In the twelfth century, England is in ruins. The tension between the Saxons and Normans are at an all-time high. While King Richard the Lion Heart is away, his brother Prince John sits on the throne, allowing the Norman nobles to ravage the Saxon countryside further. There is no one to protect them. Their land is repossessed. They are made to flee into the forests as outlaws, leaving behind the stand-in king who has forsaken them.
Sir Wilfred of Ivanhoe, disowned by his father after pledging allegiance to King Richard, has returned from the Crusades eager to win the love of Lady Rowena. The young knight, eager to prove himself worthy of her affections, sets out to demonstrate his merit—fighting his enemies with aid from the likes of Robin Hood.
A classic of historical fiction, Sir Walter Scott’s masterpiece brims with romance, adventure, and action.
This ebook has been professionally proofread to ensure accuracy and readability on all devices.
We will be I thankful if friends at home and abroad would kindly do their utmost in making the "Story of our English Bible" known to Christians, and to Christian workers in every sphere of labour.
Once again, we commend the book to the God of all grace, in the fervent hope that He may grant a largely increased circulation.
Your Servant for Christ's sake, Walter Scott.
'Tis said that words and signs have power
O'er sprites in planetary hour;
But scarce I praise their venturous part
Who tamper with such dangerous art.
Lay of the Last Minstrel.
The Novel or Romance of Waverley made its way to the public slowly, of course, at first, but afterwards with such accumulating popularity as to encourage the Author to a second attempt. He looked about for a name and a subject; and the manner in which the novels were composed cannot be better illustrated than by reciting the simple narrative on which Guy Mannering was originally founded; but to which, in the progress of the work, the production ceased to bear any, even the most distant resemblance. The tale was originally told me by an old servant of my father's, an excellent old Highlander, without a fault, unless a preference to mountain dew over less potent liquors be accounted one. He believed as firmly in the story as in any part of his creed.
A grave and elderly person, according to old John MacKinlay's account, while travelling in the wilder parts of Galloway, was benighted. With difficulty he found his way to a country seat, where, with the hospitality of the time and country, he was readily admitted. The owner of the house, a gentleman of good fortune, was much struck by the reverend appearance of his guest, and apologised to him for a certain degree of confusion which must unavoidably attend his reception, and could not escape his eye. The lady of the house was, he said, confined to her apartment, and on the point of making her husband a father for the first time, though they had been ten years married. At such an emergency, the laird said, he feared his guest might meet with some apparent neglect.
“Quoth he, there was a ship.”
This brief preface may begin like the tale of the Ancient Mariner, since it was on shipboard that the author acquired the very moderate degree of local knowledge and information, both of people and scenery, which he has endeavoured to embody in the romance of the Pirate.
In the summer and autumn of 1814, the author was invited to join a party of Commissioners for the Northern Light-House Service, who proposed making a voyage round the coast of Scotland, and through its various groups of islands, chiefly for the purpose of seeing the condition of the many lighthouses under their direction,—edifices so important, whether regarding them as benevolent or political institutions. Among the commissioners who manage this important public concern, the sheriff of each county of Scotland which borders on the sea, holds ex-officio a place at the Board. These gentlemen act in every respect gratuitously, but have the use of an armed yacht, well found and fitted up, when they choose to visit the lighthouses. An excellent engineer, Mr. Robert Stevenson, is attached to the Board, to afford the benefit of his professional advice. The author accompanied this expedition as a guest; for Selkirkshire, though it calls him Sheriff, has not, like the kingdom of Bohemia in Corporal Trim’s story, a seaport in its circuit, nor its magistrate, of course, any place at the Board of Commissioners,—a circumstance of little consequence where all were old and intimate friends, bred to the same profession, and disposed to accommodate each other in every possible manner.
THE Author, on a former occasion, declined giving the real source from which he drew the tragic subject of this history, because, though occurring at a distant period, it might possibly be unpleasing to the feelings of the descendants of the parties. But as he finds an account of the circumstances given in the Notes to Law's Memorials, by his ingenious friend, Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe, Esq., and also indicated in his reprint of the Rev. Mr. Symson's poems appended to the Large Description of Galloway, as the original of the Bride of Lammermoor, the Author feels himself now at liberty to tell the tale as he had it from connexions of his own, who lived very near the period, and were closely related to the family of the bride.
It is well known that the family of Dalrymple, which has produced, within the space of two centuries, as many men of talent, civil and military, and of literary, political, and professional eminence, as any house in Scotland, first rose into distinction in the person of James Dalrymple, one of the most eminent lawyers that ever lived, though the labours of his powerful mind were unhappily exercised on a subject so limited as Scottish jurisprudence, on which he has composed an admirable work.
He married Margaret, daughter to Ross of Balneel, with whom he obtained a considerable estate. She was an able, politic, and high-minded woman, so successful in what she undertook, that the vulgar, no way partial to her husband or her family, imputed her success to necromancy. According to the popular belief, this Dame Margaret purchased the temporal prosperity of her family from the Master whom she served under a singular condition, which is thus narrated by the historian of her grandson, the great Earl of Stair: "She lived to a great age, and at her death desired that she might not be put under ground, but that her coffin should stand upright on one end of it, promising that while she remained in that situation the Dalrymples should continue to flourish. What was the old lady's motive for the request, or whether she really made such a promise, I shall not take upon me to determine; but it's certain her coffin stands upright in the isle of the church of Kirklistown, the burial-place belonging to the family." The talents of this accomplished race were sufficient to have accounted for the dignities which many members of the family attained, without any supernatural assistance. But their extraordinary prosperity was attended by some equally singular family misfortunes, of which that which befell their eldest daughter was at once unaccountable and melancholy.
The Scotsman Sir Walter Scott is still considered one of the greatest writers of the English language. His most famous and popular title is Ivanhoe, but he is also remembered for other works like The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, and The Bride of Lammermoor.
Sir Walter Scott's "Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft" were his contribution to a series of books, published by John Murray, which appeared between the years 1829 and 1847, and formed a collection of eighty volumes known as "Murray's Family Library." The series was planned to secure a wide diffusion of good literature in cheap five-shilling volumes, and Scott's "Letters," written and published in 1830, formed one of the earlier books in the collection.
The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge had been founded in the autumn of 1826, and Charles Knight, who had then conceived a plan of a National Library, was entrusted, in July, 1827, with the superintendence of its publications. Its first treatises appeared in sixpenny numbers, once a fortnight. Its "British Almanac" and "Companion to the Almanac" first appeared at the beginning of 1829. Charles Knight started also in that year his own "Library of Entertaining Knowledge." John Murray's "Family Library" was then begun, and in the spring of 1832—the year of the Reform Bill—the advance of civilization by the diffusion of good literature, through cheap journals as well as cheap books, was sought by the establishment of"Chambers's Edinburgh Journal" in the North, and in London of "The Penny Magazine."
I knew Anselmo. He was shrewd and prudent,
Wisdom and cunning had their shares of him;
But he was shrewish as a wayward child,
And pleased again by toys which childhood please;
As—-book of fables, graced with print of wood,
Or else the jingling of a rusty medal,
Or the rare melody of some old ditty,
That first was sung to please King Pepin's cradle
The present work completes a series of fictitious narratives, intended to illustrate the manners of Scotland at three different periods. Waverleyembraced the age of our fathers, Guy Mannering that of our own youth, and the Antiquary refers to the last ten years of the eighteenth century. I have, in the two last narratives especially, sought my principal personages in the class of society who are the last to feel the influence of that general polish which assimilates to each other the manners of different nations. Among the same class I have placed some of the scenes in which I have endeavoured to illustrate the operation of the higher and more violent passions; both because the lower orders are less restrained by the habit of suppressing their feelings, and because I agree, with my friend Wordsworth, that they seldom fail to express them in the strongest and most powerful language. This is, I think, peculiarly the case with the peasantry of my own country, a class with whom I have long been familiar. The antique force and simplicity of their language, often tinctured with the Oriental eloquence of Scripture, in the mouths of those of an elevated understanding, give pathos to their grief, and dignity to their resentment.
I have been more solicitous to describe manners minutely than to arrange in any case an artificial and combined narrative, and have but to regret that I felt myself unable to unite these two requisites of a good Novel.
The knavery of the adept in the following sheets may appear forced and improbable; but we have had very late instances of the force of superstitious credulity to a much greater extent, and the reader may be assured, that this part of the narrative is founded on a fact of actual occurrence.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE FIRST EDITION
APPENDIX TO INTRODUCTION.
The Duke of Montrose to—*
COPY OF GRAHAME OF KILLEARN'S LETTER, ENCLOSED IN THE PRECEDING.
"Chappellarroch, Nov. 19th, 1716.
THE DUKE OF MONTROSE TO ——
28th Nov. 1716—Killearn's Release.
No. III.—CHALLENGE BY ROB ROY.
"Rob Roy to ain hie and mighty Prince, James Duke of Montrose.
ESCAPE OF ROB ROY FROM THE DUKE OF ATHOLE.
No. V.—HIGHLAND WOOING.
No. VI—GHLUNE DHU.
EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION TO ROB ROY
STATE PAPER OFFICE,
NOTES TO ROB ROY.
Note A.—The Grey Stone of MacGregor.
Note B.—Dugald Ciar Mhor.
Note C.—The Loch Lomond Expedition.
Note D.—Author's Expedition against the MacLarens.
Note E.—Allan Breck Stewart.
Note F.—The Abbess of Wilton.
Note G.—Mons Meg.
Note H.—-Fairy Superstition.
Note I.—Clachan of Aberfoil.
The Legend of Montrose was written chiefly with a view to place before the reader the melancholy fate of John Lord Kilpont, eldest son of William Earl of Airth and Menteith, and the singular circumstances attending the birth and history of James Stewart of Ardvoirlich, by whose hand the unfortunate nobleman fell.
Our subject leads us to talk of deadly feuds, and we must begin with one still more ancient than that to which our story relates. During the reign of James IV., a great feud between the powerful families of Drummond and Murray divided Perthshire. The former, being the most numerous and powerful, cooped up eight score of the Murrays in the kirk of Monivaird, and set fire to it. The wives and the children of the ill-fated men, who had also found shelter in the church, perished by the same conflagration. One man, named David Murray, escaped by the humanity of one of the Drummonds, who received him in his arms as he leaped from amongst the flames. As King James IV. ruled with more activity than most of his predecessors, this cruel deed was severely revenged, and several of the perpetrators were beheaded at Stirling. In consequence of the prosecution against his clan, the Drummond by whose assistance David Murray had escaped, fled to Ireland, until, by means of the person whose life he had saved, he was permitted to return to Scotland, where he and his descendants were distinguished by the name of Drummond-Eirinich, or Ernoch, that is, Drummond of Ireland; and the same title was bestowed on their estate.
The Drummond-ernoch of James the Sixth's time was a king's forester in the forest of Glenartney, and chanced to be employed there in search of venison about the year 1588, or early in 1589. This forest was adjacent to the chief haunts of the MacGregors, or a particular race of them, known by the title of MacEagh, or Children of the Mist. They considered the forester's hunting in their vicinity as an aggression, or perhaps they had him at feud, for the apprehension or slaughter of some of their own name, or for some similar reason. This tribe of MacGregors were outlawed and persecuted, as the reader may see in the Introduction to ROB ROY; and every man's hand being against them, their hand was of course directed against every man. In short, they surprised and slew Drummond-ernoch, cut off his head, and carried it with them, wrapt in the corner of one of their plaids.
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 they must necessarily anticipate from the perusal of the title-page. Nevertheless, I am not unaware, that, as Envy always dogs Merit at the heels, there may be those who will whisper, that albeit my learning and good principles cannot (lauded be the heavens) be denied by any one, yet that my situation at Gandercleugh hath been more favourable to my acquisitions in learning than to the enlargement of my views of the ways and works of the present generation. To the which objection, if, peradventure, any such shall be started, my answer shall be threefold:
First, Gandercleugh is, as it were, the central part—the navel (si fas sit dicere) of this our native realm of Scotland; so that men, from every corner thereof, when travelling on their concernments of business, either towards our metropolis of law, by which I mean Edinburgh, or towards our metropolis and mart of gain, whereby I insinuate Glasgow, are frequently led to make Gandercleugh their abiding stage and place of rest for the night. And it must be acknowledged by the most sceptical, that I, who have sat in the leathern armchair, on the left-hand side of the fire, in the common room of the Wallace Inn, winter and summer, for every evening in my life, during forty years bypast, (the Christian Sabbaths only excepted,) must have seen more of the manners and customs of various tribes and people, than if I had sought them out by my own painful travel and bodily labour. Even so doth the tollman at the well-frequented turnpike on the Wellbrae-head, sitting at his ease in his own dwelling, gather more receipt of custom, than if, moving forth upon the road, he were to require a contribution from each person whom he chanced to meet in his journey, when, according to the vulgar adage, he might possibly be greeted with more kicks than halfpence.
But, secondly, supposing it again urged, that Ithacus, the most wise of the Greeks, acquired his renown, as the Roman poet hath assured us, by visiting states and men, I reply to the Zoilus who shall adhere to this objection, that, de facto, I have seen states and men also; for I have visited the famous cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, the former twice, and the latter three times, in the course of my earthly pilgrimage. And, moreover, I had the honour to sit in the General Assembly (meaning, as an auditor, in the galleries thereof,) and have heard as much goodly speaking on the law of patronage, as, with the fructification thereof in mine own understanding, hath made me be considered as an oracle upon that doctrine ever since my safe and happy return to Gandercleugh.
The "Betrothed" did not greatly please one or two friends, who thought that it did not well correspond to the general title of "The Crusaders." They urged, therefore, that, without direct allusion to the manners of the Eastern tribes, and to the romantic conflicts of the period, the title of a "Tale of the Crusaders" would resemble the playbill, which is said to have announced the tragedy of Hamlet, the character of the Prince of Denmark being left out. On the other hand, I felt the difficulty of giving a vivid picture of a part of the world with which I was almost totally unacquainted, unless by early recollections of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments; and not only did I labour under the incapacity of ignorance--in which, as far as regards Eastern manners, I was as thickly wrapped as an Egyptian in his fog--but my contemporaries were, many of them, as much enlightened upon the subject as if they had been inhabitants of the favoured land of Goshen. The love of travelling had pervaded all ranks, and carried the subjects of Britain into all quarters of the world. Greece, so attractive by its remains of art, by its struggles for freedom against a Mohammedan tyrant, by its very name, where every fountain had its classical legend--Palestine, endeared to the imagination by yet more sacred remembrances--had been of late surveyed by British eyes, and described by recent travellers. Had I, therefore, attempted the difficult task of substituting manners of my own invention, instead of the genuine costume of the East, almost every traveller I met who had extended his route beyond what was anciently called "The Grand Tour," had acquired a right, by ocular inspection, to chastise me for my presumption. Every member of the Travellers' Club who could pretend to have thrown his shoe over Edom was, by having done so, constituted my lawful critic and corrector. It occurred, therefore, that where the author of Anastasius, as well as he of Hadji Baba, had described the manners and vices of the Eastern nations, not only with fidelity, but with the humour of Le Sage and the ludicrous power of Fielding himself, one who was a perfect stranger to the subject must necessarily produce an unfavourable contrast. The Poet Laureate also, in the charming tale of "Thalaba," had shown how extensive might be the researches of a person of acquirements and talent, by dint of investigation alone, into the ancient doctrines, history, and manners of the Eastern countries, in which we are probably to look for the cradle of mankind; Moore, in his "Lalla Rookh," had successfully trod the same path; in which, too, Byron, joining ocular experience to extensive reading, had written some of his most attractive poems. In a word, the Eastern themes had been already so successfully handled by those who were acknowledged to be masters of their craft, that I was diffident of making the attempt.
ADVERTISEMENT TO THE WAVERLEY NOVELS
GENERAL PREFACE TO THE WAVERLEY NOVELS
FRAGMENT OF A ROMANCE WHICH WAS TO HAVE BEEN ENTITLED
THOMAS THE RHYMER.
THE LORD OF ENNERDALE.
IN A FRAGMENT OF A LETTER FROM JOHN B, ESQ., OF THAT ILK, TO WILLIAM G, F.R.S.E.
"Journal of Jan Von Eulen.
BY THE AUTHOR OF WAVERLEY.
A HUNTING PARTY.—AN ADVENTURE.—A DELIVERANCE.
ANECDOTE OF SCHOOL DAYS,
UPON WHICH MR. THOMAS SCOTT PROPOSED TO FOUND A TALE OF FICTION.
'T IS SIXTY YEARS SINCE.
EDITOR'S INTRODUCTION TO WAVERLEY.
PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION
THE AUTHOR'S ADDRESS TO ALL IN GENERAL
'TIS SIXTY YEARS SINCE
CHOICE OF A PROFESSION
THE ADIEUS OF WAVERLEY
A HORSE-QUARTER IN SCOTLAND
A SCOTTISH MANOR-HOUSE SIXTY YEARS SINCE
MORE OF THE MANOR-HOUSE AND ITS ENVIRONS
ROSE BRADWARDINE AND HER FATHER
REPENTANCE AND A RECONCILIATION
A MORE RATIONAL DAY THAN THE LAST
Saint Swithin's Chair
A DISCOVERY—WAVERLEY BECOMES DOMESTICATED AT TULLY-VEOLAN
A CREAGH, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
AN UNEXPECTED ALLY APPEARS
THE HOLD OF A HIGHLAND ROBBER
WAVERLEY PROCEEDS ON HIS JOURNEY
THE CHIEF AND HIS MANSION
A HIGHLAND FEAST
THE CHIEFTAIN'S SISTER
WAVERLEY CONTINUES AT GLENNAQUOICH
A STAG-HUNT AND ITS CONSEQUENCES
NEWS FROM ENGLAND
UPON THE SAME SUBJECT
A LETTER FROM TULLY-VEOLAN
WAVERLEY'S RECEPTION IN THE LOWLANDS AFTER HIS HIGHLAND TOUR
To an Oak Tree
'TIS SIXTY YEARS SINCE
SHOWS THAT THE LOSS OF A HORSE'S SHOE MAY BE A SERIOUS INCONVENIENCE
A CONFERENCE AND THE CONSEQUENCE
THINGS MEND A LITTLE
A VOLUNTEER SIXTY YEARS SINCE
WAVERLEY IS STILL IN DISTRESS
A NOCTURNAL ADVENTURE
THE JOURNEY IS CONTINUED
AN OLD AND A NEW ACQUAINTANCE
THE MYSTERY BEGINS TO BE CLEARED UP
A SOLDIER'S DINNER
AN INCIDENT GIVES RISE TO UNAVAILING REFLECTIONS
THE EVE OF BATTLE
AN UNEXPECTED EMBARRASSMENT
THE ENGLISH PRISONER
INTRIGUES OF LOVE AND POLITICS
INTRIGUES OF SOCIETY AND LOVE
FERGUS A SUITOR
'TO ONE THING CONSTANT NEVER'
A BRAVE MAN IN SORROW
THE CONFUSION OF KING AGRAMANT'S CAMP
CHAPTER OF ACCIDENTS
A JOURNEY TO LONDON
WHAT'S TO BE DONE NEXT?
COMPARING OF NOTES
Now is Cupid a child of conscience—he makes restitution.—SHAKSPEARE
To morrow? O that's sudden!—Spare him, spare him'—SHAKSPEARE
This is no mine ain house, I ken by the bigging o't—Old Song.
A POSTSCRIPT WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN A PREFACE
CHAPTER I: THE CONTRAST
CHAPTER II: THE WANDERER
CHAPTER III: THE CASTLE
CHAPTER IV: THE DEJEUNER
CHAPTER V: THE MAN AT ARMS
CHAPTER VI: THE BOHEMIANS
CHAPTER VII: THE ENROLMENT
CHAPTER VIII: THE ENVOY
CHAPTER IX: THE BOAR HUNT
CHAPTER X: THE SENTINEL
CHAPTER XI: THE HALL OF ROLAND
CHAPTER XII: THE POLITICIAN
CHAPTER XIII: THE JOURNEY
CHAPTER XIV: THE JOURNEY
CHAPTER XV: THE GUIDE
CHAPTER XVI: THE VAGRANT
CHAPTER XVII: THE ESPIED SPY
CHAPTER XVIII: PALMISTRY
CHAPTER XIX: THE CITY
CHAPTER XX: THE BILLET
CHAPTER XXI: THE SACK
CHAPTER XXII: THE REVELLERS
CHAPTER XXIII: THE FLIGHT
CHAPTER XXIV: THE SURRENDER
CHAPTER XXV: THE UNBIDDEN GUEST
CHAPTER XXVI: THE INTERVIEW
CHAPTER XXVII: THE EXPLOSION
CHAPTER XXVIII: UNCERTAINTY
CHAPTER XXIX: RECRIMINATION
CHAPTER XXX: UNCERTAINTY
CHAPTER XXXI: THE INTERVIEW
CHAPTER XXXII: THE INVESTIGATION
CHAPTER XXXIII: THE HERALD
CHAPTER XXXIV: THE EXECUTION
CHAPTER XXXV: A PRIZE FOR HONOUR
CHAPTER XXXVI: THE SALLY
CHAPTER XXXVII: THE SALLY
THE LADY OF THE LAKE.
ABBREVIATIONS USED IN THE NOTES.
Since it hath pleased the Almighty God, out of his infinite mercy, so to make us happy, by restoring of our native King to us, and us unto our native liberty through him, that now the good may say, magna temporum felicitas ubi sentire quoe velis, et dicere licet quoe sentias, we cannot but esteem ourselves engaged in the highest of degrees, to render unto him the highest thanks we can express. Although, surpris'd with joy, we become as lost in the performance; when gladness and admiration strikes us silent, as we look back upon the precipiece of our late condition, and those miraculous deliverances beyond expression. Freed from the slavery, and those desperate perils, we dayly lived in fear of, during the tyrannical times of that detestable usurper, Oliver Cromwell; he who had raked up such judges, as would wrest the most innocent language into high treason, when he had the cruel conscience to take away our lives, upon no other ground of justice or reason, (the stones of London streets would rise to witness it, if all the citizens were silent.) And with these judges had such councillors, as could advise him unto worse, which will less want of witness. For should the many auditors be silent, the press, (as God would have it,) hath given it us in print, where one of them (and his conscience-keeper, too,) speaks out. What shall we do with these men? saith he; Aeger intemperans crudelem facit medicum, et immedicabile vulmis ense recidendum. Who these men are that should be brought to such Scicilian vespers, the former page sets forth—those which conceit Utopias, and have their day-dreams of the return of I know not what golden age, with the old line. What usage, when such a privy councillor had power, could he expect, who then had published this narrative? This much so plainly shows the devil himself dislikt their doings, (so much more bad were they than he would have them be,) severer sure than was the devil to their Commissioners at Woodstock;
But why should lordlings all our praise engross?
Rise, honest man, and sing the Man of Ross.
Having, in the tale of the Heart of Mid-Lothian, succeeded in some degree in awakening an interest in behalf of one devoid of those accomplishments which belong to a heroine almost by right, I was next tempted to choose a hero upon the same unpromising plan; and as worth of character, goodness of heart, and rectitude of principle, were necessary to one who laid no claim to high birth, romantic sensibility, or any of the usual accomplishments of those who strut through the pages of this sort of composition, I made free with the name of a person who has left the most magnificent proofs of his benevolence and charity that the capital of Scotland has to display.
To the Scottish reader little more need be said than that the man alluded to is George Heriot. But for those south of the Tweed, it may be necessary to add, that the person so named was a wealthy citizen of Edinburgh, and the King's goldsmith, who followed James to the English capital, and was so successful in his profession, as to die, in 1624, extremely wealthy for that period. He had no children; and after making a full provision for such relations as might have claims upon him, he left the residue of his fortune to establish an hospital, in which the sons of Edinburgh freemen are gratuitously brought up and educated for the station to which their talents may recommend them, and are finally enabled to enter life under respectable auspices. The hospital in which this charity is maintained is a noble quadrangle of the Gothic order, and as ornamental to the city as a building, as the manner in which the youths are provided for and educated, renders it useful to the community as an institution. To the honour of those who have the management, (the Magistrates and Clergy of Edinburgh), the funds of the Hospital have increased so much under their care, that it now supports and educates one hundred and thirty youths annually, many of whom have done honour to their country in different situations.
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, and that by the mention of so magnificent a subject each reader might be induced to call up to his imagination a sketch so extensive and so grand that it might not be in the power of the author to fill it up, who would thus stand in the predicament of the dwarf bringing with him a standard to measure his own stature, and showing himself, therefore, says Sterne, "a dwarf more ways than one."
It is a fact, if it were worth while to examine it, that the publisher and author, however much their general interests are the same, may be said to differ so far as title pages are concerned; and it is a secret of the tale-telling art, if it could be termed a secret worth knowing, that a taking-title, as it is called, best answers the purpose of the bookseller, since it often goes far to cover his risk, and sells an edition not unfrequently before the public have well seen it. But the author ought to seek more permanent fame, and wish that his work, when its leaves are first cut open, should be at least fairly judged of. Thus many of the best novelists have been anxious to give their works such titles as render it out of the reader's power to conjecture their contents, until they should have an opportunity of reading them.
A certain degree of success, real or supposed, in the delineation of Queen Mary, naturally induced the author to attempt something similar respecting "her sister and her foe," the celebrated Elizabeth. He will not, however, pretend to have approached the task with the same feelings; for the candid Robertson himself confesses having felt the prejudices with which a Scottishman is tempted to regard the subject; and what so liberal a historian avows, a poor romance-writer dares not disown. But he hopes the influence of a prejudice, almost as natural to him as his native air, will not be found to have greatly affected the sketch he has attempted of England's Elizabeth. I have endeavoured to describe her as at once a high-minded sovereign, and a female of passionate feelings, hesitating betwixt the sense of her rank and the duty she owed her subjects on the one hand, and on the other her attachment to a nobleman, who, in external qualifications at least, amply merited her favour. The interest of the story is thrown upon that period when the sudden death of the first Countess of Leicester seemed to open to the ambition of her husband the opportunity of sharing the crown of his sovereign.
It is possible that slander, which very seldom favours the memories of persons in exalted stations, may have blackened the character of Leicester with darker shades than really belonged to it. But the almost general voice of the times attached the most foul suspicions to the death of the unfortunate Countess, more especially as it took place so very opportunely for the indulgence of her lover's ambition. If we can trust Ashmole's Antiquities of Berkshire, there was but too much ground for the traditions which charge Leicester with the murder of his wife. In the following extract of the passage, the reader will find the authority I had for the story of the romance:—
The Lady in the Lake is the fourth Philip Marlowe story by Raymond Chandler and one of the best-loved. Since it was first published in 1943, The Lady in the Lake has been adapted for film and radio.
The tale of the Surgeon's Daughter formed part of the second series of Chronicles of the Canongate, published in 1827; but has been separated from the stories of the Highland Widow, and c., which it originally accompanied, and deferred to the close of this collection, for reasons which printers and publishers will understand, and which would hardly interest the general reader.
The Author has nothing to say now in reference to this little Novel, but that the principal incident on which it turns, was narrated to him one morning at breakfast by his worthy friend, Mr. Train, of Castle Douglas, in Galloway, whose kind assistance he has so often had occasion to acknowledge in the course of these prefaces; and that the military friend who is alluded to as having furnished him with some information as to Eastern matters, was Colonel James Ferguson of Huntly Burn, one of the sons of the venerable historian and philosopher of that name—which name he took the liberty of concealing under its Gaelic form of Mac-Erries.
Abbotsford, September 1831.