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Title: Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume V (of 10)
Author: Lockhart, J. G. (John Gibson), 1794-1854
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume V (of 10)" ***

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Transcriber's note:

   Obvious printer's errors have been corrected; all other
   inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling
   has been retained.

   Page numbers have been retained as {p.xxx}.

   Page 96: The "u" in "Cadil gu lo" has a breve in the original.

   Page 218: The marker for footnote 88 could not be found in the




In Ten Volumes


Boston and New York
Houghton, Mifflin and Company
The Riverside Press, Cambridge

Copyright, 1901
by Houghton, Mifflin and Company
All Rights Reserved

Six Hundred Copies Printed


  Chap.                                                      Page

  XXXIV. Progress of The Lord of the Isles. -- Correspondence
     with Mr. Joseph Train. -- Rapid completion of The Lord of
     the Isles. -- "Refreshing the Machine." -- "Six Weeks at a
     Christmas." -- Publication of the Poem, -- and of Guy
     Mannering. -- Letters to Morritt, Terry, and John
     Ballantyne. -- Anecdotes by James Ballantyne. -- Visit to
     London. -- Meeting with Lord Byron. -- Dinners at Carlton
     House. 1814-1815.                                          1

  XXXV. Battle of Waterloo -- Letter of Sir Charles Bell. --
     Visit to the Continent. -- Waterloo. -- Letters from
     Brussels and Paris. -- Anecdotes of Scott at Paris. -- The
     Duke of Wellington. -- The Emperor Alexander. -- Blücher. --
     Platoff -- Party at Ermenonville, etc. -- London. -- Parting
     with Lord Byron. -- Scott's Sheffield Knife. -- Return to
     Abbotsford. -- Anecdotes by Mr. Skene and James Ballantyne.
     1815.                                                     39

  XXXVI. Field of Waterloo published. -- Revision of Paul's
     Letters, etc. -- Quarrel and Reconciliation with Hogg. --
     Football Match at Carterhaugh. -- Songs on the Banner of
     Buccleuch. -- Dinner at Bowhill. -- Design for a Piece of
     Plate to the Sutors of Selkirk. -- Letters to the Duke of
     Buccleuch, Joanna Baillie, and Mr. Morritt. 1815.         76

  XXXVII. {p.vi} Publication of Paul's Letters to his
     Kinsfolk. -- Guy Mannering "Terry-fied." -- Death of Major
     John Scott. -- Letters to Thomas Scott. -- Publication of
     The Antiquary. -- History of 1814 for the Edinburgh Annual
     Register. -- Letters on the History of Scotland projected.
     -- Publication of the First Tales of my Landlord by Murray
     and Blackwood. -- Anecdotes by Mr. Train. -- Quarterly
     Review on the Tales. -- Building at Abbotsford begun. --
     Letters to Morritt, Terry, Murray, and the Ballantynes.
     1816.                                                     94

  XXXVIII. Harold the Dauntless published. -- Scott aspires to
     be a Baron of the Exchequer. -- Letter to the Duke of
     Buccleuch concerning Poachers, etc. -- First Attack of Cramp
     in the Stomach. -- Letters to Morritt, Terry, and Mrs.
     Maclean Clephane. -- Story of The Doom of Devorgoil. -- John
     Kemble's retirement from the Stage. -- William Laidlaw
     established at Kaeside. -- Novel of Rob Roy projected. --
     Letter to Southey on the Relief of the Poor, etc. -- Letter
     to Lord Montagu on Hogg's Queen's Wake, and on the Death of
     Frances, Lady Douglas. 1817.                             135

  XXXIX. Excursion to the Lennox, Glasgow, and Drumlanrig. --
     Purchase of Toftfield. -- Establishment of the Ferguson
     Family at Huntly Burn. -- Lines written in Illness. --
     Visits of Washington Irving, Lady Byron, and Sir David
     Wilkie. -- Progress of the Building at Abbotsford. --
     Letters to Morritt, Terry, etc. -- Conclusion of Rob Roy.
     1817.                                                    173

  XL. Rob Boy published. -- Negotiation concerning the Second
     Series of Tales of my Landlord. -- Commission to search for
     the {p.vii} Scottish Regalia. -- Letters to the Duke of
     Buccleuch, Mr. Croker, Mr. Morritt, Mr. Murray, Mr. Maturin,
     etc. -- Correspondence on Rural Affairs with Mr. Laidlaw,
     and on the Buildings at Abbotsford with Mr. Terry. -- Death
     of Mrs. Murray Keith and Mr. George Bullock. 1818.       202

  XLI. Dinner at Mr. Home Drummond's. -- Scott's Edinburgh
     Den. -- Details of his Domestic Life in Castle Street. --
     His Sunday Dinners. -- His Evening Drives, etc. -- His
     Conduct in the General Society of Edinburgh. -- Dinners at
     John Ballantyne's Villa, and at James Ballantyne's in St.
     John Street, on the appearance of a new Novel. -- Anecdotes
     of the Ballantynes, and of Constable. 1818.              236

  XLII. Publication of the Heart of Mid-Lothian. -- Its
     Reception in Edinburgh and in England. -- Abbotsford in
     October. -- Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh, etc. -- Lion-Hunters
     from America. -- Tragedy of the Cherokee Lovers. -- Scott's
     Dinner to the Selkirkshire Yeomen. 1818.                 266

  Appendix: The Durham Garland.                               295

  Narrative of the Life of James Annesley.                    303


  WALTER SCOTT IN 1822                             _Frontispiece_
  From the painting by Sir Henry Raeburn, R. A., in the possession
  of the Earl of Home.

  MAIDA, THE SCOTTISH DEERHOUND                                96
  After the painting by Landseer made in 1824.

  JOHN MURRAY                                                 124
  From the painting by Henry W. Pickersgill, R. A., in the
  possession of John Murray, Esq.

  WASHINGTON IRVING                                           180
  After the painting by Charles Robert Leslie, R. A.

  SCOTT'S HOUSE IN CASTLE STREET                              250
  After the drawing by J. M. W. Turner, R.A.

  JOHN GIBSON LOCKHART                                        274
  After the painting by Henry W. Pickersgill, R. A.


     Progress of the Lord of the Isles. -- Correspondence with
     Mr. Joseph Train. -- Rapid Completion of the Lord of the
     Isles. -- "Refreshing the Machine." -- "Six Weeks at a
     Christmas." -- Publication of the Poem, -- And of Guy
     Mannering. -- Letters to Morritt, Terry, and John
     Ballantyne. -- Anecdotes by James Ballantyne. -- Visit to
     London. -- Meeting with Lord Byron. -- Dinners at Carlton


By the 11th of November, then, The Lord of the Isles had made great
progress, and Scott had also authorized Ballantyne to negotiate among
the booksellers for the publication of a second novel. But before I go
further into these transactions, I must introduce the circumstances of
Scott's first connection with an able and amiable man, whose services
were of high importance to him, at this time and ever after, in the
prosecution of his literary labors. Calling at Ballantyne's
printing-office while Waverley was in the press, he happened to take
up a proof sheet of a volume entitled "Poems, with notes illustrative
of traditions in Galloway and Ayrshire, by Joseph Train, Supervisor of
Excise at Newton-Stewart." The sheet contained a ballad on an Ayrshire
tradition, about a certain "Witch of Carrick," whose skill in the
black art was, it seems, instrumental in the destruction {p.002} of
one of the scattered vessels of the Spanish Armada. The ballad

  "Why gallops the palfrey with Lady Dunore?
   Who drives away Turnberry's kine from the shore?
   Go tell it in Carrick, and tell it in Kyle--
   Although the proud Dons are now passing the Moil,[1]
             On this magic clew,
             That in fairyland grew,
   Old Elcine de Aggart has taken in hand
   To wind up their lives ere they win to our strand."

              [Footnote 1: The Mull of Cantyre.]

Scott immediately wrote to the author, begging to be included in his
list of subscribers for a dozen copies, and suggesting at the same
time a verbal alteration in one of the stanzas of this ballad. Mr.
Train acknowledged his letter with gratitude, and the little book
reached him just as he was about to embark in the lighthouse yacht. He
took it with him on his voyage, and, on returning home again, wrote to
Mr. Train, expressing the gratification he had received from several
of his metrical pieces, but still more from his notes, and requesting
him, as he seemed to be enthusiastic about traditions and legends, to
communicate any matters of that order connected with Galloway which he
might not himself think of turning to account; "for," said Scott,
"nothing interests me so much as local anecdotes; and, as the
applications for charity usually conclude, the smallest donation will
be thankfully accepted."

Mr. Train, in a little narrative with which he has favored me, says,
that for some years before this time he had been engaged, in alliance
with a friend of his, Mr. Denniston, in collecting materials for a
History of Galloway; they had circulated lists of queries among the
clergy and parish schoolmasters, and had thus, and by their own
personal researches, accumulated "a great variety of the most
excellent materials for that purpose;" but that, from the hour of his
correspondence with Walter Scott, he "renounced every idea of
authorship for {p.003} himself," resolving, "that thenceforth his
chief pursuit should be collecting whatever he thought would be most
interesting to _him_;" and that Mr. Denniston was easily persuaded to
acquiesce in the abandonment of their original design. "Upon receiving
Mr. Scott's letter," says Mr. Train, "I became still more zealous in
the pursuit of ancient lore, and being the first person who had
attempted to collect old stories in that quarter with any view to
publication, I became so noted, that even beggars, in the hope of
reward, came frequently from afar to Newton-Stewart, to recite old
ballads and relate old stories to me." Erelong, Mr. Train visited
Scott both at Edinburgh and at Abbotsford; a true affection continued
ever afterwards to be maintained between them; and this generous ally
was, as the prefaces to the Waverley Novels signify, one of the
earliest confidants of that series of works, and certainly the most
efficient of all the author's friends in furnishing him with materials
for their composition. Nor did he confine himself to literary
services: whatever portable object of antiquarian curiosity met his
eye, this good man secured and treasured up with the same destination;
and if ever a catalogue of the museum at Abbotsford shall appear, no
single contributor, most assuredly, will fill so large a space in it
as Mr. Train.[2]

              [Footnote 2: [Joseph Train was born in 1779, at
              Gilminscroft, Sorn, Ayrshire, where his father was
              grieve and land-steward. The boy was apprenticed at an
              early age to a weaver in Ayr, but, notwithstanding the
              narrowness of his circumstances, and a very imperfect
              education, he even then showed a love of learning and a
              passion for antiquarian lore. From 1799 to 1802 he
              served in the Ayrshire militia. While the regiment was
              stationed at Inverness, he became a subscriber to
              Currie's edition of Burns, and his colonel, Sir David
              Hunter-Blair, seeing the volumes at the bookseller's,
              was surprised to learn that they had been ordered by one
              of his men. Greatly pleased thereat, Sir David had the
              books handsomely bound and sent to Train, free of
              charge; and later obtained for him an appointment in the
              Excise in the Ayr district. He was a faithful and
              efficient officer, but owing to the then prevalent
              custom of giving the higher places in the Excise to
              Englishmen, all Scott's efforts for the advancement of
              his friend were unavailing; he remained supervisor till
              he went on the retired list in 1836. In 1829 Train was
              admitted a member of the Scottish Society of
              Antiquaries. Though the death of Scott made a sad blank
              in his life, his interest in his favorite studies
              continued to the end. The latter part of his life was
              spent in a cottage at Castle Douglas, where he was
              visited shortly before his death by James Hannay, who
              found him in a little parlor, crowded with antiquities
              of interest and value,--the antiquary, "a tall old man,
              with an autumnal red in his face, hale looking, and of
              simple, quaint manners." (See _Household Words_, July
              10, 1853.) Train's last extended works were an
              _Historical and Statistical Account of the Isle of Man,
              with a view of its peculiar customs and popular
              superstitions_ (1845); and a study of a local religious
              sect in _The Buchanites from First to Last_ (1846); but
              he was an occasional contributor to various periodicals.
              He died December 1, 1852.]]

{p.004} His first considerable communication, after he had formed the
unselfish determination above mentioned, consisted of a collection of
anecdotes concerning the Galloway gypsies, and "a local story of an
astrologer, who calling at a farmhouse at the moment when the goodwife
was in travail, had, it was said, predicted the future fortune of the
child, almost in the words placed in the mouth of John MacKinlay, in
the Introduction to Guy Mannering." Scott told him, in reply, that the
story of the astrologer reminded him of "one he had heard in his
youth;" that is to say, as the Introduction explains, from this
MacKinlay; but Mr. Train has, since his friend's death, recovered a
rude _Durham_ ballad, which in fact contains a great deal more of the
main fable of Guy Mannering than either his own written, or
MacKinlay's oral edition of the _Gallovidian_ anecdote had conveyed;
and--possessing, as I do, numberless evidences of the haste with which
Scott drew up his beautiful Prefaces and Introductions of 1829, 1830,
and 1831--I am strongly inclined to think that he must in his boyhood
have read the Durham Broadside or Chapbook itself--as well as heard
the old serving-man's Scottish version of it.

However this may have been, Scott's answer to Mr. Train proceeded in
these words:--

     I am now to solicit a favor, which I think your interest
     {p.005} in Scottish antiquities will induce you readily to
     comply with. I am very desirous to have some account of the
     present state of _Turnberry Castle_--whether any vestiges of
     it remain--what is the appearance of the ground--the names
     of the neighboring places--and, above all, what are the
     traditions of the place (if any) concerning its memorable
     surprise by Bruce, upon his return from the coast of
     Ireland, in the commencement of the brilliant part of his
     career. The purpose of this is to furnish some hints for
     notes to a work in which I am now engaged, and I need not
     say I will have great pleasure in mentioning the source from
     which I derive my information. I have only to add, with the
     modest importunity of a lazy correspondent, that the sooner
     you oblige me with an answer (if you can assist me on the
     subject), the greater will the obligation be on me, who am
     already your obliged humble servant,

                                        W. SCOTT.

The recurrence of the word _Turnberry_, in the ballad of Elcine de
Aggart, had of course suggested this application, which was dated on
the 7th of November. "I had often," says Mr. Train, "when a boy,
climbed the brown hills, and traversed the shores of Carrick, but I
could not sufficiently remember the exact places and distances as to
which Mr. Scott inquired; so, immediately on receipt of his letter, I
made a journey into Ayrshire to collect all the information I possibly
could, and forwarded it to him on the 18th of the same month." Among
the particulars thus communicated, was the local superstition, that on
the anniversary of the night when Bruce landed at Turnberry from
Arran, the same meteoric gleam which had attended his voyage
reappeared, unfailingly, in the same quarter of the heavens. With this
circumstance Scott was much struck. "Your information," he writes on
the 22d November, "was particularly interesting and acceptable,
especially that which {p.006} relates to the supposed preternatural
appearance of the fire, etc., which I hope to make some use of." What
use he did make of it, if any reader has forgotten, will be seen by
reference to stanzas 7-17 of the 5th Canto of the Poem; and the notes
to the same Canto embody, with due acknowledgment, the more authentic
results of Mr. Train's pilgrimage to Carrick.

I shall recur presently to this communication from Mr. Train; but must
pause for a moment to introduce two letters, both written in the same
week with Scott's request as to the localities of Turnberry. They both
give us amusing sketches of his buoyant spirits at this period of
gigantic exertion;--and the first of them, which relates chiefly to
Maturin's Tragedy of Bertram, shows how he could still contrive to
steal time for attention to the affairs of brother authors less
energetic than himself.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, November 10, 1814.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--I should have long since answered your kind
     letter by our friend Young, but he would tell you of my
     departure with our trusty and well-beloved Erskine, on a
     sort of a voyage to Nova Zembla. Since my return, I have
     fallen under the tyrannical dominion of a certain Lord of
     the Isles. Those Lords were famous for oppression in the
     days of yore, and if I can judge by the posthumous despotism
     exercised over me, they have not improved by their demise.
     The _peine forte et dure_ is, you know, nothing in
     comparison to being obliged to grind verses; and so devilish
     repulsive is my disposition, that I can never put my wheel
     into constant and regular motion, till Ballantyne's devil
     claps in his proofs, like the hot cinder which you Bath
     folks used to clap in beside an unexperienced turnspit, as a
     hint to be expeditious in his duty. O long life to the old
     hermit of Prague, who never saw pen and ink!--much happier
     in {p.007} that negative circumstance than in his alliance
     with the niece of King Gorboduc.

     To talk upon a blither subject, I wish you saw Abbotsford,
     which begins this season to look the whimsical, gay, odd
     cabin, that we had chalked out. I have been obliged to
     relinquish Stark's plan, which was greatly too expensive. So
     I have made the old farmhouse my _corps de logis_, with some
     outlying places for kitchen, laundry, and two spare
     bedrooms, which run along the east wall of the farm-court,
     not without some picturesque effect. A perforated cross, the
     spoils of the old kirk of Galashiels, decorates an advanced
     door, and looks very well. This little sly bit of sacrilege
     has given our spare rooms the name of _the chapel_. I
     earnestly invite you to a _pew_ there, which you will find
     as commodious for the purpose of a nap as you have ever
     experienced when, under the guidance of old Mrs. Smollett,
     you were led to St. George's, Edinburgh.

     I have been recommending to John Kemble (I dare say without
     any chance of success) to peruse a MS. Tragedy of Maturin's
     author of Montorio: it is one of those things which will
     either succeed greatly or be damned gloriously, for its
     merits are marked, deep, and striking, and its faults of a
     nature obnoxious to ridicule. He had our old friend Satan
     (none of your sneaking St. John Street devils, but the
     arch-fiend himself) brought on the stage bodily. I believe I
     have exorcised the foul fiend--for, though in reading he was
     a most terrible fellow, I feared for his reception in
     public. The last act is ill contrived. He piddles (so to
     speak) through a cullender, and divides the whole horrors of
     the catastrophe (though God wot there are enough of them)
     into a kind of drippity-droppity of four or five scenes,
     instead of inundating the audience with them at once in the
     finale, with a grand "_gardez l'eau_." With all this, which
     I should say had I written the thing myself, it is grand and
     powerful; the language most animated and poetical; and the
     characters {p.008} sketched with a masterly enthusiasm.
     Many thanks for Captain Richard Falconer.[3] To your
     kindness I owe the two books in the world I most longed to
     see, not so much for their intrinsic merits, as because they
     bring back with vivid associations the sentiments of my
     childhood--I might almost say infancy. Nothing ever
     disturbed my feelings more than when, sitting by the old oak
     table, my aunt, Lady Raeburn, used to read the lamentable
     catastrophe of the ship's departing without Captain
     Falconer, in consequence of the whole party making free with
     lime-punch on the eve of its being launched. This and
     Captain Bingfield,[4] I much wished {p.009} to read once
     more, and I owe the possession of both to your kindness.
     Everybody that I see talks highly of your steady interest
     with the public, wherewith, as I never doubted of it, I am
     pleased but not surprised. We are just now leaving this for
     the winter: the children went yesterday. Tom Purdie,
     Finella, and the greyhounds, all in excellent health; the
     latter have not been hunted this season!!! Can add nothing
     more to excite your admiration. Mrs. Scott sends her kind

                                        W. SCOTT.

              [Footnote 3: "_The Voyages, Dangerous Adventures, and
              Imminent Escapes of Capt. Rich. Falconer._ Containing
              the Laws, Customs, and Manners of the Indians in
              America; his shipwrecks; his marrying an Indian wife;
              his narrow escape from the Island of Dominico, etc.
              Intermixed with the Voyages and Adventures of Thomas
              Randal, of Cork, Pilot; with his Shipwreck in the
              Baltick, being the only man that escap'd. His being
              taken by the Indians of Virginia, etc. And an Account of
              his Death. The Fourth Edition. London. Printed for J.
              Marshall, at the Bible in Gracechurch Street. 1734."

              On the fly-leaf is the following note, in Scott's
              handwriting: "This book I read in early youth. I am
              ignorant whether it is altogether fictitious and written
              upon De Foe's plan, which it greatly resembles, or
              whether it is only an exaggerated account of the
              adventures of a real person. It is very scarce, for,
              endeavoring to add it to the other favorites of my
              infancy, I think I looked for it ten years to no
              purpose, and at last owed it to the active kindness of
              Mr. Terry. Yet Richard Falconer's adventures seem to
              have passed through several editions."]

              [Footnote 4: "_The Travels and Adventures of William
              Bingfield, Esq._, containing, as surprizing a
              Fluctuation of Circumstances, both by Sea and Land, as
              ever befel one man. With an Accurate Account of the
              Shape, Nature, and Properties of that most furious, and
              amazing Animal, the Dog-Bird. Printed from his own
              Manuscript. With a beautiful Frontispiece. 2 vols. 12mo.
              London: Printed for E. Withers, at the Seven Stars, in
              Fleet Street. 1753." On the fly-leaf of the first volume
              Scott has written as follows: "I read this scarce little
              _Voyage Imaginaire_ when I was about ten years old, and
              long after sought for a copy without being able to find
              a person who would so much as acknowledge having heard
              of William Bingfield or his Dog-birds, until the
              indefatigable kindness of my friend Mr. Terry, of the
              Haymarket, made me master of this copy. I am therefore
              induced to think the book is of very rare occurrence."
              [In consequence of these Notes, both Falconer and
              Bingfield have been recently reprinted in

The following, dated a day after, refers to some lines which Mr.
Morritt had sent him from Worthing.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, November 11, 1814.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I had your kind letter with the beautiful
     verses. May the Muse meet you often on the verge of the sea
     or among your own woods of Rokeby! May you have spirits to
     profit by her visits (and that implies all good wishes for
     the continuance of Mrs. M.'s convalescence), and may I
     often, by the fruits of your inspiration, have my share of
     pleasure! My Muse is a Tyranness, and not a Christian queen,
     and compels me to attend to longs and shorts, and I know not
     what, when, God wot, I had rather be planting evergreens by
     my new old fountain. You must know that, like the complaint
     of a fine young boy who was complimented by a stranger on
     his being a smart fellow, "I am sair halded down by _the
     bubbly jock_." In other words, the turkey cock, at the head
     of a family of some forty or fifty infidels, lays waste all
     my shrubs. In vain I remonstrate with Charlotte upon these
     occasions; she is in league with the hen-wife, the natural
     protectress of these pirates; and I have only the inhuman
     consolation that I may one day, like a cannibal, eat up my
     enemies. This is but dull fun, but what else have I to tell
     you about? It {p.010} would be worse if, like Justice
     Shallow's Davy, I should consult you upon sowing down the
     headland with wheat. My literary tormentor is a certain Lord
     of the Isles, famed for his tyranny of yore, and not
     unjustly. I am bothering some tale of him I have had long by
     me into a sort of romance. I think you will like it: it is
     Scottified up to the teeth, and somehow I feel myself like
     the liberated chiefs of the Rolliad, "who boast their native
     philabeg restored." I believe the frolics one can cut in
     this loose garb are all set down by you Sassenachs to the
     real agility of the wearer, and not the brave, free, and
     independent character of his clothing. It is, in a word, the
     real Highland fling, and no one is supposed able to dance it
     but a native. I always thought that epithet of Gallia
     _Braccata_ implied subjugation, and was never surprised at
     Cæsar's easy conquests, considering that his Labienus and
     all his merry men wore, as we say, bottomless breeks.

     Ever yours,

                                        W. S.

Well might he describe himself as being hard at work with his Lord of
the Isles. The date of Ballantyne's letter to Miss Edgeworth (November
11), in which he mentions the third Canto as completed; that of the
communication from Mr. Train (November 18), on which so much of Canto
Fifth was grounded; and that of a note from Scott to Ballantyne
(December 16, 1814), announcing that he had sent the last stanza of
the poem: these dates, taken together, afford conclusive evidence of
the fiery rapidity with which the three last Cantos of The Lord of the
Isles were composed.

He writes, on the 25th December, to Constable that he "had corrected
the last proofs, and was setting out for Abbotsford to refresh the
machine." And in what did his refreshment of the machine consist?
Besides having written within this year the greater part (almost, I
believe, the whole) of the Life of Swift--Waverley--and {p.011} The
Lord of the Isles--he had given two essays to the Encyclopædia
Supplement, and published, with an Introduction and notes, one of the
most curious pieces of family history ever produced to the world, on
which he labored with more than usual zeal and diligence, from his
warm affection for the noble representative of its author. This
inimitable Memorie of the Somervilles came out in October; and it was
speedily followed by an annotated reprint of the strange old treatise,
entitled "Rowland's letting off the humours of the blood in the head
vein, 1611." He had also kept up his private correspondence on a scale
which I believe never to have been exemplified in the case of any
other person who wrote continually for the press--except, perhaps,
Voltaire; and, to say nothing of strictly professional duties, he had,
as a vast heap of documents now before me proves, superintended from
day to day, except during his Hebridean voyage, the still perplexed
concerns of the Ballantynes, with a watchful assiduity that might have
done credit to the most diligent of tradesmen. The "machine" might
truly require "refreshment."

It was, as has been seen, on the 7th of November that Scott
acknowledged the receipt of that communication from Mr. Train which
included the story of the Galloway astrologer. There can be no doubt
that this story recalled to his mind, if not the Durham ballad, the
similar but more detailed corruption of it which he had heard told by
his father's servant, John MacKinlay, in the days of George's Square
and Green-breeks, and which he has preserved in the introduction to
Guy Mannering, as the groundwork of that tale. It has been shown that
the three last Cantos of The Lord of the Isles were written between
the 11th of November and the 25th of December; and it is therefore
scarcely to be supposed that any part of this novel had been penned
before he thus talked of "refreshing the machine." It is quite certain
that when James Ballantyne wrote to Miss Edgeworth on the {p.012}
11th November, he could not have seen one page of Guy Mannering, since
he in that letter announces that the new novel of his nameless friend
would depict manners _more ancient_ than those of 1745. And yet it is
equally certain, that before The Lord of the Isles was _published_,
which took place on the 18th of January, 1815, two volumes of Guy
Mannering had been not only written and copied by an amanuensis, but

Scott thus writes to Morritt, in sending him his copy of The Lord of
the Isles:--


                                        EDINBURGH, 19th January, 1815.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I have been very foolishly putting off my
     writing until I should have time for a good long epistle;
     and it is astonishing what a number of trifles have
     interfered to prevent my commencing on a great scale. The
     last of these has been rather of an extraordinary kind, for
     your little friend Walter has chose to make himself the town
     talk, by taking what seemed to be the small-pox, despite of
     vaccination in infancy, and inoculation with the variolous
     matter thereafter, which last I resorted to by way of making
     assurance double sure. The medical gentleman who attended
     him is of opinion that he _has_ had the real small-pox, but
     it shall never be averred by me--for the catastrophe of Tom
     Thumb is enough to deter any thinking person from entering
     into a feud with the cows. Walter is quite well again, which
     was the principal matter I was interested in. We had very
     nearly been in a bad scrape, for I had fixed the Monday on
     which he sickened, to take him with me for the Christmas
     vacation to Abbotsford. It is probable that he would not
     have pleaded headache when there was such a party in view,
     especially as we were to shoot wild ducks one day together
     at Cauldshiels Loch; and what the consequence of such a
     journey might have been, God alone knows.

     {p.013} I am clear of The Lord of the Isles, and I trust you
     have your copy. It closes my poetic labors upon an extended
     scale: but I dare say I shall always be dabbling in rhyme
     until the _solve senescentem_. I have directed the copy to
     be sent to Portland Place. I want to shake myself free of
     Waverley, and accordingly have made a considerable exertion
     to finish an odd little tale within such time as will
     mystify the public, I trust--unless they suppose me to be
     Briareus. Two volumes are already printed, and the only
     persons in my confidence, W. Erskine and Ballantyne, are of
     opinion that it is much more interesting than Waverley. It
     is a tale of private life, and only varied by the perilous
     exploits of smugglers and excisemen. The success of Waverley
     has given me a spare hundred or two, which I have resolved
     to spend in London this spring, bringing up Charlotte and
     Sophia with me. I do not forget my English friends--but I
     fear they will forget me, unless I show face now and then.
     My correspondence gradually drops, as must happen when
     people do not meet; and I long to see Ellis, Heber, Gifford,
     and one or two more. I do not include Mrs. Morritt and you,
     because we are much nearer neighbors, and within a whoop and
     a holla in comparison. I think we should come up by sea, if
     I were not a little afraid of Charlotte being startled by
     the March winds--for our vacation begins 12th March.

     You will have heard of poor Caberfae's death? What a pity it
     is he should have outlived his promising young
     representative. His state was truly pitiable--all his fine
     faculties lost in paralytic imbecility, and yet not so
     entirely so but that he perceived his deprivation as in a
     glass darkly. Sometimes he was fretful and anxious because
     he did not see his son; sometimes he expostulated and
     complained that his boy had been allowed to die without his
     seeing him; and sometimes, in a less clouded state of
     intellect, he was sensible of, and lamented his loss in its
     full extent. These, indeed, are {p.014} the "fears of the
     brave, and follies of the wise,"[5] which sadden and
     humiliate the lingering hours of prolonged existence. Our
     friend Lady Hood will now be Caberfae herself. She has the
     spirit of a chieftainess in every drop of her blood, but
     there are few situations in which the cleverest women are so
     apt to be imposed upon as in the management of landed
     property, more especially of an Highland estate. I do fear
     the accomplishment of the prophecy, that when there should
     be a deaf Caberfae, the house was to fall.[6]

              [Footnote 5: Johnson's _Vanity of Human Wishes_.]

              [Footnote 6: Francis, Lord Seaforth, died 11th January,
              1815, in his 60th year, having outlived four sons, all
              of high promise. His title died with him, and he was
              succeeded in his estates by his daughter, Lady Hood, now
              the Hon. Mrs. Stewart-Mackenzie of Seaforth.--See some
              verses on Lord Seaforth's death, in Scott's _Poetical
              Works_, vol. viii. p. 392 [Cambridge Ed. p. 419]. The
              Celtic designation of the chief of the clan MacKenzie,
              _Caberfae_, means _Staghead_, the bearing of the family.
              The prophecy which Scott alludes to in this letter is
              also mentioned by Sir Humphry Davy in one of his
              Journals (see his _Life_, by Dr. Davy, vol. ii. p.
              72),--and it was, if the account be correct, a most
              extraordinary one, for it connected the fall of the
              house of Seaforth not only with the appearance of a deaf
              _Caberfae_, but with the contemporaneous appearance of
              various different physical misfortunes in several of the
              other great Highland chiefs; all of which are said--and
              were certainly believed both by Scott and Davy--to have
              actually occurred within the memory of the generation
              that has not yet passed away. Mr. Morritt can testify
              thus far--that he "heard the prophecy quoted in the
              Highlands at a time when Lord Seaforth had two sons both
              alive and in good health--so that it certainly was not
              made _après coup_." [Mrs. Stewart-Mackenzie died at
              Brahan Castle in 1862, in her 79th year. "Her funeral
              was one of the largest ever witnessed in the North." The
              Seaforth estates passed to the eldest of her three

     I am delighted to find Mrs. Morritt is recovering health and
     strength--better walking on the beach at Worthing than on
     the _plainstanes_ of Prince's Street, for the weather is
     very severe here indeed. I trust Mrs. M. will, in her milder
     climate, lay in such a stock of health and strength as may
     enable you to face the north in Autumn. I have got the
     nicest crib for you possible, just about twelve feet square,
     and in the harmonious vicinity of a piggery. You never saw
     so minute an establishment,--but {p.015} it has all that we
     wish for, and all our friends will care about; and we long
     to see you there. Charlotte sends the kindest remembrances
     to Mrs. Morritt.

     As for politics, I have thought little about them lately;
     the high and exciting interest is so completely subsided,
     that the wine is upon the lees. As for America, we have so
     managed as to give her the appearance of triumph, and what
     is worse, encouragement to resume the war upon a more
     favorable opportunity. It was our business to have given
     them a fearful memento that the babe unborn should have
     remembered; but, having missed this opportunity, I believe
     that this country would submit with great reluctance to
     continue a war, for which there is really no specific
     object. As for the Continental monarchs, there is no
     guessing what the folly of Kings and Ministers may do; but
     God knows! would any of them look at home, enough is to be
     done which might strengthen and improve their dominions in a
     different manner than by mere extension. I trust Ministers
     will go out rather than be engaged in war again, upon any
     account. If France is wise (I have no fear that any
     superfluous feeling of humanity will stand in the way), she
     will send 10,000 of her most refractory troops to fight with
     Christophe and the yellow fever in the Island of St.
     Domingo, and then I presume they may sit down in quiet at

     But my sheet grows to an end, and so does the pleading of
     the learned counsel, who is thumping the poor bar as I
     write. He hems twice. Forward, sweet Orator Higgins!--at
     least till I sign myself, dear Morritt,

     Yours most truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

Guy Mannering was published on the 24th of February--that is, exactly
two months after The Lord of the Isles {p.016} was dismissed from the
author's desk; and--making but a narrow allowance for the operations
of the transcriber, printer, bookseller, etc., I think the dates I
have gathered together confirm the accuracy of what I have often heard
Scott say, that his second novel "was the work of six weeks at a
Christmas." Such was his recipe "for refreshing the machine."

I am sorry to have to add, that this severity of labor, like the
repetition of it which had such deplorable effects at a later period
of his life, was the result of his anxiety to acquit himself of
obligations arising out of his connection with the commercial
speculations of the Ballantynes. The approach of Christmas, 1814,
brought with it the prospect of such a recurrence of difficulties
about the discount of John's bills, as to render it absolutely
necessary that Scott should either apply again for assistance to his
private friends, or task his literary powers with some such
extravagant effort as has now been recorded. The great object, which
was still to get rid of the heavy stock that had been accumulated
before the storm of May, 1813, at length determined the chief partner
to break up, as soon as possible, the concern which his own sanguine
rashness, and the gross irregularities of his mercurial lieutenant,
had so lamentably perplexed; but Constable, having already enabled the
firm to avoid public exposure more than once, was not now, any more
than when he made his contract for The Lord of the Isles, disposed to
burden himself with an additional load of Weber's Beaumont and
Fletcher, and other almost as unsalable books. While they were still
in hopes of overcoming his scruples, it happened that a worthy friend
of Scott's, the late Mr. Charles Erskine, his sheriff-substitute in
Selkirkshire, had immediate occasion for a sum of money which he had
some time before advanced, at Scott's personal request, to the firm of
John Ballantyne and Company; and on receiving his application, Scott
wrote as follows:--


                                        ABBOTSFORD, October 14, 1814.

     DEAR JOHN,--Charles Erskine wishes his money, as he has made
     a purchase of land. This is a new perplexity--for paid he
     must be forthwith--as his advance was friendly and
     confidential. I do not at this moment see how it is to be
     raised, but believe I shall find means. In the mean while,
     it will be necessary to propitiate the Leviathans of
     Paternoster Row. My idea is, that you or James should write
     to them to the following effect: That a novel is offered you
     by the Author of Waverley; that the author is desirous it
     should be out before Mr. Scott's poem, or as soon thereafter
     as possible; and that having resolved, as they are aware, to
     relinquish publishing, you only wish to avail yourselves of
     this offer to the extent of helping off some of your stock.
     I leave it to you to consider whether you should condescend
     on any particular work to offer them as bread to their
     butter--or on any particular amount--as £500. One thing must
     be provided, that Constable shares to the extent of the
     Scottish sale--they, however, managing. My reason for
     letting them have this scent of roast meat is, in case it
     should be necessary for us to apply to them to renew bills
     in December. Yours,

                                        W. S.

Upon receiving this letter, John Ballantyne suggested to Scott that he
should be allowed to offer, not only the new novel, but the next
edition of Waverley, to Longman, Murray, or Blackwood--in the hope
that the prospect of being let in to the profits of the already
established favorite, would overcome effectually the hesitation of one
or other of these houses about venturing on the encumbrance which
Constable seemed to shrink from with such pertinacity; but upon this
ingenious proposition Scott at once set his _veto_. He writes (October
17, 1814):--

     {p.018} DEAR JOHN,--

     Your expedients are all wretched, as far as regards me. I
     never will give Constable, or any one, room to say I have
     broken my word with him in the slightest degree. If I lose
     everything else, I will at least keep my honor unblemished;
     and I do hold myself bound in honor to offer him a Waverley,
     while he shall continue to comply with the conditions
     annexed. I intend the new novel to operate as something more
     permanent than a mere accommodation; and if I can but be
     permitted to do so, I will print it before it is sold to any
     one, and then propose, first to Constable and
     Longman--second, to Murray and Blackwood--to take the whole
     at such a rate as will give them one half of the fair
     profits; granting acceptances which, upon an edition of
     3000, which we shall be quite authorized to print, will
     amount to an immediate command of £1500; and to this we may
     couple the condition, that they must take £500 or £600 of
     the old stock. I own I am not solicitous to deal with
     Constable alone, nor am I at all bound to offer him the new
     novel on any terms; but he, knowing of the intention, may
     expect to be treated with, at least, although it is possible
     we may not deal. However, if Murray and Blackwood were to
     come forward with any handsome proposal as to the stock, I
     should certainly have no objection to James's giving the
     pledge of the Author of W. for his next work. You are like
     the crane in the fable, when you boast of not having got
     anything from the business; you may thank God that it did
     not bite your head off. Would to God I were at let-a-be for
     let-a-be;--but you have done your best, and so must I.

     Yours truly,

                                        W. S.

Both Mr. Murray, and Longman's partner, Mr. Rees, were in Scotland
about this time; and the former at least paid Scott a visit at
Abbotsford. Of course, however, whatever propositions they may have
made were received by one or other of the Ballantynes. The result was,
{p.019} that the house of Longman undertook Guy Mannering on the
terms dictated by Scott--namely, granting bills for £1500, and
relieving John Ballantyne and Company of stock to the extent of £500
more; and Constable's first information of the transaction was from
Messrs. Longman themselves, when they, in compliance with Scott's
wish, as signified in the letter last quoted, offered him a share in
the edition which they had purchased. With one or two exceptions,
originating in circumstances nearly similar, the house of Constable
published all the subsequent series of the Waverley Novels.

I must not, however, forget that The Lord of the Isles was published a
month before Guy Mannering. The poem was received with an interest
much heightened by the recent and growing success of the mysterious
Waverley. Its appearance, so rapidly following that novel, and
accompanied with the announcement of another prose tale, just about to
be published, by the same hand, puzzled and confounded the mob of
dulness.[7] The more sagacious few said to themselves--Scott is making
one serious effort more in his old line, and by this it will be
determined whether he does or does not altogether renounce that for
his new one.

              [Footnote 7: John Ballantyne put forth the following
              paragraph in the _Scots Magazine_ of December, 1814:--

              "Mr. Scott's poem of _The Lord of the Isles_ will appear
              early in January. The Author of _Waverley_ is about to
              amuse the public with a new novel, in three volumes,
              entitled _Guy Mannering_."]

The Edinburgh Review on The Lord of the Isles begins with,--

     "Here is another genuine Lay of the Great Minstrel, with all
     his characteristic faults, beauties, and irregularities. The
     same glow of coloring--the same energy of narration--the
     same amplitude of description are conspicuous--with the same
     still more characteristic disdain of puny graces and small
     originalities--the true poetical hardihood, in the strength
     of which he urges on his Pegasus fearlessly through dense
     and rare, and aiming gallantly at the great ends of truth
     and effect, {p.020} stoops but rarely to study the means by
     which they are to be attained; avails himself without
     scruple of common sentiments and common images wherever they
     seem fitted for his purpose; and is original by the very
     boldness of his borrowing, and impressive by his disregard
     of epigram and emphasis."

The conclusion of the contemporaneous article in the Quarterly Review
is as follows:--

     "The many beautiful passages which we have extracted from
     the poem, combined with the brief remarks subjoined to each
     canto, will sufficiently show, that although The Lord of the
     Isles is not likely to add very much to the reputation of
     Mr. Scott, yet this must be imputed rather to the greatness
     of his previous reputation, than to the absolute inferiority
     of the poem itself. Unfortunately, its merits are merely
     incidental, while its defects are mixed up with the very
     elements of the poem. But it is not in the power of Mr.
     Scott to write with tameness; be the subject what it will
     (and he could not easily have chosen one more
     impracticable), he impresses upon whatever scenes he
     describes so much movement and activity,--he infuses into
     his narrative such a flow of life, and, if we may so express
     ourselves, of animal spirits, that without satisfying the
     judgment, or moving the feelings, or elevating the mind, or
     even very greatly interesting the curiosity, he is able to
     seize upon, and, as it were, exhilarate the imagination of
     his readers, in a manner which is often truly unaccountable.
     This quality Mr. Scott possesses in an admirable degree; and
     supposing that he had no other object in view than to
     convince the world of the great poetical powers with which
     he is gifted, the poem before us would be quite sufficient
     for his purpose. But this is of very inferior importance to
     the public; what they want is a good poem, and, as
     experience has shown, this can only be constructed upon a
     solid foundation of taste, and judgment, and meditation."

These passages appear to me to condense the result of deliberate and
candid reflection, and I have therefore quoted them. The most
important remarks of either Essayist on the details of the plot and
execution are annexed to the last edition of the poem; and show such
an {p.021} exact coincidence of judgment in two masters of their
calling, as had not hitherto been exemplified in the professional
criticism of his metrical romances. The defects which both point out
are, I presume, but too completely explained by the preceding
statement of the rapidity with which this, the last of those great
performances, had been thrown off; nor do I see that either Reviewer
has failed to do sufficient justice to the beauties which redeem the
imperfections of The Lord of the Isles--except as regards the whole
character of Bruce, its real hero, and the picture of the battle of
Bannockburn, which, now that one can compare these works from
something like the same point of view, does not appear to me in the
slightest particular inferior to the Flodden of Marmion.

This poem is now, I believe, about as popular as Rokeby; but it has
never reached the same station in general favor with the Lay, Marmion,
or The Lady of the Lake. The first edition of 1800 copies in quarto
was, however, rapidly disposed of, and the separate editions in 8vo,
which ensued before his poetical works were collected, amounted
together to 12,250 copies. This, in the case of almost any other
author, would have been splendid success; but as compared with what he
had previously experienced, even in his Rokeby, and still more so as
compared with the enormous circulation at once attained by Lord
Byron's early tales, which were then following each other in almost
breathless succession, the falling off was decided. One evening, some
days after the poem had been published, Scott requested James
Ballantyne to call on him, and the printer found him alone in his
library, working at the third volume of Guy Mannering. I give what
follows from Ballantyne's Memoranda:--

     "'Well, James,' he said, 'I have given you a week--what are
     people saying about The Lord of the Isles?' I hesitated a
     little, after the fashion of Gil Blas, but he speedily
     brought the matter to a point. 'Come,' he said, 'speak out,
     my good {p.022} fellow; what has put it into your head to
     be on so much ceremony _with me_ all of a sudden? But, I see
     how it is, the result is given in one
     word--_Disappointment_.' My silence admitted his inference
     to the fullest extent. His countenance certainly did look
     rather blank for a few seconds; in truth, he had been wholly
     unprepared for the event; for it is a singular fact, that
     before the public, or rather the booksellers, had given
     their decision, he no more knew whether he had written well
     or ill, than whether a die thrown out of a box was to turn
     up a size or an ace. However, he instantly resumed his
     spirits, and expressed his wonder rather that his poetical
     popularity should have lasted so long, than that it should
     have now at last given way. At length he said, with perfect
     cheerfulness, 'Well, well, James, so be it--but you know we
     must not droop, for we can't afford to give over. Since one
     line has failed, we must just stick to something else:'--and
     so he dismissed me and resumed his novel."

Ballantyne concludes the anecdote in these words:--

     "He spoke thus, probably unaware of the undiscovered wonders
     then slumbering in his mind. Yet still he could not but have
     felt that the production of a few poems was nothing in
     comparison of what must be in reserve for him, for he was at
     this time scarcely more than forty.[8] An evening or two
     after, I called again on him, and found on the table a copy
     of The Giaour, which he seemed to have been reading. Having
     an enthusiastic young lady in my house, I asked him if I
     might carry the book home with me, but chancing to glance on
     the autograph blazon, '_To the Monarch of Parnassus from one
     of his subjects_,' instantly retracted my request, and said
     I had not observed Lord Byron's inscription before. 'What
     inscription?' said he; 'oh yes, I had forgot, but
     inscription or no inscription, you are equally welcome.' I
     again took it up, and he continued, 'James, Byron hits the
     mark where I don't even pretend to fledge my arrow.' At this
     time he had never seen Byron, but I knew he meant soon to be
     in London, when, no doubt, the mighty consummation of the
     meeting of the two bards would be accomplished; and I
     ventured to say that he must be looking forward to it with
     some interest. His countenance {p.023} became fixed, and he
     answered impressively, 'Oh, of course.' In a minute or two
     afterwards he rose from his chair, paced the room at a very
     rapid rate, which was his practice in certain moods of mind,
     then made a dead halt, and bursting into an extravaganza of
     laughter, 'James,' cried he, 'I'll tell you what Byron
     should say to me when we are about to accost each other,--

              [Footnote 8: He was not forty-four till August, 1815.]

          "Art thou the man whom men famed Grizzle call?"

     And then how germane would be my answer,--

          "Art thou the still more famed Tom Thumb the small?"'

     "This," says the printer, "is a specimen of his peculiar
     humor; it kept him full of mirth for the rest of the

The whole of the scene strikes me as equally and delightfully
characteristic; I may add, hardly more so of Scott than of his
printer; for Ballantyne, with all his profound worship of his friend
and benefactor, was in truth, even more than he, an undoubting
acquiescer in "the decision of the public, or rather of the
booksellers;" and among the many absurdities into which his reverence
for the popedom of Paternoster Row led him, I never could but consider
with special astonishment, the facility with which he seemed to have
adopted the notion that the Byron of 1814 was really entitled to
supplant Scott as a popular poet. Appreciating, as a man of his
talents could hardly fail to do, the splendidly original glow and
depth of Childe Harold, he always appeared to me quite blind to the
fact, that in The Giaour, in The Bride of Abydos, in Parisina, and
indeed in all his early serious narratives, Byron owed at least half
his success to clever, though perhaps unconscious imitation of Scott,
and no trivial share of the rest to the lavish use of materials which
Scott never employed, only because his genius was, from the beginning
to the end of his career, under the guidance of high and chivalrous
feelings of moral rectitude. All this Lord Byron himself seems to have
felt most completely--as witness the whole sequence of {p.024} his
letters and diaries;[9] and I think I see many symptoms that both the
decision of the million, and its index, "the decision of the
booksellers," tend the same way at present; but my business is to
record, as far as my means may permit, the growth and structure of one
great mind, and the effect which it produced upon the actual witnesses
of its manifestations, not to obtrude the conjectures of a partial
individual as to what rank posterity may assign it amongst or above
contemporary rivals.

              [Footnote 9: _E. G._ "If they want to depose Scott, I
              only wish they would not set me up as a competitor. I
              like the man--and admire his works to what Mr. Braham
              calls _Entusymusy_. All such stuff can only vex him, and
              do me no good."--Byron (1813), vol. ii. p. 259.

              "Scott is certainly the most wonderful writer of the
              day. His novels are a new literature in themselves, and
              his poetry as good as any--if not better (only on an
              erroneous system), and only ceased to be popular,
              because the vulgar learned were tired of hearing
              'Aristides called the Just,' and Scott the Best, and
              ostracized him."--Byron (1821), vol. v. p. 72.]

The following letter was addressed to Lord Byron on the receipt of
that copy of The Giaour to which Mr. Ballantyne's Memorandum refers: I
believe the inscription to Scott first appeared on the ninth edition
of the poem:


     MY LORD,--I have long owed you my best thanks for the
     uncommon pleasure I had in perusing your high-spirited
     Turkish fragment. But I should hardly have ventured to offer
     them, well knowing how you must be overwhelmed by volunteer
     intrusions of approbation (which always look as if the
     writer valued his opinion at fully more than it may be
     worth) unless I had to-day learned that I have an apology
     for entering upon the subject, from your having so kindly
     sent me a copy of the poem. I did not receive it sooner,
     owing to my absence from Edinburgh, where it had been lying
     quietly at my house in Castle Street; so that I must have
     seemed ungrateful, when, in truth, I was only modest. The
     last offence may be forgiven, as not common in a lawyer
     {p.025} and poet; the first is said to be equal to the
     crime of witchcraft, but many an act of my life hath shown
     that I am no conjurer. If I were, however, ten times more
     modest than twenty years' attendance at the Bar renders
     probable, your flattering inscription would cure me of so
     unfashionable a malady. I might, indeed, lately have had a
     legal title to as much supremacy on Parnassus as can be
     conferred by a sign-manual, for I had a very flattering
     offer of the laurel; but as I felt obliged, for a great many
     reasons, to decline it, I am altogether unconscious of any
     other title to sit high upon the forked hill.

     To return to The Giaour; I had lent my first edition, but
     the whole being imprinted in my memory, I had no difficulty
     in tracing the additions, which are great improvements, as I
     should have conjectured aforehand merely from their being
     additions. I hope your Lordship intends to proceed with this
     fascinating style of composition. You have access to a
     stream of sentiments, imagery, and manners, which are so
     little known to us as to convey all the interest of novelty,
     yet so endeared to us by the early perusal of Eastern tales,
     that we are not embarrassed with utter ignorance upon the
     subject. Vathek, bating some passages, would have made a
     charming subject for a tale. The conclusion is truly grand.
     I would give a great deal to know the originals from which
     it was drawn. Excuse this hasty scrawl, and believe me, my
     Lord, your Lordship's much obliged, very humble servant,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

If January brought the writer of this letter "disappointment," there
was abundant consolation in store for February, 1815. Guy Mannering
was received with eager curiosity, and pronounced by acclamation fully
worthy to share the honors of Waverley. The easy transparent flow of
its style; the beautiful simplicity, and here and there the wild
solemn magnificence of its {p.026} sketches of scenery; the rapid,
ever heightening interest of the narrative; the unaffected kindliness
of feeling, the manly purity of thought, everywhere mingled with a
gentle humor and a homely sagacity; but, above all, the rich variety
and skilful contrast of characters and manners, at once fresh in
fiction, and stamped with the unforgeable seal of truth and nature:
these were charms that spoke to every heart and mind; and the few
murmurs of pedantic criticism were lost in the voice of general
delight, which never fails to welcome the invention that introduces to
the sympathy of imagination a new group of immortal realities.

The earlier chapters of the present narrative have anticipated much of
what I might, perhaps with better judgment, have reserved for this
page. Taken together with the author's Introduction and Notes, those
anecdotes of his days of youthful wandering must, however, have
enabled the reader to trace almost as minutely as he could wish, the
sources from which the novelist drew his materials, both of scenery
and character; and the Durham Garland, which I print in the Appendix
to this volume, exhausts my information concerning the humble
groundwork on which fancy reared this delicious romance.[10]

              [Footnote 10: I leave my text as it stood in the former
              editions; but since the last of these appeared, a writer
              in _The Gentleman's Magazine_ (July, 1840) has pointed
              out some very remarkable coincidences between the
              narrative of _Guy Mannering_ and the very singular
              history of James Annesley, claimant in 1743 of the
              honors and estates of the Earls of Anglesey, in Ireland.
              That Sir Walter must have read the records of this
              celebrated trial, as well as Smollett's edition of the
              story in _Peregrine Pickle_, there can be no doubt. How
              the circumstance had not recurred to his memory when
              writing the explanatory Introduction to his Novel, I can
              offer no conjecture. Very possibly the _Garland_ itself
              may have been framed after the Annesley trial took
              place.--(1841.) [The paper in _The Gentleman's
              Magazine_, referred to above, will be found in the
              Appendix to this volume.]]

The first edition was, like that of Waverley, in three little volumes,
with a humility of paper and printing which the meanest novelist would
now disdain to imitate; {p.027} the price a guinea. The 2000 copies
of which it consisted were sold the day after the publication; and
within three months came a second and a third impression, making
together 5000 copies more. The sale, before those novels began to be
collected, had reached nearly 10,000; and since then (to say nothing
of foreign reprints of the text, and myriads of translations into
every tongue of Europe) the domestic sale has amounted to 50,000.

On the rising of the Court of Session in March, Mr. and Mrs. Scott
went by sea to London with their eldest girl, whom, being yet too
young for general society, they again deposited with Joanna Baillie at
Hampstead, while they themselves resumed, for two months, their usual
quarters at kind Miss Dumergue's in Piccadilly. Six years had elapsed
since Scott last appeared in the metropolis; and brilliant as his
reception had then been, it was still more so on the present occasion.
Scotland had been visited in the interim, chiefly from the interest
excited by his writings, by crowds of the English nobility, most of
whom had found introduction to his personal acquaintance--not a few
had partaken of his hospitality at Ashestiel or Abbotsford. The
generation among whom, I presume, a genius of this order feels his
own influence with the proudest and sweetest confidence--on whose
fresh minds and ears he has himself made the first indelible
impressions--the generation with whose earliest romance of the heart
and fancy his idea had been blended, was now grown to the full
stature; the success of these recent novels, seen on every table, the
subject of every conversation, had, with those who did not doubt their
parentage, far more than counterweighed his declination, dubious after
all, in the poetical balance; while the mystery that hung over them
quickened the curiosity of the hesitating and conjecturing many--and
the name on which ever and anon some new circumstance accumulated
stronger suspicion, loomed larger through the {p.028} haze in which
he had thought fit to envelop it. Moreover, this was a period of high
national pride and excitement.

   "O who that shared them ever shall forget
    The emotions of the spirit-rousing time,
    When breathless in the mart the couriers met,
    Early and late, at evening and at prime;
    When the loud cannon and the merry chime
    Hail'd news on news, as field on field was won,
    When Hope, long doubtful, soared at length sublime,
    And our glad eyes, awake as day begun,
  Watch'd Joy's broad banner rise, to meet the rising sun?

   "O these were hours, when thrilling joy repaid
    A long, long course of darkness, doubts, and fears!
    The heart-sick faintness of the hope delayed,
    The waste, the woe, the bloodshed, and the tears
    That tracked with terror twenty rolling years--
    All was forgot in that blithe jubilee.
    Her downcast eye even pale Affliction rears,
    To sigh a thankful prayer amid the glee
  That hailed the Despot's fall, and peace and liberty!"[11]

              [Footnote 11: _Lord of the Isles_, Canto vi.]

At such a time, Prince and people were well prepared to hail him who,
more perhaps than any other master of the pen, had contributed to
sustain the spirit of England throughout the struggle, which was as
yet supposed to have been terminated on the field of Toulouse. "Thank
Heaven you are coming at last!" Joanna Baillie had written a month or
two before. "Make up your mind to be stared at only a little less than
the Czar of Muscovy, or old Blücher."

And now took place James Ballantyne's "mighty consummation of the
meeting of the two bards." Scott's own account of it, in a letter to
Mr. Moore, must have been seen by most of my readers; yet I think it
ought also to find a place here. He says:--

"It was in the spring of 1815, that, chancing to be in London, I had
the advantage of a personal introduction {p.029} to Lord Byron.
Report had prepared me to meet a man of peculiar habits and a quick
temper, and I had some doubts whether we were likely to suit each
other in society. I was most agreeably disappointed in this respect. I
found Lord Byron in the highest degree courteous, and even kind. We
met for an hour or two almost daily, in Mr. Murray's drawing-room, and
found a great deal to say to each other.[12] We also met frequently in
parties and evening society, so that for about two months I had the
advantage of a considerable intimacy with this distinguished
individual. Our sentiments agreed a good deal, except upon the
subjects of religion and politics, upon neither of which I was
inclined to believe that Lord Byron entertained very fixed opinions. I
remember saying to him, that I really thought that if he lived a few
years he would alter his sentiments. He answered, rather sharply, 'I
suppose you are one of those who prophesy I shall turn Methodist.' I
replied: 'No, I don't expect your conversion to be of such an ordinary
kind. I would rather look to see you retreat upon the Catholic faith,
and distinguish yourself by the austerity of your penances. The
species of religion to which you must, or may, one day attach
yourself, must exercise a strong power on the imagination.' He smiled
gravely, and seemed to allow I might be right.

              [Footnote 12: [John Murray--the third of the name--gives
              some interesting notes of his recollections of these
              meetings in Albemarle Street, in the _Memoirs_ of his
              father (vol. i. p. 267).]]

"On politics, he used sometimes to express a high strain of what is
now called Liberalism; but it appeared to me that the pleasure it
afforded him, as a vehicle for displaying his wit and satire against
individuals in office, was at the bottom of this habit of thinking,
rather than any real conviction of the political principles on which
he talked. He was certainly proud of his rank and ancient family, and,
in that respect, as much an aristocrat {p.030} as was consistent with
good sense and good breeding. Some disgusts, how adopted I know not,
seemed to me to have given this peculiar and (as it appeared to me)
contradictory cast of mind; but, at heart, I would have termed Byron a
patrician on principle.

"Lord Byron's reading did not seem to me to have been very extensive,
either in poetry or history. Having the advantage of him in that
respect, and possessing a good competent share of such reading as is
little read, I was sometimes able to put under his eye objects which
had for him the interest of novelty. I remember particularly repeating
to him the fine poem of Hardyknute, an imitation of the old Scottish
ballad, with which he was so much affected, that some one who was in
the same apartment asked me what I could possibly have been telling
Byron by which he was so much agitated.

"I saw Byron for the last time in 1815, after I returned from France.
He dined, or lunched, with me at Long's, in Bond Street. I never saw
him so full of gayety and good-humor, to which the presence of Mr.
Mathews, the comedian, added not a little. Poor Terry was also
present. After one of the gayest parties I ever was present at, my
fellow-traveller, Mr. Scott of Gala, and I set off for Scotland, and I
never saw Lord Byron again. Several letters passed between us--one
perhaps every half-year. Like the old heroes in Homer, we exchanged
gifts. I gave Byron a beautiful dagger mounted with gold, which had
been the property of the redoubted Elfi Bey. But I was to play the
part of Diomed in the Iliad, for Byron sent me, some time after, a
large sepulchral vase of silver. It was full of dead men's bones, and
had inscriptions on two sides of the base. One ran thus: 'The bones
contained in this urn were found in certain ancient sepulchres within
the long walls of Athens, in the month of February, 1811.' The other
face bears the lines of Juvenal: '_Expende--quot libras in duce summo
{p.031} invenies?--Mors sola fatetur quantula sint hominum

"To these I have added a third inscription, in these words, 'The gift
of Lord Byron to Walter Scott.'[13] There was a letter with this vase,
more valuable to me than the gift itself, from the kindness with which
the donor expressed himself towards me. I left it naturally in the urn
with the bones; but it is now missing. As the theft was not of a
nature to be practised by a mere domestic, I am compelled to suspect
the inhospitality of some individual of higher station, most
gratuitously exercised certainly, since, after what I have here said,
no one will probably choose to boast of possessing this literary

              [Footnote 13: Mr. Murray had, at the time of giving the
              vase, suggested to Lord Byron, that it would increase
              the value of the gift to add some such inscription; but
              the noble poet answered modestly,--

              "April 9, 1815. DEAR MURRAY,--I have a great objection
              to your proposition about inscribing the vase--which is,
              that it would appear _ostentatious_ on my part; and of
              course I must send it as it is, without any alteration.
              Yours ever, BYRON."]

"We had a good deal of laughing, I remember, on what the public might
be supposed to think, or say, concerning the gloomy and ominous nature
of our mutual gifts.

"I think I can add little more to my recollections of Byron. He was
often melancholy--almost gloomy. When I observed him in this humor, I
used either to wait till it went off of its own accord, or till some
natural and easy mode occurred of leading him into conversation, when
the shadows almost always left his countenance, like the mist rising
from a landscape. In conversation he was very animated.

"I met with him very frequently in society; our mutual acquaintances
doing me the honor to think that he liked to meet with me. Some very
agreeable parties I can recollect--particularly one at Sir George
Beaumont's--where the amiable landlord had assembled some persons
{p.032} distinguished for talent. Of these I need only mention the
late Sir Humphry Davy, whose talents for literature were as remarkable
as his empire over science. Mr. Richard Sharpe and Mr. Rogers were
also present.

"I think I also remarked in Byron's temper starts of suspicion, when
he seemed to pause and consider whether there had not been a secret,
and perhaps offensive, meaning in something casually said to him. In
this case, I also judged it best to let his mind, like a troubled
spring, work itself clear, which it did in a minute or two. I was
considerably older, you will recollect, than my noble friend, and had
no reason to fear his misconstruing my sentiments towards him, nor had
I ever the slightest reason to doubt that they were kindly returned on
his part. If I had occasion to be mortified by the display of genius
which threw into the shade such pretensions as I was then supposed to
possess, I might console myself that, in my own case, the materials of
mental happiness had been mingled in a greater proportion.

"I rummage my brains in vain for what often rushes into my head
unbidden--little traits and sayings which recall his looks, manner,
tone, and gestures; and I have always continued to think that a crisis
of life was arrived, in which a new career of fame was opened to him,
and that had he been permitted to start upon it, he would have
obliterated the memory of such parts of his life as friends would wish
to forget."

I have nothing to add to this interesting passage, except that Joanna
Baillie's tragedy of The Family Legend being performed at one of the
theatres during Scott's stay in town, Lord Byron accompanied the
authoress and Mr. and Mrs. Scott to witness the representation; and
that the vase with the Attic bones appears to have been sent to Scott
very soon after his arrival in London, not, as Mr. Moore had gathered
from the hasty diction of his Reminiscences, at some "subsequent
period of their acquaintance." {p.033} This is sufficiently proved by
the following note:--


                                        PICCADILLY, MONDAY.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I am not a little ashamed of the value of the
     shrine in which your Lordship has enclosed the Attic relics;
     but were it yet more costly, the circumstance could not add
     value to it in my estimation, when considered as a pledge of
     your Lordship's regard and friendship. The principal
     pleasure which I have derived from my connection with
     literature has been the access which it has given me to
     those who are distinguished by talents and accomplishments;
     and, standing so high as your Lordship justly does in that
     rank, my satisfaction in making your acquaintance has been
     proportionally great. It is one of those wishes which, after
     having been long and earnestly entertained, I have found
     completely gratified upon becoming personally known to you;
     and I trust you will permit me to profit by it frequently,
     during my stay in town. I am, my dear Lord, your truly
     obliged and faithful

                                        Walter SCOTT.

It was also in the spring of 1815 that Scott had, for the first time,
the honor of being presented to the Prince Regent. His Royal Highness
had (as has been seen from a letter to Joanna Baillie, already quoted)
signified, more than a year before this time, his wish that the poet
should revisit London--and, on reading his Edinburgh Address in
particular, he said to Mr. Dundas, that "Walter Scott's charming
behavior about the laureateship had made him doubly desirous of seeing
him at Carlton House." More lately, on receiving a copy of The Lord of
the Isles, his Royal Highness's librarian had been commanded to write
to him in these terms:--


                                        CARLTON HOUSE, January 19, 1815.

     MY DEAR SIR,--You are deservedly so great a favorite with
     the Prince Regent, that his librarian is not only directed
     to return you the thanks of his Royal Highness for your
     valuable present, but to inform you that the Prince Regent
     particularly wishes to see you whenever you come to London;
     and desires you will always, when you are there, come into
     his library whenever you please. Believe me always, with
     sincerity, one of your warmest admirers, and most obliged

                                        J. S. CLARKE.

On hearing from Mr. Croker (then Secretary to the Admiralty) that
Scott was to be in town by the middle of March, the Prince said, "Let
me know when he comes, and I'll get up a snug little dinner that will
suit him;" and, after he had been presented and graciously received at
the levee, he was invited to dinner accordingly, through his excellent
friend Mr. Adam (now Lord Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court in
Scotland),[14] who at that time held a confidential office in the
royal household. The Regent had consulted with Mr. Adam also as to the
composition of the party. "Let us have," said he, "just a few friends
of his own--and the more Scotch the better;" and both the Chief
Commissioner and Mr. Croker assure me that the party was the most
interesting and agreeable one in their recollection. It comprised, I
believe, the Duke of York--the late Duke of Gordon (then Marquis of
Huntly)--the Marquis of Hertford (then Lord Yarmouth)--the Earl of
Fife--and {p.035} Scott's early friend Lord Melville. "The Prince and
Scott," says Mr. Croker, "were the two most brilliant story-tellers in
their several ways, that I have ever happened to meet; they were both
aware of their _forte_, and both exerted themselves that evening with
delightful effect. On going home, I really could not decide which of
them had shone the most. The Regent was enchanted with Scott, as Scott
with him; and on all his subsequent visits to London, he was a
frequent guest at the royal table." The Lord Chief Commissioner
remembers that the Prince was particularly delighted with the poet's
anecdotes of the old Scotch judges and lawyers, which his Royal
Highness sometimes _capped_ by ludicrous traits of certain ermined
sages of his own acquaintance. Scott told, among others, a story,
which he was fond of telling; and the commentary of his Royal Highness
on hearing it amused Scott, who often mentioned it afterwards. The
anecdote is this: A certain Judge, whenever he went on a particular
circuit, was in the habit of visiting a gentleman of good fortune in
the neighborhood of one of the assize towns, and staying at least one
night, which, being both of them ardent chess-players, they usually
concluded with their favorite game. One Spring circuit the battle was
not decided at daybreak, so the Judge said, "Weel, Donald, I must e'en
come back this gate in the harvest, and let the game lie ower for the
present;" and back he came in October, but not to his old friend's
hospitable house; for that gentleman had, in the interim, been
apprehended on a capital charge (of forgery), and his name stood on
the _Porteous Roll_, or list of those who were about to be tried under
his former guest's auspices. The laird was indicted and tried
accordingly, and the jury returned a verdict of _guilty_. The Judge
forthwith put on his cocked hat (which answers to the black cap in
England), and pronounced the sentence of the law in the usual terms:
"To be hanged by the neck until you be dead; and may the Lord have
{p.036} mercy upon your unhappy soul!" Having concluded this awful
formula in his most sonorous cadence, the Judge, dismounting his
formidable beaver, gave a familiar nod to his unfortunate
acquaintance, and said to him in a sort of chuckling whisper, "And
now, Donald, my man, I think I've checkmated you for ance." The Regent
laughed heartily at this specimen of judicial humor; and "I' faith,
Walter," said he, "this old big-wig seems to have taken things as
coolly as my tyrannical self. Don't you remember Tom Moore's
description of me at breakfast,--

  'The table spread with tea and toast,
   Death-warrants and the Morning Post?'"

              [Footnote 14: This most amiable and venerable gentleman,
              my dear and kind friend, died at Edinburgh on the 17th
              February, 1839, in the 80th year of his age. He retained
              his strong mental faculties in their perfect vigor to
              the last days of this long life, and with them all the
              warmth of social feelings which had endeared him to all
              who were so happy as to have any opportunity of knowing
              him. The reader will find an affectionate tribute to his
              worth, from Sir Walter Scott's Diary, in a subsequent
              volume of these Memoirs.--(March, 1839.)]

Towards midnight, the Prince called for "a bumper, with all the
honors, to the Author of Waverley," and looked significantly, as he
was charging his own glass, to Scott. Scott seemed somewhat puzzled
for a moment, but instantly recovering himself, and filling his glass
to the brim, said, "Your Royal Highness looks as if you thought I had
some claim to the honors of this toast. I have no such pretensions,
but shall take good care that the real Simon Pure hears of the high
compliment that has now been paid him." He then drank off his claret,
and joined in the cheering, which the Prince himself timed. But before
the company could resume their seats, his Royal Highness exclaimed,
"Another of the same, if you please, to the Author of Marmion--and
now, Walter, my man, I have checkmated you for _ance_." The second
bumper was followed by cheers still more prolonged: and Scott then
rose and returned thanks in a short address, which struck the Lord
Chief Commissioner as "alike grave and graceful." This story has been
circulated in a very perverted shape. I now give it on the authority
of my venerated friend. He adds, that having occasion, the day after,
to call on the Duke of York, his Royal Highness said to him: "Upon my
word, Adam, my brother went rather too near the wind about
Waverley--but {p.037} nobody could have turned the thing more
prettily than Walter Scott did--and upon the whole I never had better

              [Footnote 15: Since this narrative was first published,
              I have been told by two gentlemen who were at this
              dinner, that, according to their recollection, the
              Prince _did not_ on that occasion run so "near the wind"
              as my text represents; and I am inclined to believe that
              a scene at Dalkeith, in 1822, may have been
              unconsciously blended with a gentler rehearsal of
              Carlton House, 1815. The Chief Commissioner had promised
              to revise my sheets for the present edition; but alas,
              he never did so--and I must now leave the matter as it

The Regent, as was his custom with those he most delighted to honor,
uniformly addressed the poet, even at their first dinner, by his
Christian name, "Walter."

Before he left town, he again dined at Carlton House, when the party
was a still smaller one than before, and the merriment, if possible,
still more free. That nothing might be wanting, the Prince sung
several capital songs in the course of that evening--as witness the
lines in Sultan Serendib:[16]--

  "I love a Prince will bid the bottle pass,
  Exchanging with his subjects glance and glass,
  In fitting time can, gayest of the gay,
  Keep up the jest and mingle in the lay.
  Such Monarchs best our freeborn humor suit,
  But despots must be stately, stern, and mute."[17]

              [Footnote 16: [_The Search after Happiness._]]

              [Footnote 17: Scott's _Poetical Works_, vol. xi. p. 353
              [Cambridge Ed. p. 431].]

Before he returned to Edinburgh, on the 22d of May, the Regent sent
him a gold snuff-box, set in brilliants, with a medallion of his Royal
Highness's head on the lid, "as a testimony" (writes Mr. Adam, in
transmitting it) "of the high opinion his Royal Highness entertains of
your genius and merit."

I transcribe what follows from James Ballantyne's _Memoranda_:--

     "After Mr. Scott's first interview with his Sovereign, one
     or two intimate friends took the liberty of inquiring, what
     judgment he had formed of the Regent's talents? He declined
     {p.038} giving any definite answer--but repeated that 'he
     was the first gentleman he had seen--certainly the first
     _English_ gentleman of his day;--there was something about
     him which, independently of the _prestige_, the "divinity,
     which hedges a King," marked him as standing entirely by
     himself; but as to his abilities, spoken of as distinct from
     his charming manners, how could any one form a fair judgment
     of that man who introduced whatever subject he chose,
     discussed it just as long as he chose, and dismissed it when
     he chose?'"

Ballantyne adds:--

     "What I have now to say is more important, not only in
     itself, but as it will enable you to give a final
     contradiction to an injurious report which has been in
     circulation; namely, that the Regent asked him as to the
     authorship of Waverley, and received a distinct and solemn
     denial. I took the bold freedom of requesting to know _from
     him_ whether his Royal Highness had questioned him on that
     subject, and what had been his answer. He glanced at me with
     a look of mild surprise, and said, 'What answer I might have
     made to such a question, put to me by my Sovereign, perhaps
     I do not, or rather perhaps I do know; but I was never put
     to the test. He is far too well-bred a man ever to put so
     ill-bred a question.'"

The account I have already given of the convivial scene alluded to
would probably have been sufficient; but it can do no harm to place
Ballantyne's, or rather Scott's own testimony, also on record.

I ought not to have omitted, that during Scott's residence in London,
in April, 1815, he lost one of the English friends, to a meeting with
whom he had looked forward with the highest pleasure. Mr. George Ellis
died on the 15th of that month, at his seat of Sunning Hill. This
threw a cloud over what would otherwise have been a period of unmixed
enjoyment. Mr. Canning penned the epitaph for that dearest of his
friends, but he submitted it to Scott's consideration before it was


     Battle of Waterloo. -- Letter of Sir Charles Bell. -- Visit
     to the Continent. -- Waterloo. -- Letters from Brussels and
     Paris. -- Anecdotes of Scott at Paris. -- The Duke of
     Wellington. -- The Emperor Alexander. -- Blücher. --
     Platoff. -- Party at Ermenonville, etc. -- London. --
     Parting with Lord Byron. -- Scott's Sheffield Knife. --
     Return to Abbotsford. -- Anecdotes by Mr. Skene and James


Goethe expressed, I fancy, a very general sentiment, when he said,
that to him the great charm and value of my friend's Life of
Buonaparte seemed quite independent of the question of its accuracy as
to small details; that he turned eagerly to the book, not to find
dates sifted, and countermarches analyzed, but to contemplate what
could not but be a true record of the broad impressions made on the
mind of Scott by the marvellous revolutions of his own time in their
progress. Feeling how justly in the main that work has preserved those
impressions, though gracefully softened and sobered in the retrospect
of peaceful and more advanced years, I the less regret that I have it
not in my power to quote any letters of his touching the reappearance
of Napoleon on the soil of France--the immortal march from Cannes--the
reign of the Hundred Days, and the preparations for another struggle,
which fixed the gaze of Europe in May, 1815.

That he should have been among the first civilians {p.040} who
hurried over to see the field of Waterloo, and hear English bugles
sound about the walls of Paris, could have surprised none who knew the
lively concern he had always taken in the military efforts of his
countrymen, and the career of the illustrious captain, who had taught
them to reëstablish the renown of Agincourt and Blenheim,--

  "Victor of Assaye's Eastern plain,
   Victor of all the fields of Spain."

I had often heard him say, however, that his determination was, if not
fixed, much quickened by a letter of an old acquaintance of his, who
had, on the arrival of the news of the 18th of June, instantly
repaired to Brussels, to tender his professional skill in aid of the
overburdened medical staff of the conqueror's army. When, therefore, I
found the letter in question preserved among Scott's papers, I perused
it with a peculiar interest; and I now venture, with the writer's
permission, to present it to the reader. It was addressed by Sir
Charles Bell to his brother, an eminent barrister in Edinburgh, who
transmitted it to Scott. "When I read it," said he, "it set me on
fire." The marriage of Miss Maclean Clephane of Torloisk with the Earl
Compton (now Marquis of Northampton), which took place on the 24th of
July, was in fact the only cause why he did not leave Scotland
instantly; for that dear young friend had chosen Scott for her
guardian, and on him accordingly devolved the chief care of the
arrangements on this occasion. The extract sent to him by Mr. George
Joseph Bell is as follows:--

                                        "BRUSSELS, 2d July, 1815.

     "This country, the finest in the world, has been of late
     quite out of our minds. I did not, in any degree, anticipate
     the pleasure I should enjoy, the admiration forced from me,
     on coming into one of these antique towns, or in journeying
     through the rich garden. Can you recollect the time when
     there were gentlemen meeting at the Cross of Edinburgh, or
     those whom we thought such? They are all collected here.
     {p.041} You see the very men, with their scraggy necks
     sticking out of the collars of their old-fashioned
     square-skirted coats--their canes--their cocked-hats; and,
     when they meet, the formal bow, the hat off to the ground,
     and the powder flying in the wind. I could divert you with
     the odd resemblances of the Scottish faces among the
     peasants, too--but I noted _them_ at the time with my
     pencil, and I write to you only of things that you won't
     find in my pocket-book.

     "I have just returned from seeing the French wounded
     received in their hospital; and could you see them laid out
     naked, or almost so--100 in a row of low beds on the
     ground--though wounded, exhausted, beaten, you would still
     conclude with me that these were men capable of marching
     unopposed from the west of Europe to the east of Asia.
     Strong, thickset, hardy veterans, brave spirits and
     unsubdued, as they cast their wild glance upon you,--their
     black eyes and brown cheeks finely contrasted with the fresh
     sheets,--you would much admire their capacity of adaptation.
     These fellows are brought from the field after lying many
     days on the ground; many dying--many in the agony--many
     miserably racked with pain and spasms; and the next mimics
     his fellow, and gives it a tune,--_Aha, vous chantez bien!_
     How they are wounded you will see in my notes. But I must
     not have you to lose the present impression on me of the
     formidable nature of these fellows as exemplars of the breed
     in France. It is a forced praise; for from all I have seen,
     and all I have heard of their fierceness, cruelty, and
     bloodthirstiness, I cannot convey to you my detestation of
     this race of trained banditti. By what means they are to be
     kept in subjection until other habits come upon them, I know
     not; but I am convinced that these men cannot be left to the
     bent of their propensities.

     "This superb city is now ornamented with the finest groups
     of armed men that the most romantic fancy could dream of. I
     was struck with the words of a friend--E. 'I saw,' said he,
     '_that_ man returning from the field on the 16th.' (This was
     a Brunswicker, of the Black or Death Hussars.) 'He was
     wounded, and had had his arm amputated on the field. He was
     among the first that came in. He rode straight and stark
     upon his horse--the bloody clouts about his stump--pale as
     death, but upright, with a stern, fixed expression of
     {p.042} feature, as if loath to lose his revenge.' These
     troops are very remarkable in their fine military
     appearance; their dark and ominous dress sets off to
     advantage their strong, manly, northern features and white
     mustachios; and there is something more than commonly
     impressive about the whole effect.

     "This is the second Sunday after the battle, and many are
     not yet dressed. There are 20,000 wounded in this town,
     besides those in the hospitals, and the many in the other
     towns;--only 3000 prisoners; 80,000, they say, killed and
     wounded on both sides."

I think it not wonderful that this extract should have set Scott's
imagination effectually on fire; that he should have grasped at the
idea of seeing probably the last shadows of real warfare that his own
age would afford; or that some parts of the great surgeon's simple
phraseology are reproduced, almost verbatim, in the first of Paul's
Letters to his Kinsfolk. No sooner was Scott's purpose known, than
some of his young neighbors in the country proposed to join his
excursion; and, in company with three of them, namely, his kinsman,
John Scott of Gala, Alexander Pringle, the younger, of Whytbank (now
M. P. for Selkirkshire), and Robert Bruce, advocate (now Sheriff of
Argyle), he left Edinburgh for the south, at 5. A. M. on the 27th of

They travelled by the stage-coach, and took the route of Hull and
Lincoln to Cambridge; for Gala and Whytbank, being both members of
that university, were anxious to seize this opportunity of revisiting
it themselves, and showing its beautiful architecture to their friend.
After this wish had been gratified, they proceeded to Harwich, and
thence, on the 3d of August, took ship for Helvoetsluys.

     "The weather was beautiful," says Gala, "so we all went
     outside the coach from Cambridge to Harwich. At starting,
     there was a general complaint of thirst, the consequence of
     some experiments overnight on the celebrated _bishop_ of my
     _Alma Mater_; our friend, however, was in great glee, and
     {p.043} never was a merrier _basket_ than he made it all
     the morning. He had cautioned us, on leaving Edinburgh,
     never to _name names_ in such situations, and our adherence
     to this rule was rewarded by some amusing incidents. For
     example, as we entered the town where we were to dine, a
     heavy-looking man, who was to stop there, took occasion to
     thank Scott for the pleasure his anecdotes had afforded him:
     'You have a good memory, sir,' said he; 'mayhap, now, you
     sometimes write down what you hear or be a-reading about?'
     He answered, very gravely, that he did occasionally put down
     a _few_ notes, if anything struck him particularly. In the
     afternoon, it happened that he sat on the box, while the
     rest of us were behind him. Here, by degrees, he became
     quite absorbed in his own reflections. He frequently
     repeated to himself, or _composed_ perhaps, for a good
     while, and often smiled or raised his hand, seeming
     completely occupied and amused. His neighbor, a vastly
     scientific and rather grave professor, in a smooth drab
     Benjamin and broad-brimmed beaver, cast many a curious
     sidelong glance at him, evidently suspecting that all was
     not right with the upper story, but preserved perfect
     politeness. The poet was, however, discovered by the captain
     of the vessel in which we crossed the Channel;--and a
     perilous passage it was, chiefly in consequence of the
     unceasing tumblers in which this worthy kept drinking his

Before leaving Edinburgh, Scott had settled in his mind the plan of
Paul's Letters; for on that same day, his agent, John Ballantyne,
addressed the following letter, from his marine villa near Newhaven:--


                                        TRINITY, 27th July, 1815.

     DEAR SIRS,--Mr. Scott left town to-day for the Continent. He
     proposes writing from thence a series of letters on a
     peculiar plan, varied in matter and style, and to different
     supposititious correspondents.

     The work is to form a demy 8vo volume of twenty-two sheets,
     to sell at 12s. It is to be begun immediately on his arrival
     in France, and to be published, if possible, the second week
     of September, when he proposes to return.

     {p.044} We print 3000 of this, and I am empowered to offer
     you one third of the edition, Messrs. Longman & Co. and Mr.
     Murray having each the same share: the terms, twelve months'
     acceptance for paper and print, and half profits at six
     months, granted now as under. The over copies will pay the
     charge for advertising, I am, etc.,

                                        John BALLANTYNE.

        22 sheets printing,--£3 15 0        £82 10 0
       145 reams demy,     -- 1 10 0        217 10 0
                                            £300 0 0

       3000 at 8s. £1200 0 0
              Cost,  300 0 0
                    £900 0 0 profit--One half is £450.

Before Scott reached Harwich, he knew that this offer had been
accepted without hesitation; and thenceforth, accordingly, he threw
his daily letters to his wife into the form of communications meant
for an imaginary group, consisting of a spinster sister, a statistical
laird, a rural clergyman of the Presbyterian Kirk, and a brother, a
veteran officer on half-pay. The rank of this last personage
corresponded, however, exactly with that of his own elder brother,
John Scott, who also, like the Major of the book, had served in the
Duke of York's unfortunate campaign of 1797; the sister is only a
slender disguise for his aunt Christian Rutherford, already often
mentioned; Lord Somerville, long President of the Board of
Agriculture, was Paul's laird; and the shrewd and unbigoted Dr.
Douglas of Galashiels was his "minister of the gospel." These
epistles, after having been devoured by the little circle at
Abbotsford, were transmitted to Major John Scott, his mother, and Miss
Rutherford, in Edinburgh; from their hands they passed to those of
James Ballantyne and Mr. Erskine, both of whom assured me that the
copy ultimately sent to the press consisted, in great part, of the
identical sheets that {p.045} had successively reached Melrose
through the post. The rest had of course been, as Ballantyne expresses
it, "somewhat cobbled;" but, on the whole, Paul's Letters are to be
considered as a true and faithful journal of this expedition;
insomuch, that I might perhaps content myself, in this place, with a
simple reference to that delightful volume. He found time, however, to
write letters during his absence from Britain, to some others of his
friends; and a specimen or two of these may interest the reader. I
have also gathered, from the companions of the journey, a few more
particulars, which Scott's modesty withheld him from recording; and
some trivial circumstances which occur to me, from recollection of his
own conversation, may also be acceptable.

But I hope that, if the reader has not perused Paul's Letters
recently, he will refresh his memory, before he proceeds further, by
bestowing an hour on that genuine fragment of the author's
autobiography. He is now, unless he had the advantage of Scott's
personal familiarity, much better acquainted with the man than he
could have been before he took up this compilation of his private
correspondence--and especially before he perused the full diary of the
lighthouse yacht in 1814; and a thousand little turns and
circumstances which may have, when he originally read the book, passed
lightly before his eye, will now, I venture to say, possess a warm and
vivid interest, as inimitably characteristic of a departed friend. The
kindest of husbands and fathers never portrayed himself with more
unaffected truth than in this vain effort, if such he really fancied
he was making, to sustain the character of "a cross old bachelor." The
whole man, just as he was, breathes in every line, with all his
compassionate and benevolent sympathy of heart, all his sharpness of
observation, and sober shrewdness of reflection; all his enthusiasm
for nature, for country life, for simple manners and simple pleasures,
mixed up with an equally glowing enthusiasm, at which many may
{p.046} smile, for the tiniest relics of feudal antiquity--and last,
not least, a pulse of physical rapture for the "circumstance of war,"
which bears witness to the blood of _Boltfoot_ and _Fire-the-Braes_.

At Brussels, Scott found the small English garrison left there in
command of Major-General Sir Frederick Adam, the son of his highly
valued friend, the Lord Chief Commissioner. Sir Frederick had been
wounded at Waterloo, and could not as yet mount on horseback; but one
of his aides-de-camp, Captain Campbell, escorted Scott and his party
to the field of battle, on which occasion they were also accompanied
by another old acquaintance of his, Major Pryse Gordon, who being then
on half-pay, happened to be domesticated with his family at Brussels.
Major Gordon has since published two lively volumes of Personal
Memoirs; and Gala bears witness to the fidelity of certain
reminiscences of Scott at Brussels and Waterloo, which occupy one of
the chapters of this work. I shall, therefore, extract the passage:--

     "Sir Walter Scott accepted my services to conduct him to
     Waterloo: the General's aide-de-camp was also of the party.
     He made no secret of his having undertaken to write
     something on the battle; and perhaps he took the greater
     interest on this account in everything that he saw. Besides,
     he had never seen the field of such a conflict; and never
     having been before on the Continent, it was all new to his
     comprehensive mind. The day was beautiful; and I had the
     precaution to send out a couple of saddle-horses, that he
     might not be fatigued in walking over the fields, which had
     been recently ploughed up. In our rounds we fell in with
     Monsieur de Costar, with whom he got into conversation. This
     man had attracted so much notice by his pretended story of
     being about the person of Napoleon, that he was of too much
     importance to be passed by: I did not, indeed, know as much
     of this fellow's charlatanism at that time as afterwards,
     when I saw him confronted with a blacksmith of La Belle
     Alliance, who had been his companion in a hiding-place ten
     miles from the field during the whole day; a {p.047} fact
     which he could not deny. But he had got up a tale so
     plausible and so profitable, that he could afford to bestow
     hush-money on the companion of his flight, so that the
     imposition was but little known; and strangers continued to
     be gulled. He had picked up a good deal of information about
     the positions and details of the battle; and, being
     naturally a sagacious Walloon, and speaking French pretty
     fluently, he became the favorite cicerone, and every lie he
     told was taken for gospel. Year after year, until his death
     in 1824, he continued his popularity, and raised the price
     of his rounds from a couple of francs to five; besides as
     much for the hire of a horse, his own property; for he
     pretended that the fatigue of walking so many hours was
     beyond his powers. It has been said that in this way he
     realized every summer a couple of hundred Napoleons.

     "When Sir Walter had examined every point of defence and
     attack, we adjourned to the 'Original Duke of Wellington' at
     Waterloo, to lunch after the fatigues of the ride. Here he
     had a crowded levee of peasants, and collected a great many
     trophies, from cuirasses down to buttons and bullets. He
     picked up himself many little relics, and was fortunate in
     purchasing a grand cross of the Legion of Honor. But the
     most precious memorial was presented to him by my wife--a
     French soldier's book, well stained with blood, and
     containing some songs popular in the French army, which he
     found so interesting that he introduced versions of them in
     his Paul's Letters; of which, he did me the honor to send me
     a copy, with a letter, saying, 'that he considered my wife's
     gift as the most valuable of all his Waterloo relics.'

     "On our return from the field, he kindly passed the evening
     with us, and a few friends whom we invited to meet him. He
     charmed us with his delightful conversation, and was in
     great spirits from the agreeable day he had passed; and with
     great good-humor promised to write a stanza in my wife's
     album. On the following morning he fulfilled his promise by
     contributing some beautiful verses on Hougomont. I put him
     into my little library to prevent interruption, as a great
     many persons had paraded in the _Parc_ opposite my window to
     get a peep of the celebrated man, many having dogged him
     from his hotel.

     {p.048} "Brussels affords but little worthy of the notice of
     such a traveller as the Author of Waverley; but he greatly
     admired the splendid tower of the Maison de Ville, and the
     ancient sculpture and style of architecture of the buildings
     which surround the Grand Place.

     "He told us, with great humor, a laughable incident which
     had occurred to him at Antwerp. The morning after his
     arrival at that city from Holland, he started at an early
     hour to visit the tomb of Rubens in the church of St.
     Jacques, before his party were up. After wandering about for
     some time, without finding the object he had in view, he
     determined to make inquiry, and observing a person stalking
     about, he addressed him in his best French; but the
     stranger, pulling off his hat, very respectfully replied in
     the pure Highland accent, 'I'm vary sorry, sir, but I canna
     speak onything besides English.'--'This is very unlucky
     indeed, Donald,' said Sir Walter, 'but we must help one
     another; for, to tell you the truth, I'm not good at any
     other tongue but the English, or rather, the Scotch.'--'Oh,
     sir, maybe,' replied the Highlander, 'you are a countryman,
     and ken my maister Captain Cameron of the 79th, and could
     tell me whare he lodges. I'm just cum in, sir, frae a place
     they ca' _Machlin_,[18] and ha' forgotten the name of the
     captain's quarters; it was something like the
     _Laaborer_.'--'I can, I think, help you with this, my
     friend,' rejoined Sir Walter. 'There is an inn just opposite
     to you' (pointing to the _Hôtel du Grand Laboureur_): 'I
     dare say that will be the captain's quarters;' and it was
     so. I cannot do justice to the humor with which Sir Walter
     recounted this dialogue."[19]

              [Footnote 18: Mechlin--the Highlander gave it the
              familiar pronunciation of a Scotch village, Mauchline,
              celebrated in many of Burns's poems.]

              [Footnote 19: See Major Gordon's _Personal Memoirs_
              (1830), vol. ii. pp. 325-338.]

The following is the letter which Scott addressed to the Duke of
Buccleuch immediately after seeing the field of Waterloo; and it may
amuse the reader to compare it with Major Gordon's chapter, and with
the writer's own fuller, and, of course, "cobbled" detail, in the
pages of Paul:--


     MY DEAR LORD DUKE,--I promised to let you hear of my
     wanderings, however unimportant; and have now the pleasure
     of informing your Grace that I am at this present time an
     inhabitant of the Premier Hôtel de Cambrai, after having
     been about a week upon the Continent. We landed at Helvoet,
     and proceeded to Brussels, by Bergen-op-Zoom and Antwerp,
     both of which are very strongly fortified. The ravages of
     war are little remarked in a country so rich by nature; but
     everything seems at present stationary, or rather
     retrograde, where capital is required. The châteaux are
     deserted, and going to decay; no new houses are built, and
     those of older date are passing rapidly into the possession
     of a class inferior to those for whom we must suppose them
     to have been built. Even the old gentlewoman of Babylon has
     lost much of her splendor, and her robes and pomp are of a
     description far subordinate to the costume of her more
     magnificent days. The dresses of the priests were worn and
     shabby, both at Antwerp and Brussels, and reminded me of the
     decayed wardrobe of a bankrupt theatre: yet, though the
     gentry and priesthood have suffered, the eternal bounty of
     nature has protected the lower ranks against much distress.
     The unexampled fertility of the soil gives them all, and
     more than they want; and could they but sell the grain which
     they raise in the Netherlands, nothing else would be wanting
     to render them the richest people (common people, that is to
     say) in the world.

     On Wednesday last, I rode over the field of Waterloo, now
     forever consecrated to immortality. The more ghastly tokens
     of the carnage are now removed, the bodies both of men and
     horses being either burned or buried; but all the ground is
     still torn with the shot and shells, and covered with
     cartridges, old hats, and shoes, and various relics of the
     fray which the peasants have not {p.050} thought worth
     removing. Besides, at Waterloo and all the hamlets in the
     vicinage, there is a mart established for cuirasses; for the
     eagles worn by the imperial guard on their caps; for
     casques, swords, carabines, and similar articles. I have
     bought two handsome cuirasses, and intend them, one for
     Bowhill, and one for Abbotsford, if I can get them safe
     over, which Major Pryse Gordon has promised to manage for
     me. I have also, for your Grace, one of the little
     memorandum-books, which I picked up on the field, in which
     every French soldier was obliged to enter his receipts and
     expenditure, his services, and even his punishments. The
     field was covered with fragments of these records. I also
     got a good MS. collection of French songs, probably the work
     of some young officer, and a croix of the Legion of Honor. I
     enclose, under another cover, a sketch of the battle, made
     at Brussels. It is not, I understand, strictly accurate; but
     sufficiently so to give a good notion of what took place. In
     fact, it would require twenty separate plans to give an idea
     of the battle at its various stages. The front, upon which
     the armies engaged, does not exceed a long mile. Our line,
     indeed, originally extended half a mile farther towards the
     village of Brain-la-Leude; but as the French indicated no
     disposition to attack in that direction, the troops which
     occupied this space were gradually concentrated by Lord
     Wellington, and made to advance till they had reached
     Hougomont--a sort of château, with a garden and wood
     attached to it, which was powerfully and effectually
     maintained by the Guards during the action. This place was
     particularly interesting. It was a quiet-looking gentleman's
     house, which had been burnt by the French shells. The
     defenders, burnt out of the house itself, betook themselves
     to the little garden, where, breaking loopholes through the
     brick walls, they kept up a most destructive fire on the
     assailants, who had possessed themselves of a little wood
     which surrounds the villa on one side. In this spot vast
     numbers {p.051} had fallen; and, being hastily buried, the
     smell is most offensive at this moment. Indeed, I felt the
     same annoyance in many parts of the field; and, did I live
     near the spot, I should be anxious about the diseases which
     this steaming carnage might occasion. The rest of the
     ground, excepting this château, and a farmhouse called La
     Hay Sainte, early taken, and long held, by the French,
     because it was too close under the brow of the descent on
     which our artillery was placed to admit of the pieces being
     depressed so as to play into it,--the rest of the ground, I
     say, is quite open, and lies between two ridges, one of
     which (Mont St. Jean) was constantly occupied by the
     English; the other, upon which is the farm of La Belle
     Alliance, was the position of the French. The slopes between
     are gentle and varied; the ground everywhere practicable for
     cavalry, as was well experienced on that memorable day. The
     cuirassiers, despite their arms of proof, were quite
     inferior to our heavy dragoons. The meeting of the two
     bodies occasioned a noise, not unaptly compared to the
     tinkering and hammering of a smith's shop. Generally the
     cuirassiers came on stooping their heads very low, and
     giving point; the British frequently struck away their
     casques while they were in this position, and then laid at
     the bare head. Officers and soldiers all fought hand to hand
     without distinction; and many of the former owed their life
     to dexterity at their weapon, and personal strength of body.
     Shaw, the milling Life-Guardsman, whom your Grace may
     remember among the champions of The Fancy, maintained the
     honor of the fist, and killed or disabled upwards of twenty
     Frenchmen with his single arm, until he was killed by the
     assault of numbers.[20] At one place, where there is a
     precipitous sand or gravel pit, the heavy English cavalry
     drove many of the cuirassiers over pell-mell, and followed
     over themselves, like fox-hunters. The conduct of the
     infantry and artillery was equally, {p.052} or, if
     possible, more distinguished, and it was all fully
     necessary; for, besides that our army was much outnumbered,
     a great part of the sum-total were foreigners. Of these, the
     Brunswickers and Hanoverians behaved very well; the Belgians
     but sorrily enough. On one occasion, when a Belgic regiment
     fairly ran off, Lord Wellington rode up to them, and said,
     "My lads, you must be a little blown; come, do take your
     breath for a moment, and then we'll go back, and try if we
     can do a little better;" and he actually carried them back
     to the charge. He was, indeed, upon that day, everywhere,
     and the soul of everything; nor could less than his personal
     endeavors have supported the spirits of the men through a
     contest so long, so desperate, and so unequal. At his last
     attack, Buonaparte brought up 15,000 of his Guard, who had
     never drawn trigger during the day. It was upon their
     failure that his hopes abandoned him.

              [Footnote 20: The skull of Shaw is now in the Museum at

     I spoke long with a shrewd Flemish peasant, called John de
     Costar, whom he had seized upon as his guide, and who
     remained beside him the whole day, and afterwards
     accompanied him in his flight as far as Charleroi. Your
     Grace may be sure that I interrogated Mynheer very closely
     about what he heard and saw. He guided me to the spot where
     Buonaparte remained during the latter part of the action. It
     was in the highway from Brussels to Charleroi, where it runs
     between two high banks, on each of which was a French
     battery. He was pretty well sheltered from the English fire;
     and, though many bullets flew over his head, neither he nor
     any of his suite were touched. His other stations, during
     that day, were still more remote from all danger. The story
     of his having an observatory erected for him is a mistake.
     There is such a thing, and he repaired to it during the
     action; but it was built or erected some months before, for
     the purpose of a trigonometrical survey of the country, by
     the King of the Netherlands. Bony's last position was nearly
     fronting a tree where the Duke of Wellington {p.053} was
     stationed; there was not more than a quarter of a mile
     between them; but Bony was well sheltered, and the Duke so
     much exposed, that the tree is barked in several places by
     the cannon-balls levelled at him. As for Bony, De Costar
     says he was very cool during the whole day, and even gay. As
     the cannon-balls flew over them, De Costar ducked; at which
     the Emperor laughed, and told him they would hit him all the
     same. At length, about the time he made his grand and last
     effort, the fire of the Prussian artillery was heard upon
     his right, and the heads of their columns became visible
     pressing out of the woods. Aide-de-camp after aide-de-camp
     came with the tidings of their advance, to which Bony only
     replied, _Attendez, attendez un instant_, until he saw his
     troops, _fantassins et cavaliers_, return in disorder from
     the attack. He then observed hastily to a general beside
     him, _Je crois qu'ils sont mêlés_. The person to whom he
     spoke hastily raised the spyglass to his eye; but Bony, whom
     the first glance had satisfied of their total discomfiture,
     bent his face to the ground, and shook his head twice, his
     complexion being then as pale as death. The general then
     said something, to which Buonaparte answered, _C'est trop
     tard--sauvons nous_. Just at that moment, the allied troops,
     cavalry and infantry, appeared in full advance on all hands;
     and the Prussians, operating upon the right flank of the
     French, were rapidly gaining their rear. Bony, therefore,
     was compelled to abandon the high-road, which, besides, was
     choked with dead, with baggage, and with cannon; and,
     gaining the open country, kept at full gallop, until he
     gained, like Johnnie Cope, the van of the flying army. The
     marshals followed his example; and it was the most complete
     _sauve qui peut_ that can well be imagined. Nevertheless,
     the prisoners who were brought into Brussels maintained
     their national impudence, and boldly avowed their intention
     of sacking the city with every sort of severity. At the same
     time they had friends there. {p.054} One man of rank and
     wealth went over to Bony during the action, and I saw his
     hotel converted into an hospital for wounded soldiers. It
     occupied one half of one of the sides of the Place Royale, a
     noble square, which your Grace has probably seen. But, in
     general, the inhabitants of Brussels were very differently
     disposed; and their benevolence to our poor wounded fellows
     was unbounded. The difficulty was to prevent them from
     killing their guests with kindness, by giving them butcher's
     meat and wine during their fever. As I cannot put my letter
     into post until we get to Paris, I shall continue it as we
     get along.

     _12th August, Roye, in Picardy._--I imagine your Grace about
     this time to be tolerably well fagged with a hard day on the
     moors. If the weather has been as propitious as with us, it
     must be delightful. The country through which we have
     travelled is most uncommonly fertile, and skirted with
     beautiful woods; but its present political situation is so
     very uncommon, that I would give the world your Grace had
     come over for a fortnight. France may be considered as
     neither at peace nor war. Valenciennes, for example, is in a
     state of blockade; we passed through the posts of the
     allies, all in the utmost state of vigilance, with patrols
     of cavalry and vedettes of infantry, up to the very gates,
     and two or three batteries were manned and mounted. The
     French troops were equally vigilant at the gates, yet made
     no objections to our passing through the town. Most of them
     had the white cockade, but looked very sulky, and were in
     obvious disorder and confusion. They had not yet made their
     terms with the King, nor accepted a commander appointed by
     him; but as they obviously feel their party desperate, the
     soldiers are running from the officers, and the officers
     from the soldiers. In fact, the multiplied hosts which pour
     into this country, exhibiting all the various dresses and
     forms of war which can be imagined, must necessarily render
     resistance impracticable. Yet, {p.055} like Satan, these
     fellows retain the unconquered propensity to defiance, even
     in the midst of defeat and despair. This morning we passed a
     great number of the disbanded garrison of Condé, and they
     were the most horrid-looking cut-throats I ever saw,
     extremely disposed to be very insolent, and only repressed
     by the consciousness that all the villages and towns around
     are occupied by the allies. They began by crying to us in an
     ironical tone, _Vive le Roi_; then followed, _sotto voce,
     Sacre B----, Mille diables_, and other graces of French
     eloquence. I felt very well pleased that we were armed, and
     four in number; and still more so that it was daylight, for
     they seemed most mischievous ruffians. As for the appearance
     of the country, it is, notwithstanding a fine harvest, most
     melancholy. The windows of all the detached houses on the
     road are uniformly shut up; and you see few people,
     excepting the peasants who are employed in driving the
     contributions to maintain the armies. The towns are little
     better, having for the most part been partially injured by
     shells or by storm, as was the case both of Cambrai and
     Peronne. The men look very sulky; and if you speak three
     words to a woman, she is sure to fall a-crying. In short,
     the _politesse_ and good-humor of this people have fled with
     the annihilation of their self-conceit; and they look on you
     as if they thought you were laughing at them, or come to
     enjoy the triumph of our arms over theirs. Postmasters and
     landlords are all the same, and hardly to be propitiated
     even by English money, although they charge us about three
     times as much as they durst do to their countryfolks. As for
     the Prussians, a party of cavalry dined at our hotel at
     Mons, eat and drank of the best the poor devils had left to
     give, called for their horses, and laughed in the face of
     the landlord when he offered his bill, telling him they
     should pay as they came back. The English, they say, have
     always paid honorably, and upon these they indemnify
     themselves. It is impossible to _marchander_, for if
     {p.056} you object, the poor landlady begins to cry, and
     tells you she will accept whatever _your lordship_ pleases,
     but that she is almost ruined and bankrupt, etc., etc., etc.

     This is a long stupid letter, but I will endeavor to send a
     better from Paris. Ever your Grace's truly obliged,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

The only letter which Scott addressed to Joanna Baillie, while in
Paris, goes over partly the same ground: I transcribe the rest.

                                        PARIS, 6th September, 1815.

     MY DEAR FRIEND,--I owe you a long letter, but my late
     travels and the date of this epistle will be a tolerable
     plea for your indulgence. The truth is, I became very
     restless after the battle of Waterloo, and was only detained
     by the necessity of attending a friend's marriage, from
     setting off instantly for the Continent. At length, however,
     I got away to Brussels, and was on the memorable field of
     battle about five weeks after it had been fought....

     If our army had been all British, the day would have been
     soon decided; but the Duke, or, as they call him here, from
     his detestation of all manner of foppery, the _Beau_, had
     not above 35,000 British. All this was to be supplied by
     treble exertion on the part of our troops. The Duke was
     everywhere during the battle; and it was the mercy of Heaven
     that protected him, when all his staff had been killed or
     wounded round him. I asked him, among many other questions,
     if he had seen Buonaparte; he said, "No; but at one time,
     from the repeated shouts of _Vive l'Empereur_, I thought he
     must be near." This was when John de Costar placed him in
     the hollow way. I think, so near as I can judge, there may
     at that time have been a quarter of a mile between these two
     great generals.

     The fate of the French, after this day of decisive appeal,
     has been severe enough. There were never people {p.057}
     more mortified, more subdued, and apparently more broken in
     spirit. They submit with sad civility to the extortions of
     the Prussians and the Russians, and avenge themselves at the
     expense of the English, whom they charge three prices for
     everything, because they are the only people who pay at all.
     They are in the right, however, to enforce discipline and
     good order, which not only maintains the national character
     in the mean time, but will prevent the army from suffering
     by habits of indulgence. I question if the Prussians will
     soon regain their discipline and habits of hardihood. At
     present their powers of eating and drinking, which are
     really something preternatural, are exerted to the very
     utmost. A thin Prussian boy, whom I sometimes see, eats in
     one day as much as three English ploughmen. At daybreak he
     roars for chocolate and eggs; about nine he breakfasts more
     solemnly, _à la fourchette_, when, besides all the usual
     apparatus of an English _déjeuner_, he eats a world of
     cutlets, oysters, fruit, etc., and drinks a glass of brandy
     and a bottle of champagne. His dinner might serve Gargantua,
     at which he gets himself about three parts drunk--a
     circumstance which does not prevent the charge upon cold
     meat, with tea and chocolate, about six o'clock; and
     concluding the whole with an immense supper. Positively the
     appetite of this lad reminds one of the Eastern tale of a
     man taken out of the sea by a ship's crew, who, in return,
     ate up all the provisions of the vessel. He was, I think,
     flown away with by a roc; but from what quarter of the
     heavens the French are to look for deliverance from these
     devourers, I cannot presume to guess.

     The needless wreck and ruin which they make in the houses
     adds much to the inconvenience of their presence. Most of
     the châteaux, where the Prussians are quartered, are what is
     technically called _rumped_, that is to say, plundered out
     and out. In the fine château of Montmorency, for instance,
     the most splendid apartments, {p.058} highly ornamented
     with gilding and carving, were converted into barracks for
     the dirtiest and most savage-looking hussars I have yet
     seen. Imagine the work these fellows make with velvet
     hangings and embroidery. I saw one hag boiling her
     camp-kettle with part of a picture frame; the picture itself
     has probably gone to Prussia. With all this greediness and
     love of mischief, the Prussians are not bloodthirsty; and
     their utmost violence seldom exceeds a blow or two with the
     flat of the sabre. They are also very civil to the women,
     and in both respects behave much better than the French did
     in their country; but they follow the bad example quite
     close enough for the sake of humanity and of discipline. As
     for our people, they live in a most orderly and regular
     manner. All the young men pique themselves on imitating the
     Duke of Wellington in _nonchalance_ and coolness of manner;
     so they wander about everywhere, with their hands in the
     pockets of their long waistcoats, or cantering upon Cossack
     ponies, staring and whistling, and trotting to and fro, as
     if all Paris was theirs. The French hate them sufficiently
     for the _hauteur_ of their manner and pretensions, but the
     grounds of dislike against us are drowned in the actual
     detestation afforded by the other powers.

     This morning I saw a grand military spectacle--about 20,000
     Russians pass in review before all the Kings and Dominations
     who are now resident at Paris. The Emperor, King of Prussia,
     Duke of Wellington, with their numerous and brilliant
     attendance of generals, staff-officers, etc., were in the
     centre of what is called the Place Louis Quinze, almost on
     the very spot where Louis XVI. was beheaded. A very long
     avenue, which faces the station where they were placed, was
     like a glowing furnace, so fiercely were the sunbeams
     reflected from the arms of the host by which it was filled.
     A body of Cossacks kept the ground with their pikes, and, by
     their wild appearance, added to the singularity of the
     scene. On one {p.059} hand was the extended line of the
     Tuileries, seen through the gardens and the rows of
     orange-trees; on the other, the long column of troops
     advancing to the music. Behind was a long colonnade, forming
     the front to the palace, where the Chamber of
     Representatives are to hold their sittings; and in front of
     the monarchs was a superb row of buildings, on which you
     distinguish the bronze pillar erected by Napoleon to
     commemorate his victories over Russia, Prussia, and Austria,
     whose princes were now reviewing their victorious armies in
     what was so lately his capital. Your fancy, my dear friend,
     will anticipate, better than I can express, the thousand
     sentiments which arose in my mind from witnessing such a
     splendid scene, in a spot connected with such various
     associations. It may give you some idea of the feelings of
     the French--once so fond of _spectacles_--to know that, I
     think, there were not a hundred of that nation looking on.
     Yet this country will soon recover the actual losses she has
     sustained, for never was there a soil so blessed by nature,
     or so rich in corn, wine, and oil, and in the animated
     industry of its inhabitants. France is at present the fabled
     giant, struggling, or rather lying supine, under the load of
     mountains which have been precipitated on her; but she is
     not, and cannot be crushed. Remove the incumbent weight of
     600,000 or 700,000 foreigners, and she will soon stand
     upright--happy, if experience shall have taught her to be
     contented to exert her natural strength only for her own
     protection, and not for the annoyance of her neighbors. I am
     cut short in my lucubrations by an opportunity to send this
     letter with Lord Castlereagh's despatches, which is of less
     consequence, as I will endeavor to see you in passing
     through London. I leave this city for Dieppe on Saturday,
     but I intend to go round by Harfleur, if possible.

     Ever your truly obliged and affectionate

                                        Walter SCOTT.

{p.060} "Paul" modestly acknowledges, in his last letter, the
personal attentions which he received, while in Paris, from Lords
Cathcart, Aberdeen, and Castlereagh; and hints that, through their
intervention, he had witnessed several of the splendid _fêtes_ given
by the Duke of Wellington, where he saw half the crowned heads of
Europe grouped among the gallant soldiers who had cut a way for them
to the guilty capital of France. Scott's reception, however, had been
distinguished to a degree of which Paul's language gives no notion.
The Noble Lords above named welcomed him with cordial satisfaction;
and the Duke of Wellington, to whom he was first presented by Sir John
Malcolm, treated him then, and ever afterwards, with a kindness and
confidence, which, I have often heard him say, he considered as "the
highest distinction of his life." He used to tell, with great effect,
the circumstances of his introduction to the Emperor Alexander, at a
dinner given by the Earl of Cathcart. Scott appeared, on that
occasion, in the blue and red dress of the Selkirkshire Lieutenancy;
and the Czar's first question, glancing at his lameness, was, "In what
affair were you wounded?" Scott signified that he suffered from a
natural infirmity; upon which the Emperor said, "I thought Lord
Cathcart mentioned that you had served." Scott observed that the Earl
looked a little embarrassed at this, and promptly answered, "Oh yes;
in a certain sense I have served--that is, in the yeomanry cavalry; a
home force resembling the Landwehr, or Landsturm."--"Under what
commander?"--"Sous M. le Chevalier Rae."--"Were you ever
engaged?"--"In some slight actions--such as the battle of the Cross
Causeway and the affair of Moredun-Mill."--"This," says Mr. Pringle of
Whytbank, "was, as he saw in Lord Cathcart's face, quite sufficient,
so he managed to turn the conversation to some other subject." It was
at the same dinner that he first met Platoff,[21] who {p.061} seemed
to take a great fancy to him, though, adds my friend, "I really don't
think they had any common language to converse in." Next day, however,
when Pringle and Scott were walking together in the Rue de la Paix,
the Hetman happened to come up, cantering with some of his Cossacks;
as soon as he saw Scott, he jumped off his horse, leaving it to the
Pulk, and, running up to him, kissed him on each side of the cheek
with extraordinary demonstrations of affection--and then made him
understand, through an aide-de-camp, that he wished him to join his
staff at the next great review, when he would take care to mount him
on the gentlest of his Ukraine horses.

              [Footnote 21: Scott acknowledges, in a note to _St.
              Ronan's Well_ (chap. xv.), that he took from Platoff
              this portrait of Mr. Touchwood: "His face, which at the
              distance of a yard or two seemed hale and smooth,
              appeared, when closely examined, to be seamed with a
              million of wrinkles, crossing each other in every
              direction possible, but as fine as if drawn by the point
              of a very small needle." Thus did every little
              peculiarity remain treasured in his memory, to be used
              in due time for giving the air of minute reality to some
              imaginary personage.]

It will seem less surprising that Scott should have been honored with
much attention by the leading soldiers and statesmen of Germany then
in Paris. The fame of his poetry had already been established for some
years in that country. Yet it may be doubted whether Blücher had heard
of Marmion any more than Platoff; and old Blücher struck Scott's
fellow-travellers as taking more interest in him than any foreign
general, except only the Hetman.

A striking passage in Paul's 10th letter indicates the high notion
which Scott had formed of the personal qualities of the Prince of
Orange. After depicting, with almost prophetic accuracy, the dangers
to which the then recent union of Holland and Belgium must be exposed,
he concludes with expressing his hope that the firmness and sagacity
of the King of the Netherlands, and the admiration which his heir's
character and bearing had already excited among all, even Belgian
observers, might {p.062} ultimately prove effective in redeeming this
difficult experiment from the usual failure of "_arrondissements_,
indemnities, and all the other terms of modern date, under sanction of
which cities and districts, and even kingdoms, have been passed from
one government to another, as the property of lands or stock is
transferred by a bargain between private parties."

It is not less curious to compare, with the subsequent course of
affairs in France, the following brief hint in Paul's 16th letter:
"The general rallying point of the _Libéralistes_ is an avowed dislike
to the present monarch and his immediate connections. They will
sacrifice, they pretend, so much to the general inclinations of
Europe, as to select a king from the Bourbon race; but he must be one
of their own choosing, and the Duke of Orleans is most familiar in
their mouths." Thus, in its very bud, had his eye detected the
_conjuration de quinze ans!_

Among the gay parties of this festive period, Scott mentioned with
special pleasure one fine day given to an excursion to Ermenonville,
under the auspices of Lady Castlereagh. The company was a large one,
including most of the distinguished personages whom I have been
naming, and they dined _al fresco_ among the scenes of Rousseau's
retirement, but in a fashion less accordant with the spirit of his
_rêveries d'un promeneur solitaire_, than with the song which
commemorates some earlier tenants of that delicious valley,--

  "La belle Gabrielle
     Étoit dans ces lieux--
  Et le souvenir d'elle
     Nous rend heureux," etc.

At some stage of this merry day's proceedings, the ladies got tired of
walking, and one of Lord Castlereagh's young diplomatists was
despatched into a village in quest of donkeys for their accommodation.
The _attaché_ returned by and by with a face of disappointment,
complaining that the charge the people made was so extravagant,
{p.063} he could not think of yielding to the extortion. "_Marshal
Forwards_" said nothing, but nodded to an aide-de-camp. They had
passed a Prussian picket a little while before;--three times the
requisite number of donkeys appeared presently, driven before
half-a-dozen hussars, who were followed by the screaming population of
the refractory hamlet; and "an angry man was Blücher," said Scott,
"when Lord Castlereagh condescended to go among them, all smiles, and
sent them back with more Napoleons than perhaps the fee-simple of the
whole stud was worth."

Another evening of more peaceful enjoyment has left a better record.
But I need not quote here the lines on Saint Cloud.[22] They were
sent, on the 16th of August, to the late Lady Alvanley, with whom and
her daughters he spent much of his time while in Paris.

              [Footnote 22: See _Poetical Works_ (Edin. Ed.), vol. xi.
              p. 295 [Cambridge Ed. p. 420].]

As yet, the literary reputation of Scott had made but little way among
the French nation; but some few of their eminent men vied even with
the enthusiastic Germans in their courteous and unwearied attentions
to him. The venerable _Chevalier_, in particular, seemed anxious to
embrace every opportunity of acting as his cicerone; and many mornings
were spent in exploring, under his guidance, the most remarkable
scenes and objects of historical and antiquarian interest both in
Paris and its neighborhood. He several times also entertained Scott
and his young companions at dinner; but the last of those dinners was
thoroughly poisoned by a preliminary circumstance. The poet, on
entering the saloon, was presented to a stranger, whose physiognomy
struck him as the most hideous he had ever seen; nor was his disgust
lessened, when he found, a few minutes afterwards, that he had
undergone the _accolade_ of David "of the blood-stained brush."

From Paris, Mr. Bruce and Mr. Pringle went on to {p.064} Switzerland,
leaving the poet and Gala to return home together, which they did by
way of Dieppe, Brighton, and London. It was here, on the 14th of
September, that Scott had that last meeting with Lord Byron, alluded
to in his communication to Mr. Moore, already quoted. He carried his
young friend in the morning to call on Lord Byron, who agreed to dine
with them at their hotel, where he met also Charles Mathews and Daniel
Terry. The only survivor of the party[23] has recorded it in his
note-book as the most interesting day he ever spent. "How I did
stare," he says, "at Byron's beautiful pale face, like a
spirit's--good or evil. But he was _bitter_--what a contrast to Scott!
Among other anecdotes of British prowess and spirit, Scott mentioned
that a young gentleman ---- ---- ---- had been awfully shot in the
head while conveying an order from the Duke, and yet staggered on, and
delivered his message when at the point of death. 'Ha!' said Byron, 'I
dare say he could do as well as most people without his head--it was
never of much use to him.' Waterloo did not delight him, probably--and
Scott could talk or think of scarcely anything else."

              [Footnote 23: John Scott, Esq., of Gala, died at
              Edinburgh, 19th April, 1840.--(1842.)]

Mathews accompanied them as far as Warwick and Kenilworth, both of
which castles the poet had seen before, but now reëxamined with
particular curiosity. They spent a night at Sheffield; and early next
morning Scott sallied forth to provide himself with a planter's knife
of the most complex contrivance and finished workmanship. Having
secured one to his mind, and which for many years after was his
constant pocket-companion, he wrote his name on a card, "Walter Scott,
Abbotsford," and directed it to be engraved on the handle. On his
mentioning this acquisition at breakfast, young Gala expressed his
desire to equip himself in like fashion, and was directed to the shop
accordingly. When he had {p.065} purchased a similar knife, and
produced his name in turn for the engraver, the master cutler eyed the
signature for a moment, and exclaimed, "John Scott of Gala! Well, I
hope your ticket may serve me in as good stead as another Mr. Scott's
has just done. Upon my word, one of my best men, an honest fellow from
the North, went out of his senses when he saw it--he offered me a
week's work if I would let him keep it to himself--and I took
_Saunders_ at his word." Scott used to talk of this as one of the most
gratifying compliments he ever received in his literary capacity.

Their next halt was at Rokeby; but since Scott had heard from thence,
Mrs. Morritt's illness had made such alarming progress, that the
travellers regretted having obtruded themselves on the scene of
affliction, and resumed their journey early next morning.

Reaching Abbotsford, Scott found with his family his old friend Mr.
Skene of Rubislaw, who had expected him to come home sooner, and James
Ballantyne, who had arrived with a copious budget of bills, calendars,
booksellers' letters, and proof sheets. From each of these visitors'
_memoranda_ I now extract an anecdote. Mr. Skene's is of a small
enough matter, but still it places the man so completely before
myself, that I am glad he thought it worth setting down.

     "During Scott's absence," says his friend, "his wife had had
     the tiny drawing-room of the cottage fitted up with new
     chintz furniture,--everything had been set out in the best
     style,--and she and her girls had been looking forward to
     the pleasure which they supposed the little surprise of the
     arrangements would give him. He was received in the spruce
     fresh room, set himself comfortably down in the chair
     prepared for him, and remained in the full enjoyment of his
     own fireside, and a return to his family circle, without the
     least consciousness that any change had taken place--until,
     at length, Mrs. Scott's patience could hold out no longer,
     and his attention was expressly called to it. The vexation
     he showed at having caused {p.066} such a disappointment,
     struck me as amiably characteristic--and in the course of
     the evening he every now and then threw out some word of
     admiration to reconsole _mamma_."

Ballantyne's note of their next morning's conference is in these

     "He had just been reviewing a pageant of emperors and kings,
     which seemed, like another Field of the Cloth of Gold, to
     have been got up to realize before his eyes some of his own
     splendid descriptions. I begged him to tell me what was the
     general impression left on his mind. He answered, that he
     might now say he had seen and conversed with all classes of
     society, from the palace to the cottage, and including every
     conceivable shade of science and ignorance--but that he had
     never felt awed or abashed except in the presence of one
     man--the Duke of Wellington. I expressed some surprise. He
     said I ought not, for that the Duke of Wellington possessed
     every one mighty quality of the mind in a higher degree than
     any other man did, or had ever done. He said he beheld in
     him a great soldier and a great statesman--the greatest of
     each. When it was suggested that the Duke, on his part, saw
     before him a great poet and novelist, he smiled, and said,
     'What would the Duke of Wellington think of a few _bits of
     novels_, which perhaps he had never read, and for which the
     strong probability is that he would not care a sixpence if
     he had?' You are not" (adds Ballantyne) "to suppose that he
     looked either sheepish or embarrassed in the presence of the
     Duke--indeed you well know that he did not, and could not do
     so; but the feeling, qualified and modified as I have
     described it, unquestionably did exist to a certain extent.
     Its origin forms a curious moral problem; and may probably
     be traced to a secret consciousness, which he might not
     himself advert to, that the Duke, however great as a soldier
     and statesman, was so defective in imagination as to be
     incapable of appreciating that which had formed the charm of
     his own life, as well as of his works."

It is proper to add to Mr. Ballantyne's solution of his "curious moral
problem," that he was in his latter days a strenuous opponent of the
Duke of Wellington's politics; {p.067} to which circumstance he
ascribes, in these same _memoranda_, the only coolness that ever
occurred between him and Scott. I need hardly repeat, what has been
already distinctly stated more than once, that Scott never considered
any amount of literary distinction as entitled to be spoken of in the
same breath with mastery in the higher departments of practical
life--least of all, with the glory of a first-rate captain. To have
done things worthy to be written was in his eyes a dignity to which no
man made any approach, who had only written things worthy to be read.
He on two occasions, which I can never forget, betrayed painful
uneasiness when his works were alluded to as reflecting honor on the
age that had produced Watt's improvement of the steam-engine, and the
safety-lamp of Sir Humphry Davy. Such was his modest creed--but from
all I ever saw or heard of his intercourse with the Duke of
Wellington, I am not disposed to believe that he partook it with the
only man in whose presence he ever felt awe and abashment.[24]

              [Footnote 24: I think it very probable that Scott had
              his own first interview with the Duke of Wellington in
              his mind when he described the introduction of Roland
              Græme to the Regent Murray, in the novel of _The Abbot_,
              chap. xviii.:--"Such was the personage before whom
              Roland Græme now presented himself with a feeling of
              breathless awe, very different from the usual boldness
              and vivacity of his temper. In fact, he was, from
              education and nature, ... much more easily controlled by
              the moral superiority arising from the elevated talents
              and renown of those with whom he conversed, than by
              pretensions founded only on rank or external show. He
              might have braved with indifference the presence of an
              Earl merely distinguished by his belt and coronet; but
              he felt overawed in that of the eminent soldier and
              statesman, the wielder of a nation's power, and the
              leader of her armies."]

A charming page in Mr. Washington Irving's Abbotsford and Newstead
affords us another anecdote connected with this return from Paris. Two
years after this time, when the amiable American visited Scott, he
walked with him to a quarry, where his people were at work.

     "The face of the humblest dependent," he says, "brightened
     at his approach--all paused from their labor to have a
     pleasant {p.068} 'crack wi' the laird.' Among the rest was
     a tall straight old fellow, with a healthful complexion and
     silver hairs, and a small round-crowned white hat. He had
     been about to shoulder a hod, but paused, and stood looking
     at Scott with a slight sparkling of his blue eye as if
     waiting his turn; for the old fellow knew he was a favorite.
     Scott accosted him in an affable tone, and asked for a pinch
     of snuff. The old man drew forth a horn snuff-box. 'Hoot
     man,' said Scott, 'not that old mull. Where's the bonnie
     French one that I brought you from Paris?'--'Troth, your
     honor,' replied the old fellow, 'sic a mull as that is nae
     for week-days.' On leaving the quarry, Scott informed me,
     that, when absent at Paris, he had purchased several
     trifling articles as presents for his dependents, and, among
     others, the gay snuff-box in question, which was so
     carefully reserved for Sundays by the veteran. 'It was not
     so much the value of the gifts,' said he, 'that pleased
     them, as the idea that the laird should think of them when
     so far away.'"

One more incident of this return--it was told to me by himself, some
years afterwards, with gravity, and even sadness. "The last of my
chargers," he said, "was a high-spirited and very handsome one, by
name Daisy, all over white, without a speck, and with such a mane as
Rubens delighted to paint. He had, among other good qualities, one
always particularly valuable in my case, that of standing like a rock
to be mounted. When he was brought to the door, after I came home from
the Continent, instead of signifying, by the usual tokens, that he was
pleased to see his master, he looked askant at me like a devil; and
when I put my foot in the stirrup, he reared bolt upright, and I fell
to the ground rather awkwardly. The experiment was repeated twice or
thrice, always with the same result. It occurred to me that he might
have taken some capricious dislike to my dress; and Tom Purdie, who
always falls heir to the white hat and green jacket, and so forth,
when Mrs. Scott has made me discard a set of garments, was sent for,
to try whether these habiliments would produce him a similar reception
from his old friend Daisy: but Daisy {p.069} allowed Tom to back him
with all manner of gentleness. The thing was inexplicable--but he had
certainly taken some part of my conduct in high dudgeon and disgust;
and after trying him again, at the interval of a week, I was obliged
to part with Daisy--and wars and rumors of wars being over, I resolved
thenceforth to have done with such dainty blood. I now stick to a good
sober cob." Somebody suggested that Daisy might have considered
himself as ill-used, by being left at home when _the laird_ went on
his journey. "Ay," said he, "these creatures have many thoughts of
their own, no doubt, that we can never penetrate." Then, laughing,
"Troth," said he, "maybe some bird had whispered Daisy that I had been
to see the grand reviews at Paris on a little scrag of a Cossack,
while my own gallant trooper was left behind bearing Peter and the
post-bag to Melrose."

A few letters, written shortly after this return to Abbotsford, will,
among other things, show with what zeal he at once resumed his
literary industry, if indeed that can be said to have been at all
interrupted by a journey, in the course of which a great part of
Paul's narrative, and also of the poem of The Field of Waterloo, must
have been composed.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 2d October, 1815.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--Few things could have given me more real
     pain, than to see Mrs. Morritt under such severe suffering,
     and the misery you sustain in witnessing it. Yet let us
     trust in the goodness of Providence, which restored the
     health so deservedly dear to you, from as great a state of
     depression upon a former occasion. Our visit was indeed a
     melancholy one, and, I fear, added to your distress, when,
     God knows, it required no addition.--The contrast of this
     quiet bird's-nest of a place, with the late scene of
     confusion and military splendor which I have witnessed, is
     something of a stunning {p.070} nature--and, for the first
     five or six days, I have been content to fold my hands, and
     saunter up and down in a sort of indolent and stupefied
     tranquillity, my only attempt at occupation having gone no
     farther than pruning a young tree now and then. Yesterday,
     however, and to-day, I began, from necessity, to prune
     verses, and have been correcting proofs of my little attempt
     at a poem on Waterloo. It will be out this week, and you
     shall have a copy by the Carlisle coach, which pray judge
     favorably, and remember it is not always the grandest
     actions which are best adapted for the arts of poetry and
     painting. I believe I shall give offence to my old friends
     the Whigs, by not condoling with Buonaparte. Since his
     sentence of transportation, he has begun to look wonderfully
     comely in their eyes. I would they had hanged him, that he
     might have died a perfect Adonis. Every reasonable creature
     must think the Ministers would have deserved the cord
     themselves, if they had left him in a condition again to
     cost us the loss of 10,000 of our best and bravest, besides
     thirty millions of good money. The very threats and frights
     which he has given the well-meaning people of this realm
     (myself included), deserved no less a punishment than
     banishment, since the "putting in bodily fear" makes so
     material a part of every criminal indictment. But, no doubt,
     we shall see Ministers attacked for their want of generosity
     to a fallen enemy, by the same party who last year, with
     better grounds, assailed them for having left him in a
     situation again to disturb the tranquillity of Europe.--My
     young friend Gala has left me, after a short visit to
     Abbotsford. He is my nearest (conversible) neighbor, and I
     promise myself much comfort in him, as he has a turn both
     for the sciences and for the arts, rather uncommon among our
     young Scotch lairds. He was delighted with Rokeby and its
     lord, though he saw both at so melancholy a period, and
     endured, not only with good-humor but with sympathy, the
     stupidity of his fellow-traveller, who was not by {p.071}
     any means _dans son brillant_ for some time after leaving

     We visited Corby Castle on our return to Scotland, which
     remains, in point of situation, as beautiful as when its
     walks were celebrated by David Hume, in the only rhymes he
     was ever known to be guilty of. Here they are, from a pane
     of glass in an inn at Carlisle:--

       "Here chicks in eggs for breakfast sprawl,
        Here godless boys God's glories squall,
        Here Scotchmen's heads do guard the wall,
        But Corby's walks atone for all."

     Would it not be a good quiz to advertise _The Poetical Works
     of David Hume_, with notes, critical, historical, and so
     forth--with an historical inquiry into the use of eggs for
     breakfast, a physical discussion on the causes of their
     being addled; a history of the English Church music, and of
     the choir of Carlisle in particular; a full account of the
     affair of 1745, with the trials, last speeches, and so
     forth, of the poor _plaids_ who were strapped up at
     Carlisle; and, lastly, a full and particular description of
     Corby, with the genealogy of every family who ever possessed
     it? I think, even without more than the usual waste of
     margin, the Poems of David would make a decent
     twelve-shilling touch. I shall think about it when I have
     exhausted mine own _century of inventions_.

     I do not know whether it is perverseness of state, or old
     associations, but an excellent and very handsome modern
     house, which Mr. Howard has lately built at Corby, does not,
     in my mind, assimilate so well with the scenery as the old
     irregular monastic hall, with its weather-beaten and antique
     appearance, which I remember there some years ago.

     Out of my Field of Waterloo has sprung an odd wild sort of
     thing, which I intend to finish separately, and call it The
     Dance of Death.[25] These matters take up my {p.072} time
     so much, that I must bid you adieu for the present. Besides,
     I am summoned to attend a grand _chasse_, and I see the
     children are all mounted upon the ponies. By the way, Walter
     promises to be a gallant horseman. Ever most truly yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 25: This was published in the _Edinburgh
              Annual Register_ in 1815.--See _Poetical Works_ (Ed.
              1834), vol. xi. p. 297 [Cambridge Ed. p. 421].]

I shall close this chapter with a transcript of some _Notes_ on the
proof sheets of The Field of Waterloo. John Ballantyne being at
Abbotsford on the 3d of October, his brother the printer addressed the
packet containing the sheets to him. John appears to have considered
James's observations on the margin before Scott saw them; and the
record of the style in which the Poet repelled, or yielded to, his
critics, will at all events illustrate his habitual good-nature.

John Ballantyne writes on the fly-leaf of the proofs, to his
confidential clerk: "Mr. Hodgson, I beg these sheets and all the MS.
may be carefully preserved just as they stand, and put in my father's
desk. J. B."

James prefaces his animadversions with this quotation:--

     "Cut deep and spare not.--_Penruddock._"

The _Notes_ are these:--

  STANZA I.--"Fair Brussels, thou art far behind."

  _James Ballantyne._--I do not like this line. It is tame, and the
  phrase "far behind," has, to my feeling, some associated vulgarity.


  STANZA II.--"Let not _the_ stranger with disdain
              _The_ architecture view."

  _James._--These two words are cacophonous. Would not _its_ do?

  _Scott._--Th. is a bad sound. Ts. a much worse. Read _their_.

  STANZA IV.--"A stranger might reply."

  _James._--My objection to this is probably fantastical, and I state
  it only because, from the first moment to the last, it has always
  made me boggle. I don't like a _stranger_--Query, "The
  questioned"--The "spectator"--"gazer," etc.

  _Scott._--_Stranger_ is appropriate--it means stranger to the

  {p.073} STANZA VI.--_James._--You had changed "garner-house
  profound," which I think quite admirable, to "garner under ground,"
  which I think quite otherways. I have presumed not to make the
  change--must I?

  _Scott._--I acquiesce, but with doubts; _profound_ sounds affected.

  STANZA VIII.--"The deadly tug of war at length
                 Must limits find in human strength,
                 And _cease_ when these are passed.
                 Vain hope!" etc.

  _James._--I must needs repeat, that the deadly tug _did_ cease in
  the case supposed. It lasted long--very long; but, when the limits
  of resistance, of human strength, were past--that is, after they had
  fought for ten hours, then the deadly tug _did_ cease. Therefore the
  "hope" was not "vain."

  _Scott._--I answer, it did _not_,--because the observation relates
  to the strength of those actually engaged, and when _their_ strength
  was exhausted, other squadrons were brought up. Suppose you saw two
  lawyers scolding at the bar, you might say this must have an
  end--human lungs cannot hold out--but, if the debate were continued
  by the senior counsel, your well-grounded expectations would be
  disappointed--"Cousin, thou wert not wont to be so dull!"--

          IBID.--"Nor ceased the _intermitted_ shot."

  _James._--Mr. Erskine contends that "intermitted" is redundant.

  _Scott._--"Nor ceased the _storm of shell and shot_."

  STANZA X.--"---- Never shall our country say
              We gave one inch of ground away,
             _When battling_ for her right."

  _James._--_In conflict?_

  _John B._--_Warring?_ I am afraid _battling_ must stand.

  _Scott._--All worse than the text.

  STANZA XI.--"Peal'd wildly the imperial name."

  _James._--I submit with diffidence whether this be not a somewhat
  tame conclusion to so very animated a stanza? And, at any rate, you
  will observe, that as it stands, you have no rhyme whatever to "The
  Cohort eagles _fly_."--You have no rhyme to _fly_. _Flew_ and _fly_,
  also, are perhaps too near, considering that each word closes a line
  of the same sort. I don't well like "_Thus_ in a torrent," either.
  If it were, "In one broad torrent," etc., it strikes me that it
  would be more spirited.

  _Scott._--Granted as to most of these observations--Read, "in one
  _dark_ torrent broad and strong," etc.--The "imperial name" is
  _true_, therefore must stand.

  STANZA XII.--"Nor was one forward footstep _stopped_."

  _James._--This staggering word was intended, I presume, but I don't
  like it.

  {p.074} _Scott._--Granted. Read _staid_, etc.

          IBID.--"Down were the eagle banners sent,
                  Down, down the horse and horsemen went."

  _James._--This is very spirited and very fine; but it is
  unquestionably liable to the charge of being very nearly a direct
  repetition of yourself. See _Lord of the Isles_, Canto vi. Stanza

          "_Down! down!_ in headlong overthrow,
           _Horseman and horse_, the foremost go," etc.

This passage is at once so striking and so recent, that its close
similarity to the present, if not indeed its identity, must strike
every reader; and really, to borrow from one's self is hardly much
better than to borrow from one's neighbors. And yet again, a few lines

          "As hammers on the _anvils_ reel,
           Against the cuirass _clangs_ the steel."

See _Lady of the Lake_, Canto vi. Stanza 18:--

          "I heard the broadswords' deadly _clang_,
           As if an hundred _anvils_ rang."

Here is precisely the same image, in very nearly the same words.

  _Scott._--I have altered the expression, but made a note, which, I
  think, will vindicate my retaining the simile.

  STANZA XIII.--"As their own Ocean-rocks hold _stance_."

  _John._--I do not know such an English word as _stance_.

  _Scott._--Then we'll make it one for the _nance_.

          IBID.--"And _newer_ standards fly."

  _James._--I don't like _newer_.

  _Scott._--"And _other_ standards fly."

          IBID.--"Or can thy memory fail to _quote_,
                  Heard to thy cost the vengeful note."

  _James._--Would to God you would alter this _quote_!

  _John._--Would to God _I_ could!--I certainly should.--

  _Scott._--"Or can thy memory fail to know,
             Heard oft before in hour of woe."


            "Or dwells not in thy memory still,
             Heard frequent in thine hour of ill."

  STANZA XV.--"Wrung forth by pride, _regret_, and shame."

  _James._--I have ventured to submit to your choice--

          "Wrung forth by pride, _and rage_, and shame."

  _Regret_ appearing a faint epithet amidst such a combination of
  bitter feelings.


          {p.075} IBID.--"So mingle banner, wain, and gun,
                          Where in one tide of horror run
                          The warriors," etc.

  _James._--In the first place, warriors _running_ in a tide is a
  clashing metaphor; in the second, the warriors _running_ at all is a
  little homely. It is true, no doubt; but really running is little
  better than scampering. For these causes, one or both, I think the
  lines should be altered.

  _Scott._--You are wrong in one respect. A tide is always said to
  _run_,--but I thought of the tide without attending to the
  equivoque, which must be altered. Read,--

          "Where the tumultuous flight rolls on."

  STANZA XVI.--"---- found _gallant_ grave."

  _James._--This is surely a singular epithet to a grave. I think the
  whole of this stanza eminently fine; and, in particular, the

  _Scott._--"---- found _soldier's_ grave." ----

  STANZA XXI.--"_Redoubted_ Picton's soul of fire."

  _James._--From long association, this epithet strikes me as
  conveying a semi-ludicrous idea.

  _Scott._--It is here appropriate, and your objection seems merely
  personal to your own association.

          IBID.--"Through his friends' heart to _wound_ his own."

  _James._--Quære--_Pierce_, or rather _stab_--_wound_ is faint.


  STANZA XXII.--"Forgive, _brave fallen_, the imperfect lay."

  _James._--Don't like "brave fallen" at all; nor "appropriate
  praise," three lines after. The latter in particular is prosaic.

  _Scott._--"Forgive, _brave dead_,"
             ---- "_The dear-earned praise._"


     Field of Waterloo Published. -- Revision of Paul's Letters,
     etc. -- Quarrel and Reconciliation with Hogg. -- Football
     Match at Carterhaugh. -- Songs on the Banner of Buccleuch.
     -- Dinner at Bowhill. -- Design for a Piece of Plate to the
     Sutors of Selkirk. -- Letters to the Duke of Buccleuch,
     Joanna Baillie, and Mr. Morritt.


The poem of The Field of Waterloo was published before the end of
October; the profits of the first edition being the author's
contribution to the fund raised for the relief of the widows and
children of the soldiers slain in the battle. This piece appears to
have disappointed those most disposed to sympathize with the author's
views and feelings. The descent is indeed heavy from his Bannockburn
to his Waterloo: the presence, or all but visible reality of what his
dreams cherished, seems to have overawed his imagination, and tamed it
into a weak pomposity of movement. The burst of pure native enthusiasm
upon the _Scottish_ heroes that fell around the Duke of Wellington's
person bears, however, the broadest marks of the "Mighty Minstrel:"--

        "Saw gallant Miller's fading eye
  Still bent where Albyn's standards fly,
  And Cameron, in the shock of steel,
  Die like the offspring of Lochiel," etc.;--

and this is far from being the only redeeming passage. There is one,
indeed, in which he illustrates what he then thought Buonaparte's
poorness of spirit in adversity, {p.077} which always struck me as
preëminently characteristic of Scott's manner of interweaving, both in
prose and verse, the moral energies with analogous natural
description, and combining thought with imagery,--

   "Or is thy soul like mountain tide,
  That, swelled by winter storm and shower,
  Rolls down in turbulence of power,
    A torrent fierce and wide;
  Reft of these aids, a rill obscure,
  Shrinking unnoticed, mean and poor,
    Whose channel shows displayed
  The wrecks of its impetuous course,
  But not one symptom of the force
    By which these wrecks were made!"

The poem was the first upon a subject likely to be sufficiently
hackneyed; and, having the advantage of coming out in a small cheap
form--(prudently imitated from Murray's innovation with the tales of
Byron, which was the death-blow to the system of verse in quarto)--it
attained rapidly a measure of circulation above what had been reached
either by Rokeby or The Lord of the Isles.

Meanwhile the revision of Paul's Letters was proceeding; and Scott had
almost immediately on his return to Abbotsford concluded his bargain
for the first edition of a third novel--The Antiquary--to be published
also in the approaching winter. Harold the Dauntless, too, was from
time to time taken up as the amusement of _horæ subsecivæ_. As for
Scott's out-of-doors occupations of that autumn, sufficient light will
be thrown on them by the following letter; from which it is seen that
he had now completed a rather tedious negotiation with another
bonnet-laird, and definitively added the lands of _Kaeside_ to the
original estate of Abbotsford.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, November 12, 1815.

     I have been long in acknowledging your letter, my dear
     friend, and yet you have not only been frequent in my
     thoughts, as must always be the case, but your name {p.078}
     has been of late familiar in my mouth as a household word.
     You must know that the pinasters you had the goodness to
     send me some time since, which are now fit to be set out of
     the nursery, have occupied my mind as to the mode of
     disposing of them. Now, mark the event: there is in the
     middle of what will soon be a bank of fine young wood, a
     certain old gravel-pit, which is the present scene of my
     operations. I have caused it to be covered with better
     earth, and gently altered with the spade, so as, if
     possible, to give it the air of one of those accidental
     hollows which the surface of a hill frequently presents.
     Having arranged my ground, I intend to plant it all round
     with the pinasters, and other varieties of the pine species,
     and in the interior I will have a rustic seat, surrounded by
     all kinds of evergreen shrubs (laurels in particular), and
     all varieties of the holly and cedar, and so forth, and this
     is to be called and entitled _Joanna's Bower_. We are
     determined in the choice of our ornaments by necessity, for
     our ground fronts (in poetic phrase) the rising sun, or, in
     common language, looks to the east; and being also on the
     north side of the hill--(don't you shiver at the
     thought?)--why, to say truth, George Wynnos and I are both
     of opinion that nothing but evergreens will flourish there;
     but I trust I shall convert a present deformity into a very
     pretty little hobby-horsical sort of thing. It will not bear
     looking at for years, and that is a pity; but it will so far
     resemble the person from whom it takes name, that it is
     planted, as she has written, for the benefit as well of
     posterity as for the passing generation. Time and I, says
     the Spaniard, against any two; and fully confiding in the
     proverb, I have just undertaken another grand task. You must
     know, I have purchased a large lump of wild land, lying
     adjoining to this little property, which greatly more than
     doubles my domains. The land is said to be reasonably
     bought, and I am almost certain I can turn it to advantage
     by a little judicious expenditure; for this {p.079} place
     is already allowed to be worth twice what it cost me; and
     our people here think so little of planting, and do it so
     carelessly, that they stare with astonishment at the
     alteration which well-planted woods make on the face of a
     country. There is, besides, a very great temptation, from
     the land running to within a quarter of a mile of a very
     sweet wild sheet of water, of which (that is, one side of
     it) I have every chance to become proprietor: this is a
     poetical circumstance not to be lost sight of, and
     accordingly I keep it full in my view. Amid these various
     avocations, past, present, and to come, I have not thought
     much about Waterloo, only that I am truly glad you like it.
     I might, no doubt, have added many curious anecdotes, but I
     think the pamphlet long enough as it stands, and never had
     any design of writing copious notes.

     I do most devoutly hope Lord Byron will succeed in his
     proposal of bringing out one of your dramas; that he is your
     sincere admirer is only synonymous with his being a man of
     genius; and he has, I am convinced, both the power and
     inclination to serve the public, by availing himself of the
     treasures you have laid before them. Yet I long for "some
     yet untasted spring," and heartily wish you would take Lord
     B. into your counsels, and adjust, from your yet unpublished
     materials, some drama for the public. In such a case, I
     would, in your place, conceal my name till the issue of the
     adventure. It is a sickening thing to think how many angry
     and evil passions the mere name of admitted excellence
     brings into full activity. I wish you would consider this
     hint, and I am sure the result would be great gratification
     to the public, and to yourself that sort of satisfaction
     which arises from receiving proofs of having attained the
     mark at which you aimed. Of this last, indeed, you cannot
     doubt, if you consult only the voices of the intelligent and
     the accomplished; but the object of the dramatist is
     professedly to delight the public at large, and therefore I
     think you should make the experiment fairly.

     {p.080} Little Sophia is much obliged by your kind and
     continued recollection: she is an excellent good child,
     sufficiently sensible, very affectionate, not without
     perception of character; but the gods have not made her
     poetical, and I hope she will never attempt to act a part
     which nature has not called her to. I am myself a poet,
     writing to a poetess, and therefore cannot be suspected of a
     wish to degrade a talent, to which, in whatever degree I may
     have possessed it, I am indebted for much happiness: but
     this depends only on the rare coincidence of some talent
     falling in with a novelty in style and diction and conduct
     of story, which suited the popular taste; and were my
     children to be better poets than me, they would not be such
     in general estimation, simply because the second cannot be
     the first, and the first (I mean in point of date) is
     everything, while others are nothing, even with more
     intrinsic merit. I am therefore particularly anxious to
     store the heads of my young damsels with something better
     than the tags of rhymes; and I hope Sophia is old enough
     (young though she be) to view her little incidents of
     celebrity, such as they are, in the right point of view.
     Mrs. Scott and she are at present in Edinburgh; the rest of
     the children are with me in this place; my eldest boy is
     already a bold horseman and a fine shot, though only about
     fourteen years old. I assure you I was prouder of the first
     blackcock he killed, than I have been of anything whatever
     since I first killed one myself, and that is twenty years
     ago. This is all stupid gossip; but, as Master Corporal Nym
     says, "things must be as they may:" you cannot expect grapes
     from thorns, or much amusement from a brain bewildered with
     thorn hedges at Kaeside, for such is the sonorous title of
     my new possession, in virtue of which I subscribe myself,

                                        ABBOTSFORD & KAESIDE.

There is now to be mentioned a little pageant of {p.081} December,
1815, which perhaps interested _Abbotsford and Kaeside_ not very much
less than the "Field of the Cloth of Gold," as James Ballantyne calls
it, of the preceding autumn. This was no other than a football match,
got up under the auspices of the Duke of Buccleuch, between the men of
the Vale of Yarrow and the Burghers of Selkirk, the particulars of
which will be sufficiently explained by an extract from Ballantyne's
newspaper, written, I can have no doubt, by the Sheriff of the Forest.
But the part taken in this solemnity by the Ettrick Shepherd reminds
me of an extraordinary epistle which Scott had received from him some
months before this time, and of the account given by Hogg himself, in
one of his autobiographies, of the manner in which Scott's kindness
terminated the alienation it refers to.

The Shepherd, being as usual in pecuniary straits, had projected a
work, to be called The Poetic Mirror, in which should appear some
piece by each popular poet of the time, the whole to be edited by
himself, and published for his benefit; and he addressed, accordingly,
to his brother bards a circular petition for their best assistance.
Scott--like Byron and most of the other persons thus applied
to--declined the proposition. The letter in which he signified his
refusal has not been preserved;--indeed it is sufficiently remarkable,
that of all the many letters which Hogg must have received from his
distinguished contemporaries, he appears to have kept not one; but
Scott's decided aversion to joint-stock adventures in authorship must
have been well known ere now to Hogg--and, at all events, nobody can
suspect that his note of refusal was meant to be an unfriendly
communication. The Shepherd, however, took some phrase in high
dudgeon, and penned an answer virulently insolent in spirit and in
language, accusing him of base jealousy of his own superior natural
genius. I am not sure whether it was on this or another occasion of
the like sort, that James varied the usual formulas of {p.082}
epistolary composition, by beginning with "Damned Sir," and ending,
"Believe me, Sir, yours with disgust, etc.;" but certainly the
performance was such that no intercourse took place between the
parties for some weeks, or perhaps months, afterwards. The letter in
which Hogg at length solicits a renewal of kindliness says nothing, it
may be observed, of the circumstance which, according to his
autobiography, confirmed by the recollection of two friends, whom he
names in the letter itself (Mr. John Grieve and Mr. William Laidlaw),
had really caused him to repent of his suspicions, and their
outrageous expression. The fact was, that hearing, shortly after the
receipt of the offensive epistle, that Hogg was confined to his
lodgings, in an obscure alley of Edinburgh, called Gabriel's Road, by
a dangerous illness, Scott called on Mr. Grieve to make inquiries
about him, and to offer to take on himself the expenses of the best
medical attendance. He had, however, cautioned the worthy hatter that
no hint of this offer must reach Hogg; and, in consequence, it might
perhaps be the Shepherd's feeling at the time that he should not, in
addressing his lifelong benefactor, betray any acquaintance with this
recent interference on his behalf. There can be no doubt, however,
that he obeyed the genuine dictates of his better nature when he
penned this apologetic effusion:--


                                   GABRIEL'S ROAD, February 28, 1815.

     Mr. SCOTT,--I think it is great nonsense for two men who are
     friends at heart, and who ever must be so,--indeed it is not
     in the nature of things that they can be otherwise,--should
     be professed enemies.

     Mr. Grieve and Mr. Laidlaw, who were very severe on me, and
     to whom I was obliged to show your letter, have long ago
     convinced me that I mistook part of it, and that it was not
     me you held in such contempt, but the opinion of the public.
     The {p.083} idea that you might mean that (though I still
     think the reading will bear either construction) has given
     me much pain; for I know I answered yours intemperately, and
     in a mortal rage. I meant to have enclosed yours, and begged
     of you to return mine, but I cannot find it, and am sure
     that some one to whom I have been induced to show it, has
     taken it away. However, as my troubles on that subject were
     never like to wear to an end, I could no longer resist
     telling you that I am extremely vexed about it. I desire not
     a renewal of our former intimacy, for haply, after what I
     have written, your family would not suffer it; but I wish it
     to be understood that, when we meet _by chance_, we might
     shake hands, and speak to one another as old acquaintances,
     and likewise that we may exchange a letter occasionally, for
     I find there are many things which I yearn to communicate to
     you, and the tears rush to my eyes when I consider that I
     may not.

     If you allow of this, pray let me know, and if you do not,
     let me know. Indeed, I am anxious to hear from you, for "as
     the day of trouble is with me, so shall my strength be." To
     be friends _from the teeth forwards_ is common enough; but
     it strikes me that there is something still more ludicrous
     in the reverse of the picture, and so to be enemies--and why
     should I be, _from the teeth forwards_, yours sincerely,

                                        James HOGG?

Scott's reply was, as Hogg says, "a brief note, telling him to think
no more of the business, and come to breakfast next morning." The
misunderstanding being thus closed, they appear to have counselled and
cooperated together in the most cordial fashion, in disciplining their
rural allies for the muster of Carterhaugh--the Duke of Buccleuch's
brother-in-law, the Earl of Home, having appointed the Shepherd his
Lieutenant over the Yarrow Band, while the Sheriff took under his
special cognizance the _Sutors_, i.e., _shoemakers_, of Selkirk--for
so the burgesses of that town have for ages styled themselves, and
under that denomination their warlike prowess in days of yore has been
celebrated in many an old ballad, besides the well-known one which
begins with

  {p.084} "'Tis up wi' the Sutors o' Selkirk,
           And 'tis down wi' the Earl of Home!"

In order to understand all the allusions in the newspaper record of
this important day, one must be familiar with the notes to the
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border; but I shall not burden it with
further comment here.


     "On Monday, 4th December, there was played, upon the
     extensive plain of Carterhaugh, near the junction of the
     Ettrick and Yarrow, the greatest match at the ball which has
     taken place for many years. It was held by the people of the
     Dale of Yarrow, against those of the parish of Selkirk; the
     former being brought to the field by the Right Hon. the Earl
     of Home, and the Gallant Sutors by their Chief Magistrate,
     Ebenezer Clarkson, Esq. Both sides were joined by many
     volunteers from other parishes; and the appearance of the
     various parties marching from their different glens to the
     place of rendezvous, with pipes playing and loud
     acclamations, carried back the coldest imagination to the
     old times when the Foresters assembled with the less
     peaceable purpose of invading the English territory, or
     defending their own. The romantic character of the scenery
     aided the illusion, as well as the performance of a feudal
     ceremony previous to commencing the games.

     "His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry came upon
     the ground about eleven o'clock, attended by his sons, the
     young Earl of Dalkeith and Lord John Scott; the Countess of
     Home; the Ladies Anne, Charlotte, and Isabella Scott; Lord
     and Lady Montagu and family; the Hon. General Sir Edward
     Stopford, K. B.; Sir John Riddell of Riddell; Sir Alexander
     Don of Newton; Mr. Elliot Lockhart, member for the county;
     Mr. Pringle of Whytbank, younger; Mr. Pringle of Torwoodlee;
     Captain Pringle, Royal Navy; Mr. Boyd of Broadmeadows and
     family; Mr. Chisholm of Chisholm; Major Pott of Todrig; Mr.
     Walter Scott, Sheriff of Selkirkshire, and family,--and many
     other gentlemen and ladies.--The ancient banner of the
     Buccleuch family, a curious and venerable relique,
     emblazoned with armorial bearings, and with the word
     '_Bellendaine_,' the ancient war-cry of the clan of Scott,
     was then displayed, {p.085} as on former occasions when the
     Chief took the field in person, whether for the purpose of
     war or sport. The banner was delivered by Lady Anne Scott to
     Master Walter Scott, younger of Abbotsford, who attended
     suitably mounted and armed, and riding over the field
     displayed it to the sound of the war-pipes, and amid the
     acclamations of the assembled spectators, who could not be
     fewer than 2000 in number. That this singular renewal of an
     ancient military custom might not want poetical celebrity,
     verses were distributed among the spectators, composed for
     the occasion by Mr. Walter Scott and the Ettrick
     Shepherd.--Mr. James Hogg acted as aide-de-camp to the Earl
     of Home in the command of the Yarrow men, and Mr. Robert
     Henderson of Selkirk to Mr. Clarkson, both of whom
     contributed not a little to the good order of the day.

     "The ball was thrown up between the parties by the Duke of
     Buccleuch, and the first game was gained, after a severe
     conflict of an hour and a half duration, by the Selkirk men.
     The second game was still more severely contested, and after
     a close and stubborn struggle of more than three hours, with
     various fortune, and much display of strength and agility on
     both sides, was at length carried by the Yarrow men. The
     ball should then have been thrown up a third time, but
     considerable difficulty occurred in arranging the voluntary
     auxiliaries from other parishes, so as to make the match
     equal; and, as the day began to close, it was found
     impossible to bring the strife to an issue, by playing a
     decisive game.

     "Both parties, therefore, parted with equal honors, but,
     before they left the ground, the Sheriff threw up his hat,
     and in Lord Dalkeith's name and his own, challenged the
     Yarrow men, on the part of the Sutors, to a match to be
     played upon the first convenient opportunity, with 100
     picked men only on each side. The challenge was mutually
     accepted by Lord Home, on his own part, and for Lord John
     Scott, and was received with acclamation by the players on
     both sides. The principal gentlemen present took part with
     one side or other, except the Duke of Buccleuch, who remains
     neutral. Great play is expected, and all bets are to be paid
     by the losers to the poor of the winning parish. We cannot
     dismiss the subject without giving our highest commendation
     to the Earl of Home, {p.086} and to Mr. Clarkson, for the
     attention which they showed in promoting the spirit and good
     order of the day. For the players themselves, it was
     impossible to see a finer set of active and athletic young
     fellows than appeared on the field. But what we chiefly
     admired in their conduct was, that though several hundreds
     in number, exceedingly keen for their respective parties,
     and engaged in so rough and animated a contest, they
     maintained the most perfect good-humor, and showed how
     unnecessary it is to discourage manly and athletic exercises
     among the common people, under pretext of maintaining
     subordination and good order. We have only to regret that
     the great concourse of spectators rendered it difficult to
     mention the names of the several players who distinguished
     themselves by feats of strength or agility; but we must not
     omit to record that the first ball was _hailed_ by Robert
     Hall, mason in _Selkirk_, and the second by George Brodie,
     from _Greatlaws_, upon _Aillwater_.

     "The Selkirk party wore slips of fir as their mark of
     distinction--the Yarrow men, sprigs of heath.

     "Refreshments were distributed to the players by the Duke of
     Buccleuch's domestics, in a booth erected for the purpose;
     and no persons were allowed to sell ale or spirits on the

     "In the evening there was a dance at the Duke's hunting-seat
     at Bowhill, attended by the nobility and gentry who had
     witnessed the sport of the day; and the fascination of Gow's
     violin and band detained them in the dancing-room till the
     dawn of the winter morning."

The newspaper then gives the songs above alluded to--namely, Scott's
Lifting of the Banner:--

  "From the brown crest of Newark its summons extending,
     Our signal is waving in smoke and in flame,
   And each Forester blithe, from his mountain descending,
     Bounds light o'er the heather to join in the game;
   Then up with the Banner! let forest winds fan her!
     She has blazed over Ettrick eight ages and more;
   In sport we'll attend her, in battle defend her,
     With heart and with hand, like our Fathers before," etc.[26]

              [Footnote 26: See _Poetical Works_ (Ed. 1834), vol. xi.
              p. 312 [Cambridge Ed. p. 424].]

--and that excellent ditty by Hogg, entitled The Ettrick {p.087}
Garland, to the Ancient Banner of the House of Buccleuch:--

  "And hast thou here, like hermit gray,
     Thy mystic characters unroll'd,
   O'er peaceful revellers to play,
     Thou emblem of the days of old?
   All hail! memorial of the brave,
     The liegeman's pride, the Border's awe!
   May thy gray pennon never wave
     On sterner field than Carterhaugh!" etc.

I have no doubt the Sheriff of the Forest was a prouder man, when he
saw his boy ride about Carterhaugh with the pennon of Bellenden, than
when Platoff mounted himself for the imperial review of the _Champ de
Mars_. It is a pity that I should have occasion to allude, before I
quit a scene so characteristic of Scott, to another outbreak of Hogg's
jealous humor. His Autobiography informs us, that when the more
distinguished part of the company assembled on the conclusion of the
sport to dine at Bowhill, he was proceeding to place himself at a
particular table--but the Sheriff seized his arm, told him _that_ was
reserved for the nobility, and seated him at an inferior
board--"between himself and the Laird of Harden"--the first gentleman
of the clan Scott. "The fact is," says Hogg, "I am convinced he was
sore afraid of my getting to be too great a favorite among the young
ladies of Buccleuch!" Who can read this, and not be reminded of Sancho
Panza and the Duchess? And, after all, he quite mistook what Scott had
said to him; for certainly there was, neither on this, nor on any
similar occasion at Bowhill, any _high table for the nobility_, though
there was a _side-table for the children_, at which, when the Shepherd
of Ettrick was about to seat himself, his friend probably whispered
that it was reserved for the "_little_ lords and ladies, and their
playmates." This blunder may seem undeserving of any explanation; but
it is often in small matters that the strongest feelings are most
strikingly betrayed--and this story is, in exact {p.088} proportion
to its silliness, indicative of the jealous feeling which mars and
distorts so many of Hogg's representations of Scott's conduct and

It appears from the account of this football match in the Edinburgh
Journal, that Scott took a lead in proposing a renewal of the contest.
This, however, never occurred; and that it ought not to do so had
probably occurred from the first to the Duke of Buccleuch, who is
mentioned as having alone abstained from laying any bets on the final

When Mr. Washington Irving visited Scott two years afterwards at
Abbotsford, he told his American friend that "the old feuds and local
interests, and rivalries and animosities of the Scotch, still slept in
their ashes, and might easily be roused; their hereditary feeling for
names was still great; it was not always safe to have even the game of
football between villages;--the old clannish spirit was too apt to
break out."[27]

              [Footnote 27: Irving's _Abbotsford and Newstead_, 1835,
              p. 40.]

The good Duke of Buccleuch's solitary exemption from these heats of
Carterhaugh might read a significant lesson to minor politicians of
all parties on more important scenes. In pursuance of the same
peace-making spirit, he appears to have been desirous of doing
something gratifying to the men of the town of Selkirk, who had on
this occasion taken the field against his Yarrow tenantry. His Grace
consulted Scott about the design of a piece of plate to be presented
to their community; and his letter on this weighty subject must not be
omitted in the memoirs of a Sheriff of Selkirk:--


                                        EDINBURGH, Thursday.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I have proceeded in my commission about the
     cup. It will be a very handsome one. But I am still puzzled
     to dispose of the birse[28] in a {p.089} becoming manner.
     It is a most unmanageable decoration. I tried it upright on
     the top of the cup; it looked like a shaving-brush, and the
     goblet might be intended to make the lather. Then I thought
     I had a brilliant idea. The arms of Selkirk are a female
     seated on a sarcophagus, decorated with the arms of
     Scotland, which will make a beautiful top to the cup. So I
     thought of putting the birse into the lady's other hand;
     but, alas, it looked so precisely like the rod of
     chastisement uplifted over the poor child, that I laughed at
     the drawing for half an hour. Next I tried to take off the
     castigatory appearance, by inserting the bristles in a kind
     of handle; but then it looked as if the poor woman had been
     engaged in the capacities of housemaid and child-keeper at
     once, and, fatigued with her double duty, had sat down on
     the wine-cooler, with the broom in one hand, and the bairn
     in the other. At length, after some conference with Charles
     Sharpe, I have hit on a plan, which, I think, will look very
     well, if tolerably executed,--namely, to have the lady
     seated in due form on the top of the lid (which will look
     handsome, and will be well taken), and to have a thistle
     wreathed around the sarcophagus and rising above her head,
     and from the top of the thistle shall proceed the birse. I
     will bring a drawing with me, and they shall get the cup
     ready in the mean time. I hope to be at Abbotsford on Monday
     night, to stay for a week. My cat has eat two or three
     birds, while regaling on the crumbs that were thrown for
     them. This was a breach of hospitality; but _oportet
     vivere_--and _micat inter omnes_--with which stolen pun, and
     my respectful compliments to Lord Montagu and the ladies, I
     am, very truly, your Grace's most faithful and obliged

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 28: A _birse_, or bunch of hog's _bristles_,
              forms the cognizance of the Sutors. When a new burgess
              is admitted into their community, _the birse_ passes
              round with the cup of welcome, and every elder brother
              dips it into the wine, and draws it through his mouth,
              before it reaches the happy neophyte, who of course pays
              it similar respect.]

     {p.090} P. S.--Under another cover, which I have just
     received, I send the two drawings of the front and reverse
     of the lid of the proposed cup. Your Grace will be so good
     as understand that the thistle--the top of which is
     garnished with the bristle--is entirely detached, in
     working, from the figure, and slips into a socket. The
     following lines are humbly suggested for a motto, being
     taken from an ancient Scottish canzonetta,--unless the
     Yarrow committee can find any better:--

          "The sutor ga'e the sow a kiss:
           Grumph! quo' the sow, it's a' for my birss."

Some weeks before the year 1815 closed, Mr. Morritt sustained the
heaviest of domestic afflictions; and several letters on that sad
subject had passed between Rokeby and Abbotsford,[29] before the date
of the following:--

              [Footnote 29: [A touching letter from Morritt, written
              shortly before his wife's death, and one of Scott's,
              written after that event, will be found in _Familiar
              Letters_, vol. i. pp. 352-354.]]


                                        EDINBURGH, 22d December, 1815.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--While you know what satisfaction it would
     have given me to have seen you here, I am very sensible of
     the more weighty reasons which you urge for preferring to
     stay at Rokeby for some time. I only hope you will remember
     that Scotland has claims on you, whenever you shall find
     your own mind so far at ease as to permit you to look abroad
     for consolation; and if it should happen that you thought of
     being here about our time of vacation, I have my time then
     entirely at my own command, and I need not say, that as much
     of it as could in any manner of way contribute to your
     amusement, is most heartily at yours. I have myself at
     present the melancholy task of watching the declining health
     of my elder brother, Major Scott, whom, I think, you have

     {p.091} My literary occupation is getting through the press
     the Letters of Paul, of whose lucubrations I trust soon to
     send you a copy. As the observations of a bystander, perhaps
     you will find some amusement in them, especially as I had
     some channels of information not accessible to every one.
     The recess of our courts, which takes place to-morrow, for
     three weeks, will give me ample time to complete this job,
     and also the second volume of Triermain, which is nearly
     finished,--a strange rude story, founded partly on the
     ancient northern traditions respecting the Berserkers, whose
     peculiar habits and fits of martial frenzy make such a
     figure in the Sagas. I shall then set myself seriously to
     The Antiquary, of which I have only a very general sketch at
     present; but when once I get my pen to the paper it will
     walk fast enough. I am sometimes tempted to leave it alone,
     and try whether it will not write as well without the
     assistance of my head as with it. A hopeful prospect for the
     reader. In the mean while, the snow, which is now falling so
     fast as to make it dubious when this letter may reach
     Rokeby, is likely to forward these important avocations, by
     keeping me a constant resident in Edinburgh, in lieu of my
     plan of going to Abbotsford, where I had a number of schemes
     in hand, in the way of planting and improving. I believe I
     told you I have made a considerable addition to my little
     farm, and extended my domains towards a wild lake, which I
     have a good prospect of acquiring also. It has a sort of
     legendary fame; for the persuasion of the solitary shepherds
     who approach its banks is, that it is tenanted by a very
     large amphibious animal called by them a water-bull, and
     which several of them pretend to have seen. As his
     dimensions greatly exceed those of an otter, I am tempted to
     think with Trinculo, "This is the devil, and no monster."
     But, after all, is it not strange, that as to almost all the
     lakes in Scotland, both Lowland and Highland, such a belief
     should prevail? and that the description popularly given
     {p.092} uniformly corresponds with that of the
     hippopotamus? Is it possible, that at some remote period,
     that remarkable animal, like some others which have now
     disappeared, may have been an inhabitant of our large lakes?
     Certainly the vanishing of the mammoth and other animals
     from the face of the creation renders such a conjecture less
     wild than I would otherwise esteem it. It is certain we have
     lost the beaver, whose bones have been more than once found
     in our Selkirkshire bogs and marlmosses. The remains of the
     wild bull are very frequently found; and I have more than
     one skull with horns of most formidable dimensions.

     About a fortnight ago we had a great football match in
     Selkirkshire, when the Duke of Buccleuch raised his banner
     (a very curious and ancient pennon) in great form. Your
     friend Walter was banner-bearer, dressed, like a forester of
     old, in green, with a green bonnet, and an eagle feather in
     it; and, as he was well mounted, and rode handsomely over
     the field, he was much admired by all his clansmen.

     I have thrown these trifles together, without much hope that
     they will afford you amusement; but I know you will wish to
     know what I am about, and I have but trifles to send to
     those friends who interest themselves about a trifler. My
     present employment is watching, from time to time, the
     progress of a stupid cause, in order to be ready to reduce
     the sentence into writing, when the Court shall have decided
     whether Gordon of Kenmore or MacMichan of Meikleforthhead be
     the superior of the lands of Tarschrechan and Dalbrattie,
     and entitled to the feudal casualties payable forth thereof,
     which may amount to twopence sterling, once in half a dozen
     of years. Marry, sir, they make part of a freehold
     qualification, and the decision may wing a voter. I did not
     send the book you received by the Selkirk coach. I wish I
     could have had sense enough to send anything which could
     afford you consolation. I think our friend {p.093} Lady
     Louisa was likely to have had this attention; she has, God
     knows, been herself tried with affliction, and is well
     acquainted with the sources from which comfort can be drawn.
     My wife joins in kindest remembrances, as do Sophia and
     Walter. Ever yours affectionately,

                                         Walter SCOTT.

This letter is dated the 22d of December. On the 26th, John
Ballantyne, being then at Abbotsford, writes to Messrs. Constable:
"Paul is _all_ in hand;" and an envelope, addressed to James
Ballantyne on the 29th, has preserved another little fragment of
Scott's playful doggerel:--

  "Dear James--I'm done, thank God, with the long yarns
   Of the most prosy of Apostles--Paul;
   And now advance, sweet Heathen of Monkbarns,
   Step out, old quizz, as fast as I can scrawl."


     Publication of Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk. -- Guy
     Mannering "Terry-fied." -- Death of Major John Scott. --
     Letters to Thomas Scott. -- Publication of the Antiquary. --
     History of 1814 for the Edinburgh Annual Register. --
     Letters on the History of Scotland Projected. -- Publication
     of the First Tales of My Landlord by Murray and Blackwood.
     -- Anecdotes by Mr. Train. -- Quarterly Review on the Tales.
     -- Building at Abbotsford Begun. -- Letters to Morritt,
     Terry, Murray, and the Ballantynes.


The year 1815 may be considered as, for Scott's peaceful tenor of
life, an eventful one. That which followed has left almost its only
traces in the successive appearance of nine volumes, which attest the
prodigal genius, and hardly less astonishing industry of the man.
Early in January were published Paul's Letters to his Kinsfolk, of
which I need not now say more than that they were received with lively
curiosity, and general, though not vociferous applause. The first
edition was an octavo, of 6000 copies; and it was followed, in the
course of the next two or three years, by a second and a third,
amounting together to 3000 more. The popularity of the novelist was at
its height; and this admitted, if not avowed, specimen of Scott's
prose must have been perceived, by all who had any share of
discrimination, to flow from the same pen.

Mr. Terry produced, in the spring of 1816, a dramatic {p.095} piece,
entitled Guy Mannering, which met with great success on the London
boards, and still continues to be a favorite with the theatrical
public. What share the novelist himself had in this first specimen of
what he used to call "the art of _Terryfying_," I cannot exactly say;
but his correspondence shows that the pretty song of the Lullaby[30]
was not his only contribution to it; and I infer that he had taken the
trouble to modify the plot, and rearrange, for stage purposes, a
considerable part of the original dialogue. The casual risk of
discovery, through the introduction of the song which had, in the mean
time, been communicated to one of his humble friends, the late Mr.
Alexander Campbell,[31] editor of Albyn's Anthology--(commonly known
at Abbotsford as, by way of excellence, _The Dunniewassal_,)--and
Scott's suggestions on that difficulty will amuse the reader of the
following letter:--

              [Footnote 30: See Scott's _Poetical Works_ (Ed. 1834),
              vol. xi. p. 317 (Cambridge Ed. p. 425).]

              [Footnote 31: This Mr. Campbell was the same whom the
              poet's mother employed to teach her boys to sing, as
              recorded in the Autobiographical Fragment--_ante_, vol.
              i. p. 44. I believe he was also the "litigious
              Highlander" of a story told in Irving's _Abbotsford and
              Newstead_, p. 57.

              (In the November of this year, Scott writes to Lady
              Abercorn: "The only thing I have been doing of late is
              to write two or three songs for a poor man called
              Campbell.... He has made an immense collection of
              Highland airs, and I have given him words for some of
              them. One of them is the only good song I ever wrote--it
              is a fine Highland Gathering tune called _Pibroch an
              Donuil Dhu_, that is, the Pibroch of Donald the
              Black."--_Familiar Letters_, vol. i. p. 374.)]


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 18th April, 1816.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--I give you joy of your promotion to the
     dignity of an householder, and heartily wish you all the
     success you so well deserve, to answer the approaching
     enlargement of your domestic establishment. You will find a
     house a very devouring monster, and that the purveying for
     it requires a little exertion, and a great {p.096} deal of
     self-denial and arrangement. But when there is domestic
     peace and contentment, all that would otherwise be
     disagreeable, as restraining our taste and occupying our
     time, becomes easy. I trust Mrs. Terry will get her business
     easily over, and that you will soon "dandle Dickie on your
     knee."--I have been at the spring circuit, which made me
     late in receiving your letter, and there I was introduced to
     a man whom I never saw in my life before, namely, the
     proprietor of all the Pepper and Mustard family,--in other
     words, the genuine Dandie Dinmont. Dandie is himself modest,
     and says, "he b'lives it's only the dougs that is in the
     buik, and no himsel'." As the surveyor of taxes was going
     his ominous rounds past Hyndlea, which is the abode of
     Dandie, his whole pack rushed out upon the man of execution,
     and Dandie followed them (conscious that their number
     greatly exceeded his return), exclaiming, "The tae hauf o'
     them is but whalps, man." In truth, I knew nothing of the
     man, except his odd humor of having only two names for
     twenty dogs. But there are lines of general resemblance
     among all these hill-men, which there is no missing; and
     Jamie Davidson of Hyndlea certainly looks Dandie Dinmont
     remarkably well. He is much flattered with the compliment,
     and goes uniformly by the name among his comrades, but has
     never read the book. Ailie used to read it to him, but it
     set him to sleep. All this you will think funny enough. I am
     afraid I am in a scrape about the song, and that of my own
     making; for as it never occurred to me that there was
     anything odd in my writing two or three verses for you,
     which have no connection with the novel, I was at no pains
     to disown them; and Campbell is just that sort of crazy
     creature, with whom there is no confidence, not from want of
     honor and disposition to oblige, but from his flighty
     temper. The music of _Cadil gu lo_ is already printed in his
     publication, and nothing can be done with him, for fear of
     setting his tongue a-going. Erskine and {p.097} you may
     consider whether you should barely acknowledge an obligation
     to an unknown friend, or pass the matter altogether in
     silence. In my opinion, my _first_ idea was preferable to
     both, because I cannot see what earthly connection there is
     between the song and the novel, or how acknowledging the one
     is fathering the other. On the contrary, it seems to me that
     acknowledgment tends to exclude the idea of farther
     obligation than to the extent specified. I forgot also that
     I had given a copy of the lines to Mrs. Macleod of Macleod,
     from whom I had the air. But I remit the matter entirely to
     you and Erskine, for there must be many points in it which I
     cannot be supposed a good judge of. At any rate, don't let
     it delay your publication, and believe I shall be quite
     satisfied with what you think proper.

     I have got from my friend Glengarry the noblest dog ever
     seen on the Border since Johnnie Armstrong's time. He is
     between the wolf and deer greyhound, about six feet long
     from the tip of the nose to the tail, and high and strong in
     proportion: he is quite gentle, and a great favorite: tell
     Will Erskine he will eat off his plate without being at the
     trouble to put a paw on the table or chair.[32] I showed him
     to Mathews, who dined one day in Castle Street before I came
     here, where, except for Mrs. S., I am like unto

       {p.098} "The spirit who bideth by himself,
                In the land of mist and snow"--[33]

     for it is snowing and hailing eternally, and will kill all
     the lambs to a certainty, unless it changes in a few hours.
     At any rate, it will cure us of the embarrassments arising
     from plenty and low markets. Much good luck to your dramatic
     exertions: when I can be of use, command me. Mrs. Scott
     joins me in regards to Mrs. Terry, and considers the house
     as the greatest possible bargain: the situation is all you
     can wish. Adieu! yours truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 32: [In the letter accompanying his gift,
              Glengarry says: "His name is Maida, out of respect for
              that action in which my brother had the honor to lead
              the 78th Highlanders to victory." Writing to Joanna
              Baillie, April 12, Scott describes his new friend as
              "the finest dog of the kind in Scotland.... He is
              between the deer greyhound and mastiff, with a shaggy
              mane like a lion; he always sits beside me at dinner,
              his head as high as the back of my chair; yet it will
              gratify you to know that a favorite cat keeps him in the
              greatest possible order, and insists upon all rights of
              precedence, and scratches with impunity the nose of an
              animal who would make no bones of a wolf, and pulls down
              a red deer without fear or difficulty. I heard my friend
              set up some most piteous howls, and I assure you the
              noise was no joke, all occasioned by his fear of passing
              puss, who had stationed himself on the
              stairs."--_Familiar Letters_, vol. i. p. 358.]]

              [Footnote 33: Coleridge--_Ancient Mariner_.]

     P. S.--On consideration, and comparing difficulties, I think
     I will settle with Campbell to take my name from the verses,
     as they stand in his collection. The verses themselves I
     cannot take away without imprudent explanations; and as they
     go to other music, and stand without any name, they will
     probably not be noticed, so you need give yourself no
     farther trouble on the score. I should like to see my copy:
     pray send it to the post-office, under cover to Mr.
     Freeling, whose unlimited privilege is at my service on all

Early in May appeared the novel of The Antiquary, which seems to have
been begun a little before the close of 1815. It came out at a moment
of domestic distress.

Throughout the year 1815, Major John Scott had been drooping. He died
on the 8th of May, 1816; and I extract the letter in which this event
was announced to Mr. Thomas Scott by his only surviving brother.


                                        EDINBURGH, 15th May, 1816.

     MY DEAR TOM,--This brings you the melancholy news of our
     brother John's concluding his long and lingering illness by
     death, upon Thursday last. We had {p.099} thought it
     impossible he should survive the winter, but, as the weather
     became milder, he gathered strength, and went out several
     times. In the beginning of the week he became worse, and on
     Wednesday kept his bed. On Thursday, about two o'clock, they
     sent me an express to Abbotsford--the man reached me at
     nine. I immediately set out, and travelled all night--but
     had not the satisfaction to see my brother alive. He had
     died about four o'clock, without much pain, being completely
     exhausted. You will naturally feel most anxious about my
     mother's state of health and spirits. I am happy to say she
     has borne this severe shock with great firmness and
     resignation, is perfectly well in her health, and as strong
     in her mind as ever you knew her. She feels her loss, but is
     also sensible that protracted existence, with a constitution
     so irretrievably broken up, could have been no blessing.
     Indeed I must say, that, in many respects, her situation
     will be more comfortable on account of this removal, when
     the first shock is over; for to watch an invalid, and to
     undergo all the changes of a temper fretted by suffering,
     suited ill with her age and habits. The funeral, which took
     place yesterday, was decent and private, becoming our
     father's eldest son, and the head of a quiet family. After
     it, I asked Hay Donaldson and Mr. Macculloch[34] to look
     over his papers, in case there should be any testamentary
     provision, but none such was found; nor do I think he had
     any intention of altering the destination which divides his
     effects between his surviving brothers.--Your affectionate

                                        W. S.

              [Footnote 34: The late Mr. Hay Donaldson, W. S.,--an
              intimate friend of both Thomas and Walter Scott,--and
              Mr. Macculloch of Ardwell, the brother of Mrs. Thomas

A few days afterwards, he hands to Mr. Thomas Scott a formal statement
of pecuniary affairs; the result of which was, that the Major had left
something not much under £6000. Major Scott, from all I have heard,
was {p.100} a sober, sedate bachelor, of dull mind and frugal tastes,
who, after his retirement from the army, divided his time between his
mother's primitive fireside, and the society of a few whist-playing
brother officers, that met for an evening rubber at Fortune's tavern.
But, making every allowance for his retired and thrifty habits, I
infer that the payments made to each of the three brothers out of
their father's estate must have, prior to 1816, amounted to £5000.
From the letter conveying this statement (29th May), I extract a few

     DEAR TOM,--... Should the possession of this sum, and the
     certainty that you must, according to the course of nature,
     in a short space of years succeed to a similar sum of £3000
     belonging to our mother, induce you to turn your thoughts to
     Scotland, I shall be most happy to forward your views with
     any influence I may possess; and I have little doubt that,
     sooner or later, something may be done. But, unfortunately,
     every avenue is now choked with applicants, whose claims are
     very strong; for the number of disbanded officers, and
     public servants dismissed in consequence of Parliament
     turning restive and refusing the income-tax, is great and
     increasing. Economy is the order of the day, and I assure
     you they are shaving properly close. It would, no doubt, be
     comparatively easy to get you a better situation where you
     are, but then it is bidding farewell to your country, at
     least for a long time, and separating your children from all
     knowledge of those with whom they are naturally connected. I
     shall anxiously expect to hear from you on your views and
     wishes. I think, at all events, you ought to get rid of the
     drudgery of the paymastership--but not without trying to
     exchange it for something else. I do not know how it is with
     you--but I do not feel myself quite so _young_ as I was when
     we met last, and I should like well to see my only brother
     return to his own country and settle, without thoughts
     {p.101} of leaving it, till it is exchanged for one that is
     dark and distant.... I left all Jack's personal trifles at
     my mother's disposal. There was nothing of the slightest
     value, excepting his gold watch, which was my sister's, and
     a good one. My mother says he had wished my son Walter
     should have it, as his male representative--which I can only
     accept on condition _your_ little Walter will accept a
     similar token of regard from his remaining uncle.--Yours

                                        W. S.

The letter in which Scott communicated his brother's death to Mr.
Morritt gives us his own original opinion of The Antiquary. It has
also some remarks on the separation of Lord and Lady Byron--and the
"domestic verses" of the noble poet.

     TO J. B. S. MORRITT, ESQ., M. P., LONDON.

                                        EDINBURGH, May 16, 1816.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I have been occupied of late with scenes
     of domestic distress, my poor brother, Major John Scott,
     having last week closed a life which wasting disease had
     long rendered burthensome. His death, under all the
     circumstances, cannot be termed a subject of deep
     affliction; and though we were always on fraternal terms of
     mutual kindness and good-will, yet our habits of life, our
     taste for society and circles of friends, were so totally
     different, that there was less frequent intercourse between
     us than our connection and real liking to each other might
     have occasioned. Yet it is a heavy consideration to have
     lost the last but one who was interested in our early
     domestic life, our habits of boyhood, and our first friends
     and connections. It makes one look about and see how the
     scene has changed around him, and how he himself has been
     changed with it. My only remaining brother is in Canada, and
     seems to have an intention of remaining there; so that my
     mother, now upwards of eighty, has now only one child left
     to her {p.102} out of thirteen whom she has borne. She is a
     most excellent woman, possessed, even at her advanced age,
     of all the force of mind and sense of duty which have
     carried her through so many domestic griefs, as the
     successive deaths of eleven children, some of them come to
     men and women's estate, naturally infers. She is the
     principal subject of my attention at present, and is, I am
     glad to say, perfectly well in body and composed in mind.

     Nothing can give me more pleasure than the prospect of
     seeing you in September, which will suit our motions
     perfectly well. I trust I shall have an opportunity to
     introduce you to some of our glens which you have not yet
     seen. But I hope we shall have some mild weather before that
     time, for we are now in the seventh month of winter, which
     almost leads me to suppose that we shall see no summer this
     season. As for spring, that is past praying for. In the
     month of November last, people were skating in the
     neighborhood of Edinburgh; and now, in the middle of May,
     the snow is lying white on Arthur's Seat, and on the range
     of the Pentlands. It is really fearful, and the sheep are
     perishing by scores. _Jam satis terræ nivis_, etc., may well
     be taken up as the song of eighteen hundred and sixteen.

     So Lord Byron's romance seems to be concluded for one
     while--and it is surely time, after he has announced, or
     rather they themselves have announced, half-a-dozen
     blackguard newspaper editors, to have been his confidants on
     the occasion. Surely it is a strange thirst of public fame
     that seeks such a road to it. But Lord Byron, with high
     genius and many points of a noble and generous feeling, has
     Childe Harolded himself, and outlawed himself, into too
     great a resemblance with the pictures of his imagination. He
     has one excuse, however, and it is a sad one. I have been
     reckoned to make a good hit enough at a pirate, or an
     outlaw, or a smuggling bandit; but I cannot say I was ever
     so much enchanted with my {p.103} work as to think of
     carrying off a _drift_ of my neighbor's sheep, or half a
     dozen of his milk cows. Only I remember, in the rough times,
     having a scheme with the Duke of Buccleuch, that when the
     worst came to the worst, we should repair Hermitage Castle,
     and live, like Robin Hood and his merry men, at the expense
     of all round us. But this presupposed a grand
     _bouleversement_ of society. In the mean while, I think my
     noble friend is something like my old peacock, who chooses
     to bivouac apart from his lady, and sit below my bedroom
     window, to keep me awake with his screeching lamentation.
     Only I own he is not equal in melody to Lord Byron, for
     _Fare-thee-well--and if for ever_, etc., is a very sweet
     dirge indeed. After all, _C'est génie mal logé_, and that's
     all that can be said about it.

     I am quite reconciled to your opinions on the income-tax,
     and am not at all in despair at the prospect of keeping £200
     a year in my pocket, since the ministers can fadge without
     it. But their throwing the helve after the hatchet, and
     giving up the malt-duty because they had lost the other, was
     droll enough. After all, our fat friend[35] must learn to
     live within compass, and fire off no more crackers in the
     Park, for John Bull is getting dreadfully sore on all sides
     when money is concerned.

              [Footnote 35: Shortly after Beau Brummell (immortalized
              in _Don Juan_) fell into disgrace with the Prince
              Regent, and was dismissed from the society of Carlton
              House, he was riding with another gentleman in the Park,
              when the Prince met them. His Royal Highness stopt to
              speak to Brummell's companion--the Beau continued to jog
              on--and when the other dandy rejoined him, asked with an
              air of sovereign indifference, "Who is your fat friend?"
              Such, at least, was the story that went the round of the
              newspapers at the time, and highly tickled Scott's
              fancy. I have heard that nobody enjoyed so much as the
              Prince of Wales himself an earlier specimen of the
              Beau's assurance. Taking offence at some part of His
              Royal Highness's conduct or demeanor, "Upon my word,"
              observed Mr. Brummell, "if this kind of thing goes on, I
              shall be obliged to cut Wales, and bring the old King
              into fashion."]

     I sent you, some time since, The Antiquary. It is not so
     interesting as its predecessors--the period did not {p.104}
     admit of so much romantic situation. But it has been more
     fortunate than any of them in the sale, for 6000 went off in
     the first six days, and it is now at press again; which is
     very flattering to the unknown author. Another incognito
     proposes immediately to resume the second volume of
     Triermain, which is at present in the state of the Bear and
     Fiddle.[36] Adieu, dear Morritt.

     Ever yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 36: See _Hudibras_.]

Speaking of his third novel in a letter of the same date to Terry,
Scott says: "It wants the romance of Waverley and the adventure of Guy
Mannering; and yet there is some salvation about it, for if a man will
paint from nature, he will be likely to amuse those who are daily
looking at it."

After a little pause of hesitation, The Antiquary attained popularity
not inferior to Guy Mannering; and though the author appears for a
moment to have shared the doubts which he read in the countenance of
James Ballantyne, it certainly was, in the sequel, his chief favorite
among all his novels. Nor is it difficult to account for this
preference, without laying any stress on the fact, that, during a few
short weeks, it was pretty commonly talked of as a falling off from
its immediate predecessors--and that some minor critics reëchoed this
stupid whisper in print. In that view, there were many of its
successors that had much stronger claims on the parental instinct of
protection. But the truth is, that although Scott's Introduction of
1830 represents him as pleased with fancying that, in the principal
personage, he had embalmed a worthy friend of his boyish days, his own
antiquarian propensities, originating perhaps in the kind attentions
of George Constable of Wallace-Craigie, and fostered not a little, at
about as ductile a period, by those of old Clerk of Eldin, and John
Ramsay of Ochtertyre, had by degrees so developed themselves, that he
{p.105} could hardly, even when The Antiquary was published, have
scrupled about recognizing a quaint caricature of the founder of
Abbotsford Museum, in the inimitable portraiture of the Laird of
Monkbarns. The Descriptive Catalogue of that collection, which he
began towards the close of his life, but, alas, never finished, is
entitled "Reliquiæ Trottcosianæ--or the Gabions of the late Jonathan
Oldbuck, Esq."

But laying this, which might have been little more than a good-humored
pleasantry, out of the question, there is assuredly no one of all his
works on which more of his own early associations have left their
image. Of those early associations, as his full-grown tastes were all
the progeny, so his genius, in all its happiest efforts, was the
"Recording Angel;" and when George Constable first expounded his
"Gabions" to the child that was to immortalize his name, they were
either wandering hand in hand over the field where the grass still
grew rank upon the grave of _Balmawhapple_, or sauntering on the beach
where the _Mucklebackets_ of Prestonpans dried their nets, singing,--

  "Weel may the boatie row, and better may she speed,
   O weel may the boatie row that wins the bairns' bread"--

or telling wild stories about cliff-escapes and the funerals of
shipwrecked fishermen.

Considered by itself, without reference to these sources of personal
interest, this novel seems to me to possess, almost throughout, in
common with its two predecessors, a kind of simple unsought charm,
which the subsequent works of the series hardly reached, save in
occasional snatches: like them it is, in all its humbler and softer
scenes, the transcript of actual Scottish life, as observed by the man
himself. And I think it must also be allowed that he has nowhere
displayed his highest art, that of skilful contrast, in greater
perfection. Even the tragic romance of Waverley does not set off its
Macwheebles and Callum Begs better than the oddities of {p.106}
Jonathan Oldbuck and his circle are relieved, on the one hand, by the
stately gloom of the Glenallans, on the other, by the stern affliction
of the poor fisherman, who, when discovered repairing the "auld black
bitch o' a boat" in which his boy had been lost, and congratulated by
his visitor on being capable of the exertion, makes answer,--"And what
would you have me to do, unless I wanted to see four children starve,
because one is drowned? _It's weel wi' you gentles, that can sit in
the house wi' handkerchers at your een, when ye lose a friend; but the
like o' us maun to our wark again, if our hearts were beating as hard
as my hammer._"

It may be worth noting, that it was in correcting the proof sheets of
this novel that Scott first took to equipping his chapters with
mottoes of his own fabrication. On one occasion he happened to ask
John Ballantyne, who was sitting by him, to hunt for a particular
passage in Beaumont and Fletcher. John did as he was bid, but did not
succeed in discovering the lines. "Hang it, Johnnie," cried Scott, "I
believe I can make a motto sooner than you will find one." He did so
accordingly; and from that hour, whenever memory failed to suggest an
appropriate epigraph, he had recourse to the inexhaustible mines of
"_old play_" or "_old ballad_," to which we owe some of the most
exquisite verses that ever flowed from his pen.

Unlike, I believe, most men, whenever Scott neared the end of one
composition, his spirits seem to have caught a new spring of buoyancy,
and before the last sheet was sent from his desk, he had crowded his
brain with the imagination of another fiction. The Antiquary was
published, as we have seen, in May, but by the beginning of April he
had already opened to the Ballantynes the plan of the first Tales of
my Landlord; and--to say nothing of Harold the Dauntless, which he
began shortly after The Bridal of Triermain was finished, and which he
seems to have kept before him for two years {p.107} as a congenial
plaything, to be taken up whenever the coach brought no proof sheets
to jog him as to serious matters--he had also, before this time,
undertaken to write the historical department of the Register for
1814. Mr. Southey had, for reasons upon which I do not enter,
discontinued his services to that work: and it was now doubly
necessary, after trying for one year a less eminent hand, that if the
work were not to be dropped altogether, some strenuous exertion should
be made to sustain its character. Scott had not yet collected the
materials requisite for his historical sketch of a year distinguished
for the importance and complexity of its events; but these, he doubted
not, would soon reach him, and he felt no hesitation about pledging
himself to complete, not only that sketch, but four new volumes of
prose romances--and his Harold the Dauntless also, if Ballantyne could
make any suitable arrangement on that score--between the April and the
Christmas of 1816.

The Antiquary had been published by Constable, but I presume that, in
addition to the usual stipulations, he had been again, on that
occasion, solicited to relieve John Ballantyne and Co.'s stock to an
extent which he did not find quite convenient; and at all events he
had of late shown a considerable reluctance to employ James Ballantyne
and Co. as printers. One or other of these impediments is alluded to
in a note of Scott's, which, though undated, has been pasted into John
Ballantyne's private letter-book among the documents of the period in
question. It is in these words:--

     DEAR JOHN,--I have seen the great swab, who is supple as a
     glove, and will do ALL, which some interpret NOTHING.
     However, we shall do well enough.

                                        W. S.

Constable had been admitted, almost from the beginning, into the
_secret_ of the Novels--and for that, among {p.108} other reasons, it
would have been desirable for the Novelist to have him continue the
publisher without interruption; but Scott was led to suspect, that if
he were called upon to conclude a bargain for a fourth novel before
the third had made its appearance, his scruples as to the matter of
_printing_ might at least protract the treaty; and why Scott should
have been urgently desirous of seeing the transaction settled before
the expiration of the half-yearly term of Whitsunday is sufficiently
explained by the fact, that though so much of the old unfortunate
stock of John Ballantyne and Co. still remained on hand--and with it
some occasional recurrence of commercial difficulty as to floating
bills was to be expected--while James Ballantyne's management of the
pecuniary affairs of the printing-house had continued to be highly
negligent and irregular[37]--nevertheless, the sanguine author had
gone on purchasing one patch of land after another, until his estate
at Abbotsford had already grown from 150 to nearly 1000 acres. The
property all about his original farm had been in the hands of various
small holders (Scotticè _cock-lairds_;) these persons were sharp
enough to understand, erelong, that their neighbor could with
difficulty resist any temptation that might present itself in the
shape of an offer of more acres; and thus he proceeded buying up lot
after lot of unimproved ground, at extravagant prices,--his "appetite
increasing by what it fed on," while the ejected yeomen set themselves
down elsewhere, to fatten at their leisure upon the profits--most
commonly the anticipated profits--of "The Scotch Novels."

              [Footnote 37: In February, 1816, when James Ballantyne
              married, it is clearly proved by letters in his
              handwriting, that he owed to Scott more than £3000 of
              personal debt.--(1839.)]

He was ever and anon pulled up with a momentary misgiving,--and
resolved that the latest acquisition should be the last, until he
could get rid entirely of "John Ballantyne and Co." But John
Ballantyne was, {p.109} from the utter lightness of his mind, his
incapacity to look a day before him, and his eager impatience to enjoy
the passing hour, the very last man in the world who could, under such
circumstances, have been a serviceable agent. Moreover, John, too, had
his professional ambition: he was naturally proud of his connection,
however secondary, with the publication of these works--and this
connection, though subordinate, was still very profitable; he must
have suspected, that should his name disappear altogether from the
list of booksellers, it would be a very difficult matter for him to
retain any concern in them; and I cannot, on the whole, but consider
it as certain that, the first and more serious embarrassments being
overcome, he was far from continuing to hold by his patron's anxiety
for the total abolition of their unhappy copartnership. He, at all
events, unless when some sudden emergency arose, flattered Scott's own
gay imagination, by uniformly representing everything in the most
smiling colors; and though Scott, in his replies, seldom failed to
introduce some passing hint of caution--such as "_Nullum numen abest
si sit prudentia_"--he more and more took home to himself the
agreeable cast of his _Rigdum's_ anticipations, and wrote to him in a
vein as merry as his own;--_e. g._--"As for our stock,

  "'T will be wearing awa', John,
   Like snaw-wreaths when it's thaw, John," etc., etc., etc.

I am very sorry, in a word, to confess my conviction that John
Ballantyne, however volatile and light-headed, acted at this period
with cunning selfishness, both by Scott and by Constable. He well knew
that it was to Constable alone that his firm had more than once owed
its escape from utter ruin and dishonor; and he must also have known,
that had a fair straightforward effort been made for that purpose,
after the triumphant career of the Waverley series had once commenced,
nothing could have been more easy than to bring all the affairs of his
"back-stock," etc., to a complete close, by entering {p.110} into a
distinct and candid treaty on that subject, in connection with the
future works of the great Novelist, either with Constable or with any
other first-rate house in the trade. But John, foreseeing that, were
that unhappy concern quite out of the field, he must himself subside
into a mere clerk of the printing company, seems to have parried the
blow by the only arts of any consequence in which he ever was an
adept. He appears to have systematically disguised from Scott the
extent to which the whole Ballantyne concern had been sustained by
Constable--especially during his Hebridean tour of 1814, and his
Continental one of 1815--and prompted and enforced the idea of trying
other booksellers from time to time, instead of adhering to Constable,
merely for the selfish purposes,--first, of facilitating the immediate
discount of bills;--secondly, of further perplexing Scott's affairs,
the entire disentanglement of which would have been, as he fancied,
prejudicial to his own personal importance.

It was resolved, accordingly, to offer the risk and half profits of
the first edition of another new novel--or rather collection of
novels--not to Messrs. Constable, but to Mr. Murray of Albemarle
Street, and Mr. Blackwood, who was then Murray's agent in Scotland;
but it was at the same time resolved, partly because Scott wished to
try another experiment on the public sagacity, but partly also, no
question, from the wish to spare Constable's feelings, that the
title-page of the Tales of my Landlord should not bear the magical
words "By the Author of Waverley." The facility with which both Murray
and Blackwood embraced such a proposal, as no untried novelist, being
sane, could have dreamt of hazarding, shows that neither of them had
any doubt as to the identity of the author. They both considered the
withholding of the avowal on the forthcoming title-page as likely to
check very much the first success of the book; but they were both
eager to prevent Constable's acquiring {p.111} a sort of prescriptive
right to publish for the unrivalled novelist, and willing to disturb
his tenure at this additional, and, as they thought it, wholly
unnecessary risk.

How sharply the unseen parent watched this first negotiation of his
_Jedediah Cleishbotham_ will appear from one of his letters:--


                                        ABBOTSFORD, April 29, 1816.

     DEAR JOHN,--James has made one or two important mistakes in
     the bargain with Murray and Blackwood. Briefly as follows:--

     1stly, Having only authority from me to promise 6000 copies,
     he proposes they shall have the copyright _forever_. I will
     see their noses cheese first.

     2dly, He proposes I shall have twelve months' bills--I have
     always got six. However, I would not stand on that.

     3dly, He talks of volumes being put into the publisher's
     hands to consider and decide on. No such thing; a bare
     perusal at St. John Street[38] only.

              [Footnote 38: James Ballantyne's dwelling-house was then
              in this street, adjoining the Canongate of Edinburgh.]

     Then for omissions--It is NOT stipulated that we supply the
     paper and print of successive editions. This must be nailed,
     and not left to understanding.--Secondly, I will have London
     bills as well as Blackwood's.

     If they agree to these conditions, good and well. If they
     demur, Constable must be instantly tried; giving half to the
     Longmans, and _we_ drawing on _them_ for that moiety, or
     Constable lodging their bill in our hands. You will
     understand it is a four-volume touch--a work totally
     different in style and structure from the others; a new
     cast, in short, of the net which has hitherto made
     miraculous draughts. I do not limit you to terms, because I
     think you will make them better than I can do. {p.112} But
     he must do more than others, since he will not or cannot
     print with us. For every point but that, I would rather deal
     with Constable than any one; he has always shown himself
     spirited, judicious, and liberal. Blackwood must be brought
     to the point _instantly_; and _whenever_ he demurs,
     Constable must be treated with; for there is no use in
     suffering the thing to be blown on. At the same time, you
     need not conceal from him that there were some proposals
     elsewhere, but you may add, with truth, I would rather close
     with him. Yours truly,

                                        W. S.

     P. S.--I think Constable should jump at this affair; for I
     believe the work will be very popular.

Messrs. Murray and Blackwood agreed to all the author's conditions
here expressed. They also relieved John Ballantyne and Co. of stock to
the value of £500; and at least Mr. Murray must, moreover, have
subsequently consented to anticipate the period of his payments. At
all events, I find, in a letter of Scott's, dated in the subsequent
August, this new echo of the old advice:--


     DEAR JOHN,--I have the pleasure to enclose Murray's
     acceptances. I earnestly recommend to you to push, realizing
     as much as you can.

          "Consider weel, gude man,
           We hae but borrowed gear;
           The horse that I ride on,
           It is John Murray's mear."

     Yours truly,

                                        W. SCOTT.

I know not how much of the tale of The Black Dwarf had been seen by
Blackwood, in St. John Street, before he concluded this bargain for
himself and his friend Murray; but when the closing sheets of that
novel {p.113} reached him, he considered them as by no means
sustaining the delightful promise of the opening ones. He was a man of
strong talents, and, though without anything that could be called
learning, of very respectable information--greatly superior to what
has, in this age, been common in his profession; acute, earnest,
eminently zealous in whatever he put his hand to; upright, honest,
sincere, and courageous. But as Constable owed his first introduction
to the upper world of literature and of society in general to his
Edinburgh Review, so did Blackwood his to the Magazine, which has now
made his name familiar to the world--and at the period of which I
write, that miscellany was unborn; he was known only as a diligent
antiquarian bookseller of the old town of Edinburgh, and the Scotch
agent of the great London publisher, Murray. The abilities, in short,
which he lived to develop, were as yet unsuspected--unless, perhaps,
among a small circle; and the knowledge of the world, which so few men
gather from anything but painful collision with various conflicting
orders of their fellow-men, was not his. He was to the last plain and
blunt; at this time I can easily believe him to have been so to a
degree which Scott might look upon as "ungracious"--I take the epithet
from one of his letters to James Ballantyne. Mr. Blackwood, therefore,
upon reading what seemed to him the lame and impotent conclusion of a
well-begun story, did not search about for any glossy periphrase, but
at once requested James Ballantyne to inform the unknown author that
such was his opinion. This might possibly have been endured; but
Blackwood, feeling, I have no doubt, a genuine enthusiasm for the
author's fame, as well as a just tradesman's anxiety as to his own
adventure, proceeded to suggest the outline of what would, in his
judgment, be a better upwinding of the plot of The Black Dwarf, and
concluded with announcing his willingness, in case the proposed
alteration were agreed to, that the whole expense of cancelling
{p.114} and reprinting a certain number of sheets should be charged
to his own account. He appears to have further indicated that he had
taken counsel with some literary person, on whose taste he placed
great reliance, and who, if he had not originated, at least approved
of the proposed process of recasting. Had Scott never possessed any
such system of inter-agency as the Ballantynes supplied, he would,
among other and perhaps greater inconveniences, have escaped that of
the want of personal familiarity with several persons, with whose
confidence,--and why should I not add?--with the innocent
gratification of whose little vanities--his own pecuniary interests
were often deeply connected. A very little personal contact would have
introduced such a character as Blackwood's to the respect, nay, to the
affectionate respect, of Scott, who, above all others, was ready to
sympathize cordially with honest and able men, in whatever condition
of life he discovered them. He did both know and appreciate Blackwood
better in after-times; but in 1816, when this communication reached
him, the name was little more than a name, and his answer to the most
solemn of go-betweens was in these terms, which I sincerely wish I
could tell how Signior Aldiborontiphoscophornio translated into any
dialect submissible to Blackwood's apprehension:--

     DEAR JAMES,--

     I have received Blackwood's impudent proposal. G---- d----
     his soul! Tell him and his coadjutor that I belong to the
     Black Hussars of Literature, who neither give nor receive
     criticism. I'll be cursed but this is the most impudent
     proposal that ever was made.

                                        W. S.[39]

              [Footnote 39: _May_, 1839. Since this book was first
              published, I have received from the representatives of
              Mr. Blackwood several documents which throw light on the
              transaction here mentioned. It will be apparent from one
              of those I am about to quote, that Blackwood, before he
              sent his message to Jedediah Cleishbotham, had
              ascertained that no less a person than Mr. Gifford
              concurred in his opinion--nay, that James Ballantyne
              himself took the same view of the matter. But the reader
              will be not less amused in comparing the "Black
              Hussar's" missive in the text, with the edition of it
              which actually reached Blackwood--and which certainly
              justifies the conjecture I had ventured to express.


                                        EDINBURGH, 4th October, 1816.

     MY DEAR SIR,--Our application to the author of _Tales of my
     Landlord_ has been anything but successful; and in order to
     explain to you the reason why I must decline to address him
     in this way in future, I shall copy his answer _verbatim_:--

     "My respects to our friends the Booksellers. I belong to the
     Death-head Hussars of Literature, who neither _take_ nor
     _give_ criticism. I am extremely sorry they showed my work
     to Gifford, nor would I cancel a leaf to please all the
     critics of Edinburgh and London; and so let that be as it
     is: They are mistaken if they think I don't know when I am
     writing ill, as well as Gifford can tell me. I beg there may
     be no more communications with critics."

     Observe--that I shall at all times be ready to convey
     anything from you to the author in a written form, but I do
     not feel warranted to interfere farther.

     Yours very truly,

                                        J. BALLANTYNE.


                                        EDINBURGH, 5th October, 1816.

     MY DEAR SIR,--I am not a little vexed at having ventured to
     suggest anything to the author of the _Tales of my
     Landlord_, since I find he considers it in the light of
     _sutor ultra crepidam_. I never had for one moment the
     vanity to think, that from any poor remark of mine, or
     indeed of any human being, he would be induced to blot one
     line or alter a single incident, unless the same idea
     occurred to his own powerful mind. On stating to you what
     struck me, and finding that your opinion coincided with
     mine, I was induced to request of you to state it to the
     author, in order that he might be aware that the expense of
     cancelling the sheets was no object to me. I was the more
     anxious to do this, in case the author should have given you
     the MS. of this portion of the work sooner than he intended,
     in order to satisfy the clamoring for it which I teased you
     with. I trust the author will do me the justice to believe
     that it is quite impossible for any one to have a higher
     admiration of his most extraordinary talents; and speaking
     merely as a bookseller, it would be quite unnecessary to be
     at the expense of altering even one line, although the
     author himself (who alone can be the proper judge) should
     wish it, as the success of the work must be rapid, great,
     and certain.

     With regard to the first volume having been shown to Mr.
     Gifford, I must state in justification of Mr. Murray, that
     Mr. G. is the only friend whom he consults on all occasions,
     and to whom his most secret transactions are laid open. He
     gave him the work, not for the purpose of criticism, but
     that as a friend he might partake of the enjoyment he had in
     such an extraordinary performance. No language could be
     stronger than Mr. Gifford's, as I mentioned to you; and as
     the same thing had occurred to Mr. G. as to you and me, you
     thought there would be no harm in stating this to the

     I have only again to express my regret at what has taken
     place, and to beg you will communicate this to the author in
     any way you may think proper.

     Yours, etc.,

                                        W. BLACKWOOD.

              (A much fuller and more accurate knowledge of this whole
              transaction, than that possessed by Lockhart, can be
              gathered from the annals of the two great publishing
              houses concerned in it;--Smiles's _Memoir of John
              Murray_ (vol. i. chap. xviii.), and Mrs. Oliphant's
              _William Blackwood and his Sons_ (vol. i. pp. 56-92),
              especially from the latter work, in which the whole
              incident is set in its proper light. Notwithstanding the
              heavy preliminary tax for unsalable books from the
              Ballantynes' "wretched stock," neither publisher seems
              to have had a moment's doubt as to the acceptance of the
              offer of the ostensibly anonymous Work of Fiction,
              though they were much fretted by the delays,
              uncertainties, and mysteries attending the matter. "One
              in business must submit to many things, and swallow many
              a bitter pill, when such a man as Walter Scott is the
              object in view," writes Blackwood to Murray,--the
              bitterness being largely the dealing with James
              Ballantyne. "John I always considered as no better than
              a swindler, but James I put some trust and confidence
              in. You judged him more accurately." ... And on another
              occasion,--"Except my wife, there is not a friend whom I
              dare advise with. I have not ventured to mention the
              business to my brother on account of the cursed
              mysteries and injunctions of secrecy connected with it.
              I know he would blame me for engaging in it, for he has
              a very small opinion of the Ballantynes." Apart from the
              vexations attending their office as intermediaries, for
              which the Ballantynes were only partially responsible,
              this shrewd, if irritated, observer appears to have
              formed opinions of the brothers as business men, in some
              respects not differing greatly from those held by
              Lockhart in later days.

              The delight of the two publishers in at last receiving
              the MS. of _The Black Dwarf_ and the manner in which it
              passed into the hands of Constable, even before the
              stipulated 6000 copies were disposed of,--it must be
              owned he treated his rivals somewhat unhandsomely,
              finally severing them from Scott's literary career,--are
              fully set forth by the historian of the House of
              Blackwood. With her "one cannot but feel that this was
              one of those tragically insignificant circumstances
              which so often shape life apart from any consciousness
              of ours. Probably ruin would never have overtaken Sir
              Walter had he been in the steady and careful hands of
              Murray and Blackwood, for it is unlikely that even the
              glamour of the great Magician would have turned heads so
              reasonable and sober.")]

{p.115} While these volumes were in progress, Scott found time to make
an excursion into Perthshire and Dumbartonshire, {p.116} for the sake
of showing the scenery, made famous in The Lady of the Lake and
Waverley, to his {p.117} wife's old friends, Miss Dumergue and Mrs.
Sarah Nicolson,[40] who had never before been in Scotland. The account
which he gives of these ladies' visit at Abbotsford, and this little
tour, in a letter to Mr. Morritt, shows the "Black Hussar of
Literature" in his gentler and more habitual mood.

              [Footnote 40: The sister of Miss Jane Nicolson.--See
              _ante_, vol. i. p. 248. Vol. ii. p. 82.]


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 21st August, 1816.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I have not had a moment's kindly leisure
     to answer your kind letter, and to tell how delighted I
     shall be to see you in this least of all possible dwellings,
     but where we, nevertheless, can contrive a pilgrim's
     quarters and the warmest welcome for you and any friend of
     your journey;--if young Stanley, so much the better. Now, as
     to the important business with the which I have been
     occupied: You are to know we have had our kind hostesses of
     Piccadilly upon a two months' visit to us. We owed them so
     much hospitality, that we were particularly anxious to make
     Scotland agreeable to the good girls. But, alas, the wind
     has blown, and the rain has fallen, in a style which beats
     all that ever I remembered. We accomplished, with some
     difficulty, a visit to Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond, and, by
     dint of the hospitality of Cambusmore and the Ross, we
     defied bad weather, wet roads, and long walks. But the
     weather settled into regular tempest, when we settled at
     Abbotsford; and, though the natives, accustomed to bad
     weather (though not at such a time of year), contrived to
     brave the extremities of the season, it only served to
     increase the dismay of our unlucky visitors, who, accustomed
     only to Paris and London, expected _fiacres_ at the
     Milestane Cross, and a pair of oars at the Deadman's Haugh.
     Add to this a strong disposition to _commérage_, when there
     was no possibility of gratifying it, and a {p.118} total
     indisposition to scenery or rural amusements, which were all
     we had to offer--and you will pity both hosts and guests. I
     have the gratification to think I fully supported the
     hospitality of my country. I walked them to death, I talked
     them to death, I showed them landscapes which the driving
     rain hardly permitted them to see, and told them of feuds
     about which they cared as little as I do about their
     next-door news in Piccadilly. Yea, I even played at cards,
     and as I had Charlotte for a partner, so ran no risk of
     being scolded, I got on pretty well. Still the weather was
     so execrable, that, as the old drunken landlord used to say
     at Arroquhar, "I was perfectly ashamed of it;" and, to this
     moment, I wonder how my two friends fought it out so
     patiently as they did. But the young people and the cottages
     formed considerable resources. Yesterday they left us,
     deeply impressed with the conviction, which I can hardly
     blame, that the sun never shone in Scotland,--which that
     noble luminary seems disposed to confirm, by making this the
     first fair day we have seen this month--so that his beams
     will greet them at Longtown, as if he were determined to put
     Scotland to utter shame.

     In you I expect a guest of a different calibre; and I think
     (barring downright rain) I can promise you some sport of one
     kind or other. We have a good deal of game about us; and
     Walter, to whom I have resigned my gun and license, will be
     an excellent attendant. He brought in six brace of moor-fowl
     on the 12th, which had (_si fas est diceri_) its own effect
     in softening the minds of our guests towards this unhappy
     climate. In other respects things look melancholy enough
     here. Corn is, however, rising, and the poor have plenty of
     work, and wages which, though greatly inferior to what they
     had when hands were scarce, assort perfectly well with the
     present state of the markets. Most folks try to live as much
     on their own produce as they can, by way of fighting off
     distress; and though speculating {p.119} farmers and
     landlords must suffer, I think the temporary ague-fit will,
     on the whole, be advantageous to the country. It will check
     that inordinate and unbecoming spirit of expense, or rather
     extravagance, which was poisoning all classes, and bring us
     back to the sober virtues of our ancestors. It will also
     have the effect of teaching the landed interest, that their
     connection with their farmers should be of a nature more
     intimate than that of mere payment and receipt of rent, and
     that the largest offerer for a lease is often the person
     least entitled to be preferred as a tenant. Above all, it
     will complete the destruction of those execrable quacks,
     terming themselves land-doctors, who professed, from a two
     days' scamper over your estate, to tell you its
     constitution,--in other words its value,--acre by acre.
     These men, paid according to the golden hopes they held out,
     afforded by their reports one principal means of deceiving
     both landlord and tenant, by setting an ideal and
     extravagant value upon land, which seemed to entitle the one
     to expect, and the other to offer, rent far beyond what any
     expectation formed by either, upon their own acquaintance
     with the property, could rationally have warranted. More
     than one landed gentleman has cursed, in my presence, the
     day he ever consulted one of those empirics, whose
     prognostications induced him to reject the offers of
     substantial men, practically acquainted with the _locale_.

     Ever, my dear Morritt, most truly yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

In October, 1816, appeared the Edinburgh Annual Register, containing
Scott's historical sketch of the year 1814--a composition which would
occupy at least four such volumes as the reader has now in his
hand.[41] Though executed with extraordinary rapidity, the sketch is
as clear as spirited; but I need say no more of it here, as the author
travels mostly over the same ground again in his Life of Napoleon.

              [Footnote 41: [Referring to the edition of 1839, in ten

{p.120} Scott's correspondence proves, that during this autumn he had
received many English guests besides the good spinsters of Piccadilly
and Mr. Morritt. I regret to add, it also proves that he had continued
all the while to be annoyed with calls for money from John Ballantyne;
yet before the 12th of November called him to Edinburgh, he appears to
have nearly finished the first Tales of my Landlord. He had, moreover,
concluded a negotiation with Constable and Longman for a series of
Letters on the History of Scotland: of which, however, if he ever
wrote any part, the MS. has not been discovered. It is probable that
he may have worked some detached fragments into his long-subsequent
Tales of a Grandfather.[42] The following letter shows likewise that
he was now busy with plans of building at Abbotsford, and deep in
consultation on that subject with an artist eminent for his skill in
Gothic architecture,--Mr. Edward Blore:--

              [Footnote 42: [Scott says in a letter to John Murray,
              written October 20, 1814: "In casting about how I might
              show you some mark of my sense of former kindness, a
              certain MS. History of Scotland in _Letters to my
              Children_ has occurred to me, which I consider as a
              desideratum; it is upon the plan of _Lord Lyttelton's
              Letters_, as they are called." Nearly a year later he
              returns to the subject, and says: "I intend to revise my
              letters on Scottish History for you, but I will not get
              to press till November, for the country affords no
              facilities for consulting the necessary authorities. I
              hope it may turn out a thing of some interest, though I
              rather intend to keep to its original purpose as a book
              of instruction to children." These references seem to
              show that the work may have been further advanced than
              Lockhart supposed. The announcement of the proposed book
              by Constable and Longman naturally excited the
              indignation of Blackwood and Murray, as is shown in a
              vigorous letter from the Edinburgh to the London
              publisher, blaming equally the Ballantynes and
              Constable.--See _Memoirs of John Murray_, vol. i. pp.
              245, 246, 462.]]


                                        November 12, 1816.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--I have been shockingly negligent in
     acknowledging your repeated favors; but it so happened, that
     I have had very little to _say_, with a great {p.121} deal
     to _do_; so that I trusted to your kindness to forgive my
     apparent want of kindness, and indisputable lack of
     punctuality. You will readily suppose that I have heard with
     great satisfaction of the prosperity of your household,
     particularly of the good health of my little namesake and
     his mother. Godmothers of yore used to be fairies; and
     though only a godfather, I think of sending you, one day, a
     _fairy_ gift--a little drama, namely, which, if the audience
     be indulgent, may be of use to him. Of course, you will
     stand godfather to it yourself: it is yet only in embryo--a
     sort of poetical Hans in Kelder--nor am I sure when I can
     bring him forth; not for this season, at any rate. You will
     receive, in the course of a few days, my late _whereabouts_
     in four volumes: there are two tales--the last of which I
     really prefer to any fictitious narrative I have yet been
     able to produce--the first is wish-washy enough. The subject
     of the second tale lies among the old Scottish
     Cameronians--nay, I'll tickle ye off a Covenanter as readily
     as old Jack could do a young Prince; and a rare fellow he
     is, when brought forth in his true colors. Were it not for
     the necessity of using Scriptural language, which is
     essential to the character, but improper for the stage, it
     would be very dramatic. But of all this you will judge by
     and by. To give the go-by to the public, I have doubled and
     leaped into my form, like a hare in snow: that is, I have
     changed my publisher, and come forth like a maiden knight's
     white shield (there is a conceit!) without any adhesion to
     fame gained in former adventures (another!) or, in other
     words, with a virgin title-page (another!)--I should not be
     so light-hearted about all this, but that it is very nearly
     finished and out, which is always a blithe moment for Mr.
     Author. And now to other matters. The books came safe, and
     were unpacked two days since, on our coming to town--most
     ingeniously were they stowed in the legs of the very
     handsome stand for Lord Byron's vase, with which our
     {p.122} friend George Bullock has equipped me. I was made
     very happy to receive him at Abbotsford, though only for a
     start; and no less so to see Mr. Blore, from whom I received
     your last letter. He is a very fine young man, modest,
     simple, and unaffected in his manners, as well as a most
     capital artist. I have had the assistance of both these
     gentlemen in arranging an addition to the cottage at
     Abbotsford, intended to connect the present farmhouse with
     the line of low buildings to the right of it. Mr. Bullock
     will show you the plan, which I think is very ingenious. He
     has promised to give it his consideration with respect to
     the interior; and Mr. Blore has drawn me a very handsome
     elevation, both to the road and to the river. I expect to
     get some decorations from the old Tolbooth of Edinburgh,
     particularly the cope-stones of the doorway, or lintels, as
     we call them, and a _niche_ or two--one very handsome
     indeed! Better get a niche _from_ the Tolbooth than a niche
     _in_ it, to which such building operations are apt to bring
     the projectors. This addition will give me: first, a
     handsome boudoir, in which I intend to place Mr. Bullock's
     Shakespeare,[43] with his superb cabinet, which serves as a
     pedestal. This opens into the little drawing-room, to which
     it serves as a chapel of ease; and on the other side, to a
     handsome dining-parlor of 27 feet by 18, with three windows
     to the north, and one to the south,--the last to be Gothic,
     and filled with stained glass. Besides these commodities,
     there is a small conservatory or greenhouse; and a study for
     myself, which we design to fit up with ornaments from
     Melrose Abbey. Bullock made several casts with his own
     hands--masks, and so forth, delightful for cornices, etc.

              [Footnote 43: A cast from the monumental effigy at
              Stratford-upon-Avon--now in the library at
              Abbotsford--was the gift of Mr. George Bullock, long
              distinguished in London as a collector of curiosities.
              This ingenious man was, as the reader will see in the
              sequel, a great favorite with Scott.]

     Do not let Mrs. Terry think of the windows till little
     {p.123} Wat is duly cared after.[44] I am informed by Mr.
     Blore that he is a fine thriving fellow, very like papa.
     About my armorial bearings: I will send you a correct
     drawing as I can get hold of Blore; namely--of the
     scutcheons of my grandsires on each side, and my own. I
     could detail them in the jargon of heraldry, but it is
     better to speak to your eyes by translating them into
     colored drawings, as the sublime science of armory has
     fallen into some neglect of late years, with all its
     mascles, buckles, crescents, and boars of the first, second,
     third, and fourth.

              [Footnote 44: Mrs. Terry had offered the services of her
              elegant pencil in designing some windows of painted
              glass for Scott's armory, etc.]

     I was very sorry I had no opportunity of showing attention
     to your friend Mr. Abbot, not being in town at the time. I
     grieve to say that neither the genius of Kean nor the charms
     of Miss O'Neill could bring me from the hillside and the
     sweet society of Tom Purdie. All our family are very
     well--Walter as tall nearly as I am, fishing salmon and
     shooting moor-fowl and blackcock, in good style; the girls
     growing up, and, as yet, not losing their simplicity of
     character; little Charles excellent at play, and not
     deficient at learning, when the young dog will take pains.
     Abbotsford is looking pretty at last, and the planting is
     making some show. I have now several hundred acres thereof,
     running out as far as beyond the lake. We observe with great
     pleasure the steady rise which you make in public opinion,
     and expect, one day, to hail you stage-manager. Believe me,
     my dear Terry, always very much yours,

                                        W. SCOTT.

     P. S.--The Counsellor and both the Ballantynes are well and

On the first of December, the first series of the Tales of my Landlord
appeared, and notwithstanding the silence of the title-page, and the
change of publishers, and {p.124} the attempt which had certainly
been made to vary the style both of delineation and of language, all
doubts whether they were or were not from the same hand with Waverley
had worn themselves out before the lapse of a week.--The enthusiasm of
their reception among the highest literary circles of London may be
gathered from the following letter:--


                                   ALBEMARLE STREET, 14th December, 1816.

     DEAR SIR,--Although I dare not address you as the author of
     certain "Tales" (which, however, must be written either by
     Walter Scott or the Devil), yet nothing can restrain me from
     thinking it is to your influence with the author that I am
     indebted for the essential honor of being one of their
     publishers, and I must intrude upon you to offer my most
     hearty thanks--not divided, but doubled--alike for my
     worldly gain therein, and for the great acquisition of
     professional reputation which their publication has already
     procured me. I believe I might, under any oath that could be
     proposed, swear that I never experienced such unmixed
     pleasure as the reading of this exquisite work has afforded
     me; and if you could see me, as the author's literary
     chamberlain, receiving the unanimous and vehement praises of
     every one who has read it, and the curses of those whose
     needs my scanty supply could not satisfy, you might judge of
     the sincerity with which I now entreat you to assure him of
     the most complete success. Lord Holland said, when I asked
     his opinion--"Opinion! We did not one of us go to bed last
     night--nothing slept but my gout." Frere, Hallam,
     Boswell,[45] Lord Glenbervie, William Lamb,[46] all agree
     that it surpasses all the other novels. Gifford's estimate
     is increased at every reperusal. Heber says there are only
     two men in the world--Walter Scott and Lord Byron. Between
     you, you have given existence to a third--Ever your faithful

                                        John MURRAY.

              [Footnote 45: The late James Boswell, Esq., of the
              Temple--second son of _Bozzy_.]

              [Footnote 46: The Honorable William Lamb--now Lord

To this cordial effusion Scott returned the following answer. It was
necessary, since he had fairly resolved {p.125} against compromising
his incognito, that he should be prepared not only to repel the
impertinent curiosity of strangers, but to evade the proffered
congratulations of overflowing kindness. He contrived, however, to do
so, on this and all similar occasions, in a style of equivoque which
could never be seriously misunderstood:[47]--

              [Footnote 47: [Even such keen observers as Murray and
              Blackwood had their intervals of doubt regarding the
              authorship of the Novels. In June, 1816, Blackwood
              writes: "There have been various rumors with regard to
              Greenfield being the author, but I never paid much
              attention to it; the thing appeared to me so very
              improbable.... But from what I have heard lately, and
              from what you state, I now begin to think that
              Greenfield may probably be the author." And only a month
              after the date of his letter to Scott, here given,
              Murray writes to Blackwood:--

              "I can assure you, but _in the greatest confidence_,
              that I have discovered the author of all these Novels to
              be Thomas Scott, Walter Scott's brother. He is now in
              Canada. I have no doubt but that Mr. Walter Scott did a
              great deal to the first Waverley Novel, because of his
              anxiety to save his brother, and his doubt about the
              success of the work. This accounts for the many stories
              about it. Many persons had previously heard from Mr.
              Scott, but you may rely upon the certainty of what I
              have told you." By this time Blackwood is firm in the
              faith of Scott's authorship; but Bernard Barton writes
              to Murray that he has heard that James Hogg is the
              author of _Tales of my Landlord_, and that he has had
              intimation from himself to that effect; while Lady
              Mackintosh is informed on excellent authority that the
              writer is Mrs. Thomas Scott. Writing to Blackwood in
              February, 1817, Murray avers,--"I will believe, till
              within an inch of my life, that the author of _Tales of
              my Landlord_ is Thomas Scott."--See Smiles's _Memoir of
              John Murray_, vol. i. pp. 461, 473, 474.]]


                                        EDINBURGH, 18th December, 1816.

     MY DEAR SIR,--I give you heartily joy of the success of the
     Tales, although I do not claim that paternal interest in
     them which my friends do me the credit to assign me. I
     assure you I have never read a volume of them until they
     were printed, and can only join with the rest of the world
     in applauding the true and striking portraits which they
     present of old Scottish manners. I do not expect implicit
     reliance to be placed on my disavowal, because I know very
     well that he who is disposed not to own a work must
     necessarily deny it, and that otherwise {p.126} his secret
     would be at the mercy of all who choose to ask the question,
     since silence in such a case must always pass for consent,
     or rather assent. But I have a mode of convincing you that I
     am perfectly serious in my denial--pretty similar to that by
     which Solomon distinguished the fictitious from the real
     mother--and that is, by reviewing the work, which I take to
     be an operation equal to that of quartering the child. But
     this is only on condition I can have Mr. Erskine's
     assistance, who admires the work greatly more than I do,
     though I think the painting of the second Tale both true and
     powerful. I knew Old Mortality very well; his name was
     Paterson, but few knew him otherwise than by his nickname.
     The first Tale is not very original in its concoction, and
     lame and impotent in its conclusion. My love to Gifford. I
     have been over head and ears in work this summer, or I would
     have sent the Gypsies; indeed I was partly stopped by
     finding it impossible to procure a few words of their

     Constable wrote to me about two months since, desirous of
     having a new edition of Paul; but not hearing from you, I
     conclude you are still on hand. Longman's people had then
     only sixty copies.

     Kind compliments to Heber, whom I expected at Abbotsford
     this summer; also to Mr. Croker and all your four o'clock
     visitors. I am just going to Abbotsford to make a small
     addition to my premises there. I have now about 700 acres,
     thanks to the booksellers and the discerning public. Yours

                                        Walter SCOTT.

     P. S.--I have much to ask about Lord Byron if I had time.
     The third canto of the Childe is inimitable. Of the last
     poems, there are one or two which indicate rather an
     irregular play of imagination.[48] What a pity that a man of
     such exquisite genius will not be contented {p.127} to be
     happy on the ordinary terms![49] I declare my heart bleeds
     when I think of him, self-banished from the country to which
     he is an honor.[50]

              [Footnote 48: _Parisina_--_The Dream_--and the "Domestic
              Pieces," had been recently published.]

              [Footnote 49: (On November 27 Scott had written to
              Joanna Baillie, who had just returned from a tour on the

              "All I ever longed for on the Continent was their light
              wines, which you do not care about, and their fine
              climate, which we should both value equally; and to say
              truth, I never saw scene or palace which shook my
              allegiance to Tweedside and Abbotsford, though so
              inferior in every respect, and though the hills, or
              rather braes, are just high enough 'to lift us to the
              storm' when the storms are not so condescending as to
              sweep both crest and base, which, to do them justice, is
              seldom the case. What have I got to send you?... Alas,
              nothing but the history of petty employments and a
              calendar of increasing bad weather. The latter was much
              mitigated by enjoying for a good portion of the summer
              the society of John Morritt, of Rokeby, who has so much
              of that which is delightful, both in his grave and gay
              moods, that he can make us forget the hillside while
              sitting by the fireside. His late loss has cast a
              general shade of melancholy over him, which renders him
              yet dearer to his friends, by the gentle and unaffected
              manner in which his natural gayety of temper gleams
              through it and renders it still more interesting....

              "A far different object of interest, yet still of
              interest, checkered with pity and disapprobation, is
              Lord Byron, whose present situation seems to rival all
              that ever has been said and sung of the misfortunes of a
              too irritable imagination. The last part of _Childe
              Harold_ intimates a terrible state of mind, and with all
              the power and genius which characterized his former
              productions, the present seems to indicate a more
              serious and desperate degree of misanthropy. I own I was
              not much moved by the scorn of the world which his first
              poems implied, because I know it is a humor of mind
              which those whom fortune has spoilt by indulgence, or
              irritated by reverses, are apt to assume, because it
              looks melancholy and gentlemanlike, and becomes a bard
              as well as being desperately in love, or very fond of
              the sunrise, though he lies in bed till noon, or anxious
              in recommending to others to catch cold by visiting old
              abbeys by moonlight, which he never happened to see
              under the chaste moonbeam himself; but this strange poem
              goes much deeper, and either the Demon of Misanthropy is
              in full possession of him, or he has already invited ten
              guests, equally desperate, to the swept and garnished
              mansion of Harold's understanding."--_Familiar Letters_,
              vol. i. p. 369.)]

              [Footnote 50: [This is probably the "expression of
              kindness" which encouraged Murray to beg Scott to review
              in the _Quarterly_ Byron's recently published volumes,
              _Childe Harold, Canto III._, and _The Prisoner of
              Chillon, a Dream, and Other Poems_. The request was
              promptly complied with, and the article appeared in the
              next number issued (_dated_ October, 1816),--a review
              full of generous, and also judicious, appreciation. For
              some reason, hard now to discover, unless it were the
              kindliness of the writer's tone towards the younger
              poet, some of Lady Byron's friends, among whom was
              Joanna Baillie, seem to have taken strong exception to
              the paper, and Miss Baillie wrote to Scott at some
              length on the matter, even animadverting upon the purely
              literary criticism of the reviewer. Much of the
              correspondence which ensued, including a characteristic
              letter from Lady Byron, can be found in the _Familiar
              Letters_ (vol. i. pp. 413-422).

              Of the review, Byron writes to Murray (March 3, 1817):--

              ... "It seems to me (as far as the subject of it may be
              permitted to judge) to be _very well_ written as a
              composition, and ... even those who may condemn its
              partiality, must praise its generosity. The temptations
              to take another and less favorable view of the question
              have been so great and numerous, that, what with public
              opinion, politics, etc., he must be a gallant as well as
              a good man, who has ventured in that place and at this
              time to write such an article even anonymously. Such
              things, however, are their own reward; and I even
              flatter myself that the writer, whoever he may be (and I
              have no guess), will not regret that the perusal of this
              has given me as much gratification as any composition of
              that nature could give, and more than any other has ever
              given,--and I have had a good many in my time of one
              kind or the other. It is not the mere praise, but there
              is a tact and a delicacy throughout, not only with
              regard to me, but to others, which, as it has not been
              observed elsewhere, I had till now doubted, whether it
              could be observed anywhere." He writes a few weeks
              later, on learning that Scott wrote the article: ... "It
              cannot add to my good opinion of him, but it adds to
              that of myself."--_Letters and Journals of Lord Byron_
              (1900), vol. iv. pp. 63, 85.]]

{p.128} Mr. Murray, gladly embracing this offer of an article for his
journal on the Tales of my Landlord, begged Scott to take a wider
scope, and dropping all respect for the idea of a divided parentage,
to place together any materials he might have for the illustration of
the Waverley Novels in general; he suggested in particular, that,
instead of drawing up a long-promised disquisition on the Gypsies in a
separate shape, whatever he had to say concerning that picturesque
generation might be introduced by way of comment on the character of
Meg Merrilies. What Scott's original conception had been I know not;
he certainly gave his reviewal all the breadth which Murray could have
wished, and, _inter alia_, diversified it with a few anecdotes of the
Scottish Gypsies. But the late excellent biographer of John Knox, Dr.
Thomas M'Crie, had, in the mean time, considered the representation of
the Covenanters, in the story of Old Mortality, as so unfair as to
demand at his {p.129} hands a very serious rebuke. The Doctor
forthwith published, in a magazine called the Edinburgh Christian
Instructor, a set of papers, in which the historical foundations of
that tale were attacked with indignant warmth; and though Scott, when
he first heard of these invectives, expressed his resolution never
even to read them, he found the impression they were producing so
strong, that he soon changed his purpose, and finally devoted a very
large part of his article for the Quarterly Review to an elaborate
defence of his own picture of the Covenanters.[51]

              [Footnote 51: Since I have mentioned this reviewal, I
              may as well, to avoid recurrence to it, express here my
              conviction, that Erskine, not Scott, was the author of
              the critical estimate of the Waverley Novels which it
              embraces--although, for the purpose of mystification,
              Scott had taken the trouble to transcribe the paragraphs
              in which that estimate is contained. At the same time I
              cannot but add that, had Scott really been the sole
              author of this reviewal, he need not have incurred the
              severe censure which has been applied to his supposed
              conduct in the matter. After all, his judgment of his
              own works must have been allowed to be not above, but
              very far under the mark; and the whole affair would, I
              think, have been considered by every candid person
              exactly as the letter about Solomon and the rival
              mothers was by Murray, Gifford, and the "four o'clock
              visitors" of Albemarle Street--as a good joke. A better
              joke, certainly, than the allusion to the report of
              Thomas Scott being the real author of Waverley, at the
              close of the article, was never penned; and I think it
              includes a confession over which a misanthrope might
              have chuckled: "We intended here to conclude this long
              article, when a strong report reached us of certain
              Transatlantic confessions, which, if genuine (though of
              this we know nothing), assign a different author to
              these volumes than the party suspected by our Scottish
              correspondents. Yet a critic may be excused seizing upon
              the nearest suspicious person, on the principle happily
              expressed by Claverhouse, in a letter to the Earl of
              Linlithgow. He had been, it seems, in search of a gifted
              weaver, who used to hold forth at conventicles: 'I sent
              for the webster (weaver), they brought in his _brother_
              for him: though he, maybe, cannot preach like his
              brother, I doubt not but he is as well-principled as he,
              wherefore I thought it would be no great fault to give
              him the trouble to go to jail with the
              rest!'"--_Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xix. pp. 85,

Before the first Tales of my Landlord were six weeks old, two editions
of 2000 copies disappeared, and a third of 2000 was put to press; but
notwithstanding this rapid success, which was still further continued,
and the friendly relations which always subsisted between the {p.130}
author and Mr. Murray, circumstances erelong occurred which carried
the publication of the work into the hands of Messrs. Constable.

The author's answer to Dr. M'Crie, and his Introduction of 1830, have
exhausted the historical materials on which he constructed his Old
Mortality; and the origin of The Black Dwarf--as to the conclusion of
which story he appears on reflection to have completely adopted the
opinion of honest Blackwood--has already been sufficiently illustrated
by an anecdote of his early wanderings in Tweeddale. The latter tale,
however imperfect, and unworthy as a work of art to be placed high in
the catalogue of his productions, derives a singular interest from its
delineation of the dark feelings so often connected with physical
deformity; feelings which appear to have diffused their shadow over
the whole genius of Byron--and which, but for this single picture, we
should hardly have conceived ever to have passed through Scott's
happier mind.[52] All the bitter blasphemy of spirit which, from
infancy to the tomb, swelled up in Byron against the unkindness of
nature; which sometimes perverted even his filial love into a
sentiment of diabolical malignity; all this black and desolate train
of reflections must have been encountered and deliberately subdued by
the manly parent of The Black Dwarf. Old Mortality, on the other hand,
is remarkable as the _novelist's_ first attempt to repeople the past
by the power of imagination working on materials furnished by books.
In Waverley he revived the fervid dreams of his boyhood, and drew, not
from printed records, but from the artless oral narratives of his
_Invernahyles_. In Guy Mannering and The Antiquary he embodied
characters and manners familiar {p.131} to his own wandering youth.
But whenever his letters mention Old Mortality in its progress, they
represent him as strong in the confidence that the industry with which
he had pored over a library of forgotten tracts would enable him to
identify himself with the time in which they had birth, as completely
as if he had listened with his own ears to the dismal sermons of
Peden, ridden with Claverhouse and Dalzell in the rout of Bothwell,
and been an advocate at the bar of the Privy Council, when Lauderdale
catechised and tortured the assassins of Archbishop Sharp. To
reproduce a departed age with such minute and lifelike accuracy as
this tale exhibits, demanded a far more energetic sympathy of
imagination than had been called for in any effort of his serious
verse. It is indeed most curiously instructive for any student of art
to compare the Roundheads of Rokeby with the Bluebonnets of Old
Mortality. For the rest--the story is framed with a deeper skill than
any of the preceding novels: the canvas is a broader one; the
characters are contrasted and projected with a power and felicity
which neither he nor any other master ever surpassed; and,
notwithstanding all that has been urged against him as a disparager of
the Covenanters, it is to me very doubtful whether the inspiration of
romantic chivalry ever prompted him to nobler emotions than he has
lavished on the re-animation of their stern and solemn enthusiasm.
This work has always appeared to me the Marmion of his novels.[53]

              [Footnote 52: [On reading _The Black Dwarf_, Mrs. Leigh
              believed her brother to be the author, and wrote to him
              to that effect. Byron had not yet seen the book, and
              says in his reply: "I am not P. P. [Peter Pattieson], I
              assure you on my honor, and do not understand to what
              book you allude, so that all your compliments are quite
              thrown away."--Byron's _Letters and Journals_ (1900),
              vol. iv. p. 56.]]

              [Footnote 53: [Lady Louisa Stuart, whose approbation
              Scott writes he values "beyond a whole wilderness of
              critics," says in a letter of December 5, 1816:

              "[Old Mortality] is super-excellent in all its points;
              it breaks up fresh ground, and has all the raciness of
              originality. I cannot help thinking it will bear down
              the world before it triumphantly. As usual it makes its
              personages our intimate acquaintance, and its scenes so
              present to the eye, that, last night, after sitting up
              unreasonably late over it, I got no sleep, from a kind
              of fever of mind it had occasioned. It seemed as if I
              had been an eye and ear witness of all the passages, and
              I could not lull the agitation into calmness. Mause and
              Cuddie hurried my spirits in another way; they forced me
              to laugh out aloud, which one seldom does alone. On a
              second slower reading I expect to be still better
              pleased, and then also I suppose I shall find out the
              faults. At present it has, in the Scotch phrase, 'taken
              me off my feet,' and I do not criticise, though I think
              you will believe me when I say I do not and will not
              flatter. One thing I regret, that like the author of
              _The Antiquary_, Jedediah did not add a glossary;
              because even I, a mongrel, occasionally paying long
              visits to Scotland, and hearing Girsy at Bothwell gate
              and Peggy Macgowan hold forth in the village,--even I,
              thus qualified, have found a great many words absolute
              Hebrew to me, and I fear the altogether English will
              find many more beyond their comprehension or conjecture.
              But this may be remedied in another edition. I have as
              yet only one great attack to make, and that upon a
              single word; but such a word! such an anachronism!
              Claverhouse says he has no time to hear _sentimental_
              speeches. My dear sir! tell Jedediah that Claverhouse
              never heard the sound of those four syllables in his
              life. We are used to them; but _sentiment_ and
              _sentimental_ were, I believe, first introduced into the
              language by Sterne, and are hardly as old as I am. Let
              alone the Covenanters' days, I am persuaded you would
              look in vain for them in the works of Richardson and
              Fielding. Nay, the French, from whom they were borrowed,
              did not talk of _le sentiment_ in that sense till long
              after Louis XIV.'s reign. No such thing is to be found
              in Madame de Sévigné, la Bruyère, etc., etc., etc. At
              home or abroad I defy Lord Dundee ever to have met with
              the expression. Mr. Peter Pattieson had been reading the
              _Man of Feeling_, and it was a slip of his tongue, which
              I am less inclined to excuse than Mause's abstruse
              Scotch, which I duly reverence, as she did
              Kettledrummle's sermons, because I do not understand it.
              Once more I shall be much disappointed if this work does
              not quickly acquire a very great reputation. I fancy Mr.
              Morritt is in the secret; yet, as I am not certain, I
              will keep on the secure side and not mention it when I
              write to him, however one may long to _intercommune_ on
              such subjects with those likely to hold the same faith."

              At the close of his reply, Scott says: "I must not
              forget to thank your Ladyship for your acute and
              indisputable criticism on the application of the word
              _sentimental_. How it escaped my pen I know not, unless
              that the word owed me a grudge for the ill will I have
              uniformly borne it, and was resolved to slip itself in
              for the express purpose of disgracing me. I will
              certainly turn it out the first opportunity." This was
              done in the second edition.--_Familiar Letters_, vol. i.
              pp. 394, 400.]]

{p.132} I have disclaimed the power of farther illustrating its
historical groundworks, but I am enabled by Mr. Train's kindness to
give some interesting additions to Scott's own account of this novel
as a composition. The generous Supervisor visited him in Edinburgh in
May, 1816, a few days after the publication of The Antiquary, carrying
with him several relics which he wished to present to his collection;
among others a purse that had belonged {p.133} to Rob Roy, and also a
fresh heap of traditionary gleanings, which he had gathered among the
tale-tellers of his district. One of these last was in the shape of a
letter to Mr. Train from a Mr. Broadfoot, "schoolmaster at the clachan
of Penningham, and author of the _celebrated song_ of the Hills of
Galloway"--with which I confess myself unacquainted. Broadfoot had
facetiously signed his communication _Clashbottom_,--"a professional
appellation derived," says Mr. Train, "from the use of the birch, and
by which he was usually addressed among his companions,--who
assembled, not at the Wallace Inn of Gandercleuch, but at the sign of
the Shoulder of Mutton in Newton-Stewart." Scott received these gifts
with benignity, and invited the friendly donor to breakfast next
morning. He found him at work in his library, and surveyed with
enthusiastic curiosity the furniture of the room, especially its only
picture, a portrait of Graham of Claverhouse. Train expressed the
surprise with which every one, who had known Dundee only in the pages
of the Presbyterian Annalists, must see for the first time that
beautiful and melancholy visage, worthy of the most pathetic dreams of
romance. Scott replied, "that no character had been so foully traduced
as the Viscount of Dundee; that, thanks to Wodrow, Cruickshanks, and
such chroniclers, he, who was every inch a soldier and a gentleman,
still passed among the Scottish vulgar for a ruffian desperado, who
rode a goblin horse, was proof against shot, and in league with the
Devil." "Might he not," said Mr. Train, "be made, in good hands, the
hero of a national romance as interesting as any about either Wallace
or Prince Charlie?" "He might," said Scott, "but your western zealots
would require to be faithfully portrayed in order to bring him out
with the right effect."[54] "And what," resumed {p.134} Train, "if
the story were to be delivered as if from the mouth of _Old
Mortality_? Would _he_ not do as well as _the Minstrel_ did in the
Lay?" "Old Mortality!" said Scott--"who was he?" Mr. Train then told
what he could remember of old Paterson, and seeing how much his story
interested the hearer, offered to inquire farther about that
enthusiast on his return to Galloway. "Do so by all means," said
Scott; "I assure you I shall look with anxiety for your
communication." He said nothing at this time of his own meeting with
Old Mortality in the churchyard of Dunnottar--and I think there can be
no doubt that that meeting was thus recalled to his recollection; or
that to this intercourse with Mr. Train we owe the whole machinery of
the Tales of my Landlord, as well as the adoption of Claverhouse's
period for the scene of one of its first fictions. I think it highly
probable that we owe a further obligation to the worthy Supervisor's
presentation of Rob Roy's _spleuchan_.

              [Footnote 54: [Scott's old friend, John Richardson, who
              was from the first in the secret of the Waverley Novels,
              was a stanch Whig, as beseemed the descendant of an old
              Covenanting family. Some of his ancestral traditions
              suggested certain passages in _Old Mortality_, and he
              has recorded that during a visit to Abbotsford Scott
              gave him the proof sheets of the first volume to read,
              and how he lost a night's sleep in doing it. Twelve
              years later, in writing to Scott regarding _The Tales of
              a Grandfather_, he says that in this work,--"You have
              paid a debt which you owed to the manes of the
              Covenanters for the flattering picture which you drew of
              Claverhouse in _Old Mortality_."

              Scott says in his reply (December, 1828): "As to
              Covenanters and Malignants, they were both a set of
              cruel and bloody bigots, and had, notwithstanding, those
              virtues with which bigotry is sometimes allied. Their
              characters were of a kind much more picturesque than
              beautiful; neither had the least idea either of
              toleration or humanity, so that it happens that, so far
              as they can be distinguished from each other, one is
              tempted to hate most the party which chances to be
              uppermost for the time."--See _Journal_, note, vol. ii.
              p. 404.]]

The original design for the First Series of Jedediah Cleishbotham was,
as Scott told me, to include four separate tales illustrative of four
districts of the country, in the like number of volumes; but, his
imagination once kindled upon any theme, he could not but pour himself
out freely--so that notion was soon abandoned.


     Harold the Dauntless Published. -- Scott Aspires to Be a
     Baron of the Exchequer. -- Letter to the Duke of Buccleuch
     Concerning Poachers, etc. -- First Attack of Cramp in the
     Stomach. -- Letters to Morritt, Terry, and Mrs. Maclean
     Clephane. -- Story of the Doom of Devorgoil. -- John
     Kemble's Retirement from the Stage. -- William Laidlaw
     Established at Kaeside. -- Novel of Rob Roy Projected. --
     Letter to Southey on the Relief of the Poor, etc. -- Letter
     to Lord Montagu on Hogg's Queen's Wake, and on the Death of
     Frances, Lady Douglas.


Within less than a month, The Black Dwarf and Old Mortality were
followed by "Harold the Dauntless, by the author of The Bridal of
Triermain." This poem had been, it appears, begun several years back;
nay, part of it had been actually printed before the appearance of
Childe Harold, though that circumstance had escaped the author's
remembrance when he penned, in 1830, his Introduction to The Lord of
the Isles; for he there says, "I am still astonished at my having
committed the gross error of selecting the very name which Lord Byron
had made so famous." The volume was published by Messrs. Constable,
and had, in those booksellers' phrase, "considerable success." It has
never, however, been placed on a level with Triermain; and though it
contains many vigorous pictures, and splendid verses, and here and
there some happy humor, the confusion and harsh transitions {p.136}
of the fable, and the dim rudeness of character and manners, seem
sufficient to account for this inferiority in public favor. It is not
surprising that the author should have redoubled his aversion to the
notion of any more serious performances in verse. He had seized on an
instrument of wider compass, and which, handled with whatever
rapidity, seemed to reveal at every touch treasures that had hitherto
slept unconsciously within him. He had thrown off his fetters, and
might well go forth rejoicing in the native elasticity of his

It is at least a curious coincidence in literary history, that, as
Cervantes, driven from the stage of Madrid by the success of Lope de
Vega, threw himself into prose romance, and produced, at the moment
when the world considered him as silenced forever, the Don Quixote
which has outlived Lope's two thousand triumphant dramas--so Scott,
abandoning verse to Byron, should have rebounded from his fall by the
only prose romances, which seem to be classed with the masterpiece of
Spanish genius, by the general judgment of Europe.

I shall insert two letters, in which he announces the publication of
Harold the Dauntless. In the first of them he also mentions the light
and humorous little piece entitled The Sultan of Serendib, or the
Search after Happiness, originally published in a weekly paper, after
the fashion of the old Essayists, which about this time issued from
John Ballantyne's premises, under the appropriate name of "The
SALE-ROOM." The paper had slender success; and though Scott wrote
several things for it, none of them, except this metrical essay,
attracted any notice. The Sale-Room was, in fact, a dull and hopeless
concern; and I should scarcely have thought it worth mentioning, but
for the confirmation it lends to my suspicion that Mr. John Ballantyne
was very unwilling, after all his warnings, to retire completely from
the field of publishing.

     {p.137} TO J. B. S. MORRITT, ESQ., M. P., ROKEBY PARK.

                                        EDINBURGH, January 30, 1817.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I hope to send you in a couple of days
     Harold the Dauntless, which has not turned out so good as I
     thought it would have done. I begin to get too old and
     stupid, I think, for poetry, and will certainly never again
     adventure on a grand scale. For amusement, and to help a
     little publication that is going on here, I have spun a
     doggerel tale called The Search after Happiness, of which I
     shall send you a copy by post, if it is of a frankable size;
     if not, I can put it up with the Dauntless. Among other
     misfortunes of Harold is his name, but the thing was partly
     printed before Childe Harold was in question.

     My great and good news at present is, that the bog (that
     perpetual hobby-horse) has produced a commodity of most
     excellent marle, and promises to be of the very last
     consequence to my wild ground in the neighborhood; for
     nothing can equal the effect of marle as a top-dressing.
     Methinks (in my mind's eye, Horatio) I see all the
     blue-bank, the hinny-lee, and the other provinces of my poor
     kingdom, waving with deep rye-grass and clover, like the
     meadows at Rokeby. In honest truth, it will do me yeoman's

     My next good tidings are, that Jedediah carries the world
     before him. Six thousand have been disposed of, and three
     thousand more are pressing onward, which will be worth £2500
     to the worthy pedagogue of Gandercleuch. Some of the Scotch
     Whigs, of the right old fanatical leaven, have waxed wroth
     with Jedediah,--

          "But shall we go mourn for that, my dear?
             The cold moon shines by night,
           And when we wander here and there,
             We then do go most right."[55]

              [Footnote 55: Joanna Baillie's _Orra_.]

     After all, these honest gentlemen are like Queen Elizabeth
     {p.138} in their ideas of portrait-painting. They require
     the pictures of their predecessors to be likenesses, and at
     the same time demand that they shall be painted without
     shade, being probably of opinion, with the virgin majesty of
     England, that there is no such thing in nature.

     I presume you will be going almost immediately to London--at
     least all our Scotch members are requested to be at their
     posts, the meaning of which I cannot pretend to guess. The
     finances are the only ticklish matter, but there is, after
     all, plenty of money in the country, now that our fever-fit
     is a little over. In Britain, when there is the least damp
     upon the spirits of the public, they are exactly like people
     in a crowd, who take the alarm, and shoulder each other to
     and fro till some dozen or two of the weakest are borne down
     and trodden to death; whereas, if they would but have
     patience and remain quiet, there would be a safe and speedy
     end to their embarrassment. How we want Billie Pitt now to
     get up and give the tone to our feelings and opinions!

     As I take up this letter to finish the same, I hear the
     Prince Regent has been attacked and fired at. Since he was
     not hurt (for I should be sincerely sorry for my fat
     friend), I see nothing but good luck to result from this
     assault. It will make him a good manageable boy, and, I
     think, secure you a quiet session of Parliament.--Adieu, my
     dear Morritt, God bless you. Let me know if the gimcracks
     come safe--I mean the book, etc.

     Ever yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.


                                        EDINBURGH, January 31, 1817.

     MY DEAR LADY LOUISA,--This accompanies Harold the Dauntless.
     I thought once I should have made it something clever, but
     it turned vapid upon my imagination; and I finished it at
     last with hurry and impatience. Nobody knows, that has not
     tried the feverish trade of poetry, how much it depends upon
     mood and whim. I {p.139} don't wonder, that, in dismissing
     all the other deities of Paganism, the Muse should have been
     retained by common consent; for, in sober reality, writing
     good verses seems to depend upon something separate from the
     volition of the author. I sometimes think my fingers set up
     for themselves, independent of my head; for twenty times I
     have begun a thing on a certain plan, and never in my life
     adhered to it (in a work of imagination, that is) for half
     an hour together. I would hardly write this sort of
     egotistical trash to any one but yourself, yet it is very
     true for all that. What my kind correspondent had
     anticipated on account of Jedediah's effusions has actually
     taken place; and the author of a very good Life of Knox has,
     I understand, made a most energetic attack, upon the score
     that the old Covenanters are not treated with decorum. I
     have not read it, and certainly never shall. I really think
     there is nothing in the book that is not very fair and
     legitimate subject of raillery; and I own I have my
     suspicions of that very susceptible devotion which so
     readily takes offence: such men should not read books of
     amusement; but do they suppose, because they are virtuous,
     and choose to be thought outrageously so, "there shall be no
     cakes and ale"?--"Ay, by our lady, and ginger shall be hot
     in the mouth too."[56] As for the consequences to the
     author, they can only affect his fortune or his temper--the
     former, such as it is, has been long fixed beyond shot of
     these sort of fowlers; and for my temper, I considered
     always, that by subjecting myself to the irritability which
     much greater authors have felt on occasions of literary
     dispute, I should be laying in a plentiful stock of
     unhappiness for the rest of my life. I therefore make it a
     rule never to read the attacks made upon me. I remember
     being capable of something like this sort of self-denial at
     a very early period of life, for I could not be six years
     old. I had been put into my bed in the nursery, and two
     servant {p.140} girls sat down by the embers of the fire,
     to have their own quiet chat, and the one began to tell a
     most dismal ghost story, of which I remember the
     commencement distinctly at this moment; but perceiving which
     way the tale was tending, and though necessarily curious,
     being at the same time conscious that, if I listened on, I
     should be frightened out of my wits for the rest of the
     night, I had the force to cover up my head in the
     bed-clothes, so that I could not hear another word that was
     said. The only inconvenience attending a similar prudential
     line of conduct in the present case is, that it may seem
     like a deficiency of spirit; but I am not much afraid of
     that being laid to my charge--my fault in early life (I hope
     long since corrected) having lain rather the other way. And
     so I say, with mine honest Prior,--

        "Sleep, Philo, untouch'd, on my peaceable shelf,
         Nor take it amiss that so little I heed thee;
         I've no malice at thee, and some love for myself--
         Then why should I answer, since first I must read thee?"

              [Footnote 56: _Twelfth Night_, Act II. Scene 3.]

     So you are getting finely on in London. I own I am very glad
     of it. I am glad the banditti act like banditti, because it
     will make men of property look round them in time. This
     country is very like the toys which folks buy for children,
     and which, tumble them about in any way the urchins will,
     are always brought to their feet again, by the lead
     deposited in their extremities. The mass of property has the
     same effect on our Constitution, and is a sort of ballast
     which will always _right_ the vessel, to use a sailor's
     phrase, and bring it to its due equipoise.

     Ministers have acted most sillily in breaking up the burgher
     volunteers in large towns. On the contrary, the service
     should have been made coercive. Such men have a moral effect
     upon the minds of the populace, besides their actual force,
     and are so much interested in keeping good order, that you
     may always rely on them, especially as a corps in which
     there is necessarily a common {p.141} spirit of union and
     confidence. But all this is nonsense again, quoth my Uncle
     Toby to himself. Adieu, my dear Lady Louisa; my sincere good
     wishes always attend you.

                                        W. S.

Not to disturb the narrative of his literary proceedings, I have
deferred until now the mention of an attempt which Scott made during
the winter of 1816-1817, to exchange his seat at the Clerk's table for
one on the Bench of the Scotch Court of Exchequer. It had often
occurred to me, in the most prosperous years of his life, that such a
situation would have suited him better in every respect than that
which he held, and that his never attaining a promotion, which the
Scottish public would have considered so naturally due to his
character and services, reflected little honor on his political
allies. But at the period when I was entitled to hint this to him, he
appeared to have made up his mind that the rank of Clerk of Session
was more compatible than that of a Supreme Judge with the habits of a
literary man, who was perpetually publishing, and whose writings were
generally of the imaginative order. I had also witnessed the zeal with
which he seconded the views of more than one of his own friends, when
their ambition was directed to the Exchequer Bench. I remained, in
short, ignorant that he ever had seriously thought of it for himself,
until the ruin of his worldly fortunes in 1826; nor had I any
information that his wish to obtain it had ever been distinctly
stated, until certain letters, one of which I shall introduce, were
placed in my hands after his death, by the present Duke of Buccleuch.
The late Duke's answers to these letters are also before me; but of
them it is sufficient to say, that while they show the warmest anxiety
to serve Scott, they refer to private matters, which rendered it
inconsistent with his Grace's feelings to interfere at the time in
question with the distribution of Crown patronage. I incline to think,
on the whole, {p.142} that the death of this nobleman, which soon
after left the influence of his house in abeyance, must have, far more
than any other circumstance, determined Scott to renounce all notions
of altering his professional position.


                                        EDINBURGH, 11th December, 1816.

     MY DEAR LORD DUKE,--Your Grace has been so much my constant
     and kind friend and patron through the course of my life,
     that I trust I need no apology for thrusting upon your
     consideration some ulterior views, which have been suggested
     to me by my friends, and which I will either endeavor to
     prosecute, time and place serving, or lay aside all thoughts
     of, as they appear to your Grace feasible, and likely to be
     forwarded by your patronage. It has been suggested to me, in
     a word, that there would be no impropriety in my being put
     in nomination as a candidate for the situation of a Baron of
     Exchequer, when a vacancy shall take place. The difference
     of the emolument between that situation and those which I
     now hold, is just £400 a year, so that, in that point of
     view, it is not a very great object. But there is a
     difference in the rank, and also in the leisure afforded by
     a Baron's situation; and a man may, without condemnation,
     endeavor, at my period of life, to obtain as much honor and
     ease as he can handsomely come by. My pretensions to such an
     honor (next to your Grace's countenancing my wishes) would
     rest very much on the circumstance that my nomination would
     vacate two good offices (Clerk of Session and Sheriff of
     Selkirkshire) to the amount of £1000 and £300 a year; and,
     besides, would extinguish a pension of £300 which I have for
     life, over and above my salary as Clerk of Session, as
     having been in office at the time when the Judicature Act
     deprived us of a part of our vested fees and emoluments. The
     extinction of this pension would be just so much saved to
     the public. I am pretty confident also that I should
     {p.143} be personally acceptable to our friend the Chief
     Baron.[57] But whether all or any of these circumstances
     will weigh much in my favor, must solely and entirely rest
     with your Grace, without whose countenance it would be folly
     in me to give the matter a second thought. _With_ your
     patronage, both my situation and habits of society may place
     my hopes as far as any who are likely to apply; and your
     interest would be strengthened by the opportunity of placing
     some good friend in Selkirkshire, besides converting the
     Minstrel of the Clan into a Baron,--a transmutation worthy
     of so powerful and kind a chief. But if your Grace thinks I
     ought to drop thoughts of this preferment, I am bound to
     say, that I think myself as well provided for by my friends
     and the public as I have the least title to expect, and that
     I am perfectly contented and grateful for what I have
     received. Ever your Grace's faithful and truly obliged

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 57: The late Right Honorable Robert Dundas of
              Arniston, Chief Baron of the Scotch Exchequer; one of
              Scott's earliest and kindest friends in that
              distinguished family.]

The following letter, to the same noble friend, contains a slight
allusion to this affair of the Barony; but I insert it for a better
reason. The Duke had, it seems, been much annoyed by some depredations
on his game in the district of Ettrick Water; and more so by the ill
use which some boys from Selkirk made of his liberality in allowing
the people of that town free access to his beautiful walks on the
banks of the Yarrow, adjoining Newark and Bowhill. The Duke's
forester, by name Thomas Hudson, had recommended rigorous measures
with reference to both these classes of offenders, and the Sheriff was
of course called into council:--


                                        ABBOTSFORD, January 11, 1817.

     MY DEAR LORD DUKE,--I have been thinking anxiously about the
     disagreeable affair of Tom Hudson, {p.144} and the impudent
     ingratitude of the Selkirk rising generation, and I will
     take the usual liberty your friendship permits me, of saying
     what occurs to me on each subject. Respecting the shooting,
     the crime is highly punishable, and we will omit no
     inquiries to discover the individuals guilty. Charles
     Erskine, who is a good police-officer, will be sufficiently
     active. I know my friend and kinsman, Mr. Scott of Harden,
     feels very anxious to oblige your Grace, and I have little
     doubt that if you will have the goodness to mention to him
     this unpleasant circumstance, he would be anxious to put his
     game under such regulations as should be agreeable to you.
     But I believe the pride and pleasure he would feel in
     obliging your Grace, as heading one of the most ancient and
     most respectable branches of your name (if I may be pardoned
     for saying so much in our favor), would be certainly much
     more gratified by a compliance with your personal request,
     than if it came through any other channel. Your Grace knows
     there are many instances in life in which the most effectual
     way of conferring a favor is condescending to accept one. I
     have known Harden long and most intimately--a more
     respectable man, either for feeling, or talent, or knowledge
     of human life, is rarely to be met with. But he is rather
     indecisive--requiring some instant stimulus in order to make
     him resolve to do, not only what he knows to be right, but
     what he really wishes to do, and means to do one time or
     other. He is exactly Prior's Earl of Oxford:--

          "Let that be done which Mat doth say."
          "Yea," quoth the Earl, "_but not to-day_."

     And so exit Harden, and enter Selkirk.

     I know hardly anything more exasperating than the conduct of
     the little blackguards, and it will be easy to discover and
     make an example of the biggest and most insolent. In the
     mean while, my dear Lord, pardon my requesting you will take
     no general or sweeping resolution as to the Selkirk folks.
     Your Grace lives near {p.145} them--your residence, both
     from your direct beneficence, and the indirect advantages
     which they derive from that residence, is of the utmost
     consequence; and they must be made sensible that all these
     advantages are endangered by the very violent and brutal
     conduct of their children. But I think your Grace will be
     inclined to follow this up only for the purpose of
     correction, not for that of requital. They are so much
     beneath you, and so much in your power, that this would be
     unworthy of you--especially as all the inhabitants of the
     little country town must necessarily be included in the
     punishment. Were your Grace really angry with them, and
     acting accordingly, you might ultimately feel the regret of
     my old schoolmaster, who, when he had knocked me down,
     apologized by saying he did not know his own strength. After
     all, those who look for anything better than ingratitude
     from the uneducated and unreflecting mass of a corrupted
     population, must always be deceived; and the better the
     heart is that has been expanded towards them, their wants
     and their wishes, the deeper is the natural feeling of
     disappointment. But it is our duty to fight on, doing what
     good we can (and surely the disposition and the means were
     never more happily united than in your Grace), and trusting
     to God Almighty, whose grace ripens the seeds we commit to
     the earth, that our benefactions shall bear fruit. And now,
     my Lord, asking your pardon for this discharge of my
     conscience, and assuring your Grace I have no wish to
     exchange my worsted gown, or the remote _Pisgah_ exchange of
     a silk one, for the cloak of a Presbyterian parson, even
     with the certainty of succeeding to the first of your
     numerous Kirk-presentations, I take the liberty to add my
     own opinion. The elder boys must be looked out and punished,
     and the parents severely reprimanded, and the whole
     respectable part of the town made sensible of the loss they
     must necessarily sustain by the discontinuance of your
     patronage. And at, or about the same time, I {p.146} should
     think it proper if your Grace were to distinguish by any
     little notice such Selkirk people working with you as have
     their families under good order.

     I am taking leave of Abbotsford _multum gemens_, and have
     been just giving directions for planting upon _Turn-again_.
     When shall we eat a cold luncheon there, and look at the
     view, and root up the monster in his abyss? I assure you
     none of your numerous vassals can show a finer succession of
     _distant_ prospects. For the home-view--ahem!--We must wait
     till the trees grow.

     Ever your Grace's truly faithful

                                        W. SCOTT.

While the abortive negotiation as to the exchequer was still pending,
Scott was visited, for the first time since his childish years, with a
painful illness, which proved the harbinger of a series of attacks,
all nearly of the same kind, continued at short intervals during more
than two years. Various letters, already introduced, have indicated
how widely his habits of life when in Edinburgh differed from those of
Abbotsford. They at all times did so to a great extent; but he had
pushed his liberties with a most robust constitution to a perilous
extreme while the affairs of the Ballantynes were laboring, and he was
now to pay the penalty.

This first serious alarm occurred towards the close of a merry
dinner-party in Castle Street (on the 5th of March), when Scott
suddenly sustained such exquisite torture from cramp in the stomach,
that his masculine powers of endurance gave way, and he retired from
the room with a scream of agony which electrified his guests. This
scene was often repeated, as we shall see presently. His friends in
Edinburgh continued all that spring in great anxiety on his account.
Scarcely, however, had the first symptoms yielded to severe medical
treatment, than he is found to have beguiled the intervals of his
suffering by planning a dramatic piece on a story supplied to him by
one of Train's communications, which he desired to {p.147} present to
Terry, on behalf of the actor's first-born son who had been christened
by the name of Walter Scott.[58] Such was the origin of the Fortunes
of Devorgoil--a piece which, though completed soon afterwards, and
submitted by Terry to many manipulations with a view to the stage, was
never received by any manager, and was first published, towards the
close of the author's life, under the title, slightly altered for an
obvious reason, of The Doom of Devorgoil. The sketch of the story
which he gives in the following letter will probably be considered by
many besides myself as well worth the drama. It appears that the actor
had mentioned to Scott his intention of _Terryfying_ The Black Dwarf.

              [Footnote 58: This young gentleman is now an officer in
              the East India Company's army.--(1837.) Mr. W. S. Terry
              lived to distinguish himself as a soldier, and fell in
              action against the Afghans.--(1848.)]


                                        EDINBURGH, 12th March, 1817.

     DEAR TERRY,--I am now able to write to you on your own
     affairs, though still as weak as water from the operations
     of the medical faculty, who, I think, treated me as a
     recusant to their authority, and having me once at
     advantage, were determined I should not have strength to
     rebel again in a hurry. After all, I believe it was touch
     and go; and considering how much I have to do for my own
     family and others, my elegy might have been that of the Auld
     Man's Mare,--

          "The peats and turf are all to lead,
             What ail'd the beast to die?"

     You don't mention the nature of your undertaking in your
     last, and in your former you spoke both of the Black Dwarf
     and of Triermain. I have some doubts whether the town will
     endure a second time the following up a well-known tale with
     a dramatic representation--and there is no _vis comica_ to
     redeem the Black Dwarf, as in the case of Dominie Sampson. I
     have thought of {p.148} two subjects for you, if, like the
     Archbishop's homilies, they do not smell of the apoplexy.
     The first is a noble and very dramatic tradition preserved
     in Galloway, which runs briefly thus: The Barons of Plenton
     (the family name, I think, was ---- by Jupiter, forgot!)
     boasted of great antiquity, and formerly of extensive power
     and wealth, to which the ruins of their huge castle,
     situated on an inland loch, still bear witness. In the
     middle of the seventeenth century, it is said, these ruins
     were still inhabited by the lineal descendant of this
     powerful family. But the ruinous halls and towers of his
     ancestors were all that had descended to him, and he
     cultivated the garden of the castle, and sold its fruits for
     a subsistence. He married in a line suitable rather to his
     present situation than the dignity of his descent, and was
     quite sunk into the rank of peasantry, excepting that he was
     still called--more in mockery, or at least in familiarity,
     than in respect--the Baron of Plenton. A causeway connected
     the castle with the mainland; it was cut in the middle, and
     the moat only passable by a drawbridge which yet subsisted,
     and which the poor old couple contrived to raise every night
     by their joint efforts, the country being very unsettled at
     the time. It must be observed that the old man and his wife
     occupied only one apartment in the extensive ruins, a small
     one adjoining to the drawbridge; the rest was waste and

     As they were about to retire one night to rest, they were
     deterred by a sudden storm which, rising in the wildest
     manner possible, threatened to bury them under the ruins of
     the castle. While they listened in terror to the complicated
     sounds of thunder, wind, and rain, they were astonished to
     hear the clang of hoofs on the causeway, and the voices of
     people clamoring for admittance. This was a request not
     rashly to be granted. The couple looked out, and dimly
     discerned through the storm that the causeway was crowded
     with riders. "How many of {p.149} you are there?" demanded
     John.--"Not more than the hall will hold," was the answer;
     "but open the gate, lower the bridge, and do not keep the
     _ladies_ in the rain."--John's heart was melted for the
     _ladies_, and, against his wife's advice, he undid the
     bolts, sunk the drawbridge, and bade them enter in the name
     of God. Having done so, he instantly retired into his
     _sanctum sanctorum_ to await the event, for there was
     something in the voices and language of his guests that
     sounded mysterious and awful. They rushed into the castle,
     and appeared to know their way through all its recesses.
     Grooms were heard hurrying their horses to the
     stables--sentinels were heard mounting guard--a thousand
     lights gleamed from place to place through the ruins, till
     at length they seemed all concentrated in the baronial hall,
     whose range of broad windows threw a resplendent
     illumination on the moss-grown court below.

     After a short time, a domestic, clad in a rich but very
     antique dress, appeared before the old couple, and commanded
     them to attend his lord and lady in the great hall. They
     went with tottering steps, and to their great terror found
     themselves in the midst of a most brilliant and joyous
     company; but the fearful part of it was, that most of the
     guests resembled the ancestors of John's family, and were
     known to him by their resemblance to pictures which
     mouldered in the castle, or by traditionary description. At
     the head, the founder of the race, dressed like some mighty
     baron, or rather some Galwegian prince, sat with his lady.
     There was a difference of opinion between these ghostly
     personages concerning our honest John. The chief was
     inclined to receive him graciously; the lady considered him,
     from his mean marriage, as utterly unworthy of their name
     and board. The upshot is, that the chief discovers to his
     descendant the means of finding a huge treasure concealed in
     the castle; the lady assures him that the discovery shall
     never avail him.--In the morning no trace can be discovered
     of {p.150} the singular personages who had occupied the
     hall. But John sought for and discovered the vault where the
     spoils of the Southrons were concealed, rolled away the
     covering stone, and feasted his eyes on a range of massy
     chests of iron, filled doubtless with treasure. As he
     deliberated on the best means of bringing them up, and
     descending into the vault, he observed it began slowly to
     fill with water. Bailing and pumping were resorted to, and
     when he had exhausted his own and his wife's strength, they
     summoned the assistance of the neighborhood. But the
     vengeance of the visionary lady was perfect; the waters of
     the lake had forced their way into the vault, and John,
     after a year or two spent in draining and so forth, died
     broken-hearted, the last Baron of Plenton.

     Such is the tale, of which the incidents seem new, and the
     interest capable of being rendered striking; the story
     admits of the highest degree of decoration, both by poetry,
     music, and scenery, and I propose (in behalf of my godson)
     to take some pains in dramatizing it. As thus;--you shall
     play John, as you can speak a little Scotch; I will make him
     what the Baron of Bradwardine would have been in his
     circumstances, and he shall be alternately ridiculous from
     his family pride and prejudices, contrasted with his
     poverty, and respectable from his just and independent tone
     of feeling and character. I think Scotland is entitled to
     have something on the stage to balance Macklin's two
     worthies.[59] You understand the dialect will be only tinged
     with the national dialect--not that the baron is to speak
     broad Scotch, while all the others talk English. His wife
     and he shall have one child, a daughter, suitored unto by
     the conceited young parson or schoolmaster of the village,
     whose addresses are countenanced by her mother,--and by
     Halbert the hunter, a youth of unknown descent. Now this
     youth shall be the rightful heir and representative of the
     English owners of the treasure, of which they had been
     {p.151} robbed by the baron's ancestors, for which unjust
     act, their spirits still walked the earth. These, with a
     substantial character or two, and the ghostly personages,
     shall mingle as they may--and the discovery of the youth's
     birth shall break the spell of the treasure-chamber. I will
     make the ghosts talk as never ghosts talked in the body or
     out of it; and the music may be as unearthly as you can get
     it. The rush of the shadows into the castle shall be seen
     through the window of the baron's apartment in the flat
     scene. The ghosts' banquet, and many other circumstances,
     may give great exercise to the scene-painter and dresser. If
     you like this plan, you had better suspend any other for the
     present. In my opinion it has the infinite merit of being
     perfectly new in plot and structure, and I will set about
     the sketch as soon as my strength is restored in some
     measure by air and exercise. I am sure I can finish it in a
     fortnight then. Ever yours truly,

                                        W. SCOTT.

              [Footnote 59: Sir Archy Mac-Sarcasm and Sir Pertinax

About the time when this letter was written, a newspaper paragraph
having excited the apprehension of two--or I should say three--of his
dearest friends, that his life was in actual danger, Scott wrote to
them as follows:--


                                        EDINBURGH, 20th March, 1817.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I hasten to acquaint you that I am in the
     land of life, and thriving, though I have had a slight
     shake, and still feel the consequences of medical treatment.
     I had been plagued all through this winter with cramps in my
     stomach, which I endured as a man of mould might, and
     endeavored to combat them by drinking scalding water, and so
     forth. As they grew rather unpleasantly frequent, I had
     reluctant recourse to Baillie. But before his answer arrived
     on the 5th, I had a most violent attack, which broke up a
     small party at {p.152} my house, and sent me to bed roaring
     like a bull-calf. All sorts of remedies were applied, as in
     the case of Gil Blas's pretended colic, but such was the
     pain of the real disorder, that it outdevilled the Doctor
     hollow. Even heated salt, which was applied in such a state
     that it burned my shirt to rags, I hardly felt when clapped
     to my stomach. At length the symptoms became inflammatory,
     and dangerously so, the seat being the diaphragm. They only
     gave way to very profuse bleeding and blistering, which
     under higher assistance saved my life. My recovery was slow
     and tedious from the state of exhaustion. I could neither
     stir for weakness and giddiness, nor read for dazzling in my
     eyes, nor listen for a whizzing sound in my ears, nor even
     think for lack of the power of arranging my ideas. So I had
     a comfortless time of it for about a week. Even yet I by no
     means feel, as the copy-book hath it,

          "The lion bold, which the lamb doth hold--"

     on the contrary, I am as weak as water. They tell me (of
     course) I must renounce every creature comfort, as my friend
     Jedediah calls it. As for dinner and so forth, I care little
     about it--but toast and water, and three glasses of wine,
     sound like hard laws to me. However, to parody the
     lamentation of Hassan, the camel-driver,

          "The lily health outvies the grape's bright ray,
           And life is dearer than the usquebæ--"

     so I shall be amenable to discipline. But in my own secret
     mind I suspect the state of my bowels more than anything
     else. I take enough of exercise and enough of rest; but
     unluckily they are like a Lapland year, divided as one night
     and one day. In the vacation I never sit down; in the
     session-time I seldom rise up. But all this must be better
     arranged in future; and I trust I shall live to weary out
     all your kindness.

     I am obliged to break off hastily. I trust I shall be able
     to get over the Fell in the end of summer, which {p.153}
     will rejoice me much, for the sound of the woods of Rokeby
     is lovely in mine ear. Ever yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.


                                        EDINBURGH, 23d March, 1817.

     MY DEAR Mrs. AND MISS CLEPHANE,--Here comes to let you know
     you had nearly seen the last sight of me, unless I had come
     to visit you on my red beam like one of Fingal's heroes,
     which, Ossianic as you are, I trow you would readily
     dispense with. The cause was a cramp in my stomach, which,
     after various painful visits, as if it had been sent by
     Prospero, and had mistaken me for Caliban, at length chose
     to conclude by setting fire to its lodging, like the
     Frenchmen as they retreated through Russia, and placed me in
     as proper a state of inflammation as if I had had the whole
     Spafields committee in my unfortunate stomach. Then bleeding
     and blistering was the word; and they bled and blistered
     till they left me neither skin nor blood. However, they beat
     off the foul fiend, and I am bound to praise the bridge
     which carried me over. I am still very totterish, and very
     giddy, kept to panada, or rather to porridge, for I spurned
     at all foreign slops, and adhered to our ancient oatmeal
     manufacture.[60] But I have no apprehension of any return of
     the serious part of the malady, and I am now recovering my
     strength, though looking somewhat cadaverous upon the

              [Footnote 60: [On the 17th of March, Scott had written
              to Joanna Baillie: "Two _remarkables_ struck me in my
              illness: the first was, that my great wolf-dog clamored
              wildly and fearfully about my bed when I was very ill,
              and would hardly be got out of the room; the other, that
              when I was recovering, all acquired and factitious
              tastes seemed to leave me, and I could eat nothing but
              porridge, and listen to no better reading than a stupid
              Scottish diary which would have made a whole man
              sick."--_Familiar Letters_, vol. i. p. 421.]]

     I much approve of your going to Italy by sea; indeed it is
     the only way you ought to think of it. I am only {p.154}
     sorry you are going to leave us for a while; but indeed the
     isle of Mull might be Florence to me in respect of
     separation, and cannot be quite Florence to you, since Lady
     Compton is not there. I lately heard her mentioned in a
     company where my interest in her was not known, as one of
     the very few English ladies now in Italy whom their
     acquirements, conduct, and mode of managing time, induce
     that part of foreign society, whose approbation is valuable,
     to consider with high respect and esteem. This I think is
     very likely; for, whatever folks say of foreigners, those of
     good education and high rank among them, must have a supreme
     contempt for the frivolous, dissatisfied, empty, gad-about
     manners of many of our modern belles. And we may say among
     ourselves, that there are few upon whom high accomplishments
     and information sit more gracefully.

     John Kemble is here to take leave, acting over all his great
     characters, and with all the spirit of his best years. He
     played Coriolanus last night (the first time I have ventured
     out) fully as well as I ever saw him; and you know what a
     complete model he is of the Roman. He has made a great
     reformation in his habits; given up wine, which he used to
     swallow by pailfuls,--and renewed his youth like the eagles.
     He seems to me always to play best those characters in which
     there is a predominating tinge of some overmastering
     passion, or acquired habit of acting and speaking, coloring
     the whole man. The patrician pride of Coriolanus, the
     stoicism of Brutus and Cato, the rapid and hurried vehemence
     of Hotspur, mark the class of characters I mean. But he
     fails where a ready and pliable yielding to the events and
     passions of life makes what may be termed a more natural
     personage. Accordingly I think his Macbeth, Lear, and
     especially his Richard, inferior in spirit and truth. In
     Hamlet, the natural fixed melancholy of the prince places
     him within Kemble's range;--yet many delicate and sudden
     turns of passion slip through his fingers. He is {p.155} a
     lordly vessel, goodly and magnificent when going large
     before the wind, but wanting the facility to go "_ready
     about_," so that he is sometimes among the breakers before
     he can wear ship. Yet we lose in him a most excellent
     critic, an accomplished scholar, and one who graced our
     forlorn drama with what little it has left of good sense and
     gentlemanlike feeling. And so exit he. He made me write some
     lines to speak when he withdraws, and he has been here
     criticising and correcting till he got them quite to his
     mind, which has rather tired me.

     Most truly yours while

                                        Walter SCOTT.

On the 29th of March, 1817, John Philip Kemble, after going through
the round of his chief parts, to the delight of the Edinburgh
audience, took his final leave of them as Macbeth, and in the costume
of that character delivered a farewell address, penned for him by
Scott.[61] No one who witnessed that scene, and heard the lines as
then recited, can ever expect to be again interested to the same
extent by anything occurring within the walls {p.156} of a theatre;
nor was I ever present at any public dinner in all its circumstances
more impressive than was that which occurred a few days afterwards,
when Kemble's Scotch friends and admirers assembled around
him--Francis Jeffrey being chairman, Walter Scott and John Wilson the

              [Footnote 61: See _Poetical Works_, vol. xi. p. 348
              [Cambridge Ed. p. 436]. Scott's farewell for Kemble
              first appeared in _The Sale-Room_ for April 5, 1817; and
              in the introductory note James Ballantyne says: "The
              character fixed upon, with happy propriety, for Kemble's
              closing scene, was Macbeth. He had labored under a
              severe cold for a few days before, but on the memorable
              night the physical annoyance yielded to the energy of
              his mind. 'He was,' he said in the Green-room,
              immediately before the curtain rose, 'determined to
              leave behind him the most perfect specimen of his art
              which he had ever shown;' and his success was complete.
              At the moment of the tyrant's death, the curtain fell by
              the universal acclamation of the audience. The applauses
              were vehement and prolonged; they ceased--were
              resumed--rose again--were reiterated--and again were
              hushed. In a few minutes the curtain ascended, and Mr.
              Kemble came forward, in the dress of Macbeth (the
              audience by a consentaneous movement rising to receive
              him), to deliver his _farewell_." ... "Mr. Kemble
              delivered the lines with exquisite beauty, and with an
              effect that was evidenced by the tears and sobs of many
              of the audience. His own emotions were very conspicuous.
              When his farewell was closed, he lingered long on the
              stage, as if unable to retire. The house again stood up,
              and cheered him with the waving of hats and long shouts
              of applause."]

Shortly before this time, Mr. William Laidlaw had met with
misfortunes, which rendered it necessary for him to give up the lease
of a farm, on which he had been for some years settled, in
Mid-Lothian. He was now anxiously looking about him for some new
establishment, and it occurred to Scott that it might be mutually
advantageous, as well as agreeable, if his excellent friend would
consent to come and occupy a house on his property, and endeavor,
under his guidance, to make such literary exertions as might raise his
income to an amount adequate for his comfort. The prospect of
obtaining such a neighbor was, no doubt, the more welcome to
"Abbotsford and Kaeside," from its opening at this period of
fluctuating health; and Laidlaw, who had for twenty years loved and
revered him, considered the proposal with far greater delight than the
most lucrative appointment on any noble domain in the island could
have afforded him. Though possessed of a lively and searching sagacity
as to things in general, he had always been as to his own worldly
interests simple as a child. His tastes and habits were all modest;
and when he looked forward to spending the remainder of what had not
hitherto been a successful life, under the shadow of the genius that
he had worshipped almost from boyhood, his gentle heart was all
happiness. He surveyed with glistening eyes the humble cottage in
which his friend proposed to lodge him, his wife, and his little ones,
and said to himself that he should write no more sad songs on _Forest

              [Footnote 62: Mr. Laidlaw has not published many verses;
              but his song of _Lucy's Flitting_--a simple and pathetic
              picture of a poor Ettrick maiden's feelings in leaving a
              service where she had been happy--has long been, and
              must ever be, a favorite with all who understand the
              delicacies of the Scottish dialect, and the manners of
              the district in which the scene is laid.]

{p.157} Scott's notes to him at this time afford a truly charming
picture of thoughtful and respectful delicacy on both sides. Mr.
Laidlaw, for example, appears to have hinted that he feared his
friend, in making the proposal as to the house at Kaeside, might have
perhaps in some degree overlooked the feelings of "Laird Moss," who,
having sold his land several months before, had as yet continued to
occupy his old homestead. Scott answers:--


                                        EDINBURGH, April 5, 1817.

     MY DEAR SIR,--Nothing can give me more pleasure than the
     prospect of your making yourself comfortable at Kaeside till
     some good thing casts up. I have not put Mr. Moss to any
     inconvenience, for I only requested an answer, giving him
     leave to sit if he had a mind--and of free will he leaves my
     premises void and redd at Whitsunday. I suspect the house is
     not in good order, but we shall get it brushed up a little.
     Without affectation I consider myself the obliged party in
     this matter--or at any rate it is a mutual benefit, and you
     shall have grass for a cow, and so forth--whatever you want.
     I am sure when you are so near I shall find some literary
     labor for you that will make ends meet. Yours, in haste,

                                        W. SCOTT.

He had before this time made considerable progress in another
historical sketch (that of the year 1815) for the Edinburgh Annual
Register; and the first literary labor which he provided for Laidlaw
appears to have been arranging for the same volume a set of newspaper
articles, usually printed under the head of _Chronicle_, to which were
appended some little extracts of new books of travels, and the like
miscellanies. The Edinburgh {p.158} Monthly Magazine, subsequently
known by the name of its projector, Blackwood, commenced in April of
this year; and one of its editors, Mr. Thomas Pringle, being a
Teviotdale man and an old acquaintance of Laidlaw's, offered to the
latter the care of its _Chronicle department_ also,--not perhaps
without calculating that, in case Laidlaw's connection with the new
journal should become at all a strict one, Scott would be induced to
give it occasionally the benefit of his own literary assistance. He
accordingly did not write--being unwell at the time--but _dictated_ to
Pringle a collection of anecdotes concerning Scottish gypsies, which
attracted a good deal of notice;[63] and, I believe, he also assisted
Laidlaw in drawing up one or more articles on the subject of Scottish
superstitions. But the bookseller and Pringle soon quarrelled, and the
Magazine assuming, on the retirement of the latter, a high Tory
character, Laidlaw's Whig feelings induced him to renounce its
alliance; while Scott, having no kindness for Blackwood personally,
and disapproving (though he chuckled over it) the reckless
extravagance of juvenile satire which, by and by, distinguished his
journal, appears to have easily acquiesced in the propriety of
Laidlaw's determination. I insert meantime a few notes, which will
show with what care and kindness he watched over Laidlaw's operations
for the Annual Register.

              [Footnote 63: These anecdotes were subsequently inserted
              in the Introduction to _Guy Mannering_.]


                                        EDINBURGH, June 16, 1817.

     DEAR SIR,--I enclose you "rare guerdon," better than
     remuneration,--namely, a cheque for £25, for the Chronicle
     part of the Register. The incidents selected should have
     some reference to amusement as well as information, and may
     be occasionally abridged in the narration; but, after all,
     paste and scissors form your principal {p.159} materials.
     You must look out for two or three good original articles;
     and, if you would read and take pains to abridge one or two
     curious books of travels, I would send out the volumes.
     Could I once get the head of the concern fairly round before
     the wind again, I am sure I could make it £100 a year to
     you. In the present instance it will be at least £50.

     Yours truly,

                                        W. S.


                                        EDINBURGH, July 3, 1817.

     MY DEAR SIR,--I send you Adam's and Riley's Travels. You
     will observe I don't want a review of the books, or a detail
     of these persons' adventures, but merely a short article
     expressing the light, direct or doubtful, which they have
     thrown on the interior of Africa. "Recent Discoveries in
     Africa" will be a proper title. I hope to find you
     materially amended, or rather quite stout, when I come out
     on Saturday. I am quite well this morning. Yours, in haste,

                                        W. S.

     P. S.--I add Mariner's Tonga Islands, and Campbell's Voyage.
     Pray take great care of them, as I am a coxcomb about my
     books, and hate specks or spots. Take care of yourself, and
     want for nothing that Abbotsford can furnish.

These notes have carried us down to the middle of the year. But I must
now turn to some others, which show that before Whitsuntide, when
Laidlaw settled at Kaeside, negotiations were on foot respecting
another novel.


                                   ABBOTSFORD, Monday. [April, 1817.]

     DEAR JOHN,--I have a good subject for a work of fiction _in
     petto_. What do you think Constable would give for a smell
     of it? You ran away without taking {p.160} leave the other
     morning, or I wished to have spoken to you about it. I don't
     mean a continuation of Jedediah, because there might be some
     delicacy in putting that by the original publishers. You may
     write if anything occurs to you on this subject. It will not
     interrupt my History. By the way, I have a great lot of the
     Register ready for delivery, and no man asks for it. I shall
     want to pay up some cash at Whitsunday, which will make me
     draw on my brains. Yours truly,

                                        W. SCOTT.


                                   ABBOTSFORD, Saturday, May 3, 1817.

     DEAR JOHN,--I shall be much obliged to you to come here with
     Constable on Monday, as he proposes a visit, and it will
     save time. By the way, you must attend that the usual
     quantity of stock is included in the arrangement--that is
     £600 for 6000 copies. My sum is £1700, payable in May--a
     round advance, by'r Lady, but I think I am entitled to it,
     considering what I have twined off hitherto on such

     I make a point on your coming with Constable, health
     allowing. Yours truly,

                                        W. S.

The result of this meeting is indicated in a note, scribbled by John
Ballantyne at the bottom of the foregoing letter, before it was seen
by his brother the printer:--

                                        Half-past 3 o'clock, Tuesday.

     DEAR JAMES,--I am at this moment returned from Abbotsford,
     with entire and full success. Wish me joy. I shall gain
     above £600--Constable taking my share of stock also. This
     title is _Rob Roy--by the Author of Waverley!!!_ Keep this
     letter for me.

                                        J. B.

On the same page there is written, in fresher ink, which marks, no
doubt, the time when John pasted it into his collection of private
papers now before me,--

     N. B.--I did gain above £1200.--J. B.

{p.161} The title of this novel was suggested by Constable, and he
told me years afterwards the difficulty he had to get it adopted by
the author. "What!" said he, "Mr. Accoucheur, must you be setting up
for Mr. Sponsor too?--but let's hear it." Constable said the name of
the real hero would be the best possible name for the book. "Nay,"
answered Scott, "never let me have to write up to a name. You well
know I have generally adopted a title that told nothing."--The
bookseller, however, persevered; and after the trio had dined, these
scruples gave way.

On rising from table, according to Constable, they sallied out to the
green before the door of the cottage, and all in the highest spirits
enjoyed the fine May evening. John Ballantyne, hopping up and down in
his glee, exclaimed, "Is Rob's gun here, Mr. Scott; would you object
to my trying the auld barrel with a _few de joy_?"--"Nay, Mr. Puff,"
said Scott, "it would burst, and blow you to the devil before your
time."--"Johnny, my man," said Constable, "what the mischief puts
drawing at sight into _your_ head?" Scott laughed heartily at this
innuendo; and then observing that the little man felt somewhat sore,
called attention to the notes of a bird in the adjoining shrubbery.
"And by the bye," said he, as they continued listening, "'tis a long
time, Johnny, since we have had the Cobbler of Kelso." Mr. Puff
forthwith jumped up on a mass of stone, and seating himself in the
proper attitude of one working with his awl, began a favorite
interlude, mimicking a certain son of Crispin, at whose stall Scott
and he had often lingered when they were schoolboys, and a blackbird,
the only companion of his cell, that used to sing to him, while he
talked and whistled to it all day long. With this performance Scott
was always delighted: nothing could be richer than the contrast of the
bird's wild sweet notes, some of which he imitated with wonderful
skill, and the accompaniment of the Cobbler's hoarse cracked {p.162}
voice, uttering all manner of endearing epithets, which Johnny
multiplied and varied in a style worthy of the Old Women in Rabelais
at the birth of Pantagruel. I often wondered that Mathews, who
borrowed so many good things from John Ballantyne, allowed this
Cobbler, which was certainly the masterpiece, to escape him.

Scott himself had probably exceeded that evening the three glasses of
wine sanctioned by his Sangrados. "I never," said Constable, "had
found him so disposed to be communicative about what he meant to do.
Though he had had a return of his illness but the day before, he
continued for an hour or more to walk backwards and forwards on the
green, talking and laughing--he told us he was sure he should make a
hit in a Glasgow weaver, whom he would _ravel up with Rob_; and fairly
outshone the Cobbler, in an extempore dialogue between the bailie and
the cateran--something not unlike what the book gives us as passing in
the Glasgow tolbooth."

Mr. Puff might well exult in the "full and entire success" of this
trip to Abbotsford. His friend had made it a _sine qua non_ with
Constable that he should have a third share in the bookseller's moiety
of the bargain--and though Johnny had no more trouble about the
publishing or selling of Rob Roy than his own Cobbler of Kelso, this
stipulation had secured him a _bonus_ of £1200, before two years
passed. Moreover, one must admire his adroitness in persuading
Constable, during their journey back to Edinburgh, to relieve him of
that fraction of his own old stock, with which his unhazardous share
in the new transaction was burdened. Scott's kindness continued, as
long as John Ballantyne lived, to provide for him a constant
succession of similar advantages at the same easy rate; and Constable,
from deference to Scott's wishes, and from his own liking for the
humorous auctioneer, appears to have submitted with hardly a momentary
grudge to this heavy tax on his most important ventures.

{p.163} The same week Scott received Southey's celebrated letter to
Mr. William Smith, M. P. for Norwich. The poet of Keswick had also
forwarded to him somewhat earlier his Pilgrimage to Waterloo, which
piece contains a touching allusion to the affliction the author had
recently sustained in the death of a fine boy. Scott's letter on this
occasion was as follows:--


                                        SELKIRK, May 9, 1817.

     MY DEAR SOUTHEY,--I have been a strangely negligent
     correspondent for some months past, more especially as I
     have had you rarely out of my thoughts, for I think you will
     hardly doubt of my sincere sympathy in events which have
     happened since I have written. I shed sincere tears over the
     Pilgrimage to Waterloo. But in the crucible of human life,
     the purest gold is tried by the strongest heat, and I can
     only hope for the continuance of your present family
     blessings to one so well formed to enjoy the pure happiness
     they afford. My health has, of late, been very indifferent.
     I was very nearly succumbing under a violent inflammatory
     attack, and still feel the effects of the necessary
     treatment. I believe they took one third of the blood of my
     system, and blistered in proportion: so that both my flesh
     and my blood have been in a woefully reduced state. I got
     out here some weeks since, where, by dint of the insensible
     exercise which one takes in the country, I feel myself
     gathering strength daily, but am still obliged to observe a
     severe regimen. It was not to croak about myself, however,
     that I took up the pen, but to wish you joy of your
     triumphant answer to that coarse-minded William Smith. He
     deserved all he has got, and, to say the truth, you do not
     spare him, and have no cause. His attack seems to have
     proceeded from the vulgar insolence of a low mind desirous
     of attacking genius at disadvantage. It is the ancient and
     eternal strife of which the witch speaks in {p.164}
     Thalaba. Such a man as he, feels he has no alliance with
     such as you, and his evil instincts lead him to treat as
     hostile whatever he cannot comprehend. I met Smith once
     during his stay in Edinburgh,[64] and had, what I seldom
     have with any one in society, a high quarrel with him. His
     mode of travelling had been from one gentleman's seat to
     another, abusing the well-known hospitality of the Highland
     lairds, by taking possession of their houses, even during
     their absence, domineering in them when they were present,
     and not only eating the dinner of to-day, but requiring that
     the dinner of to-morrow should also be made ready and
     carried forward with him, to save the expense of inns. All
     this was no business of mine, but when, in the middle of a
     company consisting of those to whom he had owed this
     hospitality, he abused the country, of which he knew
     little--the language, of which he knew nothing--and the
     people, who have their faults, but are a much more harmless,
     moral, and at the same time high-spirited population, than,
     I venture to say, he ever lived amongst--I thought it was
     really too bad, and so e'en took up the debate, and gave it
     him over the knuckles as smartly as I could. Your pamphlet,
     therefore, fed fat my ancient grudge against him as well as
     the modern one, for you cannot doubt that my blood boiled at
     reading the report of his speech. Enough of this gentleman,
     who, I think, will not walk out of the round in a hurry
     again, to slander the conduct of individuals.

              [Footnote 64: Scott's meeting with this Mr. Smith
              occurred at the table of his friend and colleague,
              Hector Macdonald Buchanan. The company, except Scott and
              Smith, were all, like their hospitable landlord,

     I am at present writing at our head-court of freeholders--a
     set of quiet, unpretending, but sound-judging country
     gentlemen, and whose opinions may be very well taken as a
     fair specimen of those men of sense and honor, who are not
     likely to be dazzled by literary talent, which {p.165} lies
     out of their beat, and who, therefore, cannot be of partial
     counsel in the cause; and I never heard an opinion more
     generally, and even warmly expressed, than that your
     triumphant vindication brands Smith as a slanderer in all
     time coming. I think you may not be displeased to know this,
     because what men of keen feelings and literary pursuits must
     have felt, cannot be unknown to you, and you may not have
     the same access to know the impression made upon the general
     class of society.

     I have to thank you for the continuation of the History of
     Brazil--one of your gigantic labors; the fruit of a mind so
     active, yet so patient of labor. I am not yet far advanced
     in the second volume, reserving it usually for my hour's
     amusement in the evening, as children keep their dainties
     for _bonne bouche_: but as far as I have come, it possesses
     all the interest of the commencement, though a more
     faithless and worthless set than both Dutch and Portuguese I
     have never read of; and it requires your knowledge of the
     springs of human action, and your lively description of
     "hair-breadth 'scapes," to make one care whether the hog
     bites the dog, or the dog bites the hog. Both nations were
     in rapid declension from their short-lived age of heroism,
     and in the act of experiencing all those retrograde
     movements which are the natural consequence of selfishness
     on the one hand, and bigotry on the other.

     I am glad to see you are turning your mind to the state of
     the poor. Should you enter into details on the subject of
     the best mode of assisting them, I would be happy to tell
     you the few observations I have made--not on a very small
     scale neither, considering my fortune, for I have kept about
     thirty of the laborers in my neighborhood in constant
     employment this winter. This I do not call charity, because
     they executed some extensive plantations and other works,
     which I could never have got done so cheaply, and which I
     always intended {p.166} one day to do. But neither was it
     altogether selfish on my part, because I was putting myself
     to inconvenience in incurring the expense of several years
     at once, and certainly would not have done so, but to serve
     mine honest neighbors, who were likely to want work but for
     such exertion. From my observation, I am inclined greatly to
     doubt the salutary effect of the scheme generally adopted in
     Edinburgh and elsewhere for relieving the poor. At
     Edinburgh, they are employed on public works at so much a
     day--tenpence, I believe, or one shilling, with an advance
     to those who have families. This rate is fixed below that of
     ordinary wages, in order that no person may be employed but
     those who really cannot find work elsewhere. But it is
     attended with this bad effect, that the people regard it
     partly as charity, which is humiliating--and partly as an
     imposition, in taking their labor below its usual salable
     value; to which many add a third view of the
     subject--namely, that this sort of half-pay is not given
     them for the purpose of working, but to prevent their rising
     in rebellion. None of these misconceptions are favorable to
     hard labor, and the consequence is, that I never have seen
     such a set of idle _fainéants_ as those employed on this
     system in the public works, and I am sure that,
     notwithstanding the very laudable intention of those who
     subscribed to form the fund, and the yet more praiseworthy,
     because more difficult, exertions of those who superintend
     it, the issue of the scheme will occasion full as much
     mischief as good to the people engaged in it. Private
     gentlemen, acting on something like a similar system, may
     make it answer better, because they have not the lazy dross
     of a metropolis to contend with--because they have fewer
     hands to manage--and, above all, because an individual
     always manages his own concerns better than those of the
     country can be managed. Yet all who have employed those who
     were distressed for want of work at under wages, have had,
     less or more, similar complaints to make. I {p.167} think I
     have avoided this in my own case, by inviting the country
     people to do piece-work by the contract. Two things only are
     necessary--one is, that the nature of the work should be
     such as will admit of its being ascertained, when finished,
     to have been substantially executed. All sort of spade-work
     and hoe-work, with many other kinds of country labor, fall
     under this description, and the employer can hardly be
     cheated in the execution if he keeps a reasonable lookout.
     The other point is, to take care that the undertakers, in
     their anxiety for employment, do not take the job too cheap.
     A little acquaintance with country labor will enable one to
     regulate this; but it is an essential point, for if you do
     not keep them to their bargain, it is making a jest of the
     thing, and forfeiting the very advantage you have in
     view--that, namely, of inducing the laborer to bring his
     heart and spirit to his work. But this he will do where he
     has a fair bargain, which is to prove a good or bad one
     according to his own exertions. In this case you make the
     poor man his own friend, for the profits of his good conduct
     are all his own. It is astonishing how partial the people
     are to this species of contract, and how diligently they
     labor, acquiring or maintaining all the while those habits
     which render them honorable and useful members of society. I
     mention this to you, because the rich, much to their honor,
     do not, in general, require to be so much stimulated to
     benevolence, as to be directed in the most useful way to
     exert it.

     I have still a word to say about the poor of our own parish
     of Parnassus. I have been applied to by a very worthy
     friend, Mr. Scott of Sinton, in behalf of an unfortunate Mr.
     Gilmour, who, it seems, has expended a little fortune in
     printing, upon his own account, poems which, from the sample
     I saw, seem exactly to answer the description of Dean
     Swift's country house:--

          "Too bad for a blessing, too good for a curse,
           I wish from my soul they were better or worse."

     {p.168} But you are the dean of our corporation, and, I am
     informed, take some interest in this poor gentleman. If you
     can point out any way in which I can serve him, I am sure my
     inclination is not wanting, but it looks like a very
     hopeless case. I beg my kindest respects to Mrs. Southey,
     and am always sincerely and affectionately yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

About this time Hogg took possession of Altrive Lake, and some of his
friends in Edinburgh set on foot a subscription edition of his Queen's
Wake (at a guinea each copy), in the hope of thus raising a sum
adequate to the stocking of the little farm. The following letter
alludes to this affair; and also to the death of Frances, Lady
Douglas, sister to Duke Henry of Buccleuch, whose early kindness to
Scott has been more than once mentioned.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, June 8, 1817.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I am honored with your letter, and will not
     fail to take care that the Shepherd profits by your kind
     intentions, and those of Lady Montagu. This is a scheme
     which I did not devise, for I fear it will end in
     disappointment, but for which I have done, and will do, all
     I possibly can. There is an old saying of the seamen's,
     "Every man is not born to be a boatswain," and I think I
     have heard of men born under a sixpenny planet, and doomed
     never to be worth a groat. I fear something of this vile
     sixpenny influence had gleamed in at the cottage window when
     poor Hogg first came squeaking into the world. All that he
     made by his original book he ventured on a flock of sheep to
     drive into the Highlands to a farm he had taken there, but
     of which he could not get possession, so that all the stock
     was ruined and sold to disadvantage. Then he tried another
     farm, which proved too dear, so that he fairly broke upon
     it. Then put forth divers publications, {p.169} which had
     little sale--and brought him accordingly few pence, though
     some praise. Then came this Queen's Wake, by which he might
     and ought to have made from £100 to £200--for there were, I
     think, three editions--when lo! his bookseller turned
     bankrupt, and paid him never a penny. The Duke has now, with
     his wonted generosity, given him a cosie bield, and the
     object of the present attack upon the public is to get if
     possible as much cash together as will stock it. But no one
     has loose guineas now to give poor poets, and I greatly
     doubt the scheme succeeding, unless it is more strongly
     patronized than can almost be expected. In bookselling
     matters, an author must either be the conjurer, who commands
     the devil, or the witch who serves him--and few are they
     whose situation is sufficiently independent to enable them
     to assume the higher character--and this is injurious to the
     indigent author in every respect, for not only is he obliged
     to turn his pen to every various kind of composition, and so
     to injure himself with the public by writing hastily, and on
     subjects unfitted for his genius; but, moreover, those
     honest gentlemen, the booksellers, from a natural
     association, consider the books as of least value, which
     they find they can get at least expense of copy-money, and
     therefore are proportionally careless in pushing the sale of
     the work. Whereas a good round sum out of their purse, like
     a moderate rise of rent on a farm, raises the work thus
     acquired in their own eyes, and serves as a spur to make
     them clear away every channel, by which they can discharge
     their quires upon the public. So much for bookselling, the
     most ticklish and unsafe and hazardous of all professions,
     scarcely with the exception of horse-jockeyship.

     You cannot doubt the sincere interest I take in Lady
     Montagu's health. I was very glad to learn from the Duke,
     that the late melancholy event had produced no permanent
     effect on her constitution, as I know how {p.170} much her
     heart must have suffered.[65] I saw our regretted friend for
     the last time at the Theatre, and made many schemes to be at
     Bothwell this next July. But thus the world glides from us,
     and those we most love and honor are withdrawn from the
     stage before us. I know not why it was that among the few
     for whom I had so much respectful regard, I never had
     associated the idea of early deprivation with Lady Douglas.
     Her excellent sense, deep information, and the wit which she
     wielded with so much good-humor, were allied apparently to a
     healthy constitution, which might have permitted us to
     enjoy, and be instructed by her society for many years. _Dis
     aliter visum_, and the recollection dwelling on all the
     delight which she afforded to society, and the good which
     she did in private life, is what now remains to us of her
     wit, wisdom, and benevolence. The Duke keeps his usual
     health, with always just so much of the gout, however, as
     would make me wish that he had more--a kind wish, for which
     I do not observe that he is sufficiently grateful. I hope to
     spend a few days at Drumlanrig Castle, when that ancient
     mansion shall have so far limited its courtesy as to stand
     covered in the presence of the wind and rain, which I
     believe is not yet the case. I am no friend to ceremony, and
     like a house as well when it does not carry its roof _en
     chapeau bras_. I heartily wish your Lordship joy of the new
     mansion at Ditton, and hope my good stars will permit me to
     pay my respects there one day. The discovery of the niches
     certainly bodes good luck to the house of Montagu, and as
     there are three of them, I presume it is to come threefold.
     From the care with which they were concealed, I presume they
     had been closed in the days of Cromwell, or a little before,
     and that the artist employed (like the {p.171} General, who
     told his soldiers to fight bravely against the Pope, since
     they were Venetians before they were Christians) had more
     professional than religious zeal, and did not even,
     according to the practice of the time, think it necessary to
     sweep away Popery with the besom of destruction.[66] I am
     here on a stolen visit of two days, and find my mansion
     gradually enlarging. Thanks to Mr. Atkinson (who found out a
     practical use for our romantic theory), it promises to make
     a comfortable station for offering your Lordship and Lady
     Montagu a pilgrim's meal, when you next visit Melrose Abbey,
     and that without any risk of your valet (who I recollect is
     a substantial person) sticking between the wall of the
     parlor and the backs of the chairs placed round the table.
     This literally befell Sir Harry Macdougal's fat butler, who
     looked like a ship of the line in the loch at Bowhill,
     altogether unlike his master, who could glide wherever a
     weasel might make his way. Mr. Atkinson has indeed been more
     attentive than I can express, when I consider how valuable
     his time must be.[67] We are attempting no castellated
     conundrums to rival those Lord Napier used to have executed
     in sugar, when he was Commissioner, and no cottage neither,
     but an irregular somewhat--like an old English hall, in
     which your squire of £500 a year used to drink his ale in
     days of yore.

              [Footnote 65: Lady Montagu was the daughter of the late
              Lord Douglas by his first marriage with Lady Lucy
              Graham, daughter of the second Duke of Montrose.]

              [Footnote 66: Lord Montagu's house at Ditton Park, near
              Windsor, had recently been destroyed by fire--and the
              ruins revealed some niches with antique candlesticks,
              etc., belonging to a domestic chapel that had been
              converted to other purposes from the time, I believe, of
              Henry VIII.]

              [Footnote 67: Mr. Atkinson, of St. John's Wood, was the
              architect of Lord Montagu's new mansion at Ditton, as
              well as the artist ultimately employed in arranging
              Scott's interior at Abbotsford.]

     I am making considerable plantations (that is, considering),
     being greatly encouraged by the progress of those I formerly
     laid out. Read the veracious Gulliver's account of the
     Windsor Forest of Lilliput, and you will {p.172} have some
     idea of the solemn gloom of my Druid shades. Your Lordship's
     truly faithful

                                        Walter SCOTT.

     This is the 8th of June, and not an ash-tree in leaf yet.
     The country cruelly backward, and whole fields destroyed by
     the grub. I dread this next season.


     Excursion to the Lennox, Glasgow, and Drumlanrig. --
     Purchase of Toftfield. -- Establishment of the Ferguson
     Family at Huntly Burn. -- Lines Written in Illness. --
     Visits of Washington Irving, Lady Byron, and Sir David
     Wilkie. -- Progress of the Building at Abbotsford. --
     Letters to Morritt, Terry, etc. -- Conclusion of Rob Roy.


During the summer term of 1817, Scott seems to have labored chiefly on
his History of 1815 for the Register, which was published in August;
but he also found time to draw up the Introduction for a richly
embellished quarto, entitled Border Antiquities, which came out a
month later. This valuable essay, containing large additions to the
information previously embodied in the Minstrelsy, has been included
in the late collection of his Miscellaneous Prose, and has thus
obtained a circulation not to be expected for it in the original
costly form.

Upon the rising of the Court in July, he made an excursion to the
Lennox, chiefly that he might visit a cave at the head of Loch Lomond,
said to have been a favorite retreat of his hero, Rob Roy. He was
accompanied to the seat of his friend, Mr. Macdonald Buchanan, by
Captain Adam Ferguson--the _long Linton_ of the days of his
apprenticeship; and thence to Glasgow, where, under the auspices of a
kind and intelligent acquaintance, Mr. John Smith, bookseller, he
refreshed his recollection of the noble cathedral, and other
localities of the birthplace of Bailie Jarvie. Mr. Smith took care
also {p.174} to show the tourists the most remarkable novelties in
the great manufacturing establishments of his flourishing city; and he
remembers particularly the delight which Scott expressed on seeing the
process of _singeing_ muslin--that is, of divesting the finished web
of all superficial knots and irregularities, by passing it, with the
rapidity of lightning, over a bar of red-hot iron. "The man that
imagined this," said Scott, "was _the Shakespeare of the Wabsters_,--

  'Things out of hope are compass'd oft with vent'ring.'"[68]

              [Footnote 68: Shakespeare's Poems--_Venus and Adonis_.]

The following note indicates the next stages of his progress:--


                                SANQUHAR, 2 o'clock, July 30,[69] 1817.

  From Ross, where the clouds on Benlomond are sleeping--
  From Greenock, where Clyde to the Ocean is sweeping--
  From Largs, where the Scotch gave the Northmen a drilling--
  From Ardrossan, whose harbor cost many a shilling--
  From Old Cumnock, where beds are as hard as a plank, sir--
  From a chop and green pease, and a chicken in Sanquhar,
  This eve, please the Fates, at Drumlanrig we anchor.

                                        W. S.

              [Footnote 69: [A misprint of some earlier date, possibly
              the _16th_. See the more detailed account of Scott's
              movements at this time, to be found in _Familiar
              Letters_, vol. i. pp. 432-436.]]

The Poet and Captain Ferguson remained a week at Drumlanrig, and
thence repaired together to Abbotsford. By this time, the foundations
of that part of the existing house, which extends from the hall
westwards to the original courtyard, had been laid; and Scott now
found a new source of constant occupation in watching the proceedings
of his masons. He had, moreover, no lack of employment further
a-field,--for he was now negotiating with another neighboring
landowner for the purchase of an addition, of more consequence than
any he had hitherto {p.175} made, to his estate. In the course of the
autumn he concluded this matter, and became, for the price of £10,000,
proprietor of the lands of _Toftfield_,[70] on which there had
recently been erected a substantial mansion-house, fitted, in all
points, for the accommodation of a genteel family. This circumstance
offered a temptation which much quickened Scott's zeal for completing
his arrangement. The venerable Professor Ferguson had died a year
before; Captain Adam Ferguson was at home on half-pay; and Scott now
saw the means of securing for himself, henceforth, the immediate
neighborhood of the companion of his youth, and his amiable sisters.
Ferguson, who had written, from the lines of Torres Vedras, his hopes
of finding, when the war should be over, some sheltering cottage upon
the Tweed, within a walk of Abbotsford, was delighted to see his
dreams realized; and the family took up their residence next spring at
the new house of Toftfield, on which Scott then bestowed, at the
ladies' request, the name of Huntly Burn: this more harmonious
designation being taken from the mountain brook which passes through
its grounds and garden,--the same famous in tradition as the scene of
Thomas the Rhymer's interviews with the Queen of Fairy. The upper part
of the _Rhymer's Glen_, through which this brook finds its way from
the Cauldshiels Loch to Toftfield, had been included in a previous
purchase. He was now master of all these haunts of "True Thomas," and
of the whole ground of the battle of Melrose, from _Skirmish-field_ to
_Turn-again_. His enjoyment of the new territories was, however,
interrupted by various returns of his cramp, and the depression of
spirit which always attended, in his case, the use of opium, {p.176}
the only medicine that seemed to have power over the disease.[71]

              [Footnote 70: On completing this purchase, Scott writes
              to John Ballantyne:--"DEAR JOHN,--I have closed with
              Usher for his beautiful patrimony, which makes me a
              great laird. I am afraid the people will take me up for
              coining. Indeed, these novels, while their attractions
              last, are something like it. I am very glad of _your_
              good prospects. Still I cry, _Prudence!
              Prudence!_--Yours truly,
                                        W. S."]

              [Footnote 71: [On August 1, 1817, Jeffrey writes to
              Scott, asking if he could not be induced to write a
              notice of Mr. C. K. Sharpe's edition of Kirkton's
              _Secret and True History of the Church of Scotland_, for
              the _Edinburgh Review_, to which Scott replies, August

              "I flatter myself it will not require many protestations
              to assure you with what pleasure I would undertake any
              book that can give you pleasure; but in the present case
              I am hampered by two circumstances: one, that I promised
              Gifford a review of this very Kirkton for the
              _Quarterly_; the other that I shall certainly be unable
              to keep my word with him. I am obliged to take exercise
              three or four hours in the forenoon and two after
              dinner, to keep off the infernal spasms which since last
              winter have attacked me with such violence, as if all
              the imps that used to plague poor Caliban were washing,
              wringing, and ironing the unshapely but useful bag which
              Sir John Sinclair treats with such distinction--my
              stomach, in short. Now, as I have much to do of my own,
              I fear I can hardly be of use to you in the present
              case, which I am very sorry for, as I like the subject,
              and would be pleased to give my own opinion respecting
              the Jacobitism of the editor, which, like my own, has a
              good spice of affectation in it, mingled with some not
              unnatural feelings of respect for a cause which, though
              indefensible in common sense and ordinary policy, has a
              great deal of high-spirited Quixotry about it.

              "Can you not borrow from your briefs and criticism a
              couple of days to look about you here? I dare not ask
              Mrs. Jeffrey till next year, when my hand will be out of
              the mortar-tub; and at present my only spare bed was
              till of late but accessible by the feudal accommodation
              of a drawbridge made of two deals, and still requires
              the clue of Ariadne.... I am like one of Miss
              Edgeworth's heroines, master of all things in
              miniature--a little hill, and a little glen, and a
              little horse-pond of a loch, and a little river, I was
              going to call it,--the Tweed; but I remember the
              minister was mobbed by his parishioners for terming it,
              in his statistical report, an inconsiderable stream. So
              pray do come and see me, and if I can stead you, or
              pleasure you, in the course of the winter, you shall
              command me."--Cockburn's _Life of Jeffrey_, vol. i p.

It was while struggling with such languor, on one lovely evening of
this autumn, that he composed the following beautiful verses. They
mark the very spot of their birth,--namely, the then naked height
overhanging the northern side of the Cauldshiels Loch, from which
Melrose Abbey to the eastward, and the hills of Ettrick and Yarrow to
the west, are now visible over a wide range of rich woodland,--all the
work of the poet's hand:--

  {p.177} "The sun upon the Weirdlaw Hill,
             In Ettrick's vale, is sinking sweet;
           The westland wind is hush and still--
             The lake lies sleeping at my feet.
           Yet not the landscape to mine eye
             Bears those bright hues that once it bore;
           Though evening, with her richest dye,
             Flames o'er the hills of Ettrick's shore.

           "With listless look along the plain
             I see Tweed's silver current glide,
           And coldly mark the holy fane
             Of Melrose rise in ruin'd pride.
           The quiet lake, the balmy air,
             The hill, the stream, the tower, the tree,--
           Are they still such as once they were,
             Or is the dreary change in me?

           "Alas! the warp'd and broken board,
             How can it bear the painter's dye!
           The harp of strain'd and tuneless chord,
             How to the minstrel's skill reply!
           To aching eyes each landscape lowers,
             To feverish pulse each gale blows chill;
           And Araby's or Eden's bowers
             Were barren as this moorland hill."

He again alludes to his illness in a letter to Mr. Morritt:--

     TO J. B. S. MORRITT, ESQ., M. P., ROKEBY.

                                        ABBOTSFORD, August 11, 1817.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I am arrived from a little tour in the
     west of Scotland, and had hoped, in compliance with your
     kind wish, to have indulged myself with a skip over the
     Border as far as Rokeby, about the end of this month. But my
     fate denies me this pleasure; for, in consequence of one or
     two blunders, during my absence, in executing my new
     premises, I perceive the necessity of remaining at the helm
     while they are going on. Our masons, though excellent
     workmen, are too little accustomed to the gimcracks of their
     art, to be trusted with the execution of a _bravura_ plan,
     without constant inspection. Besides, the said laborers lay
     me under the necessity {p.178} of laboring a little myself;
     and I find I can no longer with impunity undertake to make
     one week's hard work supply the omissions of a fortnight's
     idleness. Like you, I have abridged my
     creature-comforts,--as Old Mortality would call
     them,--renouncing beer and ale on all ordinary occasions;
     also pastry, fruit, etc., and all that tends to acidity.
     These are awkward warnings; but _sat est vixisse_. To have
     lived respected and regarded by some of the best men in our
     age is enough for an individual like me; the rest must be as
     God wills, and when He wills.

     The poor-laws, into which you have ventured for the love of
     the country, form a sad quagmire. They are like John
     Bunyan's Slough of Despond, into which, as he observes,
     millions of cart-loads of good resolutions have been thrown,
     without perceptibly mending the way. From what you say, and
     from what I have heard from others, there is a very natural
     desire to trust to one or two empirical remedies, such as
     general systems of education, and so forth. But a man with a
     broken constitution might as well put faith in Spilsbury or
     Godbold. It is not the knowledge, but the use which is made
     of it, that is productive of real benefit. To say that the
     Scottish peasant is less likely than the Englishman to
     become an incumbrance on his parish, is saying, in other
     words, that this country is less populous,--that there are
     fewer villages and towns,--that the agricultural classes,
     from the landed proprietor down to the cottager, are
     individually more knit and cemented together;--above all,
     that the Scotch peasant has harder habits of life, and can
     endure from his infancy a worse fare and lodging than your
     parish almshouses offer.--There is a terrible evil in
     England to which we are strangers,--the number, to wit, of
     tippling-houses, where the laborer, as a matter of course,
     spends the overplus of his earnings. In Scotland there are
     few; and the Justices are commendably inexorable in
     rejecting all application for licenses where {p.179} there
     appears no public necessity for granting them. A man,
     therefore, cannot easily spend much money in liquor, since
     he must walk three or four miles to the place of suction and
     back again, which infers a sort of _malice prepense_ of
     which few are capable; and the habitual opportunity of
     indulgence not being at hand, the habits of intemperance,
     and of waste connected with it, are not acquired. If
     financiers would admit a general limitation of the
     ale-houses over England to one fourth of the number, I am
     convinced you would find the money spent in that manner
     would remain with the peasant, as a source of self-support
     and independence.

     All this applies chiefly to the country;--in towns, and in
     the manufacturing districts, the evil could hardly be
     diminished by such regulations. There would, perhaps, be no
     means so effectual as that (which will never be listened to)
     of taxing the manufacturers according to the number of hands
     which they employ on an average, and applying the produce in
     maintaining the manufacturing poor. If it should be alleged
     that this would injure the manufacturers, I would boldly
     reply,--"And why not injure, or rather limit, speculations,
     the excessive stretch of which has been productive of so
     much damage to the principles of the country, and to the
     population, whom it has, in so many respects, degraded and
     demoralized?" For a great many years, manufactures, taken in
     a general point of view, have not partaken of the character
     of a regular profession, in which all who engaged with
     honest industry and a sufficient capital might reasonably
     expect returns proportional to their advances and labor--but
     have, on the contrary, rather resembled a lottery, in which
     the great majority of the adventurers are sure to be losers,
     although some may draw considerable advantage. Men continued
     for a great many years to exert themselves, and to pay
     extravagant wages, not in hopes that there could be a
     reasonable prospect of an orderly and regular demand for the
     goods they wrought {p.180} up, but in order that they might
     be the first to take advantage of some casual opening which
     might consume their cargo, let others shift as they could.
     Hence extravagant wages on some occasions; for these
     adventurers who thus played at hit or miss, stood on no
     scruples while the chance of success remained open. Hence,
     also, the stoppage of work, and the discharge of the
     workmen, when the speculators failed of their object. All
     this while the country was the sufferer;--for whoever
     gained, the result, being upon the whole a loss, fell on the
     nation, together with the task of maintaining a poor,
     rendered effeminate and vicious by over-wages and
     over-living, and necessarily cast loose upon society. I
     cannot but think that the necessity of making some fund
     beforehand, for the provision of those whom they debauch,
     and render only fit for the almshouse, in prosecution of
     their own adventures, though it operated as a check on the
     increase of manufactures, would be a measure just in itself,
     and beneficial to the community. But it would never be
     listened to;--the weaver's beam, and the sons of Zeruiah,
     would be too many for the proposers.

     This is the eleventh of August: Walter, happier than he will
     ever be again, perhaps, is preparing for the moors. He has a
     better dog than Trout, and rather less active. Mrs. Scott
     and all our family send kind love.

     Yours ever,

                                        W. S.

Two or three days after this letter was written, Scott first saw
Washington Irving, who has recorded his visit in a delightful Essay,
which, however, having been penned nearly twenty years afterwards,
betrays a good many slips of memory as to names and dates. Mr. Irving
says he arrived at Abbotsford on the 27th of August, 1816; but he
describes the walls of the new house as already overtopping the old
cottage; and this is far from being the only circumstance he mentions
which {p.181} proves that he should have written 1817.[72] The
picture which my amiable friend has drawn of his reception shows to
all who remember the Scott and the Abbotsford of those days, how
consistent accuracy as to essentials may be with forgetfulness of

              [Footnote 72: I have before me two letters of Mr.
              Irving's to Scott, both written in September, 1817, from
              Edinburgh, and referring to his visit (which certainly
              was his only one at Abbotsford) as immediately
              preceding. There is also in my hands a letter from Scott
              to his friend John Richardson, of Fludyer Street, dated
              22d September, 1817, in which he says, "When you see Tom
              Campbell, tell him, with my best love, that I have to
              thank him for making me known to Mr. Washington Irving,
              who is one of the best and pleasantest acquaintances I
              have made this many a day."]

Scott had received The History of New York by Knickerbocker, shortly
after its appearance in 1812, from an accomplished American traveller,
Mr. Brevoort; and the admirable humor of this early work had led him
to anticipate the brilliant career which its author has since run. Mr.
Thomas Campbell, being no stranger to Scott's high estimation of
Irving's genius, gave him a letter of introduction, which, halting his
chaise on the high-road above Abbotsford, he modestly sent down to the
house, "with a card, on which he had written, that he was on his way
to the ruins of Melrose, and wished to know whether it would be
agreeable to Mr. Scott to receive a visit from him in the course of
the morning." Scott's family well remember the delight with which he
received this announcement:--he was at breakfast, and sallied forth
instantly, dogs and children after him as usual, to greet the guest,
and conduct him in person from the highway to the door.

     "The noise of my chaise," says Irving, "had disturbed the
     quiet of the establishment. Out sallied the warder of the
     castle, a black greyhound, and leaping on one of the blocks
     of stone, began a furious barking. This alarm brought out
     the whole garrison of dogs, all open-mouthed and vociferous.
     In a little while, the lord of the castle himself made his
     appearance. I knew him at once, by the likenesses that had
     been {p.182} published of him. He came limping up the
     gravel walk, aiding himself by a stout walking staff, but
     moving rapidly and with vigor. By his side jogged along a
     large iron-gray staghound, of most grave demeanor, who took
     no part in the clamor of the canine rabble, but seemed to
     consider himself bound, for the dignity of the house, to
     give me a courteous reception.

     "Before Scott reached the gate, he called out in a hearty
     tone, welcoming me to Abbotsford, and asking news of
     Campbell. Arrived at the door of the chaise, he grasped me
     warmly by the hand: 'Come, drive down, drive down to the
     house,' said he; 'ye're just in time for breakfast, and
     afterwards ye shall see all the wonders of the Abbey.'

     "I would have excused myself on the plea of having already
     made my breakfast. 'Hut, man,' cried he, 'a ride in the
     morning in the keen air of the Scotch hills is warrant
     enough for a second breakfast.'

     "I was accordingly whirled to the portal of the cottage, and
     in a few moments found myself seated at the breakfast-table.
     There was no one present but the family, which consisted of
     Mrs. Scott; her eldest daughter, Sophia, then a fine girl
     about seventeen; Miss Anne Scott, two or three years
     younger; Walter, a well-grown stripling; and Charles, a
     lively boy, eleven or twelve years of age.

     "I soon felt myself quite at home, and my heart in a glow,
     with the cordial welcome I experienced. I had thought to
     make a mere morning visit, but found I was not to be let off
     so lightly. 'You must not think our neighborhood is to be
     read in a morning like a newspaper,' said Scott; 'it takes
     several days of study for an observant traveller, that has a
     relish for auld-world trumpery. After breakfast you shall
     make your visit to Melrose Abbey; I shall not be able to
     accompany you, as I have some household affairs to attend
     to; but I will put you in charge of my son Charles, who is
     very learned in all things touching the old ruin and the
     neighborhood it stands in; and he and my friend Johnnie
     Bower will tell you the whole truth about it, with a great
     deal more that you are not called upon to believe, unless
     you be a true and nothing-doubting antiquary. When you come
     back, I'll take you out on a ramble about the neighborhood.
     To-morrow we will take a {p.183} look at the Yarrow, and
     the next day we will drive over to Dryburgh Abbey, which is
     a fine old ruin, well worth your seeing.'--In a word, before
     Scott had got through with his plan, I found myself
     committed for a visit of several days, and it seemed as if a
     little realm of romance was suddenly open before me."

After breakfast, while Scott, no doubt, wrote a chapter of Rob Roy,
Mr. Irving, under young Charles's guidance, saw Melrose Abbey, and
Johnnie Bower the elder, whose son long since inherited his office as
showman of the ruins, and all his enthusiasm about them and their
poet. The senior on this occasion was loud in his praises of the
affability of Scott. "He'll come here sometimes," said he, "with great
folks in his company, and the first I'll know of it is hearing his
voice calling out Johnnie!--Johnnie Bower!--and when I go out I'm sure
to be greeted with a joke or a pleasant word. He'll stand and crack,
an' laugh wi' me just like an auld wife,--and _to think that of a man
that has such an awfu' knowledge o' history!_"[73]

              [Footnote 73: [From the journal of three English ladies,
              travellers in Scotland in the summer of 1817, we get
              another glimpse of Johnnie Bower, and a pleasant sketch
              of Sophia Scott:--

              "In the chancel Miss Scott, a very charming, lively girl
              of seventeen, pointed out to us 'The Wizard's Grave,'
              and then the black stone in the form of a coffin, to
              which the allusion is made in the poem, 'A Scottish
              monarch sleeps below,'--said to be the tomb of Alexander
              II. 'But I will tell you a secret,' she half whispered;
              'only don't you tell Johnnie Bower. There is no Scottish
              monarch there at all, nor anybody else, for papa had the
              stone taken up, not long ago, and no coffin nor anything
              was to be found. And then Johnnie came and begged me not
              to tell people so. "For what wull I do, Miss Scott, when
              I show the ruins, if I canna point to this bit, and say,
              'A Scottish monarch sleeps below'?"' As, however, he had
              the pleasure of saying this to us the evening before,
              Miss Scott thought we might fairly have her secret....

              "We now set out for Dryburgh, about five miles. Mr.
              Scott placed his daughter in our carriage, that she
              might point out the different places as we passed them.
              We could not have had a better director, nor a more
              lively, entertaining companion. Every spot was known to
              her, and in this fairyland her quick imagination seemed
              to delight in all the legendary lore she had heard, and
              could so promptly apply.... At the view of some distant
              mountains, Miss Scott suddenly exclaimed, 'Look, there
              are the Cheviots; are you not glad to see England
              again?' We assured her we were, though we should quit
              Scotland with so much regret. 'Well,' she said, 'I
              should not have liked you if you were not glad to return
              home.' Her father had taken her to London the year
              before, and she was delighted to get back again, and to
              hail the Cheviots on her return. It was plain to see she
              was her father's darling, and she talked of him with
              enthusiasm. She has a very natural, unaffected
              character, with a strong tincture of romantic feeling,
              which seemed judiciously kept in check by him, as she
              said he did not allow her to read much poetry, nor had
              she even read all his own poems, which were never to be
              found _in the way_, at their house. She spoke of her
              sister and her brothers, with a warmth of affection very
              pleasing. On asking what was become of Camp, she shook
              her head, and said he was dead. 'You must never come to
              Abbotsford when any of the dogs die, for there is a sad
              weeping amongst us all.'"--Lang's _Life of Lockhart_,
              vol. i. pp. 232-234.]]

{p.184} On his return from the Abbey, Irving found Scott ready for a
ramble. I cannot refuse myself the pleasure of extracting some parts
of his description of it.

     "As we sallied forth, every dog in the establishment turned
     out to attend us. There was the old staghound, Maida, that I
     have already mentioned, a noble animal, and Hamlet, the
     black greyhound, a wild thoughtless youngster, not yet
     arrived at the years of discretion; and Finette, a beautiful
     setter, with soft, silken hair, long pendent ears, and a
     mild eye, the parlor favorite. When in front of the house,
     we were joined by a superannuated greyhound, who came from
     the kitchen wagging his tail; and was cheered by Scott as an
     old friend and comrade. In our walks, he would frequently
     pause in conversation, to notice his dogs, and speak to them
     as if rational companions; and, indeed, there appears to be
     a vast deal of rationality in these faithful attendants on
     man, derived from their close intimacy with him. Maida
     deported himself with a gravity becoming his age and size,
     and seemed to consider himself called upon to preserve a
     great degree of dignity and decorum in our society. As he
     jogged along a little distance ahead of us, the young dogs
     would gambol about him, leap on his neck, worry at his ears,
     and endeavor to tease him into a gambol. The old dog would
     keep on for a long time with imperturbable solemnity, now
     and then seeming to rebuke the wantonness of his young
     companions. At length he would make a sudden turn, seize one
     of them, and tumble him in the dust, then giving a {p.185}
     glance at us, as much as to say, 'You see, gentlemen, I
     can't help giving way to this nonsense,' would resume his
     gravity, and jog on as before. Scott amused himself with
     these peculiarities. 'I make no doubt,' said he, 'when Maida
     is alone with these young dogs, he throws gravity aside, and
     plays the boy as much as any of them; but he is ashamed to
     do so in our company, and seems to say--Ha' done with your
     nonsense, youngsters: what will the laird and that other
     gentleman think of me if I give way to such foolery?'

     "Scott amused himself with the peculiarities of another of
     his dogs, a little shamefaced terrier, with large glassy
     eyes, one of the most sensitive little bodies to insult and
     indignity in the world. 'If ever he whipped him,' he said,
     'the little fellow would sneak off and hide himself from the
     light of day in a lumber garret, from whence there was no
     drawing him forth but by the sound of the chopping-knife, as
     if chopping up his victuals, when he would steal forth with
     humiliated and downcast look, but would skulk away again if
     any one regarded him.'

     "While we were discussing the humors and peculiarities of
     our canine companions, some object provoked their spleen,
     and produced a sharp and petulant barking from the smaller
     fry; but it was some time before Maida was sufficiently
     roused to ramp forward two or three bounds, and join the
     chorus with a deep-mouthed _bow wow_. It was but a transient
     outbreak, and he returned instantly, wagging his tail, and
     looking up dubiously in his master's face, uncertain whether
     he would receive censure or applause. 'Ay, ay, old boy!'
     cried Scott, 'you have done wonders; you have shaken the
     Eildon hills with your roaring: you may now lay by your
     artillery for the rest of the day. Maida,' continued he, 'is
     like the great gun at Constantinople; it takes so long to
     get it ready, that the smaller guns can fire off a dozen
     times first: but when it does go off, it plays the very

     "These simple anecdotes may serve to show the delightful
     play of Scott's humors and feelings in private life. His
     domestic animals were his friends. Everything about him
     seemed to rejoice in the light of his countenance.

     "Our ramble took us on the hills commanding an extensive
     prospect. 'Now,' said Scott, 'I have brought you, like the
     pilgrim in the Pilgrim's Progress, to the top of the
     Delectable {p.186} Mountains, that I may show you all the
     goodly regions hereabouts. Yonder is Lammermuir, and
     Smailholm; and there you have Galashiels, and Torwoodlee,
     and Gala Water; and in that direction you see Teviotdale and
     the Braes of Yarrow, and Ettrick stream winding along like a
     silver thread, to throw itself into the Tweed.' He went on
     thus to call over names celebrated in Scottish song, and
     most of which had recently received a romantic interest from
     his own pen. In fact, I saw a great part of the Border
     country spread out before me, and could trace the scenes of
     those poems and romances which had in a manner bewitched the

     "I gazed about me for a time with mute surprise, I may
     almost say with disappointment. I beheld a mere succession
     of gray waving hills, line beyond line, as far as my eye
     could reach, monotonous in their aspect, and so destitute of
     trees, that one could almost see a stout fly walking along
     their profile; and the far-famed Tweed appeared a naked
     stream, flowing between bare hills, without a tree or
     thicket on its banks; and yet such had been the magic web of
     poetry and romance thrown over the whole, that it had a
     greater charm for me than the richest scenery I had beheld
     in England. I could not help giving utterance to my
     thoughts. Scott hummed for a moment to himself, and looked
     grave; he had no idea of having his Muse complimented at the
     expense of his native hills. 'It may be pertinacity,' said
     he at length; 'but to my eye, these gray hills, and all this
     wild Border country, have beauties peculiar to themselves. I
     like the very nakedness of the land; it has something bold,
     and stern, and solitary about it. When I have been for some
     time in the rich scenery about Edinburgh, which is like
     ornamented garden land, I begin to wish myself back again
     among my own honest gray hills; and if I did not see the
     heather, at least once a year, _I think I should die!_' The
     last words were said with an honest warmth, accompanied by a
     thump on the ground with his staff, by way of emphasis, that
     showed his heart was in his speech. He vindicated the Tweed,
     too, as a beautiful stream in itself; and observed that he
     did not dislike it for being bare of trees, probably from
     having been much of an angler in his time; and an angler
     does not like to have a stream overhung by trees, which
     embarrass him in the exercise of his rod and line.

     {p.187} "I took occasion to plead, in like manner, the
     associations of early life for my disappointment in respect
     to the surrounding scenery. I had been so accustomed to see
     hills crowned with forests, and streams breaking their way
     through a wilderness of trees, that all my ideas of romantic
     landscape were apt to be well wooded. 'Ay, and that's the
     great charm of your country,' cried Scott. 'You love the
     forest as I do the heather; but I would not have you think I
     do not feel the glory of a great woodland prospect. There is
     nothing I should like more than to be in the midst of one of
     your grand wild original forests, with the idea of hundreds
     of miles of untrodden forest around me. I once saw at Leith
     an immense stick of timber, just landed from America. It
     must have been an enormous tree when it stood in its native
     soil, at its full height, and with all its branches. I gazed
     at it with admiration; it seemed like one of the gigantic
     obelisks which are now and then brought from Egypt to shame
     the pigmy monuments of Europe; and, in fact, these vast
     aboriginal trees, that have sheltered the Indians before the
     intrusion of the white men, are the monuments and
     antiquities of your country.'

     "The conversation here turned upon Campbell's poem of
     Gertrude of Wyoming, as illustrative of the poetic materials
     furnished by American scenery. Scott cited several passages
     of it with great delight. 'What a pity it is,' said he,
     'that Campbell does not write more, and oftener, and give
     full sweep to his genius! He has wings that would bear him
     to the skies; and he does, now and then, spread them
     grandly, but folds them up again, and resumes his perch, as
     if he was afraid to launch away. What a grand idea is that,'
     said he, 'about prophetic boding, or, in common parlance,
     second sight--

          "Coming events cast their shadows before!"--

     The fact is,' added he, 'Campbell is, in a manner, a bugbear
     to himself. The brightness of his early success is a
     detriment to all his further efforts. _He is afraid of the
     shadow that his own fame casts before him._'

     "We had not walked much farther, before we saw the two Miss
     Scotts advancing along the hillside to meet us. The
     morning's studies being over, they had set off to take a
     ramble on the hills, and gather heather blossoms with which
     to decorate {p.188} their hair for dinner. As they came
     bounding lightly like young fawns, and their dresses
     fluttering in the pure summer breeze, I was reminded of
     Scott's own description of his children, in his introduction
     to one of the cantos of Marmion:--

          'My imps, though hardy, bold, and wild,
           As best befits the mountain child,' etc.

     As they approached, the dogs all sprang forward, and
     gambolled around them. They joined us with countenances full
     of health and glee. Sophia, the eldest, was the most lively
     and joyous, having much of her father's varied spirit in
     conversation, and seeming to catch excitement from his words
     and looks; Anne was of a quieter mood, rather silent, owing,
     in some measure, no doubt, to her being some years

              [Footnote 74: ["His daughter Sophia and his son Charles
              were those of his family who seemed most to feel and
              understand his humors, and to take delight in his
              conversation. Mrs. Scott did not always pay the same
              attention, and would now and then make a casual remark
              which would operate a little like a damper. Thus, one
              morning at breakfast, when Dominie Thomson the tutor was
              present, Scott was going on with great glee to relate an
              anecdote of the laird of Macnab, 'who, poor fellow!'
              premised he, 'is dead and gone.' 'Why, Mr. Scott,'
              exclaimed the good lady, 'Macnab's not dead, is he?'
              'Faith, my dear,' replied Scott, with humorous gravity,
              'if he's not dead, they've done him a great
              injustice,--for they've buried him.'

              "The joke passed harmless and unnoticed by Mrs. Scott,
              but hit the poor Dominie just as he had raised a cup of
              tea to his lips ... sending half its contents about the
              table."--Irving's _Abbotsford_.]]

Having often, many years afterwards, heard Irving speak warmly of
William Laidlaw, I must not omit the following passage:--

     "One of my pleasantest rambles with Scott about the
     neighborhood of Abbotsford was taken in company with Mr.
     William Laidlaw, the steward of his estate. This was a
     gentleman for whom Scott entertained a particular value. He
     had been born to a competency, had been well educated, his
     mind was richly stored with varied information, and he was a
     man of sterling moral worth. Having been reduced by
     misfortune, Scott had got him to take charge of his estate.
     He lived at a small farm, on the hillside above Abbotsford,
     and was treated {p.189} by Scott as a cherished and
     confidential friend, rather than a dependant.

     "That day at dinner we had Mr. Laidlaw and his wife, and a
     female friend who accompanied them. The latter was a very
     intelligent respectable person, about the middle age, and
     was treated with particular attention and courtesy by Scott.
     Our dinner was a most agreeable one, for the guests were
     evidently cherished visitors to the house, and felt that
     they were appreciated. When they were gone, Scott spoke of
     them in the most cordial manner. 'I wished to show you,'
     said he, 'some of our really excellent, plain Scotch people:
     not fine gentlemen and ladies, for such you can meet
     everywhere, and they are everywhere the same. The character
     of a nation is not to be learnt from its fine folks.' He
     then went on with a particular eulogium on the lady who had
     accompanied the Laidlaws. She was the daughter, he said, of
     a poor country clergyman, who had died in debt, and left her
     an orphan and destitute. Having had a good plain education,
     she immediately set up a child's school, and had soon a
     numerous flock under her care, by which she earned a decent
     maintenance. That, however, was not her main object. Her
     first care was to pay off her father's debts, that no ill
     word or ill will might rest upon his memory. This, by dint
     of Scotch economy, backed by filial reverence and pride, she
     accomplished, though in the effort she subjected herself to
     every privation. Not content with this, she in certain
     instances refused to take pay for the tuition of the
     children of some of her neighbors, who had befriended her
     father in his need, and had since fallen into poverty. 'In a
     word,' added Scott, 'she's a fine old Scotch girl, and I
     delight in her more than in many a fine lady I have known,
     and I have known many of the finest.'

     "The evening passed away delightfully in a quaint-looking
     apartment, half study, half drawing-room. Scott read several
     passages from the old Romance of Arthur, with a fine deep
     sonorous voice, and a gravity of tone that seemed to suit
     the antiquated black-letter volume. It was a rich treat to
     hear such a work read by such a person, and in such a place;
     and his appearance, as he sat reading, in a large armchair,
     with his favorite hound Maida at his feet, and surrounded by
     books and reliques and Border trophies, would have formed
     {p.190} an admirable and most characteristic picture. When
     I retired for the night, I found it almost impossible to
     sleep: the idea of being under the roof of Scott; of being
     on the Borders on the Tweed; in the very centre of that
     region which had, for some time past, been the favorite
     scene of romantic fiction; and, above all, the recollections
     of the ramble I had taken, the company in which I had taken
     it, and the conversation which had passed, all fermented in
     my mind, and nearly drove sleep from my pillow.

     "On the following morning the sun darted his beams from over
     the hills through the low lattice of my window. I rose at an
     early hour, and looked out between the branches of eglantine
     which overhung the casement. To my surprise, Scott was
     already up, and forth, seated on a fragment of stone, and
     chatting with the workmen employed in the new building. I
     had supposed, after the time he had wasted upon me
     yesterday, he would be closely occupied this morning: but he
     appeared like a man of leisure, who had nothing to do but
     bask in the sunshine, and amuse himself. I soon dressed
     myself and joined him. He talked about his proposed plans of
     Abbotsford: happy would it have been for him could he have
     contented himself with his delightful little vine-covered
     cottage, and the simple, yet hearty and hospitable, style in
     which he lived at the time of my visit."[75]

              [Footnote 75: [That this visit remained a vivid and
              delightful memory to the end of Irving's life is shown
              in some words spoken not long before his death: "Oh!
              Scott was a master spirit--as glorious in his
              conversation as in his writings. Jeffrey was delightful,
              and had _eloquent runs_ in conversation; but there was a
              consciousness of talent with it. Scott had nothing of
              that. He spoke from the fulness of his mind, pouring out
              an incessant flow of anecdote, story, with dashes of
              humor, and then never monopolizing, but always ready to
              listen to and appreciate what came from others. I never
              felt such a consciousness of happiness as when under his
              roof."--_Washington Irving's Life and Letters_, vol. iv.
              p. 260.]]

Among other visitors who succeeded the distinguished American that
autumn, were Lady Byron, the wife of the poet, and the great artist,
Mr., now Sir David Wilkie, who then executed for Captain Ferguson that
pleasing little picture, in which Scott and his family are represented
as a group of peasants, while the gallant soldier {p.191} himself
figures by them in the character of a gamekeeper, or perhaps poacher.
Mr. Irving has given, in the little work from which I have quoted so
liberally, an amusing account of the delicate scruples of Wilkie about
soliciting Scott to devote a morning to the requisite sitting, until,
after lingering for several days, he at length became satisfied that,
by whatever magic his host might contrive to keep Ballantyne's presses
in full play, he had always abundance of leisure for matters less
important than Ferguson's destined heirloom. I shall now, however,
return to his correspondence; and begin with a letter to Joanna
Baillie on Lady Byron's visit.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, September 26, 1817.

     MY DEAR MISS BAILLIE,--A series of little trinketty sort of
     business, and occupation, and idleness, have succeeded to
     each other so closely, that I have been scarce able, for
     some three weeks past, to call my time my own for half an
     hour together; but enough of apologies--they are vile
     things, and I know you will impute my negligence to anything
     rather than forgetting or undervaluing your friendship. You
     know, by this time, that we have had a visit from Lady
     Byron, delightful both on its own account, and because it
     was accompanied with good news and a letter from you. I
     regret we could not keep her longer than a day with us,
     which was spent on the banks of the Yarrow, and I hope and
     believe she was pleased with us, because I am sure she will
     be so with everything that is intended to please her:
     meantime her visit gave me a most lawyer-like fit of the
     bile. I have lived too long to be surprised at any instance
     of human caprice, but still it vexes me. Now, one would
     suppose Lady Byron, young, beautiful, with birth, and rank,
     and fortune, and taste, and high accomplishments, and
     admirable good sense, qualified to have made happy one whose
     talents are so high as Lord Byron's, and whose marked
     {p.192} propensity it is to like those who are qualified to
     admire and understand his talents; and yet it has proved
     otherwise. I can safely say my heart ached for her all the
     time we were together; there was so much patience and decent
     resignation to a situation which must have pressed on her
     thoughts, that she was to me one of the most interesting
     creatures I had seen for a score of years. I am sure I
     should not have felt such strong kindness towards her had
     she been at the height of her fortune, and in the full
     enjoyment of all the brilliant prospects to which she seemed
     destined.--You will wish to hear of my complaint. I think,
     thank God, that it is leaving me--not suddenly, however, for
     I have had some repetitions, but they have become fainter
     and fainter, and I have not been disturbed by one for these
     three weeks. I trust, by care and attention, my stomach will
     return to its usual tone, and I am as careful as I can. I
     have taken hard exercise with good effect, and am often six
     hours on foot without stopping or sitting down, to which my
     plantations and enclosures contribute not a little. I have,
     however, given up the gun this season, finding myself unable
     to walk up to the dogs; but Walter has taken it in hand, and
     promises to be a first-rate shot; he brought us in about
     seven or eight brace of birds the evening Lady Byron came to
     us, which papa was of course a little proud of. The
     blackcocks are getting very plenty on our moor-ground at
     Abbotsford, but I associate them so much with your beautiful
     poem,[76] that I have not the pleasure I used to have in
     knocking them down. I wish I knew how to send you a brace. I
     get on with my labors here; my house is about to be roofed
     in, and a comical concern it is.

     Yours truly,

                                        W. S.

              [Footnote 76:
                    "Good-morrow to thy sable beak,
                     And glossy plumage dark and sleek,
                     Thy crimson moon, and azure eye,
                     Cock of the heath, so wildly shy!" etc.]

{p.193} The next letter refers to the Duke of Buccleuch's preparations
for a cattle-show at Bowhill, which was followed by an entertainment
on a large scale to his Grace's Selkirkshire neighbors and tenantry,
and next day by a fox-hunt, after Dandie Dinmont's fashion, among the
rocks of the Yarrow. The Sheriff attended _with his tail on_; and
Wilkie, too, went with him. It was there that Sir David first saw
Hogg, and the Shepherd's greeting was graceful. He eyed the great
painter for a moment in silence, and then stretching out his hand,
said: "Thank God for it. I did not know that you were so young a man!"


     MY DEAR LORD DUKE,--I am just honored with your Grace's of
     the 27th. The posts, which are as cross as pie-crust, have
     occasioned some delay. Depend on our attending at Bowhill on
     the 20th, and staying over the show. I have written to Adam
     Ferguson, who will come with a whoop and a hollo. So will
     the Ballantynes--flageolet[77] and all--for the festival,
     and they shall be housed at Abbotsford. I have an inimitably
     good songster in the person of Terence Magrath, who teaches
     my girls. He beats almost all whom I have ever heard attempt
     Moore's songs, and I can easily cajole him also out to
     Abbotsford for a day or two. In jest or earnest, I never
     heard a better singer in a room, though his voice is not
     quite full enough for a concert; and for an after-supper
     song, he almost equals Irish Johnstone.[78]

              [Footnote 77: The _flageolet_ alludes to Mr. Alexander
              Ballantyne, the third of the brothers--a fine musician,
              and a most amiable and modest man, never connected with
              Scott in any business matters, but always much his
              favorite in private.]

              [Footnote 78: Mr. Magrath has now been long established
              in his native city of Dublin. His musical excellence was
              by no means the only merit that attached Scott to his
              society while he remained in Edinburgh.]

     Trade of every kind is recovering, and not a loom idle
     {p.194} in Glasgow. The most faithful respects of this
     family attend the Ladies and all at Drumlanrig. I ever am
     your Grace's truly obliged and grateful

                                        Walter SCOTT.

       Given from my Castle of Grawacky,
       this second day of the month called
       October, One Thousand Eight Hundred
       and Seventeen Years.

     There is a date nearly as long as the letter.

     I hope we shall attack the foxes at Bowhill. I will hazard

We have some allusions to this Bowhill party in another letter; the
first of several which I shall now insert according to their dates,
leaving them, with a few marginal notes, to tell out the story of


                                        ABBOTSFORD, October 24, 1817.

     DEAR TERRY,--Bullock has not gone to Skye, and I am very
     glad he has not, for to me who knew the Hebrides well, the
     attempt seemed very perilous at this season. I have
     considerably enlarged my domains since I wrote to you, by
     the purchase of a beautiful farm adjacent. The farmhouse,
     which is new and excellent, I have let to Adam Ferguson and
     his sisters. We will be within a pleasant walk of each
     other, and hope to end our lives, as they began, in each
     other's society. There is a beautiful brook, with remnants
     of natural wood, which would make Toftfield rival
     Abbotsford, but for the majestic Tweed. I am in treaty for a
     field or two more; one of which contains the only specimen
     of a Peel-house, or defensive residence of a small
     proprietor, which remains in this neighborhood. It is an
     orchard, in the hamlet of Darnick, to which it gives a most
     picturesque effect. Blore admires it very much. We are all
     well here, but crowded with company. I have been junketing
     {p.195} this week past at Bowhill. Mr. Magrath has been
     with us these two or three days, and has seen his ward,
     Hamlet, behave most _princelike_ on Newark Hill and
     elsewhere. He promises to be a real treasure.[79]
     Notwithstanding, Mr. Magrath went to Bowhill with me one
     day, where his vocal talents gave great pleasure, and I hope
     will procure him the notice and protection of the Buccleuch
     family. The Duke says my building engrosses, as a common
     centre, the thoughts of Mr. Atkinson and Mr. Bullock, and
     wishes he could make them equally anxious in his own behalf.
     You may believe this flatters me not a little.

              [Footnote 79: This fine greyhound, a gift from Terry,
              had been sent to Scotland under the care of Mr. Magrath.
              Terry had called the dog _Marmion_, but Scott
              rechristened him _Hamlet_, in honor of his "inky coat."]

     P. S.--I agree with you that the tower will look rather rich
     for the rest of the building; yet you may be assured, that
     with diagonal chimneys and notched gables, it will have a
     very fine effect, and is in Scotch architecture by no means
     incompatible. My house has been like a _cried fair_, and
     extreme the inconvenience of having no corner sacred to my
     own use, and free from intrusion.

     Ever truly yours,

                                        W. S.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 29th October, 1817.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--I enclose a full sketch of the lower story,
     with accurate measurements of rooms, casements, doorways,
     chimneys, etc., that Mr. Atkinson's good will may not want
     means to work upon. I will speak to the subjects of your
     letters separately, that I may omit none of them. _1st_, I
     cannot possibly surrender the window to the west in the
     library,[80] although I subscribe to all you urge about it.
     Still it is essential in point of light to my old eyes, and
     the single northern {p.196} aspect would not serve me.
     Above all, it looks into the yard, and enables me to summon
     Tom Purdie without the intervention of a third party.
     Indeed, as I can have but a few books about me, it is of the
     less consequence. _2dly_, I resign the idea of _coving_ the
     library to your better judgment, and I think the Stirling
     Heads[81] will be admirably disposed in the glass of the
     armory window. I have changed my mind as to having doors on
     the book-presses, which is, after all, a great bore. No
     person will be admitted into my sanctum, and I can have the
     door locked during my absence. _3dly_, I expect Mr. Bullock
     here every day, and should be glad to have the drawings for
     the dining-room wainscot, as he could explain them to the
     artists who are to work them. This (always if quite
     convenient) would be the more desirable, as I must leave
     this place in a fortnight at farthest,--the more 's the
     pity,--and, consequently, the risk of blunders will be
     considerably increased. I should like if the panelling of
     the wainscot could admit of a press on each side of the
     sideboard. I don't mean a formal press with a high door, but
     some crypt, or, to speak vulgarly, _cupboard_, to put away
     bottles of wine, etc. You know I am my own butler, and such
     accommodation is very convenient. We begin roofing
     to-morrow. Wilkie admires the whole as a composition, and
     that is high authority. I agree that the fountain shall be
     out of doors in front of the greenhouse; there may be an
     enclosure for it with some ornamented mason work, as in old
     gardens, and it will occupy an angle, which I should be
     puzzled what to do with, for turf and gravel would be rather
     meagre, and flowers not easily kept. I have the old fountain
     belonging to the Cross of Edinburgh, which flowed with wine
     at the coronation of our kings and on other occasions of
     {p.197} public rejoicing. I send a sketch of this venerable
     relic, connected as it is with a thousand associations. It
     is handsome in its forms and proportions--a freestone basin
     about three feet in diameter, and five inches and a half in
     depth, very handsomely hollowed. A piece has been broken off
     one edge, but as we have the fragment, it can easily be
     restored with cement. There are four openings for pipes in
     the circumference--each had been covered with a Gothic
     masque, now broken off and defaced, but which may be easily
     restored. Through these the wine had fallen into a larger
     and lower reservoir. I intend this for the centre of my
     fountain. I do not believe I should save £100 by retaining
     Mrs. Redford, by the time she was raised, altered, and
     beautified, for, like the Highlandman's gun, she wants
     stock, lock, and barrel, to put her into repair. In the mean
     time, "the cabin is convenient." Yours ever,

                                        W. S.

              [Footnote 80: Before the second and larger part of the
              present house of Abbotsford was built, the small room,
              subsequently known as the breakfast parlor, was during
              several years Scott's _sanctum_.]

              [Footnote 81: This alludes to certain pieces of painted
              glass, representing the heads of some of the old Scotch
              kings, copied from the carved ceiling of the
              presence-chamber in Stirling Castle. There are
              engravings of them in a work called _Lacunar
              Strevelinense_. Edinb. 4to, 1817.]


                                        EDINBURGH, November 15, 1817.

     DEAR WILLIE,--I have no intention to let the Whitehaugh
     without your express approbation, and I wish you to act as
     my adviser and representative in these matters. I would
     hardly have ventured to purchase so much land without the
     certainty of your counsel and cooperation.... On the other
     side you will find a small order on the banker at
     Galashiels, to be renewed half yearly; not by way of
     recompensing your friendship "with a load of barren money,"
     but merely to ease my conscience in some degree for the time
     which I must necessarily withdraw from the labor which is to
     maintain your family. Believe me, dear Willie, yours truly,

                                        W. SCOTT.


                                        EDINBURGH, 19th November, 1817.

     DEAR WILLIE,--I hope you will not quarrel with my last.
     Believe me that, to a sound-judging, and philosophical
     {p.198} mind, this same account of Dr. and Cr., which fills
     up so much time in the world, is comparatively of very small
     value. When you get rich, unless I thrive in the same
     proportion, I will request your assistance for less, for
     little, or for nothing, as the case may require; but while I
     wear my seven-leagued boots to stride in triumph over moss
     and muir, it would be very silly in either of us to let a
     cheque twice a year of £25 make a difference between us. But
     all this we will talk over when we meet. I meditate one day
     a _coup-de-maître_, which will make my friend's advice and
     exertion essential--indeed worthy of much better
     remuneration. When you come, I hope you will bring us
     information of all my rural proceedings. Though so lately
     come to town, I still remember, at my waking hours, that I
     can neither see Tom Purdie nor Adam Paterson,[82] and rise
     with the more unwillingness. I was unwell on Monday and
     Tuesday, but am quite recovered.

     Yours truly,

                                        W. S.

              [Footnote 82: Adam Paterson was the intelligent foreman
              of the company of masons then employed at Abbotsford.]


                                        EDINBURGH, 13th December, 1817.

     MY DEAR TOM,--I should be happy to attend to your commission
     about a dominie for your boy, but I think there will be much
     risk in yoking yourself with one for three or four years.
     You know what sort of black cattle these are, and how
     difficult it is to discern their real character, though one
     may give a guess at their attainments. When they get good
     provender in their guts, they are apt to turn out very
     different animals from what they were in their original low
     condition, and get frisky and troublesome. I have made
     several inquiries, however, and request to know what salary
     you would think reasonable, and also what acquisitions he
     ought to possess. {p.199} There is no combating the
     feelings which you express for the society of your son,
     otherwise I really think that a Scottish education would be
     highly desirable; and should you at any time revert to this
     plan, you may rely on my bestowing the same attention upon
     him as upon my own boys.

     I agree entirely with you on the necessity of your remaining
     in the regiment while it is stationary, and retiring on
     half-pay when it marches; but I cannot so easily acquiesce
     in your plan of settling in Canada. On the latter event
     taking place, on the contrary, I think it would be highly
     advisable that you should return to your native country. In
     the course of nature you must soon be possessed of
     considerable property, now life-rented by our mother, and I
     should think that even your present income would secure you
     comfort and independence here. Should you remain in Canada,
     you must consider your family as settlers in that state, and
     as I cannot believe that it will remain very long separated
     from America, I should almost think this equal to depriving
     them of the advantages of British subjects--at least of
     those which they might derive from their respectable
     connections in this country. With respect to your son, in
     particular, I have little doubt that I could be of
     considerable service to him in almost any line of life he
     might chance to adopt here, but could of course have less
     influence on his fortunes were he to remain on the Niagara.
     I certainly feel anxious on this subject, because the
     settlement of your residence in America would be saying, in
     other words, that we two, the last remains of a family once
     so numerous, are never more to meet upon this side of time.
     My own health is very much broken up by the periodical
     recurrence of violent cramps in the stomach, which neither
     seem disposed to yield to medicine nor to abstinence. The
     complaint, the doctors say, is not dangerous in itself, but
     I cannot look forward to its continued recurrence, without
     being certain that it is to break my health, and {p.200}
     anticipate old age in cutting me short. Be it so, my dear
     Tom--_Sat est vixisse_--and I am too much of a philosopher
     to be anxious about protracted life, which, with all its
     infirmities and deprivations, I have never considered as a
     blessing. In the years which may be before me, it would be a
     lively satisfaction to me to have the pleasure of seeing you
     in this country, with the prospect of a comfortable
     settlement. I have but an imperfect account to render of my
     doings here. I have amused myself with making an addition to
     my cottage in the country. One little apartment is to be
     fitted up as an armory for my old relics and curiosities. On
     the wicket I intend to mount your _deer's foot_[83]--as an
     appropriate knocker. I hope the young ladies liked their
     watches, and that all your books, stationery, etc., came
     safe to hand. I am told you have several kinds of the oak
     peculiar to America. If you can send me a few good acorns,
     with the names of the kinds they belong to, I will have them
     reared with great care and attention. The heaviest and
     smoothest acorns should be selected, as one would wish them,
     sent from such a distance, to succeed, which rarely happens
     unless they are particularly well ripened. I shall be as
     much obliged to you as Sancho was to the Duchess, or, to
     speak more correctly, the Duchess to Sancho, for a similar
     favor. Our mother keeps her health surprisingly well now,
     nor do I think there is any difference, unless that her
     deafness is rather increased. My eldest boy is upwards of
     six feet high; therefore born, as Sergeant Kite says, to be
     a great man. I should not like such a rapid growth, but that
     he carries strength along with it; my youngest boy is a very
     sharp little fellow--and the girls give us great
     satisfaction. Ever affectionately yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 83: Thomas Scott had sent his brother the
              horns and feet of a gigantic stag, shot by him in
              Canada. The feet were ultimately suspended to bell-cords
              in the armory at Abbotsford; and the horns mounted as

{p.201} The following note is without date. It accompanied, no doubt,
the last proof sheet of Rob Roy, and was therefore in all probability
written about ten days before the 31st of December, 1817--on which day
the novel was published.


     DEAR JAMES,--

          With great joy
          I send you Roy.
          'T was a tough job,
          But we're done with Rob.

     I forget if I mentioned Terry in my list of Friends. Pray
     send me two or three copies as soon as you can. It were pity
     to make the Grinder[84] pay carriage.

     Yours ever,

                                        W. S.

              [Footnote 84: They called Daniel Terry among themselves
              "The Grinder," in double allusion to the song of _Terry
              the Grinder_, and to some harsh under-notes of their
              friend's voice.]

The novel had indeed been "a tough job"--for lightly and airily as it
reads, the author had struggled almost throughout with the pains of
cramp or the lassitude of opium. Calling on him one day to dun him for
copy, James Ballantyne found him with a clean pen and a blank sheet
before him, and uttered some rather solemn exclamation of surprise.
"Ay, ay, Jemmy," said he, "'tis easy for you to bid me get on, but how
the deuce can I make Rob Roy's wife speak, with such a _curmurring_ in
my guts?"

{p.202} CHAPTER XL.

     Rob Roy Published. -- Negotiation Concerning the Second
     Series of Tales of my Landlord. -- Commission to Search for
     the Scottish Regalia. -- Letters to the Duke of Buccleuch,
     Mr. Croker, Mr. Morritt, Mr. Murray, Mr. Maturin, etc. --
     Correspondence on Rural Affairs with Mr. Laidlaw, and on the
     Buildings at Abbotsford with Mr. Terry. -- Death Of Mrs.
     Murray Keith and Mr. George Bullock.


Rob Roy and his wife, Bailie Nicol Jarvie and his housekeeper, Die
Vernon and Rashleigh Osbaldistone--these boldly drawn and happily
contrasted personages--were welcomed as warmly as the most fortunate
of their predecessors.[85] Constable's resolution to begin with an
{p.203} edition of 10,000 proved to have been as sagacious as brave;
for within a fortnight a second impression of 3000 was called for; and
the subsequent sale of this novel has considerably exceeded 40,000

              [Footnote 85: [On the 16th of February, Lady Louisa
              Stuart wrote:--

              "I have read _Rob Roy_ twice.... The scale with me would
              be _Waverley_, _Old Mortality_, _Guy Mannering_--so far
              I am sure. I am not sure which of the others I could
              positively prefer; there are striking beauties in each.
              In _Rob Roy_ the painting of character is as vivid as in
              anything the author ever wrote. Rob himself, Die Vernon,
              Nicol Jarvie, Andrew Fairservice, not to speak of the
              Tory baronet and his cubs, or the Jesuit Rashleigh. The
              beginning and end, I am afraid, I quarrel with; ... but
              beginnings signify little; ends signify more. Now, I
              fear the end of this is huddled, as if the author were
              tired and wanted to get rid of his personages as fast as
              he could, knocking them on the head without mercy. Die
              Vernon has what a Lord Bellamont (famous in my day and
              before it for profligacy and affectation) used to call
              such 'a catastrophical countenance' that one cannot
              reconcile oneself to her being married and settled like
              her sober neighbors. It is almost as bad as if Flora
              MacIvor had married the Colonel's nephew.... You see I
              give my opinion (let it be worth something or nothing)
              as if I were writing to a person not supposed to be in
              any way sib to the mysterious Unknown; but it is because
              I believe you have too distinguishing a taste to relish
              all sugar and treacle. Goldsmith's metaphor was bad when
              he said, 'Who peppers the highest is surest to please,'
              for flattery resembles neither pepper nor salt. Apropos
              of the mystery, those who see far into a millstone are
              now sure that the _Tales of my Landlord_ were written by
              a different person, and parts of them by different
              hands. When they give their reasons with a complacent
              delight in their own sagacity, I think to myself, how
              often must I have talked as much wise nonsense upon
              subjects which I knew nothing about."--_Familiar
              Letters_, vol. ii. p. 11.]]

Scott, however, had not waited for this new burst of applause. As soon
as he came within view of the completion of Rob Roy, he desired John
Ballantyne to propose to Constable and Co. a second series of the
Tales of my Landlord, to be comprised, like the first, in four
volumes, and ready for publication by "the King's birthday;" that is,
the 4th of June, 1818. "I have hungered and thirsted," he wrote, "to
see the end of those shabby borrowings among friends; they have all
been wiped out except the good Duke's £4000--and I will not suffer
either new offers of land or anything else to come in the way of that
clearance. I expect that you will be able to arrange this resurrection
of Jedediah, so that £5000 shall be at my order."

Mr. Rigdum used to glory in recounting that he acquitted himself on
this occasion with a species of dexterity not contemplated in his
commission. He well knew how sorely Constable had been wounded by
seeing the first Tales of Jedediah published by Murray and
Blackwood--and that the utmost success of Rob Roy would only double
his anxiety to keep them out of the field, when the hint should be
dropt that a second MS. from Gandercleuch might shortly be looked for.
John therefore took a convenient opportunity to mention the new scheme
as if casually--so as to give Constable the impression {p.204} that
the author's purpose was to divide the second series also between his
old rival in Albemarle Street, of whom his jealousy was always
sensitive, and his neighbor Blackwood, whom, if there had been no
other grudge, the recent conduct and rapidly increasing sale of his
Magazine would have been sufficient to make Constable hate with a
perfect hatred. To see not only his old "Scots Magazine" eclipsed, but
the authority of the Edinburgh Review itself bearded on its own soil
by this juvenile upstart, was to him gall and wormwood; and, moreover,
he himself had come in for his share in some of those grotesque _jeux
d'esprit_ by which, at this period, Blackwood's young Tory wags
delighted to assail their elders and betters of the Whig persuasion.
To prevent the proprietor of this new journal from acquiring anything
like a hold on the author of Waverley, and thus competing with himself
not only in periodical literature, but in the highest of the time, was
an object for which, as John Ballantyne shrewdly guessed, Constable
would have made at that moment almost any sacrifice. When, therefore,
the haughty but trembling bookseller--"The Lord High Constable" (as he
had been dubbed by these jesters)--signified his earnest hope that the
second Tales of my Landlord were destined to come out under the same
auspices with Rob Roy, the plenipotentiary answered with an air of
deep regret, that he feared it would be impossible for the author to
dispose of the work--unless to publishers who should agree to take
with it _the whole_ of the remaining stock of "John Ballantyne and
Co.;" and Constable, pertinaciously as he had stood out against many
more modest propositions of this nature, was so worked upon by his
jealous feelings, that his resolution at once gave way. He agreed on
the instant to do all that John seemed to shrink from asking--and at
one sweep cleared the Augean stable in Hanover Street of unsalable
rubbish to the amount of £5270! I am assured by his surviving partner,
that when he had finally {p.205} redisposed of the stock, he found
himself a loser by fully two thirds of this sum.

Burthened with this heavy condition, the agreement for the sale of
10,000 copies of the embryo series was signed before the end of
November, 1817; and on the 7th January, 1818, Scott wrote as follows
to his noble friend:--


     MY DEAR LORD DUKE,--I have the great pleasure of enclosing
     the discharged bond which your Grace stood engaged in for
     me, and on my account. The accommodation was of the greatest
     consequence to me, as it enabled me to retain possession of
     some valuable literary property, which I must otherwise have
     suffered to be sold at a time when the booksellers had no
     money to buy it. My dear Lord, to wish that all your
     numerous and extensive acts of kindness may be attended with
     similar advantages to the persons whom you oblige, is
     wishing you what to your mind will be the best recompense;
     and to wish that they may be felt by all as gratefully as by
     me, though you may be careless to hear about that part of
     the story, is only wishing what is creditable to human
     nature. I have this moment your more than kind letter, and
     congratulate your Grace that, in one sense of the word, you
     can be what you never will be in any other, _ambidexter_.
     But I am sorry you took so much trouble, and I fear _pains_
     besides, to display your new talent.

     Ever your Grace's truly faithful,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

The closing sentence of this letter refers to a fit of the gout which
had disabled the Duke's right hand, but not cooled his zeal on a
subject which, throughout January, 1818, occupied, I firmly believe,
much more of his correspondent's thoughts by day and dreams by night,
than any one, or perhaps than all others, besides. The time {p.206}
now approached when a Commission to examine the Crown-room in the
Castle of Edinburgh, which had sprung from one of Scott's
conversations with the Prince Regent in 1815, was at length to be
acted upon. The minstrel of the "Rough Clan" had taken care that the
name of his chief should stand at the head of the document; but the
Duke's now precarious health ultimately prevented him from being
present at the discovery of the long buried and almost forgotten
Regalia of Scotland. The two following letters on this subject are of
the same date--Edinburgh, 14th January, 1818.


     MY DEAR LORD,--You will hear from the Advocate that the
     Commission for opening the Regalia is arrived, and that the
     Commissioners held their first meeting yesterday. They have
     named next Wednesday (in case your Grace can attend) for
     opening the mysterious chest. So this question will be put
     to rest forever.

     I remember among the rebel company which debauched my youth,
     there was a drunken old Tory, who used to sing a ballad made
     about these same Regalia at the time of the Union, in which
     they were all destined to the basest uses; the crown, for

          "To make a can for Brandy Nan
           To puke in when she's tipsy."

     The rest of the song is in a tone of equally pure humor; the
     chorus ran:--

          "Farewell, thou ancient kingdom--
           Farewell, thou ancient kingdom.
           Who sold thyself for English pelf--
           Was ever such a thing done?"

     I hope your Grace feels yourself sufficiently interested in
     the recovery of these ancient symbols of national
     independence, so long worn by your forefathers, and which
     were never profaned by the touch of a monarch of a foreign
     {p.207} dynasty. Here is fine planting weather. I trust it
     is as good in the Forest and on Tweedside.

     Ever your Grace's truly faithful

                                        Walter SCOTT.

     TO J. B. S. MORRITT, ESQ., M. P., ROKEBY.

     DEAR MORRITT,--Our fat friend has remembered a petition
     which I put up to him, and has granted a Commission to the
     Officers of State and others (my unworthy self
     included)--which trusty and well-beloved persons are to
     institute a search after the Regalia of Scotland. There has
     an odd mystery hung about the fate of these royal symbols of
     national independence. The spirit of the Scotch at the Union
     clung fondly to these emblems; and to soothe their jealousy
     it was specially provided by an article of the Union, that
     the Regalia should never be removed, under any pretext, from
     the kingdom of Scotland. Accordingly they were deposited,
     with much ceremony, as an authentic instrument bears, in a
     strong chest, secured by many locks, and the chest itself
     placed in a strong room, which again was carefully bolted up
     and secured, leaving to national pride the satisfaction of
     pointing to the barred window, with the consciousness that
     there lay the Regalia of Scotland. But this gratification
     was strangely qualified by a surmise, which somehow became
     generally averred, stating, that the Regalia had been sent
     to London; and you may remember that we saw at the Jewel
     Office a crown, _said to be_ the ancient Crown of Scotland.
     If this transfer (by the way, highly illegal) was ever made,
     it must have been under some secret warrant; for no
     authority can be traced for such a proceeding in the records
     of the Secretary of State's Office. Fifteen or twenty years
     ago, the Crown-room, as it is called, was opened by certain
     Commissioners, under authority of a sign-manual. They saw
     the fatal chest, strewed with the dust of an hundred years,
     about six inches thick: a coating of like thickness lay on
     {p.208} the floor; and I have heard the late President
     Blair say, that the uniform and level appearance of the dust
     warranted them to believe that the chest, if opened at all
     after 1707, must have been violated within a short time of
     that date, since, had it been opened at a later period, the
     dust accumulated on the lid, and displaced at opening it,
     must have been lying around the chest. But the Commissioners
     did not think their warrant entitled them to force this
     chest, for which no keys could be found; especially as their
     warrant only entitled them to search for _records_--not for
     crowns and sceptres.

     The mystery, therefore, remained unpenetrated; and public
     curiosity was left to console itself with the nursery

          "On Tintock tap there is a mist,
           And in the mist there is a kist."

     Our fat friend's curiosity, however, goes to the point at
     once, authorizing and enjoining an express search for the
     Regalia. Our friend of Buccleuch is at the head of the
     Commission, and will, I think, be as keen as I or any one,
     to see the issue.

     I trust you have read Rob by this time. I think he smells of
     the cramp. Above all, I had too much flax on my distaff; and
     as it did not consist with my patience or my plan to make a
     fourth volume, I was obliged at last to draw a rough,
     coarse, and hasty thread. But the book is well liked here,
     and has reeled off in great style. I have two stories on the
     anvil, far superior to Rob Roy in point of interest. Ever

                                        Walter SCOTT.

The Commissioners, who finally assembled on the 4th of February, were,
according to the record, "the Right Hon. Charles Hope, Lord President
of the Court of Session; the Right Hon. David Boyle, Lord
Justice-Clerk; the Right Hon. William Adam, Lord Chief Commissioner of
the Jury Court; Major-General John Hope {p.209} (Commanding the
Forces in Scotland); the Solicitor-General (James Wedderburn, Esq.);
the Lord Provost of Edinburgh (Kincaid Mackenzie, Esq.); William
Clerk, Esq., Principal Clerk of the Jury Court; Henry Jardine, Esq.,
Deputy Remembrancer in the Exchequer; Thomas Thomson, Esq., Deputy
Clerk-Register of Scotland; and Walter Scott, Esq., one of the
Principal Clerks of Session."

Of the proceedings of this day, the reader has a full and particular
account in an Essay which Scott penned shortly afterwards, and which
is included in his Prose Miscellanies (vol. vii.). But I must not omit
the contemporaneous letters in which he announced the success of the
quest to his friend the Secretary of the Admiralty, and through him to
the Regent:--


                                        EDINBURGH, 4th February, 1818.

     MY DEAR CROKER,--I have the pleasure to assure you the
     Regalia of Scotland were this day found in perfect
     preservation. The Sword of State and Sceptre showed marks of
     hard usage at some former period; but in all respects agree
     with the description in Thomson's work.[86] I will send you
     a complete account of the opening to-morrow, as the official
     account will take some time to draw up. In the mean time, I
     hope you will remain as obstinate in your unbelief as St.
     Thomas, because then you will come down to satisfy yourself.
     I know nobody entitled to earlier information, save ONE, to
     whom you can perhaps find the means of communicating the
     result of our researches. The post is just going off.

     Ever yours truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 86: _Collection of Inventories and other
              Records of the Royal Wardrobe and Jewel-House, etc._
              Edin. 1815, 4to.]

     {p.210} TO THE SAME.

                                        EDINBURGH, 5th February, 1818.

     MY DEAR CROKER,--I promised I would add something to my
     report of yesterday, and yet I find I have but little to
     say. The extreme solemnity of opening sealed doors of oak
     and iron, and finally breaking open a chest which had been
     shut since 7th March, 1707, about a hundred and eleven
     years, gave a sort of interest to our researches, which I
     can hardly express to you, and it would be very difficult to
     describe the intense eagerness with which we watched the
     rising of the lid of the chest, and the progress of the
     workmen in breaking it open, which was neither an easy nor a
     speedy task. It sounded very hollow when they worked on it
     with their tools, and I began to lean to your faction of the
     Little Faiths. However, I never could assign any probable or
     feasible reason for withdrawing these memorials of ancient
     independence; and my doubts rather arose from the conviction
     that many absurd things are done in public as well as in
     private life, merely out of a hasty impression of passion or
     resentment. For it was evident the removal of the Regalia
     might have greatly irritated people's minds here, and
     offered a fair pretext of breaking the Union, which for
     thirty years was the predominant wish of the Scottish

     The discovery of the Regalia has interested people's minds
     much more strongly than I expected, and is certainly
     calculated to make a pleasant and favorable impression upon
     them in respect to the kingly part of the constitution. It
     would be of the utmost consequence that they should be
     occasionally shown to them, under proper regulations, and
     for a small fee. The Sword of State is a most beautiful
     piece of workmanship, a present from Pope Julius II. to
     James IV. The scabbard is richly decorated with filigree
     work of silver, double gilded, representing oak leaves and
     acorns, executed in {p.211} a taste worthy that classical
     age in which the arts revived. A draughtsman has been
     employed to make sketches of these articles, in order to be
     laid before his Royal Highness. The fate of these Regalia,
     which his Royal Highness's goodness has thus restored to
     light and honor, has on one or two occasions been singular
     enough. They were, in 1652, lodged in the Castle of
     Dunnottar, the seat of the Earl Marischal, by whom,
     according to his ancient privilege, they were kept. The
     castle was defended by George Ogilvie of Barra, who,
     apprehensive of the progress which the English made in
     reducing the strong places in Scotland, became anxious for
     the safety of these valuable memorials. The ingenuity of his
     lady had them conveyed out of the castle in a bag on a
     woman's back, among some _hards_, as they are called, of
     lint. They were carried to the Kirk of Kinneff, and
     entrusted to the care of the clergyman, named Grainger, and
     his wife, and buried under the pulpit. The Castle of
     Dunnottar, though very strong and faithfully defended, was
     at length under necessity of surrendering, being the last
     strong place in Britain on which the royal flag floated in
     those calamitous times. Ogilvie and his lady were threatened
     with the utmost extremities by the Republican General
     Morgan, unless they should produce the Regalia. The governor
     stuck to it that he knew nothing of them, as in fact they
     had been carried away without his knowledge. The lady
     maintained she had given them to John Keith, second son of
     the Earl Marischal, by whom, she said, they had been carried
     to France. They suffered a long imprisonment, and much ill
     usage. On the Restoration, the old Countess Marischal,
     founding upon the story Mrs. Ogilvie had told to screen her
     husband, obtained for her own son, John Keith, the earldom
     of Kintore, and the post of Knight Marischal, with £400 a
     year, as if he had been in truth the preserver of the
     Regalia. It soon proved that this reward had been too
     hastily given, for Ogilvie of Barra {p.212} produced the
     Regalia, the honest clergyman refusing to deliver them to
     any one but those from whom he received them. Ogilvie was
     made a Knight Baronet, however, and got a new charter of the
     lands, acknowledging the good service. Thus it happened
     oddly enough, that Keith, who was abroad during the
     transaction, and had nothing to do with it, got the earldom,
     pension, etc., Ogilvie only inferior honors, and the poor
     clergyman nothing whatever, or, as we say, _the hare's foot
     to lick_. As for Ogilvie's lady, she died before the
     Restoration, her health being ruined by the hardships she
     endured from the Cromwellian satellites. She was a Douglas,
     with all the high spirit of that proud family. On her
     deathbed, and not till then, she told her husband where the
     honors were concealed, charging him to suffer death rather
     than betray them. Popular tradition says, not very probably,
     that Grainger and his wife were _booted_ (that is, tortured
     with the engine called the boots). I think that the Knight
     Marischal's office rested in the Kintore family until 1715,
     when it was resumed on account of the bearded Earl's
     accession to the Insurrection of that year. He escaped well,
     for they might have taken his estate and his earldom. I must
     save post, however, and conclude abruptly. Yours ever,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

On the 5th, after the foregoing letter had been written at the Clerk's
table, Scott and several of his brother Commissioners revisited the
Castle, accompanied by some of the ladies of their families. His
daughter tells me that her father's conversation had worked her
feelings up to such a pitch, that when the lid was again removed, she
nearly fainted, and drew back from the circle. As she was retiring,
she was startled by his voice exclaiming, in a tone of the deepest
emotion, "something between anger and despair," as she expresses
it,--"By G----, No!" One of the Commissioners, not quite entering
{p.213} into the solemnity with which Scott regarded this business,
had, it seems, made a sort of motion as if he meant to put the crown
on the head of one of the young ladies near him, but the voice and
aspect of the Poet were more than sufficient to make the worthy
gentleman understand his error; and, respecting the enthusiasm with
which he had not been taught to sympathize, he laid down the ancient
diadem with an air of painful embarrassment. Scott whispered, "Pray,
forgive me;" and turning round at the moment, observed his daughter
deadly pale, and leaning by the door. He immediately drew her out of
the room, and when the air had somewhat recovered her, walked with her
across the Mound to Castle Street. "He never spoke all the way home,"
she says, "but every now and then I felt his arm tremble; and from
that time I fancied he began to treat me more like a woman than a
child. I thought he liked me better, too, than he had ever done

These little incidents may give some notion of the profound
seriousness with which his imagination had invested this matter. I am
obliged to add, that in the society of Edinburgh at the time, even in
the highest Tory circles, it did not seem to awaken much even of
curiosity--to say nothing of any deeper feeling. There was, however, a
great excitement among the common people of the town, and a still
greater among the peasantry, not only in the neighborhood, but all
over Scotland; and the Crown-room, becoming thenceforth one of the
established _lions_ of a city much resorted to, moreover, by stranger
tourists, was likely, on the most moderate scale of admission-fee, to
supply a revenue sufficient for remunerating responsible and
respectable guardianship. This post would, as Scott thought, be a very
suitable one for his friend, Captain Adam Ferguson; and he exerted all
his zeal for that purpose. The Captain was appointed: his nomination,
however, did not take place for some months after; and the postscript
of a {p.214} letter to the Duke of Buccleuch, dated May 14, 1818,
plainly indicates the interest on which Scott mainly relied for its
completion: "If you happen," he writes, "to see Lord Melville, pray
give him a jog about Ferguson's affair; but between ourselves, I
depend chiefly on the kind offices of Willie Adam, who is an auld
sneck-drawer." The Lord Chief-Commissioner, at all times ready to lend
Scott his influence with the Royal Family, had, on the present
occasion, the additional motive of warm and hereditary personal regard
for Ferguson.

I have placed together such letters as referred principally to the
episode of the Regalia; but shall now give, in the order of time, a
few which will sufficiently illustrate the usual course of his
existence, while The Heart of Mid-Lothian was in progress. It appears
that he resumed, in the beginning of this year, his drama of
Devorgoil. His letters to Terry are of course full of that subject,
but they contain, at the same time, many curious indications of his
views and feelings as to theatrical affairs in general--and mixed up
with these a most characteristic record of the earnestness with which
he now watched the interior fitting up, as he had in the season before
the outward architecture, of the new edifice at Abbotsford. Meanwhile
it will be seen that he found leisure hours for various contributions
to periodical works,--among others, an article on Kirkton's Church
History, and another on (of all subjects in the world) _military
bridges_, for the Quarterly Review; a spirited version of the old
German ballad on the Battle of Sempach, and a generous criticism on
Mrs. Shelley's romance of Frankenstein, for Blackwood's Magazine. This
being the first winter and spring of Laidlaw's establishment at
Kaeside, communications as to the affairs of the farm were exchanged
weekly whenever Scott was in Edinburgh, and they afford delightful
evidence of that paternal solicitude for the well-being of his rural
dependents, which all along kept pace with Scott's zeal as to the
economical {p.215} improvement, and the picturesque adornment of his


                                        EDINBURGH, 23d January, 1818.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--You have by this time the continuation of
     the drama, down to the commencement of the third act, as I
     have your letter on the subject of the first. You will
     understand that I only mean them as sketches; for the first
     and second acts are too short, and both want much to combine
     them with the third. I can easily add music to Miss
     Devorgoil's part. As to Braham, he is a beast of an actor,
     though an angel of a singer, and truly I do not see what he
     could personify. Let me know, however, your thoughts and
     wishes, and all shall be moulded to the best of my power to
     meet them: the point is to make it _take_ if we can; the
     rest is all leather and prunella. A great many things must
     occur to you technically better, in the way of alteration
     and improvement, and you know well that, though too indolent
     to amend things on my own conviction, I am always ready to
     make them meet my friends' wishes if possible. We shall both
     wish it better than I can make it, but there is no reason
     why we should not do for it all that we can. I advise you to
     take some sapient friend into your counsels, and let me know
     the result, returning the MS. at the same time.

     I am now anxious to complete Abbotsford. I think I told you
     I mean to do nothing whatever to the present house, but to
     take it away altogether at some future time, so that I
     finish the upper story without any communication with Mrs.
     Redford's _ci-devant_ mansion, and shall place the opening
     in the lower story, wherever it will be most suitable for
     the new house, without regard to defacing the temporary
     drawing-room. I am quite feverish about the armory. I have
     two pretty complete suits of armor--one Indian one, and a
     cuirassier's, with {p.216} boots, casque, etc.; many
     helmets, corselets, and steel caps, swords and poniards
     without end, and about a dozen of guns, ancient and modern.
     I have besides two or three battle-axes and maces, pikes and
     targets, a Highlander's accoutrement complete, a great
     variety of branches of horns, pikes, bows and arrows, and
     the clubs and creases of Indian tribes. Mr. Bullock promised
     to give some hint about the fashion of disposing all these
     matters; and now our spring is approaching, and I want but
     my plans to get on. I have reason to be proud of the
     finishing of my castle, for even of the tower, for which I
     trembled, not a stone has been shaken by the late terrific
     gale, which blew a roof clear off in the neighborhood. It
     was lying in the road like a saddle, as Tom Purdie expressed
     it. Neither has a slate been lifted, though about two yards
     of slating were stripped from the stables in the haugh,
     which you know were comparatively less exposed.

     I am glad to hear of Mrs. Terry's improved health and good
     prospects. As for young Master Mumblecrust, I have no doubt
     he will be a credit to us all.

     Yours ever truly,

                                        W. SCOTT.

As the letters to Mr. Laidlaw did not travel by post, but in the
basket which had come laden with farm-produce for the use of the
family in Edinburgh, they have rarely any date but the day of the
week. This is, however, of no consequence.


                                        Wednesday. [January, 1818.]

     DEAR WILLIE,--Should the weather be rough, and you
     nevertheless obliged to come to town, do not think of
     riding, but take the Blucher.[87] Remember, your health is
     of consequence to your family. Pray talk generally with the
     notables of Darnick--I mean Rutherford, {p.217} and so
     forth--concerning the best ordering of the road to the
     marle; and also of the foot-road. It appears to me some
     route might be found more convenient than the present, but
     that which is most agreeable to those interested shall also
     be most agreeable for me. As a patriotic member of the
     community of Darnick, I consider their rights equally
     important as my own.

              [Footnote 87: A stage-coach, so called, which ran
              betwixt Edinburgh and Jedburgh.]

     I told you I should like to convert the present steading at
     Beechland into a little hamlet of laborers, which we will
     name Abbotstown. The art of making people happy is to leave
     them much to their own guidance, but some little regulation
     is necessary. In the first place, I should like to have
     active and decent people there; then it is to be considered
     on what footing they should be. I conceive the best possible
     is, that they should pay for their cottages, and cow-grass,
     and potato ground, and be paid for their labor at the
     ordinary rate. I would give them some advantages sufficient
     to balance the following conditions, which, after all, are
     conditions in my favor: _1st_, That they shall keep their
     cottages and little gardens, and doors, tolerably neat; and
     _2d_, That the men shall on no account shoot, or the boys
     break timber or take birds' nests, or go among the planting.
     I do not know any other restrictions, and these are easy. I
     should think we might settle a few families very happily
     here, which is an object I have much at heart, for I have no
     notion of the proprietor who is only ambitious to be lord of
     the "beast and the brute," and chases the human face from
     his vicinity. By the bye, could we not manage to have a
     piper among the colonists?

     We are delighted to hear that your little folks like the
     dells. Pray, in your walks try to ascertain the locality of
     St. John's Well, which cures the botts, and which John Moss
     claims for Kaeside; also the true history of the Carline's
     Hole. Ever most truly yours,

                                        W. SCOTT.

{p.218} I hope Mrs. Laidlaw does not want for anything that she can
get from the garden or elsewhere.


                                        8th February, 1818.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--Yours arrived, unluckily, just half an hour
     after my packet was in the post-office, so this will cost
     you 9_d._, for which I grieve. To answer your principal
     question first,--the drama is

          "Yours, Terry, yours in every thought."

     I should never have dreamed of making such an attempt in my
     own proper person; and if I had such a vision, I should have
     been anxious to have made it something of a legitimate
     drama, such as a literary man, uncalled upon by any
     circumstance to connect himself with the stage, might have
     been expected to produce. Now this is just what any
     gentleman in your situation might run off, to give a little
     novelty to the entertainment of the year, and as such will
     meet a mitigated degree of criticism, and have a better
     chance of that _productive_ success, which is my principal
     object in my godson's behalf. If any time should come when
     you might wish to disclose the secret, it will be in your
     power, and our correspondence will always serve to show that
     it was only at my earnest request, annexed as the condition
     of bringing the play forward, that you gave it your name--a
     circumstance which, with all the attending particulars, will
     prove plainly that there was no assumption on your part.

     A beautiful drama might be made on the concealment of the
     Scotch Regalia during the troubles. But it would interfere
     with the democratic spirit of the times, and would probably

                       ---- "By party rage,
          Or right or wrong, be hooted from the stage."

     {p.219} I will never forgive you if you let any false idea
     of my authorial feelings prevent your acting in this affair
     as if you were the real parent, not the godfather of the
     piece. Our facetious friend J. B. knows nought of such a
     matter being _en train_, and never will know. I am delighted
     to hear my windows are finished. Yours very truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 88: Slightly altered from Dr. Johnson's
              Prologue to the comedy of _A Word to the Wise_.]


                                        Wednesday. [February, 1818.]

     DEAR WILLIE,--I am not desirous to buy more land at present,
     unless I were to deal with Mr. Rutherford or Heiton, and I
     would rather deal with them next year than this, when I
     would have all my payments made for what I am now buying.
     Three or four such years as the last would enable me with
     prudence and propriety to ask Nicol[89] himself to flit and

              [Footnote 89: Mr. Nicol Milne of Faldonside. This
              gentleman's property is a valuable and extensive one,
              situated immediately to the westward of Abbotsford; and
              Scott continued, year after year, to dream of adding it
              also to his own.]

     I like the idea of the birch-hedge much, and if intermixed
     with holly and thorns, I think it might make an impenetrable
     thicket, having all the advantages of a hedge without the
     formality. I fancy you will also need a great number of
     (black) Italian poplars--which are among the most useful and
     best growers, as well as most beautiful of plants which love
     a wet soil.

     I am glad the saws are going.[90] We may begin by and by
     with wrights, but I cannot but think that a handy laborer
     might be taught to work at them. I shall insist on Tom
     learning the process perfectly himself.

              [Footnote 90: A sawmill had just been erected at

     As to the darkness of the garrets, they are intended for the
     accommodation of travelling geniuses, poets, painters, and
     so forth, and a little obscurity will refresh their
     shattered brains. I dare say Lauchie[91] will _shave_
     {p.220} his knoll, if it is required--it may to the
     barber's with the Laird's hebdomadal beard--and Packwood
     would have thought it the easier job of the two.

              [Footnote 91: A cocklaird adjoining Abbotsford at the
              eastern side. His farm is properly _Lochbreist_; but in
              the neighborhood he was generally known as _Laird
              Lauchie_--or _Lauchie Langlegs_. Washington Irving
              describes him in his _Abbotsford_, with high gusto. He
              was a most absurd original.]

     I saw Blackwood yesterday, and Hogg the day before, and I
     understand from them you think of resigning the Chronicle
     department of the Magazine. Blackwood told me that if you
     did not like that part of the duty, he would consider
     himself accountable for the same sum he had specified to you
     for any other articles you might communicate from time to
     time. He proposes that Hogg should do the Chronicle: He will
     not do it so well as you, for he wants judgment and caution,
     and likes to have the appearance of eccentricity where
     eccentricity is least graceful; that, however, is
     Blackwood's affair. If you really do not like the Chronicle,
     there can be no harm in your giving it up. What strikes me
     is, that there is a something certain in having such a
     department to conduct, whereas you may sometimes find
     yourself at a loss when you have to cast about for a subject
     every month. Blackwood _is_ rather in a bad pickle just
     now--sent to Coventry by the trade, as the booksellers call
     themselves, and all about the parody of the two beasts.[92]
     {p.221} Surely these gentlemen think themselves rather
     formed of porcelain clay than of common potter's ware.
     Dealing in satire against all others, their own dignity
     suffers so cruelly from an ill-imagined joke! If B. had good
     books to sell, he might set them all at defiance. His
     Magazine does well, and beats Constable's: but we will talk
     of this when we meet.[93]

              [Footnote 92: An article in one of the early numbers of
              _Blackwood's Magazine_, entitled _The Chaldee MS._, in
              which the literati and booksellers of Edinburgh were
              quizzed _en masse_--Scott himself among the rest. It was
              in this lampoon that Constable first saw himself
              designated in print by the _sobriquet_ of "The Crafty,"
              long before bestowed on him by one of his own most
              eminent Whig supporters; but nothing nettled him so much
              as the passages in which he and Blackwood are
              represented entreating the support of Scott for their
              respective Magazines, and waved off by "the Great
              Magician" in the same identical phrases of contemptuous
              indifference. The description of Constable's visit to
              Abbotsford may be worth transcribing--for Sir David
              Wilkie, who was present when Scott read it, says he was
              almost choked with laughter, and he afterwards confessed
              that the Chaldean author had given a sufficiently
              accurate version of what really passed on the

              "26. But when the Spirits were gone, he (The Crafty)
              said unto himself, I will arise and go unto a magician,
              which is of my friends: of a surety he will devise some
              remedy, and free me out of all my distresses.

              "27. So he arose and came unto that great magician which
              hath his dwelling in the old fastness, hard by the River
              Jordan, which is by the Border.

              "28. And the magician opened his mouth and said, Lo! my
              heart wisheth thy good, and let the thing prosper which
              is in thy hands to do it.

              "29. But thou seest that my hands are full of working,
              and my labor is great. For, lo, I have to feed all the
              people of my land, and none knoweth whence his food
              cometh; but each man openeth his mouth, and my hand
              filleth it with pleasant things.

              "30. Moreover, thine adversary also is of my familiars.

              "31. The land is before thee: draw thou up thine hosts
              for the battle on the mount of Proclamation, and defy
              boldly thine enemy, which hath his camp in the place of
              Princes; quit ye as men, and let favor be shown unto him
              which is most valiant.

              "32. Yet be thou silent; peradventure will I help thee
              some little.

              "33. But the man which is Crafty saw that the magician
              loved him not. For he knew him of old, and they had had
              many dealings; and he perceived that he would not assist
              him in the day of his adversity.

              "34. So he turned about, and went out of his fastness.
              And he shook the dust from his feet, and said, Behold I
              have given this magician much money, yet see now, he
              hath utterly deserted me. Verily, my fine gold hath
              perished."--Chap. iii.]

              [Footnote 93: [The story of the composition of _The
              Chaldee Manuscript_, its publication in the first number
              of the magazine, destined to so long and brilliant a
              career, and the extraordinary commotion caused thereby,
              is admirably told in the _Annals of a Publishing House_,
              which also gives the details regarding Laidlaw's brief
              connection with the new periodical, and the
              correspondence of Scott and Blackwood during its early
              months.--See Mrs. Oliphant's _William Blackwood and His
              Sons_, vol. i. chap, iii.]]

     As for Whiggery in general, I can only say, that as no man
     can be said to be utterly overset until his rump has been
     higher than his head, so I cannot read in history of any
     free state which has been brought to slavery until the
     rascal and uninstructed populace had had their short hour of
     anarchical government, which naturally {p.222} leads to the
     stern repose of military despotism. Property, morals,
     education, are the proper qualifications for those who
     should hold political rights, and extending them very widely
     greatly lessens the chance of these qualifications being
     found in electors. Look at the sort of persons chosen at
     elections where the franchise is very general, and you will
     find either fools who are content to flatter the passions of
     the mob for a little transient popularity, or knaves who
     pander to their follies, that they may make their necks a
     footstool for their own promotion. With these convictions, I
     am very jealous of Whiggery, under all modifications; and I
     must say, my acquaintance with the total want of principle
     in some of its warmest professors does not tend to recommend
     it. Somewhat too much of this. My compliments to the
     goodwife. Yours truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.


                                        Wednesday. [February, 1818.]

     DEAR WILLIE,--I have no idea Usher[94] will take the
     sheepland again, nor would I press it on him. As my
     circumstances stand, immediate revenue is much less my
     object than the real improvement of this property, which
     amuses me besides; our wants are amply supplied by my £1600
     a year official income: nor have we a wish or a motive to
     extend our expenses beyond that of the decencies and
     hospitality of our station in life; so that my other
     resources remain for buying land in future, or improving
     what we have. No doubt Abbotsford, in maintaining our
     establishment during the summer, may be reckoned £150 or
     £200 saved on what we must otherwise buy; and if we could
     arrange to have mutton and beef {p.223} occasionally from
     the farm in winter, it would be a still greater saving. All
     this you will consider: for Tom, thoroughly honest and very
     clever in his way, has no kind of generalizing, and would
     often like to save sixpence in his own department at the
     expense of my paying five shillings in another. This is his
     fault, and when you join to it a Scotch slovenliness which
     leads him to see things half-finished without pain or
     anxiety, I do not know any other he has--but such as they
     are, these must be guarded against. For our housemaid (for
     housekeeper we must not call her), I should like much a hawk
     of a nest so good as that you mention: but would not such a
     place be rather beneath her views? Her duty would be to look
     to scrupulous cleanliness within doors, and employ her
     leisure in spinning, or plain-work, as wanted. When we came
     out for a blink, she would be expected to cook a little in a
     plain way, and play maid of all work; when we were
     stationary, she would assist the housemaid and superintend
     the laundry. Probably your aunt's granddaughter will have
     pretensions to something better than this; but as we are to
     be out on the 12th March, we will talk it over. Assuredly a
     well-connected steady person would be of the greatest
     consequence to us. I like your plan of pitting much; and to
     compromise betwixt you and Tom, do one half with superior
     attention, and slit in the others for mere nurses. But I am
     no friend to that same slitting.

              [Footnote 94: John Usher, the ex-proprietor of
              Toftfield, was eventually Scott's tenant on part of
              those lands for many years. He was a man of far superior
              rank and intelligence to the rest of the displaced
              lairds--and came presently to be one of Scott's trusty
              rural friends, and a frequent companion of his sports.]

     I adhere to trying a patch or two of larches, of a quarter
     of an acre each, upon the Athole plan, by way of experiment.
     We can plant them up if they do not thrive. On the whole,
     three-and-a-half feet is, I think, the right distance. I
     have no fear of the ground being impoverished. Trees are not
     like arable crops, which necessarily derive their sustenance
     from the superficial earth--the roots of trees go far and
     wide, and, if incommoded by a neighbor, they send out
     suckers to procure nourishment elsewhere. They never hurt
     each other till {p.224} their tops interfere, which may be
     easily prevented by timely weeding.

     I rejoice in the sawmill. Have you settled with Harper?--and
     how do Og and Bashan[95] come on? I cannot tell you how
     delighted I am with the account Hogg gives me of Mr. Grieve.
     The great Cameron was chaplain in the house of my great
     something grandfather, and so I hope Mr. Grieve will be
     mine. If, as the King of Prussia said to Rousseau, "a little
     persecution is necessary to make his home entirely to his
     mind," he shall have it; and what persecutors seldom
     promise, I will stop whenever he is tired of it. I have a
     pair of thumbikins also much at his service, if he requires
     their assistance to glorify God and the Covenant. Sincerely,
     I like enthusiasm of every kind so well, especially when
     united with worth of character, that I shall be delighted
     with this old gentleman. Ever yours,

                                        W. SCOTT.

              [Footnote 95: A yoke of oxen.]

The last paragraph of this letter refers to an uncle of Laidlaw's (the
father of Hogg's friend, John Grieve), who at this time thought of
occupying a cottage on Scott's estate. He was a preacher of the
Cameronian sect, and had long ministered to a very small remnant of
"the hill-folk" scattered among the wilds of Ettrick. He was a very
good man, and had a most venerable and apostolical benignity of
aspect; but his prejudices were as extravagant as those of Cameron,
his patriarch, himself could have been. The project of his removal to
Tweedside was never realized.

The following admirable letter was written at the request of Messrs.
Constable, who had, on Scott's recommendation, undertaken the
publication of Mr. Maturin's novel, Women, or _Pour et Contre_. The
reverend author's Bertram had, it may be remembered, undergone some
rather rough usage in Coleridge's Biographia Literaria; {p.225} and
he was now desirous to revenge himself by a preface of the polemical


                                        26th February, 1818.

     DEAR SIR,--I am going to claim the utmost and best privilege
     of sincere friendship and good-will, that of offering a few
     words of well-meant advice; and you may be sure that the
     occasion seems important to induce me to venture so far upon
     your tolerance. It respects the preface to your work, which
     Constable and Co. have sent to me. It is as well written as
     that sort of thing can be; but will you forgive me if I
     say--it is too much in the tone of the offence which gave
     rise to it, to be agreeable either to good taste or to
     general feeling. Coleridge's work has been little read or
     heard of, and has made no general impression
     whatever--certainly no impression unfavorable to you or your
     play. In the opinion, therefore, of many, you will be
     resenting an injury of which they are unacquainted with the
     existence. If I see a man beating another unmercifully, I am
     apt to condemn him upon the first blush of the business, and
     hardly excuse him though I may afterwards learn he had ample
     provocation. Besides, your diatribe is not _hujus loci_. We
     take up a novel for amusement, and this current of
     controversy breaks out upon us like a stream of lava out of
     the side of a beautiful green hill; men will say you should
     have reserved your disputes for reviews or periodical
     publications, and they will sympathize less with your anger,
     because they will not think the time proper for expressing
     it. We are bad judges, bad physicians, and bad divines in
     our own case; but, above all, we are seldom able, when
     injured or insulted, to judge of the degree of sympathy
     which the world will bear in our resentment and our
     retaliation. The instant, however, that such degree of
     sympathy is exceeded, we hurt ourselves, and not our
     adversary. I am so convinced {p.226} of this, and so deeply
     fixed in the opinion, that besides the uncomfortable
     feelings which are generated in the course of literary
     debate, a man lowers his estimation in the public eye by
     engaging in such controversy, that, since I have been dipped
     in ink, I have suffered no personal attacks (and I have been
     honored with them of all descriptions) to provoke me to
     reply. A man will certainly be vexed on such occasions, and
     I have wished to have the knaves _where the muircock was the
     bailie_--or, as _you_ would say, _upon the sod_--but I never
     let the thing cling to my mind, and always adhered to my
     resolution, that if my writings and tenor of life did not
     confute such attacks, my words never should. Let me entreat
     you to view Coleridge's violence as a thing to be contemned,
     not retaliated--the opinion of a British public may surely
     be set in honest opposition to that of one disappointed and
     wayward man. You should also consider, _en bon Chrétien_,
     that Coleridge has had some room to be spited at the world,
     and you are, I trust, to continue to be a favorite with the
     public--so that you should totally neglect and despise
     criticism, however virulent, which arises out of his bad
     fortune and your good.

     I have only to add that Messrs. Constable and Co. are
     seriously alarmed for the effects of the preface upon the
     public mind as unfavorable to the work. In this they must be
     tolerable judges, for their experience as to popular feeling
     is very great; and as they have met your wishes, in all the
     course of the transaction, perhaps you will be disposed to
     give some weight to their opinion upon a point like this.
     Upon my own part I can only say that I have no habits of
     friendship, and scarce those of acquaintance with
     Coleridge--I have not even read his Autobiography--but I
     consider him as a man of genius, struggling with bad habits
     and difficult circumstances. It is, however, entirely upon
     your account that I take the liberty of stating an opinion
     on a subject of such delicacy. I should wish you to give
     your excellent {p.227} talents fair play, and to ride this
     race without carrying any superfluous weight; and I am so
     well acquainted with my old friend the public, that I could
     bet a thousand pounds to a shilling, that the preface (if
     that controversial part of it is not cancelled) will greatly
     prejudice your novel.

     I will not ask your forgiveness for the freedom I have used,
     for I am sure you will not suspect me of any motives but
     those which arise from regard to your talents and person;
     but I shall be glad to hear (whether you follow my advice or
     no) that you are not angry with me for having volunteered to
     offer it.

     My health is, I think, greatly improved; I have had some
     returns of my spasmodic affection, but tolerable in degree,
     and yielding to medicine. I hope gentle exercise and the air
     of my hills will set me up this summer. I trust you will
     soon be out now. I have delayed reading the sheets in
     progress after Vol. I., that I might enjoy them when
     collected. Ever yours, etc.,

                                        Walter SCOTT.


                                   EDINBURGH, Wednesday. [March, 1818.]

     DEAR WILLIE,--I am delighted to hear the plantings get on so
     well. The weather here has been cruelly changeable--fresh
     one day--frost the next--snow the third. This morning the
     snow lay three inches thick, and before noon it was gone,
     and blowing a tempest. Many of the better ranks are ill of
     the typhus fever, and some deaths. How do your poor folks
     come on? Let Tom advance you money when it is wanted. I do
     not propose, like the heroine of a novel, to convert the
     hovels of want into the abodes of elegant plenty, but we
     have enough to spare to relieve actual distress, and do not
     wish to economize where we can find out (which is difficult)
     where the assistance is instantly useful.

     Don't let Tom forget hedgerow trees, which he is very
     {p.228} unwilling to remember; and also to plant birches,
     oaks, elms, and such like round-headed trees along the
     verges of the Kaeside plantations; they make a beautiful
     outline, and also a sort of fence, and were not planted last
     year because the earth at the sunk fences was too newly
     travelled. This should be mixed with various bushes, as
     hollies, thorns, so as to make a wild hedge, or thickety
     obstruction to the inroads of cattle. A few sweetbriers,
     alders, honeysuckles, laburnums, etc., should be thrown in.
     A verdant screen may be made in this way, of the wildest and
     most beautiful description, which should never be clipt,
     only pruned, allowing the loose branches to drop over those
     that are taken away. Tom is very costive about trees, and
     talks only of 300 poplars. I shall send at least double that
     number; also some hagberries, etc. He thinks he is saving me
     money when he is starving my projects; but he is a pearl of
     honesty and good intention, and I like him the better for
     needing driving where expense is likely. Ever yours,

                                        W. SCOTT.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 23d March, 1818.


          "Grieve not for me, my dearest dear,
           I am not dead but sleepeth here."--

     I have little to plead for myself, but the old and vile
     apologies of laziness and indisposition. I think I have been
     so unlucky of late as to have always the will to work when
     sitting at the desk hurts me, and the irresistible
     propensity to be lazy, when I might, like the man whom
     Hogarth introduces into Bridewell with his hands strapped up
     against the wall, "better work than stand thus." I laid
     Kirkton[96] aside half finished, from a desire {p.229} to
     get the original edition of the lives of Cameron, etc., by
     Patrick Walker, which I had not seen since a boy, and now I
     have got it, and find, as I suspected, that some curious
     _morceaux_ have been cut out by subsequent editors.[97] I
     will, without loss of time, finish the article, which I
     think you will like. Blackwood kidnapped an article for his
     Magazine on the Frankenstein story,[98] which I intended for
     you. A very old friend and school companion of mine, and a
     gallant soldier, if ever there was one, Sir Howard Douglas,
     has asked me to review his work on Military Bridges. I must
     get a friend's assistance for the scientific part, and add
     some balaam of mine own (as printers' devils say) to make up
     four or five pages. I have no objection to attempt Lord
     Orford if I have time, and find I can do it with ease.
     Though far from admiring his character, I have always had a
     high opinion of his talents, and am well acquainted with his
     works. The letters you have published are, I think, his very
     best--lively, entertaining, and unaffected.[99] I am greatly
     obliged to you for these and other literary treasures which
     I owe to your goodness from time to time. Although not
     thankfully acknowledged as they should be in course, these
     things are never thanklessly received.

              [Footnote 96: Scott's article on Kirkton's _History of
              the Church of Scotland_, edited by Mr. C. K. Sharpe,
              appeared in the 36th number of the _Quarterly
              Review_,--See _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xix. p.

              [Footnote 97: Scott expressed great satisfaction on
              seeing the _Lives of the Covenanters_--Cameron, Peden,
              Semple, Wellwood, Cargill, Smith, Renwick,
              etc.--reprinted without mutilation in the _Biographia
              Presbyteriana_. Edin. 1827. The publisher of this
              collection was the late Mr. John Stevenson, long chief
              clerk to John Ballantyne, and usually styled by Scott
              "True Jock," in opposition to one of his old master's
              many _aliases_--namely, "Leein' Johnnie."]

              [Footnote 98: See Scott's _Prose Miscellanies_, vol.
              xviii. p. 250.]

              [Footnote 99: The Letters of Horace Walpole to George

     I could have sworn that Beppo was founded on Whistlecraft,
     as both were on Anthony Hall,[100] who, like Beppo, had more
     wit than grace.

              [Footnote 100: _Anthony Hall_ is only known as Editor of
              one of Leland's works. I have no doubt Scott was
              thinking of _John Hall Stevenson_, author of _Crazy
              Tales_; the friend, and (it is said) the _Eugenius_ of

     {p.230} I am not, however, in spirits at present for
     treating either these worthies, or my friend Rose,[101]
     though few have warmer wishes to any of the trio. But this
     confounded changeable weather has twice within this
     fortnight brought back my cramp in the stomach. Adieu. My
     next shall be with a packet.--Yours truly,

                                        W. SCOTT.

              [Footnote 101: I believe Mr. Rose's _Court and
              Parliament of Beasts_ is here alluded to.]

In the next letter we have Scott's lamentation over the death of Mrs.
Murray Keith--the Mrs. Bethune Baliol of his Chronicles of the
Canongate. The person alluded to under the designation of "Prince of
the Black Marble Islands" was Mr. George Bullock, already often
mentioned as, with Terry and Mr. Atkinson, consulted about all the
arrangements of the rising house at Abbotsford. Scott gave him this
title from the Arabian Nights, on occasion of his becoming the lessee
of some marble quarries in the Isle of Anglesea.


                                        April 30, 1818--SELKIRK.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--Your packet arrived this morning. I was much
     disappointed not to find the Prince of the Black Islands'
     plan in it, nor have I heard a word from him since anent it,
     or anent the still more essential articles of doors and
     windows. I heard from Hector Macdonald Buchanan, that the
     said doors and windows were packing a fortnight since, but
     there are no news of them. Surely our friend's heart has
     grown as hard as his materials; or the spell of the
     enchantress, which confined itself to the extremities of his
     predecessor, has extended over his whole person. Mr.
     Atkinson has kept tryst charmingly, and the ceiling of the
     dining-room will be superb. I have got I know not how many
     casts, from Melrose and other places, of pure Gothic
     antiquity. I {p.231} must leave this on the 12th, and I
     could bet a trifle the doors, etc., will arrive the very day
     I set out, and be all put up _à la bonne aventure_. Meantime
     I am keeping open house, not much to my convenience, and I
     am afraid I shall be stopped in my plastering by the want of
     these matters. The exposed state of my house has led to a
     mysterious disturbance. The night before last we were awaked
     by a violent noise, like drawing heavy boards along the new
     part of the house. I fancied something had fallen, and
     thought no more about it. This was about _two_ in the
     morning. Last night, at the same witching hour, the very
     same noise occurred. Mrs. S., as you know, is rather
     _timbersome_, so up got I, with Beardie's broadsword under
     my arm,

          "So bolt upright,
           And ready to fight."

     But nothing was out of order, neither can I discover what
     occasioned the disturbance. However, I went to bed,
     grumbling against Tenterden Street,[102] and all its works.
     If there was no entrance but the keyhole, I should warrant
     myself against the ghosts. We have a set of idle fellows
     called workmen about us, which is a better way of accounting
     for nocturnal noises than any that is to be found in Baxter
     or Glanville.

              [Footnote 102: Bullock's manufactory was in this

     When you see Mr. Atkinson, will you ask him how far he is
     satisfied with the arch between the armory and the
     ante-room, and whether it pleases him as it now stands? I
     have a brave old oaken cabinet, as black as ebony, 300 years
     old at least, which will occupy one side of the ante-room
     for the present. It is seven feet and a half long, about
     eighteen inches deep, and upwards of six feet high--a fine
     stand for china, etc.

     You will be sorry to hear that we have lost our excellent
     old friend, Mrs. Murray Keith. She enjoyed all her spirits
     and excellent faculties till within two days of her death,
     when she was seized with a feverish complaint, {p.232}
     which eighty-two years were not calculated to resist. Much
     tradition, and of the very best kind, has died with this
     excellent old lady; one of the few persons whose spirits and
     cleanliness, and freshness of mind and body, made old age
     lovely and desirable. In the general case, it seems scarce

     It seems odd to me that Rob Roy[103] should have made good
     fortune; pray let me know something of its history. There is
     in Jedediah's present work a thing capable of being woven
     out a _bourgeoise_ tragedy. I think of contriving that it
     shall be in your hands some time before the public see it,
     that you may try to operate upon it yourself. This would not
     be difficult, as vol. 4, and part of 3d, contain a different
     story. _Avowedly_ I will never write for the stage; if I do,
     "call me _horse_." And indeed I feel severely the want of
     knowledge of theatrical business and effect: however,
     something we will do. I am writing in the noise and babble
     of a head-court of freeholders; therefore my letter is
     incoherent, and therefore it is written also on long paper;
     but therefore, moreover, it will move by frank, as the
     member is here, and stands upon his popularity. Kind
     compliments to Mrs. Terry and Walter.

     Yours very truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 103: A drama founded on the novel of _Rob Roy_
              had been produced, with great success, on the London

On the morning that Mr. Terry received the foregoing letter in London,
Mr. William Erskine was breakfasting with him; and the chief subject
of their conversation was the sudden death of George Bullock, which
had occurred on the same night, and, as nearly as they could
ascertain, at the very hour when Scott was roused from his sleep by
the "mysterious disturbance" here described, and sallied from his
chamber with old Beardie's Killiecrankie claymore in his hand. This
coincidence, when {p.233} Scott received Erskine's minute detail of
what had happened in Tenterden Street, made a much stronger impression
on his mind than might be gathered from the tone of an ensuing


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 4th May, 1818.

     DEAR TERRY,--I received with the greatest surprise, and the
     most sincere distress, the news of poor George Bullock's
     death. In the full career of honorable
     industry,--distinguished by his uncommon taste and
     talent,--esteemed by all who transacted business with
     him,--and loved by those who had the pleasure of his more
     intimate acquaintance,--I can scarce conceive a more
     melancholy summons. It comes as a particular shock to me,
     because I had, particularly of late, so much associated his
     idea with the improvements here, in which his kind and
     enthusiastic temper led him to take such interest; and in
     looking at every unfinished or projected circumstance, I
     feel an impression of melancholy which will for some time
     take away the pleasure I have found in them. I liked George
     Bullock because he had no trumpery selfishness about his
     heart, taste, or feelings. Pray let me know about the
     circumstances of his family, etc. I feel most sincerely
     interested in all that concerns him. It must have been a
     dreadful surprise to Mr. Atkinson and you who lived with him
     so much. I need not, I am sure, beg you to be in no hurry
     about my things. The confusion must be cruelly great,
     without any friend adding to it; and in fact, at this
     moment, I am very indifferent on the subject. The poor kind
     fellow! He took so much notice of little Charles, and was so
     domesticated with us all, that I really looked with a
     schoolboy's anxiety for his being here in the season, to
     take his own quiet pleasures, and to forward mine. But God's
     will be done. All that surviving friends can do upon such a
     loss is, if possible, to love each other still better.--I
     {p.234} beg to be kindly remembered to Mrs. Terry and
     Monsieur Walter. Ever most truly yours,

                                        Walter SCOTT.


                                        EDINBURGH, 16th May, 1818.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--Mr. Nasmyth[104] has obligingly given me an
     opportunity of writing to you a few lines, as he is setting
     out for London. I cannot tell you how much I continue to be
     grieved for our kind-hearted and enthusiastic friend
     Bullock. I trust he has left his family comfortably settled,
     though, with so many plans which required his active and
     intelligent mind to carry them through, one has natural
     apprehensions upon that score. When you can with propriety
     make inquiry how my matters stand, I should be glad to know.
     Hector Macdonald tells me that my doors and windows were
     ready packed, in which case, perhaps, the sooner they are
     embarked the better, not only for safety, but because they
     can only be in the way, and the money will now be the more
     acceptable. Poor Bullock had also the measures for my
     chimney-pieces, for grates of different kinds, and orders
     for beds, dining-room tables and chairs. But how far these
     are in progress of being executed, or whether they can now
     be executed, I must leave to your judgment and inquiry. Your
     good sense and delicacy will understand the _façon de faire_
     better than I can point it out. I shall never have the
     pleasure in these things that I expected.

              [Footnote 104: Mr. Alexander Nasmyth, an eminent
              landscape painter of Edinburgh--the father of Mrs.

     I have just left Abbotsford to attend the Summer
     session--left it when the leaves were coming out--the most
     delightful season for a worshipper of the country like me.
     The Home-bank, which we saw at first green with turnips,
     will now hide a man somewhat taller than Johnny Ballantyne
     in its shades. In fact, the trees {p.235} cover the ground,
     and have a very pretty bosky effect; from six years to ten
     or twelve, I think wood is as beautiful as ever it is
     afterwards until it figures as aged and magnificent. Your
     hobbledehoy tree of twenty-five years' standing is neither
     so beautiful as in its infancy, nor so respectable as in its

     Counsellor Erskine is returned, much pleased with your
     hospitality, and giving an excellent account of you. Were
     you not struck with the fantastical coincidence of our
     nocturnal disturbances at Abbotsford with the melancholy
     event that followed? I protest to you the noise resembled
     half-a-dozen men hard at work putting up boards and
     furniture, and nothing can be more certain than that there
     was nobody on the premises at the time. With a few
     additional touches, the story would figure in Glanville or
     Aubrey's Collection. In the mean time you may set it down
     with poor Dubisson's warnings,[105] as a remarkable
     coincidence coming under your own observation. I trust we
     shall see you this season. I think we could hammer a neat
     _comédie bourgeoise_ out of The Heart of Mid-Lothian. Mrs.
     Scott and family join in kind compliments to Mrs. Terry; and
     I am ever yours truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

              [Footnote 105: See _ante_, vol. iii. p. 220.]

It appears from one of these letters to Terry, that, so late as the
30th of April, Scott still designed to include two separate stories in
the second series of the Tales of my Landlord. But he must have
changed his plan soon after that date; since the four volumes,
entirely occupied with The Heart of Mid-Lothian, were before the
public in the course of June. The story thus deferred, in consequence
of the extent to which that of Jeanie Deans grew on his hands, was The
Bride of Lammermoor.

{p.236} CHAPTER XLI.

     Dinner at Mr. Home Drummond's. -- Scott's Edinburgh Den. --
     Details of his Domestic Life in Castle Street. -- His Sunday
     Dinners. -- His Evening Drives, etc. -- His Conduct in the
     General Society of Edinburgh. -- Dinners at John
     Ballantyne's Villa, and at James Ballantyne's in St. John
     Street, on the Appearance of a New Novel. -- Anecdotes of
     the Ballantynes, and of Constable.


On the 12th of May, as we have seen, Scott left Abbotsford, for the
summer session in Edinburgh.

At this moment, his position, take it for all in all, was, I am
inclined to believe, what no other man had ever won for himself by the
pen alone. His works were the daily food, not only of his countrymen,
but of all educated Europe. His society was courted by whatever
England could show of eminence. Station, power, wealth, beauty, and
genius, strove with each other in every demonstration of respect and
worship--and, a few political fanatics and envious poetasters
apart--wherever he appeared in town or in country, whoever had Scotch
blood in him, "gentle or simple," felt it move more rapidly through
his veins when he was in the presence of Scott. To descend to what
many looked on as higher things, he considered himself, and was
considered by all about him, as rapidly consolidating a large fortune:
the annual profits of his novels alone had, for several years, been
not less than £10,000: his domains {p.237} were daily increased--his
castle was rising--and perhaps few doubted that erelong he might
receive from the just favor of his Prince some distinction in the way
of external rank, such as had seldom before been dreamt of as the
possible consequence of a mere literary celebrity. It was about this
time that the compiler of these pages first had the opportunity of
observing the plain easy modesty which had survived the many
temptations of such a career; and the kindness of heart pervading, in
all circumstances, his gentle deportment, which made him the rare,
perhaps the solitary, example of a man signally elevated from humble
beginnings, and loved more and more by his earliest friends and
connections, in proportion as he had fixed on himself the homage of
the great, and the wonder of the world.

It was during the sitting of the General Assembly of the Kirk in May,
1818, that I first had the honor of meeting him in private society:
the party was not a large one, at the house of a much-valued common
friend--Mr. Home Drummond of Blair Drummond, the grandson of Lord
Kames. Mr. Scott, ever apt to consider too favorably the literary
efforts of others, and more especially of very young persons, received
me, when I was presented to him, with a cordiality which I had not
been prepared to expect from one filling a station so exalted. This,
however, is the same story that every individual, who ever met him
under similar circumstances, has had to tell. When the ladies retired
from the dinner-table, I happened to sit next him; and he, having
heard that I had lately returned from a tour in Germany, made that
country and its recent literature the subject of some conversation. In
the course of it, I told him that when, on reaching the inn at Weimar,
I asked the waiter whether Goethe was then in the town, the man stared
as if he had not heard the name before; and that on my repeating the
question, adding _Goethe der grosse dichter_ (the great poet), he
shook his head as doubtfully as {p.238} before--until the landlady
solved our difficulties, by suggesting that perhaps the traveller
might mean "the _Herr Geheimer-Rath_ (Privy Counsellor) _Von Goethe_."
Scott seemed amused with this, and said, "I hope you will come one of
these days and see me at Abbotsford; and when you reach Selkirk or
Melrose, be sure you ask even the landlady for nobody but _the
Sheriff_." He appeared particularly interested when I described Goethe
as I first saw him, alighting from a carriage, crammed with wild
plants and herbs which he had picked up in the course of his morning's
botanizing among the hills above Jena. "I am glad," said he, "that my
old master has pursuits somewhat akin to my own. I am no botanist,
properly speaking; and though a dweller on the banks of the Tweed,
shall never be knowing about Flora's beauties;[106] but how I should
like to have a talk with him about trees!" I mentioned how much any
one must be struck with the majestic beauty of Goethe's countenance
(the noblest certainly by far that I have ever yet seen): "Well," said
he, "the grandest demigod I ever saw was Dr. Carlyle, minister of
Musselburgh, commonly called _Jupiter Carlyle_, from having sat more
than once for the king of gods and men to Gavin Hamilton--and a
shrewd, clever old carle was he, no doubt, but no more a poet than his
precentor. As for poets, I have seen, I believe, all the best of our
own time and country--and, though Burns had the most glorious eyes
imaginable, I never thought any of them would come up to an artist's
notion of the character, except Byron." A reverend gentleman present
(I think, Principal Nicoll of St. Andrews) expressed his regret that
he had never seen Lord Byron. "And the prints," resumed Scott, "give
one no impression of him--the lustre is there, Doctor, but it is not
lighted up. Byron's countenance is _a thing to dream of_. A certain
fair lady, whose name has been too often {p.239} mentioned in
connection with his, told a friend of mine, that when she first saw
Byron, it was in a crowded room, and she did not know who it was, but
her eyes were instantly nailed, and she said to herself, _that pale
face is my fate_. And, poor soul, if a godlike face and godlike powers
could have made any excuse for devilry, to be sure she had one." In
the course of this talk, an old friend and schoolfellow of
Scott's[107] asked him across the table if he had any faith in the
antique busts of Homer. "No, truly," he answered, smiling, "for if
there had been either limners or stuccoyers worth their salt in those
days, the owner of such a headpiece would never have had to trail the
poke. They would have alimented the honest man decently among them for
a lay-figure."

              [Footnote 106:
                "What beauties does Flora disclose,
                 How sweet are her smiles upon Tweed," etc.--_Crawford._]

              [Footnote 107: The late Sir Patrick Murray of
              Ochtertyre, Bart.--one of the Scotch Barons of

A few days after this, I received a communication from the Messrs.
Ballantyne, to the effect that Mr. Scott's various avocations had
prevented him from fulfilling his agreement with them as to the
historical department of the Edinburgh Annual Register for 1816, and
that it would be acceptable to him as well as them, if I could
undertake to supply it in the course of the autumn. This proposal was
agreed to on my part, and I had consequently occasion to meet him
pretty often during that summer session. He told me, that if the war
had gone on, he should have liked to do the historical summary as
before; but that the prospect of having no events to record but
radical riots, and the passing or rejecting of corn bills and poor
bills, sickened him; that his health was no longer what it had been;
and that though he did not mean to give over writing altogether--(here
he smiled significantly, and glanced his eye towards a pile of MS. on
the desk by him)--he thought himself now entitled to write nothing but
what would rather be an amusement than a fatigue to him--"_Juniores ad

{p.240} He at this time occupied as his _den_ a square small room,
behind the dining parlor in Castle Street. It had but a single
Venetian window, opening on a patch of turf not much larger than
itself, and the aspect of the place was on the whole sombrous. The
walls were entirely clothed with books; most of them folios and
quartos, and all in that complete state of repair which at a glance
reveals a tinge of bibliomania. A dozen volumes or so, needful for
immediate purposes of reference, were placed close by him on a small
movable frame--something like a dumb-waiter. All the rest were in
their proper niches, and wherever a volume had been lent, its room was
occupied by a wooden block of the same size, having a card with the
name of the borrower and date of the loan, tacked on its front. The
old bindings had obviously been retouched and regilt in the most
approved manner; the new, when the books were of any mark, were rich,
but never gaudy--a large proportion of blue morocco--all stamped with
his _device_ of the portcullis, and its motto, _clausus tutus
ero_--being an anagram of his name in Latin. Every case and shelf was
accurately lettered, and the works arranged systematically; history
and biography on one side--poetry and the drama on another--law books
and dictionaries behind his own chair. The only table was a massive
piece of furniture which he had had constructed on the model of one at
Rokeby, with a desk and all its appurtenances on either side, that an
amanuensis might work opposite to him when he chose; and with small
tiers of drawers, reaching all round to the floor. The top displayed a
goodly array of session papers, and on the desk below were, besides
the MS. at which he was working, sundry parcels of letters, proof
sheets, and so forth, all neatly done up with red tape. His own
writing apparatus was a very handsome old box, richly carved, lined
with crimson velvet, and containing ink-bottles, taper-stand, etc., in
silver--the whole in such order that it might have come from the
silversmith's {p.241} window half an hour before. Besides his own
huge elbow-chair, there were but two others in the room, and one of
these seemed, from its position, to be reserved exclusively for the
amanuensis. I observed, during the first evening I spent with him in
this _sanctum_, that while he talked, his hands were hardly ever
idle--sometimes he folded letter-covers--sometimes he twisted paper
into matches, performing both tasks with great mechanical expertness
and nicety; and when there was no loose paper fit to be so dealt with,
he snapped his fingers, and the noble Maida aroused himself from his
lair on the hearth-rug, and laid his head across his master's knees,
to be caressed and fondled. The room had no space for pictures except
one, an original portrait of Claverhouse, which hung over the
chimney-piece, with a Highland target on either side, and broadswords
and dirks (each having its own story), disposed star-fashion round
them. A few green tin-boxes, such as solicitors keep title-deeds in,
were piled over each other on one side of the window; and on the top
of these lay a fox's tail, mounted on an antique silver handle,
wherewith, as often as he had occasion to take down a book, he gently
brushed the dust off the upper leaves before opening it. I think I
have mentioned all the furniture of the room except a sort of ladder,
low, broad, well carpeted, and strongly guarded with oaken rails, by
which he helped himself to books from his higher shelves. On the top
step of this convenience, Hinse of Hinsfeldt, (so called from one of
the German _Kinder-märchen_,) a venerable tom-cat, fat and sleek, and
no longer very locomotive, usually lay watching the proceedings of his
master and Maida with an air of dignified equanimity; but when Maida
chose to leave the party, he signified his inclinations by thumping
the door with his huge paw, as violently as ever a fashionable footman
handled a knocker in Grosvenor Square; the Sheriff rose and opened it
for him with courteous alacrity,--and then Hinse came {p.242} down
purring from his perch, and mounted guard by the footstool, _vice_
Maida absent upon furlough.[108] Whatever discourse might be passing,
was broken every now and then by some affectionate apostrophe to these
four-footed friends. He said they understood everything he said to
them--and I believe they did understand a great deal of it. But at all
events, dogs and cats, like children, have some infallible tact for
discovering at once who is and who is not really fond of their
company; and I venture to say, Scott was never five minutes in any
room before the little pets of the family, whether dumb or lisping,
had found out his kindness for all their generation.

              [Footnote 108: [Of Hinse, Washington Irving writes in
              his _Abbotsford_:--

              "Among the other important and privileged members of the
              household who figured in attendance at dinner, was a
              large gray cat, who, I observed, was regaled from time
              to time with titbits from the table. This sage grimalkin
              was a favorite of both master and mistress, and slept at
              night in their room, and Scott laughingly observed, that
              one of the least wise parts of their establishment was
              that the window was left open at night for puss to go in
              and out. The cat assumed a kind of ascendency among the
              quadrupeds--sitting in state in Scott's armchair, and
              occasionally stationing himself on a chair beside the
              door, as if to review his subjects as they passed,
              giving each dog a cuff beside the ears as he went by.
              This clapper-clawing was always taken in good part; it
              appeared to be, in fact, a mere act of sovereignty on
              the part of grimalkin to remind the others of their
              vassalage; which they acknowledged by the most perfect
              acquiescence. A general harmony prevailed between
              sovereign and subjects, and they would all sleep
              together in the sunshine."]]

I never thought it lawful to keep a journal of what passes in private
society, so that no one need expect from the sequel of this narrative
any detailed record of Scott's familiar talk. What fragments of it
have happened to adhere to a tolerably retentive memory, and may be
put into black and white without wounding any feelings which my
friend, were he alive, would have wished to spare, I shall introduce
as the occasion suggests or serves. But I disclaim on the threshold
anything more than this; and I also wish to enter a protest once for
all against the general fidelity of several literary gentlemen who
have kindly forwarded to me private lucubrations {p.243} of theirs,
designed to _Boswellize_ Scott, and which they may probably publish
hereafter. To report conversations fairly, it is a necessary
prerequisite that we should be completely familiar with all the
interlocutors, and understand thoroughly all their minutest relations,
and points of common knowledge and common feeling with each other. He
who does not, must be perpetually in danger of misinterpreting
sportive allusion into serious statement; and the man who was only
recalling, by some jocular phrase or half-phrase, to an old companion,
some trivial reminiscence of their boyhood or youth, may be
represented as expressing, upon some person or incident casually
tabled, an opinion which he had never framed, or if he had, would
never have given words to in any mixed assemblage--not even among what
the world calls _friends_ at his own board. In proportion as a man is
witty and humorous, there will always be about him and his a widening
maze and wilderness of cues and catchwords, which the uninitiated
will, if they are bold enough to try interpretation, construe, ever
and anon, egregiously amiss--not seldom into arrant falsity. For this
one reason, to say nothing of many others, I consider no man justified
in journalizing what he sees and hears in a domestic circle where he
is not thoroughly at home; and I think there are still higher and
better reasons why he should not do so where he is.

Before I ever met Scott in private, I had, of course, heard many
people describe and discuss his style of conversation. Everybody
seemed to agree that it overflowed with hearty good-humor, as well as
plain unaffected good sense and sagacity; but I had heard not a few
persons of undoubted ability and accomplishment maintain that the
genius of the great poet and novelist rarely, if ever, revealed itself
in his talk. It is needless to say, that the persons I allude to were
all his own countrymen, and themselves imbued, more or less, with the
conversational habits derived from a system of education in which the
{p.244} study of metaphysics occupies a very large share of
attention. The best table-talk of Edinburgh was, and probably still
is, in a very great measure made up of brilliant disquisition--such as
might be transferred without alteration to a professor's note-book, or
the pages of a critical Review--and of sharp word-catchings, ingenious
thrusting and parrying of dialectics, and all the quips and quibblets
of bar pleading. It was the talk of a society to which lawyers and
lecturers had, for at least a hundred years, given the tone. From the
date of the Union, Edinburgh ceased to be the headquarters of the
Scotch nobility--and long before the time of which I speak, they had
all but entirely abandoned it as a place of residence. I think I never
knew above two or three of the Peerage to have houses there at the
same time--and these were usually among the poorest and most
insignificant of their order. The wealthier gentry had followed their
example. Very few of that class ever spent any considerable part of
the year in Edinburgh, except for the purposes of educating their
children, or superintending the progress of a lawsuit; and these were
not more likely than a score or two of comatose and lethargic old
Indians, to make head against the established influences of academical
and forensic celebrity. Now Scott's tastes and resources had not much
in common with those who had inherited and preserved the chief
authority in this provincial hierarchy of rhetoric. He was highly
amused with watching their dexterous logomachies--but his delight in
such displays arose mainly, I cannot doubt, from the fact of their
being, both as to subject-matter and style and method, remote _a
Scævolæ studiis_. He sat by, as he would have done at a stage-play or
a fencing-match, enjoying and applauding the skill exhibited, but
without feeling much ambition to parade himself as a rival either of
the foil or the buskin. I can easily believe, therefore, that in the
earlier part of his life--before the blaze of universal fame had
overawed {p.245} local prejudice, and a new generation, accustomed to
hear of that fame from their infancy, had grown up--it may have been
the commonly adopted creed in Edinburgh, that Scott, however
distinguished otherwise, was not to be named as a table-companion in
the same day with this or that master of luminous dissertation or
quick rejoinder, who now sleeps as forgotten as his grandmother. It
was natural enough that persons brought up in the same circle with
him, who remembered all his beginnings, and had but slowly learned to
acquiesce in the justice of his claim to unrivalled honor in
literature, should have clung all the closer for that late
acquiescence to their original estimate of him as inferior to
themselves in other titles to admiration. It was also natural that
their prejudice on that score should be readily taken up by the young
aspirants who breathed, as it were, the atmosphere of their
professional renown. Perhaps, too, Scott's steady Toryism, and the
effect of his genius and example in modifying the intellectual sway of
the long dominant Whigs in the north, may have had some share in this
matter. However all that may have been, the substance of what I had
been accustomed to hear certainly was, that Scott had a marvellous
stock of queer stories, which he often told with happy effect, but
that, bating these drafts on a portentous memory, set off with a
simple old-fashioned _naïveté_ of humor and pleasantry, his strain of
talk was remarkable neither for depth of remark nor felicity of
illustration; that his views and opinions on the most important topics
of practical interest were hopelessly perverted by his blind
enthusiasm for the dreams of bygone ages; and that, but for the
grotesque phenomenon presented by a great writer of the nineteenth
century gravely uttering sentiments worthy of his own Dundees and
Invernahyles, the main texture of his discourse would be pronounced,
by any enlightened member of modern society, rather bald and poor than
otherwise. I think the epithet most in vogue was _commonplace_.

{p.246} It will easily be believed that, in companies such as I have
been alluding to, made up of, or habitually domineered over, by
voluble Whigs and political economists, Scott was often tempted to put
forth his Tory doctrines and antiquarian prejudices in an exaggerated
shape--in colors, to say the truth, altogether different from what
they assumed under other circumstances, or which had any real
influence upon his mind and conduct on occasions of practical moment.
But I fancy it will seem equally credible, that the most sharp-sighted
of these social critics may not always have been capable of tracing,
and doing justice to, the powers which Scott brought to bear upon the
topics which they, not he, had chosen for discussion. In passing from
a gas-lit hall into a room with wax candles, the guests sometimes
complain that they have left splendor for gloom; but let them try by
what sort of light it is most satisfactory to read, write, or
embroider, or consider at leisure under which of the two, either men
or women look their best.

The strongest, purest, and least observed of all lights, is, however,
daylight; and his talk was commonplace, just as sunshine is, which
gilds the most indifferent objects, and adds brilliancy to the
brightest. As for the old-world anecdotes which these clever persons
were condescending enough to laugh at as pleasant extravagances,
serving merely to relieve and set off the main stream of debate, they
were often enough, it may be guessed, connected with the theme in hand
by links not the less apt that they might be too subtle to catch their
bedazzled and self-satisfied optics. There might be keener knowledge
of human nature than was "dreamt of in their philosophy"--which passed
with them for _commonplace_, only because it was clothed in plain
familiar household words, not dressed up in some pedantic masquerade
of antithesis. "There are people," says Landor, "who think they write
and speak finely, merely because they have forgotten the language in
which their fathers and {p.247} mothers used to talk to them;" and
surely there are a thousand homely old proverbs, which many a dainty
modern would think it beneath his dignity to quote either in speech or
writing, any one of which condenses more wit (take that word in any of
its senses) than could be extracted from all that was ever said or
written by the _doctrinaires_ of the Edinburgh school. Many of those
gentlemen held Scott's conversation to be commonplace exactly for the
same reason that a child thinks a perfectly limpid stream, though
perhaps deep enough to drown it three times over, must needs be
shallow. But it will be easily believed that the best and highest of
their own idols had better means and skill of measurement: I can never
forget the pregnant expression of one of the ablest of that school and
party--Lord Cockburn--who, when some glib youth chanced to echo in his
hearing the consolatory tenet of local mediocrity, answered quietly:
"I have the misfortune to think differently from you--in my humble
opinion, Walter Scott's _sense_ is a still more wonderful thing than
his _genius_."

Indeed I have no sort of doubt that, long before 1818, full justice
was done to Scott, even in these minor things, by all those of his
Edinburgh acquaintance, whether Whig or Tory, on whose personal
opinion he could have been supposed to set much value. With few
exceptions, the really able lawyers of his own or nearly similar
standing had ere that time attained stations of judicial dignity, or
were in the springtide of practice; and in either case they were
likely to consider general society much in his own fashion, as the
joyous relaxation of life, rather than the theatre of exertion and
display. Their tables were elegantly, some of them sumptuously spread;
and they lived in a pretty constant interchange of entertainments upon
a large scale, in every circumstance of which, conversation included,
it was their ambition to imitate those voluptuous metropolitan
circles, wherein most of them had from time to time mingled, and
several of them {p.248} with distinguished success. Among such
prosperous gentlemen, like himself past the _mezzo cammin_, Scott's
picturesque anecdotes, rich easy humor, and gay involuntary glances of
mother-wit, were, it is not difficult to suppose, appreciated above
contributions of a more ambitious stamp; and no doubt his London
_réputation de salon_ (which had by degrees risen to a high pitch,
although he cared nothing for it) was not without its effect in
Edinburgh. But still the old prejudice lingered on in the general
opinion of the place, especially among the smart praters of _the
Outer-House_, whose glimpses of the social habits of their superiors
were likely to be rare, and their gall-bladders to be more distended
than their purses.

In truth, it was impossible to listen to Scott's oral narrations,
whether gay or serious, or to the felicitous fun with which he parried
absurdities of all sorts, without discovering better qualities in his
talk than _wit_--and of a higher order; I mean especially a power of
_vivid painting_--the true and primary sense of what is called
_Imagination_. He was like Jaques--though not a "Melancholy Jaques;"
and "moralized" a common topic "into a thousand similitudes."
Shakespeare and the banished Duke would have found him "full of
matter." He disliked mere disquisitions in Edinburgh, and prepared
_impromptus_ in London; and puzzled the promoters of such things
sometimes by placid silence, sometimes by broad merriment. To such men
he seemed _commonplace_--not so to the most dexterous masters in what
was to some of them almost a science; not so to Rose, Hallam, Moore,
or Rogers,--to Ellis, Mackintosh, Croker, or Canning.

Scott managed to give and receive such great dinners as I have been
alluding to, at least as often as any other private gentleman in
Edinburgh; but he very rarely accompanied his wife and daughters to
the evening assemblies, which commonly ensued under other roofs--for
{p.249} _early to rise_, unless in the case of spare-fed anchorites,
takes for granted _early to bed_. When he had no dinner engagement, he
frequently gave a few hours to the theatre; but still more frequently,
when the weather was fine, and still more, I believe, to his own
satisfaction, he drove out with some of his family, or a single
friend, in an open carriage; the favorite rides being either to the
Blackford Hills, or to Ravelston, and so home by Corstorphine; or to
the beach of Portobello, where Peter was always instructed to keep his
horses as near as possible to the sea. More than once, even in the
first summer of my acquaintance with him, I had the pleasure of
accompanying him on these evening excursions; and never did he seem to
enjoy himself more fully than when placidly surveying, at such sunset
or moonlight hours, either the massive outlines of his "own romantic
town," or the tranquil expanse of its noble estuary. He delighted,
too, in passing, when he could, through some of the quaint windings of
the ancient city itself, now deserted, except at mid-day, by the upper
world. How often have I seen him go a long way round about, rather
than miss the opportunity of halting for a few minutes on the vacant
esplanade of Holyrood, or under the darkest shadows of the Castle
rock, where it overhangs the Grassmarket, and the huge slab that still
marks where the gibbet of Porteous and the Covenanters had its
station. His coachman knew him too well to move at a Jehu's pace
amidst such scenes as these. No funeral hearse crept more leisurely
than did his landau up the Canongate or the Cowgate; and not a queer
tottering gable but recalled to him some long-buried memory of
splendor or bloodshed, which, by a few words, he set before the hearer
in the reality of life. His image is so associated in my mind with the
antiquities of his native place, that I cannot now revisit them
without feeling as if I were treading on his gravestone.

Whatever might happen on the other evenings of the {p.250} week, he
always dined at home on Sunday, and usually some few friends were then
with him, but never any person with whom he stood on ceremony. These
were, it may be readily supposed, the most agreeable of his
entertainments. He came into the room rubbing his hands, his face
bright and gleesome, like a boy arriving at home for the holidays, his
Peppers and Mustards gambolling about his heels, and even the stately
Maida grinning and wagging his tail in sympathy. Among the most
regular guests on these happy evenings were, in my time, as had long
before been the case, Mrs. Maclean Clephane of Torloisk (with whom he
agreed cordially on all subjects except the authenticity of Ossian),
and her daughters, whose guardian he had become, at their own choice.
The eldest of them had been for some years married to the Earl Compton
(now Marquis of Northampton), and was of course seldom in the north;
but the others had much of the same tastes and accomplishments which
so highly distinguished the late Lady Northampton; and Scott delighted
especially in their proficiency in the poetry and music of their
native isles. Mr. and Mrs. Skene of Rubislaw were frequent
attendants--and so were the Macdonald-Buchanans of Drumakiln, whose
eldest daughter, Isabella, was his chief favorite among all his
_nieces_ of the Clerk's table--as was, among the _nephews_, my own
dear friend and companion, Joseph Hume, a singularly graceful young
man, rich in the promise of hereditary genius, but, alas, cut off in
the early bloom of his days. The well-beloved Erskine was seldom
absent; and very often Terry or James Ballantyne came with
him--sometimes, though less frequently, Constable. Among other persons
who now and then appeared at these "dinners without the silver
dishes," as Scott called them, I may mention--to say nothing of such
old cronies as Mr. Clerk, Mr. Thomson, and Mr. Kirkpatrick Sharpe--Sir
Alexander Boswell of Auchinleck, who had all his father _Bozzy's_
cleverness, good-humor, {p.251} and joviality, without one touch of
his meaner qualities,--wrote Jenny dang the Weaver, and some other
popular songs, which he sang capitally--and was moreover a thorough
bibliomaniac; the late Sir Alexander Don of Newton, in all courteous
and elegant accomplishments the model of a cavalier; and last, not
least, William Allan, R. A., who had shortly before this time returned
to Scotland from several years of travel in Russia and Turkey. At one
of these plain hearty dinners, however, the company rarely exceeded
three or four, besides the as yet undivided family.

Scott had a story of a topping goldsmith on the Bridge, who prided
himself on being the mirror of Amphitryons, and accounted for his
success by stating that it was his invariable custom to set his own
stomach at ease, by a beefsteak and a pint of port in his back-shop,
half an hour before the arrival of his guests. But the host of Castle
Street had no occasion to imitate this prudent arrangement, for his
appetite at dinner was neither keen nor nice. Breakfast was his chief
meal. Before that came, he had gone through the severest part of his
day's work, and he then set to with the zeal of Crabbe's Squire

  "And laid at once a pound upon his plate."

No fox-hunter ever prepared himself for the field by more substantial
appliances. His table was always provided, in addition to the usually
plentiful delicacies of a Scotch breakfast, with some solid article,
on which he did most lusty execution--a round of beef--a pasty, such
as made Gil Blas's eyes water--or, most welcome of all, a cold sheep's
head, the charms of which primitive dainty he has so gallantly
defended against the disparaging sneers of Dr. Johnson and his
bear-leader.[109] A huge brown loaf flanked his elbow, and it was
placed upon a broad wooden trencher, that he might cut and come again
with the bolder knife. Often did the _Clerks' {p.252} coach_,
commonly called among themselves _the Lively_--which trundled round
every morning to pick up the brotherhood, and then deposited them at
the proper minute in the Parliament Close--often did this lumbering
hackney arrive at his door before he had fully appeased what Homer
calls "the sacred rage of hunger;" and vociferous was the merriment of
the learned _uncles_, when the surprised poet swung forth to join
them, with an extemporized sandwich, that looked like a ploughman's
luncheon, in his hand. But this robust supply would have served him in
fact for the day. He never tasted anything more before dinner, and at
dinner he ate almost as sparingly as Squire Tovell's niece from the

  --"Who cut the sanguine flesh in frustums fine,
  And marvelled much to see the creatures dine."

              [Footnote 109: See Croker's _Boswell_ (edit. 1831), vol.
              iii p. 38.]

The only dishes he was at all fond of were the old-fashioned ones to
which he had been accustomed in the days of Saunders Fairford; and
which really are excellent dishes,--such, in truth, as Scotland
borrowed from France before Catherine de' Medici brought in her
Italian _virtuosi_ to revolutionize the kitchen like the court. Of
most of these, I believe, he has in the course of his novels found
some opportunity to record his esteem. But, above all, who can forget
that his King Jamie, amidst the splendors of Whitehall, thinks himself
an ill-used monarch unless his first course includes _cocky-leeky_?

It is a fact, which some philosophers may think worth setting down,
that Scott's organization, as to more than one of the senses, was the
reverse of exquisite. He had very little of what musicians call an
ear; his smell was hardly more delicate. I have seen him stare about,
quite unconscious of the cause, when his whole company betrayed their
uneasiness at the approach of an overkept haunch of venison; and
neither by the nose nor the palate could he distinguish corked wine
from sound. He could never tell Madeira from sherry,--nay, an Oriental
friend having sent him a butt of _sheeraz_, when he {p.253}
remembered the circumstance some time afterwards, and called for a
bottle to have Sir John Malcolm's opinion of its quality, it turned
out that his butler, mistaking the label, had already served up half
the bin as _sherry_. Port he considered as physic: he never willingly
swallowed more than one glass of it, and was sure to anathematize a
second, if offered, by repeating John Home's epigram:--

  "Bold and erect the Caledonian stood,
  Old was his mutton, and his claret good;
  Let him drink port, the English statesman cried--
  He drank the poison, and his spirit died."

In truth, he liked no wines except sparkling champagne and claret; but
even as to this last he was no connoisseur; and sincerely preferred a
tumbler of whiskey-toddy to the most precious "liquid ruby" that ever
flowed in the cup of a prince. He rarely took any other potation when
quite alone with his family; but at the Sunday board he circulated the
champagne briskly during dinner, and considered a pint of claret each
man's fair share afterwards. I should not omit, however, that his
Bordeaux was uniformly preceded by a small libation of the genuine
_mountain dew_, which he poured with his own hand, _more majorum_, for
each guest--making use for the purpose of such a multifarious
collection of ancient Highland _quaighs_ (little cups of curiously
dovetailed wood, inlaid with silver) as no Lowland sideboard but his
was ever equipped with--but commonly reserving for himself one that
was peculiarly precious in his eyes, as having travelled from
Edinburgh to Derby in the canteen of Prince Charlie. This relic had
been presented to "the wandering Ascanius" by some very careful
follower, for its bottom is of glass, that he who quaffed might keep
his eye the while upon the dirk hand of his companion.

The sound of music (even, I suspect, of any sacred music but
psalm-singing) would be considered indecorous {p.254} in the streets
of Edinburgh on a Sunday night; so, upon the occasions I am speaking
of, the harp was silent, and Otterburne and The Bonnie House of Airlie
must needs be dispensed with. To make amends, after tea in the
drawing-room, Scott usually read some favorite author for the
amusement of his little circle; or Erskine, Ballantyne, or Terry, did
so, at his request. He himself read aloud high poetry with far greater
simplicity, depth, and effect, than any other man I ever heard; and in
Macbeth or Julius Cæsar, or the like, I doubt if Kemble could have
been more impressive. Yet the changes of intonation were so gently
managed, that he contrived to set the different interlocutors clearly
before us, without the least approach to theatrical artifice. Not so
the others I have mentioned; they all read cleverly and agreeably, but
with the decided trickery of stage recitation. To them he usually gave
the book when it was a comedy, or, indeed, any other drama than
Shakespeare's or Joanna Baillie's. Dryden's Fables, Johnson's two
Satires, and certain detached scenes of Beaumont and Fletcher,
especially that in The Lover's Progress, where the ghost of the
musical innkeeper makes his appearance, were frequently selected. Of
the poets, his contemporaries, however, there was not one that did not
come in for his part. In Wordsworth, his pet pieces were, I think, the
Song for Brougham Castle, the Laodamia, and some of the early sonnets;
in Southey, Queen Orraca, Fernando Ramirez, the Lines on the Holly
Tree--and, of his larger poems, the Thalaba. Crabbe was perhaps, next
to Shakespeare, the standing resource; but in those days Byron was
pouring out his spirit fresh and full: and, if a new piece from his
hand had appeared, it was sure to be read by Scott the Sunday evening
afterwards, and that with such delighted emphasis as showed how
completely the elder bard had kept all his enthusiasm for poetry at
the pitch of youth, all his admiration of genius, free, pure, and
unstained by the least drop of literary {p.255} jealousy. Rare and
beautiful example of a happily constituted and virtuously disciplined
mind and character!

Very often something read aloud by himself or his friends suggested
an old story of greater compass than would have suited a
dinner-table--and he told it, whether serious or comical, or, as more
frequently happened, part of both, exactly in every respect in the
tone and style of the notes and illustrations to his novels. A great
number of his best oral narratives have, indeed, been preserved in
those parting lucubrations; and not a few in his letters. Yet very
many there were of which his pen has left no record--so many, that,
were I to task my memory, I could, I believe, recall the outlines at
least of more than would be sufficient to occupy a couple of these
volumes. Possibly, though well aware how little justice I could do to
such things, rather than think of their perishing forever, and leaving
not even a shadow behind, I may at some future day hazard the attempt.

Let me turn, meanwhile, to some dinner-tables very different from his
own, at which, from this time forward, I often met Scott. It is very
true of the societies I am about to describe, that he was "among them,
not of them;" and it is also most true that this fact was apparent in
all the demeanor of his bibliopolical and typographical allies towards
him whenever he visited them under their roofs--not a bit less so than
when they were received at his own board; but still, considering how
closely his most important worldly affairs were connected with the
personal character of the Ballantynes, I think it a part, though
neither a proud nor a very pleasing part, of my duty as his
biographer, to record my reminiscences of them and their doings in
some detail.

James Ballantyne then lived in St. John Street, a row of good,
old-fashioned, and spacious houses, adjoining the Canongate and
Holyrood, and at no great distance from his printing establishment. He
had married a few {p.256} years before the daughter of a wealthy
farmer in Berwickshire--a quiet, amiable woman, of simple manners, and
perfectly domestic habits: a group of fine young children were growing
up about him; and he usually, if not constantly, had under his roof
his aged mother, his and his wife's tender care of whom it was most
pleasing to witness. As far as a stranger might judge, there could not
be a more exemplary household, or a happier one; and I have
occasionally met the poet in St. John Street when there were no other
guests but Erskine, Terry, George Hogarth,[110] and another intimate
friend or two, and when James Ballantyne was content to appear in his
own true and best colors, the kind head of his family, the respectful
but honest schoolfellow of Scott, the easy landlord of a plain,
comfortable table. But when any great event was about to take place in
the business, especially on the eve of a new novel, there were doings
of a higher strain in St. John Street; and to be present at one of
those scenes was truly a rich treat, even--if not especially--for
persons who, like myself, had no more _knowledge_ than the rest of the
world as to the authorship of Waverley. Then were congregated about
the printer all his own literary allies, of whom a considerable number
were by no means personally familiar with "THE GREAT UNKNOWN:"--who,
by the way, owed to him that widely adopted title;--and He
appeared among the rest with his usual open aspect of buoyant
good-humor--although it was not difficult to trace, in the occasional
play of his features, the diversion it afforded him to watch all the
procedure of his swelling confidant, and the curious neophytes that
surrounded the well-spread board.

              [Footnote 110: George Hogarth, Esq., W. S., brother of
              Mrs. James Ballantyne. This gentleman is now well known
              in the literary world; especially by a History of Music,
              of which all who understand that science speak highly.
              [He was the father-in-law of Charles Dickens, and for
              many years a musical and dramatic critic in London.]]

The feast was, to use one of James's own favorite epithets, {p.257}
_gorgeous_; an aldermanic display of turtle and venison, with the
suitable accompaniments of iced punch, potent ale, and generous
Madeira. When the cloth was drawn, the burly preses arose, with all he
could muster of the port of John Kemble, and spouted with a sonorous
voice the formula of Macbeth:--

                                   "Fill full!
  I drink to the general joy of the whole table!"

This was followed by "The King, God bless him!" and second
came--"Gentlemen, there is another toast which never has been nor
shall be omitted in this house of mine--I give you the health of Mr.
Walter Scott with three times three!" All honor having been done to
this health, and Scott having briefly thanked the company with some
expressions of warm affection to their host, Mrs. Ballantyne retired;
the bottles passed round twice or thrice in the usual way; and then
James rose once more, every vein on his brow distended, his eyes
solemnly fixed upon vacancy, to propose, not as before in his
stentorian key, but with "'bated breath," in the sort of whisper by
which a stage conspirator thrills the gallery,--"_Gentlemen, a bumper
to the immortal Author of Waverley!_" The uproar of cheering, in which
Scott made a fashion of joining, was succeeded by deep silence, and
then Ballantyne proceeded--

  "In his Lord Burleigh look, serene and serious,
   A something of imposing and mysterious"--

to lament the obscurity in which his illustrious but too modest
correspondent still chose to conceal himself from the plaudits of the
world, to thank the company for the manner in which the _nominis
umbra_ had been received, and to assure them that the Author of
Waverley would, when informed of the circumstance, feel highly
delighted--"the proudest hour of his life," etc., etc. The cool,
demure fun of Scott's features during all this mummery was perfect;
and Erskine's attempt at a gay _nonchalance_ was still more
ludicrously meritorious. Aldiborontiphoscophornio, {p.258} however,
bursting as he was, knew too well to allow the new novel to be made
the subject of discussion. Its name was announced, and success to it
crowned another cup; but after that, no more of Jedediah. To cut the
thread, he rolled out unbidden some one of his many theatrical songs,
in a style that would have done no dishonor to almost any
orchestra--The Maid of Lodi--or perhaps, The Bay of Biscay, O!--or The
Sweet Little Cherub that Sits up Aloft. Other toasts followed,
interspersed with ditties from other performers;--old George Thomson,
the friend of Burns, was ready, for one, with The Moorland Wedding, or
Willie Brew'd a Peck o' Maut;--and so it went on, until Scott and
Erskine, with any clerical or very staid personage that had chanced to
be admitted, saw fit to withdraw. Then the scene was changed. The
claret and olives made way for broiled bones and a mighty bowl of
punch; and when a few glasses of the hot beverage had restored his
powers, James opened _ore rotundo_ on the merits of the forthcoming
romance. "One chapter, one chapter only," was the cry. After "_Nay,
by'r Lady, nay!_" and a few more coy shifts, the proof sheets were at
length produced, and James, with many a prefatory hem, read aloud what
he considered as the most striking dialogue they contained.

The first I heard so read was the interview between Jeanie Deans, the
Duke of Argyle, and Queen Caroline, in Richmond Park; and
notwithstanding some spice of the pompous tricks to which he was
addicted, I must say he did the inimitable scene great justice. At all
events, the effect it produced was deep and memorable, and no wonder
that the exulting typographer's _one bumper more to Jedediah
Cleishbotham_ preceded his parting stave, which was uniformly The Last
Words of Marmion, executed certainly with no contemptible rivalry of

What a different affair was a dinner, although probably including many
of the same guests, at the junior partner's! He in those days
retained, I think, no private {p.259} apartments attached to his
auction-rooms in Hanover Street, over the door of which he still kept
emblazoned "John Ballantyne and Company, Booksellers." At any rate,
such of his entertainments as I ever saw Scott partake of, were given
at his villa near to the Frith of Forth, by Trinity;--a retreat which
the little man had named "Harmony Hall," and invested with an air of
dainty voluptuous finery, contrasting strikingly enough with the
substantial citizen-like snugness of his elder brother's domestic
appointments. His house was surrounded by gardens so contrived as to
seem of considerable extent, having many a shady tuft, trellised
alley, and mysterious alcove, interspersed among their bright
parterres. It was a fairy-like labyrinth, and there was no want of
pretty Armidas, such as they might be, to glide half-seen among its
mazes. The sitting-rooms opened upon gay and perfumed conservatories,
and John's professional excursions to Paris and Brussels in quest of
objects of _virtu_, had supplied both the temptation and the means to
set forth the interior in a fashion that might have satisfied the most
fastidious _petite maîtresse_ of Norwood or St. Denis. John, too, was
a married man: he had, however, erected for himself a private wing,
the accesses to which, whether from the main building or the
_bosquet_, were so narrow that it was physically impossible for the
handsome and portly lady who bore his name to force her person through
any one of them. His dinners were in all respects Parisian, for his
wasted palate disdained such John Bull luxuries as were all in all
with James. The piquant pasty of Strasburg or Perigord was never to
seek; and even the _pièce de résistance_ was probably a boar's head
from Coblentz, or a turkey ready stuffed with truffles from the Palais
Royal. The pictures scattered among John's innumerable mirrors were
chiefly of theatrical subjects--many of them portraits of beautiful
actresses--the same Peg Woffingtons, Bellamys, Kitty Clives, and so
forth, that {p.260} found their way in the sequel to Charles
Mathews's gallery at Highgate. Here that exquisite comedian's own
mimicries and parodies were the life and soul of many a festival, and
here, too, he gathered from his facetious host not a few of the
richest materials for his _at homes_ and _monopolylogues_. But,
indeed, whatever actor or singer of eminence visited Edinburgh, of the
evenings when he did not perform several were sure to be reserved for
Trinity. Here Braham quavered, and here Liston drolled his best--here
Johnstone, and Murray, and Yates mixed jest and stave--here Kean
revelled and rioted--and here the Roman Kemble often played the Greek
from sunset to dawn. Nor did the popular _cantatrice_ or _danseuse_ of
the time disdain to freshen her roses, after a laborious week, amidst
these Paphian arbors of Harmony Hall.

Johnny had other tastes that were equally expensive. He had a
well-furnished stable, and followed the foxhounds whenever the cover
was within an easy distance. His horses were all called after heroes
in Scott's poems or novels; and at this time he usually rode up to his
auction on a tall milk-white hunter, yclept _Old Mortality_, attended
by a leash or two of greyhounds,--Die Vernon, Jenny Dennison, and so
forth, by name. The featherweight himself appeared uniformly,
hammer-in-hand, in the half-dress of some sporting club--a light gray
frock, with emblems of the chase on its silver buttons, white cord
breeches, and jockey-boots in Meltonian order. Yet he affected in the
pulpit rather a grave address; and was really one of the most
plausible and imposing of the Puff tribe. Probably Scott's presence
overawed his ludicrous propensities; for the poet was, when sales were
going on, almost a daily attendant in Hanover Street, and himself not
the least energetic of the numerous competitors for Johnny's uncut
_fifteeners_, Venetian lamps, Milanese cuirasses, and old Dutch
cabinets. Maida, by the way, was so well aware of his master's
{p.261} habits, that about the time when the Court of Session was
likely to break up for the day, he might usually be seen couched in
expectation among Johnny's own _tail_ of greyhounds at the threshold
of the mart.

It was at one of those Trinity dinners this summer that I first saw
Constable. Being struck with his appearance, I asked Scott who he was,
and he told me--expressing some surprise that anybody should have
lived a winter or two in Edinburgh without knowing, by sight at least,
a citizen whose name was so familiar to the world. I happened to say
that I had not been prepared to find the great bookseller a man of
such gentlemanlike and even distinguished bearing. Scott smiled, and
answered, "Ay, Constable is indeed a grand-looking chield. He puts me
in mind of Fielding's apology for Lady Booby--to wit, that Joseph
Andrews had an air which, to those who had not seen many noblemen,
would give an idea of nobility." I had not in those days been much
initiated in the private jokes of what is called, by way of
excellence, _the trade_, and was puzzled when Scott, in the course of
the dinner, said to Constable, "Will your Czarish Majesty do me the
honor to take a glass of champagne?" I asked the master of the feast
for an explanation. "Oh!" said he, "are you so green as not to know
that Constable long since dubbed himself _The Czar of Muscovy_, John
Murray, _The Emperor of the West_, and Longman and his string of
partners _The Divan_?" "And what title," I asked, "has Mr. John
Ballantyne himself found in this new _almanach imperial_?"--"Let that
flee stick to the wa'," quoth Johnny: "When I set up for a bookseller,
The Crafty christened me _The Dey of Alljeers_--but he now considers
me as next thing to dethroned." He added, "His Majesty the autocrat is
too fond of these nicknames. One day a partner of the house of Longman
was dining with him in the country, to settle an important piece of
business, about which there occurred a good deal of difficulty. 'What
fine {p.262} swans you have in your pond there!' said the Londoner,
by way of parenthesis.--'Swans!' cried Constable; 'they are only
geese, man. There are just five of them, if you please to observe, and
their names are Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown.' This skit cost
The Crafty a good bargain."

It always appeared to me that James Ballantyne felt his genius rebuked
in the presence of Constable: his manner was constrained, his smile
servile, his hilarity elaborate. Not so with Johnny: the little fellow
never seemed more airily frolicsome than when he capered for the
amusement of the Czar.[111] I never, however, saw those two together,
where, I am told, the humors of them both were exhibited to the
richest advantage--I mean at the dinners with which Constable regaled,
among others, his own circle of literary serfs, and when "Jocund
Johnny" was very commonly his croupier. There are stories enough of
practical jokes upon such occasions, some of them near akin to those
which the author of Humphrey Clinker has thought fit to record of his
own suburban villa, in the most diverting of young Melford's letters
to Sir Watkin Philips. I have heard, for example, a luculent
description of poor _Allister Campbell_, and another drudge of the
same class, running a race after dinner for a new pair of breeches,
which Mr. David Bridges, tailor in ordinary to this northern
potentate,--himself a wit, a virtuoso, and the croupier on that day in
lieu of Rigdum,--had been instructed to bring with him, and display
before the threadbare rivals. But I had these pictures from John
Ballantyne, and I dare say they might be overcharged. That Constable
was a most bountiful and generous patron to the ragged tenants of Grub
Street, there can, however, be no doubt: and as {p.263} little that
John himself acted on all occasions by them in the same spirit, and
this to an extent greatly beyond what prudence (if he had ever
consulted that guide in anything) would have dictated.

              [Footnote 111: "Now, John," cried Constable, one evening
              after he had told one of his best stories, "now, John,
              is that true?" His object evidently was, in Iago's
              phrase, _to let down the pegs_; but Rigdum answered
              gayly, "True, indeed! Not one word of it!--any blockhead
              may stick to truth, my hearty--but 't is a sad hamperer
              of genius."]

When I visited Constable, as I often did at a period somewhat later
than that of which I now speak, and for the most part in company with
Scott, I found the bookseller established in a respectable country
gentleman's seat, some six or seven miles out of Edinburgh, and doing
the honors of it with all the ease that might have been looked for had
he been the long-descended owner of the place; there was no foppery,
no show, no idle luxury, but to all appearance the plain abundance and
simple enjoyment of hereditary wealth. His conversation was manly and
vigorous, abounding in Scotch anecdotes of the old time, which he told
with a degree of spirit and humor only second to his great author's.
No man could more effectually control, when he had a mind, either the
extravagant vanity which, on too many occasions, made him ridiculous,
or the despotic temper, which habitually held in fear and trembling
all such as were in any sort dependent on his Czarish Majesty's
pleasure. In him I never saw (at this period) anything but the
unobtrusive sense and the calm courtesy of a well-bred gentleman. His
very equipage kept up the series of contrasts between him and the two
Ballantynes. Constable went back and forward between the town and
Polton in a deep-hung and capacious green barouche, without any
pretence at heraldic blazonry, drawn by a pair of sleek, black,
long-tailed horses, and conducted by a grave old coachman in plain
blue livery. The Printer of the Canongate drove himself and his wife
about the streets and suburbs in a snug machine, which did not
overburthen one powerful and steady cob; while the gay auctioneer,
whenever he left the saddle for the box, mounted a bright
blue dogcart, and rattled down the Newhaven road with two
high-mettled steeds, prancing _tandem_ before him, and {p.264} most
probably--especially if he was on his way to the races at
Musselburgh--with some "sweet singer of Israel" flaming, with all her
feathers, beside him. On such occasions, by the bye, Johnny sometimes
had a French horn with him, and he played on it with good skill, and
with an energy by no means prudent in the state of his lungs.

The Sheriff told with peculiar unction the following anecdote of this
spark. The first time he went over to pick up curiosities at Paris, it
happened that he met, in the course of his traffickings, a certain
brother bookseller of Edinburgh, as unlike him as one man could well
be to another--a grave, dry Presbyterian, rigid in all his notions as
the buckle of his wig. This precise worthy having ascertained John's
address, went to call on him, a day or two afterwards, with the news
of some richly illuminated missal, which he might possibly be glad to
make prize of. On asking for his friend, a smiling _laquais de place_
informed him that _Monsieur_ had gone out, but that _Madame_ was at
home. Not doubting that Mrs. Ballantyne had accompanied her husband on
his trip, he desired to pay his respects to _Madame_, and was ushered
in accordingly. "But oh, Mr. Scott!" said, or rather groaned, the
austere elder, on his return from this modern Babylon, "oh, Mr. Scott,
there was nae Mrs. John yonder, but a painted Jezebel sittin' up in
her bed, wi' a wheen impudent French limmers like hersel', and twa or
three whiskered blackguards, takin' their collation o' knickknacks and
champagne wine! I ran out o' the house as if I had been shot. What
judgment will this wicked warld come to! The Lord pity us!" Scott was
a severe enough censor in the general of such levities, but somehow,
in the case of Rigdumfunnidos, he seemed to regard them with much the
same toleration as the naughty tricks of a monkey in the "Jardin des

Why did Scott persist in mixing up all his most important {p.265}
concerns with such people as I have been describing? I asked himself
that question too unceremoniously at a long subsequent period, and in
due time the reader shall see the answer I received; but it left the
main question, to my apprehension, as much in the dark as ever. I
shall return to the sad subject hereafter more seriously; but in the
mean time let it suffice to say, that he was the most patient,
long-suffering, affectionate, and charitable of mankind; that in the
case of both the Ballantynes he could count, after all, on a
sincerely, nay, a passionately devoted attachment to his person; that,
with the greatest of human beings, use is in all but unconquerable
power; and that he who so loftily tossed aside the seemingly most
dangerous assaults of flattery, the blandishment of dames, the
condescension of princes, the enthusiasm of crowds--had still his weak
point, upon which two or three humble besiegers, and one unwearied,
though most frivolous underminer, well knew how to direct their
approaches. It was a favorite saw of his own, that the wisest of our
race often reserve the average stock of folly to be all expended upon
some one flagrant absurdity.


     Publication of the Heart of Mid-Lothian. -- Its Reception in
     Edinburgh and in England. -- Abbotsford in October. --
     Melrose Abbey, Dryburgh, etc. -- Lion-hunters from America.
     -- Tragedy of the Cherokee Lovers. -- Scott's Dinner to the
     Selkirkshire Yeomen.


Hoping to be forgiven for a long digression, the biographer willingly
returns to the thread of Scott's story. The Heart of Mid-Lothian
appeared, as has been mentioned, before the close of June, 1818, and
among the letters which he received soon afterwards from the friends
by this time in the secret, there is one which (though I do not
venture to name the writer) I am tempted to take the liberty of

              [Footnote 112: [This letter was written August 11, by
              Lady Louisa Stuart, and it appears in its original and
              complete form in _Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p. 18. To
              the end of her long life, the writer was somewhat
              influenced by the feeling prevailing in her youth as to
              the loss of caste suffered by women of good social
              position who appeared in print. Writing to Mrs. Lockhart
              after her father's death, and enclosing some of his
              letters, Lady Louisa says: "If Mr. Lockhart wishes to
              insert any of these, I will beg not to be named. It is
              not that I am not proud enough of having been honored
              with _his_ regard, but I never yet saw my name in print,
              and hope I never shall." Mr. Lockhart evidently in part
              overcame this objection.]]

     "Now for it, dear Mr. Scott. I can speak to the purpose, as
     I have not only read it myself, but am in a house where
     everybody is tearing it out of each other's hands, and
     talking of nothing else. So much for its success--the more
     flattering, because it overcomes a prejudice. People were
     beginning to say the author would wear himself out; it was
     going on too {p.267} long in the same key, and no striking
     notes could possibly be produced. On the contrary, I think
     the interest is stronger here than in any of the former
     ones--(always excepting my first-love Waverley)--and one may
     congratulate you upon having effected what many have tried
     to do, and nobody yet succeeded in, making the perfectly
     good character the most interesting. Of late days,
     especially since it has been the fashion to write moral and
     even religious novels, one might almost say of some of the
     wise good heroines, what a lively girl once said to [me] of
     her well-meaning aunt--'Upon my word she is enough to make
     anybody wicked.' And though beauty and talents are heaped on
     the right side, the writer, in spite of himself, is sure to
     put agreeableness on the wrong; the person from whose errors
     he means you should take warning, runs away with your secret
     partiality in the mean time. Had this very story been
     conducted by a common hand, Effie would have attracted all
     our concern and sympathy--Jeanie only cold approbation.
     Whereas Jeanie, without youth, beauty, genius, warm
     passions, or any other novel-perfection, is here our object
     from beginning to end. This is 'inlisting the affections in
     the cause of virtue' ten times more than ever Richardson
     did; for whose male and female pedants, all-excelling as
     they are, I never could care half so much as I found myself
     inclined to do for Jeanie before I finished the first

     "You know I tell you my opinion just as I should do to a
     third person, and I trust the freedom is not unwelcome. I
     was a little tired of your Edinburgh lawyers in the
     introduction; English people in general will be more so, as
     well as impatient of the passages alluding to Scotch law
     throughout. Mr. Saddletree will not entertain them. The
     latter part of the fourth volume unavoidably flags to a
     certain degree; after Jeanie is happily settled at
     Roseneath, we have no more to wish for. But the chief fault
     I have to find relates to the reappearance and shocking fate
     of the boy. I hear on all sides, 'Oh, I do not like that!' I
     cannot say what I would have had instead; but I do not like
     it either; it is a lame, huddled conclusion. I know you so
     well in it, by the bye!--you grow tired yourself, want to
     get rid of the story, and hardly care how. Sir George
     Staunton finishes his career very fitly; he ought not to die
     in his bed, and for Jeanie's sake one would not have him
     hanged. {p.268} It is unnatural, though, that he should
     ever have gone within twenty miles of the Tolbooth, or shown
     his face in the streets of Edinburgh, or dined at a public
     meeting, if the Lord Commissioner had been his brother. Here
     ends my _per contra_ account. The opposite page would make
     my letter too long if I entered equally into particulars.
     Carlisle and Corby Castles in Waverley did not affect me
     more deeply than the prison and trial scenes. The end of
     poor Madge Wildfire is also most pathetic. The meeting at
     Muschat's Cairn tremendous. Dumbiedikes and Rory Bean are
     delightful. And I shall own that my prejudices were secretly
     gratified by the light in which you place [Uncle] John of
     Argyle, whom Mr. Coxe so ran down to please Lord Orford. You
     have drawn him to the very life. I heard so much of him in
     my youth, so many anecdotes, so often 'as the Duke of Argyle
     used to say'--that I really believe I am almost as good a
     judge as if I had seen and lived with him.... [My beloved
     mother] has told me, that when she married, [in 1737, the
     very time], he was still remarkably handsome; with manners
     more graceful and engaging than she ever saw in any one
     else; the most agreeable person in conversation, the best
     teller of a story. When fifty-seven thus captivates
     eighteen, the natural powers of pleasing must be
     extraordinary. You have likewise colored Queen Caroline
     exactly right--but I was bred up in another creed about Lady
     Suffolk, of whom, as a very old deaf woman, I have some
     faint recollection. [My mother] knew her intimately, and
     never would allow she had been the King's mistress, though
     she owned it was currently believed. She said he had just
     enough liking for her to make the Queen very civil to her,
     and very jealous and spiteful; the rest remained always
     uncertain at most, like a similar scandal in our days, where
     I, for one, imagine love of seeming influence on one side,
     and love of lounging, of an easy house and a good dinner on
     the other, to be all the criminal passions concerned.
     However, I confess, [my mother] had that in herself which
     made her not ready to think the worst of her fellow-women.

     "Did you ever hear the history of John, Duke of Argyle's
     marriage, and constant attachment, before and after, to a
     woman not handsomer or much more elegant than Jeanie Deans,
     though very unlike her in understanding? I can give it you,
     if you {p.269} wish it, for it is at my fingers' ends. [I
     was so much the youngest of a numerous family that I had no
     playfellow, and for that reason listened with all my ears to
     the grown people's conversation, most especially when my
     mother and the friends of her youth got upon old stories;
     nor did I lose my taste for them when I grew old enough to
     converse with her on equal terms, and enquire into
     particulars.] Now I am [an] ancient [tabby] myself, I should
     be a great treasure of anecdote to anybody who had the same
     humor,--but I meet with few who have. They read vulgar tales
     in books, Wraxall, and so forth, what the footmen and maids
     only gave credit to at the moment, but they desire no
     farther information. I dare swear many of your readers never
     heard of the Duke of Argyle before. 'Pray, who was Sir
     Robert Walpole,' they ask me, 'and when did he live?'--or
     perhaps--'Was not the great Lord Chatham in Queen Anne's

              [Footnote 113: In 1827, Lady Louisa wrote for Caroline,
              Lady Scott, a great-granddaughter of the duke, _Some
              Account of John, Duke of Argyle, and his Family_. This
              delightful memoir was first printed (privately) in 1863.
              It was published in 1899, in _Selections from the
              Manuscripts of Lady Louisa Stuart_.]

     "[Amongst the persons most pleased here is Lady Charlotte
     Lindsay. She has the true North humor, and love of humor,
     and she does enjoy it heartily. They] have, to help [them],
     an exemplification on two legs in [their] country
     apothecary, whom you have painted over and over without the
     honor of knowing him; an old, dry, arguing, prosing,
     obstinate Scotchman, very shrewd, rather sarcastic, a sturdy
     Whig and Presbyterian, _tirant un peu sur le démocrate_.
     Your books are birdlime to him, however; he hovers about the
     house to obtain a volume when others have done with it. I
     long to ask him whether Douce Davie was any way _sib_ to
     him. He acknowledges he would not _now_ go to Muschat's
     Cairn at night for any money--he had such a horror of it
     'sixty years ago' when a laddie. But I am come to the end of
     my fourth page, and will not tire you with any more

     "P. S.--If I had known nothing, and the whole world had told
     me the contrary, I should have found you out in that one
     parenthesis,--'for the man was mortal, and had been a

{p.270} This letter was addressed from a great country house in the
south[114]; and may, I presume, be accepted as a fair index of the
instantaneous English popularity of Jeanie Deans. From the choice of
localities, and the splendid blazoning of tragical circumstances that
had left the strongest impression on the memory and imagination of
every inhabitant, the reception of this tale in Edinburgh was a scene
of all-engrossing enthusiasm, such as I never witnessed there on the
appearance of any other literary novelty. But the admiration and
delight were the same all over Scotland. Never before had he seized
such really noble features of the national character as were canonized
in the person of his homely heroine: no art had ever devised a happier
running contrast than that of her and her sister, or interwoven a
portraiture of lowly manners and simple virtues, with more graceful
delineations of polished life, or with bolder shadows of terror,
guilt, crime, remorse, madness, and all the agony of the passions.

              [Footnote 114: [Sheffield Place, the seat of Lord
              Sheffield, the friend and editor of Gibbon.]]

In the introduction and notes to The Heart of Mid-Lothian, drawn up in
1830, we are presented with details concerning the suggestion of the
main plot, and the chief historical incidents made use of, to which I
can add nothing of any moment.

The 12th of July restored the author as usual to the supervision of
his trees and carpenters; but he had already told the Ballantynes that
the story which he had found it impossible to include in the recent
series of Jedediah should be forthwith taken up as the opening one of
a third; and instructed John to embrace the first favorable
opportunity of offering Constable the publication of this, on the
footing of 10,000 copies again forming the first edition; but now at
length without any more stipulations connected with the unfortunate
"old stock" of the Hanover Street Company.

{p.271} Before he settled himself to his work, however, he made a
little tour of the favorite description with his wife and
children--halting for a few days at Drumlanrig, thence crossing the
Border to Carlisle and Rokeby, and returning by way of Alnwick. On the
17th August he writes thus to John Ballantyne from Drumlanrig: "This
is heavenly weather, and I am making the most of it, as I shall have a
laborious autumn before me. I may say of my head and fingers as the
farmer of his mare, when he indulged her with an extra feed,--

  'Ye ken that Maggie winna sleep
   For that or Simmer.'

We have taken our own horses with us, and I have my pony, and ride
when I find it convenient."

       *       *       *       *       *

The following seems to have been among the first letters he wrote
after his return:--

     TO J. B. S. MORRITT, ESQ., M. P., ROKEBY.

                                        ABBOTSFORD, 10th September, 1818.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--We have been cruising to and fro since we
     left your land of woods and streams. Lord Melville wished me
     to come and stay two days with him at Melville Castle, which
     has broken in upon my time a little, and interrupted my
     purpose of telling you as how we arrived safe at Abbotsford,
     without a drop of rain, thus completing a tour of three
     weeks in the same fine weather in which we commenced it--a
     thing which never fell to my lot before. Captain Ferguson is
     inducted into the office of Keeper of the Regalia, to the
     great joy, I think, of all Edinburgh. He has entered upon a
     farm (of eleven acres) in consequence of this advancement,
     for you know it is a general rule, that whenever a Scotsman
     gets his head _above water_, he immediately turns it to
     _land_. As he has already taken all the advice of all the
     _notables_ in and about the good village of Darnick, we
     expect to see his farm look like a tailor's {p.272} book of
     patterns, a snip of every several opinion which he has
     received occupying its appropriate corner. He is truly what
     the French call _un drôle de corps_.

     I wish you would allow your coachman to look out for me
     among your neighbors a couple of young colts (rising three
     would be the best age) that would match for a carriage some
     two years hence. I have plenty of grass for them in the mean
     while, and should never know the expense of their keep at
     Abbotsford. He seemed to think he could pick them up at from
     £25 to £30, which would make an immense saving hereafter.
     Peter Matheson and he had arranged some sort of plan of this
     kind. For a pair of very ordinary carriage-horses in
     Edinburgh they ask £140 or more; so it is worth while to be
     a little provident. Even then you only get one good horse,
     the other being usually a brute. Pray you excuse all this

          "These little things are great to little men."

     Our harvest is almost all in, but as farmers always grumble
     about something, they are now growling about the lightness
     of the crop. All the young part of our household are wrapt
     up in uncertainty concerning the Queen's illness--for--if
     her Majesty parts cable, there will be no Forest Ball, and
     that is a terrible prospect. On Wednesday (when no post
     arrives from London) Lord Melville chanced to receive a
     letter with a black seal by express, and as it was of course
     argued to contain the expected intelligence of poor
     Charlotte, it sold a good many ells of black cloth and
     stuffs before it was ascertained to contain no such
     information. Surely this came within the line of high
     treason, being an imagining of the Queen's death.

     Ever yours truly,

                                        Walter SCOTT.

     P. S.--Once more _anent_ the colts. I am indifferent about
     color; but, _cæteris paribus_, would prefer black or brown,
     to bright bay or gray. I mention two off--as {p.273} the
     age at which they can be best judged of by the buyer.

Of the same date I find written in pencil, on what must have been the
envelope of some sheriff's-process, this note, addressed to Mr.
Charles Erskine, the Sheriff-Substitute of Selkirkshire:--

                                        September 10, 1818.

     DEAR CHARLES,--I have read these papers with all attention
     this morning--but think you will agree with me that there
     must be an Eke to the Condescendence. Order the Eke against
     next day.--Tom leaves with this packet a blackcock, and
     (more's the pity) a gray hen. Yours,

                                        W. S.

And again he thus writes by post to James Ballantyne:

                                        ABBOTSFORD, September 10, 1818.

     DEAR JAMES,--I am quite satisfied with what has been done as
     to the London bills. I am glad the presses move. I have been
     interrupted sadly since my return by tourist gazers. This
     day a confounded pair of Cambridge boys have robbed me of
     two good hours, and you of a sheet of copy--though whether a
     good sheet or no, deponent saith not. The story is a dismal
     one, and I doubt sometimes whether it will bear working out
     to much length after all. Query, if I shall make it so
     effective in two volumes as my mother does in her quarter of
     an hour's crack by the fireside? But _nil desperandum_. You
     shall have a bunch to-morrow or next day--and when the
     proofs come in, my pen must and shall step out. By the bye,
     I want a supply of pens--and ditto of ink. Adieu for the
     present, for I must go over to Toftfield, to give orders
     _anent_ the dam and the footpath, and see _item_ as to what
     should be done _anent_ steps at the Rhymer's Waterfall,
     which I think may be made to turn out a decent bit of a
     linn, as would set True Thomas his worth and dignity. Ever

                                        W. S.

{p.274} It must, I think, be allowed that these careless scraps, when
combined, give a curious picture of the man who was brooding over the
first chapters of The Bride of Lammermoor. One of his visitors of that
month was Mr. R. Cadell, who was of course in all the secrets of the
house of Constable; and observing how his host was harassed with
lion-hunters, and what a number of hours he spent daily in the company
of his work-people, he expressed, during one of their walks, his
wonder that Scott should ever be able to write books at all while in
the country. "I know," he said, "that you contrive to get a few hours
in your own room, and that may do for the mere pen-work; but when is
it that you think?" "Oh," said Scott, "I lie _simmering_ over things
for an hour or so before I get up--and there's the time I am dressing
to overhaul my half-sleeping, half-waking _projet de chapitre_--and
when I get the paper before me, it commonly runs off pretty
easily.--Besides, I often take a doze in the plantations, and while
Tom marks out a dyke or a drain as I have directed, one's fancy may be
running its ain riggs in some other world."

It was in the month following that I first saw Abbotsford. He invited
my friend John Wilson (now Professor of Moral Philosophy at Edinburgh)
and myself to visit him for a day or two on our return from an
excursion to Mr. Wilson's beautiful villa on the Lake of Windermere,
but named the particular day (October 8) on which it would be most
convenient for him to receive us; and we discovered on our arrival
that he had fixed it from a good-natured motive. We found him walking
in one of his plantations, at no great distance from the house, with
five or six young people, and his friends Lord Melville and Captain
Ferguson. Having presented us to the First Lord of the Admiralty, he
fell back a little and said, "I am glad you came to-day, for I thought
it might be of use to you both, some time or other, to be known to my
old schoolfellow here, who is, and I hope {p.275} will long continue
to be, the great giver of good things in the Parliament House. I trust
you have had enough of certain pranks with your friend Ebony, and if
so, Lord Melville will have too much sense to remember them."[115] We
then walked round the plantation, as yet in a very young state, and
came back to the house by a formidable work which he was constructing
for the defence of his _haugh_ against the wintry violences of the
Tweed; and he discoursed for some time with keen interest upon the
comparative merits of different methods of embankment, but stopped now
and then to give us the advantage of any point of view in which his
new building on the eminence above pleased his eye. It had a fantastic
appearance--being but a fragment of the existing edifice--and not at
all harmonizing in its outline with "Mother Retford's" original
tenement to the eastward. Scott, however, expatiated _con amore_ on
the rapidity with which, being chiefly of darkish granite, it was
assuming a "time-honored" aspect. Ferguson, with a grave and
respectful look, observed, "Yes, it really has much the air of some
old fastness hard by the river Jordan." This allusion to the Chaldee
MS., already quoted, in the manufacture of which Ferguson fancied
Wilson and myself to have had a share, gave rise to a burst of
laughter among Scott's merry young folks and their companions, while
he himself drew in his nether lip, and rebuked the Captain with
"Toots, Adam! toots, Adam!" He then returned to his embankment, and
described how a former one had been entirely swept away in one night's
flood. But the Captain was ready with another verse of the Chaldee
MS., and groaned out, by way of echo, "Verily my fine gold hath
perished!" Whereupon the "Great Magician" elevated his huge oaken
staff as if to {p.276} lay it on the waggish soldier's back--but
flourished it gayly over his own head, and laughed louder than the
youngest of the company. As we walked and talked, the Pepper and
Mustard terriers kept snuffing about among the bushes and heather near
us, and started every five minutes a hare, which scudded away before
them and the ponderous staghound Maida--the Sheriff and all his tail
hollowing and cheering, in perfect confidence that the dogs could do
no more harm to poor puss than the venerable tom-cat, Hinse of
Hinsfeldt, who pursued the vain chase with the rest.

              [Footnote 115: _Ebony_ was Mr. Blackwood's own usual
              designation in the _jeux d'esprit_ of his young
              Magazine, in many of which the persons thus addressed by
              Scott were conjoint culprits. They both were then, as
              may be inferred, sweeping the boards of the Parliament
              House as "briefless barristers."]

At length we drew near _Peterhouse_, and found sober Peter himself,
and his brother-in-law, the facetious factotum Tom Purdie,
superintending, pipe in mouth, three or four sturdy laborers busy in
laying down the turf for a bowling-green. "I have planted hollies all
round it, you see," said Scott, "and laid out an arbor on the
right-hand side for the laird; and here I mean to have a game at bowls
after dinner every day in fine weather--for I take that to have been
among the indispensables of our old _vie de château_." But I must not
forget the reason he gave me some time afterwards for having fixed on
that spot for his bowling-green. "In truth," he then said, "I wished
to have a smooth walk, and a canny seat for myself within ear-shot of
Peter's evening psalm." The coachman was a devout Presbyterian, and
many a time have I in after-years accompanied Scott on his evening
stroll, when the principal object was to enjoy, from the
bowling-green, the unfailing melody of this good man's family
worship--and heard him repeat, as Peter's manly voice led the humble
choir within, that beautiful stanza of Burns's Saturday Night:--

  "They chaunt their artless notes in simple guise;
   They tune their hearts, by far the noblest aim," etc.

It was near the dinner-hour before we reached the house, and presently
I saw assembled a larger company than I should have fancied to be at
all compatible with {p.277} the existing accommodations of the place;
but it turned out that Captain Ferguson, and the friends whom I have
not as yet mentioned, were to find quarters elsewhere for the night.
His younger brother, Captain John Ferguson of the Royal Navy (a
favorite lieutenant of Lord Nelson's), had come over from Huntly Burn;
there were present, also, Mr. Scott of Gala, whose residence is within
an easy distance; Sir Henry Hay Macdougal of Mackerstoun, an old
baronet, with gay, lively, and highly polished manners, related in the
same degree to both Gala and the Sheriff; Sir Alexander Don, the
member for Roxburghshire, whose elegant social qualities have been
alluded to in the preceding chapter; and Dr. Scott of Darnlee, a
modest and intelligent gentleman, who having realized a fortune in the
East India Company's medical service, had settled within two or three
miles of Abbotsford, and, though no longer practising his profession,
had kindly employed all the resources of his skill in the endeavor to
counteract his neighbor's recent liability to attacks of cramp. Our
host and one or two others appeared, as was in those days a common
fashion with country gentlemen, in the lieutenancy uniform of their
county. How fourteen or fifteen people contrived to be seated in the
then dining-room of Abbotsford I know not--for it seemed quite full
enough when it contained only eight or ten; but so it was--nor, as Sir
Harry Macdougal's fat valet, warned by former experience, did not join
the train of attendants, was there any perceptible difficulty in the
detail of the arrangements. Everything about the dinner was, as
the phrase runs, in excellent style; and in particular the _potage
à la Meg Merrilies_, announced as an attempt to imitate a device
of the Duke of Buccleuch's celebrated cook,--by name Monsieur
Florence,--seemed, to those at least who were better acquainted with
the Kaim of Derncleugh than with the _cuisine_ of Bowhill,[116] a very
laudable specimen of the art. {p.278} The champagne circulated
nimbly--and I never was present at a gayer dinner. It had advanced a
little beyond the soup when it received an accompaniment which would
not, perhaps, have improved the satisfaction of southern guests, had
any such been present. A tall and stalwart bagpiper, in complete
Highland costume, appeared pacing to and fro on the green before the
house, and the window being open, it seemed as if he might as well
have been straining his lungs within the parlor. At a pause of his
strenuous performance, Scott took occasion to explain that _John of
Skye_ was a recent acquisition to the rising hamlet of Abbotstown;
that the man was a capital hedger and ditcher, and only figured with
the pipe and philabeg on high occasions in the after-part of the day;
"but indeed," he added, laughing, "I fear John will soon be
discovering that the hook and mattock are unfavorable to his chanter
hand." When the cloth was drawn, and the never-failing salver of
_quaighs_ introduced, John of Skye, upon some well-known signal,
entered the room, but _en militaire_, without removing his bonnet, and
taking his station behind the landlord, received from his hand the
largest of the Celtic bickers brimful of Glenlivet. The man saluted
the company in his own dialect, tipped off the contents (probably a
quarter of an English pint of raw aqua vitæ) at a gulp, wheeled about
as solemnly as if the whole ceremony had been a movement on parade,
and forthwith recommenced his pibrochs and gatherings, which continued
until long after the ladies had left the table, and the autumnal moon
was streaming in upon us so brightly as to dim the candles.

              [Footnote 116: I understand that this now celebrated
              soup was _extemporized_ by M. Florence on Scott's first
              visit to Bowhill after the publication of _Guy
              Mannering_. Florence had _served_--and Scott having on
              some sporting party made his personal acquaintance, he
              used often afterwards to gratify the poet's military
              propensities by sending up magnificent representations
              in pastry, of citadels taken by the Emperor, etc.]

I had never before seen Scott in such buoyant spirits as he showed
this evening--and I never saw him in {p.279} higher afterwards; and
no wonder, for this was the first time that he, Lord Melville, and
Adam Ferguson, daily companions at the High School of Edinburgh, and
partners in many joyous scenes of the early volunteer period, had met
since the commencement of what I may call the serious part of any of
their lives. The great poet and novelist was receiving them under his
own roof, when his fame was at its _acme_, and his fortune seemed
culminating to about a corresponding height--and the generous
exuberance of his hilarity might have overflowed without moving the
spleen of a Cynic. Old stories of _the Yards_ and _the Cross-causeway_
were relieved by sketches of real warfare, such as none but Ferguson
(or Charles Mathews, had he been a soldier) could ever have given; and
they toasted the memory of _Green-breeks_ and the health of _the Beau_
with equal devotion.

When we rose from table, Scott proposed that we should all ascend his
western turret, to enjoy a moonlight view of the valley. The younger
part of his company were too happy to do so: some of the seniors, who
had tried the thing before, found pretexts for hanging back. The
stairs were dark, narrow, and steep; but the Sheriff piloted the way,
and at length there were as many on the top as it could well afford
footing for. Nothing could be more lovely than the panorama; all the
harsher and more naked features being lost in the delicious moonlight;
the Tweed and the Gala winding and sparkling beneath our feet; and the
distant ruins of Melrose appearing, as if carved of alabaster, under
the black mass of the Eildons. The poet, leaning on his battlement,
seemed to hang over the beautiful vision as if he had never seen it
before. "If I live," he exclaimed, "I will build me a higher tower,
with a more spacious platform, and a staircase better fitted for an
old fellow's scrambling." The piper was heard re-tuning his instrument
below, and he called to him for Lochaber no More. John of Skye obeyed,
and as the music rose, softened by {p.280} the distance, Scott
repeated in a low key the melancholy words of the song of exile.

On descending from the tower, the whole company were assembled in the
new dining-room, which was still under the hands of the carpenters,
but had been brilliantly illuminated for the occasion. Mr. Bruce took
his station, and old and young danced reels to his melodious
accompaniment until they were weary, while Scott and the Dominie
looked on with gladsome faces, and beat time now and then, the one
with his staff, the other with his wooden leg. A tray with mulled wine
and whiskey punch was then introduced, and Lord Melville proposed a
bumper, with all the honors, to the _Roof-tree_. Captain Ferguson
having sung Johnnie Cope, called on the young ladies for Kenmure's On
and Awa'; and our host then insisted that the whole party should join,
standing in a circle hand-in-hand _more majorum_, in the hearty chorus

  "Weel may we a' be,
   Ill may we never see,
   God bless the king and the gude companie!"

--which being duly performed, all dispersed. Such was _the handsel_
(for Scott protested against its being considered as _the
house-heating_) of the new Abbotsford.

When I began this chapter, I thought it would be a short one, but it
is surprising how, when one digs into his memory, the smallest details
of a scene that was interesting at the time, shall by degrees come to
light again. I now recall, as if I had seen and heard them yesterday,
the looks and words of eighteen years ago. Awakening between six and
seven next morning, I heard Scott's voice close to me, and looking out
of the little latticed window of the then detached cottage called _the
chapel_, saw him and Tom Purdie pacing together on the green before
the door, in earnest deliberation over what seemed to be a rude daub
of a drawing; and every time they approached my end of their parade, I
was sure to {p.281} catch the words _Blue Bank_. It turned out in the
course of the day, that a field of clay near Toftfield went by this
name, and that the draining of it was one of the chief operations then
in hand. My friend Wilson meanwhile, who lodged also in the chapel,
tapped at my door, and asked me to rise and take a walk with him by
the river, for he had some angling project in his head. He went out
and joined in the consultation about the Blue Bank, while I was
dressing; presently Scott hailed me at the casement, and said he had
observed a volume of a new edition of Goethe on my table--would I lend
it him for a little? He carried off the volume accordingly, and
retreated with it to his den. It contained the Faust, and, I believe,
in a more complete shape than he had before seen that masterpiece of
his old favorite. When we met at breakfast, a couple of hours after,
he was full of the poem--dwelt with enthusiasm on the airy beauty of
its lyrics, the terrible pathos of the scene before the _Mater
Dolorosa_, and the deep skill shown in the various subtle shadings of
character between Mephistopheles and poor Margaret. He remarked,
however, of the Introduction (which I suspect was new to him), that
blood would out--that, consummate artist as he was, Goethe was a
German, and that nobody but a German would ever have provoked a
comparison with the Book of Job, "the grandest poem that ever was
written." He added, that he suspected the end of the story had been
left _in obscuro_, from despair to match the closing scene of our own
Marlowe's Doctor Faustus. Mr. Wilson mentioned a report that Coleridge
was engaged on a translation of the Faust. "I hope it is so," said
Scott; "Coleridge made Schiller's Wallenstein far finer than he found
it, and so he will do by this. No man has all the resources of poetry
in such profusion, but he cannot manage them so as to bring out
anything of his own on a large scale at all worthy of his genius. He
is like a lump of coal rich with gas, which lies expending itself in
puffs and {p.282} gleams, unless some shrewd body will clap it into a
cast-iron box, and compel the compressed element to do itself justice.
His fancy and diction would have long ago placed him above all his
contemporaries, had they been under the direction of a sound judgment
and a steady will.[117] I don't now expect a great original poem from
Coleridge, but he might easily make a sort of fame for himself as a
poetical translator,--that would be a thing completely unique and _sui

              [Footnote 117: In the Introduction to _The Lay of the
              Last Minstrel_, 1830, Sir Walter says: "Were I ever to
              take the unbecoming freedom of censuring a man of Mr.
              Coleridge's extraordinary talents, it would be on
              account of the caprice and indolence with which he has
              thrown from him, as in mere wantonness, those unfinished
              scraps of poetry, which, like the Torso of antiquity,
              defy the skill of his poetical brethren to complete
              them. The charming fragments which the author abandons
              to their fate are surely too valuable to be treated like
              the proofs of careless engravers, the sweepings of whose
              studios often make the fortune of some painstaking
              collector." And in a note to _The Abbot_, alluding to
              Coleridge's beautiful and tantalizing fragment of
              _Christabel_, he adds: "Has not our own imaginative poet
              cause to fear that future ages will desire to summon him
              from his place of rest, as Milton longed

                  'To call up him who left half told
                   The story of Cambuscan bold'?"]

While this criticism proceeded, Scott was cutting away at his brown
loaf and a plate of kippered salmon, in a style which strongly
reminded me of Dandie Dinmont's luncheon at Mump's Hall; nor was his
German topic at all the predominant one. On the contrary, the
sentences which have dwelt on my memory dropt from him now and then,
in the pauses, as it were, of his main talk;--for though he could not
help recurring, ever and anon, to the subject, it would have been
quite out of his way to make any literary matter the chief theme of
his conversation, when there was a single person present who was not
likely to feel much interested in its discussion.--How often have I
heard him quote on such occasions Mr. Vellum's advice to the butler in
Addison's excellent play of The Drummer: "Your conjuror, John, is
indeed a twofold personage--but he _eats and drinks like other

{p.283} I may, however, take this opportunity of observing, that
nothing could have been more absurdly unfounded than the statement
which I have seen repeated in various sketches of his Life and
Manners, that he habitually abstained from conversation on literary
topics. In point of fact, there were no topics on which he talked more
openly or more earnestly; but he, when in society, lived and talked
for the persons with whom he found himself surrounded, and if he did
not always choose to enlarge upon the subjects which his companions
for the time suggested, it was simply because he thought or fancied
that these had selected, out of deference or flattery, subjects about
which they really cared little more than they knew. I have already
repeated, over and again, my conviction that Scott considered
literature, _per se_, as a thing of far inferior importance to the
high concerns of political or practical life; but it would be too
ridiculous to question that literature nevertheless engrossed, at all
times and seasons, the greater part of his own interest and
reflection: nor can it be doubted that his general preference of the
society of men engaged in the active business of the world, rather
than that of, so-called, literary people, was grounded substantially
on his feeling that literature, worthy of the name, was more likely to
be fed and nourished by the converse of the former than by that of the
latter class.

Before breakfast was over, the post-bag arrived, and its contents were
so numerous, that Lord Melville asked Scott what election was on
hand--not doubting that there must be some very particular reason for
such a shoal of letters. He answered that it was much the same most
days, and added, "though no one has kinder friends in the franking
line, and though Freeling and Croker especially are always ready to
stretch the point of privilege in my favor, I am nevertheless a fair
contributor to the revenue, for I think my bill for letters seldom
comes under £150 a year; and as to coach-parcels, they {p.284} are a
perfect ruination." He then told with high merriment a disaster that
had lately befallen him. "One morning last spring," he said, "I opened
a huge lump of a despatch, without looking how it was addressed, never
doubting that it had travelled under some omnipotent frank like the
First Lord of the Admiralty's, when, lo and behold, the contents
proved to be a MS. play, by a young lady of New York, who kindly
requested me to read and correct it, equip it with prologue and
epilogue, procure for it a favorable reception from the manager of
Drury Lane, and make Murray or Constable bleed handsomely for the
copyright; and on inspecting the cover, I found that I had been
charged five pounds odd for the postage. This was bad enough--but
there was no help, so I groaned and submitted. A fortnight or so
after, another packet, of not less formidable bulk, arrived, and I was
absent enough to break its seal, too, without examination. Conceive my
horror when out jumped the same identical tragedy of The Cherokee
Lovers, with a second epistle from the authoress, stating that, as the
winds had been boisterous, she feared the vessel entrusted with her
former communication might have foundered, and therefore judged it
prudent to forward a duplicate."

Scott said he must retire to answer his letters, but that the sociable
and the ponies would be at the door by one o'clock, when he proposed
to show Melrose and Dryburgh to Lady Melville and any of the rest of
the party that chose to accompany them; adding that his son Walter
would lead anybody who preferred a gun to the likeliest place for a
blackcock, and that Charlie Purdie (Tom's brother) would attend upon
Mr. Wilson, and whoever else chose to try a cast of the salmon-rod. He
withdrew when all this was arranged, and appeared at the time
appointed, with perhaps a dozen letters sealed for the post, and a
coach-parcel addressed to James Ballantyne, which he dropt at the
turnpike-gate as we drove to Melrose. Seeing it picked up by a dirty
urchin, and carried {p.285} into a hedge pot-house, where
half-a-dozen nondescript wayfarers were smoking and tippling, I could
not but wonder that it had not been the fate of some one of those
innumerable packets to fall into unscrupulous hands, and betray the
grand secret. That very morning we had seen two post-chaises drawn up
at his gate, and the enthusiastic travellers, seemingly decent
tradesmen and their families, who must have been packed in a manner
worthy of Mrs. Gilpin, lounging about to catch a glimpse of him at his
going forth. But it was impossible in those days to pass between
Melrose and Abbotsford without encountering some odd figure, armed
with a sketch-book, evidently bent on a peep at the Great Unknown; and
it must be allowed that many of these pedestrians looked as if they
might have thought it very excusable to make prize, by hook or by
crook, of a MS. chapter of the Tales of my Landlord.

Scott showed us the ruins of Melrose in detail; and as we proceeded to
Dryburgh, descanted learnedly and sagaciously on the good effects
which must have attended the erection of so many great monastic
establishments in a district so peculiarly exposed to the inroads of
the English in the days of the Border wars. "They were now and then
violated," he said, "as their aspect to this hour bears witness; but
for once that they suffered, any lay property similarly situated must
have been _harried_ a dozen times. The bold Dacres, Liddells, and
Howards, that could get easy absolution at York or Durham for any
ordinary breach of a truce with the Scots, would have had _to dree a
heavy dole_ had they confessed plundering from the fat brothers, of
the same order perhaps, whose lines had fallen to them on the wrong
side of the Cheviot." He enlarged, too, on the heavy penalty which the
Crown of Scotland had paid for its rash acquiescence in the wholesale
robbery of the Church at the Reformation. "The proportion of the soil
in the hands of the clergy had," he said, "been very great--too great
to be {p.286} continued. If we may judge by their share in the public
burdens, they must have had nearly a third of the land in their
possession. But this vast wealth was now distributed among a turbulent
nobility, too powerful before; and the Stuarts soon found, that in the
bishops and lord abbots they had lost the only means of balancing
their factions, so as to turn the scale in favor of law and order; and
by and by the haughty barons themselves, who had scrambled for the
worldly spoil of the church, found that the spiritual influence had
been concentrated in hands as haughty as their own, and connected with
no feelings likely to buttress their order any more than the Crown--a
new and sterner monkery, under a different name, and essentially
plebeian. Presently the Scotch were on the verge of republicanism, in
state as well as kirk, and I have sometimes thought it was only the
accession of King Jamie to the throne of England that could have given
monarchy a chance of prolonging its existence here." One of his
friends asked what he supposed might have been the annual revenue of
the abbey of Melrose in its best day. He answered that he suspected,
if all the sources of their income were now in clever hands, the
produce could hardly be under £100,000 a year; and added: "Making
every allowance for modern improvements, there can be no question that
the sixty brothers of Melrose divided a princely rental. The superiors
were often men of very high birth, and the great majority of the rest
were younger brothers of gentlemen's families. I fancy they may have
been, on the whole, pretty near akin to your Fellows of All
Souls--who, according to their statute, must be _bene nati, bene
vestiti, et mediocriter docti_. They had a good house in Edinburgh,
where, no doubt, my lord abbot and his chaplains maintained a
hospitable table during the sittings of Parliament." Some one
regretted that we had no lively picture of the enormous revolution in
manners that must have followed the downfall of the ancient Church in
{p.287} Scotland. He observed that there were, he fancied, materials
enough for constructing such a one, but that they were mostly
scattered in records--"of which," said he, "who knows anything to the
purpose except Tom Thomson and John Riddell? It is common to laugh at
such researches, but they pay the good brains that meddle with
them;--and had Thomson been as diligent in setting down his
discoveries as he has been in making them, he might, long before this
time of day, have placed himself on a level with Ducange or Camden.
The change in the country-side," he continued, "must indeed have been
terrific; but it does not seem to have been felt very severely by a
certain Boniface of St. Andrews, for when somebody asked him, on the
subsidence of the storm, what he thought of all that had
occurred,--'Why,' answered mine host, 'it comes to this, that the
moder_au_tor sits in my meikle chair, where the dean sat before, and
in place of calling for the third stoup of Bordeaux, bids Jenny bring
ben anither bowl of toddy.'"

At Dryburgh, Scott pointed out to us the sepulchral aisle of his
Haliburton ancestors, and said he hoped, in God's appointed time, to
lay his bones among their dust. The spot was, even then, a
sufficiently interesting and impressive one; but I shall not say more
of it at present.

On returning to Abbotsford, we found Mrs. Scott and her daughters
doing penance under the merciless curiosity of a couple of tourists
who had arrived from Selkirk soon after we set out for Melrose. They
were rich specimens--tall, lanky young men, both of them rigged out in
new jackets and trousers of the Macgregor tartan; the one, as they had
revealed, being a lawyer, the other a Unitarian preacher, from New
England. These gentlemen, when told on their arrival that Mr. Scott
was not at home, had shown such signs of impatience, that the servant
took it for granted they must have serious business, and asked if they
would wish to speak a word with his {p.288} lady. They grasped at
this, and so conducted themselves in the interview, that Mrs. Scott
never doubted they had brought letters of introduction to her husband,
and invited them accordingly to partake of her luncheon. They had been
walking about the house and grounds with her and her daughters ever
since that time, and appeared at the porch, when the Sheriff and his
party returned to dinner, as if they had been already fairly enrolled
on his visiting list. For the moment, he too was taken in--he fancied
that his wife must have received and opened their credentials--and
shook hands with them with courteous cordiality. But Mrs. Scott, with
all her overflowing good-nature, was a sharp observer; and she, before
a minute had elapsed, interrupted the ecstatic compliments of the
strangers, by reminding them that her husband would be glad to have
the letters of the friends who had been so good as to write by them.
It then turned out that there were no letters to be produced--and
Scott, signifying that his hour for dinner approached, added, that as
he supposed they meant to walk to Melrose, he could not trespass
further on their time. The two lion-hunters seemed quite unprepared
for this abrupt escape. But there was about Scott, in perfection, when
he chose to exert it, the power of civil repulsion; he bowed the
overwhelmed originals to his door, and on reëntering the parlor, found
Mrs. Scott complaining very indignantly that they had gone so far as
to pull out their note-book, and beg an exact account, not only of his
age--but of her own. Scott, already half relenting, laughed heartily
at this misery. He observed, however, that, "if he were to take in all
the world, he had better put up a sign-post at once,--

  'Porter, ale, and British spirits,
   Painted bright between twa trees;'[118]

and that no traveller of respectability could ever be at a loss for
such an introduction as would insure his best {p.289} hospitality."
Still he was not quite pleased with what had happened--and as we were
about to pass, half an hour afterwards, from the drawing-room to the
dining-room, he said to his wife, "Hang the Yahoos, Charlotte--but we
should have bid them stay dinner." "Devil a bit," quoth Captain John
Ferguson, who had again come over from Huntly Burn, and had been
latterly assisting the lady to amuse her Americans, "Devil a bit, my
dear,--they were quite in a mistake, I could see. The one asked Madame
whether she deigned to call her new house Tully-Veolan or
Tillietudlem; and the other, when Maida happened to lay his nose
against the window, exclaimed _pro-di-gi-ous_! In short, they
evidently meant all their humbug not for you, but for the culprit of
Waverley, and the rest of that there rubbish." "Well, well, Skipper,"
was the reply, "for a' that, the loons would hae been nane the waur o'
their kail."

              [Footnote 118: Macneill's _Will and Jean_.]

From this banter it may be inferred that the younger Ferguson had not
as yet been told the Waverley secret--which to any of that house could
never have been any mystery. Probably this, or some similar occasion
soon afterwards, led to his formal initiation; for during the many
subsequent years that the veil was kept on, I used to admire the tact
with which, when in their topmost high-jinks humor, both "Captain
John" and "The Auld Captain" eschewed any the most distant allusion to
the affair.

And this reminds me, that at the period of which I am writing, none of
Scott's own family, except of course his wife, had the advantage in
that matter of the Skipper. Some of them, too, were apt, like him, so
long as no regular confidence had been reposed in them, to avail
themselves of the author's reserve for their own sport among friends.
Thus one morning, just as Scott was opening the door of the parlor,
the rest of the party being already seated at the breakfast-table, the
Dominie was in the act of helping himself to an egg, marked with
{p.290} a peculiar hieroglyphic by Mrs. Thomas Purdie, upon which
Anne Scott, then a lively rattling girl of sixteen, lisped out,
"That's a mysterious-looking egg, Mr. Thomson--what if it should have
been meant for _the Great Unknown_?" Ere the Dominie could reply, her
father advanced to the foot of the table, and having seated himself
and deposited his stick on the carpet beside him, with a sort of
whispered whistle--"What's that Lady Anne's[119] saying?" quoth he; "I
thought it had been well known that the _keelavined_ egg must be a
soft one for _the Sherra_." And so he took his egg, and while all
smiled in silence, poor Anne said gayly, in the midst of her blushes,
"Upon my word, papa, I thought Mr. John Ballantyne might have been
expected." This allusion to Johnny's glory in being considered as the
accredited representative of Jedediah Cleishbotham produced a
laugh,--at which the Sheriff frowned--and then laughed too.

              [Footnote 119: When playing, in childhood, with the
              young ladies of the Buccleuch family, she had been
              overheard saying to her namesake Lady Anne Scott, "Well,
              I do wish I were Lady Anne too--it is so much prettier
              than Miss;" thenceforth she was commonly addressed in
              the family by the coveted title.]

I remember nothing particular about our second day's dinner, except
that it was then I first met my dear and honored friend William
Laidlaw. The evening passed rather more quietly than the preceding
one. Instead of the dance in the new dining-room, we had a succession
of old ballads sung to the harp and guitar by the young ladies of the
house; and Scott, when they seemed to have done enough, found some
reason for taking down a volume of Crabbe, and read us one of his
favorite tales,--

  "Grave Jonas Kindred, Sibyl Kindred's sire,
   Was six feet high, and looked six inches higher," etc.

But jollity revived in full vigor when the supper-tray was introduced;
and to cap all merriment, Captain Ferguson dismissed us with The Laird
of Cockpen. Lord and Lady Melville were to return to Melville Castle
next {p.291} morning, and Mr. Wilson and I happened to mention that
we were engaged to dine and sleep at the seat of my friend and
relation, Mr. Pringle of Torwoodlee, on our way to Edinburgh. Scott
immediately said that he would send word in the morning to the Laird,
that he and Adam Ferguson meant to accompany us--such being the
unceremonious style in which country neighbors in Scotland visit each
other. Next day, accordingly, we all rode over together to Mr.
Pringle's beautiful seat--the "distant Torwoodlee" of The Lay of the
Last Minstrel, but distant not above five or six miles from
Abbotsford--coursing hares as we proceeded, but inspecting the
antiquities of the _Catrail_ to the interruption of our sport. We had
another joyous evening at Torwoodlee. Scott and Ferguson returned home
at night, and the morning after, as Wilson and I mounted for
Edinburgh, our kind old host, his sides still sore with laughter,
remarked that "the Sheriff and the Captain together were too much for
any company."

There was much talk between the Sheriff and Mr. Pringle about the
Selkirkshire Yeomanry Cavalry, of which the latter had been the
original commandant. Young Walter Scott had been for a year or more
Cornet in the corps, and his father was consulting Torwoodlee about an
entertainment which he meant to give them on his son's approaching
birthday. It was then that the new dining-room was to be first
_heated_ in good earnest; and Scott very kindly pressed Wilson and
myself, at parting, to return for the occasion--which, however, we
found it impossible to do. The reader must therefore be satisfied with
what is said about it in one of the following letters:--

     TO J. B. S. MORRITT, ESQ., M. P., ROKEBY.

                                        ABBOTSFORD, 5th November, 1818.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--Many thanks for your kind letter of 29th
     October. The matter of the colts being as {p.292} you
     state, I shall let it lie over until next year, and then
     avail myself of your being in the neighborhood to get a good
     pair of four-year-olds, since it would be unnecessary to buy
     them a year younger, and incur all the risks of disease and
     accident, unless they could have been had at a proportional

     * * * * * * leaves us this morning after a visit of about a
     week. He improves on acquaintance, and especially seems so
     pleased with everything, that it would be very hard to
     quarrel with him. Certainly, as the Frenchman said, _il a un
     grand talent pour le silence_. I take the opportunity of his
     servant going direct to Rokeby to charge him with this
     letter, and a plaid which my daughters entreat you to accept
     of as a token of their _warm_ good wishes. Seriously you
     will find it a good bosom friend in an easterly wind, a
     black frost, or when your country avocations lead you to
     face a _dry wap of snow_. I find it by far the lightest and
     most comfortable integument which I can use upon such

     We had a grand jollification here last week;--the whole
     troop of Forest Yeomanry dining with us. I assure you the
     scene was gay and even grand, with glittering sabres, waving
     standards, and screaming bagpipes; and that it might not
     lack spectators of taste, who should arrive in the midst of
     the hurricane, but Lord and Lady Compton, whose presence
     gave a great zest to the whole affair. Everything went off
     very well, and as cavalry have the great advantage over
     infantry, that their _legs_ never get drunk, they retired in
     decent disorder about ten o'clock. I was glad to see Lord
     and Lady Compton so very comfortable, and surrounded with so
     fine a family, the natural bond of mutual regard and
     affection. She has got very jolly, but otherwise has
     improved on her travels. I had a long chat with her, and was
     happy to find her quite contented and pleased with the lot
     she has drawn in life. It is a brilliant one in many
     respects, to be sure; but still I have seen the story of the
     poor {p.293} woman, who, after all rational subjects of
     distress had been successively remedied, tormented herself
     about the screaming of a neighbor's peacock--I say, I have
     seen this so often realized in actual life, that I am more
     afraid of my friends making themselves uncomfortable, who
     have only imaginary evils to indulge, than I am for the
     peace of those who, battling magnanimously with real
     inconvenience and danger, find a remedy in the very force of
     the exertions to which their lot compels them.

     I sympathize with you for the _dole_ which you are _dreeing_
     under the inflictions of your honest proser. Of all the
     boring machines ever devised, your regular and determined
     story-teller is the most peremptory and powerful in his
     operations. This is a rainy day, and my present infliction
     is an idle cousin, a great amateur of the pipes, who is
     performing incessantly in the next room for the benefit of a
     probationary minstrel, whose pipes scream _à la distance_,
     as the young hoarse cock-chicken imitates the gallant and
     triumphant screech of a veteran Sir Chanticleer. Yours

                                        W. SCOTT.

{p.295} APPENDIX



[The following is the _Garland_ referred to at pages 4 and 26, in
connection with the novel of Guy Mannering. The ballad was taken down
from the recitation of Mrs. Young of Castle-Douglas, who, as her
family informed Mr. Train, had long been in the habit of repeating it
over to them once in the year, in order that it might not escape from
her memory.]



    A worthy Lord of birth and state,
    Who did in Durham live of late--
    But I will not declare his name,
    By reason of his birth and fame.


    This Lord he did a-hunting go;
    If you the truth of all would know,
    He had indeed a noble train,
    Of Lords and Knights and Gentlemen.


    This noble Lord he left the train
    Of Lords and Knights and Gentlemen;
    And hearing not the horn to blow,
    He could not tell which way to go.


    But he did wander to and fro,
    Being weary, likewise full of woe:
    At last Dame Fortune was so kind
    That he the Keeper's house did find.

    {p.296} 5

    He went and knocked at the door,
    He thought it was so late an hour.
    The Forester did let him in,
    And kindly entertained him.


    About the middle of the night,
    When as the stars did shine most bright,
    This Lord was in a sad surprise,
    Being wakened by a fearful noise.


    Then he did rise and call with speed,
    To know the reason then indeed,
    Of all that shrieking and those cries
    Which did disturb his weary eyes.


    "I'm sorry, Sir," the Keeper said,
    "That you should be so much afraid;
    But I do hope all will be well,
    For my wife she is in travail."


    The noble Lord was learned and wise,
    To know the Planets in the skies.
    He saw one evil Planet reign,
    He called the Forester again.


    He gave him then to understand,
    He'd have the Midwife hold her hand;
    But he was answered by the maid,
    "My Mistress is delivered."


    At one o'clock that very morn,
    A lovely infant there was born;
    It was indeed a charming boy,
    Which brought the man and wife much joy.


    The Lord was generous, kind, and free,
    And proffered Godfather to be;
    The Goodman thanked him heartily
    For his goodwill and courtesy.

    {p.297} 13

    A parson was sent for with speed,
    For to baptize the child indeed;
    And after that, as I heard say,
    In mirth and joy they spent the day.


    This Lord did noble presents give,
    Which all the servants did receive.
    They prayed God to enrich his store,
    For they never had so much before.


    And likewise to the child he gave
    A present noble, rich, and brave;
    It was a charming cabinet,
    That was with pearls and jewels set.


    And within it was a chain of gold,
    Would dazzle eyes for to behold;
    A richer gift, as I may say,
    Was not beheld this many a day.


    He charged his father faithfully,
    That he himself would keep the key,
    Until the child could write and read--
    And then to give him it indeed;--


    "Pray do not open it at all
    Whatever should on you befall;
    For it may do my godson good,
    If it be rightly understood."


    This Lord did not declare his name,
    Nor yet the place from whence he came,
    But secretly he did depart,
    And left them grieved to the heart.



    The second part I now unfold,
    As true a story as e'er was told,
    {p.298} Concerning of a lovely child,
    Who was obedient, sweet, and mild.


    This child did take his learning so,
    If you the truth of all would know,
    At eleven years of age indeed,
    Both Greek and Latin he could read.


    Then thinking of his cabinet,
    That was with pearls and jewels set,
    He asked his father for the key,
    Which he gave him right speedily;


    And when he did the same unlock,
    He was with great amazement struck
    When he the riches did behold,
    And likewise saw the chain of gold.


    But searching farther he did find
    A paper which disturbed his mind,
    That was within the cabinet,
    In Greek and Latin it was writ.


    _My child, serve God that is on high,
    And pray to him incessantly;
    Obey your parents, love your king,
    That nothing may your conscience sting._


    _At seven years hence your fate will be,
    You must be hanged upon a tree;
    Then pray to God both night and day,
    To let that hour pass away._


    When he these woeful lines did read,
    He with a sigh did say indeed,
    "If hanging be my destiny,
    My parents shall not see me die;


    "For I will wander to and fro,
    I'll go where I no one do know;
    But first I'll ask my parents' leave,
    In hopes their blessing to receive."

    {p.299} 10

    Then locking up his cabinet,
    He went from his own chamber straight
    Unto his only parents dear,
    Beseeching them with many a tear


    That they would grant what he would have--
    "But first your blessing I do crave,
    And beg you'll let me go away,
    'T will do me good another day."


    *  *  *  *  *
    *  *  *  *  *
    "And if I live I will return,
    When seven years are past and gone."


    Both man and wife did then reply,
    "I fear, my son, that we shall die;
    If we should yield to let you go,
    Our aged hearts would break with woe."


    But he entreated eagerly,
    While they were forced to comply,
    And give consent to let him go,
    But where, alas! they did not know.


    In the third part you soon shall find,
    That fortune was to him most kind,
    And after many dangers past,
    He came to Durham at the last.



  He went by chance, as I heard say,
  To that same house that very day
  In which his Godfather did dwell;
  But mind what luck to him befell--


  This child did crave a service there,
  On which came out his Godfather,
  {p.300} And seeing him a pretty youth,
  He took him for his Page in truth.


  Then in this place he pleased so well,
  That 'bove the rest he bore the bell;
  This child so well the Lord did please,
  He raised him higher by degrees.


  He made him Butler sure indeed,
  And then his Steward with all speed,
  Which made the other servants spite,
  And envy him both day and night.


  He was never false unto his trust,
  But proved ever true and just;
  And to the Lord did hourly pray
  To guide him still both night and day.


  In this place, plainly it appears,
  He lived the space of seven years;
  His parents then he thought upon,
  And of his promise to return.


  Then humbly of his Lord did crave,
  That he his free consent might have
  To go and see his parents dear,
  He had not seen this many a year.


  Then having leave, away he went,
  Not dreaming of the false intent
  That was contrived against him then
  By wicked, false, deceitful men.


  They had in his portmanteau put
  This noble Lord's fine golden cup;
  That when the Lord at dinner was,
  The cup was missed as come to pass.


  "Where can it be?" this Lord did say,
  "We had it here but yesterday."
  {p.301} The Butler then replied with speed,
  "If you will hear the truth indeed.


  "Your darling Steward which is gone,
  With feathered nest away is flown;
  I'll warrant you he has that, and more
  That doth belong unto your store."


  "No," says this Lord, "that cannot be,
  For I have tried his honesty;"
  "Then," said the Cook, "my Lord, I die
  Upon a tree full ten feet high."


  Then hearing what these men did say,
  He sent a messenger that day,
  To take him with a hue and cry,
  And bring him back immediately.


  They searched his portmanteau with speed,
  In which they found the cup indeed;
  Then was he struck with sad surprise,
  He could not well believe his eyes.


  The assizes then were drawing nigh,
  And he was tried and doomed to die;
  And his injured innocence
  Could nothing say in his defense.


  But going to the Gallows tree,
  On which he thought to hanged be
  He clapped his hands upon his breast,
  And thus in tears these words exprest:--


  "Blind Fortune will be Fortune still,
  I see, let man do what he will;
  For though this day I needs must die,
  I am not guilty--no, not I."


  This noble Lord was in amaze,
  He stood and did with wonder gaze;
  {p.302} Then he spoke out with words so mild,--
  "What mean you by that saying, Child?"


  "Will that your Lordship," then said he,
  "Grant one day's full reprieve for me,
  A dismal story I'll relate,
  Concerning of my wretched fate."


  "Speak up, my Child," this Lord did say,
  "I say you shall not die this day--
  And if I find you innocent,
  I'll crown your days with sweet content."


  He told him all his dangers past,
  He had gone through from first to last,
  He fetched the chain and cabinet,
  Likewise the paper that was writ.


  When that this noble Lord did see,
  He ran to him most eagerly,
  And in his arms did him embrace,
  Repeating of those words in haste.--


  "My Child, my Child, how blessed am I
  Thou art innocent, and shalt not die;
  For I'm indeed thy Godfather,
  And thou wast born in fair Yorkshire.


  "I have indeed one daughter dear,
  Which is indeed my only heir;
  And I will give her unto thee,
  And crown you with felicity."


  So then the Butler and the Cook
  ('Twas them that stole the golden cup)
  Confessed their faults immediately,
  And for it died deservedly.


  This goodly youth, as I do hear,
  Thus raised, sent for his parents dear,
  Who did rejoice their Child to see--
  And so I end my Tragedy.


(See NOTE, p. 26.)

"Lord and Lady Altham, of Dunmain, in the county of Wexford, had been
for many years married and childless, when, in the year 1715, their
warmest hopes and wishes were realized by the birth of an heir to
their estates and title. On that joyful evening the hospitality of the
house of Dunmain was claimed by a young gentleman travelling from
Dublin, named 'Master Richard Fitzgerald,' who joined Lord Altham and
his household in drinking the healths of the 'lady in the straw,' and
the long expected heir, in the customary groaning drink. It does not
appear that Master Fitzgerald was learned in astrology, or practised
any branch of the 'Black art,' or that he used any spell with
reference to the infant more potent than these hearty libations and
sincere good wishes for his future prosperity. Next day, before
leaving the hospitable mansion, the little hero of this tale was
presented to the stranger, who 'kissed him, and gave the nurse

"Of Fitzgerald we have only to add, that he entered the army and
became a distinguished officer in the service of the queen of Hungary,
and that twenty-eight years afterwards he returned to Ireland to
assist in recovering for his former infantile friend the estates and
titles of his ancestors, which had been for many years iniquitously
withheld from him.

"Lord and Lady Altham lived unhappily together, and a separation took
place soon after the birth of their son. Her Ladyship, shamefully
neglected by her husband, resided in England during the remainder of
her life, and from disease and poverty was reduced to a state of
extreme imbecility both of body and mind.

"James Annesley, the infant son of this unhappy mother, was entrusted,
by Lord Altham, to the charge of a woman of indifferent character,
named Joan or Juggy Landy. Juggy was a dependent of the family, and
lived in a cabin on the estate, about a quarter of a mile from the
house of Dunmain. This hut is described as a 'despicable place,
without any furniture except a pot, two or three trenchers, a couple
of straw {p.304} beds on the floor,' and 'with only a bush to draw in
and out for a door.' Thus humbly and inauspiciously was the boy reared
under the care of a nurse, who, however unfortunate or guilty, appears
to have lavished upon her young charge the most affectionate
attention. From some unexplained cause, however, Juggy Landy incurred
the displeasure of Lord Altham, who took the boy from her, and ordered
his groom to 'horsewhip her,' and 'to set the dogs upon her,' when she
persisted in hovering about the premises to obtain a sight of her
former charge.

"Lord Altham now removed with his son to Dublin where he appears to
have entered upon a career of the most dissipated and profligate
conduct. We find him reduced to extreme pecuniary embarrassment, and
his property became a prey to low and abandoned associates; one of
whom, a Miss Kennedy, he ultimately endeavored to introduce to society
as his wife. This worthless woman must have obtained great ascendancy
over his Lordship, as she was enabled to drive James Annesley from his
father's protection, and the poor boy became a houseless vagabond,
wandering about the streets of Dublin, and procuring a scanty and
precarious subsistence 'by running of errands and holding gentlemen's

"Meantime Lord Altham's pecuniary difficulties had so increased as to
induce him to endeavor to borrow money on his reversionary interest in
the estates of the Earl of Anglesey, to whom he was heir-at-law. In
this scheme he was joined by his brother Captain Annesley, and they
jointly succeeded in procuring several small sums of money. But as
James Annesley would have proved an important legal impediment to
these transactions, he was represented to some parties to be dead; and
where his existence could not be denied, he was asserted to be the
natural son of his Lordship and of Juggy Landy.

"Lord Altham died in the year 1727, 'so miserably poor that he was
actually buried at the public expense.' His brother Captain Annesley
attended the funeral as chief mourner, and assumed the title of Baron
Altham, but when he claimed to have this title registered he was
refused by the king-at-arms, 'on account of his nephew being reported
still alive, and for want of the honorary fees.' Ultimately, however,
by means {p.305} which are stated to have been 'well known and
obvious,' he succeeded in procuring his registration.

"But there was another and a more sincere mourner at the funeral of
Lord Altham than the successful inheritor of his title: a poor boy of
twelve years of age, half naked, bareheaded and barefooted, and
wearing, as the most important part of his dress, an old yellow livery
waistcoat,[120] followed at a humble distance, and wept over his
father's grave. Young Annesley was speedily recognized by his uncle,
who forcibly drove him from the place, but not before the boy had made
himself known to several old servants of his father, who were
attending the corpse of their late lord to the tomb.

              [Footnote 120: _Vide_ "Green-breeks" in the General
              Introduction to the _Waverley Novels_. Surely _Yellow
              Waistcoat_ was his prototype.]

"The usurper now commenced a series of attempts to obtain possession
of his nephew's person, for the purpose of transporting him beyond
seas, or otherwise ridding himself of so formidable a rival. For some
time, however, these endeavors were frustrated, principally through
the gallantry of a brave and kind-hearted butcher, named Purcel, who,
having compassion upon the boy's destitute state, took him into his
house and hospitably maintained him for a considerable time; and on
one occasion, when he was assailed by a numerous party of his uncle's
emissaries, Purcel placed the boy between his legs, and stoutly
defending him with his cudgel, resisted their utmost efforts, and
succeeded in rescuing his young charge.

"After having escaped from many attempts of the same kind, Annesley
was at length kidnapped in the streets of Dublin, dragged by his uncle
and a party of hired ruffians to a boat, and carried on board a vessel
in the river, which immediately sailed with our hero for America,
where, on his arrival, he was apprenticed as a plantation slave, and
in this condition he remained for the succeeding thirteen years.

"During his absence his uncle, on the demise of the Earl of Anglesey,
quietly succeeded to that title and immense wealth.

"While forcibly detained in the plantations, Annesley suffered many
severe hardships and privations, particularly in his frequent
unsuccessful attempts to escape. Among other incidents which befell
him, he incurred the deadly hatred of one master, in consequence of a
suspected intrigue with his wife--a {p.306} charge from which he was
afterwards honorably acquitted. The daughter of a second master became
affectionately attached to him; but it does not appear that this
regard was reciprocal. And finally, in effecting his escape, he fell
into the hands of some hostile negroes, who stabbed him severely in
various places; from the effects of which cruelty he did not recover
for several months.

"At the end of thirteen years, Annesley, who had now attained the age
of twenty-five, succeeded in reaching Jamaica in a merchant vessel,
and he immediately volunteered himself as a private sailor on board a
man-of-war. Here he was at once identified by several officers; and
Admiral Vernon, who was then in command of the British West India
fleet, wrote home an account of the case to the Duke of Newcastle (the
Premier), and, 'in the mean time, supplied him with clothes and money,
and treated him with the respect and attention which his rank

"The Earl of Anglesey no sooner heard of these transactions on board
the fleet, than he used every effort to keep possession of his usurped
title and property, and 'the most eminent lawyers within the English
and Irish bars were retained to defend a cause, the prosecution of
which was not as yet even threatened.'

"On Annesley's arrival in Dublin, 'several servants who had lived with
his father came from the country to see him. They knew him at first
sight, and some of them fell on their knees to thank heaven for his
preservation,--embraced his legs, and shed tears of joy for his

"Lord Anglesey became so much alarmed at the probable result of the
now threatened trial, that he expressed his intention to make a
compromise with the claimant, renounce the title, and retire into
France; and with this view he commenced learning the French language.
But this resolution was given up, in consequence of an occurrence
which encouraged the flattering hope that his opponent would be
speedily and most effectually disposed of.

"After his arrival in England, Annesley unfortunately occasioned the
death of a man by the accidental discharge of a fowling-piece which he
was in the act of carrying. Though there could not exist a doubt of
his innocence from all intention {p.307} of such a deed, the
circumstance offered too good a chance to be lost sight of by his
uncle, who employed an attorney named Gifford, and with his assistance
used every effort at the coroner's inquest, and the subsequent trial,
to bring about a verdict of murder. In this, however, he did not
succeed, although 'he practised all the unfair means that could be
invented to procure the removal of the prisoner to Newgate from the
healthy gaol to which he had been at first committed;' and 'the Earl
even appeared in person on the bench, endeavoring to intimidate and
browbeat the witnesses, and to inveigle the prisoner into destructive
confessions.' Annesley was honorably acquitted, after his uncle had
expended nearly one thousand pounds on the prosecution.

"The trial between James Annesley, Esq., and Richard, Earl of
Anglesey, before the Right Honorable the Lord Chief Justice and other
Barons of the Exchequer, commenced on the 11th November, 1743, and was
continued for thirteen days. The defendant's counsel examined an
immense number of witnesses in an attempt to prove that Annesley was
the illegitimate son of the late Baron Altham. The Jury found for the
plaintiff; but it did not prove sufficient to recover his title and
estates: for his uncle 'had recourse to every device the law allowed,
and his powerful interest procured a writ of error which set aside the
verdict.' Before another trial could be brought about, Annesley died
without male issue, and Lord Anglesey consequently remained in
undisturbed possession.

       *       *       *       *       *

"It is presumed that the points of resemblance between the leading
incidents in the life of this unfortunate young nobleman and the
adventures of Henry Bertram in Guy Mannering, are so evident as to
require neither comment nor enumeration to make them apparent to the
most cursory reader of the Novel. The addition of a very few other
circumstances will, it is believed, amount to a proof of the identity
of the two stories.


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