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which at that inftant ftreamed from her eyes avowed her tortured heart.
My fweeteft Geraldine! can I wit"nefs those tears, and not wish to re"lieve thy forrows?"
"Then feek not to deprive me of cc my only friend.”
"Your only friend! How is your ftyle of expreffion changed! What "then am I? what is Henry Powerf " court ?"
"Both ftrangely altered by unjust suspicion."
"Our fufpicions are not pointed at "you. We know that you are pure, "and guiltless of the smallest intentional "fault. We grieve to fee your can"dour betrayed, your unfufpecting in"nocence infnared, your reputation "blafted."
My reputation blafted, Mifs Evans? "Are you not cruel in referring to a "flanderous
"flanderous tale, invented by envy "and falfehood, which you once told my conduct conduct fufficiently dif proved?"
"No! no! my heart is a ftranger to "defigned cruelty to any one, and "leaft of all to you. It is not to the "attacks of malignity, it is to the con"clufions of guilelefs fimplicity, that I "refer." She then repeated the obfervations which were addreffed to Mr. Powerscourt at the public dinner.
"Muft I then," faid the counters, "clear my character to the world by "throwing treble odium upon my "lord's? or, muft I renounce the only companion who feems ftudious to "fweeten the bitter cup of anguish "which I now drain to the dregs? "Am I to publifh the obligations "which I owe to Fitzofborne ? obli'gations which would justify me "in every one's opinion; or fit a lone,
"solitary, flighted being in this mag
Lucy now melted into tears." Does your palace, your bower of bliss, as you once ftyled it, now receive that "appellation? O! what has wrought "this dreadful change? It is not quite " a twelvemonth fince your own dear "hand, writing to me, traced these strong "expreffions. I enjoy as much hap
piness as experience teaches us to ex"pect in this uncertain world. I pof"fefs my husband's affectionate confi
dence, the esteem of my friends, the "love of my dependants. With what "heart-felt tranfport, my Lucy, do I "tell you, that lord Monteith feems "every hour more firmly attached to "me and his children. You know his "manner is fingular. It once gave me
pain, but reflection has reconciled "me to it, and I difcover, even in his
"eccentricities, indubitable marks of "an excellent heart.' Do not wring your hands, my love! I do not re"cite this paffage to awaken your "poignant feelings, but to convince "your judgment."
Mifs Evans paufed; the countefs was unable to speak, and fhe proceeded.
"Can all this ruin originate from "chance? Can your lord withdraw "his affection, his confidence, nay " even treat you with feverity without "fome tempter? Truft me, my Ge"raldine, if Fitzofborne were indeed "your friend, the influence which he "fo eminently poffeffes over your im"petuous lord must be apparent and "produce the moft oppofite behaviour."
"In what," faid Geraldine, recovering herself, "do you perceive this "influence? does lord Monteith ever
"coincide with Fitzofborne's fenti"ments ?"
"Rather fay, does he ever oppose "them? Fitzofborne is too fubtle to "let me ever hear his real fentiments; " but I read them reflected in the un
disguised countenance of your lord. "His eye continually watches his art"ful favourite, a proof that he feels his "influence. He is not only warm and "uniform in his approbation of Fitz"ofborne, but his behaviour is marked
by a degree of refpect and deference " which I never obferved him to fhow "to any one elfe, except to you in "those happy days when you reigned "the undisputed fovereign of his heart. "You, who knew the gentle clue by << which he was imperceptibly led to "comply with your wishes, must know "that the delicate management which