Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/28

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16
STUDIES OF A BIOGRAPHER

of £400 a year. During the following six years, therefore, 'Ballantyne and Co.' meant really Scott himself. He was the sole proprietor, and had, of course, a right to do with it whatever he pleased. In 1822, however, a new arrangement was made. Scott agreed to take Ballantyne again into partnership in the business of which he speaks as 'now so flourishing.' The profits were henceforth to be equally divided, Scott's influence and custom being regarded as equivalent to Ballantyne's labour as a manager. The partners were only to draw moderate sums, so that the debt might be extinguished. This debt, however, implies a remarkable state of things. Scott, in a document called a 'missive letter,' which shows his thorough familiarity with the facts, agrees that he is to be personally responsible for the bills due at that time by the firm. They then amounted to something like £30,000. Between this time and the crash at the end of 1825 the debts had increased to about £46,000. This debt, increased by the additional liability caused by Constable's failure, brought about Scott's ruin; and the problem remains—who was responsible for the accumulation? On one point, of course, there can be no dispute. If Scott had shown the