The Bride of Lammermoor HTML version

Chapter 11
Let them have meat enough, woman--half a hen;
There be old rotten pilchards--put them off too;
'Tis but a little new anointing of them,
And a strong onion, that confounds the savour.
Love's Pilgrimage.
THE thunderbolt, which had stunned all who were within hearing of it, had only
served to awaken the bold and inventive genius of the flower of majors-domo.
Almost before the clatter had ceased, and while there was yet scarce an
assurance whether the castle was standing or falling, Caleb exclaimed, "Heaven
be praised! this comes to hand like the boul of a pint-stoup." He then barred the
kitchen door in the face of the Lord Keeper's servant, whom he perceived
returning from the party at the gate, and muttering, "How the deil cam he in?--but
deil may care. Mysie, what are ye sitting shaking and greeting in the chimney-
neuk for? Come here--or stay where ye are, and skirl as loud as ye can; it's a'
ye're gude for. I say, ye auld deevil, skirl-- skirl--louder--louder, woman; gar the
gentles hear ye in the ha'. I have heard ye as far off as the Bass for a less matter.
And stay--down wi' that crockery----"
And with a sweeping blow, he threw down from a shelf some articles of pewter
and earthenware. He exalted his voice amid the clatter, shouting and roaring in a
manner which changed Mysie's hysterical terrors of the thunder into fears that
her old fellow-servant was gone distracted. "He has dung down a' the bits o' pigs,
too--the only thing we had left to haud a soup milk--and he has spilt the hatted hit
that was for the Master's dinner. Mercy save us, the auld man's gaen clean and
clear wud wi' the thunner!"
"Haud your tongue, ye b----!" said Caleb, in the impetuous and overbearing
triumph of successful invention, "a's provided now-- dinner and a'thing; the
thunner's done a' in a clap of a hand!"
"Puir man, he's muckle astray," said Mysie, looking at him with a mixture of pity
and alarm; "I wish he may ever come come hame to himsell again."
"Here, ye auld doited deevil," said Caleb, still exulting in his extrication from a
dilemma which had seemed insurmountable; "keep the strange man out of the
kitchen; swear the thunner came down the chimney and spoiled the best dinner
ye ever dressed-- beef--bacon--kid--lark--leveret--wild-fowl--venison, and what
not. Lay it on thick, and never mind expenses. I'll awa' up to the la'. Make a' the
confusion ye can; but be sure ye keep out the strange servant."
With these charges to his ally, Caleb posted up to the hall, but stopping to
reconnoitre through an aperture, which time, for the convenience of many a
domestic in succession, had made in the door, and perceiving the situation of
Miss Ashton, he had prudence enough to make a pause, both to avoid adding to
her alarm and in order to secure attention to his account of the disastrous effects
of the thunder.
But when he perceived that the lady was recovered, and heard the conversation
turn upon the accommodation and refreshment which the castle afforded, he