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The Tales of the Crusaders was determined upon as the title of the following series of the Novels, rather by the advice of the few friends whom, death has now rendered still fewer, than by the author's own taste. Not but that he saw plainly enough the interest which might be excited by the very name of the Crusaders, but he was conscious at the same time that that interest was of a character which it might be more easy to create than to satisfy,... more...

“‘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...

DARSIE LATIMER TO ALAN FAIRFORD DUMFRIES. CUR ME EXANIMAS QUERELIS TUIS? In plain English, Why do you deafen me with your croaking? The disconsolate tone in which you bade me farewell at Noble House, [The first stage on the road from Edinburgh to Dumfries via Moffat.] and mounted your miserable hack to return to your law drudgery, still sounds in my ears. It seemed to say, 'Happy dog! you can ramble at pleasure over hill and dale, pursue every... 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...

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...


CHAPTER I. You are fond (said my aunt) of sketches of the society which has passed away. I wish I could describe to you Sir Philip Forester, the "chartered libertine" of Scottish good company, about the end of the last century. I never saw him indeed; but my mother's traditions were full of his wit, gallantry, and dissipation. This gay knight flourished about the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century. He was the Sir... 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...

INTRODUCTION. From the remote period; when the Roman province was contracted by the ramparts of Severus, until the union of the kingdoms, the borders of Scotland formed the stage, upon which were presented the most memorable conflicts of two gallant nations. The inhabitants, at the commencement of this aera, formed the first wave of the torrent which assaulted, and finally overwhelmed, the barriers of the Roman power in Britain. The subsequent... more...

CHAPTER I. I am an innkeeper, and know my grounds,And study them; Brain o' man, I study them.I must have jovial guests to drive my ploughs,And whistling boys to bring my harvests home,Or I shall hear no flails thwack. THE NEW INN. It is the privilege of tale-tellers to open their story in an inn, the free rendezvous of all travellers, and where the humour of each displays itself without ceremony or restraint. This is specially suitable when the... more...

The Author of the Waverley Novels had hitherto proceeded in an unabated course of popularity, and might, in his peculiar district of literature, have been termed "L'Enfant Gate" of success. It was plain, however, that frequent publication must finally wear out the public favour, unless some mode could be devised to give an appearance of novelty to subsequent productions. Scottish manners, Scottish dialect, and Scottish characters of note, being... more...