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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Walter Scott to J. B. S. Morritt of Rokeby, 2 March 1810

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, 2d March, 1810.
“My dear Morritt,

“You are very good to remember such a false knave as I am, who have omitted so long to thank you for a
Francis Jeffrey (Lord John Allen
Jeffrey) *Francis Horner
William ClerkThomas Campbell
1804 *Alex. Hamilton 1812 *George Wilson
*Dr Coventry 1814 *Dr John Gordon
*Professor John Robison 1816 Andrew Rutherford
George Strickland 1817 James Keay
*Professor Dalzell 1825 Leonard Horner
*Lord Webb Seymour Professor Pillans
*Earl of Selkirk 1826 Count M. de Flahault
*Lord Glenbervie *D. Cathcart (Lord
1807 Rev. John Thomson Alloway)
1810 John Jeffrey 1827 Earl of Minto
1811 T. F. Kennedy William Murray
J. Fullerton (Lord Fullerton) 1830 Hon. Mountstuart Elphintonstone.
letter, bringing me the assurances of your health and remembrance, which I do not value the less deeply and sincerely for my seeming neglect. Truth is, I do not eat the bread of idleness. But I was born a Scotchman, and a bare one, and was therefore born to fight my way with my left hand where my right failed me, and with my teeth, if they were both cut off. This is but a bad apology for not answering your kindness, yet not so bad when you consider that it was only admitted as a cause of procrastination, and that I have been—let me see—I have been Secretary to the Judicature Commission, which sat daily during all the Christmas vacation. I have been editing
Swift, and correcting the press, at the rate of six sheets a-week. I have been editing Somers at the rate of four ditto ditto. I have written reviews—I have written songs—I have made selections—I have superintended rehearsals—and all this independent of visiting, and of my official duty, which occupies me four hours every working day except Mondays—and independent of a new poem with which I am threatening the world. This last employment is not the most prudent, but I really cannot well help myself. My office, though a very good one for Scotland, is only held in reversion; nor do I at present derive a shilling from it. I must expect that a fresh favourite of the public will supersede me, and my philosophy being very great on the point of poetical fame, I would fain, at the risk of hastening my own downfall, avail myself of the favourable moment to make some further provision for my little people. Moreover, I cannot otherwise honestly indulge myself in some of the luxuries which, when long gratified, become a sort of pseudo necessaries. As for the terrible parodies*

* I suppose this is an allusion to the “Lay of the Scotch Fiddle,” “the Goblin Groom,” and some other productions, like them, long since forgotten.

which have come forth, I can only say with Benedict, ‘A college of such witmongers cannot flout me out of my humour.’ Had I been conscious of one place about my temper, were it even, metaphorically speaking, the tip of my heel, vulnerable to this sort of aggression, I have that respect for mine own ease, that I would have shunned being a candidate for public applause, as I would avoid snatching a honey-comb from among a hive of live bees. My present attempt is a poem, partly Highland—the scene Loch Katrine, tempore
Jacobi quinti. If I fail, as Lady Macbeth gallantly says, I fail, and there is only a story murdered to no purpose; and if I succeed,, why then, as the song says—
‘Up with the bonnie blue bonnet,
The dirk and the feather and a’.’

“I hope to show this ditty to you soon in Portland Place, for it seems determined I must go to London, though the time is not fixed. The pleasure of meeting you and half a dozen other friends, reconciles me to this change of plan, for had I answered your letter the day I received it, I would have said nothing was less likely than my going to town in spring. I hope it will be so late as to afford me an opportunity of visiting Rokeby and Greta Side on my return. The felon sow herself could not think of them with more affection than I do; and though I love Portland Place dearly, yet I would fain enjoy both. But this must be as the Fates and Destinies and Sisters three determine. Charlotte hopes to accompany me, and is particularly gratified by the expectation of meeting Mrs Morritt. We think of our sunny days at Rokeby with equal delight.

Miss Baillie’s play went off capitally here, notwithstanding her fond and over-credulous belief in a Creator of the world. The fact is so generally believed that it is man who makes the deity, that I am surprised it has
never been maintained as a corollary, that the knife and fork make the fingers. We wept till our hearts were sore, and applauded till our hands were blistered—what could we more—and this in crowded theatres.

“I send a copy of the poetical collection, not for you, my good friend, because you would not pay your literary subscription,* but for Mrs Morritt. I thought of leaving it as I came through Yorkshire, but as I can get as yet an office frank, it will be safer in your charge. By a parity of reasoning, you will receive a copy of the new edition of the Minstrelsy just finished, and about to be shipped, enriched with your Curse of Moy, which is very much admired by all to whom I have shown it. I am sorry that dear —— —— is so far from you. There is something about her that makes me think of her with a mixture of affection and anxiety—such a pure and excellent heart, joined to such native and fascinating manners, cannot pass unprotected through your fashionable scenes without much hazard of a twinge at least, if not a stab. I remember we talked over this subject once while riding on the banks of Tees, and somehow (I cannot tell why) it falls like a death-bell on my ear. She is too artless for the people that she has to live amongst. This is all vile croaking, so I will end it by begging ten times love and compliments to Mrs Morritt, in which Charlotte heartily joins. Believe me ever, dear Morritt, yours most faithfully,

Walter Scott.”