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heard his lady pointed out as uncommonly beautiful by a ftranger who fat next him; and though he was very well pleafed with that plaudit, the fubfequent obfervations were not fatisfactory. To the words, " Charming creature!" were added," and fo gay, fo lively too "in her manners! what a happy man "that gentleman must be !" The ftranger was just arrived from the country, and unwittingly fuppofed that a married pair would not forfeit their claims to celebrity by appearing at the fame entertainment in the fame party. Every exclamation which he uttered in compliment of the affectionate attention of this peerless couple, increafed the earl's reftleffnefs; and, no longer able to conceal his own right to the charmer who thus fafcinated all eyes, he fuddenly rofe and joined her. He had feen nothing in her manner
which custom did not juftify, and Fitzofborne was of all others the friend in whom he could moft confide. Yet, without knowing what to blame, he thought the laws of cuftom required revifal.
Geraldine had not that fpecies of fortitude which fees difpleafure on a hufband's brow without any fentiment but exultation. She was ignorant of those principles which teach the diffipated wife who has long renounced the power of pleafing, to exult in the capacity of giving pain. The light heart which had prompted the gay repartee became loaded with fudden depreffion, and the frolic fmile vanifhed with the unaffected vivacity which had given it birth.
The world had much to fay on the adventures of this evening. Poor Arabella! every body was very forry for her. Lady Monteith had certainly L 5 spirited
Spirited away her lover. Her exultation upon the occafion was rather too marked for a woman of prodigious decorum; and really, if fhe did continue to flirt it fo notoriously in public, she must renounce her pretenfions to fuch very strict propriety, and confent to be thought no better than other people.
At coming out of the opera, Fitzofborne tapped lord Monteith upon the shoulder, and asked him, how he difpofed of himself for the evening. "At home, if you have nothing better to propofe:" was the answer. "There is "a fpirited fet juft gone to Brookes's," continued Fitzofborne ; "suppose we "follow them to observe manners and "characters." His lordship had no objection.
Early in lord Monteith's life, his name was unfortunately familiar to the
frequenters of the gaming-table and the heroes of the turf. His attachment to the lovely Geraldine leffened that dangerous propensity; and, though fhe had failed in her endeavours to infpire a love of elegant pleasures, indifference for his former pursuits had gradually increased to difguft: the lefs pernicious fports of the field, and a boyish turn of amufement, fucceeding in occupying a mind too volatile to feek pleafure out of its own refources. But fince his lordship's difguft and forbearance arofe more from the abfence of temptation than from any fixed principle, the fight of the cardtable and the rattle of the dice-box excited paffions which increased the unfubdued emotion that he had felt at the opera.
He propofed to Fitzofborne to form a party. Edward pleaded a total want of skill; protefted, that he had a fixed L 6
abhorrence of the gaming-table; and declared, that he never vifited thofe fcenes, except to ftudy the human character, and to moralize on the fatal effects of the impetuous paffion of avarice. His reflections were foon finished that evening, for in a little time he profeffed himself wearied with the scene, and he proposed to lord Monteith that they should retire to a private room. There too he felt the moments drag heavily, and it was mutually agreed to enliven them by a friendly game at picquet.
The ftake first propofed was trifling. Monteith was unfuccefsful. He tranfferred his latent refentment to the cards, which he ftamped under his foot; called for a new pack, and infifted upon doubling the fum they played for. The events of the evening put feveral hundreds into Fitzofborne's pocket; and his fuccefs might ftill have been greater, but