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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 lovelinefs 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 house 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. 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



perfectly elegant and fuitable for a young lady of the first fashion.

I have already mentioned the mournful incidents which in her feventeenth year banished the lovely Arabella from London, and confined her within the fecluded walls of Kinloch. The fame event put a stop to her improvements and her pleasures. The confined education of her prefent protectress, lady Madelina, had not even paced the narrow circle of female accomplishments; and her observations had been wholly limited to the neighbourhood where her: local pre-eminence allowed her to reign undifputed fovereign. No wonder, therefore, that he conceived her niece to be a miracle of erudition, because she could speak French with tolerable volubility or that her jejune performances in music and painting should meet with unbounded celebrity among the vifitants


at the caftle, where few understood, and none dared to cenfure. But, exclufive of the pleasure which even grofs adulation bestowed, the three years which she spent in Scotland formed one continued period of mortification and regret.

Lady Madelina's recollection of those early difficulties which had at last influenced her to reward fir Simon's long and generous attachment, determined her to rescue her niece from fimilar trials by adopting her for her heiress to thofe ample poffeffions which her uxorious hufband had alienated from his own family. But upon becoming perfonally acquainted with her, and finding that all the beauty and all the vir tues of the race from old Donald to the prefent times were centered in the peerless Arabella, fhe grew paffionately fond of her, or rather blindly partial to


what the fancied the fummit of all human excellence. To banish her chagrin, and to weaken reciprocal attachment, she treated her with unbounded indulgence; but as indulgence always defeats its aim, it neither made the young lady grateful nor happy. On the contrary, The grew every day more capricious, vain, and wretched. She could not love or respect a person who neither checked her faults nor ftrengthened her virtues. She foon learned the art of turning her aunt's weakness to her own advantage, and confidered the favours the received as a tribute rather than an obligation. Without one fenfible friend to enlighten her judgment, without one correct model by which to form her character, she miftook affectation for elegance, and faftidiousness for delicacy.

Nor did her diflike of retirement proceed from a relish for polished fociety and

and refined pleasures. She only thought that the power of her charms was limited to too narrow a sphere; and fhe wished, like the fair Phaeton of the laft age, to" obtain the chariot for a day," that "fhe might fet the world on fire."

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Though an invitation to London had at first inspired a heartfelt complacency for her new fifter, her reported graces had foon obliterated that idea, and ingrafted in its ftead the baneful germ of envy. Had the lovely Geraldine entertained fimilar ideas, their first interview might rather have been called the battle of the beauties, than an attempt to conciliate fifterly affection and reciprocal regard.

Proteus, the poets tell us, could affume a thousand refemblances; but, whether he seemed a lion or a fawn, he was Proteus ftill. Like him, lady Arabella could tack an infinitude of


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