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Chapter 1

By Cauk and keel to win your bread,
Wi' whigmaleeries for them wha need,
Whilk is a gentle trade indeed
To carry the gaberlunzie on.

Old Song.

FEW have been in my secret while I was compiling these narratives, nor
is it probable that they will ever become public during the life of
their author. Even were that event to happen, I am not ambitious of the
honoured distinction, digito monstrari. I confess that, were it safe to
cherish such dreams at all, I should more enjoy the thought of remaining
behind the curtain unseen, like the ingenious manager of Punch and his
wife Joan, and enjoying the astonishment and conjectures of my audience.
Then might I, perchance, hear the productions of the obscure Peter
Pattieson praised by the judicious and admired by the feeling,
engrossing the young and attracting even the old; while the critic
traced their fame up to some name of literary celebrity, and the
question when, and by whom, these tales were written filled up the pause
of conversation in a hundred circles and coteries. This I may never
enjoy during my lifetime; but farther than this, I am certain, my vanity
should never induce me to aspire.

I am too stubborn in habits, and too little polished in manners, to envy
or aspire to the honours assigned to my literary contemporaries. I could
not think a whit more highly of myself were I found worthy to "come in
place as a lion" for a winter in the great metropolis. I could not rise,
turn round, and show all my honours, from the shaggy mane to the tufted
tail, "roar you an't were any nightingale," and so lie down again like a
well-behaved beast of show, and all at the cheap and easy rate of a
cup of coffee and a slice of bread and butter as thin as a wafer. And
I could ill stomach the fulsome flattery with which the lady of the
evening indulges her show-monsters on such occasions, as she crams her
parrots with sugar-plums, in order to make them talk before company. I
cannot be tempted to "come aloft" for these marks of distinction, and,
like imprisoned Samson, I would rather remain--if such must be the
alternative--all my life in the mill-house, grinding for my very bread,
than be brought forth to make sport for the Philistine lords and ladies.
This proceeds from no dislike, real or affected, to the aristocracy of
these realms. But they have their place, and I have mine; and, like
the iron and earthen vessels in the old fable, we can scarce come
into collision without my being the sufferer in every sense. It may be
otherwise with the sheets which I am now writing. These may be opened
and laid aside at pleasure; by amusing themselves with the perusal, the
great will excite no false hopes; by neglecting or condemning them, they
will inflict no pain; and how seldom can they converse with those whose
minds have toiled for their delight without doing either the one or the

In the better and wiser tone of feeling with Ovid only expresses in one
line to retract in that which follows, I can address these quires--

Parve, nec invideo, sine me, liber, ibis in urbem.

Nor do I join the regret of the illustrious exile, that he himself could
not in person accompany the volume, which he sent forth to the mart
of literature, pleasure, and luxury. Were there not a hundred similar
instances on record, the rate of my poor friend and school-fellow, Dick
Tinto, would be sufficient to warn me against seeking happiness in the
celebrity which attaches itself to a successful cultivator of the fine

Dick Tinto, when he wrote himself artist, was wont to derive his origin
from the ancient family of Tinto, of that ilk, in Lanarkshire, and
occasionally hinted that he had somewhat derogated from his gentle blood
in using the pencil for his principal means of support. But if Dick's
pedigree was correct, some of his ancestors must have suffered a more
heavy declension, since the good man his father executed the necessary,
and, I trust, the honest, but certainly not very distinguished,
employment of tailor in ordinary to the village of Langdirdum in the
west.. Under his humble roof was Richard born, and to his father's
humble trade was Richard, greatly contrary to his inclination, early
indentured. Old Mr. Tinto had, however, no reason to congratulate
himself upon having compelled the youthful genius of his son to forsake
its natural bent. He fared like the school-boy who attempts to stop with
his finger the spout of a water cistern, while the stream, exasperated
at this compression, escapes by a thousand uncalculated spurts, and wets
him all over for his pains. Even so fared the senior Tinto, when his
hopeful apprentice not only exhausted all the chalk in making sketches
upon the shopboard, but even executed several caricatures of his
father's best customers, who began loudly to murmur, that it was too
hard to have their persons deformed by the vestments of the father, and
to be at the same time turned into ridicule by the pencil of the son.
This led to discredit and loss of practice, until the old tailor,
yielding to destiny and to the entreaties of his son, permitted him to
attempt his fortune in a line for which he was better qualified.

There was about this time, in the village of Langdirdum, a peripatetic
brother of the brush, who exercised his vocation sub Jove frigido, the
object of admiration of all the boys of the village, but especially
to Dick Tinto. The age had not yet adopted, amongst other unworthy
retrenchments, that illiberal measure of economy which, supplying by
written characters the lack of symbolical representation, closes one
open and easily accessible avenue of instruction and emolument against
the students of the fine arts. It was not yet permitted to write upon
the plastered doorway of an alehouse, or the suspended sign of an
inn, "The Old Magpie," or "The Saracen's Head," substituting that cold
description for the lively effigies of the plumed chatterer, or the
turban'd frown of the terrific soldan. That early and more simple age
considered alike the necessities of all ranks, and depicted the symbols
of good cheer so as to be obvious to all capacities; well judging that a
man who could not read a syllable might nevertheless love a pot of good
ale as well as his better-educated neighbours, or even as the parson
himself. Acting upon this liberal principle, publicans as yet hung forth
the painted emblems of their calling, and sign-painters, if they seldom
feasted, did not at least absolutely starve.

To a worthy of this decayed profession, as we have already intimated,
Dick Tinto became an assistant; and thus, as is not unusual among
heaven-born geniuses in this department of the fine arts, began to paint
before he had any notion of drawing.

His talent for observing nature soon induced him to rectify the errors,
and soar above the instructions, of his teacher. He particularly
shone in painting horses, that being a favourite sign in the Scottish
villages; and, in tracing his progress, it is beautiful to observe how
by degrees he learned to shorten the backs and prolong the legs of these
noble animals, until they came to look less like crocodiles, and
more like nags. Detraction, which always pursues merit with strides
proportioned to its advancement, has indeed alleged that Dick once upon
a time painted a horse with five legs, instead of four. I might have
rested his defence upon the license allowed to that branch of his
profession, which, as it permits all sorts of singular and irregular
combinations, may be allowed to extend itself so far as to bestow a limb
supernumerary on a favourite subject. But the cause of a deceased friend
is sacred; and I disdain to bottom it so superficially. I have visited
the sign in question, which yet swings exalted in the village of
Langdirdum; and I am ready to depone upon the oath that what has been
idly mistaken or misrepresented as being the fifth leg of the horse, is,
in fact, the tail of that quadruped, and, considered with reference to
the posture in which he is delineated, forms a circumstance introduced
and managed with great and successful, though daring, art. The nag
being represented in a rampant or rearing posture, the tail, which is
prolonged till it touches the ground, appears to form a point d'appui,
and gives the firmness of a tripod to the figure, without which it would
be difficult to conceive, placed as the feet are, how the courser could
maintain his ground without tumbling backwards. This bold conception has
fortunately fallen into the custody of one by whom it is duly valued;
for, when Dick, in his more advanced state of proficiency, became
dubious of the propriety of so daring a deviation to execute a picture
of the publican himself in exchange for this juvenile production,
the courteous offer was declined by his judicious employer, who
had observed, it seems, that when his ale failed to do its duty in
conciliating his guests, one glance at his sign was sure to put them in
good humour.

It would be foreign to my present purpose to trace the steps by which
Dick Tinto improved his touch, and corrected, by the rules of art, the
luxuriance of a fervid imagination. The scales fell from his eyes on
viewing the sketches of a contemporary, the Scottish Teniers, as
Wilkie has been deservedly styled. He threw down the brush took up
the crayons, and, amid hunger and toil, and suspense and uncertainty,
pursued the path of his profession under better auspices than those of
his original master. Still the first rude emanations of his genius, like
the nursery rhymes of Pope, could these be recovered, will be dear to
the companions of Dick Tinto's youth. There is a tankard and gridiron
painted over the door of an obscure change-house in the Back Wynd of
Gandercleugh----But I feel I must tear myself from the subject, or dwell
on it too long.

Amid his wants and struggles, Dick Tinto had recourse, like his
brethren, to levying that tax upon the vanity of mankind which he could
not extract from their taste and liberality--on a word, he painted
portraits. It was in this more advanced state of proficiency, when Dick
had soared above his original line of business, and highly disdained any
allusion to it, that, after having been estranged for several years,
we again met in the village of Gandercleugh, I holding my present
situation, and Dick painting copies of the human face divine at a guinea
per head. This was a small premium, yet, in the first burst of business,
it more than sufficed for all Dick's moderate wants; so that he occupied
an apartment at the Wallace Inn, cracked his jest with impunity even
upon mine host himself, and lived in respect and observance with the
chambermaid, hostler, and waiter.

Those halcyon days were too serene to last long. When his honour the
Laird of Gandercleugh, with his wife and three daughters, the minister,
the gauger, mine esteemed patron Mr. Jedediah Cleishbotham, and some
round dozen of the feuars and farmers, had been consigned to immortality
by Tinto's brush, custom began to slacken, and it was impossible to
wring more than crowns and half-crowns from the hard hands of the
peasants whose ambition led them to Dick's painting-room.

Still, though the horizon was overclouded, no storm for some time
ensued. Mine host had Christian faith with a lodger who had been a
good paymaster as long as he had the means. And from a portrait of our
landlord himself, grouped with his wife and daughters, in the style of
Rubens, which suddenly appeared in the best parlour, it was evident that
Dick had found some mode of bartering art for the necessaries of life.

Nothing, however, is more precarious than resources of this nature. It
was observed that Dick became in his turn the whetstone of mine host's
wit, without venturing either at defence or retaliation; that his easel
was transferred to a garret-room, in which there was scarce space for
it to stand upright; and that he no longer ventured to join the weekly
club, of which he had been once the life and soul. In short, Dick
Tinto's friends feared that he had acted like the animal called the
sloth, which, heaving eaten up the last green leaf upon the tree where
it has established itself, ends by tumbling down from the top, and
dying of inanition. I ventured to hint this to Dick, recommended his
transferring the exercise of his inestimable talent to some other
sphere, and forsaking the common which he might be said to have eaten

"There is an obstacle to my change of residence," said my friend,
grasping my hand with a look of solemnity.

"A bill due to my landlord, I am afraid?" replied I, with heartfelt
sympathy; "if any part of my slender means can assist in this

"No, by the soul of Sir Joshua!" answered the generous youth, "I will
never involve a friend in the consequences of my own misfortune. There
is a mode by which I can regain my liberty; and to creep even through a
common sewer is better than to remain in prison."

I did not perfectly understand what my friend meant. The muse of
painting appeared to have failed him, and what other goddess he could
invoke in his distress was a mystery to me. We parted, however, without
further explanation, and I did not see him until three days after, when
he summoned me to partake of the "foy" with which his landlord proposed
to regale him ere his departure for Edinburgh.

I found Dick in high spirits, whistling while he buckled the small
knapsack which contained his colours, brushes, pallets, and clean shirt.
That he parted on the best terms with mine host was obvious from the
cold beef set forth in the low parlour, flanked by two mugs of admirable
brown stout; and I own my curiosity was excited concerning the means
through which the face of my friend's affairs had been so suddenly
improved. I did not suspect Dick of dealing with the devil, and by what
earthly means he had extricated himself thus happily I was at a total
loss to conjecture.

He perceived my curiosity, and took me by the hand. "My friend," he
said, "fain would I conceal, even from you, the degradation to which
it has been necessary to submit, in order to accomplish an honourable
retreat from Gandercleaugh. But what avails attempting to conceal that
which must needs betray itself even by its superior excellence? All
the village--all the parish--all the world--will soon discover to what
poverty has reduced Richard Tinto."

A sudden thought here struck me. I had observed that our landlord wore,
on that memorable morning, a pair of bran new velveteens instead of his
ancient thicksets.

"What," said I, drawing my right hand, with the forefinger and thumb
pressed together, nimbly from my right haunch to my left shoulder, "you
have condescended to resume the paternal arts to which you were first
bred--long stitches, ha, Dick?"

He repelled this unlucky conjecture with a frown and a pshaw, indicative
of indignant contempt, and leading me into another room, showed me,
resting against the wall, the majestic head of Sir William Wallace, grim
as when severed from the trunk by the orders of the Edward.

The painting was executed on boards of a substantial thickness, and
the top decorated with irons, for suspending the honoured effigy upon a

"There," he said, "my friend, stands the honour of Scotland, and my
shame; yet not so--rather the shame of those who, instead of encouraging
art in its proper sphere, reduce it to these unbecoming and unworthy

I endeavoured to smooth the ruffled feelings of my misused and indignant
friend. I reminded him that he ought not, like the stag in the fable, to
despise the quality which had extricated him from difficulties, in
which his talents, as a portrait or landscape painter, had been found
unavailing. Above all, I praised the execution, as well as conception,
of his painting, and reminded him that, far from feeling dishonoured by
so superb a specimen of his talents being exposed to the general view
of the public, he ought rather to congratulate himself upon the
augmentation of his celebrity to which its public exhibition must
necessarily give rise.

"You are right, my friend--you are right," replied poor Dick, his eye
kindling with enthusiasm; "why should I shun the name of an--an--(he
hesitated for a phrase)--an out-of-doors artist? Hogarth has introduced
himself in that character in one of his best engravings; Domenichino,
or somebody else, in ancient times, Morland in our own, have exercised
their talents in this manner. And wherefore limit to the rich and
higher classes alone the delight which the exhibition of works of art is
calculated to inspire into all classes? Statues are placed in the
open air, why should Painting be more niggardly in displaying her
masterpieces than her sister Sculpture? And yet, my friend, we must part
suddenly; the carpenter is coming in an hour to put up the--the emblem;
and truly, with all my philosophy, and your consolatory encouragement
to boot, I would rather wish to leave Gandercleugh before that operation

We partook of our genial host's parting banquet, and I escorted Dick on
his walk to Edinburgh. We parted about a mile from the village, just as
we heard the distant cheer of the boys which accompanied the mounting
of the new symbol of the Wallace Head. Dick Tinto mended his pace to get
out of hearing, so little had either early practice or recent philosophy
reconciled him to the character of a sign-painter.

In Edinburgh, Dick's talents were discovered and appreciated, and he
received dinners and hints from several distinguished judges of the fine
arts. But these gentlemen dispensed their criticism more willingly than
their cash, and Dick thought he needed cash more than criticism. He
therefore sought London, the universal mart of talent, and where, as is
usual in general marts of most descriptions, much more of each commodity
is exposed to sale than can ever find purchasers.

Dick, who, in serious earnest, was supposed to have considerable natural
talents for his profession, and whose vain and sanguine disposition
never permitted him to doubt for a moment of ultimate success, threw
himself headlong into the crowd which jostled and struggled for notice
and preferment. He elbowed others, and was elbowed himself; and finally,
by dint of intrepidity, fought his way into some notice, painted for
the prize at the Institution, had pictures at the exhibition at Somerset
House, and damned the hanging committee. But poor Dick was doomed to
lose the field he fought so gallantly. In the fine arts, there is scarce
an alternative betwixt distinguished success and absolute failure; and
as Dick's zeal and industry were unable to ensure the first, he
fell into the distresses which, in his condition, were the natural
consequences of the latter alternative. He was for a time patronised
by one or two of those judicious persons who make a virtue of being
singular, and of pitching their own opinions against those of the world
in matters of taste and criticism. But they soon tired of poor Tinto,
and laid him down as a load, upon the principle on which a spoilt child
throws away its plaything. Misery, I fear, took him up, and accompanied
him to a premature grave, to which he was carried from an obscure
lodging in Swallow Street, where he had been dunned by his landlady
within doors, and watched by bailiffs without, until death came to
his relief. A corner of the Morning Post noticed his death, generously
adding, that his manner displayed considerable genius, though his style
was rather sketchy; and referred to an advertisement, which announced
that Mr. Varnish, a well-known printseller, had still on hand a very
few drawings and painings by Richard Tinto, Esquire, which those of
the nobility and gentry who might wish to complete their collections of
modern art were invited to visit without delay. So ended Dick Tinto! a
lamentable proof of the great truth, that in the fine arts mediocrity
is not permitted, and that he who cannot ascend to the very top of the
ladder will do well not to put his foot upon it at all.

The memory of Tinto is dear to me, from the recollection of the many
conversations which we have had together, most of them turning upon
my present task. He was delighted with my progress, and talked of an
ornamented and illustrated edition, with heads, vignettes, and culs de
lampe, all to be designed by his own patriotic and friendly pencil.
He prevailed upon an old sergeant of invalids to sit to him in the
character of Bothwell, the lifeguard's-man of Charles the Second, and
the bellman of Gandercleugh in that of David Deans. But while he thus
proposed to unite his own powers with mine for the illustration of
these narratives, he mixed many a dose of salutary criticism with the
panegyrics which my composition was at times so fortunate as to call

"Your characters," he said, "my dear Pattieson, make too much use of
the gob box; they patter too much (an elegant phraseology which Dick had
learned while painting the scenes of an itinerant company of players);
there is nothing in whole pages but mere chat and dialogue."

"The ancient philosopher," said I in reply, "was wont to say, 'Speak,
that I may know thee'; and how is it possible for an author to introduce
his personae dramatis to his readers in a more interesting and effectual
manner than by the dialogue in which each is represented as supporting
his own appropriate character?"

"It is a false conclusion," said Tinto; "I hate it, Peter, as I hate
an unfilled can. I grant you, indeed, that speech is a faculty of some
value in the intercourse of human affairs, and I will not even insist on
the doctrine of that Pythagorean toper, who was of opinion that over
a bottle speaking spoiled conversation. But I will not allow that a
professor of the fine arts has occasion to embody the idea of his scene
in language, in order to impress upon the reader its reality and its
effect. On the contrary, I will be judged by most of your readers,
Peter, should these tales ever become public, whether you have not
given us a page of talk for every single idea which two words might have
communicated, while the posture, and manner, and incident, accurately
drawn, and brougth out by appropriate colouring, would have preserved
all that was worthy of preservation, and saved these everlasting 'said
he's' and 'said she's,' with which it has been your pleasure to encumber
your pages."

I replied, "That he confounded the operations of the pencil and the pen;
that the serene and silent art, as painting has been called by one of
our first living poets, necessarily appealed to the eye, because it had
not the organs for addressing the ear; whereas poetry, or that species
of composition which approached to it, lay under the necessity of doing
absolutely the reverse, and addressed itself to the ear, for the purpose
of exciting that interest which it could not attain through the medium
of the eye."

Dick was not a whit staggered by my argument, which he contended was
founded on misrepresentation. "Description," he said, "was to the author
of a romance exactly what drawing and tinting were to a painter: words
were his colours, and, if properly employed, they could not fail to
place the scene which he wished to conjure up as effectually before the
mind's eye as the tablet or canvas presents it to the bodily organ.
The same rules," he contended, "applied to both, and an exuberance
of dialogue, in the former case, was a verbose and laborious mode
of composition which went to confound the proper art of fictitious
narrative with that of the drama, a widely different species of
composition, of which dialogue was the very essence, because all,
excepting the language to be made use of, was presented to the eye by
the dresses, and persons, and actions of the performers upon the stage.
But as nothing," said Dick, "can be more dull than a long narrative
written upon the plan of a drama, so where you have approached most near
to that species of composition, by indulging in prolonged scenes of mere
conversation, the course of your story has become chill and constrained,
and you have lost the power of arresting the attention and exciting
the imagination, in which upon other occasions you may be considered as
having succeeded tolerably well."

I made my bow in requital of the compliment, which was probably thrown
in by way of placebo, and expressed myself willing at least to make one
trial of a more straightforward style of composition, in which my actors
should do more, and say less, than in my former attempts of this kind.
Dick gave me a patronising and approving nod, and observed that, finding
me so docile, he would communicate, for the benefit of my muse, a
subject which he had studied with a view to his own art.

"The story," he said, "was, by tradition, affirmed to be truth,
although, as upwards of a hundred years had passed away since the events
took place, some doubts upon the accuracy of all the particulars might
be reasonably entertained."

When Dick Tinto had thus spoken, he rummaged his portfolio for the
sketch from which he proposed one day to execute a picture of fourteen
feet by eight. The sketch, which was cleverly executed, to use the
appropriate phrase, represented an ancient hall, fitted up and furnished
in what we now call the taste of Queen Elizabeth's age. The light,
admitted from the upper part of a high casement, fell upon a female
figure of exquisite beauty, who, in an attitude of speechless terror,
appeared to watch the issue of a debate betwixt two other persons. The
one was a young man, in the Vandyke dress common to the time of Charles
I., who, with an air of indignant pride, testified by the manner in
which he raised his head and extended his arm, seemed to be urging a
claim of right, rather than of favour, to a lady whose age, and some
resemblance in their features, pointed her out as the mother of the
younger female, and who appeared to listen with a mixture of displeasure
and impatience.

Tinto produced his sketch with an air of mysterious triumph, and gazed
on it as a fond parent looks upon a hopeful child, while he anticipates
the future figure he is to make in the world, and the height to which
he will raise the honour of his family. He held it at arm's length
from me--he helt it closer--he placed it upon the top of a chest of
drawers--closed the lower shutters of the casement, to adjust a downward
and favourable light--fell back to the due distance, dragging me
after him--shaded his face with his hand, as if to exclude all but the
favourite object--and ended by spoiling a child's copy-book, which he
rolled up so as to serve for the darkened tube of an amateur. I fancy my
expressions of enthusiasm had not been in proportion to his own, for he
presently exclaimed with vehemence: "Mr. Pattieson, I used to think you
had an eye in your head."

I vindicated my claim to the usual allowance of visual organs.

"Yet, on my honour," said Dick, "I would swear you had been born blind,
since you have failed at the first glance to discover the subject and
meaning of that sketch. I do not mean to praise my own performance, I
leave these arts to others; I am sensible of my deficiencies, conscious
that my drawing and colouring may be improved by the time I intend
to dedicate to the art. But the conception--the expression--the
positions--these tell the story to every one who looks at the sketch;
and if I can finish the picture without diminution of the original
conception, the name of Tinto shall no more be smothered by the mists of
envy and intrigue."

I replied: "That I admired the sketch exceedingly; but that to
understand its full merit, I felt it absolutely necessary to be informed
of the subject."

"That is the very thing I complain of," answered Tinto; "you have
accustomed yourself so much to these creeping twilight details of yours,
that you are become incapable of receiving that instant and vivid
flash of conviction which darts on the mind from seeing the happy and
expressive combinations of a single scene, and which gathers from the
position, attitude, and countenance of the moment, not only the history
of the past lives of the personages represented, and the nature of the
business on which they are immediately engaged, but lifts even the veil
of futurity, and affords a shrewd guess at their future fortunes."

"In that case," replied I, "Paining excels the ape of the renowned Gines
de Passamonte, which only meddled with the past and the present; nay,
she excels that very Nature who affords her subject; for I protest to
you, Dick, that were I permitted to peep into that Elizabeth-chamber,
and see the persons you have sketched conversing in flesh and blood, I
should not be a jot nearer guessing the nature of their business than I
am at this moment while looking at your sketch. Only generally, from
the languishing look of the young lady, and the care you have taken
to present a very handsome leg on the part of the gentleman, I presume
there is some reference to a love affair between them."

"Do you really presume to form such a bold conjecture?" said Tinto. "And
the indignant earnestness with which you see the man urge his suit, the
unresisting and passive despair of the younger female, the stern air of
inflexible determination in the elder woman, whose looks express at
once consciousness that she is acting wrong and a firm determination to
persist in the course she has adopted----"

"If her looks express all this, my dear Tinto," replied I, interrupting
him, "your pencil rivals the dramatic art of Mr. Puff in The Critic, who
crammed a whole complicated sentence into the expressive shake of Lord
Burleigh's head."

"My good friend, Peter," replied Tinto, "I observe you are perfectly
incorrigible; however, I have compassion on your dulness, and am
unwilling you should be deprived of the pleasure of understanding my
picture, and of gaining, at the same time, a subject for your own pen.
You must know then, last summer, while I was taking sketches on the
coast of East Lothian and Berwickshire, I was seduced into the mountains
of Lammermoor by the account I received of some remains of antiquity in
that district. Those with which I was most struck were the ruins of an
ancient castle in which that Elizabeth-chamber, as you call it,
once existed. I resided for two or three days at a farmhouse in the
neighbourhood, where the aged goodwife was well acquainted with the
history of the castle, and the events which had taken place in it. One
of these was of a nature so interesting and singular, that my attention
was divided between my wish to draw the old ruins in landscape, and
to represent, in a history-piece, the singular events which have taken
place in it. Here are my notes of the tale," said poor Dick, handing a
parcel of loose scraps, partly scratched over with his pencil, partly
with his pen, where outlines of caricatures, sketches of turrets,
mills, old gables, and dovecots, disputed the ground with his written

I proceeded, however, to decipher the substance of the manuscript
as well as I could, and move it into the following Tale, in which,
following in part, though not entirely, my friend Tinto's advice, I
endeavoured to render my narrative rather descriptive than dramatic. My
favourite propensity, however, has at times overcome me, and my persons,
like many others in this talking world, speak now what then a great deal
more than they act.

Sir Walter Scott