Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/35

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23
THE STORY OF SCOTT'S RUIN

to 'stand upon character alone.' Lockhart had indeed qualified his statement of Scott's ignorance by saying that, though cognisant of the general facts, he did not know how the proceeds of the bills were applied. This, as the trustees naturally reply, amounts to an abandonment of the case. It is plain that Scott was not only informed of what was being done, but actively directed, arranged, and suggested plans for carrying on the transactions. It is difficult, then, to suppose that Scott, when assuming the debt, did not actually admit that it was due to his own wants. It continued to accumulate after Ballantyne's acceptance of a partnership, and the question remains whether it was still caused by Scott's personal expenditure. Lockhart admits that in cases of emergency Scott might obtain an advance from the company. One such emergency, for example, was the purchase of a commission for his son. He declares, however, that Scott never failed, on receiving payment for a new novel, to replace the advances; and further declares that he showed 'anxious delicacy' when asking for such accommodation. The trustees, in answer to this, publish an account of the actual sums drawn from the business by Scott during Ballantyne's