“Oh, what an awful responsibility do those parents incur,” she would mentally exclaim, “who thus neglect or corrupt the noble deposit of an immortal soul! And who, alas! can tell where the mischief may end? This unfortunate will herself become a mother; yet wholly ignorant of the duties, incapable of the self-denial of that sacred office, she will bring into the world creatures to whom she can only transmit her errors and her weaknesses!”
These reflections at times deeply affected the generous heart and truly Christian spirit of Mrs. Douglas; and she sought, by every means in her power, to restrain those faults which she knew it would be vain to attempt eradicating.
To diversify the routine of days which grew more and more tedious to Lady Juliana, the weather being remarkably fine, many little excursions were made to the nearest country seats; which, though they did not afford her any actual pleasure, answered the purpose of consuming a considerable portion of her time.
Several weeks passed away, during which little inclination was shown on the part of the guests to quit their present residence, when Mr. and Mrs. Douglas were summoned to attend the sick-bed of Sir Duncan Malcolm; and though they pressed their guests to remain during their absence, yet Henry felt it would be highly offensive to his father were they to do so, and therefore resolved immediately to return to Glenfern.
“They steeked doors,’ they steeked yetts,
Close to the cheek and chin;
They steeked them a’ but a little wicket,
And Lammikin crap in.
“Now quhere’s the lady of this castle?”
THE party were received with the loudest acclamations of joy by the good old ladies; and even the Laird seemed to have forgotten that his son had refused to breed black cattle, and that his daughter-in-law was above the management of her household.
The usual salutations were scarcely over when Miss Grizzy, flying to her little writing-box, pulled out a letter, and, with an air of importance, having enjoined silence, she read as follows:—
“LOCMARLIE CASTLE, March 27,17—.
“DEAR CHILD-Sir Sampson’s stomach has been as bad as it could well be, but not so bad as your roads. He was shook to a jelly. My petticoat will never do. Mrs. M’Hall has had a girl. I wonder what makes people have girls; they never come to good. Boys may go to the mischief, and be good for something—if girls go, they’re good for nothing I know of. I never saw such roads. I suppose Glenfern means to bury you all in the highway; there are holes enough to make you graves, and stones big enough for coffins. You must all come and spend Tuesday here—not all, but some of you—you, dear child, and your brother, and a sister, and your pretty niece, and handsome nephew—I love handsome people. Miss M’Kraken has bounced away with her father’s footman—I hope he will clean his knives on her. Come early, and come dressed, to your loving friend,