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Memoirs of a Highland Lady
Chapter XX. 1826-1827


THE marriage was over, bride and bridegroom gone, cake eaten, guests departed, and my father, my mother, and I were left to spend the remainder of the stern Highland winter together, for William went to Edinburgh on business and could not return. Alas! he was imprisoned for debt in the gaol on Calton Hill. The debt was of his own contracting, for in his college days he had been extravagant; he believed himself to be the heir of wealth, the son of a rich man, and he had the name of a handsome allowance which was never paid.

At the time of the execution of the trust deed, he had taken all my father's debts upon himself, bound himself to pay them, and they were upwards of £60,000. Had he been arrested for one of them, I think it would have killed my father; I never saw him so much affected by anything; and my poor mother, who had so gloried in the noble self-sacrifice of her son, sank under this; they were very miserable. The debt could not be paid, even by degrees; the sum allowed for the maintenance of the family and the expenses of the forest work was very small, and there were other creditors who would have come forward with their claims had we been able to satisfy this one. Now I saw the wisdom of Jane's marriage. She wrote pleasant letters; the post was our sunlight; it came but three times a week, but such a full bag; the franks permitted a frequent correspondence Jane at Normanton, Mary at Fountain Dale, meeting frequently at the various houses they visited, aunt Mary from Oxford, where she was now re-established in a small house, other letters and the newspapers, all helped to brighten the long evenings. Mr Caw always came in on the mail nights with his little bits of gossip for my mother. He lived at the Polchar in his capacity as book-keeper, which office he filled remarkably well.

My mother never went out; my father and I were never kept in, for though cold, it was sunny; hard frost gave us power to walk miles without fatigue. Yes— twice there were heavy falls of snow, which blocked up the hill road; the mail coach could not run, it and the unfortunate passengers were dug out of deep wreaths, and we had no post; so my father took to reading aloud while my mother and I worked. We had given up crossing the hall to the dining-room; dinner was laid on a narrow table in the lobby, and wheeled into the library, my mother being unfit for the change of apartments. She was well shawled when she went to bed.

Our establishment consisted of poor Robert Allan, who was butler and footman and gamekeeper, and never could be persuaded to leave a falling house. He had a fault, a serious one, he tippled; but the man was so good, so worthy, it had to be borne with to the end, whisky and all; he never left the family. The cook was Nelly, invaluable Nelly; she had been kitchen-maid under Mrs Watling, and now, by the help of my Cuisinière Bourgeoise (the best French cookery book then known), she and I together turned out little dinners that really gave an appetite to my poor father and mother, both of them rather dainty. I always dressed in the evening; it pleased them. We had a bright fire, and we made conversation. William, my brother, wrote cheerfully; his young friends all went to see him, and the Gibson Craigs provided him with any amount of luxuries from Riccarton. Before long he was released; nothing could be made of his confinement, so he was allowed to return home a little before my father departed for London about Easter.

It was a great relief to get William back; I had done my best to carry out his orders, but the distances, the wintry weather, and the difficulty of procuring either money or food, made the position painful.

In the summer of 1826 my father brought Mary home; the fine weather revived our spirits, her cheerful gossip amused our poor mother, and the farm was selling eggs, and wool, and fruit, to the shooting lodges. We had no visitors, not even the Grants, this season. Aunt Mary had married again, Doctor Bourne, a rich man of great repute as a physician in Oxford. Kind aunt Mary! she sent my mother £6o. We had, when my father went to London, three wedders for our supply of meat; we bought a score now, so with poultry, the garden, and the river, we did well till the winter----such a winter! our last in the dear Duchus.

We were quite alone, my mother, my sister Mary, and myself, and William off and on as business required. My mother kept her room until late in the day; Mary was her maid, and such a tender one. I had my tartan cloak, with a hood and a pair of gaol boots, and trotted across the yard to the cellar, and down to the farm to act housekeeper there, then back to the kitchen to manage the dinner. Fine education this.

We were happy, though our troubles were great. We had mutton enough, thanks to dear aunt Mary, and we sold enough of other things to buy our groceries of Robbie Gumming. Inverness had refused to honour my orders; heavy bills were there unpaid. Then there were the servants' wages; William paid the outsiders, but there was nothing for the insiders; how good they were! waiting so patiently, asking for their own as if begging for a favour. There had been good stores in the house, but they were vanishing. It was hard to bear up amid such perplexities. In a happy hour I opened my heart to the very kindest friend any one ever had, the Lady Belleville. Cold and harsh as the world thought Mrs Macpherson, she had a warm heart, with a cool judgment, and untiring zeal in the service of those she loved.

She proposed my writing for the press. I had tried this the winter before—that heavy winter—wrote what I thought a lively little paper, "An Old Story," from hints furnished by the vanity of our poor cousin Edmund Ironside after a visit of his to the hairdresser at Inverness, copied it fair, and sent it to Blackwood in a fictitious name, desiring an answer to be sent to Mr Sidey the postmaster at Perth, where our bag was made up, there being no post-office for years after at Lynwilg. Day after day did I watch the boy who went to meet the coach; no answer ever came. The editor probably never looked at the paper; but, ushered into the literary world afterwards by Belleville, it was favourably received by his friend Mr Fraser, and brought me £3. It did not go alone, Mary and I between us wrote a bundle of rubbish for the Inspector, and received £40 in return.

We wrote at night in the barrack-room, for we had been obliged to leave our more comfortable apartments on account of the state of the roof over that end of the old house. Whenever it either thawed or rained we had five or six cascades pouring into tubs set round the walls to catch the water. The barrack-room was inconvenient too; the little crooked staircase which led up to it was lighted by a large pane of glass in the roof, a skylight not very tightly fixed. Several times during the snowstorms we had to wade through a wreath of snow on the steps beneath it, pretty deep occasionally, so that we were wetted above the ankles, but we did not mind, we took off our shoes and stockings, and dried our feet by a good fire which we had provided for ourselves. Fuel being scarce, we gathered in the plantation as many fallen sticks as, assisted by a few peats taken from the stacks at the farm, gave us a bright fire for our midnight labours. Bits of candle stuck in succession on a save-all, manufactured by ourselves out of a nail and a piece of tin, performed the part of lamp, and thus enlightened, we wrote away.

In an old patched dressing-gown with a warm shawl over it, my feet on the hearth-stone, and two or three potatoes roasting in the ashes, I passed many a happy hour. We worked late, for the Highland winters have very dark mornings, so we rose late. Mary's papers were very clever, very original, well deserving of the praise they received.

Dear old barrack-room! the scene of some sorrow, and many pleasures. In our younger days, in John's holidays, we used to give private entertainments there far away from molestation. We contrived a fire, made coffee, boiled eggs, had bread and cheese and butter and porridge. John was the caterer, as nobody ever refused him anything. How merry we were! Years after, when he was Governor of Jamaica, in one of the few letters he wrote me he recalled the gay doings of the barrack-room, the more enjoyable from their mystery.

When Mrs Macpherson sent us our £40, she sent us also by her Macpherson boy, on his shaggy pony called Rob Roy, a Times newspaper in which was a most favourable criticism of our contributions to the Inspector, especially of Mary's "Country Campaign of a Man of Fashion." We were wild; first we skipped, then we laughed, then we sat down and cried. In this state our only thought was, "We must tell mamma."

She was alone at work in the library; we laid our banknotes before her, presented the newspaper and Mrs Macpherson's note. We had dreaded her anger, for she was proud. Poor woman! that was over; she had suffered too much. "Dear good children," was all she said, and then she wept as we had done, but happiness prevailed. We had all the fun in the world arranging how to spend our treasure. We were so very badly off for necessaries, we had difficulty in settling what was most wanted. We had no walking shoes. It was amusing to see us in our house shoes—old satin slippers of all colours patched at the sides, looking a little more respectable after we learned to dye them ; shabby dress gowns, because we had no plainer; the two servant maids as shabby as ourselves, saying nothing, good creatures, and very grateful for the share of wages we were now enabled to give them. We three, my mother, Mary, and I, kept our secret, for had William known of it he would have borrowed some, he was so hard up himself, to keep work going. We thought it best to put by a little, have a nest egg, for the hour of need might come again; but it never came, thank God, and the kind friends raised up for us—but I am running on too fast.

My mother thought a few pounds should be spent on me, to enable me to accept a kind invitation to Huntly Lodge in the spring. Several pretty dresses had been sent to me as presents and never made up, and white muslin was plenty in Robbie Gumming's shop, so I set out with the Bellevilles for Huntly.

I had always liked Lord Huntly, and he had known us young people from our birth; my father and mother were as intimate with him as they had been with his mother, the beautiful Duchess, our pleasant neighbour for so many summers. He had married late in life, the unfortunate habit of too many men of fashion. Lady Huntly was an excellent woman; she brought him a large fortune, a clear business head, good temper, and high principles. She soon set straight all that she had found crooked. She was not handsome, though she had a good figure, a good skin, and beautiful hands— the Brodie face is short and broad; but she suited him, every one liked her, and she always liked me, so the fortnight I passed with her was very agreeable. There were several guests in the house, a large dinner-party every day, all of the Gordon name. Two of the Montagues, the Ladies Caroline and Emily, were staying with their uncle and aunt; and Lord Charles Russell. It was an ugly country, the grounds uninteresting, nothing particular to do except the sorting of what became afterwards a very fine collection of shells and minerals, left by Lady Huntly, with all that remained of her money, to her first cousin Brodie of Brodie.

Mary had well filled my place at home. She had a genius for management, and she amused my mother with her forest tales. Newstead was a never-failing subject, for there she got among the great people both of them liked. Mary had delighted in the sociable life she had led there. Of course she found the poor old Doune dull after it; had we not had our writings to occupy us her spirits might have got very low, for her fine mind was not sufficient for itself; with a spur and a prop she ran lightly through any life, wanting either she failed; but now at home she had both, and well she did her part. She helped me in all my works and assisted our mother, and then skipped merrily at night up to the" regions of fancy" in the barrack-room.

My poor mother just at this time received a great shock in the death of her eldest brother, William Iron- side of Houghton-le-Spring. He was thrown from his horse and killed on the spot. She was much attached to all her family, and she felt this much ; but there is a silver lining to most clouds. My father came back in the summer, John followed, and for a few weeks time passed as usual. Then came the end.

The Borough of Tavistock, for which my father had sat in the last two Parliaments, was now wanted by the Duke of Bedford for his wonderful son, little Lord John Russell. This enforced retirement closed the home world to my father; without this shield, his person was not safe. He left us; he never returned to his Duchus. When he drove away to catch the coach that lovely summer morning, he looked for the last time on those beautiful scenes he dearly loved and most certainly was proud of, though he never valued his inheritance rightly. He went first to London and then abroad, taking John with him. Then came the news of his appointment to a judgeship in Bombay; Charles Grant, now Lord Glenelg, had done it; and we were desired to proceed to London immediately to prepare for the voyage. It was a blessing, and a shock—to me at least; every one else was rejoicing. Letters of congratulation came by every post; my mother smiled once more, and set about her preparations for removal with an alacrity that surprised us.

There was a good deal to be done, for the house was to be left in a proper state to be let furnished with the shootings, a new and profitable scheme for making money out of the bare moors in the Highlands. We were to take nothing with us but our wardrobes, all else was to be left for sale, and lists of the property left had to be made to prepare the way for the auction. The stock and crop at the farm, the wine, the plate, the linen, the books, all and everything that was not furniture was to go, except a few pet treasures packed in a small box and left to the care of Mrs Macpherson. She sent them to me afterwards, and I have a few still, but what belonged to the Dounc I gave back to John, and my own small collection of coins I sold during our Irish famine when we were sorely pressed for money; they brought only 5O, very welcome at that sad time, a time that set me writing again, and with success.

My mother upset herself by reading old letters before destroying them; she was seriously ill. She warned me not to go through such a trial, and begged of me to burn all letters. I have done so, and regret it. Memory remains ever fresh; its recollections are as painful as the words of a letter.

William would not let the creditors have the little pony carriage; I don't know that it was exactly right, but nothing was ever said about it. It was given with its two pretty ponies, Sir Peter and Lady Teazle, to Lady Gibson Craig, by whom it was fully valued. It was the last remnant of our better days; when every other luxury was parted with, that was kept for my mother's use; she took no other exercise. When my father was at home he drove her out in it daily. I see them now—he in his grey woodman's coat with leather belt holding a short axe and a saw, breeches and long leather gaiters, a hat lined with green and turned up behind, the shortness of his neck bringing the stiff collar of the coat too near the brim of it; she in a drab greatcoat with a cape, made purposely for all weathers, and a queer-shaped black straw bonnet. Away they went all alone, out for hours, the commonest object of their drive being the pretty hill of Callart, at the end of Cambus Mor, which had been lately planted by my mother herself with money left her by her aunt Jane Nesham. Before Jane married, when my father was away she was the driver. She wore a large flap straw hat lined with green, her spectacles on, a plaid thrown round her; standing up at difficult corners, nodding and calling out to every passer-by, on she whipped, my mother, the greatest coward in the world, quite at ease under her guidance. Dear old days! happy through all our troubles. "Isna the heart tough that it winna break?" said the unhappy widow Macpherson, who lost her three fine Sons in the Spanish War.

The difficulty now was to provide funds for our journey. My mother had put by £ro of aunt Mary's money; we had £5 left of the Inspector. Belleville, kind Belleville, brought us £40, part the produce of another packet of papers already printed, part advanced by him on some more which had been accepted, and would be paid for shortly. The old landau was cleaned, the horses ordered, the heavy trunks packed and sent off to Inverness to go by sea to London, and we were to start in the evening to dine and sleep at Belleville.

It was in August, early in the month; the weather was beautiful, the country looked lovely, the Spey sparkled in the sunshine, the wooded hills on either side stood as they stand now, and we watched the sun setting behind Tor Alvie on that last day, without a tear. Mary and I had determined to be brave. We had called on every one of every degree; we had taken leave of none, purposely avoiding any allusion to our approaching departure. We denied ourselves the sad pleasure of bidding farewell to favourite scenes. Once unnerved we feared giving way, so keeping actively busy, we went on day by day, looking forward with hope and drawing the veil of resignation over the past.

My father had been knighted, and was safe in France, with John. William had been in London and Edinburgh and I know not where else, and had returned to take care of us. Poor William how broken down he looked, how wise and thoughtful he was. He said an honourable recovery was before my father, happiness and comfort secured to my mother; we should nourish no feeling but gratitude.

On this last day, all packing being done by the help of my mother's old maid, whom we had brought from her inn at Aviemore to be with her during the night (the only person in or out of the house who knew how near was our departure), William and my mother were in the study sorting papers in the large black cabinet; Mary and I went out for a walk to the garden for fruit —the pretty garden, all banks and braes and little dells, with hanging birch all round. It was just a step into the wood at the upper end and then on to the Milltown burn, chafing and sparkling in its rocky bed as we followed it along the path under the Ord. We crossed the wooden bridge; I had always loved that shady lane with the old woman in her chair, with her fan, perched up high above, and the blue Cairngorm at the end. We went on; we caught the loch, its dark fir screens, the cottages near this end, the flour mill, the ruined castle on its island, our own pretty cottage with its porch and little flower-garden and small green lawn sloping down to the loch, our boat tied to the old stump, our cow grazing; we did not enter, we could not have sat down in the parlour our own hands had fitted up. We passed on into the path along the shore of the loch Loch-an-Eilan--.we did not go on to Loch Gaun, but turned off up the hill to the sheep-cote and so round that shoulder of the Ord by our own walk, to the seat round the birch tree on the knoll above the river where we had rehearsed our plays, and where Jane took the sketch of the Doune which Robson tinted; then we went down through the wood to the walk by the Spey, coming out at the gate by the church, and in again to the planting by the backwater and so to the green gate by the beech tree, with few words, but not a tear till we heard that green door clasp behind us; then we gave way, dropped down on the two mushroom seats and cried bitterly. Alas for resolution! had we not determined to avoid this grief? Even now I seem to hear the clasp of that gate; I shall hear it till I die; it seemed to end the poetry of our existence. We had not meant to take that round; we had gone on gradually, enticed by the beauty of the day, the loveliness of the scenery, the recollections of the life from which we were parting. Long after we returned to the memory of this walk, recalling views, thoughts, words, never to be forgotten, and which we spoke of at sea, at Pau, and at Avranches with a tender melancholy which bound my dear sister Mary and me more firmly together; we had gone through so much with none to help us. Everybody has a life, an inner life; everybody has a private history; everybody, at least almost everybody, has found his own lot at some particular period hard to bear. The trials of our house were severe enough. When our young cheerful spirits felt their bitterness, what must our poor mother have suffered that last sad day; she so reserved, so easily fretted, so ill, and so lonely; hers had been a thickly shadowed life, little of it really happy.

She had slept well, Mrs Mackenzie said; all through the day she was composed, kept busy by William. About five o'clock he showed us the carriage on the shingle at the other side of the river, and putting my mother's arm within his own, he led her out. No one till that moment knew that we were to go that evening, there was therefore no crowd; the few servants from the farm, joined by the two maids from the house, watched us crossing in the little boat, to which Mary and I walked down alone behind the others. Crossing the hall, William had caught up an old plaid of my father's to put upon the seat of the boat; he called old John Mackintosh to row us over—Robert Allan was with the carriage. When leaving the boat, my mother threw the plaid over the bewildered old man's shoulders. He knew it was the Laird's, and I heard he was buried in it. We entered the carriage, never once looked back, nor shed a tear; very gravely we made out those eight miles among the hills and woods, and heaths and lochs, and the dear Spey, all of which we had loved from childhood and which never again could be the same to any of us.

Belleville and Mrs Macpherson received us so kindly, so warmly, cheerfully as of old. The dinner was even pleasant, so skilfully did these best of friends manage the conversation. No one was with them. Mrs Macpherson sat a long while with Mary and me at night, strengthening right feelings with all her powers of wisdom. She had had two pretty lockets made to enclose her hair, and she cut in two a long Trichinopoly chain to hang them on; these were her parting gifts. Belleville gave to each of us a writing-case fully furnished. My mother, who was a beautiful needle- woman, had been embroidering trimmings broad and narrow to be left as a remembrance to her friend of thirty years. We avoided a parting, having arranged to set off early, before our hosts were up; the only deceit we ever practised on them. We travelled on through the bleak hill road, and posting all the way reached Perth for dinner. Here an unexpected difficulty met us: a coachmaker, not paid for some repairs at various times, seized the carriage for £40. He was inexorable; we must pay the bill or lose the carriage. William came to me; I never saw him more annoyed; we were in despair, knowing how little would upset our poor mother. It was the last straw—I recollected kind Belleyule's £40 for my unfinished "Painter's Progress," very grieved to give it to such a hard man to pay him all when others, more deserving, would only get their due by degrees; but we had no choice, so after a good night's rest we entered our redeemed carriage and drove on to Edinburgh; there the carriage was seized again and allowed to go; we wanted it no longer. We were much annoyed by hosts of unpaid tradesmen, whom it was agreed that I should see, as they were likely to be more considerate with me - I, who could do nothing. William kept out of the way and we would not allow my mother to be worried. The only cross creditor among the crowd was old Sanderson the lapidary; there really was not much owing to him, a few pounds for setting some of uncle Edward's agates; these few pounds he insisted on getting, and as there was no money to be had he kept a set of garnets he had got to clean. They had been left tome by Miss Neale, the sister of our great-uncle Alexander's wife, were set in gold, and though not then the fashion, have been all the rage since. I was thankful to get rid of even one of those unfortunate men, whom I was ashamed of seeing daily at our hotel, Douglas's in St Andrew Square, where we were comfortably lodged, and where we had to wait for the sailing of the 5teamer—which then went but twice a week from Leith to London—and for a remittance to provide for our expenses.

At that season very few of our friends were in town, which was a relief to all, but Lord Jeffrey and Lord Moncreiff came in from their country houses to take leave of us. They were much attached to my sisters and me; it was a truly uncle's kiss and uncle's blessing each left with us. I never saw Lord Moncreiff again; Lord Jeffrey lived to greet me with the old warmth years afterwards.

One day and night we spent at Riccarton with the Gibson Craigs; neither house nor grounds were then finished. We thought the scale quite suited to the old place and fine fortune. They were all kind, father, mother, sons, and daughters. We had been intimate for so long, so much together. Mary was marred, the rest all at home and very sad at the parting, even William, though he affected high spirits. His father could not turn him into a politician, but he became a very useful and agreeable country gentleman, and he gained great credit by the reforms he made in the Edinburgh Record office. I was very sorry to bid him good-bye; his brother, afterwards my brother-in-law, was less attractive, though so worthy.

We were two beautiful days and calm nights at sea; I recollect the voyage as agreeable. It was so calm we steamed on in sight of the coast great part of the way; the sea was alive with shipping, mostly small craft, and then we sighted the N. Foreland. We entered the river, when I was actually startled by the sight of two large indiamen outward bound, floating down with the tide so grandly, moving on their way, their long, long way, with such a silent dignity. There seemed to be no one on board but the crew. As we passed the huge hulls and gazed upon the open cabin windows, our own destiny, so little liked, seemed to come more certainly upon us, and I turned away and wept.

We reached London, or rather Blackwall, in the afternoon, engaged two hackney coaches for ourselves and our luggage—my poor mother! there was a fall; she did feel it—and on we went to Dover Street, Piccadilly, where lodgings had been taken for us in the name of General N—. He and dear Annie were there to welcome us. So began a busy time. It is so long ago, so much was done, so very much was suffered, that I can hardly now, at the end of twenty years, recall the events of those trying days; the order of them has quite escaped me. The few friends in or near London in the month of September gathered round us, dear aunt Lissy and all her Freres, and good old Sophy Williams, Jane and Colonel Pennington, Lord Glenelg and Robert Grant.

A violent Pinging disturbed us one day, and a violent knocking too, by several people all insisting on being let in, on seeing some one, on finding Sir John Grant; he was in these lodgings, they were sure. My father had come to see Sir Charles Forbes, and he had been watched and tracked; he had lodged here before, during a fit of illness, and it was a mistake that they were taken for us, but he knew the old maiden landlady who had been so kind to him would be attentive to his family, and she was; he had won her heart, as he won every one's, and she stood to us well. She said she had let her rooms to General N—, whose wife's trunks with her address on them were luckily in the hail, and so she got rid of this alarm. For fear of another, it was determined to divide our party. John went to the Freres, Mary was carried off to Maishanger, my father and mother went to a lodging in a distant street, the General returned to his Cat and Fiddle, leaving dear Annie with me. Margaret Cooper came too now and then to help me, and Mary having left her measure with the required trades-people, I got through my work well, Lord Gleneig lending his carriage, for he would not allow Mrs N—.---- and me to go to the city or the docks in a hackney coach without a footman. Our imprudent father could not keep quiet; he was so well known he was followed once or twice, and he was so near-sighted he might easily have been seized, so it was resolved to send him away, and on a Sunday he and John steamed from the Tower stairs to Boulogne. William saw them off and then took my mother to Malshanger. At rest at last, I got on quickly with the necessary preparations.

As soon as all was in train, all our assistants at work, little Christy and I went down by coach to Basingstoke; there Jane met us driving quiet old "Goody" in her basket phaeton, and on we went four miles to that most comfortable, thoroughly English place, Maishanger, pretty, in an uninteresting country, being well wooded, the ground undulating, and the neighbourhood thickly studded with gentlemen's seats. We spent three most pleasant weeks at Malshanger—.the Colonel seemed so glad to have us, and he was so good-natured. He rode with me all over those fine Hampshire downs, miles and miles away in every direction, he on his hunters in their turn, I on the "gentle Mortimer," which always carried his master to covert all through the hunting season.

My mother had gone to Oxford to stay with aunt Mary in her new home, a very wealthy one. Dr Bourne, a clever and amiable man, took good care of my mother, put her into good health, and kept her till William went to bring her up to London a few days before we started for Portsmouth, for the parting had to be borne—poor Jane! We were very few days in town; the outfitter did all the packing. The Government gave £2000 for the outfit. The passage money was of course high; we had three of the best cabins, and there were the French expenses, and about £400 passed through my hands. Good Mrs Sophy Williams presented Mary and me each with a few yards of lace neatly folded; on opening the parcels a five-pound note was found pinned on the lace.

We had finished all our business with fewer mistakes than could have been expected, considering all that had to be done and how little used to management were the doers, and at 5 o'clock next morning we were picked up by the Southampton stage coach, with Lewis Grant in it as our escort; William had gone to France. Sir Charles Forbes, whose essential kindness was almost unexampled, had sent one of his head clerks to attend my mother on her journey. Lewis Grant of Kincorth and his twin brother had been wards of my father; there was an old connection between us.

Was it Southampton, or was it Portsmouth we sailed from? I think it must have been Portsmouth. Mrs Gillio was already there with her daughter and her brother, Colonel Grant. In the evening word was brought that our ship had moved out to the roads, Spit- head, and though she would not sail till the following day, the passengers were ordered on board at once.

It was late in the September day—the 28th in the year 1827—nearly dark; we got into a good sailing boat and proceeded out to sea, Mrs Gillio, her brother, and Lewis Grant with us. In an hour we reached our "ocean home"; down came the chair, we were soon upon the deck, amid such confusion, noise, hubbub, all a dream, but not to last long, for the rumour grew in a moment that the wind had changed; our captain ordered the anchors up; our kind friends must go. Mrs Gillio parted with the last of her daughters, her youngest child, and with us whom she loved almost as well. Lewis Grant came up from the cabin, where he had been comforting my mother. He took leave of my sister and me, a quiet leave. Had he not a romance at the bottom of his honest, warm Highland heart? I thought so when he and I met again and talked of her "who had no parallel." He had told my mother of the arrangement with Captain Henning, she was therefore watching for my father. We stood out to sea and beat about till nearly ten o'clock, when a Jersey boat sighted us, came alongside, and my father and both my brothers came on deck; a few moments were allowed us. My father shut himself up with my mother; John remained beside Mary and me. William, in an agony of grief, burst out of our cabin; we listened to the sound of the oars as the Jersey boat bore him from us, and then said Mary, pale as a corpse, "We are done with home."

William's story from that period for the next four years would be a good foundation for a novel; his struggles were very hard. He bore his trials well, and was helped by many friends, proving that there were kind hearts in a world some of us have found it a mistake to call so hard as it is reputed. I may touch on his romance again; at present I proceed with my own.

According to an arrangement with the creditors, Sir John Grant's debts were ultimately paid by himself and his son William.


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