It was well at that moment that Tom had to speak, and not his sister. He could immediately say with easy fluency54, “I am sorry you are going; but as to our play, that is all over–entirely55 at an end” (looking significantly at his father). “The painter was sent off yesterday, and very little will remain of the theatre to-morrow. I knew how that would be from the first. It is early for Bath. You will find nobody there.”
“It is about my uncle’s usual time.”
“When do you think of going?”
“I may, perhaps, get as far as Banbury to-day.”
“Whose stables do you use at Bath?” was the next question; and while this branch of the subject was under discussion, Maria, who wanted neither pride nor resolution, was preparing to encounter her share of it with tolerable calmness.
To her he soon turned, repeating much of what he had already said, with only a softened56 air and stronger expressions of regret. But what availed his expressions or his air? He was going, and, if not voluntarily going, voluntarily intending to stay away; for, excepting what might be due to his uncle, his engagements were all self-imposed. He might talk of necessity, but she knew his independence. The hand which had so pressed hers to his heart! the hand and the heart were alike motionless and passive now! Her spirit supported her, but the agony of her mind was severe. She had not long to endure what arose from listening to language which his actions contradicted, or