Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/25

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13
THE STORY OF SCOTT'S RUIN

hard, it was necessary to get some temporary help. Scott applied to the Duke of Buccleuch, as the chief of his clan, and the Duke's guarantee enabled him to raise the necessary sum. But, further, it was decided that the publishing business must be given up altogether. The printing was substantially a sound business, and might still be carried on. Scott accepted the position. He set most vigorously to work to extricate himself, and, after a sharp struggle, with apparently complete success. He complained, and it seems quite justly, of the conduct of the Ballantynes. They had not looked things fairly in the face, and had kept both themselves and him in darkness. He reproaches them, but with good temper and with friendly assurances. The misfortune, indeed, appears to have been that he did not complain enough. He was too good-natured, or felt too strongly his own responsibility for the misfortunes of the firm, to break off all connection with business and make himself once for all independent.

The publishing business, however, was finally abandoned. John Ballantyne became an auctioneer, though Scott continued to employ him in negotiations with publishers. The masses of unsaleable stock were gradually disposed of in various