Marriage eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 472 pages of information about Marriage.

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.

CHAPTER III.

“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.

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Marriage from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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