Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/14

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

due to a sensitive nature, was mistaken, as is so often the case, for supercilious pride, and the unwillingness to wear his heart on his sleeve for coldness and want of sympathy. Such men have to be content with scanty appreciation from outside, and Lockhart had to pass for an incarnation of the cynical variety of Toryism. Mr. Lang, it is to be hoped, has appealed successfully from the erroneous judgment hitherto too often passed. There is, however, one point upon which I am forced to think that he has been a little too lenient. It concerns Lockhart's controversy[1] in regard to the causes of Scott's financial difficulties. In the Life of Scott Lockhart had the very difficult task of accounting for his father-in-law's misfortunes, and it was of course to be expected that the other persons concerned should not be satisfied with the statement. If, indeed, he was not quite impartial, it is impossible to blame him severely for dealing a little too tenderly with the character which he so loved and honoured. Mr. Lang defends him, too, upon the ground that he had in his first

  1. The Ballantyne Humbug Handled, etc. (1839) is an answer to a 'refutation' of Lockhart's statements in the Life by Ballantyne's trustees. They made a 'reply,' to which Lockhart gave no answer.