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Though she had received a most brilliant and careful education, Geraldine was, like all persons of real talent, in a degree, self-educated. Next to the ancient history and records of her native country, the beauties of the English language, and the examination of its more delicate refinements, were the studies she preferred. Endowed by nature with an exquisite ear, and a voice the most copious and harmonious, Geraldine united to these gifts a profound study of the graces of elocution, according to the purest and most severe principles of taste. She possessed, also, to perfection, the talent of varying the inflections of her voice and the expression of her countenance, according to the passion she designed to represent. To hear her read a play or a poem, therefore, was a pleasure in which the eye, the ear, and the mind, equally participated. When she consented to take a part in those dramas which were occasionally read at lady Kilcrest's, a universal desire to be present was excited among the whole circle of her acquaintance; and as she was ably supported by lady Kilcrest and others, the readings, which had a little fallen off the winter before, suddenly rose to the pinnacle of popularity. But there was one person whom their celebrity failed to attract, and that was lord O'Melvyl. At first Geraldine scarcely perceived his ab
Surrounded by incense, the deserved tribute to such an uncommon combination of mental and personal attractions, she found herself suddenly drawn into that dangerous vortex, in which the strongest head can hardly enable any one to move with safety; and, charming as my heroine was, she was still a woman, and a a young, lively, inexperienced woman. Admiration anticipated her words-flattery threw a lustre over her talents. The learned wondered to hear the principles of criticism, and the laws of taste, discussed by lips that would have lent a charm to folly itself: they were delighted to find that not a grain of pedantry mingled with her really-uncommon attainments. Professors celebrated her taste in the fine arts; and, in short, without design, without cabal, Geraldine was, that winter, the rage in Dublin. Was it possible for her, then, to weigh and measure the former sighs of a pow-neglectful loyer ? no; for there is, in true passion, a humility that can hardly exist in company with the triumphs of gratified vanity. Bụt recovering from this short-lived illusion, it was in vain that her heart sought the - suffrage it would have valued beyond all others.
Geraldine remembered, with dismay, that the evening of the fancy-ball was the last, though not the first time she had had any confidential conversation with lord O'Melvyl -— that this conversation, to which something more explicit might bave been expected to succeed, seemed, on the contrary, the signal for a marked change in his behaviour. She might be the admiration of artists of men of science
and of letters—she might be surrounded in public, by men of the most distinguished rank and fashion; but O'Melvyl no longer seemed to interest himself in her occupations or her success, while Matilda Southwell was now in possession of those attentions which had once been so peculiarly gratifying to Geraldine. She knew not whether most to accuse lord O'Melvyl or herself. Her heart acquitted her of coquetry, but not of some degree of vanity and negligence. Be it as it may, a reading-party, to which she was engaged, at lady Kilcrest's, appeared, for the first time, extremely tiresome to her. She went through her part languidly, and experienced an insupportable depression of spirits, at the moment that the foldingdoors were thrown open, and the names of lady Louisa, and Miss Southwell, and lord O'Melvy!, were announced.
Miss Southwell was dressed for a ball to which she was going, and seemed in high spirits.
Lady Louisa said, they had just looked in at lady Kilcrest's, and begged the reading might not be interrupted by their entrance,
Lord O'Melvyl and Miss Southwell seated themselves beneath a Turkish canopy, facing Geraldine.
Though they spoke very low, or were silent, they were evidently much taken up with each other; and Geraldine remarked, that O'Melvyl's countenance, when turned towards Miss Southwell, had exactly the same dangerous species of expression which had formely lent such interest to his uncommonly beautiful features whenever he addressed herself. She began mentally to question, whether she had not withdrawn too much from the society of lady Louisa (who allowed her an uncommon degree of liberty), to form separate plans of amusement? The question came rather late; the drama read on this night was a French one, Rousseau's Narcisse—a weak piece in the original, which