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The Life of Scott


The closing pages of this book will explain the transaction from which it sprang. When in May 1847 the publisher of Sir Walter Scott's Works proposed to take to himself the whole remaining Copyright in them, he stipulated that I should prepare an abridgment of the Memoirs of the Author, originally comprised in seven volumes, and since reprinted in various forms. If I had been to consult my own feelings, I should have been more willing to produce an enlarged edition: for the interest of Sir Walter's history lies, I think, even peculiarly, in its minute details---especially in the details set down by himself in his Letters and Diaries: and, of course, after the lapse of ten years, more copious use might be made of those materials without offence or indecorum. Mr Cadell, however, considered that a book of smaller bulk, embracing only what may be called more strictly narrative, might be acceptable to certain classes of readers: and the manner in which this gentleman had throughout conducted himself towards Sir Walter, his family, and his memory---together with other circumstances on which it is not necessary to say more---overcame my reluctance.

It will be understood that whenever the narrative now given at all differs from that of the larger book, I have been endeavouring to profit by letters recently communicated.

J. G. L. London, 4_th August_ 1848.

Chapter 1

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