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'If it should ever fall to the lot of youth to peruse these pages, let such a reader remember that it is with the deepest regret that I recollect in my manhood the opportunities of learning which I neglected in my youth ; that through every part of my literary career I have felt pinched and hampered by my own ignorance ; and that I would at this moment give half the reputation I have had the good fortune to acquire, if by doing so I could rest the remaining part upon a sound foundation of learning and science.' -Autobiography of Scott (1808). See page 46.
This brief life of Sir Walter Scott, from the pen of Dr Robert Chambers, has been revised and supplemented, mainly by the addition of Scott's autobiography written at Ashestiel in 1808, which forms a charming and graphic record of his boyhood and early training. The boyhood and youth of Scott being treated with considerable fullness, the book will be found especially interesting by young people.
William and Robert Chambers lived in the era of the Waverley Novels, and it was a vivid recollection of the former, how frequently, as an apprentice bookseller, he had to visit Constable's in order to satisfy the insatiable demand for the early volumes of the series. Robert Chambers was fortunate in receiving the patronage and good offices of Scott, both in business and authorship, and the budget of material which the novelist gave him in aid of the Traditions of Edinburgh was a kindly and helpful act, of no small value to a budding author. Both brothers were also amongst the ten or twelve persons who went from Edinburgh to Abbotsford to be present at the funeral of the great novelist. It was natural, therefore, that they should make a study of Scott's career, and as young publishers engaged in building up a business in Edinburgh, take an objectlesson from the experiences of Ballantyne and Constable, who had
gone before them.
sent him with his Library and Furniture-Paralytic
Affection—Count Robert of Paris— Visit to Italy-In
Rome—Home to Abbotsford-Death-bed-Buried at
Character of Scott-Heedlessness regarding his Affairs-
Anecdotes of Scott—Carlyle and Ruskin's Estimate-
Payment of all his Debts-Monument in Edinburgh-
Scott's Descendants—Journal and Letters—Andrew Lang
on Scott-Position To-day.