Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/20

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STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

interests—and John at least was given to roundabout intrigues—Scott's own reputation suffered from this indefinite and secret connection. Murray and Longman, instead of making a direct bargain with the author himself, had to negotiate through these inferior auxiliaries, and were far from pleased with their manœuvres.

There can be no doubt, too, that, as Lockhart says, the connection led Scott into practising concealments of various kinds in a way hardly worthy of his character. He had begun by communicating all his early works to his friends before publication. After this connection was formed he indulged in mystification. The great secret as to the Waverley Novels was in all probability really due to this. He had been annoyed by hearing that publishers thought that his name was becoming 'too cheap.' The later poems had not equalled the circulation of their predecessors. Scott had now begun to look at the matter from the publisher's as well as from the author's point of view, and probably thought that it might be as well not to risk injury to his fame by an unsuccessful attempt in a new line. He would at least wait till success or failure was decided. Once begun, the mystery was rather attractive than otherwise,