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cultivated mind, and the emanations of her fportive fancy, to alleviate the dejection which admitted not of cure. Her anxious defire to amufe her pensive companion fometimes made her cheerfulness more redundant than agreed with her natural character. But lady Monteith's perfuafion, that the funshine of her profpects gave a more feftal gaiety to her fpirits, prevented her from perceiving that her Lucy's vivacity was more fymptomatic of affiduous, anxious friendship, than expreffive of the calm fatisfaction of heartfelt happiness.
The countess fometimes drew a pa rallel between her friend's fituation and her own, and her heart funk at the chilling contraft. How bright the radiance of love purified by esteem! How mild the luftre of equal minds, humble but not contracted fortunes, fimilar taftes, and moderate defires! How blank
blank were her own views! Not the uncontrolled poffeffion of an extensive domain, not the pomp and fuperiority of feudal greatnefs, cloud-capped mountains crowned with forests of pine, lakes beftudded with verdant iflands, and fringed with odoriferous fhrubs, could now afford her any pleasure. The spacious manfion, the numerous establishment, feemed but mementos of their abfent lord. Even the fociety of her lovely children could not give the expected confolation. They spoke and looked like their faithlefs father, and the tear of anguifh mingled with the fmile of maternal rapture.
The correfpondence of Fitzofborne afforded no fatisfactory intelligence. If one letter announced a plan which it was hoped might detach him from Mrs. Harley, the next epiftle proclaimed its failure, and only detailed fome muti
lated converfations which implied a more total alienation of his lordship's affections than the writer thought it was prudent to communicate. Her tearful eyes fixed upon thefe particulars, and paffed over with cold and vacant gaze the compliments which Edward addreffed to her perfon, mind, and conduct. She scarcely observed even the fympathy that he expreffed for her fufferings; and the advice he gave her to detach her affections from a man who he feared would never again return her tenderness, was rejected with a conviction that it was impracticable.
The frequency of lady Monteith's re ceiving letters in a male character very diffimilar to her lord's at length excited Mifs Evans's curiofity; and it even rose to anxiety upon perceiving, that they were always referved for a private perufal. Her attention, thus cafually
fixed, was continually revived by fome fresh mystery which every post-day revealed. The countess feemed almost fretfully impatient till the mail arrived; and if any company were prefent, at the founding of the horn, fhe always made some excuse to leave the room. More than once Lucy perceived her felect the letter of this favoured correfpondent, and retire to read it, while even her lord's lay unopened. Yet they appeared rather to increase her melancholy than to relieve it: and conftantly, after having fhut herself in her own apartment to answer them, her face bore unequivocal marks of having been bathed in tears.
Difdaining to fatisfy her doubts by indirect means, and unable to pursue any plan of raillery or playful artifice on what she feared was a very serious fubject, Lucy determined to give her
friend an impreffive hint of a very apparent impropriety; but unfortunately the interference of the Evans's was always fo ill-timed as rather to affift than to frustrate Fitzofborne's diabolical views. In reply to a letter in which the countess, like the artless placable Defdemona, had profeffed that it was impoffible for her affections ever to change their object, Edward announced the welcome tidings of her lord's fpeedy return. The merit of this reformation was, however, wholly owing to his friendly monitor's contrivance. He had cut out that part of Geraldine's letter which contained thofe affecting expreffions of inviolabie attachment, and. pretending, that it was addreffed to one of her London correfpondents, with whom he was intimate, he had fhewn it to lord Monteith, and fo ftrongly worked up his feelings of compunction