The sisters, charmed with what they termed the hospitality and friendship of this invitation, delightedly agreed to remain; and as things were at least conducted in better style there than at Glenfern, uncomfortable as it was, Lady Juliana found herself somewhat nearer home there than at the family chateau. Lady Maclaughlan, who could be commonly civil in her own house, was at some pains to amuse her guest by showing her collection of china and cabinet of gems, both of which were remarkably fine. There was also a library, and a gallery, containing some good pictures, and, what Lady Juliana prized still more, a billiard table. Thursday, the destined day, at length arrived, and a large party assembled to dinner. Lady Juliana, as she half reclined on a sofa, surveyed the company with a supercilious stare, and without deigning to take any part in the general conversation that went on. It was enough that they spoke with a peculiar accent—everything they said must be barbarous; but she was pleased once more to eat off plate, and to find herself in rooms which, though grotesque and comfortless, yet wore an air of state, and whose vastness enabled her to keep aloof from those with whom she never willingly came in contact. It was therefore with regret she saw the day of her departure arrive, and found herself once more an unwilling inmate of her only asylum; particularly as her situation now required comforts and indulgences which it was there impossible to procure.
“No mother’s care Shielded my infant innocence with prayer: * * * * * Mother, miscall’d, farewell!”
THE happy period, so long and anxiously anticipated by the ladies of Glenfern, at length arrived and Lady Juliana presented to the house of Douglas—not, alas! the ardently-desired heir to its ancient consequence, but twin-daughters, who could only be regarded as additional burdens on its poverty.
The old gentleman’s disappointment was excessive; and, as he paced up and down the parlour, with his hands in his pockets, he muttered, “Twa lasses! I ne’er heard tell o’ the like o’t. I wonder whar their tochers are to come frae?”
Miss Grizzy, in great perturbation, declared it certainly was a great pity it had so happened, but these things couldn’t be helped; she was sure Lady Maclaughlan would be greatly surprised.
Miss Jacky saw no cause for regret, and promised herself an endless source of delight in forming the minds and training the ideas of her infant nieces.
Miss Nicky wondered how they were to be nursed. She was afraid Lady Juliana would not be able for both, and wet-nurses had such stomachs!
Henry, meanwhile, whose love had all revived in anxiety for the safety, and anguish for the sufferings of his youthful partner, had hastened to her apartment, and, kneeling by her side, he pressed her hands to his lips with feelings of the deepest emotion.