Murray to Annie Murray 10-5-1808 notes

1. This transcript appears with the permission of John Murray (Publishers). I would like to thank Mrs. Virginia Murray, the archivist at John Murray's, for drawing my attention to this letter. 

2. It was Murray’s practice to punctuate his letters only very lightly. To save paper he substituted symbols for paragraphs. To aid comprehension, I have liberally supplied commas and paragraph spaces. The paragraph beginning "Upon reading your letter," however, is indicated with spaces in the holograph original, a sign by Murray to his wife that he had written the first paragraph earlier.

3. The following itinerary will help the reader understand Murray’s meaning, as will the knowledge that the first paragraph was written on Monday, October 3d, the balance of the letter on Wednesday, October 5th (with the exception of portions not here transcribed that were composed on the 6th):

  • Sunday:
    • JM arrives at Ashesteil, Scott’s residence.
  • Monday:
    • About 3 pm JM composes a short letter to his wife (the first paragraph above) while Scott and Heber wait
    • Scott, Heber, and JM set off to Newark Tower
    • They return after 5 pm
    • In the evening, the party enjoy pleasant conversation
    • Sometime during this day Scott asks JM to stay on for another day
  • Tuesday:
    • The party, now including James Ballantyne, set out for Melrose Abbey
    • From there they travel to Kelso, where Ballantyne and JM take leave of Scott
    • At an inn in Kelso, JM secures the same room he and his wife had stayed in during an earlier visit
    • JM and Ballantyne spend the balance of the day together
  • Wednesday:
    • JM and Ballantyne set out at 6pm for Edinburgh

4. From "Introduction" to Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstral:

He pass’d where Newark’s stately tower
Looks out from Yarrow’s birchen bower:
Newark tower is a ruin, three miles from Selkirk, on the banks of the Yarrow. See also Lockhart’s Life of Scott, Chapter V for references to these places.

5. Melrose Abbey, in reference to an earlier visit there with his wife.