I had written "a challenge for him. I wonder, by"the-bye, why you came to refufe him; "for he must be one of your own ac"commodating
<commodating fort of people, to give 66 up a charming girl to a stranger, and "afterwards fall fick about her himself. "We will have him; the fight of you, " and a bottle or two of claret, will cure " his low fever."
"You are all in the wrong," replied lady Monteith, who could fcarcely fummon fufficient fpirits to parry this attack; "but all your manoeuvres shall "not make me gratify your curiofity " by explaining this enigma. I will "write to Henry, and ask him to give " us the meeting; but pray, remember, "that he really is unwell, and alfo "naturally timid and referved. Spare "your raillery therefore; for, though 66 you will be wide of the mark, his "fenfibility is fo acute, that it may "give him pain.”
Lord Monteith, with truth, declared that he never defigned to give any one M5 uneafine fs.
uneafinefs. On returning to the inn her ladyfhip dispatched the following letter:
"TO HENRY POWERSCOURT, Efq.
"It is impoffible to pafs through "Oxford without feeling a folicitude " for the health of my valuable friend; "and if it be fufficiently restored to "bear the exertion, your company this " evening would afford me peculiar pleasure. Lord Monteith joins anxioufly in this wish. His impatience "to be introduced to one, on whose "merits he has often heard my father "expatiate, would have carried him to "your apartments; but I doubted how
far you might be able to bear his "vifit. Come to us, my dear Henry, "if you poffibly can; perhaps my "lord's playful vivacity may enliven To fee you well and happy is << the
"the only addition now wanting to the
"and grateful friend,
The fervant who carried this epiftle returned with the intelligence that the gentleman had been very ill, and was gone for change of air to fome friend's house a few miles in the country; but that his fervant happened to come to his lodgings to inquire for meffages just as he was there; and that he had given him the letter to carry to his mafter. "How far was his friend's house from "Oxford ?" The fervant could not tell. "Did he know the name of the gentle"man at whofe houfe he was?" No. "Nor the name of the place?" Still a negative." Blockhead!"-but I fhall omit the epithets by which my lord exM 6 preffed