The Heart of Mid-Lothian
(Chapter 8) Jeanie visits her sister in prison
A nation does not truly merit the name if it has little sense of its own history and culture. Scott provides both in rich measure but, contrary to common misconception, he is hugely alert to lively, popular culture rather than merely a stilted narrative of the great and good. I believe that aspect of Scott is most clearly to the fore in The Heart of Midlothian. In that wonderful work, he entangles the poignant tale of Jeanie and Effie Deans with the political history of the period. In addition, there is brilliant, subtle characterisation and strong story-telling as witnessed in the section I have chosen to read, when the sisters meet in prison.
The Affecting Scene between Effie Deans and her Sister in the Tolbooth an engraving made in 1823 by C. Rolls based on a drawing by C. R. Leslie of a scene from Scott's novel The Heart of Mid-lothian. Used here with the permission of the Walter Scott Digital Archive Image Collection.