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of his grandson, young Sir Guy, his heir and successor, into the family of Mr. and Mrs. Edmonstone; Mr. Edmonstone being his guardian. Three daughters, Laura, Amy, and Charlotte, and a son, Charles, make up the family. Philip Morville is a distant cousin, a descendant of the brother of the first Morville baronet, between whom and the baronet there had been a deadly feud. He, however, stands now next in succession to the property to the young Sir Guy, and is, throughout the story, his enemy and contrast. Indeed, the whole plot turns upon the relentless prejudice and dislike which Philip feels for Guy, and which he perpetually and hastily displays. Guy is one of the most beautiful and elevating characters to be met with in fiction. Philip, clever and finely conceived, is intensely disagreeable. In Guy, the last of a long line of fierce and unprincipled men, is represented the grand picture of a man of noble nature, aware of his own faults of temper and waywardness, and heartily struggling against them with single-minded pure devotion, utterly unconscious of his own beauty and holiness; feeling only the cloud of wrath always ready to overtake him, and oppressed, sometimes even to melancholy, with a sense of the multiplied misdeeds of his forefathers, and the expiation that may be exacted from their descendant. High-spirited, selfish, courteous, clever, but with imperfect education, full of pure passion and refined enthusiasm, glowing with youthful energy and fresh imagination, without a trace of self-consciousness, full of humility and profoundly religious, Guy is a type, but the very best example, of that character which Miss Yonge delights to paint, and which might convince even Mr. Digby, that his perfect hero does not belong exclusively to the ages of faith or chivalry, nor to the communion of the Roman Church.
Philip, on the other hand, is the pattern boy and man, who won prizes at school, who never made a mistake or was guilty of a fault, who gave up his college education for the sake of his sister; learned, accomplished, judicious, temperate, always looked up to in his family, taking the lead in almost every circle where he is known, he is wrapped-up in self-esteem, manages every one he comes near, interferes and overbears without stint or mercy, and though not without good points, is, at bottom, an unsufferable coxcomb. Such a nature as Guy's he is, of course, unable to comprehend: while Guy's want of book knowledge and entire simplicity arouse his contempt, the superior wealth and position of the young baronet excite his envy, and, unconsciously to himself, poison his feelings towards him, and warp his judgment. Everything that Guy does he distorts and judges harshly. Guy's sharp temper he provokes and worries, his cordiality he repels, his simplicity he patronises, his goodness he suspects, his gentleness he outrages, his happiness, for a time, he mars. On these two characters, and the lovely one of Amabel Edmonstone, turns the chief interest of the · Heir of Redclyffe,'
Our readers shall see the externals of Guy as Miss Yonge has drawn them :
He had the unformed look of a growing boy, and was so slender as to appear taller than he really was. He had an air of great activity; and though he sat leaning back, there was no lounging in his attitude, and at the first summons, he roused up with an air of alert attention that recalled to mind the eager head of a listening greyhound. He had no pretensions to be called handsome; his eyes were his best features; they were very peculiar, of a light hazel, darker towards the outside of the iris, very brilliant, the whites tinted with blue, and the lashes uncommonly thick and black; the eyebrows were also very dark, and of a sharply-defined, angular shape, but the hair was much lighter, loose, soft, and wavy; the natural fairness of the complexion was shown by the whiteness of the upper part of the forehead, though the rest of the face, as well as the small taper hands, were tanned by sunshine and sea-breezes, into a fresh, hardy brown, glowing with red on the cheeks.'—Heir of Redcliffe, vol. i. p. 25,
In the family of his guardian Guy lives; occasionally showing signs of temper and wilfulness, but almost always on provocation from Philip. Charles Edmonstone, the son of his guardian, is a very interesting character. He is a cripple, with a very painful disorder; shrewd and clever, and excessively intolerant of the influence of Philip, whom he entirely sees through; but selfish and impatient himself, and given to indulge a satirical and provoking disposition. He soon yields, however, to the fascination of Guy's character, and becomes heartily attached to him, to his own great benefit. With Charles, with Amy, and with Mrs. Edmonstone, a good, kind person, he speedily becomes at home. To her, as to a mother, he confides his difficulties and makes his confessions. It must be remembered that he is a young boy about eighteen years old, has been brought up by a grandfather, whom he loves most tenderly, and that he has still a very violent temper. The passage which follows is a specimen of this portion of his life, and will give some notion of Philip, Mrs. Edmonstone, and Charles, as well as Guy:
The grey mist had faded into twilight, and twilight into something like night, when Charles was crossing the hall, with the aid of Amy's arm, Charlotte carrying the crutch behind him, and Mrs. Edmonstone helping Laura with her perspective apparatus, all on their way to dress for dinner; the door opened, and in came the two Morvilles. Guy, without even stopping to take off his great coat, ran at once upstairs, and the next moment the door of his room was shut with a bang that shook the house, and made them all start and look at Philip for explanation.
6" Redclyffe temper,” said he, coolly, with a half-smile curling his short upper lip. **. What have you been doing to him?" said Charles.
"Nothing. At least nothing worthy of such ire. I only entered on the subject of his Oxford life, and advised him to prepare for it, for his education
has as yet been a mere farce. He used to go two or three days in the week to one Potts, a self-educated genius-a sort of superior writing-master at the Moorworth commercial school. Of course, though it is no fault of his, poor fellow, he is hardly up to the fifth form, and he must make the most of his time, if he is not to be plucked. I set all this before him as gently as I could, for I knew with whom I had to deal, yet you see how it is.”
"“What did he say?” said Charles.
"" He said nothing, so far I give him credit; but he strode on furiously for the last half mile, and this explosion is the finale. I am very sorry for him, poor boy; I beg no further notice may be taken of it. Don't you want an arm, Charlie ?”
““No, thank you," answered Charles, with a little surliness.
"“You had better. It really is too much for Amy,” said Philip, making a move as if to take possession of him, as he arrived at the foot of the stairs.
"" Like the camellia, I suppose," he replied ; and taking his other crutch from Charlotte, he began determinedly to ascend without assistance, resolved to keep Philip a prisoner below him as long as he could, and enjoying the notion of chafing him by the delay. Certainly teazing Philip was a dear delight to Charles, though it was all on trust, as, if he succeeded, bis cousin never betrayed his annoyance by look or sign.
About a quarter of an hour after, there was a knock at the dressingroom door." Come in,” said Mrs. Edmonstone, looking up from her letter writing, and Guy made his appearance, looking very downcast.
"" I am come,” he said, “ to ask pardon for the disturbance I made just now. I was so foolish as to be irritated at Philip's manner, when he was giving me some good advice, and I am very sorry."
""What has happened to your lip?” she exclaimed. · He put his handkerchief to it. “ Is it bleeding still? It is a trick of mine to bite my lip when I am vexed. It seems to help to keep down words. There! I have given myself a mark of this hateful outbreak.”
• He looked very unhappy, more so, Mrs. Edmonstone thought, than the actual offence required. “You have only failed in part,” she said, “It is a victory to keep down words."
"The feeling is the thing," said Guy; "besides, I showed it plainly enough without speaking."
s“It is not easy to take advice from one so little your elder," began Mrs. Edmonstone, but he interrupted her. “It was not the advice. That was very good; 1—" but he spoke with an effort,—" I am obliged to him. It was—no, I won't say what," he added, his eyes kindling, then changing in a moment to a sorrowful resolute tone, “ Yes, but I will, and then I shall make myself thoroughly ashamed. It was his veiled assumption of superiority, his contempt for all I have been taught. Just as if he had not every right to despise me, with his talent and scholarship, after such egregious mistakes as I had made in the morning. I gave him little reason to think highly of my attainments; but let him slight me as much as he pleases, he must not slight those who taught me. It was not Mr. Potts' fault.”.
Even the name could not spoil the spirited sound of the speech, and Mrs. Edmonstone was full of sympathy. “ You must remember," she said, “ that in the eyes of a man brought up at a public school, nothing compensates for the want of the regular classical education. I have no doubt it was very provoking.”
"" I don't want to be excused, thank you,” said Guy. “Oh! I am grieved ; for I thought the worst of my temper had been subdued. After all that has passed all I have felt-I thought it impossible. Is there no hope for ~ He covered his face with his hands, then recovering and turning to Mrs. Edmonstone, he said, “ It is encroaching too much on your kindness to come here and trouble you with my confessions."
""No, no, indeed," said she, earnestly. “Remember how we agreed that you should come to me like one of my own children. And, indeed, I do not see why you need grieve in this despairing way, for you almost overcame the fit of anger; and perhaps you were off your guard because the trial came in an unexpected way.
"" It did, it did,” he said, eagerly; " I don't mind being told point blank that I am a dunce, but that Mr. Potts-nay, by implication, my grandfathershould be set at nought in that cool But here I am again !” said he, checking himself in the midst of his vehemence; "he did not mean that, of course. I have no one to blame but myself."
“I am sure,” said Mrs. Edmonstone, “that if you always treat your failings in this way, you must subdue them at last.»;
"" It is all failing, and resolving, and failing again !” said Guy:
"“Yes, but the failures become slighter and less frequent, and the end is victory."
""The end victory !" repeated Guy, in a musing tone, as he stood leaning against the mantelshelf.
“Yes, to all who persevere and seek for help," said Mrs. Edmonstone; and he raised his eyes and fixed them on her with an earnest look that surprised her, for it was almost as if the hope came home to him as something new. At that moment, however, she was called away, and directly after a voice in the next room exclaimed, “ Are you there, Guy? I want an arm !” while he for the first time perceived that Charles's door was ajar.
Charles thought all this a great fuss about nothing, indeed he was glad to find there was any one who had no patience with Philip; and in his usual mischievous manner, totally reckless of the fearful evil of interfering with the influence for good which it was to be hoped that Philip might exert over Guy, he spoke thus : "I begin to think the world must be more docile than I have been disposed to give it credit for. How a certain cousin of ours has escaped numerous delicate hints to mind his own business, is to me one of the wonders of the world."
""No one better deserves that his advice should be followed,” said Guy, with some constraint.
""An additional reason against it,” said Charles. “Plague on that bell! I meant to have broken through your formalities and had a candid opinion of Don Philip before it rang.'
““Then I am glad of it, I could hardly have given you a candid opinion just at present." - Pp. 52—55.
This goes on, and Philip becomes more and more unjust and blind, as Guy becomes gradually more self-controlled, and is able to act more steadily upon the high principles which he never wilfully, for a moment, deserts. Guy is becoming gradually very fond of Amy, and she of him. Philip fancies that he is falling in love with Laura, the other sister, to whom he is himself attached. He makes a secret engagement with her, and urges her to discourage Guy. Just at this time a ball is given by Philip's regiment, from which Guy absents himself, because he finds it interferes with his reading. Philip chooses to believe it is out of pique with Laura; and when Guy goes to explain to the Colonel of the regiment, he behaves as the following passage will show. Guy and Amyare conversing :
"“So I thought it best to go at once to the Captain, and get a rational account of what was the matter.”
““ Did you ?" said Amy, who, though concerned and rather alarmed, had been smiling at the humorous and expressive tone with which he could not help giving effect to his narrative.
"" Yes. Philip was at home, and very-very--"
«« Just so. Only the vexatious thing was, that we never could succeed in coming to any understanding. He was ready to forgive; but I could not disabuse him of an idea—where he picked it up I cannot guess-that I had stayed away out of pique. He would not even tell me what he thought had affronted me, though I asked him over and over again to be only straightforward; he declared I knew."
"“How excessively provoking !" cried Amy. “You cannot guess what he meant?"
""Not the least in the world. I have not the most distant suspicion. It was of no use to declare that I was not offended with any one; he only looked in that way of his, as if he knew much better than I did myself, and told me he could make allowances.”
«“Worse than all! How horrid of him.”
€“ No, don't spoil me. No doubt he thinks he has grounds, and my irritation was unjustifiable. Yes, I got into my old way. He cautioned me, and nearly drove me mad! I never was nearer coming to a regular outbreak. Always the same! Fool that I am."
""Now, Guy, that is always your way; when other people are provoking, you abuse yourself. I am sure Philip was so, with his calm assertion of being right."
• " The more provoking, the more trial for me.”
"" But you endured it. You say it was only nearly an outbreak. You parted friends ? I am sure of that."
• “Yes, it would have been rather too bad not to do that." "" Then why do you scold yourself, when you really had the victory?".
«« The victory will be if the inward feeling as well as the outward token is ever subdued.”
""O, that must be in time, of course. Only let me know how you got on with Colonel Deane."
""He was very good-natured, and would have laughed it off, but Philip went with me, and looked grand, and begged in a solemn way that no more might be said. I could have got on better alone; but Philip was very kind, gr, as you say, gracious."
"" And, provoking,” added Amy, "only I believe you do not like me to say so,"
“ It is more agreeable to hear you call him so at this moment than is good for me. I have no right to complain, since I gave the offence.”
"The offence ?" ««• The absenting myself.” ""Oh! that you did because you thought it right." "“I want to be clear that it was right."
«« What do you mean?" cried she, astonished. “ It was a great piece of self-denial, and I only felt it wrong not to be doing the same."
""Nay, how should such creatures as you need the same discipline ns 1?"
She exclaimed to herself how far from his equal she was-how weak, idle, and self-pleasing she felt herself to be; but she could not say so—the words would not come and she only drooped her little head, humbled by his treating her as better than himself. He proceeded :
«« Something wrong I have done, and I want the clue. Was it self-will in choosing discipline contrary to your mother's judgment ? Yet she could not know all. I thought it her kindness in not liking me to lose the pleasure.