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nefs, which should guide and direct this attracting woman through the thorny maze of public life? Every admirer of equipage, vivacity, fplendor, and beauty, pronounced the perpetual happiness of the earl and his bride.
Five years had elapfed fince Powerfcourt-house exhibited the fcene of feftivity with which I ushered in this narrative; and the fun of Geraldine's peace is fet for ever. The fhadows lengthening, as the bright luminary defcends, point at last to the tomb. The death of a revered father, full of age and honour, is not of itself an event to cast a fable hue over the fcarcely mature life of a dutiful affectionate daughter; but the circumstances attending fir William Powerscourt's demife were fuch as lady Monteith could never overcome. She felt convinced that he had shortened his existence; and though his parting Spirit,
fpirit, uniformly benignant, bleffed and forgave his involuntary murderer, a thoufand fatal indifcretions rofe to her remembrance, and, feen through the medium of their effects, they no longer appeared pardonable levities. She who had afpired to give delight and comfort to all around her, had brought difgrace on her husband, infamy on her children, and death to her father. pious confolations of Mr. Evans alleviated the horrors of her firft defpair; but mining grief confirmed the ravages which fatigue and terror had made in her delicate frame. Each rising morning feemed to announce fome faded charm. Uniform dejection ufurped the place of her fafcinating fmile. Feeblenefs and melancholy alike reftrained her fportively graceful movements; and inftead of the corufcations of her fprightly wit, forrow unfeign'd and
humiliation deep' fpoke in all her ac
Yet the heirefs of fir William Powerfcourt's fortunes muft ftill poffefs fufficient charms to allure a mercenary heart; and Fitzofborne (whom cowardice and chicane had preferved from the vengeance which lord Monteith's pardonable fury firft prompted him to require for his injured honour) encou raged the audacious hope, that the legal procefs which the frantic hufband immediately commenced to vindicate his wrongs would terminate in the accomplishment of all his wifhes, by putting him in poffeffion of a wealthy and admired wife. Milled by his own falfe maxims, which had taught him to believe that a woman pardons every
infult when he loves the infulter,' he ventured on the atrocious crimes which made him mafter of lady Monteith's perfon,
perfon, while he knew her uncontami nated foul revolted at the idea of conjugal infidelity. He was now perfuaded, that the muft feel anxious to repair her tarnished honour and being convinced that grief and shame never proved fatal to youth and beauty, when its return to reputation and happiness seemed not only poffible, but certain, he determined to make my drooping Heroine, what he called, an honourable offer. In the letter which he addressed to her upon this occafion, he explained his fentiments with more explicit freedom than he had dared to do while Geraldine, proud in confcious innocence, felt no neceffity of applying for confolation to the fubterfuges of fophifm. But he now thought her predominant love of fame and horror of reproach would induce her to extricate herfelf from the difgrace in which his infamous artifices
and her own credulity had plunged her, by adopting thofe excufes which were invented to enfeeble virtue, and to fanctify vice. He knew, indeed, that she had a tale to tell, which would harrow up the hearer's foul; but he well understood the laws by which public opinion is regulated, and the delicacy of her fentiments. Thefe reafons convinced him that he would never expofe her defence to a doubtful belief. I fhall now fubjoin his letter, written about two months after fir William's death, with her reply.
"TO THE COUNTESS OF MONTEITH. "Madam,
"When I reflect upon the melan"choly event which has recently hap"pened at Powerfcourt, I feel that an "additional odium devolves upon me, "which reflection and candour muft