Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/26

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14
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

bargains for the sale of Waverley Novels, which began to appear in 1814; and it might be hoped that the whole disastrous muddle was finally at an end. John Ballantyne believed, in fact, that this result had been achieved. He says, in a memorandum quoted by Lockhart, that, owing to the 'consummate wisdom and resolution' of the first partner, the business had been finally wound up with a balance of £1000 to the good. Scott himself supposed that the toils were fairly broken. He was before long able to return the bond to the Duke of Buccleuch, and thought that the embarrassments were finally over, and that he had a right to spend freely the large income which was now beginning to flow in from the Waverley Novels. Even at the worst, it must be added, Scott could still say at this time that no man could ultimately be a loser by him. He had an independent income and unencumbered property. A bankruptcy would have been serious and discreditable, but even in that case all his creditors would have been ultimately paid.

This, then, was the end of the first act of the drama. If John Ballantyne's statement could be accepted, the result would be that Scott had finally got rid of his publishing encumbrances.