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Castle, and some other ancient build- Dunbar, the Bass, and all the beautiful 50 ings in the neighborhood. He recited scenery of the Forth to describe.' poetry and old legends from morn This observation seemed to strike him till night; and it is impossible that much, and after a pause he exclaimed, anything could be more delightful ‘By Jove, you are right! I ought to than his society; but what I particu- have brought him that way'; and he larly allude to is the circumstance, added, “But before he and I part, that at that time he was writing depend upon it, he shall visit Tan
Marmion, the three or four first tallon He then asked if I had ever 10 cantos of which he had with him, and been there, and upon saying I had
which he was so good as to read to me. frequently, he desired me to describe 60 It is unnecessary to say how much it, which I did; and I verily believe it I was enchanted with them; but as is from what I then said that the ache good-naturedly asked me to state curate description contained in the any observations that occurred to me, fifth Canto was given at least I I said in joke that it appeared to me never heard him say he had afterhe had brought his hero by a very wards gone to visit the castle; and strange route into Scotland. “Why, when the poem was published, I re
says I, 'did ever mortal coming from member he laughed, and asked me how 20 England to Edinburgh go by Gifford, I liked Tantallon.”
Crichton Castle, Borthwick Castle, Just a year had elapsed from his 70 and over the top of Blackford Hill? beginning the poem, when he penned Not only is it a circuitous detour, but the Epistle for Canto IV at Ashestiel; there never was a road that way since and who, that considers how busily the world was created!' 'That is a his various pursuits and labors had most irrelevant objection,' said Sir been crowding the interval, can wonWalter; it was my good pleasure to der to be told that bring Marmion by that route for the purpose of describing the places you
Even now, it scarcely seems a day
Since first I tuned this idle lay30 have mentioned, and the view from
A task so often laid aside Blackford Hill-it was his business When leisure graver cares deniedto find his road and pick his steps the That now November's dreary gale, best way he could. But, pray, how
Whose voice inspired my opening tale, would you have me bring him? Not
That same November gale once more
Whirls the dry leaves on Yarrow shore. by the post-road, surely, as if he had been traveling in a mail-coach?' 'No, The fifth Introduction was written I replied; there were neither post- in Edinburgh in the month following; roads nor mail-coaches in those days; that to the last Canto, during the
but I think you might have brought Christmas festivities of Mertoun40 him with a less chance of getting into house, where, from the first days of
a swamp, by allowing him to travel his ballad-riming to the close of his 90 the natural route by Dunbar and the life, he, like his bearded ancestor, seacoast; and then he might have usually spent that season with the tarried for a space with the famous immediate head of the race. The Earl of Angus, surnamed Bell-the-Cat, bulky appendix of notes, including
, at his favorite residence of Tantallon a mass of curious antiquarian quotaCastle, by which means you would tions, must have moved somewhat have had not only that fortress with all slowly through the printers' hands; his feudal followers, but the Castle of but Marmion was at length ready for
publication by the middle of February, over, an engraved frontispiece of 1808.
Saxon's portrait of Scott; the price
of the book two guineas. For the On his way back to Scotland, he copyright the poet had nominally [Scott] spent some days more with received 2000 guineas, but as John 50 Morritt, at Rokeby Park, on the Ballantyne and Co. retained threenorthern boundary of Yorkshire; and fourths of the property to themselves he was so delighted by the scenery of Miller of London purchasing the the rivers Tees and Greta, which other fourth-the author's
—profits have their confluence within the were, or should have been, more than 10 demesne, and so interested with his this.
host's traditionary anecdotes of the Mr. Cadell, the publisher of this Cavaliers of the Rokeby lineage, that Memoir, then a young man in trainhe resolved on connecting a poem with ing for his profession, retains a strong these fair landscapes. But he had impression of the interest which the 60 already, I presume, begun The Lady quarto excited before it was on the of the Lake: for, on his arrival at counter. “James Ballantyne,” he says, Edinburgh, he undertook that it should "read the cantos from time to time be finished by the end of the year. In to select coteries, as they advanced at July he revisited all the localities so press.
Common fame was loud in 20 dear to him in the days of his ju- their favor; a great poem was on all
venile rambling, which he had chosen hands anticipated. I do not recollect for the scene of his fable.
that any of all the author's works a week to Cambusmore, and ascer- was ever looked for with more intense tained, in his own person, that a good anxiety, or that any one of them ex- 70 horseman might gallop from Loch cited a more extraordinary sensation Vannachar to Stirling within the when it did appear. The whole space allotted to Fitz-James. He country rang with the praises of the then, under the guidance of Mr. poet-crowds set off to view the
Macdonald Buchanan, explored Loch scenery of Loch Katrine, till then 35 Lomond, Arrochar, Loch Sloy, and comparatively unknown; and as the
all the scenery of a hundred conflicts book came out just before the season between the Macfarlanes, the Col- for excursions, every house and inn in quhouns, and the Clan Alpine. At that neighborhood was crammed with Buchanan House, which is very near a constant succession of visitors. It so Ross Priory, Lady Douglas and Lady is a well-ascertained fact that from Louisa Stuart were visiting the Duke the date of the publication of The of Montrose; he joined them there, Lady of the Lake, the post-horse duty and read to them the Stag Chase, in Scotland rose in an extraordinary
which he had just completed under degree, and indeed it continued to 40 the full influence of the genius loci. do so regularly for a number of years,
Early in May The Lady of the Lake the author's succeeding works keeping came out-as her two elder sisters up the enthusiasm for our scenery had done in all the majesty of which he had thus originally created.” quarto, with every accompanying Mr. Cadell adds that four 8vo editions 90 grace of typography, and with, more- followed the quarto within the space
of twelve months; that these carried 5. Morritt, John B. S. Morritt, of Rokeby, a friend of the early sale to 20,000 copies; and Scott's who left numerous reminiscences of him. 18. end 40. genius loci, spirit of the place.
that by July, 1836, the legitimate sale
of the year, 1809.
in Great Britain had been not less the publication of The Lady of the than 50,000 copies; since which date Lake, and finding Miss Scott, who I understand that, in spite of legal was then a very young girl, there by and illegal piracies, the fair demand herself. I asked her, “Well, Miss has been well kept up.
Sophia, how do you like The Lady of 50 In their reception of this work, the the Lake
was given critics were for once in full harmony with perfect simplicity, 'Oh, I have with each other, and with the popular not read it; papa says there's nothing
voice. The article in the Quarterly so bad for young people as reading 10 was written by George Ellis; but its bad poetry.'
eulogies, though less discriminative, In fact, his children in those days are not a whit more emphatic than had no idea of the source of his disthose of Mr. Jeffrey in the rival tinction or rather, indeed, that his Review. Indeed, I have always con- position was in any respect different sidered this last paper as the best from that of other Advocates, Sheriffs, 60 specimen of contemporary criticism and Clerks of Session. The eldest boy on Scott's poetry. The Lay, if I came home one afternoon about this may venture to state the creed now time from the High School, with tears
established, is, I should say, generally and blood hardened together upon his 20 considered as the most natural and cheeks. "Well, Wat,” said his father,
original, Marmion as the most power- "what have you been fighting about ful and splendid, The Lady of the Lake today?" With that the boy blushed as the most interesting, romantic, and hung his head, and at last stampicturesque, and graceful of his great mered out—that he had been called a poems.
lassie. "Indeed!" said Mrs. Scott, 70 Of its success he speaks as follows “this was a terrible mischief, to be in 1830: “It was certainly so extraor
“You may say what you dinary as to induce me for the moment please, mamma, Wat answered
to conclude that I had at last fixed a roughly, “but I dinna think there's 30 nail in the proverbially inconstant a waufer (shabbier) thing in the world
wheel of Fortune. But, as the cele- than to be a lassie, to sit boring at brated John Wilkes is said to have a clout.” Upon further inquiry it explained to King George the Third, turned out that one or two of his that he himself was never a Wilkite, so companions had dubbed him “The I can with honest truth exculpate Lady of the Lake,” and the phrase 80 myself from having been at any time was to him incomprehensible, save a partisan of my own poetry, even as conveying some imputation on his when it was in the highest fashion prowess, which he accordingly vinwith the million."
dicated in the usual style of the Yards. 40 James Ballantyne has preserved in
Of the poem
he had never before his Memorandum an anecdote strik- heard. Shortly after, this story having ingly confirmative of the most remark- got wind, one of Scott's colleagues able statement in this page of Scott's of the Clerks' Table said to the boy, confessions. "I remember,” he says, who was in the home circle called "going into his library shortly after “Gilnockie,” from his admiration of 90
Johnny Armstrong, "Gilnockie, my 13. rival Review, the Edinburgh Review. Wukes, a political agitator (1727-1797) who criticized George III and for some years was kept out of Parlia- 91. Johnny Armstrong, a famous Scotch freebooter ment and even exiled, but who later became lord mayor of the sixteenth century about whom many ballads were of London and served in Parliament many years. composed.
man, you cannot surely help seeing sole sake of the Poet and Novelist that great people make more work himself, whose person they had never about your papa than they do about before seen, and whose voice they
or any other of your uncles- might never again have an opporwhat is it do you suppose that occa- tunity of hearing. No other villa in sions this?” The little fellow pon- Europe was ever resorted to from the dered for a minute or two, and then same motives, and to anything like 50 answered very gravely, “It's com- the same extent, except Ferney; and
monly him that sees the hare sitting.” Voltaire never dreamt of being visible 10 And yet this was the man that had to his hunters, except for a brief space
his children all along so very much of the day; few of them ever dined with him.
with him, and none of them seem to have slept under his roof. Scott's
establishment, on the contrary, reIII. Scott At PLAY
sembled in every particular that of the [In these paragraphs you get a vivid affluent idler, who, because he has picture of life at Abbotsford. Lockhart
inherited, or would fain transmit, po- 60 married the daughter of Scott.]
litical influence in some province, About the middle of August, my keeps open house-receives as many wife and I went to Abbottsford; and as he has room for, and sees their we remained there for several weeks, apartments occupied, as soon as they during which I became familiarized vacate them, by another troop of the to Sir Walter Scott's mode of existence same description. Even on gentlein the country. The humblest person men guiltless of inkshed, the exercise
who stayed merely for a short visit of hospitality upon this sort of scale 20 must have departed with the im- is found to impose a heavy tax; few
pression that what he witnessed was of them, nowadays, think of maintain- 70 an occasional variety; that Scott's ing it for any large portion of the year; courtesy prompted him to break in very few indeed below the highest upon his habits when he had a stran- rank of the nobility-in whose case ger to amuse; but that it was physi- there is usually a staff of led-captains, cally impossible that the man who was led-chaplains, servile dandies, and writing the Waverley romances at the semi-professional talkers and jokers rate of nearly twelve volumes in the from London, to take the chief part
year could continue, week after week, of the burden. Now, Scott had often 30 and month after month, to devote in his mouth the pithy verses: all but a hardly •perceptible fraction
Conversation is but carving: of his mornings to out-of-doors' occu
Give no more to every guest pations, and the whole of his evenings Than he's able to digest; to the entertainment of a constantly Give him always of the prime, varying circle of guests. The hospi
And but little at a time; tality of his afternoons must alone
Carve to all but just enough,
Let them neither starve nor stuff; have been enough to exhaust the
And that you may have your due, energies of almost any man; for his Let your neighbors carve for you;
visitors did not mean, like those of 40 country-houses in general, to enjoy and he, in his own familiar circle althe landlord's good cheer and amuse
ways, and in other circles where it each other; but the far greater pro
was possible, furnished a happy exportion arrived from a distance, for the
Ferney, a village near Geneva, home of Voltaire.