« PreviousContinue »
to sweep away the Swedish fieet. Invalides; and in his usual demeanour displayed ngement was agreed to ; and to a mixture of friendlines and dignity which was ht, Peter obtained the supreme thoroughly characteristic. He ate and drank a
declared that that moment was great deal. He wore the same simple costume that d his life, when he hoisted his flag he had worn in Holland, and in this matter of -zip. Thence Peter proceeded to dress he differed considerably from those around ubsequently to Amsterdam, where him. He went to Versailles; and hearing that y welcomed by his old associates. Madame de Maintenon was living at St. Cyr, ubjected to have honour paid him, he proceeded to pay her a visit. The lady was 528 not so absurdly exigent in the not up when the Tsar arrived; but nowise
Peter Zimmerman, as he was daunted, Peter penetrated into her chamber, drew a good spirits, and enjoyed his aside the curtains, gazed at her a few moments in 3. Catherine had just given birth silence, and left the room without having uttered Id, which died almost immediately;
a word. He was particularly struck with ster visited Paris, she remained in Richelieu's bust, and at his tomb exclaimed, “I The Tsar was received in the French would give half my kingdom to such a man as great cordiality : every one did him you, who would teach me how to govern the
he was greatly pleased with his other half." After passing some time in the He purchased or was presented with French capital, Peter returned with the Tsaritza, orks of art, etc., destined to embellish viâ Amsterdam to Russia, where the conduct of stal,
his eldest son caused him great anxiety. IER THE GREAT IN PARIS,
DOMESTIC TROUBLES IN RUSSIA ; CONCLUSION. sce Regent sent Marshal de Tessé to Whatever had been the faults of Alexis, and he at Dunkirk, and the party arrived in had plenty, there can be no doubt that in Peter's
7th May, The Russian monarch was treatment of his son the Tsar was most unneceslodged and entertained at the Louvre; sarily cruel and unjust. Alexis was greatly opposed sar 'got tired of the splendour very to all the improvements that his father wished to and having examined the furniture and carry out. His mother aided and abetted him dicent arrangements, he declined to sit to the utmost; yet Alexis was an unnatural son, the splendidly-appointed supper table. as well as a most unfeeling and most licentious for a glass of beer and a piece of bread,
husband. The Tsar wished to fix the succession * requested to be shown less pretentious upon a stranger rather than permit Alexis to
He and his suite were accordingly come to the throne; and Alexis formally re. I to the Hotel des Lisdiguières; and a nounced all claim to it. Peter then gave him his d was fetched, which for that night was choice, either to amend his ways or to become a a a large wardrobe. But with all this monk. He chose the latter, and Peter left the implicity, Peter was in no way disposed kingdom and went on his travels. After an quish any of the forms of respect due to interval the Tsar directed his son to join him at les on these points he was very punctil. Copenhagen. This Alexis was persuaded not to ith the Regent, and remained at home do ; and he accordingly turned aside and went to e Dac d'Orleans had paid his visit of Italy, after in vain attempting to interest the sy. He treated the Regent only as his Emperor of Germany in his fortunes. From Italy mentitled him to be treated. But to the he was recalled by Peter under a solemn promise King, aged seven, he was more deferential, and understanding that he would be favourably
on the first interview he took the child received if he complied with his father's comi arms and embraced him. Next day, when mands. Alexis consented to return with the Ling was coming down to Peter's carriage, as ambassadors; but on his arrival in Moscow, in Tsar had come to the King's, Peter sprang
February (1718), he was made a prisoner. And and taking the boy up in his arms, carried then the dark and cruel side of the Tsar showed yup the steps into the reception room.
itself in all its terrors.
He accused his son, and Turing his stay in Paris, he visited the arsenals forced him to sign a renunciation of all claim 4 workshops, the tapestry and other manufac to the succession; and Alexis was questioned FREE He took particular pleasure in studying closely as to his and his companions' intentions afe and plans of fortresses, and the Jardin des and plots. Various charges were preferred, and antes. He fraternized with the soldiers at the
confessions extorted from Alexis' mistress and
his confessor. For five months these pre- populace to the Imperial purple, the peasant determined proceedings were carried on. The
nature cropped up. Her treason was discovered, Prince was accused and condemned to death. her lover beheaded, and Peter very nearly had But the very day on which the sentence had her also executed. He drove her to the spot been pronounced, Alexis was taken ill in prison. where the head of Moens de la Croix, her para Some writers allege that he was poisoned ; some mour, had been set upon a pole, and hoped to that Peter himself executed his son,
enjoy her distress. But Catherine disappointed present at his execution. But however that
him. She betrayed no emotion whatever; and may be, it is a fact that the Tsar sacrificed his
this self-command probably saved her life. Afta son, and subsequently many others; bishops, this Peter's health gave way. A long.neglerted priests, and the Prince's relatives on his mother's
disease had been slowly but surely undermining side, being executed, impaled, or, when no evi.
his constitution; and this one of his last act dence was forthcoming, poisoned: Nor did
brought to a crisis. He made up his mini, Peter's vengence stop here. He made a decree
contrary to all advice, to proceed to Lake Ladoga to exclude his grandson, Alexis' son, from the
to inspect some ship-building. Thence he pro throne; but his own son by Catherine died, and as ceeded to Lachta ; but a storm coming on, they a matter of fact, his grandson Peter did reign anchored. A boat was putting off from anothe after Catherine's death.
vessel, and ran imminent danger of destruction But notwithstanding his cruelties, Peter still Peter sent a boat to their assistance, and subre continued his reforms for the benefit of his sub
quently, with his usual energy, set out to help jects; and all his efforts tended to the aggran. Not being able to reach the boat in distress, b disement and prosperity of his kingdom. The leaped into the water, and waded to the skist death of Charles XII. changed the aspect ance of the soldiers. This act of humanity s of the political horizon; and the alliance with
greatly increased his disorder, that he had t Sweden, which had been talked of, and the
retire immediately to St. Petersburg. His attad descent upon Scotland, with the Spanish occupa- was incurable, and after living for days in grea pation of France, were all put a stop to. The
agony, he expired on the 28th of January, 1721 war with Sweden went on for a time; but by
at the age of fifty-three, in the Peterhof Palad the congress at Nystadt, in Finland, it was agreed The body of Peter the Great, after lying i to consent to all Peter's demands; and all his
state, was laid to its last long rest in the Churd conquests were thereby secured to him. The of SS. Peter and Paul, at St. Petersburg. To bi peace was signed in September 1721. This event
people he is nothing less than a saint ; and 1 landed Peter upon the pinnacle of his glory. The all people he stands forth as a marvellous em popular joy was unbounded, and the Tsar was bodiment of strength and energy, the Founde induced to accept the title of Emperor of All the
of a mighty Empire. He was a curious coml Russias, Peter the Great, and Father of his Country. nation, full of contradictions, and yet thorough
His natural energy would not permit him to consistent to the great aims he had set befas remain long inactive. He descended upon him,—the improvement of his kingdom and th Persia, with which country he had discovered a welfare of his people. For these he sacrifat pretext for war. He made his preparations, and, his son, and led up to his own death. He w accompanied by Catherine, embarked at Astrakan. subject to fits of cruelty, and his excesses we But his expedition turned out a failure, though gross in the extreme. But, on the otber her the Russians succeeded in capturing Derbend. he was kind-hearted and generous and we They were obliged to retire. He lost his ships, denying. Hundreds of people were assisted and was threatened by Turkey. But he subse- him, and in Holland he is still most gratefull quently obtained by diplomacy all he had hoped remembered. His public acts, more than the to gain by force, and a settlement was made on
of any other Sovereign, speak for him, eren the Caspian Sea. Peter returned to Moscow, his domestic and private vices and deeds thro! and subsequently proceeded to St. Petersburg. him personally into the shade of our code On the 1st February, 1724, Catherine nation. A barbarian, he civilized his people crowned Empress, her husband himself placing a King, he worked like a slave. By his mastu the diadem upon her brow. An order of St. mind he overcame all obstacles. In his isti Catherine was instituted for “Love and Fidelity," years he become much more sober and religioa -pledges which the patroness did not keep, for and had a great respect for sacred forms Peter's life was now embittered by his wife's observances. His last words were, “ I believe, sa infidelity and her excesses. Raised from the I trust."
sted. He was born in the old town of Edin
CONTENTS. hand Parentage-Scott's Father and Mother-Early Boyhood-At Sandy-Knowe-At Bath-A Precocious Bog-School and College Dayt-Holiday Amusements-Reading the "Percy Reliques"-At College-An Attack of Illness-Omnivorous Reading-Preparations for Authorship-First Attempts in Verse–Foreign Tongues-A Literary Capital-Called to the Bar-ds a Public Speaker-Scott's Literary Career Married Life-Well-to-do in the World, The Minstrelay of the Boottish Border "-Aunting for Old Ballads-Leyden-James Hogg-William Laidlaw-On a Ballad-hunting Expedition -la the Field of Poetry-The "Lay of the Last Minstrel"-"Marmion"- The "Lady of the Lake"-Other Poems-At Asbestiel-Habits of Work-Country Amusements-At Abbotsford–The Removal-As a Novelist-Miscellaneous Literasure-Travels and Interruptions-Scott's Daily Life-Made a Baronet-Disaster-A Struggle against Adversity-Heavy Liabilities-Hard at Work-Lady Scott's Death-Aoknowledged Authorship-Approaching End-A Visit to Italy-Home agaia-Death and Funeral-Scott's Family-Personal Appearance--Character-A Capacious Memory-As a Master Plast Senses-Not Afraid-As Poet and Novelist. BIRTH AND PARENTAGE.
street called the College Wynd, and in a house THE Scottish capital has the honour of claim. which soon after his birth was pulled down to
ing Sir Walter Scott as one of the most make way for the College. Abastzious of the many illustrious sons she has
His descent, according to his own showing
“was neither distinguished nor sordid, but such burgh, on the 15th of August, 1771, in an old as the prejudices of his time justified him in
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
accounting gentle.” He traced his line back on the one side, through a succession of Jacobite
EARLY BOYHOOD. gentlemen and moss-troopers, to Auld Scott of The history of his early boyhood is the tale Harden and his spouse, renowned in Border song a naturally strong constitution struggling wit
“ The Flower of Yarrow." His pedigree on disease. He had attained the twenty-5000 the other side connected him with the * Bauld month of his infancy when one morning I Rutherfords that sae stout; the Mac
right leg was found to be powerless and çe Dougalls of Lorn, and the Swintons of Swinton.” fectly cold : hence ensued a lameness who
His father was a man of fine presence, who proved incapable of cure, and which remaine conducted all conventional arrangements with a with him all his life. Everything that she certain grandeur and dignity of air, and "abso- and tenderness could devise was tried to a lutely loved a funeral.” “ He used,” says Scott, move it, and at last his parents were recca “to preserve the list of a whole bead roll of cousins, mended to see what country air would do; so i merely for the pleasure of being at their funerals, was entrusted to the care of his paternal grans which he was often asked to superintend, and I father at Sandy-Knowe, on the Tweed. suspect had sometimes to pay for. He carried Here Scott had the first consciousness of en me with him as often as he could to these ence, as he tells us ; and how deep and indeliti mortuary ceremonies ; bat feeling I was not, like the impression was which the scenery of the him, either useful or ornamental, I escaped as romantic spot made upon his imagination tà often as I could." Mr. Scott was a strict dis- readers of * Marmion " and the Eve of St. Joka ciplinarian, a precisian in religion, and a legal do not need to be reminded. Nor was it esca formalist. He exacted from his children a strict sively from the features of the landscape, u observance of the outward forms of religion, and cluding as these did some of the most strike, spared no trouble to imbue their minds with a objects on the Scottish border, that early inspin knowledge of the doctrines of the National tion came. After spending hours in some shelter Church. He strove to make the actions of his nook, where he looked down upon the ewem domestic circle as strictly conformable to rules as ing and listened to the ewe-milker's songs, his causes in the Court of Session.
would be borne back again and laid upon Scott's mother, who was a Miss Rutherford, couch, beside which his grandmother and su the daughter of a physician, had been better took it in turns to sit, and to keep him in til educated than most Scotchwomen of her day. highest state of happy excitement with the She was a motherly, comfortable woman, with border legends. much tenderness of heart, and a well-stored, vivid There were some fine crags in the neighbou memory. Sir Walter, writing of her after her hood of Sandy-Knowe, and to these crags the death, says: “She had a mind peculiarly well maid sent from Edinburgh to look after him ase stored with much acquired information and to carry him, with a design-due of course # natural talent, and as she was very old, and bad incipient insanity—of murdering the child then an excellent memory, she could draw, without the and burying him in the moss. She confessed be least exaggeration or affectation, the most striking purpose one day to the housekeeper, and was al pictures of the past age. If I have been able to course at once dismissed. do anything in the way of painting the past His health was greatly improved by this stay times, it is very much from the studies with at Sandy-Knowe, and it was thought that the Bath which she presented me.
She connected a long waters might complete the cure thus apparent] period of time with the present generation, for begun. But though he spent a whole year she remembered, and had often spoken with, a Bath, his aunt making the journey with hra person who perfectly recollected the battle of nothing came of it, so far as the lameness o Dunbar and Oliver Cromwell's subsequent entry concerned. into Edinburgh."
At six years of age, Mrs. Cockburn, the acum Scott was the ninth of twelve children, of plished authoress of the “ Flowers of the Fores." whom the first six died in eap)childhood. described him as the most astounding genius da Of the six later-born children all were boys boy she had ever seen. She went to supper ( but one, and the solitary sister was a somewhat night, she tells us, at Mr. Walter Scott's The querulous invalid, whom Scott scems to have boy“was reading a poem to his mother when i pitied quite as much as he loved.
went in. I made him read on: it was the des scription of a shipwreck. His passion rose wit
the storm. There's the mast goue,' saya be,
'crash it goes ; they will all perish.' After his the acquaintance of the brothers Ballantyne, agitation he turns to me, “That is too melan. with whom in after life his connection became choly,' says he ; ‘I had better read you some so intimate. It was also here, at the age of thing more amusing.'” And after the call, he thirteen, that he became acquainted with a book told his aunt he liked Mrs. Cockburn, for “she destined to lead to much in his own future was a virtuoso like himself." “ Dear Walter," career—the Percy Ballads. Fascinated ays Aunt Jenny, “ what is a virtuoso ?” “ Don't them,' he next read the similar collection by you know? Why, it's one who wishes and will Evans, and that of Scottish Ballads by Herd. know everything."
From the High School Scott passed to the
College. His career in the classes which he SCEOOL AND COLLEGE DAYS.
attended there resembled in all essential points In 1778, after attending first a little private his career at school. He made no figure either chool, and then a private tutor, Scott was sent as a classic or as a metaphysician. But he perwith his brothers to the High School of Edin severed in a practice long ere this begun, and deurgh. His school reputation was one of irregu became an eager collector, in a small way, of old ar ability: be glanced like a meteor from one
ballads and stories. snad of the class to the other; and received more
Towards the close of the year 1784, he had a araise for his interpretation of the spirit of his violent attack of illness, for the only distinct satbors than for his knowledge of their language.
accounts of which we are indebted to himself: Out of school his fame stood higher. He ex “ My indisposition arose, in part at least, from emporized innumerable stories, to which his my having broken a blood-vessel ; and motion ebolfellows delighted to listen; and was, spite
and speech were for a long time pronounced posi#his lameness, to be found in the thick of tively dangerous. For several weeks I was conmery street-fight with the boys of the town. fined strictly to my bed, during which time I He was also renowned for his boldness in climb was not allowed to speak above a whisper, ng the "kettle nine stanes," which are “pro
eat more than a spoonful or two of boiled rice, lected high in air from the precipitous black
or to have more covering than a counterpane.' franite of the Castle Rock.” An interesting
In May, 1786, he was sufficiently recovered to limpse of him at this time is given by Mr. commence his apprenticeship to his father as Mitchell, one of his tutors. " I seldom,” he says,
writer to the Signet, at that time the usual com. "had occasion all the time I was in the family to
mencement of the education of Scotch barristers; find fault with him, even for trifles, and only and his subsequent life was little troubled with obce to threaten serious castigation, of which he
indisposition. was no sooner aware, than he suddenly sprang These juvenile sicknesses had a powerful influ. op, threw his arms about my neck, and kissed ence on the development of Scott's mental powers. ne." And the quaint old gentleman adds this During the enforced inactivity of his illness of commentary:~" By such generous and noble 1784, his habit of omnivorous reading-especially Hondact my displeasure was in a moment con of anything having a romantic or traditionary verted into esteem and admiration; my soul character-became powerfully confirmed. He welted into tenderness, and I was ready to
read almost all the romances, old plays, and epics, wingle my tears with his."
pertaining to a circulating library which formed The chief enjoyment of Scott's holidays was
his sojace ; tales of chivalry, Cyrus and Cassante go out with a friend who had a taste for tales dra, the novels of modern days—all furnished similar to his own, and the boys would then
alike his pabulum ; his strong sympathetic recite their wild inventions alternately. Arthur's
nature, quick fancy, and enormously retentive Beat was a favourite spot for those performances,
memory assimilated and digested it all. He which were kept secret from the profane. The
thus attained an early command of language, saame tale of knight-errantry, or what not, would and acquired facility in the construction of tales be continged from day to day.
on his own account, for the amusement of his Pive years constituted the regular course of companions. training at the High School, and Scott went
Scott was surrounded, too, by characters cal. through them-not, however, without some in. culated to leave a deep impression on the mind terruptions. He outgrew his strength, and in of a bookish boy. The Lowlands of Scotland had consequence of illness was more than once by that time settled down into regulated habits of removed. It was on one of these occasions, while steady industry, but many old-world characters, reading with his aunt at Kelso, that he made belonging to a less tranquil period, still survived.