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ings that had never tormented it before. She also remarked, with surprise, the twinlike resemblance San Carlos bore to O'Melvyl, in his voice and figure, although his features and complexion were totally different.
As Geraldine was making these tardy and unprofitable observations, she saw the real O’Melvyl, who wore, on that night, exactly the same dress as San Carlos (only with the difference of being unmasked), making his way through the motley crowd, as if in search of some one. She only caught a glimpse of him at a distance, and, as it were, beyond a vista of heads. Suddenly he quickened his pace, and Geraldine, though surrounded by beauty, felt the instantaneous delightful conviction, which only belongs to minds newly in accordance, that it was herself alone he sought. In a moment he had joined herhad resụmed that species of aside conversation, half-complimentary, half-confidential, in which he delighted and excelled.
Geraldine's lassitude disappeared. A sweet intoxication winged these short and precious moments in which he engaged her attention; and it was with regret she observed the approach of sir Charles Southwell, who hadexchanged his disguise of a Spanish friar, for the more rich and becoming costume of that accomplished cavalier and amiable prince, Francis the First. He began rallying her, with that courtly air he ever assumed toward the females of his own family, upon having chosen a dress that seemed to preclude the idea of dancing, and asked her, if there were no means to be discovered of satisfying the numerous aspirants who had bespoke his interest for the honour of her hand ?
Lord O'Melvyl availed himself of this hint, and, for the first time, requested Geraldine to dance with him.
“ Most willingly,” she replied; “ but I fear, with my dress, it would be quite inadmissible.” Holding up one pearl-encir
cled arm, she continued—“ You see I am a captive.”
“ A captive!” replied the earl, gazing on her passionately—“no, it is I that am enslaved, and for life !"
-Oh! in belief's clear calm,
* It is I that am enslaved, and for life!” Was this a burst of momentary admiration, suggested by her beauty and the scene in which O'Melvyl met her, or the serious sentiments of the speaker ?
This question kept Geraldine waking during the greater part of the night that succeeded to the fancy-ball. She felt that the evening had been most delightful; but E 5
that, if it were not the precursor of many more such precious hours, she should pay very dearly for that one delightful evening. The next day she examined the card given her by lady Kilcrest; it was for a reading-party at her house. Geraldine asked Miss Southwell what those reading-parties were ?
“ Oh, the most delightful things in nature!" she replied. “ First, you will be introduced to the goddess herself, whom you will find seated under a statue of Friendship, or some such sentimental device. Then you will have the companion, Miss Stanley, pouring out weak tea in a rapture, and letting all the water in the urn run about the table, while the goddess
the superiority of intellectual over frivolous pursuits. Then soft music will announce that Ariel, or Puck, or some such gamesome sprite, is hovering near, and that you are going to hear some select passages out of the Midsummer Night's Dream, or the Tempest; and, last
ly, for she found that it did not answer merely to give tea and turn-out, you will converse upon the pleasures of the evening over a nice little sandwich supper."
Notwithstanding this account, given in the spirit of ill-nature, Geraldine found, at lady Kilcrest's, sociability and pleasure united, in the mode in which she passed the evening.
Accustomed, as her only female intimates, to lady Louisa Southwell, whose attention was too constantly engrossed by objects of worldly importance to allow her really-cultivated mind and brilliant imagination its full play, and Matilda, whose expressions and ideas seldom went beyond the last dress she had worn, or the last public place she had visited, Geraldine was equally delighted and surprised at the various attractions she discovered in the society of her new friend. Lady Kilcrest, on her part, found our heroine a truly-valuable acquisition.