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ineffectual, fhe determined, by that full confidence which Mrs. Evans had recommended, to remove every fubject of felf-condemnation from her own heart. After having bound his honour by a promise of fecrefy, fhe delivered to him the letters with which I concluded the laft Chapter; and fhe entreated him, as the affair was too ferious for levity, to avoid the diftreffing fubject in their future converfations.
Lord Monteith was a ftranger to that green-eyed monster which mocks the meat it feeds on." The preference his lady had recently given him was too avowed, and her conduct, as well as her principles, too correct to raise fufpicion even in the heart of a Leontes. On the contrary, Mr. Powerfcourt's behaviour excited his warm esteem; and his frank open difpofition compelled him to exclaim, "I cannot think, Geraldine, why "you
"you preferred me to that noble fellow; "I hope he will live to come back to «С England, that I may thank him for "giving me happiness at the expence of "his own repofe. Let me tell you, <6 very few young fellows of my ac"quaintance would have acted as he " has done."
"I hope," faid the countefs, while heartfelt pleasure lighted up all the charms of her intelligent face, "that I "fhall have the fatisfaction of prefent
ing two friends to each other, highly "deferving of mutual confidence. You "fee I have requested Henry's correfpondence; you, my lord, must permit "me to communicate it to you; your fuperior knowledge of the character of your own fex will enable me to discover "whether his travels are conducive "to his repofe; and you will affift my. "replies by pointing out fuch topics as
"will prove most effectual in promoting "this end, ever remembering that the "efteem and gratitude I now feel for him "must be fubfervient to the ftronger at"tachment whence they originated."
Such were the fentiments of lady Monteith; and fuch is the conduct upon which the mufe of history and the mufe of fiction alike delight to dwell. The uncorrupted mind avows its divine original, by recurring with fecret complacency to the portrait of what is perfect, fair, and good. Though the depravity of modern manners may obtain tranfient amufement from thofe highly-coloured fcenes of guilt which the judgment condemns, the foul only finds conftant gratification in contemplating the lovely pictures of innocence and virtue.
When I recollect that the fubfequent events of this hiftory will lead my narrative through many a painful fcene, I B 3 feem
feem to fhrink with reluctance from the difgufting task of defcribing fyftematic villainy mining the outworks which decorum and religion have placed around female virtue, while the unfufpecting heart becomes entangled by fatanic guile and inbred vanity. I feel that the part moft analagous to my tafte, as well as to my powers, would be to depicture the amiable features of the human cha racter fhaded only by those lighter traits of frailty from which the most perfect ftandard of human goodness is not. exempt. But, knowing that the unchriftian morals of the prefent age ftrain their affected charity till they embrace vice, while the most glaring enormities are gloffed over by delicate fubterfuges; and refined liberality expatiates on the goodnefs of the heart, while its poffeffor breaks every precept in the decalogue; I feel ftimulated by an ardent, though
perhaps injudicious zeal, to lend my feeble aid to stop the torrent of enthu fiaftic fentiment which daringly menaces that heaven-erected edifice that is predicted to furvive the wreck of worlds.
Impreffed with this idea, I conceive it poffible to ferve the caufe of principle, by fhewing through what devious unfufpected paths the human heart may be led to error; how eafily it may, by youthful indifcretion, be hurried down. the steep defcent, till, Hazael-like, it finks into the infamy which it once fhuddered to name. Yet, retaining too much native purity to be reconciled to its degraded state, and too much fenfibility to ftifle reflection, it fhrinks from life as from an infupportable burden; and the morning which rofe in fplendour is clouded by infuperable gloom before it attains its meridian brightness.