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Scott wrote The Surgeon's Daughter in 1827, the first of his last six hard years as he struggled to write enough to solve the financial problems that had come to consume his life. Much of the character and particulars of Mr. Gideon Gray -- a principal in the story -- were, according to Scott's biographer, Lockhart, "considered at the time by Sir Walter's neighbors in Tweedside as copied from Dr. Ebenezer Clarkson of Selkirk ...A true picture -- a portrait from the life, of Scott's hard-riding, benevolent, and sagacious old friend, to all the country dear."
Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) was a Scottish historical novelist, playwright and poet with many contemporary readers in Europe, Australia and North America. Scott's novels and poetry are still read and many of his works remain classics of both English-language literature and of Scottish literature. Famous titles include Ivanhoe, Rob Roy, Old Mortality, The Lady of the Lake, Waverley, The Heart of Midlothian and The Bride of Lammermoor. Although primarily remembered for his extensive literary works and his political engagement, Scott was an advocate, judge and legal administrator by profession and throughout his career combined his writing and editing work with his daily occupation as Clerk of Session and Sheriff-Depute of Selkirkshire.