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Mrs. Gaskell.


Her other novels are "Mansfield Park," Emma," and "Persuasion." All are of the same class. "Pride and Prejudice" is the best, and a certain tendency to repeat the types of characters appears in the last two. But all are fine, delicate work.



The great Scotch novelist and poet was born in Edinburgh, the son of a "writer to the signet" (attorney). His health in childhood was not very strong, and although he possessed a powerful physique, and was capable of an immense amount of work in his maturity, he remained all his life perceptibly lame from the effect of a slight arrest in the growth of his right leg during his boyhood. From an early period of his life he took a great interest in folk poetry and in the innumerable traditions of the Scotch Border, and chance threw him in the way of many who were willing to indulge his delight in stories and ballads. While still a schoolboy, he learned Old French and read collections of early romances, and thus prepared himself for his vocation as story-teller, unconsciously, but with great thoroughness. He was admitted to the bar in 1792, and in 1799 obtained. the office of deputy sheriff of Selkirk. As he had collected Border ballads and many details of Border history, and had published in 1802 a collection of the "Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border" and a translation of Goethe's drama of feudal history, "Götz von Berlichingen," it was natural that he should try to embalm in verse some of the incidents of the Border forays that appealed so strongly to his imagination. A friend repeated to him portions of Coleridge's "Christabel," and in the varied and lively form of the four-accent measure he found the meter that suited him. The legend of Gilpin

His Poems.

Horner, the mischievous hobgoblin, was suggested to him as a subject, and about this as a center he grouped the incidents of the "Lay of the Last Minstrel." The simplicity and energy of this poem, as good as any of his subsequent ones, led to its immediate popularity. It was published in 1805, and was followed in a year by "Marmion," and in 1810 by the "Lady of the Lake,” — the most generally liked of any of his narrative poems,and later by "Rokeby" and the "Lord of the Isles." Scott wrote also a number of excellent and spirited Scotch songs, some of which were molded out of current folk songs and were set to popular tunes.

Soon after the publication of the "Lay" he had begun and subsequently laid aside a prose romance, "Waverley." When the fame of Byron began to make Scott's poems look rather pale, he resuscitated and completed the story. It was published in 1814, and its immense success showed him where his true strength lay. In the next two years, besides doing a large amount of outside work, among other things he edited Swift's works and wrote a life of the author, -he produced "Guy Mannering," the "Antiquary," the "Black Dwarf,"


and "Old Mortality." At the same time he kept up at Abbotsford, the fine place he had built, a lavish hospitality. The secret of the authorship of these novels was preserved, partly to mystify the public and partly, perhaps, for whim. Scott's intimate friends, of course, knew the truth, but it was hard to make acquaintances believe that the genial host could produce one or two novels a year in addition to the literary work he acknowledged. Even when suffering from ill health he continued to "do the work of four men.' “Rob Roy," the "Heart of Midlothian," the "Bride of Lammer

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moor," the "Legend of Montrose," and "Ivanhoe" followed in rapid succession. There seemed to be a slight falling off in vigor shown in the "Monastery,” but it was followed by the "Abbot," "Kenilworth," the "Pirate," the Fortunes of Nigel," "Peveril of the Peak," and "Quentin Durward," of which three, if not four, are splendid historical romances.


In 1825, after eleven years of brilliant success, Scott discovered that he was bankrupt. In 1808 he had put some capital into the printing and publishing house of John Ballantyne & Company, thereby becoming a silent partner. The great profits from the sales of Scott's novels did not balance their losses from ill-judged ventures. 1813 Ballantyne & Company formed an alliance with the great publishing house of Constable & Company, which carried them over temporary difficulties. But in 1825 Constable & Company lost heavily through a London firm, Hurst & Robinson. This ruined Ballantyne & Company, and Scott found himself personally liable for over $650,000. Instead of avoiding his liability by going through bankruptcy, which he could have properly done, Scott courageously but quixotically undertook to earn enough by his pen to pay the entire liabilities of the firm. In two years he reduced the debt nearly $200,000 by his own exertions, and the copyrights were sure to bring more in subsequent years. He wrote "Woodstock," the "Chronicles of the Canongate," the "Fair Maid of Perth, "Anne of Geierstein," and a long "Life of Napoleon," besides "Tales of a Grandfather" and many miscellaneous articles, prefaces, notes, etc. Under so great a strain his powers failed, but physicians and friends could not prevail upon him to take a rest till, as his mind gave way, he became possessed with the idea

that all his debts were paid. He then voyaged to Italy, but, feeling death approach, he insisted on returning to his beloved Abbotsford on the Tweed, where he expired, September 21, 1832, a martyr to the idea of honor as he understood it.

Scott's verse is simple, strong, straightforward narrative, not concerned at all with psychological analysis, but dealing with the picturesque outside of things. His poetic world is the world of an enthusiastic, cleanminded, healthy, imaginative boy.

Quality of

His novels,

too, have more or less of this characteristic, but he was a natural story-teller, and may be considered the father of the historical novel. His minor characters are admirably drawn and made living and real, and his delineation of Scotch manners, speech, and prejudices is incomparable. It may be that his picture of feudal life, or even of the seventeenth-century life, is not always realistically accurate, possibly it is sometimes tinged by a romantic coloring not in harmony with the actual facts or with any conceivable development of human society, but at least he is far in advance of his predecessors, who invariably transfer the manners and religion and language of their own time and nation back to the period or country in which the scene of their story is laid. His stories are full of life and movement; they are the work In one, the of a strong, energetic creator. 66 Bride of Lammermoor," he comes very near to, if he does not quite attain, the tragic height; in all of them people act and things happen. His novels will always be favorites with that large portion of humanity which likes to hear of people in action and is interested in men as men and in life and adventure, and especial favorites with those who love the quaint, the odd, the old-fashioned, and the characteristic.

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