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17. CHAPTER XVII: AYLMER PARK (continued)
It may be imagined that Captain Aylmer, who knew the comforts of his club and was accustomed to life in London, would feel the dullness of the paternal roof to be almost unendurable. In truth, he was not very fond of Aylmer Park, but he was more gifted with patience than most men of his age and position, and was aware that it behoved him to keep the Fifth Commandment if he expected to have his own days prolonged in the land. He therefore made his visits periodically, and contented himself with clipping a few days at both ends from the length prescribed by family tradition, which his mother was desirous of exacting. September was always to be passed at Aylmer Park, because of the shooting. In September, indeed, the eldest son himself was wont to be there probably with a friend or two and the fat old servants bestirred themselves, and there was something of life about the place. At Christmas, Captain Aylmer was there as the only visitor, and Christmas was supposed to extend from the middle of December to the opening of Parliament. It must, however, be explained, that on the present occasion his visit had been a matter of treaty and compromise. He had not gone to Aylmer Park at all till his mother had in some sort assented to his marriage with Clara Amedroz. To this Lady Aylmer had been very averse, and there had been many serious letters. Belinda Aylmer, the daughter of the house, had had a bad time in pleading her brother's cause and some very harsh words had been uttered but ultimately the matter had been arranged, and, as is usual in such contests, the mother had yielded to the son. Captain Aylmer had therefore gone down a few days before Christmas, with a righteous feeling that he owed much to his mother for her condescension, and almost prepared to make himself very disagreeable to Clara by way of atoning to his family for his folly in desiring to marry her.
Lady Aylmer was very plain-spoken on the subject of all Clara's shortcomings very plain-spoken, and very inquisitive. 'She will never have one shilling, I suppose?' she said.
'Yes, ma'am.' Captain Aylmer always called his mother 'ma'am'. 'She will have that fifteen hundred pounds that I told you of.'
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