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qualities which he elteemed to be wc^k imper-
ie(ftions. He ■ uled them only as the means
which were fvuiaiiied by the propofed end.
Taught: by his recent d<;feat to ahitain from
• attack, he- contented him.felf with barely nttemi,'-
ing a deience, when Powerfcourt pre (led hini
with fome powerful inference; alwavs takin.^
care that fome thing in his expreAiiOti, lock, <^
manner, (liouki convey to the quick apprehe?,-
fion of Geraldine a hirit of unfair treatniau *-
an infmuation t>f iiis love of peace : and a com-
plaint that his adverfary began the debate^ and
that it was unjuii to feek to deprive him of Iiis
•own opinions, when he did not molelt others
in the quiet enjoyment of their- peculiar noii-
ons.

Lady Tvlontelth loved foclct-y, and few pro
pie were better calcuhred than hei-fcif to A^h-v



132 A T/.LE OF THE TIMES.

and Impart the namelefs d.iighrs of converfa-
tion. Whether we define it, according to the
ideas of the Swan of Twickenham, to be * the

* feafl of reafon and the flow of foul *,' or,,
perfonifying its exhilarating graces, defcribe it
in the likenefs of Milton's Euphrofyne, « buck-

* fome, blithe, and debonaire,' yet flill the
alTociate of * unrsproved pleafurei' in whichever
fhape the goddefs prefides, the irritating fpirit
of contradi61ion, and the fcowllng genius of
continual argument, muft be profcribcd adinif-
iion, or the fweets of the mental banouet will
be foured by fern^cntation. The relaxed mind"
cannot repofe upon the bcfom of confidence^
and pour forth all its choicefl ftores, when,
every exprcilion roufes the clamour of oppofi-
tion. The dirrpkd fmilc of fporiive n^jrth is
too timid to encounter the aufLereafpeift of dc—
clamatorv inveftigation.

Such were the r<:fiec\ions of Gerrldinej
who, driven by conjngv.l infelicity to feek
anrafement out o'f herfeif, had fondly hoped
that the moft lelined focial pleafures would rc-
fulc from the friends of her early youth meeting
with the accomplilhtd intelligent Fitzolhorne,^
She had anticipated the delights of literary con-
verfation, the corufcations of playful wit ; and,
■while ^e enioyed with finccre pleafure the
profpe^ of her Lucy's happinefs, fne deter-
mined to divert herfelt with the little aukward-
nefies which the prefence of a beloved objedt-
generally gives to the manner of a young wo-
man poiTeiTed of a delicate fufeeptible mind.
Jnftead of thefe expe<^l:ed luxuries, the demon
of Dlfpute took pofleHion of the dining-room
and the faloon -, accompanied their walks and
rides, their fifhing parties and mountain tours *,

and.



A TALE OF THE TIMES. T33

srerd, inflead of leaving the mind of the coun-
tefs at liberty to entertain her guefls with fome-
t-hing enchantingly whimfical, or negligently
elegant, her anxiety was perpetually exercifed
to reprefs every topic of difcourfe which threa-
tened contention.

Perhaps Gerald Ine overcharged this defcrip-
tion. 8he was alfo miltaken in fixing the
whole bhaie of this controvertial fpint upon
Henry. More accuftomed to Edward's ftyle of
converfati'.n, and ]d(s aware of its tendency,
he could at any time drop the ga^^e of defiance
without arrefting her attention, -till the reply of
his antagonift called her to divert the rifing
iiorm. Her infenfibility of her own danger,
and confequent ignorance of the confcientious
motives which urged Mr.-Fowerfcourt to vio-
late the prefcribed rules of good breeding flri;fl-
ly adhered to in poliliied fociety, precluded
her from frammg any excufes in his juftifica-
tion. That eternal £:ratilude which fhe had
promifed to preferve for the generous friend
who had facrificed his own happinefs to her's,
imperceptibly abated> as the conviiflion that
file had founded her hopes of connubial felicity
on a wrong bafis gathered ftrength. On the
other hand, the recent fervices of Fitzofborne,
and the marked contraft between him and her
lord, hourly made a deeper imprefiion ; and
her difapprobation of what the thought cavalier
behaviour increafed her indifrerence for the
fociety of Lucy and her lover. Real efteem
could not be weakened ; but afiecSlion fenfibly
declined, at leaft fo far as to make her wifh them
married and happily fettled at Powcrfcourt.

Geraldine's eitrangement from her once-
bvcd friends could not be attributed to Mr.

Fitz-



134



A TALE OF THE TIMES.



Fitzofborne's fuggejlions. However poignantljr
his feelings might be wounded, he was too ge-
nerous to complain ; and refpeft for the rela-
tion of his fair friend withheld him froin an-
swering his perfecutor as moft gentlemen would
do. As fome of his own notions had a tendency
to democracy, he could not confiftently hint
the humble fituation of Henry's father, as a'
reafon why his fon was unfit to mix with men-
of rank. Befide, he recollecled that he had
paiTed through the purifying ordeal cf a college
education, which always confumes every par-
ticle of plebeian infection ^ and that he could-
not cafe an oblique cenfure on his origin with-
out involving the reputation of the high-feated
Powerfcourt anceilry. He therefore never
uttered a farcafm of the kind; nay he even-
once attempted to foften Geraldine's dlfplea-
fure, who confeired herfelf to be a little hurt at
her coufin's behaviour, by obferving, that Mr.
Powerfcourt's early connections might not have
led him into very poliilied foclety, and that
habit was an irrefillible eneiiry to that amenity
of manners which marked the gentleman.

But though thus cautious with refpetTi: to the
countefs, the daring genius of Fitzolborne,
winged a bolder flight with her credulous lord..
He too retained but a faint remembrance of
the merit of the felf-denying, accommodating
rival, who had refigned the girl he loved to his^
happier vows. He forgot the dejedlion and.
fubfequent illnefs which fpoke the anguifh of
the facrifice ; and no longer finding, that the-
poiliffion of that bleffing which the generous
Henry relufftantly refigned had confirmed his
own happinefs, he was prepared to look upon
him as he would upon any other guelt, and to;

regulate



JL TALE OF THE TIMES. 135

regulate his behaviour to him, not by a fenfe
ef gracitude or efleem, Sat by the prefeht
:imufement he received from his converfation.
I have fuiTiciently explained lord Monteith's
character for my readers to anticipate my con-
itiTiony that his powers cf difcrimination were
very limited. In faO, hating controverfy,
which he not unaptly called quarrelling, if he
'could not contrive, by playing with his dogs or
his children, to make fufiicient noife to prevent
himfelf from hearing the difpute, he rang the
bell for his horfes and took a ride.

He had purfued this method twice before the
hint was under flood, a fulficient excufe for
the total lofs of patience which followed. —
Deceived. by his own impetuofity, and fome in-
finuations of Fitzofborne, he miflook the part
which the countefs acled upon ihefe occahons,.
which was generally that of a mediatrix ; for,
though inclination led her to join with Edward,
cfpecially when he more nicely atFe^ed the
plaufible, yet if Henry, by preffing his arguments
clofc, furpvifed his opponent in the avowal of
fome bold tenets, Gerald ine could not refrain
from exprefling her approbation of the champi-
on of fteady principle. Lord Monteith once en-
tered the room, when ev^ry tongue was loud in
declaiming againfl fome pofuions which Fitzof-
borne had juft attempted to maintain on the fub-
je£l of education. They were, that as it is pre-
fumptuous to afiert, that obedience to parents is
any thing more than the preference of reafon
enforced by affection, the child ought to lead
'its own ftudies, and the parent or inflru(flor fol-
low ; for youth fhould enjoy perfeiH: llbertv,
and be led to knowledge not by authority, but
by inclination. His lordfhip had no difpofition

to



1^6 A TALE OF THE TIMES.

to give himfelf the trouble of underftandln^ the
debate. He heard fomething of the cruelty of
debarring innocent infants of the liberty with
which nature had endowed them, and he faw
every one united in condemning Fitzofborne.
Kc was an advocate for children enjoying them-
felves, and he never either reftrained or corre£led
Ills own, except when they interrupted his par-
ticular purfuits. He was, befidc, ftrongly im-
pelled to fupport Fitzofborne, who was now be-
come abfolutely necefTary to him in the double
capacity of a flatterer and an advifer.

The earl took a chair -, obtained the lead in
converfation ♦, and foon m.ade himfelf mailer of
,the field by filencing all oppofition. He cad
a lock of triumph round him. * What,' faid
he to Geraldine, < have you not one word left

< to defend your opinion ? You was haranguing

* very learnedly, and laying down a fyflem of
' management which you meant to adopt — with

< James, I fuppofe *, but as I may not converf&^
<• with you upon thi^ fubject again, I would ad-

* vife you to give it up, for I fhall never allow
, it. You have broke the fpirit of the poor
« -girls already by your lefTons and yonr punifh-

* ments ; and I lliall educate the boy according

< to my own plan.'

The countefs anfwered by an acquiefcent
fmile j but his lordfhip had talked himfelf into -a
fit of indignation, which fome domen;ic per-
plexities fecretly increafed. He arofe, and, gi-
ving his chair rather a whirl than a pufh, ftalked
QUt of the room.

Every one who has witnefTed little coniugai*
rencontres knows, that it is the bufinefs of by-
itanders to take no notice of the pafTing fcene,
but to exert the happiefl addrcfo to divert the at-
tention



A TALE OF THE TIMES. I37

tentlon of the parties engaged to fonie new fub-
jccl. Gcraldine's flariing tears were reprefled
by Lucy's obferving, that an uncommonly beau-
tiful butterfly reiled upon the chimney-piece;
and at the fame indant Henry called her to re-
mark the cliara^eriftic ftyle of excellence which
diftinguifhed Titian's paintings. Fitzciborne was
loft indeje(fted filence. He however rofe, as if
to examine the pidlure which Henry had pointed
out ; and fancying his attention engrciTed by
the butterfly hunt, which Mifs Evans enliven-
ed by a hundred humorous obfervations, he
whifpered to the ftill-agitated countefs, as he
pafled her ; < Dear fufFcring meeknefs I (hall I

* follow him, and try to calm his favage frenzy ?'
(he faintly articulated, < Yes,' and her champi-
on inftantly withdrew. A thought that moment
ftruck the countefs, that his interpofition might
add to the paflion which quiet felf-refle.(i!\ioa
would bed fubdue. The colours of nature or
of Titian could no longer give a tranfitory diver-
fion to the pangs of thought. The hitherto re-
(trained tears burft from her eyes, and fhe hafti-
ly flew after Fitzoroorne.

< That man is a villain/ faid Henry to his-
Lucy, who M'as now the only perfon remaining-
with him in the room.

« I never doubted it,' faid fhe, rclinquifning
the juft-vanqui(hed butterfly. < But have you

* any frefn proofs ?' Powerfcourt repeated the
whifper which he had diliin<fi:ly overhard.

* O my lovely, enchanting Geraldine, how

* perilous is thy fituation !' exclaimed Mifs
Evans ; * between a hufband infenfible of thy

* virtues, and a pretended friend who is deter-
^ mined to undermine them 1'

< And



138 A TALE OF THE TIMES. -

* And how fatally inrenfible of her danger !''
continued Powerfcourt.

* Are there no means to fave Iier ?'

* I have tried what to my judgment appeared to
be the moft probable, and i have purfued thenr
beyond the bounds which regard for the deco-
rum of my own cliara^ler would have impofed.
I have clearly detected his principles, and, I
fometimes hope, armed the countefs againit
their fcductive poifons. But I cannot remove
him from Monteith. He endures my perfe-
cution with a patience which convinces me
that he will not be provoked to retreat ; and I
have no influence either with the earl or Ge-
raldine. What can prevent her from every
day, nay every hour, perceiving the ftrong
contrail between his foft, infmuating, polifhed
manner, and the inconfiftent, uninformed — I
had almofl: faid — cruel, deportment of her
mnch-ajtered lord ? You fee, Edward himfelf
draws the parallel/

' And our beloved friend feels it,* added Lucy*
•■ Can there be a (Ironger proof of his defigns
* than the whifper whicli you jufb overheard f'

* Yes,' replied Powerfcourt, * there is a Wron-
ger. She is lovely and attractive as fancy
ever feigned. And what fnall induce- that
man to refill the power of her charms, who
has iilenced the rellraints of confcience, who
fears no future retribution, and who has fuffi-
cient cunning to elude the pecuniary punifli-
ments which our laws award to his licentious
crimes ? Hourly expofed to the blaze of Ge-
raldine's perfedlionS) indulged by a credulous
hulband with every opportunity for feducing
her honour, he mufl feel the fafcination of
her beauty and her merit. Nay, his attentions

< prove^



A TALE OF THE TIMES. I 39

* prove, even to cafu.il obfervers, that he does

* feel them. I\Iy right hand neighbour at the

* earl's lall public dinner, aflved me, < Who is
« this Mr. Fitzofborne ?' I told him, an admirer

* of lady Arabella Macdonald. * 1 am very

* glad to hear that,' faid the bkmt enquirer v

* for vi'e country people fancied he made love
« to the countefs.'

Lucy determined to tell her friend this (lory,
and Powerfcourt approved the fuggeflion. * Be
« careful, however,' faid he j ' alarm her deli-
« cacy, but not her pride. Convince her, that

* it is only Jlrangers that can doubt her recii-

* tude j that ihe owes the immediate difmiflion

< of Fitzofborne to the judgment of the world,

* not to the opinions of thofe friends who know

< her worth, and who deem it almoft impoffible

< that (he fliould fall.'

< And fo it is,' faid Mifs Evans with energy.
« I defy all the traitor's arts to allare her to wil-

* ful guilt. She cannot feel any real predilec-

* tion in his favour.'

< Ah, Lucy,' interrupted Henry, ' we foon

* ceafe from the perfecuting attentions which

< we find d'lfpkafe the object of our purfuit.' —
Lucy alked him whether he learned that maxim
of her or Geraldine ; and the converfation
changed to a more agreeable topic.

In the mean time lady Monteith had overtaken
Fitzofborne, and, finding her perfuafions to in-
duce him to abandon liis defign of reproving her
lord for his petulance inefTectaal, {he extorted
from him an engagement, that he would adl
with the gentlelt caution. This agreement,
like the promifes of the weird filter to the guilty
Thane of Cawdor, was * kept to the ear, but

* broken to the fenfe.' The caution was exer-

cifed



I4O A TALE OF THE TIMES.

cifed for }jIs own fecurity, and the gentlenefs
was the refined covering of (imulntion.

He had that day^ made himfclf mafter of a
fecret, the difcovery of which would, he knew,
point the whole torrent of the earl's fretful im-
patience againft the countefs and Mr. Powerf-
eourt. I have frequently ftated, that lord Mon-
teith's natural ch?ra<n:er ftrongly partook of ge-
nerofity and benevolence. Thefe noble fenfa- '
tions, bluhcedby felfifhnefs and inconfideration,-
were now effectually chilled by the embarraff-
ments attendant on perplexed circumftances ;
and his irritable temper was continually fretted
by the reprefentations of his agents, and the fo-
licitations of his creditors. It was to fome bar-
raffing occurrences of this nature, that his late
behaviour to the countefs mufl be afcribed *, and
the moment he left the room, his fenfe of her
meek fufferance added to his torment. He
flung himfelf upon the bank of the canal which
wound round the managerie, and was beginning
to yield to that tranquillity of mind which the-
warbling birds, the waving trees, and the calm
fpkndour of a mild autumnal fun, infpired,
when Fitzoiborne feated himfelf by his fide.

* When do you cut a communication between
« this canal and the lake ?' inauired he. The
earl only anfvi-ered by a profound figh.

« You told me,' refumed his tormentor, ' that

< you had fuch a defign. You alfo mentioned
« your intention of levelling a fmall eminence

< which intercepts your view of the Grampian
« hills.'

Stung by the recolle(flion of thofe plans of
princely magnificence by which he had once
intended to embellifh the feat of his anceflors,.

lord



A TALE OF THE TIMES. I4T

i-Iord Montelth could only anfv^'er by execrating
the dice-box.

' My good friend/ faid Fitzofborne, « why

* perHft in teszing youri'clf with ufelefs recol-

< lections of pall misfortunes ? Let us look for-

< ward to the future. You have noble expec-

< tations. Sir William Powerfcourt cannot in

< the ccurfe of nature live long. — But I be-
« lleve I (liould not have entered upon that
« painful fuhjecl;.'

Lord Monteith, who at that inftant felt the
mifery of ftraitened circumftances too ftrongly
to reijard with forrow the death of an old man
who would leave him a handfome fortun^^y m-
. quired, why he fliould thitik it fuch a painful
event ^ * There is a great deal of whimfical
« goodnefs about the old baronet/ added he ;
' but people cannot live for ever.'

< I did not fufpecb you of the puerility of

* grieving for his death/' faid Edward fmiling.

< I allude to the awkward circum fiances in

* which you will be placed at his dernife.'

* Is coming into the poiTefRon of five thoufand

* a-year art awkward circumitance V

■ .< No ; but I think I ihould nor like to be the

' rnsre fteward of mv wife and children, I

« ih )uld vathtr like to have the expenditure di-

* reeled by myfclf.'

< And who elfe will direft it V inquired the
carl, railing himfelf from the ground.

* toffibly you have fome influence over the
-< part, which is fettled upon your daughter or

* your unborn fon ; but the two thoufand a-year

* which the countefs difpofes of will be totally

* diverted from yourpurfe.*

' Whv, what does (he mean to do with it ?'

< Are



142 A TALE OF THE TIMES.

< Are you really Ignorant of her Jefigns then4*
' I mud have been mifinformed.' Repeated
entreaties drew from Fitzoiborne what he now
termed a mere guefs of his own, arifmg from
the peculiar warmth of the countefs in, her
friendfhips •, namely, that it was intended to
increafe the opulence of Mr. Powericourt and
his bride. Then, looking attentively on the
earl, he inquired v/hat * bloody pa.Tion fhook
< his very frame \" and he entreated him not
to be dilcompcfed at his idle fuppofitions ; at
leaft, to pafs tlie matter in filence till it was
better confirmed. My lord promifed ; but his
behaviour to Mr. Powerfcourt became, in con-
fequence, fo (trikingly inhofpitable, that the lat-
ter foon found himfeif compelled to leave a
family, in which, independent of his attach-
ment to his Lucy, ihe iivelieil feelings of his
heart were now centered.

Inltead of obtruding iiis keen fenfe of Mon-
teith's extraordinary behaviour upon the obfer-
vation of the counieis, he contrived to give his
departure the air of choice ; and he declined
with an air of regret riither than pique Geral-
dine's faint invitation to fpend anotiier week
with them.. He hail, however, entruded Mils
Evans with his real fentiments. * I am con-
vinced,' faid he, * that the earl is but the pup-
pet of the treacherous Fitzofborne on this
occaGon. There are fomc maderly but dia-
bolical machinations on foot whicli i cannot
develope. My continuing here Cv.in be of no
ferv^ce 5 imieed it is impoilible, ccnfiuering
the treatment which f hourly experience. No
eitbrt of mine ee-ud ihikc the confidence
which tliis credulous tool of iubtic viiiany
repofes in the bct;a^ei oi his peace. Be

' you.



A TALE OF TPIE TIMES. f^3,

^ you, therefore, my Lucy, the Guardian angel,
and watch over your much-endangered, too
confident friend, I know your zeal and your
unlhaken fidelity •, but I fear you will be called
upon for exertions which will put your forti-
tude to the fevereit trial. Endure the altered
looks.of your Geraldine ; even brave her re-
fcntment. Remember, that (he is nov/ la-
bouring under the impulfe of a fatal delufion,
and that her returning reafon mu(l blefs the
hand whic4i fnatches her from defl:ru6f ion.' .

* I know, Henry,' replied Lucy, < that I fhall
continually v/ant your dire<flirig judgment.
O that we had her fafe atPowerfcourt ! How
would we join to pour the balm or iriendfhip
on her wounded foul !'

* Cannot you,* faid Henrv, * plead a little
pardonable caprice, and fay you have made
a refoiution not to confirm my happinefs till
the dear companion of our yauth is prefent,
to fee your father knit the folenm bond 'AJiich
will mwke you forever mine ?"

* I know not,' cried I^ucy, giving her hand
^o her lover with a faint fmile, * v/hat folly

"' I would not aftccl to favs mv Geraldine.*



CHAP.,



^ 144 A TALE OF THE TIMES-



CHAP. XII.



Is all the counfel that \vc two have Hiar'd,

The fifttr's vows, the hours that we have fpent,

When we have chid the tardy footed time

For parting us ; O and is all forgot ?

All fchool-days fri'endfhip, childhood Innocence ?— •

And will you rend our ancient love afundcr ?

^ Shakespeare.

JT is a general obfervatlon, that ceremony in-
creafes as affection declines. Conrcious of the
unkindnefs wnich we blufh to avow, we poorly
attempt to dif^iiire our iinconftancy by a parade
of words, \ in tout confidering that Vv^e betray
our hypccrily by a (crupulous regard to thofe
minutiae, to which, vvhlie our hearts glowed
with Teal rega\Tl, we were too much occupied
to attend.

In proportion as lady Monteith felt the plea-
fure fhe icok in Mifs Evans's focicty really di-
miniin, flie wms> aiore obftrvant in her hofpi-
table attcn"ic?ons, not with a view to deceive,
but from the >nore generous motive of wifliing
to avoid ^^iviijg p.iin. Thougli ihe would not
have tek anv uneaiinefs to have feen her ac-
company Henry baek to Caernarvonfliire, flie
expre;Ted a hvely Tcafe of her Lucy's goodnefs
in remaining. She was ever fearful at dinner
that her friend was not taken good care of ;
and though Mifs Evans had made repeated
vifits to Monteith, it now fjrft occurred to the
coiuitefs, that there was an impropriety in

o o



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 14^

lodging her in one of the turret chambers, though
the primary reafon for doing fo had been, that
it was the neareft to her own.

Lucy experienced all the trials which Henry
had predirted j but flie recollected, that fhe had
determined to endure them. *^ Let the worft

< come,* faid (he, « that my fears predict, her

< heart can never be vitiated. The moment

* the feducer pulls off the ma(k, {he will detedl

< him ; and as the deluGon vanifhes, her fuf-

* ceptible heart will recal thofe real friends

* who drove to fnntch her from deftiuclion.'

Vice is never fecure, even when triumphant.
Let earth and hell confpire to favour its defigns,
nothing is fo mean, nothing fo cowardly as
guilt._ The removal of Powerfcourt was a
grand point gained ; but the watchful, fearlefs,
determined Lucy remained ; and though Fitz-
ofborne perceived her influence hourly decline,
he felt her prefence to be an im.pediment to his
concluding machinations. Ke could not banifh
her, as he had done Henry, by the agency of
the earl \ for the whim of the moment always
predominated with that nobleman. The incon-
veniences which he fancied he fuffered from a
controverfial propenfity, produced his refolu-
tion of driving his gueil from Monteith ; and
though the fufpic^on, that Henry was intended
Xo inherit a large portion of fir William's eftate
gave that determination immediate a<^ion, it
was confidered feparately as a circumftance
which lord Monteith's generofity would have
entirely difregarded in a iefs embarraiTed ftate
of his own affairs. He well knew that Mifs
Evans was intended to fliare in his lady's libe-
rality ; but Ihe wa" Icf?^ obje<?cionable to him,
on rhe important account of her never attempt-

VoL. Ji. G ing



146 A TALE OF THE TIMES.

ing a formal argument. He detefled long ha-
rangues ; but a piquant retort was bis delight,
and flie was peculiarly happy at repartee. Her
fprightly unaffected manner, and comparative
ignorance of fafliionable life, amufed him : and
fhe had long borne him a degree of affeftion as
being the hufband of her friend. She efteemed
his good qualities ; and her concern for the
delufion under which he laboured induced her


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