The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 20
The longing for ignoble things,
The strife for triumph more than truth,
The hardening of the heart, that brings
Irreverence for the dreams of youth.--LONGFELLOW
After his week at Thorndale Park, Captain Morville returned to make his farewell visit at
Hollywell, before joining his regiment at Cork, whence it was to sail for the
Mediterranean. He reckoned much on this visit, for not even Laura herself could fathom
the depth of his affection for her, strengthening in the recesses where he so sternly
concealed it, and viewing her ever as more faultless since she had been his own. While
she was his noble, strong-minded, generous, fond Laura, he could bear with his
disappointment in his sister, with the loss of his home, and with the trials that had made
him a grave, severe man. She had proved the strength of her mind by the self-command
he had taught her, and for which he was especially grateful to her, as it made him safer
and more unconstrained, able to venture on more demonstration than in those early days
when every look had made her blush and tremble.
Mr. Edmonstone brought the carriage to fetch him from the station, and quickly began,--
'I suppose, as you have not written, you have found nothing out?'
'And you could do nothing with him. Eh?'
'No; I could not get a word of explanation, nor break through the fence of pride and
reserve. I must do him the justice to say that he bears the best of characters at Oxford;
and if there were any debts I could not get at them from the tradesmen.'
'Well, well, say no more about it; he is an ungrateful young dog, and I am sick of it. I
only wish I could wash my hands of him altogether. It was mere folly to expect any of
that set could ever come to good. There's everything going wrong all at once now; poor
little Amy breaking her heart after him, and, worse than all, there's poor Charlie laid up
again,' said Mr. Edmonstone, one of the most affectionate people in the world; but his
maundering mood making him speak of Charles's illness as if he only regarded it as an
additional provocation for himself.
'Charles ill!' exclaimed Philip.
'Yes; another, of those formations in the joint. I hoped and trusted that was all over now;
but he is as bad as ever,--has not been able to move for a week, and goodness knows
when he will again.'