“I have done,” said Miss Jacky, seating herself with much dignity.
“The short and the long of it is this,” said Miss Nicky, “My brother has not made Henry a present of money. I assure you money is not so rife; but he has done what is much better for you both,—he has made over to him that fine thriving farm of poor Macglashan’s.”
“No money!” repeated Lady Juliana in a disconsolate tone: then quickly brightening up, “It would have been better, to be sure, to have had the money directly; but you know we can easily sell the estate. How long will it take?—a week?”
“Sell Clackandow!” exclaimed the three horrorstruck daughters of the house of Douglas. “Sell Clackandow! Oh! oh! oh!”
“What else could we do with it?” inquired her Ladyship.
“Live at it, to be sure,” cried all three.
“Live at it!” repeated she, with a shriek of horror that vied with that of the spinsters—“Live at it! Live on a thriving farm! Live all my life in such a place as this! Oh! the very thought is enough to kill me!”
“There is no occasion to think or say any more about it,” interrupted Henry in a calmer tone; and, glancing round on his aunts, “I therefore desire no more may be said on the subject.”
“And is this really all? And have you got no money? And are we not going away?” gasped the disappointed Lady Juliana, as she gave way to a violent burst of tears, that terminated in a fit of hysterics; at sight of which, the good spinsters entirely forgot their wrath; and while one burnt feathers under her nose, and another held her hands, a third drenched her in floods of Lady Maclaughlan’shysteric water. After going through the regular routine, the lady’s paroxysm subsided; and being carried to bed, she soon sobbed herself into a feverish slumber; in which state the harassed husband left her to attend a summons from his father.
“See what delight in sylvan scenes appear!”
“Haply this life is best,
Sweetest to you, well corresponding
With your stiff age; but unto us it is
A cell of ignorance, a prison for a debtor.”
HE found the old gentleman in no very complaisant humour, from the disturbances that had taken place, but the chief cause of which he was still in ignorance of. He therefore accosted his son with:
“What was the meaning o’ aw that skirling and squeeling I heard a while ago? By my faith, there’s nae bearing this din! Thae beasts o’ your wife’s are eneugh to drive a body oot o’ their judgment. But she maun gi’e up thae maggots when she becomes a farmer’s wife. She maun get stirks and stots to mak’ pets o’, if she maun ha’e four-fitted favourites; but, to my mind, it wad set her better to be carrying a wiselike wean in her arms, than trailing aboot wi’ thae confoonded dougs an’ paurits.”