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gentle, as I was connected, though remotely, with ancient families both by my father's and mother's sides.” He was a lineal descendant of Auld Watt of Harden, whose praises he sang “in many a ditty.” He tells with evident delight a story of his grandfather, Robert Scott, who with £30 loaned by a faithful old servant set off to purchase at a fair enough sheep to stock his newly rented farm. The old servant accompanied his master and sought with care to find the best stock.

“But what was his surprise to see him galloping a mettled hunter about the race course, and to find he had expended the whole sum in this extraordinary purchase! Moses's bargain of green spectacles did not strike more dismay into the Vicar of Wakefield's family than my grandfather's rashness into the poor old shepherd.” When Scott's own sanguine disposition led him into business ventures that bore no good results, he jocosely attributed his bad venture to the inheritance he had received from his sanguine grandfather. “Blood will out; my building and planting was but his buying the hunter before he stocked his sheepwalk, over again." There was this striking difference, however: The grandfather's rashness was rewarded by his selling the hunter for double what he had paid, while Sir Walter's optimistic speculations ended in ruin.

Walter Scott, the father of our Sir Walter, was a “Writer to the Signet,” or attorney-at-law, a man industrious, kind, and religious. Scott tells us that although unfitted by disposition to his profession, he rose to eminence in it. The author's mother was Anne Rutherford, the eldest daughter of a professor in the University of Edinburgh. Of their numerous family of twelve children, but five survived early youth. Walter was born on August 15, 1771, “in a house belonging to my father at the head of the College Wynd," Edinburgh. Scott himself tells us he was an uncommonly healthy child until about eighteen months old, when a fever caused a serious lameness in his right leg. Hoping to help the child by country air and quiet, the family took him to the farmhouse of Sandy-Knowe. Here his nurse, who afterward became insane, confessed to the old housekeeper that she had been tempted, with the idea of getting rid of her care and then going back to the city, to cut the child's throat with a scissors and then bury him under the moss. The nurse was dismissed. One of his first childish recollections is that of being swathed in the blood-warm skin of a flayed sheep, a reputed remedy for lameness. Better than such old wives' remedies were the gentle exercise and outdoor life of the country. He thinks that by his fourth year, when he was taken to the Bath waters, he had become a sturdy child. Here he remained for a year, learned to read, went to see As You Like It, where he was so highly scandalized by the quarrel between Orlando and his brother that he cried out, “A’n't they brothers?” Education. - As he grew older his lameness disposed him to

. much reading. He was fortunate in having a mother who was fond of poetry and imaginative writings. To her he read Pope's Homer and the songs in Ramsay's Evergreen.

“ My mother had good natural taste and great feeling: she used to make me pause upon the passages which expressed worthy and generous sentiment. . . . My own enthusiasm, however, was chiefly awakened by the wonderful and terrible — the common taste of children, but in which I have remained a child even unto this day."

In 1778 he went to the second class of the grammar school, where because of his lack of preparation he played an inferior part before his teachers, but his amiability and imagination made him popular with his companions. His ability as a story-teller won him friends.

"In the winter play hours, when hard exercise was impossible, my tales used to assemble an admiring audience round Lucky Brown's fireside, and happy was he that could sit next to the inexhaustible narrator. So, on the whole, I made a brighter figure in the yards than in the class.”

This school education was supplemented by instruction at home by a tutor, a man of studious habits but narrow prejudices. With him Walter had many arguments on religion and politics, the boy early defending the cause of the established church and the political creed of the Cavalier. "I took up my politics at that


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period as King Charles II did his religion, from the idea that the Cavalier's creed was the more gentlemanly persuasion of the two.”

Under a new teacher, Dr. Adam, he studied Latin, reading the popular classics, in which he took great interest. When twelve years old he found in his mother's dressing-room

dd volumes of Shakspere, nor can I easily forget the rapture with which I sat up in my shirt reading them by the light of a fire in her zpartment, until the bustle of the family rising from supper warned me it was time to creep back to my bed.” At this time Dr. Blacklock began to take an interest in the boy, opening up his library to the eager reader. Here he read Ossian and Spenser, having the good taste to prefer Spenser. Spenser I could have read forever; ... the quantity of Spenser's stanzas I could repeat was truly marvelous.” This was certainly not a bad schooling for the future poet and novelist. Another book that played a large part in his boyish world was Percy's Reliques of Ancient Poetry.

“I remember well the spot [he writes in his autobiography] where I read these volumes for the first time. It was beneath a high plantanustree, in the ruins of what had been intended for an old-fashioned arbor in the garden I have mentioned. The summer day sped onward so fast that, notwithstanding the sharp appetite of thirteen, I forgot the hour of dinner, was sought for with anxiety, and was still found entranced in my intellectual banquet. To read and to remember was in this instance the same thing, and henceforth I overwhelmed my schoolfellows, and all who would harken to me, with tragical recitations from the ballads of Bishop Percy. , The first time, too, I could scrape a few shillings together, which were not common occurrences with me, I bought unto myself a copy of these beloved volumes; nor do I believe I ever read a book half so frequently, or with half the enthusiasm. About this period, also, I became acquainted with the works of Richardson, ... with Fielding, Smollett, and some others of our best novelists."

When one reads of this early passion for ballads, he is not surprised to learn that Scott made his first venture in literature by publishing a collection of ballads, and that his first long poem was The Lay of the Last Minstrel.

In 1783 Scott entered the College at Edinburgh. During the

years of his formal academic training, both in high school and in college, he was not distinguished as a student. Not that he was not busy; Scott was never an idler, but like many another genius he found his principal nutriment in studies outside of the prescribed curriculum. He browsed about in the fields of romance - Scotch, English, French, Spanish, Italian - absorbing and retaining matter that had little relation to the preparation of a lawyer, but a rich equipment for the future novelist. Of him could be said what he himself has written of one of his characters in Waverley:

“He had read, and stored in a memory of uncommon tenacity, much curious, though ill-arranged and miscellaneous information. In English literature he was master of Shakspere and Milton, of our earlier dramatic authors, of many picturesque and interesting passages from our old historical chronicles, and was particularly well acquainted with Spenser, Drayton, and other poets who have exercised themselves on romantic fiction.”

In May, 1786, he was apprenticed for five years to his father for the study of law. Technically he was a Writer's Apprentice, much of his work consisting of transcribing records and legal papers, for which he received a threepence for every page of a certain number of words. We are told he occasionally did 120 pages within twenty-four hours, and with the money thus made would buy a book or rare coin. Lockhart thinks his work as apprentice was a valuable training. Scott himself always maintained, in contradiction to the common view, that genius and ability to do drudgery can go together; that to spend some time in doing the ordinary duties of life is good for the higher faculties. He himself is such a good example of genius enshrined in a healthy common sense that it is easy to believe he had no patience with the doctrine that genius and insanity are one.

Marriage and First Publications.-Scott fell in love with a charming girl, Wilhelmina,* the daughter of Sir John Stuart. For several years he cherished the hope that she would return his affection, but in 1797 she married William Forbes. This love

* For the story of her life, see The Century Magazine, July, 1899.

of Scott's is said to be the first and only deep passion of his life. One of the strongest traits in his character was his pride; possibly it was this quality that hastened his marriage with Mademoiselle Charpentier, or Miss Carpenter, the daughter of a French royalist, whose widow resided in England. She was a young woman of amiability and good sense. " It was rather," writes a biographer, “like a bird of paradise mating with an eagle. Yet the result, on the whole, was a happy one; for she had a thoroughly kindly nature, and a true heart.” They were married on Christmas Eve, 1797; she brought with her a fortune of £200 a year.

Scott's earliest attempts at poetry, aside from those efforts which every youth makes and which are never heard of, was a version of Bürger's Leonora, “a spectre-ballad of the violent kind.” This led to four or five original ballads contributed to a collection made by “Monk" Lewis. On Christmas, 1799, he was appointed Sheriff-Depute with a salary of £300, and as the duties of this office were not onerous, the income enabled him to indulge his propensity for literature. In 1802 a collection made by Scott himself, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, was published by Ballantyne, a name destined to play a large and baleful part in the fortunes of the house of Scott. Some of the ballads in this collection were original; all were edited with consummate taste. This collection of popular ballads, appearing first in two volumes, was his first literary success. Writes Mr. Hutton:

“The whole edition of eight hundred copies was sold within the year, while the skill and care which Scott had devoted to the historical illustration of the old ballads, and the force and spirit of his own new ballads, written in imitation of the old, gained him at once a very high literary name. . . . It is much easier to discern the great novelist of subsequent years in the Border Minstrelsy than even in The Lay of the Last Minstrel, Marmion, and The Lady of the Lake taken together.”

A third volume was added in 1803. That Scott himself was pleased with the success is recorded in a letter to his brother-inlaw, Charles Carpenter:

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