The Two Destinies HTML version

16. My Mother's Diary
THERE is something repellent to me, even at this distance of time, in looking back at the
dreary days, of seclusion which followed each other monotonously in my Highland
home. The actions of my life, however trifling they may have been, I can find some
interest in recalling: they associate me with my fellow-creatures; they connect me, in
some degree, with the vigorous movement of the world. But I have no sympathy with the
purely selfish pleasure which some men appear to derive from dwelling on the minute
anatomy of their own feelings, under the pr essure of adverse fortune. Let the domestic
record of our stagnant life in Perthshire (so far as I am concerned in it) be presented in
my mother's words, not in mine. A few lines of extract from the daily journal which it
was her habit to keep will tell all that need be told before this narrative advances to later
dates and to newer scenes.
"20th August.--We have been two months at our home in Scotland, and I see no change
in George for the better. He is as far as ever, I fear, from being reconciled to his
separation from that unhappy woman. Nothing will induce him to confess it himself. He
declares that his quiet life here with me is all that he desires. But I know better! I have
been into his bedroom late at night. I have heard him talking of her in his sleep, and I
have seen the tears on his eyelids. My poor boy! What thousands of charming women
there are who would ask nothing better than to be his wife! And the one woman whom he
can never marry is the only woman whom he loves!
"25th.--A long conversation about George with Mr. MacGlue. I have never liked this
Scotch doctor since he encouraged my son to keep the fatal appointment at Saint
Anthony's Well. But he seems to be a clever man in his profession--and I think, in his
way, he means kindly toward George. His advice was given as coarsely as usual, and
very positively at the same time. 'Nothing will cure your son, madam, of his amatory
passion for that half-drowned lady of his but change--and another lady. Send him away
by himself this time; and let him feel the want of some kind creature to look after him.
And when he meets with that kind creature (they are as plenty as fish in the sea), never
trouble your head about it if there's a flaw in her character. I have got a cracked tea-cup
which has served me for twenty years. Marry him, ma'am, to the new one with the utmost
speed and impetuosity which the law will permit.' I hate Mr. MacGlue's opinions--so
coarse and so hard-hearted!--but I sadly fear that I must part with my son for a little
while, for his own sake.
"26th.--Where is George to go? I have been thinking of it all through the night, and I
cannot arrive at a conclusion. It is so difficult to reconcile myself to letting him go away
"29th.--I have always believed in special providences; and I am now confirmed in my
belief. This morning has brought with it a note from our good friend and neighbor at
Belhelvie. Sir James is one of the commissioners for the Northern Lights. He is going in a
Government vessel to inspect the lighthouses on the North of Scotland, and on the