Part 5 out of 9
to receive her daughter for a _few months;_ firmly resolving in her own
mind to conceal her from all eyes and ears while she remained, and to
return her to her Scotch relations early in the summer.
This worthy resolution formed, she became more serene and awaited the
arrival of her daughter with as much firmness as could reasonably have
"And for unfelt imaginations
They often feel a world of restless cares."
LITTLE weened the good ladies of Glenfern the ungracious reception their
_protegee_ was likely to experience from her mother; for, in spite of
the defects of her education, Mary was a general favourite in the
family; and however they might solace themselves by depreciating her to
Mrs. Douglas, to the world in general, and their young female
acquaintances in particular, she was upheld as an epitome of every
perfection above and below the sun. Had it been possible for them to
conceive that Mary could have been received with anything short of
rapture, Lady Juliana's letter might in some measure have opened the
eyes of their understanding; but to the guileless sisters it seemed
everything that was proper. Sorry for the necessity Mrs. Douglas felt
under of parting with her adopted daughter, was "prettily expressed;"
had no doubt it was merely a slight nervous affection, "was kind and
soothing;" and the assurance, more than once repeated, that her friends
might rely upon her being returned to them in the course of a very few
months, "showed a great deal of feeling and consideration." But as their
minds never maintained a just equilibrium long upon any subject, but,
like falsely adjusted scales, were ever hovering and vibrating at either
extreme, so they could not rest satisfied in the belief that Mary was to
be happy; there must be something to counteract that stilling sentiment;
and that was the apprehension that Mary would be spoilt. This, for the
present, was the pendulum of their imaginations.
"I declare, Mary, my sisters and I could get no sleep last night for
thinking of you," said Miss Grizzy; _"we_ are all certain that Lady
Juliana especially, but indeed all your English relations, will think so
much of you--from not knowing you, you know--which will be quite
natural. I'm sure that my sisters and I have taken it into our
heads--but I hope it won't be the case, as you have a great deal of good
sense of your own--that they will quite turn your head."
"Mary's head is on her shoulders to little purpose," followed up Miss
Jacky, "if she can't stand being made of when she goes amongst
strangers; and she ought to know by this time that a mother's partiality
is no proof of a child's merit."
"You hear that, Mary," rejoined Miss Grizzy; "so I'm sure I hope you
won't mind a word that your mother says to you, I mean about yourself;
for of course you know she can't be such a good judge of you as us, who
have known you all your life. As to other things, I daresay she is very
well informed about the country, and politics, and these sort of
things--I'm certain Lady Juliana knows a great deal."
"And I hope, Mary, you will take care and not get into the daadlin'
handless ways of the English women," said Miss Nicky; "I wouldn't give a
pin for an Englishwoman."
"And I hope you will never look at an Englishman, Mary," said Miss
Grizzy, with equal earnestness; "take my word for it they are a very
dissipated, unprincipled set. They all drink, and game, and keep
race-horses; and many of them, I'm told, even keep play-actresses; so
you may think what it would be for all of us if you were to marry any of
them,"--and tears streamed from the good spinster's eyes at the bare
supposition of such a calamity.
"Don't be afraid, my dear aunt," said Mary, with a kind caress; "I
shall come back to you your own 'Highland Mary.' No Englishman with his
round face and trim meadows shall ever captivate me. Heath covered hills
and high cheek-bones are the charms that must win my heart."
"I'm delighted to hear you say so, my dear Mary," said the
literal-minded Grizzy. "Certainly nothing can be prettier than the
heather when it's in flower; and there is something very manly--nobody
can dispute that--in high cheek-bones; and besides, to tell you a
secret, Lady Maclaughlan has a husband in her eye for you. We none of us
can conceive who it is, but of course he must be suitable in every
respect; for you know Lady Maclaughlan has had three husbands herself;
so of course she must be an excellent judge of a good husband."
"Or a bad one," said Mary, "which is the same thing. Warning is as good
Mrs. Douglas's ideas and those of her aunt, did not coincide upon this
occasion more than upon most others. In her sister-in-Iaw's letter she
flattered herself she saw only fashionable indifference; and she fondly
hoped that would soon give way to a tenderer sentiment, as her daughter
became known to her. At any rate it was proper that Mary should make the
trial, and whichever way it ended, it must be for her advantage.
"Mary has already lived too long in these mountain solitudes," thought
she; "her ideas will become romantic, and her taste fastidious. If it is
dangerous to be too early initiated into the ways of the world, it is
perhaps equally so to live too long secluded from it. Should she make
herself a place in the heart of her mother and sister it will be so much
happiness gained; and should it prove otherwise, it will be a lesson
learnt--a hard one indeed! but hard are the lessons we must all learn in
the school of life!" Yet Mrs. Douglas's fortitude almost failed her as
the period of separation approached.
It had been arranged by Lady Emily that a carriage and servants
should meet Mary at Edinburgh, whither Mr. Douglas was to convey her.
The cruel moment came; and mother, sister, relations, friends,--all the
bright visions which Mary's sanguine spirit had conjured up to soften
the parting pang, all were absorbed in one agonising feeling, one
overwhelming thought. Oh, who that for the first time has parted from
the parent whose tenderness and love were entwined with our earliest
recollections, whose sympathy had soothed our infant sufferings, whose
fondness had brightened our infant felicity;--who that has a heart, but
must have felt it sink beneath the anguish of a first farewell! Yet
bitterer still must be the feelings of the parent upon committing the
cherished object of their cares and affections to the stormy ocean of
life. When experience points to the gathering cloud and rising surge
which soon may assail their defenceless child, what can support the
mother's heart but trust in Him whose eye slumbereth not, and whose
power extendeth over all? It was this pious hope, this holy confidence,
that enabled this more than mother to part from her adopted child with a
resignation which no earthly motive could have imparted to her mind. It
seems almost profanation to mingle with her elevated feelings the coarse
yet simple sorrows of the aunts, old and young, as they clung around the
nearly lifeless Mary, each tendering the parting gift they had kept as a
solace for the last.
Poor Miss Grizzy was more than usually incoherent as she displayed "a
nice new umbrella that could be turned into a nice walking-stick, or
anything;" and a dressing-box, with a little of everything in it; and,
with a fresh burst of tears, Mary was directed where she would _not_
find eye-ointment, and where she was _not_ to look for
Miss Jacky was more composed as she presented a flaming copy of
Fordyce's Sermons to Young Women, with a few suitable observations; but
Miss Nicky could scarcely find voice to tell that the _housewife_ she
now tendered had once been Lady Girnchgowl's, and that it contained
Whitechapel needles of every size and number. The younger ladies had
clubbed for the purchase of a large locket, in which was enshrined a lock
from each subscriber, tastefully arranged by the----- jeweller, in the
form of a wheat sheaf upon a blue ground. Even old Donald had his
offering, and, as he stood tottering at the chaise door, he contrived to
get a "bit snishin mull" laid on Mary's lap, with a "God bless her bonny
face, an'may she ne'er want a good sneesh!"
The carriage drove off, and for a while Mary's eyes were closed in
"Farewell to the mountains, high covered with snow;
Farewell to the straths, and green valleys below;
Farewell to the forests, and wild hanging woods,
Farewell to the torrents, and loud roaring floods!"
HAPPILY in the moral world as in the material one the warring elements
have their prescribed bounds, and "the flood of grief decreaseth when it
can swell no higher;" but it is only by retrospection we can bring
ourselves to believe in this obvious truth. The young and untried heart
hugs itself in the bitterness of its emotions, and takes a pride in
believing that its anguish can end but with its existence; and it is not
till time hath almost steeped our senses in forgetfulness that we
discover the mutability of all human passions.
But Mary left it not to the slow hand of time to subdue in some measure
the grief that swelled her heart. Had she given way to selfishness, she
would have sought the free indulgence of her sorrow as the only
mitigation of it; but she felt also for her uncle. He was depressed at
parting with his wife and child, and he was taking a long and dreary
journey entirely upon her account. Could she therefore be so selfish as
to add to his uneasiness by a display of her sufferings? No--she would
strive to conceal it from his observation, though to overcome it was
impossible. Her feelings must ever remain the same, but, she would
confine them to her own breast; and she began to converse with and even
strove to amuse, her kindhearted companion. Ever and anon indeed a rush
of tender recollections came across her mind, and the soft voice and the
bland countenance of her maternal friend seemed for a moment present to
her senses; and then the dreariness and desolation that succeeded as the
delusion vanished, and all was stillness and vacuity! Even self-reproach
shot its piercing sting into her ingenuous heart; levities on which, in
her usual gaiety of spirit, she had never bestowed a thought, now
appeared to her as crimes of the deepest dye. She thought how often she
had slighted the counsels and neglected the wishes of her gentle
monitress; how she had wearied of her good old aunts, their cracked
voices, and the everlasting _tic-a-tic_ of their knitting needles; how
coarse and vulgar she had sometimes deemed the younger ones; how she had
mimicked Lady Maclaughlan, and caricatured Sir Sampson, and "even poor
dear old Donald," said she, as she summed up the catalogue of her
crimes, "could not escape my insolence and ill-nature. How clever I
thought it to sing 'Haud awa frae me, Donald,' and how affectedly I
shuddered at everything he touched;" and the "sneeshin mull" was bedewed
with tears of affectionate contrition. But every painful sentiment was
for a while suspended in admiration of the magnificent scenery that was
spread around them. Though summer had fled, and few even of autumn's
graces remained, yet over the august features of mountain scenery the
seasons have little control. Their charms depend not upon richness of
verdure, or luxuriance of foliage, or any of the mere prettinesses of
nature; but whether wrapped in snow, or veiled in mist, or glowing in
sunshine, their lonely grandeur remains the same; and the same feelings
fill and elevate the soul in contemplating these mighty works of an
Almighty hand. The eye is never weary in watching the thousand varieties
of light and shade, as they flit over the mountain and gleam upon the
lake; and the ear is satisfied with the awful stillness of nature in her
Others besides Mary seemed to have taken a fanciful pleasure in
combining the ideas of the mental and elemental world, for in the dreary
dwelling where they were destined to pass the night she found inscribed
the following lines:--
"The busy winds war mid the waving bonghs,
And darkly rolls the heaving surge to land;
Among the flying clouds the moonbeam glows
With colours foreign to its softness bland.
"Here, one dark shadow melts, in gloom profound,
The towering Alps--the guardians of the Lake';
There, one bright gleam sheds silver light around,
And shows the threat'ning strife that tempests wake.
"Thus o'er my mind a busy memory plays,
That shakes the feelings to their inmost core;
Thus beams the light of Hope's fallacious ray,
When simple confidence can trust no more.
"So one dark shadow shrouds each bygone hour,
So one bright gleam the coming tempest shows;
_That _tells of sorrows, which, though past, still lower,
And _this_ reveals th' approach of future woes."
While Mary was trying to decipher these somewhat mystic lines, her uncle
was carrying on a colloquy in Gaelic with their hostess. The
consequendes of the consultation were not of the choicest description,
consisting of braxy  mutton, raw potatoes, wet bannocks, hard
cheese, and whisky. Very differently would the travellers have fared had
the good Nicky's intentions been fulfilled. She had prepared with her
own hands a moorfowl pie and potted nowt's head, besides a profusion of
what she termed "trifles, just for Mary, poor thing, to divert herself
with upon the road." But alas! in the anguish of separation, the covered
basket had been forgot, and the labour of Miss Nicky's hands fell to be
consumed by the family, though Miss Grizzy protested, with tears in her
eyes, "that it went to her heart like a knife to eat poor Mary's puffs
 Sheep that have died a natural death and been salted.
Change of air and variety of scene failed not to produce the happiest
effects upon Mary's languid frame and drooping spirits. Her cheek,
already glowed with health, and was sometimes dimpled with smiles. She
still wept, indeed, as she thought of those she had left; but often,
while the tear trembled in her eye, its course was arrested by wonder,
or admiration, or delight; for every object had its charms for her. Her
cultivated taste and unsophisticated mind could descry beauty in the
form of a hill, and grandeur in the foam of the wave, and elegance in
the weeping birch, as it dipped its now almost leafless boughs in the
mountain stream. These simple pleasures, unknown alike to the sordid
mind and vitiated taste, are ever exquisitely enjoyed by the refined
yet unsophisticated child of nature.
"Her native sense improved by reading,
Her native sweetness by good breeding."
DURING their progress through the Highlands the travellers were
hospitably entertained at the mansions of the country gentlemen, where
old-fashioned courtesy and modern comfort combined to cheer the stranger
guest. But upon _coming out,_ as it is significantly expressed by the
natives of these mountain regions, viz. entering the low country, they
found they had only made a change of difficulties. In the highlands they
were always sure that wherever there was a house that house would be to
them a home; but on a fairday in the little town of G----- they found
themselves in the midst of houses, and surrounded by people, yet unable
to procure rest or shelter.
At the only inn the place afforded they were informed "the horses were
baith oot, an' the ludgin' a' tane up, an' mair tu;" while the driver
asserted, what indeed was apparent, "that his beasts war nae fit to gang
the length o' their tae farrer--no for the king himsel'."
At this moment a stout, florid, good-humoured-looking man passed,
whistling "Roy's Wife" with all his heart and just as Mr. Douglas was
stepping out of the carriage to try what could be done, the same person,
evidently attracted by curiosity, repassed, changing his tune to
"There's cauld kail in Aberdeen."
He started at sight of Mr. Douglas; then eagerly grasping his hand,
"Ah! Archie Douglas, is this you?" exclaimed he with a loud laugh and
hearty shake. "'What! you haven't forgot your old schoolfellow Bob
A mutual recognition now took place, and much pleasure was manifested on
both sides at this unexpected rencontre. No time was allowed to explain
their embarrassments, for Mr. Gawffaw had already tipped the post-boy
the wink (which he seemed easily to comprehend); and forcing Mr.
Douglas to resume his seat in the carriage, he jumped in himself.
"Now for Howffend and Mrs. Gawffaw! ha, ha, ha! This will be a surprise
upon her. She thinks I'm in my barn all this time--ha, ha, ha!"
Mr. Douglas here began to express his astonishment at his friend's
precipitation, and his apprehensions as to the trouble they might
occasion Mrs. Gawffaw; but bursts of laughter and broken expressions of
delight were the only replies he could procure from his friend.
After jolting over half a mile of very bad road, the carriage
stopped at a mean vulgar-looking mansion, with dirty windows, ruinous
thatched offices, and broken fences.
Such was the picture of still life. That of animated nature was not less
picturesque. Cows bellowed, and cart-horses neighed, and pigs grunted,
and geese gabbled, and ducks quacked, and cocks and hens flapped and
fluttered promiscuously, as they mingled in a sort of yard divided from
the house by a low dyke, possessing the accommodation of a crazy gate,
which was bestrode by a parcel of bare-legged boys.
"What are you about, you confounded rascals?" called Mr. Gawffaw to
"Naething," answered one.
"We're just takin' a heize on the yett," answered another.
"I'll heize ye, ye scoundrels!" exclaimed the incensed Mr. Gawffaw, as
he burst from the carriage; and, snatching the driver's whip from his
hand, flew after the more nimble-footed culprits.
Finding his efforts to overtake them in vain, here turned to the door of
his mansion, where stood his guests, waiting to be ushered in. He opened
the door himself, and led the way to a parlour which was quite of a piece
with the exterior of the dwelling. A dim dusty table stood in the middle
of the floor, heaped with a variety of heterogeneous articles of dress;
an exceeding dirty volume of a novel lay open amongst them. The floor
was littered with shapings of flannel, and shreds of gauzes, ribbons,
etc. The fire was almost out, and the hearth was covered with ashes.
After insisting upon his guests being seated, Mr. Gawffaw walked to the
door of the apartment, and hallooed out, "Mrs. Gawffaw,--ho! May, my
dear!--I say, Mrs. Gawffaw!"
A low, croaking, querulous voice was now heard in reply, "For heaven's
sake, Mr. Gawffaw, make less noise! For God's sake, have mercy on the
walls of your house, if you've none on my poor head!" And thereupon
entered Mrs. Gawffaw, a cap in one hand, which she appeared to have
been tying on--a smelling-bottle in the other.
She possessed a considerable share of insipid and somewhat faded beauty,
but disguised by a tawdry trumpery style of dress, and rendered almost
disgusting by the air of affectation, folly, and peevishness that
overspread her whole person and deportment. She testified the utmost
surprise and coldness at sight of her guests; and, as she entered, Mr.
Gawffaw rushed out, having descried something passing in the yard that
called for his interposition. Mr. Douglas was therefore under the
necessity of introducing himself and Mary to their ungracious hostess;
briefly stating the circumstances that had led them to be her guests,
and dwelling, with much warmth, on the kindness and hospitality of her
husband in having relieved them from their embarrassment. A gracious
smile, or what was intended as such, beamed over Mrs. Gawffaw's face at
first mention of their names.
"Excuse me, Mr. Douglas," said she, making a profound reverence to him,
and another to Mary, while she waved her hand for them to be seated.
"Excuse me, Miss Douglas; but situated as I am, I find it necessary to
be very distant to Mr. Gawffaw's friends sometimes. He is a thoughtless
man, Mr. Douglas--a very thoughtless man. He makes a perfect inn of his
house. He never lies out of the town, trying who he can pick up and
bring home with him. It is seldom I am so fortunate as to see such
guests as Mr. and Miss Douglas of Glenfern Castle in my house," with an
elegant bow to each, which of course was duly returned. "But Mr. Gawffaw
would have shown more consideration, both for you and me, had he
apprised me of the honour of your visit, instead of bringing you here in
this ill bred, unceremonious manner. As for me, I am too well accustomed
to him to be hurt at these things now. He has kept me in hot water, I
may say, since the day I married him."
In spite of the conciliatory manner in which this agreeable address was
made, Mr. Douglas felt considerably disconcerted, and again renewed his
apologies, adding something about hopes of being able to proceed.
"Make no apologies, my dear sir," said the lady, with what she deemed a
most bewitching manner; "it affords me the greatest pleasure to see any
of your family under my roof. I meant no reflection on you; it is
entirely Mr. Gawffaw that is to blame, in not having apprised me of the
honour of this visit, that I might not have been caught in this
deshabille; but I was really so engaged by my studies--" pointing to the
dirty novel--"that I was quite unconscious of the lapse of time." The
guests felt more and more at a loss what to say; but the lady, was at
none. Seeing Mr. Douglas still standing with his hat in his hand, and
his eye directed towards the door, she resumed her discourse.
"Pray be seated, Mr. Douglas; I beg you will sit off the door. Miss
Douglas, I entreat you will walk into the fire; I hope you will consider
yourself as quite at home"--another elegant bend to each. "I only regret
that Mr. Gawffaw's folly and ill-breeding should have brought you into
this disagreeable situation, Mr. Douglas. He is a well-meaning man, Mr.
Douglas, and a good-hearted man; but he is very deficient in other
respects, Mr. Douglas."
Mr. Douglas, happy to find anything to which he could assent, warmly
joined in the eulogium on the excellence of his friend's heart. It did
not appear, however, to give the satisfaction he expected. The lady
resumed with a sigh, "Nobody can know Mr. Gawffaw's heart better than I
do, Mr. Douglas. It _is_ a good one, but it is far from being an elegant
one; it is one in which I find no congeniality of sentiment with my own.
Indeed, Mr. Gawffaw is no companion for me, nor I for him, Mr. Douglas;
he is never happy in my society, and I really believe he would rather
sit down with the tinklers on the roadside as spend a day in my
A deep sigh followed; but its pathos was drowned in the obstreperous ha,
ha, ha! of her joyous helpmate, as he bounced into the room, wiping his
"'Why, May, my dear, what have you been to-day? Things have been all
going to the deuce. Why didn't you hinder these boys from sweein' the
gate off its hinges, and--"
"Me hinder boys from sweein' gates, Mr. Gawffaw! Do I look like as if I
was capable of hindering boys from sweein' gates, Miss Douglas?"
"Well, my dear, you ought to look after your pigs a little better. That
jade, black Jess, has trod a parcel of them to death, ha, ha, ha! And--"
"Me look after pigs, Mr. Gawffaw! I am really astonished at you!" again
interrupted the lady, turning pale with vexation. Then, with an affected
giggle, appealing to Mary, "I leave you to judge, Miss Douglas, if I
look like a person made for running after pigs!"
"Indeed," thought Mary, "you don't look like as if you could do
anything half so useful."
"Well, never mind the pigs, my dear; only don't give us any of them for
dinner--ha, ha, ha I--and, May, when will you let us have it?"
"Me let you have it, Mr. Gawffaw! I'm sure I don't hinder you from
having it when you please, only you know I prefer late hours myself. I
was always accustomed to them in my poor father's lifetime. He never
dined before four o'clock; and I seldom knew what it was to be in my bed
before twelve o'clock at night, Miss Douglas, till I married Mr. Gawffaw!"
Mary tried to look sorrowful, to hide the smile that was dimpling her
"Come, let us have something to eat in the meantime, my dear."
"I'm sure you may eat the house, if you please, for me, Mr. Gawffaw!
What would you take, Miss Douglas? But pull the bell--softly, Mr.
Gawffaw! You do everything so violently."
A dirty maid-servant, with bare feet, answered the summons.
"Where's Tom?" demanded the lady, well knowing that Tom was afar off at
some of the farm operations.
"I ken nae whar he's. He'll be aether at the patatees, or the horses,
I'se warran. Div ye want him?"
"Bring some glasses," said her mistress, with an air of great dignity.
"Mr. Gawffaw, you must see about the wine yourself since you have sent
Tom out of the way."
Mr. Gawffaw and his handmaid were soon heard in an adjoining closet;
the one wondering where the screw was, the other vociferating for a
knife to cut the bread; while the mistress of this well-regulated
mansion sought to divert her guests' attention from what was passing by
entertaining them with complaints of Mr. Gawffaw's noise and her maid's
insolence till the parties appeared to speak for themselves.
After being refreshed with some very bad wine and old baked bread, the
gentlemen set off on a survey of the farm, and the ladies repaired to
their toilets. Mary's simple dress was quickly adjusted; and upon
descending she found her uncle alone in what Mrs. Gawffaw had shown to
her as the drawing room. He guessed her curiosity to know something of
her hosts, and therefore briefly informed her that Mrs. Gawffaw was the
daughter of a trader in some manufacturing town, who had lived in
opulence and died insolvent. During his life his daughter had eloped
with Bob Gawffaw, then a gay lieutenant in a marching regiment, who had
been esteemed a very lucky fellow in getting the pretty Miss Croaker,
with the prospect of ten thousand pounds. None thought more highly of
her husband's good fortune than the lady herself; and though _her_
fortune never was realised, she gave herself all the airs of having been
the making of his. At this time Mr. Gawffaw was a reduced lieutenant,
living upon a small paternal property, which he pretended to farm; but
the habits of a military life, joined to a naturally social disposition,
were rather inimical to the pursuits of agriculture, and most of his time
was spent in loitering about the village of G-----, where he generally
continued either to pick up a guest or procure a dinner.
Mrs. Gawffaw despised her husband; had weak nerves and headaches--was
above managing her house--read novels--dyed ribbons--and altered her
gowns according to every pattern she could see or hear of.
Such were Mr. and Mrs. Gawffaw--one of the many ill-assorted couples in
this world--joined, not matched. A sensible man would have curbed her
folly and peevishness; a good-tempered woman would have made his home
comfortable, and rendered him more domestic.
The dinner was such as might have been expected from the previous
specimens--bad of its kind, cold, ill-dressed, and slovenly set down;
but Mrs. Gawtfaw seemed satisfied with herself and it.
"This is very fine mutton, Mr. Douglas, and not underdone to most
people's tastes; and this fowl, I have no doubt will eat well, Miss
Douglas, though it is not so white as some I have seen."
"The fowl, my dear, looks as if it had been the great-grandmother
of this sheep, ha, ha, ha!"
"For heaven's sake, Mr. Gawffaw, make less noise, or my head will split
in a thousand pieces!" putting her hands to it, as if to hold the frail
tenement together. This was always her refuge when at a loss for a
A very ill-concocted pudding next called forth her approbation.
"This pudding should be good; for it is the same I used to be so
partial to in my poor father's lifetime, when I was used to every
delicacy, Miss Douglas, that money could purchase."
"But you thought me the greatest delicacy of all, my dear, ha, ha, ha!
for you left all your other delicacies for me, ha, ha, ha I--what do you
say to that, May? ha, ha, ha!"
May's reply consisted in putting her hands to her head, with an air of
inexpressible vexation; and finding all her endeavours to be elegant
frustrated by the overpowering vulgarity of her husband, she remained
silent during the remainder of the repast; solacing herself with
complacent glances at her yellow silk gown, and adjusting the gold
chains and necklaces that adorned her bosom.
Poor Mary was doomed to a _tete-a-tete_ with her during the whole
evening; for Mr. Gawffaw was too happy _with_ his friend, and _without_
his wife, to quit the dining-room till a late hour; and then he was so
much exhilarated, that she could almost have joined Mrs. Gawffaw in her
exclamation of "For heaven's sake, Mr. Gawffaw, have mercy on my head!"
The night, however, like all other nights, had a close; and Mrs.
Gawffaw, having once more enjoyed the felicity of finding herself in
company at twelve o'clock at night, at length withdraw; and having
apologised, and hoped, and feared, for another hour in Mary's apartment,
she finally left her to the blessings of solitude and repose.
As Mr. Douglas was desirous of reaching Edinburgh the following day,
he had, in spite of the urgent remonstrances of his friendly host and
the elegant importunities of his lady, ordered the carriage at an early
hour; and Mary was too eager to quit Howffend to keep it waiting. Mr.
Gawffaw was in readiness to hand her in, but fortunately Mrs. Gaffaw's
head did not permit of her rising. With much the same hearty laugh that
had welcomed their meeting, honest Gawffaw now saluted the departure of
his friend; and as he went whistling over his gate, he ruminated sweet
and bitter thoughts as to the destinies of the day--whether he should
solace himself with a good dinner and the company of Bailie Merry
thought at the Cross Keys in G----, or put up with cold mutton, and May,
"Edina! Scotia's darling seat!
All hail thy palaces and tow'rs,
Where once, beneath a monarch's feet,
Sat legislation's sov'reign pow'rs!"
ALL Mary's sensations of admiration were faint compared to those she
experienced as she viewed the Scottish metropolis. It was associated in
her mind with all the local prepossessions to which youth and enthusiasm
love to give "a local habitation and a name;" and visions of older times
floated o'er her mind as she gazed on its rocky battlements, and
traversed the lonely arcades of its deserted palace.
"And this was once a gay court!" thought she, as she listened to the
dreary echo of her own footsteps; "and this very ground on which I now
stand was trod by the hapless Mary Stuart! Her eye beheld the same
objects that mine now rests upon; her hand has touched the draperies I
now hold in mine. These frail memorials remain; but what remains of
Scotland's Queen but a blighted name!"
Even the blood-stained chamber possessed a nameless charm for
Mary's vivid imagination. She had not entirely escaped the superstitions
of the country in which she had lived; and she readily yielded her
assent to the asseverations of her guide as to its being the _bona fide_
blood of _David Rizzio,_ which for nearly three hundred years had
resisted all human efforts to efface.
"My credulity is so harmless," said she in answer to her uncle's attempt
to laugh her out of her belief, "that I surely may be permitted to
indulge it especially since I confess I feel a sort of indescribable
pleasure in it."
"You take a pleasure in the sight of blood!" exclaimed Mr. Douglas in
astonishment, "you who turn pale at sight of a cut finger, and shudder
at a leg of mutton with the juice in it!"
"Oh! mere modern vulgar blood is very shocking," answered Mary, with a
smile; "but observe how this is mellowed by time into a tint that could
not offend the most fastidious fine lady; besides," added she in a
graver tone, "I own I love to believe in things supernatural; it seems
to connect us more with another world than when everything is seen to
proceed in the mere ordinary course of nature, as it is called. I cannot
bear to imagine a dreary chasm betwixt the inhabitants of this world and
beings of a higher sphere; I love to fancy myself surrounded by----"
"I wish to heaven you would remember you are surrounded by rational
beings, and not fall into such rhapsodies," said her uncle, glancing at
a party who stood near them, jesting upon all the objects which Mary had
been regarding with so much veneration. "But come, you have been long
enough here. Let us try whether a breeze on the Calton Hill will not
dispel these cobwebs from your brain."
The day, though cold, was clear and sunny; and the lovely spectacle
before them shone forth in all its gay magnificence. The blue waters lay
calm and motionless. The opposite shores glowed in a thousand varied
tints of wood and plain, rock and mountain, cultured field and purple
moor. Beneath, the old town reared its dark brow, and the new one
stretched its golden lines; while all around the varied charms of nature
lay scattered in that profusion which nature's hand alone can bestow.
"Oh! this is exquisite!" exclaimed Mary after along pause, in which she
had been riveted in admiration of the scene before her. "And you are in
the right, my dear uncle. The ideas which are inspired by the
contemplation of such a spectacle as this are far--oh, how
far!--superior to those excited by the mere works of art. There I can,
at best, think but of the inferior agents of Providence; here the soul
rises from nature up to nature's God."
"Upon my soul, you will be taken for a Methodist, Mary, if you talk in
this manner," said Mr. Douglas, with some marks of disquiet, as he
turned round at the salutation of a fat elderly gentleman, whom he
presently recognised as Bailie Broadfoot.
The first salutations over, Mr. Douglas's fears of Mary having been
overheard recurred, and he felt anxious to remove any unfavourable
impression with regard to his own principles, at least, from the mind of
the enlightened magistrate.
"Your fine views here have set my niece absolutely raving," said he,
with a smile; "but I tell her it is only in romantic minds that fine
scenery inspires romantic ideas. I daresay many of the worthy
inhabitants of Edinburgh walk here with no other idea than that of
sharpening their appetites for dinner."
"Nae doot," said the Bailie, "it's a most capital place for that. Were
it no' for that I ken nae muckle use it would be of."
"You speak from experience of its virtues in that respect, I suppose?"
said Mr. Douglas gravely.
"'Deed, as to that I canna compleen. At times, to be sure, I am troubled
with a little kind of a squeamishness after our public interteenments;
but three rounds o' the hill sets a' to rights."
Then observing Mary's eyes exploring, as he supposed, the town of Leith,
"You see that prospeck to nae advantage the day, miss," said he. "If
the glasshouses had been workin', it would have looked as weel again.
Ye hae nae glass-houses in the Highlands; na, na."
The Bailie had a share in the concern; and the volcanic clouds of
smoke that issued from thence were far more interesting subjects of
speculation to him than all the eruptions of Vesuvius or Etna. But there
was nothing to charm the lingering view to-day; and he therefore
proposed their taking a look at Bridewell, which, next to the smoke from
the glass-houses, he reckoned the object most worthy of notice. It was
indeed deserving of the praises bestowed upon it; and Mary was giving
her whole attention to the details of it when she was suddenly startled
by hearing her own name wailed in piteous accents from one of the lower
cells, and, upon turning round, she discovered in the prisoner the son
of one of the tenants of Glenfern. Duncan M'Free had been always looked
upon as a very honest lad in the Highlands, but he had left home to push
his fortune as a pedlar; and the temptations of the low country having
proved too much for his virtue, poor Duncan as now expiating his offence
in durance vile.
"I shall have a pretty account of you to carry to Glenfern," said Mr.
Douglas, regarding the culprit with his sternest look.
"Oh 'deed, sir, it's no' my faut!" answered Duncan, blubbering
bitterly; "but there's nae freedom at a' in this country. Lord, an' I
war oot o't! Ane canna ca' their head their ain in't; for ye canna lift
the bouk o' a prin but they're a' upon ye." And a fresh burst of sorrow
Finding the _peccadillo_ was of a venial nature, Mr. Douglas besought
the Bailie to us his interest to procure the enfranchisement of this his
vassal, which Mr. Broadfoot, happy to oblige a good customer, promised
should be obtained on the following day; and Duncan's emotions being
rather clamorous, the party found it necessary to withdraw.
"And noo," said the Bailie, as they emerged from his place of dole and
durance, "will ye step up to the monument, and tak a rest and some
"Rest and refreshment in a monument!" exclaimed Mr. Douglas. "Excuse
me, my good friend, but we are not inclined to bait there yet a while."
The Bailie did not comprehend the joke; and he proceeded in his own
drawling humdrum accent to assure them that the monument was a most
"It was erected in honour of Lord Neilson's memory," said he, "and is
let aff to a pastrycook and confectioner, where you can always find some
trifles to treat the ladies, such as pies and custards, and berries, and
these sort of things; but we passed an order in the cooncil that there
should be naething of a spirituous nature introduced; for if ance
spirits got admittance there's no saying what might happen."
This was a fact which none of the party were disposed to dispute; and
the Bailie, triumphing in his dominion over the spirits, shuffled on
before to do the honours of this place, appropriated at one and the same
time to the manes of a hero and the making of minced pies. The regale
was admirable, and Mary could not help thinking times were improved, and
that it was a better thing to eat tarts in Lord Nelson's Monument than
to have been poisoned in Julius Caesar's.
"Having a tongue rough as a cat, and biting like an adder, and all their
reproofs are direct scoldings, their common intercourse is open
"THOUGH last, not least of nature's works, I must now introduce you to a
friend of mine," said Mr. Douglas, as, the Bailie having made his bow,
they bent their steps towards the Castle Hill. "Mrs. Violet Macshake is
an aunt of my mother's, whom you must often have heard of, and the last
remaining branch of the noble race of Girnachgowl."
"I am afraid she is rather a formidable person, then?" said Mary.
Her uncle hesitated. "No, not formidable--only rather particular, as all
old people are; but she is very good-hearted."
"I understand, in other words, she is very disagreeable. All
ill-tempered people, I observe, have the character of being
good-hearted; or else all good people are ill-tempered, I can't tell
"It is more than reputation with her," said Mr. Douglas, somewhat
angrily: "for she is, in reality, a very good-hearted woman, as I
experienced when a boy at college. Many a crown piece and half-guinea I
used to get from her. Many a scold, to be sure, went along with them;
but that, I daresay, I deserved. Besides, she is very rich, and I am her
reputed heir; therefore gratitude and self-interest combine to render her
extremely amiable in my estimation."
They had now reached the airy dwelling where Mrs. Macshake resided, and
having rung, the door was at length most deliberately opened by an
ancient, sour-visaged, long-waisted female, who ushered them into an
apartment, the _coup d'oeil_ of which struck a chill to Mary's heart. It
was a good-sized room, with a bare sufficiency of small-legged
dining-tables, and lank haircloth chairs, ranged in high order round the
walls. Although the season was advanced, and the air piercing cold, the
grate stood smiling in all the charms of polished steel; and the
mistress of the mansion was seated by the side of it in an arm-chair,
still in its summer position. She appeared to have no other occupation
than what her own meditations afforded; for a single glance sufficed to
show that not a vestige of book or work was harboured there. She was a
tall, large-boned woman, whom even Time's iron hands scarcely bent, as
she merely stooped at the shoulders. She had a drooping snuffy nose, a
long turned-up chin, small quick gray eyes, and her face projected
far beyond her figure, with an expression of shrewd restless curiosity.
She wore a mode (not _a-la-mode )_ bonnet, and cardinal of the
same, a pair of clogs over her shoes, and black silk mittens on her arms.
As soon as she recognised Mr. Douglas she welcomed him with much
cordiality, shook him long and heartily by the hand, patted him on the
back, looked into his face with much seeming satisfaction; and, in
short, gave all the demonstrations of gladness usual with gentlewomen of
a certain age. Her pleasure, however, appeared to be rather an
_impromptu_ than an habitual feeling; for as the surprise wore off her
visage resumed its harsh and sarcastic expression, and she seemed eager
to efface any agreeable impression her reception might have
"An' wha thought o' seein ye enow?" said she, in a quick gabbling voice.
"What brought you to the toon? Are ye come to spend our honest faither's
siller ere he's weel cauld in his grave, puir man?"
Mr. Douglas explained that it was upon account of his niece's health.
"Health!" repeated she, with a sardonic smile; "it wad mak' an ool
laugh to hear the wark that's made aboot young fowk's health noo-a-days.
I wonder what ye're aw made o' "--grasping Mary's arm in her great bony
hand--"a wheen puir feckless windlestraes; ye maun awa' to Ingland for
ye're healths. Set ye up! I wonder what cam' o' the lasses i' my time,
that bute to bide at hame? And whilk o' ye, I sude like to ken, 'II ere
leive to see ninety-sax, like me? Health!--he, he !"
Mary, glad of a pretence to in indulge the mirth the old lady's manner
and appearance had excited, joined most heartily in the laugh.
"Tak. aff ye're bannet, bairn, an' let me see ye're face. Wha can tell
what like ye are wi' that snule o' a thing on ye're head?" Then after
taking an accurate survey of her face, she pushed aside her pelisse."
Weel, it's ae mercy, I see ye hae neither the red heed nor the muckle
cuits o' the Douglases. I ken nae whuther ye're faither had them or no.
I ne'er set een on him; neither him nor his braw leddie thought it worth
their while to speer after me; but I was at nae loss, by aw accounts."
"You have not asked after any of your Glenfern friends," said Mr.
Douglas, hoping to touch a more sympathetic chord.
"Time eneugh. Wull ye let me draw my breath, man? Fowk canna say awthing
at ance. An' ye bute to hae an Inglish wife tu; a Scotch lass wad nae
serr ye. An' ye're wean, I'se warran', it's ane o' the warld's wonders;
it's been unco lang o' cummin--he, he!"
"He has begun life under very melancholy auspices, poor fellow!" said
Mr. Douglas, in allusion to his father's death.
"An' wha's faut was that? I ne'er heard tell the like o't; to hae the
bairn kirsened an' its grandfather deein! But fowk are naither born,
nor kirsened, nor do they wad or dee as they used to du---awthing's
"You must, indeed, have witnessed many changes," observed Mr. Douglas,
rather at a loss how to utter anything of a conciliatory nature.
"Changes!--weel a wat, I sometimes wonder if it's the same warld,
an' if it's my ain heed that's upon my shoothers."
"But with these changes you must also have seen many improvements?"
said Mary, in a tone of diffidence.
"Impruvements!" turning sharply round upon her; "what ken ye about
impruvements, bairn? A bony impruvement or ens no, to see tyleyors and
sclaters leavin whar I mind jewks an yerls. An' that great glowrin' new
toon there"--pointing out of her windows--"whar I used to sit an' luck
oot at bonny green parks, and see the coos milket, and the bits o'
bairnies rowin' an' tummlin,' an' the lasses trampin i' their tubs--what
see I noo, but stane an' lime, an' stoor' an' dirt, an' idle cheels, an'
dinket-oot madams prancin'. Impruvements, indeed!"
Mary found she was not likely to advance her uncle's fortune by the
judiciousness of her remarks, therefore prudently resolved to hazard no
more. Mr. Douglas, who was more _au fait_ to the prejudices of old age,
and who was always amused with her bitter remarks when they did not
touch himself, encouraged her to continue the conversation by some
observation on the prevailing manners.
"Mainers!" repeated she, with a contemptuous laugh, "what caw ye
mainers noo, for I dinna ken? Ilk ane gangs bang in till their neebor's
hoose, and bang oot o't as it war a chynge-hoose; an' as for the maister
o't, he's no o' sae muckle vaalu as tho flunky ahynt his chyre. I' my
grandfather's time, as I hae heard him tell, ilka maister o' a faamily
had his ain sate in his ain hoose aye, an' sat wi' his hat on his heed
afore the best o' the land, an' had his ain dish, an' was aye helpit
first, an' keepit up his owthority as a man sude du. Paurents war
paurents then; bairnes dardna set up their gabs afore them than as they
du noo. They ne'er presumed to say their heeds war their ain i' thae
days--wife an' servants, reteeners an' childer, aw trummelt i' the
presence o' their heed."
Here a long pinch of snuff caused a pause in the old lady's harangue;
but after having duly wiped her nose with her coloured handkerchief, and
shook off all the particles that might be presumed to have lodged upon
her cardinal, she resumed--
"An' nae word o' ony o' your sisters gaun to get husbands yet? They
tell me they're but coorse lasses: an' wha'll tak ill-farred tocherless
queans whan there's walth o' bonny faces an' lang purses i' the
market--he, he!" Then resuming her scrutiny of Mary--"An' I'se warran'
ye'll be lucken for an Inglish sweetheart tu that'll be what's takin' ye
awa' to Ingland."
"On the contrary," said Mr. Douglas, seeing Mary was too much
frightened to answer for herself--"on the contrary, Mary declares she
will never marry any but a true Highlander--one who wears the dirk and
plaid, and has the second-sight. And the nuptials are to be celebrated
with all the pomp of feudal times; with bagpipes, and bonfires, and
gatherings of clans, and roasted sheep, and barrels of whisky, and--"
"Weel a wat, an' she's i' the right there," interrupted Mrs. Macshake,
with more complacency than she had yet shown. "They may caw them what
they like, but there's nae waddins noo. Wha's the better o' them but
innkeepers and chise-drivers? I wud nae count mysel' married i' the
hiddlins way they gang aboot it noo."
"I daresay you remember these, things done in a very different style?"
said Mr. Douglas.
"I dinna mind them whan the war at he best; but I hae heard my mither
tell what a bonny ploy was at her waddin. I canna tell ye hoo mony was
at it; mair nor the room wad haud, ye may be sure, for every relation
an' freend o' baith sides war there, as well they sude; an' aw in full
dress: the leddies in their hoops round them, an' some o' them had
sutten up aw night till hae their heeds drest; for they hadnae thae
pooket-like taps ye hae noo," looking with contempt at Mary's Grecian
contour. "An' the bride's goon was aw shewed ow'r wi' favour, frae the
tap doon to the tail, an' aw roond the neck, an' aboot the sleeves; and,
as soon as the ceremony was ow'r, ilk ane ran till her, an' rugget an'
rave at her for the favours till they hardly left the claise upon her
back. Than they did nae run awa as they du noo, but sax an't hretty o'
them sat doon till a graund denner, and there was a ball at night, an'
ilka night till Sabbath cam' roond; an' than the bride an' the
bridegroom, drest in their waddin suits, an' aw their freends 'n theirs,
wi' their favours on their breests, walkit in procession till the kirk.
An' was nae that something like a waddin? It was worth while to be
married i' thae days-he, he!"
"The wedding seems to have been admirably conducted," said Mr. Douglas,
with much solemnity. "The christening, I presume, would be the next
distinguished event in the family?"
"Troth, Archie-an' ye sude keep your thoomb upon kirsnins as lang's ye
leeve; yours was a bonnie kirsnin or ens no! I hae heard o' mony things,
but a bairn kirsened whan its grandfaither was i' the deed-thraw, I
ne'er heard tell o' before." Then observing the indignation that spread
over Mr. Douglas's face, she quickly resumed, "An' so ye think the
kirsnin was the neist ploy? He, he! Na; the cryin was a ploy, for the
leddies did nae keep themsels up than as they do noo; but the day after
the bairn was born, the leddy sat up i' her bed, wi' her fan intill her
hand; an' aw her freends earn' an' stud roond her, an' drank her health
an' the bairn's. Than at the leddy's recovery there was a graund supper
gien that they caw'd the _cummerfealls,_ an' there was a great pyramid
o' hens at the tap o' the table, an' anither pyramid o' ducks at the
fit, an' a muckle stoup fu' o' posset i' the middle, an' aw kinds o'
sweeties doon the sides; an' as sune as ilk ane had eatin their fill
they aw flew till the sweeties, an' fought, an' strave, an' wrastled for
them, leddies an' gentlemen an' aw; for the brag was wha could pocket
maist; an' whiles they wad hae the claith aff the table, an' aw thing i'
the middle i' the floor, an' the chyres upside doon. Oo! muckle gude
diversion, I'se warran,' was at the _cummerfealls_. Than whan they had
drank the stoup dry, that ended the ploy. As for the kirsnin, that was
aye whar it sude be--i' the hoose o' God, an' aw the kith an' kin bye in
full dress, an' a band o' maiden cimmers aw in white; an' a bonny sight
it was, as I've heard my mither tell."
Mr. Douglas, who was now rather tired of the old lady's reminiscences,
availed himself of the opportunity of a fresh pinch to rise and take
"Oo, what's takin' ye awa, Archie, in sic a hurry? Sit doon there,"
laying her hand upon his arm, "an' rest ye, an' tak a glass o' wine, an'
a bit breed; or may be," turning to Mary, "ye wad rather hae a drap
broth to warm ye. What gars ye luck sae blae, bairn? I'm sure it's no
cauld; but ye're juste like the lave; ye gang aw skiltin aboot the
streets half naked, an' than ye maun sit an' birsle yoursels afore the
fire at hame."
She had now shuffled along to the farther end of the room, and opening a
press, took out wine, and a plateful of various-shaped articles of
bread, which she handed to Mary.
"Hae, bairn--tak a cookie; tak it up--what are you fear'd for? It'll no
bite ye. Here's t'ye, Glenfern, an' your wife, an' your wean, puir tead;
it's no had a very chancy ootset, weel a wat."
The wine being drunk, and the cookies discussed, Mr. Douglas made
another attempt to withdraw, but in vain.
"Canna ye sit still a wee, man, an' let me spear after my auld freens at
Glenfern? Hoo's Grizzy, an' Jacky, and Nicky? Aye workin awa at the
pills an' the drogs?---he, he! I ne'er swallowed a pill, nor gied a doit
for drogs aw my days, an' see an ony of them'll rin a race wi' me whan
they're naur five score."
Mr. Douglas here paid her some compliments upon her appearance, which
were pretty graciously received; and added that he was the bearer of a
letter from his Aunt Grizzy, which he would send along with a roebuck
and brace of moor-game.
"Gin your roebuck's nae better than your last, at weel it's no worth the
sendin'-poor dry fisinless dirt, no worth the chowing; weel a wat I
begrudged my teeth on't. Your muirfowl was na that ill, but they're no
worth the carryin; they're dong cheap i'the market enoo, so it's nae
great compliment. Gin ye had brought me a leg o' gude mutton, or a
cauler sawmont, there would hae been some sense in't; but ye're ane o'
the fowk that'll ne'er harry yoursel' wi' your presents; it's but the
pickle poother they cost you, an' I'se warran' ye're thinkin mail' o'
your ain diversion than o' my stamick, when ye're at the shootin' o'
them, puir beasts."
Mr. Douglas had borne the various indignities levelled against himself
and his family with a philosophy that had no parallel in his life
before; but to this attack upon his game he was not proof. His colour
rose, his eyes flashed fire, and something resembling an oath burst from
his lips as he strode indignantly towards the door.
His friend, however, was too nimble for him. She stepped before him,
and, breaking into a discordant laugh, as she patted him on the back,
"So I see ye're just the auld man, Archie,--aye ready to tak the strums,
an' ye dinna get a' thing yer ain wye. Mony a time I had to fleech ye
oot o' the dorts whan ye was a callant. Div ye mind hoo ye was affronted
because I set ye doon to a cauld pigeon-pie, an' a tanker o' tippenny,
ae night to ye're fowerhoors, afore some leddies--he, he, he! Weel a wat,
yer wife maun hae her ain adoos to manage ye, for ye're a cumstairy
Mr. Douglas still looked as if he was irresolute whether to laugh or be
"Come, come, sit ye do on there till I speak to this bairn," said she,
as she pulled Mary into an adjoining bedchamber, which wore the same
aspect of chilly neatness as the one they had quitted. Then pulling a
huge bunch of keys from her pocket she opened a drawer, out of which she
took a pair of diamond earrings. "Hae, bairn," said she as she stuffed
them into Mary's hand; "they belanged to your father's grandmother. She
was a gude woman, an' had fouran'-twenty sons an' dochters, an' I wiss
ye nae war fortin than just to hae as mony. But mind ye," with a shake
of her bony finger, "they maun a be Scots. Gin I thought ye wad mairry
ony pock-puddin', fient haed wad ye hae gotten frae me. Noo, had ye're
tongue, and dinna deive me wi' thanks," almost pushing her into the
parlour again; "and sin ye're gaun awa the morn, I'll see nae mair o' ye
enoo--so fare ye weel. But, Archie, ye maun come an' tak your breakfast
wi' me. I hae muckle to say to you; but ye manna be sae hard upon my
baps as ye used to be," with a facetious grin to her mollified
favourite, as they shook hands and parted.
"Well, how do you like Mrs. Macshake, Mary?" asked her uncle as they
"That is a cruel question, uncle," answered she, with a smile. "My
gratitude and my taste are at such variance," displaying her splendid
gift, "that I know not how to reconcile them."
"That is always the case with those whom Mrs. Macshake has obliged,"
returned Mr. Douglas. "She does many liberal things, but in so
ungracious a manner that people are never sure whether they are obliged
or insulted by her. But the way in which she receives kindness is still
worse. Could anything equal her impertinence about my roebuck? Faith,
I've a good mind never to enter her door again!"
Mary could scarcely preserve her gravity at her uncle's indignation,
which seemed so disproportioned to the cause. But, to turn the current
of his ideas, she remarked that he had certainly been at pains to select
two admirable specimens of her countrywomen for her.
"I don't think I shall soon forget either Mrs. Gawffaw or Mrs Macshake,"
said she, laughing.
"I hope you won't carry away the impression that these two _lusus
naturae_ specimens of Scotchwomen," said her uncle. "The former, indeed,
is rather a sort of weed that infests every soil; the latter, to be
sure, is an indigenous plant. I question if she would have arrived at
such perfection in a more cultivated field or genial clime. She was born
at a time when Scotland was very different from what it is now. Female
education was little attended to, even in families of the highest rank;
consequently, the ladies of those days possess a _raciness_ in their
manners and ideas that we should vainly seek for in this age of
cultivation and refinement. Had your time permitted, you could have seen
much good society here; superior, perhaps, to what is to be found
anywhere else, as far as mental cultivation is concerned. But you will
have leisure for that when you return."
Mary acquiesced with a sigh. _Return_ was to her still a
melancholy-sounding word. It reminded her of all she had left--of the
anguish of separation--the dreariness of absence; and all these painful
feelings were renewed in their utmost bitterness when the time
approached for her to bid adieu to her uncle. Lord Courtland's carriage
and two respectable-looking servants awaited her; and the following
morning she commenced her journey in all the agony of a heart that
fondly clings to its native home.
END OF VOL. I.
_Printed _by R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh._
MARRIAGE (VOL II)
A Novel by Susan Ferrier
"Life consists not of a series of illustrious actions; the greater part
of our time passes in compliance with necessities--in the performance of
daily duties--in the removal of small inconveniences--in the procurement
of petty pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, as the main stream
of life glides on smoothly, or is ruffled by small and frequent
IN TWO VOLUMES
RICHARD BENTLEY & SON
Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen
_Printed _by R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh_
"Nor only by the warmth
And soothing sunshine of delightful things,
Do minds grow up and flourish."
AFTER parting with the last of her beloved relatives Mary tried to think
only of the happiness that awaited her in a reunion with her mother and
sister; and she gave herself up to the blissful reveries of a young
and ardent imagination. Mrs. Douglas had sought to repress, rather than
excite, her sanguine expectations; but vainly is the experience of
others employed in moderating the enthusiasm of a glowing heart.
Experience _cannot_ be imparted. We may render the youthful mind
prematurely cautious, or meanly suspicious; but the experience of a pure
and enlightened mind is the result of observation, matured by time.
The journey, like most modern journeys, was performed in comfort and
safety; and, late one evening, Mary found herself at the goal of her
wishes--at the threshold of the house that contained her mother!
One idea filled her mind; but that idea called up a thousand emotions.
"I am now to meet my mother!" thought she; and, unconscious of
everything else, she was assisted from the carriage, and conducted into
the house. A door was thrown open; but shrinking from the glare of light
and sound of voices that assailed her, he stood dazzled and dismayed,
till she beheld a figure approaching that she guessed to be her mother.
Her heart beat violently--a film was upon her eyes--she made an effort
to reach her mother's arms, and sank lifeless on her bosom!
Lady Juliana, for such it was, doubted not but that her daughter was
really dead; for though he talked of fainting every hour of the day
herself, still what is emphatically called a _dead-faint_ was a
spectacle no less strange than shocking to her. She was therefore
sufficiently alarmed and overcome to behave in a very interesting
manner; and some yearnings of pity even possessed her heart as she
beheld her daughter's lifeless form extended before her--her beautiful,
though inanimate features, half hid by the profusion of golden ringlets
that fell around her. But these kindly feelings were of short duration;
for no sooner was the nature of her daughter's insensibility as
ascertained, than all her former hostility returned, as she found
everyone's attention directed to Mary, and she herself entirely
overlooked in the general interest she had excited; and her displeasure
was still further increased as Mary, at length slowly unclosing her
eyes, stretched out her hands, and faintly articulated, "My mother!"
"Mother! What a hideous vulgar appellation!" thought the fashionable
parent to herself; and, instead of answering her daughter's appeal, she
hastily proposed that she should be conveyed to her own apartment; then,
summoning her maid, she consigned her to her care, slightly touching her
cheek as she wished her good-night, and returned to the card-table.
Adelaide too resumed her station at the harp, as if nothing had happened;
but Lady Emily attended her cousin to her room, embraced her again and
again, as she assured her she loved her already, she was so like her
dear Edward; then, after satisfying herself that everything was
comfortable, affectionately kissed her, and withdrew.
Bodily fatigue got the better of mental agitation; and Mary slept
soundly, and awoke refreshed.
"Can it be," thought she, as she tried to collect her bewildered
thoughts, "can it be that I have really beheld my mother, that I have
been pressed to her heart, that she has shed tears over me while I lay
unconscious in her arms? Mother! What a delightful sound; and how
beautiful she seemed! Yet I have no distinct idea of her, my head was
so confused; but I have a vague recollection of something very fair, and
beautiful, and seraph-like, covered with silver drapery, and flowers,
and with the sweetest voice in the world. Yet that must be too young for
my mother; perhaps it was my sister; and my mother was too much overcome
to meet her stranger child. Oh, how happy must I be with such a mother
In these delightful cogitations Mary remained till Lady Emily entered.
"How well you look this morning, my dear cousin," said she, flying to
her; "you are much more like my Edward than you were last night. Ah! and
you have got his smile too! You must let me see that very often."
"I am sure I shall have cause," said Mary, returning her cousin's
affectionate embrace; "but at present I feel anxious about my mother and
sister. The agitation of our meeting, and my weakness, I fear it has
been too much for them;" and she looked earnest in Lady Emily's face for
a confirmation of her fears.
"Indeed, you need be under no uneasiness on their account," returned her
cousin, with her usual bluntness; "their feelings are not so easily
disturbed; you will see them both at breakfast, so come along."
The room was empty; and again Mary's sensitive heart trembled for the
welfare of those already so dear to her; but Lady Emily did not appear
to understand the nature of her feelings.
"Have a little patience, my dear!" said she, with something of an
impatient tone, as she rang for breakfast; "they will be here at their
usual time. Nobody in this house is a slave to hours, or _gene _with
each other's society. Liberty is the motto here; everybody breakfasts
when and where they please. Lady Juliana, I believe, frequently takes
hers in her dressing-room; Papa never is visible till two or three
o'clock; and Adelaide is always late."
"What a selfish cold-hearted thing is grandeur!" thought Mary, as Lady
Emily and she sat like two specks in the splendid saloon, surrounded by
all that wealth could purchase or luxury invent; and her thoughts
reverted to the pious thanksgiving and affectionate meeting that graced
their social meal in the sweet sunny parlour at Lochmarlie.
Some of those airy nothings, without a local habitation, who are always
to be found flitting about the mansions of the great, now lounged into
the room; and soon after Adelaide made her _entree._ Mary,
trembling violently, was ready to fall upon her sister's neck, but
Adelaide seemed prepared to repel everything like a _scence _for,
with a cold, but sweet, "I hope you are better this morning?" she seated
herself at the opposite side of the table. Mary's blood rushed back to
her heart; her eyes filled with tears, she knew not why; for she could
not analyse the feelings that swelled in her bosom. She would have
shuddered to _think_ her sister unkind, but she _felt_ she was so.
"It can only be the difference of our manners," sighed she to herself;
"I am sure my sister loves me, though she does not show it in the same
way I should have done;" and she gazed with the purest admiration and
tenderness on the matchless beauty of her face and form. Never had she
beheld anything so exquisitely beautiful; and she longed to throw
herself into her sister's arms and tell her how she loved her. But
Adelaide seemed to think the present company wholly unworthy of her
regard; for, after having received the adulation of the gentlemen, as
they severally paid her a profusion of compliments upon her appearance,
"Desire Tomkins," said she to a footman, "to ask Lady Juliana for the
'Morning Post,' and the second volume of 'Le----,' of the French novel I
am reading; and say she shall have it again when I have finished it."
"In what different terms people may express the same meaning," thought
Mary; "had I been sending a message to my mother, I should have expressed
myself quite differently; but no doubt my sister's meaning is the same,
though she may not use the same words."
The servant returned with the newspaper, and the novel would be sent
when it could be found.
"Lady Juliana never reads like anybody else," said her daughter; "she is
for ever mislaying books. She has lost the first volumes of the two last
novels that came from town before I had even seen then."
This was uttered in the softest, sweetest tone imaginable, and as if she
had been pronouncing a panegyric.
Mary was more and more puzzled.
"'What can be my sister's meaning here?" thought she. "The words seemed
almost to imply censure; but that voice and smile speak the sweetest
praise. How truly Mrs. Douglas warned me never to judge of people by
At that moment the door opened, and three or four dogs rushed in,
followed by Lady Juliana, with a volume of a novel in her hand. Again
Mary found herself assailed by a variety of powerful emotions. She
attempted to rise; but, pale and breathless, she sank back in her chair.
Her agitation was unmarked by her mother, who did not even appear to be
sensible of her presence; for, with a graceful bend of her head to the
company in general, she approached Adelaide, and putting her lips to her
forehead, "How do you do, love? I'm afraid you are very angry with me
about that teazing La---I can't conceive where it can be; but here is
the third volume, which is much prettier than the second."
"I certainly shall not read the third volume before the second," said
Adelaide with her usual serenity.
"Then I shall order another copy from town, my love; or I daresay I
could tell you the story of the second volume: it is not at all
interesting, I assure you. Hermilisde, you know--but I forget where the
first volume left off."--Then directing her eyes to Mary, who had
summoned strength to rise, and was slowly venturing to approach her, she
extended a finger towards her. Mary eagerly seized her mother's hand,
and pressed it with fervour to her lips; then hid her face on her
shoulder to conceal the tears that burst from her eyes.
"Absurd, my dear!" said her Ladyship in a peevish tone, as she
disengaged herself from her daughter; "you must really get the better of
this foolish weakness; these _scenes_ are too much for me. I was
most excessively shocked last night, I assure you, and you ought not to
have quitted your room to-day."
Poor Mary's tears congealed in her eyes at this tender salutation, and
she raised her head, as if to as certain whether it really proceeded
from her mother; but instead of the angelic vision she had pictured to
herself, she beheld a face which, though once handsome, now conveyed no
pleasurable feeling to the heart.
Late hours, bad temper, and rouge had done much to impair Lady Juliana's
beauty. There still remained enough to dazzle a superficial observer; but
not to satisfy the eye used to the expression of all the best affections
of the soul. Mary almost shrank from the peevish inanity portrayed on
her mother's visage, as a glance of the mind contrasted it with the mild
eloquence of Mrs. Douglas's countenance; and, abashed and disappointed,
she remained mournfully silent.
"Where is Dr. Redgill?" demanded Lady Juliana of the company in general.
"He has got scent of a turtle at Admiral Yellowchops," answered Mr. P.
"How vastly provoking," rejoined her Ladyship, "that he should be out of
the way the only time I have wished to see him since he came to the
"Who is this favoured individual whose absence you are so pathetically
lamenting, Julia?" asked Lord Courtland, as he indolently sauntered into
"That disagreeable Dr. Redgill. He has gone somewhere to eat turtle at
the very time I wished to consult him about--"
"The propriety of introducing a new niece to your Lordship," said Lady
Emily, as, with affected solemnity, she introduced Mary to her uncle.
Lady Juliana frowned--the Earl smiled--saluted his niece--hoped she had
recovered the fatigue of the journey--remarked it was very cold; and
then turned to a parrot, humming "Pretty Poll, say," etc.
Such was Mary's first introduction to her family; and those only who have
felt what it was to have the genial current of their souls chilled by
neglect or changed by unkindness can sympathise in the feelings of
wounded affection--when the overflowings of a generous heart are
confined within the narrow limits of its own bosom, and the offerings of
love are rudely rejected by the hand most dear to us.
Mary was too much intimidated by her mother's manner towards her to
give way, in her presence, to the emotions that agitated her; but she
followed her sister's steps as she quitted the room, and, throwing her
arms around her, sobbed in a voice almost choked with the excess of her
feelings, "My sister, love me!-oh! love me!" But Adelaide's heart,
seared by selfishness and vanity, was incapable of loving anything in
which self had no share; and for the first time in her life she felt
awkward and embarrassed. Her sister's streaming eyes and supplicating
voice spoke a language to which she was a stranger; for art is ever
averse to recognise the accents of nature. Still less is it capable of
replying to them; and Adelaide could only wonder at her sister's
agitation, and think how unpleasant it was; and say something about
overcome, and _eau-de-luce,_ and composure; which was all lost upon Mary
as she hung upon her neck, every feeling wrought to its highest tone by
the complicated nature of those emotions which swelled her heart. At
length, making an effort to regain her composure, "Forgive me, my
sister!" said she. "This is very foolish--to weep when I ought to
rejoice--and I do rejoice--and I know I shall be so happy yet!" but in
spite of the faint smile that accompanied her words, tears again burst
from her eyes.
"I am sure I shall have infinite pleasure in your society," replied
Adelaide, with her usual sweetness; and placidity, as she replaced a
ringlet in its proper position; "but I have unluckily an engagement at
this time. You will, however, be at no loss for amusement; you will find
musical instruments there," pointing to an adjacent apartment; "and here
are new publications, and _portefeuilles_ of drawings you will
perhaps like to look over;" and so saying she disappeared.
"Musical instruments and new publications!" repeated Mary mechanically
to herself. "What have I to do with them? Oh for one kind word from my
mother's lips!--one kind glance from my sister's eye!"
And she remained overwhelmed with the weight of those emotions, which,
instead of pouring into the hearts of others, she was compelled to
concentrate in her own. Her mournful reveries were interrupted by her
kind friend Lady Emily; but Mary deemed her sorrow too sacred to be
betrayed even to her, and therefore rallying her spirits, she strove
to enter into those schemes of amusement suggested by her cousin for
passing the day. But she found herself unable for such continued
exertion; and, hearing a large party was expected to dinner, she
retired, in spite of Lady Emily's remonstrance, to her own apartment,
where she sought a refuge from her thoughts in writing to her friends
Lady Juliana looked in upon her as she passed to dinner. She was in a
better humour, for she had received a new dress which was particularly
becoming, as both her maid and her glass had attested.
Again Mary's heart bounded towards the being to whom she owed her birth;
yet afraid to give utterance to her feelings, she could only regard her
with silent admiration, till a moment's consideration converted that
into a less pleasing feeling, as she observed for the first time that
her mother wore no mourning.
Lady Juliana saw her astonishment, and, little guessing the cause, was
flattered by it. "Your style of dress is very obsolete, my dear," said
she, as she contrasted the effect of her own figure and her daughter's
in a large mirror; "and there's no occasion for you to wear black here.
I shall desire my woman to order some things for you; though perhaps
there won't be much occasion, as your stay here is to be short; and of
course you won't think of going out at all. _Apropos,_ you will find it
dull here by yourself, won't you? I shall leave you my darling Blanche
for companion," kissing a little French lap-dog as she laid it in Mary's
lap; "only you must be very careful of her, and coax her, and be very,
very good to her; for I would not have my sweetest Blanche vexed, not
for the world!" And, with another long and tender salute to her dog, and
a "Good-bye, my dear!" to her daughter, she quitted her to display her
charms to a brilliant drawing-room, leaving Mary to solace herself in
her solitary chamber with the whines of a discontented lap-dog.
"C'est un personnage illustre dans son genre, et qui a porte le
talent de se bien nourrir jusques ou il pouvoit aller; . . . il ne
semble ne que pour la digestion."--LA BRUYERE.
IN every season of life grief brings its own peculiar antidote along
with it. The buoyancy of youth soon repels its deadening weight, the
firmness of manhood resists its weakening influence, the torpor of old
age is insensible to its most acute pangs.
In spite of the disappointment she had experienced the preceding day,
Mary arose the following morning with fresh hopes of happiness springing
in her heart.
"What a fool I was," thought she, "to view so seriously what, after all,
must be merely difference of manner; and how illiberal to expect every
one's manners should accord exactly with my ideas; but now that I have
got over the first impression, I daresay I shall find everybody quite
amiable and delightful!"
And Mary quickly reasoned herself into the belief that she only could
have been to blame. With renovated spirits she therefore joined her
cousin, and accompanied her to the breakfasting saloon. The visitors had
all departed, but Dr. Redgill had returned and seemed to be at the
winding up of a solitary but voluminous meal. He was a very tall
corpulent man, with a projecting front, large purple nose, and a
profusion of chin.
"Good morning, ladies," mumbled he with a full mouth, as he made a feint
of half-rising from his chair. "Lady Emily, your servant--Miss Douglas,
I presume--hem! allow me to pull the bell for your Ladyship," as he sat
without stirring hand or foot; then, after it was done--"'Pon my
honour, Lady Emily, this is not using me well Why did you not desire me?
And you are so nimble, I defy any man to get the start of you."
"I know you have been upon hard service, Doctor, and therefore I
humanely wished to spare you any additional fatigue," replied Lady
"Fatigue, phoo! I'm sure I mind fatigue as little as any man; besides
it's really nothing to speak of. I have merely rode from my friend
Admiral Yellowchops' this morning."
"I hope you passed a pleasant day there yesterday?"
"So, so--very so, so," returned the Doctor drily.
"Only so, so, and a turtle in the case!" exclaimed Lady Emily.
"Phoo!--as to that, the turtle was neither here nor there. I value
turtle as little as any man. You may be sure it wasn't for that I went
to see my old friend Yellowchops. It happened, indeed, that there _was_
a turtle, and a very well dressed one too; but where five and thirty
people (one half of them ladies, who, of course, are always helped
first) sit down to dinner, there's an end of all rational happiness in
"But at a turtle feast you have surely something much better. You know
you may have rational happiness any day over a beef-steak."
"I beg your pardon--that's not such an easy matter. I can assure you it
is a work of no small skill to dress a beef-steak handsomely; and,
moreover, to eat it in perfection a man must eat it by himself. If once
you come to exchange words over it, it is useless. I once saw the finest
steak I ever clapped my eyes upon completely ruined by one silly
scoundrel asking another if he liked fat. If he liked fat!--what a
question for one rational being to ask another! The fact is, a
beef-steak is like a woman's reputation, if once it is breathed upon
it's good for nothing!"
"One of the stories with which my nurse used to amuse my childhood,"
said Mary, "was that of having seen an itinerant conjuror dress a
beef-steak on his tongue."
The Doctor suspended the morsel he was carrying to his mouth, and for
the first time regarded Mary with looks of unfeigned admiration.
"'Pon my honour, and that was as clever a trick as ever I heard of! You
are a wonderful people, you Scotch--a very wonderful people--but, pray,
was she at any pains to examine the fellow's tongue?"
"I imagine not," said Mary; "I suppose the love of science was not
strong enough to make her run the risk of burning her fingers."
"It's a thousand pities," said the Doctor, as he dropped his chin with
an air of disappointment. "I am surprised none of your Scotch _scavans_
got hold of the fellow and squeezed the secret out of him. It might have
proved an important discovery--a very important discovery; and your
Scotch are not apt to let anything escape them--a very searching,
shrewd people as ever I knew--and that's the only way to arrive at
knowledge. A man must be of a stirring mind if he expects to do good."
"A poor woman below wishes to se you, sir," said a servant.
"These poor women are perfect pests to society," said the Doctor, as his
nose assumed a still darker hue; "there is no resting upon one's seat
for them--always something the matter! The burn, and bruise, and hack
themselves and their brats, one would really think, on purpose to give
"I have not the least doubt of it," said Lady Emily; "they must find
your sympathy so soothing."
"As to that, Lady Emily, if you know as much about poor women as I do,
you wouldn't think so much of them as you do. Take my word for it--they
are one and all of them a very greedy, ungrateful set, and require to be
kept at a distance."
"And also to be kept waiting. As poor people's time is their only
wealth, I observe you generally make them pay a pretty large fee in that
"That is really not what I would have expected from you, Lady Emily. I
must take the liberty to say your Ladyship does me the greatest
injustice. You must be sensible how ready I am to fly," rising as if he
had been glued to his chair, "when there is any real danger. I'm sure it
was only last week I got up as soon as I had swallowed my dinner to see
a man who had fallen down in a fit; and now I am going to this woman,
who, I daresay, has nothing the matter with her, before my breakfast is
well down my throat."
"Who is that gentleman?" asked Mary, as the Doctor at length, with much
reluctance, shuffled out of the room.
"He is a sort of medical aid-de-camp of papa's," answered Lady Emily;
"who, for the sake of good living, has got himself completely
domesticated here. He is vulgar, selfish, and _gourmand_, as you must
already have discovered; but these are accounted his greatest
perfections, as papa, like all indolent people, must be diverted--and
_that_ he never is by genteel, sensible people. He requires something
more _piquant,_and nothing fatigues him so much as the conversation of a
commonplace, sensible man--one who has the skill to keep his foibles out
of sight. Now what delights him in Dr. Redgill, there is no
_retenu_--any child who runs may read his character at a glance."
"It certainly does not require much penetration," said Mary, "to
discover the Doctor's master-passion; love of ease and self-indulgence
seem to be the pre-dominant features of his mind; and he looks as if,
when he sat in an arm-chair, with his toes on the fender and his hands
crossed, he would not have an idea beyond 'I wonder what we shall have
for dinner to-day.'"
"I'm glad to hear you say so, Miss Douglas," said the Doctor, catching
the last words as he entered the room, and taking them to be the
spontaneous effusions of the speaker's own heart; "I rejoice to hear you
say so. Suppose we send for the bill of fare,"--pulling the bell; and
then to the servant, who answered the summons, "Desire Grillade to send
up his bill--Miss Douglas wishes to see it."
"Young ladies are much more house wifely in Scotland than they are in
this country," continued the Doctor, seating himself as close as
possible to Mary,--"at least they were when I knew Scotland; but that's
not yesterday, and it's much changed since then, I daresay. I studied
physic in Edinburgh, and went upon a _tower _through the Highlands. 'I
was very much pleased with what I saw, I assure you. Fine country in
some respects--nature has been very liberal."
Mary's heart leapt within her at hearing her dear native land praised
even by Dr. Redgill, and her conscience smote her for the harsh and
hasty censure she had passed upon him. "One who can admire the scenery
of the Highlands," thought she, "must have a mind. It has always been
observed that only persons of taste were capable of appreciating the
peculiar charms of mountain scenery. A London citizen, or a Lincolnshire
grazier, sees nothing but deformity in the sublime works of nature,"
_ergo,_ reasoned Mary, "Dr. Redgill must be of a more elevated way of
thinking than I had supposed." The entrance of Lady Juliana prevented
her expressing the feelings that were upon her lips; but she thought
what pleasure she would have in resuming the delightful theme at another
After slightly noticing her daughter, and carefully adjusting her
favourites, Lady Juliana began:--
"I am anxious to consult you, Dr. Redgill, upon the state of this young
person's health.--You have been excessively ill, my dear, have you not?
(My sweetest Blanche, do be quiet!) You had a cough, I think, and
everything that was bad.--And as her friends in Scotland have sent her
to me for a short time, entirely on account of her health (My charming,
Frisk, your spirits are really too much!), I think it quite proper that
she should be confined to her own apartment during the winter, that she
may get quite well and strong against spring. As to visiting or going
into company, that of course must be quite out of the question. You can
tell Dr. Redgill, my dear, all about your complaints yourself."
Mary tried to articulate, but her feelings rose almost to suffocation,
and the words died upon her lips.
"Your Ladyship confounds me," said the Doctor, pulling out his
spectacles, which, after duly wiping, he adjusted on his nose, and
turned their beams full on Mary's face--"I really never should have
guessed there was anything the matter with the young lady. She does look
a _leettle_ delicate, to be sure-changing colour, too--but hand
cool--eye clear--pulse steady, a _leettle_ impetuous, but that's
nothing, and the appetite good. I own I was surprised to see you cut so
good a figure after the delicious meals you have been accustomed to in
the North: you must find it miserable picking here. An English
breakfast," glancing with contempt at the eggs, muffins, toast,
preserves, etc. etc., he had collected round him, "is really a most
insipid meal. If I did not make a rule of rising early and taking
regular exercise, I doubt very much if I should be able to swallow a
mouthful-there's nothing to whet the appetite here; and it's the same
everywhere; as Yellowchops says, our breakfasts are a disgrace to
England. One would think the whole nation was upon a regimen of tea and
toast--from the Land's End to Berwick-upon-Tweed, nothing but tea and
toast. Your Ladyship must really acknowledge the prodigious advantage
the Scotch possess over us in that respect."
"I thought the breakfasts, like everything else in Scotland, extremely
disgusting," replied her Ladyship, with indignation.
"Ha! well, that really amazes me. The people I give up--they are dirty
and greedy--the country, too, is a perfect mass of rubbish, and the
dinners not fit for dogs--the cookery, I mean; as to the materials, they
are admirable. But the breakfasts! That's what redeems the land; and
every country has its own peculiar excellence. In Argyleshire you have
the Lochfine herring, fat, luscious, and delicious, just out of the
water, falling to pieces with its own richness--melting away like butter
in your mouth. In Aberdeenshire you have the Finnan haddo' with a
flavour all its own, vastly relishing--just salt enough to be _piquant,_
without parching you up with thirst. In Perthshire there is the Tay
salmon, kippered, crisp, and juicy--a very magnificent morsel--a
_leettle_ heavy, but that's easily counteracted by a teaspoonful of the
Athole whisky. In other places you have the exquisite mutton of the
country made into hams of a most delicate flavour; flour scones, soft
and white; oatcake, thin and crisp; marmalade and jams of every
description; and--but I beg pardon--your Ladyship was upon the subject
of this young lady's health. 'Pon my honour! I can see little the
matter. We were just going to look over the bill together when your
Ladyship entered. I see it begins with that eternal _soupe_
_sante,_ and that paltry _potage-an-riz._ This is the second day
within a week Monsieur Grillade has thought fit to treat us with them;
and it's a fortnight yesterday since I have seen either oyster or
turtle soup upon the table. 'Pon my honour! such inattention is infamous.
I know Lord Courtland detests _soupe_ _sante, _or, what's the
same thing, he's quite indifferent to it; for I take indifference and
dislike to be much the same. A man's indifference to his dinner-is a
serious thing, and so I shall let Monsieur Grillade know." And the
Doctor's chin rose and fell like the waves of the sea.
"What is the name of the physician at Bristol who is so celebrated for
consumptive complaints?" asked Lady Juliana of Adelaide. "I shall send for
him; he is the only person I have any reliance upon. I know he always
recommends confinement for consumption."
Tears dropped from Mary's eyes. Lady Juliana regarded her with surprise
"How very tiresome! I really can't stand these perpetual
_scenes._ Adelaide, my love, pull the bell for my _eau-de-luce._
Dr. Redgill, place the screen there. This room is insufferably hot. My
dogs will literally be roasted alive;" and her Ladyship fretted about in
all the perturbation of ill-humour.
"'Pon my honour! I don't think the room hot," said the Doctor, who, from
a certain want of tact and capacity of intellect, never comprehended the
feelings of others. "I declare I have felt it much hotter when your
Ladyship has complained of the cold; but there's no accounting for
people's feelings. If you would move your seat a _leettle_ this way, I
think you would be cooler; and as to your daughter--"
"I have repeatedly desired, Dr. Redgill, that you will not use these
familiar appellations when you address me or any of my family,"
interrupted Lady Juliana with haughty indignation.
"I beg pardon," said the Doctor, nowise discomposed at this rebuff.
"Well, with regard to Miss--Miss--this young lady, I assure your
Ladyship, you need be under no apprehensions on her account. She's a
_leettle_ nervous, that's all--take her about by all means--all young
ladies love to go about and see sights. Show her the pump-room, and the
ball-room, and the shops, and the rope-dancers, and the wild beasts, and
there's no fear of her. I never recommend confinement to man, woman, or
child. It destroys the appetite--and our appetite is the best part of
us. What would we be without appetites? Miserable beings! worse than the
beasts of the field!" And away shuffled the Doctor to admonish Monsieur
Grillade on the iniquity of neglecting this the noblest attribute of
"It appears to me excessively extraordinary," said Lady Juliana,
addressing Mary, "that Mrs. Douglas should have alarmed me so much about
your health, when it seems there's nothing the matter with you. She
certainly showed very little regard for my feelings. I can't understand
it; and I must say, if you are not ill, I have been most excessively
ill-used by your Scotch friends." And, with an air of great indignation,
her Ladyship swept out of the room, regardless of the state into which
she had thrown her daughter.
Poor Mary's feelings were now at their climax, and she gave way to all
the repressed agony that swelled her heart. Lady Emily, who had been
amusing herself at the other end of the saloon, and had heard nothing of
what had passed, flew towards her at sight, of her suffering, and
eagerly demanded of Adelaide the cause.
"I really don't know," answered Adelaide, lifting her beautiful eyes
from her book with the greatest composure; "Lady Juliana is always cross
of a morning."
"Oh no!" exclaimed Mary, trying to regain her composure, "the fault is
mine. I--I have offended my mother, I know not how. Tell me, oh tell me,
how I can obtain her forgiveness!"
"Obtain her forgiveness!" repeated Lady Emily indignantly, "for what?"
"Alas! I know not; but in some way I have displeased my mother; her
looks--her words--her manner--all tell me how dissatisfied she is with
me; while to my sister, and even to her very dogs-----Here Mary's
agitation choked her utterance.
"If you expect to be treated like a dog, you will certainly be
disappointed," said Lady Emily. "I wonder Mrs. Douglas did not warn you
of what you had to expect. She must have known something of Lady
Juliana's ways; and it would have been as well had you been better
prepared to encounter them."
Mary looked hurt, and making an effort to conquer her emotion, she said,
"Mrs. Douglas never spoke, of my mother with disrespect; but she did
warn me against expecting too much from her affection. She said I had
been too long estranged from her to have retained my place in her heart;
"You could not foresee the reception you have me with? Nor I neither.
Did you, Adelaide?'
"Lady Juliana is sometimes so odd,"
answered her daughter in her sweetest tone, "that I really am seldom
surprised at anything she does; but all this _fracas _appears to me
perfectly absurd, as nobody minds anything she says."
"Impossible!" exclaimed Mary; "my duty must ever be to reverence my
mother. My study should be to please her, if I only knew how; and oh!
would she but suffer me to love her!"
Adelaide regarded her sister for a moment with a look of surprise; then
rose and left the room, humming an Italian air.
Lady Emily remained with her cousin, but she was a bad comforter. Her
indignation against the oppressor was always much stronger than her
sympathy with the oppressed; and she would have been more in her element
scolding the mother than soothing the daughter.
But Mary had not been taught to trust to mortals weak as herself for
support in the hour of trial. She knew her aid must come from a higher
source; and in solitude she sought for consolation.
"This must be all for my good," sighed she, "else it would not be. I had
drawn too bright a picture of happiness; already it is blotted out with
my tears. I must set about replacing it with one of soberer colours."
Alas! Mary knew not how many a fair picture of human felicity had shared
the same fate as hers!
"They were in sooth a most enchanting train;
. . skilful to unite
With evil good, and strew with pleasure pain."
_Castle of Indolence._
IN writing to her maternal friend Mary did not follow the mode usually
adopted by young ladies of the heroic cast, viz. that of giving a minute
and circumstantial detail of their own complete wretchedness, and
abusing, in terms highly sentimental, every member of the family with
whom they are associated. Mary knew that to breathe a hint of her own
unhappiness would be to embitter the peace of those she loved; and she
therefore strove to conceal from their observation the disappointment
she had experienced. Many a sigh was heaved, however, and many a tear
was wiped away ere a letter could be composed that would carry pleasure
to the dear group at Glenfern. She could say nothing of her mother's
tenderness or her sister's affection, but she dwelt upon the elegance of
the one and the beauty of the other. She could not boast of the warmth
of her uncle's reception, but she praised his good-humour, and enlarged
upon Lady Emily's kindness and attention. Even Dr. Redgill's admiration
of Scotch breakfasts was given as a _bonne bouche_ for her good old
"I declare," said Miss Grizzy, as she ended her fifth perusal of the
letter, "Mary must be a happy creature, everybody must allow; indeed I
never heard it disputed that Lady Juliana is a most elegant being; and I
daresay she is greatly improved since we saw her, for you know that is a
long time ago."
"The mind may improve after a certain age," replied Jacky, with one of
her wisest looks, "but I doubt very much if the person does."
"If the inside had been like the out, there would have been no need for
improvement," observed Nicky.
"I'm sure you are both perfectly right," resumed the sapient Grizzy,
"and I have not the least doubt but that our dear niece is a great deal
wiser than when we knew her; nobody can deny but she is a great deal
older; and you know people always grow wiser as they grow older, of
"They _ought_ to do it," said Jacky, with emphasis.
"But there's no fool like an old fool," quoth Nicky.
"What a delightful creature our charming niece Adelaide must be, from
Mary's account," said Grizzy; "only I can't conceive how her eyes come
to be black. I'm sure there's not a black eye amongst us. The
Kilnacroish family are black, to be sure; and Kilnacroish's
great-grandmother was first cousin, once removed, to our grandfather's
aunt, by our mother's side. It's wonderful the length that resemblances
run in some old families; and I really can't account for our niece
Adelaide's black eyes naturally any other way than just through the
Kilnacroish family; for I'm quite convinced it's from us she takes
them,--children always take their eyes from their father's side;
everybody knows that Becky's, and Bella's, and Baby's are all as like
their poor father's as they can stare."
"There's no accounting for the varieties of the human species," said
"And like's an ill mark," observed Nicky.
"And only think of her being so much taller than Mary, and twins! I
declare it's wonderful--I should have thought, indeed I never doubted,
that they would have been exactly the same size. And such a beautiful
colour too, when we used to think Mary rather pale; it's very
"You forget," said Jacky, who had not forgot the insult offered to her
nursing system eighteen years before; "you forget that I always
predicted what would happen."
"I never knew any good come of change," said Nicky.
"I'm sure that's very true," rejoined Grizzy; "and we have great reason
to thank our stars that Mary is not a perfect dwarf; which I really
thought she would have been for long, till she took a shooting,--summer
was a year."
"But she'll shoot no more," said Jacky, with a shake of the head that
might have vied with Jove's imperial nod; "England's not the place for
"The Englishwomen are all poor droichs," said Nicky, who had seen three
in the course of her life.
"It's a great matter to us all, however, and to herself too, poor thing,
that Mary should be so happy," resumed Grizzy. "I'm sure I don't know
what she would have done if Lord Courtland had been an ill-tempered
harsh man, which, you know, he might just as easily have been; and it
would really have been very hard upon poor Mary--and Lady Emily such a
sweet creature too! I'm sure we must all allow we have the greatest
reason to be thankful."
"I don't know," said Jacky; "Mary was petted enough before, I wish she
may have a head to stand any more."
"She'll be ten times nicer than ever," quoth Nicky.
"There is some reason, to be sure, that can't be denied, to be afraid of
that; at the same time, Mary has a great deal of sense of her own when
she chooses; and it's a great matter for her, and indeed for all of us,
that she is under the eye of such a sensible worthy man as that Dr.
Redgill. Of course we may be sure Lord Courtland will keep a most
elegant table, and have a great variety of sweet things, which are
certainly very tempting for young people; but I have no doubt but Dr.
Redgill will look after Mary, and see that she doesn't eat too many of
"Dr. Redgill must be a very superior man," pronounced Jacky, in her
most magisterial manner.
"If I could hear of a private opportunity," exclaimed Nicky, in a
transport of generosity, "I would send him one of our hams, and a nice
little pig  of butter--the English are all great people for
The proposal was hailed with rapture by both sisters in a breath; and it
was finally settled that to those tender pledges of Nicky's, Grizzy
should add a box of Lady Maclaughlan's latest invented pills, while Miss
Jacky was to compose the epistle that was to accompany them.
The younger set of aunts were astonished that Mary had said nothing
about lovers and offers of marriage, as they had always considered going
to England as synonymous with going to be married.
To Mrs. Douglas's more discerning eye, Mary's happiness did not appear
in so dazzling a light as to the weaker optics of her aunts.
"It is not like my Mary," thought she, "to rest so much on mere external
advantages; surely her warm affectionate heart cannot be satisfied with
the _grace_ of a mother and the _beauty_ of a sister. These she might
admire in a stranger; but where we seek for happiness we better prize
more homely attributes. Yet Mary is so open and confiding, I think she
could not have concealed from me had she experienced a disappointment."
Mrs. Douglas was not aware of the effect of her own practical lessons;
and that, while she was almost unconsciously practising the quiet
virtues of patience, and fortitude, and self-denial, and
unostentatiously sacrificing her own wishes to promote the comfort of
others, her example, like a kindly dew, was shedding its silent
influence on the embryo blossoms of her pupil's heart.
". . . So the devil prevails often; _opponit nubem,_ he claps cloud
between; some little objection; a stranger is come; or my head aches; or
the church is too cold; or I have letters to write; or I am not
disposed; or it is not yet time; or the time is past; these, and such as
these, are the clouds the devil claps between heaven and us; but these
are such impotent objections, that they were as soon confuted, as
pretended, by all men that are not fools, or professed enemies of
religion." --JEREMY TAYLOR.
LADY Juliana had in vain endeavoured to obtain a sick certificate for
her daughter, that would have authorised her consigning her to the
oblivion of her own apartment. The physicians whom she consulted all
agreed, for once, in recommending a totally different system to be
pursued; and her displeasure, in consequence, was violently excited
against the medical tribe in general, and Dr. Redgill in particular. For
that worthy she had indeed always entertained a most thorough contempt
and aversion; for he was poor, ugly, and vulgar, and these were the
three most deadly sins in her calendar. The object of her detestation
was, however, completely insensible to its effects. The Doctor, like
Achilles, was vulnerable but in one part, and over that she could
exercise no control. She had nothing to do with the _menage_--possessed
no influence over Lord Courtland, nor authority over Monsieur Grillade.
She differed from himself as to the dressing of certain dishes; and, in
short, he summed up her character in one emphatic sentence, that in his
idea conveyed severer censure than all that Pope or Young ever wrote--"
I don't think she has the taste of her mouth!"
Thus thwarted in her scheme, Lady Juliana's dislike to her daughter
rather increased than diminished; and it was well for Mary that lessons
of forbearance had been early infused into her mind; for her spirit was
naturally high, and would have revolted from the tyranny and injustice
with which she was treated had she not been taught the practical duties
of Christianity, and that "patience, with all its appendages, is the
sum total of all our duty that is proper to the day of sorrow."
Not that Mary sought, by a blind compliance with all her mother's
follies and caprices, to ingratiate herself into her favour--even the
motive she would have deemed insufficient to have sanctified the deed;
and the only arts she employed to win a place in her parent's heart were
ready obedience, unvarying sweetness, and uncomplaining submission.
Although Mary possessed none of the sour bigotry of a narrow mind, she
was yet punctual in the discharge of her religious duties; and the
Sunday following her arrival, as they sat at breakfast, she inquired of
her cousin at what time the church service began.
"I really am not certain--I believe it is late," replied her cousin
carelessly. "But why do you ask?'
"Because I wish to be there in proper time."
"But we scarcely ever go--never, indeed, to the parish church--and we
are rather distant from any other; so you must say your prayers at home."
"I would certainly prefer going to church," said Mary.
"Going to church!" exclaimed Dr. Redgill in amazement. "I wonder what
makes people so keen of going to church! I'm sure there's little good to
be got there. For my part, I declare I would just as soon think of going
into my grave. Take my word for it, churches and churchyards are rather
too nearly related."
"In such a day as this," said Mary, "so dry and sunny, I am sure there
can be no danger."
"Take your own way, Miss Mary," said the Doctor; "but I think it my
duty to let you know my opinion of churches. I look upon them as
extremely prejudicial to the health. They are invariably either too
hot or too cold; you are either stewed or starved in them; and, till some
improvement takes place, I assure you my foot shall never enter one of
them. In fact, they are perfect receptacles of human infirmities. I can
tell you one of your church-going ladies at a glance; they have all
rheumatisms in their shoulders, and colds in their heads, and swelled