Part 4 out of 14
she would be on her good behaviour. It was a polka, and there was not
much talk, which, perhaps, was all the better for her. She admired the
review, and the luncheon, and spoke of Charles without any sauciness,
and Philip was condescending and agreeable.
'I must indulge myself in abusing that stupid cousin of yours!' said
she. Did you ever know a man of such wonderful crotchets?'
'This is a very unexpected one,' said Philip.
'It came like a thunder clap. I thought till the last moment he was
joking, for he likes dancing so much; he was the life of our ball, and
how could any one suppose he would fly off at the last moment?'
'He seems rather to enjoy doing things suddenly.'
'I tell Laura she has affronted him,' said Eveleen, laughing. 'She has
been always busy of late when we have wanted her; and I assure her his
pride has been piqued. Don't you think that is an explanation, Captain
It was Captain Morvilles belief, but he would not say so.
'Isn't Laura looking lovely?' Eveleen went on. 'I am sure she is the
beauty of the night!' She was pleased to see Captain Morville's
attention gained. 'She is even better dressed than at our ball--those
Venetian pins suit the form of her head so well. Her beauty is better
than almost any one's, because she has so much countenance.'
'True,' said Philip.
'How proud Maurice looks of having her on his arm. Does not he? Poor
Maurice! he is desperately in love with her!'
'As is shown by his pining melancholy.'
Eveleen laughed with her clear hearty laugh. 'I see you know what we
mean by being desperately in love! No,' she added more gravely, 'I am
very glad it is only _that_ kind of desperation. One could not think
of Maurice and Laura together. He does not know the best part of
Eveleen was highly flattered by Captain Morville conducting her a
second time round the room, instead of at once restoring her to her
He secured Laura next, and leading her away from her own party, said,
'Laura, have yon been overdoing it?'
'It is not that,' said Laura, wishing she could keep from blushing.
'It is the only motive that could excuse his extraordinary behaviour.'
'Surely you know he says that he is growing unsettled. It is part of
his rule of self discipline.'
'Absurd!--exaggerated!--incredible! This is the same story as there
was about the horse. It is either caprice or temper, and I am
convinced that some change in your manner--nay, I say unconscious, and
am far from blaming you--is the cause. Why else did he devote himself
to Charles, and leave you all on my uncle's hands in the crowd?'
'We could shift for ourselves much better than Charlie.'
'This confirms my belief that my warning was not mistimed. I wish it
could have been done without decidedly mortifying him and rousing his
temper, because I am sorry others should be slighted; but if he takes
your drawing back so much to heart, it shows that it was time you
should do so.'
'If I thought I had!'
'It was visible to others--to another, I should say.'
'0, that is only Eveleen's nonsense! The only difference I am
conscious of having made, was keeping more up-stairs, and not trying to
persuade him to come here to-night.'
'I have no doubt it was this that turned the scale, He only waited for
persuasion, and you acted very wisely in not flattering his self-love.'
'Did I?--I did not know it.'
'A woman's instinct is often better than reasoning, Laura; to do the
right thing without knowing why. But come, I suppose we must play our
part in the pageant of the night.'
For that evening Laura, contrary to the evidence of her senses, was
persuaded by her own lover that Guy was falling in love with her; and
after musing all through the dance, she said, 'What do you think of the
scheme that has been started for my going to Ireland with papa?'
'Your going to Ireland?'
'Yes; you know none of us, except papa, have seen grandmamma since
Charles began to be ill, and there is some talk of his taking me with
him when he goes this summer.'
'I knew he was going, but I thought it was not to be till later in the
year--not till after the long vacation.'
'So he intended, but he finds he must be at home before the end of
October, and it would suit him best to go in August.'
'Then what becomes of Guy?'
'He stays at Hollywell. It will be much better for Charles to have him
there while papa is away. I thought when the plan was first mentioned
I should be sorry, except that it is quite right to go to grandmamma;
but if it is so, about Guy, this absence would be a good thing--it
would make a break, and I could begin again on different terms.'
'Wisely judged, Laura. Yes, on that account it would be very
desirable, though it will be a great loss to me, and I can hardly hope
to be so near you on your return.'
'Ah! yes, so I feared!' sighed Laura.
'But we must give up something; and for Guy's own sake, poor fellow, it
will be better to make a break, as you say. It will save him pain by
'I dare say papa will consult you about when his journey is to be. His
only doubt was whether it would do to leave Guy so long alone, and if
you say it would be safe, it would decide him at once.'
'I see little chance of mischief. Guy has few temptations here, and a
strong sense of honour; besides, I shall be at hand. Taking all things
into consideration, Laura, I think that, whatever the sacrifice to
ourselves, it is expedient to recommend his going at once, and your
All the remainder of the evening Philip was occupied with attentions to
the rest of the world, but Laura's eyes followed him everywhere, and
though she neither expected nor desired him to bestow more time on her,
she underwent a strange restlessness and impatience of feeling. Her
numerous partners teased her by hindering her from watching him moving
about the room, catching his tones, and guessing what he was talking
of;--not that she wanted to meet his eye, for she did not like to
blush, nor did she think it pleased him to see her do so, for he either
looked away immediately or conveyed a glance which she understood as
monitory. She kept better note of his countenance than of her own
Mr. Thorndale, meanwhile, kept aloof from Lady Eveleen de Courcy, but
Captain Morville perceived that his eyes were often turned towards her,
and well knew it was principle, and not inclination, that held him at a
distance. He did indeed once ask her to dance, but she was engaged, and
he did not ask her to reserve a future dance for him, but contented
himself with little Amy.
Amy was doing her best to enjoy herself, because she thought it
ungrateful not to receive pleasure from those who wished to give it,
but to her it wanted the zest and animation of Lady Kilcoran's ball.
Besides, she knew she had been as idle as Guy, or still more so, and
she thought it wrong she should have pleasure while he was doing
penance. It was on her mind, and damped her spirits, and though she
smiled, and talked, and admired, and danced lightly and gaily, there
was a sensation of weariness throughout, and no one but Eveleen was
sorry when Mrs. Edmonstone sent Maurice to see for the carriage.
Philip was one of the gentlemen who came to shawl them. As he put
Laura's cloak round her shoulders he was able to whisper, 'Take care;
you must be cautious--self-command.'
Laura, though blushing and shrinking the moment before was braced by
his words and tone to attempt all he wished. She looked up in what she
meant to be an indifferent manner, and made some observation in a
careless tone--anything rather than let Philip think her silly. After
what he had said, was she not bound more than ever to exert herself to
the utmost, that he might not be disappointed in her? She loved him
only the better for what others might have deemed a stern coldness of
manner, for it made the contrast of his real warmth of affection more
precious. She mused over it, as much as her companions' conversation
would allow, on the road home. They arrived, Mrs. Edmonstone peeped
into Charles's room, announced that he was quietly asleep, and they all
bade each other good night, or good morning, and parted.
Leonora. Yet often with respect he speaks of thee.
Tasso. Thou meanest with forbearance, prudent, subtle,
'Tis that annoys me, for he knows to use
Language so smooth and so conditional,
That seeming praise from him is actual blame.
When the Hollywell party met at breakfast, Charles showed himself by no
means the worse for his yesterday's experiment. He said he had gone to
sleep in reasonable time, lulled by some poetry, he knew not what, of
which Guy's voice had made very pretty music, and he was now full of
talk about the amusement he had enjoyed yesterday, which seemed likely
to afford food for conversation for many a week to come.
After all the care Guy had taken of him, Mrs. Edmonstone could not find
it in her heart to scold, and her husband, having spent his vexation
upon her, had none left to bestow on the real culprit. So when Guy,
with his bright morning face, and his hair hanging shining and wet
round it, opened the dining-room door, on his return from bathing in
the river, Mr. Edmonstone's salutation only conveyed that humorous
anger that no one cares for.
'Good morning to you, Sir Guy Morville! I wonder what you have to say
'Nothing,' said Guy, smiling; then, as he took his place by Mrs.
Edmonstone, 'I hope you are not tired after your hard day's work?'
'Not at all, thank you.'
'Amy, can you tell me the name of this flower?'
'Oh! have you really found the arrow-head? How beautiful! Where did
you get it? I didn't know it grew in our river.'
'There is plenty of it in that reedy place beyond the turn. I thought
it looked like something out of the common way.'
'Yes! What a purple eye it has! I must draw it. 0, thank you.'
'And, Charlotte, Bustle has found you a moorhen's nest.'
'How delightful! Is it where I can go and see the dear little things?'
'It is rather a swamp; but I have been putting down stepping-stones for
you, and I dare say I can jump you across. It was that which made me
so late, for which I ought to have asked pardon,' said he to Mrs.
Edmonstone, with his look of courtesy.
Never did man look less like an offended lover, or like a morose self-
'There are others later,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, looking at Lady
Eveleen's empty chair.
'So you think that is all you have to ask pardon for,' said Mr.
Edmonstone. 'I advise you to study your apologies, for you are in
pretty tolerable disgrace.'
'Indeed, I am very sorry,' said Guy, with such a change of countenance
that Mr. Edmonstone's good nature could not bear to see it.
'Oh, 'tis no concern of mine! It would be going rather the wrong way,
indeed, for you to be begging my pardon for all the care you've been
taking of Charlie; but you had better consider what you have to say for
yourself before you show your face at Broadstone.'
'No?' said Guy, puzzled for a moment, but quickly looking relieved, and
laughing, 'What! Broadstone in despair for want of me?'
'And we perfectly exhausted with answering questions as to what was
become of Sir Guy.'
'Dreadful,' said Guy, now laughing heartily, in the persuasion that it
was all a joke.
'0, Lady Eveleen, good morning; you are come in good time to give me
the story of the ball, for no one else tells me one word about it.'
'Because you don't deserve it,' said she. 'I hope you have repented by
'If you want to make me repent, you should give me a very alluring
'I shan't say one word about it; I shall send you to Coventry, as
Maurice and all the regiment mean to do,' said Eveleen, turning away
from him with a very droll arch manner of offended dignity.
'Hear, hear! Eveleen send any one to Coventry!' cried Charles. 'See
what the regiment say to you.'
'Ay, when I am sent to Coventry?'
'0, Paddy, Paddy!' cried Charles, and there was a general laugh.
'Laura seems to be doing it in good earnest without announcing it,'
added Charles, when the laugh was over, 'which is the worst sign of
'Nonsense, Charles,' said Laura, hastily; then afraid she had owned to
annoyance, she blushed and was angry with herself for blushing.
'Well, Laura, _do_ tell me who your partners were?'
Very provoking, thought Laura, that I cannot say what is so perfectly
natural and ordinary, without my foolish cheeks tingling. He may think
it is because he is speaking to me. So she hurried on: 'Maurice first,
then Philip,' and then showed, what Amy and Eveleen thought, strange
oblivion of the rest of her partners.
They proceeded into the history of the ball; and Guy thought no more of
his offences till the following day, when he went to Broadstone.
Coming back, he found the drawing-room full of visitors, and was
obliged to sit down and join in the conversation; but Mrs. Edmonstone
saw he was inwardly chafing, as he betrayed by his inability to remain
still, the twitchings of his forehead and lip, and a tripping and
stumbling of the words on his tongue. She was sure he wanted to talk
to her, and longed to get rid of Mrs. Brownlow; but the door was no
sooner shut on the visitors, than Mr. Edmonstone came in, with a long
letter for her to read and comment upon. Guy took himself out of the
way of the consultation, and began to hurry up and down the terrace,
until, seeing Amabel crossing the field towards the little gate into
the garden, he went to open it for her.
She looked up at him, and exclaimed--'Is anything the matter?'
'Nothing to signify,' he said; 'I was only waiting for your mother. I
have got into a mess, that is all.'
'I am sorry,' began Amy, there resting in the doubt whether she might
inquire further, and intending not to burthen him with her company, any
longer than till she reached the house door; but Guy went on,--
'No, you have no occasion to be sorry; it is all my own fault; at
least, if I was clear how it is my fault, I should not mind it so much.
It is that ball. I am sure I had not the least notion any one would
care whether I was there or not.'
'I am sure we missed you very much.'
'You are all so kind; beside, I belong in a manner you; but what could
it signify to any one else? And here I find that I have vexed every
'Ah!' said Amy, 'mamma said she was afraid it would give offence.'
'I ought to have attended to her. It was a fit of self-will in
managing myself,' said Guy, murmuring low, as if trying to find the
real indictment; 'yet I thought it a positive duty; wrong every way.'
'What has happened?' said Amy, turning back with him, though she had
reached the door.
'Why, the first person I met was Mr. Gordon; and he spoke like your
father, half in joke, and I thought entirely so; he said something
about all the world being in such a rage, that I was a bold man to
venture into Broadstone. Then, while I was at Mr. Lascelles', in came
Dr. Mayerne. 'We missed you at the dinner,' he said; 'and I hear you
shirked the ball, too.' I told him how it was, and he said he was glad
that was all, and advised me to go and call on Colonel Deane and
explain. I thought that the best way--indeed, I meant it before, and
was walking to his lodgings when Maurice de Courcy met me. 'Ha!' he
cries out, 'Morville! I thought at least you would have been laid up
for a month with the typhus fever! As a friend, I advise you to go
home and catch something, for it is the only excuse that will serve
you. I am not quite sure that it will not be high treason for me to be
seen speaking to you.' I tried to get at the rights of it, but he is
such a harum-scarum fellow there was no succeeding. Next I met
Thorndale, who only bowed and passed on the other side of the street--
sign enough how it was with Philip; so I thought it best to go at once
to the Captain, and get a rational account of what was the matter.'
'Did you?' said Amy, who, though concerned and rather alarmed, had been
smiling at the humorous and expressive tones with which he could not
help giving effect to his narration.
'Yes. Philip was at home, and very--very--'
'Gracious?' suggested Amy, as he hesitated for a word.
'Just so. Only the vexatious thing was, that we never could succeed in
coming to an understanding. He was ready to forgive; but I could not
disabuse him of an idea--where he picked it up I cannot guess--that I
had stayed away out of pique. He would not even tell me what he
thought had affronted me, though I asked him over and over again to be
only straightforward; he declared I knew.'
'How excessively provoking!' cried Amy. 'You cannot guess what he
'Not the least in the world. I have not the most distant suspicion.
It was of no use to declare I was not offended with any one; he only
looked in that way of his, as if he knew much better than I did myself,
and told me he could make allowances.'
'Worse than all! How horrid of him.'
'No, don't spoil me. No doubt he thinks he has grounds, and my
irritation was unjustifiable. Yes, I got into my old way. He
cautioned me, and nearly made me mad! I never was nearer coming to a
regular outbreak. Always the same! Fool that I am.'
'Now, Guy, that is always your way; when other people are provoking,
you abuse yourself. I am sure Philip was so, with his calm assertion
of being right.'
'The more provoking, the more trial for me.'
'But you endured it. You say it was only _nearly_ an outbreak. You
parted friends? I am sure of that.'
'Yes, it would have been rather too bad not to do that.'
'Then why do you scold yourself, when you really had the victory?'
'The victory will be if the inward feeling as well as the outward token
is ever subdued.'
'0, that must be in time, of course. Only let me hear how you got on
with Colonel Deane.'
'He was very good-natured, and would have laughed it off, but Philip
went with me, and looked grand, and begged in a solemn way that no more
might be said. I could have got on better alone; but Philip was very
kind, or, as you say, gracious.'
'And provoking,' added Amy, 'only I believe you do not like me to say
'It is more agreeable to hear you call him so at this moment than is
good for me. I have no right to complain, since I gave the offence.'
'The absenting myself.'
'Oh! that you did because you thought it right.'
'I want to be clear that it was right.'
'What do you mean?' cried she, astonished. 'It was a great piece of
self-denial, and I only felt it wrong not to be doing the same.'
'Nay, how should such creatures as you need the same discipline as I?'
She exclaimed to herself how far from his equal she was--how weak,
idle, and self-pleasing she felt herself to be; but she could not say
so--the words would not come; and she only drooped her little head,
humbled by his treating her as better than himself.
'Something wrong I have done, and I want the clue. Was it self-will in
choosing discipline contrary to your mother's judgment? Yet she could
not know all. I thought it her kindness in not liking me to lose the
pleasure. Besides, one must act for oneself, and this was only my own
'Yes,' said Amy, timidly hesitating.
'Well?' said he, with the gentle, deferential tone that contrasted with
his hasty, vehement self-accusations. 'Well?' and he waited, though
not so as to hurry or frighten her, but to encourage, by showing her
words had weight.
'I was thinking of one thing,' said Amy; 'is it not sometimes right to
consider whether we ought to disappoint people who want us to be
'There it is, I believe,' said Guy, stopping and considering, then
going on with a better satisfied air, 'that is a real rule. Not to be
so bent on myself as to sacrifice other people's feelings to what seems
best for me. But I don't see whose pleasure I interfered with.'
Amy could have answered, 'Mine;' but the maidenly feeling checked her
again, and she said, 'We all thought you would like it.'
'And I had no right to sacrifice your pleasure! I see, I see. The
pleasure of giving pleasure to others is so much the best there is on
earth, that one ought to be passive rather than interfere with it.'
'Yes,' said Amy, 'just as I have seen Mary Ross let herself be swung
till she was giddy, rather than disappoint Charlotte and Helen, who
thought she liked it.'
'If one could get to look at everything with as much indifference as
the swinging! But it is all selfishness. It is as easy to be selfish
for one's own good as for one's own pleasure; and I dare say, the first
is as bad as the other.'
'I was thinking of something else,' said Amy. 'I should think it more
like the holly tree in Southey. Don't you know it? The young leaves
are sharp and prickly, because they have so much to defend themselves
from, but as the tree grows older, it leaves off the spears, after it
has won the victory.'
'Very kind of you, and very pretty, Amy,' said he, smiling; 'but, in
the meantime, it is surely wrong to be more prickly than is
unavoidable, and there is the perplexity. Selfish! selfish! selfish!
Oneself the first object. That is the root.'
'Guy, if it is not impertinent to ask, I do wish you would tell me one
thing. Why did you think it wrong to go to that ball?' said Amy,
'I don't know that I thought it wrong to go to that individual ball,'
said Guy; 'but my notion was, that altogether I was getting into a
rattling idle way, never doing my proper quantity of work, or doing it
properly, and talking a lot of nonsense sometimes. I thought, last
Sunday, it was time to make a short turn somewhere and bring myself up.
I could not, or did not get out of the pleasant talks as Laura does, so
I thought giving up this ball would punish me at once, and set me on a
new tack of behaving like a reasonable creature.'
'Don't call yourself too many names, or you won't be civil to us. We
all, except Laura, have been quite as bad.'
'Yes; but you had not so much to do.'
'We ought,' said Amy; 'but I meant to be reasonable when Eveleen is
Perhaps I ought to have waited till then, but I don't know. Lady
Eveleen is so amusing that it leads to farther dawdling, and it would
not do to wait to resist the temptation till it is out of the way.'
As he spoke, they saw Mrs. Edmonstone coming out, and went to meet her.
Guy told her his trouble, detailing it more calmly than before he had
found out his mistake. She agreed with him that this had been in
forgetting that his attending the ball did not concern only himself,
but he then returned to say that he could not see what difference it
made, except to their own immediate circle.
'If it was not you, Guy, who made that speech, I should call it fishing
for a compliment. You forget that rank and station make people sought
'I suppose there is something in that,' said Guy, thoughtfully; 'at any
rate, it is no bad thing to think so, it is so humiliating.'
'That is not the way most people would take it.'
'No? Does not it prevent one from taking any attention as paid to
one's real self? The real flattering thing would be to be made as much
of as Philip is, for one's own merits, and not for the handle to one's
'Yes, I think so,' said Amy.
'Well, then,' as if he wished to gather the whole conversation into one
resolve, the point is to consider whether abstaining from innocent
things that may be dangerous to oneself mortifies other people. If so,
the vexing them is a certain wrong, whereas the mischief of taking the
pleasure is only a possible contingency. But then one must take it out
of oneself some other way, or it becomes an excuse for self-
'Hardly with you,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, smiling.
'Because I had rather go at it at once, and forget all about other
people. You must teach me consideration, Mrs. Edmonstone, and in the
meantime will you tell me what you think I had better do about this
'Let it alone,' said Mrs. Edmonstone. 'You have begged every one's
pardon, and it had better be forgotten as fast as possible. They have
made more fuss already than it is worth. Don't torment yourself about
it any more; for, if you have made a mistake, it is on the right side;
and on the first opportunity, I'll go and call on Mrs. Deane, and see
if she is very implacable.'
The dressing-bell rang, and Amy ran up-stairs, stopping at Laura's
door, to ask how she prospered in the drive she had been taking with
Charles and Eveleen.
Amy told her of Guy's trouble, and oh! awkward question, inquired if
she could guess what it could be that Philip imagined that Guy had been
'Can't he guess?' said poor Laura, to gain time, and brushing her hair
over her face.
'No, he has no idea, though Philip protested that he knew, and would
not tell him. Philip must have been most tiresome.'
'What? Has Guy been complaining?'
'No, only angry with himself for being vexed. I can't think how Philip
can go on so!'
'Hush! hush, Amy, you know nothing about it. He has reasons--'
'I know,' said Amy, indignantly; 'but what right has he to go on
mistrusting? If people are to be judged by their deeds, no one is so
good as Guy, and it is too bad to reckon up against him all his
ancestors have done. It is wolf and lamb, indeed.'
'He does not!' cried Laura. 'He never is unjust! How can you say so,
'Then why does he impute motives, and not straightforwardly tell what
'It is impossible in this case,' said Laura.
'Do you know what it is?'
'Yes,' said Laura, perfectly truthful, and feeling herself in a
'And you can't tell me?'
'I don't think I can.'
'Not for worlds,' cried Laura, in horror.
'Can't you get Philip to tell him?'
'Oh no, no! I can't explain it, Amy; and all that can be done is to
let it die away as fast as possible. It is only the rout about it that
is of consequence.'
'It is very odd,' said Amy, 'but I must dress,' and away she ran, much
puzzled, but with no desire to look into Philip's secrets.
Laura rested her head on her hand, sighed, and wondered why it was so
hard to answer. She almost wished she had said Philip had been
advising her to discourage any attachment on Guy's part; but then Amy
might have laughed, and asked why. No! no! Philip's confidence was in
her keeping, and cost her what it might, she would be faithful to the
There was now a change. The evenings were merry, but the mornings were
occupied. Guy went off to his room, as he used to do last winter;
Laura commenced some complicated perspective, or read a German book
with a great deal of dictionary; Amy had a book of history, and
practised her music diligently; even Charles read more to himself, and
resumed the study with Guy and Amy; Lady Eveleen joined in every one's
pursuits, enjoyed them, and lamented to Laura that it was impossible to
be rational at her own home.
Laura tried to persuade her that there was no need that she should be
on the level of the society round her, and it ended in her spending an
hour in diligent study every morning, promising to continue it when she
went home, while Laura made such sensible comments that Eveleen admired
her more than ever; and she, knowing that some were second-hand from
Philip, others arising from his suggestions, gave him all the homage
paid to herself, as a tribute to him who reigned over her whole being.
Yet she was far from happy. Her reserve towards Guy made her feel
stiff and guarded; she had a craving for Philip's presence, with a
dread of showing it, which made her uncomfortable. She wondered he had
not been at Hollywell since the bail, for he must know that she was
going to Ireland in a fortnight, and was not likely to return till his
regiment had left Broadstone.
An interval passed long enough for her not to be alone in her surprise
at his absenting himself before he at length made his appearance, just
before luncheon, so as to miss the unconstrained morning hours he used
so much to enjoy. He found Guy, Charles, and Amy, deep in Butler's
'Are you making poor little Amy read that?' said he.
'Bravo!' cried Charles; 'he is so disappointed that it is not Pickwick
that he does not know what else to say.'
'I don't suppose I take much in,' said Amy; 'but I like to be told what
'Don't imagine I can do that,' said Guy.
'I never spent much time over it,' said Philip; 'but I should think you
were out of your depth.'
'Very well,' said Charles; 'we will return to Dickens to oblige you.'
'It is your pleasure to wrest my words,' replied Philip, in his own
calm manner, though he actually felt hurt, which he had never done
before. His complacency was less secure, so that there was more need
'Where are the rest?' he asked.
'Laura and Eveleen are making a dictation lesson agreeable to
Charlotte,' said Amy; 'I found Eva making mistakes on purpose.'
'How much longer does she stay?'
'Till Tuesday. Lord Kilcoran is coming to fetch her.'
Charlotte entered, and immediately ran up-stairs to announce her
cousin's arrival. Laura was glad of this previous notice, and hoped
her blush and tremor were not observed. It was a struggle, through
luncheon time, to keep her colour and confusion within bounds; but she
succeeded better than she fancied she did, and Philip gave her as much
help as he could, by not looking at her. Seeing that he dreaded
nothing so much as her exciting suspicion, she was at once braced and
Her father was very glad to see him, and reproached him for making
himself a stranger, while her sisters counted up the days of his
'There was the time, to be sure, when we met you on Ashen-down, but
that was a regular cheat. Laura had you all to herself.'
Laura bent down to feed Bustle, and Philip felt _his_ colour deepening.
Mr. Edmonstone went on to ask him to come and stay at Hollywell for a
week, vowing he would take no refusal. 'A week was out of the
question, said Philip; 'but he could come for two nights.' Amabel
hinted that there was to be a dinner-party on Thursday, thinking it
fair to give him warning of what he disliked, but he immediately chose
that very day. Again he disconcerted all expectations, when it was
time to go out. Mrs. Edmonstone and Charles were going to drive, the
young ladies and Guy to walk, but Philip disposed himself to accompany
his uncle in a survey of the wheat.
Laura perceived that he would not risk taking another walk with her
when they might be observed. It showed implicit trust to leave her to
his rival; but she was sorry to find that caution must put an end to
the freedom of their intercourse, and would have stayed at home, but
that Eveleen was so wild and unguarded that Mrs. Edmonstone did not
like her to be without Laura as a check on her, especially when Guy was
of the party. There was some comfort in that warm pressure of her hand
when she bade Philip good-bye, and on that she lived for a long time.
He stood at the window watching them till they were out of sight, then
moved towards his aunt, who with her bonnet on, was writing an
invitation for Thursday, to Mr. Thorndale.
'I was thinking,' said he, in a low voice, 'if it would not be as well,
if you liked, to ask Thorndale here for those two days.'
'If _you_ think so,' returned Mrs. Edmonstone, looking at him more
inquiringly than he could well bear.
'You know how he enjoys being here, and I owe them all so much
'Certainly; I will speak to your uncle,' said she, going in search of
him. She presently returned, saying they should be very glad to see
Mr, Thorndale, asking him at the same time, in her kind tones of
interest, after an old servant for whom he had been spending much
thought and pains. The kindness cut him to the heart, for it evidently
arose from a perception that he was ill at ease, and his conscience
smote him. He answered shortly, and was glad when the carriage came;
he lifted Charles into it, and stood with folded arms as they drove
'The air is stormy,' said Charles, looking back at him.'
'You thought so, too?' said Mrs. Edmonstone, eagerly.
'I have wondered for some time past.'
'It was very decided to-day--that long absence--and there was no
provoking him to be sententious. His bringing his young man might be
only to keep him in due subjection; but his choosing the day of the
party, and above all, not walking with the young ladies.'
'It not like himself,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, in a leading tone.
'Either the sweet youth is in love, or in the course of some strange
'In love!' she exclaimed. 'Have you any reason for thinking so?'
'Only as a solution of phenomena; but you look as if I had hit on the
'I hope it is no such thing; yet--'
'Yet?' repeated Charles, seriously. 'I think he has discovered the
'The danger of falling in love with Laura? Well, it would be odd if he
was not satisfied with his own work. But he must know how preposterous
that would be.'
'And you think that would prevent it?' said his mother, smiling. 'He
is just the man to plume himself on making his judgment conquer his
inclination, setting novels at defiance. How magnanimously he would
resolve to stifle a hopeless attachment!'
'That is exactly what I think he is doing. I think he has found out
the state of his feelings, and is doing all in his power to check them
by avoiding her, especially in tete-a-tetes, and an unconstrained
family party. I am nearly convinced that is his reason for bringing
Mr. Thorndale, and fixing on the day of the dinner. Poor fellow, it
must cost him a great deal, and I long to tell him how I thank him.'
'Hm! I don't think it unlikely,' said Charles. 'It agrees with what
happened the evening of the Kilcoran ball, when he was ready to eat me
up for saying something he fancied was a hint of a liking of Guy's for
Laura. It was a wild mistake, for something I said about Petrarch,
forgetting that Petrarch suggested Laura; but it put him out to a
degree, and he made all manner of denunciations on the horror of Guy's
falling in love with her. Now, as far as I see, Guy is much more in
love with you, or with Deloraine, and the idea argues far more that the
Captain himself is touched.'
'Depend upon it, Charlie, it was this that led to his detecting the
true state of the case. Ever since that he has kept away. It is
'And what do you think about Laura?'
'Poor child! I doubt if it was well to allow so much intimacy; yet I
don't see how it could have been helped.'
'So you think she is in for it? I hope not; but she has not been
herself of late.'
'I think she misses what she has been used to from him, and thinks him
estranged, but I trust it goes no further. I see she is out of
spirits; I wish I could help her, dear girl, but the worst of all would
be to let her guess the real name and meaning of all this, so I can't
venture to say a word.'
'She is very innocent of novels,' said Charles, 'and that is well. It
would be an unlucky business to have our poor beauty either sitting
'like Patience on a monument', or 'cockit up on a baggage-waggon.' But
that will never be. Philip is not the man to have a wife in barracks.
He would have her like his books, in morocco, or not at all.'
'He would never involve her in discomforts. He may be entirely
trusted, and as long as he goes on as he has begun, there is no harm
done; Laura will cheer up, will only consider him as her cousin and
friend, and never know he has felt more for her.'
'Her going to Ireland is very fortunate.'
'It has made me still more glad that the plan should take place at
'And you say "nothing to nobody"?'
'Of course not. We must not let him guess we have observed anything;
there is no need to make your father uncomfortable, and such things
need not dawn on Amy's imagination.'
It may be wondered at that Mrs. Edmonstone should confide such a
subject to her son, but she knew that in a case really affecting his
sister, and thus introduced, his silence was secure. In fact,
confidence was the only way to prevent the shrewd, unscrupulous
raillery which would have caused great distress, and perhaps led to the
very disclosure to be deprecated. Of late, too, there had been such a
decrease of petulance in Charles, as justified her in trusting him, and
lastly, it must be observed that she was one of those open-hearted
people who cannot make a discovery nor endure an anxiety without
imparting it. Her tact, indeed, led her to make a prudent choice of
confidants, and in this case her son was by far the best, though she
had spoken without premeditation. Her nature would never have allowed
her to act as her daughter was doing; she would have been without the
strength to conceal her feelings, especially when deprived of the
safety-valve of free intercourse with their object.
The visit took place as arranged, and very uncomfortable it was to all
who looked deeper than the surface. In the first place, Philip found
there the last person he wished his friend to meet--Lady Eveleen, who
had been persuaded to stay for the dinner-party; but Mr. Thorndale was,
as Charles would have said, on his good behaviour, and, ashamed of the
fascination her manners exercised over him, was resolved to resist it,
answered her gay remarks with brief sentences and stiff smiles, and
consorted chiefly with the gentlemen.
Laura was grave and silent, trying to appear unconscious, and only
succeeding in being visibly constrained. Philip was anxious and stern
in his attempts to appear unconcerned, and even Guy was not quite as
bright and free as usual, being puzzled as to how far he was forgiven
about the ball.
Amabel could not think what had come to every one, and tried in vain to
make them sociable. In the evening they had recourse to a game, said
to be for Charlotte's amusement, but in reality to obviate some of the
stiffness and constraint; yet even this led to awkward situations.
Each person was to set down his or her favourite character in history
and fiction, flower, virtue, and time at which to have lived, and these
were all to be appropriated to the writers. The first read was--
'Lily of the valley--truth--Joan of Arc--Padre Cristoforo--the present
'Amy!' exclaimed Guy.
'I see you are right,' said Charles; 'but tell me your grounds!'
'Padre Cristoforo,' was the answer.
'Fancy little Amy choosing Joan of Arc,' said Eveleen, 'she who is
afraid of a tolerable sized grasshopper.'
'I should like to have been Joan's sister, and heard her tell about her
visions,' said Amy.
'You would have taught her to believe them,' said Philip.
'Taught her!' cried Guy. 'Surely you take the high view of her.'
'I think,' said Philip, 'that she is a much injured person, as much by
her friends as her enemies; but I don't pretend to enter either
enthusiastically or philosophically into her character.'
What was it that made Guy's brow contract, as he began to strip the
feather of a pen, till, recollecting himself, he threw it from him with
a dash, betraying some irritation, and folded his hands.
'Lavender,' read Charlotte.
'What should make any one choose that?' cried Eveleen.
'I know!' said Mrs. Edmonstone, looking up. 'I shall never forget the
tufts of lavender round the kitchen garden at Stylehurst.'
Philip smiled. Charlotte proceeded, and Charles saw Laura's colour
deepening as she bent over her work.
'"Lavender--steadfastness--Strafford--Cordelia in 'King Lear'--the late
war." How funny!' cried Charlotte. 'For hear the next: 'Honeysuckle--
steadfastness--Lord Strafford--Cordelia--the present time." Why,
Laura, you must have copied it from Philip's.'
Laura neither looked nor spoke. Philip could hardly command his
countenance as Eveleen laughed, and told him he was much flattered by
those becoming blushes. But here Charles broke in,--'Come, make haste,
Charlotte, don't be all night about it;' and as Charlotte paused, as if
to make some dangerous remark, he caught the paper, and read the next
himself. Nothing so startled Philip as this desire to cover their
confusion. Laura was only sensible of the relief of having attention
drawn from her by the laugh that followed.
'A shamrock--Captain Rock--the tailor that was "blue moulded for want
of a bating"--Pat Riotism--the time of Malachy with the collar of
'Eva!' cried Charlotte.
'Nonsense,' said Eveleen; 'I am glad I know your tastes, Charles. They
do you honour.'
'More than yours do, if these are yours,' said Charles, reading them
contemptuously; 'Rose--generosity--Charles Edward--Catherine Seyton--
the civil wars.'
'You had better not have disowned Charlie's, Lady Eveleen,' said Guy.
'Nay do you think I would put up with such a set as these?' retorted
Charles; 'I am not fallen so low as the essence of young ladyism.'
'What can you find to say against them?' said Eveleen.
'Nothing,' said Charles, 'No one ever can find anything to say for or
against young ladies' tastes.'
'You seem to be rather in the case of the tailor yourself,' said Guy,
'ready to do battle, if you could but get any opposition.'
'Only tell me,' said Amy, 'how you could wish to live in the civil
'O, because they would be so entertaining.'
'There's Paddy, genuine Paddy at last!' exclaimed Charles. 'Depend
upon it, the conventional young lady won't do, Eva.'
After much more discussion, and one or two more papers, came Guy's--the
last. 'Heather--Truth--King Charles--Sir Galahad--the present time.'
'Sir how much? exclaimed Charles.
'Don't you know him?' said Guy. 'Sir Galahad--the Knight of the Siege
Perilous--who won the Saint Greal.'
'What language is that?' said Charles.
'What! Don't you know the Morte d'Arthur! I thought every one did!
Don't you, Philip!'
'I once looked into it. It is very curious, in classical English; but
it is a book no one could read through.'
'0h!' cried Guy, indignantly; then, 'but you only looked into it. If
you had lived with its two fat volumes, you could not help delighting
in it. It was my boating-book for at least three summers.'
'That accounts for it,' said Philip; 'a book so studied in boyhood
acquires a charm apart from its actual merits.'
'But it has actual merits. The depth, the mystery, the allegory--the
beautiful characters of some of the knights.'
'You look through the medium of your imagination,' said Philip; but you
must pardon others for seeing a great sameness of character and
adventure, and for disapproving of the strange mixture of religion and
'You've never read it,' said Guy, striving to speak patiently.
'A cursory view is sufficient to show whether a book will repay the
time spent in reading it.'
'A cursory view enable one to judge better than making it your study?
Eh, Philip?' said Charles.
'It is no paradox. The actual merits are better seen by an
unprejudiced stranger than by an old friend who lends them graces of
his own devising.'
Charles laughed: Guy pushed back his chair, and went to look out at the
window. Perhaps Philip enjoyed thus chafing his temper; for after all
he had said to Laura, it was satisfactory to see his opinion justified,
so that he might not feel himself unfair. It relieved his uneasiness
lest his understanding with Laura should be observed. It had been in
great peril that evening, for as the girls went up to bed, Eveleen
gaily said, 'Why, Laura, have you quarrelled with Captain Morville?'
'How can you say such things, Eva? Good night.' And Laura escaped
into her own room.
'What's the meaning of it, Amy?' pursued Eveleen.
'Only a stranger makes us more formal,' said Amy.
'What an innocent you are! It is of no use to talk to you!' said
Eveleen, running away.
'No; but Eva,' said Amy, pursuing her, 'don't go off with a wrong
fancy. Charles has teased Laura so much about Philip, that of course
it makes her shy of him before strangers; and it would never have done
to laugh about their choosing the same things when Mr. Thorndale was
'I must be satisfied, I suppose. I know that is what you think, for
you could not say any other.'
'But what do you think?' said Amy, puzzled.
'I won't tell you, little innocence--it would only shock you.'
'Nothing you _really_ _thought_ about Laura could shock me,' said Amy;
'I don't mean what you might say in play.'
'Well, then, shall you think me in play or earnest when I say that I
think Laura likes Philip very much?'
'In play' said Amy; 'for you know that if we had not got our own
Charlie to show us what a brother is, we should think of Philip as just
the same as a brother.'
'A brother! You are pretending to be more simple than you really are,
Amy! Don't you know what I mean?'
'O,' said Amy, her cheeks lighting up, 'that must be only play, for he
has never asked her.'
'Ah, but suppose she was in the state just ready to be asked?'
'No, that could never be, for he could never ask her,'
'Why not, little Amy?'
'Because we are cousins, and everything,' said Amy, confused. 'Don't
talk any more about it, Eva; for though I know it is all play, I don't
like it, and mamma, would not wish me to talk of such things. And
don't you laugh about it, dear Eva, pray; for it only makes every one
Amy had a very persuasive way of saying 'pray,' and Eveleen thought she
must yield to it. Besides, she respected Laura and Captain Morville
too much to resolve to laugh at them, whatever she might do when her
fear of the Captain made her saucy.
Mrs. Edmonstone thought it best on all accounts to sit in the drawing-
room the next morning; but she need not have taken so much pains to
chaperon her young ladies, for the gentlemen did not come near them.
Laura was more at ease in manner, though very far from happy, for she
was restlessly eager for a talk with Philip; while he was resolved not
to seek a private interview, sure that it would excite suspicion, and
willing to lose the consciousness of his underhand proceedings.
This was the day of the dinner-party, and Laura's heart leaped as she
calculated that it must fall to Philip's lot to hand her in to dinner.
She was not mistaken, he did give her his arm; and they found
themselves most favourably placed, for Philip's other neighbour was
Mrs. Brownlow, talking at a great rate to Mr. de Courcy, and on Laura's
side was the rather deaf Mr. Hayley, who had quite enough to do to talk
to Miss Brownlow. Charles was not at table, and not one suspicious eye
could rest on them, yet it was not till the second course was in
progress that he said anything which the whole world might not have
heard. Something had passed about Canterbury, and its distance from
'I can be here often,' said Philip.
'I am glad.'
'If you can only be guarded,--and I think you are becoming so.'
'Is this a time to speak of--? Oh, don't!'
'It is the only time. No one is attending, and I have something to say
Overpowering her dire confusion, in obedience to him, she looked at the
epergne, and listened.
'You have acted prudently. You have checked--' and he indicated Guy--
'without producing more than moderate annoyance. You have only to
guard your self-possession.'
'It is very foolish,' she murmured.
'Ordinary women say so, and rest contented with the folly. You can do
There was a thrill of joy at finding him conversing with her as his
'own;' it overcame her embarrassment and alarm, and wishes he would not
choose such a time for speaking.'
'How shall I?' said she.
'Employ yourself. Employ and strengthen your mind!'
'How shall I, and without you?'
'Find something to prevent you from dwelling on the future. That
drawing is dreamy work, employing the fingers and leaving the mind
'I have been trying to read, but I cannot fix my mind.'
'Suppose you take what will demand attention. Mathematics, algebra. I
will send you my first book of algebra, and it will help you to work
down many useless dreams and anxieties.'
'Thank you; pray do; I shall be very glad of it.'
'You will find it give a power and stability to your mind, and no
longer have to complain of frivolous occupation.'
'I don't feel frivolous now,' said Laura, sadly; 'I don't know why it
is that everything is so altered, I am really happier, but my light
heart is gone.'
'You have but now learnt the full powers of your soul, Laura, you have
left the world of childhood, with the gay feelings which have no
'I have what is better,' she whispered.
'You have, indeed. But those feelings must be regulated, and
strengthening the intellect strengthens the governing power.'
Philip, with all his sense, was mystifying himself, because he was
departing from right, the only true 'good sense.' His right judgment
in all things was becoming obscured, so he talked metaphysical jargon,
instead of plain practical truth, and thought he was teaching Laura to
strengthen her powers of mind, instead of giving way to dreams, when he
was only leading her to stifle meditation, and thus securing her
complete submission to himself.
She was happier after this conversation, and better able to pay
attention to the guests, nor did she feel guilty when obliged to play
and sing in the evening--for she knew he must own that she could do no
Lady Eveleen gave, however, its brilliancy to the party. She had
something wonderfully winning and fascinating about her, and Philip
owned to himself that it took no small resolution on the part of Mr.
Thorndale to keep so steadily aloof from the party in the bay window,
where she was reigning like a queen, and inspiring gaiety like a fairy.
She made Guy sing with her; it was the first time he had ever sung,
except among themselves, as Mrs. Edmonstone had never known whether he
would like to be asked; but Eveleen refused to sing some of the Irish
melodies unless he would join her, and without making any difficulty he
did so. Mrs. Brownlow professed to be electrified, and Eveleen
declaring that she knew she sung like a peacock, told Mrs. Brownlow
that the thing to hear was Sir Guy singing glees with Laura and Amy.
Of course, they were obliged to sing. Mrs. Brownlow was delighted; and
as she had considerable knowledge of music, they all grew eager and
Philip thought it very foolish of Guy to allow so much of his talent
and enthusiasm to display themselves.
When all the people were gone, and the home party had wished each other
good-night, Philip lingered in the drawing-room to finish a letter.
Guy, after helping Charles up-stairs, came down a few moments after, to
fetch something which he had forgotten. Philip looked up,--'You
contributed greatly to the entertainment this evening,' he said.
Guy coloured, not quite sure that this was not said sarcastically, and
provoked with himself for being vexed.
'You think one devoid of the sixth sense has no right to speak,' said
'I can't expect all to think it, as I do, one of the best things in
this world or out of it,' said Guy, speaking quickly.
'I know it is so felt by those who understand its secrets,' said
Philip. 'I would not depreciate it; so you may hear me patiently, Guy.
I only meant to warn you, that it is often the means of bringing
persons into undesirable intimacies, from which they cannot disentangle
themselves as easily as they enter them.'
A flush crossed Guy's cheek, but it passed, and he simply said--'I
suppose it may. Good-night.'
Philip looked after him, and pondered on what it was that had annoyed
him--manner, words, or advice. He ascribed it to Guy's unwillingness
to be advised, since he had observed that his counsel was apt to
irritate him, though his good sense often led him to follow it. In the
present case, Philip thought Mrs. Brownlow and her society by no means
desirable for a youth like Guy; and he was quite right.
Philip and his friend went the next morning; and in the afternoon Laura
received the book of algebra--a very original first gift from a lover.
It came openly, with a full understanding that she was to use it by his
recommendation; her mother and brother both thought they understood the
motive, which one thought very wise, and the other very characteristic.
Lord Kilcoran and Lady Eveleen also departed. Eveleen very sorry to
go, though a little comforted by the prospect of seeing Laura so soon
in Ireland, where she would set her going in all kinds of
'rationalities--reading, and school teaching, and everything else.'
'Ay,' said Charles, when all were out of hearing but his mother; 'and I
shrewdly suspect the comfort would be still greater if it was Sir Guy
Morville who was coming.'
'It would be no bad thing,' said his mother: 'Eveleen is a nice
creature with great capabilities.'
'Capabilities! but will they ever come to anything?'
'In a few years,' said Mrs. Edmonstone; 'and he is a mere boy at
present, so there is plenty of time for both to develop themselves.'
'Most true, madame mere; but it remains to be proved whether the liking
for Sir Guy, which has taken hold of my lady Eveleen, is strong enough
to withstand all the coquetting with young Irishmen, and all the idling
'I hope she has something better to be relied on than the liking for
'You may well do so, for I think he has no notion of throwing off his
allegiance to you--his first and only love. He liked very well to make
fun with Eva; but he regarded her rather as a siren, who drew him off
from his Latin and Greek.'
'Yes; I am ashamed of myself for such a fit of match-making! Forget
it, Charlie, as fast as you can.'
This warld's wealth, when I think o't,
Its pride, and a' the lave o't,
Fie, fie on silly coward man,
That he should be the slave o't.--BURNS
In another week Mr. Edmonstone and his eldest daughter were to depart
on their Irish journey. Laura, besides the natural pain in leaving
home, was sorry to be no longer near Philip, especially as it was not
likely that he would be still at Broadstone on their return; yet she
was so restless and dissatisfied, that any change was welcome, and the
fear of betraying herself almost took away the pleasure of his
He met them at the railway station at Broadstone, where Mr. Edmonstone,
finding himself much too early, recollected something he had forgotten
in the town, and left his daughter to walk up and down the platform
under Philip's charge. They felt it a precious interval, but both were
out of spirits, and could hardly profit by it.
'You will be gone long before we come back,' said Laura.
'In a fortnight or three weeks, probably.'
'But you will still be able to come to Hollywell now and then?'
'I hope so. It is all the pleasure I can look for. We shall never see
such a summer again.'
'Oh, it has been a memorable one!'
'Memorable! Yes. It has given me an assurance that compensates for
all I have lost; yet it has made me feel, more than ever before, how
poverty withers a man's hopes.'
'0 Philip, I always thought your poverty a great, noble thing!'
'You thought like a generous-tempered girl who has known nothing of its
'And do you know that Guy says the thing to be proud of is of holding
the place you do, without the aid of rank or riches.'
'I would not have it otherwise--I would not for worlds that my father
had acted otherwise,' said Philip. 'You understand that, Laura.'
'Of course I do.'
'But when you speak--when Guy speaks of my holding the place I do, you
little know what it is to feel that powers of usefulness are wasted--to
know I have the means of working my way to honour and distinction, such
as you would rejoice in Laura, to have it all within, yet feel it
thrown away. Locksley Hall, again--"every door is barred with gold,
and opens but to golden keys.'"
'I wish there was anything to be done,' said Laura.
'It is my profession that is the bar to everything. I have sold the
best years of my life, and for what? To see my sister degrade herself
by that marriage.'
'That is the real grief,' said Laura.
'But for that, I should never have cast a look back on what I
relinquished. However, why do I talk of these things, these vain
regrets? They only occurred because my welfare does not concern myself
alone--and here's your father.'
Mr. Edmonstone returned, out of breath, in too much bustle remark his
daughter's blushes. Even when the train was moving off, he still had
his head out at the window, calling to Philip that they should expect a
visit from him as soon as ever they returned. Such cordiality gave
Philip a pang; and in bitterness of spirit he walked back to the
barracks. On the way he met Mrs. Deane who wanted to consult him about
inviting his cousin, Sir Guy to a dinner-party she intended to give
next week. 'Such an agreeable, sensible youth, and we feel we owe him
some attention, he took so much pains to make apologies about the
'I dare say he will be very happy to come.'
'We will write at once. He is a very fine young man, without a shade
of vanity or nonsense.'
'Yes; he has very pleasant, unaffected manners.'
'I am sure he will do credit to his estate. It is a very handsome
fortune, is it not?'
'It is a very large property.'
'I am glad of it; I have no doubt we shall see him one of the first men
of his time.'
These words brought into contrast in Philip's mind the difference
between Guy's position and his own. The mere possession of wealth was
winning for Guy, at an age when his merits could only be negative, that
estimation which his own tried character had scarcely achieved, placing
him not merely on a level with himself, but in a situation where
happiness and influence came unbidden. His own talents, attainments,
and equal, if not superior claims, to gentle blood, could not procure
him what seemed to lie at Guy's feet. His own ability and Laura's
heart alone were what wealth could not affect; yet when he thought how
the want of it wasted the one, and injured the hopes of the other, he
recurred to certain visions of his sister Margaret's, in days gone by,
of what he was to do as Sir Philip, lord of Redclyffe. He was
speculating on what would have happened had Guy died in his sickly
infancy, when, suddenly recollecting himself, he turned his mind to
Guy was not much charmed with Mrs. Deane's invitation. He said he knew
he must go to make up for his rudeness about the ball; but he grumbled
enough to make Mrs. Edmonstone laugh at him for being so stupid as to
want to stay hum-drum in the chimney corner. No doubt it was very
pleasant there. There was that peculiar snugness which belongs to a
remnant of a large party, when each member of it feels bound to prevent
the rest from being dull. Guy devoted himself to Charles more than
ever, and in the fear that he might miss the late variety of amusement,
exerted even more of his powers of entertainment than Lady Eveleen had
There were grave readings in the mornings, and long walks in the
afternoons, when he dragged Charles, in his chair, into many a place he
had never expected to see again, and enabled him to accompany his
mother and sisters in many a delightful expedition. In the evening
there was music, or light reading, especially poetry, as this was
encouraged by Mrs. Edmonstone, in the idea that it was better that so
excitable and enthusiastic a person as Guy should have his objects of
admiration tested by Charles's love of ridicule.
Mr. Edmonstone had left to Guy the office of keeping the 1st of
September, one which he greatly relished. Indeed, when he thought of
his own deserted manors, he was heard to exclaim, in commiseration for
the neglect, 'Poor partridges!' The Hollywell shooting was certainly
not like that at Redclyffe, where he could hardly walk out of his own
grounds, whereas here he had to bear in mind so many boundaries, that
Philip was expecting to have to help him out of some direful scrape.
He had generally walked over the whole extent, and assured himself that
the birds were very wild, and Bustle the best of dogs, before
breakfast, so as to be ready for all the occupations of the day. He
could scarcely be grateful when the neighbours, thinking it must be
very dull for him to be left alone with Mrs. Edmonstone and her
crippled son, used to ask him to shoot or dine. He always lamented at
first, and ended by enjoying himself.
One night, he came home, in such a state of eagerness, that he must
needs tell his good news; and, finding no one in the drawing-room, he
ran up-stairs, opened Charles's door, and exclaimed--'There's to be a
concert at Broadstone!' Then perceiving that Charles was fast asleep,
he retreated noiselessly, reserving his rejoicings till morning, when
it appeared that Charles had heard, but had woven the announcement into
This concert filled Guy's head. His only grief was that it was to be in
the evening, so that Charles could not go to it; and his wonder was not
repressed at finding that Philip did not mean to favour it with his
presence, since Guy would suffice for squire to Mrs. Edmonstone and her
In fact, Philip was somewhat annoyed by the perpetual conversation
about the concert, and on the day on which it was to take place
resolved on making a long expedition to visit the ruins of an old
abbey, far out of all reports of it. As he was setting out, he was
greeted, in a very loud voice, by Mr. Gordon.
'Hollo, Morville! how are you? So you have great doings to-night, I
hear!' and he had only just forced himself from him, when he was again
accosted, this time in a hasty, embarrassed manner,--
'I beg your pardon, sir, but the ties of relationship--'
He drew himself up as if he was on parade, faced round, and replied
with an emphatic 'Sir!' as he behold a thin, foreign-looking man, in a
somewhat flashy style of dress, who, bowing low, repeated
'I beg your pardon--Sir Guy Morville, I believe!'
'Captain Morville, sir!'
'I beg your pardon--I mistook. A thousand pardons,' and he retreated;
while Philip, after a moment's wonder, pursued his walk.
The Hollywell party entered Broadstone in a very different temper, and
greatly did they enjoy the concert, both for themselves and for each
other. In the midst of it, while Amy was intent on the Italian words
of a song, Guy touched her hand, and pointed to a line in the
Solo on the violin . . . . MR. S. B. DIXON.
She looked up in his face with an expression full of inquiry; but it
was no time for speaking, and she only saw how the colour mantled on
his cheek when the violinist appeared, and how he looked down the whole
time of the performance, only now and then venturing a furtive though
He did not say anything till they were seated in the carriage, and then
astonished Mrs. Edmonstone by exclaiming--
'It must be my uncle!--I am sure it must. I'll ride to Broadstone the
first thing to-morrow, and find him out.'
'Your uncle!' exclaimed Mrs. Edmonstone. 'I never thought of that.'
S. B. Dixon,' said Guy. 'I know his name is Sebastian. It cannot be
any one else. You know he went to America. How curious it is! I
suppose there is no fear of his being gone before I can come in to-
'I should think not. Those musical people keep late hours.'
'I would go before breakfast. Perhaps it would be best to go to old
Redford, he will know all about him; or to the music-shop. I am so
glad! It is the very thing I always wished.'
'Did you?' said Mrs. Edmonstone to herself. 'I can't say every one
would be of your mind; but I can't help liking you the better for it.
I wish the man had kept further off. I wish Mr. Edmonstone was at
home. I hope no harm will come of it. I wonder what I ought to do.
Shall I caution him? No; I don't think I can spoil his happiness--and
perhaps the man may be improved. He is his nearest relation, and I
have no right to interfere. His own good sense will protect him--but I
wish Mr. Edmonstone was at home.'
She therefore did not check his expressions of delight, nor object to
his going to Broadstone early the next morning. He had just dismounted
before the inn-yard, when a boy put a note into his hand, and he was so
absorbed in its contents, that he did not perceive Philip till after
two greetings had passed unheard. When at length he was recalled, he
started, and exclaimed, rapturously, as he put the note into his
'See here--it is himself!'
'My uncle. My poor mother's own brother.'
'Sebastian Bach Dixon,' read Philip. 'Ha! it was he who took me for
'I saw him at the concert--I was sure it could be no other. I came in
on purpose to find him, and here he is waiting for me. Is not it a
'Happy!' echoed Philip, in a far different tone.
'How I have longed for this--for any one who could remember and tell me
of her--of my mother--my poor, dear young mother! And her own brother!
I have been thinking of it all night, and he knows I am here, and is as
eager as myself. He is waiting for me,' ended Guy, hurrying off.
'Stop!' said Philip, gravely. 'Think before acting. I seriously
advise you to have nothing to do with this man, at least personally.
Let me see him, and learn what he wants.'
'He wants me,' impatiently answered Guy. 'You are not his nephew.'
'Thank heaven!' thought Philip. 'Do you imagine your relationship is
the sole cause of his seeking you?'
'I don't know--I don't care!' cried Guy, with vehemence. 'I will not
listen to suspicions of my mother's brother.'
'It is more than suspicion. Hear me calmly. I speak for your good. I
know this man's influence was fatal to your father. I know he did all
in his power to widen the breach with your grandfather.'
'That was eighteen years ago,' said Guy, walking on, biting his lip in
a fiery fit of impatience.
'You will not hear. Remember, that his position and associates render
him no fit companion for you. Nay, listen patiently. You cannot help
the relationship. I would not have you do otherwise than assist him.
Let him not complain of neglect, but be on your guard. He will either
seriously injure you, or be a burden for life.'
'I have heard you so far--I can hear no more,' said Guy, no longer
restraining his impetuosity. 'He is my uncle, that I know, I care for
nothing else. Position--nonsense! what has that to do with it? I will
not be set against him.'
He strode off; but in a few moments turned back, overtook Philip, said-
'Thank you for your advice. I beg your pardon for my hastiness. You
mean kindly, but I must see my uncle.' And, without waiting for an
answer, he was gone.
In short space he was in the little parlour of the music-shop, shaking
hands with his uncle, and exclaiming,--
'I am so glad! I hoped it was you!'
'It is very noble-hearted! I might have known it would be so with the
son of my dearest sister and of my generous friend!' cried Mr. Dixon,
with eagerness that had a theatrical air, though it was genuine feeling
that filled his eyes with tears.
'I saw your name last night' continued Guy. 'I would have tried to
speak to you at once, but I was obliged to stay with Mrs, Edmonstone,
as I was the only gentleman with her.'
'Ah! I thought it possible you might not be able to follow the dictate
of your own heart; but this is a fortunate conjuncture, in the absence
of your guardian.'
Guy recollected Philip's remonstrance, and it crossed him whether his
guardian might be of the same mind; but he felt confident in having
told all to Mrs. Edmonstone.
'How did you know I was here?' he asked.
'I learnt it in a most gratifying way. Mr. Redford, without knowing
our connection--for on that I will always be silent--mentioned that the
finest tenor he had ever known, in an amateur, belonged to his pupil,
Sir Guy Morville. You can imagine my feelings at finding you so near,
and learning that you had inherited your dear mother's talent and
The conversation was long, for there was much to hear. Mr. Dixon had
kept up a correspondence at long intervals with Markham, from whom he
heard that his sister's child survived, and was kindly treated by his
grandfather; and inquiring again on the death of old Sir Guy, learnt
that he was gone to live with his guardian, whose name, and residence
Markham had not thought fit to divulge. He had been much rejoiced to
hear his name from the music-master, and he went on to tell how he had
been misled by the name of Morville into addressing the captain, who
had a good deal of general resemblance to Guy's father, a fine tall
young man, of the same upright, proud deportment. He supposed he was
the son of the Archdeacon, and remembering how strongly his own
proceedings had been discountenanced at Stylehurst, had been much
disconcerted, and deeming the encounter a bad omen, had used more
caution in his advances to his nephew. It was from sincere affection
that he sought his acquaintance, though very doubtful as to the
reception he might meet, and was both delighted and surprised at such
unembarrassed, open-hearted affection.
The uncle and nephew were not made to understand each other. Sebastian
Dixon was a man of little education, and when, in early youth, his
talents had placed him high in his own line, he had led a careless,
extravagant life. Though an evil friend, and fatal counsellor, he had
been truly attached to Guy's father, and the secret engagement, and
runaway marriage with his beautiful sister, had been the romance of his
life, promoted by him with no selfish end. He was a proud and
passionate man, and resenting Sir Guy's refusal to receive his sister
as a daughter, almost as much as Sir Guy was incensed at the marriage,
had led his brother-in-law to act in a manner which cut off the hope of
reconciliation, and obliged Archdeacon Morville to give up his cause.
He had gloried in supporting his sister and her husband, and enabling
them to set the old baronet at defiance. But young Morville's
territorial pride could not brook that he should be maintained, and
especially that his child, the heir of Redclyffe, should be born while
he was living at the expense of a musician. This feeling, aided by a
yearning for home, and a secret love for his father, mastered his
resentment; he took his resolution, quarrelled with Dixon, and carried
off his wife, bent with desperation on forcing his father into
Sebastian had not surmounted his anger at this step when he learnt its
fatal consequences. Ever since that time, nothing had prospered with
him: he had married and sunk himself lower, and though he had an
excellent engagement, the days were past when he was the fashion, and
his gains and his triumphs were not what they had been. He had a long
list of disappointments and jealousies with which to entertain Guy,
who, on his side, though resolved to like him, and dreading to be too
refined to be friends with his relations, could not feel as thoroughly
pleased as he intended to have been.
Music was, however, a subject on which they could meet with equal
enthusiasm, and by means of this, together with the aid of his own
imagination, Guy contrived to be very happy. He stayed with his uncle
as long as he could, and promised to spend a day with him in London, on
his way to Oxford, in October.
The next morning, when Philip knew that Guy would be with his tutor, he
walked to Hollywell, came straight up to his aunt's dressing-room,
asked her to send Charlotte down to practise, and, seating himself
opposite to her, began--
'What do you mean to do about this unfortunate rencontre?'
'Do you mean Guy and his uncle? He is very much pleased, poor boy! I
like his entire freedom from false shame.'
'A little true shame would be hardly misplaced about such a
'It is not his fault, and I hope it will not be his misfortune,' said
'That it will certainly be,' replied Philip, 'if we are not on our
guard; and, indeed, if we are, there is little to be done with one so
wilful. I might as well have interfered with the course of a
'No, no, Philip; he is too candid to be wilful.'
'I cannot be of your opinion, when I have seen him rushing into this
acquaintance in spite of the warnings he must have had here--to say
nothing of myself.'
'Nay, there I must defend him, though you will think me very unwise; I
could not feel that I ought to withhold him from taking some notice of
so near a relation.'
Philip did think her so unwise, that he could only reply, gravely--
'We must hope it may produce no evil effects.'
'How?' she exclaimed, much alarmed. 'Have you heard anything against
'You remember, of course, that Guy's father was regularly the victim of
'Yes, yes; hut he has had enough to sober him. Do you know nothing
more?' said Mrs. Edmonstone, growing nervously anxious lest she had
been doing wrong in her husband's absence.
'I have been inquiring about him from old Redford, and I should judge
him to be a most dangerous companion; as, indeed, I could have told
from his whole air, which is completely that of a roué.'
'You have seen him, then?'
'Yes. He paid me the compliment of taking me for Sir Guy, and of
course made off in dismay when he discovered on whom he had fallen. I
have seldom seen a less creditable-looking individual.'
'But what did Mr. Redford say? Did he know of the connection?'
'No; I am happy to say he did not. The fellow has decency enough not
to boast of that. Well, Redford did not know much of him personally:
he said he had once been much thought of, and had considerable talent
and execution, but taste changes, or he has lost something, so that,
though he stands tolerably high in his profession, he is not a leader.
So much for his musical reputation. As to his character, he is one of
those people who are called no one's enemy but their own, exactly the
introduction Guy has hitherto happily wanted to every sort of
'I think,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, trying to console herself, 'that Guy
is too much afraid of small faults to be invited by larger evils.
While he punishes himself for an idle word, he is not likely to go
wrong in greater matters.'
'Not at present.'
'Is the man in debt or difficulties? Guy heard nothing of that, and I
thought it a good sign.'
'I don't suppose he is. He ought not, for he has a fixed salary,
besides what he gets by playing at concerts when it is not the London
season. The wasting money on a spendthrift relation would be a far
less evil than what I apprehend.'
'I wish I knew what to do! It is very unlucky that your uncle is from
Mrs. Edmonstone was frightened by the sense of responsibility, and was
only anxious to catch hold of something to direct her.
'What would you have me do?' she asked, hopelessly.
'Speak seriously to Guy. He must attend to you: he cannot fly out with
a woman as he does with me. Show him the evils that must result from
such an intimacy. If Dixon was in distress, I would not say a word,
for he would be bound to assist him but as it is, the acquaintance can
serve no purpose but degrading Guy, and showing him the way to evil.
Above all, make a point of his giving up visiting him in London. That
is the sure road to evil. A youth of his age, under the conduct of a
worn-out roué, connected with the theatres! I can hardly imagine
anything more mischievous.'
'Yes, yes; I will speak to him,' said Mrs. Edmonstone, perfectly
She promised, but she found the fulfilment difficult, in her dislike of
vexing Guy, her fear of saying what was wrong, and a doubt whether the
appearance of persecuting Mr. Dixon was not the very way to prevent
Guy's own good sense from finding out his true character, so she
waited, hoping Mr. Edmonstone might return before Guy went to Oxford,
or that he might write decisively.
Mrs. Edmonstone might have known her husband better than to expect him
to write decisively when he had neither herself nor Philip at his
elbow. The same post had brought him a letter from Guy, mentioning his
meeting with his uncle, and frankly explaining his plans for London;
another from Philip, calling on him to use all his authority to prevent
this intercourse, and a third from his wife. Bewildered between them,
he took them to his sister, who, being as puzzle-headed as himself, and
only hearing his involved history of the affair, confused him still
more; so he wrote to Philip, saying he was sorry the fellow had turned
up, but he would guard against him. He told Guy he was sorry to say
that his uncle used to be a sad scamp, and he must take care, or it
would be his poor father's story over again; and to Mrs. Edmonstone he
wrote that it was very odd that everything always did go wrong when he
He thought these letters a great achievement, but his wife's perplexity
was not materially relieved.
After considering a good while, she at length spoke to Guy; but it was
not at a happy time, for Philip, despairing of her, had just taken on
himself to remonstrate, and had angered him to the verge of an
Mrs. Edmonstone, as mildly as she could, urged on him that such
intercourse could bring him little satisfaction, and might be very
inconvenient; that his uncle was in no distress, and did not require
assistance; and that it was too probable that in seeking him out he
might meet with persons who might unsettle his principles,--in short,
that he had much better give up the visit to London.
'This is Philip's advice,' said Guy.
'It is; but--'
Guy looked impatient, and she paused.
'You must forgive me,' he said, 'if I follow my own judgment. If Mr.
Edmonstone chose to lay his commands on me, I suppose I must submit;
but I cannot see that I am bound to obey Philip.'
'Not to obey, certainly; but his advice--'
'He is prejudiced and unjust,' said Guy.
'I don't believe that my uncle would attempt to lead me into bad
company; and surely you would not have me neglect or look coldly on one
who was so much attached to my parents. If he is not a gentleman, and
is looked down on by the world, it is not for his sister's son to make
him conscious of it.'
'I like your feelings, Guy; I can say nothing against it, but that I am
much afraid your uncle is not highly principled.'
'You have only Philip's account of him.'
'You are resolved?'
'Yes. I do not like not to take your advice, but I do believe this is
my duty. I do not think my determination is made in self-will,' said
Guy, thoughtfully; 'I cannot think that I ought to neglect my uncle,
because I happen to have been born in a different station, which is all
I have heard proved against him,' he added, smiling. 'You will forgive
me, will you not, for not following your advice? for really and truly,
if you will let me say so, I think you would not have given it if
Philip had not been talking to you.'
Mrs. Edmonstone confessed, with a smile, that perhaps it was so; but
said she trusted much to Philip's knowledge of the world. Guy agreed
to this; though still declaring Philip had no right to set him against
his uncle, and there the discussion ended.
Guy went to London. Philip thought him very wilful, and his aunt very
weak; and Mr. Edmonstone, on coming home, said it could not be helped,
and he wished to hear no more about the matter.
Her playful smile, her buoyance wild,
Bespeak the gentle, mirthful child;
But in her forehead's broad expanse,
Her chastened tones, her thoughtful glance,
Is mingled, with the child's light glee,
The modest maiden's dignity.
One summer's day, two years after the ball and review, Mary Ross and
her father were finishing their early dinner, when she said,--
'If you don't want me this afternoon, papa, I think I shall walk to
Hollywell. You know Eveleen de Courcy is there.'
'No, I did not. What has brought her?'
'As Charles expresses it, she has over-polked herself in London, and is
sent here for quiet and country air. I want to call on her, and to ask
Sir Guy to give me some idea as to the singing the children should
practise for the school-feast?'
'Then you think Sir Guy will come to the feast?'
'I reckon on him to conceal all the deficiencies in the children's
'He won't desert you, as he did Mrs. Brownlow?'
'0 papa! you surely did not think him to blame in that affair?'
'Honestly, Mary, if I thought about the matter at all, I thought it a
pity he should go so much to the Brownlows.'
'I believe I could tell you the history, if you thought it worth while;
and though it may be gossip, I should like you to do justice to Sir
'Very well; though I don't think there is much danger of my doing
otherwise. I only wondered he should become intimate there at all.'
'I believe Mrs. Edmonstone thinks it right he should see as much of the
world as possible, and not be always at home in their own set.'
'Fair and proper.'
'You know she has shown him all the people she could,--had Eveleen
staying there, and the Miss Nortons, and hunted him out to parties,
when he had rather have been at home.'
'I thought he was fond of society. I remember your telling me how
amused you were with his enjoyment of his first ball.'
'Ah! he was two years younger then, and all was new. He seems to me
too deep and sensitive not to find more pain than pleasure in
commonplace society. I have sometimes seen that he cannot speak either
lightly or harshly of what he disapproves, and people don't understand
him. I was once sitting next him, when there was some talking going on
about an elopement; he did not laugh, looked almost distressed, and at
last said in a very low voice, to me, "I wish people would not laugh
about such things."'
'He is an extraordinary mixture of gaiety of heart, and seriousness.'
'Well, when Mrs. Brownlow had her nieces with her, and was giving those
musical parties, his voice made him valuable; and Mrs. Edmonstone told
him he ought to go to them. I believe he liked it at first, but he
found there was no end to it; it took up a great deal of time, and was
a style of thing altogether that was not desirable. Mrs Edmonstone
thought at first his reluctance was only shyness and stay-at-home
nonsense, that ought to be overcome; but when she had been there, and
saw how Mrs. Brownlow beset him, and the unpleasant fuss they made
about his singing, she quite came round to his mind, and was very sorry
she had exposed him to so much that was disagreeable.'
'Well, Mary, I am glad to hear your account. My impression arose from
something Philip Morville said.'
'Captain Morville never can approve of anything Sir Guy does! It is
not like Charles.'
'How improved Charles Edmonstone is. He has lost that spirit of
repining and sarcasm, and lives as if he had an object.'
'Yes; he employs himself now, and teaches Amy to do the same. You
know, after the governess went, we were afraid little Amy would never
do anything but wait on Charles, and idle in her pretty gentle way; but
when he turned to better things so did she, and her mind has been
growing all this time. Perhaps you don't see it, for she has not lost
her likeness to a kitten, and looks all demure silence with the elders,
but she takes in what the wise say.'
'She is a very good little thing; and I dare say will not be the worse
for growing up slowly.'
'Those two sisters are specimens of fast and slow growth. Laura has
always seemed to be so much more than one year older than Amy,
especially of late. She is more like five-and-twenty than twenty. I
wonder if she overworks herself. But how we have lingered over our
By half-past three, Mary was entering a copse which led into Mr.
Edmonstone's field, when she heard gay tones, and a snatch of one of
the sweetest of old songs,--
Weep no more, lady; lady, weep no more,
Thy sorrow is in vain;
For violets pluck'd, the sweetest showers
Will ne'er make grow again.
A merry, clear laugh followed, and a turn in the path showed her Guy,
Amy, and Charlotte, busy over a sturdy stock of eglantine. Guy, little
changed in these two years,--not much taller, and more agile than
robust,--was lopping vigorously with his great pruning-knife, Amabel
nursing a bundle of drooping rose branches, Charlotte, her bonnet in a
garland of wild sweet-brier, holding the matting and continually
getting entangled in the long thorny wreaths.
'And here comes the "friar of orders gray," to tell you so,' exclaimed
Guy, as Mary, in her gray dress, came on them.
'Oh, that is right, dear good friar,' cried Amy.
'We are so busy,' said Charlotte; 'Guy has made Mr. Markham send all
these choice buds from Redclyffe.'
'Not from the park,' said Guy, 'we don't deal much in gardening; but
Markham is a great florist, and these are his bounties.'
'And are you cutting that beautiful wild rose to pieces?'
'Is it not a pity?' said Amy. 'We have used up all the stocks in the
garden, and this is to be transplanted in the autumn.'
'She has been consoling it all the time by telling it it is for its
good,' said Guy; 'cutting off wild shoots, and putting in better
'I never said anything so pretty; and, after all, I don't know that the
grand roses will be equal to these purple shoots and blushing buds with
'So Sir Guy was singing about the violets plucked to comfort you. But
you must not leave off, I want to see how you do it. I am gardener
enough to like to look on.'
'We have only two more to put in.'
Knife and fingers were busy, and Mary admired the dexterity with which
the slit was made in the green bark, well armed with firm red thorns,
and the tiny scarlet gem inserted, and bound with cotton and matting.
At the least critical parts of the work, she asked after the rest of
the party, and was answered that papa had driven Charles out in the
pony carriage, and that Laura and Eveleen were sitting on the lawn,
reading and working with mamma. Eveleen was better, but not strong, or
equal to much exertion in the heat. Mary went on to speak of her
school feast and ask her questions.
'0 Guy, you must not go before that!' cried Charlotte.
'Are you going away?'
'He is very naughty, indeed,' said Charlotte. 'He is going, I don't
know where all, to be stupid, and read mathematics.'
'A true bill, I am sorry to say,' said Guy; 'I am to join a reading-
party for the latter part of the vacation.'
'I hope not before Thursday week, though we are not asking you to
anything worth staying for.'
'Oh, surely you need not go before that!' said Amy, 'need you?'
'No; I believe I may stay till Friday, and I should delight in the
feast, thank you, Miss Ross,--I want to study such things. A bit more
matting, Amy, if you please. There, I think that will do.'