Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/41

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29
THE STORY OF SCOTT'S RUIN

for Halidon Hill—a trifle turned out in two rainy mornings—rejoiced in having made such a bargain, and suggested that Scott might add to his income by writing such a thing once a quarter. Scott, again, he observed, might make £6000 by an edition of the English poets, 'as an occasional relief from more important labours.' He was to edit Shakespeare with Lockhart, and was to contribute to the Miscellany, which was to be a perfect mine of wealth, as indeed it turned out to be in the main a judicious speculation. It was only in the last years that Constable seems to have reflected that even Scott might possibly overwrite himself; and even then he rather proposed that some of the energy might be diverted to other ends, such as history or editing, than that it should be diminished. A publisher, who was thus doing all in his power to stimulate the productivity of an author, would hardly be inclined to raise any difficulty as to advances or to encourage any doubts as to his own power of paying for the work to be done. Some two years before the crash he had become a little alarmed at the amount of floating obligations, and suggested to Scott the advisability of reducing the quantity of bills. Scott took the suggestion in good part, and proposed, though