Manuscript of Washington Irving's 'Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey', 1835

In 1817, American author Irving visited Sir Walter Scott at his home in Abbotsford in the Scottish borders and the two men became friends. In 1824 Irving also visited Lord Byron's ancestral home of Newstead Abbey in Nottinghamshire shortly after the poet's death in Greece.


Copyright National Library of Scotland

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Castle gate for his execution. When all was
ready he was brought into the Castle hall
where the grim baron was seated in state,
with his warriors armed to the teeth around
him, and was given his choice either to
swing on the gibbet or to marry the barons
daughter, on the spot. The last may be thou
thought an easy alternative, but unfortunate
-ly the Barons daughter young lady was hideously
ugly, with a mouth from ear to ear, so that
not a suitor was to be had for her either for
love or money, and she was known through-
out the border country by the name of the
Muckle mouthed Mag!

The picture in question represented the
unhappy dilemma of the handsome youth.
Before him sat the grim baron, with a face