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Then it was that he became a partner in the printing firm of Ballantyne and Co. He had made James Ballantyne's acquaintance at the Kelso Grammar School; afterwards he had helped Ballantyne with advances of money, and now, instead of lending him more money, he consented to embark capital in the printing business and become his partner.

On the 23rd of February, 1808, Marmion' appeared, and its popularity was instantaneous and striking. A quarto edition of 2000 copies, at the price of a guinea and a half each, was sold within a month, and editions followed each other in rapid succession, till the total number of copies sold amounted to 56,000 at the time that Lockhart wrote Scott's 'Life.' Not satisfied with working his poetical vein, Scott engaged in editing editions of Dryden's Works, of Somer's Tracts, and the Sadler State Papers, much of this labour being designed to keep the presses going in the firm in which he had a third


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Not satisfied with becoming his own printer, he also arranged to become his own publisher. In 1808 the firm of John Ballantyne and Co., booksellers, was formed, in which Scott appears to have found all the capital, though his own share is put at a half. James Ballantyne, the printer, was a shrewd man who had a taste for literature and considerable critical acumen. Whether he was the right man to manage a printing business may be doubted, but there is no question as to the incapacity of his younger brother, John, for conducting the business of publishing. When the world envied Scott his gains, and Byron thought it seemly to sneer at him as 'Apollo's venal son,' simply because his poems had been profitable, the money which he earned by his pen went to feed the Ballantyne companies, the sum sunk in them between 1805 and 1809 approaching 90007.


The Lady of the Lake,' which had been expected with intense eagerness, was published in May 1810, and it surpassed the highest anticipations. Two thousand copies in quarto, at two guineas each, were sold immediately after publication, and 20,000 copies in octavo were disposed of within four months.

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In 1811 Scott linked himself to his native soil for the rest of his life by becoming the possessor of the site on which Abbotsford now stands. He bought a small farm on the bank of the Tweed, which had once formed part of the lands attached to Melrose Abbey, and which bore the unattractive name of 'Clarty,' or 'Filthy, Hole.' Till then he had occupied Ashestiel; but the lease having expired, and 40007., the sum



required for buying the farm, being in his possession, he gratified the desire of his heart and became a laird. 'We are not a little proud,' he wrote to his brother-in-law, of being greeted as laird and lady of Abbotsford,' the name which he gave to his property. He was intent upon adding to as well as improving his property, and he was delighted when, in the summer of 1813, he had enlarged the boundary of his estate to Cauldshields Loch, which formed a contrast at the one extremity to the River Tweed at the other. At this time Byron wrote in his Journal that Walter Scott is undoubtedly the Monarch of Parnassus.' He deserved the compliment. However, like many a wearer of a crown, he was oppressed with care and harassed almost to death.

The sums which he received from his works in verse and prose were so large as to have justified him in buying much land and building a house to suit his fancy, if he had not been a partner in the printing and publishing firms to which the Ballantynes gave their names and to which he furnished the capital. In consequence of mismanagement both firms became embarrassed, and the appeals to Scott for pecuniary help were so many, that he added the following significant and pathetic postcript to a letter to John Ballantyne: For God's sake treat me as a man, and not as a milch cow.' He declared his intention of withdrawing from both firms; unfortunately for his peace of mind this good resolution was abandoned. An arrangement was made with Constable which enabled the two firms to continue business till the publishing one was dissolved and the printing one became bankrupt. While worried by the Ballantynes, and reduced to apply to the Duke of Buccleuch to become guarantor for 40007., a request which was instantly and gracefully acceded to, Scott was engaged in editing Swift's works, writing a Life of the Dean, and composing the Lord of the Isles.' One day in searching for some fishing-tackle in an old writing-desk, he put his hand upon the manuscript of Waverley' which had been written nearly ten years before, looked at five years later, and then mislaid.


It is scarcely possible now to realize the effect produced at the time by the publication of such a novel as 'Waverley' (1814). Though published at the dullest season of the year in the book market, the month in which it appeared being July, yet 1000 copies were sold within five weeks. A second edition of 2000 was rapidly disposed of, and a fourth edition appeared before the end of the year. Constable would not give more than 7007. for the copyright, but Scott refused to take less than 10007., a sum which Constable realized from his share of


the profits before six months after publication. In a financial as well as a literary sense Waverley' was a marvel.


In January 1815, the Lord of the Isles' appeared, and, as Scott wrote to Morritt, this closed his 'poetic labours upon an extended scale.' He also told him, 'I want to shake myself free of "Waverley," and accordingly have made a considerable exertion to finish an odd little tale within such time as will satisfy the public, I trust; unless they suppose me to be Briareus.' This odd little tale,' the author informed Lockhart, 'was the work of six weeks at Christmas.' It appeared five weeks after the Lord of the Isles,' and was called 'Guy Mannering.' The general public was mystified. Walter Scott, the poet, was known to have official duties which occupied him during the greater part of each day when the Court of Session was sitting, while he had other duties as Sheriff which demanded much attention, and he was scrupulous in their discharge; how then, it was asked, could such a man possibly find time to write books like 'Waverley' and 'Guy Mannering'? Even now it is difficult to comprehend how Scott, who wrote so much and so well, who was painstaking as well as original, could actually perform such gigantic feats.



In May 1816 the Antiquary' was published, and though, as Lockhart it afterwards became the chief favourite among says, all his novels,' yet Scott's opinion of it at the outset was not high, as is shown in the following lines sent to Morritt shortly after it appeared :—

The "Antiquary" is not so interesting as its predecessors-the period did not admit of such romantic situation. But it has been more fortunate than any of them in the sale, for 6000 of them went off the first six days, and it is now at press again.'

The physical labour which Scott expended on his works was severe; the mental worry due to his commercial associations was most trying; and it is less strange that Nature rebelled against the strain than that it was borne so long. On the 5th of March, 1817, when at dinner in his town-house he was seized with such a violent attack of cramp in the stomach that he could not repress a scream of agony. He remained ailing for some weeks, and this was the forerunner of other attacks quite as painful and dangerous.

In December of the same year Rob Roy' appeared, the title being suggested by Constable. The book was one of the most popular of the Scotch novels, 10,000 copies constituting the first edition, and 3000 more being demanded within a fortnight after publication.



Scott made Lockhart's personal acquaintance in May of the following year, and the intimacy soon ripened into friendship. At their first meeting he told Lockhart that 'Byron's countenance was a thing to dream of.' He was delighted to hear about Goethe from Lockhart, who had conversed with the great German, and he remarked, how I should like to have a talk with him about trees!' Throughout his life Scott had no greater enjoyment than in planting and pruning trees, watching their growth and rejoicing over the adornment which they added to the landscape. The woodland around Abbotsford is his own creation. He changed the face of that part of the country for the better by tree planting quite as much as his writings changed the literature of his native land. Writing in his Journal in April 1826, he says, 'from the number of birds drawn to these wastes, I may congratulate myself on having literally made the desert to sing.'

An intimation from Lord Sidmouth reached Scott in November 1818, to the effect that the Prince Regent purposed conferring a Baronetcy upon him, and at first he felt inclined to refuse the honour. The Duke of Buccleuch, whom he consulted, advised him to accept it; he thought, moreover, that his son Walter, who was entering the army, might benefit by the title.

A result of Lockhart's acquaintanceship with Scott was his marriage with Scott's elder daughter, Sophia, on the 29th of April, 1820. The union was both appropriate and happy. As a young man of letters, Lockhart had made his mark. Scott had a high opinion of his powers. Writing to Constable in 1822 he says: "Lockhart will blaze one day; of that, if God spare him, there is little doubt.' Edward Everett, who was United States Minister to this country, visited Abbotsford in 1818, and records some noteworthy particulars about Sophia Scott, After saying that he admired her singing, he continues:


'I said jokingly to Sophia that, after all, America was entitled to the credit of the novels, for, said I, people say your Uncle Thomas at Quebec writes them. She answered very quickly and warmly, "that if people said that, they said what was not true." Oh, then," said I," the secret is out, and your father is the author." Struck with the vehemence and warmth of her manner, she answered, "Your inference is a fair one from my exclamation; and I ought in candour to tell you that we all believe that our father is the author, but we do not know it.” '

She afterwards added that, believing her father desired the authorship of the novels to remain concealed, she respected his wishes too much to pry into the matter, and she leaves upon


us the impression of showing herself Everett's superior in spirit and good taste. George Ticknor, who visited Abbotsford a year later, was charmed with the family circle:


'There was great frankness,' he writes, 'in the whole family, and the way they talked about one another. Mr. Scott said his great object with his children had been not to over-educate them, but to follow the natural inclinations of their characters rather than attempt to mould them. . . . Sophia, however, did not seem to be satisfied with her father's system of education in some respects; and when he was gone out of the room, said with her little Scotch idiom, “ He's always just telling us of our faults, but never taking such serious pains to have us mend. I think sometimes that he would like to have us different from other boys and girls, though it should be by having us worse.'

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From the year 1817 to 1820, Scott had gone on adding acre to acre and novel to novel, becoming, as he wrote to John Ballantyne, after buying Toftfield for 10,000l., 'a great laird,' and continuing to be popular with the reading public. He said in a letter to Morritt, 'It is a general rule, whenever a Scotsman gets his head above water, he turns it to land.' Now, Scott not only bought land and planted trees, but he also took to building a house after his own heart. This house cost him much thought, time, and money, and he was very proud of it. In a letter inviting Lord Montagu to Abbotsford, he said:It is worth while to come, were it but to see what a romance of a house I am making, which is neither to be castle nor abbey [God forbid], but an old Scottish manor-house.' This house which, as Scott wrote in another place, 'no one but he would have dreamed of erecting,' became the place of resort for all who wished to see him who was a great poet and who was believed to be the Great Unknown.' The visitors expected to be housed, and Abbotsford was usually crowded with guests when the family occupied it.


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After considering the demands upon his temper and time as a host in the days of his glory, we do not wonder at his writing as follows in his Journal, when adversity lay heavily upon him ::

'I have now no pecuniary provisions to embarrass me, and I think, now the shock of the discovery is past and over, I am much better off on the whole; I am as if I had shaken off from my shoulders a great mass of garments, rich, indeed, but cumbrous, and always more a burden than a comfort. I am free of an hundred petty public duties imposed on me as a man of consideration-of the expense of a great hospitality-and, what is better, of the great waste of time connected with it.'


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