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Title: Marriage
Author: Ferrier, Susan Edmonstone, 1782-1854
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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MARRIAGE

A Novel by Susan Ferrier

"Life consists not of a series of
illustrious actions; the greater part of our time passes in
compliance with necessities--in the performance of daily  duties--in
the removal of small inconveniences--in the procurement of petty
pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, as the main stream of life
glides on smoothly, or is ruffled by small and frequent
interruption." -JOHNSON.



Edinburgh
Edition

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME I.

LONDON

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON

Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen

1881

_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh._



PREFATORY NOTE.

MISS FERRIER'S Novels have, since their first appearance, suffered
curtailment in all subsequent Editions. The present Edition is the first
reprint from the original Editions, and contains the whole of the
omissions in other reprints. It is, therefore, the only perfect Edition
of these Novels.

Works which have received the praise of Sir Walter Scott and Sir James
Mackintosh, and been thought worthy of discussion in the _Noctes
Ambrosianae,_ require no further introduction to the reader. The almost
exceptional position which they occupy as satirizing the foibles rather
than the more serious faults of human nature, and the caustic character
of that satire, mingled with such bright wit and genial humour, give
Miss Ferrier a place to herself in English fiction; and it is felt that
a time has come to recognize this by producing her works in a form which
fits them for the library, and in a type which enables them to be read
with enjoyment.

          G.B.

NEW BURLINGTON STREET,

_December_
_1881._



MISS FERRIER'S NOVELS. [1]

In November 1854 there died in Edinburgh one who might, with truth, be
called almost the last, if not _the_ last, of that literary galaxy that
adorned Edinburgh society in the days of Scott, Jeffrey, Wilson, and
others. Distinguished by the friendship and confidence of Sir Walter
Scott, the name of Susan Edmonstone Ferrier is one that has become
famous from her three clever, satirical, and most amusing novels _of
Marriage, The_ _Inheritance,_ and _Destiny. _They exhibit, besides, a
keen sense of the ludicrous almost unequalled. She may be said to have
done for Scotland what Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth have respectively
done for England and Ireland--left portraits, painted in undying
colours, of men and women that will live for ever in the hearts and
minds of her readers. In the present redundant age of novel writers and
novel-readers, and when one would suppose the supply must far exceed the
demand from the amount of puerile and often at the same time prurient
literature in the department of fiction that daily flows from the press,
it is refreshing to turn to the vigorous and, above all, healthy moral
tone of this lady's works. To the present generation they are as if they
had never been, and to the question, "Did you ever read _Marriage?"_ it
is not uncommon in these times to get such an answer as, "No, never. Who
wrote it?" "Miss Ferrier." "I never heard of her or her novels." It is
with the view, therefore, of enlightening such benighted ones that I pen
the following pages.

[1] Reprinted from the _Temple Bar_ Magazine for November 1878, Vol I.


Miss Ferrier was the fourth and youngest daughter of James Ferrier,
Writer to the Signet, and was born at Edinburgh, 7th of September 1782.
Her father was bred to that profession in the office of a distant
relative, Mr. Archibald Campbell of Succoth (great grandfather of
the present Archbishop of Canterbury).To his valuable and extensive
business, which included the management of all the Argyll estates, he
ultimately succeeded. He was admitted as a member of the Society of
Writers to the Signet in the year 1770. He was also appointed a
Principal Clerk of Session through the influence (most strenuously
exerted) of his friend and, patron, John, fifth Duke of Argyll, [1] and
was a colleague in that office with Scott. He also numbered among his
friends Henry Mackenzie, the "Man of Feeling," Dr. Hugh Blair, and last,
though not least, Burns the poet. His father, John Ferrier, had been in
the same office till his marriage with Grizzel, only daughter and
heiress of Sir Walter Sandilands Hamilton, Bart., of Westport, county
Linlithgow. [2] John Ferrier was the last Laird of Kirklands, county
Renfrew, subsequently sold to Lord Blantyre. Mr. James Ferrier was the
third son of his parents, and was born 1744. [3] Miss Ferrier was in the
habit of frequently visiting at Inveraray Castle in company with her
father, and while there had ample opportunity afforded her of studying
fashionable life in all its varied and capricious moods, and which have
been preserved to posterity in her admirable delineations of character.
Her reason for becoming an authoress is from her own pen, as follows,
and is entitled a preface to _The Inheritance_:--

[1] To this nobleman, in his later years, Mr. Ferrier devoted much of
his time, both at Inveraray and Roseneath. He died in 1806. His Duchess
was the lovely Elizabeth Gunning. Mr. Ferrier died at 25 George Street,
Edinburgh, January 1829, aged eighty-six. Sir Walter Scott attended his
funeral. After his death Miss Ferrier removed to a smaller house, in
Nelson Street.

[2] Sir Walter's father, Walter Sandilands of Hilderston, a cadet of the
Torphichen family (his father was commonly styled Tutor of Calder),
assumed the name of Hamilton on his marriage with the heiress of
Westport.

[3]  His brothers were: William, who assumed the name of Hamilton on
succeeding his grandfather in the Westport estate. He was in the navy,
and at the capture of Quebec, where he assisted the sailors to drag the
cannon up the heights of Abraham; m. Miss Johnstone of Straiton, co.
Linlithgow; died 1814. Walter; m. Miss Wallace of Cairnhill, co. Ayr,
father of the late Colonel Ferrier Hamilton of Cairnhill and Westport.
Ilay, major-general in the army; m. first Miss Macqueen, niece of Lord
Braxfield, second, Mrs. Cutlar of Orroland, co. Kirkcudbright. He was
Governor of Dumbarton Castle, and died there 1824.

"An introduction had been requested for the first of these three works,
_Marriage;_ but while the author was considering what could be said for
an already thrice-told tale, it had passed through the press with such
rapidity as to outstrip all consideration. Indeed, what can be said for
any of them amounts to so little, it is scarcely worth saying at all.
The first was begun at the urgent desire of a friend, and with the
promise of assistance, which, however, failed long before the end of the
first volume; the work was then thrown aside, and resumed some years
after. [1] It afforded occupation and amusement for idle and solitary
hours, and was published in the belief that the author's name never
would be guessed at, or the work heard of beyond a very limited sphere.
_'Ce n'est que le premier pas qu'il coute'_ in novel-writing, as in
carrying one's head in their hand; _The Inheritance_ and _Destiny
_followed as matters of course. It has been so often and confidently
asserted that almost all the characters are individual portraits, that
the author has little hope of being believed when she asserts the
contrary. That some of them were sketched from life is not denied; but
the circumstances in which they are placed, their birth, habits,
language, and a thousand minute particulars, differ so widely from the
originals as ought to refute the charge of personality. With regard to
the introduction of religious sentiment into works of fiction, there
exists a difference of opinion, which, in the absence of any
authoritative command, leaves each free to act according to their own
feelings and opinions. Viewing this life merely as the prelude to
another state of existence, it does seem strange that the future should
ever be_ wholly_ excluded from any representation of it, even in its
motley occurrences, scarcely less motley, perhaps, than the human mind
itself. The author can only wish it had been her province to have raised
plants of nobler growth in the wide field of Christian literature; but
as such has not been her high calling, she hopes her 'small herbs of
grace' may, without offence, be allowed to put forth their blossoms
amongst the briars, weeds, and wild flowers of life's common path.

[1] It underwent several changes before its final publication in 1818.



"Edinburgh,
_April_ 1840."

The friend on whose assistance she relied was Miss Clavering, daughter
of Lady Augusta Clavering, and niece of the late Duke of Argyll. Between
this lady and our author an early friendship existed, which was severed
only by death. It commenced in 1797, when Miss Ferrier lost her mother,
[1] and when she went with her father to Inveraray Castle she was then
fifteen, and her friend only eight. Miss Clavering became the wife of Mr.
Miles Fletcher, advocate, but was better known in later years as Mrs.
Christison. She inherited all the natural elegance and beauty of face
and form for which her mother, and aunt Lady Charlotte Campbell, were so
distinguished, and died at Edinburgh, 1869, at an advanced age. While
concocting the story of her first novel, Miss Ferrier writes to her
friend in a lively and sprightly vein:--



[1] Mrs. Ferrier _(nee_ Coutts) was the daughter of a farmer at Gourdon,
near Montrose. She was very amiable, and possessed of great personal
beauty, as is attested by her portrait by Sir George Chalmers, Bart., in
a fancy dress, and painted 1765. At the time of her marriage (1767) she
resided at the Abbey of Holyrood Palace with an aunt, the Honourable
Mrs. Maitland, widow of a younger son of Lord Lauderdale's, who had been
left in poor circumstances, and had charge of the apartments there
belonging to the Argyll family. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs.
Ferrier occupied a flat in Lady Stair's Close (Old Town of Edinburgh),
and which had just been vacated by Sir James Pulteney and his wife Lady
Bath. Ten children were the fruit of this union (six sons and four
daughters), viz.--

1. John, W.S., of 12 York Place, Edinburgh, d. 1851; m. Miss Wilson,
sister of Professor Wilson, and father of the late Professor Ferrier
of St. Andrews, N. B.

2. Archibald Campbell, W.S., d. 1814; m. Miss Garden.

3. Lorn, d. 1801, at Demerara.

4. James, d. in India, 1804.             }
                                         }
5. William  Hamilton, d. 1804, in India. }  Both Officers

6. Walter, W.S., d. 1856; m. Miss Gordon.

7. Jane (Mrs. Graham), d. 1846.

8. Janet (Mrs. Connell), d. 1848.

9. Helen _(_Mrs_._ Kinloch), d. 1866, at Torquay, aged 90.

10. Susan Edmonstone.


"Your proposals flatter and delight me, but how in the name of Postage
are we to transport our brains to and fro? I suppose we'd be pawning our
flannel petticoats to bring about our heroine's marriage, and lying on
straw to give her Christian burial. Part of your plot I like much, some
not quite so well--for example, it wants a _moral_--your principal
characters are good and interesting, and they are tormented and
persecuted and punished from no fault, of their own_,_ and for no
possible purpose. Now I don't think, like all penny-book manufacturers,
that 'tis absolutely necessary that the good boys and girls should be
rewarded and the naughty ones punished. Yet I think, where there is much
tribulation, 'tis fitter it should be the _consequence_ rather than the
_cause_ of misconduct or frailty. You'll say that rule is absurd,
inasmuch as it is not observed in human life: that I allow, but we know
the inflictions of Providence are for wise purposes, therefore our
reason willingly submits to them. But as the only good purpose of a book
is to inculcate morality and convey some lesson of instruction as well
as delight, I do not see that what is called a _good moral_ can be
dispensed with in a work of fiction. Another fault is your making your
hero attempt suicide, which is greatly too shocking, and destroys all
the interest his misfortunes would otherwise excite--that, however,
could be easily altered, and in other respects I think your plot has
great merit. You'll perhaps be displeased at the freedom of my remarks;
but in the first place freedom is absolutely necessary in the cause in
which we are about to embark, and it must be understood to be one if not
the chief article of our creed. In the second (though it should have
been the first), know that I always say what I think, or say nothing.
Now as to my own deeds--I shall make no apologies (since they must be
banished from our code of laws) for sending you a hasty and imperfect
sketch of what I think might be wrought up to a tolerable form. I do not
recollect ever to have seen the sudden transition of a high-bred English
beauty, [1] who thinks she can sacrifice all for love, to an
uncomfortable solitary Highland dwelling [2] among tall red-haired
sisters and grim-faced aunts. Don't you think this would make a good
opening of the piece? Suppose each of us try our hands on it; the moral
to be deduced from that is to warn all young ladies against runaway
matches, and the character and fate of the two sisters would be
_unexceptionable._ I expect it will be the first book every wise matron
will put into the hand of her daughter, and even the reviewers will
relax of their severity in favour of the morality of this little work.
Enchanting sight! already do I behold myself arrayed in an old mouldy
covering, thumbed and creased and filled with dogs'-ears. I hear the
enchanting sound of some sentimental miss, the shrill pipe of some
antiquated spinster, or the hoarse grumbling of some incensed dowager as
they severally inquire for me at the circulating library, and are
assured by the master that 'tis in such demand that though he has
thirteen copies they are insufficient to answer the calls upon it, but
that each of them may depend upon having the very first that comes in!!!
Child, child, you had need be sensible of the value of my
correspondence. At this moment I'm squandering mines of wealth upon you
when I might be drawing treasures from the bags of time! But I shall not
repine if you'll only repay me in kind--speedy and long is all that I
require; for all things else I shall take my chance. Though I have been
so impertinent to your book, I nevertheless hope and expect you'll send
it to me. Combie [1] and his daughter (or Mare, as you call her) are
coming to town about this time, as I'm informed, and you may easily
contrive to catch them (wild as they are) and send it by them, for
there's no judging what a picture will be like from a mere pen-and-ink
outline--if that won't do, is there not a coach or a carrier? One thing
let me entreat of you: if we engage in this undertaking, let it be kept
a profound secret from every human being. If I was suspected of being
accessory to such foul deeds, my brothers and sisters would murder me,
and my father bury me alive--and I have always observed that if a secret
ever goes beyond those immediately concerned in its concealment it very
soon ceases to be a secret."

[1] Lady Juliana.

[2] Glenfern. Dunderawe Castle, on Loch Fyne, was in Miss Ferrier's mind
when she drew this sketch of a "solitary Highland dwelling."


Again she writes to her friend and copartner in her literary work:--

"I am boiling to hear from you, but I've taken a remorse of conscience
about Lady Maclaughlan and her friends: if I was ever to be detected, or
even suspected, I would have nothing for it but to drown myself. I mean,
therefore, to let her alone till I hear from you, as I think we might
compound some other kind of character for her that might do as well and
not be so dangerous. As to the misses, if ever it was to be published
they must be altered or I must fly my native land."

[1] Campbell of Combie.

Miss Clavering writes in answer:--

"ARDENCAPLE CASTLE,
_Sunday Morning.-_

"First of all I must tell you that I approve in the most signal manner
of Lady Maclaughlan. The sort of character was totally unexpected by me,
and I was really transported with her. Do I know the person who is the
original? The dress was vastly like Mrs. Damer, [1] and the manners like
Lady Frederick. [2] Tell me if you did not mean a touch at her. I love
poor Sir Sampson vastly, though it is impossible, in the presence of his
lady, to have eyes or ears for anyone else. Now you must not think of
altering her, and it must all go forth in the world; neither must the
misses upon any account be changed. I have a way now of at least
offering it to publication by which you never can be discovered. I will
tell the person that I wrote it (indeed, quothà, cries Miss Ferrier, and
no great favour; see how she loves to plume herself with borrowed
fame!). Well, however, my way is quite sure, and the person would never
think of speaking of it again, so never let the idea of detection come
across your brain while you are writing to damp your ardour.

[1] Daughter of General Seymour Conway, and a distinguished sculptor.
She was niece of the fifth Duke of Argyll.

[2] Lady Frederick Campbell is believed to have suggested the character
of Lady Maclaughlan to Miss Ferrier, and there is little doubt she was
the original. She was the widow of Earl Ferrel's, of Tyburn notoriety,
and was burnt to death at Coombe Bank, _Kent,_ in 1807.


"Positively neither Sir Sampson's lady nor the foolish virgins must be
displaced."

Again she writes from Inveraray Castle (of date December 1810), eight
years before the work was published:--

"And now, my dear Susannah, I must tell you of the success of your
first-born. I read it to Lady Charlotte [1] in the carriage when she and
I came together from Ardencaple, Bessie [2] having gone with mamma. If
you will believe, I never yet in my existence saw Lady C. laugh so much
as she did at that from beginning to end; and, seriously, I was two or
three times afraid that she would fall into a fit. Her very words were,
'I assure you I think it without the least exception the cleverest thing
that ever was written, and in wit far surpassing Fielding.' Then she
said as to our other books they would all sink to nothingness before
yours, that they were not fit to be mentioned in the same day, and that
she felt quite discouraged from writing when she thought of yours. The
whole conversation of the aunties [3] made her screech with laughing;
and, in short, I can neither record nor describe all that she said; far
from exaggerating it, I don't say half enough, but I only wish you had
seen the effect it produced. I am sure you will be the first author of
the age."

[1] Lady Charlotte Campbell, her aunt, better known latterly as Lady
Charlotte Bury, and celebrated for her beauty and accomplishments.

[2] Miss Mure of Caldwell.

[3] These oddities were the three Misses Edmonstone, of the
Duntreath family, and old family friends, after one or whom Miss Ferrier
was named.


In another letter she writes:--

"I had an immense packet from Lady C. the other day, which I confess
rather disappointed me, for I expected volumes of new compositions. On
opening it, what should it prove but your book returned? so I shall keep
it safe till I see you. She was profuse in its praises, and so was
mamma, who said she was particularly taken with Lady Juliana's brother,
[1] he was so like the duke. Lady C. said she had read it all
deliberately and critically, and pronounced it _capital, _with a dash
under it. Lady C. begs that in your enumeration of Lady Olivia's
peccadilloes you will omit waltzes."

[1] Lord Courtland.

That dance had just been introduced in London (1811), and the season of
that year Miss Clavering spent with her aunt, Lady Charlotte, in the
metropolis, in a round of gaiety, going to parties at Kensington Palace
(where the Princess of Wales [1] then lived), Devonshire House, and the
witty Duchess of Gordon's, one of the "Empresses of Fashion," as Walpole
calls her. _Àpropos_ of waltzes, she writes to Miss Ferrier:--

[1] Lady Charlotte was one of the Princess's ladies-in-waiting.

"They are all of a sudden become so much the rage here that people
meet in the morning at one another's houses to learn them. And they are
getting on very much. Lady Charlotte and I get great honour for the
accomplishment, and I have improved a few scholars. Clanronald [1] is
grown so detestably fine. He waltzes with me because he thinks he
thereby shows off his figure, but as to speaking to me or Lady Charlotte
he thinks himself much above that. He is in much request at present
because of his dancing; next to him Lord Hartington is, I think, the
best dancer; he is, besides, very fond of it, and is much above being
fine; I never met with a more natural, boyish creature."

[1] Macdonald of Clanronald, a great beau in the fashionable London
world.

To return to the novel. The only portion from Miss Clavering's pen is
the history of Mrs. Douglas in the first volume, and are, as she herself
remarked, "the only few pages that will be skipped." She further adds:--

"Make haste and print it then, lest one of the Miss Edmonstones should
die, as then I should think you would scarce venture for fear of being
haunted.

    *   *   *   *   *

"I shall hasten to burn your last letter, as you mention something of
looking out for a father for your _bantling,_ so I don't think it would
be decent to let anybody get a sight of such a letter!"

At last, in 1818, the novel was published by the late Mr. Blackwood, and
drew forth loud plaudits from the wondering public, as to who the author
of so original a book could be. "In London it is much admired, and
generally attributed to Walter Scott," so writes a friend to Miss
Ferrier; and she replies in her humorous style: "Whosever it is, I have
met with nothing that has interested me since." Sir Walter must have
been flattered at his being supposed its father, for he says, in the
conclusion of the _Tales of my Landlord_:--

"There remains behind not only a large harvest, but labourers capable
of gathering it in; more than one writer has of late displayed talents
of this description, and if the present author, himself a phantom, may
be permitted to distinguish a brother, or perhaps a sister, shadow, he
would mention in particular the author of the very lively work entitled
_Marriage_."

Mr. Blackwood, whose opinion is of some value, thought very highly of
_Marriage,_ and he writes to Miss Ferrier (1817):--

"Mr. B. will not allow himself to think for one moment that there can be
any uncertainty as to the work being completed. Not to mention his own
deep disappointment, Mr. B. would almost consider it a crime if a work
possessing so much interest and useful instruction were not given to the
world. The author is the only critic of whom Mr. B. is afraid, and after
what he has said, he anxiously hopes that this censor of the press will
very speedily affix the _imprimatur."_

In allusion to Sir Walter's eulogium on the novel above quoted, Mr.
Blackwood writes to the author:--

"I have the pleasure of enclosing you this concluding sentence of the
new _Tales of my Landlord,_ which are to be published to-morrow. After
this call, surely you will be no longer silent. If the great magician
does not conjure you I shall give up all hopes."

But Miss Ferrier seems to have been proof against the great magician
even. _Marriage_ became deservedly popular, and was translated into
French, as appears from the annexed:--

"We perceive by the French papers that a translation of Miss Ferrier's
clever novel _Marriage_ has been very successful in France."-_New_
_Times,_ 6 Oct. '25.

For _Marriage_ she received the sum of £150. Her second venture was more
successful in a pecuniary sense. Space, however, prohibits me from
dwelling any longer on _Marriage,_ so we come next to _The Inheritance._
This novel appeared six years after, in 1824, and is a work of very
great merit. To her sister (Mrs. Kinloch, in London) Miss Ferrier
writes:--

"John (her brother) has now completed a bargain with Mr. Blackwood, by
which I am to have £1000 for a novel now in hand, but which is not
nearly finished, and possibly never may be. Nevertheless he is desirous
of announcing it in his magazine, and therefore I wish to prepare you
for the _shock._ I can say nothing more than I have already said on the
subject of _vigilence,_ if not of secrecy. I never will avow myself, and
nothing can hurt and offend me so much as any of my friends doing it for
me; this is not _faron de_ _parler,_ but my real and unalterable
feeling; I could not bear the fuss of authorism!"

Secrecy as to her authorship seems to have been the great desire of her
heart, and much of _The Inheritance_ was written in privacy at
Morningside House, old Mr. Ferrier's summer retreat near Edinburgh, and
she says, "This house is so small, it is very ill-calculated for
concealment."

It was not till 1851 that she publicly avowed herself by authorising her
name to be prefixed to a revised and corrected edition of her works. [1]
Sir Walter Scott was delighted with this second novel, a proof of which
was conveyed to Miss Ferrier by Mr. Blackwood:--

[1]  Published by the late Mr. Richard Bentley, to whom she sold her
copyrights in 1841. A previous edition was published by him in 1841.


"On Wednesday I dined  in company with Sir Walter Scott, and he spoke of
the work in the very highest terms. I do not always set the highest
value on the baronet's favourable opinion of a book, because he has so
much kindness of feeling towards everyone, but in this case he spoke so
much _con amore,_ and entered so completely, and at such a length, to
me, into the spirit of the book and of the characters, that showed me at
once the impression it had made on him. Everyone I have seen who has
seen the book gives the some praise of it. Two or three days ago I had a
note from a friend, which I copy: 'I have nearly finished a volume of
_The Inheritance._ It is unquestionably the best novel of the class of
the present day, in so far as I can yet judge. Lord Rossville, Adam
Ramsay, Bell Black and the Major, Miss Pratt and Anthony Whyte are
capital, and a fine contrast to each other. It is, I think, a more
elaborate work than _Marriage_, better told, with greater variety, and
displaying improved powers. I congratulate you, and have no doubt the
book will make a prodigious _sough'."_ [1]

[1] Sensation.

Mr. Blackwood adds: "I do not know a better judge nor a more frank and
honest one than the writer of this note."

Again he writes:--

"On Saturday I lent in confidence to a very clever friend, on whose
discretion I can rely, the two volumes of _The Inheritance._ This
morning I got them back with the following note: 'My dear Sir-I am truly
delighted with _The Inheritance._ I do not find as yet anyone character
quite equal to Dr. Redgill, [1] except, perhaps, the good-natured,
old-tumbled (or troubled, I can't make out which) maiden, [2] but as a
novel it is a hundred miles above _Marriage._ It reminds me of Miss
Austen's very best things in every page. And if the third volume be like
these, no fear of success triumphant.'"

[1] In _Marriage_ the gourmet physician to Lord Courtland, and "the
living portrait of hundreds, though never before hit off so well."

[2] Miss Becky Duguid.


Mr. Blackwood again says:--

"You have only to go on as you are going to sustain the character
Sir Walter gave me of _Marriage,_ that you had the rare talent of making
your conclusion even better than your commencement, for, said this
worthy and veracious person, 'Mr. Blackwood, if ever I were to write a
novel, I would like to write the two first volumes, and leave anybody to
write the third that liked.'"

In the following note, Lister, author of _Granby,_ also expresses his
admiration in graceful terms, and with a copy of his own novel for Miss
Ferrier's acceptance:--

_T. H. Lister to Miss Ferrier._

"17 Heriot  Row, _Feb._ 3, 1836.

"My DEAR MADAM--I should feel that, in requesting your acceptance of the
book which accompanies this note, I should be presuming too much upon
the very short time that I have had the honour of being known to you, if
Mrs. Lister had not told me that you had kindly spoken of it in
approving terms. I hope, therefore, I may be allowed, without
presumption, to present to yon a book which you have thus raised in the
opinion of its writer, and the composition of which is associated in my
mind with the recollection of one of the greatest pleasure I have
derived from novel-reading, for which I am indebted to you. I believe
the only novel I read, or at any rate can now remember to have read,
during the whole time I was writing _Granby_, was your _Inheritance_.
--Believe me, my dear Madam, your very faithful, T. H. LISTER."

From Mrs. Lister (afterwards Lady Theresa Cornewall Lewis) Miss Ferrier
also received the following complimentary note:--

_Mrs. Lister to Miss Ferrier._

"_Thursday Night._ 17 HERIOT Row.

"My DEAR MISS FERRIER--I cannot leave Edinburgh without a grateful
acknowledgment of your very kind and flattering gift. Mr. Lister called
upon you in hopes of being able to wish you good-bye, and to tell you in
person how much we were pleased with the proof you have given us that we
are not unworthy of enjoying and appreciating your delightful
works--pray accept our very best thanks, and I hope as _an authoress_
you will not feel offended if I say that they will now have an added
charm in our eyes from the regard which our personal acquaintance with
the writer has engendered. I knew that, to those who do not mix much in
society, the acquaintance with strangers is often irksome: we therefore
feel the more obliged to you for having allowed us the pleasure of
knowing you, and I hope that if we return in the course of the year that
we may find you less suffering in health, but as kindly disposed to
receive our visits as you have hitherto been. We feel very grateful for
all the kindness we have met with in Edinburgh, and amongst the pleasant
reminiscences of the last five months we must always rank high the
having received from you as a token of regard so acceptable a
gift.--Believe me (or, indeed, I ought to say us), my dear Miss Ferrier,
yours most sincerely,

M. THERESA LISTER."

Lord Murray, the late Scotch Judge, writes to a mutual friend of his and
Miss Ferrier's (Miss Walker of Dalry):--

"I received a copy of _Inheritance_ in the name of the author, and as I
do not know who the _author_ is, and I suspect that you know more than I
do, trust you will find some channel through which you will convey my
thanks. I read _Inheritance_ with very great pleasure. The characters
are very well conceived, and delineated with great success. I may add I
have heard it highly commended by much better judges. Jeffrey speaks
very favourably. He is particularly pleased with the Nabob (Major) and
spouse, the letter from the Lakes, and the _P.S._ to it. Lord Gwydyr,
who lives entirely in fashionable circles, said to me much in its
praise, in which I concurred.

"From many other symptoms I have no doubt of its complete success."

Miss Hannah Mackenzie, daughter of the "Man of Feeling," writes to her
friend Miss Ferrier:--

"Walter Scott dined here the other day, and both he and papa joined
heartily in their admiration of uncle Adam, and their wish to know who
he is. Sir W. also admires Miss Becky Duguid, and said he thought her
quite a new character. I should like very much to see you, and talk all
over at length, but fear to invite you to my own bower for fear of
suspicion; but I trust you will soon come boldly, and face my whole
family. I do not think you need fear them much; of course, like other
people, they have their thoughts, but by no means speak with certainty,
and Margaret has this minute assured us that she does _not_ think it Miss
Ferrier's."

Uncle Adam, with "his seventy thousand pounds," and as "cross as two
sticks," in some degree resembled old Mr. Ferrier, who was somewhat
brusque and testy in his manner, and alarmed many people who were
otherwise unacquainted with the true genuine worth and honesty of his
character. Miss Becky is a poor old maid, saddled with commissions from
all her friends of a most miscellaneous description.

"She was expected to attend all _accouchements,_ christenings, deaths,
chestings,  and burials, but she was seldom asked to a marriage,
and never to any party of pleasure."

She is an admirable pendant to the "Pratt," who is inseparable, however,
from her invisible nephew, Mr. Anthony Whyte. Miss Pratt is a sort of
female Paul Pry, always turning up at the most unexpected moment at Lord
Rossville's, and finally puts the finishing stroke to the pompous old
peer by driving up to his castle door in the hearse of Mr. M'Vitie, the
Radical distiller, being unable to procure any other mode of conveyance
during a heavy snow-storm, and assured every one that she fancied she
was the first person who thought herself in luck to have got into a
hearse, but considered herself still luckier in having got well out of
one.

Caroline, Duchess of Argyll, [1]  expresses her appreciation of _The
Inheritance_ to the author, for whom she entertained a warm
friendship:--

[1]  Daughter of Lord Jersey, and wife of the first Marquis of Anglesea,
whom she divorced, when Lord Paget, in 1810: m. the same year George,
sixth Duke of Argyll.

"UPPER BROOK STREET, _Monday Evening._

"What can I say sufficiently to express my thanks either to you, my dear
Miss Ferrier, or to the _author_ of _The Inheritance,_ whoever she may
be, for the most perfect edition of that _most perfect_ book that was
ever written! and now that I may be allowed to have my _suspicion,_ I
shall read it again with double pleasure. It was so kind of you to
remember your promise! When I received your kind letter and books this
morning I was quite delighted with my beautiful present, and to find I
was not forgotten by one of my best friends."

_The Inheritance--a_ fact not generally known--was dramatised and
produced at Covent Garden, but had a very short run, and was an utter
failure, as might have been expected. Mrs. Gore was requested to adapt
it for the stage by the chief comic actors of the day, and she writes to
Miss Ferrier on the subject:--

"Since the management of Covent Garden Theatre fell into the hands of
Laporte, he has favoured me with a commission to write a comedy for him,
and the subject proposed by him is again the French novel of
_L'Héretière,_ which turns out to be a literal translation of _The
Inheritance._ He is quite bent upon having Miss Pratt on the stage. I
have not chosen to give Monsieur Laporte any positive answer on the
subject without previously applying to yourself to know whether you have
any intention or inclination to apply to the stage those admirable
talents which are so greatly appreciated in London."

Mrs. Gore, meanwhile, had been forestalled in her attempt, as a play on
the subject had been held before the reader to Covent Garden, and she
writes again to Miss Ferrier:--

"I have since learned with regret that the play is the production of a
certain Mr. Fitzball, the distinguished author of the _Flying Dutchman,_
an sixty other successful melodramas, represented with great applause at
the Surrey, Coburg, City, and Pavilion Theatres, etc.; in short, a
writer of a very low class. The play of _The Inheritance_ has been
accepted at Covent Garden; but, from my knowledge of the general
engagements of the theatre, I should say that it has not the slightest
chance of approaching to representation. For your sake it cannot be
better than in the black-box of the manager's room, which secures it at
least from performance at the Coburg Theatre."

We must let the curtain, so to speak, drop on _The Inheritance,_ and
pass on to _Destiny._ This novel also appeared six years after, in 1831,
and was dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. And he acknowledges the
compliment as follows:--

_Sir Walter Scott to Miss Ferrier._

"My DEAR MISS FERRIER--Ann returned to-day, and part of her Edinburgh
news informs me that you meditated honouring your present literary
offspring with my name, so I do not let the sun set without saying how
much I shall feel myself obliged and honoured by such a compliment. I
will not stand bandying compliments on my want of merit, but can swallow
so great a compliment as if I really deserved it, and indeed, as
whatever I do not owe entirely to your goodness I may safely set down to
your friendship, I shall scarce be more flattered one way or the other.
I hope you will make good some hopes, which make Ann very proud, of
visiting Abbotsford about April next. Nothing can give the proprietor
more pleasure, for the birds, which are a prodigious chorus, are making
of their nests and singing in blithe chorus. 'Pray come, and do not make
this a flattering dream.' I know a little the value of my future
godchild, since I had a peep at some of the sheets when I was in town
during the great snowstorm, which, out of compassion for an author
closed up within her gates, may prove an apology for his breach of
confidence. So far I must say that what I have seen has had the greatest
effect in making me curious for the rest.

"Believe me, dear Miss Ferrier, with the greatest respect, your most
sincere, humble servant,

"WALTER SCOTT.

"Abbortsford, _Tuesday Evening_."

In the next note he acknowledges a copy of _Destiny_, sent him by the
author:--

_Sir Walter Scott to Miss Ferrier._

DEAR MISS FERRIER--If I had a spark of gratitude in me I ought to have
written you well-nigh a month ago, to thank you in no common fashion for
_Destiny,_ which by the few, and at the same time the probability, of
its incidents, your writings are those of the first person of genius who
has disarmed the little pedantry of the Court of Cupid and of gods and
men, and allowed youths and maidens to propose other alliances than
those an early choice had pointed out to them. I have not time to tell
you all the consequences of my revolutionary doctrine. All these we will
talk over when you come here, which I am rejoiced to hear is likely to
be on Saturday next, when Mr. Cadell [1] will be happy to be your beau
in the Blucher, [2] and we will take care are met with at the toll. Pray
do not make this a flattering dream. You are of the initiated, so will
not be _de trop _with Cadell.--I am, always, with the greatest respect
and regard, your faithful and affectionate servant,

WALTER SCOTT.

[1] Destiny was published by Cadell through Sir Walter's intervention,
and by it the author realised £1700.

[2] Name of the Stage-coach.

In 1832, the year after the birth of his godchild _Destiny,_ poor Sir
Walter began to show signs of that general break-up of mind and body so
speedily followed by his death. Of this sad state Miss Ferrier writes to
her sister, Mrs. Kinloch (in London):--

"Alas! the night cometh when no man can work, as is the case with that
mighty genius which seems now completely quenched. Well might he be
styled 'a bright and benignant luminary,' for while all will deplore the
loss of that bright intellect which has so long charmed a world, many
will still more deeply lament the warm and steady friend, whose kind and
genuine influence was ever freely diffused on all whom it could benefit.
I trust, however, he may be spared yet awhile; it might be salutary to
himself to con over the lessons of a death-bed, and it might be edifying
to others to have his record added to the many that have gone before
him, that all below is vanity. But till we _feel_ that we shall never
believe it! I _ought_ to feel it more than most people, as I sit in my
dark and solitary chamber, shut out, as it seems, from all the 'pride of
life'; but, alas! Worldly things make their way into the darkest and
most solitary recesses, for their dwelling is in the heart, and from
thence God only can expel them."

Her first visit to the author of _Waverley_ was in the autumn of 1811,
when she accompanied her father to Ashestiel. The invitation came from
Scott to Mr. Ferrier:--

_Walter Scott, Esq., to James Ferrier, Esq._

"My DEAR SIR--We are delighted to see that your feet are free and
disposed to turn themselves our way--a pleasure which we cannot consent
to put off till we have a house at Abbotsford, which is but a distant
prospect. We are quite disengaged and alone, saving the company of Mr.
Terry the comedian, who is assisting me in planning my cottage, having
been bred an architect under Wyat. He reads to us after coffee in the
evening, which is very pleasant. This letter will reach you to-morrow,
so probably _Thursday_ may be a convenient day of march, when we shall
expect you to dinner about five o'clock, unless the weather should be
very stormy, in which case we should be sorry Miss Ferrier should risk
getting cold. To-day is clearing up after a week's dismal weather, which
may entitle us to expect some pleasant October days, not the worst of
our climate. The road is by Middleton and Bankhouse; we are ten miles
from the last stage, and thirty from Edinburgh, hilly road. There is a
ford beneath Ashestiel generally very passable, but we will have the
boat in readiness in case Miss Ferrier prefers it, or the water should
be full. Mrs. Scott joins in kind respects to Miss Ferrier, and I ever
am, dear Sir,--yours truly obliged,

W. SCOTT.

"Ashestiel, _October_ 7."

It was in 1811 that Scott was appointed a clerk of session, and to Mr.
Ferrier he was in some measure indebted for that post.

Her last visit to Abbotsford is touchingly alluded to by Lockhart in his
_Life of Scott:--_

"To assist them in amusing him in the hours which he spent out of his
study, and especially that he might make these hours more frequent, his
daughter had invited his friend the authoress of _Marriage_ to come out
to Abbotsford, and her coming was serviceable. For she knew and loved
him well, and she had seen enough of affliction akin to his to be well
skilled in dealing with it. She could not be an hour in his company
without observing what filled his children with more sorrow than all the
rest of the case. He would begin a story as gaily as ever, and go on, in
spite of the hesitation in his speech, to tell it with highly
picturesque effect--but before he reached the point, it would seem as if
some internal spring had given way. He paused and gazed round him with
the blank anxiety of look that a blind man has when he has dropped his
staff. Unthinking friends sometimes gave him the catch-word abruptly. I
noticed the delicacy of Miss Ferrier on such occasions. Her sight was
bad, and she took care not to use her glasses when he was speaking, and
she affected also to be troubled with deafness, and would say, 'Well, I
am getting as dull as a post, I have not heard a word since you said so
and so,' being sure to mention a circumstance behind that at which he
had really halted. He then took up the thread with his habitual smile of
courtesy, as if forgetting his case entirely in the consideration of the
lady's infirmity."

A very interesting account of her recollections of visits to Ashestiel
and Abbotsford appeared in the February (1874) number of this magazine:
it is short, but gives a sad and pathetic picture of the great man and
his little grandson as they sat side by side at table.

The following letter on _Destiny_ is from Mrs. Fletcher, [1] a
distinguished citizen of Edinburgh at the commencement of this century,
and a leader of the Whig society there. For that reason it is worthy of
insertion here. Her son married Miss Clavering, as before mentioned:--

[1] Her _Memoir,_ by her daughter, Lady Richardson, was published not
long since.

_Mrs. Fletcher to Miss Ferrier._

"TADCASTER, _April_ 16, 1831.

"My DEAR MISS FERRIER--I should not have been so long in thanking you
for your kind present, had I not wished to subject _Destiny_ to a
severer test than that chosen by the French dramatist. _His_ old woman
probably partook of the vivacity of her nation, but my old aunt, as Mary
will tell you, is sick and often very sorrowful, and yet _Destiny_ has
made her laugh heartily, and cheated her of many wearisome hours of
lamentation. My grandson, Archibald Taylor, too, forsook football and
cricket for your fascinating book, and told me 'he could sit up all
night to see what had become of Ronald.' Mr. Ribley and 'Kitty, my
dear,' hit his comic fancy particularly. My two most bookish neighbours,
one an Oxford divine, and the other a Cambridge student, declare that,
Glenroy and M'Dow are exquisite originals.' My own favourite, 'Molly
Macaulay,' preserves her good-humour to the last, though I thought you
rather unmerciful in shutting her up so long in Johnnie's nursery. The
fashionable heartlessness of Lady Elizabeth and her daughter is coloured
to the life, and the refreshment of returning to nature, truth,
affection, and happiness at Inch Orran is admirably managed. Mary tells
me you have returned from Fife with fresh materials for future volumes.
Go on, dear Miss Ferrier, you are accountable for the talents entrusted
to you. Go on to detect selfishness in all its various forms and
foldings; to put pride and vanity to shame; to prove that vulgarity
belongs more to character than condition, and that all who make the
world their standard are essentially vulgar and low-minded, however
noble their exterior or refined their manners may be, and that true
dignity and elevation belong only to those to whom Milton's lines may be
applied:

"'Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends To fill thy odorous lamp with
deeds of light, And hope that reaps not shame.'"

The following letter from Joanna Baillie gives a very just and truthful
criticism on _Destiny:--_

_Miss Joanna Baillie to Miss Ferrier._

"Hampstead, _May_ 1831.

"My DEAR MADAM--I received your very kind present of your last work
about three weeks ago, and am very grateful for the pleasure I have had
in reading it, and for being thus remembered by you. I thank you also
for the pleasure and amusement which my sisters and some other friends
have drawn from it. The first volume struck me as extremely clever, the
description of the different characters, their dialogues, and the
writer's own remarks, excellent. There is a spur both with the writer
and the reader on the opening of a work which naturally gives the
beginning of a story many advantages, but I must confess that your
characters never forget their outset, but are well supported to the very
end. Your Molly Macaulay [1] is a delightful creature, and the footing
she is on with Glenroy very naturally represented, to say nothing of the
rising of her character at the end, when the weight of contempt is
removed from her, which is very good and true to nature. Your minister,
M'Dow, [2] hateful as he is, is very amusing, and a true representative
of a few of the Scotch clergy, and with different language and manners
of a great many of the English clergy--worldly, mean men, who boldly
make their way into every great and wealthy family for the sake of
preferment and good cheer. Your Lady Elizabeth, too, with all her
selfishness and excess of absurdity, is true to herself throughout, and
makes a very characteristic ending of it in her third marriage. But why
should I tease you by going through the different characters? Suffice it
to say that I thank you very heartily, and congratulate you on again
having added a work of so much merit to our stock of national novels.
Perhaps before this you have received a very short publication of mine
on a very serious subject. I desired my bookseller to send a copy to
you, enclosed along with one to your friend, Miss Mackenzie. How far you
will agree with my opinions regarding it I cannot say, but of one thing
I am sure, that you will judge with candour and charity. I should have
sent one to Mr. Alison had I not thought it presumptuous in me to send
such a work to any clergyman, and, with only one exception (a
Presbyterian clergyman), I have abstained from doing so. I was very much
obliged to Mrs. Mackenzie, Lord M.'s lady, for the letter she was so
good as to write me in her sister-in-Iaw's stead. If you should meet her
soon, may I beg that you will have the goodness to thank her in my name.
I was very sorry indeed to learn from her that Miss Mackenzie had been
so ill, and was then so weak, and that the favourable account I had
received of your eyes had been too favourable. With all good wishes to
you, in which my sister begs to join me,--I remain, my dear Madam,
gratefully and sincerely yours,

"J. BAILLIE."

[1] The humble and devoted dependant of the proud chief Glenroy, and
governess to his children. She was drawn from life, for Mrs. Kinloch
writes to her sister, Miss Ferrier: "Molly Macaulay is charming; her
niece, Miss Cumming, is an old acquaintance of mine, and told me the
character was drawn to the life. The old lady is still alive, in her
ninety-first year, at Inveraray, and Miss C., who is a very clever,
pleasing person, seems delighted with the truth and spirit of the whole
character of her aunty."

[2] Lord Jeffrey considered M'Dow "an entire and perfect chrysolite, not
to be meddled with."


Granville Penn, the descendant of the founder of Pennsylvania, records
the impression _Destiny_ made on him, and which he communicates to Miss
Erskine of Cardross, who copied and sent it to the author, as follows:--

"My DEAR MADAM--I return your book, but I an unable to return you
adequate thanks for being the cause of my reading it. I have done this
(and all with me) with delight, from the interest and admiration at the
whole composition, the novelty and excitement of its plan, the exquisite
and thrilling manner of its disclosure, the absence of all flat and
heavy intervals, the conception and support of the characters, the sound
and salutary moral that pervades it all--these make me love and honour
its valuable authoress, and lament that I am not in the number of her
acquaintance. We all _doat_ upon Miss Macaulay, and grieve that she is
not living at Richmond or Petersham; and Mr. M'Dow has supplied me with
a new name for our little young dog, whom I have called, in memorial of
his little nephew (or niece), Little M'Fee. With all the thanks,
however, that I can offer, etc.

GRANVILLE PENN.

"Devonshire Cottage, 1_st May_ 1831."

The next tribute of admiration bestowed on _Destiny_ was from Sir James
Mackintosh:--

_Sir James Mackintosh to Miss Ferrier._

"LONDON, 10_th June_ 1831.

"DEAR MISS FERRIER--Let me tell you a fact, which I hope you will excuse
me from mentioning, as some subsidiary proof of your power. On the day
of the dissolution of Parliament, and in the critical hours between
twelve and three, I was employed in reading part of the second volume of
_Destiny._ My mind was so completely occupied on your colony in
Argyleshire, that I did not throw away a thought on kings or
parliaments, and was not moved by the general curiosity to stir abroad
till I had finished your volume. It would have been nothing if you had
so agitated a youth of genius and susceptibility, prone to literary
enthusiasm, but such a victory over an old hack is perhaps worthy of
your notice.--I am, my dear Miss Ferrier, your friend and admirer,

"J. MACKINTOSH."

Professor Wilson, "Christopher North," and his uncle, Mr. Robert Sym,
W.S., "Timothy Tickler," discuss the merits of _Destiny_ in the
far-famed _Noctes_:

"_Tickler.--' _I would also except Miss Susan Ferrier. Her novels, no
doubt, have many defects, their plots are poor, their episodes
disproportionate, and the characters too often caricatures; but they are
all thick-set with such specimens of sagacity, such happy traits of
nature, such flashes of genuine satire, such easy humour, sterling good
sense, and, above all--God only knows where she picked it up--mature and
perfect knowledge of the world, that I think we may safely anticipate
for them a different fate from what awaits even the cleverest of
juvenile novels.'

"_North.-' _They are the works of a very clever woman, sir, and they
have one feature of true and melancholy interest quite peculiar to
themselves. It is in them alone that the ultimate breaking-down and
debasement of the Highland character has been depicted. Sir Walter Scott
had fixed the enamel of genius over the last fitful gleams of their
half-savage chivalry, but a humbler and sadder scene--the age of
lucre-banished clans--of chieftains dwindled into imitation squires, and
of chiefs content to barter the recollections of a thousand years for a
few gaudy seasons of Almacks and Crockfords, the euthanasia of kilted
aldermen and steamboat pibrochs was reserved for Miss Ferrier.'

"_Tickler.--' _She in general fails almost as egregiously as Hook does
in the pathetic [1] but in her last piece there is one scene of this
description worthy of either Sterne or Goldsmith. I mean where the young
man [2] supposed to have been lost at sea, revisits, after a lapse of
time, the precincts of his own home, watching unseen in the twilight the
occupations and bearings of the different members of the family, and
resolving, under the influence of a most generous feeling, to keep the
secret of his preservation.'

[1] This is not true, as there are many pathetic passages in _Destiny_,
particularly between Edith, the heroine, and her faithless lover, Sir
Reginald.

[2] Ronald Malcolm.

"_North.-' _I remember it well, and you might bestow the same kind of
praise on the whole character of Molly Macaulay. It is a picture of
humble, kind-hearted, thorough-going devotion and long-suffering,
indefatigable gentleness, of which, perhaps, no sinner of our gender
could have adequately filled up the outline. Miss Ferrier appears
habitually in the light of a hard satirist, but there is always a fund
of romance at the bottom of every true woman's heart who has tried to
stifle and suppress that element more carefully and pertinaciously, and
yet who has drawn, in spite of herself, more genuine tears than the
authoress of _Simple Susan.' "_

The story of _Destiny,_ like its predecessors, is laid in Miss Ferrier's
favourite Highlands, and it contains several picturesque and vivid
descriptions of scenery there, --Inveraray, and its surroundings
generally, forming the model for her graphic pen. Much of this novel was
written at Stirling Castle, when she was there on a visit to her sister,
Mrs. Graham, [1] whose husband, General Graham, was governor of that
garrison. After the publication of this last work, and the offer of a
thousand pounds from a London publisher for anything from her pen, [2]
she entirely ceased from her literary labours, being content to rest
upon the solid and enduring reputation her three "bantlings" (as she
called her novels) had won for her. The following fragment, however, was
found among her papers, and is the portrait of another old maid, and
might serve as a companion to Miss Pratt. As it is amusing, and in the
writer's satirical style, I lay it before my readers:--

[1] Celebrated by Burns, the poet, for her beauty. She inspired his muse
when turning the corner of George Street, Edinburgh. The lines addressed
to her are to be found in his _Poems._ She was also a highly-gifted
artist. The illustrations in the work called the _Stirling Heads_ are
from her pencil. It was published by Blackwood, 1817.

[2] She says (1837) "I made two attempts to write _something_, but could
not please myself, and would not publish _anything_."

"Miss Betty Landon was a single lady of small fortune, few personal
charms, and a most jaundiced imagination. There was no event, not even
the most fortunate, from which Miss Betty could not extract evil;
everything, even the milk of human kindness, with her turned to gall and
vinegar. Thus, if any of her friends were married, she sighed over the
miseries of the wedded state; if they were single, she bewailed their
solitary, useless condition; if they were parents, she pitied them for
having children; if they had no children, she pitied them for being
childless. But one of her own letters will do greater justice to the
turn of her mind than the most elaborate description.


"'My DEAR Miss------ I ought to have written to you long before now, but
I have suffered so much from the constant changes of the weather that
the wonder is I am able to hold a pen. During the whole summer the heat
was really quite intolerable, not a drop of rain or a breath of wind,
the cattle dying for absolute want, the vegetables dear and scarce, and
as for fruit--that, you know, in this town, is at all times scarce and
bad, and particularly when there is the greatest occasion for it. In the
autumn we never had two days alike, either wind or rain, or frost, or
something or another; and as for our winter--you know what that
is--either a constant splash of rain, or a frost like to take the skin
off you. For these six weeks I may say I have had a constant running at
my head, with a return of my old complaint; but as for doctors, I see no
good they do, except to load people's stomachs and pick their pockets:
everything now is imposition; I really think the very pills are not what
they were thirty years ago. How people with families continue to live is
a mystery to me; and people still going on marrying, in the face of
national debt, taxes, a new war, a starving population, ruined commerce,
and no outlet for young men in any quarter--God only knows what is to be
the end of all this! In spite of all this, these thoughtless young
creatures, the Truemans, have thought proper to make out their marriage;
he is just five-and-twenty, and she is not yet nineteen! so you may
judge what a prudent, well-managed establishment it will be. He is in a
good enough business at present, but in these times who can tell what's
to happen? He may be wallowing in wealth to-day, and bankrupt to-morrow.
His sister's marriage with Fairplay is now quite off, and her prospects
for life, poor thing, completely wrecked! Her looks are entirely gone,
and her spirits quite broken. She is not like the same creature, and, to
be sure, to a girl who had set her heart upon being married, it must be
a great and severe disappointment, for this was her only chance, unless
she tries India, and the expense of the outfit must be a complete bar to
that. You would hear that poor Lady Oldhouse has had a son--it seemed a
desirable thing, situated as they are with an entailed property; and yet
when I look around me, and see the way that sons go on, the dissipation
and extravagance, and the heartbreak they are to their parents, I think
a son anything but a blessing. No word of anything of that kind to the
poor Richardsons; with all their riches, they are without anyone to come
after them. The Prowleys are up in the air at having got what they call
"a fine appointment" for their fourth son, but for my part I'm really
sick of hearing of boys going to India, for after all what do they do
there? I never hear of their sending home anything but black children,
and when they come home themselves, what do they bring but yellow faces,
worn-out constitutions, and livers like cocked-hats, crawling about from
one watering-place to another, till they are picked up by some
light-hearted, fortune-hunting miss, who does not care twopence for
them.'"

A beautiful and strong feature in Miss Ferrier's character was her
intense devotion to her father, and when he died the loss to her was
irreparable. She also was much attached to a very handsome brother,
James; he was colonel of the 94th regiment, or Scots Brigade, and died
in India in 1804, at the early age of twenty-seven. He had been at the
siege of Seringapatam in 1799, and was much distinguished by the notice
of Napoleon at Paris in February 1803, whence he writes to his sister
Susan:--

"I think I wrote you I had been introduced to the Chief Consul. I was on
Sunday last presented to his lady, whom I do not at all admire. The
great man spoke to me then again, which is a very unusual thing, and I
am told by the French I must be in his good graces; however, I myself
rather think it was my good fortune only: at all events it has given me
much pleasure, for it would have only been doing the thing half if he
had not spoken to me. I do not think any of the pictures like him much,
although most of them have some resemblance; they give him a frown in
general, which he certainly has not--so far from it, that when he speaks
he has one of the finest expressions possible."

Here, unfortunately, this interesting description comes abruptly to an
end, the rest of the letter being lost. On account of failing health and
increased bodily languor, Miss Ferrier latterly lived a very retired
life, seeing few but very intimate friends, and, as she said, "We are
more recluse than ever, as our little circle is yearly contracting, and
my eyes are more and more averse to light than ever."

Again she writes:--

"I can say nothing good of myself, my cough is very severe, and will
probably continue so, at least as long as this weather lasts; but I have
many comforts, for which I am thankful; amongst those I must reckon
silence and darkness, which are my best companions at present."

For years she had suffered from her eyes, being nearly quite blind of
one. [1] In 1830 she went to London to consult an oculist, but
unfortunately derived little benefit. While there, she visited
Isleworth, in order to see a villa belonging to Lord Cassillis, and
which subsequently figured in _Destiny_ as "Woodlands," Lady
Waldegrave's rural retreat near London. A valued friend [2] who
saw much of her remarked:--

[1] Lady Morgan, a fellow-sufferer from her eyes, was most anxious
she should consult Mr. Alexander, the eminent oculist, as he entirely
cured her after four years' expectation of total blindness.

[2] Lady Richardson.

"The wonderful vivacity she maintained in the midst of darkness and pain
for so many years, the humour, wit, and honesty of her character, as
well as the Christian submission with which she bore her great privation
and general discomfort when not suffering acute pain, made everyone who
knew her desirous to alleviate the tediousness of her days, and I used
to read a great deal to her at one time, and I never left her darkened
chamber without feeling that I had gained something better than the book
we might be reading, from her quick perception of its faults and its
beauties, and her unmerciful remarks on all that was mean or unworthy in
conduct or expression."

But perhaps the most faithful picture of her is conveyed in this brief
sentence from Scott's diary, who describes her

"As a gifted personage, having, besides her great talents, conversation
the least _exigeante_ of any author-female, at least, whom I have ever
seen among the long list I have encountered; simple, full of humour, and
exceedingly ready at repartee, and all this without the least
affectation of the blue-stocking."

From the natural modesty of her  character she had a great dislike to
her biography, or memorial of her in any shape, being written, for she
destroyed all letters that might have been used for such a purpose,
publicity of any kind being most distasteful to her, evidence of which
is very clearly shown in the first part of this narrative. The chief
secret of her success as a novelist (setting aside her great genius) was
the great care and time she bestowed on the formation of each novel--an
interval of six years occurring between each, the result being
delineations of character that are unique.

Unfortunately there is little to relate regarding her childhood, that
most interesting period of human existence in the lives of (and which is
generally distinguished by some uncommon traits of character) people of
genius--save that she had for a school companion and playfellow the late
Lord Brougham, the distinguished statesman; she was remarkable also for
her power of mimicry. An amusing anecdote of this rather dangerous gift
is the following: Her brothers and sisters returned home from a ball,
very hungry, and entered her room, where they supposed she lay asleep,
and, while discussing the events of the evening and the repast they had
procured by stealth (unknown to their father), they were suddenly put to
flight by the sounds and voice, as they thought, of their dreaded parent
ascending the stairs, and in their confusion and exit from the room
overturned chairs and tables, much to the amusement of little Susan,
who, no doubt, enjoyed the fright and commotion she had caused, and who
mimicked under the cover of the bedclothes the accents of her
redoubtable parent--a fit punishment, as she thought, for their ruthless
invasion of her chamber, and their not offering her a share of their
supper. An old Miss Peggy Campbell (sister to Sir Islay Campbell,
President of the Court of Session) was also taken off by her, and so
like that her father actually came into the room, where she was amusing
her hearers, thinking that Miss Campbell was really present. When she
died a blank was left in her native city that has not been since filled,
the modern Athens having somewhat deteriorated in the wit, learning, and
refinement that so distinguished her in the days that are gone.



RECOLLECTIONS OF VISITS
TO ASHESTIEL AND ABBOTSFORD, [1]

[1]  Reprinted from the _Temple Bar_ Magazine for February 1874.

By SUSAN EDMONSTONE FERRIER,

_Author of 'Marriage,' 'Inheritance,' and 'Destiny.'_

I HAVE never kept either note-book or journal, and as my memory is not a
retentive one I have allowed much to escape which I should now vainly
attempt to recall. Some things must, however, have made a vivid and
durable impression on my mind, as fragments remain, after the lapse of
years, far more distinct than occurrences of much more recent date;
such, amongst others, are my recollections of my visits to Ashestiel and
Abbotsford.

The first took place in the autumn of 1811, in consequence of repeated
and pressing invitations from Mr. Scott to my father, in which I was
included. Nothing could be kinder than our welcome, or more gratifying
than the attentions we received during our stay; but the weather was too
broken and stormy to admit of our enjoying any of the pleasant
excursions our more weather-proof host had intended for us.

My father and I could therefore only take short drives with Mrs. Scott,
while the bard (about one o'clock:) mounted his pony, and accompanied by
Mr. Terry the comedian, his own son Walter, and our young relative
George Kinloch, sallied forth for a long morning's ride in spite of wind
and rain. In the evening Mr. Terry commonly read some scenes from a play,
to which Mr. Scott listened with delight, though every word must have
been quite familiar to him, as he occasionally took a part in the
dialogue impromptu; at other times he recited old and awesome ballads
from memory, the very names of which I have forgot. The night preceding
our departure had blown a perfect hurricane; we were to leave
immediately after breakfast, and while the carriage was preparing Mr.
Scott stepped to a writing-table and wrote a few hurried lines in the
course of a very few minutes; these he put into my hand as he led me to
the carriage; they were in allusion to the storm, coupled with a
friendly adieu, and are to be found in my autograph album.

    "The mountain winds are up, and proud
    O'er heath and hill careering loud;
    The groaning forest to its power
    Yields all that formed our summer bower.
    The summons wakes the anxious swain,
    Whose tardy shocks still load the plain,
    And bids the sleepless merchant weep,
    Whose richer hazard loads the deep.
    For me the blast, or low or high,
    Blows nought of wealth or poverty;
    It can but whirl in whimsies vain
    The windmill of a restless brain,
    And bid me tell in slipshod verse
    What honest prose might best rehearse;
    How much we forest-dwellers grieve
    Our valued friends our cot should leave,
    Unseen each beauty that we boast,
    The little wonders of our coast,
    That still the pile of Melrose gray,
    For you must rise in minstrel's lay,
    And Yarrow's birk immortal long
    For yon but bloom in rural song.
    Yet Hope, who still in present sorrow
    Whispers the promise of to-morrow,
    Tells us of future days to come,
    When you shall glad our rustic home;
    When this wild whirlwind shall be still,
    And summer sleep on glen and hill,
    And Tweed, unvexed by storm, shall guide
    In silvery maze his stately tide,
    Doubling in mirror every rank
    Of oak and alder on his bank;
    And our kind guests such welcome prove
    As most we wish to those we love." [1]

    _Ashestiel, _October 13, 1811.

[1]  Lines written by Walter Scott while the carriage was waiting
to convey my father and me from Ashestiel.--S. E. F.

The invitation had been often repeated, but my dear father's increasing
infirmities made him averse to leave home, and when, in compliance with
Sir Walter's urgent request, I visited Abbotsford in the autumn of 1829,
I went alone. I was met at the outer gate by Sir Walter, who welcomed me
in the kindest manner and most flattering terms; indeed, nothing could
surpass the courtesy of his address on such occasions. On our way to the
house he stopped and called his two little grandchildren, Walter and
Charlotte Lockhart, who were chasing each other like butterflies among
the flowers--the boy was quite a Cupid, though not an _alfresco_ one;
for he wore a Tartan cloak, whose sundry extras fluttered in the breeze
as he ran to obey the summons, and gave occasion to his grandfather to
present him to me as "Major Waddell;" [1] the pretty little
fairy-looking girl he next introduced as "Whipperstowrie," and then
(aware of my love for fairy lore) he related the tale, in his own
inimitable manner, as he walked slowly and stopped frequently in our
approach to the house. As soon as I could look round I was struck with
the singular and picturesque appearance of the mansion and its
_environs._ Yet I must own there was more of _strangeness_ than of
admiration in my feelings; too many objects seemed crowded together in a
small space, and there was a "felt want" of breadth and repose for the
eye. On entering the house I was however charmed with the rich
imposing beauty of the hall, and admired the handsome antique appearance
of the dining-room with its interesting pictures. After luncheon Sir
Walter was at pains to point them out to my notice, and related the
histories of each and all; he then conducted me through the apartments,
and showed me so much, and told me so many anecdotes illustrative of the
various objects of interest and curiosity they contained, that I retain
a very confused and imperfect recollection of what I saw and heard. It
was a strong proof of his good-nature that in showing the many works of
art and relics of antiquity he had continued to accumulate and arrange
with so much taste and skill, he should have been at such pains to point
out the merits and relate the history of most of them to one so
incapable of appreciating their value. But he never allowed one to feel
their own deficiencies, for he never appeared to be aware of them
himself.

[1] One of Miss Ferrier's characters in her novel of _The Inheritance._

It was in the quiet of a small domestic circle I had again an
opportunity of enjoying the society of Sir Walter Scott, and of
witnessing, during the ten days I remained, the unbroken serenity of his
temper, the unflagging cheerfulness of his spirits, and the unceasing
courtesy of his manners. I had been promised a quiet time, else I should
not have gone; and indeed the state of the family was a sufficient
guarantee against all festivities. Mrs. Lockhart was confined to bed
by severe indisposition, while Mr. Lockhart was detained in London
by the alarming illness of their eldest boy, and both Captain Scott and
his brother were absent. The party, therefore, consisted only of Sir
Walter and Miss Scott, Miss Macdonald Buchanan (who was almost one of
the family), and myself. Being the only stranger, I consequently came in
for a larger share of my amiable host's time and attention than I should
otherwise have been entitled to expect. Many a pleasant tale and amusing
anecdote I might have had to relate had I written down half of what I
daily heard; but I had always an invincible repugnance to playing the
_reporter_ and taking down people's words under their own roof. Every day
Sir Walter was ready by one o'clock to accompany us either in driving or
walking, often in both, and in either there was the same inexhaustible
flow of legendary lore, romantic incident, apt quotation, curious or
diverting story; and sometimes old ballads were recited, commemorative
of some of the localities through which he passed. Those who had seen
him only amidst the ordinary avocations of life, or even doing the
honours of his own table, could scarcely have conceived the fire and
animation of his countenance at such times, when his eyes seemed
literally to kindle, and even (as some one has remarked) to change their
colour and become a sort of deep sapphire blue; but, perhaps, from being
close to him and in the open air, I was more struck with this
peculiarity than those whose better sight enabled them to mark his
varying expression at other times. Yet I must confess this was an
enthusiasm I found as little infectious as that of his antiquarianism.
On the contrary, I often wished his noble faculties had been exercised
on loftier themes than those which seemed to stir his very soul.

The evenings were passed either in Mrs. Lockhart's bedroom or in
chatting quietly by the fireside below, but wherever we were he was
always the same kind, unostentatious, amusing, and _amusable_ companion.

The day before I was to depart Sir David Wilkie and his sister arrived,
and the Fergussons and one or two friends were invited to meet him. Mrs.
Lockhart was so desirous of meeting this old friend and distinguished
person, that, though unable to put her foot to the ground, she caused
herself to be dressed and carried down to the drawing-room while the
company were at dinner. Great was her father's surprise and delight on
his entrance to find her seated (looking well and in high spirits) with
her harp before her, ready to sing his favourite ballads. This raised
his spirits above their usual quiet pitch, and towards the end of the
evening he proposed to wind up the whole by all present standing in a
circle with hands joined, singing,

   "Weel may we a' be!
    Ill may we never see!"

Mrs. Lockhart was, of course, unable to join the festive band. Sir David
Wilkie was languid and dispirited from bad health, and my feelings were
not such as to enable me to join in what seemed to me little else than a
mockery of human life; but rather than "displace the mirth," I _tried,_
but could not long remain a passive spectator; the glee seemed forced
and unnatural. It touched no sympathetic chord; it only jarred the
feelings; it was the last attempt at gaiety I witnessed within the walls
of Abbotsford.

Although I had intended to confine my slight reminiscence of Sir Walter
Scott to the time I had passed with him under his own roof in the
country, yet I cannot refrain from noticing the great kindness I
received from him during the following winter in town.

I had, when at Abbotsford in the autumn, spoken to him for the _first_
time of my authorship and of the work on which I was then engaged. He
entered into the subject with much warmth and earnestness, shook his
head at hearing how matters had hitherto been transacted, and said
unless I could make a better bargain in this instance I must leave to
him the disposal of _Destiny._ I did so, and from the much more liberal
terms he made with Mr. Cadell I felt, when too late, I had acted
unwisely in not having sooner consulted him or some one versant in these
matters. But _secrecy_ at that time was all I was anxious about, and so
I paid the penalty of trusting entirely to the good faith of the
publishers.

I saw Sir Walter frequently during the winter, and occasionally dined
_en famille_ with Miss Scott and him, or with one or two friends, as I
did not go into parties, neither indeed did he give any, but on account
of the state of his affairs lived as retiredly as he possibly could.

In the month of February he sustained a paralytic shock; as soon as I
heard of this I went to Miss Scott, from whom I learned the particulars.
She had seen her father in his study a short time before, apparently in
his usual health. She had returned to the drawing room when Sir Walter
opened the door, came in, but stood looking at her with a most peculiar
and _dreadful_ expression of countenance. It immediately struck her he
had come to communicate some very distressing intelligence, and she
exclaimed, "Oh, papa! Is Johnnie gone?" He made no reply, but still
continued standing still and regarding her with the same fearful
expression. She then cried, "Oh, papa! speak! Tell me, is it Sophia
herself?" Still he remained immovable. Almost frantic, she then
screamed, "It is Walter! it is Walter! I know it is." Upon which Sir
Walter fell senseless on the floor. Medical assistance was speedily
procured. After being bled he recovered his speech, and his first words
were, "It was very strange! very horrible." He afterwards told her he
had all at once felt very queer, and as if unable to articulate; he then
went upstairs in hopes of getting rid of the sensation by movement; but
it would not do, he felt perfectly tongue-tied, or rather _chained,_
till overcome by witnessing her distress. This took place, I think, on
the 15th, and on the 18th I was invited to dine with him, and found him
without any trace of illness, but as cheerful and animated as usual.

Not being very correct as to dates, I should scarcely have ventured to
name the day had not a trifling circumstance served to mark it. After
dinner he proposed that instead of going to the drawing-room we should
remain with him and have tea in the dining room. In the interval the
post letters were brought, and amongst others there was one from a
sister of Sir Thomas Lawrence (Mrs. Bloxam), enclosing a letter of her
brother's, having heard that Sir Walter had expressed a wish to have
some memorial of him, "rather of his pencil than his pen," said he, as
he handed the letter to me, who, as a collector of autographs, would
probably value them more than he did; and on referring to Mrs. Bloxam's
letter I find the Edinburgh post-mark February the 18th.

I received repeated invitations to Abbotsford, and had fixed to go on
the 17th of April, when, the day before, Mrs. Skene called upon me with
the sad tidings of another paralytic stroke, which not only put a stop
to my visit for the present, but rendered it very doubtful whether I
should ever see him again. But the worst fears of his friends were not
yet to be realised.

Early in May the invitation was renewed in a note from himself, which I
availed myself of, too well assured it was a privilege I should enjoy
for the last time. On reaching Abbotsford I found some morning visitors
(Mr. and Mrs. James, etc.) in the drawing-room, but as soon as they were
gone Sir Walter sent for me to his study. I found him seated in his
armchair, but with his habitual politeness he insisted upon rising to
receive me, though he did so with such extreme difficulty I would gladly
have dispensed with this mark of courtesy. His welcome was not less
cordial than usual, but he spoke in a slow and somewhat indistinct
manner, and as I sat close by him I could perceive but too plainly the
change which had taken place since we last met. His figure was unwieldy,
not so much from increased bulk as from diminished life and energy; his
face was swollen and puffy, his complexion mottled and discoloured, his
eyes heavy and dim; his head had been shaved, and he wore a small black
silk cap, which was extremely unbecoming. Altogether, the change was no
less striking than painful to behold. The impression, however, soon wore
off (on finding, as I believed), that his mind was unimpaired and his
warm kindly feelings unchanged.

There was no company, and the dinner party consisted of Mr. and Mrs.
Lockhart, Miss Scott, and myself. Sir Walter did not join us till the
dessert, when he entered, assisted by his servant, and took his place at
the foot of the table. His grandchildren were then brought in, and his
favourite, Johnnie Lockhart, was seated by his side. I must have forgot
most things before I can cease to recall that most striking and
impressive spectacle, each day repeated, as it seemed, with deepening
gloom. The first transient glow of cheerfulness which had welcomed my
arrival had passed away, and been succeeded by an air of languor and
dejection which sank to deepest sadness when his eye rested for a moment
on his once darling grandson, the child of so much pride and promise,
now, alas! how changed. It was most touching to look upon one whose
morning of life had been so bright and beautiful and, still in the sunny
days of childhood, transformed into an image of decrepitude and decay.
The fair blooming cheek and finely chiselled features were now shrunk
and stiffened into the wan and rigid inflexibility of old age; while the
black bandages which swathed the little pale sad countenance, gave
additional gloom and harshness to the profound melancholy which clouded
its most intellectual expression. Disease and death were stamped upon
the grandsire and the boy as they sat side by side with averted eyes,
each as if in the bitterness of his own heart refusing to comfort or be
comforted. The two who had been wont to regard each other so fondly and
so proudly, now seemed averse to hold communion together, while their
appearance and style of dress, the black cap of the one and the black
bandages of the other, denoted a sympathy in suffering if in nothing
else. The picture would have been a most affecting and impressive one
viewed under any circumstances, but was rendered doubly so by the
contrast which everywhere presented itself.

The month was May, but the weather had all the warmth of summer with the
freshness and sweetness of spring. The windows of the dining-room were
open to admit the soft balmy air which "came and went like the warbling
of music," but whose reviving influence seemed unfelt by the sufferers.
The trees, and shrubs, and flowers were putting forth their tender
leaves and fragrant blossoms as if to charm _his_ senses who used to
watch their progress with almost paternal interest, and the little birds
were singing in sweet chorus as if to cheer _him_ who was wont to listen
to their evening song with such placid delight. All around were the dear
familiar objects which had hitherto ministered to his enjoyment, but
now, alas! miserable comforters were they all! It was impossible to look
upon such a picture without beholding in it the realisation of those
solemn and affecting passages of Holy Writ which speak to us of the
ephemeral nature of all earthly pleasures and of the mournful
insignificance of human life, even in its most palmy state, when its
views and actions, its hopes and desires, are confined to this sublunary
sphere: "Whence then cometh any wisdom, and where is the place of
understanding?" "Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his
wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich
man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that
he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord."



MARRIAGE.



CHAPTER I.

    "Love!--A word by superstition thought a God; by use turned to an
    humour; by self-will made a flattering madness."

            _Alexander and Campaspe._

"COME hither, child," said the old Earl of Courtland to his daughter,
as, in obedience to his summons, she entered his study; "come hither, I
say; I wish to have some serious conversation with you: so dismiss your
dogs, shut the door, and sit down here."

"Lady Juliana rang for the footman to take Venus; bade Pluto be quiet,
like a darling, under the sofa; and, taking Cupid in her arms, assured
his Lordship he need fear no disturbance from the sweet creatures, and
that she would be all attention to his commands--kissing her cherished
pug as she spoke.

"You are now, I think, seventeen, Juliana," said  his Lordship in a
solemn important tone.

"And a half, papa."

"It is therefore time you should be thinking of establishing yourself in
the world. Have you ever turned your thoughts that way?"

Lady Juliana cast down her beautiful eyes, and was silent.

"As I can give you no fortune," continued the Earl, swelling with
ill-suppressed importance, as he proceeded, "you have perhaps no great
pretensions to a very brilliant establishment."

"Oh! none in the world, papa," eagerly interrupted Lady Juliana; "a mere
competence with the man of my heart."

"The man of a fiddlestick!" exclaimed Lord Courtland in a fury; "what
the devil have you to do with a heart, I should like to know? There's no
talking to a young woman now about marriage, but she is all in a blaze
about hearts, and darts, and--and--But hark ye, child, I'll suffer no
daughter of mine to play the fool with her heart, indeed! She shall
marry for the purpose for which matrimony was ordained amongst people of
birth--that is, for the aggrandisement of her family, the extending of
their political influence--for becoming, in short, the depository of
their mutual interest. These are the only purposes for which persons of
rank ever think of marriage. And pray, what has your heart to say to
that?"

"Nothing, papa," replied Lady Juliana in a faint dejected tone of voice.
"Have done, Cupid!" addressing her favourite, who was amusing himself
in pulling and tearing the beautiful lace veil that partly shaded the
head of his fair mistress.

"I thought not," resumed the Earl in a triumphant tone--"I thought not,
indeed." And as this victory over his daughter put him in unusual good
humour, he condescended to sport a little with her curiosity.

"And pray, can this wonderful wise heart of yours inform you who it is
you are going to obtain for a husband?"

Had Lady Juliana dared to utter the wishes of that heart she would have
been at no loss for a reply; but she saw the necessity of dissimulation;
and after naming such of her admirers as were most indifferent to her,
she declared herself quite at a loss, and begged her father to put an
end to her suspense.

"Now, what would you think of the Duke of L---?" asked the Earl in a
voice of half-smothered exultation and delight.

"The Duke of L-----!" repeated Lady Juliana, with a scream of horror and
surprise; "surely, papa, you cannot be serious? Why, he's red-haired and
squints, and he's as old as you."

"If he were as old as the devil, and as ugly too," interrupted the
enraged Earl, "he should be your husband: and may I perish if you shall
have any other!"

The youthful beauty burst into tears, while her father traversed the
apartment with an inflamed and wrathful visage.

"If it had been anybody but that odious Duke," sobbed the lovely
Juliana.

"If it had been anybody but that odious Duke!" repeated the Earl,
mimicking her, "they should not have had you. It has been my sole study,
ever since I saw your brother settled, to bring about this alliance;
and, when this is accomplished, my utmost ambition will be satisfied. So
no more whining--the affair is settled; and all that remains for you to
do is to study to make yourself agreeable to his Grace, and to sign the
settlements. No such mighty sacrifice, me thinks, when repaid with a
ducal coronet, the most splendid jewels, the finest equipages, and the
largest jointure of any woman in England."

Lady Juliana raised her head, and wiped her eyes. Lord Courtland
perceived the effect his eloquence had produced upon the childish fancy
of his daughter, and continued to expatiate upon the splendid joys that
awaited her in a union with a nobleman of the Duke's rank and fortune;
till at length, dazzled, if not convinced, she declared herself
"satisfied that it was her duty to marry whoever papa pleased; but--"
and a sigh escaped her as she contrasted her noble suitor with her
handsome lover: "but if I should marry him, papa, I am sure I shall
never be able to love him."

The Earl smiled at her childish simplicity as he assured her that was
not at all necessary; that love was now entirely confined to the
_canaille;_ that it was very well for ploughmen and dairymaids to marry
for love; but for a young woman of rank to think of such a thing was
plebeian in the extreme!

Lady Juliana did not entirely subscribe to the arguments of her father;
but the gay and glorious vision that floated in her brain stifled for a
while the pleadings of her heart; and with a sparkling eye and an
elastic step she hastened to prepare for the reception of the Duke.

For a few weeks the delusion lasted. Lady Juliana was flattered with the
homage she received as a future Duchess; she was delighted with the
éclat that attended her, and charmed with the daily presents
showered upon her by her noble suitor.

"Well, really, Favolle," said she to her maid, one day, as she clasped
on her beautiful arm a resplendent bracelet, "it must be owned the Duke
has a most exquisite taste in trinkets; don't you think so? And, do you
know, I don't think him so very--very ugly. When we are married I mean
to make him get a Brutus, cork his eyebrows, and have a set of teeth."
But just then the smiling eyes, curling hair, and finely formed person
of a certain captivating Scotsman rose to view in her mind's eye; and,
with a peevish "pshaw!" she threw the bauble aside.

Educated for the sole purpose of forming a brilliant establishment, of
catching the eye, and captivating the senses, the cultivation of her
mind or the correction of her temper had formed no part of the system by
which that aim was to be accomplished. Under the auspices of a
fashionable mother and an obsequious governess the froward petulance of
childhood, fostered and strengthened by indulgence and submission, had
gradually ripened into that selfishness and caprice which now, in youth,
formed the prominent features of her character. The Earl was too much
engrossed by affairs of importance to pay much attention to anything so
perfectly insignificant as the mind of his daughter. Her _person_ he had
predetermined should be entirely at his disposal, and therefore
contemplated with delight the uncommon beauty which already
distinguished it; not with the fond partiality of parental love, but
with the heartless satisfaction of a crafty politician.

The mind of Lady Juliana was consequently the sport of every passion
that by turns assailed it. Now swayed by ambition, and now softened by
love, the struggle was violent, but it was short. A few days before the
one which was to seal her fate she granted an interview to her lover,
who, young, thoughtless, and enamoured as herself, easily succeeded in
persuading her to elope with him to Scotland. There, at the altar of
Vulcan, the beautiful daughter of the Earl of Courtland gave her hand to
her handsome but penniless lover; and there vowed to immolate every
ambitious desire, every sentiment of vanity and high-born pride. Yet a
sigh arose as she looked on the filthy hut, sooty priest, and ragged
witnesses; and thought of the special license, splendid saloon, and
bridal pomp that would have attended her union with the Duke. But the
rapturous expressions which burst from the impassioned Douglas made her
forget the gaudy pleasures of pomp and fashion. Amid the sylvan scenes
of the neighbouring lakes the lovers sought a shelter; and, mutually
charmed with each other, time flew for a while on downy pinions.

At the end of two months, however, the enamoured husband began to
suspect that the lips of his "angel Julia" could utter very silly
things; while the fond bride, on her part, discovered that though her
"adored Henry's" figure was symmetry itself, yet it certainly was
deficient in a certain air--a _je ne sais quoi_--that marks the man of
fashion.

"How I wish I had my pretty Cupid here," said her Ladyship, with a sigh,
one day as she lolled on a sofa: "he had so many pretty tricks, he would
have helped to amuse us, and make the time pass; for really this place
grows very stupid and tiresome; don't you think so, love?"

"Most confoundedly so, my darling," replied her husband, yawning
sympathetically as he spoke.

"Then suppose I make one more attempt to soften papa, and be received
into favour again?"

"With all my heart."

"Shall I say I'm very sorry for what I have done?" asked her Ladyship,
with a sigh. "You know I did not say that in my first letter."

"Ay, do; and, if it will serve any purpose, you may say that I am no
less so."

In a few days the letter was returned, in a blank cover; and, by the
same post, Douglas saw himself superseded in the Gazette, being absent
without leave!

There now remained but one course to pursue; and that was to seek refuge
at his father's, in the Highlands of Scotland. At the first mention of
it Lady Juliana was transported with joy, and begged that a letter might
be instantly despatched, containing the offer of a visit: she had heard
the Duchess of M. declare nothing could be so delightful as the style of
living in Scotland: the people were so frank and gay, and the manners so
easy and engaging--oh! it was delightful! And then Lady Jane G. and Lady
Mary L., and a thousand other lords and ladies she knew, were all so
charmed with the country, and all so sorry to leave it. Then dear
Henry's family must be so charming: an old castle, too, was her delight;
she would feel quite at home while wandering through its long galleries;
and she quite loved old pictures, and armour, and tapestry; and then her
thoughts reverted to her father's magnificent mansion in D---shire.

At length an answer arrived, containing a cordial invitation from the
old Laird to spend the winter with them at Glenfern Castle.

All impatience to quit the scenes of their short lived felicity, they
bade a hasty adieu to the now fading beauties of Windermere; and, full
of hope and expectation, eagerly turned towards the bleak hills of
Scotland. They stopped for a short time at Edinburgh, to provide
themselves with a carriage, and some other necessaries. There, too, she
fortunately met with an English Abigail and footman, who, for double
wages, were prevailed upon to attend her to the Highlands; which, with
the addition of two dogs, a tame squirrel, and mackaw, completed the
establishment.



CHAPTER II.

   "What transport to retrace our early plays,
    Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supplied;
    The woods, the mountains, and the warbling maze
    Of the wild brooks." THOMSON.

MANY were the dreary muirs and rugged mountains her Ladyship had to
encounter in her progress to Glenfern Castle; and, but for the hope of
the new world that awaited her beyond those formidable barriers, her
delicate frame and still more sensitive feelings must have sunk beneath
the horrors of such a journey. But she remembered the Duchess had said
the inns and roads were execrable; and the face of the country, as well
as the lower orders of people, frightful; but what signified those
things? There were balls, and sailing parties, and rowing matches, and
shooting parties, and fishing parties, and parties of every description;
and the certainty of being recompensed by the festivities of Glenfern
Castle, reconciled her to the ruggedness of the approach.

Douglas had left his paternal home and native hills when only eight
years of age. A rich relation of his mother's happening to visit them at
that time, took a fancy to the boy; and, under promise of making him his
heir, had prevailed on his parents to part with him. At a proper age he
was placed in the Guards, and had continued to maintain himself in the
favor of his benefactor until his imprudent marriage, which had
irritated this old bachelor so much that he instantly disinherited him,
and refused to listen to any terms of reconciliation. The impressions
which the scenes of his infancy had left upon the mind of the young
Scotsman, it may easily be supposed, were of a pleasing description. He
expatiated to his Juliana on the wild but august scenery that surrounded
rounded his father's castle, and associated with the idea the boyish
exploits, which though faintly remembered, still served to endear them
to his heart. He spoke of the time when he used to make one of a
numerous party on the lake, and, when tired of sailing on its glassy
surface to the sound of soft music, they would land at some lovely spot;
and, after partaking of their banquet beneath a spreading tree, conclude
the day by a dance on the grass.

Lady Juliana would exclaim, "How delightful! I doat upon picnics and
dancing! --_àpropos,_ Henry, there will surely be a ball to
welcome our arrival?"

The conversation was interrupted; for just at that moment they had
gained the summit of a very high hill, and the post-boy, stopping to
give his horses breath, turned round to the carriage, pointing at the
same time, with a significant gesture, to a tall thin gray house,
something resembling a tower, that stood in the vale beneath. A small
sullen-looking lake was in front, on whose banks grew neither tree nor
shrub. Behind rose a chain of rugged cloud-capped hills, on the
declivities of which were some faint attempts at young plantations; and
the only level ground consisted of a few dingy turnip fields, enclosed
with stone walls, or dykes, as the post-boy called them. It was now
November; the day was raw and cold; and a thick drizzling rain was
beginning to fall. A dreary stillness reigned all around, broken only at
intervals by the screams of the sea-fowl that hovered over the lake, on
whose dark and troubled waters was dimly descried a little boat, plied
by one solitary being.

"What a scene!" at length Lady Juliana exclaimed, shuddering as she
spoke. "Good God, what a scene! How I pity the unhappy wretches who are
doomed to dwell in such a place! and yonder hideous grim house--it makes
me sick to look at it. For Heaven's sake, bid him drive on." Another
significant look from the driver made the colour mount to Douglas's
cheek, as he stammered out, "Surely it can't be; yet somehow I don't
know. Pray, my lad," setting down one of the glasses, and addressing the
post-boy, "what is the name of that house?"

"Hoose!" repeated the driver; "ca' ye thon a hoose? Thon's gude Glenfern
Castle."

Lady Juliana, not understanding a word he said, sat silently wondering
at her husband's curiosity respecting such a wretched-looking place.

"Impossible! you must be mistaken, my lad: why, what's become of all the
fine wood that used to surround it?"

"Gin you mean a wheen auld firs, there's some of them to the fore yet,"
pointing to two or three tall, bare, scathed Scotch firs, that scarcely
bent their stubborn heads to the wind, that now began to howl around
them.

"I insist upon it that you are mistaken; you must have wandered from
the right road," cried the now alarmed Douglas in a loud voice, which
vainly attempted to conceal his agitation.

"We'll shune see that," replied the phlegmatic Scot, who, having
rested his horses and affixed a drag to the wheel, was about to proceed,
when Lady Juliana, who now began to have some vague suspicion of the
truth, called to him to stop, and, almost breathless with alarm,
inquired of her husband the meaning of what had passed.

He tried to force a smile, as he said, "It seems our journey is nearly
ended; that fellow persists in asserting that that is Glenfern, though I
can scarcely think it. If it is, it is strangely altered since I left it
twelve years ago."

For a moment Lady Juliana was too much alarmed to make a reply; pale and
speechless, she sank back in the carriage; but the motion of it, as it
began to proceed, roused her to a sense of her situation, and she burst
into tears and exclamations.

The driver, who attributed it all to fears at descending the hill,
assured her she need na be the least feared, for there were na twa
cannier beasts atween that and Johnny Groat's hoose; and that they wad
ha'e her at the castle door in a crack, gin they were ance down the
brae."

Douglas's attempts to soothe his high-born bride were not more
successful than those of the driver: in vain he made use of every
endearing epithet and tender expression, and recalled the time when she
used to declare that she could dwell with him in a desert; her only
replies were bitter reproaches and upbraidings for his treachery and
deceit, mingled with floods of tears, and interrupted by hysterical
sobs. Provoked at her folly, yet softened by her extreme distress,
Douglas was in the utmost state of perplexity--now ready to give way to
a paroxysm of rage; then yielding to the natural goodness of his heart,
he sought to soothe her into composure; and, at length, with much
difficulty succeeded in changing her passionate indignation into silent
dejection.

That no fresh objects of horror or disgust might appear to disturb this
calm, the blinds were pulled down, and in this state they reached
Glenfern Castle. But there the friendly veil was necessarily with drawn,
and the first object that presented itself to the highbred Englishwoman
was an old man clad in a short tartan coat and striped woollen
night-cap, with blear eyes and shaking hands, who vainly strove to open
the carriage door.

Douglas soon extricated himself, and assisted his lady to alight; then
accosting the venerable domestic as "Old Donald," asked him if he
recollected him.

"Weel that, weel that, Maister Hairy, and ye're welcome hame; and ye tu,
bonny sir" [1] (addressing Lady Juliana, who was calling to her
footman to follow her with the mackaw); then, tottering before them, he
led the way, while her Ladyship followed, leaning on her husband, her
squirrel on her other arm, preceded by her dogs, barking with all their
might, and attended by the mackaw, screaming with all his strength; and
in this state was the Lady Juliana ushered into the drawing-room of
Glenfern Castle!

[1]  The Highlanders use this term of respect indifferently to
both sexes.



CHAPTER III.

   "What can be worse,
    Than to dwell here!"

            _Paradise Lost._

IT was a long, narrow, low-roofed room, with a number of small windows,
that admitted feeble lights in every possible direction. The scanty
furniture bore every appearance of having been constructed at the same
time as the edifice; and the friendship thus early formed still seemed
to subsist, as the high-backed worked chairs adhered most pertinaciously
to the gray walls, on which hung, in narrow black frames, some of the
venerable ancestors of the Douglas family. A fire, which appeared to
have been newly kindled, was beginning to burn, but, previous to showing
itself in flame, had chosen to vent itself in smoke, with which
the room was completely filled, and the open windows seemed to produce
no other effect than that of admitting the rain and wind.

At the entrance of the stranger a flock of females rushed forward to meet
them.  Douglas good humouredly submitted to be hugged by three long-chinned
spinsters, whom he recognised as his aunts; and warmly saluted five awkward
purple girls he guessed to be his sisters; while Lady Julian stood the image
of despair, and, scarcely conscious, admitted in silence the civilities of
her new relations; till, at length, sinking into a chair, she endeavoured
to conceal her agitation by calling to the dogs and caressing her mackaw.

The Laird, who had been hastily summoned from his farming operations,
now entered. He was good looking old man, with something the air of a
gentleman, in spite of the inelegance of his dress, his rough manner,
and provincial accent. After warmly welcoming his son, he advanced to
his beautiful daughter-in-law, and, taking her in his arms, bestowed a
loud and hearty kiss on each cheek; then, observing the paleness of her
complexion, and the tears that swam in her eyes, "What! not frightened
for our Hieland hills, my leddy? Come, cheer up-trust me, ye'll find as
warm hearts among them as ony ye ha'e left in your fine English
_policies_"--shaking her delicate fingers in his hard muscular gripe as
he spoke.

The tears, which had with difficulty been hitherto suppressed, now burst
in torrents from the eyes of the high-bred beauty, as she leant her
cheek against the back of a chair, and gave way to the anguish which
mocked control.

To the loud, anxious inquiries, and oppressive kindness of her homely
relatives, she made no reply; but, stretching out her hands to her
husband sobbed,

"Take, oh, take me from this place!"

Mortified, ashamed, and provoked,  at a behavior so childish and absurd,
Douglas could only stammer out something about Lady Juliana having been
frightened and fatigued; and, requesting to be shown to their apartment,
he supported her almost lifeless to it, while his aunts followed, all
three prescribing different remedies in a breath.

"For heaven's sake, take them from me!" faintly articulated Lady
Juliana, as she shrank from the many hands that were alternately applied
to her pulse and forehead.

After repeated entreaties and plausible excuses from Douglas, his aunts
at length consented to withdraw, and he then exerted all the rhetoric he
was master of to reconcile his bride to the situation love and necessity
had thrown her into. But in vain he employed reasoning, caresses, and
threats; the only answers he could extort were tears and entreaties to
be taken from a place where she declared she felt it impossible to
exist.

"If you wish my death, Harry," said she, in a voice almost inarticulate
from excess of weeping, "oh! kill me quickly, and do not leave me to
linger out my days, and perish at last with misery here."

"For heaven's sake, tell me what you would have me do," said her
husband, softened to pity by her extreme distress, "and I swear that in
everything possible I will comply with your wishes."

"Oh, fly then, stop the horses, and let us return immediately. Do run,
dearest Harry, or they will be gone; and we shall never get away from
this odious place."

"Where would you go?" asked he, with affected calmness.

"Oh, anywhere; no matter where, so as we do but get away from hence: we
can be at no loss."

"None in the world," interrupted Douglas, with a bitter smile, "as long
as there is a prison to receive us. See," continued he, throwing a few
shillings down on the table, "there is every sixpence I possess in the
world, so help me heaven!"

Lady Juliana stood aghast.

At that instant the English Abigail burst into the room, and in a voice
choking with passion, she requested her discharge, that she might return
with the driver who had brought them there.

"A pretty way of travelling, to be sure, it will be," continued she, "to
go bumping behind a dirty chaise-driver; but better to be shook to a
jelly altogether than stay amongst such a set of _Oaten-toads."_ [1]

[1] Hottentots.

"What do you mean?" inquired Douglas, as soon as the voluble Abigail
allowed him an opportunity of asking.

"Why, my meaning, sir, is to leave this here place immediately; not that
I have any objections either to my Lady or you, sir; but, to be sure, it
was a sad day for me that I engaged myself to her Ladyship. Little did I
think that a lady of distinction would coming to such a poor pitiful
place as this. I am sure I thought I should ha' swooned when I was
showed the hole where I was to sleep."

At the bare idea of this indignity to her person the fury of the
incensed fair one blazed forth with such strength as to choke her
utterance.

Amazement had hitherto kept Lady Juliana silent; for to such scenes she
was a stranger. Born in an elevated rank, reared in state, accustomed to
the most obsequious attention, and never approached but with the respect
due rather to a _divinity_ than to a mortal, the strain of vulgar
insolence that now assailed her was no less new to her ears than
shocking to her feelings. With a voice and look that awed the woman in
to obedience, she commanded her to quit her presence for ever; and then,
no longer able to suppress the motions of insulted pride, wounded
vanity, and indignant disappointment, she gave way to a violent fit of
hysterics.

In the utmost perplexity the unfortunate husband by turns cursed the
hour that had given him such a wife; now tried to soothe her into
composure; but at length, seriously alarmed at the increasing attack, he
called loudly for assistance.

In a moment the three aunts and the five sisters all rushed together
into the room, full of wonder, exclamation, and inquiry. Many were the
remedies that were tried and the experiments that were suggested; and at
length the violence of passion exhausted itself, and a faint sob or deep
sigh succeeded the hysteric scream.

Douglas now attempted to account for the behaviour of his noble spouse
by ascribing it to the fatigue she had lately undergone, joined to
distress of mind at her father's unrelenting severity towards her.

"Oh, the amiable  creature!" interrupted the unsuspecting  spinsters,
almost stifling her with their caresses as they spoke: "Welcome, a
thousand times welcome, to Glenfern Castle," said Miss Jacky, who was
esteemed by much the most sensible woman, as well as the greatest orator
in the whole parish; "nothing shall be wanting, dearest Lady Juliana, to
compensate for a parent's rigour, and make you happy and comfortable.
Consider this as your future home! My sisters and myself will be as
mothers to you; and see these charming young creatures," dragging
forward two tall frightened girls, with sandy hair and great purple
arms; "thank Providence for having blest you with such sisters!" "Don't,
speak too much, Jacky, to our dear niece at present," said Miss Grizzy;
"I think one of Lady Maclaughlan's composing draughts would be the best
thing for her."

"Composing draughts at this time of day!" cried Miss Nicky; "I
should think a little good broth a much wiser thing. There are some
excellent family broth making below, and I'll desire Tibby to bring a
few."

"Will you take a little soup, love?" asked Douglas. His lady assented;
and Miss Nicky vanished, but quickly re-entered, followed by Tibby,
carrying a huge bowl of coarse broth, swimming with leeks, greens, and
grease. Lady Juliana attempted to taste it; but her delicate palate
revolted at the homely fare; and she gave up the attempt, in spite of
Miss Nicky's earnest entreaties to take a few more of these excellent
family broth.

"I should think," said Henry, as he vainly attempted to stir it round,
"that a little wine would be more to the purpose than this stuff."

The aunts looked at each other; and, withdrawing to a corner, a
whispering consultation took place, in which Lady Maclaughlan's opinion,
"birch, balm, currant, heating, cooling, running risks," etc. etc.,
transpired. At length the question was carried; and some tolerable
sherry and a piece of very substantial _shortbread _were produced.

It was now voted by Miss Jacky, and carried _nem. con._ that her Ladyship
ought to take a little repose till the hour of dinner.

"And don't trouble to dress," continued the considerate aunt, "for we
are not very dressy here; and we are to be quite a charming family
party, nobody but ourselves; and," turning to her nephew, "your brother
and his wife. She is a most superior woman, though she has rather too
many of her English prejudices yet to be all we could wish; but I have
no doubt, when she has lived a little longer amongst us, she will just
become one of ourselves."

"I forget who she was," said Douglas.

"A grand-daughter of Sir Duncan Malcolm's, a very old family of the
--------- blood, and nearly allied to the present Earl. And here they
come," exclaimed she, on hearing the sound of a carriage; and all rushed
out to receive them.

"Let us have a glimpse of this scion from a noble stock," said Lady
Juliana, mimicking the accent of the poor spinsters, as she rose and ran
to the window.

"Good heavens, Henry! do come and behold this equipage;" and she
laughed with childish glee as she pointed to a plain, old-fashioned
whisky, with a large top. A tall handsome young man now alighted, and
lifted out a female figure, so enveloped in a cloak that eyes less
penetrating than Lady Juliana's could not, at a single glance, have
discovered her to be a "frightful quiz."

"Only conceive the effect of this dashing equipage in Bond Street!"
continued she, redoubling her mirth at the bright idea; then suddenly
stopping, and sighing--

"Ah, my pretty _vis-à-vis!_ I remember the first time I saw you,
Henry, I was in it at a review;" and she sighed still deeper.

"True; I was then aid-de-camp to your handsome lover, the Duke of
L----------."

"Perhaps I might think him handsome now. People's tastes alter according
to circumstances."

"Yours must have undergone a wonderful revolution, if you can find
charms in a hunchback of fifty three."

"He is not a hunchback," returned her Ladyship warmly; "only a little
high shouldered; but at any rate he has the most beautiful place and the
finest house in England."

Douglas saw the storm gathering on the brow of his capricious wife, and
clasping her in his arms, "Are you indeed so changed, my Julia, that you
have forgot the time when you used to declare you would prefer a desert
with your Henry to a throne with another."

"No, certainly, not changed; but--I--I did not very well know then
what a desert was; or, at least, I had formed rather a different idea of
it."

"What was your idea of a desert?" said her husband, laughing. "Do tell
me, love."

"Oh! I had fancied it a beautiful place, full of roses and myrtles, and
smooth green turf, and murmuring rivulets, and, though very retired, not
absolutely out of the world; where one could occasionally see one's
friends, and give _dejeunés et fêtes champêtres_."

"Well, perhaps the time may come, Juliana, when we may realise your
Elysian deserts; but at present, you know, I am wholly dependent on my
father. I hope to prevail on him to do something for me; and that our
stay here will be short; as, you may be sure, the moment I can, I will
take you hence. I am sensible it is not a situation for you; but for my
sake, dearest Juliana, bear with it for a while, without betraying your
disgust. Will you do this, darling?" and he kissed away the sullen tear
that hung on her cheek.

"You know, love, there's nothing in the world I wouldn't do for you,"
replied she, as she played with her squirrel; "and as you promise our
stay shall be short, if I don't die of the horrors I shall certainly try
to make the agreeable. Oh! my cherub!" flying to her pug, who came
barking into the room "where have you been, and where's my darling
Psyche, and sweet mackaw? Do, Harry, go and see after the darlings."

"I must go and see my brother and his wife first. Will you come, love?"

"Oh, not now; I don't feel equal to the encounter; besides, I must dress.
But what shall I do? Since that vile woman's gone I can't dress myself.
I never did such a thing in my life, and I am sure it's impossible that
I can," almost weeping at the hardships she was doomed to experience in
making her own toilet.

"Shall I be your Abigail?" asked her husband, smiling at the distress;
"me thinks it would be no difficult task to deck my Julia."

"Dear Harry, will you really dress me? Oh! That will be delightful! I
shall die with laughing at your awkwardness;" and her beautiful eyes
sparkled with childish delight at the idea.

"In the meantime," said Douglas, "I'll send someone to unpack your
things; and after I have shook hands with Archie, and been introduced to
my new sister, I shall enter on my office."

"Now do, pray, make haste; for I die to see your great hands tying
strings and sticking pins."

Delighted with her gaiety and good humour, he left her caressing her
favourites; and finding rather a scarcity of female attendance, he
despatched two of his sisters to assist his helpless beauty in her
arrangements.



CHAPTER IV.

    And ever against eating cares,
    Lap me in soft Lydian airs."

            _L'Allegro._

WHEN Douglas returned he found the floor strewed with dresses of every
description, his sisters on their knees before a great trunk they were
busied in unpacking, and his Lady in her wrapper, with her hair about
her ears, still amusing herself with her pets.

"See how good your sisters are," said she, pointing to the poor girls,
whose inflamed faces bore testimony to their labours. "I declare I am
quite sorry to see them take so much trouble," yawning as she leant back
in her chair; "is it not quite shocking, Tommy? 'kissing her squirrel.'"
Oh! pray, Henry, do tell me what I am to put on; for I protest I don't
know. Favolle always used to choose for me; and so did that odious
Martin, for she had an exquisite taste."

"Not so exquisite as your own, I am sure; so for once choose for
yourself," replied the good-humoured husband; "and pray make haste, for
my father waits dinner."

Betwixt scolding, laughing, and blundering, the dress was at length
completed; and Lady Juliana, in all the pomp of dress and pride of
beauty, descended, leaning on her husband's arm.

On entering the drawing-room, which was now  in a more comfortable
state, Douglas led her to a lady who was sitting by the fire: and,
placing her hand within that of the stranger, "Juliana, my love," said
he, "this is a sister whom you have not yet seen, a with whom I am sure
you will gladly make acquaintance."

The stranger received her noble sister with graceful ease; and, with a
sweet smile and pleasing accent, expressed herself happy in the
introduction. Lady Juliana was surprised and somewhat disconcerted. She
had arranged her plans, and made up her mind to be _condescending;_ she
had resolved to enchant by her sweetness, dazzle by her brilliancy, and
overpower by her affability. But there was a simple dignity in the air
and address of the lady, before which even high-bred affectation sank
abashed. Before she found a reply to the courteous yet respectful
salutation of her sister-in-law Douglas introduced his brother; and the
old gentleman, impatient at any farther delay, taking Lady Juliana by
the hand, pulled, rather than led her into the dining-room.

Even Lady Juliana contrived to make a meal of the roast mutton and
moorfowl; for the Laird piqued himself on the breed of his sheep, and
his son was to good a sportsman to allow his friends to want for game.

"I think my darling Tommy would relish this grouse very much," observed
Lady Juliana, as she secured the last remaining wing for her favourite."
Bring him here!" turning to the tall, dashing lackey who stood behind
her chair, and whose handsome livery and well-dressed hair formed a
striking contrast to old Donald's tartan jacket and bob-wig.

"Come hither, my sweetest cherubs," extending her arms towards the
charming trio, as they entered, barking, and chattering, and flying to
their mistress. A scene of noise and nonsense ensued.

Douglas remained silent, mortified and provoked at the weakness of his
wife, which not even the silver tones of her voice or the elegance of
her manners could longer conceal from him. But still there was a charm
in her very folly, to the eye of love, which had not yet wholly lost its
power.

After the table was cleared, observing that he was still silent and
abstracted, Lady Juliana turned to her husband, and, laying her hand on
his shoulder, "You are not well, love!" said she, looking up in his
face, and shaking back the redundant ringlets that shaded her own.

"Perfectly so," replied her husband, with a sigh.

"What? Dull?  Then I must sing to enliven you."

And, leaning her head on his shoulder, she warbled a verse of the
beautiful little Venetian air, _La Biondina in Gondoletta._ Then
suddenly stopping, and fixing her eyes on Mrs. Douglas, "I beg pardon,
perhaps you don't like music; perhaps my singing's a bore."

"You pay us a bad compliment in saying so," said her sister-in-law,
smiling; "and the only atonement you can make for such an injurious
doubt is to proceed."

"Does anybody sing here?" asked she, without noticing this request. "Do,
somebody, sing me a song."

"Oh! we all sing, and dance too," said one, of the old young ladies;
"and after tea we will show you some of our Scotch steps; but in the
meantime Mrs. Douglas will favour us with her song."

Mrs. Douglas assented good-humouredly, though aware that it would be
rather a nice point to please all parties in the choice of a song. The
Laird reckoned all foreign music--_i.e._ everything that was not
Scotch--an outrage upon his ears; and Mrs. Douglas had too much taste to
murder Scotch songs with her English accent. She therefore compromised
the matter as well as she could by selecting a Highland ditty clothed in
her own native tongue; and sang with much pathos and simplicity the
lamented Leyden's "Fall of Macgregor:"

    "In the vale of Glenorehy the night breeze was sighing
    O'er the tomb where the ancient Macgregors are lying;
    Green are their graves by their soft murmuring river,
    But the name of Macgregor has perished for ever.

    "On a red stream of light, by his gray mountains glancing,
    Soon I beheld a dim spirit advancing;
    Slow o'er the heath of the dead was its motion,
    Like the shadow of mist o'er the foam of the ocean.

    "Like the sound of a stream through the still evening dying,--
    Stranger! who treads where Macgregor is lying?
    Darest thou to walk, unappall'd and firm-hearted,
    'Mid the shadowy steps of the mighty departed?

    "See! round thee the caves of the dead are disclosing
    The shades that have long been in silence reposing;
    Thro' their forms dimly twinkles the moon-beam descending,
    As upon thee their red eyes of wrath they are bending.

    "Our gray stones of fame though the heath-blossom cover,
    Round the fields of our battles our spirits still hover;
    Where we oft saw the streams running red from the mountains;
    But dark are our forms by our blue native fountains.

    "For our fame melts away like the foam of the river,
    Like the last yellow leaves on the oak-boughs that shiver:
    The name is unknown of our fathers so gallant;
    And our blood beats no more in the breasts of the valiant.

    "The hunter of red deer now ceases to number
    The lonely gray stones on the field of our slumber.--
    Fly, stranger! and let not thine eye be reverted.
    Why should'st thou see that our fame is departed?"

"Pray, do you play on the harp," asked the volatile lady, scarcely
waiting till the first stanza was ended; "and, _apropos,_ have you a
good harp here?"

"We've a very sweet spinnet," said Miss Jacky, "which, in my opinion, is
a far superior instrument: and Bella will give us a tune upon it. Bella,
my dear, let Lady Juliana hear how well you can play."

Bella, blushing like a peony rose, retired to a corner of the room,
where stood the spinnet; and with great, heavy, trembling hands, began
to belabour the unfortunate instrument, while the aunts beat time, and
encouraged her to proceed with exclamations of admiration and applause.

"You have done very well, Bella," said Mrs. Douglas, seeing her
preparing to _execute_ another piece, and pitying the poor girl, as well
as her auditors. Then whispering Miss Jacky that Lady Juliana looked
fatigued, they arose to quit the room.

"Give me your arm, love, to the drawing-room," said her Ladyship
languidly. "And now, pray, don't be long away," continued she, as he
placed her on the sofa, and returned to the gentlemen.



CHAPTER V.

    "You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
    With most admired disorder."

            _Macbeth._

THE interval, which seemed of endless  duration to the hapless Lady
Juliana, was passed by the aunts in giving sage counsel as to the course
of life to be pursued by married ladies. Worsted stockings and quilted
petticoats were insisted upon as indispensable articles of dress; while
it was plainly insinuated that it was utterly impossible any child could
be healthy whose mother had not confined her wishes to barley broth and
oatmeal porridge.

"Only look at thae young lambs," said Miss Grizzy, pointing to the five
great girls; "see what pickters of health they are! I'm sure I hope, my
dear niece, your children will be just the same--only boys, for we are
sadly in want of boys. It's melancholy to think we have not a boy among
us, and that a fine auntient race like ours should be dying away for
want of male heirs." And the tears streamed down the cheeks of the good
spinster as she spoke.

The entrance of the gentlemen put a stop to the conversation.

Flying to her husband, Lady Juliana began to whisper, in very audible
tones, her inquires, whether he had yet got any money--when they were to
go away, etc. etc.

"Does your Ladyship choose any tea?" asked Miss Nicky, as she
disseminated the little cups of coarse black liquid.

"Tea! oh no, I never drink tea. I'll take some coffee though; and Psyche
doats on a dish of tea." And she tendered the beverage that had been
intended for herself to her favourite.

"Here's no coffee," said Douglas, surveying the tea-table; "but I will
ring for some," as he pulled the bell.

Old Donald answered the summons.

"Where's the coffee?" demanded Miss Nicky.

"The coffee!" repeated the Highlander; "troth, Miss Nicky, an' it's been
clean forgot."

"Well, but you can get it yet?" said Douglas.

"'Deed, Maister Harry, the night's owre far gane for't noo; for the
fire's a' ta'en up, ye see," reckoning with his fingers, as he
proceeded; "there's parritch makin' for oor supper; and there's patatees
boiling for the beasts; and--"

"I'll see about it myself," said Miss Nicky, leaving the room, with old
Donald at her back, muttering all the way.

The old Laird, all this while, had been enjoying his evening nap; but,
that now ended, and the tea equipage being dismissed, starting up, he
asked what they were about, that the dancing was not begun.

"Come, my Leddy, we'll set the example," snapping his fingers, and
singing in a hoarse voice,

   "The mouse is a merry beastie,
    And the moudiwort wants the een;
    But folk sail ne'er get wit,
    Sae merry as we twa ha'e been.'

"But whar's the girlies?" cried he. "Ho! Belle, Becky, Betty, Baby,
Beeny--to your posts!"

The young ladies, eager for the delights of music and dancing, now
entered, followed by Coil, the piper, dressed in the native garb, with
cheeks seemingly ready blown for the occasion. After a little strutting
and puffing, the pipes were fairly set a going in Coil's most spirited
manner. But vain would be the attempt to describe Lady Juliana's horror
and amazement at the hideous sounds that for the first time assailed her
ear. Tearing herself from the grasp of the old gentleman, who was just
setting off in the reel, she flew shrieking to her husband, and threw
herself trembling into his arms, while he called loudly to the self
delighted Coil to stop.

"What's the matter? what's the matter?" cried the whole family,
gathering round.

"Matter!" repeated Douglas furiously; "you have frightened Lady Juliana
to death with your infernal music. What did you mean," turning fiercely
to the astonished piper, "by blowing that confounded bladder?"

Poor Coil gaped with astonishment; for never before had his performance
on the bagpipe been heard but with admiration and applause.

"A bonny bargain, indeed, that canna stand the pipes," said the old
gentleman, as he went puffing up and down the room. "She's no the wife
for a Heelandman. Confoonded blather, indeed! By my faith, ye're no
blate!"

"I declare it's the most distressing thing I ever met with," sighed Miss
Grizzy. "I wonder whether it could be the sight or the sound of the
bagpipe that frightened our dear niece. I wish to goodness Lady
Maclaughlan was here!"

"It's impossible the bagpipe could frighten anybody," said Miss Jacky,
in a high key; "nobody with common sense could be frightened at a
bagpipe."

Mrs. Douglas here mildly interposed, and soothed down the offended pride
of the Highlanders by attributing Lady Juliana's agitation entirely to
_surprise._ The word operated like a charm; all were ready to admit that
it was a surprising thing when heard for the first time. Miss Jacky
remarked that we are all liable to be surprised; and the still more
sapient Grizzy said that, indeed, it was most surprising the effect that
surprise had upon some people. For her own part, she could not deny but
that she was very often frightened when she was surprised.

Douglas, meanwhile, was employed in soothing the terrors, real or
affected, of his delicate bride, who declared herself so exhausted with
the fatigue she had undergone, and the sufferings she had endured, that
she must retire for the night. Henry, eager to escape from the questions
and remarks of his family, gladly availed himself of the same excuse;
and, to the infinite mortification of both aunts and nieces, the ball
was broken up.



CHAPTER VI

    "What choice to choose for delicacy best."

            Milton

OF what nature were the remarks passed in the parlour upon the new
married couple has not reached the writer of these memoirs with as much
exactness as the foregoing circumstances; but they may in part be
imagined from the sketch already given of the characters which formed
the Glenfern party. The conciliatory indulgence of Mrs. Douglas, when
aided by the good-natured Miss Grizzy, doubtless had a favourable effect
on the irritated pride but short-lived acrimony of the old gentleman.
Certain it is that, before the evening concluded, they appeared all
restored to harmony, and retired to their respective chambers in hopes
of beholding a more propitious morrow.

Who has not perused sonnets, odes, and speeches in praise of that balmy
blessing sleep; from the divine effusions of Shakespeare down to the
drowsy notes of newspaper poets?

Yet cannot too much be said in its commendation. Sweet is its influence
on the careworn eyes to tears accustomed. In its arms the statesman
forgets his harassed thoughts; the weary and the poor are blessed with
its charms; and conscience--even conscience--is sometimes soothed into
silence, while the sufferer sleeps. But nowhere, perhaps, is its
influence more happily felt than in the heart oppressed by the harassing
accumulation of petty ills; like a troop of locusts, making up by their
number and their stings what they want in magnitude.

Mortified pride in discovering the fallacy of our own judgment; to be
ashamed of what we love, yet still to love, are feelings most
unpleasant; and though they assume not the dignity of deep distress, yet
philosophy has scarce any power to soothe their worrying, incessant
annoyance. Douglas was glad to forget himself in sleep. He had thought a
vast deal that day, and of unpleasant subjects, more than the whole of
his foregoing life would have produced. If he did not curse the fair
object of his imprudence, he at least cursed his own folly and himself;
and these were his last waking thoughts.

But Douglas could not repose as long as the seven sleepers, and, in
consequence of having retired sooner to bed than he was accustomed to
do, he waked at an early hour in the morning.

The wonderful activity which people sometimes feel when they have little
to do with their bodies, and less with their minds, caused him to rise
hastily and dress, hoping to pick up a new set of ideas by virtue of his
locomotive powers.

On descending to the dining-parlour  he found his father seated at the
window, carefully perusing a pamphlet written to illustrate the
principle, _Let nothing be lost,_ and containing many sage and erudite
directions for the composition and dimensions of that ornament to a
gentleman's farmyard, and a cottager's front door, ycleped, in the
language of the country, a _midden_--with the signification of which we
would not, for the world, shock the more refined feelings of our
southern readers.

Many were the inquiries about dear Lady Juliana; hoped she had rested
well; hoped the found the bed comfortable, etc. etc. These inquiries
were interrupted by the Laird, who requested is son to take a turn with
him while breakfast was getting ready, that they might talk over past
events and new plans; that he might see the new planting on the hill; the
draining of the great moss; with other agricultural concerns which we
shall omit, not having the same power of commanding attention for our
readers as the Laird had from his hearers.

After repeated summonses and many inquiries from the impatient party
already assembled the breakfast table, Lady Juliana made her appearance,
accompanied by her favourites, whom no persuasions of her husband could
prevail upon her to leave behind.

As she entered the room her olfactory nerves were smote with gales,
not of "Araby the blest," but of old cheese and herrings, with which the
hospitable board was amply provided.

The ladies having severally exchanged the salutations of the morning,
Miss Nicky commenced the operation of pouring out tea, while the Laird
laid a large piece of herring on her Ladyship's plate.

"Good heavens! what am I to do with this?" exclaimed she. "Do take it
away, or I shall faint!"

"Brother', brother!" cried Miss Grizzy in a tone of alarm, "I beg you
won't place any unpleasant object before the eyes of our dear niece. I
declare! Pray, was it the sight or the smell of the beast [1] that
shocked you so much, my dear Lady Juliana? I'm sure I wish to goodness
Lady Maclaughlan was come!"

[1] In Scotland everything that flies and swims ranks in the bestial tribe.

Mr. Douglas, or the Major, as he was styled, immediately rose and pulled
the bell.

"Desire my gig to be got ready directly!" said he.

The aunts drew up stiffly, and looked at each other without speaking;
but the old gentleman expressed his surprise that his son should think
of leaving them so soon.

"May we inquire the reason of this sudden resolution?" at length said
Miss Jacky in a tone of stifled indignation.

"Certainly, if you are disposed to hear  it; it is because I find that
there is company expected."

The three ladies turned up their hands and eyes in speechless horror.

"Is it that virtuous woman Lady Maclaughlan you would shun, nephew?"
demanded Miss Jacky.

"It is that insufferable woman I would shun," replied her nephew, with a
heightened colour and a violence very unusual with him.

The good Miss Grizzy drew out her pocket-handkerchief, while Mrs.
Douglas vainly endeavoured to silence her husband, and avert the rising
storm.

"Dear Douglas!" whispered his wife in a tone of reproach.

"Oh, pray let him go on," said Miss Jacky, almost choking under the
effort she made to appear calm. "Let him go on. Lady Maclaughlan's
character, luckily, is far above the reach of calumny; nothing that Mr.
Archibald Douglas can say will have power to change our opinions, or, I
hope, to prejudice his brother and Lady Juliana against this most
exemplary, virtuous woman--a woman of family--of fortune--of talents of
accomplishments; a woman of unblemished reputation--of the strictest
morals, sweetest temper, charming heart, delightful spirits, so
charitable--every year gives fifty flannel petticoats to the old people
of the parish---"

"Then such a wife as she is!" sobbed out Miss Grizzy. "She has
invented I don't know how many different medicines for Sir Sampson's
complaint, and makes a point of his taking some of them every day; but
for her I'm sure he would have been in his grave long ago."

"She's doing all she can to send him there, as she has done many a poor
wretch already, with her infernal compositions."

Here Miss Grizzy sank back in her chair, overcome with horror; and Miss
Nicky let fall the teapot, the scalding contents of which discharged
themselves upon the unfortunate Psyche, whose yells, mingling with the
screams of its fair mistress, for a while drowned even Miss Jacky's
oratory.

"Oh, what shall I do?" cried Lady Juliana, as she bent over her
favourite. "Do send for a surgeon; pray, Henry, fly! Do fetch one
directly, or she will die; and it would quite kill me to lose my
darling. Do run, dearest Harry!"

"My dear Julia, how can you be so absurd? There's no surgeon within
twenty miles of this."

"No surgeon within twenty miles!" exclaimed she, starting up. "How
could you bring me to such a place? Good God! those dear creatures may
die--I may die myself--before I can get any assistance!"

"Don't be alarmed, my dearest niece," said the good Miss Grizzy; "we are
all doctors here. I understand something of physic myself; and our
friend Lady Maclaughlan, who, I daresay, will be here presently, is
perfect mistress of every disease of the human frame."

"Clap a cauld potatae to the brute's tae," cried the old
Laird gruffly.

"I've a box of her scald ointment that will cure it in a minute."

"If it don't cure, it will kill," said Mr. Douglas, with a smile.

"Brother," said Miss Jacky, rising with dignity from her chair, and
waving her hand as she spoke-"brother, I appeal to you to protect the
character of this most amiable, respectable matron from the insults and
calumny your son thinks proper to load it with. Sir Sampson Maclaughlan
is your friend, and it therefore becomes your duty to defend his wife."

"Troth, but I'll hae aneugh to do if I am to stand up for a' my friends'
wives," said the old gentleman. "But, however, Archie, you are to blame:
Leddy Maclaughlan is a very decent woman--at least, as far as I
ken--though she is a little free in the gab; and out of respect to my
auld friend Sir Sampson, it is my desire that you should remain here to
receive him, and that you trait baith him and his Lady discreetly."

This was said in too serious a tone to be disputed, and his son was
obliged to submit.

The ointment meanwhile having been applied to Psyche's paw, peace
was restored, and breakfast, recommenced.

"I declare our dear niece has not tasted a morsel," observed Miss Nicky.

"Bless me, here's charming barley meal scones," cried one, thrusting a
plateful of them before her. "Here's tempting pease bannocks,"
interposed another, "and oat cakes. I'm sure your Ladyship never saw
such cakes."

"I can't eat any of those things," said their delicate niece, with an
air of disgust. "I should like some muffin and chocolate."

"You forget you are not in London, my love," said her husband
reproachfully.

"No indeed, I do not forget it. Well then, give me some toast," with an
air of languid condescension.

"Unfortunately, we happen be quite out of loaf bread at present," said
Miss Nicky; "but we've sent to Drymsine for some. They bake excellent
bread at Drymsine."

"Is there nothing within the bounds of possibility you would fancy,
Julia?" asked Douglas. "Do think, love."

"I think I should like some grouse, or a beefsteak, if it was very
nicely done," returned her Ladyship in a languishing tone.

"Beef-steak!" repeated Miss Grizzy.

"Beef-steak!" responded Miss Jacky.

"Beef-steak!" reverberated Miss Nicky.

After much deliberation and consultation amongst the three spinsters, it
was at length unanimously carried that the Lady's whim should be
indulged.

"Only think, sisters," observed Miss Grizzy in an undertone, "what
reflections we should have to make upon ourselves if the child was to
resemble a moorfowl!"

"Or have a face like a raw beef-steak!" said Miss Nicky.

These arguments were unanswerable; and a smoking steak and plump
moor-fowl were quickly produced, of which Lady Juliana partook in
company with her four-footed favourites.



CHAPTER VII

   "When winter soaks, the fields, and female feet--
    Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
    Or ford the rivulets--are best at home."

        _The Task_

THE meal being at length concluded, Glenfern desired Henry to attend him
on a walk, as he wished to have a little more private conversation with
him. Lady Juliana was beginning a remonstrance against the cruelty of
taking Harry away from her, when her husband whispering her that he
hoped to make something of the old gentleman, and that he should soon be
back, she suffered him to depart in silence.

Old Donald having at length succeeded in clearing the table of its
heterogeneous banquet, it was quickly covered with the young ladies'
work.

Miss Nicky withdrew to her household affairs. Miss Jacky sat with one
eye upon Lady Juliana, the other upon her five nieces. Miss Grizzy
seated herself by her Ladyship, holding a spread letter of Lady
Maclaughlan's before her as a screen.

While the young ladies busily plied their needles, the elder ones left
no means untried to entertain their listless niece, whose only replies
were exclamations of weariness, or expressions of affection bestowed
upon her favourites.

At length even Miss Jacky's sense and Miss Grizzy's good nature were _at
fault;_ when a ray of sunshine darting into the room suggested the idea
of a walk. The proposal was made, and assented to by her Ladyship, in
the twofold hope of meeting her husband and pleasing her dogs, whose
whining and scratching had for some time testified their desire of a
change. The ladies therefore separated to prepare for their _sortie,_
after many recommendations from the aunts to be sure to _hap_ [1] well;
but, as if distrusting her powers in that way, they speedily equipped
themselves, and repaired to her chamber, arrayed _cap a' pie_ in the
walking costume of Glenfern Castle. And, indeed, it must be owned their
style of dress was infinitely more judicious than that of their
fashionable niece; and it was not surprising that they, in their shrunk
duffle greatcoats, vast poke-bonnets, red worsted neckcloths, and
pattens, should gaze with horror at her lace cap, lilac satin pelisse,
and silk shoes. Ruin to the whole race of Glenfern, present and future,
seemed inevitable from such a display of extravagance and imprudence.
Having surmounted the first shock, Miss Jacky made a violent effort to
subdue her rising wrath; and, with a sort of convulsive smile, addressed
Lady Juliana: "Your Ladyship, I perceive, is not of the opinion of our
inimitable bard, who, in his charming poem, 'The Seasons,' says' Beauty
needs not the foreign aid of ornament; but is, when unadorned, adorned
the most.' That is a truth that ought to be impressed on every young
woman's mind."

[1]  Wrap.

Lady Juliana only stared. She was as little accustomed to be advised as
she was to hear Thomson's "Seasons" quoted.

"I declare that's all quite true," said the more temporising Grizzy;
"and certainly our girls are not in the least taken up about their
dress, poor things! which is a great comfort. At the same time, I'm sure
it's no wonder your Ladyship should be taken up about yours, for
certainly that pelisse is most beautiful. Nobody can deny that; and I
daresay it is the very newest fashion. At the same time, I'm just afraid
that it's rather too delicate, and that it might perhaps get a little
dirty on our roads; for although, in general, our roads are quite
remarkable for being always dry, which is a great comfort in the
country, yet you know the very best roads of course must be wet
sometimes. And there's a very bad step just at the door almost, which
Glenfern has been always speaking about getting mended. But, to be sure,
he has so many things to think about that it's no wonder he forgets
sometimes; but I daresay he will get it done very soon now."

The prospect of the road being mended produced no better effect than the
quotation from Thomson's "Seasons." It was now Miss Nicky's turn.

"I'm afraid your Ladyship will frighten our stirks and stots with your
finery. I assure you they are not accustomed to see such fine figures;
and"--putting her hand out at the window--"I think it's spitting
already." [1]

[1]  A common expression in Scotland to signify slight rain.

All three now joined in the chorus, beseeching Lady Juliana to put on
something warmer and more wiselike.

"I positively have nothing," cried she, wearied with their
importunities, "and I shan't get any winter things now till I return to
town. My _roquelaire_ does very well for the carriage."

The acknowledgment at the beginning of this speech was enough. All three
instantly disappeared like the genii of Aladin's lamp, and, like that
same person, presently returned, loaded with what, in their eyes, were
precious as the gold of Arabia. One displayed a hard worsted shawl, with
a flower-pot at each corner; another held up a tartan cloak, with a
hood; and a third thrust forward a dark cloth Joseph, lined with
flannel; while one and all showered down a variety of old bonnets, fur
tippets, hair soles, clogs, pattens, and endless _et ceteras_. Lady
Juliana shrank with disgust from these "delightful haps," and resisted
all attempts to have them forced upon her, declaring, in a manner which
showed her determined to have her own way, that she would either go out
as she was or not go out at all. The aunts were therefore obliged to
submit, and the party proceeded to what was termed the high road, though
a stranger would have sought in vain for its pretensions to that
title. Far as the eye could reach--and that was far enough--not a single
vehicle could be descried on it, though its deep ruts showed that it was
well frequented by carts. The scenery might have had charms for Ossian,
but it had none for Lady Juliana, who would rather have been entangled
in a string of Bond Street equipages than traversing "the lonely heath,
with the stream murmuring hoarsely, the old trees groaning in the wind,
the troubled lake," and the still more troubled sisters. As may be
supposed, she very soon grew weary of the walk. The bleak wind pierced
her to the soul; her silk slippers and lace flounces became
undistinguishable masses of mud; her dogs chased the sheep, and were, in
their turn, pursued by the "nowts," as the ladies termed the steers. One
sister expatiated on the great blessing of having a peat moss at their
door; another was at pains to point out the purposed site of a set of
new offices; and the third lamented that her Ladyship had not on thicker
shoes, that she might have gone and seen the garden. More than ever
disgusted and wretched, the hapless Lady Juliana returned to the house
to fret away the time till her husband's return.



CHAPTER VIII.

    "On se rend insupportable dans la société par des
     défauts légers, mais qui se font sentir à tout
     moment."--VOLTAIRE.

THE family of Glenfern have already said so much for themselves that it
seems as if little remained to be told by their biographer. Mrs. Douglas
was the only member of the community who was at all conscious of the
unfortunate association of characters and habits that had just taken
place. She was a stranger to Lady Juliana; but she was interested by her
youth, beauty, and elegance, and felt for the sacrifice she had made--a
sacrifice so much greater than it was possible she ever could have
conceived or anticipated. She could in some degree enter into the nature
of her feelings towards the old ladies; for she too had felt how
disagreeable people might contrive to render themselves without being
guilty of any particular fault, and how much more difficult it is to
bear with the weaknesses than the vices of our neighbours. Had these
ladies' failings been greater in a moral point of view, it might not
have been so arduous a task to put up with them. But to love such a set
of little, trifling, tormenting foibles, all dignified with the name of
virtues, required, from her elegant mind, an exertion of its highest
principles--a continual remembrance of that difficult Christian precept,
"to bear with one another." A person of less sense than Mrs. Douglas
would have endeavoured to open the eyes of their understandings on what
appeared to be the folly and narrow mindedness of their ways; but she
refrained from the attempt, not from want of benevolent exertion, but
from an innate conviction that their foibles all originated in what was
now incurable, viz. the natural weakness of their minds, together with
their ignorance of the world and the illiberality and prejudices of a
vulgar education. "These poor women," reasoned the charitable
Mrs. Douglas, "are perhaps, after all, better characters in the sight of
God than I am. He who has endowed us all as His wisdom has seen fit, and
has placed me amongst them, oh, may He teach me to remember that we are
all His children, and enable me to bear with their faults, while I study
to correct my own."

Thus did this amiable woman contrive not only to live in peace, but,
without sacrificing her own liberal ideas, to be actually beloved by
those amongst whom her lot had been cast, however dissimilar to herself.
But for that Christian spirit (in which must ever be included a liberal
mind and gentle temper), she must have felt towards her connexions a
still stronger repugnance than was even manifested by Lady Juliana; for
Lady Juliana's superiority over them was merely that of refined habits
and elegant manners; whereas Mrs. Douglas's was the superiority of a
noble and highly-gifted mind, which could hold no intercourse with
theirs except by stooping to the level of their low capacities. But,
that the merit of her conduct may be duly appreciated, I shall endeavour
to give a slight sketch of the female _dramatis personae_ of Glenfern
Castle.

Miss Jacky, the senior of the trio, was what is reckoned a very sensible
woman--which generally means, a very disagreeable, obstinate, illiberal
director of all men, women, and children--a sort of superintendent of
all actions, time, and place--with unquestioned authority to arraign,
judge, and condemn upon the statutes of her own supposed sense. Most
country parishes have their sensible woman, who lays down the law on all
affairs, spiritual and temporal. Miss Jacky stood unrivalled as the
sensible woman of Glenfern. She had attained this eminence partly from
having a little more understanding than her sisters, but principally
from her dictatorial manner, and the pompous decisive tone in which she
delivered the most commonplace truths. At home her supremacy in all
matters of sense was perfectly established; and thence the infection,
like other superstitions, had spread over the whole neighbourhood. As
sensible woman she regulated the family, which she took care to let
everybody see; she was conductor of her nieces' education, which she
took care to let everybody hear; she was a sort of postmistress
general--a detector of all abuses and impositions; and deemed it her
prerogative to be consulted about all the useful and useless things
which everybody else could have done as well. She was liberal of her
advice to the poor, always enforcing upon them the iniquity of idleness,
but doing nothing for them in the way of employment--strict economy
being one of the many points in which she was particularly sensible. The
consequence was, while she was lecturing half the poor women in the
parish for their idleness, the bread was kept out of their mouths by the
incessant carding of wool and knitting of stockings, and spinning, and
reeling, and winding, and pirning, that went on amongst the ladies
themselves. And, by-the-bye, Miss Jacky is not the only sensible woman
who thinks she is acting a meritorious part when she converts what ought
to be the portion of the poor into the employment of the affluent.

In short, Miss Jacky was all over sense. A skilful physiognomist would,
at a single glance, have detected the sensible woman, in the erect head,
the compressed lips, square elbows, and firm judicious step. Even her
very garments seemed to partake of the prevailing character of their
mistress: her ruff always looked more sensible than any other body's;
her shawl sat most sensibly on her shoulders; her walking shoes were
acknowledged to be very sensible; and she drew on her gloves with an air
of sense, as if the one arm had been Seneca, the other Socrates. From
what has been said it may easily be inferred that Miss Jacky was in fact
anything but a sensible woman; as indeed no woman can be who bears such
visible outward marks of what is in reality the most quiet and
unostentatious of all good qualities. But there is a spurious sense,
which passes equally well with the multitude; it is easily assumed, and
still more easily maintained; common truths and a grave dictatorial air
being all that is necessary for its support.

Miss Grizzy's character will not admit of so long a commentary as that
of her sister. She was merely distinguishable from nothing by her simple
good nature, the inextricable entanglement of her thoughts, her love of
letter-writing, and her friendship with Lady Maclaughlan. Miss Nicky had
about as much sense as Miss Jacky; but, as no kingdom can maintain two
kings, so no family can admit of two sensible women; and Nicky was
therefore obliged to confine hers to the narrowest possible channels of
housekeeping, mantua-making, etc., and to sit down for life (or at least
till Miss Jacky should be married) with the dubious character of "not
wanting for sense either." With all these little peccadilloes the
sisters possessed some good properties. They were well-meaning,
kind-hearted, and, upon the whole, good-tempered they loved one another,
revered their brother, doated upon their nephews and nieces, took a
lively interest in the poorest of their poor cousins, a hundred degrees
removed, and had a firm conviction of the perfectibility of human
nature, as exemplified in the persons of all their own friends. "Even
their failings leaned to virtue's side;" for whatever they did was with
the intention of doing good, though the means they made use of generally
produced an opposite effect. But there are so many Miss Douglases in the
world that doubtless everyone of my readers is as well acquainted with
them as I am myself. I shall therefore leave them to finish the picture
according to their ideas, while I return to the parlour, where the
worthy spinsters are seated in expectation of the arrival of their
friend.



CHAPTER IX.

   "Though both
    Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed--
    For contemplation he, and valour formed;
    For softness she, and sweet attractive grace."

        MILTON.


"WHAT _can_ have come over Lady Maclaughlan?" said Miss Grizzy, as she
sat at the window in a dejected attitude.

"I think I hear a carriage at last," cried Miss Jacky, turning up her
ears. "Wisht! let us listen."

"It's only the wind," sighed Miss Grizzy.

"It's the cart with the bread," said Miss Nicky.

"It's Lady Maclaughlan, I assure you," pronounced Miss Jacky.

The heavy rumble of a ponderous vehicle now proclaimed the approach of
the expected visitor; which pleasing anticipation was soon changed into
blissful certainty by the approach of a high-roofed, square bottomed,
pea-green chariot, drawn by two long-tailed white horses, and followed
by a lackey in the Highland garb. Out of this equipage issued a figure,
clothed in a light-coloured, large-flowered chintz raiment, carefully
drawn through the pocket-holes, either for its own preservation, or the
more disinterested purpose of displaying a dark short stuff petticoat,
which, with the same liberality, afforded ample scope for the survey of
a pair of worsted stockings and black leather shoes, something
resembling buckets. A faded red cloth jacket, which bore evident marks
of having been severed from its native skirts, now acted in the capacity
of a spencer. On the head rose a stupendous fabric, in the form of a
cap, on the summit of which was placed a black beaver hat, tied
_à la poissarde._ A small black satin muff in one hand, and a
gold-headed walking-stick in the other, completed the dress and
decoration of this personage.

The lackey, meanwhile, advanced to the carriage; and, putting  in both
his hands, as if to catch so something, he pulled forth a small bundle,
enveloped in a military cloak, the contents of which would have baffled
conjecture, but for the large cocked hat and little booted leg which
protruded at opposite extremities.

A loud but slow and well-modulated voice now resounded through the
narrow stone passage that conducted to the drawing-room.

"Bring him in--bring him in, Philistine! I always call my man
Philistine, because he has Sampson in his hands. Set him down there,"
pointing to an easy chair, as the group now entered, headed by Lady
Maclaughlan.

"Well, girls!" addressing the venerable spinsters, as they severally
exchanged a tender salute; "so you're all alive, I see;--humph!"

"Dear Lady Maclaughlan, allow me to introduce our beloved niece, Lady
Juliana Douglas," said Miss Grizzy, leading her up, and bridling as she
spoke with ill-suppressed exultation.

"So--you're very pretty--yes, you are very pretty!" kissing the
forehead, cheeks, and chin of the youthful beauty between every pause.
Then, holding her at arm's length, she surveyed her from head to foot,
with elevated brows, and a broad fixed stare.

"Pray sit down, Lady Maclaughlan," cried her three friends all at once,
each tendering a chair.

"Sit down!" repeated she;  "why, what should I sit down for? I choose to
stand--I don't like to sit--I never sit at home--do I, Sir Sampson?"
turning to the little warrior, who, having been seized with a violent
fit of coughing on his entrance, had now sunk back, seemingly quite
exhausted, while the _Philistine_ was endeavouring to disencumber him of
his military accoutrements.

"How very distressing Sir Sampson's cough is!" said the sympathising
Miss Grizzy.

"Distressing, child! No--it's not the least distressing. How can a thing
be distressing that does no harm? He's much the better of it--it's the
only exercise he gets."

"Oh! well, indeed, if that's the case, it would be a thousand pities to
stop it," replied the accommodating spinster.

"No, it wouldn't be the least pity to stop it!" returned Lady
Maclaughlan, in her loud authoritative tone; "because, though it's not
distressing, it's very disagreeable. But it cannot be stopped--you might
as well talk of stopping the wind--it is a cradle cough."

"My dear Lady Maclaughlan!" screamed Sir Sampson in a shrill pipe, as he
made an effort to raise himself, and rescue his cough from this
aspersion; "how can you persist in saying so, when I have told you so
often it proceeds entirely from a cold caught a few years ago, when I
attended his Majesty at-----" Here a violent relapse carried the
conclusion of the sentence along with it.

"Let him alone-don't meddle with him," called his lady to the assiduous
nymphs who were bustling around him; "leave him to Philistine; he's in
very good hands when he is in Philistine's." Then resting her chin upon
the head of her stick, she resumed her scrutiny of Lady Juliana.

"You really are a pretty creature! You've got a very handsome nose,
and your mouth's very well, but I don't like your eyes; they're too
large and too light; they're saucer eyes, and I don't like saucer eyes.
Why ha'nt you black eyes? You're not a bit like your father--I knew
him very well. Your mother was an heiress; your father married her for
her money, and she married him to be a Countess; and so that's the
history of their marriage-humph."

This well-bred harangue was delivered in an unvarying tone, and with
unmoved muscles; for though the lady seldom failed of calling forth some
conspicuous emotion, either of shame, mirth, or anger, on the
countenances of her hearers, she had never been known to betray any
correspondent feelings on her own; yet her features were finely formed,
marked, and expressive; and, in spite of her ridiculous dress and
eccentric manners, an air of dignity was diffused over her whole person,
that screened her from the ridicule to which she must otherwise have
been exposed. Amazement at the uncouth garb and singular address of Lady
Maclaughlan was seldom unmixed with terror at the stern imperious manner
that accompanied all her actions. Such were the feelings of Lady Juliana
as she remained subjected to her rude gaze and impertinent remarks.

"My Lady?" squeaked Sir Sampson from forth his easy chair.

"My love?" interrogated his lady as she leant upon her stick.

"I want to be introduced to my Lady Juliana Douglas; so give me your
hand," attempting, at the same time, to emerge from the huge leathern
receptacle into which he had been plunged by the care of the kind
sisters.

"Oh, pray sit still, dear Sir Sampson," cried they as usual all at once;
"our sweet niece will come to you, don't take the trouble to rise; pray
don't," each putting a hand on this man of might, as he was half risen,
and pushing him down.

"Ay, come here, my dear," said Lady Maclaughlan; "you're abler to walk
to Sir Sampson than he to you," pulling Lady Juliana in front of the
easy chair; "there--that's her; you see she is very pretty."

"Zounds, what is the meaning of all this?" screamed the enraged baronet.
"My Lady Juliana Douglas, I am shocked beyond expression at this freedom
of my lady's. I beg your ladyship ten thousand pardons; pray be seated.
I'm shocked; I am ready to faint at the impropriety of this
introduction, so contrary to all rules of etiquette. How _could _you
behave in such a manner, my Lady Maclaughlan?"

"Why, you know, my dear, your legs may be very good legs, but they can't
walk," replied she, with her usual _sang froid._

"My Lady Maclaughlan, you perfectly confound me," stuttering with rage.
"My lady Juliana Douglas, see here," stretching out a meagre shank, to
which not even the military boot and large spur could give a respectable
appearance: "You see that leg strong and straight," stroking it down--;
"now, behold the fate of war!" dragging forward the other, which was
shrunk and shrivelled to almost one half its original dimensions. "These
legs were once the same; but I repine not--I sacrificed it in a noble
cause: to that leg my Sovereign owes his life!"

"Well, I declare, I had no idea; I thought always it had been
rheumatism," burst from the lips of the astonished spinsters, as they
crowded round the illustrious limb, and regarded it with looks of
veneration.

"Humph!" emphatically uttered his lady.

"The story's a simple one, ladies, and soon told: I happened to be
attending his Majesty at a review; I was then aid-de-camp to Lord -----.
His horse took fright, I--I--I,"--here, in spite of all the efforts that
could be made to suppress it, the _royal_ _cough _burst forth with a
violence that threatened to silence its brave owner for ever.

"It's very strange you will talk, my love," said his sympathising lady,
as she supported him; "talking never did, nor never will agree with you;
it's very strange what pleasure people take in talking--humph!"

"Is there anything dear Sir Sampson could take?" asked Miss Grizzy.

_"Could_ take?  I don't know what you mean by _could_ take. He couldn't
take the moon, if you meant hat; but he must take what I give him; so
call Philistine; he knows where my cough tincture is."

"Oh, we have plenty  of it in this press," said Miss Grizzy, flying
to a cupboard, and, drawing forth a bottle, she poured out a bumper,
and presented it to Sir Sampson.

"I'm poisoned!" gasped he feebly; "that's not my lady's cough-tincture."

"Not cough-tincture!" repeated the horror-struck doctress, as for the
first time she examined the label; "Oh! I declare, neither it is--it's
my own stomach lotion. Bless me, what will be done?" and she wrung her
hands in despair. "Oh, Murdoch," flying to the _Philistine,_ as he
entered with the real cough-tincture, "I've given Sir Sampson a dose of
my own stomach lotion by mistake, and I am terrified for the
consequences!"

"Oo, but hur need na be feared, hur will no be a hair the war o't; for
hurs wad na tak' the feesick that the leddie ordered hur yestreen."

"Well, I declare things are wisely ordered," observed Miss Grizzy; "in
that case it may do dear Sir Sampson a great deal of good."

Just as this pleasing idea was suggested, Douglas and his father
entered, and the ceremony of presenting her nephew to her friend was
performed by Miss Grizzy in her most conciliating manner.

"Dear Lady Maclaughlan, this is our nephew Henry, who, I know, has the
highest veneration for Sir Sampson and you. Henry, I assure you, Lady
Maclaughlan takes the greatest interest in everything that concerns Lady
Juliana and you."

"Humph!" rejoined her ladyship, as she surveyed him from head to foot.
"So your wife fell in love with you, it seems; well, the more fool she;
I never knew any good come of love marriages."

Douglas coloured, while he affected to laugh at this extraordinary
address, and withdrawing himself from her scrutiny, resumed his station
by the side of his Juliana.

"Now, girls, I must go to my toilet; which of you am I to have for my
handmaid?"

"Oh, we'll all go," eagerly exclaimed the three nymphs; "our dear niece
will excuse us for a little; young people are never at a loss to amuse
one another."

"Venus and the Graces, by Jove!" exclaimed Sir Sampson, bowing with an
air of gallantry; "and now I must go and adonise a little myself."

The company then separated to perform the important offices of the
toilet.



CHAPTER X.

    "Nature here
     Wanton'd as in her prime, and played at will
     Her virgin fancies."

    MILTON.

THE gentlemen were already assembled round the drawing-room fire,
impatiently waiting the hour of dinner, when Lady Maclaughlan and her
three friends entered. The masculine habiliments of the morning had been
exchanged for a more feminine costume. She was now arrayed in a
pompadour satin _négligée,_ and petticoat trimmed with Brussels lace. A
high starched handkerchief formed a complete breast work, on which, amid
a large bouquet of truly artificial roses, reposed a miniature of Sir
Sampson, _à la militaire_. A small fly cap of antique lace was scarcely
perceptible on the summit of a stupendous frizzled toupee, hemmed in on
each side by large curls. The muff and stick had been relinquished for a
large fan, something resembling an Indian screen, which she waved to and
fro in one hand, while a vast brocaded workbag was suspended from the
other.

"So, Major Douglas, your servant," said she, in answer to the
constrained formal bow with which he saluted her on her entrance. "Why,
it's so long since I've seen you that you may be a grandfather for ought
I know."

The poor awkward Misses at that moment came sneaking into the room:
"As for you, girls, you'll never be grandmothers; you'll never be
married, unless to wild men of the woods. I suppose you'd like that; it
would save you the trouble of combing your hair, and tying your shoes,
for then you could go without clothes altogether--humph! You'd be much
better without clothes than to put them on as you do," seizing upon the
luckless Miss Baby, as she endeavoured to steal behind backs.

And here, in justice to the lady, it must be owned that, for once,
she had some grounds for animadversion in the dress and appearance of
the Misses Douglas.

They had stayed out, running races and riding  on a pony, until near the
dinner hour; and, dreading their father's displeasure should they be too
late, they had, with the utmost haste, exchanged their thick morning
dresses for thin muslin gowns, made by a mantua-maker of the
neighbourhood in the extreme of a two-year-old fashion, when waists
_were not._

But as dame Nature had been particularly lavish in the length of theirs,
and the stay-maker had, according to their aunt's direction, given them
_full measure_ of their new dark stays, there existed a visible breach
between the waists of their gowns and the bands of their petticoats,
which they had vainly sought to adjust by a meeting. Their hair had been
curled, but not combed, and dark gloves had been hastily drawn on to
hide red arms.

"I suppose," continued the stern Lady Maclaughlan, as she twirled her
victim round and round; "I suppose you think yourself vastly smart and
well dressed. Yes, you are very neat, very neat indeed; one would
suppose Ben Jonson had you in his eye when he composed that song." Then
in a voice like thunder, she chanted forth--

   "Give me a look, give me a face
    That makes simplicity a grace;
    Robes loosely flowing, hair as free,
    Such sweet neglect more taketh me."

Miss Grizzy was in the utmost perplexity between her inclination to urge
something in extenuation for the poor girls, and her fear of dissenting
from Lady Maclaughlan, or rather of not immediately agreeing with her;
she therefore steered, as usual, the middle course, and kept saying,
"Well, children, really what Lady Maclaughlan says is all very true; at
the same time"--turning to her friend--"I declare it's not much to be
wondered at; young people are so thoughtless, poor lambs!"

"What's aw this wark aboo?" said the old gentleman angrily; "the girlies
are weel eneugh; I see naething the matter wi' them; they're no dresse
like auld queens or stage-actresses;" and he glance his eye from Lady
Maclaughlan to his elegant daughter-in-law, who just then entered,
hanging, according to custom, on her husband, and preceded by Cupid.

Mrs Douglas followed, and the sound of the dinner bell put a stop to the
dispute.

"Come, my leddie, we'll see how the dinner's dressed," said the Laird,
as he seized Lady Maclaughlan by the tip of the finger, and holding it
up aloft, they marched into the dining room.

"Permit me, my Lady Juliana Douglas," said the little Baronet, with much
difficulty hobbling towards her, and attempting to take her hand. "Come,
Harry, love; here, Cupid," cried she; and without noticing the enraged
Sir Sampson, she passed on, humming a tune, and leaning upon her
husband.

"Astonishing! perfectly astonishing!" exclaimed the Baronet; "how a
young woman of Lady Juliana's rank and fashion should be guilty of such
a solecism in good breeding."

"She is very young," said Mrs. Douglas, smiling, as he limped along with
her, "and you must make allowances for her; but, indeed, I think her
beauty must ever be a sufficient excuse for any little errors she may
commit with a person of such taste and gallantry as Sir Sampson
Maclaughlan."

The little Baronet smiled, pressed the hand he held; and, soothed by the
well-timed compliment, he seated himself next to Lady Juliana with some
complacency. As she insisted on having her husband on the other side of
her, Mr. Douglas was condemned to take his station by the hated Lady
Maclaughlan, who, for the first time observing Mrs. Douglas, called to
her--

"Come here, my love; I haven't seen you these hundred years;" then
seizing her face between her hands, she saluted her in the usual style.
"There," at length releasing Mrs Douglas from her gripe--"there's for
you! I love you very much; you're neither a fool nor a hoyden; you're a
fine intelligent being."

Having carefully rolled up and deposited her gloves in her pocket, she
pulled out a pin-cushion, and calling Miss Bella, desired her to pin her
napkin over her shoulders; which done, she began to devour her soup in
silence.

Peace was, however, of short duration.   Old Donald, in removing a dish
of whipt cream, unfortunately overturned one upon Lady Maclaughlan's
pompadour satin petticoat--the only part of her dress that was
unprotected.

"Do you see what you have done, you old Donald, you?" cried she, seizing
the culprit by the sleeve; "why, you've got St. Vitus's dance. A fit
hand to carry whipt cream, to be sure! Why, I could as well carry a
custard on the point of a bayonet--humph!"

"Dear me, Donald, how could you be so senseless?" cried Miss Jacky.

"Preserve me, Donald, I thought you had more sense!"
squeaked Miss Nicky.

"I am sure, Donald, that was na like you!" said Miss Grizzy, as the
friends all flocked around the petticoat, each suggesting a different
remedy.

"It's all of you, girls, that his has happened. Why can't you have a
larger tablecloth upon your table! And that old man has the palsy. Why
don't you electrify him?' in a tone admirably calculated to have that
effect.

"I declare, it's all very true," observed Miss Grizzy; "the tablecloth
_is_ very small, and Donald certainly _does_ shake, that cannot be
denied;" but, lowering her voice, "he is so obstinate, we really don't
know what to do with him. My sisters and I attempted to use the
flesh-brush with him."

"Oh, and an excellent thing it is; I make Philistine rub Sir Sampson
every morning and night. If it was not for that and his cough, nobody
would know whether he were dead or alive; I don't believe he would know
himself--humph!"

Sir Sampson's lemon face assumed an orange hue as he overheard this
domestic detail; but not daring to contradict the facts, he prudently
turned a deaf ear to them, and attempted to carryon a flirtation with
Lady Juliana through the medium of Cupid, whom he had coaxed upon his
knee.

Dinner being at length ended, toasts succeeded: and each of the ladies
having given her favourite laird, the signal of retreat was given, and a
general movement took place.

Lady Juliana, throwing herself upon a sofa with her pugs, called Mrs.
Douglas to her. "Do sit down here and talk with me," yawned she.

Her sister-in-law, with great good-humour, fetched her work, and seated
herself by the spoilt child.

"What strange thing is that you are making?" asked she, as Mrs. Douglas
pulled out her knitting.

"It's a child's stocking," replied her sister-in-law.

"A child's stocking! Oh, by-the-bye, have you a great many children?"

"I have none," answered Mrs. Douglas, with a half-stifled sigh.

"None at all?" repeated Lady Juliana, with surprise "then, why do you
make children's stockings?"

"I make them for those whose parents cannot afford to purchase them."

"La! what poor wretches they must be, that can't afford to buy
stockings," rejoined Lady Juliana, with a yawn. "It's monstrous good of
you to make them, to be sure; but it must be a shocking bore! and such a
trouble!" and another long yawn succeeded.

"Not half such a bore to me as to sit idle," returned Mrs. Douglas, with
a smile, "nor near so much trouble as you undergo with your favourites."

Lady Juliana made no reply, but turning from her sister-in-law, soon
was, or affected to be, sound a sleep, from which she was only roused by
the entrance of the gentlemen. "A rubber or a reel, my Leddie?" asked the
Laird, going up to his daughter-in-law.

"Julia, love," said her husband, "my father asks you if you choose
cards or dancing."

"There's nobody to dance with," said she, casting a languid glance
around; "I'll play at cards."

"Not whist, surely!" said Henry.

"Whist! Oh, heavens, no."

"Weel, weel, you youngsters will get a roundgame; come, my Leddy
Maclaughlan, Grizzy, Mrs. Douglas, hey for the odd trick and the
honours!"

"What would your Ladyship choose to play at?' asked Miss Jacky,
advancing with a pack of cards in one hand, and a box of counters in the
other.

"Oh, anything; I like 100 very well, or quadrille, or--1 really don't
care what."

The Misses, who had gathered round, and were standing gaping in joyful
expectation of Pope Joan, or a pool at commerce, here exchanged
sorrowful glances.

"I am afraid the young people don't play these games," replied Miss
Jacky; "but we've counters enough," shaking her little box, "for Pope
Joan, and we all know that."

"Pope Joan! I never heard of such a game," replied Lady Juliana.

"Oh, we can soon learn you," said Miss Nicky, who having spread the
green cloth on the tea-table, now advanced to join the consultation.

"I hate to be taught," said Lady Juliana, with a yawn; "besides, I am
sure it must be something very stupid."

"Ask if she plays commerce," whispered Miss Bella to Miss Baby.

The question was put, but with no better success, and the young ladies'
faces again bespoke their disappointment, which their brother observing,
he good-naturedly declared his perfect knowledge of commerce; "and I must
insist upon teaching you, Juliana," gently dragging her to the table.

"What's the pool to be?" asked one of the young ladies.

"I'm sure I don't know," said the aunts, looking to each other.

"I suppose we must make it sixpence," said Miss Jacky, after a
whispering consultation with her sister.

"In that case we can afford nothing to the best hand," observed Miss
Nicky.

"And we ought to have five lives and grace," added one of the nieces.

These points having been conceded, the preliminaries were at length
settled. The cards were slowly _doled_ out by Miss Jacky; and Lady
Juliana was carefully instructed in the rules of the game, and strongly
recommended always to try for a sequence, or pairs, etc. "And if you
win," rejoined Miss Nicky, shaking the snuffer-stand in which were
deposited the sixpences, "you get all this."

As may be conjectured, Lady Juliana's patience could not survive more
than one life; she had no notion of playing for sixpences, and could not
be at the trouble to attend to any instructions; she therefore quickly
retired in disgust, leaving the aunts and nieces to struggle for the
glorious prize. "My dear child, you played that last stroke like a
perfect natural," cried Lady Maclaughlan to Miss Grizzy, as the rubber
ended, they arose from the table.

"Indeed, I declare, I daresay I did," replied her friend in a
deprecating tone.

"Daresay you did! I know you did-humph! I knew the ace lay with you; I
knew that as well as if I had seen it. I suppose you have eyes--but I
don't know; if you have, didn't you see Glenfern turn up the king, and
yet you returned his lead--returned our adversary's lead in the face of
his king. I've been telling you these twenty years not to return your
adversary's lead; nothing can be more despicable; nothing can be a
greater proof of imbecility of mind--humph!" Then, seating herself, she
began to exercise her fan with considerable activity. "This has been the
most disagreeable day I ever spent in this house, girls. I don't know
what's come over you, but you are all wrong; my petticoat's ruined; my
pockets picked at cards. It won't do, girls; it won't do--humph!"

"I am sure I can't understand it," said Miss Grizzy in a rueful
accent; "there really appears to have been some fatality."

"Fatality!--humph! I wish you would give everything its right name.
What do you mean by fatality?"

"I declare--I am sure--I--I really don't know," stammered the
unfortunate Grizzy.

"Do you mean that the spilling of the custard was the work of an angel?"
demanded her unrelenting friend.

"Oh, certainly not."

"Or that it was the devil tempted you to throw away  your ace there? I
suppose there's a fatality in our going to supper just now," continued
she, as her deep-toned voice resounded through the passage that
conducted to the dining-room; "and I suppose it will be called a
fatality if that old Fate," pointing to Donald, "scalds me to death with
that mess of porridge he's going to put on the table--humph!"

No such fatality, however, occurred; and the rest of the evening passed
off in as much harmony as could be expected from the very heterogeneous
parts of which the society was formed.

The family group had already assembled round the breakfast-table, with
the exception of Lady Juliana, who chose to take that meal in bed; but,
contrary to her usual custom, no Lady Maclaughlan had yet made her
appearance.

"The scones will be like leather," said Miss Grizzy, as she wrapped
another napkin round them.

"The eggs will be like snowballs," cried Miss Jacky, popping them into
the slop-basin.

"The tea will be like brandy," observed Miss Nicky, as she poured more
water to the three teaspoonfuls she had infused.

"I wish we saw our breakfast," said the Laird, as he finished the
newspapers, and deposited his spectacles in his pocket.

At that moment the door opened, and the person in question entered in
her travelling dress, followed by Sir Sampson, Philistine bringing up
the rear with a large green bag and a little band-box.

"I hope your bed was warm and comfortable. I hope you rested well. I
hope Sir Sampson's quite well!" immediately burst as if from a thousand
voices, while the sisters officiously fluttered round their friend.

"I rested very ill; my bed was very uncomfortable; and Sir Sampson's as
sick as a cat--humph!"

Three disconsolate "Bless me's!" here burst forth.

"Perhaps your bed was too hard?" said Miss Grizzy.

"Or too soft?" suggested Miss Jacky.

"Or too hot?" added Miss Nicky.

"It was neither too hard, nor too soft, nor too hot, nor too cold,"
thundered the Lady, as she seated herself at the table; "but it was all
of them."

"I declare, that's most distressing," said Miss Grizzy, in a tone of
sorrowful amazement. "Was your head high enough, dear Lady Maclaughlan?"

"Perhaps it was too high," said Miss Jacky.

"I know nothing more disagreeable than a high  head," remarked Miss
Nicky.

"Except a fool's head--humph!"

The sound of a carriage here set all ears on full stretch, and presently
the well-known pea-green drew up.

"Dear me! Bless me! Goodness me!" shrieked the three ladies at once.
"Surely, Lady Maclaughlan, you can't--you don't--you won't; this must be
a mistake."

"There's no mistake in the matter, girls," replied their friend, with
her accustomed _sang froid._ "I'm going home; so I ordered the carriage;
that's all--humph!"

"Going home!" faintly murmured the disconsolate spinsters.

"What! I suppose you think I ought to stay here and have another
petticoat spoiled; or lose another half-crown at cards; or have the
finishing stroke put to Sir Sampson--humph!"

"Oh! Lady Maclaughlan!" was three times uttered in reproachful
accents.

"I don't know what else I should stay for; you are not yourselves,
girls; you've all turned topsy-turvy. I've visited here these twenty
years, and I never saw things in the state they are now--humph!"

"I declare it's very true," sighed Miss Grizzy; "we certainly are a
little in confusion, that can't be denied."

"Denied! Why, can you deny that my petticoat's ruined?" Can you deny
that my pocket was picked of half-a-crown for nothing? Can you deny that
Sir Sampson has been half-poisoned? And---"

"My Lady Maclaughlan," interrupted the enraged husband, "I--I--I am
surprised--I am shocked! Zounds, my Lady, I won't suffer this! I cannot
stand it;" and pushing his tea-cup away, he arose, and limped to the
window. Philistine here entered to inform his mistress that "awthing was
ready." "Steady, boys, steady! I always am ready," responded the Lady in
a tone adapted to the song. "Now I am ready; say nothing, girls--you
know my rules. Here, Philistine, wrap up Sir Sampson, and put him in.
Get along, my love. Good-bye, girls; and I hope you will all be restored
to your right senses soon."

"Oh, Lady Maclaughlan!" whined the weeping Grizzy, as she embraced her
friend, who, somewhat melted at the signs of her distress, bawled out
from the carriage, as the door was shut, "Well, God bless you, girls, and
make you what you have been; and come to Lochmarlie Castle soon, and
bring your wits along with you."

The carriage then drove off, and the three disconsolate sisters returned
to the parlour to hold a cabinet council as to the causes of the late
disasters.



CHAPTER XI.

    "If there be cure or charm
    To respite or relieve, or slack the pain
    Of this ill mansion."

            MILTON.

TIME, which generally alleviates ordinary distresses, served only to
augment the severity of Lady Juliana's, as day after day rolled heavily
on, and found her still an inmate of Glenfern Castle. Destitute of very
resource in herself, she yet turned with contempt from the scanty
sources of occupation or amusement that were suggested by others; and
Mrs. Douglas's attempts to teach her to play at chess and read
Shakespeare were as unsuccessful as the endeavours of the good aunts to
persuade her to study Fordyce's Sermons and make baby linen.

In languid dejection or fretful repinings did the unhappy beauty
therefore consume the tedious hours, while her husband sought
alternately to soothe with fondness he no longer felt, or flatter with
hopes which he knew to be groundless. To his father alone could he now
look for any assistance, and from him he was not likely to obtain it in
the form he desired; as the old gentleman repeatedly declared his utter
inability to advance him any ready money, or to allow him more than
a hundred a year--moreover, to be paid quarterly--a sum which could
not defray their expenses to London.

Such was the state of affairs when the Laird one morning entered the
dining-room with a face of much importance, and addressed his son with,
"Weel, Harry, you're a lucky man; and it's an ill wind that blaws
naebody gude: here's puir Macglashan gane like snaw aff a dyke."

"Macglashan gone!" exclaimed Miss Grizzy. "Impossible, brother; it was
only yesterday I sent him a blister for his back!"

"And I," said Miss Jacky, "talked to him for upwards of two hours last
night on the impropriety of his allowing his daughter to wear white
gowns on Sunday."

"By my troth, an' that was eneugh to kill ony man," muttered the Laird.

"How I am to derive any benefit from this important
demise is more than I can perceive," said Henry in a somewhat
contemptuous tone.

"You see," replied his father, "that by our agreement his farm falls
vacant in consequence."

"And I hope I am to succeed to it!" replied the son, with a smile of
derision.

"Exactly! By my faith, but you have a be in downset. There's three
thousand and seventy-five acres of as good sheep walk as any in the
whole country-side; and I shall advance you stocking and stedding, and
everything complete, to your very peatstacks. What think ye of that?"
slapping his son's shoulder, and rubbing his own hands with delight as
he spoke.

Horrorstruck at a scheme which appeared to him a thousand times worse
than anything his imagination had ever painted, poor Henry stood in
speechless consternation; while "Charming! Excellent! Delightful!" was
echoed by the aunts, as they crowded round, wishing him joy, and
applauding their brother's generosity.

"What will our sweet niece say to this, I wonder?" said the innocent
Grizzy, who in truth wondered none. "I would like to see her face when
she hears it;" and her own was puckered into various shapes of delight.

"I have no doubt but her good sense will teach her to appreciate
properly the blessings of her lot," observed the more reflecting Jacky.

"She has had her own good luck," quoth the sententious Nicky, "to find
such a down set all cut and dry."

At that instant the door opened, and the favoured individual in question
entered. In vain Douglas strove to impose silence on his father and
aunts. The latter sat, bursting with impatience to break out into
exclamation, while the former, advancing to his fair daughter-in-law,
saluted her as "Lady Clackandow?" Then the torrent burst forth, and,
stupefied with surprise, Lady Juliana suffered herself to be kissed and
hugged by the whole host of aunts and nieces, while the very walls
seemed to reverberate the shouts, and the pugs and mackaw, who never
failed to take part in every commotion, began to bark and scream in
chorus.

The old gentleman, clapping his hands to his ears, rushed out of the
room. His son, cursing his aunts, and everything around him, kicked
Cupid, and gave the mackaw a box on the ear, as he also quitted the
apartment, with more appearance of anger than he had ever yet betrayed.

The tumult at length began to subside. The mackaw's screams gave place
to a low quivering croak; and the insulted pug's yells yielded to a
gentle whine. The aunts' obstreperous joy began to be chastened with
fear for the consequences that might follow an abrupt disclosure; and,
while Lady Juliana condoled with her favourites, it was concerted
between the prudent aunts that the joyful news should be broke to their
niece in the most cautious manner possible. For that purpose Misses
Grizzy and Jacky seated themselves on each side of her; and, after duly
preparing their voices by sundry small hems, Miss Grizzy thus began:

"I'm sure-I declare-I dare say, my dear Lady Juliana, you must think
we are all distracted."

Her auditor made no attempt to contradict the supposition.

"We certainly ought, to be sure, to have been more cautious, considering
your delicate situation; but the joy--though, indeed, it seems cruel to
say so. And I am sure you will sympathise, my dear niece, in the cause,
when you hear that it is occasioned by your poor neighbour Macglashan's
death, which, I'm sure, was quite unexpected. Indeed, I declare I can't
conceive how it came about; for Lady Maclaughlan, who is an excellent
judge of these things, thought he was really a remarkably stout-looking
man for his time of life; and indeed, except occasional colds, which you
know we are all subject to, I really never knew him complain. At the
same time--"

"I don't think, sister, you are taking the right method of communicating
the intelligence to our niece," said Miss Jacky.

"You cannot communicate anything that would give me the least pleasure,
unless you could tell me that I was going to leave this place," cried
Lady Juliana in a voice of deep despondency.

"Indeed! if it can afford your Ladyship so much pleasure to be at
liberty to quit the hospitable mansion of your amiable husband's
respectable father," said Miss Jacky, with an inflamed visage and
outspread hands, "you are at perfect liberty to depart when you think
proper. The generosity, I may say the munificence, of my excellent
brother, has now put it in your power to do as you please, and to form
your own plans."

"Oh, delightful!" exclaimed Lady Juliana, starting up; "now I shall be
quite happy. Where's Harry! Does he know? Is he gone to order the
carriage! Can we get away to-day?" And she was flying out of the room
when Miss Jacky caught her by one hand, while Miss Grizzy secured the
other.

"Oh, pray don't detain me! I must find Harry; and I have all my things
to put up," struggling to release herself from the gripe of the sisters;
when the door opened, and Harry entered, eager, yet dreading to know the
effects of the _éclaircissernent._ His surprise extreme at
beholding his wife, with her eyes sparkling, her cheeks glowing, and her
whole countenance expressing extreme pleasure. Darting from her keepers,
she bounded towards him with the wildest ejaculations of delight; while
he stood alternately gazing at her and his aunts, seeking by his eyes
the explanation he feared to demand.

"My dearest Juliana, what is the meaning of all this?" he at length
articulated.

"Oh, you cunning thing! So you think I don't know that your father has
given you a great, great quantity of money, and that we may go away
whenever we please, and do just as we like, and live in London,
and--and--oh, delightful!" And she bounded and skipped before the eyes
of the petrified spinsters.

"In the name of heaven, what does all this mean?" asked Henry,
addressing his aunts, who, for the first time in their lives, were
struck dumb by astonishment. But Miss Jacky, at length recollecting
herself, turned to Lady Juliana, who was still testifying her delight by
a variety of childish but graceful movements, and thus addressed her:

"Permit me to put a few questions to your Ladyship, in presence of those
who were witnesses of what has already passed."

"Oh, I can't endure to be asked questions; besides, I have no time to
answer them."

"Your Ladyship must excuse me; But I can't permit you to leave this
room under the influence of an error. Have the goodness to answer me the
following questions, and you will then be at liberty to depart. Did I
inform your Ladyship that my brother had given my nephew a great
quantity of money?"

"Oh yes! a great, great deal; I don't know how much, though--"

"Did I?" returned her interrogator.

"Come, come, have done with all this confounded nonsense!" exclaimed
Henry passionately. "Do you imagine I will allow Lady Juliana to stand
here all day, to answer all the absurd questions that come into the
heads of three old women? You stupefy and bewilder her with your eternal
tattling and roundabout harangues." And he paced the room in a paroxysm
of rage, while his wife suspended her dancing, and stood in breathless
amazement.

"I declare--I'm sure--it's a thousand pities that there should have been
any mistake made," whined poor Miss Grizzy.

"The only remedy is to explain the matter quickly," observed Miss Nicky;
"better late than never."

"I have done," said Miss Jacky, seating herself with much dignity.

"The short and the long of it is this," said Miss Nicky, "My brother has
not made Henry a present of money. I assure you money is not so rife;
but he has done what is much better for you both,--he has made over to
him that fine thriving farm of poor Macglashan's."

"No money!" repeated Lady Juliana in a disconsolate tone: then quickly
brightening up, "It would have been better, to be sure, to have had the
money directly; but you know we can easily sell the estate. How long
will it take?--a week?"

"Sell Clackandow!" exclaimed the three horrorstruck daughters of the
house of Douglas. "Sell Clackandow! Oh! oh! oh!"

"What else could we do with it?" inquired her Ladyship.

"Live at it, to be sure," cried all three.

"Live at it!" repeated she, with a shriek of horror that vied with that
of the spinsters--"Live at it! Live on a thriving farm! Live all my
life in such a place as this! Oh! the very thought is enough to kill
me!"

"There is no occasion to think or say any more about it," interrupted
Henry in a calmer tone; and, glancing round on his aunts, "I therefore
desire no more may be said on the subject."

"And is this really all? And have you got no money?  And are we not
going away?" gasped the disappointed Lady Juliana, as she gave way to a
violent burst of tears, that terminated in a fit of hysterics; at sight
of which, the good spinsters entirely forgot their wrath; and while one
burnt feathers under her nose, and another held her hands, a third
drenched her in floods of Lady Maclaughlan'shysteric water. After going
through the regular routine, the lady's paroxysm subsided; and being
carried to bed, she soon sobbed herself into a feverish slumber; in
which state the harassed husband left her to attend a summons from
his father.



CHAPTER XII.

    "See what delight in sylvan scenes appear!"

                            Pope.

    "Haply this life is best,
    Sweetest to you, well corresponding
    With your stiff age; but unto us it is
    A cell of ignorance, a prison for a debtor."

                                   _Cymbeline._

HE found the old gentleman in no very complaisant humour, from the
disturbances that had taken place, but the chief cause of which he was
still in ignorance of. He therefore accosted his son with:

"What was the meaning o' aw that skirling and squeeling I heard a while
ago? By my faith, there's nae bearing this din! Thae beasts o' your
wife's are eneugh to drive a body oot o' their judgment. But she maun
gi'e up thae maggots when she becomes a farmer's wife. She maun get
stirks and stots to mak' pets o', if she maun ha'e _four-fitted
_favourites; but, to my mind, it wad set her better to be carrying a
wiselike wean in her arms, than trailing aboot wi' thae confoonded dougs
an' paurits."

Henry coloured, bit his lips, but made no reply to this elegant address
of his father's, who continued, "I sent for you, sir, to have some
conversation about this farm of Macglashan's; so sit down there till I
show you the plans."

Hardly conscious of what he was doing, poor Henry gazed in silent
confusion, as his father pointed out the various properties of this his
future possession. Wholly occupied in debating within himself how he was
to decline the offer without a downright quarrel, he heard, without
understanding a word, all the old gentleman's plans and proposals for
building dikes, draining moss, etc.; and, perfectly unconscious of what
he was doing, yielded a ready assent to all the improvements that were
suggested.

"Then as for the hoose and offices,-let me see," continued the Laird, as
he rolled up the plans of the farm, and pulled forth that of the
dwelling-house from a bundle of papers. "Ay, here it is. By my troth,
ye'll be weel lodged here. The hoose is in a manner quite new, for it
has never had a brush upon it yet. And there's a byre--fient a bit, if I
would mean the best man i' the country to sleep there himsel.'"

A pause followed, during which Glenfern was busily employed in poring
over his parchment; then taking off his spectacles, and surveying his
son, "And now, sir, that you've heard a' the oots an' ins o' the
business, what think you your farm should bring you at the year's end?"

"I--I--I'm sure--I--I don't know," stammered poor Henry, awakening
from his reverie.

"Come, come, gi'e a guess."

"I really--I cannot--I haven't the least idea."

"I desire, sir, ye'll say something directly, that I may judge whether
or no ye ha'e common sense," cried the old gentleman angrily.

"I should suppose-I imagine-I don't suppose it will exceed seven or
eight hundred a year," said his son, in the greatest trepidation at this
trial of his intellect.

"Seven or eight hunder deevils!" cried the incensed Laird, starting up
and pushing his papers from him. "By my faith, I believe ye're a born
idiot! Seven or eight hunder pounds!" repeated he, at least a dozen
times, as he whisked up and down the little apartment with extraordinary
velocity, while poor Henry affected to be busily employed in gathering
up the parchments with which the floor was strewed.

"I'll tell you what, sir," continued he, stopping; "you're no fit to
manage a farm; you're as ignorant as yon coo, an' as senseless as its
cauf. Wi' gude management, Clackandow should produce you twahunder and
odd pounds yearly; but in your guiding I doot if it will yield the half.
However, tak' it or want it, mind me, sir, that it's a' ye ha'e to trust
to in my lifetime; so ye may mak' the maist o't."

Various and painful were the emotions that struggled in Henry's breast
at this declaration. Shame, regret, indignation, all burned within him;
but the fear he entertained of his father, and the consciousness of his
absolute dependence, chained his tongue, while the bitter emotions that
agitated him painted themselves legibly in his countenance. His father
observed his agitation; and, mistaking the cause, felt somewhat softened
at what he conceived his son's shame and penitence for his folly. He
therefore extended his hand towards him, saying, "Weel, weel, nae
mairaboot it; Clackandow's yours, as soon as I can put you in
possession. In the meantime, stay still here, and welcome."

"I--am much obliged to you for the offer, sir; I--feel very grateful for
your kindness," at length articulated his son; "but--I--am, as you
observe, so perfectly ignorant of country matters, that I--I--in short,
I am afraid I should make a bad hand of the business."

"Nae doot, nae doot ye would, if ye was left to your ain discretion;
but ye'll get mair sense, and I shall put ye upon a method, and provide
ye wi' a grieve; an' if you are active, and your wife managing, there's
nae fear o' you."

"But Lady Juliana, sir, has never been accustomed--"

"Let her serve an apprenticeship to your aunts; she couldna be in a
better school."

"But her education, sir, has been so different from what would be
required in that station," resumed her husband, choking with vexation,
at the idea of his beauteous high-born bride being doomed to the
drudgery of household cares.

"Edication! what has her edication been, to mak' her different frae
other women? If a woman can nurse her bairns, mak' their claes, and
manage her hoose, what mair need she do? If she can playa tune on the
spinnet, and dance a reel, and play a rubber at whist--nae doot these
are accomplishments, but they're soon learnt. Edication! pooh!--I'll be
bound Leddy Jully Anie wull mak' as gude a figure by-and-by as the best
edicated woman in the country."

"But she dislikes the country, and--"

"She'll soon come to like it. Wait a wee till she has a wheen bairns,
an' a hoose o' her ain, an' I'll be bound she'll be happy as the day's
lang."

"But the climate does not agree with her," continued the tender husband,
almost driven to extremities by the persevering simplicity of his
father.

"Stay a wee till she gets to Clackandow! There's no a finer, freer-aired
situation in a' Scotland. The air's sharpish, to be sure, but fine and
bracing; and you have a braw peat-moss at your back to keep you warm."

Finding it in vain to attempt _insinuating_ his objections to a pastoral
life, poor Henry was at length reduced to the necessity of coming to the
point with the old gentleman, and telling him plainly that it was not at
all suited to his inclinations, or Lady Juliana's rank and beauty.

Vain would be the attempt to paint the fiery wrath and indignation of
the ancient Highlander as the naked truth stood revealed before
him:--that his son despised the occupation of his fathers, even the
feeding of sheep and the breeding of black cattle; and that his
high-born spouse was above fulfilling those duties which he had ever
considered the chief end for which woman was created. He swore, stamped,
screamed, and even skipped with rage, and, in short, went through all
the evolutions as usually performed by testy old gentlemen on first
discovering that they have disobedient sons and undutiful daughters.
Henry, who, though uncommonly good-tempered, inherited a portion of his
father's warmth, became at length irritated at the invectives that were
so liberally bestowed on him, and replied in language less respectful
than the old Laird was accustomed to hear; and the altercation became so
violent that they parted in mutual anger; Henry returning to his wife's
apartment in a state of the greatest disquietude he had ever known. To
her childish complaints, and tiresome complaints, he no longer
vouchsafed to reply, but paced the chamber with a disordered mien, in
sullen silence; till at length, distracted by her reproaches, and
disgusted with her selfishness, he rushed from the apartment and quitted
the house.



CHAPTER XIII.

    "Never talk to me; I will weep."

                      _As You Like It._

TWICE had the dinner bell been loudly sounded by old Donald, and the
family of Glenfern were all assembled, yet their fashionable guests had
not appeared. Impatient of delay, Miss Jacky hastened to ascertain the
cause. Presently she returned in the utmost perturbation, and announced
that Lady Juliana was in bed in a high fever, and Henry nowhere to be
found. The whole eight rushed upstairs to ascertain the fact, leaving
the old gentleman much discomposed at this unseasonable delay.

Some time elapsed ere they again returned, which they did with
lengthened faces, and in extreme perturbation. They had found their
noble niece, according to Miss Jacky's report, in bed-according to Miss
Grizzy's opinion, in a brain fever; as she no sooner perceived them
enter, than she covered her head with the bedclothes, and continued
screaming for them to be gone, till they had actually quitted the
apartment."

"And what proves beyond a doubt that our sweet niece is not herself,"
continued poor Miss Grizzy, in a lamentable tone, "is that we appeared
to her in every form but our own! She sometimes took us for cats; then
thought we were ghosts haunting her; and, in short, it is impossible to
tell all the things she called us; and she screams so for Harry to come
and take her away that I am sure--I declare--I don't know what's come
over her!"

Mrs. Douglas could scarce suppress a smile at the simplicity of the good
spinsters. Her husband and she had gone out immediately after breakfast
to pay a visit a few miles off, and did not return till near the dinner
hour. They were therefore ignorant of all that had been acted during
their absence; but as she suspected something was amiss, she requested
the rest of the company would proceed to dinner, and leave her to
ascertain the nature of Lady Juliana's disorder.

"Don't come near me!" shrieked her Ladyship, on hearing the door open.
"Send Harry to take me away; I don't want anybody but Harry!"--and a
torrent of tears, sobs, and exclamations followed.

"My dear Lady Juliana," said Mrs. Douglas, softly approaching the bed,
"compose yourself; and if my presence is disagreeable to you I shall
immediately withdraw."

"Oh, is it you?" cried her sister-in-law, uncovering her face at the
sound of her voice. "I thought it had been these frightful old women
come to torment me; and I shall die--I know I shall--if ever I look at
them again. But I don't dislike _you;_ so you may stay if you choose,
though I don't want anybody but Harry to come and take me away."

A fresh fit of sobbing here impeded her utterance; and Mrs. Douglas,
compassionating her distress, while she despised her folly, seated
herself by the bedside, and taking her hand, in the sweetest tone of
complacency attempted to soothe her into composure.

"The only way in which you can be less miserable," said Mrs. Douglas in
a soothing tone, "is to support your present situation with patience,
which you may do by looking forward to brighter prospects. It is
_possible_ that your stay here may be short; and it is _certain_ that it
is in your own power to render your life more agreeable by endeavouring
to accommodate yourself to the peculiarities of your husband's family.
No doubt they are often tiresome and ridiculous; but they are always
kind and well-meaning."

"You may say what you please, but I think them all odious creatures;
and I won't live here with patience; and I shan't be agreeable to them;
and all the talking in the world won't make me less miserable. If you
were me, you would be just the same; but you have never been in
London--that's the reason."

"Pardon me," replied her sister-in-law, "I spent many years of my life
there."

"You lived in London!" repeated Lady Juliana in astonishment. "And how,
then, can you contrive to exist here?"

"I not only contrive to exist, but to be extremely contented with
existence," said Mrs. Douglas, with a smile. Then assuming a more
serious air, "I possess health, peace of mind, and the affections of a
worthy husband; and I should be very undeserving of these blessings were
I to give way to useless regrets or indulge in impious repinings because
my happiness might once have been more perfect, and still admits of
improvement."

"I don't understand you," said Lady Juliana, with a peevish yawn. "Who
did you live with in London?"

"With my aunt, Lady Audley."

"With Lady Audley!" repeated her sister-in-law in accents of
astonishment. "Why, I have heard of her; she lived quite in the world;
and gave balls and assemblies; so that's the reason you are not so
disagreeable as the rest of them. Why did you not remain with her, or
marry an Englishman? But I suppose, like me, you didn't know what
Scotland was!"

Happy to have excited an interest, even through the medium of childish
curiosity, in the bosom of her fashionable relative, Mrs. Douglas
briefly related such circumstances of her past life as she judged proper
to communicate; but as she sought rather to amuse than instruct by her
simple narrative, we shall allow her to pursue her charitable
intentions, while we do more justice to her character by introducing her
regularly to the acquaintance of our readers.



History of Mrs. Douglas.

    "The selfish heart deserves the pang it feels;
    More generous sorrow, while it sinks, exalts, And
    conscious virtue mitigates the pang."

                    --YOUNG.

MRS. DOUGLAS was, on the maternal side, related to an English family.
Her mother had died in giving birth to her; and her father, shortly
after, falling in the service of his country, she had been consigned in
infancy to the care of her aunt. Lady Audley had taken charge of her, on
condition that she should never be claimed by her Scottish relations,
for whom that lady entertained as much aversion as contempt. A latent
feeling of affection for her departed sister, and a large portion of
family pride, had prompted her wish of becoming the protectress of her
orphan niece; and, possessed of a high sense of rectitude and honour,
she fulfilled the duty thus voluntarily imposed in a manner that secured
the unshaken gratitude of the virtuous Alicia.

Lady Audley was a character more esteemed and feared than loved, even by
those with whom she was most intimate. Firm, upright, and rigid, she
exacted from others those inflexible virtues which in herself she found
no obstacle to performing. Neglecting these softer attractions which
shed their benign influence over the commerce of social life, she was
content to enjoy the extorted esteem of her associates; for friends she
had none. She sought in the world for objects to fill up the void which
her heart could not supply. She loved _éclat,_ and had succeeded
in creating herself an existence of importance in the circles of high
life, which she considered more as due to her consequence than essential
to her enjoyment. She had early in life been left a widow, with the sole
tutelage and management of an only son, whose large estate she regulated
with the most admirable prudence and judgment.

Alicia Malcolm was put under the care of her aunt at two years of age. A
governess had been procured for her, whose character was such as not to
impair the promising dispositions of her pupil. Alicia was gifted by
nature with a warm affectionate heart, and a calm imagination attempered
its influence. Her governess, a woman of a strong understanding and
enlarged mind, early instilled into her a deep and strong sense of
religion; and to it she owed the support which had safely guided her
through the most trying vicissitudes.

When at the age of seventeen Alicia Malcolm was produced in the world.
She was a rational, cheerful, and sweet-tempered girl, with a finely
formed person, and a countenance in which was so clearly painted the
sunshine of her breast, that it attracted the _bienveillance_ even of
those who had not taste or judgment to define the charm. Her open
natural manner, blending the frankness of the Scotch with the polished
reserve of the English woman, her total exemption from vanity,
calculated alike to please others and maintain her own cheerfulness
undimmed by a single cloud.

Lady Audley felt for her niece a sentiment which she mistook for
affection; her self-approbation was gratified at the contemplation of a
being who owed every advantage to her, and whom she had rescued from the
coarseness and vulgarity which she deemed inseparable from the manners
of every Scotchwoman. If Lady Audley really loved any human being it was
her son. In him were centred her dearest interests; on his
aggrandisement and future importance hung her most sanguine hopes. She
had acted contrary to the advice of her male relations, and followed her
own judgment, by giving her son a private education. He was brought up
under her own eye by a tutor of deep erudition, but who was totally
unfitted for forming the mind, and compensating for those advantages
which may be derived from a public education. The circumstances of his
education, however, combined rather to stifle the exposure than to
destroy the existence of some very dangerous qualities that seemed
inherent in Sir Edmund's nature. He was ardent, impetuous, and
passionate, though these propensities were cloaked by a reserve, partly
natural, and partly arising from of his mother and tutor.

His was not the effervescence of character which bursts forth on every
trivial occasion; but when any powerful cause awakened the slumbering
inmates, of his breast, they blazed with an uncontrolled fury that
defied all opposition, and overleaped all bounds of reason and decorum.

Experience often shows us that minds formed of the most opposite
attributes more forcibly attract each other than those which appear cast
in the same mould. The source of this fascination is difficult to trace;
it possesses not reason for its basis, yet it is perhaps the more
tyrannical in its influence from that very cause. The weakness of our
natures occasionally makes us feel a potent charm in "errors of a noble
mind."

Sir Edmund Audley and Alicia Malcolm  proved examples of this
observation. The affection of childhood had so gradually ripened into a
warmer sentiment, that neither was conscious of the nature of that
sentiment till after it had attained strength to cast a material
influence on their after lives. The familiarity of near relatives
associating constantly together produced a warm sentiment of affection,
cemented by similarity of pursuits, and enlivened by diversity of
character; while the perfect tranquillity of their lives afforded no
event that could withdraw the veil of ignorance from their eyes.

Could a woman of Lady Audley's discernment, it may be asked, place
two young persons in such a situation, and doubt the consequences? Those
who are no longer young are liable to forget that love is a plant of
early growth, and that the individuals that they have but a short time
before beheld placing their supreme felicity on a rattle and a go-cart
can so soon be actuated by the strongest passions of the human
breast.

Sir Edmund completed his nineteenth year, and Alicia entered her
eighteenth, when this happy state of unconscious security was destroyed
by a circumstance which rent the veil from her eyes, and disclosed his
sentiments in all their energy and warmth. This circumstance was no
other than a proposal of marriage to Alicia from a gentleman of large
fortune and brilliant connexions who resided in their neighbourhood. His
character was as little calculated as his appearance to engage the
affections of a young woman of delicacy and good sense. But he was a man
of consequence; heir to an earldom; member for the county; and Lady
Audley, rejoicing at what she termed Alicia's good fortune, determined
that she should become his wife.

With mild firmness she rejected the honour intended her; but it was
with difficulty that Lady Audley's mind could adopt or understand the
idea of an opposition to her wishes. She could not seriously embrace the
conviction that Alicia was determined to disobey her; and in order to
bring her to a right understanding she underwent a system of persecution
that tended naturally to increase the antipathy her suitor had inspired.
Lady Audley, with the indiscriminating zeal of prejudiced and
overbearing persons, strove to recommend him to her niece br all those
attributes which were of value in her own eyes; making allowance for a
certain degree of in decision in her niece, but never admitting a doubt
that in due time her will should be obeyed, as it had always hitherto been.

At this juncture Sir Edmund came down to the country, and was struck by
the altered looks and pensive manners of his once cheerful cousin. About
a week after his arrival he found Alicia one morning in tears, after a
long conversation with Lady Audley. Sir Edmund tenderly soothed her, and
entreated to be made acquainted with the cause of her distress. She was
so habituated to impart every thought to her cousin, the intimacy and
sympathy of their souls were so entire, that she would not have
concealed the late occurrence from him had she not been withheld by the
natural timidity and delicacy a young woman feels in making her own
conquests the subject of conversation. But now so pathetically and
irresistibly persuaded by Sir Edmund, and sensible that every distress
of hers wounded his heart, Alicia candidly related to him the pursuit of
her disagreeable suitor, and the importunities of Lady Audley in his
favour. Every word she had spoken had more and, more dispelled the mist
that had so long hung over Sir Edmund's inclinations. At the first
mention of a suitor, he had felt that to be hers was a happiness that
comprised all others; and that the idea of losing her made the whole of
existence appear a frightful blank. These feelings were no sooner known
to himself than spontaneously poured into her delighted ears; while she
felt that every sentiment met a kindred one in her breast. Alicia sought
not a moment to disguise those feelings, which she now, for the first
time, became aware of; they were known to the object of her innocent
affection as soon as to herself, and both were convinced that, though
not conscious before of the nature of their sentiments, love had long
been mistaken for friendship in their hearts.

But this state of blissful serenity did not last long. On the evening of
the following day Lady Audley sent for her to her dressing-room. On
entering, Alicia was panic-struck at her aunt's pale countenance, fiery
eyes, and frame convulsed with passion. With difficulty Lady Audley,
struggling for calmness, demanded an instant and decided reply to the
proposals of Mr. Compton, the gentleman who had solicited her hand.
Alicia entreated her aunt to waive the subject, as she found it
impossible ever to consent to such a union.

Scarcely was her answer uttered when Lady Audley's anger burst forth
uncontrollably. She accused her niece of the vilest ingratitude in
having seduced her son from the obedience he owed his mother; of having
plotted to ally her base Scotch blood to the noble blood of the Audleys;
and, having exhausted every opprobrious epithet, she was forced to stop
from want of breath to proceed. As Alicia listened to the cruel,
unfounded reproaches of her aunt, her spirit rose under the unmerited
ill-usage, but her conscience absolved her from all intention of
injuring or deceiving a human being; and she calmly waited till Lady
Audley's anger should have exhausted itself, and then entreated to know
what part of her conduct had excited her aunt's displeasure.

Lady Audley's reply was diffuse and intemperate. Alicia gathered  from
it that her rage had its source in a declaration her son had made to her
of his affection for his cousin, and his resolution of marrying her as
soon as he was of age; which open avowal of his sentiments had followed
Lady Audley's injunctions to him to forward the suit of Mr. Compton.

That her son, for whom she had in view one of the first matches in the
kingdom, should dare to choose for himself; and, above all, to choose
one whom she considered as much his inferior in birth as she was in
fortune, was a circumstance quite insupportable to her feelings.

Of the existence of love Lady Audley had little conception; and she
attributed her son's conduct to wilful disobedience and obstinacy. In
proportion as she had hitherto found him complying and gentle, her wrath
had kindled at his present firmness and inflexibility. So bitter were
her reflections on his conduct, so severe her animadversions on the
being he loved, that Sir Edmund, fired with resentment, expressed his
resolution of acting according to the dictates of his own will; and
expressed his contempt for her authority in terms the most unequivocal.
Lady Audley, ignorant of the arts of persuasion, by every word she
uttered more and more widened the breach her imperiousness had
occasioned, until Sir Edmund, feeling himself no longer master of his
temper, announced his intention of leaving the house, to allow his
mother time to reconcile herself to the inevitable misfortune of
beholding him the husband of Alicia Malcolm.

He instantly ordered his horses and departed, leaving the following
letter for his cousin:--

"I have been compelled by motives of prudence, of which you are the sole
object, to depart without seeing you. My absence became necessary from
the unexpected conduct of Lady Audley, which has led me so near to
forgetting that she was my mother, that I dare not remain, and subject
myself to excesses of temper which I might afterwards repent. Two years
must elapse before I can become legally my own master, and should Lady
Audley so far depart from the dictates of cool judgment as still to
oppose what she knows to be inevitable, I fear that we cannot meet till
then. My heart is well known to you; therefore I need not enlarge on the
pain I feel at this unlooked-for separation. At the same time, I am
cheered with the prospect of the unspeakable happiness that awaits
me-the possession of your hand; and the confidence I feel in your
constancy is in proportion to the certainty I experience in my own; I
cannot, therefore, fear that any of the means which may be put in
practice to disunite us will have more effect on you than on me.

"Looking forward to the moment that shall make you mine for ever, I
remain with steady confidence: and unspeakable affection, your

"EDMUND AUDLEY."

With a trembling frame Alicia handed the note to Lady Audley, and begged
leave to retire for a short time; expressing her willingness to reply at
another moment to any question her aunt might choose to put to her with
regard to her engagement with Sir Edmund.

In the solitude of her own chamber Alicia gave way to those feelings of
wretchedness which she had with difficulty stifled in the presence of
Lady Audley, and bitterly wept over the extinction of her bright and
newly-formed visions of felicity. To yield to unmerited ill-usage, or to
crouch beneath imperious and self-arrogated power, was not in the nature
of Alicia; and had Lady Audley been a stranger to her, the path of duty
would have been less intricate. However much her own pride might have
been wounded by entering into a family which considered her as an
intruding beggar, never would she have consented to sacrifice the
virtuous inclinations of the man she loved to the will of an arrogant
and imperious mother. But alas! the case was far different. The recent
ill-treatment she had experienced from Lady Audley could not efface from
her noble mind the recollection of benefits conferred from the earliest
period of her life, and of unvarying attention to her welfare. To her
aunt she owed all but existence; she had wholly supported her; bestowed
on her the most liberal education; and from Lady Audley sprang every
pleasure she had hitherto enjoyed.

Had she been brought up by her paternal relations, she would in all
probability never have beheld her cousin; and the mother and son might
have lived in uninterrupted concord. Could she be the person to inflict
on Lady Audley the severest disappointment she could experience? The
thought was too dreadful to bear; and, knowing that procrastination
could but increase her misery, no sooner had she felt convinced of the
true nature of her duty than she made a steady resolution to perform and
to adhere to it. Lady Audley had _vowed that while she had life she
could never give her consent and approbation to her son's marriage;_ and
Alicia was too well acquainted with her disposition to have the faintest
expectation that she would relent. But to remain any longer under her
protection was impossible; and she resolved to anticipate any proposal
of that sort from her protectress.

When Lady Audley's passion had somewhat cooled, she again sent for
Alicia. She began by repeating her _eternal enmity_ to the marriage in a
manner impressive to the greatest degree, and still more decisive in its
form by the cool collectedness of her manner. She then desired to hear
what Alicia had to say in exculpation of her conduct.

The profound sorrow which filled  the heart of Alicia left no room for
timidity or indecision. She answered her without hesitation and
embarrassment, and asserted her innocence of all deceit in such a manner
as to leave no doubt at least of honourable proceeding. In a few
impressive words she proved herself sensible of the benefits her aunt
had through life conferred upon her; and, while she openly professed to
think herself, in the present instance, deeply wronged, she declared her
determination of never uniting herself to her cousin without Lady
Audley's permission, which she felt convinced was unattainable.

She then proceeded to ask where she should deem it most advisable for
her to reside in future.

Happy to find her wishes thus prevented,  the unfeeling aunt expressed
her satisfaction at Alicia's good sense and discretion; represented, in
what she thought glowing colours, the unheard-of presumption it would
have been in her to take advantage of Sir Edmund's momentary
infatuation; and then launched out into details of her ambitious views
for him in a matrimonial alliance--views which she affected now to
consider without obstacle.

Alicia interrupted the painful and unfeeling harangue. It was neither,
she said, for Sir Edmund's advantage nor to gratify his mother's pride,
but to perform the dictates of her own conscience, that she had resigned
him; she even ventured to declare that the sharpest pang which that
resignation had cost her was the firm conviction that it would inflict
upon him a deep and lasting sorrow.

Lady Audley, convinced that moderate measures would be most likely to
ensure a continuation of Alicia's obedience, expressed herself grieved
at the necessity of parting with her, and pleased that she should have
the good sense to perceive the propriety of such a separation.

Sir Duncan Malcolm, the grandfather of Alicia, had, in the few
communications that had passed between Lady Audley and him, always
expressed a wish to see his granddaughter before he died. Her ladyship's
antipathy to Scotland was such that she would have deemed it absolute
contamination for her niece to have entered the country; and she had
therefore always eluded the request.

It was now, of all plans, the most eligible; and she graciously offered
to convey her niece as far as Edinburgh. The journey was immediately
settled; and before Alicia left her aunt's presence a promise was
exacted with unfeeling tenacity, and given with melancholy firmness,
never to unite herself to Sir Edmund unsanctioned by his mother.

Alas! how imperfect is human wisdom! Even in seeking to do right how
many are the errors we commit! Alicia judged wrong in thus sacrificing
the happiness of Sir Edmund to the pride and injustice of his mother;
but her error was that of a noble, self-denying spirit, entitled to
respect, even though it cannot claim approbation. The honourable open
conduct of her niece had so far gained upon Lady Audley that she did not
object to her writing to Sir Edmund,

"DEAR SIR EDMUND--A painful line of conduct is pointed out to me by
duty; yet of all the regrets I feel not one is so poignant as the
consciousness of that which you will feel at learning that I have
forever resigned the claims you so lately gave me to your heart and
hand. It was not weakness--it could not be inconstancy--that produced
the painful sacrifice of a distinction still more gratifying to my heart
than flattering to my pride.

"Need I remind you that to your mother I owe every benefit in life?
Nothing can release me from the tribute of gratitude which would be ill
repaid by braving her authority and despising her will. Should I give
her reason to regret the hour she received me under her roof, to repent
of every benefit she has hitherto bestowed on me; should I draw down a
mother's displeasure, what reasonable hopes could we entertain of solid
peace through life? I am not in a situation which entitles me to
question the justice of Lady Audley's will; and that will has pronounced
that I shall never be Sir Edmund's wife.

"Your first impulse may perhaps be to accuse me of coldness and
ingratitude in quitting the place and country you inhabit, and resigning
you back to yourself, without personally taking leave of you; but I
trust that you will, on reflection, absolve me from the charge.

"Could I
have had any grounds to suppose that a personal interview would be
productive of comfort to you, I would have joyfully supported the
sufferings it would have inflicted on myself. But question your own
heart as to the use you would have made of such a meeting; bear in mind
that Lady Audley has my solemn promise never to be yours--a promise not
lightly given; then imagine what must have been an interview between us
under such circumstances.

"In proof of an affection which I can have no reason to doubt, I conjure
you to listen to the last request I shall ever make to my dear cousin.
Give me the heartfelt satisfaction to know that my departure has put an
end to those disagreements between mother and son of which I have been
the innocent cause.

"You have no reason to blame Lady Audley for this last step of
mine. I have not been intimidated--threats, believe me, never would have
extorted from me a promise to renounce you, had not Virtue herself
dictated the sacrifice; and my reward will spring from the conviction
that, as far as my judgment could discern, I have acted right.

"Forget, I entreat you, this inauspicious passion. Resolve, like me, to
resign yourself, without murmuring, to what is now past recall; and,
instead of indulging melancholy, regain, by a timely exertion of mind
and body, that serenity which is the portion of those who have obeyed
the dictates of rectitude.

"Farewell, Sir Edmund. May every happiness attend your future life!
While I strive to forget my ill-fated affection, the still stronger
feelings of gratitude and esteem for you can never fade from the heart
of

                                       "ALICIA MALCOLM."

To say that no tears were shed during the composition of this letter
would be to overstrain fortitude beyond natural bounds. With difficulty
Alicia checked the effusions of her pen. She wished to have said much
more, and to have soothed the agony of renunciation by painting with
warmth her tenderness and her regret; but reason urged that, in exciting
his feelings and displaying her own, she would defeat the chief purpose
of her letter. She hastily closed and directed it, with a feeling almost
akin to despair.

The necessary arrangements for the journey having been hastily made, the
ladies set out two days after Sir Edmund had so hastily quitted them.
The uncomplaining Alicia buried her woes in her own bosom; and neither
murmurs on the one hand, nor reproaches on the other, were heard.

At the end of four days the travellers entered Scotland; and when they
stopped for the night, Alicia, fatigued and dispirited, retired
immediately to her apartment.

She had been there but a few minutes when the chambermaid knocked at the
door, and informed her that she was wanted below.

Supposing that Lady Audley had sent for her, she followed the girl
without observing that she was conducted in an opposite direction; when,
upon entering an apartment, what was her astonishment at finding
herself, not in the presence of Lady Audley, but in the arms of Sir
Edmund! In the utmost agitation, she sought to disengage herself from
his almost frantic embrace; while he poured forth a torrent of rapturous
exclamations, and swore that no human power should ever divide them
again.

"I have followed your steps, dearest Alicia, from the moment I received
your letter. We are now in Scotland-in this blessed land of liberty.
Everything is arranged; the clergyman is now in waiting; and in five
minutes you shall be my own beyond the power of fate to sever us."

Too much agitated to reply, Alicia wept in silence; and in the delight
of once more beholding him she had thought never more to behold, forgot,
for a moment, the duty she had imposed upon herself. But the native
energy of her character returned. She raised her head, and attempted to
withdraw from the encircling arms of her cousin.

"Never until you have vowed to be mine! The clergyman--the
carriage--everything is in readiness. Speak but the word, dearest." And
he knelt at her feet.

At this juncture the door opened, and, pale with rage, her eyes flashing
fire, Lady Audley stood before them. A dreadful scene now ensued. Sir
Edmund disdained to enter into any justification of his conduct, or even
to reply to the invectives of his mother, but lavished the most tender
assiduities on Alicia; who, overcome more by the conflicts of her own
heart than with alarm at Lady Audley's violence, sat the pale and silent
image of consternation.

Baffled by her son's indignant disregard, Lady Audley turned all her
fury on her niece; and, in the most opprobrious terms that rage could
invent, upbraided her with deceit and treachery--accusing her of making
her pretended submission instrumental to the more speedy accomplishment
of her marriage. Too much incensed to reply, Sir Edmund seized his
cousin's hand, and was leading her from the room.

"Go, then--go, marry her; but first hear me swear, solemnly swear"--
and she raised her hand and eyes to heaven--"that my malediction shall
be your portion! Speak but the word, and no power shall make me withhold
it!"

"Dear Edmund!" exclaimed Alicia, distractedly, "never ought I to have
allowed time for the terrifying words that have fallen from Lady
Audley's lips; never for me shall your mother's malediction fall on you.
Farewell for ever!" and, with the strength of desperation, she rushed
past him, and quitted the room. Sir Edmund madly followed, but in vain.
Alicia's feelings were too highly wrought at that moment to be touched
even by the man she loved; and, without an additional pang, she saw him
throw himself into the carriage which he had destined for so different a
purpose, and quit for ever the woman he adored.

It may easily be conceived of how painful a nature must have been the
future intercourse betwixt Lady Audley and her niece. The former seemed
to regard her victim with that haughty distance which the unrelenting
oppressor never fails to entertain towards the object of his tyranny;
while even the gentle Alicia, on her part, shrank, with ill-concealed
abhorrence, from the presence of that being whose stern decree had
blasted all the fairest blossoms of her happiness.

Alicia was received with affection by her grandfather; and she laboured
to drive away the heavy despondency which pressed on her spirits by
studying his taste and humours, and striving to contribute to his
comfort and amusement.

Sir Duncan had chosen the time of Alicia's arrival to transact some
business; and instead of returning immediately to the Highlands, he
determined to remain some weeks in Edinburgh for her amusement.

But, little attractive as dissipation had been, it was now absolutely
repugnant to Alicia. She loathed the idea of mixing in scenes of
amusement with a heart incapable of joy, a spirit indifferent to every
object that surrounded her; and in solitude alone she expected gradually
to regain her peace of mind.

In the amusements of the gay season of Edinburgh, Alicia expected to
find all the vanity, emptiness, and frivolity of London dissipation,
without its varied brilliancy and elegant luxury; yet, so much was it
the habit of her mind to look to the fairest side of things, and to
extract some advantage from every situation in which she was placed,
that pensive and thoughtful as was her disposition, the discriminating
only perceived her deep dejection, while all admired her benevolence of
manner and unaffected desire to please.

By degrees Alicia found that in some points she had been inaccurate in
her idea of the style of living of those who form the best society of
Edinburgh. The circle is so confined that its members are almost
universally known to each other; and those various gradations of
gentility, from the city's snug party to the duchess's most crowded
assembly, all totally distinct and separate, which are to be met with in
London, have no prototype in Edinburgh. There the ranks and fortunes
being more on an equality, no one is able greatly to exceed his
neighbour in luxury and extravagance. Great magnificence, and the
consequent gratification produced by the envy of others being out of the
question, the object for which a reunion of individuals was originally
invented becomes less of a secondary consideration. Private parties for
the actual purpose of society and conversation are frequent, and answer
the destined end; and in the societies of professed amusement are to be
met the learned, the studious, and the rational; not presented as shows
to the company by the host and hostess, but professedly seeking their
own gratification.

Still the lack of beauty, fashion, and elegance disappoint the stranger
accustomed to their brilliant combination in a London world. But Alicia
had long since sickened in the metropolis at the frivolity of beauty,
the heartlessness of fashion, and the insipidity of elegance; and it was
a relief to her to turn to the variety of character she found beneath
the cloak of simple, eccentric, and sometimes coarse manners.

We are never long so totally abstracted by our own feelings as to be
unconscious of the attempts of others to please us. In Alicia, to be
conscious of it and to be grateful was the same movement. Yet she was
sensible that so many persons could not in that short period have become
seriously interested in her. The observation did not escape her how much
an English stranger is looked up to for fashion and taste in Edinburgh,
though possessing little merit save that of being English; yet she felt
gratified and thankful for the kindness and attention that greeted her
appearance on all sides.

Amongst the many who expressed goodwill towards Alicia there were a few
whose kindness and real affection failed not to meet with a return from
her; and others whose rich and varied powers of mind for the first time
afforded her a true specimen of the exalting enjoyment produced by a
communion of intellect. She felt the powers of her understanding enlarge
in proportion; and, with this mental activity, she sought to solace the
languor of her heart and save it from the listlessness of despair.

Alicia had been about six weeks in Edinburgh when she received a
letter from Lady Audley. No allusions were made to the past; she wrote
upon general topics, in the cold manner that might be used to a common
acquaintance; and slightly named her son as having set out upon a tour
to the Continent.

Alicia's heart was heavy as she read the heartless letter of the woman
whose cruelty ad not been able to eradicate wholly from her breast he
strong durable affection of early habit.

Sir Duncan and Alicia spent two months in Edinburgh, at the end of which
time they went to his country seat in---shire. The adjacent country was
picturesque; and Sir Duncan's residence, though bearing marks of the
absence of taste and comfort in its arrangements, possessed much natural
beauty.

Two years of tranquil seclusion had passed over her head when her
dormant feeling were all aroused by a letter from Sir Edmund. It
informed her that he was now of age; that his affection remained
unalterable; that he was newly arrived from abroad; and that,
notwithstanding the death-blow she had given to his hopes, he could not
refrain, on returning to his native land, from assuring her that he was
resolved never to pay his addresses to any other woman. He concluded by
declaring his intent on of presenting himself at once to Sir Duncan, and
soliciting his permission to claim her hand: when all scruples relating
to Lady Audley must, from her change of abode, be at an end.

Alicia read the letter with grateful  affection and poignant regret.
Again she shed he bitter tears of disappointment, at the hard task of
refusing for a second time so noble and affectionate a heart. But
conscience whispered that to hold a passive line of conduct would be, in
some measure, to deceive Lady Audley's expectations; and she felt, with
exquisite anguish, that she had no means to put a final stop to Sir
Edmund's pursuits, and to her own trials, but by bestowing her hand on
another. The first dawning of this idea was accompanied by the most
violent burst of anguish; but, far from driving away the painful
subject, she strove to render it less appalling by dwelling upon it, and
labouring to reconcile herself to what seemed her only plan of conduct.
She acknowledged to herself that, to remain still single, a prey to Sir
Edmund's importunities and the continual temptations of her own heart,
was, for the sake of present indulgence, submitting to a fiery ordeal,
from which she could not escape unblamable without the most repeated and
agonising conflicts.

Three months still remained for her of peace and liberty, after which
Sir Duncan would go to Edinburgh. There she would be sure of meeting
with the loved companion of her youthful days; and the lurking weakness
of her own breast would then be seconded by the passionate eloquence of
the being she most loved and admired upon earth.

She wrote to him, repeating her former arguments; declaring that she
could never feel herself absolved from the promise she had given Lady
Audley but by that lady herself, and imploring him to abandon a pursuit
which would be productive only of lasting pain to both.

Her arguments, her representations, all failed in their effect on Sir
Edmund's impetuous character. His answer was short and decided; the
purport of it, that he should see her in Edinburgh the moment she
arrived there.

"My fate then is fixed," thought Alicia, as she read this letter; "I
must finish the sacrifice."

The more severe had been the struggle between love and victorious duty,
the more firmly was she determined to maintain this dear-bought
victory.

Alicia's resolution of marrying was now decided, and the opportunity was
not wanting. She had become acquainted, during the preceding winter in
Edinburgh, with Major Douglas, eldest son of Mr. Douglas of Glenfern. He
had then paid her the most marked attention; and, since her return to
the country, had been a frequent visitor at Sir Duncan's. At length he
avowed his partiality, which was heard by Sir Duncan with pleasure, by
Alicia with dread and submission. Yet she felt less repugnance towards
him than to any other of her suitors. He was pleasing in his person;
quiet and simple in his manners; and his character stood high for
integrity, good temper, and plain sense. The sequel requires little
further detail. Alicia Malcolm became the wife of Archibald Douglas.

An eternal constancy is a thing so rare to be met with, that persons who
desire that sort of reputation strive to obtain it by nourishing the
ideas that recall the passion, even though guilt and sorrow should go
hand in hand with it. But Alicia, far from piquing herself in the
lovelorn pensiveness she might have assumed, had she yielded to the
impulse of her feelings, diligently strove not only to make up her mind
to the lot which had devolved to her, but to bring it to such a frame of
cheerfulness as should enable her to contribute to her husband's
happiness.

When the soul is no longer buffeted by the storms of hope or fear, when
all is fixed unchangeably for life, sorrow for the past will never long
prey on a pious and well-regulated mind. If Alicia lost the buoyant
spirit of youth, the bright and quick play of fancy, yet a placid
contentment crowned her days; and at the end of two years she would have
been astonished had anyone marked her as an object of compassion.

She scarcely ever heard from Lady Audley; and in the few letters her
aunt had favoured her with, she gave favourable, though vague accounts
of her son. Alicia did not court a more unreserved communication, and
had long since taught herself to hope that he was now happy. Soon after
their marriage Major Douglas quitted the army, upon succeeding to a small
estate on the banks of Lochmarlie by the death of an uncle; and there,
in the calm seclusion of domestic life, Mrs. Douglas found that peace
which might have been denied her amid gayer scenes.



CHAPTER XIV.

    And joyous was the scene in early summer."

                                              MADOC.

ON Henry's return from his solitary  ramble Mrs. Douglas learnt from him
the cause of the misunderstanding that had taken place; and judging
that, in the present state of affairs, a temporary separation might be
of use to both parties, as they were now about to return home she
proposed to her husband to invite his brother and Lady Juliana to follow
and spend a few weeks with them at Lochmarlie Cottage.

The invitation was eagerly accepted; for though Lady Juliana did not
anticipate any positive pleasure from the change, still she thought that
every place must be more agreeable than her present abode, especially as
she stipulated for the utter exclusion of the aunts from the party. To
atone for this mortification Miss Becky was invited to fill the vacant
seat in the carriage; and, accordingly, with a cargo of strong shoes,
greatcoats, and a large work-bag well stuffed with white-seam, she took
her place at the appointed hour.

The day they had chosen for their expedition was one that "sent a summer
feeling to the heart."

The air was soft and genial; not a cloud stained the bright azure of the
heavens; and the sun shone out in all his splendour, shedding life and
beauty even over all the desolate heath-clad hills of Glenfern. But,
after they had journeyed a few miles, suddenly emerging from the valley,
a scene of matchless beauty burst at once upon the eye. Before them lay
the dark-blue waters of Lochmarlie, reflecting, as in a mirror, every
surrounding object, and bearing on its placid transparent bosom a fleet
of herring-boats, the drapery of whose black suspended nets contrasted
with picturesque effect the white sails of the larger vessels, which
were vainly spread to catch a breeze. All around, rocks, meadows, woods,
and hills, mingled in wild and lovely irregularity.

On a projecting point of land stood a little fishing village, its white
cottages reflected in the glassy waters that almost surrounded it. On
the opposite side of the lake, or rather estuary, embosomed in wood, rose
the lofty turrets of Lochmarlie Castle; while here and there, perched on
some mountain's brow, were to be seen the shepherd's lonely hut, and the
heath-covered summer shealing.

Not a breath was stirring, not a  sound was heard save the rushing of a
waterfall, the tinkling of some silver rivulet, or the calm rippling of
the tranquil lake; now and then, at intervals, the fisherman's Gaelic
ditty chanted, as he lay stretched on the sand in some sunny nook; or
the shrill distant sound of childish glee. How delicious to the feeling
heart to behold so fair a scene of unsophisticated Nature, and to
listen to her voice alone, breathing the accents of innocence and joy!

But none of the party who now gazed on it had minds capable of being
touched with the emotions it was calculated to inspire.

Henry, indeed, was rapturous in his expressions of admiration; but he
concluded his panegyrics by wondering his brother did not keep a cutter,
and resolving to pass a night on board one of the herring boats, that he
might eat the fish in perfection.

Lady Juliana thought it might be very pretty, if, instead of those
frightful rocks and shabby cottages, there could be villas, and gardens,
and lawns, and conservatories, and summer-houses, and statues.

Miss Becky observed, if it was hers, she would cut down the woods, and
level the hills, and have races.

The road wound along the sides of the lake, sometimes overhung with
banks of natural wood, which, though scarcely budding, grew so thick as
to exclude the prospect; in other places surmounted by large masses of
rock, festooned with ivy, and embroidered by mosses of a thousand hues
that glittered under the little mountain streamlets. Two miles farther
on stood the simple mansion of Mr. Douglas. It was situated in a wild
sequestered nook, formed by a little bay at the farther end of the
lake. On three sides it was surrounded by wooded hills that offered a
complete shelter from every nipping blast. To the south the lawn,
sprinkled with trees and shrubs, sloped gradually down to the water.

At the door they were met by Mrs. Douglas, who welcomed them with
the most affectionate cordiality, and conducted them into the house
through a little circular hall, filled with flowering shrubs and foreign
plants.

"How delightful!" exclaimed Lady Juliana, as she stopped to inhale
the rich fragrance. "Moss roses! I do delight in them," twisting off a
rich cluster of flowers and buds in token of her affection; "and I quite
doat upon heliotrope," gathering a handful of flowers as she spoke. Then
extending her hand towards a most luxuriant Cape jessamine--

"I must really petition you to spare this, my favourite child," said her
sister-in-law, as she gently withheld her arm; "and, to tell you the
truth, dear Lady Juliana, you have already infringed the rules of my
little conservatory, which admit only of the gratification of two
senses--seeing and smelling."

"What! don't you like your flowers to be gathered?" exclaimed Lady
Juliana in a tone of surprise and disappointment; "I don't know any
other use they're of. What quantities I used to have from Papa's
hothouses!"

Mrs. Douglas made no reply; but conducted her to the drawing-room, where
her chagrin was dispelled by the appearance of comfort and even elegance
that it bore. "Now, this is really what I like," cried she, throwing
herself on one of the couches; "a large fire, open windows, quantities
of roses, comfortable Ottomans, and pictures; only what a pity you
haven't a larger mirror."

Mrs. Douglas now rang for refreshments, and apologised for the absence
of her husband, who, she said, was so much interested in his ploughing
that he seldom made his appearance till sent for.

Henry then proposed that they should all go out and surprise his
brother; and though walking in the country formed no part of Lady
Juliana's amusements, yet, as Mrs. Douglas assured her the walks were
perfectly dry, and her husband was so pressing, she consented. The way
lay through a shrubbery, by the side of a brawling brook, whose banks
retained all the wildness of unadorned nature. Moss and ivy and fern
clothed the ground; and under the banks the young primroses and violets
began to raise their heads; while the red wintry berry still hung thick
on the hollies.

"This is really very pleasant," said Henry, stopping  to contemplate a
view of the lake through the branches of a weeping birch; "the sound of
the stream, and the singing of the birds, and all those wild flowers
make it appear as if it was summer in this spot; and only look, Julia,
how pretty that wherry looks lying at anchor." Then whispering to her,
"What would you think of such a desert as this, with the man of your
heart?"

Lady Juliana made no reply but by complaining of the heat of the sun,
the hardness of the gravel, and the damp from the water.

Henry, who now began to look upon the condition of a Highland farmer
with more complacency than formerly, was confirmed in his favourable
sentiments at sight of his brother, following the primitive occupation
of the plough, his fine face glowing with health, and lighted up with
good humour and happiness. He hastily advanced towards the party, and
shaking his brother and sister-in-law most warmly by the hand,
expressed, with all the warmth of a good heart, the pleasure he had in
receiving them at his house. Then observing Lady Juliana's languid air,
and imputing to fatigue of body what, in fact, was the consequence of
mental vacuity, he proposed returning home by a shorter road than that
by which they had come. Henry was again in raptures at the new beauties
this walk presented, and at the high order and neatness in which the
grounds were kept.

"This must be a very expensive place of yours, though," said he,
addressing his sister-in-law; "there is so much garden and shrubbery,
and such a number of rustic bridges, bowers, and so forth: it must
require half a dozen men to keep it in any order."

"Such an establishment would very ill accord with our moderate means,"
replied she; "we do not pretend to one regular gardener; and had our
little embellishments been productive of much expense, or tending solely
to my gratification, I should never have suggested them. When we first
took possession of this spot it was a perfect wilderness, with a dirty
farm-house on it; nothing but mud about the doors; nothing but wood and
briers and brambles beyond it; and the village presented a still more
melancholy scene of rank luxuriance, in its swarms of dirty idle girls
and mischievous boys. I have generally found that wherever an evil
exists the remedy is not far off; and in this case it was strikingly
obvious. It was only engaging these ill-directed children by trifling
rewards to apply their lively energies in improving instead of
destroying the works of nature, as had formerly been their zealous
practice. In a short time the change on the moral as well as the
vegetable part of creation became very perceptible: the children grew
industrious and peaceable; and instead of destroying trees, robbing
nests, and worrying cats, the bigger boys, under Douglas's direction,
constructed these wooden bridges and seats, or cut out and gravelled the
little winding paths that we had previously marked out. The task of
keeping everything n order is now easy, as you may believe, when I tell
you the whole of our pleasure-grounds, as you are pleased to term them,
receive no other attention than what is bestowed by children under
twelve years of age. And now, having, I hope, acquitted myself of the
charge of extravagance, I ought to beg Lady Juliana's pardon for this
long, and, I fear, tiresome detail."

Having now reached the house, Mrs. Douglas conducted her guest to the
apartment prepared for her, while the brothers pursued their walk.

As long as novelty retained its power, and the comparison between
Glenfern and Lochmarlie was fresh in remembrance, Lady Juliana, charmed
with everything, was in high good-humour.

But as the horrors of the one were forgotten, and the comforts of the
other became familiar, the demon of ennui again took possession of her
vacant mind, and she relapsed into all her capricious humours and
childish impertinences. The harpsichord, which, on her first arrival,
she had pronounced to be excellent, was now declared quite shocking; so
much out of tune that there was no possibility of playing upon it. The
small collection of well-chosen novels she soon exhausted, and then they
became the "stupidest books she had ever read;" the smell of the
heliotrope now gave her the headache; the sight of the lake made her
sea-sick.

Mrs. Douglas heard all these civilities in silence, and much more "in
sorrow than in anger." In the wayward inclinations, variable temper, and
wretched inanity of this poor victim of indulgence, she beheld the sad
fruits of a fashionable education; and thought with humility that, under
similar circumstances, such might have been her own character.

"Oh, what an awful responsibility do those parents incur," she would
mentally exclaim, "who thus neglect or corrupt the noble deposit of an
immortal soul! And who, alas! can tell where the mischief may end? This
unfortunate will herself become a mother; yet wholly ignorant of the
duties, incapable of the self-denial of that sacred office, she will
bring into the world creatures to whom she can only transmit her errors
and her weaknesses!"

These reflections at times deeply affected the generous heart and truly
Christian spirit of Mrs. Douglas; and she sought, by every means in her
power, to restrain those faults which she knew it would be vain to
attempt eradicating.

To diversify the routine of days which grew more and more tedious to
Lady Juliana, the weather being remarkably fine, many little excursions
were made to the nearest country seats; which, though they did not
afford her any actual pleasure, answered the purpose of consuming a
considerable portion of her time.

Several weeks passed away, during which little inclination was shown on
the part of the guests to quit their present residence, when Mr. and
Mrs. Douglas were summoned to attend the sick-bed of Sir Duncan Malcolm;
and though they pressed their guests to remain during their absence, yet
Henry felt it would be highly offensive to his father were they to do
so, and therefore resolved immediately to return to Glenfern.



CHAPTER XV.

    "They steeked doors,' they steeked yetts,
    Close to the cheek and chin;
    They steeked them a' but a little wicket,
    And Lammikin crap in.
    "Now quhere's the lady of this castle?"

                 _Old Ballad._

THE party were received with the loudest acclamations of joy by the good
old ladies; and even the Laird seemed to have forgotten that his son had
refused to breed black cattle, and that his daughter-in-law was above
the management of her household.

The usual salutations were scarcely over when Miss Grizzy, flying to
her little writing-box, pulled out a letter, and, with an air of
importance, having enjoined silence, she read as follows:--

"LOCMARLIE CASTLE, _March_ 27,17--.

"DEAR CHILD-Sir Sampson's stomach has been as bad as it could well be,
but not so bad as your roads. He was shook to a jelly. My petticoat will
never do. Mrs. M'Hall has had a girl. I wonder what makes people have
girls; they never come to good. Boys may go to the mischief, and be good
for something--if girls go, they're good for nothing I know of. I never
saw such roads. I suppose Glenfern means to bury you all in the highway;
there are holes enough to make you graves, and stones big enough for
coffins. You must all come and spend Tuesday here--not all, but some of
you--you, dear child, and your brother, and a sister, and your pretty
niece, and handsome nephew--I love handsome people. Miss M'Kraken has
bounced away with her father's footman--I hope he will clean his knives
on her. Come early, and come dressed, to your loving friend,

"ISABELLA MACLAUGHLAN."

The letter ended, a volley of applause ensued, which at length gave
place to consultation. "Of course we all go--at least as many as the
carriage will hold: we have no engagements, and there can be no
objections."

Lady Juliana had already frowned a contemptuous refusal, but in due
time it was changed to a sullen assent, at the pressing entreaties of
her husband, to whom any place was now preferable to home. In truth, the
mention of a party had more weight with her than either her husband's
wishes or her aunts' remonstrances; and they had assured her that she
should meet with a large assemblage of the very first company at
Lochmarlie Castle.

The day appointed for the important visit arrived; and it was arranged
that two of the elder ladies and one of the young ones should accompany
Lady Juliana in her barouche, which Henry was to drive.

At peep of dawn the ladies were astir, and at eight  o'clock breakfast
was hurried over that they might begin the preparations necessary for
appearing with dignity at the shrine of this their patron saint. At
eleven they reappeared in all the majesty of sweeping silk trains and
well-powdered toupees. In outward show Miss Becky was not less
elaborate; the united strength and skill of her three aunts and four
sisters had evidently been exerted in forcing her hair into every
position but that for which nature had intended it; curls stood on end
around her forehead, and tresses were dragged up from the roots, and
formed into a club on the crown; her arms had been strapped back till
her elbows met, by means of a pink ribbon of no ordinary strength or
doubtful hue.

Three hours were past in all the anguish of full-dressed impatience; an
anguish in which every female breast must be ready to sympathise. But
Lady Juliana sympathised in no one's distresses but her own, and the
difference of waiting in high dress or in déshabille was a distinction
to her inconceivable. But those to whom _to be dressed _is an event will
readily enter into the feelings of the ladies in question as they sat,
walked, wondered, exclaimed, opened windows, wrung their hands, adjusted
their dress, etc. etc., during the three tedious hours they were doomed
to wait the appearance of their niece.

Two o'clock came, and with it Lady Juliana, as if purposely to testify
her contempt, in a loose morning dress and mob cap. The sisters looked
blank with disappointment; for having made themselves mistresses of the
contents of her ladyship's wardrobe, they had settled amongst themselves
that the most suitable dress for the occasion would be black velvet, and
accordingly many hints had been given the preceding evening on the
virtues of black velvet gowns. They were warm, and not too warm; they
were dressy, and not too dressy; Lady Maclaughlan was a great admirer of
black velvet gowns; she had one herself with long sleeves, and that
buttoned behind; black velvet gowns were very much wore; they knew
several ladies who had them; and they were certain there would be
nothing else wore amongst the matrons at Lady Maclaughlan's, etc. etc.

Time was, however, too precious to be given either to remonstrance or
lamentation. Miss Jacky could only give an angry look, and Miss Grizzy
a sorrowful one, as they hurried away to the carriage, uttering
exclamations of despair at the lateness of the hour, and the
impossibility that anybody could have time to dress after getting to
Lochmarlie Castle.

The consequence of the delay was that it was dark by the time they
reached the place of destination. The carriage drove up to the grand
entrance; but neither lights nor servants greeted their arrival; and no
answer was returned to the ringing of the bell.

"We had best get out and try the back. This is most alarming, I
declare!" cried Miss Grizzy.

"It is quite incomprehensible!" observed Miss Jacky. "We had best get
out and try the back door."

The party alighted, and another attack being made upon the rear, it met
with better success; for a little boy now presented himself at a narrow
opening of the door, and in a strong Highland accent demanded "wha ta
war seekin'?"

"Lady Maclaughlan, to be sure, Colin," was the reply.

"Weel, weel," still refusing admittance; "but te leddie's no to be
spoken wi' to-night."

"Not to be spoken with!" exclaimed Miss Grizzy, almost sinking to the
ground with apprehension. "Good gracious I--I hope I--I declare I--Sir
Sampson!----"

"OO ay, hur may see Lochmarlie hursel." Then opening the door, he led
the way, and ushered them into the presence of Sir Sampson, who was
reclining in an easy chair, arrayed in a _robe de chambre_ and nightcap.
The opening of the door seemed to have broken his slumber; for, gazing
around with a look of stupefaction, he demanded in a sleepy peevish
tone, "Who was there?"

"Bless me, Sir Sampson!" exclaimed both spinsters at once, darting
forward and seizing a hand; "bless me, don't you know us? And here is
our niece, Lady Juliana."

"My Lady Juliana Douglas!" cried he, with a shriek of horror, sinking
again upon his cushions. "I am betrayed--I--Where is my Lady
Maclaughlan?--Where is Philistine?-- Where is--the devil! This is not to
be borne! My Lady Juliana Douglas, the Earl of Courtland's daughter, to
be introduced to Lochmarlie Castle in so vile a manner, and myself
surprised in so indecorous a situation!" And, his lips quivering with
passion, he rang the bell.

The summons was answered by the same attendant that had acted as
gentleman usher.

"'Where are all my people?" demanded his incensed master.

"Hurs aw awa tull ta Sandy More's."

"Where is my Lady?"

"Hurs i' ta teach tap." [1]

[1] House top.

"'Where is Murdoch?"

"Hur's helpin' ta leddie i' ta teach tap."

"Oh, we'll all go upstairs, and see what Lady Maclaughlan and Philistine
are about in the laboratory," said Miss Grizzy. "So pray, just go on
with your nap, Sir Sampson; we shall find the way--don't stir;" and
taking Lady Juliana by the hand, away tripped the spinsters in search of
their friend. "I cannot conceive the meaning of all this," whispered
Miss Grizzy to her sister as they went along. "Something must be wrong;
but I said nothing to dear Sir Sampson, his nerves are so easily
agitated. But what can be the meaning of all this? I declare it's quite
a mystery."

After ascending several long dark stairs, and following divers windings
and turnings, the party at length reached the door of the _sanctum
sanctorum,_ and having gently tapped, the voice of the priestess was
heard in no very encouraging accents, demanding "Who was there?"

"It's only us," replied her trembling friend.

"Only us?  humph!  I wonder what fool is called _only us!_ Open the
door, Philistine, and see what _only us_ wants."

The door was opened and the party entered. The day was closing in,
but by the faint twilight that mingled with the gleams from a smoky
smouldering fire, Lady Maclaughlan was dimly discernible, as she stood
upon the hearth, watching the contents of an enormous kettle that
emitted both steam and odour. She regarded the invaders with her usual
marble aspect, and without moving either joint or muscle as they drew
near.

"I declare--I don't think you know us, Lady Maclaughlan," said Miss
Grizzy in a tone of affected vivacity, with which she strove to conceal
her agitation.

"Know you!" repeated her friend--"humph! Who you are, I know very well;
but what brings you here, I do _not_ know. Do you know yourselves?"

"I declare---I can't conceive----" began Miss Grizzy; but her
trepidation arrested her speech, and her sister therefore proceeded--

"Your ladyship's declaration is no less astonishing than
incomprehensible. We have waited upon you by your own express invitation
on the day appointed by yourself; and we have been received in a manner,
I must say, we did not expect, considering this is the first visit of
our niece Lady Juliana Douglas."

"I'll tell you what, girls," replied their friend, as she still stood
with her back to the fire, and her hands behind her; "I'll tell you
what,--you are not yourselves--you are all lost--quite mad--that's
all--humph!"

"If that's the case, we cannot be fit company for your ladyship,"
retorted Miss Jacky warmly; "and therefore the best thing we can do is
to return the way we came. Come, Lady Juliana--come, sister."

"I declare, Jacky, the impetuosity of your temper is--I really cannot
stand it--" and the gentle Grizzy gave way to a flood of tears.

"You used to be rational, intelligent creatures," resumed her ladyship;
"but what has come over you, I don't know. You come tumbling in here at
the middle of the night--and at the top of the house nobody knows
how--when I never was thinking of you; and because I don't tell a parcel
of lies, and pretend I expected you, you are for flying off again
--humph! Is this the behaviour of women in their senses? But since you
are here, you may as well sit down and say what brought you. Get down,
Gil Blas--go along, Tom Jones," addressing two huge cats, who occupied a
three-cornered leather chair by the fireside, and who relinquished it
with much reluctance.

"How do you do, pretty creature?" kissing Lady Juliana, as she seated
her in this eat's cradle. "Now, girls, sit down, and tell what brought
you here to-day--humph!"

"Can your Ladyship ask such a question, after having formally invited
us?" demanded the wrathful Jacky.

"I'll tell you what, girls; you were just as much invited by me to dine
here to-day as you were appointed to sup with the Grand
Seignior--humph!"

"What day of the week does your Ladyship call this?"

"I call it Tuesday; but I suppose the Glenfern calendar calls it
Thursday: Thursday was the day I invited you to come."

"I'm sure--I'm thankful we're got to the bottom of it at last," cried
Miss Grizzy; "I read it, because I'm sure you wrote it, Tuesday."

"How could you be such a fool, my love, as to read it any such thing?
Even if it had been written Tuesday, you might have had the sense to
know it meant Thursday. When did you know me invite anybody for a
Tuesday?"

"I declare it's very true; I certainly ought to have known better. I
am quite confounded at my own stupidity; for, as you observe, even
though you had said Tuesday, I might have known that you must have meant
Thursday."

"Well, well, no more about it. Since you are here you must stay here,
and you must have something to eat, I suppose. Sir Sampson and I have
dined two hours ago; but you shall have your dinner for all that. I must
shut shop for this day, it seems, and leave my resuscitating tincture
all in the deadthraw--Methusalem pills quite in their infancy. But
there's no help for it. Since you are here you must stay here, and you
must be fed and lodged; so get along, girls, get along. Here, Gil
Blas--come, Tom Jones." And, preceded by her cats, and followed by her
guests, she led the way to the parlour.



CHAPTER XVI.

    "Point de milieu: l'hymen et ses liens
    Sont les plus grands ou des maux ou des biens."

                                    _L' Enfant Prodigue._

ON returning to the parlour they found Sir Sampson had, by means of the
indefatigable Philistine, been transported into a suit of regimentals
and well-powdered peruke, which had in some measure restored him to his
usual complacency. Henry, who had gone in quest of some person to take
charge of the horses, now entered; and shortly after a tray of
provisions was brought, which the half-famished party eagerly attacked,
regardless of their hostess's admonitions to eat sparingly, as nothing
was so dangerous as eating heartily when people were hungry.

The repast being at length concluded, Lady Maclaughlan led her guests
into the saloon. They passed through an antechamber, which seemed, by
the faint light of the lamp, to contain nothing but piles on piles of
china, and entered the room of state.

The eye at first wandered in uncertain obscurity; and the guests
cautiously proceeded over a bare oaken floor, whose dark polished
surface seemed to emulate a mirror, through an apartment of formidable
extent.

The walls were hung with rich but grotesque tapestry. The ceiling, by
its height and massy carving, bespoke the age of the apartment; but the
beauty of the design was lost in the gloom.

A Turkey carpet was placed in the middle of the floor; and on the middle
of the carpet stood the card table, at which two footmen, hastily
summoned from the revels at Sandy More's, were placing chairs and cards;
seemingly eager to display themselves, as if to prove that they were
always at their posts.

Cards were a matter of course with Sir Sampson and his lady; but as
whist was the only game they ever played, a difficulty arose as to the
means of providing amusement for the younger part of the company.

"I have plenty of books for you, my loves," said Lady Maclaughlan; and,
taking one of the candles, she made a journey to the other end of the
room, and entered a small turret, from which her voice was heard issuing
most audibly, "All the books that should ever have been published are
here. Read these, and you need read no more: all the world's in these
books--humph! Here's the Bible, great and small, with apocrypha and
concordance! Here's Floyer's Medicina Gerocomica, or the Galenic Art of
Preserving Old Men's Health;--Love's Art of Surveying and Measuring
Land;--Transactions of the Highland Society;--Glass's Cookery;--Flavel's
Fountain of Life Opened;--Fencing Familiarised;--Observations on the Use
of Bath Waters;--Cure for Soul Sores;--De Blondt's Military
Memoirs;--MacGhie's Book-keeping;--Mead on Pestilence;--Astenthology, or
the Art of Preserving Feeble Life!"

As she enumerated the contents of her library, she paused at the end of
each title, in hopes of hearing the book called for; but she was allowed
to proceed without interruption to the end of her catalogue.

"Why, what would you have, children?" cried she in one of her sternest
accents. "I don't know! Do you know yourselves? Here are two novels, the
only ones worth any Christian's reading."

Henry gladly accepted the first volumes of Gil Bias and Clarissa
Harlowe; and, giving the latter to Lady Juliana, began the other
himself. Miss Becky was settled with her hands across; and, the whist
party being arranged, a solemn silence ensued.

Lady Juliana turned over a few pages of her own book, then begged
Henry would exchange with her; but both were in so different a style
from the French and German school she had been accustomed to, that they
were soon relinquished in disappointment and disgust.

On the table, which had been placed by the fire for her accommodation,
lay an English newspaper; and to that she had recourse, as a last effort
at amusement. But, alas! even the dulness of Clarissa Harlowe was
delight compared to the anguish with which this fatal paper was fraught,
in the shape of the following paragraph, which presented itself to the
unfortunate fair one's eye:--

"Yesterday was married, by special license, at the house of Mrs. D---,
his Grace the Duke of L---, to the beautiful and accomplished Miss D---.
His Royal Highness the Duke of ---- was gracious enough to act as father
to the bride upon this occasion, and was present in person, as were
their Royal Highnesses the Dukes of ---, and of ---. The bride looked
most bewitchingly lovely, in a simple robe of the finest Mechlin lace,
with a superb veil of the same costly material, which hung down to her
feet. She wore a set of pearls estimated at thirty thousand pounds,
whose chaste elegance corresponded with the rest of the dress.
Immediately after the ceremony they partook of a sumptuous collation,
and the happy pair setoff in a chariot and four, attended by six
outriders, and two coaches and four.

"After spending the honeymoon at his Grace's unique villa on the Thames,
their Graces will receive company at their splendid mansion in Portman
Square. The wedding paraphernalia is said to have cost ten thousand
pounds; and her Grace's jewel-box is estimated at little less than half
a million."

Wretched as Lady Juliana had long felt herself to be, her former state
of mind was positive happiness compared to what she now endured. Envy,
regret, self-reproach, and resentment, all struggled in the breast of
the self-devoted beauty, while the paper dropped from her hand, and she
cast a fearful glance around, as if to ascertain the reality of her
fate. The dreadful certainty smote her with a sense of wretchedness too
acute to be suppressed; and, darting a look of horror at her unconscious
husband, she threw herself back in her chair, while the scalding tears
of envy, anger, and repentance fell from her eyes.

Accustomed as Henry now was to these ebullitions of _feeling_ from his
beauteous partner, he was not yet so indifferent as to behold them
unmoved; and he sought to soothe her by the kindest expressions and most
tender epithets. These indeed had long since ceased to charm away the
lady's ill-humour, but they sometimes succeeded in mollifying it. But
now their only effect seemed to be increasing the irritation, as she
turned from all her husband's inquiries, and impatiently withdrew her
hands from his.

Astonished at a conduct so incomprehensible, Douglas earnestly besought
an explanation.

"There!" cried she, at length, pushing the paper towards him, "see
there what I might have been but for you; and then compare it with what
you have made me!"

Confounded by this reproach, Henry eagerly snatched up the paper, and
his eye instantly fell on the fatal paragraph--the poisoned dart that
struck the death-blow to all that now remained to him of happiness--the
fond idea that, even amidst childish folly and capricious estrangement,
still in the main he was beloved! With a quivering lip, and cheek
blanched with mortification and indignant contempt, he laid down the
paper; and without casting a look upon, or uttering a word to, his once
_adored and adoring Juliana,_ quitted the apartment in all that
bitterness of spirit which a generous nature must feel when it first
discovers the fallacy of a cherished affection. Henry had indeed ceased
to regard his wife with the ardour of romantic passion; nor had the
solid feelings of affectionate esteem supplied its place; but he loved
her still, because he believed himself the engrossing object of her
tenderness; and in that blest delusion he had hitherto found palliatives
for her folly and consolation for all his own distresses.

To indifference he might for a time have remained insensible; because,
though his feelings were strong, his perceptions were not acute. But the
veil of illusion was now rudely withdrawn. He beheld himself detested
where he imagined himself adored; and the anguish of disappointed
affection was heightened by the stings of wounded pride and deluded
self-love.



CHAPTER XVII.

    "What's done, cannot be undone; to bed, to bed, to bed!"

                             _Exit Lady Macbeth._

THE distance at which the whist party had placed themselves, and the
deep interest in which their senses were involved while the fate of the
odd trick was pending, had rendered them insensible to the scene that
was acting at the other extremity of the apartment. The task of
administering succour to the afflicted fair one therefore devolved upon
Miss Becky, whose sympathetic powers never had been called into action
before. Slowly approaching the wretched Lady Juliana as she lay back in
her chair, the tears coursing each other down her cheeks, she tendered
her a smelling-bottle, to which her own nose, and the noses of her
sisters, were wont to be applied whenever, as they choicely expressed
it, they wanted a "fine smell." But upon this trying occasion she went
still farther. She unscrewed the stopper, unfolded a cotton
handkerchief, upon which she poured a few drops of lavender water, and
offered it to her ladyship, deeming that the most elegant and efficient
manner in which she could afford relief. But the well-meant offering was
silently waved off; and poor Miss Becky, having done all that the light
of reason suggested to her, retreated to her seat, wondering what it
was her fine sister-in-law would be at.

By the time the rubber was ended her ladyship's fears of Lady
Maclaughlan had enabled her to conquer her feelings so far that they had
now sunk into a state of sullen dejection, which the good aunts eagerly
interpreted into the fatigue of the journey, Miss Grizzy declaring that
although the drive was most delightful--nobody could deny that--and they
all enjoyed it excessively, as indeed everybody must who had eyes in
their head; yet she must own, at the same time, that she really felt
as if all her bones were broke.

A general rising therefore took place at an early hour, and Lady
Juliana, attended by all the females of the party, was ushered into the
chamber of state, which was fitted up in a style acknowledged to be
truly magnificent, by all who had ever enjoyed the honour of being
permitted to gaze on its white velvet bed curtains, surmounted by the
family arms, and gracefully tucked up by hands _sinister-couped _at the
wrists, etc. But lest my fashionable readers should be of a different
opinion, I shall refrain from giving an inventory of the various
articles with which this favoured chamber was furnished. Misses Grizzy
and Jacky occupied the green room which had been fitted up at Sir
Sampson's birth. The curtains hung at a respectful distance from the
ground; the chimney-piece was far beyond the reach even of the majestic
Jacky's arm; and the painted tiffany toilet was covered with a shoal of
little tortoise-shell boxes of all shapes and sizes. A grim visage,
scowling from under a Highland bonnet, graced by a single black feather,
hung on high. Miss Grizzy placed herself before it, and, holding up the
candle, contemplated it for about the nine hundredth time, with an awe
bordering almost on adoration.

"Certainly Sir Eneas must have been a most wonderful man--nobody can
deny that; and there can be no question but he had the second-sight to
the greatest degree--indeed, I never heard it disputed; many of his
prophecies, indeed, seem to have been quite incomprehensible; but that
is so much the more extraordinary; you know--for instance, the one with
regard to our family," lowering her voice; "for my part I declare I
never could comprehend it; and yet there must be something in it, too;
but how any branch from the Glenfern tree--of course, you know, that can
only mean the family tree--should help to prop Lochmarlie's walls, is
what I can't conceive. If Sir Sampson had a son, to be sure, some of the
girls--for you know it can't be any of us; at least I declare for my own
part--I'm sure even if any thing which I trust, in goodness, there is
not the least chance of, should ever happen to dear Lady Maclaughlan, and
Sir Sampson should take it into his head--which, of course, is a thing
not to be thought about--and indeed I'm quite convinced it would be very
much out of respect to dear Lady Maclaughlan, a friendship for us, if
such a thing was ever into his head."

Here the tender Grizzy got so involved in her own ideas as to the
possibility of Lady Maclaughlan's death, and the propriety of Sir
Sampson's proposals, together with the fulfilling of Sir Eneas the
seer's prophecy, that there is no saying how far she strayed in her
self-created labyrinth. Such as choose to follow her may. For our part, we
prefer accompanying the youthful Becky to her chamber, whither she was
also attended by the lady of the mansion. Becky's destiny for the night
lay at the top of one of those little straggling wooden stairs common in
old houses, which creaked in all directions. The bed was placed in a
recess dark as Erebus, and betwixt the bed and the wall, was a depth
profound, which Becky's eye dared not attempt to penetrate.

"You will find everything right here, child," said Lady Maclaughlan;
"and if anything should be wrong you must think it right. I never suffer
anything to be wrong here--humph!" Becky, emboldened by despair, cast a
look towards the recess; and in a faint voice ventured to inquire, "Is
there no fear that Tom Jones or Gil Blas may be in that place  behind
the bed?"

"And if they should," answered her hostess in her most appalling
tone, "what is that to you? Are you a mouse, that you are afraid they
will eat you? Yes, I suppose you are. You are perhaps the princess in
the fairy tale, who was a woman by day and a mouse by night. I believe
you are bewitched! So I wish your mouseship a good night." And she
descended the creaking stair, singing,

"Mrs. Mouse, are you within?"

till even her stentorian voice was lost in distance. Poor Becky's heart
died with the retreating sounds, and only revived to beat time with the
worm in the wood. Long and eerie was the night, as she gave herself up
to all the horrors of a superstitious mind--ghosts, gray, black, and
white, flitted around her couch; cats, half human, held her throat; the
deathwatch ticked in her ears. At length the light of morning shed its
brightening influence on the dim opaque of her understanding; and when
all things stood disclosed in light, she shut her eyes and oped her
mouth in all the blissfulness of security. The light of day was indeed
favourable for displaying to advantage the beauties of Lochmarlie
Castle, which owed more to nature than art. It was beautifully situated
on a smooth green bank, that rose somewhat abruptly from the lake, and
commanded a view, which, if not extensive, was yet full of variety and
grandeur.

Its venerable turrets reared themselves above the trees which seemed
coeval with them; and the vast magnificence of its wide-spreading lawns
and extensive forests seemed to appertain to some feudal prince's lofty
domain. But in vain were creation's charms spread before Lady Juliana's
eyes. Woods and mountains and lakes and rivers were odious things; and
her heart panted for dusty squares and suffocating drawing-rooms.

Something was said of departing by the sisters when the party met at
breakfast; but this was immediately negatived in the most decided manner
by their hostess.

"Since you have taken your own time to come, my dears, you must take
mine to go. Thursday was the day I invited you for, or at least wanted
you for, so you must stay Thursday, and go away on Friday, and my
blessing go with you--humph!"

The sisters, charmed with what they termed the hospitality and
friendship of this invitation, delightedly agreed to remain; and as
things were at least conducted in better style there than at Glenfern,
uncomfortable as it was, Lady Juliana found herself somewhat nearer home
there than at the family chateau. Lady Maclaughlan, who _could _be
commonly civil in her own house, was at some pains to amuse her guest by
showing her collection of china and cabinet of gems, both of which were
remarkably fine. There was also a library, and a gallery, containing
some good pictures, and, what Lady Juliana prized still more, a billiard
table. Thursday, the destined day, at length arrived, and a large party
assembled to dinner. Lady Juliana, as she half reclined on a sofa,
surveyed the company with a supercilious stare, and without deigning to
take any part in the general conversation that went on. It was enough
that they spoke with a peculiar accent--everything they said must be
barbarous; but she was pleased once more to eat off plate, and to find
herself in rooms which, though grotesque and comfortless, yet wore an
air of state, and whose vastness enabled her to keep aloof from those
with whom she never willingly came in contact. It was therefore with
regret she saw the day of her departure arrive, and found herself once
more an unwilling inmate of her only asylum; particularly as her
situation now required comforts and indulgences which it was there
impossible to procure.



CHAPTER XVIII.

    "No mother's care
    Shielded my infant innocence with prayer:
    * * * * *
    Mother, miscall'd, farewell!"

                    Savage.

THE happy period, so long and anxiously anticipated by the ladies of
Glenfern, at length arrived and Lady Juliana presented to the house of
Douglas--not, alas! the ardently-desired heir to its ancient
consequence, but twin-daughters, who could only be regarded as
additional burdens on its poverty.

The old gentleman's disappointment was excessive; and, as he paced up
and down the parlour, with his hands in his pockets, he muttered, "Twa
lasses! I ne'er heard tell o' the like o't. I wonder whar their tochers
are to come frae?"

Miss Grizzy, in great perturbation, declared it certainly was a great
pity it had so happened, but these things couldn't be helped; she was
sure Lady Maclaughlan would be greatly surprised.

Miss Jacky saw no cause for regret, and promised herself an endless
source of delight in forming the minds and training the ideas of her
infant nieces.

Miss Nicky wondered how they were to be nursed. She was afraid Lady
Juliana would not be able for both, and wet-nurses had such stomachs!

Henry, meanwhile, whose love had all revived in anxiety for the safety,
and anguish for the sufferings of his youthful partner, had hastened to
her apartment, and, kneeling by her side, he pressed her hands to his
lips with feelings of the deepest emotion.

"Dearer--a thousand times dearer to me than ever," whispered he, as he
fondly embraced her, "and those sweet pledges of our love!"

"Ah, don't mention them," interrupted his lady in a languid tone. "How
very provoking! I hate girls so--and two of them--oh!" and she sighed
deeply. Her husband sighed too; but from a different cause. The nurse
now appeared, and approached with her helpless charges; and both
parents, for the first time looked on their own offspring.

"What nice little creatures!" said the delighted father, as, taking them
in his arms, he imprinted the first kiss on the innocent faces of his
daughters, and then held them to their mother; who, turning from them
with disgust, exclaimed, "How can you kiss them, Harry? They are so
ugly, and they squall so! Oh do, for heaven's sake, take them away! And
see, there is poor Psyche quite wretched at being so long away from me.
Pray, put her on the bed."

"She will grow fond of her babies by-and-by," said poor Henry to
himself, as he quitted the apartment, with feelings very different from
those with which he entered it.

At the pressing solicitations  of her husband, the fashionable mother
was prevailed upon to attempt nursing one of her poor starving infants;
but the first trial proved also the last, as she declared nothing upon
earth should ever induce her to perform so odious an office; and as
Henry's entreaties and her aunts' remonstrances served alike to irritate
and agitate her, the contest was, by the advice of her medical
attendant, completely given up. A wet-nurse was therefore procured; but
as she refused to undertake both children, and the old gentleman would
not hear of having two such encumbrances in his family, it was settled,
to the unspeakable delight of the maiden sisters, that the youngest
should be entrusted entirely to their management, and brought up by
hand.

The consequence was such as might have been foreseen. The child,  who
was naturally weak and delicate at its birth, daily lost a portion of
its little strength, while its continued cries declared the intensity of
its sufferings, though they produced no other effect on its unfeeling
mother than her having it removed to a more distant apartment, as she
could not endure to hear the cross little thing scream so for nothing.
On the other hand, the more favoured twin, who was from its birth a
remarkably strong lively infant, and met with all justice from its
nurse, throve apace, and was pronounced by her to be the very picture of
the _bonnie leddie, its mamma,_ and then, with all the low cunning of
her kind, she would launch forth into panegyrics of its beauty, and
prophecies of the great dignities and honours that would one day be
showered upon it; until, by her fawning and flattery, she succeeded in
exciting a degree of interest, which nature had not secured for it in
the mother's breast.

Things were in this situation when, at the end of three weeks, Mr. and
Mrs. Douglas arrived to offer their congratulations on the birth of the
twins. Lady Juliana received her sister-in-law in her apartment, which
she had not yet quitted, and replied to her congratulations only by
querulous complaints and childish murmurs.

"I am sure you are very happy in not having children," continued she, as
the cries of the little sufferer reached her ear; "I hope to goodness I
shall never have any more. I wonder if anybody ever had twin daughters
before, and I, too, who hate girls so!"

Mrs Douglas, disgusted with her unfeeling folly, knew not what to reply,
and a pause ensued; but afresh burst of cries from the unfortunate baby
again called forth its mother's indignation.

"I wish to goodness that child was gagged," cried she, holding her hands
to her ears. "It has done nothing but scream since the hour it was born,
and it makes me quite sick to hear it."

"Poor little dear!" said Mrs. Douglas compassionately, "it appears to
suffer a great deal."

"Suffer!" repeated her sister-in-law; "what can it suffer?  I am sure it
meets with a great deal attention than any person in the house. These
three old women do nothing but feed it from morning to night, with
everything they can think of, and make such a fuss about it!"

"I suspect, my dear sister, you would be very sorry for yourself,"
said Mrs. Douglas, with a smile, "were you to endure the same
treatment as your poor baby; stuffed with improper food and loathsome
drugs, and bandied about from one person to another."

"You may say what you please," retorted Lady Juliana pettishly; "but I
know it's nothing but ill temper: nurse says so too; and it is so ugly
with constantly crying that I cannot bear to look at it;" and she turned
away her head as Miss Jacky entered red with the little culprit in her
arms, which she was vainly endeavouring to _talk _into silence, while
she dandled it in the most awkward _maiden-like_ manner imaginable.

"Good heavens! what a fright!" exclaimed the tender parent, as her child
was held up to her. "Why, it is much less than when it was born, an its
skin is as yellow as saffron, and it squints! Only look what a
difference," as the nurse advanced and ostentatiously displayed her
charge, who had just waked out of a long sleep; its checks flushed with
heat; its skin completely filled up; and its large eyes rolling under
its already dark eyelashes.

"The bonny wean's just her mamma's pickter," drawled out the nurse, "but
the wee missy's uncolike her aunties."

"Take her away," cried Lady Juliana in a tone of despair; "I wish I
could send her out of my hearing altogether, for her noise will be the
death of me."

"Alas! what would I give to hear the blessed sound of a living child!"
exclaimed Mrs. Douglas, taking the infant in her arms. "And how great
would be my happiness could I call the poor rejected one mine!"

"I'm sure you are welcome to my share of the little plague," said her
sister-in-law, with a laugh, "if you can prevail upon Harry to give up
his."

"I would give up a great deal could my poor child find a mother,"
replied her husband, who just then entered.

"My dear brother!" cried Mrs. Douglas, her eyes beaming with delight,
"do you then confirm Lady Juliana's kind promise? Indeed I will be a
mother to your dear baby, and love her as if she were my own; and in a
month--oh! in much less time--you shall see her as stout as her sister."

Henry sighed, as he thought, "'Why has not my poor babe such a mother of
its own?" Then thanking his sister-in-law for her generous intentions,
he reminded her that she must consult her husband, as few men liked to
be troubled with any children but their own.

"You are in the  right," said Mrs. Douglas, blushing  at the impetuosity
of feeling which had made her forget for an instant the deference due to
her band; "I shall instantly ask his permission, and he is so indulgent
to all my wishes that I have little doubt of obtaining his consent;"
and, with the child in her arms, she hastened to her husband, and made
known her request.

Mr. Douglas received the proposal with considerable coolness; wondering
what his wife could see in such an ugly squalling thing to plague
herself about it. If it had been a boy, old enough to speak and run
about, there might be some amusement in it; but he could not see the use
of a squalling sickly infant--and a girl too!

His wife sighed deeply, and the tears stole down her cheeks as she
looked on the wan visage and closed eyes of the little sufferer. "God
help the, poor baby?" said she mournfully; "you are rejected on all
hands, but your misery will soon be at a end;" and she was slowly
leaving the room with her helpless charge when her husband, touched at
the sight of her distress, though the feeling that caused it he did not
comprehend, called to her, "I am sure, Alicia, if you really wish to
take charge of the infant I have no objections; only I think you will
find it la great plague, and the mother is such a fool"

"Worse than a fool," said Mrs. Douglas indignantly, "for she hates and
abjures this her poor unoffending babe"

"Does she so?" cried Mr. Douglas, every kindling feeling roused within
him at the idea of his blood being hated and abjured; "then, hang me! if
she shall have any child of Harry's to hate as long as I have a house to
shelter it and a sixpence to bestow upon it," taking the infant in his
arms, and kindly kissing it.

Mrs. Douglas smiled through her tears as she embraced her husband, and
praised his goodness and generosity; then, full of exultation and
delight, she flew to impart the success of her mission to the parents of
her _protégée._

Great was the surprise of the maiden nurses at finding they were to
be bereft of their little charge.

"I declare, I think the child is doing as well as possible," said Miss
Grizzy. "To be sure it does yammer constantly--that can't be denied; and
it is uncommonly small--nobody can dispute that. At the same time, I am
sure, I can't tell what makes it cry, for I've given it two colic
powders every day, and a tea-spoonful of Lady Maclaughlan's carminative
every three hours."

"And I've done nothing but make water-gruel and chop rusks for it,"
quoth Miss Nicky, "and yet it is never satisfied; I wonder what it would
be at."

"I know perfectly well what it would be at," said Miss Jacky, with an
air of importance. "All this crying and screaming is for nothing else
but a nurse; but it ought not to be indulged. There is no end of
indulging the desires, and 'tis amazing how cunning children are, and
how soon they know how to take advantage of people's weakness," glancing
an eye of fire at Mrs. Douglas. "Were that my child, I would feed her on
bread and water before I would humour her fancies. A pretty lesson,
indeed! if she's to have her own way before she's a month old."

Mrs. Douglas knew that it was in vain to attempt arguing with her aunts.
She therefore allowed them to wonder and declaim over their sucking
pots, colic powders, and other instruments of torture, while she sent to
the wife of one of her tenants who had lately lain-in, and who wished
for the situation of nurse, appointing her to be at Lochmarlie the
following day. Having made her arrangements, and collected the scanty
portion of clothing Mrs. Nurse chose to allow, Mrs. Douglas repaired to
her sister-in-law's apartment, with her little charge in her arms. She
found her still in bed, and surrounded with her favourites.

"So you really are going to torment yourself with that little
screech-owl?" said she. "Well, I must say it's very good of you; but I
am afraid you will soon tire of her. Children are such plagues! Are they
not, my darling?" added she, kissing her pug.

"You will not say so when you have seen my little girl a month hence,"
said Mrs. Douglas, trying to conceal her disgust for Henry's sake, who
had just then entered the room. "She has promised me never to cry any
more; so give her a kiss, and let us be gone."

The high-bred mother slightly touched the cheek of her sleeping babe,
extended her finger to her sister-in-law, and carelessly bidding them
good-bye, returned to her pillow and her pugs.

Henry accompanied Mrs. Douglas to the carriage, and before they parted
he promised his brother to ride over to Lochmarlie in a few days. He
said nothing of his child, but his glistening eye and the warm pressure
of his hand spoke volumes to the kind heart of his brother, who assured
him that Alicia would be very good to his little girl, and that he was
sure she would get quite well when she got a nurse. The carriage drove
off, and Henry, with a heavy spirit, returned to the house to listen to
his father's lectures, his aunts' ejaculations, and his wife's murmurs.



CHAPTER XIX.

    "We may boldly spend upon the hope of what Is to come in."

                _Henry IV_.

THE birth of twin daughters awakened the young father to a still
stronger sense of the total dependence and extreme helplessness of his
condition. Yet how to remedy it he knew not. To accept of his father's
proposal was out of the question, and it was equally impossible for him,
were he ever so inclined, to remain much longer a burden on the narrow
income of the Laird of Glenfern. One alternative only remained, which
was to address the friend and patron of his youth, General Cameron; and
to him he therefore wrote, describing all the misery of his situation,
and imploring his forgiveness and assistance. "The old General's passion
must have cooled by this time," thought he to himself, as he sealed the
letter, "and as he has often overlooked former scrapes, I think, after
all, he will help me out of this greatest one of all."

For once Henry was not mistaken. He received an answer to his letter, in
which the General, after execrating his folly in marrying a lady of
quality, swearing at the birth of his twin daughters, and giving him
some wholesome counsel as to his future mode of life, concluded by
informing him that he had got him reinstated in his former rank in the
army; that he should settle seven hundred per annum on him till he saw
how matters were conducted, and, in the meantime, enclosed a draught for
four hundred pounds, to open the campaign.

Though this was not, according to Henry's notions, "coming down
handsomely," still it was better than not coming down at all, and with a
mixture of delight and disappointment he flew to communicate the tidings
to Lady Juliana.

"Seven hundred pounds a year!" exclaimed she, in raptures: "Heavens!
what a quantity of money! why, we shall be quite rich, and I shall have
such a beautiful house, and such pretty carriages, and give such
parties, and buy so many fine things. Oh dear, how happy I shall be!"

"You know little of money, Julia, if you think seven hundred pounds will
do all that," replied her husband gravely. "I hardly think we can afford
a house in town; but we may have a pretty cottage at Richmond or
Twickenham, and I can keep a curricle, and drive you about, you know;
and we may give famous good dinners."

A dispute here ensued; her ladyship hated cottages and curricles and
good dinners as much as her husband despised fancy balls, opera boxes,
and chariots.

The fact was that the one knew very nearly as much of the real value of
money as the other, and Henry's _sober_ scheme was just as practicable
as his wife's extravagant one.

Brought up in the luxurious profusion of great house; accustomed to
issue her orders and have them obeyed, Lady Juliana, at the time she
married, was in the most blissful state of ignorance respecting the
value of pounds, shillings, and pence. Her maid took care to have her
wardrobe supplied with all things needful, and when she wanted a new
dress or a fashionable jewel, it was only driving to Madame D.'s, or Mr.
Y.'s, and desiring the article to be sent to herself, while the bill
went to her papa.

From never seeing money in its own vulgar form, Lady Juliana had learned
to consider it as a mere nominal thing; while, on the other hand, her
husband, from seeing too much of it, had formed almost equally erroneous
ideas of its powers. By the mistake kindness of General Cameron he had
been indulged in all the fashionable follies of the day, and allowed to
use his patron's ample fortune as if it had already been his own; nor
was it until he found himself a prisoner at Glenfern from want of money
that he had ever attached the smallest importance to it. In short, both
the husband and wife had been accustomed to look upon it in the same
light as the air they breathed. They knew it essential to life, and
concluded that it would come some way or other; either from the east or
west, north or south. As for the vulgar concerns of meat and drink,
servants' wages, taxes, and so forth, they never found a place in the
calculations of either. Birthday dresses, fetes, operas, equipages, and
state liveries whirled in rapid succession through Lady Juliana's brain,
while clubs, curricles, horses, and claret, took possession of her
husband's mind.

However much they differed in the proposed modes of showing off in
London, both agreed perfectly in the necessity of going there, and Henry
therefore hastened to inform his father of the change in his
circumstances, and apprise him of his intention of immediately joining
his regiment, the ---- Guards.

"Seven hunder pound a year!" exclaimed the old gentleman; "Seven hunder
pound! O' what can ye mak' o' a' that siller? Ye'll surely lay by the
half o't to tocher your bairns. Seven hunder pound a year for doing
naething!"

Miss Jacky was afraid, unless they got some person of sense (which would
not be an easy matter) to take the management of it, it would perhaps be
found little enough in the long-run.

Miss Grlzzy declared it was a very handsome income, nobody could dispute
that; at the same time, everybody must allow that the money could not
have been better bestowed.

Miss Nicky observed "there was a great deal of good eating and drinking
in seven hundred a year, if people knew how to manage it."

All was bustle and preparation throughout Glenfern Castle, and the young
ladies' good-natured activity and muscular powers were again in
requisition to collect the wardrobe, and pack the trunks, imperial,
etc., of their noble sister.

Glenfern remarked "that fules war fond o' flitting, for they seemed glad
to leave the good quarters they were in."

Miss Grizzy declared there was a great excuse for their being glad, poor
things! young people were always so fond of a change; at the same time,
nobody could deny but that it would have been quite natural for them to
feel sorry too.

Miss Jacky was astonished how any person's mind could be so callous as
to think of leaving Glenfern without emotion.

Miss Nicky wondered what was to become of the christening cake she
had ordered from Perth; it might be as old as the hills before there
would be another child born amongst them.

The Misses were ready to weep at the disappointment of the
dreaming-bread.

In the midst of all this agitation, mental and bodily, the
long-looked-for moment arrived. The carriage drove round ready packed
and loaded, and, absolutely screaming with delight, Lady Juliana sprang
into it. As she nodded and kissed her hand to the assembled group, she
impatiently called to Henry to follow. His adieus were, however, not
quite so tonish as those of his high-bred lady, for he went duly and
severally through all the evolutions of kissing, embracing, shaking of
hands, and promises to write; then taking his station by the side of the
nurse and child--the rest of the carriage being completely filled by the
favourites--he bade a long farewell to his paternal halls and the land
of his birth.



CHAPTER XX.

    "For trifles why should I displease
    The man I love? For trifles such as these
    To serious mischiefs lead the man I love."

                HORACE.

BRIGHT prospects of future happiness and endless plans of expense
floated through Lady Juliana's brain, and kept her temper in some degree
of serenity during the journey.

Arrived in London, she expressed herself enraptured at being once more
in a civilised country, and restored to the society of human creatures.
An elegant house and suitable establishment were immediately provided;
and a thousand dear friends, who had completely forgotten her existence,
were now eager to welcome her to her former haunts, and lead her
thoughtless and willing steps in the paths of dissipation and
extravagance.

Soon after their arrival they were visited by  General Cameron. It was
two o'clock, yet Lady Juliana had not appeared; and Henry,
half-stretched upon a sofa, was dawdling over his breakfast with
half-a-dozen newspapers scattered round.

The first salutations over, the General demanded, "Am I not to be
favoured with a sight of your lady? Is she afraid that I am one of your
country relations, and taken her flight from the breakfast-table in
consequence?"

"She has not yet made her appearance," replied Douglas; "but I will let
her know you are here. I am sure she will be happy to make acquaintance
with one to whom I am so much indebted."

A message was despatched to Lady Juliana, who returned for answer that
she would be down immediately. Three quarters of an hour, however,
elapsed; and the General, provoked with this inattention and
affectation, was preparing to depart when the Lady made her appearance.

"Juliana, my love," said her husband, "let me present you to General
Cameron--the generous friend who has acted the part of a father towards
me, and to whom you owe all the comforts you enjoy."

Lady Juliana slightly bowed with careless ease, and half uttered a
"How d'ye do?--very happy indeed," as she glided on to pull the bell for
breakfast. "Cupid, Cupid!" cried she to the dog, who had flown upon the
General, and was barking most vehemently. "Poor darling Cupid! are you
almost starved to death? Harry, do give him that muffin on your
plate."

"You are very late to-day, my love," cried the mortified
husband.

"I have been pestered for the last hour with Duval and the court
dresses, and I could not fix on what I should like."

"I think you might have deferred the ceremony of choosing to another
opportunity. General Cameron has been here above an hour."

"Dear! I hope you did not wait for me. I shall be quite shocked!"
drawled out her ladyship in a tone denoting how very indifferent the
answer would be to her.

"I beg your ladyship would be under no uneasiness on that account,"
replied the General in an ironical tone, which, though lost upon her,
was obvious enough to Henry.

"Have you breakfasted?" asked Lady Juliana, exerting herself to be
polite.

"Absurd, my love!" cried her husband. "Do you suppose I should have
allowed the General to wait for that too all this time, if he had not
breakfasted many hours ago?"

"How cross you are this morning, my Harry! I protest my Cupidon is quite
ashamed of your _grossièreté! "_

A servant now entered to say Mr. Shagg was come to know her ladyship's
final decision about the hammer-cloths; and the new footman was come to
be engaged; and the china merchant was below.

"Send up one of them at a time; and as to the footman, you may say I'll
have him at once," said Lady Juliana.

"I thought you had engaged Mrs. D.'s footman last week. She gave him
the best character, did she not?" asked her husband.

"Oh yes! his character was good enough; but he was a horrid cheat for
all that. He called himself five feet nine, and when he was measured he
turned out to be only five feet seven and a half."

"Pshaw!" exclaimed Henry angrily. "What the devil did that signify if
the man had a good character?"

"How absurdly you talk, Harry, as if a man's character signified who has
nothing to do but to stand behind my carriage! A pretty figure he'd made
there beside Thomas, who is at least five feet ten!"

The entrance of Mr. Shagg, bowing and scraping, and laden with cloths,
lace, and fringes, interrupted the conversation.

"Well, Mr. Shagg," cried Lady Juliana, "what's to be done with that
odious leopard's skin? You must positively take it off my hands. I would
rather never go in a carriage again as show myself in the Park with that
frightful thing."

"Certainly, my Lady," replied the obsequious Mr. Shagg, "anything your
Ladyship pleases; your Ladyship can have any hammer-cloth you like; and
I have accordingly brought patterns of the very newest fashions for your
Ladyship to make choice. Here are some uncommon elegant articles. At the
same time, my Lady, your Ladyship must be sensible that it is impossible
that we can take back the leopard's skin. It was not only cut out to fit
your Ladyship's coach-box--and consequently your Ladyship understands it
would not fit any other--but the silver feet and crests have also been
affixed quite ready for use, so that the article is quite lost to us. I
am confident, therefore, that your Ladyship will consider of this, and
allow it to be put down in your bill."

"Put it anywhere but on my coach-box, and don't bore me!" answered Lady
Juliana, tossing over all the patterns, and humming a tune.

"What," said her husband, "is that the leopard's skin you were raving
about last week, and your are tired of it before it has been used?"

"And no wonder. Who do you think I saw in the Park yesterday but that
old quiz Lady Denham, just come from the country, with her frightful old
coach set off with a hammer-cloth precisely like the one I had ordered.
Only fancy people saying, Lady Denham sets the fashion for Lady Juliana
Douglas!! Oh, there's confusion and despair in the thought!"

Confusion, at least, if not despair, was painted in Henry's face as he
saw the General's glance directed alternately with contempt at Lady
Juliana, and at himself, mingled with pity. He continued to fidget about
in all directions, while Lady Juliana talked nonsense to Mr. Shagg, and
wondered if the General never meant to go away. But he calmly kept his
ground till the man was dismissed, and another introduced, loaded with
china jars, monsters, and distorted teapots, for the capricious fair
one's choice and approbation.

"Beg ten thousand pardons, my Lady, for not calling yesterday, according
to appointment--quite an unforeseen impediment. The Countess of
Godolphin had somehow got private intelligence that I had a set of fresh
commodities just cleared from the custom house, and well knowing such
things are not long in hand, her La'ship came up from the country on
purpose--the Countess has so much taste!--she drove straight to my
warehouse, and kept me a close prisoner till after your La'ship's hour;
but I hope it may not be taken amiss, seeing that it is not a customary
thing with us to be calling on customers, not to mention that this line
of goods is not easily transported about. However, I flatter myself the
articles now brought for your Ladyship's inspection will not be found
beneath your notice. Please to observe this choice piece--it represents
a Chinese cripple squat on the ground, with his legs crossed. Your
Ladyship may observe the head and chin advanced forwards, as in the act
of begging. The tea pours from the open mouth; and, till your Ladyship
tries, you can have no idea of the elegant effect it produces."

"That is really droll," cried Lady Juliana, with a  laugh of delight;
"and I must have the dear sick beggar; he is so deliciously hideous."

"And here," continued Mr. Brittle, "is an amazing delicate article, in
the way of a jewel--a frog of Turkish agate for burning pastiles in, my
Lady; just such as they use in the seraglio; and indeed this one I may
call invaluable, for it was the favourite toy of one of the widowed
Sultanas till she grew devout and gave up perfumes. One of her slaves
disposed of it to my foreign partner. Here it opens at the tail, where
you put in the pastiles, and closing it up, the vapour issues
beautifully through the nostrils, eyes, ears, and mouth, all at once.
Here, sir," turning to Douglas, "if you are curious in new workmanship,
I would have you examine this. I defy any jeweller in London to come up
to the fineness of these hinges, and delicacy of the carving---"

"Pshaw, damn it!" said Douglas, turning away, and addressing some remark
to the General, who was provokingly attentive to everything that went
on.

"Here," continued Mr. Brittle, "are a set of jars, teapots, mandarins,
sea-monsters, and pug-dogs, all of superior beauty, but such as your
Ladyship may have seen before."

"Oh, the dear, dear little puggies! I must have them to amuse my own
darlings. I protest here is one the image of Psyche; positively I must
kiss it!"

"Oh dear! I am sure," cried Mr. Brittle, simpering, and making a
conceited bow, "your Ladyship does it and me too much honour. But here,
as I was going to say, is the phoenix of all porcelain ware--the _ne
plus ultra_ of perfection--what I have kept in my backroom, concealed
from all eyes, until your Ladyship shall pronounce upon it. Somehow one
of my shopmen got word of it, and told her Grace of L----- (who has a
pretty taste in these things for a young lady) that I had some
particular choice article that I was keeping for a lady that was a
favourite of mine. Her Grace was in the shop the matter of a full hour
and a half, trying to wheedle me out of a sight of this rare piece; and
I, pretending not to know what her Grace would be after, but
showing her thing after thing, to put it out of her head. But she was
not so easily bubbled, and at last went away ill enough pleased. Now, my
Lady, prepare all your eyes." He then went to the door, and returned,
carrying with difficulty a large basket, which till then had been kept
by one of his satellites. After removing coverings of all descriptions,
an uncouth group of monstrous size was displayed, which, on
investigation, appeared to be a serpent coiled in regular folds round
the body of a tiger placed on end; and the whole structure, which was
intended for a vessel of some kind, was formed of the celebrated green
mottled china, invaluable to connoisseurs.

"View that well," exclaimed Mr. Brittle, in a transport of enthusiasm,
"for such a specimen not one of half the size has ever been imported to
Europe. There is a long story about this my phoenix, as I call it; but,
to be brief, it was secretly procured from one of the temples, where,
gigantic as it may seem, and uncouth for the purpose, it was the idol's
principal teapot!"

"Oh delicious!" cried Lady Juliana, clasping her hands in ecstasy. "I
will give a party for the sole purpose of drinking tea out of this
machine; and I will have the whole room fitted up like an Indian temple.
Oh! it will be so new! I die to send out my cards. The Duchess of B-----
told me the other day, with such a triumphant air, when I was looking at
her two little green jars, not a quarter the size of this, that there
was not a bit more of that china to be had for love or money. Oh, she
will be so provoked!" And she absolutely skipped for joy.

A loud rap at the door now announcing a visitor, Lady Juliana ran to the
balcony, crying, "Oh, it must be Lady Gerard, for she promised to call
early in the morning, that we might go together to a wonderful sale in
some far-off place in the city--at Wapping, for aught I know. Mr.
Brittle, Mr. Brittle, for the love of heaven, carry the dragon into the
back drawing-room--I purchase it, remember!--make haste!--Lady Gerard
is not to get a glimpse of it for the world."

The servant now entered with a message from Lady Gerard, who would not
alight, begging that Lady Juliana would make haste down to her, as they
had not a moment to lose. She was flying away, without further ceremony
than a "Pray, excuse me," to the General, when her husband called after
her to know whether the child was gone out, as he wished to show her to
the General.

"I don't know, indeed," replied the fashionable mother; "I haven't had
time to see her to-day;" and, before Douglas could reply she was
downstairs.

A pause ensued--the General whistled a quickstep, and Douglas walked up
and down the .room in a pitiable state of mind, guessing pretty much
what was passing in the mind of his friend, and fully sensible that it
must be of a severer nature than anything he could yet allow himself to
think of his Juliana.

"Douglas," said the General, "have you made any step towards a
reconciliation with your father-in-law? I believe it will become shortly
necessary for your support."

"Juliana wrote twice after her marriage," replied he; "but the reception
which her letters met with was not such as to encourage perseverance on
our part. With regard to myself, it is not an affair in which delicacy
will permit me to be very active, as I might be accused of mercenary
motives, which I am far from having."

"Oh, of that I acquit you; but surely it ought to be a matter of moment,
even to a---Lady Juliana. The case is now altered. Time must have
accustomed him to the idea of this imaginary affront; and, on my honour,
if he thought like a gentleman and a man of sense, I know where he would
think the misfortune lay. Nay, don't interrupt me. The old Earl must
now, I say, have cooled in his resentment; perhaps, too, his
grandchildren may soften his heart; this must have occurred to you. Has
her Ladyship taken any further steps since her arrival in town?"

"I--I believe she has not; but I will put her in mind."

"A daughter who requires to have her memory refreshed on such a subject
is likely to make a valuable wife!" said the General drily.

Douglas felt as if it was incumbent on him to be angry, but remained
silent.

"Hark ye, Douglas," continued the General, "I speak this for your
interest. You cannot go on without the Earl's help. You know I am not on
ceremony with you; and if I refrain from saying what you see I think
about your present ruinous mode of life, it is not to spare your
feelings, but from a sense of the uselessness of any such remonstrance.
What I do give you is with goodwill; but all my fortune would not
suffice to furnish pug-dogs and deformed teapots for such a vitiated
taste; and if it would, hang me if it should! But enough on this head.
The Earl has been in bad health, and is lately come to town. His son,
too, and his lady are to come about the same time, and are to reside
with him during the season. I have heard Lord Lindore spoken of as a
good-natured easy man, and he would probably enter willingly into any
scheme to reinstate his sister into his father's good graces. Think of
this, and make what you can of it; and my particular advice to you
personally is, try to exchange into a marching regiment; for a fellow
like you, with such a wife, London is the very devil! And so good
morning to you." He snatched up his hat, and was off in a moment.



CHAPTER XXI.

    "To reckon up a thousand of her pranks,
    Her pride, her wasteful spending, her unkindness,
    Her scolding, pouting, . . .
    Were to reap an endless catalogue."

                   _Old Play._

WHEN Lady Juliana returned from her expedition, it was so late that
Douglas had not time to speak to her; and separate engagements carrying
them different ways, he had no opportunity to do so until the following
morning at breakfast. He then resolved no longer to defer what he had to
say, and began by reproaching her with the cavalier manner in which she
had behaved to his good friend the General.

"Upon my life, Harry, you are grown perfectly savage," cried his Lady.
"I was most particularly civil; I wonder what you would have me to do?
You know very well I cannot have anything to say to old men of that
sort."

"I think," returned Henry, "you might have been gratified by making an
acquaintance with my benefactor, and the man to whom you owe the
enjoyment of your favourite pleasures. At any rate, you need not have
made yourself ridiculous. May I perish if I did not wish myself
underground while you were talking nonsense to those sneaking rascals
who wheedle you out of your money! S'death! I had a good mind to throw
them and their trumpery out of the window when I saw you make such a
fool of yourself."

"A fool of myself! how foolishly you talk! and as for that vulgar,
awkward General, he ought to have been too much flattered. Some of the
monsters were so like himself, I am sure he must have thought I took
them for the love of his round bare pate."

"Upon my soul, Julia, I am ashamed  of you! Do leave off this excessive
folly, and try to be rational. What I particularly wished to say to you
is that your father is in town, and it will be proper that you should
make another effort to be reconciled to him."

"I dare say it will," answered Lady Juliana, with a yawn.

"And you must lose no time. When will you write?"

"There's no use in writing, or indeed doing anything in the matter. I am
sure he won't forgive me."

"And why not?"

"Oh, why should he do it now?  He did not forgive me when I asked him
before."

"And do you think, then, for a father's forgiveness it is not worth
while to have a little perseverance?"

"I am sure he won't do it; so 'tis in vain to try," repeated she, going
to the glass, and singing, _"Papa non dite di no_," etc.

"By heavens, Julia!" cried her husband passionately, "you are past all
endurance! Can nothing touch you?--nothing fix your thoughts, and make
you serious for a single moment? Can I not make you understand that you
are ruining yourself and me; that we have nothing to depend upon but the
bounty of that man whom you disgust by your caprice, extravagance, and
impertinence; and that if you don't get reconciled to your father what
is to become of you? You already know what you have to expect from my
family, and how you like living with them."

"Heavens, Harry!" exclaimed her Ladyship, "what is all this tirade
about? Is it because I said papa wouldn't forgive me? I'm sure I don't
mind writing to him; I have no objection, the first leisure moment I
have; but really, in town, one's time is so engrossed."

At this moment her maid entered in triumph, carrying on her arms a satin
dress, embroidered with gold and flowers.

"See, my Lady," cried she, "your new robe, as Madame has sent home half
a day sooner than her word; and she has disobliged several of the
quality by not giving the pattern."

"Oh, lovely! charming! Spread it out, Gage; hold it to the light; all my
own fancy. Only look, Harry; how exquisite! how divine!"

Harry had no time to express his contempt for embroidered robes; for
just then one of his knowing friends came, by appointment, to accompany
him to Tattersal's, where he was to bid for a famous pair of curricle
grays.

Days passed on without Lady Juliana's ever thinking it worth while to
follow her husband's advice about applying to her father; until a week
after, Douglas overheard the following conversation between his wife and
one of her acquaintance.

"You are going to this grand _fete,_ of course," said Mrs. G. "I'm told
it is to eclipse everything that has been yet seen or heard of."

"Of what _fete_ do you speak?" demanded Lady Juliana.

"Lord, my dear creature, how Gothic you are! Don't you know anything
about this grand affair that everybody has been talking of for two days?
Lady Lindore gives, at your father's house, an entertainment which is to
be a concert, ball, and masquerade at once. All London is asked, of any
distinction, _c'a s'entend._ But, bless me, I beg pardon, I totally
forgot that you were not on the best terms possible in that quarter; but
never mind, we must have you go; there is not a person of fashion that
will stay away; I must get you asked; I shall petition Lady Lindore in
your favour."

"Oh pray don't trouble yourself,", cried Lady Juliana, in extreme pique.
"I believe I can get this done without your obliging interference; but I
don't know whether I shall be in town then."

From this moment Lady Juliana resolved to make a vigorous effort to
regain a footing in her father's house. Her first action the next
morning was to write to her brother, who had hitherto kept aloof,
because he could not be at the trouble of having a difference with the
Earl, entreating him to use his influence in promoting a reconciliation
between her father and herself.

No answer was returned for four days, at the end of which time Lady
Juliana received the following note from her brother:--

"DEAR JULIA--I quite agree with you in thinking that you have been kept
long enough in the corner, and shall certainly tell Papa that you are
ready to become a good girl whenever he shall please to take you out of
it. I shall endeavour to see Douglas and you soon.--Yours
affectionately, LINDORE."

"Lady Lindore desires me to say you can have tickets for her ball, if
you choose to come _en masque._"

Lady Juliana was delighted with this billet, which she protested was
everything that was kind and generous; but the postscript was the part
on which she dwelt with the greatest delight, as she repeatedly declared
it was a great deal more than she expected. "You see, Harry," said she,
as she tossed the note to him, "I was in the right. Papa won't forgive
me; but Lindore says he will send me a ticket for the _fete;_ it is
vastly attentive of him, for I did not ask it. But I must go disguised,
which is monstrous provoking, for I'm afraid nobody will know me."

A dispute here ensued. Henry swore she should not steal into her
father's house as long as she was his wife. The lady insisted that she
should go to her brother's _fete_ when she was invited; and the
altercations ended as altercations commonly do, leaving both parties
more wedded to their own opinion than at first.

In the evening Lady Juliana went to a large party; and as she was
passing from one room into another she was startled by a little paper
pellet thrown at her. Turning round to look for the offender, she saw
her brother standing at a little distance, smiling at her surprise. This
was the first time she had seen him for two years, and she went up to
him with an extended hand, while he gave her a familiar nod, and a "How
d'ye do, Julia?" and one finger of his hand, while he turned round to
speak to one of his companions. Nothing could be more characteristic of
both parties than this fraternal meeting; and from this time they were
the best friends imaginable.



CHAPTER XXII.

    "Helas! où donc chercher ou trouver le bonheur,
    Nulle part tout entier, partout avec mesure!"

                                  VOLTAIRE.

SOME days before the expected _fete_ Lady Juliana, at the instigation of
her adviser, Lady Gerard, resolved upon taking the field against the
Duchess of L---. Her Grace had issued cards for a concert; and after
mature deliberation it was decided that her rival should strike out
something new, and announce a christening for the same night.

The first intimation Douglas had of the honour intended him by this
arrangement was through the medium of the newspaper, for the husband and
wife were now much too fashionable to be at all _au fait_ of each
other's schemes. His first emotion was to be extremely surprised; the
next to be exceedingly displeased; and the last to be highly gratified
at the _éclat_ with which his child was to be made a Christian.
True, he had intended requesting the General to act as godfather upon
the occasion; but Lady Juliana protested she would rather the child
never should be christened at all (which already seemed nearly to have
been the case) than have that cross vulgar-Iooking man to stand sponsor.
Her Ladyship, however, so far conceded that the General was to have the
honour of giving his name to the next, if a boy, for she was now near
her second confinement; and, with this promise Henry was satisfied to
slight the only being in the world to whom he looked for support to
himself and his children. In the utmost delight the fond mother drove
away to consult her confidants upon the name and decorations of the
child, whom she had not even looked at for many days.

Everything succeeded to admiration. Amid crowds of spectators, in
all the pomp of lace and satin, surrounded by princes and peers, and
handed from duchesses to countesses, the twin daughter of Henry Douglas,
and the heroine of future story, became a Christian by the names of
Adelaide Julia.

Some months previous to this  event Lady Juliana had received a letter
from Mrs. Douglas, informing her of the rapid improvement that had taken
place in her little charge, and requesting to know by what name she
should have her christened; at the same time gently insinuating her wish
that, in compliance with the custom of the country, and as a compliment
due to the family, it should be named after his paternal grandmother.

Lady Juliana glanced over the first line of the letter, then looked
at the signature, resolved to read the rest as soon as she should have
time to answer it; and in the meantime tossed it into a drawer, amongst
old visiting cards and unpaid bills.

After vainly waiting for an answer, much beyond the accustomed time
when children are baptized, Mrs. Douglas could no longer refuse to
accede to the desires of the venerable inmates of Glenfern; and about a
month before her favoured sister received her more elegant appellations,
the neglected twin was baptized by the name of Mary.

Mrs. Douglas's letter had been enclosed in the following one from Miss
Grizzy, and as it had not the good fortune to be perused by the person
to whom it was addressed, we deem it but justice to the writer to insert
it here:--

                      "GLENFERN
CASTLE, _July 30th,_ 17--.

"My DEAREST NIECE, LADY JULIANA--I am Certain, as indeed we all are,
that it will Afford your Ladyship and our dear Nephew the greatest
Pleasure to see this letter Franked by our Worthy and Respectable Friend
Sir Sampson Maclaughlan, Bart., especially as it is the First he has
ever franked; out of compliment to you, as I assure you he admires you
excessively, as indeed we all do. At the same Time, you will of course,
I am sure, Sympathise with us all in the distress Occasioned by the
melancholy Death of our late Most Obliging Member, Duncan M'Dunsmuir,
Esquire, of Dhunacrag and Auchnagoil, who you never have had the
Pleasure of seeing. What renders his death Particularly distressing, is,
that Lady Maclaughlan is of opinion it was entirely owing to eating Raw
oysters, and damp feet. This ought to be a warning to all Young people
to take care of Wet feet, and Especially eating Raw oysters, which are
certainly Highly dangerous, particularly where there is any Tendency to
Gout. I hope, my dear Niece, you have got a pair of Stout walking shoes,
and that both Henry and you remember to Change your feet after Walking.
I am told Raw Oysters are much the fashion in London at present; but
when this Fatal Event comes to be Known, it will of course Alarm people
very much, and put them upon their guard both as to Damp Feet and Raw
oysters. Lady Maclaughlan is in High spirits at Sir Sampson's Success,
though, at the Same Time, I assure you, she Felt much for the Distress
of poor Mr. M'Dunsmuir, and had sent him a Large Box of Pills, and a
Bottle of Gout Tincture, only two days before he died. This will be a
great Thing for you, and especially for Henry, my dear niece, as Sir
Sampson and Lady Maclaughlan are going to London directly to take his
Seat in Parliament; and she will make a point of Paying you every
attention, and will Matronise you to the play, and any other Public
places you may wish to go; as both my Sisters and I are of opinion you
are rather Young to matronise yourself yet, and you could not get a more
Respectable Matron than Lady Maclaughlan. I hope Harry wont take it
amiss if Sir Sampson does not pay him so much Attention as he might
expect; but he says that he will not be master of a moment of his own
Time in London. He will be so much taken up with the King and the Duke
of York, that he is afraid he will Disoblige a great Number of the
Nobility by it, besides injuring his own health by such Constant
application to business. He is to make a very fine Speech in Parliament,
but it is not yet Fixed what his First Motion is to be upon. He himself
wishes to move for a New Subsidy to the Emperor of Germany; but Lady
Maclaughlan is of opinion that it would be better to Bring in a Bill for
Building a bridge over the Water of Dlin; which, tobe sure, is very much
wanted, as a Horse and Cartwere drowned at the Ford last Speat. We are
All, I am happy to Say, in excellent Health. Becky is recovering from
the Measles as well as could be Wished, and the Rose [1] is quite
gone out of Bella's Face. Beennie has been prevented from Finishing a
most Beautiful Pair of bottle Sliders for your Ladyship by a whitlow,
but it is now Mending, and I hope will be done in Time to go with
Babby's Vase Carpet, which is extremely elegant, by Sir S. and Lady
Maclaughlan. This Place is in great Beauty at present, and the new Byre
is completely finished. My Sisters and I regret Excessively that Henry
and you should have seen Glenfern to such disadvantage; but when next
you favour us with a visit, I hope it will be in Summer, and the New
Byre you will think a Prodigious Improvement. Our dear Little
Grand-niece is in great health, and much improved. We reckon her
Extremely like our Family, Particularly Becky; though she has
a great Look of Bella, at the Same Time, Then she Laughs. Excuse the
Shortness of this Letter, my dear Niece, as I shall Write a much Longer
one by Lady Maclaughlan.

[1] Erysipelas.

"Meantime, I remain, my

"Dear Lady Juliana, yours and

"Henry's most affect. aunt,

"GRIZZEL DOUGLAS."

In spite of her husband's remonstrance Lady Juliana persisted in her
resolution of attending her sister-in-law's masked ball, from which she
returned, worn out with amusement and surfeited with pleasure;
protesting all the while she dawdled over her evening breakfast the
following day that there was nobody in the world so much to be envied as
Lady Lindore. Such jewels! such dresses! such a house! such a husband!
so easy and good-natured, and rich and generous! She was sure Lindore
did no care what his wife did. She might give what parties she pleased,
go where she liked, spend as much money as she chose, and he would
never, trouble his head about the matter. She was quite certain Lady
Lindore had not a single thing to wish for: _ergo, _she must be the
happiest woman in the world! All this was addressed to Henry, who had,
however, attained the happy art of not hearing above one word out of a
hundred that happened to fall from the angel lips of his adored Julia;
and, having finished the newspapers, and made himself acquainted with
all the blood-horses, thoroughbred _fillies_, and brood mares therein
set forth, with a yawn and whistle sauntered away to G-----'s, to look
at the last regulation epaulettes.

Not long after, as Lady Juliana was stepping into the carriage that was
to whirl her to Bond Street she was met by her husband, who, with a
solemnity of manner that would have startled anyone but his volatile
lady, requested she would return with him into the house, as he wished
to converse with her upon a subject of some importance. He prevailed on
her to return, upon condition that he would not detain her above five
minutes. When, shutting the drawing room doors, he said, with
earnestness, "I think, Julia, you were talking of Lady Lindore this
morning: oblige me by repeating what you said, as I was reading the
papers, and really did not attend much to what passed."

Her Ladyship, in extreme surprise, wondered how Harry could be so
tiresome and absurd as to stop her airing for any such purpose. She
really did not know what she said. How could she? It was more than an
hour ago.

"Well, then, say what you think of her now," cried Douglas impatiently.

"Think of her! why, what all the world must think--that she is the
happiest woman in it. She looked so uncommonly well last night, and was
in such spirits, in her fancy dress, before she masked. After that, I
quite lost sight of her."

"As everyone else has done. She has not been seen since. Her favourite
St. Leger is missing too, and there is hardly a doubt but that they are
gone off together."

Even Lady Juliana was shocked at this intelligence, though the folly,
more than the wickedness, of the thing, seemed to strike her mind; but
Henry was no nice observer, and was therefore completely satisfied with
the disapprobation she expressed for her sister-in-law's conduct.

"I am so sorry for poor dear Lindore," said Lady Juliana after having
exhausted herself in invectives against his wife. "Such a generous
creature as he to be used in such a manner--it is quite shocking to
think of it! If he had been an ill-natured stingy wretch it would have
been nothing; but Frederick is such a noble-hearted fellow--I dare say
he would give me a thousand pounds if I were to ask him, for he don't
care about money."

"Lord Lindore takes the matter very coolly, understand," replied her
husband; "but--don't be alarmed, dear Julia--your father has suffered a
little from the violence of his feelings. He has had a sort of
apoplectic fit, but is not considered in immediate danger."

Lady Juliana burst into tears, desired the carriage might be put up, as
she should not go out, and even declared her intention of abstaining
from Mrs. D-----'s assembly that evening. Henry warmly commended the
extreme propriety of these measures; and, not to be outdone in greatness
of mind, most heroically sent an apology to a grand military dinner at
the Duke of Y---'s; observing, at the same time, that, in the present
state of the family, one or two friends to a quiet family dinner was as
much as they should be up to.



CHAPTER XXIII.

    "I but purpose to embark with thee
    On the smooth surface of a summer sea,
    While gentle zephyrs play in prosp 'rous gales,
    And Fortune's favour fills the swelling sails."

            _Henry and Emma._

How long these voluntary sacrifices to duty and propriety might have
been made it would mot be difficult to guess; but Lady Juliana's
approaching confinement rendered her seclusion more and more a matter of
necessity; and shortly after these events took place she presented her
delighted husband with a son. Henry lost no time in announcing the birth
of his child to General Cameron, and at the same time requesting he
would stand godfather, and give his name to the child. The answer was as
follows;--

"HORT LODGE, BERKS.

"DEAR HENRY--By this time twelve month I hope it will be my turn to
communicate to you a similar event in my family to that which your
letter announces to me. As a preliminary step, I am just about to march
into quarters for life with a young woman, daughter to my steward. She
is healthy, good-humoured, and of course vulgar, since she is no
connoisseur in china, and never spoke to a pug-dog in her life.

"Your allowance will be remitted regularly from my Banker until the day
of my death; you will then succeed to ten thousand pounds, secured to
your children, which is all you have to expect from me. If, after this,
you think it worth your while, you are very welcome to give your son the
name of yours faithfully, WILLIAM CAMERON."

Henry's consternation at the contents of this epistle was almost
equalled by Juliana's indignation. "The daughter of a steward!--Heavens!
it made her sick to think of it. It was too shocking! The
man ought to be shut up. Henry ought to prevent him from disgracing his
connexions in such a manner. There ought to be a law against old men
marrying-"

"And young ones too," groaned Douglas, as he thought of the debts he had
contracted on the faith and credit of being the General's heir; for with
all the sanguine presumption of thoughtless youth and buoyant spirits,
Henry had no sooner found his fault forgiven than he immediately fancied
it forgotten, and himself completely restored to favour. His friends and
the world were of the same opinion; and, as the future possessor of
immense wealth, he found nothing so easy as to borrow money and contract
debts, which he now saw the impossibility of ever discharging. Still he
flattered himself the General might only mean to frighten him; or he
might relent; or the marriage might go off; or he might not have any
children; and, with these _mighty_ hopes, things went on as usual for
some time longer. Lady Juliana, who, to do her justice, was not of a
more desponding character than her husband, had also her stock of hopes
and expectations always ready to act upon. She was quite sure that if
papa ever came to his senses (for he had remained in a state of
stupefaction since the apoplectic stroke) he would forgive her, and take
her to live with him, now that that vile Lady Lindore was gone, or, if
he should never recover, she was equally sure of benefiting by his
death; for though he had said he was not to leave her a shilling, she
did not believe it. She was sure papa would never do anything so cruel;
and at any rate, if he did, Lindore was so generous, he would do
something very handsome for her; and so forth.

At length the bubbles burst. The same paper that stated the marriage of
General William Cameron to Judith Broadcast, Spinster, announced, in all
the dignity of woe, the death of that most revered noble man and eminent
statesman, Augustus, Earl of Courtland.

In weak minds it has generally been remarked that no medium can be
maintained. Where hope holds her dominion she is too buoyant to be
accompanied by her anchor; and between her and despair there are no
gradations. Desperate indeed now became the condition of the misjudging
pair. Lady Juliana's name was not even mentioned in her father's will,
and the General's marriage rendered his settlements no longer a secret.
In all the horrors of desperation, Henry now found himself daily beset
by creditors of every description. At length the fatal blow came.
Horses, carriages, everything they could call their own, were seized.
The term for which they held the house was expired, and they found
themselves on the point of being turned into the street, when Lady
Juliana, who had been for two days, as her woman expressed it, _out of
one fit into another,_ suddenly recovered strength to signify her desire
of being conveyed to her brother's house. A hackney coach was procured,
into which the hapless victim of her own follies was carried. Shuddering
with disgust, and accompanied by her children and their attendants, she
was set down at the noble mansion from which she had fled two years
before.

Her brother, whom she fortunately found at home, lolling upon a sofa
with a new novel in his hand, received her without any marks of
surprise; said those things happened every day; hoped Captain Douglas
would contrive to get himself extricated from this slight embarrassment;
and informed his sister that she was welcome to occupy her old
apartments, which had been lately fitted up for Lady Lindore. Then
ringing the bell, he desired the housekeeper might show Lady Juliana
upstairs, and put the children in the nursery; mentioned that he
generally dined at eight o'clock; and, nodding to his sister as she
quitted the room, returned to his book, as if nothing had occurred to
disturb him from it.

In ten minutes after her entrance into Courtland house Lady Juliana had
made greater advances in _religion_ and _philosophy_ than she had done
in the whole nineteen years of her life; for she not only perceived
that "out of evil cometh good," but was perfectly ready to admit that
"all is for the best," and that "whatever is, is right."

"How lucky is it for me," exclaimed she to herself, as she surveyed the
splendid suite of apartments that were destined for her
accommodation--"how very fortunate that things have turned out as they
have done; that Lady Lindore should have run off, and that the General's
marriage should have taken place just at the time of poor papa's death
"--and, in short, Lady Juliana set no bounds to her self-gratulations on
the happy turn of affairs which had brought about this change in her
situation.

To a heart not wholly devoid of feeling, and a mind capable of anything
like reflection, the desolate appearance of this magnificent mansion
would have excited emotions of a very different nature. The apartments
of the late Earl, with their wide extended doors and windows, sheeted
furniture, and air of dreary order, exhibited that waste and chilling
aspect which marks the chambers of death; and even Lady Juliana
shuddered, she knew not why, as she passed through them.

Those of Lady Lindore presented a picture not less striking, could her
thoughtless successor have profited by the lesson they offered. Here was
all that the most capricious fancy, the most boundless extravagance, the
most refined luxury, could wish for or suggest. The bedchamber,
dressing-room, and boudoir were each fitted up in a style that seemed
rather suited for the pleasures of an Eastern sultana or Grecian
courtesan than for the domestic comfort of a British matron.

"I wonder how Lady Lindore could find in her heart to leave this
delicious boudoir," observed Lady Juliana to the old housekeeper.

"I rather wonder, my Lady, how she could find in her heart to leave
these pretty babies," returned the good woman, as a little boy came
running into the room, calling, "Mamma, mamma!" Lady Juliana had
nothing to say to children beyond a "How d'ye do, love?" and the child,
after regarding her for a moment, with a look of disappointment, ran
away back to his nursery.

When Lady Juliana had fairly settled herself in her new apartments, and
the tumult of delight began to subside, it occurred to her that
something must be done for poor Harry, whom she had left in the hands of
a brother officer, in a state little short of distraction. She
accordingly went in search of her brother, to request his advice and
assistance, and found him, it being nearly dark, preparing to set out on
his morning's ride. Upon hearing the situation of his brother-in-law he
declared himself ready to assist Mr. Douglas as far as he was able; but
he had just learned from his people of business that his own affairs
were somewhat involved. The late Earl had expended enormous sums on
political purposes; Lady Lindore had run through a prodigious deal of
money, he believed; and he himself had some debts, amounting, he was
told, to seventy thousand pounds. Lady Juliana was all aghast at this
information, which was delivered with the most perfect _nonchalance_ by
the Earl, while he amused himself with his Newfoundland dog. Unable to
conceal her disappointment at these effects of her brother's "liberality
and generosity," Lady Juliana burst into tears.

The Earl's sensibility was akin to his generosity; he gave money (or
rather allowed it to be taken) freely when he had it, from indolence and
easiness of temper; he hated the sight of distress in any individual,
because it occasioned trouble, and was, in short, a _bore. _He therefore
made haste to relieve his sister's alarm by assuring her that these were
mere trifles; that, as for Douglas's affairs, he would order his agent
to arrange everything in his name; hoped to have the pleasure of seeing
him at dinner; recommended to his sister to have some pheasant pies for
luncheon; and, calling Carlo, set out upon his ride.

However much Lady Juliana had felt mortified and disappointed at
learning the state of her brother's finances, she began, by degrees, to
extract the greatest consolation from the comparative insignificance of
her own debts to those of the Earl; and accordingly, in high spirits at
this newly discovered and judicious source of comfort, she despatched
the following note to her husband:--

"DEAREST HENRY--I have been received in the kindest manner
imaginable by Frederick, and have been put in possession of my old
apartments, which are so much altered, I should never have known them.
They were furnished by Lady Lindore, who really has a divine taste. I
long to show you all the delights of this abode. Frederick desired me to
say that he expects to see you here at dinner, and that he will take
charge of paying all our bills whenever he gets money. Only think of his
owing a hundred thousand pounds, besides all papa's and Lady Lindore's
debts! I assure you I was almost ashamed to tell him of ours, they
sounded so trifling; but it is quite a relief to find other people so
much worse. Indeed, I always thought it quite natural for us to run in
debt, considering that we had no money to pay anything, while Courtland,
who is as rich as a Jew, is so hampered. I shall expect you at eight,
until when, adieu, _mio caro_,

                                    "Your JULIE.

"I am quite wretched about you."

This tender and consolatory billet Henry had not the satisfaction of
receiving, having been arrested, shortly after his wife's departure, at
the suit of Mr. Shagg, for the sum of two thousand some odd hundreds,
for carriages jobbed, bought, exchanged, repaired, returned, etc.

Lady Juliana's horror and dismay at the news of her husband's arrest
were excessive. Her only ideas of confinement were taken from those
pictures of the Bastile and Inquisition that she had read so much of in
French and German novels; and the idea of a prison was indissolubly
united in her mind with bread and water, chains and straw, dungeons and
darkness. Callous and selfish, therefore, as she might be, she was not
yet so wholly void of all natural feeling as to think with indifference
of the man she had once fondly loved reduced to such a pitiable
condition.

Almost frantic at the phantom of her own creation, she flew to her
brother's apartment, and, in the wildest and most incoherent manner,
besought him to rescue her poor Henry from chains and a dungeon.

With some difficulty Lord Courtland at length apprehended the extent of
his brother-in-Iaw's misfortune; and, with his usual _sang froid_,
smiled at his sister's simplicity, assured her the King's Bench was the
pleasantest place in the world; that some of his own most particular
friends were there, who gave capital dinners, and led the most desirable
lives imaginable.

"And will he really not be fed on bread and water, and wear chains, and
sleep upon straw?" asked the tender wife in the utmost surprise and
delight. "Oh, then, he is not so much to be pitied, though I dare say he
would rather get out of prison too."

The Earl promised to obtain his release the following day, and Lady
Juliana returned to her toilet with a much higher opinion of prisons
than she had ever entertained before.

Lord Courtland, for once in his life, was punctual to his promise; and
even interested himself so thoroughly in Douglas's affairs, though
without inquiring into any particulars, as to take upon himself the
discharge of his debts, and to procure leave for him to exchange into a
regiment of the line, then under orders for India.

Upon hearing of this arrangement Lady Juliana's grief and despair, as
usual, set all reason at defiance. She would not suffer her dear, dear
Harry to leave her. She knew she could not live without him; she was
sure she should die; and Harry would be sea sick, and grow so yellow and
so ugly that when he came back she should never have any comfort in him
again.

Henry, who had never doubted her readiness to accompany him, immediately
hastened to assuage her anguish by assuring her that it had always been
his intention to take her along with him.

That was worse and worse: she wondered how he could be so barbarous and
absurd as to think of her leaving all her friends and going to live
amongst savages. She had done a great deal in living so long contentedly
with him in Scotland; but she never could nor would make such another
sacrifice. Besides, she was sure poor Courtland could not do without
her; she knew he never would marry again; and who would take care of his
dear children, and educate them properly, if she did not? It would be
too ungrateful to desert Frederick, after all he had done for them.

The pride of the man, as much as the affection of the husband, was
irritated by this resistance to this will; and a violent scene of
reproach and recrimination terminated in an eternal farewell.



CHAPTER XXIV.

    "In age, in infancy, from others' aid
    Is all our hope; to teach us to be kind,
    That nature's first, last lesson."

                YOUNG.

THE neglected daughter of Lady Juliana Douglas experienced all the
advantages naturally to be expected from her change of situation. Her
watchful aunt superintended the years of her infancy, and all that a
tender and judicious mother _could_ do-all that most mothers _think_
they do-she performed. Mrs. Douglas, though not a woman either of words
or systems, possessed a reflecting mind, and a heart warm with
benevolence towards everything that had a being; and all the best
feelings of her nature were excited by the little outcast thus abandoned
by her unnatural parent. As she pressed the unconscious babe to her
bosom she thought how blest she should have been had a child of her own
thus filled her arms; but the reflection called forth no selfish murmurs
from her chastened spirit. While the tear of soft regret trembled in her
eye, that eye was yet raised in gratitude to Heaven for having called
forth those delightful affections which might otherwise have slumbered
in her heart.

Mrs. Douglas had read much, and reflected more, and many faultless
theories of education had floated in her mind. But her good sense soon
discovered how unavailing all theories were whose foundations rested
upon the inferred wisdom of the teacher, and how intricate and unwieldy
must be the machinery for the human mind where the human hand alone is to
guide and uphold it. To engraft into her infant soul the purest
principles of religion was therefore the chief aim of Mary's
preceptress. The fear of God was the only restraint imposed upon her
dawning intellect; and from the Bible alone was she taught the duties of
morality--not in the form of a dry code of laws, to be read with a
solemn face on Sundays, or learned with weeping eyes as a week-day
task--but adapted to her youthful capacity by judicious illustration,
and familiarised to her taste by hearing its stories and precepts from
the lips she best loved. Mrs. Douglas was the friend and confidant of
her pupil: to her all her hopes and fears, wishes and dreads were
confided; and the first effort of her reason was the discovery that to
please her aunt she must study to please her Maker.

"L'inutilité de la vie des femmes est la premier source de leurs
désordres."

Mrs. Douglas was fully convinced of the truth of this observation, and
that the mere selfish cares and vulgar bustle of life are not sufficient
to satisfy the immortal soul, however they may serve to engross it.

A portion of Mary's time was therefore devoted to the daily practice of
the great duties of life; in administering in some shape or other to the
wants and misfortunes of her fellow-creatures, without requiring from
them that their virtue should have been immaculate, or expecting that
their gratitude should be everlasting.

"It is better,"  thought Mrs. Douglas, "that we should sometimes be
deceived by others than that we should learn to deceive ourselves; and
the charity and goodwill that is suffered to lie dormant, or feed itself
on speculative acts of beneficence, for want of proper objects to call
it into use, will soon become the corroding rust that will destroy the
best feelings of our nature."

But although Mary strenuously applied herself to the uses of life, its
embellishments were by no means neglected. She was happily endowed by
nature; and, under the judicious management of her aunt, made rapid
though unostentatious progress in the improvement of the talents
committed to her care. Without having been blessed with the advantages
of a dancing master, her step was light, and her motions free and
graceful; and if her aunt had not been able to impart to her the
favourite graces of the most fashionable singer of the day, neither had
she thwarted the efforts of her own natural taste in forming a style
full of simplicity and feeling. In the modern languages she was
perfectly skilled; and if her drawings wanted the enlivening touches of
the master to give them effect, as an atonement they displayed a perfect
knowledge of the rules of perspective and the study of the bust.

All this was, however, mere leather and prunella to the ladies of
Glenfern; and many were the cogitations and consultations that took
place n the subject of Mary's mismanagement. According to their ideas
there could be but one good system of education; and that was the one
that had been pursued with them, and through them transmitted to their
nieces.

To attend the parish church and remember the text; to observe who was
there and who was _not_ there; and to wind up the evening with a sermon
stuttered and stammered through by one of the girls (the worst reader
always piously selected, for the purpose of improving their reading), an
particularly addressed to the Laird, openly and avowedly snoring in his
arm-chair, though at every pause starting up with a peevish
"Weel?"--this was the sum total of their religious duties. Their moral
virtues were much upon the same scale; to knit stockings, scold
servants, cement china, trim bonnets, lecture the poor, and look up to
Lady Maclaughlan, comprise nearly their whole code. But these were the
virtues of ripened years and enlarged understandings--which their pupils
might hope to arrive at, but could not presume to meddle with. _Their_
merits consisted in being compelled to sew certain large portions of
white-work; learning to read and write in the worst manner; occasionally
_wearing_ a _collar,_ and learning the notes on the spinnet. These
acquirements, accompanied with a great deal of lecturing and
fault-finding, sufficed for the first fifteen years; when the two next,
passed at a provincial boarding-school, were supposed to impart every
graceful accomplishment to which women could attain.

Mrs. Douglas's method of conveying instruction, it may easily be
imagined, did not square with their ideas on that subject. They did
nothing themselves without a bustle, and to do a thing quietly was to
them the same as not doing it at all--it could not be done, for nobody
had ever heard of it. In short, like many other worthy people, their
ears were their only organs of intelligence. They believed everything
they were told; but unless they were told, they believed nothing. They
had never heard Mrs. Douglas expatiate on the importance of the trust
reposed in her, or enlarge on the difficulties of female education;
_ergo,_ Mrs. Douglas could have no idea of the nature of the duties she
had undertaken.

Their visits to Lochmarlie only served to confirm the fact. Miss Jacky
deponed that during the month she was there she never could discover
when or how it was that Mary got her lessons; luckily the child was
quick, and had contrived, poor thing, to pick up things wonderfully,
nobody knew how, for it was really astonishing to see how little pains
were bestowed upon her and the worst of it was, that she seemed to do
just as she liked, for nobody ever heard her reproved, and everybody
knew that young people never could have enough said to them. All this
differed widely from the éclat of their system, and could not
fail of causing great disquiet to the sisters.

"I declare I'm quite confounded at all this!" said Miss Grizzy, at
the conclusion of Miss Jacky's communication. "It really appears as if
Mary, poor thing, was getting no education at all; and yet she _can_ do
things, too. I can't understand it; and it's very odd in Mrs. Douglas to
allow her to be so much neglected, for certainly Mary's constantly with
herself; which, to be sure, shows that she is very much spoilt; for
although our girls are as fond of us as I am sure any creatures can be,
yet, at the same time, they are always very glad--which is quite
natural--to runaway from us."

"I think it's high time Mary had done something fit to be seen," said
Miss Nicky; "she is now sixteen past."

"Most girls of Mary's time of life that ever _I_ had anything to do
with," replied Jacky, with a certain wave of the head, peculiar to
sensible women, "had something to show before her age. Bella had worked
the globe long before she was sixteen; and Baby did her filigree
tea-caddy the first quarter she was at Miss Macgowk's," glancing with
triumph from the one which hung over the mantelpiece, to the other which
stood on the tea-table, shrouded in a green bag.

"And, to be sure," rejoined Grizzy, "although Betsy's screen did cost a
great deal of money--that can't be denied; and her father certainly
grudged it very much at the time--there's no doubt of that; yet
certainly it does her the greatest credit, and it is a great
satisfaction to us all to have these things to show. I am sure nobody
would ever think that ass was made of crape, and how naturally it seems
to be eating the beautiful chenille thistle! I declare, I think the ass
is as like an ass as anything can be!"

"And as to Mary's drawing," continued the narrator of her deficiencies,
"there is not one of them fit for framing: mere scratches with a chalk
pencil--what any child might do."

"And to think," said Nicky, with indignation, "how little Mrs. Douglas
seemed to think of the handsome coloured views the girls did at Miss
Macgowk's."

"All our girls have the greatest genius for drawing," observed Grizzy;
"there can be no doubt of that; but it's a thousand pities, I'm sure,
that none of them seem to like it. To be sure they say--what I daresay
is very true--that they can't get such good paper as they got at Miss
Macgowk's; but they have showed that they _can _do, for their drawings
are quite astonishing. Somebody lately took them to be Mr. Touchup's own
doing; and I'm sure there couldn't be a greater compliment than that! I
represented all that to Mrs. Douglas, and urged her very strongly to
give Mary the benefit of at least a quarter of Miss Macgowk's, were it
only for the sake of her carriage; or, at least, to make her wear our
collar."

This was the tenderest of all themes, and bursts of sorrowful
exclamations ensued. The collar had long been a galling yoke upon their
minds; it iron had entered into their very souls; for it was a collar
presented to the family of Glenfern by the wisest, virtuousest, best of
women and of grandmothers, the the good Lady Girnachgowl; and had been
worn in regular rotation by every female of the family till now that
Mrs. Douglas positively refused to subject Mary's pliant form to its
thraldom. Even the Laird, albeit no connoisseur in any shapes save those
of his kine, was of opinion that since the thing was in the house it was
a pity it should be lost. Not Venus's girdle even was supposed to confer
greater charms than the Girnachgowl collar.

"It's really most distressing!" said Miss Grizzy to her friend Lady
Maclaughlan.

"Mary's back won't be worth a farthing, and we have always been quite
famous for our back."

"Humph!--that's the reason people are always so glad to see them,
child."

With regard to Mary's looks, opinions were not so decided. Mrs. Douglas
thought her, what she was, an elegant, interesting-looking girl. The
Laird, as he peered at her over his spectacles, pronounced her to be but
a shilpit thing, though weel eneugh, considering the ne'er-do-weels that
were aught her. Miss Jacky opined that she would have been quite a
different creature had she been brought her like any other girl. Miss
Grizzy did not know what to think; she certainly was pretty--nobody
could dispute that. At the same time, many people would prefer Bella's
looks; and Baby was certainly uncommonly comely. Miss Nicky thought it
was no wonder she looked pale sometimes. She never supped her broth in a
wiselike way at dinner; and it was a shame to hear of a girl of Mary's
age being set up with tea to her breakfast, and wearing white petticoats
in winter--and such roads, too!

Lady Maclaughlan pronounced (and that was next to a special revelation)
that the girl would be handsome when she was forty, not a day sooner;
and she would be clever, for her mother was a fool; and foolish mothers
had always wise children, and _vice versa,_ "and your mother was a very
clever woman, girls--humph!"

Thus passed the early years of the almost forgotten twin; blest in the
warm affection and mild authority of her more than mother. Sometimes
Mrs. Douglas half formed the wish that her beloved pupil should mix in
society and become known to the world; but when she reflected on the
dangers of that world, and on the little solid happiness its pleasures
afford, she repressed the wish, and only prayed she might be allowed to
rest secure in the simple pleasures she then enjoyed. "Happiness is not
a plant of this earth," said she to herself with a sigh; "but God gives
peace and tranquillity to the virtuous in all situations, and under
every trial. Let me then strive to make Mary virtuous, and leave the
rest to Him who alone knoweth what is good for us!"



CHAPTER XXV.

    "Th' immortal line in sure succession reigns,
    The fortune of the family remains,
    And grandsires' grandsons the long list contains."

                DRYDEN'S _Virgil._

    "We are such stuff
    As dreams are made on; and our little life
    Is rounded with a sleep."

                      _Tempest._

BUT Mary's back and Mary's complexion now ceased to be the first objects
of interest at! Glenfern; for, to the inexpressible delight and
amazement of the sisters, Mrs. Douglas, after due warning, became the
mother of a son. How this event had been brought about without the
intervention of Lady Maclaughlan was past the powers of Miss Grizzy's
comprehension. To the last moment they had been sceptical, for Lady
Maclaughlan had shook her head and humphed whenever the subject was
mentioned. For several months they had therefore vibrated between their
own sanguine hopes and their oracle's disheartening doubts; and even
when the truth was manifest, a sort of vague tremor took possession of
their mind, as to what Lady Maclaughlan would think of it.

"I declare I don't very well know how to announce this happy event to
Lady Maclaughlan," said Miss Grizzy, as she sat in a ruminating posture,
with her pen in her hand; "it will give her the greatest pleasure, I
know that; she has such a regard for our family, she would go any
lengths for us. At the same time, everybody must be sensible it is a
delicate matter to tell a person of Lady Maclaughlan's skill they have
been mistaken. I'm sure I don't know how she may take it: and yet she
can't suppose it will make any difference in our sentiments for her. She
must be sensible we have all the greatest respect for her opinion."

"The wisest people are sometimes mistaken," observed Miss Jacky.

"I'm sure, Jacky, that's very true," said Grizzy, brightening up at the
brilliancy of this remark.

"And it's better she should have been mistaken than Mrs. Douglas,"
followed up Miss Nicky.

"I declare, Nicky, you are perfectly right; and I shall just say so
at once to Lady Maclaughlan."

The epistle was forthwith commenced by  the enlightened Grizelda. Miss
Joan applied herself to the study of "The Whole Duty of Man," which she
was, determined to make herself mistress of for the benefit of her
grand-nephew; and Miss Nicholas fell to reckoning all who could, would,
or should be at the christening, that she might calculate upon the
quantity of _dreaming-bread_ that would be required. The younger ladies
were busily engaged in divers and sundry disputes regarding the right to
succession to a once-white lutestring negligee of their mother's, which
three of them had laid their accounts with figuring in at the
approaching celebration. The old gentleman was the only one in the
family who took the least of the general happiness. He had got into a
habit of being fretted about everything that happened, and he could not
entirely divest himself of it even upon this occasion. His parsimonious
turns, too, had considerably increased; and his only criterion of
judging of anything was according to what it would bring.

"Sorra tak me if ane wadnae think, to hear ye, this was the first bairn
that e'er was born! 'What'sa' the fraize aboot, ye gowks?" (to his
daughters)--"a whingin get! that'll tak mail' oot o' fowk's pockets
than e'er it'll pit into them! Mony a guid profitable beast's been
brought into the warld and ne'er a word in in'ts heed."

All went on smoothly. Lady Maclaughlan testified no resentment. Miss
Jacky had the "The Whole Duty of Man" at her finger-ends; and Miss Nicky
was not more severe than could have been expected, considering, as she
did, how the servants at Lochmarlie must be living at hack and manger.
It had been decided at Glenfern that the infant heir to its consequence
could not with propriety be christened any where but at the seat of his
forefathers. Mr. and Mrs. Douglas had good-humouredly yielded the
point; and, as soon as she was able for the change, the whole family
took up their residence for a season under the paternal roof.

Blissful visions floated around the pillows of the happy spinsters the
night preceding the christening, which were duly detailed at the
breakfast-table the following morning.

"I declare I don't know what to think of my dream," began Miss Grizzy.
"I dreamt that Lady Maclaughlan was upon her knees to you, brother, to
get you to take an emetic; and just as she had mixed it up so nicely in
some of our black-currant jelly, little Norman snatched it out of your
hand and ran away with it."

"You're eneugh to turn onybody's stamick wi'your nonsense," returned
the Laird gruffly.

"And I," said Miss Jacky, "thought I saw you standing in your shirt,
brother, as straight as a rash, and good Lady Girnachgowl buckling her
collar upon you with her own hands."

"I wish ye wadna deive me wi' your havels!" still more indignantly, and
turning his shoulder to the fair dreamer, as he continued to con over
the newspaper.

"And I," cried Miss Nicky, eager to get her mystic tale disclosed, "I
thought, brother, I saw you take and throw all the good dreaming-bread
into the ash-hole."

"By my troth, an' ye deserve to be thrown after't!" exclaimed the
exasperated Laird, as he quitted the room in high wrath, muttering to
himself, "Hard case--canna get peace--eat my vittals--fules--
tawpiesclavers!" etc. etc.

"I declare I can't conceive why Glenfern should be so ill pleased at our
dreams," said Miss Grizzy. "Everybody knows dreams are always contrary;
and even were it otherwise, I'm sure I should think no shame to take an
emetic, especially when Lady Maclaughlan was at the trouble of mixing it
up so nicely."

"And we have all worn good Lady Girnachgowl's collar
before now," said Miss Jacky.

"I think I had the worst of it, that had all my good dreaming-bread
destroyed," added Mis Nicky.

"Nothing could be more natural than you dreams," said Mrs. Douglas,
"considering how all these subjects have engrossed you for some time
past. You, Aunt Grizzy, may remember how desirous you were of
administering one of Lady Maclaughlan's powders to my little boy
yesterday; and you, Aunt Jacky, made a point of trying Lady
Girnachgowl's collar upon Mary, to convince her how pleasant it was;
while you, Aunt Nicky, had experienced a great alarm in supposing your
cake had been burned in the oven. And these being the most vivid
impression you had received during the day, it was perfectly natural
that they should have retained their influence during a portion of the
night."

The interpretations were received with high  disdain. One and all
declared they never dreamed of anything that _had_ occurred; and
therefore the visions of the night portended some extraordinary good
fortune to the family in general, and to little Norman in particular.

"The best fortune I can wish for him, and all of us, for this day is,
that he should remain quiet during the ceremony," said his mother, who
was not so elated as Lady Macbeth at the predictions of the sisters.

The christening party mustered strong; and the rites of baptism were
duly performed by the Rev. Duncan M'Drone. The little Christian had been
kissed by every lady in company, and pronounced by the matrons to be "a
dainty little _doug!_" and by the misses to be "the sweetest lamb they
had ever seen!" The cake and wine was in its progress round the company;
when, upon its being tendered to the old gentleman, who was sitting
silent in his arm-chair, he abruptly exclaimed, in a most discordant
voice, "Hey! what's a' this wastery for?"--and ere an answer could be
returned his jaw dropped, his eyes fixed, and the Laird of Glenfern
ceased to breathe!



CHAPTER XXVI.

"They say miracles are past; and we have our philosophical persons to
make modern and familiar things supernatural and causeless. Hence it is
that we make trifles of terrors; ensconcing ourselves into seeming
knowledge, when we should submit ourselves to an unknown fear."--_All's
Well that ends Well_.

ALL attempts to reanimate the lifeless form proved unavailing; and the
horror and consternation that reigned in the castle of Glenfern may be
imagined, but cannot be described. There is perhaps no feeling of our
nature so vague, so complicated, so mysterious, as that with which we
look upon the cold remains of our fellow-mortals. The dignity with which
death invests even the meanest of his victims inspires us with an awe no
living thing can create. The monarch on his throne is less awful than the
beggar in his shroud. The marble features--the powerless hand--the
stiffened limbs--oh! who can contemplate these with feelings that can be
defined? These are the mockery of all our hopes and fears, our fondest
love our fellest hate. Can it be that we now shrink with horror from the
touch of that hand which but yesterday was fondly clasped in our own? Is
that tongue, whose accents even now dwell in our ear, forever chained in
the silence of death? These black and heavy eyelids, are they for ever
to seal up in darkness the eyes whose glance no earthly power could
restrain? And the spirit which animated the clay, where is it now? Is it
wrapt in bliss, or dissolved in woe? Does it witness our grief, and
share our sorrows? Or is the mysterious tie that linked it with
mortality forever broken? And the remembrance of earthly scenes, are
they indeed to the enfranchised spirit as the morning dream, or the dew
upon the early flower? Reflections such as these naturally arise in
every breast. Their influence is felt, though their import cannot always
be expressed. The principle is in all the same, however it may differ in
its operations.

In the family assembled round the lifeless form that had so long been
the centre of their domestic circle, grief showed itself under various
forms. The calm and manly sorrow of the son; the saint-like feelings of
his wife; the youthful agitation of Mary; the weak superstitious
wailings of the sisters; and the loud uncontrolled lamentations of the
daughters; all betokened an intensity of suffering that arose from the
same source, varied according to the different channels in which it
flowed. Even the stern Lady Maclaughlan was subdued to something of
kindred feeling; and though no tears dropped from her eyes, she sat by
her friends, and sought, in her own way, to soften their affliction.

The assembled guests, who had not yet been able to take their departure,
remained in the drawing-room in a sort of restless solemnity peculiar to
seasons of collateral affliction, where all seek to highten the effect
upon others, and shift the lesson from themselves. Various were the
surmises and peculations as to the cause of the awful transition that
had just taken place.

"Glenfern was nae like a man that wad hae gaen aff in this
gate," said one.

"I dinna ken," said another; "I've notic'd a chainge on Glenfern for
a gey while noo."

"I agree wi' you, sir," said a third. "In my mind Glenfern's been
droopin' very sair ever since the last tryst."

"At Glenfern's time o' life it's no surprisin'," remarked a fourth, who
felt perfectly secure of being fifteen years his junior.

"Glenfern was na that auld neither," retorted a fifth, whose conscience
smote him with being years his senior.

"But he had a deal o' vexation frae his faemily," said an elderly
bachelor.

"Ye offen see a hale stoot man, like oor puit freend, gang like the
snuff o' a cannel," coughed up a pthisicky gentleman.

"He was aye a tume, boss-looking man ever since I mind him," wheezed out
a swollen asthmatic figure.

"An' he took nae care o' himsel'," said he Laird of Pettlechass. "His
diet was nae what it should hae been at his time o' life. An' he was oot
an' in, up an' doon, in a' wathers, wat an' dry."

"Glenfern's doings had naething to du wi' his death," said an ancient
gentlewoman with solemnity. "They maun ken little wha ne'er heard the
bod-word of the family." And she repeated in Gaelic words to the
following effect:--

   "When Loehdow shall turn to a lin, [1]
    In Glenfern ye'll hear the din;
    When frae Benenck they shool the sna',
    O'er Glenfern the leaves will fa';
    When foreign geer grows on Benenck tap,
    Then the fir tree will be Glenfern's hap."

[1] Cataract.

"An' noo, ma'am, will ye be sae gude as point  oot the meanin' o' this
freet," said an incredulous-looking member of the company; "for when I
passed Lochdow this mornin' I neither saw nor heard o' a lin; an' frae
this window we can a' see Benenck wi' his white night-cap on; an' he wad
hae little to do that wad try to shoal it aff."

"It's neither o' the still  water nor the stay brae that the word was
spoke," replied the dame, with a disdainful frown; "they tak' nae part
in our doings: but kent ye nae that Lochdow himsel' had tined his sight
in a cataract; an' is nae there dule an' din eneuch in Glenfern the day?
An' kent ye nae that Benenck had his auld white pow shaven, an' that
he's gettin' a jeezy frae Edinburgh?--an' I'se warran' he'll be in his
braw wig the very day that Glenfern'll be laid in his deal coffin."

The company admitted the application was too
close to be resisted; but the same sceptic (who, by-the-bye, was only a
low country merchant, elevated by purchase to the dignity of a Highland
laird) was seen to shrug his shoulders, and hear to make some sneering
remarks on the days of second-sights and such superstitious nonsense
being past. This was instantly laid hold of; and amongst many others of
the same sort, the truth of the following story was attested by one of
the party, as having actually occurred in his family within his own
remembrance.

"As Duncan M'Crae was one evening descending Benvoilloich, he perceived
a funeral procession in the vale beneath. He was greatly surprised, not
having heard of any death in the country; and this appeared to be the
burial of some person of consequence, from the number of the attendants.
He made all the haste he could to get down; and as he drew near the
counted all the lairds of the country except my father, Sir Murdoch. He
was astonished at this, till he recollected that he was away to the low
country to his cousin's marriage; but he felt curious to know who it
was, though some unaccountable feeling prevented him from mixing with
the followers. He therefore kept on the ridge of the hill, right over
their heads, and near enough to hear them speak; but although he saw
them move their lips, no sound reached his ear. He kept along with the
procession in this way till it reached the Castle Dochart
burying-ground, and there it stopped. The evening was close and warm,
and a thick mist had gathered in the glen, while the tops of the hills
shone like gold. Not a breath of air was stirring, but the trees that
grew round the burying-ground waved and soughed, and some withered leaves
were swirled round and round, as if by the wind. The company stood a
while to rest, and then they proceeded to open the iron gates of the
burying-ground; but the lock was rusted and would not open. Then they
began to pull down part of the wall, and Duncan thought how angry his
master would be at this, and he raised his voice and shouted and
hallooed to them, but to no purpose. Nobody seemed to hear him. At last
the wall was taken down, and the coffin was lifted over, and just then
the sun broke out, and glinted on a new-made grave; and as they were
laying the coffin in it, it gave way, and disclosed Sir Murdoch himself
in his dead clothes; and then the mist grew so thick, Duncan could see
no more, and how to get home he knew not; but when he entered his own
door he was bathed in sweat, and white as any corpse; and all that he
could say was, that he had seen Castle Dochart's burying.

"The following day," continued the narrator, "he was more composed, and
gave the account you have now heard; and three days after came the
intelligence of my father's death. He had dropped down in a fit that
very evening, when entertaining a large company in honour of his
cousin's marriage; and that day week his funeral passed through
Glenvalloch exactly as described by Duncan M'Crae, with all the
particulars: The gates of the burying-ground could not he opened; part
of the wall was taken down to admit the coffin, which received some
injury, and gave way as they were placing it in the grave."

Even the low-country infidel was silenced by the solemnity of this
story; and soon after the company dispersed, everyone panting to be the
first to circulate the intelligence of Glenfern's death.

But soon--oh, how soon! "dies in human hearts the thought of death!"
Even the paltry detail which death creates serves to detach out minds
from the cause itself. So it was with the family of Glenfern. Their
light did not "shine inward;" and after the first burst of sorrow their
ideas fastened with avidity on all the paraphernalia of affliction. Mr.
Douglas, indeed, found much to do and to direct to be done. The elder
ladies began to calculate how many yards of broad hemming would be
required, and to form a muster-roll of the company; with this
improvement, that it was to be ten times as numerous as the one that had
assembled at the christening; while the young ones busied their
imaginations as to the effect of new mournings--a luxury to them
hitherto unknown. Mrs. Douglas and Mary were differently affected.
Religion and reflection had taught the former the enviable lesson of
possessing her soul in patience under every trial; and while she
inwardly mourned the fate of the poor old man who had been thus suddenly
snatched from the only world that ever had engaged his thoughts, her
outward aspect was calm and serene. The impression made upon Mary's
feelings was of a more powerful nature. She had witnessed suffering, and
watched by sick-beds; but death, and death in so terrific a form, was
new to her. She had been standing by her grandfather's chair--her head
was bent to his--her hand rested upon his, when, by a momentary
convulsion, she beheld the last dread change--the living man transformed
into the lifeless corpse. The countenance but now fraught with life and
human thoughts, in the twinkling of an eye was covered with the shades
of death! It was in vain that Mary prayed and reasoned and strove
against the feelings that had been thus powerfully excited. One object
alone possessed her imagination--the image of her grandfather
dying--dead; his grim features, his ghastly visage, his convulsive
grasp, were ever present, by day and by night. Her nervous system had
received a shock too powerful for all the strength of her understanding
to contend with. Mrs. Douglas sought by every means to soothe her
feelings and divert her attention; and flattered herself that a short
time would allay the perturbation of her youthful emotions.

Five hundred persons, horse and foot, high and low, male and female,
graced the obsequies of the Laird of Glenfern. Benenck was there in his
new wig, and the autumnal leaves dropped on the coffin as it was borne
slowly along the vale!



CHAPTER XXVII.

"It is no diminution, but a recommendation of human nature, that, in
some instances, passion gets the better of reason, and all that we can
think is impotent against half what we feel."--_Spectator._

"LIFE is a mingled yarn;" few of its afflictions but are accompanied
with some alleviation--none of its blessings that do not bring some
alloy. Like most other events that long have formed the object of
yearning and almost hopeless wishes, and on which have been built the
fairest structure of human felicity, the arrival of the young heir of
Glenfern produced a less extraordinary degree of happiness than had been
anticipated. The melancholy event which had marked the first ceremonial
of his life had cast its gloom alike on all nearly connected with him;
and when time had dispelled the clouds of recent mourning, and restored
the mourners to their habitual train of thought and action, somewhat of
the novelty which had given him such lively interest in the hearts of
the sisters had subsided. The distressing conviction, too, more and more
forced itself upon them, that their advice and assistance were likely to
be wholly overlooked in the nurture of the infant mind and management of
the thriving frame of their little nephew. Their active energies,
therefore, driven back to the accustomed channels, after many murmurs
and severe struggles, again revolved in the same sphere as before. True,
they sighed and mourned for a time, but soon found occupation congenial
to their nature in the little departments of life--dressing crape;
reviving black silk; converting narrow hems into broad hems; and in
short, who so busy, who so important, as the ladies of Glenfern? As
Madame de Staël, or de Something says, "they fulfilled their
destinies." Their walk lay amongst threads and pickles; their sphere
extended from the garret to the pantry; and often as they sought to
diverge from it, their instinct always led them to return to it, as the
tract in which they were destined to move. There are creatures of the
same sort in the male part of the creation, but it is foreign to my
purpose to describe them at present. Neither are the trifling and
insignificant of either sex to be treated with contempt, or looked upon
as useless by those whom God has gifted with higher powers. In the
arrangements of an all-wise Providence there is nothing created in vain.
Every link of the vast chain that embraces creation helps to hold
together the various relations of life; and all is beautiful gradation,
from the human vegetable to the glorious archangel.

If patient hope, if unexulting joy, and chastened anticipation,
sanctifying a mother's love, could have secured her happiness, Mrs.
Douglas would have found, in the smiles of her infant, all the comfort
her virtue deserved. But she still had to drink of that cup of sweet and
bitter, which must bathe the lips of all who breathe the breath of life.

While the instinct of a parent's love warmed her heart, as she pressed
her infant to her bosom, the sadness of affectionate and rational
solicitude stifled every sentiment of pleasure as she gazed on the
altered and drooping form of her adopted daughter of the child who had
already repaid the cares that had been lavished on her, and in whom she
descried the promise of a plenteous harvest from the good seed she had
sown. Though Mary had been healthy in childhood, her constitution was
naturally delicate, and she had latterly outgrown her strength. The
shock she had sustained by her grandfather's death, thus operating on a
weakened frame, had produced an effect apparently most alarming; and the
efforts she made to exert herself only served to exhaust her. She felt
all the watchful solicitude, the tender anxieties of her aunt, and
bitterly reproached herself with not better repaying these exertions for
her happiness. A thousand times she tried to analyse and extirpate the
saddening impression that weighed upon her heart.

"It is not sorrow," reasoned she with herself, "that thus oppresses me;
for though I reverenced my grandfather, yet the loss of his society has
scarcely been felt by me. It cannot be fear--the fear of death; for my
soul is not so abject as to confine its desires to this sublunary scene.
What, then, is this mysterious dread that has taken possession of me?
Why do I suffer my mind to suggest to me images of horror, instead of
visions of bliss? Why can I not, as formerly, picture to myself the
beauty and the brightness of a soul casting off mortality? Why must the
convulsed grasp, the stifled groan, the glaring eye, for ever come
betwixt heaven and me?"

Alas! Mary was unskilled to answer. Hers was the season for feeling, not
for reasoning. She knew not that hers was the struggle of imagination
striving to maintain its ascendency over reality. She had heard and
read, and thought and talked of death; but it was of death in its
fairest form, in its softest transition: and the veil had been abruptly
torn from her eyes; the gloomy pass had suddenly disclosed itself before
her, not strewed with flowers but shrouded in horrors. Like all persons
of sensibility, Mary had a disposition to view everything in a _beau
ideal:_ whether that is a boon most fraught with good or ill it were
difficult to ascertain. While the delusion lasts it is productive of
pleasure to its possessor; but oh! the thousand aches that heart is
destined to endure which clings to the stability and relies on the
permanency of earthly happiness! But the youthful heart must ever remain
a stranger to this saddening truth. Experience only can convince us that
happiness is not a plant of this world; and that, though many an eye
hath beheld its blossoms no mortal hand hath ever gathered its fruits.
This, then, was Mary's first lesson in what is called the knowledge of
life, as opposed to the _beau ideal_ of a young and ardent imagination
in love with life, and luxuriating in its own happiness. And, upon such
a mind it could not fail of producing a powerful impression.

The anguish Mrs. Douglas experienced as she witnessed the changing
colour, lifeless step, and forced smile of her darling _élève _was not
mitigated by the good sense or sympathy of those around her. While Mary
had prospered under her management, in the consciousness that she was
fulfilling her duty to the best of her abilities, she could listen with
placid cheerfulness to the broken hints of disapprobation, or forced
good wishes for the success of her new-fangled schemes, that were
levelled at her by the sisters. But now, when her cares seemed defeated,
it was an additional thorn in her heart to have to endure the
commonplace wisdom and self-gratulations of the almost exulting aunts;
not that they had the slightest intention of wounding the feelings of
their niece, whom they really loved, but the temptation was irresistible
of proving that they had been in the right and she in the wrong,
especially as no such acknowledgment had yet been extorted from her.

"It is nonsense to ascribe Mary's dwining to her grandfather's death,"
said Miss Jacky. "We were all nearer to him in propinquity than she was,
and none of our healths have suffered."

"And there's his own daughters," added Miss Grizzy, "who, of course,
must have felt a great deal more than anybody else--there can be no
doubt of that--such sensible creatures as them must feel a great deal;
but yet you see how they have got up their spirits--I'm sure it's
wonderful!"

"It shows their sense and the effects of education," said Miss Jacky.

"Girls that sup their porridge will always cut a good figure," quoth
Nicky.

"With their fine feelings I'm sure we have all reason to be thankful
that they have been blest with such hearty stomachs," observed Miss
Grizzy; "if they had been delicate, like poor Mary's, I'm sure I declare
I don't know what we would have done; for certainly they were all most
dreadfully affected at their excellent father's death; which was quite
natural, poor things! I'm sure there's no pacifying poor Baby, and even
yet, neither Bella nor Betsey can bear to be left alone in a dark room.
Tibby has to sleep with them still every night; and alighted candle
too-which is much to their credit--and yet I'm sure it's not with
reading. I'm certain-indeed, I think there's no doubt of it--that
reading does young people much harm. It puts things into their heads
that never would have been there but for books. I declare, I think
reading's a very dangerous thing; I'm certain all Mary's bad health is
entirely owing to reading. You know we always thought she read a great
deal too much for her good."

"Much depends upon the choice of books," said Jacky, with an air of the
most profound wisdom, "Fordyce's Sermons and the History of Scotland are
two of the very few books _I_ would put into the hands of a young woman.
Our girls have read little else,"--casting a look at Mrs. Douglas, who
was calmly pursuing her work in the midst of this shower of darts all
levelled at her.

"To be sure," returned Grizzy, "it is a thousand pities that Mary has
been allowed to go on so long; not, I'm sure, that any of us mean to
reflect upon you, my dear Mrs. Douglas; for of course it was all owing
to your ignorance and inexperience; and that, you know, you could not
help; for it as not your fault; nobody can blame you. I'm certain you
would have done what is right if you had only known better; but of
course we must all know much better than you; because, you know, we are
all a great deal older, and especially Lady Maclaughlan, who has the
greatest experience in the diseases of old men especially, and infants.
Indeed it has been he study of her life almost; for, you know, poor Sir
Sampson is never well; and I dare say, if Mary had taken some of her
nice worm-lozenges, which certainly cured Duncan M'Nab's wife's
daughter's little girl of the jaundice, and used that valuable growing
embrocation, which we are all sensible made Baby great deal fatter, I
dare say there would have been thing the matter with her to-day."

"Mary has been too much accustomed to spend both her time and money
amongst idle vagrants," said Nicky.

"Economy of both," subjoined Jacky, with an air of humility, "_I_
confess I have ever been accustomed to consider as virtues. These
handsome respectable new bonnets"--looking _from_ Mrs. Douglas--"that
our girls got just before their poor father's death, were entirely the
fruits of their own savings."

"And I declare," said Grizzy, who did not excel in innuendos, "I declare,
for my part--although at the same time, my dear niece, I'm certain you
are far from intending it--I really think it's very disrespectful to Sir
Sampson and Lady Maclaughlan, in anybody, and especially such near
neighbours, to give more in charity than they do; for you may be sure
they give as much as they think proper, and they must be the best
judges, and can afford to give what they please; for Sir Sampson could
buy and sell all of us a hundred times over if he liked. It's long since
the Lochmarlie estate was called seven thousand a year; and besides that
there's the Birkendale property and the Glenmavis estate, and I'm sure I
can't tell you all what; but there's no doubt he's a man of immense
fortune."

Well it was known and frequently was it discussed, the iniquity of Mary
being allowed to waste her time and squander her money amongst the poor,
instead of being taught the practical virtues of making her own gowns,
and of hoarding up her pocket-money for some selfish gratification.

In colloquies such as these day after day passed on without any visible
improvement taking place in her health. Only one remedy suggested itself
to Mrs. Douglas, and that was to remove her to the south of England for
the winter. Milder air and change of scene she had no doubt would prove
efficacious; and her opinion was confirmed by that of the celebrated
Dr.-----, who, having been summoned to the Laird of Pettlechass, had
paid a visit at Glenfern _en passant._ How so desirable an event was to
be accomplished was the difficulty. By the death of his father a variety
of business and an extent of farming had devolved upon Mr. Douglas which
obliged him to fix his residence at Glenfern, and rendered it impossible
for him to be long absent from it. Mrs. Douglas had engaged in the
duties of a nurse to her little boy, and to take him or leave him was
equally out of the question.

In this dilemma the only resource that offered was that of sending Mary
for a few months to her mother. True, it was a painful necessity; for
Mrs. Douglas seldom heard from her sister-in-law, and when she did, her
letters were short and cold. She sometimes desired "a kiss to her
(Mrs. Douglas's) little girl," and once, in an extraordinary fit of good
humour, had actually sent a locket with her hair in a letter by post,
for which Mrs. Douglas had to pay something more than the value of the
present. This was all that Mary knew of her mother, and the rest of her
family were still greater strangers to her. Her father remained in a
distant station in India, and was seldom heard of. Her brother was gone
to sea; and though she had written repeatedly to her sister, her letters
remained unnoticed. Under these circumstances there was something
revolting in the idea of obtruding Mary upon the notice of her
relations, and trusting to their kindness even for a few months; yet her
health, perhaps her life, was at stake, and Mrs. Douglas felt she had
scarcely a right to hesitate.

"Mary has perhaps been too long an alien from her own family," said she
to herself; "this will be a means of her becoming acquainted with them,
and of introducing her to that sphere in which she is probably destined
to walk. Under her uncle's roof she will surely be safe, and in the
society of her mother and sister she cannot be unhappy. New scenes will
give a stimulus to her mind; the necessity of exertion will brace the
languid faculties of her soul, and a few short months, I trust, will
restore her to me such and even superior to what she was. Why, then,
should I hesitate to do what my conscience tells me ought to be done?
Alas! it is because I selfishly shrink from the pain of separation, and
am unwilling to relinquish, even for a season, one of the many blessings
Heaven has bestowed upon me." And Mrs. Douglas, noble and disinterested
as ever, rose superior to the weakness that she felt was besetting her.
Mary listened to her communication with a throbbing heart and eyes
suffused with tears; to part from her aunt was agony; but to behold her
mother--she to whom she owed her existence, to embrace a sister too--and
one for whom she felt all those mysterious yearnings which twins are
said to entertain towards each other--oh, there was rapture in the
thought, and Mary's buoyant heart fluctuated between the extremes of
anguish and delight.

The venerable sisters received the intelligence with much surprise: they
did not know very well what to say about it; there was much to be said
both for and against it. Lady Maclaughlan had a high opinion of English
air; but then they had heard the morals of the people were not so good,
and there were a great many dissipated young men in England; though, to
be sure, there was no denying but the mineral waters were excellent;
and, in short, it ended in Miss Grizzy's sitting down to concoct an
epistle to Lady Maclaughlan; in Miss Jacky's beginning to draw up a code
of instructions for a young woman upon her entrance into life; and Miss
Nicky hoping that if Mary did go, she would take care not to bring back
any extravagant English notions with her. The younger set debated
amongst themselves how many of them would be invited to accompany Mary
to England, and from thence fell to disputing the possession of a brown
hair trunk, with a flourished D in brass letters on the top.

Mrs. Douglas, with repressed feelings, set about offering the sacrifice
she had planned, and in a letter to Lady Juliana, descriptive of her
daughter's situation, she sought to excite her tenderness without
creating an alarm. How far she succeeded will be seen hereafter. In the
meantime we must take a retrospective glance at the last seventeen years
of her Ladyship's life.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

    _Her_ "only labour was to kill the time;
    And labour dire it is, and weary woe."

         _Castle of Indolence._

YEARS had rolled on amidst heartless pleasures and joyless amusements,
but Lady Juliana was made neither the wiser nor the better by added
years and increased experience. Time had in vain turned his glass
before eyes still dazzled with the gaudy allurements of the world, for
she took "no note of time" but as the thing that was to take her to the
Opera and the Park, and that sometimes hurried her excessively, and
sometimes bored her to death. At length she was compelled to abandon her
chase after happiness in the only sphere where she believed it was to be
found. Lord Courtland's declining health unfitted him for the
dissipation of a London life; and, by the advice of his physician, he
resolved upon retiring to a country seat which he possessed in the
vicinity of Bath. Lady Juliana was in despair at the thoughts of this
sudden wrench from what she termed "life;" but she had no resource; for
though her good-natured husband gave her the whole of General Cameron's
allowance, that scarcely served to keep her in clothes; and though her
brother was perfectly willing that she and her children should occupy
apartments in his house, yet he would have been equally acquiescent had
she proposed to remove from it. Lady Juliana had a sort of instinctive
knowledge of this, which prevented her from breaking out into open
remonstrance. She therefore contented herself with being more than
usually peevish and irascible to her servants and children, and talking
to her friends of the prodigious sacrifice she was about to make for her
brother and his family, as if it had been the cutting off of a hand or
the plucking out of an eye. To have heard her, anyone unaccustomed to
the hyperbole of fashionable language would have deemed Botany Bay the
nearest possible point of destination. Parting from her fashionable
acquaintances was tearing herself from all she loved; quitting London
was bidding adieu to the world. Of course there could be no society
where she was going, but still she would do her duty; she would not
desert dear Frederick and his poor children! In short, no martyr was
ever led to the stake with half the notions of heroism and self-devotion
as those with which Lady Juliana stepped into the barouche that was to
conduct her to Beech Park. In the society of piping bullfinches, pink
canaries, gray parrots, goldfish, green squirrels, Italian greyhounds,
and French poodles, she sought a refuge from despair. But even these
varied charms, after a while, failed to please. The bullfinches grew
hoarse; the canaries turned brown; the parrots became stupid; the gold
fish would not eat; the squirrels were cross; the dogs fought; even a
shell grotto that was constructing fell down; and by the time the aviary
and conservatory were filled, they had lost their interest. The children
were the next subjects for her Ladyship's ennui to discharge itself
upon. Lord Courtland had a son some years older, and a daughter nearly
of the same age as her own. It suddenly occurred to her that they must
be educated, and that she would educate the girls herself. As the first
step she engaged two governesses, French and Italian; modern treatises
on the subject of education were ordered from London, looked at,
admired, and arranged on gilded shelves and sofa tables; and could their
contents have exhaled with the odours of their Russia leather bindings,
Lady Juliana's dressing-room would have been what Sir Joshua Reynolds
says every seminary of learning _is,_ "an atmosphere of floating
knowledge." But amidst this splendid display of human lore, THE BOOK
found no place. She _had_ heard of the Bible, however, and even knew it
was a book appointed to be read in churches, and given to poor people,
along with Rumford soup and flannel shirts; but as the rule of life, as
the book that alone could make wise unto salvation, this Christian
parent was ignorant as the Hottentot or Hindoo.

Three days beheld the rise, progress, and decline of Lady Juliana's
whole system of education; and it would have been well for the children
had the trust been delegated to those better qualified to discharge it.
But neither of the preceptresses was better skilled in the only true
knowledge. Signora Cicianai was a bigoted Catholic, whose faith hung
upon her beads, and Madame Grignon was an _esprit forte,_ who had no
faith in anything but _le plaisir._ But the Signora's singing was
heavenly, and Madame's dancing was divine, and what lacked there more?

So passed the first years of beings training for immortality. The
children insensibly ceased to be children, and Lady Juliana would have
beheld the increasing height and beauty of her daughter with extreme
disapprobation, had not that beauty, by awakening her ambition, also
excited her affection, if the term affection could be applied to that
heterogeneous mass of feelings and propensities that "shape had none
distinguishable." Lady Juliana had fallen into an error very common with
wiser heads than hers that of mistaking the _effect_ for the _cause._ She
looked no farther than to her union with Henry Douglas for the
foundation of all her unhappiness; it never once occurred to her that
her marriage was only the _consequence_ of something previously wrong;
she saw not the headstrong passions that had impelled her to please
herself--no matter at what price. She thought not of the want of
principle, she blushed not at the want of delicacy, that had led her to
deceive a parent and elope with a man to whose character she was a total
stranger. She therefore considered herself as having fallen a victim to
love; and could she only save her daughter from a similar error she might
yet by her means retrieve her fallen fortune. To implant principles of
religion and virtue in her mind was not within the compass of her own;
but she could scoff at every pure and generous affection; she could
ridicule every disinterested attachment; and she could expatiate on the
never-fading joys that attend on wealth and titles, jewels and
equipages; and all this she did in the belief that she was acting the
part of a most wise and tender parent! The seed, thus carefully sown,
promised to bring forth an abundant harvest. At eighteen Adelaide
Douglas was as heartless and ambitious as she was beautiful and
accomplished; but the surface was covered with flowers, and who would
have thought of analysing the soil?

It sometimes happens that the very means used with success in the
formation of one character produce a totally opposite effect upon
another. The mind of Lady Emily Lindore had undergone exactly the same
process in its formation as that of her cousin; yet in all things they
differed. Whether it were the independence of high birth, or the pride
of a mind conscious of its own powers, she had hitherto resisted the
sophistry of her governesses and the solecisms of her aunt. But her
notions of right and wrong were too crude to influence the general tenor
of her life, or operate as restraints upon a naturally high spirit and
impetuous temper. Not all the united efforts of her preceptresses had
been able to form a manner for their pupil; nor could their authority
restrain her from saying what she thought, and doing what she pleased;
and, in spite of both precept and example, Lady Emily remained as
insupportably natural and sincere as she was beautiful and _piquante._
At six years old she had declared her intention of marrying her cousin
Edward Douglas, and at eighteen her words were little less equivocal.
Lord Courtland, who never disturbed himself about anything, was rather
diverted with this juvenile attachment; and Lady Juliana, who cared
little for her son, and still less for her niece, only wondered how
people could be such fools as to think of marrying for love, after she
had told them how miserable it would make them.



CHAPTER XXIX.

    "Unthought of frailties cheat us in the wise;
    The fool lies hid in inconsistencies."

                     POPE.

SUCH were the female members of the family to whom Mary was about to be
introduced. In her mother's heart she had no place, for of her absent
husband and neglected daughter she seldom thought; and their letters
were scarcely read, and rarely answered. Even good Miss Grizzy's
elaborate epistle, in which were curiously entwined the death of her
brother and the birth and christening of her grand-nephew, in a truly
Gordian manner, remained disentangled. Had her Ladyship only read to the
middle of the seventh page she would have learned the indisposition of
her daughter, with the various opinions thereupon; but poor Miss
Grizzy's labours were vain, for her letter remains a dead letter to this
day. Mrs. Douglas was therefore the first to convey the unwelcome
intelligence, and to suggest to the mind of the mother that her
alienated daughter still retained some claims upon her care and
affection; and although this was done with all the tenderness and
delicacy of a gentle and enlightened mind, it called forth the most
bitter indignation from Lady Juliana.

She almost raved at what she termed the base ingratitude and hypocrisy
of her sister-in-law. After the sacrifice she had made in giving up her
child to her when she had none of her own, it was a pretty return to
send her back only to die. But she saw through it. She did not believe a
word of the girl's silliness; that was a trick to get rid of her. Now
they had a child of their own, they had no use for hers; but she was not
to be made a fool of in such a way, and by such people, etc. etc.

"If Mrs. Douglas is so vile a woman," said the provoking Lady Emily,
"the sooner my cousin is taken from her the better."

"You don't understand these things, Emily," returned her aunt
impatiently.

"What things?"

"The trouble and annoyance it will occasion me to take charge of the
girl at this time."

"Why at this time more than at any other?"

"Absurd, my dear! how can you ask so foolish a question?  Don't you
know that you and Adelaide are both to bring out this winter, and how
can I possibly do you justice with a dying girl upon my hands?"

"I thought you suspected it was all a trick," continued the persecuting
Lady Emily.

"So I do; I haven't the least doubt of it. The whole story is the most
improbable stuff I ever heard."

"Then you will have less trouble than you expect."

"But I hate to be made a dupe of, and imposed upon by low cunning. If
Mrs. Douglas had told me candidly she wished me to take the girl, I would
have thought nothing of it; but I can't bear to be treated like a fool."

"I don't see anything at all unbecoming in Mrs. Douglas's treatment."

"Then what can I do with a girl who has been educated in Scotland?  She
must be vulgar--all Scotchwomen are so. They have red hands and rough
voices; they yawn, and blow their noses, and talk, and laugh loud, and
do a thousand shocking things. Then, to hear the Scotch
brogue--oh, heavens! I should expire every time she opened her mouth!"

"Perhaps my sister may not speak so _very_ broad," kindly suggested
Adelaide in her sweetest accents.

"You are very good, my love, to think so; but nobody can live in that
odious country without being infected with its _patois._ I really
thought I should have caught it myself; and Mr. Douglas" (no longer
Henry) "became quite gross in his language after living amongst his
relations."

"This is really too bad," cried Lady Emily indignantly. "If a person
speaks sense and truth, what does it signify how it is spoken? And
whether your Ladyship chooses to receive your daughter here or not, I
shall at any rate invite my cousin to my father's house." And, snatching
up a pen, she instantly began a letter to Mary.

Lady Juliana was highly incensed at this freedom of her niece; but she
was a little afraid of her, and therefore, after some sharp altercation,
and with infinite violence done to her feelings, she was prevailed upon
to write a decently civil sort of a letter to Mrs. Douglas, consenting
to receive her daughter for a _few months;_ firmly resolving in her own
mind to conceal her from all eyes and ears while she remained, and to
return her to her Scotch relations early in the summer.

This worthy resolution formed, she became more serene and awaited the
arrival of her daughter with as much firmness as could reasonably have
been expected.



CHAPTER XXX.

    "And for unfelt imaginations
    They often feel a world of restless cares."

                               SHAKESPEARE.

LITTLE weened the good ladies of Glenfern the ungracious reception their
_protégée_ was likely to experience from her mother; for, in spite of
the defects of her education, Mary was a general favourite in the
family; and however they might solace themselves by depreciating her to
Mrs. Douglas, to the world in general, and their young female
acquaintances in particular, she was upheld as an epitome of every
perfection above and below the sun. Had it been possible for them to
conceive that Mary could have been received with anything short of
rapture, Lady Juliana's letter might in some measure have opened the
eyes of their understanding; but to the guileless sisters it seemed
everything that was proper. Sorry for the necessity Mrs. Douglas felt
under of parting with her adopted daughter, was "prettily expressed;"
had no doubt it was merely a slight nervous affection, "was kind and
soothing;" and the assurance, more than once repeated, that her friends
might rely upon her being returned to them in the course of a very few
months, "showed a great deal of feeling and consideration." But as their
minds never maintained a just equilibrium long upon any subject, but,
like falsely adjusted scales, were ever hovering and vibrating at either
extreme, so they could not rest satisfied in the belief that Mary was to
be happy; there must be something to counteract that stilling sentiment;
and that was the apprehension that Mary would be spoilt. This, for the
present, was the pendulum of their imaginations.

"I declare, Mary, my sisters and I could get no sleep last night for
thinking of you," said Miss Grizzy; _"we_ are all certain that Lady
Juliana especially, but indeed all your English relations, will think so
much of you--from not knowing you, you know--which will be quite
natural. I'm sure that my sisters and I have taken it into our
heads--but I hope it won't be the case, as you have a great deal of good
sense of your own--that they will quite turn your head."

"Mary's head is on her shoulders to little purpose," followed up Miss
Jacky, "if she can't stand being made of when she goes amongst
strangers; and she ought to know by this time that a mother's partiality
is no proof of a child's merit."

"You hear that, Mary," rejoined Miss Grizzy; "so I'm sure I hope you
won't mind a word that your mother says to you, I mean about yourself;
for of course you know she can't be such a good judge of you as us, who
have known you all your life. As to other things, I daresay she is very
well informed about the country, and politics, and these sort of
things--I'm certain Lady Juliana knows a great deal."

"And I hope, Mary, you will take care and not get into the daadlin'
handless ways of the English women," said Miss Nicky; "I wouldn't give a
pin for an Englishwoman."

"And I hope you will never look at an Englishman, Mary," said Miss
Grizzy, with equal earnestness; "take my word for it they are a very
dissipated, unprincipled set. They all drink, and game, and keep
race-horses; and many of them, I'm told, even keep play-actresses; so
you may think what it would be for all of us if you were to marry any of
them,"--and tears streamed from the good spinster's eyes at the bare
supposition of such a calamity.

"Don't be afraid, my dear aunt," said Mary, with a kind caress; "I
shall come back to you your own 'Highland Mary.' No Englishman with his
round face and trim meadows shall ever captivate me. Heath covered hills
and high cheek-bones are the charms that must win my heart."

"I'm delighted to hear you say so, my dear Mary," said the
literal-minded Grizzy. "Certainly nothing can be prettier than the
heather when it's in flower; and there is something very manly--nobody
can dispute that--in high cheek-bones; and besides, to tell you a
secret, Lady Maclaughlan has a husband in her eye for you. We none of us
can conceive who it is, but of course he must be suitable in every
respect; for you know Lady Maclaughlan has had three husbands herself;
so of course she must be an excellent judge of a good husband."

"Or a bad one," said Mary, "which is the same thing. Warning is as good
as example."

Mrs. Douglas's ideas and those of her aunt, did not coincide upon this
occasion more than upon most others. In her sister-in-Iaw's letter she
flattered herself she saw only fashionable indifference; and she fondly
hoped that would soon give way to a tenderer sentiment, as her daughter
became known to her. At any rate it was proper that Mary should make the
trial, and whichever way it ended, it must be for her advantage.

"Mary has already lived too long in these mountain solitudes," thought
she; "her ideas will become romantic, and her taste fastidious. If it is
dangerous to be too early initiated into the ways of the world, it is
perhaps equally so to live too long secluded from it. Should she make
herself a place in the heart of her mother and sister it will be so much
happiness gained; and should it prove otherwise, it will be a lesson
learnt--a hard one indeed! but hard are the lessons we must all learn in
the school of life!" Yet Mrs. Douglas's fortitude almost failed her as
the period of separation approached.

It had been arranged by Lady Emily that a carriage and servants
should meet Mary at Edinburgh, whither Mr. Douglas was to convey her.
The cruel moment came; and mother, sister, relations, friends,--all the
bright visions which Mary's sanguine spirit had conjured up to soften
the parting pang, all were absorbed in one agonising feeling, one
overwhelming thought. Oh, who that for the first time has parted from
the parent whose tenderness and love were entwined with our earliest
recollections, whose sympathy had soothed our infant sufferings, whose
fondness had brightened our infant felicity;--who that has a heart, but
must have felt it sink beneath the anguish of a first farewell! Yet
bitterer still must be the feelings of the parent upon committing the
cherished object of their cares and affections to the stormy ocean of
life. When experience points to the gathering cloud and rising surge
which soon may assail their defenceless child, what can support the
mother's heart but trust in Him whose eye slumbereth not, and whose
power extendeth over all? It was this pious hope, this holy confidence,
that enabled this more than mother to part from her adopted child with a
resignation which no earthly motive could have imparted to her mind. It
seems almost profanation to mingle with her elevated feelings the coarse
yet simple sorrows of the aunts, old and young, as they clung around the
nearly lifeless Mary, each tendering the parting gift they had kept as a
solace for the last.

Poor Miss Grizzy was more than usually incoherent as she displayed "a
nice new umbrella that could be turned into a nice walking-stick, or
anything;" and a dressing-box, with a little of everything in it; and,
with a fresh burst of tears, Mary was directed where she would _not_
find eye-ointment, and where she was _not_ to look for
sticking-plaister.

Miss Jacky was more composed as she presented a flaming copy of
Fordyce's Sermons to Young Women, with a few suitable observations; but
Miss Nicky could scarcely find voice to tell that the _housewife_ she
now tendered had once been Lady Girnchgowl's, and that it contained
Whitechapel needles of every size and number. The younger ladies had
clubbed for the purchase of a large locket, in which was enshrined a lock
from each subscriber, tastefully arranged by the----- jeweller, in the
form of a wheat sheaf upon a blue ground. Even old Donald had his
offering, and, as he stood tottering at the chaise door, he contrived to
get a "bit snishin mull" laid on Mary's lap, with a "God bless her bonny
face, an'may she ne'er want a good sneesh!"

The carriage drove off, and for a while Mary's eyes were closed in
despair.



CHAPTER XXXI.

    "Farewell to the mountains, high covered with snow;
    Farewell to the straths, and green valleys below;
    Farewell to the forests, and wild hanging woods,
    Farewell to the torrents, and loud roaring floods!"

            _Scotch Song._

HAPPILY in the moral world as in the material one the warring elements
have their prescribed bounds, and "the flood of grief decreaseth when it
can swell no higher;" but it is only by retrospection we can bring
ourselves to believe in this obvious truth. The young and untried heart
hugs itself in the bitterness of its emotions, and takes a pride in
believing that its anguish can end but with its existence; and it is not
till time hath almost steeped our senses in forgetfulness that we
discover the mutability of all human passions.

But Mary left it not to the slow hand of time to subdue in some measure
the grief that swelled her heart. Had she given way to selfishness, she
would have sought the free indulgence of her sorrow as the only
mitigation of it; but she felt also for her uncle. He was depressed at
parting with his wife and child, and he was taking a long and dreary
journey entirely upon her account. Could she therefore be so selfish as
to add to his uneasiness by a display of her sufferings? No--she would
strive to conceal it from his observation, though to overcome it was
impossible. Her feelings must ever remain the same, but, she would
confine them to her own breast; and she began to converse with and even
strove to amuse, her kindhearted companion. Ever and anon indeed a rush
of tender recollections came across her mind, and the soft voice and the
bland countenance of her maternal friend seemed for a moment present to
her senses; and then the dreariness and desolation that succeeded as the
delusion vanished, and all was stillness and vacuity! Even self-reproach
shot its piercing sting into her ingenuous heart; levities on which, in
her usual gaiety of spirit, she had never bestowed a thought, now
appeared to her as crimes of the deepest dye. She thought how often she
had slighted the counsels and neglected the wishes of her gentle
monitress; how she had wearied of her good old aunts, their cracked
voices, and the everlasting _tic-a-tic_ of their knitting needles; how
coarse and vulgar she had sometimes deemed the younger ones; how she had
mimicked Lady Maclaughlan, and caricatured Sir Sampson, and "even poor
dear old Donald," said she, as she summed up the catalogue of her
crimes, "could not escape my insolence and ill-nature. How clever I
thought it to sing 'Haud awa frae me, Donald,' and how affectedly I
shuddered at everything he touched;" and the "sneeshin mull" was bedewed
with tears of affectionate contrition. But every painful sentiment was
for a while suspended in admiration of the magnificent scenery that was
spread around them. Though summer had fled, and few even of autumn's
graces remained, yet over the august features of mountain scenery the
seasons have little control. Their charms depend not upon richness of
verdure, or luxuriance of foliage, or any of the mere prettinesses of
nature; but whether wrapped in snow, or veiled in mist, or glowing in
sunshine, their lonely grandeur remains the same; and the same feelings
fill and elevate the soul in contemplating these mighty works of an
Almighty hand. The eye is never weary in watching the thousand varieties
of light and shade, as they flit over the mountain and gleam upon the
lake; and the ear is satisfied with the awful stillness of nature in her
solitude.

Others besides Mary seemed to have taken a fanciful pleasure in
combining the ideas of the mental and elemental world, for in the dreary
dwelling where they were destined to pass the night she found inscribed
the following lines:--

    "The busy winds war mid the waving bonghs,
    And darkly rolls the heaving surge to land;
    Among the flying clouds the moonbeam glows
    With colours foreign to its softness bland.

    "Here, one dark shadow melts, in gloom profound,
    The towering Alps--the guardians of the Lake';
    There, one bright gleam sheds silver light around,
    And shows the threat'ning strife that tempests wake.

    "Thus o'er my mind a busy memory plays,
    That shakes the feelings to their inmost core;
    Thus beams the light of Hope's fallacious ray,
    When simple confidence can trust no more.

    "So one dark shadow shrouds each bygone hour,
    So one bright gleam the coming tempest shows;
    _That _tells of sorrows, which, though past, still lower,
    And _this_ reveals th' approach of future woes."

While Mary was trying to decipher these somewhat mystic lines, her uncle
was carrying on a colloquy in Gaelic with their hostess. The
consequendes of the consultation were not of the choicest description,
consisting of braxy [1] mutton, raw potatoes, wet bannocks, hard
cheese, and whisky. Very differently would the travellers have fared had
the good Nicky's intentions been fulfilled. She had prepared with her
own hands a moorfowl pie and potted nowt's head, besides a profusion of
what she termed "trifles, just for Mary, poor thing, to divert herself
with upon the road." But alas! in the anguish of separation, the covered
basket had been forgot, and the labour of Miss Nicky's hands fell to be
consumed by the family, though Miss Grizzy protested, with tears in her
eyes, "that it went to her heart like a knife to eat poor Mary's puffs
and snaps."

[1] Sheep that have died a natural death and been salted.


Change of air and variety of scene failed not to produce the happiest
effects upon Mary's languid frame and drooping spirits. Her cheek,
already glowed with health, and was sometimes dimpled with smiles. She
still wept, indeed, as she thought of those she had left; but often,
while the tear trembled in her eye, its course was arrested by wonder,
or admiration, or delight; for every object had its charms for her. Her
cultivated taste and unsophisticated mind could descry beauty in the
form of a hill, and grandeur in the foam of the wave, and elegance in
the weeping birch, as it dipped its now almost leafless boughs in the
mountain stream. These simple pleasures, unknown alike to the sordid
mind and vitiated taste, are ever exquisitely enjoyed by the refined
yet unsophisticated child of nature.



CHAPTER XXXII

    "Her native sense improved by reading,
     Her native sweetness by good breeding."

DURING their progress through the Highlands the travellers were
hospitably entertained at the mansions of the country gentlemen, where
old-fashioned courtesy and modern comfort combined to cheer the stranger
guest. But upon _coming out,_ as it is significantly expressed by the
natives of these mountain regions, viz. entering the low country, they
found they had only made a change of difficulties. In the highlands they
were always sure that wherever there was a house that house would be to
them a home; but on a fairday in the little town of G----- they found
themselves in the midst of houses, and surrounded by people, yet unable
to procure rest or shelter.

At the only inn the place afforded they were informed "the horses were
baith oot, an' the ludgin' a' tane up, an' mair tu;" while the driver
asserted, what indeed was apparent, "that his beasts war nae fit to gang
the length o' their tae farrer--no for the king himsel'."

At this moment a stout, florid, good-humoured-looking man passed,
whistling "Roy's Wife" with all his heart and just as Mr. Douglas was
stepping out of the carriage to try what could be done, the same person,
evidently attracted by curiosity, repassed, changing his tune to
"There's cauld kail in Aberdeen."

He started at sight of Mr. Douglas;  then eagerly grasping his hand,
"Ah! Archie Douglas, is this you?" exclaimed he with a loud laugh and
hearty shake. "'What! you haven't forgot your old schoolfellow Bob
Gawffaw?"

A mutual recognition now took place, and much pleasure was manifested on
both sides at this unexpected rencontre. No time was allowed to explain
their embarrassments, for Mr. Gawffaw had already tipped the post-boy
the wink (which he seemed easily to comprehend); and forcing Mr.
Douglas to resume his seat in the carriage, he jumped in himself.

"Now for Howffend and Mrs. Gawffaw! ha, ha, ha! This will be a surprise
upon her. She thinks I'm in my barn all this time--ha, ha, ha!"

Mr. Douglas here began to express his astonishment at his friend's
precipitation, and his apprehensions as to the trouble they might
occasion Mrs. Gawffaw; but bursts of laughter and broken expressions of
delight were the only replies he could procure from his friend.

After jolting over half a mile of very bad road, the carriage
stopped at a mean vulgar-looking mansion, with dirty windows, ruinous
thatched offices, and broken fences.

Such was the picture of still life. That of animated nature was not less
picturesque. Cows bellowed, and cart-horses neighed, and pigs grunted,
and geese gabbled, and ducks quacked, and cocks and hens flapped and
fluttered promiscuously, as they mingled in a sort of yard divided from
the house by a low dyke, possessing the accommodation of a crazy gate,
which was bestrode by a parcel of bare-legged boys.

"What are you about, you confounded rascals?" called Mr. Gawffaw to
them.

"Naething," answered one.

"We're just takin' a heize on the yett," answered another.

"I'll heize ye, ye scoundrels!" exclaimed the incensed Mr. Gawffaw, as
he burst from the carriage; and, snatching the driver's whip from his
hand, flew after the more nimble-footed culprits.

Finding his efforts to overtake them in vain, here turned to the door of
his mansion, where stood his guests, waiting to be ushered in. He opened
the door himself, and led the way to a parlour which was quite of a piece
with the exterior of the dwelling. A dim dusty table stood in the middle
of the floor, heaped with a variety of heterogeneous articles of dress;
an exceeding dirty volume of a novel lay open amongst them. The floor
was littered with shapings of flannel, and shreds of gauzes, ribbons,
etc. The fire was almost out, and the hearth was covered with ashes.

After insisting upon his guests being seated, Mr. Gawffaw walked to the
door of the apartment, and hallooed out, "Mrs. Gawffaw,--ho! May, my
dear!--I say, Mrs. Gawffaw!"

A low, croaking, querulous voice was now heard in reply, "For heaven's
sake, Mr. Gawffaw, make less noise! For God's sake, have mercy on the
walls of your house, if you've none on my poor head!" And thereupon
entered Mrs. Gawffaw, a cap in one hand, which she appeared to have
been tying on--a smelling-bottle in the other.

She possessed a considerable share of insipid and somewhat faded beauty,
but disguised by a tawdry trumpery style of dress, and rendered almost
disgusting by the air of affectation, folly, and peevishness that
overspread her whole person and deportment. She testified the utmost
surprise and coldness at sight of her guests; and, as she entered, Mr.
Gawffaw rushed out, having descried something passing in the yard that
called for his interposition. Mr. Douglas was therefore under the
necessity of introducing himself and Mary to their ungracious hostess;
briefly stating the circumstances that had led them to be her guests,
and dwelling, with much warmth, on the kindness and hospitality of her
husband in having relieved them from their embarrassment. A gracious
smile, or what was intended as such, beamed over Mrs. Gawffaw's face at
first mention of their names.

"Excuse me, Mr. Douglas," said she, making a profound reverence to him,
and another to Mary, while she waved her hand for them to be seated.
"Excuse me, Miss Douglas; but situated as I am, I find it necessary to
be very distant to Mr. Gawffaw's friends sometimes. He is a thoughtless
man, Mr. Douglas--a very thoughtless man. He makes a perfect inn of his
house. He never lies out of the town, trying who he can pick up and
bring home with him. It is seldom I am so fortunate as to see such
guests as Mr. and Miss Douglas of Glenfern Castle in my house," with an
elegant bow to each, which of course was duly returned. "But Mr. Gawffaw
would have shown more consideration, both for you and me, had he
apprised me of the honour of your visit, instead of bringing you here in
this ill bred, unceremonious manner. As for me, I am too well accustomed
to him to be hurt at these things now. He has kept me in hot water, I
may say, since the day I married him."

In spite of the conciliatory manner in which this agreeable address was
made, Mr. Douglas felt considerably disconcerted, and again renewed his
apologies, adding something about hopes of being able to proceed.

"Make no apologies, my dear sir," said the lady, with what she deemed a
most bewitching manner; "it affords me the greatest pleasure to see any
of your family under my roof. I meant no reflection on you; it is
entirely Mr. Gawffaw that is to blame, in not having apprised me of the
honour of this visit, that I might not have been caught in this
déshabille; but I was really so engaged by my studies--" pointing to the
dirty novel--"that I was quite unconscious of the lapse of time." The
guests felt more and more at a loss what to say; but the lady, was at
none. Seeing Mr. Douglas still standing with his hat in his hand, and
his eye directed towards the door, she resumed her discourse.

"Pray be seated, Mr. Douglas; I beg you will sit off the door. Miss
Douglas, I entreat you will walk into the fire; I hope you will consider
yourself as quite at home"--another elegant bend to each. "I only regret
that Mr. Gawffaw's folly and ill-breeding should have brought you into
this disagreeable situation, Mr. Douglas. He is a well-meaning man, Mr.
Douglas, and a good-hearted man; but he is very deficient in other
respects, Mr. Douglas."

Mr. Douglas, happy to find anything to which he could assent, warmly
joined in the eulogium on the excellence of his friend's heart. It did
not appear, however, to give the satisfaction he expected. The lady
resumed with a sigh, "Nobody can know Mr. Gawffaw's heart better than I
do, Mr. Douglas. It _is_ a good one, but it is far from being an elegant
one; it is one in which I find no congeniality of sentiment with my own.
Indeed, Mr. Gawffaw is no companion for me, nor I for him, Mr. Douglas;
he is never happy in my society, and I really believe he would rather
sit down with the tinklers on the roadside as spend a day in my
company."

A deep sigh followed; but its pathos was drowned in the obstreperous ha,
ha, ha! of her joyous helpmate, as he bounced into the room, wiping his
forehead.

"'Why, May, my dear, what have you been to-day? Things have been all
going to the deuce. Why didn't you hinder these boys from sweein' the
gate off its hinges, and--"

"Me hinder boys from sweein' gates, Mr. Gawffaw! Do I look like as if I
was capable of hindering boys from sweein' gates, Miss Douglas?"

"Well, my dear, you ought to look after your pigs a little better. That
jade, black Jess, has trod a parcel of them to death, ha, ha, ha! And--"

"Me look after pigs, Mr. Gawffaw! I am really astonished at you!" again
interrupted the lady, turning pale with vexation. Then, with an affected
giggle, appealing to Mary, "I leave you to judge, Miss Douglas, if I
look like a person made for running after pigs!"

"Indeed," thought Mary, "you don't look like as if you could do
anything half so useful."

"Well, never mind the pigs, my dear; only don't give us any of them for
dinner--ha, ha, ha I--and, May, when will you let us have it?"

"Me let you have it, Mr. Gawffaw! I'm sure I don't hinder you from
having it when you please, only you know I prefer late hours myself. I
was always accustomed to them in my poor father's lifetime. He never
dined before four o'clock; and I seldom knew what it was to be in my bed
before twelve o'clock at night, Miss Douglas, till I married Mr. Gawffaw!"

Mary tried to look sorrowful, to hide the smile that was dimpling her
cheek.

"Come, let us have something to eat in the meantime, my dear."

"I'm sure you may eat the house, if you please, for me, Mr. Gawffaw!
What would you take, Miss Douglas? But pull the bell--softly, Mr.
Gawffaw! You do everything so violently."

A dirty maid-servant, with bare feet, answered the summons.

"Where's Tom?" demanded the lady, well knowing that Tom was afar off at
some of the farm operations.

"I ken nae whar he's. He'll be aether at the patatees, or the horses,
I'se warran. Div ye want him?"

"Bring some glasses," said her mistress, with an air of great dignity.
"Mr. Gawffaw, you must see about the wine yourself since you have sent
Tom out of the way."

Mr. Gawffaw and his handmaid were  soon heard in an adjoining closet;
the one wondering where the screw was, the other vociferating for a
knife to cut the bread; while the mistress of this well-regulated
mansion sought to divert her guests' attention from what was passing by
entertaining them with complaints of Mr. Gawffaw's noise and her maid's
insolence till the parties appeared to speak for themselves.

After being refreshed with some very bad wine and old baked bread, the
gentlemen set off on a survey of the farm, and the ladies repaired to
their toilets. Mary's simple dress was quickly adjusted; and upon
descending she found her uncle alone in what Mrs. Gawffaw had shown to
her as the drawing room. He guessed her curiosity to know something of
her hosts, and therefore briefly informed her that Mrs. Gawffaw was the
daughter of a trader in some manufacturing town, who had lived in
opulence and died insolvent. During his life his daughter had eloped
with Bob Gawffaw, then a gay lieutenant in a marching regiment, who had
been esteemed a very lucky fellow in getting the pretty Miss Croaker,
with the prospect of ten thousand pounds. None thought more highly of
her husband's good fortune than the lady herself; and though _her_
fortune never was realised, she gave herself all the airs of having been
the making of his. At this time Mr. Gawffaw was a reduced lieutenant,
living upon a small paternal property, which he pretended to farm; but
the habits of a military life, joined to a naturally social disposition,
were rather inimical to the pursuits of agriculture, and most of his time
was spent in loitering about the village of G-----, where he generally
continued either to pick up a guest or procure a dinner.

Mrs. Gawffaw despised her husband; had weak nerves and headaches--was
above managing her house--read novels--dyed ribbons--and altered her
gowns according to every pattern she could see or hear of.

Such were Mr. and Mrs. Gawffaw--one of the many ill-assorted couples in
this world--joined, not matched. A sensible man would have curbed her
folly and peevishness; a good-tempered woman would have made his home
comfortable, and rendered him more domestic.

The dinner was such as might have been expected from the previous
specimens--bad of its kind, cold, ill-dressed, and slovenly set down;
but Mrs. Gawtfaw seemed satisfied with herself and it.

"This is very fine mutton, Mr. Douglas, and not underdone to most
people's tastes; and this fowl, I have no doubt will eat well, Miss
Douglas, though it is not so white as some I have seen."

"The fowl, my dear, looks as if it had been the great-grandmother
of this sheep, ha, ha, ha!"

"For heaven's sake, Mr. Gawffaw, make less noise, or my head will split
in a thousand pieces!" putting her hands to it, as if to hold the frail
tenement together. This was always her refuge when at a loss for a
reply.

A very ill-concocted pudding next called forth her approbation.

"This pudding should be good; for it is the same I used to be so
partial to in my poor father's lifetime, when I was used to every
delicacy, Miss Douglas, that money could purchase."

"But you thought me the greatest delicacy of all, my dear, ha, ha, ha!
for you left all your other delicacies for me, ha, ha, ha I--what do you
say to that, May? ha, ha, ha!"

May's reply consisted in putting her hands to her head, with an air of
inexpressible vexation; and finding all her endeavours to be elegant
frustrated by the overpowering vulgarity of her husband, she remained
silent during the remainder of the repast; solacing herself with
complacent glances at her yellow silk gown, and adjusting the gold
chains and necklaces that adorned her bosom.

Poor Mary was doomed to a _tete-a-tete_ with her during the whole
evening; for Mr. Gawffaw was too happy _with_ his friend, and _without_
his wife, to quit the dining-room till a late hour; and then he was so
much exhilarated, that she could almost have joined Mrs. Gawffaw in her
exclamation of "For heaven's sake, Mr. Gawffaw, have mercy on my head!"

The night, however, like all other nights, had a close; and Mrs.
Gawffaw, having once more enjoyed the felicity of finding herself in
company at twelve o'clock at night, at length withdraw; and having
apologised, and hoped, and feared, for another hour in Mary's apartment,
she finally left her to the blessings of solitude and repose.

As Mr. Douglas was desirous of   reaching Edinburgh the following day,
he had, in spite of the urgent remonstrances of his friendly host and
the elegant importunities of his lady, ordered the carriage at an early
hour; and Mary was too eager to quit Howffend to keep it waiting. Mr.
Gawffaw was in readiness to hand her in, but fortunately Mrs. Gaffaw's
head did not permit of her rising. With much the same hearty laugh that
had welcomed their meeting, honest Gawffaw now saluted the departure of
his friend; and as he went whistling over his gate, he ruminated sweet
and bitter thoughts as to the destinies of the day--whether he should
solace himself with a good dinner and the company of Bailie Merry
thought at the Cross Keys in G----, or put up with cold mutton, and May,
at home.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

    "Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
    All hail thy palaces and tow'rs,
    Where once, beneath a monarch's feet,
    Sat legislation's sov'reign pow'rs!"

                BURNS.

ALL Mary's sensations of admiration were faint compared to those she
experienced as she viewed the Scottish metropolis. It was associated in
her mind with all the local prepossessions to which youth and enthusiasm
love to give "a local habitation and a name;" and visions of older times
floated o'er her mind as she gazed on its rocky battlements, and
traversed the lonely arcades of its deserted palace.

"And this was once a gay court!" thought she, as she listened to the
dreary echo of her own footsteps; "and this very ground on which I now
stand was trod by the hapless Mary Stuart! Her eye beheld the same
objects that mine now rests upon; her hand has touched the draperies I
now hold in mine. These frail memorials remain; but what remains of
Scotland's Queen but a blighted name!"

Even the blood-stained chamber possessed a nameless charm for
Mary's vivid imagination. She had not entirely escaped the superstitions
of the country in which she had lived; and she readily yielded her
assent to the asseverations of her guide as to its being the _bona fide_
blood of _David Rizzio,_ which for nearly three hundred years had
resisted all human efforts to efface.

"My credulity is so harmless," said she in answer to her uncle's attempt
to laugh her out of her belief, "that I surely may be permitted to
indulge it especially since I confess I feel a sort of indescribable
pleasure in it."

"You take a pleasure in the sight of blood!" exclaimed Mr. Douglas in
astonishment, "you who turn pale at sight of a cut finger, and shudder
at a leg of mutton with the juice in it!"

"Oh! mere modern vulgar blood is very shocking," answered Mary, with a
smile; "but observe how this is mellowed by time into a tint that could
not offend the most fastidious fine lady; besides," added she in a
graver tone, "I own I love to believe in things supernatural; it seems
to connect us more with another world than when everything is seen to
proceed in the mere ordinary course of nature, as it is called. I cannot
bear to imagine a dreary chasm betwixt the inhabitants of this world and
beings of a higher sphere; I love to fancy myself surrounded by----"

"I wish to heaven you would remember you are surrounded by rational
beings, and not fall into such rhapsodies," said her uncle, glancing at
a party who stood near them, jesting upon all the objects which Mary had
been regarding with so much veneration. "But come, you have been long
enough here. Let us try whether a breeze on the Calton Hill will not
dispel these cobwebs from your brain."

The day, though cold, was clear and sunny; and the lovely spectacle
before them shone forth in all its gay magnificence. The blue waters lay
calm and motionless. The opposite shores glowed in a thousand varied
tints of wood and plain, rock and mountain, cultured field and purple
moor. Beneath, the old town reared its dark brow, and the new one
stretched its golden lines; while all around the varied charms of nature
lay scattered in that profusion which nature's hand alone can bestow.

"Oh! this is exquisite!" exclaimed Mary after along pause, in which she
had been riveted in admiration of the scene before her. "And you are in
the right, my dear uncle. The ideas which are inspired by the
contemplation of such a spectacle as this are far--oh, how
far!--superior to those excited by the mere works of art. There I can,
at best, think but of the inferior agents of Providence; here the soul
rises from nature up to nature's God."

"Upon my soul, you will be taken for a Methodist, Mary, if you talk in
this manner," said Mr. Douglas, with some marks of disquiet, as he
turned round at the salutation of a fat elderly gentleman, whom he
presently recognised as Bailie Broadfoot.

The first salutations over, Mr. Douglas's fears of Mary having been
overheard recurred, and he felt anxious to remove any unfavourable
impression with regard to his own principles, at least, from the mind of
the enlightened magistrate.

"Your fine views here have set my niece absolutely raving," said he,
with a smile; "but I tell her it is only in romantic minds that fine
scenery inspires romantic ideas. I daresay many of the worthy
inhabitants of Edinburgh walk here with no other idea than that of
sharpening their appetites for dinner."

"Nae doot," said the Bailie, "it's a most capital place for that. Were
it no' for that I ken nae muckle use it would be of."

"You speak from experience of its virtues in that respect, I suppose?"
said Mr. Douglas gravely.

"'Deed, as to that I canna compleen. At times, to be sure, I am troubled
with a little kind of a squeamishness after our public interteenments;
but three rounds o' the hill sets a' to rights."

Then observing Mary's eyes exploring, as he supposed, the town of Leith,
"You see that prospeck to nae advantage the day, miss," said he. "If
the glasshouses had been workin', it would have looked as weel again.
Ye hae nae glass-houses in the Highlands; na, na."

The Bailie had a share in the concern;  and the volcanic clouds of
smoke that issued from thence were far more interesting subjects of
speculation to him than all the eruptions of Vesuvius or Etna. But there
was nothing to charm the lingering view to-day; and he therefore
proposed their taking a look at Bridewell, which, next to the smoke from
the glass-houses, he reckoned the object most worthy of notice. It was
indeed deserving of the praises bestowed upon it; and Mary was giving
her whole attention to the details of it when she was suddenly startled
by hearing her own name wailed in piteous accents from one of the lower
cells, and, upon turning round, she discovered in the prisoner the son
of one of the tenants of Glenfern. Duncan M'Free had been always looked
upon as a very honest lad in the Highlands, but he had left home to push
his fortune as a pedlar; and the temptations of the low country having
proved too much for his virtue, poor Duncan as now expiating his offence
in durance vile.

"I shall have a pretty account of you to carry to Glenfern," said Mr.
Douglas, regarding the culprit with his sternest look.

"Oh 'deed, sir, it's no' my faut!" answered Duncan, blubbering
bitterly; "but there's nae freedom at a' in this country. Lord, an' I
war oot o't! Ane canna ca' their head their ain in't; for ye canna lift
the bouk o' a prin but they're a' upon ye." And a fresh burst of sorrow
ensued.

Finding the _peccadillo_ was of a venial nature, Mr. Douglas besought
the Bailie to us his interest to procure the enfranchisement of this his
vassal, which Mr. Broadfoot, happy to oblige a good customer, promised
should be obtained on the following day; and Duncan's emotions being
rather clamorous, the party found it necessary to withdraw.

"And noo," said the Bailie, as they emerged from his place of dole and
durance, "will ye step up to the monument, and tak a rest and some
refreshment?"

"Rest and refreshment in a monument!" exclaimed Mr. Douglas. "Excuse
me, my good friend, but we are not inclined to bait there yet a while."

The Bailie did not comprehend the joke; and he proceeded in his own
drawling humdrum accent to assure them that the monument was a most
convenient place.

"It was erected in honour of  Lord Neilson's memory," said he, "and is
let aff to a pastrycook and confectioner, where you can always find some
trifles to treat the ladies, such as pies and custards, and berries, and
these sort of things; but we passed an order in the cooncil that there
should be naething of a spirituous nature introduced; for if ance
spirits got admittance there's no saying what might happen."

This was a fact which none of the party were disposed to dispute; and
the Bailie, triumphing in his dominion over the spirits, shuffled on
before to do the honours of this place, appropriated at one and the same
time to the manes of a hero and the making of minced pies. The regale
was admirable, and Mary could not help thinking times were improved, and
that it was a better thing to eat tarts in Lord Nelson's Monument than
to have been poisoned in Julius Caesar's.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

"Having a tongue rough as a cat, and biting like an adder, and all their
reproofs are direct scoldings, their common intercourse is open
contumely."--JEREMY TAYLOR.

"THOUGH last, not least of nature's works, I must now introduce you to a
friend of mine," said Mr. Douglas, as, the Bailie having made his bow,
they bent their steps towards the Castle Hill. "Mrs. Violet Macshake is
an aunt of my mother's, whom you must often have heard of, and the last
remaining branch of the noble race of Girnachgowl."

"I am afraid she is rather a formidable person, then?" said Mary.

Her uncle hesitated. "No, not formidable--only rather particular, as all
old people are; but she is very good-hearted."

"I understand, in other words, she is very disagreeable. All
ill-tempered people, I observe, have the character of being
good-hearted; or else all good people are ill-tempered, I can't tell
which."

"It is more than reputation with her," said Mr. Douglas, somewhat
angrily: "for she is, in reality, a very good-hearted woman, as I
experienced when a boy at college. Many a crown piece and half-guinea I
used to get from her. Many a scold, to be sure, went along with them;
but that, I daresay, I deserved. Besides, she is very rich, and I am her
reputed heir; therefore gratitude and self-interest combine to render her
extremely amiable in my estimation."

They had now reached the airy dwelling where Mrs. Macshake resided, and
having rung, the door was at length most deliberately opened by an
ancient, sour-visaged, long-waisted female, who ushered them into an
apartment, the _coup d'oeil_ of which struck a chill to Mary's heart. It
was a good-sized room, with a bare sufficiency of small-legged
dining-tables, and lank haircloth chairs, ranged in high order round the
walls. Although the season was advanced, and the air piercing cold, the
grate stood smiling in all the charms of polished steel; and the
mistress of the mansion was seated by the side of it in an arm-chair,
still in its summer position. She appeared to have no other occupation
than what her own meditations afforded; for a single glance sufficed to
show that not a vestige of book or work was harboured there. She was a
tall, large-boned woman, whom even Time's iron hands scarcely bent, as
she merely stooped at the shoulders. She had a drooping snuffy nose, a
long turned-up chin, small quick gray eyes, and her face projected
far beyond her figure, with an expression of shrewd restless curiosity.
She wore a mode (not _à-la-mode )_ bonnet, and cardinal of the
same, a pair of clogs over her shoes, and black silk mittens on her arms.

As soon as she recognised Mr. Douglas she welcomed him with much
cordiality, shook him long and heartily by the hand, patted him on the
back, looked into his face with much seeming satisfaction; and, in
short, gave all the demonstrations of gladness usual with gentlewomen of
a certain age. Her pleasure, however, appeared to be rather an
_impromptu_ than an habitual feeling; for as the surprise wore off her
visage resumed its harsh and sarcastic expression, and she seemed eager
to efface any agreeable impression her reception might have
excited.

"An' wha thought o' seein ye enow?" said she, in a quick gabbling voice.
"What brought you to the toon? Are ye come to spend our honest faither's
siller ere he's weel cauld in his grave, puir man?"

Mr. Douglas explained that it was upon account of his niece's health.

"Health!" repeated she, with a sardonic smile; "it wad mak' an ool
laugh to hear the wark that's made aboot young fowk's health noo-a-days.
I wonder what ye're aw made o' "--grasping Mary's arm in her great bony
hand--"a wheen puir feckless windlestraes; ye maun awa' to Ingland for
ye're healths. Set ye up! I wonder what cam' o' the lasses i' my time,
that bute to bide at hame? And whilk o' ye, I sude like to ken, 'II ere
leive to see ninety-sax, like me? Health!--he, he !"

Mary, glad of a pretence to in indulge the mirth the old lady's manner
and appearance had excited, joined most heartily in the laugh.

"Tak. aff ye're bannet, bairn, an' let me see ye're face. Wha can tell
what like ye are wi' that snule o' a thing on ye're head?" Then after
taking an accurate survey of her face, she pushed aside her pelisse."
Weel, it's ae mercy, I see ye hae neither the red heed nor the muckle
cuits o' the Douglases. I ken nae whuther ye're faither had them or no.
I ne'er set een on him; neither him nor his braw leddie thought it worth
their while to speer after me; but I was at nae loss, by aw accounts."

"You have not asked after any of your Glenfern friends," said Mr.
Douglas, hoping to touch a more sympathetic chord.

"Time eneugh. Wull ye let me draw my breath, man? Fowk canna say awthing
at ance. An' ye bute to hae an Inglish wife tu; a Scotch lass wad nae
serr ye. An' ye're wean, I'se warran', it's ane o' the warld's wonders;
it's been unco lang o' cummin--he, he!"

"He has begun life under very melancholy auspices, poor fellow!" said
Mr. Douglas, in allusion to his father's death.

"An' wha's faut was that?  I ne'er heard tell the like o't; to hae the
bairn kirsened an' its grandfather deein! But fowk are naither born,
nor kirsened, nor do they wad or dee as they used to du---awthing's
changed."

"You must, indeed, have witnessed many changes," observed Mr. Douglas,
rather at a loss how to utter anything of a conciliatory nature.

"Changes!--weel a wat, I sometimes wonder if it's the same warld,
an' if it's my ain heed that's upon my shoothers."

"But with these changes you must also have seen many improvements?"
said Mary, in a tone of diffidence.

"Impruvements!" turning sharply round upon her; "what ken ye about
impruvements, bairn? A bony impruvement or ens no, to see tyleyors and
sclaters leavin whar I mind jewks an yerls. An' that great glowrin' new
toon there"--pointing out of her windows--"whar I used to sit an' luck
oot at bonny green parks, and see the coos milket, and the bits o'
bairnies rowin' an' tummlin,' an' the lasses trampin i' their tubs--what
see I noo, but stane an' lime, an' stoor' an' dirt, an' idle cheels, an'
dinket-oot madams prancin'. Impruvements, indeed!"

Mary found she was not likely to advance her uncle's fortune by the
judiciousness of her remarks, therefore prudently resolved to hazard no
more. Mr. Douglas, who was more _au fait_ to the prejudices of old age,
and who was always amused with her bitter remarks when they did not
touch himself, encouraged her to continue the conversation by some
observation on the prevailing manners.

"Mainers!" repeated she, with a contemptuous laugh, "what caw ye
mainers noo, for I dinna ken? Ilk ane gangs bang in till their neebor's
hoose, and bang oot o't as it war a chynge-hoose; an' as for the maister
o't, he's no o' sae muckle vaalu as tho flunky ahynt his chyre. I' my
grandfather's time, as I hae heard him tell, ilka maister o' a faamily
had his ain sate in his ain hoose aye, an' sat wi' his hat on his heed
afore the best o' the land, an' had his ain dish, an' was aye helpit
first, an' keepit up his owthority as a man sude du. Paurents war
paurents then; bairnes dardna set up their gabs afore them than as they
du noo. They ne'er presumed to say their heeds war their ain i' thae
days--wife an' servants, reteeners an' childer, aw trummelt i' the
presence o' their heed."

Here a long pinch of snuff caused a pause in the old lady's harangue;
but after having duly wiped her nose with her coloured handkerchief, and
shook off all the particles that might be presumed to have lodged upon
her cardinal, she resumed--

"An' nae word o' ony o' your sisters gaun to get husbands yet? They
tell me they're but coorse lasses: an' wha'll tak ill-farred tocherless
queans whan there's walth o' bonny faces an' lang purses i' the
market--he, he!" Then resuming her scrutiny of Mary--"An' I'se warran'
ye'll be lucken for an Inglish sweetheart tu that'll be what's takin' ye
awa' to Ingland."

"On the contrary," said Mr. Douglas, seeing Mary was too much
frightened to answer for herself--"on the contrary, Mary declares she
will never marry any but a true Highlander--one who wears the dirk and
plaid, and has the second-sight. And the nuptials are to be celebrated
with all the pomp of feudal times; with bagpipes, and bonfires, and
gatherings of clans, and roasted sheep, and barrels of whisky, and--"

"Weel a wat, an' she's i' the right there," interrupted Mrs. Macshake,
with more complacency than she had yet shown. "They may caw them what
they like, but there's nae waddins noo. Wha's the better o' them but
innkeepers and chise-drivers? I wud nae count mysel' married i' the
hiddlins way they gang aboot it noo."

"I daresay you remember these, things done in a very different style?"
said Mr. Douglas.

"I dinna mind them whan the war at he best; but I hae heard my mither
tell what a bonny ploy was at her waddin. I canna tell ye hoo mony was
at it; mair nor the room wad haud, ye may be sure, for every relation
an' freend o' baith sides war there, as well they sude; an' aw in full
dress: the leddies in their hoops round them, an' some o' them had
sutten up aw night till hae their heeds drest; for they hadnae thae
pooket-like taps ye hae noo," looking with contempt at Mary's Grecian
contour. "An' the bride's goon was aw shewed ow'r wi' favour, frae the
tap doon to the tail, an' aw roond the neck, an' aboot the sleeves; and,
as soon as the ceremony was ow'r, ilk ane ran till her, an' rugget an'
rave at her for the favours till they hardly left the claise upon her
back. Than they did nae run awa as they du noo, but sax an't hretty o'
them sat doon till a graund denner, and there was a ball at night, an'
ilka night till Sabbath cam' roond; an' than the bride an' the
bridegroom, drest in their waddin suits, an' aw their freends 'n theirs,
wi' their favours on their breests, walkit in procession till the kirk.
An' was nae that something like a waddin? It was worth while to be
married i' thae days-he, he!"

"The wedding seems to have been admirably conducted," said Mr. Douglas,
with much solemnity. "The christening, I presume, would be the next
distinguished event in the family?"

"Troth, Archie-an' ye sude keep your thoomb upon kirsnins as lang's ye
leeve; yours was a bonnie kirsnin or ens no! I hae heard o' mony things,
but a bairn kirsened whan its grandfaither was i' the deed-thraw, I
ne'er heard tell o' before." Then observing the indignation that spread
over Mr. Douglas's face, she quickly resumed, "An' so ye think the
kirsnin was the neist ploy? He, he! Na; the cryin was a ploy, for the
leddies did nae keep themsels up than as they do noo; but the day after
the bairn was born, the leddy sat up i' her bed, wi' her fan intill her
hand; an' aw her freends earn' an' stud roond her, an' drank her health
an' the bairn's. Than at the leddy's recovery there was a graund supper
gien that they caw'd the _cummerfealls,_ an' there was a great pyramid
o' hens at the tap o' the table, an' anither pyramid o' ducks at the
fit, an' a muckle stoup fu' o' posset i' the middle, an' aw kinds o'
sweeties doon the sides; an' as sune as ilk ane had eatin their fill
they aw flew till the sweeties, an' fought, an' strave, an' wrastled for
them, leddies an' gentlemen an' aw; for the brag was wha could pocket
maist; an' whiles they wad hae the claith aff the table, an' aw thing i'
the middle i' the floor, an' the chyres upside doon. Oo! muckle gude
diversion, I'se warran,' was at the _cummerfealls_. Than whan they had
drank the stoup dry, that ended the ploy. As for the kirsnin, that was
aye whar it sude be--i' the hoose o' God, an' aw the kith an' kin bye in
full dress, an' a band o' maiden cimmers aw in white; an' a bonny sight
it was, as I've heard my mither tell."

Mr. Douglas, who was now rather tired of the old lady's reminiscences,
availed himself of the opportunity of a fresh pinch to rise and take
leave.

"Oo, what's takin' ye awa, Archie, in sic a hurry? Sit doon there,"
laying her hand upon his arm, "an' rest ye, an' tak a glass o' wine, an'
a bit breed; or may be," turning to Mary, "ye wad rather hae a drap
broth to warm ye. What gars ye luck sae blae, bairn? I'm sure it's no
cauld; but ye're juste like the lave; ye gang aw skiltin aboot the
streets half naked, an' than ye maun sit an' birsle yoursels afore the
fire at hame."

She had now shuffled along to the farther end of the room, and opening a
press, took out wine, and a plateful of various-shaped articles of
bread, which she handed to Mary.

"Hae, bairn--tak a cookie; tak it up--what are you fear'd for?  It'll no
bite ye. Here's t'ye, Glenfern, an' your wife, an' your wean, puir tead;
it's no had a very chancy ootset, weel a wat."

The wine being drunk, and the cookies  discussed, Mr. Douglas made
another attempt to withdraw, but in vain.

"Canna ye sit still a wee, man, an' let me spear after my auld freens at
Glenfern? Hoo's Grizzy, an' Jacky, and Nicky? Aye workin awa at the
pills an' the drogs?---he, he! I ne'er swallowed a pill, nor gied a doit
for drogs aw my days, an' see an ony of them'll rin a race wi' me whan
they're naur five score."

Mr. Douglas here paid her some compliments upon her appearance, which
were pretty graciously received; and added that he was the bearer of a
letter from his Aunt Grizzy, which he would send along with a roebuck
and brace of moor-game.

"Gin your roebuck's nae better than your last, at weel it's no worth the
sendin'-poor dry fisinless dirt, no worth the chowing; weel a wat I
begrudged my teeth on't. Your muirfowl was na that ill, but they're no
worth the carryin; they're dong cheap i'the market enoo, so it's nae
great compliment. Gin ye had brought me a leg o' gude mutton, or a
cauler sawmont, there would hae been some sense in't; but ye're ane o'
the fowk that'll ne'er harry yoursel' wi' your presents; it's but the
pickle poother they cost you, an' I'se warran' ye're thinkin mail' o'
your ain diversion than o' my stamick, when ye're at the shootin' o'
them, puir beasts."

Mr. Douglas had borne the various indignities levelled against himself
and his family with a philosophy that had no parallel in his life
before; but to this attack upon his game he was not proof. His colour
rose, his eyes flashed fire, and something resembling an oath burst from
his lips as he strode indignantly towards the door.

His friend, however, was too nimble  for him. She stepped before him,
and, breaking into a discordant laugh, as she patted him on the back,
"So I see ye're just the auld man, Archie,--aye ready to tak the strums,
an' ye dinna get a' thing yer ain wye. Mony a time I had to fleech ye
oot o' the dorts whan ye was a callant. Div ye mind hoo ye was affronted
because I set ye doon to a cauld pigeon-pie, an' a tanker o' tippenny,
ae night to ye're fowerhoors, afore some leddies--he, he, he! Weel a wat,
yer wife maun hae her ain adoos to manage ye, for ye're a cumstairy
chield, Archie."

Mr. Douglas still looked as if he was irresolute whether to laugh or be
angry.

"Come, come, sit ye do on there till I speak to this bairn," said she,
as she pulled Mary into an adjoining bedchamber, which wore the same
aspect of chilly neatness as the one they had quitted. Then pulling a
huge bunch of keys from her pocket she opened a drawer, out of which she
took a pair of diamond earrings. "Hae, bairn," said she as she stuffed
them into Mary's hand; "they belanged to your father's grandmother. She
was a gude woman, an' had fouran'-twenty sons an' dochters, an' I wiss
ye nae war fortin than just to hae as mony. But mind ye," with a shake
of her bony finger, "they maun a be Scots. Gin I thought ye wad mairry
ony pock-puddin', fient haed wad ye hae gotten frae me. Noo, had ye're
tongue, and dinna deive me wi' thanks," almost pushing her into the
parlour again; "and sin ye're gaun awa the morn, I'll see nae mair o' ye
enoo--so fare ye weel. But, Archie, ye maun come an' tak your breakfast
wi' me. I hae muckle to say to you; but ye manna be sae hard upon my
baps as ye used to be," with a facetious grin to her mollified
favourite, as they shook hands and parted.

"Well, how do you like Mrs. Macshake, Mary?" asked her uncle as they
walked home.

"That is a cruel question, uncle," answered she, with a smile. "My
gratitude and my taste are at such variance," displaying her splendid
gift, "that I know not how to reconcile them."

"That is always the case with those whom Mrs. Macshake has obliged,"
returned Mr. Douglas. "She does many liberal things, but in so
ungracious a manner that people are never sure whether they are obliged
or insulted by her. But the way in which she receives kindness is still
worse. Could anything equal her impertinence about my roebuck? Faith,
I've a good mind never to enter her door again!"

Mary could scarcely preserve her gravity at her uncle's indignation,
which seemed so disproportioned to the cause. But, to turn the current
of his ideas, she remarked that he had certainly been at pains to select
two admirable specimens of her countrywomen for her.

"I don't think I shall soon forget either Mrs. Gawffaw or Mrs Macshake,"
said she, laughing.

"I hope you won't carry away the impression that these two _lusus
naturae_ specimens of Scotchwomen," said her uncle. "The former, indeed,
is rather a sort of weed that infests every soil; the latter, to be
sure, is an indigenous plant. I question if she would have arrived at
such perfection in a more cultivated field or genial clime. She was born
at a time when Scotland was very different from what it is now. Female
education was little attended to, even in families of the highest rank;
consequently, the ladies of those days possess a _raciness_ in their
manners and ideas that we should vainly seek for in this age of
cultivation and refinement. Had your time permitted, you could have seen
much good society here; superior, perhaps, to what is to be found
anywhere else, as far as mental cultivation is concerned. But you will
have leisure for that when you return."

Mary acquiesced with a sigh. _Return_ was to her still a
melancholy-sounding word. It reminded her of all she had left--of the
anguish of separation--the dreariness of absence; and all these painful
feelings were renewed in their utmost bitterness when the time
approached for her to bid adieu to her uncle. Lord Courtland's carriage
and two respectable-looking servants awaited her; and the following
morning she commenced her journey in all the agony of a heart that
fondly clings to its native home.

END OF VOL. I.

_Printed _by  R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh._

_***_



MARRIAGE (VOL II)

A Novel by Susan Ferrier

"Life consists not of a series of illustrious actions; the greater part
of our time passes in compliance with necessities--in the performance of
daily duties--in the removal of small inconveniences--in the procurement
of petty pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, as the main stream
of life glides on smoothly, or is ruffled by small and frequent
interruption."--JOHNSON.

Edinburgh Edition

IN TWO VOLUMES

VOLUME  II.

LONDON

RICHARD BENTLEY & SON

Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen

1881

_Printed _by  R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh_



MARRIAGE.



CHAPTER I.

    "Nor only by the warmth
    And soothing sunshine of delightful things,
    Do minds grow up and flourish."

           AKENSIDE.

AFTER parting with the last of her beloved relatives Mary tried to think
only of the happiness that awaited her in a reunion with her mother and
sister; and she gave herself up to the blissful reveries of a young
and ardent imagination. Mrs. Douglas had sought to repress, rather than
excite, her sanguine expectations; but vainly is the experience of
others employed in moderating the enthusiasm of a glowing heart.
Experience _cannot_ be imparted. We may render the youthful mind
prematurely cautious, or meanly suspicious; but the experience of a pure
and enlightened mind is the result of observation, matured by time.

The journey, like most modern journeys, was performed in comfort and
safety; and, late one evening, Mary found herself at the goal of her
wishes--at the threshold of the house that contained her mother!

One idea filled her mind; but that idea called up a thousand emotions.

"I am now to meet my mother!" thought she; and, unconscious of
everything else, she was assisted from the carriage, and conducted into
the house. A door was thrown open; but shrinking from the glare of light
and sound of voices that assailed her, he stood dazzled and dismayed,
till she beheld a figure approaching that she guessed to be her mother.
Her heart beat violently--a film was upon her eyes--she made an effort
to reach her mother's arms, and sank lifeless on her bosom!

Lady Juliana, for such it was, doubted not but that her daughter was
really dead; for though he talked of fainting every hour of the day
herself, still what is emphatically called a _dead-faint_ was a
spectacle no less strange than shocking to her. She was therefore
sufficiently alarmed and overcome to behave in a very interesting
manner; and some yearnings of pity even possessed her heart as she
beheld her daughter's lifeless form extended before her--her beautiful,
though inanimate features, half hid by the profusion of golden ringlets
that fell around her. But these kindly feelings were of short duration;
for no sooner was the nature of her daughter's insensibility as
ascertained, than all her former hostility returned, as she found
everyone's attention directed to Mary, and she herself entirely
overlooked in the general interest she had excited; and her displeasure
was still further increased as Mary, at length slowly unclosing her
eyes, stretched out her hands, and faintly articulated, "My mother!"

"Mother! What a hideous vulgar appellation!" thought the fashionable
parent to herself; and, instead of answering her daughter's appeal, she
hastily proposed that she should be conveyed to her own apartment; then,
summoning her maid, she consigned her to her care, slightly touching her
cheek as she wished her good-night, and returned to the card-table.
Adelaide too resumed her station at the harp, as if nothing had happened;
but Lady Emily attended her cousin to her room, embraced her again and
again, as she assured her she loved her already, she was so like her
dear Edward; then, after satisfying herself that everything was
comfortable, affectionately kissed her, and withdrew.

Bodily fatigue got the better of mental agitation; and Mary slept
soundly, and awoke refreshed.

"Can it be," thought she, as she tried to collect her bewildered
thoughts, "can it be that I have really beheld my mother, that I have
been pressed to her heart, that she has shed tears over me while I lay
unconscious in her arms? Mother! What a delightful sound; and how
beautiful she seemed! Yet I have no distinct idea of her, my head was
so confused; but I have a vague recollection of something very fair, and
beautiful, and seraph-like, covered with silver drapery, and flowers,
and with the sweetest voice in the world. Yet that must be too young for
my mother; perhaps it was my sister; and my mother was too much overcome
to meet her stranger child. Oh, how happy must I be with such a mother
and sister!"

In these delightful cogitations Mary remained till Lady Emily entered.

"How well you look this morning, my dear cousin," said she, flying to
her; "you are much more like my Edward than you were last night. Ah! and
you have got his smile too! You must let me see that very often."

"I am sure I shall have cause," said Mary, returning her cousin's
affectionate embrace; "but at present I feel anxious about my mother and
sister. The agitation of our meeting, and my weakness, I fear it has
been too much for them;" and she looked earnest in Lady Emily's face for
a confirmation of her fears.

"Indeed, you need be under no uneasiness on their account," returned her
cousin, with her usual bluntness; "their feelings are not so easily
disturbed; you will see them both at breakfast, so come along."

The room was empty; and again Mary's sensitive heart trembled for the
welfare of those already so dear to her; but Lady Emily did not appear
to understand the nature of her feelings.

"Have a little patience, my dear!" said she, with something of an
impatient tone, as she rang for breakfast; "they will be here at their
usual time. Nobody in this house is a slave to hours, or _gêné _with
each other's society. Liberty is the motto here; everybody breakfasts
when and where they please. Lady Juliana, I believe, frequently takes
hers in her dressing-room; Papa never is visible till two or three
o'clock; and Adelaide is always late."

"What a selfish cold-hearted thing is grandeur!" thought Mary, as Lady
Emily and she sat like two specks in the splendid saloon, surrounded by
all that wealth could purchase or luxury invent; and her thoughts
reverted to the pious thanksgiving and affectionate meeting that graced
their social meal in the sweet sunny parlour at Lochmarlie.

Some of those airy nothings, without a local habitation, who are always
to be found flitting about the mansions of the great, now lounged into
the room; and soon after Adelaide made her _entrée._ Mary,
trembling violently, was ready to fall upon her sister's neck, but
Adelaide seemed prepared to repel everything like a _scènce _for,
with a cold, but sweet, "I hope you are better this morning?" she seated
herself at the opposite side of the table. Mary's blood rushed back to
her heart; her eyes filled with tears, she knew not why; for she could
not analyse the feelings that swelled in her bosom. She would have
shuddered to _think_ her sister unkind, but she _felt_ she was so.

"It can only be the difference of our manners," sighed she to herself;
"I am sure my sister loves me, though she does not show it in the same
way I should have done;" and she gazed with the purest admiration and
tenderness on the matchless beauty of her face and form. Never had she
beheld anything so exquisitely beautiful; and she longed to throw
herself into her sister's arms and tell her how she loved her. But
Adelaide seemed to think the present company wholly unworthy of her
regard; for, after having received the adulation of the gentlemen, as
they severally paid her a profusion of compliments upon her appearance,
"Desire Tomkins," said she to a footman, "to ask Lady Juliana for the
'Morning Post,' and the second volume of 'Le----,' of the French novel I
am reading; and say she shall have it again when I have finished it."

"In what different terms people may express the same meaning," thought
Mary; "had I been sending a message to my mother, I should have expressed
myself quite differently; but no doubt my sister's meaning is the same,
though she may not use the same words."

The servant returned with the newspaper, and the novel would be sent
when it could be found.

"Lady Juliana never reads like anybody else," said her daughter; "she is
for ever mislaying books. She has lost the first volumes of the two last
novels that came from town before I had even seen then."

This was uttered in the softest, sweetest tone imaginable, and as if she
had been pronouncing a panegyric.

Mary was more and more puzzled.

"'What can be my sister's meaning here?" thought she. "The words seemed
almost to imply censure; but that voice and smile speak the sweetest
praise. How truly Mrs. Douglas warned me never to judge of people by
their words."

At that moment the door opened, and three or four dogs rushed in,
followed by Lady Juliana, with a volume of a novel in her hand. Again
Mary found herself assailed by a variety of powerful emotions. She
attempted to rise; but, pale and breathless, she sank back in her chair.

Her agitation was unmarked by her mother, who did not even appear to be
sensible of her presence; for, with a graceful bend of her head to the
company in general, she approached Adelaide, and putting her lips to her
forehead, "How do you do, love? I'm afraid you are very angry with me
about that teazing La---I can't conceive where it can be; but here is
the third volume, which is much prettier than the second."

"I certainly shall not read the third volume before the second," said
Adelaide with her usual serenity.

"Then I shall order another copy from town, my love; or I daresay I
could tell you the story of the second volume: it is not at all
interesting, I assure you. Hermilisde, you know--but I forget where the
first volume left off."--Then directing her eyes to Mary, who had
summoned strength to rise, and was slowly venturing to approach her, she
extended a finger towards her. Mary eagerly seized her mother's hand,
and pressed it with fervour to her lips; then hid her face on her
shoulder to conceal the tears that burst from her eyes.

"Absurd, my dear!" said her Ladyship in a peevish tone, as she
disengaged herself from her daughter; "you must really get the better of
this foolish weakness; these _scènes_ are too much for me. I was
most excessively shocked last night, I assure you, and you ought not to
have quitted your room to-day."

Poor Mary's tears congealed in her eyes at this tender salutation, and
she raised her head, as if to as certain whether it really proceeded
from her mother; but instead of the angelic vision she had pictured to
herself, she beheld a face which, though once handsome, now conveyed no
pleasurable feeling to the heart.

Late hours, bad temper, and rouge had done much to impair Lady Juliana's
beauty. There still remained enough to dazzle a superficial observer; but
not to satisfy the eye used to the expression of all the best affections
of the soul. Mary almost shrank from the peevish inanity portrayed on
her mother's visage, as a glance of the mind contrasted it with the mild
eloquence of Mrs. Douglas's countenance; and, abashed and disappointed,
she remained mournfully silent.

"Where is Dr. Redgill?" demanded Lady Juliana of the company in general.

"He has got scent of a turtle at Admiral Yellowchops," answered Mr. P.

"How vastly provoking," rejoined her Ladyship, "that he should be out of
the way the only time I have wished to see him since he came to the
house!"

"Who is this favoured individual whose absence you are so pathetically
lamenting, Julia?" asked Lord Courtland, as he indolently sauntered into
the room.

"That disagreeable Dr. Redgill. He has gone somewhere to eat turtle at
the very time I wished to consult him about--"

"The propriety of introducing a new niece to your Lordship," said Lady
Emily, as, with affected solemnity, she introduced Mary to her uncle.
Lady Juliana frowned--the Earl smiled--saluted his niece--hoped she had
recovered the fatigue of the journey--remarked it was very cold; and
then turned to a parrot, humming "Pretty Poll, say," etc.

Such was Mary's first introduction to her family; and those only who have
felt what it was to have the genial current of their souls chilled by
neglect or changed by unkindness can sympathise in the feelings of
wounded affection--when the overflowings of a generous heart are
confined within the narrow limits of its own bosom, and the offerings of
love are rudely rejected by the hand most dear to us.

Mary was too much intimidated by her mother's manner towards her to
give way, in her presence, to the emotions that agitated her; but she
followed her sister's steps as she quitted the room, and, throwing her
arms around her, sobbed in a voice almost choked with the excess of her
feelings, "My sister, love me!-oh! love me!" But Adelaide's heart,
seared by selfishness and vanity, was incapable of loving anything in
which self had no share; and for the first time in her life she felt
awkward and embarrassed. Her sister's streaming eyes and supplicating
voice spoke a language to which she was a stranger; for art is ever
averse to recognise the accents of nature. Still less is it capable of
replying to them; and Adelaide could only wonder at her sister's
agitation, and think how unpleasant it was; and say something about
overcome, and _eau-de-luce,_ and composure; which was all lost upon Mary
as she hung upon her neck, every feeling wrought to its highest tone by
the complicated nature of those emotions which swelled her heart. At
length, making an effort to regain her composure, "Forgive me, my
sister!" said she. "This is very foolish--to weep when I ought to
rejoice--and I do rejoice--and I know I shall be so happy yet!" but in
spite of the faint smile that accompanied her words, tears again burst
from her eyes.

"I am sure I shall have infinite pleasure in your society," replied
Adelaide, with her usual sweetness; and placidity, as she replaced a
ringlet in its proper position; "but I have unluckily an engagement at
this time. You will, however, be at no loss for amusement; you will find
musical instruments there," pointing to an adjacent apartment; "and here
are new publications, and _portefeuilles_ of drawings you will
perhaps like to look over;" and so saying she disappeared.

"Musical instruments and new publications!" repeated Mary mechanically
to herself. "What have I to do with them? Oh for one kind word from my
mother's lips!--one kind glance from my sister's eye!"

And she remained overwhelmed with the weight of those emotions, which,
instead of pouring into the hearts of others, she was compelled to
concentrate in her own. Her mournful reveries were interrupted by her
kind friend Lady Emily; but Mary deemed her sorrow too sacred to be
betrayed even to her, and therefore rallying her spirits, she strove
to enter into those schemes of amusement suggested by her cousin for
passing the day. But she found herself unable for such continued
exertion; and, hearing a large party was expected to dinner, she
retired, in spite of Lady Emily's remonstrance, to her own apartment,
where she sought a refuge from her thoughts in writing to her friends
at Glenfern.

Lady Juliana looked in upon her as she passed to dinner. She was in a
better humour, for she had received a new dress which was particularly
becoming, as both her maid and her glass had attested.

Again Mary's heart bounded towards the being to whom she owed her birth;
yet afraid to give utterance to her feelings, she could only regard her
with silent admiration, till a moment's consideration converted that
into a less pleasing feeling, as she observed for the first time that
her mother wore no mourning.

Lady Juliana saw her astonishment, and, little guessing the cause, was
flattered by it. "Your style of dress is very obsolete, my dear," said
she, as she contrasted the effect of her own figure and her daughter's
in a large mirror; "and there's no occasion for you to wear black here.
I shall desire my woman to order some things for you; though perhaps
there won't be much occasion, as your stay here is to be short; and of
course you won't think of going out at all. _Apropos,_ you will find it
dull here by yourself, won't you? I shall leave you my darling Blanche
for companion," kissing a little French lap-dog as she laid it in Mary's
lap; "only you must be very careful of her, and coax her, and be very,
very good to her; for I would not have my sweetest Blanche vexed, not
for the world!" And, with another long and tender salute to her dog, and
a "Good-bye, my dear!" to her daughter, she quitted her to display her
charms to a brilliant drawing-room, leaving Mary to solace herself in
her solitary chamber with the whines of a discontented lap-dog.



CHAPTER II.

"C'est un personnage illustre dans son genre, et qui a porté le
talent de se bien nourrir jusques ou il pouvoit aller; . . . il ne
semble né que pour la digestion."--LA BRUYERE.

IN every season of life grief brings its own peculiar antidote along
with it. The buoyancy of youth soon repels its deadening weight, the
firmness of manhood resists its weakening influence, the torpor of old
age is insensible to its most acute pangs.

In spite of the disappointment she had experienced the preceding day,
Mary arose the following morning with fresh hopes of happiness springing
in her heart.

"What a fool I was," thought she, "to view so seriously what, after all,
must be merely difference of manner; and how illiberal to expect every
one's manners should accord exactly with my ideas; but now that I have
got over the first impression, I daresay I shall find everybody quite
amiable and delightful!"

And Mary quickly reasoned herself into the belief that she only could
have been to blame. With renovated spirits she therefore joined her
cousin, and accompanied her to the breakfasting saloon. The visitors had
all departed, but Dr. Redgill had returned and seemed to be at the
winding up of a solitary but voluminous meal. He was a very tall
corpulent man, with a projecting front, large purple nose, and a
profusion of chin.

"Good morning, ladies," mumbled he with a full mouth, as he made a feint
of half-rising from his chair. "Lady Emily, your servant--Miss Douglas,
I presume--hem! allow me to pull the bell for your Ladyship," as he sat
without stirring hand or foot; then, after it was done--"'Pon my
honour, Lady Emily, this is not using me well Why did you not desire me?
And you are so nimble, I defy any man to get the start of you."

"I know you have been upon hard service, Doctor, and therefore I
humanely wished to spare you any additional fatigue," replied Lady
Emily.

"Fatigue, phoo! I'm sure I mind fatigue as little as any man; besides
it's really nothing to speak of. I have merely rode from my friend
Admiral Yellowchops' this morning."

"I hope you passed a pleasant day there yesterday?"

"So, so--very so, so," returned the Doctor drily.

"Only so, so, and a turtle in the case!" exclaimed Lady Emily.

"Phoo!--as to that, the turtle was neither here nor there. I value
turtle as little as any man. You may be sure it wasn't for that I went
to see my old friend Yellowchops. It happened, indeed, that there _was_
a turtle, and a very well dressed one too; but where five and thirty
people (one half of them ladies, who, of course, are always helped
first) sit down to dinner, there's an end of all rational happiness in
my opinion."

"But at a turtle feast you have surely something much better. You know
you may have rational happiness any day over a beef-steak."

"I beg your pardon--that's not such an easy matter. I can assure you it
is a work of no small skill to dress a beef-steak handsomely; and,
moreover, to eat it in perfection a man must eat it by himself. If once
you come to exchange words over it, it is useless. I once saw the finest
steak I ever clapped my eyes upon completely ruined by one silly
scoundrel asking another if he liked fat. If he liked fat!--what a
question for one rational being to ask another! The fact is, a
beef-steak is like a woman's reputation, if once it is breathed upon
it's good for nothing!"

"One of the stories with which my nurse used to amuse my childhood,"
said Mary, "was that of having seen an itinerant conjuror dress a
beef-steak on his tongue."

The Doctor suspended the morsel he was carrying to his mouth, and for
the first time regarded Mary with looks of unfeigned admiration.

"'Pon my honour, and that was as clever a trick as ever I heard of! You
are a wonderful people, you Scotch--a very wonderful people--but, pray,
was she at any pains to examine the fellow's tongue?"

"I imagine not," said Mary; "I suppose the love of science was not
strong enough to make her run the risk of burning her fingers."

"It's a thousand pities," said the Doctor, as he dropped his chin with
an air of disappointment. "I am surprised none of your Scotch _scavans_
got hold of the fellow and squeezed the secret out of him. It might have
proved an important discovery--a very important discovery; and your
Scotch are not apt to let anything escape them--a very searching,
shrewd people as ever I knew--and that's the only way to arrive at
knowledge. A man must be of a stirring mind if he expects to do good."

"A poor woman below wishes to se you, sir," said a servant.

"These poor women are perfect pests to society," said the Doctor, as his
nose assumed a still darker hue; "there is no resting upon one's seat
for them--always something the matter! The burn, and bruise, and hack
themselves and their brats, one would really think, on purpose to give
trouble."

"I have not the least doubt of it," said Lady Emily; "they must find
your sympathy so soothing."

"As to that, Lady Emily, if you know as much  about poor women as I do,
you wouldn't think so much of them as you do. Take my word for it--they
are one and all of them a very greedy, ungrateful set, and require to be
kept at a distance."

"And also to be kept waiting. As poor people's time is their only
wealth, I observe you generally make them pay a pretty large fee in that
way."

"That is really not what I would have expected from you, Lady Emily. I
must take the liberty to say your Ladyship does me the greatest
injustice. You must be sensible how ready I am to fly," rising as if he
had been glued to his chair, "when there is any real danger. I'm sure it
was only last week I got up as soon as I had swallowed my dinner to see
a man who had fallen down in a fit; and now I am going to this woman,
who, I daresay, has nothing the matter with her, before my breakfast is
well down my throat."

"Who is that gentleman?" asked Mary, as the Doctor at length, with much
reluctance, shuffled out of the room.

"He is a sort of medical aid-de-camp of papa's," answered Lady Emily;
"who, for the sake of good living, has got himself completely
domesticated here. He is vulgar, selfish, and _gourmand_, as you must
already have discovered; but these are accounted his greatest
perfections, as papa, like all indolent people, must be diverted--and
_that_ he never is by genteel, sensible people. He requires something
more _piquant,_and nothing fatigues him so much as the conversation of a
commonplace, sensible man--one who has the skill to keep his foibles out
of sight. Now what delights him in Dr. Redgill, there is no
_retenu_--any child who runs may read his character at a glance."

"It certainly does not require much penetration," said Mary, "to
discover the Doctor's master-passion; love of ease and self-indulgence
seem to be the pre-dominant features of his mind; and he looks as if,
when he sat in an arm-chair, with his toes on the fender and his hands
crossed, he would not have an idea beyond 'I wonder what we shall have
for dinner to-day.'"

"I'm glad to hear you say so, Miss Douglas," said the Doctor, catching
the last words as he entered the room, and taking them to be the
spontaneous effusions of the speaker's own heart; "I rejoice to hear you
say so. Suppose we send for the bill of fare,"--pulling the bell; and
then to the servant, who answered the summons, "Desire Grillade to send
up his bill--Miss Douglas wishes to see it."

"Young ladies are much more house wifely in Scotland than they are in
this country," continued the Doctor, seating himself as close as
possible to Mary,--"at least they were when I knew Scotland; but that's
not yesterday, and it's much changed since then, I daresay. I studied
physic in Edinburgh, and went upon a _tower _through the Highlands. 'I
was very much pleased with what I saw, I assure you. Fine country in
some respects--nature has been very liberal."

Mary's heart leapt within her at hearing her dear native land praised
even by Dr. Redgill, and her conscience smote her for the harsh and
hasty censure she had passed upon him. "One who can admire the scenery
of the Highlands," thought she, "must have a mind. It has always been
observed that only persons of taste were capable of appreciating the
peculiar charms of mountain scenery. A London citizen, or a Lincolnshire
grazier, sees nothing but deformity in the sublime works of nature,"
_ergo,_ reasoned Mary, "Dr. Redgill must be of a more elevated way of
thinking than I had supposed." The entrance of Lady Juliana prevented
her expressing the feelings that were upon her lips; but she thought
what pleasure she would have in resuming the delightful theme at another
opportunity.

After slightly noticing her daughter, and carefully adjusting her
favourites, Lady Juliana began:--

"I am anxious to consult you, Dr. Redgill, upon the state of this young
person's health.--You have been excessively ill, my dear, have you not?
(My sweetest Blanche, do be quiet!) You had a cough, I think, and
everything that was bad.--And as her friends in Scotland have sent her
to me for a short time, entirely on account of her health (My charming,
Frisk, your spirits are really too much!), I think it quite proper that
she should be confined to her own apartment during the winter, that she
may get quite well and strong against spring. As to visiting or going
into company, that of course must be quite out of the question. You can
tell Dr. Redgill, my dear, all about your complaints yourself."

Mary tried to articulate, but her feelings rose almost to suffocation,
and the words died upon her lips.

"Your Ladyship confounds me," said the Doctor, pulling out his
spectacles, which, after duly wiping, he adjusted on his nose, and
turned their beams full on Mary's face--"I really never should have
guessed there was anything the matter with the young lady. She does look
a _leettle_ delicate, to be sure-changing colour, too--but hand
cool--eye clear--pulse steady, a _leettle_ impetuous, but that's
nothing, and the appetite good. I own I was surprised to see you cut so
good a figure after the delicious meals you have been accustomed to in
the North: you must find it miserable picking here. An English
breakfast," glancing with contempt at the eggs, muffins, toast,
preserves, etc. etc., he had collected round him, "is really a most
insipid meal. If I did not make a rule of rising early and taking
regular exercise, I doubt very much if I should be able to swallow a
mouthful-there's nothing to whet the appetite here; and it's the same
everywhere; as Yellowchops says, our breakfasts are a disgrace to
England. One would think the whole nation was upon a regimen of tea and
toast--from the Land's End to Berwick-upon-Tweed, nothing but tea and
toast. Your Ladyship must really acknowledge the prodigious advantage
the Scotch possess over us in that respect."

"I thought the breakfasts, like everything else in Scotland, extremely
disgusting," replied her Ladyship, with indignation.

"Ha! well, that really amazes me. The people I give up--they are dirty
and greedy--the country, too, is a perfect mass of rubbish, and the
dinners not fit for dogs--the cookery, I mean; as to the materials, they
are admirable. But the breakfasts! That's what redeems the land; and
every country has its own peculiar excellence. In Argyleshire you have
the Lochfine herring, fat, luscious, and delicious, just out of the
water, falling to pieces with its own richness--melting away like butter
in your mouth. In Aberdeenshire you have the Finnan haddo' with a
flavour all its own, vastly relishing--just salt enough to be _piquant,_
without parching you up with thirst. In Perthshire there is the Tay
salmon, kippered, crisp, and juicy--a very magnificent morsel--a
_leettle_ heavy, but that's easily counteracted by a teaspoonful of the
Athole whisky. In other places you have the exquisite mutton of the
country made into hams of a most delicate flavour; flour scones, soft
and white; oatcake, thin and crisp; marmalade and jams of every
description; and--but I beg pardon--your Ladyship was upon the subject
of this young lady's health. 'Pon my honour! I can see little the
matter. We were just going to look over the bill together when your
Ladyship entered. I see it begins with that eternal _soupe_
_santé,_ and that paltry _potage-an-riz._ This is the second day
within a week Monsieur Grillade has thought fit to treat us with them;
and it's a fortnight yesterday since I have seen either oyster or
turtle soup upon the table. 'Pon my honour! such inattention is infamous.
I know Lord Courtland detests _soupe_ _santé, _or, what's the
same thing, he's quite indifferent to it; for I take indifference and
dislike to be much the same. A man's indifference to his dinner-is a
serious thing, and so I shall let Monsieur Grillade know." And the
Doctor's chin rose and fell like the waves of the sea.

"What is the name of the physician at Bristol who is so celebrated for
consumptive complaints?" asked Lady Juliana of Adelaide. "I shall send for
him; he is the only person I have any reliance upon. I know he always
recommends confinement for consumption."

Tears dropped from Mary's eyes. Lady Juliana regarded her with surprise
and severity.

"How very tiresome! I really can't stand these perpetual
_scènes._ Adelaide, my love, pull the bell for my _eau-de-luce._
Dr. Redgill, place the screen there. This room is insufferably hot. My
dogs will literally be roasted alive;" and her Ladyship fretted about in
all the perturbation of ill-humour.

"'Pon my honour! I don't think the room hot," said the Doctor, who, from
a certain want of tact and capacity of intellect, never comprehended the
feelings of others. "I declare I have felt it much hotter when your
Ladyship has complained of the cold; but there's no accounting for
people's feelings. If you would move your seat a _leettle_ this way, I
think you would be cooler; and as to your daughter--"

"I have repeatedly desired, Dr. Redgill, that you will not use these
familiar appellations when you address me or any of my family,"
interrupted Lady Juliana with haughty indignation.

"I beg pardon," said the Doctor, nowise discomposed at this rebuff.
"Well, with regard to Miss--Miss--this young lady, I assure your
Ladyship, you need be under no apprehensions on her account. She's a
_leettle_ nervous, that's all--take her about by all means--all young
ladies love to go about and see sights. Show her the pump-room, and the
ball-room, and the shops, and the rope-dancers, and the wild beasts, and
there's no fear of her. I never recommend confinement to man, woman, or
child. It destroys the appetite--and our appetite is the best part of
us. What would we be without appetites? Miserable beings! worse than the
beasts of the field!" And away shuffled the Doctor to admonish Monsieur
Grillade on the iniquity of neglecting this the noblest attribute of
man.

"It appears to me excessively extraordinary," said Lady Juliana,
addressing Mary, "that Mrs. Douglas should have alarmed me so much about
your health, when it seems there's nothing the matter with you. She
certainly showed very little regard for my feelings. I can't understand
it; and I must say, if you are not ill, I have been most excessively
ill-used by your Scotch friends." And, with an air of great indignation,
her Ladyship swept out of the room, regardless of the state into which
she had thrown her daughter.

Poor Mary's feelings were now at their climax, and she gave way to all
the repressed agony that swelled her heart. Lady Emily, who had been
amusing herself at the other end of the saloon, and had heard nothing of
what had passed, flew towards her at sight, of her suffering, and
eagerly demanded of Adelaide the cause.

"I really don't know," answered Adelaide, lifting her beautiful eyes
from her book with the greatest composure; "Lady Juliana is always cross
of a morning."

"Oh no!" exclaimed Mary, trying to regain her composure, "the fault is
mine. I--I have offended my mother, I know not how. Tell me, oh tell me,
how I can obtain her forgiveness!"

"Obtain her forgiveness!" repeated Lady Emily indignantly, "for what?"

"Alas! I know not; but in some way I have displeased my mother; her
looks--her words--her manner--all tell me how dissatisfied she is with
me; while to my sister, and even to her very dogs-----Here Mary's
agitation choked her utterance.

"If you expect to be treated like a dog, you will certainly be
disappointed," said Lady Emily. "I wonder Mrs. Douglas did not warn you
of what you had to expect. She must have known something of Lady
Juliana's ways; and it would have been as well had you been better
prepared to encounter them."

Mary looked hurt, and making an effort to conquer her emotion, she said,
"Mrs. Douglas never spoke, of my mother with disrespect; but she did
warn me against expecting too much from her affection. She said I had
been too long estranged from her to have retained my place in her heart;
but still--"

"You could not foresee the reception you have me with?  Nor I neither.
Did you, Adelaide?'

"Lady Juliana is sometimes so odd,"
answered her daughter in her sweetest tone, "that I really am seldom
surprised at anything she does; but all this _fracas _appears to me
perfectly absurd, as nobody minds anything she says."

"Impossible!" exclaimed Mary; "my duty must ever be to reverence my
mother. My study should be to please her, if I only knew how; and oh!
would she but suffer me to love her!"

Adelaide regarded her sister for a moment with a look of surprise; then
rose and left the room, humming an Italian air.

Lady Emily remained with her cousin, but she was a bad comforter. Her
indignation against the oppressor was always much stronger than her
sympathy with the oppressed; and she would have been more in her element
scolding the mother than soothing the daughter.

But Mary had not been taught to trust to mortals weak as herself for
support in the hour of trial. She knew her aid must come from a higher
source; and in solitude she sought for consolation.

"This must be all for my good," sighed she, "else it would not be. I had
drawn too bright a picture of happiness; already it is blotted out with
my tears. I must set about replacing it with one of soberer colours."

Alas! Mary knew not how many a fair picture of human felicity had shared
the same fate as hers!



CHAPTER III.

    "They were in sooth a most enchanting train;
    . . skilful to unite
    With evil good, and strew with pleasure pain."

            _Castle of Indolence._

IN writing to her maternal friend Mary did not follow the mode usually
adopted by young ladies of the heroic cast, viz. that of giving a minute
and circumstantial detail of their own complete wretchedness, and
abusing, in terms highly sentimental, every member of the family with
whom they are associated. Mary knew that to breathe a hint of her own
unhappiness would be to embitter the peace of those she loved; and she
therefore strove to conceal from their observation the disappointment
she had experienced. Many a sigh was heaved, however, and many a tear
was wiped away ere a letter could be composed that would carry pleasure
to the dear group at Glenfern. She could say nothing of her mother's
tenderness or her sister's affection, but she dwelt upon the elegance of
the one and the beauty of the other. She could not boast of the warmth
of her uncle's reception, but she praised his good-humour, and enlarged
upon Lady Emily's kindness and attention. Even Dr. Redgill's admiration
of Scotch breakfasts was given as a _bonne bouche_ for her good old
aunts.

"I declare," said Miss Grizzy, as she ended her fifth perusal of the
letter, "Mary must be a happy creature, everybody must allow; indeed I
never heard it disputed that Lady Juliana is a most elegant being; and I
daresay she is greatly improved since we saw her, for you know that is a
long time ago."

"The mind may improve after a certain age," replied Jacky, with one of
her wisest looks, "but I doubt very much if the person does."

"If the inside had been like the out, there would have been no need for
improvement," observed Nicky.

"I'm sure you are both perfectly right," resumed the sapient Grizzy,
"and I have not the least doubt but that our dear niece is a great deal
wiser than when we knew her; nobody can deny but she is a great deal
older; and you know people always grow wiser as they grow older, of
course."

"They _ought_ to do it," said Jacky, with emphasis.

"But there's no fool like an old fool," quoth Nicky.

"What a delightful creature our charming niece Adelaide must be, from
Mary's account," said Grizzy; "only I can't conceive how her eyes come
to be black. I'm sure there's not a black eye amongst us. The
Kilnacroish family are black, to be sure; and Kilnacroish's
great-grandmother was first cousin, once removed, to our grandfather's
aunt, by our mother's side. It's wonderful the length that resemblances
run in some old families; and I really can't account for our niece
Adelaide's black eyes naturally any other way than just through the
Kilnacroish family; for I'm quite convinced it's from us she takes
them,--children always take their eyes from their father's side;
everybody knows that Becky's, and Bella's, and Baby's are all as like
their poor father's as they can stare."

"There's no accounting for the varieties of the human species," said
Jacky.

"And like's an ill mark," observed Nicky.

"And only think of her being so much taller than Mary, and twins! I
declare it's wonderful--I should have thought, indeed I never doubted,
that they would have been exactly the same size. And such a beautiful
colour too, when we used to think Mary rather pale; it's very
unaccountable!"

"You forget," said Jacky, who had not forgot the insult offered to her
nursing system eighteen years before; "you forget that I always
predicted what would happen."

"I never knew any good come of change," said Nicky.

"I'm sure that's very true," rejoined Grizzy; "and we have great reason
to thank our stars that Mary is not a perfect dwarf; which I really
thought she would have been for long, till she took a shooting,--summer
was a year."

"But she'll shoot no more," said Jacky, with a shake of the head that
might have vied with Jove's imperial nod; "England's not the place for
shooting."

"The Englishwomen are all poor droichs," said Nicky, who had seen three
in the course of her life.

"It's a great matter to us all, however, and to herself too, poor thing,
that Mary should be so happy," resumed Grizzy. "I'm sure I don't know
what she would have done if Lord Courtland had been an ill-tempered
harsh man, which, you know, he might just as easily have been; and it
would really have been very hard upon poor Mary--and Lady Emily such a
sweet creature too! I'm sure we must all allow we have the greatest
reason to be thankful."

"I don't know," said Jacky; "Mary was petted enough before, I wish she
may have a head to stand any more."

"She'll be ten times nicer than ever," quoth Nicky.

"There is some reason, to be sure, that can't be denied, to be afraid of
that; at the same time, Mary has a great deal of sense of her own when
she chooses; and it's a great matter for her, and indeed for all of us,
that she is under the eye of such a sensible worthy man as that Dr.
Redgill. Of course we may be sure Lord Courtland will keep a most
elegant table, and have a great variety of sweet things, which are
certainly very tempting for young people; but I have no doubt but Dr.
Redgill will look after Mary, and see that she doesn't eat too many of
them."

"Dr. Redgill must be a very superior man," pronounced Jacky, in her
most magisterial manner.

"If I could hear of a private opportunity," exclaimed Nicky, in a
transport of generosity, "I would send him one of our hams, and a nice
little pig [1] of butter--the English are all great people for
butter."

The proposal was hailed with rapture by both sisters in a breath; and it
was finally settled that to those tender pledges of Nicky's, Grizzy
should add a box of Lady Maclaughlan's latest invented pills, while Miss
Jacky was to compose the epistle that was to accompany them.

The younger set of aunts were astonished that Mary had said nothing
about lovers and offers of marriage, as they had always considered going
to England as synonymous with going to be married.

To Mrs. Douglas's more discerning eye, Mary's happiness did not appear
in so dazzling a light as to the weaker optics of her aunts.

"It is not like my Mary," thought she, "to rest so much on mere external
advantages; surely her warm affectionate heart cannot be satisfied with
the _grace_ of a mother and the _beauty_ of a sister. These she might
admire in a stranger; but where we seek for happiness we better prize
more homely attributes. Yet Mary is so open and confiding, I think she
could not have concealed from me had she experienced a disappointment."

Mrs. Douglas was not aware of the effect of her own practical lessons;
and that, while she was almost unconsciously practising the quiet
virtues of patience, and fortitude, and self-denial, and
unostentatiously sacrificing her own wishes to promote the comfort of
others, her example, like a kindly dew, was shedding its silent
influence on the embryo blossoms of her pupil's heart.

[1] Jar.



CHAPTER IV.

". . . So the devil prevails often; _opponit nubem,_ he claps cloud
between; some little objection; a stranger is come; or my head aches; or
the church is too cold; or I have letters to write; or I am not
disposed; or it is not yet time; or the time is past; these, and such as
these, are the clouds the devil claps between heaven and us; but these
are such impotent objections, that they were as soon confuted, as
pretended, by all men that are not fools, or professed enemies of
religion." --JEREMY TAYLOR.

LADY Juliana had in vain endeavoured to obtain a sick certificate for
her daughter, that would have authorised her consigning her to the
oblivion of her own apartment. The physicians whom she consulted all
agreed, for once, in recommending a totally different system to be
pursued; and her displeasure, in consequence, was violently excited
against the medical tribe in general, and Dr. Redgill in particular. For
that worthy she had indeed always entertained a most thorough contempt
and aversion; for he was poor, ugly, and vulgar, and these were the
three most deadly sins in her calendar. The object of her detestation
was, however, completely insensible to its effects. The Doctor, like
Achilles, was vulnerable but in one part, and over that she could
exercise no control. She had nothing to do with the _ménage_--possessed
no influence over Lord Courtland, nor authority over Monsieur Grillade.
She differed from himself as to the dressing of certain dishes; and, in
short, he summed up her character in one emphatic sentence, that in his
idea conveyed severer censure than all that Pope or Young ever wrote--"
I don't think she has the taste of her mouth!"

Thus thwarted in her scheme, Lady Juliana's dislike to her daughter
rather increased than diminished; and it was well for Mary that lessons
of forbearance had been early infused into her mind; for her spirit was
naturally high, and would have revolted from the tyranny and injustice
with which she was treated had she not been taught the practical duties
of Christianity, and that "patience, with all its appendages, is the
sum total of all our duty that is proper to the day of sorrow."

Not that Mary sought, by a blind compliance with all her mother's
follies and caprices, to ingratiate herself into her favour--even the
motive she would have deemed insufficient to have sanctified the deed;
and the only arts she employed to win a place in her parent's heart were
ready obedience, unvarying sweetness, and uncomplaining submission.

Although Mary possessed none of the sour bigotry of a narrow mind, she
was yet punctual in the discharge of her religious duties; and the
Sunday following her arrival, as they sat at breakfast, she inquired of
her cousin at what time the church service began.

"I really am not certain--I believe it is late," replied her cousin
carelessly. "But why do you ask?'

"Because I wish to be there in proper time."

"But we scarcely ever go--never, indeed, to the parish church--and we
are rather distant from any other; so you must say your prayers at home."

"I would certainly prefer going to church," said Mary.

"Going to church!" exclaimed Dr. Redgill in amazement. "I wonder what
makes people so keen of going to church! I'm sure there's little good to
be got there. For my part, I declare I would just as soon think of going
into my grave. Take my word for it, churches and churchyards are rather
too nearly related."

"In such a day as this," said Mary, "so dry and sunny, I am sure there
can be no danger."

"Take your own way, Miss Mary," said the Doctor; "but I think it my
duty to let you know my opinion of churches. I look upon them as
extremely prejudicial to the health. They are invariably either too
hot or too cold; you are either stewed or starved in them; and, till some
improvement takes place, I assure you my foot shall never enter one of
them. In fact, they are perfect receptacles of human infirmities. I can
tell you one of your church-going ladies at a glance; they have all
rheumatisms in their shoulders, and colds in their heads, and swelled
faces. Besides it's a poor country church--there's nothing to be seen
after you do go."

"I assure you Lady Juliana will be excessively annoyed if you go," said
Lady Emily, as Mary rose to leave the room.

"Surely my mother cannot be displeased at my attending church!" said
Mary in astonishment.

"Yes, she can, and most certainly will. She never goes herself now,
since she had a quarrel with Dr. Barlow, the clergyman; and she can't
bear any of the family to attend him."

"And you have my sanction for staying away, Miss Mary," added the
Doctor.

"Is he a man of bad character?" asked Mary, as she stood irresolute
whether to proceed.

"Quite the reverse. He is a very good man; but he was scandalised at
Lady Juliana's bringing her dogs to church one day, and wrote her what
she conceived a most insolent letter about it. But here come your
lady-mamma and the culprits in question."

"Your Ladyship is just come in time to settle a dispute here," said the
Doctor, anxious to turn her attention from a hot muffin, which had just
been brought in, and which he meditated appropriating to himself: "I
have said all I can--(Was you looking at the toast, Lady Emily?)--I must
now leave it to your Ladyship to convince this young lady of the folly
of going to church."

The Doctor gained his point. The muffin was upon his own plate, while
Lady Juliana directed her angry look towards her daughter.

"Who talks of going to church?" demanded she.

Mary gently expressed her wish to be permitted to attend divine service.

"I won't permit it. I don't approve of girls going about by themselves.
It is vastly improper, and I won't hear of it."

"It is the only place I shall ask to go to," said Mary timidly; "but I
have always been accustomed to attend church, and---"

"That is a sufficient reason for my choosing that you should not attend
it here. I won't suffer a Methodist in the house."

"I assure you the Methodists are gaining ground very fast," said the
Doctor, with his mouth full. 'Pon my soul, I think it's very alarming!"

"Pray, what is so alarming in the apprehension? asked Lady Emily.

"What is so alarming! 'Pon my honour, Lady Emily, I'm astonished to hear
you ask such a question!"--muttering to himself, "zealots--fanatics--
enthusiasts--bedlamites! I'm sure everybody knows what Methodists are!"

"There has been quite enough said upon the subject," said Lady Juliana.

"There are plenty of sermons in the house, Miss Mary," continued the
Doctor, who, like many other people, thought he was always doing a
meritorious action when he could dissuade anybody from going to church.
"I saw a volume somewhere not long ago; and at any rate there's the
Spectator, if you want Sunday's reading--some of the papers there are as
good as any sermon you'll get from Dr. Barlow."

Mary, with fear and hesitation, made another attempt to overcome her
mother's prejudice, but in vain.

"I desire I may hear no more about it!" cried she, raising her voice.
"The clergyman is a most improper person. I won't suffer any of my
family to attend his church; and therefore, once for all, I won't hear
another syllable on the subject."

This was said in a tone and manner not to be disputed, and Mary felt her
resolution give way before the displeasure of her mother. A contest of
duties was new to her, and she could not all at once resolve upon
fulfilling one duty at the expense of another. "Besides," thought she,
"my mother thinks she is in the right. Perhaps, by degrees, I may bring
her to think otherwise; and it is surely safer to try to conciliate than
to determine to oppose."

But another Sabbath came, and Mary found she had made no progress in
obtaining the desired permission. She therefore began seriously to
commune with her own heart as to the course she ought to pursue.

The commandment of "Honour thy father and thy mother" had been deeply
imprinted on her mind, and few possessed higher notions of filial
reverence; but there was another precept which also came to her
recollection. "Whosoever loveth father and mother more than me cannot be
my disciple." "But I may honour and obey my parent without loving her
more than my Saviour," argued she with herself, in hopes of lulling her
conscience by this reflection. "But again," thought she, "the Scripture
saith, 'He that keepeth my commandments, he it is that loveth me.'" Then
she felt the necessity of owning that if she obeyed the commands of her
mother, when in opposition to the will of her God, she gave one of the
Scripture proofs of either loving or fearing her parent upon earth more
than her Father which is in heaven. But Mary, eager to reconcile
impossibilities--viz. the will of an ungodly parent with the holy
commands of her Maker--thought now of another argument to calm her
conscience. "The Scripture," said she, "says nothing positive about
attending public worship; and, as Lady Emily says, I may say my prayers
just as well at home." But the passages of Scripture were too deeply
imprinted on her mind to admit of this subterfuge. "Forsake not the
assembling of yourselves together." "Where two or three are gathered
together in my name, there will I be in the midst of them," etc. etc. But
alas! two or three never were gathered together at Beech Park, except
upon parties of pleasure, games of hazard, or purposes of conviviality.

The result of Mary's deliberations was a firm determination to do what
she deemed her duty, however painful. And she went in search of Lady
Emily, hoping to prevail upon her to use her influence with Lady Juliana
to grant the desired permission; or, should she fail in obtaining it, she
trusted her resolution would continue strong enough to enable her have
her mother's displeasure in this act of conscientious disobedience. She
met her cousin, with her bonnet on, prepared to go out.

"Dear Lady Emily," said she, "let me entreat of you to use your
influence with my mother to persuade her to allow me to go to church."

"In the first place," answered her cousin, "you may know that I have no
influence;--in the second, that Lady Juliana is never to be persuaded
into any thing;--in the third, I really can't suppose you are serious in
thinking it a matter of such vast moment whether or not you go to
church."

"Indeed I do," answered Mary earnestly. "I have been taught to consider
it as such; and----"

"Pshaw! nonsense! these are some of your stiff-necked Presbyterian
notions. I shall really begin to suspect you are a Methodist and yet you
are not at all like one."

"Pray, tell me," said Mary, with a smile, "what are your ideas of
a Methodist?"

"Oh! thank heaven, I know little about them!--almost as little as Dr.
Redgill, who, I verily believe, could scarcely tell the difference
betwixt a Catholic and a Methodist, except that the one dances and
t'other prays. But I am rather inclined to believe it is a sort of a
scowling, black-browed, hard-favoured creature, with its greasy hair
combed straight upon its flat forehead, and that twirls its thumbs, and
turns up its eyes, and speaks through its nose and, in short, is
everything that you are not, except in this matter--of going to church.
So, to avert all these evil signs from falling upon you, I shall make a
point of your keeping company with me for the rest of the day."

Again Mary became serious, as she renewed her entreaties to her
cousin to intercede with Lady Juliana that she might be allowed to
attend _any_ church.

"Not for kingdoms!" exclaimed she. "Her Ladyship is in one of her most
detestable humours to-day; not that I should mind that, if it was
anything of real consequence that I had to compass for you. A ball, for
instance--I should certainly stand by you there but I am really not so
fond of mischief as to enrage her for nothing!"

"Then I fear I must go to church without it," said Mary in a melancholy
tone.

"If you are to go at all, it must certainly be without it. And here is
the carriage--get your bonnet, and come along with me. You shall at
least have a sight of the church."

Mary went to put on her pelisse;  and, descending to join her cousin in
the drawing-room, she found her engaged in an argument with Dr. Redgill.
How it had commenced did not appear; but the Doctor's voice was raised
as if to bring it to a decided termination.

"The French, madam, in spite of your prejudices, are a very superior
nation to us. Their skill and knowledge are both infinitely higher.
Every man in France is a first-rate cook--in fact, they are a nation of
cooks; and one of our late travellers assures us that they have
discovered three hundred methods of dressing eggs, for one thing."

"That is just two hundred and ninety-nine ways more than enough," said
Lady Emily "give me a plain boiled egg, and I desire no other variety of
the produce of a hen till it takes the form of a chicken."

Dr. Redgill lowered his eyebrows and drew up his chin, but disdained
to waste more arguments upon so tasteless a being. "To talk sense to a
woman is like feeding chickens upon turtle soup," thought he to
himself.

As for Lady Juliana, she exulted in the wise and judicious manner in
which she had exercised her authority, and felt her consequence greatly
increased by a public display of it--power being an attributes he was
very seldom invested with now. Indeed, to do her Ladyship justice, she
was most feelingly alive to the duty due to parents, though that such a
commandment existed seemed quite unknown to her till she became a
mother. But she made ample amends for former deficiencies now; as to
hear her expatiate on the subject, one would have deemed it the only
duty necessary to be practised, either by Christian or heathen, and
that, like charity, it comprehended every virtue, and was a covering for
every sin. But there are many more sensible people than her Ladyship who
entertain the same sentiments, and, by way of variety, reverse the time
and place of their duties. When they are children, they make many
judicious reflections on the duties of parents; when they become
parents, they then acquire a wonderful insight into the duties of
children. In the same manner husbands and wives are completely alive to
the duties incumbent upon each other, and the most ignorant servant is
fully instructed in the duty of a master. But we shall leave Lady
Juliana to pass over the duties of parents, and ponder upon those of
children, while we follow Lady Emily and Mary in their airing.

The road lay by the side of a river; and though Mary's taste had been
formed upon the wild romantic scenery of the Highlands, she yet looked
with pleasure on the tamer beauties of an English landscape. And though
accustomed to admire even "rocks where the snowflake reposes;" she had
also taste, though of a less enthusiastic kind, for the "gay landscapes
and gardens of roses," which, in this more genial clime, bloomed even
under winter's sway. The carriage drove smoothly along, and the sound of
the church bell fell at intervals on the ear, "in cadence sweet, now
dying all away;" and, at the holy sound, Mary's heart flew back to the
peaceful vale and primitive kirk of Lochmarlie, where all her happy
Sabbath had been spent. The view now opened upon the village church,
beautifully situated on the slope of a green hill. Parties of straggling
villagers in their holiday suits were descried in all directions, some
already assembled in the churchyard, others traversing the neat
footpaths that led through the meadows. But to Mary's eyes the
well-dressed English rustic, trudging along the smooth path, was a far
less picturesque object than the barefooted Highland girl, bounding over
trackless heath-covered hills; and the well-preserved glossy blue coat
seemed a poor substitute for the varied drapery of the graceful plaid.

So much do early associations tincture all our future ideas.

They had now reached the church, and as Mary adhered to her resolution
of attending divine worship, Lady Emily declared her intention of
accompanying her, that she might come in for her share of Lady Juliana's
displeasure; but in spite of her levity, the reverend aspect, and meek,
yet fervent piety of Dr. Barlow, impressed her with better feelings; and
she joined in the service with outward decorum if not with inward
devotion. The music consisted of an organ, simply but well played; and
to Mary, unaccustomed to any sacred sounds save those twanged through
the nose of a Highland _precentor,_ it seemed the music of the spheres.

Far different sounds than those of peace and praise awaited her return.
Lady Juliana, apprised of this open act of rebellion, was in all the
paroxysms incident to a little mind on discovering the impotence of its
power. She rejected all attempts at reconciliation; raved about
ingratitude and disobedience; declared her determination of sending Mary
back to her vulgar Scotch relations one moment--the next protested
she should never see those odious Methodists again; then she was to take
her to France, and shut her up in a convent, etc., till, after uttering
all the incoherences usual with ladies in a passion, she at last
succeeded in raving herself into a fit of hysterics.

Poor Mary was deeply affected at this (to her) tremendous display of
passion. She who had always been used to the mild placidity of Mrs.
Douglas, and who had seen her face sometimes clouded with sorrow, but
never deformed by anger-what a spectacle! To behold a parent subject to
the degrading influence of an ungovernable temper! Her very soul
sickened at the sight; and while she wept over her mother's weakness,
she prayed that the Power which stayed the ocean's wave would mercifully
vouchsafe to still the wilder tempests of human passion.



CHAPTER V.

  "Why, all delights are vain; but that most vain,
   Which, with pain purchased, doth inherit pain."

              SHAKESPEARE.

IN addition to her mother's implacable wrath and unceasing animadversion
Mary found she was looked upon as a sort of alarming character by the
whole family. Lord Courtland seemed afraid of being drawn into a
religious controversy every time he addressed her. Dr. Redgill retreated
at her approach and eyed her askance, as much as to say, "'Pon my
honour, a young lady that can fly in her mother's face about such a
trifle as going to church is not very safe company." And Adelaide
shunned her more than ever, as if afraid of coming in contact with a
professed Methodist. Lady Emily, however, remained staunch to her; and
though she had her own private misgivings as to her cousin's creed, she
yet stoutly defended her from the charge of Methodism, and maintained
that, in many respects, Mary was no better than her neighbours.

"Well, Mary," cried she, as she entered her room one day with an air of
exultation, "here is an opportunity for you to redeem your character.
There," throwing down a card, "is an invitation for you to a fancy ball."

Mary's heart bounded at the mention of a ball. She had never been at
one, and it was pictured in her imagination in all the glowing colours
with which youth and inexperience deck untried pleasures.

"Oh, how charming!" exclaimed she, with sparkling eyes, "how my aunts
Becky and Bella will love to hear an account of a ball! And a fancy
ball!--what is that?"

Lady Emily explained to her the nature of the entertainment, and Mary
was in still greater raptures.

"It will be a perfect scene of enchantment, I have no doubt," continued
her cousin, "for Lady M. understands giving balls, which is what every
one does not; for there are dull balls as well as dull every things else
in the world. But come, I have left Lady Juliana and Adelaide in grand
debate as to their dresses. We must also hold a cabinet council upon
ours. Shall I summon the inimitable Slash to preside?"

"The mention of her mother recalled Mary's thoughts from the festive
scene to which they had already flown.

"But are you _quite_ sure," said she, "that I shall have my mother's
consent to go?"

"Quite the contrary," answered her cousin coolly. "She won't hear of
your going. But what signifies that? You could go to church in spite of
her, and surely you can't think her consent of much consequence to a
ball?"

Poor Mary's countenance fell, as the bright vision of her imagination
melted into air.

"Without my mother's permission," said she, "I shall certainly not think
of, or even wish--" with a sigh--"to go to the ball, and if she has
already refused it that is enough."

Lady Emily regarded her with astonishment. "Pray, is it only on Sundays
you make a point of disobeying your mother?"

"It is only when I conceive a higher duty is required of me," answered
Mary.

"Why, I confess I used to think that to honour one's father and mother
_was _a duty, till you showed me the contrary. I have to thank you for
ridding me of that vulgar prejudice. And now, after setting me such a
noble example of independence, you seem to have got a new light on the
subject yourself."

"My obedience and disobedience both proceed from the same source,"
answered Mary. "My first duty, I have been taught, is to worship my
Maker--my next to obey my mother. My own gratification never can come in
competition with either."

"Well, I really can't enter into a religious controversy with you; but
it seems to me the sin, if it is one, is precisely the same, whether you
play the naughty girl in going to one place or another. I can see no
difference."

"To me it appears very different," said Mary; "and therefore I should be
inexcusable were I to choose the evil, believing it to be such."

"Say what you will," cried her cousin pettishly, "you never will convince
me there can be any harm in disobeying such a mother as yours--so
unreasonable--so--"

"The Bible makes no exceptions," interrupted Mary gently; "it is not
because of the reasonableness of our parents' commands that we are
required to obey them, but because it is the will of God."

"You certainly are a Methodist--there's no denying it. I have fought
some hard battles for you, but I see I must give you up. The thing won't
conceal." This was said with such an air of vexation that Mary burst
into a fit of laughter.

"And yet you are the oddest compound," continued her cousin, "so gay
and comical, and so little given to be shocked and scandalised at the
wicked ways of others; or to find fault and lecture; or, in short, to do
any of the insufferable things that your good people are so addicted to.
I really don't know what to think of you."

"Think of me as a creature with too many faults of her own to presume to
meddle with those of others," replied Mary, smiling at her cousin's
perplexity.

"Well, if all good people were like you, I do believe I should become a
saint myself. If you are right, I must be wrong; but fifty years hence
we shall settle that matter with spectacles on nose over our family
Bibles. In the meantime the business of the ball-room is much more
pressing. We really must decide upon something. Will you choose your own
style, or shall I leave it to Madame Trieur to do us up exactly alike?"

"You have only to choose for yourself, my dear cousin," answered Mary.
"You know I have no interest in it--at least not till I have received
my mother's permission."

"I have told you already there is no chance of obtaining it. I had a
_brouillerie_ with her on the subject before I came to you."

"Then I entreat you will not say another word. It is a thing of so
little consequence, that I am quite vexed to think that my mother should
have been disturbed about it. Dear Lady Emily, if you love me, promise
that you will not say another syllable on the subject."

"And this is all the thanks I get for my trouble and vexation,"
exclaimed Lady Emily, angrily; "but the truth is, I believe you think it
would be a sin to go to a ball; and as for dancing--oh, shocking! That
would be absolute ---. I really can't say the bad word you good people
are so fond of using."

"I understand your meaning," answered Mary, laughing; "but, indeed, I
have no such apprehensions. On the contrary, I am very fond of dancing;
so fond, that I have often taken Aunt Nicky for my partner in a
Strathspey rather than sit still--and, to confess my weakness, I should
like very much to go to a ball."

"Then you must and shall go to this one. It is really a pity that you
should have enraged Lady Juliana so much by that unfortunate
church-going; but for that, I think she might have been managed; and even
now, I should not despair, if you would, like a good girl, beg pardon
for what is past, and promise never to do so any more."

"Impossible!" replied Mary. "You surely  cannot be serious in
supposing I would barter a positive duty for a trifling amusement?"

"Oh, hang duties! they are odious things. And as for your amiable,
dutiful, virtuous Goody Two-Shoes characters, I detest them. They never
would go down with me, even in the nursery, with all he attractions of a
gold watch and coach and six. They were ever my abhorrence, as every
species of canting and hypocrisy still is---"

Then struck with a sense of her own violence and impetuosity, contrasted
with her cousin's meek unreproving manner, Lady Emily threw her arms
round her, begging pardon, and assuring her she did not mean her.

"If you had," said Mary, returning her embrace, "you would only have told
me what I am in some respects. Dull and childish, I know I am; for I am
not the same creature I was at Lochmarlie"--and a tear trembled in her
eye as she spoke--"and troublesome, I am sure, you have found me."

"No, no!" eagerly interrupted Lady Emily; "you are the reverse of
all that. You are the picture of my Edward, and everything that is
excellent and engaging; and I see by that smile you will go to the
ball--there's a darling!"

Mary shook her head.

"I'll tell you what we can do," cried her persevering patroness; "we
can go as masks, and Lady Juliana shall know nothing about it. That will
save the scandal of an open revolt or a tiresome dispute. Half the
company will be masked; so, if you keep your own secret, nobody will
find it out. Come, what characters shall we choose?"

"That of Janus, I think, would be the most suitable for me," said Mary.
Then, in a serious tone, she added, "I can neither disobey nor deceive
my mother. Therefore, once for all, my dear cousin, let me entreat of
you to be silent on a subject on which my mind is made up. I am
perfectly sensible of your kindness, but any further discussion will be
very painful to me."

Lady Emily was now too indignant to stoop to remonstrance. She quitted
her cousin in great anger, and poor Mary felt as if she had lost her only
friend.

"Alas!" sighed she, "how difficult it is to do right, when even the
virtues of others throw obstacles in our way! And how easy our duties
would be could we kindly aid one another in the performance of them!"

But such is human nature. The real evils of life, of which we so loudly
complain, are few in number, compared to the daily, hourly pangs we
inflict on one another.

Lady Emily's  resentment, though violent, was short-lived; and in the
certainty that either the mother would relent or the daughter rebel, she
ordered a dress for Mary; but the night of the ball arrived, and both
remained unshaken in their resolution. With a few words Adelaide might
have obtained the desired permission for her sister; but she chose to
remain neuter, coldly declaring she never interfered in quarrels.

Mary beheld the splendid dresses and gay countenances of the party for
the ball with feelings free from envy, though perhaps not wholly unmixed
with regret. She gazed with the purest admiration on the extreme beauty
of her sister, heightened as it was by the fantastic elegance of her
dress, and contrasted with her own pale visage and mourning habiliments.

"Indeed," thought she, as she turned from the mirror, with rather a
mournful smile, "my Aunt Nicky was in the right: I certainly am a poor
_shilpit_ thing."

As she looked again at her sister she observed that her earrings were
not so handsome as those she had received from Mrs. Macshake; and she
instantly brought them, and requested Adelaide would wear them for that
night.

Adelaide took them with her usual coolness--remarked how very
magnificent they were--wished some old woman would take it into her head
to make her such a present; and, as she clasped them in her ears,
regarded herself with increased complacency. The hour of departure
arrived; Lord Courtland and Lady Juliana were at length ready, and Mary
found herself left to a _tete-à-tete_ with Dr. Redgill; and,
strange as it may seem, neither in a sullen nor melancholy mood. But
after a single sigh, as the carriage drove off, she sat down with a
cheerful countenance to play backgammon with the Doctor.

The following day she heard of nothing but the ball and its delights;
for both her mother and her cousin sought (though from different
motives) to heighten her regret at not having been there. But Mary
listened to the details of all she had missed with perfect fortitude,
and only rejoiced to hear they had all been so happy.



CHAPTER VI.

    "Day follows night. The clouds return again
    After the falling of the latter rain;
    But to the aged blind shall ne'er return
    Grateful vicissitude: She still must mourn
    The sun, and moon, and every starry light,
    Eclipsed to her, and lost in everlasting night."

                                              PRIOR

AMONGST the numerous letters and parcels with which Mary had been
entrusted by the whole county of-----, there was one she had received
from the hands of Lady Maclaughlan, with a strict injunction to be the
bearer of it herself; and, as even Lady Maclaughlan's wishes now wore an
almost sacred character in Mary's estimation, she was very desirous of
fulfilling this her parting charge. But, in the thraldom in which she
was kept, she knew not how that was to be accomplished. She could not
venture to wait upon the lady to whom it was addressed without her
mother's permission; and she was aware that to ask was upon every
occasion only to be refused. In his dilemma she had recourse to Lady
Emily; and, showing her the letter, craved her advice and assistance.

"Mrs. Lennox, Rose Hall," said her cousin, reading the superscription.
"Oh! I don't think Lady Juliana will care a straw about your going
there. She is merely an unfortunate blind old lady, whom everybody
thinks it a bore to visit--myself, I'm afraid, amongst the number. We
ought all to have called upon her ages ago, so I shall go with you now."

Permission for Mary to accompany her was easily obtained; for Lady
Juliana considered a visit to Mrs. Lennox as an act of penance rather
than of pleasure; and Adelaide protested the very mention of her name
gave her the vapours. There certainly was nothing that promised much
gratification in what Mary had heard; and yet she already felt
interested in this unfortunate blind lady whom everybody thought it
a bore to visit, and she sought to gain some more information respecting
her. But Lady Emily, though possessed of warm feelings and kindly
affections, was little given to frequent the house of mourning, or
sympathise with the wounded spirit; and she yawned as she declared she
was very sorry for poor Mrs. Lennox, and would have made a point of
seeing her oftener, could she have done her any good.

"But what can I possibly say to her," continued she, "after losing
her husband, and having I don't know how many sons killed in battle, and
her only daughter dying of a consumption, and herself going blind in
consequence of her grief for all these misfortunes--what can I possibly
do for her, or say to her? Were I in her situation, I'm sure I should
hate the sight and sound of any human being, and should give myself up
entirely to despair."

"That would be but a pagan sacrifice," said Mary.

"What would you do in such desperate circumstances?" demanded Lady
Emily.

"I would hope," answered Mary, meekly.

"But in poor Mrs. Lennox's case that would be to hope though hope were
lost; for what can she hope for now? She has still something to fear,
however, as I believe she has still one son remaining, who is in the
brunt of every battle; of course she has nothing to expect but accounts
of his death."

"But she may hope that heaven will preserve him, and--"

"That you will marry him. That would do excellently well, for he is as
brave as a real Highlander, though he has the misfortune to be only half
a one. His father, General Lennox, was a true Scot to the very tip of
his tongue, and as proud and fiery as any chieftain need be. _His_
death, certainly was an improvement in the family. But there is Rose
Hall, with its pretty shrubberies and nice parterres, what
do you say to becoming its mistress?"

"If I am to lay snares," answered Mary, laughing, "it must be for nobler
objects than hedgerow elms and hillocks green."

"Oh, it must be for black crags and naked  hills! Your country really
does vastly well to rave about! Lofty mountains and deep glens, and blue
lakes and roaring rivers, are mighty fine-sounding things; but I suspect
cornfields and barnyards are quit as comfortable neighbours; so take my
advice and marry Charles Lennox."

Mary only answered by singing, "My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is
not here," etc., as the carriage drew up.

"This is the property of Mrs. Lennox," said Lady Emily, in answer to
some remark of her companion's; "she is the last of some ancient stock;
and you see the family taste has been treated with all due respect."

Rose Hall was indeed perfectly English: it was a description of place of
which there are none in Scotland; for it wore the appearance of
antiquity, without the too usual accompaniments of devastation or decay;
neither did any incongruities betray vicissitude of fortune or change of
owner; but the taste of the primitive possessor seemed to have been
respected through ages by his descendants; and the ponds remained as
round, and the hedges as square, and the grass walks as straight, as the
day they had been planned. The same old-fashioned respectability was
also apparent in the interior of the mansion. The broad heavy oaken
staircase shone in all the lustre of bees' wax; and the spacious
sitting-room into which they were ushered had its due allowance of
Vandyke portraits, massive chairs, and china jars, standing much in the
same positions they had been placed in a hundred years before.

To the delicate mind the unfortunate are always objects of respect. As
the ancients held sacred those places which had been blasted by
lightning, so the feeling heart considers the afflicted as having been
touched by the hand of God Himself. Such were the sensations with which
Mary found herself in the presence of the venerable Mrs.
Lennox--venerable rather through affliction than age; for sorrow, more
than time, had dimmed the beauty of former days, though enough still
remained to excite interest and engage affection in the mournful yet
gentle expression of her countenance, and the speaking silence of her
darkened eyes. On hearing the names of her visitors, she arose, and,
guided by a little girl, who had been sitting at her feet, advanced to
meet them, and welcomed them with a kindness and simplicity of manner
that reminded Mary of the home she had left and the maternal tenderness
of her beloved aunt. She delivered her credentials, which Mrs. Lennox
received with visible surprise; but laid the letter aside without any
comments.

Lady Emily began some self-accusing apologies for the length of time
that had intervened since her last visit, but Mrs Lennox gently
interrupted her.

"Do not blame yourself, my dear Lady Emily," said she;  "for what is so
natural at your age. And do not suppose I am so unreasonable as to
expect that the young and the gay should seek for pleasure in the
company of an old blind Woman. At your time of life I would not have
courted distress anymore than you."

"At every time of life," said Lady Emily, "I am sure you must have been a
very different being from what I am, or ever shall be."

"Ah! you little know what changes adversity makes in the character,"
said Mrs. Lennox mournfully; "and may you never know--unless it is for
your good."

"I doubt much if I shall ever be good on any terms," answered Lady Emily
in a half melancholy tone; "I don't think I have the elements of
goodness in my composition, but here is my cousin, who is fit to stand
proxy for all the virtues."

Mrs. Lennox involuntarily turned her mild but sightless eyes towards
Mary, then heaved a sigh and shook her head, as she was reminded of her
deprivation. Mary was too much affected to speak; but the hand that was
extended to her she pressed with fervour to her lips, while her eyes
overflowed with tears. The language of sympathy is soon understood. Mrs.
Lennox seemed to feel the tribute of pity and respect that flowed from
Mary's warm heart, and from that moment they felt towards each other
that indefinite attraction which, however it may be ridiculed, certainly
does sometimes influence our affections.

"That is a picture of your son, Colonel Lennox, is it not?" asked Lady
Emily, "I mean the one that hangs below the lady in the satin gown with
the bird on her hand."

Mrs. Lennox answered in the affirmative;  then added, with a sigh, "And
when I _could_ look on that face, I forgot all I had lost; but I was too
fond, too proud a mother. Look at it, my dear," taking Mary's hand, and
leading her to the well-known spot, while her features brightened with
an expression which showed maternal vanity was not yet extinct in the
mourner's heart. "He was only eighteen," continued she, "when that was
done; and many a hot sun has burned on that fair brow; and many a
fearful sight has met these sweet eyes since then; and sadly that face
may be changed; but I shall never see it more!"

"Indeed," said Lady Emily, affecting to be gay, while a tear stood in
her eye, "it is a very dangerous face to look on; and I should be afraid
to trust myself with it, were not my heart already pledged. As for my
cousin there, there is no fear of her falling a sacrifice to hazel eyes
and chestnut hair, her imagination is all on the side of sandy locks and
frosty gray eyes; and I should doubt if Cupid himself would have any
chance with her, unless he appeared in tartan plaid and Highland
bonnet."

"Then my Charles would have some," said Mrs. Lennox, with a faint smile;
"for he has lately been promoted to the command of a Highland regiment."

"Indeed!" said Lady Emily, "that is very gratifying, and you have
reason to be proud of Colonel Lennox; he has distinguished himself upon
every occasion."

"Ah! the days of my pride are now past," replied Mrs. Lennox, with a
sigh; "'tis only the more honour, the greater danger, and I am weary of
such bloody honours. See there!" pointing to another part of the room,
where hung a group of five lovely children, "three of these cherub heads
were laid low in battle; the fourth, my Louisa, died of a broken heart
for the loss of her brothers. Oh! what can human power or earthly
honours do to cheer the mother who has wept o'er her children's graves?
But there _is_ a Power," raising her darkened eyes to heaven, "that can
sustain even a mother's heart; and here," laying her hand upon an open
Bible, "is the balm He has graciously vouchsafed to pour into the
wounded spirit. My comfort is not that my boys died nobly, but that they
died Christians."

Lady Emily and Mary were both silent from different causes. The former
was at a loss what to say--the latter felt too much affected to trust
her voice with the words of sympathy that hovered on her lips.

"I ought to beg your pardon, my dears," said Mrs. Lennox, after a pause,
for talking in this serious manner to you who cannot be supposed to
enter into sorrows to which you are strangers. But you must excuse me,
though my heart does sometimes run over."

"Oh, do not suppose," said Mary, making an effort to conquer her
feelings, "that we are so heartless as to refuse to take a part in the
afflictions of others; surely none can be so selfish; and might I be
allowed to come often--very often--" She stopped and blushed; for she
felt that her feelings were carrying her farther than she was warranted
to go.

Mrs. Lennox kindly pressed her hand. "Ah! God hath, indeed, sent some
into the world, whose province it is to refresh the afflicted, and
lighten the eyes of the disconsolate. Such, I am sure, you would be to
me; for I feel my heart revive at the sound of your voice; it reminds me
of my heart's darling, my Louisa! and the remembrance of her, though
sad, is still sweet. Come to me, then, when you will, and God's
blessing, and the blessing of the blind and desolate, will reward you."

Lady Emily turned away, and it was not till they had been some time
in the carriage that Mary was able to express the interest this visit
had excited, and her anxious desire to be permitted to renew it.

"It is really an extraordinary kind of delight, Mary, that you take in
being made miserable," said her cousin, wiping her eyes; "for my part,
it makes me quite wretched to witness suffering that I can't relieve;
and how can you or I possibly do poor Mrs. Lennox any good? We can't
bring back her sons."

"No; but we can bestow our sympathy, and that, I have been taught, is
always a consolation to the afflicted."

"I don't quite understand the nature of that mysterious feeling called
sympathy. When I go to visit Mrs. Lennox, she always sets me a-crying,
and I try to set her a-laughing. Is that what you call sympathy?"

Mary smiled, and shook her head.

"Then I suppose it is sympathy to blow one's nose--and--and read the
Bible. Is that it? or what is it?"

Mary declared she could not define it; and Lady Emily insisted she could
not comprehend it.

"You will some day or other," said Mary; "for none, I believe, have ever
passed through life without feeling, or at least requiring its support;
and it is well, perhaps, that we should know betimes how to receive as
well as how to bestow it."

"I don't see the necessity at all. I know I should hate mortally to be
what you call sympathised with; indeed, it appears to me the height of
selfishness in anybody to like it. If I am wretched, it would be no
comfort to me to make everybody else wretched; and were I in Mrs.
Lennox's place, I would have more spirit than to speak about my
misfortunes."

"But Mrs. Lennox does not appear to be what you call a spirited
creature. She seems all sweetness, and--"

"Oh, sweet enough, certainly!--But hers is a sort of Eolian harp, that
lulls me to sleep. I tire to death of people who have only two or three
notes in their character. By-the-bye, Mary, you have a tolerable compass
yourself, when you choose, though I don't think you have science enough
for a _bravura; there_ I certainly have the advantage of you, as I
flatter myself my mind is a full band in itself. My kettledrums and
trumpets I keep for Lady Juliana, and I am quite in the humour for
giving her a flourish today. I really require something of an
exhilarating nature after Mrs. Lennox's dead march."

An unusual bustle seemed to pervade Beech Park as the carriage stopped,
and augured well for its mistress's intention of being more than usually
vivacious. It was found to be occasioned by the arrival of her brother
Lord Lindore's servants and horses, with the interesting intelligence
that his Lordship would immediately follow; and Lady Emily, wild with
delight, forgot everything in the prospect of embracing her brother.

"How does it happen," said Mary, when her cousin's transports had a
little subsided, "that you, who are in such ecstasies at the idea of
seeing your brother, have scarcely mentioned his name to me?"

"Why, to tell you the truth, I fear I was beginning to forget there was
such a person in the world. I have not seen him since I was ten years
old. At that time he went to college, and from thence to the Continent.
So all I remember of him is that he was very handsome and very
good-humoured; and all that have heard of him is, that wherever he goes
he is the 'glass of fashion and the mould of form'--not that he is much
of a Hamlet, I've a notion, in other respects. So pray put off that
Ophelia phiz, and don't look as if you were of ladies most deject and
wretched, when everybody else is gay and happy. Come, give your last
sigh to the Lennox, and your first smile to _Lindore."_

"That is sympathy," said Mary.



CHAPTER VII.

    "Quelle fureur, dit-il, quei aveugle caprice
     Quand Ie dîner est prêt."
                        BOILEAU.

"I HOPE your Lordship has no thoughts of waiting dinner for Lord
Lindore?" asked Dr. Redgill, with a face of alarm, as seven o'clock
struck, and neither dinner nor Lord Lindore appeared.

"I have no thoughts upon the subject," answered Lord Courtland, as
he turned over some new caricatures with as much _nonchalance_ as if it
had been mid-day.

"That's enough, my Lord; but I suspect Mr. Marshall, in his
officiousness, takes the liberty of thinking for you, and that we shall
have no dinner without orders," rising to pull the bell.

"We ought undoubtedly to wait for Frederick," said Lady Juliana; "it is
of no consequence when we sit down to table."

A violent yell from the sleeping Beauty on the rug sounded like a
summary judgment on her mistress.

"What is the meaning of this?" cried her Ladyship, flying to the
offended fair one, in all the transports of pity and indignation; "how
can you, Dr. Redgill, presume to treat my dog in such a manner?"

"Me treat your Ladyship's dog!" exclaimed the Doctor in well-feigned
astonishment--"Pon my honour!--I'm quite at a loss!--I'm absolutely
confounded!"

"Yes! I saw you plainly give her a kick, and--"

"Me kick Beauty!--after that!--'Pon my soul, I should just as soon have
thought of kicking my own grandmother. I did give her a _leettle_--a
very _leettle_ shove, just with the point of my toe, as I was going to
pull the bell; but it couldn't have hurt a fly. I assure you it would be
one of the last action of my life to treat Beauty ill--Beauty!--poor
Beauty!"--affecting to pat and soothe, by way of covering his
transgression. But neither Beauty nor her mistress were to be taken in
by the Doctor's cajolerie. The one felt, and the other saw the indignity
he had committed; and his caresses and protestations were all in vain.
The fact was, the Doctor's indignation was so raised by Lady Juliana's
remark, made in all the plenitude of a late luncheon, that, had it been
herself instead of her favourite, he could scarcely have refrained from
this testimony of his detestation and contempt. But much as he despised
her, he felt the necessity of propitiating her at this moment, when
dinner itself depended upon her decision; for Lord Courtland was
perfectly neutral, Lady Emily as not present, and a servant waited to
receive orders.

"I really believe it's hunger that's vexing her poor brute!" continued
he, with an air of us feigned sympathy; "she knows the dinner hour as
well as any of us. Indeed, the instinct of dogs in that respect is
wonderful. Providence has really--ahem!--indeed it's no joke to tamper
with dogs, when they've got the notion of dinner in their heads. A
friend of mine had a very fine animal--just such another as poor Beauty
there--she had always been accustomed, like Beauty, to attend the family
to dinner at a particular hour; but one day, by some accident, instead of
sitting down at five, she was kept waiting till half-past six; the
consequence was, the disappointment, operating upon an empty
stomach, brought on an attack of the hydrophobia, and the poor thing was
obliged to be shot the following morning. I think your Lordship
said--Dinner," in a loud voice to the servant; and Lady Juliana, though
still sullen, did not dissent.

For an hour the Doctor's soul was in a paradise still more substantial
than a Turk's; for it was lapt in the richest of soups and _ragoûts_,
and, secure of their existence, it smiled at ladies of quality, and
deified their lap-dogs.

Dinner passed away, and supper succeeded, and breakfast; dinner and
supper revolved, and still no Lord Lindore appeared. But this excited no
alarm in the family. It was Lord Courtland's way, and it was Lady
Juliana's way, and it was all their ways, not to keep to their appointed
time, and they therefore experienced none of the vulgar consternation
incident to common minds when the expected guest fails to appear. Lady
Emily indeed wondered, and was provoked, and impatient; but she was not
alarmed; and Mary amused herself with contrasting in her own mind the
difference of her aunts' feelings in similar circumstances.

"Dear Aunt Grizzy would certainly have been in tears these two days,
fancying the thousand deaths Lord Lindore must have died; and Aunt Jacky
would have been inveighing from morning till night against the
irregularities of young men. And Aunt Nicky would have been lamenting
that the black cock had been roasted yesterday, or that there would be
no fish for to-morrow." And the result of Mary's comparison was, that
her aunts' feelings, however troublesome, were better than no feelings
at all. "They are, to be sure, something like brambles," thought she;
"they fasten upon one in every possible way, but still they are better
than the faded exotics of fashionable life."

At last, on the third day, when dinner was nearly over, and Dr. Redgill
was about to remark for the third time, "I think it's as well we didn't
wait for Lord Lindore," the door opened, and, without warning or bustle,
Lord Lindore walked calmly into the room.

Lady Emily, uttering an exclamation of joy, threw herself into his arms.
Lord Courtland was roused to something like animation, as he cordially
shook hands with his son; Lady Juliana flew into raptures at the beauty
of his Italian greyhound; Adelaide, at the first glance, decided that
her cousin was worthy of falling in love with her; Mary thought on the
happiness of the family reunion; and Dr. Redgill offered up a silent
thanksgiving that this _fracas_ had not happened ten minutes sooner,
otherwise the woodcocks would have been as cold as death. Chairs were
placed by the officious attendants in every possible direction; and the
discarded first course was threatening to displace the third. But Lord
Lindore seemed quite insensible to all these attentions; he stood
surveying the company with a _nonchalance_ that had nothing of rudeness
in it, but seemed merely the result of high-bred ease. His eye, for a
moment, rested upon Adelaide. He then slightly bowed and smiled, as in
recognition of their juvenile acquaintance.

"I really can't recommend either the turtle soup or the venison to your
Lordship to-day," said Dr. Redgill, who experienced certain uneasy
sensations at the idea of beholding them resume their stations,
something resembling those which Macbeth testified at sight of Banquo's
ghost, or Hamlet on contemplating Yorick's skull--"after travelling,
there is nothing like a light dinner; allow me to recommend this
_prretty, leettle cuisse de poulet en papillote;_ and here are some
fascinating _beignets d'abricots_--quite foreign."

"If there is any roast beef or boiled mutton to be had, pray let me have
it," said Lord Lindore, waving off the zealous _maître d'hotel,_
as he kept placing dish after dish before him.

"Roast beef, or boiled mutton!" ejaculated the Doctor,  with a sort of
internal convulsion; "he is certainly mad."

"How did you contrive to arrive without being heard by me, Frederick?"
asked Lady Emily; "my ears have been wide open these two days and three
nights watching your approach?"

"I walked from Newberry House," answered he, carelessly. "I met Lord
Newberry two days ago, as I was coming here, and he persuaded me to
alter my course and accompany him home."

"Vastly flattering to your friends here," said Lady Emily in a tone of
pique.

"What! you walked all the way from Newberry," exclaimed the Earl, "and
the ground covered with snow. How could you do so foolish a thing?"

"Simply because, as the children say, I liked it," replied Lord Lindore,
with a smile.

"That's just of a piece with his liking to eat boiled mutton," muttered
the Doctor to Mary; "and yet, to look at him, one would really not
expect such gross stupidity."

There certainly was nothing in Lord Lindore's appearance that denoted
either coarseness of taste or imbecility of mind. On the contrary, he
was an elegant-looking young man, rather slightly formed, and of the
middle size, possessing that ease and grace in all his movements which a
perfect proportion alone can bestow. There was nothing foreign or
_recherché_ either in his dress or deportment; both were plain,
even to simplicity; yet an almost imperceptible air of _hauteur_ was
mingled with the good-humoured indifference of his manner. He spoke
little, and seemed rather to endure than to be gratified by attentions;
his own were chiefly directed to his dog, as he was more intent on
feeding it than on answering the questions that were put to him. There
never was anything to be called conversation at the dinner-table at
Beech Park; and the general practice was in no danger of being departed
from on the present occasion. The Earl hated to converse--it was a bore;
and he now merely exchanged a few desultory sentences with his son, as he
ate his olives and drank his claret. Lady Juliana, indeed, spoke even
more than her usual quantity of nonsense, but nobody listened to it.
Lady Emily was somewhat perplexed in her notions about her brother. He
was handsome and elegant, and appeared good-humoured and gentle; yet
something was wanting to fill up the measure of her expectations, and a
latent feeling of disappointment lurked in her heart. Adelaide was
indignant that he had not instantly paid her the most marked attention,
and revenged herself by her silence. In short, Lord Lindore's arrival
seemed to have added little or nothing to the general stock of pleasure;
and the effervescence of joy--the rapture of _sensation_, like some
subtle essence, had escaped almost as soon as it was perceived.

"How stupid everybody always is at a dinner table!" exclaimed Lady Emily,
rising abruptly with an air of chagrin. "I believe it is the fumes of the
meat that dulls one's senses, and renders them so detestable. I long to
see you in the drawing-room Frederick. I've a notion you are more of a
carpet knight than a knight of the round table; so pray," in a whisper
as she passed, "leave papa to be snored asleep by Dr. Redgill, and do
you follow us--here is metal more attractive," pointing to the sisters,
as they quitted the room; and she followed without waiting for her
brother's reply.



CHAPTER VIII.

    "Io dubito, Signor M. Pietro che il mio Cortegiano non sarà
    stato altro che fatica mia, e fastidio degli amici."

              BALDASSARRE CASTIGLIONE.

LORD LINDORE was in no haste to avail himself of his sister's
invitation; and when he did, it was evident his was a "mind not to be
changed by place;" for he entered more with the air of one who was tired
of the company he had left, than expecting pleasure from the society he
sought.

"Do come and entertain us, Lindore," cried Lady Emily, as he entered,
"for we are all heartily sick of one another. A snow-storm and a lack of
company are things hard to be borne; it is only the expectancy of your
arrival that has kept us alive these two days, and now pray don't let us
die away of the reality."

"You have certainly taken a most effectual method of sealing my lips,"
said her brother with a smile.

"How so?"

"By telling me that I am expected to be vastly entertaining, since every
word I utter can only serve to dispel the illusion, and prove that I am
gifted with no such miraculous power."

"I don't think it requires any miraculous power, either to entertain or
be entertained. For my part, I flatter myself I can entertain any man,
woman, or child in the kingdom, when I choose; and as for being
entertained, that is still an easier matter. I seldom meet with anybody
who is not entertaining, either from their folly, or their affectation,
or their stupidity, or their vanity; or, in short, something of the
ridiculous, that renders them not merely supportable, but positively
amusing."

"How extremely happy you must be," said Lord Lindore.

"Happy! No--I don't know that my feelings precisely amount to happiness
neither; for at the very time I'm most diverted I'm sometimes disgusted
too, and often provoked. My spirit gets chafed, and---"

"You long to box the ears of all your acquaintances," said her brother,
laughing. "Well, no matter--there is nothing so enviable as a facility
of being amused, and even the excitement of anger is perhaps preferable
to the stagnation of indifference."

"Oh, thank heaven! I know nothing about indifference; I leave that to
Adelaide."

Lord Lindore turned his eyes with more animation than he had yet evinced
towards his cousin, who sat reading, apparently paying no attention to
what was going on. He regarded her for a considerable time with an
expression of admiration; but Adelaide, though she was conscious of his
gaze, calmly pursued her studies. "Come, you positively must do
something to signalise yourself. I assure you it is expected of you that
you should be the soul of the company. Here is Adelaide waltzes like an
angel, when she can get a partner to her liking."

"But I waltz like a mere mortal," said Lord
Lindore, seating himself at a table, and turning over the leaves of a
book.

"And I am engaged to play billiards with my uncle," said Adelaide,
rising with a blush of indignation.

"Shall we have some music, then? Can you bear to listen to our croakings
after the warbling of your Italian nightingales?" asked Lady Emily.

"I should like very much to hear you sing," answered her brother, with
an air of the most perfect indifference.

"Come then, Mary, do you be the one to 'untwist the chains that tie the
hidden soul of harmony.' Give us your Scotch Exile, pray? It is
tolerably appropriate to the occasion, though an English one would have
been still more so; but, as you say, there is nothing in this country to
make a song about."

Mary would rather have declined, but she saw a refusal would displease
her cousin; and she was not accustomed to consult her own inclination in
such frivolous matters. She therefore seated herself at the harp, and
sang the following verses;--

    THE EXILE.

    The weary wanderer may roam
    To  seek for bliss in change of scene;
    Yet still the loved idea of home,
    And of the days he there has seen,

    Pursue him with a fond regret,
    Like rays from suns that long have set.

    "Tis not the sculptor's magic art,
    "Tis not th' heroic deeds of yore,
    That fill and gratify the heart.
    No! 'tis affection's tender lore--
    The thought of friends, and love's first sigh,
    When youth, and hope, and health were nigh.

    What though on classic ground we tread,
    What though we breathe a genial air--
    Can these restore the bliss that's fled?
    Is not remembrance ever there?
    Can any soil protect from grief,
    Or any air breathe soft relief?

    No! the sick soul, that wounded flies
    From all its early thoughts held dear,
    Will more some gleam of memory prize,
    That draws the long-lost treasure near;
    And warmly presses to its breast
    The very thought that mars its rest.

    Some mossy stone, some torrent rude,
    Some moor unknown to worldly ken,
    Some weeping birches, fragrant wood,
    Or some wild roebuck's fern-clad glen;--
    Yes! these his aching heart delight,
    These bring his country to his sight.



Ere the song was ended Lord Lindore had sauntered away to the
billiard-room, singing, "Oh! Jiove Omnipotente!" and seemingly quite
unconscious that any attentions were due from him in return. But there,
even Adelaide's charms failed to attract, in spite of the variety of
graceful movements practised before him--the beauty of the extended arm,
the majestic step, and the exclamations of the enchanting voice Lord
Lindore kept his station by the fire, in a musing attitude, from which
he was only roused occasionally by the caresses of his dog. At supper it
was still worse. He placed himself by Mary, and when he spoke, it was
only of Scotland.

"Well--what do you think of Lindore?" demanded Lady Emily of her aunt
and cousins, as they were about to separate for the night. "Is he not
divine?"

"Perfectly so!" replied Lady Juliana, with all the self-importance of a
fool. "I assure you I think very highly of him. He is a vastly charming,
clever young man-perfectly beautiful, and excessively amiable; and his
attention to his dog is quite delightful--it is so uncommon to see men
at all kind to their dogs. I assure you I have known many who were
absolutely cruel to them--beat them, and starved them, and did a
thousand shocking things; and----"

"Pray, Adelaide, what is your opinion of my brother"

"Oh! I--I--have no doubt he is extremely amiable," replied Adelaide,
with a gentle yawn. "As mamma says, his attentions to his dog prove it."

"And you, Mary, are your remarks to be equally judicious and polite?"

Mary, in all the sincerity of her heart, said she thought him by much
the handsomest and most elegant-looking man she had ever seen. And there
she stopped.

"Yes;  I know all that. But--however, no matter--I only wish he may have
sense enough to fall in love with you, Mary. How happy I should be to
see you Lady Lindore!--_En attendant_--you must take care of your heart;
for I hear he is _un peu volage_--and, moreover, that he admires none
but _les dames Mariées._ As for Adelaide, there is no fear of
her. She will never cast such a pearl away upon one who is merely, no
doubt, extremely amiable," retorting Adelaide's ironical tone.

"Then you may feel equally secure upon  my account," said Mary, "as I
assure you I am still less danger of losing mine, after the warning you
have given."

This off-hand sketch of her brother's character, which Lady Emily had
thoughtlessly given, produced the most opposite effects on the minds of
he sisters. With Adelaide it increased his consequence and enhanced his
value. It would be no vulgar conquest to fix and reform one who was
notorious for his inconstancy and libertine principles; and from that
moment she resolved to use all the influence of her charms to captivate
and secure the heart of her cousin. In Mary's well-regulated mind other
feelings arose. Although she was not one of the outrageous virtuous, who
storm and rail at the very mention of vice, and deem it contamination to
hold any intercourse with the vicious, she yet possessed proper ideas
for the distinction to be drawn; and the hope of finding a friend and
brother in her cousin now gave way to the feeling that in future she
could only consider him as an common acquaintance.



CHAPTER IX

"On sera ridicule et je n'oserai rire!"

                         BOILEAU.

IN honour of her brother's return Lady Emily resolved to celebrate it
with a ball; and always prompt in following up her plans, she fell to
work immediately with her visiting list.

"Certainly," said she, as she scanned it over, "there never was any
family so afflicted in their acquaintances as we are. At least one-half
of the names here belong to the most insufferable people on the face of
the earth. The Claremonts, and the Edgefields, and the Bouveries, and the
Sedleys, and a few more, are very well; but can anything in human form
be more insupportable than the rest; for instance, that wretch Lady
Placid?"

"Does her merit lie only in her name then?" asked Mary.

"You shall judge for yourself when I have given you a slight sketch of
her character. Lady Placid, in the opinion of all sensible persons in
general, and myself in particular, is a vain, weak, conceited, vulgar
egotist. In her own eyes she is a clever, well-informed, elegant,
amiable woman; and though I have spared no pains to let her know how
detestable I think her, it is all in vain; she remains as firmly
entrenched in her own good opinion as folly and conceit can make her;
and I have the despair of seeing all my buffetings fall blunted to the
ground. She reminds me of some odious fairy or genii I have read of, who
possessed such a power in their person that every hostile weapon
levelled against them was immediately turned into some agreeable
present. Stones became balls of silk--arrows, flowers--swords, feathers,
etc. Even so it is with Lady Placid. The grossest insult that could be
offered she would construe into an elegant compliment; the very crimes
of others she seems to consider as so much incense offered up at the
shrine of her own immaculate virtue. I'm certain she thinks she deserves
to be canonised for having kept out of Doctors' Commons. Never is any
affair of that sort alluded to that she does not cast such a triumphant
look towards her husband, as much as to say, 'Here am I, the paragon of
faithful wives and virtuous matrons!' Were I in his place, I should
certainly throw a plate at her head. And here, you may take this passing
remark--How much more odious people are who have radical faults, than
those who commit, I do not say positive crimes, but occasional
weaknesses. Even a noble nature may fall into a great error; but what is
that to the ever-enduring pride, envy, malice, and conceit of a little
mind? Yes, I would at any time rather be the fallen than the one, so
exult over the fall of another. Then, as a mother, she is, if possible,
still more meritorious a woman (this is the way she talks): A woman has
nobly performed her part to her country, and for posterity, when she has
brought a family of fine healthy children into the world. 'I can't agree
with you,' I reply 'I think many mothers have brought children into the
world who would have been much better out of it. A mother's merit must
depend solely upon how she brings up her children (hers are the most
spoiled brats in Christendom). 'There I perfectly agree with you, Lady
Emily. As you observe, it is not every mother who does her duty by her
children. Indeed, I may say to you, it is not everyone that will make
the sacrifices for their family I have done; but thank God! I am richly
repaid. My children are everything I could wish them to be!' Everything
of hers, as a matter of course, must be superior to every other
person's, and even what she is obliged to share in common with others
acquires some miraculous charm in operating upon her. Thus it is
impossible for anyone to imagine the delight she takes in bathing; and
as for the sun, no mortal can conceive the effect it has upon her. If
she was to have the plague she would assure you it was owing to some
peculiar virtue in her blood; and if she was to be put in the pillory
she would ascribe it entirely to her great merit. If her coachman were
to make her a declaration of love she would impute it to the boundless
influence of her charms; that every man who sees her does not declare
his passion is entirely owing to the well-known severity of her morals
and the dignity of her deportment. If she is amongst the first invited
to my ball, that will be my eagerness to secure her: if the very last,
it will be a mark of my friendship, and the easy footing we are upon. If
not invited at all, then it will be jealousy. In short, the united
strength of worlds would not shake that woman's good opinion of herself;
and the intolerable part of it is there are so many fools in this one
that she actually passes with the multitude for being a charming
sweet-tempered woman--always the same--always pleased and contented.
Contented! just as like contentment as the light emitted by putridity
resembles the divine halo! But too much of her. Let her have a card,
however.

"Then comes Mrs. Wiseacre, that renowned law-giver, who lavishes her
advice on all who will receive it, without hope of fee or reward, except
that of being thought wiser than anybody else. But, like many more
deserving characters, she meets with nothing but ingratitude in return;
and the wise sentences that are for ever hovering around her pursed up
mouth have only served to render her insupportable. This is her mode of
proceeding--' If I might presume to advise, Lady Emily;' or, 'If my
opinion could be supposed to have any weight;' or 'If my experience goes
for anything;' or, 'I'm an old woman now, but I think I know something
of the world;' or, 'If a friendly hint of mine would be of any service:
--then when very desperate, it is, 'However averse I am to obtrude my
advice, yet as I consider it my duty, I must for once;' or, 'It
certainly is no affair of mine, at the same time I must just observe,'
etc. etc. I don't say that she insists, however, upon your swallowing
all the advice she crams you with; for, provided she has the luxury of
giving it, it can make little difference how it is taken; because
whatever befals you, be it good or bad, it is equally a matter of
exultation to her. Thus she has the satisfaction of saying, 'If poor
Mrs. Dabble had but followed my advice, and not have taken these pills
of Dr. Doolittle's, she would have been alive to-day, depend upon it;'
or, 'If Sir Thomas Speckle had but taken advantage of a friendly hint I
threw out some time ago, about the purchase of the Drawrent estate, he
might have been a man worth ten thousand a year at this moment;' or, 'If
Lady Dull hadn't been so infatuated as to neglect the caution I gave her
about Bob Squander, her daughter might have been married to Nabob Gull.'

"But there is a strange contradiction about Mrs. Wiseacre, for though it
appears that all her friends' misfortunes proceed from neglecting her
advice, it is no less apparent, by her account, that her own are all
occasioned by following the advice of others. She is for ever doing
foolish things, and laying the blame upon her neighbours. Thus, 'Had it
not been for my friend Mrs. Jobbs there, I never would have parted with
my house for an old song as I did;' or, 'It was entirely owing to Miss
Glue's obstinacy that I was robbed of my diamond necklace, or, 'I have
to thank my friend Colonel Crack for getting my carriage smashed to
pieces.' In short, she has the most comfortable repository of stupid
friends to have recourse to, of anybody I ever knew. Now what I have to
warn you against, Mary, is the sin of ever listening to any of her
advices. She will preach to you about the pinning of your gown and the
curling of your hair till you would think it impossible not to do exactly
what she wants you to do. She will inquire with the greatest solicitude
what shoemaker you employ, and will shake her head most significantly
when she hears it is any other than her own. But if ever I detect you
paying the smallest attention to any of her recommendations, positively
I shall have done with you."

Mary laughingly promised to turn a deaf ear to all Mrs. Wiseacre's
wisdom; and her cousin proceeded:

"Then here follows a swarm as, thick as idle motes in sunny ray,' and
much of the same importance, methinks, in the scale of being. Married
ladies only celebrated for their good dinners, or their pretty
equipages, or their fine jewels. How I should scorn to be talked of as
the appendage to any soups or pearls! Then there are the daughters of
these ladies--Misses, who are mere misses, and nothing more. Oh! the
insipidity of a mere Miss! a soft simpering thing with pink cheeks, and
pretty hair, and fashionable clothes _sans_ eyes for anything but
lovers_-sans_ ears for anything but flattery--_sans_ taste for anything
but balls_--sans_ brains for anything at all! Then there are ladies who
are neither married nor young, and who strive with all their might to
talk most delightfully, that the charms of their conversation may efface
the marks of the crows' feet; but 'all these I passen by, and nameless
numbers moe.' And now comes the Hon. Mrs. Downe Wright, a person of
considerable shrewdness and penetration--vulgar, but unaffected. There
is no politeness, no gentleness in her heart; but she possesses some
warmth, much honesty, and great hospitality. She has acquired the
character of being--oh, odious thing!--a clever woman! There are two
descriptions of clever women, observe; the one is endowed with corporeal
cleverness--the other with mental; and I don't know which of the two is
the greater nuisance to society; the one torments you with her
management--the other with her smart sayings; the one is for ever
rattling her bunch of keys in your ears--the other electrifies you with
the shock of her wit; and both talk _so_ much and _so _loud, and are
such egotists, that I rather think a clever woman is even a greater term
of reproach than a good creature. But to return to that clever woman Mrs.
Downe Wright: she is a widow, left with the management of an only son--a
commonplace, weak young man. No one, I believe, is more sensible of his
mental deficiencies than his mother; but she knows that a man of fortune
is, in the eyes of the many, a man of consequence; and she therefore
wisely talks of it as his chief characteristic. To keep him in good
company, and get him well married, is all her aim; and this, she thinks,
will not be difficult, as he is very handsome-possesses an estate of ten
thousand a year--and succeeds to some Scotch Lord Something's
title--there's for you, Mary! She once had views of Adelaide, but
Adelaide met the advances with so much scorn that Mrs. Downe Wright
declared she was thankful she had shown the cloven foot in time, for
that she never would have done for a wife to her William. Now you are
the very thing to suit, for you have no cloven feet to show."

"Or at least you are not so quick-sighted as Mrs. Downe Wright. You
have not spied them yet, it seems," said Mary, with a smile.

"Oh, as to that, if you had them, I should defy you, or anyone, to hide
them from me. When I reflect upon the characters of most of my
acquaintances, I sometimes think nature has formed my optics only to see
disagreeables."

"That must be a still more painful faculty of vision than even the
second-sight," said Mary; "but I should think it depended very much upon
yourself to counteract it."

"Impossible! my perceptions are so peculiarly alive to all that is
obnoxious to them that I could as soon preach my eyes into blindness, or
my ears into deafness, as put down my feelings with chopping logic. If
people _will_ be affected and ridiculous, why must I live in a state of
warfare with myself on account of the feelings they rouse within me?"

"If people _will_ be irritable," said Mary, laughing, "why must others
sacrifice their feelings to gratify them?"

"Because mine are natural feelings, and theirs are artificial. A very
saint must sicken at sight of affectation, you'll allow. Vulgarity, even
innate vulgarity, is bearable--stupidity itself is pardonable--but
affectation is never to be endured or forgiven."

"It admits of palliation, at least," answered Mary. "I dare say there are
many people who would have been pleasing and natural in their manners
had not their parents and teachers interfered. There are many, I
believe, who have not courage to show themselves such as they are--some
who are naturally affected and many, very many, who have been taught
affectation as a necessary branch of education."

"Yes--as my governesses would have taught me; but, thank heaven! I got
the better of them. _Fascinating_ was what they wanted to make me; but
whenever the word was mentioned, I used to knit my brows, and frown upon
them in such a sort. The frown, like now, sticks by me; but no matter--a
frowning brow is better than a false heart, and I defy anyone to say
that I am fascinating."

"There certainly must be some fascination about you, otherwise I should
never have sat so long listening to you," said Mary, as she rose from
the table at which she had been assisting to dash off the at-homes.

"But you must listen to me a little longer," cried her cousin, seizing
her hand to detain her. "I have not got half through my detestables yet;
but to humour you, I shall let them go for the present. And now, that
you mayn't suppose I am utterly insensible to excellence, you must
suffer me to show you that I can and do appreciate worth when I can find
it. I confess my talent lies fully as much in discovering the ridiculous
as the amiable; and I am equally ready to acknowledge it is a fault, and
no mark of superior wit or understanding; since it is much easier to hit
off the glaring caricature line of deformity than the finer and more
exquisite touches of beauty, especially for one who reads as he
run---the sign-posts are sure to catch the eye. But now for my
favourite--no matter for her name--it would frighten you if were you to
hear it. In the first place, she is, as some of your old divines say,
_hugely religious;_ 'but then she keeps her piety in its proper place,
and where it ought to be--in her very soul. It is never a
stumbling-block in other people's way, or interfering with other
people's affairs. Her object is to _be,_ not to _seem, _religious; and
there is neither hypocrisy nor austerity necessary for that. She is
forbearing, without meanness--gentle, without insipidity--sincere,
without rudeness. She practises all the virtues herself, and seems quite
unconscious that others don't do the same. She is, if I may trust the
expression of her eye, almost as much alive to the ridiculous as I am;
but she is only diverted where I am provoked. She never bestows false
praise even upon her friends; but a simple approval from her is of more
value than the finest panegyric from another. She never finds occasion
to censure or condemn the conduct of anyone, however flagrant it may be
in the eyes of others; because she seems to think virtue is better
expressed by her own actions than by her neighbour's vices. She cares
not for admiration, but is anxious to do good and give pleasure. To sum
up the whole, she could listen with patience to Lady Placid; she could
bear to be advised by Mrs. Wiseacre; she could stand the scrutiny of
Mrs. Downe Wright; and, hardest task of all" (throwing her arms around
Mary's neck), "she can bear with all my ill-humour and impertinence."



CHAPTER X.

    "Have I then no fears for thee, my _mother?_
    Can I forget thy cares, from helpless years--
    Thy tenderness for me?  an eye still beamed
    With love!"
                THOMPSON.

THE arrival of Lord Lindore brought a influx of visitors to Beech Park;
and in the unceasing round of amusement that went on Mary found herself
completely overlooked. She therefore gladly took advantage of her
insignificance to pay frequent visits to Mrs. Lennox, and easily
prevailed with Lady Juliana to allow her to spend a week there
occasionally. In this way the acquaintance soon ripened into the warmest
affection on both sides. The day seemed doubly dark to Mrs. Lennox that
was not brightened by Mary's presence; and Mary felt all the drooping
energies of her heart revive in the delight of administering to the
happiness of another.

Mrs. Lennox was one of those gentle amiable beings, who engage our
affections far more powerfully than many possessed of higher attributes.
Her understanding was not strong--neither had it been highly cultivated,
according to the ideas of the present time; but she had a benevolence of
heart and a guileless simplicity of thought that shamed the pride of wit
and pomp of learning. Bereft of all external enjoyments, and destitute
of great mental resources, it was retrospection and futurity that gilded
the dark evening of her days, and shed their light on the dreary
realities of life. She loved to recall the remembrance of her
children--to tell of their infant beauties, their growing virtues--and
to retrace scenes of past felicity which memory loves to treasure in the
heart.

"Oh! none but a mother can tell," she would exclaim, "the bitterness of
those tears which fall from a mother's eyes. All other sorrows seem
natural, but--God forgive me!--surely it is not natural that the old
should weep for the young. Oh! when I saw myself surrounded by my
children, little did I think that death was so soon to seal their eyes!
Sorrow mine! and yet me thinks I would rather have suffered all than
have stood in the world a lonely being. Yes, my children revered His
power and believed in His name, and, thanks to His mercy, I feel assured
they are now angels in heaven! Here," taking some papers from a
writing-box, "my Louisa speaks to me even from the tomb! These are the
words she wrote but a few hours before her death. Read them to me; for
it is not every voice I can bear to hear uttering her last thoughts."
Mary read as follows:--

    FOR EVER GONE.

    For ever gone! oh, chilling sound!
    That tolls the knell of hope and joy!
    Potent with torturing pang to wound,
    But not in mercy to destroy.

    For ever gone! what words of grief--
    Replete with wild mysterious woe!
    The Christian kneels to seek relief--
    A Saviour died---It is not so.

    For a brief space we sojourn here,
    And life's rough path we journey o'er;
    Thus was it with the friend so dear,
    That is not lost, but sped before.

    For ever gone! oh, madness wild
    Dwells in that drear and Atheist doom!
    But death of horror is despoiled,
    When Heaven shines forth beyond the  tomb.

    For ever gone! oh, dreadful fate!
    Go visit nature--gather thence
    The symbols of man's happier state,
    Which speak to every mortal sense.

    The leafless spray, the withered flower,
    Alike with man owns death's embrace;
    But bustling forth, in summer hour,
    Prepare anew to run life's race.

    And shall it be, that man alone
    Dies, never more to rise again?
    Of all creation, highest one,
    Created but to live in vain?

    For ever gone! oh, dire despair!--
    Look to the heavens, the earth, the sea--
    Go, read a Saviour's promise there--
    Go, heir of Immortality!

From such communings as these the selfish would have turned with
indifference; but Mary's generous heart was ever open to the
overflowings of the wounded spirit. She had never been accustomed to
lavish the best feelings of her nature on frivolous pursuits or
fictitious distresses, but had early been taught to consecrate them to
the best, the most ennobling purposes of humanity--even to the
comforting of the weary soul, the binding of the bruised heart. Yet Mary
was no rigid moralist. She loved amusement as the amusement of an
imperfect existence, though her good sense and still better principles
taught her to reject it as the _business_ of an immortal being.

Several weeks passed away, during which Mary had been an almost constant
inmate at Rose Hall; but the day of Lady Emily's _fête _arrived,
and with something of hope and expectation fluttering at her heart, she
anticipated her _debut_ in the ball-room. She repaired to the
breakfast-table of her venerable friend with even more than usual
hilarity; but, upon entering the apartment, her gaiety fled; for she was
struck with the emotion visible on the countenance of Mrs. Lennox. Her
meek but tearful eyes were raised to heaven, and her hands were crossed
on her bosom, as if to subdue the agitation of her heart. Her faithful
attendant stood by her with an open letter in her hand.

Mary flew towards her; and as her light step and soft accents met
her ear, she extended her arms towards her.

"Mary, my child, where are you?" exclaimed she, as she pressed her with
convulsive eagerness to her heart. "My son!--my Charles!--to-morrow I
shall see him. See him! oh, God help me! I shall never see him more!"
And she wept in all the agony of contending emotions, suddenly and
powerful excited.

"But you will hear him--you will hold him to your heart--you will be
conscious that he is beside you," said Mary.

"Yes, thank God! I shall once more hear the voice of a living child! Oh,
how often do those voices ring in my heart, that are all hushed in the
grave! I am used to it now; but to think of his returning to this
wilderness! When last he left it he had father, brothers, sisters--and
to find all gone!"

"Indeed it will be a sad return," said the old housekeeper, as she wiped
her eyes; "for the Colonel doated on his sister, and she on him, and his
brothers too! Dearly they all loved one another. How in this very room
have I seen them chase each other up and down in their pretty plays,
with their papa's cap and sword, and say they would be soldiers!"

Mary motioned the good woman to be silent; then turning to Mrs Lennox,
she sought to sooth her into composure, and turned, as she always did,
he bright side of the picture to view, by dwelling on the joy her son
would experience in seeing her. Mrs. Lennox shook her head mournfully.

"Alas! he cannot joy in seeing me, such as I am. I have too long
concealed from him my dreary doom; he knows not that these poor eyes are
sealed in darkness! Oh, he will seek to read a mother's fondness there,
and he will find all cold and silent."

"But he will also find you resigned--even contented," said Mary, while
her tears dropped on the hand she held to her lips.

"Yes; God knows I do not repine at His will. It is not for myself these
tears fall, but my son. How will he bear to behold the mother he so
loved and honoured, now blind, bereft, and helpless?" And the wounds of
her heart seemed to bleed afresh at the excitement of even its happiest
emotions--the return of a long absent, much-loved son.

Mary exerted all the powers of her understanding, all the tenderness of
her heart, to dispel the mournful images that pressed on the mind of her
friend; but she found it was not so much her _arguments _as her
_presence_ that produced that effect; and to leave her in her present
situation seemed impossible. In the agitation of her spirits she had
wholly forgotten the occasion that called for Mary's absence, and she
implored her to remain with her till the arrival of her son with an
earnestness that was irresistible.

The thoughts of her cousin's displeasure, should she absent herself upon
such an occasion, caused Mary to hesitate; yet her feelings would not
allow her to name the cause.

"How unfeeling it would sound to talk of balls at such a time," thought
she; "what a painful contrast must it present! Surely Lady Emily will
not blame me, and no one will miss me----" And, in the ardour of her
feelings, she promised to remain. Yet she sighed as she sent off her
excuse, and thought of the pleasures she had renounced. But the
sacrifice made, the regrets were soon past; and she devoted herself
entirely to soothing the agitated spirits of her venerable friend.

It is perhaps the simplest and most obvious truth, skilfully
administered, that, in the season of affliction, produces the most
salutary effects upon our mind. Mary was certainly no logician, and all
that she could say might have been said by another; but there is
something in the voice and manner that carries an irresistible influence
along with it--something that tells us our sorrows are felt and
understood, not coldly seen and heard. Mary's well-directed exertions
were repaid with success; she read, talked, played, and sang, not in her
gayest manner, but in that subdued strain which harmonised with the
feelings, while it won upon the attention, and she had at length the
satisfaction of seeing the object of her solicitude restored to her
usual state of calm confiding acquiescence.

"God bless you, my dear Mary!" said she, as they were about to separate
for the night. "He only can repay you for the good you have done me this
day!"

"Ah!" thought Mary, as she tenderly embraced her, "such a blessing is
worth a dozen balls?"

At that moment the sound of a carriage was heard, and an unusual bustle
took place below; but scarcely had they time to notice it ere the door
flew open, and Mrs. Lennox found herself locked in the arms of her son.

For some minutes the tide of feeling was too strong for utterance, and
"My mother!" "My son!" were the only words that either could articulate.
At length, raising his head, Colonel Lennox fixed his eyes on his
mother's face with a gaze of deep and fearful inquiry; but no returning
glance spoke there. With that mournful vacuity, peculiar to the blind,
which is a thousand times more touching than all the varied expression
of the living orb, she continued to regard the vacant space which
imagination had filled with the image she sought in vain to behold.

At this confirmation of his worst fears a shade of the deepest
anguish overspread the visage of her son. He raised his eyes, as in
agony, to heaven--then threw himself on his mother's bosom; and as Mary
hurried from the apartment she heard the sob which burst from his manly
heart, as he exclaimed, "My dear mother! do I indeed find you
thus?"



CHAPTER Xl

"There is more complacency in the negligence of some men, than in what
is called the good breeding of others; and the little absences of the
heart are often more interesting and engaging than the punctilious
attention of a thousand professed sacrificers to the graces."--MACKENZIE.



POWERFUL emotions are the certain levellers of ordinary feelings. When
Mary met Colonel Lennox in the breakfast-room the following morning, he
accosted her not with the ceremony of a stranger but with the frankness
of a heart careless of common forms, and spoke of his mother with
indications of sensibility which he vainly strove to repress. Mary knew
that she had sought to conceal her real situation from him; but it
seemed a vague suspicion of the truth had, crossed his mind, and having
with difficulty obtained a short leave of absence he had hastened to
have either his hopes or fears realised.

"And now that I know the worst," said he, "I know it only to deplore it.
Far from alleviating, presence seems rather to aggravate my poor
mother's misfortune. Oh! it is heartrending to see the strivings of
these longing eyes to look upon the face of those she loves!"

"Ah!" thought Mary, "were they to behold that face now, how changed
would it appear!" as she contrasted it with the portrait that hung
immediately over the head of the original. The one in all the brightness
of youth--the radiant eyes, the rounded cheek, the fair open brow, spoke
only of hope, and health, and joy. Those eyes were now dimmed by sorrow;
the cheek was wasted with toil; the brow was clouded by cares. Yet, "as
it is the best part of beauty which a picture cannot express," [1]
so there is something superior to the mere charms of form and colour; and
an air of high-toned feeling, of mingled vivacity and sensibility, gave
a grandeur to the form and an expression to the countenance which more
than atoned for the want of youth's more brilliant attributes.

[1]  Lord Bacon.

At least, so thought Mary; but her comparisons were interrupted by the
entrance of Mrs. Lennox. Her son flew towards her, and taking her arm
from that of her attendant, led her to her seat, and sought to render
her those little offices which her helplessness required.

"My dear Charles," said she, with a smile, as he tried to adjust her
cushions, "your hands have not been used to this work. Your arm is my
best support, but a gentler hand must smooth my pillow. Mary, my love,
where are--? Give me your hand." Then placing it in that of her son--
"Many a tear has this hand wiped from your mother's eyes!"

Mary, blushing deeply, hastily withdrew it. She felt it as a sort of
appeal to Colonel Lennox's feelings; and a sense of wounded delicacy
made her shrink from being thus recommended to his gratitude. But
Colonel Lennox seemed too much absorbed in his own painful reflections
to attach such a meaning to his mother's words; and though they excited
him to regard Mary for a moment with peculiar interest, yet, in a little
while, he relapsed into the mournful reverie from which he had been
roused.

Colonel Lennox was evidently not a show-off character. He seemed
superior to the mere vulgar aim of making himself agreeable--an aim
which has much oftener its source in vanity than in benevolence. Yet the
exerted himself to meet his mother's cheerfulness; though as often as he
looked at her, or raised his eyes to the youthful group that hung before
them, his changing hue and quivering lip betrayed the anguish he strove
to hide.

Breakfast ended, Mary rose to prepare for her departure, in spite of the
solicitations of her friend that she should remain till the following
day.

"Surely, my dear Mary," said she in an imploring accent, "you will not
refuse to bestow one day of happiness upon me?--and it is _such _a
happiness to see my Charles and you together. I little thought that ever
I should have been so blessed. Ah! I begin to think God has yet some
good in store for my last days! Do not then leave me just when I am
beginning to taste of joy!"--And she clung to her with that pathetic
look which Mary had ever found irresistble.

But upon this occasion she steeled her heart against all supplication.
It was the first time she had ever turned from the entreaty of old age
or infirmity; and those only who have lived in the habitual practice of
administering to the happiness of others can conceive how much it costs
the generous heart to resist even the weaknesses of those it loves. But
Mary felt she had already sacrificed too much to affection, and she
feared the reproaches and ridicule that awaited her return to Beech
Park. She therefore gently, though steadily, adhered to her resolution,
only softening it by a promise of returning soon.

"What an angel goes there!" exclaimed Mrs. Lennox to her son, as Mary
left the room to prepare for her departure. "Ah! Charles, could I but
hope to see her yours!"

Colonel Lennox smiled--"That must be when I am an angel myself then. A
poor weather-beaten soldier like me must be satisfied with something
less."

"But is she not a lovely creature?" asked his mother, with some
solicitude.

"Angels, you know, are always fair," replied Colonel Lennox laughingly,
trying to parry this attack upon his heart.

"Ah! Charles, that is not being serious. But young people now are
different from what they were in my day. There is no such thing as
falling in love now, you are all so cautious."

And the good old lady's thoughts reverted to the time when the gay and
gallant Captain Lennox had fallen desperately in love with her, as she
danced a minuet in a blue satin sacque and Bologna hat at a county ball.

"You forget, my dear mother, what a knack I had in falling in love ten
years ago. Since then, I confess I have got rather out of the way of it;
but a little, a very little practice, I am sure, will make me as expert
as ever;--and then I promise you shall have no cause to complain of my
caution."

Mrs. Lennox sighed and shook her head. She had long cherished the hope
that if ever her son came home it would be to fall in love with and
marry her beloved Mary; and she had dwelt upon this favourite scheme
till it had taken entire possession of her mind. In the simplicity of
her heart she also imagined that it would greatly help to accelerate the
event were she to suggest the idea to her son, as she had no doubt but
that the object of her affections must necessarily become the idol of
his. So little did she know of human nature that the very means she used
to accomplish her purpose were the most effectual she could have
contrived to defeat it. Such is man, that his pride revolts from all
attempts to influence his affections. The weak and the undiscerning,
indeed, are often led to "choose love by another's eyes;" but the lofty
and independent spirit loves to create for itself those feelings which
lose half their charms when their source is not in the depths of their
own heart.

It was with no slight mortification that Mrs. Lennox saw Mary depart
without having made the desired impression on the heart of her son; or,
what was still more to be feared, of his having secured himself a place
in her favour. But again and again she made Mary repeat her promise of
returning soon, and spending some days with her. "And then," thought
she, "things will all come right. When they live together, and see each
other constantly, they cannot possibly avoid loving each other, and all
will be as it should be. God grant I may live to see it!"

And hope softened the pang of disappointment.



CHAPTER XII.

    "Qui vous a pu plonger dans cette humeur chagrine,
    A-t-on par quelque edit réformé la cuisine?"

                        BOILEAU.

MARY'S inexperienced mind expected to find, on her return to Beech Park,
some vestige of the pleasures of the preceding night--some shadows, at
least, of gaiety, to show what happiness she had sacrificed what delight
her friends had enjoyed; but for the first time she beheld the hideous
aspect of departed pleasure. Drooping evergreens, dying lamps, dim
transparencies, and faded flowers, met her view as she crossed the hall;
while the public rooms were covered with dust from the chalked floors,
and wax from the droppings of the candles. Everything, in short, looked
tawdry and forlorn. Nothing was in its place--nothing looked as it used
to do--and she stood amazed at the disagreeable metamorphose an things
had undergone.

Hearing some one approach, she turned and beheld Dr. Redgill enter.

"So--it's only you, Miss Mary!" exclaimed he in a tone of chagrin. "I
was in hopes it was some of the women-servants. 'Pon my soul, it's
disgraceful to think that in this house there is not a woman stirring
yet! I have sent five messages by my man to let Mrs. Brown know that I
have been waiting for my breakfast these two hours; but this confounded
ball has turned everything upside down! You are come to a pretty scene,"
continued he, looking round with a mixture of fury and contempt,--"a
very pretty scene! 'Pon my honour, I blush to see myself standing here!
Just look at these rags!" kicking a festoon of artificial roses that had
fallen to the ground. "Can anything be more despicable?--and to think
that rational creatures in possession of their senses should take
pleasure in the sight of such trumpery! 'Pon my soul, I--I--declare it
confounds me! I really used to think Lady Emily (for this is all her
doing) had some sense--but such a display of folly as this!"

"Pshaw!" said Mary, "it is not fair in us to stand here analysing the
dregs of gaiety after the essence is gone. I daresay this was a very
brilliant scene last night."

"Brilliant scene, indeed!" repeated the Doctor in a most; wrathful
accent: "I really am amazed--I--yes--brilliant enough--if you mean that
there was a glare of light enough to blind the devil. I thought my eyes
would have been put out the short time I stayed; indeed, I don't think
this one has recovered it yet," advancing a fierce blood-shot eye almost
close to Mary's. "Don't you think it looks a _leettle_ inflamed, Miss
Mary?"

Mary gave it as her opinion that it did.

"Well, that's all I've got by this business; but I never was consulted
about it. I thought it my duty, however, to give a _leettle_ hint to the
Earl, when the thing was proposed. 'My Lord,' says I, 'your house is
your own; you have a right to do what you please with it; burn it; pull
it down; make a purgatory of it; but, for God's sake, don't give a ball
in it!' The ball was given, and you see the consequences. A ball! and
what's a ball, that a whole family should be thrown into disorder for
it?"

"I daresay, to those who are engaged in it, it is a very delightful
amusement at the time."

"Delightful fiddlestick! 'Pon my soul, I'm surprised at you, Miss Mary!
I thought your staying away was a pretty strong proof of your good
sense; but I--hem! Delightful amusement, indeed! to see human creatures
twirling one another about all night like so many monkeys--making
perfect mountebanks of themselves. Really, I look upon dancing as a most
degrading and a most immoral practice. 'Pon my soul, I--_I_ couldn't
have the face to waltz, I know; and it's all on account of this
delightful amusement--" with a convulsive shake of his chin--"that things
are in this state--myself kept waiting for my breakfast two hours and a
half beyond my natural time: not that I mind myself at all--that's
neither here nor there--and if I was the only sufferer, I'm sure I
should be the very last to complain--but I own it vexes--it distresses
me. 'Pon my honour, can't stand seeing a whole family going to
destruction!"

The Doctor's agitation was so great that Mary really pitied him.

"It is rather hard that you cannot get any breakfast since you had no
enjoyment in the ball," said she. "I daresay, were I to apply to Mrs.
Brown, she would trust me with her keys; and I shall be happy too
officiate for her in making your tea."

"Thank you, Miss Mary," replied the Doctor coldly. "I'm very much obliged
to you. It is really a very polite offer on your part; but--hem!--you
might have observed that I never take tea to breakfast. I keep that for
the evening; most people, I know, do the reverse, but they're in the
wrong. Coffee is too nutritive for the evening. The French themselves
are in an error there. That woman, that Mrs. Brown knows what I like; in
fact, she's the only woman I ever met with who could make coffee--coffee
that I thought drinkable. She knows that--and she knows that I like it
to a moment--and yet---"

Here the Doctor blew his nose, and Mary thought she perceived a tear
twinkle in his eye. Finding she was incapable of administering
consolation, she was about to quit the room, when the Doctor, recovering
himself, called after her.

"If you happen to be going the way of Mrs. Brown's room, Miss Mary, I
would take it very kind if you could just contrive to let her know what
time of day it is; and that I have not tasted a mouthful of anything
since last night at twelve o'clock, when I took a _leettle_ morsel of
supper in my own room."

Mary took advantage of the deep sigh that followed to make her escape;
and as she crossed the vestibule she descried the Doctor's man, hurrying
along with a coffee pot, which she had no doubt would pour consolation
into his master's soul.

As Mary was aware of her mother's dislike to introduce her into
company, she flattered herself she had for once done something to merit
her approbation by having absented herself on this occasion. But Mary
was a novice in the ways of temper, and had yet to learn that to study
to please, and to succeed, are very different things. Lady Juliana had
been decidedly averse to her appearing at the ball, but she was equally
disposed to take offence at her having stayed away; besides, she had not
been pleased herself, and her glass told her she looked jaded and ill.
She was therefore, as her maid expressed it, in a most particular bad
temper; and Mary had to endure reproaches, of which she could only make
out that although she ought not to have been present she was much to
blame in having been absent. Lady Emily's indignation was in a different
style. There was a heat and energy in her anger that never failed to
overwhelm her victim at once. But it was more tolerable than the
tedious, fretful ill humour of the other; and after she had fairly
exhausted herself in invectives, and ridicule, and insolence, and drawn
tears from her cousin's eyes by the bitterness of her language, she
heartily embraced her, vowed she liked her better than anybody in the
world, and that she was a fool for minding anything she said to
her.

"I assure you," said she, "I was only tormenting you a little, and you
must own you deserve that; but you can't suppose I meant half what I
said; that is a _bêtise_ I can't conceive you guilty of. You see I
am much more charitable in my conclusions than you. You have no scruple
in thinking me a wretch, though I am too good-natured to set you down
for a fool. Come, brighten up, and I'll tell you all about the ball. How
I hate it, were it only for having made your nose red! But really the
thing in itself was detestable. Job himself must have gone mad at the
provocations I met with. In the first place, I had set my heart upon
introducing you with éclat, and instead of which you preferred
psalm-singing with Mrs. Lennox, or sentiment with her son--I don't know
which. In the next place there was a dinner in Bath, that kept away some
of the best men; then, after waiting an hour and a half for Frederick to
begin the ball with Lady Charlotte M---, I went myself to his room, and
found him lounging by the fire with a volume of Rousseau in his hand,
not dressed, and quite surprised that I should think his presence at all
necessary; and when he did make his entré, conceive my feelings
at seeing him single out Lady Placid as his partner! I certainly would
rather have seen him waltzing with a hyena! I don't believe he knew or
cared whom he danced with--unless, perhaps, it had been Adelaide, but she
was engaged; and, by-the-bye, there certainly is some sort of a liaison
there; how it will end I don't know; it depends upon on themselves, for
I'm sure the course of their love may run smooth if they choose--I know
nothing to interrupt it. Perhaps, indeed, it may become stagnate from
that very circumstance; for you know, or perhaps you don't know, 'there
is no spirit under heaven that works with such delusion.'"

Mary would have felt rather uneasy at his intelligence, had she believed
it possible for her sister to be in love; but she had ever appeared to
her so insensible to every tender emotion and generous affection, that
she could not suppose even love itself as capable of making any
impression on her heart. When, however, she saw them together, she began
to waver in her opinion. Adelaide, silent and disdainful to others, was
now gay and enchanting to Lord Lindore, and looked as if she triumphed
in the victory she had already won. It was not so easy to ascertain the
nature of Lord Lindore's feelings towards his cousin, and time only
developed them.



CHAPTER XIII.

"Les douleurs muettes et stupides sont hors d'usage; on pleure, on
récite, on répète, on est si touchée de la mort de son mari, qu'on
n'en oublie pas la moindre circonstance."

                                                LA BRUYERE.


"PRAY put on your Lennox face this morning, Mary," said Lady Emily one
day to her cousin, "for I want you to go and pay a funeral visit with me
to a distant relation, but unhappily a near neighbour of ours, who has
lately lost her husband. Lady Juliana and Adelaide ought to go, but they
won't, so you and I must celebrate, as we best can, the obsequies of the
Honourable Mr. Sufton."

Mary readily assented; and when they were seated in the carriage, her
cousin began--

"Since I am going to put you in the way of a trap, I think it but fair
to warn you of it. All traps are odious things, and I make it my
business to expose them wherever I find them. I own it chafes my spirit
to see even sensible people taken in by the clumsy machinery of such a
woman as Lady Matilda Sufton. So here she is in her true colours. Lady
Matilda is descended from the ancient and illustrious family of
Altamont. To have a fair character is, in her eyes, much more important
than to deserve it. She has prepared speeches for every occasion, and
she expects they are all to be believed--in short, she is a _show_
woman; the world is her theatre, and from it she looks for the plaudits
due to her virtue; for with her the reality and the semblance are
synonymous. She has a grave and imposing air, which keeps the timid at a
distance; and she delivers the most common truths as if they were the
most profound aphorisms. To degrade herself is her greatest fear; for,
to use her own expression, there is nothing so degrading as associating
with our inferiors--that is, our inferiors in rank and wealth--for with
her all other gradations are incomprehensible. With the lower orders of
society she is totally unacquainted; she knows they are meanly clothed
and coarsely fed, consequently they are mean. She is proud, both from
nature and principle; for she thinks it is the duty of every woman of
family to be proud, and that humility is only a virtue in the
_canaille._ Proper pride she calls it, though I rather think it ought
to be pride _proper,_ as I imagine it is a distinction that was unknown
before the introduction of heraldry. The only true knowledge, according
to her creed, is the knowledge of the world, by which she means a
knowledge of the most courtly etiquette, the manners and habits of the
great, and the newest fashions in dress. Ignoramuses might suppose she
entered deeply into things, and was thoroughly acquainted with human
nature. No such thing; the only wisdom she possesses, like the owl is
the look of wisdom, and that is the very part of it which I detest.
Passions or feelings she has none, and to love she is an utter stranger.
When somewhat 'in the sear and yellow leaf' she married Mr. Sufton, a
silly old man, who had been dead to the world for many years. But after
having had him buried alive in his own chamber till his existence was
forgot, she had him disinterred for the purpose of giving him a splendid
burial in good earnest. That done, her duty is now to mourn, or appear
to mourn, for the approbation of the world. And now you shall judge for
yourself, for here is Sufton House. Now for the trappings and the weeds
of woe."

Aware of her cousin's satirical turn, Mary was not disposed to yield
conviction to her representation, but entered Lady Matilda's
drawing-room with a mind sufficiently unbiassed to allow her to form her
own judgment; but a very slight survey satisfied her that the picture
was not overcharged. Lady Matilda sat in an attitude of woe--a
crape--fan and open prayer-book lay before her--her cambric handkerchief
was in her hand--her mourning-ring was upon her finger--and the tear,
not unbidden, stood in her eye. On the same sofa, and side by side, sat
a tall, awkward, vapid-looking personage, whom she introduced as her
brother, the Duke of Altamont. His Grace was flanked by an
obsequious-looking gentleman, who was slightly named as General Carver;
and at a respectful distance was seated a sort of half-cast
gentle-woman, something betwixt the confide humble companion, who was
incidentally as "my good Mrs. Finch."

Her Ladyship pressed Lady Emily's hand--

"I did not expect, my dearest young friend, after the blow I have
experienced--I did not expect I should so soon have been enabled to see
my friends; but I have made a great exertion. Had I consulted my own
feelings, indeed!--but there is a duty we owe to the world--there is an
example we are all bound to show--but such a blow!" Here she had
recourse to her handkerchief.

"Such a blow!" echoed the Duke.

"Such a blow!" re-echoed the General.

"Such a blow!" reverberated Mrs. Finch.

"The most doating husband! I may say he lived but in my sight. Such a
man!"

"Such a man!" said the Duke.

"Such a man!" exclaimed the General.

"Oh! such a man!" sobbed Mrs. Finch, as she complacently dropped a few
tears. At hat moment, sacred to tender remembrance, the door opened, and
Mrs. Downe Wright was announced. She entered the room as if she had come
to profane the ashes of the dead, and insult the feelings of the living.
A smile was upon her face; and, in place of the silent pressure, she
shook her Ladyship heartily by the hand as she expressed her pleasure at
seeing her look so well.

"Well!" replied the Lady, "that is wonderful, after whatever have
suffered; but grief, it seems, will not kill!"

"I never thought it would," said Mrs. Downe Wright; "but I thought your
having been confined to the house so long might have affected your
looks. However, I'm happy to see that is not the case, as I don't
recollect ever to have seen you so fat."

Lady Matilda tried to look her into decency, but in vain. She sighed,
and even groaned; but Mrs. Downe Wright would not be dolorous, and was
not to be taken in, either by sigh or groan, crape-fan or prayer-book.
There was nobody her Ladyship stood so much in awe of as Mrs. Downe
Wright. She had an instinctive knowledge that she knew her, and she felt
her genius repressed by her, as Julius Cresar's was by Cassius. They had
been very old acquaintances, but never were cordial friends, though many
worthy people are very apt to confound the two. Upon this occasion Mrs.
Downe Wright certainly did; for, availing herself of this privilege, she
took off her cloak, and said, "'Tis so long since I have seen you, my
dear; and since I see you so well, and able to enjoy the society of your
friends, I shall delay the rest of my visits, and spend the morning with
you."

"That is truly kind of you, my dear Mrs. Downe Wright," returned the
mourner, with a countenance in which real woe was now plainly depicted;
"but I cannot be so selfish as to claim such a sacrifice from you."

"There is no sacrifice in the case, I assure you, my dear," returned
Mrs. Downe Wright. "This is a most comfortable room; and I could go
nowhere that I would meet a pleasanter little circle," looking round.

Lady Matilda thought herself undone.  Looking well--fat--comfortable
room--pleasant circle--rung in her ears, and caused almost as great a
whirl in her brain as noses, lips, handkerchiefs, did in Othello's Mrs.
Downe Wright, always disagreeable, was now perfectly insupportable. She
had disconcerted all her plans--she was a bar to all her studied
speeches--even an obstacle to all her sentimental looks; yet to get rid
of her was impossible. In fact, Mrs. Downe Wright was far from being an
amiable woman. She took a malicious pleasure in tormenting those she did
not like; and her skill in this art was so great that she even deprived
the tormented of the privilege of complaint. She had a great insight
into character, and she might be said to read the very thoughts of his
victims. Making a desperate effort to be herself again, Lady Matilda
turned to her two young visitors, with whom she had still some hopes of
success.

"I cannot express how much I feel indebted to the sympathy of my friends
upon this trying occasion--an occasion, indeed, that called for
sympathy."

"A most melancholy occasion!" said the Duke.

"A most distressing occasion!" exclaimed the General.

"Never was greater occasion!" moaned  Mrs_._ Finch.

Her Ladyship wiped her eyes, and resumed.

"I feel that I act but a melancholy part, in spite  of every exertion.
But my kind friend Mrs. Downe Wright's spirits will, I trust, support
me. She knows what it is to lose--"

Again her voice was buried in her handkerchief, and again she recovered
and proceeded.

"I ought to apologise for being thus overcome; but my friends, I hope,
will make due allowance for my situation. It cannot be expected that I
should at all times find myself able for company."

"Not at all!" said the Duke; and the two satellites uttered their
responses.

"You are able for a great deal, my dear!" said the provoking Mrs. Downe
Wright; "and I have no doubt but, with a very little exertion, you could
behave as if nothing had happened."

"Your partiality makes you suppose me capable of a great deal more than
I am equal to," answered her Ladyship, with a real hysteric sob. "It is
not everyone who is blessed with the spirits of Mrs. Downe Wright."

"What woman can do, you dare; who dares do more, is none!" said the
General, bowing with a delighted air at this brilliant application.

Mrs. Downe Wright charitably allowed it to pass, as she thought it might
be construed either as a compliment or a banter. Visitors flocked in,
and the insufferable Mrs. Downe Wright declared to all that her Ladyship
was astonishingly well; but without the appropriate whine, which gives
proper pathos, and generally accompanies this hackneyed speech. Mrs.
Finch indeed laboured hard _to _counteract the effect of this
injudicious cheerfulness by the most orthodox sighs, shakes of the head,
and confidential whispers, in which "wonderful woman!"--"prodigious
exertion!"--"perfectly overcome!"--"suffer for this afterwards,"--were
audibly heard by all present; but even then Mrs. Downe Wright's drawn-up
lip and curled nose spoke daggers. At length the tormentor recollected
an engagement she had made elsewhere, and took leave, promising to
return, if possible, the following day. Her friend, in her own mind,
took her measures accordingly. She resolved to order her own carriage to
be in waiting, and if Mrs. Downe Wright put her threat in execution she
would take an airing. True, she had not intended to have been able for
such an exertion for at least a week longer; but, with the blinds down,
she thought it might have an interesting effect.

The enemy fairly gone, Lady Matilda seemed to feel like a person
suddenly relieved from the nightmare; and she was beginning to give a
fair specimen of her scenic powers when Lady Emily, seeing the game was
up with Mrs. Downe Wright, abruptly rose to depart.

"This has been a trying scene for you, my sweet young friends!" said her
Ladyship, taking a hand of each.

"It has indeed!" replied Lady Emily, in a tone so significant as made
Mary start.

"I know it would--youth is always so full of sympathy. I own I have a
preference for the society of my young friends on that account. My good
Mrs. Finch, indeed, is an exception; but worthy Mrs. Downe Wright has
been almost too much for me."

"She is too much!" said the Duke.

"She is a great deal too much!" said the General.

"She is a vast deal too much!" said Mrs. Finch.

"I own I have been rather overcome by her!" with a deep-drawn sigh,
which her visitors hastily availed themselves of to make their retreat.
The Duke and the General handed Lady Emily and Mary to their
carriage.

"You find my poor sister wonderfully composed," said the former.

"Charming woman, Lady Matilda!" ejaculated the latter; "her feelings do
honour to her head and heart!"

Mary sprang into the carriage as quick as possible to be saved the
embarrassment of a reply; and it was not till they were fairly out of
sight that she ventured to raise her eyes to her cousin's face. There
the expression of ill-humour and disgust were so strongly depicted that
she could not longer repress her risible emotions, but gave way to a
violent fit of laughter.

"How!" exclaimed her companion, "is this the only effect 'Matilda's
moan' has produced upon you? I expected your taste for grief would have
been highly gratified by this affecting representation."

"My appetite, you ought rather to say," replied Mary; "taste implies
some discrimination, which you seem to deny me."

"Why, to tell you the truth, I do look upon you as a sort of
intellectual ghoul; you really do remind me of the lady in the Arabian
Nights, whose taste or appetite, which you will, led her to scorn
everything that did not savour of the churchyard."

"The delicacy of your comparison is highly flattering," said Mary; "but
I must be duller than the fatweed were I to give my sympathy to such as
Lady Matilda Sufton."

"Well, I'm glad to hear you say so; for I assure you I was in pain lest
you should have been taken in, notwithstanding my warning to say
something _larmoyante--or_ join the soft echo--or heave a sigh--or drop a
tear--or do something, in short, that would have disgraced you with me
for ever. At one time, I must do you the justice to own, I thought I saw
you with difficulty repress a smile, and then you blushed so, for fear
you had betrayed yourself! The smile I suppose has gained you one
conquest--the blush another. How happy you who can hit the various
tastes so easily! Mrs. Downe Wright whispered me as she left the room,
'What a charming intelligent countenance your cousin has!' While my Lord
Duke of Altamont observed, as he handed me along, 'What a very sweet
modest-looking girl Miss Douglas was! 'So take your choice--Mrs. William
Downe Wright, or Duchess of Altamont!"

"Duchess of Altamont, to be sure," said Mary: "and then such a man! Oh!
such a man!"



CHAPTER XIV.

    "For marriage is a matter of more worth
    Than to be dealt with in attorneyship."

                 SHAKESPEARE.

"ALLOW me to introduce to you, ladies, that most high and puissant
Princess, her Grace the Duchess of Altamont, Marchioness of Norwood,
Countess of Penrose, Baroness of, etc. etc.," cried Lady Emily, as she
threw open the drawing-room door, and ushered Mary into the presence of
her mother and sister, with all the demonstrations of ceremony and
respect. The one frowned-the other coloured.

"How vastly absurd!" cried Lady Juliana angrily.

"How vastly amusing!" cried Adelaide contemptuously.

"How vastly annoying!" cried Lady Emily; "to think that this little
Highlander should bear a loft the ducal crown, while you and I,
Adelaide, must sneak about in shabby straw bonnets," throwing down her
own in pretended indignation. "Then to think, which is almost certain, of
her Viceroying it someday; and you and I, and all of us, being presented
to her Majesty--having the honour of her hand to kiss--retreating from
the royal presence upon our heels.

"Oh! ye Sylphs and Gnomes!" and she pretended to sink down overwhelmed
with mortification.

Lady Emily delighted in tormenting her aunt and cousin, and she saw that
she had completely succeeded. Mary was disliked by her mother, and
despised by her sister; and any attempt to bring her forward, or raise
her to a level with themselves, never failed to excite the indignation of
both. The consequences were always felt by her in the increased
ill-humour and disdainful indifference with which she was treated; and
on the present occasion her injudicious friend was only brewing phials
of wrath for her. But Lady Emily never looked to future
consequences--present effect was all she cared for; and she went on to
relate seriously, as she called it, but in the most exaggerated terms,
the admiration which the Duke had expressed for Mary, and her own firm
belief that she might be Duchess when she chose; "that is, after the
expiry of his mourning for the late Duchess. Everyone knows that he is
desirous of having a family, and is determined to marry the moment
propriety permits; he is now decidedly on the look-out, for the year
must be very near a close; and then, hail Duchess of Altamont!"

"I must desire, Lady Emily, you will find some other subject for your
wit, and not fill the girl's head with folly and nonsense; there is a
great deal too much of both already."

"Take care what you say of the future representative of majesty of this
may be high treason yet; only I trust your Grace will be as generous as
Henry the Fifth was, and that the Duchess of Altamont will not remember
the offences committed against Mary Douglas."

Lady Juliana, to whom a jest was an outrage, and raillery
incomprehensible, now started up, and, as she passionately swept out of
the room, threw down a stand of hyacinths, which, for the present, put a
stop to Lady Emily's diversion.

The following day Mrs. Downe Wright arrived with her son, evidently
primed for falling in love at first sight. He was a very handsome young
man, gentle, and rather pleasing in his manners; and Mary, to whom his
intentions were not so palpable, thought him by no means deserving of
the contempt her cousin had expressed for him.

"Well!" cried Lady Emily, after they were gone, "the plot begins to
thicken; lovers begin to pour in, but all for Mary; how mortifying to
you and me, Adelaide! At this rate we shall have nothing to boast of in
the way of disinterested attachment nobody refused!--nothing renounced!
By-and-bye Edward will be reckoned a very good match for _me,_and _you_
will be thought greatly married if you succeed in securing
Lindore--_poor_ Lord Lindore, as it seems that wretch Placid calls him."

Adelaide heard all her cousin's taunts in silence and with apparent
coolness; but they rankled deep in a heart already festering with pride,
envy, and ambition. The thoughts of her sister--and that sister so
inferior to herself--attaining a more splendid alliance, was not to be
endured. True, she loved Lord Lindore, and imagined herself beloved in
return; but even that was not sufficient to satisfy the craving passions
of a perverted mind. She did not, indeed, attach implicit belief to all
that her cousin said on the subject; but she was provoked and irritated
at the mere supposition of such a thing being possible; for it is not
merely the jealous whose happiness is the sport of trifles light as
air--every evil thought, every unamiable feeling, bears about with it
the bane of that enjoyment after which it vainly aspires.

Mary felt the increasing ill-humour which this subject drew upon her,
without being able to penetrate the cause of it; but she saw that it was
displeasing to her mother and sister, and that was sufficient to make
her wish to put a stop to it. She therefore earnestly entreated Lady
Emily to end the joke.

"Excuse me," replied her Ladyship, "I shall do no such thing. In the
first place, there happens to be no joke in the matter. I'm certain,
seriously certain, or certainly serious, which you like, that you may be
Duchess of Altamont, if you please. It could be no common admiration
that prompted his Grace to an original and spontaneous effusion of it. I
have met with him before, and never suspected that he had an innate idea
in his head. I certainly never heard him utter anything half so
brilliant before--it seemed quite like the effect of inspiration."

"But I cannot conceive, even were it as you say, why my mother should be
so displeased about it. She surely cannot suppose me so silly as to be
elated by the unmeaning admiration of anyone, or so meanly aspiring as
to marry a man I could not love, merely because he is a Duke. She was
incapable of such a thing herself, she cannot then suspect me."

"It seems as impossible to make you enter into the characters of your
mother and sister as it would be to teach them to comprehend yours, and
far be it from me to act as interpreter betwixt your understandings. If
you can't even imagine such things as prejudice, narrow-mindedness,
envy, hatred, and malice, your ignorance is bliss, and you had better
remain in it. But you may take my word for one thing, and that is, that
'tis a much wiser thing to resist tyranny than to submit to it. Your
patient Grizzles make nothing of it, except in little books: in real
life they become perfect pack-horses, saddled with the whole offences of
the family. Such will you become unless you pluck up spirit and dash
out. Marry the Duke, and drive over the necks of all your relations;
that's my advice to you."

"And you may rest assured that when I follow your advice it shall be
in whole not in part."

"Well, situated so detestably as you are, I rather think the best thing
you could do would be to make yourself Duchess of Altamont. How
disdainful you look! Come, tell me honestly now, would you really refuse
to be Your Grace, with ninety thousand a year, and remain simple Mary
Douglas, passing rich with perhaps forty?"

"Unquestionably," said Mary.

"What! you really pretend to say you would not marry the Duke of
Altamont?" cried Lady Emily. "Not that I would take him myself; but as
you and I, though the best of friends, differ widely in our sentiments
on most subjects, I should really like to know how it happens that we
coincide in this one. Very different reasons, I daresay, lead to the
same conclusion; but I shall generously give you the advantage of
hearing mine first. I shall say nothing of being engaged--I shall even
banish that idea from my thoughts; but were I free as air--unloving and
unloved--I would refuse the Duke of Altamont; first, because he: is
old--no, first, because he is stupid; second, because he is formal;
third, because he swallows all Lady Matilda's flummery; fourth, because
he is more than double my age; fifth, because he is not handsome; and,
to sum up the whole in the sixth, he wants that inimitable _Je ne scais
quoi_ which I consider as a necessary ingredient in the matrimonial cup.
I shall not, in addition to these defects, dwell upon his unmeaning
stare, his formal bow, his little senseless simper, etc. etc. etc. All
these enormities, and many more of the same stamp, I shall pass by, as I
have no doubt they had their due effect upon you as well as me; but then
I am not like you, under the torments of Lady Juliana's authority. Were
that the case, I should certainly think it a blessing to become Duchess
of anybody to-morrow."

"And can you really imagine," said Mary, "that for the sake of shaking
off a parent's authority I would impose upon myself chains still
heavier, and even more binding? Can you suppose I would so far forfeit
my honour and truth as that I would swear to love, honour, and obey,
where I could feel neither love nor respect, and where cold constrained
obedience would be all of my duty I could hope to fulfil?"

"Love!"
exclaimed Lady Emily; "can I credit my ears? Love! did you say  I
thought that had only been for naughty ones, such as me; and that
saints like you would have married for anything and everything but
love! Prudence, I thought, had been the word with you proper ladies--a
prudent marriage! Come, confess, is not that the climax of virtue in
the creed of your school?"

"I never learnt the creed of any school," said Mary, "nor ever heard
anyone's sentiments on the subject, except my dear Mrs. Douglas's."

"Well, I should like to hear your oracle's opinion, if you can give it
in shorthand."

"She warned me there was a passion which was very fashionable, and which
I should hear a great deal of, both in conversation and books, that was
the result of indulged fancy, warm imaginations, and ill-regulated
minds; that many had fallen into its snares, deceived by its glowing
colours and alluring name; that--"

"A very good sermon, indeed!" interrupted Lady Emily; "but, no offence
to Mrs. Douglas, I think I could preach a better myself. Love is a
passion that has been much talked of, often described, and little
understood. Cupid has many counterfeits going about the world, who pass
very well with those whose minds are capable of passion, but not of
love. These Birmingham Cupids have many votaries amongst boarding-school
misses, militia officers, and milliners 'apprentices; who marry upon the
mutual faith of blue eyes and scarlet coats; have dirty houses and
squalling children, and hate each other most delectably. Then there is
another species for more refined souls, which owes its birth to the
works of Rousseau, Goethe, Cottin, etc. Its success depends very much
upon rocks, woods, and waterfalls; and it generally ends daggers,
pistols, or poison. But there, I think, Lindore would be more eloquent
than me, so I shall leave it for him to discuss that chapter with you.
But, to return to your own immediate concerns. Pray, are you then
positively prohibited from falling in love? Did Mrs. Douglas only dress
up a scarecrow to frighten you, or had she the candour to show you Love
himself in all his majesty?"

"She told me," said Mary, "that there was a love which even the wisest
and most virtuous need not blush to entertain--the love of a virtuous
object, founded upon esteem, and heightened by similarity of tastes and
sympathy of feelings, into a pure and devoted attachment: unless I feel
all this, I shall never fancy myself in love."

"Humph! I can't say much as to the similarity of tastes and sympathy
of souls between the Duke and you, but surely you might contrive to feel
some love and esteem for a coronet and ninety thousand a year."
  "Suppose I did," said Mary, with a smile, "the next point
is to honour; and surely he is as unlikely to excite that sentiment as
the other. Honour---"

"I can't have a second sermon upon honour. 'Can honour take away the
grief of a wound?' as Falstaff says. Love is the only subject I care to
preach about; though, unlike many young ladies, we can talk about other
things too; but as to this Duke, _I_ certainly 'had rather live on
cheese and garlic, in a windmill far, than feed on cakes, and have him
talk to me in any summer-house in Christendom;' and now I have had Mrs.
Douglas's second-hand sentiments upon the subject, I should like to hear
your own."

"I have never thought much upon the subject," said Mary; "my sentiments
are therefore all at second-hand, but I shall repeat to you what I think
is not love, and what is." And she repeated these pretty and well-known
lines:--

    CARELESS AND FAITHFUL LOVE.

    To sigh--yet feel no pain;
    To weep-yet scarce know why;
    To sport an hour with beauty's chain,
    Then throw it idly by;
    To  kneel at many a shrine,
    Yet lay the heart on none;
    To think all other charms divine
    But those we just have won:--
    This is love-careless love--
    Such as kindleth hearts that rove.
    To keep one sacred flame
    Through life, unchill'd, unmov'd;
    To love in wint'ry age the same
    That first in youth we loved;
    To feel that we adore
    With such refined excess,
    That though the heart would break with more,
    We could not love with less:--
    This is love--faithful love--
    Such as saints might feel above.

"And such as I do feel, and will always feel, for my Edward," said Lady
Emily. "But there is the dressing-bell!" And she flew off, singing--

"To keep one sacred flame," etc.



CHAPTER XV.


"Some, when they write to their friends, are all affection; Some are
wise and sententious; some strain their powers for efforts of gaiety;
some write news, and some write secrets--but to make a letter without
affection, without wisdom, without gaiety, without news, and without a
secret, is doubtless the great epistolic art. "-DR. JOHNSON.

AN unusual length of time had elapsed since Mary had heard from
Glenfern, and she was beginning to feel some anxiety on account of her
friends there, when her apprehensions were dispelled by the arrival of a
large packet, containing letters from Mrs. Douglas and Aunt Jacky. The
former, although the one that conveyed the greatest degree of pleasure,
was perhaps not the one that would be most acceptable to the reader.
Indeed, it is generally admitted that the letters of single ladies are
infinitely more lively and entertaining than those of married ones--a
fact which can neither be denied nor accounted for. The following is a
faithful transcript from the original letter in question;--

"GLENFERN CASTLE, ---SHIRE, N.B. _Feb. 19th,_ 18--.

"My DEAR MARY--Yours was _received_ with _much_ pleasure, as it is
_always_ a satisfaction to your friends _here_ to know that you are
_well_ and doing _well._ We all _take_ the most _sincere_ interest in
your _health,_ and also in your _improvements_ in other _respects._ But
I am _sorry_ to say they do not quite _keep_ pace with _our_
expectations. I must therefore _take_ this opportunity of _mentioning_
to you a _fault_ of yours, _which,_ though a very great _one _in itself,
is one _that_ a very slight _degree_ of attention on your _part,_ will,
I have _no_ doubt, enable you to _get_ entirely the _better of._ is
fortunate for _you,_ my dear Mary, that you have _friends_ who are
always ready to point _out_ your errors to you. For _want_ of that
_most_ invaluable _blessing,_ viz. a sincere _friend, _many a _one_ has
gone out of the _world,_ no wiser in many _respects,_ than when they
_came_ into it. But that, I flatter _myself,_ will not be your _case,_
as you cannot _but_ be sensible of the great _pains_ my sister and I
have _taken_ to point out your _faults_ to you from the _hour _of your
birth. The _one_ to which I particularly _allude _at present is, the
constant omission of _proper_ dates to your _letters,_ by which means we
are all of us very often _brought_ into _most_ unpleasant _situations._
As an _instance_ of it, our _worthy_ minister, Mr M'Drone, happened to
be _calling_ here the very _day_ we received your last _letter._ After
_hearing_ it read, he most _naturally_ inquired the date of it; and I
_cannot_ tell you how _awkward_ we all _felt_ when we were _obliged_ to
confess it had _none!_ And since I am _upon_ that subject, I think it
much _better_ to tell you candidly that I _do_ not think your _hand_ of
write by any _means_ improved. It does not _look_ as if you _bestowed_
that pains upon it which you _undoubtedly_ ought to do; for without
_pains,_ I can assure you, Mary, you _will_ never do any _thing_ well.
As our admirable _grandmother,_ good Lady Girnachgowl, _used_ to say,
pains _makes_ gains; and so it was _seen_ upon her; for it was entirely
_owing_ to her _pains_ that the Girnachgowl estate was relieved, and
_came_ to be what it is now, viz. a most valuable and _highly_
productive _property._

"I know there are _many_ young _people_ who are very _apt _to think it
_beneath_ them to take _pains;"_ but I sincerely trust, my dear Mary,
you have _more_ sense than to be so very _foolish._ Next to a good
distinct _hand_ of write, and _proper_ stops (which I observe you never
_put),_ the thing _most_ to be attended to is your style, _which_ we all
think might _be_ greatly _improved_ by a _little _reflection on your
_part,_ joined to a _few_ judicious _hints_ from your friends. We are
_all_ of opinion, that your _periods_ are too short, and also _that_
your expressions are _deficient_ in dignity. _Neither_ are you
sufficiently circumstantial in your _intelligence,_ even upon subjects
of the highest _importance._ Indeed, upon some _subjects,_ you
_communicate_ no information whatever, which is _certainly_ very
extraordinary in a _young_ person, who ought to be naturally extremely
communicative. Miss M'Pry, who is here upon a _visit_ to us at
_present,_ is perfectly _astonished_ at the total _want_ of news in your
_letters. _She has a _niece_ residing in the neighbourhood of _Bath, _who
sends her regular lists of the company there, and also an _account_ of
the most _remarkable_ events that take _place _there. Indeed, had it not
_been_ for Patty M'Pry, we never would have _heard_ a _syllable_ of the
celebrated _Lady _Travers's elopement with _Sir_ John Conquest; and,
indeed, I cannot _conceal_ from you, that we have heard more as to what
goes on in Lord Courtland's _family_ through Miss Patty M'Pry, than
_ever_ we have heard from you, _Mary._

"In short, I _must_ plainly tell you, _however_ painful you may _feel_
it, that not one of us is ever a _whit_ the wiser after reading your
_letters_ than we _were_ before. But I am _sorry_ to say this is not the
_most_ serious part of the _complaint_ we have to _make_ against you.
We are all _willing_ to find excuses for you, even _upon_ these points,
but I must _confess,_ your neglecting to _return_ any answers to certain
inquiries of your aunts', _appears_ to me perfectly inexcusable. Of
_course,_ you must _understand_ that I allude to that _letter_ of your
Aunt Grizzy's, dated the 17th of December, wherein she _expressed_ a
strong desire that you should endeavour to make yourself _mistress_ of
Dr. Redgill's opinion with _respect_ to lumbago, as she is extremely
anxious to _know_ whether he _considers_ the seat of the disorder to be
in the bones or the sinews; and undoubtedly it is of the greatest
_consequence_ to procure the _opinion_ of a sensible well-informed
English _physician,_ upon a subject of such vital _importance._ Your
Aunt Nicky, also, in a letter, _dated_ the 22d of December, requested to
be _informed_ whether Lord Courtland (like our _great_ landholders)
killed his own _mutton_, as Miss P. M'P. insinuates in a _letter_ to her
aunt, that the _servants_ there are suspected of being _guilty_ of great
_abuses_ on that _score_; but there you also _preserve_ a most
unbecoming, and I own I think _somewhat mysterious silence._

"And now, my dear Mary, _having_ said all that _I_ trust is necessary
to _recall_ you to a sense of _your_ duty, I _shall_ now communicate to
you a _piece_ of intelligence, _which,_ I am certain, will _occasion_
you the _most _unfeigned pleasure, viz. the prospect there is of your
soon _beholding_ some of your friends from this _quarter_ in Bath. Our
valuable friend and _neighbour,_ Sir Sampson, has been rather (we think)
worse than _better_ since you left us. He is now _deprived_ of the
entire use of one leg. He _himself _calls his _complaint_ a morbid
rheumatism; but Lady Maclaughlan _assures_ us it is a rheumatic palsy,
and she has now _formed_ the resolution of _taking_ him _up_ to Bath
early in the ensuing _spring._ And not only that, but she has most
considerately _invited_ your Aunt Grizzy to accompany them, _which,_ of
course, she is to do with the greatest _pleasure._ We are therefore all
extremely _occupied_ in getting your aunt's things _put_ in order for
such an _occasion;_ and you must _accept_ of that as an apology for
none of the girls _being_ at leisure to write _you_ at present, and
_likewise_ for the shortness of _this_ letter. But be assured we will all
_write_ you fully by Grizzy. Meantime, all _unite_ in kind remembrance
to _you._ And I _am,_ my dear Mary, your most affectionate aunt,

                                                         "JOAN
DOUGLAS."

"P.S.--Upon _looking_ over your letter, I am much _struck_ with your
X's. You surely _cannot_ be so ignorant as _not_ to know that a well
_made x_ is neither more nor _less_ than _two c's_ joined together back
to back, _instead_ of these senseless crosses you _seem_ so fond of; and
as to _your z's, _I defy any _one_ to distinguish them _from_ your _y_'s.
_I trust you will _attend_ to this, and show that it _proceeds _rather
from want of proper _attention_ than _from_ wilful airs.

                                                      J.
D."

"P.S.-Miss P. M'Pry _writes_ her aunt that _there_ is a strong _report
_of Lord Lindore's marriage to our _niece_ Adelaide; but _we _think that
is _impossible,_ as you certainly _never_ could have omitted to _inform_
us of a circumstance _which_ so deeply concerns _us._ If so, I must
_own_ I shall think you quite _unpardonable._ At the _same_ time, it
_appears _extremely improbable _that_ Miss M'P. _would_ have mentioned
_such_ a thing to her _aunt,_without having good _grounds_ to _go_ upon.
J. D."

Mary could not entirely repress her mirth while she read this catalogue
of her crimes; but she was, at the same time, eager to expiate her
offences, real or imaginary, in the sight of her good old aunt; and she
immediately sat down to the construction of a letter after the model
prescribed;--though with little expectation of being able to cope with
the intelligent Miss P. M'P. in the extent of her communications. Her
heart warmed at the thoughts of seeing again the dear familiar face of
Aunt Grizzy, and of hearing the tones of that voice, which, though sharp
and cracked, still sounded sweet in memory's ear. Such is the power that
early associations ever retain over the kind and unsophisticated heart.
But she was aware how differently her mother would feel on the subject,
as she never alluded to her husband's family but with indignation or
contempt; and she therefore resolved to be silent with regard to Aunt
Grizzy's prospects for the present.



CHAPTER XVI.

". . . . As in apothecaries' shops all sorts of drugs are permitted to
be, so may all sorts of books be in the library; and as they out of
vipers, and scorpions, and poisonous vegetables extract often wholesome
medicaments for the life of mankind, so out of whatsoever book good
instruction and examples may be acquired."--DRUMMOND _of Hawthornden._

MARY's thoughts had often reverted to Rose Hall since the day she had
last quitted it, and she longed to fulfil her promise to her venerable
friend; but a feeling of delicacy, unknown to herself, withheld her.
"She will not miss me while she has her son with her," said she to
herself; but in reality she dreaded her cousin's raillery should she
continue to visit there as frequently as before. At length a favourable
opportunity occurred. Lady Emily, with great exultation, told her the
Duke of Altamont was to dine at Beech Park the following day, but that
she was to conceal it from Lady Juliana and Adelaide; "for assuredly,"
said she, "if they were apprised of it, they would send you up to the
nursery as a naughty girl, or perhaps down to the scullery, and make a
Cinderella of you. Depend upon it you would not get leave to show your
face in the drawing-room."

"Do you really think so?" asked Mary.

"I know it. I know Lady Juliana would torment you till she had set you a
crying; and then she would tell you you had made yourself such a fright
that you were not fit to be seen, and so order you to your own room. You
know very well it would not be the first time that such a thing has
happened."

Mary could not deny the fact; but, sick of idle altercation, she
resolved to say nothing, but walk over to Rose Hall the following
morning. And this she did, leaving a note for her cousin, apologising
for her flight.

She was received with rapture by Mrs. Lennox.

"Ah! my dear Mary," said she, as she tenderly embraced her, "you know
not, you cannot conceive, what a blank your absence makes in my life!
When you open your eyes in the morning, it is to see the light of day
and the faces you love, and all is brightness around you. But when I
wake it is still to darkness. My night knows no end. 'Tis only when I
listen to your dear voice that I forget I am blind."

"I should not have stayed so long from you," said Mary, "but I knew you
had Colonel Lennox with you, and I could not flatter myself you would
have even a thought to bestow upon me."

"My Charles is, indeed, everything that is kind and devoted to me. He
walks with me, reads to me, talks to me, sits with me for hours, and
bears with all my little weaknesses as a mother would with her sick
child; but still there are a thousand little feminine attentions he
cannot understand. I would not that he did. And then to have him always
with me seems so selfish; for, gentle and tender-hearted as he is, I
know he bears the spirit of an eagle within him; and the tame monotony
of my life can ill accord with the nobler habits of his. Yet he says he
is happy with me, and I try to make myself believe him."

"Indeed," said Mary, "I cannot doubt it. It is always a happiness
to be with those we love, and whom we know love us, under any
circumstances; and it is for that reason I love so much to come to my
dear Mrs. Lennox," caressing her as she spoke.

"Dearest Mary, who would not love you? Oh! could I but see--could I
but hope--"

"You must hope everything you desire," said Mary gaily, and little
guessing the nature of her good friend's hopes; "I do nothing but hope."
And she tried to check a sigh, as she thought how some of her best hopes
had been already blighted by the unkindness of those whose love she had
vainly striven to win.

Mrs. Lennox's hopes were already upon her lips, when the entrance of her
son fortunately prevented their being for ever destroyed by a premature
disclosure. He welcomed Mary with an appearance of the greatest
pleasure, and looked so much happier and more animated than when she
last saw him, that she was struck with the change, and began to think he
might almost stand a comparison with his picture.

"You find me still here, Miss Douglas," said he, "although my mother
gives me many hints to be gone, by insinuating what indeed cannot be
doubted, how very ill I supply your place; but--" turning to his
mother--"you are not likely to be rid of me for sometime, as I have just
received an additional leave of absence; but for that, I must have left
you tomorrow."

"Dear Charles, you never told me so. How could you conceal it from me?
How wretched I should have been had I dreamed of such a thing!"

"That is the very reason for which I concealed it, and yet you reproach
me. Had I told you there was a chance of my going, you would assuredly
have set it down for a certainty, and so have been vexed for no
purpose."

"But your remaining was a chance too," said Mrs. Lennox, who could not
all at once reconcile herself even to an _escape_ from danger; "and
think, had you been called away from me without any preparation!--
Indeed, Charles, it was very imprudent."

"My dearest mother, I meant it in kindness. I could not bear to give you
a moment's certain uneasiness for an uncertain evil. I really cannot
discover either the use or the virtue of tormenting one's self by
anticipation. I should think it quite as rational to case myself in a
suit of mail, by way of security to my person, as to keep my mind
perpetually on the rack of anticipating evil. I perfectly agree with
that philosopher who says, if we confine ourselves to general
reflections on the evils of life, _that_ can have no effect in preparing
us for them; and if we bring them home to us, _that_ is the certain
means of rendering ourselves miserable."

"But they will come, Charles," said his mother mournfully, "whether we
bring them or not."

"True, my dear mother; but when misfortune does come, it comes
commissioned from a higher power, and it will ever find a well-regulated
mind ready to receive it with reverence, and submit to it with
resignation. There is something, too, in real sorrow that tends to
enlarge and exalt the soul; but the imaginary evils of our own creating
can only serve to contract and depress it."

Mrs. Lennox shook her head. "Ah! Charles, you may depend upon it your
reasoning is wrong, and you will be convinced of it some day."

"I am convinced of it already. I begin to fear this discussion will
frighten Miss Douglas away from us. _There_ is an evil anticipated! Now,
do you, my dear mother, help me to avert it; where that can be done, it
cannot be too soon apprehended."

As Colonel Lennox's character unfolded itself, Mary saw much to admire
in it; and it is more than probable the admiration would soon have been
reciprocal, had it been allowed to take its course. But good Mrs. Lennox
would force it into a thousand little channels prepared by herself, and
love itself must have been quickly exhausted by the perpetual demands
that were made upon it. Mary would have been deeply mortified had she
suspected the cause of her friend's solicitude to show her off; but she
was a stranger to match-making in all its bearings, had scarcely ever
read a novel in her life, and was consequently not at all aware of the
necessity there was for her falling in love with all convenient speed.
She was therefore sometimes amused, though oftener ashamed, at Mrs.
Lennox's panegyrics, and could not but smile as she thought how Aunt
Jacky's wrath would have been kindled had she heard the extravagant
praises that were bestowed on her most trifling accomplishments.

"You must sing my favourite song to Charles, my love--he has never heard
you sing. Pray do: you did not use to require any entreaty from me,
Mary! Many a time you have gladdened my heart with your songs when, but
for you, it would have been filled with mournful thoughts!"

Mary, finding whatever she did or did _not,_ she was destined to hear
only her own praises, was glad to take refuge at the harp, to which she
sang the following ancient ditty:--

    "Sweet day! so cool, so calm, so bright,
    The bridal of the earth and sky,
    Sweet dews shall weep thy fall to-night,
    For thou must die.

    "Sweet rose! whose hue, angry and brave,
    Bids the rash gazer wipe his eye,
    Thy root is ever in its grave;
    And thou must die.

    "Sweet spring! full of sweet days and roses,
    A box where sweets compacted lie,
    My music shows you have your closes,
    And all must die.

    "Only a sweet and virtuous soul,
    Like season'd timber, never gives;
    But when the whole world turns to coal,
         Then chiefly lives."

"That," said Colonel Lennox, "is one of the any exquisite little pieces
of poetry which are to be found, like jewels in an Ethiop's ear, in my
favourite Isaac Walton. The title of the book offers no encouragement to
female readers, but I know few works from which I rise with such
renovated feelings of benevolence and good-will. Indeed, I know no
author who has given with so much _naïveté _so enchanting a
picture of a pious and contented mind. Here--" taking the book from a
shelf, and turning over the leaves--"is one of the passages which has
so often charmed me:--'That very hour which you were absent from me, I
sat down under a willow by the water-side, and considered what you had
told me of the owner of that pleasant meadow in which you left me--that
he has a plentiful estate, and not a heart to think so; that he has at
this time many lawsuits depending, and that they both damped his mirth,
and took up so much of his time and thoughts that he himself had not
leisure to take that sweet comfort I, who pretended no title to
them, took in his fields; for I could there sit quietly, and, looking in
the water, see some fishes sport themselves in the silver streams,
others leaping at flies of several shapes and colours. Looking on the
hills, I could behold them spotted with woods and groves; looking down
upon the meadows I could see, here a boy gathering lilies and
lady-smocks, and there a girl cropping culverkeys and cowslips, all to
make garlands suitable to this present month of May. These, and many
other field flowers, so perfumed the air, that I thought that very
meadow like that field in Sicily, of which Diodorus speaks, where the
perfumes arising from the place make all dogs that hunt in it to fall
off and lose their scent. I say, as I thus sat joying in my own happy
condition, and pitying this poor rich man that owned this and many other
pleasant groves and meadows about me, I did then thankfully remember
what my Saviour said, that the _meek possess the earth--or,_ rather,
they enjoy what the others possess and enjoy not; for anglers and
meek-spirited men are free from those high, those restless
thoughts,--which corrode the sweets of life; and they, and they only,
can say, as the poet has happily expressed it--

    'Hail, blest estate of lowliness!
    Happy enjoyments of such minds
    As, rich in self-contentedness,
    Can, like the reeds in roughest winds,
    By yielding, make that blow but small,
    By which proud oaks and cedars fall.'"

"There is both poetry and painting in such prose as this," said Mary;
"but I should certainly as soon have thought of looking for a pearl
necklace in a fishpond as of finding pretty poetry in a treatise upon
the art of angling."

"That book was a favourite of your father's, Charles," said Mrs. Lennox,
"and I remember, in our happiest days, he used to read parts of it to
me. One passage in particular made a strong impression upon me, though I
little thought then it would ever apply to me. It is upon the blessings
of sight. Indulge me by reading it to me once again."

Colonel Lennox made an effort to conquer his feelings, while he read as
follows:--

"What would a blind man give to see the pleasant rivers, and meadows,
and flowers, and fountains, that we have met with! I have been told that
if a man that was born blind could attain to have his sight for _but
only one hour_ during his whole life, and should, at the first opening
of his eyes, fix his sight upon the sun when it was in its full glory,
either at the rising or the setting, he would be transported and amazed,
and so admire the glory of it that he would not willingly turn his eyes
from that first ravishing object to behold all the other various
beauties this world could present to them. And this, and many other like
objects, we enjoy daily---"

A deep sigh from Mrs. Lennox made bier son look up. Her eyes were
bathed in tears.

He threw his arms around her. "My dearest mother!" cried he in a voice
choked with agitation, "how cruel--how unthinking--thus to remind
you--"

"Do not reproach yourself for my weakness, dear Charles; but I was
thinking how much rather, could I have my sight but for one hour, I
would look upon the face of my own child than on all the glories of the
creation!"

Colonel Lennox was too deeply affected to speak. He pressed his mother's
hand to his lips--then rose abruptly, and quitted the room. Mary
succeeded in soothing her weak and agitated spirits into composure; but
the chord of feeling had been jarred, and all her efforts to restore it
to its former tone proved abortive for the rest of the day.



CHAPTER XVII.

    "Friendship is constant in all other things
    Save in the office and affairs of love:
    Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues;
    Let every eye negotiate for itself,
    And trust no agent."

             Much Ado about Nothing.

THERE was something so refreshing in the domestic peacefulness of Rose
Hall, when contrasted with the heartless bustle of Beech Park, that Mary
felt too happy in the change to be in any hurry to quit it. But an
unfortunate discovery soon turned all her enjoyment into bitterness of
heart; and Rose Hall, from being to her a place of rest, was suddenly
transformed into an abode too hateful to be endured.

It happened one day as she entered the drawing-room, Mrs. Lennox was, as
usual, assailing the heart of her son in her behalf. A large Indian
screen divided the room, and Mary's entrance was neither seen nor heard
till she was close by them.

"Oh, certainly, Miss Douglas is all that you say--very pretty--very
amiable--and very accomplished, said Colonel Lennox, with a sort of
half-suppressed yawn, in answer to a eulogium of his mother's.

"Then why not love her? Ah! Charles, promise me that you will at least
try!" said the good old lady, laying her hand upon his with the greatest
earnestness.

This was said when Mary was actually standing before her. To hear the
words, and to feel their application, was a flash of lightning; and for
a moment she felt as if her brain were on fire. She was alive but to one
idea, and that the most painful that could be suggested to a delicate
mind. She had heard herself recommended to the love of a man who was
indifferent to her. Could there be such a humiliation--such a
degradation? Colonel Lennox's embarrassment was scarcely less; but his
mother saw not the mischief she had done, and she continued to speak
without his having the power to interrupt her. But her words fell
unheeded on Mary's ear--she could hear nothing but what she had already
heard. Colonel Lennox rose and respectfully placed a chair for her, but
the action was unnoticed--she saw only herself a suppliant for his love;
and, insensible to everything but her own feelings, she turned and
hastily quitted the room without uttering a syllable. To fly from Rose
Hall, never again to enter it, was her first resolution; yet how was she
to do so without coming to an explanation, worse even than the cause
itself: for she had that very morning yielded to the solicitations of
Mrs. Lennox, and consented to remain till the following day.

"Oh!" thought she, as the scalding tears of shame for the first time
dropped from her eyes, "what a situation am I placed in! To continue
to live under the same roof with the man whom I have heard solicited to
love me; and how mean--how despicable must I appear in his eyes--thus
offered--rejected! How shall I ever be able to convince him that I
care not for his love--that I wished it not--that I would, refuse, scorn
it to-morrow were it offered to me. Oh! could I but tell him so; but he
must ever remain, stranger to my real sentiments--he might reject--but
_I_ cannot disavow! And yet to have him think that I have all this while
been laying snares for him--that all this parade of my acquirements was
for the purpose of gaining his affections! Oh how blind and stupid I was
not to see through the injudicious praises of Mrs. Lennox! I should not
then have suffered this degradation in the eyes of her son!"

Hours passed away unheeded by Mary, while she was giving way to the
wounded sensibility of a naturally high spirit and acute feelings, thus
violently excited in all their first ardour. At length she was recalled
to herself by hearing the sound of a carriage, as it passed under her
window; and immediately after she received a message to repair to the
drawing-room to her cousin, Lady Emily.

"How fortunate!" thought she; "I shall now get away--no matter how or
where, I shall go, never again to return."

And, unconscious of the agitation visible in her countenance, she
hastily descended, impatient to bid an eternal adieu to her once loved
Rose Hall. She found Lady Emily and Colonel Lennox together. Eyes less
penetrating than her cousin's would easily have discovered the state of
poor Mary's mind as she entered the room; her beating heart--her flushed
cheek and averted eye, all declared the perturbation of her spirits; and
Lady Emily regarded her for a moment with an expression of surprise that
served to heighten her confusion.

"I have no doubt I am a very unwelcome visitor here to all parties,"
said she; "for I come--how shall I declare it?--to carry you home, Mary,
by command of Lady Juliana."

"No, no!" exclaimed Mary eagerly; "you are quite welcome. I am quite
ready. I was wishing--I was waiting." Then, recollecting herself, she
blushed still deeper at her own precipitation.

"There is no occasion to be so vehemently obedient," said her cousin;
_"I_ am not quite ready, neither am I wishing or waiting to be off in
such a hurry. Colonel Lennox and I had just set about reviving an old
acquaintance; begun, I can't tell when--and broken off when I was a thing
in the nursery, with a blue sash and red fingers. I have promised him
that when he comes to Beech Park you shall sing him my favourite Scotch
song, 'Should auld acquaintance be forgot?' I would sing it myself if I
could; but I think every Englishwoman who pretends to sing Scotch songs
ought to have the bowstring." Then, turning to the harpsichord, she
began to play it with exquisite taste and feeling.

"There," said she, rising with equal levity; "is not that worth all the
formal bows--and 'recollects to have had the pleasure'--and 'long time
since I had the honour'--and such sort of hateful reminiscences, that
make one feel nothing but that they area great deal older, and uglier,
stupider, and more formal than they were so many years before."

"Where the early ties of the heart remain unbroken," said Colonel
Lennox, with some emotion, "such remembrances do indeed give it back all
its first freshness; but it cannot be to everyone a pleasure to have its
feelings awakened even by tones such as these."

There was nothing of austerity in this; on the contrary, there was so
much sweetness mingled with the melancholy which shaded his countenance,
that even Lady Emily was touched, and for a moment silent. The entrance
of Mrs. Lennox relieved her from her embarrassment. She flew towards
her, and taking her hand, "My dear Mrs. Lennox, I feel very much as if I
were come here in the capacity of an executioner;--no, not exactly that,
but rather a sort of constable or bailiff;--for I am come, on the part
of Lady Juliana Douglas, to summon you to surrender the person of her
well-beloved daughter, to be disposed of as she in her wisdom may think
fit."

"Not to-day, surely," cried Mrs. Lennox, in alarm; "to-morrow----"

"My orders are peremptory--the suit is pressing," with a significant
smile to Mary; "this day--oh, ye hours!" looking at a timepiece, "this
very minute. Come Mary--are you ready--_cap-à-pie_?"

At another time Mary would have thought only of the regrets of her
venerable friend at parting with her; but now she felt only her own
impatience to be gone, and she hastily quitted the room to prepare for
her departure.

On returning to it Colonel Lennox advanced to meet her, evidently
desirous of saying something, yet labouring under great embarrassment.

"Were it not too selfish and presumptuous," said he, while his
heightened colour spoke his confusion, "I would venture to express a hope
that your absence will not be very long from my poor mother."

Mary pretended to be very busy collecting her work, drawings, etc.,
which lay scattered about, and merely bent her head in acknowledgment.
Colonel Lennox proceeded--

"I am aware of the sacrifice it must be to such as Miss Douglas to
devote her time and talents to the comforting of the blind and desolate;
and I cannot express--she cannot conceive--the gratitude--the
respect--the admiration, with which my heart is filled at such proofs of
noble disinterested benevolence on her part."

Had Mary raised her eyes to those that vainly sought to meet hers, she
would there have read all, and more than had been expressed; but she
could only think, "He has been entreated to love!" and at that
humiliating idea she bent her head still lower to the colour that dyed
her cheek to an almost painful degree, while a sense of suffocation at
her throat prevented her disclaiming, as she wished to do, the merit of
any sacrifice. Some sketches of Lochmarlie lay upon a table at which she
had been drawing the day before; they had ever been precious in her
sight till now; but they only excited feelings of mortification, as she
recollected having taken them from her _portefeuille_ at Mrs. Lennox's
request to show to her son.

"This was part of the parade by which I was to win him," thought she
with bitterness; and scarcely conscious of what she did, she crushed
them together, and threw them into the fire. Then hastily advancing to
Mrs. Lennox, she tried to bid her farewell; but as she thought it was
for the last time, tears of tenderness as well as pride stood in her
eyes.

"God bless you, my dear child!" said the unsuspecting Mrs. Lennox, as
she held her: in her arms. "And God _will_ bless you in His way--though
His ways are not as our ways. I cannot urge you to return to this dreary
abode. But oh, Mary! Think sometimes in your gaiety, that when you do
come, you bring gladness to a mournful heart, and lighten eyes that
never see the sun!"

Mary, too much affected to reply, could only wring the hand of her
venerable friend, as she tore herself from her embrace, and followed
Lady Emily to the carriage. For some time they proceeded in silence.
Mary dreaded to encounter her cousin's eyes, which she was aware were
fixed upon her with more than their usual scrutiny. She therefore kept
hers steadily employed in surveying the well-known objects the road
presented. At length her Ladyship began in a grave tone.

"You appear to have had very stormy weather at Rose Hall?"

"Very much so," replied Mary, without knowing very well what she said.

"And we have had nothing but calms and sunshine at Beech Park. Is not
that strange?"

"Very singular indeed."

"I left the barometer very high--not quite at _settled calm_--that would
be too much; but I find it very low indeed--absolutely below nothing."

Mary now did look up in some surprise; but she hastily withdrew from the
intolerable expression of her cousin's eyes.

"Dear Lady Emily!" cried she in a deprecating tone.

"Well--what more? You can't suppose I'm to put up with hearing my own
name; I've heard that fifty times to-day already from Lady Juliana's
parrot--come, your face speaks volumes. I read a declaration of love in
the colour of your cheeks--a refusal in the height of your nose--and a
sort of general agitation in the quiver of your lip and the
_déréglement_ of your hair. Now for your pulse--a _leettle_ hasty, as
Dr. Redgill would say; but let your tongue declare the rest."

Mary would fain have concealed the cause of her distress from every
human being, as she felt as if degraded still lower by repeating it to
another; and she remained silent, struggling with her emotions.

"'Pon my honour, Mary, you really do use great liberties with my
patience and good-nature. I appeal to yourself whether I might not just
as well have been reading one of Tully's orations to a mule all this
while. Come, you must really make haste to tell your tale, for I am
dying to disclose mine. Or shall I begin? No--that would be inverting
the order of nature or custom, which is the same thing--beginning with
the farce, and ending with the tragedy--so _commencez au commencement,
m'amie."_

Thus urged, Mary at length, and with much hesitation, related to her
cousin the humiliation she had experienced. "And after all," said she,
as she ended, "I am afraid I behaved very like a fool. And yet what
could I do in my situation, what would you have done?"

"Done! why, I should have taken the old woman by the shoulder, and cried
Boh! in her ear. And so this is the mighty matter! You happen to
overhear Mrs. Lennox, good old soul! recommending you as a wife to her
son. What could be more natural except his refusing to fall head in ears
in love before he had time to pull his boots off. And then to have a
wife recommended to him! and all your perfections set forth, as if you
had been a laundrymaid--an early riser, neat worker, regular attention
upon church! Ugh I--I must say I think his conduct quite meritorious. I
could almost find in my heart to fall in love with him myself, were it
for no other reason than because he is not such a Tommy Goodchild as to
be in love at his mamma's bidding--that is, loving his mother as he
does--for I see he could cut off a hand, or pluck out an eye, to please
her, though he can't or won't give her his heart and soul to dispose of
as she thinks proper."

"You quite misunderstand me," said Mary, with increasing vexation. "I
did not mean to say anything against Colonel Lennox. I did not wish--I
never once thought whether he liked me or not."

"That says very little for you. You must have a very bad taste if you
care more for the mother's liking than the son's. Then what vexes you so
much? Is it at having made the discovery that your good old friend is
a--a--I beg your pardon--a bit of a goose? Well, never mind--since you
don't care for the man, there's no mischief done. You have only to
change the _dramatis personae._ Fancy that you overheard mere commending
you to Dr. Redgill for your skill in cookery--you'd only have laughed at
that--so why should you weep at t'other. However, one thing I must tell
you, whether it adds to your grief or not, I did remark that Charles
Lennox looked very lover-like towards you; and, indeed, this sentimental
passion he has put you in becomes you excessively. I really never saw
you look so handsome before--it has given an energy and _esprit_ to your
countenance, which is the only thing it wants. You are very much obliged
to him, were it only for having kindled such a fire in your eyes, and
raised such a carnation in your cheek. It would have been long before
good _larmoyante_, Mrs. Lennox would have done as much for you. I
shouldn't wonder were he to fall in love with you after all."

Lady Emily little thought how near she was the the truth when she talked
in this random way. Colonel Lennox saw the wound he had innocently
inflicted on Mary's feelings, and a warmer sentiment than any he had
hitherto experienced had sprung up in his heart. Formerly he had merely
looked upon her as an amiable sweet-tempered girl; but when he saw he
roused to a sense of her own dignity, and marked the struggle betwixt
tender affection and offended delicacy he, formed a higher estimate of
her character, and a spark was kindled that wanted but opportunity to blaze
into a flame, pure and bright as the shrine on which it burned. Such is
the waywardness and price of even the best affections of the human
breast.



CHAPTER XVIII

    "C'est a moi de _choisir_ mon gendre;
    Toi, tel qu'il est, c'est à it toi de Ie prendre;
    De vous aimer, si vous pouvez tous deux, Et d'obéir
    à tout ce que je veux." _L'Enfant Prodigue._



"AND now," said Lady Emily, "that I have listened to your story, which
after all is really a very poor affair, do you listen to mine. The
heroine in both is the same, but the hero differs by some degrees. Know,
then, as the ladies in novels say, that the day which saw you depart
from Beech Park was the day destined to decide your fate, and dash your
hopes, if ever you had any, of becoming Duchess of Altamont. The Duke
arrived, I know, for the express purpose of being enamoured of you; but,
alas! you were not. And there was Adelaide so sweet--so gracious--so
beautiful--the poor gull was caught, and is now, I really believe, as
much in love as it is in the nature of a stupid man to be. I must own
she has played her part admirably, and has made more use of her time
than I, with all my rapidity, could have thought possible. In fact, the
Duke is now all but her declared lover, and that merely stands upon a
point of punctilio."

"But Lord Lindore!" exclaimed Mary in astonishment.

"Why, that part of the story is what I _don't_ quite comprehend.
Sometimes I think it is a struggle with Adelaide. Lindore, poor,
handsome, captivating, on one hand; his Grace, rich, stupid,
magnificent, on the other. As for Lindore, he seems to stand quite
aloof. Formerly, you know, he never used to stir from her side, or notice
anyone else. Now he scarcely notices her, at least in presence of the
Duke, Sometimes he affects to look unhappy, but I believe it is mere
affectation. I doubt if he ever thought seriously of Adelaide, or indeed
anybody else, that he could have in a straightforward Ally Croker sort
of a way--but something too much of this. While all this has been going
on in one corner, there comes regularly everyday Mr. William Downe
Wright, looking very much as if he had lost his shoestring, or pocket
handkerchief, and had come there to look for it. I had some suspicion of
the nature of the loss, but was hopeful he would have the sense to keep
it to himself. No such thing: he yesterday stumbled upon Lady Juliana
all alone, and, in the weakest of his weak moments, informed her that
the loss he had sustained was no less than the loss of that precious
jewel his heart; and that the object of his search was no other than
that of Miss Mary Douglas to replace it! He even carried his
_bêtise_ so far as to request her permission, or her influence,
or, in short, something that her Ladyship never was asked for by any
mortal in their senses before, to aid him in his pursuit. You know how
it delights her to be dressed in a little brief authority; so you may
conceive her transports at seeing the sceptre of power thus placed in
her hands. In the heat of her pride she makes the matter known to the
whole household. Redgills, cooks, stable-boys, scullions, all are quite
_au_ _fait_ to your marriage with Mr. Downe Wright; so I hope you'll
allow that it was about time _you _should be made acquainted with it
yourself. But why so pale and frightened-looking?"

Poor Mary was indeed shocked at her cousin's intelligence. With the
highest feelings of filial reverence, she found herself perpetually
called upon either to sacrifice her own principles or to act indirect
opposition to her mother's will, and upon this occasion she saw nothing
but endless altercation awaiting her; for her heart revolted from the
indelicacy of such measures, and she could not for a moment brook the
idea of being _bestowed_ in marriage. But she had little time for
reflection. They were now at Beech Park; and as she alighted a servant
informed her Lady Juliana wished to see her in her dressing-room
immediately. Thither she repaired with a beating heart and agitated
step. She was received with greater kindness than she had ever yet
experienced from her mother.

"Come in, my dear," cried she, as she extended two fingers to her, and
slightly touched her cheek. "You look very well this morning--much
better than usual. Your complexion is much improved. At the same time
you must be sensible how few girls are married merely for their
looks--that is, married well--unless, to be sure, their beauty is
something _à merveilleuse_--such as your sister's, for instance.
I assure you, it is an extraordinary piece of good fortune in a merely
pretty girl to make what is vulgarly called a good match. I know, at
least, twenty really very nice young women at this moment who cannot get
themselves established."

Mary was silent; and her mother, delighted  at her own good sense and
judicious observations, went on--

"That being the case, you may judge how very comfortable I must feel at
having managed to procure for you a most excessive good
establishment--just the very thing I have long wished, as I have felt
quite at a loss about you of late, my dear. When your sister marries, I
shall, of course, reside with her; and as I consider your _liaison _with
those Scotch people as completely at an end, I have really been quite
wretched as to what was to become of you. I can't tell you, therefore,
how excessively relieved I was when Mr. Downe Wright yesterday asked my
permission to address you. Of course I could not hesitate an instant; so
you will meet him at dinner as your accepted. By-the-bye, your hair is
rather blown. I shall send Fanchon to dress it for you. You have really
got very pretty hair; I wonder never remarked it before. Oh! and Mrs.
Downe Wright is to wait upon me to-morrow, I think; and then I believe
we must return the visit. There is a sort of etiquette, you know, in all
these matters--that is the most unpleasant part of it; but when that is
over you will have nothing to think of but ordering your things."

For a few minutes Mary was too much confounded by her mother's rapidity
to reply. She had expected to be urged to accept of Mr. Downe Wright;
but to be told that was actually done for her was more than she was
prepared for. At length she found voice to say that Mr. Downe Wright was
almost a stranger to her, and she must therefore be excused from
receiving his addresses at present.

"How excessively childish!" exclaimed Lady Juliana angrily. "I won't
hear of anything so perfectly foolish. You know (or, at any rate, I do)
all that is necessary to know. I know that he is a man of family and
fortune, heir to a title, uncommonly handsome, and remarkably sensible
and well-informed. I can't conceive what more you would wish to know!"

"I would wish to know something of his character, his principles, his
habits, temper, talents--in short, all those things on which my
happiness would depend."

"Character and principles!--one would suppose you were talking of your
footman! Mr. Downe Wright's character is perfectly good. I never heard
anything against it. As to what you call his principles, I must profess
my ignorance. I really can't tell whether he is a Methodist; but 1 know
he is a gentleman--has a large fortune--is very good-looking--and is not
at all dissipated, I believe. In short, you are most excessively
fortunate in meeting with such a man."

"But I have not the slightest partiality for him," said Mary,
colouring. "It cannot be expected that I should, when I have not been
half a dozen time in his company. I must be allowed some time before I
can consent even to consider--"

"I don't mean that you are to marry to-morrow. It may probably be six
weeks or two months before everything can be arranged."

Mary saw she must speak boldly.

"But I must be allowed much longer time before I can consider myself as
sufficiently acquainted with Mr. Downe Wright to think of him at all in
that light. And even then--he may be very amiable, and yet"--hesitating--
"I may not be able to love him as I ought."

"Love!" exclaimed Lady Juliana, her eyes sparkling with anger;  "I
desire I may never hear that word again from any daughter of mine. I am
determined I shall have no disgraceful love-marriages in the family. No
well-educated young woman ever thinks of such a thing now, and I won't
hear a syllable on the subject."

"I shall never marry anybody, I am sure, that you disapprove of," said
Mary timidly.

"No; I shall take care of that. I consider it the duty of parents to
establish their children properly in the world, without any regard to
their ideas on the subject. I think I must be rather a better judge of
the matter than you can possibly be, and I shall therefore make a point
of your forming what I consider a proper alliance. Your sister, I know,
won't hesitate to sacrifice her own affections to please me. She was
most excessively attached to Lord Lindore--everybody knew that; but she
is convinced of the propriety of preferring the Duke of Altamont, and
won't hesitate in sacrificing her own feelings to mine. But indeed she
has ever been all that I could wish--so perfectly beautiful, and, at the
same time, so excessively affectionate and obedient. She approves
entirely of your marriage with Mr. Downe Wright, as, indeed, all your
friends do. I don't include _your_ friend Lady Emily in that number. I
look upon her as a most improper companion for you; and the sooner you
are separated from her the better. So now good-bye for the present. You
have only to behave as other young ladies do upon those occasions,
which, by-the-bye, is generally to give as much trouble to their friends
as they possibly can."

There are some people who, furious themselves at opposition, cannot
understand the possibility of others being equally firm and decided in a
gentle manner. Lady Juliana was one of those who always expect to carry
their point by a raised voice and sparkling eyes; and it was with
difficulty Mary, with her timid air and gentle accents, could convince
her that she was determined to judge for herself in a matter in which
her happiness was so deeply involved. When at last brought to comprehend
it, her Ladyship's indignation knew no bounds; and Mary was accused in
the same breath with having formed some low connection in Scotland, and
of seeking to supplant her sister by aspiring to the Duke of Altamont.
And at length the conference ended pretty much where it began--Lady
Juliana resolved that her daughter should marry to please her, and her
daughter equally resolved not to be driven into an engagement from which
her heart recoiled.



CHAPTER XIX.

    "Qu'on vante en lui la foi, l'honneur, la probité;
    Qu'on prise sa candeur et sa civilité;
    Qu'il soit doux, complaisant, oflicieux, sincere:
    On Ie veut, j'y souscris, et suis prêt à me taire."

                      BOILEAU.

WHEN Mary entered the drawing-room she found herself, without knowing
how, by the side of Mr. Downe Wright. At dinner it was the same; and in
short it seemed an understood thing that they were to be constantly
together.

There was something so gentle and unassuming in his manner that, almost
provoked as she was by the folly of his proceedings, she found it
impossible to resent it by her behaviour towards him; and indeed,
without being guilty of actual rudeness, of which she was incapable, it
would not have been easy to have made him comprehend the nature of her
sentiments. He appeared perfectly satisfied with the toleration he met
with; and, compared to Adelaide's disdainful glances, and Lady Emily's
biting sarcasms, Mary's gentleness and civility might well be mistaken
for encouragement. But even under the exhilarating influence of hope and
high spirits his conversation was so insipid and commonplace, that Mary
found it a relief to turn even to Dr. Redgill. It was evident the Doctor
was aware of what was going on, for he regarded her with that increased
respect due to the future mistress of a splendid establishment. Between
the courses he made some complimentary allusions to Highland mutton and
red deer; and he even carried his attentions so far as to whisper, at
the very first mouthful, that _les côtellettes de saumon_ were
superb, when he had never been known to commend anything to another
until he had fully discussed it himself. On the opposite side of the
table sat Adelaide and the Duke of Altamont, the latter looking still
more heavy and inanimate than ever. The operation of eating over, he
seemed unable to keep himself awake, and every now and then yielded to a
gentle slumber, from which, however, he was instantly recalled at the
sound of Adelaide's voice, when he exclaimed, "Ah! Charming--very
charming, ah!"--Lady Emily looked _from_ them as she hummed some part
of Dryden's Ode--

   "Aloft in awful state
    The godlike hero sate, etc.
    The lovely Thais by his side,
    Look'd like a blooming Eastern bride."

Then, as his Grace closed his eyes, and his head sank on his shoulder--

   "With ravish'd ears
    The monarch hears,
    Assumes the god,
    Affects to nod."

Lady Juliana, who would have been highly incensed had she suspected the
application of the words, was so unconscious of it as to join
occasionally in singing them, to Mary's great confusion and Adelaide's
manifest displeasure.

When they returned to the drawing-room, "Heavens! Adelaide," exclaimed
her cousin, in an affected manner, "what are you made of? Semelé herself
was but a mere cinder-wench to you! How can you stand such a
Jupiter--and not scorched! not even singed, I protest!" pretending to
examine her all over. "I vow I trembled at your temerity--your
familiarity with the imperial nod was fearful. I every instant expected
to see you turned into a live coal."

"I did burn," said Adelaide, "with shame, to see the mistress of a house
forget what was due to her father's guests."

"There's a slap on the cheek for me! Mercy! how it burns! No, I did not
forget what was due to my father's guests; on the contrary, I consider
it due to them to save them, if I can, from the snares that I see set
for them. I have told you that I abhor all traps, whether for the poor
simple mouse that comes to steal its bit of cheese, or for the dull
elderly gentleman who falls asleep with a star on his breast."

"This is one of the many kind and polite allusions for which I am
indebted to your Ladyship," said Adelaide haughtily; "but I trust the
day will come when I shall be able to discharge what I owe you."

And she quitted the room, followed by Lady Juliana, who could only make
out that Lady Emily had been insolent, and that Adelaide was offended. A
pause followed.

"I see you think I am in the wrong, Mary; I can read that in the little
reproachful glance you gave me just now. Well, perhaps I am; but I own
it chafes my spirit to sit and look on such a scene of iniquity. Yes,
iniquity I call it, for a woman to be in love with one man, and at the
same time laying snares for another. You may think, perhaps, that
Adelaide has no heart to love anything; but she has a heart, such as it
is, though it is much too fine for every-day use, and therefore it is
kept locked up in marble casket, quite out of reach of you or I. But I'm
mistaken if Frederick has not made himself master of it! Not that I
should blame her for that, if she would be honestly and downrightly in
love with him. But how despicable to see her, with her affections placed
upon one man, at the same time lavishing all her attentions on
another--and that other, if he had been plain John Altamont, Esq., she
would not have been commonly civil to! And, _àpropos_ of
civility--I must tell you, if you mean to refuse your hero, you were too
civil by half to him. I observed you at dinner, you sat perfectly
straight, and answered everything he said to you."

"What could I do?" asked Mary, in some  surprise.

"I'll tell you what I would have done, and have thought the most
honourable mode of proceeding; I should have turned my back upon him,
and have merely thrown him a monosyllable now and then over my
shoulder."

"I could not be less than civil to him, and I am sure I was not more."

"Civility is too much for a man one means to refuse. You'll never get
rid of a stupid man by civility. Whenever I had any reason to apprehend
a lover, I thought it my duty to turn short upon him and give him a
snarl at the outset, which rid me of him at once. But I really begin to
think I manage these matters better than anybody else--'Where I love, I
profess it: where I hate, in every circumstance I dare proclaim it.'"

Mary tried to defend her sister, in the first place; but though her
charity would not allow her to censure, her conscience whispered there
was much to condemn; and she was relieved from what she felt a difficult
task when the gentlemen began to drop in.

In spite of all her manoeuvres Mr. Downe Wright contrived to be next
her, and whenever she changed her seat, she was sure of his following
her. She had also the mortification of overhearing Lady Juliana tell the
Duke that Mr. Downe Wright was the accepted lover of her youngest
daughter, that he was a man of large fortune, and heir to his uncle,
Lord Glenallan!

"Ah! a nephew of my Lord Glenallan's!--Indeed--a pretty young man--like
the family!--Poor Lord Glenallan! I knew him very well. He has had the
palsy since then, poor man--ah!"

The following day Mary was compelled to receive Mrs. Downe Wright's
visit; but she as scarcely conscious of what passed, for Colonel Lennox
arrived at the same time; and it was equally evident that his visit was
also intended for her. She felt that she ought to appear unconcerned in
his presence, and he tried to be so; but still the painful idea would
recur that he had been solicited to love her, and, unskilled in the arts of
even innocent deception, she could only try to hide the agitation under
the coldness of her manner.

"Come, Mary," cried Lady Emily, as if in answer to something Colonel
Lennox had addressed to her in a low voice, "do you remember the promise
I made Colonel Lennox, and which it rests with you to perform?"

"I never consider myself bound to perform the promises of others,"
replied Mary gravely.

"In some cases that may be a prudent resolution, but in the present it
is surely an unfriendly one," said Colonel Lennox.

"A most inhuman one!" cried Lady Emily, "since you and I, it seems,
cannot commence our friendship without something sentimental to set us
agoing. It rests with you, Mary, to be the founder of our friendship;
and if you manage the matter well, that is, sing in your best manner, we
shall perhap, make it a triple alliance, and admit you as third."

"As every man is said to be the artificer of his own fortune, so every
one, I think, had best be the artificer of their own friendship," said
Mary, trying to smile, as she pulled her embroidery frame towards her,
and began to work.

"Neither can be the worse of a good friend to help them on," observed
Mrs. Downe Wright.

"But both may be materially injured by an injudicious one," said Colonel
Lennox; "and although, on this occasion, I am the greatest sufferer by
it, I must acknowledge the truth of Miss Douglas's observation.
Friendship and love, I believe, will always be found to thrive best when
left to themselves."

"And so ends my novel, elegant, and original plan for striking up a
sudden friendship," cried Lady Emily. "Pray, Mr. Downe Wright, can you
suggest anything better for the purpose than an old song?"

Mr. Downe Wright, who was not at all given to suggesting, looked a
little embarrassed.

"Pull the bell, William, for the carriage," said his mother; "we must
now be moving." And with a general obeisance to the company, and a
significant pressure of the hand to Mary, she withdrew her son from his
dilemma. Although a shrewd, penetrating woman, she did not possess that
tact and delicacy necessary to comprehend the finer feelings of a mind
superior to her own; and in Mary's averted looks and constrained manner
she saw nothing but what she thought quite proper and natural in her
situation. "As for Lady Emily," she observed, "there would be news of
her and that fine dashing-looking Colonel yet, and Miss Adelaide would
perhaps come down a pin before long."

Soon after Colonel Lennox took his leave, in spite of Lady Emily's
pressing invitation for him to spend the day there, and meet her
brother, who had been absent for some days, but was now expected home.
He promised to return again soon, and departed.

"How prodigiously handsome Colonel Lennox looked to-day," said she,
addressing Mary; "and how perfectly unconscious, at least indifferent,
he seems about it. It is quite refreshing to see a handsome man that is
neither a fool nor a coxcomb."

"Handsome! no, I don't think he is very handsome," said Lady Juliana.
"Rather dark, don't you think, my love?" turning to Adelaide, who sat
apart at a table writing, and had scarcely deigned to lift her head all
the time.

"Who do you mean? The man who has just gone out?  Is his name Lennox?
Yes, he is rather handsome."

"I believe. you are right; he certainly is good-looking, but in a
peculiar style. I don't quite like the expression of his eye, and he
wants that air _distingué,_ which, indeed, belongs exclusively to
persons of birth."

"He has perfectly the air of a man of fashion," said Adelaide, in a
decided tone, as if ashamed to agree with her mother. "Perhaps _un peu
militaire,_ but nothing at all professional."

"Lennox!--it is a Scotch name," observed Lady Juliana contemptuously.

"And, to cut the matter short," said Lady Emily, as she was quitting the
room, "the man who has just gone out is Colonel Lennox, and not the Duke
of AItamont."

After a few more awkward, indefinite sort of visits, in which Mary found
it impossible to come to an explanation, she was relieved for the
present from the assiduities of her lover. Lady Juliana received a
note from Mrs. Downe Wright, apologising for what she termed her son's
unfortunate absence at such a critical time; but he had received accounts
of the alarming illness of his uncle Lord Glenallan, and had, in
consequence, set off instantly for Scotland, where she was preparing to
follow; concluding with particular regards to Miss Mary--hopes of being
soon able to resume their pleasant footing in the family, etc. etc.

"How excessively well arranged it will be that old man's dying at this
time!" said her Ladyship, as she tossed the note to her daughter; "Lord
Glenallan will sound so much better than Mr. Downe Wright. The name I
have always considered as the only objectionable part. You are really
most prodigiously fortunate."

Mary was now aware of the folly of talking reason to her mother, and
remained silent; thankful for the present peace this event would ensure
her, and almost tempted to wish that Lord Glenallan's doom might not
speedily be decided.



CHAPTER XX.

    "It seems it is as proper to our age
    To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions,
    As it is common for the younger sort
    To lack discretion."

          _Hamlet._

LORD LINDORE and Colonel Lennox has been boyish acquaintances, and a
sort of superficial, intimacy was soon established between them, which
served as the ostensible cause of his frequent visits at Beech Park. But
to Mary, who was more alive to the difference of their characters and
sentiments than any other member of the family, this appeared very
improbable, and she could not help suspecting that love for the sister,
rather than friendship for the brother, was the real motive by which he
was actuated. In half jesting manner she mentioned her suspicions to
Lady Emily, who treated the idea with her usual ridicule.

"I really could not have supposed you so extremely missy-ish, Mary," said
she, "as to imagine that because two people like each other's society,
and talk and laugh together a little more than usual, that the must
needs be in love! I believe Charles Lennox loves me much the same as he
did eleven years ago, when I was a little wretch that used to pull his
hair and spoil his watch. And as for me, you know that I consider myself
quite as an old woman--at least as a married one; and he is perfectly
_au fait_ to my engagement with Edward. I have even shown him his
picture and some of his letters."

Mary looked incredulous.

"You may think as you please, but I tell you it is so. In my situation
I should scorn to have Colonel Lennox, or anybody else, in love with me.
As to his liking to talk to me, pray who else can he talk to? Adelaide
would sometimes _condescend_ indeed; but he won't be condescended to,
that's clear, not even by a Duchess. With what mock humility he meets
her airs! how I adore him for it! Then you are such a pillar of ice!--so
shy and unsociable when he is present!--and, by-the-bye, if I did not
despise recrimination as the _pis aller_ of all conscious Misses, I would
say you are much more the object of his _attention,_ at least, than I
am. Several times I have caught him looking very earnestly at you, when,
by the laws of good breeding, his eyes ought to have been fixed
exclusively upon me; and--"

"Pshaw!" interrupted Mary, colouring, "that is mere absence--nothing to
the purpose--or perhaps," forcing a smile, "he may be _trying_ to love
me!"

Mary thought of her poor old friend, as she said this, with bitterness
of heart. It was long since she had seen her; and when she had last
inquired for her, her son had said he did not think her well, with a look
Mary could not misunderstand. She had heard him make an appointment with
Lord Lindore for the following day, and she took the opportunity of his
certain absence to visit his mother. Mrs. Lennox, indeed, looked ill, and
seemed more than usually depressed. She welcomed Mary with her usual
tenderness, but even her presence seemed to fail of inspiring her with
gladness.

Mary found she was totally unsuspicious of the cause of her
estrangement, and imputed it to a very different one.

"You have been a great stranger, my dear!" said she, as she
affectionately embraced her; "but at such a time I could not expect you
to think of me."

"Indeed," answered Mary, equally unconscious of her meaning, "I have
thought much and often, very often, upon you, and wished I could have
come to you; but---" she stopped, for she could not tell the truth, and
would not utter a falsehood.

"I understand it all," said Mrs. Lennox, with a sigh. "Well--well--God's
will be done!" Then trying to be more cheerful, "Had you come little
sooner, you would have met Charles. He is just gone out with Lord
Lindore. He was unwilling to leave me, as he always is, and when he
does, I believe it is as much to please me as himself. Ah! Mary, I once
hoped that I might have lived to see you the happy wife of the best of
sons. I may speak out now, since that is all over. God has willed
otherwise, an may you be rewarded in the choice you have made!"

Mary was struck with consternation to find that her supposed engagement
with Mr. Downe Wright had spread even to Rose Hall; and in the greatest
confusion she attempted to deny it. But after the acknowledgment she had
just heard, she acquitted herself awkwardly; for she felt as if an open
explanation would only serve to revive hopes that never could be
realised, and subject Colonel Lennox and herself to future perplexities.
Nothing but the whole truth would have sufficed to undeceive Mrs. Lennox,
for she had had the intelligence of Mary's engagement from Mrs. Downe
Wright herself, who, for better security of what she already considered
her son's property, had taken care to spread the report of his being the
accepted lover before she left the country. Mary felt all the
unpleasantness of her situation. Although detesting deceit and artifice
of every kind, her confused and stammering denials seemed rather to
corroborate the fact; but she felt that she could not declare her
resolution of never bestowing her hand upon Mr. Downe Wright without
seeming at the same time to court the addresss of Colonel Lennox. Then
how painful--how unjust to herself, as well as cruel to him, to have it
for an instant believed that she was the betrothed of one whose wife she
was resolved she never would be!

In short, poor Mary's mind was a complete chaos; and for the first time
in her life she found it impossible to determine which was the right
course for her to pursue. Even in the midst of her distress, however,
she could not help smiling at the _naïvete_ of the good old lady's
remarks.

"He is a handsome young man, I hear," said she, still in allusion to Mr.
Downe Wright: "has a fine fortune, and an easy temper. All these things
help people's happiness, though they cannot make it; and his choice of
you, my dear Mary, shows that he has some sense."

"What a eulogium!" said Mary, laughing and blushing. "Were he really to
me what you suppose, I must be highly flattered; but I must again assure
you it is not using Mr. Downe Wright well to talk of him as anything to
me. My mother, indeed--".

"Ah! Mary, my dear, let me advise you to beware of being led, even by a
mother, in such a matter as this. God forbid that I should ever
recommend disobedience towards a parent's will; but I fear you have
yielded too much to yours. I said, indeed, when I heard it, that I
feared undue influence had been used; for that I could not think William
Downe Wright would ever have been the choice of your heart. Surely
parents have much to answer for who mislead their children in such an
awful step as marriage!"

This was the severest censure Mary had ever heard drop from Mrs.
Lennox's lips; and she could not but marvel at the self-delusion that
led her thus to condemn in another the very error she had committed
herself, but under such different circumstances that she would not
easily have admitted it to be the same. She sought for the happiness of
her son, while Lady Juliana, she was convinced, wished only her own
aggrandisement.

"Yes, indeed," said Mary, in answer to her friend's observation,
"parents ought, if possible, to avoid even forming wishes for their
children. Hearts are wayward things, even the best of them." Then more
seriously she added, "And, dear Mrs. Lennox, do not either blame my
mother nor pity me; for be assured, with my heart only will I give my
hand; or rather, I should say, with my hand only will I give my heart:
And now good-bye," cried she, starting up and hurrying away, as she
heard Colonel Lennox's voice in the hall.

She met him on the stair, and would have passed on with a slight remark,
but he turned with her, and finding she had dismissed the carriage,
intending to walk home, he requested permission to attend her. Mary
declined; but snatching up his hat, and whistling his dogs, he set out
with her in spite of her remonstrances to the contrary.

"If you persist in refusing my attendance," said he, "you will inflict an
incurable wound upon my vanity. I shall suspect you are ashamed of being
seen in such company. To be sure, myself, with my shabby jacket and my
spattered dogs, do form rather a ruffian-like escort; and I should not
have dared to have offered my services to a fine lady; but you are not a
fine lady, I know;" and he gently drew her arm within his as they began
to ascend a hill.

This was the first time Mary had found herself alone with Colonel
Lennox since that fatal day which seemed to have divided them for ever.
At first she felt uneasy and embarrassed, but there was so much good
sense and good feeling in the tone of his conversation--it was so far
removed either from pedantry or frivolity, that all disagreeable ideas
soon gave way to the pleasure she had in conversing with one whose turn
of mind seemed so similar to her own; and it was not till she had parted
from him at the gate of Beech Park she had time to wonder how she could
possibly have walked two miles _tete-à-tete_ with a man whom she
had heard solicited to love her!

From that day Colonel Lennox's visits insensibly  increased in length
and number; but Lady Emily seemed to appropriate them entirely to
herself; and certainly all the flow of his conversation, the brilliancy
of his wit, were directed to her; but Mary could not but be conscious
that his looks were much oftener riveted on herself, and if his
attentions were not such as to attract general observation, they were
such as she could not fail of perceiving and being unconsciously
gratified by.

"How I admire Charles Lennox's manner to you, Mary," said her cousin,
"after the awkward dilemma you were both in. It was no easy matter to
know how to proceed; a vulgar-minded man would either have oppressed you
with his attentions, or insulted you by his neglect, while he steers so
gracefully free from either extreme; and I observe you are the only
woman upon whom he designs to bestow _les petits soins._ How I despise a
man who is ever on the watch to pick up every silly Miss's fan or glove
that she thinks it pretty to drop! No--the woman he loves, whether his
mother or his wife, will always be distinguished by him, were she
amongst queens and empresses, not by his silly vanity or vulgar
fondness, but by his marked and gentlemanlike attentions towards her.
In short, the best thing you can do is to make up your quarrel with
him--take him for all in all--you won't meet with such another--
certainly not amongst your Highland lairds, by all that I can learn;
and, by-the-bye, I do suspect he is now, as you say, trying to love you;
and let him--you will be very well repaid if he succeeds."

Mary's heart swelled at the thoughts of submitting to such an indignity,
especially as she was beginning to feel conscious that Colonel Lennox
was not quite the object of indifference to her that he ought to be; but
her cousin's remarks only served to render her more distant and reserved
to him than ever.



CHAPTER XXI.

    "What dangers ought'st thou not to dread,
    When Love, that's blind, is by blind Fortune, led?"

                     COWLEY.

AT length the long-looked for day arrived. The Duke of Altamont's
proposals were made in due form, and in due form accepted. Lady Juliana
seemed  now touching the pinnacle of earthly joy; for, next to being
greatly married herself, her happiness centred in seeing her daughter at
the head of a splendid establishment. Again visions of bliss hovered
around her, and "Peers and Dukes and all their sweeping train" swam
before her eyes, as she anticipated the brilliant results to herself
from so noble an alliance; for self was still, as it had ever been, her
ruling star, and her affection for her daughter was the mere result of
vanity and ambition.

The ensuing weeks were passed in all the bustle of preparations
necessarily attendant on the nuptials of the great. Every morning
brought from Town dresses, jewels, patterns, and packages of all
descriptions. Lady Juliana was in ecstasies, even though it was but
happiness in the second person. Mary watched her sister's looks with the
most painful solicitude; for from her lips she knew she never would
learn the sentiments of her heart. But Adelaide was aware she had a part
to act, and she went through it with an ease and self-possession that
seemed to defy all scrutiny. Once or twice, indeed, her deepening colour
and darkening brow betrayed the feelings of her heart, as the Duke of
Altamont and Lord Lindore were brought into comparison; and Mary
shuddered to think that her sister was even now ashamed of the man whom
she was so soon to vow to love, honour, and obey. She had vainly tried
to lead Adelaide to the subject. Adelaide would listen to nothing which
she had reason to suppose was addressed to herself; but either with cool
contempt took up a book, or left the room, or, with insolent
affectation, would put her hands to her head, exclaiming, _"Mes oreilles
n'etoient pas faites pour les entretiens sérieux."_ All Mary's worst
fears were confirmed a few days before that fixed for the marriage. As
she entered the music-room she was startled to find Lord Lindore and
Adelaide alone. Unwilling to suppose that her presence would be
considered as an interruption, she seated herself at a little distance
from them, and was soon engrossed by her task. Adelaide, too, had the
air of being deeply intent upon some trifling employment; and Lord
Lindore, as he sat opposite to her, with his head resting upon his
hands, had the appearance of being engaged in reading. All were silent
for some time; but as Mary happened to look up, she saw Lord
Lindore'seyes fixed earnestly upon her sister, and with _voice_ of
repressed feeling he repeated,_"Ah! je le sens, ma Julie! si'l falloit
renoncer a vous, il n'y auroit plus pour moi d'autre sejour ni d'autre
saison:"_ and throwing down the book, he quitted the room. Adelaide pale
and agitated, rose as if to follow him; then, recollecting herself, she
rushed from the apartment by an opposite door. Mary followed, vainly
hoping that in this moment of excited feeling she might be induced to
open her heart to the voice of affection; but Adelaide was a stranger to
sympathy, and saw only the degradation of confessing the struggle she
endured in choosing betwixt love and ambition. That her heart was Lord
Lindore's she could not conceal from herself, though she would not
confess it to another--and that other the tenderest of sisters, whose
only wish was to serve her. Mary's tears and entreaties were therefore
in vain, and at Adelaide's repeated desire she at length quitted her and
returned to the room she had left.

She found Lady Emily there with a paper in her hand. "Lend me your ears,
Mary," cried she, "while I read these lines to you. Don't be afraid,
there are no secrets in them, or at least none that you or I will be a
whit the wiser for, as they are truly in a most mystic strain. I found
them lying upon this table, and they are in Frederick's handwriting, for
I see he affects the _soupirant_ at present; and it seems there has been
a sort of a sentimental farce acted between Adelaide and him. He
pretends that, although distractedly in love with her, he is not so
selfish as even to wish her to marry him in preference to the Duke of
Altamont; and Adelaide, not to be outdone in heroics, has also made it
out that it is the height of virtue in her to espouse the Duke of
Altamont, and sacrifice all the tenderest affections of her heart to
duty! Duty! yes, the duty of being a Duchess, and of living in state and
splendour with the man she secretly despises, to the pleasure of
renouncing both for the man she loves; and so they have parted, and
here, I suppose, are Lindore's lucubrations upon it, intended as a
_souvenir_ for Adelaide, I presume. Now, night visions befriend me!

    "The time returns when o'er my wilder'd mind,
    A thraldom came which did each sense enshroud;
    Not that I bowed in willing chain confined,
    But that a soften'd atmosphere of cloud
    Veiled every sense--conceal'd th' impending doom.
    'Twas mystic night, and I seem'd borne along
    By pleasing dread--and in a doubtful gloom,
    Where fragrant incense and the sound of song,
    And all fair things we dream of, floated by,
    Lulling my fancy like a cradled child,
    Till that the dear and guileless treachery,
    Made me the wretch I am--so lost, so wild--
    A mingled feeling, neither joy or grief,
    Dwelt in my heart--I knew not whence it came,
    And--but that woe is me! 'twas passing brief,
    Even at this hour I fain would feel the same!
    I track'd a path of flowers--but flowers among
    Were hissing serpents and drear birds of night,
    That shot across and scared with boding cries;
    And yet deep interest lurked in that affright,
    Something endearing in those mysteries,
    Which bade me still the desperate joy pursue,
    Heedless of what might come--when from mine eyes
    The cloud should pass, or what might then accrue.
    The cloud _has_ passed--the blissful power is flown,
    The flowers are wither'd--wither'd all the scene.
    But ah! the dear delusions I have known
    Are present still, with loved though altered mien:
    I tread the selfsame path in heart unchanged;
    But changed now is all that path to me,
    For where 'mong flowers and fountains once I ranged
    Are barren rocks and savage scenery!"

Mary felt it was in vain to attempt to win her sister's confidence, and
she was too delicate to seek to wrest her secrets from her; she
therefore took no notice of this effusion of love and disappointment,
which she concluded it to be.

Adelaide appeared at dinner as usual. All traces of agitation had
vanished; and her manner was a cool and collected as if all had been
peace and tranquillity at heart. Lord Lindore's departure was slightly
noticed. It was generally understood that he had been rejected by his
cousin; and his absence at such a time was thought perfectly natural;
the Duke merely remarking, with a vacant simper, "So Lord Lindore is
gone--Ah! poor Lord Lindore."

Lady Juliana had, in a very early stage of the business, fixed in her
own mind that she, as a matter of course, would be invited to accompany
her daughter upon her marriage; indeed, she had always looked upon it as
a sort of triple alliance, that was to unite her as indissolubly to the
fortunes of the Duke of Altamont as though she had been his wedded wife.
But the time drew near, and in spite of all her hints and manoeuvres no
invitation had yet been extorted from Adelaide. The Duke had proposed to
her to invite her sister, and even expressed something like a wish to
that effect; for though he felt no positive pleasure in Mary's society,
he was yet conscious of a void in her absence. She was always in good
humour--always gentle and polite--and, without being able to tell why,
his Grace always felt more at ease with her than with anybody else. But
his selfish bride seemed to think that the joys of her elevation would
be diminished if shared even by her own sister, and she coldly rejected
the proposal. Lady Juliana was next suggested--for the Duke had a sort of
vague understanding that his safety lay in a multitude. With him, as
with all stupid people, company was society, words were
conversation--and all the gradations of intellect, from Sir Isaac Newton
down to Dr. Redgill, were to him unknown. But although, as with most
weak people, obstinacy was his _forte,_ he was here again compelled to
yield to the will of his bride, as she also declined the company of her
mother for the present. The disappointment was somewhat softened to Lady
Juliana by the sort of indefinite hopes that were expressed by her
daughter of seeing her in town when they were fairly established; but
until she had seen Altamont House, and knew its accommodations, she
could fix nothing; and Lady Juliana was fain to solace herself with this
dim perspective, instead of the brilliant reality her imagination had
placed within her grasp. She felt, too, without comprehending, the
imperfectness of all earthly felicity. As she witnessed the magnificent
preparations for her daughter's marriage, it recalled the bitter
remembrance of her own--and many a sigh burst from her heart as he
thought, "Such as Adelaide is, I might have been had I been blest with
such a mother, and brought up to know what was for my good!"

The die was cast. Amidst pomp and magnificence, elate with pride, and
sparkling with jewels, Adelaide Douglas reversed the fate of her mother;
and while her affections were bestowed on another, she vowed, in the
face of heaven, to belong only to the Duke of Altamont!

"Good-bye, my dearest love!" said her mother,  as she embraced her with
transport, "and I shall be with you very soon; and, above all things,
try to secure a good opera-box for the season. I assure you it is of the
greatest consequence."

The Duchess impatiently hurried from the congratulations of her family,
and throwing herself into the splendid equipage that awaited her was
soon lost to their view.



CHAPTER XXII.

    "Every white will have its black,
     And every sweet its sour:"

As Lady Juliana experienced. Her daughter was Duchess of Altamont, but
Grizzy Douglas had arrived in Bath! The intelligence was communicated to
Mary in a letter. It had no date, but was as follows:--

My DEAR MARY--You will See from the Date of this, that we are at last
Arrived here, after a very long journey, which, you of Course Know it is
from this to our Part of the country; at the same Time, it was
uncommonly Pleasant, and we all enjoyed it very Much, only poor Sir
Sampson was so ill that we Expected him to Expire every minute, which
would have made it Extremely unpleasant for dear Lady M'Laughlan. He is
now, I am Happy to say, greatly Better, though still so Poorly that I am
much afraid you will see a very Considerable change upon him. I
sincerely hope, my dear Mary, that you will make a proper Apology to
Lady Juliana for my not going to Beech Park (where I know I would be
made most Welcome) directly--but I am Certain she will Agree with me
that it would be Highly Improper in me to leave Lady M'Laughlan when she
is not at all Sure how long Sir Sampson may Live; and it would Appear
very Odd if I was to be out of the way at such a time as That. But you
may Assure her, with my Kind love, and indeed all our Loves (as I am
sure None of us can ever forget the Pleasant time she spent with us at
Glenfern in my Poor brother's lifetime, before you was Born), that I
will Take the very first Opportunity of Spending some time at Beech Park
before leaving Bath, as we Expect the Waters will set Sir Sampson quite
on his Feet again. It will be a happy Meeting, I am certain, with Lady
Juliana and all of us, as it is Eighteen years this spring since we have
Met. You may be sure I have a great Deal to tell you and Lady Juliana
too, about all Friends at Glenfern, whom I left all quite Well. Of course,
the Report of Bella's and Betsy's marriages Must have reached Bath by
this time, as it will be three Weeks to-day since we left our part of
the country; but in case it has not reached you, Lady M'Laughlan is of
opinion that the Sooner you are made Acquainted with it the Better,
especially as there is no doubt of it. Bella's marriage, which is in a
manner fixed by this time, I daresay, though of Course it will not take
place for some time, is to Capt. M'Nab of some Regiment, but I'm sure I
Forget which, for there are so many Regiments, you know, it is
Impossible to remember them All; but he is quite a Hero, I know that, as
he has been in Several battles, and had Two of his front teeth Knocked
Out at one of them, and was Much complimented about it; and he Says, he
is quite Certain of getting Great promotion--at any Rate a pension for
it, so there is no Fear of him.

"Betsy has, if Possible, been still More fortunate than her Sister,
although you know Bella was always reckoned the Beauty of the Family,
though some people certainly preferred Betsy's Looks too. She has made a
Complete conquest of Major M'Tavish, of the Militia, who, Independent of
his rank, which is certainly very High, has also distinguished himself
very Much, and showed the Greatest bravery once when there was a Very
serious Riot about the raising the Potatoes a penny a peck, when there
was no Occasion for it, in the town of Dunoon; and it was very much
talked of at the Time, as well as Being in all the Newspapers. This
gives us all the Greatest Pleasure, as I am certain it will also Do Lady
Juliana and you, my dear Mary. At the same time, we Feel very much for
poor Babby, and Beenie, and Becky, as they Naturally, and indeed all of
us, Expected they would, of Course, be married first; and it is
certainly a great Trial for them to See their younger sisters married
before them. At the same Time, they are Wonderfully supported, and
Behave with Astonishing firmness; and I Trust, my dear Mary, you will do
the Same, as I have no Doubt you will All be married yet, as I am sure
you Richly deserve it when it Comes. I hope I will see you Very soon, as
Lady M'Laughlan, I am certain, will Make you most Welcome to call. We
are living in Most elegant Lodgings--all the Furniture is quite New, and
perfectly Good. I do not know the Name of the street yet, as Lady
M'Laughlan, which is no wonder, is not fond of being Asked questions
when she is Upon a Journey; and, indeed, makes a Point of never
Answering any, which, I daresay, is the Best way. But, of Course,
anybody will Tell you where Sir Sampson Maclaughlan, Baronet, of
Lochmarliie Castle, Perthshire, N. B., lives; and, if You are at any
Loss, it has a Green door, and a most Elegant Balcony. I must now bid
you adieu, my dear. Mary, as I Am so soon to See yourself. Sir Sampson
and Lady M'Laughlan unite with Me in Best compliments to the Family at
Beech Park. And, in kind love to Lady Juliana and you, I remain, My dear
Mary, your most affectionate Aunt,

                                                 GRIZZEL DOUGLAS.

_"P.S._--I have a long letter for you from Mrs. Douglas, which is in my
Trunk, that is Coming by the Perth Carrier, and unless he is stopped by
the Snow, I Expect he will be here in ten days."

With the idea of Grizzy was associated in Mary's mind all the dear
familiar objects of her happiest days, and her eyes sparkled with
delight at the thoughts of again beholding her.

"Oh! when may I go to Bath to dear Aunt Grizzy?" exclaimed she, as
she finished the letter. Lady Juliana looked petrified. Then
recollecting that this was the first intimation her mother had received
of such an event being even in contemplation, she made haste to
exculpate her aunt at her own expense, by informing her of the truth.
But nothing could be more unpalatable than the truth; and poor Mary's
short-lived joy was soon turned into the bitterest sorrow at the
reproaches that were showered upon her by the incensed Lady Juliana. But
for her these people never would have thought of coming to Bath; or if
they did, she should have had no connection with them. She had been most
excessively ill-used by Mr. Douglas's family, and had long since
resolved to have no further intercourse with them--they were nothing to
her, etc. etc. The whole concluding with a positive prohibition against
Mary's taking any notice of her aunt. "From all that has been said,
Mary," said Lady Emily gravely, "there can be no doubt but that you are
the origin of Lady Juliana's unfortunate connection with the family of
Douglas."

"Undoubtedly," said her Ladyship.

"But for you, it appears that she would not have known--certainly never
would have acknowledged that her husband had an aunt?"

"Certainly not," said Lady Juliana, warmly.

"It is a most admirable plan," continued Lady Emily in the same manner,
"and I shall certainly adopt it. When I have children I am determined
they shall be answerable for my making a foolish marriage; and it shall
be their fault if my husband has a mother. _En attendant,_ I am
determined to patronise Edward's relations to the last degree; and
therefore, unless Mary is permitted to visit her aunt as often as she
pleases, I shall make a point of bringing the dear Aunt Grizzy here. Yes"
(Putting her hand to the bell), "I shall order my carriage this instant,
and set off. To-morrow, you know, we give a grand dinner in
honour of Adelaide's marriage. Aunt Grizzy shall be queen of the feast."

Lady Juliana was almost suffocated with passion; but she knew her niece
too well to doubt her putting her threat into execution, and there was
distraction in the idea of the vulgar obscure Grizzy Douglas being
presented to a fashionable party as her aunt. After a violent
altercation, in which Mary took no part, an ungracious permission was at
length extorted, which Mary eagerly availed herself of; and, charged
with kind messages from Lady Emily, set off in quest of Aunt Grizzy and
the green door.

After much trouble, and many unsuccessful attacks upon green doors and
balconies, she was going to give up the search in despair, when her eye
was attracted by the figure of Aunt Grizzy herself at full length,
stationed at a window, in an old-fashioned riding-habit and spectacles.
The carriage was stopped and in an instant Mary was in the arms of her
aunt, all agitation, as Lochmarlie flashed on her fancy, at again
hearing its native accents uttered by the voice familiar to her from
infancy. Yet the truth must be owned, Mary's taste was somewhat
startled, even while her heart warmed at the sight of the good old aunt.
Association and affection still retained their magical influence over
her; but absence had dispelled the blest illusions of habitual
intercourse; and for the first time she beheld her aunt freed from its
softening spell. Still her heart clung to her, as to one known and loved
from infancy; and she Soon rose superior to the weakness she felt was
besetting her in the slight sensation of shame, as she contrasted her
awkward manner and uncouth accent with the graceful refinement of those
with whom she associated.

Far different were the sensations with which the good spinster regarded
her niece. She could not often enough declare her admiration of the
improvements that had taken place. Mary was grown taller, and stouter,
and fairer and fatter, and her back was a straight as an arrow, and her
carriage would even surprise Miss M'Gowk herself. It was quite
astonishing to see her, for she had always understood Scotland was the
place for beauty, and that nobody ever came to anything in England. Even
Sir Sampson and Lady Maclaughlan were forgot as she stood riveted in
admiration, and Mary was the first to recall her recollection to them.
Sir Sampson, indeed, might well have been overlooked by a more accurate
observer; for, as Grizzy observed, he was worn away to nothing, and the
little that remained seemed as if it might have gone too without being
any loss. He was now deaf, paralytic, and childish, and the only symptom
of life he showed was an increased restlessness and peevishness. His
lady sat by him, calmly pursuing her work, and, without relaxing from it,
merely held up her face to salute Mary as she approached her.

"So I'm glad you are no worse than you was, dear child," surveying her
from head to foot; "that's more than _we_ can say. You see these poor
creatures," pointing to Sir Sampson and Aunt Grizzy. "They are much about
it now. Well, we know what we are, but God knows what we shall
be--humph!"

Sir Sampson showed no signs of recognising her, but seemed pleased when
Grizzy resumed her station beside him; and began for the five hundredth
time to tell him why he was not in Lochmarlie Castle, and why he was in
Bath.

Mary now saw that there are situations in which a weak capacity has its
uses, and that the most foolish chat may sometimes impart greater
pleasure than all the wisdom of the schools, even when proceeding from a
benevolent heart.

Sir Sampson and Grizzy were so much upon a pair in intellect, that they
were reciprocally happy in each other. This the strong sense of Lady
Maclaughlan had long perceived, and was the principal reason of her
selecting so weak a woman as her companion; though, at the same time, in
justice to her Ladyship's heart as well as head, she had that partiality
for her friend for which no other reason can be assigned than that given
by Montaigne: "Je l'amais parceque c'étoit _elle,_ parceque c'étoit moi."

Mary paid a long visit to her aunt, and then took leave, promising to
return the following day to take Miss Grizzy to deliver a letter of
introduction she had received, and which had not been left to the chance
of the carrier and the snow.



CHAPTER XXIII.

"This sort of person is skilled to assume the appearance of all virtues
and all good qualities; but their favourite mask is universal
benevolence. And the reason why they prefer this disguise to all others,
is, that it tends to conceal its opposite, which is, indeed, their true
character--an universal selfishness."

--KNOX'S _Essays._

ALTHOUGH, on her return, Mary read her mother's displeasure in her
looks, and was grieved at again having incurred it, she yet felt it a
duty towards her father to persevere in her attentions to his aunt. She
was old, poor, and unknown, plain in her person, weak in her intellects,
vulgar in her manners; but she was related to her by ties more binding
than the laws of fashion or the rules of taste. Even these
disadvantages, which, to a worldly mind, would have served as excuses
for neglecting her, to Mary's generous nature were so many incentives to
treat her with kindness and attention. Faithful to her promise,
therefore, she repaired to Milsom Street, and found her aunt all
impatience for her arrival, with the letter so firmly grasped in both
hands, that she seemed almost afraid to trust anyone with a glance at
the direction.

"This letter, Mary," said she, when they were seated in the carriage,
"will be a great thing for me, and especially for you. I got it from
Mrs. Menzies, through Mrs. M'Drone, whose friend, Mrs. Campbell's
half-sister, Miss Grant, is a great friend of Mrs. Fox's, and she says
she is a most charming woman. Of course she is no friend to the great
Fox; or you know it would have been very odd in me, with Sir Sampson's
principles, and my poor brother's principles, and all our own
principles, to have visited her. But she's quite of a different family
of Foxes: she's a Fox of Peckwell, it seems--a most amiable woman, very
rich, and prodigiously charitable. I am sure we have been most fortunate
in getting a letter to such a woman." And with this heartfelt
ejaculation they found themselves at Mrs. Fox's.

Everything corresponded with the account of this lady's wealth and
consequence; the house was spacious and handsomely furnished, with its
due proportion of livery servants; and they were ushered into a
sitting-room which was filled with all the 'wonders of nature and
art,--Indian shells, inlaid cabinets, ivory boxes, stuffed birds, old
china, Chinese mandarins, stood disclosed in all their charms. The lady
of this mansion was seated at table covered with works of a different
description: it exhibited the various arts of woman, in regular
gradation, from the painted card-rack and gilded firescreen, to the
humble thread-paper and shirt-button. Mrs. Fox was a fine,
fashionable-looking woman, with a smooth skin, and still smoother
address. She received her visitors with that overstrained complaisance
which, to Mary's nicer tact, at once discovered that all was hollow; but
poor Miss Grizzy was scarcely seated before she was already transfixed
with admiration at Mrs. Fox's politeness, and felt as if her whole life
would be too short to repay such kindness. Compliments over--the
weather, etc., discussed, Mrs. Fox began:

"You must be surprised, ladies, to see me in the midst of such a litter,
but you find me busy arranging the works of some poor _protégées_ of
mine. A most unfortunate family!--I have given them what little
instruction I could in these little female works; and you see," putting
a gaudy work-basket into Grizzy's hands, "it is astonishing what
progress they have made. My friends have been most liberal in their
purchases of these trifles, but I own I am a wretched beggar. They are
in bad hands when they are in mine, poor souls! The fact is, I can give,
but I cannot beg. I tell them they really must find somebody else to
dispose of their little labours--somebody who has more of what I call
the gift of begging than I am blest with."

Tears of admiration stood in Grizzy's eye; her hand was in her
pocket. She looked to Mary, but Mary's hands and eyes betrayed no
corresponding emotions; she felt only disgust at the meanness and
indelicacy of the mistress of such a mansion levying contributions from
the stranger within her door.

Mrs. Fox proceeded: "That most benevolent woman Miss Gull was here this
morning, and bought no less than seven of these sweet little
pincushions. I would fain have dissuaded her from taking so many--it
really seemed such a stretch of virtue; but she said, 'My dear Mrs. Fox,
how can one possibly spend their money better than in doing a good
action, and at the same time enriching themselves?'"

Grizzy's purse was in her hand. "I declare that's very true. I never
thought of that before; and I'm certain Lady Maclaughlan will say the
very same; and I'm sure she will be delighted--I've no doubt of that--to
take a pincushion; and each of my sisters I'm certain, will take one,
though we have all plenty of pincushions; and I'll take one to myself,
though I have three, I'm sure, that I've never used yet."

"My dear Miss Douglas, you really are, I could almost say, _too_ good.
Two and two's four, and one's five--five half-crowns! My poor
_protégées!_ you will really be the making of their fortune!"

Grizzy, with trembling hands, and a face flushed with conscious virtue,
drew forth the money from her little hoard.

But Mrs. Fox did not quit her prey so easily. "If any of your friends
are in want of shirt-buttons, Miss Douglas, I would fain recommend those
to them. They are made by a poor woman in whom I take some interest, and
are far superior to any that are to be had from the shops. They are made
from the very best materials. Indeed, I take care of that, as" (in a
modest whisper) "I furnish her with the material myself; but the
generality of those you get to purchase are made from old materials.
I've ascertained that, and it's a fact you may rely upon."

Poor Grizzy's hair stood on end, to hear of such depravity in a sphere
where she had never even suspected it; but, for the honour of her
country, she flattered herself such practices were there unknown; and
she was entering upon a warm vindication of the integrity of Scotch
shirt-buttons, when Mrs. Fox coolly observed--

"Indeed, our friend Miss Grant was so conscious of the great superiority
of these buttons over any others, that she bespoke thirty-six dozen of
them to take to Scotland with her. In fact, they are the real good
old-fashioned shirt-buttons, such as I have heard my mother talk of; and
for all that, I make a point of my poor woman selling them a penny a
dozen below the shop price; so that in taking twelve dozen, which is the
common quantity, there is a shilling saved at once."

Grizzy felt as if she would be the saving of the family by the
purchase of these incomparable shirt buttons, and, putting down her five
shillings, became the happy possessor of twelve dozen of them.

Fresh expressions of gratitude and admiration ensued, till Grizzy's
brain began to whirl even more rapidly than usual, at the thought of the
deeds she had done.

"And now," said Mrs. Fox, observing her eyes in a fine frenzy rolling
from her lapful of pincushions and shirt buttons, to a mandarin nearly
as large as life, "perhaps, my dear Miss Douglas, you will do me the
favour to take a look of my little collection."

"Favour!" thought Grizzy; "what politeness!" and she protested there was
nothing she liked so much as to look at everything, and that it would be
the greatest favour to show her anything. The mandarin was made to shake
his head--a musical snuffbox played its part--and a variety of other
expensive toys were also exhibited.

Mary's disgust increased. "And this woman," thought she, "professes to
be charitable amidst all this display of selfish extravagance. Probably
the price of one of these costly baubles would have provided for the
whole of these poor people for whom she affects so much compassion,
without subjecting her to the meanness of turning her house into a
beggar's repository." And she walked away to the other end of the room
to examine some fine scriptural paintings.

"Here," said Mrs. Fox to her victim, as she unlocked a superb cabinet,
"is what I value more than my whole collection put together. It is my
specimens of Scotch pebbles; and I owe them solely to the generosity and
good-will of my Scotch friends. I assure you that is a proud reflection
to me. I am a perfect enthusiast in Scotch pebbles, and, I may say, in
Scotch people. In fact, I am an enthusiast in whatever I am interested
in; and at present, I must own, my heart is set upon making a complete
collection of Scotch pebbles."

Grizzy began to feel a sort of tightness at her throat, at which was
affixed a very fine pebble brooch pertaining to Nicky, but lent to
Grizzy, to enable her to make a more distinguished figure in the gay
world.

"Oh!" thought she, "what a pity this brooch is Nicky's, and not mine; I
would have given it to this charming Mrs. Fox. Indeed, I don't see how I
can be off giving it to her, even although it is Nicky's."

"And, by-the-bye," exclaimed Mrs. Fox, as if suddenly struck with the
sight of the brooch, "that seems a very fine stone of yours. I wonder I
did not observe it sooner; but, indeed, pebbles are thrown away in
dress. May I beg a nearer view of it?"

Grizzy's brain was now all on fire. On the one hand there was the glory
of presenting the brooch to such a polite, charitable, charming woman;
on the other, there was the fear of Nicky's indignation. But then it was
quite thrown away upon Nicky--she had no cabinet, and Mrs. Fox had
declared that pebbles were quite lost anywhere but in cabinets, and it
was a thousand pities that Nicky's brooch should be lost. All these
thoughts Grizzy revolved with her usual clearness, as she unclasped the
brooch, and gave it into the hand of the collector.

"Bless me, my dear Miss Douglas, this is really a very fine stone! I had
no conception of it when I saw it sticking in your throat. It looks
quite a different thing in the hand; it is a species I am really not
acquainted with. I have nothing at all similar to it in my poor
collection. Pray, can you tell me the name of it, and where it is found,
that I may at least endeavour to procure a piece of it."

"I'm sure I wish to goodness my sister Nicky was here--I'm certain she
would--though, to be sure, she has a great regard for it; for it was
found on the Glenfern estate the very day my grandfather won his plea
against Drimsydie; and we always called it the lucky stone from that."

"The lucky stone! what a delightful name! I shall never think myself in
luck till I can procure a piece of your lucky stone. I protest, I could
almost go to Scotland on purpose. Oh, you dear lucky stone!" kissing it
with rapture.

"I'm sure--I'm almost certain--indeed, I'm convinced, if my sister Nicky
was here, she would be delighted to offer-- It would certainly be
doing my sister Nicky the greatest favour, since you think it would be
seen to so much greater advantage in your cabinet, which, for my own
part, I have not the least doubt of, as certainly my sister Nicky very
seldom wears it for fear of losing it, and it would be a thousand pities
if it was lost; and, to be sure, it will be much safer locked up--nobody
can dispute that--so I am sure it's by far the best thing my sister
Nicky can do--for certainly a pebble brooch is quite lost as a brooch."

"My dear Miss Douglas! I am really quite ashamed! This is a perfect
robbery, I protest! But I must insist upon your accepting some little
token of my regard for Miss Nicky in return." Going to her
charity-table, and returning with a set of painted thread-papers, "I
must request the favour of you to present these to Miss Nicky, with my
kind regards, and assure her I shall consider her lucky stone as the
most precious jewel in my possession."

The whole of this scene had been performed with such rapidity that poor
Grizzy was not prepared for the sudden metamorphose of Nicky's pebble
brooch into a set of painted thread-papers, and some vague alarms began
to float through her brain.

Mary now advanced, quite unconscious of what had been going on; and
having whispered her aunt to take leave, they departed. They returned in
silence. Grizzy was so occupied in examining her pincushions and
counting her buttons, that she never looked up till the carriage stopped
in Milsom Street.

Mary accompanied her in. Grizzy was all impatience to display her
treasures; and as she hastily unfolded them, began to relate her
achievements. Lady Maclaughlan heard her in silence, and a deep groan
was all that she uttered; but Grizzy was too well accustomed to be
groaned at, to be at all appalled, and went on, "But all that's nothing
to the shirt-buttons, made of Mrs. Fox's own linen, and only five
shillings the twelve dozen; and considering what tricks are played with
shirt-buttons now--I assure you people require to be on their guard with
shirt-buttons now."

"Pray, my dear, did you ever read the 'Vicar of Wakefield?'"

"The 'Vicar of Wakefield?' I--I think always I must have read it:--at
any rate, I'm certain I've heard of it."

"Moses and his green spectacles was as one of the acts of Solomon
compared to you and your shirtbuttons. Pray, which of you is it that
wears shirts?"

"I declare that's very true--I wonder I did not think of that sooner--to
be sure, none us wear shirts since my poor brother died."

"And what's become of her brooch?" turning to Mary, who for the first
time observed the departure of Nicky's crown jewel.

"Oh, as to the brooch," cried Grizzy, "I'm certain you'll all think that
well bestowed, and certainly it has been the saving of it." Upon which
she commenced a most entangled narrative, from which the truth was at
length extracted.

"Well," said Lady Maclaughlan, "there are two things God grant I may
never become,--an, _amateur_ in charity, and a collector of curiosities.
No Christian can be either--both are pickpockets. I wouldn't keep
company with my own mother were she either one or other--humph!"

Mary was grieved at the loss of the brooch; but Grizzy seemed more than
ever satisfied with the exchange, as Sir Sampson had taken a fancy for
the thread-papers, and it would amuse him for the rest of the day to be
told every two minutes what they were intended for. Mary therefore left
her quite happy, and returned to Beech Park.



CHAPTER XXIV.

    "He either fears his fate too much,
    Or his deserts are small,
    Who dares not put it to the touch,
    To gain or lose it all."

         _Marquis of Montrose._

TIME rolled on, but no event occurred in Grizzy's life worthy of being
commemorated. Lady Juliana began to recover from the shock of her
arrival, and at length was even prevailed upon to pay her a visit, and
actually spent five minutes in the same room with her. All her
Ladyship's plans seemed now on the point of being accomplished. Mr.
Downe Wright was now Lord Glenallan, with an additional fifteen thousand
per annum, and by wiser heads than hers would have been thought an
unexceptionable match for any young woman. Leaving his mother to settle
his affairs in Scotland, to which she was much more _au fait_ than
himself, he hastened to Beech Park to claim Mary's promised hand.

But neither wealth nor grandeur possessed any sway over Mary's
well-regulated mind, and she turned from that species of happiness which
she felt would be insufficient to satisfy the best affections of her
heart. "No," thought she, "it is not in splendour and distinction that I
shall find happiness; it is in the cultivation of the domestic
virtues--the peaceful joys of a happy home and a loved companion, that
my felicity must consist. Without these I feel that I should still be
poor, were I mistress of millions;" and she took the first opportunity
of acquainting Lord Glenallan with the nature of her sentiments.

He received the communication with painful surprise; but as he was one
of those who do not easily divest themselves of an idea that has once
taken possession of their brain, he seemed resolved to persevere in his
quiet, though pointed attentions.

Lady Juliana's anger at the discovery of her daughter's refusal it
is needless to describe--it may easily be imagined; and poor Mary was
almost heartbroken by the violence and duration of it. Sometimes she
wavered in her ideas as to whether she was doing right in thus resisting
her mother's wishes; and in the utmost distress she mentioned her
scruples to Lady Emily.

"As to Lady Juliana's wishes," said her cousin, "they are mere
soap-bubbles; but as to your own views--why, really you are somewhat of
a riddle to me. I rather think, were I such a quiet, civil,
well-disposed person as you, I could have married Lord Glenallan well
enough. He is handsome, good-natured, and rich; and though 'he is but a
Lord, and nothing but a Lord,' still there is a dash and bustle in
twenty thousand a year that takes off from the ennui of a dull
companion. With five hundred a year, I grant you, he would be
execrable."

"Then I shall never marry a man with twenty thousand a year whom I would
not have with five hundred."

"In short, you are to marry for love--that's the old story, which, with
all your wisdom, you wise, well-educated girls always end in. Where
shall I find a hero upon five hundred a year for you? Of course he must
be virtuous, noble, dignified, handsome, brave, witty. What would you
think of Charles Lennox?"

Mary coloured. "After what passed, I would not marry Colonel Lennox;
no"--affecting to smile--"not if he were to ask me, which is certainly
the most unlikely of all things."

"Ah! true, I had forgot that scrape. No, that won't do; it certainly
would be most pitiful in you, after what passed. Well, I don't know
what's to be done with you. There's nothing for it but that you should
take Lord Glenallan, with all his imperfections on his head; and, after
all, I really see nothing that he wants but a little more brain, and as
you'll have the managing of him you can easily supply that deficiency."

"Indeed," answered Mary, "I find I have quite little enough for myself,
and I have no genius whatever for managing. I shall therefore never
marry, unless I marry a man on whose judgment I could rely for advice
and assistance, and for whom I could feel a certain deference that I
consider due from a wife to her husband."

"I see what you would be at," said Lady Emily; "you mean to model
yourself upon the behaviour of Mrs. Tooley, who has such a deference for
the judgment of her better half, that she consults him even about the
tying of her shoes, and would not presume to give her child a few grains
of magnesia without this full and unqualified approbation. Now I flatter
myself my husband and I shall have a more equitable division; for,
though man is a reasonable being, he shall know and own that woman is so
too--sometimes. All things that men ought to know better I shall yield;
whatever may belong to either sex, I either seize upon as my
prerogative, or scrupulously divide; for which reason I should like the
profession of my husband to be something in which I could not possibly
interfere. How difficult must it be for a woman in the lower ranks of
life to avoid teaching her husband how to sew, if he is a tailor; or how
to bake, if he is a baker, etc.

"Nature seems to have provided for this tendency of both sexes, by
making your sensible men--that is, men who think themselves sensible,
and wish everybody else to think the same--incline to foolish women. I
can detect one of these sensible husbands at a glance, by the pomp and
formality visible in every word, look, or action--men, in short, whose
'visages do cream and mantle like a standing pond;' who are perfect
Joves in their own houses--who speak their will by a nod, and lay down
the law by the motion of their eyebrow--and who attach prodigious ideas
of dignity to frightening their children, and being worshipped by their
wives, till you see one of these wiseacres looking as if he thought
himself and his obsequious helpmate were exact personifications of Adam
and Eve--' he for God only, she for God in him.' Now I am much afraid,
Mary, with all your sanctity, you are in some danger of becoming one of
these idolatresses."

"I hope not," replied Mary, laughing; "but if I should, that seems
scarcely so bad as the sect of Independents in the marriage state; for
example, there is Mrs. Boston, who by all strangers is taken for a
widow, such emphasis does she lay upon the personal pronoun--with her,
'tis always, _I_ do this, or _I_ do that, without the slightest
reference to her husband; and she talks of _my_ house, _my_ gardens,
_my_ carriage, _my_ children, as if there were no copartnery in the
case."

"Ah, she is very odious," cried Lady Emily; "she is both master and
mistress, and more if possible she makes her husband look like her
footman; but she is a fool, as every woman must needs be who thinks she
can raise herself by lowering her husband. Then there is the sect of the
Wranglers, whose marriage is only one continued dispute. But, in short,
I see it is reserved for me to set a perfect example to my sex in the
married state. But I'm more reasonable than you, I suspect, for I don't
insist upon having a bright genius for my mate."

"I confess I should like that my husband's genius was at least as bright
as my own," said Mary, "and I can't think there is anything unreasonable
in that; or rather, I should say, were I a genius myself, I could better
dispense with a certain portion of intellect in my husband; as it has
been generally remarked that those who are largely endowed themselves
can easier dispense with talents in their companions than others of more
moderate endowments can do; but virtue and talents on the one side,
virtue and tenderness on the other, I look upon as the principal
ingredients in a happy union."

"Well, I intend to be excessively happy; and yet, I don't think Edward
will ever find the longitude. And, as for my tenderness--humph!--as
Lady Maclaughlan says; but as for you--I rather think you're in some
danger of turning into an Aunt Grizzy, with a long waist and large
pockets, peppermint drops and powdered curls; but, whatever you do, for
heaven's sake let us have no more human sacrifices--if you do, I shall
certainly appear at your wedding in sackcloth." And this was all of
comfort or advice that her Ladyship could bestow.

As Lady Emily was not a person who concealed either her own secrets or
those of others, Colonel Lennox was not long of hearing from her what
had passed, and of being made thoroughly acquainted with Mary's
sentiments on love and marriage. "Such a heart must be worth winning,"
thought he; but he sighed to think that he had less chance for the prize
than another. Independent of his narrow fortune, which, he was aware,
would be an insuperable bar to obtaining Lady Juliana's consent, Mary's
coldness and reserve towards him seemed to increase rather than
diminish. Or if she sometimes gave way to the natural frankness and
gaiety of her disposition before him, a word or look expressive of
admiration on his part instantly recalled to her those painful ideas
which had been for a moment forgot, and seemed to throw him at a greater
distance than ever.

Colonel Lennox was too noble-minded himself to suppose for an instant
that Mary actually felt dislike towards him because at the commencement
of their acquaintance he had not done justice to her merits; but he was
also aware that, until he had explained to her the nature of his
sentiments, she must naturally regard his attentions with suspicion, and
consider them rather as acts of duty towards his mother than as the
spontaneous expression of his own attachment. He therefore, in the most
simple and candid manner, laid open to her the secret of his heart, and
in all the eloquence of real passion, poured forth those feelings of
love and admiration with which she had unconsciously inspired him.

For a moment Mary's distrust was overcome by the ardour of his
address, and the open manly manner in which he had avowed the rise and
progress of his attachment; and she yielded herself up to the delightful
conviction of loving and being beloved.

But soon that gave way to the mortifying reflection that rushed over her
mind, "He _has_ tried to love me!" thought she; "but it is in obedience
to his mother's wish, and he thinks he has succeeded. No, no; I cannot
be the dupe of his delusion--I will not give myself to one who has been
solicited to love me!" And again wounded delicacy and woman's pride
resumed their empire over her, and she rejected the idea of _ever_
receiving Colonel Lennox as a lover. He heard her determination with the
deepest anguish, and used every argument and entreaty to soften her
resolution; but Mary had wrought herself up to a pitch of heroism-she
had rejected the man she loved--the only man she ever _could_ love: that
done, to persist in the sacrifice seemed easy; and they parted with
increased attachment in their hearts, even though those hearts seemed
severed for ever.

Soon after he set off to join his regiment; and it was only in saying
farewell that Mary felt how deeply her happiness was involved in the
fate of the man she had for ever renounced. To no one did she impart
what had passed; and Lady Emily was too dull herself, for some days
after the departure of her friend, to take any notice of Mary's
dejection.



CHAPTER XXV.

    "Who taught the parrot to cry, hail?
    What taught the chattering pie his tale?
    Hunger; that sharpener of the wits,
    Which gives e'en fools some thinking fits"

              DRUMMOND'S
                    _Persius._

MARY found herself bereft of both her lovers nearly at the same time.
Lord Glenallan, after formally renewing his suit, at length took a final
leave, and returned to Scotland. Lady Juliana's indignation could only
be equalled by Dr. Redgill's upon the occasion. He had planned a snug
retreat for himself during the game season at Glenallan Castle; where,
from the good-nature and easy temper of both master and mistress, he had
no doubt but that he should in time come to _rule the roast,_ and be
lord paramount over kitchen and larder. His disappointment was therefore
great at finding all the solid joys of red deer and moor-game, kippered
salmon and mutton hams, "vanish like the baseless fabric of a vision,"
leaving not a wreck behind.

"Refused Lord Glenallan!" exclaimed he to Lady Emily, upon first
hearing of it. "The thing's incredible--absolutely impossible--I won't
believe it!"

"That's right, Doctor; who is it that says 'And still believe the story
false that _ought_ not to be true? I admire your candour, and wish I
could imitate it."

"Then your Ladyship really believes it. 'Pon my soul, I--I--it's really a
very vexatious affair. I feel for Lady Juliana, poor woman! No wonder
she's hysterical-five and twenty thousand a year refused! What is it she
would have? The finest deer park in Scotland! Every sort of game upon
the estate! A salmon fishing at the very door!--I should just like to
know what _is_ the meaning of it?"

"Cannot you guess, Doctor" asked Lady Emily.

"Guess! No, 'pon my soul! I defy any man to guess what could tempt a
woman to refuse five and twenty thousand a year; unless, indeed, she has
something higher in view, and even then she should be pretty sure of her
mark. But I suppose, because Miss Adelaide has got a Duke, she thinks
she must have one too. I suppose that's the story; but I can tell her
Dukes are not so plenty; and she's by no means so fine a woman as her
sister, and her market's spoilt, or I'm much mistaken. What man in his
senses would ever ask a woman who had been such an idiot as to refuse
five and twenty thousand a year?"

"I see, Doctor, you are quite a novice in the tender passion. Cannot you
make allowance for it: a young lady's not being in love?"

"In what?" demanded the Doctor.

"In love," repeated Lady Emily.

"Love! Bah--nonsense--no mortal in their senses ever thinks of such
stuff now."

"Then you think love and madness are one and the same thing, it seems?"

"I think the man or woman who could let their love stand in the way of
five and twenty thousand a year is the next thing to being mad," said
the Doctor warmly; "and in this case I can see no difference."

"But you'll allow there are some sorts of love that may be indulged
without casting any shade upon the understanding?"

"I really can't tell what your Ladyship means," said the Doctor
impatiently.

"I mean, for example, the love one may feel towards a turtle, such as we
had lately."

"That's quite a different thing," interrupted the Doctor.

"Pardon me, but whatever the consequence may be, the effects in both
cases were very similar, as exemplified in yourself. Pray, what
difference did it make to your friends, who were deprived of your
society, whether you spent your time in walking with 'even step, and
musing gait,' before your Dulcinea's window or the turtle's
cistern?--whether you were engrossed in composing a sonnet to your
mistress's eyebrow, or in contriving a new method of heightening the
enjoyments of _calipash?_ --whether you expatiated with greater rapture
on the charms of a white skin or green fat?--whether you were most
devoted to a languishing or a lively beauty?--whether----"

"'Pon my honour, Lady Emily, I really--I--I can't conceive what it is you
mean. There's a time for everything; and I'm sure nobody but yourself
would ever have thought of bringing in a turtle to a conversation upon
marriage."

"On the contrary, Doctor, I thought it had been upon love; and I was
endeavouring to convince you that even the wisest of men may be
susceptible of certain tender emotions towards a beloved object."

"You'll never convince me that any but a fool can be in love," cried
the Doctor, his visage assuming a darker purple as the argument
advanced.

"Then you must rank Lord Glenallan, with his five and twenty thousand a
year, amongst the number, for he is desperately in love, I assure you."

"As to that, Lord Glenallan, or any man with his fortune, may be
whatever he chooses. He has a right to be in love. He can afford to be
in love."

"I have heard much of the torments of love," said Lady Emily; "but I
never heard it rated as a luxury before. I hope there is no chance of
your being made Premier, otherwise I fear we should have a tax upon
love-marriages immediately."

"It would be greatly for the advantage of the nation, as well as the
comfort of individuals, if there was," returned the Doctor. "Many a
pleasant fellow has been lost to society by what you call a
love-marriage. I speak from experience. I was obliged to drop the
oldest friend I had upon his making one of your love-marriages."

"What! you were afraid of the effects of evil example?" asked Lady
Emily.

"No--it was not for that; but he asked me to take a family dinner with
him one day, and I, without knowing anything of the character of the
woman he had married, was weak enough to go. I found a very so-so
tablecloth and a shoulder of mutton, which ended our acquaintance. I
never entered his door after it. In fact, no man's happiness is proof
against dirty tablecloths and bad dinners; and you may take my word for
it, Lady Emily, these are the invariable accompaniments of your
love-marriages."

"Pshaw! that is only amongst the _bourgeois,"_ said Lady Emily
affectedly; "that is not the sort of _ménage_ I mean to have.
Here is to be the style of my domestic establishment;" and she repeated
Shenstone's beautiful pastoral--

    "My banks they are furnished with bees," etc.,

till she came to--

    "I have found out a gift for my fair,
     I have found where the wood-pigeons breed."

"There's some sense in that," cried the Doctor, who had been listening
with great weariness." You may have a good pigeon-pie, or _un sauté de
pigeons au sang,_ which is still better when well dressed."

"Shocking!" exclaimed Lady Emily; "to mention pigeon-pies in the
same breath with nightingales and roses!"

"I'll tell you what, Lady Emily, it's just these sort of nonsensical
descriptions that do all the mischief amongst you young ladies. It's
these confounded poets that turn all your heads, and make you think you
have nothing to do after you are married but sit beside fountains and
grottoes, and divert yourself with birds and flowers, instead of looking
after your servants, and paying your butcher's bills; and, after all,
what is the substance of that trash you have just been reading, but to
say that the man was a substantial farmer and grazier, and had bees;
though I never heard of any man in his senses going to sleep amongst his
beehives before. 'Pon my soul! if I had my will I would burn every line
of poetry that ever was written. A good recipe for a pudding is worth
all that your Shenstones and the whole set of them ever wrote; and
there's more good sense and useful information in this book"--rapping
his knuckles against a volume he held in his hand--"than in all your
poets, ancient and modern."

Lady Emily took it out of his hand and opened it.

"And some very poetical description, too, Doctor; although you affect
to despise it so much. Here is an eulogium on the partridge. I doubt
much if St. Preux ever made a finer on his adorable Julie;" and she read
as follows:--

"La Perdrix tient Ie premier rang apres la Bécasse, dans la cathégorie
des gibiers à plumes. C'est, lorsqu'elle est rouge, l'un des plus
honorables et desmeilleurs rôtis qui puissent être étalés sur une table
gourmande. Sa forme appétissante, sa taille élégante et svelte, quoiqu'
arrondie, son embonpoint modéré, ses jambes d'écarlate; enfin, son fumet
divin et ses qualités restaurantes, tout concourt à la faire rechercher
des vrais amateurs. D'autres gibiers sont plus rares, plus chers, mieux
accueillis par la vanité, le prejuge, et la mode; la Perdrix rouge,
belle de sa propre beauté, dont les qualités sont indépendantes de la
fantaisie, qui réunit en sa personne tout ce qui peut charmer les yeux,
delecter Ie palais, stimuler l'appétit, et ranimer les forces, plaira
dans-tous les temps, et concourra à l'honneur de tous les festins, sous
quelque forme qu'elle y paroisse." [1]

[1] "Manuel des Amphitryons."

The Doctor sighed: "That's nothing to what he says of the woodcock:" and
with trembling hand she turned over the leaves, till he found the
place. "Here it is," said he, "page 88, chap. xvi. Just be so good as
read that, Lady Emily, and say whether it is not infamous that Monsieur
Grillade has never even attempted to make it."

With an air of melancholy enthusiasm she read--"Dans les pays oû les
Bécasses sont communes, on obtient, de leurs carcasses pilées dans un
mortier, une purée sur laquelle on dresse diverses entrées, telles que
de petites côtelettes de mouton, etc. Cotte purée est l'une des plus
délicieuses choses qui puisse être introduite dans Ie palais d'un
gourmand, et l'on peut assurer que quiconque n'en a point mangé n'a
point connu les joies du paradis terrestre. Une purée de Bécasse, bien
faite, est Ie _ne plus ultrâ_ des jouissances humaines. II faut mourir
après l'avoir goutée, car toutes les autres alors ne paroitront plus
qu'insipides."

"And these _bécasses,_ these woodcocks, perfectly swarm on the
Glenallan estate in the season," cried the Doctor; "and to think that
such a man should have been refused. But Miss Mary will repent this the
longest day she lives. I had a cook in my eye for them, too--one who is
quite up to the making of this _purée. _'Pon my soul! she
deserve to live upon sheep's head and haggis for the rest of her life;
and if I was Lady Juliana I would try the effect of bread and water."

"She certainly does not aspire to such joys as are here portrayed in
this _your_ book of life," said Lady Emily; "for I suspect she could
endure existence even upon roast mutton with the man she loves."

"That's nothing to the purpose, unless the man she loves, as you call it,
loves to live upon roast mutton too. Take my word for it, unless she
gives her husband good dinners he'll not care twopence for her in a
week's time. I look upon bad dinners to be the source of much of the
misery we hear of in the married life. Women are much mistaken if they
think it's by dressing themselves they are to please their husbands."

"Pardon me, Doctor, we must be the best judges there, and I have the
authority of all ages and sages in my favour: the beauty and the charms
of women have been the favourite theme, time immemorial; now no one ever
heard of a fair one being celebrated for her skill in cookery."

"There I beg leave to differ from you," said the Doctor, with an air of
exultation, again referring to his _text-book_--"here is the great
Madame Pompadour, celebrated for a single dish: 'Les tendrons d'agneau
au soleil et à la Pompadour, sont sortis de l'imagination de
cette dame célèbre, pour entrer dans la bouche d'un roi."

"But it was Love that inspired her--it was Love that kindled the fire in
her imagination. In short, you must acknowledge that

"Love rules the court, the camp, the grove."

"I'll acknowledge no such thing," cried the Doctor, with indignation.
"Love rule the camp, indeed! A very likely story! Don't I know that all
our first generals carry off the best cooks--that there's no such living
anywhere as in camp--that their aides-de-camp are quite ruined by
it--that in time of war they live at the rate of twenty thousand a year,
and when they come home they can't get a dinner they can eat? As for the
court, I don't pretend to know much about it; but I suspect there's more
cooks than Cupids to be seen about it. And for the groves, I shall only
say I never heard of any of your _fetes champétre_, or picnics,
where all the pleasure didn't seem to consist in the eating and
drinking."

"Ah, Doctor, I perceive you have taken all your ideas on that subject
from Werter, who certainly was a sort of a sentimental _gourmand,_ he
seems to have enjoyed so much drinking his coffee under the shade of the
lime-trees, and going to the kitchen to take his own pease-soup; and
then he breaks out into such raptures at the idea of the illustrious
lovers of Penelope killing and dressing their own meat! Butchers and
cooks in one! only conceive them with their great knives and blue
aprons, or their spits and white nightcaps! Poor Penelope! no wonder she
preferred spinning to marrying one of these creatures! Faugh! I must
have an ounce of civet to sweeten my imagination." And she flew of,
leaving the Doctor to con over the "Manuel des Amphitryons," and sigh
at the mention of joys, sweet, yet mournful, to his soul.



CHAPTER XXVI.

    "The ample proposition that hope makes
    In all designs begun on earth below,
    Fails in the promised largeness."

        SHAKESPEARE.

THERE is no saying whether the Doctor's system might not have been
resorted to had not Lady Juliana's wrath been for the present suspended
by an invitation to Altamont House. True, nothing could be colder than
the terms in which it was couched; but to that her Ladyship was
insensible, and would have been equally indifferent had she known that,
such as it was, she owed it more to the obstinacy of her son-in-law than
the affection of her daughter. The Duke of Altamont was one of those who
attach great ideas of dignity to always carrying their point; and though
he might sometimes be obliged to suspend his plans, he never had been
known to relinquish them. Had he settled in his own mind to tie his
neckcloth in a particular way, not all the eloquence of Cicero or the
tears of O'Neil would have induced him to alter it; and Adelaide, the
haughty, self-willed Adelaide, soon found that, of all yokes, the most
insupportable is the yoke of an obstinate fool. In the thousand trifling
occurances of domestic life (for his Grace was interested in all the
minutiae of his establishment), where good sense and good humour on
either side would have gracefully yielded to the other, there was a
perpetual contest for dominion, which invariably ended in Adelaide's
defeat. The Duke, indeed, never disputed, or reasoned, or even replied;
but the thing was done; till, at the end of six weeks, the Duchess of
Altamont most heartily hated and despised the man she had so lately
vowed to love and obey. On the present occasion his Grace certainly
appeared in the most amiable light in wishing to have Lady Juliana
invited to his house; but in fact it proceeded entirely from his
besetting sin, obstinacy. He had propose her accompanying her daughter
at the time of her marriage, and been overruled; but with all the
pertinacity of a little mind he had kept fast hold of the idea, merely
because it was his own, and he was now determined to have it put in
execution. In a postscript to the letter, and in the same cordial style,
the Duchess said something of a hope, that _if_ her mother did come to
town, Mary should accompany her; but this her Ladyship, to Mary's great
relief, declared should not be, although she certainly was very much at
a loss how to dispose of her. Mary timidly expressed her wish to be
permitted to return to Lochmarlie, and mentioned that her uncle and aunt
had repeatedly offered to come to Bath for her, if she might be allowed
to accompany them home; but to this her mother also gave a decided
negative, adding that she never should see Lochmarlie again, if she
could help it. In short, she must remain where she was till something
could be fixed as to her future destination. "It was most excessively
tiresome to be clogged with a great unmarried daughter," her Ladyship
observed, as she sprang into the carriage with a train of dogs, and
drove off to dear delightful London.

But, alas! the insecurity of even the best-laid schemes of human
foresight! Lady Juliana was in the midst of arrangements for endless
pleasures, when she received accounts of the death of her now almost
forgotten husband! He had died from the gradual effects of the climate,
and that was all that remained to be told of the unfortunate Henry
Douglas! If his heartless wife shed some natural tears, she wiped them
soon; but the wounds of disappointment and vanity were not so speedily
effaced, as she contrasted the brilliant court-dress with the unbecoming
widow's cap. Oh, she so detested black things--it was so hateful to wear
mourning--she never could feel happy or comfortable in black! and, at
such a time, how particularly unfortunate! Poor Douglas! she was very
sorry! And so ended the holiest and most indissoluble of human ties!

The Duchess did not think it incumbent upon her to be affected by the
death of a person she had never seen; but she put on mourning; put off
her presentation at Court for a week, and stayed away one night from the
opera.

On Mary's warm and unpolluted heart the tidings of her father's death
produced a very different effect. Though she had never known, in their
fullest extent, those feelings of filial affection, whose source begins
with our being, and over which memory loves to linger, as at the
hallowed fount of the purest of earthly joys, she had _yet_ been taught
to cherish a fond remembrance of him to whom she owed her being. She had
been brought up in the land of his birth--his image was associated in
her mind with many of the scenes most dear to her--his name and his
memory were familiar to those amongst whom she dwelt, and thus her
feelings of natural affection had been preserved in all their genuine
warmth and tenderness. Many a letter, and many a little token of her
love, she had, from her earliest years, been accustomed to send him; and
she had ever fondly cherished the hope of her father's return, and that
she would yet know the happiness of being blest in a parent's love. But
now all these hopes were extinguished; and, while she wept over them in
bitterness of heart, she yet bowed with pious resignation to the decree
of heaven.



CHAPTER XXVII

    "Shall we grieve their hovering shades,
    Which wait the revolution in our hearts?
    Shall we disdain their silent, soft address;
    Their posthumous advice and pious prayer?"

                 YOUNG.

FOR some months all was peaceful seclusion in Mary's life, and the only
varieties she knew were occasional visits to Aunt Grizzy's, and now and
then spending some days with Mrs. Lennox. She saw with sorrow the
declining health of her venerable friend, whose wasted form and delicate
features had now assumed an almost ethereal aspect. Yet she never
complained, and it was only from her languor and weakness that Mary
guessed she suffered. When urged to have recourse to medical advice she
only smiled and shook her head; yet, ever gentle and complying to the
wishes of others, she was at length prevailed upon to receive the visits
of a medical attendant, and her own feelings were but too faithfully
confirmed by his opinion. Being an old friend of the family, he took
upon himself to communicate the intelligence to her son, then abroad
with his regiment; and in the meantime Mary took up her residence at
Rose Hall, and devoted herself unceasingly to the beloved friend she felt
she was so soon to lose.

"Ah! Mary," she would sometimes say, "God forgive me! but my heart is
not yet weaned from worldly wishes. Even now, when I feel all the vanity
of human happiness, I think how it would have soothed my last moments
could I have but seen you my son's before I left the world! Yet, alas!
our time here is so short that it matters little whether it be spent in
joy or grief, provided it be spent in innocence and virtue. Mine has
been a long life compared to many; but when I look back upon it, what a
span it seems! And it is not the remembrance of its brightest days that
are now a solace to my heart. Dearest Mary, if you live long, you will
live to think of the sad hours you have given me, as the fairest, of
perhaps, of many a happy day that I trust Heaven has yet in store for
you. Yes! God has made some whose powers are chiefly ordained to comfort
the afflicted, and in fulfilling His will you must surly be blest."

Mary listened to the half-breathed wishes of her dear old friend with
painful feelings of regret and self-reproach.

"Charles Lennox loved me," thought she, "truly, tenderly loved me; and
had I but repaid his noble frankness--had I suffered him to read my
heart when he laid his open before me, I might now have gladdened the
last days of the mother he adores. I might have proudly avowed that
affection I must now forever hide."

But at the end of some weeks Mrs. Lennox was no longer susceptible of
emotions either of joy or sorrow. She gradually sank into a state of
almost total insensibility, from which not even the arrival of her son
had power to rouse her. His anguish was extreme at finding his mother in
a condition so perfectly hopeless; and every other idea seemed, for the
present, absorbed in his anxiety for her. As Mary witnessed his watchful
cares and tender solicitude, she could almost have envied the
unconscious object of such devoted attachment.

A few days after his arrival his leave of absence was abruptly recalled,
and he was summoned to repair to headquarters with all possible
expedition. The army was on the move, and a battle was expected to be
fought. At such a time hesitation or delay, under any circumstances,
would have been inevitable disgrace; and, dreadful as was the
alternative, Colonel Lennox wavered not an instant in his resolution.
With a look of fixed agony, but without uttering a syllable, he put the
letter into Mary's hand as she sat by his mother's bedside, and then
left the room to order preparations to be made for his instant
departure. On his return Mary witnessed the painful conflict of his
feelings in his extreme agitation as he approached his mother, to look
for the last time on those features, already moulded into more than
mortal beauty. A bright ray of the setting sun streamed full upon that
face, now reposing in the awful but hallowed calm which is sometimes
diffused around the bed of death. The sacred stillness was only broken
by the evening song of the blackbird and the distant lowing of the
cattle--sounds which had often brought pleasure to that heart, now
insensible to all human emotion. All nature shone forth in gaiety and
splendour, but the eye and the ear were alike closed against all earthly
objects. Yet who can tell the brightness of those visions with which the
parting soul may be visited? Sounds and sights, alike unheard, unknown
to mortal sense, may then hold divine communion with the soaring spirit,
and inspire it with bliss inconceivable, ineffable!

Colonel Lennox gazed upon the countenance of his mother. Again and again
he pressed her inanimate hands to his lips, and bedewed them with his
tears, as about to tear himself from her for ever. At that moment she
opened her eyes, and regarded him with a look of intelligence, which
spoke at once to his heart. He felt that he was seen and known. Her look
was long and fondly fixed upon his face; then turned to Mary with an
expression so deep and earnest that both felt the instantaneous appeal.
The veil seemed to drop from their hearts; one glance sufficed to tell
that both were fondly, truly loved; and as Colonel Lennox received
Mary's almost fainting form in his arms, he knelt by his mother, and
implored her blessing on her children. A smile of angelic brightness
beamed upon her face as she extended her hand towards them, and her lips
moved as in prayer, though no sound escaped them. One long and lingering
look was given to those so dear even in death. She then raised her eyes
to heaven, and the spirit sought its native skies!



CHAPTER XXVIII.

    "Cette liaison n'est ni passion ni amitié pure:
    elle fait une classe à part." --LA BRUYERE

IT was long before Mary could believe in the reality of what had passed.
It appeared to her as a beautiful yet awful dream. Could it be that she
had plighted her faith by the bed of death; that the last look of her
departed friend had hallowed the vow now registered in heaven; that
Charles Lennox had claimed her as his own, even in the agony of tearing
himself from all he loved; and that she had only felt how dear she was
to him at the very moment when she had parted from him, perhaps for
ever? But Mary strove to banish these overwhelming thoughts from her
mind, as she devoted herself to the performance of the last duties to
her departed friend. These paid, she again returned to Beech Park.

Lady Emily had been a daily visitor at Rose Hall during Mrs. Lennox's
illness, and had taken a lively interest in the situation of the family;
but, notwithstanding, it was some time before Mary could so far subdue
her feelings as to speak with composure of what had passed. She felt,
too, how impossible it was by words to convey to her any idea of that
excitement of mind, where a whole life of ordinary feeling seems
concentrated in one sudden but ineffable emotion. All that had passed
might be imagined, but could not be told; and she shrank from the task
of portraying those deep and sacred feelings which language never could
impart to the breast of another.

Yet she felt it was using her cousin unkindly to keep her in ignorance
of what she was certain would give her pleasure to hear; and, summoning
her resolution, she at length disclosed to her all that had taken place.
Her own embarrassment was too great to allow her to remark Lady Emily's
changing colour, as she listened to her communication; and after it was
ended she remained silent for some minutes, evidently struggling with
her emotions.

At length she exclaimed indignantly--"And so it seems Colonel Lennox
and you have all this time been playing the dying lover and the cruel
mistress to each other? How I detest such duplicity! and duplicity with
me! My heart was ever open to you, to him, to the whole world; while
yours--nay, your very faces--were masked to me!"

Mary was too much confounded by her cousin's reproaches to be able to
reply to them for some time; and when she did attempt to vindicate
herself, she found it was in vain. Lady  Emily refused to listen to
her; and in haughty displeasure quitted the room, leaving poor Mary
overwhelmed with sorrow and amazement.

There was a simplicity of heart, a singleness of idea in herself,
that prevented her from ever attaching suspicion to others. But a sort
of vague, undefined apprehension floated through her brain as she
revolved the extraordinary behaviour of her cousin. Yet, it was that
sort of feeling to which she could not give either a local habitation or
a name; and she continued for some time in that most bewildering state
of trying, yet not daring to think. Some time elapsed, and Mary's
confusion of ideas was increasing rather than diminishing, when Lady
Emily slowly entered the room, and stood some moments before her without
speaking.

At length, making an effort, she abruptly said--"Pray, Mary, tell
me what you think of me?"

Mary looked at her with surprise. "I think of you, my dear cousin, as I
have always done."

"That is no answer to my question. What do you think of my behaviour
just now?"

"I think," said Mary gently, "that if you have misunderstood me; that,
open and candid yourself, almost to a fault, you readily resent the
remotest appearance of duplicity in others. But you are too generous not
to do me justice--"

"Ah, Mary! how little do I appeal in my own eyes at this moment; and how
little, with all my boasting, have I known my own heart! No! It was not
because I am open and candid that I resented your engagement with
Colonel Lennox; it was because I was--because--cannot you guess?"

Mary's colour rose, as she cast down her eyes, and exclaimed with
agitation, "No-no, indeed!"

Lady Emily threw her arms around her:--"Dear Mary, you are perhaps the
only person upon earth I would make such a confession to--it was because
I, who had plighted my faith to another--I, who piqued myself upon my
openness and fidelity--I--how it chokes me to utter it! I was beginning
to love him myself!--only beginning, observe, for it is already over--I
needed but to be aware of my danger to overcome it. Colonel Lennox is
now no more to me than your lover, and Edward is again all that he ever
was to me; but I--what am I?--faithless and self-deceived!" and a few
tears dropped from her eyes.

Mary, too much affected to speak, could only press her in silence to her
heart.

"These are tears of shame, of penitence, though I must own they look
very like those of regret and mortification. What a mercy it is that
'the chemist's magic art' _cannot_ 'crystalise these sacred treasures,'"
said she with a smile, as she shook a tear-drop from her hand; "they are
gems I am really not at all fond of appearing in."

"And yet you never appeared to greater advantage," said Mary, as she
regarded her with admiration.   "Ah! so you say; but there
is, perhaps, a little womanish feeling lurking there. And now you
doubtless expect--no, _you_ don't, but another would that I should begin
a sentimental description of the rise and progress of this ill-fated
attachment, as I suppose it would be styled in the language of romance;
but in truth I can tell you nothing at all about it."

"Perhaps Colonel Lennox," said Mary, blushing, and hesitating to name
her suspicion.

"No, no--Colonel Lennox was not to blame. There was no false play on
either side; he is as much above the meanness of coquetry, as--I must
say it--as I am. His thoughts were all along taken up with you, even
while he talked, and laughed, and quarrelled with me. While I, so strong
in the belief that worlds could not shake my allegiance to Edward, could
have challenged all mankind to win my love; and this wicked, wayward,
faithless heart kept silent till you spoke, and then it uttered such a
fearful sound! And yet I don't think it was love neither--'l'on n'aime
bien qu'une seule fois; c'est la première;'--it was rather a sort
of an idle, childish, engrossing sentiment, that _might_ have grown to
something stronger; but 'tis past now. I have shown you all the weakness
of my heart--despise me if you will."

"Dearest Lady Emily, had I the same skill to show the sentiments of
mine, you would there see what I cannot express--how I admire this noble
candour, this generous self-abasement--"

"Oh, as to meanly hiding my faults, that is what I scorn to do. I
may be ignorant of them myself, and in ignorance I may cherish them;
but, once convinced of them, I give them to the winds, and all who
choose may pick them up. Violent and unjust, and self-deceived, I have
been, and may be again; but deceitful I never was, and never will
be."

"My dear cousin, what might you not be if you chose!"

"Ah! I know what you mean, and I begin to think you are in the right;
by-and-bye, I believe, I shall come to be of your way of thinking (if
ever I have a daughter she certainly shall), but not just at present,
the reformation would be too sudden. All that I can promise for at
present is, that 'henceforth I will chide no breather in the world but
myself, against whom I know most faults;' and now, from this day, from
this moment, I vow--"

"No, I shall do it for you," said Mary, with a smile, as she threw her
arms around her neck; "henceforth

   'The golden laws of love shall be
    Upon this pillar hung;
    A simple heart, a single eye,
    A true and constant tongue.

    'Let no man for more love pretend
    Than he has hearts in store;
    True love begun shall never end:
    Love one, and love no more.'" [1]

[1] "Marquis of Montrose."

But much as Mary loved and admired her cousin, she could not be blind to
the defects of her character, and she feared they might yet be
productive of great unhappiness to herself. Her mind was open to the
reception of every image that brought pleasure along with it; while, in
the same spirit, she turned from everything that wore an air of
seriousness or self-restraint; and even the best affections of a
naturally good heart were borne away by the ardour of her feelings and
the impetuosity of her temper. Mary grieved to see the graces of a noble
mind thus running wild for want of early culture; and she sought by
every means, save those of lecture and admonition to lead her to more
fixed habits of reflection and self examination.

But it required all her strength of mind to turn her thoughts at this
time from herself to another--she, the betrothed of one who was now in
the midst of danger, of whose existence she was even uncertain, but on
whose fate she felt her own suspended.

"Oh!" thought she, with bitterness of heart, "how dangerous it is to
yield too much even to our best affections. I, with so many objects to
share in mine, have yet pledged my happiness on a being perishable as
myself!" And her soul sickened at the ills her fancy drew. But she
strove to repress this strength of attachment, which she felt would
otherwise become too powerful for her reason to control; and if she did
not entirely succeed, at least the efforts she made and the continual
exercise of mind enabled her in some degree to counteract the baleful
effects of morbid anxiety and overweening attachment. At length her
apprehensions were relieved for a time by a letter from Colonel Lennox.
An engagement with the enemy had taken place, but he had escaped unhurt.
He repeated his vows of unalterable affection; and Mary felt that she
was justified in receiving them. She had made Lady Juliana and Mrs.
Douglas both acquainted with her situation. The former had taken no
notice of the communication, but the latter had expressed her approval
in all the warmth and tenderness of gratified affection.



CHAPTER XXIX.

    "Preach as I please, I doubt our curious men
    Will choose a pheasant still before a hen."

                             HORACE.

AMONGST the various occupations to which Mary devoted herself, there was
none which merits to be recorded as a greater act of immolation than her
unremitting attentions to Aunt Grizzy. It wa not merely the sacrifice of
time and talents that was required for carrying on this intercourse;
these, it is to be hoped, even the most selfish can occasionally
sacrifice to the _bienseances_ of society; but it was, as it were, a
total surrender of her whole being. To a mind of any reflection no
situation can ever be very irksome in which we can enjoy the privileges
of sitting still and keeping silent--but as the companion of Miss Grizzy,
quiet and reflection were alike unattainable. When not engaged in
_radotage_ with Sir Sampson, her life was spent in losing her scissors,
mislaying her spectacles, wondering what had become of her thimble, and
speculating on the disappearance of a needle--all of which losses daily
and hourly recurring, subjected Mary to an unceasing annoyance, for she
could not be five minutes in her aunt's company without out being at
least as many times disturbed, with--"Mary, my dear, will you get up?--I
think my spectacles must be about you "--or, "Mary, my dear, your eyes
are younger than mine, will you look if you can see my needle on the
carpet?"--or, "Are you sure, Mary, that's not my thimble you have got?
It's very like it; and I'm sure I can't conceive what's become of mine,
if that's not it," etc. etc. etc. But her idleness was, if possible,
still more irritating than her industry. When she betook herself to the
window, it was one incessant cry of "Who's coach is that, Mary, with the
green and orange liveries? Come and look at this lady and gentleman,
Mary; I'm sure I wonder who they are! Here's something, I declare I'm
sure I don't know what you call it--come here, Mary, and see what it is
"--and so on _ad infinitum._ Walking was still worse. Grizzy not only
stood to examine every article in the shop windows, but actually turned
round to observe every striking figure that passed. In short, Mary could
not conceal from herself that weak vulgar relations are an evil to those
whose taste and ideas are refined by superior intercourse. But even this
discovery she did not deem sufficient to authorise her casting off or
neglecting poor Miss Grizzy, and she in no degree relaxed in her patient
attentions towards her.

Even the affection of her aunt, which she possessed in the highest
possible degree, far from being an alleviation, was only an additional
torment. Every meeting began with, "My dear Mary, how did you sleep last
night? Did you make a good breakfast this morning? I declare I think you
look a little pale. I'm sure I wish to goodness, you mayn't have got
cold--colds are going very much about just now--one of the maids in this
house has a very bad cold--I hope you will remember to bathe your feet
And take some water gruel to night, and do everything that Dr. Redgill
desires you, honest man!" If Mary absented herself for a day, her
salutation was, "My dear Mary, what became of you yesterday? I assure you
I was quite miserable about you all day, thinking, which was quite
natural, that something was the matter with you; and I declare I never
closed my eyes all night for thinking about you. I assure you if it had
not been that I couldn't leave Sir Sampson, I would have taken a hackney
coach, although I know what impositions they are, and have gone to Beech
Park to see what had come over you."

Yet all this Mary bore with the patience of a martyr, to the admiration
of Lady Maclaughlan and the amazement of Lady Emily, who declared she
could only submit to be bored as long as she was amused.

On going to Milsom Street one morning Mary found her aunt in high
delight at two invitations she had just received for herself and her
niece.

"The one," said she, "is to dinner at Mrs. Pullens's. You can't remember
her mother, Mrs. Macfuss, I daresay, Mary--she was a most excellent
woman, I assure you, and got all her daughters married. And I remember
Mrs. Pullens when she was Flora Macfuss; she was always thought very
like her mother and Mr. Pullens is a most worthy man, and very rich and
it was thought at the time a great marriage for Flora Macfuss, for she
had no money of her own, but her mother was a very clever woman, and a
most excellent manager; and I daresay so is Mrs. Pullens, for the
Macfusses are all famous for their management--so it will be a great
thing for you, you know, Mary, to be acquainted with Mrs. Pullens."

Mary was obliged to break in upon the eulogium on Mrs. Pullens by
noticing the other card. This was a subject for still greater
gratulation.

"This," said she, "is from Mrs. Bluemits, and it is for the same day
with Mrs. Pullens, only it is to tea, not to dinner. To be sure it will
be a great pity to leave Mrs. Pullens so soon; but then it would be
a great pity not to go to Mrs. Bluemits's; for I've never seen her, and
her aunt, Miss Shaw, would think it very odd if I was to go back to the
Highlands without seeing Nancy Shaw, now Mrs. Bluemits; and at any rate
I assure you we may think much of being asked, for she is a very clever
woman, and makes it a point never to ask any but clever people to her
house; so it's a very great honour to be asked."

It was an honour Mary would fain have dispensed with. At another time
she might have anticipated some amusement from such parties, but at
present her heart was not tuned to the ridiculous, and she attempted to
decline the invitations, and get her aunt to do the same; but she gave
up the point when she saw how deeply Grizzy's happiness for the time
being was involved in these invitations, and she even consented to
accompany her, conscious, as Lady Maclaughlan said, that the poor
creature required a leading string, and was not fit to go alone. The
appointed day arrived, and Mary found herself in company with Aunt
Grizzy at the mansion of Mr. Pullens, the fortunate husband of the
_ci-devant_ Miss Flora Macfuss; but as Grizzy is not the best of
biographers, we must take the liberty of introducing this lady to the
acquaintance of our reader.

The domestic economy of Mrs. Pullens was her own theme, and the theme of
all her friends; and such was the zeal in promulgating her doctrines,
and her anxiety to see them carried into effect, that she had
endeavoured to pass it into a law that no preserves could be eatable but
those preserved in her method; no hams could be good but those cured
according to her receipt; no liquors drinkable but such as were made
from the results of her experience; neither was it possible that any
linens could be white, or any flannels soft, or any muslins clear,
unless after the manner practised in her laundry. By her own account she
was the slave of every servant within her door, for her life seemed to
be one unceasing labour to get everything done in her own way, to the
very blacking of Mr. Pullens's shoes, and the brushing of Mr. Pullens's
coat. But then these heroic acts of duty were more than repaid by the
noble consciousness of a life well spent. In her own estimation she was
one of the greatest characters that had ever lived; for, to use her own
words, she passed nothing over--she saw everything done herself--she
trusted nothing to servants, etc. etc. etc.

From the contemplation of these her virtues her face had acquired an
expression of complacency foreign to her natural temper; for, after
having scolded and slaved in the kitchen, she sat down to taste the
fruits of her labours with far more elevated feelings of conscious
virtue than ever warmed the breast of a Hampden or a Howard; and when
she helped Mr. Pullens to pie, made not by the cook, but by herself, it
was with an air of self-approbation that might have vied with that of
the celebrated Jack Horner upon a similar occasion. In many cases there
might have been merit in Mrs. Pullens's doings---a narrow income, the
capricious taste of a sick or a cross husband, may exalt the meanest
offices which woman can render into acts of virtue, and even diffuse a
dignity around them; but Mr. Pullens was rich and good-natured, and
would have been happy had his cook been allowed to dress his dinner, and
his barber his wig, quietly in their own way. Mrs. Pullens, therefore,
only sought the indulgence of her own low inclinations in thus
interfering in every menial department; while, at the same time, she
expected all the gratitude and admiration that would have been due to
the sacrifice of the most refined taste and elegant pursuits.

But "envy does merit as its shade pursue," as Mrs Pullens experienced,
for she found herself assailed by a host of housekeepers who attempted
to throw discredit on her various arts. At the head of this association
was Mrs. Jekyll, whose arrangements were on a quite contrary plan. The
great branch of science on which Mrs. Pullens mainly relied for fame was
her unrivalled art in keeping things long beyond the date assigned by
nature; and one of her master-strokes was, in the middle of summer, to
surprise a whole company with gooseberry tarts made of gooseberries of
the preceding year; and her triumph was complete when any of them were
so polite as to assert that they might have passed upon them for the
fruits of the present season. Another art in which she flattered herself
she was unrivalled was that of making things pass for what they were
not; thus, she gave pork for lamb--common fowls for turkey
poults--currant wine for champagne--whisky with peach leaves for noyau;
but all these deceptions Mrs. Jekyll piqued herself immediately
detecting, and never failed to point out the difference, and in the
politest manner to hint her preference of the real over the spurious.
Many were the wonderful morsels with which poor Mr. Pullens was regaled,
but he had now ceased to be surprised at anything that appeared on his
own table; and he had so often heard the merit of his wife's
housekeeping extolled by herself that, contrary to his natural
conviction, he now began to think it must be true; or if he had
occasionally any little private misgivings when he thought of the good
dinners he used to have in his bachelor days, he comforted himself by
thinking that his lot was the lot of all married men who are blest with
active, managing, economical wives. Such were Mr. and Mrs. Pullens; and
the appearance of the house offered no inadequate idea of the
mistress. The furniture was incongruous, and everything was
ill-matched--for Mrs. Pullens was a frequenter of sales, and, like many
other liberal-minded ladies, never allowed a bargain to pass, whether she
required the articles or not. Her dress was the same; there was always
something to wonder at; caps that had been bought for nothing, because
they were a little soiled, but by being taken down and washed, and new
trimmed, turned out to be just as good as new gowns that had been dyed,
turned, cleaned, washed, etc.; and the great triumph was when nobody
could tell the old breadth from the new.

The dinner was of course bad, the company stupid, and the conversation
turned solely upon Mrs. Pullens's exploits, with occasional attempts of
Mrs. Jekyll to depreciate the merits of some of her discoveries. At
length the hour of departure arrived, to Mary's great relief, as she
thought any change must be for the better. Not so Grizzy, who was
charmed and confounded by all she had seen, and heard, and tasted, and
all of whose preconceived ideas on the subjects of washing, preserving,
etc., had sustained a total _bouleversement,_ upon hearing of the
superior methods practised by Mrs. Pullens.

"Well, certainly, Mary, you must allow Mrs. Pullens  is an astonishing
clever woman! Indeed, I think nobody can dispute it--only think of her
never using a bit of soap in her house--everything is washed by steam.
To be sure, as Mrs Jekyll said, the table linen was remarkably
ill-coloured--but no wonder, considering--it must be a great saving, I'm
sure--and she always stands and sees it done herself, for there's no
trusting these things to servants. Once when she trusted it to them,
they burned a dozen of Mr. Pullens's new shirts, just from carelessness,
which I'm sure was very provoking. To be sure, as Mrs. Jekyll said, if
she had used soap like other people that wouldn't have happened; and
then it is wonderful how well she contrives to keep things. I declare I
can't think enough of these green peas that we had at dinner today
having been kept since summer was a year. To be sure, as Mrs. Jekyll
said, they certainly were hard--nobody can deny that--but then, you
know, anything would be hard that had been kept since summer was a year;
and I'm sure I thought they ate wonderfully well considering--and these
red currants, too--I'm afraid you didn't taste them--I wish to
goodness you had tasted them, Mary. They were sour and dry, certainly, as
Mrs. Jekyll said; but no wonder, anything would be sour and dry that had
been kept in bottles for three years."

Grizzy was now obliged to change the current of her ideas, for the
carriage had stopped at Mrs. Bluemits's.



CHAPTER XXX.

"It is certain great knowledge, if it be without vanity, is the most
severe bridle of the tongue. For so have I heard, that all the noises
and prating of the pool, the croaking of frogs and toads, is hushed and
appeased upon the instant of bringing upon them the light of a candle or
torch. Every beam of reason, and ray of knowledge, checks the
dissolutions of the tongue."-JEREMY TAYLOR.

THEY were received by Mrs. Bluemits with that air of condescension
which great souls practise towards ordinary mortals, and which is
intended, at one and the same time, to encourage and to repel; to show
the extent of their goodness, even while they make, or try to make,
their _protege_ feel the immeasurable distance which nature or fortune
has placed between them.

It was with this air of patronising grandeur that Mrs. Bluemits took
her guests by the hand, and introduced them to the circle of females
already assembled.

Mrs. Bluemits was not an avowed authoress; but she was a professed
critic, a well-informed woman, a woman of great conversational powers,
etc., and, to use her own phrase, nothing but conversation was spoken in
her house. Her guests were therefore, always expected to be
distinguished, either for some literary production or for their taste in
the _belles lettres._ Two ladies from Scotland, the land of poetry and
romance, were consequently hailed as new stars in Mrs. Bluemits's
horizon. No sooner were they seated than Mrs. Bluemits began--

"As I am a friend to ease in literary society, we shall, without
ceremony, resume our conversation; for, as Seneca observes, the 'comfort
of life depends upon conversation.'"

"I think," said Miss Graves, "it is Rochefoucault who says, 'The great
art of conversation is to hear patiently and answer precisely.'"

"A very poor definition for so profound a philosopher," remarked Mrs.
Apsley.

"The amiable author of what the gigantic Johnson styles the melancholy
and angry "Night Thoughts," gives a nobler, a more elevated, and, in my
humble opinion, a juster explication of the intercourse of mind," said
Miss Parkins; and she repeated the following lines with pompous
enthusiasm:--

    Speech ventilates our intellectual fire,
    Speech burnishes our mental magazine,
    Brightens for ornament, and whets for use.
    What numbers, sheath'd in erudition, lie,
    Plung'd to the hilts in venerable tomes,
    And rusted in, who might have borne an edge,
    And play'd a sprightly beam, if born to speech---
    If born blest heirs of half their mother's tongue!"

Mrs. Bluemits proceeded:

    "'Tis thought's exchange, which, like the alternate push
    Of waves conflicting, breaks the learned scum,
    And defecates the student's standing pool."

"The sensitive poet of Olney, if I mistake not," said Mrs. Dalton,
"steers a middle course, betwixt the somewhat bald maxim of the Parisian
philosopher and the mournful pruriency of the Bard of Night, when he
says,

    'Conversation, in its better part,
    May be esteem'd a gift, and not an art.'"

Mary had been accustomed to read, and to reflect upon what she read, and
to apply it to the purpose for which it is valuable, viz. in enlarging
her mind and cultivating her taste; but she had never been accustomed to
prate, or quote, or sit down for the express purpose of displaying her
acquirements; and she began to tremble at hearing authors' names
"familiar in their mouths as household words;" but Grizzy, strong in
ignorance, was no wise daunted. True, she heard what she could not
comprehend, but she thought she would soon make things clear; and she
therefore turned to her neighbour on her righthand, and accosted her
with--"My niece and I are just come from dining at Mrs. Pullens's--I
daresay you have heard of her--she was Miss Flora Macfuss; her father,
Dr. Macfuss, was a most excellent preacher, and she is a remarkable
clever woman."

"Pray, ma'am, has she come out, or is she simply _bel esprit?_"
inquired the lady.

Grizzy was rather at a loss; and, indeed, to answer a question put in an
unknown language, would puzzle wiser brains than hers; but Grizzy was
accustomed to converse without being able to comprehend, and she
therefore went on.

"Her mother, Mrs. Macfuss--but she is dead--was a very clever woman too;
I'm sure I declare I don't know whether the Doctor or her was the
cleverest; but many people, I know, think Mrs. Pullens beats them both."

"Indeed! may I ask in what department she chiefly excels?"

"Oh, I really think in everything. For one thing, everything in her
house is done by steam; and then she can keep everything, I can't tell
how long, just in paper bags and bottles; and she is going to publish a
book with all her receipts in it. I'm sure it will be very interesting."

"I beg ten thousand pardons for the interruption," cried Mrs. Bluemits
from the opposite side of the room; "but my ear was smote with the
sounds of _publish,_ and _interesting,--words _which never fail to
awaken a responsive chord in my bosom. Pray," addressing Grizzy, and
bringing her into the full blaze of observation, "may I ask, was it of
_the_ Campbell these electric words were spoken? To you, Madam, I am
sure I need not apologise for my enthusiasm--you who claim the proud
distinction of being a country woman, need I ask--an acquaintance?"

All that poor Grizzy could comprehend of this harangue was that it was
reckoned a great honour to be acquainted with a Campbell; and chuckling
with delight at the idea of her own consequence, she briskly replied--

"Oh, I know plenty of Campbells; there's the Campbells of Mireside,
relations of ours; and there's the Campbells of Blackbrae, married into
our family; and there's the Campbells of Windlestrae Glen, are not very
distant by my mother's side."

Mary felt as if perforated by bullets in all directions, as she
encountered the eyes of the company, turned alternately upon her aunt
and her; but they were on opposite sides of the room; therefore to
interpose betwixt Grizzy and her assailants was impossible.

"Possibly," suggested Mrs. Dalton, "Miss Douglas prefers the loftier
strains of the mighty Minstrel of the Mountains to the more polished
periods of the Poet of the Transatlantic Plain."

"Without either a possibility or a perhaps," said Mrs. Apsley, "the
probability is, Miss Douglas prefers the author of the 'Giaour' to all
the rest of her poetical countrymen. Where, in either Walter Scott or
Thomas Campbell, will you find such lines as these;--

    'Wet with their own best blood, shall drip
    Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip!'"

"Pardon me, madam," said Miss Parkin; "but I am of  opinion you have
scarcely given a fair specimen of the powers of the Noble Bard in
question. The image here presented is a familiar one; 'the gnashing
tooth' and 'haggard lip' we have all witnessed, perhaps some of us may
even have experienced. There is consequently little merit in presenting
it to the mind's eye. It is easy, comparatively speaking, to portray the
feelings and passions of our own kind. We have only, as Dryden expresses
it, to descend into ourselves to find the secret imperfections of our
mind. It is therefore in his portraiture of the canine race that the
illustrious author has so far excelled all his contemporaries--in fact,
he has given quite a dramatic cast to his dogs," and she repeated, with
an air of triumph--

    "And  he saw the lean dogs beneath the wall,
    Hold o'er the dead their carnival;
    Gorging and growling o'er carcase and limb,
    They were too busy to bark at him!
    From a Tartar's skull they had stripped the flesh,
    As ye peel the fig when its fruit is fresh;
    And their white tusks crunched o'er the whiter skull,
    As it slipped through their jaws when their edge grew dull;
    As they lazily mumbled the bones of the dead,
    When they scarce could rise from the spot where they fed."

"Now, to enter into the conception of a dog--to embody one's self, as it
were, in the person of a brute--to sympathise in its feelings--to make
its propensities our own--to 'lazily mumble the bones of the dead,' with
our own individual 'white tusks'! Pardon me, madam, but with all due
deference to the genius of a Scott, it is a thing he has not dare to
attempt. Only the finest mind in the universe as capable of taking so
bold a flight. Scott's dogs, madam, are tame, domestic animals--mere
human dogs, if I may say so. Byron's dogs--But let them speak for
themselves!

    'The scalps were in the wild dog's maw,
    The hair was tangled round his jaw.'

Show me, if you can, such an image in Scott?"

"Very fine, certainly!" was here uttered by five novices, who were only
there as probationers, consequently not privileged to go beyond a
response.

"Is it the dancing dogs they are speaking about?" asked Grizzy. But
looks of silent contempt were the only replies she received.

"I trust I shall not be esteemed presumptuous," said Miss Graves, "or
supposed capable of entertaining views of detracting from the merits of
the Noble Author at present under discussion, if I humbly but firmly
enter my caveat against the word 'crunch,' as constituting an innovation
in our language, the purity of which cannot be too strictly preserved or
pointedly enforced. I am aware that by some I may be deemed
unnecessarily fastidious; and possibly Christina, Queen of Sweden, might
have applied to me the celebrated observation, said to have been
elicited from her by the famed work of the laborious French
Lexicographer, viz. that he was the most troublesome person in the
world, for he required of every word to produce its passport, and to
declare whence it came and whither it was going. I confess, I too, for
the sake of my country, would wish that every word we use might be
compelled to show its passport, attested by our great lawgiver, Dr.
Samuel Johnson."

"Unquestionably," said Mrs. Bluemits, "purity of language ought to be
preserved inviolate at any price; and it is more especially incumbent to
those who exercise a sway over our minds--those are, as it were, the
moulds in which our young imaginations are formed, to be the watchful
guardians of our language. But I lament to say that in fact it is not so;
and that the aberrations of our vernacular tongue have proceeded solely
from the licentious use made of it by those whom we are taught to
reverence as the fathers of the Sock and Lyre."

"Yet in familiar colloquy, I do not greatly object to the use of a word
occasionally, even although unsanctioned by the authority of our mighty
Lexicographer," said a new speaker.

"For my part," said Miss Parkins, "a genius fettered by rules always
reminds me of Gulliver in the hairy bonds of the Lilliputians; and the
sentiment of the elegant and enlightened bard of Twickenham is also
mine--

   'Great wits sometimes may glorious offend,
    And rise to faults true critics dare not mend;
    From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
    And match a grace beyond the reach of art.'

So it is with the subject of our argument: a tamer genius than the
illustrious Byron would not have dared to 'crunch' the bone. But where,
in the whole compass of the English language, will you find a word
capable of conveying the same idea?"

"Pick," modestly suggested one of the novices in a low key, hoping to
gain some celebrity by this her first effort; but this dawn of intellect
passed unnoticed.

The argument was now beginning to run high; parties were evidently
forming of crunchers and anticrunchers, and etymology was beginning to
be called for, when a thundering knock at the door caused a cessation of
hostilities.

"That, I flatter myself, is my friend Miss Griffon," said Mrs. Bluemits,
with an air of additional importance; and the name was whispered round
the circle, coupled with "Celebrated Authoress--'Fevers of the Heart'--
'Thoughts of the Moment,'" etc. etc.

"Is she a _real_ authoress that is coming?" asked Miss Grizzy at the
lady next her. And her delight was great at receiving an answer in the
affirmative; for Grizzy thought to be in company with an authoress was
the next thing to being an authoress herself; and, like some other
people, she had a sort of vague mysterious reverence for everyone whose
words had been printed in a book.

"Ten thousand thousand pardons, dearest Mrs. Bluemits!" exclaimed Miss
Griffon, as she entered. "I fear a world of intellect is lost to me by
this cruel delay." Then in an audible whisper--"But I was detained by
my publisher. He quite persecutes me to write. My 'Fevers of the Heart'
has had a prodigious run; and even my 'Thoughts,' which, in fact, cost
me no thought, are amazingly _recherché._ And I actually had to
force my way to you to-night through a legion of printer's devils, who
were lying in wait for me with each a sheet of my 'Billows of Love.'"

"The title is most musical, most melancholy," said Mrs. Bluemits, "and
conveys a perfect idea of what Dryden terms 'the sweeping deluge of the
soul;' but I flatter myself we shall have something more than a name
from Miss Griffon's genius. The Aonian graces, 'tis well known, always
follow in her train."

"They have made a great hole in it then," said Grizzy, officiously
displaying a fracture in the train of Miss Griffon's gown, and from
thence taking occasion to deliver her sentiments on the propriety of
people who tore gowns always being obliged to mend them.

After suitable entreaties had been used, Miss Griflon was at last
prevailed upon to favour the company, with some specimens of the
"Billows of Love" (of which we were unable to procure copies) and the
following sonnet, the production of a friend;--

    "Hast thou no note for joy, thou weeping lyre?
    Doth yew and willow ever shade thy string
    And melancholy sable banners fling,
    Warring 'midst hosts of elegant desire?
    How vain the strife--how vain the warlike gloom!
    Love's arms are grief--his arrows sighs and tears;
    And every moan thou mak'st, an altar rears,
    To which his worshippers devoutly come.
    Then rather, lyre, I pray thee, try thy skill,
    In varied measure, on a sprightlier key:
    Perchance thy gayer tones' light minstrelsy
    May heal the poison that  thy plaints distil.
    But much I fear that joy is danger still;
    And joy, like woe, love's triumph must fulfil."

This called forth unanimous applause--"delicate imagery"--"smooth
versification" --"classical ideas"--"Petrarchian sweetness," etc. etc.,
resounded from all quarters.

But even intellectual joys have their termination, and carriages and
servants began to be announced in rapid succession.

"Fly not yet, 'tis just the hour," said Mrs. Bluemits to the first of
her departing guests, as the clock struck ten.

"It is gone, with its thorns and its roses," replied er friend with a
sigh, and a farewell pressure of the hand.

Another now advanced--"Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day."

"I have less will to go than care to stay," was the reply.

"_Parta ti lascio adio,_" warbled Miss Parkins.

"I vanish," said Mrs. Apsley, snatching up her tippet, reticule, etc.,
"and, like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave not a wreck behind."

"Fare-thee-well at once--Adieu, adieu, adieu, remember me!" cried the
last of the band, as she slowly retreated.

Mrs. Bluemits waved her hand with a look of tender reproach, as she
repeated--

    "An adieu should in utterance die,
    Or, if written, should faintly appear--
    Should be heard in the sob of a sigh,
    Or be seen in the blot of a teal."

"I'm sure, Mary," said Grizzy, when they were in the carriage, "I
expected, when all the ladies were repeating, that you would have
repeated something too. You used to have the Hermit and all Watts's
Hymns by heart, when you was little. It's a thousand pities, I declare,
that you should have forgot them; for I declare I was quite affronted to
see you sitting like a stick, and not saying a word, when all the ladies
were speaking and turning up their eyes, and moving their hands so
prettily; but I'm sure I hope next time you go to Mrs. Bluemits's you
will take care to learn something by heart before you go. I'm sure I
haven't a very good memory, but I remember some things; and I was very
near going to repeat 'Farewell to Lochaber' myself, as we were coming
away; and I'm sure I wish to goodness I had done it; but I suppose it
wouldn't do to go back now; and at any rate all the ladies are away, and
I dare say the candles will be out by this time."

Mary felt it a relief to have done with this surfeit of soul, and was of
opinion that learning, like religion, ought never to be forced into
conversation; and that people who only read to talk of their reading
might as well let it alone. Next morning she gave so ludicrous an
account of her entertainment that Lady Emily was quite charmed.

"Now I begin to have hopes of you," said she, "since I see you can laugh
at your friends as well as me."

"Not at my friends, I hope," answered Mary; "only at folly."

"Call it what you will--I only wish I had been there. I should certainly
have started a controversy upon the respective merits of Tom Thumb and
Puss in Boots, and so have called them off Lord Byron. Their pretending
to measure the genius of a Scott or a Byron must have been something
like a fly attempting to take the altitude of Mont Blanc. How I detest
those idle disquisitions about the colour of a goat's beard, or the
blood of an oyster."'

Mary had seen in Mrs. Douglas the effects of a highly cultivated
understanding shedding its mild radiance on the path of domestic life,
heightening its charms, and softening its asperities, with the benign
spirit of Christianity. Her charity was not like that of Mrs. Fox; she
did not indulge herself in the purchase of elegant ornaments, and then,
seated in the easy chair of her drawing-room, extort from her visitors
money to satisfy the wants of those who had claims on her own bounty.
No: she gave a large portion of her time, her thoughts, her fortune,
to the most sacred of all duties--charity, in its most comprehensive
meaning. Neither did her knowledge, like that of Mrs. Bluemits,
evaporate in pedantic discussion or idle declamation, but showed itself
in the tenor of a well-spent life, and in the graceful discharge of
those duties which belonged to her sex and station. Next to goodness
Mary most ardently admired talents. She knew there were many of her own
sex who were justly entitled to the distinction of literary fame. Her
introduction to the circle at Mrs. Bluemits's had disappointed her; but
they were mere pretenders to the name. How different from those
described by one no less amiable and enlightened herself!--"Let such
women as are disposed to be vain of their comparatively petty
attainments look up with admiration to those contemporary shining
examples, the venerable Elizabeth Carter and the blooming Elizabeth
Smith. In them let our young ladies contemplate profound and various
learning, chastised by true Christian humility. In them let them
venerate acquirements which would have been distinguished in a
university, meekly softened, and beautifully shaded by the exertion of
every domestic virtue, the unaffected exercise of every feminine
employment." [1]

[1] "Coelebs."



CHAPTER XXXI.

    "The gods, to curse Pamela with her pray'rs,
    Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares;
    The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
    And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate.
    She glares in balls, front boxes, and the ring--
    A vain, unquiet, glitt'ring, wretched thing!
    Pride, pomp, and state, but reach her outward part;
    She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart."

                                    POPE

FOR many months Mary was doomed to experience all the vicissitudes of
hope and fear, as she heard of battles and sieges in which her lover had
a part. He omitted no opportunity of writing to her; but scarcely had
she received the assurance of his safety from himself when her
apprehensions were again excited by rumours of fresh dangers he would
have to encounter; and it required all her pious confidence and strength
of mind to save her from yielding to the despondency of a
naturally sensitive heart. But in administering to the happiness of
others she found the surest alleviation to the misfortune that
threatened herself; and she often forgot her own cares in her benevolent
exertions for the poor, the sick, and the desolate. It was then she felt
all the tenderness of that divine precept which enjoins love of the
Creator as the engrossing principle of the soul. For, oh! the
unutterable anguish that heart must endure which lavishes all its best
affections on a creature mutable and perishable as itself, from whom a
thousand accidents may separate or estrange it, and from whom death must
one day divide it! Yet there is something so amiable, so exalting, in
the fervour of a pure and generous attachment, that few have been able
to resist its overwhelming influence; and it is only time and suffering
that can teach us to comprehend the miseries that wait on the excess,
even of our virtuous inclinations, where these virtues aspire not beyond
this transitory scene.

Mary seldom heard from her mother or sister. Their time was too precious
to be wasted on dull country correspondents; but she saw their names
frequently mentioned in the newspapers, and she flattered herself, from
the éclat with whioh the Duchess seemed to be attended, that she
had found happiness in those pleasures where she had been taught to
expect it. The Duchess was indeed surrounded with all that rank, wealth,
and fashion could bestow. She had the finest house, jewels, and
equipages in London, but she was not happy. She felt the draught bitter,
even though the goblet that held it was of gold. It is novelty only that
can lend charms to things in themselves valueless; and when that wears
off, the disenchanted baubles appear in all their native worthlessness.
There is even a satiety in the free indulgence of wealth, when that
indulgence centres solely in self, and brings no general self-approving
reflections along with it. So it was with the Duchess of Altamont. She
sought, in the gratification of every expensive whim, to stimulate the
languid sense of joy; and, by loading herself with jewels, she strove to
still the restless inquietude of a dissatisfied heart. But it is only
the vulgar mind which can long find enjoyment in the mere attributes of
wealth--in the contemplation of silk hangings, and gilded chairs, and
splendid dresses, and showy equipages. Amidst all these the mind of any
taste or refinement, "distrusting, asks if this be joy." And Adelaide
possessed both taste and refinement, though her ideas had been perverted
and her heart corrupted by the false maxims early instilled into her.
Yet, selfish and unfeeling as she was, she sickened at the eternal
recurrence of self-indulged caprices; and the bauble that had been
hailed with delight the one day as a charmed amulet to dispel her ennui,
was the next beheld with disgust or indifference. She believed, indeed,
that she had real sources of vexation in the self-will and obstinacy of
her husband, and that, had he been otherwise than he was, she should
then have been completely happy. She would not acknowledge, even to
herself, that she had done wrong in marrying a man whose person was
disagreeable to her, and whose understanding she despised; while her
preference was decidedly in favour of another. Even her style of life
was in some respects distasteful to her; yet she was obliged to conform
to it. The Duke retained exactly the same notions of things as had taken
possession of his brain thirty years before; consequently everything in
his establishment was conducted with a regularity and uniformity unknown
to those whose habits are formed on the more eccentric models of the
present day; or rather, who have no models save those of their own
capricious tastes and inclinations. He had an antipathy to balls,
concerts, and masquerades; for he did not dance, knew nothing of music,
and stil less of _badinage._ But he liked great dull dinners, for there
the conversation was generally adapted to his capacity; and it was a
pleasure to him to arrange the party--to look over the bill of fare--to
see all the family plate displayed--and to read an account of the grand
dinner at the Duke of Altamont's in the "Morning Post" of the following
day. All this sounds very vulgar for the pastimes of a Duke; but there
are vulgar-minded Dukes as there are gifted ploughmen, or any other
anomalies. The former Duchess, a woman of high birth, similar years, and
kindred spirit of his own in all matters of form and _etiquette,_ was
his standard of female propriety; and she would have deemed it highly
derogatory to her dignity to have patronised any other species of
entertainment than grand dinners and dull assemblies.

Adelaide had attempted with a high hand at once to overturn the whole
system of Altamont House, and had failed. She had declared her
detestation of dinners, and been heard in silence. She had kept her room
thrice when they were given, but without success. She had insisted upon
giving a ball, but the Duke, with the most perfect composure, had
peremptorily declared it must be an assembly. Thus baffled in all her
plans of domestic happiness, the Duchess would have sought her pleasures
elsewhere. She would have lived anywhere but in her own house associated
with everybody but her own husband and done everything but what she had
vowed to do. But even in this she was thwarted. The Duke had the same
precise formal notions of a lady's conduct abroad, as well as her
appearance at home; and the very places she would have most wished to go
to were those she was expressly prohibited from ever appearing at.

Even all that she could have easily settled to her own satisfaction by
the simple apparatus of a separate establishment carried on in the same
house; but here too she was foiled, for his Grace had stubborn notions
on that score also, and plainly hinted that any separation must be final
and decided; and Adelaide could not yet resolve upon taking so
formidable a step in the first year of her marriage. She was therefore
compelled to drag the chain by which, with her own will, she had bound
herself for life to one she already despised and detested. And bound she
was, in the strictest sense of the metaphor; for, though the Duke had
not the smallest pleasure in the society of his wife, he yet attached
great ideas of propriety to their being always seen together, side by
side. Like his sister, Lady Matilda, he had a high reverence for
appearances, though he had not her _finesse _in giving them effect. He
had merely been accustomed to do what he thought looked well, and gave
him an air of additional dignity. He had married Aidelaide because he
thought she had a fine presence, and would look well as Duchess of
Altamont; and, for the same reason, now that she was his wedded wife, he
thought it looked well to be seen always together. He therefore made a
point of having no separate engagements; and even carried his sense of
propriety so far, that as regularly as the Duchess's carriage came to
the door the Duke was prepared to hand her in, in due form, and take his
station by her side. This alone would have been sufficient to have
embittered Adelaide's existence, and she had tried every expedient, but
in vain, to rid herself of this public display of conjugal duty. She had
opened her landaulet in cold weather, and shut it, even to the glasses,
in a scorching sun; but the Duke was insensible to heat and cold. He was
most provokingly healthy; and she had not even the respite which an
attack of rheumatism or toothache would have afforded. As his Grace was
not a person of keen sensation, this continual effort to keep up
appearances cost him little or nothing; but to the Duchess's nicer tact
it was martyrdom to be compelled to submit to the semblance of affection
where there was no reality. Ah, nothing but a sense of duty, early
instilled and practically enforced, can reconcile a refined mind to the
painful task of bearing with meekness and gentleness the ill-temper,
adverse will, and opposite sentiments of those with whom we can
acknowledge no feeling in common!

But Adelaide possessed no sense of duty, and was a stranger to
self-command; and though she boasted refinement of mind, yet it was of
that spurious sort which, far from elevating and purifying the heart,
tends only to corrupt and debase the soul, while it sheds a false and
dazzling lustre upon those perishable graces which captivate the senses.

It may easily be imagined the good sense of the mother did not tend to
soothe the irritated feelings of the daughter. Lady Juliana was indeed
quite as much exasperated as the Duchess at these obstacles thrown in
the way of her pleasures, and the more so as she could not quite clearly
comprehend them. The good-nature of her husband and the easy indolence
of her brother even _her _folly had enabled her, on many occasions, to
get the better of; but the obstinacy of her son-in-law was invincible to
all her arts. She could therefore only wonder to the Duchess how she
could not manage to get the better of the Duke's prejudices against
balls and concerts and masquerades. It was so excessively ridiculous, so
perfectly foolish, not to do as other people did; and there was the
Duchess of Ryston gave Sunday concerts, and Lady Oakham saw masks, and
even old ugly Lady Loddon had a ball, and the Prince at it! How vastly
provoking! how unreasonable in a man of the Duke's years to expect a
girl like Adelaide to conform to all his old-fashioned notions! And then
she would wisely appeal to Lord Lindore whether it was not too absurd in
the Duke to interfere with the Duchess's arrangements.

Lord Lindore was a frequent visitor at Altamont House; for the Duke,
satisfied with his having been once refused, was no wise jealous of him;
and Lord Lindore was too quiet and refined in his attentions to excite
the attention of anyone so stupid and obtuse. It was not the least of
the Duchess's mortifications to be constantly contrasting her former
lover--elegant, captivating, and _spirituel--_with her husband, awkward,
insipid, and dull, as the fat weed that rots on Lethe's shore. Lord
Lindore was indeed the most admired man in London, celebrated for his
conquests, his horses, his elegance, manner, dress; in short, in
everything he gave the tone. But he had too much taste to carry anything
to extreme; and in the midst of incense, and adulation, and imitation,
he still retained that simple unostentatious elegance that marks the man
of real fashion--the man who feels his own consequence, independent of
all extraneous modes or fleeting fashions.

There is, perhaps, nothing so imposing, nothing that carries a greater
sway over a mind of any refinement, than simplicity, when we feel
assured that it springs from a genuine contempt of show and ostentation.
Lord Lindore was aware of this, and he did not attempt to vie with the
Duke of Altamont in the splendour of his equipage, the richness of his
liveries, the number of his attendants, or any of those previous
attractions attractions; on the contrary, everything belonging to him
was of the plainest description; and, except in the beauty of his
horses, he seemed to scorn every species of extravagance; but then he
rode with so much elegance, he drove his curricle with such graceful
ease, as formed a striking contrast to the formal Duke, sitting
bolt-upright in his state chariot, _chapeau bras,_ and star; and the
Duchess often quitted the Park, where Lord Lindore was the admired of
all admirers, mortified and ashamed at being seen in the same carriage
with the man she had chosen for her husband. Ambition had led her to
marry the Duke, and that same passion now heightened her attachment for
Lord Lindore; for, as some one has remarked, ambition is not always the
desire for that which is in itself excellent, but for that which is most
prized by others; and the handsome Lord Lindore was courted and caressed
in circles where the dull, precise Duke of Altamont was wholly
overlooked. Months passed in this manner, and every day added something
to Adelaide's feelings of chagrin and disappointment. But it was still
worse when she found herself settled for a long season at Norwood Abbey
a dull, magnificent residence, with a vast unvaried park, a profusion of
sombre trees, and a sheet of stillwater, decorated with leaden deities.
Within doors everything was in the same style of vapid, tasteless
grandeur, and the society was not such as to dispel the ennui these
images served to create. Lady Matilda Sufton, her satellite Mrs. Finch,
General Carver, and a few stupid elderly lords and their well-bred
ladies comprised the family circle; and the Duchess experienced, with
bitterness of spirit, that "rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home,"
are blessings wealth cannot purchase nor greatness command; while she
sickened at the stupid, the almost _vulgar_ magnificence of her lot.

At this period Lord Lindore arrived on a visit, and the daily, hourly
contrast that occurred betwixt the elegant, impassioned lover, and the
dull, phlegmatic husband, could not fail of producing the usual
effects on an unprincipled mind. Rousseau and Goethe were studied, French
and German sentiments were exchanged, till criminal passion was exalted
into the purest of all earthly emotions. It were tedious to dwell upon
the minute, the almost imperceptible occurrences that tended to heighten
the illusion of passion, and throw an air of false dignity around the
degrading spells of vice; but so it was, that in something less than a
year from the time of her marriage, this victim of self-indulgence again
sought her happiness in the gratification of her own headstrong
passions, and eloped with Lord Lindore, vainly hoping to find peace and
joy amid guilt and infamy.



CHAPTER XXXII.

"On n'est guères obligé aux gens qui ne nous viennent
voir, que pour nous quereller, qui pendant toute une visite, ne nous
disent pas une seule parole obligeante, et qui se font un plaisir malin
d'attaquer notre conduite, et de nous faire entrevoir nos
défauts." -- L' ABBE Dé BELLEGARDE.

THE Duke, although not possessed of the most delicate feelings, it may
be supposed was not insensible to his dishonour. He immediately set
about taking the legal measures for avenging it; and damages were
awarded, which would have the effect of rendering Lord Lindore for ever
an alien to his country. Lady Juliana raved, and had hysterics, and
seemed to consider herself as the only sufferer by her daughter's
misconduct. At one time Adelaide's ingratitude was all her theme: at
another, it was Lord Lindore's treachery, and poor Adelaide was
everything that was amiable and injured: then it was the Duke's
obstinacy; for, had Adelaide got leave to do as she liked, this never
would have happened; had she only got leave to give balls, and to go to
masquerades, she would have made the best wife in the world, etc. etc.
etc.

All this was warmly resented by Lady Matilda, supported by Mrs. Finch
and General Carver, till open hostilities were declared between the
ladies, and Lady Juliana was compelled to quit the house she had looked
upon as next to her own, and became once more a denizen of Beech Park.

Mary's grief and horror at her sister's misconduct were proportioned to
the nature of the offence. She considered it not as how it might affect
herself, or would be viewed by the world, but as a crime committed
against the law of God; yet, while she the more deeply deplored it on
that account, no bitter words of condemnation passed her lips. She
thought with humility of the superior advantages she had enjoyed in
having principles of religion early and deeply engrafted in her soul;
and that, but for these, such as her sister's fate was, hers might have
been.

She felt for her mother, undeserving as she was of commiseration; and
strove by every means in her power to promote her comfort and happiness.
But that was no easy task. Lady Juliana's notions of comfort and
happiness differed as widely from those of her daughter as reason and
folly could possibly do. She was indeed "than folly more a fool--a
melancholy fool without her bells." She still clung to low earth-born
vanities with as much avidity as though she had never experienced their
insecurity; still rung the same changes on the joys of wealth and
grandeur, as if she had had actual proof of their unfading felicity.
Then she recurred to the Duke's obstinacy and Lord Lindore's artifices,
till, after having exhausted herself in invective against them, she
concluded by comforting herself with the hope that Lord Lindore and
Adelaide would marry; and although it would be a prodigious degradation
to her, and she could not be received at Court, she might yet get into
very good society in town. There were many women of high rank exactly in
the same situation, who had been driven to elope from their husbands,
and who married the men they liked and made the best wives in the world.

Mary heard all this in shame and silence; but Lady Emily, wearied and
provoked by her folly and want of principle, was often led to express
her indignation and and contempt in terms which drew tears from her
cousin's eyes. Mary was indeed the only person in the world who felt her
sister's dereliction with the keenest feelings of shame and sorrow. All
Adelaide's coldness and unkindness had not been able to eradicate from
her heart those deep-rooted sentiments of affection which seem to have
been entwined with our existence, and which, with some generous natures,
end but with their being. Yes! there are ties that bind together those
of one family, stronger than those of taste, or choice, or friendship,
or reason; for they enable us to love, even in opposition to them all.

It was understood the fugitives had gone to Germany; and after wonder
and scandal were exhausted, and a divorce obtained, the Duchess of
Altamont, except to her own family, was as though she had never been.
Such is the transition from--from guilt to insignificance!

Amongst the numerous visitors who flocked to Beech Park, whether from
sympathy, curiosity, or exultation, was Mrs. Downe Wright. None of these
motives, singly, had brought that lady there, for her purpose was that
of giving what she genteelly termed some _good hits_ to the Douglas's
pride--a delicate mode of warfare, in which, it must be owned, the
female sex greatly excel.

Mrs. Downe Wright had not forgiven the indignity of her son having
been refused by Mary, which she imputed entirely to Lady Emily's
influence, and had from that moment predicted the downfall of the whole
pack, as she styled the family; at the same time always expressing her
wish that she might be mistaken, as she wished them well--God knows she
bore them no ill-will, etc. She entered the drawing-room at Beech Park
with a countenance cast to a totally different expression from that with
which she had greeted Lady Matilda Sufton's widowhood. Melancholy would
there have been appropriate, here it was insulting; and accordingly,
with downcast eyes, and silent pressures of the hand, she saluted every
member of the family, and inquired after their healths with that air of
anxious solicitude which implied that if they were all well it was what
they ought not to be. Lady Emily's quick tact was presently aware of her
design, and she prepared to take the field against her.

"I had some difficulty in getting admittance to you," said Mrs.
Downe Wright. "The servant would fain have denied you; but at such a
time, I knew the visit of a friend could not fail of being acceptable,
so I made good my way in spite of him."

"I had given orders to be at home to friends only," returned Lady Emily,
"as there is no end to the inroads of acquaintances."

"And poor Lady Juliana," said Mrs. Downe Wright in a tone of affected
sympathy, "I hope she is able to see her friends?"

"Did you not meet her?" asked Lady Emily carelessly. "She is just gone
to Bath for the purpose of securing a box during the term of Kean's
engagement; she would not trust to _l'éloquence du billet_ upon
such an occasion."

"I'm vastly happy to hear she is able for anything of the kind," in a
tone of vehement and overstrained joy, rather unsuitable to the
occasion.

A well-feigned look of surprise from Lady Emily made her fear she had
overshot her mark; she therefore, as if from delicacy, changed the
conversation to her own affairs. She soon contrived to let it be known
that her son was going to be married to a Scotch Earl's daughter; that
she was to reside with them; and that she had merely come to Bath for
the purpose of letting her house--breaking up her establishment--packing
up her plate--and, in short, making all those magnificent arrangements
which wealthy dowagers usually have to perform on a change of residence.
At the end of this triumphant declaration, she added--

"I fain would have the young people live by themselves, and let me just
go on in my own way; but neither my son nor Lady Grace would hear of
that, although her family are my son's nearest neighbours, and most
sensible, agreeable people they are. Indeed, as I said to Lord
Glenallan, a man's happiness depends fully as much upon his wife's
family as upon herself."

Mary was too noble-minded to suspect that Mrs. Downe Wright could intend
to level innuendoes; but the allusion struck her; she felt herself
blush; and, fearful Mrs. Downe Wright would attribute it to a wrong
motive, she hastened to join in the eulogium on the Benmavis family in
general, and Lady Grace in particular.

"Lady Benmavis is, indeed, a sensible, well-principled woman, and her
daughters have been all well brought up."

Again Mary coloured at the emphasis which marked the sensible,
well-principled mother, and the well brought-up daughters; and in some
confusion she said something about Lady Grace's beauty.

"She certainly is a very pretty woman," said Mrs. Downe Wright with
affected carelessness; "but what is better, she is out of a good nest.
For my own part I place little value upon beauty now; commend me to
principles. If a woman is without principles the less beauty she has the
better."

"If a woman has no principles," said Lady Emily, "I don't think it
signifies a straw whether she has beauty or not--ugliness can never add
to one's virtue."

"I beg your pardon, Lady Emily; a plain woman will never make herself so
conspicuous in the world as one of your beauties."

"Then you are of opinion wickedness lies all in the eye of the world,
not in the depths of the heart? Now I think the person who cherishes--no
matter how secretly--pride, envy, hatred, malice, or any other besetting
sin, must be quite as criminal in the sight of God as those who openly
indulge their evil propensity."

"I go very much by outward actions," said Mrs. Downe Wright; "they are
all we have to judge by."

"But I thought we were forbidden to judge one another?"

"There's no shutting people's mouths, Lady Emily."

"No; all that is required, I believe, is that we should shut our own."

Mary thought the conversation was getting rather too _piquante_ to be
pleasant, and tried to soften the tone of it by asking that most
innocent question, Whether there was any news?

"Nothing but about battles and fightings, I suppose," answered Mrs.
Downe Wright. "I'm sure they are to be pitied who have friends or
relations either in army or navy at present. I have reason to be
thankful my son is in neither. He was very much set upon going into one
or other; but I was always averse to it; for, independent of the danger,
they are professions that spoil a man for domestic life; they lead to
such expensive, dissipated habits, as quite ruin them for family men. I
never knew a military man but what must have his bottle of port every
day. With sailors, indeed, it's still worse; grog and tobacco soon
destroy them. I'm sure if I had a daughter it would make me miserable if
she was to take fancy to a naval or military man;--but," as if suddenly
recollecting herself, "after all, perhaps it's a mere prejudice of
mine."

"By no means," said Lady Emily "there is no prejudice in the matter;
what you say is very true. They are to be envied who can contrive to fall
in love with a stupid, idle man: _they_ never can experience any
anxiety; _their_ fate is fixed; 'the waveless calm, the slumber of the
dead,' is theirs; as long as they can contrive to slumber on, or at
least to keep their eyes shut, 'tis very well, they are in no danger of
stumbling till they come to open them; and if they are sufficiently
stupid themselves there is no danger of their doing even that. The have
only to copy the owl, and they are safe."

"I quite agree with your Ladyship ," said Mrs. Downe Wright, with a well
_got-up,_ good-humoured laugh. "A woman has only not to be a wit or a
genius, and there is no fear of her; not that _I_ have that antipathy to
a clever woman that many people have, and especially the gentlemen. I
almost quarrelled with Mr. Headley, the great author, t'other day, for
saying that he would rather encounter a nest of wasps than a clever
woman."

"I should most cordially have agreed with him," said Lady Emily, with
equal _naïveté._ "There is nothing more insupportable than
one of your clever women, so called. They are generally under-bred,
consequently vulgar. They pique themselves upon saying good things
_côitte qu'il coûte._ There is something, in short, quite
professional about them; and they wouldn't condescend to chat nonsense
as you and I are doing at this moment--oh! not for worlds! Now, I think
one of the great charms of life consists in talking nonsense. Good
nonsense is an exquisite thing; and 'tis an exquisite thing to be stupid
sometimes, and to say nothing at all. Now, these enjoyments the clever
woman must forego. Clever she is, and clever she must be. Her life must
be a greater drudgery than that of any actress. _She_ merely frets her
hour upon the stage; the curtain dropped, she may become as dull as she
chooses; but the clever woman must always stage it, even at her own
fireside."

"Lady Emily Lindore is certainly the last person from whom I should have
expected to hear a panegyric on stupidity," said Mrs. Downe Wright, with
some bitterness.

"Stupidity!--oh, heavens! my blood curdles at the thought of real,
genuine, downright stupidity! No! I should always like to have the
command of intellect, as well as of money, though my taste, or my
indolence, or my whim, perhaps, never would incline me to be always
sparkling, whether in wit or in diamonds. 'Twas only when I was in the
nursery that I envied the good girl who spoke rubies and pearls. Now it
seems to me only just better than not spitting toads and vipers." And
she warbled a sprightly French _ariette_ to a tame bullfinch that flew
upon her hand.

There was an airy, high-bred elegance in Lady Emily's impertinence that
seemed to throw Mrs. Downe Wright's coarse sarcasms to an immeasurable
distance; and that lady was beginning to despair, but she was determined
not to give in while she could possibly stand out. She accordingly
rallied her forces, and turned to Mary.

"So you have lost your neighbour, Mrs. Lennox, since I was here? I think
she was an acquaintance of yours. Poor woman! her death must have been a
happy release to herself and her friends. She has left no family, I
believe?" quite aware of the report of Mary's engagement with Colonel
Lennox."

"Only one son," said Mary, with a little emotion.

"Oh! very true. He's in the law, I think?"

"In the army," answered Mary, faintly.

"That's a poor trade," said Mrs. Downe Wright, "and I doubt he'll not
have much to mend it. Rose Hall's but a poor property. I've heard they
might have had a good estate in Scotland if it hadn't been for the pride
of the General, that wouldn't let him change his name for it, He thought
it grander to be a poor Lennox than a rich Macnaughton, or some such
name, It's to be hoped the son's of the same mind?"

"I have no doubt of it," said Lady Emily. "Tis a noble name-quite a
legacy in itself."

"It's one that, I am afraid, will not be easily turned into bank notes,
however," returned Mrs. Downe Wright, with a _real_ hearty laugh. And
then, delighted to get off with what she called flying colours, she
hastily rose with an exclamation at the lateness of the hour, and a
remark how quickly time passed in pleasant company; and, with friendly
shakes of the hand, withdrew.

"How very insupportable is such a woman," said Lady Emily to Mary, "who,
to gratify her own malice, says the most cutting things to her
neighbours, and at the same time feels self-approbation, in the belief
that she is doing good. And yet, hateful as she is, I blush to say I
have sometimes been amused by her ill-nature when it was directed
against people I hated still more. Lady Matilda Sufton, for
example,--there she certainly shone, for hypocrisy is always fair game;
and yet the people who love to hunt it are never amiable. You smile, as
much as to say, Here is Satan preaching a sermon on holiness. But
however satirical and intolerant you may think me, you must own that I
take no delight in the discovery of other people's faults: if I want the
meekness of a Christian, at least I don't possess the malice of a Jew.
Now Mrs. Downe Wright has a real heartfelt satisfaction in saying
malicious things, and in thrusting herself into company where she must
know she is unwelcome, for the sole purpose of saying them. Yet many
people are blessed with such blunt perceptions that they are not at all
aware of her real character, and only wonder, when she has left them,
what made them feel so uncomfortable when she was present. But she has
put me in such a bad humour that I must go out of door and apostrophise
the sun, like Lucifer. Do come, Mary, you will help to dispel my
chagrin. I really feel as if my heart had been in a limekiln. All its
kingly feelings are so burnt up by the malignant influences of Mrs.
Downe Wright; while you," continued she, as they strolled into the
gardens, "are as cool, and as sweet, and as sorrowful as these violets,"
gathering some still wet with an April shower. "How delicious, after
such a mental _sirocco,_ to feel the pure air and hear the birds sing,
and look upon the flowers and blossoms, and sit here, and bask in the
sun from laziness to walk into the shade. You must needs acknowledge,
Mary, that spring in England is a much more amiable season than in your
ungentle clime."

This was the second spring Mary had seen set in, in England. But the
first had been wayward and backward as the seasons of her native
climate. The present was such a one as poets love to paint. Nature was
in all its first freshness and beauty--the ground was covered with
flowers, the luxuriant hedgerows were white with blossoms, the air was
impregnated with the odours of the gardens and orchards. Still Mary
sighed as she thought of Lochmarlie--its wild tangled woods, with here
and there a bunch of primroses peeping forth from amidst moss and
withered ferns--its gurgling rills, blue lakes, and rocks, and
mountains--all rose to view; and she felt that, even amid fairer scenes,
and beneath brighter suns, her heart would still turn with fond regret
to the land of her birth.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

    "Wondrous it is, to see in diverse mindes
    How diversly Love doth his pageants play
    And shows his power in variable kinds."

         SPENSER.

BUT even the charms of spring were overlooked by Lady Emily in the
superior delight she experienced at hearing that the ship in which
Edward Douglas was had arrived at Portsmouth; and the intelligence was
soon followed by his own arrival at Beech Park. He was received by her
with rapture, and by Mary with the tenderest emotion. Lord Courtland was
always glad of an addition to the family party; and even Lady Juliana
experienced something like emotion as she beheld her son, now the exact
image of what his father had been twenty years before.

Edward Douglas was indeed a perfect model of youthful beauty, and
possessed of all the high spirits and happy _insouciance_ which can only
charm at that early period. He loved his profession, and had already
distinguished himself in it. He was handsome, brave, good-hearted, and
good-humoured, but he was not clever; and Mary felt some solicitude as
to the permanency of of Lady Emily's attachment to him. But Lady Emily,
quick-sighted to the defects of the whole world, seemed happily blind to
those of her lover; and when even Mary's spirits were almost exhausted
by his noisy rattle, Lady Emily, charmed and exhilarated, entered into
all his practical jokes and boyish frolics with the greatest delight.

She soon perceived what was passing in Mary's mind.

"I see perfectly well what you think of my _penchant_ for Edward," said
she one day; "I can tell you exactly what was passing in your thoughts
just now. You were thinking how strange, how passing strange it is, that
I, who am (false modesty avaunt!) certainly cleverer than Edward, should
yet be so partial to him, and that my lynx eyes should have failed to
discover in him faults which, with a single glance, I should have
detected in others. Now, can't you guess what renders even these very
faults so attractive to me?"

"The old story, I suppose?" said Mary. "Love."

"Not at all. Love might blind me to his faults altogether, and then my
case would be indeed hopeless, were I living in the belief that I was
loving a piece of perfection--a sort of Apollo Belvidere in mind as well
as in person. Now, so far from that, I could reckon you up a whole
catalogue of his faults; and nevertheless, I love him with my whole
heart, faults and all. In the first place, they are the faults with
which I have been familiar from infancy; and therefore they possess a
charm (to my shame be it said!) greater than other people's virtues
would have to me. They come over my fancy like some snatch of an old
nursery song, which one loves to hear in defiance of taste and reason,
merely because it is something that carries us back to those days which,
whatever they were in reality, always look bright and sunny in
retrospection. In the second place, his faults are real, genuine,
natural faults; and in this age of affectation how refreshing it is to
meet with even a natural fault! I grant you, Edward talks absurdly, and
asks questions _à faire dresser les cheveux_ of a Mrs. Bluemits.
But that amuses me; for his ignorance is not the ignorance of vulgarity
or stupidity, but the ignorance of a light head and a merry heart--of
one, in short, whose understanding has been at sea when other people's
were at school. His _bonmots_ certainly would not do to be printed; but
then they make me laugh a great deal more than if they were better, for
he is always _naif_ and original, and I prefer an in indifferent
original any day to a good copy. How it shocks me to hear people
recommending to their children to copy such a person's manners! A copied
manner, how insupportable! The servile imitator of a set pattern, how
despicable! No! I would rather have Edward in all the freshness of his
own faults rather than in the faded semblance of another persons's
proprieties."

Mary agreed to the truth of her cousin's observations in some respects,
though she could not help thinking that love had as much to say in her
case as in most others; for if it did not blind her to her lover's
faults, it certainly made her much more tolerant of them.

Edward was, in truth, at times almost provokingly boyish and unthinking,
and possessed a flow of animal spirits as inexhaustible as they were
sometimes overpowering; but she flattered herself time would subdue them
to a more rational tone; and she longed for his having the advantages of
Colonel Lennox's society--not by way of pattern, as Lady Emily expressed
it, but that he might be gradually led to something of more refinement,
from holding intercourse with a superior mind. And she obtained her wish
sooner than she had dared to hope for it. That battle was fought which
decided the fate of Europe, and turned so many swords into ploughshares;
and Mary seemed now touching the pinnacle of happiness when she saw her
lover restored to her. He had gained additional renown in the bloody
field of Waterloo; and, more fortunate than others, his military career
had terminated both gloriously and happily.

If Mary had ever distrusted the reality of his affection, all her doubts
were now at an end. She saw she was beloved with all the truth and
ardour of a noble ingenuous mind, too upright to deceive others, too
enlightened to deceive itself. All reserve betwixt them was now at an
end; and, secure in mutual affection, nothing seemed to oppose itself to
their happiness.

Colonel Lennox's fortune was small; but such as it was,
it seemed sufficient for all the purposes of rational enjoyment. Both
were aware that wealth is a relative thing, and that the positively rich
are not those who have the largest possessions but those who have the
fewest vain or selfish desires to gratify. From these they were happily
exempt. Both possessed too many resources in their own minds to require
the stimulus of spending money to rouse them into enjoyment, or give
them additional importance in the eyes of the world; and, above all,
both were too thoroughly Christian in their principles to murmur at any
sacrifices or privations they might have to endure in the course of
their earthly pilgrimage.

But Lady Juliana's weak, worldly mind, saw things in a very different
light; and when Colonel Lennox, as a matter of form, applied to her for
her consent to their union, he received a positive and angry refusal.
She declared she never would consent to any daughter of hers making so
foolish, so very unsuitable a marriage. And then, sending for Mary, she
charged her, in the most peremptory manner, to break of all intercourse
with Colonel Lennox.

Poor Mary was overwhelmed with grief and amazement at this new display
of her mother's tyranny and injustice, and used all the powers of
reasoning and entreaty to alter her sentiments; but in vain. Since
Adelaide's elopement Lady Juliana had been much in want of some subject
to occupy her mind--something to excite a sensation, and give her
something to complain of, and talk about, and put her in a bustle, and
make her angry, and alarmed, and ill-used, and, in short, all the things
which a fool is fond of being.

Although Mary had little hopes of being able to prevail by any
efforts of reason, she yet tried to make her mother comprehend the
nature of her engagement with Colonel Lennox as of a sacred nature, and
too binding ever to be dissolved. But Lady Juliana's wrath blazed forth
with redoubled violence at the very mention of an engagement. She had
never heard of anything so improper. Colonel Lennox must be a most
unprincipled man to lead her daughter into an engagement unsanctioned by
her; and she had acted in the most improper manner in allowing herself
to form an attachment without the consent of those who had the best
title to dispose of her. The person who could act thus was not fit to be
trusted, and in future it would be necessary for her to have her
constantly under her own eye.

Mary found her candour had therefore only reduced her to the alternative
of either openly rebelling, or of submitting to be talked at, and
watched, and guarded, as if she had been detected in carrying on some
improper clandestine intercourse. But she submitted to all the
restrictions that were imposed and the torments that were inflicted, if
not with the heroism of a martyr, at least with the meekness of one; for
no murmur escaped her lips. She was only anxious to conceal from others
the extent of her mother's folly and injustice, and took every
opportunity of entreating Colonel Lennox's silence and forbearance. It
required, indeed, all her influence to induce him to submit patiently to
the treatment he experienced. Lady Juliana had so often repeated to Mary
that it was the greatest presumption in Colonel Lennox to aspire to a
daughter of hers, that she had fairly talked herself into the belief
that he was all she asserted him to be--a man of neither birth nor
fortune certainly a Scotsman from his name--consequently having
thousands of poor cousins and vulgar relations of every description. And
she was determined that no daughter of hers should ever marry a man
whose family connections she knew nothing about. She had suffered a
great deal too much from her (Mary's) father's low relations ever to run
the risk of anything of the same kind happening again. In short, she at
length made it out clearly, to her own satisfaction, that Colonel Lennox
was scarcely a gentleman; and she therefore considered it as her duty to
treat him on every occasion with the most marked rudeness. Colonel
Lennox pitied her folly too much to be hurt by her ill-breeding and
malevolence, but he could scarcely reconcile it to his notions of duty
that Mary's superior mind should submit to the thraldom of one who
evidently knew not good from evil.

Lady Emily was so much engrossed by her own affairs that for some time
all this went on unnoticed by her. At length she was struck with Mary's
dejection, and observed that Colonel Lennox seemed also dispirited; but,
imputing it to a lover's quarrel, she laughingly taxed them with it.
Although Mary could, suppress the cause of her uneasiness, she was too
ingenuous to deny it; and, being pressed by her cousin, she at length
disclosed to her the cause of her sorrow.

"Colonel Lennox and you have behaved like two fools," said she, at the
end of her cousin's communication. "What could possibly instigate you to
so absurd an act as that of asking Lady Juliana's consent? You surely
might have known that the person who is never consulted about anything
will invariably start difficulties to everything; and that people who
are never accustomed to be even listened to get quite unmanageable when
appealed to. Lady Juliana gave an immediate assent to Lord Glenallan's
proposals because she was the first person consulted about them; and
besides, she had a sort of an instinctive knowledge that it would create
a sensation and make her of consequence--in short, she was to act in a
sort of triple capacity, as parent, lover, and bride. Here, on the
contrary, she was aware that her consent would stand as a mere cipher,
and, once given, would never be more heard of. Liberty of opinion is an
attitude many people quite lose themselves in. When once they attempt to
think, it makes confusion worse confounded; so it is much better to take
that labour off their hands, and settle the matter for them. It would
have been quite time enough to have asked Lady Juliana's consent after
the thing was over; or, at any rate, the minute before it was to take
place. I would not even have allowed her time for a flood of tears or a
fit of hysterics. And now that your duty has brought you to this, even
my genius is a a loss how to extricate you. Gretna Green might have been
advisable, and that would have accorded with your notions of duty; that
would have been following your mamma's own footsteps; but it is become
too vulgar an exploit. I read of a hatter's apprentice having carried
off a grocer's heiress t'other day. What do you purpose doing yourself?"

"To try the effect of patience and submission," said Mary, "rather than
openly set at defiance one of the most sacred duties--the obedience of a
child to a parent. Besides, I could not possibly be happy were I to
marry under such circumstances."

"You have much too nice a conscience," said Lady Emily; "and yet I could
scarcely wish you otherwise than you are. What an angel you are, to
behave as you do to such a mother; with such sweetness, and gentleness,
and even respect! Ah! they know little of human nature who think that to
perform great actions one must necessarily be a great character. So far
from that, I now see there may be much more real greatness of mind
displayed in the quiet tenor of a woman's life than in the most
brilliant exploits that ever were performed by man. Methinks I myself
could help to storm a city; but to rule my own spirit is a task beyond
me. What a pity it is you and I cannot change places. Here am I,
languishing for a little opposition to my love. My marriage will be
quite an insipid, every-day affair; I yawn already to think of it. Can
anything be more disheartening to a young couple, anxious to signalise
their attachment in the face of the whole world, than to be allowed to
take their own way? Conceive my vexation at being told by papa this
morning that he had not the least objection to Edward and me marrying
whenever we pleased, although he thought we might both have done better;
but that was our own affair, not his; that he thought Edward a fine,
good humoured fellow--excessively amusing; hoped he would get a ship some
day, although he had no interest whatever in the Admiralty; was sorry he
could not give us any money, but hoped we should remain at Beech Park as
long as we liked. I really feel quite flat with all these dull
affirmations."

"What! you had rather have been locked up in a tower--wringing your
hands at the height of the windows, the thickness of the walls, and so
forth," said Mary.

"No: I should never have done anything so like a washerwoman as to wring
my hands; though I might, like some heroines, have fallen to work in a
regular blacksmith-way, by examining the lock of the door, and perhaps
have succeeded in picking it; but, alas! I live in degenerate days. Oh
that I had been born the persecuted daughter of some ancient baron bold
instead of the spoiled child of a good natured modern earl! Heavens! to
think that I must tamely, abjectly submit to be married in the presence
of all my family, even in the very parish church! Oh, what detractions
from the brilliancy of my star!"

In spite of her levity Lady Emily was seriously interested in her
cousin's affairs, and tried every means of obtaining Lady Juliana's
consent; but Lady Juliana was become more unmanageable than ever. Her
temper, always bad, was now soured by chagrin and disappointment into
something, if possible, still worse, and Lady Emily's authority had no
longer any control over her; even the threat of producing Aunt Grizzy to
a brilliant assembly had now lost its effect. Dr. Redgill was the only
auxiliary she possessed in the family, and he most cordially joined he in
condemning Miss Mary's obstinacy and infatuation. What could she see in
a man with such an insignificant bit of property, a mere nest for
blackbirds and linnets, and such sort of vermin. Not a morsel of any
sort of game on his grounds; while at Glenallan, he had been credibly
informed, such was the abundance that the deer had been seen stalking and
the black-cock flying past the very door! But the Doctor's indignation
was suddenly suspended by a fit of apoplexy; from which, however, he
rallied, and passed it off for the present as a sort of vertigo, in
consequence of the shock he had received at hearing of Miss Mary's
misconduct.

At length even Colonel Lennox's forbearance was exhausted, and Mary's
health and spirits were sinking beneath the conflict she had to
maintain, when a sudden revolution in Lady Juliana's plans caused also a
revolution in her sentiments. This was occasioned by a letter from
Adelaide, now Lady Lindore. It was evidently written under the influence
of melancholy and discontent; and, as Lady Emily said, nothing could be
a stronger proof of poor Adelaide's wretchedness than her expressing a
wish that her mother should join her in the South of France, where she
was going on account of her health.

Adelaide was indeed one of the many melancholy proofs of the effects of
headstrong passions and perverted principles. Lord Lindore had married
her from a point of honour; and although he possessed too much
refinement to treat her ill, yet his indifference was not the less
cutting to a spirit haughty as hers. Like many others, she had vainly
imagined that, in renouncing virtue itself for the man she loved, she
was for ever ensuring his boundless gratitude and adoration; and she
only awoke from her delusive dream to find herself friendless in a
foreign land, an outcast from society, an object of indifference even to
him for whom she had abandoned all.

But Lady Juliana would see nothing of all this. She was charmed at what
she termed this proof of her daughter's affection, in wishing to have
her with her; and the prospect of going abroad seemed like a vision of
paradise to her. Instant preparations were made for her departure, and
in the bustle attendant on them, Mary and her affairs sank into utter
insignificance. Indeed, she seemed rather anxious to get her disposed of
in any way that might prevent her interfering with her own plans; and a
consent to her marriage, such as it was, was easily obtained.

"Marry whom you please," said she; "only remember I am not responsible
for the consequences. I have always told you what a wretched thing a
love-marriage is, therefore you are not to blame me for your future
misery."

Mary readily subscribed to the conditions; but, as she embraced her
mother at parting, she timidly whispered a hope that she would ever
consider her house as her home. A smile of contempt was the only reply
she received, and they parted never more to meet. Lady Juliana found
foreign manners and principles too congenial to her tastes ever to return
to Britain.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

"O most gentle Jupiter! what tedious homily of love have
you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cried,
_Have patience, good people!"_

           _As You Like it._

THE only obstacle to her union thus removed, Mary thought she might now
venture to let her Aunt Grizzy into the secret; and accordingly, with
some little embarrassment, she made the disclosure of the mutual
attachment subsisting between Colonel Lennox and herself. Grizzy
received the communication with all the astonishment which ladies
usually experience upon being made acquainted with a marriage which they
had not had the prescience to foresee and foretell--or even one which
they had; for, common and natural as the event seems to be, it is one
which perhaps in no instance ever took place without occasioning the
greatest amazement to some one individual or another; and it will also
be generally found that either the good or the bad fortune of one or
other of the parties is the subject of universal wonder. In short, a
marriage which excites no surprise, pity, or indignation, must be
something that has never yet been witnessed on the face of this round
world. It is greatly to be feared none of my readers will sympathise in
the feelings of the good spinster on this occasion, as she poured them
forth in the following _extempore_ or _improvisatorial_ strain:-

"Well, Mary, I declare I'm perfectly confounded with all you have been
telling me! I'm sure I never heard the like of it! It seems but the
t'other day since you began your sampler; and it looks just
like yesterday since your father and mother were married. And such a work
as there was at your nursing! I'm sure your poor grandfather was out of
all patience about it. And now to think that you are going to be
married! not but what it's a thing we all expected, for there's no doubt
England's the place for young women to get husbands--we always said
that, you know; not but what I dare say you might have been married,
too, if you had stayed in the Highlands, and to a real Highlander, too,
which, of course, would have been still better for us all; for it will
be a sad thing if you are obliged to stay in England, Mary; but I hope
there's no chance of that: you know Colonel Lennox can easily sell his
place, and buy an estate in the Highlands. There's a charming property,
I know, to be sold just now, that _marches_ with Glenfern. To be sure
it's on the wrong side of the hill--there's no denying that; but then,
there's I can't tell you how many thousand acres of fine muir for
shooting, and I daresay Colonel Lennox is a keen sportsman; and they say
a great deal of it might be very much improved. We must really inquire
after it, Mary, and you must speak to Colonel Lennox about it, for you
know such a property as that may be snapped up in a minute."

Mary assented to all that was said; and Grizzy proceeded--

"I wonder you never brought Colonel Lennox to see us, Mary. I'm sure he
must think it very odd. To be sure, Sir Sampson's situation is some
excuse; but at any rate I wonder you never spoke about him. We all found
out your Aunt Bella's attachment from the very first, just from her
constantly speaking about Major M'Tavish and the militia; and we had a
good guess of Betsy's too, from the day her face turned so red after
giving Captain M'Nab for her toast; but you have really kept yours very
close, for I declare I never once suspected such a thing. I wonder if
that was Colonel Lennox that I saw you part with at the door one
day--tall, and with brown hair, and a bluecoat. I asked Lady Maclaughlan
if she knew who it was, and she said it was Admiral Benbow; but I think
she must have been mistaken, for I daresay now it was just Colonel
Lennox. Lennox--I'm sure I should be able to remember something about
somebody of that name; but my memory's not so good as it used to be, for
I have so many things, you know, to think about, with Sir Sampson, that
I declare sometimes my head's quite confused; yet I think always there's
something about them. I wish to goodness Lady Maclaughlan was come from
the dentist's, that I might consult her about it; for of course, you'll
do nothing without consulting all your friends--I know you've too much
sense for that. An here's Sir Sampson coming; it will be a fine piece of
news to tell him."

Sir Sampson having been now wheeled in by the still active Philistine,
and properly arranged with the assistance of Miss Grizzy, she took her
usual station by the side of his easy chair, and began to shout into his
ear.

"Here's my niece Mary, Sir Sampson; you remember her when she was
little, I daresay--you know you used to call her the fairy of
Lochmarlie; and I'm sure we all thought for long she would have been a
perfect fairy, she was so little; but she's tall enough now, you see,
and she's going to be married to a fine young man. None of us know him
yet, but I think I must have seen him; and at any rate I'm to see him
to-morrow, and you'll see him too, Sir Sampson, for Mary is to bring him
to call here, and he'll tell you all about the battle of Waterloo, and
the Highlanders; for he's half a Highlander too, and I'm certain he'll buy
the Dhuanbog estate, and then, when my niece Mary marries Colonel
Lennox--"

"Lennox!" repeated Sir Sampson, his little dim eyes kindling at the
name--"Who talks of Lennox I--I--I won't suffer it. Where's my Lady?
Lennox!--he's a scoundrel! You shan't marry a Lennox!" Turning to
Grizzy, "Call Philistine, and my Lady." And his agitation was so great
that even Grizzy, although accustomed for forty years to witness similar
ebullitions, became alarmed.

"You see it's all for fear of my marrying," whispered she to Mary.
"I'm sure such a disinterested attachment, it's impossible for me
ever to repay it!"

Then turning to Sir Sampson, she sought to soothe his perturbation by
oft-repeated assurances that it was not her but her niece Mary that was
going to be married to Colonel Lennox. But in vain; Sir Sampson
quivered, and panted, and muttered; and the louder Grizzy screamed out
the truth the more his irritation increased. Recourse was now had to
Philistine; and Mary, thoroughly ashamed of the éclat attending
the disclosure of her secret, and finding she could be of no use, stole
away in the midst of Miss Grizzy's endless _verbiage_, but as she
descended the stairs she still heard the same assurance resounding--"I
can assure you, Sir Sampson, it's not me, but my niece Mary that's going
to be married to Colonel Lennox," etc.

On returning to Beech Park she said nothing of what had passed either to
Lady Emily or Colonel Lennox--aware of the amusement it would furnish to
both; and she felt that her aunt required all the dignity with which she
could invest her before presenting her to her future nephew. The only
delay to her marriage now rested with herself; but she was desirous it
should take place under the roof which had sheltered her infancy, and
sanctioned by the presence of those whom she had ever regarded as her
parents. Lady Emily, Colonel Lennox, and her brother had all endeavoured
to combat this resolution, but in vain; and it was therefore settled
that she should remain to witness the union of her brother and her
cousin, and then return to Lochmarlie. But all Mary's preconceived plans
were threatened with a downfall by the receipt of the following letter
from Miss Jacky:--

GLENFERN CASTLE, ---SHIRIE, _June_ 19, 181--.

"It _is_ impossible for _language_ to express to _you_ the _shame,_
grief, amazement, and _indignation,_ with _which_ we are _all_ filled at
the distressing, the _ignominious_ disclosure that has _just_ taken
_place_ concerning you, _through_ our most _excellent_ friend Miss P.
M'Pry. Oh, Mary, _how_ have you _deceived_ us all!!! What a _dagger
_have _you_ plunged into _all_ our hearts! Your _poor _Aunt _Grizzy!_
how my _heart_ bleeds _for_ her! What a difficult part _has_ she to
act! and at her _time_ of life! with her acute _feelings!_ with her
devoted _attachment _to the _house_ of M'Laughlan! What a _blow!_ and a
_blow _from your _hand!_ Oh, Mary, I _must_ again repeat, how _have_ you
deceived us _all_!!! Yet _do_ not imagine I mean to _reproach_ you!
Much, much of the blame is _doubtless _imputable to the errors of _your_
education! At the _same _time, even these _offer_ no justification of
your _conduct _upon the present occasion! You are now (I lament to say
it!) _come_ to that time of _life_ when _you_ ought to know _what_ is
right; or, where you entertain _any_ doubts, you ought _most_
unquestionably to _apply_ to those _who_, you _may_ be certain, _are_
well qualified to direct you. _But,_ instead _of_ that, you have
_pursued_ a diametrically opposite _plan:_ a plan which _might_ have
_ended_ in your destruction! Oh, Mary, _I_ cannot too _often _repeat,
how have _you_ deceived us all!!! From no _lips _but those of Miss M'Pry
_would_ I have believed _what_ I have heard, videlicet, that you (oh,
Mary!) have, for many, many months _past,_ been carrying on a
clandestine _correspondence _with a _young_ man, unknown, unsuspected by
_all_ your friends here! and that _young_ man, the very _last_ man on
the face of the _earth_ whom you, or any of _us,_ ought to have given
our countenance _to!_ The very man, in _short,_ whom we were all
_bound,_ by every _principle_ of duty, gratitude, and esteem, to have
shunned, and who you are _bound, _from this _moment,_ to renounce for
ever. How you ever _came _to be acquainted _with_ Colonel Charles Lennox
of Rose Hall is a mystery none of us can fathom; but surely the person,
_whoever _it was that _brought_ it about, has much, _much_ to answer
for! Mrs. Douglas (to whom I _thought_ it proper to _make _an immediate
_communication_ on the subject) pretends to _have_ been well informed of
all that has _been_ going on, and even insists that _your_ acquaintance
_with_ the Lennox family _took_ place through Lady M'Laughlan! _But_
that we _all_ know to be _morally_ impossible. Lady M'Laughlan is the
_very_ last person in the _world_ who would have _introduced_ you, or
any _young_ creature for whom she had the _slightest_ regard, to a
Lennox, the _mortal enemy of the M'Laughlan race!_ I most _sincerely_
trust she is spared the _shock_ we have all experienced at this painful
_disclosure. _With her _high_ principles, and _great_ regard for us, I
tremble to think _what_ might be the consequences! And dear Sir Sampson,
in his delicate state, how _would_ he ever be able to _stand_ such a
blow! and a blow, too, from your _hand,_ Mary! you, who he _was_ always
_like_ a father to! _Many_ a time, I am sure, _have_ you sat upon his
_knee,_ and you certainly _cannot_ have forgot the _elegant_ Shetland
pony he presented you _with_ the day you was five _years_ old! And
_what_ a return for such favours!

"But I fondly trust it _is_ not yet too late. You have _only_ to give up
this unworthy attachment, and all _will_ be forgotten and _forgiven_;
and we will all receive you as if _nothing_ had happened. Oh, Mary! I
must, for the last _time_ repeat, how have you deceived us _all_!

"I am your distressed aunt,

                    "JOAN DOUGLAS.

P.S.--I conclude abruptly, in _order_ to leave _room_ for your Aunt Nicky
to _state_ her sentiments also on this _most_ afflicting subject."

Nicky's appendix was as follows:--

"DEAR MARY--Jacky has read her letter to us. It is most excellent. We
are all much affected by it. Not a word but deserves to be printed. I
can add nothing. You see, if you marry Colonel L. none of us can be at
your marriage. How could we? I hope you will think twice about it.
Second thoughts are best. What's done cannot be undone. Yours,

                   "N. D."

Mary felt somewhat in the situation of the sleeper awakened, as she
perused these mysterious anathemas; and rubbed her eyes more than once
in hopes of dispelling the mist that she thought must needs be upon
them. But in vain: it seemed only to increase with every effort she made
to remove it. Not a single ray of light fell on the palpable obscure of
Miss Jacky's composition, that could enable her to penetrate the dark
profound that encompassed her. She was aware, indeed, that when her aunt
meant to be pathetic or energetic she always had recourse to the longest
and the strongest words she could possibly lay her hands upon; and Mary
had been well accustomed to hear her childish faults and juvenile
indiscretions denounced in the most awful terms as crimes of the deepest
dye. Many an exordium she had listened to on the tearing of her frock,
or the losing of her glove, that might have served as a preface to the
"Newgate Calendar," "Colquhoun on the Police," or any other register of
crimes. Still she had always been able to detect some clue to her own
misdeeds; but here even conjecture was baffled, and in vain she sought
for some resting-place for her imagination, in the probable misdemeanour
of her lover. But even allowing all possible latitude for Jacky's pen,
she was forced to acknowledge there must be some ground for her aunt to
build upon. Superficial as her structures generally were, like
children's card-houses, they had always something to rest upon; though
(unlike them) her creations were invariably upon a gigantic scale.

Mary had often reflected with surprise that, although Lady Maclauglan
had been the person to introduce her to Mrs. Lennox, no intercourse had
taken place between the families themselves; and when she had mentioned
them to each other Mrs. Lennox had only sighed, and Lady Maclaughlan had
humphed. She despaired of arriving at the knowledge of the truth from
her aunts. Grizzy's brain was a mere wisp of contradictions; and Jacky's
mind was of that violent hue that cast its own shade upon every object
that came in contact with it. To mention the matter to Colonel Lennox
was only to make the relations ridiculous; and, in short, although it
was a formidable step, the result of her deliberation was to go to
Lady Maclaughlan, and request a solution of her aunt's dark sayings. She
therefore departed for Milsom Street, and, upon entering the
drawing-room, found Grizzy alone, and evidently in even more than usual
perturbation.

"Oh, Mary!" cried she, as her niece entered, "I'm sure I'm thankful
you're come. I was just wishing for you. You can't think how much
mischief your yesterday's visit has done. It's a thousand pities, I
declare, that ever you said a word about your marriage to Sir Sampson.
But of course I don't mean to blame you, Mary. You know you couldn't
help it; so don't vex yourself, for you know that will not make the
thing any better now. Only if Sir Sampson should die--to be sure I must
always think it was that that killed him; and I'm sure it at will soon
kill me too-such a friend--oh, Mary!" Here a burst of grief choked poor
Miss Grizzy's utterance.

"My dear aunt," said Mary, "you certainly must be mistaken. Sir Sampson
seems to retain no recollection of me. It is therefore impossible that I
could cause him any pain or agitation."

"Oh certainly!" said Grizzy. "There's no doubt Sir Sampson has quite
forgot you, Mary--and no wonder-with your being so long away; but I
daresay he'll come to know you yet. But I'm sure I hope to goodness
he'll never know you as Mrs. Lennox, Mary. That would break his heart
altogether; for you know the Lennoxes have always been the greatest
enemies of the Maclaughlans,--and of course Sir Sampson can't bear
anybody of the name, which is quite natural. And it was very thoughtless
in me to have forgot that till Philistine put me in mind of it, and poor
Sir Sampson has had a very bad night; so I'm sure I hope, Mary, you'll
never think any more about Colonel Lennox; and, take my word for it,
you'll get plenty of husbands yet. Now, since there's a peace, there
will be plenty of fine young officers coming home. There's young
Balquhadan, a captain, I know, in some regiment; and there's
Dhalahulish, and Lochgrunason, and--" But Miss Grizzy's ideas here shot
out into so many ramifications upon so many different branches of the
county tree, that it would be in vain for any but a true Celt to attempt
to follow her.

Mary again tried to lead her back to the subject of the Lennoxes, in
hopes of being able to extract some spark of knowledge from the dark
chaos of her brain.

"Oh, I'm sure, Mary, if you want to hear about that, I can tell you
plenty about the Lennoxes; or at any rate about the Maclaughlans, which
is the same thing. But I must first find my huswife."

To save Miss Grizzy's reminiscence, a few words will suffice to clear up
the mystery. A family feud of remote origin had long subsisted between
the families of Lennox and Maclaughlan, which had been carefully
transmitted from father to son, till the hereditary brand had been
deposited in the breast of Sir Sampson. By the death of many intervening
heirs General Lennox, then a youth, was next in succession to the
Maclaughlan estate; but the power of alienating it was vested in Sir
Sampson, as the last remaining heir of the entail. By the mistaken zeal
of their friends both were, at an early period, placed in the same
regiment, in the hope that constant as association together would
quickly destroy their mutual prejudices, and produce a reconciliation.
But the inequalities were too great ever to assimilate. Sir Sampson
possessed a large fortune, a deformed person, and a weak, vain,
irritable mind. General (then Ensign) Lennox had no other patrimony than
his sword--a handsome person, high spirit, and dauntless courage. With
these tempers, it may easily be conceived that a thousand trifling
events occurred to keep alive the hereditary animosity. Sir Sampson's
mind expected from his poor kinsman a degree of deference and respect
which the other, so far from rendering, rather sought opportunities of
showing his contempt for, and of thwarting and ridiculing him upon every
occasion, till Sir Sampson was obliged to quit the regiment. From that
time it was understood that all bearing the name of Lennox were for ever
excluded from the succession to the Maclaughlan estates; and it was
deemed a sort of petty treason even to name the name of a Lennox in
presence of this dignified chieftain.

Many years had worn away, and Sir Sampson had passed through the various
modifications of human nature, from the "mewling infant" to "mere
oblivion," without having become either wiser or better. His mind
remained the same--irascible and vindictive to the last. Lady
Maclaughlan had too much sense to attempt to reason or argue him out of
his prejudices, but she contrived to prevent him from ever executing a
new entail. She had known and esteemed both General and Mrs. Lennox
before her marriage with Sir Sampson, and she was too firm and decided
in her predilections ever to abandon them; and while she had the credit
of sharing in all her husband's animosity, she was silently protecting
the lawful rights of those who had long ceased to consider them as such.
General Lennox had always understood that he and his family were under
Sir Sampson's _ban_, and he possessed too high a spirit ever to express
a regret, or even allude to the circumstances. It had therefore made a
very faint impression on the minds of any of his family, and in the long
lapse of years had been almost forgot by Mrs. Lennox, till recalled by
Lady Maclaughlan's letter. But she had been silent on the subject to
Mary; for she could not conceal from herself that her husband had been
to blame--that the heat and violence of his temper had often led him to
provoke and exasperate where mildness and forbearance would have soothed
and conciliated, without detracting from his dignity; but her gentle
heart shrank from the task of unnecessarily disclosing the faults of
the man she had loved; and then she heard Mary talk with rapture of the
wild beauties of Lochmarlie, she had only sighed to think that the pride
and prejudice of others had alienated the inheritance of her son.

But all this Mary was still in ignorance of, for Miss Grizzy had gone
completely astray in the attempt to trace the rise and progress of the
Lennox and Maclaughlan feud. Happily Lady Maclauglan's entrance
extricated her from her labyrinth, as it as the signal for her to repair
to Sir Sampson. Mary, in some little confusion, was beginning to express
to her Ladyship regret at hearing that Sir Sampson had been so unwell,
when she was stopped.

"My dear child, don't learn to tell lies. You don't care two pence for
Sir Sampson. I know all. You are going to be married to Charles Lennox.
I'm glad of it. I wished you to marry him. Whether you'll thank me for
that twenty years hence, _I_ can't tell--you can't tell--he can't
tell--God knows--humph! Your aunts will tell you he is Beelzebub,
because his father said he could make a Sir Sampson out of a mouldy
lemon. Perhaps he could. I don't know but your aunts are fools. You know
what fools are, and so do I. There are plenty of fools in the world; but
if they had not been sent for some wise purpose they wouldn't have been
here; and since they are here they have as good a right to have
elbow-room in the world as the wisest. Sir Sampson hated General Lennox
because he laughed at him; and if Sir Sampson had lived a hundred years
ago, his hatred might have been a fine thing to talk about now. It is
the same passion that makes heroes of your De Montforts, and your
Manuels, and your Corsairs, and all the rest of them; but they wore
cloaks and daggers, and these are the supporters of hatred. Everybody
laughs at the hatred of a little old man in a cocked hat. You may laugh
too. So now, God bless you! Continue as you are, and marry the man you
like, though the world should set its teeth against you. 'Tis not
every woman can be trusted to do that--farewell!" And with a cordial
salute they parted.

Mary was too well accustomed to Lady Maclaughlan's style not to
comprehend that her marriage with Colonel Lennox was an event she had
long wished for and now most warmly sanctioned; and she hastened home to
convey the glad tidings in a letter to her aunts, though doubtful if the
truth itself would be able to pierce its way through their prejudices.

Another stroke of palsy soon rendered Sir Sampson unconscious even to
the charms of Grizzy's conversation, and as she was no longer of use to
him, and was evidently at a loss how to employ herself, Mary proposed
that she should accompany her back to Lochmarlie, to which she yielded a
joyful assent. Once convinced of Lady Maclaughlan's approbation of her
niece's marriage she could think and talk of nothing else.

Some wise individuals have thought that most people act from the
inspiration of either a good or an evil power: to which class Miss
Grizzy belonged would have puzzled the most profound metaphysician to
determine. She was, in fact, a Maclaughlanite; but to find the _root_ of
Maclaughlan is another difficulty--thought is lost.

Colonel Lennox, although a little startled at his first introduction to
his future aunt, soon came to understand the _naiveté_ of her
character; and his enlarged mind and good temper made such ample
allowance for her weaknesses, that she protested, with tears in her
eyes, she never knew the like of him--she never could think enough of
him. She wished to goodness Sir Sampson was himself again, and could
only see him; she was sure he would think just as she did, etc. etc.
etc.

The day of Lady Emily's marriage arrived, and found her in a more
serious mood than she had hitherto appeared in; though it seemed
doubtful whether it was most occasioned by her own prospects or the
thoughts of parting with Mary, who with Aunt Grizzy, was to set off for
Lochmarlie immediately after witnessing the ceremony. Edward and his
bride would fain have accompanied her; but Lord Courtland was too much
accustomed to his daughter and amused by his nephew to bear their
absence, and they therefore yielded the point, though with reluctance.
"This is all for want of a little opposition to have braced my nerves,"
said Lady Emily, as she dropped a few tears. "I verily believe I should
have wept outright had I not happily descried Dr. Redgill shrugging his
shoulders at me; that has given a filip to my spirits. After all, 'tis
perhaps a foolish action I've committed. The icy bonds of matrimony are
upon me already; I feel myself turning into a fond, faithful, rational,
humble, meek-spirited wife! Alas! I must now turn my head into a museum,
and hang up all my smart sayings inside my brain, there to petrify, as
warnings to all pert misses. Dear Mary! if ever I am good for anything,
it will be to you I owe it!"

Mary could only embrace her cousin in silence, as she parted from her
brother and her with the deepest emotion, and, assisted by Colonel
Lennox (who was to follow), took her station by the side of her aunt.

"I wish you a pleasant journey, Miss Mary," cried Dr. Redgill. "The game
season is coming on, and--" But the carriage drove off; and the rest of
the sentence was dispersed by the wind; and all that could be collected
was, "grouse always acceptable--friends at a distance--roebuck stuffed
with heather carries well at all times," etc. etc.

To one less practised in her ways, and less gifted with patience, the
eternal babbling of Aunt Grizzy as a travelling companion would have
occasioned considerable ennui, if not spleen. There are perhaps few
greater trials of temper than that of travelling with a person who
thinks it necessary to be actively pleasant, without a moment's
intermission, from the rising till the setting sun. Grizzy was upon this
fatal plan, the rock of thousands! Silence she thought synonymous with
low spirits; and she talked, and wondered, and exclaimed incessantly,
and assured Mary she need not be uneasy, she was certain Colonel Lennox
would follow very soon; she had not the least doubt of that. She would
not be surprised if he Was to be at Lochmarlie almost as soon as
themselves; at any rate very soon after them.

But even these little torments were forgot by Mary when she found
herself again in her native land. The hills, the air, the waters, the
people, even the _peat-stacks_, had a charm that touched her heart,
and brought tears into her eyes as they pictured home. But her feelings
arose to rapture when Lochmarlie burst upon her view in all the
grandeur, beauty, and repose of a setting sun, shedding its farewell
rays of gold and purple, and tints of such matchless hue, as no pencil
ere can imitate--no poet's pen describe. Rocks, woods, hills, and
waters, all shone with a radiance that seemed of more than earthly
beauty. "Oh, there are moments in life, keen, blissful, never to be
forgotten!" and such was the moment to Mary when the carriage stopped,
and she again heard the melody of that voice familiar from infancy--and
looked on the face known with her being--and was pressed to that heart
where glowed a parent's love!

When Mary recovered from the first almost _agonising_ transports of joy,
she marked with delight the increased animation and cheerfulness visible
in Mrs. Douglas. All the livelier feelings of her warm heart had indeed
been excited and brought into action by the spirit and playfulness of
her little boy, and the increased happiness of her husband; while all
her uneasiness respecting her former lover was now at an end. She had
heard from himself that he had married, and was happy. Without being
guilty of inconstancy, such are the effects of time upon mutable human
nature!

Colonel Lennox lost no time in arriving to claim his promised bride; and
Mary's happiness was complete when she found her own choice so warmly
approved of by the friends she loved.

The three aunts and their unmarried nieces, now the sole inhabitants of
Glenfern Castle, were not quite decided in their opinions at first. Miss
Jacky looked with a suspicious eye upon the _mortal enemy of the
Maclaughlan race;_ but, upon better acquaintance, his gaiety and
good-humour contrived to charm asleep even her good sense and
prejudices, and she pronounced him to be a pleasant, well-informed young
man, who gave himself no airs, although he certainly had rather a high
look.

Nicky doubted, from his appearance, that he would be nice, and she
had no patience with nice men; but Nicky's fears vanished when she saw,
as she expressed it, "how pleasantly he ate the sheep's head, although
he had never seen one in his life before."

The younger ladies thought Captain M'Nab had a finer complexion, and
wondered whether Colonel Lennox (like him) would be dressed in full
regimentals at his marriage.

But, alas! "all earthly good still blends itself with harm," for on the
day of Mary's marriage--a day consecrated to mirth, and bride-cake, and
wedding favors, and marriage presents, and good cheer, and reels, and
revelry, and bagpipes--on that very day, when the marriage ceremony was
scarcely over, arrived the accounts of the death of Sir Sampson
Maclaughlan! But on this joyous day even Grizzy's tears did not flow so
freely as they would have done at another time; and she declared that
although it was impossible anybody could feel more than she did, yet
certainly it would not be using Colonel and Mrs. Lennox well to be very
distressed upon such an occasion; and there was no doubt but she would
have plenty of time to be sorry about it yet, when they were all sitting
quietly by themselves, with nothing else in their heads; though, to be
sure, they must always think what a blessing it was that Colonel Lennox
was to succeed.

"I wish he may ever fill Sir Sampson's shoes!" said Miss Nicky, with a
sigh.

"Colonel Lennox cannot propose a better model to himself than Sir
Sampson Maclaughlan," said Miss Jacky. "He has left him a noble example
of propriety, frugality, hospitality, and respectability; and, above
all, of forgiveness of his mortal enemies."

"Oh, Mary!" exclaimed Miss Grizzy, as they were about to part with their
niece, "what a lucky creature you are! Never, I am sure, did any young
person set out in life with such advantages. To think of your succeeding
to Lady Maclaughlan's laboratory, all so nicely fitted up with every
kind of thing, and especially plenty of the most charming bark, which,
I'm sure, will do Colonel Lennox the greatest good, as you know all
officers are much the better of bark. I know it was the saving of young
Ballingall's life, when he came home in an ague from some place; and I'm
certain Lady Maclaughlan will leave you everything that is there, you
was always such a favourite. Not but what I must always think that you
had a hand in dear Sir Sampson's death. Indeed, I have no doubt of it.
Yet, at the same time, I don't mean to blame you in the least; for I'm
certain, if Sir Sampson had been spared, he would have been delighted,
as we all are, at your marriage."

Colonel and Mrs. Lennox agreed in making choice of Lochmarlie for their
future residence; and in a virtuous attachment they found as much
happiness as earth's pilgrims ever possess, whose greatest felicity must
spring from a higher source. The extensive influence which generally
attends upon virtue joined to prosperity was used by them for its best
purposes. It was not confined either to rich or poor, to caste or sect;
but all shared in their benevolence whom that benevolence could benefit.
And the poor, he sick, and the desolate, united in blessing what heaven
had already blessed--this happy Marriage.

THE END.





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