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broadside or Chapbook itself—as well as heard the old servingman's Scottish version of it.”
This Durham ballad is one of the longest, and quite the most pedestrian, of its kind. Two or three stanzas are enough to declare its quality. The "astrologer” is, 'in this case, a “worthy lord" who was
"learned and wise
To know the Planets in the skies," and who takes shelter in a keeper's house, where, very much as in “Guy Mannering," a male-child is born. He leaves a mysterious cabinet as a gift to the new-born babe, which is not to be opened till the boy can write and read. When he is eleven years old, he begs the key; and finds in it a chain of gold, and an ominous paper—"in Greek and Latin it was writ.” The paper contains a prediction :
At seven years hence your fate will be,
In hopes their blessing to receive." The threatened fulfilment, and then the averting, of this prediction, is worked out in Part III. of the ballad. But what it lacks in interest, or in the effective use of what were very interesting materials, is to be found in a strange, true narrative, that of the ill-starred life of James Annesley, a story which a romancer might have invented.
It was reprinted in the Gentleman's Magasine for July 1840, and upon its incidents the ballad was, it has been conjectured, partly built. At the birth of James Annesley, a stranger, Richard Fitzgerald, was the unexpected guest; and, although he casts no horoscope for the babe, he returns from Hungary at a later stage in the story to help in the vain attempt to restore its heritage.
The boy was the child of Lord and Lady Altham of Dunmain, Wexford. After his birth, they separated, and the unlucky mother was driven from home, and reduced by poverty and disease to 6 extreme imbecility of body and mind.” Meanwhile Lord Altham put the child into the hands of a woman of doubtful character,
Juggy Landy, who lived in a cabin on the Dunmain estate. This Irish cabin was a wretched place, without any furniture except a pot, two or three trenchers, a couple of straw beds on the floor. It had “only a bush to draw in and out for a door." Thus strangely and inauspiciously was the boy reared under the care of a nurse, who, however unfortunate or guilty, appears to have lavished upon her young charge the most affectionate attention. From some unexplained cause, however, Juggy Landy incurred the displeasure of Lord Altham, who took the boy from her, and ordered his groom to "horsewhip her," and " to set the dogs upon her," when she persisted in hovering about the premises to obtain a sight of her former charge.
“Lord Altham now removed with his son to Dublin, where he appears to have entered upon a career of the most dissipated and profligate conduct. We find him reduced to extreme pecuniary embarrassment, and his property became a prey to low and abandoned associates ; one of whom, a Miss Kennedy, he ultimately endeavoured to introduce to society as his wife. This worthless woman must have obtained great ascendency over his lordship, as she was enabled to drive James Annesley from his father's protection, and the poor boy became a houseless vagabond, wandering about the streets of Dublin, and procuring a scanty and precarious subsistence by running of errands and holding gentlemen's horses.
“Meantime Lord Altham's pecuniary difficulties had so increased as to induce him to endeavour to borrow money on his reversionary interest in the estates of the Earl of Anglesey, to whom he was heir-at-law. In this scheme he was joined by his brother, Captain Annesley, and they jointly succeeded in procuring several small sums of money. But as James Annesley would have proved an important legal impediment to these transactions, he was represented to some parties to be dead; and where his existence could not be denied, he was asserted to be the natural son of his Lord. ship and Juggy Landy.
"Lord Altham died in the year 1727, so miserably poor that he was actually buried at the public expense. His brother, Captain Annesley, attended the funeral as chief mourner, and assumed the title of Baron Altham, but when he claimed to have this title registered he was refused by the king-at-arms on account of his nephew being reported still alive, and for want of the honorary fees. Ultimately, however, by means which are stated to have been well known and obvious, he succeeded in procuring his registration.
“ But there was another and a more sincere mourner at the funeral of Lord Altham than the successful inheritor of his title ; a poor boy of twelve years of age, half naked, bareheaded and barefooted, and wearing, as the most important part of his dress, an old yellow livery waistcoat,' followed at a humble distance, and wept over his father's grave. Young. Annesley was speedily recognised by his uncle, who forcibly drove him from the place, but not before the boy had made himself known to several old servants of his father, who were attending the corpse of their late lord to the tomb.
"The usurper now commenced a series of attempts to obtain possession of his nephew's person, for the purpose of transporting him beyond seas, or otherwise ridding himself of so formidable a rival. For some time, however, these endeavours were frustrated, principally through the gallantry of a brave and kind-hearted butcher, named Purcel, who, having compassion upon the boy's destitute state, took him into his house and hospitably maintained him for a considerable time ; and on one occasion, when he was assailed by a numerous party of his uncle's emissaries, Purcel placed the boy between his legs, and, stoutly defending him with his cudgel, resisted their utmost efforts, and succeeded in rescuing his young charge.”
After having escaped from many attempts of the same kind, Annesley was at length kidnapped in the streets of Dublin, dragged by his uncle and a party of hired ruffians to a boat, and carried on board a vessel in the river, which took him to America. There he remains thirteen years, and suffers untold miseries as a plantation slave ; is on one occasion stabbed and all but killed outright; and, in brief, has his health so far shat ed, that his chances of surviving to maintain his claims at home are, as the sequel shows, greatly diminished. In the end he reaches home, and the usurping Lord Anglesey was all but persuaded to effect an arrangement with him, and give up the estates, when again his consistent ill-luck intervenes. The story thus pictures the incident :
“ After his arrival in England, Annesley unfortunately occasioned the death of a man by the accidental discharge of a fowling-piece which he was in the act of carrying. Though there could not exist a doubt of his innocence from all intention of such a deed, the circumstance offered too good a chance to be lost sight of by his uncle, who employed an attorney named Gifford, and with his
i Vide "Green Breeks" in the General Introduction to the " Waverley Novels." Surely Yellow Waistcoat was his prototype.
assistance used every effort at the coroner's inquest, and the subsequent trial, to bring about a verdict of murder. In this, however, he did not succeed, although he practised all the unfair means that could be invented to procure the removal of the prisoner to Newgate from the healthy gaol to which he had been at first committed'; and, 'the Earl even appeared in person on the bench, endeavouring to intimidate and browbeat the witnesses, and to inveigle the prisoner into destructive confessions.' Annesley was honourably acquitted, after his uncle had expended nearly one thousand pounds on the prosecution.
Next came the trial for the estates, which lasted thirteen days, and which again he won. But only to have the verdict in his favour set aside on a writ of error. Before another trial could be brought about, the unfortunate heir died, and his rascal-uncle remained in secure possession. It is curious to note, in this sinister tale, the recurrence of the "unlucky number 13." More to the purpose, in its relation to the writing of “Guy Mannering," is the resemblance between the names of the witnesses at the Annesley trial, and those used by Scott. Again, as the writer in the Gentleman's Magazine pointed out :
“A remarkable expression used by one of the witnesses in reference to Annesley—' he is the right heir if right might take place,' -has probably servod as a hint for the motto of the Bertram family— Our right is our might.'”
"Guy Mannering," although to a degree a Scottish adaptation of this Irish tragedy, does not exhaust its dramatic interest, which might indeed furnish, with the aid of Juggy Landy, and the negro episodes and the rest, a story that Defoc might have realised in an entirely different mode.
“Guy Mannering ” was, upon Scott's own testimony, "the work of six weeks at a Christmas," in the winter of 1815-16. It followed immediately on his comparative failure in poetry—“The Lord of the Isles”; and it definitely marks the conversion of the verse-romancer into the greater prose-romancer.
“ When half gods go, the gods arrive in
The market success of this proseromance, the second in order of the Waverley novels, was immense. The first edition was in point of “get-up” very much the same as that of “Waverley”_"three little volumes, with a humility of paper and printing which the meanest novelist would now disdain to imitate; the price a guinea."
The following is a list of the works of Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832:Disputatio Juridica,” etc., 1792 (Exercise on being called to the Bar); The Chase, and William and Helen (from German of Bürger), 1796; Goetz of Berlichingen (translation of Goethe's Tragedy); Apology for Tales of Terror (includes some of Author's ballads), privately printed, 1799; The Eve of St. John: A Border Ballad, 1800; Ballads in Lewis's “ Tales of Wonder," 1801 ; Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, 1802, 1803; Lay of the Last Minstrel, 1805; Ballads and Lyrical Pieces, 1806; Marmion: a Tale of Flodden Field, 1808 ; Life of Dryden; The Lady of the Lake, 3810; Vision of Don Roderick, 1811; Rokeby, 1813; The Bridal of Triermain, 1813; Abstract of Eyrbiggia Saga, in Jamieson's “Northern Antiquities," 1814; Waverley, or 'Tis Sixty Years Since, 1814; Life of Swift (prefixed to works), 1814; The Lord of the Isles, 1815; Guy Mannering, 1815; The Field of Waterloo, 1815; Paul's Letters to bis Kinsfolk, 1815; The Antiquary, 1816; Black Dwarf, Old Mortality (Tales of my Landlord, first series), 1817 (1816); Harold the Dauntless, 1817; The Search after Happiness, or the Quest of Sultan Solimaun, 1817, Rob Roy, 1818; Heart of Midlothian (Tales of my Landlord, second series), 1818; The Bride of Lammermoor, Legend of Montrose (Tales of my Landlord, third series), 1819; Description of the Regalia of Scotland, 1819; Ivanhoe, 1820; The Monastery, 1820; The Abbot, 1820 ; Kenilworth, 1821 ; Biographies in Ballantyne's “Novelists,” 1821 ; Account of the Coronation of George IV, 1821; The Pirate, 1822; Halidon Hill, 1822; Macduff's Cross (Joanna Baillie's Poetical Miscellanies), 1822; The Fortunes of Nigel, 1822; Peveril of the Peak, 1822; Quentin Durward, 1823; St. Ronan's Well, 1824; Redgauntlet, 1824; The Betrothed, The Talisman (Tales of the Crusaders), 1825; Woodstock, or the Cavaliers: a tale of 1651, 1826; Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, 1827; The Two Drovers, The Highland Widow, The Surgeon's Daughter (Chronicles of the Canongate, first series), 1827; Tales of a Grandfather, First Series, 1828 ; Second Series, 1829; Third Series, 1830; Fourth Series, 1830 ; St. Valentine's Day, or The Fair Maid of Perth (Chronicles of the Canongate, second series), 1828; My Aunt Margaret's Mirror, The Tapestried Chamber, The Laird's Jock (Keepsake, 1828); Religious Discourses, by a Layman, 1828 ; Anne of Geierstein, 1829 ; History of Scotland (Lardner's “Cabinet Cyclopædia "), 1830 ; Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, 1830; House of Aspen (Keepsake, 1830); Doom of Devorgoil; Auchindrane, or the Ayrshire Tragedy, 1830; Essays on Ballad Poetry, 1830; Count Robert of Paris, Castle Dangerous, 1832 (Tales of My Landlord, fourth series).
Letters and Articles were contributed to Encyclopædia Britannica, 1814 (Chivalry; Drama); “Provincial Antiquities of Scotland," 1819-1826;
Edinburgh Weekly Journal,” 1820, 1826; as well as frequent articles to the “Edinburgh” and “Quarterly” Reviews, and “Edinburgh Annual Register."
Collected Poems : 1820, 1821, 1823, 1830 (with Author's Prefaces); 1834 (Lockhart).
Collected Novels: 1820 (Novels and Tales); 1822 (Historical Romances); 1824 (Historical Romances), 26 vols. With Author's Notes, 1829–33, 48 vols. People's Edition, 1844-8; Abbotsford, 1842–7; Roxburghe, 1859–61; Dryburgh, 1892–4; Border (A. Lang), 1892-4; The Temple Edition (C. K. Shorter), 1897-9.