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Benares House Gallery
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Book - “The Heart of Mid-Lothian”
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Title: Book - “The Heart of Mid-Lothian”
Identifier: 979.6.1572.20
Donor: Geoffrey Sayers
Item Date: 1888
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: Hard cover book entitled "The Heart of Mid-Lothian" by Sir Walter Scott. Book is brown with black decoration. On front cover there is a picture in gold of Sir Walter Scott and a Scottish thistle in black surrounded by a circle that is embossed with "Waverley Novels". Inscribed on the first page is "Lucy Harris, March 24th/88"

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, poet and playwright. Scott wrote many popular historical novels, most which had a romantic element. A series of his works on similar themes written under a pseudonym during the same period have become collectively known as the "Waverley Novels". "The Heart of Midlothian" is the seventh of Sir Walter Scott’s Waverley Novels. It was originally published in four volumes on 25 July 1818, under the title of Tales of My Landlord, 2nd series, and the author was given as "Jedediah Cleishbotham, Schoolmaster and Parish-clerk of Gandercleugh". The historical backdrop of the novel was the event known as the Porteous Riots, a riot that broke out in Edinburgh in 1736 over the execution of two smugglers. The second, and main element of the novel was based on a story Scott claimed to have received in an unsigned letter. It was about a certain Helen Walker who had travelled all the way to London by foot, in order to receive a royal pardon for her sister, who was unjustly charged with infanticide. Scott put Jeanie Deans in the place of Walker, a young woman from a family of highly devout Presbyterians. Jeanie goes to London, partly by foot, hoping to achieve an audience with the Queen through the influence of the Duke of Argyll.

Lucy (1844-1925), the daughter of Captain James B. (1797-1884) and Elizabeth Harris (née Molony) (1829-1884), and sister of Arthur, lived at Benares until an inheritance in 1880 allowed her to move to Toronto with her sister Bessie. Lucy loved antiques and bought many things at auction such as the Tall- Boy Cabinet, Pembroke Table (painted table), fold-out card table (inlaid), Davenport writing desk and tea caddy, which have been in the sitting room, along with her portrait, since her death in 1925.
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