Two pages (both sides of one leaf), folded into thirds to fit inside a handwritten folded envelope (with red wax seal). "Castle Street [Edinburgh], Friday."
The letter reads:
I am honourd with your card & much obliged by the polite expressions which it contains and am very happy you have found your journey to Scotland pleasant notwithstanding the weather having been unfavourable.
I presume Mr Grahame after whom you enquire is the same young gentleman who is now residing in the family of my friend & kinsman Mr Scott of Harden. If I am right in my conjecture his address is Mertoun House By St. Boswells. Mr Scott's seat is about six miles from Kelso & five from Melrose. I shall be happy if you find this information useful & am Sir
Your obliged humble Servant
We cannot identify the recipient other than by his name and address on the envelope -- "The Rev'd Mr Rafles [Raffles?] | [c/o] Mr Gouldris | 7 St. James Square". All we can infer for certain about the recipient is that he and Scott had apparently never met; it might be Thomas Raffles, a well-known Congregationalist minister from Liverpool. Clearly the recipient had left his calling card, and enquired for the address of a Mr. Grahame -- who it appears was at Mertoun House (by the River Tweed), which had been in the Scott family for about a century; a century later, it would be sold to the Egerton family, for whom Mertoun House would become the home of the Duke of Sutherland.
The year of this letter is unspecified, but according to Scott scholar Jane Millgate (whom we thank for this and other information here), Scott's hand would appear to be from the period 1815-1823; this would appropriately be within the period 1798-1826, when Scott lived at two addresses on Castle Street. In late 1820 Rev. Raffles is known to have received a degree from the University of Aberdeen and most likely traveled there, so that may be the most likely year.
The letter is in very good condition (folded into thirds, as originally mailed; one vertical quarter of the letter is a little browned). Item #13861