An elderly lady of fortune was on a visit to one of the families in the neighbourhood. She was in want of a lady’s-maid, and it occurred to the housekeeper that Margaret might suit her. This was not quite what her parents would have chosen, but they allowed her to go and see the lady. Margaret was delighted with the benevolent-looking gentlewoman; and she, on her part, was quite charmed with Margaret. It was true she knew nothing of the duties of the office; but the present maid, who was leaving on the best of terms, would soon initiate her into its mysteries. And David and Janet were so much pleased with Margaret’s account of the interview, that David himself went to see the lady. The sight of him only increased her desire to have Margaret, whom she said she would treat like a daughter, if only she were half as good as she looked. Before David left her, the matter was arranged; and within a month, Margaret was borne in her mistress’s carriage, away from father and mother and cottage-home.
END OF THE FIRST BOOK.
The earth hath bubbles as the water has.
A new home.
A wise man’s home is whereso’er he’s wise.
John Marston.—Antonio’s Revenge.
Hugh left the North dead in the arms of grey winter, and found his new abode already alive in the breath of the west wind. As he walked up the avenue to the house, he felt that the buds were breaking all about, though, the night being dark and cloudy, the green shadows of the coming spring were invisible.
He was received at the hall-door, and shown to his room, by an old, apparently confidential, and certainly important butler; whose importance, however, was inoffensive, as founded, to all appearance, on a sense of family and not of personal dignity. Refreshment was then brought him, with the message that, as it was late, Mr. Arnold would defer the pleasure of meeting him till the morning at breakfast.
Left to himself, Hugh began to look around him. Everything suggested a contrast between his present position and that which he had first occupied about the same time of the year at Turriepuffit. He was in an old handsome room of dark wainscot, furnished like a library, with book-cases about the walls. One of them, with glass doors, had an ancient escritoire underneath, which was open, and evidently left empty for his use. A fire was burning cheerfully in an old high grate; but its light, though assisted by that of two wax candles on the table, failed to show the outlines of the room, it was so large and dark. The ceiling was rather low in proportion, and a huge beam crossed it. At one end, an open door revealed a room beyond, likewise lighted with fire and candles. Entering, he found this to be an equally old-fashioned bedroom, to which his luggage had been already conveyed.