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think, may safely be asserted, that the Waverleys as to their subject matter, whole story still remains, even at this and such the general characteristics of time of day, enveloped in considerable each section, we have now to regard mystery; and that, if the authorities them from a different point of view, as on which Scott relied are not to be im- they illustrate the different qualities of plicitly believed, the tale they tell, Scott's genius, under what we may call, however its credit may have been for brevity's sake, the two heads of shaken, has never been absolutely dis- Tragedy and Comedy, though comedy proved. If a romance writer is not is too narrow a term to express all that justified in choosing from a mass of we mean when we refer to Scott's contradictory materials such as suit his humor. Opinions will differ as to the purpose best, there is an end of the finest scenes in the Waverleys ; but of historical novel altogether, from which, the fifteen or twenty which could be however, in the hands of a genius like named as worthy of the rank here asScott, we imbibe the spirit, as distinct signed to them, there are some to from the letter, of the past more faith- which nobody would refuse it who was fully than from professional chron- capable of experiencing the feelings to iclers. Sir Walter admits that he has which tragedy appeals. It is difficult purposely painted Leicester less black to say whether Scott is more successful than contemporary opinion would have in those touching scenes which can warranted, because close adherence to hardly be read without tears, or in such it “would have made a character too as affect us with sensations of awe and disgustingly wicked to be useful for the horror. He has produced masterpieces purposes of fiction."

of both kinds; and it is unnecessary to Finally, we may say that no writer decide between them. We wish only of fiction, whether in poetry or prose, to point out what seems occasionally to whether dramatist or novelist, is bound be forgotten, that in Scott we have not to know more of past events than those merely a great novelist, but a tragedian who were contemporary with them ; of the first class, whose rank is equal to nor, in the treatment of historical char- that of the great Elizabethan dramaacters, to go beyond the current opinion tists, and scarcely inferior to the greatof the age in which they lived. To est of them. make a novel or romance the vehicle for We should feel guilty of some imintroducing to the public “the real” pertinence towards the public if we Queen This, or “the real” Lord That, entered on any proof of this assertion would be absurd. This process of re- by quoting the passages which might habilitation, which is generally rather be cited in support of it. But we shall a failure, is certainly not the province perbaps be pardoned for recalling to of the historical novelist. If we see the memory of our readers a few of the his characters as those who knew them most striking scenes. In “Guy Mansaw them, we need ask no more. Nor nering,” for instance, we will refer to is it of course necessary that all should three of them. The first shall be the have seen them from the same point of loss of the child Bertram ; the second, view. We can no more expect to find the recognition of him in the house of unanimity among our ancestors on Colonel Mannering, when he returns such subjects than among ourselves. from abroad after an absence of sevenIf the novelist has the skill to blend teen years ; the third, the death of together in his characters the various Meg Merrilies, and her dying appeal to traits recorded of them by friends and Dirk Hatteraick to confess the truth. foes respectively, so that they do not One of the peculiar powers possessed contradict each other, he will probably by Sir Walter Scott, through which the produce an honest likeness, though not poet is revealed to us in the novelist, is exactly the same as would be found in the art of representing nature as in any contemporary limner.

harmony with the tone of feeling which Such being the classification of the lhe wishes to produce. This is not quite the same thing as the pathetic | He appears as her champion at the last fallacy, though it borders on it; and moment, but in no plight for battle. the effect of it on the first of the scenes The trumpets sound, the knights meet to which we are referring, is most in full career, and Ivanhoe and his striking. The wretched father and his horse go down together. Yet, though servants are wandering about the woods scarcely touched by his adversary's and the wild seacoast, in search of the lance, the Templar falls from his sadmissing boy whom his parents are dle. Ivanhoe commands him to yield never to see again.

on pain of instant death ; but he anThe evening had begun to close in when swers nothing. the parties entered the wood and dispersed “Slay him not, Sir Knight," cried the different ways in quest of the boy and his Grand Master, “unshriven and unabcompanion. The darkening of the atmosolved ; kill not body and soul! We allow sphere and the hoarse sighs of the Novem-him vanquished.” He descended into the ber wind through the naked trees, the lists, and commanded them to unhelm rustling of the withered leaves which the conquered champion. His eyes were strewed the glades, the repeated halloos of closed ; the dark red flush was still on his the different parties which often drew them brow. As they looked on him in astonishtogether in expectation of meeting the ob- ment, the eyes opened, but they were fixed ject of their search, gave a cast of dismal and glazed. The flush passed from his sublimity to the scene.

brow, and gave way to the pallid hue of

death. Unscathed by the lance of his What a perfect picture of gloom and

enemy, he had died a victim to the violence desolation, rife with vague suggestions of his own passions. of mysterious danger and impending “This is indeed the judgment of God," calamity, attuning the mind to the said the Grand Master, looking upwards. dreadful discovery to follow !

“Fiat voluntas tua !" Fully equal to the description of the The summit of Scott's tragic power last moments of Meg Merrilies is the is reached no doubt in “ The Bride of terrible death scene in “ The Anti- Lammermoor." Pity and terror take quary” where Elspeth, after making possession of us on the threshold. The confession of that tragic tale of crime passion of revenge works out its own and sorrow which had destroyed one punishment through a series of events, young life and ruined another, falls each springing out of the other by natdown dead when pressed to repeat it ural and easy processes, and leading by Monkbarns and Ochiltree. Other up to, without anticipating, the cataspassages no less powerful than those trophe. The ruined heir of an ancient referred to above may be found in house, whose fierce and vindictive “Old Mortality” and “Ivanhoe.” temper is rendered all the more strikCat any reader of Scott have forgotten ing by his youth and noble bearing, the position of Henry Morton in the seeks out the enemy of his family farmhouse immediately after the battle under the gloomy oaks which surround of Bothwell Brigg, when he falls into the lost mansion of his forefathers. the hands of the Whig fanatics, who With the purpose of assassination in are about to murder him, or the death his mind, if not finally resolved upon, of the Templar in the lists of Temple- he meets his mortal foe in company stowe? We must assume on the part with a beautiful girl of eighteen, and in of our readers a full knowledge of the a moment of deadly peril saves the Templar's passion for Rebecca ; of the lives of both. But on the spot where fearful pressure he had placed upon he had meditated the doom of another himself to appear as the champion of he meets his own. Lucy, whom ere the Temple against any one who might long he learns to love and who loves appear on her behalf; of the tender him in return, becomes at once the feeling with which she had learned to cause of his destruction and the innoregard Ivanhoe ; and of the sick-bed cent victim of his ill-starred affection. from which he had risen to defend her. I Had he never gone out with murderous

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designs against the father, he would With these few exceptions, Scott never have seen the daughter. But for places the passion of love as he places the alarm which he inspired in Sir the passion of loyalty, iu juxtaposition William Ashton, he had never been with other considerations by which it his guest ; had never beeu betrothed at should be tempered and regulated, and the mermaiden's well; or brought an the effect of his workmavship is to untimely end upon himself, or a ghastly show that characters in which these death on the unhappy young lady who emotions are kept within certain limits lost her reason when forced into mar- may be just as interestiugs and even riage with his rival.

romantic as those in which they run If we accept Aristotle's definition of wild. Is not Lord Evandale, for in. the true end of tragedy, who can re- stance, just as interesting a character fuse to Scott a place among its greatest as Claverhouse ? Is not the whole masters ?

story of his luckless passion for Edith From pity and terror we pass to the Bellenden as romantic and as touching passion of love. In Scott's treatment as any tale of true love that minstrel of it we find the same remarkable com- ever wove? Yet Lord Evandale's loybination which we have noticed in his alty to the Stewarts, though true to handling of historical subjects. Love the death, did not blind him to the is not lord of all; he has his place ; | justice of listening to well-founded but he must listen to reason. A young complaints, and of showing some conlady with a well-regulated mind is not, sideration even to rebels. in the hands of Scott, either dull, or what is called a moderate man. Lord prudish, or uninteresting. She may Evandale - is one of the suppressed possess all respectable virtues, yet be characters of the Waverleys, though as lively, as piquant, and as tender as the very model of the preux chevalier, if she were totally devoid of them. gallant and faithful, yet with rational The three heroines who had them not views of life and government, and a

Amy Robsart, Effie Deans, and readiness to see both sides of a quesClara Mowbray -- all came to an un- tion even when his own cherished happy end. Mr. Lang points out that principles were called in question. Lockhart has made a mistake in his Of course it was not alone the Roy. account of Scott's alteration of the plot alist or Jacobite element in the Stewart of “St. Ronan's Well,” according to novels which Scott took so much dewhich the marriage of Clara with Val- light in moulding to his purpose - it entine Bulmer did not in his own was the whole life of the period in words end at the church door. But which he revelled ; especially the pethis was not the particular indecorum riod referred to in the postscript to which scandalized John Ballantyne. Waverley, which lay between the ResWhat Scott had really represented in toration and the insurrection of 1745. the original manuscript was that Clara No class of persons appealed so had already gone astray with her actual strongly to his sympathies as those lover, Francis Tyrrel, whom she sup- who, to quote his own words, posed herself to be marrying, when she gave her hand in the dark to his half in my younger time, were facetiously called brother. The entanglement thus cre- “ folks of the old leaven,” who still cherated was the basis of an excellent ished a lingering though hopeless attachplot ; and that this is what Scott meant ment to the house of Stewart. This race is shown by the passage in which Clara has now almost entirely vanished from the speaks to Tyrrel of their present mis- land, and with it doubtless much absurd ery as the reward of "sin." But, tak

political prejudice ; but also many living

examples of singular and disinterested ating her as she is, Clara Mowbray is an tachment to the principles of loyalty which eminently interesting character, and they received from their fathers, and of her death is equal in pathos to anything old Scottish faith, hospitality, worth, and that Scott has written.


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It was this almost extinct race which of, nothing that makes him different Scott loved to reproduce as a kind of from the rest of the world. The same sacred duty ; the “folks of the old may be said of Miss Grizzle Oldbuck, a leaven," with all their hereditary perfect portrait, but in whom probably prejudices and generous principles, neither Miss Becky Blattergrowl, nor with all their ancient Scottish manners Mrs. Mucklebackit, nor Miss Wardour and customs, with all their old Scot- herself, saw anything odd or unusual. tish faith, hospitality, worth, and Mowbray in “St. Ronan's Well” has honor. To give us pictures of this been too much overlooked. The vulsociety was as much his object as to garity, vanity, and overweening selfunfold before us the great political and inportance which we see in him at military panorama of the seventeenth first, overlying the instincts of a gentleand eighteenth centuries. But old man which still survive underneath Scottish manuers did not survive among and peep out by degrees as we become the Jacobites only. Of the seven prin- better acquainted with him, and the cipal novels dealing with Scottish life brotherly affection struggling hard with and character in the eighteenth cen- the temptations to which he is exposed tury, only four — the “Black Dwarf,” by his pecuniary difficulties, form a “ Rob Roy,” “ Waverley,” and “Red- combination which Scott has not often gauntlet ” are founded on the Stewart attempted, and makes us wish that he cause.

The “ Heart of Midlothian " had. Nor must we omit Colonel Maudoes not refer to it at all, and in “Guy nering, a man of marked idiosyncrasy, Mannering” and “ The Antiquary” we with many contrasts in his character, only just catch a glimpse of it, like the all exhibited without harshness last gleam of the setting sun as he abruptness, so that what he does tosinks beneath the horizon. Sir Arthur day always seems just what we should Wardour still drinks the health of the have expected him to do, though the king over the water in the year 1798 ; opposite perhaps of what he did yesand anong the relics of old Miss Ber- terday. If asked beforehand, we should tram is found a promissory note from certainly not have said that he was at the donjuring clergyman, and a new all likely to enter into the game of high set of words to the old tune of “ Over jinks as he did when first introduced to the Water to Charlie.” It is right to Mr. Pleydell; yet when he does it it add that the nonjuring clergyman has seems the most natural thing in the paid up the interest punctually. world. The successful soldier, full of

There is, of course, no novel of Sir self-reliance, who resents the proposal Walter's which is without his char- that he should have a guard of soldiers acteristic humor. But Scottish life at his house, on the ground that he has afforded him the finest field for the always been considered competent to display of it, and it is here we shall take care of his own family, yet is terfind all the best specimens. In depict- ribly afraid of being laughed at because ing the humors of mankind where they he follows the advice given him by the do not verge on eccentricity, or at all gipsy woman, is still the same man. events exhibit very salient peculiar- We doubt whether sufficient credit has ities, Scott has been surpassed by other been allowed to Scott for characters of writers ; nor has he as a rule laid out this description ; and, if we are right, his strength on characters of this de- he himself is partly to blame for it by scription, though the exceptions seem the well-known comparison which he to show that he underrated his own instituted between himself and Miss powers in this respect. If he has Austen and Miss Ferrier. But, to our given us nothing approaching to Mr. thinking, neither of these ladies, nor Elton or Mrs. Norris, he has at least Fielding, nor Richardson, can give given us Waverley himself, an ad-away much to the painter of Guy Manmirable study of a character in which nering and John Mowbray. They there is nothing eccentric to lay hold 'seem to show that Scott had by nature


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as keen a perception of those subtle | Widow Patten, “who'd niver been a distinctions of character which lie be- sinner,” cannot be surpassed. But we low the surface, as he had of those faucy, if her warmest worshippers more conspicuous and abnormal traits spoke the truth, many of them would which are visible to the whole world, own to being slightly wearied of the and constitute what we variously call frequency with which Hetty's “ poor singularity or eccentricity. But seeing little soul" is turned inside out for that, for one reader who can under their inspection, as well as of the eterstand portraits of the former kind, a nal self-consciousness and self-queshundred can appreciate the latter, it is tionings of her seducer. We do not no wonder that the characters we have want these things in a novel; they named have been overshadowed by the hinder the progress of events, and better-known ones whose peculiarities serve no purpose in return. Now of are more strongly marked, — Bradwar- this fault, or this habit, Scott is endine, Oldbuck, Nicol Jarvie, the cap- tirely guiltless. George Eliot would tain of Knockdunder, and Dugald probably have spent pages in depictiug Dalgetty ; to say nothing of James I., the struggle in Effie's mind after she who has been thought to beat them all. resolved not to meet Robertson again. But, inimitable as is the humor of But not the most copious and minute " The Antiquary and “Rob Roy," dissertation could have thrown more for those who have the palate to taste light upon it than Scott's simple it, it was not to this quality that Scott words : owed his popularity in the first in

“But I'll no gang back there again. I'm stance. It was the heroic and the

resolved I'll no gang back. I'll lay in a tragic elements of his prose fiction, his leaf of my Bible, and that's very near as if command over the passions, which I had made an aith that I winna gang placed him at one bound on the highest back;" and she kept her vow for a week, pinnacle of literature. In humor, deli- during which she was unusually cross and cious as his humor is, he has had equals fretful, blemishes which had never before and perhaps more than one superior. been observed in her temper, except during In the loftier region of his art he has a moment of contradiction. one only.

Now here the real state of the case and It is now time that we turned briefly the struggle going on in Efie's mind is to Scott's methods and plots, which are likewise of a kind to ensure him a ness as if a whole chapter had been

conveyed to us with just as much clearmore lasting hold ou the admiration of given to it; whilė its greater brevity the world than is likely to be retained leaves a margin for the imagination, by many of our later writers, whose which the analytic method takes away. boast it is to have gone more deeply

A still finer example is to be found into the problems of humanity and the in “ The Bride of Lammermoor," mysteries of existence. For the diffuse where Caleb Balderston listens all moral analysis which we find, for in- night outside his master's door after stance, in George Eliot, Sir Walter tells his return to Wolf's Crag from the us in a few bold strokes all we want to funeral of Lucy Ashton : know, and all in fact that can be told without impeding the action of the The old man retired, not to rest, but to story. If we compare the treatment of prayer, and from time to time crept to the Effie Deans with the treatment of Hetty door of the apartment in order to find out Sorrel, so much alike in many external whether Ravenswood had gone to repose.

His measured, heavy step upon the floor particulars, we shall see the difference between the two in a very strong light. the repeated stamps of the heel of his

was only interrupted by deep groans, and We yield to no one in admiration of heavy boot intimated too clearly that the George Eliot. Her purely humorous

wretched inmate was abandoning himself characters are merum nectar ; her Sol- at such moments to paroxysms of unconomon Macy, her Joshua Raun, her trolled agony.

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