The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 18
Sir, stay at home and take an old man's counsel;
Seek not to bask you by a stranger's hearth;
Our own blue smoke is warmer than their fire.
Domestic food is wholesome, though 'tis homely,
And foreign dainties poisonous, though tasteful.
The French Courtezan.
THE Master of Ravenswood took an opportunity to leave his guests to prepare
for their departure, while he himself made the brief arrangements necessary
previous to his absence from Wolf's Crag for a day or two. It was necessary to
communicate with Caleb on this occasion, and he found that faithful servitor in
his sooty and ruinous den, greatly delighted with the departure of their visitors,
and computing how long, with good management, the provisions which had been
unexpended might furnish the Master's table. "He's nae belly god, that's ae
blessing; and Bucklaw's gane, that could have eaten a horse behind the saddle.
Cresses or water-purpie, and a bit ait-cake, can serve the Master for breakfast as
weel as Caleb. Then for dinner--there's no muckle left on the spule-bane; it will
brander, though--it will brander very weel."
His triumphant calculations were interrupted by the Master, who communicated
to him, not without some hesitation, his purpose to ride with the Lord Keeper as
far as Ravenswood Castle, and to remain there for a day or two.
"The mercy of Heaven forbid!" said the old serving-man, turning as pal as the
table-cloth which he was folding up.
"And why, Caleb?" said his master--"why should the mercy of Heaven forbid my
returning the Lord Keeper's visit?"
"Oh, sir!" replied Caleb--"oh, Mr. Edgar! I am your servant, and it ill becomes me
to speak; but I am an auld servant--have served baith your father and gudesire,
and mind to have seen Lord Randal, your great-grandfather, but that was when I
was a bairn."
"And what of all this, Balderstone?" said the Master; "what can it possibly have to
do with my paying some ordinary civility to a neighbour."
"Oh, Mr. Edgar,--that is, my lord!" answered the butler, "your ain conscience tells
you it isna for your father's son to be neighbouring wi' the like o' him; it isna for
the credit of the family. An he were ance come to terms, and to gie ye back your
ain, e'en though ye suld honour his house wi' your alliance, I suldna say na; for
the young leddy is a winsome sweet creature. But keep your ain state wi' them--I
ken the race o' them weel-- they will think the mair o' ye."
"Why, now, you go father than I do, Caleb," said the Master, drowning a certain
degree of consciousness in a forced laugh; "you are for marrying me into a family
that you will nto allow me to visit, how this? and you look as pale as death
"Oh, sir," repeated Caleb again, "you would but laugh if I tauld it; but Thomas the
Rhymer, whose tongue couldna be fause, spoke the word of your house that will