Macleod of Dare eBook

William Black
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 619 pages of information about Macleod of Dare.
as having already left the stage and all its fictitious allurements.  She was now Lady Bountiful:  having looked after the simple cares of her household she was now ready to cast her eyes abroad, and relieve in so far as she might the distress around her.  The first object of charity she encountered was an old crossing-sweeper.  She addressed him in a matter-of-fact way which was intended to conceal her fluttering self-consciousness.  She inquired whether he had a wife; whether he had any children; whether they were not rather poor.  And having been answered in the affirmative on all these points, she surprised the old man by giving him five shillings and telling him to go home and get a good warm dinner for his family.  She passed on, and did not observe that, as soon as her back was turned, the old wretch made straight for the nearest public-house.

But her heart was happy; and her courage rose.  It was not for nothing, then, that she had entertained the bold resolve of casting aside forever the one great ambition of her life—­with all its intoxicating successes, and hopes, and struggles—­for the homely and simple duties of an ordinary woman’s existence.  It was not in vain that she had read and dreamed of the far romantic land, and had ventured to think of herself as the proud wife of Macleod of Dare.  Those fierce deeds of valor and vengeance that had terrified and thrilled her would now become part of her own inheritance:  why, she could tell her friends, when they came to see her, of all the old legends and fairy stories that belonged to her own home.  And the part of Lady Bountiful—­surely, if she must play some part that was the one she would most dearly like to play.  And the years would go by; and she would grow silver-haired too; and when she lay on her deathbed she would take her husband’s hand and say, “Have I lived the life you wished me to live?” Her cheerfulness grew apace; and the walking, and the sunshine, and the fresh air brought a fine light and color to her eyes and cheeks.  There was a song singing through her head; and it was all about the brave Glenogie who rode up the king’s ha’.

But as she turned the corner of a street, her eye rested on a huge colored placard—­rested but for a moment, for she would not look on the great, gaudy thing.  Just at this time a noble lord had shown his interest in the British drama by spending an enormous amount of money in producing, at a theatre of his own building, a spectacular burlesque, the gorgeousness of which surpassed anything that had ever been done in that way.  And the lady who appeared to be playing (in silence mostly) the chief part in this hash of glaring color and roaring music and clashing armor had gained a great celebrity by reason of her handsome figure, and the splendor of her costume, and the magnificence of the real diamonds that she wore.  All London was talking of her; and the vast theatre—­even in November—­was nightly crammed to overflowing.  As Gertrude White

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Macleod of Dare from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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