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THE LADIES LINDORES.
From Blackwood's Magazine. humors of the old servants, in whose
hands he was still a boy. “It is, don't you think, a judicious despotism on the
whole?" he said. The sound of her (continued.)
laugh was delightful in his ears, even
though a more sensitive narrator might “Ah, to be sure, that's Tinto,” said have thought the laugh to be directed Rintoul ; "what a fine place it is, to be against himself. sure! Carry ought to be proud of such a " It is a delightful despotism,” said place. And how do all the squires and Lady Lindores; * and as we shall benefit squireens - or the lairds, I suppose I by it in the present case, I entirely apshould say, for local color, — how do they prove of Rolls. But I think, perliaps, if like his red flag? There ought to be I were you, I would not unfold the whole plenty of hatred and malice on that score.” matter to Miss Barbara. Your aunt is
Nobody hates or bears malice to our born a great lady, Mr. Erskine. She Carry, that I can hear of," said his moth. might take it as quite right and within the er, with a reproving glance. Her eye duty of an old retainer; but again, she caught that of John, and she blushed might take a different view. For my part, almost violently — for was not he the rep. I entirely approve. It is exactly the right resentative of the squires and squireens? thing to do.”
“But Torrance and Carry are “You are always so kind,” said John flesh,” said Rintoul.
gratefully; "and perhaps you will advise “ I ought to speak on the subject, as I me in matters that are beyond my prime am the only representative of the ac. minister's sphere." cused,” said John, with an attempt at a “ Rolls and I!” she said, laughing; "it lighter tone; but it was not very success is not often a young man has such a pair ful, and there was a sense of possible of counsellors.” Her laugh was so fresh commotion in the air, like the approach and genuine that it sounded like the laugh of a thunderstorm, which the women were of youth. Her children behind her had far too sensitive not to feel — and they their curiosity greatly excited : Edith with threw themselves into the breach, as was a little wonder, to think what John could natural. When Jolin took his leave, as be saying to amuse her mother so much ; the lingering daylight still lasted, they Rintoul with high indignation, to see in strolled with himn through the shrubberies, what favor this country neighbor was accompanying him towards the gate. It held. was Lady Lindores herself who took the What does my mother mean?” he initiative in this, as her son thought, ex- said, grumbling in Edith's ear. “She will traordinary condescension. Rintoul fol. turn that fellow's head. I never knew lowed, keeping his sister walking by his anything so out of place. One would side, with indignant surprise painted all think, to see you with him, that he was – over him.
“Do you mean to say you do why, your dearest friend, your — I don't this every time that fellow is here?” he know what to say." asked wrathfully. “We have never been “Perhaps you had better not say anyout of doors before when Mr. Erskine has thing, in case it should be something disgone away,” cried Edith, equally angry; agreeable,” said Edith, with a sudden in self-defence. Meanwhile the voices of flush of color. “Mr. Erskine is our near. the others, who were in advance, went on est neighbor — and I hope my mother, at peacefully: they talked, unconscious of least, does not want any guidance from criticism, while the brother and sister lis- you.” tened. John had begun to tell Lady Lin- “Oh, doesn't she, though !” murmured dores of the entertainments le meant to Rintoul in his moustache. To his own give. He avowed that they had been consciousness his mother was the memplanned by Rolls, though his first inten- ber of this family who stood the most in tion had been to keep this fact to limself; need of his guidance. He thought her but the humor of it overcame him. He the m imprudent woman he had ever could not refrain from communicating so come across, paying no attention to her amusing a circumstance to the kind wom- children's prospects. They went on thus an, who never misunderstood, and who till they came to the gate, where the received all his confidences with maternal Countess of Lindores was actually to be pleasure. He was pleased to hear her seen by the woman at the lodge, or by laugh, and not displeased to lay open the any passing wayfarer, in her dinner-dress, condition of his household to her, and the l with nothing but a lace cap on her head
"- and Edith, in her white robes and shin-| his life a burden to him. Why is she so ing hair — saying good-bye to this rustic absurdly domestic? They have quanti. neighbor, this insidious squire! Rintoul ties of money, and there are plenty of could not for some time relieve his soul | brutes in society to keep him in counteas he wished. He was compelled to nance. She ought to come to town, and shake hands too, in a surly way; and it see people, and enjoy herself. What is was not till Edith had left them that he the good of living like a cabbage here?” permitted himself to make, as he said, a “If you will persuade Carry to emancifew remarks to his mother. She was lin-pate herself a little — to think of herself gering outside, for it was still daylight a little — I will forgive you all your worldthough it was night.
ly-mindedness,” said his mother, with a “Mother,” said Rintoul solemnly, “I smile. see it's all exactly as I feared. You have “I will try,” he said ; "and as for my let that fellow Erskine get to be a sort of worldly-mindedness, as you call it, how is tame cat about the house."
a fellow to get on in the world, I should “ After?” said his mother, with a smile. like to know? It isn't by money I'll ever
“After! well, that's as you choose. push my way. I must look out for other But of this you may be sure, mother, my ways and means." father won't stand it. It will only make “Does that mean an heiress, Rintoul?” trouble in the house. He won't let Edith His mother was half laughing, half sethrow herself away. You had better put rious. But there was no laughter in Rina stop to it while you are able. I sus-toul's countenance. The corners of his pected it from the first moment I knew mouth were drawn down. His eyes were tbat Erskine was here.”
as solemn as if the matter in question “You are very wise, Rintoul,” said his had been life or death. mother, with grieved displeasure, all the “ You may be sure I'll do my duty to pain and disenchantment which she had the family, whether I like it or not,” he managed to put aside and forget coming said, with heroic gravity. “I don't mean back into her troubled eyes.
to recommend other people to do what “ I don't know if I'm very wise; but II'll not do myself.” know something of the world,” said the But Rintoul sighed. He was heroic, son, who was so much better instructed indeed, but he was human. A breath of than she was; "and I know, when one sost recollections came over him. He, has charge of a girl, one oughtn't to allow too, bad entertained other thoughts — he her to throw herself away.
had allowed himself to be beguiled to “Carry is supposed not to have thrown gentler visions. But when the voice of herself away,” said the indignant mother, duty bade, be felt that he had it in him to with a glance towards that centre of her be superior to all weaknesses. Come an saddest thoughts, the arrogant front and beiress of sufficient pretensions to be false battlements of Tinto, faintly gleam- worthy of the son of Lindores, and he ing like royal Windsor itself in the mists would buckle his manhood to him, and of distance. This was all in contradic- marry her without wincing. His duty he tion to the changed state of her mind was at all times ready to do; but yet to towards Millefleurs and the gradual lean the softer part of life, to the dreams of a ing towards a great marriage for Edith youth unawakened to such stern purposes which had come over her. But we are of heroism, he might yet be permitted to never more hot in defence of our own give a sigh. side than when we have begun to veer John Erskine was the very opposite of towards the other; and Rintoul's lectures this predestined martyr. He felt no weight had been for a long time more than his of family responsibility upon him. All mother could endure.
that he wished was — a good wish enough, “No, Carry cannot be said to have if it had not been altogether beyond postbrown herself away,” he said thoughtful. sibility of sulfilment that the last lord ly, stroking that moustache which looked of Lindores had lived to be a patriarch, so young, while its owner was so wise and and had been succeeded by his son in the politic. Carry should remember," he course of nature. What a difference that said, after a pause, “ that she's an indi. would have made to everybody concerned ! vidual, but the family comprises many But our young man did all he could to people — heaps of her descendants will keep definite plans and hopes out of his be grateful to her, you know. And if the mind. He preferred to get the good of feilow is unbearable, why, a woman has each day as it came. If he thought too always got it in her own hands to make much of them, he felt a dismal certainty
that disappointments would follow. He duce a dinner and a ball supper worthy of preferred that his present existence should the Erskine name. Miss Barbara put her flow au jour le jour.
trust in Janet, who had managed all her
own household affairs for a great number CHAPTER XXI.
of years. “I'll take ye both with me,” When the news of the approaching she said to the two women, who made ber festivities at Dalrulzian were known in comfort and credit the occupation of their Dunearn, Miss Barbara Erskine and her lives, “and when ye consider what's at household were flung into a whirlpool of stake, you'll just put your hand to any; excitement such as had not disturbed thing; and ye like a ploy, both of ye, and their calm for more years than could be plenty of young faces about the house." reckoned. There was, of course, no ques- “Eh, but I do that,” said Agnes; “and tion as to the immediate acceptance by I would not wonder but Mr. John's mean. the old lady of her nephew's invitation to ing to take a survey of all the misses, and her to do the honors of his house. She him a wanter and a bonnie lad into the was very much touched and pleased - bargain. We'll maybe bear who it is to with that satisfaction, above all, which is be. so sweet to a woman – of feeling that But Janet demurred. “It's not to be John was doing absolutely “the right denied but I would like to go,” she said; thing” in placing her, his old aunt, at the “and blithe, blithe would I be to put to head of affairs. It was a compliment to my hand, if it was only to boil a pitawtie, the family, to the old neighbors, as well and proud to think the auld family, so as to herself. But it is not too much to lang away, was holding up its head again. say that from the scullery to the drawing. But then there's Bauby Rolls, that's been room her house was turned upside down housekeeper so long, and a good cook by this great event. Miss Barbara's first and a good woman. She would think we thought was, as was natural, that a great meant to interfere." many things would be wanted. She went " It would ill become either Bauby or instantly to her “napery” closet, Ag- any other person to think me interfering nes, her old maid, attending her with the in my nephew's house,” said Barbara. key, - and brought out stores of shining “ Ye'll just come, Janet. I am saying damask, milk-white and fragrant, every nothing against Bauby; but she'll be out tablecloth with its pile of napkins, like a of the way of managing a pairty.” hen with chickens. “I never inquired “There are plenty of pairties in the into the napery at Dalrulzian,” the old winter-time,” said Janet. " I wouldna lady said ; “but it would be a great temp- stand in other folk's gait. Na, naebody tation to a woman with a sma’ family to would say you were interfering, Miss Bartake the use of it; and for anything I bara. Wha has a better right in your ain know, he may be in want of table-linen. nephew's house ? — but me, it's another Ye'll pack a boxful, Agnes, whether or no. question. I couldna gang ben to her There's the great tablecloths with the kitchen, or look at a single article, but it crown pattern, they are the biggest I have. would be thought I was meddling. What Ye'll take them, and table-napkins. You would I think if Bauby Rolls came here may take ten or twelve dozen. They are on a veesit to help me? I would say I always useful.”
maun be getting doited, though I cannot “ And you'll take the best silver, mem," see it: I maun be losing the use o' my said Janet, for this was in her department. faculties. I judge of her by mysel'. She If it had been suggested to them that would think the same of me. But Agnes, their best Paisley shawls, on which both you can take her," said the housekeeper, Janet and Agnes set great store, would with a fine and delicate contempt. “She have been useful to cover the faded places has aye her head full of whigmaleeries; on the carpet, these devoted women would but she'll stand in nobody's way.” have sacriticed their most cherished pos. “I'll not ask your leave, Janet, to take sessions. Miss. Barbara's old epergnes my own woman with me,” said Miss Bar. and table ornaments, which, happily, were bara, with some annoyance. older and less solid than the camel and Na, mem, I never thought that,” re. palm-trees at Tinto, were packed into a torted her factotum. "I'm seldom conhuge box, with all her available forks and sulted, though maybe it would be none tlie spoons, and sent off in a cart before her worse for the family if I were letten say to the scene of the entertainment. Then my say. For a ball-supper there's naea still more important question arose as thing better than a fine boned turkey well to the help that would be required to pro. stuffed and larded," she added reflec.
tively; "and I'm no' against soup. It's proposed entertainment. “Will you send new-fashioned ; but there's new-fashioned ihe housekeeper to me,” she said to things that's just as good as the old. One Rolls, with dignity, thinking it beneath thing I set my face against is thae new the solemnity of the occasion to call drinks – cup as they call them. They Bauby by any less weighty title. Bauby take an awfu' quantity of wine ; and in came in with good-natured alacrity; but the heat o' the dancing thae young things she was somewhat abashed by the air of will just spoil their stomachs, never think- gravity on Miss Barbara's face, whom she ing what they're swallowing. That's my was not accustomed to see in such state. opinion, I'm no' saying I'm ony author.“ Come in, my woman,” said the old lady. ity, and Mr. Rolls will liave a' that in his “ It's a great responsibility for you to hands, and will not lippen to a woman; have the charge of all this. You will like but that's my opinion. It's an awsu' waste a little assistance with your dinner. I'in of wine. I would rather give them good well aware that both that and the supper honest champagne out of the bottle, that for the ball are in very good hands so far they might see what they are taking, far as the provisions go. But your master sooner than that wasteful cup."
being young, and without experience, and “That's very true, Janet,” said Miss as there's no lady in the house, I think it Barbara; “I'm of that opinion myself. my duty to be of service,” Miss Barbara But in most houses it's the gentleman him- said. Bauby stood before her greatly self (when there is a gentleman) that man-Aushed, and Jaid a number of hems, one ages the cellar; and it would never do for over the other, on her apron. a lady to say anything. But I will mind mem, we'll just manage fine," she said, to tell him (for it's my own opinion), if he growing red. But this did not satisfy the consults me.”
august old lady. “And for sweet things, there's nothing "If you're in want of any help,” she like ice-creams, if she can make them," said, “there's a woman of mine said Janet.
“ If she were to say, mem, Rolls, who had been waiting outside of her own accord, that she has little ex- the door, came to the rescue. perience, you might send me a line by the peared now behind the flushed Bauby. postman, and I would do my best; but “She's a confused creature,” he said, “ bút no' unless it's of her own accord. Na, she knows her business.
We've put na; I ken by mysel'. If a strange woman it all down, Miss Barbara, in the new-fash. were to come into my kitchen and meddle ioned way. I'm aware that at the Castle with my denner! But tak' you Agnes, and other grand places it's written in Miss Barbara. She might make up a French, but good Scots is good enough for match yet, for a' that's come and gane, us, with Tammas Rolls."
It was no small effort to find and pro. Miss Barbara appeared accordingly at duce from Bauby's pocket the bill of lare Dalrulzian the day before the great din- of the approaching dinner. But this docner, in her old coach, with her two best ument took away Miss Barbara's breath. gowns in the imperial, and all her old or. It was some time before she got over it. naments, and with Agnes her maid seated Instead of the chaos which she half primly by her, inside. The chariot was feared, yet half hoped for, as a means of almost as old as Miss Barbara herself, and exercising her own gifts on her nephew's was kept for great occasions. It was behalf, it was an elaborate menu, drawn drawn by two somewhat funereal black out in full form, that was placed before horses from the Red Lion at Dunearn her eyes. The old lady was struck dumb altogether a solemn turn-out, and quite for a moment, and when she spoke there unlike the handy little phaeton in which was a certain awe in her tone. “If you usually the old lady drove about. The can set a dinner like that on the table," postboy took away those noble steeds she said, “ I have not a word to say." Dalrulzian stables, to which he was to re- Bauby, in her soft, round, good-humored turn in four to take it back with its voice. mistress. And Miss Barbara bore a “ Miss Barbara,” said Rolls, “I'm no grave though cheerful countenance as she braggart; but I've seen a thing or two in walked into the drawing-room, and took my life. And Bauby, she has far more in her place there on the great tapestry sofa. her than appears. She's just a confused The box of plate and linen had arrived creature in speech ; but pit her to her before her, and she felt that it was neces: goblets and her sauces, and she kens well sary at once to look into the details of the what she's about. She has the real spirit
of it in her; and when her blood's up for peremptorily; “whatever thought may be the credit of the family
in your head, to name it spoils all.” “Eh, mein !” cried Bauby herself, put- For these two simple women were still ting her apron to her eyes, for her tears of opinion that Providence had created came readily; “ do you think I would let John Erskine's wife for him, and that he them say that Mr. John couldna give a could not mistake the guidance of that denner as good as the best? and he such unerring hand. a fine lad, and wantin a wife, and his mammaw so far away!
“Never you mind his mammaw," cried The ball was in full career; everybody Miss Barbara, with natural family feeling; had come to it from all the houses within "she was never a great manager. But if reach, and the radius was wide - extend. you set that dinner on the table, Bauby ing over the whole county. It was uni. Rolls, you're a woman worthy of all re- versally acknowledged that nobody could spect, and I hope my nephew will know have imagined the drawing room at Dalwhen he's well off.”
rulzian to be so large — and though the She withdrew to the room prepared for mothers and the old ladies were in a great her after this, a little crestfallen, yet do- state of alarm as to the facilities for steping due honor to the native powers. ping forth through the long windows after “We'll say nothing to Janet,” she said to a dance, yet the young people, indifferent her faithful old maid, as she sat at her to the northern chill which they had toilet. “ Janet is an excellent woman, and been used to all their lives, considered the just the right person for a house like walk, which seemed almost a portion of niine. But she has not that invention. the room, to be the most delightful of all. Four made dishes, besides all the solids ! Rintoul, though with many protestations We'll not say a word to Janet. It would and much scorn of the little rustic assenbe more than she could bear."
bly, had been persuaded to wait for it, and “ You see, Miss Barbara, there's two of was an object of attraction as great, nay, them to settle it,” said Agnes, as she in some respects greater, than John himbrushed out the old lady's abundant white self. There were no great young ladies in hair; “ and a man is awfu' discriminat- the company for whom it was worth his ing about eating and drinking. He may while to exert himself, and consequently not have sense like a woman, but he has the young man yielded to the soft Hattery more taste of his mouth.”
of all the pleased and grateful faces “There is something in that,” said her around him, and made himself agreeable mistress; “if it's Rolls, John has got a in general, ending, however, almost invatreasure in that man. The cornel's din. riably at the side of Nora, to whom it was ners were always very English, to my way a pleasing compensation for the indifferof thinking -- but that would be their own ence of the young master of Dalrulzian, fault; or if it's my nephew himself” – who had been so distinctly destined for she added doubtfully. What was a great her by the county. John was very civil quality in Rolls catering for other people, to Nora. He went out of his way, indeed, would have been almost a vice, in the to be civil. He took her about the house, eyes of this prejudiced old lady, in the into the library, and the hall, to show her young master of the house.
the alterations he was making, and ap"Mr. John!” said Agnes, still more pealed to her about their propriety in a moved, “a bonnie lad like bim! Na, na; way which Nora felt might have taken in it would never be that. It'll be the young some girls. But she was not taken in. misses, and not the dishes, he will be She knew it was merely politeness, and thinking about. And who knows but we that John would go away as soon as he may see the one that's his choice? And had done his duty with a certain sense of I wish she may be a lovely young lady for relief. But Rintoul's attentions were paid his sake.”
in a very different spirit. He asked her “ She would need to be something more to dance as many times as he could withthan that,” said Miss Barbara, shaking out attracting too much notice. Nora felt her head. "A little money wouid be a that he discriminated this line finely, and great advantage to the estate.”
was half provoked and half flattered by “Eh, but mem, he maun marry for it
, feeling acutely that whereas John Erslove,” said Agnes ; “what's siller in com. skine did his best to show her all the parison ? And I think I know somebody civility which his position required, Rinfor my pairt
toul went against all the duties of his po. Whisht, Agnes,” said her inistress sition to get near her, to talk to her in a