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" I am very glad to till you, my dear Miss Geraldine, that every thing is settled as well as you could wish with regard to Laurence Trench and his family. The poor fellow, whin he hard of your bounty, as sint through my hands, popped down upon his knees, and invoked every blessing upon your head, while he blessed the day that he was seen begging by the road-side, and you going with Mr. Stratford Gore, and all the quality, to Kilmallock. He says, nothing but being out of work, and the favor, would have made him demean himself to do such a thing. His youngest girl, little Mary, is quite well, and has quite lost the perished look you rimimber. He has cleared and kept up your little garden, as you diricted, and set to work about bilding the dairy; and Mr. Mortimer gives plinty of work to a many poor craturs, and pirty it will be when yourself comes back, Miss Geraldine, that's the pirtiest thing in it, and the crame of all the rest. I hope you'll

excuse a joke; for you know, Miss, we will be always making fun, as is natural when it's peple we love: and Judy sinds her humble duty to you, and thanks you for the flannel; and every body wishes and prays

for

your return, Miss Geraldine, and says you are an angel sent among 'em to comfort 'em.”

The success of a scheme which had for its object to blend the pursuits of her elegant taste with her desire of benefiting the distressed, inspired our heroine with an unusual flow of spirits; she felt as if she deserved, in her turn, to be happy; and a secret whispering seemed to say, that, for this night at least, she should be so. Pleasure animated her rosy smiles, and gave renovated lustre to her eyes and complexion; she looked as she felt-all benevolence, sweetness, and love; and when to this was added the becoming effect of a dress the most tasteful and well-fancied, it is no wonder that, as she entered the ball-room, she ap

peared peared a divinity, armed at all points for conquest.

The first object that struck her eyes was the count di San Carlos, standing near the fireplace, in earnest conversation with lady Louisa Southwell.

“ The count brings us vexatious news," said her ladyship, turning quickly round to Geraldine; “ an engagement of a political nature deprives us, for this evening, of lord O'Melvyl's company. He requests permission to act as his substitute, and I have referred him to you for a decision."

San Carlos now fixed his dark, piercing eyes on Geraldine, and, in his foreign manner, bowed profoundly. He added something, in a low voice, about the honour to which lady Louisa permitted him to aspire; and Miss Southwell, from mere inability to answer him, returned his bow in silent acquiescence. Never had a trifling incident só entirely disconcerted her; but, to Geraldine, it did not appear tri

fling. Since overhearing the mysterious conversation at Howth among the rocks, all the prejudices infused into her mind against San Carlos originally by O'Melvy! himself recurred to it with redoubled force. The slight appearance of goodwill she had sometimes been induced to entertain towards him vanished; and in its place, a secret, undefined, resistless dread seized on her spirits whenever the son of Fiorenza approached her. Her intended partneris excuse seemed to her an insufficient one; she felt as if some other cause detained him; and had she given utterance to her thoughts, or rather to her feelings, would, perhaps, in hurried accents, have demanded of San Carlos to give her back O'Melvyl.

The ball passed off totally without pleasure to Geraldine; but she was not, on that account, forgetful of her duty, as the assistant, and, in part, the representative of lady Louisa. No one had reason to complain of being dissatisfied on that night,

but

but the gentle and graceful being who gave satisfaction to all.

In the course of conversation with San Carlos, she could not avoid once expressing, in an indirect manner, some expectation of seeing O'Melvyl on the morrow. San Carlos, with a slight change of countenance and hesitation, replied—“I believe not;" and this answer, so simple and so brief, struck her imagination with the force of a prophecy.

Retired to the solitude of her own chamber, Geraldine found it in vain to think of rest; all the gay visions of the preceding part of the evening came, in strong contact with the dreamings of the reality, and she felt conscious that, in fancy, she had staked, on the possible occurrences of those few short hours, a great portion of the felicity of her future life. Geraldine was amazed that she did not make this discovery sooner; but the fact was, for several weeks past, the pulse of hope had beat so languidly in her bosom,

that

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