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The Chieftain's Sister
The drawing-room of Flora Mac-Ivor was furnished in the plainest and most simple
manner; for at Glennaquoich every other sort of expenditure was retrenched as much as
possible, for the purpose of maintaining, in its full dignity, the hospitality of the
Chieftain, and retaining and multiplying the number of his dependants and adherents. But
there was no appearance of this parsimony in the dress of the lady herself, which was in
texture elegant, and even rich, and arranged in a manner which partook partly of the
Parisian fashion, and partly of the more simple dress of the Highlands, blended together
with great taste. Her hair was not disfigured by the art of the friseur, but fell in jetty
ringlets on her neck, confined only by a circlet, richly set with diamonds. This peculiarity
she adopted in compliance with the Highland prejudices, which could not endure that a
woman's head should be covered before wedlock.
Flora Mac-Ivor bore a most striking resemblance to her brother Fergus; so much so, that
they might have played Viola and Sebastian with the same exquisite effect produced by
the appearance of Mrs. Henry Siddons and her brother, Mr. William Murray, in these
characters. They had, the same antique and regular correctness of profile; the same dark
eyes, eyelashes, and eyebrows; the same clearness of complexion, excepting that Fergus's
was embrowned by exercise, and Flora's possessed the utmost feminine delicacy. But the
haughty, and somewhat stern regularity of Fergus's features was beautifully softened in
those of Flora. Their voices were also similar in tone, though differing in the key. That of
Fergus, especially while issuing orders to his followers during their military exercise,
reminded Edward of a favourite passage in the description of Emetrius:
Loud as a trumpet with a silver sound.
That of Flora, on the contrary, was soft and sweet,--'an excellent thing in woman;' yet, in
urging any favourite topic, which she often pursued with natural eloquence, it possessed
as well the tones which impress awe and conviction, as those of persuasive insinuation.
The eager glance of the keen black eye, which in the Chieftain seemed impatient even of
the material obstacles it encountered, had, in his sister, acquired a gentle pensiveness. His
looks seemed to seek glory, power, all that could exalt him above others in the race of
humanity; while those of his sister, as if she were already conscious of mental superiority,
seemed to pity, rather than envy, those who were struggling for any further distinction.
Her sentiments corresponded with the expression of her countenance. Early education
had impressed upon her mind, as well as on that of the Chieftain, the most devoted
attachment to the exiled family of Stuart. She believed if the duty of her brother, of his
clan, of every man in Britain, at whatever personal hazard, to contribute to that
restoration which the partisans of the Chevalier de St. George had not ceased to hope for.
For this she was prepared to do all, to suffer all, to sacrifice all. But her loyalty, as it
exceeded her brother's in fanaticism, excelled it also in purity. Accustomed to petty