“When winter soaks, the fields,
and female feet—
Too weak to struggle with tenacious clay,
Or ford the rivulets—are best at home.”
THE meal being at length concluded, Glenfern desired Henry to attend him on a walk, as he wished to have a little more private conversation with him. Lady Juliana was beginning a remonstrance against the cruelty of taking Harry away from her, when her husband whispering her that he hoped to make something of the old gentleman, and that he should soon be back, she suffered him to depart in silence.
Old Donald having at length succeeded in clearing the table of its heterogeneous banquet, it was quickly covered with the young ladies’ work.
Miss Nicky withdrew to her household affairs. Miss Jacky sat with one eye upon Lady Juliana, the other upon her five nieces. Miss Grizzy seated herself by her Ladyship, holding a spread letter of Lady Maclaughlan’s before her as a screen.
While the young ladies busily plied their needles, the elder ones left no means untried to entertain their listless niece, whose only replies were exclamations of weariness, or expressions of affection bestowed upon her favourites.
At length even Miss Jacky’s sense and Miss Grizzy’s good nature were at fault; when a ray of sunshine darting into the room suggested the idea of a walk. The proposal was made, and assented to by her Ladyship, in the twofold hope of meeting her husband and pleasing her dogs, whose whining and scratching had for some time testified their desire of a change. The ladies therefore separated to prepare for their sortie, after many recommendations from the aunts to be sure to hap  well; but, as if distrusting her powers in that way, they speedily equipped themselves, and repaired to her chamber, arrayed cap a’ pie in the walking costume of Glenfern Castle. And, indeed, it must be owned their style of dress was infinitely more judicious than that of their fashionable niece; and it was not surprising that they, in their shrunk duffle greatcoats, vast poke-bonnets, red worsted neckcloths, and pattens, should gaze with horror at her lace cap, lilac satin pelisse, and silk shoes. Ruin to the whole race of Glenfern, present and future, seemed inevitable from such a display of extravagance and imprudence. Having surmounted the first shock, Miss Jacky made a violent effort to subdue her rising wrath; and, with a sort of convulsive smile, addressed Lady Juliana: “Your Ladyship, I perceive, is not of the opinion of our inimitable bard, who, in his charming poem, ‘The Seasons,’ says’ Beauty needs not the foreign aid of ornament; but is, when unadorned, adorned the most.’ That is a truth that ought to be impressed on every young woman’s mind.”
Lady Juliana only stared. She was as little accustomed to be advised as she was to hear Thomson’s “Seasons” quoted.