Puslapio vaizdai

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 artlefs 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 speedy re

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


and fhame, that a rupture with Mrs. Harley was the confequence. Fitzofborne regretted, that he was not likely to witness the reconciliation which he had fo anxiously laboured to promote ; but the Minifter had juft given an abfolute promise in his favour, and his long experience of courtly forgetfulness convinced him of the pofitive neceffity of reviving recollection by conftant attendance. He however added, that if his friend fhould not be in a defirable` ftate of mind when he left London, he would renounce all his hopes of an eftablishment rather than risk the ftability of recent refolutions by leaving him, during his long journey, to the fuggeftions of his wayward fancy.

An exclamation, or rather fhriek of furprize and transport, which followed the perufal of this letter, drew Mifs Evans into the countefs's chamber. She found

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found her friend funk upon her knees, her hands, and eyes lifted up as in a ftrong transport of devotion, while the palenefs of her countenance indicated immediate danger of fainting. Lucy flew to affift her. "No," faid lady Monteith, gently rejecting the proffered falts, "I am not ill.-A fudden surprise

has overwhelmed me leave me, to "myself a little-I fhall foon be com pofed." Mifs Evans filently withdrew.

Contrary to the ufual hofpitality of Monteith caftle, the friends fat down tête-à-tête to dinner. The noble hoftefs was recovered from her first emotions but her manner indicated that fome important event demanded all her thoughts which reluctantly fubmitted to pay a scanty attention to paffing objects. The fervants were no fooner withdrawn, than unable any longer to reftrain her


full-fraught heart, fhe told her friend that they fhould foon have a welcome addition to their party in the company of lord Monteith, and perhaps Mr. Fitzofborne also.

"I fincerely rejoice in my lord's return," faid Mifs Evans; " but I 'thought his friend was fully occupied "either in attending the Minifter's "levee, or in discharging the duties of "the office which you told me his lord"ship's interest would procure him.”

"He will facrifice every thing to the "defire of proving his fincere attach"ment to me," faid lady Monteith, too much engroffed by the lively paffion of gratitude to attend to the caution which he had hitherto ufed upon the fubject of her correfpondence with Edward.

· Alarmed at thefe expreffions, Mifs Evans perfevered in a curiofity which




fhe would have reprobated upon any other occafion; and Geraldine, drawn by her interrogatories to be more explicit than fhe at first designed, at length confided the whole ftory of her latent forrows. She fpoke the prefent feelings of her heart; and though she fuppofed it ftill attuned to gentle complacency and forgiving fweetnefs, diftrefs had for fome time prevented her from engaging in her cuftomary duty of felfexamination; and the indignant sensations of flighted beauty, and offended defert, gave an air of resentment to her narrative of her husband's perfidy, which the limited merit of his reluctant return and irrefolute repentance could not fubdue. She. haftened from this painful fubject to the more pleafing theme of Fitzofborne's difcernment, zeal, and fidelity; his refined delicacy, correct judgment, and all the capacious powers of his exalted foul.


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