Time And I Against Any Two: The Last Stand of Walter Scott

“I determined that literature,” wrote 20th century writer Walter Scott, “should be my staff and not my crutch. And that the profits of my literary labour, however convenient otherwise, should not, if I could help it, become necessary to my ordinary expenses.”

He resolved that he should earn his living solely by business, and not by words, so as not to hate the passion that he had so come to love. He succeeded well in business and thus freed himself to passionately indulge in his writing, which brought him significant fame and status.

“It is very hard,” he said of the whole situation, “to lose all the labour of a lifetime, and to be made a poor man at last. But if God grants me health and strength for a few more years, I have no doubt that I shall redeem it all.”

He turned down all offers of financial aid from fans, supporters and admirers, including King George IV himself who was an admirer of his, “No, no, gentlemen,” he said to all, “time and I against any two.”

“If I were to be idle,” he said on many occasions, “I would go insane: death is nothing to be afraid of in comparison to this.”

Towards the fifth year of continuous efforts, he had now managed to pay off over two-thirds of his debts, the modern equivalent of £8 million — an achievement unparalleled in the history of literature at that time.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Paul Gwamanda

“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” Ben Franklin