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"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 fenfe of the "word, unjuft?”
"I own that his heart was bestowed where its value was lefs esteemed; but fince that attachment is now ut"terly at an end--"
"Go on, my fweet flatterer, and say in plain terms, Now that I am mar"ried, do you, Lucy, come and meet "the agreeable bachelor at Monteith: "throw
"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 countefs," 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 68 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 66 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 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 68 my mother's virtues."
She then prefented lady Monteith with a copy of verses. "Read," said
"this little tribute to filial duty, " which burst from my heart during my lonely walk laft 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, perufed the following fragment:
Still will I wander through thefe mofs-grown bowers,
And fcent the grateful fragrance of these flowers;
Still will I pace the paths her footeps prefs'd,
Here, when the fun's declining car allows
Sweet Philomel, who fhunn'd the "garish day,"
In the known cadence of thy filver voice.