The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 30
What doth ensue
But moody and dull melancholy,
Kinsman to grim and comfortless despair,
And at her heel, a huge infectious troop
Of pale distemperatures, and foes to life?
Comedy of Errors.
AS some vindication of the ease with which Bucklaw (who otherwise, as he
termed himself, was really a very good-humoured fellow) resigned his judgment
to the management of Lady Ashton, while paying his addresses to her daughter,
the reader must call to mind the strict domestic discipline which, at this period,
was exercised over the females of a Scottish family.
The manners of the country in this, as in many other respects, coincided with
those of France before the Revolution. Young women of the higher rank seldom
mingled in society until after marriage, and, both in law and fact, were held to be
under the strict tutelage of their parents, who were too apt to enforce the views
for their settlement in life without paying any regard to the inclination of the
parties chiefly interested. On such occasions, the suitor expected little more from
his bride than a silent acquiescence in the will of her parents; and as few
opportunities of acquaintance, far less of intimacy, occurred, he made his choice
by the outside, as the lovers in the Merchant of Venice select the casket,
contented to trust to chance the issue of the lottery in which he had hazarded a
It was not therefore surprising, such being the general manners of the age, that
Mr. Hayston of Bucklaw, whom dissipated habits had detached in some degree
from the best society, should not attend particularly to those feelings in his
elected bride to which many men of more sentiment, experience, and reflection
would, in all probability, have been equally indifferent. He knew what all
accounted the principal point, that her parents and friends, namely, were
decidedly in his favour, and that there existed most powerful reasons for their
In truth, the conduct of the Marquis of A----, since Ravenswood's departure, had
been such as almost to bar the possibility of his kinsman's union with Lucy
Ashton. The Marquis was Ravenswood's sincere but misjudging friend; or rather,
like many friends and patrons, he consulted what he considered to be his
relation's true interest, although he knew that in doing so he run counter to his
The Marquis drove on, therefore, with the plentitude of ministerial authority, an
appeal to the British House of Peers against those judgments of the courts of law
by which Sir William became possessed of Ravenswood's hereditary property.
As this measure, enforced with all the authority of power, was new in Scottish
judicial proceedings, though now so frequently resorted to, it was exclaimed
against by the lawyers on the opposite side of politics, as an interference with the
civil judicature of the country, equally new, arbitrary, and tyrannical. And if it thus