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Introduction

The preceding volume of this Collection concluded the last of the
pieces originally published under the NOMINIS UMBRA of The Author
of Waverley; and the circumstances which rendered it impossible
for the writer to continue longer in the possession of his
incognito were communicated in 1827, in the Introduction to the
first series of Chronicles of the Canongate, consisting (besides
a biographical sketch of the imaginary chronicler) of three
tales, entitled "The Highland Widow," "The Two Drovers," and "The
Surgeon's Daughter." In the present volume the two first named
of these pieces are included, together with three detached
stories which appeared the year after, in the elegant compilation
called "The Keepsake." "The Surgeon's Daughter" it is thought
better to defer until a succeeding volume, than to

"Begin, and break off in the middle."

I have, perhaps, said enough on former occasions of the
misfortunes which led to the dropping of that mask under which I
had, for a long series of years, enjoyed so large a portion of
public favour. Through the success of those literary efforts, I
had been enabled to indulge most of the tastes which a retired
person of my station might be supposed to entertain. In the pen
of this nameless romancer, I seemed to possess something like the
secret fountain of coined gold and pearls vouchsafed to the
traveller of the Eastern Tale; and no doubt believed that I might
venture, without silly imprudence, to extend my personal
expenditure considerably beyond what I should have thought of,
had my means been limited to the competence which I derived from
inheritance, with the moderate income of a professional
situation. I bought, and built, and planted, and was considered
by myself, as by the rest of the world, in the safe possession of
an easy fortune. My riches, however, like the other riches of
this world, were liable to accidents, under which they were
ultimately destined to make unto themselves wings, and fly away.
The year 1825, so disastrous to many branches of industry and
commerce, did not spare the market of literature; and the sudden
ruin that fell on so many of the booksellers could scarcely have
been expected to leave unscathed one whose career had of
necessity connected him deeply and extensively with the pecuniary
transactions of that profession. In a word, almost without one
note of premonition, I found myself involved in the sweeping
catastrophe of the unhappy time, and called on to meet the
demands of creditors upon commercial establishments with which
my fortunes had long been bound up, to the extent of no less a
sum than one hundred and twenty thousand pounds.

The author having, however rashly, committed his pledges thus
largely to the hazards of trading companies, it behoved him, of
course, to abide the consequences of his conduct, and, with
whatever feelings, he surrendered on the instant every shred of
property which he had been accustomed to call his own. It became
vested in the hands of gentlemen whose integrity, prudence, and
intelligence were combined with all possible liberality and
kindness of disposition, and who readily afforded every
assistance towards the execution of plans, in the success of
which the author contemplated the possibility of his ultimate
extrication, and which were of such a nature that, had assistance
of this sort been withheld, he could have had little prospect of
carrying them into effect. Among other resources which occurred
was the project of that complete and corrected edition of his
Novels and Romances (whose real parentage had of necessity been
disclosed at the moment of the commercial convulsions alluded
to), which has now advanced with unprecedented favour nearly to
its close; but as he purposed also to continue, for the behoof of
those to whom he was indebted, the exercise of his pen in the
same path of literature, so long as the taste of his countrymen
should seem to approve of his efforts, it appeared to him that it
would have been an idle piece of affectation to attempt getting
up a new incognito, after his original visor had been thus dashed
from his brow. Hence the personal narrative prefixed to the
first work of fiction which he put forth after the paternity of
the "Waverley Novels" had come to be publicly ascertained; and
though many of the particulars originally avowed in that Notice
have been unavoidably adverted to in the Prefaces and Notes to
some of the preceding volumes of the present collection, it is
now reprinted as it stood at the time, because some interest is
generally attached to a coin or medal struck on a special
occasion, as expressing, perhaps, more faithfully than the same
artist could have afterwards conveyed, the feelings of the moment
that gave it birth. The Introduction to the first series of
Chronicles of the Canongate ran, then, in these words:--


INTRODUCTION.

All who are acquainted with the early history of the Italian
stage are aware that Arlecchino is not, in his original
conception, a mere worker of marvels with his wooden sword, a
jumper in and out of windows, as upon our theatre, but, as his
party-coloured jacket implies, a buffoon or clown, whose mouth,
far from being eternally closed, as amongst us, is filled, like
that of Touchstone, with quips, and cranks, and witty devices,
very often delivered extempore. It is not easy to trace how he
became possessed of his black vizard, which was anciently made in
the resemblance of the face of a cat; but it seems that the mask
was essential to the performance of the character, as will appear
from the following theatrical anecdote:--

An actor on the Italian stage permitted at the Foire du St.
Germain, in Paris, was renowned for the wild, venturous, and
extravagant wit, the brilliant sallies and fortunate repartees,
with which he prodigally seasoned the character of the party-
coloured jester. Some critics, whose good-will towards a
favourite performer was stronger than their judgment, took
occasion to remonstrate with the successful actor on the subject
of the grotesque vizard. They went wilily to their purpose,
observing that his classical and Attic wit, his delicate vein of
humour, his happy turn for dialogue, were rendered burlesque and
ludicrous by this unmeaning and bizarre disguise, and that those
attributes would become far more impressive if aided by the
spirit of his eye and the expression of his natural features.
The actor's vanity was easily so far engaged as to induce him to
make the experiment. He played Harlequin barefaced, but was
considered on all hands as having made a total failure. He had
lost the audacity which a sense of incognito bestowed, and with
it all the reckless play of raillery which gave vivacity to his
original acting. He cursed his advisers, and resumed his
grotesque vizard, but, it is said, without ever being able to
regain the careless and successful levity which the consciousness
of the disguise had formerly bestowed.

Perhaps the Author of Waverley is now about to incur a risk of
the same kind, and endanger his popularity by having laid aside
his incognito. It is certainly not a voluntary experiment, like
that of Harlequin; for it was my original intention never to have
avowed these works during my lifetime, and the original
manuscripts were carefully preserved (though by the care of
others rather than mine), with the purpose of supplying the
necessary evidence of the truth when the period of announcing it
should arrive. [These manuscripts are at present (August 1831)
advertised for public sale, which is an addition, though a small
one, to other annoyances.] But the affairs of my publishers
having, unfortunately, passed into a management different from
their own, I had no right any longer to rely upon secrecy in that
quarter; and thus my mask, like my Aunt Dinah's in "Tristram
Shandy," having begun to wax a little threadbare about the chin,
it became time to lay it aside with a good grace, unless I
desired it should fall in pieces from my face, which was now
become likely.

Yet I had not the slightest intention of selecting the time and
place in which the disclosure was finally made; nor was there any
concert betwixt my learned and respected friend LORD MEADOWBANK
and myself upon that occasion. It was, as the reader is probably
aware, upon the 23rd February last, at a public meeting, called
for establishing a professional Theatrical Fund in Edinburgh,
that the communication took place. Just before we sat down to
table, Lord Meadowbank [One of the Supreme Judges of Scotland,
termed Lords of Council and Session.] asked me privately whether
I was still anxious to preserve my incognito on the subject of
what were called the Waverley Novels? I did not immediately see
the purpose of his lordship's question, although I certainly
might have been led to infer it, and replied that the secret had
now of necessity become known to so many people that I was
indifferent on the subject. Lord Meadowbank was thus induced,
while doing me the great honour of proposing my health to the
meeting, to say something on the subject of these Novels so
strongly connecting them with me as the author, that by remaining
silent I must have stood convicted, either of the actual
paternity, or of the still greater crime of being supposed
willing to receive indirectly praise to which I had no just
title. I thus found myself suddenly and unexpectedly placed in
the confessional, and had only time to recollect that I had been
guided thither by a most friendly hand, and could not, perhaps,
find a better public opportunity to lay down a disguise which
began to resemble that of a detected masquerader.

I had therefore the task of avowing myself, to the numerous and
respectable company assembled, as the sole and unaided author of
these Novels of Waverley, the paternity of which was likely at
one time to have formed a controversy of some celebrity, for the
ingenuity with which some instructors of the public gave their
assurance on the subject was extremely persevering. I now think
it further necessary to say that, while I take on myself all the
merits and demerits attending these compositions, I am bound to
acknowledge with gratitude hints of subjects and legends which I
have received from various quarters, and have occasionally used
as a foundation of my fictitious compositions, or woven up with
them in the shape of episodes. I am bound, in particular, to
acknowledge the unremitting kindness of Mr. Joseph Train,
supervisor of excise at Dumfries, to whose unwearied industry I
have been indebted for many curious traditions and points of
antiquarian interest. It was Mr. Train who brought to my
recollection the history of Old Mortality, although I myself had
had a personal interview with that celebrated wanderer so far
back as about 1792, when I found him on his usual task. He was
then engaged in repairing the Gravestones of the Covenanters who
had died while imprisoned in the Castle of Dunnottar, to which
many of them were committed prisoners at the period of Argyle's
rising. Their place of confinement is still called the Whigs'
Vault. Mr. Train, however, procured for me far more extensive
information concerning this singular person, whose name was
Patterson, than I had been able to acquire during my own short
conversation with him. [See, for some further particulars, the
notes to Old Mortality, in the present collective edition.] He
was (as I think I have somewhere already stated) a native of the
parish of Closeburn, in Dumfriesshire; and it is believed that
domestic affliction, as well as devotional feeling, induced him
to commence the wandering mode of life which he pursued for a
very long period. It is more than twenty years since Robert
Patterson's death, which took place on the highroad near
Lockerby, where he was found exhausted and expiring. The white
pony, the companion of his pilgrimage, was standing by the side
of its dying master the whole furnishing a scene not unfitted for
the pencil. These particulars I had from Mr. Train.

Another debt, which I pay most willingly, I owe to an unknown
correspondent (a lady), [The late Mrs. Goldie.] who favoured me
with the history of the upright and high-principled female, whom,
in the Heart of Mid-Lothian, I have termed Jeanie Deans. The
circumstance of her refusing to save her sister's life by an act
of perjury, and undertaking a pilgrimage to London to obtain her
pardon, are both represented as true by my fair and obliging
correspondent; and they led me to consider the possibility of
rendering a fictitious personage interesting by mere dignity of
mind and rectitude of principle, assisted by unpretending good
sense and temper, without any of the beauty, grace, talent,
accomplishment, and wit to which a heroine of romance is supposed
to have a prescriptive right. If the portrait was received with
interest by the public, I am conscious how much it was owing to
the truth and force of the original sketch, which I regret that I
am unable to present to the public, as it was written with much
feeling and spirit.

Old and odd books, and a considerable collection of family
legends, formed another quarry, so ample that it was much more
likely that the strength of the labourer should be exhausted than
that materials should fail. I may mention, for example's sake,
that the terrible catastrophe of the Bride of Lammermoor actually
occurred in a Scottish family of rank. The female relative, by
whom the melancholy tale was communicated to me many years since,
was a near connection of the family in which the event happened,
and always told it with an appearance of melancholy mystery which
enhanced the interest. She had known in her youth the brother
who rode before the unhappy victim to the fatal altar, who,
though then a mere boy, and occupied almost entirely with the
gaiety of his own appearance in the bridal procession, could not
but remark that the hand of his sister was moist, and cold as
that of a statue. It is unnecessary further to withdraw the veil
from this scene of family distress, nor, although it occurred
more than a hundred years since, might it be altogether agreeable
to the representatives of the families concerned in the
narrative. It may be proper to say that the events alone are
imitated; but I had neither the means nor intention of copying
the manners, or tracing the characters, of the persons concerned
in the real story. Indeed, I may here state generally that,
although I have deemed historical personages free subjects of
delineation, I have never on any occasion violated the respect
due to private life. It was indeed impossible that traits proper
to persons, both living and dead, with whom I have had
intercourse in society, should not have risen to my pen in such
works as Waverley, and those which followed it. But I have
always studied to generalize the portraits, so that they should
still seem, on the whole, the productions of fancy, though
possessing some resemblance to real individuals. Yet I must own
my attempts have not in this last particular been uniformly
successful. There are men whose characters are so peculiarly
marked, that the delineation of some leading and principal
feature inevitably places the whole person before you in his
individuality. Thus, the character of Jonathan Oldbuck, in the
Antiquary, was partly founded on that of an old friend of my
youth, to whom I am indebted for introducing me to Shakespeare,
and other invaluable favours; but I thought I had so completely
disguised the likeness that his features could not be recognized
by any one now alive. I was mistaken, however, and indeed had
endangered what I desired should be considered as a secret; for I
afterwards learned that a highly-respectable gentleman, one of
the few surviving friends of my father, and an acute critic,
[James Chalmers, Esq., Solicitor at Law, London, who (died during
the publication of the present edition of these Novels. (Aug.
1831.)] had said, upon the appearance of the work, that he was
now convinced who was the author of it, as he recognized in the
Antiquary of Monkbarns traces of the character of a very intimate
friend of my father's family.

I may here also notice that the sort of exchange of gallantry
which is represented as taking place betwixt the Baron of
Bradwardine and Colonel Talbot, is a literal fact. The real
circumstances of the anecdote, alike honourable to Whig and Tory,
are these:--

Alexander Stewart of Invernahyle--a name which I cannot write
without the warmest recollections of gratitude to the friend of
my childhood, who first introduced me to the Highlands, their
traditions, and their manners--had been engaged actively in the
troubles of 1745. As he charged at the battle of Preston with
his clan, the Stewarts of Appin, he saw an officer of the
opposite army standing alone by a battery of four cannon, of
which he discharged three on the advancing Highlanders, and then
drew his sword. Invernahyle rushed on him, and required him to
surrender. "Never to rebels!" was the undaunted reply,
accompanied with a lunge, which the Highlander received on his
target, but instead of using his sword in cutting down his now
defenceless antagonist, he employed it in parrying the blow of a
Lochaber axe aimed at the officer by the Miller, one of his own
followers, a grim-looking old Highlander, whom I remember to have
seen. Thus overpowered, Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Whitefoord, a
gentleman of rank and consequence, as well as a brave officer,
gave up his sword, and with it his purse and watch, which
Invernahyle accepted, to save them from his followers. After the
affair was over, Mr. Stewart sought out his prisoner, and they
were introduced to each other by the celebrated John Roy Stewart,
who acquainted Colonel Whitefoord with the quality of his captor,
and made him aware of the necessity of receiving back his
property, which he was inclined to leave in the hands into which
it had fallen. So great became the confidence established
betwixt them, that Invernahyle obtained from the Chevalier his
prisoner's freedom upon parole; and soon afterwards, having been
sent back to the Highlands to raise men, he visited Colonel
Whitefoord at his own house, and spent two happy days with him
and his Whig friends, without thinking on either side of the
civil war which was then raging.

When the battle of Culloden put an end to the hopes of Charles
Edward, Invernahyle, wounded and unable to move, was borne from
the field by the faithful zeal of his retainers. But as he had
been a distinguished Jacobite, his family and property were
exposed to the system of vindictive destruction too generally
carried into execution through the country of the insurgents. It
was now Colonel Whitefoord's turn to exert himself, and he
wearied all the authorities, civil and military, with his
solicitations for pardon to the saver of his life, or at least
for a protection for his wife and family. His applications were
for a long time unsuccessful. "I was found with the mark of the
Beast upon me in every list," was Invernahyle's expression. At
length Colonel Whitefoord applied to the Duke of Cumberland, and
urged his suit with every argument which he could think of, being
still repulsed, he took his commission from his bosom, and having
said something of his own and his family's exertions in the cause
of the House of Hanover, begged to resign his situation in their
service, since he could not be permitted to show his gratitude to
the person to whom he owed his life. The duke, struck with his
earnestness, desired him to take up his commission, and granted
the protection required for the family of Invernahyle.

The chieftain himself lay concealed in a cave near his own house,
before which a small body of regular soldiers were encamped. He
could hear their muster-roll called every morning, and their
drums beat to quarters at night, and not a change of the
sentinels escaped him. As it was suspected that he was lurking
somewhere on the property, his family were closely watched, and
compelled to use the utmost precaution in supplying him with
food. One of his daughters, a child of eight or ten years old,
was employed as the agent least likely to be suspected. She was
an instance, among others, that a time of danger and difficulty
creates a premature sharpness of intellect. She made herself
acquainted among the soldiers, till she became so familiar to
them that her motions escaped their notice; and her practice was
to stroll away into the neighbourhood of the cave, and leave what
slender supply of food she carried for that purpose under some
remarkable stone, or the root of some tree, where her father
might find it as he crept by night from his lurking-place. Times
became milder, and my excellent friend was relieved from
proscription by the Act of Indemnity. Such is the interesting
story which I have rather injured than improved by the manner in
which it is told in Waverley.

This incident, with several other circumstances illustrating the
Tales in question, was communicated by me to my late lamented
friend, William Erskine (a Scottish judge, by the title of Lord
Kinedder), who afterwards reviewed with far too much partiality
the Tales of my Landlord, for the Quarterly Review of January
1817. [Lord Kinedder died in August 1822. EHEU! (Aug. 1831.)]
In the same article are contained other illustrations of the
Novels, with which I supplied my accomplished friend, who took
the trouble to write the review. The reader who is desirous of
such information will find the original of Meg Merrilies, and, I
believe, of one or two other personages of the same cast of
character, in the article referred to.

I may also mention that the tragic and savage circumstances which
are represented as preceding the birth of Allan MacAulay in the
Legend of Montrose, really happened in the family of Stewart of
Ardvoirlich. The wager about the candlesticks, whose place was
supplied by Highland torch-bearers, was laid and won by one of
the MacDonalds of Keppoch.

There can be but little amusement in winnowing out the few grains
of truth which are contained in this mass of empty fiction. I
may, however, before dismissing the subject, allude to the
various localities which have been affixed to some of the scenery
introduced into these Novels, by which, for example, Wolf's Hope
is identified with Fast Castle in Berwickshire, Tillietudlem with
Draphane in Clydesdale, and the valley in the Monastery, called
Glendearg, with the dale of the river Allan, above Lord
Somerville's villa, near Melrose. I can only say that, in these
and other instances, I had no purpose of describing any
particular local spot; and the resemblance must therefore be of
that general kind which necessarily exists between scenes of the
same character. The iron-bound coast of Scotland affords upon
its headlands and promontories fifty such castles as Wolf's Hope;
every county has a valley more or less resembling Glendearg; and
if castles like Tillietudlem, or mansions like the Baron of
Bradwardine's, are now less frequently to be met with, it is
owing to the rage of indiscriminate destruction, which has
removed or ruined so many monuments of antiquity, when they were
not protected by their inaccessible situation. [I would
particularly intimate the Kaim of Uric, on the eastern coast of
Scotland, as having suggested an idea for the tower called Wolf's
Crag, which the public more generally identified with the ancient
tower of Fast Castle.]

The scraps of poetry which have been in most cases tacked to the
beginning of chapters in these Novels are sometimes quoted either
from reading or from memory, but, in the general case, are pure
invention. I found it too troublesome to turn to the collection
of the British Poets to discover apposite mottoes, and, in the
situation of the theatrical mechanist, who, when the white paper
which represented his shower of snow was exhausted, continued the
storm by snowing brown, I drew on my memory as long as I could,
and when that failed, eked it out with invention. I believe that
in some cases, where actual names are affixed to the supposed
quotations, it would be to little purpose to seek them in the
works of the authors referred to. In some cases I have been
entertained when Dr. Watts and other graver authors have been
ransacked in vain for stanzas for which the novelist alone was
responsible.

And now the reader may expect me, while in the confessional, to
explain the motives why I have so long persisted in disclaiming
the works of which I am now writing. To this it would be
difficult to give any other reply, save that of Corporal Nym--it
was the author's humour or caprice for the time. I hope it will
not be construed into ingratitude to the public, to whose
indulgence I have owed my SANG-FROID much more than to any merit
of my own, if I confess that I am, and have been, more
indifferent to success or to failure as an author, than may be
the case with others, who feel more strongly the passion for
literary fame, probably because they are justly conscious of a
better title to it. It was not until I had attained the age of
thirty years that I made any serious attempt at distinguishing
myself as an author; and at that period men's hopes, desires, and
wishes have usually acquired something of a decisive character,
and are not eagerly and easily diverted into a new channel. When
I made the discovery--for to me it was one--that by amusing
myself with composition, which I felt a delightful occupation, I
could also give pleasure to others, and became aware that
literary pursuits were likely to engage in future a considerable
portion of my time, I felt some alarm that I might acquire those
habits of jealousy and fretfulness which have lessened, and even
degraded, the character even of great authors, and rendered them,
by their petty squabbles and mutual irritability, the laughing-
stock of the people of the world. I resolved, therefore, in this
respect to guard my breast--perhaps an unfriendly critic may add,
my brow--with triple brass, [Not altogether impossible, when it
is considered that I have been at the bar since 1792. (Aug.
1831.)] and as much as possible to avoid resting my thoughts and
wishes upon literary success, lest I should endanger my own peace
of mind and tranquillity by literary failure. It would argue
either stupid apathy or ridiculous affectation to say that I have
been insensible to the public applause, when I have been honoured
with its testimonies; and still more highly do I prize the
invaluable friendships which some temporary popularity has
enabled me to form among those of my contemporaries most
distinguished by talents and genius, and which I venture to hope
now rest upon a basis more firm than the circumstances which gave
rise to them. Yet, feeling all these advantages as a man ought
to do, and must do, I may say, with truth and confidence, that I
have, I think, tasted of the intoxicating cup with moderation,
and that I have never, either in conversation or correspondence,
encouraged discussions respecting my own literary pursuits. On
the contrary, I have usually found such topics, even when
introduced from motives most flattering to myself, Rather
embarrassing and disagreeable.

I have now frankly told my motives for concealment, so far as I
am conscious of having any, and the public will forgive the
egotism of the detail, as what is necessarily connected with it.
The author, so long and loudly called for, has appeared on the
stage, and made his obeisance to the audience. Thus far his
conduct is a mark of respect. To linger in their presence would
be intrusion.

I have only to repeat that I avow myself in print, as formerly in
words, the sole and unassisted author of all the Novels published
as works of "The Author of Waverley." I do this without shame,
for I am unconscious that there is any thing in their composition
which deserves reproach, either on the score of religion or
morality; and without any feeling of exultation, because,
whatever may have been their temporary success, I am well aware

how much their reputation depends upon the caprice of fashion;
and I have already mentioned the precarious tenure by which it is
held, as a reason for displaying no great avidity in grasping at
the possession.

I ought to mention, before concluding, that twenty persons, at
least, were, either from intimacy, or from the confidence which
circumstances rendered necessary, participant of this secret; and
as there was no instance, to my knowledge, of any one of the
number breaking faith, I am the more obliged to them, because the
slight and trivial character of the mystery was not qualified to
inspire much respect in those entrusted with it. Nevertheless,
like Jack the Giant-Killer, I was fully confident in the
advantage of my "Coat of Darkness;" and had it not been from
compulsory circumstances, I would have, indeed, been very
cautious how I parted with it.

As for the work which follows, it was meditated, and in part
printed, long before the avowal of the novels took place, and
originally commenced with a declaration that it was neither to
have introduction nor preface of any kind. This long proem,
prefixed to a work intended not to have any, may, however, serve
to show how human purposes in the most trifling, as well as the
most important affairs, are liable to be controlled by the course
of events. Thus we begin to cross a strong river with our eyes
and our resolution fixed on that point of the opposite shore on
which we purpose to land; but gradually giving way to the
torrent, are glad, by the aid perhaps of branch or bush, to
extricate ourselves at some distant and perhaps dangerous
landing-place, much farther down the stream than that on which we
had fixed our intentions.

Hoping that the Courteous Reader will afford to a known and
familiar acquaintance some portion of the favour which he
extended to a disguised candidate for his applause, I beg leave
to subscribe myself his obliged humble servant,

WALTER SCOTT.

ABBOTSFORD, OCTOBER 1, 1827.

*

Such was the little narrative which I thought proper to put forth
in October 1827; nor have I much to add to it now. About to
appear for the first time in my own name in this department of
letters, it occurred to me that something in the shape of a
periodical publication might carry with it a certain air of
novelty, and I was willing to break, if I may so express it, the
abruptness of my personal forthcoming, by investing an imaginary
coadjutor with at least as much distinctness of individual
existence as I had ever previously thought it worth while to
bestow on shadows of the same convenient tribe. Of course, it
had never been in my contemplation to invite the assistance of
any real person in the sustaining of my quasi-editorial character
and labours. It had long been my opinion, that any thing like a
literary PICNIC is likely to end in suggesting comparisons,

justly termed odious, and therefore to be avoided; and, indeed, I
had also had some occasion to know, that promises of assistance,
in efforts of that order, are apt to be more magnificent than the
subsequent performance. I therefore planned a Miscellany, to be
dependent, after the old fashion, on my own resources alone, and
although conscious enough that the moment which assigned to the
Author of Waverley "a local habitation and a name," had seriously
endangered his spell, I felt inclined to adopt the sentiment of
my old hero Montrose, and to say to myself, that in literature,
as in war,--

"He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
Who dares not put it to the touch,
To win or lose it all."

To the particulars explanatory of the plan of these Chronicles,
which the reader is presented with in Chapter II. by the
imaginary Editor, Mr. Croftangry, I have now to add, that the
lady, termed in his narrative, Mrs. Bethune Balliol, was designed
to shadow out in its leading points the interesting character of
a dear friend of mine, Mrs. Murray Keith, whose death occurring
shortly before, had saddened a wide circle, much attached to her,
as well for her genuine virtue and amiable qualities of
disposition, as for the extent of information which she
possessed, and the delightful manner in which she was used to
communicate it. In truth, the author had, on many occasions,
been indebted to her vivid memory for the SUBSTRATUM of his
Scottish fictions, and she accordingly had been, from an early
period, at no loss to fix the Waverley Novels on the right
culprit.

[The Keiths of Craig, in Kincardineshire, descended from John
Keith, fourth son of William, second Earl Marischal, who got from
his father, about 1480, the lands of Craig, and part of Garvock,
in that county. In Douglas's Baronage, 443 to 445, is a pedigree
of that family. Colonel Robert Keith of Craig (the seventh in
descent from John) by his wife, Agnes, daughter of Robert Murray
of Murrayshall, of the family of Blackbarony, widow of Colonel
Stirling, of the family of Keir, had one son--namely Robert Keith
of Craig, ambassador to the court of Vienna, afterwards to St.
Petersburgh, which latter situation he held at the accession of
King George III.--who died at Edinburgh in 1774. He married
Margaret, second daughter of Sir William Cunningham of
Caprington, by Janet, only child and heiress of Sir James Dick of
Prestonfield; and, among other children of this marriage were the
late well-known diplomatist, Sir Robert Murray Keith, K.B., a
general in the army, and for some time ambassador at Vienna; Sir
Basil Keith, Knight, captain in the navy, who died Governor of
Jamaica; and my excellent friend, Anne Murray Keith, who
ultimately came into possession of the family estates, and died
not long before the date of this Introduction (1831).]

In the sketch of Chrystal Croftangry's own history, the author
has been accused of introducing some not polite allusions to
respectable living individuals; but he may safely, he presumes,
pass over such an insinuation. The first of the narratives which
Mr. Croftangry proceeds to lay before the public, "The Highland
Widow," was derived from Mrs. Murray Keith, and is given, with
the exception of a few additional circumstances--the introduction
of which I am rather inclined to regret--very much as the
excellent old lady used to tell the story. Neither the Highland
cicerone Macturk nor the demure washingwoman, were drawn from
imagination; and on re-reading my tale, after the lapse of a few
years, and comparing its effect with my remembrance of my worthy
friend's oral narration, which was certainly extremely affecting,
I cannot but suspect myself of having marred its simplicity by
some of those interpolations, which, at the time when I penned
them, no doubt passed with myself for embellishments.

The next tale, entitled "The Two Drovers," I learned from another
old friend, the late George Constable, Esq. of Wallace-Craigie,
near Dundee, whom I have already introduced to my reader as the
original Antiquary of Monkbarns. He had been present, I think,
at the trial at Carlisle, and seldom mentioned the venerable
judges charge to the jury, without shedding tears,--which had
peculiar pathos, as flowing down features, carrying rather a
sarcastic or almost a cynical expression.

This worthy gentleman's reputation for shrewd Scottish sense,
knowledge of our national antiquities, and a racy humour peculiar
to himself, must be still remembered. For myself, I have pride
in recording that for many years we were, in Wordsworth's
language,--

"A pair of friends, though I was young,
And 'George' was seventy-two."

W. S.

ABBOTSFORD, AUG. 15, 1831.


*


APPENDIX TO INTRODUCTION.

[It has been suggested to the Author that it might be well to
reprint here a detailed account of the public dinner alluded to
in the foregoing Introduction, as given in the newspapers of the
time; and the reader is accordingly presented with the following
extract from the EDINBURGH WEEKLY JOURNAL for Wednesday, 28th
February, 1827.]

Sir Walter Scott

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