Waverley Novels — Volume 12 eBook: Page2
Walter Scott (2004)
JEDEDIAH CLEISHBOTHAM, A.M.
TO THE LOVING READER WISHETH HEALTH AND PROSPERITY.
It would ill become me, whose name has been spread abroad by thoseformer collections bearing this title of "Tales of my Landlord," andwho have, by the candid voice of a numerous crowd of readers, beentaught to think that I merit not the empty fame alone, but also themore substantial rewards, of successful pencraft--it would, I say, illbecome me to suffer this my youngest literary babe, and, probably atthe same time, the last child of mine old age, to pass into the worldwithout some such modest apology for its defects, as it has been mycustom to put forth on preceding occasions of the like nature. Theworld has been sufficiently instructed, of a truth, that I am notindividually the person to whom is to be ascribed the actual inventingor designing of the scheme upon which these Tales, which men have foundso pleasing, were originally constructed, as also that neither am I theactual workman, who, furnished by a skilful architect with an accurateplan, including elevations and directions both general and particular,has from thence toiled to bring forth and complete the intended shapeand proportion of each division of the edifice. Nevertheless, I havebeen indisputably the man, who, in placing my name at the head of theundertaking, have rendered myself mainly and principally responsiblefor its general success. When a ship of war goeth forth to battle withher crew, consisting of sundry foremast-men and various officers, suchsubordinate persons are not said to gain or lose the vessel which theyhave manned or attacked, (although each was natheless sufficientlyactive in his own department;) but it is forthwith bruited and noisedabroad, without further phrase, that Captain Jedediah Cleishbotham hathlost such a seventy-four, or won that which, by the united exertions ofall thereto pertaining, is taken from the enemy. In the same manner,shame and sorrow it were, if I, the voluntary Captain and founder ofthese adventures, after having upon three divers occasions assumed tomyself the emolument and reputation thereof, should now withdraw myselffrom the risks of failure proper to this fourth and last out-going. No!I will rather address my associates in this bottom with the constantspirit of Matthew Prior's heroine:
"Did I but purpose to embark with thee On the smooth surface of some summer sea, But would forsake the waves, and make the shore, When the winds whistle, and the billows roar!"
As little, nevertheless, would it become my years and station not toadmit without cavil certain errors which may justly be pointed out inthese concluding "Tales of my Landlord,"--the last, and, it ismanifest, never carefully revised or corrected handiwork, of Mr. PeterPattison, now no more; the same worthy young man so repeatedlymentioned in these Introductory Essays, and never without that tributeto his good sense and talents, nay, even genius, which hiscontributions to this my undertaking fairly entitled him to claim atthe hands of his surviving friend and patron. These pages, I have said,were the _ultimus labor_ of mine ingenious assistant; but I say not, asthe great Dr. Pitcairn of his hero--_ultimus atque optitmis_. Alas!even the giddiness attendant on a journey on this Manchester rail-roadis not so perilous to the nerves, as that too frequent exercise in themerry-go-round of the ideal world, whereof the tendency to render thefancy confused, and the judgment inert, hath in all ages been noted,not only by the erudite of the earth, but even by many of thethick-witted Ofelli themselves; whether the rapid pace at which thefancy moveth in such exercitations, where the wish of the penman is tohim like Prince Houssain's tapestry, in the Eastern fable, be the chiefsource of peril--or whether, without reference to this wearing speed ofmovement, and dwelling habitually in those realms of imagination, be aslittle suited for a man's intellect, as to breathe for any considerablespace "the difficult air of the mountain top" is to the physicalstructure of his outward frame--this question belongeth not to me; butcertain it is, that we often discover in the works of the foremost ofthis order of men, marks of bewilderment and confusion, such as do notso frequently occur in those of persons to whom nature hath concededfancy weaker of wing, or less ambitious in flight.
It is affecting to see the great Miguel Cervantes himself, even likethe sons of meaner men, defending himself against the critics of theday, who assailed him upon such little discrepancies and inaccuraciesas are apt to cloud the progress even of a mind like his, when theevening is closing around it. "It is quite a common thing," says DonQuixote, "for men who have gained a very great reputation by theirwritings before they were printed, quite to lose it afterwards, or, atleast, the greater part."--"The reason is plain," answers the BachelorCarrasco; "their faults are more easily discovered after the books areprinted, as being then more read, and more narrowly examined,especially if the author has been much cried up before, for then theseverity of the scrutiny is sure to be the greater. Those who haveraised themselves a name by their own ingenuity, great poets andcelebrated historians, are commonly, if not always, envied by a set ofmen who delight in censuring the writings of others, though they couldnever produce any of their own."--"That is no wonder," quoth DonQuixote; "there are many divines that would make but very dullpreachers, and yet are quick enough at finding faults and superfluitiesin other men's sermons."--"All this is true," says Carrasco, "andtherefore I could wish such censurers would be more merciful and lessscrupulous, and not dwell ungenerously upon small spots that are in amanner but so many atoms on the face of the clear sun they murmur at.If _aliquando dormitat Homerus_, let them consider how many nights hekept himself awake to bring his noble works to light as little darkenedwith defects as might be. But, indeed, it may many times happen, thatwhat is censured for a fault, is rather an ornament, as moles often addto the beauty of a face. When all is said, he that publishes a book,runs a great risk, since nothing can be so unlikely as that he shouldhave composed one capable of securing the approbation of everyreader."--"Sure," says Don Quixote, "that which treats of me can havepleased but few?"--"Quite the contrary," says Carrasco; "for as_infinitus est numerus stultorum_, so an infinite number have admiredyour history. Only some there are who have taxed the author with wantof memory or sincerity, because he forgot to give an account who it wasthat stole Sancho's Dapple, for that particular is not mentioned there,only we find, by the story, that it was stolen; and yet, by and by, wefind him riding the same ass again, without any previous light given usinto the matter. Then they say that the author forgot to tell thereader what Sancho did with the hundred pieces of gold he found in theportmanteau in the Sierra Morena, for there is not a word said of themmore; and many people have a great mind to know what he did with them,and how he spent them; which is one of the most material points inwhich the work is defective."
How amusingly Sancho is made to clear up the obscurities thus alludedto by the Bachelor Carrasco--no reader can have forgotten; but thereremained enough of similar _lacunas_, inadvertencies, and mistakes, toexercise the ingenuity of those Spanish critics, who were too wise intheir own conceit to profit by the good-natured and modest apology ofthis immortal author.
There can be no doubt, that if Cervantes had deigned to use it, hemight have pleaded also the apology of indifferent health, under whichhe certainly laboured while finishing the second part of "Don Quixote."It must be too obvious that the intervals of such a malady as thenaffected Cervantes, could not be the most favourable in the world forrevising lighter compositions, and correcting, at least, those grossererrors and imperfections which each author should, if it were but forshame's sake, remove from his work, before bringing it forth into thebroad light of day, where they will never fail to be distinctly seen,nor lack ingenious persons, who will be too happy in discharging theoffice of pointing them out.
It is more than time to explain with what purpose we have called thusfully to memory the many venial errors of the inimitable Cervantes, andthose passages in which he has rather defied his adversaries thanpleaded his own justification; for I suppose it will be readilygranted, that the difference is too wide betwixt that great wit ofSpain and ourselves, to permit us to use a buckler which was renderedsufficiently formida
The history of my first publications is sufficiently well known. Nordid I relinquish the purpose of concluding these "Tales of myLandlord," which had been so remarkably fortunate; but Death, whichsteals upon us all with an inaudible foot, cut short the ingeniousyoung man to whose memory I composed that inscription, and erected, atmy own charge, that monument which protects his remains, by the side ofthe river Gander, which he has contributed so much to render immortal,and in a place of his own selection, not very distant from the schoolunder my care. [Footnote: See Vol. II. of the present Edition, for somecircumstances attending this erection.] In a word, the ingenious Mr.Pattison was removed from his place.
Nor did I confine my care to his posthumous fame alone, but carefullyinventoried and preserved the effects which he left behind him, namely,the contents of his small wardrobe, and a number of printed books ofsomewhat more consequence, together with certain, wofully blurredmanuscripts, discovered in his repository. On looking these over, Ifound them to contain two Tales called "Count Robert of Paris," and"Castle Dangerous;" but was seriously disappointed to perceive thatthey were by no means in that state of correctness, which would inducean experienced person to pronounce any writing, in the technicallanguage of bookcraft, "prepared for press." There were not only_hiatus valde deflendi_, but even grievous inconsistencies, and othermistakes, which the penman's leisurely revision, had he been spared tobestow it, would doubtless have cleared away. After a considerateperusal, I no question flattered myself that these manuscripts, withall their faults, contained here and there passages, which seemedplainly to intimate that severe indisposition had been unable toextinguish altogether the brilliancy of that fancy which the world hadbeen pleased to acknowledge in the creations of Old Mortality, theBride of Lammermoor, and others of these narratives. But I,nevertheless, threw the manuscripts into my drawer, resolving not tothink of committing them to the Ballantynian ordeal, until I couldeither obtain the assistance of some capable person to supplydeficiencies, and correct errors, so as they might face the public withcredit, or perhaps numerous and more serious avocations might permit meto dedicate my own time and labour to that task.
While I was in this uncertainty, I had a visit from a stranger, who wasannounced as a young gentleman desirous of speaking with me onparticular business. I immediately augured the accession of a newboarder, but was at once checked by observing that the outward man ofthe stranger was, in a most remarkable degree, what mine host of theSir William Wallace, in his phraseology, calls _seedy_. His black cloakhad seen service; the waistcoat of grey plaid bore yet stronger marksof having encountered more than one campaign; his third piece of dresswas an absolute veteran compared to the others; his shoes were soloaded with mud as showed his journey must have been pedestrian; and agrey _maud_, which fluttered around his wasted limbs, completed such anequipment as, since Juvenal's days, has been the livery of the poorscholar. I therefore concluded that I beheld a candidate for the vacantoffice of usher, and prepared to listen to his proposals with thedignity becoming my station; but what was my surprise when I found Ihad before me, in this rusty student, no less a man than Paul, thebrother of Peter Pattison, come to gather in his brother's succession,and possessed, it seemed, with no small idea of the value of that partof it which consisted in the productions of his pen!
By the rapid study I made of him, this Paul was a sharp lad, imbuedwith some tincture of letters, like his regretted brother, but totallydestitute of those amiable qualities which had often induced me to saywithin myself, that Peter was, like the famous John Gay,--
"In wit a man, simplicity a child."
He set little by the legacy of my deceased assistant's wardrobe, nordid the books hold much greater value in his eyes: but he peremptorilydemanded to be put in possession of the manuscripts, alleging, withobstinacy, that no definite bargain had been completed between his latebrother and me, and at length produced the opinion to that effect of awriter, or man of business,--a class of persons with whom I have alwayschosen to have as little concern as possible.
But I had one defence left, which came to my aid, _tanquam deus exmachina_. This rapacious Paul Pattison could not pretend to wrest thedisputed manuscripts out of my possession, unless upon repayment of aconsiderable sum of money, which I had advanced from time to time tothe deceased Peter, and particularly to purchase a small annuity forhis aged mother. These advances, with the charges of the funeral andother expenses, amounted to a considerable sum, which thepoverty-struck student and his acute legal adviser equally foresawgreat difficulty in liquidating. The said Mr. Paul Pattison, therefore,listened to a suggestion, which I dropped as if by accident, that if hethought himself capable of filling his brother's place of carrying thework through the press, I would make him welcome to bed and boardwithin my mansion while he was thus engaged, only requiring hisoccasional assistance at hearing the more advanced scholars. Thisseemed to promise a close of our dispute, alike satisfactory to allparties, and the first act of Paul was to draw on me for a round sum,under pretence that his wardrobe must be wholly refitted. To this Imade no objection, though it certainly showed like vanity to purchasegarments in the extremity of the mode, when not only great part of thedefunct's habiliments were very fit for a twelvemonth's use, but as Imyself had been, but yesterday as it were, equipped in a becoming newstand of black clothes, Mr. Pattison would have been welcome to the useof such of my quondam raiment as he thought suitable, as indeed hadalways been the case with his deceased brother.
The school, I must needs say, came tolerably on. My youngster was verysmart, and seemed to be so active in his duty of usher, if I may sospeak, that he even overdid his part therein, and I began to feelmyself a cipher in my own school.
I comforted myself with the belief that the publication was advancingas fast as I could desire. On this subject, Paul Pattison, like ancientPistol, "talked bold words at the bridge," and that not only at ourhouse, but in the society of our neighbours, amongst whom, instead ofimitating the retired and monastic manner of his brother deceased, hebecame a gay visitor, and such a reveller, that in process of time hewas observed to vilipend the modest fare which had at first beenesteemed a banquet by his hungry appetite, and thereby highlydispleased my wife, who, with justice, applauds herself for theplentiful, cleanly, and healthy victuals, wherewith she maintains herushers and boarders.
Upon the whole, I rather hoped than entertained a sincere confidencethat all was going on well, and was in that unpleasant state of mindwhich precedes the open breach between two associates who have beenlong jealous of each other, but are as yet deterred by a sense ofmutual interest from coming to an open rupture.
The first thing which alarmed me was a rumour in the village, that PaulPattison intended, in some little space, to undertake a voyage to theContinent--on account of his health, as was pretended, but, as the samereport averred, much more with the view of gratifying the curiositywhich his perusal of the classics had impressed upon him, than for anyother purpose. I was, I say, rather alarmed at this _susurrus_, andbegan to reflect that the retirement of Mr. Pattison, unless his losscould be supplied in good time, was like to be a blow to theestablishment; for, in truth, this Paul had a winning way with theboys, especially those who were gentle-tempered; so that I must confessmy doubts whether, in certain respects, I myself could have fullysupplied his place in the school, with all my authority and experience.My wife, jealous as became her station, of Mr. Pattison's intentions,advised me to take the matter up immediately, and go to the bottom atonce; and, indeed, I had always found that way answered best with myboys.
Mrs. Cleishbotham was not long before renewing the subject; for, likemost of the race of Xantippe, (though my help-mate is a well-spokenwoman,) she loves to thrust in her oar where she is not able to pull itto purpose. "You are a sharp-witted man, Mr. Cleishbotham," would sheobserve, "and a learned man, Mr. Cleishbotham--and the schoolmaster ofGandercleuch, Mr. Cleishbotham, which is saying all in one word; butmany a m
Now this address assailed me on a summer evening, when I was whilingaway my leisure hours with the end of a cutty pipe and indulging insuch bland imaginations as the Nicotian weed is wont to produce, moreespecially in the case of the studious persons, devoted _musisseverioribus_. I was naturally loth to leave my misty sanctuary; andendeavoured to silence the clamour of Mrs. Cleishbotham's tongue, whichhas something in it peculiarly shrill and penetrating. "Woman," said Iwith a tone of domestic authority befitting the occasion, "_res tuasagas_;--mind your washings and your wringings, your stuffings and yourphysicking, or whatever concerns the outward persons of the pupils, andleave the progress of their education to my usher, Paul Pattison, andmyself."
"I am glad to see," added the accursed woman, (that I should say so!)"that ye have the grace to name him foremost, for there is littledoubt, that he ranks first of the troop, if ye wad but hear what theneighbours speak--or whisper."
"What do they whisper, thou sworn sister of the Eumenides?" criedI,--the irritating _aestrum_ of the woman's objurgation totallycounterbalancing the sedative effects both of pipe and pot.
"Whisper?" resumed she in her shrillest note--"why, they whisper loudenough for me at least to hear them, that the schoolmaster ofGandercleuch is turned a doited auld woman, and spends all his time intippling strong drink with the keeper of the public-house, and leavesschool and book-making, and a' the rost o't, to the care of his usher;and, also, the wives in Gandercleuch say, that you have engaged PaulPattison to write a new book, which is to beat a' the lave that gaedafore it; and to show what a sair lift you have o' the job, you didnasae muckle as ken the name o't--no nor whether it was to be about someHeathen Greek, or the Black Douglas."
This was said with such bitterness that it penetrated to the veryquick, and I hurled the poor old pipe, like one of Homer's spears, notin the face of my provoking helpmate, though the temptation was strong,but into the river Gander, which as is now well known to tourists fromthe uttermost parts of the earth, pursues its quiet meanders beneaththe bank on which the school-house is pleasantly situated; and,starting up, fixed on my head the cocked hat, (the pride of Messrs.Grieve and Scott's repository,) and plunging into the valley of thebrook, pursued my way upwards, the voice of Mrs. Cleishbothamaccompanying me in my retreat with something like the angry scream oftriumph with which the brood-goose pursues the flight of someunmannerly cur or idle boy who has intruded upon her premises, and fledbefore her. Indeed, so great was the influence of this clamour of scornand wrath which hung upon my rear, that while it rung in my ears I wasso moved that I instinctively tucked the skirts of my black coat undermy arm, as if I had been in actual danger of being seized on by thegrasp of the pursuing enemy. Nor was it till I had almost reached thewell-known burial-place, in which it was Peter Pattison's hap to meetthe far-famed personage called Old Mortality, that I made a halt forthe purpose of composing my perturbed spirits, and considering what wasto be done; for as yet my mind was agitated by a chaos of passions, ofwhich anger was predominant; and for what reason, or against whom, Ientertained such tumultuous displeasure, it was not easy for me todetermine.
Nevertheless, having settled my cocked hat with becoming accuracy on mywell-powdered wig, and suffered it to remain uplifted for a moment tocool my flushed brow--having, moreover, re-adjusted and shaken torights the skirts of my black coat, I came into case to answer to myown questions, which, till these manoeuvres had been sedatelyaccomplished, I might have asked myself in vain.
In the first place, therefore, to use the phrase of Mr. Docket, thewriter (that is, the attorney) of our village of Gandercleuch, I becamesatisfied that my anger was directed against all and sundry, or, in lawLatin, _contre omnes mortales_, and more particularly against theneighbourhood of Gandercleuch, for circulating reports to the prejudiceof my literary talents, as well as my accomplishments as a pedagogue,and transferring the fame thereof to mine own usher. Secondly, againstmy spouse, Dorothea Cleishbotham, for transferring the sad calumniousreports to my ears in a prerupt and unseemly manner, and without duerespect either to the language which she made use of, or the person towhom she spoke,--treating affairs in which I was so intimatelyconcerned as if they were proper subjects for jest among gossips at achristening, where the womankind claim the privilege of worshipping the_Bona Dea_ according to their secret female rites.
Thirdly, I became clear that I was entitled to respond to any whom itconcerned to enquire, that my wrath was kindled against Paul Pattison,my usher, for giving occasion both for the neighbours of Gandercleuchentertaining such opinions, and for Mrs. Cleishbotham disrespectfullyurging them to my face, since neither circumstance could have existed,without he had put forth sinful misrepresentations of transactions,private and confidential, and of which I had myself entirely refrainedfrom dropping any the least hint to any third person.
This arrangement of my ideas having contributed to soothe the stormyatmosphere of which they had been the offspring, gave reason a time topredominate, and to ask me, with her calm but clear voice, whether,under all the circumstances, I did well to nourish so indiscriminate anindignation? In fine, on closer examination, the various spleneticthoughts I had been indulging against other parties, began to be mergedin that resentment against my perfidious usher, which, like the serpentof Moses, swallowed up all subordinate objects of displeasure. To putmyself at open feud with the whole of my neighbours, unless I had beencertain of some effectual mode of avenging myself upon them, would havebeen an undertaking too weighty for my means, and not unlikely, ifrashly grappled withal, to end in my ruin. To make a public quarrelwith my wife, on such an account as her opinion of my literaryaccomplishments, would sound ridiculous: and, besides, Mrs. C. was sureto have all the women on her side, who would represent her as a wifepersecuted by her husband for offering him good advice, and urging itupon him with only too enthusiastic sincerity.
There remained Paul Pattison, undoubtedly, the most natural and properobject of my indignation, since I might be said to have him in my ownpower, and might punish him by dismissal, at my pleasure. Yet evenvindictive proceedings against the said Paul, however easy to beenforced, might be productive of serious consequences to my own purse;and I began to reflect, with anxiety, that in this world it is notoften that the gratification of our angry passions lies in the sameroad with the advancement of our interest, and that the wise man, the_vere sapiens_, seldom hesitates which of these two he ought to prefer.
I recollected also that I was quite uncertain how far the present usherhad really been guilty of the foul acts of assumption charged againsthim.
In a word, I began to perceive that it would be no light matter, atonce, and without maturer perpending of sundry collateral_punctiuncula_, to break up a joint-stock adventure, or society, ascivilians term it, which, if profitable to him, had at least promisedto be no less so to me, established in years and learning andreputation so much his superior. Moved by which, and other the likeconsiderations, I resolved to proceed with becoming caution on theoccasion, and not, by stating my causes of complaint too hastily in theoutset, exasperate into a positive breach what might only prove somesmall misunderstanding, easily explained or apologized for, and which,like a leak in a new vessel, being once discovered and carefullystopped, renders the vessel but more sea-worthy than it was before.
About the time that I had adopted this healing resolution, I reachedthe spot where the almost perpendicular face of a steep hill seems toterminate the valley, or at least divides it into two dells, eachserving as a cradle to its own mountain-stream, the Gruff-quack,namely, and the shallower, but more noisy, Gusedub, on the left hand,which, at their union, form the Gander, properly so called. Each ofthese little valleys has a walk winding up to its recesses, renderedmore easy by the labours of the poor during the late hard season, andone of which bears the name of Pattison's path, while the other hadbeen kindly consecrated to my own memory, by the title of the Dominie'sDaidling-bit. Here I made certain to meet my associate, Paul Pattison,for by one or other of these roads he was wont to return to my house ofan evening, after his lengthened rambles.
Nor was it long before I espied him descending the Gusedub by thattortuous path, marking so strongly the character of a Scottish glen. Hewas easily distinguished, indeed, at some distance, by his jauntyswagger, in which he presented to you the flat of his leg, like themanly knave of clubs, apparently with the most perfect contentment, notonly with his leg and boot, but with every part of his outward man, andthe whole fashion of his garments, and, one would almost have thought,the contents of his pockets.
In this, his wonted guise, he approached me, where I was seated nearthe meeting of the waters, and I could not but discern, that his firstimpulse was to pass me without any prolonged or formal greeting. But asthat would not have been decent, considering the terms on which westood, he seemed to adopt, on reflection, a course directly opposite;bustled up to me with an air of alacrity, and, I may add, impudence;and hastened at once into the middle of the important affairs which ithad been my purpose to bring under discussion in a manner more becomingtheir gravity. "I am glad to see you, Mr. Cleishbotham," said he, withan inimitable mixture of confusion and effrontery; "the most wonderfulnews which has been heard in the literary world in my time--allGandercleuch rings with it--they positively speak of nothing else, fromMiss Buskbody's youngest apprentice to the minister himself, and askeach other in amazement, whether the tidings are true or false--to besure they are of an astounding complexion, especially to you and me."
"Mr. Pattison," said I, "I am quite at a loss to guess at your meaning._Davus sum, non Oedipus_--I am Jedediah Cleishbotham, Schoolmaster ofthe parish of Gandercleuch; no conjuror, and neither reader of riddles,nor expounder of enigmata."
"Well," replied Paul Pattison, "Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham, Schoolmasterof the parish of Gandercleuch, and so forth, all I have to inform youis, that our hopeful scheme is entirely blown up. The tales, onpublishing which we reckoned with so much confidence, have already beenprinted; they are abroad, over all America, and the British papers areclamorous."
I received this news with the same equanimity with which I should haveaccepted a blow addressed to my stomach by a modern gladiator, with thefull energy of his fist. "If this be correct information, Mr.Pattison," said I, "I must of necessity suspect you to be the personwho have supplied the foreign press with the copy which the printershave thus made an unscrupulous use of, without respect to the rights ofthe undeniable proprietors of the manuscripts; and I request to knowwhether this American production embraces the alterations which you aswell as I judged necessary, before the work could be fitted to meet thepublic eye?" To this my gentleman saw it necessary to make a directanswer, for my manner was impressive, and my tone decisive. His nativeaudacity enabled him, however, to keep his ground, and he answered withfirmness--
"Mr. Cleishbotham, in the first place, these manuscripts, over whichyou claim a very doubtful right, were never given to any one by me, andmust have been sent to America either by yourself, or by some one ofthe various gentlemen to whom, I am well aware, you have affordedopportunities of perusing my brother's MS. remains."
"Mr. Pattison," I replied, "I beg to remind you that it never could bemy intention, either by my own hands, or through those of another, toremit these manuscripts to the press, until, by the alterations which Imeditated, and which you yourself engaged to make, they were renderedfit for public perusal."
Mr. Pattison answered me with much heat:--"Sir, I would have you toknow, that if I accepted your paltry offer, it was with less regard toits amount, than to the honour and literary fame of my late brother. Iforesaw that if I declined it, you would not hesitate to throw the taskinto incapable hands, or, perhaps, have taken it upon yourself, themost unfit of all men to tamper with the works of departed genius, andthat, God willing, I was determined to prevent--but the justice ofHeaven has taken the matter into its own hands. Peter Pattison's lastlabours shall now go down to posterity unscathed by the scalping-knifeof alteration, in the hands of a false friend--shame on the thoughtthat the unnatural weapon could ever be wielded by the hand of abrother!"
I heard this speech not without a species of vertigo or dizziness in myhead, which would probably have struck me lifeless at his feet, had nota thought like that of the old ballad--
"Earl Percy sees my fall,"
called to my recollection, that I should only afford an additionaltriumph by giving way to my feelings in the presence of Mr. PaulPattison, who, I could not doubt, must be more or less directly at thebottom of the Transatlantic publication, and had in one way or anotherfound his own interest in that nefarious transaction.
To get quit of his odious presence I bid him an unceremoniousgood-night, and marched down the glen with the air not of one who hasparted with a friend, but who rather has shaken off an intrusivecompanion. On the road I pondered the whole matter over with an anxietywhich did not in the smallest degree tend to relieve me. Had I feltadequate to the exertion, I might, of course, have supplanted thisspurious edition (of which the literary gazettes are already doling outcopious specimens) by introducing into a copy, to be instantlypublished at Edinburgh, adequate correction of the variousinconsistencies and imperfections which have already been alluded to. Iremember the easy victory of the real second part of these "Tales of myLandlord" over the performance sent forth by an interloper under thesame title; and why should not the same triumph be repeated now? Therewould, in short, have been a pride of talent in this manner of avengingmyself, which would have been justifiable in the case of an injuredman; but the state of my health has for some time been such as torender any attempt of this nature in every way imprudent.
Under such circumstances, the last "Remains" of Peter Pattison musteven be accepted, as they were left in his desk; and I humbly retire inthe hope that, such as they are, they may receive the indulgence ofthose who have ever been but too merciful to the productions of hispen, and in all respects to the courteous reader's obliged servant, J.C.
GANDERCLEUCH, _15th Oct._ 1831.
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