I had two companions from our group that accompanied me on my pilgrimage to Scotland. It rained off and on during our stay in Edinburgh. But when we finally landed on Scott turf, ourside of Melrose and Selkirk,and faced Abbotsford, the sun broke through and welcomed us. It was a glorious moment for me, tears of joy splashing down my face as I entered the mansion. t
Years earlier, a friend of mine confided her impression of Scott's great estate; "You could tell It was a place much beloved by Scott," she said, in so many words. I got her meaning as I wondered through the downstairs and felt Scott's presence everywhere, especially his library, where he wrote his masterpieces.
Another of my favorite rooms was the dining room, where Scott directed to have a bed furnished for his last days. He wanted to look out the windows and see the Eildon Hills and hear the rippling sound of the River Tweed, where he had spent hours fishing. There is a note on the dining room table that was close to where his bed used to be which, according to his son-in-law and biographer, John Lockhart, recalled the sentiment among his last words: " Be a good man, be a religious man, for nothing else can comfort you as you lay dying as I am."
My favorite book of Scott's is his autobiography, began when Scott was 54 years old, in good health and enjoying life, But then after after that, everything went down hill. His wife died, and around the same time he faced financial ruin when his partner in the publishing world made bad investments. Scott undertook a grueling writing schedule to right things, which broke his health and led to his death.
My favorite woman author is Jane Austen. I've read all of her novels, though I loved "Pride and Predjudice" the best. She and Scott were comtemporaries in the literary world of their time. When I was in England and studying at Oxford I visited Winchester and saw the charming yellow house where she lived and went through Winchester Cathedral and saw where she is buried under one of the aisles. There were yellow roses on her grave, perhaps favorites of hers.
What I really loved about the works of both authors was that they were truthful and inspirational. There was no coarse language or edgy situations such as in the novels of our modern age. Yet, their writings are not in any way aged, they are in fact agless masterpieces. Whereas most authors of today are marching to the band of porn or near porn and violence, authors of the past like Scott and Austen use brilliant language to address the issues of moral depravity and the like.
According to my father, his maiden aunt, Ruth Scott, had our family traced back to Sir Walter Scott. .In any event, he iis my favorite author and the inspiration for my writing. I made a pilgrimage to his adored Scotland home in 2001.
Scott's library, my favorite room, where the great man wrote his masterpieces.