The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 2
If the ill spirit have so fair a house,
Good things will strive to dwell with't.--THE TEMPEST
One of the pleasantest rooms at Hollywell was Mrs. Edmonstone's dressing-room--large
and bay-windowed, over the drawing-room, having little of the dressing-room but the
name, and a toilet-table with a black and gold japanned glass, and curiously shaped boxes
to match; her room opened into it on one side, and Charles's on the other; it was a sort of
up-stairs parlour, where she taught Charlotte, cast up accounts, spoke to servants, and
wrote notes, and where Charles was usually to be found, when unequal to coming down-
stairs. It had an air of great snugness, with its large folding-screen, covered with prints
and caricatures of ancient date, its book-shelves, its tables, its peculiarly easy arm-chairs,
the great invalid sofa, and the grate, which always lighted up better than any other in the
In the bright glow of the fire, with the shutters closed and curtains drawn, lay Charles on
his couch, one Monday evening, in a gorgeous dressing-gown of a Chinese pattern, all
over pagodas, while little Charlotte sat opposite to him, curled up on a footstool. He was
not always very civil to Charlotte; she sometimes came into collision with him, for she,
too, was a pet, and had a will of her own, and at other times she could bore him; but just
now they had a common interest, and he was gracious.
'It is striking six, so they must soon be here. I wish mamma would let me go down; but I
must wait till after dinner.'
'Then, Charlotte, as soon as you come in, hold up your hands, and exclaim, "What a
guy!" There will be a compliment!'
'No, Charlie; I promised mamma and Laura that you should get me into no more scrapes.'
'Did you? The next promise you make had better depend upon yourself alone.'
'But Amy said I must be quiet, because poor Sir Guy will be too sorrowful to like a
racket; and when Amy tells me to be quiet, I know that I must, indeed.'
'Most true,' said Charles, laughing.
'Do you think you shall like Sir Guy?'
'I shall be able to determine,' said Charles, sententiously, 'when I have seen whether he
brushes his hair to the right or left.'
'Philip brushes his to the left.'