Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


'She is rather particular,' said Captain Aylmer.

Then Clara drew herself up, and ceased to laugh. She had called herself ordinary with that half- insincere depreciation of self which is common to all of us when we speak of our own attributes, but which we by no means intend that they who hear us shall accept as strictly true, or shall re-echo as their own approved opinions. But in this instance Captain Aylmer, though he had not quite done that, had done almost as bad.

'Then I suppose I had better keep out of her way,' said Clara, by no means laughing as she spoke.

'Of course when we are married you must go and see her.'

'You do not, at any rate, promise me a very agreeable visit, Fred. But I dare say I shall survive it. After all, it is you that I am to marry, and not your mother; and as long as you are not majestic to me, I need not care for her majesty.'

'I don't know what you mean by majesty.'

'You must confess that you speak of her as of something very terrible.'

'I say that she is particular and so she is. And as my respect for her opinion is equal to my affection for her person, I hope that you will make a great effort to gain her esteem.'

'I never make any efforts of that kind. If esteem doesn't come without efforts it isn't worth having.'

'There I disagree with you altogether but I especially disagree with you as you are speaking about my mother, and about a lady who is to become your own mother-in-law. I trust that you will make such efforts, and that you will make them successfully. Lady Aylmer is not a woman who will give you her heart at once, simply because you have become her son's wife. She will judge you by your own qualities and will not scruple to condemn you should she see cause.'

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