“It made no difference. I had arranged to give one, and it was not worth while to make more gloom than necessary. To begin by shutting ourselves up and telling you of Tamsin’s misfortunes would have been a poor sort of welcome.”
Clym remained thinking. “I almost wish you had not had that party,” he said; “and for other reasons. But I will tell you in a day or two. We must think of Tamsin now.”
They lapsed into silence. “I’ll tell you what,” said Yeobright again, in a tone which showed some slumbering feeling still. “I don’t think it kind to Tamsin to let her be married like this, and neither of us there to keep up her spirits or care a bit about her. She hasn’t disgraced herself, or done anything to deserve that. It is bad enough that the wedding should be so hurried and unceremonious, without our keeping away from it in addition. Upon my soul, ’tis almost a shame. I’ll go.”
“It is over by this time,” said his mother with a sigh; “unless they were late, or he—”
“Then I shall be soon enough to see them come out. I don’t quite like your keeping me in ignorance, mother, after all. Really, I half hope he has failed to meet her!”
“And ruined her character?”
“Nonsense: that wouldn’t ruin Thomasin.”
He took up his hat and hastily left the house. Mrs. Yeobright looked rather unhappy, and sat still, deep in thought. But she was not long left alone. A few minutes later Clym came back again, and in his company came Diggory Venn.
“I find there isn’t time for me to get there,” said Clym.
“Is she married?” Mrs. Yeobright inquired, turning to the reddleman a face in which a strange strife of wishes, for and against, was apparent.
Venn bowed. “She is, ma’am.”
“How strange it sounds,” murmured Clym.
“And he didn’t disappoint her this time?” said Mrs. Yeobright.
“He did not. And there is now no slight on her name. I was hastening ath’art to tell you at once, as I saw you were not there.”
“How came you to be there? How did you know it?” she asked.
“I have been in that neighbourhood for some time, and I saw them go in,” said the reddleman. “Wildeve came up to the door, punctual as the clock. I didn’t expect it of him.” He did not add, as he might have added, that how he came to be in that neighbourhood was not by accident; that, since Wildeve’s resumption of his right to Thomasin, Venn, with the thoroughness which was part of his character, had determined to see the end of the episode.
“Who was there?” said Mrs. Yeobright.
“Nobody hardly. I stood right out of the way, and she did not see me.” The reddleman spoke huskily, and looked into the garden.
“Who gave her away?”
“How very remarkable! Miss Vye! It is to be considered an honour, I suppose?”
“Who’s Miss Vye?” said Clym.