The Life of Sir Walter Scott

By John Macrone; Daniel Grader | Go to book overview

Chapter VI
MISCELLANEOUS TRAITS
AND ANECDOTES

Politics – Failure as a Dramatist – Laidlaw on the Writing of Ivanhoe -
David Constable on M. Petizon – Love of Song – Clemency to Poachers –
Powers of Memory – Humility – Morality – Religion – Proofreading –
Authorship Denied Again – Portraits – Maida – Advice to Young Authors -
A Bold Appeal Rewarded – Joanna Baillie at Abbotsford – The Crisis – The
Death of Lady Scott – Her Charity – A Visit to Paris – Revolution
and Reform

In his politics, he was a firm and unflinching friend of his country and our common good: his love for our ancient institutions was intense, but it was, in some points, mistaken and abstract in its character. His love for feudal times and feudal manners displayed itself in his every heroic line, and it may be that he carried more of feudal politics into the vortex of reform displayed in the nineteenth century, than was consistent with the character of an actual lover of freedom. It is thus that an eminent scholar of the present day, himself most violently opposed to Toryism, felicitously and aptly denominated Sir Walter’s political bias ‘the politics of a poet, who lived, moved and had his being in a gorgeous world of his own creating; who saw nothing but ruin consequent on any change which had, for its object, the placing of uncontrolled power in the hands of the people.’1

Probably, had Sir Walter lived to behold the working of the measure he dreaded, and dreaded from a love of his country’s welfare alone, he might have been induced to retract the opinions which he, somewhat hastily, expressed at a popular meeting, and which brought his name, at the time, into public disrepute. Be that as it may, however, it is evident that no political stigma of illiberality can ever attach itself to the fame of a poet, who, in every page of his immortal writings, painted the loves and joys and trials of the meanest of his countrymen with as true a hand as he painted the despotism of their lords of the soil with an unsparing one. Where so many examples to illustrate the remark occur in his writings, it would be invidious to single out one, but I may just

1. This quotation has not been traced.

-102-

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The Life of Sir Walter Scott
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • The Afterglow of Abbotsford- John Macrone, Celebrity Culture, and Commemoration 49
  • Preface 63
  • Chapter I - Macrone at Abbotsford and Innerleithen in 1832 65
  • Chapter II - 1771–1797 70
  • Chapter III - 1797–1815 77
  • Chapter IV - The Novelist 85
  • Chapter V - Scott at Abbotsford 95
  • Chapter VI - Miscellaneous Traits and Anecdotes 102
  • Chapter VII - 1831–2 116
  • Chapter VIII - Eulogy 125
  • Appendix I - Macrone and Cunningham 130
  • Appendix II - A Fragment of Another Preface 132
  • Appendix III - Another Conclusion 133
  • Appendix IV - Hogg’s Anecdotes Introduced 134
  • Appendix V - Three Witnesses 136
  • Bibliography 149
  • Index 155
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