Marriage by Susan Edmonstone Ferrier

Produced by Carl W. Goss MARRIAGE A Novel by Susan Ferrier “Life consists not of a series of illustrious actions; the greater part of our time passes in compliance with necessities–in the performance of daily duties–in the removal of small inconveniences–in the procurement of petty pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, as
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Produced by Carl W. Goss


A Novel by Susan Ferrier

“Life consists not of a series of
illustrious actions; the greater part of our time passes in compliance with necessities–in the performance of daily duties–in the removal of small inconveniences–in the procurement of petty pleasures; and we are well or ill at ease, as the main stream of life glides on smoothly, or is ruffled by small and frequent interruption.” -JOHNSON.






Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty the Queen


_Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh._


MISS FERRIER’S Novels have, since their first appearance, suffered curtailment in all subsequent Editions. The present Edition is the first reprint from the original Editions, and contains the whole of the omissions in other reprints. It is, therefore, the only perfect Edition of these Novels.

Works which have received the praise of Sir Walter Scott and Sir James Mackintosh, and been thought worthy of discussion in the _Noctes Ambrosianae,_ require no further introduction to the reader. The almost exceptional position which they occupy as satirizing the foibles rather than the more serious faults of human nature, and the caustic character of that satire, mingled with such bright wit and genial humour, give Miss Ferrier a place to herself in English fiction; and it is felt that a time has come to recognize this by producing her works in a form which fits them for the library, and in a type which enables them to be read with enjoyment.





In November 1854 there died in Edinburgh one who might, with truth, be called almost the last, if not _the_ last, of that literary galaxy that adorned Edinburgh society in the days of Scott, Jeffrey, Wilson, and others. Distinguished by the friendship and confidence of Sir Walter Scott, the name of Susan Edmonstone Ferrier is one that has become famous from her three clever, satirical, and most amusing novels _of Marriage, The_ _Inheritance,_ and _Destiny. _They exhibit, besides, a keen sense of the ludicrous almost unequalled. She may be said to have done for Scotland what Jane Austen and Maria Edgeworth have respectively done for England and Ireland–left portraits, painted in undying colours, of men and women that will live for ever in the hearts and minds of her readers. In the present redundant age of novel writers and novel-readers, and when one would suppose the supply must far exceed the demand from the amount of puerile and often at the same time prurient literature in the department of fiction that daily flows from the press, it is refreshing to turn to the vigorous and, above all, healthy moral tone of this lady’s works. To the present generation they are as if they had never been, and to the question, “Did you ever read _Marriage?”_ it is not uncommon in these times to get such an answer as, “No, never. Who wrote it?” “Miss Ferrier.” “I never heard of her or her novels.” It is with the view, therefore, of enlightening such benighted ones that I pen the following pages.

[1] Reprinted from the _Temple Bar_ Magazine for November 1878, Vol I.

Miss Ferrier was the fourth and youngest daughter of James Ferrier, Writer to the Signet, and was born at Edinburgh, 7th of September 1782. Her father was bred to that profession in the office of a distant relative, Mr. Archibald Campbell of Succoth (great grandfather of the present Archbishop of Canterbury).To his valuable and extensive business, which included the management of all the Argyll estates, he ultimately succeeded. He was admitted as a member of the Society of Writers to the Signet in the year 1770. He was also appointed a Principal Clerk of Session through the influence (most strenuously exerted) of his friend and, patron, John, fifth Duke of Argyll, [1] and was a colleague in that office with Scott. He also numbered among his friends Henry Mackenzie, the “Man of Feeling,” Dr. Hugh Blair, and last, though not least, Burns the poet. His father, John Ferrier, had been in the same office till his marriage with Grizzel, only daughter and heiress of Sir Walter Sandilands Hamilton, Bart., of Westport, county Linlithgow. [2] John Ferrier was the last Laird of Kirklands, county Renfrew, subsequently sold to Lord Blantyre. Mr. James Ferrier was the third son of his parents, and was born 1744. [3] Miss Ferrier was in the habit of frequently visiting at Inveraray Castle in company with her father, and while there had ample opportunity afforded her of studying fashionable life in all its varied and capricious moods, and which have been preserved to posterity in her admirable delineations of character. Her reason for becoming an authoress is from her own pen, as follows, and is entitled a preface to _The Inheritance_:–

[1] To this nobleman, in his later years, Mr. Ferrier devoted much of his time, both at Inveraray and Roseneath. He died in 1806. His Duchess was the lovely Elizabeth Gunning. Mr. Ferrier died at 25 George Street, Edinburgh, January 1829, aged eighty-six. Sir Walter Scott attended his funeral. After his death Miss Ferrier removed to a smaller house, in Nelson Street.

[2] Sir Walter’s father, Walter Sandilands of Hilderston, a cadet of the Torphichen family (his father was commonly styled Tutor of Calder), assumed the name of Hamilton on his marriage with the heiress of Westport.

[3] His brothers were: William, who assumed the name of Hamilton on succeeding his grandfather in the Westport estate. He was in the navy, and at the capture of Quebec, where he assisted the sailors to drag the cannon up the heights of Abraham; m. Miss Johnstone of Straiton, co. Linlithgow; died 1814. Walter; m. Miss Wallace of Cairnhill, co. Ayr, father of the late Colonel Ferrier Hamilton of Cairnhill and Westport. Ilay, major-general in the army; m. first Miss Macqueen, niece of Lord Braxfield, second, Mrs. Cutlar of Orroland, co. Kirkcudbright. He was Governor of Dumbarton Castle, and died there 1824.

“An introduction had been requested for the first of these three works, _Marriage;_ but while the author was considering what could be said for an already thrice-told tale, it had passed through the press with such rapidity as to outstrip all consideration. Indeed, what can be said for any of them amounts to so little, it is scarcely worth saying at all. The first was begun at the urgent desire of a friend, and with the promise of assistance, which, however, failed long before the end of the first volume; the work was then thrown aside, and resumed some years after. [1] It afforded occupation and amusement for idle and solitary hours, and was published in the belief that the author’s name never would be guessed at, or the work heard of beyond a very limited sphere. _’Ce n’est que le premier pas qu’il coute’_ in novel-writing, as in carrying one’s head in their hand; _The Inheritance_ and _Destiny _followed as matters of course. It has been so often and confidently asserted that almost all the characters are individual portraits, that the author has little hope of being believed when she asserts the contrary. That some of them were sketched from life is not denied; but the circumstances in which they are placed, their birth, habits, language, and a thousand minute particulars, differ so widely from the originals as ought to refute the charge of personality. With regard to the introduction of religious sentiment into works of fiction, there exists a difference of opinion, which, in the absence of any authoritative command, leaves each free to act according to their own feelings and opinions. Viewing this life merely as the prelude to another state of existence, it does seem strange that the future should ever be_ wholly_ excluded from any representation of it, even in its motley occurrences, scarcely less motley, perhaps, than the human mind itself. The author can only wish it had been her province to have raised plants of nobler growth in the wide field of Christian literature; but as such has not been her high calling, she hopes her ‘small herbs of grace’ may, without offence, be allowed to put forth their blossoms amongst the briars, weeds, and wild flowers of life’s common path.

[1] It underwent several changes before its final publication in 1818.

_April_ 1840.”

The friend on whose assistance she relied was Miss Clavering, daughter of Lady Augusta Clavering, and niece of the late Duke of Argyll. Between this lady and our author an early friendship existed, which was severed only by death. It commenced in 1797, when Miss Ferrier lost her mother, [1] and when she went with her father to Inveraray Castle she was then fifteen, and her friend only eight. Miss Clavering became the wife of Mr. Miles Fletcher, advocate, but was better known in later years as Mrs. Christison. She inherited all the natural elegance and beauty of face and form for which her mother, and aunt Lady Charlotte Campbell, were so distinguished, and died at Edinburgh, 1869, at an advanced age. While concocting the story of her first novel, Miss Ferrier writes to her friend in a lively and sprightly vein:–

[1] Mrs. Ferrier _(nee_ Coutts) was the daughter of a farmer at Gourdon, near Montrose. She was very amiable, and possessed of great personal beauty, as is attested by her portrait by Sir George Chalmers, Bart., in a fancy dress, and painted 1765. At the time of her marriage (1767) she resided at the Abbey of Holyrood Palace with an aunt, the Honourable Mrs. Maitland, widow of a younger son of Lord Lauderdale’s, who had been left in poor circumstances, and had charge of the apartments there belonging to the Argyll family. After their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Ferrier occupied a flat in Lady Stair’s Close (Old Town of Edinburgh), and which had just been vacated by Sir James Pulteney and his wife Lady Bath. Ten children were the fruit of this union (six sons and four daughters), viz.–

1. John, W.S., of 12 York Place, Edinburgh, d. 1851; m. Miss Wilson, sister of Professor Wilson, and father of the late Professor Ferrier of St. Andrews, N. B.

2. Archibald Campbell, W.S., d. 1814; m. Miss Garden.

3. Lorn, d. 1801, at Demerara.

4. James, d. in India, 1804. }
5. William Hamilton, d. 1804, in India. } Both Officers

6. Walter, W.S., d. 1856; m. Miss Gordon.

7. Jane (Mrs. Graham), d. 1846.

8. Janet (Mrs. Connell), d. 1848.

9. Helen _(_Mrs_._ Kinloch), d. 1866, at Torquay, aged 90.

10. Susan Edmonstone.

“Your proposals flatter and delight me, but how in the name of Postage are we to transport our brains to and fro? I suppose we’d be pawning our flannel petticoats to bring about our heroine’s marriage, and lying on straw to give her Christian burial. Part of your plot I like much, some not quite so well–for example, it wants a _moral_–your principal characters are good and interesting, and they are tormented and persecuted and punished from no fault, of their own_,_ and for no possible purpose. Now I don’t think, like all penny-book manufacturers, that ’tis absolutely necessary that the good boys and girls should be rewarded and the naughty ones punished. Yet I think, where there is much tribulation, ’tis fitter it should be the _consequence_ rather than the _cause_ of misconduct or frailty. You’ll say that rule is absurd, inasmuch as it is not observed in human life: that I allow, but we know the inflictions of Providence are for wise purposes, therefore our reason willingly submits to them. But as the only good purpose of a book is to inculcate morality and convey some lesson of instruction as well as delight, I do not see that what is called a _good moral_ can be dispensed with in a work of fiction. Another fault is your making your hero attempt suicide, which is greatly too shocking, and destroys all the interest his misfortunes would otherwise excite–that, however, could be easily altered, and in other respects I think your plot has great merit. You’ll perhaps be displeased at the freedom of my remarks; but in the first place freedom is absolutely necessary in the cause in which we are about to embark, and it must be understood to be one if not the chief article of our creed. In the second (though it should have been the first), know that I always say what I think, or say nothing. Now as to my own deeds–I shall make no apologies (since they must be banished from our code of laws) for sending you a hasty and imperfect sketch of what I think might be wrought up to a tolerable form. I do not recollect ever to have seen the sudden transition of a high-bred English beauty, [1] who thinks she can sacrifice all for love, to an uncomfortable solitary Highland dwelling [2] among tall red-haired sisters and grim-faced aunts. Don’t you think this would make a good opening of the piece? Suppose each of us try our hands on it; the moral to be deduced from that is to warn all young ladies against runaway matches, and the character and fate of the two sisters would be _unexceptionable._ I expect it will be the first book every wise matron will put into the hand of her daughter, and even the reviewers will relax of their severity in favour of the morality of this little work. Enchanting sight! already do I behold myself arrayed in an old mouldy covering, thumbed and creased and filled with dogs’-ears. I hear the enchanting sound of some sentimental miss, the shrill pipe of some antiquated spinster, or the hoarse grumbling of some incensed dowager as they severally inquire for me at the circulating library, and are assured by the master that ’tis in such demand that though he has thirteen copies they are insufficient to answer the calls upon it, but that each of them may depend upon having the very first that comes in!!! Child, child, you had need be sensible of the value of my correspondence. At this moment I’m squandering mines of wealth upon you when I might be drawing treasures from the bags of time! But I shall not repine if you’ll only repay me in kind–speedy and long is all that I require; for all things else I shall take my chance. Though I have been so impertinent to your book, I nevertheless hope and expect you’ll send it to me. Combie [1] and his daughter (or Mare, as you call her) are coming to town about this time, as I’m informed, and you may easily contrive to catch them (wild as they are) and send it by them, for there’s no judging what a picture will be like from a mere pen-and-ink outline–if that won’t do, is there not a coach or a carrier? One thing let me entreat of you: if we engage in this undertaking, let it be kept a profound secret from every human being. If I was suspected of being accessory to such foul deeds, my brothers and sisters would murder me, and my father bury me alive–and I have always observed that if a secret ever goes beyond those immediately concerned in its concealment it very soon ceases to be a secret.”

[1] Lady Juliana.

[2] Glenfern. Dunderawe Castle, on Loch Fyne, was in Miss Ferrier’s mind when she drew this sketch of a “solitary Highland dwelling.”

Again she writes to her friend and copartner in her literary work:–

“I am boiling to hear from you, but I’ve taken a remorse of conscience about Lady Maclaughlan and her friends: if I was ever to be detected, or even suspected, I would have nothing for it but to drown myself. I mean, therefore, to let her alone till I hear from you, as I think we might compound some other kind of character for her that might do as well and not be so dangerous. As to the misses, if ever it was to be published they must be altered or I must fly my native land.”

[1] Campbell of Combie.

Miss Clavering writes in answer:–

_Sunday Morning.-_

“First of all I must tell you that I approve in the most signal manner of Lady Maclaughlan. The sort of character was totally unexpected by me, and I was really transported with her. Do I know the person who is the original? The dress was vastly like Mrs. Damer, [1] and the manners like Lady Frederick. [2] Tell me if you did not mean a touch at her. I love poor Sir Sampson vastly, though it is impossible, in the presence of his lady, to have eyes or ears for anyone else. Now you must not think of altering her, and it must all go forth in the world; neither must the misses upon any account be changed. I have a way now of at least offering it to publication by which you never can be discovered. I will tell the person that I wrote it (indeed, quotha, cries Miss Ferrier, and no great favour; see how she loves to plume herself with borrowed fame!). Well, however, my way is quite sure, and the person would never think of speaking of it again, so never let the idea of detection come across your brain while you are writing to damp your ardour.

[1] Daughter of General Seymour Conway, and a distinguished sculptor. She was niece of the fifth Duke of Argyll.

[2] Lady Frederick Campbell is believed to have suggested the character of Lady Maclaughlan to Miss Ferrier, and there is little doubt she was the original. She was the widow of Earl Ferrel’s, of Tyburn notoriety, and was burnt to death at Coombe Bank, _Kent,_ in 1807.

“Positively neither Sir Sampson’s lady nor the foolish virgins must be displaced.”

Again she writes from Inveraray Castle (of date December 1810), eight years before the work was published:–

“And now, my dear Susannah, I must tell you of the success of your first-born. I read it to Lady Charlotte [1] in the carriage when she and I came together from Ardencaple, Bessie [2] having gone with mamma. If you will believe, I never yet in my existence saw Lady C. laugh so much as she did at that from beginning to end; and, seriously, I was two or three times afraid that she would fall into a fit. Her very words were, ‘I assure you I think it without the least exception the cleverest thing that ever was written, and in wit far surpassing Fielding.’ Then she said as to our other books they would all sink to nothingness before yours, that they were not fit to be mentioned in the same day, and that she felt quite discouraged from writing when she thought of yours. The whole conversation of the aunties [3] made her screech with laughing; and, in short, I can neither record nor describe all that she said; far from exaggerating it, I don’t say half enough, but I only wish you had seen the effect it produced. I am sure you will be the first author of the age.”

[1] Lady Charlotte Campbell, her aunt, better known latterly as Lady Charlotte Bury, and celebrated for her beauty and accomplishments.

[2] Miss Mure of Caldwell.

[3] These oddities were the three Misses Edmonstone, of the Duntreath family, and old family friends, after one or whom Miss Ferrier was named.

In another letter she writes:–

“I had an immense packet from Lady C. the other day, which I confess rather disappointed me, for I expected volumes of new compositions. On opening it, what should it prove but your book returned? so I shall keep it safe till I see you. She was profuse in its praises, and so was mamma, who said she was particularly taken with Lady Juliana’s brother, [1] he was so like the duke. Lady C. said she had read it all deliberately and critically, and pronounced it _capital, _with a dash under it. Lady C. begs that in your enumeration of Lady Olivia’s peccadilloes you will omit waltzes.”

[1] Lord Courtland.

That dance had just been introduced in London (1811), and the season of that year Miss Clavering spent with her aunt, Lady Charlotte, in the metropolis, in a round of gaiety, going to parties at Kensington Palace (where the Princess of Wales [1] then lived), Devonshire House, and the witty Duchess of Gordon’s, one of the “Empresses of Fashion,” as Walpole calls her. _Apropos_ of waltzes, she writes to Miss Ferrier:–

[1] Lady Charlotte was one of the Princess’s ladies-in-waiting.

“They are all of a sudden become so much the rage here that people meet in the morning at one another’s houses to learn them. And they are getting on very much. Lady Charlotte and I get great honour for the accomplishment, and I have improved a few scholars. Clanronald [1] is grown so detestably fine. He waltzes with me because he thinks he thereby shows off his figure, but as to speaking to me or Lady Charlotte he thinks himself much above that. He is in much request at present because of his dancing; next to him Lord Hartington is, I think, the best dancer; he is, besides, very fond of it, and is much above being fine; I never met with a more natural, boyish creature.”

[1] Macdonald of Clanronald, a great beau in the fashionable London world.

To return to the novel. The only portion from Miss Clavering’s pen is the history of Mrs. Douglas in the first volume, and are, as she herself remarked, “the only few pages that will be skipped.” She further adds:–

“Make haste and print it then, lest one of the Miss Edmonstones should die, as then I should think you would scarce venture for fear of being haunted.

* * * * *

“I shall hasten to burn your last letter, as you mention something of looking out for a father for your _bantling,_ so I don’t think it would be decent to let anybody get a sight of such a letter!”

At last, in 1818, the novel was published by the late Mr. Blackwood, and drew forth loud plaudits from the wondering public, as to who the author of so original a book could be. “In London it is much admired, and generally attributed to Walter Scott,” so writes a friend to Miss Ferrier; and she replies in her humorous style: “Whosever it is, I have met with nothing that has interested me since.” Sir Walter must have been flattered at his being supposed its father, for he says, in the conclusion of the _Tales of my Landlord_:–

“There remains behind not only a large harvest, but labourers capable of gathering it in; more than one writer has of late displayed talents of this description, and if the present author, himself a phantom, may be permitted to distinguish a brother, or perhaps a sister, shadow, he would mention in particular the author of the very lively work entitled _Marriage_.”

Mr. Blackwood, whose opinion is of some value, thought very highly of _Marriage,_ and he writes to Miss Ferrier (1817):–

“Mr. B. will not allow himself to think for one moment that there can be any uncertainty as to the work being completed. Not to mention his own deep disappointment, Mr. B. would almost consider it a crime if a work possessing so much interest and useful instruction were not given to the world. The author is the only critic of whom Mr. B. is afraid, and after what he has said, he anxiously hopes that this censor of the press will very speedily affix the _imprimatur.”_

In allusion to Sir Walter’s eulogium on the novel above quoted, Mr. Blackwood writes to the author:–

“I have the pleasure of enclosing you this concluding sentence of the new _Tales of my Landlord,_ which are to be published to-morrow. After this call, surely you will be no longer silent. If the great magician does not conjure you I shall give up all hopes.”

But Miss Ferrier seems to have been proof against the great magician even. _Marriage_ became deservedly popular, and was translated into French, as appears from the annexed:–

“We perceive by the French papers that a translation of Miss Ferrier’s clever novel _Marriage_ has been very successful in France.”-_New_ _Times,_ 6 Oct. ’25.

For _Marriage_ she received the sum of L150. Her second venture was more successful in a pecuniary sense. Space, however, prohibits me from dwelling any longer on _Marriage,_ so we come next to _The Inheritance._ This novel appeared six years after, in 1824, and is a work of very great merit. To her sister (Mrs. Kinloch, in London) Miss Ferrier writes:–

“John (her brother) has now completed a bargain with Mr. Blackwood, by which I am to have L1000 for a novel now in hand, but which is not nearly finished, and possibly never may be. Nevertheless he is desirous of announcing it in his magazine, and therefore I wish to prepare you for the _shock._ I can say nothing more than I have already said on the subject of _vigilence,_ if not of secrecy. I never will avow myself, and nothing can hurt and offend me so much as any of my friends doing it for me; this is not _faron de_ _parler,_ but my real and unalterable feeling; I could not bear the fuss of authorism!”

Secrecy as to her authorship seems to have been the great desire of her heart, and much of _The Inheritance_ was written in privacy at Morningside House, old Mr. Ferrier’s summer retreat near Edinburgh, and she says, “This house is so small, it is very ill-calculated for concealment.”

It was not till 1851 that she publicly avowed herself by authorising her name to be prefixed to a revised and corrected edition of her works. [1] Sir Walter Scott was delighted with this second novel, a proof of which was conveyed to Miss Ferrier by Mr. Blackwood:–

[1] Published by the late Mr. Richard Bentley, to whom she sold her copyrights in 1841. A previous edition was published by him in 1841.

“On Wednesday I dined in company with Sir Walter Scott, and he spoke of the work in the very highest terms. I do not always set the highest value on the baronet’s favourable opinion of a book, because he has so much kindness of feeling towards everyone, but in this case he spoke so much _con amore,_ and entered so completely, and at such a length, to me, into the spirit of the book and of the characters, that showed me at once the impression it had made on him. Everyone I have seen who has seen the book gives the some praise of it. Two or three days ago I had a note from a friend, which I copy: ‘I have nearly finished a volume of _The Inheritance._ It is unquestionably the best novel of the class of the present day, in so far as I can yet judge. Lord Rossville, Adam Ramsay, Bell Black and the Major, Miss Pratt and Anthony Whyte are capital, and a fine contrast to each other. It is, I think, a more elaborate work than _Marriage_, better told, with greater variety, and displaying improved powers. I congratulate you, and have no doubt the book will make a prodigious _sough’.”_ [1]

[1] Sensation.

Mr. Blackwood adds: “I do not know a better judge nor a more frank and honest one than the writer of this note.”

Again he writes:–

“On Saturday I lent in confidence to a very clever friend, on whose discretion I can rely, the two volumes of _The Inheritance._ This morning I got them back with the following note: ‘My dear Sir-I am truly delighted with _The Inheritance._ I do not find as yet anyone character quite equal to Dr. Redgill, [1] except, perhaps, the good-natured, old-tumbled (or troubled, I can’t make out which) maiden, [2] but as a novel it is a hundred miles above _Marriage._ It reminds me of Miss Austen’s very best things in every page. And if the third volume be like these, no fear of success triumphant.'”

[1] In _Marriage_ the gourmet physician to Lord Courtland, and “the living portrait of hundreds, though never before hit off so well.”

[2] Miss Becky Duguid.

Mr. Blackwood again says:–

“You have only to go on as you are going to sustain the character Sir Walter gave me of _Marriage,_ that you had the rare talent of making your conclusion even better than your commencement, for, said this worthy and veracious person, ‘Mr. Blackwood, if ever I were to write a novel, I would like to write the two first volumes, and leave anybody to write the third that liked.'”

In the following note, Lister, author of _Granby,_ also expresses his admiration in graceful terms, and with a copy of his own novel for Miss Ferrier’s acceptance:–

_T. H. Lister to Miss Ferrier._

“17 Heriot Row, _Feb._ 3, 1836.

“My DEAR MADAM–I should feel that, in requesting your acceptance of the book which accompanies this note, I should be presuming too much upon the very short time that I have had the honour of being known to you, if Mrs. Lister had not told me that you had kindly spoken of it in approving terms. I hope, therefore, I may be allowed, without presumption, to present to yon a book which you have thus raised in the opinion of its writer, and the composition of which is associated in my mind with the recollection of one of the greatest pleasure I have derived from novel-reading, for which I am indebted to you. I believe the only novel I read, or at any rate can now remember to have read, during the whole time I was writing _Granby_, was your _Inheritance_. –Believe me, my dear Madam, your very faithful, T. H. LISTER.”

From Mrs. Lister (afterwards Lady Theresa Cornewall Lewis) Miss Ferrier also received the following complimentary note:–

_Mrs. Lister to Miss Ferrier._

“_Thursday Night._ 17 HERIOT Row.

“My DEAR MISS FERRIER–I cannot leave Edinburgh without a grateful acknowledgment of your very kind and flattering gift. Mr. Lister called upon you in hopes of being able to wish you good-bye, and to tell you in person how much we were pleased with the proof you have given us that we are not unworthy of enjoying and appreciating your delightful works–pray accept our very best thanks, and I hope as _an authoress_ you will not feel offended if I say that they will now have an added charm in our eyes from the regard which our personal acquaintance with the writer has engendered. I knew that, to those who do not mix much in society, the acquaintance with strangers is often irksome: we therefore feel the more obliged to you for having allowed us the pleasure of knowing you, and I hope that if we return in the course of the year that we may find you less suffering in health, but as kindly disposed to receive our visits as you have hitherto been. We feel very grateful for all the kindness we have met with in Edinburgh, and amongst the pleasant reminiscences of the last five months we must always rank high the having received from you as a token of regard so acceptable a gift.–Believe me (or, indeed, I ought to say us), my dear Miss Ferrier, yours most sincerely,


Lord Murray, the late Scotch Judge, writes to a mutual friend of his and Miss Ferrier’s (Miss Walker of Dalry):–

“I received a copy of _Inheritance_ in the name of the author, and as I do not know who the _author_ is, and I suspect that you know more than I do, trust you will find some channel through which you will convey my thanks. I read _Inheritance_ with very great pleasure. The characters are very well conceived, and delineated with great success. I may add I have heard it highly commended by much better judges. Jeffrey speaks very favourably. He is particularly pleased with the Nabob (Major) and spouse, the letter from the Lakes, and the _P.S._ to it. Lord Gwydyr, who lives entirely in fashionable circles, said to me much in its praise, in which I concurred.

“From many other symptoms I have no doubt of its complete success.”

Miss Hannah Mackenzie, daughter of the “Man of Feeling,” writes to her friend Miss Ferrier:–

“Walter Scott dined here the other day, and both he and papa joined heartily in their admiration of uncle Adam, and their wish to know who he is. Sir W. also admires Miss Becky Duguid, and said he thought her quite a new character. I should like very much to see you, and talk all over at length, but fear to invite you to my own bower for fear of suspicion; but I trust you will soon come boldly, and face my whole family. I do not think you need fear them much; of course, like other people, they have their thoughts, but by no means speak with certainty, and Margaret has this minute assured us that she does _not_ think it Miss Ferrier’s.”

Uncle Adam, with “his seventy thousand pounds,” and as “cross as two sticks,” in some degree resembled old Mr. Ferrier, who was somewhat brusque and testy in his manner, and alarmed many people who were otherwise unacquainted with the true genuine worth and honesty of his character. Miss Becky is a poor old maid, saddled with commissions from all her friends of a most miscellaneous description.

“She was expected to attend all _accouchements,_ christenings, deaths, chestings, and burials, but she was seldom asked to a marriage, and never to any party of pleasure.”

She is an admirable pendant to the “Pratt,” who is inseparable, however, from her invisible nephew, Mr. Anthony Whyte. Miss Pratt is a sort of female Paul Pry, always turning up at the most unexpected moment at Lord Rossville’s, and finally puts the finishing stroke to the pompous old peer by driving up to his castle door in the hearse of Mr. M’Vitie, the Radical distiller, being unable to procure any other mode of conveyance during a heavy snow-storm, and assured every one that she fancied she was the first person who thought herself in luck to have got into a hearse, but considered herself still luckier in having got well out of one.

Caroline, Duchess of Argyll, [1] expresses her appreciation of _The Inheritance_ to the author, for whom she entertained a warm friendship:–

[1] Daughter of Lord Jersey, and wife of the first Marquis of Anglesea, whom she divorced, when Lord Paget, in 1810: m. the same year George, sixth Duke of Argyll.

“UPPER BROOK STREET, _Monday Evening._

“What can I say sufficiently to express my thanks either to you, my dear Miss Ferrier, or to the _author_ of _The Inheritance,_ whoever she may be, for the most perfect edition of that _most perfect_ book that was ever written! and now that I may be allowed to have my _suspicion,_ I shall read it again with double pleasure. It was so kind of you to remember your promise! When I received your kind letter and books this morning I was quite delighted with my beautiful present, and to find I was not forgotten by one of my best friends.”

_The Inheritance–a_ fact not generally known–was dramatised and produced at Covent Garden, but had a very short run, and was an utter failure, as might have been expected. Mrs. Gore was requested to adapt it for the stage by the chief comic actors of the day, and she writes to Miss Ferrier on the subject:–

“Since the management of Covent Garden Theatre fell into the hands of Laporte, he has favoured me with a commission to write a comedy for him, and the subject proposed by him is again the French novel of _L’Heretiere,_ which turns out to be a literal translation of _The Inheritance._ He is quite bent upon having Miss Pratt on the stage. I have not chosen to give Monsieur Laporte any positive answer on the subject without previously applying to yourself to know whether you have any intention or inclination to apply to the stage those admirable talents which are so greatly appreciated in London.”

Mrs. Gore, meanwhile, had been forestalled in her attempt, as a play on the subject had been held before the reader to Covent Garden, and she writes again to Miss Ferrier:–

“I have since learned with regret that the play is the production of a certain Mr. Fitzball, the distinguished author of the _Flying Dutchman,_ an sixty other successful melodramas, represented with great applause at the Surrey, Coburg, City, and Pavilion Theatres, etc.; in short, a writer of a very low class. The play of _The Inheritance_ has been accepted at Covent Garden; but, from my knowledge of the general engagements of the theatre, I should say that it has not the slightest chance of approaching to representation. For your sake it cannot be better than in the black-box of the manager’s room, which secures it at least from performance at the Coburg Theatre.”

We must let the curtain, so to speak, drop on _The Inheritance,_ and pass on to _Destiny._ This novel also appeared six years after, in 1831, and was dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. And he acknowledges the compliment as follows:–

_Sir Walter Scott to Miss Ferrier._

“My DEAR MISS FERRIER–Ann returned to-day, and part of her Edinburgh news informs me that you meditated honouring your present literary offspring with my name, so I do not let the sun set without saying how much I shall feel myself obliged and honoured by such a compliment. I will not stand bandying compliments on my want of merit, but can swallow so great a compliment as if I really deserved it, and indeed, as whatever I do not owe entirely to your goodness I may safely set down to your friendship, I shall scarce be more flattered one way or the other. I hope you will make good some hopes, which make Ann very proud, of visiting Abbotsford about April next. Nothing can give the proprietor more pleasure, for the birds, which are a prodigious chorus, are making of their nests and singing in blithe chorus. ‘Pray come, and do not make this a flattering dream.’ I know a little the value of my future godchild, since I had a peep at some of the sheets when I was in town during the great snowstorm, which, out of compassion for an author closed up within her gates, may prove an apology for his breach of confidence. So far I must say that what I have seen has had the greatest effect in making me curious for the rest.

“Believe me, dear Miss Ferrier, with the greatest respect, your most sincere, humble servant,


“Abbortsford, _Tuesday Evening_.”

In the next note he acknowledges a copy of _Destiny_, sent him by the author:–

_Sir Walter Scott to Miss Ferrier._

DEAR MISS FERRIER–If I had a spark of gratitude in me I ought to have written you well-nigh a month ago, to thank you in no common fashion for _Destiny,_ which by the few, and at the same time the probability, of its incidents, your writings are those of the first person of genius who has disarmed the little pedantry of the Court of Cupid and of gods and men, and allowed youths and maidens to propose other alliances than those an early choice had pointed out to them. I have not time to tell you all the consequences of my revolutionary doctrine. All these we will talk over when you come here, which I am rejoiced to hear is likely to be on Saturday next, when Mr. Cadell [1] will be happy to be your beau in the Blucher, [2] and we will take care are met with at the toll. Pray do not make this a flattering dream. You are of the initiated, so will not be _de trop _with Cadell.–I am, always, with the greatest respect and regard, your faithful and affectionate servant,


[1] Destiny was published by Cadell through Sir Walter’s intervention, and by it the author realised L1700.

[2] Name of the Stage-coach.

In 1832, the year after the birth of his godchild _Destiny,_ poor Sir Walter began to show signs of that general break-up of mind and body so speedily followed by his death. Of this sad state Miss Ferrier writes to her sister, Mrs. Kinloch (in London):–

“Alas! the night cometh when no man can work, as is the case with that mighty genius which seems now completely quenched. Well might he be styled ‘a bright and benignant luminary,’ for while all will deplore the loss of that bright intellect which has so long charmed a world, many will still more deeply lament the warm and steady friend, whose kind and genuine influence was ever freely diffused on all whom it could benefit. I trust, however, he may be spared yet awhile; it might be salutary to himself to con over the lessons of a death-bed, and it might be edifying to others to have his record added to the many that have gone before him, that all below is vanity. But till we _feel_ that we shall never believe it! I _ought_ to feel it more than most people, as I sit in my dark and solitary chamber, shut out, as it seems, from all the ‘pride of life’; but, alas! Worldly things make their way into the darkest and most solitary recesses, for their dwelling is in the heart, and from thence God only can expel them.”

Her first visit to the author of _Waverley_ was in the autumn of 1811, when she accompanied her father to Ashestiel. The invitation came from Scott to Mr. Ferrier:–

_Walter Scott, Esq., to James Ferrier, Esq._

“My DEAR SIR–We are delighted to see that your feet are free and disposed to turn themselves our way–a pleasure which we cannot consent to put off till we have a house at Abbotsford, which is but a distant prospect. We are quite disengaged and alone, saving the company of Mr. Terry the comedian, who is assisting me in planning my cottage, having been bred an architect under Wyat. He reads to us after coffee in the evening, which is very pleasant. This letter will reach you to-morrow, so probably _Thursday_ may be a convenient day of march, when we shall expect you to dinner about five o’clock, unless the weather should be very stormy, in which case we should be sorry Miss Ferrier should risk getting cold. To-day is clearing up after a week’s dismal weather, which may entitle us to expect some pleasant October days, not the worst of our climate. The road is by Middleton and Bankhouse; we are ten miles from the last stage, and thirty from Edinburgh, hilly road. There is a ford beneath Ashestiel generally very passable, but we will have the boat in readiness in case Miss Ferrier prefers it, or the water should be full. Mrs. Scott joins in kind respects to Miss Ferrier, and I ever am, dear Sir,–yours truly obliged,


“Ashestiel, _October_ 7.”

It was in 1811 that Scott was appointed a clerk of session, and to Mr. Ferrier he was in some measure indebted for that post.

Her last visit to Abbotsford is touchingly alluded to by Lockhart in his _Life of Scott:–_

“To assist them in amusing him in the hours which he spent out of his study, and especially that he might make these hours more frequent, his daughter had invited his friend the authoress of _Marriage_ to come out to Abbotsford, and her coming was serviceable. For she knew and loved him well, and she had seen enough of affliction akin to his to be well skilled in dealing with it. She could not be an hour in his company without observing what filled his children with more sorrow than all the rest of the case. He would begin a story as gaily as ever, and go on, in spite of the hesitation in his speech, to tell it with highly picturesque effect–but before he reached the point, it would seem as if some internal spring had given way. He paused and gazed round him with the blank anxiety of look that a blind man has when he has dropped his staff. Unthinking friends sometimes gave him the catch-word abruptly. I noticed the delicacy of Miss Ferrier on such occasions. Her sight was bad, and she took care not to use her glasses when he was speaking, and she affected also to be troubled with deafness, and would say, ‘Well, I am getting as dull as a post, I have not heard a word since you said so and so,’ being sure to mention a circumstance behind that at which he had really halted. He then took up the thread with his habitual smile of courtesy, as if forgetting his case entirely in the consideration of the lady’s infirmity.”

A very interesting account of her recollections of visits to Ashestiel and Abbotsford appeared in the February (1874) number of this magazine: it is short, but gives a sad and pathetic picture of the great man and his little grandson as they sat side by side at table.

The following letter on _Destiny_ is from Mrs. Fletcher, [1] a distinguished citizen of Edinburgh at the commencement of this century, and a leader of the Whig society there. For that reason it is worthy of insertion here. Her son married Miss Clavering, as before mentioned:–

[1] Her _Memoir,_ by her daughter, Lady Richardson, was published not long since.

_Mrs. Fletcher to Miss Ferrier._

“TADCASTER, _April_ 16, 1831.

“My DEAR MISS FERRIER–I should not have been so long in thanking you for your kind present, had I not wished to subject _Destiny_ to a severer test than that chosen by the French dramatist. _His_ old woman probably partook of the vivacity of her nation, but my old aunt, as Mary will tell you, is sick and often very sorrowful, and yet _Destiny_ has made her laugh heartily, and cheated her of many wearisome hours of lamentation. My grandson, Archibald Taylor, too, forsook football and cricket for your fascinating book, and told me ‘he could sit up all night to see what had become of Ronald.’ Mr. Ribley and ‘Kitty, my dear,’ hit his comic fancy particularly. My two most bookish neighbours, one an Oxford divine, and the other a Cambridge student, declare that, Glenroy and M’Dow are exquisite originals.’ My own favourite, ‘Molly Macaulay,’ preserves her good-humour to the last, though I thought you rather unmerciful in shutting her up so long in Johnnie’s nursery. The fashionable heartlessness of Lady Elizabeth and her daughter is coloured to the life, and the refreshment of returning to nature, truth, affection, and happiness at Inch Orran is admirably managed. Mary tells me you have returned from Fife with fresh materials for future volumes. Go on, dear Miss Ferrier, you are accountable for the talents entrusted to you. Go on to detect selfishness in all its various forms and foldings; to put pride and vanity to shame; to prove that vulgarity belongs more to character than condition, and that all who make the world their standard are essentially vulgar and low-minded, however noble their exterior or refined their manners may be, and that true dignity and elevation belong only to those to whom Milton’s lines may be applied:

“‘Thy care is fixed, and zealously attends To fill thy odorous lamp with deeds of light, And hope that reaps not shame.'”

The following letter from Joanna Baillie gives a very just and truthful criticism on _Destiny:–_

_Miss Joanna Baillie to Miss Ferrier._

“Hampstead, _May_ 1831.

“My DEAR MADAM–I received your very kind present of your last work about three weeks ago, and am very grateful for the pleasure I have had in reading it, and for being thus remembered by you. I thank you also for the pleasure and amusement which my sisters and some other friends have drawn from it. The first volume struck me as extremely clever, the description of the different characters, their dialogues, and the writer’s own remarks, excellent. There is a spur both with the writer and the reader on the opening of a work which naturally gives the beginning of a story many advantages, but I must confess that your characters never forget their outset, but are well supported to the very end. Your Molly Macaulay [1] is a delightful creature, and the footing she is on with Glenroy very naturally represented, to say nothing of the rising of her character at the end, when the weight of contempt is removed from her, which is very good and true to nature. Your minister, M’Dow, [2] hateful as he is, is very amusing, and a true representative of a few of the Scotch clergy, and with different language and manners of a great many of the English clergy–worldly, mean men, who boldly make their way into every great and wealthy family for the sake of preferment and good cheer. Your Lady Elizabeth, too, with all her selfishness and excess of absurdity, is true to herself throughout, and makes a very characteristic ending of it in her third marriage. But why should I tease you by going through the different characters? Suffice it to say that I thank you very heartily, and congratulate you on again having added a work of so much merit to our stock of national novels. Perhaps before this you have received a very short publication of mine on a very serious subject. I desired my bookseller to send a copy to you, enclosed along with one to your friend, Miss Mackenzie. How far you will agree with my opinions regarding it I cannot say, but of one thing I am sure, that you will judge with candour and charity. I should have sent one to Mr. Alison had I not thought it presumptuous in me to send such a work to any clergyman, and, with only one exception (a Presbyterian clergyman), I have abstained from doing so. I was very much obliged to Mrs. Mackenzie, Lord M.’s lady, for the letter she was so good as to write me in her sister-in-Iaw’s stead. If you should meet her soon, may I beg that you will have the goodness to thank her in my name. I was very sorry indeed to learn from her that Miss Mackenzie had been so ill, and was then so weak, and that the favourable account I had received of your eyes had been too favourable. With all good wishes to you, in which my sister begs to join me,–I remain, my dear Madam, gratefully and sincerely yours,


[1] The humble and devoted dependant of the proud chief Glenroy, and governess to his children. She was drawn from life, for Mrs. Kinloch writes to her sister, Miss Ferrier: “Molly Macaulay is charming; her niece, Miss Cumming, is an old acquaintance of mine, and told me the character was drawn to the life. The old lady is still alive, in her ninety-first year, at Inveraray, and Miss C., who is a very clever, pleasing person, seems delighted with the truth and spirit of the whole character of her aunty.”

[2] Lord Jeffrey considered M’Dow “an entire and perfect chrysolite, not to be meddled with.”

Granville Penn, the descendant of the founder of Pennsylvania, records the impression _Destiny_ made on him, and which he communicates to Miss Erskine of Cardross, who copied and sent it to the author, as follows:–

“My DEAR MADAM–I return your book, but I an unable to return you adequate thanks for being the cause of my reading it. I have done this (and all with me) with delight, from the interest and admiration at the whole composition, the novelty and excitement of its plan, the exquisite and thrilling manner of its disclosure, the absence of all flat and heavy intervals, the conception and support of the characters, the sound and salutary moral that pervades it all–these make me love and honour its valuable authoress, and lament that I am not in the number of her acquaintance. We all _doat_ upon Miss Macaulay, and grieve that she is not living at Richmond or Petersham; and Mr. M’Dow has supplied me with a new name for our little young dog, whom I have called, in memorial of his little nephew (or niece), Little M’Fee. With all the thanks, however, that I can offer, etc.


“Devonshire Cottage, 1_st May_ 1831.”

The next tribute of admiration bestowed on _Destiny_ was from Sir James Mackintosh:–

_Sir James Mackintosh to Miss Ferrier._

“LONDON, 10_th June_ 1831.

“DEAR MISS FERRIER–Let me tell you a fact, which I hope you will excuse me from mentioning, as some subsidiary proof of your power. On the day of the dissolution of Parliament, and in the critical hours between twelve and three, I was employed in reading part of the second volume of _Destiny._ My mind was so completely occupied on your colony in Argyleshire, that I did not throw away a thought on kings or parliaments, and was not moved by the general curiosity to stir abroad till I had finished your volume. It would have been nothing if you had so agitated a youth of genius and susceptibility, prone to literary enthusiasm, but such a victory over an old hack is perhaps worthy of your notice.–I am, my dear Miss Ferrier, your friend and admirer,


Professor Wilson, “Christopher North,” and his uncle, Mr. Robert Sym, W.S., “Timothy Tickler,” discuss the merits of _Destiny_ in the far-famed _Noctes_:

“_Tickler.–‘ _I would also except Miss Susan Ferrier. Her novels, no doubt, have many defects, their plots are poor, their episodes disproportionate, and the characters too often caricatures; but they are all thick-set with such specimens of sagacity, such happy traits of nature, such flashes of genuine satire, such easy humour, sterling good sense, and, above all–God only knows where she picked it up–mature and perfect knowledge of the world, that I think we may safely anticipate for them a different fate from what awaits even the cleverest of juvenile novels.’

“_North.-‘ _They are the works of a very clever woman, sir, and they have one feature of true and melancholy interest quite peculiar to themselves. It is in them alone that the ultimate breaking-down and debasement of the Highland character has been depicted. Sir Walter Scott had fixed the enamel of genius over the last fitful gleams of their half-savage chivalry, but a humbler and sadder scene–the age of lucre-banished clans–of chieftains dwindled into imitation squires, and of chiefs content to barter the recollections of a thousand years for a few gaudy seasons of Almacks and Crockfords, the euthanasia of kilted aldermen and steamboat pibrochs was reserved for Miss Ferrier.’

“_Tickler.–‘ _She in general fails almost as egregiously as Hook does in the pathetic [1] but in her last piece there is one scene of this description worthy of either Sterne or Goldsmith. I mean where the young man [2] supposed to have been lost at sea, revisits, after a lapse of time, the precincts of his own home, watching unseen in the twilight the occupations and bearings of the different members of the family, and resolving, under the influence of a most generous feeling, to keep the secret of his preservation.’

[1] This is not true, as there are many pathetic passages in _Destiny_, particularly between Edith, the heroine, and her faithless lover, Sir Reginald.

[2] Ronald Malcolm.

“_North.-‘ _I remember it well, and you might bestow the same kind of praise on the whole character of Molly Macaulay. It is a picture of humble, kind-hearted, thorough-going devotion and long-suffering, indefatigable gentleness, of which, perhaps, no sinner of our gender could have adequately filled up the outline. Miss Ferrier appears habitually in the light of a hard satirist, but there is always a fund of romance at the bottom of every true woman’s heart who has tried to stifle and suppress that element more carefully and pertinaciously, and yet who has drawn, in spite of herself, more genuine tears than the authoress of _Simple Susan.’ “_

The story of _Destiny,_ like its predecessors, is laid in Miss Ferrier’s favourite Highlands, and it contains several picturesque and vivid descriptions of scenery there, –Inveraray, and its surroundings generally, forming the model for her graphic pen. Much of this novel was written at Stirling Castle, when she was there on a visit to her sister, Mrs. Graham, [1] whose husband, General Graham, was governor of that garrison. After the publication of this last work, and the offer of a thousand pounds from a London publisher for anything from her pen, [2] she entirely ceased from her literary labours, being content to rest upon the solid and enduring reputation her three “bantlings” (as she called her novels) had won for her. The following fragment, however, was found among her papers, and is the portrait of another old maid, and might serve as a companion to Miss Pratt. As it is amusing, and in the writer’s satirical style, I lay it before my readers:–

[1] Celebrated by Burns, the poet, for her beauty. She inspired his muse when turning the corner of George Street, Edinburgh. The lines addressed to her are to be found in his _Poems._ She was also a highly-gifted artist. The illustrations in the work called the _Stirling Heads_ are from her pencil. It was published by Blackwood, 1817.

[2] She says (1837) “I made two attempts to write _something_, but could not please myself, and would not publish _anything_.”

“Miss Betty Landon was a single lady of small fortune, few personal charms, and a most jaundiced imagination. There was no event, not even the most fortunate, from which Miss Betty could not extract evil; everything, even the milk of human kindness, with her turned to gall and vinegar. Thus, if any of her friends were married, she sighed over the miseries of the wedded state; if they were single, she bewailed their solitary, useless condition; if they were parents, she pitied them for having children; if they had no children, she pitied them for being childless. But one of her own letters will do greater justice to the turn of her mind than the most elaborate description.

“‘My DEAR Miss—— I ought to have written to you long before now, but I have suffered so much from the constant changes of the weather that the wonder is I am able to hold a pen. During the whole summer the heat was really quite intolerable, not a drop of rain or a breath of wind, the cattle dying for absolute want, the vegetables dear and scarce, and as for fruit–that, you know, in this town, is at all times scarce and bad, and particularly when there is the greatest occasion for it. In the autumn we never had two days alike, either wind or rain, or frost, or something or another; and as for our winter–you know what that is–either a constant splash of rain, or a frost like to take the skin off you. For these six weeks I may say I have had a constant running at my head, with a return of my old complaint; but as for doctors, I see no good they do, except to load people’s stomachs and pick their pockets: everything now is imposition; I really think the very pills are not what they were thirty years ago. How people with families continue to live is a mystery to me; and people still going on marrying, in the face of national debt, taxes, a new war, a starving population, ruined commerce, and no outlet for young men in any quarter–God only knows what is to be the end of all this! In spite of all this, these thoughtless young creatures, the Truemans, have thought proper to make out their marriage; he is just five-and-twenty, and she is not yet nineteen! so you may judge what a prudent, well-managed establishment it will be. He is in a good enough business at present, but in these times who can tell what’s to happen? He may be wallowing in wealth to-day, and bankrupt to-morrow. His sister’s marriage with Fairplay is now quite off, and her prospects for life, poor thing, completely wrecked! Her looks are entirely gone, and her spirits quite broken. She is not like the same creature, and, to be sure, to a girl who had set her heart upon being married, it must be a great and severe disappointment, for this was her only chance, unless she tries India, and the expense of the outfit must be a complete bar to that. You would hear that poor Lady Oldhouse has had a son–it seemed a desirable thing, situated as they are with an entailed property; and yet when I look around me, and see the way that sons go on, the dissipation and extravagance, and the heartbreak they are to their parents, I think a son anything but a blessing. No word of anything of that kind to the poor Richardsons; with all their riches, they are without anyone to come after them. The Prowleys are up in the air at having got what they call “a fine appointment” for their fourth son, but for my part I’m really sick of hearing of boys going to India, for after all what do they do there? I never hear of their sending home anything but black children, and when they come home themselves, what do they bring but yellow faces, worn-out constitutions, and livers like cocked-hats, crawling about from one watering-place to another, till they are picked up by some light-hearted, fortune-hunting miss, who does not care twopence for them.'”

A beautiful and strong feature in Miss Ferrier’s character was her intense devotion to her father, and when he died the loss to her was irreparable. She also was much attached to a very handsome brother, James; he was colonel of the 94th regiment, or Scots Brigade, and died in India in 1804, at the early age of twenty-seven. He had been at the siege of Seringapatam in 1799, and was much distinguished by the notice of Napoleon at Paris in February 1803, whence he writes to his sister Susan:–

“I think I wrote you I had been introduced to the Chief Consul. I was on Sunday last presented to his lady, whom I do not at all admire. The great man spoke to me then again, which is a very unusual thing, and I am told by the French I must be in his good graces; however, I myself rather think it was my good fortune only: at all events it has given me much pleasure, for it would have only been doing the thing half if he had not spoken to me. I do not think any of the pictures like him much, although most of them have some resemblance; they give him a frown in general, which he certainly has not–so far from it, that when he speaks he has one of the finest expressions possible.”

Here, unfortunately, this interesting description comes abruptly to an end, the rest of the letter being lost. On account of failing health and increased bodily languor, Miss Ferrier latterly lived a very retired life, seeing few but very intimate friends, and, as she said, “We are more recluse than ever, as our little circle is yearly contracting, and my eyes are more and more averse to light than ever.”

Again she writes:–

“I can say nothing good of myself, my cough is very severe, and will probably continue so, at least as long as this weather lasts; but I have many comforts, for which I am thankful; amongst those I must reckon silence and darkness, which are my best companions at present.”

For years she had suffered from her eyes, being nearly quite blind of one. [1] In 1830 she went to London to consult an oculist, but unfortunately derived little benefit. While there, she visited Isleworth, in order to see a villa belonging to Lord Cassillis, and which subsequently figured in _Destiny_ as “Woodlands,” Lady Waldegrave’s rural retreat near London. A valued friend [2] who saw much of her remarked:–

[1] Lady Morgan, a fellow-sufferer from her eyes, was most anxious she should consult Mr. Alexander, the eminent oculist, as he entirely cured her after four years’ expectation of total blindness.

[2] Lady Richardson.

“The wonderful vivacity she maintained in the midst of darkness and pain for so many years, the humour, wit, and honesty of her character, as well as the Christian submission with which she bore her great privation and general discomfort when not suffering acute pain, made everyone who knew her desirous to alleviate the tediousness of her days, and I used to read a great deal to her at one time, and I never left her darkened chamber without feeling that I had gained something better than the book we might be reading, from her quick perception of its faults and its beauties, and her unmerciful remarks on all that was mean or unworthy in conduct or expression.”

But perhaps the most faithful picture of her is conveyed in this brief sentence from Scott’s diary, who describes her

“As a gifted personage, having, besides her great talents, conversation the least _exigeante_ of any author-female, at least, whom I have ever seen among the long list I have encountered; simple, full of humour, and exceedingly ready at repartee, and all this without the least affectation of the blue-stocking.”

From the natural modesty of her character she had a great dislike to her biography, or memorial of her in any shape, being written, for she destroyed all letters that might have been used for such a purpose, publicity of any kind being most distasteful to her, evidence of which is very clearly shown in the first part of this narrative. The chief secret of her success as a novelist (setting aside her great genius) was the great care and time she bestowed on the formation of each novel–an interval of six years occurring between each, the result being delineations of character that are unique.

Unfortunately there is little to relate regarding her childhood, that most interesting period of human existence in the lives of (and which is generally distinguished by some uncommon traits of character) people of genius–save that she had for a school companion and playfellow the late Lord Brougham, the distinguished statesman; she was remarkable also for her power of mimicry. An amusing anecdote of this rather dangerous gift is the following: Her brothers and sisters returned home from a ball, very hungry, and entered her room, where they supposed she lay asleep, and, while discussing the events of the evening and the repast they had procured by stealth (unknown to their father), they were suddenly put to flight by the sounds and voice, as they thought, of their dreaded parent ascending the stairs, and in their confusion and exit from the room overturned chairs and tables, much to the amusement of little Susan, who, no doubt, enjoyed the fright and commotion she had caused, and who mimicked under the cover of the bedclothes the accents of her redoubtable parent–a fit punishment, as she thought, for their ruthless invasion of her chamber, and their not offering her a share of their supper. An old Miss Peggy Campbell (sister to Sir Islay Campbell, President of the Court of Session) was also taken off by her, and so like that her father actually came into the room, where she was amusing her hearers, thinking that Miss Campbell was really present. When she died a blank was left in her native city that has not been since filled, the modern Athens having somewhat deteriorated in the wit, learning, and refinement that so distinguished her in the days that are gone.


[1] Reprinted from the _Temple Bar_ Magazine for February 1874.


_Author of ‘Marriage,’ ‘Inheritance,’ and ‘Destiny.’_

I HAVE never kept either note-book or journal, and as my memory is not a retentive one I have allowed much to escape which I should now vainly attempt to recall. Some things must, however, have made a vivid and durable impression on my mind, as fragments remain, after the lapse of years, far more distinct than occurrences of much more recent date; such, amongst others, are my recollections of my visits to Ashestiel and Abbotsford.

The first took place in the autumn of 1811, in consequence of repeated and pressing invitations from Mr. Scott to my father, in which I was included. Nothing could be kinder than our welcome, or more gratifying than the attentions we received during our stay; but the weather was too broken and stormy to admit of our enjoying any of the pleasant excursions our more weather-proof host had intended for us.

My father and I could therefore only take short drives with Mrs. Scott, while the bard (about one o’clock:) mounted his pony, and accompanied by Mr. Terry the comedian, his own son Walter, and our young relative George Kinloch, sallied forth for a long morning’s ride in spite of wind and rain. In the evening Mr. Terry commonly read some scenes from a play, to which Mr. Scott listened with delight, though every word must have been quite familiar to him, as he occasionally took a part in the dialogue impromptu; at other times he recited old and awesome ballads from memory, the very names of which I have forgot. The night preceding our departure had blown a perfect hurricane; we were to leave immediately after breakfast, and while the carriage was preparing Mr. Scott stepped to a writing-table and wrote a few hurried lines in the course of a very few minutes; these he put into my hand as he led me to the carriage; they were in allusion to the storm, coupled with a friendly adieu, and are to be found in my autograph album.

“The mountain winds are up, and proud O’er heath and hill careering loud;
The groaning forest to its power
Yields all that formed our summer bower. The summons wakes the anxious swain,
Whose tardy shocks still load the plain, And bids the sleepless merchant weep,
Whose richer hazard loads the deep. For me the blast, or low or high,
Blows nought of wealth or poverty; It can but whirl in whimsies vain
The windmill of a restless brain, And bid me tell in slipshod verse
What honest prose might best rehearse; How much we forest-dwellers grieve
Our valued friends our cot should leave, Unseen each beauty that we boast,
The little wonders of our coast,
That still the pile of Melrose gray, For you must rise in minstrel’s lay,
And Yarrow’s birk immortal long
For yon but bloom in rural song.
Yet Hope, who still in present sorrow Whispers the promise of to-morrow,
Tells us of future days to come,
When you shall glad our rustic home; When this wild whirlwind shall be still, And summer sleep on glen and hill,
And Tweed, unvexed by storm, shall guide In silvery maze his stately tide,
Doubling in mirror every rank
Of oak and alder on his bank;
And our kind guests such welcome prove As most we wish to those we love.” [1]

_Ashestiel, _October 13, 1811.

[1] Lines written by Walter Scott while the carriage was waiting to convey my father and me from Ashestiel.–S. E. F.

The invitation had been often repeated, but my dear father’s increasing infirmities made him averse to leave home, and when, in compliance with Sir Walter’s urgent request, I visited Abbotsford in the autumn of 1829, I went alone. I was met at the outer gate by Sir Walter, who welcomed me in the kindest manner and most flattering terms; indeed, nothing could surpass the courtesy of his address on such occasions. On our way to the house he stopped and called his two little grandchildren, Walter and Charlotte Lockhart, who were chasing each other like butterflies among the flowers–the boy was quite a Cupid, though not an _alfresco_ one; for he wore a Tartan cloak, whose sundry extras fluttered in the breeze as he ran to obey the summons, and gave occasion to his grandfather to present him to me as “Major Waddell;” [1] the pretty little fairy-looking girl he next introduced as “Whipperstowrie,” and then (aware of my love for fairy lore) he related the tale, in his own inimitable manner, as he walked slowly and stopped frequently in our approach to the house. As soon as I could look round I was struck with the singular and picturesque appearance of the mansion and its _environs._ Yet I must own there was more of _strangeness_ than of admiration in my feelings; too many objects seemed crowded together in a small space, and there was a “felt want” of breadth and repose for the eye. On entering the house I was however charmed with the rich imposing beauty of the hall, and admired the handsome antique appearance of the dining-room with its interesting pictures. After luncheon Sir Walter was at pains to point them out to my notice, and related the histories of each and all; he then conducted me through the apartments, and showed me so much, and told me so many anecdotes illustrative of the various objects of interest and curiosity they contained, that I retain a very confused and imperfect recollection of what I saw and heard. It was a strong proof of his good-nature that in showing the many works of art and relics of antiquity he had continued to accumulate and arrange with so much taste and skill, he should have been at such pains to point out the merits and relate the history of most of them to one so incapable of appreciating their value. But he never allowed one to feel their own deficiencies, for he never appeared to be aware of them himself.

[1] One of Miss Ferrier’s characters in her novel of _The Inheritance._

It was in the quiet of a small domestic circle I had again an opportunity of enjoying the society of Sir Walter Scott, and of witnessing, during the ten days I remained, the unbroken serenity of his temper, the unflagging cheerfulness of his spirits, and the unceasing courtesy of his manners. I had been promised a quiet time, else I should not have gone; and indeed the state of the family was a sufficient guarantee against all festivities. Mrs. Lockhart was confined to bed by severe indisposition, while Mr. Lockhart was detained in London by the alarming illness of their eldest boy, and both Captain Scott and his brother were absent. The party, therefore, consisted only of Sir Walter and Miss Scott, Miss Macdonald Buchanan (who was almost one of the family), and myself. Being the only stranger, I consequently came in for a larger share of my amiable host’s time and attention than I should otherwise have been entitled to expect. Many a pleasant tale and amusing anecdote I might have had to relate had I written down half of what I daily heard; but I had always an invincible repugnance to playing the _reporter_ and taking down people’s words under their own roof. Every day Sir Walter was ready by one o’clock to accompany us either in driving or walking, often in both, and in either there was the same inexhaustible flow of legendary lore, romantic incident, apt quotation, curious or diverting story; and sometimes old ballads were recited, commemorative of some of the localities through which he passed. Those who had seen him only amidst the ordinary avocations of life, or even doing the honours of his own table, could scarcely have conceived the fire and animation of his countenance at such times, when his eyes seemed literally to kindle, and even (as some one has remarked) to change their colour and become a sort of deep sapphire blue; but, perhaps, from being close to him and in the open air, I was more struck with this peculiarity than those whose better sight enabled them to mark his varying expression at other times. Yet I must confess this was an enthusiasm I found as little infectious as that of his antiquarianism. On the contrary, I often wished his noble faculties had been exercised on loftier themes than those which seemed to stir his very soul.

The evenings were passed either in Mrs. Lockhart’s bedroom or in chatting quietly by the fireside below, but wherever we were he was always the same kind, unostentatious, amusing, and _amusable_ companion.

The day before I was to depart Sir David Wilkie and his sister arrived, and the Fergussons and one or two friends were invited to meet him. Mrs. Lockhart was so desirous of meeting this old friend and distinguished person, that, though unable to put her foot to the ground, she caused herself to be dressed and carried down to the drawing-room while the company were at dinner. Great was her father’s surprise and delight on his entrance to find her seated (looking well and in high spirits) with her harp before her, ready to sing his favourite ballads. This raised his spirits above their usual quiet pitch, and towards the end of the evening he proposed to wind up the whole by all present standing in a circle with hands joined, singing,

“Weel may we a’ be!
Ill may we never see!”

Mrs. Lockhart was, of course, unable to join the festive band. Sir David Wilkie was languid and dispirited from bad health, and my feelings were not such as to enable me to join in what seemed to me little else than a mockery of human life; but rather than “displace the mirth,” I _tried,_ but could not long remain a passive spectator; the glee seemed forced and unnatural. It touched no sympathetic chord; it only jarred the feelings; it was the last attempt at gaiety I witnessed within the walls of Abbotsford.

Although I had intended to confine my slight reminiscence of Sir Walter Scott to the time I had passed with him under his own roof in the country, yet I cannot refrain from noticing the great kindness I received from him during the following winter in town.

I had, when at Abbotsford in the autumn, spoken to him for the _first_ time of my authorship and of the work on which I was then engaged. He entered into the subject with much warmth and earnestness, shook his head at hearing how matters had hitherto been transacted, and said unless I could make a better bargain in this instance I must leave to him the disposal of _Destiny._ I did so, and from the much more liberal terms he made with Mr. Cadell I felt, when too late, I had acted unwisely in not having sooner consulted him or some one versant in these matters. But _secrecy_ at that time was all I was anxious about, and so I paid the penalty of trusting entirely to the good faith of the publishers.

I saw Sir Walter frequently during the winter, and occasionally dined _en famille_ with Miss Scott and him, or with one or two friends, as I did not go into parties, neither indeed did he give any, but on account of the state of his affairs lived as retiredly as he possibly could.

In the month of February he sustained a paralytic shock; as soon as I heard of this I went to Miss Scott, from whom I learned the particulars. She had seen her father in his study a short time before, apparently in his usual health. She had returned to the drawing room when Sir Walter opened the door, came in, but stood looking at her with a most peculiar and _dreadful_ expression of countenance. It immediately struck her he had come to communicate some very distressing intelligence, and she exclaimed, “Oh, papa! Is Johnnie gone?” He made no reply, but still continued standing still and regarding her with the same fearful expression. She then cried, “Oh, papa! speak! Tell me, is it Sophia herself?” Still he remained immovable. Almost frantic, she then screamed, “It is Walter! it is Walter! I know it is.” Upon which Sir Walter fell senseless on the floor. Medical assistance was speedily procured. After being bled he recovered his speech, and his first words were, “It was very strange! very horrible.” He afterwards told her he had all at once felt very queer, and as if unable to articulate; he then went upstairs in hopes of getting rid of the sensation by movement; but it would not do, he felt perfectly tongue-tied, or rather _chained,_ till overcome by witnessing her distress. This took place, I think, on the 15th, and on the 18th I was invited to dine with him, and found him without any trace of illness, but as cheerful and animated as usual.

Not being very correct as to dates, I should scarcely have ventured to name the day had not a trifling circumstance served to mark it. After dinner he proposed that instead of going to the drawing-room we should remain with him and have tea in the dining room. In the interval the post letters were brought, and amongst others there was one from a sister of Sir Thomas Lawrence (Mrs. Bloxam), enclosing a letter of her brother’s, having heard that Sir Walter had expressed a wish to have some memorial of him, “rather of his pencil than his pen,” said he, as he handed the letter to me, who, as a collector of autographs, would probably value them more than he did; and on referring to Mrs. Bloxam’s letter I find the Edinburgh post-mark February the 18th.

I received repeated invitations to Abbotsford, and had fixed to go on the 17th of April, when, the day before, Mrs. Skene called upon me with the sad tidings of another paralytic stroke, which not only put a stop to my visit for the present, but rendered it very doubtful whether I should ever see him again. But the worst fears of his friends were not yet to be realised.

Early in May the invitation was renewed in a note from himself, which I availed myself of, too well assured it was a privilege I should enjoy for the last time. On reaching Abbotsford I found some morning visitors (Mr. and Mrs. James, etc.) in the drawing-room, but as soon as they were gone Sir Walter sent for me to his study. I found him seated in his armchair, but with his habitual politeness he insisted upon rising to receive me, though he did so with such extreme difficulty I would gladly have dispensed with this mark of courtesy. His welcome was not less cordial than usual, but he spoke in a slow and somewhat indistinct manner, and as I sat close by him I could perceive but too plainly the change which had taken place since we last met. His figure was unwieldy, not so much from increased bulk as from diminished life and energy; his face was swollen and puffy, his complexion mottled and discoloured, his eyes heavy and dim; his head had been shaved, and he wore a small black silk cap, which was extremely unbecoming. Altogether, the change was no less striking than painful to behold. The impression, however, soon wore off (on finding, as I believed), that his mind was unimpaired and his warm kindly feelings unchanged.

There was no company, and the dinner party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Lockhart, Miss Scott, and myself. Sir Walter did not join us till the dessert, when he entered, assisted by his servant, and took his place at the foot of the table. His grandchildren were then brought in, and his favourite, Johnnie Lockhart, was seated by his side. I must have forgot most things before I can cease to recall that most striking and impressive spectacle, each day repeated, as it seemed, with deepening gloom. The first transient glow of cheerfulness which had welcomed my arrival had passed away, and been succeeded by an air of languor and dejection which sank to deepest sadness when his eye rested for a moment on his once darling grandson, the child of so much pride and promise, now, alas! how changed. It was most touching to look upon one whose morning of life had been so bright and beautiful and, still in the sunny days of childhood, transformed into an image of decrepitude and decay. The fair blooming cheek and finely chiselled features were now shrunk and stiffened into the wan and rigid inflexibility of old age; while the black bandages which swathed the little pale sad countenance, gave additional gloom and harshness to the profound melancholy which clouded its most intellectual expression. Disease and death were stamped upon the grandsire and the boy as they sat side by side with averted eyes, each as if in the bitterness of his own heart refusing to comfort or be comforted. The two who had been wont to regard each other so fondly and so proudly, now seemed averse to hold communion together, while their appearance and style of dress, the black cap of the one and the black bandages of the other, denoted a sympathy in suffering if in nothing else. The picture would have been a most affecting and impressive one viewed under any circumstances, but was rendered doubly so by the contrast which everywhere presented itself.

The month was May, but the weather had all the warmth of summer with the freshness and sweetness of spring. The windows of the dining-room were open to admit the soft balmy air which “came and went like the warbling of music,” but whose reviving influence seemed unfelt by the sufferers. The trees, and shrubs, and flowers were putting forth their tender leaves and fragrant blossoms as if to charm _his_ senses who used to watch their progress with almost paternal interest, and the little birds were singing in sweet chorus as if to cheer _him_ who was wont to listen to their evening song with such placid delight. All around were the dear familiar objects which had hitherto ministered to his enjoyment, but now, alas! miserable comforters were they all! It was impossible to look upon such a picture without beholding in it the realisation of those solemn and affecting passages of Holy Writ which speak to us of the ephemeral nature of all earthly pleasures and of the mournful insignificance of human life, even in its most palmy state, when its views and actions, its hopes and desires, are confined to this sublunary sphere: “Whence then cometh any wisdom, and where is the place of understanding?” “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord.”



“Love!–A word by superstition thought a God; by use turned to an humour; by self-will made a flattering madness.”

_Alexander and Campaspe._

“COME hither, child,” said the old Earl of Courtland to his daughter, as, in obedience to his summons, she entered his study; “come hither, I say; I wish to have some serious conversation with you: so dismiss your dogs, shut the door, and sit down here.”

“Lady Juliana rang for the footman to take Venus; bade Pluto be quiet, like a darling, under the sofa; and, taking Cupid in her arms, assured his Lordship he need fear no disturbance from the sweet creatures, and that she would be all attention to his commands–kissing her cherished pug as she spoke.

“You are now, I think, seventeen, Juliana,” said his Lordship in a solemn important tone.

“And a half, papa.”

“It is therefore time you should be thinking of establishing yourself in the world. Have you ever turned your thoughts that way?”

Lady Juliana cast down her beautiful eyes, and was silent.

“As I can give you no fortune,” continued the Earl, swelling with ill-suppressed importance, as he proceeded, “you have perhaps no great pretensions to a very brilliant establishment.”

“Oh! none in the world, papa,” eagerly interrupted Lady Juliana; “a mere competence with the man of my heart.”

“The man of a fiddlestick!” exclaimed Lord Courtland in a fury; “what the devil have you to do with a heart, I should like to know? There’s no talking to a young woman now about marriage, but she is all in a blaze about hearts, and darts, and–and–But hark ye, child, I’ll suffer no daughter of mine to play the fool with her heart, indeed! She shall marry for the purpose for which matrimony was ordained amongst people of birth–that is, for the aggrandisement of her family, the extending of their political influence–for becoming, in short, the depository of their mutual interest. These are the only purposes for which persons of rank ever think of marriage. And pray, what has your heart to say to that?”

“Nothing, papa,” replied Lady Juliana in a faint dejected tone of voice. “Have done, Cupid!” addressing her favourite, who was amusing himself in pulling and tearing the beautiful lace veil that partly shaded the head of his fair mistress.

“I thought not,” resumed the Earl in a triumphant tone–“I thought not, indeed.” And as this victory over his daughter put him in unusual good humour, he condescended to sport a little with her curiosity.

“And pray, can this wonderful wise heart of yours inform you who it is you are going to obtain for a husband?”

Had Lady Juliana dared to utter the wishes of that heart she would have been at no loss for a reply; but she saw the necessity of dissimulation; and after naming such of her admirers as were most indifferent to her, she declared herself quite at a loss, and begged her father to put an end to her suspense.

“Now, what would you think of the Duke of L—?” asked the Earl in a voice of half-smothered exultation and delight.

“The Duke of L—–!” repeated Lady Juliana, with a scream of horror and surprise; “surely, papa, you cannot be serious? Why, he’s red-haired and squints, and he’s as old as you.”

“If he were as old as the devil, and as ugly too,” interrupted the enraged Earl, “he should be your husband: and may I perish if you shall have any other!”

The youthful beauty burst into tears, while her father traversed the apartment with an inflamed and wrathful visage.

“If it had been anybody but that odious Duke,” sobbed the lovely Juliana.

“If it had been anybody but that odious Duke!” repeated the Earl, mimicking her, “they should not have had you. It has been my sole study, ever since I saw your brother settled, to bring about this alliance; and, when this is accomplished, my utmost ambition will be satisfied. So no more whining–the affair is settled; and all that remains for you to do is to study to make yourself agreeable to his Grace, and to sign the settlements. No such mighty sacrifice, me thinks, when repaid with a ducal coronet, the most splendid jewels, the finest equipages, and the largest jointure of any woman in England.”

Lady Juliana raised her head, and wiped her eyes. Lord Courtland perceived the effect his eloquence had produced upon the childish fancy of his daughter, and continued to expatiate upon the splendid joys that awaited her in a union with a nobleman of the Duke’s rank and fortune; till at length, dazzled, if not convinced, she declared herself “satisfied that it was her duty to marry whoever papa pleased; but–” and a sigh escaped her as she contrasted her noble suitor with her handsome lover: “but if I should marry him, papa, I am sure I shall never be able to love him.”

The Earl smiled at her childish simplicity as he assured her that was not at all necessary; that love was now entirely confined to the _canaille;_ that it was very well for ploughmen and dairymaids to marry for love; but for a young woman of rank to think of such a thing was plebeian in the extreme!

Lady Juliana did not entirely subscribe to the arguments of her father; but the gay and glorious vision that floated in her brain stifled for a while the pleadings of her heart; and with a sparkling eye and an elastic step she hastened to prepare for the reception of the Duke.

For a few weeks the delusion lasted. Lady Juliana was flattered with the homage she received as a future Duchess; she was delighted with the eclat that attended her, and charmed with the daily presents showered upon her by her noble suitor.

“Well, really, Favolle,” said she to her maid, one day, as she clasped on her beautiful arm a resplendent bracelet, “it must be owned the Duke has a most exquisite taste in trinkets; don’t you think so? And, do you know, I don’t think him so very–very ugly. When we are married I mean to make him get a Brutus, cork his eyebrows, and have a set of teeth.” But just then the smiling eyes, curling hair, and finely formed person of a certain captivating Scotsman rose to view in her mind’s eye; and, with a peevish “pshaw!” she threw the bauble aside.

Educated for the sole purpose of forming a brilliant establishment, of catching the eye, and captivating the senses, the cultivation of her mind or the correction of her temper had formed no part of the system by which that aim was to be accomplished. Under the auspices of a fashionable mother and an obsequious governess the froward petulance of childhood, fostered and strengthened by indulgence and submission, had gradually ripened into that selfishness and caprice which now, in youth, formed the prominent features of her character. The Earl was too much engrossed by affairs of importance to pay much attention to anything so perfectly insignificant as the mind of his daughter. Her _person_ he had predetermined should be entirely at his disposal, and therefore contemplated with delight the uncommon beauty which already distinguished it; not with the fond partiality of parental love, but with the heartless satisfaction of a crafty politician.

The mind of Lady Juliana was consequently the sport of every passion that by turns assailed it. Now swayed by ambition, and now softened by love, the struggle was violent, but it was short. A few days before the one which was to seal her fate she granted an interview to her lover, who, young, thoughtless, and enamoured as herself, easily succeeded in persuading her to elope with him to Scotland. There, at the altar of Vulcan, the beautiful daughter of the Earl of Courtland gave her hand to her handsome but penniless lover; and there vowed to immolate every ambitious desire, every sentiment of vanity and high-born pride. Yet a sigh arose as she looked on the filthy hut, sooty priest, and ragged witnesses; and thought of the special license, splendid saloon, and bridal pomp that would have attended her union with the Duke. But the rapturous expressions which burst from the impassioned Douglas made her forget the gaudy pleasures of pomp and fashion. Amid the sylvan scenes of the neighbouring lakes the lovers sought a shelter; and, mutually charmed with each other, time flew for a while on downy pinions.

At the end of two months, however, the enamoured husband began to suspect that the lips of his “angel Julia” could utter very silly things; while the fond bride, on her part, discovered that though her “adored Henry’s” figure was symmetry itself, yet it certainly was deficient in a certain air–a _je ne sais quoi_–that marks the man of fashion.

“How I wish I had my pretty Cupid here,” said her Ladyship, with a sigh, one day as she lolled on a sofa: “he had so many pretty tricks, he would have helped to amuse us, and make the time pass; for really this place grows very stupid and tiresome; don’t you think so, love?”

“Most confoundedly so, my darling,” replied her husband, yawning sympathetically as he spoke.

“Then suppose I make one more attempt to soften papa, and be received into favour again?”

“With all my heart.”

“Shall I say I’m very sorry for what I have done?” asked her Ladyship, with a sigh. “You know I did not say that in my first letter.”

“Ay, do; and, if it will serve any purpose, you may say that I am no less so.”

In a few days the letter was returned, in a blank cover; and, by the same post, Douglas saw himself superseded in the Gazette, being absent without leave!

There now remained but one course to pursue; and that was to seek refuge at his father’s, in the Highlands of Scotland. At the first mention of it Lady Juliana was transported with joy, and begged that a letter might be instantly despatched, containing the offer of a visit: she had heard the Duchess of M. declare nothing could be so delightful as the style of living in Scotland: the people were so frank and gay, and the manners so easy and engaging–oh! it was delightful! And then Lady Jane G. and Lady Mary L., and a thousand other lords and ladies she knew, were all so charmed with the country, and all so sorry to leave it. Then dear Henry’s family must be so charming: an old castle, too, was her delight; she would feel quite at home while wandering through its long galleries; and she quite loved old pictures, and armour, and tapestry; and then her thoughts reverted to her father’s magnificent mansion in D—shire.

At length an answer arrived, containing a cordial invitation from the old Laird to spend the winter with them at Glenfern Castle.

All impatience to quit the scenes of their short lived felicity, they bade a hasty adieu to the now fading beauties of Windermere; and, full of hope and expectation, eagerly turned towards the bleak hills of Scotland. They stopped for a short time at Edinburgh, to provide themselves with a carriage, and some other necessaries. There, too, she fortunately met with an English Abigail and footman, who, for double wages, were prevailed upon to attend her to the Highlands; which, with the addition of two dogs, a tame squirrel, and mackaw, completed the establishment.


“What transport to retrace our early plays, Our easy bliss, when each thing joy supplied; The woods, the mountains, and the warbling maze Of the wild brooks.” THOMSON.

MANY were the dreary muirs and rugged mountains her Ladyship had to encounter in her progress to Glenfern Castle; and, but for the hope of the new world that awaited her beyond those formidable barriers, her delicate frame and still more sensitive feelings must have sunk beneath the horrors of such a journey. But she remembered the Duchess had said the inns and roads were execrable; and the face of the country, as well as the lower orders of people, frightful; but what signified those things? There were balls, and sailing parties, and rowing matches, and shooting parties, and fishing parties, and parties of every description; and the certainty of being recompensed by the festivities of Glenfern Castle, reconciled her to the ruggedness of the approach.

Douglas had left his paternal home and native hills when only eight years of age. A rich relation of his mother’s happening to visit them at that time, took a fancy to the boy; and, under promise of making him his heir, had prevailed on his parents to part with him. At a proper age he was placed in the Guards, and had continued to maintain himself in the favor of his benefactor until his imprudent marriage, which had irritated this old bachelor so much that he instantly disinherited him, and refused to listen to any terms of reconciliation. The impressions which the scenes of his infancy had left upon the mind of the young Scotsman, it may easily be supposed, were of a pleasing description. He expatiated to his Juliana on the wild but august scenery that surrounded rounded his father’s castle, and associated with the idea the boyish exploits, which though faintly remembered, still served to endear them to his heart. He spoke of the time when he used to make one of a numerous party on the lake, and, when tired of sailing on its glassy surface to the sound of soft music, they would land at some lovely spot; and, after partaking of their banquet beneath a spreading tree, conclude the day by a dance on the grass.

Lady Juliana would exclaim, “How delightful! I doat upon picnics and dancing! –_apropos,_ Henry, there will surely be a ball to welcome our arrival?”

The conversation was interrupted; for just at that moment they had gained the summit of a very high hill, and the post-boy, stopping to give his horses breath, turned round to the carriage, pointing at the same time, with a significant gesture, to a tall thin gray house, something resembling a tower, that stood in the vale beneath. A small sullen-looking lake was in front, on whose banks grew neither tree nor shrub. Behind rose a chain of rugged cloud-capped hills, on the declivities of which were some faint attempts at young plantations; and the only level ground consisted of a few dingy turnip fields, enclosed with stone walls, or dykes, as the post-boy called them. It was now November; the day was raw and cold; and a thick drizzling rain was beginning to fall. A dreary stillness reigned all around, broken only at intervals by the screams of the sea-fowl that hovered over the lake, on whose dark and troubled waters was dimly descried a little boat, plied by one solitary being.

“What a scene!” at length Lady Juliana exclaimed, shuddering as she spoke. “Good God, what a scene! How I pity the unhappy wretches who are doomed to dwell in such a place! and yonder hideous grim house–it makes me sick to look at it. For Heaven’s sake, bid him drive on.” Another significant look from the driver made the colour mount to Douglas’s cheek, as he stammered out, “Surely it can’t be; yet somehow I don’t know. Pray, my lad,” setting down one of the glasses, and addressing the post-boy, “what is the name of that house?”

“Hoose!” repeated the driver; “ca’ ye thon a hoose? Thon’s gude Glenfern Castle.”

Lady Juliana, not understanding a word he said, sat silently wondering at her husband’s curiosity respecting such a wretched-looking place.

“Impossible! you must be mistaken, my lad: why, what’s become of all the fine wood that used to surround it?”

“Gin you mean a wheen auld firs, there’s some of them to the fore yet,” pointing to two or three tall, bare, scathed Scotch firs, that scarcely bent their stubborn heads to the wind, that now began to howl around them.

“I insist upon it that you are mistaken; you must have wandered from the right road,” cried the now alarmed Douglas in a loud voice, which vainly attempted to conceal his agitation.

“We’ll shune see that,” replied the phlegmatic Scot, who, having rested his horses and affixed a drag to the wheel, was about to proceed, when Lady Juliana, who now began to have some vague suspicion of the truth, called to him to stop, and, almost breathless with alarm, inquired of her husband the meaning of what had passed.

He tried to force a smile, as he said, “It seems our journey is nearly ended; that fellow persists in asserting that that is Glenfern, though I can scarcely think it. If it is, it is strangely altered since I left it twelve years ago.”

For a moment Lady Juliana was too much alarmed to make a reply; pale and speechless, she sank back in the carriage; but the motion of it, as it began to proceed, roused her to a sense of her situation, and she burst into tears and exclamations.

The driver, who attributed it all to fears at descending the hill, assured her she need na be the least feared, for there were na twa cannier beasts atween that and Johnny Groat’s hoose; and that they wad ha’e her at the castle door in a crack, gin they were ance down the brae.”

Douglas’s attempts to soothe his high-born bride were not more successful than those of the driver: in vain he made use of every endearing epithet and tender expression, and recalled the time when she used to declare that she could dwell with him in a desert; her only replies were bitter reproaches and upbraidings for his treachery and deceit, mingled with floods of tears, and interrupted by hysterical sobs. Provoked at her folly, yet softened by her extreme distress, Douglas was in the utmost state of perplexity–now ready to give way to a paroxysm of rage; then yielding to the natural goodness of his heart, he sought to soothe her into composure; and, at length, with much difficulty succeeded in changing her passionate indignation into silent dejection.

That no fresh objects of horror or disgust might appear to disturb this calm, the blinds were pulled down, and in this state they reached Glenfern Castle. But there the friendly veil was necessarily with drawn, and the first object that presented itself to the highbred Englishwoman was an old man clad in a short tartan coat and striped woollen night-cap, with blear eyes and shaking hands, who vainly strove to open the carriage door.

Douglas soon extricated himself, and assisted his lady to alight; then accosting the venerable domestic as “Old Donald,” asked him if he recollected him.

“Weel that, weel that, Maister Hairy, and ye’re welcome hame; and ye tu, bonny sir” [1] (addressing Lady Juliana, who was calling to her footman to follow her with the mackaw); then, tottering before them, he led the way, while her Ladyship followed, leaning on her husband, her squirrel on her other arm, preceded by her dogs, barking with all their might, and attended by the mackaw, screaming with all his strength; and in this state was the Lady Juliana ushered into the drawing-room of Glenfern Castle!

[1] The Highlanders use this term of respect indifferently to both sexes.


“What can be worse,
Than to dwell here!”

_Paradise Lost._

IT was a long, narrow, low-roofed room, with a number of small windows, that admitted feeble lights in every possible direction. The scanty furniture bore every appearance of having been constructed at the same time as the edifice; and the friendship thus early formed still seemed to subsist, as the high-backed worked chairs adhered most pertinaciously to the gray walls, on which hung, in narrow black frames, some of the venerable ancestors of the Douglas family. A fire, which appeared to have been newly kindled, was beginning to burn, but, previous to showing itself in flame, had chosen to vent itself in smoke, with which the room was completely filled, and the open windows seemed to produce no other effect than that of admitting the rain and wind.

At the entrance of the stranger a flock of females rushed forward to meet them. Douglas good humouredly submitted to be hugged by three long-chinned spinsters, whom he recognised as his aunts; and warmly saluted five awkward purple girls he guessed to be his sisters; while Lady Julian stood the image of despair, and, scarcely conscious, admitted in silence the civilities of her new relations; till, at length, sinking into a chair, she endeavoured to conceal her agitation by calling to the dogs and caressing her mackaw.

The Laird, who had been hastily summoned from his farming operations, now entered. He was good looking old man, with something the air of a gentleman, in spite of the inelegance of his dress, his rough manner, and provincial accent. After warmly welcoming his son, he advanced to his beautiful daughter-in-law, and, taking her in his arms, bestowed a loud and hearty kiss on each cheek; then, observing the paleness of her complexion, and the tears that swam in her eyes, “What! not frightened for our Hieland hills, my leddy? Come, cheer up-trust me, ye’ll find as warm hearts among them as ony ye ha’e left in your fine English _policies_”–shaking her delicate fingers in his hard muscular gripe as he spoke.

The tears, which had with difficulty been hitherto suppressed, now burst in torrents from the eyes of the high-bred beauty, as she leant her cheek against the back of a chair, and gave way to the anguish which mocked control.

To the loud, anxious inquiries, and oppressive kindness of her homely relatives, she made no reply; but, stretching out her hands to her husband sobbed,

“Take, oh, take me from this place!”

Mortified, ashamed, and provoked, at a behavior so childish and absurd, Douglas could only stammer out something about Lady Juliana having been frightened and fatigued; and, requesting to be shown to their apartment, he supported her almost lifeless to it, while his aunts followed, all three prescribing different remedies in a breath.

“For heaven’s sake, take them from me!” faintly articulated Lady Juliana, as she shrank from the many hands that were alternately applied to her pulse and forehead.

After repeated entreaties and plausible excuses from Douglas, his aunts at length consented to withdraw, and he then exerted all the rhetoric he