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Montfort, that he had held a command in the service of the emperor of Austria, at the period that the combined forces marched to the attack of Dresden, which was defended by the French.
-“ At the close of the Saxon campaign,” he continued, " I obtained leave to travel; and the accidental meeting with an Englishman, who expressed his intention of making the tour of Ireland, revived in my mind a most ardent desire to revisit my native country.”
Your native country !” Geraldine repeated.
“ Even so!" replied Montfort, with an accent of deep emotion. “ Am I the first Irishman who has served a foreign, but a friendly power ?"
“ And Mr. Pendennis-”
“ Could not inform you of the circumstance, because he was ignorant of it himself. I found him an original-pleasant, but prejudiced in the extreme. Among other whims, the military profession was
at once the object of his fear and aversion. I wished to gain his confidence, and to benefit by his information; so I humoured him in a mistake which he had made, with his usual precipitancy, and, by offering him the assistance of the talent he had discovered in me, and which, from my earliest years,
I had cultivated for amusement, I completely fixed myself in his good opinion.”
There was something in this whole statement which appeared to Geraldine rather plausible than satisfactory. Still willing to obtain farther light into a character which, in one respect, assimilated with her own—" I can fully enter into the feeling,” she resumed, “ that makes you prefer the place of your birth to any other. The love of country is a sentiment so intimately interwoven with our being, that not even the enjoyment of prosperity, however great—the possession of friends, however dear, can root it from our minds, or make us prefer another to our native land." VOL. I.
"Most true," replied Montfort. “What must then be the condition of the exile, who, without those alleviations, is condemned, through life, to hear a different language, to see different countenances, to live under different laws, from those his youth has cherished ?"
Startled by the vehemence of his manner, Geraldine paused for a reply; but Montfort had disappeared. He had struck into a thick hanging wood that shaded one side of their walk. Musing upon this singular dialogue, Geraldine turned towards the house. She found lady Louisa engaged in examining the series of cabinet pictures which Montfort had completed. She spoke of them in terms of high commendation, and concluded by observing “ The merit of these paintings is the greater, as Mr. Montfort is not a professor of the art."
“No...I know he is not,” replied Geraldine. * You know he is not !" repeated lady
Louisa, with an anxious and curious air; 6 and how so?”
« Because he told me so himself."
“ And how long is it, Miss Southwell, since you have begun to hold confidential conversations with Mr. Montfort?”
“ Dear lady Louisa, this did not amount to a confidential conversation --Mr. Montfort mentioned it incidentally.”
Lady Louisa seemed much disturbed. She continued to repeat" Confidential conversations, and with Mr. Montfort! Geraldine !” she resumed, with an air and countenance of more severity than she ever yet had worn, “ this is the first time I have seen the necessity of any admonition to you! You have talents-- brilliant, diversified talents ; nothing is so likely to attract an admiring circle around you, and for that reason you must be doubly cautious. Your welfare is one of the first * wishes of my heart; but you must be aware how much success in life depends on your own conduct. Aware, did I say? No, it
is impossible you can be thoroughly sensible of what momentous importance, in your individual instance, is the observance of the strictest discretion and decorum. A young woman who is a paintress, a statuary—who declaims—who understands languages, and possesses so highly all the principles of general taste as you do, necessarily becomes the theme of praise alike among men distinguished by rank, or for personal merit; but learn to dread rather than to court the dangerous pre-eminence; and, above all things, let not the enthusiasm of talent ever lead you to treat with unguarded confidence persons of whom your knowledge is but slight, and with whom your acquaintance is still recent.”
Lady Louisa' left Geraldine at once humbled, mortified, and apprehensive. In all her former vexations, it had been her consolation to feel herself in the right—to be conscious that she had not, by any inconsiderate step, compromised that delicacy and dignity, of character which she