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feveral. He complimented lady Arabella on her more enlarged notions, but conjured her to conceal a fuperiority which might probably excite envy; and in cafe of any future attempts to inspire her with fuperftitious terrors, he wished her either to give a fudden turn to the converfation, or to enjoy the triumph of reafon over bigotry in a dignified filence.
Fitzofborne entered on the task enjoined, with the cruel avidity of a fanguinary mind, bent on deftroying what it was neceffitated to revere. His obfervations on lady Monteith's behaviour enabled him clearly to develope her character; and as he founded his hopes of fuccefs on her evident love of praise, he was fenfible that the unaffected fincerity of her religious principles would prove a fleady bulwark too powerful to be affailed by open attacks, and which be muft either undermine or abandon
his purfuit. He perceived, that though her vivacity at times tranfcended the limits of rigid prudence, even in the wildeft flights of gaiety the moft guarded ridicule on facred fubjects was unpalarable; and though the engroffing amusements of polite life afforded lefs leisure for reflection and devotional exercises during her flay in town, fhe ever paffed a diffipated Sunday with evident regret, and appeared to feel every omiffion of duty with the self-reproach of conscious error, rather than to avow her neglect with the bold air of one who expects to be applauded for liberality and exemption from prescribed forms. The footing on which he was received in the family gave him frequent occafions of perceiving that, though fhe did not burst out into frequent cenfures against licentiousness, she never treated a grofs deviation from morality and decorum with that levity
of remark which warrants the conclufion, that the obferver's principles are too relaxed to view flagitious conduct with proper abhorrence. Though no one knew better how to wing the fhaft of raillery, and to encourage " fport that wrinkled care derides," wit was with her the companion of unreproved pleasure, not the child of unreftrained liberty. Its frolic hand was ever taught to respect the palladium of virtue and religion.
The event which Geraldine had lately witneffed confirmed her habitual reverence for ferious fubjects.. Without profeffing to feel any marked attachment to lady Madelina, or affecting forrow for her lofs, the had contemplated an object of mortality with the fympathetic thoughtfulness of one who felt confcious that the was a fellow-pilgrim, journeying
to the fame bourne. A conviction of the inftability of temporal poffeffions, and the inefficiency of human aid, would naturally direct a confiderate mind to firmer fupports, and to recur to the idea of a traveller, than which nothing can be more analogous to human life. The certainty of a limited refidence amongst the objects of fenfe excited a strong folicitude to extend her knowledge of things invifible, and to fecure an interest in that undiscovered world of which she must one day become an inhabitant.
A ftate of mind like that which I have defcribed appears at the first glance to be unfavourable to the defigns of a Fitzofborne. He thought it otherwise. It was a difpofition which naturally led to the difcuffion of moral and religious truths. The decent forms which the custom of the world still fanctions prefcribed
fcribed to the Monteiths the neceffity of avoiding promifcuous vifitors, and abfenting from public amufements. And though the fair Arabella feemed to caft a longing look from her folitude upon forbidden pleasure, the countess listened to the narrative of the day with a more languid attention, and imperceptibly led back the converfation to fome improving fubject. Her attempts generally frightened lady Arabella, and compelled her to take refuge in her own apartments; where the found occupation in confulting with her maid on the changes of ornament which the alterations in her mourning would admit. Lord Monteith, though at first doubtful how he should kill time during this melancholy period of confinement, found fo much amusement in ringing the dumb bell and learning to play on the violin, that he relapfed