Part 3 out of 14
'Foolish fellow!' muttered Philip, looking after him.
After some space of silence, Charlotte began in a very grave tone--
Another 'Well!' and another long pause.
'Philip, I don't know whether you'll be angry with me.'
'Certainly not,' said Philip, marvelling at what was coming.
'Guy says he does not want to keep up the feud, and I wish you would
'What do you mean?'
'The deadly feud!' said Charlotte.
'What nonsense is this?' said Philip.
'Surely--Oh Philip, there always was a deadly feud between our
ancestors, and the Redclyffe Morvilles, and it was very wrong, and
ought not to be kept up now.'
'It is not I that keep it up.'
'Is it not?' said Charlotte. 'But I am sure you don't like Guy. And I
can't think why not, unless it is the deadly feud, for we are all so
fond of him. Laura says it is a different house since he came.'
'Hum!' said Philip. 'Charlotte, you did well to make me promise not to
be angry with you, by which, I presume, you mean displeased. I should
like to know what put this notion into your head.'
'Charlie told me,' almost whispered Charlotte, hanging down her head.
'And what? I can't hear.'
Charlotte was a good deal frightened; but either from firmness, or from
the female propensity to have the last word, or it might be the spirit
of mischief, she got out--'You have made me quite sure of it yourself.'
She was so alarmed at having said this, that had it not been
undignified, she would have run quite away, and never stopped till she
came to East-hill. Matters were not mended when Philip said
authoritatively, and as if he was not in the least bit annoyed (which
was the more vexatious), 'What do you mean, Charlotte?'
She had a great mind to cry, by way of getting out of the scrape; but
having begun as a counsellor and peacemaker, it would never do to be
babyish; and on his repeating the question, she said, in a tone which
she could not prevent from being lachrymose, 'You make Guy almost
angry, you tease him, and when people praise him, you answer as if it
would not last! And it is very unfair of you,' concluded she, with
almost a sob.
'Charlotte,' replied Philip, much more kindly than she thought she
deserved, after the reproach that seemed to her so dreadfully naughty,
'you may dismiss all fear of deadly feud, whatever you may mean by it.
Charles has been playing tricks on you. You know, my little cousin,
that I am a Christian, and we live in the nineteenth century.'
Charlotte felt as if annihilated at the aspect of her own folly. He
resumed--'You misunderstood me. I do think Guy very agreeable. He is
very attentive to Charles, very kind to you, and so attractive, that I
don't wonder you like him. But those who are older than you see that
he has faults, and we wish to set him on his guard against them. It
may be painful to ourselves, and irritating to him, but depend upon it,
it is the proof of friendship. Are you satisfied, my little cousin?'
She could only say humbly, 'I beg your pardon.'
'You need not ask pardon. Since you had the notion, it was right to
speak, as it was to me, one of your own family. When you are older,
you need never fear to speak out in the right place. I am glad you
have so much of the right sort of feminine courage, though in this case
you might have ventured to trust to me.'
So ended Charlotte's anxieties respecting the deadly feud, and she had
now to make up her mind to the loss of her playfellow, who was to go to
Oxford at Easter, when he would be just eighteen, his birthday being
the 28th of March. Both her playmates were going, Bustle as well as
Guy, and it was at first proposed that Deloraine should go too, but Guy
bethought himself that Oxford would be a place of temptation for
William; and not choosing to trust the horse to any one else, resolved
to leave both at Hollywell.
His grandfather had left an allowance for Guy, until his coming of age,
such as might leave no room for extravagance, and which even Philip
pronounced to be hardly sufficient for a young man in his position.
'You know,' said Mr. Edmonstone, in his hesitating, good-natured way,
'if ever you have occasion sometimes for a little--a little more--you
need only apply to me. Don't be afraid, anything rather than run into
debt. You know me, and 'tis your own.'
'This shall do,' said Guy, in the same tone as he had fixed his hours
Each of the family made Guy a birthday present, as an outfit for
Oxford; Mr. Edmonstone gave him a set of studs, Mrs. Edmonstone a
Christian Year, Amabel copied some of his favourite songs, Laura made a
drawing of Sintram, Charlotte worked a kettle-holder, with what was
called by courtesy a likeness of Bustle. Charles gave nothing,
professing that he would do nothing to encourage his departure.
'You don't know what a bore it is to lose the one bit of quicksilver in
the house!' said he, yawning. 'I shall only drag on my existence till
you come back.'
'You, Charles, the maker of fun!' said Guy, amazed.
'It is a case of flint and steel,' said Charles; 'but be it owing to
who it will, we have been alive since you came here. You have taken
care to be remembered. We have been studying you, or laughing at you,
or wondering what absurdity was to come next.'
'I am very sorry--that is, if you are serious. I hoped at least I
appeared like other people.'
'I'll tell you what you appear like. Just what I would be if I was a
'Never say that, Charlie!'
'Nay, wait a bit. I would never be so foolish. I would never give my
sunny mornings to Euripides; I would not let the best hunter in the
county go when I had wherewithal to pay for him.'
'You would not have such an ill-conditioned self to keep in rule.'
'After all,' continued Charles, yawning, 'it is no great compliment to
say I am sorry you are going. If you were an Ethiopian serenader, you
would be a loss to me. It is something to see anything beyond this old
drawing-room, and the same faces doing the same things every day.
Laura poking over her drawing, and meditating upon the last entry in
Philip's memorandum-book, and Amy at her flowers or some nonsense or
other, and Charlotte and the elders all the same, and a lot of stupid
people dropping in and a lot of stupid books to read, all just alike.
I can tell what they are like without looking in!' Charles yawned
again, sighed, and moved wearily. 'Now, there came some life and
freshness with you. You talk of Redclyffe, and your brute creation
there, not like a book, and still less like a commonplace man; you are
innocent and unsophisticated, and take new points of view; you are
something to interest oneself about; your coming in is something to
look forward to; you make the singing not such mere milk-and-water,
your reading the Praelectiones is an additional landmark to time;
besides the mutton of to-day succeeding the beef of yesterday. Heigh-
ho! I'll tell you what, Guy. Though I may carry it off with a high
hand, 'tis no joke to be a helpless log all the best years of a man's
life,--nay, for my whole life,--for at the very best of the
contingencies the doctors are always flattering me with, I should make
but a wretched crippling affair of it. And if that is the best hope
they give me, you may guess it is likely to be a pretty deal worse.
Hope? I've been hoping these ten years, and much good has it done me.
I say, Guy,' he proceeded, in a tone of extreme bitterness, though with
a sort of smile, 'the only wonder is that I don't hate the very sight
of you! There are times when I feel as if I could bite some men,--that
Tomfool Maurice de Courcy, for instance, when I hear him rattling on,
'I know I have often talked thoughtlessly, I have feared afterwards I
might have given you pain.'
'No, no, you never have; you have carried me along with you. I like
nothing better than to hear of your ridings, and shootings, and
boatings. It is a sort of life.'
Charles had never till now alluded seriously to his infirmity before
Guy, and the changing countenance of his auditor showed him to be much
affected, as he stood leaning over the end of the sofa, with his
speaking eyes earnestly fixed on Charles, who went on:
'And now you are going to Oxford. You will take your place among the
men of your day. You will hear and be heard of. You will be somebody.
And I!--I know I have what they call talent--I could be something.
They think me an idle dog; but where's the good of doing anything? I
only know if I was not--not condemned to--to this--this life,' (had it
not been for a sort of involuntary respect to the gentle compassion of
the softened hazel eyes regarding him so kindly, he would have used the
violent expletive that trembled on his lip;) 'if I was not chained down
here, Master Philip should not stand alone as the paragon of the
family. I've as much mother wit as he.'
'That you have,' said Guy. 'How fast you see the sense of a passage.
You could excel very much if you only tried.'
'Tried?' And what am I to gain by it?'
'I don't know that one ought to let talents rust,' said Guy,
thoughtfully; 'I suppose it is one's duty not; and surely it is a pity
to give up those readings.'
'I shall not get such another fellow dunce as you,' said Charles, 'as I
told you when we began, and it would be a mere farce to do it alone. I
could not make myself, if I would.'
'Can't you make yourself do what you please?' said Guy, as if it was
the simplest thing in the world.
'Not a bit, if the other half of me does not like it. I forget it, or
put it off, and it comes to nothing. I do declare, though, I would get
something to break my mind on, merely as a medical precaution, just to
freshen myself up, if I could find any one to do it with. No, nothing
in the shape of a tutor, against that I protest.'
'Your sisters,' suggested Guy.
'Hum'! Laura is too intellectual already, and I don't mean to poach on
Philip's manor; and if I made little Amy cease to be silly, I should do
away with all the comfort I have left me in life. I don't know,
though, if she swallowed learning after Mary Ross's pattern, that it
need do her much harm.'
Amy came into the room at the moment. 'Amy, here is Guy advising me to
take you to read something awfully wise every day, something that will
make you as dry as a stick, and as blue--'
'As a gentianella,' said Guy.
'I should not mind being like a gentianella,' said Amy. 'But what
dreadful thing were you setting him to do?'
'To make you read all the folios in my uncle's old library,' said
Charles. 'All that Margaret has in keeping against Philip has a house
of his own.'
'Sancho somebody, and all you talked of when first you came?' said Amy.
'We were talking of the hour's reading that Charlie and I have had
together lately,' said Guy.
'I was thinking how Charlie would miss that hour,' said Amy; 'and we
shall be very sorry not to have you to listen to.'
'Well, then, Amy, suppose you read with me?'
'Oh, Charlie, thank you! Should you really like it?' cried Amy,
colouring with delight. 'I have always thought it would be so very
delightful if you would read with me, as James Ross used with Mary,
only I was afraid of tiring you with my stupidity. Oh, thank you!'
So it was settled, and Charles declared that he put himself on honour
to give a good account of their doings to Guy, that being the only way
of making himself steady to his resolution; but he was perfectly
determined not to let Philip know anything about the practice he had
adopted, since he would by no means allow him to guess that he was
following his advice.
Charles had certainly grown very fond of Guy, in spite of his
propensity to admire Philip, satisfying himself by maintaining that,
after all, Guy only tried to esteem his cousin because he thought it a
point of duty, just as children think it right to admire the good boy
in a story book; but that he was secretly fretted and chafed by his
perfection. No one could deny that there were often occasions when
little misunderstandings would arise, and that, but for Philip's
coolness and Guy's readiness to apologise they might often have gone
further; but at the same time no one could regret these things more
than Guy himself, and he was willing and desirous to seek Philip's
advice and assistance when needed. In especial, he listened earnestly
to the counsel which was bestowed on him about Oxford: and Mrs.
Edmonstone was convinced that no one could have more anxiety to do
right and avoid temptation. She had many talks with him in her
dressing-room, promising to write to him, as did also Charles; and he
left Hollywell with universal regrets, most loudly expressed by
Charlotte, who would not be comforted without a lock of Bustle's hair,
which she would have worn round her neck if she had not been afraid
that Laura would tell Philip.
'He goes with excellent intentions,' said Philip, as they watched him
from the door.
'I do hope he will do well,' said Mrs. Edmonstone.
'I wish he may,' said Philip; 'the agreeableness of his whole character
makes one more anxious. It is very dangerous. His name, his wealth,
his sociable, gay disposition, that very attractive manner, all are so
many perils, and he has not that natural pleasure in study that would
be of itself a preservative from temptation. However, he is honestly
anxious to do right, and has excellent principles. I only fear his
temper and his want of steadiness. Poor boy, I hope he may do well!'
--Pray, good shepherd, what
Fair swain is this that dances with your daughter?
* * * * *
He sings several times faster than you'll tell money;
he utters them as he had eaten ballads, and all men's
ears grow to his tunes.--WINTER'S TALE
It was a glorious day in June, the sky of pure deep dazzling blue, the
sunshine glowing with brightness, but with cheerful freshness in the
air that took away all sultriness, the sun tending westward in his long
day's career, and casting welcome shadows from the tall firs and horse-
chestnuts that shaded the lawn. A long rank of haymakers--men and
women--proceeded with their rakes, the white shirt-sleeves, straw
bonnets, and ruddy faces, radiant in the bath of sunshine, while in the
shady end of the field were idler haymakers among the fragrant piles,
Charles half lying on the grass, with his back against a tall haycock;
Mrs. Edmonstone sitting on another, book in hand; Laura sketching the
busy scene, the sun glancing through the chequered shade on her glossy
curls; Philip stretched out at full length, hat and neck-tie off,
luxuriating in the cool repose after a dusty walk from Broadstone; and
a little way off, Amabel and Charlotte pretending to make hay, but
really building nests with it, throwing it at each other, and playing
as heartily as the heat would allow.
They talked and laughed, the rest were too hot, too busy, or too sleepy
for conversation, even Philip being tired into enjoying the "dolce far
niente"; and they basked in the fresh breezy heat and perfumy hay with
only now and then a word, till a cold, black, damp nose was suddenly
thrust into Charles's face, a red tongue began licking him; and at the
same moment Charlotte, screaming 'There he is!' raced headlong across
the swarths of hay, to meet Guy, who had just ridden into the field.
He threw Deloraine's rein to one of the haymakers, and came bounding to
meet her, just in time to pick her up as she put her foot into a hidden
hole, and fell prostrate.
In another moment he was in the midst of the whole party, who crowded
round and welcomed him as if he had been a boy returning from his first
half-year's schooling; and never did little school-boy look more
holiday-like than he, with all the sunshine of that June day reflected,
as it were, in his glittering eyes and glowing face, while Bustle
escaping from Charles's caressing arm, danced round, wagging his tail
in ecstasy, and claiming his share of the welcome. Then Guy was on the
ground by Charles, rejoicing to find him out there, and then, some
dropping into their former nests on the hay, some standing round, they
talked fast and eagerly in a confusion of sound that did not subside
for the first ten minutes so as to allow anything to be clearly heard.
The first distinct sentence was Charlotte's 'Bustle, darling old
fellow, you are handsomer than ever!'
'What a delicious day!' next exclaimed Guy, following Philip's example,
by throwing off hat and neck-tie.
'A spontaneous tribute to the beauty of the day,' said Charles.
'Really it is so ultra-splendid as to deserve notice!' said Philip,
throwing himself completely back, and looking up.
'One cannot help revelling in that deep blue!' said Laura.
'Tomorrow'll be the happiest time of all the glad new year,' hummed
'Ah you will teach us all now,' said Laura, 'after your grand singing
'Do you know what is in store for you, Guy?' said Amy. 'Oh! haven't
you heard about Lady Kilcoran's ball?'
'You are to go, Guy,' said Charlotte. 'I am glad I am not. I hate
'And I know as much about it as Bustle,' said Guy, catching the dog by
his forepaws, and causing him to perform an uncouth dance.
'Never mind, they will soon teach you,' said Mrs. Edmonstone.
'Must I really go?'
'He begins to think it serious,' said Charles.
'Is Philip going?' exclaimed Guy, looking as if he was taken by
'He is going to say something about dancing being a healthful
recreation for young people,' said Charles.
'You'll be disappointed,' said Philip. 'It is much too hot to
'Apollo unbends his bow,' exclaimed Charles. 'The captain yields the
'Ah! Captain Morville, I ought to have congratulated you,' said Guy.
'I must come to Broadstone early enough to see you on parade.'
'Come to Broadstone! You aren't still bound to Mr. Lascelles,' said
'If he has time for me,' said Guy. 'I am too far behind the rest of
the world to afford to be idle this vacation.'
'That's right, Guy,' exclaimed Philip, sitting up, and looking full of
approval. 'With so much perseverance, you must get on at last. How
did you do in collections?'
'Tolerably, thank you.'
'You must be able to enter into the thing now,' proceeded Philip.
'What are you reading?'
'Have you come to Pericles' oration? I must show you some notes that I
have on that. Don't you get into the spirit of it now?'
'Up-hill work still,' answered Guy, disentangling some cliders from the
silky curls of Bustle's ear.
'Which do you like best--that or the ball?' asked Charles.
'The hay-field best of all,' said Guy, releasing Bustle, and blinding
him with a heap of hay.
'Of course!' said Charlotte, 'who would not like hay-making better than
that stupid ball?'
'Poor Charlotte!' said Mrs. Edmonstone; commiseration which irritated
Charlotte into standing up and protesting,
'Mamma, you know I don't want to go.'
'No more do I, Charlotte,' said her brother, in a mock consoling tone.
'You and I know what is good for us, and despise sublunary vanities.'
'But you will go, Guy,' said Laura; 'Philip is really going.'
'In spite of Lord Kilcoran's folly in going to such an expense as
either taking Allonby or giving the ball,' said Charles.
'I don't think it is my business to bring Lord Kilcoran to a sense of
his folly,' said Philip. 'I made all my protests to Maurice when first
he started the notion, but if his father chose to take the matter up,
it is no concern of mine.'
'You will understand, Guy,' said Charles, 'that this ball is specially
got up by Maurice for Laura's benefit.'
'Believe as little as you please of that speech, Guy,' said Laura; 'the
truth is that Lord Kilcoran is very good-natured, and Eveleen was very
much shocked to hear that Amy had never been to any ball, and I to only
one, and so it ended in their giving one.'
'When is it to be?'
'On Thursday week,' said Amy. 'I wonder if you will think Eveleen as
pretty as we do!'
'She is Laura's great friend, is not she?'
'I like her very much; I have known her all my life, and she has much
more depth than those would think who only know her manner.' And Laura
looked pleadingly at Philip as she spoke.
'Are there any others of the family at home?' said Guy.
'The two younger girls, Mabel and Helen, and the little boys,' said
Amy. 'Lord de Courcy is in Ireland, and all the others are away.'
'Lord de Courcy is the wisest man of the family, and sets his face
against absenteeism,' said Philip, 'so he is never visible here.'
'But you aren't going to despise it, I hope, Guy,' said Amy, earnestly;
'it will be so delightful! And what fun we shall have in teaching you
Guy stretched himself, and gave a quaint grunt.
'Never mind, Guy,' said Philip, 'very little is required. You may
easily pass in the crowd. I never learnt.'
'Your ear will guide you,' said Laura.
'And no one can stay at home, since Mary Ross is going,' said Amy.
'Eveleen was always so fond of her, that she came and forced a promise
from her by telling her she should come with mamma, and have no
'You have not seen Allonby,' said Laura. 'There are such Vandykes, and
among them, such a King Charles!'
'Is not that the picture,' said Charles, 'before which Amy--'
'0 don't, Charlie!'
'Was found dissolved in tears?'
'I could not help it,' murmured Amy, blushing crimson.
'There is all Charles's fate in his face,' said Philip,--'earnest,
melancholy, beautiful! It would stir the feelings--were it an unknown
portrait. No, Amy, you need not be ashamed of your tears.'
But Amy turned away, doubly ashamed.
'I hope it is not in the ball-room,' said Guy.
'No said Laura, 'it is in the library.'
Charlotte, whose absence had become perceptible from the general
quietness, here ran up with two envelopes, which she put into Guy's
hands. One contained Lady Kilcoran's genuine card of invitation for
Sir Guy Morville, the other Charlotte had scribbled in haste for Mr.
This put an end to all rationality. Guy rose with a growl and a roar,
and hunted her over half the field, till she was caught, and came back
out of breath and screaming, 'We never had such a haymaking!'
'So I think the haymakers will say!' answered her mother, rising to go
indoors. 'What ruin of haycocks!'
'Oh, I'll set all that to rights,' said Guy, seizing a hay-fork.
'Stop, stop, take care!' cried Charles. 'I don't want to be built up
in the rick, and by and by, when my disconsolate family have had all
the ponds dragged for me, Deloraine will be heard to complain that they
give him very odd animal food.'
'Who could resist such a piteous appeal!' said Guy, helping him to
rise, and conducting him to his wheeled chair. The others followed,
and when, shortly after, Laura looked out at her window, she saw Guy,
with his coat off, toiling like a real haymaker, to build up the cocks
in all their neat fairness and height, whistling meantime the 'Queen of
the May,' and now and then singing a line. She watched the old cowman
come up, touching his hat, and looking less cross than usual; she saw
Guy's ready greeting, and perceived they were comparing the forks and
rakes, the pooks and cocks of their counties; and, finally, she beheld
her father ride into the field, and Guy spring to meet him.
No one could have so returned to what was in effect a home, unless his
time had been properly spent; and, in fact, all that Mr. Edmonstone or
Philip could hear of him, was so satisfactory, that Philip pronounced
that the first stage of the trial had been passed irreproachably, and
Laura felt and looked delighted at this sanction to the high estimation
in which she held him.
His own account of himself to Mrs. Edmonstone would not have been
equally satisfactory if she had not had something else to check it
with. It was given by degrees, and at many different times, chiefly as
they walked round the garden in the twilight of the summer evenings,
talking over the many subjects mentioned in the letters which had
passed constantly. It seemed as if there were very few to whom Guy
would ever give his confidence; but that once bestowed, it was with
hardly any reserve, and that was his great relief and satisfaction to
pour out his whole mind, where he was sure of sympathy.
To her, then, he confided how much provoked he was with himself, his
'first term,' he said, 'having only shown him what an intolerable fool
he had to keep in order.' By his account, he could do nothing 'without
turning his own head, except study, and that stupefied it.' 'Never was
there a more idle fellow; he could work himself for a given time, but
his sense would not second him; and was it not most absurd in him to
take so little pleasure in what was his duty, and enjoy only what was
bad for him?'
He had tried boating, but it had distracted him from his work; so he
had been obliged to give it up, and had done so in a hasty vehement
manner, which had caused offence, and for which he blamed himself. It
had been the same with other things, till he had left himself no
regular recreation but walking and music. 'The last,' he said, 'might
engross him in the same way; but he thought (here he hesitated a
little) there were higher ends for music, which made it come under Mrs.
Edmonstone's rule, of a thing to be used guardedly, not disused.' He
had resumed light reading, too, which he had nearly discontinued before
he went to Oxford. 'One wants something,' he said, 'by way of
refreshment, where there is no sea nor rock to look at, and no Laura
and Amy to talk to.'
He had made one friend, a scholar of his own college, of the name of
Wellwood. This name had been his attraction; Guy was bent on
friendship with him; if, as he tried to make him out to be, he was the
son of that Captain Wellwood whose death had weighed so heavily on his
grandfather's conscience, feeling almost as if it were his duty to ask
forgiveness in his grandfather's name, yet scarcely knowing how to
venture on advances to one to whom his name had such associations.
However, they had gradually drawn together, and at length entered on
the subject, and Guy then found he was the nephew, not the son of
Captain Wellwood; indeed, his former belief was founded on a
miscalculation, as the duel had taken place twenty-eight years ago. He
now heard all his grandfather had wished to know of the family. There
were two unmarried daughters, and their cousin spoke in the highest
terms of their self-devoted life, promising what Guy much wished, that
they should hear what deep repentance had followed the crime which had
made them fatherless. He was to be a clergyman, and Guy admired him
extremely, saying, however, that he was so shy and retiring, it was
hard to know him well.
From not having been at school, and from other causes, Guy had made few
acquaintance; indeed, he amused Mrs. Edmonstone by fearing he had been
morose. She was ready to tell him he was an ingenious self-tormentor;
but she saw that the struggle to do right was the main spring of the
happiness that beamed round him, in spite of his self-reproach, heart-
felt as it was. She doubted whether persons more contented with
themselves were as truly joyous, and was convinced that, while thus
combating lesser temptations, the very shadow of what are generally
alone considered as real temptations would hardly come near him.
If it had not been for these talks, and now and then a thoughtful look,
she would have believed him one of the most light-hearted and merriest
of beings. He was more full of glee and high spirits than she had ever
seen him; he seemed to fill the whole house with mirth, and keep every
one alive by his fun and frolic, as blithe and untiring as Maurice de
Courcy himself, though not so wild.
Very pleasant were those summer days--reading, walking, music,
gardening. Did not they all work like very labourers at the new arbour
in the midst of the laurels, where Charles might sit and see the spires
of Broadstone? Work they did, indeed! Charles looking on from his
wheeled chair, laughing to see Guy sawing as if for his living and Amy
hammering gallantly, and Laura weaving osiers, and Charlotte flying
about with messages.
One day, they were startled by an exclamation from Charles. 'Ah, ha!
Paddy, is that you?' and beheld the tall figure of a girl, advancing
with a rapid, springing step, holding up her riding habit with one
hand, with the other whisking her coral-handled whip. There was
something distinguished in her air, and her features, though less fine
than Laura's, were very pretty, by the help of laughing dark blue eyes,
and very black hair, under her broad hat and little waving feather.
She threatened Charles with her whip, calling out--'Aunt Edmonstone
said I should find you here. What is the fun now?'
'Arbour building,' said Charles; 'don't you see the head carpenter!'
'Sir Guy?' whispered she to Laura, looking up at him, where he was
mounted on the roof, thatching it with reed, the sunshine full on his
glowing face and white shirt sleeves.
'Here!' said Charles, as Guy swung himself down with a bound, his face
much redder than sun and work had already made it, 'here's another wild
Irisher for you.'
'Sir Guy Morville--Lady Eveleen de Courcy,' began Laura; but Lady
Eveleen cut her short, frankly holding out her hand, and saying, 'You
are almost a cousin, you know. Oh, don't leave off. Do give me
something to do. That hammer, Amy, pray--Laura, don't you remember how
dearly I always loved hammering?'
'How did you come?' said Laura.
'With papa--'tis his visit to Sir Guy. 'No, don't go,' as Guy began to
look for his coat; 'he is only impending. He is gone on to Broadstone,
but he dropped me here, and will pick me up on his way back. Can't you
give me something to do on the top of that ladder? I should like it
mightily; it looks so cool and airy.'
'How can you, Eva?' whispered Laura, reprovingly; but Lady Eveleen only
shook her head at her, and declaring she saw a dangerous nail sticking
out, began to hammer it in with such good will, that Charles stopped
his ears, and told her it was worse than her tongue. 'Go on about the
'0h,' said she earnestly, 'do you think there is any hope of Captain
'Oh yes,' said Laura.
'I am so glad! That is what papa is gone to Broadstone about. Maurice
said he had given him such a lecture, that he would not be the one to
think of asking him, and papa must do it himself; for if he sets his
face against it, it will spoil it all.'
'You may make your mind easy,' said Charles, 'the captain is lenient,
and looks on the ball as a mere development of Irish nature. He has
been consoling Guy on the difficulties of dancing.'
'Can't you dance?' said Lady Eveleen, looking at him with compassion.
'Such is my melancholy ignorance,' said Guy.
'We have been talking of teaching him,' said Laura.
'Talk! will that do it?' cried Lady Eveleen, springing up. 'We will
begin this moment. Come out on the lawn. Here, Charles,' wheeling him
along, 'No, thank you, I like it,' as Guy was going to help her.
'There, Charles, be fiddler go on, tum-tum, tee! that'll do. Amy,
Laura, be ladies. I'm the other gentleman,' and she stuck on her hat
in military style, giving it a cock. She actually set them quadrilling
in spite of adverse circumstances, dancing better, in her habit, than
most people without one, till Lord Kilcoran arrived.
While he was making his visit, she walked a little apart, arm-in-arm
with Laura. 'I like him very much,' she said; 'he looks up to anything.
I had heard so much of his steadiness, that it is a great relief to my
mind to see him so unlike his cousin.'
'No disparagement to the captain, only I am so dreadfully afraid of
him. I am sure he thinks me such an unmitigated goose. Now, doesn't
'If you would but take the right way to make him think otherwise, dear
Eva, and show the sense you really have.'
'That is just what my fear of him won't let me do. I would not for the
world let him guess it, so there is nothing for it but sauciness to
cover one's weakness. I can't be sensible with those that won't give
me credit for it. But you'll mind and teach Sir Guy to dance; he has
so much spring in him, he deserves to be an Irishman.'
In compliance with this injunction, there used to be a clearance every
evening; Charles turned into the bay window out of the way, Mrs.
Edmonstone at the piano, and the rest figuring away, the partnerless
one, called 'puss in the corner', being generally Amabel, while
Charlotte, disdaining them all the time, used to try to make them
imitate her dancing-master's graces, causing her father to perform such
caricatures of them, as to overpower all with laughing.
Mr. Edmonstone was half Irish. His mother, Lady Mabel Edmonstone, had
never thoroughly taken root in England, and on his marriage, had gone
with her daughter to live near her old home in Ireland. The present
Earl of Kilcoran was her nephew, and a very close intercourse had
always been kept up between the families, Mr. and Mrs. Edmonstone being
adopted by their younger cousins as uncle and aunt, and always so
The house at Allonby was in such confusion, that the family there
expected to dine nowhere on the day of the ball, and the Hollywell
party thought it prudent to secure their dinner at home, with Philip
and Mary Ross, who were to go with them.
By special desire, Philip wore his uniform; and while the sisters were
dressing Charlotte gave him a thorough examination, which led to a talk
between him and Mary on accoutrements and weapons in general; but while
deep in some points of chivalrous armour, Mary's waist was pinched by
two mischievous hands, and a little fluttering white figure danced
'0 Amy! what do you want with me?'
'Come and be trimmed up,' said Amy.
'I thought you told me I was to have no trouble. I am dressed,' said
Mary, looking complacently at her full folds of white muslin.
'No more you shall; but you promised to do as you were told.' And Amy
fluttered away with her.
'Do you remember,' said Philip, 'the comparison of Rose Flammock
dragging off her father, to a little carved cherub trying to uplift a
solid monumental hero?'
'0, I must tell Mary!' cried Charlotte; but Philip stopped her, with
orders not to be a silly child.
'It is a pity Amy should not have her share,' said Charles.
'The comparison to a Dutch cherub?' asked Guy.
'She is more after the pattern of the little things on little wings, in
your blotting-book,' said Charles; 'certain lines in the predicament of
the cherubs of painters--heads "et proeterea nihil".'
'0 Guy, do you write verses? cried Charlotte.
'Some nonsense,' muttered Guy, out of countenance; 'I thought I had
made away with that rubbish; where is it?'
'In the blotting-book in my room,' said Charles. 'I must explain that
the book is my property, and was put into your room when mamma was
beautifying it for you, as new and strange company. On its return to
me, at your departure, I discovered a great accession of blots and
sailing vessels, beside the aforesaid little things.'
'I shall resume my own property,' said Guy, departing in haste.
Charlotte ran after him, to beg for a sight of it; and Philip asked
Charles what it was like.
'A romantic incident,' said Charles, 'just fit for a novel. A Petrarch
leaving his poems about in blotting-books.'
Charles used the word Petrarch to stand for a poet, not thinking what
lady's name he suggested; and he was surprised at the severity of
Philip's tone as he inquired, 'Do you mean anything, or do you not?'
Perceiving with delight that he had perplexed and teased, he rejoiced
in keeping up the mystery:
'Eh? is it a tender subject with you, too?'
Philip rose, and standing over him, said, in a low but impressive tone:
'I cannot tell whether you are trifling or not; but you are no boy now,
and can surely see that this is no subject to be played with. If you
are concealing anything you have discovered, you have a great deal to
answer for. I can hardly imagine anything more unfortunate than that
he should become attached to either of your sisters.'
'Et pourquoi?' asked Charles, coolly.
'I see,' said Philip, retreating to his chair, and speaking with great
composure, 'I did you injustice by speaking seriously.' Then, as his
uncle came into the room, he asked some indifferent question, without
betraying a shade of annoyance.
Charles meanwhile congratulated himself on his valour in keeping his
counsel, in spite of so tall a man in scarlet; but he was much nettled
at the last speech, for if a real attachment to his sister had been in
question, he would never have trifled about it. Keenly alive to his
cousin's injustice, he rejoiced in having provoked and mystified the
impassable, though he little knew the storm he had raised beneath that
serene exterior of perfect self-command.
The carriages were announced, and Mr. Edmonstone began to call the
ladies, adding tenfold to the confusion in the dressing-room. There
was Laura being completed by the lady's maid, Amabel embellishing Mary,
Mrs. Edmonstone with her arm loaded with shawls, Charlotte flourishing
about. Poor Mary--it was much against her will--but she had no heart
to refuse the wreath of geraniums that Amy's own hands had woven for
her; and there she sat, passive as a doll, though in despair at their
all waiting for her. For Laura's toilette was finished, and every one
began dressing her at once; while Charlotte, to make it better,
screamed over the balusters that all were ready but Mary. Sir Guy was
heard playing the 'Harmonious Blacksmith,' and Captain Morville's step
was heard, fast and firm. At last, when a long chain was put round her
neck, she cried out, 'I have submitted to everything so far; I can bear
no more!' jumped up, caught hold of her shawl, and was putting it on,
when there was a general outcry that they must exhibit themselves to
They all ran down, and Amy, flying up to her brother, made a splendid
sweeping curtsey, and twirled round in a pirouette.
'Got up, regardless of expense!' cried Charles; 'display yourselves.'
The young ladies ranged themselves in imitation of the book of
fashions. The sisters were in white, with wreaths of starry jessamine.
It was particularly becoming to Laura's bella-donna lily complexion,
rich brown curls, and classical features, and her brother exclaimed:
'Laura is exactly like Apollo playing the lyre, outside mamma's old
manuscript book of music.'
'Has not Amy made beautiful wreaths?' said Laura. 'She stripped the
tree, and Guy had to fetch the ladder, to gather the sprays on the top
of the wall.'
'Do you see your bit of myrtle, Guy,' said Amy, pointing to it, on
Laura's head, 'that you tried to persuade me would pass for jessamine?'
'Ah! it should have been all myrtle,' said Guy.
Philip leant meantime against the door. Laura only once glanced
towards him, thinking all this too trifling for him, and never
imagining the intense interest with which he gave a meaning to each
word and look.
'Well done, Mary!' cried Charles, 'they have furbished you up
Mary made a face, and said she should wonder who was the fashionable
young lady she should meet in the pier-glasses at Allonby. Then Mr.
Edmonstone hurried them away, and they arrived in due time.
The saloon at Allonby was a beautiful room, one end opening into a
conservatory, full of coloured lamps, fresh green leaves, and hot-house
plants. There they found as yet only the home party, the good-natured,
merry Lord Kilcoran, his quiet English wife, who had bad health, and
looked hardly equal to the confusion of the evening; Maurice, and two
younger boys; Eveleen, and her two little sisters, Mabel and Helen.
'This makes it hard on Charlotte,' thought Amy, while the two girls
dragged her off to show her the lamps in the conservatory; and the rest
attacked Mrs. Edmonstone for not having brought Charlotte, reproaching
her with hardness of heart of which they had never believed her
capable--Lady Eveleen, in especial, talking with that exaggeration of
her ordinary manner which her dread of Captain Morville made her
assume. Little he recked of her; he was absorbed in observing how far
Laura's conduct coincided with Charles's hints. On the first
opportunity, he asked her to dance, and was satisfied with her pleased
acquiescence; but the next moment Guy came up, and in an eager manner
made the same request.
'I am engaged,' said she, with a bright, proud glance at Philip; and
Guy pursued Amabel into the conservatory, where he met with better
success. Mr. Edmonstone gallantly asked Mary if he was too old a
partner, and was soon dancing with the step and spring that had once
made him the best dancer in the county.
Mrs. Edmonstone watched her flock, proud and pleased, thinking how well
they looked and that, in especial, she had never been sensible how much
Laura's and Philip's good looks excelled the rest of the world. They
were much alike in the remarkable symmetry both of figure and feature,
the colour of the deep blue eye, and fairness of complexion.
'It is curious,' thought Mrs. Edmonstone, 'that, so very handsome as
Philip is, it is never the first thing remarked about him, just as his
height never is observed till he is compared with other people. The
fact is, that his superior sense carries off a degree of beauty which
would be a misfortune to most men. It is that sedate expression and
distinguished air that make the impression. How happy Laura looks, how
gracefully she moves. No, it is not being foolish to think no one
equal to Laura. My other pair!' and she smiled much more; 'you happy
young things, I would not wish to see anything pleasanter than your
merry faces. Little Amy looks almost as pretty as Laura, now she is
lighted up by blush and smile, and her dancing is very nice, it is just
like her laughing, so quiet, and yet so full of glee. I don't think
she is less graceful than her sister, but the complete enjoyment
strikes one more. And as to enjoyment--there are those bright eyes of
her partner's perfectly sparkling with delight; he looks as if it was a
world of enchantment to him. Never had any one a greater capacity for
happiness than Guy.'
Mrs. Edmonstone might well retain her opinion when, after the
quadrille, Guy came to tell her that he had never seen anything so
delightful; and he entertained Mary Ross with his fresh, joyous
pleasure, through the next dance.
'Laura,' whispered Eveleen, 'I've one ambition. Do you guess it?
Don't tell him; but if he would, I should have a better opinion of
myself ever after. I'm afraid he'll depreciate me to his friend; and
really with Mr. Thorndale, I was no more foolish than a ball requires.'
Lady Eveleen hoped in vain. Captain Morville danced with little Lady
Helen, a child of eleven, who was enchanted at having so tall a
partner; then, after standing still for some time, chose his cousin
'You are a good partner and neighbour,' said he, giving her his arm,
'you don't want young lady talk.'
'Should you not have asked Mary? She has been sitting down this long
'Do you think she cares for such a sport as dancing?'
Amy made no answer.
'You have been well off. You were dancing with Thorndale just now.'
'Yes. It was refreshing to have an old acquaintance among so many
strangers. And he is so delighted with Eveleen; but what is more,
Philip, that Mr. Vernon, who is dancing with Laura, told Maurice he
thought her the prettiest and most elegant person here.'
'Laura might have higher praise,' said Philip, 'for hers is beauty of
countenance even more than of feature. If only--'
'If?' said Amy.
'Look round, Amy, and you will see many a face which speaks of
intellect wasted, or, if cultivated, turned aside from its true
purpose, like the double blossom, which bears leaves alone.'
'Ah! you forget you are talking to silly little Amy. I can't see all
that. I had rather think people as happy and good as they look.'
'Keep your child-like temper as long as you can--all your life,'
perhaps, for this is one of the points where it is folly to be wise.'
'Then you only meant things in general? Nothing about Laura?'
'Things in general,' repeated Philip; 'bright promises blighted or
But he spoke absently, and his eye was following Laura. Amy thought he
was thinking of his sister, and was sorry for him. He spoke no more,
but she did not regret it, for she could not moralize in such a scene,
and the sight and the dancing were pleasure enough.
Guy, in the meantime, had met an Oxford acquaintance, who introduced
him to his sisters--pretty girls--whose father Mr. Edmonstone knew, but
who was rather out of the Hollywell visiting distance. They fell into
conversation quickly, and the Miss Alstons asked him with some
interest, 'Which was the pretty Miss Edmonstone?' Guy looked for the
sisters, as if to make up his mind, for the fact was, that when he
first knew Laura and Amy, the idea of criticising beauty had not
entered his mind, and to compare them was quite a new notion. 'Nay,'
said he at last, 'if you cannot discover for yourselves when they are
both before your eyes, I will do nothing so invidious as to say which
is _the_ pretty one. I'll tell which is the eldest and which the
youngest, but the rest you must decide for yourself.'
'I should like to know them,' said Miss Alston. 'Oh! they are both very
'There, that is Laura--Miss Edmonstone,' said Guy, 'that tall young
lady, with the beautiful hair and jessamine wreath.'
He spoke as if he was proud of her, and had a property in her. The
tone did not escape Philip, who at that moment was close to them, with
Amy on his arm; and, knowing the Alstons slightly, stopped and spoke,
and introduced his cousin, Miss Amabel Edmonstone. At the same time
Guy took one of the Miss Alstons away to get some tea.
'So you knew my cousin at Oxford?' said Philip, to the brother.
'Yes, slightly. What an amusing fellow he is!'
'There is something very bright, very unlike other people about him,'
said Miss Alston.
'How does he get on? Is he liked?'
'Why, yes, I should say so, on the whole; but it is rather as my sister
says, he is not like other people.'
'In what respect?'
'Oh I can hardly tell. He is a very pleasant person, but he ought to
have been at school. He is a man of crotchets.'
'Very; he makes everything give way to that. He is a capital companion
when he is to be had, but he lives very much to himself. He is a man
of one friend, and I don't see much of him.'
Another dance began, Mr. Alston went to look for his partner, Philip
and Amy moved on in search of ice. 'Hum!' said Philip to himself,
causing Amy to gaze up at him, but he was musing too intently for her
to venture on a remark. She was thinking that she did not wonder that
strangers deemed Guy crotchety, since he was so difficult to
understand; and then she considered whether to take him to see King
Charles, in the library, and concluded that she would wait, for she
felt as if the martyr king's face would look on her too gravely to suit
her present tone.
Philip helped her to ice, and brought her back to her mother's
neighbourhood without many more words. He then stood thoughtful for
some time, entered into conversation with one of the elder gentlemen,
and, when that was interrupted, turned to talk to his aunt.
Lady Eveleen and her two cousins were for a moment together. 'What is
the matter, Eva?' said Amy, seeing a sort of dissatisfaction on her
'The roc's egg?' said Laura, smiling. 'The queen of the evening can't
'No; you are the queen, if the one thing can make you so--the one thing
wanting to me.'
'How absurd you are, Eva--when you say you are so afraid of him, too.'
'That is the very reason. I should get a better opinion of myself!
Besides, there is nobody else so handsome. I declare I'll make a bold
'Oh! you don't think of such a thing,' cried Laura, very much shocked.
'Never fear,' said Eveleen, 'faint heart, you know.' And with a nod, a
flourish, of her bouquet, and an arch smile at her cousin's horror, she
moved on, and presently they heard her exclaiming, gaily, 'Captain
Morville, I really must scold you. You are setting a shocking example
of laziness! Aunt Edmonstone, how can you encourage such proceedings!
Indolence is the parent of vice, you know.'
Philip smiled just as much as the occasion required, and answered, 'I
beg your pardon, I had forgotten my duty. I'll attend to my business
better in future.' And turning to a small, shy damsel, who seldom met
with a partner, he asked her to dance. Eveleen came back to Laura with
a droll disappointed gesture. 'Insult to injury,' said she,
'Of course,' said Amy, 'he could not have thought you wanted to dance
with him, or you would not have gone to stir him up.'
'Well, then, he was very obtuse.'
'Besides, you are engaged.'
'0 yes, to Mr. Thorndale! But who would be content with the squire
when the knight disdains her?'
Mr. Thorndale came to claim Eveleen at that moment. It was the second
time she had danced with him, and it did not pass unobserved by Philip,
nor the long walk up and down after the dance was over. At length his
friend came up to him and said something warm in admiration of her.
'She is very Irish,' was Philip's answer, with a cold smile, and Mr.
Thorndale stood uncomfortable under the disapprobation, attracted by
Eveleen's beauty and grace, yet so unused to trust his own judgment
apart from 'Morville's,' as to be in an instant doubtful whether he
really admired or not.
'You have not been dancing with her?' he said, presently.
'No: she attracts too many to need the attention of a nobody like
That 'too many,' seeming to confound him with the vulgar herd, made Mr.
Thorndale heartily ashamed of having been pleased with her.
Philip was easy about him for the present, satisfied that admiration
had been checked, which, if it had been allowed to grow into an
attachment, would have been very undesirable.
The suspicions Charles had excited were so full in Philip's mind,
however, that he could not as easily set it at rest respecting his
cousin. Guy had three times asked her to dance, but each time she had
been engaged. At last, just as the clock struck the hour at which the
carriage had been ordered, he came up, and impetuously claimed her.
'One quadrille we must have, Laura, if you are not tired?'
'No! Oh, no! I could dance till this time to-morrow.'
'We ought to be going,' said Mrs. Edmonstone.
'0 pray, Mrs. Edmonstone, this one more,' cried Guy, eagerly. 'Laura
owes me this one.'
'Yes, this one more, mamma,' said Laura, and they went off together,
while Philip remained, in a reverie, till requested by his aunt to see
if the carriage was ready.
The dance was over, the carriage was waiting, but Guy and Laura did not
appear till, after two or three minutes spent in wonder and inquiries,
they came quietly walking back from the library, where they had been
looking at King Charles.
All the way home the four ladies in the carriage never ceased laughing
and talking. The three gentlemen in theirs acted diversely. Mr.
Edmonstone went to sleep, Philip sat in silent thought, Guy whistled
and hummed the tunes, and moved his foot very much as if he was still
They met for a moment, and parted again in the hall at Hollywell, where
the daylight was striving to get in through the closed shutters.
Philip went on to Broadstone, Guy said he could not go to bed by
daylight, called Bustle, and went to the river to bathe, and the rest
crept upstairs to their rooms. And so ended Lord Kilcoran's ball.
Like Alexander, I will reign,
And I will reign alone,
My thoughts shall ever more disdain
A rival near my throne.
But I must rule and govern still,
And always give the law,
And have each subject at my will,
And all to stand in awe.--MONTROSE.
One very hot afternoon, shortly after the ball, Captain Morville walked
to Hollywell, accelerating his pace under the influence of anxious
He could not determine whether Charles had spoken in jest; but in spite
of Guy's extreme youth, he feared there was ground for the suspicion
excited by the hint, and was persuaded that such an attachment could
produce nothing but unhappiness to his cousin, considering how little
confidence could be placed in Guy. He perceived that there was much to
inspire affection--attractive qualities, amiable disposition, the
talent for music, and now this recently discovered power of versifying,
all were in Guy's favour, besides the ancient name and long ancestry,
which conferred a romantic interest, and caused even Philip to look up
to him with a feudal feeling as head of the family. There was also the
familiar intercourse to increase the danger; and Philip, as he
reflected on these things, trembled for Laura, and felt himself her
only protector; for his uncle was nobody, Mrs. Edmonstone was
infatuated, and Charles would not listen to reason. To make everything
worse, he had that morning heard that there was to be a grand
inspection of the regiment, and a presentation of colours; Colonel
Deane was very anxious; and it was plain that in the interval the
officers would be allowed little leisure. The whole affair was to end
with a ball, which would lead to a repetition of what had already
Thus meditating, Philip, heated and dusty, walked into the smooth green
enclosure of Hollywell. Everything, save the dancing clouds of insect
youth which whirled in his face, was drooping in the heat. The house--
every door and window opened--seemed gasping for breath; the cows
sought refuge in the shade; the pony drooped its head drowsily; the
leaves hung wearily; the flowers were faint and thirsty; and Bustle was
stretched on the stone steps, mouth open, tongue out, only his tail now
and then moving, till he put back his ears and crested his head to
greet the arrival. Philip heard the sounds that had caused the motion
of the sympathizing tail--the rich tones of Guy's voice. Stepping over
the dog, he entered, and heard more clearly--
'Two loving hearts may sever,
For sorrow fails them never.'
And then another voice--
'Who knows not love in sorrow's night,
He knows not love in light.'
In the drawing-room, cool and comfortable in the green shade of the
Venetian blinds of the bay window, stood Laura, leaning on the piano,
close to Guy, who sat on the music-stool, looking thoroughly at home in
his brown shooting-coat, and loosely-tied handkerchief.
Any one but Philip would have been out of temper, but he shook hands as
cordially as usual, and would not even be the first to remark on the
Laura told him he looked hot and tired, and invited him to come out to
the others, and cool himself on the lawn. She went for her parasol,
Guy ran for her camp stool, and Philip, going to the piano, read what
they had been singing. The lines were in Laura's writing, corrected,
here and there, in Guy's hand.
Two loving hearts may sever,
Yet love shall fail them never.
Love brightest beams in sorrow's night,
Love is of life the light.
Two loving hearts may sever,
Yet hope shall fail them never.
Hope is a star in sorrow's night,
Forget-me-not of light.
Two loving hearts may sever,
Yet faith may fail them never.
Trust on through sorrow's night,
Faith is of love and hope the light.
Two loving hearts may sever,
For sorrow fails them never.
Who knows not love in sorrow's night,
He knows not love in light.
Philip was by no means pleased. However, it was in anything but a
sentimental manner that Guy, looking over him, said, 'For sever, read,
be separated, but "a" wouldn't rhyme.'
'I translated it into prose, and Guy made it verse,' said Laura; 'I
hope you approve of our performance.'
'It is that thing of Helmine von Chezy, "Beharre", is it not?' said
Philip, particularly civil, because he was so much annoyed. 'You have
rendered the spirit very well', but you have sacrificed a good deal to
your double rhymes.'
'Yes; those last lines are not troubled with any equality of feet,'
said Guy; 'but the repetition is half the beauty. It put me in mind of
those lines of Burns--
"Had we never loved so kindly,
Had we never loved so blindly,
Never met and never parted,
We had ne'er been broken hearted;"
but there is a trust in these that is more touching than that despair.'
'Yes; the despair is ready, to wish the love had never been,' said
Laura. 'It does not see the star of trust. Why did you use that word
"trust" only once, Guy?'
'I did not want to lose the three--faith, hope, love,--faith keeping
the other two alive.'
'My doubt was whether it was right to have that analogy.'
'Surely,' said Guy, eagerly, 'that analogy must be the best part of
Here Charlotte came to see if Guy and Laura meant to sing all the
afternoon; and they went out. They found the others in the arbour, and
Charlotte's histories of its construction, gave Philip little
satisfaction. They next proceeded to talk over the ball.
'Ah!' said Philip, 'balls are the fashion just now. What do you say,
Amy, [he was more inclined to patronize her than any one else] to the
gaieties we are going to provide for you?'
'You! Are you going to have your new colours? Oh! you are not going
to give us a ball?'
'Well! that is fun!' cried Guy. 'What glory Maurice de Courcy must be
'He is gone to Allonby,' said Philip, 'to announce it; saying, he must
persuade his father to put off their going to Brighton. Do you think
he will succeed?'
'Hardly,' said Laura; 'poor Lady Kilcoran was so knocked up by their
ball, that she is the more in want of sea air. Oh, mamma, Eva must
come and stay here.'
'That she must,' said Mrs. Edmonstone; 'that will make it easy. She is
the only one who will care about the ball.'
Philip was obliged to conceal his vexation, and to answer the many
eager questions about the arrangements. He stayed to dinner, and as
the others went in-doors to dress, he lingered near Charlotte,
assuming, with some difficulty, an air of indifference, and said--
'Well, Charlotte, did you tease Guy into showing you those verses?'
'Oh yes,' said Charlotte, with what the French call "un air capable".'
'Well, what were they?'
'That I mustn't tell. They were very pretty; but I've promised.'
'Never to say anything about them. He made it a condition with me, and
I assure you, I am to be trusted.'
'Right,' said Philip; 'I'll ask no more.'
'It would be of no use,' said Charlotte, shaking her head, as if she
wished he would prove her further.
Philip was in hopes of being able to speak to Laura after dinner, but
his uncle wanted him to come and look over the plans of an estate
adjoining Redclyffe, which there was some idea of purchasing. Such an
employment would in general have been congenial; but on this occasion,
it was only by a strong force that he could chain his attention, for
Guy was pacing the terrace with Laura and Amabel, and as they passed
and repassed the window, he now and then caught sounds of repeating
In this Guy excelled. He did not read aloud well; he was too rapid,
and eyes and thoughts were apt to travel still faster than the lips,
thus producing a confusion; but no one could recite better when a
passage had taken strong hold of his imagination, and he gave it the
full effect of the modulations of his fine voice, conveying in its
inflections the impressions which stirred him profoundly. He was just
now enchanted with his first reading of 'Thalaba,' where he found all
manner of deep meanings, to which the sisters listened with wonder and
delight. He repeated, in a low, awful, thrilling tone, that made Amy
shudder, the lines in the seventh book, ending with--
"Who comes from the bridal chamber!
It is Azrael, angel of death."'
'You have not been so taken up with any book since Sintram.' said
'It is like Sintram,' he replied.
'So it seems to me. A strife with the powers of darkness; the victory,
forgiveness, resignation, death.
"Thou know'st the secret wishes of my heart,
Do with me as thou wilt, thy will is best."'
'I wish you would not speak as if you were Thalaba yourself,' said Amy,
'you bring the whole Domdaniel round us.'
'I am afraid he is going to believe himself Thalaba as well as
Sintram,' said Laura. 'But you know Southey did not see all this
himself, and did not understand it when it was pointed out.'
'Don't tell us that,' said Amy.
'Nay; I think there is something striking in it,' said Guy then, with a
sudden transition, 'but is not this ball famous?'
And their talk was of balls and reviews till nine o'clock, when they
were summoned to tea.
On the whole, Philip returned to Broadstone by no means comforted.
Never had he known so much difficulty in attending with patience to his
duties as in the course of the next fortnight. They became a greater
durance, as he at length looked his feelings full in the face, and
became aware of their true nature.
He perceived that the loss of Laura would darken his whole existence;
yet he thought that, were he only secure of her happiness, he could
have resigned her in silence. Guy was, however, one of the last men in
the world whom he could bear to see in possession of her; and probably
she was allowing herself to be entangled, if not in heart, at least in
manner. If so, she should not be unwarned. He had been her guide from
childhood, and he would not fail her now.
Three days before the review, he succeeded in finding time for a walk
to Hollywell, not fully decided on the part he should act, though
resolved on making some remonstrance. He was crossing a stile, about a
mile and a half from Hollywell, when he saw a lady sitting on the stump
of a tree, sketching, and found that fate had been so propitious as to
send Laura thither alone. The rest had gone to gather mushrooms on a
down, and had left her sketching the view of the spires of Broadstone,
in the cleft between the high green hills. She was very glad to see
him, and held up her purple and olive washes to be criticised; but he
did not pay much attention to them. He was almost confused at the
sudden manner in which the opportunity for speaking had presented
'It is a long time since I have seen you,' said he, at last.
'An unheard-of time.'
'Still longer since we have had any conversation.'
'I was just thinking so. Not since that hot hay-making, when Guy came
home. Indeed, we have had so much amusement lately that I have hardly
had time for thought. Guy says we are all growing dissipated.'
'Ah! your German, and dancing, and music, do not agree with thought.'
'Poor music!' said Laura, smiling. 'But I am ready for a lecture; I
have been feeling more like a butterfly than I like.'
'I know you think me unjust about music, and I freely confess that I
cannot estimate the pleasure it affords, but I doubt whether it is a
safe pleasure. It forms common ground for persons who would otherwise
have little in common, and leads to intimacies which occasion results
never looked for.'
'Yes,' said Laura, receiving it as a general maxim.
'Laura, you complain of feeling like a butterfly. Is not that a sign
that you were made for better things?'
'But what can I do? I try to read early and at night, but I can't
prevent the fun and gaiety; and, indeed, I don't think I would. It is
innocent, and we never had such a pleasant summer. Charlie is so--so
much more equable, and mamma is more easy about him, and I can't help
thinking it does them all good, though I do feel idle.'
'It is innocent, it is right for a little while,' said Philip; 'but
your dissatisfaction proves that you are superior to such things.
Laura, what I fear is, that this summer holiday may entangle you, and
so fix your fate as to render your life no holiday. 0 Laura take care;
know what you are doing!'
'What am I doing?' asked Laura, with an alarmed look of ingenuous
Never had it been so hard to maintain his composure as now, when her
simplicity forced him to come to plainer terms. 'I must speak,' he
continued, 'because no one else will. Have you reflected whither this
may tend? This music, this versifying, this admitting a stranger so
unreservedly into your pursuits?'
She understood now, and hung her head. He would have given worlds to
judge of the face hidden by her bonnet; but as she did not reply, he
spoke on, his agitation becoming so strong, that the struggle was
perceptible in the forced calmness of his tone. 'I would not say a
word if he were worthy, but Laura--Laura, I have seen Locksley Hall
acted once; do not let me see it again in a way which--which would give
me infinitely more pain.'
The faltering of his voice, so resolutely subdued, touched, her
extremely, and a thrill of exquisite pleasure glanced through her, on
hearing confirmed what she had long felt, that she had taken Margaret's
place--nay, as she now learnt, that she was even more precious to him.
She only thought of reassuring him.
'No, you need never fear _that_. He has no such thought, I am sure.'
She blushed deeply, but looked in his face. 'He treats us both alike,
besides, he is so young.'
'The mischief is not done,' said Philip, trying to resume his usual
tone; 'I only meant to speak in time. You might let your manner go too
far; you might even allow your affections to be involved without
knowing it, if you were not on your guard.'
'Never!' said Laura. 'Oh, no; I could never dream of that with Guy. I
like Guy very much; I think better of him than you do; but oh no; he
could never be my first and best; I could never care for him in _that_
way. How could you think so, Philip?'
'Laura, I cannot but look on you with what may seem over-solicitude.
Since I lost Fanny, and worse than lost Margaret, you have been my
home; my first, my most precious interest. 0 Laura!' and he did not
even attempt to conceal the trembling and tenderness of his voice,
'could I bear to lose you, to see you thrown away or changed--you,
dearest, best of all?'
Laura did not turn away her head this time, but raising her beautiful
face, glowing with such a look as had never beamed there before, while
tears rose to her eyes, she said, 'Don't speak of my changing towards
you. I never could; for if there is anything to care for in me, it is
you that have taught it to me.'
If ever face plainly told another that he was her first and best,
Laura's did so now. Away went misgivings, and he looked at her in
happiness too great for speech, at least, he could not speak till he
had mastered his emotion, but his countenance was sufficient reply.
Even then, in the midst of this flood of ecstasy, came the thought,
'What have I done?'
He had gone further than he had ever intended. It was a positive
avowal of love; and what would ensue? Cessation of intercourse with
her, endless vexations, the displeasure of her family, loss of
influence, contempt, and from Mr. Edmonstone, for the pretensions of a
penniless soldier. His joy was too great to be damped, but it was
rendered cautious. 'Laura, my own!' (what delight the words gave her,)
'you have made me very happy. We know each other now, and trust each
other for ever.'
'0 yes, yes; nothing can alter what has grown up with us.'
'It is for ever!' repeated Philip. 'But, Laura, let us be content with
our own knowledge of what we are to each other. Do not let us call in
others to see our happiness.'
Laura looked surprised, for she always considered any communication
about his private feelings too sacred to be repeated, and wondered he
should think the injunction necessary. 'I never can bear to talk about
the best kinds of happiness,' said she; 'but oh!' and she sprang up,
'here they come.'
Poor Mrs. Edmonstone, as she walked back from her mushroom-field, she
little guessed that words had been spoken which would give the
colouring to her daughter's whole life--she little guessed that her
much-loved and esteemed nephew had betrayed her confidence! As she and
the girls came up, Philip advanced to meet them, that Laura might have
a few moments to recover, while with an effort he kept himself from
appearing absent in the conversation that ensued. It was brief, for
having answered some questions with regard to the doings on the
important day, he said, that since he had met them he would not come on
to Hollywell, and bade them farewell, giving Laura a pressure of the
hand which renewed the glow on her face.
He walked back, trying to look through the dazzling haze of joy so as
to see his situation clearly. It was impossible for him not to
perceive that there had been an absolute declaration of affection, and
that he had established a private understanding with his cousin. It
was not, however, an engagement, nor did he at present desire to make
it so. It was impossible for him as yet to marry, and he was content
to wait without a promise, since that could not add to his entire
reliance on Laura. He could not bear to be rejected by her parents: he
knew his poverty would be the sole ground of objection, and he was not
asking her to share it. He believed sincerely that a long, lingering
attachment to himself would be more for her good than a marriage with
one who would have been a high prize for worldly aims, and was
satisfied that by winning her heart he had taken the only sure means of
securing her from becoming attached to Guy, while secrecy was the only
way of preserving his intercourse with her on the same footing, and
exerting his influence over the family.
It was calmly reflected, for Philip's love was tranquil, though deep
and steady, and the rather sought to preserve Laura as she was than to
make her anything more; and this very calmness contributed to his self-
deception on this first occasion that he had ever actually swerved from
the path of right.
With an uncomfortable sensation, he met Guy riding home from his tutor,
entirely unsuspicious. He stopped and talked of the preparations at
Broadstone, where he had been over the ground with Maurice de Courcy,
and had heard the band.
'What did you think of it? said Philip, absently.
'They _should_ keep better time! Really, Philip, there is one fellow
with a bugle that ought to be flogged every day of his life!' said Guy,
making a droll, excruciated face.
How a few words can change the whole current of ideas. The band was
connected with Philip, therefore he could not bear to hear it found
fault with, and adduced some one's opinion that the man in question was
one of the best of their musicians.
Guy could not help shrugging his shoulders, as he laughed, and said,--
'Then I shall be obliged to take to my heels if I meet the rest. Good-
'How conceited they have made that boy about his fine ear,' thought
Philip. 'I wonder he is not ashamed to parade his music, considering
whence it is derived.'
Ah! county Guy, the hour is nigh,
The sun has left the lea,
The orange flower perfumes the bower,
The breeze is on the sea.
The lark, his lay, who thrilled all day,
Sits hushed, his partner nigh,
Breeze, bird, and flower, confess the hour,
But where is county Guy?--SCOTT
How was it meantime with Laura? The others were laughing and talking
round her, but all seemed lost in the transcendent beam that had shone
out on her. To be told by Philip that she was all to him that he had
always been to her! This one idea pervaded her--too glorious, too
happy for utterance, almost for distinct thought. The softening of his
voice, and the look with which he had regarded her, recurred again and
again, startling her with a sudden surprise of joy almost as at the
first moment. Of the future Laura thought not. Never had a promise of
love been made with less knowledge of what it amounted to: it seemed
merely an expression of sentiments that she had never been without; for
had she not always looked up to Philip more than any other living
creature, and gloried in being his favourite cousin? Ever since the
time when he explained to her the plates in the Encyclopaedia, and made
her read 'Joyce's Scientific Dialogues,' when Amy took fright at the
first page. That this might lead further did not occur to her; she was
eighteen, she had no experience, not even in novels, she did not know
what she had done; and above all, she had so leant to surrender her
opinions to Philip, and to believe him always right, that she would
never have dreamt of questioning wherever he might choose to lead her.
Even the caution of secrecy did not alarm her, though she wondered that
he thought it required, safe as his confidence always was with her.
Mrs. Edmonstone had been so much occupied by Charles's illness, as to
have been unable to attend to her daughters in their girlish days; and
in the governess's time the habit had been disused of flying at once to
her with every joy or grief. Laura's thoughts were not easy of access,
and Philip had long been all in all to her. She was too ignorant of
life to perceive that it was her duty to make this conversation known;
or, more truly, she did not awaken her mind to consider that anything
could be wrong that Philip desired.
On coming home, she ran up to her own room, and sitting by the open
window, gave herself up to that delicious dream of new-found joy.
There she still sat when Amy came in, opening the door softly, and
treading lightly and airily as she entered, bringing two or three roses
of different tints.
'Laura! not begun to dress?'
'Is it time?'
'Shall I answer you according to what Philip calls my note of time, and
tell you the pimpernels are closed, and the tigridias dropping their
leaves? It would be a proper answer for you; you look as if you were
in Fairy Land.'
'Is papa come home?'
'Long ago! and Guy too. Why, where could you have been, not to have
heard Guy and Eveleen singing the Irish melodies?'
'In a trance,' said Laura, starting up, and laughing, with a slight
degree of constraint, which caused Amy, who was helping her to dress,
to exclaim, 'Has anything happened, Laura?'
'What should have happened?'
'I can't guess, unless the fairies in the great ring on Ashendown came
to visit you when we were gone. But seriously, dear Laura, are you
sure you are not tired? Is nothing the matter?'
'Nothing at all, thank you. I was only thinking over the talk I had
Amy never thought of entering into Philip's talks with Laura, and was
By this time Laura was herself again, come back to common life, and
resolved to watch over her intercourse with Guy; since, though she was
convinced that all was safe at present, she had Philip's word for it
that there might be danger in continuing the pleasant freedom of their
Nothing could be more reassuring than Guy's demeanour. His head seemed
entirely full of the Thursday, and of a plan of his own for enabling
Charles to go to the review. It had darted into his head while he was
going over the ground with Maurice. It was so long since Charles had
thought it possible to attempt any amusement away from home, and former
experiments had been so unsuccessful, that it had never even occurred
to him to think of it; but he caught at the idea with great delight and
eagerness. Mrs. Edmonstone seemed not to know what to say; she had
much rather that it had not been proposed; yet it was very kind of Guy,
and Charles was so anxious about it that she knew not how to oppose
She could not bear to have Charles in a crowd, helpless as he was; and
she had an unpleasing remembrance of the last occasion when they had
taken him to a flower-show, where they had lost, first Mr, Edmonstone,
next the carriage, and lastly, Amy and Charlotte--all had been
frightened, and Charles laid up for three days from the fatigue.
Answers, however, met each objection. Charles was much stronger; Guy's
arm would be ready for him; Guy would find the carriage. Philip would
be there to help, besides Maurice; and whenever Charles was tired, Guy
would take him home at once, without spoiling any one's pleasure.
'Except your own,' said Mrs. Edmonstone.
'Thank you; but this would be so delightful.'
'Ah!' said Charles, 'it would be as great a triumph as the dog's that
caught the hare with the clog round his neck--the dog's, I mean.'
'If you will but trust me with him,' said Guy, turning on her all the
pleading eloquence of his eyes, 'you know he can get in and out of the
pony-carriage quite easily.'
'As well as walk across the room,' said Charles.
'I would drive him in it, and tell William to ride in and be at hand to
hold the pony or take it out; and the tent is so near, that you could
get to the breakfast, unless the review had been enough for you. I
paced the distance to make sure, and it is no further than from the
garden-door to the cherry-tree.'
'That is nothing,' said Charles.
'And William shall be in waiting to bring the pony the instant you are
ready, and we can go home independently of every one else.'
'I thought,' interposed Mrs. Edmonstone, 'that you were to go to the
mess-dinner--what is to become of that?'
'O,' said Charles, 'that will be simply a bore, and he may rejoice to
be excused from going the whole hog.'
'To be sure, I had rather dine in peace at home.'
Mrs. Edmonstone was not happy, but she had great confidence in Guy; and
her only real scruple was, that she did not think it fair to occupy him
entirely with attendance on her son. She referred it to papa, which,
as every one knew, was the same as yielding the point, and consoled
herself by the certainty that to prevent it would be a great
disappointment to both the youths. Laura was convinced that to achieve
the adventure of Charles at the review, was at present at least a
matter of far more prominence with Guy than anything relating to
All but Laura and her mother were wild about the weather, especially on
Wednesday, when there was an attempt at a thunder storm. Nothing was
studied but the sky; and the conversation consisted of
prognostications, reports of rises and falls of the glass, of the way
weather-cocks were turning, or about to turn, of swallows flying high
or low, red sunsets, and halos round the moon, until at last Guy,
bursting into a merry laugh, begged Mrs. Edmonstone's pardon for being
such a nuisance, and made a vow, and kept it, that be the weather what
it might, he would say not another word about it that evening; it
deserved to be neglected, for he had not been able to settle to
anything all day.
He might have said for many days before; for since the last ball, and
still more since Lady Eveleen had been at Hollywell, it had been one
round of merriment and amusement. Scrambling walks, tea-drinkings out
of doors, dances among themselves, or with the addition of the Harpers,
were the order of the day. Amy, Eveleen, and Guy, could hardly come
into the room without dancing, and the piano was said to acknowledge
nothing but waltzes, polkas, and now and then an Irish jig, for the
special benefit of Mr. Edmonstone's ears. The morning was almost as
much spent in mirth as the afternoon, for the dawdlings after
breakfast, and before luncheon, had a great tendency to spread out and
meet, there was new music and singing to be practised, or preparations
made for evening's diversion, or councils to be held, which Laura's
absence could not break up, though it often made Amy feel how much less
idle and frivolous Laura was than herself. Eveleen said the same, but
she was visiting, and it was a time to be idle; and Mr. Lascelles
seemed to be of the same opinion with regard to his pupil; for, when
Guy was vexed at not having done as much work as usual, he only laughed
at him for expecting to be able to go to balls, and spend a summer of
gaiety, while he studied as much as at Oxford.
Thursday morning was all that heart could wish, the air cooled by the
thunder, and the clouds looking as if raining was foreign to their
nature. Mr. and Mrs. Edmonstone, their daughters, and Lady Eveleen,
were packed inside and outside the great carriage, while Guy, carefully
settling Charles in the low phaeton, putting in all that any one
recommended, from an air-cushion to an umbrella, flourished his whip,
and drove off with an air of exultation and delight.
Everything went off to admiration. No one was more amused than
Charles. The scene was so perfectly new and delightful to one
accustomed to such a monotonous life, that the very sight of people was
a novelty. Nowhere was there so much laughing and talking as in that
little carriage, and whenever Mrs. Edmonstone's anxious eye fell upon
it, she always saw Charles sitting upright, with a face so full of
eager interest as to banish all thought of fatigue. Happy, indeed, he
was. He enjoyed the surprise of his acquaintance at meeting him; he
enjoyed Dr. Mayerne's laugh and congratulation; he enjoyed seeing how
foolish Philip thought him, nodding to his mother and sisters, laughing
at the dreadful faces Guy could not help making at any particularly
discordant note of the offensive bugle; and his capabilities rising
with his spirits, he did all that the others did, walked further than
he had done for years, was lifted up steps without knowing how, sat out
the whole breakfast, talked to all the world, and well earned the being
thoroughly tired, as he certainly was when Guy put him into the
carriage and drove him home, and still more so when Guy all but carried
him up stairs, and laid him on the sofa in the dressing-room.
However, his mother announced that it would have been so unnatural if
he had not been fatigued, that she should have been more anxious, and
leaving him to repose, they all, except Mr. Edmonstone, who had stayed
to dine at the mess, sat down to dinner.
Amy came down dressed just as the carriage had been announced, and
found Laura and Eveleen standing by the table, arranging their
bouquets, while Guy, in the dark, behind the piano, was playing--not,
as usual, in such cases, the Harmonious Blacksmith, but a chant.
'Is mamma ready?' asked Laura.
'Nearly,' said Amy, 'but I wish she was not obliged to go! I am sure
she cannot bear to leave Charlie.'
'I hope she is not going on my account,' said Eveleen.
'No, said Laura, 'we must go; it would so frighten papa if we did not
come. Besides, there is nothing to be uneasy about with Charles.'
'O no,' said Amy; 'she says so, only she is always anxious, and she is
afraid he is too restless to go to sleep.'
'We must get home as fast as we can; if you don't mind, Eva,' said
Laura, remembering how her last dance with Guy had delayed them.
'Can I do any good to Charlie?' said Guy, ceasing his music. I don't
mean to go.'
'Not go!' cried the girls in consternation.
'He is joking!' said Eveleen. 'But, I declare!' added she, advancing
towards him, 'he is not dressed! Come, nonsense, this is carrying it
too far; you'll make us all too late, and then I'll set Maurice at
'I am afraid it is no joke,' said Guy, smiling.
'You must go. It will never do for you to stay away,' said Laura,
'Are you tired? Aren't you well?' asked Amy.
'Quite well, thank you, but I am sure I had better not.'
Laura thought she had better not seem anxious to take him, so she left
the task of persuasion, to the others, and Amy went on.
'Neither Mamma nor Charlie could bear to think you stayed because of
'I don't, I assure you, Amy. I meant it before. I have been gradually
finding out that it must come to this.'
'Oh, you think it a matter of right and wrong! But you don't think
'Oh no; only they won't do for such an absurd person as I am. The last
turned my head for a week, and I am much too unsteady for this.'
'Well, if you think it a matter of duty, it can't be helped,' said Amy
sorrowfully; 'but I am very sorry.'
'Thank you,' said Guy, thinking it compassion, not regret; 'but I shall
do very well. I shall be all the happier to-morrow for a quiet hour at
my Greek, and you'll tell me all the fun.'
'You liked it so much!' said Amy; 'but you have made up your mind and I
ought not to tease you.'
'That's right Amy; he does it on purpose to be teased,' said Eveleen,
'and I never knew anybody so provoking. Mind, Sir Guy, if you make us
all too late, you shan't have the ghost of a quadrille with me.'
'I shall console myself by quadrilling with Andromache,' said Guy.
'Come, no nonsense--off to dress directly! How can you have the
conscience to stand there when the carriage is at the door?'
'I shall have great pleasure in handing you in when you are ready.'
'Laura--Amy! Does he really mean it?'
'I am afraid he does,' said Amy.
Eveleen let herself fall on the sofa as if fainting. 'Oh,' she said,
'take him away! Let me never see the face of him again! I'm perfectly
overcome! All my teaching thrown away!'
'I am sorry for you,' said Guy, laughing.
'And how do you mean to face Maurice?'
'Tell him his first bugle has so distracted me that I can't answer for
the consequences if I come to-night.
'Mrs. Edmonstone came in, saying,--
'Come, I have kept you waiting shamefully, but I have been consoling
myself by thinking you must be well entertained, as I heard no
Harmonious Blacksmith. Papa will be wondering where we are.'
'Oh, mamma! Guy won't go.'
'Guy! is anything the matter?'
'Nothing, thank you, only idleness.'
'This will never do. You really must go, Guy.'
'Indeed! I think not. Pray don't order me, Mrs. Edmonstone.'
'What o'clock is it, Amy? Past ten! Papa will be in despair! What is
to be done? How long do you take to dress, Guy?'
'Not under an hour,' said Guy, smiling.
'Nonsense! But if there was time I should certainly send you. Self-
discipline may be carried too far, Guy. But now it can't be helped--I
don't know how to keep papa waiting any longer. Laura, what shall I
'Let me go to Charles,' answered Guy. 'Perhaps I can read him to
'Thank you; but don't talk, or he will be too excited. Reading would
be the very thing! It will be a pretty story to tell every one who
asks for you that I have left you to nurse my son!'
'No, for no such good reason,' said Guy; 'only because I am a great
'Well, Sir Guy, I am glad you can say one sensible word,' said Lady
'Too true, I assure you,' he answered, as he handed her in. 'Good
night! You will keep the quadrille for me till I am rational.'
He handed the others in, and shut the door. Mrs. Edmonstone, ruffled
out of her composure, exclaimed,--
'Well, this is provoking!'
'Every one will be vexed,' said Laura.
'It will be so stupid,' said Amy.
'I give him up,' said Eveleen. 'I once had hopes of him.'
'If it was not for papa, I really would turn back this moment and fetch
him,' cried Mrs. Edmonstone, starting forward. 'I'm sure it will give
offence. I wish I had not consented.'
'He can't be made to see that his presence is of importance to any
living creature,' said Laura.
'What is the reason of this whim?' said Eveleen.
'No, Eveleen, it is not whim,' said Laura; 'it is because he thinks
dissipation makes him idle.'
'Then if he is idle I wonder what the rest of the world is!' said
Eveleen. 'I am sure we all ought to stay at home too.'
'I think so,' said Amy. 'I know I shall feel all night as if I was
wrong to be there.'
'I am angry,' said Mrs. Edmonstone; 'and yet I believe it is a great
'Yes, mamma; after all our looking forward to it,' said Amy. 'Oh!
yes,' and her voice lost its piteous tone, 'it is a real sacrifice.'
'If he was not a mere boy, I should say a lover's quarrel was at the
bottom of it,' said Eveleen. 'Depend upon it, Laura, it is all your
fault. You only danced once with him at our ball, and all this week
you have played for us, as if it was on purpose to cut him.'
Laura was glad of the darkness, and her mother, who had a particular
dislike to jokes of this sort, went on,--'If it were only ourselves I
should not care, but there are so many who will fancy it caprice, or
'The only comfort is,' said Amy, 'that it is Charlie's gain.'
'I hope they will not talk,' said Mrs. Edmonstone. 'But Charlie will
never hold his tongue. He will grow excited, and not sleep all night.'
Poor Mrs. Edmonstone! her trials did not end here, for when she replied
to her husband's inquiry for Guy, Mr. Edmonstone said offence had
already been taken at his absence from the dinner; he would not have
had this happen for fifty pounds; she ought not to have suffered it;
but it was all her nonsense about Charles, and as to not being late,
she should have waited till midnight rather than not have brought him.
In short, he said as much more than he meant, as a man in a pet is apt
to say, and nevertheless Mrs. Edmonstone had to look as amiable and
smiling as if nothing was the matter.
The least untruthful answer she could frame to the inquiries for Sir
Guy Morville was, that young men were apt to be lazy about balls, and
this sufficed for good-natured Mrs. Deane, but Maurice poured out many
exclamations about his ill-behaviour, and Philip contented himself with
the mere fact of his not being there, and made no remark.
Laura turned her eyes anxiously on Philip. They had not met since the
important conversation on Ashen-down, and she found herself looking
with more pride than ever at his tall, noble figure, as if he was more
her own; but the calmness of feeling was gone. She could not meet his
eye, nor see him turn towards her without a start and tremor for which
she could not render herself a reason, and her heart beat so much that
it was at once a relief and a disappointment that she was obliged to
accept her other cousin as her first partner. Philip had already asked
Lady Eveleen, for he neither wished to appear too eager in claiming
Laura, nor to let his friend think he had any dislike to the Irish
Eveleen was much pleased to have him for her partner, and told herself