The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 22
And soon they spied the merry-men green,
And eke the coach and four.
Duke upon Duke.
CRAIGENGELT set forth on his mission so soon as his equipage was complete,
prosecuted his journey with all diligence, and accomplished his commission with
all the dexterity for which bucklaw had given him credit. As he arrived with
credentials from Mr. Hayston of Bucklaw, he was extremely welcome to both
ladies; and those who are prejudiced in favour of a new acquaintance can, for a
time at least, discover excellencies in his very faults and perfections in his
deficiencies. Although both ladies were accustomed to good society, yet, being
pre-determined to find out an agreeable and well-behaved gentleman in Mr.
Hayston's friend, they succeeded wonderfully in imposing on themselves. It is
true that Craigengelt was now handsomely dressed, and that was a point of no
small consequence. But, independent of outward show, his blackguard
impudence of address was construed into honourable bluntness. becoming his
supposed military profession; his hectoring passed for courage, and his
sauciness for wit. Lest, however, any one should think this a violation of
probability, we must add, in fairness to the two ladies, that their discernment was
greatly blinded, and their favour propitiated, by the opportune arrival of Captain
Craigengelt in the moment when they were longing for a third hand to make a
party at tredrille, in which, as in all games, whether of chance or skill, that worthy
person was a great proficient.
When he found himself established in favour, his next point was how best to use
it for the furtherance of his patron's views. He found Lady Ashton prepossessed
strongly in favour of the motion which Lady Blenkensop, partly from regard to her
kinswoman, partly from the spirit of match-making, had not hesitated to propose
to her; so that his task was an easy one. Bucklaw, reformed from his prodigality,
was just the sort of husband which she desired to have for her Shepherdess of
Lammermoor; and while the marriage gave her an easy fortune, and a
respectable country gentleman for her husband, Lady Ashton was of opinion that
her destinies would be fully and most favourably accomplished. It so chanced,
also, that Bucklaw, among his new acquisitions, had gained the management of
a little political interest in a neighbouring county where the Douglas family
originally held large possessions. It was one of the bosom-hopes of Lady Ashton
that her eldest son, Sholto, should represent this county in the British Parliament,
and she saw this alliance with Bucklaw as a circumstance which might be highly
favourable to her wishes.
Craigengelt, who, in his way, by no means wanted sagacity, no sooner
discovered in what quarter the wind of Lady Ashton's wishes sate, than he
trimmed his course accordinly. "There was little to prevent Bucklaw himself from
sitting for the county; he must carry the heat--must walk the course. Two cousins-
german, six more distant kinsmen, his factor and his chamberlain, were all hollow
votes; and the Girnington interest had always carried, betwixt love and fear,