The Heir of Redclyffe HTML version

Chapter 37
And see
If aught of sprightly, fresh, or free,
With the calm sweetness may compare
Of the pale form half slumbering there.
Therefore this one dear couch about
We linger hour by hour:
The love that each to each we bear,
All treasures of enduring care,
Into her lap we pour.--LYRA INNOCENTUM
The brother and sisters, left at home together, had been a very sad and silent party, unable
to attempt comforting each other. Charlotte's grief was wild and ungovernable; breaking
out into fits of sobbing, and attending to nothing till she was abashed first by a reproof
from Mr. Ross, and next by the description of Amabel's conduct; when she grew ashamed
and set herself to atone, by double care, for her neglect of Charles's comforts.
Charles, however, wanted her little. He had rather be let alone. After one exclamation of,
'My poor Amy!' he said not a word of lamentation, but lay hour after hour without
speaking, dwelling on the happy days he had spent with Guy,--companion, friend,
brother,--the first beam that had brightened his existence, and taught him to make it no
longer cheerless; musing on the brilliant promise that had been cut off; remembering his
hopes for his most beloved sister, and feeling his sorrow with imagining hers. It was his
first grief, and a very deep one. He seemed to have no comfort but in Mr. Ross, who
contrived to come to him every day, and would tell him how fully he shared his affection
and admiration for Guy, how he had marvelled at his whole character, as it had shown
itself more especially at the time of his marriage, when his chastened temper had been the
more remarkable in so young a man, with the world opening on him so brightly. As to the
promise lost, that, indeed, Mr. Ross owned, and pleased Charles by saying how he had
hoped to watch its fulfilment; but he spoke of its having been, in truth, no blight, only
that those fair blossoms were removed where nothing could check their full development
or mar their beauty. 'The hope in earthly furrows sown, would ripen in the sky;' Charles
groaned, saying it was hard not to see it, and they might speak as they would, but that
would not comfort him in thinking of his sister. What was his sorrow to hers? But Mr.
Ross had strong trust in Amabel's depth and calm resignation. He said her spirit of
yielding would support her, that as in drowning or falling, struggling is fatal, when
quietness saves, so it would be with her: and that even in this greatest of all trials she
would rise instead of being crushed, with all that was good and beautiful in her purified
and refined. Charles heard, strove to believe and be consoled, and brought out his letters,
trying, with voice breaking down, to show Mr. Ross how truly he had judged of Amy,
then listened with a kind of pleasure to the reports of the homely but touching laments of
all the village.