The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 16
A slight note I have about me for you, for the delivery of which
you must excuse me. It is an offer that friendship calls upon me
to do, and no way offensive to you, since I desire nothing but
right upon both sides.
King and no King.
WHEN Ravenswood and his guest met in the morning, the gloom of the Master's
spirit had in part returned. He, also, had passed a night rather of reflection that of
slumber; and the feelings which he could not but entertain towards Lucy Ashton
had to support a severe conflict against those which he had so long nourished
against her father. To clasp in friendship the hand of the enemy of his house, to
entertain him under his roof, to exchange with him the courtesies and the
kindness of domestic familiarity, was a degradation which his proud spirit could
not be bent to without a struggle.
But the ice being once broken, the Lord Keeper was resolved it should not have
time against to freeze. It had been part of his plan to stun and confuse
Ravenswood's ideas, by a complicated and technical statement of the matters
which had been in debate betwixt their families, justly thinking that it would be
difficult for a youth of his age to follow the expositions of a practical lawyer,
concerning actions of compt and reckoning, and of multiplepoindings, and
adjudications and wadsets, proper and improper, and poindings of the ground,
and declarations of the expiry of the legal. "Thus," thought Sir William, "I shall
have all the grace of appearing perfectly communicative, while my party will
derive very little advantage from anything I may tell him." He therefore took
Ravenswood aside into the deep recess of a window in the hall, and resuming
the discourse of the proceding evening, expressed a hope that his young friend
would assume some patience, in order to hear him enter in a minute and
explanatory detail of those unfortunate circumstances in which his late
honourable father had stood at variance with the Lord Keeper. The Master of
Ravenswood coloured highly, but was silent; and the Lord Keeper, though not
greatly approving the sudden heightening of his auditor's complexion,
commenced the history of a bond for twenty thousand merks, advanced by his
father to the father of Allan Lord Ravenswood, and was proceeding to detail the
executorial proceedings by which this large sum had been rendered a debitum
fundi, when he was interrupted by the Master.
"It is not in this place," he said, "that I can hear Sir William Ashton's explanation
of the matters in question between us. It is not here, where my father died of a
broken heart, that I can with decency or temper investigate the cause of his
distress. I might remember that I was a son, and forget the duties of a host. A
time, however, there must come, when these things shall be discussed, in a
place and in a presence where both of us will have equal freedom to speak and
to hear."
"Any time," the Lord Keeper said, "any place, was alike to those who sought
nothing but justice. Yet it would seem he was, in fairness, entitled to some