Walter Scott: Chronicles of the Canongate – The highland widow – The two drovers – My aunt Margaret’s mirror – The tapestried chamber – The surgeon’s daughter

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Chronicles of the Canongate is a short masterpiece by Sir Walter Scott. The book is set within a framing device in which a fictional narrator Mr. Chrystal Croftangry relates three stories of Scottish life in the eighteenth century. Scotland and England were united in 1707 to become Great Britain. Scott’s fiction helped the two countries understand one another’s people and customs. He is the grandfather of historical fiction. Chrystal Croftangry is retired and living in Edinburgh. The well to do Croftangry decided to become a writer of fiction. Through his friendship with Mrs. Baliol and others he learns stories of Scottish life conducive to his efforts in fiction. The Highland Widow is set in the years following the failed uprising of Bonnie Prince Charlie and the final defeat of the Highland Clans at the battle of Culloden in 1746. Widow MacTavish lost her husband to English soldiery bullets during this bloody time in Scottish history. Her son Hamish joins the British Army being recruited to fight in America during the French and Indian War of 1755-1763. Mrs. Mactavish persuades Hamish, on leave from the army, to desert. When British troops arrive to arrest him for being AWOL he shoots an officer. Hamish is executed. The strange Mrs. Mactavish lives a solemn, lonely and angry life in the highlands. Scott had the ability to etch memorable characters: you will not forget this tragic tale.

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