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of a fairy lake, completed the miniature beauty of this placid scene. At a distance, the blue waves of the Shannon caught the rays of the sun. A wooded island, on which stood the ruins of a venerable tower, rose, like an emerald, from its azure breast. Amid the groves and meadows which crowned its banks, the moss-grown cottage, the mouldering chapel, the gray and half-ruined castle, contrasted well with the splendid Gothic mansion, or the light modern villa, which spoke the triumph of a different taste. The mountains of Clare, stretching as far
eye could reach, formed, with their waving line, a graceful boundary to the prospect." Beautiful country!” exclaimed Montfort.
“ Beautiful indeed!" repeated Geraldine. “ How does my heart expand when I contemplate the advantages so lavishly bestowed upon my beloved native land! I firmly believe that absence only increases, in good hearts, the fond devotion with
which we all regard the place which gave us birth. While in England, no study, however fascinating, could win me from those mouldering records that tell of our ancient intellectual superiority—that describe Ireland, in language dear to the feeling mind, however repugnant to pure taste, as a' verdant paradise stocked with flocks of scholars'-as another milky-way, studded with innumerable lights of learning, sparkling as the constellations round the polar star.”
Montfort looked in silent surprise, at one who, blooming in youth and beauty, appeared, in every sentiment she expressed, so superior to all that was girlish and trifling. Led on by the subject, which possessed an equal interest in the feelings of both, they pursued their walk along a romantic path, overhung with copsewood, conversing earnestly on the never-wearying theme.—“ After such retrospects,” continued Geraldine, “it is never but with a throb of painful emotion, that I recur to
more recent times, and reflect that the same lovely scene has been defaced by strife—has been made the theatre of dissension, guilt, rebellion !"
“ Will you not allow,” inquired Montfort, “ in some instances at least, the merit of good intentions to those unhappy men who suffered death or exile in consequence of their share in the rebellion of 1798, or the partial disturbances that have since afflicted the country? Might they not have been guided by a sincere, though mistaken zeal for the redress of injuries for "
Suspicious knight-errantry !” interrupted Geraldine, with a serious smile. “I can never think with charity of those who, to gratify a love of change, or to revenge imaginary grievances, plunged their country into all the miseries of civil war. То you,
who have witnessed abroad scenes of far greater suffering, our domestic commotions may, I acknowledge, appear comparatively unimportant."
“ I have
* I have indeed,” replied Montfort, “observed but too much of the misery resulting from unprincipled ambition-have visited Dresden before we invested it-have traversed Silesia when the whole country was one beautiful garden : I returned after the French invader had passed through how changed was every spot! Everywhere the spoiler had left traces of his progress: the environs of Nieumarck were laid waste- the town itself was a desertone solitary nightingale *, heard all night long among the tombs, mourned, like the spirit of some lovely female, bereft, by war, of parents, friends, and country. Never shall I lose the impression of that scene-vainly would I try to convey it with equal vividness to you; but, had you been present, to a heart like yours, what a tale would have been told by the nightingale of Nieumarck !"
There was something wild and uncommon in this address, unlike the calm, respectful composure of Montfort's usual manner. If he had ever deviated from it before, it was to address some flattering observation to Matilda. The expressions that had fallen from him last conveyed to Geraldine two facts, of which she had entertained no suspicion—that Montfort had served in the career of arms; and that it was to the sensibility of her heart, the expansiveness of her understanding, that he would address himself, in preference, to relate a tale of interest or sorrow. Still the implied apology, which, in the beginning of their conversation, he had offered for rebellion, recurred disagreeably to her memory; and anxious to know more of this extraordinary person, whose prolonged stay at Meadowscourt, and favour with lady Louisa, were circumstances enigmatical to the surrounding little world, she drew from him some of those particulars of his former life to which he had alluded in the words_“I visited Dresden before we invested it." Geraldine learnt from
spectful * Odeleben's Campaign of 1813.