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The first event of any importance in the family was the death of Mr.
Norris, which happened when Fanny was about fifteen, and necessarily
introduced alterations and novelties. Mrs. Norris, on quitting the
Parsonage, removed first to the Park, and afterwards to a small house
of Sir Thomas's in the village, and consoled herself for the loss of
her husband by considering that she could do very well without him; and
for her reduction of income by the evident necessity of stricter
The living was hereafter for Edmund; and, had his uncle died a few
years sooner, it would have been duly given to some friend to hold till
he were old enough for orders. But Tom's extravagance had, previous to
that event, been so great as to render a different disposal of the next
presentation necessary, and the younger brother must help to pay for
the pleasures of the elder. There was another family living actually
held for Edmund; but though this circumstance had made the arrangement
somewhat easier to Sir Thomas's conscience, he could not but feel it to
be an act of injustice, and he earnestly tried to impress his eldest
son with the same conviction, in the hope of its producing a better
effect than anything he had yet been able to say or do.
"I blush for you, Tom," said he, in his most dignified manner; "I blush
for the expedient which I am driven on, and I trust I may pity your
feelings as a brother on the occasion. You have robbed Edmund for ten,
twenty, thirty years, perhaps for life, of more than half the income
which ought to be his. It may hereafter be in my power, or in yours (I
hope it will), to procure him better preferment; but it must not be
forgotten that no benefit of that sort would have been beyond his
natural claims on us, and that nothing can, in fact, be an equivalent
for the certain advantage which he is now obliged to forego through the
urgency of your debts."