Sir Thomas looked again, and then replied with an approving smile, “I am happy to find our sentiments on this subject so much the same. It gives me sincere satisfaction. That I should be cautious and quick-sighted, and feel many scruples104 which my children do not feel, is perfectly105 natural; and equally so that my value for domestic tranquillity, for a home which shuts out noisy pleasures, should much exceed theirs. But at your time of life to feel all this, is a most favourable106 circumstance for yourself, and for everybody connected with you; and I am sensible of the importance of having an ally of such weight.”
Sir Thomas meant to be giving Mr. Rushworth’s opinion in better words than he could find himself. He was aware that he must not expect a genius in Mr. Rushworth; but as a well-judging, steady young man, with better notions than his elocution would do justice to, he intended to value him very highly. It was impossible for many of the others not to smile. Mr. Rushworth hardly knew what to do with so much meaning; but by looking, as he really felt, most exceedingly pleased with Sir Thomas’s good opinion, and saying scarcely anything, he did his best towards preserving that good opinion a little longer.
Edmund’s first object the next morning was to see his father alone, and give him a fair statement of the whole acting1 scheme, defending his own share in it as far only as he could then, in a soberer moment, feel his motives2 to deserve, and acknowledging, with perfect ingenuousness3, that his concession4 had been attended with such partial good as to make his judgment5 in it very doubtful. He was anxious, while vindicating6 himself, to say nothing unkind of the others: but there was only one amongst them whose conduct he could mention without some necessity of defence or palliation. “We have all been more or less to blame,” said he, “every one of us, excepting Fanny. Fanny is the only one who has judged rightly throughout; who has been consistent. Her feelings have been steadily7 against it from first to last. She never ceased to think of what was due to you. You will find Fanny everything you could wish.”