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Memoirs of a Highland Lady
Chapter XIX. 1822-1826


AT the close of this autumn my aunt was to leave us to spend the winter with her old friend Mrs Lawrence at Studley. I was to go with her, Dr Smith thinking it would not be safe for me to risk the cold frosts of the Highlands. Mrs Lawrence very kindly wished me to remain with her during my aunt's visit, but Annie N-- had arranged with my father that I was to be her guest during this winter; it was a long-promised visit, so I could give only a month to Studley on my way to Sherwood Forest.

Before we left the Doune there had been a family council on weighty affairs. Our cousin Kate Ironside, the eldest of the Houghton family, who had been sent for to Bombay in the year 1819, had married well; her husband, Colonel Barnewell, an excellent man, was the Resident at Kaira, much considered in the service; he had permitted Kate to send for her two next sisters, Eliza and Mary, and uncle Edward wished my sister Mary to accompany them. She had been his pet in her babyhood. My father and mother were rather offended by the proposal, but left the decision to Mary herself; she declined of course for the present, leaving the matter open for future consideration, with the caution for which she was so remarkable. "There is no saying," she said, "but what Bombay might some day prove a godsend; life is dull enough here."

At this same time a writership offered by old Charles Grant to my brother John was refused, to my mother's grief, for she had set her heart upon it. She had a craze for India, and would have despatched every boy and girl over whom she had any influence to that land of the sun. My father and William, and our aunt Mary too, thought that John's great abilities would ensure him employment at home, so this matter was postponed.

Towards the end of October my aunt and I set out upon our travels, escorted by my brother William. We went in the travelling chariot with our own horses, sleeping two nights upon the road, and we stayed a week in Edinburgh in our own house in King Street, which my father had lent to uncle Ralph.

We proceeded by coach to Carlisle, the first time I had ever set foot in a public carriage, and very disagreeable I found it. The country we passed through was delightful to us who were learned in ballad lore; Ettrick Shaws and Gala Water, the Braes of Yarrow and the Cowdenknowes, all spoke to us, though from a distance, as we passed on to merry Carlisle, which we reached too late and too sleepy to look at. Next day we passed on over the wolds to Greta Bridge and Kirby, and so on to Studley, where I remained till close on Christmas. William found the life too dull, so he set off to the N--s, with whom he remained till it was time to return for me.

At that season of the year old Mrs Lawrence lived nearly alone; her open-house style ended with the autumn. We found only a few intimate friends with her.

Mrs Lawrence was very kind to me, She sent a pianoforte to my room that I might practise in quiet; she gave me a key to the bookcases in the library, and often chose me as her companion in her morning rides. We rode two donkeys, she on Johnny, I on Jack. She rode first in an old duffle cloak of a grey colour and a black gipsy hat, encouraging her somewhat slothful steed with a brisk "Johnny, get on" every now and then. Jack required no stimulus. Thus we wandered on for hours through the beautiful grounds of Studley Royal. It was one of the lions of Harrogate, and certainly its extensive old-fashioned gardens deserved a visit. There were lawns, thickets, laurel banks, lakes, grottoes, temples, statues, the beautiful old ruins of Fountains Abbey, kept most incorrectly clean and tidy as if washed and trimmed daily, and one old manor- house near it—a gem—now the residence of the gamekeeper. The fruit gardens were large, the offices good, the house itself, though convenient, with many fine rooms in it, was hardly worthy of its surroundings.

It was very cold during my stay at Studley, frost and snow equal to the Highlands. William and I had a very chilly journey by coach after being set down—I forget where—out of Mrs Lawrence's comfortable chariot. Dear Annie was waiting for us at Doncaster, where William and I parted; he went back to Edinburgh. Annie took me to the pleasant jointure house of a Mrs Walker, where we spent the night, and were amused and amazed at the Christmas storeroom; it was as full as Mrs Lawrence's—blankets, flannels, greatcoats, cloaks, petticoats, stockings, all the warmth that the poor could want in the winter season. I did not think such wholesale charity wise; there can be no spirit either of independence or economy where the expectation of relief unearned is a habit.

Next day we reached Fountain Dale to dinner. It was a small house, with tiny, well-kept grounds planted out from a wide stretch of heath that had once been an oak forest. A chain of fish ponds, full of well-preserved fish, carp, tench, and such like, enlivened the scene. But though all was very tidy, there was no beauty either there or in the neighbourhood.

Berry Hill, belonging to Mr Thomas Walker, was the nearest house to Fountain Dale, just about three miles off across the heath, a climb the whole way. Mr and Mrs Walker were hospitable people, very kind, childless, so they surrounded themselves with relations. Their connections were all among the mercantile aristocracy of England, a new phase of life to me with my old Highland blood, and one at which I opened my eyes with wonder. The profusion of money among all these people amazed poor me; guineas were thrown about, as we would not have dreamed of dealing with shillings. There was no ostentation, no great show anywhere, but such plenty, such an affluence of comforts, servants well dressed, well fed; eating, indeed, went on all day upstairs and downstairs, six meals a day the rule. Well-appointed stables, delightful gardens, lights everywhere, fires everywhere, nothing wanting, everything wished for was got; yet, though good-humoured and very kindly, they were not really happier one bit than those who had to consider pennies and could only rarely gratify their tastes.

Generally speaking, the generation which had made the money in the mills was more agreeable than the generation which had left the mills and was spending the well-earned money. The younger people were well educated—so-called—the men school and college bred, gentlemanly, up to the times; but there was a something wanting, and there was too much vivacity, too much noise, no repose. The young women were inferior to the young men; they were accomplished, in the boarding-school acceptation of the word, but mind there was not, and manners were defective—no ease. They were good, charitable, and highly pleased with their surroundings and with one another, and extremely proud of their brothers.

They had all well-filled purses. I do not remember hearing the amount of their regular allowances, but I do remember well the New Year's gifts at one Walker house. There were four young people of the family, and on lifting the breakfast plate each found a fifty- pound note underneath it. William left with me five pounds for my winter's pocket money. This cut a sorry figure by comparison.

General and Mrs N— were not rich; they lived quietly, had a small establishment, and, to the credit of the rich relations, lived amongst them upon equal terms. Annie, indeed, was the great lady everywhere, and extremely beloved.

To say the truth, it was rather sleepy work this life in the forest, and yet the time passed happily. Annie was so bright, her four boys fine little fellows, and once a fortnight there was an oyster ploy; the particular friends were invited to meet a barrel of natives and Mr N-, the General's elder brother; by the bye, his wife was a nice, clever woman, unfortunately very deaf. At Berry Hill I once met Mr and Mrs Lernpriere. He was a fat little lively man, the son of the "Classical Dictionary."

One visit I did enjoy; it was to the Strutts of Belper and Derby. The Strutts were silk weavers. The principal establishment was at Belper, near Derby; such a pretty place, wooded banks and a river, and a model village, the abode of the workmen. Jediah Strutt, who had married a Walker, niece of the General's, was the manager and part owner of the Belper mills. He had an extremely pretty house in the village, with gardens behind it down to the river, and a range of glass-houses. There were schools, a hospital, an infirmary, a library, a chapel, and a chaplain of their own persuasion (they were Unitarians), all so liberally provided, Mrs Strutt and her young daughters so busy in all these departments, assisted by the dear old chaplain, who was really the soul of his flock. Then there was the mill; it was the first of the sort I had ever seen, and it made a great impression on me. I forget now whether the moving power was steam or the water of the little river, but the movements produced by either are not easily forgotten. It all seemed to me like magic: immense rooms full of countless rows of leetoturns twirling away by themselves, or sets of cards in hundreds of hands tearing away at cotton wool of their own accord; smoothing-irons in long rows running out of the walls and sliding over quantities of stockings; hands without any bodies rubbing away over wash-tubs, and when people wanted to reach another storey, instead of stairs they stepped upon a tray, pulled a string, and up they went, or down, as suited them.

One huge iron-foundry was really frightful; the Strutts manufactured their own machinery, and in this Cyclops den huge hammers were always descending on great bars of iron red hot, and the heat, and the din, and the wretched-looking smiths at work there made a disagreeable impression. It was a pleasant change to enter the packing-house. At this time large bales were being prepared for the Russian market; the goods were built up neatly in large piles, high above our heads—a rope was pulled, a weight came down, and the big bale shrank into a comfortable seat.

One of the Strutt family, an old uncle, a bachelor and an oddity, was so enamoured of his machinery that he had as much "magic" as possible introduced into his own house; roasting, baking, ironing, all that it was practicable so to manage was done by turning pegs; and being rather a heavy sleeper, a hand came out of the wall in the morning at a certain hour and pulled the bedclothes off him!

This old Mr Strutt was charming, very simple, very clever, very artistic in all his tastes; he had lived a great deal abroad, and at the close of those dreadful Napoleon wars had picked up gems of price of all kinds. His house was a museum; paintings, sculpture, china, inlaid woods, not too many, and all suitably arranged.

We went from this house next day on our way home to lunch at Mr Arkwright's, a beautiful little place in a valley; such a luncheon, with hothouse fruits. The old gentleman came out of his mill in his miller's dress and did the honours gracefully. We paid another visit to my old friend Tom Walker of the Scots Greys. He had married a pretty Irish wife, Constantia Beresford, left the army, and lived in a rather pretty place near Derby. At his house I met two agreeable young men, an Irish Mr Bowen, a dragoon, and Count Lapature, an oddity, but a clever one, though a little fine. Another very pleasant acquaintance was Colonel Pennington, an old Indian friend of the General's. He spent a couple of months at Fountain Dale, and left it to return to Bengal to make out the two years required to complete his thirty-two years of service.

He was an artillery officer, had commanded the force for some years, was thought a great deal of by military men, and was a clever, agreeable companion, but very plain, old, little, shabby-looking. We made him some marmalade, Annie and I, to remind him of his Scotch lady friends, and he wrote us some amusing verses in return. He was a furious hunter, and regretted nothing in England so much as his stud.

I rode once or twice to Newstead with Colonel Pennington. Colonel Wildman was not then settled there; it was undergoing repairs, having only just been bought from Lord Byron, and was a fine place certainly, well wooded, with a lake, gardens, and shrubberies, but flat, too flat.

Haddon Hall was more interesting and less attractive than Newstead. A large, ugly house, the reception- rooms on the third storey; they were small, low, and scantily furnished; nobody lived there, and the Duke of Devonshire's visits were far apart. One thing touched me : the Duke was childless, unmarried; beside the bed on which he lay when at Haddon was a small cot in which slept the little Cavendish boy who was to be his heir. I cannot recollect any other incidents of my life in Nottinghamshire.

In May I went up to London with the General. We travelled all night, and about 6 o'clock in the morning I was met on Hampstead Heath by my dear little aunt Frere in her "demi-fortune." Uncle Frere had given up his town house, and lived now in a villa on Hampstead Heath, a comfortable house, standing in a small square of pleasure-ground enclosed by high walls, shutting out all view of very pretty scenery; London in the distance with its towers and its steeples, and its wide-spreading streets, and the four or five miles between the great city and Hampstead Hill, a perfect confusion of so-called country residences.

Life at Hampstead was pleasant in a quiet way, everybody was so kind. We got up early, as my uncle had to go to chambers after breakfast, and we drove into London nearly every day. We went to bed late, for we were often out at dinner, or at plays and concerts, and twice while I was there at the opera, a great treat for me.

My uncle and aunt were all kindness, the children were dear little things, good and clever. My uncle had a great reputation as a man of business; he was a kind, straightforward man, always intent upon giving pleasure to every one around him. My dear aunt was one of the "blessed" who are "pure in heart," and if any of us are ever to "see God" she will be of them, for her whole life on earth was a continued preparation for Heaven. Not a praying, stern, faquir-like life of self-imposed miseries, hardening the heart and closing it against all the gentle and beautiful influences created to be enjoyed by us; her Christian creed was "to do good and sin not"; self she never thought of except as a means of rejoicing others. She was in truth the minister of comfort to her circle, the sun of her sphere. She yielded to the habits she found, and she and all belonging to her were happy. What can we wish for more?

She had eight children at this time; John and George at school, fine boys, and two little men at school too, a day school, the lessons for which they sometimes prepared with me while I was with them. The two elder girls were nearly grown up, pretty, both of them, the two younger nice little bodies very fond of play. Anne was very clever.

At the opera I heard Curioni, Pasta, De Begnis, Camporesi, Madame Vestris, and Velluti. The Messiah was admirably given at the Hanover Square Rooms. Cramer, who was giving lessons to Miss Richards, called, at her request, to hear the Highland girl sing "Hanouer," took his violin, caught up the air, and then played lovely music of his own as a return for the Gaelic "Crochallan," and "Castle Airlie." Sir Robert Ainslie came often to hear the old Scotch ballads, and George Rose to get a listener to his translation of Ariosto, which proceeded but slowly, and never, I believe, was published.

Mr William Rose occasionally came to dinner, and that poor, mad poet, Coleridge, who never held his tongue, stood pouring out a deluge of words meaning nothing, with eyes on fire, and his silver hair streaming down to his waist. His family had placed him with a doctor at Highgate, where he was well taken care of. [As this passage has caused annoyance to some of Coleridge's family, the editor draws attention to the well-known fact that the poet's residence with Mr Gillman at Hampstead was purely voluntary. There are kindred inaccuracies scattered about the text, such as those on P. 139 relating to Shelley's departure from Oxford, which it was thought well to leave unnoticed, as being obvious hearsay and unlikely to mislead, owing to the abundance of evidence from other sources.] A nephew of his, a fine young man, a great favourite with my uncle, often came to us on a holiday; he was afterwards a great lawyer. Miss Joanna Baillie was a frequent visitor; a nice old lady. Then we had Mr Irving of the unknown tongues, the most wonderful orator, eloquent beyond reason, but leading captive wiser heads. Men vent to hear him and wondered. Women adored him, for he was handsome in the pulpit, tall and dark, with long black hair hanging down, a pale face set off with superb teeth, and a pair of flashing eyes. The little chapel he served was crammed with all the titles in London; it was like a birthday procession of carriages, and such a crush on entering as to cause screaming and fainting, torn dresses, etc.

Hatley Frere firmly believed in this man's rhapsodies, kept him and his wife and their child in his house for ever so long, and brought them to us for a day. We thought them very dirty. He was busy at this very time calculating the year for the world to end. Happily the period fixed on passed away, to the exceeding relief of many worthy persons.

At a concert of ancient music to which my uncle and aunt kindly took me I saw another celebrity—the Duke of Wellington. He was standing talking with Rogers the poet, who seized on my uncle as he was passing to appeal to him on some subject they were discussing, and for five minutes I stood next the great Duke.

My father had pleasant lodgings in Duke Street, where I went when he wished me to see some of his own friends. He took me to the Mackintoshes, where I dined. Sir James was not at home; Lady Mackintosh was kind and agreeable, her daughter Fanny a nice girl, and Mrs Rich, Sir James's daughter by his first wife, both pleasant and clever. My father took me also to the Vines; he was a rich merchant, very underbred I thought; she, a quiet little woman, very kind to me. She took me to a grand review at Hounslow, where we went in Sir Willoughby Gordon's carriage. He was quartermaster-general, and intimate with Mr and Mrs Vine; they were his neighbours in the Isle of Wight. Of course we were well placed, in the reserve space next to the Duchess of Kent, a plain, colourless woman, ill dressed, whose little daughter, wrapped in a shawl, gave no promise of turning out our pretty queen.

My time for leaving my kind relations was drawing near. One way or another I had seen a good deal, and my uncle had been so good as to take me into his Latin class with the little boys, whose lessons I was thus able to help. I liked this much, and afterwards found my Latin very useful.

The Eton holidays were at hand. John Frere and my brother John were to spend them at the Doune. They were to travel with my father and me. How happy they were! We started by coach again (I was getting quite used to this vulgarity), passed through Oxford and thought of my aunt Mary, on to Liverpool to a good hotel, in the yard of which the boys, to their great delight, discovered a tank full of live turtle; a disgusting sight I thought it, such hideous, apathetic creatures. Next day we went on board the steamer for Glasgow.

My mother and my sisters left the Highlands soon after Christmas, and had been ever since staying with poor aunt Leitch, who was dying.

My father stayed only two days in Glasgow, Mary and I and the two boys accompanied him home, leaving Jane as a help to my mother and Charlotte. We went by a fast coach that beautiful road past Stirling, Crieff, and Blair Drummond to Perth, where we got into the Caledonian coach, and so on by the old familiar road to our own gate, where a cart was waiting for our luggage. We walked the mile down the heathery brae to the boat at the Doune, and crossed our own clear, rapid Spey at our own ferry.

I was glad to get home; I was ill. My mother was shocked at my appearance. Dr Smith and the Highland air and the quiet life soon restored me. Of course during my mother's absence for such a cause we saw no company beyond the Bellevilles or a stray traveller; but while the boys were with us we were very happy, fishing, shooting, boating, riding, out of doors all day, and I had my flowers to set in order. Mary regretted Glasgow; it was a life of variety much more to her mind than that we led at home. Still she managed to amuse herself.

I forget exactly when my mother and Jane returned, not before winter, I think.

The year 1825 was spent happily at the Doune in the usual way, William busy, John a season at college in Edinburgh boarded with M. L'Espinasse, and then off to Haileybury, the Indian College for Civil appointments, where he made a great name. Robert Grant got him the appointment, and there was no demur about it this time. We three girls were a great deal in Morayshire paying long visits, two of us at a time, to our many friends there. We were at Altyre, Relugas, Burgie, Forres House, etc. Altyre was very pleasant, so very easy. Sir William gave us a ball, which was extremely well managed, for they had amusing people staying with them, and they invited all the neighbourhood besides. And we had those strange brothers whose real name I can't remember, but they one day announced that they were Stuarts, lineally descended from Prince Charles, out of respect to whose wife, who never had a child, the elder brother assumed the name of John Sobieski; the younger brother was Charles. Nobody was more astonished at this assumption than their own father, a decent man who held some small situation in the Tower of London. The mother was Scotch; her people had been in the service of the unfortunate Stuarts in Italy, and who can tell if she had not some right to call herself connected with them? Her sons were handsome men, particularly John Sobieski, who, however, had not a trace of the Stuart in his far finer face. They always wore the Highland dress, kilt and belted plaid, and looked melancholy, and spoke at times mysteriously. The effect they produced was astonishing; they were feted to their hearts' content; half the clans in the Highlands believed in them; for several years they actually resided in the north country. At last they made a mistake which finished the farce. Fraser of Lovat had taken them up enthusiastically, built them a villa on an island in the Beauly Firth, in the pretty garden of which was a small waterfall. Here Mrs Charles Stuart sat and played the harp like Flora Maclvor, and crowds went to visit them. They turned Roman Catholic, to please their benefactor, I suppose, and so lost caste with the public. Poor Mrs Charles was a meek little woman, a widow with a small jointure whom the "Prince," her husband, had met in Ireland. I do not know what had taken him there, for no one ever knew what his employment had originally been. Prince Sobieski had been a coach-painter--not the panel painter, the heraldic painter—and most beautifully he finished the coats of arms.

Jane paid a long visit to Relugas, a lovely little place on a wooded bank between the Divie and the Findhorn, and then Sir Thomas and Lady Lauder, who were going to Edinburgh to a grand musical festival, took her with them, afterwards making a tour along the Border, a new country to Jane. One visit they paid was to Abbotsford. Jane was in an ecstasy the whole time. Sir Walter Scott took to her, as who would not? They rode together on two rough ponies with the Ettrick Shepherd and all the dogs, and Sir Walter gave her all the Border legends, and she corrected his mistakes about the Highlands. At parting he hoped she would come again, and he gave her a small ring he had picked up among the ruins of Iona, with a device on it no one ever could make out.

Mrs Hemans was at Abbotsford, a nice, quiet, little woman, her two Sons with her, fine little boys, quite surprised to find there was another lion in the world beside their mother!

The Lauders brought Jane home in great glee and stayed a week or more, during which time they held mysterious conferences and went rambles alone, and went on very queerly. I was sure that some secret business was in train, but could not make it out, as I was evidently not to be let into it. At last the discovery came—Sir Thomas was writing his first novel. The Hero was Mackintosh of Borlam, and most of his exploits were laid in the woods of Rothiemurchus and the plains of Badenoch. "Lochandhu" was really not bad; there were pretty bits of writing in it, but it was just an imitation of Sir Walter Scott. I believe the book sold, and it certainly made the author and his wife completely happy during its composition.

Lord Jeffrey, his wife, and Charlotte came to see us, and Lord Moncrieff, who won my heart, charming little old man! We all went to the Northern Meeting, all five of us; but without my father and mother. Glen moriston took charge of us and his sister Harriet Fraser, and we went in a very fast style, escorted by Duncan Davidson, who arrived unexpectedly for the purpose.

Mary was the beauty of the meeting. She had grown up very handsome, and never lost her looks; she had become lively, and, to the amazement of the family, outshone us all. She was in fact a genius and a fine creature—poor Mary!

In the autumn of 1826, besides our usual visitors, we had Alexander Gumming to bid us good-bye before returning to India, a fine, very handsome man, whom on account of the entail it was intended to marry to Mary, but they did not take to one another. The L'Espinasses came, she very absurd, he a clever Frenchman; and Lord Macdonald, six feet four; and Annie N--; what a happy summer we spent with her, all the people so delighted to see the Colonel's daughter!

Later came her husband the General, and his friend Colonel Pennington, who had been to India and back since he and I parted in Sherwood Forest. He was a very clever man, and very good, and very agreeable, but old and ugly. How could a young, brilliant creature like my sister Jane, so formed to be a young man's pride, fall to be this old man's darling! But so it was; she did it of her own free will, and I don't believe she ever repented the step she was determined to take. It was an unsuitable marriage, distasteful to all of us, yet it turned out well; she was content.

The N--s left us in October, taking with them Mary, who was to spend the winter at Fountain Dale. They intended to steam from Inverness to Glasgow and Liverpool; luckily this plan was given up; the steamer was wrecked and nearly all on board were drowned. I don't remember any cabin passenger being saved except John Peter Grant of Laggan—.--the only remaining child of nineteen born to the minister and his celebrated wife—and young Glengarry. Among the lost was one of the pretty Miss Duffs of Muirtown, just married to her handsome soldier husband, and on their way to join his regiment; their bodies were found clasped together, poor things, beside many others unknown.

Colonel Pennington had outstayed his friends; he and Jane wandered all over Rothiemurchus, apparently delighted with each other. At last he went.

It must have been in September 1825 that the N--sand Colonel Pennington left us. Johnnie had gone back to college, and our diminished party felt dull enough; a weight was on all our minds. We were sitting at dinner on a chill autumn evening, enlivened by a bright wood fire, and some of the cheerful sallies of William, who ever did his best to keep the ball up.

The post came in; I. gave the key; Robert Allan opened the bag and proceeded to distribute its contents, dropping first one thick letter into a flagon on the sideboard, as William's quick eye noted, though he said nothing. When we all seemed occupied with our own despatches he carried this letter to Jane. It was the proposal from her Colonel. She expected it, turned pale, but kept her secret for two days, even from me, who shared her room. She then mentioned her engagement to my father first, my mother next, and left it to them to inform William and me. There never was such astonishment. I could not believe it; William laughed; my father made no objection; my mother would not listen to the subject. More letters arrived, to Jane daily, to William and me full of kind expressions, to my father and mother, hoping for their consent. My father replied for all; my mother would not write; William and I put it off. Annie wrote to dissuade Jane, Lord Jeffrey and Miss Clerk to approve, the lover to announce his preparations. My father and William went to Edinburgh to draw up the settlements. It was found that the fortune was much smaller than had been expected, and from another source we heard that my father would not have been sorry to have offended the bridegroom, but he was not to be offended; his firm intention was to secure his wife, and he would have thought the world well lost to gain her. Her interests were well cared for, why not?—if old men will marry young women, young widows should be left quite independent as some return for the sacrifice, the full extent of which they are not aware of till too late. Well, the settlements were made by Sir James Gibson Craig, who well knew how to second my father in arranging them. After all, the couple were not badly off—the retiring pay of a full colonel with the off reckonings, £25,000 in the Indian funds, and a prospect of Deccan prize-moneysome few hundred pounds which he did not get till the year before he died.

My mother wrote many letters to Edinburgh; she certainly did not wish to forward matters, but this spirited pair wanted no help. The bride asked whether she could be provided with some additions to a rather scanty wardrobe. The bridegroom set out for the Highlands and had the banns published in Edinburgh on his way; a mistake of his man of business that was very annoying to all and caused some irritation. However all got right; Jane was determined; she had argued the point in her own strong mind, decided it, and it was to be. Perhaps she was not wrong; the circumstances of the family were deplorable, there did not appear to be any hope of better days, for the daughters at any rate, and we were no longer very young. So a handsome trousseau was ordered, our great-uncle the Captain, kind old man, having left each of us £100 for the purpose.

Colonel Pennington announced that he was engaged to dine with his brother in London on Christmas Day, so the wedding was fixed for the 20th of December 1825.

It was a cold, dull morning. I had been up all night preparing the breakfast, for our upper servants were gone, had been gone since the spring. Miss Elphick, poor soul, had come to be present at the first marriage amongst us. Since she left us she had been with the Kirkman Finlays in Glasgow. She assisted my labours by torrents of tears. The Bellevilles were the only guests, Mrs Macpherson so sad.
The ceremony was performed in the library by Mr Fyvie, the young Episcopal clergyman from Inverness. My mother's whole face was swollen from weeping; I was a ghost; William very grave; my poor father, the unhappy cause of our sorrow, did look heart-broken when he gave that bright child of his away. The bridegroom wore his artillery uniform, which became his slight figure; he did not look near his age, and was so happy and so ugly! The bride stood beside him in her beauty, tall, fresh, calm, composed; it was to be done, and she was doing it without one visible regret. "I will" was so firmly said, I started. What happened after I never felt. Mrs Macpherson just whispered to me, "Help them, Eliza," and I believe I did; I tried I know. Dear, kind Mrs Macpherson, what a friend she was, never tiring, so wise too!

The breakfast went off well. The Colonel was so gay, he made his little speeches so prettily, that his wife looked quite proud of him. He took leave of the humbler friends in the hail so kindly, and of us so affectionately, that we all relented to him before we parted. We went down to the boat; the gentlemen crossed the water. On the gravelly shingle beyond were the London-built chariot and four horses, the man and the maid, and the two postillions with large favours, • mob of our people round the carriage raising such a shout as their "pride "—ay, and their blessing—was driven away. She never forgot the home of her fathers, never lost sight of the Duchus. Her protecting hand has been the one faithfully held over "the great plain of the fir trees." From that day to the day of her death she has been the mother to all our people, in weal or woe their prop. Beloved everywhere, she was worshipped there. Doing her duty everywhere, she has taken the duties of others on herself there. She departed that wintry day the only unmoved person in the throng. Home, to me at least, never seemed like home afterwards.

Colonel Pennington had a hunting-box in Leicestershire near the village of Normanton, where they lived till the spring. He then took a pretty, old-fashioned place called Trunkweil, near Reading, which they were very sorry to be obliged to leave in a year afterwards, when they fixed themselves at Malshanger for the rest of his life. It was near Basingstoke, in the higher part of Hampshire, an ugly house, but roomy and comfortable. The garden was good, the grounds pretty, plenty of fine trees, the scenery of the neighbourhood interesting. They improved the place much during their time in it; both of them had good taste and delighted in a country life. She liked her garden, her horses, and her new acquaintance, and was really happy, though her husband was not a good-tempered man, and certainly often forgot that he had married a girl who might almost have been his grand-daughter, so that at first they rather hobbled on at times; but with so good and clever a man, and so admirable a character as hers, these little points soon wore smooth. They were not at first appreciated; the disparity between them made people suppose all could not be right, that she was mercenary, or the victim of mercenary relations, but as they were better known they were better understood. Few have left a fairer fame in any neighbourhood.


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