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tives; and Miss Evans hoped, that the communication, which had fomewhat relieved her burdened mind, would not be entirely forgotten in the hours of calm reflection. They then parted, after mutually engaging to name this affecting fubject no more.
Mifs Evans's thoughts were diverted the next morning to a fubject yet more poignantly diftreffing, and which, as the mailer-forrow, fwallowed up every other care. A letter from her father's housekeeper announced, that he was alarmingly ill, and requested her immediate presence at Powerfcourt. This letter flung her into fuch violent emotions, that she had not felf-command fufficient to reflect upon fome very extraordinary circumstances which accompanied it. The style and the writing were greatly fuperior to Mrs. Mary's ufual performances. This was, indeed, accounted for
for in the poftcript, which stated, that being ashamed of her poor fcrawl, she had got the clerk to copy it, and to rectify the fpelling. The excufe was more fufpicious than the writing; for Mrs. Mary and the clerk were not upon good terms, and it feemed extraordinary, that a faithful confidential fervant should think of fuch minute explanations when a beloved mafter lay in the utmost danger, and requiring all her active fervices. Where too was Henry? Was it not natural for him to write to his Lucy? and how improbable, that he fhould permit another pen to transcribe his meffage that he wished her to return inftantly! The alarm which the letter excited prevented the confideration of thefe contradictory particulars. Mifs Evans was in the chaife on her return to Caernarvonshire in half an hour after it arrived; nor was it till her anxiety K 5
for her father was relieved by finding that the whole narrative was an infamous impofition, that he began to be furprised at her own want of penetration in not immediately difcovering it to be fo. A statement of this fact, which feemed to convey fome fresh indications of Fitzofborne's guilt was immediately difpatched to Monteith, and Henry Powerscourt undertook to be the courier. His generous heart braved every indignity and every danger; nor could even his Lucy's apprehenfive terrors diffuade him from defying the refentment of a man whom he believed to be capable of adding murder to his other crimes. The prefervation of his once-fondly loved, and ftill-tenderly efteemed Geraldine, overpowered all regard for his own perfonal fafety. But his generous intentions were fruftrated by the events wich had happened at Monteith previous to his arrival.
O much deceiv'd, much failing, hapless Eve!
To intercept thy way, or fend thee back
THE diftrefs of Mifs Evans for her father's fuppofed illness had given a temporary diverfion to lady Monteith's ideas; but they foon recurred to the contemplation of her own forrows. The affecting scene of the preceding evening, by reviving all her former tenderness, gave that importance to her friend's judgment of which it had been for some time deprived; and while the recollected K 6
the impreffive earnestness and indif putable fincerity with which it was delivered, the deemed it at least entitled to attention; and fhe determined to fcrutinize the principles on which she had founded her opinion of Fitzofborne.
She first reverted to the high estimation in which his character was held by the world. Every one spoke of him as a moft extraordinary man: and his inviolable integrity was confirmed by his behaviour on the difcovery of lady Arabella's attachment to him. Nay, ftrange as it might feem, fhe often thought that he ftill cherifhed her idea in his heart. She knew that he had preferved her picture, and he had just rejected the propofal of an advantageous alliance, with the rich heirefs of an Inlandic chieftain. This conftancy, though from the difcordance of their character fcarcely attributable