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"of my notions are auftere.
" countess was in very lively spirits "this evening."
"Was he?" faid Monteith, bicing
"I faid fomething to her, I forget "what, refpecting the cafe with which "British matrons publicly permit the "advances of notorious libertines. I "beg your pardon, Monteith; I know "he is your friend: but I must own I "repeated this with more energy when
fir Richard Vernon came into the "box. You know his notions are "avowedly licentious."
"It was very friendly of you," exclaimed his lordship, with a voice convulfed with paffion. "Did he talk to "lady Monteith in an improper ftyle?" By no means. Yet there was fome"what freer in his addrefs than I should "have approved had the lady been my "wife ;
"wife; and I felt for my abfent friend. "The blaze of your Geraldine's charms,
my lord, is loft upon me. Beauty can "never more affect my heart. But "I too well recollect the emotions it "has caufed not to wifh fir Richard to "avoid lady Monteith, at least if he respects his own tranquillity."
"And could Geraldine refent your "friendly obfervation?" interrupted Monteith.
"She only answered, that I was grown "fplenetic, for public places fanctioned "thefe intrufions. I however observed, "that she did not fpeak to me any more "during the whole evening."
"I detest caprice. She fhall ac"knowledge the friendliness of your motives."
"Oh for heaven's fake! do not in"trfere in that ftyle. You will alarm. "her pride, and fink me for ever in her
"opinion. Befide, you will utterly pre"vent any future effort on my part gently to restrain thofe very agreeable
fpirits which may be liable to mifcon"truction. To own the truth, I thought "to-night the attracted particular atten"tion."
"Her prudence," exclaimed the earl, who, though he had imbibed the poison of infinuation, was yet offended by a direct attack," is as exemplary as her "character is spotlefs."
"True," replied Fitzofborne ; " but "think of the malignity of the "world."
"Who dares to impeach her con"duct?" continued her lord, with increased violence.
"What does not envy and calumny "dare?" cried the fentimental torturer. "But I fee my friendship is troublesome. "However, Monteith, recollect, that
you artfully wound the fecret out of me, and therefore have no right to be difpleafed at the disclosure."
"Your hand, Edward. Excufe my "warmth. My wife is too dear to me "to allow me to hear the leaft cenfure "caft upon her behaviour with indif"ference. I venerate the excellence of "your heart, and I love your frankness. "I am frank myfelf, though I own I "did ufe a little circumlocution to dif"cover what you certainly never in"tended me to know. I was too fubtle "there. Was I not?-But come, think
no more of it. Perhaps lady Monteith might be a little wrong; but I "know you both meant well, and she will readily forgive you."
"Then, as a pledge of your renewed "efteem, let me entreat you never to " mention this affair to her. I may
"have been too fufceptible, and have "mistaken
"mistaken her filence for resentment; "for I am convinced I misconstrued "her preceding behaviour."
Monteith pledged his honour for fecrefy, and endeavoured to diffipate his chagrin by humming an air. But the idea that Fitzofborne had seen something wrong in Geraldine, and his recollection of the ftranger's conversation, funk deep into his mind, and clouded the gay vacuity of his thoughts with. spectres fearful as "the green-eyed
monster" which haunted the frank and noble Moor, who, like lord Monteith, thought men honeft who but feemed to be fo."