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Lady Arabella joined in the laugh against her quondam adorer, and declared, that though certainly he was very fpecious, fhe had found him out in an inftant, and was determined to divert herself with the fellow's ridiculous ways. She also added, that this was another proof how prudent it was in ladies of fortune to conceal their expectations, for avowed wealth was always expofed to degrading folicitations.
The winter campaign opened with eclat. A noble earl, whofe affairs were a little deranged, laid fiege in form, and the contest seemed to predict a happy iffue, had not lady Madelina put the young general prematurely to the rout by inquiring after his rent-roll. Poor Arabella felt a little piqued; but no mat ter;-these were her happiest days ;The loved liberty, detefted reftraint, and danced,
danced, laughed, and visited more than
The defection of the noble earl was repaired by the attendance of two admirers, a viscount and a private gentleman, who ftarted in the career of honourable love at the fame instant. Hitherto her ladyfhip had been rather unfortunate in the character of her adorers; but her indecifion in the prefent inftance proved that she was actuated by motives widely different from the defire of connubial happiness. Lord Fitzofborne was an emaciated victim to licentious purfuits; Mr. Stanley was a youth of great promife, educated under the auspices of a worthy father. The aim of the former was to repair his fhattered fortune, and to gratify his felfifh vanity by exhibiting to the world a fine young woman in the character of his wife. The latter fought domeftic tranquillity: the beauty
beauty of lady Arabella had caught his eye; her reported expectations far exceeded what his father would require in pecuniary affairs; and, fuppofing that a young woman muft imbibe every virtue under the auspices of a perfon of lady Madelina's ftrict decorum, he called her levity innocent gaiety, her affectation fprightliness of manner; and, fincerely worshipping the image he had fet up, he ardently folicited his charmer's heart.. Though my difcoveries have enabled my fagacious readers to conclude, that the unfortunate Stanley was in pursuit of a nonentity, an impaffioned lover could not perceive that nothing but the adverfe weight of a coronet prevented the nodding scale from preponderating in his favour. True to the first object of her youthful defires, even the unworthinefs of the giver could not in her idea invalidate the gift. But the progress of my
my history now calls me from the portraiture of fashionable love to the definition of polite friendship.
Though lady Arabella had very little of the fentimental in her character, she enjoyed the bleffing of a bofom friend. Her acquaintance with Mifs Campley commenced at her first arrival in London. They dreffed in the fame uniform, went to the fame parties, laughed at the fame quizzes, and flirted with the fame. beaus. But Mifs Campley, being the uncontrolled mistress of her own actions, foared to a character which fome reftrictions of Lady Madelina's prevented her niece from adopting; I mean, that of a dasher. She drove four in hand, laid wagers, ran in debt, played at Pharo, and, though infinitely inferior to her friend in beauty, certainly laid claim to greater taste and spirit.
As the ladies had never interfered in each other's conquefts, their friendship was fixed as adamant. To own the truth, conqueft and Harriet Campley were no longer fynonimous terms. The gentleman had long been more defirous of winning her money than her heart; and even few knight-errants would have poffeffed fufficient courage and difinte rested generosity, to refcue a diftreffed damfel from the harpy talons of the law at the risk of their own certain ruin.
As the profpect of a fplendid establishment became less probable, Mifs Campley's creditors were more clamorous; and, though the profeffed herself highly delighted with the expected eclat of an execution, her haggard countenance betrayed an agonized mind. The period of lady Arabella's double triumph proved the crifis of her fate; and the unexpected