Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


It was full summer at Belton, and the sweet scene of the new hay filled the porch of the old house with fragrance, as Clara sat there alone with her work. Immediately before the house door, between that and the old tower, there stood one of Farmer Stovey's hay-carts, now empty, with an old horse between the shafts looking as though he were asleep in the sun. Immediately beyond the tower the men were loading another cart, and the women and children were chattering as they raked the scattered remnants up to the rows. tinder the shadow of the old tower, but in sight of Clara as she sat in the porch, there lay the small beer-barrels of the hay-makers, and three or four rakes were standing erect against the old grey wall. It was now eleven o'clock, and Clara was waiting for her father, who was not yet out of his room. She had taken his breakfast to him in bed, as was her custom; for he had fallen into idle ways, and the luxury of his bed was, of all his remaining luxuries, the one that he liked the best. After a while he came down to her, having an open letter in his hand. Clara saw that he intended either to show it to her or to speak of it, and asked him therefore, with some tone of interest in her voice, from whom it had come. But Mr Amedroz was fretful at the moment, and instead of answering her began to complain of his tenant's ill-usage of him.

'What has he got his cart there for? I haven't let him the road up to the hall door. I suppose he will bring his things into the parlour next.'

'I rather like it, papa.'

'Do you? I can only say that you're lucky in your tastes. I don't like it, I can tell you.'

'Mr Stovey is out there. Shall I ask him to have the things moved farther off?'

'No, my dear no. I must bear it, as I do all the rest of it. What does it matter? There'll be an end of it soon. He pays his rent, and I suppose he is right to do as he pleases. But I can't say that I like it.'

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