“This pudding should be good; for it is the same I used to be so partial to in my poor father’s lifetime, when I was used to every delicacy, Miss Douglas, that money could purchase.”
“But you thought me the greatest delicacy of all, my dear, ha, ha, ha! for you left all your other delicacies for me, ha, ha, ha I—what do you say to that, May? ha, ha, ha!”
May’s reply consisted in putting her hands to her head, with an air of inexpressible vexation; and finding all her endeavours to be elegant frustrated by the overpowering vulgarity of her husband, she remained silent during the remainder of the repast; solacing herself with complacent glances at her yellow silk gown, and adjusting the gold chains and necklaces that adorned her bosom.
Poor Mary was doomed to a tete-a-tete with her during the whole evening; for Mr. Gawffaw was too happy with his friend, and without his wife, to quit the dining-room till a late hour; and then he was so much exhilarated, that she could almost have joined Mrs. Gawffaw in her exclamation of “For heaven’s sake, Mr. Gawffaw, have mercy on my head!”
The night, however, like all other nights, had a close; and Mrs. Gawffaw, having once more enjoyed the felicity of finding herself in company at twelve o’clock at night, at length withdraw; and having apologised, and hoped, and feared, for another hour in Mary’s apartment, she finally left her to the blessings of solitude and repose.
As Mr. Douglas was desirous of reaching Edinburgh the following day, he had, in spite of the urgent remonstrances of his friendly host and the elegant importunities of his lady, ordered the carriage at an early hour; and Mary was too eager to quit Howffend to keep it waiting. Mr. Gawffaw was in readiness to hand her in, but fortunately Mrs. Gaffaw’s head did not permit of her rising. With much the same hearty laugh that had welcomed their meeting, honest Gawffaw now saluted the departure of his friend; and as he went whistling over his gate, he ruminated sweet and bitter thoughts as to the destinies of the day—whether he should solace himself with a good dinner and the company of Bailie Merry thought at the Cross Keys in G——, or put up with cold mutton, and May, at home.
All hail thy palaces and tow’rs,
Where once, beneath a monarch’s feet,
Sat legislation’s sov’reign pow’rs!”
ALL Mary’s sensations of admiration were faint compared to those she experienced as she viewed the Scottish metropolis. It was associated in her mind with all the local prepossessions to which youth and enthusiasm love to give “a local habitation and a name;” and visions of older times floated o’er her mind as she gazed on its rocky battlements, and traversed the lonely arcades of its deserted palace.