Tales of the Border is comprised of stories that were originally written for and printed in the nineteenth century serial publication “Tales of the Borders,” active weekly in the UK 1834-1840. Although attributed to John Mackay Wilson, this collection was selected and curated by James Tait, the former editor of the Scottish newspaper the Kelso Chronicle. Wilson, who authored many of the included stories, is primarily significant as the founder of “Tales of the Border.” He was the principal author and driving force of the periodical for the first eleven months of its existence, but his unfortunately early death in 1935 at the age of 31 brought his contributions to an end. The remaining issues of “Tales” that came to be published, consequently, were authored by a variety of other writers, many of whom are included in these pages.
Hailing from Berwick, the northernmost town in England, both Wilson and his tales take great interest in much contested border between England and Scotland: “The town of Berwick itself is exceedingly rich in Border lore. To the antiquary, it is a place of singular interest. Its situation, its walls and fortifications, its curious steep and narrow lanes, its magdalen (maudlin) fields, and its old bridge of the Tweed (river), are all features attractive and curious in a high degree” (9). The joys and sorrows of the people who inhabit this craggy Northumberland landscape are here curated so as to include the most “entertaining” and “instruct[ive]” (v). The result is this beautifully rendered single volume, leatherbound edition.
As attributed in the Contents, the writers other than Wilson included in this volume are Alexander Bethune, John Bethune, Alexander Campbell, Professor Gillespie, John Howell, Alexander Leighton, Walter Logan, James Maidment, Theodore Martin, Hugh Miller, David M. Moir, Oliver Richardson, J.F. Smith, and a Rev. G. Thomson. These stories have been selected and organized by James Tait, former editor of the Kelso Chronicle.
- Title: Tales of the Borders: With Illustrative Scenes and Incidents
- Author: John Mackay Wilson
- Editor: James Tait
- Publisher: Gall and Inglis
- Year: approximately 1890
- Length: 539pp
- Dimensions: 8vo; 6” x 8” 1.75”
- Condition: The collection is bound in blue leather. The front cover features a relief embossed scene of a lady on horseback encountering some men as well as a possible farmhouse. The two are connected by flowers. The title is printed in black on a gilt background. An engraved monogram of G&I appears on the back cover. The general shelf wear to the cover is minimal. The pages are clean with no extraneous marks. About 6 pages within the 300s feature small folds along their bottom corners, and the binding is coming slightly loose.