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borne, checking fome unfubdued ftruggles of confcience, which almoft tempted him to wifh he could enjoy fuch vifionary delights, coolly replied to her energetic fpeech: "I fhould be very forry, ma"dam, to interrupt thofe agreeable re"veries which in minds of your tem
perature can rarely be prejudicial. I "fhall only ftate the dangerous confe
quences of fuch illufions becoming "general. What a tremendous fuper"tructure of impofition might prieft"craft erect upon fuch a vifionary bafis! "You do not pretend, madam, to fay, "that your hopes reft upon any real "foundation. The nature of the foul "has hitherto eluded inquiry. It may "in time become capable of abfolute "definition; and though the age is not
at prefent fufficiently enlightened to "afford abfolute proof of this fuppofed immaterial fubftance being only a
moreexquifite configuration of perish"able atoms, incapable of diftinct exift
ence, the glorious epocha of truth and " reason is too near to allow us to believe "the poffibility of spectral appearances,
or even of spiritual agency, in the "manner your imagination prompts you "to with."
Though lady Monteith was no deep theologian, fhe had heard of the millenium, and the suspension of consciousness in the difembodied foul; and fhe concluded that Fitzofborné was a convert to thofe doctrines. She was by no means aware of the deeper tendency of his views; yet, as the thought there was fomething peculiar in his opinions, the wished to fathom him upon these subjects. She knew enough of the world to be convinced, that divinity was not the favourite ftudy of young men of fafhion; but he knew too, that deep learning
learning was equally excluded from polite circles. Fitzofborne had been announced to her as the "mirror of information;' and fhe faw nothing ridiculous in the idea, that a man of reading fhould de vote a part of his attention to the ftudy of the nobleft truths. Indifference on ferious fubjects was, as far as her ob fervations extended, combined with ig norance and a general relaxation of mind. Fitzofborne's manner evinced energy and attention. She had often felt indignant at hearing the witling attempt to ridicule what he did not underftand, or the libertine feek to invalidate what he feared to believe. But Fitzofborne poffeffed too much real talent to envy the wreath that fades upon the coxcomb's brow, and his conduct feemed too correct to fupply him with a motive for taking fhelter in infidelity. His fentiments on every fubject were moral and liberal.
His felf-command was exemplary; his information general; his reafoning, though flowery, ingenious, and, in lady Monteith's opinion, judicious. I have already observed, that her parts were rather brilliant than profound. It will not therefore be furprifing, that she fhould be eafily entangled in the fnare of a fyllogifm, or that the unfufpecting fincerity of her heart fhould render her a dupe to any one who took the trouble to play the fpecious confummate hypo
In forming her opinion of the dangerous character which was now expofed to her obfervation, fhe had fallen into the fame error of precipitate judgment which he had been guilty of in the cafe of Lord Monteith. She now fupplied talents with as much liberality as the formerly created virtues. Experience had convinced her, that love is apt
apt to look through magnifying optics; yet, though one pleafing phantom faded after another, fomething really eftimable still remained; and on her comparing her own lot with that of others, the found abundant reafon to acquiefce in a ftate of refigned content. Recalling fome of Mrs. Evans's early precepts,she had laboured to fubdue thofe more exquifite refinements of fenfibility, which vainly look for confummate enjoyment in this world; and without feeling too lively regrets for the want of unattainable good, fhe enjoyed the cup of blefling which Providence tendered to her acceptance. She was in this ftate of mind when her acquaintance with Fitzofborne commenced. The peculiarity of his character drew her attention. The evident infelicity of his connubial profpects attracted pity. His conduct awakened efteem, and his intellectual fuperiority