Puslapio vaizdai

tributable to the caprices of love, prov ed the folidity of his virtue, and fecured Geraldine from even a poffibility of being the object of his licentious paffion. His fpeculative notions on fome points were indeed reprehenfible; but then they were merely fpeculations; and fhe ftill thought Mr. Evans's notions, which tended to confine opinion, were deficient in liberality, and founded on a tyrannical defire of fubjugating the free independent mind. All her own obfervations tended to convince her, that Henry and Lucy exaggerated his errors. No direct charge was brought against him, even fuppofing his companions to have been as profligate as they were defcribed. A twelvemonth's intimacy was fome ground whereon to judge of characters; and he could not help affirming, that the innocence of his conduct was a


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proof of the inoffenfiveness of his principles.

The change in lord Monteith could not, even by Lucy's own confeffion, be clearly traced to his influence. The fufpicion that he was acceffary to his lordship's faults only arose from the probability of his having fome secret feducer, and the influence which Fitz ofborne feemed to have over him. For her own part she was doubtful of the existence of a feducer, and could not perceive any certain proof of that fupposed influence.

His marked attentions to herself formed the next accufation. But Lucy knew nothing of the manners of the great world, or the freedoms which cuftom had rendered general. The univerfal homag, which even appropriated beauty required, and the familiar intercourse to which the cenforious

did not affix the leaft fhadow of impropriety, would fhock her friend's notions, formed in the depth of retirement, and rather founded on the idea of what was prudent, than on the confideration of what is practicable.

Her thoughts then fell into a train of reflection upon the incidents of her early years, the peaceful fhades of Powerscourt, the joyous hours of playful gaiety, the endearing recollection of tender confidence, and interefting fimplicity, all rendered ftill more exquifite by the vivid glow of youthful hope, which spread a more fafcinating fplendor round the present scene, by the promife of more brilliant future enjoyments. Fallacious promife! falfified prediction!" Is there," faid fhe, cafting her eyes from the proud heights of Monteith caftle on the fubject vale;

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"is there in all this wide domain a "wretch more miferable than me?" She started at that recollection. "Yes, <<< there are. There exifts pining pe"nury; there deftitute fickness fuffers, "and wasting infancy declines; not only deprived of the affiftance which "former experience prompted them to "expect from their lord, but even re"fused what justice determines to be "their own. O Fitzofborne ! how ftrongly do fuch fituations demon"strate the truth of your opinion, that "the present order of things requires "the bold hand of fome intelligent "reformer!"

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Leaving lady Monteith's conclufion to difprove itself, I proceed with my narrative. She walked to the cabinet which stood in her dreffing-room, and, opening the cafket which contained her mother's jewels, fhe determined to di


vert them from the fervice of oftentataion and vanity to the nobler purposes of benevolence and integrity. She looked over, without a figh, the various articles of ornament; but her mother's picture, fet round with diamonds. excited a strong repugnance. It had been presented to one of her fifters, and reftored to the Powerfcourt family, on the death of its owner. Lady Monteith attentively contemplated the features. "Thou art at reft," faid fhe; "would "I were fo too. Thou didst endure "fevere bodily fuffering; mine are the << sharper tortures of the mind. The "neglect of an eftranged husband never "rived thy heart!"

She then began a letter to a friend at Edinburgh, whom she wished to employ as an agent in this bufinefs. The difficulty of affigning a motive for this action, and the fufpicious fecrecy that


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