'What Books have you been perusing - and how did you like Sha[ke]spea[re]? - Since I saw you I have toil'd thro' many a thick octa[vo] - many of them to little purpose. Byron's and Scott's "Poems" I have read and must admire - tho' you recollect, we used to give Campbell a de[cided] preference - and I still think, with justice. Have you ever seen Hoole's "Tas[so?]" I have among many others read, it, "Leonidas", "The Epigoniad", "Oberon", "Savage[e's] Poems" &.c. Miss Porter's "Scottish Chiefs" and "Waverl[e]y" have been the principal of my Novels - With regard to "Waverl[e]y" I cannot help remarking t[hat] in my opinion it is the best novel that has been published these thirty years. The characters of Ebenezer Cru[i]ckshank[s] mine host of the garter, the Reverend Mr. Gowk - thrapple and Squire Bradwardian display a Cervantic vein of humour which has seldom been surpassed - whilst the descriptions of the gloomy caverns of the Highlands, and the delineations of the apathic Callum Beg and enterprising Vich Ian Vohr show a richness of [italics]Scottean[end italics] colouring which few have equalled. Give me your opinion of it if you have read it; - and if not - endeavour by all means to procure it.'