What think you of a visit to Abbotsford? I have seen this confused pile,— a folly made sacred by the memory of its great author. To one fresh from America, who had not seen the baronial seats of England, Abbotsford might appear large and interesting in an architectural point of view; but to me it seemed little more than a large baby-house, with its keep and towers, on which were mounted boys' guns,—weak imitations of the proud and impregnable towers which actually compose the old castle. As I saw this building, I felt the fatal weakness of Scott's character more than ever, and sighed to think that he could not have had the simple tastes which I found in Wordsworth. Here was this child of the Sun, who might have left a path of unmixed light behind him, degrading and enslaving himself, in order to accumulate what Wordsworth rightly called to me ‘a few dirty acres,’ and to become a country squire,—setting no price upon his immeasurable possessions of renown, and coveting the sterile fields of his neighbors. The house is in wretched taste; and the entrance-hall, which makes such a figure in all descriptions, is a small apartment, filled with arms and relics which would be in their place in a museum, but which are not in keeping with a house of the size of Abbotsford. I hear much said of the injudiciousness of Lockhart, in his biography. He has mortally offended many persons. I have not time or space to repeat the stories I have heard; but when you know that I am now in the midst of all Sir Walter's neighbors, you will understand that I cannot be misinformed. The fatal affair of the Ballantynes1 has plunged his friends into great difficulty. Sir David Brewster read me a portion of a letter just received from Napier, the editor of the ‘Edinburgh Review,’ in which the latter complains of the difficulty of the subject, and says that an honest dissection of Scott's character may present him in a light in which his friends would be very unwilling to view him; and so the editor proposed to be silent. It is said that Lockhart did not submit his pages to any critical friend before publication, and that his publisher (Cadell) actually struck out some expressions which offended even his uneducated ear. Lockhart, as you are aware, asked for Scott's letters from all his correspondents. Rogers sent a large packet, without examining them; and among them, it is said, was one or more informing Rogers that Lockhart was about to become the son-inlaw of Sir Walter, and expressing for him the greatest detestation. And yet I am assured that they appeared to harmonize very well; and I believe that Lockhart was always kind and attentive to his wife. Lady Brewster—who is herself the daughter of Macpherson Ossian—told me that she was the intimate friend of Mrs. Lockhart, whom she believed to be entirely happy with her husband. What an odd thing that I, fresh from Lord Brougham, should have passed into another circle where I hear that about him which he does not know himself! Brewster read me a part of Napier's letter, in which the editor says: ‘Brougham is pestering me to death. I am afraid we shall be ’
This text is part of:
Table of Contents:
Chapter 2 : Parentage and Family.—the father.
Chapter 3 : birth and early Education.— 1811 - 26 .
Chapter 4 : College Life.— September , 1826 , to September , 1830 .—age, 15 - 19 .
Chapter 5 : year after College.— September , 1830 , to September , 1831 .—Age, 19 - 20 .
Chapter 6 : Law School .— September , 1831 , to December , 1833 .—Age, 20 - 22 .
Chapter 7 : study in a law office .—Visit to Washington .— January , 1854 , to September , 1834 .—Age, 23 .
Chapter 8 : early professional life.— September , 1834 , to December , 1837 .—Age, 23 - 26 .
Chapter 9 : going to Europe .— December , 1837 .—Age, 26 .
Chapter 10 : the voyage and Arrival.— December , 1837 , to January , 1838 — age, 26 - 27 .
Chapter 11 : Paris .—its schools.— January and February , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 12 : Paris .—Society and the courts.— March to May , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 13 : England .— June , 1838 , to March , 1839 .—Age, 27 - 28 .
Chapter 14 : first weeks in London .— June and July , 1838 .—Age, 27 .
Chapter 15 : the Circuits .—Visits in England and Scotland .— August to October , 1838 .—age, 27 .
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