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which alone I can pretend to " made its permanent value suspect. But he was encouraged, nevertheless, to further exertions of his muse's power. Meanwhile, he had taken a share in the printing business of James Ballantyne, who had by his advice removed from Kelso to Edinburgh, and whose "Border" Press soon became
celebrated. The arrangement was kept scrupulously secret from all but a very few, but it proved a highly important step in Scott's career. Ballantyne was a pompous little man, with some literary taste and knowledge, a fine bass voice, and a boundless admiration for and belief in Scott's genius. Unfortunately, though an excellent printer and a useful literary adviser on minor
points, he was not a good man of business, and he had a brother. But of him more anon.
Before embarking upon his second Border poem, Scott did much other work. Besides his edition of Dryden-which, though it ran to eighteen volumes, including a Life, he regarded as not much more than an amusement of his leisure-he was also writing occasional articles for the Edinburgh Review, as yet without a rival in the field. Moreover, in the same eventful year-that of Trafalgar-which saw the publication of the Lay and the secret arrangement with Ballantyne, were written those first chapters of Waverley which we know to be a faithful representation of the writer's own literary adolescence. Erskine found them dull to read; and his friend did not intend to risk his reputation as a poet by an immature prose romance. So for years they remained an unheeded, forgotten fragment.
In spite of an ever-growing literary activity, it would be incorrect to think of Scott at any time of his lifemuch less during those happy Ashestiel years-as exclusively occupied with literature. In fact, except in the country when the weather was hopelessly wet, and in Edinburgh when the Court of Session did not sit, he never gave a complete day to his writing, most of which was done in the early time before breakfast and the two hours immediately following it. And even before breakfast he had done enough "to break the neck of the day's work," as he was wont to phrase it. Already at that
period of his life at which we have arrived he had abandoned night work, and had begun to go to bed betimes, as he found that his constitution required a good allowance of sleep. Nor had he yet given up his military pursuits or those field sports which his residence on the Buccleuch domain favoured, such as coursing with greyhounds, or spearing salmon in the Tweed, the latter often by torchlight, "burning the waters," as it was called. But it was in horsemanship that Scott chiefly delighted. On his black charger Captain he was the. first to swim the perilous ford at Ashestiel-it was noted that he always loved a ford; and when, after a visit to Wordsworth, there came an alarm of a French invasion of Scotland, he rode the hundred miles between Gilsland and Dalkeith within twenty-four hours. His recklessness occasioned one of his companions to remark, "The de'il's in ye, Shirra, ye'll never halt till they bring you hame with your feet foremost."
There were long rides through the vales of Yarrow and Ettrick with Skene, who at intervals sketched while his companion repeated a ballad or called to memory a tradition of the glen. St. Mary's Loch, the Loch o' the Lowes, Borthwick Water, and every place of interest along Tweed, Teviot, and the latter's tributary, the Ale, were visited, some of them many times; the otter-hunt in Guy Mannering being a reminiscence of one expedition, the scenery of Old Mortality the product of another a ride in lonely Moffatdale, amid a "maze of bogs," through which the
hill-ponies with difficulty floundered. "Many a grand gallop," too, over the hills between Ashestiel and Newark, or on the sands at Portobello, warmed Scott's blood as he was writing the most spirited of his poems. Marmion, though it begins with "Norham's castelled steep," is even more closely associated with Ashestiel than the Lay, and those Introductory Epistles, which the critics resented so much as interruptions to the narrative, are full of its scenery. They tell of favourite spots like the "Sheriff's Knowe," or the oak by the river, or "lone Saint Mary's silent lake," where particular passages were written; and they also commemorate friendships linked with those beautiful surroundings. The poet recalls rides in the New Forest with his English friend and host William Stewart Rose; coursings with greyhounds near Bowhill in company with John Marriott, genial tutor to the heir of Buccleuch; above all, "summer walks" with Skene and the dogs in Ettrick and Yarrow.
The prologue to the third canto is an echo of critical discussions between Scott and his confidant William Erskine, in which the poet vindicates his right to follow the natural bent of his genius rather than to pursue classical themes-to
"ape the measure wild
tales that were inspired by memories of Smailholm and his grandparents. The Edinburgh and Flodden cantos are addressed to Ellis and Heber as each in their different