Walter Scott

Guy Mannering, Or, the Astrologer

The second novel written by Scott turned aside from the path of history, so successfully followed in “Waverley,” and dealt no less happily with private scenes and characters. Some of the most enduring and popular types in the author's entire gallery are to be found in “Guy Mannering.”

Godfrey Bertram, the easy-going laird of the Ellengowan estate, whose hearth-stone is open to vagrant and gentleman alike, shelters a young Englishman of good family during a night when an heir is born to Ellangowari. The vistor, Guy Mannering, knows the rudiments of the discredited science of astrology, and—partly out of curiosity, partly to gratify the father's whim—casts the horoscope of the infant. The prediction shows three periods of baleful influence upon the child, beginning at five years and ending at twenty-one—the last period strangely coinciding with a storm-centre prophesied for Mannering's promised wife. Disturbed by these coincidences, Mannering absolves astrology henceforth, and in order to avoid the possibility of influencing his host's son, he writes and seals the prediction, with instructions that it be left unopened until after the child's fifth birthday. The next day he departs, and soon after enters military service in India, where he attains the rank of Colonel…
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