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From the shrewdness and sagacity of some of his critical prefaces to his novels, where he discusses principles of literature without seeming to call them such, I am sometimes tempted to believe the latter.
And so, after all, Scott is greatest in his Scotticism. It is as a painter of Scottish nature and Scottish life, an interpreter of Scottish beliefs and Scottish feelings, a narrator of Scottish history, that he attains to the height of his genius. He has Scotticized European literature. He has interested the world in the little land. It had been heard of before; it had given the world some reason to be interested in it before; with, at no time, more than a million and a half of souls in it, it had spoken and acted with some emphasis in relation to the bigger nations around it. But, since Scott, the Thistle, till then a wayside weed, has had a great promotion in universal botany, and blooms, less prickly than of yore, but the identical Thistle still, in all the gardens of the world. All round the globe the little land is famous; tourists flock to it to admire its scenery, while they shoot its game; and afar off, when the kilted regiments do British work, and the pibroch shrills them to the work they do, and men, marking what they do, ask whence they come, the answer is "From the land of Scott."
"O Caledonia, stern and wild,
Meet nurse for a poetic child !"
sang Scott long ago. Caledonia nursed him, and he has repaid the nursing. And this man was born amongst you! This city gave him birth. All Scotland claims him, but here he had his peculiar home. Nor was he ultimus Scotorum, nor the last of the men of Edinburgh. You have since had among you, born among you or naturalized among you from other parts of Scotland, other specimens of the national breed-Jeffrey, Chalmers, Wilson, Miller, Hamilton. Nature abhors duplicates; and though in all of these there was an element of characteristic Scotticism, and this was a source of their strength, all of them were men by themselves, powerful by reason of their independent mould and structure, and not one of them a repetition of Scott. This is as it should be. Scotticism is not one invariable thing, fixed and intransmutable. It does not consist merely in vaunting and proclaiming itself, in working in Scottish facts, Scottish traditions, Scottish reminiscences-all of which has perhaps been done enough; it may be driven inwards; it may exist internally as a mode of thought; and there may be efficient Scotticism where not one word is said of the Thistle, and where the language
and the activity are catholic and cosmopolitan. And, seeing that it is so, need we suppose that we have yet seen the last of the Scotchmen, the last of the men of Edinburgh? No! The drain may still be southwards; Scotland now subserves, politically at least, the higher unity of Great Britain, just as that unity in its turn subserves a larger unity still, not so obviously carved out in the body of the surrounding world; at the time when Scotland was united to her great neighbour, she was made partaker of an intellectual accumulation and an inheritance of institutions, far richer, measured by the mode of extension, than she had to offer to that neighbour in return; and since that period, while much of the effort of Scotland has been in continuation of her own separate development, much has necessarily and justly been ruled by the law of her fortunate partnership. And so for the future, it may be the internal Scotticism, working on British or on still more general objects, and not the Scotticism that works only on Scottish objects of thought, that may be in demand in literature as well as in other walks. But while Scotland is true to herself, and while nature in her and her social conditions co-operate to impart to her sons such an education as heretofore, there needs be no end to her race of
characteristic men, nor even to her home-grown and home-supported literature. And, if so of Scotland at large, so relatively of the city that is her centre. While the traditions of Edinburgh are not forgotten, nor her monuments destroyed, nor her beauties eradicated; while the Castle still frowns in the midst, and the Lion of Arthur's Seat still keeps guard, and the wooded Corstorphines lie soft on one side, and the Pentlands loom larger behind, and the same circle of objects surrounds the ravished sight by day, and at night the lamp-lit darkness of the city's own heights and hollows is one glittering picturesque, and far off Inchkeith light flashes and disappears, piercing this nocturnal picturesque intermittingly, as with the gleam of a distant mystery; so long, if but human will and industry answer as they ought, may this city keep up her intellectual succession. There are great ones gone, and nature abhors duplicates; but
"Other spirits there are, standing apart
BRITISH NOVELISTS SINCE SCOTT.
THE British Novelists since Scott are a very numerous body. Among them may be reckoned some of those mentioned in my last Lecture as having preceded Scott in the field of Prose Fiction-particularly Mrs. Opie, Godwin, the two Miss Porters, Miss Edgeworth, Lady Morgan, and Mr. Maturin. Though these had all preceded Scott as writers of prose fiction, they continued to write novels after the Author of Waverley had become the acknowledged king of that species of literature; and some of them were not less affected than their juniors by his surpassing influence. Then, in the list of British novelists who made their appearance during the eighteen years in which the Waverley novels were in progress, some very shortly after the series had been begun, and others just as it was closing and Scott was retiring from the scene, I count no fewer than thirty-five names of some past or present note-to wit, in Scotland, or of