IN THE COURSE of a quarter of a century of varied literary activities and very diverse geographical wanderings I have read, dozed, and written articles within the hospitable walls of public libraries in many different parts of Great Britain. Thus I can remember, some ten years ago, so writing in the spacious rooms of a converted old manor‐house at Leigh‐on‐Sea, Essex, at the top of the cliffs overlooking the muddy expanses of the Thames estuary, and also, some four or five years later, writing about Sir Walter Scott, his Abbotsford coterie, and the literary and historical associations of the Tweed valley, in the quiet, secluded upper room of the public library of Galashiels, overlooking the incessantly‐active public fountain in the square, and with those green Scottish Border hills as an enduring backcloth beyond. I was then living in Melrose, the very heart of the Scott country, and it was always a delight, especially in the bright clarity of the June nights, to take my walk back, after the library had closed, from Galashiels towards the Roxburghshire boundary alongside the silver ribbon of the river Tweed, with the encompassing hills shining palely in the caressing moonlight, through the village of Darnick with its famous tower to my destination in Melrose, with the picturesque ruins of its even more famous Cistercian Abbey and its close associations with the great creative imagination of Sir Walter Scott.
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