The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 8
The hearth in hall was black and dead,
No board was dight in bower within,
Nor merry bowl nor welcome bed;
"Here's sorry cheer," quoth the Heir of Linne.
Old Ballad
THE feelings of the prodigal Heir of Linne, as expressed in that excellent old
song, when, after dissipating his whole fortune, he found himself the deserted
inhabitant of "the lonely lodge," might perhaps have some resemblance to those
of the Master of Ravenswood in his deserted mansion of Wolf's Crag. The
Master, however, had this advantage over the spendthrift in the legend, that, if he
was in similar distress, he could not impute it to his own imprudence. His misery
had been bequeathed to him by his father, and, joined to his high blood, and to a
title which the courteous might give or the churlish withhold at their pleasure, it
was the whole inheritance he had derived from his ancestry. Perhaps this
melancholy yet consolatory reflection crossed the mind of the unfortunate young
nobleman with a breathing of comfort. Favourable to calm reflection, as well as to
the Muses, the morning, while it dispelled the shades of night, had a composing
and sedative effect upon the stormy passions by which the Master of
Ravenswood had been agitated on the preceding day. He now felt himself able to
analyse the different feelings by which he was agitated, and much resolved to
combat and to subdue them. The morning, which had arisen calm and bright,
gave a pleasant effect even to the waste moorland view which was seen from the
castle on looking to the landward; and the glorious ocean, crisped with a
thousand rippling waves of silver, extended on the other side, in awful yet
complacent majesty, to the verge of the horizon. With such scenes of calm
sublimity the human heart sympathises even in its most disturbed moods, and
deeds of honour and virtue are inspired by their majestic influence. To seek out
Bucklaw in the retreat which he had afforded him, was the first occupation of the
Master, after he had performed, with a scrutiny unusually severe, the important
task of self-examination. "How now, Bucklaw?" was his morning's salutation--
"how like you the couch in which the exiled Earl of Angus once slept in security,
when he was pursued by the full energy of a king's resentment?"
"Umph!" returned the sleeper awakened; "I have little to complain of where so
great a man was quartered before me, only the mattress was of the hardest, the
vault somewhat damp, the rats rather more mutinous than I would have expected
from the state of Caleb's larder; and if there had been shutters to that grated
window, or a curtain to the bed, I should think it, upon the whole, an improvement
in your accommodations."
"It is, to be sure, forlorn enough," said the Master, looking around the small vault;
"but if you will rise and leave it, Caleb will endeavour to find you a better
breakfast than your supper of last night."
"Pray, let it be no better," said Bucklaw, getting up, and endeavouring to dress
himself as well as the obscurity of the place would permit--"let it, I say, be no