"Of course it is odd. If you could go to him and tell him everything!" But the Captain, looking at the matter all round, thought that he could not go to Sir Thomas and tell him anything. Then she began gently to introduce the respectable clergyman at Ostend. It was not necessary that she should refer at length to the circumstances under which she had studied the subject, but she gave Captain Batsby to understand that it was one as to which she had picked up a good deal of information.
But the money! "If Sir Thomas were made really angry, the consequences would be disastrous," said the Captain. But Gertrude was of a different way of thinking. Her father was, no doubt, a man who could be very imperious, and would insist upon having his own way as long as his own way was profitable to him. But he was a man who always forgave.
"If you mean about the money," said Gertrude, "I am quite sure that it would all come right." He did mean about the money, and was evidently uneasy in his mind when the suggested step was made manifest to him. Gertrude was astonished to see how long and melancholy his face could become. "Papa was never unkind about money in his life," said Gertrude. "He could not endure to have any of us poor."
On the next Saturday Sir Thomas again came down, and still found his guest at Merle Park. We are now a little in advance of our special story, which is, or ought to be, devoted to Ayala. But, with the affairs of so many lovers and their loves, it is almost impossible to make the chronicle run at equal periods throughout. It was now more than three weeks since Ayala went to Stalham, and Lady Albury had written to the Captain confessing something of her sin, and begging to be forgiven. This she had done in her anxiety to keep the Captain away. He had not answered his sister-in-law's letter, but, in his present frame of mind, was not at all anxious to finish up the hunting season at Stalham. Sir Thomas, on his arrival, was very full of Tom's projected tour. He had arranged everything -- except in regard to Tom's own assent. He had written to New York, and had received back a reply from his correspondent assuring him that Tom should be made most heartily welcome. It might be that Tom's fighting propensities had not been made known to the people of New York. Sir Thomas had taken a berth on board of one of the Cunard boats, and had even gone so far as to ask the Captain to come down for a day or two to Merle Park. He was so much employed with Tom that he could hardly afford time and consideration to Captain Batsby and his affairs. Nevertheless he did ask a question, and received an answer with which he seemed to be satisfied. "What on earth is that man staying here for?" he said to his wife.
"He is going on Friday," replied Lady Tringle, doubtingly -- almost as though she thought that she would be subjected to further anger because of this delay. But Sir Thomas dropped the subject, and passed on to some matter affecting Tom's outfit. Lady Tringle was very glad to change the subject, and promised that everything should be supplied befitting the hottest and coldest climates on the earth's surface.
"She sails on the nineteenth of April." said Sir Thomas to his son.
"I don't think I could go as soon as that, Sir," replied Tom, whining.
"Why not? There are more than three weeks yet, and your mother will have everything ready for you. What on earth is there to hinder you?"