The Life of Sir Walter Scott

By John Macrone; Daniel Grader | Go to book overview

Preface

The author presents himself at the bar of public opinion with fear and trembling,1 and an overwhelming consciousness of his own inability to do justice to the task he has allotted to himself. He is well aware of the many qualifications required to be brought forward in a compilation of this description, and, once for all, he tells the critical reader that if he expects to find in the succeeding pages the cunning of the master workman displayed by the tyro, he will be sadly mistaken; but one thing he can promise to those whose partiality for the author may tempt them to favor him with a fair hearing, and that is sincerity, and an ardent love for the character and attributes of that great and good man whose name has shed a lustre on British literature, equalled only by Shakespeare himself.

He cannot either boast of a personal acquaintance with the illustrious dead; but this, in his opinion, will go far to make his remarks on his character more important than those which might be expected from one who has had the honor of sitting at his board, and listening to his bland accents of wisdom, truth and genius. Such a biographer (and who could blame him?) would be apt to be carried away by his enthusiasm, and forget the duties of the historian in his love and veneration as a man.

The author has, however, the enviable privilege of being very intimate with those who shared the friendship and esteem of the Author of Waverley, and from these valued sources he is enabled to present many interesting traits and anecdotes, strongly illustrative of the Man, and all tinged with that naïveté which germinated his glorious fiction. He regrets, however, that he is compelled, in many instances, from obvious motives, to withhold the names of his authorities; but their value cannot be much lowered thereby, and thousands can vouch their authenticity: a vraisemblance which, in fact, they bear stamped upon them.

To these valuable auxiliaries the author begs to return his most grateful thanks; without their esteemed advice and assistance the work would probably have never been dreamed of, and should he, in his first biographical

1. ‘Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’ (Phil. 2: 12).

-63-

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The Life of Sir Walter Scott
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • The Afterglow of Abbotsford- John Macrone, Celebrity Culture, and Commemoration 49
  • Preface 63
  • Chapter I - Macrone at Abbotsford and Innerleithen in 1832 65
  • Chapter II - 1771–1797 70
  • Chapter III - 1797–1815 77
  • Chapter IV - The Novelist 85
  • Chapter V - Scott at Abbotsford 95
  • Chapter VI - Miscellaneous Traits and Anecdotes 102
  • Chapter VII - 1831–2 116
  • Chapter VIII - Eulogy 125
  • Appendix I - Macrone and Cunningham 130
  • Appendix II - A Fragment of Another Preface 132
  • Appendix III - Another Conclusion 133
  • Appendix IV - Hogg’s Anecdotes Introduced 134
  • Appendix V - Three Witnesses 136
  • Bibliography 149
  • Index 155
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