Waverley; Or, 'Tis Sixty Years Since

Overview

The sun was nearly set behind the distant mountains of Liddesdale, when a few of the scattered and terrified inhabitants of the village of Hersildoun, which had four days before been burned by a predatory band of English Borderers, were now busied in repairing their ruined dwellings. One high tower in the centre of the village alone exhibited no appearance of devastation. It was surrounded with court walls, and the outer gate was barred and bolted. The bushes and brambles which grew around, and had even ...
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Waverley - or 'Tis Sixty Years Since

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Overview

The sun was nearly set behind the distant mountains of Liddesdale, when a few of the scattered and terrified inhabitants of the village of Hersildoun, which had four days before been burned by a predatory band of English Borderers, were now busied in repairing their ruined dwellings. One high tower in the centre of the village alone exhibited no appearance of devastation. It was surrounded with court walls, and the outer gate was barred and bolted. The bushes and brambles which grew around, and had even insinuated their branches beneath the gate, plainly showed that it must have been many years since it had been opened. While the cottages around lay in smoking ruins, this pile, deserted and desolate as it seemed to be, had suffered nothing from the violence of the invaders; and the wretched beings who were endeavouring to repair their miserable huts against nightfall, seemed to neglect the preferable shelter which it might have afforded them, without the necessity of labour.
Before the day had quite gone down, a knight, richly armed, and mounted upon an ambling hackney, rode slowly into the village. His attendants were a lady, apparently young and beautiful, who rode by his side upon a dappled palfrey; his squire, who carried his helmet and lance, and led his battle-horse, a noble steed, richly caparisoned. A page and four yeomen, bearing bows and quivers, short swords, and targets of a span breadth, completed his equipage, which, though small, denoted him to be a man of high rank.
He stopped and addressed several of the inhabitants whom curiosity had withdrawn from their labour to gaze at him; but at the sound of his voice, and still more on perceiving the St. George's Cross in the caps of his followers, they fled, with a loud cry that the Southrons were returned. The knight endeavoured to expostulate with the fugitives, who were chiefly aged men, women, and children; but their dread of the English name accelerated their flight, and in a few minutes, excepting the knight and his attendants, the place was deserted by all. He paced through the village to seek a shelter for the night, and despairing to find one either in the inaccessible tower or the plundered huts of the peasantry, he directed his course to the left hand, where he spied a small, decent habitation, apparently the abode of a man considerably above the common rank. After much knocking, the proprietor at length showed himself at the window, and speaking in the English dialect, with great signs of apprehension, demanded their business. The warrior replied that his quality was an English knight and baron, and that he was travelling to the court of the king of Scotland on affairs of consequence to both kingdoms.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781144040190
  • Publisher: Nabu Press
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Pages: 380
  • Product dimensions: 7.44 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 0.78 (d)

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the splendid yet useless imagery and emblems with which his imagination was stored, visions as brilliant and as fading as those of an evening sky. The effect of this indulgence upon his temper and character will appear in the next chapter. .. .; .. : .. ,. '.i ,..- . ....-' ti ".''..'. - .(..i ui.:.,' ' . .f.W X .CHAPTER V. . ,- ... :.,( . .'. . . : ..- !;..' '-./ CAotce of a Profeaion, . ...', -i'; From the minuteness with which I have traced Waverley's pursuits, and the bias which these unavoidably communicated to his imagination, the reader may perhaps anticipate, in the following tale, an imitation of the romance of Cervantes. But he will do my prudence injustice in the supposition. My intention is not to follow the steps of that inimitable author, in describing such total perversion of intellect as misconstrues the objects actually presented to the senses, but that more common aberration from sound judgment, which apprehends occurrences indeed in their reality, but communicates to them a tincture of its own romantic tone and co- louring. So far was Edward Waverley from expecting general sympathy with his own feelings, or concluding that the present state of things was calculated to exhibit the reality of thos.e visions in which he loved to indulge, that he dreaded nothing more than the detection of such sentiments as were dictated by his musings. He neither had nor wished to have a confidant, with whom to communicate his reveries ; and so sensible was he of the ridicule attached to them, that had he been to chuse between any punishment short of ignominy, and the necessity of giving a cold and composed account of the ideal world in which he lived the better partof his days, I think he would not have hesitated to chuse the former infliction...
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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2006

    The World's First Political as well as first Historical Novel

    WAVERLEY is an astonishingly good first novel. It appeared anonymously in 1814 from the pen of the most popular poet in Europe and North America, Walter Scott. It was the first historical and the first political novel and a masterpiece of the Romantic movement as well. *** As historical, WAVERLEY places a handful of fictitious, vaguely or not so vaguely, pro-Stuart dynasty characters in England and Scotland in 1745 - 46 during the rising of the Scots in support of the exiled legitimate King James Stuart and his son Prince Charles Edward, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie.' These characters go about their business as dreamers, poets, disgruntled nobility and women in and out of love as the great wheel of fate rolls over Scotland. *** In this political novel, Walter Scott's Scotland lost its last good chance to be more than an appendage 'North Britain' in a United Kingdom. The old Highlands were finished. Wearing of plaids and tartans was about to be forbidden. The Highlands Gaelic language was suppressed. People began to be driven off the land for more profitable sheep. Yet almost immediately there arose from the ashes of the battlefield of Culloden the Scottish golden age of literature, philosophy and learning centered on Edinburgh, the era into which Walter Scott was born. *** The old Highlanders were often Catholic and sent their sons and daughters to the continent for education. They knew French and Italian literature and Shakespeare, too. In the autumn of 1745, after Prince Charles Edward occupied Edinburgh and lived in the Holyrood Palace of his Stuart ancestors, there briefly flourished a little court complete with highland nobility and beauties. WAVERLEY iii.vii gives its flavor in an evening party in which 'A dispute occurred whether the Gaelic or Italian language was most liquid and best adapted for poetry: the opinion for the Gaelic ... was here fiercely defended by seven Highland ladies, who talked at the top of their lungs, and screamed the company deaf, with examples of Celtic euphonia.' The ladies then voted between having the Highland hero Fergus play his flute or young Edward Waverley, the Englishman, read Shakespeare. Waverley read ROMEO AND JULIET. Fergus was much taken by Mercutio. Fergus's sister Flora (whom Edward loves in vain) rebuked Romeo for loving before Juliet another young woman who could not return his love. (255f) *** And this is a good part of the 'auld' Scotland that vanished when the Stuart James II was driven from the thrones of England and Scotland. ***

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