Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


'There were two ways in which it might have become yours.'

'Though there were ten ways, none of those ways have come my way,' said Clara.

'Of course I know that you are so close that though there were anything to tell you would not tell it.'

'I think I would tell you anything that was proper to be told; but now there is nothing proper or improper.'

'Was it proper or improper when Mr Belton made an offer to you as I knew he would do of course; as I told you that he would? Was that so improper that it could not be told?'

Clara was aware that the tell-tale colour in her face at once took from her the possibility of even pretending that the allegation was untrue, and that in any answer she might give she must acknowledge the fact. 'I do not think,' she said, 'that it is considered fair to gentlemen to tell such stories as that.'

'Then I can only say that the young ladies I have known are generally very unfair.'

'But who told you?'

'Who told me? My maid. Of course she got it from yours. Those things are always known.'

'Poor Will!'

'Poor Will, indeed. He is coming here again, I hear, almost immediately, and it needn't be "poor Will" unless you like it. But as for me, I am not going to be an advocate in his favour. I tell you fairly that I did not like what little I saw of poor Will.'

'I like him of all things.'

'You should teach him to be a little more courteous in his demeanour to ladies; that is all. I will tell you something else, too, about poor Will but not now. Some other day I will tell you something of your Cousin Will.'

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