The Heart of Mid-Lothian
And now, will pardon, comfort, kindness, draw
The youth from vice? will honour, duty, law?
Jeanie arose from her seat, and made her quiet reverence, when the elder Mr.
Staunton entered the apartment. His astonishment was extreme at finding his
son in such company.
"I perceive, madam, I have made a mistake respecting you, and ought to have
left the task of interrogating you, and of righting your wrongs, to this young man,
with whom, doubtless, you have been formerly acquainted."
"It's unwitting on my part that I am here;" said Jeanie; "the servant told me his
master wished to speak with me."
"There goes the purple coat over my ears," murmured Tummas. "D--n her, why
must she needs speak the truth, when she could have as well said anything else
she had a mind?"
"George," said Mr. Staunton, "if you are still, as you have ever been,-- lost to all
self-respect, you might at least have spared your father and your father's house,
such a disgraceful scene as this."
"Upon my life--upon my soul, sir!" said George, throwing his feet over the side of
the bed, and starting from his recumbent posture.
"Your life, sir?" interrupted his father, with melancholy sternness,-- "What sort of
life has it been?--Your soul! alas! what regard have you ever paid to it? Take
care to reform both ere offering either as pledges of your sincerity."
"On my honour, sir, you do me wrong," answered George Staunton; "I have been
all that you can call me that's bad, but in the present instance you do me
injustice. By my honour you do!"
"Your honour!" said his father, and turned from him, with a look of the most
upbraiding contempt, to Jeanie. "From you, young woman, I neither ask nor
expect any explanation; but as a father alike and as a clergyman, I request your
departure from this house. If your romantic story has been other than a pretext to
find admission into it (which, from the society in which you first appeared, I may
be permitted to doubt), you will find a justice of peace within two miles, with
whom, more properly than with me, you may lodge your complaint."