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"not degraded by being drawn into "a ludicrous parallel with the light <events of the paffing moment. But "I am willing to allow that I may be "more fevere from being lefs accuf"tomed to the freedom of fashionable "manners; for I obferve my Geral"dine, who poffeffes the piety and the "purity of an angel, is not fhocked at "this fpecies of levity."
"Does not Mr. Fitzofborne appear "to fhew a very marked admiration of "the countefs?" inquired Mr. Evans.
"Every body muft admire her," returned Lucy, evading a direct reply: "I "do not mean merely on account of "her perfonal charms, though he is "now lovelier than ever, but for her patient fweetness and her dignified "refignation."
"When you use the term refigna"tion, my dear," interrupted Mr.
Evans," you should confine it to fe"verer trials than thofe which your
enchanting friend has yet been called "upon to endure. Though we have "often lamented the capricious inat"tention of her lord's behaviour, it is "only one of those leffer conflicts, by "which Providence mercifully prepares "us for the more excruciating ftruggles that we must all fuftain before "we are liberated from this world. "You know whofe fentiments I now "repeat. The harmonious voice which "once gave them utterance is filent; "yet the will of Heaven calls for cheer"ful acquiefcence, and I obey."
Unwilling to deprefs her father at that moment, by repeating obfervations which might probably be merely the creatures of her own fancy, Mifs Evans dropped a tear to her mother's memory, and was filent.
Mark you this, Baffanio;
The Devil can cite fcripture for his purpose:
Is like a villain with a fmiling cheek;
MR. EVANS was not one of those fupine paftors who, contented with their own fecurity, forbear to warn their flock of the infidious approaches of the wolf. His daughter's obfervations determined him to watch Fitzofborne with fcrupulous attention and if any thing fhould happen to confirm his doubts, the hazard of being cenfured for impertinent interference would not deter him from ftating to Jady Monteith the danger of an inti
macy with a man whofe paffions were not fubjected by the reftraints which religion impofes.
Edward feemed rather to folicit than to fhun this fcrutiny. Some cafual expreffions from fir William, and the turn which Mr. Evans generally gave to the converfation, convinced him, that his zeal to make profelytes had thrown him off his guard, and that, in order to fecure one convert, he must allay the fufpicions which a defire to gain many admirers had excited. He faw in Mr.
Evans a man poffeffed of a fincere, zealous, well-informed mind, occafionally the dupe of its own excellence, fomewhat hafty in its conclufions, and difpofed to receive a few ftrong expreffions as a fair definition of character: to which was added, a confidence in its own attainments, not unfrequent in an educated perfon long eftranged from
the invigorating collifion of congenial fociety. Edward adapted his behaviour to the rules which this difcovery pointed out, and he feized the opportunity which Mr. Evans had given, by leading the converfation to the finiteness of human comprehenfion, to make what appeared like a candid difclofure of his fentiments.
"I perceive, fir," faid he, "that
you are anxious to discover my opi"nions; and instead of blaming, I highly admire the integrity of mind "which fuch curiofity evinces. I will
own, that during my refidence upon "the Continent I was fomewhat tinc"tured with the fcepticifm fo prevalent "there: and I will confefs too, that "the converfation of the higher circles "in my own country, and above all "the manners of many of the clergy, "have not tended to remove my " doubts.