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have the responsibilities all on one's own shoulder; is it
not?

But I will go over to you, and you will comfort me. I
always feel stronger on this subject at Courcy than at
Greshamsbury. We will have a long talk about it, and then
I shall be happy again. I purpose going on next Friday, if
that will suit you and dear aunt. I have told mamma that
you all wanted me, and she made no objection. Do write at
once, dearest Amelia, for to hear from you now will be my
only comfort.

Yours, ever most affectionately and obliged,

AUGUSTA GRESHAM.

P.S. - I told mamma what you said about Mary Thorne, and
she said, "Yes; I suppose all the world knows it now; and
if all the world did know it, it makes no difference to
Frank." She seemed very angry; so you see it was true.


Though, by so doing, we shall somewhat anticipate the end of our
story, it may be desirable that the full tale of Mr Gazebee's loves
should be told here. When Mary is breaking her heart on her death-bed
in the last chapter, or otherwise accomplishing her destiny, we shall
hardly find a fit opportunity of saying much about Mr Gazebee and his
aristocratic bride.

For he did succeed at last in obtaining a bride in whose veins ran
the noble ichor of de Courcy blood, in spite of the high doctrine
preached so eloquently by the Lady Amelia. As Augusta had truly said,
he had failed to understand her. He was led to think, by her manner
of receiving his first proposal - and justly so, enough - that she
liked him, and would accept him; and he was, therefore, rather
perplexed by his second interview. He tried again and again, and
begged permission to mention the matter to Mr Gresham; but Augusta
was very firm, and he at last retired in disgust. Augusta went to
Courcy Castle, and received from her cousin that consolation and
re-strengthening which she so much required.

Four years afterwards - long after the fate of Mary Thorne had fallen,
like a thunderbolt, on the inhabitants of Greshamsbury; when Beatrice
was preparing for her second baby, and each of the twins had her
accepted lover - Mr Mortimer Gazebee went down to Courcy Castle; of
course, on matters of business. No doubt he dined at the table, and
all that. We have the word of Lady Amelia, that the earl, with his
usual good-nature, allowed him such privileges. Let us hope that he
never encroached on them.

But on this occasion, Mr Gazebee stayed a long time at the castle,
and singular rumours as to the cause of his prolonged visit became
current in the little town. No female scion of the present family of
Courcy had, as yet, found a mate. We may imagine that eagles find it
difficult to pair when they become scarce in their localities; and
we all know how hard it has sometimes been to get _comme il faut_
husbands when there has been any number of Protestant princesses on
hand.

Some such difficulty had, doubtless, brought it about that the
countess was still surrounded by her full bevy of maidens. Rank has
its responsibilities as well as its privileges, and these young
ladies' responsibilities seemed to have consisted in rejecting any
suitor who may have hitherto kneeled to them. But now it was told
through Courcy, that one suitor had kneeled, and not in vain; from
Courcy the rumour flew to Barchester, and thence came down to
Greshamsbury, startling the inhabitants, and making one poor heart
throb with a violence that would have been piteous had it been known.
The suitor, so named, was Mr Mortimer Gazebee.

Yes; Mr Mortimer Gazebee had now awarded to him many other privileges
than those of dining at the table, and all that. He rode with the
young ladies in the park, and they all talked to him very familiarly
before company; all except the Lady Amelia. The countess even called
him Mortimer, and treated him quite as one of the family.

At last came a letter from the countess to her dear sister Arabella.
It should be given at length, but that I fear to introduce another
epistle. It is such an easy mode of writing, and facility is always
dangerous. In this letter it was announced with much preliminary
ambiguity, that Mortimer Gazebee - who had been found to be a treasure
in every way; quite a paragon of men - was about to be taken into the
de Courcy bosom as a child of that house. On that day fortnight, he
was destined to lead to the altar - the Lady Amelia.

The countess then went on to say, that dear Amelia did not
write herself, being so much engaged by her coming duties - the
responsibilities of which she doubtless fully realised, as well as
the privileges; but she had begged her mother to request that the
twins should come and act as bridesmaids on the occasion. Dear
Augusta, she knew, was too much occupied in the coming event in Mr
Oriel's family to be able to attend.

Mr Mortimer Gazebee was taken into the de Courcy family, and did lead
the Lady Amelia to the altar; and the Gresham twins did go there and
act as bridesmaids. And, which is much more to say for human nature,
Augusta did forgive her cousin, and, after a certain interval, went
on a visit to that nice place in Surrey which she had once hoped
would be her own home. It would have been a very nice place, Augusta
thought, had not Lady Amelia Gazebee been so very economical.

We must presume that there was some explanation between them. If so,
Augusta yielded to it, and confessed it to be satisfactory. She had
always yielded to her cousin, and loved her with that sort of love
which is begotten between fear and respect. Anything was better than
quarrelling with her cousin Amelia.

And Mr Mortimer Gazebee did not altogether make a bad bargain. He
never received a shilling of dowry, but that he had not expected.
Nor did he want it. His troubles arose from the overstrained economy
of his noble wife. She would have it, that as she had married a
poor man - Mr Gazebee, however, was not a poor man - it behoved
her to manage her house with great care. Such a match as that
she had made - this she told in confidence to Augusta - had its
responsibilities as well as its privileges.

But, on the whole, Mr Gazebee did not repent his bargain; when he
asked his friends to dine, he could tell them that Lady Amelia would
be very glad to see them; his marriage gave him some éclat at his
club, and some additional weight in the firm to which he belonged;
he gets his share of the Courcy shooting, and is asked about to
Greshamsbury and other Barsetshire houses, not only "to dine at table
and all that," but to take his part in whatever delights country
society there has to offer. He lives with the great hope that
his noble father-in-law may some day be able to bring him into
Parliament.




CHAPTER XXXIX

What the World Says about Blood


"Beatrice," said Frank, rushing suddenly into his sister's room, "I
want you to do me one especial favour." This was three or four days
after Frank had seen Mary Thorne. Since that time he had spoken to
none of his family on the subject; but he was only postponing from
day to day the task of telling his father. He had now completed his
round of visits to the kennel, master huntsman, and stables of the
county hunt, and was at liberty to attend to his own affairs. So he
had decided on speaking to the squire that very day; but he first
made his request to his sister.

"I want you to do me one especial favour." The day for Beatrice's
marriage had now been fixed, and it was not to be very distant.
Mr Oriel had urged that their honeymoon trip would lose half its
delights if they did not take advantage of the fine weather; and
Beatrice had nothing to allege in answer. The day had just been
fixed, and when Frank ran into her room with his special request,
she was not in a humour to refuse him anything.

"If you wish me to be at your wedding, you must do it," said he.

"Wish you to be there! You must be there, of course. Oh, Frank! what
do you mean? I'll do anything you ask; if it is not to go to the
moon, or anything of that sort."

Frank was too much in earnest to joke. "You must have Mary for one of
your bridesmaids," he said. "Now, mind; there may be some difficulty,
but you must insist on it. I know what has been going on; but it is
not to be borne that she should be excluded on such a day as that.
You that have been like sisters all your lives till a year ago!"

"But, Frank - "

"Now, Beatrice, don't have any buts; say that you will do it, and it
will be done: I am sure Oriel will approve, and so will my father."

"But, Frank, you won't hear me."

"Not if you make objections; I have set my heart on your doing it."

"But I had set my heart on the same thing."

"Well?"

"And I went to Mary on purpose; and told her just as you tell me now,
that she must come. I meant to make mamma understand that I could not
be happy unless it were so; but Mary positively refused."

"Refused! What did she say?"

"I could not tell you what she said; indeed, it would not be right if
I could; but she positively declined. She seemed to feel, that after
all that had happened, she never could come to Greshamsbury again."

"Fiddlestick!"

"But, Frank, those are her feelings; and, to tell the truth, I could
not combat them. I know she is not happy; but time will cure that.
And, to tell you the truth, Frank - "

"It was before I came back that you asked her, was it not?"

"Yes; just the day before you came, I think."

"Well, it's all altered now. I have seen her since that."

"Have you Frank?"

"What do you take me for? Of course, I have. The very first day I
went to her. And now, Beatrice, you may believe me or not, as you
like; but if I ever marry, I shall marry Mary Thorne; and if ever she
marries, I think I may say, she will marry me. At any rate, I have
her promise. And now, you cannot be surprised that I should wish
her to be at your wedding; or that I should declare, that if she is
absent, I will be absent. I don't want any secrets, and you may tell
my mother if you like it - and all the de Courcys too, for anything I
care."

Frank had ever been used to command his sisters: and they, especially
Beatrice, had ever been used to obey. On this occasion, she was well
inclined to do so, if she only knew how. She again remembered how
Mary had once sworn to be at her wedding, to be near her, and to
touch her - even though all the blood of the de Courcys should be
crowded before the altar railings.

"I should be so happy that she should be there; but what am I to do,
Frank, if she refuses? I have asked her, and she has refused."

"Go to her again; you need not have any scruples with her. Do
not I tell you she will be your sister? Not come here again to
Greshamsbury! Why, I tell you that she will be living here while you
are living there at the parsonage, for years and years to come."

Beatrice promised that she would go to Mary again, and that she would
endeavour to talk her mother over if Mary would consent to come. But
she could not yet make herself believe that Mary Thorne would ever
be mistress of Greshamsbury. It was so indispensably necessary that
Frank should marry money! Besides, what were those horrid rumours
which were now becoming rife as to Mary's birth; rumours more horrid
than any which had yet been heard?

Augusta had said hardly more than the truth when she spoke of her
father being broken-hearted by his debts. His troubles were becoming
almost too many for him; and Mr Gazebee, though no doubt he was an
excellent man of business, did not seem to lessen them. Mr Gazebee,
indeed, was continually pointing out how much he owed, and in what
a quagmire of difficulties he had entangled himself. Now, to do Mr
Yates Umbleby justice, he had never made himself disagreeable in this
manner.

Mr Gazebee had been doubtless right, when he declared that Sir Louis
Scatcherd had not himself the power to take any steps hostile to the
squire; but Sir Louis had also been right, when he boasted that,
in spite of his father's will, he could cause others to move in
the matter. Others did move, and were moving, and it began to be
understood that a moiety, at least, of the remaining Greshamsbury
property must be sold. Even this, however, would by no means leave
the squire in undisturbed possession of the other moiety. And thus,
Mr Gresham was nearly broken-hearted.

Frank had now been at home a week, and his father had not as yet
spoken to him about the family troubles; nor had a word as yet been
said between them as to Mary Thorne. It had been agreed that Frank
should go away for twelve months, in order that he might forget her.
He had been away the twelvemonth, and had now returned, not having
forgotten her.

It generally happens, that in every household, one subject of
importance occupies it at a time. The subject of importance now
mostly thought of in the Greshamsbury household, was the marriage of
Beatrice. Lady Arabella had to supply the trousseau for her daughter;
the squire had to supply the money for the trousseau; Mr Gazebee had
the task of obtaining the money for the squire. While this was going
on, Mr Gresham was not anxious to talk to his son, either about his
own debts or his son's love. There would be time for these things
when the marriage-feast should be over.

So thought the father, but the matter was precipitated by Frank. He
also had put off the declaration which he had to make, partly from
a wish to spare the squire, but partly also with a view to spare
himself. We have all some of that cowardice which induces us to
postpone an inevitably evil day. At this time the discussions as
to Beatrice's wedding were frequent in the house, and at one of
them Frank had heard his mother repeat the names of the proposed
bridesmaids. Mary's name was not among them, and hence had arisen his
attack on his sister.

Lady Arabella had had her reason for naming the list before her son;
but she overshot her mark. She wished to show him how totally Mary
was forgotten at Greshamsbury; but she only inspired him with a
resolve that she should not be forgotten. He accordingly went to his
sister; and then, the subject being full on his mind, he resolved at
once to discuss it with his father.

"Sir, are you at leisure for five minutes?" he said, entering the
room in which the squire was accustomed to sit majestically, to
receive his tenants, scold his dependants, and in which, in former
happy days, he had always arranged the meets of the Barsetshire hunt.

Mr Gresham was quite at leisure: when was he not so? But had he been
immersed in the deepest business of which he was capable, he would
gladly have put it aside at his son's instance.

"I don't like to have any secret from you, sir," said Frank; "nor,
for the matter of that, from anybody else" - the anybody else was
intended to have reference to his mother - "and, therefore, I would
rather tell you at once what I have made up my mind to do."

Frank's address was very abrupt, and he felt it was so. He was rather
red in the face, and his manner was fluttered. He had quite made up
his mind to break the whole affair to his father; but he had hardly
made up his mind as to the best mode of doing so.

"Good heavens, Frank! what do you mean? you are not going to do
anything rash? What is it you mean, Frank?"

"I don't think it is rash," said Frank.

"Sit down, my boy; sit down. What is it that you say you are going to
do?"

"Nothing immediately, sir," said he, rather abashed; "but as I have
made up my mind about Mary Thorne, - quite made up my mind, I think it
right to tell you."

"Oh, about Mary," said the squire, almost relieved.

And then Frank, in voluble language, which he hardly, however, had
quite under his command, told his father all that had passed between
him and Mary. "You see, sir," said he, "that it is fixed now, and
cannot be altered. Nor must it be altered. You asked me to go away
for twelve months, and I have done so. It has made no difference, you
see. As to our means of living, I am quite willing to do anything
that may be best and most prudent. I was thinking, sir, of taking a
farm somewhere near here, and living on that."

The squire sat quite silent for some moments after this communication
had been made to him. Frank's conduct, as a son, had been such that
he could not find fault with it; and, in this special matter of his
love, how was it possible for him to find fault? He himself was
almost as fond of Mary as of a daughter; and, though he too would
have been desirous that his son should relieve the estate from its
embarrassments by a rich marriage, he did not at all share Lady
Arabella's feelings on the subject. No Countess de Courcy had ever
engraved it on the tablets of his mind that the world would come to
ruin if Frank did not marry money. Ruin there was, and would be, but
it had been brought about by no sin of Frank's.

"Do you remember about her birth, Frank?" he said, at last.

"Yes, sir; everything. She told me all she knew; and Dr Thorne
finished the story."

"And what do you think of it?"

"It is a pity, and a misfortune. It might, perhaps, have been a
reason why you or my mother should not have had Mary in the house
many years ago; but it cannot make any difference now."

Frank had not meant to lean so heavily on his father; but he did do
so. The story had never been told to Lady Arabella; was not even
known to her now, positively, and on good authority. But Mr Gresham
had always known it. If Mary's birth was so great a stain upon her,
why had he brought her into his house among his children?

"It is a misfortune, Frank; a very great misfortune. It will not
do for you and me to ignore birth; too much of the value of one's
position depends upon it."

"But what was Mr Moffat's birth?" said Frank, almost with scorn; "or
what Miss Dunstable's?" he would have added, had it not been that his
father had not been concerned in that sin of wedding him to the oil
of Lebanon.

"True, Frank. But yet, what you would mean to say is not true. We
must take the world as we find it. Were you to marry a rich heiress,
were her birth even as low as that of poor Mary - "

"Don't call her poor Mary, father; she is not poor. My wife will have
a right to take rank in the world, however she was born."

"Well, - poor in that way. But were she an heiress, the world would
forgive her birth on account of her wealth."

"The world is very complaisant, sir."

"You must take it as you find it, Frank. I only say that such is the
fact. If Porlock were to marry the daughter of a shoeblack, without a
farthing, he would make a _mésalliance_; but if the daughter of the
shoeblack had half a million of money, nobody would dream of saying
so. I am stating no opinion of my own: I am only giving you the
world's opinion."

"I don't give a straw for the world."

"That is a mistake, my boy; you do care for it, and would be very
foolish if you did not. What you mean is, that, on this particular
point, you value your love more than the world's opinion."

"Well, yes, that is what I mean."

But the squire, though he had been very lucid in his definition, had
not got no nearer to his object; had not even yet ascertained what
his own object was. This marriage would be ruinous to Greshamsbury;
and yet, what was he to say against it, seeing that the ruin had been
his fault, and not his son's?

"You could let me have a farm; could you not, sir? I was thinking
of about six or seven hundred acres. I suppose it could be managed
somehow?"

"A farm?" said the father, abstractedly.

"Yes, sir. I must do something for my living. I should make less of
a mess of that than of anything else. Besides, it would take such a
time to be an attorney, or a doctor, or anything of that sort."

Do something for his living! And was the heir of Greshamsbury come to
this - the heir and only son? Whereas, he, the squire, had succeeded
at an earlier age than Frank's to an unembarrassed income of fourteen
thousand pounds a year! The reflection was very hard to bear.

"Yes: I dare say you could have a farm:" and then he threw himself
back in his chair, closing his eyes. Then, after a while, rose again,
and walked hurriedly about the room. "Frank," he said, at last,
standing opposite to his son, "I wonder what you think of me?"

"Think of you, sir?" ejaculated Frank.

"Yes; what do you think of me, for having thus ruined you. I wonder
whether you hate me?"

Frank, jumping up from his chair, threw his arms round his father's
neck. "Hate you, sir? How can you speak so cruelly? You know well
that I love you. And, father, do not trouble yourself about the
estate for my sake. I do not care for it; I can be just as happy
without it. Let the girls have what is left, and I will make my own
way in the world, somehow. I will go to Australia; yes, sir, that
will be best. I and Mary will both go. Nobody will care about her
birth there. But, father, never say, never think, that I do not love
you!"

The squire was too much moved to speak at once, so he sat down again,
and covered his face with his hands. Frank went on pacing the room,
till, gradually, his first idea recovered possession of his mind, and
the remembrance of his father's grief faded away. "May I tell Mary,"
he said at last, "that you consent to our marriage? It will make her
so happy."

But the squire was not prepared to say this. He was pledged to his
wife to do all that he could to oppose it; and he himself thought,
that if anything could consummate the family ruin, it would be this
marriage.

"I cannot say that, Frank; I cannot say that. What would you both
live on? It would be madness."

"We would go to Australia," answered he, bitterly. "I have just said
so."

"Oh, no, my boy; you cannot do that. You must not throw the old place
up altogether. There is no other one but you, Frank; and we have
lived here now for so many, many years."

"But if we cannot live here any longer, father?"

"But for this scheme of yours, we might do so. I will give up
everything to you, the management of the estate, the park, all the
land we have in hand, if you will give up this fatal scheme. For,
Frank, it is fatal. You are only twenty-three; why should you be in
such a hurry to marry?"

"You married at twenty-one, sir."

Frank was again severe on his father, but unwittingly. "Yes, I did,"
said Mr Gresham; "and see what has come of it! Had I waited ten years
longer, how different would everything have been! No, Frank, I cannot
consent to such a marriage; nor will your mother."

"It is your consent I ask, sir; and I am asking for nothing but your
consent."

"It would be sheer madness; madness for you both. My own Frank, my
dear, dear boy, do not drive me to distraction! Give it up for four
years."

"Four years!"

"Yes; for four years. I ask it as a personal favour; as an obligation
to myself, in order that we may be saved from ruin; you, your mother,
and sisters, your family name, and the old house. I do not talk about
myself; but were such a marriage to take place, I should be driven to
despair."

Frank found it very hard to resist his father, who now had hold of
his hand and arm, and was thus half retaining him, and half embracing
him. "Frank, say that you will forget this for four years - say for
three years."

But Frank would not say so. To postpone his marriage for four years,
or for three, seemed to him to be tantamount to giving up Mary
altogether; and he would not acknowledge that any one had the right
to demand of him to do that.

"My word is pledged, sir," he said.

"Pledged! Pledged to whom?"

"To Miss Thorne."

"But I will see her, Frank; - and her uncle. She was always
reasonable. I am sure she will not wish to bring ruin on her old
friends at Greshamsbury."

"Her old friends at Greshamsbury have done but little lately to
deserve her consideration. She has been treated shamefully. I know
it has not been by you, sir; but I must say so. She has already been
treated shamefully; but I will not treat her falsely."

"Well, Frank, I can say no more to you. I have destroyed the estate
which should have been yours, and I have no right to expect you
should regard what I say."

Frank was greatly distressed. He had not any feeling of animosity
against his father with reference to the property, and would have
done anything to make the squire understand this, short of giving up
his engagement to Mary. His feeling rather was, that, as each had a
case against the other, they should cry quits; that he should forgive
his father for his bad management, on condition that he himself was
to be forgiven with regard to his determined marriage. Not that he



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