Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


He arrived about five o'clock in a gig from Taunton. Five was the ordinary dinner hour at Belton, but it had been postponed till six on this day, in the hope that the cousin might make his appearance at any rate by that hour. Mr Amedroz had uttered various complaints as to the visitor's heartlessness in not having written to name the hour of his arrival, and was manifestly intending to make the most of the grievance should he not present himself before six but this indulgence was cut short by the sound of the gig wheels. Mr Amedroz and his daughter were sitting in a small drawing-room which looked out to the front of the house, and he, seated in his accustomed chair near the window, could see the arrival. For a moment or two he remained quiet in his chair, as though he would not allow so insignificant a thing as his cousin's coming to ruffle him but he could not maintain this dignified indifference, and before Belton was out of the gig he had shuffled out into the hall.

Clara followed her father almost unconsciously, and soon found herself shaking hands with a big man, over six feet high, broad in the shoulders, large limbed, with bright quick grey eyes, a large mouth, teeth almost too perfect and a well-formed nose, with thick short brown hair and small whiskers which came half-way down his cheeks a decidedly handsome man with a florid face, but still, perhaps, with something of the promised roughness of the farmer. But a more good-humoured looking countenance Clara felt at once that she had never beheld.

'And you are the little girl that I remember when I was a boy at Mr Folliott's?' he said. His voice was clear, and rather loud, but it sounded very pleasant in that sad old house.

'Yes; I am the little girl,' said Clara smiling.

'Dear, dear! and that's twenty years ago now,' said he.

'But you oughtn't to remind me of that, Mr Belton.'

'Oughtn't I? Why not?'

'Because it shows how very old I am.'

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