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Sir Walter Scott

Reading Books

If I have a knack for anything it is for selecting the striking and interesting points out of dull details, and hence I myself receive so much pleasure and instruction from volumes which are generally reputed dull and uninteresting. Give me facts, I will find fancy for myself.

A work begun is with me a stone turned over with the purpose of rolling it down hill. The first revolutions are made with difficulty but vices acquirit eundo. Now, were the said stone arrested in its progress, the whole labour would be to commence again.

Solitude's a fine thing for work, but then you must lie by like a spider, till you collect material to continue your web.

People compliment me sometimes on the extent of my labour; but if I could employ to purpose the hours that indolence and lassitude steal away from me, they would have cause to wonder indeed. But day must have night, vigilance must have sleep, and labour, bodily or mental, must have rest.

After all, works of fiction, viz. cursed lies, are easier to write, and much more popular than the best truths.

It is clear to me that what is least forgiven in a man of any mark or likelihood is want of that article blackguardly called pluck. All the fine qualities of genius cannot make amends for it. We are told the genius of poets especially is irreconcilable with this species of grenadier accomplishment. If so, quel chien de genie!

Many people will think that because I see company easily my pleasures depend on society. But this is not the case; I am by nature a very lonely animal, and enjoy myself much at getting rid from a variety of things connected with public business, etc., which I did because they were fixed on me but I am particularly happy to be rid of.

I ought to be ashamed for having sent such Van-loads of stuff into the world, instead of which here am I taylorizing as my good mother would have said, that is capeing, collaring, and turning my old novels to give them novelty (?) in some degree. Entre nous, the success has been hitherto more than our warmest calculations anticipated. This leaves me little time for anything save exercise, which I will not give up for wealth or fame, but it cuts my correspondence sadly short.

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