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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Walter Scott to the Duke of Buccleuch, [8 February? 1816]

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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“Edinburgh, Thursday.
“My dear Lord,

“I have proceeded in my commission about the cup. It will be a very handsome one. But I am still puzzled to dispose of the birse† in a becoming manner.

* Irving’s Abbotsford and Newstead, 1835, p. 40.

† A birse, or bunch of hog’s bristles, forms the cognizance of the sutors. When a new burgess is admitted into their community, the birse passes round with the cup of welcome, and every elder brother dips it into the wine, and draws it through his mouth, before it reaches the happy neophyte, who of course pays it similar respect.

It is a most unmanageable decoration. I tried it upright on the top of the cup; it looked like a shaving-brush, and the goblet might be intended to make the lather. Then I thought I had a brilliant idea. The arms of Selkirk are a female seated on a sarcophagus, decorated with the arms of Scotland, which will make a beautiful top to the cup. So I thought of putting the birse into the lady’s other hand; but, alas! it looked so precisely like the rod of chastisement uplifted over the poor child, that I laughed at the drawing for half an hour. Next, I tried to take off the castigatory appearance, by inserting the bristles in a kind of handle; but then it looked as if the poor woman had been engaged in the capacities of housemaid and child-keeper at once, and, fatigued with her double duty, had sat down on the wine-cooler, with the broom in one hand, and the bairn in the other. At length, after some conference with
Charles Sharpe, I have hit on a plan, which, I think, will look very well, if tolerably executed, namely, to have the lady seated in due form on the top of the lid (which will look handsome and will be well taken), and to have a thistle wreathed around the sarcophagus and rising above her head, and from the top of the thistle shall proceed the birse. I will bring a drawing with me, and they shall get the cup ready in the mean time. I hope to be at Abbotsford on Monday night, to stay for a week. My cat has eat two or three birds, while regaling on the crumbs that were thrown for them. This was a breach of hospitality; but oportet vivere—and micat inter omnes—with which stolen pun, and my respectful compliments to Lord Montagu and the ladies, I am, very truly, your Grace’s most faithful and obliged servant,

Walter Scott.”

“P.S.—Under another cover, which I have just re-
ceived, I send the two drawings of the front and reverse of the lid of the proposed cup. Your Grace will be so good as understand that the thistle, the top of which is garnished with the bristle,—is entirely detached, in working, from the figure, and slips into a socket. The following lines are humbly suggested for a motto, being taken from an ancient Scottish canzonetta,—unless the Yarrow committee can find any better:—

‘The sutor ga’e the sow a kiss;
Grumph! quo’ the sow, it’s a’ for my birss.’”