Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/31

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19
THE STORY OF SCOTT'S RUIN

This gives the real issue between Lockhart and Ballantyne's trustees; and here I may confess to being not quite clear as to the meaning of the financial statements. The first point is the debt of some £30,000, for which Scott undertook the personal responsibility in 1822. How did it originate? On Lockhart's theory, it was entirely the result of the original debt incurred by the publishing concern, which had been taken over by the printing concern and had been allowed to accumulate under Ballantyne's ineffectual management. On the theory of Ballantyne's trustees, on the contrary, that debt had been completely extinguished; and the accumulation of debt was simply due to Scott's expenditure upon Abbotsford. I cannot discover that either statement is proved by definite figures; but there are some obvious difficulties in accepting Lockhart's version, and a brief consideration of them seems to make the case tolerably clear. In the first place, Scott obviously and admittedly wanted money. In the middle of the early crisis he had begun his purchases of land. They had no doubt seemed justifiable because he had at the same time tapped the great spring of wealth opened by Waverley (1814). During the