Part 8 out of 9
and throwing herself into the splendid equipage that awaited her was
soon lost to their view.
"Every white will have its black,
And every sweet its sour:"
As Lady Juliana experienced. Her daughter was Duchess of Altamont, but
Grizzy Douglas had arrived in Bath! The intelligence was communicated to
Mary in a letter. It had no date, but was as follows:--
My DEAR MARY--You will See from the Date of this, that we are at last
Arrived here, after a very long journey, which, you of Course Know it is
from this to our Part of the country; at the same Time, it was
uncommonly Pleasant, and we all enjoyed it very Much, only poor Sir
Sampson was so ill that we Expected him to Expire every minute, which
would have made it Extremely unpleasant for dear Lady M'Laughlan. He is
now, I am Happy to say, greatly Better, though still so Poorly that I am
much afraid you will see a very Considerable change upon him. I
sincerely hope, my dear Mary, that you will make a proper Apology to
Lady Juliana for my not going to Beech Park (where I know I would be
made most Welcome) directly--but I am Certain she will Agree with me
that it would be Highly Improper in me to leave Lady M'Laughlan when she
is not at all Sure how long Sir Sampson may Live; and it would Appear
very Odd if I was to be out of the way at such a time as That. But you
may Assure her, with my Kind love, and indeed all our Loves (as I am
sure None of us can ever forget the Pleasant time she spent with us at
Glenfern in my Poor brother's lifetime, before you was Born), that I
will Take the very first Opportunity of Spending some time at Beech Park
before leaving Bath, as we Expect the Waters will set Sir Sampson quite
on his Feet again. It will be a happy Meeting, I am certain, with Lady
Juliana and all of us, as it is Eighteen years this spring since we have
Met. You may be sure I have a great Deal to tell you and Lady Juliana
too, about all Friends at Glenfern, whom I left all quite Well. Of course,
the Report of Bella's and Betsy's marriages Must have reached Bath by
this time, as it will be three Weeks to-day since we left our part of
the country; but in case it has not reached you, Lady M'Laughlan is of
opinion that the Sooner you are made Acquainted with it the Better,
especially as there is no doubt of it. Bella's marriage, which is in a
manner fixed by this time, I daresay, though of Course it will not take
place for some time, is to Capt. M'Nab of some Regiment, but I'm sure I
Forget which, for there are so many Regiments, you know, it is
Impossible to remember them All; but he is quite a Hero, I know that, as
he has been in Several battles, and had Two of his front teeth Knocked
Out at one of them, and was Much complimented about it; and he Says, he
is quite Certain of getting Great promotion--at any Rate a pension for
it, so there is no Fear of him.
"Betsy has, if Possible, been still More fortunate than her Sister,
although you know Bella was always reckoned the Beauty of the Family,
though some people certainly preferred Betsy's Looks too. She has made a
Complete conquest of Major M'Tavish, of the Militia, who, Independent of
his rank, which is certainly very High, has also distinguished himself
very Much, and showed the Greatest bravery once when there was a Very
serious Riot about the raising the Potatoes a penny a peck, when there
was no Occasion for it, in the town of Dunoon; and it was very much
talked of at the Time, as well as Being in all the Newspapers. This
gives us all the Greatest Pleasure, as I am certain it will also Do Lady
Juliana and you, my dear Mary. At the same time, we Feel very much for
poor Babby, and Beenie, and Becky, as they Naturally, and indeed all of
us, Expected they would, of Course, be married first; and it is
certainly a great Trial for them to See their younger sisters married
before them. At the same Time, they are Wonderfully supported, and
Behave with Astonishing firmness; and I Trust, my dear Mary, you will do
the Same, as I have no Doubt you will All be married yet, as I am sure
you Richly deserve it when it Comes. I hope I will see you Very soon, as
Lady M'Laughlan, I am certain, will Make you most Welcome to call. We
are living in Most elegant Lodgings--all the Furniture is quite New, and
perfectly Good. I do not know the Name of the street yet, as Lady
M'Laughlan, which is no wonder, is not fond of being Asked questions
when she is Upon a Journey; and, indeed, makes a Point of never
Answering any, which, I daresay, is the Best way. But, of Course,
anybody will Tell you where Sir Sampson Maclaughlan, Baronet, of
Lochmarliie Castle, Perthshire, N. B., lives; and, if You are at any
Loss, it has a Green door, and a most Elegant Balcony. I must now bid
you adieu, my dear. Mary, as I Am so soon to See yourself. Sir Sampson
and Lady M'Laughlan unite with Me in Best compliments to the Family at
Beech Park. And, in kind love to Lady Juliana and you, I remain, My dear
Mary, your most affectionate Aunt,
_"P.S._--I have a long letter for you from Mrs. Douglas, which is in my
Trunk, that is Coming by the Perth Carrier, and unless he is stopped by
the Snow, I Expect he will be here in ten days."
With the idea of Grizzy was associated in Mary's mind all the dear
familiar objects of her happiest days, and her eyes sparkled with
delight at the thoughts of again beholding her.
"Oh! when may I go to Bath to dear Aunt Grizzy?" exclaimed she, as
she finished the letter. Lady Juliana looked petrified. Then
recollecting that this was the first intimation her mother had received
of such an event being even in contemplation, she made haste to
exculpate her aunt at her own expense, by informing her of the truth.
But nothing could be more unpalatable than the truth; and poor Mary's
short-lived joy was soon turned into the bitterest sorrow at the
reproaches that were showered upon her by the incensed Lady Juliana. But
for her these people never would have thought of coming to Bath; or if
they did, she should have had no connection with them. She had been most
excessively ill-used by Mr. Douglas's family, and had long since
resolved to have no further intercourse with them--they were nothing to
her, etc. etc. The whole concluding with a positive prohibition against
Mary's taking any notice of her aunt. "From all that has been said,
Mary," said Lady Emily gravely, "there can be no doubt but that you are
the origin of Lady Juliana's unfortunate connection with the family of
"Undoubtedly," said her Ladyship.
"But for you, it appears that she would not have known--certainly never
would have acknowledged that her husband had an aunt?"
"Certainly not," said Lady Juliana, warmly.
"It is a most admirable plan," continued Lady Emily in the same manner,
"and I shall certainly adopt it. When I have children I am determined
they shall be answerable for my making a foolish marriage; and it shall
be their fault if my husband has a mother. _En attendant,_ I am
determined to patronise Edward's relations to the last degree; and
therefore, unless Mary is permitted to visit her aunt as often as she
pleases, I shall make a point of bringing the dear Aunt Grizzy here. Yes"
(Putting her hand to the bell), "I shall order my carriage this instant,
and set off. To-morrow, you know, we give a grand dinner in
honour of Adelaide's marriage. Aunt Grizzy shall be queen of the feast."
Lady Juliana was almost suffocated with passion; but she knew her niece
too well to doubt her putting her threat into execution, and there was
distraction in the idea of the vulgar obscure Grizzy Douglas being
presented to a fashionable party as her aunt. After a violent
altercation, in which Mary took no part, an ungracious permission was at
length extorted, which Mary eagerly availed herself of; and, charged
with kind messages from Lady Emily, set off in quest of Aunt Grizzy and
the green door.
After much trouble, and many unsuccessful attacks upon green doors and
balconies, she was going to give up the search in despair, when her eye
was attracted by the figure of Aunt Grizzy herself at full length,
stationed at a window, in an old-fashioned riding-habit and spectacles.
The carriage was stopped and in an instant Mary was in the arms of her
aunt, all agitation, as Lochmarlie flashed on her fancy, at again
hearing its native accents uttered by the voice familiar to her from
infancy. Yet the truth must be owned, Mary's taste was somewhat
startled, even while her heart warmed at the sight of the good old aunt.
Association and affection still retained their magical influence over
her; but absence had dispelled the blest illusions of habitual
intercourse; and for the first time she beheld her aunt freed from its
softening spell. Still her heart clung to her, as to one known and loved
from infancy; and she Soon rose superior to the weakness she felt was
besetting her in the slight sensation of shame, as she contrasted her
awkward manner and uncouth accent with the graceful refinement of those
with whom she associated.
Far different were the sensations with which the good spinster regarded
her niece. She could not often enough declare her admiration of the
improvements that had taken place. Mary was grown taller, and stouter,
and fairer and fatter, and her back was a straight as an arrow, and her
carriage would even surprise Miss M'Gowk herself. It was quite
astonishing to see her, for she had always understood Scotland was the
place for beauty, and that nobody ever came to anything in England. Even
Sir Sampson and Lady Maclaughlan were forgot as she stood riveted in
admiration, and Mary was the first to recall her recollection to them.
Sir Sampson, indeed, might well have been overlooked by a more accurate
observer; for, as Grizzy observed, he was worn away to nothing, and the
little that remained seemed as if it might have gone too without being
any loss. He was now deaf, paralytic, and childish, and the only symptom
of life he showed was an increased restlessness and peevishness. His
lady sat by him, calmly pursuing her work, and, without relaxing from it,
merely held up her face to salute Mary as she approached her.
"So I'm glad you are no worse than you was, dear child," surveying her
from head to foot; "that's more than _we_ can say. You see these poor
creatures," pointing to Sir Sampson and Aunt Grizzy. "They are much about
it now. Well, we know what we are, but God knows what we shall
Sir Sampson showed no signs of recognising her, but seemed pleased when
Grizzy resumed her station beside him; and began for the five hundredth
time to tell him why he was not in Lochmarlie Castle, and why he was in
Mary now saw that there are situations in which a weak capacity has its
uses, and that the most foolish chat may sometimes impart greater
pleasure than all the wisdom of the schools, even when proceeding from a
Sir Sampson and Grizzy were so much upon a pair in intellect, that they
were reciprocally happy in each other. This the strong sense of Lady
Maclaughlan had long perceived, and was the principal reason of her
selecting so weak a woman as her companion; though, at the same time, in
justice to her Ladyship's heart as well as head, she had that partiality
for her friend for which no other reason can be assigned than that given
by Montaigne: "Je l'amais parceque c'etoit _elle,_ parceque c'etoit moi."
Mary paid a long visit to her aunt, and then took leave, promising to
return the following day to take Miss Grizzy to deliver a letter of
introduction she had received, and which had not been left to the chance
of the carrier and the snow.
"This sort of person is skilled to assume the appearance of all virtues
and all good qualities; but their favourite mask is universal
benevolence. And the reason why they prefer this disguise to all others,
is, that it tends to conceal its opposite, which is, indeed, their true
character--an universal selfishness."
ALTHOUGH, on her return, Mary read her mother's displeasure in her
looks, and was grieved at again having incurred it, she yet felt it a
duty towards her father to persevere in her attentions to his aunt. She
was old, poor, and unknown, plain in her person, weak in her intellects,
vulgar in her manners; but she was related to her by ties more binding
than the laws of fashion or the rules of taste. Even these
disadvantages, which, to a worldly mind, would have served as excuses
for neglecting her, to Mary's generous nature were so many incentives to
treat her with kindness and attention. Faithful to her promise,
therefore, she repaired to Milsom Street, and found her aunt all
impatience for her arrival, with the letter so firmly grasped in both
hands, that she seemed almost afraid to trust anyone with a glance at
"This letter, Mary," said she, when they were seated in the carriage,
"will be a great thing for me, and especially for you. I got it from
Mrs. Menzies, through Mrs. M'Drone, whose friend, Mrs. Campbell's
half-sister, Miss Grant, is a great friend of Mrs. Fox's, and she says
she is a most charming woman. Of course she is no friend to the great
Fox; or you know it would have been very odd in me, with Sir Sampson's
principles, and my poor brother's principles, and all our own
principles, to have visited her. But she's quite of a different family
of Foxes: she's a Fox of Peckwell, it seems--a most amiable woman, very
rich, and prodigiously charitable. I am sure we have been most fortunate
in getting a letter to such a woman." And with this heartfelt
ejaculation they found themselves at Mrs. Fox's.
Everything corresponded with the account of this lady's wealth and
consequence; the house was spacious and handsomely furnished, with its
due proportion of livery servants; and they were ushered into a
sitting-room which was filled with all the 'wonders of nature and
art,--Indian shells, inlaid cabinets, ivory boxes, stuffed birds, old
china, Chinese mandarins, stood disclosed in all their charms. The lady
of this mansion was seated at table covered with works of a different
description: it exhibited the various arts of woman, in regular
gradation, from the painted card-rack and gilded firescreen, to the
humble thread-paper and shirt-button. Mrs. Fox was a fine,
fashionable-looking woman, with a smooth skin, and still smoother
address. She received her visitors with that overstrained complaisance
which, to Mary's nicer tact, at once discovered that all was hollow; but
poor Miss Grizzy was scarcely seated before she was already transfixed
with admiration at Mrs. Fox's politeness, and felt as if her whole life
would be too short to repay such kindness. Compliments over--the
weather, etc., discussed, Mrs. Fox began:
"You must be surprised, ladies, to see me in the midst of such a litter,
but you find me busy arranging the works of some poor _protegees_ of
mine. A most unfortunate family!--I have given them what little
instruction I could in these little female works; and you see," putting
a gaudy work-basket into Grizzy's hands, "it is astonishing what
progress they have made. My friends have been most liberal in their
purchases of these trifles, but I own I am a wretched beggar. They are
in bad hands when they are in mine, poor souls! The fact is, I can give,
but I cannot beg. I tell them they really must find somebody else to
dispose of their little labours--somebody who has more of what I call
the gift of begging than I am blest with."
Tears of admiration stood in Grizzy's eye; her hand was in her
pocket. She looked to Mary, but Mary's hands and eyes betrayed no
corresponding emotions; she felt only disgust at the meanness and
indelicacy of the mistress of such a mansion levying contributions from
the stranger within her door.
Mrs. Fox proceeded: "That most benevolent woman Miss Gull was here this
morning, and bought no less than seven of these sweet little
pincushions. I would fain have dissuaded her from taking so many--it
really seemed such a stretch of virtue; but she said, 'My dear Mrs. Fox,
how can one possibly spend their money better than in doing a good
action, and at the same time enriching themselves?'"
Grizzy's purse was in her hand. "I declare that's very true. I never
thought of that before; and I'm certain Lady Maclaughlan will say the
very same; and I'm sure she will be delighted--I've no doubt of that--to
take a pincushion; and each of my sisters I'm certain, will take one,
though we have all plenty of pincushions; and I'll take one to myself,
though I have three, I'm sure, that I've never used yet."
"My dear Miss Douglas, you really are, I could almost say, _too_ good.
Two and two's four, and one's five--five half-crowns! My poor
_protegees!_ you will really be the making of their fortune!"
Grizzy, with trembling hands, and a face flushed with conscious virtue,
drew forth the money from her little hoard.
But Mrs. Fox did not quit her prey so easily. "If any of your friends
are in want of shirt-buttons, Miss Douglas, I would fain recommend those
to them. They are made by a poor woman in whom I take some interest, and
are far superior to any that are to be had from the shops. They are made
from the very best materials. Indeed, I take care of that, as" (in a
modest whisper) "I furnish her with the material myself; but the
generality of those you get to purchase are made from old materials.
I've ascertained that, and it's a fact you may rely upon."
Poor Grizzy's hair stood on end, to hear of such depravity in a sphere
where she had never even suspected it; but, for the honour of her
country, she flattered herself such practices were there unknown; and
she was entering upon a warm vindication of the integrity of Scotch
shirt-buttons, when Mrs. Fox coolly observed--
"Indeed, our friend Miss Grant was so conscious of the great superiority
of these buttons over any others, that she bespoke thirty-six dozen of
them to take to Scotland with her. In fact, they are the real good
old-fashioned shirt-buttons, such as I have heard my mother talk of; and
for all that, I make a point of my poor woman selling them a penny a
dozen below the shop price; so that in taking twelve dozen, which is the
common quantity, there is a shilling saved at once."
Grizzy felt as if she would be the saving of the family by the
purchase of these incomparable shirt buttons, and, putting down her five
shillings, became the happy possessor of twelve dozen of them.
Fresh expressions of gratitude and admiration ensued, till Grizzy's
brain began to whirl even more rapidly than usual, at the thought of the
deeds she had done.
"And now," said Mrs. Fox, observing her eyes in a fine frenzy rolling
from her lapful of pincushions and shirt buttons, to a mandarin nearly
as large as life, "perhaps, my dear Miss Douglas, you will do me the
favour to take a look of my little collection."
"Favour!" thought Grizzy; "what politeness!" and she protested there was
nothing she liked so much as to look at everything, and that it would be
the greatest favour to show her anything. The mandarin was made to shake
his head--a musical snuffbox played its part--and a variety of other
expensive toys were also exhibited.
Mary's disgust increased. "And this woman," thought she, "professes to
be charitable amidst all this display of selfish extravagance. Probably
the price of one of these costly baubles would have provided for the
whole of these poor people for whom she affects so much compassion,
without subjecting her to the meanness of turning her house into a
beggar's repository." And she walked away to the other end of the room
to examine some fine scriptural paintings.
"Here," said Mrs. Fox to her victim, as she unlocked a superb cabinet,
"is what I value more than my whole collection put together. It is my
specimens of Scotch pebbles; and I owe them solely to the generosity and
good-will of my Scotch friends. I assure you that is a proud reflection
to me. I am a perfect enthusiast in Scotch pebbles, and, I may say, in
Scotch people. In fact, I am an enthusiast in whatever I am interested
in; and at present, I must own, my heart is set upon making a complete
collection of Scotch pebbles."
Grizzy began to feel a sort of tightness at her throat, at which was
affixed a very fine pebble brooch pertaining to Nicky, but lent to
Grizzy, to enable her to make a more distinguished figure in the gay
"Oh!" thought she, "what a pity this brooch is Nicky's, and not mine; I
would have given it to this charming Mrs. Fox. Indeed, I don't see how I
can be off giving it to her, even although it is Nicky's."
"And, by-the-bye," exclaimed Mrs. Fox, as if suddenly struck with the
sight of the brooch, "that seems a very fine stone of yours. I wonder I
did not observe it sooner; but, indeed, pebbles are thrown away in
dress. May I beg a nearer view of it?"
Grizzy's brain was now all on fire. On the one hand there was the glory
of presenting the brooch to such a polite, charitable, charming woman;
on the other, there was the fear of Nicky's indignation. But then it was
quite thrown away upon Nicky--she had no cabinet, and Mrs. Fox had
declared that pebbles were quite lost anywhere but in cabinets, and it
was a thousand pities that Nicky's brooch should be lost. All these
thoughts Grizzy revolved with her usual clearness, as she unclasped the
brooch, and gave it into the hand of the collector.
"Bless me, my dear Miss Douglas, this is really a very fine stone! I had
no conception of it when I saw it sticking in your throat. It looks
quite a different thing in the hand; it is a species I am really not
acquainted with. I have nothing at all similar to it in my poor
collection. Pray, can you tell me the name of it, and where it is found,
that I may at least endeavour to procure a piece of it."
"I'm sure I wish to goodness my sister Nicky was here--I'm certain she
would--though, to be sure, she has a great regard for it; for it was
found on the Glenfern estate the very day my grandfather won his plea
against Drimsydie; and we always called it the lucky stone from that."
"The lucky stone! what a delightful name! I shall never think myself in
luck till I can procure a piece of your lucky stone. I protest, I could
almost go to Scotland on purpose. Oh, you dear lucky stone!" kissing it
"I'm sure--I'm almost certain--indeed, I'm convinced, if my sister Nicky
was here, she would be delighted to offer-- It would certainly be
doing my sister Nicky the greatest favour, since you think it would be
seen to so much greater advantage in your cabinet, which, for my own
part, I have not the least doubt of, as certainly my sister Nicky very
seldom wears it for fear of losing it, and it would be a thousand pities
if it was lost; and, to be sure, it will be much safer locked up--nobody
can dispute that--so I am sure it's by far the best thing my sister
Nicky can do--for certainly a pebble brooch is quite lost as a brooch."
"My dear Miss Douglas! I am really quite ashamed! This is a perfect
robbery, I protest! But I must insist upon your accepting some little
token of my regard for Miss Nicky in return." Going to her
charity-table, and returning with a set of painted thread-papers, "I
must request the favour of you to present these to Miss Nicky, with my
kind regards, and assure her I shall consider her lucky stone as the
most precious jewel in my possession."
The whole of this scene had been performed with such rapidity that poor
Grizzy was not prepared for the sudden metamorphose of Nicky's pebble
brooch into a set of painted thread-papers, and some vague alarms began
to float through her brain.
Mary now advanced, quite unconscious of what had been going on; and
having whispered her aunt to take leave, they departed. They returned in
silence. Grizzy was so occupied in examining her pincushions and
counting her buttons, that she never looked up till the carriage stopped
in Milsom Street.
Mary accompanied her in. Grizzy was all impatience to display her
treasures; and as she hastily unfolded them, began to relate her
achievements. Lady Maclaughlan heard her in silence, and a deep groan
was all that she uttered; but Grizzy was too well accustomed to be
groaned at, to be at all appalled, and went on, "But all that's nothing
to the shirt-buttons, made of Mrs. Fox's own linen, and only five
shillings the twelve dozen; and considering what tricks are played with
shirt-buttons now--I assure you people require to be on their guard with
"Pray, my dear, did you ever read the 'Vicar of Wakefield?'"
"The 'Vicar of Wakefield?' I--I think always I must have read it:--at
any rate, I'm certain I've heard of it."
"Moses and his green spectacles was as one of the acts of Solomon
compared to you and your shirtbuttons. Pray, which of you is it that
"I declare that's very true--I wonder I did not think of that sooner--to
be sure, none us wear shirts since my poor brother died."
"And what's become of her brooch?" turning to Mary, who for the first
time observed the departure of Nicky's crown jewel.
"Oh, as to the brooch," cried Grizzy, "I'm certain you'll all think that
well bestowed, and certainly it has been the saving of it." Upon which
she commenced a most entangled narrative, from which the truth was at
"Well," said Lady Maclaughlan, "there are two things God grant I may
never become,--an, _amateur_ in charity, and a collector of curiosities.
No Christian can be either--both are pickpockets. I wouldn't keep
company with my own mother were she either one or other--humph!"
Mary was grieved at the loss of the brooch; but Grizzy seemed more than
ever satisfied with the exchange, as Sir Sampson had taken a fancy for
the thread-papers, and it would amuse him for the rest of the day to be
told every two minutes what they were intended for. Mary therefore left
her quite happy, and returned to Beech Park.
"He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
Who dares not put it to the touch,
To gain or lose it all."
_Marquis of Montrose._
TIME rolled on, but no event occurred in Grizzy's life worthy of being
commemorated. Lady Juliana began to recover from the shock of her
arrival, and at length was even prevailed upon to pay her a visit, and
actually spent five minutes in the same room with her. All her
Ladyship's plans seemed now on the point of being accomplished. Mr.
Downe Wright was now Lord Glenallan, with an additional fifteen thousand
per annum, and by wiser heads than hers would have been thought an
unexceptionable match for any young woman. Leaving his mother to settle
his affairs in Scotland, to which she was much more _au fait_ than
himself, he hastened to Beech Park to claim Mary's promised hand.
But neither wealth nor grandeur possessed any sway over Mary's
well-regulated mind, and she turned from that species of happiness which
she felt would be insufficient to satisfy the best affections of her
heart. "No," thought she, "it is not in splendour and distinction that I
shall find happiness; it is in the cultivation of the domestic
virtues--the peaceful joys of a happy home and a loved companion, that
my felicity must consist. Without these I feel that I should still be
poor, were I mistress of millions;" and she took the first opportunity
of acquainting Lord Glenallan with the nature of her sentiments.
He received the communication with painful surprise; but as he was one
of those who do not easily divest themselves of an idea that has once
taken possession of their brain, he seemed resolved to persevere in his
quiet, though pointed attentions.
Lady Juliana's anger at the discovery of her daughter's refusal it
is needless to describe--it may easily be imagined; and poor Mary was
almost heartbroken by the violence and duration of it. Sometimes she
wavered in her ideas as to whether she was doing right in thus resisting
her mother's wishes; and in the utmost distress she mentioned her
scruples to Lady Emily.
"As to Lady Juliana's wishes," said her cousin, "they are mere
soap-bubbles; but as to your own views--why, really you are somewhat of
a riddle to me. I rather think, were I such a quiet, civil,
well-disposed person as you, I could have married Lord Glenallan well
enough. He is handsome, good-natured, and rich; and though 'he is but a
Lord, and nothing but a Lord,' still there is a dash and bustle in
twenty thousand a year that takes off from the ennui of a dull
companion. With five hundred a year, I grant you, he would be
"Then I shall never marry a man with twenty thousand a year whom I would
not have with five hundred."
"In short, you are to marry for love--that's the old story, which, with
all your wisdom, you wise, well-educated girls always end in. Where
shall I find a hero upon five hundred a year for you? Of course he must
be virtuous, noble, dignified, handsome, brave, witty. What would you
think of Charles Lennox?"
Mary coloured. "After what passed, I would not marry Colonel Lennox;
no"--affecting to smile--"not if he were to ask me, which is certainly
the most unlikely of all things."
"Ah! true, I had forgot that scrape. No, that won't do; it certainly
would be most pitiful in you, after what passed. Well, I don't know
what's to be done with you. There's nothing for it but that you should
take Lord Glenallan, with all his imperfections on his head; and, after
all, I really see nothing that he wants but a little more brain, and as
you'll have the managing of him you can easily supply that deficiency."
"Indeed," answered Mary, "I find I have quite little enough for myself,
and I have no genius whatever for managing. I shall therefore never
marry, unless I marry a man on whose judgment I could rely for advice
and assistance, and for whom I could feel a certain deference that I
consider due from a wife to her husband."
"I see what you would be at," said Lady Emily; "you mean to model
yourself upon the behaviour of Mrs. Tooley, who has such a deference for
the judgment of her better half, that she consults him even about the
tying of her shoes, and would not presume to give her child a few grains
of magnesia without this full and unqualified approbation. Now I flatter
myself my husband and I shall have a more equitable division; for,
though man is a reasonable being, he shall know and own that woman is so
too--sometimes. All things that men ought to know better I shall yield;
whatever may belong to either sex, I either seize upon as my
prerogative, or scrupulously divide; for which reason I should like the
profession of my husband to be something in which I could not possibly
interfere. How difficult must it be for a woman in the lower ranks of
life to avoid teaching her husband how to sew, if he is a tailor; or how
to bake, if he is a baker, etc.
"Nature seems to have provided for this tendency of both sexes, by
making your sensible men--that is, men who think themselves sensible,
and wish everybody else to think the same--incline to foolish women. I
can detect one of these sensible husbands at a glance, by the pomp and
formality visible in every word, look, or action--men, in short, whose
'visages do cream and mantle like a standing pond;' who are perfect
Joves in their own houses--who speak their will by a nod, and lay down
the law by the motion of their eyebrow--and who attach prodigious ideas
of dignity to frightening their children, and being worshipped by their
wives, till you see one of these wiseacres looking as if he thought
himself and his obsequious helpmate were exact personifications of Adam
and Eve--' he for God only, she for God in him.' Now I am much afraid,
Mary, with all your sanctity, you are in some danger of becoming one of
"I hope not," replied Mary, laughing; "but if I should, that seems
scarcely so bad as the sect of Independents in the marriage state; for
example, there is Mrs. Boston, who by all strangers is taken for a
widow, such emphasis does she lay upon the personal pronoun--with her,
'tis always, _I_ do this, or _I_ do that, without the slightest
reference to her husband; and she talks of _my_ house, _my_ gardens,
_my_ carriage, _my_ children, as if there were no copartnery in the
"Ah, she is very odious," cried Lady Emily; "she is both master and
mistress, and more if possible she makes her husband look like her
footman; but she is a fool, as every woman must needs be who thinks she
can raise herself by lowering her husband. Then there is the sect of the
Wranglers, whose marriage is only one continued dispute. But, in short,
I see it is reserved for me to set a perfect example to my sex in the
married state. But I'm more reasonable than you, I suspect, for I don't
insist upon having a bright genius for my mate."
"I confess I should like that my husband's genius was at least as bright
as my own," said Mary, "and I can't think there is anything unreasonable
in that; or rather, I should say, were I a genius myself, I could better
dispense with a certain portion of intellect in my husband; as it has
been generally remarked that those who are largely endowed themselves
can easier dispense with talents in their companions than others of more
moderate endowments can do; but virtue and talents on the one side,
virtue and tenderness on the other, I look upon as the principal
ingredients in a happy union."
"Well, I intend to be excessively happy; and yet, I don't think Edward
will ever find the longitude. And, as for my tenderness--humph!--as
Lady Maclaughlan says; but as for you--I rather think you're in some
danger of turning into an Aunt Grizzy, with a long waist and large
pockets, peppermint drops and powdered curls; but, whatever you do, for
heaven's sake let us have no more human sacrifices--if you do, I shall
certainly appear at your wedding in sackcloth." And this was all of
comfort or advice that her Ladyship could bestow.
As Lady Emily was not a person who concealed either her own secrets or
those of others, Colonel Lennox was not long of hearing from her what
had passed, and of being made thoroughly acquainted with Mary's
sentiments on love and marriage. "Such a heart must be worth winning,"
thought he; but he sighed to think that he had less chance for the prize
than another. Independent of his narrow fortune, which, he was aware,
would be an insuperable bar to obtaining Lady Juliana's consent, Mary's
coldness and reserve towards him seemed to increase rather than
diminish. Or if she sometimes gave way to the natural frankness and
gaiety of her disposition before him, a word or look expressive of
admiration on his part instantly recalled to her those painful ideas
which had been for a moment forgot, and seemed to throw him at a greater
distance than ever.
Colonel Lennox was too noble-minded himself to suppose for an instant
that Mary actually felt dislike towards him because at the commencement
of their acquaintance he had not done justice to her merits; but he was
also aware that, until he had explained to her the nature of his
sentiments, she must naturally regard his attentions with suspicion, and
consider them rather as acts of duty towards his mother than as the
spontaneous expression of his own attachment. He therefore, in the most
simple and candid manner, laid open to her the secret of his heart, and
in all the eloquence of real passion, poured forth those feelings of
love and admiration with which she had unconsciously inspired him.
For a moment Mary's distrust was overcome by the ardour of his
address, and the open manly manner in which he had avowed the rise and
progress of his attachment; and she yielded herself up to the delightful
conviction of loving and being beloved.
But soon that gave way to the mortifying reflection that rushed over her
mind, "He _has_ tried to love me!" thought she; "but it is in obedience
to his mother's wish, and he thinks he has succeeded. No, no; I cannot
be the dupe of his delusion--I will not give myself to one who has been
solicited to love me!" And again wounded delicacy and woman's pride
resumed their empire over her, and she rejected the idea of _ever_
receiving Colonel Lennox as a lover. He heard her determination with the
deepest anguish, and used every argument and entreaty to soften her
resolution; but Mary had wrought herself up to a pitch of heroism-she
had rejected the man she loved--the only man she ever _could_ love: that
done, to persist in the sacrifice seemed easy; and they parted with
increased attachment in their hearts, even though those hearts seemed
severed for ever.
Soon after he set off to join his regiment; and it was only in saying
farewell that Mary felt how deeply her happiness was involved in the
fate of the man she had for ever renounced. To no one did she impart
what had passed; and Lady Emily was too dull herself, for some days
after the departure of her friend, to take any notice of Mary's
"Who taught the parrot to cry, hail?
What taught the chattering pie his tale?
Hunger; that sharpener of the wits,
Which gives e'en fools some thinking fits"
MARY found herself bereft of both her lovers nearly at the same time.
Lord Glenallan, after formally renewing his suit, at length took a final
leave, and returned to Scotland. Lady Juliana's indignation could only
be equalled by Dr. Redgill's upon the occasion. He had planned a snug
retreat for himself during the game season at Glenallan Castle; where,
from the good-nature and easy temper of both master and mistress, he had
no doubt but that he should in time come to _rule the roast,_ and be
lord paramount over kitchen and larder. His disappointment was therefore
great at finding all the solid joys of red deer and moor-game, kippered
salmon and mutton hams, "vanish like the baseless fabric of a vision,"
leaving not a wreck behind.
"Refused Lord Glenallan!" exclaimed he to Lady Emily, upon first
hearing of it. "The thing's incredible--absolutely impossible--I won't
"That's right, Doctor; who is it that says 'And still believe the story
false that _ought_ not to be true? I admire your candour, and wish I
could imitate it."
"Then your Ladyship really believes it. 'Pon my soul, I--I--it's really a
very vexatious affair. I feel for Lady Juliana, poor woman! No wonder
she's hysterical-five and twenty thousand a year refused! What is it she
would have? The finest deer park in Scotland! Every sort of game upon
the estate! A salmon fishing at the very door!--I should just like to
know what _is_ the meaning of it?"
"Cannot you guess, Doctor" asked Lady Emily.
"Guess! No, 'pon my soul! I defy any man to guess what could tempt a
woman to refuse five and twenty thousand a year; unless, indeed, she has
something higher in view, and even then she should be pretty sure of her
mark. But I suppose, because Miss Adelaide has got a Duke, she thinks
she must have one too. I suppose that's the story; but I can tell her
Dukes are not so plenty; and she's by no means so fine a woman as her
sister, and her market's spoilt, or I'm much mistaken. What man in his
senses would ever ask a woman who had been such an idiot as to refuse
five and twenty thousand a year?"
"I see, Doctor, you are quite a novice in the tender passion. Cannot you
make allowance for it: a young lady's not being in love?"
"In what?" demanded the Doctor.
"In love," repeated Lady Emily.
"Love! Bah--nonsense--no mortal in their senses ever thinks of such
"Then you think love and madness are one and the same thing, it seems?"
"I think the man or woman who could let their love stand in the way of
five and twenty thousand a year is the next thing to being mad," said
the Doctor warmly; "and in this case I can see no difference."
"But you'll allow there are some sorts of love that may be indulged
without casting any shade upon the understanding?"
"I really can't tell what your Ladyship means," said the Doctor
"I mean, for example, the love one may feel towards a turtle, such as we
"That's quite a different thing," interrupted the Doctor.
"Pardon me, but whatever the consequence may be, the effects in both
cases were very similar, as exemplified in yourself. Pray, what
difference did it make to your friends, who were deprived of your
society, whether you spent your time in walking with 'even step, and
musing gait,' before your Dulcinea's window or the turtle's
cistern?--whether you were engrossed in composing a sonnet to your
mistress's eyebrow, or in contriving a new method of heightening the
enjoyments of _calipash?_ --whether you expatiated with greater rapture
on the charms of a white skin or green fat?--whether you were most
devoted to a languishing or a lively beauty?--whether----"
"'Pon my honour, Lady Emily, I really--I--I can't conceive what it is you
mean. There's a time for everything; and I'm sure nobody but yourself
would ever have thought of bringing in a turtle to a conversation upon
"On the contrary, Doctor, I thought it had been upon love; and I was
endeavouring to convince you that even the wisest of men may be
susceptible of certain tender emotions towards a beloved object."
"You'll never convince me that any but a fool can be in love," cried
the Doctor, his visage assuming a darker purple as the argument
"Then you must rank Lord Glenallan, with his five and twenty thousand a
year, amongst the number, for he is desperately in love, I assure you."
"As to that, Lord Glenallan, or any man with his fortune, may be
whatever he chooses. He has a right to be in love. He can afford to be
"I have heard much of the torments of love," said Lady Emily; "but I
never heard it rated as a luxury before. I hope there is no chance of
your being made Premier, otherwise I fear we should have a tax upon
"It would be greatly for the advantage of the nation, as well as the
comfort of individuals, if there was," returned the Doctor. "Many a
pleasant fellow has been lost to society by what you call a
love-marriage. I speak from experience. I was obliged to drop the
oldest friend I had upon his making one of your love-marriages."
"What! you were afraid of the effects of evil example?" asked Lady
"No--it was not for that; but he asked me to take a family dinner with
him one day, and I, without knowing anything of the character of the
woman he had married, was weak enough to go. I found a very so-so
tablecloth and a shoulder of mutton, which ended our acquaintance. I
never entered his door after it. In fact, no man's happiness is proof
against dirty tablecloths and bad dinners; and you may take my word for
it, Lady Emily, these are the invariable accompaniments of your
"Pshaw! that is only amongst the _bourgeois,"_ said Lady Emily
affectedly; "that is not the sort of _menage_ I mean to have.
Here is to be the style of my domestic establishment;" and she repeated
Shenstone's beautiful pastoral--
"My banks they are furnished with bees," etc.,
till she came to--
"I have found out a gift for my fair,
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed."
"There's some sense in that," cried the Doctor, who had been listening
with great weariness." You may have a good pigeon-pie, or _un saute de
pigeons au sang,_ which is still better when well dressed."
"Shocking!" exclaimed Lady Emily; "to mention pigeon-pies in the
same breath with nightingales and roses!"
"I'll tell you what, Lady Emily, it's just these sort of nonsensical
descriptions that do all the mischief amongst you young ladies. It's
these confounded poets that turn all your heads, and make you think you
have nothing to do after you are married but sit beside fountains and
grottoes, and divert yourself with birds and flowers, instead of looking
after your servants, and paying your butcher's bills; and, after all,
what is the substance of that trash you have just been reading, but to
say that the man was a substantial farmer and grazier, and had bees;
though I never heard of any man in his senses going to sleep amongst his
beehives before. 'Pon my soul! if I had my will I would burn every line
of poetry that ever was written. A good recipe for a pudding is worth
all that your Shenstones and the whole set of them ever wrote; and
there's more good sense and useful information in this book"--rapping
his knuckles against a volume he held in his hand--"than in all your
poets, ancient and modern."
Lady Emily took it out of his hand and opened it.
"And some very poetical description, too, Doctor; although you affect
to despise it so much. Here is an eulogium on the partridge. I doubt
much if St. Preux ever made a finer on his adorable Julie;" and she read
"La Perdrix tient Ie premier rang apres la Becasse, dans la cathegorie
des gibiers a plumes. C'est, lorsqu'elle est rouge, l'un des plus
honorables et desmeilleurs rotis qui puissent etre etales sur une table
gourmande. Sa forme appetissante, sa taille elegante et svelte, quoiqu'
arrondie, son embonpoint modere, ses jambes d'ecarlate; enfin, son fumet
divin et ses qualites restaurantes, tout concourt a la faire rechercher
des vrais amateurs. D'autres gibiers sont plus rares, plus chers, mieux
accueillis par la vanite, le prejuge, et la mode; la Perdrix rouge,
belle de sa propre beaute, dont les qualites sont independantes de la
fantaisie, qui reunit en sa personne tout ce qui peut charmer les yeux,
delecter Ie palais, stimuler l'appetit, et ranimer les forces, plaira
dans-tous les temps, et concourra a l'honneur de tous les festins, sous
quelque forme qu'elle y paroisse." 
 "Manuel des Amphitryons."
The Doctor sighed: "That's nothing to what he says of the woodcock:" and
with trembling hand she turned over the leaves, till he found the
place. "Here it is," said he, "page 88, chap. xvi. Just be so good as
read that, Lady Emily, and say whether it is not infamous that Monsieur
Grillade has never even attempted to make it."
With an air of melancholy enthusiasm she read--"Dans les pays ou les
Becasses sont communes, on obtient, de leurs carcasses pilees dans un
mortier, une puree sur laquelle on dresse diverses entrees, telles que
de petites cotelettes de mouton, etc. Cotte puree est l'une des plus
delicieuses choses qui puisse etre introduite dans Ie palais d'un
gourmand, et l'on peut assurer que quiconque n'en a point mange n'a
point connu les joies du paradis terrestre. Une puree de Becasse, bien
faite, est Ie _ne plus ultra_ des jouissances humaines. II faut mourir
apres l'avoir goutee, car toutes les autres alors ne paroitront plus
"And these _becasses,_ these woodcocks, perfectly swarm on the
Glenallan estate in the season," cried the Doctor; "and to think that
such a man should have been refused. But Miss Mary will repent this the
longest day she lives. I had a cook in my eye for them, too--one who is
quite up to the making of this _puree. _'Pon my soul! she
deserve to live upon sheep's head and haggis for the rest of her life;
and if I was Lady Juliana I would try the effect of bread and water."
"She certainly does not aspire to such joys as are here portrayed in
this _your_ book of life," said Lady Emily; "for I suspect she could
endure existence even upon roast mutton with the man she loves."
"That's nothing to the purpose, unless the man she loves, as you call it,
loves to live upon roast mutton too. Take my word for it, unless she
gives her husband good dinners he'll not care twopence for her in a
week's time. I look upon bad dinners to be the source of much of the
misery we hear of in the married life. Women are much mistaken if they
think it's by dressing themselves they are to please their husbands."
"Pardon me, Doctor, we must be the best judges there, and I have the
authority of all ages and sages in my favour: the beauty and the charms
of women have been the favourite theme, time immemorial; now no one ever
heard of a fair one being celebrated for her skill in cookery."
"There I beg leave to differ from you," said the Doctor, with an air of
exultation, again referring to his _text-book_--"here is the great
Madame Pompadour, celebrated for a single dish: 'Les tendrons d'agneau
au soleil et a la Pompadour, sont sortis de l'imagination de
cette dame celebre, pour entrer dans la bouche d'un roi."
"But it was Love that inspired her--it was Love that kindled the fire in
her imagination. In short, you must acknowledge that
"Love rules the court, the camp, the grove."
"I'll acknowledge no such thing," cried the Doctor, with indignation.
"Love rule the camp, indeed! A very likely story! Don't I know that all
our first generals carry off the best cooks--that there's no such living
anywhere as in camp--that their aides-de-camp are quite ruined by
it--that in time of war they live at the rate of twenty thousand a year,
and when they come home they can't get a dinner they can eat? As for the
court, I don't pretend to know much about it; but I suspect there's more
cooks than Cupids to be seen about it. And for the groves, I shall only
say I never heard of any of your _fetes champetre_, or picnics,
where all the pleasure didn't seem to consist in the eating and
"Ah, Doctor, I perceive you have taken all your ideas on that subject
from Werter, who certainly was a sort of a sentimental _gourmand,_ he
seems to have enjoyed so much drinking his coffee under the shade of the
lime-trees, and going to the kitchen to take his own pease-soup; and
then he breaks out into such raptures at the idea of the illustrious
lovers of Penelope killing and dressing their own meat! Butchers and
cooks in one! only conceive them with their great knives and blue
aprons, or their spits and white nightcaps! Poor Penelope! no wonder she
preferred spinning to marrying one of these creatures! Faugh! I must
have an ounce of civet to sweeten my imagination." And she flew of,
leaving the Doctor to con over the "Manuel des Amphitryons," and sigh
at the mention of joys, sweet, yet mournful, to his soul.
"The ample proposition that hope makes
In all designs begun on earth below,
Fails in the promised largeness."
THERE is no saying whether the Doctor's system might not have been
resorted to had not Lady Juliana's wrath been for the present suspended
by an invitation to Altamont House. True, nothing could be colder than
the terms in which it was couched; but to that her Ladyship was
insensible, and would have been equally indifferent had she known that,
such as it was, she owed it more to the obstinacy of her son-in-law than
the affection of her daughter. The Duke of Altamont was one of those who
attach great ideas of dignity to always carrying their point; and though
he might sometimes be obliged to suspend his plans, he never had been
known to relinquish them. Had he settled in his own mind to tie his
neckcloth in a particular way, not all the eloquence of Cicero or the
tears of O'Neil would have induced him to alter it; and Adelaide, the
haughty, self-willed Adelaide, soon found that, of all yokes, the most
insupportable is the yoke of an obstinate fool. In the thousand trifling
occurances of domestic life (for his Grace was interested in all the
minutiae of his establishment), where good sense and good humour on
either side would have gracefully yielded to the other, there was a
perpetual contest for dominion, which invariably ended in Adelaide's
defeat. The Duke, indeed, never disputed, or reasoned, or even replied;
but the thing was done; till, at the end of six weeks, the Duchess of
Altamont most heartily hated and despised the man she had so lately
vowed to love and obey. On the present occasion his Grace certainly
appeared in the most amiable light in wishing to have Lady Juliana
invited to his house; but in fact it proceeded entirely from his
besetting sin, obstinacy. He had propose her accompanying her daughter
at the time of her marriage, and been overruled; but with all the
pertinacity of a little mind he had kept fast hold of the idea, merely
because it was his own, and he was now determined to have it put in
execution. In a postscript to the letter, and in the same cordial style,
the Duchess said something of a hope, that _if_ her mother did come to
town, Mary should accompany her; but this her Ladyship, to Mary's great
relief, declared should not be, although she certainly was very much at
a loss how to dispose of her. Mary timidly expressed her wish to be
permitted to return to Lochmarlie, and mentioned that her uncle and aunt
had repeatedly offered to come to Bath for her, if she might be allowed
to accompany them home; but to this her mother also gave a decided
negative, adding that she never should see Lochmarlie again, if she
could help it. In short, she must remain where she was till something
could be fixed as to her future destination. "It was most excessively
tiresome to be clogged with a great unmarried daughter," her Ladyship
observed, as she sprang into the carriage with a train of dogs, and
drove off to dear delightful London.
But, alas! the insecurity of even the best-laid schemes of human
foresight! Lady Juliana was in the midst of arrangements for endless
pleasures, when she received accounts of the death of her now almost
forgotten husband! He had died from the gradual effects of the climate,
and that was all that remained to be told of the unfortunate Henry
Douglas! If his heartless wife shed some natural tears, she wiped them
soon; but the wounds of disappointment and vanity were not so speedily
effaced, as she contrasted the brilliant court-dress with the unbecoming
widow's cap. Oh, she so detested black things--it was so hateful to wear
mourning--she never could feel happy or comfortable in black! and, at
such a time, how particularly unfortunate! Poor Douglas! she was very
sorry! And so ended the holiest and most indissoluble of human ties!
The Duchess did not think it incumbent upon her to be affected by the
death of a person she had never seen; but she put on mourning; put off
her presentation at Court for a week, and stayed away one night from the
On Mary's warm and unpolluted heart the tidings of her father's death
produced a very different effect. Though she had never known, in their
fullest extent, those feelings of filial affection, whose source begins
with our being, and over which memory loves to linger, as at the
hallowed fount of the purest of earthly joys, she had _yet_ been taught
to cherish a fond remembrance of him to whom she owed her being. She had
been brought up in the land of his birth--his image was associated in
her mind with many of the scenes most dear to her--his name and his
memory were familiar to those amongst whom she dwelt, and thus her
feelings of natural affection had been preserved in all their genuine
warmth and tenderness. Many a letter, and many a little token of her
love, she had, from her earliest years, been accustomed to send him; and
she had ever fondly cherished the hope of her father's return, and that
she would yet know the happiness of being blest in a parent's love. But
now all these hopes were extinguished; and, while she wept over them in
bitterness of heart, she yet bowed with pious resignation to the decree
"Shall we grieve their hovering shades,
Which wait the revolution in our hearts?
Shall we disdain their silent, soft address;
Their posthumous advice and pious prayer?"
FOR some months all was peaceful seclusion in Mary's life, and the only
varieties she knew were occasional visits to Aunt Grizzy's, and now and
then spending some days with Mrs. Lennox. She saw with sorrow the
declining health of her venerable friend, whose wasted form and delicate
features had now assumed an almost ethereal aspect. Yet she never
complained, and it was only from her languor and weakness that Mary
guessed she suffered. When urged to have recourse to medical advice she
only smiled and shook her head; yet, ever gentle and complying to the
wishes of others, she was at length prevailed upon to receive the visits
of a medical attendant, and her own feelings were but too faithfully
confirmed by his opinion. Being an old friend of the family, he took
upon himself to communicate the intelligence to her son, then abroad
with his regiment; and in the meantime Mary took up her residence at
Rose Hall, and devoted herself unceasingly to the beloved friend she felt
she was so soon to lose.
"Ah! Mary," she would sometimes say, "God forgive me! but my heart is
not yet weaned from worldly wishes. Even now, when I feel all the vanity
of human happiness, I think how it would have soothed my last moments
could I have but seen you my son's before I left the world! Yet, alas!
our time here is so short that it matters little whether it be spent in
joy or grief, provided it be spent in innocence and virtue. Mine has
been a long life compared to many; but when I look back upon it, what a
span it seems! And it is not the remembrance of its brightest days that
are now a solace to my heart. Dearest Mary, if you live long, you will
live to think of the sad hours you have given me, as the fairest, of
perhaps, of many a happy day that I trust Heaven has yet in store for
you. Yes! God has made some whose powers are chiefly ordained to comfort
the afflicted, and in fulfilling His will you must surly be blest."
Mary listened to the half-breathed wishes of her dear old friend with
painful feelings of regret and self-reproach.
"Charles Lennox loved me," thought she, "truly, tenderly loved me; and
had I but repaid his noble frankness--had I suffered him to read my
heart when he laid his open before me, I might now have gladdened the
last days of the mother he adores. I might have proudly avowed that
affection I must now forever hide."
But at the end of some weeks Mrs. Lennox was no longer susceptible of
emotions either of joy or sorrow. She gradually sank into a state of
almost total insensibility, from which not even the arrival of her son
had power to rouse her. His anguish was extreme at finding his mother in
a condition so perfectly hopeless; and every other idea seemed, for the
present, absorbed in his anxiety for her. As Mary witnessed his watchful
cares and tender solicitude, she could almost have envied the
unconscious object of such devoted attachment.
A few days after his arrival his leave of absence was abruptly recalled,
and he was summoned to repair to headquarters with all possible
expedition. The army was on the move, and a battle was expected to be
fought. At such a time hesitation or delay, under any circumstances,
would have been inevitable disgrace; and, dreadful as was the
alternative, Colonel Lennox wavered not an instant in his resolution.
With a look of fixed agony, but without uttering a syllable, he put the
letter into Mary's hand as she sat by his mother's bedside, and then
left the room to order preparations to be made for his instant
departure. On his return Mary witnessed the painful conflict of his
feelings in his extreme agitation as he approached his mother, to look
for the last time on those features, already moulded into more than
mortal beauty. A bright ray of the setting sun streamed full upon that
face, now reposing in the awful but hallowed calm which is sometimes
diffused around the bed of death. The sacred stillness was only broken
by the evening song of the blackbird and the distant lowing of the
cattle--sounds which had often brought pleasure to that heart, now
insensible to all human emotion. All nature shone forth in gaiety and
splendour, but the eye and the ear were alike closed against all earthly
objects. Yet who can tell the brightness of those visions with which the
parting soul may be visited? Sounds and sights, alike unheard, unknown
to mortal sense, may then hold divine communion with the soaring spirit,
and inspire it with bliss inconceivable, ineffable!
Colonel Lennox gazed upon the countenance of his mother. Again and again
he pressed her inanimate hands to his lips, and bedewed them with his
tears, as about to tear himself from her for ever. At that moment she
opened her eyes, and regarded him with a look of intelligence, which
spoke at once to his heart. He felt that he was seen and known. Her look
was long and fondly fixed upon his face; then turned to Mary with an
expression so deep and earnest that both felt the instantaneous appeal.
The veil seemed to drop from their hearts; one glance sufficed to tell
that both were fondly, truly loved; and as Colonel Lennox received
Mary's almost fainting form in his arms, he knelt by his mother, and
implored her blessing on her children. A smile of angelic brightness
beamed upon her face as she extended her hand towards them, and her lips
moved as in prayer, though no sound escaped them. One long and lingering
look was given to those so dear even in death. She then raised her eyes
to heaven, and the spirit sought its native skies!
"Cette liaison n'est ni passion ni amitie pure:
elle fait une classe a part." --LA BRUYERE
IT was long before Mary could believe in the reality of what had passed.
It appeared to her as a beautiful yet awful dream. Could it be that she
had plighted her faith by the bed of death; that the last look of her
departed friend had hallowed the vow now registered in heaven; that
Charles Lennox had claimed her as his own, even in the agony of tearing
himself from all he loved; and that she had only felt how dear she was
to him at the very moment when she had parted from him, perhaps for
ever? But Mary strove to banish these overwhelming thoughts from her
mind, as she devoted herself to the performance of the last duties to
her departed friend. These paid, she again returned to Beech Park.
Lady Emily had been a daily visitor at Rose Hall during Mrs. Lennox's
illness, and had taken a lively interest in the situation of the family;
but, notwithstanding, it was some time before Mary could so far subdue
her feelings as to speak with composure of what had passed. She felt,
too, how impossible it was by words to convey to her any idea of that
excitement of mind, where a whole life of ordinary feeling seems
concentrated in one sudden but ineffable emotion. All that had passed
might be imagined, but could not be told; and she shrank from the task
of portraying those deep and sacred feelings which language never could
impart to the breast of another.
Yet she felt it was using her cousin unkindly to keep her in ignorance
of what she was certain would give her pleasure to hear; and, summoning
her resolution, she at length disclosed to her all that had taken place.
Her own embarrassment was too great to allow her to remark Lady Emily's
changing colour, as she listened to her communication; and after it was
ended she remained silent for some minutes, evidently struggling with
At length she exclaimed indignantly--"And so it seems Colonel Lennox
and you have all this time been playing the dying lover and the cruel
mistress to each other? How I detest such duplicity! and duplicity with
me! My heart was ever open to you, to him, to the whole world; while
yours--nay, your very faces--were masked to me!"
Mary was too much confounded by her cousin's reproaches to be able to
reply to them for some time; and when she did attempt to vindicate
herself, she found it was in vain. Lady Emily refused to listen to
her; and in haughty displeasure quitted the room, leaving poor Mary
overwhelmed with sorrow and amazement.
There was a simplicity of heart, a singleness of idea in herself,
that prevented her from ever attaching suspicion to others. But a sort
of vague, undefined apprehension floated through her brain as she
revolved the extraordinary behaviour of her cousin. Yet, it was that
sort of feeling to which she could not give either a local habitation or
a name; and she continued for some time in that most bewildering state
of trying, yet not daring to think. Some time elapsed, and Mary's
confusion of ideas was increasing rather than diminishing, when Lady
Emily slowly entered the room, and stood some moments before her without
At length, making an effort, she abruptly said--"Pray, Mary, tell
me what you think of me?"
Mary looked at her with surprise. "I think of you, my dear cousin, as I
have always done."
"That is no answer to my question. What do you think of my behaviour
"I think," said Mary gently, "that if you have misunderstood me; that,
open and candid yourself, almost to a fault, you readily resent the
remotest appearance of duplicity in others. But you are too generous not
to do me justice--"
"Ah, Mary! how little do I appeal in my own eyes at this moment; and how
little, with all my boasting, have I known my own heart! No! It was not
because I am open and candid that I resented your engagement with
Colonel Lennox; it was because I was--because--cannot you guess?"
Mary's colour rose, as she cast down her eyes, and exclaimed with
agitation, "No-no, indeed!"
Lady Emily threw her arms around her:--"Dear Mary, you are perhaps the
only person upon earth I would make such a confession to--it was because
I, who had plighted my faith to another--I, who piqued myself upon my
openness and fidelity--I--how it chokes me to utter it! I was beginning
to love him myself!--only beginning, observe, for it is already over--I
needed but to be aware of my danger to overcome it. Colonel Lennox is
now no more to me than your lover, and Edward is again all that he ever
was to me; but I--what am I?--faithless and self-deceived!" and a few
tears dropped from her eyes.
Mary, too much affected to speak, could only press her in silence to her
"These are tears of shame, of penitence, though I must own they look
very like those of regret and mortification. What a mercy it is that
'the chemist's magic art' _cannot_ 'crystalise these sacred treasures,'"
said she with a smile, as she shook a tear-drop from her hand; "they are
gems I am really not at all fond of appearing in."
"And yet you never appeared to greater advantage," said Mary, as she
regarded her with admiration. "Ah! so you say; but there
is, perhaps, a little womanish feeling lurking there. And now you
doubtless expect--no, _you_ don't, but another would that I should begin
a sentimental description of the rise and progress of this ill-fated
attachment, as I suppose it would be styled in the language of romance;
but in truth I can tell you nothing at all about it."
"Perhaps Colonel Lennox," said Mary, blushing, and hesitating to name
"No, no--Colonel Lennox was not to blame. There was no false play on
either side; he is as much above the meanness of coquetry, as--I must
say it--as I am. His thoughts were all along taken up with you, even
while he talked, and laughed, and quarrelled with me. While I, so strong
in the belief that worlds could not shake my allegiance to Edward, could
have challenged all mankind to win my love; and this wicked, wayward,
faithless heart kept silent till you spoke, and then it uttered such a
fearful sound! And yet I don't think it was love neither--'l'on n'aime
bien qu'une seule fois; c'est la premiere;'--it was rather a sort
of an idle, childish, engrossing sentiment, that _might_ have grown to
something stronger; but 'tis past now. I have shown you all the weakness
of my heart--despise me if you will."
"Dearest Lady Emily, had I the same skill to show the sentiments of
mine, you would there see what I cannot express--how I admire this noble
candour, this generous self-abasement--"
"Oh, as to meanly hiding my faults, that is what I scorn to do. I
may be ignorant of them myself, and in ignorance I may cherish them;
but, once convinced of them, I give them to the winds, and all who
choose may pick them up. Violent and unjust, and self-deceived, I have
been, and may be again; but deceitful I never was, and never will
"My dear cousin, what might you not be if you chose!"
"Ah! I know what you mean, and I begin to think you are in the right;
by-and-bye, I believe, I shall come to be of your way of thinking (if
ever I have a daughter she certainly shall), but not just at present,
the reformation would be too sudden. All that I can promise for at
present is, that 'henceforth I will chide no breather in the world but
myself, against whom I know most faults;' and now, from this day, from
this moment, I vow--"
"No, I shall do it for you," said Mary, with a smile, as she threw her
arms around her neck; "henceforth
'The golden laws of love shall be
Upon this pillar hung;
A simple heart, a single eye,
A true and constant tongue.
'Let no man for more love pretend
Than he has hearts in store;
True love begun shall never end:
Love one, and love no more.'" 
 "Marquis of Montrose."
But much as Mary loved and admired her cousin, she could not be blind to
the defects of her character, and she feared they might yet be
productive of great unhappiness to herself. Her mind was open to the
reception of every image that brought pleasure along with it; while, in
the same spirit, she turned from everything that wore an air of
seriousness or self-restraint; and even the best affections of a
naturally good heart were borne away by the ardour of her feelings and
the impetuosity of her temper. Mary grieved to see the graces of a noble
mind thus running wild for want of early culture; and she sought by
every means, save those of lecture and admonition to lead her to more
fixed habits of reflection and self examination.
But it required all her strength of mind to turn her thoughts at this
time from herself to another--she, the betrothed of one who was now in
the midst of danger, of whose existence she was even uncertain, but on
whose fate she felt her own suspended.
"Oh!" thought she, with bitterness of heart, "how dangerous it is to
yield too much even to our best affections. I, with so many objects to
share in mine, have yet pledged my happiness on a being perishable as
myself!" And her soul sickened at the ills her fancy drew. But she
strove to repress this strength of attachment, which she felt would
otherwise become too powerful for her reason to control; and if she did
not entirely succeed, at least the efforts she made and the continual
exercise of mind enabled her in some degree to counteract the baleful
effects of morbid anxiety and overweening attachment. At length her
apprehensions were relieved for a time by a letter from Colonel Lennox.
An engagement with the enemy had taken place, but he had escaped unhurt.
He repeated his vows of unalterable affection; and Mary felt that she
was justified in receiving them. She had made Lady Juliana and Mrs.
Douglas both acquainted with her situation. The former had taken no
notice of the communication, but the latter had expressed her approval
in all the warmth and tenderness of gratified affection.
"Preach as I please, I doubt our curious men
Will choose a pheasant still before a hen."
AMONGST the various occupations to which Mary devoted herself, there was
none which merits to be recorded as a greater act of immolation than her
unremitting attentions to Aunt Grizzy. It wa not merely the sacrifice of
time and talents that was required for carrying on this intercourse;
these, it is to be hoped, even the most selfish can occasionally
sacrifice to the _bienseances_ of society; but it was, as it were, a
total surrender of her whole being. To a mind of any reflection no
situation can ever be very irksome in which we can enjoy the privileges
of sitting still and keeping silent--but as the companion of Miss Grizzy,
quiet and reflection were alike unattainable. When not engaged in
_radotage_ with Sir Sampson, her life was spent in losing her scissors,
mislaying her spectacles, wondering what had become of her thimble, and
speculating on the disappearance of a needle--all of which losses daily
and hourly recurring, subjected Mary to an unceasing annoyance, for she
could not be five minutes in her aunt's company without out being at
least as many times disturbed, with--"Mary, my dear, will you get up?--I
think my spectacles must be about you "--or, "Mary, my dear, your eyes
are younger than mine, will you look if you can see my needle on the
carpet?"--or, "Are you sure, Mary, that's not my thimble you have got?
It's very like it; and I'm sure I can't conceive what's become of mine,
if that's not it," etc. etc. etc. But her idleness was, if possible,
still more irritating than her industry. When she betook herself to the
window, it was one incessant cry of "Who's coach is that, Mary, with the
green and orange liveries? Come and look at this lady and gentleman,
Mary; I'm sure I wonder who they are! Here's something, I declare I'm
sure I don't know what you call it--come here, Mary, and see what it is
"--and so on _ad infinitum._ Walking was still worse. Grizzy not only
stood to examine every article in the shop windows, but actually turned
round to observe every striking figure that passed. In short, Mary could
not conceal from herself that weak vulgar relations are an evil to those
whose taste and ideas are refined by superior intercourse. But even this
discovery she did not deem sufficient to authorise her casting off or
neglecting poor Miss Grizzy, and she in no degree relaxed in her patient
attentions towards her.
Even the affection of her aunt, which she possessed in the highest
possible degree, far from being an alleviation, was only an additional
torment. Every meeting began with, "My dear Mary, how did you sleep last
night? Did you make a good breakfast this morning? I declare I think you
look a little pale. I'm sure I wish to goodness, you mayn't have got
cold--colds are going very much about just now--one of the maids in this
house has a very bad cold--I hope you will remember to bathe your feet
And take some water gruel to night, and do everything that Dr. Redgill
desires you, honest man!" If Mary absented herself for a day, her
salutation was, "My dear Mary, what became of you yesterday? I assure you
I was quite miserable about you all day, thinking, which was quite
natural, that something was the matter with you; and I declare I never
closed my eyes all night for thinking about you. I assure you if it had
not been that I couldn't leave Sir Sampson, I would have taken a hackney
coach, although I know what impositions they are, and have gone to Beech
Park to see what had come over you."
Yet all this Mary bore with the patience of a martyr, to the admiration
of Lady Maclaughlan and the amazement of Lady Emily, who declared she
could only submit to be bored as long as she was amused.
On going to Milsom Street one morning Mary found her aunt in high
delight at two invitations she had just received for herself and her
"The one," said she, "is to dinner at Mrs. Pullens's. You can't remember
her mother, Mrs. Macfuss, I daresay, Mary--she was a most excellent
woman, I assure you, and got all her daughters married. And I remember
Mrs. Pullens when she was Flora Macfuss; she was always thought very
like her mother and Mr. Pullens is a most worthy man, and very rich and
it was thought at the time a great marriage for Flora Macfuss, for she
had no money of her own, but her mother was a very clever woman, and a
most excellent manager; and I daresay so is Mrs. Pullens, for the
Macfusses are all famous for their management--so it will be a great
thing for you, you know, Mary, to be acquainted with Mrs. Pullens."
Mary was obliged to break in upon the eulogium on Mrs. Pullens by
noticing the other card. This was a subject for still greater
"This," said she, "is from Mrs. Bluemits, and it is for the same day
with Mrs. Pullens, only it is to tea, not to dinner. To be sure it will
be a great pity to leave Mrs. Pullens so soon; but then it would be
a great pity not to go to Mrs. Bluemits's; for I've never seen her, and
her aunt, Miss Shaw, would think it very odd if I was to go back to the
Highlands without seeing Nancy Shaw, now Mrs. Bluemits; and at any rate
I assure you we may think much of being asked, for she is a very clever
woman, and makes it a point never to ask any but clever people to her
house; so it's a very great honour to be asked."
It was an honour Mary would fain have dispensed with. At another time
she might have anticipated some amusement from such parties, but at
present her heart was not tuned to the ridiculous, and she attempted to
decline the invitations, and get her aunt to do the same; but she gave
up the point when she saw how deeply Grizzy's happiness for the time
being was involved in these invitations, and she even consented to
accompany her, conscious, as Lady Maclaughlan said, that the poor
creature required a leading string, and was not fit to go alone. The
appointed day arrived, and Mary found herself in company with Aunt
Grizzy at the mansion of Mr. Pullens, the fortunate husband of the
_ci-devant_ Miss Flora Macfuss; but as Grizzy is not the best of
biographers, we must take the liberty of introducing this lady to the
acquaintance of our reader.
The domestic economy of Mrs. Pullens was her own theme, and the theme of
all her friends; and such was the zeal in promulgating her doctrines,
and her anxiety to see them carried into effect, that she had
endeavoured to pass it into a law that no preserves could be eatable but
those preserved in her method; no hams could be good but those cured
according to her receipt; no liquors drinkable but such as were made
from the results of her experience; neither was it possible that any
linens could be white, or any flannels soft, or any muslins clear,
unless after the manner practised in her laundry. By her own account she
was the slave of every servant within her door, for her life seemed to
be one unceasing labour to get everything done in her own way, to the
very blacking of Mr. Pullens's shoes, and the brushing of Mr. Pullens's
coat. But then these heroic acts of duty were more than repaid by the
noble consciousness of a life well spent. In her own estimation she was
one of the greatest characters that had ever lived; for, to use her own
words, she passed nothing over--she saw everything done herself--she
trusted nothing to servants, etc. etc. etc.
From the contemplation of these her virtues her face had acquired an
expression of complacency foreign to her natural temper; for, after
having scolded and slaved in the kitchen, she sat down to taste the
fruits of her labours with far more elevated feelings of conscious
virtue than ever warmed the breast of a Hampden or a Howard; and when
she helped Mr. Pullens to pie, made not by the cook, but by herself, it
was with an air of self-approbation that might have vied with that of
the celebrated Jack Horner upon a similar occasion. In many cases there
might have been merit in Mrs. Pullens's doings---a narrow income, the
capricious taste of a sick or a cross husband, may exalt the meanest
offices which woman can render into acts of virtue, and even diffuse a
dignity around them; but Mr. Pullens was rich and good-natured, and
would have been happy had his cook been allowed to dress his dinner, and
his barber his wig, quietly in their own way. Mrs. Pullens, therefore,
only sought the indulgence of her own low inclinations in thus
interfering in every menial department; while, at the same time, she
expected all the gratitude and admiration that would have been due to
the sacrifice of the most refined taste and elegant pursuits.
But "envy does merit as its shade pursue," as Mrs Pullens experienced,
for she found herself assailed by a host of housekeepers who attempted
to throw discredit on her various arts. At the head of this association
was Mrs. Jekyll, whose arrangements were on a quite contrary plan. The
great branch of science on which Mrs. Pullens mainly relied for fame was
her unrivalled art in keeping things long beyond the date assigned by
nature; and one of her master-strokes was, in the middle of summer, to
surprise a whole company with gooseberry tarts made of gooseberries of
the preceding year; and her triumph was complete when any of them were
so polite as to assert that they might have passed upon them for the
fruits of the present season. Another art in which she flattered herself
she was unrivalled was that of making things pass for what they were
not; thus, she gave pork for lamb--common fowls for turkey
poults--currant wine for champagne--whisky with peach leaves for noyau;
but all these deceptions Mrs. Jekyll piqued herself immediately
detecting, and never failed to point out the difference, and in the
politest manner to hint her preference of the real over the spurious.
Many were the wonderful morsels with which poor Mr. Pullens was regaled,
but he had now ceased to be surprised at anything that appeared on his
own table; and he had so often heard the merit of his wife's
housekeeping extolled by herself that, contrary to his natural
conviction, he now began to think it must be true; or if he had
occasionally any little private misgivings when he thought of the good
dinners he used to have in his bachelor days, he comforted himself by
thinking that his lot was the lot of all married men who are blest with
active, managing, economical wives. Such were Mr. and Mrs. Pullens; and
the appearance of the house offered no inadequate idea of the
mistress. The furniture was incongruous, and everything was
ill-matched--for Mrs. Pullens was a frequenter of sales, and, like many
other liberal-minded ladies, never allowed a bargain to pass, whether she
required the articles or not. Her dress was the same; there was always
something to wonder at; caps that had been bought for nothing, because
they were a little soiled, but by being taken down and washed, and new
trimmed, turned out to be just as good as new gowns that had been dyed,
turned, cleaned, washed, etc.; and the great triumph was when nobody
could tell the old breadth from the new.
The dinner was of course bad, the company stupid, and the conversation
turned solely upon Mrs. Pullens's exploits, with occasional attempts of
Mrs. Jekyll to depreciate the merits of some of her discoveries. At
length the hour of departure arrived, to Mary's great relief, as she
thought any change must be for the better. Not so Grizzy, who was
charmed and confounded by all she had seen, and heard, and tasted, and
all of whose preconceived ideas on the subjects of washing, preserving,
etc., had sustained a total _bouleversement,_ upon hearing of the
superior methods practised by Mrs. Pullens.
"Well, certainly, Mary, you must allow Mrs. Pullens is an astonishing
clever woman! Indeed, I think nobody can dispute it--only think of her
never using a bit of soap in her house--everything is washed by steam.
To be sure, as Mrs Jekyll said, the table linen was remarkably
ill-coloured--but no wonder, considering--it must be a great saving, I'm
sure--and she always stands and sees it done herself, for there's no
trusting these things to servants. Once when she trusted it to them,
they burned a dozen of Mr. Pullens's new shirts, just from carelessness,
which I'm sure was very provoking. To be sure, as Mrs. Jekyll said, if
she had used soap like other people that wouldn't have happened; and
then it is wonderful how well she contrives to keep things. I declare I
can't think enough of these green peas that we had at dinner today
having been kept since summer was a year. To be sure, as Mrs. Jekyll
said, they certainly were hard--nobody can deny that--but then, you
know, anything would be hard that had been kept since summer was a year;
and I'm sure I thought they ate wonderfully well considering--and these
red currants, too--I'm afraid you didn't taste them--I wish to
goodness you had tasted them, Mary. They were sour and dry, certainly, as
Mrs. Jekyll said; but no wonder, anything would be sour and dry that had
been kept in bottles for three years."
Grizzy was now obliged to change the current of her ideas, for the
carriage had stopped at Mrs. Bluemits's.
"It is certain great knowledge, if it be without vanity, is the most
severe bridle of the tongue. For so have I heard, that all the noises
and prating of the pool, the croaking of frogs and toads, is hushed and
appeased upon the instant of bringing upon them the light of a candle or
torch. Every beam of reason, and ray of knowledge, checks the
dissolutions of the tongue."-JEREMY TAYLOR.
THEY were received by Mrs. Bluemits with that air of condescension
which great souls practise towards ordinary mortals, and which is
intended, at one and the same time, to encourage and to repel; to show
the extent of their goodness, even while they make, or try to make,
their _protege_ feel the immeasurable distance which nature or fortune
has placed between them.
It was with this air of patronising grandeur that Mrs. Bluemits took
her guests by the hand, and introduced them to the circle of females
Mrs. Bluemits was not an avowed authoress; but she was a professed
critic, a well-informed woman, a woman of great conversational powers,
etc., and, to use her own phrase, nothing but conversation was spoken in
her house. Her guests were therefore, always expected to be
distinguished, either for some literary production or for their taste in
the _belles lettres._ Two ladies from Scotland, the land of poetry and
romance, were consequently hailed as new stars in Mrs. Bluemits's
horizon. No sooner were they seated than Mrs. Bluemits began--
"As I am a friend to ease in literary society, we shall, without
ceremony, resume our conversation; for, as Seneca observes, the 'comfort
of life depends upon conversation.'"
"I think," said Miss Graves, "it is Rochefoucault who says, 'The great
art of conversation is to hear patiently and answer precisely.'"
"A very poor definition for so profound a philosopher," remarked Mrs.
"The amiable author of what the gigantic Johnson styles the melancholy
and angry "Night Thoughts," gives a nobler, a more elevated, and, in my
humble opinion, a juster explication of the intercourse of mind," said
Miss Parkins; and she repeated the following lines with pompous
Speech ventilates our intellectual fire,
Speech burnishes our mental magazine,
Brightens for ornament, and whets for use.
What numbers, sheath'd in erudition, lie,
Plung'd to the hilts in venerable tomes,
And rusted in, who might have borne an edge,
And play'd a sprightly beam, if born to speech---
If born blest heirs of half their mother's tongue!"
Mrs. Bluemits proceeded:
"'Tis thought's exchange, which, like the alternate push
Of waves conflicting, breaks the learned scum,
And defecates the student's standing pool."
"The sensitive poet of Olney, if I mistake not," said Mrs. Dalton,
"steers a middle course, betwixt the somewhat bald maxim of the Parisian
philosopher and the mournful pruriency of the Bard of Night, when he
'Conversation, in its better part,
May be esteem'd a gift, and not an art.'"
Mary had been accustomed to read, and to reflect upon what she read, and
to apply it to the purpose for which it is valuable, viz. in enlarging
her mind and cultivating her taste; but she had never been accustomed to
prate, or quote, or sit down for the express purpose of displaying her
acquirements; and she began to tremble at hearing authors' names
"familiar in their mouths as household words;" but Grizzy, strong in
ignorance, was no wise daunted. True, she heard what she could not
comprehend, but she thought she would soon make things clear; and she
therefore turned to her neighbour on her righthand, and accosted her
with--"My niece and I are just come from dining at Mrs. Pullens's--I
daresay you have heard of her--she was Miss Flora Macfuss; her father,
Dr. Macfuss, was a most excellent preacher, and she is a remarkable
"Pray, ma'am, has she come out, or is she simply _bel esprit?_"
inquired the lady.
Grizzy was rather at a loss; and, indeed, to answer a question put in an
unknown language, would puzzle wiser brains than hers; but Grizzy was
accustomed to converse without being able to comprehend, and she
therefore went on.
"Her mother, Mrs. Macfuss--but she is dead--was a very clever woman too;
I'm sure I declare I don't know whether the Doctor or her was the
cleverest; but many people, I know, think Mrs. Pullens beats them both."
"Indeed! may I ask in what department she chiefly excels?"
"Oh, I really think in everything. For one thing, everything in her
house is done by steam; and then she can keep everything, I can't tell
how long, just in paper bags and bottles; and she is going to publish a
book with all her receipts in it. I'm sure it will be very interesting."
"I beg ten thousand pardons for the interruption," cried Mrs. Bluemits
from the opposite side of the room; "but my ear was smote with the
sounds of _publish,_ and _interesting,--words _which never fail to
awaken a responsive chord in my bosom. Pray," addressing Grizzy, and
bringing her into the full blaze of observation, "may I ask, was it of
_the_ Campbell these electric words were spoken? To you, Madam, I am
sure I need not apologise for my enthusiasm--you who claim the proud
distinction of being a country woman, need I ask--an acquaintance?"
All that poor Grizzy could comprehend of this harangue was that it was
reckoned a great honour to be acquainted with a Campbell; and chuckling
with delight at the idea of her own consequence, she briskly replied--
"Oh, I know plenty of Campbells; there's the Campbells of Mireside,
relations of ours; and there's the Campbells of Blackbrae, married into
our family; and there's the Campbells of Windlestrae Glen, are not very
distant by my mother's side."
Mary felt as if perforated by bullets in all directions, as she
encountered the eyes of the company, turned alternately upon her aunt
and her; but they were on opposite sides of the room; therefore to
interpose betwixt Grizzy and her assailants was impossible.
"Possibly," suggested Mrs. Dalton, "Miss Douglas prefers the loftier
strains of the mighty Minstrel of the Mountains to the more polished
periods of the Poet of the Transatlantic Plain."
"Without either a possibility or a perhaps," said Mrs. Apsley, "the
probability is, Miss Douglas prefers the author of the 'Giaour' to all
the rest of her poetical countrymen. Where, in either Walter Scott or
Thomas Campbell, will you find such lines as these;--
'Wet with their own best blood, shall drip
Thy gnashing tooth and haggard lip!'"
"Pardon me, madam," said Miss Parkin; "but I am of opinion you have
scarcely given a fair specimen of the powers of the Noble Bard in
question. The image here presented is a familiar one; 'the gnashing
tooth' and 'haggard lip' we have all witnessed, perhaps some of us may
even have experienced. There is consequently little merit in presenting
it to the mind's eye. It is easy, comparatively speaking, to portray the
feelings and passions of our own kind. We have only, as Dryden expresses
it, to descend into ourselves to find the secret imperfections of our
mind. It is therefore in his portraiture of the canine race that the
illustrious author has so far excelled all his contemporaries--in fact,
he has given quite a dramatic cast to his dogs," and she repeated, with
an air of triumph--
"And he saw the lean dogs beneath the wall,
Hold o'er the dead their carnival;
Gorging and growling o'er carcase and limb,
They were too busy to bark at him!
From a Tartar's skull they had stripped the flesh,
As ye peel the fig when its fruit is fresh;
And their white tusks crunched o'er the whiter skull,
As it slipped through their jaws when their edge grew dull;
As they lazily mumbled the bones of the dead,
When they scarce could rise from the spot where they fed."
"Now, to enter into the conception of a dog--to embody one's self, as it
were, in the person of a brute--to sympathise in its feelings--to make
its propensities our own--to 'lazily mumble the bones of the dead,' with
our own individual 'white tusks'! Pardon me, madam, but with all due
deference to the genius of a Scott, it is a thing he has not dare to
attempt. Only the finest mind in the universe as capable of taking so
bold a flight. Scott's dogs, madam, are tame, domestic animals--mere
human dogs, if I may say so. Byron's dogs--But let them speak for
'The scalps were in the wild dog's maw,
The hair was tangled round his jaw.'
Show me, if you can, such an image in Scott?"
"Very fine, certainly!" was here uttered by five novices, who were only
there as probationers, consequently not privileged to go beyond a
"Is it the dancing dogs they are speaking about?" asked Grizzy. But
looks of silent contempt were the only replies she received.
"I trust I shall not be esteemed presumptuous," said Miss Graves, "or
supposed capable of entertaining views of detracting from the merits of
the Noble Author at present under discussion, if I humbly but firmly
enter my caveat against the word 'crunch,' as constituting an innovation
in our language, the purity of which cannot be too strictly preserved or
pointedly enforced. I am aware that by some I may be deemed
unnecessarily fastidious; and possibly Christina, Queen of Sweden, might
have applied to me the celebrated observation, said to have been
elicited from her by the famed work of the laborious French
Lexicographer, viz. that he was the most troublesome person in the
world, for he required of every word to produce its passport, and to
declare whence it came and whither it was going. I confess, I too, for
the sake of my country, would wish that every word we use might be
compelled to show its passport, attested by our great lawgiver, Dr.
"Unquestionably," said Mrs. Bluemits, "purity of language ought to be
preserved inviolate at any price; and it is more especially incumbent to
those who exercise a sway over our minds--those are, as it were, the
moulds in which our young imaginations are formed, to be the watchful
guardians of our language. But I lament to say that in fact it is not so;
and that the aberrations of our vernacular tongue have proceeded solely
from the licentious use made of it by those whom we are taught to
reverence as the fathers of the Sock and Lyre."
"Yet in familiar colloquy, I do not greatly object to the use of a word
occasionally, even although unsanctioned by the authority of our mighty
Lexicographer," said a new speaker.
"For my part," said Miss Parkins, "a genius fettered by rules always
reminds me of Gulliver in the hairy bonds of the Lilliputians; and the
sentiment of the elegant and enlightened bard of Twickenham is also
'Great wits sometimes may glorious offend,
And rise to faults true critics dare not mend;
From vulgar bounds with brave disorder part,
And match a grace beyond the reach of art.'
So it is with the subject of our argument: a tamer genius than the
illustrious Byron would not have dared to 'crunch' the bone. But where,
in the whole compass of the English language, will you find a word
capable of conveying the same idea?"
"Pick," modestly suggested one of the novices in a low key, hoping to
gain some celebrity by this her first effort; but this dawn of intellect
The argument was now beginning to run high; parties were evidently
forming of crunchers and anticrunchers, and etymology was beginning to
be called for, when a thundering knock at the door caused a cessation of
"That, I flatter myself, is my friend Miss Griffon," said Mrs. Bluemits,
with an air of additional importance; and the name was whispered round
the circle, coupled with "Celebrated Authoress--'Fevers of the Heart'--
'Thoughts of the Moment,'" etc. etc.
"Is she a _real_ authoress that is coming?" asked Miss Grizzy at the
lady next her. And her delight was great at receiving an answer in the
affirmative; for Grizzy thought to be in company with an authoress was
the next thing to being an authoress herself; and, like some other
people, she had a sort of vague mysterious reverence for everyone whose
words had been printed in a book.
"Ten thousand thousand pardons, dearest Mrs. Bluemits!" exclaimed Miss
Griffon, as she entered. "I fear a world of intellect is lost to me by
this cruel delay." Then in an audible whisper--"But I was detained by
my publisher. He quite persecutes me to write. My 'Fevers of the Heart'
has had a prodigious run; and even my 'Thoughts,' which, in fact, cost
me no thought, are amazingly _recherche._ And I actually had to
force my way to you to-night through a legion of printer's devils, who
were lying in wait for me with each a sheet of my 'Billows of Love.'"
"The title is most musical, most melancholy," said Mrs. Bluemits, "and
conveys a perfect idea of what Dryden terms 'the sweeping deluge of the
soul;' but I flatter myself we shall have something more than a name
from Miss Griffon's genius. The Aonian graces, 'tis well known, always
follow in her train."
"They have made a great hole in it then," said Grizzy, officiously
displaying a fracture in the train of Miss Griffon's gown, and from
thence taking occasion to deliver her sentiments on the propriety of
people who tore gowns always being obliged to mend them.
After suitable entreaties had been used, Miss Griflon was at last
prevailed upon to favour the company, with some specimens of the
"Billows of Love" (of which we were unable to procure copies) and the
following sonnet, the production of a friend;--
"Hast thou no note for joy, thou weeping lyre?
Doth yew and willow ever shade thy string
And melancholy sable banners fling,
Warring 'midst hosts of elegant desire?
How vain the strife--how vain the warlike gloom!
Love's arms are grief--his arrows sighs and tears;
And every moan thou mak'st, an altar rears,
To which his worshippers devoutly come.
Then rather, lyre, I pray thee, try thy skill,
In varied measure, on a sprightlier key:
Perchance thy gayer tones' light minstrelsy
May heal the poison that thy plaints distil.
But much I fear that joy is danger still;
And joy, like woe, love's triumph must fulfil."
This called forth unanimous applause--"delicate imagery"--"smooth
versification" --"classical ideas"--"Petrarchian sweetness," etc. etc.,
resounded from all quarters.
But even intellectual joys have their termination, and carriages and
servants began to be announced in rapid succession.
"Fly not yet, 'tis just the hour," said Mrs. Bluemits to the first of
her departing guests, as the clock struck ten.
"It is gone, with its thorns and its roses," replied er friend with a
sigh, and a farewell pressure of the hand.
Another now advanced--"Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day."
"I have less will to go than care to stay," was the reply.
"_Parta ti lascio adio,_" warbled Miss Parkins.
"I vanish," said Mrs. Apsley, snatching up her tippet, reticule, etc.,
"and, like the baseless fabric of a vision, leave not a wreck behind."
"Fare-thee-well at once--Adieu, adieu, adieu, remember me!" cried the
last of the band, as she slowly retreated.
Mrs. Bluemits waved her hand with a look of tender reproach, as she
"An adieu should in utterance die,
Or, if written, should faintly appear--
Should be heard in the sob of a sigh,
Or be seen in the blot of a teal."
"I'm sure, Mary," said Grizzy, when they were in the carriage, "I
expected, when all the ladies were repeating, that you would have
repeated something too. You used to have the Hermit and all Watts's
Hymns by heart, when you was little. It's a thousand pities, I declare,
that you should have forgot them; for I declare I was quite affronted to
see you sitting like a stick, and not saying a word, when all the ladies
were speaking and turning up their eyes, and moving their hands so
prettily; but I'm sure I hope next time you go to Mrs. Bluemits's you
will take care to learn something by heart before you go. I'm sure I
haven't a very good memory, but I remember some things; and I was very
near going to repeat 'Farewell to Lochaber' myself, as we were coming
away; and I'm sure I wish to goodness I had done it; but I suppose it
wouldn't do to go back now; and at any rate all the ladies are away, and
I dare say the candles will be out by this time."
Mary felt it a relief to have done with this surfeit of soul, and was of
opinion that learning, like religion, ought never to be forced into
conversation; and that people who only read to talk of their reading
might as well let it alone. Next morning she gave so ludicrous an
account of her entertainment that Lady Emily was quite charmed.
"Now I begin to have hopes of you," said she, "since I see you can laugh
at your friends as well as me."
"Not at my friends, I hope," answered Mary; "only at folly."
"Call it what you will--I only wish I had been there. I should certainly
have started a controversy upon the respective merits of Tom Thumb and
Puss in Boots, and so have called them off Lord Byron. Their pretending
to measure the genius of a Scott or a Byron must have been something
like a fly attempting to take the altitude of Mont Blanc. How I detest
those idle disquisitions about the colour of a goat's beard, or the
blood of an oyster."'
Mary had seen in Mrs. Douglas the effects of a highly cultivated
understanding shedding its mild radiance on the path of domestic life,
heightening its charms, and softening its asperities, with the benign
spirit of Christianity. Her charity was not like that of Mrs. Fox; she
did not indulge herself in the purchase of elegant ornaments, and then,
seated in the easy chair of her drawing-room, extort from her visitors
money to satisfy the wants of those who had claims on her own bounty.
No: she gave a large portion of her time, her thoughts, her fortune,
to the most sacred of all duties--charity, in its most comprehensive
meaning. Neither did her knowledge, like that of Mrs. Bluemits,
evaporate in pedantic discussion or idle declamation, but showed itself
in the tenor of a well-spent life, and in the graceful discharge of
those duties which belonged to her sex and station. Next to goodness
Mary most ardently admired talents. She knew there were many of her own
sex who were justly entitled to the distinction of literary fame. Her
introduction to the circle at Mrs. Bluemits's had disappointed her; but
they were mere pretenders to the name. How different from those
described by one no less amiable and enlightened herself!--"Let such
women as are disposed to be vain of their comparatively petty
attainments look up with admiration to those contemporary shining
examples, the venerable Elizabeth Carter and the blooming Elizabeth
Smith. In them let our young ladies contemplate profound and various
learning, chastised by true Christian humility. In them let them
venerate acquirements which would have been distinguished in a
university, meekly softened, and beautifully shaded by the exertion of
every domestic virtue, the unaffected exercise of every feminine
"The gods, to curse Pamela with her pray'rs,
Gave the gilt coach and dappled Flanders mares;
The shining robes, rich jewels, beds of state,
And, to complete her bliss, a fool for mate.
She glares in balls, front boxes, and the ring--
A vain, unquiet, glitt'ring, wretched thing!
Pride, pomp, and state, but reach her outward part;
She sighs, and is no duchess at her heart."
FOR many months Mary was doomed to experience all the vicissitudes of
hope and fear, as she heard of battles and sieges in which her lover had
a part. He omitted no opportunity of writing to her; but scarcely had
she received the assurance of his safety from himself when her
apprehensions were again excited by rumours of fresh dangers he would
have to encounter; and it required all her pious confidence and strength
of mind to save her from yielding to the despondency of a
naturally sensitive heart. But in administering to the happiness of
others she found the surest alleviation to the misfortune that
threatened herself; and she often forgot her own cares in her benevolent
exertions for the poor, the sick, and the desolate. It was then she felt
all the tenderness of that divine precept which enjoins love of the
Creator as the engrossing principle of the soul. For, oh! the
unutterable anguish that heart must endure which lavishes all its best
affections on a creature mutable and perishable as itself, from whom a
thousand accidents may separate or estrange it, and from whom death must
one day divide it! Yet there is something so amiable, so exalting, in
the fervour of a pure and generous attachment, that few have been able
to resist its overwhelming influence; and it is only time and suffering
that can teach us to comprehend the miseries that wait on the excess,
even of our virtuous inclinations, where these virtues aspire not beyond
this transitory scene.
Mary seldom heard from her mother or sister. Their time was too precious
to be wasted on dull country correspondents; but she saw their names
frequently mentioned in the newspapers, and she flattered herself, from
the eclat with whioh the Duchess seemed to be attended, that she
had found happiness in those pleasures where she had been taught to
expect it. The Duchess was indeed surrounded with all that rank, wealth,
and fashion could bestow. She had the finest house, jewels, and
equipages in London, but she was not happy. She felt the draught bitter,
even though the goblet that held it was of gold. It is novelty only that
can lend charms to things in themselves valueless; and when that wears
off, the disenchanted baubles appear in all their native worthlessness.
There is even a satiety in the free indulgence of wealth, when that
indulgence centres solely in self, and brings no general self-approving
reflections along with it. So it was with the Duchess of Altamont. She
sought, in the gratification of every expensive whim, to stimulate the
languid sense of joy; and, by loading herself with jewels, she strove to
still the restless inquietude of a dissatisfied heart. But it is only
the vulgar mind which can long find enjoyment in the mere attributes of
wealth--in the contemplation of silk hangings, and gilded chairs, and
splendid dresses, and showy equipages. Amidst all these the mind of any
taste or refinement, "distrusting, asks if this be joy." And Adelaide
possessed both taste and refinement, though her ideas had been perverted
and her heart corrupted by the false maxims early instilled into her.
Yet, selfish and unfeeling as she was, she sickened at the eternal
recurrence of self-indulged caprices; and the bauble that had been
hailed with delight the one day as a charmed amulet to dispel her ennui,
was the next beheld with disgust or indifference. She believed, indeed,
that she had real sources of vexation in the self-will and obstinacy of
her husband, and that, had he been otherwise than he was, she should
then have been completely happy. She would not acknowledge, even to
herself, that she had done wrong in marrying a man whose person was
disagreeable to her, and whose understanding she despised; while her
preference was decidedly in favour of another. Even her style of life
was in some respects distasteful to her; yet she was obliged to conform