Puslapio vaizdai

Her brother's plans were more eligible and agreeable. His guardians infifted, that in his education he should pursue the routine ufually adopted by young men of his elevated rank. He had been entered at one of our public fchools, and thence removed to the University. To counteract a dangerous propenfity to the fatal allurements of Newmarket, it was propofed immediately after his father's death, that he should make the tour of Europe. He returned when of age, affumed the fortunes of his family, and with them the representation of the ancient peerage of Scotland in the British Parliament, an honour which had been for fome time enjoyed by his ancestors.

Since the forms of his election rendered his prefence neceffary at Holyrood House, he could not avoid paying a vifit to the feat of his family. His


manners were popular, his countenance ftrikingly prepoffeffing, and his perfon dignified, athletic, and graceful. The Highlanders recognized in the "bonny lad" the true reprefentative of the house of Macdonald; and the ancient dependents, who, fince their lairds had deferted Monteith, vegetated on the spot which the attachments of their youth rendered eminently dear to them, led their young mafter the tour of his domain, and pointed out to him its local advantages. They endeavoured to direct his attention to the maffy grandeur of his caftle walls, the extenfive prospect enjoyed from its turrets, and the faded magnificence of its mouldering furniture." They repeatedly affured him, that in his grandfather's time Monteith boasted a diftinguished preference over the abode of any other Highland chieftain. The young Nobleman was not paffionately attached

[ocr errors]

attached to ruins; the ftormy winds, howling through the long galleries, dif turbed his repofe, and he wifhed for no nearer acquaintance with the genius of the tempeft. He beftowed with a liberal hand fuch relief as would afford poverty a temporary aid; but, without exerting fufficient patience to inveftigate the cause of the calamity, or fufficient courage to redrefs the evils which even a curfory glance difcovered, he haftened to Kinloch Castle, to pay his dutiful respects to lady Madelina.

Neither the manners nor the refidence of her ladyship were calculated to remove the difguft with which "Scot and Scotland had infpired him." The house was fituated on a bare precipice, the foot of which was washed by the stormy fea that separated the main land from the Hebrides. When its amiable miftrefs removed from the deserted walls

of Monteith, fhe carried with her all her "Household Gods," I mean, the venerable inhabitants of the picture gallery, and the screens, chairs, and tapeftry hangings, with which the whitearmed spinsters of Macdonald had fucceffively decorated their family-feat. Sir Simon, doubtlefs, felt fincere exultation at this valuable acquifition; he only ftipulated that the remains of his progenitors should not yield their places to the new comers. A coalition was therefore formed, and every wall and apartment in the caftle was crowded with multiplied garniture. Screen concealed fcreen, chair fupported chair; a ftripe of Jacob meeting Efau repaired the difaftrous rents too vifible in the taking of Troy, and puzzled the Ciceroni who attempted to unravel the confufed history; while Frazers and Macdonalds, placed in full oppofition, frowned



frowned, fierce defiance upon each other, regardless of the bond which now united the once rival families, and ungrateful to lady Madelina's eloquence, who gra tuitously performed the part of eulogist to them all.

On the third day after her nephew's arrival, when he had explained the family exploits to the eleventh century, he unluckily recollected a most preffing engagement which called him inftantly to London. The occafion was fourgent, that he could not poffibly stay to hear the fate of fome collateral branches which were then divided from the parent flock. Lord Monteith threw himfelf into, his poft-chaife, and fo ftrongly did the connexions of his ancestors rouse his domeftic feelings, that he could think of nothing but getting a good husband for his fifter, to free her from her confinement, till different fcenes excited gay er ideas.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »