« AnkstesnisTęsti »
coufin, and that lord Monteith was invited to overlook the correfpondence. He fincerely wifhed Henry well; he would rather not have his wife make any man miferable; and when he contrafted his own character with the refinement and intelligence visible in his. rival's letters, he felt a little awkward, and inclined to think that her coufin's: taste was more congenial to lady Monteith's than his own. All these reasons made him very defirous that Henry fhould break Cupid's fetters; but fince he was confident that he was a very honest fellow, and that nobody could doubt his wife's propriety, he was anxious to escape the trouble of reading the correspondence; for Henry's letters were generally very long, and chiefly about places which he had vifited in his travels; befide, lord Monteith was always terribly incommoded by want of leifure. The countefs was therefore
left to her own obfervations, which pointed out to her that Henry's increafing vivacity augured well; and, to confirm the fatisfaction which his recovered cheerfulness diffufed over her mind, his laft letter expreffed an intention of re-. turning to England by the route of Lower Germany, Switzerland, and Flanders.
It was the encouraging hope which thefe circumstances fupplied, and not the ftimulation of feminine curiofity, that induced lady Monteith to develope her friend's fentiments in a point that had hitherto been guarded by the most rigid fecrefly. She endeavoured gradually to lead her to the fubject, and began by expatiating on the beauties of Monteith." My lord," faid fhe, "has "kindly permitted me to indulge a "thousand little whimfeys in embellishing a spot eminently indebted to na
I have fet up temples and alcoves out of number. Some are for' folitary mufings, others for focial "parties. There is one, of which I "hope, Lucy, you will be very fond, "and that we fhall spend many happy "hours there, when you come to stay "with us next autumn. It is formed << upon a plan communicated by Henry "Powerfcourt; he took it from a beau"tiful ruin in Campania. It is open "to the fouth, and fhaded by the "loftiest beeches I ever faw. The ivy "and woodbines which I have planted round fome of the columns grow very "good-humouredly. It has befides "the advantage of a profpect, to which " even the mountain fcenery of Powerf "court is flat and uninteresting."
A crimfon blufh lighted up Mif Evans's face.
"It is," faid fhe, " ex"tremely doubtful whether the state of
my father's fpirits will allow me to fpend next autumn with you. But "you mentioned Mr. Powerscourt"I hope he is well. When did you "hear of him?"
"Very lately," faid the countefs, drawing out one of his letters. "writes in excellent fpirits, and he "gives us hopes of his foon returning " to England. I hope, Lucy, you will "meet him at Monteith."
"I meet him!" replied Lucy, in increafing agitation.
"Yes, my love-I am fure you will "have a fincere pleasure in renewing
your acquaintance with an old friend. "In this very letter he expreffes a moft "lively concern for your lofs, and a "ftrong folicitude for your happiness."
"You were always a little inclined "to flatter," replied Lucy, with a smile which revived the idea of her native
"It is your happi
"nefs for which he feels fuch strong "folicitude."
"Read then, and be convinced," faid the countefs, tendering her the letter.
"No," faid Lucy, recollecting herfelf, and affuming a ferious air; " I fhall "preferve the pertinacity afcribed to my fex, and refufe conviction till you, "dear tempter, tell me, what good "would arife from my indulging a vain
hope, that I excite an intereft in Mr. "Powerscourt's heart. You know my "fecret, Geraldine; and let me forever "filence your obfervations on this fub
ject, by owning that I know his. If "I have not your charms to attract his "affection, I have at leaft fortitude to "avoid his contempt. His regret at
lofing the woman of his choice fhall "not be aggravated by compaffion for "a love