Reference > The Library > Helen Rex Keller > Reader’s Digest of Books

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
H. R. Keller.  The Reader’s Digest of Books.
Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life
John Wilson (Christopher North) (1785–1854)
Lights and Shadows of Scottish Life, by “Christopher North” (Professor John Wilson, author of ‘Noctes Ambrosianæ’). First published in 1822 in book form, and dedicated to Sir Walter Scott. The stories deal with the deepest and the simplest passions of the soul,—such themes as the love of man and maid, of brother and sister, of husband and wife; death, loyal-heartedness, and betrayal; of the, Lily of Liddesdale (the shepherdess lassie), and how she overcame the temptation to be false to her manly farmer lover and many a lord; of the reconciliation of two brothers over their father’s grave; of the death in childbirth of a beautiful wife; of the reconcilement of a deserted betrothed girl to her lover by the girl’s friend, who was herself on the morrow about to become his bride. The tales resemble a little Hawthorne’s ‘Twice-Told Tales,’ but a good deal more the recent beautiful Scottish stories of the ‘Bonnie Briar Bush’ and ‘Margaret Ogilvy’ variety, though devoid of the Scotch dialect of these latter. Artless tales they are, full of tenderest emotion and pathos, dealing with lowly but honest family life. A little of the melodramatic order, with just a suspicion of a taste for scarlet and the luxury of tears (as in the story of Little Nell in Dickens), and written in a florid high-flown diction. Yet admirably wholesome reading, especially for young people, who have always passionately loved them and cried over them. They give also fine pictures of Scotch rural scenery,—mountain, heath, river, snow-storm, the deep-mossed cottage with its garden of tulips and roses, the lark overhead, and within, the little pale-faced dying daughter. Such a story as ‘Moss-Side’ gives as sweet and quiet a picture as Burns’s ‘Cotter’s Saturday Night.’  1

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