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In a few days the letter was returned, in a blank cover; and, by the same post, Douglas saw himself superseded in the Gazette, being absent without leave!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