The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 33
This by his tongue should be a Montague!
Fetch me my rapier, boy;
Now, by the faith and honour of my kin,
To strike him dead I hold it not a sin.
Romeo and Juliet.
HARDLY had Miss Ashton dropped the pen, when the door of the apartment flew
open, and the Master of Ravenswood entered the apartment.
Lockhard and another domestic, who had in vain attempted to oppose his
passage through the gallery or antechamber, were seen standing on the
threshold transfixed with surprise, which was instantly communicated to the
whole party in the staterroom. That of Colonel Douglas Ashton was mingled with
resentment; that of Bucklaw with haughty and affected indifference; the rest,
even Lady Ashton herself, showed signs of fear; and Lucy seemed stiffened to
stone by this unexpected apparition. Apparition it might well be termed, for
Ravenswood had more the appearance of one returned from the dead than of a
living visitor.
He planted himself full in the middle of the apartment, opposite to the table at
which Lucy was seated, on whom, as if she had been alone in the chamber, he
bent his eyes with a mingled expression of deep grief and deliberate indignation.
His dark- coloured riding cloak, displaced from one shoulder, hung around one
side of his person in the ample folds of the Spanish mantle. The rest of his rich
dress was travel-soiled, and deranged by hard riding. He had a sword by his
side, and pistols in his belt. His slouched hat, which he had not removed at
entrance, gave an additional gloom to his dark features, which, wasted by sorrow
and marked by the ghastly look communicated by long illness, added to a
countenance naturally somewhat stern and wild a fierce and even savage
expression. The matted and dishevelled locks of hair which escaped from under
his hat, together with his fixed and unmoved posture, made his head more
resemble that of a marble bust than that of a living man. He said not a single
word, and there was a deep silence in the company for more than two minutes.
It was broken by Lady Ashton, who in that space partly recovered her natural
audacity. She demanded to know the cause of this unauthorised intrusion.
"That is a question, madam," said her son, "which I have the best right to ask;
and I must request of the Master of Ravenswood to follow me where he can
answer it at leisure."
Bucklaw interposed, saying, "No man on earth should usurp his previous right in
demanding an explanation from the Master. Craigengelt," he added, in an
undertone, "d--n ye, why do you stand staring as if you saw a ghost? fetch me
my sword from the gallery."
"I will relinquish to none," said Colonel Ashton, "my right of calling to account the
man who has offered this unparalleled affront to my family." "Be patient,
gentlemen," said Ravenswood, turning sternly towards them, and waving his
hand as if to impose silence on their altercation. "If you are as weary of your lives