Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


Clara Amedroz had received her two letters together that, namely, from the attorney, and that from Captain Aylmer and the result of those letters is already known. She accepted her lover's renewed offer of marriage, acknowledging the force of his logic, and putting faith in the strength of his assurances. This she did without seeking advice from any one. Who was there from whom she could seek advice on such a matter as that who, at least, was there at Belton? That her father would, as a matter of course, bid her accept Captain Aylmer, was, she thought, certain; and she knew well that Mrs Askerton would do the same. She asked no counsel from any one, but taking the two letters up to her own room, sat down to consider them. That which referred to her aunt's money, together with the postscript in Captain Aylmer's letter on the same subject, would be of the least possible moment if she could bring herself to give a favourable answer to the other proposition. But should she not be able to do this should she hesitate as to doing so at once then she must write to the lawyer in very strong terms, refusing altogether to have anything to do with the money. And in such a case as this, not a word could she say to her father either on one subject or on the other.

But why should she not accept the offer made to her? Captain Aylmer declared that he had determined to ask her to be his wife before he had made any promise to Mrs Winterfield. If this were in truth so, then the very ground on which she had separated herself from him would be removed. Why should she hesitate in acknowledging to herself that she loved the man and believed him to be true? So she sat herself down and answered both the letters writing to the lawyer first. To him she said that nothing need be done about the money or the interest till he should see or hear from Captain Aylmer again. Then to Captain Aylmer she wrote very shortly, but very openly with the same ill-judged candour which her spoken words to him had displayed. Of course she would be his; his without hesitation, now that she knew that he expressed his own wishes, and not merely those of his aunt. 'As to the money,' she said, 'it would be simply nonsense now for us to have any talk of money. It is yours in any way, and you had better manage about it as you please. I have written an ambiguous letter to Mr Green, which will simply plague him, and which you may go and see if you like.' Then she added her postscript, in which she said that she should now at once tell her father, as the news would remove from his mind all solicitude as to her future position. That Captain Aylmer did go to Mr Green we already know, and we know also that he told Mr Green of his intended marriage.

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