“I want to be your neighbour, Sir Thomas, as you have, perhaps, heard me telling Miss Price. May I hope for your acquiescence57, and for your not influencing your son against such a tenant58?”
Sir Thomas, politely bowing, replied, “It is the only way, sir, in which I could not wish you established as a permanent neighbour; but I hope, and believe, that Edmund will occupy his own house at Thornton Lacey. Edmund, am I saying too much?”
Edmund, on this appeal, had first to hear what was going on; but, on understanding the question, was at no loss for an answer.
“Certainly, sir, I have no idea but of residence. But, Crawford, though I refuse you as a tenant, come to me as a friend. Consider the house as half your own every winter, and we will add to the stables on your own improved plan, and with all the improvements of your improved plan that may occur to you this spring.”
“We shall be the losers,” continued Sir Thomas. “His going, though only eight miles, will be an unwelcome contraction59 of our family circle; but I should have been deeply mortified60 if any son of mine could reconcile himself to doing less. It is perfectly natural that you should not have thought much on the subject, Mr. Crawford. But a parish has wants and claims which can be known only by a clergyman constantly resident, and which no proxy61 can be capable of satisfying to the same extent. Edmund might, in the common phrase, do the duty of Thornton, that is, he