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« may claim the tear which ftarts at the idea of

< remembered eminence •, and, while the necef-

< fity fof forgivenefs finks deep into your foul»
compofe your anxieties by reflecling on the
mercy of your God.'



Mrs.



A TALE OF THli TIMES. 22 t

Mrs. Powerfcourt looked as if her father had
fpoken with undue feverity ; but the couritefsy
ter a mental ejaculation expreiTive of piety
nd refignation, proceeded : * While I fre-
quented the circles of fafhionable life, I par-
took of their follies ; yet the glare of perpe-
tual amufement, and the hurry of. conflant
engagement, did not fo far vitiate my mind as
to render me unfit for the duties of domeftio
life. Reflexion ever attended my pillow, and
defcribed, not the parties in which I was to
appear, nor the adulation I (liould receive, but
the more grateful images of my children, my
focial friends, my quiet occupations. Thefe,
therefore, were ever my deareft delights ; and
regret for thefe bleffings v/ill mingle with^the
tear that contrition claims.
' The love of fame was, I own, my predomi-*
nant error. Impelled by this powerful paf*
fion, I purfued diftindtion, and, though I only
fought it by praife-worthy means, I am now
feniible, that this * bufy paffion' mingled im-
perfection with my * faireit aims,' * perplexed-
the genuine fchemes of defective virtue,' and
< ilyly warped my unfufpedling heart.' Thought
in the fight of man they may wear the fame
impofing afpect, the fearcher of hidden things-
mull difcover an infinite difference between
thofc atlions which originate from the dutiful
defire of pleafing him, and thofe the ultimate
view of which was the applaufe of fellow-
mortals. Your firmer mind, my Lucy, early
imbibed the noble ambition of gaining the ap-
probation of the Supreme Good. Your vir-
tues fliunned obfervation, and only courted
the fiient plaudit of confcience. For me,
though not infenfible to the innate lovelinefs

< of



222



A TALE CF THE TIMES".



of virtue, nor callous to the feelings of com-
pafTion, I felt every faculty rou fed to exertion
by tlie idea of what the world would fay of
me. Our liiftory is a comment upon the com-
parative tendency of thefe governing principles.
Happy Fowerfcourt ! how firm mull be your
confidev-ce in the integrity of a mind which
alwavs Ti£\s under the convifiion that its moft
fecret thoughts are noted by Omnipotence !'

< The merit was more in my (ituation, than
in myfelf/ returned the amiable bride. < I
was fccluded from temptation, and 1 had lei-
fure to acquaint my fell with my own frailties.
Retirement, my Gerahline ! is the foil moft
congenial to female virtue. How will yours,
which even in the contaminating world ap-
peared fo lovely, ilourifh in thefe peaceful
fhadcs i What ample fupplies v/ill your here-
ditary poikfnons a^ord to your benevolence !
Let not mortal forrow dry up the fource
which would convey liappincfs to all around:
you ; but enjoy the anticipared pleafure of
widely-difFdfed liberality.'

* You forget,' faid Gcraldine, < what I nour
am. The mercy of the law, or the bounty of
lord Monteithj muft determine the means of
my future fubfiPLence. My marriage-articles
made noprovifion for contingent crimes. My
dear father did not think his child could be
guilty of any, and his conviOion of my frailty
was attended by death. The mortal forrow,
my Lucy, which has to lament fo many de-
privations, cannot ceafe, at leail while me-
mory holds her feat. Yet though Reafon
(brinks from the contemplation of my cala-«-
mities, I muft continue to requefr, that her
guiding ray may accompany me to the lalt
I 'moment



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 223,

* moment of my frail exillence. My generous

* friends ! I fadden you with my forrovvs. I

* feel your kind fympathy. Every day confirms
'the certain diminution of my flrength and

* health ; nor can I conceal from your difcern-

* ment my conviction that I have not long to

* live. Your pious offices, Mr. Evans, are

* doubly welcome. If any unwarrantable fen-

* timent efcape my lips, reprove me with the

* meek intrepidity of your fun^flion, and teach

* me yet further to explore the weakhefs of my

* own heart. Yet in one point let your cm-
' dour credit my fjlenin aiTertion, If is r.oi

* from any remaining infatuation, but from a

* deep fenfe of my feducer's atrocious crimes,

* that I not only, thus unfolicited, exprefs my

* fo.rgivenefs of my deftroyer •, but I alfo ear-

* neftly entreat, that Heaven m ould pardon his

< mifdeeds.'

* Let us leave him,' faid Mr. Evans, < to th^

* unknown mercies of his Maker. It is not f&r

< us finite mortals to decide ; but as far as our

* views can extend, hope feems like prefump-

* tion. Dreadful, my dear lady, is the fituation
« cf that finner who confides in the inf-dthty

< which deftroys his lad refuge ; nor can your

< charitable prayer? benefit him who difdains

* the mercy vou imolore.'



CHAP.



224 -A TALE OF THE TIMES.



CHAP. XVII.



•^Vhstwe have we prize not to the worth



Whilit we enjoy it ; but being lack'd and loft,
Why then we rack the value ; then we find
The virtue that pofieilion would not (how us
Whilit it was ours.

Shakespeare.

OOON after the foregoing converfation, lady
Monteith received a letter from her lord's foli-
citor, informing her, that his lord(hip*s meditat-
ed vengeance againft Mr. Firzofborne having
been difappointed, he had determined to purfue
the legal means of redrefs which were in his
power. He had, therefore, inflituted two fuits
in the ecclefiaftical and civil courts, which he
intended to follow up by an application to the
Houfe of Peers for a divorce. The learned
barrifter wifhed to knov/ what fteps the countefs
would take in her own defence, or if (he fuf-
pe£led that the evidence would «iFetl the legiti-
macy of her fon.

Geraldine's anfwer was fubmlffive, yet not
altogether departing from the dignity of her
charatler. She had no defence to make. She
acquiefced in the punifliment which the laws of
her country would inflict. She only hoped,
that her confefiion might prevent feme of the
horrors of a public inveltigation. Her lad) Oiip
added, that fhe would addrefs the earl himfclf
on the fubie(fl of the birth cf hvo fon.

Even



. A TALE OF THE TIMES. 22!;

Even in the lad fcenes of her exiftence, the
ruling pafllon of my Heroine's mind predomi-
nated. Though perfuaded that her deep def-
pair could receive no addition ; though her im-
agination had long anticipated the courfe of law
which her lord would purfue, yet the certainty
of a legal procefs, and the apprehenfion of gene-
ral infamy, antedated the crifis of her diforder ;
and an excruciating pain in her fide announced
the formation of an abfcefs, the rupture of
which mud be mortal. Her fufferings were ex-
treme, but the faint flumber which pain brought
on was broken by more into];:irable reflections.

• Not a corner in the kingdom,' faid fi-iC, * but
< mud now be acquainted with my fall. The

* village dame, who never heard of tny cele-

• brity, will i1i udder at my difgrace, and warn

* her daughters to avoid my crimes.'

She now pondered upon the only means of
vindicating her charaClcr, and (lie quefticned
the* folidity of thole arguments wliich had in-
duced her to fupprefs the knowledge of every
exculpatory circumltance. She had heard that
FiizofDorne had fled from England ; a public
difclofure would therefore have r fufpicious ap-
peai'ance. But that very flight, infuring in fome
degree the earl's perfonal fafety, pointed out
this to be the proper tiine for making an appli-
cation to him in behalf of his Ton, and endea-
vouring fomevvhat to foften his refentment. —
Imprefled with too deep a fcnfe of her awful
iituation, to deny the alienation of her afFviclions
prev'.oas to her flight ; fearful of exafperating
"liim by faying any thing that might have an air
of recrimination \ and deterred from entering
at large upon her unhappy (lory, no lefs by her.
own weaknefs, than by a fear cf urging him to

K -x follow



226 A'^TALE OF THE TIMES.

follow Fitzofborne, flie determined to confine
Jierfelf to what related to her unfortunate child,
and truft the partial vindication of her own
conduct to the integrity and difcretion of Mr.
Powerfcourt, who kindly undertook to be tlie
bearer of the following letter.

< To THE Earl of Monteith.

* IT is only in fuch circufiiances as thofe In

* which I write, that Tcoulil dare to intrude on
«Iord Monteith. You will foon be releafed

* from your difgraced wife by an irreverfible

* fentence ; and I would entreat your mercy to

* flop your proceedings in the courts of law,

* and to fpare my yet remaining fenfe of fhame

* the liorror of having ray Rory bandied about

* in the public papers, expofed to indecent rail-

* ]>*ry and mevcllefs reproach. I am in the lalt
^ (lage of a rripid ('.ccline, fully fi^nfible of my

* olTenccs, and fep,ring to add to their number.
' I declare upon the word of an accountable
» being, who kjjows (he lias irot long to live, that
<^ lord Loch Lomond is vour fon, and entitled to
« be the heir of your lionours. Cc^mpare the time

* of our fatal journey to LondoTi with the evi -

< dence winch you may collect of his appearance
« at his birth, and your fufpicions mull be re-

* moved. And I befecch your juftice, do not'
« wrong an innocent babe trom refentment to
*•• his mother.

* I entreat your forglvenefs ; at lead do not-

< follow me with your curfes. Reconciliation

< I do not expec^L I will, if you require me,

* for the little time I have to liv^e, forbear the
/• ufe of your name and arms. I reflore your
' family jewels, which Lhad left at Powerf-

* court.



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 227

< court. On my l^nees I beg your mercy wiih
' my dying lips. I fliall commend you and my

< children to Heaven. Once more to fee t/jem

< would be the greatcft comfort that I could

< enjoy. Perhaps, as T am part: recovery, you
' will grant me that bleffing.

< Gerai.dine.'

Lord Monteith had been informed of the
countefb's departure from his caftle, v/ithout at
the fame time hearing of thofe particulars which
would have allowed him to infer her innocence.
The raftmefs of his natural character precluded
refieirion in circumftances lefs agitating than
thofe in which he was now placed. Nor can it
be wondered at, that, Iniiead of going home to
receive more punctual inteillgencCj he immedi-
ately fet ofr in purfuit of a fairhlefs wife and a
treacherous friend, lie took the direct road for
London, for the very reafon which (iiould have
decided him ag?-inil: it ; namely, becaufe Fitzof-
borne had flated that he {hould purfue that
route. Frantic with ra^e. and only meditatingr
how to compel his adverfary to give him fatis-
fa«!^ion for his v/rongs, he had reached the con-
fines of Yorkfliire, before repeated difappoint-
ments of hearing any tidings of t' c fu'^rtives
taught him to reflecl: that they had certainly
taken another courfe. It now occurred to him,
that the family eftate of the Fitzofbornes lay in
the northern extremity of Lancafhire. It feem-
ed probable that the neglecfked manoi'ial houfe
might be the chofen refidence of the guilty pair.
He travelled fume miles weftward with this per-
faafion, till an accident which difabled his car-
riage from proceeding compelled him to (top at

a fmall



228 A -TALE OF THE TIMES.

a fniall Inn Tome miles dlftant from tlie po^-
town. His impatience at hearing that the only
vehicle which this obfcure place afforded was
engaged, nearly alTumed the form of frenzy;
and the landlord, whofe concern at the gentle-
' man's being fo pafTionate, was heightened by
his app'-enenfjons that he never might have an
earl call at his houfe again, determined to try
if his oratorical powers could allay the (lorm of
words i and, fince his honour could not pro-
ceed, perfuade him to remain contented till his
own carriage could be repaired, or the poft-
chaife returned. With this view he endeavour-
ed to engage his attention ", and the Barber of
Bigdad was not a better ftory-teller in his own
opinion. He began by lamenting how unlucky
it was that the chaife Oiould have jull drove
away, not ten minutes before his honor arrived,
with a gentleman, who came to his houfe M'ith
his wife the night before. The poor lady was
cne of the prettied creatures he had ever (een ;
biit (lie feerned to be very iJl, and was either al-
ways crying or fitting in a brown ftudy. The
footman who was left to take care of her whilfl
his mailer went to make a vifit a little way off,

faid that fne was off her head. A fudden

thought fliot acrofs Monteith's mind. * Where
•< is fr,e !' — * In that room.' — He would inftant-
ly fee her. Words were vain ; and the feeble
refinance which the landlord made to prevent
him from rufhing into the apartment was foiled
by a force to which paflion gave Herculean
vigour. Manteith broke from his opponent,
and beheld his countefs.

The pre fence of the wretched Geraldine
could no longer footh the ftormy pafTions of her
lord. On the contrary, it now irritated him to

the



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 229

the mod ungoverncd frenzy. He fav/ (he was.
in diflrers ; but could the moft atrocious guilt
afiume compofure on fuch an occafion ? She
attempted fomething like a vindication of her
conduct. But what extenuation could her
crimes admit ? They were as apparent as his
own difgrace. Did (lie not deny any knowledge
of the adulterer, when (he was recent from his
arms ? Why aik to fee the children {he had de-
ferred, wilfully deferted ? Her feeming agony
excited contempt, her entreaties infult •, and as
flie flung herfelf at his feet, he fpurned her from
him with abhorrence. Uttering a volley of im-
precations againft her delufive beauty, he left
her lifelefs upon the floor, and ru(hed after
Fitzofborne, whofe hfe appeared to be too poor
a facrifice for his naighty revenge.
, The efFufion of blood- which attended her fall
fomewhat relieved lady Monteith's recolledion
from the effeds of thofe infernal potions which
her feducer had adminlftered •, and her real fto-
ry being now known, fhe was readily affilfed in
her earneil: defire of proceeding to Caernarvon-
fhire. Pomade, who had been placed as a
guard over her during his mafter's abfence,
abandoned his charge, dreading to encounter the
athletic arm whih had felled the landlord to the
ground ;^ and he flew after Fitzofborne to ap-
prife him of lord Monteith's arrival. The ab-
fence of the feducer proceeded from two mo-
tives : he fuppofed that he left l-i3vi£lim in per-
fe<ft fecurity ; and he was defirous of inducing
his fifter, who refided in that neighbourhood ,
and was pofl^efled of what the world calls a
paflable character, to receive the unfortunate
countefs, till, as he ternried it, the aflPair was
fettled. He was, befide, anxious to procure

fome



23^ A TALE OF THS TIMES.

fome medical aid ; t!ic effects of his nefarious
arts were much to be dreaded, and returning
reafon was to him equally alarming. Pomade^s
intelligence transferred his folicitude to the care
of his own life, whicii be determined to preferve
by any means not o^'?efi/Jl;Iy inconCii^xnt \vi:h re-
ceived opinions of intrepidity a. id honouf. A
chain of artifices preferved him from ihe medi-
tated de(lru£llon ; and after a vain purfuit,
Monteith arrved in London.

Lady A.riceha immediately liaftened to him;
but not with the pious di^fign of Toothing his an-
guiOi, nor of pleading in behalf of an unhappy
woman. Slie W3s nor of a temper to palliate a
fault to which (lie- herfelf had never been temp-
ted j -and Gerirddine had too flrongjy awit^ened
her iealoufv-and eiwv to a'low her to iuppofe
thatiier cviminalitv admitted of any extenuarion.
Bv her mahcioas comments the account which
his lordihip. had received from; his fervants in
Scotland tended rdther to exiifperate than to
ameliorate his r;3ge ; and becaiuV- their letters did
not { riminate thtir miitrefs, he accufed them of
being participators in her crime.

Difappointed, by Fitzoiljornc's leaving the
kingdom, in his intentions of either calling him
out to combat, or of confining him in^piiion by
the prefiure of legal damages, the earl's fury
pointed at the conntefs with an afperUy which
increafed with evei?-y real or iancied infult to
which her tarnifhed honour had expoled him ;
and he purfued the prefcribed means of ' cart-
< ing her oiT a prey to fortune,' with an avidity
and acrimony proportioned to the violence with
which he had once loved her and c.onhded in
her virtue. He had fent for Ins children to Lon-
don, from the idea, that flie might have the ef-
frontery



A TALt OF THE TIMES; ZJI-

frontery to vlfit them at Montelth *, and his own .
a£tive fufpicions, aided by Arabella's malignity,

'foon taught him to beheve, that his unfortunate
little fon was the offspring of guilt. His memo-
ry continually tortured him with inftances of
Fitzofborne's attention to the infant, whofe 111
health, during i;:s iirlt month of esillence, had
rendered it a yet more tender objecl of Gerai-,
dine's maternal care ; and the perfuafion that a
fpurious iiTue would inherit his lineal honours,

' formed the climax of his mifcry. The dying
countefs, worn by mental and corporal angulih,^
was perhaps lefs an object of piry. Inebriety
was his wretched refource ; but even inebriety
was inefFccftual. His burning pafTions kindled ^
with the feverlili draught ; and his fervants,
who once idolized their frank generous mafter,
now trembled for their own tafety whenever
they approached him.

In this ftate of mind he was enccountered by
Mr. Powerfcourt, the benevolent advocate of
his unhappy wife. The proffered letter was re-
jected with difdain. The jewels were caflic d
upon the floor. Every requefl was anfvi'ered
by a fullen negative, and the reprefentationof her ■
fuffcrings was treated as a fnlfe pretence, invent-
ed to excite companion. I'he cruel Arabella,
who liilened to the narrative of her prefent fitu-
ation with more attention than her impafhoned
brother could command, coldly obferved, that
flie really thouglit dying was the beft: thing
which the poor imprudent lady could now do.
Difappointed in his hopes, and even refufed the
fight of the children, leil he fiiould revive the
remembrance of a mother whom iady Arabella
faid they muft forget, Mr. Powerfcourt took
leave with feelings of the deepeft indignation

again ft



232 A- TALE QF THE TIMES,

agalnll the unjuft, inhuman, felf-approving-
cruelty, which denied forgivenefs to one lefs-
criminal than themfelves, and withheld from a
dying penitent the only confolation which could
relieve her mortal agonies.

On returning to his hotel, his attention was
arreded by an accquaintance, who folicited him
to contribute to the relief of a poor fellow who
had known better days. He had formerly been
Ills fervant, but was now out of place ; and the
fudden departure of his lalt mafter from Eng-
la id had deprived kim of a recommendatory
characler. Henry turlKd to look at the objecit
of this exordium, and inftantly recognised one
of Fitzoiborne's attendants. The confuiloii
with which Pomade appeared to be overuHhehii-
ed was too extraordinary to efcape his fixed ob-
fervation. I ihall not particularife what th-".
reader's penetration will eafiiy anticipate. The
urecipitation with which Fitzofborne had fled
from England, joined to his natural ingr^-titude,
and the embarraiTment of his circumstances, had
prevented him from rewarding the agent who
had principally afTifted his diabolical defigns on
lady Monteith. The preiTure of poverty, and
an accidental rencontre, induced the fubaltern
villain to difcover what he knew ot that iniquit-
ous tranfa£t ion, hi hopes of obtaining temporary
fupport. Lord Mon'eith v^-as fcon acquainted
with every particular which fpecihed the accu-
mulated guilt of the perfidious wretch wlio,
under the fair guife of friendship, had complet-
ed the deflruclion of a happy family.

The obfervations by which Mr. Powerfcourt
intended to have inforced this unequivocal tcfti-
mony were now precluded by the vehemen(ie
©f Lord Monteith's felf-accufation. His once

adored



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 233

adored wife was proved to be innocent in that
inftance which had appeared to fix upon her
the charge of deliberate perfidy. The final
views of Fitzofborne could only be obtained by
bafe faifehood and almoft murderous fraud.
Her delicate fenfe of honour, fhrinking with
horror from the imputation of crimes^ of which
{he had rather been the victim than the parti-
cipator, overpowered her feeble frame ; and
the wronged innocent (for (o the quick tranfi-
tion of lord Monteith's pafTions induced him
now to think her) mufl with her life atone for
a hufband's credulous confidence and a traitor's
temerity. She was now dearer than ever to
his heart; and lady Arabella, convinced that
there was no refifting a torrent, endeavoured
to obliterate the remembrance of pafl farcafms
by her lively commiferation for the fweet fuf-
ferer. Lord Monteith afked for the rejecTied
letter; bathed every fentence with tears; called
for the little outcaft, whom he had renounced
and banifhed from his fight ; and recollecfled
with horror, that he had fent it to a diftant
county till the law fhould relieve him from the
fuppontitious incumbrance. His daughters were
now alternately folded in his arms. Their like-
nefs to their mother was recognifed with heart-
rending anguifh. In fine, the carriages were
immediately ordered for CaernarvonOnre ; and
the tedious journey was fomewhat beguiled by
the hope, that a reconciliatian to her lord, and
the prcfence of her children, might (top the
progrefs of decay. The filence of Henry was
intended to fupprefs that vain expectation, and
to prepare the unhappy hufhand for the fcenes
which awaited him.

CompafTioa



2^34 ^ TALE OF THE TIMES.

CompaiTion for the cliiklren, who fuifercd
much from the fatli^ue of rapid travelling, in-
duced Mr. Powerfcourt to ilcp two ftagcs fiiort
of ihcir intended deftination ; and he was
urging loTvl Monteith to try to obtain 3. few
hours repofe, when an exprefs arrived from
the manor-houfe to announce tlic increafed
danger of the countefs, and to expedite Ids re-
turn. FreOi horfes Vv^cre immediately ordered,
and the travellers fet off with a rapidity which
even- the fpeed of tlie earl's former journey
could not eqw^l. His tortured memory con-
tinually recalled the occurrences of that jour*
ney, and his heart Teemed fomewhat eafed of
the pangs of felf-reproach by the inve£lives
with which he loaded the arch-hypocrite, who
then afted the part of friendfhip, that he might
be enabled with his fcorpion fangs to transfix
his bread with impunity. A- ray cf hope
would fometimes bre?:k in. Geraldine had re-
covered from one dan;^erous utack ; why not
again ? Henry had indeed affirnicd, that the
vital organs were irreparably injured •, but it
was prefumptuous to affirm what human Ikiil
could not afcertain — She mi^ht live, and they
might yet. be happy. Rafli, misjudging Mon-
teith ! when happinefs was not only in thy
power, but abfolutejy in thy pofleflion^ the
common bleffmg feemed unworthy prefervation.
All thy folicitud?, all the anguifh that corrodes
thy foulj cannot now reftore^ the flighted good.
Gould the healing art acquire miraculous energy
fufficient to renew in the lamented fufferer the
lovclinefs and the fpri^htly health which once
oaptivaied thy foul.

Not



A TALE OF THE TIMES; 235

* Not poppy, nor mandragora,

* Nor all the drowfy fyrups in the world,

* Can ever medicine to a muid difeafed.

— * O now for ever -

* Farewell the tranquil mind ! farewell content.'

The path of reconciliation is imperled by infur-
niountable barriers ; and refttciion would foon
convince even the uxorious hufband, that;
wounded honour impofed the neceffity of repa-
ration.

The morning broke before the travellers
entered the gate of Powerfcourt. The earFs
attention was avreOied by the atchievement fuf-
pended under the architrave, and a figh burli
from l\\s hei^rt, extorted by the remembrance
of the meek benevolence which it was defigned
to commemorate. Lights appeared at feveral
of the wnidovrs. He could difcern the fervants
gliding about when the carriage (lopped; yet
all was fileiit, except the whifpering breeze.
The hofpitable doors, which ufed to fly open
at i:is approach, were now cautioufly unclofed.
The attcndknts, whom the noife of the carri-


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