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because they and not he had respect need no vindication. He been false to the true conception was simply unable to prevent of the Covenant. Yet Scott the wild savages whom he led seems to have accepted the view from obeying their instincts. of him that was entertained by Most of the chiefs with him his enemies. His portrait of had wrongs to avenge, and they Argyll is on the whole better took their own way of doing it. than that of Montrose. You He had divided his force into are confronted with Argyll in three bands, one of which he his own castle, surrounded with led himself. The other two flatterers, and with the great bands had leaders from whom Dalgetty as a foil.
the enemies of their clans need whose sympathies were always expect no quarter. The charge strongly enlisted on the side of wanton cruelty could with which he espoused, Scott is won- much greater justice be brought derfully impartial—so much so, against him who burned to the that his treatment of Argyll is ground the bonnie house o’ even more considerate than his Airlie. treatment of Montrose. He will But the interest of “A Legnot allow that the chief who end of Montrose' has very little ran away at Inverlochy was a to do either with Montrose or coward, because when he was Argyll. Dugald Dalgetty is led to execution he behaved the hero of the romance. There with becoming firmness. But are some who are not ashamed he regrets the devastation made to confess that they find Dalby the bands whom Montrose getty wearisome. He is said led through the country of to be monotonous. As a comArgyll, and says it has been panion on a campaign it is just "repeatedly and justly quoted possible that the famous Rittas a blot on his actions and master might prove himself an character.”
intolerable bore. He would sential point in Montrose's hardly be described as a boon scheme that the military power companion. But the charm of of Argyll in Scotland, and Dalgetty is the delightfully fresh especially in the Highlands, and naïve way he behaves in should be destroyed. Argyll the different scenes which he has had turned him out of house made immortal. He is always and home, and there would un- Dalgetty, and yet quite differdoubtedly be the satisfaction of ent with Montrose, with Argyll, revenge in paying MacCallum with Sir Duncan Campbell
, and More back in his own coin. above all with his protégé, the But it was never the practice unfortunate Ranald of the Mist. of Montrose to visit the horrors In this respect he has the of war on the helpless and in- variety of all the great humornocent. For any excesses of this ous creations in literature. And kind that occurred in the Camp- not only is he immortal himself. bell country blame must not be He has extended the immortality attached to Montrose, whose of another. How many thoucharacter and reputation in this sands would have gone to their
VOL. CLXV.-NO. DCCCCXCIX.
graves unconscious of the very it was the author's first book, it existence of the invincible Gus was the work of no tyro, but tavus Adolphus, the Lion of of one who could stand on his the North and the bulwark of own merit, and abide judgment Protestantism, had it not been without favour. It for his faithful Rittmaster, evitable, therefore, that Mr Dugald Dalgetty of Drum- Munro's next book should be thwacket?
kindly welcomed and keenly In John Splendid 'i Mr Neil scrutinised. Munro has drawn a vivid pic It is impossible to compare ture of the scenes which were romance with a volume of once familiar to Dalgetty, but short stories, except in so far as which had not previously been they have something in common. described with any degree of And John Splendid' has a intimacy. Mr Munro's previ- great deal in common with “The ous book, “The Lost Pibroch,' Lost Pibroch.' For both deal not only was evidence of an with Highland places and Highauthor who must henceforth be land hearts. In this respect Mr reckoned with as something new Munro's new book amply fulfils and strong in contemporary the promise of the earlier one. literature; it was a revelation There is no falling away, and in of the Highlands and of the several instances a marked adHighland character as fascinat vance. As a descriptive writer, ing as it was authentic. The it would be difficult to name his mystery of the mountains; the rival. Those who have many gloom and terror they provoke, novels to read are generally not less than the joy and buoy- shy of descriptions of natural ancy; the colour and witchery scenery. It is so easy to do of Nature,—all these were ex it badly. Mr Munro describes pressed with the unfaltering Nature well because he loves it, touch of the artist who is sure because it is an essential point of himself. The effect of their in his story, and because he is a surroundings on the men who consummate artist. The minor live among the hills ; their characters in John Splendid' savage instincts, superstitions, are as well done as those in poetry, — these also were the ‘Lost Pibroch,' which is as pressed adequately for the first much as to say that they are time in the language of the as well done as they need ever despised Sassenach. It
be. John Lom, the bard of evident that the author knew Keppoch, with his ridiculous his Celt from the inside ; that conceit, his childish and inhe sympathised with him as satiable love of praise, his gift only he can who is blood of his of song, and the high sense of blood. The artist likewise had responsibility with which he & style of his own that com avowed it, is just such a sketch manded admiration. Although as Mr Munro has taught us to
1 John Splendid : The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn. By Neil Munro. Fifth edition. William Blackwood & Sons.
expect from him. The humour dead girl seems to have had of it is so refreshing, the reality some nameless motive not unso convincing. Or take the connected with John Splendid scene with the widow of Glencoe, behind it. It is certain that so exquisite in its blending of John was of opinion that he pathos and grim humour. Rob could have won Betty had he Stewart of Appin, too, who had tried; but he played the hero, lost his ears, and covered the and sacrificed himself for his loss with his bonnet, is he not friend. a humorous dog, though as John Splendid is a really wanting in every
every Christian masterly creation. Before he virtue as a Highland stot ! made his bow to the world, if There is not a character in the you had been asked to name book, however briefly described, the typical Highlander of ficbut is done to the life. They tion, you would hardly have step across the heather, strong- gone to Scott to find him, belimbed and full - blooded, lusty cause Scott's Highlandmen are with life, and full of Highland a trifle conventional, though he pride and cunning: no phantoms himself created the convention. of the brain, but living men. The Dougal Cratur and the old
As a romance "John Splen- Highland servant in the Legdid' is a distinct success. It is end' are very amusing, with brilliantly written, and presents their shes and shentlemens, a picture of the Highlands of which is still supposed in cerScotland in the middle of the tain quarters to be the way in seventeenth century absolutely which the English language is unique. All the characters spoken in the Highlands. Scott are true to life and race, and created a Highlandman to suit two of them, John Splendid his purpose whenever it was and Argyll, must take a very necessary; and, like most of his high place in literature. The creations, it was good. But it book is full of episodes and ad- is recognised that Stevenson ventures, which are connected came nearer the truth in Alan with each other by the presence Breck Stewart; and John in all of them of young Elrig- Splendid is
subtle more, who tells the story, and psychological study than Alan the interest never wanes through Breck. This is undoubtedly a single page. If there is a high praise. For Alan is a fault at all, it is that Elrig- favourite, and one of the hapmore's love - affair leaves you piest of Stevenson's creations. cold, and Betty has so much Comparisons are generally misspirit apparently that she makes leading and tend to misconcepeven the author a little shy of tions; but here it is inevitable her. It is impossible to resist that the comparison should be the impression that Betty loved made. The difference between John ; and although she de- the two men, however, is so nounced him in her heart for marked that the comparison a deed that was not his, still should only serve to throw both her interest in the child of the into greater relief. What they
have in common are their High- quis of Argyll, John Splendid, land pride, their personal prow- the trimmer, met the uncomess, and something magnetic in promising apostle of truth; and their personality.
Mr Gordon generally managed But John Splendid is alto- to make the truth as unpleasant gether a bigger man than Alan as possible. The conflicts beBreck. He has more brains and tween the two are excellent a broader character. In the reading; and on
on the whole Highlands caste is a very real John behaves very well, save thing; and Alan would not have on one occasion. The clergyhesitated to let the Splendid man at last succeeded in goadtake the lead. John Splendid ing him into an act unworthy is a gentleman with a weak- of himself, whereby the godly ness; for a man of his tempera- Master Gordon came
ery near ment he is wonderfully toler- to suffocation. Thereafter John ant; his vices are of a gener was at a sore disadvantage, ous quality. He refrains from and it was Mr Gordon who speaking the truth to his friends played the gentleman. It was lest he should hurt them, not a happy inspiration to confront from any personal fear of the those two men with each other : consequences. He has a mis- by no other test could the taken sense of courtesy, which Splendid's moral weakness have even with the humblest leads been so effectually proved. The him into the most awkward reader would have been taken predicaments. The man is con in as easily as most of the sistent with himself. His aim people that John met; but is to please, whenever he is not there was deceiving Mr confronted with an enemy.
He Gordon. It is not for nothing flatters Argyll and speaks the that Mr Gordon, unamiable sweet lie to him, for the same though he be, is the one perreason that he must needs son in the book who commands tickle the
the blind your entire respect. He was widow of Glencoe. But he is narrow and bigoted; and his
traducer. He will not highest conception of his duty praise a man to his face and was the denunciation of sin say the bitter thing behind his without fear or favour. Yet back. Now, Alan Breck had he was sincere and honest and, the same desire to be admired of a most valiant heart. It by all and sundry; but he had was a great pity he could not not the same tact. His con- have given his patron the Marceit took offence so easily that quis of Argyll some of his courhe had generally to fall back age and honesty, instead of on his praise of himself for those moral scourgings which adequate appreciation. John probably caused the squintSplendid, again, has a much eyed chief of Diarmid much
severe ordeal to pass less searching of heart than through than ever Alan had. he ever let his worthy chapIn the person of the Rev. Mr lain know. Gordon, chaplain to the Mar Mr Munro's portrait of Ar
gyll is a fine bit of work. He Splendid” than ever you had presents him as a statesman who before. The man is revealed had the welfare of his country to you in his weakness, and and his clan at heart; a bookish an appeal with great skill is man who, had it not been for an made direct to your pity. This uncomfortable ambition, would is certainly true of the last have preferred the study to the scene in which Argyll figures. Senate or the field; and finally, After the flight from Inveras the disciple of Master Gordon lochy you are introduced to could not fail to be, a sincerely the unhappy man lying ill of religious man. At the same a fever in his bed at Inverary, time, he is represented as am with the faithful Master Gorbitious, crafty, selfish, flattered don at his side, rubbing in the out of all true knowledge of truth, you may be sure, where himself, and probably a coward the skin was tenderest. Mr On this last point Mr Munro is Munro in this scene—and for a trifle ambiguous. He seems
vivid realisation it is a powerto admit all that can be said in ful piece of writing — lets the proof of Argyll’s pusillanimity, dignity of Argyll go by the and yet maintain that the man board. You
confronted was not a coward but vacillating with a soul in agony, who in to a degree. You are confronted the very attitude he assumes with his cowardice, and yet would make himself ridiculasked to believe that when putous, were it not for his painto the test Argyll was as bold ful earnestness. Mr Munro of heart as any. The excuses is quite conscious of this; for which he himself gives for his John Splendid afterwards reflight from Inverlochy and In- marks that “the man was in verary are those of a man driven his bed, and his position as he hard in self-defence, who would cocked up there on his knees fain keep his self-esteem, and was not the most dignified I yet knows that he has lost the have seen.” With his dignity esteem of his fellows. He claims gone, his pride broken, his heart boldly enough that he is no pol- bitter to sickness with its own troon; and would even have you shame, Argyll disarms you of believe that his irresolution in resentment, and you must be the face of danger is due to very hard of heart if you
do not some dubiety as to whether he leave his bed-chamber with a has really right on his side. more tender notion of the man. Did the same Marquis know Of Montrose Mr Munro gives the same irresolution when he you only a glimpse, and that plotted in safety ? In any anything but flattering to the case, Archibald Marquis of Great Marquis. And here this Argyll cuts but a sorry figure article would necessarily end, in Mr Munro's pages.
And were it not that Mr MacLaren yet you have a kindlier notion Cobban in “The Angel of the of Argyll after reading “John Covenant'l has essayed to do for
1 The Angel of the Covenant. By J, MacLaren Cobban, Methuen,