The Heir of Redclyffe
I forgave thee all the blame,
I could not forgive the praise.--TENNYSON
'If ever there was a meddlesome coxcomb on this earth!' Such was the exclamation that
greeted the ears of Guy as he supported Charles into the breakfast-room; and, at the same
time, Mr. Edmonstone tossed a letter into Guy's plate, saying,--
'There's something for you to read.'
Guy began; his lips were tightly pressed together; his brows made one black line across
his forehead, and his eye sparkled even through his bent-down eyelashes; but this lasted
only a few moments; the forehead smoothed, again, and there was a kind of deliberate
restraint and force upon himself, which had so much power, that no one spoke till he had
finished, folded it up with a sort of extra care, and returned it, only saying,
'You should not show one such letters, Mr. Edmonstone.'
'Does not it beat everything?' cried Mr. Edmonstone. 'If that is not impertinence, I should
like to know what is! But he has played my Lord Paramount rather too long, as I can tell
him! I ask his consent, forsooth! Probation, indeed! You might marry her to-morrow, and
welcome. There, give it to mamma. See if she does not say the same. Mere spite and
malice all along.'
Poor Laura! would no one refute such cruel injustice? Yes, Guy spoke, eagerly,--
'No no; that it never was. He was quite right under his belief.'
'Don't tell me! Not a word in his favour will I hear!' stormed on Mr. Edmonstone. 'Mere
envy and ill-will.'
'I always told him so,' said Charles. 'Pure malignity!'
'Nonsense, Charlie!' said Guy, sharply; 'there is no such thing about him.'
'Come, Guy; I can't stand this,' said Mr. Edmonstone. 'I won't have him defended; I never
thought to be so deceived; but you all worshipped the boy as if every word that came out
of his mouth was Gospel truth, and you've set him up till he would not condescend to
take an advice of his own father, who little thought what an upstart sprig he was rearing;
but I tell him he has come to the wrong shop for domineering-- eh, mamma?'
'Well!' cried Mrs. Edmonstone, who had read till near the end with tolerable equanimity;
this really is too bad!'