‘Caution comes too late when we are in the midst of evils.’
Set just before the Jacobite Rising in 1715, Scott drew upon the political and economic struggles leading up to the rebellion and the tumultuous history of the Highlands in his classic adventure novel Rob Roy. Despite the book’s title, Frank Osbaldistone is the protagonist, travelling through England and the Scottish Highlands to collect a debt owed to his father by his cousin Rashleigh. On his journey he comes across the mysterious and striking Rob Roy, the infamous yet hunted outlaw. A story about justice, love and the harsh realities of 18th-century Highland life, Scott’s work is still viewed as the ultimate historical adventure novel.
OR 'TIS SIXTY YEARS HENCE
By SIR WALTER SCOTT, Bart.
Under which King, Bezonian? speak, or die!
_Henry IV. Part II._
MARY MONICA HOPE SCOTT
THIS EDITION OF
THE NOVELS OF HER GREAT-GRANDFATHER
BY THE PUBLISHERS.
In printing this New Edition of the Waverley Novels, the
Publishers have availed themselves of the opportunity thus
afforded them of carefully collating it with the valuable interleaved
copy in their possession, containing the Author's latest
manuscript corrections and notes; and from this source they
have obtained several annotations of considerable interest, never
before published. As examples of some of the more important
of these may be mentioned the notes on ``High Jinks'' in Guy
Mannering, ``Pr<ae>torium'' in the Antiquary, and the ``Expulsion
of the Scotch Bishops'' in the Heart of Midlothian.
There have also been inserted (within brackets) some minor
notes explanatory of references now rendered perhaps somewhat
obscure by the lapse of time. For these, the Publishers have
been chiefly indebted to Mr. David Laing, Secretary of the
Bannatyne Club, and one of the few surviving friends of the
Fortunately there is now little more required in the way of
annotation to the Waverley Novels; but in order to afford every
facility of reference, a special glossary has been added to such
of the novels as require it, and each volume will contain a
separate index. A General Index will also be appended to the
concluding volume of the series.
EDINBURGH, _December_ 1869,
ADVERTISEMENT TO EDITION 1829
It has been the occasional occupation of the Author of Waverley for
several years past to revise and correct the voluminous series of
Novels which pass under that name, in order that, if they should
ever appear as his avowed productions, he might render them in
some degree deserving of a continuance of the public favour with
which they have been honoured ever since their first appearance. For
a long period, however, it seemed likely that the improved and illustrated
edition which he meditated would be a posthumous publication.
But the course of the events which occasioned the disclosure of the
Author's name having in a great measure restored to him a sort of
parental control over these Works, he is naturally induced to give
them to the press in a corrected, and, he hopes, an improved form,
while life and health permit the task of revising and illustrating
them. Such being his purpose, it is necessary to say a few words
on the plan of the proposed Edition.
In stating it to be revised and corrected, it is not to be inferred
that any attempt is made to alter the tenor of the stories, the character
of the actors, or the spirit of the dialogue. There is no doubt
ample room for emendation in all these points---but where the tree
falls it must lie. Any attempt to obviate criticism, however just,
by altering a work already in the hands of the public, is generally
unsuccessful. In the most improbable fiction the reader still desires
some air of vraisemblance, and does not relish that the incidents of
a tale familiar to him should be altered to suit the taste of critics,
or the caprice of the author himself. This process of feeling is so
natural that it may be observed even in children, who cannot endure
that a nursery story should be repeated to them differently from the
manner in which it was first told.
But without altering in the slightest degree either the story or the
mode of telling it, the Author has taken this opportunity to correct
errors of the press and slips of the pen. That such should exist
cannot be wondered at, when it is considered that the Publishers
found it their interest to hurry through the press a succession of the
early editions of the various Novels, and that the Author had not
the usual opportunity of revision. It is hoped that the present
edition will be found free from errors of that accidental kind.
The Author has also ventured to make some emendations of a
different character, which, without being such apparent deviations
from the original stories as to disturb the reader's old associations,
will, he thinks, add something to the spirit of the dialogue, narrative,
or description. These consist in occasional pruning where the language
is redundant, compression where the style is loose, infusion of
vigour where it is languid, the exchange of less forcible for more
appropriate epithets---slight alterations, in short, like the last touches
of an artist, which contribute to heighten and finish the picture,
though an inexperienced eye can hardly detect in what they consist.
Two circumstances only had imbittered their union, which was otherwise as happy as mutual affection could render it. The first of these was indeed the common calamity of Scotland, being the distracted state of that unhappy country, where every man's sword was directed against his neighbour's bosom. Glendinning had proved what Murray expected of him, a steady friend, strong in battle, and wise in counsel, adhering to him, from motives of gratitude, in situations where by his own unbiassed will he would either have stood neuter, or have joined the opposite party. Hence, when danger was near—and it was seldom far distant—Sir Halbert Glendinning, for he now bore the rank of knighthood, was perpetually summoned to attend his patron on distant expeditions, or on perilous enterprises, or to assist him with his counsel in the doubtful intrigues of a half-barbarous court. He was thus frequently, and for a long space, absent from his castle and from his lady; and to this ground of regret we must add, that their union had not been blessed with children, to occupy the attention of the Lady of Avenel, while she was thus deprived of her husband's domestic society.
On such occasions she lived almost entirely secluded from the world, within the walls of her paternal mansion. Visiting amongst neighbors was a matter entirely out of the question, unless on occasions of solemn festival, and then it was chiefly confined to near kindred. Of these the Lady of Avenel had none who survived, and the dames of the neighbouring barons affected to regard her less as the heiress of the house of Avenel than as the wife of a peasant, the son of a church-vassal, raised up to mushroom eminence by the capricious favour of Murray.