Imágenes de página

graphers make smooth the face of a beauty or a royal personage? Not all that the historians and novelists of the Jacobite Rebellion have written since Scott has gone to increase our sense of the Pretender's heroic qualities. Even Robert Louis Stevenson did something to lower the estimate. But if Prince Charles's later years were such as to disillusion his admirers, it does not say that his youth was the less shining, Youth is an inspiration in itself, and opportunity creates heroes. The Stuarts were a race very dependent on circumstance, and circumstance favouring, the best of them did well. Prince Charles Edward had all their dangerous graces, and some Polish imagination added. He was superb in his day of adventure, while his physical forces were still unsapped. He was a meagre creature when his nerves and hopes alike failed him. He ought to have died on the field: then the last Prince of Scotland would have been as consistent a romance-hero as the last native Prince of Wales. What he would have been had he succeeded and become King it is, of course, impossible to say. He might easily have been a better king than Charles II or James I-or, for that matter, than that other Prince Regent who became George IV and whose acquaintance Sir Walter Scott made.

Most of Prince Charlie's associates-indeed most of the characters, Highland or Lowland, in "Waverley"—were probably suggested by real people, though the names were changed. An Angus MacDonald may have suggested Fergus Mac-Ivor; and for Flora Mac-Ivor's original we need not look far. The Baron

of Bradwardine was a free portrait of Lord Pitsligo, whose coatof-arms had two bears for supporters. In the Notes to "Waverley," Scott speaks of the Baron's place at Tully-Veolan as a composite picture of "various old Scottish seats." However, Robert Chambers, in his "Illustrations," points out that Tully-Veolan strikingly resembles Traquair House in Peeblesshire.

"The aspect of the gateway, avenue, and house itself, is precisely that of the semi-Gothic, bear-guarded mansion of Bradwardine. It is true that, in place of the multitudinous representations of the bear, so profusely scattered around Tully-Veolan, we have here only a single pair, which adorn the gate at the head of the avenue; and that the avenue itself cannot pretend to match the broad continuous shade through which Waverley approached the Highland Castle; and also that several other important features

1 See the curious "Journall and Memoirs of PC" in the Lockhart Papers, which contain an inimitable portrait of Prince Charlie on board the vessel that carried him to Scotland.

are wanting to complete the resemblance; yet, if we be not altogether imposed upon by fancy, there is a likeness sufficiently strong to support the idea that this scene formed the original study of the more finished and bold-featured picture of the novelist. Traquair House was finished in the reign of Charles I, by the first earl, who was lord high treasurer of Scotland at that period. This date corresponds with that assigned to TullyVeolan, which, says the author, was built when architects had not yet abandoned the castellated style peculiar to the preceding warlike ages, nor yet acquired the art of constructing a baronial mansion without a view to defence."

It is worth adding, that Charles, fifth Earl of Traquair, was a sleeping rebel in the 1745 Rebellion; that is, he gave it moral and pecuniary support.

Scott's sense of place, shown in his account of Tully-Veolan, and of the still wilder scenes in the Highlands, never served him better than in his first romance. The Black Bog below the pass of Bally Brough, the cavern of Donald Bean, the tower or highland mansion of Vich Ian Vohr, and the surroundings of Glennaquoich: they are admirably realized. For the sake of tracking Prince Charlie's route from the wilds of Moidart, and so east and south to Edinburgh, via Glenfinnan, Glen More, Invergarry, Corriearric, Dalwhinnie, Dunkeld, Perth, Dunblane, Doune, Stirling, one ought to have a military map of Scotland,―never was there history or novel written that could draw upon a Celtic region more full of old romantic associations. Many of the Jacobite songs of this time have a mingled echo of its glens and duns:

"He's the flower o' a' Glenisla,

And the darlin' o' Dunkel'.

See the white rose in his bonnet!
See his banner o'er the Tay !!
His gude sword, he has drawn it :
He has flung the sheath away."

One may say of the Highland and Gaelic effects in "Waverley, that they give it a claim to rank as a forerunner of the movement that brought Celtic romance and Celtic folk-lore to bear upon English literature. This was in spite of a certain lurking Lowland prejudice against the Gaelic temper and character, which Scott nourished and never quite overcame, and which betrays him in his treatment of Fergus Mac-Ivor. But romance has its sure revenges; and so it is, Waverley, the pattern-hero, the English

man compact of honour and the exemplary qualities, cannot stand in the day of judgment by the side of Fergus, who Scott more than hints was a typical Gael with the un-English easy virtue of the Gael.

Scott, however, designed in "Waverley" to range impartially over Highlands and Lowlands and all the wide domain of Scottish history and tradition. It is hardly a novel in the ordinary sense; it is a picture of Scott's ample mind, and of the fair and manifold intellectual heritage that was his, in the day before the railway, the great romance-destroyer, had reached Scotland, and before the Bodach-glas or the Bodach-an-dun had vanished from the House of Fergus or of Rothiemurchus.

Scott himself has given in some detail the account of how he came to begin "Waverley" in 1805, resume it five or six years later, and finish it at last in 1814; and as this is reproduced in the following pages, it need not be summarized here. But there is one story of the writing of the novel, told by Lockhart, which gives a very remarkable and almost uncanny picture of the great improvisator at work on a summer's evening, and which, once read, can never after be dissociated from the pages of "Waverley." Lockhart describes how, "happening to pass through Edinburgh in June, 1814, he dined one day with a friend who became the Honourable William Menzies, one of the Supreme Judges at the Cape of Good Hope, and whose residence was then in George Street, situated very near to, and at right angles with, North Castle Street. It was a party of very young persons, most of them, like Menzies and myself, destined for the Bar of Scotland, all gay and thoughtless, enjoying the first flush of manhood, with little remembrance of the yesterday, or care of the morrow. When my companion's worthy father and uncle, after seeing two or three bottles go round, left the juveniles to themselves, the weather being hot, we adjourned to a library which had one large window looking northwards. After carousing here for an hour or more, I observed that a shade had come over the aspect of my friend, who happened to be placed immediately opposite to myself, and said something that intimated a fear of his being unwell. 'No, said he, 'I shall be well enough presently, if you will only let me sit where you are, and take my chair; for there is a confounded hand in sight of me here, which has often bothered me before, and now it won't let me fill my glass with a good will.' I rose to change places with him accordingly, and he pointed out to me this hand which, like the writing on Belshazzar's wall, disturbed

his hour of hilarity. 'Since we sat down,' he said, "I have been watching it-it fascinates my eye-it never stops-page after page is finished and thrown on that heap of MS. and still it goes on unwearied-and so it will be till candles are brought in, and God knows how long after that. It is the same every night-I can't stand a sight of it when I am not at my books.'-'Some stupid, dogged, engrossing clerk, probably,' exclaimed myself, 'or some other giddy youth in our society.' 'No, boys,' said our host, ‘I well know what hand it is 'tis Walter Scott's.' This was the hand that, in the evenings of three summer weeks, wrote the two last volumes of 'Waverley.""


The following is a list of the works of Sir Walter Scott, 17711832

"Disputatio Juridica," etc., 1792 (Exercise on being called to the Bar); The Chase, and William and Helen (from German of Bürger), 1796; Goetz of Berlichingen (translation of Goethe's Tragedy); Apology for Tales of Terror (includes some of Author's ballads), privately printed, 1799; The Eve of St. John: A Border Ballad, 1800; Ballads in Lewis's "Tales of Wonder," 1801; Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders, 1802, 1803; Lay of the Last Minstrel, 1805; Ballads and Lyrical Pieces, 1806; Marmion: a Tale of Flodden Field, 1808; Life of Dryden; The Lady of the Lake, 1810; Vision of Don Roderick, 1811; Rokeby, 1813; The Bridal of Triermain, 1813; Abstract of Eyrbiggia Saga, in Jamieson's "Northern Antiquities," 1814; Waverley, or 'Tis Sixty Years Since, 1814; Life of Swift (prefixed to works), 1814; The Lord of the Isles, 1815; Guy Mannering, 1815; The Field of Waterloo, 1815; Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk, 1815; The Antiquary, 1816; Tales of my Landlord (Black Dwarf, Old Mortality), 1817 (1816); Harold the Dauntless, 1817; The Search after Happiness, or the Quest of Sultan Solimaun, 1817; Rob Roy, 1818; Tales of my Landlord (Heart of Midlothian), 1818; The Bride of Lammermoor, 1819; Description of the Regalia of Scotland, 1819; Ivanhoe, 1820; The Monastery, 1820; The Abbot, 1820; Kenilworth, 1821; Biographies in Ballantyne's "Novelists," 1821; Account of George IV's Coronation, 1821; The Pirate, 1822; Halidon Hill, 1822; Macduff's Cross (Joanna Baillie's Poetical Miscellanies), 1822; The Fortunes of Nigel, 1822; Peveril of the Peak, 1822; Quentin Durward, 1823; St. Ronan's Well, 1824; Redgauntlet, 1824; Tales of the Crusaders; The Betrothed; The Talisman, 1825; Woodstock, or the Cavaliers: A Tale of 1651, 1826; Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, 1827; Chronicles of the Canongate; The Two Drovers; The Highland Widow; The Surgeon's Daughter, 1827; Tales of a Grandfather, 1st Series, 1828; 2nd Series, 1829; 3rd Series, 1830; 4th Series, 1830; Chronicles of the Canongate; St. Valentine's Day, or The Fair Maid of Perth, 1828; My Aunt Margaret's Mirror; The Tapestried Chamber; The Laird's Jock (Keepsake, 1828); Religious Discourses, by a Layman, 1828; Anne of Geierstein, 1829; History of Scotland (Lardner's "Cabinet Cyclopædia"), 1830; Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, 1830; House of Aspen (Keep. sake, 1830); Doom of Devorgoil; Auchindrane, or the Ayrshire Tragedy,

1830; Essays on Ballad Poetry, 1830; Tales of My Landlord: Count Robert of Paris; Castle Dangerous, 1832.

Letters and Articles were contributed to Encyclopædia Britannica, 1814 (Chivalry; Drama); “Provincial Antiquities of Scotland," 1819-1826; "Edinburgh Weekly Journal," 1820, 1826; as well as frequent articles to the "Edinburgh" and "Quarterly" Reviews, and "Edinburgh Annual Register.

[ocr errors]

Collected Poems: 1820, 1821, 1823, 1830 (with Author's Prefaces); 1834 (Lockhart).

Collected Novels: 1820 (Novels and Tales); 1822 (Historical Romances); 1824 (Historical Romances), 26 vols. With Author's Notes, 1829-33, 48 vols. People's Edition, 1844-8; Abbotsford, 1842-7; Roxburghe, 1859-61; Dryburgh, 1892-4; Border (A. Lang), 1892-4; The Temple Edition (C. K. Shorter), 1897-9.

« AnteriorContinuar »