The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 3
The hues of bliss more brightly glow
Chastised by sober tints of woe.--GRAY
'What use shall I make of him?' said Charles to himself, as he studied Sir Guy Morville,
who sat by the table, with a book in his hand.
He had the unformed look of a growing boy, and was so slender as to appear taller than
he really was. He had an air of great activity; and though he sat leaning back, there was
no lounging in his attitude, and at the first summons he roused up with an air of alert
attention that recalled to mind the eager head of a listening greyhound. He had no
pretension to be called handsome; his eyes were his best feature; they were very peculiar,
of a light hazel, darker towards the outside of the iris, very brilliant, the whites tinted with
blue, and the lashes uncommonly thick and black; the eyebrows were also very dark, and
of a sharply-defined angular shape, but the hair was much lighter, loose, soft, and wavy;
the natural fairness of the complexion was shown by the whiteness of the upper part of
the forehead, though the rest of the face, as well as the small taper hands, were tanned by
sunshine and sea-breezes, into a fresh, hardy brown, glowing with red on the cheeks.
'What use shall I make of him?' proceeded Charles's thoughts. 'He won't be worth his salt
if he goes on in this way; he has got a graver specimen of literature there than I ever saw
Philip himself read on a week-day; he has been puritanized till he is good for nothing; I'll
trouble myself no more about him!' He tried to read, but presently looked up again.
'Plague! I can't keep my thoughts off him. That sober look does not sit on that sun-burnt
face as if it were native to it; those eyes don't look as if the Redclyffe spirit was
Mrs. Edmonstone came in, and looking round, as if to find some occupation for her guest,
at length devised setting him to play at chess with Charles. Charles gave her an amiable
look, expressing that neither liked it; but she was pretty well used to doing him good
against his will, and trusted to its coming right in time. Charles was a capital chess-
player, and seldom found any one who could play well enough to afford him much real
sport, but he found Sir Guy more nearly a match than often fell to his lot; it was a bold
dashing game, that obliged him to be on his guard, and he was once so taken by surprise
as to be absolutely check-mated. His ill-humour evaporated, he was delighted to find an
opponent worth playing with, and henceforth there were games almost every morning or
evening, though Sir Guy seemed not to care much about them, except for the sake of
pleasing him.
When left to himself, Guy spent his time in reading or in walking about the lanes alone.
He used to sit in the bay-window of the drawing-room with his book; but sometimes,
when they least expected it, the girls would find his quick eyes following them with an
air of amused curiosity, as Amabel waited on Charles and her flowers, or Laura drew,
wrote letters, and strove to keep down the piles of books and periodicals under which it