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great writer. He has given us gratification in every shape ;-in his liveliness,-in his stronger and broader mirth,—in the graceful and piquant tone of his direct narrative—in the startling rapidity of his almost visible pictures of action, and the almost unequalled reality of his descriptions of external nature. Still more have we admired and felt his power of portraying every variation of human character, as well arising from the natural disposition and gifts, as from the circumstances of situation and event, In the rendering the effects of these two causes combined, he is unrivalled. Lastly, we thank him for his admirable representations of the passions and feelings, which form at once the most attractive and beneficial subjects of human contemplation. Of the more lofty and the fiercer, his portraitures are magnificent and vivid ; but we confess that the delineations for which we are the most grateful, are his exquisite touches of what is fond, and simple, and pure, and generous, and tender.
It is because we feel these qualities to be so perfectly brought into action as the books exist, that we are reluctant to enter into their analysis. Nay, we do not even enjoy the exposition which Sir Walter makes of the progress of his mind during his literary career. It is certainly curious in a metaphysical point of view—but we still feel that it lessens the general effect, which was one and indivisible” in our minds; and, moreoever, in the talking of self, always so difficult, we do not think Sir Walter has struck upon the happiest tone. We confess, the following anecdote of childhood appears to us to want that simplicity which is ever the most touching characteristic of that age :
"I must refer to a very early period of my life, were I to point out my first achievements as a tale-teller -- but I believe some of my old schoolfellows can still bear witness that I had a distinguished character for that talent, at a time when the applause of my companions was my recompense for the disgraces and punishments which the future romance writer incurred for being idle himself, and keeping others idle, during hours that should have been employed on our tasks. The chief enjoyment of my holidays was to escape with a chosen friend, who had the same taste with myself, and alternately to recite to each other such wild adventures as we were able to devise. We told, each in turn, interminable tales of knight-errantry and battles and enchantments, which were continued from one day to another as opportunity offered, without our ever thinking of bringing them to a conclusion. As we observed a strict secrecy on the subject of this intercourse, it acquired all the character of a concealed pleasure, and we used to select, for the scenes of our indulgence, long walks through the solitary and romantic environs of Arthur's Seat, Salisbury Crags, Braid Hills, and similar places in the vicinity of Edinburgh ; and the recollection of those holidays still forms an oasis in the pilgrimage which I have to look back upon. I have only to add, that my friend still lives, a prosperous gentleman, but too much occupied with graver business, to thank me for indicating him more plainly as a confident of my childish mystery."
We confess we think the following far more natural and interesting. It comes directly after what we have just quoted ::
“When boyhood advancing into youth required more serious studies and graver cares, a long illness threw me back on the kingdom of fiction, as if it were by a species of fatality. My indisposition arose, in part at least, from my having broken a blood-vessel; and motion and speech were for a long time pronounced positively dangerous. For several weeks I was confined strictly to my bed, during which time I was not allowed to speak above a whisper, to eat more than a spoonful or two of boiled rice, or to have more covering than one thin counterpane. When the reader is informed that I was at this time a growing youth, with the spirits, appetite, and impatience of fifteen, and suffered, of course, greatly under this severe regimen, which the repeated return of my disorder rendered indispensable, he will not be surprised that I was abandoned to my own discretion, so far as reading (my almost sole amusement) was concerned, and still less so, that I abused the indulgence which left my time so much at my own disposal.
“There was at this time a circulating library in Edinburgh, founded, I believe, by the celebrated Allan Ramsay, which, besides containing a most respectable collection of books of every description, was, as might have been expected, peculiarly rich in works of fiction. It exhibited specimens of every kind, from the romances of chivalry, and the ponderous folios of Cyrus and Cassandra, down to the most approved works of later times. I was plunged into this great ocean of reading without compass or pilot; and unless when some one had the charity to play at chess with me, I was allowed to do nothing save read, from morning to night. I was, in kindness and pity, which was perhaps erroneous, however natural, permitted to select my subjects of study at my own pleasure, upon the same principle that the humours of children are indulged to keep them out of mischief. As my taste and ap. petite were gratified in nothing else, I indemnified myself by becoming a glution of books. Accordingly, I believe I read almost all the romances, old plays, and epic poetry, in that formidable collection, and no doubt was unconsciously amassing materials for the task in which it has been my lot to be so much employed.
“At the same time I did not in all respects abuse the license permitted me. Familiar acquaintance with the specious miracles of fiction brought with it some degree of satiety, and I began, by degrees, to seek in histories, memoirs, voyages and travels, and the like, events nearly as wonderful as tho which were the work of imagination, with the additional advantage that they were at least in a great measure true.”
The part of this preface which has pleased us the least is that in which Sir Walter talks of the incognito. He says a great deal, and tells us nothing. The original cause must always have been manifest -the dread, namely, of compromising the poet's reputation : but to that which has always appeared to us the only enigmatical part of the business, Sir Walter gives no solution. We inean why, when the fame of the novelist even eclipsed, greatly in fact-in desert incalcu. Jably--that of the poet, why did he not at once declare—“They are one ?"
The following passage we very sincerely regret to see published with Sir Walter Scott's name attached to it:
“ My desire to remain concealed, in the character of the Author of these Novels, subjected me occasionally to awkward embarrassments, as it sometimes happened that those who were sufficiently intimate with me, would put the question in direct terms. In this case, only one of three courses could be followed. Either I must have surrendered my secret,-or have returned an equivocating answer,—or, finally, must have stoutly and boldly denied the fact. The first was a sacrifice which I conceive no one had a right to force from me, since I alone was concerned in the matter. The alternative of rendering a doubtful answer must have left me open to the degrading suspicion that I was not unwilling to assume the merit (if there was any) which I dared not absolutely lay claim to; or those who might think more justly of me, must have received such an equivocal answer as an indirect avował i
therefore considered myself entitled, like an accused person put upon trial, to refuse giving my own evidence to my own conviction, and flatly to deny all that could not be proved against me. At the same time I usually qualified my denial by stating, that, had I been the author of these works, I would have felt myself quite entitled to protect my secret by refusing my own evidence, when it was asked for to accomplish a discovery of what I desired to conceal."
We cannot but lament that Sir Walter should stoop to this poor and unworthy sophistry. This conduct was not “refusing his own evidence,” but giving it to establish that which was not the fact. And we think, that the qualification which he usually gave is exposed to all the objections of an equivocal answer, We will refer him to his noble trialscene in the Heart of Mid-Lothian,' whether truth should be sacrificed under any circumstances whatever.
We now come to the annotations upon · Waverley' itself. The first we shall notice is one with the opinion expressed in which we have always most thoroughly concurred. It is contained in the following few words:
" These introductory Chapters have been a good deal censured as tedious and unnecessary.
Yet there are circumstances recorded in them which the author has not yet been able to persuade himself to retract or cancel."
Sir Walter also mentions, in his preface, that these chapters were written ten years before the rest of the work.
Having proceeded as far, I think, as the Seventh Chapter, I showed my work to a critical friend, whose opinion was unfavourable ; and having then some poetical reputation, I was unwilling to risk the loss of it by attempting a new style of composition. I therefore threw aside the work Í had commenced, without either reluctance or remonstrance. I ought to add, that though my ingenious friend's sentence was afterwards reversed, on an appeal to the public, it cannot be considered as any imputation on his good taste; for the specimen subjected to his criticism did not extend beyond the departure of the hero for Scotland, and, consequently, had not entered upon the part of the story which was finally found most interesting."
We have heard the same thing said by critical friends of our own, but we have always differed from them most strongly. We admit that it is not possible to form an idea from these chapters that the chief part of the scene of the book will be in Scotland; but we think it is quite clear that the book will be delightful, for we regard this opening of Waverley' to be the very model of agreeable English writing. We confess, we first read the book two or three months after its publication, when its fame had begun to rise. But we were very young, exceedingly fond of what was entertaining, and detesting any thing approaching to what was dull; and we remember being delighted beyond measure with the traits of character so charmingly depicted throughout.
The very opening lines of the work have, for many years, given rise in our minds to ideas deeper seated than we should like thoroughly to avow. We may be perhaps understood by the words we have printed in Italics. We have chosen, for our own private gratification, to read the passage from our old original copy of 1814, given us by a most dear friend:
"" The title of this work has not been chosen without the grave and solid deliberation, which matters of importance demand from the prudent. Even its first, or general denomination, was the result of no common research or selection, although, according to the example of my predecessors, I had only to seize upon the most sounding and euphonic surname that English history or topography affords, and elect it at once as the title of my work, and the name of my hero. But, alas ! what could my readers have expected from the chivalrous epithets of Howard, Mordaunt, Mortimer, or Stanley, or from the softer and more sentimental sounds of Belmour, Belville, Belfield, and Belgrave, but pages of inanity, similar to those which have been so christened for half a century past? I must modestly admit I am too diffident of my own merit to place it in unnecessary opposition to preconceived associations; I have, therefore, like a maiden knight with his white shield, assumed for my hero, WAVERLEY, an uncontaminated name, bearing with its sound little of good or evil, excepting what the reader shall hereafter be pleased to affic to it." Let
every reader answer the question to himself-What ideas does he now affix to that sound ?
We cannot find it our hearts to abet Sir Walter's mis-deeds by quoting many of his notes, We do not want affidavits to the truth to nature of his incidents, still less of his characters; and, to continue the legal metaphor, the plain narrative by the counsel is far more interesting than the question-andanswer work of the witness. And in these books, he must be more than a sceptic who needs any evidence at all after he has read the statement. This technical phraseology induces us to quote the following; as it strikes us as being exactly one of the stories in that style of humour in which Sir Walter so much delights. It is appended to that scene at Luckie Macleary's, where " What crumbs of reason the Blessed Bear of Bradwardine had not devoured were picked up by the Tappit Hen."
“When the landlord of an inn presented his guests with deoch an doruis *, that is, the drink at the door, or the stirrup-cup, the draught was not charged in the reckoning: On this point a learned Bailie of the town of Forfar pronounced a very sound judgment.
“ A., an ale-wife in Forfar, had brewed her) peck of malt,' and set the liquor out of doors to cool; the cow of B., a neighbour of A., chanced to come by, and seeing the good beverage, was allured to taste it, and finally to drink it
up. When A. came to take in her liquor, she found her tub empty, and from the cow's staggering and staring, so as to betray her intemperance, she easily divined the mode in which her browsť had disappeared. To take vengeance on Crummie's ribs with a stick, was her first effort. The roaring of the cow brought B., her master, who remonstrated with his angry neighbour, and received in reply a demand for the value of the ale which Crummie had drunk up. B. refused payment, and was conveyed before C., the bailie, or sitting magistrate. He heard the case patiently; and then demanded of the plaintiff A., whether the cow had set down to her potation, or taken it standing. The plaintiff answered, she had not seen the deed committed, but she supposed the cow drank the ale while standing
* Really, with all our respect for increased learning, we are sorry that Sir Walter has been corrected in his Gaelic by some accurate Highlander to spell this phrase as above. Throughout his works he calls this parting-cup doch an doroch-except, indeed, in this very passage in the original edition of Waverley, where it is mani. festly mis-printed dock and dorroch. It is melancholy to have to give up an “old familiar” sound.
on her feet; adding, that had she been near, she would have made her use them to some purpose. The bailie, on this admission, solemnly adjudged the cow's drink to be deoch an doruis—a stirrup-cup, for which no charge could be made, without violating the ancient hospitality of Scotland."
There is only one other note we shall mention, and we think Sir Walter has been highly imprudent in printing it. We allude to his answers to the accusations of his portrait of Charles Edward being highly flattered. Every one of Sir Walter's historical knowledge must know that so it is—and others, who know it too, will perhaps tell the public so one of these days. We do not allude to the doubt as to his personal courage—we believe he had his fair share of that universal male quality—but he was narrow-minded, and selfish ; and his later life—especially after his marriage-proves him to have been brutally careless of the welfare of others, and exclusively attentive to
The illustrations of these volumes are poor. It would give us great pleasure if Flora M'Ivor could see how she is represented singing at the fountain. It would have this effect from her being one of our favourite aversions. Her mind is masculine, and that is enough to ruin a woman for ever in the estimation of those who know what a woman is. Let the mind be as strong, in its pure sense, as you please -but if it lack feminine delicacy, hélas !
We are sorry to see Edwin Landseer's name to the figure of . ; no, to the figure which has written under it the name of Davie Gellatley. It is that of a moping idiot”-not of the Daft Davie, whose cracked-ness shewed itself as much in odd wit as in anything else--and whose jokes are among the best on record. Those who have had the good fortune, like ourselves, to have lived among jokers of the first class, will recognise in Davie's witticisms the invaluable quality of being always mots, and never puns.
We have done —and that as we began. Nous chantons toujours notre refrein.-We feel convinced that the reality of the Fictions will be seriously injured by the introduction of the reality of the Facts.