The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 26
Hence, bashful cunning,
And prompt me, plain and holy innocence.
I am your wife if you will marry me.--TEMPEST
Amabel awoke to such a sense of relief and repose that she scarcely liked to ask herself
the cause, lest it might ruffle her complete peace. Those words 'all right,' seemed to be
enough to assure her that the cloud was gone.
Her mother came in, told her one or two of the main facts, and took her down under her
wing, only stopping by the way for a greeting to Charles, who could not rise till after
breakfast. He held her fast, and gazed up in her face, but she coloured so deeply, cast
down her eyes, and looked so meek and submissive, that he let her go, and said nothing.
The breakfast party were for the most part quiet, silent, and happy. Even Charlotte was
hushed by the subdued feeling of the rest, and Mr. Edmonstone's hilarity, though replied
to in turn by each, failed to wake them into mirth. Guy ran up and down-stairs
continually, to wait upon Charles; and thus the conversation was always interrupted as
fast as it began, so that the only fact that came out was the cause of the lateness of their
arrival yesterday. Mr. Edmonstone had taken it for granted that Guy, like Philip, would
watch for the right time, and warn him, while Guy, being excessively impatient, had been
so much afraid of letting himself fidget, as to have suffered the right moment to pass, and
then borne all the blame.
'How you must have wanted to play the Harmonious Blacksmith,' said Charlotte.
'I caught myself going through the motions twice,' said Guy.
Mrs. Edmonstone said to herself that he might contest the palm of temper with Amy
even; the difference being, that hers was naturally sweet, his a hasty one, so governed that
the result was the same. When breakfast was over, as they were rising, Guy made two
steps towards Amabel, at whom he had hitherto scarcely looked, and said, very low, in
his straightforward way: 'Can I speak to you a little while?'
Amy's face glowed as she moved towards him, and her mother said something about the
drawing-room, where the next moment she found herself. She did not use any little
restless arts to play with her embarrassment; she did not torment the flowers or the
chimney ornaments, nor even her own rings, she stood with her hands folded and her
head a little bent down, like a pendant blossom, ready to listen to whatever might be said
to her.
He did not speak at first, but moved uneasily about. At last he came nearer, and began
speaking fast and nervously.