Old Mortality to Oliver Twist

Old Mortality, one of the best of Scott’s novels (1816). Morton is the best of his young heroes, and serves as an excellent foil to the fanatical and gloomy Burley. The two classes of actors, viz. the brave and dissolute cavaliers, and the resolute oppressed covenanters, are drawn in bold relief. The most striking incidents are the terrible encounter with Burley in his rocky fastness; the dejection and anxiety of Morton on his return from Holland; and the rural comfort of Cuddie Headrigg’s cottage on the banks of the Clyde, with its thin blue smoke among the trees, “showing that the evening meal was being made ready.”

Old Mortality always appeared to me the “Marmion” of Scott’s novels.—Chambers: English Literature, ii. 587.

Old Mortality, an itinerant antiquary, whose craze is to clean the moss from gravestones, and keep their letters and effigies in good condition.—Sir W. Scott: Old Mortality (time, Charles II.).

The prototype of “Old Mortality” was Robert Patterson.

Old Noll, Oliver Cromwell (1599–1658).

Old Noll’s Fiddler, sir Roger Lestrange; who played the bass-viol at the musical parties held at John Hingston’s house, where Oliver Cromwell was a constant guest.

Old Rowley, Charles II.; so called from his favourite race-horse (1630, 1660–1685).

N.B.—A portion of Newmarket racecourse is still called “Rowley mile.”

Old Stone, Henry Stone, statuary and painter (died 1653).

Old Tom, cordial gin. So called from Tom Chamberlain (one of the firm of Messrs. Hodges’ gin distillery), who first concocted it.

Oldboy (Colonel), a manly retired officer, fond of his glass, and not averse to a little spice of the Lothario spirit.

Lady Mary Oldboy, daughter of lord Jessamy and wife of the colonel. A sickly nonentity, “ever complaining, ever having something the matter with her head, back, or legs.” Afraid of the slightest breath of wind, jarred by a loud voice, and incapable of the least exertion.

Diana Oldboy, daughter of the colonel. She marries Harman.

Jessamy Oldboy, son of the colonel and lady Mary. An insufferable prig.—Bicker-staff: Lionel and Clarissa (1768).

Oldbuck (Jonathan), the antiquary, devoted to the study and accumulation of old coins and medals, etc. He is sarcastic, irritable, and a woman-hater; but kind-hearted, faithful to his friends, and a humorist.—Sir W. Scott: The Antiquary (time, George III.).

An excellent temper, with a slight degree of subacid humour; learning, wit, and drollery, the more poignant that they were a little marked by the peculiarities of an old bachelor; a soundness of thought, rendered more forcible by an occasional quaintness of expression,—these were the qualities in which the creature of my imagination resembled my benevolent and excellent old friend.—Sir W. Scott.

The merit of The Antiquary as a novel rests on the Inimitable delineation of Oldbuck, that model of black-letter and Roman-camp antiquaries, whose oddities and conversation are rich and racy as any of the old crusted port that John of the Girnel might have held in his monastic cellars.—Chambers: English Literature, ii. 586.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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