Abbotsford, Melrose: 27 January 1831. Very Good.
Single cream leaf, written in black ink, with original red sealing wax present. Very good, with some offsetting from the sealing wax, small loss where the letter was opened, a few minor splits and light creasing to the folds. Overall, a very pleasing letter, signed by Scott. Scott addressed this letter to James Nairne, Esq., a member of Scott’s Bannatyne Club, a Scottish literary printing society founded in Edinburgh in 1823. Specifically, Scott requests that Nairne proofread Scott’s work for the Ardwalls. He also references Auld Robin Gray, a Scots ballad written by Scottish poet Lady Anne Barnard (neé Lindsay) in 1772. The Bannatyne Club published an edition of Auld Robin Gray in 1825. In addition to Scott’s prose, this letter contains marginal notes by the recipient James Nairne, who forwarded the note to “The H’ble Mrs. Erskine.” He explains that Scott’s references to “Ardwell” refers to his cousin Mr. McCullough of Ardwall, and “Old Robin Gray” refers to the Bannatyne edition of Auld Robin Gray. Transcription: Dear Sir, I hope I have finished all Ardwall's melancholy commission in proper form. I may however have made some error & entreat you would let me know that I may amend it if possible. I greatly fear I have not a copy of Old Robin Gray & that it is nearly untraceable, but I will make a rummage & if I have another you shall have it. Poor Ardwall keeps his spirits up wonderfully. I am always your faithful humble servant, Walter Scott.