Vain would be the attempt to paint the fiery wrath and indignation of the ancient Highlander as the naked truth stood revealed before him:—that his son despised the occupation of his fathers, even the feeding of sheep and the breeding of black cattle; and that his high-born spouse was above fulfilling those duties which he had ever considered the chief end for which woman was created. He swore, stamped, screamed, and even skipped with rage, and, in short, went through all the evolutions as usually performed by testy old gentlemen on first discovering that they have disobedient sons and undutiful daughters. Henry, who, though uncommonly good-tempered, inherited a portion of his father’s warmth, became at length irritated at the invectives that were so liberally bestowed on him, and replied in language less respectful than the old Laird was accustomed to hear; and the altercation became so violent that they parted in mutual anger; Henry returning to his wife’s apartment in a state of the greatest disquietude he had ever known. To her childish complaints, and tiresome complaints, he no longer vouchsafed to reply, but paced the chamber with a disordered mien, in sullen silence; till at length, distracted by her reproaches, and disgusted with her selfishness, he rushed from the apartment and quitted the house.
“Never talk to me; I will weep.”
As You Like It.
TWICE had the dinner bell been loudly sounded by old Donald, and the family of Glenfern were all assembled, yet their fashionable guests had not appeared. Impatient of delay, Miss Jacky hastened to ascertain the cause. Presently she returned in the utmost perturbation, and announced that Lady Juliana was in bed in a high fever, and Henry nowhere to be found. The whole eight rushed upstairs to ascertain the fact, leaving the old gentleman much discomposed at this unseasonable delay.
Some time elapsed ere they again returned, which they did with lengthened faces, and in extreme perturbation. They had found their noble niece, according to Miss Jacky’s report, in bed-according to Miss Grizzy’s opinion, in a brain fever; as she no sooner perceived them enter, than she covered her head with the bedclothes, and continued screaming for them to be gone, till they had actually quitted the apartment.”
“And what proves beyond a doubt that our sweet niece is not herself,” continued poor Miss Grizzy, in a lamentable tone, “is that we appeared to her in every form but our own! She sometimes took us for cats; then thought we were ghosts haunting her; and, in short, it is impossible to tell all the things she called us; and she screams so for Harry to come and take her away that I am sure—I declare—I don’t know what’s come over her!”
Mrs. Douglas could scarce suppress a smile at the simplicity of the good spinsters. Her husband and she had gone out immediately after breakfast to pay a visit a few miles off, and did not return till near the dinner hour. They were therefore ignorant of all that had been acted during their absence; but as she suspected something was amiss, she requested the rest of the company would proceed to dinner, and leave her to ascertain the nature of Lady Juliana’s disorder.