The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 23
Such was our fallen father's fate,
Yet better than mine own;
He shared his exile with his mate,
I'm banish'd forth alone.
I WILL not attempt to describe the mixture of indignation and regret with which
Ravenswood left the seat which had belonged to his ancestors. The terms in
which Lady Ashton's billet was couched rendered it impossible for him, without
being deficient in that spirit of which he perhaps had too much, to remain an
instant longer within its walls. The Marquis, who had his share in the affront, was,
nevertheless, still willing to make some efforts at conciliation. He therefore
suffered his kinsman to depart alone, making him promise, however, that he
would wait for him at the small inn called the Tod's Hole, situated, as our readers
may be pleased to recollect, half-way betwixt Ravenswood Castle and Wolf's
Crag, and about five Scottish miles distant from each. Here the Marquis
proposed to join the Master of Ravenswood, either that night or the next morning.
His own feelings would have induced him to have left the castle directly, but he
was loth to forfeit, without at least one effort, the advantages which he had
proposed from his visit to the Lord Keeper; and the Master of Ravenswood was,
even in the very heat of his resentment, unwilling to foreclose any chance of
reconciliation which might arise out of the partiality which Sir William Ashton had
shown towards him, as well as the intercessory arguments of his noble kinsman.
He himself departed without a moment's delay, farther than was necessary to
make this arrangement.
At first he spurred his horse at a quick pace through an avenue of the park, as if,
by rapidity of motion, he could stupify the confusion of feelings with which he was
assailed. But as the road grew wilder and more sequestered, and when the trees
had hidden the turrets of the castle, he gradually slackened his pace, as if to
indulge the painful reflections which he had in vain endeavoured to repress. The
path in which he found himself led him to the Mermaiden's Fountain, and to the
cottage of Alice; and the fatal influence which superstitious belief attached to the
former spot, as well as the admonitions which had been in vain offered to him by
the inhabitant of the latter, forced themselves upon his memory. "Old saws speak
truth," he said to himself, "and the Mermaiden's Well has indeed witnessed the
last act of rashness of the heir of Ravenswood. Alice spoke well," he continued,
"and I am in the situation which she foretold; or rather, I am more deeply
dishonoured--not the dependant and ally of the destroyer of my father's house,
as the old sibyl presaged, but the degraded wretch who has aspired to hold that
subordinate character, and has been rejected with disdain."
We are bound to tell the tale as we have received it; and, considering the
distance of the time, and propensity of those through whose mouths it has
passed to the marvellous, this could not be called a Scottish story unless it
manifested a tinge of Scottish superstition. As Ravenswood approached the