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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Sir Walter Scott to J. B. S. Morritt of Rokeby, 3 August 1825

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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“Edgeworthstown, Aug. 3, 1825.

“Your kind letter, my dear Morritt, finds me sweltering under the hottest weather I ever experienced, for the sake of seeing sights—of itself, you know, the most feverish occupation in the world. Luckily we are free of Dublin, and there is nothing around us but green fields and fine trees, ‘barring the high-roads,’ which

* Now Lord Seaford.

make those who tread on them the most complete pie-poudreux ever seen; that is, if the old definition of pie-poudres be authentic, and if not, you may seek another dusty simile for yourself it cannot exceed the reality. I have with me
Lockhart and Anne, Walter and his cara sposa, for all whom the hospitality of Edgeworthstown has found ample space and verge enough. Indeed it is impossible to conceive the extent of this virtue in all classes; I don’t think even our Scottish hospitality can match that of Ireland. Every thing seems to give way to the desire to accommodate a stranger; and I really believe the story of the Irish harper, who condemned his harp to the flames for want of fire-wood to cook a guest’s supper. Their personal kindness to me has been so great, that were it not from the chilling recollection that novelty is easily substituted for merit, I should think, like the booby in Steele’s play, that I had been kept back, and that there was something more about me than I had ever been led to suspect. As I am L.L.D. of Trinity College, and am qualified as a Catholic seer, by having mounted up into the bed of Saint Kevin, at the celebrated seven churches of Glendalough, I am entitled to prescribe, ex cathedrâ, for all the diseases of Ireland, as being free both of the Catholic and Protestant parties. But the truth is, that Pat, while the doctors were consulting, has been gradually and securely recovering of himself. He is very loath to admit this indeed; there being a strain of hypochondria in his complaints, which will not permit him to believe he’s getting better. Nay, he gets even angry when a physician, more blunt than polite, continues to assure him that he is better than he supposes himself, and that much of his present distress consists, partly of the recollection of former indisposition, partly of the severe practice of modern empirics.


“In sober sadness, to talk of the misery of Ireland at this time, is to speak of the illness of a malade imaginaire. Well she is not, but she is rapidly becoming so. There are all the outward and visible tokens of convalescence. Every thing is mending; the houses that arise are better a hundred-fold than the cabins which are falling; the peasants of the younger class are dressed a great deal better than with the rags which clothe the persons of the more ancient Teagues, which realize the wardrobe of Jenny Sutton, of whom Morris sweetly sings,
‘One single pin at night let loose.
The robes which veiled her beauty.’
I am sure I have seen with apprehension a single button perform the same feat, and when this mad scare-crow hath girded up his loins to run hastily by the side of the chaise, I have feared it would give way, and that there, as King Lear’s fool says, we should be all shamed. But this, which seems once to have generally been the attire of the fair of the Green Isle, probably since the time of King Malachi and the collar of gold, is now fast disappearing, and the habit of the more youthful Pats and Patesses is decent and comely. Here they all look well coloured, and well fed, and well contented. And as I see in most places great exertions making to reclaim bogs upon a large scale, and generally to improve ground, I must needs hold that they are in constant employment.

“With all this there is much that remains to be amended, and which time and increase of capital only can amend. The price of labour is far too low, and this naturally reduces the labouring poor beyond their just level in society. The behaviour of the gentry in general to the labourers is systematically harsh, and this arrogance is received with a servile deference which argues any thing
IRELAND—AUG. 1825.65
excepting affection. This, however, is also in the course of amending. I have heard a great deal of the far-famed Catholic Question from both sides, and I think I see its bearings better than I did; but these are for your ear when we meet—as meet we shall—if no accident prevent it. I return via Holyhead, as I wish to show
Anne something of England, and you may believe that we shall take Rokeby in our way. To-morrow I go to Killarney, which will occupy most part of the week. About Saturday I shall be back at Dublin to take leave of friends; and then for England, ho! I will, avoiding London, seek a pleasant route to Rokeby. Fate will only allow us to rest there for a day or two, because I have some desire to see Canning, who is to be on the Lakes about that time. Et finis. My leave will be exhausted. Anne and Lockhart send kindest compliments to you and the ladies. I am truly rejoiced that Mrs John Morritt is better. Indeed, I had learned that agreeable intelligence from Lady Louisa Stuart. I found Walter and his wife living happily and rationally, affectionately and prudently. There is great good sense and quietness about all Jane’s domestic arrangements, and she plays the leaguer’s lady very prettily.—I will write again when I reach Britain, and remain ever yours,

Walter Scott.”