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unexpected death of an only brother changed her profpects from the gloom of a prison to pleasure and affluence.
Lord Fitzofborne had known Mifs Campley from her earlieft youth; he had often been at her parties, and had won her money without wifhing for a further connexion; but fhe now struck him in a much more interefting point of view. I do not mean to infinuate, that he thought her mourning was particularly becoming, and fuited to her complexion; his lordship's tafte led him to pursue more folid advantages than a fet of features can promife. He was an excellent calculator; and, though he too well understood the character of his prefent mistress to fear the ultimate fuccefs of his rival, he laid fo much stress upon the attractions of old dowagers, and the frailty of vows of widowhood, that he confidered three thousand a-year in immediate
mediate poffeffion as better than four thousand in reverfion. But while he continued rather unrefolved, the gout fixed in lady Madelina's foot, and her phyfician congratulated her upon an event which would infallibly add at least twenty years to her life. His lordship waited for no other inducement to pay his devoirs at the fhrine of the other divinity. Mifs Campley's yielding gentleness forgave paft flights; and in lefs than a month lady Araballa received bride-cake and favours from the vifcountess Fitzolborne.
This certainly was provoking; but the faithful Stanley was a fure resource. Here again lady Arabella's evil genius met her to blaft her projects. Mr. Stanley was not quite fo much in love as to lose all his powers of obfervation. His charmer's conduct had been at leaft doubtful. The encouraging fmiles which had
had beamed full upon him ever fince the viscount's dereliction, were too fufpicious to be completely fascinating; and he thought a journey into the country would at least show his mistress, that he was not one of Cupid's tame votaries. In his take-leave vifit he made fome further discoveries into her ladyship's character; and while he made his final bow, his regret at his difappointment was foftened by the confcioufnefs of escaping that worst of evils, a diffipated unprincipled wife.
Lady Arabella had charming fpirits. She laughed at the vanity of the mencreatures who fuppofed themselves of confequence; and intimating, that though she had private reafons for rejecting Lord Fitzofborne, they were not of a nature to influence her dearest Harriet's choice, fhe waited with impatience for the return of the bride and bridegroom
bridegroom to town. She flew to make the wedding vifit, gave in her card, was admitted, and congratulated the happy pair in terms equally fincere with the profeffions of esteem and friendship which the received in return. The vif. countefs now infifted that she should be her conftant vifitor, and ftrongly urged her not to mope herself at home during her aunt's confinement. Lady Arabella declared, that her ladyfhip was the only good Chriftian that fhe had talked to for a long time; and that it really would be charity to take her out of the fphere of flannels and fomentations. They agreed to go to every place where there was any thing to be feen. Lady Fitzofborne declared with a fmile, that even if her lord was fometimes of the party the had a foul too capacious for jealoufy; and her equally liberal friend, with a loud laugh, obferved, that fhe was not
yet arrived at the age of envy and her laft prayers. Lady Fitzofborne's speech needs no explanation; but the wit of lady Arabella's retort confifted in an allufion to the circumftance of her dear friend's being ten years older than herself.
The friends were conftantly together, except when the mysteries of Pharo impofed a temporary feparation. I have already faid, that lady Madelina's fevere notions, restricted fome of her niece's propenfities; but this was not the only thing that prevented Arabella from being caught in that ruinous vortex from whofe fatal contact peace and honour muft never hope to escape. Lord Fitzofborne was, fince his marriage, become a man of character, a lover of decorum, and a confiderate obferver of pecuniary advantages. Fortune feldom bestows her gifts fingly, and