Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

Waverley, Or 'Tis Sixty Years Hence, Complete by Sir Walter Scott

Part 2 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.4 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

composition illustrate the ground of Sir Andrew, Aguecheek's eulogy on
the exploits of the jester in "Twelfth Night," who, reserving his sharper
jests for Sir Toby, had doubtless enough of the jargon of his calling to
captivate the imbecility of his brother knight, who is made to exclaim :
"In sooth, thou wast in very gracious fooling last night when thou
spokest of Pigrogremitus, and of the vapours passing the equinoctials of
Quenbus; 't was very good, i' faith!" It is entertaining to find
commentators seeking to discover some meaning in the professional jargon
of such a passage as this.]

With much goodly gibberish to the same effect,which display of Gregory's
ready wit not only threw the whole company into convulsions of laughter,
but made such an impression on Rose, the Potter's daughter, that it was
thought it would be the jester's own fault if Jack was long without his
Jill. Much pithy matter concerning the bringing the bride to bed, the
loosing the bridegroom's points, the scramble which ensued for them, and
the casting of the stocking, is also omitted, from its obscurity.

The following song, which has been since borrowed by the worshipful
author of the famous "History of Fryar Bacon," has been with difficulty
deciphered. It seems to have been sung on occasion of carrying home the


To the tune of "I have been a Fiddler," etc.
And did you not hear of a mirth befell

The morrow after a wedding-day,
And carrying a bride at home to dwell?
And away to Tewin, away, away!

The quintain was set, and the garlands were made,--
'T is pity old customs should ever decay;
And woe be to him that was horsed on a jade,
For he carried no credit away, away.

We met a consort of fiddle-de-dees;
We set them a cockhorse, and made them play
The winning of Bullen, and Upsey-fires,
And away to Tewin, away, away!

There was ne'er a lad in all the parish
That would go to the plough that day;
But on his fore-horse his wench he carries,
And away to Tewin, away, away!

The butler was quick, and the ale he did tap,
The maidens did make the chamber full gay;
The servants did give me a fuddling cup,
And I did carry 't away, away.

The smith of the town his liquor so took
That he was persuaded that the ground looked blue;
And I dare boldly be sworn on a book
Such smiths as he there 's but a few.

A posset was made, and the women did sip,
And simpering said they could eat no more;
Full many a maiden was laid on the lip,--
I'll say no more, but give o'er (give o'er).

But what our fair readers will chiefly regret is the loss of three
declarations of love: the first by St. Clore to Matilda, which, with the
lady's answer, occupies fifteen closely written pages of manuscript. That
of Fitzosborne to Emma is not much shorter; but the amours of Fitzallen
and Eleanor, being of a less romantic cast, are closed in three pages
only. The three noble couples were married in Queen-Hoo Hall upon the
same day, being the twentieth Sunday after Easter. There is a prolix
account of the marriage-feast, of which we can pick out the names of a
few dishes, such as peterel, crane, sturgeon, swan, etc., with a
profusion of wild-fowl and venison. We also see that a suitable song was
produced by Peretto on the occasion, and that the bishop, who blessed the
bridal beds which received the happy couples, was no niggard of his holy
water, bestowing half a gallon upon each of the couches. We regret we
cannot give these curiosities to the reader in detail, but we hope to
expose the manuscript to abler antiquaries, so soon as it shall be framed
and glazed by the ingenious artist who rendered that service to Mr.
Ireland's Shakspeare manuscripts. And so (being unable to lay aside the
style to which our pen is habituated), gentle reader, we bid thee
heartily farewell.

No. III.



It is well known in the South that there is little or no boxing at the
Scottish schools. About forty or fifty years ago, however, a far more
dangerous mode of fighting, in parties or factions, was permitted in the
streets of Edinburgh, to the great disgrace of the police, and danger of
the parties concerned. These parties were generally formed from the
quarters of the town in which the combatants resided, those of a
particular square or district fighting against those of an adjoining one.
Hence it happened that the children of the higher classes were often
pitted against those of the lower, each taking their side according to
the residence of their friends. So far as I recollect, however, it was
unmingled either with feelings of democracy or aristocracy, or, indeed,
with malice or ill-will of any kind towards the opposite party. In fact,
it was only a rough mode of play. Such contests were, however, maintained
with great vigour with stones and sticks and fisticuffs, when one party
dared to charge, and the other stood their ground. Of course mischief
sometimes happened; boys are said to have been killed at these "bickers,"
as they were called, and serious accidents certainly took place, as many
contemporaries can bear witness.

The Author's father residing in George Square, in the southern side of
Edinburgh, the boys belonging to that family, with others in the square,
were arranged into a sort of company, to which a lady of distinction
presented a handsome set of colours. Now this company, or regiment, as a
matter of course, was engaged in weekly warfare with the boys inhabiting
the Crosscauseway, Bristo Street, the Potter Row,--in short, the
neighbouring suburbs. These last were chiefly of the lower rank, but
hardy loons, who threw stones to a hair's-breadth, and were very rugged
antagonists at close quarters. The skirmish sometimes lasted for a whole
evening, until one party or the other was victorious, when, if ours were
successful, we drove the enemy to their quarters, and were usually chased
back by the reinforcement of bigger lads who came to their assistance.
If, on the contrary, we were pursued, as was often the case, into the
precincts of our square, we were in our turn supported by our elder
brothers, domestic servants, and similar auxiliaries.

It followed, from our frequent opposition to each other, that though not
knowing the names of our enemies, we were yet well acquainted with their
appearance, and had nicknames for the most remarkable of them. One very
active and spirited boy might be considered as the principal leader in
the cohort of the suburbs. He was, I suppose, thirteen or fourteen years
old, finely made, tall, blue-eyed, with long fair hair, the very picture
of a youthful Goth. This lad was always first in the charge, and last in
the retreat,--the Achilles, at once, and Ajax of the Crosscauseway. He
was too formidable to us not to have a cognomen, and, like that of a
knight of old, it was taken from the most remarkable part of his dress,
being a pair of old green livery breeches, which was the principal part
of his clothing; for, like Pentapolin, according to Don Quixote's
account, Green-Breeks, as we called him, always entered the battle with
bare arms, legs, and feet.

It fell that once upon a time, when the combat was at the thickest, this
plebeian champion headed a sudden charge so rapid and furious that all
fled before him. He was several paces before his comrades, and had
actually laid his hands on the patrician standard, when one of our party,
whom some misjudging friend had intrusted with a couteau de chasse, or
hanger, inspired with a zeal for the honour of the corps worthy of Major
Sturgeon himself, struck poor Green-Breeks over the head with strength
sufficient to cut him down. When this was seen, the casualty was so far
beyond what had ever taken place before that both parties fled different
ways, leaving poor Green-Breeks, with his bright hair plentifully dabbled
in blood, to the care of the watchman, who (honest man) took care not to
know who had done the mischief. The bloody hanger was flung into one of
the Meadow ditches, and solemn secrecy was sworn on all hands; but the
remorse and terror of the actor were beyond all bounds, and his
apprehensions of the most dreadful character. The wounded hero was for a
few days in the Infirmary, the case being only a trifling one. But though
inquiry was strongly pressed on him, no argument could make him indicate
the person from whom he had received the wound, though he must have been
perfectly well known to him. When he recovered, and was dismissed, the
author and his brothers opened a communication with him, through the
medium of a popular gingerbread baker, of whom both parties were
customers, in order to tender a subsidy in name of smart-money. The sum
would excite ridicule were I to name it; but sure I am that the pockets
of the noted Green-Breeks never held as much money of his own. He
declined the remittance, saying that he would not sell his blood, but at
the same time reprobated the idea of being an informer, which, he said,
was "clam," i.e., base or mean. With much urgency, he accepted a pound of
snuff for the use of some old woman--aunt, grandmother, or the like--with
whom he lived. We did not become friends, for the bickers were more
agreeable to both parties than any more pacific amusement; but we
conducted them ever after under mutual assurances of the highest
consideration for each other.

Such was the hero whom Mr. Thomas Scott proposed to carry to Canada and
involve in adventures with the natives and colonists of that country.
Perhaps the youthful generosity of the lad will not seem so great in the
eyes of others as to those whom it was the means of screening from severe
rebuke and punishment. But it seemed, to those concerned, to argue a
nobleness of sentiment far beyond the pitch of most minds; and however
obscurely the lad, who showed such a frame of noble spirit, may have
lived or died, I cannot help being of opinion, that if fortune had placed
him in circumstances calling for gallantry or generosity, the man would
have fulfilled the promises of the boy. Long afterwards, when the story
was told to my father, he censured us severely for not telling the truth
at the time, that he might have attempted to be of use to the young man
in entering on life. But our alarms for the consequences of the drawn
sword, and the wound inflicted with such a weapon, were far too
predominant at the time for such a pitch of generosity.

Perhaps I ought not to have inserted this schoolboy tale; but besides the
strong impression made by the incident at the time, the whole
accompaniments of the story are matters to me of solemn and sad
recollection. Of all the little band who were concerned in those juvenile
sports or brawls, I can scarce recollect a single survivor. Some left the
ranks of mimic war to die in the active service of their country. Many
sought distant lands, to return no more. Others, dispersed in different
paths of life, "my dim eyes now seek for in vain." Of five brothers, all
healthy and promising in a degree far beyond one whose infancy was
visited by personal infirmity, and whose health after this period seemed
long very precarious, I am, nevertheless, the only survivor. The best
loved, and the best deserving to be loved, who had destined this incident
to be the foundation of literary composition, died "before his day," in a
distant and foreign land; and trifles assume an importance not their own,
when connected with those who have been loved and lost.




"Under which King, Bezonian? Speak, or die!"
Henry IV., Part II.


"What is the value of a reputation that probably will not last above one
or two generations?" Sir Walter Scott once asked Ballantyne. Two
generations, according to the usual reckoning, have passed; "'T is Sixty
Years since" the "wondrous Potentate" of Wordsworth's sonnet died, yet
the reputation on which he set so little store survives. A constant tide
of new editions of his novels flows from the press; his plots give
materials for operas and plays; he has been criticised, praised,
condemned: but his romances endure amid the changes of taste, remaining
the delight of mankind, while new schools and little masters of fiction
come and go.

Scott himself believed that even great works usually suffer periods of
temporary occultation. His own, no doubt, have not always been in their
primitive vogue. Even at first, English readers complained of the
difficulty caused by his Scotch, and now many make his I "dialect" an
excuse for not reading books which their taste, debauched by third-rate
fiction, is incapable of enjoying. But Scott has never disappeared in one
of those irregular changes of public opinion remarked on by his friend
Lady Louisa Stuart. In 1821 she informed him that she had tried the
experiment of reading Mackenzie's "Man of Feeling" aloud: "Nobody cried,
and at some of the touches I used to think so exquisite, they
laughed."--[Abbotsford Manuscripts.]--His correspondent requested Scott
to write something on such variations of taste, which actually seem to be
in the air and epidemic, for they affect, as she remarked, young people
who have not heard the criticisms of their elders.--[See Scott's reply,
with the anecdote about Mrs. Aphra Behn's novels, Lockhart, vi. 406
(edition of 1839).]--Thus Rousseau's "Nouvelle Heloise," once so
fascinating to girls, and reputed so dangerous, had become tedious to the
young, Lady Louisa says, even in 1821. But to the young, if they have any
fancy and intelligence, Scott is not tedious even now; and probably his
most devoted readers are boys, girls, and men of matured appreciation and
considerable knowledge of literature. The unformed and the cultivated
tastes are still at one about Scott. He holds us yet with his
unpremeditated art, his natural qualities of friendliness, of humour, of
sympathy. Even the carelessness with which his earliest and his kindest
critics--Ellis, Erskine, and Lady Louisa Stuart--reproached him has not
succeeded in killing his work and diminishing his renown.

It is style, as critics remind us, it is perfection of form, no doubt,
that secure the permanence of literature; but Scott did not overstate his
own defects when he wrote in his Journal (April 22, 1826): "A solecism in
point of composition, like a Scotch word, is indifferent to me. I never
learned grammar. . . . I believe the bailiff in 'The Goodnatured Man' is
not far wrong when he says: 'One man has one way of expressing himself,
and another another; and that is all the difference between them.'" The
difference between Scott and Thackeray or Flaubert among good writers,
and a crowd of self-conscious and mannered "stylists" among writers not
so very good, is essential. About Shakspeare it was said that he "never
blotted a line." The observation is almost literally true about Sir
Walter. The pages of his manuscript novels show scarcely a retouch or an
erasure, whether in the "Waverley" fragment of 1805 or the unpublished
"Siege of Malta" of 1832.

[A history of Scott's Manuscripts, with good fac-similes, will be found
in the Catalogue of the Scott Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1872.]

The handwriting becomes closer and smaller; from thirty-eight lines to
the page in "Waverley," he advances to between fifty and sixty in
"Ivanhoe." The few alterations are usually additions. For example, a
fresh pedantry of the Baron of Bradwardine's is occasionally set down on
the opposite page. Nothing can be less like the method of Flaubert or the
method of Mr. Ruskin, who tells us that "a sentence of 'Modern Painters'
was often written four or five tunes over in my own hand, and tried in
every word for perhaps an hour,--perhaps a forenoon,--before it was
passed for the printer." Each writer has his method; Scott was no
stipples or niggler, but, as we shall see later, he often altered much in
his proof-sheets.

[While speaking of correction, it may be noted that Scott, in his
"Advertisement" prefixed to the issue of 1829, speaks of changes made in
that collected edition. In "Waverley" these emendations are very rare,
and are unimportant. A few callidae juncturae are added, a very few lines
are deleted. The postscript of the first edition did not contain the
anecdote about the hiding-place of the manuscript among the fishing
tackle. The first line of Flora Macdonald's battle-song (chapter xxii.)
originally ran, "Mist darkens the mountain, night darkens the vale," in
place of "There is mist on the mountain and mist on the vale." For the
rest, as Scott says, "where the tree falls it must lie."]

As long as he was understood, he was almost reckless of well-constructed
sentences, of the one best word for his meaning, of rounded periods. This
indifference is not to be praised, but it is only a proof of his
greatness that his style, never distinguished, and often lax, has not
impaired the vitality of his prose. The heart which beats in his works,
the knowledge of human nature, the dramatic vigour of his character, the
nobility of his whole being win the day against the looseness of his
manner, the negligence of his composition, against the haste of fatigue
which set him, as Lady Louisa Stuart often told him, on "huddling up a
conclusion anyhow, and so kicking the book out of his way." In this
matter of denouements he certainly was no more careful than Shakspeare or

The permanence of Sir Walter's romances is proved, as we said, by their
survival among all the changes of fashion in the art of fiction. When he
took up his pen to begin "Waverley," fiction had not absorbed, as it does
to-day, almost all the best imaginative energy of English or foreign
writers. Now we hear of "art" on every side, and every novelist must give
the world his opinion about schools and methods. Scott, on the other
hand, lived in the greatest poetical ago since that of Elizabeth. Poetry
or the drama (in which, to be sure, few succeeded) occupied Wordsworth,
Byron, Coleridge, Shelley, Crabbe, Campbell, and Keats. Then, as Joanna
Baillie hyperbolically declared, "The Scotch novels put poetry out of

[Abbotsford Manuscripts. Hogg averred that nobody either read or wrote
poetry after Sir Walter took to prose.]

Till they appeared, novels seem to have been left to readers like the
plaintive lady's-maid whom Scott met at Dalkeith, when he beheld "the
fair one descend from the carriage with three half-bound volumes of a
novel in her hand." Mr. Morritt, writing to Scott in March, 1815, hopes
he will "restore pure narrative to the dignity from which it gradually
slipped before it dwindled into a manufactory for the circulating
library." "Waverley," he asserted, "would prevail over people otherwise
averse to blue-backed volumes." Thus it was an unconsidered art which
Scott took up and revived. Half a century had passed since Fielding gave
us in "Tom Jones" his own and very different picture of life in the
"'forty-five,"--of life with all the romance of the "Race to Derby" cut
down to a sentence or two. Since the age of the great English novelists,
Richardson and Fielding and Miss Burney, the art of fiction had been
spasmodically alive in the hands of Mrs. Radcliffe, had been sentimental
with Henry Mackenzie, and now was all but moribund, save for the humorous
Irish sketches of Miss Edgeworth. As Scott always insisted, it was mainly
"the extended and well-merited fame of Miss Edgeworth" which induced him
to try his hand on a novel containing pictures of Scottish life and
character. Nothing was more remarkable in his own novels than the
blending of close and humorous observation of common life with pleasure
in adventurous narratives about "what is not so, and was not so, and
Heaven forbid that it ever should be so," as the girl says in the nursery
tale. Through his whole life he remained the dreamer of dreams and teller
of wild legends, who had held the lads of the High School entranced round
Luckie Brown's fireside, and had fleeted the summer days in interchange
of romances with a schoolboy friend, Mr. Irving, among the hills that
girdle Edinburgh. He ever had a passion for "knights and ladies and
dragons and giants," and "God only knows," he says, "how delighted I was
to find myself in such society." But with all this delight, his
imagination had other pleasures than the fantastic: the humours and
passions of ordinary existence were as clearly visible to him as the
battles, the castles, and the giants. True, he was more fastidious in his
choice of novels of real life than in his romantic reading. "The whole
Jemmy and Jessamy tribe I abhorred," he said; "and it required the art of
Burney or the feeling of Mackenzie to fix my attention upon a domestic
tale." But when the domestic tale was good and true, no man appreciated
it more than he. None has more vigorously applauded Miss Austen than
Scott, and it was thus that as the "Author of 'Waverley'" he addressed
Miss Edgeworth, through James Ballantyne: "If I could but hit it, Miss
Edgeworth's wonderful power of vivifying all her persons, and making
there live as beings in your mind, I should not be afraid." "Often,"
Ballantyne goes on, "has the Author of 'Waverley' used such language to
me; and I knew that I gratified him most when I could say, 'Positively,
this is equal to Miss Edgeworth.'"

Thus Scott's own taste was catholic: and in this he was particularly
unlike the modern novelists, who proclaim, from both sides of the
Atlantic, that only in their own methods, and in sharing their own
exclusive tastes, is literary salvation. The prince of Romance was no
one-sided romanticiste; his ear was open to all fiction good in its kind.
His generosity made him think Miss Edgeworth's persons more alive than
his own. To his own romances he preferred Mrs. Shelley's "Frankenstein."

[Scott reviewed "Frankenstein" in 1818. Mr. Shelley had sent it with a
brief note, it, which he said that it was the work of a friend, and that
he had only seen it through the press. Sir Walter passed the hook on to
Mr. Murritt, who, in reply, gave Scott a brief and not very accurate
history of Shelley. Sir Walter then wrote a most favourable review of
"Frankenstein" in "Blackwood's Magazine," observing that it was
attributed to Mr. Percy Bysshe Shelley, a son-in-law of Mr. Godwin. Mrs.
Shelley presently wrote thanking him for the review, and assuring him
that it was her own work. Scott had apparently taken Sheller's disclaimer
as an innocent evasion; it was an age of literary
superscheries.--Abbotsford Manuscripts.]

As a critic, of course, he was mistaken; but his was the generous error
of the heart, and it is the heart in Walter Scott, even more than the
brain, that lends its own vitality to his creations. Equipped as he was
with a taste truly catholic, capable in old age of admiring "Pelham," he
had the power to do what he calls "the big bow-wow strain;" yet he was
not, as in his modesty he supposed, denied "the exquisite torch which
renders ordinary commonplace things and characters interesting, from the
truth of the description and the sentiment."

The letter of Rose Bradwardine to Waverley is alone enough to disprove
Scott's disparagement of himself, his belief that he had been denied
exquisiteness of touch. Nothing human is more delicate, nothing should be
more delicately handled, than the first love of a girl. What the
"analytical" modern novelist would pass over and dissect and place
beneath his microscope till a student of any manliness blushes with shame
and annoyance, Scott suffers Rose Bradwardine to reveal with a sensitive
shyness. But Scott, of course, had even less in common with the peeper
and botanizer on maidens' hearts than with the wildest romanticist. He
considered that "a want of story is always fatal to a book the first
reading, and it is well if it gets a chance of a second." From him "Pride
and Prejudice" got a chance of three readings at least. This generous
universality of taste, in addition to all his other qualities of humour
and poetry, enabled Scott to raise the novel from its decadence, and to
make the dry bones of history live again in his tales. With Charles
Edward at Holyrood, as Mr. Senior wrote in the "Quarterly Review," "we
are in the lofty region of romance. In any other hands than those of Sir
Walter Scott, the language and conduct of those great people would have
been as dignified as their situations. We should have heard nothing of
the hero in his new costume 'majoring afore the muckle pier-glass,' of
his arrest by the hint of the Candlestick, of his examination by the
well-powdered Major Melville, or of his fears of being informed against
by Mrs. Nosebag." In short, "while the leading persons and events are as
remote from ordinary life as the inventions of Scudery, the picture of
human nature is as faithful as could have been given by Fielding or Le
Sage." Though this criticism has not the advantage of being new, it is
true; and when we have added that Scott's novels are the novels of the
poet who, next to Shakspeare, knew mankind most widely and well, we have
the secret of his triumph.

For the first time in literature, it was a poet who held the pen of the
romancer in prose. Fielding, Richardson, De Foe, Miss Rurnev, were none
of them made by the gods poetical. Scott himself, with his habitual
generosity, would have hailed his own predecessor in Mrs. Radcliffe. "The
praise may be claimed for Mrs. Radcliffe of having been the first to
introduce into her prose fictions a beautiful and fanciful tone of
natural description and impressive narrative, which had hitherto been
exclusively applied to poetry. . . . Mrs. Radcliffe has a title to be
considered the first poetess of romantic fiction." When "Guy Mannering"
appeared, Wordsworth sneered at it as a work of the Radcliffe school. The
slight difference produced by the introduction of humour could scarcely
be visible to Wordsworth. But Scott would not have been hurt by his
judgment. He had the literary courage to recognize merit even when
obscured by extravagance, and to applaud that in which people of culture
could find neither excellence nor charm. Like Thackeray, he had been
thrilled by Vivaidi in the Inquisition, and he was not the man to hide
his gratitude because his author was now out of fashion.

Thus we see that Scott, when he began "Waverley" in 1805, brought to his
labour no hard-and-fast theory of the art of fiction, but a kindly
readiness to be pleased, and to find good in everything. He brought his
wide knowledge of contemporary Scottish life "from the peer to the
ploughman; "he brought his well-digested wealth of antiquarian lore, and
the poetic skill which had just been busied with the "Lay of the Last
Minstrel," and was still to be occupied, ere he finished his interrupted
novel, with "Marmion," "The Lady of the Lake," "Rokeby," and "The Lord of
the Isles." The comparative failure of the last-named no doubt
strengthened his determination to try prose romance. He had never cared
mach for his own poems, he says, Byron had outdone him in popularity, and
the Muse--"the Good Demon" who once deserted Herrick--came now less
eagerly to his call. It is curiously difficult to disentangle the
statements about the composition of "Waverley." Our first authority, of
course, is Scott's own account, given in the General Preface to the
Edition of 1829. Lockhart, however, remarks on the haste with which Sir
Walter wrote the Introductions to the magnum opus; and the lapse of
fifteen years, the effects of disease, and his habitual carelessness
about his own works and mode of working may certainly to some extent have
clouded his memory. "About the year 1805," as he says, he "threw together
about one third part of the first volume of 'Waverley.'" It was
advertised to be published, he goes on, by Ballantvne, with the second
title, "'T is Fifty Years since." This, obviously, would have made 1755
the date of the events, just as the title "'T is Sixty Years since" in
1814 brought the date of the events to 1754. By inspecting the water-mark
of the paper Lockhart discovered that 1805 was the period in which the
first few chapters were composed; the rest of the paper was marked 1814.
Scott next observes that the unfavourable opinion of a critical friend on
the first seven chapters induced him to lay the manuscript aside. Who was
this friend? Lockhart thinks it was Erskine. It is certain, from a letter
of Ballantyne's at Abbotsford,--a letter printed by Lockhart, September
15, 1810,--that Ballantyne in 1810 saw at least the earlier portions of
"Waverley," and it is clear enough that he had seen none of it before. If
any friend did read it in 1805, it cannot have been Ballantyne, and may
have been Erskine. But none of the paper bears a water-mark, between 1805
and 1813, so Scott must merely have taken it up, in 1810, as it had been
for five years. Now Scott says that the success of "The Lady of the
Lake," with its Highland pictures, induced him "to attempt something of
the same sort in prose." This, as Lockhart notes, cannot refer to 1805,
as the "Lady of the Lake" did not appear till 1810. But the good fortune
of the "Lady" may very well have induced him in 1810 to reconsider his
Highland prose romance. In 1808, as appears from an undated letter to
Surtees of Mainsforth (Abbotsford Manuscripts), he was contemplating a
poem on "that wandering knight so fair," Charles Edward, and on the
adventures of his flight, on Lochiel, Flora Macdonald, the Kennedys, and
the rest. Earlier still, on June 9, 1806, Scott wrote to Lady Abercorn
that he had "a great work in contemplation, a Highland romance of love,
magic, and war." "The Lady of the Lake" took the place of that poem in
his "century of inventions," and, stimulated by the popularity of his
Highland romance in verse, he disinterred the last seven chapters of
"Waverley" from their five years of repose. Very probably, as he himself
hints, the exercise of fitting a conclusion to Strutt's "Queenloo Hall"
may have helped to bring his fancy back to his own half-forgotten story
of "Waverley." In 1811 Scott went to Abbotsford, and there, as he tells
us, he lost sight of his "Waverley" fragment. Often looked for, it was
never found, till the accident of a search for fishing-tackle led him to
discover it in the drawer of an old bureau in a lumber-garret. This
cabinet afterwards came into the possession of Mr. William Laidlaw,
Scott's friend and amanuensis, and it is still, the Editor understands,
in the hands of Miss Laidlaw. The fishing-tackle, Miss Laidlaw tells the
Editor (mainly red hackles, tied on hair, not gut), still occupies the
drawer, except a few flies which were given, as relics, to the late Mr.
Thomas Tod Stoddart. In 1813, then, volume i. of "Waverley" was finished.
Then Scott undertook some articles for Constable, and laid the novel
aside. The printing, at last, must have been very speedy. Dining in
Edinburgh, in June, 1814, Lockhart saw "the hand of Walter Scott" busy at
its task. "Page after page is finished, and thrown on the heap of
manuscripts, and still it goes on unwearied." The book was published on
July 7, the press hardly keeping up with the activity of the author.
Scott had written "two volumes in three summer weeks" and the printers
had not shown less activity, while binders and stitchers must have worked
extra tides.

"Waverley" was published without the Author's name. Scott's reasons for
being anonymous have been stated by himself. "It was his humour,"--that
is the best of the reasons and the secret gave him a great deal of
amusement. The Ballantynes, of course, knew it from the first; so did Mr.
Morritt, Lady Louisa Stuart, and Lord and Lady Montague, and others were
gradually admitted. In an undated letter, probably of November, 1816,
Scott says to the Marchioness of Abercorn, a most intimate friend: "I
cannot even conjecture whom you mean by Mr. Mackenzie as author of 'The
Antiquary.' I should think my excellent old friend Mr. Harry Mackenzie
[author of the 'Man of Feeling,' etc.] was too much advanced in years and
plugged in business to amuse himself by writing novels; and besides, the
style in no degree resembles his." (Lady Abercorn meant 'Young Harry
Mackenzie," not the patriarch.) "I am told one of the English reviews
gives these works by name and upon alleged authority to George Forbes,
Sir William's brother; so they take them off my hands, I don't care who
they turn to, for I am really tired of an imputation which I am under the
necessity of confuting at every corner. Tom will soon be home from
Canada, as the death of my elder brother has left him a little money. He
may answer for himself, but I hardly suspect him, unless much changed, to
be Possessed of the perseverance necessary to write nine volumes." Scott
elsewhere rather encouraged the notion that his brother Thomas was the
author, and tried to make him exert himself and enter the field as a
rival. Gossip also assigned the "Scotch novels" to Jeffrey, to Mrs.
Thomas Scott, aided by her husband and Sir Walter, to a Dr. Greenfield, a
clergyman, and to many others. Sir Walter humorously suggested George
Cranstoun as the real offender. After the secret was publicly confessed,
Lady Louisa Stuart reminded Scott of all the amusement it had given them.
"Old Mortality" had been pronounced "too good" for Scott, and free from
his "wearisome descriptions of scenery." Clever people had detected
several separate hands in "Old Mortality," as in the Iliad. All this was
diverting. Moreover, Scott was in some degree protected from the bores
who pester a successful author. He could deny the facts very stoutly,
though always, as he insists, With the reservation implied in alleging
that, if he had been the author, he would still have declined to confess.
In the notes to later novels we shall see some of his "great denials."

The reception of "Waverley" was enthusiastic. Large editions were sold in
Edinburgh, and when Scott returned from his cruise in the northern
islands he found society ringing with his unacknowledged triumph. Byron,
especially, proclaimed his pleasure in "Waverley." It may be curious to
recall some of the published reviews of the moment. Probably no author
ever lived so indifferent to published criticism as Scott. Miss
Edgeworth, in one of her letters, reminds him how they had both agreed
that writers who cared for the dignity and serenity of their characters
should abstain from "that authors' bane-stuff." "As to the herd of
critics," Scott wrote to Miss Seward, after publishing "The Lay," "many
of those gentlemen appear to me to be a set of tinkers, who, unable to
make pots and pans, set up for menders of them." It is probable,
therefore, that he was quite unconcerned about the few remarks which Mr.
Gifford, in the "Quarterly Review" (vol. xl., 1814), interspersed among a
multitude of extracts, in a notice of "Waverley" manufactured with
scissors and paste. The "Quarterly" recognized "a Scotch Castle
Rackrent," but in "a much higher strain." The tale was admitted to
possess all the accuracy of history, and all the vivacity of romance.
Scott's second novel, "Guy Mannering," was attacked with some viciousness
in the periodical of which he was practically the founder, and already
the critic was anxious to repeat what Scott, talking of Pope's censors,
calls "the cuckoo cry of written out'!" The notice of "Waverley" in the
"Edinburgh Review " by Mr. Jeffrey was not so slight and so unworthy of
the topic. The novel was declared, and not unjustly, to be "very hastily,
and in many places very unskilfully, written." The Scotch was decried as
"unintelligible" dialect by the very reviewer who had accused "Marmion"
of not being Scotch enough. But the "Edinburgh" applauded "the
extraordinary fidelity and felicity" with which all the inferior agents
in the story are represented. "Fastidious readers" might find Callum Beg
and Mrs. Nosebag and the Cumberland peasants "coarse and disgusting,"
said the reviewer, who must have had in his imagination readers extremely
superfine. He objected to the earlier chapters as uninteresting,
and--with justice--to the passages where the author speaks in "the smart
and flippant style of modern makers of paragraphs." "These form a strange
and humiliating contrast with the force and freedom of his manner when
engaged in those dramatic and picturesque representations to which his
genius so decidedly inclines." He spoke severely of the places where
Scott explains the circumstances of Waverley's adventures before he
reaches Edinburgh; and Scott himself, in his essay on Mrs. Radcliffe,
regrets that explanatory chapters had ever been invented. The reviewer
broadly hints his belief that Scott is the author; and on the whole,
except for a cautious lack of enthusiasm, the notice is fair and kindly.
The "Monthly Review" differed not much from the Blue and Yellow (the
"Edinburgh Review").

"It is not one of the least merits of this very uncommon production that
all the subordinate characters are touched with the same discriminating
force which so strongly marks their principals; and that in this manner
almost every variety of station and interest, such as existed at the
period under review, is successively brought before the mind of the
reader in colours vivid as the original.

"A few oversights, we think, we have detected in the conduct of the story
which ought not to remain unnoticed. For example, the age of Stanley and
Lady Emily does not seem well to accord with the circumstances of their
union, as related in the commencement of the work; and we are not quite
satisfied that Edward should have been so easily reconciled to the
barbarous and stubborn prejudices which precluded even the office of
intercession for his gallant friend and companion-in-arms.

"The pieces of poetry which are not very profusely scattered through
these volumes can scarcely fail to be ascribed to Mr. Scott, whatever may
be judged of the body of the work. In point of comparative merit, we
should class them neither with the highest nor with the meanest effusions
of his lyric minstrelsy."

Lord Byron's "Grandmother's Review, the British," was also friendly and
sagacious, in its elderly way.

"We request permission, therefore, to introduce 'Waverley,' a publication
which has already excited considerable interest in the sister kingdom, to
the literary world on this side the Tweed.

"A very short time has elapsed since this publication made its appearance
in Edinburgh, and though it came into the world in the modest garb of
anonymous obscurity, the Northern literati are unanimous, we understand,
in ascribing part of it, at, least, to the pen of W. Scott.

"We are unwilling to consider this publication in the light of a common
novel whose fate it is to be devoured with rapidity for a day, and
afterwards forgotten forever, but as a vehicle of curious and accurate
information upon a subject which must at all times demand our
attention,--the history and manners of a very large and renowned portion
of the inhabitants of these islands. We would recommend this tale as
faithfully embodying the lives, the manners, and the opinions of this
departed race, and as affording those features of ancient days which no
man probably, besides its author, has had the means to collect, the
desire to preserve, or the power to portray.

"Although there are characters sufficient to awaken the attention and to
diversify the scenes, yet they are not in sufficient number to perplex
the memory or to confuse the incidents. Their spirit is well kept up till
the very last, and they relieve one another with so much art that the
reader will not find himself wearied even with the pedantic jargon of the
old Baron of Bradwardine.

"Of Waverley himself we shall say but little, as his character is far too
common to need a comment; we can only say that his wanderings are not
gratuitous, nor is he wavering and indecisive only because the author
chooses to make him so. Every feature in his character is formed by
education, and it is to this first source that we are constantly referred
for a just and sufficient cause of all the wandering passions as they
arise in his mind.

"The secondary personages are drawn with much spirit and fidelity, and
with a very striking knowledge of the peculiarities of the Scotch temper
and disposition. The incidents are all founded on fact, and the
historical parts are related with much accuracy. The livelier scenes
which are displayed are of the most amusing species, because they flow so
naturally from the personages before us that the characters, not the
author, appear to speak. A strong vein of very original humour marks the
whole: in most instances it is indeed of a local and particular nature,
but in many cases it assumes a more general appearance.

"Of the more serious portions we can speak with unqualified approbation;
the very few pathetic scenes which occur are short, dignifed, and
affecting. The love-scenes are sufficiently contracted to produce that
very uncommon sensation in the mind,--a wish that they were longer.

"The religious opinions expressed in the course of the tale are few, but
of those few we fully approve.

"The humorous and happy adaptation of legal terns shows no moderate
acquaintance with the arcana of the law, and a perpetual allusion to the
English and Latin classics no common share of scholarship and taste."

The "Scots Magazine" illustrated the admirable unanimity of reviewers
when they are unanimous. The "Anti-Jacobin" objected that no
Chateau-Margaux sent in the wood from Bordeaux to Dundee in 1713 could
have been drinkable in 1741. "Claret two-and-thirty years old! It almost
gives us the gripes to think of it." Indeed, Sir Walter, as Lochhart
assures its, was so far from being a judge of claret that he could not
tell when it was "corked." One or two points equally important amused the
reviewer, who, like most of his class, detected the hand of Scott. There
was hardly a possibility, as Mr. Morritt told Sir Walter, "that the poems
in "Waverley" could fail to suggest their author. No man who ever heard
you tell a story over a table but must recognize you at once." To his
praise of "Waverley" Mr. Morritt hardly added any adverse criticism,
beyond doubting the merit of the early chapters, and denouncing the word
"sombre" as one which had lately "kept bad company among the slipshod
English of the sentimental school." Scott, in defence, informed Mr.
Morritt that he had "left the story to flag in the first volume on
purpose. . . . I wished (with what success Heaven knows) to avoid the
ordinary error of novelists, whose first volume is usually their best."

It must be admitted that if Scott wished to make "Waverley" "flag" in the
beginning, he succeeded extremely well,--too well for many modern
readers, accustomed to a leap into the midst of the story. These
introductory chapters," he observes in a note on the fifth of them, "have
been a good deal censured as tedious and unnecessary; yet there are
circumstances recorded in them which the Author has not been able to
persuade himself to retract or cancel." These "circumstances" are
probably the studies of Waverley, his romantic readings, which are really
autobiographic. Scott was, apparently, seriously of opinion that the
"mental discipline" of a proper classical education would have been
better for himself than his own delightfully desultory studies.
Ballantyne could not see what Waverley's reading had to do with his
adventures and character. Scott persisted in being of another mind. He
himself, writing to Morritt, calls his hero "a sneaking piece of
imbecility;" but he probably started with loftier intentions of
"psychological analysis" than he fulfilled. He knew, and often said, in
private letters, as in published works, that he was no hand at a
respectable hero. Borderers, buccaneers, robber, and humorsome people,
like Dugald Dalgetty and Bailie Nicol Jarvie and Macwheeble, whom he said
he preferred to any person in "Waverley," were the characters he
delighted in. We may readily believe that Shakspeare too preferred
Jacques and the Fat Knight to Orlando or the favoured lover of Anne Page.
Your hero is a difficult person to make human,--unless, indeed, he has
the defects of Pendennis or Tom Jones. But it is likely enough that the
Waverley whom Scott had in his mind in 1805 was hardly the Waverley of
1813. His early English chapters are much in the ordinary vein of novels
as they were then written; in those chapters come the "asides" by the
author which the "Edinburgh Review" condemned. But there remains the
kindly, honourable Sir Everard, while the calm atmosphere of English
meadows, and the plump charms of Miss Cecilia Stubbs, are intended as
foils to the hills of the North, the shy refinement of Rose, and the
heroic heart of Flora Mac-Ivor. Scott wished to show the remote extremes
of civilization and mental habit co-existing in the same island of
Scotland and England. Yet we regret such passages as "craving pardon for
my heroics, which I am unable in certain cases to resist giving way to,"
and so forth. Scott was no Thackeray, no Fielding, and failed (chiefly in
"Waverley") when he attempted the mood of banter, which one of his
daughters, a lady "of Beatrice's mind," "never got from me," he observes.

In any serious, attempt to criticise "Waverley" as a whole, it is not
easy to say whether we should try to put ourselves at the point of view
of its first readers, or whether we should look at it from the
vantage-ground of to-day. In 1811 the dead world of clannish localty was
fresh in many memories. Scott's own usher had often spoken with a person
who had seen Cromwell enter Edinburgh after Dunbar. He himself knew
heroes of the Forty-five, and his friend Lady Louisa Stuart had been well
acquainted with Miss Walkinshaw, sister of the mistress of Charles
Edward. To his generation those things were personal memories, which to
us seem as distant as the reign of Men-Ka-Ra. They could not but be
"carried off their feet" by such pictures of a past still so near them.
Nor had they other great novelists to weaken the force of Scott's
impressions. They had not to compare him with the melancholy mirth of
Thackeray, and the charm, the magic of his style. Balzac was of the
future; of the future was the Scott of France,--the boyish, the witty,
the rapid, the brilliant, the inexhaustible Dumas. Scott's generation had
no scruples abort "realism," listened to no sermons on the glory of the
commonplace; like Dr. Johnson, they admired a book which "was amusing as
a fairy-tale." But we are overwhelmed with a wealth of comparisons, and
deafened by a multitude of homilies on fiction, and distracted, like the
people in the Erybyggja Saga, by the strange rising and setting, and the
wild orbits of new "weirdmoons" of romance. Before we can make up our
minds on Scott, we have to remember, or forget, the scornful patronage of
one critic, the over-subtlety and exaggerations of another, the more than
papal infallibility of a third. Perhaps the best critic would be an
intelligent school-boy, with a generous heart and an unspoiled
imagination. As his remarks are not accessible, as we must try to judge
"Waverley" like readers inured to much fiction and much criticism, we
must confess, no doubt, that the commencement has the faults which the
first reviewers detected, and it which Scott acknowledged. He is
decidedly slow in getting to business, as they say; he began with more of
conscious ethical purpose than he went on, and his banter is poor. But
when once we enter the village of Tully-Veolan, the Magician finds his
wand. Each picture of place or person tells,--the old butler, the daft
Davie Gellatley, the solemn and chivalrous Baron, the, pretty natural
girl, the various lairds, the factor Macwheeble,--all at once become
living people, and friends whom we can never lose. The creative fire of
Shakspeare lives again. The Highlanders--Evan Dhu, Donald Bean Lean, his
charming daughter, Callum Beg, and all the rest--are as natural as the
Lowlanders. In Fergus and Flora we feel, indeed, at first, that the
author has left his experience behind, and is giving us creatures of
fancy. But they too become human and natural,--Fergus in his moods of
anger, ambition, and final courageous resignation; Flora, in her grief.
As for Waverley, his creator was no doubt too hard on him. Among the
brave we hear that he was one of the bravest, though Scott always wrote
his battlepieces in a manner to suggest no discomfort, and does not give
us particular details of Waverley's prowess. He has spirit enough, this
"sneaking piece of imbecility," as he shows in his quarrel with Fergus,
on the march to Derby. Waverley, that creature of romance, considered as
a lover, is really not romantic enough. He loved Rose because she loved
him,--which is confessed to be unheroic behaviour. Scott, in "Waverley,"
certainly does not linger over love-scenes. With Mr. Ruskin, we may say:
"Let it not be thought for an instant that the slight and sometimes
scornful glance with which Scott passes over scenes, which a novelist of
our own day would have analyzed with the airs of a philosopher, and
painted with the curiosity of a gossip, indicates any absence in his
heart of sympathy with the great and sacred elements of personal
happiness." But his mind entertained other themes of interest, "loyalty,
patriotism, piety." On the other hand, it is necessary to differ from Mr.
Ruskin when he says that Scott "never knew 'l'amor che move 'l sol e l'
altre stelle.'" He whose heart was "broken for two years," and retained
the crack till his dying day, he who, when old and tired, and near his
death, was yet moved by the memory of the name which thirty years before
he had cut in Runic characters on the turf at the Castle-gate of St.
Andrew, knew love too well to write of it much, or to speak of it at all.
He had won his ideal as alone the ideal can be won; he never lost her:
she was with him always, because she had been unattainable. "There are
few," he says, "who have not, at one period of life, broken ties of love
and friendship, secret disappointments of the heart, to mourn over,--and
we know no book which recalls the memory of them more severely than
'Julia de Roubigne.'" He could not be very eager to recall them, he who
had so bitterly endured them, and because he had known and always knew
"l'amor che move 'l sol e l'altre stelle," a seal was on his lips, a
silence broken only by a caress of Di Vernon's.'

This apology we may make, if an apology be needed, for what modern
readers may think the meagreness of the love-passages in Scott. He does
not deal in embraces and effusions, his taste is too manly; he does not
dwell much on Love, because, like the shepherd in Theocritus, he has
found him an inhabitant of the rocks. Moreover, when Scott began
novel-writing, he was as old as Thackeray when Thackeray said that while
at work on a love-scene he blushed so that you would think he was going
into an apoplexy. "Waverley" stands by its pictures of manners, of
character, by its humour and its tenderness, by its manly "criticism of
life," by its touches of poetry, so various, so inspired, as in Davie
Gellatley with his songs, and Charles Edward in the gallant hour of
Holyrood, and Flora with her high, selfless hopes and broken heart, and
the beloved Baron, bearing his lot "with a good-humoured though serious
composure." "To be sure, we may say with Virgilius Maro, 'Fuimus Troes'
and there 's the end of an auld sang. But houses and families and men
have a' stood lang eneugh when they have stood till they fall with

"Waverley" ends like a fairy-tale, while real life ever ends like a
Northern saga. But among the good things that make life bearable, such
fairy-tales are not the least precious, and not the least enduring.


The plan of this edition leads me to insert in this place some account of
the incidents on which the Novel of Waverley is founded. They have been
already given to the public by my late lamented friend, William Erskine,
Esq. (afterwards Lord Kinneder), when reviewing the Tales of My Landlord
for the Quarterly Review in 1817. The particulars were derived by the
critic from the Author's information. Afterwards they were published in
the Preface to the Chronicles of the Canongate. They are now inserted in
their proper place.

The mutual protection afforded by Waverley and Talbot to each other, upon
which the whole plot depends, is founded upon one of those anecdotes
which soften the features even of civil war; and, as it is equally
honourable to the memory of both parties, we have no hesitation to give
their names at length. When the Highlanders, on the morning of the battle
of Preston, 1745, made their memorable attack on Sir John Cope's army, a
battery of four field-pieces was stormed and carried by the Camerons and
the Stewarts of Appine. The late Alexander Stewart of Invernahylewas one
of the foremost in the charge, and observing an officer of the King's
forces, who, scorning to join the flight of all around, remained with his
sword in his hand, as if determined to the very last to defend the post
assigned to him, the Highland gentleman commanded him to surrender, and
received for reply a thrust, which he caught in his target. The officer
was now defenceless, and the battle-axe of a gigantic Highlander (the
miller of Invernahyle's mill) was uplifted to dash his brains out, when
Mr. Stewart with difficulty prevailed on him to yield. He took charge of
his enemy's property, protected his person, and finally obtained him
liberty on his parole. The officer proved to be Colonel Whitefoord, an
Ayrshire gentleman of high character and influence, and warmly attached
to the House of Hanover; yet such was the confidence existing between
these two honourable men, though of different political principles, that,
while the civil war was raging, and straggling officers from the Highland
army were executed without mercy, Invernahyle hesitated not to pay his
late captive a visit, as he returned to the Highlands to raise fresh
recruits, on which occasion he spent a day or two in Ayrshire among
Colonel Whitefoord's Whig friends, as pleasantly and as good-humouredly
as if all had been at peace around him.

After the battle of Culloden had ruined the hopes of Charles Edward and
dispersed his proscribed adherents, it was Colonel Whitefoord's turn to
strain every nerve to obtain Mr. Stewart's pardon. He went to the Lord
Justice Clerk to the Lord Advocate, and to all the officers of state, and
each application was answered by the production of a list in which
Invernahyle (as the good old gentleman was wont to express it) appeared
'marked with the sign of the beast!' as a subject unfit for favour or

At length Colonel Whitefoord applied to the Duke of Cumberland in person.
From him, also, he received a positive refusal. He then limited his
request, for the present, to a protection for Stewart's house, wife,
children, and property. This was also refused by the Duke; on which
Colonel Whitefoord, taking his commission from his bosom, laid it on the
table before his Royal Highness with much emotion, and asked permission
to retire from the service of a sovereign who did not know how to spare a
vanquished enemy. The Duke was struck, and even affected. He bade the
Colonel take up his commission, and granted the protection he required.
It was issued just in time to save the house, corn, and cattle at
Invernahyle from the troops, who were engaged in laying waste what it was
the fashion to call 'the country of the enemy.' A small encampment of
soldiers was formed on Invernahyle's property, which they spared while
plundering the country around, and searching in every direction for the
leaders of the insurrection, and for Stewart in particular. He was much
nearer them than they suspected; for, hidden in a cave (like the Baron of
Bradwardine), he lay for many days so near the English sentinels that he
could hear their muster-roll called. His food was brought to him by one
of his daughters, a child of eight years old, whom Mrs. Stewart was under
the necessity of entrusting with this commission; for her own motions,
and those of all her elder inmates, were closely watched. With ingenuity
beyond her years, the child used to stray about among the soldiers, who
were rather kind to her, and thus seize the moment when she was
unobserved and steal into the thicket, when she deposited whatever small
store of provisions she had in charge at some marked spot, where her
father might find it. Invernahyle supported life for several weeks by
means of these precarious supplies; and, as he had been wounded in the
battle of Culloden, the hardships which he endured were aggravated by
great bodily pain. After the soldiers had removed their quarters he had
another remarkable escape.

As he now ventured to his own house at night and left it in the morning,
he was espied during the dawn by a party of the enemy, who fired at and
pursued him. The fugitive being fortunate enough to escape their search,
they returned to the house and charged the family with harbouring one of
the proscribed traitors. An old woman had presence of mind enough to
maintain that the man they had seen was the shepherd. 'Why did he not
stop when we called to him?' said the soldier. 'He is as deaf, poor man,
as a peat-stack,' answered the ready-witted domestic. 'Let him be sent
for directly.' The real shepherd accordingly was brought from the hill,
and, as there was time to tutor him by the way, he was as deaf when he
made his appearance as was necessary to sustain his character.
Invernahyle was afterwards pardoned under the Act of Indemnity.

The Author knew him well, and has often heard these circumstances from
his own mouth. He was a noble specimen of the old Highlander, far
descended, gallant, courteous, and brave, even to chivalry. He had been
out, I believe, in 1715 and 1745, was an active partaker in all the
stirring scenes which passed in the Highlands betwixt these memorable
eras; and, I have heard, was remarkable, among other exploits, for having
fought a duel with the broadsword with the celebrated Rob Roy MacGregor
at the clachan of Balquidder.

Invernahyle chanced to be in Edinburgh when Paul Jones came into the
Firth of Forth, and though then an old man, I saw him in arms, and heard
him exult (to use his own words) in the prospect of drawing his claymore
once more before he died.' In fact, on that memorable occasion, when the
capital of Scotland was menaced by three trifling sloops or brigs, scarce
fit to have sacked a fishing village, he was the only man who seemed to
propose a plan of resistance. He offered to the magistrates, if
broadswords and dirks could be obtained, to find as many Highlanders
among the lower classes as would cut off any boat's crew who might be
sent into a town full of narrow and winding passages, in which they were
like to disperse in quest of plunder. I know not if his plan was attended
to, I rather think it seemed too hazardous to the constituted
authorities, who might not, even at that time, desire to see arms in
Highland hands. A steady and powerful west wind settled the matter by
sweeping Paul Jones and his vessels out of the Firth.

If there is something degrading in this recollection, it is not
unpleasant to compare it with those of the last war, when Edinburgh,
besides regular forces and militia, furnished a volunteer brigade of
cavalry, infantry, and artillery to the amount of six thousand men and
upwards, which was in readiness to meet and repel a force of a far more
formidable description than was commanded by the adventurous American.
Time and circumstances change the character of nations and the fate of
cities; and it is some pride to a Scotchman to reflect that the
independent and manly character of a country, willing to entrust its own
protection to the arms of its children, after having been obscured for
half a century, has, during the course of his own lifetime, recovered its

Other illustrations of Waverley will be found in the Notes at the foot of
the pages to which they belong. Those which appeared too long to be so
placed are given at the end of the chapters to which they severally
relate. [Footnote: In this edition at the end of the several volumes.]


To this slight attempt at a sketch of ancient Scottish manners the public
have been more favourable than the Author durst have hoped or expected.
He has heard, with a mixture of satisfaction and humility, his work
ascribed to more than one respectable name. Considerations, which seem
weighty in his particular situation, prevent his releasing those
gentlemen from suspicion by placing his own name in the title-page; so
that, for the present at least, it must remain uncertain whether Waverley
be the work of a poet or a critic, a lawyer or a clergyman, or whether
the writer, to use Mrs. Malaprop's phrase, be, 'like Cerberus, three
gentlemen at once.' The Author, as he is unconscious of anything in the
work itself (except perhaps its frivolity) which prevents its finding an
acknowledged father, leaves it to the candour of the public to choose
among the many circumstances peculiar to different situations in life
such as may induce him to suppress his name on the present occasion. He
may be a writer new to publication, and unwilling to avow a character to
which he is unaccustomed; or he may be a hackneyed author, who is ashamed
of too frequent appearance, and employs this mystery, as the heroine of
the old comedy used her mask, to attract the attention of those to whom
her face had become too familiar. He may be a man of a grave profession,
to whom the reputation of being a novel-writer might be prejudicial; or
he may be a man of fashion, to whom writing of any kind might appear
pedantic. He may be too young to assume the character of an author, or so
old as to make it advisable to lay it aside.

The Author of Waverley has heard it objected to this novel, that, in the
character of Callum Beg and in the account given by the Baron of
Bradwardine of the petty trespasses of the Highlanders upon trifling
articles of property, he has borne hard, and unjustly so, upon their
national character. Nothing could be farther from his wish or intention.
The character of Callum Beg is that of a spirit naturally turned to
daring evil, and determined, by the circumstances of his situation, to a
particular species of mischief. Those who have perused the curious
Letters from the Highlands, published about 1726, will find instances of
such atrocious characters which fell under the writer's own observation,
though it would be most unjust to consider such villains as
representatives of the Highlanders of that period, any more than the
murderers of Marr and Williamson can be supposed to represent the English
of the present day. As for the plunder supposed to have been picked up by
some of the insurgents in 1745, it must be remembered that, although the
way of that unfortunate little army was neither marked by devastation nor
bloodshed, but, on the contrary, was orderly and quiet in a most
wonderful degree, yet no army marches through a country in a hostile
manner without committing some depredations; and several, to the extent
and of the nature jocularly imputed to them by the Baron, were really
laid to the charge of the Highland insurgents; for which many traditions,
and particularly one respecting the Knight of the Mirror, may be quoted
as good evidence. [Footnote: A homely metrical narrative of the events of
the period, which contains some striking particulars, and is still a
great favourite with the lower classes, gives a very correct statement of
the behaviour of the mountaineers respecting this same military license;
and, as the verses are little known, and contain some good sense, we
venture to insert them.]


Now, gentle readers, I have let you ken
My very thoughts, from heart and pen,
'Tis needless for to conten'
Or yet controule,
For there's not a word o't I can men';
So ye must thole.

For on both sides some were not good;
I saw them murd'ring in cold blood,
Not the gentlemen, but wild and rude,
The baser sort,
Who to the wounded had no mood
But murd'ring sport!

Ev'n both at Preston and Falkirk,
That fatal night ere it grew mirk,
Piercing the wounded with their durk,
Caused many cry!
Such pity's shown from Savage and Turk
As peace to die.

A woe be to such hot zeal,
To smite the wounded on the fiell!
It's just they got such groats in kail,
Who do the same.
It only teaches crueltys real
To them again.

I've seen the men call'd Highland rogues,
With Lowland men make shangs a brogs,
Sup kail and brose, and fling the cogs
Out at the door,
Take cocks, hens, sheep, and hogs,
And pay nought for.

I saw a Highlander,'t was right drole,
With a string of puddings hung on a pole,
Whip'd o'er his shoulder, skipped like a fole,
Caus'd Maggy bann,
Lap o'er the midden and midden-hole,
And aff he ran.

When check'd for this, they'd often tell ye,
'Indeed her nainsell's a tume belly;
You'll no gie't wanting bought, nor sell me;
Hersell will hae't;
Go tell King Shorge, and Shordy's Willie,
I'll hae a meat.'

I saw the soldiers at Linton-brig,
Because the man was not a Whig,
Of meat and drink leave not a skig,
Within his door;
They burnt his very hat and wig,
And thump'd him sore.

And through the Highlands they were so rude,
As leave them neither clothes nor food,
Then burnt their houses to conclude;
'T was tit for tat.
How can her nainsell e'er be good,
To think on that?

And after all, O, shame and grief!
To use some worse than murd'ring thief,
Their very gentleman and chief,
Like Popish tortures, I believe,
Such cruelty.

Ev'n what was act on open stage
At Carlisle, in the hottest rage,
When mercy was clapt in a cage,
And pity dead,
Such cruelty approv'd by every age,
I shook my head.

So many to curse, so few to pray,
And some aloud huzza did cry;
They cursed the rebel Scots that day,
As they'd been nowt
Brought up for slaughter, as that way
Too many rowt.

Therefore, alas! dear countrymen,
O never do the like again,
To thirst for vengeance, never ben'
Your gun nor pa',
But with the English e'en borrow and len',
Let anger fa'.

Their boasts and bullying, not worth a louse,
As our King's the best about the house.
'T is ay good to be sober and douce,
To live in peace;
For many, I see, for being o'er crouse,
Gets broken face.




Volume I.



The title of this work has not been chosen without the grave and solid
deliberation which matters of importance demand from the prudent. Even
its first, or general denomination, was the result of no common research
or selection, although, according to the example of my predecessors, I
had only to seize upon the most sounding and euphonic surname that
English history or topography affords, and elect it at once as the title
of my work and the name of my hero. But, alas! what could my readers have
expected from the chivalrous epithets of Howard, Mordaunt, Mortimer, or
Stanley, or from the softer and more sentimental sounds of Belmour,
Belville, Belfield, and Belgrave, but pages of inanity, similar to those
which have been so christened for half a century past? I must modestly
admit I am too diffident of my own merit to place it in unnecessary
opposition to preconceived associations; I have, therefore, like a maiden
knight with his white shield, assumed for my hero, WAVERLEY, an
uncontaminated name, bearing with its sound little of good or evil,
excepting what the reader shall hereafter be pleased to affix to it. But
my second or supplemental title was a matter of much more difficult
election, since that, short as it is, may be held as pledging the author
to some special mode of laying his scene, drawing his characters, and
managing his adventures. Had I, for example, announced in my
frontispiece, 'Waverley, a Tale of other Days,' must not every
novel-reader have anticipated a castle scarce less than that of Udolpho,
of which the eastern wing had long been uninhabited, and the keys either
lost, or consigned to the care of some aged butler or housekeeper, whose
trembling steps, about the middle of the second volume, were doomed to
guide the hero, or heroine, to the ruinous precincts? Would not the owl
have shrieked and the cricket cried in my very title-page? and could it
have been possible for me, with a moderate attention to decorum, to
introduce any scene more lively than might be produced by the jocularity
of a clownish but faithful valet, or the garrulous narrative of the
heroine's fille-de-chambre, when rehearsing the stories of blood and
horror which she had heard in the servants' hall? Again, had my title
borne, 'Waverley, a Romance from the German,' what head so obtuse as not
to image forth a profligate abbot, an oppressive duke, a secret and
mysterious association of Rosycrucians and Illuminati, with all their
properties of black cowls, caverns, daggers, electrical machines,
trap-doors, and dark-lanterns? Or if I had rather chosen to call my work
a 'Sentimental Tale,' would it not have been a sufficient presage of a
heroine with a profusion of auburn hair, and a harp, the soft solace of
her solitary hours, which she fortunately finds always the means of
transporting from castle to cottage, although she herself be sometimes
obliged to jump out of a two-pair-of-stairs window, and is more than once
bewildered on her journey, alone and on foot, without any guide but a
blowzy peasant girl, whose jargon she hardly can understand? Or, again,
if my Waverley had been entitled 'A Tale of the Times,' wouldst thou not,
gentle reader, have demanded from me a dashing sketch of the fashionable
world, a few anecdotes of private scandal thinly veiled, and if
lusciously painted, so much the better? a heroine from Grosvenor Square,
and a hero from the Barouche Club or the Four-in-Hand, with a set of
subordinate characters from the elegantes of Queen Anne Street East, or
the dashing heroes of the Bow-Street Office? I could proceed in proving
the importance of a title-page, and displaying at the same time my own
intimate knowledge of the particular ingredients necessary to the
composition of romances and novels of various descriptions;--but it is
enough, and I scorn to tyrannise longer over the impatience of my reader,
who is doubtless already anxious to know the choice made by an author so
profoundly versed in the different branches of his art.

By fixing, then, the date of my story Sixty Years before this present 1st
November, 1805, I would have my readers understand, that they will meet
in the following pages neither a romance of chivalry nor a tale of modern
manners; that my hero will neither have iron on his shoulders, as of
yore, nor on the heels of his boots, as is the present fashion of Bond
Street; and that my damsels will neither be clothed 'in purple and in
pall,' like the Lady Alice of an old ballad, nor reduced to the primitive
nakedness of a modern fashionable at a rout. From this my choice of an
era the understanding critic may farther presage that the object of my
tale is more a description of men than manners. A tale of manners, to be
interesting, must either refer to antiquity so great as to have become
venerable, or it must bear a vivid reflection of those scenes which are
passing daily before our eyes, and are interesting from their novelty.
Thus the coat-of-mail of our ancestors, and the triple-furred pelisse of
our modern beaux, may, though for very different reasons, be equally fit
for the array of a fictitious character; but who, meaning the costume of
his hero to be impressive, would willingly attire him in the court dress
of George the Second's reign, with its no collar, large sleeves, and low
pocket-holes? The same may be urged, with equal truth, of the Gothic
hall, which, with its darkened and tinted windows, its elevated and
gloomy roof, and massive oaken table garnished with boar's-head and
rosemary, pheasants and peacocks, cranes and cygnets, has an excellent
effect in fictitious description. Much may also be gained by a lively
display of a modern fete, such as we have daily recorded in that part of
a newspaper entitled the Mirror of Fashion, if we contrast these, or
either of them, with the splendid formality of an entertainment given
Sixty Years Since; and thus it will be readily seen how much the painter
of antique or of fashionable manners gains over him who delineates those
of the last generation.

Considering the disadvantages inseparable from this part of my subject, I
must be understood to have resolved to avoid them as much as possible, by
throwing the force of my narrative upon the characters and passions of
the actors;--those passions common to men in all stages of society, and
which have alike agitated the human heart, whether it throbbed under the
steel corslet of the fifteenth century, the brocaded coat of the
eighteenth, or the blue frock and white dimity waistcoat of the present
day. [Footnote: Alas' that attire, respectable and gentlemanlike in 1805,
or thereabouts, is now as antiquated as the Author of Waverley has
himself become since that period! The reader of fashion will please to
fill up the costume with an embroidered waistcoat of purple velvet or
silk, and a coat of whatever colour he pleases.] Upon these passions it
is no doubt true that the state of manners and laws casts a necessary
colouring; but the bearings, to use the language of heraldry, remain the
same, though the tincture may be not only different, but opposed in
strong contradistinction. The wrath of our ancestors, for example, was
coloured gules; it broke forth in acts of open and sanguinary violence
against the objects of its fury. Our malignant feelings, which must seek
gratification through more indirect channels, and undermine the obstacles
which they cannot openly bear down, may be rather said to be tinctured
sable. But the deep-ruling impulse is the same in both cases; and the
proud peer, who can now only ruin his neighbour according to law, by
protracted suits, is the genuine descendant of the baron who wrapped the
castle of his competitor in flames, and knocked him on the head as he
endeavoured to escape from the conflagration. It is from the great book
of Nature, the same through a thousand editions, whether of black-letter,
or wire-wove and hot-pressed, that I have venturously essayed to read a
chapter to the public. Some favourable opportunities of contrast have
been afforded me by the state of society in the northern part of the
island at the period of my history, and may serve at once to vary and to
illustrate the moral lessons, which I would willingly consider as the
most important part of my plan; although I am sensible how short these
will fall of their aim if I shall be found unable to mix them with
amusement--a task not quite so easy in this critical generation as it was
'Sixty Years Since.'



It is, then, sixty years since Edward Waverley, the hero of the following
pages, took leave of his family, to join the regiment of dragoons in
which he had lately obtained a commission. It was a melancholy day at
Waverley-Honour when the young officer parted with Sir Everard, the
affectionate old uncle to whose title and estate he was presumptive heir.

A difference in political opinions had early separated the Baronet from
his younger brother Richard Waverley, the father of our hero. Sir Everard
had inherited from his sires the whole train of Tory or High-Church
predilections and prejudices which had distinguished the house of
Waverley since the Great Civil War. Richard, on the contrary, who was ten
years younger, beheld himself born to the fortune of a second brother,
and anticipated neither dignity nor entertainment in sustaining the
character of Will Wimble. He saw early that, to succeed in the race of
life, it was necessary he should carry as little weight as possible.
Painters talk of the difficulty of expressing the existence of compound
passions in the same features at the same moment; it would be no less
difficult for the moralist to analyse the mixed motives which unite to
form the impulse of our actions. Richard Waverley read and satisfied
himself from history and sound argument that, in the words of the old

Passive obedience was a jest,
And pshaw! was non-resistance;

yet reason would have probably been unable to combat and remove
hereditary prejudice could Richard have anticipated that his elder
brother, Sir Everard, taking to heart an early disappointment, would have
remained a bachelor at seventy-two. The prospect of succession, however
remote, might in that case have led him to endure dragging through the
greater part of his life as 'Master Richard at the Hall, the Baronet's
brother,' in the hope that ere its conclusion he should be distinguished
as Sir Richard Waverley of Waverley-Honour, successor to a princely
estate, and to extended political connections as head of the county
interest in the shire where it lay.

But this was a consummation of things not to be expected at Richard's
outset, when Sir Everard was in the prime of life, and certain to be an
acceptable suitor in almost any family, whether wealth or beauty should
be the object of his pursuit, and when, indeed, his speedy marriage was a
report which regularly amused the neighbourhood once a year. His younger
brother saw no practicable road to independence save that of relying upon
his own exertions, and adopting a political creed more consonant both to
reason and his own interest than the hereditary faith of Sir Everard in
High-Church and in the house of Stuart. He therefore read his recantation
at the beginning of his career, and entered life as an avowed Whig and
friend of the Hanover succession.

The ministry of George the First's time were prudently anxious to
diminish the phalanx of opposition. The Tory nobility, depending for
their reflected lustre upon the sunshine of a court, had for some time
been gradually reconciling themselves to the new dynasty. But the wealthy
country gentlemen of England, a rank which retained, with much of ancient
manners and primitive integrity, a great proportion of obstinate and
unyielding prejudice, stood aloof in haughty and sullen opposition, and
cast many a look of mingled regret and hope to Bois le Due, Avignon, and
Italy. [Footnote: Where the Chevalier St. George, or, as he was termed,
the Old Pretender, held his exiled court, as his situation compelled him
to shift his place of residence.] The accession of the near relation of
one of those steady and inflexible opponents was considered as a means of
bringing over more converts, and therefore Richard Waverley met with a
share of ministerial favour more than proportioned to his talents or his
political importance. It was, however, discovered that he had respectable
talents for public business, and the first admittance to the minister's
levee being negotiated, his success became rapid. Sir Everard learned
from the public 'News-Letter,' first, that Richard Waverley, Esquire, was
returned for the ministerial borough of Barterfaith; next, that Richard
Waverley, Esquire, had taken a distinguished part in the debate upon the
Excise Bill in the support of government; and, lastly, that Richard
Waverley, Esquire, had been honoured with a seat at one of those boards
where the pleasure of serving the country is combined with other
important gratifications, which, to render them the more acceptable,
occur regularly once a quarter.

Although these events followed each other so closely that the sagacity of
the editor of a modern newspaper would have presaged the two last even
while he announced the first, yet they came upon Sir Everard gradually,
and drop by drop, as it were, distilled through the cool and
procrastinating alembic of Dyer's 'Weekly Letter.' [Footnote: See Note I.
] For it may be observed in passing, that instead of those mail-coaches,
by means of which every mechanic at his six-penny club, may nightly learn
from twenty contradictory channels the yesterday's news of the capital, a
weekly post brought, in those days, to Waverley-Honour, a Weekly
Intelligencer, which, after it had gratified Sir Everard's curiosity, his
sister's, and that of his aged butler, was regularly transferred from the
Hall to the Rectory, from the Rectory to Squire Stubbs's at the Grange,
from the Squire to the Baronet's steward at his neat white house on the
heath, from the steward to the bailiff, and from him through a huge
circle of honest dames and gaffers, by whose hard and horny hands it was
generally worn to pieces in about a month after its arrival.

This slow succession of intelligence was of some advantage to Richard
Waverley in the case before us; for, had the sum total of his enormities
reached the ears of Sir Everard at once, there can be no doubt that the
new commissioner would have had little reason to pique himself on the
success of his politics. The Baronet, although the mildest of human
beings, was not without sensitive points in his character; his brother's
conduct had wounded these deeply; the Waverley estate was fettered by no
entail (for it had never entered into the head of any of its former
possessors that one of their progeny could be guilty of the atrocities
laid by Dyer's 'Letter' to the door of Richard), and if it had, the
marriage of the proprietor might have been fatal to a collateral heir.
These various ideas floated through the brain of Sir Everard without,
however, producing any determined conclusion.

He examined the tree of his genealogy, which, emblazoned with many an
emblematic mark of honour and heroic achievement, hung upon the
well-varnished wainscot of his hall. The nearest descendants of Sir
Hildebrand Waverley, failing those of his eldest son Wilfred, of whom Sir
Everard and his brother were the only representatives, were, as this
honoured register informed him (and, indeed, as he himself well knew),
the Waverleys of Highley Park, com. Hants; with whom the main branch,
or rather stock, of the house had renounced all connection since the
great law-suit in 1670.

This degenerate scion had committed a farther offence against the head
and source of their gentility, by the intermarriage of their
representative with Judith, heiress of Oliver Bradshawe, of Highley Park,
whose arms, the same with those of Bradshawe the regicide, they had
quartered with the ancient coat of Waverley. These offences, however, had
vanished from Sir Everard's recollection in the heat of his resentment;
and had Lawyer Clippurse, for whom his groom was despatched express,
arrived but an hour earlier, he might have had the benefit of drawing a
new settlement of the lordship and manor of Waverley-Honour, with all its
dependencies. But an hour of cool reflection is a great matter when
employed in weighing the comparative evil of two measures to neither of
which we are internally partial. Lawyer Clippurse found his patron
involved in a deep study, which he was too respectful to disturb,
otherwise than by producing his paper and leathern ink-case, as prepared
to minute his honour's commands. Even this slight manoeuvre was
embarrassing to Sir Everard, who felt it as a reproach to his indecision.
He looked at the attorney with some desire to issue his fiat, when the
sun, emerging from behind a cloud, poured at once its chequered light
through the stained window of the gloomy cabinet in which they were
seated. The Baronet's eye, as he raised it to the splendour, fell right
upon the central scutcheon, inpressed with the same device which his
ancestor was said to have borne in the field of Hastings,--three ermines
passant, argent, in a field azure, with its appropriate motto, Sans
tache. 'May our name rather perish,' exclaimed Sir Everard, 'than that
ancient and loyal symbol should be blended with the dishonoured insignia
of a traitorous Roundhead!'

All this was the effect of the glimpse of a sunbeam, just sufficient to
light Lawyer Clippurse to mend his pen. The pen was mended in vain. The
attorney was dismissed, with directions to hold himself in readiness on
the first summons.

The apparition of Lawyer Clippurse at the Hall occasioned much
speculation in that portion of the world to which Waverley-Honour formed
the centre. But the more judicious politicians of this microcosm augured
yet worse consequences to Richard Waverley from a movement which shortly
followed his apostasy. This was no less than an excursion of the Baronet
in his coach-and-six, with four attendants in rich liveries, to make a
visit of some duration to a noble peer on the confines of the shire, of
untainted descent, steady Tory principles, and the happy father of six
unmarried and accomplished daughters.

Sir Everard's reception in this family was, as it may be easily
conceived, sufficiently favourable; but of the six young ladies, his
taste unfortunately determined him in favour of Lady Emily, the youngest,
who received his attentions with an embarrassment which showed at once
that she durst not decline them, and that they afforded her anything but

Sir Everard could not but perceive something uncommon in the restrained
emotions which the young lady testified at the advances he hazarded; but,
assured by the prudent Countess that they were the natural effects of a
retired education, the sacrifice might have been completed, as doubtless
has happened in many similar instances, had it not been for the courage
of an elder sister, who revealed to the wealthy suitor that Lady Emily's
affections were fixed upon a young soldier of fortune, a near relation of
her own.

Sir Everard manifested great emotion on receiving this intelligence,
which was confirmed to him, in a private interview, by the young lady
herself, although under the most dreadful apprehensions of her father's

Honour and generosity were hereditary attributes of the house of
Waverley. With a grace and delicacy worthy the hero of a romance, Sir
Everard withdrew his claim to the hand of Lady Emily. He had even, before
leaving Blandeville Castle, the address to extort from her father a
consent to her union with the object of her choice. What arguments he
used on this point cannot exactly be known, for Sir Everard was never
supposed strong in the powers of persuasion; but the young officer,
immediately after this transaction, rose in the army with a rapidity far
surpassing the usual pace of unpatronised professional merit, although,
to outward appearance, that was all he had to depend upon.

The shock which Sir Everard encountered upon this occasion, although
diminished by the consciousness of having acted virtuously and generously
had its effect upon his future life. His resolution of marriage had been
adopted in a fit of indignation; the labour of courtship did not quite
suit the dignified indolence of his habits; he had but just escaped the
risk of marrying a woman who could never love him, and his pride could
not be greatly flattered by the termination of his amour, even if his
heart had not suffered. The result of the whole matter was his return to
Waverley-Honour without any transfer of his affections, notwithstanding
the sighs and languishments of the fair tell-tale, who had revealed, in
mere sisterly affection, the secret of Lady Emily's attachment, and in
despite of the nods, winks, and innuendos of the officious lady mother,
and the grave eulogiums which the Earl pronounced successively on the
prudence, and good sense, and admirable dispositions, of his first,
second, third, fourth, and fifth daughters.

The memory of his unsuccessful amour was with Sir Everard, as with many
more of his temper, at once shy, proud, sensitive, and indolent, a beacon
against exposing himself to similar mortification, pain, and fruitless
exertion for the time to come. He continued to live at Waverley-Honour in
the style of an old English gentleman, of an ancient descent and opulent
fortune. His sister, Miss Rachel Waverley, presided at his table; and
they became, by degrees, an old bachelor and an ancient maiden lady, the
gentlest and kindest of the votaries of celibacy.

The vehemence of Sir Everard's resentment against his brother was but
short-lived; yet his dislike to the Whig and the placeman, though unable
to stimulate him to resume any active measures prejudicial to Richard's
interest, in the succession to the family estate, continued to maintain
the coldness between them. Richard knew enough of the world, and of his
brother's temper, to believe that by any ill-considered or precipitate
advances on his part, he might turn passive dislike into a more active
principle. It was accident, therefore, which at length occasioned a
renewal of their intercourse. Richard had married a young woman of rank,
by whose family interest and private fortune he hoped to advance his
career. In her right he became possessor of a manor of some value, at the
distance of a few miles from Waverley-Honour.

Little Edward, the hero of our tale, then in his fifth year, was their
only child. It chanced that the infant with his maid had strayed one
morning to a mile's distance from the avenue of Brerewood Lodge, his
father's seat. Their attention was attracted by a carriage drawn by six
stately long-tailed black horses, and with as much carving and gilding as
would have done honour to my lord mayor's. It was waiting for the owner,
who was at a little distance inspecting the progress of a half-built
farm-house. I know not whether the boy's nurse had been a Welsh--or a
Scotch-woman, or in what manner he associated a shield emblazoned with
three ermines with the idea of personal property, but he no sooner beheld
this family emblem than he stoutly determined on vindicating his right to
the splendid vehicle on which it was displayed. The Baronet arrived while
the boy's maid was in vain endeavouring to make him desist from his
determination to appropriate the gilded coach-and-six. The rencontre was
at a happy moment for Edward, as his uncle had been just eyeing
wistfully, with something of a feeling like envy, the chubby boys of the
stout yeoman whose mansion was building by his direction. In the
round-faced rosy cherub before him, bearing his eye and his name, and
vindicating a hereditary title to his family, affection, and patronage,
by means of a tie which Sir Everard held as sacred as either Garter or
Blue-mantle, Providence seemed to have granted to him the very object
best calculated to fill up the void in his hopes and affections. Sir
Everard returned to Waverley-Hall upon a led horse, which was kept in
readiness for him, while the child and his attendant were sent home in
the carriage to Brerewood Lodge, with such a message as opened to Richard
Waverley a door of reconciliation with his elder brother.

Their intercourse, however, though thus renewed, continued to be rather
formal and civil than partaking of brotherly cordiality; yet it was
sufficient to the wishes of both parties. Sir Everard obtained, in the
frequent society of his little nephew, something on which his hereditary
pride might found the anticipated pleasure of a continuation of his
lineage, and where his kind and gentle affections could at the same time
fully exercise themselves. For Richard Waverley, he beheld in the growing
attachment between the uncle and nephew the means of securing his son's,
if not his own, succession to the hereditary estate, which he felt would
be rather endangered than promoted by any attempt on his own part towards
a closer intimacy with a man of Sir Everard's habits and opinions.

Thus, by a sort of tacit compromise, little Edward was permitted to pass
the greater part of the year at the Hall, and appeared to stand in the
same intimate relation to both families, although their mutual
intercourse was otherwise limited to formal messages and more formal
visits. The education of the youth was regulated alternately by the taste
and opinions of his uncle and of his father. But more of this in a
subsequent chapter.



The education of our hero, Edward Waverley, was of a nature somewhat
desultory. In infancy his health suffered, or was supposed to suffer
(which is quite the same thing), by the air of London. As soon,
therefore, as official duties, attendance on Parliament, or the
prosecution of any of his plans of interest or ambition, called his
father to town, which was his usual residence for eight months in the
year, Edward was transferred to Waverley-Honour, and experienced a total
change of instructors and of lessons, as well as of residence. This might
have been remedied had his father placed him under the superintendence of
a permanent tutor. But he considered that one of his choosing would
probably have been unacceptable at Waverley-Honour, and that such a
selection as Sir Everard might have made, were the matter left to him,
would have burdened him with a disagreeable inmate, if not a political
spy, in his family. He therefore prevailed upon his private secretary, a
young man of taste and accomplishments, to bestow an hour or two on
Edward's education while at Brerewood Lodge, and left his uncle
answerable for his improvement in literature while an inmate at the Hall.
This was in some degree respectably provided for. Sir Everard's chaplain,
an Oxonian, who had lost his fellowship for declining to take the oaths
at the accession of George I, was not only an excellent classical
scholar, but reasonably skilled in science, and master of most modern
languages. He was, however, old and indulgent, and the recurring
interregnum, during which Edward was entirely freed from his discipline,
occasioned such a relaxation of authority, that the youth was permitted,
in a great measure, to learn as he pleased, what he pleased, and when he
pleased. This slackness of rule might have been ruinous to a boy of slow
understanding, who, feeling labour in the acquisition of knowledge, would
have altogether neglected it, save for the command of a taskmaster; and
it might have proved equally dangerous to a youth whose animal spirits
were more powerful than his imagination or his feelings, and whom the
irresistible influence of Alma would have engaged in field-sports from
morning till night. But the character of Edward Waverley was remote from
either of these. His powers of apprehension were so uncommonly quick as
almost to resemble intuition, and the chief care of his preceptor was to
prevent him, as a sportsman would phrase it, from over-running his
game--that is, from acquiring his knowledge in a slight, flimsy, and
inadequate manner. And here the instructor had to combat another
propensity too often united with brilliancy of fancy and vivacity of
talent--that indolence, namely, of disposition, which can only be stirred
by some strong motive of gratification, and which renounces study as soon
as curiosity is gratified, the pleasure of conquering the first
difficulties exhausted, and the novelty of pursuit at an end. Edward
would throw himself with spirit upon any classical author of which his
preceptor proposed the perusal, make himself master of the style so far
as to understand the story, and, if that pleased or interested him, he
finished the volume. But it was in vain to attempt fixing his attention
on critical distinctions of philology, upon the difference of idiom, the
beauty of felicitous expression, or the artificial combinations of
syntax. 'I can read and understand a Latin author,' said young Edward,
with the self-confidence and rash reasoning of fifteen, 'and Scaliger or
Bentley could not do much more.' Alas! while he was thus permitted to
read only for the gratification of his amusement, he foresaw not that he
was losing for ever the opportunity of acquiring habits of firm and
assiduous application, of gaining the art of controlling, directing, and
concentrating the powers of his mind for earnest investigation--an art
far more essential than even that intimate acquaintance with classical
learning which is the primary object of study.

I am aware I may be here reminded of the necessity of rendering
instruction agreeable to youth, and of Tasso's infusion of honey into the
medicine prepared for a child; but an age in which children are taught
the driest doctrines by the insinuating method of instructive games, has
little reason to dread the consequences of study being rendered too
serious or severe. The history of England is now reduced to a game at
cards, the problems of mathematics to puzzles and riddles, and the
doctrines of arithmetic may, we are assured, be sufficiently acquired by
spending a few hours a week at a new and complicated edition of the Royal
Game of the Goose. There wants but one step further, and the Creed and
Ten Commandments may be taught in the same manner, without the necessity
of the grave face, deliberate tone of recital, and devout attention,
hitherto exacted from the well-governed childhood of this realm. It may,
in the meantime, be subject of serious consideration, whether those who
are accustomed only to acquire instruction through the medium of
amusement may not be brought to reject that which approaches under the
aspect of study; whether those who learn history by the cards may not be
led to prefer the means to the end; and whether, were we to teach
religion in the way of sport, our pupils may not thereby be gradually
induced to make sport of their religion. To our young hero, who was
permitted to seek his instruction only according to the bent of his own
mind, and who, of consequence, only sought it so long as it afforded him
amusement, the indulgence of his tutors was attended with evil
consequences, which long continued to influence his character, happiness,
and utility.

Edward's power of imagination and love of literature, although the former
was vivid and the latter ardent, were so far from affording a remedy to
this peculiar evil, that they rather inflamed and increased its violence.
The library at Waverley-Honour, a large Gothic room, with double arches
and a gallery, contained such a miscellaneous and extensive collection of
volumes as had been assembled together, during the course of two hundred
years, by a family which had been always wealthy, and inclined, of
course, as a mark of splendour, to furnish their shelves with the current
literature of the day, without much scrutiny or nicety of discrimination.
Throughout this ample realm Edward was permitted to roam at large. His
tutor had his own studies; and church politics and controversial
divinity, together with a love of learned ease, though they did not
withdraw his attention at stated times from the progress of his patron's
presumptive heir, induced him readily to grasp at any apology for not
extending a strict and regulated survey towards his general studies. Sir
Everard had never been himself a student, and, like his sister, Miss
Rachel Waverley, he held the common doctrine, that idleness is
incompatible with reading of any kind, and that the mere tracing the
alphabetical characters with the eye is in itself a useful and
meritorious task, without scrupulously considering what ideas or
doctrines they may happen to convey. With a desire of amusement,
therefore, which better discipline might soon have converted into a
thirst for knowledge, young Waverley drove through the sea of books like
a vessel without a pilot or a rudder. Nothing perhaps increases by
indulgence more than a desultory habit of reading, especially under such
opportunities of gratifying it. I believe one reason why such numerous
instances of erudition occur among the lower ranks is, that, with the
same powers of mind, the poor student is limited to a narrow circle for
indulging his passion for books, and must necessarily make himself master
of the few he possesses ere he can acquire more. Edward, on the contrary,
like the epicure who only deigned to take a single morsel from the sunny
side of a peach, read no volume a moment after it ceased to excite his
curiosity or interest; and it necessarily happened, that the habit of
seeking only this sort of gratification rendered it daily more difficult
of attainment, till the passion for reading, like other strong appetites,
produced by indulgence a sort of satiety.

Ere he attained this indifference, however, he had read, and stored in a
memory of uncommon tenacity, much curious, though ill-arranged and
miscellaneous information. In English literature he was master of
Shakespeare and Milton, of our earlier dramatic authors, of many
picturesque and interesting passages from our old historical chronicles,
and was particularly well acquainted with Spenser, Drayton, and other
poets who have exercised themselves on romantic fiction, of all themes
the most fascinating to a youthful imagination, before the passions have
roused themselves and demand poetry of a more sentimental description. In
this respect his acquaintance with Italian opened him yet a wider range.
He had perused the numerous romantic poems, which, from the days of
Pulci, have been a favourite exercise of the wits of Italy, and had
sought gratification in the numerous collections of novelle, which were
brought forth by the genius of that elegant though luxurious nation, in
emulation of the 'Decameron.' In classical literature, Waverley had made
the usual progress, and read the usual authors; and the French had
afforded him an almost exhaustless collection of memoirs, scarcely more
faithful than romances, and of romances so well written as hardly to be
distinguished from memoirs. The splendid pages of Froissart, with his
heart-stirring and eye-dazzling descriptions of war and of tournaments,
were among his chief favourites; and from those of Brantome and De la
Noue he learned to compare the wild and loose, yet superstitious,
character of the nobles of the League with the stern, rigid, and
sometimes turbulent disposition of the Huguenot party. The Spanish had
contributed to his stock of chivalrous and romantic lore. The earlier
literature of the northern nations did not escape the study of one who
read rather to awaken the imagination than to benefit the understanding.
And yet, knowing much that is known but to few, Edward Waverley might
justly be considered as ignorant, since he knew little of what adds
dignity to man, and qualifies him to support and adorn an elevated
situation in society.

The occasional attention of his parents might indeed have been of service
to prevent the dissipation of mind incidental to such a desultory course
of reading. But his mother died in the seventh year after the
reconciliation between the brothers, and Richard Waverley himself, who,
after this event, resided more constantly in London, was too much
interested in his own plans of wealth and ambition to notice more
respecting Edward than that he was of a very bookish turn, and probably
destined to be a bishop. If he could have discovered and analysed his
son's waking dreams, he would have formed a very different conclusion.



I have already hinted that the dainty, squeamish, and fastidious taste
acquired by a surfeit of idle reading had not only rendered our hero
unfit for serious and sober study, but had even disgusted him in some
degree with that in which he had hitherto indulged.

He was in his sixteenth year when his habits of abstraction and love of
solitude became so much marked as to excite Sir Everard's affectionate
apprehension. He tried to counterbalance these propensities by engaging
his nephew in field-sports, which had been the chief pleasure of his own
youthful days. But although Edward eagerly carried the gun for one
season, yet when practice had given him some dexterity, the pastime
ceased to afford him amusement.

In the succeeding spring, the perusal of old Isaac Walton's fascinating
volume determined Edward to become 'a brother of the angle.' But of all
diversions which ingenuity ever devised for the relief of idleness,
fishing is the worst qualified to amuse a man who is at once indolent and
impatient; and our hero's rod was speedily flung aside. Society and
example, which, more than any other motives, master and sway the natural
bent of our passions, might have had their usual effect upon the youthful
visionary. But the neighbourhood was thinly inhabited, and the home-bred
young squires whom it afforded were not of a class fit to form Edward's
usual companions, far less to excite him to emulation in the practice of
those pastimes which composed the serious business of their lives.

There were a few other youths of better education and a more liberal
character, but from their society also our hero was in some degree
excluded. Sir Everard had, upon the death of Queen Anne, resigned his
seat in Parliament, and, as his age increased and the number of his
contemporaries diminished, had gradually withdrawn himself from society;
so that when, upon any particular occasion, Edward mingled with
accomplished and well-educated young men of his own rank and
expectations, he felt an inferiority in their company, not so much from
deficiency of information, as from the want of the skill to command and
to arrange that which he possessed. A deep and increasing sensibility
added to this dislike of society. The idea of having committed the
slightest solecism in politeness, whether real or imaginary, was agony to
him; for perhaps even guilt itself does not impose upon some minds so
keen a sense of shame and remorse, as a modest, sensitive, and
inexperienced youth feels from the consciousness of having neglected
etiquette or excited ridicule. Where we are not at ease, we cannot be
happy; and therefore it is not surprising that Edward Waverley supposed
that he disliked and was unfitted for society, merely because he had not
yet acquired the habit of living in it with ease and comfort, and of
reciprocally giving and receiving pleasure.

The hours he spent with his uncle and aunt were exhausted in listening to
the oft-repeated tale of narrative old age. Yet even there his
imagination, the predominant faculty of his mind, was frequently excited.
Family tradition and genealogical history, upon which much of Sir
Everard's discourse turned, is the very reverse of amber, which, itself a
valuable substance, usually includes flies, straws, and other trifles;
whereas these studies, being themselves very insignificant and trifling,
do nevertheless serve to perpetuate a great deal of what is rare and
valuable in ancient manners, and to record many curious and minute facts
which could have been preserved and conveyed through no other medium. If,
therefore, Edward Waverley yawned at times over the dry deduction of his
line of ancestors, with their various intermarriages, and inwardly
deprecated the remorseless and protracted accuracy with which the worthy
Sir Everard rehearsed the various degrees of propinquity between the
house of Waverley-Honour and the doughty barons, knights, and squires to
whom they stood allied; if (notwithstanding his obligations to the three
ermines passant) he sometimes cursed in his heart the jargon of heraldry,
its griffins, its moldwarps, its wyverns, and its dragons, with all the
bitterness of Hotspur himself, there were moments when these
communications interested his fancy and rewarded his attention.

The deeds of Wilibert of Waverley in the Holy Land, his long absence and
perilous adventures, his supposed death, and his return on the evening
when the betrothed of his heart had wedded the hero who had protected her
from insult and oppression during his absence; the generosity with which
the Crusader relinquished his claims, and sought in a neighbouring
cloister that peace which passeth not away; [Footnote: See Note 2.]--to
these and similar tales he would hearken till his heart glowed and his
eye glistened. Nor was he less affected when his aunt, Mrs. Rachel,
narrated the sufferings and fortitude of Lady Alice Waverley during the
Great Civil War. The benevolent features of the venerable spinster
kindled into more majestic expression as she told how Charles had, after
the field of Worcester, found a day's refuge at Waverley-Honour, and how,
when a troop of cavalry were approaching to search the mansion, Lady
Alice dismissed her youngest son with a handful of domestics, charging
them to make good with their lives an hour's diversion, that the king
might have that space for escape. 'And, God help her,' would Mrs. Rachel
continue, fixing her eyes upon the heroine's portrait as she spoke, 'full
dearly did she purchase the safety of her prince with the life of her
darling child. They brought him here a prisoner, mortally wounded; and
you may trace the drops of his blood from the great hall door along the
little gallery, and up to the saloon, where they laid him down to die at
his mother's feet. But there was comfort exchanged between them; for he
knew, from the glance of his mother's eye, that the purpose of his
desperate defence was attained. Ah! I remember,' she continued, 'I
remember well to have seen one that knew and loved him. Miss Lucy Saint
Aubin lived and died a maid for his sake, though one of the most
beautiful and wealthy matches in this country; all the world ran after
her, but she wore widow's mourning all her life for poor William, for
they were betrothed though not married, and died in--I cannot think of
the date; but I remember, in the November of that very year, when she
found herself sinking, she desired to be brought to Waverley-Honour once
more, and visited all the places where she had been with my grand-uncle,
and caused the carpets to be raised that she might trace the impression
of his blood, and if tears could have washed it out, it had not been
there now; for there was not a dry eye in the house. You would have
thought, Edward, that the very trees mourned for her, for their leaves
dropt around her without a gust of wind, and, indeed, she looked like one
that would never see them green again.'

From such legends our hero would steal away to indulge the fancies they
excited. In the corner of the large and sombre library, with no other
light than was afforded by the decaying brands on its ponderous and ample
hearth, he would exercise for hours that internal sorcery by which past
or imaginary events are presented in action, as it were, to the eye of
the muser. Then arose in long and fair array the splendour of the bridal
feast at Waverley-Castle; the tall and emaciated form of its real lord,
as he stood in his pilgrim's weeds, an unnoticed spectator of the
festivities of his supposed heir and intended bride; the electrical shock
occasioned by the discovery; the springing of the vassals to arms; the
astonishment of the bridegroom; the terror and confusion of the bride;
the agony with which Wilibert observed that her heart as well as consent
was in these nuptials; the air of dignity, yet of deep feeling, with
which he flung down the half-drawn sword, and turned away for ever from
the house of his ancestors. Then would he change the scene, and fancy
would at his wish represent Aunt Rachel's tragedy. He saw the Lady
Waverley seated in her bower, her ear strained to every sound, her heart
throbbing with double agony, now listening to the decaying echo of the
hoofs of the king's horse, and when that had died away, hearing in every
breeze that shook the trees of the park, the noise of the remote
skirmish. A distant sound is heard like the rushing of a swoln stream; it
comes nearer, and Edward can plainly distinguish the galloping of horses,
the cries and shouts of men, with straggling pistol-shots between,
rolling forwards to the Hall. The lady starts up--a terrified menial
rushes in--but why pursue such a description?

As living in this ideal world became daily more delectable to our hero,
interruption was disagreeable in proportion. The extensive domain that
surrounded the Hall, which, far exceeding the dimensions of a park, was
usually termed Waverley-Chase, had originally been forest ground, and
still, though broken by extensive glades, in which the young deer were
sporting, retained its pristine and savage character. It was traversed by
broad avenues, in many places half grown up with brush-wood, where the
beauties of former days used to take their stand to see the stag coursed
with greyhounds, or to gain an aim at him with the crossbow. In one spot,
distinguished by a moss-grown Gothic monument, which retained the name of
Queen's Standing, Elizabeth herself was said to have pierced seven bucks
with her own arrows. This was a very favourite haunt of Waverley. At
other times, with his gun and his spaniel, which served as an apology to
others, and with a book in his pocket, which perhaps served as an apology
to himself, he used to pursue one of these long avenues, which, after an
ascending sweep of four miles, gradually narrowed into a rude and
contracted path through the cliffy and woody pass called Mirkwood Dingle,
and opened suddenly upon a deep, dark, and small lake, named, from the
same cause, Mirkwood-Mere. There stood, in former times, a solitary tower
upon a rock almost surrounded by the water, which had acquired the name
of the Strength of Waverley, because in perilous times it had often been
the refuge of the family. There, in the wars of York and Lancaster, the
last adherents of the Red Rose who dared to maintain her cause carried on
a harassing and predatory warfare, till the stronghold was reduced by the
celebrated Richard of Gloucester. Here, too, a party of Cavaliers long
maintained themselves under Nigel Waverley, elder brother of that William
whose fate Aunt Rachel commemorated. Through these scenes it was that
Edward loved to 'chew the cud of sweet and bitter fancy,' and, like a
child among his toys, culled and arranged, from the splendid yet useless
imagery and emblems with which his imagination was stored, visions as
brilliant and as fading as those of an evening sky. The effect of this
indulgence upon his temper and character will appear in the next chapter.



From the minuteness with which I have traced Waverley's pursuits, and the
bias which these unavoidably communicated to his imagination, the reader
may perhaps anticipate, in the following tale, an imitation of the
romance of Cervantes. But he will do my prudence injustice in the
supposition. My intention is not to follow the steps of that inimitable
author, in describing such total perversion of intellect as misconstrues
the objects actually presented to the senses, but that more common
aberration from sound judgment, which apprehends occurrences indeed in
their reality, but communicates to them a tincture of its own romantic
tone and colouring. So far was Edward Waverley from expecting general
sympathy with his own feelings, or concluding that the present state of
things was calculated to exhibit the reality of those visions in which he
loved to indulge, that he dreaded nothing more than the detection of such
sentiments as were dictated by his musings. He neither had nor wished to
have a confidant, with whom to communicate his reveries; and so sensible
was he of the ridicule attached to them, that, had he been to choose
between any punishment short of ignominy, and the necessity of giving a
cold and composed account of the ideal world in which he lived the better
part of his days, I think he would not have hesitated to prefer the
former infliction. This secrecy became doubly precious as he felt in
advancing life the influence of the awakening passions. Female forms of
exquisite grace and beauty began to mingle in his mental adventures; nor
was he long without looking abroad to compare the creatures of his own
imagination with the females of actual life.

The list of the beauties who displayed their hebdomadal finery at the
parish church of Waverley was neither numerous nor select. By far the
most passable was Miss Sissly, or, as she rather chose to be called, Miss
Cecilia Stubbs, daughter of Squire Stubbs at the Grange. I know not
whether it was by the 'merest accident in the world,' a phrase which,
from female lips, does not always exclude malice prepense, or whether it
was from a conformity of taste, that Miss Cecilia more than once crossed
Edward in his favourite walks through Waverley-Chase. He had not as yet
assumed courage to accost her on these occasions; but the meeting was not
without its effect. A romantic lover is a strange idolater, who sometimes
cares not out of what log he frames the object of his adoration; at
least, if nature has given that object any passable proportion of
personal charms, he can easily play the Jeweller and Dervise in the
Oriental tale, [Footnote: See Hoppner's tale of The Seven Lovers.] and
supply her richly, out of the stores of his own imagination, with
supernatural beauty, and all the properties of intellectual wealth.

But ere the charms of Miss Cecilia Stubbs had erected her into a positive
goddess, or elevated her at least to a level with the saint her namesake,
Mrs. Rachel Waverley gained some intimation which determined her to
prevent the approaching apotheosis. Even the most simple and unsuspicious
of the female sex have (God bless them!) an instinctive sharpness of
perception in such matters, which sometimes goes the length of observing
partialities that never existed, but rarely misses to detect such as pass
actually under their observation. Mrs. Rachel applied herself with great
prudence, not to combat, but to elude, the approaching danger, and
suggested to her brother the necessity that the heir of his house should
see something more of the world than was consistent with constant
residence at Waverley-Honour.

Sir Everard would not at first listen to a proposal which went to
separate his nephew from him. Edward was a little bookish, he admitted,
but youth, he had always heard, was the season for learning, and, no
doubt, when his rage for letters was abated, and his head fully stocked
with knowledge, his nephew would take to field-sports and country
business. He had often, he said, himself regretted that he had not spent
some time in study during his youth: he would neither have shot nor
hunted with less skill, and he might have made the roof of Saint
Stephen's echo to longer orations than were comprised in those zealous
Noes, with which, when a member of the House during Godolphin's
administration, he encountered every measure of government.

Aunt Rachel's anxiety, however, lent her address to carry her point.
Every representative of their house had visited foreign parts, or served
his country in the army, before he settled for life at Waverley-Honour,
and she appealed for the truth of her assertion to the genealogical
pedigree, an authority which Sir Everard was never known to contradict.

Book of the day: