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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
George Ellis to Walter Scott, [September 1803]

Vol I Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter I
Chapter II 1771-78
Chapter III 1778-83
Chapter IV 1783-86
Chapter V 1786-90
Chapter VI 1790-92
Chapter VII 1792-96
Chapter VIII 1796-97
Chapter IX 1798-99
Chapter X 1800-02
Chapter XI 1802-03
Chapter XII 1803-04
Vol. II Contents.
Chapter I 1804-05
Chapter II 1805
Chapter III 1806
Chapter IV 1806-08
Chapter V 1808
Chapter VI 1808-09
Chapter VII 1809-10
Chapter VIII 1810
Chapter IX 1810
Chapter X 1810-11
Chapter XI 1811
Chapter XII 1811-12
Vol. III Contents.
Chapter I 1812-13
Chapter II 1813
Chapter III 1814
Chapter IV 1814
Chapter V 1814
Chapter VI 1814
Chapter VII 1814
Chapter VIII 1814
Chapter IX 1814
Chapter X 1814-15
Chapter XI 1815
Chapter XII 1815
Vol III Appendix
Vol. IV Contents.
Chapter I 1816
Chapter II 1817
Chapter III 1817
Chapter IV 1818
Chapter V 1818
Chapter VI 1818
Chapter VII 1818-19
Chapter VIII 1819
Chapter IX 1819
Chapter X 1819
Chapter XI 1820
Chapter XII 1820
Vol. V Contents.
Chapter I 1820
Chapter II 1820-21
Chapter III 1821
Chapter IV 1821
Chapter V 1821
Chapter VI 1821
Chapter VII 1822
Chapter VIII 1822
Chapter IX 1822-23
Chapter X 1823
Chapter XI 1823
Chapter XII 1824
Chapter XIII 1824-25
Vol. VI Contents.
Chapter I 1825
Chapter II 1825
Chapter III 1825
Chapter IV 1825
Chapter V 1826
Chapter VI 1826
Chapter VII 1826
Chapter VIII 1826
Chapter IX 1826
Chapter X 1826
Chapter XI 1826
Vol. VII Contents.
Vol VII Preface
Chapter I 1826-27
Chapter II 1827
Chapter III 1828
Chapter IV 1828
Chapter V 1829
Chapter VI 1830
Chapter VII 1830-31
Chapter VIII 1831
Chapter IX 1831
Chapter X 1831-32
Chapter XI 1832
Chapter XII
Vol VII Appendix
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Ellis says in reply:—“My dear Scott, I must begin by congratulating you on Mrs Scott’s escape; Camp, if he had had no previous title to immortality, would deserve it, for his zeal and address in detecting the stupid marksman, who, while he took aim at a bird on a tree, was so near shooting your fair ‘bird in bower.’ If there were many such shooters, it would become then a sufficient excuse for the reluctance of Government to furnish arms indifferently to all volunteers. In the next place, I am glad to hear that you are disposed to adopt my channel for transmitting the tale of Tristrem to Chretien de Troye. The more I have thought on the subject the more I am convinced that the Normans, long before the Conquest, had acquired from the Britons of Armorica a considerable knowledge of our old British fables, and that this led them, after the Conquest, to enquire after such accounts as were to be found in the country where the events are supposed to have taken place. I am satisfied, from the internal evidence of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History, that it must have been fabricated in Bretagne, and that he did, as he asserts, only translate it. Now, as Marie, who lived about a century later, certainly translated also from the Breton a series of lays relating to Arthur and his knights, it will follow that the first poets who wrote in France, such as Chretien, &c., must have acquired their knowledge of our traditions from Bretagne. Observe, that the pseudo-
Turpin, who is supposed to have been anterior to Geoffry, and who, on that supposition, cannot have borrowed from him, mentions, among
Charlemagne’s heroes, Hoel (the hero of Geoffrey also), ‘de quo canitur cantilena usque ad hodiernum diem.’ Now, if Thomas was able to establish his story as the most authentic, even by the avowal of the French themselves, and if the sketch of that story was previously known, it must have been because he wrote in the country which his hero was supposed to have inhabited; and on the same grounds the Norman minstrels here, and even their English successors, were allowed to fill up with as many circumstances as they thought proper the tales of which the Armorican Bretons probably furnished the first imperfect outline.

“What you tell me about your Cornish fisherman is very curious; and I think with you that little reliance is to be placed on our Welsh geography—and that Caerlion on Uske is by no means the Caerlion of Tristrem. Few writers or readers have hitherto considered sufficiently that from the moment when Hengist first obtained a settlement in the Isle of Thanet, that settlement became England, and all the rest of the country became Wales; that these divisions continued to represent different proportions of the island at different periods; but that Wales, during the whole Heptarchy, and for a long time after, comprehended the whole western coast very nearly from Cornwall to Dunbretton; and that this whole tract, of which the eastern frontier may be easily traced for each particular period, preserved most probably to the age of Thomas a community of language, of manners, and traditions.

“As your last volume announces your Lay, as well as Sir Tristrem, as in the press, I begin, in common with all your friends, to be uneasy about the future disposal
of your time. Having nothing but a very active profession, and your military pursuits, and your domestic occupations to think of, and
Leyden having monopolized Asiatic lore, you will presently be quite an idle man! You are, however, still in time to learn Erse, and it is, I am afraid, very necessary that you should do so, in order to stimulate my laziness, which has hitherto made no progress whatever in Welsh. Your ever faithful, G. E.—P.S. Is Camp married yet?