Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


'When you asked me, I could but tell you the truth,' she said, smiling at him.

The truth is very well, but he would have liked it better had the truth come to him by slower degrees. When his aunt had told him to marry Clara Amedroz, he had been at once reconciled to the order by a feeling on his own part that the conquest of Clara would not be too facile. She was a woman of value, not to be snapped up easily or by any one. So he had thought then; but he began to fancy now that he had been wrong in that opinion.

The walk back to the house was not of itself very exciting, though to Clara it was a short period of unalloyed bliss. No doubt had then come upon her to cloud her happiness, and she was 'wrapped up in measureless content.' It was well that they should both be silent at such a moment. Only yesterday had been buried their dear old friend the friend who had brought them together, and been so anxious for their future happiness! And Clara Amedroz was not a young girl, prone to jump out of her shoes with elation because she had got a lover. She could be steadily happy without many immediate words about her happiness. When they reached the house, and were once more together in the drawing-room, she again gave him her hand, and was the first to speak. And you; are you contented?' she asked. Who does not know the smile of triumph with which a girl asks such a question at such a moment as that?

'Contented? well yes; I think I am,' he said.

But even those words did not move her to doubt. 'If you are,' she said,' I am. And now I will leave you till dinner, that you may think over what you have done.'

'I had thought about it before, you know,' he replied. Then he stooped over her and kissed her. It was the first time he had done so; but his kiss was as cold and proper as though they had been man and wife for years! But it sufficed for her, and she went to her room as happy as a queen.

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