Part 4 out of 9
"For trifles why should I displease
The man I love? For trifles such as these
To serious mischiefs lead the man I love."
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
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
"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
"You are very late to-day, my love," cried the mortified
"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
"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 _grossierete! "_
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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.
"To reckon up a thousand of her pranks,
Her pride, her wasteful spending, her unkindness,
Her scolding, pouting, . . .
Were to reap an endless catalogue."
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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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.
"Helas! ou donc chercher ou trouver le bonheur,
Nulle part tout entier, partout avec mesure!"
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 _eclat_ 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
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
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  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.
"Meantime, I remain, my
"Dear Lady Juliana, yours and
"Henry's most affect. aunt,
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
"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.
"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
"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
"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
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
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_,
"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
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
"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
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.
"In age, in infancy, from others' aid
Is all our hope; to teach us to be kind,
That nature's first, last lesson."
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'inutilite de la vie des femmes est la premier source de leurs
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
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
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 eclat 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
"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
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
"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,
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!"
"Th' immortal line in sure succession reigns,
The fortune of the family remains,
And grandsires' grandsons the long list contains."
"We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep."
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
"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
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!
"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
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
"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
"When Loehdow shall turn to a lin, 
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."
"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
"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!
"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 Stael, 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 _eleve _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
"It shows their sense and the effects of education," said Miss Jacky.
"Girls that sup their porridge will always cut a good figure," quoth
"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
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.
_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.
"Unthought of frailties cheat us in the wise;
The fool lies hid in inconsistencies."
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
"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
"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
"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