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the unicorn and the kraken; not abfoJutely denying that fuch things may exift, but wishing to have their reality more clearly identified. Her with was foon gratified, and this human phoenix was introduced at Powerfcourt by an event in which chance (the modern term for Providence) had a smaller fhare than oftenfibly appeared.
The poft always arrived at fir William's in the afternoon: and though the good baronet had nothing of the bafhaw in his character, and was by no means an adept in the fcience of politics, he conftantly exercifed an unlimited authority over the newspaper; the contents of which he regularly recited, in an audible voice, to the party affembled round his hofpitable board. The journal of paffing occurrences which found admiffion at fir William's, was generally uncontaminated by private flander, party abufe,
abufe, or fulfome panegyric, and fimply a plain narrative of the events of the day. It happened, however, that after lady Monteith had spent about four months at her father's, the following paragraph found admittance:
"It is rumoured in the polite circles, "that a certain minifterial nobleman in "the vicinity of P******d Place, finds "fufficient attractions in the beautiful "Mrs. Harley to confole him for his "recent difgrace; while a fair incon"ftant is trying, whether the keen air " of the C*********[hire mountains may not be beneficial to a confump"tive reputation. It is faid, that lord " M*******'s fettlements on his new " flame are uncommonly liberal."
Sir William was not verfed in the language of initials and afterifks; and was not in poffeffion of the deciphering gloffary which a knowledge of polite fcandal
fcandal fupplies. After two or three attempts to unravel the enigma, he delivered it to his daughter, with a request that he would tell him what it meant. A crimson blush and a dying paleness alternately took poffeffion of her face. while the perused the paragraph. After coolly obferving, that it was fome very ill-natured nonfenfe, fhe complained of faintnefs from the heat of the room, a circumftance which her fituation, being near her fourth confinement, might render oppreffive. Mifs Evans's arm was ready to lead her to her own apartinent, at the door of which the intreated her friend to leave her, and to fuperintend the backgammon party in her room, as fhe much feared fhe fhould not be able to rejoin them that evening.
No alarm was excited that night by this circumftance. Sir William's communications had been too confufed to
convey. any explanation to his auditors; and any future appeal to the newspaper for information was impoffible, for it had fuddenly disappeared during the buftle occafioned by lady Monteith's faintnefs. But fince the butler and the housekeeper were both very great politicians, and very anxious to infpect the conduct of adminiftration, this circumftance too frequently happened to bear at this time any myfterious air.
Geraldine's indifpofition wore next morning a more ferious afpect. Her maid owned, that he had been extremely reftlefs and agitated all night, and her pulfe indicated confiderable fever. Sir William's parental tendernefs took alarm. The most eminent medical affiftance which the country afforded was called in, and an express was dispatched to town to summon her hufband.
The petrifying power of vice requires time before it can render the heart completely callous. Lord Monteith had not yet forgot his inimitable Geraldine, the mother of his pretty little girls, the founder of James-town, and the benign enchantress whofe magic powers had converted the wild unfrequented fhores of Loch Lomond into the refidence of plenty, elegance, and happiness. His recollection of the guiltiefs pleasures once enjoyed in her fociety aggravated his fears for her fafety; nor could a thousand Mrs. Harleys detain him from her bedfide. Endeavouring by the speed of his return to atone for the criminality of his abfence, relays of horfes were ordered upon the road, and the exertions of the poftboys were ftimulated by additional douceurs. But lord Monteith is not the only furious driver that has found it impoffible to