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The heir of redclyffe

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Title:TheHeirofRedclyffe
Author:CharlotteM.Yonge
ReleaseDate:December31,2008[EBook#2505]
LastUpdated:October12,2016
Language:English

***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEHEIROFREDCLYFFE***

ProducedbySandraLaythorpe,andDavidWidger


THEHEIROFREDCLYFFE


ByCharlotteM.Yonge


CONTENTS
CHAPTER1
CHAPTER2
CHAPTER3
CHAPTER4
CHAPTER5
CHAPTER6
CHAPTER7
CHAPTER8
CHAPTER9
CHAPTER10
CHAPTER11
CHAPTER12
CHAPTER13
CHAPTER14
CHAPTER15


CHAPTER16
CHAPTER17
CHAPTER18
CHAPTER19
CHAPTER20
CHAPTER21
CHAPTER22
CHAPTER23
CHAPTER24
CHAPTER25
CHAPTER26
CHAPTER27
CHAPTER28
CHAPTER29
CHAPTER30
CHAPTER31
CHAPTER32
CHAPTER33
CHAPTER34
CHAPTER35
CHAPTER36


CHAPTER37
CHAPTER38
CHAPTER39


CHAPTER40
CHAPTER41
CHAPTER42
CHAPTER43
CHAPTER44


CHAPTER1
Insuchpursuitsifwisdomlies,
Who,Laura,canthytastedespise?
—GAY

The drawing-room of Hollywell House was one of the favoured apartments,
where a peculiar air of home seems to reside, whether seen in the middle of
summer, all its large windows open to the garden, or, as when our story
commences,itsbrightfireandstandsoffragrantgreen-houseplantscontrasted
withthewintryfogandleaflesstreesofNovember.Thereweretwopersonsin
theroom—ayounglady,whosatdrawingattheroundtable,andayouth,lying
onacouchnearthefire,surroundedwithbooksandnewspapers,andapairof
crutchesnearhim.Bothlookedupwithasmileofwelcomeattheentranceofa
tall,fine-lookingyoungman,whomeachgreetedwith‘Goodmorning,Philip.’
‘Goodmorning,Laura.Goodmorning,Charles;Iamgladyouaredownstairs
again!Howareyouto-day?’
‘Nowayremarkable,thankyou,’wastheanswer,somewhatwearilygivenby
Charles.
‘Youwalked?’saidLaura.
‘Yes. Where’s my uncle? I called at the post-office, and brought a letter for
him.IthastheMoorworthpost-mark,’headded,producingit.
‘Where’sthat?’saidCharles.
‘Thepost-towntoRedclyffe;SirGuyMorville’splace.’
‘ThatoldSirGuy!Whatcanhehavetodowithmyfather?’
‘Didyounotknow,’saidPhilip,‘thatmyuncleistobeguardiantotheboy—
hisgrandson?’
‘Eh?No,Ididnot.’
‘Yes,’saidPhilip;‘whenoldSirGuymadeitanespecialpointthatmyfather
should take the guardianship, he only consented on condition that my uncle
shouldbejoinedwithhim;sonowmyuncleisaloneinthetrust,andIcannot
helpthinkingsomethingmusthavehappenedatRedclyffe.ItiscertainlynotSir
Guy’swriting.’
‘Itmustwait,unlessyourcuriositywillcarryyououtinsearchofpapa,’said
Charles;‘heissomewhereabout,zealouslysupplyingtheplaceofJenkins.’


‘Really,Philip,’saidLaura,‘thereisnotellinghowmuchgoodyouhavedone
himbyconvincinghimofJenkins’dishonesty.Tosaynothingofthebenefitof
being no longer cheated, the pleasure of having to overlook the farming is
untold.’
Philipsmiled,and cametothetablewhere shewasdrawing. ‘Do you know
thisplace?’saidshe,lookingupinhisface.
‘Stylehurstitself!Whatisittakenfrom?’
‘From this pencil sketch of your sister’s, which I found in mamma’s scrap
book.’
‘Youaremakingitverylike,onlythespireistooslender,andthattree—can’t
youalterthefoliage?—itisanash.’
‘Isit?Itookitforanelm.’
‘Andsurelythosetreesintheforegroundshouldbegreener,tothrowbackthe
middledistance.ThatisthepeakofSouthMoorexactly,ifitlookedfurtheroff.’
Shebeganthealterations,whilePhilipstoodwatchingherprogress,ashadeof
melancholy gathering on his face. Suddenly, a voice called ‘Laura! Are you
there?Openthedoor,andyouwillsee.’
On Philip’s opening it, in came a tall camellia; the laughing face, and light,
shiningcurlsofthebearerpeepingthroughthedarkgreenleaves.
‘Thank you! Oh, is it you, Philip? Oh, don’t take it. I must bring my own
camelliatoshowCharlie.’
‘Youmakethemostofthatoneflower,’saidCharles.
‘Only see how many buds!’ and she placed it by his sofa. Is it not a perfect
blossom,sopureawhite,andsoregular!AndIamsoproudofhavingbeaten
mammaandallthegardeners,fornotanotherwillbeoutthisfortnight;andthis
is to go to the horticultural show. Sam would hardly trust me to bring it in,
thoughitwasmynursing,nothis.’
‘Now,Amy,’saidPhilip,whentheflowerhadbeendulyadmired,‘youmust
letmeputitintothewindow,foryou.Itistooheavyforyou.’
‘Oh, take care,’ cried Amabel, but too late; for, as he took it from her, the
solitaryflowerstruckagainstCharles’slittletable,andwasbrokenoff.
‘OAmy,Iamverysorry.Whatapity!Howdidithappen?’
‘Nevermind,’sheanswered;‘itwilllastalongtimeinwater.’
‘It was very unlucky—I am very sorry—especially because of the
horticulturalshow.’


‘MakeallyourapologiestoSam,’saidAmy,‘hisfeelingswillbemorehurt
thanmine.Idaresaymypoorflowerwouldhavecaughtcoldattheshow,and
neverheldupitsheadagain.’
Hertonewasgay;butCharles,whosawherfaceintheglass,betrayedherby
saying,‘Winkingawayatear,OAmy!’
‘Inevernursedadeargazelle!’quotedAmy,withamerrylaugh;andbefore
anymorecouldbesaid,thereenteredamiddle-agedgentleman,shortandslight,
withafresh,weather-beaten,good-naturedface,graywhiskers,quickeyes,and
ahasty,undecidedairinlookandmovement.HegreetedPhilipheartily,andthe
letterwasgiventohim.
‘Ha!Eh?Letuslook.NotoldSirGuy’shand.Eh?Whatcanbethematter?
What?Dead!Thisisasuddenthing.’
‘Dead!Who?SirGuyMorville?’
‘Yes,quitesuddenly—pooroldman.’Thensteppingtothedoor,heopenedit,
andcalled,‘Mamma;juststephereaminute,willyou,mamma?’
Thesummonswasobeyedbyatall,handsomelady,andbehindhercrept,with
doubtfulsteps,asifsheknewnothowfartoventure,alittlegirlofeleven,her
turned-upnoseandshrewdfacefullofcuriosity.ShedarteduptoAmabel;who,
though she shook her head, and held up her finger, smiled, and took the little
girl’s hand, listening meanwhile to the announcement, ‘Do you hear this,
mamma?Here’sashockingthing!SirGuyMorvilledead,quitesuddenly.’
‘Indeed! Well, poor man, I suppose no one ever repented or suffered more
thanhe.Whowrites?’
‘Hisgrandson—poorboy!Icanhardlymakeouthisletter.’Holdingithalfa
yardfromhiseyes,sothatallcouldseeafewlinesofhasty,irregularwriting,in
a forcible hand, bearing marks of having been penned under great distress and
agitation,hereadaloud:—
‘“DEARMR.EDMONSTONE,—
My dear grandfather died at six this morning. He had an attack of apoplexy
yesterdayevening,andneverspokeagain,thoughforashorttimeheknewme.
We hope he suffered little. Markham will make all arrangements. We propose
thatthefuneralshouldtakeplaceonTuesday;Ihopeyouwillbeabletocome.I
wouldwritetomycousin,PhilipMorville,ifIknewhisaddress;butIdependon
you for saying all that ought to be said. Excuse this illegible letter,—I hardly
knowwhatIwrite.
‘“Yours,verysincerely,
‘“GuyMorville.”’


‘Poorfellow!’saidPhilip,‘hewriteswithagreatdealofproperfeeling.’
‘Howverysadforhimtobeleftalonethere!’saidMrs.Edmonstone.
‘Verysad—very,’saidherhusband.‘Imuststartofftohimatonce—yes,at
once.Shouldyounotsayso—eh,Philip?’
‘Certainly.IthinkIhadbettergowithyou.Itwouldbethecorrectthing,andI
shouldnotliketofailinanytokenofrespectforpooroldSirGuy.’
‘Ofcourse—ofcourse,’saidMr.Edmonstone;‘itwouldbethecorrectthing.I
amsurehewasalwaysveryciviltous,andyouarenextheirafterthisboy.’
Little Charlotte made a sort of jump, lifted her eyebrows, and stared at
Amabel.
Philipanswered.‘Thatisnotworthathought;butsinceheandIarenowthe
onlyrepresentativesofthetwobranchesofthehouseofMorville,itshallnotbe
myfaultiftheenmityisnotforgotten.’
‘Buriedinoblivionwouldsoundmoremagnanimous,’saidCharles;atwhich
Amabellaughedsouncontrollably,thatshewasforcedtohideherheadonher
little sister’s shoulder. Charlotte laughed too, an imprudent proceeding, as it
attracted attention. Her father smiled, saying, half-reprovingly—‘So you are
there, inquisitive pussy-cat?’ And at her mother’s question,—‘Charlotte, what
business have you here?’ She stole back to her lessons, looking very small,
without the satisfaction of hearing her mother’s compassionate words—‘Poor
child!’
‘Howoldishe?’askedMr.Edmonstone,returningtotheformersubject.
‘He is of the same age as Laura—seventeen and a half,’ answered Mrs.
Edmonstone.‘Don’tyouremembermybrothersayingwhatasatisfactionitwas
toseesuchanoblebabyasshewas,aftersuchapoorlittlemiserablethingasthe
oneatRedclyffe?’
‘Heisgrownintoafinespiritedfellow,’saidPhilip.
‘Isupposewemusthavehimhere,’saidMr.Edmonstone.Shouldyounotsay
so—eh,Philip?’
‘Certainly;Ishouldthinkitverygoodforhim.Indeed,hisgrandfather’sdeath
hashappenedatamostfavourabletimeforhim.Thepooroldmanhadsucha
dreadofhisgoingwrongthathekepthim—’
‘Iknow—astightasadrum.’
‘WithstrictnessthatIshouldthinkverybadforaboyofhisimpatienttemper.
Itwouldhavebeenaverydangerousexperimenttosendhimatonceamongthe
temptationsofOxford,aftersuchdisciplineandsolitudeashehasbeenusedto.’


‘Don’t talk of it,’ interrupted Mr. Edmonstone, spreading out his hands in a
deprecatingmanner.‘Wemustdothebestwecanwithhim,forIhavegothim
onmyhandstillheisfive-and-twenty—hisgrandfatherhastiedhimuptillthen.
Ifwecankeephimoutofmischief,wellandgood;ifnot,itcan’tbehelped.’
‘Youhavehimalltoyourself,’saidCharles.
‘Ay,tomysorrow.Ifyourpoorfatherwasalive,Philip,Ishouldbefreeofall
care.I’veaprettydealonmyhands,’heproceeded,lookingmoreimportantthan
troubled. ‘All that great Redclyffe estate is no sinecure, to say nothing of the
youth himself. If all the world will come to me, I can’t help it. I must go and
speak to the men, if I am to be off to Redclyffe tomorrow. Will you come,
Philip?’
‘Imustgobacksoon,thankyou,’repliedPhilip.‘Imustseeaboutmyleave;
onlyweshouldfirstsettlewhentosetoff.’
This arranged, Mr. Edmonstone hurried away, and Charles began by saying,
‘Isn’tthereaghostatRedclyffe?’
‘Soitissaid,’answeredhiscousin;‘thoughIdon’tthinkitiscertainwhoseit
is.ThereisaroomcalledSirHugh’sChamber,overthegateway,butthehonour
ofnamingitisundecidedbetweenHugodeMorville,whomurderedThomasa
Becket,andhisnamesake,thefirstBaronet,wholivedinthetimeofWilliamof
Orange,whenthequarrelbeganwithourbranchofthefamily.Doyouknowthe
historyofit,aunt?’
‘Itwasaboutsomeproperty,’saidMrsEdmonstone,‘thoughIdon’tknowthe
rightsofit.ButtheMorvilleswerealwaysafiery,violentrace,andtheenmity
once begun between Sir Hugh and his brother, was kept up, generation after
generation, in a most unjustifiable way. Even I can remember when the
MorvillesofRedclyffeusedtobespokenofinourfamilylikeasortofogres.’
‘Notundeservedly,Ishouldthink,’saidPhilip.‘Thispooroldman,whoisjust
dead,ranastrangecareer.Storiesofhisduelsandmadfreaksarestillextant.’
‘Poorman!Ibelievehewentalllengths,’saidMrs.Edmonstone.
‘Whatwasthetrueversionofthathorriblestoryabouthisson?’saidPhilip.
‘Didhestrikehim?’
‘Oh,no!itwasbadenoughwithoutthat.’
‘How?’askedLaura.
‘Hewasanonlychild,andlosthismotherearly.Hewasveryillbroughtup,
and was as impetuous and violent as Sir Guy himself, though with much
kindliness and generosity. He was only nineteen when he made a runaway


marriagewithagirlofsixteen,thesisterofaviolinplayer,whowasatthattime
infashion.Hisfatherwasverymuchoffended,andtherewasmuchdreadfully
violent conduct on each side. At last, the young man was driven to seek a
reconciliation.HebroughthiswifetoMoorworth,androdetoRedclyffe,tohave
aninterviewwithhisfather.Unhappily,SirGuywasgivingadinnertothehunt,
andhadbeendrinking.Henotonlyrefusedtoseehim,butIamafraidheused
shocking language, and said something about bidding him go back to his
fiddlingbrotherin-law.Thesonwaswaitinginthehall,heardeverything,threw
himselfonhishorse,andrushedawayinthedark.Hisforeheadstruckagainst
thebranchofatree,andhewaskilledonthespot.’
‘Thepoorwife?’askedAmabel,shuddering.
‘Shediedthenextday,whenthisboywasborn.’
‘Frightful!’saidPhilip.‘ItmightwellmakeareformationinoldSirGuy.’
‘Ihaveheardthatnothingcouldbemoreawfulthanthestillnessthatfellon
thatwretchedparty,evenbeforetheyknewwhathadhappened—beforeColonel
Harewood,whohadbeencalledasidebytheservants,couldresolvetocomeand
fetchawaythefather.NowonderSirGuywasachangedmanfromthathour.’
‘Itwasthenthathesentformyfather,’saidPhilip.
‘Butwhatmadehimthinkofdoingso?’
‘YouknowColonelHarewood’shouseatStylehurst?Manyyearsago,when
theSt.Mildred’sracesusedtobesomuchmoreinfashion,SirGuyandColonel
Harewood,andsomemenofthatstamp,tookthathouseamongstthem,andused
tospendsometimethereeveryyear,toattendtosomethingaboutthetrainingof
the horses. There were some malpractices of their servants, that did so much
harmintheparish,thatmybrotherwasobligedtoremonstrate.SirGuywasvery
angryatfirst,butbehavedbetteratlastthananyoftheothers.Isuspecthewas
struckbymydearbrother’sbold,uncompromisingways,forhetooktohimtoa
certain degree—and my brother could not help being interested in him, there
seemedtobesomuchgoodnessinhisnature.Isawhimonce,andneverdidI
meetanyonewhogavemesomuchtheideaofafinishedgentleman.Whenthe
poorsonwasaboutfourteen,hewaswithatutorintheneighbourhood,andused
to be a good deal at Stylehurst, and, after the unhappy marriage, my brother
happened to meet him in London, heard his story, and tried to bring about a
reconciliation.’
‘Ha!’saidPhilip;‘didnottheycometoStylehurst?Ihaveadimrecollection
ofsomebodyverytall,andaladywhosung.’
‘Yes; your father asked them to stay there, that he might judge of her, and


wrote to Sir Guy that she was a little, gentle, childish thing, capable of being
moulded to anything, and representing the mischief of leaving them to such
society as that of her brother, who was actually maintaining them. That letter
wasneveranswered,butabouttendaysorafortnightafterthisterribleaccident,
Colonel Harewood wrote to entreat my brother to come to Redclyffe, saying
poorSirGuyhadeagerlycaughtatthementionofhisname.Ofcoursehewent
atonce,andhetoldmethathenever,inallhisexperienceasaclergyman,saw
anyonesocompletelybrokendownwithgrief.’
Ifoundagreatmanyofhislettersamongmyfather’spapers,’saidPhilip;‘and
it was a very touching one that he wrote to me on my father’s death. Those
Redclyffepeoplecertainlyhavegreatforceofcharacter.’
‘Andwasitthenhesettledhispropertyonmyuncle?’saidCharles.
‘Yes,’ said Mrs. Edmonstone. ‘My brother did not like his doing so, but he
wouldnotbeatresttillitwassettled.Itwasinvaintoputhiminmindofhis
grandchild,forhewouldnotbelieveitcouldlive;and,indeed,itslifehungona
thread.IremembermybrothertellingmehowhewenttoMoorworthtoseeit—
foritcouldnotbebroughthome—inhopesofbringing,backareportthatmight
cheeritsgrandfather,buthowhefounditsoweakanddelicate,thathedidnot
dare to try to make him take interest in it. It was not till the child was two or
threeyearsold,thatSirGuyventuredtolethimselfgrowfondofit.’
‘SirGuywasaverystrikingperson,’saidPhilip;‘Ishallnoteasilyforgetmy
visit to Redclyffe four years ago. It was more like a scene in a romance than
anythingreal—thefineoldredsandstonehousecrumblingawayintheexposed
parts,thearchedgatewaycoveredwithivy;thegreatquadranglewherethesun
never shone, and full of echoes; the large hall and black wainscoted rooms,
whichthecandlesneverwouldlightup.Itisafitplacetobehaunted.’
‘Thatpoorboyalonethere!’saidMrs.Edmonstone;‘Iamgladyouandyour
unclearegoingtohim.’
‘Tellusabouthim,’saidLaura.
‘He was the most incongruous thing there,’ said Philip. ‘There was a calm,
deepmelancholyabouttheoldmanaddedtothegrandcourtesywhichshowed
hehadbeenwhatoldbookscallafinegentleman,thatmadehimsuithishouse
as a hermit does his cell, or a knight his castle; but breaking in on this
“penseroso”scene,therewasGuy—’
‘Inwhatway?’askedLaura.
‘Always in wild spirits, rushing about, playing antics, provoking the solemn
echoeswithshouting,whooping,singing,whistling.Therewassomethinginthat


whistleofhisthatalwaysmademeangry.’
‘HowdidthissuitoldSirGuy?’
‘It was curious to see how Guy could rattle on to him, pour out the whole
history of his doings, laughing, rubbing his hands, springing about with
animation—allwithaslittleanswerasifhehadbeentalkingtoastatue.’
‘DoyoumeanthatSirGuydidnotlikeit?’
‘Hedidinhisownway.Therewasnowandthenaglanceoranod,toshow
that he was attending; but it was such slight encouragement, that any less
buoyantspiritsmusthavebeenchecked.’
‘Did you like him, on the whole?’ asked Laura. ‘I hope he has not this
tremendousMorvilletemper?Oh,youdon’tsayso.Whatagrievousthing.’
‘He is a fine fellow,’ said Philip; ‘but I did not think Sir Guy managed him
well.Pooroldman,hewasquitewrappedupinhim,andonlythoughthowto
keep him out of harm’s way. He would never let him be with other boys, and
kept him so fettered by rules, so strictly watched, and so sternly called to
account,thatIcannotthinkhowanyboycouldstandit.’
‘Yet,yousay,hetoldeverythingfreelytohisgrandfather,’saidAmy.
‘Yes,’ added her mother, ‘I was going to say that, as long as that went on, I
shouldthinkallsafe.
‘AsIsaidbefore,’resumedPhilip,‘hehasagreatdealoffrankness,muchof
the making of a fine character; but he is a thorough Morville. I remember
somethingthatwillshowyouhisbestandworstsides.YouknowRedclyffeisa
beautiful place, with magnificent cliffs overhanging the sea, and fine woods
crowning them. On one of the most inaccessible of these crags there was a
hawk’snest,abouthalf-waydown,sothatlookingfromthetopoftheprecipice,
wecouldseetheoldbirdsflyinandout.Well,whatdoesMasterGuydo,butgo
down this headlong descent after the nest. How he escaped alive no one could
guess; and his grandfather could not bear to look at the place afterwards—but
climb it he did, and came back with two young hawks, buttoned up inside his
jacket.’
‘There’saregularbrickforyou!’criedCharles,delighted.
‘Hisheartwassetontrainingthesebirds.Heturnedthelibraryupsidedown
insearchofbooksonfalconry,andspenteverysparemomentonthem.Atlast,a
servant left some door open, and they escaped. I shall never forget Guy’s
passion;IamsureIdon’texaggeratewhenIsayhewasperfectlybesidehimself
withanger.’


‘Poorboy!’saidMrs.Edmonstone.
‘Servedtherascalright,’saidCharles.
‘Nothinghadanyeffectonhimtillhisgrandfathercameout,and,atthesight
ofhim,hewastamedinaninstant,hunghishead,cameuptohisgrandfather,
andsaid—“Iamverysorry,”SirGuyanswered,“Mypoorboy!”andtherewas
notanotherword.IsawGuynomorethatday,andallthenexthewasquietand
subdued.Butthemostremarkablepartofthestoryistocome.Acoupleofdays
afterwardswewerewalkinginthewoods,when,atthesoundofGuy’swhistle,
weheardaflappingandrustling,andbeheld,tumblingalong,withtheirclipped
wings,thesetwoidenticalhawks,verygladtobecaught.Theydrewthemselves
up proudly for him to stroke them, and their yellow eyes looked at him with
positiveaffection.’
‘Prettycreatures!’saidAmabel.‘Thatisaveryniceendtothestory.’
‘Itisnottheend,’saidPhilip.‘IwassurprisedtoseeGuysosober,insteadof
going into one of his usual raptures. He took them home; but the first thing I
heardinthemorningwas,thathewasgonetoofferthemtoafarmer,tokeepthe
birdsfromhisfruit.’
‘Didhedoitofhisownaccord?’askedLaura.
‘ThatwasjustwhatIwantedtoknow;butanyhintaboutthembroughtsucha
cloudoverhisfacethatIthoughtitwouldbewantontoirritatehimbyquestions.
However, I must be going. Good-bye, Amy, I hope your Camellia will have
another blossom before I come back. At least, I shall escape the horticultural
meeting.’
‘Good-bye,’saidCharles.‘Putthefeudinyourpockettillyoucanburyitin
old Sir Guy’s grave, unless you mean to fight it out with his grandson, which
wouldbemoreromanticandexciting.’
Philip was gone before he could finish. Mrs. Edmonstone looked annoyed,
andLaurasaid,‘Charlie,Iwishyouwouldnotletyourspiritscarryyouaway.’
‘IwishIhadanythingelsetocarrymeaway!’wasthereply.
‘Yes,’saidhismother,lookingsadlyathim.‘Yourhighspiritsareablessing;
but why misuse them? If they are given to support you through pain and
confinement,whymakemischiefwiththem?’
Charles looked more impatient than abashed, and the compunction seemed
chieflytorestwithAmabel.
‘Now,’ said Mrs. Edmonstone, ‘I must go and see after my poor little
prisoner.’


‘Ah!’ said Laura, as she went; ‘it was no kindness in you to encourage
Charlottetostay,Amy,whenyouknowhowoftenthatinquisitivetemperhasgot
herintoscrapes.’
‘I suppose so,’ said Amy, regretfully; ‘but I had not the heart to send her
away.’
‘That is just what Philip says, that you only want bones and sinews in your
characterto—’
‘Come, Laura,’ interrupted Charles, ‘I won’t hear Philip’s criticisms of my
sister,Ihadrathershehadnobonesatall,thanthattheystuckoutandraninto
me.Thereareplentyofanglesalreadyintheworld,withoutsharpeninghers.’
HepossessedhimselfofAmy’sround,plump,childishhand,andspreadout
overithisstillwhiter,andverybonyfingers,pinchingher‘softpinkycushions,’
ashecalledthem,‘notmeantforstudyinganatomyupon.’
‘Ah!youtwospoileachothersadly,’saidLaura,smiling,asshelefttheroom.
‘AndwhatdoPhilipandLauradotoeachother?’saidCharles.
‘Improveeachother,Isuppose,’saidAmabel,inashy,simpletone,atwhich
Charleslaughedheartily.
‘IwishIwasassensibleasLaura!’saidshe,presently,withasigh.
‘Neverwasamoreabsurdwish,’saidCharles,tormentingherhandstillmore,
andpullinghercurls;‘unwishitforthwith.WhereshouldIbewithoutsillylittle
Amy? If every one weighed my wit before laughing, I should not often be in
disgraceformyhighspirits,astheycallthem.’
‘IamsolittleyoungerthanLaura,’saidAmy,stillsadly,thoughsmiling.
‘Folly,’saidCharles;‘youarequitewiseenoughforyourage,whileLaurais
soprematurelywise,thatIaminconstantdreadthatnaturewilltakeherrevenge
bycausinghertodosomethingstrikinglyfoolish!’
‘Nonsense!’criedAmy,indignantly.‘Lauradoanythingfoolish!’
‘WhatIshouldenjoy,’proceededCharles,‘wouldbetoseeheroverheadand
earsinlovewiththishero,andPhilipproperlyjealous.’
‘Howcanyousaysuchthings,Charlie?’
‘Why? was there ever a beauty who did not fall in love with her father’s
ward?’
‘No; but she ought to live alone with her very old father and horribly grim
maidenaunt.’
‘Verywell,Amy,youshallbethemaiden,aunt.’AndasLaurareturnedatthat


moment, he announced to her that they had been agreeing that no hero ever
failedtofallinlovewithhisguardian’sbeautifuldaughter.
‘If his guardian had a beautiful daughter,’ said Laura, resolved not to be
disconcerted.
‘Didyoueverhearsuchbarefacedfishingforcompliments?’saidCharles;but
Amabel, who did not like her sister to be teased, and was also conscious of
havingwastedagooddealoftime,satdowntopractise.Laurareturnedtoher
drawing,andCharles,withayawn,listlesslyturnedoveranewspaper,whilehis
fair delicate features, which would have been handsome but that they were
blanched, sharpened, and worn with pain, gradually lost their animated and
rathersatiricalexpression,andassumedanairofwearinessanddiscontent.
Charleswasatthistimenineteen,andforthelasttenyearshadbeenafflicted
withadiseaseinthehip-joint,which,inspiteofthemostanxiouscare,caused
himfrequentandseveresuffering,andhadoccasionedsuchacontractionofthe
limbastocripplehimcompletely,whilehisgeneralhealthwassomuchaffected
astorenderhimanobjectofconstantanxiety.Hismotherhadalwaysbeenhis
most devoted and indefatigable nurse, giving up everything for his sake, and
watching him night and day. His father attended to his least caprice, and his
sisterswere,ofcourse,hisslaves;sothathewastheundisputedsovereignofthe
wholefamily.
The two elder girls had been entirely under a governess till a month or two
before the opening of our story, when Laura was old enough to be introduced;
andthegovernessdeparting,thetwosistersbecameCharles’scompanionsinthe
drawing-room,whileMrs.Edmonstone,whohadapeculiartasteandtalentfor
teaching,undertooklittleCharlotte’slessonsherself.


CHAPTER2
Iftheillspirithavesofairahouse,
Goodthingswillstrivetodwellwith’t.
—THETEMPEST

OneofthepleasantestroomsatHollywellwasMrs.Edmonstone’sdressingroom—large and bay-windowed, over the drawing-room, having little of the
dressing-room but the name, and a toilet-table with a black and gold japanned
glass,andcuriouslyshapedboxestomatch;herroomopenedintoitononeside,
and Charles’s on the other; it was a sort of up-stairs parlour, where she taught
Charlotte, cast up accounts, spoke to servants, and wrote notes, and where
Charleswasusuallytobefound,whenunequaltocomingdown-stairs.Ithadan
air of great snugness, with its large folding-screen, covered with prints and
caricatures of ancient date, its book-shelves, its tables, its peculiarly easy armchairs,thegreatinvalidsofa,andthegrate,whichalwayslightedupbetterthan
anyotherinthehouse.
Inthebrightglowofthefire,withtheshuttersclosedandcurtainsdrawn,lay
Charles on his couch, one Monday evening, in a gorgeous dressing-gown of a
Chinese pattern, all over pagodas, while little Charlotte sat opposite to him,
curled up on a footstool. He was not always very civil to Charlotte; she
sometimescameintocollisionwithhim,forshe,too,wasapet,andhadawillof
herown,andatothertimesshecouldborehim;butjustnowtheyhadacommon
interest,andhewasgracious.
‘Itisstrikingsix,sotheymustsoonbehere.Iwishmammawouldletmego
down;butImustwaittillafterdinner.’
‘Then, Charlotte, as soon asyoucomein,holdupyourhands,andexclaim,
“Whataguy!”Therewillbeacompliment!’
‘No, Charlie; I promised mamma and Laura that you should get me into no
morescrapes.’
‘Did you? The next promise you make had better depend upon yourself
alone.’
‘ButAmysaidImustbequiet,becausepoorSirGuywillbetoosorrowfulto
likearacket;andwhenAmytellsmetobequiet,IknowthatImust,indeed.’
‘Mosttrue,’saidCharles,laughing.
‘DoyouthinkyoushalllikeSirGuy?’


‘Ishallbeabletodetermine,’saidCharles,sententiously,‘whenIhaveseen
whetherhebrusheshishairtotherightorleft.’
‘Philipbrusheshistotheleft.’
‘ThenundoubtedlySirGuywillbrushhistotheright.’
‘Is there not some horrid story about those Morvilles of Redclyffe?’ asked
Charlotte.‘IaskedLaura,andshetoldmenottobecurious,soIknewtherewas
somethinginit;andthenIaskedAmy,andshesaiditwouldbenopleasureto
metoknow.’
‘Ah!Iwouldhaveyouprepared.’
‘Why,whatisit?Oh!dearCharlie!areyoureallygoingtotellme?’
‘Didyoueverhearofadeadlyfeud?’
‘I have read of them in the history of Scotland. They went on hating and
killingeachotherforever.Therewasonemanwhomadehisenemy’schildren
eatoutofapig-trough,andanotherwhocutoffhishead.’
‘Hisown?’
‘No,hisenemy’s,andputitonthetable,atbreakfast,withapieceofbreadin
itsmouth.’
‘Very well; whenever Sir Guy serves up Philip’s head at breakfast, with a
pieceofbreadinhismouth,letmeknow.’
Charlottestartedup.‘Charles,whatdoyoumean?Suchthingsdon’thappen
now.’
‘Nevertheless,thereisadeadlyfeudbetweenthetwobranchesofthehouseof
Morville.’
‘Butitisverywrong,’saidCharlotte,lookingfrightened.’
‘Wrong?Ofcourseitis.’
‘Philipwon’tdoanythingwrong.Buthowwilltheyevergeton?’
‘Don’t you see? It must be our serious endeavour to keep the peace, and
preventoccasionsofdiscord.’
‘Doyouthinkanythingwillhappen?’
‘Itismuchtobeapprehended,’saidCharles,solemnly.
Atthatmomentthesoundofwheelswasheard,andCharlotteflewofftoher
privatepostofobservation,leavingherbrotherdelightedathavingmystifiedher.
Shereturnedontip-toe.‘PapaandSirGuyarecome,butnotPhilip;Ican’tsee
himanywhere.’


‘AhyouhavenotlookedinSirGuy’sgreat-coatpocket.’
‘Iwishyouwouldnotplaguemeso!Youarenotinearnest?’
Thepettishinquiringtonewasexactlywhatdelightedhim.Andhecontinued
toteaseherinthesamestyletillLauraandAmabelcamerunninginwiththeir
reportofthestranger.
‘Heiscome!’theycried,withonevoice.
‘Verygentlemanlike!’saidLaura.
‘Verypleasantlooking,’saidAmy.‘Suchfineeyes!’
‘Andsomuchexpression,’saidLaura.‘Oh!’
Theexclamation,andthestartwhichaccompaniedit,werecausedbyhearing
her father’s voice close to the door, which had been left partly open. ‘Here is
poorCharles,’itsaid,‘comein,andseehim;getoverthefirstintroduction—eh,
Guy?’Andbeforehehadfinished,bothheandtheguestwereintheroom,and
Charlottefullofmischievousgleeathersister’sconfusion.
‘Well,Charlie,boy,howgoesit?’washisfather’sgreeting.‘Better,eh?Sorry
nottofindyoudown-stairs;butIhavebroughtGuytoseeyou.’Then,asCharles
satupandshookhandswithSirGuy,hecontinued—‘Afinechanceforyou,asI
was telling him, to have a companion always at hand: a fine chance? eh,
Charlie?’
‘I am not so unreasonable as to expect any one to be always at hand,’ said
Charles,smiling,ashelookedupatthefrank,openface,andlustroushazeleyes
turnedonhimwithcompassionatthesightofhiscrippled,helplessfigure,and
withabright,cordialpromiseofkindness.
As he spoke, a pattering sound approached, the door was pushed open, and
while Sir Guy exclaimed, ‘O, Bustle! Bustle! I am very sorry,’ there suddenly
appearedalargebeautifulspaniel,withalongsilkyblackandwhitecoat,jetty
curledears,tanspotsabovehisintelligenteyes,andtanlegs,fringedwithsilken
waves of hair, but crouching and looking beseeching at meeting no welcome,
whileSirGuyseemedmuchdistressedathisintrusion.
‘Oyoubeauty!’criedCharles.‘Comehere,youfinefellow.’
Bustleonlylookedwistfullyathismaster,andmovednothingbuthisfeather
ofatail.
‘Ah! I was afraid you would repent of your kindness,’ said Sir Guy to Mr.
Edmonstone.
‘Notatall,notatall!’wastheanswer;‘mammaneverobjectstoin-doorpets,
eh,Amy?’


‘Atendersubject,papa,’saidLaura;‘poorPepper!’
Amy, ashamed of her disposition to cry at the remembrance of the dear
departedroughterrier,bentdowntohideherglowingface,andheldoutherhand
tothedog,whichatlastventuredtoadvance,stillcreepingwithhisbodycurved
tillhistail was foremost,lookingimploringlyathismaster, as iftoentreat his
pardon.
‘Areyousureyoudon’tdislikeit?’inquiredSirGuy,ofCharles.
‘I?Ono.Here,youfinecreature.’
‘Come, then, behave like a rational dog, since you are come,’ said Sir Guy;
and Bustle, resuming the deportment of a spirited and well-bred spaniel, no
longer crouched and curled himself into the shape of a comma, but bounded,
wagged his tail, thrust his nose into his master’s hand and then proceeded to
reconnoitretherestofthecompany,payingespecialattentiontoCharles,putting
his fore-paws on the sofa, and rearing himself up to contemplate him with a
grave,politecuriosity,thatwasverydiverting.
‘Well,oldfellow,’saidCharles,‘didyoueverseethelikeofsuchadressinggown? Are you satisfied? Give me your paw, and let us swear an eternal
friendship.’
‘Iamquitegladtoseeadoginthehouseagain,’saidLaura,and,afterafew
more compliments, Bustle and his master followed Mr. Edmonstone out of the
room.
‘Oneofmyfather’swell-judgedproceedings,’murmuredCharles.‘Thatpoor
fellow had rather have gone a dozen, miles further than have been lugged in
here. Really, if papa chooses to inflict such dressing-gowns on me, he should
givemenoticebeforehebringsmenanddogstomakemetheirlaughing-stock!’
‘Anunluckymoment,’saidLaura.‘Willmycheeksevercool?’
‘Perhapshedidnothear,’saidAmabel,consolingly.
‘YoudidnotaskaboutPhilip?’saidCharlotte,withgreatearnestness.
‘HeisstayingatThorndale,andthengoingtoSt.Mildred’s,’saidLaura.
‘I hope you are relieved,’ said her brother; and she looked in doubt whether
sheoughttolaugh.
‘AndwhatdoyouthinkofSirGuy?’
‘Mayheonlybeworthyofhisdog!’repliedCharles.
‘Ah!’ said Laura, ‘many men are neither worthy of their wives, nor of their
dogs.’


‘Dr.Henley,Isuppose,isthefoundationofthataphorism,’saidCharles.
‘IfMargaretMorvillecouldmarryhim,shecouldhardlybetooworthy,’said
Laura.‘ThinkofthrowingawayPhilip’swholesoul!’
‘OLaura,shecouldnotlosethat,’saidAmabel.
Laura looked as if she knew more; but at that moment, both her father and
mother entered, the former rubbing his hands, as he always did when much
pleased,andsendinghisvoicebeforehim,asheexclaimed,‘Well,Charlie,well,
youngladies,isnotheafinefellow—eh?’
‘Ratherunder-sized,’saidCharles.
‘Eh? He’ll grow. He is not eighteen, you know; plenty of time; a very good
height; you can’t expect every one to be as tall as Philip; but he’s a capital
fellow.Andhowhaveyoubeen?—anypain?’
‘Hem—rather,’ said Charles, shortly, for he hated answering kind inquiries,
whenoutofhumour.
‘Ah, that’s a pity; I was sorry not to find you in the drawing-room, but I
thought you would have liked just to see him,’ said Mr. Edmonstone,
disappointed,andapologizing.
‘Ihadratherhavehadsomenoticeofyourintention,’saidCharles,‘Iwould
havemademyselffittobeseen.’
‘I am sorry. I thought you would have liked his coming,’ said poor Mr.
Edmonstone,onlyhalfconsciousofhisoffence;‘butIseeyouarenotwellthis
evening.’
Worseandworse,foritwasequivalenttoopenlytellingCharleshewasoutof
humour;andseeing,ashedid,hismother’smotive,hewasstillfurtherannoyed
whenshehastilyinterposedaquestionaboutSirGuy.
‘You should only hear them talk about him at Redclyffe,’ said Mr
Edmonstone.‘Noonewaseverequaltohim,accordingtothem.Everyonesaid
the same—clergyman, old Markham, all of them. Such attention to his
grandfather, such proper feeling, so good-natured, not a bit of pride—it is my
firmbeliefthathewillmakeupforallhisfamilybeforehim.’
Charlessetuphiseyebrowssarcastically.
‘HowdoeshegetonwithPhilip?’inquiredLaura.
‘Excellently. Just what could be wished. Philip is delighted with him; and I
havebeentellingGuyallthewayhomewhatacapitalfriendhewillbe,andhe
is quite inclined to look up to him.’ Charles made an exaggerated gesture of
astonishment,unseenbyhisfather.‘Itoldhimtobringhisdog.Hewouldhave


leftit,buttheyseemedsofondofeachother,Ithoughtitwasapitytopartthem,
andthatIcouldpromiseitshouldbewelcomehere;eh,mamma?’
‘Certainly.Iamverygladyoubroughtit.’
‘We are to have his horse and man in a little while. A beautiful chestnut—
anythingtoraisehisspirits.Heisterriblycutupabouthisgrandfather.
It was now time to go down to dinner; and after Charles had made faces of
weariness and disgust at all the viands proposed to him by his mother, almost
imploringhimtolikethem,andhadatlastungraciouslygivenherleavetosend
what he could not quite say he disliked, he was left to carry on his teasing of
Charlotte, and his grumbling over the dinner, for about the space of an hour,
whenAmabelcamebacktohim,andCharlottewentdown.
‘Hum!’heexclaimed.‘Anotherswanofmyfather’s.’
‘Didnotyoulikehislooks?’
‘Isawonlyanangularhobbetyhoy.’
‘ButeveryoneatRedclyffespeakssowellofhim.’
‘Asifthesamethingswerenotsaidofeveryheirtomoreacresthanbrains!
However,IcouldhaveswallowedeverythingbutthedispositiontoadorePhilip.
Eitheritwasgammononhispart,orelsetheworkofmyfather’simagination.’
‘Forshame,Charlie.’
‘Isitwithintheboundsofprobabilitythatheshouldbewilling,atthebidding
of his guardian, to adopt as Mentor his very correct and sententious cousin, a
poorsubaltern,andthenextintheentail?Dependuponit,itisafictioncreated
either by papa’s hopes or Philip’s self-complacency, or else the unfortunate
youthmusthavebeenbroughtverylowbystrait-lacingandmilk-and-water.’
‘Mr.ThorndaleiswillingtolookuptoPhilip,’
‘Idon’tthinktheThorndaleswanvery—verymuchbetterthanatamegoose,’
saidCharles,‘butthecoalitionisnotsomonstrousinhiscase,sincePhilipwasa
friend of his own picking and choosing, and so his father’s adoption did not
succeed in repelling him. But that Morville should receive this “young man’s
companion,”onthewordofaguardianwhomheneverseteyesonbefore,istoo
incredible—utterly mythical I assure you, Amy. And how did you get on at
dinner?’
‘Oh,thedogisthemostdelightfulcreatureIeversaw,sosensibleandwellmannered.’
‘ItwasofthemanthatIasked.’


‘He said hardly anything, and sometimes started if papa spoke to him
suddenly.HewincedasifhecouldnotbeartobecalledSirGuy,sopapasaidwe
shouldcallhimonlybyhisname,ifhewoulddothesamebyus.Iamgladofit,
foritseemsmorefriendly,andIamsurehewantstobecomforted.’
‘Don’t waste your compassion, my dear; few men need it less. With his
property,thosemoorstoshootover,hisownmaster,andwithhealthtoenjoyit,
there are plenty who would change with him for all your pity, my silly little
Amy.’
‘Surelynot,withthathorribleancestry.’
‘Allverywelltoplumeoneselfupon.Irathercovetthatghostmyself.’
‘Well,ifyouwatchedhisface,Ithinkyouwouldbesorryforhim.’
‘Iamtiredofthesoundofhisname.OnefifthofNovemberisenoughinthe
year.Here,findsomethingtoreadtomeamongthattrumpery.’
Amyreadtillshewassummonedtotea,whenshefoundaconversationgoing
on about Philip, on whose history Sir Guy did not seem fully informed. Philip
wasthesonofArchdeaconMorville,Mrs.Edmonstone’sbrother,anadmirable
and superior man, who had been dead about five years. He left three children,
MargaretandFanny,twenty-fiveandtwenty-threeyearsofage,andPhilip,just
seventeen. The boy was at the head of his school, highly distinguished for
applicationandgoodconduct;hehadattainedeveryhonourthereopentohim,
won golden opinions from all concerned with him, and made proof of talents
whichcouldnothavefailedtoraisehimtothehighestuniversitydistinctions.He
wasabsentfromhomeatthetimeofhisfather’sdeath,whichtookplaceafterso
shortanillness,thattherehadbeennotimetosummonhimbacktoStylehurst.
Verylittlepropertywaslefttobedividedamongthethree;andassoonasPhilip
perceivedhowsmallwastheprovisionforhissisters, hegaveuphishopesof
universityhonours,andobtainedacommissioninthearmy.
On hearing this, Sir Guy started forward: ‘Noble!’ he cried, ‘and yet what a
pity!Ifmygrandfatherhadbutknownit—’
‘Ah!Iwasconvincedofthat,’brokeinMr.Edmonstone,‘andso,Iamsure,
wasPhiliphimself;butinfactheknewweshouldneverhavegivenourconsent,
soheactedquitebyhimself,wrotetoLordThorndale, andneversaidaword,
even to his sisters, till the thing was done. I never was more surprised in my
life.’
‘Onewouldalmostenvyhimtheopportunityofmakingsuchasacrifice,’said
SirGuy,yetonemustlamentit.


‘It was done in a hasty spirit of independence,’ said Mrs. Edmonstone; ‘I
believe if he had got a fellowship at Oxford, it would have answered much
better.’
‘And now that poor Fanny is dead, and Margaret married, there is all his
expensiveeducationthrownaway,andallfornothing,’saidMr.Edmonstone.
‘Ah,’ said Mrs. Edmonstone, ‘he planned for them to go on living at
Stylehurst, so that it would still have been his home. It is a great pity, for his
talentisthrownaway,andheisnotfondofhisprofession.’
‘You must not suppose, though, that he is not a practical man,’ said Mr.
Edmonstone; ‘I had rather take his opinion than any one’s, especially about a
horse,andthereisnoendtowhatIhearabouthisgoodsense,andtheuseheis
oftotheotheryoungmen.’
‘YoushouldtellaboutMr.Thorndale,papa,’saidLaura.
‘AhthatisafeatherinmasterPhilip’scap;besides,heisyourneighbour—at
least,hisfatheris.’
‘IsupposeyouknowLordThorndale?’saidMrs.Edmonstone,inexplanation.
‘IhaveseenhimonceattheQuarterSessions,’saidSirGuy;‘butheliveson
theothersideofMoorworth,andtherewasnovisiting.’
‘Well,thisyouth,JamesThorndale,thesecondson,wasPhilip’sfag.’
‘Philipsayshewasalwayslickinghim!’interposedCharlotte.’
‘Hekepthimoutofsomescrapeorother,continuedMr.Edmonstone.‘Lord
Thorndale was very much obliged to him, had him to stay at his house, took
pretty much to him altogether. It was through him that Philip applied for his
commission,andhehasputhissonintothesameregiment,onpurposetohave
himunderPhilip’seye.ThereheisatBroadstone,asgentlemanlikeayouthasI
wouldwishtosee.Wewillhavehimtodinnersomeday,andMauricetoo—eh,
mamma?Maurice—heisayoungIrishcousinofmyown,acapitalfellowatthe
bottom,butaregularthoroughgoingrattle.Thatwasmydoing.Itoldhisfather
that he could not do better than put him into the —th. Nothing like a steady
friendandagoodexample,Isaid,andKilcoranalwaystakesmyadvice,andI
don’t think he has been sorry. Maurice has kept much more out of scrapes of
late.’
‘Opapa,’exclaimedCharlotte,‘Mauricehasbeenoutridingonahiredhorse,
racingwithMr.Gordon,andthehorsetumbleddownatthebottomofEast-hill,
andbrokeitsknees.’
‘That’stheway,’saidMr.Edmonstone,‘theinstantmybackisturned.’


Thereuponthefamilyfellintoadiscussionofhomeaffairs,andthoughtlittle
moreoftheirsilentguest.


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