The Heir of Redclyffe
In such pursuits if wisdom lies,
Who, Laura, can thy taste despise?--GAY
The drawing-room of Hollywell House was one of the favoured apartments, where a
peculiar air of home seems to reside, whether seen in the middle of summer, all its large
windows open to the garden, or, as when our story commences, its bright fire and stands
of fragrant green-house plants contrasted with the wintry fog and leafless trees of
November. There were two persons in the room--a young lady, who sat drawing at the
round table, and a youth, lying on a couch near the fire, surrounded with books and
newspapers, and a pair of crutches near him. Both looked up with a smile of welcome at
the entrance of a tall, fine- looking young man, whom each greeted with 'Good morning,
'Good morning, Laura. Good morning, Charles; I am glad you are downstairs again! How
are you to-day?'
'No way remarkable, thank you,' was the answer, somewhat wearily given by Charles.
'You walked?' said Laura.
'Yes. Where's my uncle? I called at the post-office, and brought a letter for him. It has the
Moorworth post-mark,' he added, producing it.
'Where's that?' said Charles.
'The post-town to Redclyffe; Sir Guy Morville's place.'
'That old Sir Guy! What can he have to do with my father?'
'Did you not know,' said Philip, 'that my uncle is to be guardian to the boy--his grandson?'
'Eh? No, I did not.'
'Yes,' said Philip; 'when old Sir Guy made it an especial point that my father should take
the guardianship, he only consented on condition that my uncle should be joined with
him; so now my uncle is alone in the trust, and I cannot help thinking something must
have happened at Redclyffe. It is certainly not Sir Guy's writing.'
'It must wait, unless your curiosity will carry you out in search of papa,' said Charles; 'he
is somewhere about, zealously supplying the place of Jenkins.'