Anthony Trollope: The Belton Estate


Her name and family had been unfortunate, and it would be well that there should be no Amedroz left to trouble those more fortunate persons who were to come after them. In her sorrow and bitterness she included both her Cousin Will and Captain Aylmer among those more fortunate ones for whose sake it might be well that she should be made to vanish from off the earth. She had read Captain Aylmer's letter over and over again since she had answered it, and had read nearly as often the copy of her own reply and had told herself, as she read them, that of course he would not forgive her. He might perhaps pardon her, if she would submit to him in everything; but that she would not submit to his commands respecting Mrs Askerton she was fully resolved and, therefore, there could be no hope. Then, when she remembered how lately her dear father's spirit had fled, she hated herself for having allowed her mind to dwell on any. thing beyond her loss of him.

She was still in her bedroom, having fallen into that half-waking slumber which the numbness of sorrow so often produces, when word was brought to her that Mrs Askerton was in the house. It was the first time that Mrs Askerton had ever crossed the door, and the remembrance that it was so came upon her at once. During her father's lifetime it had seemed to be understood that their neighbour should have no admittance there but now now that her father was gone the barrier was to be overthrown. And why not? Why should not Mrs Askerton come to her? Why, if Mrs Askerton chose to be kind to her, should she not altogether throw herself into her friend's arms? Of course her doing so would give mortal offence to everybody at Aylmer Park; but why need she stop to think of that? She had already made up her mind that she would not obey orders from Aylmer Park on this subject.

She had not seen Mrs Askerton since that interview between them which was described some few chapters back. Then everything had been told between them, so that there was no longer any mystery either on the one side or on the other. Then Clara had assured her friend of her loving friendship in spite of any edicts to the contrary which might come from Aylmer Park; and after that what could be more natural than that Mrs Askerton should come to her in her sorrow? 'She says she'll come up to you if you'll let her,' said the servant. But Clara declined this proposition, and in a few minutes went down to the small parlour in which she had lately lived, and where she found her visitor.

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