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raldine—“All this is very disgusting," gave the long-wished-for signal for the ladies to withdraw.

Observing the uncommon fineness of the evening, her ladyship proposed a walk. Geraldine asked, with something peculiar in her look and manner, if she did not think the grounds afforded sufficient variety? She herself undertook to point out the devious way, and when arrived at the spot on which she wished to fix the attention of her friends, turned round, and enjoyed their delighted surprise, with an expression of answering delight in her sweet and animated countenance.

Embosomed in trees, and situated so near the fairy lake, already mentioned, as to appear built upon an island, arose a cottage, divided into two commodious apartments. In the one was a harp, drawings, and other pleasing objects of employment, surrounded by odoriferous flowers : the other was a dairy, constructed on the most elegant and luxurious plan. All the windows were of stained glass, calculated equally for beauty and coolness. The vessels were of the finest porcelain, and placed upon marble slabs. · A profusion of

windows surd

flowering shrubs and roses, now in full beauty, had been planted around this taste. fully-designed building.

While the little circle partook of a collation of fruits and cream, which Geraldine had provided in her fancy dairy,” she said to ladý Louisa, playfully-"Do you recollect, my dear madam, your solemnly investing Geraldine Southwell with full powers and prerogatives over this spot, which

you

called the Wilderness, and my engaging, with the assistance of my transforming friend, Mr. Mortimer, to make it resemble some of the magic scenes he had produced at Mrs. Stratford Gore's?”

"I do perfectly," her ladyship returned, and am far from disapproving this application of money and talent. The love of landscape gardening and picturesque embellishment, when not carried to an ab

66

surd excess, is a taste peculiarly adapted to females in our rank of life, and contributes at once to benefit our inferiors, and to render home endearing.".

“ I think,” said Miss O'Brien, one of the ladies who had spent the day at Meadowscourt, “Geraldine's cottage is still imperfect; it wants an inscription, and should have one, in the manner of Shenstone or Thomson, addressed to the genius of cultivation.”

oss

steny Lady Louisa was going to reply, when, turning towards Matilda Southwell, she perceived one of those heavy clouds that predicted the approach of the thunderstorm gathering on her brow. Though Miss Southwell never herself made any pretensions to “ taste, Shakespeare, or the musical glasses, as she used, in derision, to call Geraldine's pursuits, she could not bear to hear her' cousin praised for them; and lady Louisa, unwilling to expose her daughter's inferiority, even in temper,

hastily

hastily rose, observing, it was time to return to the house.

Geraldine accompanied the party a few steps, then turned, to take a last, longing, lingering look at her beloved cottage, which she had not expected so abruptly to leave. I know not how to account for the circumstance, but the longer she gazed on it, the more strongly she felt impelled, by a retrograde motion, once more to take possession of this calm retreat. In the drawing-room she knew what awaited her -young ladies, simpering, tittering, and talking of lace; the gentlemen, if they chose to join them, consisting of sir Charles Southwell, contemptuous, though politeMr. Pendennis upbraiding—father Gargan disputing—Mr. Preston sneeringZephaniah Toplofty haranguing.

The temptation was irresistible. From such solitude she flew to the choice society that filled “ Geraldine's cottage ;" for it is when the world believes them lone and

pensive,

pensive, that spirits like hers hold blessed communion with the absent and the dead.

The setting sun had now tinted the fine scenery around with its richest, mellowest ray; it was the very place and time for an enthusiast to exclaim

“ Ilow dear to me the hour when daylight dies,

And sunbeams melt along the silent sea;
For then sweet dreams of other days arise,

And Memory breathes her vesper sigh to thee!
“And, as I watch the line of light, that plays

Along the smooth wave, toward the burning west, I long to tread that golden path of rays,

And think 'twould lead to some bright isle of rest.”

Indulging in a pensiveness from which imagination and poetry had extracted every thing that was bitter, Geraldine, for some moments, gave the reins to fancy, and felt

There is a joy in wishes, even though Hope
Scarce seems to mingle there-a doubtful charm
Of something yet to be, that almost gleams
On the wild vision of the grief-worn heart,
Like half-forgotten gladness

• Dr. Brown's Poem of Agnes."

She

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