The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 8
Like Alexander, I will reign,
And I will reign alone,
My thoughts shall ever more disdain
A rival near my throne.
But I must rule and govern still,
And always give the law,
And have each subject at my will,
And all to stand in awe.--MONTROSE.
One very hot afternoon, shortly after the ball, Captain Morville walked to Hollywell,
accelerating his pace under the influence of anxious reflections.
He could not determine whether Charles had spoken in jest; but in spite of Guy's extreme
youth, he feared there was ground for the suspicion excited by the hint, and was
persuaded that such an attachment could produce nothing but unhappiness to his cousin,
considering how little confidence could be placed in Guy. He perceived that there was
much to inspire affection--attractive qualities, amiable disposition, the talent for music,
and now this recently discovered power of versifying, all were in Guy's favour, besides
the ancient name and long ancestry, which conferred a romantic interest, and caused even
Philip to look up to him with a feudal feeling as head of the family. There was also the
familiar intercourse to increase the danger; and Philip, as he reflected on these things,
trembled for Laura, and felt himself her only protector; for his uncle was nobody, Mrs.
Edmonstone was infatuated, and Charles would not listen to reason. To make everything
worse, he had that morning heard that there was to be a grand inspection of the regiment,
and a presentation of colours; Colonel Deane was very anxious; and it was plain that in
the interval the officers would be allowed little leisure. The whole affair was to end with
a ball, which would lead to a repetition of what had already disturbed him.
Thus meditating, Philip, heated and dusty, walked into the smooth green enclosure of
Hollywell. Everything, save the dancing clouds of insect youth which whirled in his face,
was drooping in the heat. The house-- every door and window opened--seemed gasping
for breath; the cows sought refuge in the shade; the pony drooped its head drowsily; the
leaves hung wearily; the flowers were faint and thirsty; and Bustle was stretched on the
stone steps, mouth open, tongue out, only his tail now and then moving, till he put back
his ears and crested his head to greet the arrival. Philip heard the sounds that had caused
the motion of the sympathizing tail--the rich tones of Guy's voice. Stepping over the dog,
he entered, and heard more clearly--
'Two loving hearts may sever, For sorrow fails them never.'
And then another voice--