The Heir of Redclyffe
Oh, thou child of many prayers!
Life hath quicksands--life hath snares--
Care and age come unawares.
Like the swell of some sweet tune,
Morning rises into noon,
May glides onward into June.--Longfellow
'What is the matter with Amy? What makes her so odd?' asked Charles, as his mother
came to wish him good night.
'Poor little dear! don't take any notice,' was all the answer he received; and seeing that he
was to be told no more, he held his peace.
Laura understood without being told. She, too, had thought Guy and Amy were a great
deal together, and combining various observations, she perceived that her mother must
have given Amy a caution. She therefore set herself, like a good sister, to shelter Amy as
much as she could, save her from awkward situations, and, above all, to prevent her
altered manner from being remarked. This was the less difficult, as Eveleen was subdued
and languid, and more inclined to lie on the sofa and read than to look out for mirth.
As to poor little Amy, her task was in one way become less hard, for Guy had ceased to
haunt her, and seemed to make it his business to avoid all that could cause her
embarrassment; but in another way it hurt her much more, for she now saw the pain she
was causing. If obliged to do anything for her, he would give a look as if to ask pardon,
and then her rebellious heart would so throb with joy as to cause her dismay at having let
herself fall into so hateful a habit as wishing to attract attention. What a struggle it was
not to obey the impulse of turning to him for the smile with which he would greet
anything in conversation that interested them both, and how wrong she thought it not to
be more consoled when she saw him talking to Eveleen, or to any of the others, as if he
was doing very well without her. This did not often happen; he was evidently out of
spirits, and thoughtful, and Amy was afraid some storm might be gathering respecting
Mr. Sebastian Dixon, about whom there always seemed to be some uncomfortable
Mrs. Edmonstone saw everything, and said nothing. She was very sorry for them both,
but she could not interfere, and could only hope she had done right, and protected Amy as
far as she was able. She was vexed now and then to see Eveleen give knowing smiles and
significant glances, feared that she guessed what was going on, and wondered whether to
give her a hint not to add to Amy's confusion; but her great dislike to enter on such a
subject prevailed, and she left things to take their course, thinking that, for once, Guy's
departure would be a relief.