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remaining four to other centuries as far back as the end of the eleventh.

Of the merits of the long series of Waverley Novels there is no room here to speak; but in a general way we may surely say that they are the most absorbing in interest, the most dramatic in characterization, the most flowing in style, the most healthful in tone, the most correct in historical coloring, of any romances that the world has ever seen.

Scott was eminently a painter in words. The picturesque was his forte. Witness the magnificent descriptions of natural scenery, — sunsets, stormy sea, deep woodland glades, — with which many of his chapters open. But his portraitures surpass his landscapes. For variety and true painting of character he was undoubtedly the Shakespeare of our English prose. What a crowd of names, “ familiar as household words," come rushing on the mind, as we think of the gallery of portraits his magical pencil has left for our endless delight and study! There is scarcely a class of old Scottish life without its type in this collection. Dominie Sampson, Nicol Jarvie, Jeanie Deans, Edie Ochiltree, Jonathan Oldbuck, Meg Dods, Dandie Dinmont, Dugald Dalgetty, - their descendants (typical, of course) may still be found by the banks of Clyde and Tweed.

The eighteen years of Scott's life between Waverley (1814) and his death (1832) divides itself into two periods. During the first he was joyfully pouring out the treasures of his imagination to a public that held out

i Ivanhoe, The Betrothed, The Talisman, and Count Robert of Paris.

both hands to receive them, and gave him in return wealth such as no author had ever dreamed of possessing. He was beloved; he was happy; and, lord of the enchanted castle of Abbotsford, he did the honors for all Scotland. In 1820 he touched what he deemed his highest point of honor, - he was made a baronet by King George IV., and plain Mr. Scott became Sir Walter.

But even then the clouds were gathering. For several years Scott had been secretly a partner in an Edinburgh printing and publishing house. As his brain seemed to be an exhaustless gold-mine, he launched (especially after the date of his baronetcy) into lavish expenditures on Abbotsford, and for other purposes. Unhappily, much of this money was spent before it was earned; and the ruinous system of receiving notes from his publishers as payment for undone work, when once entered upon, grew into a wild and destructive habit. Author and publishers, alike intoxicated by success, became too giddy to look far into the future. At last, in 1825, came a panic that carried down his publisher, and also the Ballantyne printing firm in which he was partner. Scott's splendid fortune, all built of paper now utterly worthless, crumpled up like a torn balloon; and the author of the Waverley Novels stood, at fifty-five years of age, not penniless alone, but burdened, as a partner in the Ballantyne concern, with the enormous debt of over three-quarters of a million of dollars !

Nobly refusing to permit the creditors of the firm to which he belonged to suffer any loss that he could help, he devoted his life and his pen to the herculean task of removing this mountain of debt. Thus opens the last, the shortest, and the saddest of the periods into which we have marked out this great life.

Already his bodily health had been heavily shaken by severe illness. The first symptoms of apoplexy had appeared in 1823, but the valiant soul was never shaken by the failing of the once sturdy frame. Amid the gloom of his financial distress, under the deeper sorrow of his wife's death, which befell him in the same year, — the “old struggler," as he called himself, toiled bravely on. He wrote more novels; he wrote his elaborate Life of Napoleon (seven volumes); he wrote various series of Tales of a Grandfather. These were all exceedingly profitable. In five years he had cleared off more than half the indebtedness. He would soon have redeemed all the obligations of Ballantyne & Co., had his health lasted. As it was, all the obligations were redeemed after his death by his copyrights.

But the end was nigh. There came a day – Feb. 15, 1830 — when he fell speechless in his drawing-room under a stroke of paralysis. From that time he never was the same man,

a cloudiness” in his words and arrangement shows that the shock had told upon the mind. Fits of apoplexy and paralysis occurred at intervals during that and the following year; and, as a last hope, the worn-out workman sailed in the autumn of 1831 for Malta and Italy. He lived at Naples and at Rome for about six months; but on his way home down the Rhine the relentless malady struck him a inortal blow. His earnest wishi was to die at Abbots

and "

ford, the loved place that had cost him so dear; and there he soon found himself, with his grandchildren and his dogs playing round the chair he could not leave.

Perhaps the saddest scene of all this sad time was the last effort of the veteran to return to his old occupation. On the 17th of July, awaking from sleep, he desired his writing-materials to be prepared. When the clair, in which he lay propped up with pillows, was moved into his study and placed before the desk, his daughter put a pen into his hand; but, alas! there was no power in the fingers to close on the familiar thing. It dropped upon the paper, and the helpless old man sank back to weep in silence.

Little more than two months later (Sept. 21, 1832), this great man died, as he had wished to die, at Abbotsford, with all his children round his bed; and, on the fifth day after, his body was laid beside the dust of his wife in Dryburgh Abbey.

Numerous published likenesses have made Sir Walter's countenance familiar. The long upper lip and large mouth he derived from his ancestress Meg Murray. His forehead was high and almost conical, his complexion was fair, and his hair, which was light chestnut in youth, whitened after his troubles. His eyes were always light blue, and were surmounted by bushy,“ pent-house” eyebrows. The expression of his countenance was somewhat heavy; but in conversation it lightened up with great animation. In person he was tall and vigorous.

A true lover of nature, he told our Washington

Irving that he should die if he did not see the heather once a year. He loved outdoor life, and was a famous sportsman and rider. His affection for dogs and horses, indeed, for all dumb animals, was exceedingly strong; and he had a peculiar tenderness for sheep, arising, he thought, from his having often been laid beside them when a child, by a shepherd who had him in charge.

He had strong political prejudices, having been an inveterate Tory and Conservative all his life. Yet he had a kindly leaning to smugglers and poachers and "ne'er-do-weels” generally. He had a large-hearted and open-handed charity, and was never happier than when helping others. If the spiritual side of his nature was not greatly developed, it may have been because those experiences that try the soul did not come till late in life. Of the purely natural man, he was as noble an example as the world has seen.

The tree of romance that Scott planted has borne wondrous and varied fruitage. The two generations that have gone by since he died have seen the novel take on many forms. Bulwer, Dickens, Thackeray, George Eliot, – these are names not only of individuals, but of schools. In our own day, taste runs strongly to the fiction of analysis, – to the vivisection of character, rather than the portrayal of incident. It is thought clever to write a novel with no story at all. This is probably a temporary fashion. Romantic art is eternal, because it appeals to an indestructible natural appetite. And Walter Scott is, and will remain, king of the romantics.

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