“Me? Think of yourself first.”
“It was nobody’s fault. When we got there the parson wouldn’t marry us because of some trifling irregularity in the license.”
“I don’t know. Mr. Wildeve can explain. I did not think when I went away this morning that I should come back like this.” It being dark, Thomasin allowed her emotion to escape her by the silent way of tears, which could roll down her cheek unseen.
“I could almost say that it serves you right—if I did not feel that you don’t deserve it,” continued Mrs. Yeobright, who, possessing two distinct moods in close contiguity, a gentle mood and an angry, flew from one to the other without the least warning. “Remember, Thomasin, this business was none of my seeking; from the very first, when you began to feel foolish about that man, I warned you he would not make you happy. I felt it so strongly that I did what I would never have believed myself capable of doing—stood up in the church, and made myself the public talk for weeks. But having once consented, I don’t submit to these fancies without good reason. Marry him you must after this.”
“Do you think I wish to do otherwise for one moment?” said Thomasin, with a heavy sigh. “I know how wrong it was of me to love him, but don’t pain me by talking like that, aunt! You would not have had me stay there with him, would you?—and your house is the only home I have to return to. He says we can be married in a day or two.”
“I wish he had never seen you.”
“Very well; then I will be the miserablest woman in the world, and not let him see me again. No, I won’t have him!”
“It is too late to speak so. Come with me. I am going to the inn to see if he has returned. Of course I shall get to the bottom of this story at once. Mr. Wildeve must not suppose he can play tricks upon me, or any belonging to me.”
“It was not that. The license was wrong, and he couldn’t get another the same day. He will tell you in a moment how it was, if he comes.”
“Why didn’t he bring you back?”
“That was me!” again sobbed Thomasin. “When I found we could not be married I didn’t like to come back with him, and I was very ill. Then I saw Diggory Venn, and was glad to get him to take me home. I cannot explain it any better, and you must be angry with me if you will.”
“I shall see about that,” said Mrs. Yeobright; and they turned towards the inn, known in the neighbourhood as the Quiet Woman, the sign of which represented the figure of a matron carrying her head under her arm, beneath which gruesome design was written the couplet so well known to frequenters of the inn:—
Since the woman’s
let no man breed A riot.