Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/15

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THE STORY OF SCOTT'S RUIN

edition told the story honestly, although, in the heat of controversy, he incautiously accepted a position attributed to him by his antagonists. Instead of replying, as he might have replied, 'You are only repeating my own admissions,' he tried to withdraw from the admissions which he had virtually made. There is, I think, much truth in this, though I cannot discuss the point. But I also think it impossible to read Lockhart's pamphlet without regret, not only because, as Mr. Lang of course agrees, its insolent tone betrays excessive irritation, but because it is really, if unintentionally, unjust to other persons concerned. The interest of the question consists chiefly in its bearing upon Scott's character, though Mr. Lang's main concern in the matter is of course with Lockhart. Having lately had occasion to go over the controversy with a view to an article in the Dictionary of National Biography, I venture to say something of Scott's share in the matter. The shortest plan is to tell what seems to me to be the true story, from which it may incidentally appear how far it was slurred or softened in Lockhart's hands. That, however, is for me a matter of minor importance. First, I must notice one difficulty. Mr. Lang