Mr Thursley came heavily up the stair, with intention, not simply to warn the lovers of his coming, but to send before him a certain intimation of the temper of mind, not soft or yielding, in which he was approaching. It was time that this matter should be settled one way or another. He was not thinking sentimentally of what people might call the happiness of his daughter—that is, of letting her have her own way whatever might happen—but, as he thought, wisely, judiciously, of{153} what was best for her,—of her proper establishment in life. He gave them warning, by his heavy deliberate approach, that he had assumed this judicial position, and both of them understood by instinct that it was so. They drew a little apart to prepare for him, and felt that the crisis had come. It must be added, however, that underlying all the bitter excitement of this meeting, and of the father’s judgment, there lay a consciousness in all their minds that no judgment could settle the matter; and that after the most serious decision that could be made by the natural authority, there was yet another veto more important, in the will of the person chiefly concerned.

Mr Thursley, however, did everything that was most adapted to impress the{154} minds of the young people with the idea of a supreme and decisive judgment. He put himself into a great chair, which he drew into the centre of the room, 먹튀사이트 facing them. He rung for another lamp, which changed the twilight of the large room into a circle of full light round the group: and having made these preparations, he bade Gervase speak. “We have all been going on in a sort of happy-go-lucky way,” he said; “but this can’t last any longer. It will be better for you to tell me what you intend, and where this is to lead to. For Madeline’s sake, I feel that it is my duty to interfere.”

“I am very glad, sir, of the opportunity,” Gervase said; and he made his statement, as he had already made it to Madeline, Mr Thursley listening without{155} interrupting by a word the concise report. When the young man had ended, there was a brief pause.