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A select few, of course, may read the highest literature as savoring of novels for the sake of the psychology, patrician insolence. or theology, or sociology, or what not, It is unnecessary for our present purwhich is contained in them; but to the pose to say much of the Waverley great majority the story, the action, are plots. Scott has been charged with everything, to be garnished only with making too much use of the same matethese materials and not larded with rials : the lost heir turning up, for inthem. The great scene of human life, stance, in “Guy Mannering,” “The the succession of incidents by which Antiquary,” “The Abbot,” and “ Redthe happiness or misery, the guilt or gauntlet ; " of sometimes huddling up innocence of individuals is ultimately and sometimes spinning out his concludetermined, are subjects of inexhaust- sions, and of being needlessly discurible interest, and appeal to those hu- sive in his introductions. But the real man instincts which are universal and question to be asked is, who has ever indestructible. And it is because Scott been conscious of any monotonous effrom first to last relies on these great fect in reading these several stories ? primary interests, without calling in Who has ever felt that Lovel is too the aid of moral or metaphysical specu- nearly a repetition of Bertram, Roland lation, that he preserves that freshness Græme of Lovel, or Darsie Latimer of and catholicity which are the only pass- Roland Græne? Scott has so handled ports to immortality. There is an air this particular element of interest as of springtime in all the best of the to make each manifestation of it comWaverleys, more charming perhaps as pletely new, With regard to the other we advance in years than before we charges, we should be ready to allow
way worn and dust-besprinkled that the introduction to “Waverley” But on all alike, young and old, the was too long and even tedious, were rapid movement, the quick sequence of it not the introduction to so much because and effect, the constant presence sides, we might almost say to the whole of the actors on the stage, the influence series of the Stewart novels. The in a word of the story itself, unin early correspondence between Darsie terrupted by digressions or asides, Latimer and Allan Fairford in “Redproduces an effect which not even a gauntlet " we always have thought exLytton or a Brontë, neither a Mrs. tremely tiresome, and is the only thing Evans nor a Mrs. Ward, can ever hope Scott ever wrote that we habitually to equal, though writers of this class skip. The conclusion of “Rob Roy may appeal with more immediate suc- is, like the end of a parliamentary sescess to certain transient phases of the sion, preceded by the massacre, public taste, or to appetites vitiated for cannot say of the innocents, but of a the moment by less wholesome forms number of persons who had to be got of literature. But we venture to pre-out of the way, and are conveniently dict that the world will always, after killed off in “the Fifteen” without each of these excursions into the having done anything to deserve it. realms of fancy, come back again to But we cannot agree with those who Scott, as it comes back again to Shake- say that the “Heart of Midlothian " speare. It matters not whether at any should have ended with the rescue of given time the Waverleys are more or Effie, and the marriage of Jeanie and less real. The balance of this or that Reuben Butler. The discovery of Efdate, as Owen says of the house of fie's child arises naturally out of the Osbaldistone, may be brought out story, and the attendant circumstances against them. But their solvency is are all in the highest degree appropriassured nevertheless, and their reign ate. The plot would hardly have been will only terminate with the disappear- complete without this last act; and ance of the Muses before the advance though it may be too long, we would of a debasing isocracy, which already not willingly part with any one given views with suspicion the cultivation of page of it. But our main contention
is that, as against the profound impres- speare would have made him less sion created on the public mind by the interesting as a man, or have clogged Waverley novels, the criticisms which the play of human passion by the achave been bestowed on such points as cessories required to denote his pationthe above count for nothing.
ality ? Hazlitt seems to have wished We must remember that some of the us to believe that, instead of relying on most powerful writers of the day had human nature in general, Scott built every inducement to exert themselves up his personages out of particular cirto the uttermost to arrest the rising cumstances or incidents with which he reputation of a zealous Tory ; Sydney was himself acquainted, either by readSmith and Hazlitt in particular. But ing or tradition ; that he leaned ou if we consider that Sydney Smith was them as on a crutch, and could not bored by Meg Merrilies and Dominie have moved without them. It would, Sampson, and that he actually pro- perhaps, be a sufficient answer to this nounced Clara Mowbray vulgar, we objection to point to the infinite variety shall cease to wonder that he, at all of conditions under which Scott's events, failed to check the rising tide. knowledge of the human heart is exHazlitt was the most dangerous critic hibited, showing that he is tied down that the Waverleys ever encountered, to no one age or no one station in life for, like Ivanhoe in the lists at Ashby, for the display of his highest powers. he aimed at the helmet, — "a mark But is not Hazlitt here overlooking the more difficult to hit, but which, if at- obvious distinction between a novel tained, rendered the shock more irre- and a play? What the one shows us sistible.” Had Hazlitt hit the mark, in action, the other must relate in Sir Walter would certainly have been words. We want no description of unlorsed ; but he, too, missed his aim, Macbeth's castle, costume, or retinue, and left his adversary unbarmed. because we see them on the stage be
Hazlitt attacked Scott on the ground fore us. We can know nothing of that he had no “invention,” and, as Osbaldistone Hall or Tillietudlem Cashe owned that he detested him, has tle but what we read upon the printed strained his ingenuity to the utmost to page. make a case against him. But what do Brt the real question to be asked is, we mean by "invention”? Do we lether his characters are human ; mean the power of creating something whether they live, breathe, and move ; which the world has never seen or and whether we do not see the work. heard of by the innate force of our own ing of passion in them as clearly as in imagination, unaided by external cir- Shakespeare, illustrated, and not obcumstances ? or do we mean the com- scured, by the framework in which bination of materials with which the they are set ? Will any one pretend to history of mankind and the knowledge say that in Elspeth Mucklebackit, Meg of human nature supply us in such Merrilies, Bois-Guilbert, Rashleigh Osforms and under such conditions as to baldistone, Redgauntlet, Ravenswood, strike the reader with the force of nov- Jolin Mowbray, the true purpose of elty ? Hazlitt could hardly have meant tragedy is in any way frustrated by the the former; and if he didl, we know of nature or origin of the machinery no poet or dramatist, ancient or mod- through which it is developed ? Are ern, who could stand the test. If he we any the worse for the touches of meant the latter, on what grounds does local color and social manners which he deny invention to Sir Walter Scott ? | Scott throws into the picture ? And Nobody, he says, would know merely if we are not the worse, we are the from the text whether Lear was an better. Hazlitt asserts that Scott could English king or not. He is simply a not have invented imaginary scenes or king and a father. What then ? Where situations. But who does invent such is the merit of this, unless by repre- in any other sense than that in which serting him as an English king, Shake- 1 Scott did ? The duel scene in “ Wood
stock,” the dungeon scene in “The they are deficient. Scott seems to surBetrothed," the prison scene in “Rob vey society from a loftier standpoint, Roy,” and scores of others besides to range over the world of strife and those which we have quoted, are purely passion at a higher elevation, than imaginary, unless the word is to be ordinary writers, and to escape from limited to what nobody in the world everything that is noxious in his dehas ever dreamed of, read of, or heard scriptions even of vice, by the height of before, in which case the result from which he looks down upon it. would probably be something mon- Closely akin to this claim on our venstrous. Shakespeare did not evolve eration is his great natural purity, quite King Lear from his inner conscious- another thing from the manufactured ness. He, too, was indebted to what article to be found in Lord Lytton's he had read and heard. But we do not later novels, and possessing a very care to insist on this point. Characters different flavor. The quality which we must unfold themselves in some scenes mean is as widely remote from anyor situations, whatever they may be, thing like squcamishness or prudishand there is no reason why they should ness it is from coarseness not be as forcibly depicted in scenes indecency. There is nothing nambywhich are not purely imaginary as in pamby, nothing “goody goody," 10 those which are. Hazlitt tries the nonsense, no false delicacy, about Sir novel by a false test, and it would not Walter Scott. He calls a spade a condemn the Waverleys even were it spade, and writes like a man of the true.
world who knows what goes on in the “ The immortal deeds of heroes and world, and does not trouble himself, of kings” were performed on this like some later writers of great emiearth ; and unless we deny the faculty nence, to conciliate the British matron. of invention to all such painters, poets, | Yet has Scott ever written a single line and dramatists as derive their mate- calculated to raise an evil thought in rials from history, we cannot deny it the mind of either man or woman ? to Scott. Ruskin, who in “Modern “ The Heart of Midlothian,” and “ St. Painters ” appears at first sight to favor Ronan's Well” as Scott originally Hazlitt's view, answers both Hazlitt wrote it, are tales of seduction, yet the and himself in “ The Stones of Ven- purity of the author's mind keeps at ice,” where he sets up a position ex- bay every voluptuous image which actly the reverse of Hazlitt's ; namely, might otherwise intrude, and preserves that invention may be as much dis- the whole narrative as free from any played in the grouping and arrange- taint of suggestion as if it had been ment of historical materials as in the written by a child. Elsewhere Scott management of those which are the has placed young girls in perilous and exclusive product of our own imagina-equivocal positions, without a word tion. He insists also in the same pas- either to startle innocence or offend the sage on the great value of “costume,” most scrupulous modesty. The difficontending that in “Ivanhoe,” “The culty of bandling these subjects without Talisman,” “ The Lal of the Lake," doing either may be understood by the accessories are a powerful and per- reference to other modern writers who fectly legitimate source of attraction ; have ventured on them, some of whom and he adds that this is equally true at all events cannot possibly be susof the Iliad.
pected of any indifference to such To appreciate works of imagination results. we must possess some imagination onr- The style of the Waverleys is not selves, and there are persons in the what the eighteenth-century critics world who possess none. But even would have called a very correct style, these may understand and value other nor was Scott, as we have elsewhere qualities in Scott that do not make the said, a fastidious artist in words. He same demand on a faculty in which was at little paius to avoid either loose
constructions, frequent repetitions, or | The influence of the Waverley novels the conclusion of periods aud para-operated in two directions. They congraphs ou a weak or unemphatic note. tributed powerfully to the growth of Yet the effect which Scott desires to that younger Toryism from whose loins produce is never impaired by these sprang the powerful and popular Conblemishes. He is always easy and servative party of the present day ; and natural, qualities which help us over an they prepared the soil for the recepoccasional solecism more readily than a tion of that Anglo-Catholic re rival style of greater artifice and precision. which, with all its errors, has been He never descends to the ordinary the salvation of the English Church. tricks of rhetoric, but in his rare ex- When we mumsider the maonitude of cursions into the domain of figurative the issues at stake, the inte « ts, both eloquence he attains the highest eleva-, jemporal and spiritual, in defence of tion. In the effect produced by natu- which these two forces are combined ; ral ease in contrast to more elaborate when we think of the influence to be pomp, the reader may compare Scott's exercised on future generations by the description of the court at Whitehall in victory or defeat of either, in the “Peveril of the Peak” with that of struggle which is imuninent; when we Lord Macaulay in his “ History of En- think of all that Scott may have been gland.” With all its varieties Scott's instruniental in saving for us, and, if style is always strong, if not uniformly the evil day must come at last, of the elegant. As Dr. Portman said of Pen- long respite he has gained for us; dennis, he writes like a gentleman, if when we look back on the sixty years' not like a scholar; like a cultivated war, and note the varying fortunes of man of the world, if not like a student the fight, the advance, the retreat, the of composition, while we must always surging assault, the obstinate defence, remember that, when in the vein, he and reflect how much the cause of writes also like a poet.
faith and loyalty and order has owed Stat Capitolium. As all past at- throughout to the genius of Sir Walter tempts to dethrone the Waverley novels Scott; those who fight under that an. from the eminence to which they were cient banner may perhaps think that raised by popular acclamation have we have not done wrong in choosing a been complete failures, such, we may moment like the present for laying a safely predict, will be the fate of all fresh chaplet on his shrine. future efforts. The national character and the national taste may of course undergo changes which we do not now foresee, destroying those elements in
From Temple Bar. both by which the general appreciation
YOUNG LOVE. of the Waverleys has been sustained It was after dark on a November for more than sixty years. But in the evening. A young woman came down absence of any such moral or intellectual the maid street of a small town in the revolution, the great historic dramas, south of Scotland. She was a maidwith the pictures of life and manners, servant, about thirty years old ; she which Sir Walter unfolded before his had a pretty, though rather strong, countrymen, will lose their hold upon featured, face, and yellow, silken bair. them only with the loss of civilization. When she came toward the end of the
As far as the greatness of any writer street she turned into a small draper's is to be measured by the effect which shop. A middle-aged woman stood behe produces on his owu age, Scott in hind the counter folding her wares. modern times has had but one equal, if “Can you tell me the way to Mistress indeed he has had that, namely, Macdonald's ?” asked the maid. Carlyle. When Macaulay spoke of the “ You'll be a stranger.” It was eviharm which Scott had done, this is dent that every one in those parts knew what he meant. The harm is the good. 'the house inquired for.
The maid had a somewhat forward, vants, except that there's Dr. Robert. familiar manner; she sat down to rest. His name is Macdonald, too, ye know ; " What like is she ?"
he's a nephew, and he's the minister of The shopkeeper bridled. “ Is it the kirk here. He goes up every day Mistress Macdonald ?" There was to see how his aunt's getting on. I'm reproof in the voice. “She is much thinking he'll be up there now ; it's respectit - none
It would about his time for going.” be before you were born that every The maid took the way pointed out one about here knew Mistress Mac- to her. Soon she was walking up a donald.”
gravel path, between trim, old-fash“Well, what family is there ? " ioned laurel hedges. She stood at the The maid had a sweet smile ; her voice door of a detached house. It was an fell into a cheerful, coaxing tone, ordinary middle-class dwelling - comwhich had its effect.
fortable, commodious, ugly enough, ex“You'll be the new servant they'll cept that stolidity and age did much to be looking for. Is it walking you are soften its ugliness. It bad, above all, from the station ? Well, she had six the air of being a home a hospitable, children, had Mistress Macdonald." open-armed pok, as if children had “ What ages will they be ?”
run in and out of it for years, as if The woman knit her brows; the young men had gone out from it to see problem set her was too difficult. “I the world and come back again to rest, couldna tell you just exactly. There's as if young girls had fluttered about it, Miss Macdonald — she that's at home confiding their sports and their loves yet ; she'll be over fifty.”
to its ivy-clad walls. Now there hung “Oh !” The maid gave a cheer- about it a silence and sobriety. that ful note of interested understanding. were like the shadows of coming obliv“It'll be her perhaps that wrote to ion. The gas was turned low in the me; the mistress'll be an old lady." hall. The old-fashioned omnibus that
“She'll be nearer ninety than eighty, came lumbering from the railway with I'm thinking." There was a moment's a box for the new maid seemed to pause, which the shop-woman filled startle the place with its noise. The with sighs. “You'll be aware that it's girl was taken to the kitchen. a sad house you're going to. She's In the large dining-room four people verra ill, is Mistress Macdonald. It's were sitting in dreary discussion. The sorrow for us all, for she's been hale gas-light flared upon heavy mahogany and had her faculties. She'll no’ be furniture, upon red moreen curtains lasting long now, I'm thinking.” and big silver trays and dishes. By
“ No," said the maid, with good- the fire sat the two daughters of the hearted pensiveness ; “it's not in the aged woman. They both had grey hair course of nature that she should.” She and wrinkled faces. The married rose as she spoke, as if it behoved her daughter was stout and energetic ; the to begin her new duties with alacrity, spinster was thin, careworn, and neras there might not long be occasion for vous. Two middle-aged men were listhem. She put another question before tening to a complaint she made ; the she went. " And who will there be one was Robert Macdonald the minisliving in the house now?"
ter, the other was the family doctor. “ There's just Miss Macdonald that “It's no use Robina's telling me that lives with her mother; and there's I must coax my mother to eat, as if I Mistress Brown - she'll be coming up hadn't tried that” – the voice became most of the days now, but she doesna shrill — “I've begged her and prayed live there ; and there's Ann Johnson, her and reasoned with her.” that's helping Miss Macdonald with the “ No, no, Miss Macdonald — no, no," nursing – she's been staying at the said the doctor soothingly. “You've house for a year back. That's all that done your best, we all understand that ; there'll be of them besides the ser-'it's Mistress Browu that's thinking of