It's easy to forget just how influential Scott is, but he pioneered numerous fiction genres and his particular, and particularly romantic, vision of Scotland is woven into our collective conscious - quite literally as he's credited with inventing the idea of clan tartans. Reading 'Waverley' now, at a point where the union between England and Scotland looks ever more precarious is interesting.
Meanwhile it's also a lot of fun, and sometimes he just delights me. Having battled through the last couple of chapters of volume one (there's a lot of poetry and lengthy descriptions of scenery) volume two starts like this:
"Shall this be a short or a long chapter?- This is a question in which you, gentle reader, have no vote, however much you may be interested in the consequences; just as probably you may (like myself) have nothing to do with the imposing if a new tax, excepting the trifling circumstance of being obliged to pay it. More happy surely in the present case, since, though it lies within my arbitrary power to extend my materials as I think proper, I cannot call you into Exchequer if you do not think proper to read my narrative."
And then, bless him, he goes on to tease the reader with what is essentially a page long list of wines and things that might be hunted and eaten before promising to "...proceed in my story with all the brevity that my natural style of composition, partaking of what scholars call the periphrastic and amabagitory, and the vulgar the circumbendibus, will permit me."
Coming, as it does, at the point where our hero is getting thoroughly out of his depth it's a chance to take a pause and get to know the story teller as well as the story. I love Scott for giving me the chance to share the joke with him for a moment, that and introducing me to the word circumbendibus.