Reading Sir Walter:


(Chapter 23) The End 

Read by Prof. Ian Campbell

Scott obviously looked back at the age of the Jacobites with longing for an independent Scotland with a glorious potential -- and at the present with its new-found prosperity after a period of war and revolution which Scott had grown up enduring, and now (1824) thought might be behind him. Redgauntlet is a study in revolution, and even though the particular "third Jacobite Rebellion" he imagined never happened, he is working out in the plot the forces that drove the surviving Jacobites, and the motives of the Government which stopped them with diplomacy rather than with force -- though the force was there, and Campbell's intervention prevents what could have been another massacre.  It is not tidy, but it is politics: and Scott the romantic reluctantly writes the scene to show that the old days have, indeed, gone for ever.

November 2009

Prince Charles Edward taking leave of his adherents. 1838 Steel engraving by G. Presbury from a drawing by F. W. Topham. Used here with the permission of the Walter Scott Digital Archive Image Collection.