The Heir of Redclyffe
But no kind influence deign they shower,
Till pride be quelled and love be free.--SCOTT
Kilcoran was about twenty miles from Cork, and Captain Morville was engaged to go
and spend a day or two there. Maurice de Courcy drove him thither, wishing all the way
for some other companion, since no one ever ventured to smoke a cigar in the proximity
of 'Morville'; and, besides, Maurice's conversational powers were obliged to be entirely
bestowed on his horse and dog, for the captain, instead of, as usual, devoting himself to
suit his talk to his audience, was wrapped in the deepest meditation, now and then taking
out a letter and referring to it.
This letter was the reply jointly compounded by Mr. Edmonstone and Charles, and the
subject of his consideration was, whether he should accept the invitation to the wedding.
Charles had taken care fully to explain how the truth respecting the cheque had come out,
and Philip could no longer suspect that it had been a fabrication of Dixon's; but while
Guy persisted in denial of any answer about the thousand pounds, he thought the renewal
of the engagement extremely imprudent. He was very sorry for poor little Amy, for her
comfort and happiness were, he thought, placed in the utmost jeopardy, with such a hot
temper, under the most favourable circumstances; and there was the further peril, that
when the novelty of the life with her at Redclyffe had passed off, Guy might seek for
excitement in the dissipation to which his uncle had probably already introduced him. In
the four years' probation, he saw the only hope of steadying Guy, or of saving Amy, and
he was much concerned at the rejection of his advice, entirely for their sakes, for he could
not condescend to be affronted at the scornful, satirical tone towards himself, in which
Charles's little spitefulness was so fully apparent.
The wedding was a regular sacrifice, and Amabel was nothing but a victim; but an
invitation to Hollywell had a charm for him that he scarcely could resist. To see Laura
again, after having parted, as he thought, for so many years, delighted him in anticipation;
and it would manifest his real interest in his young cousins, and show that he was
superior to taking offence at the folly of Charles or his father.
These were his first thoughts and inclinations; his second were, that it was contrary to his
principles to sanction so foolish and hasty a marriage by his presence; that he should thus
be affording a triumph to Guy, and to one who would use it less moderately--to Charles.
It would be more worthy of himself, more consistent with his whole course of conduct, to
refuse his presence, instead of going amongst them when they were all infatuated, and
unable to listen to sober counsel. If he stayed away now, when Guy should have justified
his opinion, they would all own how wisely he had acted, and would see the true dignity
which had refused, unlike common minds, to let his complaisance draw him into giving
any sanction to what he so strongly disapproved. Laura, too, would pass through this
trying time better if she was not distracted by watching him; she would understand the
cause of his absence, and he could trust her to love and comprehend him at a distance,