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fhould convey to the quick apprehenfion of Geraldine a hint of unfair treatment; an infinuation of his love of peace; and a complaint that his adversary began the debate, and that it was unjust to seek to deprive him of his own opinions, when he did not moleft others in the quiet enjoyment of their peculiar notions,
Lady Monteith loved fociety, and few people were better calculated than herself to enjoy and impart the namelefs delights of converfation. Whether we define it, according to the ideas of the fwan of Twickenham, to be "the feaft of reason and the flow of foul;" or, perfonifying its exhilarating graces, describe it in the likenefs of Milton's Euphrofyne," buckfome, blithe, and debonaire," yet ftill the affociate of" unreproved pleasure," in whichever fhape the goddess prefides, the irritating fpirit of
of contradiction, and the fcowling genius of continual argument, must be profcribed admiffion, or the sweets of the mental banquet will be foured by fermentation. The relaxing mind cannot repofe upon the bofom of confidence, and pour forth all its choiceft stores, when every expreffion rouses the clamour of oppofition. The dimpled fmile, of sportive mirth is too timid to encounter the auftere afpect of declamatory investigation.
Such were the reflections of Geraldine, who, driven by conjugal infeli-, city to feck amusement out of herself, had fondly hoped that the most refined focial pleasures would refult, from the, friends of her early youth meeting with, the accomplished intelligent Fitzofborne. She had anticipated the delights of li-, terary conversation, the corufcations of playful wit; and, while fhe enjoyed with
with fincere pleasure the profpect of her Lucy's happiness, fhe determined to divert herself with the little aukwardneffes which the prefence of a beloved object generally gives to the manner of a young woman poffeffed of a delicate fufceptible mind. Inftead of thefe expected luxuries, the demon of difpute took poffeffion of the dining-room and the faloon; accompanied their walks and rides, their fifhing-parties and mountain tours; and, inftead of leaving the mind of the countefs at liberty to entertain her guests with fomething enchantingly whimfical or negligently elegant, her anxiety was perpetually exercised to reprefs every topic of difcourfe which threatened contention.
Perhaps Geraldine overcharged this description. She was also mistaken in fixing the whole blame of this controverfial fpirit upon Henry. More accustomed
customed to Edward's ftyle of converfation, and lefs aware of its tendency, he could at any time drop the gage of defiance without arrefting her attention, till the reply of his antagonist called her to divert the rifing ftorm. Her infenfibility of her own danger, and confequent ignorance of the confcientious motives which urged Mr. Powerscourt to violate the prefcribed rules of good breeding ftrictly adhered to in polished fociety, precluded her from framing any excuses in his juftification. That eternal gratitude which fhe had promised to preserve for the generous friend who had facrificed his own happiness to her's, imperceptibly abated, as the conviction that he had founded her hopes of connubial felicity on a wrong bafis gathered strength. On the other hand, the recent fervices of Fitzofborne, and the marked contrast between him and H 5 her
her lord hourly made a deeper impreffion; and her disapprobation of what fhe thought cavalier behaviour increased her indifference for the fociety of Lucy and her lover. Real esteem could not be weakened; but affection fenfibly declined, at least so far as to make her wish them married and happily settled at Powerscourt.
Geraldine's estrangement from her once-loved friends could not be attributed to Mr. Fitzofborne's juggestions. However poignantly his feelings might be wounded, he was too generous to complain; and respect for the relation of his fair friend withheld him from answering his perfecutor as molt gentlemen would do. As fome of his own notions had a tendency to democracy, he could not confiftently hint the humble fituation of Henry's father, as a reason why his fon was unfit to mix