Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate

15. CHAPTER XV: EVIL WORDS (continued)

Nothing was said by Captain Aylmer as to any proposed period for their marriage; but that was only natural. It was not probable that any man would name a day till he knew whether or not he was accepted. Indeed, Clara, on thinking over the whole affair, was now disposed to find fault rather with herself than with her lover, and forgetting his coldness and formality at Perivale, remembered only the fact of his offer to her, and his assurance now received that he had intended to make it before the scene which had taken place between him and his aunt. She did find fault with herself, telling herself that she had quarrelled with him without sufficient cause and the eager loving candour of her letter to him was attributable to those self-accusations.

'Papa,' she said, after the postman had gone away from Belton, so that there might be no possibility of any recall of her letter, 'I have something to tell you which I hope will give you pleasure.'

'It isn't often that I hear anything of that kind,' said he.

'But I think that this will give you pleasure. I do indeed. I am going to be married.'

'Going to what?'

'Going to be married, papa. That is, if I have your leave. Of course any offer of that kind that I have accepted is subject to your approval.'

'And I have been told nothing about it!'

'It began at Perivale, and I could not tell you then. You do not ask me who is to be my husband.'

'It is not Will Belton?'

'Poor Will! No; it is not Will. It is Frederic Aylmer. I think you would prefer him as a son-in-law even to my Cousin Will.'

'No I shouldn't. Why should I prefer a man whom I don't even know, who lives in London, and who will take you away, so that I shall never see you again?'

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