In crossing a narrow brook by means of a small plank which, being rotten, gave way, Lady Rosamond was thrown into the water with no regard to ceremony. A loud scream from Helen Douglas, who was standing near, brought the whole company, while terrified shrieks arose on all sides. In an instant Master Johnnie Douglas appeared in sight followed by Lieut. Trevelyan. The mischievous disposition of the former could not prevent an outburst of laughter despite all his high notions of gallantry. The young lieutenant came boldly forward, seized the hand of Lady Rosamond, and led her to a seat at a short distance. The dripping garments clinging to the form of the frightened girl moved the young soldier with pity and showed the tender nature of his manly heart. The heartless Johnnie was dispatched for dry wraps and more comfortable clothing. Lieutenant Trevelyan could not force a smile. The same puzzled expression which had baffled Mr. Howe forced itself upon him.
Mary Douglas had wrapped her companion’s feet in the shawl taken off her own shoulders, and sat anxiously awaiting their courier. The children were more demonstrative in showing their grief. During the moments that passed the minds of the elder members of the group were busily engaged.
Lady Rosamond, regardless of her situation, was busied in projecting schemes the most fanciful. She was thinking of the contents of her father’s letter. In spite of the strong efforts of will her thoughts would turn in another and far different direction, which, perhaps, on this occasion it would be more discreet to conceal. The painful and ill-disguised look was attributed to the accident. Well for Lady Rosamond if it were so. Yes, an accident, a painful accident—forgive the expression—an accident of the heart. Poor Lady Rosamond!
Ah, Mr. Trevelyan, we have an undue curiosity to follow the turn of your thoughts; but, as we once more note that puzzled look, think your generous heart and honest nature deserve more generous treatment. At least, this time, we grant you further respite.
Johnnie’s arrival prevents further moralizing. No room for gravity when Johnnie Douglas is near. His mischievous spirit is infectious.
Christmas festivities, etc.
The months pass quickly away. October, with its brilliant trophies of the wood, has departed, leaving behind many pleasing memories of its presence. November, in its raw and surly mood, is allowed to take farewell without any expression of regret. The last of this numerous family—December—is greeted with a hearty reception from every member of the Douglas family. The purity of the soft snow flakes, falling in myriads, are invested with indescribable charms. The clear, cold, and frosty atmosphere is exhilarating to the bright, fresh countenances of the youthful party sliding on the ponds and brooks. The river affords amusement for skaters. The jingle of the bells is music sweet and gratifying as the horses prance along with a keen sense of the pleasure they afford to the beautiful ladies encased in costly furs and wrapped in inviting buffalo robes.