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"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," faid 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 earneft "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 beft loved, be linked to a "woman who found the ties of delicacy DS " too
"too weak to reftrain her selfish pre"ference ?"
"Can a lively fenfibility of fuperior "goodness efface the delicacy of your "character? No, my Lucy: it gives to "it a more interefting attraction. Yet "I perfectly agree with you, that it "ought to be kept fecret from the "object of your regard; for, till Henry is juft to your merits, even he is un"worthy of you."
"And is he not, in your fense of the "word, unjust?"
"I own that his heart was bestowed where its value was lefs esteemed; "but fince that attachment is now utterly at an end
"Go on, my fweet flatterer, and fay in plain terms, Now that I am mar
ried, do you, Lucy, come and meet "the agreeable bachelor at Monteith:
"throw yourself in his way, ftudy his "humours, and try to perfuade him to "take a little notice of you.-No, "Geraldine; the man who has loved
you will not easily be caught by other "lures; and, dearly as I regard you, I "fhall be too tenacious of my own " right of pre-eminence to admit of your participation of my husband's heart." "His return to England," replied the countess," is a clear proof that "he can view me with indifference. "Muft the man who has been un"fortunate in his firft choice necef"farily remain for ever after infenfi→ "ble to female merit? Surely, Lucy, "that romantic idea was never incul"cated by your mother's precepts."
"Such a change is not abfolutely impoffible; but highly improbable " in the present inftance. Obferve the "line of conduct which I mean steadily D 6
"to pursue; and I conjure you by our friendship, and your wishes for my happiness do not attempt to make "me deviate from it. I fhall in the "first place perfift in my endeavours to conquer a preference which promises "to be always irreconcileable with my "peace; and, as a means to forward this "defirable end, neither in your letters "nor your converfation do you, my Ge"raldine, introduce the painful theme. "I will neither avoid nor feek Mr. "Powerscourt; I will neither appear "anxious to please, nor fearful to offend "him. Whatever progrefs I make in "his affections fhall be all in my own
natural character. Do you exert your "penetration, and warn me when I depart from this line of conduct. Be as jealous of my delicacy as you "would of your own; and if ever my "countenance betrays in his prefence "the
"the perturbation of my mind, warn "me of the danger of exciting my own "future remorfe; and let me haften "back to hide my folly in this folitude, "where my mind fhall foon regain its "loft energy by the contemplation of my mother's virtues.”
She then prefented lady Monteith with a copy of verses. "Read," said fhe," this little tribute to filial duty, "which burft from my heart during my "lonely walk last night. It is not finish
ed, but it will convince you that I am "capable of more worthy feelings than "the weak regrets of unrequited love.” So faying, fhe fuddenly left the countess, who, with mingled admiration and regret, perused the following fragment:
Still will I wander through thefe mofs-grown bowers,
And fcent the grateful fragrance of these flowers;