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we will try what can be done to restore the mind of Victoria to peace.

He interrupted the" acknowledgments of Camillo, whom he quitted with a mind more disturbed than he chose to own, even to himself.

CHAP. VII.

The various emotions which he dared not indulge, and which he could not repress, robbed D’Rosonio for that night of repose; fancy pictured to him the happiness which he might enjoy in a union with Victoria.

“ What! though her birth is hum. ble (thought he), yet her virtues and her graces would add lustre to any rank; and shall I deprive myself of the possession of a woman so formed to rena der me happy, merely in compliance, with prejudices which I ought to despise?" But when he asked himself whether his father, his beloved and revered father, would, were he living, consent to his marriage with Victoria, he was compelled to own that such an union would never have received his sanction: he recollected the admonition he had received from the late count:

" When you marry, my son, let wealth be

your

least consideration ; you are rich enough to support the dignity of your house; seek only for a woman whose virtues and whose birth will reflect lustre upon your choice."

Often . had Fernando promised to his father implicit obedience on this point. “ And does his death (thought he) exonorate me from my promise?

It renders the performance of it a sacred duty. Yes, dear shade of my revered father, solemnly do I swear never to forget that injunction you have so often laid upon me.”

Severely did he now blame himself for that intercourse, innocent as it was,

Oh! no.

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that had given rise to those sentiments
80 destructive to the peace of Victoria
and himself. He took a retrospective
view of his behaviour to her, and the
idea that she supposed he meant to
offer her his hand occurred to him.
'Twas true, nothing that had ever pas-
sed between them could have given her
reason for such a thought; but he was
sensible that he loved her, and if she
had perceived, his passion, what must
she have thought of the avidity with
which he sought her society. After
some hours of paiuful reflection, he re-
solved to endeavour without wounding
the delicacy of Victoria, to erase from
her mind any idea that he entertained
more than a paternal regard for her,

“ Yes, Victoria (thought he), I will indeed be a brother to thee; and, oh! may thy happiness equal my fervent wishes; blest, supremely blest, will then be thy lot.”

". The sooner this was done (thought he) the better, for the health and tran

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quillity of Victoria; and in a few days afterwards he went to the house of Camillo. He found Victoria alone, and he rejoiced to see that she looked better than when they had last met.

For some moments the behaviour of both was constrained; but D'Rosonio endeavoured, by plunging at once into the subject of his visit, to remove the embarrassment under which they laboured,

His voice faultered when he perceived the evident agitation with which Victoria listened to him; and when he ceased, she strove in vain to reply.

“ Will not my sister speak to me?" said the count, taking her cold and trembling hand in his.

“ I am sensible of your goodness, my lord (replied she), indeed I am; but just now I cannot thank you as I ought."

“ Do not talk thus formally to me, Victoria (said the count); regard me as. your friend, as your brother.”

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