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reckoned competent to decide in any case of casuistry that may stand between you and a Limerick assembly.”
Assuredly,” answered Cobham; "and you must permit me, in return, like the scholiasts of old, to give to the divine expounder of my duties the name of the Seraphic Doctor!"
“ Bravo!” thought Diana Pendennis : “ this pedantic gallantry takes !"
Geraldine, on her side, when she compared the present favourite with him whom last she had seen occupying that place, could scarcely conceive how the indiscriminate love of admiration could reconcile her cousin to the change. Left early to the guidance of his own discretion, Cobham Pendennis had already, during the course of his short life, successively aspired to the characters of a tutor, an actor, and a Methodist preacher; and this mixture of pursuits was apparent in every word he uttered. To a slight, ungainly, insignificant person, he united no other recom
mendation of countenance than the lan.. guage
of a pair of large, heavy, dull, black eyes, rendered still larger and more hollow by the excessive spareness of his features and sallowness of his complexion : but those hollow eyes rolled in admiration on Miss Southwell—that far-fetched and pedantic language was employed in exaggerated compliments to her charms; and, with Matilda, that was always a sufficient recommendation. Sir Charles Southwell sipped his chocolate in silence. Lady Louisa, generally employed in revolving some plan of benefit or aggrandizement, which she did not communicate, was, this morning, more than usually absent and meditative.
Geraldine could not forbear thinking their ideas had taken a similar direction, and that there was something in the sudden disappearance of Mr. Montfort in which lady Louisa bore a part.
The arrival of some young friends, who frequently visited at Meadowscourt, and
who were now doubly welcome to Miss Southwell, as they completed the set for her quadrille, broke up the breakfast-party. Lady Louisa retired to her dressing-room, taking the arm of Geraldine; and Bridget Pendennis, who had already announced her intention of being a seceder, requested sir Charles Southwell to lend her a volume of Fletcher's works to take home with her.
“ You will find all Beaumont and Fletcher, Ben Johnson, Ford, Massinger, Marlowe, and the rest of the fine old dramatists, at the right hand, as you enter the library,” sir Charles replied: " they are the books in the red morocco binding."
“ The Lord be good unto me!" exclaimed Bridget Pendennis, with a gesture of horror : “ those are stage-plays, I fear. Have you none of the sermons, sir, of Fletcher the divine?"
Oh, probably,” sir Charles, with one of his usual courtly smiles, replied ; "all the best divines are on the top-shelves : you have only to get Nichols to mount the
steps and wipe the dust off, and there is not a doubt you will find the author you are seeking.” Sir Charles then resumed the perusal of the morning paper, while poor Bridget prepared to follow her guide, much wondering that any one should allot to a dramatic author a more conspicuous place in his library, than to one of the most distinguished champions of Methodism.
Meanwhile lady Louisa was communicating, in part, to Geraldine, the perplexities that, for some time past, had agitated her mind. After a pause of some moments, in which she seemed to have been following the train of her own reflections, her ladyship suddenly exclaimed -“ Well, you see our friend is gone at
Geraldine looked up, and, making perhaps her first essay in a little disingenuousness, simply asked—“What friend ?”
Why Montfort: you cannot but have observed that I have long regarded him
with a degree of interest beyond what our relative situations appeared to warrant. But Montfort is not what he at first announced himself. Considered in his real character, I am perhaps the only person in Ireland who knows at this moment of his existence. By the most fortunate combination of circumstances he was thrown into my society, and induced to confide his story to me; and I discovered in him the son of my dearest friend, and that in serving him I should honour the memory of the woman whose virtues inspired my earliest and most lasting attachment. “ And what is the service he requires ?” asked Geraldine.
Lady Louisa paused, looked stedfastly at her, and replied—“ My dear young friend, you must undergo a longer probation before I can confide it to you; but every day you gain something on me. I wish to make you the companion of my mind; and how admit you to my most private hours, and not communicate to