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[10] with the toy of royalty and the mechanism of separate classes, and to reach human nature itself. When we look at the masters of English fiction, Scott and Jane Austen, we notice that in scarcely one of their novels does one person ever swerve on the closing page from the precise social position he has held from the beginning. Society in their hands is fixed, not fluid. Of course, there are a few concealed heirs, a few revealed strawberry leaves, but never any essential change. I can recall no real social promotion in all the Waverley novels except where Halbert Glendinning weds the maid of Avenel, and there the tutelary genius disappears singing,—

The churl is lord, the maid is bride,

and it proved necessary for Scott to write a sequel, explaining that the marriage was on the whole a rather unhappy one, and that luckily they had no children. Not that Scott did not appreciate with the keenest zest his own Jeannie Deanses and Dandie Dinmonts, but they must keep their place; it is not human nature they vindicate, but peasant virtues.

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Walter Scott (3)
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