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"O! you gave it that turn, do you? "But you understand my prefent pro"hibition, I fuppofe, and you will re"member it."
"Undoubtedly. And do you re"collect, that depending upon your "accompanying me, I have not formed any party. If poffible, come away "from the houfe, and join me at "Richmond."
"You are grown a coward, Geral"dine. However I will come, if I can ; "but Fitzofborne is furely a fufficient guard. Tell Arabella to do that "worthy fellow juftice, or I fhall dif"own her for my fifter."
The vivacity of lady Monteith had received fo fevere a check that fhe could not recover her fpirits during her ride to lady Fillagree's. Fitzosborne difcovered her dejection. "I know," faid he, "fuch folicitude is often very "trouble
"troublesome; yet the fervency of my "friendship will not permit me to fee you difpirited without inquiring into "the cause of your depreffion."
"It is fo wholly feminine," returned fhe, "that it is abfolutely undefinable, " and must be set down in the catalogue "of my unacountables, unless I fhould "give as a reafon, what I am very un"willing to admit; I mean, an idea of 66 my lord's, that fome time or another "I did not treat your good advice with "fufficient deference. Pray, Fitzofborne, "when did you play the moralift; and "when was I fuch a refractory pupil ?"
"Ah Monteith! this is one of thy "misconceptions. I will explain the "whole affair, madam, though it is too "ridiculous to merit repetition. You "recollect the night we were together "at the opera?"
"And that in return to fome obferva"tions which I made on the behaviour "of lady Arabella, you faid, disappoint"ment had made me fplenetic ?" "I do."
"Lord Monteith heard your answer "as he entered the box; and he will perfift in his opinion, that my ex"preffions were pointed at you, as "reproof for fomething in your manner "to Vernon. I muft excufe him by "faying, that he was a little flustered. "I followed him to Brookes's, where "we foon adjusted--"
"To Brookes's! Does my lord fre"6 quent Brookes's?
"O you tempter! No; I have too "much honour to reveal fecrets. The "affair was foon explained, I was going "to lay ;-for Monteith really has a very good heart, which excufes a little "accidental puzzle-patedness."
Geraldine coloured; but her Proteus companion gave her no time to refent. Looking out of the chariot window, he relapsed into fentiment. "See, dear lady Monteith," faid he," how the giddy throng haften to this feftival of " oftentatious vanity. A reflecting " mind, on contemplating this crowd of "carriages, muft feel other fenfations "than those of pleasure. Not to men"tion the fufferings of those noble ani"mals who draw the vehicles of tyrant "man, the fituation of mafter and fer
vant, as exhibited upon the prefent " occafion, is enough to cure the most "obdurate heart of its partiality for "thofe diftinctions of rank which corrupt fociety now exhibits. How repugnant to the feelings of universal "love is that pale emaciated footman,
who, exposed to the inclemency of "the feafons, fufpends the flambeau « over
"over the carriage of his voluptuous "mafter! How remote must that man "still be from the ultimate perfection of "his nature, who can enjoy the pleafures "of a crowded affembly, while his "coachman quakes in the warping "wind, or fhrinks beneath the pelting "ftorm! It is the cruelty of a Mezen"tius: the living body is united to putridity."
"There is fome juftice in your obfervations," faid the countefs: " and "it behoves us as idividuals to leffen "the evils of that inequality which public good requires." The carriages now stopped; and as Fitzofborne led her to the gay affemblage of beauty, fancy, and elegance, her reflections on his character concluded with an obfervation, that "his very failings leaned to the fide of virtue."