The Heart of Midlothian: by Sir Walter Scott - Summary

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      The Heart of Midlothian is a novel by Sir Walter Scott published in 1818. The heart of Midlothian is the Tolbooth prison, and the story opens with the Porteus Riots of 1736. Porteus, commander of the city guard had opened fire at the hanging of a robber named Wilson. Porteus was acquitted at his trial but the mob, led by Robertson attacked the prison. Robertson loves Effie Deans, imprisoned within on a charge of child murder and the attack on the prison has, thus, a double motive for him. The mob drags Porteus from the prison and beats him. Effie refuses to escape preferring to face trial, knowing herself innocent. At her trial, her sister Jeanie tells the truth. However, Effie is convicted and sentenced to death. Jeanie secures pardon from the Queen Caroline. Jeanie marries her suitor, Roben Butler. Robertson is revealed as George Staunton, a wild son of good family and the father of Effie's child. He persuades Effie to marry him and she knows that the child is alive. He had been stolen by a mad girl, Madge Wildfire, and was left with a band of robbers. Staunton is unwittingly killed by his own son when he tries to save him from the robber's band.

The Heart of Midlothian
The Heart of Midlothian

      The Heart of Midlothian is agreed as the finest of Scott's novels. Characters are vividly realised. Scott could render the totality of a society by showing the great events on levels of high and low in the society - Jeanie Deans and the Duke of Argyll. His narration is, brisk and he envelops his fictitious characters with the broad strands of historical events.

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