Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


'Of course I shall do that.'

'I wish I knew what he said.'

'I shan't show it you, if you mean that.'

'All the same I wish I knew what he said.'

Clara, of course, did answer the letter; but she wrote her answer to Mary, sending, however, one little scrap to Mary's brother. She wrote to Mary at great length, striving to explain, with long and laborious arguments, that it was quite impossible that she should accept the Belton estate from her cousin. That subject, however, and the manner of her future life, she would discuss with her dear Cousin Mary, when Mary should have arrived. And then Clara said how she would go to Taunton to meet her cousin, and how she would prepare William's house for the reception of William's sister; and how she would love her cousin when she should come to know her. All of which was exceedingly proper and pretty. Then there was a little postscript, 'Give the enclosed to William.' And this was the note to William:

'Dear William,

Did you not say that you would be my brother? Be my brother always. I will accept from your hands all that a brother could do; and when that arrangement is quite fixed, I will love you as much as Mary loves you, and trust you as completely; and I will be obedient, as a younger sister should be.

Your loving Sister, C. A.'

'It's all no good,' said William Belton, as he crunched the note in his hand. 'I might as well shoot myself. Get out of the way there, will you?' And the injured groom scudded across the farm-yard, knowing that there was something wrong with his master.

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