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"fitting you should give up most of your time to your husband and children, is, let me tell you, a great "comfort to me. I always was afraid, "that Henry would take it in his "head to be in love with fome of your "London ladies, who would not like "to play a game at cribbage to divert "an old man now and then; and I thought Lucy never intended to marry, not hearing of her having "any lover, which for fuch a pretty "modeft girl was extraordinary. Well, "I must fay, it is very odd that they "fhould happen to like each other, for things don't often happen as we wish "they should."
Though fir William's conftitutional habits gave a flownefs to his deliberations, nothing could be more rapid than his execution of any plan in which he knew the happiness of a fellow-creature to be involved.
involved. He immediately fent for his fteward and his attorney. The writings were forted out, the deed of gift drawn up, the letter written, and the meffenger dispatched, before he could commit himself to his pillow with the hope of enjoying a comfortable revifion of the proceedings of the past day. Lady Monteith could fcarcely reftrain him from telling his little god-daughter, as he called her, after dinner, that he liked her choice very well, and that, if Geraldine had told him fooner how fhe had fixed her affections, she should not have been kept in fufpence. The countess was defirous of enjoying the refined pleasure of fecretly difpenfing good; and fhe wifhed, that an explicit avowal on the part of Henry fhould precede the detection of Lucy's love.
That avowal was made in terms equally honourable to his own ingenuE 5
ous integrity, and aufpicious to her future happiness. And while a tear stole down Geraldine's cheek at her cousin's impreffive recollection of the event which constrained him to fubdue an attachment that" grew with his growth" and mixed itself with all the strong impreffions that ardent youth receives, fhe faw with pleasure the fucceeding paragraph point out the merits of his mature choice with clear difcrimination, and generously prevent the confusion of maiden delicacy, by carefully avoiding that apparent certainty of acceptance which his knowledge of the state of her heart might have prompted him affume.
Mifs Evans's reply announced the pa ternal fanction which her lover had folicited, and she added, with all the frank fincerity of her character, a confeffion of the efteem and gratitude (I am al
moft afraid the faid tenderness too)
Then love could live on flender bounties,
and anxiety fcarcely fubfided till thofe of the modern couple generally begin; I mean, when the fair one promises at the altar to be her good man's unalienable property "till death do them "part." But though I difapprove of the renunciation of this decorous feverity in most instances, I am inclined to permit a little latitude when the lover acts with the integrity of a Henry Pow erfcourt, and the lady poffeffes the unaffected prudence of a Lucy Evans. To terminate my diffufe account of this correfpondence, Lucy repreffed her lover's hopes of a speedy union by ftating her previous refolution of spending the following autumn in Scotland.
"No, my love," faid the countess, whofe attention appeared to be roused by the conclufion of her friend's epiftle, "I will not allow you to make fuch a facrifice. Dearly as I prize your fo"ciety,