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"mates your countenance, or fome " contemptible imitation of the playful "wit which irradiates your conver"fation."
"My dear fecluded friend," replied the countefs," knows nothing of the "corrupt manners of the world; of "the eclat which general opinion at"taches to novelty, of the celebrity "which is oftener fhared by eccentri" city and a bold defiance of decorum, " than awarded to real defert."
"True," faid Lucy;" happily both "for my temper and my heart, I am << ignorant of the manners you describe. "But how could lord Monteith fee "this Mrs. Harley? A woman of her "defcription must be a ftranger to the parties he would frequent: I mean, "while he continued unseduced by the "allurements of vice."
Lady Monteith obferved, that though women of character never vifited courtezans; yet unless they were very low, or very audacious, the latter always appeared in public places; and if a certain degree of fashion was annexed to them, either on account of their own wit and elegance, or for the rank or talents of their admirers, gentlemen felt themselves not difgraced by being feen in their parties. It was, therefore, very poffible for her lord to fee Mrs. Harley fufficiently to be allured by her perfon and converfation, without his frequenting any scenes unbecoming his rank or injurious to his reputation.
Lucy fighed at the relaxed manners which feemed to usher in the triumphs of relaxed principles. But her fufpicions of fome nefarious proceedings on the part of Fitzofborne were not yet entirely removed. "I must then,"
faid fhe, fuppofe my lord quite "changed; but ftill I know you are "the fame. Your feeling heart will "not allow you to estimate the degree of "regard which you should bear to the "hufband of your youth and the father "of your children by the cold plea of de"fert. Your forgiveness would outstep "his folicitations; and every time you "spoke or wrote to him, the fentiments "of your full-fraught heart would give "a dignified tenderness to your expref"fions remote from reproach, and bet ❝ter calculated to awaken compunction. "How came it, my love, that this fuf"fering gentleness, exerted at Powerf "court, or the affectionate letters that (c you have written to him fince you "have been here, have had no effect; "but that the mighty good should at length be accomplished by the skilful " contrivance and artful interpofition
of Mr. Fitzofborne? Has he a greater "influence over your hufband than you could acquire? You, who are fo "much interested to exert the refiftlefs < power of your many invincible "charms! How diffimilar must lord "Monteith's character be from what it "appears!"
Geraldine pleaded, that people are differently difpofed at different times; and that fimilar actions and fentiments frequently fail of producing correfpond ent effects; and the accounted for the inefficacy of her pen by owning, that fhe had only written ihort and in fome fort formal letters to her lord fince her return to Scotiand. "No longer able," faid he, to pour forth my whole "heart, I was glad of fome extraneous "fubject which would occupy the vacant "page."
"And how did you then hope to re"claim him?" inquired Lucy. "I "fhould think that if he perceived any "coldness in your manner he would "turn that discovery into an apology "for his behaviour."
"I could not help the conftruction "he might put upon my letters. Sor"row cannot be diffufe, unless where "it may unbofom its woes."
"Did you not write at large to Mr. "Fitzofborne ?"
"I did. He knew my fecret, and "in his interpofition was my only "hope."
"Do women of fashion, my Geral"dine, countenance one another in the "cuftom of having male confidants as "well as male attendants ?"
"There is a little pique," thought the countefs," in that observation; but "friendship warm as my Lucy's is very " fuf