Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope

Chapter XXXVIII

De Courcy Precepts and De Courcy Practice

There is a mode of novel-writing which used to be much in vogue, but which has now gone out of fashion. It is, nevertheless, one which is very expressive when in good hands, and which enables the author to tell his story, or some portion of his story, with more natural trust than any other, I mean that of familiar letters. I trust I shall be excused if I attempt it as regards this one chapter; though, it may be, that I shall break down and fall into the commonplace narrative, even before the one chapter be completed. The correspondents are the Lady Amelia De Courcy and Miss Gresham. I, of course, give precedence to the higher rank, but the first epistle originated with the latter-named young lady. Let me hope that they will explain themselves.

‘Miss Gresham to Lady Amelia de Courcy

‘Greshamsbury House, June 185-‘MY DEAREST AMELIA,

‘I wish to consult you on a subject which, as you will perceive, is of a most momentous nature. You know how much reliance I place in your judgement and knowledge of what is proper, and, therefore, I write to you before speaking to any other living person on the subject: not even to mamma; for, although her judgement is good too, she has so many cares and troubles, that it is natural that it should be a little warped when the interests of her children are involved. Now that it is all over, I feel that it may possibly have been so in the case of Mr Moffat.

‘You are aware that Mr Mortimer Gazebee is now staying here, and that he has been here for nearly two months. He is engaged in managing poor papa’s affairs, and mamma, who likes him very much, says that he is a most excellent man of business. Of course, you know that he is a junior partner in the very old firm of Gumption, Gazebee, and Gazebee, who, I understand, do not undertake any business at all, except what comes to them from peers, or commoners of the very highest class.

‘I soon perceived, dearest Amelia, that Mr Gazebee paid me more than ordinary attention, and I immediately became very guarded in my manner. I certainly liked Mr Gazebee from the first. His manners are quite excellent, his conduct to mamma is charming, and, as regards myself, I must say that there has been nothing in his behaviour of which even you could complain. He has never attempted the slightest familiarity, and I will do him the justice to say, that, though he has been very attentive, he has also been very respectful.

‘I must confess that, for the last three weeks, I have thought that he meant something. I might, perhaps, have done more to repel him; or I might have consulted you earlier as to the propriety of keeping altogether out of his way. But you know, Amelia, how often these things lead to nothing, and though I thought all along that Mr Gazebee was in earnest, I hardly liked to say anything about it even to you till I was quite certain. If you had advised me, you know, to accept his offer, and if, after that, he had never made it, I should have felt so foolish.

‘But now he has made it. He came to me yesterday just before dinner, in the little drawing-room, and told me, in the most delicate manner, in words that even you could not have but approved, that his highest ambition was to be thought worthy of my regard, and that he felt for me the warmest love, and the most profound admiration, and the deepest respect. You may say, Amelia, that he is only an attorney, and I believe that he is an attorney; but I am sure you would have esteemed him had you heard the very delicate way in which he expressed his sentiments.

‘Something had given me a presentiment of what he was going to do when I saw him come into the room, so that I was on my guard. I tried very hard to show no emotion; but I suppose I was a little flurried, as I once detected myself calling him Mr Mortimer: his name, you know, is Mortimer Gazebee. I ought not to have done so, certainly; but it was not so bad as if I had called him Mortimer without the Mr, was it? I don’t think there could possibly be a prettier Christian name than Mortimer. Well, Amelia, I allowed him to express himself without interruption. He once attempted to take my hand; but even this was done without any assumption of familiarity; and when he saw that I would not permit it, he drew back, and fixed his eyes on the ground as though he were ashamed even of that.

‘Of course, I had to give him an answer; and though I had expected that something of this sort would take place, I had not made up my mind on the subject. I would not, certainly, under any circumstances, accept him without consulting you. If I really disliked him, of course there would be no doubt; but I can’t say, dearest Amelia, that I do absolutely dislike him; and I really think that we would make each other very happy, if the marriage were suitable as regarded both our positions.

‘I collected myself as well as I could, and I really do think that you would have said that I did not behave badly, though the position was rather trying. I told him that, of course, I was flattered by his sentiments, though much surprised at hearing them; that since I knew him, I had esteemed and valued him as an acquaintance, but that, looking on him as a man of business, I had never expected anything more. I then endeavoured to explain to him, that I was not perhaps privileged as some other girls might be, to indulge my feelings altogether: perhaps that was saying too much, and might make him think that I was in love with him; but, from the way I said it, I don’t think he would, for I was very much guarded in my manner, and very collected; and then I told him, that in any proposal of marriage that might be made to me, it would be my duty to consult my family as much, if not more than myself.

‘He said, of course; and asked whether he might speak to papa. I tried to make him understand, that in talking of my family, I did not exactly mean papa, or even mamma. Of course I was thinking what was due to the name of Gresham. I know very well what papa would say. He would give his consent in half a minute; he is so broken-hearted by these debts. And, to tell you the truth, Amelia, I think mamma would too. He did not seem quite to comprehend what I meant; but he did say that he knew it was a high ambition to marry into the family of the Greshams. I am sure you would confess that he has the most proper feelings; and as for expressing them no man could do it better.

‘He owned that it was ambition to ally himself with a family above his own rank in life, and that he looked to doing so as a means of advancing himself. Now this was at any rate honest. That was one of his motives, he said; though, of course, not his first: and then he declared how truly he was attached to me. In answer to this, I remarked that he had known me only a very short time. This, perhaps, was giving him too much encouragement; but, at that moment, I hardly knew what to say, for I did not wish to hurt his feelings. He then spoke of his income. He has fifteen hundred a year from the business, and that will be greatly increased when his father leaves it; and his father is much older then Mr Gumption, though he is only a second partner. Mortimer Gazebee will be the senior partner himself before very long; and perhaps that does alter his position a little.

‘He has a very nice place down somewhere in Surrey; I have heard mamma say it is quite a gentleman’s place. It is let now; but he will live there when he is married. And he has property of his own besides which he can settle. So, you see, he is quite as well off as Mr Oriel; better, indeed; and if a man is in a profession, I believe it is considered that it does not matter much what. Of course, a clergyman can be a bishop; but then, I think I have heard that one attorney did once become Lord Chancellor. I should have my carriage, you know; I remember his saying that, especially, though I cannot recollect how he brought it in.

‘I told him, at last, that I was so much taken by surprise that I could not give him an answer then. He was going up to London, he said, on the next day, and might he be permitted to address me on the same subject when he returned? I could not refuse him, you know; and so now I have taken the opportunity of his absence to write to you for your advice. You understand the world so very well, and know exactly what one ought to do in such a strange position!

‘I hope I have made it intelligible, at least, as to what I have written about. I have said nothing as to my own feelings, because I wish you to think on the matter without consulting them. If it would be derogatory to accept Mr Gazebee, I certainly would not do so because I happen to like him. If we were to act in that way, what would the world come to, Amelia? Perhaps my ideas may be overstrained; if so, you will tell me.

‘When Mr Oriel proposed to Beatrice, nobody seemed to make any objection. It all seemed to go as a matter of course. She says that his family is excellent; but as far as I can learn, his grandfather was a general in India, and came home very rich. Mr Gazebee’s grandfather was a member of the firm, and so, I believe, was his great-grandfather. Don’t you think this ought to count for something? Besides, they have no business except with the most aristocratic persons, such as uncle De Courcy, and the Marquis of Kensington Gore, and that sort. I mention the marquis because Mr Mortimer Gazebee is there now. And I know that one of the Gumptions was once in Parliament; and I don’t think that any of the Oriels ever were. The name of attorney is certainly very bad, is it not, Amelia? but they certainly do not seem to be all the same, and I do think that this ought to make a difference. To hear Mr Mortimer Gazebee talk of some attorney at Barchester, you would say that there is quite as much difference between them as between a bishop and a curate. And so I think there is.

‘I don’t wish at all to speak of my own feelings; but if he were not an attorney, he is, I think, the sort of man I should like. He is very nice in every way, and if you were not told, I don’t think you would know he was an attorney. But, dear Amelia, I will be guided by you altogether. He is certainly much nicer than Mr Moffat, and has a great deal more to say for himself. Of course, Mr Moffat having been in Parliament, and having been taken up by uncle De Courcy, was in a different sphere; but I really felt almost relieved when he behaved in that way. With Mortimer Gazebee, I think it would be different.

‘I shall wait so impatiently for your answer, so do pray write at once. I hear some people say that these sort of things are not so much thought of now as they were once, and that all manner of marriages are considered to be comme il faut. I do not want, you know, to make myself foolish by being too particular. Perhaps all these changes are bad, and I rather think they are; but if the world changes, one must change too; one can’t go against the world.

‘So do write and tell me what you think. Do not suppose that I dislike the man, for I really cannot say that I do. But I would not for anything make an alliance for which any one bearing the name of De Courcy would have to blush.

‘Always, dearest Amelia,’ Your most affectionate cousin ‘AUGUSTA GRESHAM.

‘PS— I fear Frank is going to be very foolish with Mary Thorne. You know it is absolutely important that Frank should marry money.

‘It strikes me as quite possible that Mr Mortimer Gazebee may be in Parliament some of these days. He is just the man for it.’

Poor Augusta prayed very hard for her husband; but she prayed to a bosom that on this subject was as hard as a flint, and she prayed in vain. Augusta Gresham was twenty-two, Lady Amelia was thirty-four; was it likely that Lady Amelia would permit Augusta to marry, the issue having thus been left in her hands? Why should Augusta derogate from her position by marrying beneath herself, seeing that Lady Amelia had spent so many more years in the world without having found it necessary to do so? Augusta’s letter was written on two sheets of note-paper, crossed all over; and Lady Amelia’s answer was almost equally formidable.

‘Lady Amelia de Courcy to Miss Augusta Gresham

‘Courcy Castle, June, 185-‘MY DEAR AUGUSTA,

‘I received your letter yesterday morning, but I have put off answering it till this evening, as I have wished to give it very mature consideration. The question is one which concerns, not only your own character, but happiness for life, and nothing less than very mature consideration would justify me in giving a decided opinion on the subject.

‘In the first place, I may tell you, that I have not a word to say against Mr Mortimer Gazebee.’ (When Augusta had read as far as this, her heart sank within her; the rest was all leather and prunella; she saw at once that the fiat had gone against her, and that her wish to become Mrs Mortimer Gazebee was not to be indulged.) ‘I have known him for a long time, and I believe him to be a very respectable person, and I have no doubt a good man of business. The firm of Messrs Gumption and Gazebee stands probably quite among the first attorneys in London, and I know that papa has a very high opinion of them.

‘All of these would be excellent arguments to use in favour of Mr Gazebee as a suitor, had his proposals been made to any one in his own rank in life. But you, in considering the matter, should, I think, look on it in a very different light. The very fact that you pronounce him to be so much superior to other attorneys, shows in how very low esteem you hold the profession in general. It shows also, dear Augusta, how well aware you are that they are a class of people among whom you should not seek a partner for life.

‘My opinion is, that you should make Mr Gazebee understand-very courteously, of course — that you cannot accept his hand. You observe that he himself confesses that in marrying you he would seek a wife in a rank above his own. Is it not, therefore, clear, that in marrying him, you would descend to a rank below you own?

‘I shall be very sorry if it grieves you; but still it will be better that you should bear the grief of overcoming a temporary fancy, than take a step which may so probably make you unhappy; and which some of your friends would certainly regard as disgraceful.

‘It is not permitted to us, my dear Augusta, to think of ourselves in such matters. As you truly say, if we were to act in this way, what would the world come to? It has been God’s pleasure that we should be born with high blood in our veins. This is a great boon which we both value, but the boon has its responsibilities as well as its privileges. It is established by law, that the royal family shall not intermarry with subjects. In our case there is no law, but the necessity is not the less felt; we should not intermarry with those who are probably of a lower rank. Mr Mortimer Gazebee is, after all, only an attorney; and, although you speak of his great-grandfather, he is a man of no blood whatsoever. You must acknowledge that such an admixture should be looked on by a De Courcy, or even a Gresham, as a pollution.’ (Here Augusta got very red, and she felt almost inclined to be angry with her cousin.) ‘Beatrice’s marriage with Mr Oriel is different; though, remember, I am by no means defending that; it may be good or bad, and I have had no opportunity of inquiring respecting Mr Oriel’s family. Beatrice, moreover, has never appeared to me to feel what was due to herself in such matters; but, as I said, her marriage with Mr Oriel is very different. Clergymen — particularly the rectors and vicars of country parishes — do become privileged above other professional men. I could explain why, but it would be too long in a letter.

‘Your feelings on the subject altogether do you great credit. I have no doubt that Mr Gresham, if asked, would accede to the match; but that is just the reason why he should not be asked. It would not be right that I should say anything against your father to you; but it is impossible for any of us not to see that all through life he has thrown away every advantage, and sacrificed his family. Why is he now in debt, as you say? Why is he not holding the family seat in Parliament? Even though you are his daughter, you cannot but feel that you would not do right to consult him on such a subject.

‘As to dear aunt, I feel sure, that were she in good health, and left to exercise her own judgement, she would not wish to see you married to the agent for the family estate. For, dear Augusta, that is the real truth. Mr Gazebee often comes here in the way of business; and though papa always receives him as a gentleman — that is, he dines at table and all that — he is not on the same footing in the house as the ordinary guests and friends of the family. How would you like to be received at Courcy Castle in the same way?

‘You will say, perhaps, that you would still be papa’s niece; so you would. But you know how strict in such matters papa is, and you must remember, that the wife always follows the rank of the husband. Papa is accustomed to the strict etiquette of a court, and I am sure that no consideration would induce him to receive the estate-agent in the light of a nephew. Indeed, were you to marry Mr Gazebee, the house to which he belongs would, I imagine, have to give up the management of the property.

‘Even were Mr Gazebee in Parliament — and I do not see how it is probable that he should get there — it would not make any difference. You must remember, dearest, that I never was an advocate for the Moffat match. I acquiesced in it, because mamma did so. If I could have had my own way, I would adhere to all our old prescriptive principles. Neither money nor position can atone to me for low birth. But the world, alas! is retrograding; and, according to the new-fangled doctrines of the day, a lady of blood is not disgraced by allying herself to a man of wealth, and what may be called quasi-aristocratic position. I wish it were otherwise; but so it is. And, therefore, the match with Mr Moffat was not disgraceful, though it could not be regarded as altogether satisfactory.

‘But with Mr Gazebee the matter would be altogether different. He is a man earning his bread; honestly, I dare say, but in a humble position. You say he is very respectable: I do not doubt it; and so is Mr Scraggs, the butcher at Courcy. You see, Augusta, to what such arguments reduce you.

‘I dare say he may be nicer than Mr Moffat, in one way. That is, he may have more small-talk at his command, and be more clever in all those little pursuits and amusements which are valued by ordinary young ladies. But my opinion is, that neither I nor you would be justified in sacrificing ourselves for such amusements. We have high duties before us. It may be that the performance of those duties will prohibit us from taking a part in the ordinary arena of the feminine world. It is natural that girls should wish to marry; and, therefore, those who are weak, take the first that come. Those who have more judgement, make some sort of selection. But the strongest-minded are, perhaps, those who are able to forgo themselves and their own fancies, and to refrain from any alliance that does not tend to the maintenance of high principles. Of course, I speak of those who have blood in their veins. You and I need not dilate as to the conduct of others.

‘I hope what I have said will convince you. Indeed, I know that it only requires that you and I should have a little cousinly talk on this matter to be quite in accord. You must now remain at Greshamsbury till Mr Gazebee shall return. Immediately that he does so, seek an interview with him; do not wait till he asks for it; then tell him, that when he addressed you, the matter had taken you so much by surprise, that you were not at the moment able to answer him, with that decision that the subject demanded. Tell him, that you are flattered — in saying this, however, you must keep a collected countenance, and be very cold in your manner — but that family reasons would forbid you to avail yourself of his offer, even did no other cause prevent it.

‘And then, dear Augusta, come to us here. I know you will be a little down-hearted after going through this struggle; but I will endeavour to inspirit you. When we are both together, you will feel more sensibly the value of that high position which you will preserve by rejecting Mr Gazebee, and will regret less acutely whatever you may lose.

‘Your very affectionate cousin, ‘AMELIA DE COURCY.

‘PS. — I am greatly grieved about Frank; but I have long feared that he would do some very silly thing. I have heard lately that Miss Mary Thorne is not even the legitimate niece of your Dr Thorne, but is the daughter of some poor creature who was seduced by the doctor, in Barchester. I do not know how true this may be, but I think your brother should be put on his guard: it might do good.’

Poor Augusta! She was in truth to be pitied, for her efforts were made with the intention of doing right according to her lights. For Mr Moffat she had never cared a straw; and when, therefore, she lost the piece of gilding for which she had been instructed by her mother to sell herself, it was impossible to pity her. But Mr Gazebee she would have loved with that sort of love which it was in her power to bestow. With him she would have been happy, respectable, and contented.

She had written her letter with great care. When the offer was made to her, she could not bring herself to throw Lady Amelia to the winds and marry the man, as it were, out of her own head. Lady Amelia had been the tyrant of her life, and so she strove hard to obtain her tyrant’s permission. She used all her little cunning in showing that, after all, Mr Gazebee was not so very plebeian. All her little cunning was utterly worthless. Lady Amelia’s mind was too strong to be caught with such chaff. Augusta could not serve God and Mammon. She must either be true to the god of her cousin’s idolatry, and remain single, or serve the Mammon of her own inclinations, and marry Mr Gazebee.

When re-folding her cousin’s letter, after the first perusal, she did for a moment think of rebellion. Could she not be happy at the nice place in Surrey, having, as she would have, a carriage, even though all the De Courcys should drop her? It had been put to her that she would not like to be received at Courcy Castle with the scant civility which would be considered due to a Mrs Mortimer Gazebee; but what if she could put up without being received at Courcy Castle at all? Such ideas did float through her mind, dimly.

But her courage failed her. It is so hard to throw off a tyrant; so much easier to yield, when we have been in the habit of yielding. This third letter, therefore, was written; and it is the end of the correspondence.

‘Miss Augusta Gresham to Lady Amelia de Courcy

‘Greshamsbury House, July, 185-‘MY DEAREST AMELIA,

‘I did not answer your letter before, because I thought it better to delay doing so till Mr Gazebee had been here. He came the day before yesterday, and yesterday I did, as nearly as possible, what you advised. Perhaps, on the whole, it will be better. As you say, rank has its responsibilities as well as its privileges.

‘I don’t quite understand what you mean about clergymen, but we can talk that over when we meet. Indeed, it seems to me that if one is to be particular about family — and I am sure I think we ought — one ought to be so without exception. If Mr Oriel be a parvenu, Beatrice’s children won’t be well born merely because their father was a clergyman, even though he is a rector. Since my former letter, I have heard that Mr Gazebee’s great-great-great-grandfather established the firm; and there are many people who were nobodies then who are thought to have good blood in their veins now.

‘But I do not say this because I differ from you. I agree with you so fully, that I at once made up my mind to reject the man; and, consequently, I have done so.

‘When I told him I could not accept him from family considerations, he asked me whether I had spoken to papa. I told him, no; and that it would be no good, as I had made up my own mind. I don’t think he quite understood me; but it did not perhaps much matter. You told me to be very cold, and I think that perhaps he thought me less gracious than before. Indeed, I fear that when he first spoke, I may seem to have given him too much encouragement. However, it is all over now; quite over!’ (As Augusta wrote this, she barely managed to save the paper beneath her hand from being moistened with the tear which escaped from her eye.)

‘I do not mind confessing now,’ she continued, ‘at any rate to you, that I did like Mr Gazebee a little. I think his temper and disposition would have suited me. But I am quite satisfied that I have done right. He tried very hard to make me change my mind. That is, he said a great many things as to whether I would not put off my decision. But I was quite firm. I must say that he behaved very well, and that I really do think he liked me honestly and truly; but, of course, I could not sacrifice family considerations on that account.

‘Yes, rank has its responsibilities as well as its privileges. I will remember that. It is necessary to do so, as otherwise one would be without consolation for what one has to suffer. For I find that one has to suffer, Amelia. I know papa would have advised me to marry this man; and so, I dare say, mamma would, and Frank, and Beatrice, if they knew that I liked him. It would not be so bad if we all thought alike about it; but it is hard to have 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.

‘PS. — 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 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 a matter 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 little 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, as 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 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 realized, 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 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 glad to see them; his marriage gave him some eclat 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-inlaw may some day be able to bring him into Parliament.

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