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To Charles Baxter, Writer to the Signet.
My Dear Charles,
It is the fate of sequels to disappoint those who have waited for
them; and my David, having been left to kick his heels for more
than a lustre in the British Linen Company's office, must expect
his late re-appearance to be greeted with hoots, if not with
missiles. Yet, when I remember the days of our explorations, I am
not without hope. There should be left in our native city some
seed of the elect; some long-legged, hot-headed youth must repeat
to-day our dreams and wanderings of so many years ago; he will
relish the pleasure, which should have been ours, to follow among
named streets and numbered houses the country walks of David
Balfour, to identify Dean, and Silvermills, and Broughton, and Hope
Park, and Pilrig, and poor old Lochend--if it still be standing,
and the Figgate Whins--if there be any of them left; or to push (on
a long holiday) so far afield as Gillane or the Bass. So, perhaps,
his eye shall be opened to behold the series of the generations,
and he shall weigh with surprise his momentous and nugatory gift of
You are still--as when first I saw, as when I last addressed you--
in the venerable city which I must always think of as my home. And
I have come so far; and the sights and thoughts of my youth pursue
me; and I see like a vision the youth of my father, and of his
father, and the whole stream of lives flowing down there far in the
north, with the sound of laughter and tears, to cast me out in the
end, as by a sudden freshet, on these ultimate islands. And I
admire and bow my head before the romance of destiny.
R. L. S.
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