“That is always the case with those whom Mrs. Macshake has obliged,” returned Mr. Douglas. “She does many liberal things, but in so ungracious a manner that people are never sure whether they are obliged or insulted by her. But the way in which she receives kindness is still worse. Could anything equal her impertinence about my roebuck? Faith, I’ve a good mind never to enter her door again!”
Mary could scarcely preserve her gravity at her uncle’s indignation, which seemed so disproportioned to the cause. But, to turn the current of his ideas, she remarked that he had certainly been at pains to select two admirable specimens of her countrywomen for her.
“I don’t think I shall soon forget either Mrs. Gawffaw or Mrs Macshake,” said she, laughing.
“I hope you won’t carry away the impression that these two lusus naturae specimens of Scotchwomen,” said her uncle. “The former, indeed, is rather a sort of weed that infests every soil; the latter, to be sure, is an indigenous plant. I question if she would have arrived at such perfection in a more cultivated field or genial clime. She was born at a time when Scotland was very different from what it is now. Female education was little attended to, even in families of the highest rank; consequently, the ladies of those days possess a raciness in their manners and ideas that we should vainly seek for in this age of cultivation and refinement. Had your time permitted, you could have seen much good society here; superior, perhaps, to what is to be found anywhere else, as far as mental cultivation is concerned. But you will have leisure for that when you return.”
Mary acquiesced with a sigh. Return was to her still a melancholy-sounding word. It reminded her of all she had left—of the anguish of separation—the dreariness of absence; and all these painful feelings were renewed in their utmost bitterness when the time approached for her to bid adieu to her uncle. Lord Courtland’s carriage and two respectable-looking servants awaited her; and the following morning she commenced her journey in all the agony of a heart that fondly clings to its native home.
END OF VOL. I.
Printed by R. & R. CLARK, Edinburgh.
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.