"One day, when [Mrs. Blore] had some rubbish to burn, she gave me an old copy of Waverley that was pretty badly torn and falling out of its cover, so that I could get the fire going. I had read a chapter or two of it already, in one of the little books that [the schoolmaster] used to give out on a Friday afternoon, and I was passionate for the rest. You don't use gold mines to light fires with. I laid this one down where I thought she wouldn't spot it, and got the blaze started without it, but she spotted it all right. 'Here's the book. Why didn't you use it as I told you?' she said sharply, picking it up and flicking the pages through her fingers, as if she was half a mind that it was worth saving after all. 'I thought I'd like to read it, ma'am,' I answered, as meekly as I could, because it would be heartbreaking if I lost it after all. 'Read it? Why, whatever do you want to read a book like this for?' 'I read some of it at school, ma'am, and I wanted to finish it.' She finally made up her mind that it wasn't worth taking back and threw it down on the ground, saying, 'Well you can have it, if you want to.' So I took it home and the evening was aflame with delight. [...] It was the first real book of my own that I ever had, and I have it still.
That I was reading Scott must have caught Mrs. Blore's fancy, because she lent me the rest of the Waverley novels, one after another [...] The time after tea was something to look forward to all that winter. Sitting in a kitchen chair, with the book flat on the table in front of me, another world came in, a many-coloured, sounding world of knights and travellers, and paragons among women, and rascals who were all that rascals should be, came in and pushed everything else aside while they played out their play."