Author: Mabie, Hamilton Wright, 1846-1916
The Mentor: Walter Scott, Vol. 4, Num. 15, Serial No. 115, September 15, 1916
Obvious typographical errors have been corrected. Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation in the original document have been preserved.
LEARN ONE THING
SEPTEMBER 15 1916
SERIAL NO. 115
By HAMILTON W. MABIE
Author and Editor
FIFTEEN CENTS A COPY
The Wizard of the North
THE causes of Sir Walter Scott’s ascendancy are to be found in the goodness of his heart, the integrity of his conduct, the romantic and picturesque accessories and atmosphere of his life, the fertile brilliancy of his literary execution, the charm that he exercises, both as man and artist, over the imagination, the serene, tranquilizing spirit of his works, and, above all, the buoyancy, the happy freedom of his genius.
HE was not simply an intellectual power, he was also a human and gentle comforter. He wielded an immense mental force, but he always wielded it for good, and always with tenderness. It is impossible to conceive of his ever having done a wrong act, or of any contact with his influence that would not inspire the wish to be virtuous and noble. The scope of his sympathy was as broad as are the weakness and need of the human race. He understood the hardship in the moral condition of mankind and he wished and tried to relieve it.
HIS writings are full of sweetness and cheer, and they contain nothing that is morbid—nothing that tends toward surrender or misery. He did not sequester himself in mental pride, but simply and sturdily, through years of conscientious toil, he employed the faculties of a strong, tender, gracious genius for the good of his fellow-creatures. The world loves him because he is worthy to be loved, and because he has lightened the burden of its care and augmented the sum of its happiness.
From “Over the Border” by William Winter
COURTESY, THE PAGE COMPANY
FROM A DRAWING BY R. W. MACBETH
WAVERLEY” is a story of the rebellion of the chevalier Prince Charles Edward, in Scotland, in 1745.
Edward Waverley, the central figure of the tale, was a captain of dragoons in the English army. He obtained a leave of absence from his regiment and went to Scotland for a rest, staying at the home of Baron Bradwardine. During his stay a band of Highlanders drove off the Baron’s cattle, and Waverley offered his assistance in recovering them.
Fergus MacIvor was the chief of the band which stole the cattle. Waverley met his sister, Flora, and fell in love with her, but she discouraged him.
Later Waverley was wounded by a stag; and the rebellion having started in the meanwhile, one of the Highlanders, assuming Waverley to be a sympathizer, used his name and seal to start a mutiny in Waverley’s troop. For this reason Waverley was dismissed from his regiment for desertion and treason. Indignant at this unjust treatment, Waverley joined the rebellion, first, however, returning home in an attempt to justify himself. On this trip he was arrested for treason, but was rescued by the Highlanders when on his way to the dungeon of Stirling Castle.
Waverley served in the war, and when the rebellion was crushed he escaped, and later made his way to London. There his name was cleared from the false charges, and a pardon obtained for both himself and Baron Bradwardine. Flora’s brother was executed, and she herself retired to a convent at Paris. Waverley married Rose, the beautiful daughter of Baron Bradwardine.
One of the most charming scenes in the story took place shortly after Waverley met Flora at the home of her brother. Flora had promised to sing a Gaelic song for him in one of her favorite haunts. One of the attendants guided him to a beautiful waterfall in the neighborhood, and there he saw Flora.
“Here, like one of those lovely forms which decorate the landscapes of Poussin, Waverley found Flora gazing on the waterfall. Two paces farther back stood Cathleen, holding a small Scottish harp, the use of which had been taught to Flora by Rory Dall, one of the last harpers of the western Highlands. The sun, now stooping in the west, gave a rich and varied tinge to all the objects which surrounded Waverley, and seemed to add more than human brilliancy to the full, expressive darkness of Flora’s eye, exalted the richness and purity of her complexion, and enhanced the dignity and grace of her beautiful form. Edward thought he had never, even in his wildest dreams, imagined a figure of such exquisite and interesting loveliness. The wild beauty of the retreat, bursting upon him as if by magic, augmented the mingled feelings of delight and awe with which he approached her, like a fair enchantress of Boiardo or Ariosto, by whose nod the scenery around seemed to have been created—an Eden in the wilderness.
“Flora, like every beautiful woman, was conscious of her own power, and pleased with its effects, which she could easily discern from the respectful yet confused address of the young soldier. But as she possessed excellent sense, she gave the romance of the scene and other accidental circumstance full weight in appreciating the feelings with which Waverley seemed obviously to be impressed; and unacquainted with the fanciful and susceptible peculiarities of his character, considered his homage as the passing tribute which a woman of even inferior charms might have expected in such a situation. She therefore quietly led the way to a spot at such a distance from the cascade that its sound should rather accompany than interrupt that of her voice and instrument, and sitting down upon a mossy fragment of rock, she took the harp from Cathleen.”
“Waverley” was the first of the world-famous series of romances to which it gives the title. It was published anonymously in 1814. Although the authorship of the series was generally accredited to Scott, it was never formally acknowledged until business conditions necessitated it in 1826.
COURTESY, THE PAGE COMPANY
FROM AN ETCHING BY C. O. MURRAY
MEG MERRILIES DIRECTS BERTRAM TO THE CAVE—”guy mannering”
GUY MANNERING, a young Englishman traveling through Scotland, stopped one night at the home of the Laird of Ellangowan. When the Laird learned that the young man had studied astrology, he begged him to cast the horoscope of his son, who had been born that night. What was Mannering’s dismay to find that two catastrophes overhung the lad, one at his fifth, and the other at his twenty-first year! He told the father, however, that he might be warned; and later went his way.
The fortunes of the Laird of Ellangowan, Godfrey Bertram, waned rapidly. In addition to this, his son, Harry, at the age of five, was kidnapped. It was impossible to learn whether the child was alive or dead. The boy’s mother died from the shock; and some years later the Laird himself followed her, leaving his daughter Lucy penniless.
In the meanwhile, Guy Mannering had become Colonel Mannering. He had married and had a daughter, Julia. She had fallen in love with a young officer, named Vanbeest Brown, who had served in India under Colonel Mannering. The colonel objected to him as a suitor, because of the obscurity of his birth.
When things were at their worst for Lucy Bertram, Colonel Mannering returned to England. Accidentally hearing of the straits to which she had been reduced, he at once invited her and her guardian to make their home with him and his daughter Julia.
Captain Brown followed the Mannerings to England; and finally he proved to be the long lost Harry Bertram, brother of Lucy. He had been abducted with the help of Meg Merrilies, a gypsy, and some smugglers, at the instigation of a man named Glossin, once agent for the Laird of Ellangowan, who had hoped to get possession of the Laird’s property. He finally succeeded in this; but, after his crime was discovered, he died a violent death in prison. Bertram had been kidnapped and taken to Holland, where the name of Vanbeest Brown had been given him.
Meg Merrilies is regarded as one of the great characters of fiction.
“The fairy bride of Sir Gawaine, while under the influence of the spell of her wicked stepmother, was more decrepit, probably, and what is commonly called more ugly, than Meg Merrilies; but I doubt if she possessed that wild sublimity which an excited imagination communicated to features marked and expressive in their own peculiar character, and to the gestures of a form which, her sex considered, might be termed gigantic. Accordingly, the Knights of the Round Table did not recoil with more terror from the apparition of the loathly lady placed between ‘an oak and a green holly,’ than Lucy Bertram and Julia Mannering did from the appearance of this Galwegian sibyl upon the common of Ellangowan.
“‘For God’s sake,’ said Julia, pulling her purse, ‘give that dreadful woman something, and bid her go away,’
“‘I cannot,’ said Bertram: ‘I must not offend her.’
“‘What keeps you here?’ said Meg, exalting the harsh and rough tones of her hollow voice. ‘Why do you not follow? Must your hour call you twice? Do you remember your oath?—were it at kirk or market, wedding or burial,’—and she held high her skinny forefinger in a menacing attitude….
“Almost stupefied with surprise and fear, the young ladies watched with anxious looks the course of Bertram, his companion, and their extraordinary guide. Her tall figure moved across the wintry heath with steps so swift, so long, and so steady, that she appeared rather to glide than to walk. Bertram and Dinmont, both tall men, apparently scarce equaled her in height, owing to her longer dress and high headgear. She proceeded straight across the common, without turning aside to the winding path by which passengers avoided the inequalities and little rills that traversed it in different directions. Thus the diminishing figures often disappeared from the eye as they dived into such broken ground, and again ascended to sight when they were past the hollow. There was something frightful and unearthly, as it were, in the rapid and undeviating course which she pursued, undeterred by any of the impediments which usually incline a traveler from the direct path. Her way was as straight, and nearly as swift, as that of a bird through the air. At length they reached those thickets of natural wood which extended from the skirts of the common towards the glades and brook of Derneleugh, and were there lost to the view.”
“Guy Mannering” was published in 1815, the second of the Waverley novels to appear. It is said to have been the result of six weeks’ work. There are less than forty characters in the book, and the plot is not very complicated.
COURTESY, THE PAGE COMPANY
FROM THE PAINTING BY SIR J. E. MILLAIS
EFFIE DEANS AND GEORDIE—”heart of midlothian”
Heart of Midlothian
IN “Heart of Midlothian” Scott set himself to draw his own people at their best. The real heroine of the book is Jeanie Deans, whose character was drawn from that of Helen Walker, the daughter of a farmer in Scotland. With a few variations Jeanie’s story was hers.
Effie Deans, the sister of Jeanie, was doomed to death for child murder. Jeanie might have saved her on the witness stand by lying; but this she could not do even to save her sister. However, she showed the depth of her love by going on foot all the way to London and getting a pardon from the king.
Effie was released; but even before Jeanie reached home, she eloped with her betrayer, George Staunton, who married her and took her to London with him. There they lived as Lord and Lady Staunton, for George succeeded to the title of his father.
Jeanie married a Presbyterian minister, and by a combination of circumstances, learned that Effie’s son had never really been killed, but had been given to the care of Meg Murdockson, whose daughter Madge had also been betrayed by Staunton, or Geordie Robertson, as he was known in Scotland.
When Sir George Staunton learned this, he was anxious to discover the whereabouts of his son. He traced him to a certain band of vagabonds, of which Black Donald was the chief. Staunton attempted to arrest the leader, but in the affray was shot by a young lad called the Whistler. This lad later proved to be his long lost son.
Effie, who was now Lady Staunton, overcome with grief, attempted to drown her sorrows in the gayeties of the fashionable world. But this was in vain. She could not forget her grief, and finally she retired to a convent in France, where she remained until her death.
Jeanie and her husband were given a good parish by the Duke of Argyle, and through Effie’s influence the children of her sister were helped greatly.
“Heart of Midlothian” was first published anonymously in 1818. It takes its name from the Tolbooth, or old jail of Edinburgh, where Scott imagined Effie to have been in prison. This book has fewer characters than any other of Scott’s novels. It has also a smaller variety of incidents, and less description of scenery. One of the most touching scenes in all fiction is that in which Jeanie visits her sister in the prison under the eyes of the jailor, Ratcliffe.
“Ratcliffe marshalled her the way to the apartment where Effie was confined.
“Shame, fear, and grief, had contended for mastery in the poor prisoner’s bosom during the whole morning, while she had looked forward to this meeting; but when the door opened, all gave way to a confused and strange feeling that had a tinge of joy in it, as, throwing herself on her sister’s neck, she ejaculated: ‘My dear Jeanie!—my dear Jeanie! It’s lang since I hae seen ye.’ Jeanie returned the embrace with an earnestness that partook almost of rapture, but it was only a flitting emotion, like a sunbeam unexpectedly penetrating betwixt the clouds of a tempest, and obscured almost as soon as visible. The sisters walked together to the side of the pallet bed, and sat down side by side, took hold of each other’s hands, and looked each other in the face, but without speaking a word. In this posture they remained for a minute, while the gleam of joy gradually faded from their features, and gave way to the most intense expression, first of melancholy, and then of agony, till, throwing themselves again into each other’s arms, they, to use the language of Scripture, lifted up their voices and wept bitterly.
“Even the hard-hearted turnkey, who had spent his life in scenes calculated to stifle both conscience and feeling, could not witness this scene without a touch of human sympathy. It was shown in a trifling action, but which had more delicacy in it than seemed to belong to Ratcliffe’s character and station. The unglazed window of the miserable chamber was open and the beams of a bright sun fell right upon the bed where the sufferers were seated. With a gentleness that had something of reverence in it, Ratcliffe partly closed the shutter, and seemed thus to throw a veil over a scene so sorrowful.”
COURTESY, THE PAGE COMPANY
FROM A DRAWING BY AD. LALAUZE
THE BLACK KNIGHT AT THE HERMITAGE—”ivanhoe”
SIR WILFRED, Knight of Ivanhoe, a young Saxon knight, brave and handsome, was disinherited by his father because he loved Rowena, a Saxon heiress and a ward of his father. He therefore went on a crusade to Palestine with Richard the Lion Hearted. Returning, under the name of Desdichado (The Disinherited) he entered the lists of the Ashby Tournament: and, having won the victory, he was crowned by the Lady Rowena.
At this tournament there was one knight in particular who aided Ivanhoe. This was the Black Knight, and his feats of valor set all the spectators to wondering who he might be. He was in reality Richard the Lion Hearted, the Crusader, King of England.
Just at this time King Richard’s younger brother, John, was conspiring to take the throne of England from him. One of his fellow conspirators was Maurice de Bracy, who was in love with Rowena. He captured her as she was returning from the tournament, and imprisoned her in the Tower of Torquilstone.
Ivanhoe, who was wounded in the tournament, was cared for by Isaac of York and his daughter, Rebecca. She fell in love with him, but realized that she could never marry him; and knowing that Ivanhoe loved Rowena, she offered to give any sum of money for her release.
This was not effected, however, until Torquilstone had been besieged by Locksley, who was really Robin Hood, and his men, led by the Black Knight. The Black Knight had come upon this band in his wanderings through Sherwood Forest. He ran across the little chapel of the Hermit, one of Locksley’s men, in the the following manner:
“The entrance to this ancient place of devotion was under a very low round arch, ornamented by several courses that zigzag moulding, resembling shark’s teeth, which appears so often in the more ancient Saxon architecture. A belfry rose above the porch on four small pillars, within which hung the green and weatherbeaten bell, the feeble sounds of which had been some time before heard by the Black Knight.
“The whole peaceful and quiet scene lay glimmering in twilight before the eyes of the traveler, giving him good assurance of lodging for the night; since it was a special duty of those hermits who dwelt in the woods to exercise hospitality towards benighted or bewildered passengers.
“Accordingly, the knight took no time to consider minutely the particulars which we have detailed, but thanking Saint Julian (the patron of travelers), who had sent him good harborage, he leaped from his horse and assailed the door of the hermitage with the butt of his lance, in order to arouse attention and gain admittance.”
The Hermit who lived there and who gave the Black Knight food and lodging, was Friar Tuck.
Finally Rowena was rescued and married Ivanhoe. Rebecca was carried away by the Templar Bois-Guilbert, who was madly and vainly in love with her, to the Preceptory of Templestowe, and convicted of sorcery. She was condemned to be burned alive, but was allowed a trial by combat. Ivanhoe was her champion, and in the contest with the Templar he was the victor. Rebecca was then pronounced guiltless and freed.
“Ivanhoe” is one of Scott’s most famous novels. It was written and published in 1819. The manuscript is now at Abbotsford.
COURTESY, THE PAGE COMPANY
FROM A DRAWING BY AD. LALAUZE.
VARNEY, LEICESTER AND AMY ROBSART—”kenilworth”
THE central figure in “Kenilworth” is that of Queen Elizabeth of England, but the real heroine is Amy Robsart. She was the daughter of Sir Hugh Robsart. The Earl of Leicester, infatuated by her charms, married her secretly. He then established her at Cumnor Place, a lonely manor house. There she lived alone with one or two attendants. But she bore her solitude with pleasure as long as she was sure that Leicester loved her.
However, Leicester and the Earl of Surrey were rivals for the favor of Queen Elizabeth. In fact, each hoped that he might wed her; and, therefore, Leicester did not want his marriage to Amy made public.
Edmund Tressilian, who had been engaged to Amy, discovered her hiding place, and, not knowing that she was married, tried in vain to induce her to return home. Then he appealed to the queen; and when a disclosure of the truth seemed inevitable, Richard Varney, Leicester’s closest friend, affi