The Heir of Redclyffe
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
'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.'