Themes and Meanings
After Willie finishes his tale, he tells Latimer that his purpose has been to convince the younger man that it may not be safe to take up with a stranger while traveling—which is exactly what Latimer is doing in accompanying Willie and his wife. Like much of Sir Walter Scott’s work, the story presents a sympathetic treatment of many supporters of the Stuart claims to the throne of Britain, a historical reality during Scott’s time, as was the historical clan warfare to which he alludes. The story introduces the Redgauntlet family, to which Darsie Latimer, in the course of the longer novel, discovers that he belongs. Suggestions that the family has been marked by supernatural events occur throughout the novel. The tale’s central theme is the political and sectarian conflict in late seventeenth century Scotland and England after the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Various references give a context of Covenanters, Roman Catholics, Quakers, and members of the Church of England; however, Scott does not proselytize.