Celebrities, eh?

Posted by September Blue Sunday, 19 August 2007

(Chambers's Journal, Jan. 12, 1895.)

Fifty years ago, Sir Walter Scott still lived in the memory of his personal friends, and fresh anecdotes were constantly being told of him by those who had known him well. Not so well known, however, is one trait of his character: no man was more careful than he of his personal dignity. That he was 'hail, fellow, well met' with the players in the stage adaptations of his works is apocryphal. On one occasion a well-known Scottish actor, of whom Sir Walter had taken friendly notice, asked him for a few letters of introduction on the occasion of his going to London. Sir Walter Scott declined to give them, only softening the refusal by saying, 'I have written to my friends about you.' At a dinner party where the great man was a guest, a young gentleman called out: 'Pleasure of wine with you, Scott!' Sir Walter looked fixedly at him, but took no further notice. Unless Sir Walter condescended to be familiar first, it was not safe to be familiar with him.