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CHAP. XXIV.

Her nature," is all goodness to abuse,

And causeless crimes continually to frame ;
With which she guiltless persons may accuse,

And steal away the crown of their good name;
Ne ever Knight so bold, ne ever Dame

So chaste and loyal liv'd, but she would strive
With forged cause them falsely to defame;

Ne ever thing so well was done alive
But she with blame would blot, and of due praise
deprive.

SPENCER,

THE death of Sir Walter Mandeville, which happened about this period, gave Lady Avondel a fair pretence for secluding herself from evening parties, and only seeing a few friends in a morning. She thus escaped the pain of publicly enduring the neglect of her Lord, and the admiration of Norbury. The society of Lady Glenvorne was her chief consolation. That respectable woman, from her knowledge of the human mind, was able to reassure her gentle friend's self-accusing diffidence, and in some small degree to assuage the poignancy of her sorrow, without laying bare the incurable wound her affectionate heart had received, She talked of their mutually revered Selina, of the calm peaceful old age which promised to reward the patience with which she had sustained her early trials; how universally her own character was respected, and the increasing numbers who declined Paulina's acquaintance. She repeated interesting narratives of the ultimate success that has often crowned the efforts of virtuous wives, to recall the affections of their truant

* Slander;

lords. She spoke of the pure delights which the maternal character affords, and the endearing consolations which result from the affectionate attachment of a deserving son, tenderly solicitous to repay the debt of kindness which his helpless infancy incurred. Proud of her son the marquis, his amiable qualities gave peculiar animation to this part of her conversation, but with laudable delicacy she avoided his name; not daring to trust herself on a subject which would probably discover her unsubdued regret, that the coronet of Glenvorne was not enriched with a pearl which the capricious possessor disregarded, nay abandoned, for a worthless bead. She knew enough of human frailty to be cautious of exposing virtue to needless trials, and as, contrary to the modern standard of principle, she conceived the bond of marriage to be only dissoluble

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by death, she thought it would be imprudent to encourage an injured and afflicted wife to contrast a deservo ing faithful lover with a cruel if not perjured husband.

With similar delicacy, the young marquis carefully avoided the woman who still kept possession of his heart. In surrendering Emily to the “lord of her boson's love," he fancied her future happiness was insured, and though his attachment was sincere, it was not so violent as to overpower generosity, or to make him wish that the fair one whom he esteemed and loved had been prevailed upon to prefer indifference with him to felicity with another. But now that he found his own desires had been sacrificed without procuring her the desired good, when he beheld Emily returning indifference with inviolable attachment, and opposing neglect with no

other sign of feeling but silence and tears, his estimation of her value rose to that height that he feared to contemplate her, lest so interesting an object should awaken sentiments fatal to his own peace of mind, and which might also aggravate, instead of alleviating, her woes. For was he authorised to call Avondel to account for his absurd and culpable preference of Lady Paulina ? or could be take such a step without injuring the fame of the lovely sufferer? If weeping gentleness failed in its endeavours to revive the withering plant of love, would the storms of expostulation prove beneficial? In how few instances is conjugal in felicity lessened by the mediation of friends ? In how many cases are petulance and caprice changed into confirmed aversion by injudicious though perhaps well-meant interference.

Lord Avondel's high deference for

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