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The Bride of Lammermoor

Chapter 32
How fair these names, how much unlike they look
To all the blurr'd subscriptions in my book!
The bridegroom's letters stand in row above,
Tapering, yet straight, like pine-trees in his grove;
While free and fine the bride's appear below,
As light and slender as her jessamines grow.
CRABBE.
ST. JUDE's day came, the term assigned by Lucy herself as the furthest date of
expectation, and, as we have already said, there were neither letters from nor
news of Ravenswood. But there were news of Bucklaw, and of his trusty
associate Craigengelt, who arrived early in the morning for the completion of the
proposed espousals, and for signing the necessary deeds.
These had been carefully prepared under the revisal of Sir William Ashton
himself, it having been resolved, on account of the state of Miss Ashton's health,
as it was said, that none save the parties immediately interested should be
present when the parchments were subscribed. It was further determined that the
marriage should be solemnised upon the fourth day after signing the articles, a
masure adopted by Lady Ashton, in order that Lucy might have as little time as
possible to recede or relapse into intractability. There was no appearance,
however, of her doing either. She heard the proposed arrangement with the calm
indifference of despair, or rather with an apathy arising from the oppressed and
stupified state of her feelings. To an eye so unobserving as that of Bucklaw, her
demeanour had little more of reluctance than might suit the character of a bashful
young lady, who, however, he could not disguise from himself, was complying
with the choice of her friends rather than exercising any personal predilection in
his favour.
When the morning compliment of the bridegroom had been paid, Miss Ashton
was left for some time to herself; her mother remarking, that the deeds must be
signed before the hour of noon, in order that the marriage might be happy. Lucy
suffered herself to be attired for the occasion as the taste of her attendants
suggested, and was of course splendidly arrayed. Her dress was composed of
white satin and Brussels lace, and her hair arranged with a profusion of jewels,
whose lustre made a strange contrast to the deadly paleness of her complexion,
and to the trouble which dwelt in her unsettled eye.
Her toilette was hardly finished ere Henry appeared, to conduct the passive bride
to the state apartment, where all was prepared for signing the contract. "Do you
know, sister," he said, "I am glad you are to have Bucklaw after all, instead of
Ravenswood, who looked like a Spanish grandee come to cute our throats and
trample our bodies under foot. And I am glad the broad seas are between us this
day, for I shall never forget how frightened I was when I took him for the picture
of old Sir Malise walked out of the canvas. Tell me true, are you not glad to be
fairly shot of him?"
 
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