Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

revision. It is hoped that the present edition will be found free from errors of that
accidental kind.

O")
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 dia-
logue, 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.

The General Preface to the new Edition, and the Introductory Notices to each
separate work, will contain an account of such circumstances attending the first
publication of the Novels and Tales, as may appear interesting in themselves, or
proper to be communicated to the public. The Author also proposes to publish,
on this occasion; the various legends, family traditions, or obscure historical facts,
which have formed the ground-work of these Novels, and to give some account of the
places where the scenes are laid, when these are altogether, or in part, real; as well
as a statement of particulår incidents founded on fact; together with a more copious
Glossary, and Notes explaratory of the ancient customs, and popular superstitions,
referred to in the Romances.
Upon the wholę; it-iş to be hoped that the Waverley Novels, in their new dress,

; :
- qvill not be found.toʻkave lost any part of their attractions in consequence of receiving
jilaştrations by the Author, and undergoing his careful revision.

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

And must I ra vel out

Cassandra, down to the most approved works of later times. My weaved-up follies ?

I was plunged into this great ocean of reading without compass Richard II. Act IV.

or pilot; and unless when some one had the charity to play at

cheas with me, I was allowed to do nothing save read, from HAVISO undertaken to give an Introductory Account of the morning to night. I was, in kindness and pity, which was percompositions which are here offered to the public, with Notes hapa erroneous, however natural, permitted to select my suband Illustrations, the author, under whose name they are now jocts of study at my own pleasure, upon the same principle that for the first time collected, feels that he has the delicate task the humours of children are indulged to keep them out of misof speaking more of himself and his personal concerns, than chief. As my taste and appetite were gratified in nothing else, mas perhaps be either graceful or prudent. In this particular, I indemnified myself by becoming a glutton of books. Accordhe runs the risk of presenting himself to the public in the rela- ingly, I believe I read almost all the romances, oid playe, and bon that the dumb wife in the jest book held to her husband, epic poetry, in that formidable collection, and do doubt was whea, having spent half of his fortune to obtain the cure of her unconsciously amassing materials for the task in which it has imperíeetion, he was willing to have bestowed the other half 10 been my lot to be so much employed. reston ber to her fonner condition. But this is a risk insepara At the same time I did not in all respects abuse the license He from the task which the author has undertaken, and he can permitted me. Familiar acquaintance with the specious miramaly promise to be as little of an egotist as the situation will cles of fiction brought with it some degree of satiety, and I be permit. It is perhaps an indifferent sign of a disposition to keep gan, by degrees, to seek in histories, memoirs, voyager, and his word, that having introduced himself in the third person travels, and the like, events nearly as wonderful as those which singular, he proceeds in the second paragraph to make use of were the work of imagination, with the additional advantage, die best. But it appears to him that the seeming modesty con that they were at least in a great measure true. The lapse of Dected with the former mode of writing, is overbalanced by the nearly two years, during which I was left to the exercise of my incontenience of stiffness and affectation which attends it during own free will, was followed by a temporary residence in the a narrative of some length, and which may be observed less or country, where I was again very lonely but for the amusement more in every work in which the third person is used, from the which I derived from a good, though old-fashioned library, Commentaries of Cæsar, to the Autobiography of Alexander the The vague and wild use which I made of this acyanteee! canCorrector.

not describe better than by referring my roader to the desultory I must refer to a very early period of my life, were i to point studies of Waverloy in a similar situation, the passages copcat ray first achievements as a tale-teller-but I believe some of cerning whose course of reading servinnitatud rom recollege n; old schoolfellows can still bear witness that I had a distin. tions of my own. It must be under tog ude the resemblanice guished character for that talent, at a time when the applause extends no farther. of my companions wu my recompense for the disgraces and Time, as it glided on, brồught te blessings of confirmed pranishments which the future romance writer incurred for be health and personal strengti, to a degree which had never been ing ide binsell, and keeping others idle, during hours that expected or hoped for. The severe studies necessary to render hould have been employed on our tasks. The chief enjoy- me fit for my profession occupied the greater part of my time; ment of my holidays was to escape with a chosen friend, who and the society of my friends and companions who were about kasi the same taste with myself, and alternately to recite to each to enter life along with e, filipd us the interval, with the usual otter euch wild adventures as we were able to devise. We told, amusement of young mer. I was ita situation which rendered fach in tum, interminable tales of knight-errantry and battles serious labour indispensable : for, nejther possessing, on the one and enchantments, which were continued from one day to ano. hand, any of those peculiar atvarages which are supposed to father, is opportunits offered, without our ever thinking of bring-vour a hasty advance in thr profassion of the law, nor being, on in them to a conclusion. As we observed a strict secrecy on the other hand, exposed to uru-ua. Obetacļes to interrupt my prothe subject of this intercourse, it acquired all the character of a gress, I might reasonably expect f succeed according to the cmcculed pleasure, and wo used to select, for the scenes of our gronter or less degree of troublu which is quld take so qualify induigrace, long walks through the solitary and romantic envi- myself as a pleader. pons of Arthur's seat, Salisbury Crags, Braid Hills, and similar It makes no part of the present story tu detail how the success places in the vicinity of Edinburgh; and the recollection of or a few ballads had the effect of changing all the purposes, atod those holidays still forms an oasis in the pilgrimage which I tenor of my life, and of converting a pains-inking lawyer of scme bare to look back upon. I have only to add, that my friend (years' standing into a follower of literature. It is enough to stail lives, a prosperous gentleman, but too much occupied with say, that I had assumed the latter character for several years marer business, to thank me for indicating him more plainly as before I seriously thought of attempting a work of imagination a coaident of my childish mystery.

in prose, although one or two of my poetical attempts did not When bøjhood advancing into youth required more serious differ from romances, otherwise than by being written in verse. studies and graver cares, a long illness threw me back on the But yet, I may observe, that about this time (now, alas! thirty kingdom of fiction, as if it were by a species of fatality. My years since) I had nourished the ambitious desire of composing indieposition arose, in part at least, from my having broken a a tale of chivalry, which was to be in the style of the Castle of blood-ressel ; and motion and speech were for a long time pro Otranto, with plenty of Border characters, and supernatural inLigured positively dangerous. For several weeks I was con-cident. Having found unexpectedly a chapter of this intended szent strictly to my bed, during which time I was not allowed work among some old papers, I have subjoined it to this intro lo speak above a whisper, to eat more than a spoonful or two of ductory ossay, thinking some readers may account as curious, boiled rice, or to have more covering than one thin counter- the first attempts at romantic composition by an author, who Date. When the reader is informed that I was at this time a has since written so much in that department." And those powing youth, with the spirits, appetite, and impatience of who complain, not unreasonably, of the profusion of the Tales bitma, and suffered, of course, greatly under this severe regi- which have followed Waverley, may bless their stars at the nar. when, which the repeated return of my disorder rendered indis- row escape they have made, by the commencement of the inunpensable, he will nor de surprised that I was abandoned to my dation which had so nearly taken place in the first yoar of the owo ducretion, so far as reading (my almost sole amusement) century, being postponed for fifteen years later. was concerned, and still less so, that I abused the indulgence

This particular subject was never resumed, but I did not aban. which left my time so much at my owy disposal.

don the idea of fictitious composition in proxe, though I deter. There was at this time & circulating library in Edinburgh, mined to give another turn to the style of the work. founded, I believe, by the celebrated Allan Ramsay, which, be

My early recollections of the Highland scenery and customs oder containing a most respectable collection of books of every made so favourable an impression in the poem called the Lady description, was, as might have been expected, peculiarly rich of the Lake, that I was induced to think of attempting somein works of fiction. It exhibited specimens of every kind, from the romances of chivalry, and the ponderous folios of Cynw and

• Ses the Fragment alladed to, in the Appendix, No. I.

thing of the same kind in prore. I had been a good deal in the Pastimes of the People of England," had rendered him familiar Highlands at a time when they were much less accessible, and with all the antiquarian lore necessary for the purpose of commuch less visited, than they have been of late years, and was posing the projected romance; and although the manuscript acquainted with many of the old warriors of 1746, who were, bore the marks of hurry and incoherence natural to the first like most veterans, easily induced to fight their battles over rough draught of the author, it evinced (in my opinion) consideragain, for the benefit of a willing listener like myself. It natu- able powers of imagination. rally occurred to me, that the ancient traditions and high spirit As the work was untinished, I decrned it my duty, as Editor, of a people, who, living in a civilized age and country, retain. to supply such a hasty and inartificial conclusion as could be ed so strong a tincture of manners belonging to an early period shaped out from the story, of which Mr. Strutt had laid the of society, must afford a subject favourable for romance, if it foundation. This concluding chapter is also added to the pro should not prove a curious tale marred in the telling.

sent Introduction, for the reason already mentioned regarding It was with some idea of this kind, that, about the year 1805, the preceding fragment. It was a step in my advance towards I threw together about one third part of the first volume of Wa romantic composition ; and to preserve the traces of these is verley. It was advertised to be published by the late Mr. John in a great measure the object of this Essay. Ballantyne, bookseller in Edinburgh, under the name of " Wa. Queen-Hoo-Hall was not, however, very successful. I thought verley ; or, 'tis Fifty Years since," a title afterwards altered to I was aware of the reason, and supposed that, by rendering his * 'Tis Sixty Years since," that the actual date of publication language too ancient, and displaying his antiquarian knowledge might be made to correspond with the period in which the too liberally, the ingenious author had raised up an obstacle to scene was laid. Having proceeded as far, I think, as the seventh his own success. Every work designed for mere amusement chapter, I showed my work to a critical friend, whose opinion must be expressed in language easily comprehended ; and when, was unfavourable ; and having then some poetical reputation, 1 as is sometimes the case in Queen-Hoo-Hall, the author adwas unwilling to risk the loss of it by attempting a new style dresses himself exclusively to the Antiquary, he must be conof composition. I therefore threw aside the work I had com. tent to be dismissed by the general reader with the criticism of menced, withou: either reluctance or remonstrance. I ought to Mungo, in the Padlock, on the Mauritanian music, “What sig add, that though my ingenious friend's sentence was afterwards wifies me hear, if me no understand." reversed, on an appeal to the public, it cannot be considered as I conceived it possible to avoid this error; and by rendering any imputation on his good taste; for the specimen subjected a similar work more light and obvious to general comprehento his criticism did not extend beyond the departure of the hero sion, to escape the rock on which my predecessor was shipfor Scotland, and, consequently, had not entered upon the part wrecked. But I was, on the other hand, so far discouraged by of the story which was finally found most interesting.

the indifferent reception of Mr. Strutt's romance, as to become Be that as it may, this portion of the manuscript was laid satisfied that the manners of the middle ages did not possess aside in the drawers of an old writing desk, which, on my first the interest which I had conceived ; and was led to form tho coming to reside at Abbotsford, in 1811, was placed in a lumber opinion, that a romance, founded on a Highland story, and more garret, and entirely forgotten. Thus, though I sometimes, modern events, would have a better chance of popularity than among other literary avocations, turned my thoughts to the con- a tale of chivalry. My thoughts, therefore, returned more than tindation of the romance which I had commenced, yet as I once to the tale which I had actually commenced, and accident could not find wlrat I had already written, after searching such at length threw the lost sheets in my way. Tepositories al pore widul my reach, and was too indolent to I happened to want some fishing-tackle for the use of a guest, attempt to write franay from memory, I as often laid aside all when it occurred to me to search the old writing-desk already thoughts of trat natate.

mentioned, in which I used to keep articles of that nature. I Two circumstances, ite particular, recalled my recollection of got access to it with some difficulty ; and, in looking for lines the mislaid manuscript. The first was the extended and well- and flies, the long-lost manuscript presented itself. I immedimerited fanne of Miss Edgeworth, whose Irish characters have ately set to work to complete it, according to my original purgone so far to make the English familiar with the character of pose. And here I must frankly confess, that the mode in which their gay and kind-hearted neighbours of Ireland, that she may I conducted the story scarcely deserved the success which the be truly said to have done mors towards completing the Union, romance afterwards attained. The tale of Waverley was put than perhaps all the legislativdesactments by which it has been together with so little care, that I cannot boast of having followed up.

sketched any distinct plan of the work. The whole adventures Without being so presumptuouso as to hope to emulate the of Waverley, in his movements up and down the country with rich humour, pathetic tendemoss, and admirable tact, which the Highland cateran Bean Lean, are managed without much

pervade the works of my aesompriphed friend, I felt that some skill. It suited best, however, the road I wanted to travel, and thing might be attenopted for my own country, of the same kind permitted me to introduce some descriptions of scenery and with that which Miss "Edgejworth so fortunately achieved for manners, to which the reality gave an interest which the powlieland something which might introduce her natives to those ers of the author might have otherwise failed to attain for them.

or she stor kingdom, a more favourable light than they had and though I have been in other instances a sinner in this sort, beln placed hitherto, and tend to procure sympathy for their I do not recollect any of these novels, in which I have trans wirties; and indulgence for their foibles. I thought also, that gressed so widely as in the first of the series. much or what I wanted in talent might be made up by the in Among other unfounded reports, it has been said, that the timate acquaintance with the subject which I could lay claim copyright of Waverley was, during the book's progress through to possess, as having travelled through most parts of Scotland, the press, offered for sale to various booksellers in London at a both Highland and Lowland ; having been familiar with the very inconsiderable price. This was not the case. Messrs. eldor, as well as more modern race; and having had from my Constable and Cadell, who published the work, were the only infancy free and unrestrained communication with all ranks of persons acquainted with the contents of the publication, and my countrymen, from the Scottish peer to the Scottish plough, they offered a large sum for it while in the course of printing, man. Such ideas often occurred to me, and constituted an am- which, however, was declined, the author not choosing to part bitious branch of my theory, however far short I may have fallen with the copyright. of it in practice.

The origin of the story of Waverley, and the particular facts But it was not only the triumphs of Miss Edgeworth which on which it is founded, are given in the separate introduction worked in me omulation, and disturbed my indolence. I chanced prefixed to that romance in this edition, and require no notice actually to engage in a work which formed a sort of essay in this place. piece, and gave me hope that I might in time become free of Waverley was published in 1814, and as the title-page was the craft of romance-writing, and be esteemed a tolerable without the name of the author, the work was left to win its workman.

way in the world without any of the usual recommendations In the year 1807—8, I undertook, at the request of John Mur. Its progress was for some time slow; but after the first two or ray, Esq. of Albemarle street, to arrange for publication some three months, its popularity had increased in a degroe which posthumous productions of the late Mr. Joseph Strutt, distin- must have satisfied the expectations of the author, bad these guished as an artist and an antiquary, amongst which was an un- been far more sanguine than he ever entertained. finished romance, entitled, “ Queen-Hoo-Hall.” The scene of Great anxiety was expressed to learn the name of the author, the tale was laid in the reign of Henry VI., and the work was but on this no authentic information could be attained. My written to illustrate the manners, customs, and language of the original motive for publishing the work anonymously, was the people of England during that period. The oxtensive acquaint. consciousness that it was an experiment on the public taste ance which Mr. Strutt had acquired with such subjects in com- which might very probably fail, and therefore there was no QGpiling his laborious “ Horda Angel Cynnnn," his “Royal and Ecclesiastical Antiquities," and his “ Essay on the Sports and

• See Appendix, No. IL

casios to take on myself the personal risk of discomfiture. Forablest down to that of fools. This risk was in some degree prethis parpose considerable precautions were used to preserve se-vented by the mask which I wore ; and my own stores of selfmcy. My old friend and schoolfellow, Mr. James Ballantyne, conceit were left to their natural course, without being enhanced wto printed these novels, had the exclusive task of correspond by the partiality of friends, or adulation of flatterers. ing with the author, who thus had not only the advantage of If I am asked further reasons for the conduct I have long obhis professional talents, but also of his critical abilities. The served, I can only resort to the explanation supplied by a critic original manuscript, or, as it is technically called, copy, was as friendly as he is intelligent; namely, that the mental organitranscribed under Mr. Ballantyne's eye by confidential persons; zation of the Novelist must be characterized, to speak craniolou vu there an instance of treachery during the many years gically, by an extraordinary development of the passion for in which these precautions were resorted to, although various delitescency! I the rather suspect some natural disposition of ndividuals were employed at different times. Double proof- this kind ; for, from the instant I perceived the extreme curiosisheets were regularly printed off. One was forwarded to the ty manifested on the subject, I felt a secret satisfaction in baf sathar by Mr. Ballantyne, and the alterations which it received fling it, for which, when its unimportance is considered, I do were, by his own hand, copied upon the other proof-sheet for not well know how to account. the use of the printers, so that even the corrected proofs of the My desire to remain concealed, in the character of the author athar were never seen in the printing-office; and thus the cu- of these povels, subjected me occasionally to awkward embarnosity of such eager inquirers as made the most minute investi- rassments, as it sometimes happened that those who were sufgation, was entirely at fault.

ficiently intimate with me, would put the question in direct Bat although the cause of concealing the author's name in the terms. In this case, only one of three courses could be followfirst instance, when the reception of Waverley was doubtful, ed. Either I must have surrendered my secret,-or have rewas natural enough, it is more difficult, it may be thought, to turned an equivocating answer,-or, finally, must have stoutly account for the same desire for secrecy during the subsequent and boldly denied the fact. The first was a sacrifice which I editions, to the amount of betwixt eleven and twelve thousand conceive no one had a right to force from me, since I alone was copies, which followed each other close, and proved the suc- concerned in the matter. The alternative of rendering a doubtces of the work. I am sorry I can give little satisfaction to ful answer must have left me open to the degrading suspicion Funes on this subject. I have already stated elsewhere, that I that I was not unwilling to assume the merit (if there was any) can reader little better reason for choosing to remain anong. which I dared not absolutely lay claim to; or those who might mox, than by saying with Shylock, that such was my humour. think more justly of me, must have received such an equivocal It will be observed, that I had not the usual stimulus for desi- answer as an indirect avowal. I therefore considered myself ring personal reputation, the desire, namely, to float amidst the entitled, like an accused person put upon trial, to refuse giving earersation of men. Or literary fame, whether merited or un- my own evidence to my own conviction, and flatly to deny all deserred, I had already as much as might have contented a that could not be proved against me. At the same time, I bind more ambitious than mine ; and in entering into this new usually qualified my denial by stating, that, had I been the octest for reputation, I might be said rather to endanger what author of these works, I would have felt myself quite entitled I had, than to have any considerable chance of acquiring more to protect my secret by refusing my own evidence, when it Iwas affected, too, by none of those motives which, at an earlier was asked for to accomplish a discovery of what I desired to period of life, would doubtless have operated upon me. My conceal. friendships were formed,-my place in society fixed,-my life The real truth is, that I never expected or hoped to disguise had attained its middle course. My condition in society was my connexion with these novels from any one who lived on higher perhaps than I deserved, certainly as high as I wished, terms of intimacy with me. The number of coincidences which ad there was searce any degree of literary success which necessarily existed between narratives recounted, modes of excould have greatly altered or improved my personal con- pression, and opinions broached in these Tales, and such as dition

were used by their author in the intercourse of private life, I was not, therefore, touched by the spur of ambition, usually must have been far too great to permit any of my familiar ao stinglating on such occasions; and yet I ought to stand excul quaintances to doubt the identity betwixt their friend and the pated from the charge of ungracious or unbecoming indifference Author of Waverley; and I believe, they were all morally conta pablie applause I did not the less feel gratitude for the pub. vinced of it. But while I was myself silent, their belief could lic favour, although I did not proclaim it, -as the lover who not weigh much more with the world than that of others ; their years his mistress' favour in his bosom, is as proud, though not opinions and reasoning were liable to be taxed with partiality, Erzin of possessing it, as another who displays the token of or confronted with opposing arguments and opinions ; and the ter grace upon his bonnet. Far from such an ungracious state question was not so much, whether I should be generally ac

sind, I have seldom felt more satisfaction than when, re knowledged to be the author, in spite of my own denial, as tanning from a pleasure voyage, I found Waverley in the zenith whether even my own avowal of the works, if such should be si popularity, and public curiosity in full cry after the name of made, would be sufficient to put me in undisputed possession of the anthor. The knowledge that I had the public approbation, that character. was like having the property of a hidden treasure, not less I have been often asked concerning supposed cases, in which pusfing to the owner than if all the world knew that it was I was said to have been placed on the verge of discovery; but, ts own. Another advantage was connected with the secrecy as I maintained my point with the composure of a lawyer of stich I observed. I could appear, or retreat from the stage at thirty years' standing, I never recollect being in pain or confupleasure, without attracting any personal notice or attention,sion on the subject." In Captain Medwyn's Conversations of other than what might be founded on suspicion only. In my Lord Byron, the reporter states himself to have asked my noble Sa person also, as a successful author in another department and highly-gifted friend, “If he was certain about these novels

literature, I might have been charged with too frequent in- being Sir Walter Scott's?" To which Lord Byron replied, rasions on the public patience; but the Author of Waverley “ Scott as much as owned himself the Author of Waverley to was in this respect as impasrable to the critic as the Ghost of me in Murray's shop. I was talking to him about that novel, Hanket to the partisan of Marcellus. Perhaps the curiosity of and lamented that its author had not carried back the story be pabiic, irritated by the existence of a secret, and kept afloat nearer to the time of the Revolution--Scott, entirely off his by the discussions which took place on the subject from time to guard, replied, • Ay, I might have done s0; bul -- there has time, went a good way to maintain an unabated interest in these stopped. It was in vain to attempt to correct himself; he lookfzquent publications. There was a mystery concerning the au-ed confused, and relieved his embarrassment by a precipitate ther, which each new novel was expected to assist in unravel-retreat." I have no recollection whatever of this scene taking ling, although it might in other respects rank lower than its place, and I should have thought that I was more likely to have pudecessors.

laughed than to appear confused, for I certainly never hoped to I may perhaps be thought guilty of affectation, should I allege impose upon Lord Byron in a case of the kind ; and from the 2 ene reason of my silence, a secret dislike to enter on personal manner in which he uniformly expressed himself, I knew his Facasions conceining my own literary labours. It is in every opinion was entirely formed, and that any disclamations of me a dangerous intercourse for an author to be dwelling con- mine would only have savoured of affectation. I do not mean Smally annong those who make his writings a frequent and fa- to insinuate that the incident did not happen, but only that it Dia mbject of convenation, but who must necessarily be par could hardly have occurred exactly under the circumstances tai padzes of works composed in their own society. The habits narrated, without my recollecting something positive on the

seli-importance, which are thus acquired by authors, are subject. In another part of the same volume, Lord Byron is reHighly injuriods to a well-regulated mind; for the cup of flat- ported to have expressed a supposition that the cause of my not tary, if it does not, like that of Circe, reduce men to the level of avowing myself the Author of Waverley, may have been some bezala, is sare, if eagerly drained, to bring the best and the surmise that the reigning family would have been displeased

with the work. I can only say, it is the last apprehension Is to the task. He never, I believe, wrote a single line of the proshould have entertained, as indeed the inscription to these jected work ; and I only have the melancholy pleasure of prevolumes sufficiently proves. The sufferers of that melancholy serving in the Appendix," the simple anecdote on which he period have, during the last and present reign, been honoured proposed to found it. both with the sympathy and protection of the reigning family, To this I may add, I can easily conceive that there may have whose magnanimity can well pardon a sigh from others, and been circumstances which gave a colour to the general report of bestow one themselves, to the memory of brave opponents, who my brother being interested in these works; and in particular did nothing in hale, but all in honour.

that it might derive strength from my having occasion to remit While those who were in habitual intercourse with the real to him, in consequence of certain family transactions, some author had little hesitation in assigning the literary property to considerable sums of money about that period. To which it is him, others, and those critics of no mean rank, employed them to be added, that if any person chanced to evince particular selves in investigating with persevering patience any characte- curiosity on such a subject, my brother was likely enough to ristic features which might seem to betray the origin of these divert himself with practising on their credulity. novels. Amongst these, one gentleman, equally remarkable for It may be mentioned, that while the paternity of these novels the kind and liberal tone of his criticism, the acuteness of his was from time to time warmly disputed in Britain, the foreign reasoning, and the very gentlemanlike manner in which he con- booksellers expressed no hesitation on the matter, but affixed ducted his inquiries, displayed not only powers of accurate in my name to the whole of the novels, and to some besides to vestigation, but a temper of mind deserving to be employed on which I had no claim. a subject of much greater importance ; and I have no doubt The volumes, therefore, to which the present pages form a made converts to his opinion of almost all who thought the Preface, are entirely the composition of the author by whom point worthy of consideration. Of those letters, and other at they are now acknowledged, with the exception, always, of tempts of the same kind, the author could not complain, though avowed quotations, and such unpremeditated and involuntary his incognito was endangered. He bad challenged the public plagiarisms as can scarce be guarded against by any one who to a game at bo-peep, and if he was discovered in his “ hiding. has read and written a great deal. The original manuscripts hole," he must submit to the shame of detection.

are all in existence, and entirely written (hortesco referens) in Various reports were of course circulated in various ways; the author's own hand, excepting during the years 1818 and some founded on an inaccurate rehearsal of what may have 1819, when, being affected with severe illness, he was obliged to been partly real, some on circumstances having no concem employ the assistance of a friendly amanuensis. whatever with the subject, and others on the invention of some The number of persons to whom the secret was necessarily importunate persons, who might perhaps imagine, that the intrusted, or communicated by chance, amounted, I should readiest mode of forcing the author to disclose himself, was to think, to twenty at least, to whom I am greatly obliged for the assign some dishonourable and discreditable cause for his silence. fidelity with which they observed their trust, until the derange

It may be easily supposed that this sort of inquisition was ment of the affairs of my publishers, Messrs. Constable and Co., treated with contempt by the person whom it principally re- and the exposure of their accompt books, which was the neces garded ; as, among all the rumours that were current, there was sary consequence, rendered secrecy no longer possible. The only one, and that ay unfounded as the others, which had never- particulars attending the avowal have been laid before the pubtheless some alliance to probability, and indeed might have lic in the Introduction to the Chronicles of the Canongate. proved in some degree true.

The prelimivary advertisement has given a sketch of the purI allude to a report which ascribed a great part, or the whole, pose of this edition. I have some reason to fear, that the notes of these novels, to the late Thomas Scott, Esq., of the 70th Re- which accompany the tales, as now published, may be thought giment, then stationed in Canada. Those who remember that 100 miscellaneous and too egotistical. It may be some apology gentleman will readily grant, that, with general talents at least for this, that the publication was intended to be posthumous, equal to those of his elder brother, he added a power of social and still more, that old men may be permitted to speak long, humour, and a deep insight into human character, which ren because they cannot in the course of nature have long time to dered him an universally delightful member of society, and that speak. In preparing the present edition, I have done all that I the habit of composition alone was wanting to render him can do to explain the nature of my materials, and the use I have equally successful as a writer. The Author of Waverley was made of them; nor is it probable that I shall again revise or 80 persuaded of the truth of this, that he warmly pressed his even rend these tales. I was therefore desirous rather to exceed brother to make such an experiment, and willingly undertook in the portion of new and explanatory matter which is added to all the trouble of correcting and superintending the press. Mr. this edition, than that the reader should have reason to comThomas Scott seemed at first very well disposed to embrace the plain that the information communicated was of a general and proposal, and had even fixed on a subject and a hero. The latter merely nominal character. It remains to be tried whether the was a person well known to both of us in our boyish years, from public (like a child to whom a watch is shown) will, after having displayed some strong traits of character. Mr. T. Scout having been satiated with looking at the outside, acquire some had determined to represent his youthful acquaintance as cmi- new interest in the object when it is opened, and the internal grating to America, and encountering the dangers and hardships machinery displayed to them. of the New World, with the same dauntless spirit which he That Waverley and its successors have had their day of fahad displayed when a boy in his native country. Mr. Scott vour and popularity must be admitted with sincere gratitude ; would probably have been highly successful, being familiarly and the author has studied (with the prudence of a beauty whose acquainted with the manners of the native Indians, of the old reign has been rather long) to supply, by the assistance of art, French settlers in Canada, and of the Brulés or Woodsmen, and the charms which novelty no longer affords. The publishers having the power of observing with accuracy what, I have no have endeavoured to gratisy the honourable partiality of the doubt, he could have sketched with force and expression. In public for the encouragement of British art, by illustrating this short, the author believes his brother would have made himself edition with designs by the most eminent living artista. distinguished in that striking field, in which, since that period, To my distinguished countryman, David Wilkie, to Edwin Mr. Cooper has achieved so many triumphs. But Mr. T. Scott | Landseer, who has exercised his talents so much on Scottish was already affected by bad health, which wholly unfitted him subjects and scenery, to Messrs. Leslie and Newton, my thanks for literary labour, even if he could have reconciled his patience are due, from a friend as well as an author. Nor am I less

obliged to Mesers. Cooper, Kidd, and other artists of distinc. • The following is the dedication alluded to :-" To the King's Most tion, to whom I am less personally known, for the ready zeal Gracious Majesty. Sire–The Author of this Collection of Works of fic with which they have devoted their talents to the same purpose. Lion would not have presumed to rolicit for them your Majesty's august Farther explanation respecting the edition, is the business of patronage, were it not that the perusal has been supposed, in some in the publishers, not of the author; and here, therefore, the lattor stances, to have succeeded in amusing hours of relaxation, or relieving has accomplished his task of Introduction and explanation. If, those of languor, pain, or anxiety; and therefore must have so far aided like a spoiled child, he has sometimes abused or trifled with the warmest wish of your Majesty's heari, by contributing, in however the indulgence of the public, he feels himself entitled to full be emalt a degree, 10 the happiness of your people. They are therefore lief, when he exculpates himself from the charge of having humbly dedicated to your Majesty, agreeably to your gracious permis been at any time insensible of their kindness, kion, by your Majesty's datiful subject, Walter Scott Abbotsford, Ist

ABBOTSFORD, 1st January, 1829. January, 1829.” f Letters on the Author of Waverley ; Rodwell & Marlin, London, 1822.

See Appendix, No. III.

« PreviousContinue »