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10. CHAPTER X: SHOWING HOW CAPTAIN AYLMER KEPT HIS PROMISE (continued)
'I dare say. But if so, you really were the only person that did understand her. No doubt what she did was quite right, seeing that she was a saint; but we sinners would have thought it very wicked to have made such a will, and then to have trusted to the generosity of another person after we were dead.'
'But there is no question of trusting to any one's generosity, Mrs Folliott.'
'He need not pay you a shilling, you know, unless he likes it.'
'And he will not be asked to pay me a shilling.'
'I don't suppose he will go back after what he has said publicly.'
'My dear Mrs Folliott,' said Clara earnestly, 'pray do not let us talk about it. it is quite unnecessary. I never expected any of my aunt's property, and knew all along that it was to go to Captain Aylmer who, indeed, was Mrs Winterfield's heir naturally. Mrs Winterfield was not really my aunt, and I had no claim on her.'
'But everybody understood that she was to provide for you.'
'As I was not one of the everybodies myself, it will not signify.' Then Mrs Folliott retreated, having, as she thought, performed her duty to Clara, and contented herself henceforth with abusing Mrs Winterfield's will in her own social circles at Taunton.
On the evening of that day, when all the visitors were gone and the house was again quiet, Captain Aylmer thought it expedient to explain to Clara the nature of his aunt's will, and the manner in which she would be allowed to inherit under it the amount of money which her aunt had intended to bequeath to her. When she became impatient and objected to listen to him, he argued with her, pointing out to her that this was a matter of business to which it was now absolutely necessary that she should attend. 'It may be the case,' he said, 'and, indeed, I hope it will, that no essential difference will be made by it except that it will gratify you to know how careful she was of your interests in her last moments. But you are bound in duty to learn your own position; and I, as her executor, am bound to explain it to you. But perhaps you would rather discuss it with Mr Palmer.'
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