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left to her own obfervations, which pointed out to her that Henry's increafing vivacity augured well; and, to confirm the fatisfaction which his recovered cheerfulness diffufed over her mind, his laft letter expreffed an intention of re-. turning to England, by the route of Lower Germany, Switzerland, and Flanders.
It was the encouraging hope which thefe circumstances fupplied, and not the ftimulation of feminine curiofity, that induced lady Monteith to develope her friend's fentiments in a point that had hitherto been guarded by the most rigid fecrely. She endeavoured gradually to lead her to the subject, and began by expatiating on the beauties of Monteith," My lord," faid fhe, "has "kindly permitted me to indulge a "thousand little whimfeys in embellifh "ing a spot eminently indebted to na
I have fet up temples and al"coves out of number. Some are for folitary mufings, others for focial parties. There is one, of which I "hope, Lucy, you will be very fond, "and that we fhall fpend many happy "hours there, when you come to stay "with us next autumn. It is formed
upon a plan communicated by Henry "Powerscourt; he took it from a beau"tiful ruin in Campania. It is open "to the fouth, and fhaded by the "loftiest beeches I ever faw. The ivy "and woodbines which I have planted "round fome of the columns grow very "good-humouredly. It has befides "the advantage of a prospect, to which " even the mountain scenery of Powerf court is flat and uninterefting."
A crimson blufh lighted up Mifs Evans's face. "It is," faid fhe, " ex"tremely doubtful whether the state of
father's fpirits will allow me to
fpend next autumn with you. But
you mentioned Mr. Powerfcourt"I hope he is well. When did you "hear of him?"
Very lately," faid the countefs, drawing out one of his letters. "He "writes in excellent fpirits, and he "gives us hopes of his foon returning "to England. I hope, Lucy, you will "meet him at Monteith."
" I meet him!" replied Lucy, in increafing agitation.
"Yes, my love-I am fure you will "have a fincere pleasure in renewing << your acquaintance with an old friend. "In this very letter he expreffes a moft "lively concern for your lofs, and a "ftrong folicitude for your happiness."
"You were always a little inclined "to flatter," replied Lucy, with a smile which revived the idea of her native figni
fignificant archnefs. "It is your happi"nefs for which he feels fuch strong "folicitude."
"Read then, and be convinced," faid the countefs, tendering her the letter.
"No," faid Lucy, recollecting herfelf, and affuming a ferious air; " I fhall "preferve the pertinacity afcribed to my fex, and refufe conviction till you, "dear tempter, tell me, what good "would arife from my indulging a vain hope, that I excite an intereft in Mr. "Powerfcourt's heart. You know my fecret, Geraldine; and let me forever "filence your obfervations on this fubject, by owning that I know his. If "I have not your charms to attract his "affection, I have at leaft fortitude to "avoid his contempt. His regret at
lofing the woman of his choice fhall not be aggravated by compaffion for "a love
"a love-lorn girl, who, betrayed by " inexperience to unfolicited love, pur "fues him with the offer of an unac"cepted heart."
"I admire your lovely pride," said the countess. "Yet my friend's deli"cacy need not be hurt when I declare, "that, as nothing but a pre-attachment "would have made me infenfible to Henry's merits, it is my moft earnest "wish that she may reward them."
"How reward them, lady Montieth? "Can a forced alliance (and pity is com pulfion to a noble mind) reward the generous, firm, felf-denying virtues "of Harry Powerfcourt? Shall the "man who could renounce a bleffing "his whole foul was ardent to poffefs, " even when by that renunciation he "exposed himself to the anger of the "friend he best loved, be linked to a "woman who found the ties of delicacy