Page:Studies of a Biographer 2.djvu/47

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35
THE STORY OF SCOTT'S RUIN

more doubtful. Scott accepted with complete frankness the view that his own writings were to be entirely subordinate. No doubt, as they expressed his Toryism, his patriotism, his hearty appreciation of manly, independent, and domestic and social affections, they helped to propagate his ideal of life; but they were also distinctly and most avowedly written to sell. He wanted to live his romance more than to write it. The desire may remind us of Milton's doctrine that the man who would write an heroic poem should be 'himself a true poem.' Only, Milton lived in order to write Paradise Lost, whereas Scott wrote Waverley in order to live in his own fashion, and that fashion involved anachronisms not of the truly heroic kind. The result, too, was not what Lockhart implies. This romance did not take him away from the world of bankers’ books and balance-sheets. On the contrary, it gave such a charm to the position which he desired that he accepted them as a necessary, though no doubt a very disagreeable, part of the process. All the bill-discounting represented painful thought and recurring anxiety, from which we may well believe that he was glad to escape, whether to writing in his study or superintending Tom Purdie and his