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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Walter Scott to Miss Christian Rutherford, [late October 1797]

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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“Has it never happened to you, my dear Miss Christy, in the course of your domestic economy, to meet with a drawer stuffed so very, so extremely full, that it was very difficult to pull it open, however desirous you might be to exhibit its contents? In case this miraculous event has ever taken place, you may somewhat conceive from thence the cause of my silence, which has really proceeded from my having a very great deal to communi-
cate; so much so, that I really hardly know how to begin. As for my affection and friendship for you, believe me, sincerely, they neither slumber nor sleep, and it is only your suspicions of their drowsiness which incline me to write at this period of a business highly interesting to me, rather than when I could have done so with something like certainty—Hem! Hem! It must come out at once—I am in a very fair way of being married to a very amiable young woman, with whom I formed an attachment in the course of my tour. She was born in France—her parents were of English extraction—the name
Carpenter. She was left an orphan early in life, and educated in England, and is at present under the care of a Miss Nicolson, a daughter of the late Dean of Exeter, who was on a visit to her relations in Cumberland. Miss Carpenter is of age, but as she lies under great obligations to the Marquis of Downshire, who was her guardian, she cannot take a step of such importance without his consent—and I daily expect his final answer upon the subject. Her fortune is dependent, in a great measure, upon an only and very affectionate brother. He is Commercial Resident at Salem in India, and has settled upon her an annuity of L.500. Of her personal accomplishments I shall only say, that she possesses very good sense, with uncommon good temper, which I have seen put to most severe trials. I must bespeak your kindness and friendship for her. You may easily believe I shall rest very much both upon Miss R. and you for giving her the carte de pays, when she comes to Edinburgh. I may give you a hint that there is no romance in her composition—and that though born in France, she has the sentiments and manners of an Englishwoman, and does not like to be thought otherwise. A very slight tinge in her pronunciation is all which marks the foreigner. She is at pre-
sent at Carlisle, where I shall join her as soon as our arrangements are finally made. Some difficulties have occurred in settling matters with my father, owing to certain prepossessions which you can easily conceive his adopting. One main article was the uncertainty of her provision, which has been in part removed by the safe arrival of her remittances for this year, with assurances of their being regular and even larger in future, her brother’s situation being extremely lucrative. Another objection was her birth; ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ but as it was birth merely and solely, this has been abandoned. You will be more interested about other points regarding her, and I can only say that—though our acquaintance was shorter than ever I could have thought of forming such a connexion upon—it was exceedingly close, and gave me full opportunities for observation—and if I had parted with her, it must have been for ever, which both parties began to think would be a disagreeable thing. She has conducted herself through the whole business with so much propriety as to make a strong impression in her favour upon the minds of my father and mother, prejudiced as they were against her, from the circumstances I have mentioned. We shall be your neighbours in the New Town, and intend to live very quietly; Charlotte will need many lessons from Miss R. in housewifery. Pray show this letter to Miss R. with my very best compliments. Nothing can now stand in the way except Lord Downshire, who may not think the match a prudent one for Miss C.—but he will surely think her entitled to judge for herself at her age, in what she would wish to place her happiness. She is not a beauty, by any means, but her person and face are very engaging. She is a brunette—her manners are lively, but when necessary, she can be very serious. She was baptized and educated a Protestant of the
Church of England. I think I have now said enough upon this subject. Do not write till you hear from me again, which will be when all is settled. I wish this important event may hasten your return to town. I send a goblin story, with best compliments to the misses, and ever am, yours affectionately,

Walter Scott.
The Erl-King.
(The Erl-King is a goblin that haunts the Blade Forest in Thuringia,
—To be read by a candle particularly long in the snuff.
O, who rides by night thro’ the woodland so wild?
It is the fond father embracing his child;
And close the boy nestles within his loved arm,
To hold himself fast, and to keep himself warm.
‘O father, see yonder! see yonder!’ he says;
‘My boy, upon what doest thou fearfully gaze?’
‘O, ’tis the Erl-King with his crown and his shroud.’—
‘No, my son, it is but a dark wreath of the cloud.’
(The Erl-King speaks.)
‘O, come and go with me thou loveliest child,
By many a gay sport shall thy time be beguiled;
My mother keeps for thee full many a fair toy,
And many a fine flower shall she pluck for my boy.’
‘O father, my father, and did you not hear
The Erl-King whisper so low in my ear?’—
‘Be still my heart’s darling, my child, be at ease,
It was but the wild blast as it sung thro’ the trees.’
‘O wilt thou go with me, thou loveliest boy?
My daughter shall tend thee with care and with joy;
She shall bear thee so lightly thro’ wet and thro’ wild,
And press thee, and kiss thee, and sing to my child.’
‘O father, my father, and saw you not plain,
The Erl-King’s pale daughter glide past thro’ the rain?’—
‘O yes, my loved treasure, I knew it full soon,
It was the grey willow that danced to the moon.’
‘Oh come and go with me, no longer delay,
Or else, silly child, I will drag thee away.’—
‘Oh father! Oh father! now, now keep your hold,
The Erl-King has seized me—his grasp is so cold!’
Sore trembled the father, he spurr’d thro’ the wild,
Clasping close to his bosom his shuddering child;
He reaches his dwelling in doubt and in dread,
But, clasp’d to his bosom, the infant was dead!”—

“You see I have not altogether lost the faculty of rhyming. I assure you there is no small impudence in attempting a version of that ballad, as it has been translated by Lewis. All good things be with you.

W. S.”