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preffed his fenfe of difappointment; for though they conveyed to his terrified lady the idea of his being in a towering paffion, habit made them pass trippingly from his tongue without any consciousness of having uttered them.. While lady Monteith therefore, pale and trembling, reflected upon the uniform fuavity of her father's manners, a turn or two across the room fet the earl to rights again, who, advancing to her with a smile which perfectly became him, begged the favour of her, as he had loft the diverfion of quizzing a chum, to amufe him with a game at piquet.
No other incident worth recording occurred during the remainder of their journey to London. On their arrival at their town refidence, a number of fervants ranged themselves on each fide the entrance to welcome their approach. Though
Though Monteith had not beftowed much trouble in facrificing to the Graces, he poffeffed all the natural elegance of a Belvidere Apollo. He prefented their new miftrefs with a look of benevolent freedom, which his features were particularly calculated to exprefs; and he told them, that she was come to make them all as happy and as good as herself. The countess's heart felt agreeably elated. She caft a benignant glance around, and advancing to the housekeeper, who ftood at the head of the female party, after an affurance of general good-will to all, fhe preffed her hand with that graceful affability which was concomitant to all her actions; when the words "Lady Madelina" inftantly changed the scene.
Her ladyship was indeed advancing in propria perfona, bridling with ftiff dignity, rendered yet more ftubborn by a fmo
a fmothered fenfe of affront. She congratulated her nephew in terms folemnly fententious, and then bent her knees to the bride with the overftrained lowJinefs of proud humility. Monteith, though he knew his aunt's character, felt thunderstruck; and the timidity which her ladyfhip's drefs, figure, and manner excited, annihilated all the polished elegance of Geraldine. The parties, therefore, ftood like what the sportsmen call hounds at fault, till lady Madelina waved her hand for her mece to go up ftairs firft; which the latter declining, the former wheeled round, and, in the fame confequential manner, reafcended to the drawing-room. Lord Monteith, as he followed in the proceffion, muttered to himself, "No! "this will never do."
The ceremony of being properly fixed in their chairs took up fome minutes;
and after three introductory hems, Geraldine ventured to try the found of her own voice by expreffing her regret that they were not in town at the time of lady Madelina's arrival; the only answer to which apology was a majestic bend. Again the young countess made an effort at converfation, by hoping that her ladyship's health had not suffered from the fatigue of her long journey; another bend, and a negative, was the answer. "Silence again reigned unrivalled queen," till her empire was terminated by the entrance of her fworn enemy lady Arabella, who, having given the finishing arrangement to her drefs, fwam into the room to eclipfe her new fifter in thofe qualities of wit and beauty for which he had heard The was diftinguifhed; and certainly, if feature alone could denominate the fatter, and volubility the former, the
fair Geraldine muft have hid her diminished splendour.
Nature, who had bestowed upon the earl of Monteith the ftriking advantages of a fine figure and an agreeable countenance, had been ftill more bountiful to his fifter, whofe face and perfon had all the regular loveliness which the vaineft mother could ever defire for a darling daughter. These fuperior attractions appeared in her earliest years; and as the fyftem of policy pursued by the houfe of Macdonald did not add any lucrative temptations to the charms of their females, this rare bounty of nature was treasured with the most unremitting care, as a fure means of fecuring an honourable establishment. The plan of her education confifted in avoiding whatever was bad for the eyes, bad for the fhape, and bad for the complexion; and in acquiring whatever was per