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It has long been the ambition of the present publishers to offer to the public an ideal edition of the writings of Sir Walter Scott, the great poet and novelist of whom William Hazlitt said, 'His works are almost like a new edition of human nature.' Secure in the belief not only that his writings have achieved a permanent place in the literature of the world, but that succeeding generations will prize them still more highly, we have, after the... more...

GENERAL PREFACE TO THE WAVERLEY NOVELS And must I ravel outMy weaved-up follies?                       Richard II, Act IV. Having undertaken to give an Introductory Account of the compositions which are here offered to the public, with Notes and Illustrations, the Author, under whose name they are now for the first time collected, feels... more...

I. The Period It was the best of times,it was the worst of times,it was the age of wisdom,it was the age of foolishness,it was the epoch of belief,it was the epoch of incredulity,it was the season of Light,it was the season of Darkness,it was the spring of hope,it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way— in short, the... more...

BEFORE THE CURTAIN As the manager of the Performance sits before the curtain on the boards and looks into the Fair, a feeling of profound melancholy comes over him in his survey of the bustling place. There is a great quantity of eating and drinking, making love and jilting, laughing and the contrary, smoking, cheating, fighting, dancing and fiddling; there are bullies pushing about, bucks ogling the women, knaves picking pockets, policemen on... more...

INTRODUCTION. The London publishers annually issue statistics of the works that have appeared in England during the year. Sometimes sermons and books on theology reach the highest figures; England is still the England of the Bible, the country that at the time of the Reformation produced three hundred and twenty-six editions of the Scriptures in less than a century, and whose religious literature is so abundant that to-day twenty-eight volumes... more...


It is well known to every man conversant with the earlier history of this country that, shortly subsequent to the cession of the Canadas to England by France, Ponteac, the great head of the Indian race of that period, had formed a federation of the various tribes, threatening extermination to the British posts established along the Western frontier. These were nine in number, and the following stratagem was resorted to by the artful chief to... more...

CHAPTER I From Monte Motterone you survey the Lombard plain. It is a towering dome of green among a hundred pinnacles of grey and rust-red crags. At dawn the summit of the mountain has an eagle eye for the far Venetian boundary and the barrier of the Apennines; but with sunrise come the mists. The vast brown level is seen narrowing in; the Ticino and the Sesia waters, nearest, quiver on the air like sleepy lakes; the plain is engulphed up to the... more...

PREFACE. In the winter of 1873 I spent some weeks in one of the tombs of the Necropolis of Thebes in order to study the monuments of that solemn city of the dead; and during my long rides in the silent desert the germ was developed whence this book has since grown. The leisure of mind and body required to write it was given me through a long but not disabling illness. In the first instance I intended to elucidate this story—like my... more...

THE BATTLE OF THE TUBS. It was Monday morning. It was also the twenty-third day of November in the year of our Lord 1620; but this latter fact was either unknown or matter of profound indifference to the two-and-twenty women who stood ready to make the day memorable in the world's history, while the fact of Monday was to them one of paramount importance. Do you ask why this was thus? The answer is duplex: first, the two-and-twenty women were... more...

CHAPTER I WHEN THE SHIP COMES HOME In the days when England trusted mainly to the vigor and valor of one man, against a world of enemies, no part of her coast was in greater peril than the fair vale of Springhaven. But lying to the west of the narrow seas, and the shouts both of menace and vigilance, the quiet little village in the tranquil valley forbore to be uneasy. For the nature of the place and race, since time has outlived memory,... more...