Walter Scott: Old Mortality

First read in February last year, but that was during one of my alcoholic periods, so I had to begin reading it again in December to even realise I already had. Unsurprisingly, I remembered little apart from the ‘popinjay’ scene near the beginning and the ‘cataract’ scene near the end. Anyway, one of Scott’s better novels, rarely cloying and often humorous* despite the historical period described (battles of Drumclog and Bothwell Brig), but I don’t think I’ll read it for a third time. Still, having read it sober will hopefully put an end to my mixing up these two particular battles with others of the post-Reformation, pre-Union times, like it happened with Killiecrankie after I’ve actually visited the place.

* Including a joke in the final paragraph resembling more a line from some sitcom than from Sir Walter: “I was apprised, somewhat unceremoniously, by my publisher that he did not approve of novels (as he injuriously called these real histories) extending beyond four volumes, and if I did not agree to the first four being published separately, he threatened to decline the article. (Oh, ignorance! as if the vernacular article of our mother English were capable of declension.)”



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