Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


On the present occasion, when the will had been read and refolded, Captain Aylmer, who was standing on the rug near the fire, spoke a few words. His aunt, he said, had desired to add a codicil to the will, of the nature of which Mr Palmer was well aware. She had expressed her intention to leave fifteen hundred pounds to her niece, Miss Amedroz; but death had come upon her too quickly to enable her to perform her purpose. Of this intention on the part of Mrs Winterfield, Mr Palmer was as well aware as himself; and he mentioned the subject now, merely with the object of saying that, as a matter of course, the legacy to Miss Amedroz was as good as though the codicil had been completed. On such a question as that there could arise no question as to legal right; but he understood that the legal claim of Miss Amedroz, under such circumstances, was as void as his own. It was therefore no affair of generosity on his part. Then there was a little buzz of satisfaction on the part of those present, and the meeting was broken up.

A certain old Mrs. Folliott, who was cousin to everybody concerned, had come over from Taunton to see how things were going. She had always been at variance with Mrs Winterfield, being a woman who loved cards and supper parties, and who had throughout her life stabled her horses in stalls very different to those used by the lady of Perivale. Now this Mrs Folliott was the first to tell Clara of the will. Clara. of course, was altogether indifferent. She had known for months past that her aunt had intended to leave nothing to her, and her only hope had been that she might be left free from any commiseration or remark on the subject. But Mrs Folliott, with sundry shakings of the head, told her how her aunt had omitted to name her and then told her also of Captain Aylmer's generosity. 'We all did think, my dear,' said Mrs Folliott, 'that she would have done better than that for you, or at any rate that she would not have left you dependent on him.' Captain Aylmer's horses were also supposed to be stabled in strictly Low Church stalls, and were therefore regarded by Mrs Folliott with much dislike.

'I and my aunt understood each other perfectly,' said Clara.

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