Reading Sir Walter:

The Bride of Lammermoor 

(Chapter 35) The Ending

Read by Dr. Penny Fielding

This is the end of both The Bride of Lammermoor and of the Master of Ravenswood, in fulfilment of the prophecy:

          "He shall stable his steed in the Kelpie's flow,

           And his name shall be lost for evermore!"

I have chosen it because it is such an evocative and mysterious piece.  Scott does not try to wrap up all the strands and, or present us with an ending that looks forward to a progressive future.  Instead of fighting his duel with Sholto Ashton—a more traditionally exciting Romance ending that Scott resists-- Edgar simply disappears as if into thin air.  The purse of gold that he flings to Caleb is a bitterly ironic reward for Caleb's dogged refusal to let go of the past  and Edgar finally vanishes from history altogether.  Sometimes the historical novel is about what is lost to history, as well as what is discovered in the novel's pages.  

December 2009

The Links of Eyemouth. 1836 Steel engraving by Robert Staines based on a painting by Henry Melville. Used here with the permission of the Walter Scott Digital Archive Image Collection.