Part 2 out of 14
know that I had behaved very ill to Farmer Holt. I had been very angry
at his beating our old hound, for, as he thought, worrying his sheep;
not that Dart ever did, though.
'And was the ram saved?'
'Yes, and next time I saw it, it nearly knocked me down.'
'Would you do it again?' said Philip.
'I don't know.'
'I hope you had a medal from the Humane Society,' said Charles.
'That would have been more proper for Triton.'
'Yours should have been an ovation,' said Charles, cutting the o
absurdly short, and looking at Philip.
Laura saw that the spirit of teasing was strong in Charles this morning
and suspected that he wanted to stir up what he called the deadly feud,
and she hastened to change the conversation by saying, 'You quite
impressed Guy with your translation of Fra Cristoforo.'
'Indeed I must thank you for recommending the book,' said Guy; 'how
beautiful it is!'
'I am glad you entered into it,' said Philip; 'it has every quality
that a fiction ought to have.'
'I never read anything equal to the repentance of the nameless man.'
'Is he your favourite character?' said Philip, looking at him
'Oh no--of course not--though he is so grand that one thinks most about
him, but no one can be cared about as much as Lucia.'
'Lucia! She never struck me as more than a well-painted peasant girl,'
'Oh!' cried Guy, indignantly; then, controlling himself, he continued:
'She pretends to no more than she is, but she shows the beauty of
goodness in itself in a--a--wonderful way. And think of the power of
those words of hers over that gloomy, desperate man.'
'Your sympathy with the Innominato again,' said Philip. Every subject
seemed to excite Guy to a dangerous extent, as Laura thought, and she
turned to Philip to ask if he would not read to them again.
'I brought this book on purpose,' said Philip. 'I wished to read you a
description of that print from Raffaelle--you know it--the Madonna di
'The one you brought to show us?' said Amy, 'with the two little
'Yes, here is the description,' and he began to read--
'Dwell on the form of the Child, more than human in grandeur, seated on
the arms of the Blessed Virgin as on an august throne. Note the tokens
of divine grace, His ardent eyes, what a spirit, what a countenance is
His; yet His very resemblance to His mother denotes sufficiently that
He is of us and takes care for us. Beneath are two figures adoring,
each in their own manner. On one side is a pontiff, on the other a
virgin each a most sweet and solemn example, the one of aged, the other
of maidenly piety and reverence. Between, are two winged boys,
evidently presenting a wonderful pattern of childlike piety. Their
eyes, indeed, are not turned towards the Virgin, but both in face and
gesture, they show how careless of themselves they are in the presence
All were struck by the description. Guy did not speak at first, but
the solemn expression of his face showed how he felt its power and
reverence. Philip asked if they would like to hear more, and Charles
assented: Amy worked, Laura went on with her perspective, and Guy sat
by her side, making concentric circles with her compasses, or when she
wanted them he tormented her parallel ruler, or cut the pencils, never
letting his fingers rest except at some high or deep passage, or when
some interesting discussion arose. All were surprised when luncheon
time arrived; Charles held out his hand for the book; it was given with
a slight smile, and he exclaimed' Latin! I thought you were
translating. Is it your own property?'
'Is it very tough? I would read it, if any one would read it with me.'
'Do you mean me?' said Guy; 'I should like it very much, but you have
seen how little Latin I know.'
'That is the very thing,' said Charles; 'that Ovis of yours was music;
I would have made you a Knight of the Golden Fleece on the spot.
Tutors I could get by shoals, but a fellow-dunce is inestimable.'
'It is a bargain, then,' said Guy; 'if Philip has done with the book
and will lend it to us.'
The luncheon bell rang, and they all adjourned to the dining-room. Mr.
Edmonstone came in when luncheon was nearly over, rejoicing that his
letters were done, but then he looked disconsolately from the window,
and pitied the weather. 'Nothing for it but billiards. People might
say it was nonsense to have a billiard-table in such a house, but for
his part he found there was no getting through a wet day without them.
Philip must beat him as usual, and Guy might have one of the young
ladies to make a fourth.'
'Thank you,' said Guy, 'but I don't play.'
'Not play--eh?' Well, we will teach you in the spinning of a ball, and
I'll have my little Amy to help me against you and Philip.'
'No, thank you,' repeated Guy, colouring, 'I am under a promise.'
'Ha! Eh? What? Your grandfather? He could see no harm in such play
as this. For nothing, you understand. You did not suppose I meant
'0 no, of course not,' eagerly replied Guy; 'but it is impossible for
me to play, thank you. I have promised never even to look on at a game
'Ah, poor man, he had too much reason.' uttered Mr. Edmonstone to
himself, but catching a warning look from his wife, he became suddenly
silent. Guy, meanwhile, sat looking lost in sad thoughts, till,
rousing himself, he exclaimed, 'Don't let me prevent you.'
Mr. Edmonstone needed but little persuasion, and carried Philip off to
the billiard-table in the front hall.
'0, I am so glad!' cried Charlotte, who had, within the last week,
learnt Guy's value as a playfellow. 'Now you will never go to those
stupid billiards, but I shall have you always, every rainy day. Come
and have a real good game at ball on the stairs.'
She already had hold of his hand, and would have dragged him off at
once, had he not waited to help Charles back to his sofa; and in the
mean time she tried in vain to persuade her more constant playmate,
Amabel, to join the game. Poor little Amy regretted the being obliged
to refuse, as she listened to the merry sounds and bouncing balls,
sighing more than once at having turned into a grown-up young lady;
while Philip observed to Laura, who was officiating as billiard-marker,
that Guy was still a mere boy.
The fates favoured Amy at last for about half after three, the
billiards were interrupted, and Philip, pronouncing the rain to be
almost over, invited Guy to take a walk, and they set out in a very
gray wet mist, while Charlotte and Amy commenced a vigorous game at
battledore and shuttle-cock.
The gray mist had faded into twilight, and twilight into something like
night, when Charles was crossing the hall, with the aid of Amy's arm,
Charlotte carrying the crutch behind him, and Mrs, Edmonstone helping
Laura with her perspective apparatus, all on their way to dress for
dinner; the door opened and in came the two Morvilles. Guy, without,
even stopping to take off his great coat, ran at once up-stairs, and
the next moment the door of his room was shut with a bang that shook
the house, and made them all start and look at Philip for explanation.
'Redclyffe temper,' said he, coolly, with a half-smile curling his
short upper lip.
'What have you been doing to him?' said Charles.'
'Nothing. At least nothing worthy of such ire. I only entered on the
subject of his Oxford life, and advised him to prepare for it, for his
education has as yet been a mere farce. He used to go two or three
days in the week to one Potts, a self-educated genius--a sort of
superior writing-master at the Moorworth commercial school. Of course,
though it is no fault of his, poor fellow, he is hardly up to the fifth
form, and he must make the most of his time, if he is not to be
plucked. I set all this before him as gently as I could, for I knew
with whom I had to deal, yet you see how it is.'
'What did he say?' asked Charles.
'He said nothing; so far I give him credit; but he strode on furiously
for the last half mile, and this explosion is the finale. I am very
sorry for him, poor boy; I beg no further notice may be taken of it.
Don't you want an arm, Charlie?'
'No thank you,' answered Charles, with a little surliness.
'You had better. It really is too much for Amy,' said Philip, making a
move as if to take possession of him, as he arrived at the foot of the
'Like the camellia, I suppose,' he replied; and taking his other crutch
from Charlotte, he began determinedly to ascend without assistance,
resolved to keep Philip a prisoner below him as long as he could, and
enjoying the notion of chafing him by the delay. Certainly teasing
Philip was a dear delight to Charles, though it was all on trust, as,
if he succeeded, his cousin never betrayed his annoyance by look or
About a quarter of an hour after, there was a knock at the dressing-
room door. 'Come in,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, looking up from her
letter-writing, and Guy made his appearance, looking very downcast.
'I am come,' he said, 'to ask pardon for the disturbance I made just
now. I was so foolish as to be irritated at Philip's manner, when he
was giving me some good advice, and I am very sorry.'
'What has happened to your lip?' she exclaimed.
He put his handkerchief to it. 'Is it bleeding still? It is a trick
of mine to bite my lip when I am vexed. It seems to help to keep down
words. There! I have given myself a mark of this hateful outbreak.'
He looked very unhappy, more so, Mrs. Edmonstone thought, than the
actual offence required. 'You have only failed in part,' she said.
'It was a victory to keep down words.'
'The feeling is the _thing_,' said Guy; 'besides, I showed it plainly
enough, without speaking.'
'It is not easy to take advice from one so little your elder,' began
Mrs. Edmonstone, but he interrupted her. 'It was not the advice. That
was very good; I--' but he spoke with an effort,--'I am obliged to him.
It was--no, I won't say what,' he added, his eyes kindling, then
changing in a moment to a sorrowful, resolute tone, 'Yes, but I _will_,
and then I shall make myself thoroughly ashamed. It was his veiled
assumption of superiority, his contempt for all I have been taught.
Just as if he had not every right to despise me, with his talent and
scholarship, after such egregious mistakes as I had made in the
morning. I gave him little reason to think highly of my attainments;
but let him slight me as much as he pleases, he must not slight those
who taught me. It was not Mr. Potts' fault.'
Even the name could not spoil the spirited sound of the speech, and
Mrs. Edmonstone was full of sympathy. 'You must remember,' she said,
'that in the eyes of a man brought up at public school, nothing
compensates for the want of the regular classical education. I have no
doubt it was very provoking.'
'I don't want to be excused, thank you,' said Guy. 'Oh I am grieved;
for I thought the worst of my temper had been subdued. After all that
has passed--all I felt--I thought it impossible. Is there no hope for-
-' He covered his face with his hands, then recovering and turning to
Mrs. Edmonstone, he said, 'It is encroaching too much on your kindness
to come here and trouble you with my confessions.'
'No, no, indeed,' said she, earnestly. 'Remember how we agreed that
you should come to me like one of my own children. And, indeed, I do
not see why you need grieve in this despairing way, for you almost
overcame the fit of anger; and perhaps you were off your guard because
the trial came in an unexpected way?'
'It did, it did,' he said, eagerly; 'I don't, mind being told point
blank that I am a dunce, but that Mr. Potts--nay, by implication--my
grandfather should be set at nought in that cool-- But here I am
again!' said he, checking himself in the midst of his vehemence; 'he
did not mean that, of course. I have no one to blame but myself.'
'I am sure,' said Mrs, Edmonstone, 'that if you always treat your
failings in this way, you must subdue them at last.'
'It is all failing, and resolving, and failing again!' said Guy.
'Yes, but the failures become slighter and less frequent, and the end
'The end victory!' repeated Guy, in a musing tone, as he stood leaning
against the mantelshelf.
'Yes, to all who persevere and seek for help,' said Mrs Edmonstone; and
he raised his eyes and fixed them on her with an earnest look that
surprised her, for it was almost as if the hope came home to him as
something new. At that moment, however, she was called away, and
directly after a voice in the next room exclaimed, 'Are you there, Guy?
I want an arm!' while he for the first time perceived that Charles's
door was ajar.
Charles thought all this a great fuss about nothing, indeed he was glad
to find there was anyone who had no patience with Philip; and in his
usual mischievous manner, totally reckless of the fearful evil of
interfering with the influence for good which it was to be hoped that
Philip might exert over Guy, he spoke thus: 'I begin to think the world
must be more docile than I have been disposed to give it credit for.
How a certain cousin of ours has escaped numerous delicate hints to
mind his own business is to me one of the wonders of the world.'
'No one better deserves that his advice should be followed,' said Guy,
with some constraint.
'An additional reason against it,' said Charles. 'Plague on that bell!
I meant to have broken through your formalities and had a candid
opinion of Don Philip before it rang.'
'Then I am glad of it; I could hardly have given you a candid opinion
just at present.'
Charles was vexed; but he consoled himself by thinking that Guy did not
yet feel himself out of his leading-strings, and was still on his good
behaviour. After such a flash as this there was no fear, but there was
that in him which would create mischief and disturbance enough.
Charles was well principled at the bottom, and would have shrunk with
horror had it been set before him how dangerous might be the effect of
destroying the chance of a friendship between Guy and the only person
whose guidance was likely to be beneficial to him; but his idle,
unoccupied life, and habit of only thinking of things as they concerned
his immediate amusement, made him ready to do anything for the sake of
opposition to Philip, and enjoy the vague idea of excitement to be
derived from anxiety about his father's ward, whom at the same time he
regarded with increased liking as he became certain that what he called
the Puritan spirit was not native to him.
At dinner-time, Guy was as silent as on his first arrival, and there
would have been very little conversation had not the other gentleman
talked politics, Philip leading the discussion to bear upon the duties
and prospects of landed proprietors, and dwelling on the extent of
their opportunities for doing good. He tried to get Guy's attention,
by speaking of Redclyffe, of the large circle influenced by the head of
the Morville family, and of the hopes entertained by Lord Thorndale
that this power would prove a valuable support to the rightful cause.
He spoke in vain; the young heir of Redclyffe made answers as brief,
absent, and indifferent, as if all this concerned him no more than the
Emperor of Morocco, and Philip, mentally pronouncing him sullen, turned
to address himself to Laura.
As soon as the ladies had left the dining-room, Guy roused himself, and
began by saying to his guardian that he was afraid he was very
deficient in classical knowledge; that he found be must work hard
before going to Oxford; and asked whether there was any tutor in the
neighbourhood to whom he could apply.
Mr. Edmonstone opened his eyes, as much amazed as if Guy had asked if
there was any executioner in the neighbourhood who could cut off his
head. Philip was no less surprised, but he held his peace, thinking it
was well Guy bad sense enough to propose it voluntarily, as he would
have suggested it to his uncle as soon as there was an opportunity of
doing so in private. As soon as Mr. Edmonstone had recollected
himself, and pronounced it to be exceedingly proper, &c., they entered
into a discussion on the neighbouring curates, and came at last to a
resolution that Philip should see whether Mr. Lascelles, a curate of
Broadstone, and an old schoolfellow of his own, would read with Guy a
few hours in every week.
After this was settled, Guy looked relieved, though he was not himself
all the evening, and sat in his old corner between the plants and the
window, where he read a grave book, instead of talking, singing, or
finishing his volume of 'Ten Thousand a Year.' Charlotte was all this
time ill at ease. She looked from Guy to Philip, from Philip to Guy;
she shut her mouth as if she was forming some great resolve, then
coloured, and looked confused, rushing into the conversation with
something more mal-apropos than usual, as if on purpose to appear at
her ease. At last, just before her bed-time, when the tea was coming
in, Mrs. Edmonstone engaged with that, Laura reading, Amy clearing
Charles's little table, and Philip helping Mr. Edmonstone to unravel
the confused accounts of the late cheating bailiff, Guy suddenly found
her standing by him, perusing his face with all the power of her great
blue eyes. She started as he looked up, and put her face into Amabel's
great myrtle as if she would make it appear that she was smelling to
'Well, Charlotte?' said he, and the sound of his voice made her speak,
but in a frightened, embarrassed whisper.
'Guy--Guy--Oh! I beg your pardon, but I wanted to--'
'Well, what?' said he, kindly.
'I wanted to make sure that you are not angry with Philip. You don't
mean to keep up the feud, do you?'
'Feud?--I hope not,' said Guy, too much in earnest to be diverted with
her lecture. 'I am very much obliged to him.'
'Are you really?' said Charlotte, her head a little on one side. 'I
thought he had been scolding you.'
Scolding was so very inappropriate to Philip's calm, argumentative way
of advising, that it became impossible not to laugh.
'Not scolding, then?' said Charlotte. 'You are too nearly grown up for
that, but telling you to learn, and being tiresome.'
'I was so foolish as to be provoked at first,' answered Guy; 'but I
hope I have thought better of it, and am going to act upon it.'
Charlotte opened her eyes wider than ever, but in the midst of her
amazement Mrs. Edmonstone called to Guy to quit his leafy screen and
come to tea.
Philip was to return to Broadstone the next day, and as Mrs. Edmonstone
had some errands there that would occupy her longer than Charles liked
to wait in the carriage, it was settled that Philip should drive her
there in the pony phaeton, and Guy accompany them and drive back, thus
having an opportunity of seeing Philip's print of the 'Madonna di San
Sisto,' returning some calls, and being introduced to Mr. Lascelles,
whilst she was shopping. They appointed an hour and place of meeting,
and kept to it, after which Mrs. Edmonstone took Guy with her to call
on Mrs. Deane, the wife of the colonel.
It was currently believed among the young Edmonstones that Mamma and
Mrs. Deane never met without talking over Mr. Morville's good
qualities, and the present visit proved no exception. Mrs. Deane, a
kind, open-hearted, elderly lady was very fond of Mr. Morville, and
proud of him as a credit to the regiment; and she told several traits
of his excellent judgment, kindness of heart, and power of leading to
the right course. Mrs. Edmonstone listened, and replied with delight;
and no less pleasure and admiration were seen reflected in her young
friend's radiant face.
Mrs. Edmonstone's first question, as they set out on their homeward
drive, was, whether they had seen Mr. Lascelles?
'Yes,' said Guy, 'I am to begin to morrow, and go to him every Monday
'That is prompt.'
'Ah! I have no time to lose; besides I have been leading too smooth a
life with you. I want something unpleasant to keep me in order.
Something famously horrid,' repeated he, smacking the whip with a
relish, as if he would have applied that if he could have found nothing
'You think you live too smoothly at Hollywell,' said Mrs. Edmonstone,
hardly able, with all her respect for his good impulses, to help
laughing at this strange boy.
'Yes. Happy, thoughtless, vehement; that is what your kindness makes
me. Was it not a proof, that I must needs fly out at such a petty
'I should not have thought it such a very exciting life; certainly not
such as is usually said to lead to thoughtlessness; and we have been
even quieter than usual since you came.'
'Ah, you don't know what stuff I am made of,' said Guy, gravely, though
smiling; 'your own home party is enough to do me harm; it is so
'Pleasant things do not necessarily do harm.'
'Not to you; not to people who are not easily unsettled; but when I go
up-stairs, after a talking, merry evening, such as the night before
last, I find that I have enjoyed it too much; I am all abroad! I can
hardly fix my thoughts, and I don't know what to do, since here I must
be, and I can't either be silent, or sit up in my own room.'
'Certainly not,' said she, smiling; 'there are duties of society which
you owe even to us dangerous people.'
'No, no: don't misunderstand me. The fault is in myself. If it was
not for that, I could learn nothing but good,' said Guy, speaking very
eagerly, distressed at her answer.
'I believe I understand you,' said she, marvelling at the serious,
ascetic temper, coupled with the very high animal spirits. 'For your
comfort, I believe the unsettled feeling you complain of is chiefly the
effect of novelty. You have led so very retired a life, that a lively
family party is to you what dissipation would be to other people: and,
as you must meet with the world some time or other, it is better the
first encounter with should be in this comparatively innocent form. Go
on watching yourself, and it will do you no harm.'
Yes, but if I find it does me harm? It would be cowardly to run away,
and resistance should be from within. Yet, on the other hand, there is
the duty of giving up, wrenching oneself from all that has temptation
'There is nothing,' said Mrs Edmonstone, 'that has no temptation in it;
but I should think the rule was plain. If a duty such as that of
living among us for the present, and making yourself moderately
agreeable, involves temptations, they must be met and battled from
within. In the same way, your position in society, with all its
duties, could not be laid aside because it is full of trial. Those who
do such things are fainthearted, and fail in trust in Him who fixed
their station, and finds room for them to deny themselves in the
trivial round and common task. It is pleasure involving no duty that
should be given up, if we find it liable to lead us astray.'
'I see,' answered Guy, musingly; 'and this reading comes naturally, and
is just what I wanted to keep the pleasant things from getting a full
hold of me. I ought to have thought of it sooner, instead of dawdling
a whole month in idleness. Then all this would not have happened. I
hope it will be very tough.'
'You have no great love for Latin and Greek?'
'Oh!' cried Guy, eagerly, 'to be sure I delight in Homer and the
Georgics, and plenty more. What splendid things there are in these old
fellows! But, I never liked the drudgery part of the affair; and now
if I am to be set to work to be accurate, and to get up all the grammar
and the Greek roots, it will be horrid enough in all conscience.'
He groaned as deeply as if he had not been congratulating himself just
before on the difficulty.
'Who was your tutor?' asked Mrs. Edmonstone.
'Mr. Potts,' said Guy. 'He is a very clever man; he had a common
grammar-school education, but he struggled on--taught himself a great
deal--and at last thought it great promotion to be a teacher at the
Commercial Academy, as they call it, at Moorworth, where Markham's
nephews went to school. He is very clever, I assure you, and very
patient of the hard, wearing life he must have of it there; and oh! so
enjoying a new book, or an afternoon to himself. When I was about
eight or nine, I began with him, riding into Moorworth three times in a
week; and I have gone on ever since. I am sure he has done the best he
could for me; and he made the readings very pleasant by his own
enjoyment. If Philip had known the difficulties that man has struggled
through, and his beautiful temper, persevering in doing his best and
being contented, I am sure he could never have spoken contemptuously of
'I am sure he would not,' said Mrs. Edmonstone; 'all he meant was, that
a person without a university education cannot tell what the
requirements are to which a man must come up in these days.'
'Ah!' said Guy, laughing, 'how I wished Mr. Potts had been there to
have enjoyed listening to Philip and Mr. Lascelles discussing some new
Lexicon, digging down for roots of words, and quoting passages of
obscure Greek poets at such a rate, that if my eyes had been shut I
could have thought them two withered old students in spectacles and
'Philip was in his element.' said Mrs. Edmonstone, smiling.
'Really,' proceeded Guy, with animation, 'the more I hear and see of
Philip, the more I wonder. What a choice collection of books he has--
so many of them school prizes, and how beautifully bound!'
'Ah! that is one of Philip's peculiar ways. With all his prudence and
his love of books, I believe he would not buy one unless he had a
reasonable prospect of being able to dress it handsomely. Did you see
'Yes that I did. What glorious loveliness! There is nothing that does
it justice but the description in the lecture. Oh I forgot, you have
not heard it. You must let me read it to you by and by. Those two
little angels, what faces they have. Perfect innocence--one full of
reasoning, the other of unreasoning adoration!'
'I see it!' suddenly exclaimed Mrs. Edmonstone; 'I see what you are
like in one of your looks, not by any means, in all--it is to the
larger of those two angels.'
'Very seldom, I should guess,' said Guy; and sinking his voice, as if
he was communicating a most painful fact, he added, 'My real likeness
is old Sir Hugh's portrait at home. But what were we saying? Oh!
about Philip. How nice those stories were of Mrs. Deane's.'
'She is very fond of him.'
'To have won so much esteem and admiration, already from strangers,
with no prejudice in his favour.--It must be entirely his own doing;
and well it may! Every time one hears of him, something comes out to
make him seem more admirable. You are laughing at me, and I own it is
presumptuous to praise; but I did not mean to praise, only to admire.'
'I like very much to hear my nephew praised; I was only smiling at your
'I only wonder I am not more enthusiastic,' said Guy. 'I suppose it is
his plain good sense that drives away that sort of feeling, for he is
as near heroism in the way of self-sacrifice as a man can be in these
'Poor Philip! if disappointment can make a hero, it has fallen to his
share. Ah! Guy, you are brightening and looking like one of my young
ladies in hopes of a tale of true love crossed, but it was only love of
'The sister for whom he gave up so much?'
'Yes, his sister Margaret. She was eight or nine years older, very
handsome, very clever, a good deal like him--a pattern elder sister;
indeed, she brought him up in great part after his mother died, and he
was devoted to her. I do believe it made the sacrifice of his
prospects quite easy to him, to know it was for her sake, that she
would live on at Stylehurst, and the change be softened to her. Then
came Fanny's illness, and that lead to the marriage with Dr. Henley.
It was just what no one could object to; he is a respectable man in
full practice, with a large income; but he is much older than she is,
not her equal in mind or cultivation, and though I hardly like to say
so, not at all a religious man. At any rate, Margaret Morville was one
of the last people one could bear to see marry for the sake of an
'Could her brother do nothing?'
'He expostulated with all his might; but at nineteen he could do little
with a determined sister of twenty-seven; and the very truth and power
of his remonstrance must have made it leave a sting. Poor fellow, I
believe he suffered terribly--just as he had lost Fanny, too, which he
felt very deeply, for she was a very sweet creature, and he was very
fond of her. It was like losing both sisters and home at once.'
'Has he not just been staying with Mrs. Henley?'
'Yes. There was never any coolness, as people call it. He is the one
thing she loves and is proud of. They always correspond, and he often
stays with her; but he owns to disliking the Doctor, and I don't think
he has much comfort in Margaret herself, for he always comes back more
grave and stern than he went. Her house, with all her good wishes, can
be no home to him; and so we try to make Hollywell supply the place of
Stylehurst as well as we can.'
'How glad he must be to have you to comfort him!'
'Philip? Oh no. He was always reserved; open to no one but Margaret,
not even to his father, and since her marriage he has shut himself up
within himself more than ever. It has, at least I think it is this
that has given him a severity, an unwillingness to trust, which I
believe is often the consequence of a great disappointment either in
love or in friendship.'
'Thank you for telling me,' said Guy: 'I shall understand him better,
and look up to him more. Oh! it is a cruel thing to find that what one
loves is, or has not been, all one thought. What must he not have gone
Mrs. Edmonstone was well pleased to have given so much assistance to
Guy's sincere desire to become attached to his cousin, one of the most
favourable signs in the character that was winning so much upon her.
A cloud was o'er my childhood's dream,
I sat in solitude;
I know not how--I know not why,
But round my soul all drearily
There was a silent shroud.
THOUGHTS IN PAST YEARS
Mrs. Edmonstone was anxious to hear Mr. Lascelle's opinion of his
pupil, and in time she learnt that he thought Sir Guy had very good
abilities, and a fair amount of general information; but that his
classical knowledge was far from accurate, and mathematics had been
greatly neglected. He had been encouraged to think his work done when
he had gathered the general meaning of a passage, or translated it into
English verse, spirited and flowing, but often further from the
original than he or his tutor could perceive. He had never been taught
to work, at least as other boys study, and great application would be
requisite to bring his attainments to a level with those of far less
clever boys educated at a public school.
Mr. Lascelles told him so at first; but as there were no reflections on
his grandfather, or on Mr. Potts, Guy's lip did not suffer, and he only
asked how many hours a day he ought to read. 'Three,' said Mr.
Lascelles, with a due regard to a probable want of habits of
application; but then, remembering how much was undone, he added, that
'it ought to be four or more, if possible.'
'Four it _shall_ be,' said Guy; 'five if I can.'
His whole strength of will was set to accomplish these four hours,
taking them before and after breakfast, working hard all the morning
till the last hour before luncheon, when he came to read the lectures
on poetry with Charles. Here, for the first time, it appeared that
Charles had so entirely ceased to consider him as company, as to
domineer over him like his own family.
Used as Guy had been to an active out-of-doors life, and now turned
back to authors he had read long ago, to fight his way through the
construction of their language, not excusing himself one jot of the
difficulty, nor turning aside from one mountain over which his own
efforts could carry him, he found his work as tough and tedious as he
could wish or fear, and by the end of the morning was thoroughly
fagged. Then would have been the refreshing time for recreation in
that pleasant idling-place, the Hollywell drawing-room. Any other time
of day would have suited Charles as well for the reading, but he liked
to take the hour at noon, and never perceived that this made all the
difference to his friend of a toil or a pleasure. Now and then Guy
gave tremendous yawns; and once when Charles told him he was very
stupid, proposed a different time; but as Charles objected, he yielded
as submissively as the rest of the household were accustomed to do.
To watch Guy was one of Charles's chief amusements, and he rejoiced
greatly in the prospect of hearing his history of his first dinner-
party. Mr., Mrs. and Miss Edmonstone, and Sir Guy Morville, were
invited to dine with Mr. and Mrs. Brownlow. Mr. Edmonstone was
delighted as usual with any opportunity of seeing his neighbours; Guy
looked as if he did not know whether he liked the notion or not; Laura
told him it would be very absurd and stupid, but there would be some
good music, and Charles ordered her to say no more, that he might have
the account, the next morning, from a fresh and unprejudiced mind.
The next morning's question was, of course, 'How did you like your
'O, it was great fun.' Guy's favourite answer was caught up in the
midst, as Laura replied, 'It was just what parties always are.'
'Come, let us have the history. Who handed who in to dinner? I hope
Guy had Mrs. Brownlow.'
'Oh no,' said Laura; we had both the honourables.'
'No,' said Guy; 'the fidus Achetes was without his pious Aeneas.'
'Very good, Guy,' said Charles, enjoying the laugh.
'I could not help thinking of it,' said Guy, rather apologising, 'when
I was watching Thorndale's manner; it is such an imitation of Philip;
looking droller, I think, in his absence, than in his presence. I
wonder if he is conscious of it.'
'It does not suit him at all,' said Mrs. Edmonstone; because he has no
'A man ought to be six foot one, person and mind, to suit with that
grand, sedate, gracious way of Philip's,' said Guy.
'There's Guy's measure of Philip's intellect,' said Charles, 'just six
foot one inch.'
'As much more than other people's twice his height,' said Guy.
'Who was your neighbour, Laura?' asked Amy.
'Dr. Mayerne; I was very glad of him, to keep off those hunting friends
of Mr. Brownlow, who never ask anything but if one has been to the
races, and if one likes balls.'
'And how did Mrs. Brownlow behave?' said Charles.
'She is a wonderful woman,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, in her quiet way; and
Guy with an expression between drollery and simplicity, said, 'Then
there aren't many like her.'
'I hope not,' said Mrs. Edmonstone.
'Is she really a lady?'
'Philip commonly calls her "that woman,"' said Charles. 'He has never
got over her one night classing him with his "young man" and myself, as
three of the shyest monkeys she ever came across.'
'She won't say so of Maurice,' said Laura, as they recovered the laugh.
'I heard her deluding some young lady by saying he was the eldest son,'
said Mrs. Edmonstone.
'Mamma!' cried Amy, 'could she have thought so?'
'I put in a gentle hint on Lord de Courcy's existence, to which she
answered, in her quick way, 'O ay, I forgot; but then he is the second,
and that's the next thing.'
'If you could but have heard the stories she and Maurice were telling
each other!' said Guy. 'He was playing her off, I believe; for
whatever she told, he capped it with something more wonderful. Is she
really a lady?'
'By birth,' said Mrs. Edmonstone. It is only her high spirits and
small judgment that make her so absurd.'
'How loud she is, too!' said Laura. 'What was all that about horses,
'She was saying she drove two such spirited horses, that all the grooms
were afraid of them; and when she wanted to take out her little boy,
Mr. Brownlow said "You may do as you like my dear, but I won't have my
son's neck broken, whatever you do with your own." So Maurice answered
by declaring he knew a lady who drove not two, but four-in-hand, and
when the leaders turned round and looked her in the face, gave a little
nod, and said, 'I'm obliged for your civility.'
'Oh! I wish I had heard that,' cried Laura.
'Did you hear her saying she smoked cigars?'
Everyone cried out with horror or laughter.
'Of course, Maurice told a story of a lady who had a cigar case hanging
at her chatelaine, and always took one to refresh her after a ball.'
Guy was interrupted by the announcement of his horse, and rode off at
once to Mr. Lascelles.
On his return he went straight to the drawing-room, where Mrs.
Edmonstone was reading to Charles, and abruptly exclaimed,--
'I told you wrong. She only said she had smoked one cigar.' Then
perceiving that he was interrupting, he added, 'I beg your pardon,' and
The next evening, on coming in from a solitary skating, he found the
younger party in the drawing-room, Charles entertaining the Miss
Harpers with the story of the cigars. He hastily interposed--
'I told you it was but one.'
'Ay, tried one, and went on. She was preparing an order for Havannah.'
'I thought I told you I repeated the conversation incorrectly.'
'If it is not the letter, it is the spirit,' said Charles, vexed at the
interference with his sport of amazing the Miss Harpers with outrageous
stories of Mrs. Brownlow.
'It is just like her,' said one of them. 'I could believe anything of
'You must not believe this,' said Guy, gently. 'I repeated incorrectly
what had better have been forgotten, and I must beg my foolish
exaggeration to go no further.'
Charles became sullenly silent; Guy stood thoughtful; and Laura and
Amabel could not easily sustain the conversation till the visitors took
'Here's a pother!' grumbled Charles, as soon as they were gone.
'I beg your pardon for spoiling your story,' said Guy; but it was my
fault, so I was obliged to interfere.'
'Bosh!' said Charles. 'Who cares whether she smoked one or twenty?
She is Mrs. Brownlow still.'
The point is, what was truth?' said Laura.
'Straining at gnats,' said Charles.
'Little wings?' said Guy, glancing at Amabel.
'Have it your won way,' said Charles, throwing his head back; 'they
must be little souls, indeed that stick at such trash.'
Guy's brows were contracted with vexation, but Laura looked up very
'Never mind him. We must all honour you for doing such an unpleasant
'You will recommend him favourably to Philip,' growled Charles.
There was no reply, and presently Guy asked whether he would go up to
dress? Having no other way of showing his displeasure, he refused, and
remained nursing his ill-humour, till he forgot how slight the offence
had been, and worked himself into a sort of insane desire--half
mischievous, half revengeful--to be as provoking as he could in his
Seldom had he been more contrary, as his old nurse was wont to call it.
No one could please him, and Guy was not allowed to do anything for
him. Whatever he said was intended to rub on some sore place in Guy's
mind. His mother and Laura's signs made him worse, for he had the
pleasure of teasing them, also; but Guy endured it all with perfect
temper, and he grew more cross at his failure; yet, from force of
habit, at bed-time, he found himself on the stairs with Guy's arm
'Good night,' said Charles; 'I tried hard to poke up the lion to-night,
but I see it won't do.'
This plea of trying experiments was neither absolutely true nor false;
but it restored Charles to himself, by saving a confession that he had
been out of temper, and enabling him to treat with him wonted
indifference the expostulations of father, mother, and Laura.
Now that the idea of 'poking up the lion' had once occurred, it became
his great occupation to attempt it. He wanted to see some evidence of
the fiery temper, and it was a new sport to try to rouse it; one, too,
which had the greater relish, as it kept the rest of the family on
He would argue against his real opinion, talk against his better sense,
take the wrong side, and say much that was very far from his true
sentiments. Guy could not understand at first, and was quite
confounded at some of the views he espoused, till Laura came to his
help, greatly irritating her brother by hints that he was not in
earnest. Next time she could speak to Guy alone, she told him he must
not take all Charles said literally.
'I thought he could hardly mean it: but why should he talk so?'
'I can't excuse him; I know it is very wrong, and at the expense of
truth, and it is very disagreeable of him--I wish he would not; but he
always does what he likes, and it is one of his amusements, so we must
bear with him, poor fellow.'
From that time Guy seemed to have no trouble in reining in his temper
in arguing with Charles, except once, when the lion was fairly roused
by something that sounded like a sneer about King Charles I.
His whole face changed, his hazel eye gleamed with light like an
eagle's, and he started up, exclaiming--
'You did not mean that?'
'Ask Strafford,' answered Charles, coolly, startled, but satisfied to
have found the vulnerable point.
'Ungenerous, unmanly,' said Guy, his voice low, but quivering with
indignation; 'ungenerous to reproach him with what he so bitterly
repented. Could not his penitence, could not his own blood'--but as he
spoke, the gleam of wrath faded, the flush deepened on the cheek, and
he left the room.
'Ha!' soliloquized Charles, 'I've done it! I could fancy his wrath
something terrific when it was once well up. I didn't know what was
coming next; but I believe he has got himself pretty well in hand. It
is playing with edge tools; and now I have been favoured with one flash
of the Morville eye, I'll let him alone; but it _ryled_ me to be
treated as something beneath his anger, like a woman or a child.'
In about ten minutes, Guy came back: 'I am sorry that I was hasty just
now,' said he.
'I did not know you had such personal feelings about King Charles.'
'If you would do me a kindness,' proceeded Guy, 'you would just say you
did not mean it. I know you do not, but if you would only say so.'
'I am glad you have the wit to see I have too much taste to be a
'Thank you,' said Guy; 'I hope I shall know your jest from your earnest
another time. Only if you would oblige me, you would never jest again
about King Charles.'
His brow darkened into a stern, grave expression, so entirely in
earnest, that Charles, though making no answer, could not do otherwise
than feel compliance unavoidable. Charles had never been so entirely
conquered, yet, strange to say, he was not, as usual, rendered sullen.
At night, when Guy had taken him to his room, he paused and said--'You
are sure that you have forgiven me?'
'What! You have not forgotten that yet?' said Charles.
'Of course not.'
'I am sorry you bear so much malice,' said Charles, smiling.
'What are you imagining?' cried Guy. 'It was my own part I was
remembering, as I must, you know.'
Charles did not choose to betray that he did not see the necessity.
'I thought King Charles's wrongs were rankling. I only spoke as taking
liberties with a friend.'
'Yes,' said Guy, thoughtfully, 'it may be foolish, but I do not feel as
if one could do so with King Charles. He is too near home; he suffered
to much from scoffs and railings; his heart was too tender, his
repentance too deep for his friends to add one word even in jest to the
heap of reproach. How one would have loved him!' proceeded Guy,
wrapped up in his own thoughts,--'loved him for the gentleness so
little accordant with the rude times and the part he had to act--served
him with half like a knight's devotion to his lady-love, half like
devotion to a saint, as Montrose did--
'Great, good, and just, could I but rate
My grief, and thy too rigid fate,
I'd weep the world in such a strain,
As it should deluge once again.'
'And, oh!' cried he, with sudden vehemence, 'how one would have fought
'You would!' said Charles. 'I should like to see you and Deloraine
charging at the head of Prince Rupert's troopers.'
'I beg your pardon,' said Guy, suddenly recalled, and colouring deeply;
'I believe I forgot where I was, and have treated you to one of my old
dreams in my boatings at home. You may quiz me as much as you please
tomorrow. Good night'
'It was a rhapsody!' thought Charles; 'yes it was. I wonder I don't
laugh at it; but I was naturally carried along. Fancy that! He did it
so naturally; in fact, it was all from the bottom of his heart, and I
could not quiz him--no, no more than Montrose himself. He is a strange
article! But he keeps one awake, which is more than most people do!'
Guy was indeed likely to keep every one awake just then; for Mr.
Edmonstone was going to take him out hunting for the first time, and he
was half wild about it. The day came, and half an hour before Mr.
Edmonstone was ready, Guy was walking about the hall, checking many an
incipient whistle, and telling every one that he was beforehand with
the world, for he had read one extra hour yesterday, and had got
through the others before breakfast. Laura thought it very true that,
as Philip said, he was only a boy, and moralized to Charlotte on his
being the same age as herself--very nearly eighteen. Mrs. Edmonstone
told Charles it was a treat to see any one so happy, and when he began
to chafe at the delay, did her best to beguile the time, but without
much success. Guy had ever learned to wait patiently, and had a custom
of marching up and down, and listening with his head thrown back, or,
as Charles used to call it, 'prancing in the hall.'
If Mrs. Edmonstone's patience was tried by the preparation for the hunt
in the morning, it was no less her lot to hear of it in the evening.
Guy came home in the highest spirits, pouring out his delight to every
one, with animation and power of description giving all he said a
charm. The pleasure did not lose by repetition; he was more engrossed
by it every time; and no one could be more pleased with his ardour than
Mr. Edmonstone, who, proud of him and his riding, gave a sigh to past
hopes of poor Charles, and promoted the hunting with far more glee that
he had promoted the reading.
The Redclyffe groom, William, whose surname of Robinson was entirely
forgotten in the appellation of William of Deloraine, was as proud of
Sir Guy as Mr. Edmonstone could be; but made representations to his
master that he must not hunt Deloraine two days in the week, and ride
him to Broadstone two more. Guy then walked to Broadstone; but William
was no better pleased, for he thought the credit of Redclyffe
compromised, and punished him by reporting Deloraine not fit to be used
next hunting day. Mr. Edmonstone perceived that Guy ought to have
another hunter; Philip heard of one for sale, and after due inspection
all admired--even William, who had begun by remarking that there might
be so many screw-looses about a horse, that a man did not know what to
be at with them.
Philip, who was conducting the negotiation, came to dine at Hollywell
to settle the particulars. Guy was in a most eager state; and they and
Mr. Edmonstone talked so long about horses, that they sent Charles to
sleep; his mother began to read, and the two elder girls fell into a
low, mysterious confabulation of their own till they were startled by a
question from Philip as to what could engross them so deeply.
'It was,' said Laura, 'a banshee story in Eveleen de Courcy's last
'I never like telling ghost stories to people who don't believe in
them,' half whispered Amabel to her sister.
'Do you believe them?' asked Philip, looking full at her.
'Now I won't have little Amy asked the sort of question she most
dislikes,' interposed Laura; 'I had rather ask if you laugh at us for
thinking many ghost stories inexplicable?'
'The universal belief could hardly be kept up without some grounds,'
'That would apply as well to fairies,' said Philip.
'Every one has an unexplained ghost story,' said Amy.
'Yes,' said Philip; 'but I would give something to meet any one whose
ghost story did not rest on the testimony of a friend's cousin's
cousin, a very strong-minded person.'
'I can't imagine how a person who has seen a ghost could ever speak of
it,' said Amy.
'Did you not tell us a story of pixies at Redclyffe?' said Laura.
'O yes; the people there believe in them firmly. Jonas Ledbury heard
them laughing one night when he could not get the gate open,' said Guy.
'Ah! You are the authority for ghosts,' said Philip.
'I forgot that,' said Laura: 'I wonder we never asked you about your
'You look as if you had seen it yourself,' said Philip.
'You have not?' exclaimed Amy, almost frightened.
'Come, let us have the whole story,' said Philip. 'Was it your own
reflection in the glass? was it old sir Hugh? or was it the murderer of
Becket? Come, the ladies are both ready to scream at the right moment.
Never mind about giving him a cocked-hat, for with whom may you take a
liberty, if not with an ancestral ghost of your own?'
Amy could not think how Philip could have gone on all this time;
perhaps it was because he was not watching how Guy's colour varied, how
he bit his lip; and at last his eyes seemed to grow dark in the middle,
and to sparkle with fire, as with a low, deep tone, like distant
thunder, conveying a tremendous force of suppressed passion, he
exclaimed, 'Beware of trifling--' then breaking off hastened out of the
'What's the matter?' asked Mr. Edmonstone, startled from his nap; and
his wife looked up anxiously, but returned to her book, as her nephew
'How could you Philip?' said Laura.
'I really believe he has seen it!' said Amy, in a startled whisper.
'He has felt it, Amy--the Morville spirit,' said Philip.
'It is a great pity you spoke of putting a cocked hat to it,' said
Laura; 'he must have suspected us of telling you what happened about
'And are you going to do it now?' said her sister in a tone of
'I think Philip should hear it!' said Laura; and she proceeded to
relate the story. She was glad to see that her cousin was struck with
it; he admired this care to maintain strict truth, and even opened a
memorandum-book--the sight of which Charles dreaded--and read the
following extract: 'Do not think of one falsity as harmless, and
another as slight, and another as unintended. Cast them all aside.
They may be light and accidental, but they are an ugly soot from the
smoke of the pit, for all that; and it is better that our hearts should
be swept clean of them, without over care as to which is the largest or
Laura and Amy were much pleased; but he went on to regret that such
excellent dispositions should be coupled with such vehemence of
character and that unhappy temper. Amy was glad that her sister
ventured to hint that he might be more cautious in avoiding collisions.
'I am cautious', replied he, quickly and sternly; 'I am not to be told
of the necessity of exercising forbearance with this poor boy; but it
is impossible to reckon on all the points on which he is sensitive.'
'He is sensitive,' said Laura. 'I don't mean only in temper, but in
everything. I wonder if it is part of his musical temperament to be as
keenly alive to all around, as his ear is to every note. A bright day,
a fine view, is such real happiness to him; he dwells on every beauty
of Redclyffe with such affection; and then, when he reads, Charles says
it is like going over the story again himself to watch his face act it
in that unconscious manner.'
'He makes all the characters so real in talking them over,' said Amy,
'and he does not always know how they will end before they begin.'
'I should think it hardly safe for so excitable a mind to dwell much on
the world of fiction,' said Philip.
'Nothing has affected him so much as Sintram,' said Laura. 'I never
saw anything like it. He took it up by chance, and stood reading it
while all those strange expressions began to flit over his face, and at
last he fairly cried over it so much, that he was obliged to fly out of
the room. How often he has read it I cannot tell; I believe he has
bought one for himself, and it is as if the engraving had a fascination
for him; he stands looking at it as if he was in a dream.'
'He is a great mystery,' said Amy.
'All men are mysterious,' said Philip 'but he not more than others,
though he may appear so to you, because you have not had much
experience, and also because most of the men you have seen have been
rounded into uniformity like marbles, their sharp angles rubbed off
against each other at school.'
'Would it be better if there were more sharp angles?' said Laura, thus
setting on foot a discussion on public schools, on which Philip had, of
course, a great deal to say.
Amy's kind little heart was meanwhile grieving for Guy, and longing to
see him return, but he did not come till after Philip's departure. He
looked pale and mournful, his hair hanging loose and disordered, and
her terror was excited lest he might actually have seen his ancestor's
ghost, which, in spite of her desire to believe in ghosts, in general,
she did not by any means wish to have authenticated. He was surprised
and a good deal vexed to find Philip gone, but he said hardly anything,
and it was soon bedtime. When Charles took his arm, he exclaimed, on
finding his sleeve wet--'What can you have been doing?'
'Walking up and down under the wall,' replied Guy, with some
'What, in the rain?'
'I don't know, perhaps it was.'
Amy, who was just behind, carrying the crutch, dreaded Charles's making
any allusion to Sintram's wild locks and evening wanderings, but ever
since the outburst about King Charles, the desire to tease and irritate
Guy had ceased.
They parted at the dressing-room door, and as Guy bade her good night,
he pushed back the damp hair that had fallen across his forehead,
saying, 'I am sorry I disturbed your evening. I will tell you the
meaning of it another time.'
'He has certainly seen the ghost!' said silly little Amy, as she shut
herself into her own room in such a fit of vague 'eerie' fright, that
it was not till she had knelt down, and with her face hidden in her
hands, said her evening prayer, that she could venture to lift up her
head and look into the dark corners of the room.
'Another time!' Her heart throbbed at the promise.
The next afternoon, as she and Laura were fighting with a refractory
branch of wisteria which had been torn down by the wind, and refused to
return to its place, Guy, who had been with his tutor, came in from the
stable-yard, reduced the trailing bough to obedience, and then joined
them in their walk. He looked grave, was silent at first, and then
spoke abruptly--'It is due to you to explain my behaviour last night.'
'Amy thinks you must have seen the ghost,' said Laura, trying to be
'Did I frighten you?' said Guy, turning round, full of compunction.
'No, no. I never saw it. I never even heard of its being seen. I am
'I was very silly,' said Amy smiling.
'But,' proceeded Guy, 'when I think of the origin of the ghost story, I
cannot laugh, and if Philip knew all--'
'Oh! He does not,' cried Laura; 'he only looks on it as we have always
done, as a sort of romantic appendage to Redclyffe. I should think
better of a place for being haunted.'
'I used to be proud of it,' said Guy. 'I wanted to make out whether it
was old Sir Hugh or the murderer of Becket, who was said to groan and
turn the lock of Dark Hugh's chamber. I hunted among old papers, and a
horrible story I found. That wretched Sir Hugh,--the same who began
the quarrel with your mother's family--he was a courtier of Charles II,
as bad or worse than any of that crew--'
'What was the quarrel about?' said Laura.
'He was believed to have either falsified or destroyed his father's
will, so as to leave his brother, your ancestor, landless; his brother
remonstrated, and he turned him out of doors. The forgery never was
proved, but there was little doubt of it. There are traditions of his
crimes without number, especially his furious anger and malice. He
compelled a poor lady to marry him, though she was in love with another
man; then he was jealous; he waylaid his rival, shut him up in the
turret chamber, committed him to prison, and bribed Judge Jeffries to
sentence him--nay it is even said he carried his wife to see the
execution! He was so execrated that he fled the country; he went to
Holland, curried favour with William of Orange, brought his wealth to
help him, and that is the deserving action which got him the baronetcy!
He served in the army a good many years, and came home when he thought
his sins would be forgotten. But do you remember those lines?' and Guy
repeated them in the low rigid tone, almost of horror, in which he had
been telling the story:--
'On some his vigorous judgments light,
In that dread pause 'twixt day and night,
Life's closing twilight hour;
Round some, ere yet they meet their doom,
Is shed the silence of the tomb,
The eternal shadows lower.'
'It was so with him; he lost his senses, and after many actions of mad
violence, he ended by hanging himself in the very room where he had
imprisoned his victim.'
'Horrible!' said Laura. 'Yet I do not see why, when it is all past,
you should feel it so deeply.'
'How should I not feel it?' answered Guy. 'Is it not written that the
sins of the fathers shall be visited on the children? You wonder to
see me so foolish about Sintram. Well, it is my firm belief that such
a curse of sin and death as was on Sintram rests on the descendants of
that miserable man.'
The girls were silent, struck with awe and dismay at the fearful
reality with which he pronounced the words. At last, Amy whispered,
'But Sintram conquered his doom.'
At the same time Laura gathered her thoughts together, and said, 'This
must be an imagination. You have dwelt on it and fostered it till you
believe it, but such notions should be driven away or they will work
their own fulfilment.'
'Look at the history of the Morvilles, and see if it be an
imagination,' said Guy. 'Crime and bloodshed have been the portion of
each--each has added weight and darkness to the doom which he had
handed on. My own poor father, with his early death, was, perhaps, the
Laura saw the idea was too deeply rooted to be treated as a fancy, and
she found a better argument. 'The doom of sin and death is on us all,
but you should remember that if you are a Morville, you are also a
'He does remember it!' said Amy, raising her eyes to his face, and then
casting them down, blushing at having understood his countenance,
where, in the midst of the gloomy shades, there rested for an instant
the gleam which her mother had likened to the expression of Raffaelle's
They walked on for some time in silence. At last Laura exclaimed, 'Are
you really like the portrait of this unfortunate Sir Hugh?'
Guy made a sign of assent.
'Oh! It must have been taken before he grew wicked,' said Amy; and
Laura felt the same conviction, that treacherous revenge could never
have existed beneath so open a countenance, with so much of
highmindedness, pure faith and contempt of wrong in every glance of the
eagle eye, in the frank expansion of the smooth forehead.
They were interrupted by Mr. Edmonstone's hearty voice, bawling across
the garden for one of the men. 'O Guy! are you there?' cried he, as
soon as he saw him. 'Just what I wanted! Your gun, man! We are going
to ferret a rabbit.'
Guy ran off at full speed in search of his gun, whistling to Bustle.
Mr. Edmonstone found his man, and the sisters were again alone.
'Poor fellow!' said Laura.
'You will not tell all this to Philip?' said Amy.
'It would show why he was hurt, and it can be no secret.'
'I dare say you are right, but I have a feeling against it. Well, I am
glad he had not seen the ghost!'
The two girls had taken their walk, and were just going in, when,
looking round, they saw Philip walking fast and determinedly up the
approach, and as they turned back to meet him, the first thing he said
was, 'Where is Guy?'
'Ferreting rabbits with papa. What is the matter?'
'And where is my aunt?'
Driving out with Charles and Charlotte. What is the matter?'
'Look here. Can you tell me the meaning of this which I found on my
table when I came in this morning?'
It was a card of Sir Guy Morville, on the back of which was written in
pencil, 'Dear P., I find hunting and reading don't agree, so take no
further steps about the horse. Many thanks for your trouble.--G.M.'
'There,' said Philip, 'is the result of brooding all night on his
'Oh no!' cried Laura, colouring with eagerness, 'you do not understand
him. He could not bear it last night, because, as he has been
explaining to us, that old Sir Hugh's story was more shocking than we
ever guessed, and he has a fancy that their misfortunes are a family
fate, and he could not bear to hear it spoken of lightly.'
'Oh! He has been telling you his own story, has he?'
Laura's colour grew still deeper, 'If you had been there,' she said,
'you would have been convinced. Why will you not believe that he finds
hunting interfere with reading?'
'He should have thought of that before,' said "Philip.
'Here have I half bought the horse! I have wasted the whole morning on
it, and now I have to leave it on the man's hands. I had a dozen times
rather take it myself, if I could afford it. Such a bargain as I had
made, and such an animal as you will not see twice in your life.'
'It is a great pity,' said Laura. 'He should have known his own mind.
I don't like people to give trouble for nothing.'
'Crazy about it last night, and giving it up this morning! A most
extraordinary proceeding. No, no, Laura, this is not simple
fickleness, it would be too absurd. It is temper, temper, which makes
a man punish himself, in hopes of punishing others.
Laura still spoke for Guy, and Amy rejoiced; for if her sister had not
taken up the defence of the absent, she must, and she felt too strongly
to be willing to speak. It seemed too absurd for one feeling himself
under such a doom to wrangle about a horse, yet she was somewhat amused
by the conviction that if Guy had really wished to annoy Philip he had
There was no coming to an agreement. Laura's sense of justice revolted
at the notion of Guy's being guilty of petty spite; while Philip, firm
in his preconceived idea of his character, and his own knowledge of
mankind, was persuaded that he had imputed the true motive, and was
displeased at Laura's attempting to argue the point. He could not wait
to see any one else, as he was engaged to dine out, and he set off
again at his quick, resolute pace.
'He is very unfair!' exclaimed Amy.
'He did not mean to be so,' said Laura; 'and though he is mistaken in
imputing such motives, Guy's conduct has certainly been vexatious.'
They were just turning to go in, when they were interrupted by the
return of the carriage; and before Charles had been helped up the
steps, their father and Guy came in sight. While Guy went to shut up
Bustle, who was too wet for the drawing-room, Mr. Edmonstone came up to
the others, kicking away the pebbles before him, and fidgeting with his
gloves, as he always did when vexed.
'Here's a pretty go!' said he. 'Here is Guy telling me he won't hunt
'Not hunt!' cried Mrs. Edmonstone and Charles at once; 'and why?'
'Oh! something about its taking his mind from his reading; but that
can't be it--impossible, you know; I'd give ten pounds to know what has
vexed him. So keen as he was about it last night, and I vow, one of
the best riders in the whole field. Giving up that horse, too--I
declare it is a perfect sin! I told him he had gone too far, and he
said he had left a note with Philip this morning.'
'Yes,' said Laura; Philip has just been here about it. Guy left a
card, saying, hunting and reading would not agree.'
'That is an excuse, depend upon it,' said Mr. Edmonstone. 'Something
has nettled him, I am sure. It could not be that Gordon, could it,
with his hail-fellow-well-met manner? I thought Guy did not half like
it the other day, when he rode up with his "Hollo, Morville!" The
Morvilles have a touch of pride of their own; eh, mamma?'
'I should be inclined to believe his own account of himself,' said she.
'I tell you, 'tis utterly against reason,' said Mr. Edmonstone,
angrily. 'If he was a fellow like Philip, or James Ross, I could
believe it; but he--he make a book-worm! He hates it, like poison, at
the bottom of his heart, I'll answer for it; and the worst of it is,
the fellow putting forward such a fair reason one can't--being his
guardian, and all--say what one thinks of it oneself. Eh, mamma?'
'Not exactly,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, smiling.
'Well, you take him in hand, mamma. I dare say he will tell you the
rights of it, and if it is only that Gordon, explain it rightly to him,
show him 'tis only the man's way; tell him he treats me so for ever,
and would the Lord-Lieutenant if he was in it.'
'For a' that and a' that,' said Charles, as Amy led him into the
'You are sure the reading is the only reason?' said Amy.'
'He's quite absurd enough for it,' said Charles; but 'absurd' was
pronounced in a way that made its meaning far from annoying even to
Guy's little champion.
Guy came in the next moment, and running lightly up-stairs after Mrs.
Edmonstone, found her opening the dressing-room door, and asked if he
might come in.
'By all means,' she said; 'I am quite ready for one of our twilight
'I am afraid I have vexed Mr. Edmonstone,' began Guy; 'and I am very
'He was only afraid that something might have occurred to vex you,
which you might not like to mention to him,' said Mrs. Edmonstone,
hesitating a little.
'Me! What could I have done to make him think so? I am angry with no
one but myself. The fact is only this, the hunting is too pleasant; it
fills up my head all day and all night; and I don't attend rightly to
anything else. If I am out in the morning and try to pay for it at
night, it will not do; I can but just keep awake and that's all; the
Greek letters all seem to be hunting each other, the simplest things
grow difficult, and at last all I can think of, is how near the minute
hand of my watch is near to the hour I have set myself. So, for the
last fortnight, every construing with Mr. Lascelles has been worse than
the last; and as to my Latin verses, they were beyond everything
shocking, so you see there is no making the two things agree, and the
hunting must wait till I grow steadier, if I ever do. Heigho! It is a
great bore to be so stupid, for I thought--But it is of no use to talk
'Mr. Edmonstone would be a very unreasonable guardian, indeed, to be
displeased,' said his friend, smiling. You say you stopped the
purchase of the horse. Why so? Could you not keep him till you are
more sure of yourself?'
'Do you think I might?' joyously exclaimed Guy. 'I'll write to Philip
this minute by the post. Such a splendid creature: it would do you
good to see it--such action--such a neck--such spirit. It would be a
shame not to secure it. But no--no--' and he checked himself
sorrowfully. 'I have made my mind before that I don't deserve it. If
it was here, it would always have to be tried: if I heard the hounds I
don't know I should keep from riding after them; whereas, now I can't,
for William won't let me take Deloraine. No, I can't trust myself to
keep such a horse, and not hunt. It will serve me right to see Mr.
Brownlow on it, and he will never miss such a chance!' and the depth of
his sigh bore witness to the struggle it cost him.
'I should not like to use anyone as you use yourself,' said Mrs.
Edmonstone, looking at him with affectionate anxiety, which seemed
suddenly to change the current of his thought, for he exclaimed
abruptly--'Mrs. Edmonstone, can you tell me anything about my mother?'
'I am afraid not,' said she, kindly; 'you know we had so little
intercourse with your family, that I heard little but the bare facts.'
'I don't think,' said Guy, leaning on the chimneypiece, 'that I ever
thought much about her till I knew you, but lately I have fancied a
great deal about what might have been if she had but lived.'
It was not Mrs. Edmonstone's way to say half what she felt, and she
went on--'Poor thing! I believe she was quite a child.'
'Only seventeen when she died,' said Guy.
Mrs. Edmonstone went to a drawer, took out two or three bundles of old
letters, and after searching in them by the fire-light, said--'Ah!
here's a little about her; it is in a letter from my sister-in-law,
Philip's mother, when they were staying at Stylehurst.'
'Who? My father and mother?' cried Guy eagerly.
'Did you not know they had been there three or four days?'
'No--I know less about them than anybody,' said he, sadly: but as Mrs.
Edmonstone waited, doubtful as to whether she might be about to make
disclosures for which he was unprepared, he added, hastily--'I do know
the main facts of the story; I was told them last autumn;' and an
expression denoting the remembrance of great suffering came over his
face; then, pausing a moment, he said--'I knew Archdeacon Morville had
been very kind.'
'He was always interested about your father,' said Mrs, Edmonstone;
'and happening to meet him in London some little time after his
marriage, he--he was pleased with the manner in which he was behaving
then, thought--thought--' And here, recollecting that she must not
speak ill of old Sir Guy, nor palliate his son's conduct, poor Mrs.
Edmonstone got into an inextricable confusion--all the worse because
the fierce twisting of a penwiper in Guy's fingers denoted that he was
suffering a great trial of patience. She avoided the difficulty thus:
'It is hard to speak of such things when there is so much to be
regretted on both sides; but the fact was, my brother thought your
father was harshly dealt with at that time. Of course he had done very
wrong; but he had been so much neglected and left to himself, that it
seemed hardly fair to visit his offence on him as severely as if he had
had more advantages. So it ended in their coming to spend a day or two
at Stylehurst; and this is the letter my sister-in-law wrote at the
'"Our visitors have just left us, and on the whole I am much better
pleased than I expected. The little Mrs. Morville is a very pretty
creature, and as engaging as long flaxen curls, apple-blossom
complexion, blue eyes, and the sweetest of voices can make her; so full
of childish glee and playfulness, that no one would stop to think
whether she was lady-like any more than you would with a child. She
used to go singing like a bird about the house as soon as the first
strangeness wore off, which was after her first game of play with Fanny
and Little Philip. She made them very fond of her, as indeed she would
make every one who spent a day or two in the same house with her. I
could almost defy Sir Guy not to be reconciled after one sight of her
sweet sunny face. She is all affection and gentleness, and with
tolerable training anything might be made of her; but she is so young
in mind and manners, that one cannot even think of blaming her for her
elopement, for she had no mother, no education but in music; and her
brother seems to have forced it on, thrown her in Mr. Morville's way,
and worked on his excitable temperament, until he hurried them into
marriage. Poor little girl, I suppose she little guesses what she has
done; but it was very pleasant to see how devotedly attached he seemed
to her; and there was something beautiful in the softening of his
impetuous tones when he said, 'Marianne;' and her pride in him was very
pretty, like a child playing at matronly airs."'
Guy gave a long, heavy sigh, brushed away a tear, and after a long
silence, said, 'Is that all?'
'All that I like to read to you. Indeed, there is no more about her;
and it would be of no use to read all the reports that were going
about.--Ah! here,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, looking into another letter,
'she speaks of your father as a very fine young man, with most generous
impulses,'--but here again she was obliged to stop, for the next
sentence spoke of 'a noble character ruined by mismanagement.' 'She
never saw them again,' continued Mrs. Edmonstone; 'Mr. Dixon, your
mother's brother, had great influence with your father, and made
matters worse--so much worse, that my brother did not feel himself
justified in having any more to do with them.'
'Ah! he went to America,' said Guy; 'I don't know any more about him
except that he came to the funeral and stood with his arms folded, not
choosing to shake hands with my poor grandfather.' After another
silence he said, 'Will you read that again?' and when he had heard it,
he sat shading his brow with his hand, as if to bring the fair, girlish
picture fully before his mind, while Mrs. Edmonstone sought in vain
among her letters for one which did not speak of the fiery passions
ignited on either side, in terms too strong to be fit for his ears.
When next he spoke it was to repeat that he had not been informed of
the history of his parents till within the last few months. He had, of
course, known the manner of their death, but had only lately become
aware of the circumstances attending it.
The truth was that Guy had grown up peculiarly shielded from evil, but
ignorant of the cause of the almost morbid solicitude with which he was
regarded by his grandfather. He was a very happy, joyous boy, leading
an active, enterprising life, though so lonely as to occasion greater
dreaminess and thoughtfulness than usual at such an early age. He was
devotedly attached to his grandfather, looking on him as the first and
best of human beings, and silencing the belief that Sir Hugh Morville
had entailed a doom of crime and sorrow on the family, by a reference
to him, as one who had been always good and prosperous.
When, however, Guy had reached an age at which he must encounter the
influences which had proved so baneful to others of his family, his
grandfather thought it time to give him the warning of his own history.
The sins, which the repentance of years had made more odious in the
eyes of the old man, were narrated; the idleness and insubordination at
first, then the reckless pursuit of pleasure, the craving for
excitement, the defiance of rule and authority, till folly had become
vice, and vice had led to crime.
He had fought no fewer than three duels, and only one had been
bloodless. His misery after the first had well-nigh led to a reform;
but time had dulled its acuteness--it had been lost in fresh scenes of
excitement--and at the next offence rage had swept away such
recollections. Indeed, so far had he lost the natural generosity of
his character, that his remorse had been comparatively slight for the
last, which was the worst of all, since he had forced the quarrel on
his victim, Captain Wellwood, whose death had left a wife and children
almost destitute. His first awakening to a sense of what his course
had been, was when he beheld his only child, in the prime of youth,
carried lifeless across his threshold, and attributed his death to his
own intemperance and violence. That hour made Sir Guy Morville an old
and a broken-hearted man; and he repented as vigorously as he had
From the moment he dared to hope that his son's orphan would be spared,
he had been devoted to him, but still mournfully, envying and pitying
his innocence as something that could not last.
He saw bright blossoms put forth, as the boy grew older; but they were
not yet fruits, and he did not dare to believe they ever would be. The
strength of will which had, in his own case, been the slave of his
passions, had been turned inward to subdue the passions themselves, but
this was only the beginning--the trial was not yet come. He could hope
his grandson might repent, but this was the best that he dared to think
possible. He could not believe that a Morville could pass unscathed
through the world, or that his sins would not be visited on the head of
his only descendant; and the tone of his narration was throughout such
as might almost have made the foreboding cause its own accomplishment.
The effect was beyond what he had expected; for a soul deeply dyed in
guilt, even though loathing its own stains, had not the power of
conceiving how foul was the aspect of vice, to one hitherto guarded
from its contemplation, and living in a world of pure, lofty day-
dreams. The boy sat the whole time without a word, his face bent down
and hidden by his clasped hands, only now and then unable to repress a
start or shudder at some fresh disclosure; and when it was ended, he
stood up, gazed round, and walked uncertainly, as if he did not know
where he was. His next impulse was to throw himself on his knee beside
his grandfather, and caress him as he used to when a child. The 'good-
night' was spoken, and Guy was shut into his room, with his
His grandfather a blood-stained, remorseful man! The doom was
complete, himself heir to the curse of Sir Hugh, and fated to run the
same career; and as he knew full well, with the tendency to the family
character strong within him, the germs of these hateful passions ready
to take root downwards and bear fruit upwards, with the very
countenance of Sir Hugh, and the same darkening, kindling eyes, of
which traditions had preserved the remembrance.
He was crushed for awhile. The consciousness of strength not his own,
of the still small voice that could subdue the fire, the earthquake,
and the whirlwind, was slow in coming to him; and when it came, he,
like his grandfather, had hope rather of final repentance than of
keeping himself unstained.
His mind had not recovered the shock when his grandfather died,--died
in faith and fear, with good hope of accepted repentance, but unable to
convey the assurance of such hope to his grandson. Grief for the only
parent he had ever known, and the sensation of being completely alone
in the world, were joined to a vague impression of horror at the
suddenness of the stroke, and it was long before the influence of
Hollywell, or the elasticity of his own youthfulness, could rouse him
from his depression.
Even then it was almost against his will that he returned to enjoyment,
unable to avoid being amused, but feeling as if joy was not meant for
him, and as if those around were walking 'in a world of light,' where
he could scarcely hope to tread a few uncertain steps. In this
despondency was Guy's chief danger, as it was likely to make him deem a
struggle with temptation fruitless, while his high spirits and powers
of keen enjoyment increased the peril of recklessness in the reaction.
It was Mrs. Edmonstone who first spoke with him cheerfully of a
successful conflict with evil, and made him perceive that his
temptations were but such as is common to man. She had given him a
clue to discover when and how to trust himself to enjoy; the story of
Sintram had stirred him deeply, and this very day, Amy's words,
seemingly unheeded and unheard, had brought home to him the hope and
encouragement of that marvellous tale.
They had helped him in standing, looking steadfastly upwards, and
treading down not merely evil, but the first token of coming evil,
regardless of the bruises he might inflict on himself. Well for him if
he was constant.
Such was Guy's inner life; his outward life, frank and joyous, has been
shown, and the two flowed on like a stream, pure as crystal, but into
which the eye cannot penetrate from its depth. The surface would be
sometimes obscured by cloud or shade, and reveal the sombre wells
beneath; but more often the sunshine would penetrate the inmost
recesses, and make them glance and sparkle, showing themselves as clear
and limpid as the surface itself.
Can piety the discord heal,
Or stanch the death-feud's enmity?--Scott
It must not be supposed that such a history of Guy's mind was expressed
by himself, or understood by Mrs. Edmonstone; but she saw enough to
guess at his character, perceive the sort of guidance he needed, and be
doubly interested in him. Much did she wish he could have such a
friend as her brother would have been, and hope that nothing would
prevent a friendship with her nephew.
The present question about the horse was, she thought, unfortunate,
since, though Guy had exercised great self-denial, it was no wonder
Philip was annoyed. Mr. Edmonstone's vexation was soon over. As soon
as she had persuaded him that there had been no offence, he strove to
say with a good grace, that it was very proper, and told Guy he would
be a thorough book-worm and tremendous scholar, which Guy took as an
Philip had made up his mind to be forbearing, and to say no more about
it. Laura thought this a pity, as they could thus never come to an
understanding; but when she hinted it, he wore such a dignified air of
not being offended, that she was much ashamed of having tried to direct
one so much better able to judge. On his side Guy had no idea the
trouble he had caused; so, after bestowing his thanks in a gay, off-
hand way, which Philip thought the worst feature of the case, he did
his best to bring Hecuba back into his mind, drive the hunters out of
it, and appease the much-aggrieved William of Deloraine.
When all William's manoeuvres resulted in his master's not hunting at
all, he was persuaded it was Mr. Edmonstone's fault, compassionated Sir
Guy with all his heart, and could only solace himself by taking
Deloraine to exercise where he was most likely to meet the hounds. He
further chose to demonstrate that he was not Mr. Edmonstone's servant,
by disregarding some of his stable regulations; but as soon as this
came to his master's knowledge, a few words were spoken so sharp and
stern, that William never attempted to disobey again.
It seemed as if it was the perception that so much was kept back by a
strong force, that made Guy's least token of displeasure so formidable.
A village boy, whom be caught misusing a poor dog, was found a few
minutes after, by Mr. Ross, in a state of terror that was positively
ludicrous, though it did not appear that Sir Guy had said or done much
to alarm him; it was only the light in his eyes, and the strength of
repressed indignation in his short broken words that had made the
It appeared as if the force of his anger might be fearful, if once it
broke forth without control; yet at the same time be had a gentleness
and attention, alike to small and great, which, with his high spirit
and good nature, his very sweet voice and pleasant smile, made him a
peculiarly winning and engaging person; and few who saw him could help
being interested in him.
No wonder he had become in the eyes of the Edmonstones almost a part of
their family. Mrs. Edmonstone had assumed a motherly control over him,
to which he submitted with a sort of affectionate gratitude.
One day Philip remarked, that he never saw any one so restless as Guy,
who could neither talk nor listen without playing with something.
Scissors, pencil, paper-knife, or anything that came in his way, was
sure to be twisted or tormented; or if nothing else was at hand, he
opened and shut his own knife so as to put all the spectators in fear
for his fingers.
'Yes,' said Laura, 'I saw how it tortured your eyebrows all the time
you were translating Schiller to us. I wondered you were not put out.'
'I consider that to be put out--by which you mean to have the intellect
at the mercy of another's folly--is beneath a reasonable creature,'
said Philip; 'but that I was annoyed, I do not deny. It is a token of
a restless, ill-regulated mind.'
'Restless, perhaps,' said Mrs. Edmonstone 'but not necessarily ill-
regulated. I should think it rather a sign that he had no one to tell
him of the tricks which mothers generally nip in the bud.'
'I was going to say that I think he fidgets less,' said Laura; 'but I
think his chief contortions of the scissors have been when Philip has
'They have, I believe,' said her mother, I was thinking of giving him a
'Well, aunt, you are a tamer of savage beasts if you venture on such a
subject,' said Philip.
'Do you dare me?' she asked, smiling.
'Why, I don't suppose he would do more than give you one of his
lightning glances: but that, I think, is more than you desire.'
'Considerably,' said Mrs. Edmonstone; 'for his sake as much as my own.'
'But,' said Laura, 'mamma has nearly cured him of pawing like a horse
in the hall when he is kept waiting. He said he knew it was
impatience, and begged her to tell him how to cure it. So she treated
him as an old fairy might, and advised him in a grave, mysterious way,
always to go and play the "Harmonious Blacksmith," when he found
himself getting into "a taking", just as if it was a charm. And he
always does it most dutifully.'
'It has a very good effect,' said Mrs. Edmonstone; 'for it is apt to
act as a summons to the other party, as well as a sedative to him.'
'I must say I am curious to see what you will devise this time,' said
Philip; 'since you can't set him to play on the piano; and very few can
bear to be told of a trick of the kind.'
In the course of that evening, Philip caused the great atlas to be
brought out in order to make investigations on the local habitation of
a certain Khan of Kipchack, who existed somewhere in the dark ages.
Then he came to Marco Polo, and Sir John Mandeville; and Guy, who knew
both the books in the library at Redclyffe, grew very eager in talking
them over, and tracing their adventures--then to the Genoese merchants,
where Guy confessed himself perfectly ignorant. Andrea Doria was the
only Genoese he ever heard of; but he hunted out with great interest
all the localities of their numerous settlements. Then came modern
Italy, and its fallen palaces; then the contrast between the republican
merchant and aristocratic lord of the soil; then the corn laws; and
then, and not till then, did Philip glance at his aunt, to show her Guy
balancing a Venetian weight on as few of his fingers as could support
'Guy,' said she, smiling, 'does that unfortunate glass inspire you with
any arguments in favour of the Venetians?'
Guy put it down at once, and Philip proceeded to improved methods of
farming, to enable landlords to meet the exigencies of the times. Guy
had got hold of Mr. Edmonstone's spectacle-case, and was putting its
spring to a hard trial. Mrs. Edmonstone doubted whether to interfere
again; she knew this was not the sort of thing that tried his temper,
yet she particularly disliked playing him off, as it were for Philip's
amusement, and quite as much letting him go on, and lower himself in
her nephew's estimation. The spectacle-case settled the matter--a,
crack was heard, it refused to snap at all; and Guy, much discomfited,
made many apologies.
Amy laughed; Philip was much too well-bred to do anything but curl his
lip unconsciously. Mrs. Edmonstone waited till he was gone, then, when
she was wishing Guy 'good-night' at Charles's door, she said,--
'The spectacle-case forestalled me in giving you a lecture on sparing
our nerves. Don't look so very full of compunction--it is only a trick
which your mother would have stopped at five years old, and which you
can soon stop for yourself.'
'Thank you, I will!' said Guy; 'I hardly knew I did it, but I am very
sorry it has teased you.'
Thenceforward it was curious to see how he put down and pushed away all
he had once begun to touch and torture. Mrs. Edmonstone said it was
self command in no common degree; and Philip allowed that to cure so
inveterate a habit required considerable strength of will.
'However,' he said, 'I always gave the Morvilles credit for an iron
resolution. Yes, Amy, you may laugh; but if a man is not resolute in a
little, he will never be resolute in great matters.'
'And Guy has been resolute the right way this time,' said Laura.
'May he always be the same,' said Philip.
Philip had undertaken, on his way back to Broadstone, to conduct
Charlotte to East-hill, where she was to spend the day with a little
niece of Mary Ross. She presently came down, her bonnet-strings tied
in a most resolute-looking bow, and her little figure drawn up so as to
look as womanly is possible for her first walk alone with Philip. She
wished the party at home 'goodbye;' and as Amy and Laura stood watching
her, they could not help laughing to see her tripping feet striving to
keep step, her blue veil discreetly composed and her little head turned
up, as if she was trying hard to be on equa1 terms with the tall
cousin, who meanwhile looked graciously down from his height,
patronising her like a very small child. After some space, Amy began
to wonder what they could talk about, or whether they would talk at
all; but Laura said there was no fear of Charlotte's tongue ever being
still, and Charles rejoined,--
'Don't you know that Philip considers it due to himself that his
audience should never be without conversation suited to their
'Nay, I give him credit for doing it as well as it is in nature of
things for it to be done. The strongest proof I know of his being a
superior man, is the way he adapts himself to his company. He lays
down the law to us, because he knows we are all born to be his
admirers; he calls Thorndale his dear fellow and conducts him like a
Mentor; but you may observe how different he is with other people--Mr.
Ross, for instance. It is not showing off; it is just what the pattern
hero should be with the pattern clergyman. At a dinner party he is
quite in his place; contents himself with leaving an impression on his
neighbour that Mr. Morville is at home on every subject; and that he is
the right thing with his brother officers is sufficiently proved, since
not even Maurice either hates or quizzes him.'
'Well, Charlie,' said Laura, well pleased, I am glad you are convinced
'Do you think I ever wanted to be convinced that we were created for no
other end than to applaud Philip? I was fulfilling the object of our
existence by enlarging on a remark of Guy's, that nothing struck him
more than the way in which Philip could adapt his conversation to the
hearers. So the hint was not lost on me; and I came to the conclusion
that it was a far greater proof of his sense than all the maxims he
lavishes on us.'
'I wonder Guy was the person to make the remark,' said Laura; 'for it
is strange that those two never appear to the best advantage together.'
'Oh, Laura, that would be the very reason,' said Amy.
'The very reason?' said Charles. Draw out your meaning, Miss.'
'Yes,' said Amy, colouring, 'If Guy--if a generous person, I mean--were
vexed with another sometimes, it would be the very reason he would make
the most of all his goodness.'
'Heigh-ho!' yawned Charles. What o'clock is it? I wonder when Guy is
ever coming back from that Lascelles.'
'Your wonder need not last long,' said Laura; 'for I see him riding
into the stable yard.'
In a few minutes he had entered; and, on being asked if he had met
Philip and Charlotte, and how they were getting on, he replied,--'A
good deal like the print of Dignity and Impudence,' at the same time
throwing back his shoulders, and composing his countenance to imitate
Philip's lofty deportment and sedate expression, and the next moment
putting his head on one side with a sharp little nod, and giving a
certain espiegle glance of the eye, and knowing twist of one corner of
the mouth, just like Charlotte.
'By the by,' added he, 'would Philip have been a clergyman if he had
gone to Oxford?'
'I don't know; I don't think it was settled,' said Laura, 'Why?'
'I could never fancy him one' said Guy. 'He would not have been what
he is now if he had gone to Oxford,' said Charles. 'He would have
lived with men of the same powers and pursuits with himself, and have
found his level.'
'And that would have been a very high one,' said Guy.
'It would; but there would be all the difference there is between a
feudal prince and an Eastern despot. He would know what it is to live
with his match.'
'But you don't attempt to call him conceited!' cried Guy, with a sort
'He is far above that; far too grand,' said Amy.
'I should as soon think of calling Jupiter conceited,' said Charles;
and Laura did not know how far to be gratified, or otherwise.
Charles had not over-estimated Philip's readiness of self adaptation.
Charlotte had been very happy with him, talking over the "Lady of the
Lake", which she had just read, and being enlightened, partly to her
satisfaction, partly to her disappointment, as to how much was
historical. He listened good-naturedly to a fit of rapture, and threw
in a few, not too many, discreet words of guidance to the true
principles of taste; and next told her about an island, in a pond at
Stylehurst, which had been by turns Ellen's isle and Robinson Crusoe's.
It was at this point in the conversation that Guy came in sight, riding
slowly, his reins on his horse's neck, whistling a slow, melancholy
tune, his eyes fixed on the sky, and so lost in musings, that he did
not perceive them till Philip arrested him by calling out, 'That is a
very bad plan. No horse is to be trusted in that way, especially such
a spirited one.'
Guy started, and gathered up his reins, owning it was foolish.
'You look only half disenchanted yet,' said Philip. 'Has Lascelles put
you into what my father's old gardener used to call a stud?'
'Nothing so worthy of a stud,' said Guy, smiling and colouring a
little. 'I was only dreaming over a picture of ruin--
'The steed is vanish'd from the stall,
No serf is seen in Hassan's hall,
The lonely spider's thin grey pall
Waves, slowly widening o'er the wall.'
'Byron!' exclaimed Philip. 'I hope you are not dwelling on him?'
'Only a volume I found in my room.'
'Oh, the "Giaour"!' said Philip. 'Well, there is no great damage done;
but it is bad food for excitable minds. Don't let it get hold of you.'
'Very well;' and there was a cloud, but it cleared in a moment, and,
with a few gay words to both, he rode off at a quick pace.