Chapter 4 Godfrey is in trouble(2)
The Squire's face was purple now, and for a moment he could not speak. ‘You-you let Dunstan have my money? Why did you give it to him? And why did he want it? Where’s Dunstan now? He'll answer my questions, or leave this house! Go and fetch him at once!’
‘Dunstan hasn't come home, sir. The horse was found dead, and nobody knows where Dunstan is.’
‘Well, why did you let him have my money? Answer me!’ said the Squire, staring angrily at Godfrey.
‘Well, sir, I don't know,’ replied Godfrey, hesitating. He was not good at lying, and was not prepared for his father’s questions.
‘You don't know?’ the Squire repeated scornfully. ‘Well, I know why. I think you've done something wrong, and you've bribed Dunstan to keep it a secret! That’s it, isn't it?’
The Squire had made a very clever guess, and Godfrey's heart banged in sudden alarm. He was not ready to confess everything yet. ‘Well, sir,’ he said, trying to speak carelessly, 'it was just a little business between Dunstan and me. You wouldn't be interested in it, you know.’
‘How old are you now? Twenty-six?’ asked the Squire angrily. 'Old enough to look after your money and mine too! I’ve been much too generous to you boys, but I'm going to be harder on you all from now on. You’ve got a weak character, Godfrey,like your poor mother. I think you need a wife who knows what she wants, because you can't decide anything by yourself! When you were thinking of marrying Nancy Lammeter, I agreed, didn't I? Have you asked her or not? She hasn’t refused to marry you, has she?’
‘No, I haven't asked her,' said Godfrey, feeling very hot and uncomfortable, ‘but I don't think she'll accept me.’
‘Don't be stupid. Godfrey!’ said the Squire with a scornful laugh. ‘Any woman would want to marry into our family! Do you want to marry her?’
‘There's no other woman I want to marry,’ said Godfrey, avoiding his father’s eyes.
‘Well, then, let me speak to her father for you, since you aren't brave enough to do it yourself. She’s a pretty girl, and intelligent.’
‘No, sir, please don’t say anything at the moment,’ said Godfrey quickly. ‘I must ask her myself.’
‘Well, ask her then. When you marry her, you'll have to forget about horses and so on. It’ll be good for you to do some serious work. You should get married soon.'
‘Please don't try to hurry things, sir,’ begged Godfrey.
‘I'll do what I like,’ said the Squire firmly. ‘And if you don’t do what I want, I'll disinherit you and you can leave the house. Now, if you know where Dunstan’s hiding - I expect you do - tell him he needn’t come home. He'll pay for his own food from now on.’
‘I don't know where he is, sir. Anyway, it's you who should tell him to leave home.’
‘Don't argue with me, Godfrey,’ said the Squire. turning back to his breakfast. ‘Just go and tell the servants to get my horse ready.’
Godfrey left the room. He was relieved that his father had not discovered the whole truth. However, he was a little worried that the Squire would try to arrange his marriage with Nancy. While he was married to Molly, he could not marry Nancy, although it was his dearest wish. But as usual he was waiting and hoping for some unexpected change in his situation, which would save him from any unpleasantness.