Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


At the time of my story there was a certain Mr Green, a worthy attorney, who held chambers in Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, much to the profit of himself and family and to the profit and comfort also of a numerous body of clients a man much respected in the neighbourhood of Chancery Lane, and beloved, I do not doubt, in the neighbourhood of Bushey, in which delightfully rural parish he was possessed of a genteel villa and ornamental garden. With Mr Green's private residence we shall, I believe, have no further concern; but to him at his chambers in Stone Buildings I must now introduce the reader of these memoirs. He was a man not yet forty years of age, with still much of the salt of youth about him, a pleasant companion as well as a good lawyer, and one who knew men and things in London, as it is given to pleasant clever fellows, such as Joseph Green, to know them. Now Mr Green and his father before him had been the legal advisers of the Amedroz family, and our Mr Joseph Green had had but a bad time of it with Charles Amedroz in the last years of that unfortunate young man's life. But lawyers endure these troubles, submitting themselves to the extravagances, embarrassments, and even villainy of the bad subjects among their clients' families, with a good-humoured patience that is truly wonderful. That, however, was all over now as regarded Mr Green and the Amedrozes, and he had nothing further to do but to save for the father what relics of the property he might secure. And he was also legal adviser to our friend Will Belton, there having been some old family connexion among them, and had often endeavoured to impress upon his old client at Belton Castle his own strong conviction that the heir was a generous fellow, who might be trusted in everything. But this had been taken amiss by the old squire, who, indeed, was too much disposed to take all things amiss and to suspect everybody. 'I understand,' he had said to his daughter. 'I know all about it. Belton and Mr Green have been dear friends always. I can't trust my own lawyer any longer.' In all which the old squire showed much ingratitude. It will, however, be understood that these suspicions were rife before the time of Belton's visit to the family estate.

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