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32. CHAPTER XXXII: CONCLUSION
About two months after the scene described in the last chapter, when the full summer had arrived, Clara received two letters from the two lovers the history of whose loves have just been told, and these shall be submitted to the reader, as they will serve to explain the manner in which the two men proposed to arrange their affairs. We will first have Captain Aylmer's letter, which was the first read; Clara kept the latter for the last, as children always keep their sweetest morsels.
'Aylmer Park, August 188
My dear Miss Amedroz,
I heard before leaving London that you are engaged to marry your cousin Mr William Belton, and I think that perhaps you may be satisfied to have a line from me to let you know that I quite approve of the marriage.' 'I do not care very much for his approval or disapproval,' said Clara as she read this. 'No doubt it will be the best thing you can do, especially as it will heal all the sores arising from the entail.' 'There never was any sore,' said Clara. 'Pray give my compliments to Mr Belton, and offer him my congratulations, and tell him that I wish him all happiness in the married state.' 'Married fiddlestick!' said Clara. In this she was unreasonable; but the euphonious platitudes of Captain Aylmer were so unlike the vehement protestations of Mr Belton that she must be excused if by this time she had come to entertain something of an unreasonable aversion for the former.
I hope you will not receive my news with perfect indifference when I tell you that I also am going to be married. The lady is one whom I have known for a long time, and have always esteemed very highly. She is Lady Emily Tagmaggert, the youngest daughter of the Earl of Mull.' Why Clara should immediately have conceived a feeling of supreme contempt for Lady Emily Tagmaggert, and assured herself that her ladyship was a thin, dry, cross old maid with a red nose, I cannot explain; but I do know that such were her thoughts, almost instantaneously, in reference to Captain Aylmer's future bride. 'Lady Emily is a very intimate friend of my sister's; and you, who know how our family cling together, will feel how thankful I must be when I tell you that my mother quite approves of the engagement. I suppose we shall be married early in the spring. We shall probably spend some months every year at Perivale, and I hope that we may look forward to the pleasure of seeing you sometimes as a guest beneath our roof.' On reading this Clara shuddered, and made some inward protestation which seemed to imply that she had no wish whatever to revisit the dull streets of the little town with which she had been so well acquainted. 'I hope she'll be good to poor Mr Possit,' said Clara, 'and give him port wine on Sundays.'
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