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Marriage by Susan Edmonstone Ferrier

Part 9 out of 9

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to it. The Duke retained exactly the same notions of things as had taken
possession of his brain thirty years before; consequently everything in
his establishment was conducted with a regularity and uniformity unknown
to those whose habits are formed on the more eccentric models of the
present day; or rather, who have no models save those of their own
capricious tastes and inclinations. He had an antipathy to balls,
concerts, and masquerades; for he did not dance, knew nothing of music,
and stil less of _badinage._ But he liked great dull dinners, for there
the conversation was generally adapted to his capacity; and it was a
pleasure to him to arrange the party--to look over the bill of fare--to
see all the family plate displayed--and to read an account of the grand
dinner at the Duke of Altamont's in the "Morning Post" of the following
day. All this sounds very vulgar for the pastimes of a Duke; but there
are vulgar-minded Dukes as there are gifted ploughmen, or any other
anomalies. The former Duchess, a woman of high birth, similar years, and
kindred spirit of his own in all matters of form and _etiquette,_ was
his standard of female propriety; and she would have deemed it highly
derogatory to her dignity to have patronised any other species of
entertainment than grand dinners and dull assemblies.

Adelaide had attempted with a high hand at once to overturn the whole
system of Altamont House, and had failed. She had declared her
detestation of dinners, and been heard in silence. She had kept her room
thrice when they were given, but without success. She had insisted upon
giving a ball, but the Duke, with the most perfect composure, had
peremptorily declared it must be an assembly. Thus baffled in all her
plans of domestic happiness, the Duchess would have sought her pleasures
elsewhere. She would have lived anywhere but in her own house associated
with everybody but her own husband and done everything but what she had
vowed to do. But even in this she was thwarted. The Duke had the same
precise formal notions of a lady's conduct abroad, as well as her
appearance at home; and the very places she would have most wished to go
to were those she was expressly prohibited from ever appearing at.

Even all that she could have easily settled to her own satisfaction by
the simple apparatus of a separate establishment carried on in the same
house; but here too she was foiled, for his Grace had stubborn notions
on that score also, and plainly hinted that any separation must be final
and decided; and Adelaide could not yet resolve upon taking so
formidable a step in the first year of her marriage. She was therefore
compelled to drag the chain by which, with her own will, she had bound
herself for life to one she already despised and detested. And bound she
was, in the strictest sense of the metaphor; for, though the Duke had
not the smallest pleasure in the society of his wife, he yet attached
great ideas of propriety to their being always seen together, side by
side. Like his sister, Lady Matilda, he had a high reverence for
appearances, though he had not her _finesse _in giving them effect. He
had merely been accustomed to do what he thought looked well, and gave
him an air of additional dignity. He had married Aidelaide because he
thought she had a fine presence, and would look well as Duchess of
Altamont; and, for the same reason, now that she was his wedded wife, he
thought it looked well to be seen always together. He therefore made a
point of having no separate engagements; and even carried his sense of
propriety so far, that as regularly as the Duchess's carriage came to
the door the Duke was prepared to hand her in, in due form, and take his
station by her side. This alone would have been sufficient to have
embittered Adelaide's existence, and she had tried every expedient, but
in vain, to rid herself of this public display of conjugal duty. She had
opened her landaulet in cold weather, and shut it, even to the glasses,
in a scorching sun; but the Duke was insensible to heat and cold. He was
most provokingly healthy; and she had not even the respite which an
attack of rheumatism or toothache would have afforded. As his Grace was
not a person of keen sensation, this continual effort to keep up
appearances cost him little or nothing; but to the Duchess's nicer tact
it was martyrdom to be compelled to submit to the semblance of affection
where there was no reality. Ah, nothing but a sense of duty, early
instilled and practically enforced, can reconcile a refined mind to the
painful task of bearing with meekness and gentleness the ill-temper,
adverse will, and opposite sentiments of those with whom we can
acknowledge no feeling in common!

But Adelaide possessed no sense of duty, and was a stranger to
self-command; and though she boasted refinement of mind, yet it was of
that spurious sort which, far from elevating and purifying the heart,
tends only to corrupt and debase the soul, while it sheds a false and
dazzling lustre upon those perishable graces which captivate the senses.

It may easily be imagined the good sense of the mother did not tend to
soothe the irritated feelings of the daughter. Lady Juliana was indeed
quite as much exasperated as the Duchess at these obstacles thrown in
the way of her pleasures, and the more so as she could not quite clearly
comprehend them. The good-nature of her husband and the easy indolence
of her brother even _her _folly had enabled her, on many occasions, to
get the better of; but the obstinacy of her son-in-law was invincible to
all her arts. She could therefore only wonder to the Duchess how she
could not manage to get the better of the Duke's prejudices against
balls and concerts and masquerades. It was so excessively ridiculous, so
perfectly foolish, not to do as other people did; and there was the
Duchess of Ryston gave Sunday concerts, and Lady Oakham saw masks, and
even old ugly Lady Loddon had a ball, and the Prince at it! How vastly
provoking! how unreasonable in a man of the Duke's years to expect a
girl like Adelaide to conform to all his old-fashioned notions! And then
she would wisely appeal to Lord Lindore whether it was not too absurd in
the Duke to interfere with the Duchess's arrangements.

Lord Lindore was a frequent visitor at Altamont House; for the Duke,
satisfied with his having been once refused, was no wise jealous of him;
and Lord Lindore was too quiet and refined in his attentions to excite
the attention of anyone so stupid and obtuse. It was not the least of
the Duchess's mortifications to be constantly contrasting her former
lover--elegant, captivating, and _spirituel--_with her husband, awkward,
insipid, and dull, as the fat weed that rots on Lethe's shore. Lord
Lindore was indeed the most admired man in London, celebrated for his
conquests, his horses, his elegance, manner, dress; in short, in
everything he gave the tone. But he had too much taste to carry anything
to extreme; and in the midst of incense, and adulation, and imitation,
he still retained that simple unostentatious elegance that marks the man
of real fashion--the man who feels his own consequence, independent of
all extraneous modes or fleeting fashions.

There is, perhaps, nothing so imposing, nothing that carries a greater
sway over a mind of any refinement, than simplicity, when we feel
assured that it springs from a genuine contempt of show and ostentation.
Lord Lindore was aware of this, and he did not attempt to vie with the
Duke of Altamont in the splendour of his equipage, the richness of his
liveries, the number of his attendants, or any of those previous
attractions attractions; on the contrary, everything belonging to him
was of the plainest description; and, except in the beauty of his
horses, he seemed to scorn every species of extravagance; but then he
rode with so much elegance, he drove his curricle with such graceful
ease, as formed a striking contrast to the formal Duke, sitting
bolt-upright in his state chariot, _chapeau bras,_ and star; and the
Duchess often quitted the Park, where Lord Lindore was the admired of
all admirers, mortified and ashamed at being seen in the same carriage
with the man she had chosen for her husband. Ambition had led her to
marry the Duke, and that same passion now heightened her attachment for
Lord Lindore; for, as some one has remarked, ambition is not always the
desire for that which is in itself excellent, but for that which is most
prized by others; and the handsome Lord Lindore was courted and caressed
in circles where the dull, precise Duke of Altamont was wholly
overlooked. Months passed in this manner, and every day added something
to Adelaide's feelings of chagrin and disappointment. But it was still
worse when she found herself settled for a long season at Norwood Abbey
a dull, magnificent residence, with a vast unvaried park, a profusion of
sombre trees, and a sheet of stillwater, decorated with leaden deities.
Within doors everything was in the same style of vapid, tasteless
grandeur, and the society was not such as to dispel the ennui these
images served to create. Lady Matilda Sufton, her satellite Mrs. Finch,
General Carver, and a few stupid elderly lords and their well-bred
ladies comprised the family circle; and the Duchess experienced, with
bitterness of spirit, that "rest of heart, and pleasure felt at home,"
are blessings wealth cannot purchase nor greatness command; while she
sickened at the stupid, the almost _vulgar_ magnificence of her lot.

At this period Lord Lindore arrived on a visit, and the daily, hourly
contrast that occurred betwixt the elegant, impassioned lover, and the
dull, phlegmatic husband, could not fail of producing the usual
effects on an unprincipled mind. Rousseau and Goethe were studied, French
and German sentiments were exchanged, till criminal passion was exalted
into the purest of all earthly emotions. It were tedious to dwell upon
the minute, the almost imperceptible occurrences that tended to heighten
the illusion of passion, and throw an air of false dignity around the
degrading spells of vice; but so it was, that in something less than a
year from the time of her marriage, this victim of self-indulgence again
sought her happiness in the gratification of her own headstrong
passions, and eloped with Lord Lindore, vainly hoping to find peace and
joy amid guilt and infamy.


"On n'est gueres oblige aux gens qui ne nous viennent
voir, que pour nous quereller, qui pendant toute une visite, ne nous
disent pas une seule parole obligeante, et qui se font un plaisir malin
d'attaquer notre conduite, et de nous faire entrevoir nos
defauts." -- L' ABBE De BELLEGARDE.

THE Duke, although not possessed of the most delicate feelings, it may
be supposed was not insensible to his dishonour. He immediately set
about taking the legal measures for avenging it; and damages were
awarded, which would have the effect of rendering Lord Lindore for ever
an alien to his country. Lady Juliana raved, and had hysterics, and
seemed to consider herself as the only sufferer by her daughter's
misconduct. At one time Adelaide's ingratitude was all her theme: at
another, it was Lord Lindore's treachery, and poor Adelaide was
everything that was amiable and injured: then it was the Duke's
obstinacy; for, had Adelaide got leave to do as she liked, this never
would have happened; had she only got leave to give balls, and to go to
masquerades, she would have made the best wife in the world, etc. etc.

All this was warmly resented by Lady Matilda, supported by Mrs. Finch
and General Carver, till open hostilities were declared between the
ladies, and Lady Juliana was compelled to quit the house she had looked
upon as next to her own, and became once more a denizen of Beech Park.

Mary's grief and horror at her sister's misconduct were proportioned to
the nature of the offence. She considered it not as how it might affect
herself, or would be viewed by the world, but as a crime committed
against the law of God; yet, while she the more deeply deplored it on
that account, no bitter words of condemnation passed her lips. She
thought with humility of the superior advantages she had enjoyed in
having principles of religion early and deeply engrafted in her soul;
and that, but for these, such as her sister's fate was, hers might have

She felt for her mother, undeserving as she was of commiseration; and
strove by every means in her power to promote her comfort and happiness.
But that was no easy task. Lady Juliana's notions of comfort and
happiness differed as widely from those of her daughter as reason and
folly could possibly do. She was indeed "than folly more a fool--a
melancholy fool without her bells." She still clung to low earth-born
vanities with as much avidity as though she had never experienced their
insecurity; still rung the same changes on the joys of wealth and
grandeur, as if she had had actual proof of their unfading felicity.
Then she recurred to the Duke's obstinacy and Lord Lindore's artifices,
till, after having exhausted herself in invective against them, she
concluded by comforting herself with the hope that Lord Lindore and
Adelaide would marry; and although it would be a prodigious degradation
to her, and she could not be received at Court, she might yet get into
very good society in town. There were many women of high rank exactly in
the same situation, who had been driven to elope from their husbands,
and who married the men they liked and made the best wives in the world.

Mary heard all this in shame and silence; but Lady Emily, wearied and
provoked by her folly and want of principle, was often led to express
her indignation and and contempt in terms which drew tears from her
cousin's eyes. Mary was indeed the only person in the world who felt her
sister's dereliction with the keenest feelings of shame and sorrow. All
Adelaide's coldness and unkindness had not been able to eradicate from
her heart those deep-rooted sentiments of affection which seem to have
been entwined with our existence, and which, with some generous natures,
end but with their being. Yes! there are ties that bind together those
of one family, stronger than those of taste, or choice, or friendship,
or reason; for they enable us to love, even in opposition to them all.

It was understood the fugitives had gone to Germany; and after wonder
and scandal were exhausted, and a divorce obtained, the Duchess of
Altamont, except to her own family, was as though she had never been.
Such is the transition from--from guilt to insignificance!

Amongst the numerous visitors who flocked to Beech Park, whether from
sympathy, curiosity, or exultation, was Mrs. Downe Wright. None of these
motives, singly, had brought that lady there, for her purpose was that
of giving what she genteelly termed some _good hits_ to the Douglas's
pride--a delicate mode of warfare, in which, it must be owned, the
female sex greatly excel.

Mrs. Downe Wright had not forgiven the indignity of her son having
been refused by Mary, which she imputed entirely to Lady Emily's
influence, and had from that moment predicted the downfall of the whole
pack, as she styled the family; at the same time always expressing her
wish that she might be mistaken, as she wished them well--God knows she
bore them no ill-will, etc. She entered the drawing-room at Beech Park
with a countenance cast to a totally different expression from that with
which she had greeted Lady Matilda Sufton's widowhood. Melancholy would
there have been appropriate, here it was insulting; and accordingly,
with downcast eyes, and silent pressures of the hand, she saluted every
member of the family, and inquired after their healths with that air of
anxious solicitude which implied that if they were all well it was what
they ought not to be. Lady Emily's quick tact was presently aware of her
design, and she prepared to take the field against her.

"I had some difficulty in getting admittance to you," said Mrs.
Downe Wright. "The servant would fain have denied you; but at such a
time, I knew the visit of a friend could not fail of being acceptable,
so I made good my way in spite of him."

"I had given orders to be at home to friends only," returned Lady Emily,
"as there is no end to the inroads of acquaintances."

"And poor Lady Juliana," said Mrs. Downe Wright in a tone of affected
sympathy, "I hope she is able to see her friends?"

"Did you not meet her?" asked Lady Emily carelessly. "She is just gone
to Bath for the purpose of securing a box during the term of Kean's
engagement; she would not trust to _l'eloquence du billet_ upon
such an occasion."

"I'm vastly happy to hear she is able for anything of the kind," in a
tone of vehement and overstrained joy, rather unsuitable to the

A well-feigned look of surprise from Lady Emily made her fear she had
overshot her mark; she therefore, as if from delicacy, changed the
conversation to her own affairs. She soon contrived to let it be known
that her son was going to be married to a Scotch Earl's daughter; that
she was to reside with them; and that she had merely come to Bath for
the purpose of letting her house--breaking up her establishment--packing
up her plate--and, in short, making all those magnificent arrangements
which wealthy dowagers usually have to perform on a change of residence.
At the end of this triumphant declaration, she added--

"I fain would have the young people live by themselves, and let me just
go on in my own way; but neither my son nor Lady Grace would hear of
that, although her family are my son's nearest neighbours, and most
sensible, agreeable people they are. Indeed, as I said to Lord
Glenallan, a man's happiness depends fully as much upon his wife's
family as upon herself."

Mary was too noble-minded to suspect that Mrs. Downe Wright could intend
to level innuendoes; but the allusion struck her; she felt herself
blush; and, fearful Mrs. Downe Wright would attribute it to a wrong
motive, she hastened to join in the eulogium on the Benmavis family in
general, and Lady Grace in particular.

"Lady Benmavis is, indeed, a sensible, well-principled woman, and her
daughters have been all well brought up."

Again Mary coloured at the emphasis which marked the sensible,
well-principled mother, and the well brought-up daughters; and in some
confusion she said something about Lady Grace's beauty.

"She certainly is a very pretty woman," said Mrs. Downe Wright with
affected carelessness; "but what is better, she is out of a good nest.
For my own part I place little value upon beauty now; commend me to
principles. If a woman is without principles the less beauty she has the

"If a woman has no principles," said Lady Emily, "I don't think it
signifies a straw whether she has beauty or not--ugliness can never add
to one's virtue."

"I beg your pardon, Lady Emily; a plain woman will never make herself so
conspicuous in the world as one of your beauties."

"Then you are of opinion wickedness lies all in the eye of the world,
not in the depths of the heart? Now I think the person who cherishes--no
matter how secretly--pride, envy, hatred, malice, or any other besetting
sin, must be quite as criminal in the sight of God as those who openly
indulge their evil propensity."

"I go very much by outward actions," said Mrs. Downe Wright; "they are
all we have to judge by."

"But I thought we were forbidden to judge one another?"

"There's no shutting people's mouths, Lady Emily."

"No; all that is required, I believe, is that we should shut our own."

Mary thought the conversation was getting rather too _piquante_ to be
pleasant, and tried to soften the tone of it by asking that most
innocent question, Whether there was any news?

"Nothing but about battles and fightings, I suppose," answered Mrs.
Downe Wright. "I'm sure they are to be pitied who have friends or
relations either in army or navy at present. I have reason to be
thankful my son is in neither. He was very much set upon going into one
or other; but I was always averse to it; for, independent of the danger,
they are professions that spoil a man for domestic life; they lead to
such expensive, dissipated habits, as quite ruin them for family men. I
never knew a military man but what must have his bottle of port every
day. With sailors, indeed, it's still worse; grog and tobacco soon
destroy them. I'm sure if I had a daughter it would make me miserable if
she was to take fancy to a naval or military man;--but," as if suddenly
recollecting herself, "after all, perhaps it's a mere prejudice of

"By no means," said Lady Emily "there is no prejudice in the matter;
what you say is very true. They are to be envied who can contrive to fall
in love with a stupid, idle man: _they_ never can experience any
anxiety; _their_ fate is fixed; 'the waveless calm, the slumber of the
dead,' is theirs; as long as they can contrive to slumber on, or at
least to keep their eyes shut, 'tis very well, they are in no danger of
stumbling till they come to open them; and if they are sufficiently
stupid themselves there is no danger of their doing even that. The have
only to copy the owl, and they are safe."

"I quite agree with your Ladyship ," said Mrs. Downe Wright, with a well
_got-up,_ good-humoured laugh. "A woman has only not to be a wit or a
genius, and there is no fear of her; not that _I_ have that antipathy to
a clever woman that many people have, and especially the gentlemen. I
almost quarrelled with Mr. Headley, the great author, t'other day, for
saying that he would rather encounter a nest of wasps than a clever

"I should most cordially have agreed with him," said Lady Emily, with
equal _naivete._ "There is nothing more insupportable than
one of your clever women, so called. They are generally under-bred,
consequently vulgar. They pique themselves upon saying good things
_coitte qu'il coute._ There is something, in short, quite
professional about them; and they wouldn't condescend to chat nonsense
as you and I are doing at this moment--oh! not for worlds! Now, I think
one of the great charms of life consists in talking nonsense. Good
nonsense is an exquisite thing; and 'tis an exquisite thing to be stupid
sometimes, and to say nothing at all. Now, these enjoyments the clever
woman must forego. Clever she is, and clever she must be. Her life must
be a greater drudgery than that of any actress. _She_ merely frets her
hour upon the stage; the curtain dropped, she may become as dull as she
chooses; but the clever woman must always stage it, even at her own

"Lady Emily Lindore is certainly the last person from whom I should have
expected to hear a panegyric on stupidity," said Mrs. Downe Wright, with
some bitterness.

"Stupidity!--oh, heavens! my blood curdles at the thought of real,
genuine, downright stupidity! No! I should always like to have the
command of intellect, as well as of money, though my taste, or my
indolence, or my whim, perhaps, never would incline me to be always
sparkling, whether in wit or in diamonds. 'Twas only when I was in the
nursery that I envied the good girl who spoke rubies and pearls. Now it
seems to me only just better than not spitting toads and vipers." And
she warbled a sprightly French _ariette_ to a tame bullfinch that flew
upon her hand.

There was an airy, high-bred elegance in Lady Emily's impertinence that
seemed to throw Mrs. Downe Wright's coarse sarcasms to an immeasurable
distance; and that lady was beginning to despair, but she was determined
not to give in while she could possibly stand out. She accordingly
rallied her forces, and turned to Mary.

"So you have lost your neighbour, Mrs. Lennox, since I was here? I think
she was an acquaintance of yours. Poor woman! her death must have been a
happy release to herself and her friends. She has left no family, I
believe?" quite aware of the report of Mary's engagement with Colonel

"Only one son," said Mary, with a little emotion.

"Oh! very true. He's in the law, I think?"

"In the army," answered Mary, faintly.

"That's a poor trade," said Mrs. Downe Wright, "and I doubt he'll not
have much to mend it. Rose Hall's but a poor property. I've heard they
might have had a good estate in Scotland if it hadn't been for the pride
of the General, that wouldn't let him change his name for it, He thought
it grander to be a poor Lennox than a rich Macnaughton, or some such
name, It's to be hoped the son's of the same mind?"

"I have no doubt of it," said Lady Emily. "Tis a noble name-quite a
legacy in itself."

"It's one that, I am afraid, will not be easily turned into bank notes,
however," returned Mrs. Downe Wright, with a _real_ hearty laugh. And
then, delighted to get off with what she called flying colours, she
hastily rose with an exclamation at the lateness of the hour, and a
remark how quickly time passed in pleasant company; and, with friendly
shakes of the hand, withdrew.

"How very insupportable is such a woman," said Lady Emily to Mary, "who,
to gratify her own malice, says the most cutting things to her
neighbours, and at the same time feels self-approbation, in the belief
that she is doing good. And yet, hateful as she is, I blush to say I
have sometimes been amused by her ill-nature when it was directed
against people I hated still more. Lady Matilda Sufton, for
example,--there she certainly shone, for hypocrisy is always fair game;
and yet the people who love to hunt it are never amiable. You smile, as
much as to say, Here is Satan preaching a sermon on holiness. But
however satirical and intolerant you may think me, you must own that I
take no delight in the discovery of other people's faults: if I want the
meekness of a Christian, at least I don't possess the malice of a Jew.
Now Mrs. Downe Wright has a real heartfelt satisfaction in saying
malicious things, and in thrusting herself into company where she must
know she is unwelcome, for the sole purpose of saying them. Yet many
people are blessed with such blunt perceptions that they are not at all
aware of her real character, and only wonder, when she has left them,
what made them feel so uncomfortable when she was present. But she has
put me in such a bad humour that I must go out of door and apostrophise
the sun, like Lucifer. Do come, Mary, you will help to dispel my
chagrin. I really feel as if my heart had been in a limekiln. All its
kingly feelings are so burnt up by the malignant influences of Mrs.
Downe Wright; while you," continued she, as they strolled into the
gardens, "are as cool, and as sweet, and as sorrowful as these violets,"
gathering some still wet with an April shower. "How delicious, after
such a mental _sirocco,_ to feel the pure air and hear the birds sing,
and look upon the flowers and blossoms, and sit here, and bask in the
sun from laziness to walk into the shade. You must needs acknowledge,
Mary, that spring in England is a much more amiable season than in your
ungentle clime."

This was the second spring Mary had seen set in, in England. But the
first had been wayward and backward as the seasons of her native
climate. The present was such a one as poets love to paint. Nature was
in all its first freshness and beauty--the ground was covered with
flowers, the luxuriant hedgerows were white with blossoms, the air was
impregnated with the odours of the gardens and orchards. Still Mary
sighed as she thought of Lochmarlie--its wild tangled woods, with here
and there a bunch of primroses peeping forth from amidst moss and
withered ferns--its gurgling rills, blue lakes, and rocks, and
mountains--all rose to view; and she felt that, even amid fairer scenes,
and beneath brighter suns, her heart would still turn with fond regret
to the land of her birth.


"Wondrous it is, to see in diverse mindes
How diversly Love doth his pageants play
And shows his power in variable kinds."


BUT even the charms of spring were overlooked by Lady Emily in the
superior delight she experienced at hearing that the ship in which
Edward Douglas was had arrived at Portsmouth; and the intelligence was
soon followed by his own arrival at Beech Park. He was received by her
with rapture, and by Mary with the tenderest emotion. Lord Courtland was
always glad of an addition to the family party; and even Lady Juliana
experienced something like emotion as she beheld her son, now the exact
image of what his father had been twenty years before.

Edward Douglas was indeed a perfect model of youthful beauty, and
possessed of all the high spirits and happy _insouciance_ which can only
charm at that early period. He loved his profession, and had already
distinguished himself in it. He was handsome, brave, good-hearted, and
good-humoured, but he was not clever; and Mary felt some solicitude as
to the permanency of of Lady Emily's attachment to him. But Lady Emily,
quick-sighted to the defects of the whole world, seemed happily blind to
those of her lover; and when even Mary's spirits were almost exhausted
by his noisy rattle, Lady Emily, charmed and exhilarated, entered into
all his practical jokes and boyish frolics with the greatest delight.

She soon perceived what was passing in Mary's mind.

"I see perfectly well what you think of my _penchant_ for Edward," said
she one day; "I can tell you exactly what was passing in your thoughts
just now. You were thinking how strange, how passing strange it is, that
I, who am (false modesty avaunt!) certainly cleverer than Edward, should
yet be so partial to him, and that my lynx eyes should have failed to
discover in him faults which, with a single glance, I should have
detected in others. Now, can't you guess what renders even these very
faults so attractive to me?"

"The old story, I suppose?" said Mary. "Love."

"Not at all. Love might blind me to his faults altogether, and then my
case would be indeed hopeless, were I living in the belief that I was
loving a piece of perfection--a sort of Apollo Belvidere in mind as well
as in person. Now, so far from that, I could reckon you up a whole
catalogue of his faults; and nevertheless, I love him with my whole
heart, faults and all. In the first place, they are the faults with
which I have been familiar from infancy; and therefore they possess a
charm (to my shame be it said!) greater than other people's virtues
would have to me. They come over my fancy like some snatch of an old
nursery song, which one loves to hear in defiance of taste and reason,
merely because it is something that carries us back to those days which,
whatever they were in reality, always look bright and sunny in
retrospection. In the second place, his faults are real, genuine,
natural faults; and in this age of affectation how refreshing it is to
meet with even a natural fault! I grant you, Edward talks absurdly, and
asks questions _a faire dresser les cheveux_ of a Mrs. Bluemits.
But that amuses me; for his ignorance is not the ignorance of vulgarity
or stupidity, but the ignorance of a light head and a merry heart--of
one, in short, whose understanding has been at sea when other people's
were at school. His _bonmots_ certainly would not do to be printed; but
then they make me laugh a great deal more than if they were better, for
he is always _naif_ and original, and I prefer an in indifferent
original any day to a good copy. How it shocks me to hear people
recommending to their children to copy such a person's manners! A copied
manner, how insupportable! The servile imitator of a set pattern, how
despicable! No! I would rather have Edward in all the freshness of his
own faults rather than in the faded semblance of another persons's

Mary agreed to the truth of her cousin's observations in some respects,
though she could not help thinking that love had as much to say in her
case as in most others; for if it did not blind her to her lover's
faults, it certainly made her much more tolerant of them.

Edward was, in truth, at times almost provokingly boyish and unthinking,
and possessed a flow of animal spirits as inexhaustible as they were
sometimes overpowering; but she flattered herself time would subdue them
to a more rational tone; and she longed for his having the advantages of
Colonel Lennox's society--not by way of pattern, as Lady Emily expressed
it, but that he might be gradually led to something of more refinement,
from holding intercourse with a superior mind. And she obtained her wish
sooner than she had dared to hope for it. That battle was fought which
decided the fate of Europe, and turned so many swords into ploughshares;
and Mary seemed now touching the pinnacle of happiness when she saw her
lover restored to her. He had gained additional renown in the bloody
field of Waterloo; and, more fortunate than others, his military career
had terminated both gloriously and happily.

If Mary had ever distrusted the reality of his affection, all her doubts
were now at an end. She saw she was beloved with all the truth and
ardour of a noble ingenuous mind, too upright to deceive others, too
enlightened to deceive itself. All reserve betwixt them was now at an
end; and, secure in mutual affection, nothing seemed to oppose itself to
their happiness.

Colonel Lennox's fortune was small; but such as it was,
it seemed sufficient for all the purposes of rational enjoyment. Both
were aware that wealth is a relative thing, and that the positively rich
are not those who have the largest possessions but those who have the
fewest vain or selfish desires to gratify. From these they were happily
exempt. Both possessed too many resources in their own minds to require
the stimulus of spending money to rouse them into enjoyment, or give
them additional importance in the eyes of the world; and, above all,
both were too thoroughly Christian in their principles to murmur at any
sacrifices or privations they might have to endure in the course of
their earthly pilgrimage.

But Lady Juliana's weak, worldly mind, saw things in a very different
light; and when Colonel Lennox, as a matter of form, applied to her for
her consent to their union, he received a positive and angry refusal.
She declared she never would consent to any daughter of hers making so
foolish, so very unsuitable a marriage. And then, sending for Mary, she
charged her, in the most peremptory manner, to break of all intercourse
with Colonel Lennox.

Poor Mary was overwhelmed with grief and amazement at this new display
of her mother's tyranny and injustice, and used all the powers of
reasoning and entreaty to alter her sentiments; but in vain. Since
Adelaide's elopement Lady Juliana had been much in want of some subject
to occupy her mind--something to excite a sensation, and give her
something to complain of, and talk about, and put her in a bustle, and
make her angry, and alarmed, and ill-used, and, in short, all the things
which a fool is fond of being.

Although Mary had little hopes of being able to prevail by any
efforts of reason, she yet tried to make her mother comprehend the
nature of her engagement with Colonel Lennox as of a sacred nature, and
too binding ever to be dissolved. But Lady Juliana's wrath blazed forth
with redoubled violence at the very mention of an engagement. She had
never heard of anything so improper. Colonel Lennox must be a most
unprincipled man to lead her daughter into an engagement unsanctioned by
her; and she had acted in the most improper manner in allowing herself
to form an attachment without the consent of those who had the best
title to dispose of her. The person who could act thus was not fit to be
trusted, and in future it would be necessary for her to have her
constantly under her own eye.

Mary found her candour had therefore only reduced her to the alternative
of either openly rebelling, or of submitting to be talked at, and
watched, and guarded, as if she had been detected in carrying on some
improper clandestine intercourse. But she submitted to all the
restrictions that were imposed and the torments that were inflicted, if
not with the heroism of a martyr, at least with the meekness of one; for
no murmur escaped her lips. She was only anxious to conceal from others
the extent of her mother's folly and injustice, and took every
opportunity of entreating Colonel Lennox's silence and forbearance. It
required, indeed, all her influence to induce him to submit patiently to
the treatment he experienced. Lady Juliana had so often repeated to Mary
that it was the greatest presumption in Colonel Lennox to aspire to a
daughter of hers, that she had fairly talked herself into the belief
that he was all she asserted him to be--a man of neither birth nor
fortune certainly a Scotsman from his name--consequently having
thousands of poor cousins and vulgar relations of every description. And
she was determined that no daughter of hers should ever marry a man
whose family connections she knew nothing about. She had suffered a
great deal too much from her (Mary's) father's low relations ever to run
the risk of anything of the same kind happening again. In short, she at
length made it out clearly, to her own satisfaction, that Colonel Lennox
was scarcely a gentleman; and she therefore considered it as her duty to
treat him on every occasion with the most marked rudeness. Colonel
Lennox pitied her folly too much to be hurt by her ill-breeding and
malevolence, but he could scarcely reconcile it to his notions of duty
that Mary's superior mind should submit to the thraldom of one who
evidently knew not good from evil.

Lady Emily was so much engrossed by her own affairs that for some time
all this went on unnoticed by her. At length she was struck with Mary's
dejection, and observed that Colonel Lennox seemed also dispirited; but,
imputing it to a lover's quarrel, she laughingly taxed them with it.
Although Mary could, suppress the cause of her uneasiness, she was too
ingenuous to deny it; and, being pressed by her cousin, she at length
disclosed to her the cause of her sorrow.

"Colonel Lennox and you have behaved like two fools," said she, at the
end of her cousin's communication. "What could possibly instigate you to
so absurd an act as that of asking Lady Juliana's consent? You surely
might have known that the person who is never consulted about anything
will invariably start difficulties to everything; and that people who
are never accustomed to be even listened to get quite unmanageable when
appealed to. Lady Juliana gave an immediate assent to Lord Glenallan's
proposals because she was the first person consulted about them; and
besides, she had a sort of an instinctive knowledge that it would create
a sensation and make her of consequence--in short, she was to act in a
sort of triple capacity, as parent, lover, and bride. Here, on the
contrary, she was aware that her consent would stand as a mere cipher,
and, once given, would never be more heard of. Liberty of opinion is an
attitude many people quite lose themselves in. When once they attempt to
think, it makes confusion worse confounded; so it is much better to take
that labour off their hands, and settle the matter for them. It would
have been quite time enough to have asked Lady Juliana's consent after
the thing was over; or, at any rate, the minute before it was to take
place. I would not even have allowed her time for a flood of tears or a
fit of hysterics. And now that your duty has brought you to this, even
my genius is a a loss how to extricate you. Gretna Green might have been
advisable, and that would have accorded with your notions of duty; that
would have been following your mamma's own footsteps; but it is become
too vulgar an exploit. I read of a hatter's apprentice having carried
off a grocer's heiress t'other day. What do you purpose doing yourself?"

"To try the effect of patience and submission," said Mary, "rather than
openly set at defiance one of the most sacred duties--the obedience of a
child to a parent. Besides, I could not possibly be happy were I to
marry under such circumstances."

"You have much too nice a conscience," said Lady Emily; "and yet I could
scarcely wish you otherwise than you are. What an angel you are, to
behave as you do to such a mother; with such sweetness, and gentleness,
and even respect! Ah! they know little of human nature who think that to
perform great actions one must necessarily be a great character. So far
from that, I now see there may be much more real greatness of mind
displayed in the quiet tenor of a woman's life than in the most
brilliant exploits that ever were performed by man. Methinks I myself
could help to storm a city; but to rule my own spirit is a task beyond
me. What a pity it is you and I cannot change places. Here am I,
languishing for a little opposition to my love. My marriage will be
quite an insipid, every-day affair; I yawn already to think of it. Can
anything be more disheartening to a young couple, anxious to signalise
their attachment in the face of the whole world, than to be allowed to
take their own way? Conceive my vexation at being told by papa this
morning that he had not the least objection to Edward and me marrying
whenever we pleased, although he thought we might both have done better;
but that was our own affair, not his; that he thought Edward a fine,
good humoured fellow--excessively amusing; hoped he would get a ship some
day, although he had no interest whatever in the Admiralty; was sorry he
could not give us any money, but hoped we should remain at Beech Park as
long as we liked. I really feel quite flat with all these dull

"What! you had rather have been locked up in a tower--wringing your
hands at the height of the windows, the thickness of the walls, and so
forth," said Mary.

"No: I should never have done anything so like a washerwoman as to wring
my hands; though I might, like some heroines, have fallen to work in a
regular blacksmith-way, by examining the lock of the door, and perhaps
have succeeded in picking it; but, alas! I live in degenerate days. Oh
that I had been born the persecuted daughter of some ancient baron bold
instead of the spoiled child of a good natured modern earl! Heavens! to
think that I must tamely, abjectly submit to be married in the presence
of all my family, even in the very parish church! Oh, what detractions
from the brilliancy of my star!"

In spite of her levity Lady Emily was seriously interested in her
cousin's affairs, and tried every means of obtaining Lady Juliana's
consent; but Lady Juliana was become more unmanageable than ever. Her
temper, always bad, was now soured by chagrin and disappointment into
something, if possible, still worse, and Lady Emily's authority had no
longer any control over her; even the threat of producing Aunt Grizzy to
a brilliant assembly had now lost its effect. Dr. Redgill was the only
auxiliary she possessed in the family, and he most cordially joined he in
condemning Miss Mary's obstinacy and infatuation. What could she see in
a man with such an insignificant bit of property, a mere nest for
blackbirds and linnets, and such sort of vermin. Not a morsel of any
sort of game on his grounds; while at Glenallan, he had been credibly
informed, such was the abundance that the deer had been seen stalking and
the black-cock flying past the very door! But the Doctor's indignation
was suddenly suspended by a fit of apoplexy; from which, however, he
rallied, and passed it off for the present as a sort of vertigo, in
consequence of the shock he had received at hearing of Miss Mary's

At length even Colonel Lennox's forbearance was exhausted, and Mary's
health and spirits were sinking beneath the conflict she had to
maintain, when a sudden revolution in Lady Juliana's plans caused also a
revolution in her sentiments. This was occasioned by a letter from
Adelaide, now Lady Lindore. It was evidently written under the influence
of melancholy and discontent; and, as Lady Emily said, nothing could be
a stronger proof of poor Adelaide's wretchedness than her expressing a
wish that her mother should join her in the South of France, where she
was going on account of her health.

Adelaide was indeed one of the many melancholy proofs of the effects of
headstrong passions and perverted principles. Lord Lindore had married
her from a point of honour; and although he possessed too much
refinement to treat her ill, yet his indifference was not the less
cutting to a spirit haughty as hers. Like many others, she had vainly
imagined that, in renouncing virtue itself for the man she loved, she
was for ever ensuring his boundless gratitude and adoration; and she
only awoke from her delusive dream to find herself friendless in a
foreign land, an outcast from society, an object of indifference even to
him for whom she had abandoned all.

But Lady Juliana would see nothing of all this. She was charmed at what
she termed this proof of her daughter's affection, in wishing to have
her with her; and the prospect of going abroad seemed like a vision of
paradise to her. Instant preparations were made for her departure, and
in the bustle attendant on them, Mary and her affairs sank into utter
insignificance. Indeed, she seemed rather anxious to get her disposed of
in any way that might prevent her interfering with her own plans; and a
consent to her marriage, such as it was, was easily obtained.

"Marry whom you please," said she; "only remember I am not responsible
for the consequences. I have always told you what a wretched thing a
love-marriage is, therefore you are not to blame me for your future

Mary readily subscribed to the conditions; but, as she embraced her
mother at parting, she timidly whispered a hope that she would ever
consider her house as her home. A smile of contempt was the only reply
she received, and they parted never more to meet. Lady Juliana found
foreign manners and principles too congenial to her tastes ever to return
to Britain.


"O most gentle Jupiter! what tedious homily of love have
you wearied your parishioners withal, and never cried,
_Have patience, good people!"_

_As You Like it._

THE only obstacle to her union thus removed, Mary thought she might now
venture to let her Aunt Grizzy into the secret; and accordingly, with
some little embarrassment, she made the disclosure of the mutual
attachment subsisting between Colonel Lennox and herself. Grizzy
received the communication with all the astonishment which ladies
usually experience upon being made acquainted with a marriage which they
had not had the prescience to foresee and foretell--or even one which
they had; for, common and natural as the event seems to be, it is one
which perhaps in no instance ever took place without occasioning the
greatest amazement to some one individual or another; and it will also
be generally found that either the good or the bad fortune of one or
other of the parties is the subject of universal wonder. In short, a
marriage which excites no surprise, pity, or indignation, must be
something that has never yet been witnessed on the face of this round
world. It is greatly to be feared none of my readers will sympathise in
the feelings of the good spinster on this occasion, as she poured them
forth in the following _extempore_ or _improvisatorial_ strain:-

"Well, Mary, I declare I'm perfectly confounded with all you have been
telling me! I'm sure I never heard the like of it! It seems but the
t'other day since you began your sampler; and it looks just
like yesterday since your father and mother were married. And such a work
as there was at your nursing! I'm sure your poor grandfather was out of
all patience about it. And now to think that you are going to be
married! not but what it's a thing we all expected, for there's no doubt
England's the place for young women to get husbands--we always said
that, you know; not but what I dare say you might have been married,
too, if you had stayed in the Highlands, and to a real Highlander, too,
which, of course, would have been still better for us all; for it will
be a sad thing if you are obliged to stay in England, Mary; but I hope
there's no chance of that: you know Colonel Lennox can easily sell his
place, and buy an estate in the Highlands. There's a charming property,
I know, to be sold just now, that _marches_ with Glenfern. To be sure
it's on the wrong side of the hill--there's no denying that; but then,
there's I can't tell you how many thousand acres of fine muir for
shooting, and I daresay Colonel Lennox is a keen sportsman; and they say
a great deal of it might be very much improved. We must really inquire
after it, Mary, and you must speak to Colonel Lennox about it, for you
know such a property as that may be snapped up in a minute."

Mary assented to all that was said; and Grizzy proceeded--

"I wonder you never brought Colonel Lennox to see us, Mary. I'm sure he
must think it very odd. To be sure, Sir Sampson's situation is some
excuse; but at any rate I wonder you never spoke about him. We all found
out your Aunt Bella's attachment from the very first, just from her
constantly speaking about Major M'Tavish and the militia; and we had a
good guess of Betsy's too, from the day her face turned so red after
giving Captain M'Nab for her toast; but you have really kept yours very
close, for I declare I never once suspected such a thing. I wonder if
that was Colonel Lennox that I saw you part with at the door one
day--tall, and with brown hair, and a bluecoat. I asked Lady Maclaughlan
if she knew who it was, and she said it was Admiral Benbow; but I think
she must have been mistaken, for I daresay now it was just Colonel
Lennox. Lennox--I'm sure I should be able to remember something about
somebody of that name; but my memory's not so good as it used to be, for
I have so many things, you know, to think about, with Sir Sampson, that
I declare sometimes my head's quite confused; yet I think always there's
something about them. I wish to goodness Lady Maclaughlan was come from
the dentist's, that I might consult her about it; for of course, you'll
do nothing without consulting all your friends--I know you've too much
sense for that. An here's Sir Sampson coming; it will be a fine piece of
news to tell him."

Sir Sampson having been now wheeled in by the still active Philistine,
and properly arranged with the assistance of Miss Grizzy, she took her
usual station by the side of his easy chair, and began to shout into his

"Here's my niece Mary, Sir Sampson; you remember her when she was
little, I daresay--you know you used to call her the fairy of
Lochmarlie; and I'm sure we all thought for long she would have been a
perfect fairy, she was so little; but she's tall enough now, you see,
and she's going to be married to a fine young man. None of us know him
yet, but I think I must have seen him; and at any rate I'm to see him
to-morrow, and you'll see him too, Sir Sampson, for Mary is to bring him
to call here, and he'll tell you all about the battle of Waterloo, and
the Highlanders; for he's half a Highlander too, and I'm certain he'll buy
the Dhuanbog estate, and then, when my niece Mary marries Colonel

"Lennox!" repeated Sir Sampson, his little dim eyes kindling at the
name--"Who talks of Lennox I--I--I won't suffer it. Where's my Lady?
Lennox!--he's a scoundrel! You shan't marry a Lennox!" Turning to
Grizzy, "Call Philistine, and my Lady." And his agitation was so great
that even Grizzy, although accustomed for forty years to witness similar
ebullitions, became alarmed.

"You see it's all for fear of my marrying," whispered she to Mary.
"I'm sure such a disinterested attachment, it's impossible for me
ever to repay it!"

Then turning to Sir Sampson, she sought to soothe his perturbation by
oft-repeated assurances that it was not her but her niece Mary that was
going to be married to Colonel Lennox. But in vain; Sir Sampson
quivered, and panted, and muttered; and the louder Grizzy screamed out
the truth the more his irritation increased. Recourse was now had to
Philistine; and Mary, thoroughly ashamed of the eclat attending
the disclosure of her secret, and finding she could be of no use, stole
away in the midst of Miss Grizzy's endless _verbiage_, but as she
descended the stairs she still heard the same assurance resounding--"I
can assure you, Sir Sampson, it's not me, but my niece Mary that's going
to be married to Colonel Lennox," etc.

On returning to Beech Park she said nothing of what had passed either to
Lady Emily or Colonel Lennox--aware of the amusement it would furnish to
both; and she felt that her aunt required all the dignity with which she
could invest her before presenting her to her future nephew. The only
delay to her marriage now rested with herself; but she was desirous it
should take place under the roof which had sheltered her infancy, and
sanctioned by the presence of those whom she had ever regarded as her
parents. Lady Emily, Colonel Lennox, and her brother had all endeavoured
to combat this resolution, but in vain; and it was therefore settled
that she should remain to witness the union of her brother and her
cousin, and then return to Lochmarlie. But all Mary's preconceived plans
were threatened with a downfall by the receipt of the following letter
from Miss Jacky:--

GLENFERN CASTLE, ---SHIRIE, _June_ 19, 181--.

"It _is_ impossible for _language_ to express to _you_ the _shame,_
grief, amazement, and _indignation,_ with _which_ we are _all_ filled at
the distressing, the _ignominious_ disclosure that has _just_ taken
_place_ concerning you, _through_ our most _excellent_ friend Miss P.
M'Pry. Oh, Mary, _how_ have you _deceived_ us all!!! What a _dagger
_have _you_ plunged into _all_ our hearts! Your _poor _Aunt _Grizzy!_
how my _heart_ bleeds _for_ her! What a difficult part _has_ she to
act! and at her _time_ of life! with her acute _feelings!_ with her
devoted _attachment _to the _house_ of M'Laughlan! What a _blow!_ and a
_blow _from your _hand!_ Oh, Mary, I _must_ again repeat, how _have_ you
deceived us _all_!!! Yet _do_ not imagine I mean to _reproach_ you!
Much, much of the blame is _doubtless _imputable to the errors of _your_
education! At the _same _time, even these _offer_ no justification of
your _conduct _upon the present occasion! You are now (I lament to say
it!) _come_ to that time of _life_ when _you_ ought to know _what_ is
right; or, where you entertain _any_ doubts, you ought _most_
unquestionably to _apply_ to those _who_, you _may_ be certain, _are_
well qualified to direct you. _But,_ instead _of_ that, you have
_pursued_ a diametrically opposite _plan:_ a plan which _might_ have
_ended_ in your destruction! Oh, Mary, _I_ cannot too _often _repeat,
how have _you_ deceived us all!!! From no _lips _but those of Miss M'Pry
_would_ I have believed _what_ I have heard, videlicet, that you (oh,
Mary!) have, for many, many months _past,_ been carrying on a
clandestine _correspondence _with a _young_ man, unknown, unsuspected by
_all_ your friends here! and that _young_ man, the very _last_ man on
the face of the _earth_ whom you, or any of _us,_ ought to have given
our countenance _to!_ The very man, in _short,_ whom we were all
_bound,_ by every _principle_ of duty, gratitude, and esteem, to have
shunned, and who you are _bound, _from this _moment,_ to renounce for
ever. How you ever _came _to be acquainted _with_ Colonel Charles Lennox
of Rose Hall is a mystery none of us can fathom; but surely the person,
_whoever _it was that _brought_ it about, has much, _much_ to answer
for! Mrs. Douglas (to whom I _thought_ it proper to _make _an immediate
_communication_ on the subject) pretends to _have_ been well informed of
all that has _been_ going on, and even insists that _your_ acquaintance
_with_ the Lennox family _took_ place through Lady M'Laughlan! _But_
that we _all_ know to be _morally_ impossible. Lady M'Laughlan is the
_very_ last person in the _world_ who would have _introduced_ you, or
any _young_ creature for whom she had the _slightest_ regard, to a
Lennox, the _mortal enemy of the M'Laughlan race!_ I most _sincerely_
trust she is spared the _shock_ we have all experienced at this painful
_disclosure. _With her _high_ principles, and _great_ regard for us, I
tremble to think _what_ might be the consequences! And dear Sir Sampson,
in his delicate state, how _would_ he ever be able to _stand_ such a
blow! and a blow, too, from your _hand,_ Mary! you, who he _was_ always
_like_ a father to! _Many_ a time, I am sure, _have_ you sat upon his
_knee,_ and you certainly _cannot_ have forgot the _elegant_ Shetland
pony he presented you _with_ the day you was five _years_ old! And
_what_ a return for such favours!

"But I fondly trust it _is_ not yet too late. You have _only_ to give up
this unworthy attachment, and all _will_ be forgotten and _forgiven_;
and we will all receive you as if _nothing_ had happened. Oh, Mary! I
must, for the last _time_ repeat, how have you deceived us _all_!

"I am your distressed aunt,


P.S.--I conclude abruptly, in _order_ to leave _room_ for your Aunt Nicky
to _state_ her sentiments also on this _most_ afflicting subject."

Nicky's appendix was as follows:--

"DEAR MARY--Jacky has read her letter to us. It is most excellent. We
are all much affected by it. Not a word but deserves to be printed. I
can add nothing. You see, if you marry Colonel L. none of us can be at
your marriage. How could we? I hope you will think twice about it.
Second thoughts are best. What's done cannot be undone. Yours,

"N. D."

Mary felt somewhat in the situation of the sleeper awakened, as she
perused these mysterious anathemas; and rubbed her eyes more than once
in hopes of dispelling the mist that she thought must needs be upon
them. But in vain: it seemed only to increase with every effort she made
to remove it. Not a single ray of light fell on the palpable obscure of
Miss Jacky's composition, that could enable her to penetrate the dark
profound that encompassed her. She was aware, indeed, that when her aunt
meant to be pathetic or energetic she always had recourse to the longest
and the strongest words she could possibly lay her hands upon; and Mary
had been well accustomed to hear her childish faults and juvenile
indiscretions denounced in the most awful terms as crimes of the deepest
dye. Many an exordium she had listened to on the tearing of her frock,
or the losing of her glove, that might have served as a preface to the
"Newgate Calendar," "Colquhoun on the Police," or any other register of
crimes. Still she had always been able to detect some clue to her own
misdeeds; but here even conjecture was baffled, and in vain she sought
for some resting-place for her imagination, in the probable misdemeanour
of her lover. But even allowing all possible latitude for Jacky's pen,
she was forced to acknowledge there must be some ground for her aunt to
build upon. Superficial as her structures generally were, like
children's card-houses, they had always something to rest upon; though
(unlike them) her creations were invariably upon a gigantic scale.

Mary had often reflected with surprise that, although Lady Maclauglan
had been the person to introduce her to Mrs. Lennox, no intercourse had
taken place between the families themselves; and when she had mentioned
them to each other Mrs. Lennox had only sighed, and Lady Maclaughlan had
humphed. She despaired of arriving at the knowledge of the truth from
her aunts. Grizzy's brain was a mere wisp of contradictions; and Jacky's
mind was of that violent hue that cast its own shade upon every object
that came in contact with it. To mention the matter to Colonel Lennox
was only to make the relations ridiculous; and, in short, although it
was a formidable step, the result of her deliberation was to go to
Lady Maclaughlan, and request a solution of her aunt's dark sayings. She
therefore departed for Milsom Street, and, upon entering the
drawing-room, found Grizzy alone, and evidently in even more than usual

"Oh, Mary!" cried she, as her niece entered, "I'm sure I'm thankful
you're come. I was just wishing for you. You can't think how much
mischief your yesterday's visit has done. It's a thousand pities, I
declare, that ever you said a word about your marriage to Sir Sampson.
But of course I don't mean to blame you, Mary. You know you couldn't
help it; so don't vex yourself, for you know that will not make the
thing any better now. Only if Sir Sampson should die--to be sure I must
always think it was that that killed him; and I'm sure it at will soon
kill me too-such a friend--oh, Mary!" Here a burst of grief choked poor
Miss Grizzy's utterance.

"My dear aunt," said Mary, "you certainly must be mistaken. Sir Sampson
seems to retain no recollection of me. It is therefore impossible that I
could cause him any pain or agitation."

"Oh certainly!" said Grizzy. "There's no doubt Sir Sampson has quite
forgot you, Mary--and no wonder-with your being so long away; but I
daresay he'll come to know you yet. But I'm sure I hope to goodness
he'll never know you as Mrs. Lennox, Mary. That would break his heart
altogether; for you know the Lennoxes have always been the greatest
enemies of the Maclaughlans,--and of course Sir Sampson can't bear
anybody of the name, which is quite natural. And it was very thoughtless
in me to have forgot that till Philistine put me in mind of it, and poor
Sir Sampson has had a very bad night; so I'm sure I hope, Mary, you'll
never think any more about Colonel Lennox; and, take my word for it,
you'll get plenty of husbands yet. Now, since there's a peace, there
will be plenty of fine young officers coming home. There's young
Balquhadan, a captain, I know, in some regiment; and there's
Dhalahulish, and Lochgrunason, and--" But Miss Grizzy's ideas here shot
out into so many ramifications upon so many different branches of the
county tree, that it would be in vain for any but a true Celt to attempt
to follow her.

Mary again tried to lead her back to the subject of the Lennoxes, in
hopes of being able to extract some spark of knowledge from the dark
chaos of her brain.

"Oh, I'm sure, Mary, if you want to hear about that, I can tell you
plenty about the Lennoxes; or at any rate about the Maclaughlans, which
is the same thing. But I must first find my huswife."

To save Miss Grizzy's reminiscence, a few words will suffice to clear up
the mystery. A family feud of remote origin had long subsisted between
the families of Lennox and Maclaughlan, which had been carefully
transmitted from father to son, till the hereditary brand had been
deposited in the breast of Sir Sampson. By the death of many intervening
heirs General Lennox, then a youth, was next in succession to the
Maclaughlan estate; but the power of alienating it was vested in Sir
Sampson, as the last remaining heir of the entail. By the mistaken zeal
of their friends both were, at an early period, placed in the same
regiment, in the hope that constant as association together would
quickly destroy their mutual prejudices, and produce a reconciliation.
But the inequalities were too great ever to assimilate. Sir Sampson
possessed a large fortune, a deformed person, and a weak, vain,
irritable mind. General (then Ensign) Lennox had no other patrimony than
his sword--a handsome person, high spirit, and dauntless courage. With
these tempers, it may easily be conceived that a thousand trifling
events occurred to keep alive the hereditary animosity. Sir Sampson's
mind expected from his poor kinsman a degree of deference and respect
which the other, so far from rendering, rather sought opportunities of
showing his contempt for, and of thwarting and ridiculing him upon every
occasion, till Sir Sampson was obliged to quit the regiment. From that
time it was understood that all bearing the name of Lennox were for ever
excluded from the succession to the Maclaughlan estates; and it was
deemed a sort of petty treason even to name the name of a Lennox in
presence of this dignified chieftain.

Many years had worn away, and Sir Sampson had passed through the various
modifications of human nature, from the "mewling infant" to "mere
oblivion," without having become either wiser or better. His mind
remained the same--irascible and vindictive to the last. Lady
Maclaughlan had too much sense to attempt to reason or argue him out of
his prejudices, but she contrived to prevent him from ever executing a
new entail. She had known and esteemed both General and Mrs. Lennox
before her marriage with Sir Sampson, and she was too firm and decided
in her predilections ever to abandon them; and while she had the credit
of sharing in all her husband's animosity, she was silently protecting
the lawful rights of those who had long ceased to consider them as such.
General Lennox had always understood that he and his family were under
Sir Sampson's _ban_, and he possessed too high a spirit ever to express
a regret, or even allude to the circumstances. It had therefore made a
very faint impression on the minds of any of his family, and in the long
lapse of years had been almost forgot by Mrs. Lennox, till recalled by
Lady Maclaughlan's letter. But she had been silent on the subject to
Mary; for she could not conceal from herself that her husband had been
to blame--that the heat and violence of his temper had often led him to
provoke and exasperate where mildness and forbearance would have soothed
and conciliated, without detracting from his dignity; but her gentle
heart shrank from the task of unnecessarily disclosing the faults of
the man she had loved; and then she heard Mary talk with rapture of the
wild beauties of Lochmarlie, she had only sighed to think that the pride
and prejudice of others had alienated the inheritance of her son.

But all this Mary was still in ignorance of, for Miss Grizzy had gone
completely astray in the attempt to trace the rise and progress of the
Lennox and Maclaughlan feud. Happily Lady Maclauglan's entrance
extricated her from her labyrinth, as it as the signal for her to repair
to Sir Sampson. Mary, in some little confusion, was beginning to express
to her Ladyship regret at hearing that Sir Sampson had been so unwell,
when she was stopped.

"My dear child, don't learn to tell lies. You don't care two pence for
Sir Sampson. I know all. You are going to be married to Charles Lennox.
I'm glad of it. I wished you to marry him. Whether you'll thank me for
that twenty years hence, _I_ can't tell--you can't tell--he can't
tell--God knows--humph! Your aunts will tell you he is Beelzebub,
because his father said he could make a Sir Sampson out of a mouldy
lemon. Perhaps he could. I don't know but your aunts are fools. You know
what fools are, and so do I. There are plenty of fools in the world; but
if they had not been sent for some wise purpose they wouldn't have been
here; and since they are here they have as good a right to have
elbow-room in the world as the wisest. Sir Sampson hated General Lennox
because he laughed at him; and if Sir Sampson had lived a hundred years
ago, his hatred might have been a fine thing to talk about now. It is
the same passion that makes heroes of your De Montforts, and your
Manuels, and your Corsairs, and all the rest of them; but they wore
cloaks and daggers, and these are the supporters of hatred. Everybody
laughs at the hatred of a little old man in a cocked hat. You may laugh
too. So now, God bless you! Continue as you are, and marry the man you
like, though the world should set its teeth against you. 'Tis not
every woman can be trusted to do that--farewell!" And with a cordial
salute they parted.

Mary was too well accustomed to Lady Maclaughlan's style not to
comprehend that her marriage with Colonel Lennox was an event she had
long wished for and now most warmly sanctioned; and she hastened home to
convey the glad tidings in a letter to her aunts, though doubtful if the
truth itself would be able to pierce its way through their prejudices.

Another stroke of palsy soon rendered Sir Sampson unconscious even to
the charms of Grizzy's conversation, and as she was no longer of use to
him, and was evidently at a loss how to employ herself, Mary proposed
that she should accompany her back to Lochmarlie, to which she yielded a
joyful assent. Once convinced of Lady Maclaughlan's approbation of her
niece's marriage she could think and talk of nothing else.

Some wise individuals have thought that most people act from the
inspiration of either a good or an evil power: to which class Miss
Grizzy belonged would have puzzled the most profound metaphysician to
determine. She was, in fact, a Maclaughlanite; but to find the _root_ of
Maclaughlan is another difficulty--thought is lost.

Colonel Lennox, although a little startled at his first introduction to
his future aunt, soon came to understand the _naivete_ of her
character; and his enlarged mind and good temper made such ample
allowance for her weaknesses, that she protested, with tears in her
eyes, she never knew the like of him--she never could think enough of
him. She wished to goodness Sir Sampson was himself again, and could
only see him; she was sure he would think just as she did, etc. etc.

The day of Lady Emily's marriage arrived, and found her in a more
serious mood than she had hitherto appeared in; though it seemed
doubtful whether it was most occasioned by her own prospects or the
thoughts of parting with Mary, who with Aunt Grizzy, was to set off for
Lochmarlie immediately after witnessing the ceremony. Edward and his
bride would fain have accompanied her; but Lord Courtland was too much
accustomed to his daughter and amused by his nephew to bear their
absence, and they therefore yielded the point, though with reluctance.
"This is all for want of a little opposition to have braced my nerves,"
said Lady Emily, as she dropped a few tears. "I verily believe I should
have wept outright had I not happily descried Dr. Redgill shrugging his
shoulders at me; that has given a filip to my spirits. After all, 'tis
perhaps a foolish action I've committed. The icy bonds of matrimony are
upon me already; I feel myself turning into a fond, faithful, rational,
humble, meek-spirited wife! Alas! I must now turn my head into a museum,
and hang up all my smart sayings inside my brain, there to petrify, as
warnings to all pert misses. Dear Mary! if ever I am good for anything,
it will be to you I owe it!"

Mary could only embrace her cousin in silence, as she parted from her
brother and her with the deepest emotion, and, assisted by Colonel
Lennox (who was to follow), took her station by the side of her aunt.

"I wish you a pleasant journey, Miss Mary," cried Dr. Redgill. "The game
season is coming on, and--" But the carriage drove off; and the rest of
the sentence was dispersed by the wind; and all that could be collected
was, "grouse always acceptable--friends at a distance--roebuck stuffed
with heather carries well at all times," etc. etc.

To one less practised in her ways, and less gifted with patience, the
eternal babbling of Aunt Grizzy as a travelling companion would have
occasioned considerable ennui, if not spleen. There are perhaps few
greater trials of temper than that of travelling with a person who
thinks it necessary to be actively pleasant, without a moment's
intermission, from the rising till the setting sun. Grizzy was upon this
fatal plan, the rock of thousands! Silence she thought synonymous with
low spirits; and she talked, and wondered, and exclaimed incessantly,
and assured Mary she need not be uneasy, she was certain Colonel Lennox
would follow very soon; she had not the least doubt of that. She would
not be surprised if he Was to be at Lochmarlie almost as soon as
themselves; at any rate very soon after them.

But even these little torments were forgot by Mary when she found
herself again in her native land. The hills, the air, the waters, the
people, even the _peat-stacks_, had a charm that touched her heart,
and brought tears into her eyes as they pictured home. But her feelings
arose to rapture when Lochmarlie burst upon her view in all the
grandeur, beauty, and repose of a setting sun, shedding its farewell
rays of gold and purple, and tints of such matchless hue, as no pencil
ere can imitate--no poet's pen describe. Rocks, woods, hills, and
waters, all shone with a radiance that seemed of more than earthly
beauty. "Oh, there are moments in life, keen, blissful, never to be
forgotten!" and such was the moment to Mary when the carriage stopped,
and she again heard the melody of that voice familiar from infancy--and
looked on the face known with her being--and was pressed to that heart
where glowed a parent's love!

When Mary recovered from the first almost _agonising_ transports of joy,
she marked with delight the increased animation and cheerfulness visible
in Mrs. Douglas. All the livelier feelings of her warm heart had indeed
been excited and brought into action by the spirit and playfulness of
her little boy, and the increased happiness of her husband; while all
her uneasiness respecting her former lover was now at an end. She had
heard from himself that he had married, and was happy. Without being
guilty of inconstancy, such are the effects of time upon mutable human

Colonel Lennox lost no time in arriving to claim his promised bride; and
Mary's happiness was complete when she found her own choice so warmly
approved of by the friends she loved.

The three aunts and their unmarried nieces, now the sole inhabitants of
Glenfern Castle, were not quite decided in their opinions at first. Miss
Jacky looked with a suspicious eye upon the _mortal enemy of the
Maclaughlan race;_ but, upon better acquaintance, his gaiety and
good-humour contrived to charm asleep even her good sense and
prejudices, and she pronounced him to be a pleasant, well-informed young
man, who gave himself no airs, although he certainly had rather a high

Nicky doubted, from his appearance, that he would be nice, and she
had no patience with nice men; but Nicky's fears vanished when she saw,
as she expressed it, "how pleasantly he ate the sheep's head, although
he had never seen one in his life before."

The younger ladies thought Captain M'Nab had a finer complexion, and
wondered whether Colonel Lennox (like him) would be dressed in full
regimentals at his marriage.

But, alas! "all earthly good still blends itself with harm," for on the
day of Mary's marriage--a day consecrated to mirth, and bride-cake, and
wedding favors, and marriage presents, and good cheer, and reels, and
revelry, and bagpipes--on that very day, when the marriage ceremony was
scarcely over, arrived the accounts of the death of Sir Sampson
Maclaughlan! But on this joyous day even Grizzy's tears did not flow so
freely as they would have done at another time; and she declared that
although it was impossible anybody could feel more than she did, yet
certainly it would not be using Colonel and Mrs. Lennox well to be very
distressed upon such an occasion; and there was no doubt but she would
have plenty of time to be sorry about it yet, when they were all sitting
quietly by themselves, with nothing else in their heads; though, to be
sure, they must always think what a blessing it was that Colonel Lennox
was to succeed.

"I wish he may ever fill Sir Sampson's shoes!" said Miss Nicky, with a

"Colonel Lennox cannot propose a better model to himself than Sir
Sampson Maclaughlan," said Miss Jacky. "He has left him a noble example
of propriety, frugality, hospitality, and respectability; and, above
all, of forgiveness of his mortal enemies."

"Oh, Mary!" exclaimed Miss Grizzy, as they were about to part with their
niece, "what a lucky creature you are! Never, I am sure, did any young
person set out in life with such advantages. To think of your succeeding
to Lady Maclaughlan's laboratory, all so nicely fitted up with every
kind of thing, and especially plenty of the most charming bark, which,
I'm sure, will do Colonel Lennox the greatest good, as you know all
officers are much the better of bark. I know it was the saving of young
Ballingall's life, when he came home in an ague from some place; and I'm
certain Lady Maclaughlan will leave you everything that is there, you
was always such a favourite. Not but what I must always think that you
had a hand in dear Sir Sampson's death. Indeed, I have no doubt of it.
Yet, at the same time, I don't mean to blame you in the least; for I'm
certain, if Sir Sampson had been spared, he would have been delighted,
as we all are, at your marriage."

Colonel and Mrs. Lennox agreed in making choice of Lochmarlie for their
future residence; and in a virtuous attachment they found as much
happiness as earth's pilgrims ever possess, whose greatest felicity must
spring from a higher source. The extensive influence which generally
attends upon virtue joined to prosperity was used by them for its best
purposes. It was not confined either to rich or poor, to caste or sect;
but all shared in their benevolence whom that benevolence could benefit.
And the poor, he sick, and the desolate, united in blessing what heaven
had already blessed--this happy Marriage.


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