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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
George Ellis to Walter Scott, 5 March 1802

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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“Sunning Hill, March 5, 1802.
“My dear Sir,

“The volumes are arrived, and I have been devouring them, not as a pig does a parcel of grains (by which simile you will judge that I must be brewing, as indeed I am), putting in its snout, shutting its eyes, and swallowing as fast as it can without consideration—but as a schoolboy does a piece of gingerbread; nibbling a little bit here, and a little bit there, smacking his lips, surveying the number of square inches which still remain for his gratification, endeavouring to look it into larger dimensions, and making at every mouthful a tacit vow to protract his enjoyment by restraining his appetite. Now, therefore—but no! I must first assure you on the part of Mrs E. that if you cannot, or will not come to England soon, she must gratify her curiosity and gratitude, by setting off for Scotland, though at the risk of being tempted to pull caps with Mrs Scott when she arrives at the end of her journey. Next, I must request you to convey to Mr Leyden my very sincere acknowledgment for his part of the precious parcel. How truly vexatious that such a man should embark, not for the ‘fines Atticæ,’ but for those of Asia; that the Genius of Scotland, instead of a poor Complaint, and an address in the style of ‘Navis, quæ tibi creditum debes Virgilium—reddas incolumem, precor,’ should not interfere to
prevent his loss. I wish to hope that we should, as
Sterne says, ‘manage these matters better’ in England; but now, as regret is unavailing, to the main point of my letter.

“You will not, of course, expect that I should as yet give you any thing like an opinion, as a critic, of your volumes; first, because you have thrown into my throat a cate of such magnitude that Cerberus, who had three throats, could not have swallowed a third part of it without shutting his eyes; and secondly, because, although I have gone a little farther than George Nicol the bookseller, who cannot cease exclaiming, “What a beautiful book!” and is distracted with jealousy of your Kelso Bulmer, yet, as I said before, I have not been able yet to digest a great deal of your ‘Border Minstrelsy.’ I have, however, taken such a survey as satisfies me that your plan is neither too comprehensive nor too contracted; that the parts are properly distinct; and that they are (to preserve the painter’s metaphor) made out just as they ought to be. Your introductory chapter is, I think, particularly good; and I was much pleased, although a little surprised, at finding that it was made to serve as a recueil des pièces justificatives to your view of the state of manners among your Borderers, which I venture to say will be more thumbed than any part of the volume.

“You will easily believe that I cast many an anxious look for the annunciation of ‘Sir Tristrem,’ and will not be surprised that I was at first rather disappointed at not finding any thing like a solemn engagement to produce him to the world within some fixed and limited period. Upon reflection, however, I really think you have judged wisely, and that you have best promoted the interests of literature, by sending, as the harbinger of the ‘Knight of Leonais,’ a collection which
must form a parlour window book in every house in Britain which contains a parlour and a window. I am happy to find my old favourites in their natural situation‘indeed in the only situation which can enable a Southern reader to estimate their merits. You remember what somebody said of the
Prince de Condé’s army during the wars of the Fronde, viz.—“that it would be a very fine army whenever it came of age.” Of the Murrays and Armstrongs of your Border Ballads, it might be said that they might grow, when the age of good taste should arrive, to a Glenfinlas or an Eve of St John. Leyden’s additional poems are also very beautiful. I meant, at setting out, a few simple words of thanks, and behold I have written a letter, but no matter; I shall return to the charge after a more attentive perusal. Ever yours very faithfully,

G. Ellis.”