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" fions which nothing but (kill in the fubtilties
*»' of argument can elude ; confufed by objec-
*' tions ofteiitaticuily multiplied j the fallacy
<< of which the Ithuriel fpcjr of biblical litera-
^* ture would inllantly detedt. By a dignified'
" filence, or an indicatron of difpleafure, con-
*^ vince the bold difputant who obtru(4es his
*f crude notions of an invifible God on your
<* ordinary converfation, that your refpeCt is
<< too profound to enter lightly on the facred
<^ theme, and your conviction too fincere to
*^ need the adventitious aid of a vanquiflied
" opponent. 1 hefe fophifts, my dear madam,
*' though they feek to embarrafs others, are
<' thenifelves well acquainted with the torments
*« of doubt ; and it is only by the converts
<< whom their faife theory bewilders that they
<* are kept from renouncing it themfelves. It
*' is not to a zeal for truth, nor even to the
<* mifgivings of confcience, that fcepticifm
" owes mod of its adherents, but to the pride
<< of humian reafon, and the love of fingularity.
<« Permit them to difplay thefe qualities, and
" you grant them the triumph they defire."

Geraldine allowed the general truth of thefe
obfervations, but claimed an exemption in be-
half of her friend. He was too placable and
gentle to love difpute, and too candid to repel
conviClion. Mr. Evans determined to invefli-
gate the exiftence of thefe qualities at their
Dext converfation j but the opportunity of ob-

ferving



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 89

fervlng them never occurred. Lord Monteith
fet off for London the followmg morning, and
Fitzofbcrne, by accompanying him, confirmed
the countefs m that lively fenfe of efteem and
gratitude which (he thought flie could no wzy
better exprefs than by exerting ail her powers
to impart to his chara(fl:er whatever in her judge-
ment it ftill wanted of perfedion.



CHAP. VIIL

An elegant fufEclency, content, ^
Retirement, rural quiet, friend(hip, books,
Eafe and alternate labour, ufeful life,
ProgreiTive virtue, and approving heaven;
Thefe are the matchlefs joys of virtuous love.

Thomson.

Lady MQNTEITH^s fortitude was fo fe-
verely tried by her confcioufnefs of the motives
which occafioned her lord's hafty departure
for London^ that Hie found it neceffary imme-
diately to adopt Fitzofborne's advice of return-
ing to Scotland, led the forrovvs of her affli<5led
heart fliould fometimes difdain the difguife which
fllinl piety induced her to affume. Her parting
with her father was marked by circumftances of
peculiar tendernefs. I fhall not, however,
draw from them any ominous predictions. Sir
William's advanced age and increafing infirmi-
ties on the one hand, and his lovely daughter's
deprefled fpirits on the other, may account for

this-



90 A TALE OB THE TIMES.

this acute fenfibillty without afcribing to either
the powers of prefcience.

The evening previous to Geraldine's depar-
ture, her pcnfive mind was fomewhat enhglit-
ened by a vcy agreeable converfation with Mifs
Evans. *' You know," faid that amiable girl,
** I always had a call of the vvhimfical about
" me ; and probably if you had folicited my
** company at Monteith, I might have raifed
'* an invincible hoft of objt6\ions ; but fince
<* you fay nothing upon the fubjedV, I am per-
" verfe ejiough to determine to go back with
" you to Scotland."

*< My deareft Lucy," faid the Countefs,
■while her pale cheek kindled with the blufh of
pleafure j *< may you always be thus delight-
** fully perverfe ! Why I exprefled lefs folici-
** tude for your company partly proceeded from
<* the nature of my own profpedls, but prin-
** cipally from what I fufpedl to be yours." —
" We fpinflers," replied Mifs Evans, p.iffing
over her friend's allufion to the ftate of her own
affairs with a ftified Hgh, ** are fcldcm hand-
*' fomely ufed by you married ladies, when
<< we choofe you for cur confidants. Yet,
** though I am convinced that lord Monteith
** W'ili know all my fecret the very firit time
<« you write to him, I fee the fpirit of curiofity
«* fo very itrongly imprinted upon your coun-
«< tenance, that I fhali indulge you M'ith a fight
<« of two letters."

Perhaps fome of my fema/e readers may hap-
pen to have a little of their great-grand-mother
Eve's failing about them, as well as my heroine j
and to gratify it, though in a lefs degree, T
fliall inform them, that thefe important papers
were a love-letter^ with the reply : and that the



author



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 9I

euthor cf the former compofitlon was Henry
Powerfcourt. An attentive obfervation of Mifs
Evans's numerous excellencies had made him
for fome tim.e her fmcere admirer ; and, fince
not all the prudent delicacy ot her character,
nor the difhdence of his own, could entirely
conceal from his" obfervation the important
feci-et of her preference, his high fenfe of
lioncur had long prompted him to a difcovery
of that reciprocal affection which her unaffum-
ing virtues had awakened in his heart. He was
retrained by reflecting, that, as he hsd only
that heart to bcftow, a declaration of his at-
tachment might fubje^ her to ail the inconve-
niencies which are incident to a tender engage-
ment, when pecuniary circumdances prevent it
from being cemented by the marriage-bond.
His refpecled patron, with fomewhat of the
imbecillity of age, and fomewhat of that tena-
city of power which ftrengthens our attachment
to the pofTeflions in which our tenure daily
grows more precarious, had ftill delayed con-
iirming to liim the independence which he in-
tended to bequeath. He contented himfelf with
liberally fupplying his prefent wants ; and as
lie was perfuaded, that the young man was
very well as he was, and had no wi(h to alter
his condition, he even brought him.felf to be-
lieve, that refigning to him the Merioncthfliire-
eftate would be giving him a vaft deal of trou-
ble, which, as he feemed fonder of reading
than of bufinefs, he would certainly be as well
pleafed to avoid.

Panting for independence, yet difdaining to
acquire it by any means which he thought
irreconcileable with lady Monteith's interefts, or
with his deference and gratitude to her father



6'



J



M]



92 A TALE OF THE TIMES.

JNIr. Powerfcourt repeatedly refolved to purfue
the defired blefling by tl.e flow, but pleafant
path of his own aftive exertions in fome em-
ployment. Yet fir William's love of his kinf-
man's fociety increafing with his infirmities
furni(hed a thoufand objections to every pro-
feffion or engagement which was fucceiTively
propofed. The baronet at length precluded
all further application by alklng Henry, why he
wanted to leave him ? " Don't be uneafy,"
faid he, ** about your future profpefrs. De-
** pend upon it, I fhail provide for you." Thus
compelled to refer the fecurity of his own hap-
pinefs to a diftant and uncertain period, Mr.
Powerfcourt fubmitted with refpeftful filence
to his benefactor's will. He contented himfelf
with acquainting the amiable object of his
afreflions with the peculiarity of his fituation ;
and he hoped her- penetration would confider
that as a fufHcient reafon for preventing his
tongue from avowing the preference which his
manner ftrongly exprefied.

Though Henry's behaviour perfe£lly agrees-
with my ideas of honour, I am afraid feme filler
of the quill, better verfed in the new code
which has been introduced into the court of
Clipid, will dete£l a thoufand grofs mifdemea-
nours, of which the above Henry Powerfcourt
has been guilty, 'i'hey may prove, according
to the letter of thefe rece?it acts, that his beha-
viour to Mifs Evans ought to have been more
rude, capricious, and inattentive, in proportion
as he difcovered her preference, iind felt the
increafe of his own. Very likely the new method
of argument may prove, that this would have-
b'^ea the mofi: honourable way of proceeding.

I fncill-

V



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 93

I fliall flill continue obftinately difpofcd to deny
that it is the mcft natural.

Gifted with that intuitive knowledge which
the votaries of the purbhnd god individually
poflcfs, Lucy read her lover's fentiments in his
eyes, and allov/ed the propriety of his conduft.
Yet, when (he looked forward to the expefted
events of her future life, gratitude, elteejii, and
veneration, generally excited a pious tear at the
idea, that her own anxieties muil not expe(^\ a
final termination until the neighbourhood was
deprived of the blellings it had long received
from the unfparing benevolence of fir William
Powerfcourt.

Affairs were in this fituation, when lady
Monteith arrived from London. She had jult
opportunity to make a few agreeable difccve-
ries, when the party were deprived of Mr.
Powerfcourt's company. He was fummoned
to attend tiie fick bed of his father, whofe ex-
peOations, in refpect to the marriage of his fon,
had been quite as unfavourable to Henry's de-
fij^ns, as the protracted bounty of fir William.
Young Powerfcourt being unque'iionably the
linell gentleman the good old yeoman had ever
feen, there arofe a neceiTiry of his matchinii
well ; and as no lady in all the Jand could re-
fufe him, there was no reafon why he rtiould
t?^ke up with a parfon's daughter,. Indeed old
!Mr. Powerfcourt had already felected his daugh-
ler-in-law ; his bold ambition having directed
him to no lefs a perfonage than madam Hetty
ap Owen ap Thomas, his own landlady, and
lady of the manor beiide. But as the juvenile
attraiftions of youth, beauty, and fweetnefs,
were lefs vifible in tBe preferred fair, than the
foiid advantages of large property and high

blood,



p4 A TALE OF THE TIMES.

blood, the father was a more ardent admirer
than the Ton : and, though the path of the latter
was very much fmoothed bv the encomiums
which the former beftowed upon * fon Hal,*
and an enumeration of what his coufin fir
William intended to do for him, which were
repeated every time he went to pay his rent :
nay, though mifs Hetty herfelf always diftin-
guifhed the bow of young Powerfcourt by a
lower curtefy, as flie walked up the aifle to her
own pew on a Sunday, and even once honour-
ed him fo far as to ailc him to dine with her
and the curate, Henry continued inviolably
conftant to his Lucy's

•^ Dimpled fmile, and damafl^; cheek,
And eye of glofiy blue.

He was relieved from a perfecution which
was urged with fuch well-meant but miftaken
earnefiinefs as at length made it painful, by the
death of his father. His regret for that event
was foftened by receiving a letter from fir
William a few days afterwards, inclofirg the
title deeds of the Merionethfhire eftate, and
containing an ailurance, that fince he wilhed to
marry, he fhould have a houfe built *for him
within a mile or two of Powerfcourt manor.

As, in common with all Arcadian writers, I
prefumethe village ruftic is too happily engaged
with his flocks and his fhepherdefs to attend to
the affairs of his neighbour j ani being per-
fuaded that the love of nevv\s and the fpirit of
interference of which I hnve formerly izziv
fome traces at Danburv a"e. merely local dif-
eafes •, I fuppofe the accefhon to INIr. Powcrf-
court's fortune continued to be a profound

fecret



A TALE OF THE TIMES, 95

iecret in the parifli where his fatherrcTidvid :
at leaft I cannot conceive that any whifper,
which the taylor, or the fchoohTiafiCi', 01 the
barber, might circulate, could, through tlie me*
dium of the curate, be diiTuled in the atmof-
phere of mifs lictry's beft parlour ^ or that any
one, by adding a unit to the rent-roll which fir
William had refigned, could be the cccafion of
the extraordinary and even oppreffive civilities
with which the diftinguilhed lady whom I have
juft named loaded Mr, Henry Fowerfcourt.
Her houfe was at his fervice ; her carriage was
at his fervice ; her fervants were at his fervice j
nay the #orld even faid, that (he more than
hinted an offer of herfelf. This latter report I
difbelieve, becaufe it went fomewhat further
than what the proverbial hofpitality of her
country can account for. But if (he had any
latent - , views, they foon received a complete
mortification. Henry's firfl flep, after the arri-
val of the welcome gift, was to exprefs his
gratitude to the donor ; his next, to requefl,
that' mifs Evans would render independence
more^ valuable by (haring it viith him.

« And now, my Geraldine," faid Lucy to
the countefs, fcarcely allowing lier time to
linifh the letter Mhich had introduced this lom^
digrtflion, * I call for your felicitations. Henrv,

* you fee, ingennoufly atows the er;rly attach-

* nient which made you the hrfi: miltrefs of his

* heart. I have not that exLrem.e refinement

< which can only be content with a primary

* affeclion. It is- fufiicient for me, that after
' long obfervation he owns a preference which

* he is 100 noble to affe^f^j and too upright to

< withdraw. Secure in his honour and his

* virtue, not even ycur attractions will excite

• fufpicion ;



96 A TALE OF THE TIMKS.

* fufplcion ; and though the tempered exp?c»

* tations of four-and-twenrv abate much of the

* fanguine enthufiafm of nineteen, neither ex-

* perience nor refledflion teach me to doubt of

* the general happinefs of my future lot with

* fuch a partner as my long-loved Henry'
Lucy's head now reclined upon the fiioulder

of the countefs, to conceal at once her blufhes
and her tears. " But," added the fweet girl
after a moment's paufe, " you exprefs neither
" furprize nor pleafure at the wonders which I
" am revealing '*

The reader, who remembers the connubial
forrows which clouded the countefs's mind, will
not wonder, tha-t, though free from envy, her
Lucy's brighter hopes occafioned a painful com-
parifon ; and we cannot he furprifed at events
which ourfelves have dire6led. It was natural
for Mifs Evans to wonder vhy fir William, w'no
had fo long delayed the promifed gift, fhould be^
iiow it ju^t at tliat time ; and why he, who had
been generally hoPtile to marriage, and decided-
ly averfe to Henry's forming any engagement
V. hich threatened to deprive him of his fociety,
fliould even fuggeft a plan for his immediate elta-
blifliment. But lacy Monteith pofleiled the clue
that could unravel ihe fecrets of the labyrinth.
Her obferva lions on her coufin's manner had
convinced her, that he was no lor.^er infenfible
of her friend's worth, and fne aiTiduoufly em-
ployed all Iier intereft-with her father to expe-
dite his intended donation, to the delay of which
fliC lightly attributed the prevention of a defi-
rable union. She had once intended to apply
to the known muniikence of her lord ; but her
iilnefs, and the painful events which had foilow-
^4 aT^d preceded it, prevented that deGgn, and
/ interrupted



A taLe of the times. 97

and interrupted her negociatlon with her fair^er.
She renewed it with increafed earnednefs upon
tiie death of the elder Mr. Powerfcourt ; and
at lengfh, by the difcovery of her Lucy's fecret,
won his cheerful acquiefcence. * I never
thought, my dear/ faid the good man, < that

* thofe young people had a liking for each other.

* I am fure, if they had told me fOf I fhould

* have given my confent immediately. Why

* did they keep me in the dark ? My god-daugh-

* ter is a very difcreet girl ; and you know I

< can fix them fo near me that 1 may fee Henry

* every day, v/hich, as it is fitting you (liould
« give up moft of your time to your hufband and

* children, is, let me tell you, a great comfort
^ to me. I always was afraid, that Henry would

< take it in his head to be in love with fome of

< your London ladies, who would not like to
' play a game of cribbage to divert an old man

* now and then ; an;! I thouglu Lucy never in-

< teniled to mrir: y, not hearing of her having

* any lover, which for fuch a pretty modcft girl
-t Vw'as rather extraordinary. Well, I mull fay,

* it is very odd that they lliould happen to like

< each other, for things don't often happen as
« we widi they fhould.'

ThouGjh fir William's confiltutional habits
gave a ilownefs'to his deliberations, nothing
could be more rapid than his execution of any
plan in which he knew the happinefs of a fellow-
creature to be mvolved. He immediately fenc
for his fie ward and his attorney- The waitings
were forred out, the deed of gift dvawn up, the
letter written, arrd the mofknger difpatched, be-
fiire he could commit himfelf to his pillow with
the hope of enjoying a comfortable rcvifion of
the proceedings of the piift day. Ladv- Monteitk

Vol. n. E ^ could



pS A TALE OF THE TIMES.

could fcarcely rellrain him from telling l:Is little
god-daugliter, as l:ie called htr, after dinner,
that he liked her choice very well, and that, if
Geraldine had told him fooner how llie had fix-
ed her affeclions, (he (hould not have been kept
in fufpcnfe. The countefs was defirous of en-
joying the refined pleafure of fecietly difpenfing
good ; and tlie wiiTied, that an explicit avowal
on the part of Henry fhculd precede the detecti-
on of Lucy's love.

The avowal was made in terms equally honor-
able to his own ingenuous integrity, and aufpi-
cious to her future happinefs. And while a
tear dole down Geraldine's cheek at her ccuun's
impreffive recoIie6\ion of the event which con-
itrained him to fubdue an attachment that
* grew with his growth' and entwined itfelf with
all the ftrong impreflions that ardent youth re-
ceives, (he faw with pleafure the fucceeding pa-
ragraph point out the merits of his mature
choice with clear ciifcrimination, and generouily
prevent the confufion of maiden delicacy, by
carefully avoiding tliat apparent certainty of ac-
ceptance which his knowledge of the tlate of her
heart migiit have prompted him toafTume.

Mifs Evans's reply announced the paternal
fanclion which her lover had foliciteJ, and fhe
added, with all the frank fincerity of her cha-
racter, a confefiion of the erteem and gratitude
(I am almoft afraid fhc faid tefiderfufs too)
which his long-known worth had infpired. The
laws by which we veilal filters were accultomed
to conduct our affairs of courtfhip were much
more auflere and reraorfelefs, and better calcu-
lated to keep up the dignity of the fex than thofe
which the prefent race of beauties adopt.



Th



en



A TALE OF THE TIMES. 99

Then l<ive could live on (lender bounties,
Then lovtrs o-allopM o*er two counties.
The ball's fair partner to behold,
And luinnbly hope (he caught no cold.

One year generally elapfed before the fultdr
could prefiime to expect a direcft reply j and
it was not till after feven years puncftual atten-
dance, or the a61:ual drav/ing up of the marriage
fettlements, that the lady's acknovv'ledgment of
reciprocal efteem could be jullihed. Some
hulbands, my cotemporaries, have declared, that
the trepidations of doubt and anxiety fcarcely
fubfided till thofe of the modern couple generally
begin •, I m.ean, when the fair one promlfes at
the aitar to be her good man's unalienable
property < till death do them part.' But though
I difapprove of the renunciation of this deco-
rous feverity in moil inilances, I am inclined to
permit a little latitude when the lover aifls with
the intej^rity of a Henry Powerfcourt, and the
lady poflefies the unaffcdled prudtnce of a Lucy
Evans. To terminate my dilFufe account of
this correfpondence, Lucy reprefied her lover's
hopes of a fpeedy uinon by (tating her previous
refolution of fpending the following autumn in
Scotland.

" No, my love," faid the ccuntefs, whofe
•attention appeared to be rouicd by the corcluGon
of her friend's epiiUe, " I will not allow you
*' to make fuch a facriiice. Dea;!/ .is I prize"
" your foci'cty, you ffiail be jull to priorclairns.
" I (Irall net be wretched, I n^ean dull, without
*' yoii. I will fit under my favourite beeches,
<* and meditate on that fair portrait of GoiniU"
" bial happinefs v/hich ycu and your Henry

E :: c^'ill



loo A TALE OF 1 HE TIML3.

" will prefent. He has been lor.g deprcfied
<* in his fortunes and crofled in his hopes. How
** fhall I rejoice in the idea of his being at laft
" pofleffed of the independence that he fo well
<« defervcs, and of the hsppinefs which his dif-
*< pafTionate judgment beil approves ! You too,
« my Lucy, rich in every domefiic excellence !
<' my heart rejoices at the profpecl of your
*< virtues expanding in a larger fphere ; of
<' your fortitude and quiet heroifm receiving
<« its merited reward. I will not be the means
« of delaying this aufpicious union a fingle
«« hour."

" But as my fwain fays nothing upon the

« fcore of an early day, or fond impatience, am

<* I to give him a hint that I expttt fuch flou-

<* rifhes ? No indeed ; I think I have been quite

. <* frank enough already, and fet him more at

«* eafd than any lover (I .mean except himfeli}

** ought to be. His father's death is very re-

«' cent ; and I know his fenfe of propriety will

** prevent him from propofing marriage at pre-

<* ient. Let m.e then, by fiiowing that I do

«* not expetl it, convince him that I can imi-

. " tate tlje virtues I revere. What! but one

** faint f mile, Geraldine, at that declaiation ?

<* I expeOed to have heard fome pretty allufion

<< to Sir Charles Grandifon, or to the * Phce-

<« nix, that fole bird." Cannot you recolledl

. <« fome little fl-i-ade in Henrv's charafter ? his

<* purple coat, for inltance, m hich diverted you

«« fo much two years ago. But perliaps you

<« truft to time to abate the romance of my fen-

/' timcnts, or mentally quote the anfwer to

. '^ your own conundrum, * why marriage is

*« like a microfcope .'^' — * beiade it "dikovcrs

« little blemiihes*

" It



A TALE OF THE TIMES. lOIv-

ff It is happy," faid the countefs, *' whea

< there are only little blemithes to difcover. I

< will no lonsjer refufe your fociety, tr^y dear

< playful friertd ; -but I accept it upon one con-

* dition, ;!'at I may put a poftfcript to your

* letter to Henry."

*' If you wijl promife to fay nothing as com-
" ing from me."

The CO jntefs gave her word to the contrary,
and then added the following lines :

< I have confented to nkt your dearer felf

< to Scotland, in hopes that the ftrong attrac-

< tion will compel you to give us the additional

* pleafure of your company. I would tell you

< how I rejoice at your propofals to my Lucy,
' but words are fo inadequate to my feelings

* that I mud refer you to your knowledge of

< my chara^er to ellimate the fincerity of my

* tranfports. May you be as happy as your

* mutual virtues deferve, blelTed with health,

* peace, and every worldly comfort ! There is

* an event (O how my filial heart abjures the

* impending evil !) which will enable me to

* give my valued friend lironger marks of el-

* teem and gratitude than inefFeclual wifnes, by
' fulfilling a promife ever facred to

« Gerald] ne Mo.nteith."' '



OHAF.



IC2 A TALE OF THE TIMES.



CHAP. IX.



-Is aaght fo fair



In all the dewy landfcapes of the fpring,
III the bright eye of Hefper, or the morn,
In nature's faireft forms, is aught fo fair
. As virtuous friendftiip i*

AkensiOS.

IN O event happened Immediately after my
Heroine's return to Scotland that deferves to be
recorded. Though Mifs Evans's conviction that
for.'.e concealed forrcw preyed upon her amiable-
friend's mind, vi'as the fecret caufe of her ac-
companying her, (lie rightly judged that it was
of a fpecies vi'hich would receive no diminution
from participation, and therefore forbore to in-
trude upon the fan£lity of woe. She contented
herfelf w'nh employing the frores of her well-
cultivated mind, ancl the emanations of her
fportive fancy, to alleviate the dejedlion which
admitted not of cure. Her anxious defire to
amufe her penfive companion fometimes made
licr cheerfulnefs more redundant than agreed
with her natural character. But ladv Mon-
teith's perfuafion, that the funfliine of iier
profpefts gave a more feftal gaiety to her fpirits,
prevented her from pojceiving that h«=^r Lucy's
vivacity was more fymptomatic of alfiduous,
anxious friendfliip, than exprefiive of the calm
iatisfa6lion of heartfelt happintfs.

The countefs fometimes drew a parallel be-
tv>'een her friend's fjtuation and her own, and

her



A TALE OF THE TIMES. IO3

]ier he.it L ij^|^ ac the chilling contrafl. How
bri^nt the radiance oi \c\n purified by efteem !
Hov r-ild' tlie luilre of equal minds, hun^ble


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