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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 constant attendance. He however added, that if his friend should not be in a defirable` ftate of mind when he left London, he would renounce all his hopes of an establishment rather than rifk 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 tranfport, which followed the perufal of this letter, drew Mifs Evans into the countess's chamber. She found
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 furprise << has overwhelmed me leave me, to "myself a little-I fhall foon be compofed." Mifs Evans filently withdrew.
Contrary to the ufual hofpitality of Monteith castle, the friends fat down tête-à-tête to dinner. The noble hoftefs was recovered from her firft emotions but her manner indicated that fome important event demanded all her thoughts which reluctantly fubmitted to pay a fcanty 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 The fervants were no fooner withdrawn, than unable any longer to reftrain her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 should 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 re"turn," faid Mifs Evans; " but I "thought his friend was fully occupied "either in attending the Minifter's "levee, or in difcharging the duties of "the office which you told me his lord"ship's intereft 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 Ed
Alarmed at these 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 the at first defigned, at length confided the whole ftory of her latent forrows. She spoke the prefent feelings of her heart; and though fhe fuppofed it ftill attuned to gentle complacency and forgiving sweetness, diftrefs had for fome time prevented her from engaging in her cuftomary duty of felfexamination; and the indignant fenfations of flighted beauty, and offended defert, gave an air of refentment 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.
"Poffibly he may mean well," obferved Miss Evans, after having, with marked attention, twice read Fitzof borne's letter. Surprized at a fuggef tion which feemed deficient of her ufual candour, lady Monteith replied, that' the integrity could not be doubtful' which fpoke by the most noble actions." "What," said fhe, "but difinterested' "virtue could thus direct his unwearied' "affiduity to attempt the restoration of "my domestic happiness ?"
"There is a mystery in this bufi"nefs," continued Lucy, "which I "cannot penetrate. It is to me astonishing, that lord Monteith, after having "been several years your happy huf"band, fhould, unfolicited and felf
feduced, abandon you for a woman, "whose weak pretenfions to his notice "muft arise from fome faint transcript "of that intelligent beauty which ani"mates