Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


Clara was to start by a train leaving Perivale at eight on the following morning, and therefore there was not much time for conversation before she went. During the night she had endeavoured so to school herself as to banish from her breast all feelings of anger against her lover, and of regret as regarded herself. Probably, as she told herself, she had made more of what he had said than he had intended that she should do; and then, was it not natural that he should think much of his mother, and feel anxious as to the way in which she might receive his wife. As to that feeling of anger on her own part, she did get quit of it; but the regret was not to be so easily removed. It was not only what Captain Aylmer had said about his mother that clung to her, doing much to quench her joy; but there had been a coldness in his tone to her throughout the evening which she recognized almost unconsciously, and which made her heart heavy in spite of the joy which she repeatedly told herself ought to be her own. And she also felt though she was not clearly aware that she did so that his manner towards her had become less affectionate, less like that of a lover, since the honest tale she had told him of her own early love for him. She should have been less honest, and more discreet; less bold, and more like in her words to the ordinary run of women. She had known this as she was packing last night, and she told herself that it was so as she was dressing on this her last morning at Perivale. That frankness of hers had not been successful, and she regretted that she had not imposed on herself some little reticence or even a little of that coy pretence of indifference which is so often used by ladies when they are wooed. She had been boldly honest, and had found her honesty to be bad policy. She thought, at least, that she had found its policy to be bad. Whether in truth it may not have been very good have been the best policy in the world tending to give her the first true intimation which she had ever yet received of the real character of the man who was now so much to her that is altogether another question.

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