Collected and arranged by Jedediah Cleishbotham. In Four Volumes. Edinburgh: Archibald Constable and Company, 1818. 12 pp Vol IV ads dated June 1818. Original blue-grey paper-covered boards with white paper spines and printed spine labels.
First Edition, probable second issue (of three) of the first printing. The entire four volumes constitute the tale "The Heart of Midlothian"; although that title resides at the top of every recto page, it does not appear on the volumes' title pages. The tale, taking place at the time of the Porteous Riots of 1736, revolves around Tolbooth Prison (the heart of Midlothian) -- and includes a mob lynching, an illegitimate child, a woman sentenced to death for murdering her own child, and an unknown son killing his own father.
[It] is Scott's finest novel and Jeanie Deans is the most perfectly realized of all his characters. The attack on the Tolbooth, at midnight, is magnificently done and the historical period perfectly caught [OCAL].
This is a probable copy of the second issue, with the following points noted by Baker & Ross: Vol IV p. 195 bears no press figure (differentiating the second from the first), but Vol IV p. 348 is incorrectly numbered (differentiating the second from the third). The reason we say "probable" is that the sole printing had duplicate settings of print, without known priority.
The volumes are still in their original boards-and-label binding -- rather remarkable for 200+ years of age -- and are in very good-plus condition. It appears that the volumes may have been re-cased, but everything except the Vol IV front free endpaper is present; all four half-titles and the Vol IV ad catalogue are present. Baker & Ross 122Ab; Worthington pp 78-80. Provenance: all four title pages bear the signature of Tho[ma]s Cuthbert. Housed in an old cloth clamshell case with leather label, and snap closure. Item #14844