Part 2 out of 9
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
"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."_ 
"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
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
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
"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
"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-a-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
"Perhaps I might think him handsome now. People's tastes alter according
"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
"What was your idea of a desert?" said her husband, laughing. "Do tell
"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 _dejeunes et fetes champetres_."
"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
And ever against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs."
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
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.
"You have displaced the mirth, broke the good meeting,
With most admired disorder."
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
"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
"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,
"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
"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
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.
"What choice to choose for delicacy best."
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
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
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  that
shocked you so much, my dear Lady Juliana? I'm sure I wish to goodness
Lady Maclaughlan was come!"
 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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.
"When winter soaks, the fields, and female feet--
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
Or ford the rivulets--are best at home."
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'
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_  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
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
 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.
"On se rend insupportable dans la societe par des
defauts legers, mais qui se font sentir a tout
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
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
Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed--
For contemplation he, and valour formed;
For softness she, and sweet attractive grace."
"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
_a 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
Wanton'd as in her prime, and played at will
Her virgin fancies."
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 _negligee,_ 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, _a 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
"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
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
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
"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
"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
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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"Oh, anything; I like 100 very well, or quadrille, or--1 really don't
The Misses, who had gathered round, and were standing gaping in joyful
expectation of Pope Joan, or a pool at commerce, here exchanged
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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 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
"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
"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
"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;
"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
"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
"If there be cure or charm
To respite or relieve, or slack the pain
Of this ill mansion."
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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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 _eclaircissernent._ 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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"See what delight in sylvan scenes appear!"
"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."
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
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
"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."