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“‘St. Ronan's Well’ is not so much my favourite as certain of its predecessors,” Lady Louisa Stuart wrote to Scott on March 26, 1824. “Yet still I see the author's hand in it, et c'est tout dire. Meg Dods, the meeting” (vol. i. chap. ix.), “and the last scene between Clara and her brother, are marked with the true stamp, not to be matched or mistaken. Is the Siege of Ptolemais really on the anvil?”... more...

CHAPTER FIRST And hurry, hurry, off they rode,As fast as fast might be;Hurra, hurra, the dead can ride,Dost fear to ride with me?Burger. There is one advantage in an accumulation of evils, differing in cause and character, that the distraction which they afford by their contradictory operation prevents the patient from being overwhelmed under either. I was deeply grieved at my separation from Miss Vernon, yet not so much so as I should have... more...

INTRODUCTION—-(1829) When the author projected this further encroachment on the patience of an indulgent public, he was at some loss for a title; a good name being very nearly of as much consequence in literature as in life. The title of Rob Roy was suggested by the late Mr. Constable, whose sagacity and experience foresaw the germ of popularity which it included. No introduction can be more appropriate to the work than some account of... more...

CHAPTER FIRST. How have I sinn'd, that this afflictionShould light so heavy on me? I have no more sons,And this no more mine own.—My grand curseHang o'er his head that thus transformed thee!—Travel? I'll send my horse to travel next.Monsieur Thomas. You have requested me, my dear friend, to bestow some of that leisure, with which Providence has blessed the decline of my life, in registering the hazards and difficulties which... more...

CHAPTER I: THE CONTRAST Look here upon this picture, and on this,The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.HAMLET The latter part of the fifteenth century prepared a train of future events that ended by raising France to that state of formidable power which has ever since been from time to time the principal object of jealousy to the other European nations. Before that period she had to struggle for her very existence with the English already... more...


CHAPTER I When civil dudgeon first grew high,And men fell out, they knew not why;When foul words, jealousies, and fears,Set folk together by the ears——BUTLER. William, the Conqueror of England, was, or supposed himself to be, the father of a certain William Peveril, who attended him to the battle of Hastings, and there distinguished himself. The liberal-minded monarch, who assumed in his charters the veritable title of Gulielmus... more...

CHAPTER I. And look how many Grecian tents do standHollow upon this plain—so many hollow factions.Troilus and Cressida. In a hollow of the hill, about a quarter of a mile from the field of battle, was a shepherd's hut; a miserable cottage, which, as the only enclosed spot within a moderate distance, the leaders of the presbyterian army had chosen for their council-house. Towards this spot Burley guided Morton, who was surprised, as he... more...

The origin of "Old Mortality," perhaps the best of Scott's historical romances, is well known. In May, 1816, Mr. Joseph Train, the gauger from Galloway, breakfasted with Scott in Castle Street. He brought gifts in his hand,—a relic of Rob Roy, and a parcel of traditions. Among these was a letter from Mr. Broadfoot, schoolmaster in Pennington, who facetiously signed himself "Clashbottom." To cleish, or clash, is to "flog," in Scots. From Mr.... more...

As I may, without vanity, presume that the name and official description prefixed to this Proem will secure it, from the sedate and reflecting part of mankind, to whom only I would be understood to address myself, such attention as is due to the sedulous instructor of youth, and the careful performer of my Sabbath duties, I will forbear to hold up a candle to the daylight, or to point out to the judicious those recommendations of my labours which... more...

LESLY'S MARCH. "But, O my country! how shall memory trace"Thy glories, lost in either Charles's days,"When through thy fields destructive rapine spread,"Nor sparing infants' tears, nor hoary head!"In those dread days, the unprotected swain"Mourn'd, in the mountains, o'er his wasted plain;"Nor longer vocal, with the shepherd's lay,"Were Yarrow's banks, or groves of Endermay."LANGHORN—Genius and Valour. Such are the verses, in which a... more...