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and a congenial work in hand, the result of a 'good thought' which, as he wrote on the 24th of May, had then entered his head: this was to write stories from the History of Scotland for his grandson, little Johnny Lockhart.' Such was the origin of the Tales of a Grandfather,' which were among the best and most popular of Sir Walter's productions in his later years. Some may have been repeated orally before being committed to paper. In June, his grandson was in Scotland with his parents and staying at Portobello, a sea-bathing place near Edinburgh, and then Sir Walter records :—Went out to Portobello after dinner, and chatted with little Johnnie, and told him the history of the Field of Prestonpans. Few remain who care about these stories. His friend and critic, James Ballantyne, was not pleased with the • Tales,' and Sir Walter complains that, “ he found fault with them for being too historical, formerly it was for being too infantine. He calls out for starch and is afraid of his cravat being too stiff. O ye critics, will nothing melt ye?' On the other hand he had no reason to complain of Mr. Cadell, the publisher, who agreed to pay him 7871. 10s. for the first series.
An interesting fact is now disclosed with relation to Anne of Geierstein, published in 1829, which was the last work of fiction from Sir Walter's pen that can be ranked with those written in his prime. Its composition gave him much trouble, as is shown by such an entry as the following: “I muzzed onI can call it little better with · Anne of Geierstein.' The materials are excellent, but the power of using them is failing.' Again, he complains that his duties in Court occupied so much of the day, and says the plague is that time is wanting when I feel an aptitude to work, and when time abounds, the will, at least the real, efficient power of the faculties, is awanting.' When well advanced with the novel, he spoke about it to his friend, James Skene, and the latter notes in his Reminis
Upon his describing to me the scheme which he had formed for that work, I suggested to him that he might with advantage connect the history of René, king of Provence, which would lead to many interesting topographical details which my residence in that country would enable me to supply, besides the opportunity of illustrating so eccentric a character as le bon roi René, full of traits which were admirably suited to Sir Walter's graphic style of illustration, and that he could besides introduce the ceremonies of the Fête Dieu with great advantage, as I had fortunately seen its revival the first time it was celebrated after the interruption of the revolution. Ho liked the idea much, and accordingly a Journal which I had written during my residence in Provence, with a volume of accompanying drawings and Passow's “ History of Provence,” was forth with sent for, and the whole dénouement of the story of "Anne of Geierstein" was changed, and the Provence part woven into it, in the form in which it ultimately came forth.'
A lighter passage than many others in the Journal may be given by way of relief. The entry is dated the 17th of July, 1827:
Here is a whimsical subject of affliction. Mr. Harper, & settler, who went from this country to Botany Bay, thinking himself obliged to me for a recommendation to General M'Allister and Sir Thomas Brisbane, has thought proper to bring me home a couple of Emus. I wish his gratitude had either taken a different turn, or remained as quiescent as that of others whom I have obliged more materially. I at first accepted the creatures, conceiving them, in my ignorancc, to be some sort of blue and green parrot, which, though I do not admire their noise, might scream and yell at their pleasure if hung up in the hall among the armour. But your emu, it seems, stands six feet high on his stocking soles, and is little better than a kind of cassowary or ostrich. Hang them! they might (eat] up my collection of ola arms for what I know. It reminds me of the story of the adjutant birds in Theodore Hook's novel. No; I'll no Emuses!'
Three days later Sir Walter writes, • Offered my Emuses to the Duke of Buccleuch. As the subject is not referred to agair, it may be inferred that the Duke relieved him from the burden of the birds.
Sir Walter was an unconventional great man, and it is because he had none of the pomp or pretension which sometimes stamps and mars illustrious writers, that those who met him for the first time were often sceptical about his being the author of the Waverley Novels. There are men of whom Sir Fretful Plagiary is a well-known type, who think themselves greater than they are; others, among whom Sir Walter is conspicuous, are unconscious of their greatness. That he knew his own limitations is clear from the following answer to James Ballantyne, when his fame as a poet filled the land. What do you think of your own genius as a poet, in comparison with that of Burns?' was Ballantyne's question. Scott replied, “There is no comparison whatever—we ought not to be named in the same day. One of the few references in his Journal to his position in literature was made after Mr. Cadell had told him that he disapproved of half the volume of the second series of. Chronicles of the Canongate,' and then Sir Walter wrote : ‘I was not fool enough to suppose that my favour with the public would last for and was neither shocked nor alarmed to find that it had ceased now, as cease it must one day soon.' The entry
from which these words are taken was written on the 11th of December, 1827; on the following day he wrote :
* Reconsidered the probable downfall of my literary reputation. I am so constitutionally indifferent to the censure or praise of the world, that never having abandoned myself to the feelings of selfconceit which my great success was calculated to inspire, I can look with the most unshaken firmness upon tho event as far as my own feelings are concerned. If there be any great advantage in literary reputation, I have had it, and I certainly do not care for losing it. They cannot say but what I had the crown.'
To these remarks we shall append one from Carlyle which does Carlyle credit and Sir Walter justice: “Surely since Shakspeare's time there has been no great speaker so unconscious of an aim in speaking as Walter Scott.'
James Ballantyne, in some unpublished extracts from his • Reminiscences,' now printed by Mr. Douglas, throws fresh light on this side of Sir Walter's character, saying of him:
• He laboured under the strangest delusion as to the merits of his own works.' On this score he was not only inaccessible to compliments, but even insensible to the truth; in fact, at all times, he hated to talk of any of his productions; as, for instance, he greatly preferred Mrs. Shelley's “ Frankenstein” to any of his own romances. When I ventured, as I sometimes did, to press him on the score of the reputation he had gained, he merely asked, as if determined to be done with the discussion, "Why, what is the value of a reputation which probably will not last above one or two generations ?
However absurd this under-estimate of himself may appear, there was no false modesty in it. He wrote because he had something to say ; without dreaming of fame he became immortal. In corroboration of what Ballantyne noted, we shall cite a few words which he wrote in his Journal after quoting some lines from Burns :
• Long life to thy fame, and peace to thy soul, Rob Burns! When I want to express å sentiment which I feel strongly, I find the phrase in Shakspeare-or thee. The blockheads talk of my being like Shakspearo—not fit to tie his brogues.'
None of Sir Walter's countrymen and contemporaries is a man of greater originality than Carlyle, and none has made a greater and, perhaps, more lasting mark in our literature. Among all his writings nothing is less admirable or creditable to him than his Essay on Scott. According to him, Sir Walter ' with all his health, was infected, sick of the fearfullest malady, that of ambition. Moreover,
his life was worldly; his ambitions were worldly. There is nothing spiritual in him; all is economical, material, of the earth earthy. Vol. 171.–No. 342.
A love of picturesque, of beautiful, vigorous, and graceful things; a genuine love, yet not more genuine than has dwelt in hundreds of men named minor poets; this is the highest quality to be discerned in him.'
The foregoing passage appeared a few years after Sir Walter's death. A few years before it, Carlyle wrote to him in a different strain. Mr. Douglas has recovered and printed Carlyle's letter. It was addressed to Sir Walter in London while he was on a visit there in April 1828, and it arrived at a time when he wrote in his Journal, “In this phantasmagorial place the objects of the day come and depart like shadows. It is probable that, being fully occupied, Sir Walter put the letter aside, and forgot about it, as there is no mention of it in his Journal or correspondence. He was punctilious in answering all the letters addressed to him. Possibly the feeling of Carlyle towards Sir Walter was affected by a disregard of his communication which is dated April 13th, 1828. After informing Scott that Goethe has sent two medals which he is to deliver into his own hand,' he gives an extract from Goethe's letter which related to the • Life of Bonaparte,' saying, “it is seldom such a writer obtains such a critic,' and Carlyle adds,
* Being in this curious fashion appointed, as it were, ambassador between two kings of poetry, I would willingly discharge my mission with the solemnity that becomes such a business; and naturally it must flatter my vanity and love of the marvellous to think that by means of a foreigner whom I have never seen, I might soon have access to my native Sovereign, whom I have so often seen in public, and so often wished that I had claim to see and know in private, and near at hand. ... Meanwhile, I abide your further orders in this matter; and so with all the regard which belongs to one to whom I, in common with other millions, owe so much, I have the honour to be, Sir, most respectfully, your servant, T.C.' Posthumous disclosures are often damaging, and few men throw open
the windows of their soul and retain the esteem of mankind. Sir Walter Scott is an exception. Nothing of moment that passed through his mind while keeping his Journal has been kept back; it is a piece of vivid and lifelike self-portraiture, and now that the Journal is published almost exactly as it was written, every intellectual reader will rise from its perusal with his admiration for the writer heightened, with his sympathy in his sorrows deepened, and with his conviction confirmed that he was a most estimable as well as a very great man. His indomitable courage was as remarkable as the delicacy of his sentiments. When broken in health and staggering under the burden of his liabilities, he never
flinched from what he held to be his duty, neither did he complain of the terrible burden which he had to bear. He had made a mistake, and he was prepared to pay the penalty, even if his life was the forfeit. In such noble words as the following he expressed his feelings and his determination :
'Whether it is in human possibility that I am clear off these obligations or not is very doubtful. But I would rather have it written on my monument that I died at the desk, than live under the recollection of having neglected it.'
He struggled on, despite failing health, and the seriousness of his state was clearer to his friends than himself. The following passage, written in December 1830, will be read with mournful interest :
'Last spring, Miss Young, the daughter of Dr. Young, had occasion to call on me on some business, in which I had hopes of serving her. As I endeavoured to explain to her what I had to say, I had the horror to find I could not make myself understood. I stammered, stuttered, said one word in place of another—did all but speak; Miss Young went away frightened enough, poor thing, and Anne and Violet Lockhart were much alarmed. I was bled with cupping-glasses, took medicine, and lived on panuda; but in two or three days I was well again. The physicians thought, or said at least, that the evil was from the stomach. It is very certain that I have seemed to speak with an impediment, and I was, or it might be fancied myself, troubled with a mispronouncing and hesitation. I felt this particularly at the election and sometimes in society. This went on till last November, when Lord out to make me a visit. I had for a long time taken only one tumbler of whisky and water without the slightest reinforcement. This night I took a very little drop, not so much as a bumper glass, of whisky altogether. It made no difference on my head that I could discover, but when I went to the dressing-room I sank stupefied on the floor. I lay a minute or two--was not found, luckily, gathered myself up and got to my bed. I was alarmed at this second warning, consulted Abercrombie and Ross, and got a few restrictive orders as to diet. I am forced to attend to them; for, as Mrs. Cole says, “Lack-a-day! a thimbleful oversets me.” To add to these feelings I have the constant increase of my lameness ; the thigh-joint, knee-joint, and ankle-joint. I walk with great pain in the whole limb, and am at every minute, during an hour's walk, reminded of my mortality. I should not care for all this, if I was sure of dying handsomely.'
As a last resort, he resolved to visit Italy in the hope of being benefited in health, and on the 23rd of September, 1831, he left Abbotsford for London. A week before starting he wrote to the Duke of Buccleuch, saying: I am going to try whether
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