Mary Jane Mackenzie.

Geraldine; or, Modes of faith and practice. : A tale, in three volumes. (Volume 3) online

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VOL. m.


Primed by 5trahan and Spottisnoode,
Prinlers- Street, London.



^ODC0 Of jTaitb anD Ic^racticc.



There is no rirtue more amiable in the softer sexj than that
mild and quiescent spirit of Devotion, which, without en-
tangling itself in the dogmas of Religion, is melted by its
charities and exhilarated by its hopes. CowrtR.

To be good and disagreeable, is high treason against virtue.

ElIZ.\J3ETH S.Mlill.





Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 20.09 with funding from
^'ersity of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



Montague possessed none of that deci-
sion and inflexibility, half devilish, half
sublime, — the boast of the fallen archangel.
He could not glory in a mind not to-
be changed by time or place} on the
contrary, the effect of time and place upon
his mind was irresistible. In the retire-
ment of Woodlands, aloof from the com-
panions and temptations by which he had
been surrounded ; he had leisure to reflect
upon and lament the past. He could
not resist the influence of shady groves
and blooming bowers, where every object,
and every sound, combined to rekindle



tender feelings, and awaken soft regrets>
He could have said with the poet, —

There is no eddy on the stream.

No bough that light winds bend and tow.

No chequering of the sunny beam,

Upon the woodland moss —

No star in evening sky, no flower

Whose beauty od'rous breezes stir,

No sweet bird, singing in the bower,

Nay, not the rustling of a leaf.

That does not nurse and feed ray grief.

By wakening thoughts of her.

He dwelt upon the beauty and engaging
qualities of Geraldine, till they appeared
more attractive than ever 5 and imagin-
ation, combining with the natural con-
trariety of the human heart, quickly trans-
formed him from a careless suitor, into the
most ardent of despairing lovers.

In this frame of mind, he received Mrs.
Mowbray's letter, and returned the follow-
ing answer : —

" To My^s. Mowbray.

"I am not ungrateful for your exer-
tions, my dear mother; but the present


miserable state of my mind prevents me
from appreciating them, as I should do, in
a quieter moment.

** I have lost Geraldine ; and when, in
the calmness of solitude, I review my past
conduct, it appears insulting — inexcusable.
1 execrate my foJly — in the bitteniess of
my heart, I could curse the coquettes and
syrens by whom I was for a moment lured.
The illusion has vanished — like the mortal
in fairy land, whose eyes were touched by
the fatal drug; instead of beauty, and
grace, and ravishing sights, and sounds, I
now discover only meanness and deformity.
And for such worthless beings, I have cast
away a * pearl richer than all their tribe.*

** Geraldine has dissolved our engagement,
but she cannot dissolve the spell by which
my heart is bound to hers. I feel all its
power : it was formed by her own loveli-
ness and virtues, and must endure for ever.
iShe was all beauty and truth ; but I deserve
to lose her. 1 have trifled with the ten-
derness of a devoted heart, and it is no
B 2


longer mine. I have wantonly destroyed
the fair temple of felicity, which rose ih
beautiful proportion before me ; and I can
now only lament over the ruin I have made*
I shall be glad to leave England ; but, alas !
new scenes will not * steep my senses in
forgetfulness.' All that is lovely, in na-
ture and art, will excite painful sensations,
by reminding me of the treasure I have
lost. I enclose a letter for Geraldine ;
she is too gentle not to pity the feelings by
which I am harassed j and even the meed
of her sympathy will now be precious to

" Adieu, my dear mother j I cannot enter
upon less interesting topics ; but I am»
more than ever,

" Your grateful and affectionate

" Montague/*

Mrs. Mowbray smiled at the desponding
tone, and energetic self-reproaches of this
letter ; but still more at the self-delusion
by which Montague persuaded himself that


his present feelings would endure for ever.
She declared that the^r ever of a lover of
Montague's temperament, resembled the
f(yr ever of the Hebrews ; it must be taken
in a limited acceptation.

But though his eloquence might be coolly
criticised at the age of fifty ; she believed,
that it would be resistless with a girl of
eighteen, and she calculated upon the
happiest effect from the letter addressed to
Geraldine. It was as follows : —

** To Miss Beresford.
** Perhaps, Geraldine, you may deem it
presumptuous in a rejected man to obtrude
upon you the history of his feelings ^ birt I
am too wretched to be silent ; and who can
understand them like yourself? The unipn
of thought and sentiment which subsisted
between us cannot, like our engagement,
be severed in a moment. The bond may be
partly broken, but a thousand interwoven
liiiks will still remain, over which, time
itself will have but little power. I have no


no claim on your forbearance, nor have I
either the right, or the inclination to up-
braid you. The weak victim of vanity —
of momentary impulse, is, indeed, unworthy
the attachment of a pure and faitliful
heart : and, yet I am still capable of appre-
dating the incalculable worth of that heart.
I have forfeited my claim to the possession
of excellence ; but my sense of its infinite
value remains undiminished. How brilliant
and beautiful did the path of life appear,
as traced by the finger of Love 1 — those
delicious hours of mutual confidence, so
rich in enjoyment, and so bright with hope,
are then gone for ever.

" Can you forget the fail' picture which
the future presented? the home of love
and joy which we delighted to sketch ?

" Alas ! all is now reversed : to me, the
future appears wrapt in impenetrable gloom.
I have exchanged a paradise of sweets for
a desart in which all is barren j but my
own madness and folly have wrought the
#ad change.


** You will pity th^e feelings, though you
cannot share them ; for respecting your ul-
timate happiness I can have no fears.

" That decision of character, which has
enabled you to stifle the pleadings of ten-
derness, and listen only to those of judg-
ment, will preserve you from any acute
suffering. The storm, which tears up my
happiness by the roots, will pass kindly as
a gentle gale over you ; and the slight agi-
tation it produces will be soon forgotten^
You will continue to pursue in peace and
puiity the even tenor of your way. Nor ,
can I wish it othei^se ; the guilt of ha\^ i
ing wrecked your happiness, as well -as my
<)wn, would have been insupportable.

" May Heaven's choicest blessings be
multiplied around you ; may your destiny,
though no longer interwoven with mine, be
bright as an angel's di'eam !

** I shall soon be far from you in a land
of strangers ; but, in whatever region I may
be, the lively interest I take in yoiu* happi-
ness, can cease only when the grave closes



in upon me ; and when that moment arrives
you will without effort, pity and forgive the
errors of

" Your devoted and affectionate

•* Montague,"

Geraldine read this letter with as much
emotion as Mrs. Mowbray could desire.
Montague, negligent and indifferent, had
not been dismissed without many a pang ;
but Montague, repentant and desponding;^
acknowledging his eiTors, pourtraying his
grief, and urging his love, was irresistible.
Upon the impulse of the moment, a letter
of recal, and forgiveness, was written ; but
before it was sealed, Geraldine remem-
bered that she had lately made a voluntary
promise to take no important step, without
previously consulting Mr. Fullarton. Hop-
ing and believing, that he would think it
right to restore Montague to the privileges
he had forfeited, she hastened to put into
his hand the letter she had just received^


vti'ith its answer, and to appeal to his judg-

She eagerly watched his countenance
as he perused them, and felt astonished,
and somewhat indignant at the smile which
occasionally stole over his features. A
silence of some minutes succeeded his pe-
rusal of these letters, which Geraldine, with
a mixture of impatience and timidity, in-
terrupted by saying, —

** I fear. Sir, that you do not approve
uiy decision; may I beg the favour of your
counsel ?**

** It seems cruel, my dear Geraldine, to
check the hopes which now fill your heart j
nor would any thing less than the interest
I feel in your happiness, induce me to
question the prudence of the full and fn/e
forgiveness accorded in this letter to Mon-
^tague.'* Geraldine turned pale.

" Do you then doubt the reality of the
feelings he expresses ?** said she.

** Far from it,*' returned Mr. Fullarton.
** I have not the smallest doubt, that Mon-

3 5


tague, at this moment is suffering keenly ^
that at this moment he loves you with the
utmost fervour and fondness ; and that his
lot, as separated from yours, appears ex-
tremely wretched/'

" And if happiness be indeed within my
gift,'* said Geraldine, <* will it be kind —
will it be generous to withhold it ?"

** Let me hope," replied Mr. Fullarton,
** that you will unite a little of my wisdom
and prudence, to your own kindness and
generosity. I know you will think me
harsh and rigid ; but Montague's recent
conduct has weakened all reasonable
ground of confidence. Time alone can
restore it, and to the test of time he ought
to submit."

Geraldine continued silent, her fond and
tender feelings struggling against the con-
viction of her understanding.

" I am not surprised at your hesitation,*'
said Mr. Fullarton : " Montague is ex-
tremely engaging ; his fine talents and
taste, the ardour and generosity of his


feelings, combine to render him peculiarly
attractive ; but he is infirm of purpose,
and deficient in what ought to be consi-
dered the ground-work of all real excel-
lence, — religious principle/'

Geraldine could only weep,

'* A character, however fascinating, if
destitute of religious principle, resembles
the house built upon the sand. We may
admire the beauty of the edifice, its fair
proportions, and tasteful decorations; but
it will not stand the shock of the foaming
flood, or sweeping blast." Geraldine ven-
tured to say that Montague was not desti-
tute of religious principle.

** You must distinguish between religious
feelings and religious principle,^^ said Mr.
Fullarton. ** Montague does not act under
the influence of the one, though he may
occasionally experience the other. 'His
feelings are his sole guide, and they vary
with varying circumstances."

** You would have me renounce him for


ever then," said Geraldine in a tone of
uncontrollable anguish.

" No/' said Mr. Fullarton, '* not for
ever ; Montague may become all that we
desire him to be ; but, before your engage-
ment is definitively renewed, it will be wise
to ascertain the effect of absence and no-
velty on a character such as his. I would
have you prove, by the consistency of your
conduct, that you were not influenced by
the littleness of female vanity ; that you
did not give him up in a moment of pique
excited by the temporary loss of his atten-
tions, but upon the conviction that pure
and steady principles are the only found-
ations for security or happiness in mar-
ried life. I do not wonder that his letter
should awaken your tenderness ; but what
does it prove ?**

" It proves, at least, that he loves me,*'
said Geraldine impatiently.

" The decision, my dear Miss Beresford,
rests with yourself,'* observed Mr. Fullar-
ton, gravely; "you requested my counse]


but I shall feel rather grieved, than offend-
ed at your declining to adopt it/* He
rose to go ; but Geraldine, ashamed of her
petulance, intreated him not to leave her
in displeasure.

" Do not imagine, my love," said he,
taking her hand, " that I witness this
struggle of your feelings with indifference.
I am not one of those who estimate such
trials lightly ; but will it not be right, will
it not be kind, to use your influence over
Montague to the best purpose ? If you are
a Christian indeed, and in truth, can you
promise yourself happiness, in an intimate
union with one who can be no sharer in
your purest joys, your brightest hopes, your
richest treasure ? Genius and taste are de-
lightful qualifications ; but there are defici-
encies which render even the * fine gold
dim.* Nothing less than the power cf
Christian principle can regulate the impe-
tuosity of Montague's feelings, or restrain
tiiat of his passions : without this unerrir,g
guide, his life will pass in sinning and le-


penting ; he will be alternately the slave of
passion, and the victim of remorse. For
his sake, then, if not for your own, let
your acceptance be conditional ; explain to
him your feelings, hopes, and views. If
your heart be really affected with the
awful reality, and glorious privileges of
Christianity, you will be eloquent upon
such a theme."'

Geraldine, who had continued silent,
oppressed with contending emotions, now
exclaimed in a tone of unfeigned humility,
<* Is it for me to assume the office of
teacher? more need have I to take the
humble attitude of a disciple : I, who so
soon forgot the instructions and example
of a saint."

" Take courage, Geraldine," replied
Mr. Fullarton ; <* the good seed may still
bring forth a hundred-fold, remember,
however, that a single act of self-control
IS of more value than a thousand self-re-

He took his leave and Geraldine, con-


vinced of the wisdom of his counsel, after
a painful struggle with her own tender
feelings and wishes, reluctantly adopted
it. The letter now dictated to Montague
was eloquent and impressive, it dwelt upon
the past, present, and future. She refused
to renew her engagement, till he had sub-
mitted to some months' probation, but
amidst the apparent firmness of this deci-
sion, so much of woman's tenderness was
betrayed, so fond a hope of their ultimate
re-union expressed, so warm a wish was
breathed for his happiness, that Montague,
equally touched and gratified, felt his
hopes revive ; and full of confidence in
himself, and gratitude to Geraldine, wrote
a letter expressive of the most passionate
tenderness, and anticipating their re-union
as a delightfid certainty. ' The preparations
for his voyage were soon completed, and
the day, the moment for a parting inter-
view arrived. His strong, unrepressed
emotion, the tenderness of every look and


word, would have made their way to hearts
* of sterner stuff,' than Geraldine's.

For some days after their separation his
inconstancy was forgotten 5 all was dismissed
from her recollection, but his lingering
look of fondness, and the last fervent
grasp of his hand.

As the vividness of this impression faded,
thoughts less consolatory would obtrude :
a sudden pang sometimes seized her heart,
as she recollected the past ; and if, it oc-
casionally beat high with hope, it more
frequently throbbed with apprehension :
but Geraldine had other hopes to cherish
and other fears to combat, besides those
inspired by love. Life, whether passed
amid sunshine or storm, now appeared a
gift of inestimable value, too precious to
be wasted in the indulgence of idle regrets
or vain fears. During the two or three
past years she had contemplated objects
tlirough a false medium, she had lived in
ao enchanted region, thronged with fail


and glittering shadows, but the spdi was
broken, she perceived that

AH was delusion^ nought was truth.

A present and future scene in all its
important reality, gradually expanded be-
fore her eyes, and the beam of everlasting
truth played over it,


CHAP. 11.

In pursuing her scheme of reformation,
Geraldine found much to combat in her
own heart, and something to endure from
the opinions and habits of those around

An occasion soon offered for putting the
stability of her recent resolutions to the
test. Cards of invitation to a splendid
Sunday-evening party, had been accepted.
The day arrived, and some allusion to the
engagement for the evening being made,
during breakfast, Geraldine with a slight
blush, begged to be excused attending it.

" Are you ill, my dear,*' said Mrs.
Mowbray, in a tone of surprise 5 " or only
whimsical ?"

** Neither the one nor the other," re-


turned Geraldine, " I simply wish to re-
main at home."

«* Impossible !** said Mrs. Mowbray; " we
have been enffao:ed this month ; the
Duchess will break her heart if you are not

" The hearts of fine ladies are not so
easily endangered," said Geraldine : " they
are not made of quite such brittle mate-

" I don't mean," returned Mrs. Mow-
bray, " either to say, or insinuate, that she
really cares about you. 1 dare say, if you
were to take a flight to the planet Jupiter,
or Saturn, it would not disturb her the
least in the world j but this vnH be her last
and most brilliant concert, and she depends
upon you for that exquisite ballad, which
you sing so like a syren, that all the men
love, and all the women envy you."

" As I am not at all anxious to produce
such an effect," returned Geraldine, "I
must persevere in my intention of remain*
ing at home,"


. *• Nonsense, my love," said Mrs. Mow-
bray J "I shall not allow any such thing -,
I shall not stir without my little nightin-

** No," said Geraldine, in a firmer tone ;
" you must excuse me ; I cannot go this

*« Cannoty'* said Mrs. Mowbray, in an
accent of some displeasure, ** is not the
term you ought to use j a more decided one
would express your meaning better."

Geraldine remained silent. — ** If it be
not too sacred a mystery," continued Mrs.
Mowbray, *' will you have the goodness to
explain the reason of this sudden preference
of solitude ?"

Geraldine hesitated a few moments, and
then summoned courage to say, ** I confess,
I think it wrong to join such parties on a
Sunday j therefore, in future, 1 mean to
decline them."

Mr. Mowbray looked up from the news-
paper he was reading, and fixed his eyes
on her face with a sarcastic smile. Fan^f


laughed, and Mrs. Mowbray immediately
exclaimed, ** Wrong ! Pray, ray love, how
long have you been favoured with this ray
of the new light?''

*< It is not very new," replied Geraldine,
rallying her spirits ; "it is, at least, as old
the creation."

** Oh ! I can explain it all," said Fanny,
with a look of sudden recollection. ** She
has received a lecture upon the subject,
from the very grave and reverend Mr.
Fullarton. I happened to invite him to
the gala you gave this day fortnight. I
only wish you could have seen his face."

*' How could vou think of such a thin*^?"
said Mrs. Mowbray, laughing; ** you might
as well have asked Sir Isaac Newton to
waltz with you, if he had been alive."

" To say the truth," replied Fanny, " I
had some curiosity to witness the effect
the proposal w^ould have upon his counte-
nance. It had just the sort of expression
you may imagine Christian's to have had,
as he passed through ' Vanity Fair ;' and


he absolutely insinuated, that all the in-
habitants of the continent, English visitors
included, were on their way to the regions
of Pluto/'

** Who can help admiring such en-
lightened charity !" exclaimed Mrs. Mow-
bray j ** no wonder it produced an instan-
taneous effect upon Geraldine."

" So you really mean, my dear, to stay
at home for the express purpose of count-
ing your beads," said Fanny, looking at
her stedfastly. ** Montague should be here,
to say, * Nymph, in your orisons, be all my
sins remembered.' "

*' You intend, perhaps, to revive the
fashion of exchanging love for devotion,"
said Mrs. Mowbray : ** that was quite a
regular affair in the old French school; but
you are too young, a vast deal too young,
for this business; forty summers hence,
you will have time enough for all the Ave
Marias and Paternosters that may be ne-
cessary to propitiate St. Peter."

** Would you advise me, then," said Ge


raldine, " to persevere in the interim, in
doing what I feel, what I know, to be
wrong ?"

" I think,'' continued Mrs. Mowbray,
without answering her question, " that
people who set up for reformists, must
have a very comfortable opinion of the su-
periority of their own judgment. They do
not at all hesitate to say, that those who
differ from them in practice, are in the
high road to perdition."

** Yes, the conceit of religionists, amidst
all their professions of humility, is really
amazing," observed Mr. Mowbray ; " these
insects, inhabitants of a v/orld, which, if it
were blotted this moment from the crea-
tion, would cause no more sensation than
* the fall of one single leaf in avast forest,'
can absolutely talk of glorifying and dis-
honouring God, by such and such actions.
They can entertain the preposterous notion
that the Creator of ' ten thousand times
ten thousand w^orlds,' is affected by their
little, paltry, ridiculous movements 5 by the


en dies changes of their absurd and frivo*
lous opinions."

Geraldine listened in silence to this so-
phistry: to argue with Mr. Mowbray, would
have been as fruitless a task, as that to
which Sisyphus was doomed in the infernal
regions. She therefore contented herself
with reflecting upon those gracious and
precious assurances of individual protec-
tion scattered throughout the Scriptures*
She remembered, that He, who is there
described as sitting * on the circle of the
the Heavens — as riding the whirlwind and
directing the storm, is also represented as
clothing the lily of the field, and noting the
fall of a sparrow ; that all are parts of one
stupendous whole -, that a Being of infinite
intelligence, can comprehend, at one glance,
all that is vast in immensity, and all that is
minute in detail : and that the ear of in-
finite mercy is open, not only to the rap-
turous hymn of the Seraph, but to the
feeble plaint of suffering humanity. She
was not surprised at Mr. Mowbray's view


of the subject ; with him, Reason was every
thing, Revelation nothing; but he forgot
tliat * Reason is the ei/e, not the lighL'

" I believe," said Mrs. Mowbray, mis-
taking the thoughtful expression of Geral-
dine's countenance, " that you already re-
pent your solitary scheme; but though the
oracle has spoken, there is no positive ne-
cessity for abiding by its decrees."

" I should expect no responses in fu-
ture," said Geraldine, " if I treated them
with contempt ; and I am persuaded, that
it is my interest and duty to obey them."

To avoid farther importunity, she rose
to leave the room ; and as she caught the
sound of Mrs. Mowbray's satirical laugh,
she felt the truth of the observation, « Cesl
le premier pas qui coute,'



CHAP. lit

The return of the family to Woodlands
was in Geraldine's favour ; for, though, the
house was usually thronged with visitors,
there was less- positive dissipation than in
London. Still she found her courage and
perseverance often put to the test. In a
circle as gay and thoughtless as that in
which she moved, the performance, even
of the most common religious duties, was
the subject of surprise and raillery. Her
attendance at church twice on a Sunday was
deemed intolerable affectation of sanctity ;
and her refusal to join in gay diversions on

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