NPG 2515(30) (1b)


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Letter from Walter Scott to William Brockedon, dated 12 February (1830), apologising for failing to acknowledge the gift of a copy of Brockedon's book.

whom I have ever known himself a great geographer on the most extended and liberal (illegible) used to tell me an anecdote of the eminent antiquary General Melville who was crossing the Alps with Levy & others (illegible) determined to follow the route of Hannibal. He met Ellis I forget when at this moment on the western side of that tremendous ridge and pushed onward on his journey after a day spent with his brother antiquary. After journeying more slowly than his friend Ellis was astonished to meet General Melville coming back - "What is the matter my dear friend how can you (illegible) on the journey you had so much at heart?"
"Alas!" said Melville, very dejectedly "I could have got on myself well enough but I could not get my elephants over the pass" - He had an idea Hannibal used his train of elephants on his party - It became a sort of bye word between Ellis and me and we (illegible) each other (illegible) during a close correspondence of some years we talked of a (illegible) to the elephants.

You Sir have put this theoretical difficulty at an end and shown how without bodily labour the Antiquary may traverse the Alps with his elephants without the necessity of a retrograde movement. In giving a distinct picture of so interesting a country as Switzerland so peculiar in its habits you have added a valuable chapter to the history of Europe in which the Alpine regions make so distinguished and interesting a figure. Accept my best congratulations on (illegible) so interesting a task