The Fair Maid of Perth Or, St. Valentines Day


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The Fair Maid of Perth or St. Valentine's Day is a novel by Sir Walter Scott. Inspired by the strange, but historically true, story of the Battle of the North Inch , [1] it is set in Perth known at the time as Saint John's Toun , i. John's Town and other parts of Scotland around By the time he finished the first series of Chronicles of the Canongate on 16 September Scott had been discussing his next work of fiction for several weeks.

He was originally minded to embark on a successor to Quentin Durward , which was eventually to become Anne of Geierstein , but in the event he settled on a second series of the Chronicles. Like the first, this was envisaged as a collection of short stories, and it seems likely that by mid-November Scott had written a long Croftangry introduction to match the opening chapters of the first series.

On 3 December he completed 'My Aunt Margaret's Mirror', and on the 5th he had decided that the next story would concern Harry Wynd; but before the middle of the month, in response to doubts by James Ballantyne and Robert Cadell about the commercial viability of another publication consisting of a long introduction and a set of short stories, he decided to abbreviate the introduction to a single chapter and allow the Wynd tale, now with the title Saint Valentine's Eve , to fill the rest of the three volumes.

There was a break in composition over Christmas, but composition resumed in January and the first volume was completed on 5 February , the second on 2 March and the third on the 29th of that month. Scott's sources for The Fair Maid of Perth are largely cited in the text of the novel or in the 'Magnum' notes.

This last was a particularly important source for the historical characters and the main events. In the summer of Scott revisited the work for the 'Magnum' edition, making some textual changes and providing a few brief notes, but he was in poor health and many more changes and notes were introduced by J.

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Lockhart with or without authorial input. Lockhart also provided the novel with an antiquarian and source-documenting introduction to replace Scott's original discussion of work's genesis. The work appeared posthumously in November and December as Volumes 42 and Hook and Donald Mackenzie, was published as Volume 21 of the Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley Novels in this is based on the first edition with emendations mainly from the manuscript; the 'Magnum' material appears in Volume 25b But Catharine has caught the eye of the Duke of Rothesay , and when Gow interrupts an attempted abduction, the armourer is drawn simultaneously into royal intrigue and highland feud.

The armourer, Henry Gow, had excited the jealousy of the apprentice Conachar by spending the evening with the glover and his daughter and was returning to their house at dawn, that he might be the first person she saw on St Valentine's morning, when he encountered a party of courtiers in the act of placing a ladder against her window. Having cut off the hand of one, and seized another, who, however, managed to escape, he left the neighbours to pursue the rest, and was saluted by Catharine as her lover. The citizens waited on the provost, who, having heard their grievance, issued a challenge of defiance to the offenders.

Meanwhile the King, who occupied apartments in the convent, having confessed to the prior, was consulting with his brother, when the Earl of March arrived to intimate his withdrawal to the English Border, followed into the courtyard by Louise, and afterwards by the Duke of Rothesay , whose dalliance with the maiden was interrupted by the Earl of Douglas ordering his followers to seize and scourge her. Henry Gow, however, was at hand, and the prince, having committed her to his protection, attended his father's council, at which it was determined that the hostile Clans Chattan and Quhele "Kay" should be invited to settle their feud by a combat between an equal number of their bravest men in the royal presence, and a commission was issued for the suppression of heresy.

The old monarch, having learnt that his son was one of those who had attempted to force their way into the glover's house, insisted that he should dismiss his Master of the Horse, who encouraged all his follies; and while Catharine, who had listened to the Lollard teaching of Father Clement, was being urged by him to favour the secret suit of the Prince, her other lover, Conachar, who had rejoined his clan, appeared to carry off her councillor from arrest as an apostate reformer.

The armourer had maimed the Prince's Master of the Horse, Sir John Ramorny, whose desire for revenge was encouraged by the apothecary, Dwining. An assassin named Bonthron undertook to waylay and murder Henry Gow.


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On Shrovetide evening old Simon was visited by a party of morrice-dancers , headed by Proudfute, who lingered behind to confirm a rumour that Henry Gow had been seen escorting a merry maiden to his house, and then proceeded thither to apologise for having divulged the secret.

On his way home in the armourer's coat and cap, as a protection against other revellers, he received a blow from behind and fell dead on the spot. About the same time Sir John was roused from the effects of a narcotic by the arrival of the Prince, who made light of his sufferings, and whom he horrified by suggesting that he should cause the death of his uncle, and seize his father's throne.

The Fair Maid of Perth, or St. Valentine's Day

The fate of Proudfute, whose body was at first mistaken for that of the armourer, excited general commotion in the city; while Catharine, on hearing the news, rushed to her lover's house and was folded in his arms. Her father then accompanied him to the town council, where he was chosen as the widow's champion, and the Provost repaired to the King's presence to demand a full inquiry. At a council held the following day, trial by ordeal of bier-right, or by combat, was ordered; and suspicion having fallen on Ramorny's household, each of his servants was required to pass before the corpse, in the belief that the wounds would bleed afresh as the culprit approached.

Bonthron, however, chose the alternative of combat, and, having been struck down by Gow, was led away to be hanged. But Dwining had arranged that he should merely be suspended so that he could breathe and during the night he and Sir John's page Eviot cut him down and carried him off. Catharine had learnt that she and her father were both suspected by the commission; and the Provost having offered to place her under the care of The Douglas's daughter, the deserted wife of the Prince, the old glover sought the protection of his former apprentice, who was now the chieftain of his clan.

Having returned from his father's funeral, Conachar pleaded for the hand of Catharine, without which he felt he should disgrace himself in the approaching combat with the Clan Chattan. Simon, however, reminded him that she was betrothed to the armourer, and his foster father promised to screen him in the conflict. At the instigation of his uncle, the Prince had been committed to the custody of the Earl of Errol; but, with the Duke's connivance, he was enticed by Ramorny and the apothecary to escape to the castle of Falkland , and, with the help of Bonthron, was starved to death there.

Catharine and Louise, however, discovered his fate, and communicated with The Douglas, who overpowered the garrison, and hanged the murderers.

The meeting of the hostile champions had been arranged with great pomp, with barriers erected on three sides of the Inch, in an attempt to keep spectators off the battlefield, and the Tay forming the natural fourth side to the north. The Gilded Arbour summerhouse of the Dominican Friary, which afforded those inside an excellent view of the Inch, was adapted into a grandstand for the King and his entourage.

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Henry Gow, having consented to supply Eachin Conachar with a suit of armour, volunteered to take the place of one of the Clan Chattan who failed to appear. A terrible conflict ensued, during which Torquil and his eight sons all fell defending their chief, who at last fled from the battle-ground unwounded and dishonoured. On hearing of Rothesay's death, Robert III resigned his sceptre to his wily and ambitious brother, and later died broken-hearted when his younger son James was captured by the English king.

Albany transferred the regency to his son; but, nineteen years afterwards, the rightful heir returned, and the usurper expiated his own and his father's guilt on the scaffold.

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The warrants against Simon and his daughter, and Father Clement, were cancelled by the intervention of the Earl of Douglas, and the Church was conciliated with Dwining's ill-gotten wealth. Conachar either became a hermit, or, legend has it, was spirited away by the fairies. Scotland boasts of many distinguished descendants from Henry Gow and his spouse the Fair Maid of Perth. Chrystal Croftangry's Narrative: In discussion with Mrs Baliol, Chrystal Croftangry maintains his preference for setting his stories in less familiar historical periods to allow scope for the imagination.

On their way home they are joined by Henry Gow, returned from a trip selling armour, who is attacked by Conachar after making denigrating remarks about Highlanders. Catherine expresses her disapproval of the cult of arms. The citizens decline Oliver Proudfute's suggestion that the matter be referred to the King. Gow says he will follow Catherine's pacific advice, but she indicates that there is an insuperable objection to their union. The narrator sketches Sir Patrick's character and background. Proudfute presents the severed hand to Charteris, who promises to take action.

The Earl of March arrives, threatening to withdraw his allegiance and his presence. Rothsay is seen flirting with the minstrel Louise in the courtyard. Alone with Robert, March suggests that Rothsay's marriage to Marjory of Douglas, in preference to his own daughter, may be annullable.

When they reach his house he entrusts her to his housekeeper Luckie Shoolbred. Or Download App.


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