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13. CHAPTER XIII: MR WILLIAM BELTON TAKES A WALK IN THE COUNTRY (continued)
'Of course I was. Of course I was a fool, and a brute too.'
'I know you were not a brute, and I don't think you were a fool; but yet you were too sudden. You see a lady cannot always make up her mind to love a man, merely because she is asked all in a moment. She should have a little time to think about it before she is called upon for an answer.'
'And I didn't give her two minutes.'
'You never do give two minutes to anyone do you, Will? But you'll be back there at Christmas, and then she will have had time to turn it over in her mind.'
'And you think that I may have a chance?'
'Certainly you may have a chance.'
'Although she was so sure about it?'
'She spoke of her own mind and her own heart as she knew them then. But it depends chiefly on this, Will whether there is any one else. For anything we know, she may be engaged now.'
'Of course she may.' Then Belton speculated on the extreme probability of such a contingency; arguing within his own heart that of course every unmarried man who might see Clara would want to marry her, and that there could not but be some one whom even she would be able to love.
When he had been home about a fortnight, there came a letter to him from Clara, which was a great treasure to him. In truth, it simply told him of the completion of the cattle-shed, of her father's health, and of the milk which the little cow gave; but she signed herself his affectionate cousin, and the letter was very gratifying to him. There were two lines of a postscript, which could not but flatter him: 'Papa is so anxious for Christmas, that you may be here again and so, indeed, am I also.' Of course it will be understood that this was written before Clara's visit to Perivale, and before Mrs Winterfield's death. Indeed, much happened in Clara's history between the writing of that letter and Will Belton's winter visit to the Castle.
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