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copy, which my increasing strength permits me to hope I may now furnish regularly.
'The copy (as MS. for the press is technically called) which Scott was thus dictating, was that of the Bride of Lammermoor; and his amanuenses were William Laidlaw and John Ballantyne, of whom he preferred the latter, when he could be at Abbotsford, on account of the superior rapidity of his pen, and also because John kept his pen to the paper without interrup 1—and though with many an arch iwinkle in his eyes, and now and then an audible smack of his lips, had resolution to work on like a well-trained clerk; whereas good Laidlaw entered with such keen zest into the interest of the story as it flowed from the author's lips, that he could not suppress exclamations of surprise and delight— Gude keep us a'!—the like o' that !-oh sirs! oh sirs!' and so forth-which did not promote despatch. I have often, however, in the sequel, heard both these secretaries describe the astonishment with which they were equally affected when Scott began this experiment. The affectionate Laidlaw beseeching him to stop dictating, when his audible suffering filled every pause, ‘Nay, Willie,' he answered, only see that the doors are fast. I would fain keep all the cry as well as all the wool to ourselves; but as to giving over work, that can only be when I am in woollen.' John Ballantyne told me that after the first day he always took care to have a dozen of pens made before he seated himself opposite to the sofa on which Scott lay, and that, though he often turned himself upon the pillow with a groan of torment, he usually continued the sentence in the same breath. But when dialogue of peculiar animation was in progress, spirit seemed to triumph altogether over matter; he arose from his couch and walked up and down the room, raising and lowering his voice, and as it were acting the parts. It was in this fashion that Scott produced the far greater portion of the Bride of Lammermoor -the whole of the Legend of Montrose~and almost the whole of Ivanhoe. Yet, when his health was fairly re-established, he disdained to avail himself of the power of dictation, which he had thus put to the sharpest test, but resumed, and for many years resolutely adhered to, the old plan of writing every thing with his own hand. When I once, some time afterwards, expressed my surprise that he did not consult his ease, and spare his eyesight at all events, by occasionally dictating, he answered, “I should as soon think of getting into a sedan chair while I can use my legs.'
“On one of the envelopes in which a chapter of the Bride of Lammermoor reached the printer in the Canongate about this time, (May 2, 1819,) there is this note in the author's own handwriting :
“Dear James - These matters will need more than your usual carefulness. Look sharp-double sharp-my trust is constant in thee:
Tarry woo, tarry woo,
"So be it.-W. S.'"
On the 24th of December, 1819, the mother of the novelist breathed her last. The melancholy event, with other distressing
circumstances, is thus communicated to a sympathizing friend by the gifted son.
“To the Lady Louisa Stuart, Ditton Park, Windsor.
"Dear Lady Louisa,-I am favoured with your letter from Ditton, and am glad you found any thing to entertain you in Ivanhoe. Novelty is what this giddy-paced time demands imperiously, and I certainly studied as much as I could to get out of the old beaten track, leaving those who like to keep the road, which I have rutted pretty well. I have had a terrible time of it this year, with the loss of dear friends and near relations; it is almost fearful to count up my losses, as they make me bankrupt in society. My brother-in-law; our never-to-be-enough regretted duke; Lord Chief Baron,' my early, kind, and constant friend, who took me up when I was a young fellow of little mark or likelihood; the wife of my intimate friend William Erskine; the only son of my friend David Hume, a youth of great promise, and just entering into life, who had grown up under my eye from childhood; my excellent mother; and, within a few days, her surviving brother and sister. My mother was the only one of these whose death was the natural consequence of very advanced life. And our sorrows are not at an end. A sister of my mother's, Mrs. Russell of Ashestiel, long deceased, had left (besides several sons, of whom only one now survives, and is in India) three daughters, who lived with her youngest sister, Miss Rutherford, and were in the closest habits of intimacy with us. The eldest of these girls, and a most excellent creature she is, was in summer so much shocked by the sudden news of the death of one of the brothers I have mentioned, that she was deprived of the use of her limbs by an affection either nervous or paralytic. She was slowly recovering from this afflicting and helpless situation when the sudden fate of her aunts and uncle, particularly of her who had acted as a mother to the family, brought on a new shock; and, though perfectly possessed of her mind, she has never since been able to utter a word. Her youngest sister, a girl of one or two and twenty, was so much shocked by this scene of accumulated distress, that she was taken very ill; and, having suppressed and concealed her disorder, relief came too late, and she has been taken from us also. She died in the arms of the elder sister, helpless as I have described her; and to separate the half dead from the actual corpse was the most melancholy thing possible. You can hardly conceive, dear Lady Louisa, the melancholy feeling of seeing the place of last repose belonging to the devoted family open four times within so short a space, and to meet the same group of sorrowing friends and relations on the same sorrowful occasion. Looking back on those whom I have lost, all well known to me excepting my brother-in-law, whom I could only judge of by the general report in his favour, I can scarce conceive a group possessing more real worth and amiable qualities, not to mention talents and accomplishments. I have never felt so truly what Johnson says so well
'Condemned to Hope's delusive mine,
"I am not sure whether it was your ladyship, of the poor Duchess of
1 The Right Hon. Robert Dundas, of Arniston, died 17th June, 1819. 2 Lines on the death of Mr. Robert Levet.
Buccleuch, who met my mother once, and flattered me by being so much pleased with the good old lady. She had a mind peculiarly well stored with much acquired information and natural talent; and as she was very old, and had an excellent memory, she could draw without the least exaggeration or affectation the most striking pictures of the past age. If I have been able to do any thing in the way of painting the past times, it is very much from the studies with which she presented me.
She connected a long period of time with the present generation, for she remembered, and had often spoken with, a person who perfectly recollected the battle of Dunbar, and Oliver Cromwell's subsequent entry into Edinburgh. She preserved her faculties to the very day before her final illness; for our friends Mr. and Mrs. Scott, of 'Harden, visited her on the Sunday, and, coming to our house after, were expressing their surprise at the alertness of her mind, and the pleasure which she had in talking over both ancient and modern events. She had told them, with great accuracy, the real story of the Bride of Lammermuir, and pointed out wherein it differed from the novel. She had all the names of the parties, and detailed (for she was a great genealogist) their connection with existing families. On the subsequent Monday she was struck with a paralytic affection, suffered little, and that with the utmost patience; and what was God's reward, and a great one to her innocent and benevolent life, she never knew that her brother and sister—the last, thirty years younger than herself—had trodden the dark path before her. She was a strici economist, which she said enabled her to be liberal: out of her little income of about £300 a year, she bestowed at least a third in well chosen charities, and with the rest lived like a gentlewoman, and even with hospitality more general than seemed to suit her age; yet I could never prevail on her to accept of any assistance. You cannot conceive how affecting it was to me to see the little preparations of presents which she had assorted for the New Year-for she was a great observer of the old fashions of her period—and to think that the kind heart was cold which delighied in all these acts of kindly affection. I should apologize, I believe, for troubling your ladyship with these melancholy details, but you would not thank me for a letter written with constraint, and my mind is at present very full of this sad subject, though I scarce know any one to whom I would venture to say so much. I hear no good news of Lady Anne, though Lord Montagu writes cautiously. The weather is now turning milder, and may, I hope, be favourable to her complaint. After my own family, my thought most frequently turns to these orphans, whose parents I loved and respected so much.-I am always, dear Lady Louisa, your very respectful and obliged
" WALTER SCOTT." It was during this same year that the renowned Ivanhoe was projected and produced a work of supreme and delicate art, rich in the splendours of an imperial and commanding imagination. And this work, too, was the offspring of painful and lonely hours, when the clayey tenement of the magician had well nigh crumbled beneath the storm of suffering and agony. How much of tenderness and fortuitous beauty became interwoven in that tale, from such trying causes, may be recognised in the paragraph ensuing.
“ The introduction of the charming Jewess and her father originated, I find, in a conversation that Scott held with his friend Skene during the severest season of his bodily sufferings in the early part of this year.
'Mr. Skene,' says that gentleman's wife, 'sitting by his bedside, and trying to amuse him as well as he could in the intervals of pain, happened to get on the subject of the Jews, as he had observed them when he spent some time in Germany in his youth. Their situation had naturally made a stong impression; for in those days they retained their own dress and manners entire, and were treated with considerable austerity by their Christian neighbours, being still locked up at night in their own quarter by great gates; and Mr. Skene, partly in seriousness, but partly from the mere wish to turn his mind at the moment upon something that might occupy and divert it, suggested that a group of Jews would be an interesting feature if he could contrive to bring them into his next novel.' Upon the appearance of Ivanhoe, he reminded Mr. Skene of this conversation, and said, 'You will find this book owes not a little to your German reminiscences.' Mrs. Skene adds: 'Dining with us one day, not long before Ivanhoe was begun, something that was mentioned led him to describe the sudden death of an advocate of his acquaintance, a Mr. Elphinstone, which occurred in the Outer-house soon after he was called to the bar. It was, he said, no wonder that it had left a vivid impression on his mind, for it was the first sudden death he ever witnessed; and he now related it so as to make us all feel as if we had the scene passing before our eyes. In the death of the Templar in Ivanhoe, I recognised the very picture-I believe I may safely say the very words."
In March, 1820, Scott proceeded to London to receive his baronetcy. New honours were showered upon him; he was desired by the king to sit to Lawrence for his portrait, intended to adorn the walls of Windsor Castle; and he was also in Chantrey the sculptor's hands for a bust. This, observes his biographer, alone preserves for posterity that cast of expression most fondly remembered by all who ever mingled in Scott's domestic circle. When Allan Cunningham called at his lodgings to bid him farewell, as he was then shortly to leave town, he was found in the court dress, preparing to kiss hands at a levee, on being gazetted as baronet.
"He seemed any thing but at his ease," says Cunningham, "in that strange attire; he was like one in armour-the stiff cut of the coat-the large shining buttons and buckles-the lace ruffles-the queue-the sword -and the cocked hat, formed a picture at which I could not forbear smiling. He surveyed himself in the glass for a moment, and burst into a hearty laugh. Allan,' he said, 'O Allan, what creatures we must make of ourselves in obedience to Madam Etiquette. See'st thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this Fashion is ?-how giddily he turns about all the botbloods between fourteen and five and thirty ?"
"Scott's baronetcy was conferred on him, not in consequence of any ministerial suggestion, but by the king personally, and of his own unsolicited motion; and when the poet kissed his hand, he said to him-'I shall always reflect with pleasure on Sir Walter Scott's having been the first creation of my reign.'
"The Gazette announcing his new dignity was dated March 30, and published on the 2d April, 1820; and the baronet, as soon afterwards as he could get away from Lawrence, set out on his return to the north; for he had such respect for the ancient prejudice (a classical as well as a Scotish one) against marrying in May, that he was anxious to have the
ceremony in which his daughter was concerned over before that unlucky month should commence. It is needless to say, that during this stay in London he had again experienced, in its fullest measure, the enthusiasm of all ranks of his acquaintance; and I shall now transcribe a few paragraphs from domestic letters, which will show, among other things, how glad he was when the hour came that restored him to his ordinary course of life.”
Let these honours be connected with other proffers of similar attentions (such as the wishes of the vice chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge, that he would accept from those time-hallowed institutions the complimentary degree of doctor in civil law), and some idea may be formed of the space which Scott then filled in the public eye. In the present day of universal authorship, when every bookseller keeps his novelist, as every blacking vender keeps his bard, it is pleasant to look back upon instances of real renown, felt and experienced by one who merited it in full. Many of the first named in the two classes just alluded to, have a sort of greatness thrust upon them through advertisements of the trade—but to how few indeed do such high tributes of popularity flow spontaneously? The diffusion of overweening praises among authors of every quality and degree, is unfortunately too usual on both sides of the Atlantic
“But in the wind and tempest of her frown,
Lies, rich in virtue, and unmingled.” One more characteristic epistle, with its preface by the biographer himself-a party interested—and our quotations cease.
“Sir Walter, accompanied by the cornet, reached Edinburgh late in April, and on the 29th of that month he gave me the hand of his daughter Sophia. The wedding, more Scotico, took place in the evening; and, adhering on all such occasions to ancient modes of observance with the same punctiliousness which he mentions as distinguishing his worthy father, he gave a jolly supper afterwards to all the friends and connections of the young couple.
“ His excursions to Tweedsdale during term-time were, with very rare exceptions, of the sort which I have described in the preceding chapter; but he departed from his rule about this time, in honour of the Swedish prince, who had expressed a wish to see Abbotsford before leaving Scotland, and assembled a number of his friends and neighbours to meet his royal highness. Of the invitations which he distributed on this occasion, I insert one specimen-ihat addressed to Mr. Scott of Gala.
«« To the Baron of Galashiels
The Knight of Abbotsford sends greeting. “Trusty and well beloved—Whereas Gustavus, Prince Royal of Sweden, proposeth to honour our poor house of Abbotsford with his presence on Tuesday next, and to repose himself there for certain days, we do heartily pray you, out of the love and kindness which is and shall VOL. XXII.--NO. 43.