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peace, and nearly fo to her life. She covered her beautiful face, pale as the pillow on which it refted, and, fobbing out an apology for an hysterical weaknefs which would not permit her to support the fight fhe had fo earnestly defired, the entreated to be left alone. To recruit her enfeebled spirits was the plea that the urged; but her real defign was to lament unobferved the peculiar hardships of her prefent fate.
The obfervations fhe had made upon her lord's character had hitherto difclofed much inconfiftency, weakness, and imperfection; but he had ever been confoled by the conviction, that his heart retained many traits of native goodness, and that his ftormy paffions, even in their wildeft uproar, confeffed the power of her gentle influence. Her delicacy fhrunk at the thought of dividing his affections with a venal
wanton; and the rectitude of her principles infpired the livelieft concern, when the recollected the guilt which her ftill-beloved lord incurred by pursuing an illicit attachment. Weak in body; enfeebled in mind; reduced by fufferings, and difappointed in her deareft hopes; her pride wounded in its most fufceptible part; flighted by him whom the most wished to pleafe; and traduced by that world whofe applaufe fhe had fo fedulously courted; what was there to bind lady Monteith to life? Surely I might now call in Arria's dagger, Portia's fire brand, or fome more fashionable quietus, with every good effect. But my Heroine was a mother; and though man, poffeffed of firmer nerves and a colder heart, is often unjuft to female merit, and falfely fuppofes that name to be fynonymous with weak fufceptibility, maternal feelings have B 6 frequently
frequently inspired fuch long-fuffering, quiet fortitude as would add luftre to the annals of a martyr.
Four innocent helpless creatures, who derived their exiftence from her, taught Geraldine that he had more to do than to lie down and die. In proportion to the hazard of their being deprived of paternal tendernefs and protection, they poffeffed ftronger claims upon their mother's heart, and urged her to exert every faculty to preferve their morals, their fortune, and their happiness. Hope revived with the determination of difcharging thefe folemn duties, and whif pered, that patience, gentleness, and undeviating rectitude of conduct, fometimes produce a further reward, over and above the certain eulogy of approving confcience. A reclaimed hufband has been restored to virtue by the mild allurements of a blameless wife; and
and a joyful mother has had the glory of leading back a repentant father to his abandoned children. "Be fuch my lot!" faid the countefs. "How poor is all "other praife! How contemptible every "other pursuit!"
These refolutions, though formed in the fecure privacy of a fick chamber, might have refifted common temptations; and lord Monteith, if left to his own natural character, would have evinced his penitence for his past faults by a more attentive tenderness; but Fitzofborne knew too well the advantages of difunion to permit the wounds which he had inflicted on the conjugal felicity of the Monteiths to be thoroughly healed. His influence over his lordship's mind was as unbounded as vigour, duplicity, and craft can acquire over a weak, open, unreflecting character. It had been interrupted by the strong
ftrong alarm which lady. Monteith's danger excited; but as the returning health of the charming countefs relieved all anxiety for her fafety, her husband grew weary of the trouble of thinking for himself, and, voluntarily furrendering the intellectual liberty of which he was fo tenacious, permitted his falfe friend again "with devilish art," to "reach the organs of his fancy."
The most accurate judges of human nature have obferved, that we feldom forgive thofe whom we have injured; and though the word forgiveness may be here mifplaced, it is certain, that the pride of human nature, fond of justifying itself, always endeavours to find an excufe for its own misconduct in the behaviour of thofe who are fufferers from its faults. Almost per fuaded that his infidelity and extravagance had efcaped difcovery, lord Mon