This is the great secret of his writings--a perfect indifference to self."'
Hazlitt appears to allow too little to the mind of the Author of Waverley--as though the author had nothing to do but let the contents of his mind arrange themselves on his pages. What this exactly may mean is doubtful. We are not disposed to accept the theory of the passive mind as a sufficient philosophical explanation of the Scotch novels. But Hazlitt is certainly right to make much of the store of reading and reminiscence they imply, and it is not erroneous or fallacious to think of all Scott's writings in verse or prose as peculiarly the fruits of his life and experience. His various modes of writing are suggested to him by the way, and he finds his art with no long practice when the proper time comes to use it. After all, is this not what was meant by Horace when he said that the subject rightly chosen will provide what is wanted in art and style?
Cui lecta potenter erit res Nec facundia deseret hunc nec l