Part 6 out of 14
self-debate on the right and wrong of the matter, and questions what
should be done for the future--for he was beginning to awaken to the
sense of his responsibility, and feared lest he might be encouraging
Very early next morning Guy put his head into his tutor's room,
announced that he must walk into St. Mildred's on business, but should
be back by eleven at the latest, ran down-stairs, called Bustle, and
made interest with the farmer's wife for a hunch of dry bread and a cup
of new milk.
Then rejoicing that he had made up his mind, though not light-hearted
enough to whistle, he walked across the moorland, through the white
morning mist, curling on the sides of the hills in fantastic forms, and
now and then catching his lengthened shadow, so as to make him smile by
reminding him of the spectre of the Brocken.
Not without difficulty, he found a back street, and a little shop,
where a slovenly maid was sweeping the steps, and the shutters were not
yet taken down. He asked if Mr. Dixon lodged there. 'Yes,' the woman
said, staring in amazement that such a gentleman could be there at that
time in the morning, asking for Mr. Dixon.
'Is he at home?'
'Yes, sir but he is not up yet. He was very late last night. Did you
want to speak to him? I'll tell Mrs. Dixon.'
'Is Mrs. Dixon here? Then tell her Sir Guy Morville would be glad to
speak to her.'
The maid curtseyed, hurried off, and returned with a message from Mrs.
Dixon to desire he would walk in. She conducted him through a dark
passage, and up a still darker stair, into a dingy little parlour, with
a carpet of red and green stripes, a horsehair sofa, a grate covered
with cut paper, and a general perfume of brandy and cigars. There were
some preparations for breakfast, but no one was in the room but a
little girl, about seven years old, dressed in shabby-genteel mourning.
She was pale and sickly-looking, but her eyes were of a lovely deep
blue, with a very sweet expression, and a profusion of thick flaxen
curls hung round her neck and shoulders. She said in a soft, little,
'Mamma says she will be here directly, if you will excuse her a
Having made this formal speech, the little thing was creeping off on
tip-toe, so as to escape before the maid shut the door, but Guy held
out his hand, sat down so as to be on a level with her, and said,--
'Don't go, my little maid. Won't you come and speak to your cousin
Children never failed to be attracted, whether by the winning beauty of
his smile, or the sweetness of the voice in which he spoke to anything
small or weak, and the little girl willingly came up to him, and put
her hand into his. He stroked her thick, silky curls, and asked her
'Marianne,' she answered.
It was his mother's name, and this little creature had more resemblance
to his tenderly-cherished vision of his young mother than any
description Dixon could have given. He drew her closer to him, took
the other small, cold hand, and asked her how she liked St. Mildred's.
'Oh! much better than London. There are flowers!' and she proudly
exhibited a cup holding some ragged robins, dead nettles, and other
common flowers which a country child would have held cheap. He admired
and gained more of her confidence, so that she had begun to chatter
away quite freely about 'the high, high hills that reached up to the
sky, and the pretty stones,' till the door opened, and Mrs. Dixon and
Bustle made their entrance.
Marianne was so much afraid of the dog, Guy so eager to console, and
her mother to scold her, and protest that it should not be turned out,
that there was nothing but confusion, until Guy had shown her that
Bustle was no dangerous wild beast, induced her to accept his offered
paw, and lay a timid finger on his smooth, black head, after which the
transition was short to dog and child sitting lovingly together on the
floor, Marianne stroking his ears, and admiring him with a sort of
Mrs. Dixon was a great, coarse, vulgar woman, and Guy perceived why his
uncle had been so averse to taking him to his home, and how he must
have felt the contrast between such a wife and his beautiful sister.
She had a sort of broad sense, and absence of pretension, but her
manner of talking was by no means pleasant, as she querulously accused
her husband of being the cause of all their misfortunes, not even
restrained by the presence of her child from entering into a full
account of his offences.
Mrs. Dixon said she should not say a word, she should not care if it
was not for the child, but she could not see her wronged by her own
father, and not complain; poor little dear! she was the last, and she
supposed she should not keep her long.
It then appeared that on her husband's obtaining an engagement for a
series of concerts at the chief county town, Mrs. Dixon had insisted on
coming with him to St. Mildred's in the hope that country air might
benefit Marianne, who, in a confined lodging in London, was pining and
dwindling as her brothers and sisters had done before her. Sebastian,
who liked to escape from his wife's grumbling and rigid supervision,
and looked forward to amusement in his own way at the races, had
grudgingly allowed her to come, and, as she described it, had been
reluctant to go to even so slight an expense in the hope of saving his
child's life. She had watched him as closely as she could; but he had
made his escape, and the consequences Guy already knew.
If anything could have made it worse, it was finding that after parting
last night, he had returned, tried to retrieve his luck, had involved
himself further, had been drinking more; and at the very hour when his
nephew was getting up to see what could be done for him, had come home
in a state, which made it by no means likely that he would be
presentable, if his wife called him, as she offered to do.
Guy much preferred arranging with her what was to be done on the
present emergency. She was disappointed at finding thirty pounds was
all the help he could give; but she was an energetic woman, full of
resources, and saw her way, with this assistance, through the present
difficulty. The great point was to keep the gambling propensities out
of sight of the creditors; and as long as this was done, she had hope.
Dixon would go the next morning to the town where the musical meeting
was to be held, and there he would be with his employers, where he had
a character to preserve, so that she was in no fear of another
It ended, therefore, in his leaving with her Mr. Edmonstone's draft,
securing its destination by endorsing it to the person who was to
receive it; and wishing her good morning, after a few more kind words
to little Marianne, who had sat playing with Bustle all the time,
sidling continually nearer and nearer to her new cousin, her eyes bent
down, and no expression on her face which could enable him to guess how
far she listened to or comprehended the conversation so unfit for her
ear. When he rose to go, and stooped to kiss her, she looked wistfully
in his face, and held up a small sparkling bit of spar, the most
precious of all her hoards, gleaned from the roadsides of St.
'What, child, do you want to give it to Sir Guy?' said her mother. 'He
does not want such trumpery, my dear, though you make such a work with
'Did you mean to give it to me, my dear?' said Guy, as the child hung
her head, and, crimsoned with blushes, could scarcely whisper her timid
He praised it, and let her put it in his waistcoat pocket, and promised
he would always keep it; and kissed her again, and left her a happy
child, confident in his promise of always keeping it, though her mother
augured that he would throw it over the next hedge.
He was at South Moor by eleven o'clock, in time for his morning's
business, and made up for the troubles of the last few hours by a long
talk with Mr. Wellwood in the afternoon, while the other two pupils
were gone to the races, for which he was not inclined, after his two
The conversation was chiefly on Church prospects in general, and in
particular on Miss Wellwood and her plans; how they had by degrees
enlarged and developed as the sin, and misery, and ignorance around had
forced themselves more plainly on her notice, and her means had
increased and grown under her hand in the very distribution. Other
schemes were dawning on her mind, of which the foremost was the
foundation of a sort of school and hospital united, under the charge of
herself, her sister, and several other ladies, who were desirous of
joining her, as a sisterhood. But at present it was hoping against
hope, for there were no funds with which to make a commencement. All
this was told at unawares, drawn forth by different questions and
remarks, till Guy inquired how much it would take to give them a
'It is impossible to say. Anything, I suppose, between one thousand
and twenty. But, by the bye, this design of Elizabeth's is an absolute
secret. If you had not almost guessed it, I should never have said one
word to you about it. You are a particularly dangerous man, with your
connection with Mrs. Henley. You must take special good care nothing
of it reaches her.'
Guy's first impression was, that he was the last person to mention it
to Mrs. Henley; but when he remembered how often her brother was at
Hollywell, he perceived that there might be a train for carrying the
report back again to her, and recognized the absolute necessity of
He said nothing at the time, but a bright scheme came into his head,
resulting in the request for a thousand pounds, which caused so much
astonishment. He thought himself rather shabby to have named no more,
and was afraid it was an offering that cost him nothing; but he much
enjoyed devising beforehand the letter with which he would place the
money at the disposal of Miss Wellwood's hospital.
Yet burns the sun on high beyond the cloud;
Each in his southern cave,
The warm winds linger, but to be allowed
One breathing o'er the wave,
One flight across the unquiet sky;
Swift as a vane may turn on high,
The smile of heaven comes on.
So waits the Lord behind the veil,
His light on frenzied cheek, or pale,
To shed when the dark hour is gone.--LYRA INNOCENTIUM
On the afternoon on which Guy expected an answer from Mr. Edmonstone,
he walked with his fellow pupil, Harry Graham, to see if there were any
letters from him at Dr. Henley's.
The servant said Mrs. Henley was at home, and asked them to come in and
take their letters. These were lying on a marble table, in the hall;
and while the man looked in the drawing-room for his mistress, and sent
one of the maids up-stairs in quest of her, Guy hastily took up one,
bearing his address, in the well-known hand of Mr. Edmonstone.
Young Graham, who had taken up a newspaper, was startled by Guy's loud,
'Ha! What on earth does this mean?'
And looking up, saw his face of a burning, glowing red, the features
almost convulsed, the large veins in the forehead and temples swollen
with the blood that rushed through them, and if ever his eyes flashed
with the dark lightning of Sir Hugh's, it was then.
'Morville! What's the matter?'
'Intolerable!--insulting! Me? What does he mean?' continued Guy, his
passion kindling more and more. 'Proofs? I should like to see them!
The man is crazy! I to confess! Ha!' as he came towards the end, 'I
see it,--I see it. It is Philip, is it, that I have to thank.
Meddling coxcomb! I'll make him repent it,' added he, with a grim
fierceness of determination. Slandering me to them! And that,'--
looking at the words with regard to Amy,--'that passes all. He shall
see what it is to insult me!'
'What is it? Your guardian out of humour?' asked his companion.
'My guardian is a mere weak fool. I don't blame him,--he can't help
it; but to see him made a tool of! He twists him round his finger,
abuses his weakness to insult--to accuse. But he shall give me an
Guy's voice had grown lower and more husky; but though the sound sunk,
the force of passion rather increased than diminished; it was like the
low distant sweep of the tempest as it whirls away, preparing to return
with yet more tremendous might. His colour, too, had faded to
paleness, but the veins were still swollen, purple, and throbbing, and
there was a stillness about him that made his wrath more than fierce,
intense, almost appalling.
Harry Graham was dumb with astonishment; but while Guy spoke, Mrs.
Henley had come down, and was standing before them, beginning a
greeting. The blood rushed back into Guy's cheeks, and, controlling
his voice with powerful effort, he said,--
'I have had an insulting--an unpleasant letter,' he added, catching
himself up. 'You must excuse me;' and he was gone.
'What has happened?' exclaimed Mrs. Henley, though, from her brother's
letter, as well as from her observations during a long and purposely
slow progress, along a railed gallery overhanging the hall, and down a
winding staircase, she knew pretty well the whole history of his anger.
'I don't know,' said young Graham. 'Some absurd, person interfering
between him and his guardian. I should be sorry to be him to fall in
his way just now. It must be something properly bad. I never saw a
man in such a rage. I think I had better go after him, and see what he
has done with himself.'
'You don't think,' said Mrs. Henley, detaining him, 'that his guardian
could have been finding fault with him with reason?'
'Who? Morville? His guardian must have a sharp eye for picking holes,
if he can find any in Morville. Not a steadier fellow going,--only too
'Ah!' thought Mrs. Henley, 'these young men always hang together;' and
she let him escape without further question. But, when he emerged from
the house, Guy was already out of sight, and he could not succeed in
Guy had burst out of the house, feeling as if nothing could relieve him
but free air and rapid motion; and on he hurried, fast, faster,
conscious alone of the wild, furious tumult of rage and indignation
against the maligner of his innocence, who was knowingly ruining him
with all that was dearest to him, insulting him by reproaches on his
breaking a most sacred, unblemished word, and, what Guy felt scarcely
less keenly, forcing kind-hearted Mr. Edmonstone into a persecution so
foreign to his nature. The agony of suffering such an accusation, and
from such a quarter,--the violent storm of indignation and pride,--
wild, undefined ideas of a heavy reckoning,--above all, the dreary
thought of Amy denied to him for ever,--all these swept over him, and
swayed him by turns, with the dreadful intensity belonging to a nature
formed for violent passions, which had broken down, in the sudden
shock, all the barriers imposed on them by a long course of self-
On he rushed, reckless whither he went, or what he did, driven forward
by the wild impulse of passion, far over moor and hill, up and down,
till at last, exhausted at once by the tumult within, and by the
violent bodily exertion, a stillness--a suspension of thought and
sensation--ensued; and when this passed, he found himself seated on a
rock which crowned the summit of one of the hills, his handkerchief
loosened, his waistcoat open, his hat thrown off, his temples burning
and throbbing with a feeling of distraction, and the agitated beatings
of his heart almost stifling his panting breath.
'Yes,' he muttered to himself, 'a heavy account shall he pay me for
this crowning stroke of a long course of slander and ill-will! Have I
not seen it? Has not he hated me from the first, misconstrued every
word and deed, though I have tried, striven earnestly, to be his
friend,--borne, as not another soul would have done, with his
impertinent interference and intolerable patronizing airs! But he has
seen the last of it! anything but this might be forgiven; but sowing
dissension between me and the Edmonstones--maligning me there. Never!
Knowing, too, as he seems to do, how I stand, it is the very ecstasy of
malice! Ay! this very night it shall be exposed, and he shall be
taught to beware--made to know with whom he has to deal.'
Guy uttered this last with teeth clenched, in an excess of deep,
vengeful ire. Never had Morville of the whole line felt more deadly
fierceness than held sway over him, as he contemplated his revenge,
looked forward with a dire complacency to the punishment he would
wreak, not for this offence alone, but for a long course of enmity. He
sat, absorbed in the plan of vengeance, perfectly still, for his
physical exhaustion was complete; but as the pulsations of his heart
grew less wild, his purpose became sterner and more fixed. He devised
its execution, planned his sudden journey, saw himself bursting on
Philip early next morning, summoning him to answer for his falsehoods.
The impulse to action seemed to restore his power over his senses. He
looked round, to see where he was, raising his head from his hands.
The sun was setting opposite to him, in a flood of gold,--a ruddy ball,
surrounded with its pomp of clouds, on the dazzling sweep of horizon.
That sight recalled him not only to himself, but to his true and better
self; the good angel so close to him for the twenty years of his life,
had been driven aloof but for a moment, and now, either that, or a
still higher and holier power, made the setting sun bring to his mind,
almost to his ear, the words,--
Let not the sun go down upon your wrath,
Neither give place to the devil.
Guy had what some would call a vivid imagination, others a lively
faith. He shuddered, then, his elbows on his knees, and his hands
clasped over his brow, he sat, bending forward, with his eyes closed,
wrought up in a fearful struggle; while it was to him as if he saw the
hereditary demon of the Morvilles watching by his side, to take full
possession of him as a rightful prey, unless the battle was fought and
won before that red orb had passed out of sight. Yes, the besetting
fiend of his family--the spirit of defiance and resentment--that was
driving him, even now, while realizing its presence, to disregard all
thoughts save of the revenge for which he could barter everything--
every hope once precious to him.
It was horror at such wickedness that first checked him, and brought
him back to the combat. His was not a temper that was satisfied with
half measures. He locked his hands more rigidly together, vowing to
compel himself, ere he left the spot, to forgive his enemy--forgive him
candidly--forgive him, so as never again to have to say, 'I forgive
him!' He did not try to think, for reflection only lashed up his sense
of the wrong: but, as if there was power in the words alone, he forced
his lips to repeat,--
'Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against
Coldly and hardly were they spoken at first; again he pronounced them,
again, again,--each time the tone was softer, each time they came more
from the heart. At last the remembrance of greater wrongs, and worse
revilings came upon him, his eyes filled with tears, the most subduing
and healing of all thoughts--that of the great Example--became present
to him; the foe was driven back.
Still he kept his hands over his face. The tempter was not yet
defeated without hope. It was not enough to give up his first
intention (no great sacrifice, as he perceived, now that he had time to
think how Philip would be certain to treat a challenge), it was not
enough to wish no ill to his cousin, to intend no evil measure, he must
pardon from the bottom of his heart, regard him candidly, and not
magnify his injuries.
He sat long, in deep thought, his head bent down, and his countenance
stern with inward conflict. It was the hardest part of the whole
battle, for the Morville disposition was as vindictive as passionate;
but, at last, he recovered clearness of vision. His request might well
appear unreasonable, and possibly excite suspicion, and, for the rest,
it was doing a man of honour, like Philip, flagrant injustice to
suspect him of originating slanders. He was, of course, under a
mistake, had acted, not perhaps kindly, but as he thought, rightly and
judiciously, in making his suspicions known. If he had caused his
uncle to write provokingly, every one knew that was his way, he might
very properly wish, under his belief, to save Amabel; and though the
manner might have been otherwise, the proceeding itself admitted
complete justification. Indeed, when Guy recollected the frenzy of his
rage, and his own murderous impulse, he was shocked to think that he
had ever sought the love of that pure and gentle creature, as if it had
been a cruel and profane linking of innocence to evil. He was appalled
at the power of his fury, he had not known he was capable of it, for
his boyish passion, even when unrestrained, had never equalled this, in
all the strength of early manhood.
He looked up, and saw that the last remnant of the sun's disk was just
disappearing beneath the horizon. The victory was won!
But Guy's feeling was not the rejoicing of the conquest, it was more
the relief which is felt by a little child, weary of its fit of
naughtiness, when its tearful face is raised, mournful yet happy, in
having won true repentance, and it says, 'I _am_ sorry now.'
He rose, looked at his watch, wondered to find it so late; gazed round,
and considered his bearings, perceiving, with a sense of shame, how far
he had wandered; then retraced his steps slowly and wearily, and did
not reach South Moor till long after dark.
My blood hath been too cold and temperate,
Unapt to stir at these indignities;
But you have found me.--KING HENRY IV
Philip, according to promise, appeared at Hollywell, and a volume of
awful justice seemed written on his brow. Charles, though ignorant of
its cause, perceived this at a glance, and greeted him thus:--
'Enter Don Philip II, the Duke of Alva, alguazils, corregidors, and
'Is anything the matter, Philip?' said Amy; a question which took him
by surprise, as he could not believe her in ignorance. He was sorry
for her, and answered gravely,--
'Nothing is amiss with me, thank you, Amy,'
She knew he meant that he would tell no more, and would have thought no
more about it, but that she saw her mother was very uneasy.
'Did you ask whether there were any letters at the post?' said Charles.
'Guy is using us shamefully--practising self-denial on us, I suppose.
Is there no letter from him?'
'There is,' said Philip, reluctantly.
'Well, where is it?'
'It is to your father.'
'Oh!' said Charles, with a disappointed air. 'Are you sure? Depend on
it, you overlooked my M. He has owed me a letter this fortnight. Let
'It is for my uncle,' repeated Philip, as if to put an end to the
'Then he has been so stupid as to forget my second name. Come, give it
me. I shall have it sooner or later.'
'I assure you, Charles, it is not for you.'
'Would not any one suppose he had been reading it?' exclaimed Charles.
'Did you know Mary Ross was gone to stay with her brother John?' broke
in Mrs. Edmonstone, in a nervous, hurried manner.
'No is she?' replied Philip.
'Yes; his wife is ill.'
The universal feeling was that something was amiss, and mamma was in
the secret. Amy looked wistfully at her, but Mrs. Edmonstone only
gazed at the window, and so they continued for some minutes, while an
uninteresting exchange of question and answer was kept up between her
and her nephew until at length the dressing-bell rang, and cleared the
room. Mrs. Edmonstone lingered till her son and daughters were gone,
'You have heard from St. Mildred's?'
'Yes,' said Philip, as if he was as little inclined to be communicative
to her as to his cousins.
'From Guy, or from Margaret?'
'But you say there is a letter from him?'
'Yes, for my uncle.'
'Does she say nothing more satisfactory?' asked his aunt, her anxiety
tortured by his composure. 'Has she learnt no more?'
'Nothing more of his proceedings. I see Amy knows nothing of the
'No; her papa thought there was no need to distress her till we had
seen whether he could explain.'
'Poor little thing!' said Philip; 'I am very sorry for her.
Mrs. Edmonstone did not choose to discuss her daughter's affairs with
him, and she turned the conversation to ask if Margaret said much of
'She writes to tell the spirit in which he received my uncle's letter.
It is only the Morville temper, again, and, of course, whatever you may
think of that on Amy's account, I should never regard it, as concerns
myself, as other than his misfortune. I hope he may be able to explain
'Ah! there comes your uncle!' and Mr. Edmonstone entered.
'How d'ye do, Philip? Brought better news, eh?'
'Here is a letter to speak for itself.'
'Eh? From Guy? Give it me. What does he say? Let me see. Here,
mamma, read it; your eyes are best.'
Mrs. Edmonstone read as follows:--
'MY DEAR MR. EDMONSTONE,
--Your letter surprised and grieved me very much. I cannot guess what
proofs Philip may think he has, of what I never did, and, therefore, I
cannot refute them otherwise than by declaring that I never gamed in my
life. Tell me what they are, and I will answer them. As to a full
confession, I could of course tell you of much in which I have done
wrongly, though not in the way which he supposes. On that head, I have
nothing to confess. I am sorry I am prevented from satisfying you
about the �1000, but I am bound in honour not to mention the purpose
for which I wanted it. I am sure you could never believe I could have
said what I did to Mrs. Edmonstone if I had begun on a course which I
detest from the bottom of my heart. Thank you very much for the
kindness of the latter part of your letter. I do not know how I could
have borne it, if it had ended as it began. I hope you will soon send
me these proofs of Philip's. Ever your affectionate, 'G. M.'
Not a little surprised was Philip to find that he was known to be Guy's
accuser; but the conclusion revealed that his style had betrayed him,
and that Mr. Edmonstone had finished with some mention of him, and he
resolved that henceforth he would never leave a letter of his own
dictation till he had seen it signed and sealed.
'Well!' cried Mr. Edmonstone, joyfully beating his own hand with his
glove, 'that is all right. I knew it would be so. He can't even guess
what we are at. I am glad we did not tease poor little Amy. Eh,
mamma?--eh, Philip?' the last eh being uttered much more doubtfully,
and less triumphantly than the first.
'I wonder you think it right,' said Philip.
'What more would you have?' said Mr. Edmonstone, hastily.
'Eh? Oh, ay, he says he can't tell--bound in honour.'
'It is easy to write off-hand, and say I cannot satisfy you, I am bound
in honour; but that is not what most persons would think a full
justification, especially considering the terms on which you stand.'
'Why, yes, he might have said more. It would have been safe enough
'It is his usual course of mystery, reserve, and defiance.'
'The fact is,' said Mr. Edmonstone, turning away, 'that it is a very
proper letter; right sense, proper feeling--and if he never gamed in
his life, what would you have more?'
'There are different ways of understanding such a denial as this,' said
Philip. 'See, he says not in the way in which I suppose.' He held up
his hand authoritatively, as his aunt was about to interpose. 'It was
against gaming that his vow was made. I never thought he had played,
but he never says he has not betted.'
'He would never be guilty of a subterfuge!' exclaimed Mr. Edmonstone,
'I should not have thought so, without the evidence of the payment of
the cheque, my uncle had just given him, to this gambling fellow,' said
Philip; 'yet it is only the natural consequence of the habit of eluding
inquiry into his visits to London.'
'I can't see any reason for so harsh an accusation,' said she.
'I should hardly want more reason than his own words. He refuses to
answer the question on which my uncle's good opinion depends; he owns
he has been to blame, and thus retracts his full denial. In my
opinion, his letter says nothing so plainly as, "While I can stand fair
with you I do not wish to break with you."'
'He will not find that quite so easy.' cried Mr. Edmonstone. 'I am no
fool to be hoodwinked, especially where my little Amy is concerned.
I'll see all plain and straight before he says another word of her.
But you see what comes of their settling it while I was out of the
Mrs, Edmonstone was grieved to see him so hurt at this. It could not
have been helped, and if all had been smooth, he never would have
thought of it again; but it served to keep up his dignity in his own
eyes, and, as he fancied, to defend him from Philip's censure, and he
therefore made the most of it, which so pained her that she did not
venture to continue her championship of Guy.
'Well, well,' said Mr. Edmonstone, 'the question is what to do next--
eh, Philip?' I wish he would have spoken openly. I hate mysteries.
I'll write and tell him this won't do; he must be explicit--eh,
'We will talk it over by and by,' said Philip.
His aunt understood that it was to be in her absence, and left the
room, fearing it would be impossible to prevent Amy from being
distressed, though she had no doubt that Guy would be able to prove his
innocence of the charges. She found Amy waiting for her in her room.
'Don't, ring, mamma, dear. I'll fasten your dress,' said she; then
pausing--'Oh! mamma, I don't know whether I ought to ask, but if you
would only tell me if there is nothing gone wrong.'
'I don't believe there is anything really wrong, my dear,' said Mrs.
Edmonstone, kissing her, as she saw how her colour first deepened and
'Oh! no,' said she.
'But there is some mystery about his money-matters, which has vexed
'And what has Philip to do with it?'
'I cannot quite tell, my dear. I believe Margaret Henley has heard
something, but I do not know the whole.'
'Did you see his letter, mamma? said Amy, in a low, trembling voice.
'Yes, it is just like himself, and absolutely denies the accusations.'
Amy did not say 'then they are false,' but she held up her head.
'Then papa is satisfied?' she said.
'I have no doubt all will be made clear in time,' said her mother; 'but
there is still something unexplained, and I am afraid things may not go
smoothly just now. I am very sorry, my little Amy, that such a cloud
should have come over you, she added, smoothing fondly the long, soft
hair, sad at heart to see the cares and griefs of womanhood gathering
over her child's bright, young life.
'I said I must learn to bear things!' murmured Amy to herself. 'Only,'
and the tears filled her eyes, and she spoke with almost childish
simplicity of manner, 'I can't bear them to vex him. I wish Philip
would let papa settle it alone. Guy will be angry, and grieved
They were interrupted by the dinner-bell, but Amy ran into her own room
for one moment.
'I said I would learn to bear,' said she to herself, 'or I shall never
be fit for him. Yes, I will, even though it is the thinking he is
unhappy. He said I must be his Verena; I know what that means; I ought
not to be uneasy, for he will bear it beautifully, and say he is glad
of it afterwards. And I will try not to seem cross to Philip.'
Mr. Edmonstone was fidgety and ill at ease, found fault with the
dinner, and was pettish with his wife. Mrs. Edmonstone set Philip off
upon politics, which lasted till the ladies could escape into the
drawing-room. In another minute Philip brought in Charles, set him
down, and departed. Amy, who was standing by the window, resting her
forehead against the glass, and gazing into the darkness, turned round
hastily, and left the room, but in passing her brother, she put her
hand into his, and received a kind pressure. Her mother followed her,
and the other three all began to wonder. Charles said he had regularly
been turned out of the dining-room by Philip, who announced that he
wanted to speak to his uncle, and carried him off.
They conjectured, and were indignant at each other's conjectures, till
their mother returned, and gave them as much information as she could;
but this only made them very anxious. Charles was certain that Mrs.
Henley had laid a cockatrice egg, and Philip was hatching it; and Laura
could not trust herself to defend Philip, lest she should do it too
vehemently. They could all agree in desire to know the truth, in hope
that Guy was not culpable, and, above all, in feeling for Amy; but by
tacit consent they were silent on the three shades of opinion in their
minds. Laura was confident that Philip was acting for the best; Mrs.
Edmonstone thought he might be mistaken in his premises, but desirous
of Guy's real good; and Charles, though sure he would allege nothing
which he did not believe to be true, also thought him ready to draw the
worst conclusions from small grounds, and to take pleasure in driving
Mr. Edmonstone to the most rigorous measures.
Philip, meanwhile, was trying to practise great moderation and
forbearance, not bringing forward at first what was most likely to
incense Mr. Edmonstone, and without appearance of animosity in his
cool, guarded speech. There was no design in this, he meant only to be
just; yet anything less cool would have had far less effect.
When he shut the dining-room door, he found his uncle wavering, touched
by the sight of his little Amy, returning to his first favourable view
of Guy's letter, ready to overlook everything, accept the
justification, and receive his ward on the same footing as before,
though he was at the same time ashamed that Philip should see him
relent, and desirous of keeping up his character for firmness, little
guessing how his nephew felt his power over him, and knew that he could
wield him at will.
Perceiving and pitying his feebleness, and sincerely believing strong
measures the only rescue for Amy, the only hope for Guy, Philip found
himself obliged to work on him by the production of another letter from
his sister. He would rather, if possible, have kept this back, so much
did his honourable feeling recoil from what had the air of slander and
mischief-making; but he regarded firmness on his uncle's part as the
only chance for Guy or for his cousin, and was resolved not to let him
swerve from strict justice.
Mrs. Henley had written immediately after Guy's outburst in her house,
and, taking it for granted that her brother would receive a challenge,
she wrote in the utmost alarm, urging him to remember how precious he
was to her, and not to depart from his own principles.
'You would not be so mad as to fight him, eh?' said Mr. Edmonstone,
anxiously. 'You know better--besides, for poor Amy's sake.'
'For the sake of right,' replied Philip, 'no. I have reassured my
sister. I have told her that, let the boy do what he will, he shall
never make me guilty of his death.'
'You have heard from him, then?'
'No; I suppose a night's reflection convinced him that he had no
rational grounds for violent proceedings, and he had sense enough not
to expose himself to such an answer as I should have given. What
caused his wrath to be directed towards me especially, I cannot tell,
nor can my sister,' said Philip, looking full at his uncle; 'but I seem
to have come in for a full share of it.'
He proceeded to read the description of Guy's passion, and the
expressions he had used. Violent as it had been, it did not lose in
Mrs. Henley's colouring; and what made the effect worse was that she
had omitted to say she had overheard his language, so that it appeared
as if he had been unrestrained even by gentlemanly feeling, and had
thus spoken of her brother and uncle in her presence.
Mr. Edmonstone was resentful now, really displeased, and wounded to the
quick. The point on which he was especially sensitive was his
reputation for sense and judgment; and that Guy, who had shown him so
much respect and affection, whom he had treated with invariable
kindness, and received into his family like a son, that he should thus
speak of him shocked him extremely. He was too much overcome even to
break out into exclamations at first, he only drank off his glass of
wine hastily, and said, 'I would never have thought it!'
With these words, all desire for forbearance and toleration departed.
If Guy could speak thus of him, he was ready to believe any accusation,
to think him deceitful from the first, to say he had been trifling with
Amy, to imagine him a confirmed reprobate, and cast him off entirely.
Philip had some difficulty to restrain him from being too violent; and
to keep him to the matter in hand, he defended Guy from the
exaggerations of his imagination in a manner which appeared highly
noble, considering how Guy had spoken of him. Before they parted that
night, another letter had been written, which stood thus,--
'DEAR SIR GUY,
--Since you refuse the confidence which I have a right to demand, since
you elude the explanation I asked, and indulge yourself in speaking in
disrespectful terms of me and my family, I have every reason to suppose
that you have no desire to continue on the same footing as heretofore
at Hollywell. As your guardian, I repeat that I consider myself bound
to keep a vigilant watch over your conduct, and, if possible, to
recover you from the unhappy course in which you have involved
yourself: but all other intercourse between you and this family must
'Your horse shall be sent to Redclyffe to-morrow.
This letter was more harsh than Philip wished; but Mr. Edmonstone would
hardly be prevailed on to consent to enter on no further reproaches.
He insisted on banishing Deloraine, as well as on the mention of Guy's
disrespect, both against his nephew's opinion; but it was necessary to
let him have his own way on these points, and Philip thought himself
fortunate in getting a letter written which was in any degree rational
They had been so busy, and Mr, Edmonstone so excited, that Philip
thought it best to accept the offer of tea being sent them in the
dining-room, and it was not till nearly midnight that their conference
broke up, when Mr. Edmonstone found his wife sitting up by the
dressing-room fire, having shut Charles's door, sorely against his
'There,' began Mr. Edmonstone, 'you may tell Amy she may give him up,
and a lucky escape she has had. But this is what comes of settling
matters in my absence.' So he proceeded with the narration, mixing the
facts undistinguishably with his own surmises, and overwhelming his
wife with dismay. If a quarter of this was true, defence of Guy was
out of the question; and it was still more impossible to wish Amy's
attachment to him to continue; and though much was incredible, it was
no time to say so. She could only hope morning would soften her
husband's anger, and make matters explicable.
Morning failed to bring her comfort. Mr. Edmonstone repeated that Amy
must be ordered to give up all thoughts of Guy, and she perceived that
the words ascribed to him stood on evidence which could not be doubted.
She could believe he might have spoken them in the first shock of an
unjust imputation, and she thought he might have been drawn into some
scrape to serve a friend; but she could never suppose him capable of
all Mr. Edmonstone imagined.
The first attempt to plead his cause, however, brought on her an angry
reply; for Philip, by a hint, that she never saw a fault in Guy, had
put it into his uncle's head that she would try to lead him, and made
him particularly inaccessible to her influence.
There was no help for it, then; poor little Amy must hear the worst;
and it was not long before Mrs. Edmonstone found her waiting in the
dressing-room. Between obedience to her husband, her conviction of
Guy's innocence, and her tenderness to her daughter, Mrs. Edmonstone
had a hard task, and she could scarcely check her tears as Amy nestled
up for her morning kiss.
'0 mamma! what is it?'
'Dearest, I told you a cloud was coming. Try to bear it. Your papa is
not satisfied with Guy's answer, and it seems he spoke some hasty words
of papa and Philip; they have displeased papa very much, and, my dear
child, you must try to bear it, he has written to tell Guy he must not
think any more of you.'
'He has spoken hasty words of papa!' repeated Amy, as if she had not
heard the rest. 'How sorry he must be!'
As she spoke, Charles's door was pushed open, and in he came, half
dressed, scrambling on, with but one crutch, to the chair near which
she stood, with drooping head and clasped hands.
'Never mind, little Amy, he said; 'I'll lay my life 'tis only some
monstrous figment of Mrs. Henley's. Trust my word, it will right
itself; it is only a rock to keep true love from running too smooth.
Come, don't cry, as her tears began to flow fast, 'I only meant to
cheer you up.'
'I am afraid, Charlie, said his mother, putting a force on her own
feeling, 'it is not the best or kindest way to do her good by telling
her to dwell on hopes of him.'
'Mamma one of Philip's faction!' exclaimed Charles.
'Of no faction at all, Charles, but I am afraid it is a bad case;' and
Mrs, Edmonstone related what she knew; glad to address herself to any
one but Amy, who stood still, meanwhile, her hands folded on the back
of her brother's chair.
Charles loudly protested that the charges were absurd and preposterous,
and would be proved so in no time. He would finish dressing instantly,
go to speak to his father, and show him the sense of the thing. Amy
heard and hoped, and his mother, who had great confidence in his clear
sight, was so cheered as almost to expect that today's post might carry
a conciliatory letter.
Meantime, Laura and Philip met in the breakfast-room, and in answer to
her anxious inquiry, he had given her an account of Guy, which, though
harsh enough, was far more comprehensible than what the rest had been
able to gather.
She was inexpressibly shocked, 'My poor dear little Amy!' she
exclaimed. 'O Philip, now I see all you thought to save me from!'
'It is an unhappy business that it ever was permitted!'
'Poor little dear! She was so happy, so very happy and sweet in her
humility and her love. Do you know, Philip, I was almost jealous for a
moment that all should be so easy for them; and I blamed poverty; but
oh! there are worse things than poverty!'
He did not speak, but his dark blue eye softened with the tender look
known only to her; and it was one of the precious moments for which she
lived. She was happy till the rest came down, and then a heavy cloud
seemed to hang on them at breakfast time.
'Charles, who found anxiety on Guy's account more exciting, though
considerably less agreeable, than he had once expected, would not go
away with the womankind; but as soon as the door was shut, exclaimed,
'Now then, Philip, let me know the true grounds of your persecution.'
It was not a conciliating commencement. His father was offended, and
poured out a confused torrent of Guy's imagined misdeeds, while Philip
explained and modified his exaggerations.
'So the fact is,' said Charles, at length, 'that Guy has asked for his
own money, and when in lieu of it he received a letter full of unjust
charges, he declared Philip was a meddling coxcomb. I advise you not
to justify his opinion.'
Philip disdained to reply, and after a few more of Mr. Edmonstone's
exclamations Charles proceeded,
'This is the great sum total.'
'No,' said Philip; 'I have proof of his gambling.'
'What is it?'
'I have shown it to your father, and he is satisfied.'
'Is it not proof enough that he is lost to all sense of propriety, that
he should go and speak in that fashion of us, and to Philip's own
sister?' cried Mr. Edmonstone. 'What would you have more?'
'That little epithet applied to Captain Morville is hardly, to my mind,
proof sufficient that a man is capable of every vice,' said Charles,
who, in the pleasure of galling his cousin, did not perceive the harm
he did his friend's cause, by recalling the affront which his father,
at least, felt most deeply. Mr. Edmonstone grew angry with him for
disregarding the insulting term applied to himself; and Charles, who,
though improved in many points, still sometimes showed the effects of
early habits of disrespect to his father, answered hastily, that no one
could wonder at Guy's resenting such suspicions; he deserved no blame
at all, and would have been a blockhead to bear it tamely.
This was more than Charles meant, but his temper was fairly roused, and
he said much more than was right or judicious, so that his advocacy
only injured the cause. He had many representations to make on the
injustice of condemning Guy unheard, of not even laying before him the
proofs on which the charges were founded, and on the danger of actually
driving him into mischief, by shutting the doors of Hollywell against
him. 'If you wanted to make him all you say he is, you are taking the
very best means.'
Quite true; but Charles had made his father too angry to pay attention.
This stormy discussion continued for nearly two hours, with no effect
save inflaming the minds of all parties. At last Mr. Edmonstone was
called away; and Charles, rising, declared he should go at that moment,
and write to tell Guy that there was one person at least still in his
'You will do as you please,' said Philip.
'Thank you for the permission,' said Charles, proudly.
'It is not to me that your submission is due,' said Philip.
'I'll tell you what, Philip, I submit to my own father readily, but I
do not submit to Captain Morville's instrument.'
'We have had enough of unbecoming retorts for one day,' said Philip,
quietly, and offering his arm.
Much as Charles disliked it, he was in too great haste not to accept
it; and perceiving that there were visitors in the drawing-room, he
desired to go up-stairs.
'People who always come when they are not wanted!' he muttered, as he
went up, pettish with them as with everything else.
'I do not think you in a fit mood to be advised, Charles,' said Philip;
'but to free my own conscience, let me say this. Take care how you
promote this unfortunate attachment.'
'Take care what you say!' exclaimed Charles, flushing with anger, as he
threw himself forward, with an impatient movement, trusting to his
crutch rather than retain his cousin's arm; but the crutch slipped, he
missed his grasp at the balusters, and would have fallen to the bottom
of the flight if Philip had not been close behind. Stretching out his
foot, he made a barrier, receiving Charles's weight against his breast,
and then, taking him in his arms, carried him up the rest of the way as
easily as if he had been a child. The noise brought Amy out of the
dressing-room, much frightened, though she did not speak till Charles
was deposited on the sofa, and assured them he was not in the least
hurt, but he would hardly thank his cousin for having so dexterously
saved him; and Philip, relieved from the fear of his being injured,
viewed the adventure as a mere ebullition of ill-temper, and went away.
'A fine helpless log am I,' exclaimed Charles, as he found himself
alone with Amy. 'A pretty thing for me to talk of being of any use,
when I can't so much as show my anger at an impertinence about my own
sister, without being beholden for not breaking my neck to the very
piece of presumption that uttered it.'
'Oh, don't speak so' began Amy; and at that moment Philip was close to
them, set down the crutch that had been dropped, and went without
'I don't care who hears,' said Charles; 'I say there is no greater
misery in this world than to have the spirit of a man and the limbs of
a cripple. I know if I was good for anything, things would not long be
in this state. I should be at St. Mildred's by this time, at the
bottom of the whole story, and Philip would be taught to eat his words
in no time, and make as few wry faces as suited his dignity. But what
is the use of talking? This sofa'--and be struck his fist against it--
'is my prison, and I am a miserable cripple, and it is mere madness in
me to think of being attended to.'
'O Charlie!' cried Amy, caressingly, and much distressed, 'don't talk
so. Indeed, I can't bear it! You know it is not so.'
'Do I? Have not I been talking myself hoarse, showing up their
injustice, saying all a man could say to bring them to reason, and not
an inch could I move them. I do believe Philip has driven my father
stark mad with these abominable stories of his sister's, which I verily
believe she invented herself.'
'0 no, she could not. Don't say so.'
'What! Are you going to believe them, too?'
'It is that which drives me beyond all patience,' proceeded Charles,
'to see Philip lay hold of my father, and twist him about as he
chooses, and set every one down with his authority.'
'Philip soon goes abroad,' said Amy, who could not at the moment say
anything more charitable.
'Ay! there is the hope. My father will return to his natural state
provided they don't drive Guy, in the meantime, to do something
'No, they won't,' whispered Amy.
'Well, give me the blotting-book. I'll write to him this moment, and
tell him we are not all the tools of Philip's malice.'
Amy gave the materials to her brother, and then turning away, busied
herself in silence as best she might, in the employment her mother had
recommended her, of sorting some garden-seeds for the cottagers. After
an interval, Charles said,
'Well, Amy, what shall I say to him for you?'
There was a little silence, and presently Amy whispered, 'I don't think
'What?' asked Charles, not catching her very low tones, as she sat
behind him, with her head bent down.
'I don't think it would be right,' she repeated, more steadily.
'Not right for you to say you don't think him a villain?'
'Papa said I was to have no--'and there her voice was stopped with
'This is absurd, Amy,' said Charles; 'when it all was approved at
first, and now my father is acting on a wrong impression; what harm can
there be in it? Every one would do so.'
'I am sure he would not think it right,' faltered Amy.
'He? You'll never have any more to say to him, if you don't take care
what you are about.'
'I can't help it,' said Amy, in a broken voice. 'It is not right.'
'Nonsense! folly!' said Charles. 'You are as bad as the rest. When
they are persecuting, and slandering, and acting in the most outrageous
way against him, and you know one word of yours would carry him through
all, you won't say it, to save him from distraction, and from doing all
my father fancies he has done. Then I believe you don't care a rush
for him, and never want to see him again, and believe the whole
monstrous farrago. I vow I'll say so.'
'0 Charles, you are very cruel!' said Amy, with an irrepressible burst
'Then, if you don't believe it, why can't you send one word to comfort
She wept in silence for some moments; at last she said,--
'It would not comfort him to think me disobedient. He will trust me
without, and he will know what you think. You are very kind, dear
Charlie; but don't persuade me any more, for I can't bear it. I am
going away now; but don't fancy I am angry, only I don't think I can
sit by while you write that letter.'
Poor little Amy, she seldom knew worse pain than at that moment, when
she was obliged to go away to put it out of her power to follow the
promptings of her heart to send the few kind words which might prove
that nothing could shake her love and trust.
A fresh trial awaited her when she looked from her own window. She saw
Deloraine led out, his chestnut neck glossy in the sun and William
prepared for a journey, and the other servants shaking hands, and
bidding him good-bye. She saw him ride off, and could hardly help
flying back to her brother to exclaim, '0 Charlie, they have sent
Deloraine away!' while the longing to send one kind greeting became
more earnest than ever; but she withstood it, and throwing herself on
the bed, exclaimed,--
'He will never come back--never, never!' and gave way, unrestrainedly,
to a fit of weeping; nor was it till this had spent itself that she
could collect her thoughts.
She was sitting on the side of her bed trying to compose herself, when
Laura, came in.
'My own Amy--my poor, dearest,--I am very sorry!'
'Thank you, dear Laura,' and Amy gladly rested her aching head on her
'I wish I knew what to do for you!' proceeded Laura. 'You cannot,
cease to think about him, and yet you ought.'
'If I ought, I suppose I can,' said Amy in a voice exhausted with
'That's right, darling. You will not be weak, and pine for one who is
'Not worthy, Laura?' said Amy, withdrawing her arm, and holding up her
'Ah! my poor Amy, we thought--'
'Yes; and it is so still. I know it is so. I know he did not do it.'
'Then what do you think of Margaret and Philip?'
'There is some mistake.'
And how can you defend what he said of papa?'
'I don't,' said Amy, hiding her face. 'That is the worst; but I am
sure it was only a moment's passion, and that he must be very unhappy
about it now. I don't think papa would mind it, at least not long, if
it was not for this other dreadful misapprehension. 0, Laura! why
cannot something be done to clear it up?'
'Everything will be done,' said Laura. Papa has written to Mr.
Wellwood, and Philip means to go and make inquiries at Oxford and St.
'When?' asked Amy.
'Not till term begins. You know he is to have a fortnight's leave
before the regiment goes to Ireland.'
'Oh, I hope it will come right then. People must come to an
understanding when they meet; it is so different from writing.'
'He will do everything to set things on a right footing. You may be
confident of that, Amy, for your sake as much as anything else.'
'I can't think why he should know I have anything to do with it,' said
Amy, blushing. 'I had much rather he did not.'
'Surely, Amy, you think be can be trusted with your secret; and there
is no one who can take more care for you. You must look on him as one
Amy made no answer, and Laura, was annoyed.
'You are vexed with him for having told this to papa; but that is not
reasonable of you, Amy; your better sense must tell you that it is the
only truly kind course, both towards Guy and yourself.'
It was said in Philip's manner, which perhaps made it harder to bear;
and Amy could scarcely answer,--
'He means it for the best.'
'You would not have had him be silent?'
'I don't know,' said Amy, sadly. 'No; he should have done something,
but he might have done it more kindly.'
Laura endeavoured to persuade her that nothing could have been more
kind and judicious, and Amy sat dejectedly owning the good intention,
and soothed by the affection of her family; with the bitter suffering
of her heart unallayed, with all her fond tender feelings torn at the
thought of what Guy must be enduring, and with the pain of knowing it
was her father's work. She had one comfort, in the certainty that Guy
would bear it nobly. She was happy to find her confidence confirmed by
her mother and Charles; and one thing she thought she need not give up,
though she might no longer think of him as her lover, she might be his
Verena still, whether he knew it or not. It could not be wrong to
remember any one in her prayers, and to ask that he might not be led
into temptation, but have strength to abide patiently. That helped her
to feel that he was in the hands of One to whom the secrets of all
hearts are known; and a line of poetry seemed to be whispered in her
ears, in his own sweet tones,--
Wait, and the cloud shall roll away.
So, after the first day, she went on pretty well. She was indeed
silent and grave, and no longer the sunbeam of Hollywell; but she took
her share in what was passing, and a common observer would hardly have
remarked the submissive melancholy of her manner. Her father was very
affectionate, and often called her his jewel of good girls; but he was
too much afraid of women's tears to talk to her about Guy, he left that
to her mother: and Mrs. Edmonstone, having seen her submit to her
father's will, was unwilling to say more.
She doubted whether it was judicious to encourage her in dwelling on
Guy; for, even supposing his character clear, they had offended him
deeply, and released him from any engagement to her, so that there was
nothing to prevent him from forming an attachment elsewhere. Mrs.
Edmonstone did not think he would; but it was better to say nothing
about him, lest she should not speak prudently, and only keep up the
subject in Amy's mind.
Charles stormed and wrangled, told Mr. Edmonstone 'he was breaking his
daughter's heart, that was all;' and talked of unfairness and
injustice, till Mr. Edmonstone vowed it was beyond all bearing, that
his own son should call him a tyrant, and accused Guy of destroying all
peace in his family.
The replies to the letters came; some thought them satisfactory, and
the others wondered that they thought so. Mr. Wellwood gave the
highest character of his pupil, and could not imagine how any
irregularities could be laid to his charge; but when asked in plain
terms how he disposed of his time, could only answer in general, that
he had friends and engagements of his own at St. Mildred's and its
neighbourhood, and had been several times at Mrs. Henley's and at
Colonel Harewood's. The latter place, unfortunately, was the very
object of Philip's suspicions; and thus the letter was anything but an
Guy wrote to Charles in the fulness of his heart, expressing gratitude
for his confidence and sympathy. He again begged for the supposed
evidence of his misconduct, declaring he could explain it, whatever it
might be, and proceeded to utter deep regrets for his hasty
'I do not know what I may have said,' he wrote; 'I have no doubt it was
unpardonable, for I am sure my feelings were so, and that I deserve
whatever I have brought on myself. I can only submit to Mr.
Edmonstone's sentence, and trust that time will bring to his knowledge
that I am innocent of what I am accused of. He has every right to be
displeased with me.
Charles pronounced this to be only Guy's way of abusing himself; but
his father saw in it a disguised admission of guilt. It was thought,
also, to be bad sign that Guy intended to remain at South Moor till the
end of the vacation, though Charles argued that he must be somewhere;
and if they wished to keep him out of mischief, why exile him from
Hollywell! He would hardly listen to his mother's representation, that
on Amy's account it would not be right to have him there till the
mystery was cleared up.
He tried to stir his father up to go and see Guy at St. Mildred's, and
investigate matters for himself; but, though Mr. Edmonstone would have
liked the appearance of being important, this failed, because Philip
declared it to be unadvisable, knowing that it would be no
investigation at all, and that his uncle would be talked over directly.
Next, Charles would have persuaded Philip himself to go, but the
arrangements about his leave did not make this convenient; and it was
put off till he should pay his farewell visit to his sister, in
October. Lastly, Charles wrote to Mrs. Henley, entreating her to give
him some information about this mysterious evidence which was wanting,
but her reply was a complete 'set down' for interference in a matter
with which he had no concern.
He was very angry. In fact, the post seldom came in without
occasioning a fresh dispute, which only had the effect of keeping up
the heat of Mr. Edmonstone's displeasure, and making the whole house
Fretfulness and ill-humour seemed to have taken possession of Charles
and his father. Such a state of things had not prevailed since Guy's
arrival: Hollywell was hardly like the same house; Mrs. Edmonstone and
Laura could do nothing without being grumbled at or scolded by one or
other of the gentlemen; even Amy now and then came in for a little
petulance on her father's part, and Charles could not always forgive
her for saying in her mournful, submissive tome,--'It is of no use to
talk about it!'
This just decree alone I know,
Man must be disciplined by woe,
To me, whate'er of good or ill
The future brings, since come it will,
I'll bow my spirit, and be still.
AESCHYLUS, (Anstice's Translation.)
Guy, in the meantime, was enduring the storm in loneliness, for he was
unwilling to explain the cause of his trouble to his companions. The
only occasion of the suspicions, which he could think of, was his
request for the sum of money; and this he could not mention to Mr.
Wellwood, nor was he inclined to make confidants of his other
companions, though pleasant, right-minded youths.
He had only announced that he had had a letter which had grieved him
considerably, but of which he could not mention the contents; and as
Harry Graham, who knew something of the Broadstone neighbourhood, had
picked up a report that Sir Guy Morville was to marry Lady Eveleen de
Courcy, there was an idea among the party that there was some trouble
in the way of his attachment. He had once before been made, by some
joke, to colour and look conscious; and now this protected him from
inconvenient questions, and accounted for his depression. He was like
what he had been on first coming to Hollywell--grave and silent,
falling into reveries when others were talking, and much given to long,
lonely wanderings. Accustomed as he had been in boyhood to a solitary
life in beautiful scenery, there was something in a fine landscape that
was to him like a friend and companion; and he sometimes felt that it
would have been worse if he had been in a dull, uniform country,
instead of among mountain peaks and broad wooded valleys. Working
hard, too, helped him not a little, and conic sections served him
almost as well as they served Laura.
A more real help was the neighbourhood of Stylehurst. On the first
Sunday after receiving Mr. Edmonstone's letter, he went to church
there, instead of with the others, to St. Mildred's. They thought it
was for the sake of the solitary walk; but he had other reasons for the
preference. In the first place it was a Communion Sunday, and in the
next, he could feel more kindly towards Philip there, and he knew he
needed all that could strengthen such a disposition.
Many a question did he ask himself, to certify whether he wilfully
entertained malice or hatred, or any uncharitableness. It was a long,
difficult examination; but at its close, he felt convinced that, if
such passions knocked at the door of his heart, it was not at his own
summons, and that he drove them away without listening to them. And
surely he might approach to gain the best aid in that battle,
especially as he was certain of his strong and deep repentance for his
fit of passion, and longing earnestly for the pledge of forgiveness.
The pardon and peace he sought came to him, and in such sort that the
comfort of that day, when fresh from the first shock, and waiting in
suspense for some new blow, was such as never to be forgotten. They
linked themselves with the grave shade of the clustered gray columns,
and the angel heads on roof of that old church; with the long grass and
tall yellow mullens among its churchyard graves, and with the tints of
the elm-trees that closed it in, their leaves in masses either of green
or yellow, and opening here and there to show the purple hills beyond.
He wandered in the churchyard between the services. All enmity to
Philip was absent now; and he felt as if it would hardly return when he
stood by the graves of the Archdeacon and of the two Frances Morvilles,
and thought what that spot was to his cousin. There were a few flowers
planted round Mrs. Morville's grave, but they showed that they had long
been neglected, and no such signs of care marked her daughter Fanny's.
And when Guy further thought of Mrs. Henley, and recollected how Philip
had sacrificed all his cherished prospects and hopes of distinction,
and embraced an irksome profession, for the sake of these two sisters,
he did not find it difficult to excuse the sternness, severity, and
distrust which were an evidence how acutely a warm heart had suffered.
Though he suffered cruelly from being cut off from Amy, yet his
reverence for her helped him to submit. He had always felt as if she
was too far above him; and though he had, beyond his hopes, been
allowed to aspire to the thought of her, it was on trial, and his
failure, his return to his old evil passions, had sunk him beneath her.
He shuddered to think of her being united to anything so unlike
herself, and which might cause her so much misery; it was wretchedness
to think that even now she might he suffering for him; and yet not for
worlds would he have lost the belief that she was so feeling, or the
remembrance of the looks which had shone on him so sweetly and timidly
as she sat at her mother's feet; though that remembrance was only
another form of misery. But Amy would be tranquil, pure and good,
whatever became of him, and he should always be able to think of her,
looking like one of those peaceful spirits, with bending head, folded
hands, and a star on its brow, in the "Paradiso" of Flaxman. Her
serenity would be untouched; and though she might be lost to him, he
could still be content while he could look up at it through his turbid
life. Better she were lost to him than that her peace should be
He still, of course, earnestly longed to prove his innocence, though
his hopes lessened, for as long as the evidence was withheld, he had no
chance. After writing as strongly as he could, he could do no more,
except watch for something that might unravel the mystery; and
Charles's warm sympathy and readiness to assist him were a great
He had not seen his uncle again; perhaps Sebastian was ashamed to meet
him after their last encounter, and was still absent on his engagement;
but the wife and child were still at St. Mildred's, and one afternoon,
when Guy had rather unwillingly gone thither with Mr. Wellwood, he saw
Mrs. Dixon sitting on one of the benches which were placed on the paths
cut out on the side of the hill, looking very smart and smiling, among
several persons of her own class.
To be ashamed to recognise her was a weakness beneath him; he spoke to
her, and was leaving her, pluming herself on his notice, when he saw
little Marianne's blue eyes fixed wistfully upon him, and held out his
hand to her. She ran up to him joyfully, and he led her a few steps
from her mother's party. 'Well, little one, how are you? I have your
piece of spar quite safe. Have you said how d'ye do to Bustle?'
'Bustle! Bustle!' called the soft voice but it needed a whistle from
his master to bring him to be caressed by the little girl.
'Have you been taking any more pleasant walks?'
'Oh yes. We have been all round these pretty paths. And I should like
to go to the top of this great high hill, and see all round; but mamma
says she has got a bone in her leg, and cannot go.'
'Do you think mamma would give you leave to go up with me? Should you
She coloured all over; too happy even to thank him.
'Then,' said Guy to his tutor, 'I will meet you here when you have done
your business in the town, in an hour or so. Poor little thing, she
has not many pleasures.'
Mrs. Dixon made no difficulty, and was so profuse in thanks that Guy
got out of her way as fast as he could, and was soon on the soft thymy
grass of the hill-side, the little girl frisking about him in great
delight, playing with Bustle, and chattering merrily.
Little Marianne was a delicate child, and her frolic did not last long.
As the ascent became steeper, her breath grew shorter, and she toiled
on in a resolute uncomplaining manner after his long, vigorous steps,
till he looked round, and seeing her panting far behind, turned to help
her, lead her, and carry her, till the top was achieved, and the little
girl stood on the topmost stone, gazing round at the broad sunny
landscape, with the soft green meadows, the harvest fields, the woods
in their gorgeous autumn raiment, and the moorland on the other side,
with its other peaks and cairns, brown with withered bracken, and
shadowed in moving patches by the floating clouds. The exhilarating
wind brought a colour into her pale cheeks, and her flossy curls were
blowing over her face.
He watched her in silence, pleased and curious to observe how beautiful
a scene struck the childish eye of the little Londoner. The first
thing she said, after three or four minutes' contemplation--a long time
for such a child--was, 'Oh! I never saw anything so pretty!' then
presently after, 'Oh! I wish little brother Felix was here!'
'This is a pleasant place to think about your little brother,' said
Guy, kindly; and she looked up in his face, and exclaimed, 'Oh! do you
know about Felix?'
'You shall tell me' said Guy. 'Here, sit on my knee, and rest after
'Mamma never lets me talk of Felix, because it makes her cry,' said
Marianne; but I wish it sometimes.'
Her little heart was soon open. It appeared that Felix was the last
who had died, the nearest in age to Marianne, and her favourite
playfellow. She told of some of their sports in their London home,
speaking of them with eagerness and fondness that showed what joys they
had been, though to Guy they seemed but the very proof of dreariness
and dinginess. She talked of walks to school, when Felix would tell
what he would do when he was a man, and how he took care of her at the
crossings, and how rude boys used to drive them, and how they would
look in at the shop windows and settle what they would buy if they were
rich. Then she talked of his being ill--ill so very long; how he sat
in his little chair, and could not play, and then always lay in bed,
and she liked to sit by him, there; but at last he died, and they
carried him away in a great black coffin, and he would never come back
again. But it was so dull now, there was no one to play with her.
Though the little girl did not cry, she looked very mournful, and Guy
tried to comfort her, but she did not understand him. 'Going to
heaven' only conveyed to her a notion of death and separation, and this
phrase, together with a vague idea who had made her, and that she ought
to be good, seemed to be the extent of the poor child's religious
knowledge. She hardly ever had been at church and though she had read
one or two Bible stories, it seemed to have been from their having been
used as lessons at school. She had a dim notion that good people read
the Bible, and there was one on the little table at home, with the
shell-turkey-cock standing upon it, and mamma read it when Felix died;
but it was a big book, and the shell-turkey-cock always stood upon it;
in short, it seemed only connected with mamma's tears, and the loss of
Guy was very much shocked, and so deep in thought that he could hardly
talk to the child in their progress down the hill; but she was just so
tired as to be inclined to silence, and quite happy clinging to his
hand, till he delivered her over to her mother at the foot of the hill,
and went to join his tutor, at the place appointed.
'Wellwood,' said he, breaking silence, when they had walked about half
way back to the farm, 'do you think your cousin would do me a great
kindness? You saw that child? Well, if the parents consent, it would
be the greatest charity on earth if Miss Wellwood would receive her
into her school.'
'On what terms? What sort of an education is she to have?'
'The chief thing she wants is to be taught Christianity, poor child;
the rest Miss Wellwood may settle. She is my first cousin. I don't
know whether you are acquainted with our family history?' and he went
on to explain as much as was needful. It ended in a resolution that if
Miss Wellwood would undertake the charge, the proposal should be made
to Mrs. Dixon.
It was a way of assisting his relations likely to do real good, and on
the other hand, he would be able, under colour of the payment for the
child, to further Miss Wellwood's schemes, and give her the interest of
the thousand pounds, until his five and twentieth year might put his
property in his own power.
Miss Wellwood readily consented, much pleased with the simplicity and
absence of false shame he showed in the whole transaction, and very
anxious for the good of a child in a class so difficult to reach. He
next went to Mrs. Dixon, expecting more difficulty with her, but he
found none. She thought it better Marianne should live at St.
Mildred's than die in London, and was ready to catch at the prospect of
her being fitted for a governess. Indeed, she was so strongly persuaded
that the rich cousin might make Marianne's fortune, that she would have
been very unwilling to interfere with the fancy he had taken for her.
Little Marianne was divided between fear of leaving mamma and liking
for St. Mildred's, but her first interview with Miss Wellwood, and Miss
Jane's showing her a little white bed, quite turned the scale in their
favour. Before the time came for Guy's return to Oxford, he had seen
her settled, heard her own account of her happy life, and had listened
to Miss Jane Wellwood's delight in her sweet temper and good
Those thousand pounds; Guy considered again and again whether he could
explain their destination, and whether this would clear him. It seemed
to him only a minor charge, and besides his repugnance to mention such
a design, he saw too many obstacles in his way. Captain Morville and
his sister were the very persons from whom Miss Wellwood's project was
to be kept secret. Besides, what would be gained? It was evident that
Guy's own assertions were doubted, and he could bring no confirmation
of them; he had never spoken of his intention to his tutor, and Mr.
Wellwood could, therefore, say nothing in his favour. If Mr.
Edmonstone alone had been concerned, or if this had been the only
accusation, Guy might have tried to explain it; but with Philip he knew
it would be useless, and therefore would not enter on the subject. He
could only wait patiently.
Most delicately, hour by hour,
He canvassed human mysteries,
And stood aloof from other minds.
Himself unto himself he sold,
Upon himself, himself did feed,
Quiet, dispassionate, and cold,
With chiselled features clear and sleek.--TENNYSON
Guy had been about a week at Oxford, when one evening, as he was
sitting alone in his rooms, he received an unexpected visit from
Captain Morville. He was glad, for he thought a personal interview
would remove all misconstructions, and held out his hand cordially,
'You here, Philip! When did you come?'
'Half an hour ago. I am on my way to spend a week with the Thorndales.
I go on to-morrow to my sister's.'
While speaking, Philip was surveying the apartment, for he held that a
man's room is generally an indication of his disposition, and assuredly
there was a great deal of character in his own, with the scrupulous
neatness and fastidious taste of its arrangements. Here, he thought,
he could not fail to see traces of his cousin's habits, but he was
obliged to confess to himself that there was very little to guide him.
The furniture was strictly as its former occupant had left it, only
rather the worse for wear, and far from being in order. The chairs
were so heaped with books and papers, that Guy had to make a clearance
of one before his visitor could sit down, but there was nothing else to
complain of, not even a trace of cigars; but knowing him to be a great
reader and lover of accomplishments, Philip wondered that the only
decorations were Laura's drawing of Sintram, and a little print of
Redclyffe, and the books were chiefly such as were wanted for his
studies, the few others having for the most part the air of old library
books, as if he had sent for them from Redclyffe. Was this another
proof that he had some way of frittering away his money with nothing to
show for it? A Sophocles and a lexicon were open before him on the
table, and a blotting-book, which he closed, but not before Philip had
caught sight of what looked like verses.
Neither did his countenance answer Philip's expectations. It had not
his usual bright lively expression; there was a sadness which made him
smile like a gleam on a showery day, instead of constant sunshine; but
there was neither embarrassment nor defiance, and the gleam-like smile
was there, as with a frank, confiding tone, he said,--
'This is very kind of you, to come and see what you can do for me.'
Philip was by no means prepared to be thus met half-way, but he thought
Guy wanted to secure him as an intercessor, and hardened himself into
'No one can be more willing to help you than I, but you must, in the
first place, help yourself.'
Instantly the sedate measured tone made Guy's heart and head throb with
impatience, awakening all the former memories so hardly battled down;
but with the impulse of anger came the thought, 'Here it is again! If
I don't keep it down now, I am undone! The enemy will seize me again!'
He forced himself not to interrupt, while Philip went calmly on.
'While you are not open, nothing can be done.'
'My only wish, my only desire, is to be open,' said Guy, speaking fast
and low, and repressing the feeling, which, nevertheless, affected his
voice; 'but the opportunity of explanation has never been given me.'
'You need complain of that no longer. I am here to convey to my uncle
any explanation you may wish to address to him. I will do my best to
induce him to attend to it favourably, but he is deeply offended and
hurt by what has passed.'
'I know--I know,' said Guy, colouring deeply, and all irritation
disappearing from voice and manner; 'I know there is no excuse for me.
I can only repeat that I am heartily sorry for whatever I may have
said, either of him or of you.'
'Of course,' returned Philip, 'I should never think of resenting what
you may have said in a moment of irritation, especially as you express
regret for it. Consider it as entirely overlooked on my part.'
Guy was nearly choked in uttering a 'Thank you,' which did not sound,
after all, much like acceptance of forgiveness.
'Now to the real matter at issue,' said Philip: 'the application for
the money, which so amazed Mr. Edmonstone.'
'I do not see that it is the point,' said Guy, 'I wanted it for a
scheme of my own: he did not think fit to let me have it, so there is
an end of the matter.'
'Mr Edmonstone does not think so. He wishes to be convinced that you
have not spent it beforehand.'
'What would you have beyond my word and honour that I have not?'
Far be it from me to say that he doubts it,' said Philip; and as at
those words the flash of the Morville eye darted lightning, he expected
that the next moment, 'Do you?' would be thundered forth, and he could
not, with truth, answer ' No;' but it was one of his maxims that a man
need never be forced into an open quarrel, and he tranquilly continued-
-'but it is better not to depend entirely on assertion. Why do you not
bring him full proofs of your good intention, and thus restore yourself
to his confidence?'
'I have said that I am bound not to mention the purpose.'
'Unfortunate!' said Philip; then, while Guy bit his lip till it bled,
the pain really a relief, by giving some vent to his anger at the
implied doubt, he went on,--'If it is impossible to clear this up, the
next advice I would give is, that you should show what your expenditure
has been; lay your accounts before him, and let them justify you.'
Most people would have resented this as an impertinent proposal, were
it only that doing so would have served to conceal the awkward fact
that the accounts had not been kept at all. Guy had never been taught
to regard exactness in this respect as a duty, had no natural taste for
precision, and did not feel responsible to any person; nor if he had
kept any, could he have shown them, without exposing his uncle. To
refuse, would, however, be a subterfuge, and after a moment, he made an
effort, and confessed he had none to show, though he knew Philip would
despise him for it as a fool, and probably take it as positive evidence
It would have been more bearable if Philip would but have said 'How
foolish,' instead of drily repeating 'Unfortunate!'
After a pause, during which Guy was not sufficiently master of himself
to speak, Philip added--'Then this matter of the thousand pounds is to
be passed over? You have no explanation to offer?'
'No:' and again he paused. 'When my word is not accepted, I have no
more to say. But this is not the point. What I would know is, what
are the calumnies that accuse me of having gamed? If you really wish
to do me a service, you will give me an opportunity of answering these
'I will' answered Philip; who could venture on doing so himself,
though, for his sister's sake, it was unsafe to trust Mr. Edmonstone,
with whom what was not an absolute secret was not a secret at all. 'My
uncle knows that a thirty pound cheque of his, in your name, was paid
by you to a notorious gamester.'
Guy did not shrink, as he simply answered--'It is true.'
'Yet you have neither played, nor betted, nor done anything that could
come under the definition of gambling?'
'Then why this payment?'
'I cannot explain that. I know appearances are against me,' replied
Guy steadily, and with less irritation than he had hitherto shown. I
once thought my simple word would have sufficed, but, since it seems
that will not do, I will not again make what you call assertions.'
'In fact, while you profess a desire to be open and sincere, a mystery
appears at every turn. What would you have us do?'
'As you think fit,' he answered proudly.
Philip had been used to feel men's wills and characters bend and give
way beneath his superior force of mind. They might, like Charles,
chafe and rage, but his calmness always gave him the ascendant almost
without exertion, and few people had ever come into contact with him
without a certain submission of will or opinion. With Guy alone it was
not so; he had been sensible of it once or twice before; he had no
mastery, and could no more bend that spirit than a bar of steel. This
he could not bear, for it obliged him to be continually making efforts
to preserve his own sense of superiority.
'Since this is your ultimatum,' he said--'since you deny your
confidence, and refuse any reply to these charges, you have no right to
complain of suspicion. I shall do my best, both as your true friend,
and as acting with your guardian's authority, to discover all that may
lead to the elucidation of the mystery. In the first place, I am
desired to make every inquiry here as to your conduct and expenditure.
I hope they will prove satisfactory.'
'I am very much obliged to you,' answered Guy, his voice stern and
dignified, and the smile that curled his lip was like Philip's own.
Philip was positively annoyed, and desirous to say something to put him
down, but he had not committed himself by any vehemence, and Philip was
too cool and wise to compromise his own dignity, so he rose to go,
saying, 'Good night! I am sorry I cannot induce you to act in the only
way that can right you.'
'Good night!' replied Guy, in the same dignified manner in which he had
spoken ever since his passion had been surmounted.
They parted, each feeling that matters were just where they were
before. Philip went back to his inn, moralizing on the pride and
perverseness which made it impossible to make any impression on a
Redclyffe Morville, whom not even the fear of detection could lead to
Next morning, while Philip was hastily breakfasting, the door opened,
and Guy entered, pale and disturbed, as if he had been awake all night.
'Philip!' said he, in his frank, natural voice, 'I don't think we
parted last night as your good intentions deserved.'
'0, ho!' thought Philip; 'the fear of an investigation has brought him
to reason;' and he said, 'Well, I am very glad you see things in a
truer light this morning;' then asked if he had breakfasted. He had;
and his cousin added,
'Have you anything to say on the matter we discussed last night?'
'No. I can only repeat that I am not guilty, and wait for time to show
my innocence. I only came to see you once more, that I might feel we
'I shall always hope to be a true friend.'
'I did not come here for altercation,' said Guy (an answer rather to
the spirit than the words), 'so I will say no more. If you wish to see
me again, you will find me in my rooms. Good-bye.'
Philip was puzzled. He wondered whether Guy had come wishing to
propitiate him, but had found pride indomitable at the last moment; or
whether he had been showing himself too severely just to admit
entreaty. He would be able to judge better after he had made his
inquiries, and he proceeded with them at once. He met with no such
replies as he expected. Every one spoke of Sir Guy Morville in high
terms, as strict in his habits of application, and irreproachable in
conduct. He was generally liked, and some regret was expressed that he
lived in so secluded a manner, forming so few intimacies; but no one
seemed to think it possible that anything wrong could be imputed to
him. Philip could even perceive that there was some surprise that such
inquiries should be made at all, especially by so young a man as
himself. Mr. Wellwood, the person whom he most wished to see, was not
at Oxford, but was at home preparing for his ordination.
Nor could Philip get nearer to the solution of the mystery when he went
to the tradesmen, who were evidently as much surprised as the tutors,
and said he always paid in ready money. Captain Morville felt like a
lawyer whose case is breaking down, no discoveries made, nothing done;
but he was not one whit convinced of his cousin's innocence, thinking
the college authorities blind and careless, and the tradesmen combined
to conceal their extortions, or else that the mischief had been done at
St. Mildred's. He was particularly provoked when he remembered Guy's
invitation to him to come to his rooms, knowing, as he must have done,
what would be the result of his inquiry.
Philip was conscious that it would have been kind to have gone to say
that, so far, he had found nothing amiss, but he did not like giving
Guy this passing triumph. It made no difference in his real opinion;
and why renew a useless discussion? He persuaded himself that he had
left himself no time, and should miss the train, and hastened off to
the station, where he had to wait a quarter of an hour, consoling
himself with reflecting--
'After all, though I might have gone to him, it would have been
useless. He is obstinate, and occasions of irritating his unfortunate
temper are above all to be avoided.'
One short year after, what would not Philip have given for that quarter
of an hour!
By six o'clock he was at St. Mildred's, greeted with delight by his
sister, and with cordiality by Dr. Henley. They were both proud of
him, and every tender feeling his sister had was for Philip, her pet,
and her pupil in his childhood, and her most valued companion and
counsellor through her early womanhood.
She had a picked dinner-party to meet him, for she knew the doctor's
conversation was not exactly the thing to entertain him through a whole
evening, and the guests might well think they had never seen a
handsomer or more clever brother and sister than Mrs. Henley and
Captain Morville. The old county families, if they did wonder at her
marriage, were always glad to meet her brother, and it was a great
pleasure to him to see old friends.
Only once did his sister, in the course of the evening, make him feel
the difference of their sentiments, and that was about Miss Wellwood.
Philip defended her warmly; and when he heard that there was a plan
getting up for excluding her from the hospital, he expressed strong
disapprobation at the time; and after the guests were gone, spoke upon
the subject with his sister and her husband. The doctor entered into
no party questions, and had only been stirred up to the opposition by
his wife; he owned that the Miss Wellwoods had done a great deal of
good, and made the nurses do their duty better than he had ever known,
and was quite ready to withdraw his opposition. Mrs. Henley argued
about opinions, but Philip was a match for her in her own line; and the
end of it was, that though she would not allow herself to be convinced,
and shook her head at her brother's way of thinking, he knew he had
prevailed, and that Miss Wellwood would be unmolested.
There was not another person in the world to whom Margaret would have
yielded; and it served to restore him to the sense of universal
dominion which had been a little shaken by his conversation with Guy.
'Sir Guy was a great deal with the Wellwoods,' said Mrs. Henley.
'Was he, indeed?'
'0, you need not think of _that_. It would be too absurd. The
youngest must be twice his age.'
'I was not thinking of any such thing,' said Philip, smiling, as he
thought of the very different course Guy's affections had taken.
'I did hear he was to marry Lady Eveleen de Courcy. Is there anything
in that report?'
'No; certainly not.'
'I should pity the woman who married him, after the specimen I saw of
'Poor boy!' said Philip.
'Lady Eveleen has been a great deal at Hollywell, has she not? I
rather wondered my aunt should like to have her there, considering all
'What things, sister?'
'Considering what a catch he would be for one of the Edmonstone girls.'
'I thought you had just been pitying the woman who should marry him.
Perhaps my aunt had Lady Eveleen there to act as a screen for her own
'That our good-natured aunt should have acted with such ultra-
prudence!' said Margaret, laughing at his grave ironical tone. 'Lady
Eveleen is very pretty, is she not? A mere beauty, I believe?'
'Just so; she is much admired; but Guy is certainly not inclined to
fall in love with her.'
'I should have thought him the very man to fall in love young, like his
father. Do you think there is any chance for either of the
Edmonstones? Laura's beauty he spoke of, but it was not in a very
lover-like way. Do you admire Laura so much?'
'She is very pretty.'
'And little Amy?'
'She is a mere child, and will hardly ever be anything more; but she is
a very good little amiable thing.'
'I wish poor Charles's temper was improved.'
'So do I; but it is very far from improvement at present, in
consequence of his zeal for Guy. Guy has been very attentive and good
natured to him, and has quite won his heart; so that I should
positively honour him for his championship if it was not in great
degree out of opposition to his father and myself. To-morrow,
Margaret, you must give me some guide to the most probable quarters for
learning anything respecting this poor boy's follies.'
Mrs. Henley did her best in that way, and Philip followed up his
inquiries with great ardour, but still unsuccessfully. Jack White, the
hero of the draft, was not at St. Mildred's, nor likely to be heard of
again till the next races; and whether Sir Guy had been on the race-
ground at all was a doubtful point. Next, Philip walked to Stylehurst,
to call on Colonel Harewood, and see if he could learn anything in
conversation with him; but the Colonel did not seem to know anything,
and his sons were not at home. Young Morville was, he thought, a
spirited lad, very good natured; he had been out shooting once or twice
with Tom, and had a very fine spaniel. If he had been at the races,
the Colonel did not know it; he had some thoughts of asking him to join
their party, but had been prevented.
This was no reason, thought Philip, why Guy might not have been with
Tom Harewood without the Colonel's knowledge. Tom was just the man to
lead him amongst those who were given to betting; he might have been
drawn in, and, perhaps, he had given some pledge of payment when he was
of age, or, possibly, obtained an immediate supply of money from the
old steward at Redclyffe, who was devotedly attached to him. If so,
Philip trusted to be able to detect it from the accounts; on the other
supposition, there was no hope of discovery.
The conversation with Colonel Harewood kept him so late that he had no
time for going, as usual, to his old haunts, at Stylehurst; nor did he
feel inclined just then to revive the saddening reflections they
excited. He spent the evening in talking over books with his sister,
and the next day proceeded on his journey to Thorndale Park.
This was one of the places where he was always the most welcome, ever
since he had been a school-boy, received in a way especially
flattering, considering that the friendship was entirely owing to the
uncompromising good sense and real kindness with which he had kept in
order the follies of his former fag.
Charles might laugh, and call them the young man and young man's
companion, and Guy more classically term them the pious Aeneas and his
fidus Achates, but it was a friendship that did honour to both; and the
value that the Thorndales set upon Captain Morville was not misplaced,
and scarcely over-rated. Not particularly clever themselves, they the
more highly appreciated his endowments, and were proud that James had
been able to make such a friend, for they knew, as well as the rest of
the world, that Captain Morville was far from seeking the acquaintance
for the sake of their situation in life, but that it was from real
liking and esteem. How far this esteem was gained by the deference the
whole family paid to his opinion, was another question; at any rate,
the courting was from them.
The Miss Thorndales deemed Captain Morville the supreme authority in
drawing, literature, and ecclesiastical architecture; and whenever a
person came in their way who was thought handsome, always pronounced
that he was not by any means equal to James's friend. Lady Thorndale
delighted to talk over James with him, and thank him for his kindness;
and Lord Thorndale, rather a pompous man himself, liked his somewhat
stately manners, and talked politics with him, sincerely wishing he was
his neighbour at Redclyffe, and calculating how much good he would do
there. Philip listened with interest to accounts of how the Thorndale
and Morville influence had always divided the borough of Moorworth,
and, if united, might dispose of it at will, and returned evasive
answers to questions what the young heir of Redclyffe might be likely
James Thorndale drove his friend to Redclyffe, as Philip had authority
from Mr. Edmonstone to transact any business that might be required
with Markham, the steward; and, as has been said before, he expected to
discover in the accounts something that might explain why Guy had
ceased to press for the thousand pounds. However, he could find
nothing amiss in them, though--bearing in mind that it is less easy to
detect the loss of a score of sheep than of one--he subjected them to a
scrutiny which seemed by no means agreeable to the gruff old grumbling
steward. He also walked about the park, saw to the marking of certain
trees that were injuring each other; and finding that there was a
misunderstanding between Markham and the new rector, Mr. Ashford, about
certain parish matters, where the clergyman was certainly right, he
bore down Markham's opposition with Mr. Edmonstone's weight, and felt
he was doing good service.
He paused at the gate, and looked back at the wide domain and fine old
house. He pitied them, and the simple-hearted, honest tenantry, for
being the heritage of such a family, and the possession of one so
likely to misuse them, instead of training them into the means of
conferring benefits on them, on his country. What would not Philip
himself do if those lands were his,--just what was needed to give his
talents free scope? and what would it be to see his beautiful Laura