The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 23
They hadna sailed a league, a league,
A league, but barely three,
When the lift grew dark, and the wind grew loud,
And gurly grew the sea.--SIR PATRICK SPENS.--(Old Ballad.)
Guy's evening with the Ashfords threw down many of the barriers in the way of intimacy.
He soon made friends with the children, beginning with the two years old baby, and
ending with gaining even the shy and sturdy Robin, who could not hold out any longer,
when it appeared that Sir Guy could tell him the best place for finding sea-urchins, the
present objects of his affections.
'But we should have to go through the park,' said Edward, disconsolately, when Guy had
described the locality.
'Well, why not?'
'We must not go into the park!' cried the children, in chorus.
'Not go into the park!' exclaimed Guy, looking at Mrs. Ashford, in amazement; then, as it
flashed on him that it was his part to give leave, he added,--'I did not know I was such a
dog in the manger. I thought all the parish walked naturally in the park. I don't know what
else it is good for. If Markham will lock it up, I must tell him to give you a key.'
The boys were to come the next day--to be shown the way to the bay of urchins, and
thenceforth they became his constant followers to such a degree, that their parents feared
they were very troublesome, but he assured them to the contrary; and no mother in the
world could have found it in her heart to keep them away from so much happiness. There
was continually a rushing home with a joyous outcry,--'Mamma! Sir Guy gave me a ride
on his horse!' 'Mamma! Sir Guy helped us to the top of that great rock!' 'Oh, papa! Sir
Guy says we may come out shooting with him to-morrow, if you will let us!' 'Mamma!
papa! look! Do you see? I shot this rabbit my own self with Sir Guy's gun!' 'Papa! papa!
Sir Guy showed us his boat, and he says he will take us out to the Shag Rock, if you will
give us leave!'
This was beyond what papa, still further beyond what mamma, could like, since the sea
was often very rough in parts near the Shag; there were a good many sunken rocks, and
boys, water, and rocks, did not appear by any means a safe conjunction, so Mrs. Ashford
put the matter off for the present by the unseasonableness of the weather; and Mr.
Ashford asked one or two of the fishermen how far they thought landing on the Shag a
prudent attempt.
They did not profess to have often tried, they always avoided those rocks; but it could
hardly be very dangerous, they said, for when Sir Guy was a boy, he used to be about