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"own I have not deferved. Could I "poffibly have forfeen, that when I "felt the power of your irresistible "charms, I was preparing the grave "of your worthy father! No, love"lieft, and moft-adored of women! "whatever of imperfection and frailty "may be attached to my character, it " is pure from the approach of deliberate « cruelty.
"I hear, with inexpreffible concern, "that your too fufceptible mind finks "under the inconveniences of your "prefent fituation. Suffer me, madam, "to remove the veil of forrow which "now clouds your reafon, and per"mit me to direct your view to "future profpects. Inconfideration "like mine (for I, in juftice, claim that the blame fhould be folely con"fined to myfelf) is too frequent in "this age to excite indignation; and "the
the known unworthinefs of lord Mon"teith forms an excufe which all ladies "who have diffolved their firft marriage "connection cannot plead. Some con" verfation will indeed be excited, while " his lordship purfues the legal revenge "which his vindictive temper will "prompt him to adopt. But it will
ceafe with the adventures of the day. *Your prefent exemplary behaviour will reftore you to the esteem of the world; and permit me, Madam, "to indulge a hope, (it is the only one " which, fince I have heard of your ex"treme diftrefs, makes my exiftence supportable,) that you will deign to "accept the reparation which it is in my power to make you, by allowing me "to lead you to the altar the moment
you are free from your prefent difaf"trous tie. There, I truft with the most "aufpicious omens, will I dedicate to
you a heart penetrated with your "merits, and a mind capable of rever"ing all the dazzling fuperiority of taste, "information, and difcernment, which "you poffefs.
"I must hope, that the happy mo"ment will arrive, when we shall look "back upon our paft forrows with com
placency, and confider them as the "progenitors of present bliss. But why "should exceffive forrow now prey "upon your heart? It is but to fee
you, adorned as you are with all that "art and nature can beftow of lovely " and excellent; it is but to contraft "your character with that of the im
perious infenfible being to whom a juvenile inclination unhappily en"gaged you; and he must be loft to "the most amiable feelings of huma"nity who does not excuse and pity "me. The most enlightened literati
of the age have proved, that chastity "confifts in the individuality of affec"<tion; and when lord Monteith's con"duct has forfeited your affection, the "transfer of your perfon to another is "equally delicate and juft. Marriage, being merely a civil engagement can"not invalidate the great laws of Na"ture; and the man must be a prey "to the most narrow prejudices, who "would deny a woman the right of "flying to the protection of a kindred
mind, when her revolting foul fpurns "the tyrannical power of a husband "whom she can neither refpect nor "love.
"O my beloved Geraldine! fuffer "me to drop the hateful title of your "former thraldom, and to call you "mine. I have been contented to fup"prefs the keen indignation of wound"ed honour, and have forborne to in
"terrupt your filial forrows by an explanation of what muft appear to you a bafe defertion when I left you at the inn at Alas! I only
propofed an abfence of a few hours "to procure you an honourable afy"lum in my fifter's family; and during "that interval Monteith, with the ca
pricious cruelty natural to his difpo"fition, bereft me of the treasure I "had rifked fo much to obtain, and "then abandoned it to an unfeeling "world. What anguish have I not "fuffered fince that moment! Yet, ftill "more to convince you of the refpect "ful delicacy of my unaltered love, "I will not ask permiffion to throw "myself at your feet till the joyful "moment of your emancipation. Thea "will I lead you back to the world, "nine-tenths of whom will not only