The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 6
For this are all these warriors come,
To hear an idle tale;
And o'er our death-accustom'd arms
Shall silly tears prevail?
ON the evening of the day when the Lord Keeper and his daughter were saved
from such imminent peril, two strangers were seated in the most private
apartment of a small obscure inn, or rather alehouse, called the Tod's Den [Hole],
about three or four [five or six] miles from the Castle of Ravenswood and as far
from the ruinous tower of Wolf's Crag, betwixt which two places it was situated.
One of these strangers was about forty years of age, tall, and thin in the flanks,
with an aquiline nose, dark penetrating eyes, and a shrewd but sinister cast of
countenance. The other was about fifteen years younger, short, stout, ruddy-
faced, and red-haired, with an open, resolute, and cheerful eye, to which
careless and fearless freedom and inward daring gave fire and expression,
notwithstanding its light grey colour. A stoup of wine (for in those days it was
erved out from the cask in pewter flagons) was placed on the table, and each
had his quaigh or bicker before him. But there was little appearance of
conviviality. With folded arms, and looks of anxious expectation, they eyed each
other in silence, each wrapt in his own thoughts, and holding no communication
with his neighbour. At length the younger broke silence by exclaiming: "What the
foul fiend can detain the Master so long? He must have miscarried in his
enterprise. Why did you dissuade me from going with him?"
"One man is enough to right his own wrong," said the taller and older personage;
"we venture our lives for him in coming thus far on such an errand."
"Yopu are but a craven after all, Craigengelt," answered the younger, "and that's
what many folk have thought you before now." "But what none has dared to tell
me," said Craigengelt, laying his hand on the hilt of his sword; "and, but that I
hold a hasty man no better than a fool, I would----" he paused for his
companion's answer.
"WOULD you?" said the other, coolly; "and why do you not then?"
Craigengelt drew his cutlass an inch or two, and then returned it with violence
into the scabbard--"Because there is a deeper stake to be played for than the
lives of twenty harebrained gowks like you."
"You are right there," said his companion, "for it if were not that these forfeitures,
and that last fine that the old driveller Turntippet is gaping for, and which, I dare
say, is laid on by this time, have fairly driven me out of house and home, I were a
coxcomb and a cuckoo to boot to trust your fair promises of getting me a
commission in the Irish brigade. What have I to do with the Irish brigade? I am a
plain Scotchman, as my father was before me; and my grand-aunt, Lady
Girnington, cannot live for ever."