Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


When the carriage was driven away, Sir Anthony and Captain Aylmer were left standing alone at the ball door of the house. The servants had slunk off, and the father and son, looking at each other, felt that they also must slink away, or else have some words together on the subject of their guest's departure. The younger gentleman would have preferred that there should be no words, but Sir Anthony was curious to know something of what had passed in the house during the last few days. 'I'm afraid things are not going quite comfortable,' he said.

'It seems to me, sir,' said his son, 'that things very seldom do go quite comfortable.'

'But, Fred what is it all about? Your mother says that Miss Amedroz is behaving very badly.'

'And Miss Amedroz says that my mother is behaving very badly.'

'Of course that's only natural. And what do you say?'

'I say nothing, sir. The less said the soonest mended.'

'That's all very well; but it seems to me that you, in your position, must say something. The long and the short of it is this. Is she to be your wife?'

'Upon my word, sir, I don't know.'

They were still standing out under the portico, and as Sir Anthony did not for a minute or two ask any further questions, Captain Aylmer turned as though he were going into the house. But his father had still a word or two to say. Stop a moment, Fred. I don't often trouble you with advice.'

'I'm sure I'm always glad to hear it when you offer any.'

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