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and counsel unanimously concurred in his appointment as secretary to the Commission which remodelled the Scottish judicature, and enabled him to come to his own. When at length this was accomplished by pensioning off the nominal official, the reversionary was enabled to realise his ambition of a house and land of his own on Tweedside. But before that time Scott had been putting other irons into the fire.
He felt strongly drawn towards the Spanish Peninsula, and had "visions" of going thither. He thought that he would find valuable poetical material in the spectacle of the national rising against Napoleon; and having described so many battles, he longed to see one. It was not, however, to be; and he was obliged to be content with venting his enthusiasm for Wellington in the Vision of Don Roderick, a poem written for the express purpose of helping our Portuguese allies. Scott's Toryism, unfortunately, prevented him from including the heroic Moore amongst his laurelled British warriors -a neglect which was resented by others besides Whigs. His political and patriotic opinions also played no small part in his gradual dissociation from the Edinburgh Review and alliance with the promoters of its new rival, the Quarterly. Scott found it intolerable that Jeffrey should allow his contributors to maintain that the opposition to the French in the Peninsula was hopeless; and, moreover, he had no great belief in his friend as a critic of poetry. And he was further induced to join the "plot" against the Whig periodical by dissatisfaction
with its proprietor, Archibald Constable, hitherto his own publisher. Scott's alienation from "The Crafty," as he was nicknamed, was but temporary; but it had an important effect upon his own career. For it led him not only to become one of the pillars of John Murray's new London undertaking, but also to set up on his own account, though under the name of John Ballantyne and Co., a publishing house in Edinburgh. Thus his chief allies in the great Waverley enterprise were for the time each other's foes.
The nominally chief partner in the new house was a younger brother of the printer of the Border Press. He had failed as a "merchant" or general shopkeeper, but was supposed to have acquired a knowledge of accounts while employed in a London banking concern. He was undoubtedly clever after a fashion, though his talents lay not much in the way of business; but his chief recommendation to Scott was that he was accomplished wag, and a complete contrast to his rather solemn brother. Scott called James "Aldiborontiphoscophornio," and John Rigdumfunnidos "; and Charles Mathews the actor was wont to delight him by taking off their peculiarities. A common taste for the play was one of the chief links between Scott and the elder Ballantyne. The former became a trustee of the Edinburgh theatre, and the latter practised dramatic criticism. Some of Scott's most intimate friends, such as Daniel Terry (who became so great an admirer that he unconsciously came to imitate both his features and his hand
writing), were actors. Among these were the Siddonses and the Kembles; and a frequent correspondent was Miss Smith, afterwards known as Mrs. Bartley. John Philip Kemble, in particular, was a welcome visitor to Ashestiel, where Scott says he was the only man who could ever seduce him into deep potations. The host used to take a mischievous delight in watching his guest's miseries when on horseback; and he was fond of telling the story of how, when pursued by a bull, he and his daughter had taken to the river, the tragedian long hesitated on the brink, exclaiming solemnly
"The flood is angry, Sheriff; Methinks I'll get me up into a tree."
Scott was never tired of recalling the occasions on which Kemble and his sister, the great Siddons, had "dropped" into blank verse. He often declared that the impersonator of Lady Macbeth, when dining at Ashestiel, had thundered to the lad who waited :
"You've brought me water, boy; I asked for beer." Better even than this was the line with which she was supposed to have replied to the Provost of Edinburgh's apology for his joint :—
"Beef cannot be too salt for me, my Lord."
Scott's connection with the Siddonses enabled him greatly to assist his friend Joanna Baillie (whose tragedies he and his friend Erskine so curiously over-estimated) in the production of her Family Legend in Edinburgh. He was especially fond of helping with costume
suggestions the heroes of historical or legendary plays, and once gained Kemble much applause by inducing him to replace by a single eagle's plume "the sundry huge bunches of black feathers" he contemplated wearing as Macbeth. Naturally, when it was a question of plays written on Scottish subjects, he was eager to show Mrs. Henry Siddons how to put on a plaid, and to prevent Border chieftains from appearing in Highland kilts.
To return to matters of more moment. The launching of the Quarterly brought Scott and his wife (who came by sea for economy's sake) to London, where he was lionised as a fashionable poet, and saw much of the rising statesman Canning. Unspoiled by social adulation, he was always ready to please. Here is the description with which one of his intimate friends furnished Lockhart:
"If he dined with us and found any new faces, 'Well, do you want me to play lion to-day?' was his usual question. 'I will roar if you like it to your heart's content.' He would, indeed, in such cases put forth all his inimitable powers of entertainment, and day after day surprise me by their unexpected extent and variety. Then, as the party dwindled, and we were left alone [the scene was Morritt's house in Portland Place], he laughed at himself, quoted
'Yet know that I one Snug the joiner am,
and was at once himself again."
Among the personages for whom he had to roar was the Princess of Wales (afterwards the unfortunate Queen