Tales of My Landlord, Second Series (The Heart of Mid-Lothian)
Hard Cover. Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Company, 1818. First Edition. Very Good.
Four volumes. First edition, first issue lacking signature on dedication leaf in Volume I, with the misspelling of "Wichtcraft" in Volume II on page 52, and page 348 misnumbered in Volume IV as 438. One of 10,000 copies (total print run of all three issues.) Half-titles present. Set finely bound by Morrell, tan speckled boards with decorative gilt borders, four raised bands to spines, spines ruled and lettered in gilt, brown labels, all edges gilt, gilt decorative turn-ins, blue-green endpapers. Near fine set with some toning to spines, light spotting to some pages, offsetting to edges of front and rear free endpapers, small nick to bottom edge of Volume II text block, and a hint of wear to gilt on Volume III spine. An attractive and fresh set. Todd & Bowden 122Aa. These four volumes comprise the second installment of the Tales of My Landlord series, a subset of Scott's Waverley novels. The series, intended to highlight life in different Scottish regions, was published under Scott's pseudonym Jedediah Cleishbotham the "Schoolmaster and Parish-clerk of Gandercleugh" and purported to be a collection of tales from the landlord of the fictional Wallace Inn at Gandercleugh, who was said to have sent them to Cleishbotham for editing and arrangement. The second series of Tales of My Landlord contains Scott's popular historical novel, The Heart of Mid-Lothian, which is widely considered one of the best of the Waverley novels. The title "The Heart of Mid-Lothian" refers to the Old Tolbooth Prison in Edinburgh and emphasizes the novel's central theme of crime and punishment. Based on the actual Porteous Riots of 1736, the novel tells the story of nobleman George Staunton and his lover Effie Deans. Presented as the man whose freedom ultimately sparked the riots, Staunton attempts to assist Effie, who is convicted of infanticide after her child by Staunton is kidnapped by his former mistress. The novel follows Effie's sister's valiant efforts to clear Effie's name, the mistress's treatment of Effie's son, and Staunton's ultimate downfall.