Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/45

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33
THE STORY OF SCOTT'S RUIN

bination, that is, between the romantic and the business elements shows itself in a way which Lockhart has to ignore. Scott, he says 'studiously escaped from whatever could have interfered with his own enjoyment'; put, that is, both his official business and his bill transactions out of his mind in order to retire to the world of the Waverley Novels, or to throw himself into social distractions.

This theory, though we may partly accept it, is pushed too far, if, with Lockhart, we take it to imply that Scott chose to remain ignorant of Ballantyne's conduct of his business. There it plainly conflicts with hard facts. The truth is, apparently, that Scott's romance took a peculiar turn. It implied, in particular, a very low estimate of the value of written romances. No great author ever had a lower opinion of the claims of authors upon the gratitude of mankind. It appeared to him, as we know, perfectly absurd to suppose that the writer of his 'bits of novels,' could be worth the attention of the hero of Waterloo. Ardently as he loved literature, he reckoned literature in general, and his own in particular, to be the harmless amusement of life, and only worth considering as an ornamental appendage. I suspect that his view has much

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