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  • 1837
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‘Ah, Venetia!’ said George, ‘I wish I were clever; I wish I were a genius; I wish I were a great man.’

‘Why, George?’

‘Because, Venetia, perhaps,’ and Lord Cadurcis hesitated, ‘perhaps you would think differently of me? I mean perhaps your feelings towards me might; ah, Venetia! perhaps you might think me worthy of you; perhaps you might love me.’

‘I am sure, dear George, if I did not love you, I should be the most ungrateful of beings: you are our only friend.’

‘And can I never be more than a friend to you, Venetia?’ said Lord Cadurcis, blushing very deeply.

‘I am sure, dear George, I should be very sorry for your sake, if you wished to be more,’ said Venetia.

‘Why?’ said Lord Cadurcis.

‘Because I should not like to see you unite your destiny with that of a very unfortunate, if not a very unhappy, person.’

‘The sweetest, the loveliest of women!’ said Lord Cadurcis. ‘O Venetia! I dare not express what I feel, still less what I could hope. I think so little of myself, so highly of you, that I am convinced my aspirations are too arrogant for me to breathe them.’

‘Ah! dear George, you deserve to be happy,’ said Venetia. ‘Would that it were in my power to make you!’

‘Dearest Venetia! it is, it is,’ exclaimed Lord Cadurcis; then checking himself, as if frightened by his boldness, he added in a more subdued tone, ‘I feel I am not worthy of you.’

They stood upon the breezy down that divided the demesnes of Cherbury and the abbey. Beneath them rose, ’embosomed in a valley of green bowers,’ the ancient pile lately renovated under the studious care of Venetia.

‘Ah!’ said Lord Cadurcis, ‘be not less kind to the master of these towers, than to the roof that you have fostered. You have renovated our halls, restore our happiness! There is an union that will bring consolation to more than one hearth, and baffle all the crosses of adverse fate. Venetia, beautiful and noble-minded Venetia, condescend to fulfil it!’

Perhaps the reader will not be surprised that, within a few months of this morning walk, the hands of George, Lord Cadurcis, and Venetia Herbert were joined in the chapel at Cherbury by the good Masham. Peace be with them.