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Title: The Journal of Sir Walter Scott - From the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford
Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Language: English
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Published by BURT FRANKLIN
235 East 44th St., New York, N.Y. 10017
Originally Published: 1890
Reprinted: 1970
Printed in the U.S.A.

S.B.N. 32110
Library of Congress Card Catalog No.: 73-123604
Burt Franklin: Research and Source Works Series 535
Essays in Literature and Criticism 82

[Illustration: ΝΥΞ ΓΑΡ ΕΡΧΕΤΑΙ

"_I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when
no man can work. I put that text, many a year ago, on my dial-stone; but
it often preached in vain_."--SCOTT'S _Life_, x. 88.]

     "_I shall have a peep at Bothwell Castle if it is only for
     half-an-hour. It is a place of many recollections to me, for I
     cannot but think how changed I am from the same Walter Scott who
     was so passionately ambitious of fame when I wrote the song of
     Young Lochinvar at Bothwell; and if I could recall the same
     feelings, where was I to find an audience so kind and patient, and
     whose applause was at the same time so well worth having, as Lady
     Dalkeith and Lady Douglas? When one thinks of these things, there
     is no silencing one's regret but by Corporal Nym's philosophy_:
     Things must be as they may. _One generation goeth and another
     cometh_."--To LORD MONTAGU, _June 28th,_ 1825.


On the death of Sir Walter Scott in 1832, his entire literary remains
were placed at the disposal of his son-in-law, Mr. John Gibson Lockhart.
Among these remains were two volumes of a Journal which had been kept by
Sir Walter from 1825 to 1832. Mr. Lockhart made large use of this
Journal in his admirable life of his father-in-law. Writing, however, so
short a time after Scott's death, he could not use it so freely as he
might have wished, and, according to his own statement, it was "by
regard for the feelings of living persons" that he both omitted and
altered; and indeed he printed no chapter of the Diary in full.

There is no longer any reason why the Journal should not be published in
its entirety, and by the permission of the Hon. Mrs. Maxwell-Scott it
now appears exactly as Scott left it--but for the correction of obvious
slips of the pen and the omission of some details chiefly of family and
domestic interest.

The original Journal consists of two small 4to volumes, 9 inches by 8,
bound in vellum and furnished with strong locks. The manuscript is
closely written on both sides, and towards the end shows painful
evidence of the physical prostration of the writer. The Journal abruptly
closes towards the middle of the second volume with the following
entry--probably the last words ever penned by Scott--

[Illustration: by one of the old Pontiffs, but which, I forget, and so
paraded the streets by moonlight to discover, if possible, some appearance
of the learned Sir William Gell or the pretty Mrs. Ashley. At length we
found our old servant who guided us to the lodgings taken by Sir
William Gell, where all was comfortable, a good fire included, which
our fatigue and the chilliness of the night required. We dispersed as
soon as we had taken some food, wine, and water.

We slept reasonably, but on the next morning]

In the annotations, it seemed most satisfactory to follow as closely as
possible the method adopted by Mr. Lockhart. In the case of those parts
of the Journal that have been already published, almost all Mr.
Lockhart's notes have been reproduced, and these are distinguished by
his initials. Extracts from the Life, from James Skene of Rubislaw's
unpublished Reminiscences, and from unpublished letters of Scott himself
and his contemporaries, have been freely used wherever they seemed to
illustrate particular passages in the Journal.

With regard to Scott's quotations a certain difficulty presented itself.
In his Journal he evidently quoted from memory, and he not unfrequently
makes considerable variations from the originals. Occasionally, indeed,
it would seem that he deliberately made free with the exact words of his
author, to adapt them more pertinently to his own mood or the impulse of
the moment. In any case it seemed best to let Scott's quotations appear
as he wrote them. His reading lay in such curious and unfrequented
quarters that to verify all the sources is a nearly impossible task. It
is to be remembered, also, that he himself held very free notions on the
subject of quotation.

I have to thank the Hon. Mrs. Maxwell-Scott for permitting me to retain
for the last three years the precious volumes in which the Journal is
contained, and for granting me access to the correspondence of Sir
Walter preserved at Abbotsford, and I have likewise to acknowledge the
courtesy of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch for allowing me the use of
the Scott letters at Dalkeith. To Mr. W.F. Skene, Historiographer Royal
for Scotland, my thanks are warmly rendered for intrusting me with his
precious heirloom, the volume which contains Sir Walter's letters to his
father, and the Reminiscences that accompany them--one of many kind
offices towards me during the last thirty years in our relations as
author and publisher. I am also obliged to Mr. Archibald Constable for
permitting me to use the interesting Memorandum by James Ballantyne.

Finally, I have to express my obligation to many other friends, who
never failed cordially to respond to any call I made upon them.


     EDINBURGH, 22 DRUMMOND PLACE, _October_ 1, 1890.



PORTRAIT, painted by JOHN GRAHAM GILBERT, R.S.A., for the Royal Society,
Edinburgh. Copied by permission of the Council of the Society,

VIGNETTE on Title-page

"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by


       *       *       *       *       *


     "_I must home to 'work while it is called day; for the night cometh
     when no man can work.' I put that text, many a year ago, on my
     dial-stone; but it often preached in vain_."--SCOTT'S _Life_, x.

MAP OF ABBOTSFORD, from the Ordnance Survey, 1858, _to face_ p. 414.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


[_Edinburgh_,] _November_ 20, 1825.--I have all my life regretted that I
did not keep a regular Journal. I have myself lost recollection of much
that was interesting, and I have deprived my family and the public of
some curious information, by not carrying this resolution into effect. I
have bethought me, on seeing lately some volumes of Byron's notes, that
he probably had hit upon the right way of keeping such a
memorandum-book, by throwing aside all pretence to regularity and order,
and marking down events just as they occurred to recollection. I will
try this plan; and behold I have a handsome locked volume, such as might
serve for a lady's album. _Nota bene_, John Lockhart, and Anne, and I
are to raise a Society for the suppression of Albums. It is a most
troublesome shape of mendicity. Sir, your autograph--a line of
poetry--or a prose sentence!--Among all the sprawling sonnets, and
blotted trumpery that dishonours these miscellanies, a man must have a
good stomach that can swallow this botheration as a compliment.

I was in Ireland last summer, and had a most delightful tour. It cost me
upwards of £500, including £100 left with Walter and Jane, for we
travelled a large party and in style. There is much less exaggerated
about the Irish than is to be expected. Their poverty is not
exaggerated; it is on the extreme verge of human misery; their cottages
would scarce serve for pig-styes, even in Scotland, and their rags seem
the very refuse of a rag-shop, and are disposed on their bodies with
such ingenious variety of wretchedness that you would think nothing but
some sort of perverted taste could have assembled so many shreds
together. You are constantly fearful that some knot or loop will give,
and place the individual before you in all the primitive simplicity of
Paradise. Then for their food, they have only potatoes, and too few of
them. Yet the men look stout and healthy, the women buxom and

Dined with us, being Sunday, Will. Clerk and Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe.
W.C. is the second son of the celebrated author of _Naval Tactics_.[1] I
have known him intimately since our college days; and, to my thinking,
never met a man of greater powers, or more complete information on all
desirable subjects. In youth he had strongly the Edinburgh _pruritus
disputandi_; but habits of society have greatly mellowed it, and though
still anxious to gain your suffrage to his views, he endeavours rather
to conciliate your opinion than conquer it by force. Still there is
enough of tenacity of sentiment to prevent, in London society, where all
must go slack and easy, W.C. from rising to the very top of the tree as
a conversation man, who must not only wind the thread of his argument
gracefully, but also know when to let go. But I like the Scotch taste
better; there is more matter, more information, above all, more spirit
in it. Clerk will, I am afraid, leave the world little more than the
report of his fame. He is too indolent to finish any considerable
work.[2] Charles Kirkpatrick Sharpe is another very remarkable man. He
was bred a clergyman, but did not take orders, owing I believe to a
peculiar effeminacy of voice which must have been unpleasant in reading
prayers. Some family quarrels occasioned his being indifferently
provided for by a small annuity from his elder brother, extorted by an
arbitral decree. He has infinite wit and a great turn for antiquarian
lore, as the publications of _Kirkton_,[3] etc., bear witness. His
drawings are the most fanciful and droll imaginable--a mixture between
Hogarth and some of those foreign masters who painted temptations of St.
Anthony, and such grotesque subjects. As a poet he has not a very strong
touch. Strange that his finger-ends can describe so well what he cannot
bring out clearly and firmly in words. If he were to make drawing a
resource, it might raise him a large income. But though a lover of
antiquities, and therefore of expensive trifles, C.K.S. is too
aristocratic to use his art to assist his revenue. He is a very complete
genealogist, and has made many detections in _Douglas_ and other books
on pedigree, which our nobles would do well to suppress if they had an
opportunity. Strange that a man should be curious after scandal of
centuries old! Not but Charles loves it fresh and fresh also, for, being
very much a fashionable man, he is always master of the reigning report,
and he tells the anecdote with such gusto that there is no helping
sympathising with him--the peculiarity of voice adding not a little to
the general effect. My idea is that C.K.S., with his oddities, tastes,
satire, and high aristocratic feelings, resembles Horace
Walpole--perhaps in his person also, in a general way.--See Miss
Hawkins' _Anecdotes_[4] for a description of the author of _The Castle
of Otranto_.

No other company at dinner except my cheerful and good-humoured friend
_Missie_ Macdonald,[5] so called in fondness. One bottle of champagne
with the ladies' assistance, two of claret. I observe that both these
great connoisseurs were very nearly, if not quite, agreed, that there
are _no_ absolutely undoubted originals of Queen Mary. But how then
should we be so very distinctly informed as to her features? What has
become of all the originals which suggested these innumerable copies?
Surely Mary must have been as unfortunate in this as in other
particulars of her life.[6]

_November_ 21.--I am enamoured of my journal. I wish the zeal may but
last. Once more of Ireland. I said their poverty was not exaggerated;
neither is their wit--nor their good-humour--nor their whimsical
absurdity--nor their courage.

_Wit_.--I gave a fellow a shilling on some occasion when sixpence was
the fee. "Remember you owe me sixpence, Pat." "May your honour live till
I pay you!" There was courtesy as well as wit in this, and all the
clothes on Pat's back would have been dearly bought by the sum in

_Good-humour_.--There is perpetual kindness in the Irish cabin;
butter-milk, potatoes, a stool is offered, or a stone is rolled that
your honour may sit down and be out of the smoke, and those who beg
everywhere else seem desirous to exercise free hospitality in their own
houses. Their natural disposition is turned to gaiety and happiness;
while a Scotchman is thinking about the term-day, or, if easy on that
subject, about hell in the next world--while an Englishman is making a
little hell of his own in the present, because his muffin is not well
roasted--Pat's mind is always turned to fun and ridicule. They are
terribly excitable, to be sure, and will murther you on slight
suspicion, and find out next day that it was all a mistake, and that it
was not yourself they meant to kill at all at all.

_Absurdity_.--They were widening the road near Lord Claremont's seat as
we passed. A number of cars were drawn up together at a particular
point, where we also halted, as we understood they were blowing a rock,
and the _shot_ was expected presently to go off. After waiting two
minutes or so, a fellow called out something, and our carriage as a
planet, and the cars for satellites, started all forward at once, the
Irishmen whooping and crying, and the horses galloping. Unable to learn
the meaning of this, I was only left to suppose that they had delayed
firing the intended _shot_ till we should pass, and that we were passing
quickly to make the delay as short as possible. No such thing. By dint
of making great haste, we got within ten yards of the rock when the
blast took place, throwing dust and gravel on our carriage, and had our
postillion brought us a little nearer (it was not for want of hallooing
and flogging that he did not), we should have had a still more serious
share of the explosion. The explanation I received from the drivers was,
that they had been told by the overseer that as the _mine_ had been so
long in _going off_, he dared say we would have time to pass it--so we
just waited long enough to make the danger imminent. I have only to add
that two or three people got behind the carriage, just for nothing but
to see how our honours got past.

Went to the Oil Gas Committee[7] this morning, of which concern I am
president, or chairman. It has amused me much by bringing me into
company with a body of active, business-loving, money-making citizens of
Edinburgh, chiefly Whigs by the way, whose sentiments and proceedings
amuse me. The stock is rather low in the market, 35s. premium instead
of £5. It must rise, however, for the advantages of the light are
undeniable, and folks will soon become accustomed to idle apprehensions
or misapprehensions. From £20 to £25 should light a house capitally,
supposing you leave town in the vacation. The three last quarters cost
me £10, 10s., and the first, £8, was greatly overcharged. We will see
what this, the worst and darkest quarter, costs.

Dined with Sir Robert Dundas,[8] where we met Lord and Lady Melville. My
little _nieces_ (_ex officio_) gave us some pretty music. I do not know
and cannot utter a note of music; and complicated harmonies seem to me a
babble of confused though pleasing sounds. Yet songs and simple
melodies, especially if connected with words and ideas, have as much
effect on me as on most people. But then I hate to hear a young person
sing without feeling and expression suited to the song. I cannot bear a
voice that has no more life in it than a pianoforte or a bugle-horn.
There is something about all the fine arts, of soul and spirit, which,
like the vital principle in man, defies the research of the most
critical anatomist. You feel where it is not, yet you cannot describe
what it is you want. Sir Joshua, or some other great painter, was
looking at a picture on which much pains had been bestowed--"Why, yes,"
he said, in a hesitating manner, "it is very clever--very well
done--can't find fault; but it wants something; it wants--it wants, damn
me--it wants THAT"--throwing his hand over his head and snapping his
fingers. Tom Moore's is the most exquisite warbling I ever heard. Next
to him, David Macculloch[9] for Scots songs. The last, when a boy at
Dumfries, was much admired by Burns, who used to get him to try over the
words which he composed to new melodies. He is brother of Macculloch of

_November_ 22.--MOORE. I saw Moore (for the first time, I may say) this
season. We had indeed met in public twenty years ago. There is a manly
frankness, and perfect ease and good breeding about him which is
delightful. Not the least touch of the poet or the pedant. A
little--very little man. Less, I think, than Lewis, and somewhat like
him in person; God knows, not in conversation, for Matt, though a clever
fellow, was a bore of the first description. Moreover, he looked always
like a schoolboy. I remember a picture of him being handed about at
Dalkeith House. It was a miniature I think by Sanders,[10] who had
contrived to muffle Lewis's person in a cloak, and placed some poignard
or dark lanthorn appurtenance (I think) in his hand, so as to give the
picture the cast of a bravo. "That like Mat Lewis?" said Duke Henry, to
whom it had passed in turn; "why, that is like a MAN!" Imagine the
effect! Lewis was at his elbow.[11] Now Moore has none of this
insignificance; to be sure his person is much stouter than that of
M.G.L., his countenance is decidedly plain, but the expression is so
very animated, especially in speaking or singing, that it is far more
interesting than the finest features could have rendered it.

I was aware that Byron had often spoken, both in private society and in
his Journal, of Moore and myself in the same breath, and with the same
sort of regard; so I was curious to see what there could be in common
betwixt us, Moore having lived so much in the gay world, I in the
country, and with people of business, and sometimes with politicians;
Moore a scholar, I none; he a musician and artist, I without knowledge
of a note; he a democrat, I an aristocrat--with many other points of
difference; besides his being an Irishman, I a Scotchman, and both
tolerably national. Yet there is a point of resemblance, and a strong
one. We are both good-humoured fellows, who rather seek to enjoy what is
going forward than to maintain our dignity as lions; and we have both
seen the world too widely and too well not to contemn in our souls the
imaginary consequence of literary people, who walk with their noses in
the air, and remind me always of the fellow whom Johnson met in an
alehouse, and who called himself "the _great_ Twalmley--inventor of the
floodgate iron for smoothing linen." He also enjoys the _mot pour rire_,
and so do I.

Moore has, I think, been ill-treated about Byron's Memoirs; he
surrendered them to the family (Lord Byron's executors) and thus lost
£2000 which he had raised upon them at a most distressing moment of his
life. It is true they offered and pressed the money on him afterwards,
but they ought to have settled it with the booksellers and not put poor
Tom's spirit in arms against his interest.[12] I think at least it
might have been so managed. At any rate there must be an authentic life
of Byron by somebody. Why should they not give the benefit of their
materials to Tom Moore, whom Byron had made the depositary of his own
Memoirs?--but T.M. thinks that Cam Hobhouse has the purpose of writing
Byron's life himself. He and Moore were at sharp words during the
negotiation, and there was some explanation necessary before the affair
ended. It was a pity that nothing save the total destruction of Byron's
Memoirs would satisfy his executors.[13] But there was a reason--_Premat
nox alta_.

It would be a delightful addition to life, if T.M. had a cottage within
two miles of one. We went to the theatre together, and the house, being
luckily a good one, received T.M. with rapture. I could have hugged
them, for it paid back the debt of the kind reception I met with in

Here is a matter for a May morning, but much fitter for a November one.
The general distress in the city has affected H. and R.,[15] Constable's
great agents. Should they _go_, it is not likely that Constable can
stand, and such an event would lead to great distress and perplexity on
the part of J.B. and myself. Thank God, I have enough at least to pay
forty shillings in the pound, taking matters at the very worst. But much
distress and inconvenience must be the consequence. I had a lesson in
1814 which should have done good upon me, but success and abundance
erased it from my mind. But this is no time for journalising or
moralising either. Necessity is like a sour-faced cook-maid, and I a
turn-spit whom she has flogged ere now, till he mounted his wheel. If
W-st-k[16] can be out by 25th January it will do much, and it is

------'s son has saved his comrade on shipboard by throwing himself
overboard and keeping the other afloat--a very gallant thing. But the
_Gran giag' Asso_[17] asks me to write a poem on the _civic crown_, of
which he sends me a description quoted from Adam's _Antiquities_, which
mellifluous performance is to persuade the Admiralty to give the young
conservator promotion. Oh! he is a rare head-piece, an admirable Merron.
I do not believe there is in nature such a full-acorned Boar.[18]

Could not write to purpose for thick-coming fancies; the wheel would not
turn easily, and cannot be forced.

    "My spinning-wheel is auld and stiff,
      The rock o't winna stand, sir;
    To keep the temper-pin in tiff
      Employs aft my hand, sir."[19]

Went to dine at the L[ord] J[ustice]-C[lerk's][20] as I thought by
invitation, but it was for Tuesday se'nnight. Returned very well
pleased, not being exactly in the humour for company, and had a
beef-steak. My appetite is surely, excepting in quantity, that of a
farmer; for, eating moderately of anything, my Epicurean pleasure is in
the most simple diet. Wine I seldom taste when alone, and use instead a
little spirits and water. I have of late diminished the quantity, for
fear of a weakness inductive to a diabetes--a disease which broke up my
father's health, though one of the most temperate men who ever lived. I
smoke a couple of cigars instead, which operates equally as a

    "Just to drive the cold winter away,
    And drown the fatigues of the day."

I smoked a good deal about twenty years ago when at Ashestiel; but,
coming down one morning to the parlour, I found, as the room was small
and confined, that the smell was unpleasant, and laid aside the use of
the _Nicotian weed_ for many years; but was again led to use it by the
example of my son, a hussar officer, and my son-in-law, an Oxford
student. I could lay it aside to-morrow; I laugh at the dominion of
custom in this and many things.

    "We make the giants first, and then--_do not_ kill them."

_November_ 23.--On comparing notes with Moore, I was confirmed in one or
two points which I had always laid down in considering poor Byron. One
was, that like Rousseau he was apt to be very suspicious, and a plain
downright steadiness of manner was the true mode to maintain his good
opinion. Will Rose told me that once, while sitting with Byron, he fixed
insensibly his eyes on his feet, one of which, it must be remembered,
was deformed. Looking up suddenly, he saw Byron regarding him with a
look of concentrated and deep displeasure, which wore off when he
observed no consciousness or embarrassment in the countenance of Rose.
Murray afterwards explained this, by telling Rose that Lord Byron was
very jealous of having this personal imperfection noticed or attended
to. In another point, Moore confirmed my previous opinion, namely, that
Byron loved mischief-making. Moore had written to him cautioning him
against the project of establishing the paper called the _Liberal_, in
communion with such men as P.B. Shelley and Hunt,[21] on whom he said
the world had set its mark. Byron showed this to the parties. Shelley
wrote a modest and rather affecting expostulation to Moore.[22] These
two peculiarities of extreme suspicion and love of mischief are both
shades of the malady which certainly tinctured some part of the
character of this mighty genius; and, without some tendency towards
which, genius--I mean that kind which depends on the imaginative
power--perhaps cannot exist to great extent. The wheels of a machine, to
play rapidly, must not fit with the utmost exactness, else the attrition
diminishes the impetus.

Another of Byron's peculiarities was the love of mystifying; which
indeed may be referred to that of mischief. There was no knowing how
much or how little to believe of his narratives. Instance:--Mr.
Bankes[23] expostulating with him upon a dedication which he had written
in extravagant terms of praise to Cam Hobhouse, Byron told him that Cam
had teased him into the dedication till he had said, "Well; it shall be
so,--providing you will write the dedication yourself"; and affirmed
that Cam Hobhouse did write the high-coloured dedication accordingly. I
mentioned this to Murray, having the report from Will Rose, to whom
Bankes had mentioned it. Murray, in reply, assured me that the
dedication was written by Lord Byron himself, and showed it me in his
own hand. I wrote to Rose to mention the thing to Bankes, as it might
have made mischief had the story got into the circle. Byron was disposed
to think all men of imagination were addicted to mix fiction (or poetry)
with their prose. He used to say he dared believe the celebrated
courtezan of Venice, about whom Rousseau makes so piquante a story, was,
if one could see her, a draggle-tailed wench enough. I believe that he
embellished his own amours considerably, and that he was, in many
respects, _le fanfaron de vices qu'il n'avoit pas_. He loved to be
thought awful, mysterious, and gloomy, and sometimes hinted at strange
causes. I believe the whole to have been the creation and sport of a
wild and powerful fancy. In the same manner he _crammed_ people, as it
is termed, about duels, etc., which never existed, or were much

Constable has been here as lame as a duck upon his legs, but his heart
and courage as firm as a cock. He has convinced me we will do well to
support the London House. He has sent them about £5000, and proposes we
should borrow on our joint security £5000 for their accommodation. J.B.
and R. Cadell present. I must be guided by them, and hope for the best.
Certainly to part company would be to incur an awful risk.

What I liked about Byron, besides his boundless genius, was his
generosity of spirit as well as purse, and his utter contempt of all the
affectations of literature, from the school-magisterial style to the
lackadaisical. Byron's example has formed a sort of upper house of
poetry. There is Lord Leveson Gower, a very clever young man.[24] Lord
Porchester too,[25] nephew to Mrs. Scott of Harden, a young man who lies
on the carpet and looks poetical and dandyish--fine lad too, but--

    "There will be many peers
    Ere such another Byron."

Talking of Abbotsford, it begins to be haunted by too much company of
every kind, but especially foreigners. I do not like them. I hate fine
waistcoats and breast-pins upon dirty shirts. I detest the impudence
that pays a stranger compliments, and harangues about his works in the
author's house, which is usually ill-breeding. Moreover, they are seldom
long of making it evident that they know nothing about what they are
talking of, except having seen the Lady of the Lake at the Opera.

Dined at St. Catherine's[26] with Lord Advocate, Lord and Lady Melville,
Lord Justice-Clerk,[27] Sir Archibald Campbell of Succoth, all class
companions and acquainted well for more than forty years. All except
Lord J.C. were at Fraser's class, High School.[28] Boyle joined us at
college. There are, besides, Sir Adam Ferguson, Colin Mackenzie, James
Hope, Dr. James Buchan, Claud Russell, and perhaps two or three more of
and about the same period--but

     "Apparent rari nantes in gurgite vasto."[29]

_November 24._--Talking of strangers, London held, some four or five
years since, one of those animals who are lions at first, but by
transmutation of two seasons become in regular course Boars!--Ugo
Foscolo by name, a haunter of Murray's shop and of literary parties.
Ugly as a baboon, and intolerably conceited, he spluttered, blustered,
and disputed, without even knowing the principles upon which men of
sense render a reason, and screamed all the while like a pig when they
cut its throat. Another such Animaluccio is a brute of a Sicilian
Marquis de ---- who wrote something about Byron. He inflicted two days
on us at Abbotsford. They never know what to make of themselves in the
forenoon, but sit tormenting the women to play at proverbs and such

_Foreigner of a different cast_,--Count Olonym (Olonyne--that's it), son
of the President of the Royal Society and a captain in the Imperial
Guards. He is mean-looking and sickly, but has much sense, candour, and
general information. There was at Abbotsford, and is here, for education
just now, a young Count Davidoff, with a tutor Mr. Collyer. He is a
nephew of the famous Orloffs. It is quite surprising how much sense and
sound thinking this youth has at the early age of sixteen, without the
least self-conceit or forwardness. On the contrary, he seems kind,
modest, and ingenuous.[30] To questions which I asked about the state of
Russia he answered with the precision and accuracy of twice his years. I
should be sorry the saying were verified in him--

    "So wise so young, they say, do ne'er live long."[31]

Saw also at Abbotsford two Frenchmen whom I liked, friends of Miss
Dumergue. One, called Le Noir, is the author of a tragedy which he had
the grace never to quote, and which I, though poked by some malicious
persons, had _not_ the grace even to hint at. They were disposed at
first to be complimentary, but I convinced them it was not the custom
here, and they took it well, and were agreeable.

A little bilious this morning, for the first time these six months. It
cannot be the London matters which stick on my stomach, for that is
mending, and may have good effects on myself and others.

Dined with Robert Cockburn. Company, Lord Melville and family; Sir John
and Lady Hope; Lord and Lady R. Kerr, and so forth. Combination of
colliers general, and coals up to double price; the men will not work,
_although_, or rather _because_, they can make from thirty to forty
shillings per week. Lord R.K. told us that he had a letter from Lord
Forbes (son of Earl Granard, Ireland), that he was asleep in his house
at Castle Forbes, when awakened by a sense of suffocation which deprived
him of the power of stirring a limb, yet left him the consciousness that
the house was on fire. At this moment, and while his apartment was in
flames, his large dog jumped on the bed, seized his shirt, and dragged
him to the staircase, where the fresh air restored his powers of
exertion and of escape. This is very different from most cases of
preservation of life by the canine race, when the animal generally jumps
into the water, in which [element] he has force and skill. That of fire
is as hostile to him as to mankind.

_November_ 25.--Read Jeffrey's neat and well-intended address[32] to the
mechanics upon their combinations. Will it do good? Umph. It takes only
the hand of a Lilliputian to light a fire, but would require the
diuretic powers of Gulliver to extinguish it. The Whigs will live and
die in the heresy that the world is ruled by little pamphlets and
speeches, and that if you can sufficiently demonstrate that a line of
conduct is most consistent with men's interest, you have therefore and
thereby demonstrated that they will at length, after a few speeches on
the subject, adopt it of course. In this case we would have [no] need of
laws or churches, for I am sure there is no difficulty in proving that
moral, regular, and steady habits conduce to men's best interest, and
that vice is not sin merely, but folly. But of these men each has
passions and prejudices, the gratification of which he prefers, not only
to the general weal, but to that of himself as an individual. Under the
action of these wayward impulses a man drinks to-day though he is sure
of starving to-morrow. He murders to-morrow though he is sure to be
hanged on Wednesday; and people are so slow to believe that which makes
against their own predominant passions, that mechanics will combine to
raise the price for one week, though they destroy the manufacture for
ever. The best remedy seems to be the probable supply of labourers from
other trades. Jeffrey proposes each mechanic shall learn some other
trade than his own, and so have two strings to his bow. He does not
consider the length of a double apprenticeship. To make a man a good
weaver and a good tailor would require as much time as the patriarch
served for his two wives, and after all, he would be but a poor workman
at either craft. Each mechanic has, indeed, a second trade, for he can
dig and do rustic work. Perhaps the best reason for breaking up the
association will prove to be the expenditure of the money which they
have been simple enough to levy from the industrious for the support of
the idle. How much provision for the sick and the aged, the widow and
the orphan, has been expended in the attempt to get wages which the
manufacturer cannot afford them, with any profitable chance of selling
his commodity?

I had a bad fall last night coming home. There were unfinished houses at
the east end of Atholl Place,[33] and as I was on foot, I crossed the
street to avoid the material which lay about; but, deceived by the
moonlight, I stepped ankle-deep in a sea of mud (honest earth and water,
thank God), and fell on my hands. Never was there such a representative
of _Wall_ in Pyramus and Thisbe--I was absolutely rough-cast. Luckily
Lady S. had retired when I came home; so I enjoyed my tub of water
without either remonstrance or condolences. Cockburn's hospitality will
get the benefit and renown of my downfall, and yet has no claim to it.
In future though, I must take a coach at night--a control on one's
freedom, but it must be submitted to. I found a letter from [R.]
C[adell], giving a cheering account of things in London. Their
correspondent is getting into his strength. Three days ago I would have
been contented to buy this _consola_, as Judy says,[34] dearer than by a
dozen falls in the mud. For had the great Constable fallen, O my
countrymen, what a fall were there!

[Sidenote: _N.B._ Within eight weeks after recording this graceful act
of submission, I found I was unable to keep a carriage at all.]

Mrs. Coutts, with the Duke of St. Albans and Lady Charlotte Beauclerk,
called to take leave of us. When at Abbotsford his suit throve but
coldly. She made me, I believe, her confidant in sincerity.[35] She had
refused him twice, and decidedly. He was merely on the footing of
friendship. I urged it was akin to love. She allowed she might marry the
Duke, only she had at present not the least intention that way. Is this
frank admission more favourable for the Duke than an absolute
protestation against the possibility of such a marriage? I think not. It
is the fashion to attend Mrs. Coutts' parties and to abuse her. I have
always found her a kind, friendly woman, without either affectation or
insolence in the display of her wealth, and most willing to do good if
the means be shown to her. She can be very entertaining too, as she
speaks without scruple of her stage life. So much wealth can hardly be
enjoyed without some ostentation. But what then? If the Duke marries
her, he ensures an immense fortune; if she marries him, she has the
first rank. If he marries a woman older than himself by twenty years,
she marries a man younger in wit by twenty degrees. I do not think he
will dilapidate her fortune--he seems quiet and gentle. I do not think
that she will abuse his softness--of disposition, shall I say, or of
heart? The disparity of ages concerns no one but themselves; so they
have my consent to marry, if they can get each other's. Just as this is
written, enter my Lord of St. Albans and Lady Charlotte, to beg I would
recommend a book of sermons to Mrs. Coutts. Much obliged for her good
opinion: recommended Logan's[36]--one poet should always speak for
another. The mission, I suppose, was a little display on the part of
good Mrs. Coutts of authority over her high aristocratic suitor. I do
not suspect her of turning _dévote_, and retract my consent given as
above, unless she remains "lively, brisk, and jolly."[37]

Dined quiet with wife and daughter. R[obert] Cadell looked in in the
evening on business.

I here register my purpose to practise economics. I have little
temptation to do otherwise. Abbotsford is all that I can make it, and
too large for the property; so I resolve--

No more building;

No purchases of land till times are quite safe;

No buying books or expensive trifles--I mean to any extent; and

Clearing off encumbrances, with the returns of this year's labour;--

Which resolutions, with health and my habits of industry, will make me
"sleep in spite of thunder."

After all, it is hard that the vagabond stock-jobbing Jews should, for
their own purposes, make such a shake of credit as now exists in London,
and menace the credit of men trading on sure funds like H[urst] and
R[obinson]. It is just like a set of pickpockets, who raise a mob, in
which honest folks are knocked down and plundered, that they may pillage
safely in the midst of the confusion they have excited.

[Sidenote: I was obliged to give this up in consequence of my own

_November_ 26.--The court met late, and sat till _one_; detained from
that hour till four o'clock, being engaged in the perplexed affairs of
Mr. James Stewart of Brugh. This young gentleman is heir to a property
of better than £1000 a year in Orkney. His mother married very young,
and was wife, mother, and widow in the course of the first year. Being
unfortunately under the direction of a careless agent, she was unlucky
enough to embarrass her own affairs by many transactions with this
person. I was asked to accept the situation of one of the son's
curators; and trust to clear out his affairs and hers--at least I will
not fail for want of application. I have lent her £300 on a second (and
therefore doubtful) security over her house in Newington, bought for
£1000, and on which £600 is already secured. I have no connection with
the family except that of compassion, and may not be rewarded even by
thanks when the young man comes of age. I have known my father often so
treated by those whom he had laboured to serve. But if we do not run
some hazard in our attempts to do good, where is the merit of them? So I
will bring through my Orkney laird if I can. Dined at home quiet with
Lady S. and Anne.

_November_ 27.--Some time since John Murray entered into a contract with
my son-in-law, John G. Lockhart, giving him on certain ample conditions
the management and editorship of the _Quarterly Review_, for which they
could certainly scarcely find a fitter person, both from talents and
character. It seems that Barrow[38] and one or two stagers have taken
alarm at Lockhart's character as a satirist, and his supposed accession
to some of the freaks in _Blackwood's Magazine_, and down comes young
D'Israeli[39] to Scotland imploring Lockhart to make interest with my
friends in London to remove objections, and so forth. I have no idea of
telling all and sundry that my son-in-law is not a slanderer, or a silly
thoughtless lad, although he was six or seven years ago engaged in some
light satires. I only wrote to Heber and to Southey--the first upon the
subject of the reports which had startled Murray, (the most timorous, as
Byron called him, of all God's booksellers), and such a letter as he may
show Barrow if he judges proper. To Southey I wrote more generally,
acquainting him of my son's appointment to the Editorship, and
mentioning his qualifications, touching, at the same time, on his very
slight connection with _Blackwood's Magazine_, and his innocence as to
those gambades which may have given offence, and which, I fear, they may
ascribe too truly to an eccentric neighbour of their own. I also
mentioned that I had heard nothing of the affair until the month of
October. I am concerned that Southey should know this; for, having been
at the Lakes in September, I would not have him suppose that I had been
using interest with Canning or Ellis to supersede young Mr.
Coleridge,[40] their editor, and place my son-in-law in the situation;
indeed I was never more surprised than when this proposal came upon us.
I suppose it had come from Canning originally, as he was sounding Anne
when at Colonel Bolton's[41] about Lockhart's views, etc. To me he never
hinted anything on the subject. Other views are held out to Lockhart
which may turn to great advantage. Only one person (John Cay[42] of
Charlton) knows their object, and truly I wish it had not been confided
to any one. Yesterday I had a letter from Murray in answer to one I had
written in something a determined style, for I had no idea of permitting
him to start from the course after my son giving up his situation and
profession, merely because a contributor or two chose to suppose
gratuitously that Lockhart was too imprudent for the situation. My
physic has wrought well, for it brought a letter from Murray saying all
was right, that D'Israeli was sent to me, not to Lockhart, and that I
was only invited to write two confidential letters, and other
incoherencies--which intimate his fright has got into another quarter.
It is interlined and franked by Barrow, which shows that all is well,
and that John's induction into his office will be easy and pleasant. I
have not the least fear of his success; his talents want only a worthy
sphere of exertion. He must learn, however, to despise petty
adversaries. No good sportsman ought to shoot at crows unless for some
special purpose. To take notice of such men as Hazlitt and Hunt in the
_Quarterly_ would be to introduce them into a world which is scarce
conscious of their existence. It is odd enough that many years since I
had the principal share in erecting this _Review_ which has been since
so prosperous, and now it is placed under the management of my
son-in-law upon the most honourable principle of _detur digniori_. Yet
there are sad drawbacks so far as family comfort is concerned. To-day is
Sunday, when they always dined with us, and generally met a family
friend or two, but we are no longer to expect them. In the country,
where their little cottage was within a mile or two of Abbotsford, we
shall miss their society still more, for Chiefswood was the perpetual
object of our walks, rides, and drives. Lockhart is such an excellent
family man, so fond of his wife and child, that I hope all will go
well. A letter from Lockhart in the evening. All safe as to his
unanimous reception in London; his predecessor, young [Coleridge],
handsomely, and like a gentleman, offers his assistance as a
contributor, etc.

_November_ 28.--I have the less dread, or rather the less anxiety, about
the consequences of this migration, that I repose much confidence in
Sophia's tact and good sense. Her manners are good, and have the
appearance of being perfectly natural. She is quite conscious of the
limited range of her musical talents, and never makes them common or
produces them out of place,--a rare virtue; moreover she is proud
enough, and will not be easily netted and patronised by any of that
class of ladies who may be called Lion-providers for town and country.
She is domestic besides, and will not be disposed to gad about. Then she
seems an economist, and on £3000,[43] living quietly, there should be
something to save. Lockhart must be liked where his good qualities are
known, and where his fund of information has room to be displayed. But,
notwithstanding a handsome exterior and face, I am not sure he will
succeed in London Society; he sometimes reverses the proverb, and gives
the _volte strette e pensiere sciolti_, withdraws his attention from the
company, or attaches himself to some individual, gets into a corner, and
seems to be quizzing the rest. This is the want of early habits of being
in society, and a life led much at college. Nothing is, however, so
popular, and so deservedly so, as to take an interest in whatever is
going forward in society. A wise man always finds his account in it, and
will receive information and fresh views of life even in the society of
fools. Abstain from society altogether when you are not able to play
some part in it. This reserve, and a sort of Hidalgo air joined to his
character as a satirist, have done the best-humoured fellow in the world
some injury in the opinion of Edinburgh folks. In London it is of less
consequence whether he please in general society or not, since if he can
establish himself as a genius it will only be called "Pretty Fanny's

People make me the oddest requests. It is not unusual for an Oxonian or
Cantab, who has outrun his allowance, and of whom I know nothing, to
apply to me for the loan of £20, £50, or £100. A captain of the Danish
naval service writes to me, that being in distress for a sum of money by
which he might transport himself to Columbia, to offer his services in
assisting to free that province, he had dreamed I generously made him a
present of it. I can tell him his dream by contraries. I begin to find,
like Joseph Surface, that too good a character is inconvenient. I don't
know what I have done to gain so much credit for generosity, but I
suspect I owe it to being supposed, as Puff[44] says, one of those "whom
Heaven has blessed with affluence." Not too much of that neither, my
dear petitioners, though I may thank myself that your ideas are not

Dined at Melville Castle, whither I went through a snow-storm. I was
glad to find myself once more in a place connected with many happy days.
Met Sir R. Dundas and my old friend George, now Lord Abercromby,[45]
with his lady, and a beautiful girl, his daughter. He is what he always
was--the best-humoured man living; and our meetings, now more rare than
usual, are seasoned with a recollection of old frolics and old friends.
I am entertained to see him just the same he has always been, never
yielding up his own opinion in fact, and yet in words acquiescing in all
that could be said against it. George was always like a willow--he never
offered resistance to the breath of argument, but never moved from his
rooted opinion, blow as it listed. Exaggeration might make these
peculiarities highly dramatic: Conceive a man who always seems to be
acquiescing in your sentiments, yet never changes his own, and this with
a sort of _bonhomie_ which shows there is not a particle of deceit
intended. He is only desirous to spare you the trouble of contradiction.

_November_ 29.--A letter from Southey, malcontent about Murray having
accomplished the change in the _Quarterly_ without speaking to him, and
quoting the twaddle of some old woman, male or female, about Lockhart's
earlier _jeux d'esprit_, but concluding most kindly that in regard to my
daughter and me he did not mean to withdraw. That he has done yeoman's
service to the _Review_ is certain, with his genius, his universal
reading, his powers of regular industry, and at the outset a name which,
though less generally popular than it deserves, is still too respectable
to be withdrawn without injury. I could not in reply point out to him
what is the truth, that his rigid Toryism and High Church prejudices
rendered him an unsafe counsellor in a matter where the spirit of the
age must be consulted; but I pointed out to him what I am sure is true,
that Murray, apprehensive of his displeasure, had not ventured to write
to him out of mere timidity and not from any [intention to offend]. I
treated [lightly] his old woman's apprehensions and cautions, and all
that gossip about friends and enemies, to which a splendid number or two
will be a sufficient answer, and I accepted with due acknowledgment his
proposal of continued support. I cannot say I was afraid of his
withdrawing. Lockhart will have hard words with him, for, great as
Southey's powers are, he has not the art to make them work popularly; he
is often diffuse, and frequently sets much value on minute and
unimportant facts, and useless pieces of abstruse knowledge. Living too
exclusively in a circle where he is idolised both for his genius and the
excellence of his disposition, he has acquired strong prejudices,
though all of an upright and honourable cast. He rides his High Church
hobby too hard, and it will not do to run a tilt upon it against all the
world. Gifford used to crop his articles considerably, and they bear
mark of it, being sometimes _décousues._ Southey said that Gifford cut
out his _middle joints_. When John comes to use the carving-knife I fear
Dr. Southey will not be so tractable. _Nous verrons_. I will not show
Southey's letter to Lockhart, for there is to him personally no friendly
tone, and it would startle the Hidalgo's pride. It is to be wished they
may draw kindly together. Southey says most truly that even those who
most undervalue his reputation would, were he to withdraw from the
_Review_, exaggerate the loss it would thereby sustain. The bottom of
all these feuds, though not named, is _Blackwood's Magazine_; all the
squibs of which, which have sometimes exploded among the Lakers,
Lockhart is rendered accountable for. He must now exert himself at once
with spirit and prudence.[46] He has good backing--Canning, Bishop
Blomfield, Gifford, Wright, Croker, Will Rose,--and is there not besides
the Douglas?[47] An excellent plot, excellent friends, and full of
preparations? It was no plot of my making, I am sure, yet men will say
and believe that [it was], though I never heard a word of the matter
till first a hint from Wright, and then the formal proposal of Murray to
Lockhart announced. I believe Canning and Charles Ellis were the prime
movers. I'll puzzle my brains no more about it.

Dined at Justice-Clerk's--the President--Captain Smollett, etc.,--our
new Commander-in-chief, Hon. Sir Robert O'Callaghan, brother to Earl of
Lismore, a fine soldierly-looking man, with orders and badges;--his
brother, an agreeable man, whom I met at Lowther Castle this season. He
composes his own music and sings his own poetry--has much humour,
enhanced by a strong touch of national dialect, which is always a rich
sauce to an Irishman's good things. Dandyish, but not offensively, and
seems to have a warm feeling for the credit of his country--rather
inconsistent with the trifling and selfish quietude of a mere man of

_November_ 30.--I am come to the time when those who look out of the
windows shall be darkened. I must now wear spectacles constantly in
reading and writing, though till this winter I have made a shift by
using only their occasional assistance. Although my health cannot be
better, I feel my lameness becomes sometimes painful, and often
inconvenient. Walking on the pavement or causeway gives me trouble, and
I am glad when I have accomplished my return on foot from the Parliament
House to Castle Street, though I can (taking a competent time, as old
Braxie[48] said on another occasion) walk five or six miles in the
country with pleasure. Well--such things must come, and be received with
cheerful submission. My early lameness considered, it was impossible for
a man labouring under a bodily impediment to have been stronger or more
active than I have been, and that for twenty or thirty years. Seams
will slit, and elbows will out, quoth the tailor; and as I was
fifty-four on 15th August last, my mortal vestments are none of the
newest. Then Walter, Charles, and Lockhart are as active and handsome
young fellows as you can see; and while they enjoy strength and activity
I can hardly be said to want it. I have perhaps all my life set an undue
value on these gifts. Yet it does appear to me that high and independent
feelings are naturally, though not uniformly or inseparably, connected
with bodily advantages. Strong men are usually good-humoured, and active
men often display the same elasticity of mind as of body. These are
superiorities, however, that are often misused. But even for these
things God shall call us to judgment.

Some months since I joined with other literary folks in subscribing a
petition for a pension to Mrs. G. of L.,[49] which we thought was a
tribute merited by her works as an authoress, and, in my opinion, much
more by the firmness and elasticity of mind with which she had borne a
succession of great domestic calamities. Unhappily there was only about
£100 open on the pension list, and this the minister assigned in equal
portions to Mrs. G---- and a distressed lady, grand-daughter of a
forfeited Scottish nobleman. Mrs. G----, proud as a Highland-woman, vain
as a poetess, and absurd as a bluestocking, has taken this partition _in
malam partem_, and written to Lord Melville about her merits, and that
her friends do not consider her claims as being fairly canvassed, with
something like a demand that her petition be submitted to the King. This
is not the way to make her _plack_ a _bawbee_, and Lord M., a little
_miffed_ in turn, sends the whole correspondence to me to know whether
Mrs. G----will accept the £50 or not. Now, hating to deal with ladies
when they are in an unreasonable humour, I have got the good-humoured
"Man of Feeling" to find out the lady's mind, and I take on myself the
task of making her peace with Lord M. There is no great doubt how it
will end, for your scornful dog will always eat your dirty pudding.[50]
After all, the poor lady is greatly to be pitied;--her sole remaining
daughter, deep and far gone in a decline, has been seized with
alienation of mind.

Dined with my cousin, R[obert] R[utherford], being the first invitation
since my uncle's death, and our cousin Lieutenant-Colonel Russell[51] of
Ashestiel, with his sister Anne--the former newly returned from India--a
fine gallant fellow, and distinguished as a cavalry officer. He came
overland from India and has observed a good deal. General L---- of
L----, in Logan's orthography a _fowl_, Sir William Hamilton, Miss
Peggie Swinton, William Keith, and others. Knight Marischal not well, so
unable to attend the convocation of kith and kin.


[1] _An Essay on Naval Tactics, Systematical and Historical, with
explanatory plates_. In four parts. By John Clerk. 4to. Lond. 1790.

[2] William Clerk of Eldin, the prototype of Darsie Latimer in
_Redgauntlet_, "admired through life for talents and learning of which
he has left no monument," died at Edinburgh in January 1847.

[3] _Secret and True History of the Church of Scotland from the
Restoration to the year_ 1678. 4to. Edin. 1817.

[4] _Anecdotes, Biographical Sketches, and Memoirs_, collected by
Lætitia Matilda Hawkins. 8vo. Lond. 1822.

[5] Miss Macdonald Buchanan of Drummakill.--J.G.L.

[6] Mr. Sharpe, whose _Letters_ and _Memoir_ were published in two
volumes 8vo, Edin. 1888, survived Sir Walter till the year 1851. In the
Sir Mungo Malagrowther of _The Fortunes of Nigel_ some of Sharpe's
peculiarities are not unfaithfully mirrored.

[7] One of the numerous joint-stock adventures which were so common in
Edinburgh at this time. There had already been formed a Gas-light
Company in 1818, for the manufacture of gas from coal, but the
projectors of this new venture believed they could produce a purer and
more powerful light by the use of oil. It was not successful
commercially, and, as is told in the Journal, the rival company acquired
the stock and plant a few years after the formation of this "Oil Gas
Co.," of which Sir Walter had been Chairman from 1823.

See _Life_, vol. vii. pp. 141, 144, 197, 251, 374; and viii. p. 113;
Cockburn's _Memorials_ (for 1825).

[8] Sir Robert Dundas of Beechwood, one of Scott's colleagues at the
"Clerks' Table,"--son of the parish minister of Humbie, and kinsman of
Lord and Lady Melville; he died in 1835. Some of the other gentlemen
with whom the duties of his office brought Scott into close daily
connection were David Hume, Hector Macdonald Buchanan, and Colin
Mackenzie of Portmore. With these families, says Mr. Lockhart, "he and
his lived in such constant familiarity of kindness, that the children
all called their father's colleagues _uncles_, and the mothers of their
little friends _aunts_; and in truth the establishment was a

[9] Mrs. Thomas Scott's brother.

[10] George L. Sanders, born at Kinghorn, 1774; died in London, 1846.

[11] Sir Walter told Moore that Lewis was the person who first set him
upon trying his talent at poetry, adding that "he had passed the early
part of his life with a set of clever, rattling, drinking fellows, whose
thoughts and talents lay wholly out of the region of poetry." Thirty
years after having met Lewis in Edinburgh for the first time in 1798, he
said to Allan Cunningham, "that he thought he had never felt such
elation as when 'the monk' invited him to dine with him at his hotel."
Lewis died in 1818, and Scott says of him, "He did much good by stealth,
and was a most generous creature--fonder of great people than he ought
to have been, either as a man of talent or as a man of fashion. He had
always ladies and duchesses in his mouth, and was pathetically fond of
any one that had a title. Mat had queerish eyes--they projected like
those of some insects, and were flattish on the orbit."

[12] Moore's friends seem to have recognised his thorough manliness and
independence of character. Lord John Russell testifies: "Never did he
make wife or family a pretext for political shabbiness--never did he
imagine that to leave a disgraced name as an inheritance to his children
was a duty as a father" (_Memoirs_, vol. i. pp. xiii and xiv), and when
Rogers urged this plea of family as a reason why he should accept the
money, Moore said, "More mean things have been done in this world under
the shelter of 'wife and children' than under any pretext
worldly-mindedness can resort to." To which S.R. only said, "Well, your
life may be a good poem, but it is a ---- bad matter of fact."--Clayden,
_Rogers and his Contemporaries_, vol. i. p. 378.

[13] Moore's _Life of Byron_ was published in two vols. 4to in 1830, and
dedicated to Sir Walter Scott by "his affectionate friend, T.M." See
this Journal under March 4 1828.

[14] "I parted from Scott," says Moore, "with the feeling that all the
world might admire him in his works, but that those only could learn to
love him as he deserved who had seen him at Abbotsford." Moore died
February 26, 1852; see Moore's _Life_, vol. iv. pp. 329-42, and vol. v.
pp. 13-14.

[15] Hurst and Robinson, Booksellers, London.

[16] _Woodstock_ was at this time nearly completed.

[17] Probably Sir Walter's dog-Italian for "great donkey."

[18] _Cymbeline_, Act II. Sc. 5.

[19] "My Jo Janet," _Tea-Table Miscellany_.

[20] The Right Hon. David Boyle, who was at the time residing at 28
Charlotte Square.

[21] A quarterly journal edited by Leigh Hunt, "_The Liberal--Verse and
Prose from the South_," of which four numbers only were published.

[22] See Dowden's _Life of Shelley_, vol. ii. pp. 448-9, 507-8; also
Moore's _Byron_, vol. v. pp. 313-321, and Russell's _Moore_, vol. iii.
p. 353.

[23] William Bankes, of whom Rogers said, "Witty as Sydney Smith was, I
have seen him at my own house absolutely overpowered by the superior
facetiousness of W.B." Mr. Bankes died in Venice in 1855.

[24] Lord Leveson Gower, afterwards first Earl of Ellesmere, had already
published his translation of _Faust_ in 1823, and a volume of "original
poems," and "translations," in the following year.

[25] Henry J.G. Herbert, Lord Porchester, afterwards third Earl of
Carnarvon, had published _The Moor_ in 1825, and _Don Pedro_ in 1826.

[26] St. Catherine's, the seat of Sir William Rae, Bart., then Lord
Advocate, is about three miles from Edinburgh.--J.G.L. Sir William Rae's
refusal of a legal appointment to Mr. Lockhart (on the ground that as a
just patron he could not give it to the son-in-law of his old friend!!)
was understood to be the cause of Mr. Lockhart's quitting the Bar and
devoting himself entirely to literature. Sir William Rae died at St.
Catherine's on the 19th October 1842.

[27] David Boyle of Shewalton, L.J.C. from 1811, and Lord President from
1841 till 1852. He died in 1853.

[28] See _Autobiography_, 1787, in _Life_, vol. i. pp. 39, 40.

[29] Virg. _Æn._ i. 122.

[30] M. Davidoff has, in his mature life, amply justified Sir Walter's
prognostications. He has, I understand, published in the Russian
language a tribute to the memory of Scott. But his travels in Greece and
Asia Minor are well known, and considered as in a high degree honourable
to his taste and learning.--[1839.]--J.G.L.

[31] _King Richard III_., Act III. Sc. 1. Count Orloff Davidoff lived to
falsify this "saying." He revisited England in 1872, and had the
pleasure of meeting with Scott's great-granddaughter, and talking to her
of these old happy Abbotsford days.

[32] _Combinations of Workmen_. Substance of a speech by Francis
Jeffrey. 8vo. Edin. 1825.

[33 33] Mr. Robert Cockburn, Lord Cockburn's brother, was then living at
No. 7 Atholl Crescent.

[34] This alludes to a strange old woman, keeper of a public-house among
the Wicklow mountains, who, among a world of oddities, cut short every
word ending in _tion_, by the omission of the termination. _Consola_ for
consolation--_bothera_ for botheration, etc. etc. Lord Plunkett had
taken care to parade Judy and all her peculiarities.--J.C.L.

[35] See the Duchess's Letter, p. 414.

[36] The Rev. John Logan, minister of South Leith, 1748-1788. The
"Sermons" were not published until 1790-91.

[37] For an account of her visit to Abbotsford, see _Life_, vol. viii.
pp. 72-76. The marriage took place on June 16, 1827, the lady having
previously asked the consent of George IV.!! A droll account of the
reception of her _Mercure galant_ at Windsor is given in the _North
British Review_, vol. xxxix. p. 349.

[38] Sir John Barrow, the well-known Secretary to the Admiralty, who
died in 1848 in his eighty-fifth year.

[39] Benjamin Disraeli, afterwards Lord Beaconsfield.

[40] In after years Sir John Taylor Coleridge (1790-1876), one of the
Judges of the Court of Queen's Bench.

[41] Storrs, Windermere.

[42] John Cay, member of the Scotch Bar, Sheriff of Linlithgow. He was
one of Mr. Lockhart's oldest friends; he died in 1865.

[43] Moore records that Scott told him "Lockhart was about to undertake
the _Quarterly_, has agreed for five years; salary £1200 a year; and if
he writes a certain number of articles it will be £1500 a year to him,"
Moore's _Diary_, under Oct. 29, vol. iv. p. 334. Jeffrey had £700 a year
as Editor of the _Edinburgh_, and £2800 for contributors: June 1823, see
Moore's _Diary_, vol. iv. p. 89.

[44] Sheridan's _Critic_, Act I. Sc. 2.

[45] George Abercromby, eldest son of Sir Ralph, the hero of the battle
of Alexandria.

[46] The following extract from a letter to Professor Wilson, urgently
claiming his aid, shows that the new editor had lost no time in looking
after his "first Number":--

"Mr. Coleridge has yesterday transferred to me the treasures of the
_Quarterly Review_; and I must say, my dear Wilson, that his whole stock
is not worth five shillings. Thank God, other and better hands are at
work for my first Number or I should be in a pretty hobble. My belief is
that he has been living on the stock bequeathed by Gifford, and the
contributions of a set of H----es and other d----d idiots of Oriel. But
mind now, Wilson, I am sure to have a most hard struggle to get up a
very good first Number, and if I do not, it will be the Devil." This
letter was quoted in an abridged form in the Life of Professor Wilson by
Mrs. Gordon.

[47] This probably refers to Archibald, Lord Douglas, who had married
the Lady Frances Scott, sister of Henry, Duke of Buccleuch. Lord Douglas
died on the 26th December 1827. For notices of these valued friends see
_Life_, vol. ii. pp. 27-8; iv. pp. 22, 70; and v. p. 230.

[48] Robert Macqueen--Lord Braxfield--Justice Clerk from 1788; he died
in 1799.

[49] Mrs. Grant of Laggan, author of _Letters from the Mountains_,
_Superstitions of the Highlanders_, etc. Died at Edin. in 1838, aged 83.

[50] Scott had not the smallest hesitation in applying this unsavoury
proverb to himself a few months later, when he unwillingly "impeticosed
the gratillity" for the critique on Galt's _Omen_. See this Journal,
June 24, 1826.

[51] Afterwards Major-General Sir James Russell, G.C.B. He died at
Ashestiel in 1859 in his 78th year.


_December 1st._--Colonel R[ussell] told me that the European Government
had discovered an ingenious mode of diminishing the number of burnings
of widows. It seems the Shaster positively enjoins that the pile shall
be so constructed that, if the victim should repent even at the moment
when it is set on fire, she may still have the means of saving herself.
The Brahmins soon found it was necessary to assist the resolution of the
sufferers, by means of a little pit into which they contrive to let the
poor widow sink, so as to prevent her reaping any benefit from a late
repentance. But the Government has brought them back to the regard of
their law, and only permit the burning to go on when the pile is
constructed with full opportunity of a _locus penitentiæ_. Yet the widow
is so degraded if she dare to survive, that the number of burnings is
still great. The quantity of female children destroyed by the Rajput
tribes Colonel R. describes as very great indeed. They are strangled by
the mother. The principle is the aristocratic pride of these high
castes, who breed up no more daughters than they can reasonably hope to
find matches for in their own tribe. Singular how artificial systems of
feeling can be made to overcome that love of offspring which seems
instinctive in the females, not of the human race only, but of the lower
animals. This is the reverse of our system of increasing game by
shooting the old cock-birds. It is a system would aid Malthus rarely.

_Nota bene_, the day before yesterday I signed the bond for £5000, with
Constable, for relief of Robinson's house.[52] I am to be secured by
good bills.

I think this journal will suit me well. If I can coax myself into an
idea that it is purely voluntary, it may go on--_Nulla dies sine lineâ_.
But never a being, from my infancy upwards, hated task-work as I hate
it; and yet I have done a great deal in my day. It is not that I am idle
in my nature neither. But propose to me to do one thing, and it is
inconceivable the desire I have to do something else--not that it is
more easy or more pleasant, but just because it is escaping from an
imposed task. I cannot trace this love of contradiction to any distinct
source, but it has haunted me all my life. I could almost suppose it was
mechanical, and that the imposition of a piece of duty-labour operated
on me like the mace of a bad billiard-player, which gives an impulse to
the ball indeed, but sends it off at a tangent different from the course
designed by the player. Now, if I expend such eccentric movements on
this journal, it will be turning this wretched propensity to some
tolerable account. If I had thus employed the hours and half-hours which
I have whiled away in putting off something that must needs be done at
last, "My Conscience!" I should have had a journal with a witness.
Sophia and Lockhart came to Edinburgh to-day and dined with us, meeting
Hector Macdonald Buchanan, his lady, and Missie, James Skene and his
lady, Lockhart's friend Cay, etc. They are lucky to be able to assemble
so many real friends, whose good wishes, I am sure, will follow them in
their new undertaking.

_December_ 2.--Rather a blank day for the _Gurnal_. Correcting proofs in
the morning. Court from half-past ten till two; poor dear Colin
Mackenzie, one of the wisest, kindest, and best men of his time, in the
country,--I fear with very indifferent health. From two till three
transacting business with J.B.; all seems to go smoothly. Sophia dined
with us alone, Lockhart being gone to the west to bid farewell to his
father and brothers. Evening spent in talking with Sophia on their
future prospects. God bless her, poor girl! she never gave me a moment's
reason to complain of her. But, O my God! that poor delicate child, so
clever, so animated, yet holding by this earth with so fearfully slight
a tenure. Never out of his mother's thoughts, almost never out of his
father's arms when he has but a single moment to give to anything. _Deus

_December_ 3.--R.P.G.[53] came to call last night to excuse himself from
dining with Lockhart's friends to-day. I really fear he is near an
actual standstill. He has been extremely improvident. When I first knew
him he had an excellent estate, and now he is deprived, I fear, of the
whole reversion of the price, and this from no vice or extreme, except a
wasteful mode of buying pictures and other costly trifles at high
prices, and selling them again for nothing, besides an extravagant
housekeeping and profuse hospitality. An excellent disposition, with a
considerable fund of acquired knowledge, would have rendered him an
agreeable companion, had he not affected singularity, and rendered
himself accordingly singularly affected. He was very near being a
poet--but a miss is as good as a mile, and he always fell short of the
mark. I knew him first, many years ago, when he was desirous of my
acquaintance; but he was too poetical for me, or I was not poetical
enough for him, so that we continued only ordinary acquaintance, with
goodwill on either side, which R.P.G. really deserves, as a more
friendly, generous creature never lived. Lockhart hopes to get something
done for him, being sincerely attached to him, but says he has no hopes
till he is utterly ruined. That point, I fear, is not far distant; but
what Lockhart can do for him _then_ I cannot guess. His last effort
failed, owing to a curious reason. He had made some translations from
the German, which he does extremely [well]--for give him ideas and he
never wants choice of good words--and Lockhart had got Constable to
offer some sort of terms for them. R.P.G. has always, though possessing
a beautiful power of handwriting, had some whim or other about imitating
that of some other person, and has written for months in the imitation
of one or other of his friends. At present he has renounced this
amusement, and chooses to write with a brush upon large cartridge paper,
somewhat in the Chinese fashion,--so when his work, which was only to
extend to one or two volumes, arrived on the shoulders of two porters,
in immense bales, our jolly bibliopolist backed out of the treaty, and
would have nothing more to do with R.P.[54] He is a creature that is, or
would be thought, of imagination all compact, and is influenced by
strange whims. But he is a kind, harmless, friendly soul, and I fear has
been cruelly plundered of money, which he now wants sadly.

Dined with Lockhart's friends, about fifty in number, who gave him a
parting entertainment. John Hope, Solicitor-General, in the chair, and
Robert Dundas [of Arniston], croupier. The company most highly
respectable, and any man might be proud of such an indication of the
interest they take in his progress in life. Tory principles rather too
violently upheld by some speakers. I came home about ten; the party sat

_December_ 4.--Lockhart and Sophia, with his brother William, dined with
us, and talked over our separation, and the mode of their settling in
London, and other family topics.

_December 5._--This morning Lockhart and Sophia left us early, and
without leave-taking; when I rose at eight o'clock they were _gone_.
This was very right. I hate red eyes and blowing of noses. _Agere et
pati Romanum est_. Of all schools commend me to the Stoics. We cannot
indeed overcome our affections, nor ought we if we could, but we may
repress them within due bounds, and avoid coaxing them to make fools of
those who should be their masters. I have lost some of the comforts to
which I chiefly looked for enjoyment. Well, I must make the more of such
as remain--God bless them. And so "I will unto my holy work again,"[55]
which at present is the description of that _heilige Kleeblatt_, that
worshipful triumvirate, Danton, Robespierre, and Marat.

I cannot conceive what possesses me, over every person besides, to
mislay papers. I received a letter Saturday at _e'en,_ enclosing a bill
for £750; _no deaf nuts_. Well, I read it, and note the contents; and
this day, as if it had been a wind-bill in the literal sense of the
words, I search everywhere, and lose three hours of my morning--turn
over all my confusion in the writing-desk--break open one or two
letters, lest I should have enclosed the sweet and quickly convertible
document in them,--send for a joiner, and disorganise my scrutoire, lest
it should have fallen aside by mistake. I find it at last--the place
where is of little consequence; but this trick must be amended.

Dined at the Royal Society Club, where, as usual, was a pleasant meeting
of from twenty to twenty-five. It is a very good institution; we pay two
guineas only for six dinners in the year, present or absent. Dine at
five, or rather half-past five, at the Royal Hotel, where we have an
excellent dinner, with soups, fish, etc., and all in good order; port
and sherry till half-past seven, then coffee, and we go to the Society.
This has great influence in keeping up the attendance, it being found
that this preface of a good dinner, to be paid for whether you partake
or not, brings out many a philosopher who might not otherwise have
attended the Society. Harry Mackenzie, now in his eighty-second or third
year, read part of an Essay on Dreams. Supped at Dr. Russell's usual
party,[56] which shall serve for one while.

_December_ 6.--A rare thing this literature, or love of fame or
notoriety which accompanies it. Here is Mr. H[enry] M[ackenzie] on the
very brink of human dissolution, as actively anxious about it as if the
curtain must not soon be closed on that and everything else.[57] He
calls me his literary confessor; and I am sure I am glad to return the
kindnesses which he showed me long since in George Square. No man is
less known from his writings. We would suppose a retired, modest,
somewhat affected man, with a white handkerchief, and a sigh ready for
every sentiment. No such thing: H.M. is alert as a contracting tailor's
needle in every sort of business--a politician and a sportsman--shoots
and fishes in a sort even to this day--and is the life of the company
with anecdote and fun. Sometimes, his daughter tells me, he is in low
spirits at home, but really I never see anything of it in society.

There is a maxim almost universal in Scotland, which I should like much
to see controlled. Every youth, of every temper and almost every
description of character, is sent either to study for the bar, or to a
writer's office as an apprentice. The Scottish seem to conceive Themis
the most powerful of goddesses. Is a lad stupid, the law will sharpen
him;--is he too mercurial, the law will make him sedate;--has he an
estate, he may get a sheriffdom;--is he poor, the richest lawyers have
emerged from poverty;--is he a Tory, he may become a
depute-advocate;--is he a Whig, he may with far better hope expect to
become, in reputation at least, that rising counsel Mr.----, when in
fact he only rises at tavern dinners. Upon some such wild views lawyers
and writers multiply till there is no life for them, and men give up the
chase, hopeless and exhausted, and go into the army at five-and-twenty,
instead of eighteen, with a turn for expense perhaps--almost certainly
for profligacy, and with a heart embittered against the loving parents
or friends who compelled them to lose six or seven years in dusting the
rails of the stair with their black gowns, or scribbling nonsense for
twopence a page all day, and laying out twice their earnings at night in
whisky-punch. Here is R.L. now. Four or five years ago, from certain
indications, I assured his friends he would never be a writer.
Good-natured lad, too, when Bacchus is out of the question; but at other
times so pugnacious, that it was wished he could only be properly placed
where fighting was to be a part of his duty, regulated by time and
place, and paid for accordingly. Well, time, money, and instruction have
been thrown away, and now, after fighting two regular boxing matches and
a duel with pistols in the course of one week, he tells them roundly he
will be no writer, which common-sense might have told them before. He
has now perhaps acquired habits of insubordination, unfitting him for
the army, where he might have been tamed at an earlier period. He is too
old for the navy, and so he must go to India, a guinea-pig on board a
Chinaman, with what hope or view it is melancholy to guess. His elder
brother did all man could to get his friends to consent to his going
into the army in time. The lad has good-humour, courage, and most
gentlemanlike feelings, but he is incurably dissipated, I hear; so goes
to die in youth in a foreign land. Thank God, I let Walter take his own
way; and I trust he will be a useful, honoured soldier, being, for his
time, high in the service; whereas at home he would probably have been a
wine-bibbing, moorfowl-shooting, fox-hunting Fife squire--living at
Lochore without either aim or end--and well if he were no worse. Dined
at home with Lady S. and Anne. Wrote in the evening.

_December_ 7.--Teind day;[58]--at home of course. Wrote answers to one
or two letters which have been lying on my desk like snakes, hissing at
me for my dilatoriness. Bespoke a tun of palm-oil for Sir John Forbes.
Received a letter from Sir W. Knighton, mentioning that the King
acquiesced in my proposal that Constable's Miscellany should be
dedicated to him. Enjoined, however, not to make this public, till the
draft of dedication shall be approved. This letter tarried so long, I
thought some one had insinuated the proposal was _infra dig_. I don't
think so. The purpose is to bring all the standard works, both in
sciences and the liberal arts, within the reach of the lower classes,
and enable them thus to use with advantage the education which is given
them at every hand. To make boys learn to read, and then place no good
books within their reach, is to give men an appetite, and leave nothing
in the pantry save unwholesome and poisonous food, which, depend upon
it, they will eat rather than starve. Sir William, it seems, has been in

Mighty dark this morning; it is past ten, and I am using my lamp. The
vast number of houses built beneath us to the north certainly render our
street darker during the days when frost or haze prevents the smoke from
rising. After all, it may be my older eyes. I remember two years ago,
when Lord H. began to fail somewhat in his limbs, he observed that Lord
S.[59] came to Court at a more early hour than usual, whereas it was he
himself who took longer time to walk the usual distance betwixt his
house and the Parliament Square. I suspect old gentlemen often make such
mistakes. A letter from Southey in a very pleasant strain as to Lockhart
and myself. Of Murray he has perhaps ground to complain as well for
consulting him late in the business, as for the manner in which he
intimated to young Coleridge, who had no reason to think himself
handsomely treated, though he has acquiesced in the arrangement in a
very gentlemanlike tone. With these matters we, of course, have nothing
to do; having no doubt that the situation was vacant when M. offered it
as such. Southey says, in alteration of Byron's phrase, that M. is the
most timorous, not of God's, but of the devil's, booksellers. The truth
I take to be that Murray was pushed in the change of Editor (which was
really become necessary) probably by Gifford, Canning, Ellis, etc.; and
when he had fixed with Lockhart by their advice his constitutional
nervousness made him delay entering upon a full explanation with
Coleridge. But it is all settled now--I hope Lockhart will be able to
mitigate their High Church bigotry. It is not for the present day,
savouring too much of _jure divino_.

Dined quiet with Lady S. and Anne. Anne is practising Scots songs, which
I take as a kind compliment to my own taste, as hers leads her chiefly
to foreign music. I think the good girl sees that I want and must miss
her sister's peculiar talent in singing the airs of our native country,
which, imperfect as my musical ear is, make, and always have made, the
most pleasing impression on me. And so if she puts a constraint on
herself for my sake, I can only say, in requital, God bless her.

I have much to comfort me in the present aspect of my family. My eldest
son, independent in fortune, united to an affectionate wife--and of good
hopes in his profession; my second, with a good deal of talent, and in
the way, I trust, of cultivating it to good purpose; Anne, an honest,
downright, good Scots lass, in whom I would only wish to correct a
spirit of satire; and Lockhart is Lockhart, to whom I can most willingly
confide the happiness of the daughter who chose him, and whom he has
chosen. My dear wife, the partner of early cares and successes, is, I
fear, frail in health--though I trust and pray she may see me out.
Indeed, if this troublesome complaint goes on--it bodes no long
existence. My brother was affected with the same weakness, which, before
he was fifty, brought on mortal symptoms. The poor Major had been rather
a free liver. But my father, the most abstemious of men, save when the
duties of hospitality required him to be very moderately free with his
bottle, and that was very seldom, had the same weakness which now annoys
me, and he, I think, was not above seventy when cut off. Square the
odds, and good-night Sir Walter about sixty. I care not, if I leave my
name unstained, and my family properly settled. _Sat est vixisse_.

_December 8._--Talking of the _vixisse_, it may not be impertinent to
notice that Knox, a young poet of considerable talent, died here a week
or two since. His father was a respectable yeoman, and he himself,
succeeding to good farms under the Duke of Buccleuch, became too soon
his own master, and plunged into dissipation and ruin. His poetical
talent, a very fine one, then showed itself in a fine strain of pensive
poetry, called, I think, _The Lonely Hearth_, far superior to those of
Michael Bruce, whose consumption, by the way, has been the _life_ of his
verses. But poetry, nay, good poetry, is a drug in the present day. I am
a wretched patron. I cannot go with a subscription-paper, like a
pocket-pistol about me, and draw unawares on some honest
country-gentleman, who has as much alarm as if I had used the phrase
"stand and deliver," and parts with his money with a grimace, indicating
some suspicion that the crown-piece thus levied goes ultimately into the
collector's own pocket. This I see daily done; and I have seen such
collectors, when they have exhausted Papa and Mamma, continue their
trade among the misses, and conjure out of their pockets those little
funds which should carry them to a play or an assembly. It is well
people will go through this--it does some good, I suppose, and they have
great merit who can sacrifice their pride so far as to attempt it in
this way. For my part I am a bad promoter of subscriptions; but I wished
to do what I could for this lad, whose talent I really admired; and I am
not addicted to admire heaven-born poets, or poetry that is reckoned
very good _considering_. I had him, Knox,[60] at Abbotsford, about ten
years ago, but found him unfit for that sort of society. I tried to help
him, but there were temptations he could never resist. He scrambled on,
writing for the booksellers and magazines, and living like the Otways,
and Savages, and Chattertons of former days, though I do not know that
he was in actual want. His connection with me terminated in begging a
subscription or a guinea now and then. His last works were spiritual
hymns, and which he wrote very well. In his own line of society he was
said to exhibit infinite humour; but all his works are grave and
pensive, a style perhaps, like Master Stephen's melancholy,[61]
affected for the nonce.

Mrs. G[rant] of L. intimates that she will take her pudding--her
pension, I mean (see 30th November), and is contrite, as H[enry]
M[ackenzie] vouches. I am glad the stout old girl is not foreclosed;
faith, cabbing a pension in these times is like hunting a pig with a
soap'd tail, monstrous apt to slip through your fingers.[62] Dined at
home with Lady S. and Anne.

_December_ 9.--Yesterday I read and wrote the whole day and evening.
To-day I shall not be so happy. Having Gas-Light Company to attend at
two, I must be brief in journalising.

The gay world has been kept in hot water lately by the impudent
publication of the celebrated Harriet Wilson, ---- from earliest
possibility, I suppose, who lived with half the gay world at hack and
manger, and now obliges such as will not pay hush-money with a history
of whatever she knows or can invent about them. She must have been
assisted in the style, spelling, and diction, though the attempt at wit
is very poor, that at pathos sickening. But there is some good retailing
of conversations, in which the style of the speakers, so far as known to
me, is exactly imitated, and some things told, as said by individuals of
each other, which will sound unpleasantly in each other's ears. I admire
the address of Lord A----y, himself very severely handled from time to
time. Some one asked him if H.W. had been pretty correct on the whole.
"Why, faith," he replied, "I believe so"--when, raising his eyes, he saw
Quentin Dick, whom the little jilt had treated atrociously--"what
concerns the present company always excepted, you know," added Lord
A----y, with infinite presence of mind. As he was _in pari casu_ with
Q.D. no more could be said. After all, H.W. beats Con Philips, Anne
Bellamy, and all former demireps out and out. I think I supped once in
her company, more than twenty years since, at Mat Lewis's in Argyle
Street, where the company, as the Duke says to Lucio, chanced to be
"fairer than honest."[63] She was far from beautiful, if it be the same
_chiffonne_, but a smart saucy girl, with good eyes and dark hair, and
the manners of a wild schoolboy. I am glad this accidental meeting has
escaped her memory--or, perhaps, is not accurately recorded in
mine--for, being a sort of French falconer, who hawk at all they see, I
might have had a distinction which I am far from desiring.

Dined at Sir John Hay's--a large party; Skenes there, the Newenhams and
others, strangers. In the morning a meeting of Oil Gas Committee. The
concern lingers a little;

    "It may do weel, for ought it's done yet,
    But only--it's no just begun yet."[64]

_December 10._--A stormy and rainy day. Walked from the Court through
the rain. I don't dislike this. Egad, I rather like it; for no man that
ever stepped on heather has less dread than I of catch-cold; and I seem
to regain, in buffeting with the wind, a little of the high spirit with
which, in younger days, I used to enjoy a Tam-o'-Shanter ride through
darkness, wind, and rain,--the boughs groaning and cracking over my
head, the good horse free to the road and impatient for home, and
feeling the weather as little as I did.

    "The storm around might roar and rustle,
    We didna mind the storm a whistle."

Answered two letters--one, answer to a schoolboy, who writes himself
Captain of Giggleswick School (a most imposing title), entreating the
youngster not to commence editor of a magazine to be entitled the
"Yorkshire Muffin," I think, at seventeen years old; second, to a
soldier of the 79th, showing why I cannot oblige him by getting his
discharge, and exhorting him rather to bear with the wickedness and
profanity of the service, than take the very precarious step of
desertion. This is the old receipt of Durandarte--_Patience, cousin, and
shuffle the cards_;[65] and I suppose the correspondents will think I
have been too busy in offering my counsel where I was asked for

A third rogue writes to tell me--rather of the latest, if the matter was
of consequence--that he approves of the first three volumes of the
_H[eart] of Midlothian_, but totally condemns the fourth. Doubtless he
thinks his opinion worth the sevenpence sterling which his letter costs.
However, authors should be reasonably well pleased when three-fourths of
their work are acceptable to the reader. The knave demands of me in a
postscript, to get back the sword of Sir W[illiam] Wallace from England,
where it was carried from Dumbarton Castle. I am not Master-General of
the Ordnance, that I know. It was wrong, however, to take away that and
Mons Meg. If I go to town this spring, I will renew my negotiation with
the Great Duke for recovery of Mons Meg.

There is no theme more awful than to attempt to cast a glance among the
clouds and mists which hide the broken extremity of the celebrated
bridge of Mirza.[66] Yet, when every day brings us nearer that
termination, one would almost think that our views should become
clearer, as the regions we are approaching are brought nigher. Alas! it
is not so: there is a curtain to be withdrawn, a veil to be rent, before
we shall see things as they really are. There are few, I trust, who
disbelieve the existence of a God; nay, I doubt if at all times, and in
all moods, any single individual ever adopted that hideous creed, though
some have professed it. With the belief of a Deity, that of the
immortality of the soul and of the state of future rewards and
punishments is indissolubly linked. More we are not to know; but neither
are we prohibited from our attempts, however vain, to pierce the solemn
sacred gloom. The expressions used in Scripture are doubtless
metaphorical, for penal fires and heavenly melody are only applicable to
bodies endowed with senses; and, at least till the period of the
resurrection of the body, the spirits of men, whether entering into the
perfection of the just, or committed to the regions of punishment, are
incorporeal. Neither is it to be supposed that the glorified bodies
which shall arise in the last day will be capable of the same gross
indulgences with which they are now solaced. That the idea of Mahomet's
paradise is inconsistent with the purity of our heavenly religion will
be readily granted; and see Mark xii. 25. Harmony is obviously chosen as
the least corporeal of all gratifications of the sense, and as the type
of love, unity, and a state of peace and perfect happiness. But they
have a poor idea of the Deity, and the rewards which are destined for
the just made perfect, who can only adopt the literal sense of an
eternal concert--a never-ending Birthday Ode. I rather suppose there
should be understood some commission from the Highest, some duty to
discharge with the applause of a satisfied conscience. That the Deity,
who himself must be supposed to feel love and affection for the beings
he has called into existence, should delegate a portion of those powers,
I for one cannot conceive altogether so wrong a conjecture. We would
then find reality in Milton's sublime machinery of the guardian saints
or genii of kingdoms. Nay, we would approach to the Catholic idea of the
employment of saints, though without approaching the absurdity of
saint-worship, which degrades their religion. There would be, we must
suppose, in these employments difficulties to be overcome, and exertions
to be made, for all which the celestial beings employed would have
certain appropriate powers. I cannot help thinking that a life of active
benevolence is more consistent with my ideas than an eternity of music.
But it is all speculation, and it is impossible even to guess what we
shall [do], unless we could ascertain the equally difficult previous
question, what we are to be. But there is a God, and a just God--a
judgment and a future life--and all who own so much let them act
according to the faith that is in them. I would [not], of course, limit
the range of my genii to this confined earth. There is the universe,
with all its endless extent of worlds.

Company at home--Sir Adam Ferguson and his Lady; Colonel and Miss
Russell; Count Davidoff, and Mr. Collyer. By the by, I observe that all
men whose names are obviously derived from some mechanical trade,
endeavour to disguise and antiquate, as it were, their names, by
spelling them after some quaint manner or other. Thus we have Collyer,
Smythe, Tailleure; as much as to say, My ancestor was indeed a mechanic,
but it was a world of time ago, when the word was spelled very
[differently]. Then we had young Whytbank and Will Allan the artist[67],
a very agreeable, simple-mannered, and pleasant man.

_December_ 11.--A touch of the _morbus eruditorum_, to which I am as
little subject as most folks, and have it less now than when young. It
is a tremor of the heart, the pulsation of which becomes painfully
sensible--a disposition to causeless alarm--much lassitude--and decay of
vigour of mind and activity of intellect. The reins feel weary and
painful, and the mind is apt to receive and encourage gloomy
apprehensions and causeless fears. Fighting with this fiend is not
always the best way to conquer him. I have always found exercise and the
open air better than reasoning. But such weather as is now without doors
does not encourage _la petite guerre_, so we must give him battle in
form, by letting both mind and body know that, supposing one the House
of Commons and the other the House of Peers, my will is sovereign over
both. There is a good description of this species of mental weakness in
the fine play of Beaumont and Fletcher called _The Lover's Progress_,
where the man, warned that his death is approaching, works himself into
an agony of fear, and calls for assistance, though there is no apparent
danger. The apparition of the innkeeper's ghost, in the same play,
hovers between the ludicrous and [the terrible]. To me the touches of
the former quality which it contains seem to augment the effect of the
latter--- they seem to give reality to the supernatural, as being
circumstances with which an inventor would hardly have garnished his

Will Clerk says he has a theory on the vitrified forts. I wonder if he
and I agree. I think accidental conflagration is the cause.

_December_ 12.--Hogg came to breakfast this morning, having taken and
brought for his companion the Galashiels bard, David Thomson,[69] as to
a meeting of "huzz Tividale poets." The honest grunter opines with a
delightful _naïveté_ that Moore's verses are far owre sweet--answered by
Thomson that Moore's ear or notes, I forget which, were finely strung.
"They are far owre finely strung," replied he of the Forest, "for mine
are just reeght." It reminded me of Queen Bess, when questioning
Melville sharply and closely whether Queen [Mary] was taller than her,
and, extracting an answer in the affirmative, she replied, "Then your
Queen is too tall, for I am just the proper height."

Was engaged the whole day with Sheriff Court processes. There is
something sickening in seeing poor devils drawn into great expense
about trifles by interested attorneys. But too cheap access to
litigation has its evils on the other hand, for the proneness of the
lower class to gratify spite and revenge in this way would be a dreadful
evil were they able to endure the expense. Very few cases come before
the Sheriff-court of Selkirkshire that ought to come anywhere. Wretched
wranglings about a few pounds, begun in spleen, and carried on from
obstinacy, and at length from fear of the conclusion to the banquet of
ill-humour, "D--n--n of expenses."[70] I try to check it as well as I
can; "but so 'twill be when I am gone."

_December_ 12.--Dined at home, and spent the evening in writing--Anne
and Lady Scott at the theatre to see Mathews; a very clever man my
friend Mathews; but it is tiresome to be funny for a whole evening, so I
was content and stupid at home.

An odd optical delusion has amused me these two last nights. I have been
of late, for the first time, condemned to the constant use of
spectacles. Now, when I have laid them aside to step into a room dimly
lighted, out of the strong light which I use for writing, I have seen,
or seemed to see, through the rims of the same spectacles which I have
left behind me. At first the impression was so lively that I put my hand
to my eyes believing I had the actual spectacles on at the moment. But
what I saw was only the eidolon or image of said useful servants. This
fortifies some of Dr. Hibbert's positions about spectral appearances.

_December_ 13.--Letter from Lady Stafford--kind and friendly after the
wont of Banzu-Mohr-ar-chat.[71] This is wrong spelled, I know. Her
countenance is something for Sophia, whose company should be--as ladies
are said to choose their liquor--little and good. To be acquainted with
persons of mere _ton_ is a nuisance and a scrape--to be known to persons
of real fashion and fortune is in London a very great advantage. She is
besides sure of the hereditary and constant friendship of the Buccleuch
ladies, as well as those of Montagu and of the Harden family, of the
Marchioness of Northampton, Lady Melville, and others, also the Miss
Ardens, upon whose kind offices I have some claim, and would count upon
them whether such claim existed or no. So she is well enough established
among the Right-hand file, which is very necessary in London where
second-rate fashion is like false jewels.

Went to the yearly court of the Edinburgh Assurance Company, to which I
am one of those graceful and useless appendages, called Directors
Extraordinary--an extraordinary director I should prove had they elected
me an ordinary one. There were there moneyers and great oneyers[72], men
of metal--discounters and counters--sharp, grave, prudential faces--eyes
weak with ciphering by lamplight--men who say to gold, Be thou paper,
and to paper, Be thou turned into fine gold. Many a bustling,
sharp-faced, keen-eyed writer too--some perhaps speculating with their
clients' property. My reverend seigniors had expected a motion for
printing their contract, which I, as a piece of light artillery, was
brought down and got into battery to oppose. I should certainly have
done this on the general ground, that while each partner could at any
time obtain sight of the contract at a call on the directors or
managers, it would be absurd to print it for the use of the Company--and
that exposing it to the world at large was in all respects unnecessary,
and might teach novel companies to avail themselves of our rules and
calculations--if false, for the purpose of exposing our errors--if
correct, for the purpose of improving their own schemes on our model.
But my eloquence was not required, no one renewing the motion under
question; so off I came, my ears still ringing with the sounds of
thousands and tens of thousands, and my eyes dazzled with the golden
gleam offered by so many capitalists.

Walked home with the Solicitor[73]--decidedly the most hopeful young man
of his time; high connection, great talent, spirited ambition, a ready
and prompt elocution, with a good voice and dignified manner, prompt and
steady courage, vigilant and constant assiduity, popularity with the
young men, and the good opinion of the old, will, if I mistake not,
carry him as [high as] any man who has been since the days of old Hal
Dundas.[74] He is hot though, and rather hasty: this should be amended.
They who would play at single-stick must bear with patience a rap over
the knuckles. Dined quietly with Lady Scott and Anne.

_December_ 14.--Affairs very bad in the money-market in London. It must
come here, and I have far too many engagements not to feel it. To end
the matter at once, I intend to borrow £10,000, with which my son's
marriage-contract allows me to charge my estate. At Whitsunday and
Martinmas I will have enough to pay up the incumbrance of £3000 due to
old Moss's daughter, and £5000 to Misses Ferguson, in whole or part.
This will enable us to dispense in a great measure with bank assistance,
and sleep in spite of thunder. I do not know whether it is this business
which makes me a little bilious, or rather the want of exercise during
the season of late, and change of the weather to too much heat. Thank
God, my circumstances are good,--upon a fair balance which I have made,
certainly not less than £40,000 or nearly £50,000 above the world. But
the sun and moon shall dance on the green ere carelessness, or hope of
gain, or facility of getting cash, shall make me go too deep again, were
it but for the disquiet of the thing. Dined: Lady Scott and Anne

_December_ 15.--R.P. G[illies] came _sicut mos est_ at five o'clock to
make me confidant of the extremities of his distress. It is clear all he
has to do is to make the best agreement he can with his creditors. I
remember many years since the poor fellow told me he thought there was
something interesting in having difficulties. Poor lad, he will have
enough of them now. He talks about writing translations for the
booksellers from the German to the amount of five or six hundred pounds,
but this is like a man proposing to run a whole day at top speed. Yet,
if he had good subjects, R.P.G. is one of the best translators I know,
and something must be done for him certainly, though, I fear, it will be
necessary to go to the bottom of the ulcer; palliatives won't do. He is
terribly imprudent, yet a worthy and benevolent creature--a great bore
withal. Dined alone with family. I am determined not to stand mine host
to all Scotland and England as I have done. This shall be a saving,
since it must be a borrowing, year. We heard from Sophia; they are got
safe to town; but as Johnnie had a little bag of meal with him, to make
his porridge on the road, the whole inn-yard assembled to see the
operation. Junor, his maid, was of opinion that England was an "awfu'
country to make parritch in." God bless the poor baby, and restore his
perfect health!

_December_ 16.--R.P.G. and his friend Robert Wilson[75] came--the former
at five, as usual--the latter at three, as appointed. R[obert] W[ilson]
frankly said that R.P.G.'s case was quite desperate, that he was
insolvent, and that any attempt to save him at present would be just so
much cash thrown away. God knows, at this moment I have none to throw
away uselessly. For poor Gillies there was a melancholy mixture of
pathos and affectation in his statement, which really affected me; while
it told me that it would be useless to help him to money on such very
empty plans. I endeavoured to persuade him to make a virtue of
necessity, resign all to his creditors, and begin the world on a new
leaf. I offered him Chiefswood for a temporary retirement. Lady Scott
thinks I was wrong, and nobody could less desire such a neighbour, all
his affectations being caviare to me. But then the wife and children!
Went again to the Solicitor on a wrong night, being asked for to-morrow.
Lady Scott undertakes to keep my engagements recorded in future. _Sed
quis custodiet ipsam custodem_?

_December_ 17.--Dined with the Solicitor--Lord Chief-Baron[76]--Sir
William Boothby, nephew of old Sir Brooke, the dandy poet, etc. Annoyed
with anxious presentiments, which the night's post must dispel or
confirm--all in London as bad as possible.

_December_ 18.--Ballantyne called on me this morning. _Venit illa
suprema dies_. My extremity is come. Cadell has received letters from
London which all but positively announce the failure of Hurst and
Robinson, so that Constable & Co. must follow, and I must go with poor
James Ballantyne for company. I suppose it will involve my all. But if
they leave me £500, I can still make it £1000 or £1200 a year. And if
they take my salaries of £1300 and £300, they cannot but give me
something out of them. I have been rash in anticipating funds to buy
land, but then I made from £5000 to £10,000 a year, and land was my
temptation. I think nobody can lose a penny--that is one comfort. Men
will think pride has had a fall. Let them indulge their own pride in
thinking that my fall makes them higher, or seems so at least. I have
the satisfaction to recollect that my prosperity has been of advantage
to many, and that some at least will forgive my transient wealth on
account of the innocence of my intentions, and my real wish to do good
to the poor. This news will make sad hearts at Darnick, and in the
cottages of Abbotsford, which I do not nourish the least hope of
preserving. It has been my Delilah, and so I have often termed it; and
now the recollection of the extensive woods I planted, and the walks I
have formed, from which strangers must derive both the pleasure and
profit, will excite feelings likely to sober my gayest moments. I have
half resolved never to see the place again. How could I tread my hall
with such a diminished crest? How live a poor indebted man where I was
once the wealthy, the honoured? My children are provided; thank God for
that. I was to have gone there on Saturday in joy and prosperity to
receive my friends. My dogs will wait for me in vain. It is foolish--but
the thoughts of parting from these dumb creatures have moved me more
than any of the painful reflections I have put down. Poor things, I must
get them kind masters; there may be yet those who loving me may love my
dog because it has been mine. I must end this, or I shall lose the tone
of mind with which men should meet distress.

       *       *       *       *       *

I find my dogs' feet on my knees. I hear them whining and seeking me
everywhere--this is nonsense, but it is what they would do could they
know how things are. Poor Will Laidlaw! poor Tom Purdie! this will be
news to wring your heart, and many a poor fellow's besides to whom my
prosperity was daily bread.

Ballantyne behaves like himself, and sinks his own ruin in contemplating
mine. I tried to enrich him indeed, and now all--all is gone. He will
have the "Journal" still, that is a comfort, for sure they cannot find a
better Editor. _They_--alas! who will _they_ be--the _unbekannten Obern_
who are to dispose of my all as they will? Some hard-eyed banker; some
of those men of millions whom I described. Cadell showed more kind and
personal feeling to me than I thought he had possessed. He says there
are some properties of works that will revert to me, the copy-money not
being paid, but it cannot be any very great matter, I should think.

Another person did not afford me all the sympathy I expected, perhaps
because I seemed to need little support, yet that is not her nature,
which is generous and kind. She thinks I have been imprudent, trusting
men so far. Perhaps so--but what could I do? I must sell my books to
some one, and these folks gave me the largest price; if they had kept
their ground I could have brought myself round fast enough by the plan
of 14th December. I now view matters at the very worst, and suppose that
my all must go to supply the deficiencies of Constable. I fear it must
be so. His connections with Hurst and Robinson have been so intimate
that they must be largely involved. This is the worst of the concern;
our own is comparatively plain sailing.

Poor Gillies called yesterday to tell me he was in extremity. God knows
I had every cause to have returned him the same answer. I must think his
situation worse than mine, as through his incoherent, miserable tale, I
could see that he had exhausted each access to credit, and yet fondly
imagines that, bereft of all his accustomed indulgences, he can work
with a literary zeal unknown to his happier days. I hope he may labour
enough to gain the mere support of his family. For myself, the magic
wand of the Unknown is shivered in his grasp. He must henceforth be
termed the Too-well-known. The feast of fancy is over with the feeling
of independence. I can no longer have the delight of waking in the
morning with bright ideas in my mind, haste to commit them to paper, and
count them monthly, as the means of planting such groves, and purchasing
such wastes; replacing my dreams of fiction by other prospective visions
of walks by

    "Fountain heads, and pathless groves
    Places which pale passion loves."[77]

[Sidenote: Footnote to page 44 in the original MS.:--"Turn back to page
41 and 42. I turned the page accidentally, and the partner of a bankrupt
concern ought not to waste two leaves of paper."]

This cannot be; but I may work substantial husbandry, work history, and
such concerns. They will not be received with the same enthusiasm; at
least I much doubt the general knowledge that an author must write for
his bread, at least for improving his pittance, degrades him and his
productions in the public eye. He falls into the second-rate rank of

    "While the harness sore galls, and the spurs his sides goad,
    The high-mettled racer's a hack on the road."[78]

It is a bitter thought; but if tears start at it, let them flow. I am so
much of this mind, that if any one would now offer to relieve all my
embarrassments on condition I would continue the exertions which brought
it there, dear as the place is to me, I hardly think I could undertake
the labour on which I entered with my usual alacrity only this morning,
though not without a boding feeling of my exertions proving useless. Yet
to save Abbotsford I would attempt all that was possible. My heart
clings to the place I have created. There is scarce a tree on it that
does not owe its being to me, and the pain of leaving it is greater than
I can tell. I have about £10,000 of Constable's, for which I am bound to
give literary value, but if I am obliged to pay other debts for him, I
will take leave to retain this sum at his credit. We shall have made
some _kittle_ questions of literary property amongst us. Once more,
"Patience, cousin, and shuffle the cards."

I have endeavoured at times to give vent to thoughts naturally so
painful, by writing these notices, partly to keep them at bay by busying
myself with the history of the French Convention. I thank God I can do
both with reasonable composure. I wonder how Anne will bear this
affliction? She is passionate, but stout-hearted and courageous in
important matters, though irritable in trifles. I am glad Lockhart and
his wife are gone. Why? I cannot tell; but I _am_ pleased to be left to
my own regrets without being melted by condolences, though of the most
sincere and affectionate kind.

       *       *       *       *       *

Anne bears her misfortune gallantly and well, with a natural feeling, no
doubt, of the rank and consideration she is about to lose. Lady Scott is
incredulous, and persists in cherishing hope where there is no ground
for hope. I wish it may not bring on the gloom of spirits which has
given me such distress. If she were the active person she once was that
would not be. Now I fear it more than what Constable or Cadell will tell
me this evening, so that my mind is made up.

Oddly enough, it happened. Mine honest friend Hector came in before
dinner to ask a copy of my seal of Arms, with a sly kindliness of
intimation that it was for some agreeable purpose.

_Half-past Eight_.--I closed this book under the consciousness of
impending ruin, I open it an hour after, thanks be to God, with the
strong hope that matters may be got over safely and honourably, in a
mercantile sense. Cadell came at eight to communicate a letter from
Hurst and Robinson, intimating they had stood the storm, and though
clamorous for assistance from Scotland, saying they had prepared their
strongholds without need of the banks.

[Sidenote: This was a mistake.]

This is all so far well, but I will not borrow any money on my estate
till I see things reasonably safe. Stocks have risen from ---- to ----,
a strong proof that confidence is restored. But I will yield to no
delusive hopes, and fall back fall edge, my resolutions hold.

I shall always think the better of Cadell for this, not merely because
his feet are beautiful on the mountains who brings good tidings, but
because he showed feeling--deep feeling, poor fellow--he who I thought
had no more than his numeration table, and who, if he had had his whole
counting-house full of sensibility, had yet his wife and children to
bestow it upon--I will not forget this if I get through. I love the
virtues of rough and round men; the others are apt to escape in salt
rheum, sal-volatile, and a white pocket-handkerchief. An odd thought
strikes me: when I die will the Journal of these days be taken out of
the ebony cabinet at Abbotsford, and read as the transient pout of a man
worth £60,000, with wonder that the well-seeming Baronet should ever
have experienced such a hitch? Or will it be found in some obscure
lodging-house, where the decayed son of chivalry has hung up his
scutcheon for some 20s. a week, and where one or two old friends will
look grave and whisper to each other, "Poor gentleman," "A well-meaning
man," "Nobody's enemy but his own," "Thought his parts could never wear
out," "Family poorly left," "Pity he took that foolish title"? Who can
answer this question?

       *       *       *       *       *

What a life mine has been!--half educated, almost wholly neglected or
left to myself, stuffing my head with most nonsensical trash, and
undervalued in society for a time by most of my companions, getting
forward and held a bold and clever fellow, contrary to the opinion of
all who thought me a mere dreamer, broken-hearted for two years, my
heart handsomely pieced again, but the crack will remain to my dying
day. Rich and poor four or five times, once on the verge of ruin, yet
opened new sources of wealth almost overflowing. Now taken in my pitch
of pride, and nearly winged (unless the good news hold), because London
chooses to be in an uproar, and in the tumult of bulls and bears, a poor
inoffensive lion like myself is pushed to the wall. And what is to be
the end of it? God knows. And so ends the catechism.

_December_ 19.--Ballantyne here before breakfast. He looks on Cadell's
last night's news with more confidence than I do; but I must go to work
be my thoughts sober or lively. Constable came in and sat an hour. The
old gentleman is firm as a rock, and scorns the idea of Hurst and
Robinson's stopping. He talks of going up to London next week and making
sales of our interest in W[oodstock] and _Boney_, which would put a
hedge round his finances. He is a very clever fellow, and will, I think,
bear us through.

Dined at Lord Chief-Baron's.[79] Lord Justice-Clerk; Lord President;[80]
Captain Scarlett,[81] a gentlemanlike young man, the son of the great
Counsel,[82] and a friend of my son Walter; Lady Charlotte Hope, and
other woman-kind; R. Dundas of Arniston, and his pleasant and
good-humoured little wife, whose quick intelligent look pleases me more,
though her face be plain, than a hundred mechanical beauties.

_December_ 20.--I like Ch. Ba. Shepherd very much--- as much, I think,
as any man I have learned to know of late years. There is a neatness and
precision, a closeness and truth, in the tone of his conversation, which
shows what a lawyer he must have been. Perfect good-humour and suavity
of manner, with a little warmth of temper on suitable occasions. His
great deafness alone prevented him from being Lord Chief-Justice. I
never saw a man so patient under such a malady. He loves society, and
converses excellently; yet is often obliged, in a mixed company
particularly, to lay aside his trumpet, retire into himself, and
withdraw from the talk. He does this with an expression of patience on
his countenance which touches one much. He has occasion for patience
otherwise, I should think, for Lady S. is fine and fidgety, and too
anxious to have everything _pointe devise_.

Constable's licence for the Dedication is come, which will make him

Dined with James Ballantyne, and met my old friend Mathews, the
comedian, with his son, now grown up a clever, rather forward lad, who
makes songs in the style of James Smith or Colman, and sings them with
spirit; rather lengthy though.

_December 21._--There have been odd associations attending my two last
meetings with Mathews. The last time I saw him, before yesterday
evening, he dined with me in company with poor Sir Alexander Boswell,
who was killed within two or three months.[84] I never saw Sir Alexander
more.[85] The time before was in 1815, when John Scott of Gala and I
were returning from France, and passed through London, when we brought
Mathews down as far as Leamington. Poor Byron lunched, or rather made an
early dinner, with us at Long's, and a most brilliant day we had of it.
I never saw Byron so full of fun, frolic, wit, and whim: he was as
playful as a kitten. Well, I never saw him again.[86] So this man of
mirth, with his merry meetings, has brought me no luck. I like better
that he should throw in his talent of mimicry and humour into the
present current tone of the company, than that he should be required to
give this, that, and t'other _bit_ selected from his public recitations.
They are good certainly--excellent; but then you _must_ laugh, and that
is always severe to me. When I do laugh in sincerity, the joke must be
or seem unpremeditated. I could not help thinking, in the midst of the
glee, what gloom had lately been over the minds of three of the company,
Cadell, J.B., and the Journalist. What a strange scene if the surge of
conversation could suddenly ebb like the tide, and [show] us the state
of people's real minds! Savary[87] might have been gay in such a party
with all his forgeries in his heart.

    "No eyes the rooks discover
    Which lurk beneath the deep."[88]

Life could not be endured were it seen in reality.

Things are mending in town, and H[urst] and R[obinson] write with
confidence, and are, it would seem, strongly supported by wealthy
friends. Cadell and Constable are confident of their making their way
through the storm, and the impression of their stability is general in
London. I hear the same from Lockhart. Indeed, I now believe that they
wrote gloomy letters to Constable, chiefly to get as much money out of
them as they possibly could. But they had well-nigh overdone it. This
being Teind Wednesday must be a day of leisure and labour. Sophia has
got a house, 25 Pall Mall. Dined at home with Lady Scott and Anne.

_December_ 22.--I wrote six of my close pages yesterday, which is about
twenty-four pages in print. What is more, I think it comes off
twangingly. The story is so very interesting in itself, that there is no
fear of the book answering.[89] Superficial it must be, but I do not
disown the charge. Better a superficial book, which brings well and
strikingly together the known and acknowledged facts, than a dull boring
narrative, pausing to see further into a mill-stone at every moment than
the nature of the mill-stone admits. Nothing is so tiresome as walking
through some beautiful scene with a _minute philosopher_, a botanist, or
pebble-gatherer, who is eternally calling your attention from the grand
features of the natural scenery to look at grasses and chucky-stones.
Yet, in their way, they give useful information; and so does the minute
historian. Gad, I think that will look well in the preface. My bile is
quite gone. I really believe it arose from mere anxiety. What a
wonderful connection between the mind and body!

The air of "Bonnie Dundee" running in my head to-day, I [wrote] a few
verses to it before dinner, taking the key-note from the story of
Clavers leaving the Scottish Convention of Estates in 1688-9.[90] I
wonder if they are good. Ah! poor Will Erskine![91] thou couldst and
wouldst have told me. I must consult J.B., who is as honest as was W.E.
But then, though he has good taste too, there is a little of Big Bow-wow
about it. Can't say what made me take a frisk so uncommon of late years,
as to write verses of freewill. I suppose the same impulse which makes
birds sing when the storm seems blown over.

Dined at Lord Minto's. There were Lord and Lady Ruthven, Will Clerk, and
Thomas Thomson,--a right choice party. There was also my very old friend
Mrs. Brydone, the relict of the traveller,[92] and daughter of Principal
Robertson, and really worthy of such a connection--Lady Minto, who is
also peculiarly agreeable--and her sister, Mrs. Admiral Adam, in the

_December_ 23.--The present Lord Minto is a very agreeable,
well-informed, and sensible man, but he possesses neither the high
breeding, ease of manner, nor eloquence of his father, the first Earl.
That Sir Gilbert was indeed a man among a thousand. I knew him very
intimately in the beginning of the century, and, which was very
agreeable, was much at his house on very easy terms. He loved the Muses,
and worshipped them in secret, and used to read some of his poetry,
which was but middling.

Tom Campbell lived at Minto, but it was in a state of dependence which
he brooked very ill. He was kindly treated, but would not see it in the
right view, and suspected slights, and so on, where no such thing was
meant. There was a turn of Savage about Tom though without his
blackguardism--a kind of waywardness of mind and irritability that must
have made a man of his genius truly unhappy. Lord Minto, with the
mildest manners, was very tenacious of his opinions, although he changed
them twice in the crisis of politics. He was the early friend of Fox,
and made a figure towards the end of the American war, or during the
struggles betwixt Fox and Pitt. Then came the Revolution, and he joined
the Anti-Gallican party so keenly, that he declared against Addington's
peace with France, and was for a time, I believe, a Wyndhamite. He was
reconciled to the Whigs on the Fox and Grenville coalition; but I have
heard that Fox, contrary to his wont, retained such personal feelings as
made him object to Sir Gilbert Elliot's having a seat in the Cabinet; so
he was sent as Governor-General to India--a better thing, I take it, for
his fortune. He died shortly after his return,[93] at Hatfield or
Barnet, on his way down to his native country. He was a most pleasing
and amiable man. I was very sorry for his death, though I do not know
how we should have met, for the contested election in 1805 [in
Roxburghshire] had placed some coldness betwixt the present Lord and me.
I was certainly anxious for Sir Alexander Don, both as friend of my most
kind friend Charles, Duke of Buccleuch, and on political accounts; and
those thwartings are what men in public life do not like to endure.
After a cessation of friendship for some years, we have come about
again. We never had the slightest personal dispute or disagreement. But
politics are the blowpipe beneath whose influence the best cemented
friendships too often dissever; and ours, after all, was only a very
familiar acquaintance.

It is very odd that the common people at Minto and the neighbourhood
will not believe to this hour that the first Earl is dead. They think he
had done something in India which he could not answer for--that the
house was rebuilt on a scale unusually large to give him a suite of
secret apartments, and that he often walks about the woods and crags of
Minto at night, with a white nightcap, and long white beard. The
circumstance of his having died on the road down to Scotland is the sole
foundation of this absurd legend, which shows how willing the vulgar are
to gull themselves when they can find no one else to take the trouble. I
have seen people who could read, write, and cipher, shrug their
shoulders and look mysterious when this subject was mentioned. One very
absurd addition was made on occasion of a great ball at Minto House,
which it was said was given to draw all people away from the grounds,
that the concealed Earl might have leisure for his exercise. This was on
the principle in the German play,[94] where, to hide their conspiracy,
the associates join in a chorus song.

We dined at home; Mr. Davidoff and his tutor kept an engagement with us
to dinner notwithstanding the death of the Emperor Alexander. They went
to the play with the womankind; I stayed at home to write.

_December_ 24.--Wrote Walter and Jane, and gave the former an account of
how things had been in the money market, and the loan of £10,000.
Constable has a scheme of publishing the works of the Author of
W[averley] in a superior style, at £1, 1s. volume. He says he will
answer for making £20,000 of this, and liberally offered me any share of
the profit. I have no great claim to any, as I have only to contribute
the notes, which are light work; yet a few thousands coming in will be a
good thing--besides the P[rinting] Office. Constable, though
valetudinary, and cross with his partner, is certainly as good a pilot
in these rough seas as ever man put faith in. His rally has put me in
mind of the old song:--

    "The tailor raise and shook his duds,
    He gar'd the BILLS flee aff in cluds,
    And they that stayed gat fearfu' thuds--
    The tailor proved a man, O."[95]

We are for Abbotsford to-day, with a light heart.

_Abbotsford, December_ 25.--Arrived here last night at seven. Our halls
are silent compared to last year, but let us be thankful--when we think
how near the chance appeared but a week since that these halls would
have been ours no longer. _Barbarus has segetes? Nullum numen abest, si
sit prudentia_. There shall be no lack of wisdom. But come--_il faut
cultiver notre jardin_.[96] Let us see: I will write out the "Bonnets of
Bonnie Dundee"; I will sketch a preface to _La Rochejacquelin_ for
_Constable's Miscellany,_ and try about a specimen of notes for the
W[averley Novels]. Together with letters and by-business, it will be a
good day's work.

    "I make a vow,
    And keep it true."

I will accept no invitation for dinner, save one to Newton-Don, and
Mertoun to-morrow, instead of Christmas Day. On this day of general
devotion I have a particular call for gratitude!!

       *       *       *       *       *

My God! what poor creatures we are! After all my fair proposals
yesterday, I was seized with a most violent pain in the right kidney and
parts adjacent, which, joined to deadly sickness which it brought on,
forced me instantly to go to bed and send for Clarkson.[97] He came and
inquired, pronouncing the complaint to be gravel augmented by bile. I
was in great agony till about two o'clock, but awoke with the pain gone.
I got up, had a fire in my dressing-closet, and had Dalgleish to shave
me--two trifles, which I only mention, because they are contrary to my
hardy and independent personal habits. But although a man cannot be a
hero to his valet, his valet in sickness becomes of great use to him. I
cannot expect that this first will be the last visit of this cruel
complaint; but shall we receive good at the hand of God, and not receive

_December 27th_.--Slept twelve hours at a stretch, being much exhausted.
Totally without pain to-day, but uncomfortable from the effects of
calomel, which, with me at least, is like the assistance of an auxiliary
army, just one degree more tolerable than the enemy it chases away.
Calomel contemplations are not worth recording. I wrote an introduction
and a few notes to the _Memoirs of Madame La Rochejacquelin_,[98] being
all that I was equal to.

Sir Adam Ferguson came over and tried to marry my verses to the tune of
"Bonnie Dundee." They seem well adapted to each other. Dined with Lady
Scott and Anne.

Worked at Pepys in the evening, with the purpose of review for
Lockhart.[99] Notwithstanding the depressing effects of the calomel, I
feel the pleasure of being alone and uninterrupted. Few men, leading a
quiet life, and without any strong or highly varied change of
circumstances, have seen more variety of society than I--few have
enjoyed it more, or been _bored_, as it is called, less by the company
of tiresome people. I have rarely, if ever, found any one, out of whom I
could not extract amusement or edification; and were I obliged to
account for hints afforded on such occasions, I should make an ample
deduction from my inventive powers. Still, however, from the earliest
time I can remember, I preferred the pleasure of being alone to waiting
for visitors, and have often taken a bannock and a bit of cheese to the
wood or hill, to avoid dining with company. As I grew from boyhood to
manhood I saw this would not do; and that to gain a place in men's
esteem I must mix and bustle with them. Pride and an excitation of
spirits supplied the real pleasure which others seem to feel in society,
and certainly upon many occasions it was real. Still, if the question
was, eternal company, without the power of retiring within yourself, or
solitary confinement for life, I should say, "Turnkey, lock the cell!"
My life, though not without its fits of waking and strong exertion, has
been a sort of dream, spent in

    "Chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy."[100]

I have worn a wishing-cap, the power of which has been to divert present
griefs by a touch of the wand of imagination, and gild over the future
prospect by prospects more fair than can ever be realised. Somewhere it
is said that this castle-building--this wielding of the aërial
trowel--is fatal to exertions in actual life. I cannot tell, I have not
found it so. I cannot, indeed, say like Madame Genlis, that in the
imaginary scenes in which I have acted a part I ever prepared myself for
anything which actually befell me; but I have certainly fashioned out
much that made the present hour pass pleasantly away, and much that has
enabled me to contribute to the amusement of the public. Since I was
five years old I cannot remember the time when I had not some ideal part
to play for my own solitary amusement.

_December_ 28.--Somehow I think the attack on Christmas Day has been of
a critical kind, and, having gone off so well, may be productive rather
of health than continued indisposition. If one is to get a renewal of
health in his fifty-fourth year, he must look to pay fine for it. Last
night George Thomson[101] came to see how I was, poor fellow. He has
talent, is well informed, and has an excellent heart; but there is an
eccentricity about him that defies description. I wish to God I saw him
provided in a country kirk. That, with a rational wife--that is, if
there is such a thing to be gotten for him,--would, I think, bring him
to a steady temper. At present he is between the tyning and the winning.
If I could get him to set to any hard study, he would do something

_How to make a critic_.--A sly rogue, sheltering himself under the
generic name of Mr. Campbell, requested of me, through the penny-post,
the loan of £50 for two years, having an impulse, as he said, to make
this demand. As I felt no corresponding impulse, I begged to decline a
demand which might have been as reasonably made by any Campbell on
earth; and another impulse has determined the man of fifty pounds to
send me anonymous abuse of my works and temper and selfish disposition.
The severity of the joke lies in 14d. for postage, to avoid which his
next epistle shall go back to the clerks of the Post Office, as not for
S.W.S. How the severe rogue would be disappointed, if he knew I never
looked at more than the first and last lines of his satirical effusion!

When I first saw that a literary profession was to be my fate, I
endeavoured by all efforts of stoicism to divest myself of that
irritable degree of sensibility--or, to speak plainly, of vanity--which
makes the poetical race miserable and ridiculous. The anxiety of a poet
for praise and for compliments I have always endeavoured [to keep down].

_December_ 29.--Base feelings this same calomel gives one--mean, poor,
and abject--a wretch, as Will Rose says:--

    "Fie, fie, on silly coward man,
    That he should be the slave o't."[102]

Then it makes one "wofully dogged and snappish," as Dr. Rutty, the
Quaker, says in his _Gurnal._[103]

Sent Lockhart four pages on Sheridan's plays; not very good, I think,
but the demand came sudden. Must go to W----k![104] yet am vexed by that
humour of contradiction which makes me incline to do anything else in
preference. Commenced preface for new edition of my Novels. The city of
Cork send my freedom in a silver box. I thought I was out of their grace
for going to see Blarney rather than the Cove, for which I was attacked
and defended in the papers when in Ireland. I am sure they are so civil
that I would have gone wherever they wished me to go if I had had any
one to have told me what I ought to be most inquisitive about.

    "For if I should as lion come in strife
    Into such place, 't were pity of my life."[105]

_December_ 30.--Spent at home and in labour--with the weight of
unpleasant news from Edinburgh. J.B. is like to be pinched next week
unless the loan can be brought forward. I must and have endeavoured to
supply him. At present the result of my attempts is uncertain. I am even
more anxious about C[onstable] & Co., unless they can get assistance
from their London friends to whom they gave much. All is in God's hands.
The worst can only be what I have before anticipated. But I must, I
think, renounce the cigars. They brought back (using two this evening)
the irritation of which I had no feelings while abstaining from them.
Dined alone with Gordon,[106] Lady S., and Anne. James Curle, Melrose,
has handsomely lent me £600; he has done kindly. I have served him
before and will again if in my power.

_December 31_.--Took a good sharp walk the first time since my illness,
and found myself the better in health and spirits. Being Hogmanay, there
dined with us Colonel Russell and his sisters, Sir Adam Ferguson and
Lady, Colonel Ferguson, with Mary and Margaret; an auld-warld party, who
made themselves happy in the auld fashion. I felt so tired about eleven
that I was forced to steal to bed.


[52] See _ante_, p. 12. Mr. James Ballantyne and Mr. Cadell concurred
with Mr. Constable and Sir Walter in the propriety of assisting

[53] Robert Pierce Gillies, once proprietor of a good estate in
Kincardineshire, and member of the Scotch Bar. It is pleasant to find
Mr. Gillies expressing his gratitude for what Sir Walter had done for
him more than twenty-five years after this paragraph was written. "He
was," says R.P.G., "not only among the earliest but most persevering of
my friends--persevering in spite of my waywardness."--_Memoirs of a
Literary Veteran_, including Sketches and Anecdotes of the most
distinguished Literary Characters from 1794 to 1849 (3 vols., London,
1851), vol. i. p. 321. Mr. Gillies died in 1861.

[54] Mr. Gillies was, however, warmly welcomed by another publisher in
Edinburgh, who paid him £100 for his bulky MSS., and issued the book in
1825 under the title of _The Magic Ring_, 3 vols. Its failure with the
public prevented a repetition of the experiment!

[55] _King Richard III._, Act III. Sc. 7.--J.G.L.

[56] Of the many Edinburgh suppers of this period, commemorated by Lord
Cockburn, not the least pleasant were the friendly gatherings in 30
Abercromby Place, the town house of Dr. James Russell, Professor of
Clinical Surgery. They were given fortnightly after the meetings of the
Royal Society during the Session, and are occasionally mentioned in the
Journal. Dr. Russell died in 1836.

[57] Mr. Mackenzie had been consulting Sir Walter about collecting his
own juvenile poetry.--J.G.L. Though the venerable author of _The Man of
Feeling_ did not die till 1831, he does not appear to have carried out
his intention.

[58] Every alternate Wednesday during the Winter and Summer sessions,
the Lords Commissioners of Teinds (Tithes), consisting of a certain
number of the judges, held a "Teind Court"--for hearing cases relating
to the secular affairs of the Church of Scotland. As the Teind Court has
a separate establishment of clerks and officers, Sir Walter was freed
from duty at the Parliament House on these days. The Court now sits on
alternate Mondays only.

[59] Mr. Lockhart suggests Lords Hermand and Succoth, the former living
at 124 George Street, and the latter at 1 Park Place.

[60] William Knox died 12th November. He had published _Songs of
Israel_, 1824, _A Visit to Dublin_, 1824, _The Harp of Zion_, 1825,
etc., besides _The Lonely Hearth_. His publisher (Mr. Anderson, junior,
of Edinburgh) remembers that Sir Walter occasionally wrote to Knox and
sent him money--£10 at a time.--J.G.L.

[61] In Ben Jonson's _Every Man in his Humour_.

[62] Providence was kinder to the venerable lady than the Government, as
at this juncture a handsome legacy came to her from an unexpected
quarter. _Memoir and Correspondence_, Lond. 1845, vol. iii. p. 71.

[63] _Measure for Measure_, Act iv. Sc. 3.--J.G.L.

[64] Burns's _Dedication to Gavin Hamilton_.--J.G.L.

[65] _Don Quixote_, Pt. II. ch. 23.

[66] _Spectator_, No. 159.--J.G.L.

[67] Sir William Allan, President of the Royal Scottish Academy from
1838: he died at Edinburgh in 1850.

[68] _Beaumont and Fletcher_, 8vo, Lond. 1788, vol. v. pp.

[69] For notices of David Thomson, see _Life_, October 1822, and T.
Craig Brown's _History of Selkirkshire_, 2 vols. 4to, Edin. 1886, vol.
i. pp. 505, 507, and 519.

[70] Burns's _Address to the Unco Guid_.--J.G.L.

[71] Banamhorar-Chat, _i.e._ the Great Lady of the Cat, is the Gaelic
title of the Countess-Duchess of Sutherland. The county of Sutherland
itself is in that dialect _Cattey_, and in the English name of the
neighbouring one, _Caithness_, we have another trace of the early
settlement of the _Clan Chattan_, whose chiefs bear the cognisance of a
Wild Cat. The Duchess-Countess died in 1838.--J.G.L.

[72] See 1 _King Henry IV_., Act II. Sc. 1.

[73] John Hope, Esq., was at this time Solicitor-General for Scotland,
afterwards Lord Justice-Clerk from 1841 until his death in 1858.

[74] Henry Dundas, the first Viscount Melville, first appeared in
Parliament as Lord Advocate of Scotland.--J.G.L.

[75] Robert Sym Wilson, Esq., W.S., Secretary to the Royal Bank of

[76] The Right Hon. Sir Samuel Shepherd, who had been at the head of the
Court of Exchequer since 1819, was then living at 16 Coates Crescent; he
retired in 1830, and resided afterwards in England, where he died, aged
80, on the 30th November 1840. Before coming to Scotland, Sir Samuel had
been Solicitor-General in 1814, and Attorney-General in 1817.

[77] See _Nice Valour_, by John Fletcher; Beaumont and Fletcher's

[78] From Charles Dibdin's song, _The Racehorse_.

[79] Sir Samuel Shepherd.

[80] The Right Hon. Charles Hope, who held the office of Lord President
of the Court of Session for thirty years; he died in 1851 aged

[81] Afterwards Sir James Yorke Scarlett, G.C.B.

[82] Sir James Scarlett, first Lord Abinger.

[83] The Dedication of _Constable's Miscellany_ was penned by Sir
Walter--"To His Majesty King George IV., the most generous Patron even
of the most humble attempts towards the advantage of his subjects, this
_Miscellany_, designed to extend useful knowledge and elegant
literature, by placing works of standard merit within the attainment of
every class of readers, is most humbly inscribed by His Majesty's
dutiful and devoted subject--Archibald Constable."--J.G.L.

[84] Probably a slip of the pen for "weeks," as Mathews was in London in
March (1822), and we know that he dined with Scott in Castle Street on
the 10th of February. _Memoirs_, vol. iii. p. 262. Mr. Lockhart says,
"within a week," and at p. 33 vol. vii. gives an account of a dinner
party. Writing so many years after the event he may have mistaken the
date. James Boswell died in London 24th February 1822; his brother, Sir
Alexander, was at the funeral, and did not return to Edinburgh till
Saturday 23d March. James Stuart of Dunearn challenged him on Monday;
they fought on Tuesday, and Boswell died on the following day, March 27.
Mr. Lockhart says that "several circumstances of Sir Alexander's death
are exactly reproduced in the duel scene in _St. Ronan's Well_."

[85] In a letter to Skene written late in 1821, Scott, in expressing his
regret at not being able to meet Boswell, adds, "I hope J. Boz comes to
make some stay, but I shall scarce forgive him for not coming at the
fine season." The brothers Boswell had been Mr. Skene's schoolfellows
and intimate friends; and he had lived much with them both in England
and Scotland.

Mr. Skene says, in a note to Letter 28, that "they were men of
remarkable talents, and James of great learning, both evincing a dash of
their father's eccentricity, but joined to greater talent. Sir Walter
took great pleasure in their society, but James being resident in
London, the opportunity of enjoying his company had of late been rare.
Upon the present occasion he had dined with me in the greatest health
and spirits the evening before his departure for London, and in a week
we had accounts of his having been seized by a sudden illness which
carried him off. In a few weeks more his brother, Sir Alexander, was
killed in a duel occasioned by a foolish political lampoon which he had
written, and in a thoughtless manner suffered to find its way to a

[86] See _Life_, vol. v. p. 87.

[87] Henry Savary, son of a banker in Bristol, had been tried for
forgery a few months before.

[88] From _What d'ye call it?_ by John Gay.

[89] _Life of Napoleon_.--J.G.L.

[90] See Scott's _Poetical Works_, vol. xii. pp. 194-97.--J.G.L.

[91] William Erskine of Kinnedder was Scott's senior by two years at the
bar, having passed Advocate in 1790. He became Sheriff of Orkney in
1809, and took his seat on the Bench as Lord Kinnedder, 29 January 1822;
he died on the 14th of August following. Scott and he met first in 1792,
and, as is well known, he afterwards "became the nearest and most
confidential of all his Edinburgh associates." In 1796 he arranged with
the publishers for Scott's earliest literary venture, a thin 4to of some
48 pages entitled _The Chase_, etc. See _Life_ throughout, more
particularly vol. i. pp. 279-80, 333-4, 338-9; ii. pp. 103-4; iv. pp.
12, 166, 369; v. p. 174; vi. p. 393; vii. pp. 1, 5, 6, 70-74. See
Appendix for Mr. Skene's account of the destruction of the letters from
Scott to Erskine.

[92] Patrick Brydone, author of _A Tour through Sicily and Malta_, 2
vols. 8vo, 1773.

[93] Gilbert, Earl of Minto, died in June 1814.--J.G.L.

[94] See Canning's _German Play_, in the _Anti-Jacobin_.--J.G.L.

[95] See Johnson's _Musical Museum_, No. 490, slightly altered.

[96] See _Candide_.--J.G.L.

[97] James Clarkson, Esq., surgeon, Melrose, son to Scott's old friend,
Dr. Clarkson of Selkirk.--J.G.L.

[98] See _Constable's Miscellany_, vol. v.--J.G.L.

[99] See the _Quarterly Review_ for January 1820--or Scott's
_Miscellaneous Prose Works_.--J.G.L.

[100] _As You Like it_, Act IV. Sc. 3.--J.G.L.

[101] Formerly tutor at Abbotsford. Mr. Lockhart says: "I observe, as
the sheet is passing through the press, the death of the Rev. George
Thomson--the happy 'Dominie Thomson' of the happy days of Abbotsford: he
died at Edinburgh on the 8th of January 1838."

[102] Burns's "O poortith cauld and restless love."

[103] John Rutty, M.D., a physician of some eminence in Dublin, died in
1775, and his executors published his very curious and absurd "Spiritual
Diary and Soliloquies." Boswell describes Johnson as being much amused
with the Quaker doctor's minute confessions. See the Life of Johnson
_sub anno_ 1777.--J.G.L.

[104] _Woodstock_--contracted for in 1823.

[105] _A Midsummer Night's Dream_, Act III. Sc. 1.

[106] George Huntly Gordon, amanuensis to Scott.



_January_ 1.--A year has passed--another has commenced. These solemn
divisions of time influence our feelings as they recur. Yet there is
nothing in it; for every day in the year closes a twelvemonth as well as
the 31st December. The latter is only the solemn pause, as when a guide,
showing a wild and mountainous road, calls on a party to pause and look
back at the scenes which they have just passed. To me this new year
opens sadly. There are these troublesome pecuniary difficulties, which
however, I think, this week should end. There is the absence of all my
children, Anne excepted, from our little family festival. There is,
besides, that ugly report of the 15th Hussars going to India. Walter, I
suppose, will have some step in view, and will go, and I fear Jane will
not dissuade him.

A hard, frosty day--cold, but dry and pleasant under foot. Walked into
the plantations with Anne and Anne Russell. A thought strikes me,
alluding to this period of the year. People say that the whole human
frame in all its parts and divisions is gradually in the act of decaying
and renewing. What a curious timepiece it would be that could indicate
to us the moment this gradual and insensible change had so completely
taken place, that no atom was left of the original person who had
existed at a certain period, but there existed in his stead another
person having the same limbs, thews, and sinews, the same face and
lineaments, the same consciousness--a new ship built on an old plank--a
pair of transmigrated stockings, like those of Sir John Cutler,[107]
all green silk, without one thread of the original black silk left!
Singular--to be at once another and the same.

_January_ 2.--Weather clearing up in Edinburgh once more, and all will,
I believe, do well. I am pressed to get on with _Woodstock_, and must
try. I wish I could open a good vein of interest which would breathe
freely. I must take my old way, and write myself into good-humour with
my task. It is only when I dally with what I am about, look back, and
aside, instead of keeping my eyes straight forward, that I feel these
cold sinkings of the heart. All men I suppose do, less or more. They are
like the sensation of a sailor when the ship is cleared for action, and
all are at their places--gloomy enough; but the first broadside puts all
to rights. Dined at Huntly Burn with the Fergusons _en masse_.

_January_ 3.--Promises a fair day, and I think the progress of my
labours will afford me a little exercise, which I greatly need to help
off the calomel feeling. Walked with Colonel Russell from eleven till
two--the first good day's exercise I have had since coming here. We went
through all the Terrace, the Roman Planting,[108] over by the Stiel and
Haxellcleuch, and so by the Rhymer's Glen to Chiefswood,[109] which gave
my heart a twinge, so disconsolate it seemed. Yet all is for the best.
Called at Huntly Burn, and shook hands with Sir Adam and his Lady just
going off. When I returned, signed the bond for £10,000, which will
disencumber me of all pressing claims;[110] when I get forward W----k
and Nap. there will be £12,000 and upwards, and I hope to add £3000
against this time next year, or the devil must hold the dice. J.B.
writes me seriously on the carelessness of my style. I do not think I am
more careless than usual; but I dare say he is right. I will be more

_January_ 4.--Despatched the deed yesterday executed. Mr. and Mrs.
Skene, my excellent friends, came to us from Edinburgh. Skene,
distinguished for his attainments as a draughtsman, and for his highly
gentlemanlike feelings and character, is Laird of Rubislaw, near
Aberdeen. Having had an elder brother, his education was somewhat
neglected in early life, against which disadvantage he made a most
gallant [fight], exerting himself much to obtain those accomplishments
which he has since possessed. Admirable in all exercises, there entered
a good deal of the cavalier into his early character. Of late he has
given himself much to the study of antiquities. His wife, a most
excellent person, was tenderly fond of Sophia. They bring so much
old-fashioned kindness and good-humour with them, besides the
recollections of other times, that they must be always welcome guests.
Letter from Mr. Scrope,[111] announcing a visit.

_January_ 5.--Got the desired accommodation with Coutts, which will put
J.B. quite straight, but am a little anxious still about Constable. He
has immense stock, to be sure, and most valuable, but he may have
sacrifices to make to convert a large proportion of it into ready money.
The accounts from London are most disastrous. Many wealthy persons
totally ruined, and many, many more have been obliged to purchase their
safety at a price they will feel all their lives. I do not hear things
are so bad in Edinburgh; and J.B.'s business has been transacted by the
banks with liberality.

Colonel Russell told us last night that the last of the Moguls, a
descendant of Kubla-Khan, though having no more power than his effigies
at the back of a set of playing-cards, refused to meet Lord Hastings,
because the Governor-General would not agree to remain standing in his
presence. Pretty well for the blood of Timur in these degenerate days!

Much alarmed. I had walked till twelve with Skene and Col. Russell, and
then sat down to my work. To my horror and surprise I could neither
write nor spell, but put down one word for another, and wrote nonsense.
I was much overpowered at the same time, and could not conceive the
reason. I fell asleep, however, in my chair, and slept for two hours. On
waking my head was clearer, and I began to recollect that last night I
had taken the anodyne left for the purpose by Clarkson, and being
disturbed in the course of the night, I had not slept it off.

Obliged to give up writing to-day--read Pepys instead. The Scotts of
Harden were to have dined, but sent an apology,--storm coming on.
Russells left us this morning to go to Haining.

_January 6_.--This seems to be a feeding storm, coming on by little and
little. Wrought all day, and dined quiet. My disorder is wearing off,
and the quiet society of the Skenes suits with my present humour. I
really thought I was in for some very bad illness. Curious expression of
an Indian-born boy just come from Bengal, a son of my cousin George
Swinton. The child saw a hare run across the fields, and exclaimed,
"See, there is a little tiger!"

_January_ 7, _Sunday_.--Knight, a young artist, son of the performer,
came to paint my picture at the request of Terry. This is very far from
being agreeable, as I submitted to this distressing state of constraint
last year to Newton, at request of Lockhart; to Leslie at request of my
American friend;[112] to Wilkie, for his picture of the King's arrival
at Holyrood House; and some one besides. I am as tired of the operation
as old Maida, who had been so often sketched that he got up and went
away with signs of loathing whenever he saw an artist unfurl his paper
and handle his brushes. But this young man is civil and modest; and I
have agreed he shall sit in the room while I work, and take the best
likeness he can, without compelling me into fixed attitudes or the
yawning fatigues of an actual sitting. I think, if he has talent, he may
do more my way than in the customary mode; at least I can't have the
hang-dog look which the unfortunate Theseus has who is doomed to sit for
what seems an eternity.[113]

I wrought till two o'clock--indeed till I was almost nervous with
correcting and scribbling. I then walked, or rather was dragged, through
the snow by Tom Purdie, while Skene accompanied. What a blessing there
is in a man like Tom, whom no familiarity can spoil, whom you may scold
and praise and joke with, knowing the quality of the man is unalterable
in his love and reverence to his master. Use an ordinary servant in the
same way and he will be your master in a month. We should thank God for
the snow as well as summer flowers. This brushing exercise has put all
my nerves into tone again, which were really jarred with fatigue until
my very backbone seemed breaking. This comes of trying to do too much.
J.B.'s news are as good as possible.--Prudence, prudence, and all will
do excellently.

_January_ 8.--Frost and snow still. Write to excuse myself from
attending the funeral of my aunt, Mrs. Curle, which takes place
to-morrow at Kelso. She was a woman of the old Sandy-Knowe breed, with
the strong sense, high principle, and indifferent temper which belonged
to my father's family. She lived with great credit on a moderate income,
and, I believe, gave away a great deal of it.[114]

_January_ 9.--Mathews the comedian and his son came to spend a day at
Abbotsford. The last is a clever young man, with much of his father's
talent for mimicry. Rather forward though.[115] Mr. Scrope also came
out, which fills our house.

_January_ 10.--Bodily health, the mainspring of the microcosm, seems
quite restored. No more flinching or nervous fits, but the sound mind in
the sound body. What poor things does a fever-fit or an overflowing of
the bile make of the masters of creation!

The snow begins to fall thick this morning--

    "The landlord then aloud did say,
    As how he wished they would go away."

To have our friends shut up here would be rather too much of a good

The day cleared up and was very pleasant. Had a good walk and looked at
the curling. Mr. Mathews made himself very amusing in the evening. He
has the good-nature to show his accomplishments without pressing, and
without the appearance of feeling pain. On the contrary, I dare say he
enjoys the pleasure he communicates.

_January_ 11.--I got proof-sheets, in which it seems I have repeated a
whole passage of history which had been told before. James is in an
awful stew, and I cannot blame him; but then he should consider the
_hyoscyamus_ which I was taking, and the anxious botheration about the
money-market. However, as Chaucer says:--

    "There is na workeman
    That can bothe worken wel and hastilie;
    This must be done at leisure parfitly."[116]

_January_ 12.--Mathews last night gave us a very perfect imitation of
old Cumberland, who carried the poetic jealousy and irritability further
than any man I ever saw. He was a great flatterer too, the old rogue.
Will Erskine used to admire him. I think he wanted originality. A very
high-bred man in point of manners in society.

My little artist, Knight, gets on better with his portrait--the features
are, however, too pinched, I think.

Upon the whole, the days pass pleasantly enough--work till one or two,
then an hour or two's walk in the snow, then lighter work, or reading.
Late dinner, and singing or chat in the evening. Mathews has really all
the will, as well as the talent, to be amusing. He confirms my idea of
ventriloquism (which is an absurd word), as being merely the art of
imitating sounds at a greater or less distance, assisted by some little
points of trick to influence the imagination of the audience--the vulgar
idea of a peculiar organisation (beyond fineness of ear and of
utterance) is nonsense.

_January_ 13.--Our party are about to disperse--

    "Like youthful steers unyoked, east, north, and south."[117]

I am not sorry, being one of those whom too much mirth always inclines
to sadness. The missing so many of my own family, together with the
serious inconveniences to which I have been exposed, gave me at present
a desire to be alone. The Skenes return to Edinburgh, so does Mr.
Scrope--_item_, the little artist; Mathews to Newcastle; his son to
Liverpool. So _exeunt omnes._[118]

Mathews assures me that Sheridan was generally very dull in society, and
sate sullen and silent, swallowing glass after glass, rather a hindrance
than a help. But there was a time when he broke out with a resumption of
what had been going on, done with great force, and generally attacking
some person in the company, or some opinion which he had expressed. I
never saw Sheridan but in large parties. He had a Bardolph countenance,
with heavy features, but his eye possessed the most distinguished
brilliancy. Mathews says it is very simple in Tom Moore to admire how
Sheridan came by the means of paying the price of Drury Lane Theatre,
when all the world knows he never paid it at all; and that Lacy, who
sold it, was reduced to want by his breach of faith.[119] Dined quiet
with Anne, Lady Scott, and Gordon.

_January_ 14.--An odd mysterious letter from Constable, who is gone post
to London, to put something to rights which is wrong betwixt them, their
banker, and another moneyed friend. It strikes me to be that sort of
letter which I have seen men write when they are desirous that their
disagreeable intelligence should be rather apprehended than avowed. I
thought he had been in London a fortnight ago, disposing of property to
meet this exigence, and so I think he should. Well, I must have
patience. But these terrors and frights are truly annoying. Luckily the
funny people are gone, and I shall not have the task of grinning when I
am serious enough. Dined as yesterday.

A letter from J.B. mentioning Constable's journey, but without
expressing much, if any, apprehension. He knows C. well, and saw him
before his departure, and makes no doubt of his being able easily to
extricate whatever may be entangled. I will not, therefore, make myself
uneasy. I can help doing so surely, if I will. At least, I have given up
cigars since the year began, and have now no wish to return to the
habit, as it is called. I see no reason why one should not be able to
vanquish, with God's assistance, these noxious thoughts which foretell
evil but cannot remedy it.

_January_ 15.--Like yesterday, a hard frost. Thermometer at 10; water in
my dressing-room frozen to flint; yet I had a fine walk yesterday, the
sun dancing delightfully on "grim Nature's visage hoar."[120] Were it
not the plague of being dragged along by another person, I should like
such weather as well as summer; but having Tom Purdie to do this office
reconciles me to it. _I cannot cleik with John_, as old Mrs. Mure [of
Caldwell] used to say. I mean, that an ordinary menial servant thus
hooked to your side reminds me of the twin bodies mentioned by
Pitscottie, being two trunks on the same waist and legs. One died before
the other, and remained a dead burden on the back of its companion.[121]
Such is close union with a person whom you cannot well converse with,
and whose presence is yet indispensable to your getting on. An actual
companion, whether humble or your equal, is still worse. But Tom Purdie
is just the thing, kneaded up between the friend and servant, as well as
Uncle Toby's bowling-green between sand and clay. You are certain he is
proud as well as patient under his burthen, and you are under no more
constraint than with a pony. I must ride him to-day if the weather holds
up. Meantime I will correct that curious fellow Pepys' Diary,--I mean
the article I have made of it for the _Quarterly_.

_Edinburgh, January_ 16.--Came through cold roads to as cold news. Hurst
and Robinson have suffered a bill of £1000 to come back upon Constable,
which I suppose infers the ruin of both houses. We shall soon see.
Constable, it seems, who was to have set off in the last week of
December, dawdled here till in all human probability his going or
staying became a matter of mighty little consequence. He could not be
there till Monday night, and his resources must have come too late.
Dined with the Skenes.[122]

_January_ 17.--James Ballantyne this morning--good honest fellow, with a
visage as black as the crook.[123] He hopes no salvation; has indeed
taken measures to stop. It is hard, after having fought such a battle.
Have apologised for not attending the Royal Society Club, who have a
_gaudeamus_ on this day, and seemed to count much on my being the

My old acquaintance, Miss Elizabeth Clerk, sister of Willie, died
suddenly. I cannot choose but wish it had been S.W.S., and yet the
feeling is unmanly. I have Anne, my wife, and Charles to look after. I
felt rather sneaking as I came home from the Parliament House--felt as
if I were liable _monstrari digito_ in no very pleasant way. But this
must be borne _cum caeteris_; and, thank God, however uncomfortable, I
do not feel despondent.

I have seen Cadell, Ballantyne, and Hogarth. All advise me to execute a
trust of my property for payment of my obligations. So does John
Gibson,[124] and so I resolve to do. My wife and daughter are gloomy,
but yet patient. I trust by my hold on the works to make it every man's
interest to be very gentle with me. Cadell makes it plain that by
prudence they will, in six months, realise £20,000, which can be
attainable by no effort of their own.

_January_ 18.--He that sleeps too long in the morning, let him borrow
the pillow of a debtor. So says the Spaniard, and so say I. I had of
course an indifferent night of it. I wish these two days were over; but
the worst _is_ over. The Bank of Scotland has behaved very well;
expressing a resolution to serve Constable's house and me to the
uttermost; but as no one can say to what extent Hurst and Robinson's
failure may go, borrowing would but linger it out.

_January_ 19.--During yesterday I received formal visits from my
friends, Skene and Colin Mackenzie (who, I am glad to see, looks well),
with every offer of service. The Royal Bank also sent Sir John Hope and
Sir Henry Jardine[125] to offer to comply with my wishes. The Advocate
came on the same errand. But I gave all the same answer--that my
intention was to put the whole into the hands of a trustee, and to be
contented with the event, and that all I had to ask was time to do so,
and to extricate my affairs. I was assured of every accommodation in
this way. From all quarters I have had the same kindness. Letters from
Constable and Robinson have arrived. The last persist in saying they
will pay all and everybody. They say, moreover, in a postscript, that
had Constable been in town ten days sooner, all would have been well.
When I saw him on 24th December, he proposed starting in three days, but
dallied, God knows why, in a kind of infatuation, I think, till things
had got irretrievably wrong. There would have been no want of support
then, and his stock under his own management would have made a return
immensely greater than it can under any other. _Now_ I fear the loss
must be great, as his fall will involve many of the country dealers who
traded with him.

I feel quite composed and determined to labour. There is no remedy. I
_guess_ (as Mathews makes his Yankees say) that we shall not be troubled
with visitors, and I _calculate_ that I will not go out at all; so what
can I do better than labour? Even yesterday I went about making notes on
_Waverley_, according to Constable's plan. It will do good one day.
To-day, when I lock this volume, I go to W[oodstock]. Heigho!

Knight came to stare at me to complete his portrait. He must have read a
tragic page, compared to what he saw at Abbotsford.[126]

We dined of course at home, and before and after dinner I finished about
twenty printed pages of _Woodstock_, but to what effect others must
judge. A painful scene after dinner, and another after supper,
endeavouring to convince these poor dear creatures that they must not
look for miracles, but consider the misfortune as certain, and only to
be lessened by patience and labour.

_January_ 20.--Indifferent night--very bilious, which may be want of
exercise. A letter from Sir J. Sinclair, whose absurd vanity bids him
thrust his finger into every man's pie, proposing that Hurst and
Robinson should sell their prints, of which he says they have a large
collection, by way of lottery like Boydell.

    "In scenes like these which break our heart
    Comes Punch, like you and----"

_Mais pourtant, cultivons notre jardin_. The public favour is my only
lottery. I have long enjoyed the foremost prize, and something in my
breast tells me my evil genius will not overwhelm me if I stand by
myself. Why should I not? I have no enemies--many attached friends. The
popular ascendency which I have maintained is of the kind which is
rather improved by frequent appearances before the public. In fact,
critics may say what they will, but "_hain_ your reputation, and _tyne_
your reputation," is a true proverb.[127]

Sir William Forbes called--the same kind, honest friend as ever, with
all offers of assistance,[128] etc. etc. All anxious to serve me, and
careless about their own risk of loss. And these are the cold, hard,
money-making men whose questions and control I apprehended.

Lord Chief Commissioner Adam also came to see me, and the meeting,
though pleasing, was melancholy. It is the first time we have met since
the _break up_ of his hopes in the death of his eldest son on his return
from India, where he was Chief in Council and highly esteemed.[129] The
Commissioner is not a very early friend of mine, for I scarce knew him
till his settlement in Scotland with his present office.[130] But I have
since lived much with him, and taken kindly to him as one of the most
pleasant, kind-hearted, benevolent, and pleasing men I have ever known.
It is high treason among the Tories to express regard for him, or
respect for the Jury Court in which he presides. I was against that
experiment as much as any one. But it is an experiment, and the
establishment (which the fools will not perceive) is the only thing
which I see likely to give some prospects of ambition to our bar, which
has been otherwise so much diminished. As for the Chief Commissioner, I
dare say he jobs, as all other people of consequence do, in elections,
and so forth. But he is the personal friend of the King, and the decided
enemy of whatever strikes at the constitutional rights of the Monarch.
Besides, I love him for the various changes which he has endured through
life, and which have been so great as to make him entitled to be
regarded in one point of view as the most fortunate--in the other, the
most unfortunate--man in the world. He has gained and lost two fortunes
by the same good luck, and the same rash confidence, which raised, and
now threatens, my _peculium_. And his quiet, honourable, and generous
submission under circumstances more painful than mine,--for the loss of
world's wealth was to him aggravated by the death of his youngest and
darling son in the West Indies,--furnished me at the time and now with a
noble example. So the Tories and Whigs may go be d----d together, as
names that have disturbed old Scotland, and torn asunder the most kindly
feelings since the first day they were invented. Yes, ----- them, they
are spells to rouse all our angry passions, and I dare say,
notwithstanding the opinion of my private and calm moments, I will open
on the cry again so soon as something occurs to chafe my mood; and yet,
God knows, I would fight in honourable contest with word or blow for my
political opinions; but I cannot permit that strife to "mix its waters
with my daily meal," those waters of bitterness which poison all mutual
love and confidence betwixt the well-disposed on either side, and
prevent them, if need were, from making mutual concessions and balancing
the constitution against the ultras of both parties. The good man seems
something broken by these afflictions.

_January_ 21.--Susannah in _Tristram Shandy_ thinks death is best met in
bed. I am sure trouble and vexation are not. The watches of the night
pass wearily when disturbed by fruitless regrets and disagreeable
anticipations. But let it pass.

    "Well, Goodman Time, or blunt, or keen,
    Move thou quick, or take thy leisure,
    Longest day will have its e'en,
    Weariest life but treads a measure."

I have seen Cadell, who is very much downcast for the risk of their
copyrights being thrown away by a hasty sale. I suggested that if they
went very cheap, some means might be fallen on to keep up their value or
purchase them in. I fear the split betwixt Constable and Cadell will
render impossible what might otherwise be hopeful enough. It is the
Italian race-horses, I think, which, instead of riders, have spurs tied
to their sides, so as to prick them into a constant gallop. Cadell tells
me their gross profit was sometimes £10,000 a year, but much swallowed
up with expenses, and his partner's draughts, which came to £4000
yearly. What there is to show for this, God knows. Constable's apparent
expenses were very much within bounds.

Colin Mackenzie entered, and with his usual kindness engages to use his
influence to recommend some moderate proceeding to Constable's
creditors, such as may permit him to go on and turn that species of
property to account, which no man alive can manage so well as he.

Followed Mr. Gibson with a most melancholy tale. Things are so much
worse with Constable than I apprehended that I shall neither save
Abbotsford nor anything else. Naked we entered the world, and naked we
leave it--blessed be the name of the Lord!

_January_ 22.--I feel neither dishonoured nor broken down by the
bad--now really bad news I have received. I have walked my last on the
domains I have planted--sate the last time in the halls I have built.
But death would have taken them from me if misfortune had spared them.
My poor people whom I loved so well! There is just another die to turn
up against me in this run of ill-luck; _i.e._ if I should break my magic
wand in the fall from this elephant, and lose my popularity with my
fortune. Then _Woodstock_ and _Bony_ may both go to the paper-maker, and
I may take to smoking cigars and drinking grog, or turn devotee, and
intoxicate the brain another way. In prospect of absolute ruin, I wonder
if they would let me leave the Court of Session. I would like, methinks,
to go abroad,

    "And lay my bones far from the _Tweed_."

But I find my eyes moistening, and that will not do. I will not yield
without a fight for it. It is odd, when I set myself to work _doggedly_,
as Dr. Johnson would say, I am exactly the same man that I ever was,
neither low-spirited nor _distrait_. In prosperous times I have
sometimes felt my fancy and powers of language flag, but adversity is to
me at least a tonic and bracer; the fountain is awakened from its inmost
recesses, as if the spirit of affliction had troubled it in his passage.

Poor Mr. Pole the harper sent to offer me £500 or £600, probably his
all.[131] There is much good in the world, after all. But I will
involve no friend, either rich or poor. My own right hand shall do
it--else will I be _done_ in the slang language, and _undone_ in common

I am glad that, beyond my own family, who are, excepting L.S., young and
able to bear sorrow, of which this is the first taste to some of them,
most of the hearts are past aching which would have once been
inconsolable on this occasion. I do not mean that many will not
seriously regret, and some perhaps lament, my misfortunes. But my dear
mother, my almost sister, Christy R[utherfor]d,[132] poor Will
Erskine--these would have been mourners indeed.

Well--exertion--exertion. O Invention, rouse thyself! May man be kind!
May God be propitious! The worst is, I never quite know when I am right
or wrong; and Ballantyne, who does know in some degree, will fear to
tell me. Lockhart would be worth gold just now, but he too would be too
diffident to speak broad out. All my hope is in the continued indulgence
of the public. I have a funeral-letter to the burial of the Chevalier
Yelin, a foreigner of learning and talent, who has died at the Royal
Hotel. He wished to be introduced to me, and was to have read a paper
before the Royal Society when this introduction was to have taken place.
I was not at the Society that evening, and the poor gentleman was taken
ill at the meeting and unable to proceed. He went to his bed and never
rose again; and now his funeral will be the first public place I shall
appear at. He dead, and I ruined; this is what you call a meeting.[133]

_January_ 23.--Slept ill, not having been abroad these eight
days--_splendida bilis_. Then a dead sleep in the morning, and when the
awakening comes, a strong feeling how well I could dispense with it for
once and for ever. This passes away, however, as better and more dutiful
thoughts arise in my mind. I know not if my imagination has flagged;
probably it has; but at least my powers of labour have not diminished
during the last melancholy week. On Monday and Tuesday my exertions were
suspended. Since Wednesday inclusive I have written thirty-eight of my
close manuscript pages, of which seventy make a volume of the usual
Novel size.

Wrote till twelve A.M., finishing half of what I call a good day's
work--ten pages of print, or rather twelve. Then walked in Princes
Street pleasure-grounds with good Samaritan James Skene, the only one
among my numerous friends who can properly be termed _amicus curarum
mearum,_ others being too busy or too gay, and several being estranged
by habit.[134]

The walks have been conducted on the whole with much taste, though Skene
has undergone much criticism, the usual reward of public exertions, on
account of his plans. It is singular to walk close beneath the grim old
Castle, and to think what scenes it must have seen, and how many
generations of three score and ten have risen and passed away. It is a
place to cure one of too much sensation over earthly subjects of
mutation. My wife and girl's tongues are chatting in a lively manner in
the drawing-room. It does me good to hear them.

_January_ 24.--Constable came yesterday, and saw me for half an hour. He
seemed irritable, but kept his temper under command. Was a little
shocked when I intimated that I was disposed to regard the present works
in progress as my own. I think I saw two things:--(1) That he is
desirous to return into the management of his own affairs without
Cadell, if he can. (2) That he relies on my connection as the way of
helping us out of the slough. Indeed he said he was ruined utterly
without my countenance. I certainly will befriend him if I can, but
Constable without Cadell is like getting the clock without the
pendulum--the one having the ingenuity, the other the caution of the
business. I will see my way before making any bargain, and I will help
them, I am sure, if I can, without endangering my last cast for freedom.
Worked out my task yesterday. My kind friend Mrs. Coutts has got the
cadet-ship for Pringle Shortreed, in which he was peculiarly interested.

I went to the Court for the first time to-day, and, like the man with
the large nose, thought everybody was thinking of me and my mishaps.
Many were, undoubtedly, and all rather regrettingly; some obviously
affected. It is singular to see the difference of men's manner whilst
they strive to be kind or civil in their way of addressing me. Some
smile as they wish me good-day, as if to say, "Think nothing about it,
my lad; it is quite out of our thoughts." Others greeted me with the
affected gravity which one sees and despises at a funeral. The best
bred--all, I believe, meaning equally well--just shook hands and went
on. A foolish puff in the papers, calling on men and gods to assist a
popular author, who, having choused the public of many thousands, had
not the sense to keep wealth when he had it. If I am hard pressed, and
measures used against me, I must use all means of legal defence, and
subscribe myself bankrupt in a petition for sequestration. It is the
course I would have advised a client to take, and would have the effect
of saving my land, which is secured by my son's contract of marriage. I
might save my library, etc., by assistance of friends, and bid my
creditors defiance. But for this I would, in a court of honour, deserve
to lose my spurs. No, if they permit me, I will be their vassal for
life, and dig in the mine of my imagination to find diamonds (or what
may sell for such) to make good my engagements, not to enrich myself.
And this from no reluctance to allow myself to be called the Insolvent,
which I probably am, but because I will not put out of the [power] of my
creditors the resources, mental or literary, which yet remain to me.

Went to the funeral of Chevalier Yelin, the literary foreigner mentioned
on 22d. How many and how various are the ways of affliction! Here is
this poor man dying at a distance from home, his proud heart broken, his
wife and family anxiously expecting letters, and doomed only to learn
they have lost a husband and father for ever. He lies buried on the
Calton Hill, near learned and scientific dust--the graves of David Hume
and John Playfair being side by side.

_January_ 25.--Anne is ill this morning. May God help us! If it should
prove serious, as I have known it in such cases, where am I to find
courage or comfort? A thought has struck me--Can we do nothing for
creditors with the goblin drama, called _Fortunes of Devorgoil_? Could
it not be added to _Woodstock_ as a fourth volume? Terry refused a gift
of it, but he was quite and entirely wrong; it is not good, but it may
be made so. Poor Will Erskine liked it much.[135] Gave my wife her £12
allowance. £24 to last till Wednesday fortnight. _January_ 26.--Spoke
to J.B. last night about _Devorgoil_, who does not seem to relish the
proposal, alleging the comparative failure of _Halidon Hill_. Ay, says
Self-Conceit, but he has not read it; and when he does, it is the sort
of wild fanciful work betwixt heaven and earth, which men of solid parts
do not estimate. Pepys thought Shakespeare's _Midsummer Night's Dream_
the most silly play he had ever seen, and Pepys was probably judging on
the same grounds with J.B., though presumptuous enough to form
conclusions against a very different work from any of mine. How if I
send it to Lockhart by and by?

I called to-day at Constable's; both partners seemed secure that Hurst
and Robinson were to go on and pay. Strange that they should have
stopped. Constable very anxious to have husbanding of the books. I told
him the truth that I would be glad to have his assistance, and that he
should have the benefit of the agency, but that he was not to consider
past transactions as a rule for selling them in future, since I must
needs make the most out of the labours I could: _item_, that I, or
whoever might act for me, would of course, after what has happened, look
especially to the security. He said if Hurst and Robinson were to go on,
bank notes would be laid down. I conceive indeed that they would take
_Woodstock_ and _Napoleon_ almost at loss rather than break the
connection in the public eye. Sir William Arbuthnot and Mr. Kinnear were
very kind. But _cui bono_?[136]

Gibson comes with a joyful face announcing all the creditors had
unanimously agreed to a private trust. This is handsome and
confidential, and must warm my best efforts to get them out of the
scrape. I will not doubt--to doubt is to lose. Sir William Forbes took
the chair, and behaved as he has ever done, with the generosity of
ancient faith and early friendship. They[137] are deeper concerned than
most. In what scenes have Sir William and I not borne share
together--desperate, and almost bloody affrays, rivalries, deep
drinking-matches, and, finally, with the kindest feelings on both sides,
somewhat separated by his retiring much within the bosom of his family,
and I moving little beyond mine. It is fated our planets should cross
though, and that at the periods most interesting for me. Down--down--a
hundred thoughts.

Jane Russell drank tea with us.

I hope to sleep better to-night. If I do not I shall get ill, and then I
cannot keep my engagements. Is it not odd? I can command my eyes to be
awake when toil and weariness sit on my eyelids, but to draw the curtain
of oblivion is beyond my power. I remember some of the wild Buccaneers,
in their impiety, succeeded pretty well by shutting hatches and burning
brimstone and assafœtida in making a tolerable imitation of _hell_--but
the pirates' _heaven_ was a wretched affair. It is one of the worst
things about this system of ours, that it is a hundred times more easy
to inflict pain than to create pleasure.

_January_ 27.--Slept better and less bilious, owing doubtless to the
fatigue of the preceding night, and the more comfortable news. I drew my
salaries of various kinds amounting to £300 and upwards and sent, with
John Gibson's consent, £200 to pay off things at Abbotsford which must
be paid. Wrote Laidlaw with the money, directing him to make all
preparations for reduction.[138] Anne ill of rheumatism: I believe
caught cold by vexation and exposing herself to bad weather.

The Celtic Society present me with the most splendid broadsword I ever
saw; a beautiful piece of art, and a most noble weapon. Honourable Mr.
Stuart (second son of the Earl of Moray), General Graham Stirling, and
MacDougal, attended as a committee to present it. This was very kind of
my friends the Celts, with whom I have had so many merry meetings. It
will be a rare legacy to Walter;--for myself, good lack! it is like Lady
Dowager Don's prize in a lottery of hardware; she--a venerable lady who
always wore a haunch-hoop, silk négligé, and triple ruffles at the
elbow--having the luck to gain a pair of silver spurs and a whip to

_January_ 28.--Ballantyne and Cadell wish that Mr. Alex. Cowan should be
Constable's Trustee instead of J.B.'s. Gibson is determined to hold by
Cowan. I will not interfere, although I think Cowan's services might do
us more good as Constable's Trustee than as our own, but I will not
begin with thwarting the managers of my affairs, or even exerting strong
influence; it is not fair. These last four or five days I have wrought
little; to-day I set on the steam and ply my paddles.

_January_ 29.--The proofs of vol. i.[139] came so thick in yesterday
that much was not done. But I began to be hard at work to-day, and must
not _gurnalise_ much.

Mr. Jollie, who is to be my trustee, in conjunction with Gibson, came to
see me:--a, pleasant and good-humoured man, and has high reputation as a
man of business. I told him, and I will keep my word, that he would at
least have no trouble by my interfering and thwarting their management,
which is the not unfrequent case of trusters and trustees.[140]

Constable's business seems unintelligible. No man thought the house
worth less than £150,000. Constable told me when he was making his will
that he was worth £80,000. Great profits on almost all the adventures.
No bad speculations--yet neither stock nor debt to show: Constable might
have eaten up his share; but Cadell was very frugal. No doubt trading
almost entirely on accommodation is dreadfully expensive.[141]

_January_ 30.--_False delicacy_. Mr. Gibson, Mr. Cowan, Mr. J.B., were
with me last night to talk over important matters, and suggest an
individual for a certain highly confidential situation. I was led to
mention a person of whom I knew nothing but that he was an honest and
intelligent man. All seemed to acquiesce, and agreed to move the thing
to the party concerned this morning, and so Mr. G. and Mr. C. left me,
when J.B. let out that it was their unanimous opinion that we should be
in great trouble were the individual appointed, from faults of temper,
etc., which would make it difficult to get on with him. With a hearty
curse I hurried J.B. to let them know that I had no partiality for the
man whatever, and only named him because he had been proposed for a
similar situation elsewhere. This is provoking enough, that they would
let me embarrass my affairs with a bad man (an unfit one, I mean)
rather than contradict me. I dare say great men are often used so.

I laboured freely yesterday. The stream rose fast--if clearly, is
another question; but there is bulk for it, at least--about thirty
printed pages.

    "And now again, boys, to the oar."

_January_ 31.--There being nothing in the roll to-day, I stay at home
from the Court, and add another day's perfect labour to _Woodstock_,
which is worth five days of snatched intervals, when the current of
thought and invention is broken in upon, and the mind shaken and
diverted from its purpose by a succession of petty interruptions. I have
now no pecuniary provisions to embarrass me, and I think, now the shock
of the discovery is past and over, I am much better off on the whole; I
am as if I had shaken off from my shoulders a great mass of garments,
rich, indeed, but cumbrous, and always more a burden than a comfort. I
am free of an hundred petty public duties imposed on me as a man of
consideration--of the expense of a great hospitality--and, what is
better, of the great waste of time connected with it. I have known, in
my day, all kinds of society, and can pretty well estimate how much or
how little one loses by retiring from all but that which is very
intimate. I sleep and eat, and work as I was wont; and if I could see
those about me as indifferent to the loss of rank as I am, I should be
completely happy. As it is, Time must salve that sore, and to Time I
trust it.

Since the 14th of this month no guest has broken bread in my house save
G.H. Gordon[142] one morning at breakfast. This happened never before
since I had a house of my own. But I have played Abou Hassan long
enough; and if the Caliph came I would turn him back again.


[107] The parsimonious yet liberal London merchant, whose miserly habits
gave Arbuthnot the materials of the story. See Professor Brown's
_Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind_, vol i. p. 244, and
Martin Scriblerns, cap. xii., Pope, vol. iv. p. 54, Edin. 1776.

[108] This plantation now covers the remains of an old Roman road from
the Great Camp on the Eildon Hills to the ford below Scott's

[109] The residence for several years of Mr. and Mrs. Lockhart.

[110] When settling his estate on his eldest son, Sir Walter had
retained the power of burdening it with £10,000 for behoof of his
younger children; he now raised the sum for the assistance of the
struggling firms.--J.G.L. See Dec. 14, 1825.

[111] William Scrope, author of _Days of Deer Stalking_, roy. 8vo, 1839;
and _Days and Nights of Salmon Fishing_, roy. 8vo, 1843; died in his
81st year in 1852. Mr. Lockhart says of this enthusiastic sportsman that
at this time "he had a lease of Lord Somerville's pavilion opposite
Melrose, and lived on terms of affectionate intimacy with Sir Walter

[112] Mr. George Ticknor of Boston. He saw much of Scott and his family
in the spring of 1819 in Edinburgh and at Abbotsford; and was again in
Scotland in 1838. Both visits are well described in his journals,
published in Boston in 1876.

Mrs. Lockhart was of opinion that Leslie's portrait of her father was
the best extant, "and nothing equals it except Chantrey's
bust."--Ticknor's _Life_, vol. i. p. 107.

Leslie himself thought Chantrey's was the best of all the portraits.
"The gentle turn of the head, inclined a little forward and down, and
the lurking humour in the eye and about the mouth, are Scott's
own."--_Autobiographical Recollections of Leslie_, edited by Taylor,
vol. i. p. 118.

[113] ... sedet, eternumque sedebit Infelix Theseus ... VIRGIL.--J.G.L.

[114] In a letter of this date to his sister-in-law, Mrs. Thomas Scott,
Sir Walter says:--"Poor aunt Curle died like a Roman, or rather like one
of the Sandy-Knowe bairns, the most stoical race I ever knew. She turned
every one out of the room, and drew her last breath alone. So did my
uncle, Captain Robert Scott, and several others of that family."--J.G.L.

[115] See letter addressed by C.J. Mathews to his mother, in which he
says, "I took particular notice of everything in the room (Sir Walter's
sanctum), and _if he had left me there, should certainly have read all
his notes_." _Memoirs_, edited by Dickens, 2 vols., London, 1879, vol.
i. p. 284.

[116] _Merchant's Tale_, lines 9706-8, slightly altered.

[117] 2 _King Henry IV_., Act iv. Sc. 2.--J.G.L.

[118] "I had long been in the habit of passing the Christmas with Sir
Walter in the country, when he had great pleasure in assembling what he
called 'a fireside party,' where he was always disposed to indulge in
the free and unrestrained outpouring of his cheerful and convivial
disposition. Upon one of these occasions the Comedian Mathews and his
son were at Abbotsford, and most entertaining they were, giving us a
full display of all their varied powers in scenic representations,
narrations, songs, ventriloquism, and frolic of every description, as
well as a string of most amusing anecdote, connected with the
professional adventures of the elder, and the travels of the son, who
seemed as much a genius as his father. He has never appeared on the
stage, although abundantly fit to distinguish himself in that
department, but has taken to the profession of architecture.
Notwithstanding that the snow lay pretty deep on the ground, Sir Walter,
old Mathews, and myself set out with the deerhounds and terriers to have
a large range through the woods and high grounds; and a most amusing
excursion it was, from the difficulties which Mathews, unused to that
sort of scrambling, had to encounter, being also somewhat lame from an
accident he had met with in being thrown out of a gig,--the
good-humoured manner with which each of my two lame companions strove to
get over the bad passes, their jokes upon it, alternately shouting for
my assistance to help them through, and with all the liveliness of their
conversation, as every anecdote which one told was in emulation tried to
be outdone by the other by some incident equally if not more
entertaining,--and it may be well supposed that the healthful exercise
of a walk of this description disposed every one to enjoy the festivity
which was to close the day."--_Mr. Skene's Reminiscences_.

[119] See Moore's _Life of Sheridan_, vol. i. p. 191. This work was
published late in 1825.--J.G.L.

[120] Burns's _Vision_.--J.G.L.

[121] Lindsay's _Chronicles of Scotland_ 2 vols. Edin. 1814, pp. 246-7.

[122] Mr. Skene in his _Reminiscences_ says:--"The family had been at
Abbotsford, and it had long been their practice the day they came to
town to take a family dinner at my house, which had accordingly been
complied with upon the present occasion, and I never had seen Sir Walter
in better spirits or more agreeable. The fatal intimation of his
bankruptcy, however, awaited him at home, and next morning early I was
surprised by a verbal message to come to him as soon as I had got up.
Fearful that he had got a fresh attack of the complaint from which he
had now for some years been free, or that he had been involved in some
quarrel, I went to see him by seven o'clock, and found him already by
candle-light seated at his writing-table, surrounded by papers which he
was examining, holding out his hand to me as I entered, he said, "Skene,
this is the hand of a beggar. Constable has failed, and I am ruined _de
fond en comble_. It's a hard blow, but I must just bear up; the only
thing which wrings me is poor Charlotte and the bairns.""

[123] _Crook_. The chain and hook hanging from the crook-tree over the
fire in Scottish cottages.

[124] [Sir Walter's private law-agent.] Mr. John Gibson, Junr., W.S.,
Mr. James Jollie, W.S., and Mr. Alexander Monypenny, W.S., were the
three gentlemen who ultimately agreed to take charge, as trustees, of
Sir Walter Scott's affairs; and certainly no gentlemen ever acquitted
themselves of such an office in a manner more honourable to themselves,
or more satisfactory to a client and his creditors.--J.G.L. Mr. Gibson
wrote a little volume of _Reminiscences of Scott_, which was published
in 1871. This old friend died in 1879. "In the month of January 1826,"
says Mr. Gibson, "Sir Walter called upon me, and explained how matters
stood with the two houses referred to, adding that he himself was a
partner in one of them--that bills were falling due and dishonoured--and
that some immediate arrangement was indispensably necessary. In such
circumstances, only two modes of proceeding could be thought of--either
that he should avail himself of the Bankrupt Act, and allow his estate
to be sequestrated, or that he should execute a trust conveyance for
behoof of his creditors. The latter course was preferred for various
reasons, but chiefly out of regard for his own feeling."
_Reminiscences_, p. 12. See entry in Journal under Jan. 24.

[125] Sir John Hope of Pinkie and Craighall, 11th Baronet; Sir Henry
Jardine, King's Remembrancer from 1820 to 1837; and Sir William Rae,
Lord Advocate, son of Lord Eskgrove, were all Directors of the Royal
Bank of Scotland.

[126] John Prescott Knight, the young artist referred to, afterwards
R.A., and Secretary to the Academy, wrote (in 1871) to Sir William
Stirling Maxwell, an interesting account of the picture and its
accidental destruction on the very day of Sir Walter's death. _Scott
Exhibition Catalogue_, 4to, Edin. p. 199. Mr. Knight died in 1881.

[127] To _hain_ anything is, _Anglicè_, to deal very carefully,
penuriously about it--_tyne_, to lose. Scott often used to say "hain a
pen and tyne a pen," which is nearer the proverb alluded to.--J.G.L.

[128] The late Sir William Forbes, Baronet, succeeded his father (the
biographer of Beattie) as chief of the head private banking-house in
Edinburgh. Scott's amiable friend died 24th Oct. 1828.--J.G.L.

[129] John Adam, Esq., died on shipboard on his passage homewards from
Calcutta, 4th June 1825.--J.G.L.

[130] The Right Hon. W. Adam of Blairadam, born in 1751. When trial by
Jury in civil cases was introduced into Scotland in 1815, he was made
Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court, which office he held till 1830.

Mr. Lockhart adds (_Life_, vol. v. p. 46): "This most amiable and
venerable gentleman, my dear and kind friend, died at Edinburgh, on the
17th February 1839, in the 89th year of his age. He retained his strong
mental faculties in their perfect vigour 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."

[131] Mr. Pole had long attended Sir Walter Scott's daughters as teacher
of the harp. In the end Scott always spoke of his conduct as the most
affecting circumstance that accompanied his disasters.--J.G.L. For Mr.
Pole's letter see _Life_, vol. viii. p. 205. Mr. Pole went to live in
England and died at Kensington.

[132] Scott's mother's sister. See _Life_, vols. i., iii., v., and vi.

[133] Chevalier Yelin, the friend and travelling companion of Baron
D'Eichthal, was a native of Bavaria. His wife had told him playfully
that he must not leave Scotland without having seen the great bard; and
he prolonged his stay in Edinburgh until Scott's return, hoping to meet
him at the Royal Society on this evening.

[134] On the morning of this day Sir Walter wrote the following note to
his friend:--

"DEAR SKENE,--If you are disposed for a walk in your gardens any time
this morning, I would gladly accompany you for an hour, since keeping
the house so long begins rather to hurt me, and you, who supported the
other day the weight of my body, are perhaps best disposed to endure the
gloom of my mind.--Yours ever, W.S.

"CASTLE STREET, 23 _January_.

"I will call when you please: all hours after twelve are the same to

On his return from this walk, Mr. Skene wrote out his recollections of
the conversation that had taken place. Of his power to rebuild his
shattered fortunes, Scott said, "'But woe's me, I much mistrust my
vigour, for the best of my energies are already expended. You have seen,
my dear Skene, the Roman coursers urged to their speed by a loaded spur
attached to their backs to whet the rusty metal of their ager--ay! it is
a leaden spur indeed, and it goads hard.'

"I added, 'But what do you think, Scott, of the bits of flaming paper
that are pasted on the flanks of the poor jades? If we could but stick
certain small documents on your back, and set fire to them, I think you
might submit for a time to the pricking of the spur.' He laughed, and
said, 'Ay! Ay!--these weary bills, if they were but as the thing that is
not--come, cheer me up with an account of the Roman Carnival.' And,
accordingly, with my endeavour to do so, he seemed as much interested as
if nothing had happened to discompose the usual tenor of his mind, but
still our conversation ever and anon dropt back into the same subject,
in the course of which he said to me, 'Do you know I experience a sort
of determined pleasure in confronting the very worst aspect of this
sudden reverse,--in standing, as it were, in the breach that has
overthrown my fortunes, and saying, Here I stand, at least an honest
man. And God knows, if I have enemies, this I may at least with truth
say, that I have never wittingly given cause of enmity in the whole
course of my life, for even the burnings of political hate seemed to
find nothing in my nature to feed the flame. I am not conscious of
having borne a grudge towards any man, and at this moment of my
overthrow, so help me God, I wish well and feel kindly to every one. And
if I thought that any of my works contained a sentence hurtful to any
one's feelings, I would burn it. I think even my novels (for he did not
disown any of them) are free from that blame.'

"He had been led to make this protestation from my having remarked to
him the singularly general feeling of goodwill and sympathy towards him
which every one was anxious to testify upon the present occasion. The
sentiments of resignation and of cheerful acquiescence in the
dispensation of the Almighty which he expressed were those of a
Christian thankful for the blessings left, and willing, without
ostentation, to do his best. It was really beautiful to see the workings
of a strong and upright mind under the first lash of adversity calmly
reposing upon the consolation afforded by his own integrity and manful
purposes. 'Lately,' he said, 'you saw me under the apprehension of the
decay of my mental faculties, and I confess that I was under mortal fear
when I found myself writing one word for another, and misspelling every
word, but that wore off, and was perhaps occasioned by the effects of
the medicine I had been taking, but have I not reason to be thankful
that that misfortune did not assail me?--Ay! few have more reason to
feel grateful to the Disposer of all events than I have.'"--_Mr. Skene's

[135] "The energy with which Sir Walter had set about turning his
resources, both present and past, to immediate account, with a view to
prove to his creditors, with as little delay as possible, that all that
could depend upon himself should be put in operation to retrieve his
affairs, made him often reluctant to quit his study however much he
found himself exhausted. However, the employment served to occupy his
mind, and prevent its brooding over the misfortune which had befallen
him, and joined to the natural contentedness of his disposition
prevented any approach of despondency. 'Here is an old effort of mine to
compose a melo-drama' (showing me one day a bundle of papers which he
had found in his repositories). 'This trifle would have been long ago
destroyed had it not been for our poor friend Kinnedder, who arrested my
hand as he thought it not bad, and for his sake it was kept. I have just
read it over, and, do you know, with some satisfaction. Faith, I have
known many worse things make their way very well in the world, so, God
willing, it shall e'en see the light, if it can do aught in the hour of
need to help the hand that fashioned it.' Upon asking the name of this
production, he said, 'I suspect I must change it, having already
forestalled it by the _Fortunes of Nigel_. I had called it the _Fortunes
of Devorgoil_, but we must not begin to double up in that way, for if
you leave anything hanging loose, you may be sure that some malicious
devil will tug at it. I think I shall call it _The Doom of Devorgoil_.
It will make a volume of itself, and I do not see why it should not come
out by particular desire as a fourth volume to _Woodstock_. They have
some sort of connection, and it would not be a difficult matter to bind
the connection a little closer. As the market goes, I have no doubt of
the Bibliopolist pronouncing it worth £1000, or £1500.' I asked him if
he meant it for the stage. 'No, no; the stage is a sorry job, that
course will not do for these hard days; besides, there is too much
machinery in the piece for the stage.' I observed that I was not sure of
that, for pageant and machinery was the order of the day, and had
Shakespeare been of this date he might have been left to die a
deer-stealer. 'Well, then, with all my heart, if they can get the beast
to lead or to drive, they may bring it on the stage if they like. It is
a sort of goblin tale, and so was the _Castle Spectre_, which had its
run.' I asked him if the _Castle Spectre_ had yielded Lewis much.
'Little of that, in fact to its author absolutely nothing, and yet its
merits ought to have brought something handsome to poor Mat. But
Sheridan, then manager, you know, generally paid jokes instead of cash,
and the joke that poor Mat got was, after all, not a bad one. Have you
heard it? Don't let me tell you a story you know.' As I had not heard
it, he proceeded. 'Well, they were disputing about something, and Lewis
had clenched his argument by proposing to lay a bet about it. I shall
lay what you ought long ago to have paid me for my _Castle, Spectre_.'
"No, no, Mat," said Sheridan, "I never lay large bets; but come, I will
bet a trifle with you--I'll bet what the _Castle Spectre_ was worth."
Now Constable managed differently; he paid well and promptly, but devil
take him, it was all spectral together. Moonshine and no merriment. He
sowed my field with one hand, and as liberally scattered the tares with
the other.'"--_Mr. Skene's Reminiscences._

[136] These two gentlemen were at this time Directors of the Bank of

[137] Sir W. Forbes and Co.'s Banking House.

[138] An extract from what is probably the letter to Laidlaw written on
this day was printed in _Chambers's Journal_ for July 1845. The italics
are the editor's:--

"For you, my dear friend, we must part--that is, as laird and
factor--and it rejoices me to think that your patience and endurance,
which set me so good an example, are like to bring round better days.
You never flattered my prosperity, and in my adversity it is not the
least painful consideration that I cannot any longer be useful to you.
But Kaeside, I hope, will still be your residence, and I will have the
advantage of your company and advice, and probably your service as
amanuensis. Observe, I am not in indigence, though no longer in
affluence, and if I am to exert myself in the common behalf, I must have
honorable and easy means of life, although it will be my inclination to
observe the most strict privacy, the better to save expense, and also
time. Lady Scott's spirits were affected at first, but she is getting
better. _For myself, I feel_ _like the Eildon Hills--quite firm, though
a little cloudy._

"I do not dislike the path which lies before me. I have seen all that
society can show, and enjoyed all that wealth can give me, and I am
satisfied much is vanity, if not vexation of spirit. What can I say
more, except that I will write to you the instant I know what is to be

[139] _Life of Bonaparte_. (?)

[140] "In the management of his Trust," Mr. Gibson remarks, "everything
went on harmoniously--the chief labour devolving upon myself, but my
co-Trustees giving their valuable aid and advice when
required."--_Reminiscences_, p. 16.

[141] The total liabilities of the three firms amounted in round numbers
to nearly half-a-million sterling. Sir Walter, as the partner of
Ballantyne and Co., was held responsible for about £130,000;--this large
sum was ultimately paid in full by Scott and his representatives. The
other two firms paid their creditors about 10 per cent, of the amounts
due. It must be kept in mind, however, as far as Constable's house was
concerned, that their property appears to have been foolishly sacrificed
by forced sales of copyrights and stock.

[142] Mr. Gordon was at this time Scott's amanuensis; he _copied_, that
is to say, the MS. for press.--J.G.L.


_February_ 1.--A most generous letter (though not more so than I
expected) from Walter and Jane, offering to interpose with their
fortune, etc. God Almighty forbid! that were too unnatural in me to
accept, though dutiful and affectionate in them to offer. They talk of
India still. With my damaged fortune I cannot help them to remain by
exchange, and so forth. He expects, if they go, to go out eldest
Captain, when, by staying two or three years, he will get the step of
Major. His whole thoughts are with his profession, and I understand that
when you quit or exchange, when a regiment goes on distant or
disagreeable service, you are not accounted as serious in your
profession; God send what is for the best! Remitted Charles a bill for
£40--£35 advance at Christmas makes £75. He must be frugal.

Attended the Court, and saw J.B. and Cadell as I returned. Both very
gloomy. Came home to work, etc., about two.

_February_ 2.--An odd visit this morning from Miss Jane Bell of North
Shields, whose law-suit with a Methodist parson of the name of Hill made
some noise. The worthy divine had in the basest manner interfered to
prevent this lady's marriage by two anonymous letters, in which he
contrived to refer the lover, to whom they were addressed, for further
corroboration to _himself_. The whole imposition makes the subject of a
little pamphlet published by Marshall, Newcastle. The lady ventured for
redress into the thicket of English law--lost one suit--gained another,
with £300 damages, and was ruined. The appearance and person of Miss
Bell are prepossessing. She is about thirty years old, a brunette, with
regular and pleasing features, marked with melancholy,--an enthusiast in
literature, and probably in religion. She had been at Abbotsford to see
me, and made her way to me here, in the vain hope that she could get her
story worked up into a novel; and certainly the thing is capable of
interesting situations. It throws a curious light upon the aristocratic
or rather hieratic influence exercised by the Methodist preachers within
the _connection_, as it is called. Admirable food this would be for the
_Quarterly_, or any other reviewers who might desire to feed fat their
grudge against these sectarians. But there are two reasons against such
a publication. First, it would do the poor sufferer no good. Secondly,
it might hurt the Methodistic connection very much, which I for one
would not like to injure. They have their faults, and are peculiarly
liable to those of hypocrisy, and spiritual ambition, and priestcraft.
On the other hand, they do infinite good, carrying religion into classes
in society where it would scarce be found to penetrate, did it rely
merely upon proof of its doctrines, upon calm reasoning, and upon
rational argument. Methodists add a powerful appeal to the feelings and
passions; and though I believe this is often exaggerated into absolute
enthusiasm, yet I consider upon the whole they do much to keep alive a
sense of religion, and the practice of morality necessarily connected
with it. It is much to the discredit of the Methodist clergy, that when
this calumniator was actually convicted of guilt morally worse than many
men are hanged for, they only degraded him from the _first_ to the
_second_ class of their preachers,--leaving a man who from mere hatred
at Miss Bell's brother, who was a preacher like himself, had proceeded
in such a deep and infamous scheme to ruin the character and destroy the
happiness of an innocent person, in possession of the pulpit, and an
authorised teacher of others. If they believed him innocent they did too
much--if guilty, far too little.[143]

I wrote to my nephew Walter to-day, cautioning him against a little
disposition which he has to satire or _méchanceté_, which may be a great
stumbling-block in his course in life. Otherwise I presage well of him.
He is lieutenant of engineers, with high character for mathematical
science--is acute, very well-mannered, and, I think, good-hearted. He
has seen enough of the world too, to regulate his own course through
life, better than most lads at his age.

_February_ 3.--This is the first morning since my troubles that I felt
at awaking

    "I had drunken deep
    Of all the blessedness of sleep."[144]

I made not the slightest pause, nor dreamed a single dream, nor even
changed my side. This is a blessing to be grateful for. There is to be a
meeting of the creditors to-day, but I care not for the issue. If they
drag me into the Court, _obtorto collo_, instead of going into this
scheme of arrangement, they would do themselves a great injury, and,
perhaps, eventually do me good, though it would give me much pain. James
Ballantyne is severely critical on what he calls imitations of Mrs.
Radcliffe in _Woodstock_. Many will think with him, yet I am of opinion
he is quite wrong, or, as friend J. F[errier] says, _vrong_[145] In the
first place, I am to look on the mere fact of another author having
treated a subject happily as a bird looks on a potato-bogle which scares
it away from a field otherwise as free to its depredations as any one's
else! In 2d place, I have taken a wide difference: my object is not to
excite fear of supernatural tilings in my reader, but to show the effect
of such fear upon the agents in the story--one a man of sense and
firmness--one a man unhinged by remorse--one a stupid uninquiring
clown--one a learned and worthy, but superstitious divine. In the third
place, the book turns on this hinge, and cannot want it. But I will try
to insinuate the refutation of Aldiboronti's exception into the
prefatory matter.

From the 19th January to the 2d February inclusive is exactly fifteen
days, during which time, with the intervention of some days' idleness,
to let imagination brood on the task a little, I have written a volume.
I think, for a bet, I could have done it in ten days. Then I must have
had no Court of Session to take me up two or three hours every morning,
and dissipate my attention and powers of working for the rest of the
day. A volume, at cheapest, is worth £1000. This is working at the rate
of £24,000 a year; but then we must not bake buns faster than people
have appetite to eat them. They are not essential to the market, like

John Gibson came to tell me in the evening that a meeting to-day had
approved of the proposed trust. I know not why, but the news gives me
little concern. I heard it as a party indifferent. I remember hearing
that Mandrin[146] testified some horror when he found himself bound
alive on the wheel, and saw an executioner approach with a bar of iron
to break his limbs. After the second and third blow he fell a-laughing,
and being asked the reason by his confessor, said he laughed at his own
folly which had anticipated increased agony at every blow, when it was
obvious that the _first_ must have jarred and confounded the system of
the nerves so much as to render the succeeding blows of little
consequence. I suppose it is so with the moral feelings; at least I
could not bring myself to be anxious whether these matters were settled
one way or another.

_February_ 4.--Wrote to Mr. Laidlaw to come to town upon Monday and see
the trustees. To farm or not to farm, that is the question. With our
careless habits, it were best, I think, to risk as little as possible.
Lady Scott will not exceed with ready money in her hand; but calculating
on the produce of a farm is different, and neither she nor I are capable
of that minute economy. Two cows should be all we should keep. But I
find Lady S. inclines much for the four. If she had her youthful
activity, and could manage things, it would be well, and would amuse
her. But I fear it is too late a week.

Returned from Court by Constable's, and found Cadell had fled to the
sanctuary, being threatened with ultimate diligence by the Bank of
Scotland. If this be a vindictive movement, it is harsh, useless, and
bad of them, and flight, on the contrary, seems no good sign on his
part. I hope he won't prove his father or grandfather at Prestonpans:--

    "Cadell dressed among the rest,
      Wi' gun and good claymore, man,
    On gelding grey he rode that day,
      Wi' pistols set before, man.
    The cause was gude, he'd spend his blude
      Before that he would yield, man,
    But the night before he left the corps,
      And never faced the field, man."[147]

Harden and Mrs. Scott called on Mamma. I was abroad. Henry called on me.
Wrote only two pages (of manuscript) and a half to-day. As the boatswain
said, one can't dance always _nowther_, but, were we sure of the
quality of the stuff, what opportunities for labour does this same
system of retreat afford us! I am convinced that in three years I could
do more than in the last ten, but for the mine being, I fear, exhausted.
Give me my popularity--_an awful postulate!_--and all my present
difficulties shall be a joke in five years; and it is _not_ lost yet, at

_February_ 5.--Rose after a sound sleep, and here am I without bile or
anything to perturb my inward man. It is just about three weeks since so
great a change took place in my relations in society, and already I am
indifferent to it. But I have been always told my feelings of joy and
sorrow, pleasure and pain, enjoyment and privation, are much colder than
those of other people.

     "I think the Romans call it stoicism."[148]

Missie was in the drawing-room, and overheard William Clerk and me
laughing excessively at some foolery or other in the back-room, to her
no small surprise, which she did not keep to herself. But do people
suppose that he was less sorry for his poor sister,[149] or I for my
lost fortune? If I have a very strong passion in the world, it is
_pride_, and that never hinged upon world's gear, which was always with
me--Light come, light go.

_February_ 6.--Letters received yesterday from Lord Montagu, John
Morritt, and Mrs. Hughes--kind and dear friends all--with solicitous
inquiries. But it is very tiresome to tell my story over again, and I
really hope I have few more friends intimate enough to ask me for it. I
dread letter-writing, and envy the old hermit of Prague, who never saw
pen or ink. What then? One must write; it is a part of the law we live
on. Talking of writing, I finished my six pages, neat and handsome,
yesterday. _N.B._ At night I fell asleep, and the oil dropped from the
lamp upon my manuscript. Will this extreme unction make it go smoothly
down with the public?

    Thus idly we "profane the sacred time"
    By silly prose, light jest, and lighter rhyme.[150]

I have a song to write, too, and I am not thinking of it. I trust it
will come upon me at once--a sort of catch it should be.[151] I walked
out, feeling a little overwrought. Saw Constable and turned over
Clarendon. Cadell not yet out of hiding. This is simple work. Obliged to
borrow £240, to be refunded in spring, from John Gibson, to pay my
nephew's outfit and passage to Bombay. I wish I could have got this
money otherwise, but I must not let the orphan boy, and such a clever
fellow, miscarry through my fault. His education, etc., has been at my
expense ever since he came from America.

_February_ 7.--Had letters yesterday from Lady Davy and Lady Louisa
Stuart,[152] two very different persons. Lady Davy, daughter and
co-heiress of a wealthy Antigua merchant, has been known to me all my
life. Her father was a relation of ours of a Scotch calculation. He was
of a good family, Kerr of Bloodielaws, but decayed. Miss Jane Kerr
married first Mr. Apreece, son of a Welsh Baronet. The match was not
happy. I had lost all acquaintance with her for a long time, when about
twenty years ago we renewed it in London. She was then a widow, gay,
clever, and most actively ambitious to play a distinguished part in
London society. Her fortune, though handsome and easy, was not large
enough to make way by dint of showy entertainments, and so forth. So she
took the _blue_ line, and by great tact and management actually
established herself as a leader of literary fashion. Soon after, she
visited Edinburgh for a season or two, and studied the Northern Lights.
One of the best of them, poor Jack Playfair,[153] was disposed "to shoot
madly from his sphere,"[154] and, I believe, asked her, but he was a
little too old. She found a fitter husband in every respect in Sir
Humphry Davy, to whom she gave a handsome fortune, and whose splendid
talents and situation as President of the Royal Society gave her
naturally a distinguished place in the literary society of the
Metropolis. Now this is a very curious instance of an active-minded
woman forcing her way to the point from which she seemed furthest
excluded. For, though clever and even witty, she had no peculiar
accomplishment, and certainly no good taste either for science or
letters naturally. I was once in the Hebrides with her, and I admired to
observe how amidst sea-sickness, fatigue, some danger, and a good deal
of indifference as to what she saw, she gallantly maintained her
determination to see everything.[155] It marked her strength of
character, and she joined to it much tact, and always addressed people
on the right side. So she stands high, and deservedly so, for to these
active qualities, more French I think than English, and partaking of the
Creole vivacity and suppleness of character, she adds, I believe,
honourable principles and an excellent heart. As a lion-catcher, I could
pit her against the world. She flung her lasso (see Hall's _South
America_) over Byron himself. But then, poor soul, she is not happy. She
has a temper, and Davy has a temper, and these tempers are not one
temper, but two tempers, and they quarrel like cat and dog, which may
be good for stirring up the stagnation of domestic life, but they let
the world see it, and that is not so well. Now in all this I may be
thought a little harsh on my friend, but it is between my _Gurnal_ and
me, and, moreover, I would cry heartily if anything were to ail my
little cousin, though she be addicted to rule the Cerulean
atmosphere.[156] Then I suspect the cares of this as well as other
empires overbalance its pleasures. There must be difficulty in being
always in the right humour to hold a court. There are usurpers to be
encountered, and insurrections to be put down, an incessant troop,
_bienséances_ to be discharged, a sort of etiquette which is the curse
of all courts. An old lion cannot get hamstrung quietly at four hundred
miles distance, but the Empress must send him her condolence and a pot
of lipsalve. To be sure the monster is consanguinean, as Sir Toby

Looked in at Constable's coming home; Cadell emerged from Alsatia;
borrowed Clarendon. Home by half-past twelve.

My old friend Sir Peter Murray[158] called to offer his own assistance,
Lord Justice-Clerk's, and Abercromby's, to negotiate for me a seat upon
the Bench [of the Court of Session] instead of my Sheriffdom and
Clerkship. I explained to him the use which I could make of my pen was
not, I thought, consistent with that situation; and that, besides, I had
neglected the law too long to permit me to think of it; but this was
kindly and honourably done. I can see people think me much worse off
than I think myself. They may be right; but I will not be beat till I
have tried a rally, and a bold one.

_February_ 8.--Slept ill, and rather bilious in the morning. Many of the
Bench now are my juniors. I will not seek _ex eleemosynâ_ a place
which, had I turned my studies that way, I might have aspired to long
ago _ex meritis_. My pen should do much better for me than the odd £1000
a year. If it fails, I will lean on what they leave me. Another chance
might be, if it fails, in the patronage which might, after a year or
two, place me in Exchequer. But I do not count on this unless, indeed,
the D[uke] of B[uccleuch], when he comes of age, should choose to make

Got to my work again, and wrote easier than the two last days.

Mr. Laidlaw[159] came in from Abbotsford and dined with us. We spent the
evening in laying down plans for the farm, and deciding whom we should
keep and whom dismiss among the people. This we did on the true
negro-driving principle of self-interest, the only principle I know
which _never_ swerves from its objects. We chose all the active, young,
and powerful men, turning old age and infirmity adrift. I cannot help
this, for a guinea cannot do the work of five; but I will contrive to
make it easier to the sufferers.

_February_ 9.--A stormy morning, lowering and blustering, like our
fortunes. _Mea virtute me involvo._ But I must say to the Muse of
fiction, as the Earl of Pembroke said to the ejected nuns of Wilton, "Go
spin, you jades, go spin!" Perhaps she has no _tow_ on her _rock_.[160]
When I was at Kilkenny last year we went to see a nunnery, but could not
converse with the sisters because they were in strict retreat. I was
delighted with the red-nosed Padre, who showed us the place with a sort
of proud, unctuous humiliation, and apparent dereliction of the world,
that had to me the air of a complete Tartuffe; a strong, sanguine,
square-shouldered son of the Church, whom a Protestant would be apt to
warrant against any sufferings he was like to sustain by privation. My
purpose, however, just now was to talk of the "strict retreat," which
did not prevent the nuns from walking in their little garden, breviary
in hand, peeping at us, and allowing us to peep at them. Well, now, _we_
are in _strict retreat_; and if we had been so last year, instead of
gallivanting to Ireland, this affair might not have befallen--if
literary labour could have prevented it. But who could have suspected
Constable's timbers to have been rotten from the beginning?

Visited the Exhibition on my way home from the Court. The new rooms are
most splendid, and several good pictures. The Institution has subsisted
but five years, and it is astonishing how much superior the worst of the
present collection are to the teaboard-looking things which first
appeared. John Thomson, of Duddingston, has far the finest picture in
the Exhibition, of a large size--subject _Dunluce_, a ruinous castle of
the Antrim family, near the Giant's Causeway, with one of those terrible
seas and skies which only Thomson can paint. Found Scrope there
improving a picture of his own, an Italian scene in Calabria. He is, I
think, greatly improved, and one of the very best amateur painters I
ever saw--Sir George Beaumont scarcely excepted. Yet, hang it, _I do_
except Sir George.

I would not write to-day after I came home. I will not say could not,
for it is not true; but I was lazy; felt the desire _far niente_, which
is the sign of one's mind being at ease. I read _The English in
Italy_,[161] which is a clever book.

Byron used to kick and frisk more contemptuously against the literary
gravity and slang than any one I ever knew who had climbed so high.
Then, it is true, I never knew any one climb so high; and before you
despise the eminence, carrying people along with you, as convinced that
you are not playing the fox and the grapes, you must be at the top.
Moore told me some delightful stories of him. One was that while they
stood at the window of Byron's Palazzo in Venice, looking at a beautiful
sunset, Moore was naturally led to say something of its beauty, when
Byron answered in a tone that I can easily conceive, "Oh! come, d--n me,
Tom, don't be poetical." Another time, standing with Moore on the
balcony of the same Palazzo, a gondola passed with two English
gentlemen, who were easily distinguished by their appearance. They cast
a careless look at the balcony and went on. Byron crossed his arms, and
half stooping over the balcony said, "Ah! d--n ye, if ye had known what
two fellows you were staring at, you would have taken a longer look at
us." This was the man, quaint, capricious, and playful, with all his
immense genius. He wrote from impulse, never from effort; and therefore
I have always reckoned Burns and Byron the most genuine poetical
geniuses of my time, and half a century before me. We have, however,
many men of high poetical talent, but none, I think, of that
ever-gushing and perennial fountain of natural water.

Mr. Laidlaw dined with us. Says Mr. Gibson told him he would dispose of
my affairs, were it any but S.W.S.[162] No doubt, so should I, and am
wellnigh doing so at any rate. But, _fortuna juvante!_ much may be
achieved. At worst, the prospect is not very discouraging to one who
wants little. Methinks I have been like Burns's poor labourer,

    "So constantly in Ruin's sight,
    The view o't gives me little fright."

_[Edinburgh,] February_ 10.--Went through, for a new day, the task of
buttoning, which seems to me somehow to fill up more of my morning than
usual--not, certainly, that such is really the case, but that my mind
attends to the process, having so little left to hope or fear. The half
hour between waking and rising has all my life proved propitious to any
task which was exercising my invention.[163] When I get over any knotty
difficulty in a story, or have had in former times to fill up a passage
in a poem, it was always when I first opened my eyes that the desired
ideas thronged upon me. This is so much the case that I am in the habit
of relying upon it, and saying to myself, when I am at a loss, "Never
mind, we shall have it at seven o'clock to-morrow morning." If I have
forgot a circumstance, or a name, or a copy of verses, it is the same
thing. There is a passage about this sort of matutinal inspiration in
the Odyssey,[164] which would make a handsome figure here if I could
read or write Greek. I will look into Pope for it, who, ten to one, will
not tell me the real translation. I think the first hour of the morning
is also favourable to the bodily strength. Among other feats, when I was
a young man, I was able at times to lift a smith's anvil with one hand,
by what is called the _horn_, or projecting piece of iron on which
things are beaten to turn them round. But I could only do this before
breakfast, and shortly after rising. It required my full strength,
undiminished by the least exertion, and those who choose to try it will
find the feat no easy one. This morning I had some good ideas respecting
_Woodstock_ which will make the story better. The devil of a difficulty
is, that one puzzles the skein in order to excite curiosity, and then
cannot disentangle it for the satisfaction of the prying fiend they have
raised. A letter from Sir James Mackintosh of condolence, prettily
expressed, and which may be sung to the old tune of "Welcome, welcome,
brother Debtor." A brother son of chivalry dismounted by mischance is
sure to excite the compassion of one laid on the arena before him.

Yesterday I had an anecdote from old Sir James Steuart Denham,[165]
which is worth writing down. His uncle, Lord Elcho, was, as is well
known, engaged in the affair of 1745. He was dissatisfied with the
conduct of matters from beginning to end. But after the left wing of the
Highlanders was repulsed and broken at Culloden, Elcho rode up to the
Chevalier and told him all was lost, and that nothing remained except to
charge at the head of two thousand men, who were still unbroken, and
either turn the fate of the day or die sword in hand, as became his
pretensions. The Chevalier gave him some evasive answer, and, turning
his horse's head, rode off the field. Lord Elcho called after him (I
write the very words), "There you go for a damned cowardly Italian," and
never would see him again, though he lost his property and remained an
exile in the cause. Lord Elcho left two copies of his memoirs, one with
Sir James Steuart's family, one with Lord Wemyss. This is better
evidence than the romance of Chevalier Johnstone; and I have little
doubt it is true. Yet it is no proof of the Prince's cowardice, though
it shows him to have been no John of Gaunt. Princes are constantly
surrounded with people who hold up their own _life_ and _safety_ to them
as by far the most important stake in any contest; and this is a
doctrine in which conviction is easily received. Such an eminent person
finds everybody's advice, save here and there that of a desperate Elcho,
recommend obedience to the natural instinct of self-preservation, which
very often men of inferior situations find it difficult to combat, when
all the world are crying to them to get on and be damned, instead of
encouraging them to run away. At Prestonpans the Chevalier offered to
lead the van, and he was with the second line, which, during that brief
affair, followed the first very close. Johnstone's own account,
carefully read, brings him within a pistol-shot of the first line. At
the same time, Charles Edward had not a head or heart for great things,
notwithstanding his daring adventure; and the Irish officers, by whom he
was guided, were poor creatures. Lord George Murray was the soul of the

_February 11_.--Court sat till half-past one. I had but a trifle to do,
so wrote letters to Mrs. Maclean Clephane and nephew Walter. Sent the
last, £40 in addition to £240 sent on the 6th, making his full equipment
£280. A man, calling himself Charles Gray of Carse, wrote to me,
expressing sympathy for my misfortunes, and offering me half the profits
of what, if I understand him right, is a patent medicine, to which I
suppose he expects me to stand trumpeter. He endeavours to get over my
objections to accepting his liberality (supposing me to entertain them)
by assuring me his conduct is founded on a _sage selfishness_. This is
diverting enough. I suppose the Commissioners of, Police will next send
me a letter of condolence, begging my acceptance of a broom, a shovel,
and a scavenger's greatcoat, and assuring me that they had appointed me
to all the emoluments of a well-frequented crossing. It would be doing
more than they have done of late for the cleanliness of the streets,
which, witness my shoes, are in a piteous pickle. I thanked the selfish
sage with due decorum--for what purpose can anger serve? I remember once
before, a mad woman, from about Alnwick, baited me with letters and
plans--first for charity to herself or some _protégé_. I gave my guinea.
Then she wanted to have half the profit of a novel which I was to
publish under my name and auspices. She sent me the manuscript, and a
_moving_ tale it was, for some of the scenes lay in the _cabinet à
l'eau._ I declined the partnership. Lastly, my fair correspondent
insisted I was a lover of speculation, and would be much profited by
going shares in a patent medicine which she had invented for the benefit
of little babies, I believe. I dreaded to have anything to do with such
a Herod-like affair, and begged to decline the honour of her
correspondence in future. I should have thought the thing a quiz, but
that the novel was real and substantial. Anne goes to Ravelston to-day
to remain to-morrow. Sir Alexander Don called, and we had a good laugh

_February_ 12.--Having ended the second volume of _Woodstock_ last
night, I have to begin the third this morning. Now I have not the
slightest idea how the story is to be wound up to a catastrophe. I am
just in the same case as I used to be when I lost myself in former days
in some country to which I was a stranger. I always pushed for the
pleasantest road, and either found or made it the nearest. It is the
same in writing, I never could lay down a plan--or, having laid it down,
I never could adhere to it; the action of composition always diluted
some passages, and abridged or omitted others; and personages were
rendered important or insignificant, not according to their agency in
the original conception of the plan, but according to the success, or
otherwise, with which I was able to bring them out. I only tried to make
that which I was actually writing diverting and interesting, leaving the
rest to fate. I have been often amused with the critics distinguishing
some passages as particularly laboured, when the pen passed over the
whole as fast as it could move, and the eye never again saw them, except
in proof. Verse I write twice, and sometimes three times over. This may
be called in Spanish the _Dar donde diere_ mode of composition, in
English _hab nab at a venture_; it is a perilous style, I grant, but I
cannot help it. When I chain my mind to ideas which are purely
imaginative--for argument is a different thing--it seems to me that the
sun leaves the landscape, that I think away the whole vivacity and
spirit of my original conception, and that the results are cold, tame,
and spiritless. It is the difference between a written oration and one
bursting from the unpremeditated exertions of the speaker, which have
always something the air of enthusiasm and inspiration. I would not have
young authors imitate my carelessness, however; _consilium non currum

Read a few pages of Will D'Avenant, who was fond of having it supposed
that Shakespeare intrigued with his mother. I think the pretension can
only be treated as Phaeton's was, according to Fielding's farce--

    "Besides, by all the village boys I'm shamed,
    You, the sun's son, you rascal?--you be damn'd."

Egad--I'll put that into _Woodstock_.[167] It might come well from the
old admirer of Shakespeare. Then Fielding's lines were not written. What
then?--it is an anachronism for some sly rogue to detect. Besides, it is
easy to swear they were written, and that Fielding adopted them from
tradition. Walked with Skene on the Calton Hill.

_February_ 13.--The Institution for the Encouragment of the Fine Arts
opens to-day, with a handsome entertainment in the Exhibition-room, as
at Somerset House. It strikes me that the direction given by amateurs
and professors to their _protégés_ and pupils, who aspire to be artists,
is upon a pedantic and false principle. All the Fine Arts have it for
their highest and more legitimate end and purpose, to affect the human
passions, or smooth and alleviate for a time the more unquiet feelings
of the mind--to excite wonder, or terror, or pleasure, or emotion of
some kind or other. It often happens that, in the very rise and origin
of these arts, as in the instance of Homer, the principal object is
obtained in a degree not equalled by his successors. But there is a
degree of execution which, in more refined times, the poet or musician
begins to study, which gives a value of its own to their productions of
a different kind from the rude strength of their predecessors. Poetry
becomes complicated in its rules--music learned in its cadences and
harmonies--rhetoric subtle in its periods. There is more given to the
labour of executing--less attained by the effect produced. Still the
nobler and popular end of these arts is not forgotten; and if we have
some productions too learned, too _recherchés_ for public feeling, we
have, every now and then, music that electrifies a whole assembly,
eloquence which shakes the forum, and poetry which carries men up to the
third heaven. But in painting it is different; it is all become a
mystery, the secret of which is lodged in a few connoisseurs, whose
object is not to praise the works of such painters as produce effect on
mankind at large, but to class them according to their proficiency in
the inferior rules of the art, which, though most necessary to be taught
and learned, should yet only be considered as the _Gradus ad
Parnassum_--the steps by which the higher and ultimate object of a great
popular effect is to be attained. They have all embraced the very style
of criticism which induced Michael Angelo to call some Pope a poor
creature, when, turning his attention from the general effect of a noble
statue, his Holiness began to criticise the hem of the robe. This seems
to me the cause of the decay of this delightful art, especially in
history, its noblest branch. As I speak to myself, I may say that a
painting should, to be excellent, have something to say to the mind of a
man, like myself, well-educated, and susceptible of those feelings which
anything strongly recalling natural emotion is likely to inspire. But
how seldom do I see anything that moves me much! Wilkie, the far more
than Teniers of Scotland, certainly gave many new ideas. So does Will
Allan, though overwhelmed with their rebukes about colouring and
grouping, against which they are not willing to place his general and
original merits. Landseer's dogs were the most magnificent things I ever
saw--leaping, and bounding, and grinning on the canvas. Leslie has great
powers; and the scenes from Moliere by [Newton] are excellent. Yet
painting wants a regenerator--some one who will sweep the cobwebs out of
his head before he takes the palette, as Chantrey has done in the sister
art. At present we are painting pictures from the ancients, as authors
in the days of Louis Quatorze wrote epic poems according to the recipe
of Madame Dacier and Co. The poor reader or spectator has no remedy; the
compositions are _secundum artem_, and if he does not like them, he is
no judge--that's all.

_February 14_--I had a call from Glengarry[168] yesterday, as kind and
friendly as usual. This gentleman is a kind of Quixote in our age,
having retained, in their full extent, the whole feelings of clanship
and chieftainship, elsewhere so long abandoned. He seems to have lived a
century too late, and to exist, in a state of complete law and order,
like a Glengarry of old, whose will was law to his sept. Warmhearted,
generous, friendly, he is beloved by those who know him, and his efforts
are unceasing to show kindness to those of his clan who are disposed
fully to admit his pretensions. To dispute them is to incur his
resentment, which has sometimes broken out in acts of violence which
have brought him into collision with the law. To me he is a treasure, as
being full of information as to the history of his own clan, and the
manners and customs of the Highlanders in general. Strong, active, and
muscular, he follows the chase of the deer for days and nights together,
sleeping in his plaid when darkness overtakes him in the forest. He was
fortunate in marrying a daughter of Sir William Forbes, who, by yielding
to his peculiar ideas in general, possesses much deserved influence with
him. The number of his singular exploits would fill a volume[169]; for,
as his pretensions are high, and not always willingly yielded to, he is
every now and then giving rise to some rumour. He is, on many of these
occasions, as much sinned against as sinning; for men, knowing his
temper, sometimes provoke him, conscious that Glengarry, from his
character for violence, will always be put in the wrong by the public. I
have seen him behave in a very manly manner when thus tempted. He has of
late prosecuted a quarrel, ridiculous enough in the present day, to have
himself admitted and recognised as Chief of the whole Clan Ranald, or
surname of Macdonald. The truth seems to be, that the present Clanranald
is not descended from a legitimate Chieftain of the tribe; for, having
accomplished a revolution in the sixteenth century, they adopted a
Tanist, or Captain--that is, a Chief not in the direct line of
succession, a certain Ian Moidart, or John of Moidart, who took the
title of Captain of Clanranald, with all the powers of Chief, and even
Glengarry's ancestor recognised them as chiefs _de facto_ if not _de
jure_. The fact is, that this elective power was, in cases of insanity,
imbecility, or the like, exercised by the Celtic tribes; and though Ian
Moidart was no chief by birth, yet by election he became so, and
transmitted his power to his descendants, as would King William III., if
he had had any. So it is absurd to set up the _jus sanguinis_ now, which
Glengarry's ancestors did not, or could not, make good, when it was a
right worth combating for. I wrought out my full task yesterday.

Saw Cadell as I returned from the Court. He seems dejected, apprehensive
of another trustee being preferred to Cowan, and gloomy about the extent
of stock of novels, etc., on hand. He infected me with his want of
spirits, and I almost wish my wife had not asked Mr. Scrope and Charles
K. Sharpe for this day. But the former sent such loads of game that Lady
Scott's gratitude became ungovernable. I have not seen a creature at
dinner since the direful 17th January, except my own family and Mr.
Laidlaw. The love of solitude increases by indulgence; I hope it will
not diverge into misanthropy. It does not mend the matter that this is
the first day that a ticket for sale is on my house. Poor No. 39.[170]
One gets accustomed even to stone walls, and the place suited me very
well. All our furniture, too, is to go--a hundred little articles that
seemed to me connected with all the happier years of my life. It is a
sorry business. But _sursum corda_.

My two friends came as expected, also Missie, and stayed till half-past
ten. Promised Sharpe the set of Piranesi's views in the dining-parlour.
They belonged to my uncle, so I do not like to sell them.[171]

_February_ 15.--Yesterday I did not write a line of _Woodstock_. Partly,
I was a little out of spirits, though that would not have hindered.
Partly, I wanted to wait for some new ideas--a sort of collecting of
straw to make bricks of. Partly, I was a little too far beyond the
press. I cannot pull well in long traces, when the draught is too far
behind me. I love to have the press thumping, clattering, and banging in
my rear; it creates the necessity which almost always makes me work
best. Needs must when the devil drives--and drive he does even according
to the letter. I must work to-day, however. Attended a meeting of the
Faculty about our new library. I spoke--saying that I hoped we would now
at length act upon a general plan, and look forward to commencing upon
such a scale as would secure us at least for a century against the petty
and partial management, which we have hitherto thought sufficient, of
fitting up one room after another. Disconnected and distant, these have
been costing large sums of money from time to time, all now thrown away.
We are now to have space enough for a very large range of buildings,
which we may execute in a simple taste, leaving Government to ornament
them if they shall think proper--otherwise, to be plain, modest, and
handsome, and capable of being executed by degrees, and in such
portions as convenience may admit of.

Poor James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, came to advise with me about his
affairs,--he is sinking under the times; having no assistance to give
him, my advice, I fear, will be of little service. I am sorry for him if
that would help him, especially as, by his own account, a couple of
hundred pounds would carry him on.

_February_ 16.---"Misfortune's gowling bark"[172] comes louder and
louder. By assigning my whole property to trustees for behoof of
creditors, with two works in progress and nigh publication, and with all
my future literary labours, I conceived I was bringing into the field a
large fund of payment, which could not exist without my exertions, and
that thus far I was entitled to a corresponding degree of indulgence. I
therefore supposed, on selling this house, and various other property,
and on receiving the price of _Woodstock_ and _Napoleon_, that they
would give me leisure to make other exertions, and be content with the
rents of Abbotsford, without attempting a sale. This would have been the
more reasonable, as the very printing of these works must amount to a
large sum, of which they will reap the profits. In the course of this
delay I supposed I was to have the chance of getting some insight both
into Constable's affairs and those of Hurst and Robinson. Nay, employing
these houses, under precautions, to sell the works, the publisher's
profit would have come in to pay part of their debts. But Gibson last
night came in after dinner, and gave me to understand that the Bank of
Scotland see this in a different point of view, and consider my
contribution of the produce of past, present, and future labours, as
compensated in full by their accepting of the trust-deed, instead of
pursuing the mode of sequestration, and placing me in the _Gazette_.
They therefore expected the trustees instantly to commence a law-suit
to reduce the marriage settlement, which settles the estate upon Walter,
thus loading me with a most expensive suit, and, I suppose, selling
library and whatever they can lay hold on.

Now this seems unequal measure, and would besides of itself totally
destroy any power of fancy or genius, if it deserves the name, which may
remain to me. A man cannot write in the House of Correction; and this
species of _peine forte et dure_ which is threatened would render it
impossible for one to help himself or others. So I told Gibson I had my
mind made up as far back as the 24th of January, not to suffer myself to
be harder pressed than law would press me. If this great commercial
company, through whose hands I have directed so many thousands, think
they are right in taking every advantage and giving none, it must be my
care to see that they take none but what law gives them. If they take
the sword of the law, I must lay hold of the shield. If they are
determined to consider me as an irretrievable bankrupt, they have no
title to object to my settling upon the usual terms which the Statute
requires. They probably are of opinion that I will be ashamed to do this
by applying publicly for a sequestration. Now, my feelings are
different. I am ashamed to owe debts I cannot pay; but I am not ashamed
of being classed with those to whose rank I belong. The disgrace is in
being an actual bankrupt, not in being made a legal one. I had like to
have been too hasty in this matter. I must have a clear understanding
that I am to be benefited or indulged in some way, if I bring in two
such funds as those works in progress, worth certainly from £10,000 to

Clerk came in last night and drank wine and water.

Slept ill, and bilious in the morning. _N.B._--I smoked a cigar, the
first for this present year, yesterday evening.

_February_ 17.--Slept sound, for Nature repays herself for the vexation
the mind sometimes gives her. This morning put interlocutors on several
Sheriff-Court processes from Selkirkshire. Gibson came to-night to say
that he had spoken at full length with Alexander Monypenny, proposed as
trustee on the part of the Bank of Scotland, and found him decidedly in
favour of the most moderate measures, and taking burthen on himself for
the Bank of Scotland proceeding with such lenity as might enable me to
have some time and opportunity to clear these affairs out. I repose
trust in Mr. M. entirely. His father, old Colonel Monypenny, was my
early friend, kind and hospitable to me when I was a mere boy. He had
much of old Withers about him, as expressed in Pope's epitaph--

    "O youth in arms approved!
    O soft humanity in age beloved."[173]

His son David, and a younger brother, Frank, a soldier who perished by
drowning on a boating party from Gibraltar, were my school-fellows; and
with the survivor, now Lord Pitmilly,[174] I have always kept up a
friendly intercourse. Of this gentleman, on whom my fortunes are to
depend, I know little. He was Colin Mackenzie's partner in business
while my friend pursued it, and he speaks highly of him: that's a great
deal. He is secretary to the Pitt Club, and we have had all our lives
the habit _idem sentire de republica_: that's much too. Lastly, he is a
man of perfect honour and reputation; and I have nothing to ask which
such a man would not either grant or convince me was unreasonable. I
have, to be sure, some of my constitutional and hereditary obstinacy;
but it is in me a dormant quality. Convince my understanding, and I am
perfectly docile; stir my passions by coldness or affronts, and the
devil would not drive me from my purpose. Let me record, I have striven
against this besetting sin. When I was a boy, and on foot expeditions,
as we had many, no creature could be so indifferent which way our course
was directed, and I acquiesced in what any one proposed; but if I was
once driven to make a choice, and felt piqued in honour to maintain my
proposition, I have broken off from the whole party, rather than yield
to any one. Time has sobered this pertinacity of mind; but it still
exists, and I must be on my guard against it.

It is the same with me in politics. In general I care very little about
the matter, and from year's end to year's end have scarce a thought
connected with them, except to laugh at the fools who think to make
themselves great men out of little, by swaggering in the rear of a
party. But either actually important events, or such as seemed so by
their close neighbourhood to me, have always hurried me off my feet, and
made me, as I have sometimes afterwards regretted, more forward and more
violent than those who had a regular jog-trot way of busying themselves
in public matters. Good luck; for had I lived in troublesome times, and
chanced to be on the unhappy side, I had been hanged to a certainty.
What I have always remarked has been, that many who have hallooed me on
at public meetings, and so forth, have quietly left me to the odium
which a man known to the public always has more than his own share of;
while, on the other hand, they were easily successful in pressing before
me, who never pressed forward at all, when there was any distribution of
public favours or the like. I am horribly tempted to interfere in this
business of altering the system of banks in Scotland; and yet I know
that if I can attract any notice, I will offend my English friends
without propitiating one man in Scotland. I will think of it till
to-morrow. It is making myself of too much importance after all.

_February_ 18.--I set about Malachi Malagrowther's Letter on the late
disposition to change everything in Scotland to an English model, but
without resolving about the publication. They do treat us very

    "O Land of Cakes! said the Northern bard,
      Though all the world betrays thee,
    One faithful pen thy rights shall guard,
      One faithful harp shall praise thee."[175]

Called on the Lord Chief Commissioner, who, understanding there was a
hitch in our arrangements, had kindly proposed to execute an arrangement
for my relief. I could not, I think, have thought of it at any rate. But
it is unnecessary.

_February_ 19.--Finished my letter (Malachi Malagrowther) this morning,
and sent it to James B., who is to call with the result this forenoon. I
am not very anxious to get on with _Woodstock_. I want to see what
Constable's people mean to do when they have their trustee. For an
unfinished work they must treat with the author. It is the old story of
the varnish spread over the picture, which nothing but the artist's own
hand could remove. A finished work might be seized under some legal

Being troubled with thick-coming fancies, and a slight palpitation of
the heart, I have been reading the Chronicle of the Good Knight Messire
Jacques de Lalain--curious, but dull, from the constant repetition of
the same species of combats in the same style and phrase. It is like
washing bushels of sand for a grain of gold. It passes the time,
however, especially in that listless mood when your mind is half on your
book, half on something else. You catch something to arrest the
attention every now and then, and what you miss is not worth going back
upon; idle man's studies, in short. Still things occur to one. Something
might be made out of the Pass or Fountain of Tears,[176] a tale of
chivalry,--taken from the Passages of Arms, which Jacques de Lalain
maintained for the first day of every month for a twelvemonth.[177] The
first mention perhaps of red-hot balls appears in the siege of Oudenarde
by the citizens of Ghent. _Chronique_, p. 293. This would be light
summer work.

J.B. came and sat an hour. I led him to talk of _Woodstock_; and, to say
truth, his approbation did me much good. I am aware it _may_--nay,
_must_--be partial; yet is he Tom Tell-truth, and totally unable to
disguise his real feelings.[178] I think I make no habit of feeding on
praise, and despise those whom I see greedy for it, as much as I should
an under-bred fellow, who, after eating a cherry-tart, proceeded to lick
the plate. But when one is flagging, a little praise (if it can be had
genuine and unadulterated by flattery, which is as difficult to come by
as the genuine mountain-dew) is a cordial after all. So now--_vamos
corazon_--let us atone for the loss of the morning.

_February_ 20.--Yesterday, though late in beginning, I nearly finished
my task, which is six of my close pages, about thirty pages of print,
to a full and uninterrupted day's work. To-day I have already written
four, and with some confidence. Thus does flattery or praise oil the
wheels. It is but two o'clock. Skene was here remonstrating against my
taking apartments at the Albyn Club,[179] and recommending that I should
rather stay with them.[180] I told him that was altogether impossible; I
hoped to visit them often, but for taking a permanent residence I was
altogether the country mouse, and voted for

    "--A hollow tree,
    A crust of bread and liberty."[181]

The chain of friendship, however bright, does not stand the attrition of
constant close contact.

_February_ 21.--Corrected the proofs of _Malachi_[182] this morning; it
may fall dead, and there will be a squib lost; it may chance to light on
some ingredients of national feeling and set folk's beards in a
blaze--and so much the better if it does. I mean better for
Scotland--not a whit for me. Attended the hearing in P[arliament] House
till near four o'clock, so I shall do little to-night, for I am tired
and sleepy. One person talking for a long time, whether in pulpit or at
the bar, or anywhere else, unless the interest be great, and the
eloquence of the highest character, always sets me to sleep. I
impudently lean my head on my hand in the Court and take my nap without
shame. The Lords may keep awake and mind their own affairs. _Quod supra
nos nihil ad nos._ These clerks' stools are certainly as easy seats as
are in Scotland, those of the Barons of Exchequer always excepted.

_February_ 22.--Paid Lady Scott her fortnight's allowance, £24.

Ballantyne breakfasted, and is to negotiate about _Malachi_ with
Constable and Blackwood. It reads not amiss; and if I can get a few
guineas for it I shall not be ashamed to take them; for paying Lady
Scott, I have just left between £3 and £4 for any necessary occasion
and my salary does not become due until 20th March, and the expense of
removing, etc., is to be provided for:

    "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."[183]

The mere scarcity of money (so that actual wants are provided) is not
poverty--it is the bitter draft to owe money which we cannot pay.
Laboured fairly at _Woodstock_ to-day, but principally in revising and
adding to _Malachi_, of which an edition as a pamphlet is anxiously
desired. I have lugged in my old friend Cardrona[184]--I hope it will
not be thought unkindly. The Banks are anxious to have it published.
They were lately exercising lenity towards me, and if I can benefit
them, it will be an instance of the "King's errand lying in the cadger's

_February_ 23.--Corrected two sheets of _Woodstock_ this morning. These
are not the days of idleness. The fact is, that the not seeing company
gives me a command of my time which I possessed at no other period in my
life, at least since I knew how to make some use of my leisure. There is
a great pleasure in sitting down to write with the consciousness that
nothing will occur during the day to break the spell. Detained in the
Court till past three, and came home just in time to escape a terrible
squall. I am a good deal jaded, and will not work till after dinner.
There is a sort of drowsy vacillation of mind attends fatigue with me. I
can command my pen as the school copy recommends, but cannot equally
command my thought, and often write one word for another. Read a little
volume called _The_ _Omen_[185]--very well written--deep and powerful
language. _Aut Erasmus aut Diabolus_, it is Lockhart or I am strangely
deceived. It is passed for Wilson's though, but Wilson has more of the
falsetto of assumed sentiment, less of the depth of gloomy and powerful

_February_ 24.--Went down to printing-office after the Court, and
corrected _Malachi_. J.B.'s name is to be on the imprint, so he will
subscribe the book. He reproaches me with having taken much more pains
on this temporary pamphlet than on works which have a greater interest
on my fortunes. I have certainly bestowed enough of revision and
correction. But the cases are different. In a novel or poem, I run the
course alone--here I am taking up the cudgels, and may expect a drubbing
in return. Besides, I do feel that this is public matter in which the
country is deeply interested; and, therefore, is far more important than
anything referring to my fame or fortune alone. The pamphlet will soon
be out--meantime _Malachi_ prospers and excites much attention.[186] The
Banks have bespoke 500 copies. The country is taking the alarm; and I
think the Ministers will not dare to press the measure. I should rejoice
to see the old red lion ramp a little, and the thistle again claim its
_nemo me impune_. I do believe Scotsmen will show themselves unanimous
at least where their cash is concerned. They shall not want backing. I
incline to cry with Biron in _Love's Labour's Lost_,

    "More Atés, more Atés! stir them on."

I suppose all imaginative people feel more or less of excitation from a
scene of insurrection or tumult, or of general expression of national
feeling. When I was a lad, poor Davie Douglas[187] used to accuse me of
being _cupidus novarum rerum_, and say that I loved the stimulus of a
broil. It might be so then, and even still--

    "Even in our ashes glow their wonted fires."[188]

Whimsical enough that when I was trying to animate Scotland against the
currency bill, John Gibson brought me the deed of trust, assigning my
whole estate to be subscribed by me; so that I am turning patriot, and
taking charge of the affairs of the country, on the very day I was
proclaiming myself incapable of managing my own. What of that? The
eminent politician, _Quidnunc_,[189] was in the same condition. Who
would think of their own trumpery debts, when they are taking the
support of the whole system of Scottish banking on their shoulders? Odd
enough too--on this day, for the first time since the awful 17th
January, we entertain at dinner--Lady Anna Maria Elliot,[190] W. Clerk,
John A. Murray,[191] and Thomas Thomson,[192] as if we gave a dinner on
account of my _cessio fori_.

_February_ 25.--Our party yesterday went off very gaily; much laugh and
fun, and I think I enjoyed it more from the rarity of the event--I mean
from having seen society at home so seldom of late. My head aches
slightly though; yet we were but a bottle of Champagne, one of Port, one
of old Sherry, and two of Claret, among four gentlemen and three ladies.
I have been led from this incident to think of taking chambers near
Clerk, in Rose Court.[193] Methinks the retired situation should suit me
well. There a man and woman would be my whole establishment. My
superfluous furniture might serve, and I could ask a friend or two to
dinner, as I have been accustomed to do. I will look at the place

I must set now to a second epistle of _Malachi_ to the Athenians. If I
can but get the sulky Scottish spirit set up, the devil won't turn them.

    "Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush;
    We'll over the Border, and give them a brush;
    There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour;
    Hey, Johnnie lad, cock up your beaver."[194]

_February_ 26.--Spent the morning and till dinner on _Malachi's_ second
epistle to the Athenians. It is difficult to steer betwixt the natural
impulse of one's national feelings setting in one direction, and the
prudent regard to the interests of the empire and its internal peace and
quiet, recommending less vehement expression. I will endeavour to keep
sight of both. But were my own interests alone concerned, d--n me but I
would give it them hot! Had some valuable communications from Colin
Mackenzie and Lord Medwyn, which will supply my plentiful lack of facts.

Received an anonymous satire in doggrel, which, having read the first
verse and last, I committed to the flames. Peter Murray, son of the
clever Lord Elibank, called and sat half-an-hour--an old friend, and
who, from the peculiarity and originality of his genius, is one of the
most entertaining companions I have ever known.[195] But I must finish

_February_ 27.--_Malachi_ is getting on; I must finish him to-night. I
dare say some of my London friends will be displeased--Canning perhaps,
for he is _engoué_ of Huskisson. Can't help it.

The place I looked at won't do; but I really must get some lodging, for,
reason or none, Dalgleish[196] will not leave me, and cries and makes a
scene. Now if I stayed alone in a little set of chambers, he would serve
greatly for my accommodation. There are some nice places of the kind in
the. New Buildings, but they are distant from the Court, and I cannot
walk well on the pavement. It is odd enough that just when I had made a
resolution to use my coach frequently I ceased to keep one--in town at

_February_ 28.--Completed _Malachi_ to-day. It is more serious than the
first, and in some places perhaps too peppery. Never mind, if you would
have a horse kick, make a crupper out of a whin-cow,[197] and I trust to
see Scotland kick and fling to some purpose. _Woodstock_ lies back for
this. But _quid non pro patria_?


[143] _Cause of Truth defended_, etc. Two Trials of the Rev. T. Hill,
Methodist Preacher, for defamation of the character of Miss Bell, etc.
etc. 8vo. Hull and London, 1827.

[144] Coleridge's _Christabel_, Part II.

[145] James Ferrier, one of the Clerks of Session,--the father of the
authoress of _Marriage, The Inheritance_, and _Destiny_. Mr. Ferrier was
born in 1744, and died in 1829.

[146] "Authentic Memoirs of the remarkable Life and surprising Exploits
of Mandrin, Captain-General of the French Smugglers, who for the space
of nine months resolutely stood in defiance of the whole army of
France," etc. 8vo, Lond. 1755. See _Waverley Novels_, vol. xxxvii. p.
434, Note.--J.G.L.

[147] See _Tranent Muir_ by Skirving.

[148] Addison, _Cato_, i. 4.

[149] See p. 83.

[150] Variation from 2 _Henry IV._, Act II. Sc. 4.

[151] _See_ "Glee for King Charles," _Waverley Novels_, vol. xl. p.

[152] Lady Louisa Stuart, youngest daughter of John, third Earl of Bute,
and grand-daughter of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

[153] The well-known Mathematician and Natural Philosopher. Professor
Playfair died in 1819 in his seventy-second year.

  Have you seen the famed Bas bleu, the gentle dame Apreece,
  Who at a glance shot through and through the Scots Review,
    And changed its swans to geese?
  Playfair forgot his mathematics, astronomy, and hydrostatics,
  And in her presence often swore, he knew not two and two made four.

[Squib of 1811.]

[154] See _Midsummer Night's Dream_, Act II. Sc. 2.

[155] This journey was made in 1810.--_See Life_, Chapter xxi. vol. iii.
p. 271.

[156] Lady Davy survived her distinguished husband for more than a
quarter of a century; she died in London, May 1855.

[157] _Twelfth Night_, Act II. Sc. 3.

[158] Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre, then a baron of the Court of
Exchequer in Scotland; he died in June 1837.

[159] This cherished and confidential friend had been living at Kaeside
from 1817, and acting as steward on the estate. Mr. Laidlaw died in
Ross-shire in 1845.

Mr. Lockhart says, "I have the best reason to believe that the kind and
manly character of Dandie [Dinmont in _Guy Mannering_], the gentle and
delicious one of his wife, and some at least of the most picturesque
peculiarities of the _ménage_ at Charlieshope were filled up from
Scott's observation, years after this period [1792], of a family, with
one of whose members he had, through the best part of his life, a close
and affectionate connection. To those who were familiar with him, I have
perhaps already sufficiently indicated the early home of his dear
friend, William Laidlaw." _Life_, vol. i. p. 268. See also vol. ii. p.
59; v. pp. 210-15, 251; vii. p. 168; viii. p. 68, etc.

[160] Flax on her distaff.

[161] _The English in Italy_, 3 vols., Lond. 1825, ascribed to the
Marquis of Normanby.

[162] "S.W.S." Scott, in writing of himself, often uses these three
letters in playful allusion to a freak of his trusty henchman Tom
Purdie, who, in his joy on hearing of the baronetcy, proceeded to mark
every sheep on the estate with a large letter "S" in addition to the
owner's initials, W.S., which, according to custom, had already been
stamped on their backs.

[163] Moore also felt that the morning was his happiest time for work,
but he preferred "composing" in bed! He says somewhere that he would
have passed half his days in bed for the purpose of composition had he
not found it too relaxing.

Macaulay, too, when engaged in his _History_, was in the habit of
writing three hours before breakfast daily.

[164] I am assured by Professor Butcher that there is no such passage in
the Odyssey, but he suggests "that what Scott had in his mind was merely
the Greek idea of a _waking vision_ being a true one. They spoke of it
as a ὕπαρ opposed to an ὄναρ, a mere dream. These waking visions are
usually said to be seen towards morning.

"In the Odyssey there are two such visions which turn out to be
realities:--that of Nausicaa, Bk. vi. 20, etc., and that of Penelope,
Bk. xix. 535, etc. In the former case we are told that the vision
occurred just before dawn; I. 48-49, αὐτίκα δ' Ἠὼςἦλθεν, 'straightway
came the Dawn,' etc. In the latter, there is no special mention of the
hour. The vision, however, is said to be not a dream, but a true vision
which shall be accomplished (547, οὐκ ὂναρ ἀλλ' ὕπαρ ἐσθλὸν, ὅ τοι
τετελεσμένον ἔσται).

"Such passages as these, which are frequent in Greek literature, might
easily have given rise to the notion of a 'matutinal inspiration,' of
which Scott speaks."

[165] General Sir James Steuart Denham of Coltness, Baronet, Colonel of
the Scots Greys. His father, the celebrated political economist, took
part in the Rebellion of 1745, and was long afterwards an exile. The
reader is no doubt acquainted with "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Letters"
addressed to him and his wife, Lady Frances.--J.G.L. See also Mrs.
Calderwood's _Letters_, 8vo. Edin. 1884. Sir James died in 1839.

[166] "Had Prince Charles slept during the whole of the expedition,"
says the Chevalier Johnstone, "and allowed Lord George Murray to act for
him according to his own judgment, there is every reason for supposing
he would have found the crown of Great Britain on his head when he
awoke."--_Memoirs of the Rebellion of 1745_, etc. 4to, p. 140. London,

[167] The lines are given in _Woodstock_, with the following apology:
"We observe this couplet in Fielding's farce of _Tumbledown Dick_,
founded on the same classical story. As it was current in the time of
the Commonwealth, it must have reached the author of _Tom Jones_ by
tradition, for no one will suspect the present author of making the

[168] Colonel Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry. He died in January

[169] "We have had Maréchal Macdonald here. We had a capital account of
Glengarry visiting the interior of a convent in the ancient Highland
garb, and the effect of such an apparition on the nuns, who fled in all
directions."--Scott to Skene, Edinburgh, 24th June 1825.

[170] No. 39 Castle Street, which had been occupied by him from 1802,
when he removed from No. 10 in the same street. The situation suited
him, as the houses of nearly all his friends were within a circle of a
few hundred yards. For description see _Life_, vol. v. pp. 321, 333-4,

[171] See below, _March_ 12.

[172] Burns's _Dedication_ to Gavin Hamilton--

  "May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark Howl through the dwelling o' the


  "O born to arms! O worth in youth approved, O soft humanity in age

--See Pope, _Epitaphs_, 9.

[174] David Monypenny had been on the Bench from 1813; he retired in
1830, and died at the age of eighty-one in 1850.

[175] Parody on Moore's _Minstrel Boy_.--J.G.L.

[176] "Le Pas de la Fontaine des Pleurs."--_Chroniques Nationales_.

[177] This hint was taken up in _Count Robert of Paris_.--J.G.L.

[178] James Ballantyne gives an interesting account of an interview a
dozen years before this time, when "Tom Telltruth" had a somewhat
delicate task to perform:--

"_The Lord of the Isles_ was by far the least popular of the series, and
Mr. Scott was very prompt at making such discoveries. In about a week
after its publication he took me into his library, and asked me what the
people were saying about _The Lord of the Isles_. I hesitated, much in
the same manner that Gil Blas might be supposed to do when a similar
question was put by the Archbishop of Grenada, but he very speedily
brought the matter to a point--'Come, speak out, my good fellow, what
has put it in your head to be on ceremony with me? But the result is in
one word--disappointment!' My silence admitted his inference to its
fullest extent. His countenance certainly did look rather blank for a
few seconds (for it is a singular fact, that before the public, or
rather the booksellers, gave _their_ decision he no more knew whether he
had written well or ill, than whether a die, which he threw out of a
box, was to turn out a sise or an ace). However, he almost instantly
resumed his spirits and expressed his wonder rather that his popularity
had lasted so long, than that it should have given way at last. At
length, with a perfectly cheerful manner, he said, 'Well, well, James,
but you know we must not droop--for you know we can't and won't give
over--we must just try something else, and the question is, what it's to
be?' Nor was it any wonder he spoke thus, for he could not fail to be
unconsciously conscious, if I dare use such a term, of his own gigantic,
and as yet undeveloped, powers, and was somewhat under forty years old.
I am by no means sure whether he then alluded to _Waverley_, as if he
had mentioned it to me for the first time, for my memory has greatly
failed me touching this, or whether he alluded to it, as in fact appears
to have been the case, as having been commenced and laid aside several
years before, but I well recollect that he consulted me with his usual
openness and candour respecting his probability of succeeding as a
novelist, and I confess my expectations were not very sanguine. He saw
this and said, 'Well, I don't see why I should not succeed as well as
other people. Come, faint heart never won fair lady--let us try.' I
remember when the work was put into my hands, I could not get myself to
think much, of the Waverley Honour scenes, but to my shame be it spoken,
when he had reached the exquisite scenes of Scottish manners at
Tully-Veolan, I thought them, and pronounced them, vulgar! When the
success of the book so utterly knocked me down as a man of taste, all
that the good-natured Author observed was, 'Well, I really thought you
might be wrong about the Scotch. Why, Burns had already attracted
universal attention to all about Scotland, and I confess I could not see
why I should not be able to keep the flame alive, merely because I wrote
in prose in place of rhyme.'"--_Memorandum_.

[179] This was a club-house on the London plan, in Princes Street [No.
54], a little eastward from the Mound. On its dissolution soon
afterwards, Sir W. was elected by acclamation into the elder Society,
called the _New Club_, who had then their house in St. Andrew Square
[No. 3], and since 1837 in Princes Street [No. 85].

[180] Mr. Skene's house was No. 126 Princes Street. Scott's written
answer has been preserved:--

"MY DEAR SKENE,--A thousand thanks for your kind proposal. But I am a
solitary monster by temper, and must necessarily couch in a den of my
own. I should not, I assure you, have made any ceremony in accepting
your offer had it at all been like to suit me.

"But I must make an arrangement which is to last for years, and perhaps
for my lifetime; therefore the sooner I place myself on my footing it
will be so much the better.--Always, dear Skene, your obliged and
faithful, W. SCOTT."

[181] Pope's _Imitation of Horace_, Bk. ii Sat. 6.--J.G.L.

[182] These Letters appeared in the _Edinburgh Weekly Journal_ in
February and March 1826. "They were then collected into a pamphlet, and
ran through numerous editions; in the subsequent discussions in
Parliament, they were frequently referred to; and although an elaborate
answer by the then Secretary of the Admiralty, Mr. Croker, attracted
much notice, and was, by the Government of the time, expected to
neutralise the effect of the northern lucubrations--the proposed
measure, as regarded Scotland, was ultimately abandoned, and that result
was universally ascribed to Malachi Malagrowther."--Scott's _Misc.
Works_, vol. xxi.

[183] _Winter's Tale_, Act iv. Sc. 2, slightly altered.

[184] The late Mr. Williamson of Cardrona in Peeblesshire, was a strange
humorist, of whom Sir Walter told many stories. The allusion here is to
the anecdote of the _Leetle Anderson_ in the first of _Malachi_'s
Epistles.:--See Scott's _Prose Miscellanies_, vol. xxi. p.

[185] _The Omen_, by Galt, had just been published.--See Sir Walter's
review of this novel in the _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xviii. p.
333. John Gait died at Greenock in April 1839.--J.G.L.

[186] "A Letter from Malachi Malagrowther, Esq., to the Editor of the
_Edinburgh Weekly Journal_, on the proposed Change of Currency, and
other late alterations as they affect, or are intended to affect, the
Kingdom of Scotland. 8 vo, Edin. 1826."

The motto to the epistle was:--

  "When the pipes begin to play
  _Tutti taittie_ to the drum,
  Out claymore and down wi' gun,
  And to the rogues again."

In the next edition it was suppressed, as some friends thought it might
be misunderstood. Mr. Croker in his reply had urged that if the author
appealed to the edge of the claymore at Prestonpans, he might refer him
to the point of the bayonet at Culloden.--See Croker's _Correspondence_,
vol. i. pp. 317-320, and Scott's _Life_, vol. viii. pp. 301-5.

[187] Lord Reston, who died at Gladsmuir in 1819. He was one of Scott's
companions at the High School.--See _Life_., vol. i. p. 40.

[188] See Gray's _Elegy_.--J.G.L.

[189] In Arthur Murphy's farce of _The Upholsterer, or What News_?

[190] Lady Anna Maria Elliot, daughter of the first Earl of Minto. She
married Sir Rufane Donkin in 1832.

[191] Afterwards Lord Advocate, 1834 and 1835, and Judge under the title
of Lord Murray from 1839; he died in 1859.

[192] The learned editor of the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, in
10 vols. folio, Edin. 1814-24; he succeeded Sir Walter as President of
the Bannatyne Club in 1832, and died in 1852.

[193] Rose Court, where Mr. Clerk had a bachelor's establishment, was
situated immediately behind St. Andrew's Church, George Street. The name
disappeared from our Street Directories shortly after Mr. Clerk's death
in 1847.

[194] Burns, in Johnson's _Musical Museum_, No. 319.

[195] One of the nineteen original members of _The Club_.--See Mr.
Irving's letter with names, _Life_, vol. i. pp. 207-8, and Scott's
joyous visit in 1793 to Meigle, pp. 292-4.

[196] Dalgleish was Sir Walter's butler. He said he cared not how much
his wages were reduced--but go he would not.--J.G.L.

[197] Whin-cow--_Anglicè_, a bush of furze.--J.G.L.


_March_ 1.--_Malachi_ is in the _Edinburgh Journal_ to-day, and reads
like the work of an uncompromising right-forward Scot of the old school.
Some of the cautious and pluckless instigators will be afraid of their
confederate; for if a man of some energy and openness of character
happens to be on the same side with these truckling jobbers, they stand
as much in awe of his vehemence as doth the inexperienced conjurer who
invokes a fiend whom he cannot manage. Came home, in a heavy shower with
the Solicitor. I tried him on the question, but found him reserved and
cautious. The future Lord Advocate must be cautious; but I can tell my
good friend John Hope that, if he acts the part of a firm and resolute
Scottish patriot, both his own country and England will respect him the
more. Ah! Hal Dundas, there was no such truckling in thy day!

Looked out a quantity of things to go to Abbotsford; for we are
flitting, if you please.[198] It is with a sense of pain that I leave
behind a parcel of trumpery prints and little ornaments, once the pride
of Lady S----'s heart, but which she sees consigned with indifference to
the chance of an auction. Things that have had their day of importance
with me I cannot forget, though the merest trifles. But I am glad that
she, with bad health and enough to vex her, has not the same useless
mode of associating recollections with this unpleasant business. The
best part of it is the necessity of leaving behind, viz., setting rid
of, a set of most wretched daubs of landscapes, in great gilded frames,
of which I have often been heartily ashamed. The history of them was
curious. An amateur artist (a lady) happened to fall into misfortunes,
upon which her landscapes, the character of which had been buoyed up far
beyond their proper level, sank even beneath it, and it was low enough.
One most amiable and accomplished old lady continued to encourage her
pencil, and to order picture after picture, which she sent in presents
to her friends. I suppose I have eight or ten of them, which I could not
avoid accepting. There will be plenty of laughing when they come to be
sold. It would be a good joke enough to cause it to be circulated that
they were performances of my own in early youth, and they would be
looked on and bought up as curiosities. True it is that I took lessons
of oil-painting in youth from a little Jew animalcule, a smouch called
Burrell, a clever sensible creature though; but I could make no progress
either in painting or drawing. Nature denied me correctness of eye and
neatness of hand, yet I was very desirous to be a draughtsman at least,
and laboured harder to attain that point than at any other in my
recollection, to which I did not make some approaches. My oil-paintings
were to Miss ------ above commemorated what hers are to Claude Lorraine.
Yet Burrell was not useless to me altogether neither; he was a Prussian,
and I got from him many a long story of the battles of Frederic, in
whose armies his father had been a commissary, or perhaps a spy. I
remember his picturesque account of seeing a party of the Black Hussars
bringing in some forage carts which they had taken from a body of the
Cossacks, whom he described as lying on the top of the carts of hay,
mortally wounded, and, like the Dying Gladiator, eyeing their own blood
as it ran down through the straw. I afterwards took lessons from Walker,
whom we used to call Blue-beard. He was one of the most conceited
persons in the world, but a good teacher--one of the ugliest
countenances he had too--enough, as we say, to spean weans.[199] The
man was always extremely precise in the quality of everything about him,
his dress, accommodations, and everything else. He became insolvent,
poor man, and for some reason or other I attended the meeting of those
concerned in his affairs. Instead of ordinary accommodations for
writing, each of the persons present was equipped with a large sheet of
drawing paper and a swan's quill. It was mournfully ridiculous enough.
Skirving[200] made an admirable likeness of Walker, not a single scar or
mark of the smallpox which seamed his countenance, but the too accurate
brother of the brush had faithfully laid it down in longitude and
latitude. Poor Walker destroyed it (being in crayons) rather than let
the caricature of his ugliness appear at the sale of his effects. I did
learn myself to take some vile views from Nature. When Will Clerk and I
lived very much together, I used sometimes to make them under his
instruction. He to whom, as to all his family, art is a familiar
attribute, wondered at me as a Newfoundland dog would at a greyhound
which showed fear of the water.

Going down to Liddesdale once, I drew the castle of Hermitage in my
fashion, and sketched it so accurately that with a few verbal
instructions Clerk put it into regular form, Williams[201] (the Grecian)
copied over Clerk's, and _his_ drawing was engraved as the frontispiece
of the first volume of the Kelso edition, _Minstrelsy of the Scottish
Border_.[202] Do you know why you have written all this down, Sir W.?
Because it pleases me to record that this thrice-transmitted drawing,
though taken originally from a sketch of mine, was extremely like
Hermitage, which neither of my colleagues in the task had ever seen? No,
that's not the reason. You want to put off writing _Woodstock_, just as
easily done as these memoranda, but which it happens your duty and your
prudence recommend, and therefore you are loath to begin.

            I can't say no;
        But this piece of task-work off I can stave, O,
        For Malachi's posting into an octavo;
    To correct the proof-sheets only this night I have, O,
    So, Madame Conscience, you've gotten as good as you gave, O
    But to-morrow's a new day and we'll better behave, O,
    So I lay down the pen, and your pardon I crave, O."

In the evening Mr. Gibson called and transacted business.

_March_ 2.--I have a letter from Colin Mackenzie, approving
_Malachi_,--"Cold men may say it is too strong; but from the true men of
Scotland you are sure of the warmest gratitude." I never have yet found,
nor do I expect it on this occasion, that ill-will dies in debt, or what
is called gratitude distresses herself by frequent payments. The one is
like a ward-holding and pays its reddendo in hard blows. The other a
blanch-tenure, and is discharged for payment of a red rose or a
peppercorn. He that takes the forlorn hope in an attack, is often
deserted by those that should support him, and who generally throw the
blame of their own cowardice upon his rashness. We shall see this will
end in the same way. But I foresaw it from the beginning. The bankers
will be persuaded that it is a squib which may burn their own fingers,
and will curse the poor pyrotechnist that compounded it; if they do,
they be d--d. Slept indifferently, and dreamed of Napoleon's last
moments, of which I was reading a medical account last night, by Dr.
Arnott. Horrible death--a cancer on the pylorus. I would have given
something to have lain still this morning and made up for lost time. But
_desidiae valedixi_. If you once turn on your side after the hour at
which you ought to rise, it is all over. Bolt up at once. Bad night
last--the next is sure to be better.

    "When the drum beats, make ready;
    When the fife plays, march away--
    To the roll-call, to the roll-call, to the roll-call,
    Before the break of day."

Dined with Chief-Commissioner, Admiral Adam, W. Clerk, Thomson, and I.
The excellent old man was cheerful at intervals--at times sad, as was
natural. A good blunder he told us, occurred in the Annandale case,
which was a question partly of domicile. It was proved that leaving
Lochwood, the Earl had given up his _kain_ and _carriages_;[203] this an
English Counsel contended was the best of all possible proofs that the
noble Earl designed an absolute change of residence, since he laid aside
his _walking-stick_ and his _coach_.

First epistle of _Malachi_ is getting out of print, or rather is out of
print already.

_March_ 3.--Could not get the last sheets of _Malachi_, Second Epistle,
last night, so they must go out to the world uncorrected--a great loss,
for the last touches are always most effectual; and I expect misprints
in the additional matter. We were especially obliged to have it out this
morning, that it may operate as a gentle preparative for the meeting of
inhabitants at two o'clock. _Vogue la galère_--we shall see if Scotsmen
have any pluck left. If not, they may kill the next Percy themselves. It
is ridiculous enough for me, in a state of insolvency for the present,
to be battling about gold and paper currency. It is something like the
humorous touch in Hogarth's _Distressed Poet_, where the poor starveling
of the Muses is engaged, when in the abyss of poverty, in writing an
Essay on payment of the National Debt; and his wall is adorned with a
plan of the mines of Peru. Nevertheless, even these fugitive attempts,
from the success which they have had, and the noise they are making,
serve to show the truth of the old proverb--

    "When house and land are gone and spent,
    Then learning is most excellent."

On the whole, I am glad of this brulzie, as far as I am concerned;
people will not dare talk of me as an object of pity--no more
"poor-manning." Who asks how many punds Scots the old champion had in
his pocket when

    "He set a bugle to his mouth,
      And blew so loud and shrill,
    The trees in greenwood shook thereat,
      Sae loud rang ilka hill"?[204]

This sounds conceited enough, yet is not far from truth.

The meeting was very numerous, 500 or 600 at least, and unanimous, save
in one Mr. Howden, who having been all his life, as I am told, in bitter
opposition to Ministers, proposed on the present occasion that the whole
contested measure should be trusted to their wisdom. I suppose he chose
the opportunity of placing his own opinion in opposition, single
opposition too, to that of a large assembly. The speaking was very
moderate. Report had said that Jeffrey, J.A. Murray, and other sages of
the economical school, were to unbuckle their mails, and give us their
opinions. But no such great guns appeared. If they had, having the
multitude on my side, I would have tried to break a lance with them. A
few short but well-expressed resolutions were adopted unanimously. These
were proposed by Lord Rollo, and seconded by Sir James Fergusson, Bart.
I was named one of a committee to encourage all sorts of opposition to
the measure. So I have already broken through two good and wise
resolutions--one, that I would not write on political controversy;
another, that I would not be named on public committees. If my good
resolves go this way, like _snaw aff a dyke_--the Lord help me!

_March_ 4.--Last night I had a letter from Lockhart, who, speaking of
_Malachi_, says, "The Ministers are sore beyond imagination at present;
and some of them, I hear, have felt this new whip on the raw to some
purpose." I conclude he means Canning is offended. I can't help it, as I
said before--_fiat justitia, ruat coelum_. No cause in which I had the
slightest personal interest should have made me use my pen 'gainst them,
blunt or pointed as it may be. But as they are about to throw this
country into distress and danger, by a measure of useless and
uncalled-for experiment, they must hear the opinion of the Scotsmen, to
whom it is of no other consequence than as a general measure affecting
the country at large,--and mine they _shall_ hear. I had determined to
lay down the pen. But now they shall have another of _Malachi_,
beginning with buffoonery, and ending as seriously as I can write it. It
is like a frenzy that they will agitate the upper and middling classes
of society, so very friendly to them, with unnecessary and hazardous

    "Oh, thus it was they loved them dear,
      And sought how to requite 'em,
    And having no friends left but they,
      They did resolve to fight them."

The country is very high just now. England may carry the measure if she
will, doubtless. But what will be the consequence of the distress
ensuing, God only can foretell.

Lockhart, moreover, inquires about my affairs anxiously, and asks what
he is to say about them; says, "He has inquiries every day; kind, most
kind all, and among the most interested and anxious, Sir William
Knighton,[205] who told me the king was quite melancholy all the evening
he heard of it." _This_ I can well believe, for the king, educated as a
prince, has, nevertheless, as true and kind a heart as any subject in
his dominions. He goes on: "I do think they would give you a Baron's
gown as soon as possible," etc. I have written to him in answer, showing
I have enough to carry me on, and can dedicate my literary efforts to
clear my land. The preferment would suit me well, and the late Duke of
Buccleuch gave me his interest for it. I dare say the young duke would
do the same, for the unvaried love I have borne his house; and by and by
he will have a voice potential. But there is Sir William Rae in the
meantime, whose prevailing claim I would never place my own in
opposition to, even were it possible by a _tour de force_, such as L.
points at, to set it aside. Meantime, I am building a barrier betwixt me
and promotion. Any prospect of the kind is very distant and very
uncertain. _Come time, come, rath_, as the German says.

In the meanwhile, now I am not pulled about for money, etc., methinks I
am happier without my wealth than with it. Everything is paid. I have no
one wishing to _make up a sum_ of money, and writing for his account to
be paid. Since 17th January I have not laid out a guinea, out of my own
hand, save two or three in charity, and six shillings for a pocket-book.
But the cash with which I set out having run short for family expenses I
drew on Blackwood, through Ballantyne, which was honoured, for £25, to
account of _Malachi's Letters_, of which another edition of 1000 is
ordered, and gave it to Lady Scott, because our removal will require
that in hand. This is for a fortnight succeeding Wednesday next, being
the 8th March current. On the 20th my quarter comes in, and though I
have something to pay out of it, I shall be on velvet for expense--and
regular I will be. Methinks all trifling objects of expenditure seem to
grow light in my eyes. That I may regain independence, I must be saving.
But ambition awakes, as love of quiet indulgence dies and is mortified
within me. "Dark Cuthullin will be renowned or dead."[206]

_March_ 5.--Something of toddy and cigar in that last quotation, I
think. Yet I only smoked two, and liquified with one glass of spirits
and water. I have sworn I will not blot out what I have once written

_Malachi_ goes on, but I am dubious about the commencement--it must be
mended at least--reads prosy.

Had letters from Walter and Jane, the dears. All well. Regiment about to
move from Dublin.

_March_ 6.--Finished third _Malachi_, which I don't much like. It
respects the difficulty of finding gold to replace the paper
circulation. Now this should have been considered first. The admitting
that the measure may be imposed is yielding up the question, and
_Malachi_ is like a commandant who should begin to fire from interior
defences before his outworks were carried. If Ballantyne be of my own
opinion I will suppress it. We are all in a bustle shifting things to
Abbotsford. I believe we shall stay here till the beginning of next
week. It is odd, but I don't feel the impatience for the country which I
have usually experienced.

_March_ 7.--Detained in the Court till _three_ by a hearing. Then to the
Committee appointed at the meeting on Friday, to look after the
small-note business. A pack of old _fainéants_, incapable of managing
such a business, and who will lose the day from mere coldness of heart.
There are about a thousand names at the petition. They have added no
designations--a great blunder; for _testimonia sunt ponderanda, non
numeranda_ should never be lost sight of. They are disconcerted and
helpless; just as in the business of the King's visit, when everybody
threw the weight on me, for which I suffered much in my immediate
labour, and after bad health it brought on a violent eruption on my
skin, which saved me from a fever at the time, but has been troublesome
more or less ever since. I was so disgusted with seeing them sitting in
ineffectual helplessness spitting on the hot iron that lay before them,
and touching it with a timid finger, as if afraid of being scalded,
that at another time I might have dashed in and taken up the hammer,
summoned the deacons and other heads of public bodies, and by consulting
them have carried them with me. But I cannot waste my time, health, and
spirits in fighting thankless battles. I left them in a quarter of an
hour, and presage, unless the country make an alarm, the cause is lost.
The philosophical reviewers manage their affairs better--hold off--avoid
committing themselves, but throw their _vis inertiæ_ into the opposite
scale, and neutralise the feelings which they cannot combat. To force
them to fight on disadvantageous ground is our policy. But we have more
sneakers after Ministerial favour than men who love their country, and
who upon a liberal scale would serve their party. For to force the Whigs
to avow an unpopular doctrine in popular assemblies, or to wrench the
government of such bodies from them, would be a _coup de maître_. But
they are alike destitute of manly resolution and sound policy. D--n the
whole nest of them! I have corrected the last of _Malachi_, and let the
thing take its chance. I have made enemies enough, and indisposed enough
of friends.

_March_ 8.--At the Court, though a teind day. A foolish thing happened
while the Court were engaged with the teinds. I amused myself with
writing on a sheet of paper notes on Frederick Maitland's account of the
capture of Bonaparte; and I have lost these notes--shuffled in perhaps
among my own papers, or those of the teind clerks. What a curious
document to be found in a process of valuation!

Being jaded and sleepy, I took up Le Due de Guise on Naples.[207] I
think this, with the old Memoires on the same subject which I have at
Abbotsford, would enable me to make a pretty essay for the _Quarterly_.
We must take up _Woodstock_ now in good earnest. Mr. Cowan, a good and
able man, is chosen trustee in Constable's affairs, with full power.
From what I hear, the poor man is not sensible of the nature of his own
situation; for myself, I have succeeded in putting the matters perfectly
out of my mind since I cannot help them, and have arrived at a
_flocci-pauci-nihili-pili-_fication of money, and I thank Shenstone for
inventing that long word.[208] They are removing the wine, etc., to the
carts, and you will judge if our flitting is not making a noise in the
world--or in the street at least.

_March_ 9.--I foresaw justly,

    "When first I set this dangerous stone a-rolling,
    'Twould fall upon myself."[209]

Sir Robert Dundas to-day put into my hands a letter of between thirty
and forty pages, in angry and bitter reprobation of _Malachi_, full of
general averments and very untenable arguments, all written at me by
name, but of which I am to have no copy, and which is to be shown to me
_in extenso_, and circulated to other special friends, to whom it may be
necessary to "give the sign to hate."[210] I got it at two o'clock, and
returned [it] with an answer four hours afterwards, in which I have
studied not to be tempted into either sarcastic or harsh
expressions.[211] A quarrel it is however, in all the forms, between my
old friend and myself, and his lordship's reprimand is to be _read out
in order_ to all our friends. They all know what I have said is true,
but that will be nothing to the purpose if they are desired to consider
it as false. As for Lord Melville, I do not wonder that he is angry,
though he has little reason, for he, our _watchman stented_, has from
time to time suffered all manner of tampering to go on under his nose
with the institutions and habits of Scotland. As for myself, I was quite
prepared for my share of displeasure. It is very curious that I should
have foreseen all this so distinctly as far back as 17th February.
Nobody at least can plague me for interest with Lord Melville as they
used to do. By the way, from the tone of his letter, I think his
lordship will give up the measure, and I will be the peace-offering. All
will agree to condemn me as too warm--too rash--and get rich on
privileges which they would not have been able to save but for a little
rousing of spirit, which will not perhaps fall asleep again.[212] A
gentleman called on the part of a Captain [Rutherford], to make inquiry
about the Border Rutherfords. Not being very _cleever_, as John Fraser
used to say, at these pedigree matters, referred him to Mrs. Dr. Russell
and Robt. Rutherford. The noble Captain conceits he has some title to
the honours of Lord Rutherford. Very odd--when there is a vacant or
dormant title in a Scottish family or _name_, everybody, and all
connected with the clan, conceive they have _quodam modo_ a right to it.
Not being engrossed by any individual, it communicates part of its
lustre to every individual in the tribe, as if it remained in common
stock for that purpose.

_March_ 10.--I am not made entirely in the same mould of passions like
other people. Many men would deeply regret a breach with so old a friend
as Lord Melville, and many men would be in despair at losing the good
graces of a Minister of State for Scotland, and all pretty visions about
what might be done for myself and my sons, especially Charles. But I
think my good lord doth ill to be angry, like the patriarch of old, and
I have, in my odd sans souciance character, a good handful of meal from
the grist of the Jolly Miller, who

    Dwelled on the river Dee;
    I care for nobody, no, not I,
    Since nobody cares for me."

Breakfasted with me Mr. Franks, a young Irishman from Dublin, who
brought letters from Walter and Captain Longmore of the Royal Staff. He
has written a book of poetry, _Tales of Chivalry and Romance_, far from
bad, yet wants spirit. He talks of publishing his recollections in the
Peninsula, which must be interesting, for he has, I think, sense and

Sandie Young[213] came in at breakfast-time with a Monsieur Brocque of

Saw Sir Robert Dundas at Court, who condemns Lord Melville, and says he
will not show his letter to any one; in fact it would be exactly
placarding me in a private and confidential manner. He is to send my
letter to Lord Melville. Colin Mackenzie concurs in thinking Lord
Melville quite wrong. "_He must cool in the skin he het in._"

On coming home from the Court a good deal fatigued, I took a nap in my
easy-chair, then packed my books, and committed the refuse to Jock

    "Left not a limb on which a Dane could triumph."

Gave Mr. Gibson my father's cabinet, which suits a man of business well.
Gave Jock Stevenson the picture of my old favourite dog Camp, mentioned
in one of the introductions to _Marmion_, and a little crow-quill
drawing of Melrose Abbey by Nelson, whom I used to call the Admiral.
Poor fellow! he had some ingenuity, and was, in a moderate way, a good
penman and draughtsman. He left his situation of amanuensis to go into
Lord Home's militia regiment, but his dissipated habits got the better
of a strong constitution, and he fell into bad ways and poverty, and
died, I believe, in the hospital at Liverpool. Strange enough that Henry
Weber, who acted afterwards as my amanuensis for many years, had also a
melancholy fate ultimately. He was a man of very superior attainments,
an excellent linguist and geographer, and a remarkable antiquary. He
published a collection of ancient Romances, superior, I think, to the
elaborate Ritson. He also published an edition of Beaumont and Fletcher,
but too carelessly done to be reputable. He was a violent Jacobin, which
he thought he disguised from me, while I, who cared not a fig about the
poor young man's politics, used to amuse myself with teasing him. He was
an excellent and affectionate creature, but unhappily was afflicted with
partial insanity, especially if he used strong liquors, to which, like
others with that unhappy tendency, he was occasionally addicted. In
1814[214] he became quite insane, and, at the risk of my life, I had to
disarm him of a pair of loaded pistols, which I did by exerting the sort
of authority which, I believe, gives an effectual control in such cases.
His friends, who were respectable, placed him in the York Asylum, where
he pined away and died, I think, in 1814 or 1815.[215] My patronage in
this way has not been lucky to the parties protected. I hope poor George
Huntly Gordon will escape the influence of the evil star. He has no
vice, poor fellow, but his total deafness makes him helpless.

_March_ 11.--This day the Court rose after a long and laborious
sederunt. I employed the remainder of the day in completing a set of
notes on Captain Maitland's manuscript narrative of the reception of
Napoleon Bonaparte on board the _Bellerophon_. It had been previously in
the hands of my friend Basil Hall, who had made many excellent
corrections in point of style; but he had been hypercritical in wishing
(in so important a matter where everything depends on accuracy) this
expression to be altered for delicacy's sake,--that to be omitted for
fear of giving offence,--and that other to be abridged for fear of being
tedious. The plain sailor's narrative for me, written on the spot, and
bearing in its minuteness the evidence of its veracity.

Lord Elgin sent me, some time since, a curious account of his
imprisonment in France, and the attempts which were made to draw him
into some intrigue which might authorise treating him with rigour[216].
He called to-day and communicated some curious circumstances, on the
authority of Fouché, Denon, and others, respecting Bonaparte and the
empress Maria Louise, whom Lord Elgin had conversed with on the subject
in Italy. His conduct towards her was something like that of Ethwald to
Elburga, in Joanna Baillie's fine tragedy[217], making her postpone her
high rank by birth to the authority which he had acquired by his
talents. Dinner was usually announced for a particular hour, and
Napoleon's business often made him late. She was not permitted to sit
down to table, an etiquette which was reasonable enough. But from the
hour of dinner till the Emperor appeared she was to be in the act of
sitting down; that is to say, he was displeased if he found her engaged
with a book, with work, or with anything else. She was obliged to be in
a state of absolute "being about to sit down." She seemed a good deal
_gênée_ by something of that kind, though remembering with pride she had
been Empress, it might almost be said of the world. The rest for

_March_ 12.--Resumed _Woodstock_, and wrote my task of six pages. I was
interrupted by a slumberous feeling which made me obliged to stop once
or twice. I shall soon have a remedy in the country, which affords the
pleasanter resource of a walk when such feelings come on. I hope I am
the reverse of the well-known line, "sleepy myself, to give my readers
sleep." I cannot _gurnalise_ at any rate, having wrought my eyes nearly

_March_ 13.--Wrote to the end of a chapter, and knowing no more than the
man in the moon what comes next, I will put down a few of Lord Elgin's
remembrances, and something may occur to me in the meanwhile. When
M[aria] Louise first saw B[onaparte], she was in the carriage with his
representative general, when she saw a horseman ride forward at the
gallop, passing and repassing the carriage in a manner which, joined to
the behaviour of her companion, convinced her who it was, especially as
he endeavoured, with a curiosity which would not have been tolerated in
another, to peep into the windows. When she alighted at the inn at----,
Napoleon presented himself, pulled her by the ear, and kissed her

Bonaparte's happiest days passed away when he dismissed from about him
such men as Talleyrand and Fouché, whose questions and objections
compelled him to recur upon, modify, and render practicable the great
plans which his ardent conception struck out at a heat. When he had
Murat and such persons about him, who marvelled and obeyed, his
schemes, equally magnificent, were not so well matured, and ended in the
projector's ruin.

I have hinted in these notes that I am not entirely free from a sort of
gloomy fits, with a fluttering of the heart and depression of spirits,
just as if I knew not what was going to befall me. I can sometimes
resist this successfully, but it is better to evade than to combat it.
The hang-dog spirit may have originated in the confusion and chucking
about of our old furniture, the stripping of walls of pictures, and
rooms of ornaments; the leaving a house we have so long called our home
is altogether melancholy enough. I am glad Lady S. does not mind it, and
yet I wonder, too. She insists on my remaining till Wednesday, not
knowing what I suffer. Meanwhile, to make my recusant spirit do penance,
I have set to work to clear away papers and pack them for my journey.
What a strange medley of thoughts such a task produces! There lie
letters which made the heart throb when received, now lifeless and
uninteresting--as are perhaps their owners. Riddles which time has
read--schemes which he has destroyed or brought to maturity--memorials
of friendships and enmities which are now alike faded. Thus does the
ring of Saturn consume itself. To-day annihilates yesterday, as the old
tyrant swallowed his children, and the snake its tail. But I must say to
my _Gurnal_ as poor Byron did to Moore, "Damn it, Tom, don't be

_Memorandum_.--I received some time since from Mr. Riddoch, of Falkirk,
a sort of iron mallet, said to have been found in the ruins of Grame's
Dike; there it was reclaimed about three months since by the gentleman
on whose lands it was found, a Doctor--by a very polite letter from his
man of business. Having unluckily mislaid his letter, and being totally
unable either to recollect the name of the proprietor or the
professional gentleman, I returned this day the piece of antiquity to
Mr. Riddoch, who sent it to me. Wrote at the same time to Tom Grahame
of Airth, mentioning what I had done. "Touch my honour, touch my
life--there is the spoon."[219]

_March_ 14.--J.B. called this morning to take leave, and receive
directions about proofs, etc. Talks of the uproar about _Malachi_; but I
am tired of _Malachi_--the humour is off, and I have said what I wanted
to say, and put the people of Scotland on their guard, as well as
Ministers, if they like to be warned. They are gradually destroying what
remains of nationality, and making the country _tabula rasa_ for
doctrines of bold innovation. Their loosening and grinding down all
those peculiarities which distinguished us as Scotsmen will throw the
country into a state in which it will be universally turned to
democracy, and instead of canny Saunders, they will have a very
dangerous North British neighbourhood.

Some [English] lawyer expressed to Lord Elibank an opinion, that at the
Union the English law should have been extended all over Scotland. "I
cannot say how that might have answered our purpose," said Lord Patrick,
who was never nonsuited for want of an answer, "but it would scarce have
suited _yours_, since by this time the _Aberdeen Advocates_[220] would
have possessed themselves of all the business in Westminster Hall."

What a detestable feeling this fluttering of the heart is! I know it is
nothing organic, and that it is entirely nervous; but the sickening
effects of it are dispiriting to a degree. Is it the body brings it on
the mind, or the mind that inflicts it upon the body? I cannot tell; but
it is a severe price to pay for the _Fata Morgana_ with which Fancy
sometimes amuses men of warm imaginations. As to body and mind, I fancy
I might as well inquire whether the fiddle or fiddlestick makes the
tune. In youth this complaint used to throw me into involuntary passions
of causeless tears. But I will drive it away in the country by exercise.
I wish I had been a mechanic: a turning-lathe or a chest of tools would
have been a God-send; for thought makes the access of melancholy rather
worse than better. I have it seldom, thank God, and, I believe, lightly,
in comparison of others.

It was the fiddle after all was out of order, not the fiddlestick; the
body, not the mind. I walked out; met Mrs. Skene, who took a turn with
me in Princes Street. Bade Constable and Cadell farewell, and had a
brisk walk home, which enables me to face the desolation here with more
spirit. News from Sophia. She has had the luck to get an anti-druggist
in a Dr. Gooch, who prescribes care for Johnnie instead of drugs, and a
little home-brewed ale instead of wine; and, like a liberal physician,
supplies the medicine he prescribes. As for myself, while I have scarce
stirred to take exercise for four or five days, no wonder I had the
mulligrubs. It is an awful sensation though, and would have made an
enthusiast of me, had I indulged my imagination on devotional subjects.
I have been always careful to place my mind in the most tranquil posture
which it can assume during my private exercises of devotion.

I have amused myself occasionally very pleasantly during the last few
days, by reading over Lady Morgan's novel of _O'Donnel_,[221] which has
some striking and beautiful passages of situation and description, and
in the comic part is very rich and entertaining. I do not remember being
so much pleased with it at first. There is a want of story, always fatal
to a book the first reading--and it is well if it gets a chance of a
second. Alas! poor novel! Also read again, and for the third time at
least, Miss Austen's very finely written novel of _Pride and Prejudice_.
That young lady had a talent for describing the involvements and
feelings and characters of ordinary life, which is to me the most
wonderful I ever met with. The Big Bow-wow strain I can do myself like
any now going; but the exquisite touch, which renders ordinary
commonplace things and characters interesting, from the truth of the
description and the sentiment, is denied to me. What a pity such a
gifted creature died so early![222]

_March_ 15.--This morning I leave No. 39 Castle Street, for the last
time. "The cabin was convenient," and habit had made it agreeable to me.
I never reckoned upon a change in this particular so long as I held an
office in the Court of Session. In all my former changes of residence it
was from good to better; this is retrograding. I leave this house for
sale, and I cease to be an Edinburgh citizen, in the sense of being a
proprietor, which my father and I have been for sixty years at least. So
farewell, poor 39, and may you never harbour worse people than those who
now leave you! Not to desert the Lares all at once, Lady S. and Anne
remain till Sunday. As for me, I go, as aforesaid, this morning.

    "Ha til mi tulidh'!--"[223]

_Abbotsford_, 9 _at night_.--The naturally unpleasant feelings which
influenced me in my ejectment, for such it is virtually, readily
evaporated in the course of the journey, though I had no pleasanter
companions than Mrs. Mackay, the housekeeper, and one of the maids; and
I have a shyness of disposition, which looks like pride, but it is not,
which makes me awkward in speaking to my household domestics. With an
out-of-doors labourer, or an old woman gathering sticks, I can talk for
ever. I was welcomed here on my arrival by the tumult, great of men and
dogs, all happy to see me. One of my old labourers killed by the fall of
a stone working at Gattonside Bridge. Old Will Straiton, my man of
wisdom and proverbs, also dead. He was entertaining from his importance
and self-conceit, but really a sensible old man. When he heard of my
misfortunes, he went to bed, and said he would not rise again, and kept
his word. He was very infirm when I last saw him. Tom Purdie in great
glory, being released from all farm duty, and destined to attend the
woods, and be my special assistant. The gardener Bogie is to take care
of what small farm we have left, which little would make me give up

_March_ 16.--Pleasant days make short Journals, and I have little to say
to-day. I wrote in the morning at _Woodstock_; walked from one till
four; was down at Huntly Burn and paid my respects to the ladies. The
spring seems promising, and everything in great order. Visited Will
Straiton's widow, who squeezed out among many tears a petition for a
house. I do not think I shall let her have one, as she has a bad temper,
but I will help her otherwise; she is greedy besides, as was the defunct
philosopher William. In a year or two I shall have on the toft field a
gallant show of extensive woodland, sweeping over the hill, and its
boundaries carefully concealed. In the evening, after dinner, read Mrs.
Charlotte Smith's novel of _Desmond_[224]--decidedly the worst of her

_March_ 17.--Sent off a packet to J.B.; only three pages copy, so must
work hard for a day or two. I wish I could wind up my bottom
handsomely--an odd but accredited phrase. The conclusion will be
luminous; we must try to make it dashing. Go spin, you jade, go spin.
Have a good deal to do between-hands in sorting up the newly arrived
accession of books.

I need not have exulted so soon in having attained ease and quiet. I am
robbed of both with a vengeance. A letter from Lockhart, with one
enclosed from Sophia, announces the medical people think the child is
visibly losing strength, that its walking becomes more difficult, and,
in short, that the spine seems visibly affected. They recommend tepid
baths in sea-water, so Sophia has gone down to Brighton, leaving
Lockhart in town, who is to visit her once a week. Here is my worst
augury verified.[225] The bitterness of this probably impending calamity
is extreme. The child was almost too good for this world; beautiful in
features; and, though spoiled by every one, having one of the sweetest
tempers, as well as the quickest intellect I ever saw; a sense of humour
quite extraordinary in a child, and, owing to the general notice which
was taken of him, a great deal more information than suited his years.
He was born in the eighth month, and such children are never
strong--seldom long-lived. I look on this side and that, and see nothing
but protracted misery, a crippled frame, and decayed constitution,
occupying the attention of his parents for years, and dying at the end
of that period, when their hearts were turned on him; or the poor child
may die before Sophia's confinement, and that may again be a dangerous
and bad affair; or she may, by increase of attention to him, injure her
own health. In short, to trace into how many branches such a misery may
flow is impossible. The poor dear love had so often a slow fever, that
when it pressed its little lips to mine, I always foreboded to my own
heart what all I fear are now aware of.

Lockhart writes me that Croker is the author of the Letters in the
_Courier_ against _Malachi_, and that Canning is to make another attack
on me in the House of Commons.[226] These things would make a man proud.
I will not answer, because I must show up Sir William Rae, and even Lord
Melville, and I have done enough to draw public attention, which is all
I want. Let them call me ungrateful, unkind, and all sorts of names, so
they keep their own fingers free of this most threatening measure. It is
very curious that each of these angry friends--Melville, Canning, and
Croker--has in former days appealed to me in confidence against each

While I smoked my cigar after dinner, my mind has been running into four
threads of bitter fancies, or rather into three decidedly bitter, and
one that is indifferent. There is the distress incumbent on the country
by these most untimely proceedings, which I would stop with my life were
that adequate to prevent them. 2d, there is the unpleasant feeling of
seeing a number of valued friends pass from me; that I cannot help. 3d,
there is the gnawing misery about that sweet child and its parents. 4th,
there is the necessity of pursuing my own labours, for which perhaps I
ought to be thankful, since it always wrenches one's mind aside from
what it must dwell on with pain. It is odd that the state of excitation
with me rather increases than abates the power of labour, I must finish
_Woodstock_ well if I can: otherwise how the Philistines will rejoice!

_March_ 18.--Slept indifferently, and under the influence of Queen Mab,
seldom auspicious to me, dreamed of reading the tale of the Prince of
the Black Marble Islands to little Johnnie, extended on a paralytic
chair, and yet telling all his pretty stories about Ha-papa, as he calls
me, and Chiefswood--and waked to think I should see the little darling
no more, or see him as a thing that had better never have existed. Oh,
misery! misery! that the best I can wish for him is early death, with
all the wretchedness to his parents that is like to ensue! I intended to
have stayed at home to-day; but Tom more wisely had resolved that I
should walk, and hung about the window with his axe and my own in his
hand till I turned out with him, and helped to cut some fine paling.

_March_ 19.--I have a most melancholy letter from Anne. Lady S., the
faithful and true companion of my fortunes, good and bad, for so many
years, has, but with difficulty, been prevailed on to see Dr.
Abercrombie, and his opinion is far from favourable. Her asthmatic
complaints are fast terminating in hydropsy, as I have long suspected;
yet the avowal of the truth and its probable consequences are
overwhelming. They are to stay a little longer in town to try the
effects of a new medicine. On Wednesday they propose to return hither--a
new affliction, where there was enough before; yet her constitution is
so good that if she will be guided by advice, things may be yet
ameliorated. God grant it! for really these misfortunes come too close
upon each other.

A letter from Croker of a very friendly tone and tenor, which I will
answer accordingly, not failing, however, to let him know that if I do
not reply it is not for fear of his arguments or raillery, far less from
diffidence in my cause. I hope and trust it will do good.[227]

Maxpopple[228] and two of his boys arrived to take part of my poor
dinner. I fear the little fellows had little more than the needful, but
they had all I had to give them.

I wrote a good deal to-day notwithstanding heavy thoughts.

_March_ 20.--Despatched proofs and copy this morning; and Swanston, the
carpenter, coming in, I made a sort of busy idle day of it with altering
and hanging pictures and prints, to find room for those which came from
Edinburgh, and by dint of being on foot from ten to near five, put all
things into apple-pie order. What strange beings we are! The serious
duties I have on hand cannot divert my mind from the most melancholy
thoughts; and yet the talking with these workmen, and the trifling
occupation which they give me, serves to dissipate my attention. The
truth is, I fancy that a body under the impulse of violent motion cannot
be stopped or forced back, but may indirectly be urged into a different
channel. In the evening I read, and sent off my Sheriff-Court processes.

I have a sort of grudging to give reasons why _Malachi_ does not reply
to the answers which have been sent forth. I don't know--I am strongly
tempted--but I won't. To drop the tone might seem mean, and perhaps to
maintain it would only exasperate the quarrel, without producing any
beneficial results, and might be considered as a fresh insult by my
alienated friends, so on the whole I won't.

The thing has certainly had more effect than it deserves; and I suspect
my Ministerial friends, if they love me less, will not hold me cheaper
for the fight I have made. I am far from saying _oderint dum emerint_,
but there is a great difference betwixt that and being a mere protégé, a
poor broken-down man, who was to be assisted when existing
circumstances, that most convenient of all apologies and happiest of all
phrases, would permit.

_March_ 21.--Perused an attack on myself, done with as much ability as
truth, by no less a man than Joseph Hume, the night-work man of the
House of Commons, who lives upon petty abuses, and is a very useful man
by so doing. He has had the kindness to say that I am interested in
keeping up the taxes; I wish I had anything else to do with them than to
pay them. But he lies, and is an ass, and not worth a man's thinking
about. Joseph Hume, indeed!--I say Joseph Hum,--and could add a Swiftian
rhyme, but forbear.

Busy in unpacking and repacking. I wrote five pages of _Woodstock_,
which work begins

    "To appropinque an end."[229]

_March_ 22.--A letter from Lord Downshire's man of business about funds
supposed to belong to my wife, or to the estate of my late
brother-in-law. The possessor of the secret wants some reward. If any is
granted, it should be a percentage on the net sum received, with the
condition no cure--no pay. I expect Lady S., and from Anne's last letter
hope to find her better than the first anticipation led me to dread.

Sent off proofs and copy, and shall indulge a little leisure to-day to
collect my ideas and stretch my limbs. I am again far before the press.

_March_ 23.--Lady Scott arrived yesterday to dinner. She was better than
I expected, but Anne, poor soul, looked very poorly, and had been much
worried with the fatigue and discomfort of the last week. Lady S. takes
the digitalis, and, as she thinks, with advantage, though the medicine
makes her very sick. Yet, on the whole, things are better than my gloomy
apprehensions had anticipated.

I wrote to Lockhart and to Lord Downshire's Agent,--G. Handley, Esq.,
Pentonville, London.

Took a good brushing walk, but not till I had done a good task.

_March_ 24.--Sent off copy, proofs, etc. J.B. clamorous for a motto.

It is foolish to encourage people to expect mottoes and such-like
decoraments. You have no credit for success in finding them, and there
is a disgrace in wanting them. It is like being in the habit of showing
feats of strength, which you at length gain praise by accomplishing,
while some shame occurs in failure.

_March_ 25.--The end winds out well enough. I have almost finished
to-night; indeed I might have done so had I been inclined, but I had a
walk in a hurricane of snow for two hours and feel a little tired. Miss
Margaret Ferguson came to dinner with us.[230]

_March_ 26.--Here is a disagreeable morning, snowing and hailing, with
gleams of bright sunshine between, and all the ground white, and all the
air frozen. I don't like this jumbling of weather. It is ungenial, and
gives chilblains. Besides, with its whiteness, and its coldness, and its
glister, and its discomfort, it resembles that most disagreeable of all
things, a vain, cold, empty, beautiful woman, who has neither mind nor
heart, but only features like a doll. I do not know what is so like this
disagreeable day, when the sun is so bright, and yet so uninfluential,

    "One may gaze upon its beams
    Till he is starved with cold."

No matter, it will serve as well as another day to finish _Woodstock_.
Walked out to the lake, and coquetted with this disagreeable weather,
whereby I catch chilblains in my fingers and cold in my head. Fed the

Finished _Woodstock_, however, _cum tota sequela_ of title-page,
introduction, etc., and so, as Dame Fortune says in _Quevedo_,

    "Go wheel, and may the devil drive thee."[231]

_March_ 27.--Another bright cold day. I answered two modest requests
from widow ladies. One, whom I had already assisted in some law
business, on the footing of her having visited my mother, requested me
to write to Mr. Peel, saying, on her authority, that her second son, a
youth of infinite merit and accomplishment, was fit for any situation in
a public office, and that I requested he might be provided accordingly.
Another widowed dame, whose claim is having read _Marmion_ and the _Lady
of the Lake_, besides a promise to read all my other works--Gad, it is a
rash engagement!--demands that I shall either pay £200 to get her cub
into some place or other, or settle him in a seminary of education.
Really this is very much after the fashion of the husbandman of Miguel
Turra's requests of Sancho when Governor.[232] "Have you anything else
to ask, honest man?" quoth Sancho. But what are the demands of an honest
man to those of an honest woman, and she a widow to boot? I do believe
your destitute widow, especially if she hath a charge of children, and
one or two fit for patronage, is one of the most impudent animals

Went to Galashiels and settled the dispute about Sandie's wall.

_March_ 28.--We have now been in solitude for some time--myself nearly
totally so, excepting at meals, or on a call as yesterday from Henry and
William Scott of Harden. One is tempted to ask himself, knocking at the
door of his own heart, Do you love this extreme loneliness? I can answer
conscientiously, _I do_. The love of solitude was with me a passion of
early youth; when in my teens, I used to fly from company to indulge in
visions and airy castles of my own, the disposal of ideal wealth, and
the exercise of imaginary power. This feeling prevailed even till I was
eighteen, when love and ambition awakening with other passions threw me
more into society, from which I have, however, at times withdrawn
myself, and have been always even glad to do so. I have risen from a
feast satiated; and unless it be one or two persons of very strong
intellect, or whose spirits and good-humour amuse me, I wish neither to
see the high, the low, nor the middling class of society. This is a
feeling without the least tinge of misanthropy, which I always consider
as a kind of blasphemy of a shocking description. If God bears with the
very worst of us, we may surely endure each other. If thrown into
society, I always have, and always will endeavour to bring pleasure with
me, at least to show willingness to please. But for all this "I had
rather live alone," and I wish my appointment, so convenient otherwise,
did not require my going to Edinburgh. But this must be, and in my
little lodging I will be lonely enough.

Had a very kind letter from Croker disowning the least idea of personal
attack in his answer to _Malachi_.

Reading at intervals a novel called _Granby_; one of that very difficult
class which aspires to describe the actual current of society, whose
colours are so evanescent that it is difficult to fix them on the
canvas. It is well written, but over-laboured--too much attempt to put
the reader exactly up to the thoughts and sentiments of the parties. The
women do this better: Edgeworth, Ferrier, Austen have all had their
portraits of real society, far superior to anything man, vain man, has
produced of the like nature.[233]

_March_ 29.--Worked in the morning. Had two visits from Colonels Russell
and Ferguson. Walked from one till half-past four. A fine, flashy,
disagreeable day; snow-clouds sweeping past among sunshine, driving down
the valley, and whitening the country behind them.

Mr. Gibson came suddenly in after dinner. Brought very indifferent news
from Constable's house. It is not now hoped that they will pay above
three or four shillings in the pound. Robinson supposed not to be much

Mr. G. goes to London immediately, and is to sell _Woodstock_ to
Robinson if he can, otherwise to those who will, John Murray, etc. This
work may fail, perhaps, though better than some of its predecessors. If
so, we must try some new manner. I think I could catch the dogs yet.

A beautiful and perfect lunar rainbow to-night.

_March_ 30.--Mr. Gibson looks unwell, and complains of cold--bitter bad
weather for his travelling, and he looks but frail.

These indifferent news he brought me affect me but to a little degree.
It is being too confident to hope to ensure success in the long series
of successive struggles which lie before me. But somehow, I do fully
entertain the hope of doing a good deal.

_March_ 31.--

    "He walked and wrote poor soul, what then?
    Why then, he wrote and walked again."

But I am begun _Nap. Bon._ again, which is always a change, because it
gives a good deal of reading and research, whereas _Woodstock_ and such
like, being extempore from my mother-wit, is a sort of spinning of the
brains, of which a man tires. The weather seems milder to-day.


[198] The full-length picture of Sir Walter (with, the two dogs, Camp
and the deerhound) by Raeburn, painted in 1809, was at this time given
to Mr. Skene, and remained in his possession till 1831, when it was sent
to Abbotsford, where it now hangs.--See Letter, Scott to Skene, under
January 16th, 1831.

[199] Spean a wean, _i.e._ wean a child.

[200] Archibald Skirving (1749-1819), well known as a portrait-painter
in chalk and crayons in Edinburgh in the early part of this century.

[201] H.W. Williams, a native of Wales, who settled in Edinburgh at the
beginning of this century. His _Travels in Italy and Greece_ were
published in 1820, and the _Views in Greece_ in 1827. This work was
completed in 1829, the year in which he died.

[202] Vols. i. and ii. were published in 1802.

[203] _Kain_ in Scotch law means payment in _kind. Carriages_ in the
same phraseology stands for services in driving with horse and cart.

[204] Ballad of _Hardyknute_, slightly altered.--J.G.L.

[205] Sir W. Knighton was Physician and Private Secretary to George IV.
Rogers (_Table-Talk_, p. 289) says no one had more influence with the
King. Sir William died in 1836; his _Memoirs_ were published in 1838,
edited by his widow.

[206] Ossian.--J.G.L.

[207] Pastoret: _Le Duc de Guise à Naples, etc., en_ 1647 _et_ 1648.
8vo, 1825; also _Memoires relating his passage to Naples and heading the
Second Revolt of that people_. Englished, sm. 8vo, 1669.

"The Reviewal then meditated was afterwards published in _Foreign
Quarterly Review_, vol. iv. p 355, but not included in the _Misc. Prose
Works."_--_Abbotsford Library Catalogue_, p. 36.

[208] W. Shenstone's _Essays_ (1765), p. 115, or _Works_ (1764-69), vol.
iii. p. 49.

I am indebted to Dr. J.A.H. Murray for this reference, which he kindly
supplied from the materials for his great English Dictionary on
Historical Principles.

[209] _King Henry VIII._, Act v. Sc. 2, slightly altered.--J.G.L.

[210] "Watch the sign to hate."--Johnson's _Vanity of Human Wishes_.

[211] See _Arniston Memoirs_, 8vo, Edin. 1888, for text of Lord
Melville's letter and Sir Walter's reply, pp. 315-326.

[212] "Seldom has any political measure called forth so strong and so
universal an expression of public opinion. In every city and in every
county public meetings were held to deprecate the destruction of the one
pound and guinea notes."--_Annual Register_ (1826), p. 24.

[213] Alex. Young of Harburn, a steady Whig of the old school, and a
steady and esteemed friend of Sir Walter's.--J.G.L.

[214] See _Life_, vol. iv. pp. 146-148.

[215] Henry Weber died in 1818.

[216] See Life of Bonaparte. _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xi. pp.

[217] _Plays on the Passions_, 2 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1802, vol. ii. pp.

[218] He had, however, snatched a moment to write the following playful
note to Mr. Sharpe, little dreaming that the sportive allusion to his
return in May would be so sadly realised:--

"MY DEAR CHARLES,--You promised when I _displenished_ this house that
you would accept of the prints of Roman antiquities, which I now send. I
believe they were once in some esteem, though now so detestably smoked
that they will only suit your suburban villa in the Cowgate when you
remove to that classical residence. I also send a print which is an old
favourite of mine, from the humorous correspondence between Mr.
Mountebank's face and the monkey's. I leave town to-day or to-morrow at
furthest. When I return in May I shall be

  Bachelor Bluff, bachelor Bluff,
  Hey for a heart that's rugged and tough.

I shall have a beefsteak and a bottle of wine of a Sunday, which I hope
you will often take share of,--Being with warm regard always yours,
WALTER SCOTT."--Sharpe's _Correspondence_, vol. ii. pp. 359-60.

[219] Apropos of the old Scotch lady who had surreptitiously pocketed a
silver spoon, one of a set of a dozen which were being passed round for
examination in an auction room. Suspicion resting on her, she was asked
to allow her person to be searched, but she indignantly produced the
article, with "Touch my honour," etc.

[220] The _Attorneys_ of Aberdeen are styled _advocates_. This valuable
privilege is said to have been bestowed at an early period by some
(sportive) monarch.--J.G.L.

[221] This clever book was published in 1814: at the same time as
_Waverley_. Had it contained nothing else than the sketch of Bran, the
great Irish wolf-hound, it would have commended itself to Scott. The
authoress died in 1859.

[222] It is worth noting that a quarter of a century after Sir Walter
had written these lines, we find Macaulay stating that, in his opinion,
"there are in the world no compositions which approach nearer
perfection." Scott had already criticised Miss Austen in the 27th No. of
the _Quarterly_. She died in 1817.

[223] "I return no more,"--see _Mackrimmon's Lament_ by
Scott.--_Poetical Works_, vol. xi. p. 332.

[224] Published as far back as 1792. An appreciative criticism on Mrs.
Smith's works will be found in Scott's _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol.
iv. pp. 58-70.

[225] See this Journal, 2 December last.

[226] The letters of _Malachi_ were treated by some members of the House
of Commons as incentives to rebellion, and senators gravely averred that
not many years ago they would have subjected the author to condign

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, declared that he did not dread
"the flashing of that Highland claymore though evoked from its scabbard
by the incantations of the mightiest magician of the age."--Speech of
Rt. Hon. F.J. Robinson.

[227] Both letters are quoted in Lockhart's _Life_, vol. viii. pp.
299-305. See also _Croker's Correspondence and Diaries_, edited by Louis
J. Jennings, 3 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1884, vol. i. pp. 315-319.

[228] W. Scott, Esq., afterwards of Raeburn, Sir Walter's

[229] Hudibras.--J.G.L.

[230] One of Sir Walter's kindly "_weird sisters_" and neighbours,
daughters of Professor Ferguson. They had occupied the house at
Toftfield (on which Scott at the ladies' request bestowed the name of
Huntly Burn) from the spring of 1818. Miss Margaret has been described
as extremely like her brother Sir Adam in the turn of thought and of
humour.--See _Life_, vol. vi. p. 322.

[231] _Fortune in her Wits, and the Hour of all Men_, Quevedo's Works,
Edin. 1798, vol. iii. p. 107.

[232] _Don Quixote_, Pt. II. cap. 47.

[233] _Granby_ was written by a young man, Thos. H. Lister, some years
afterwards known as the author of _The Life and Administration of the
First Earl of Clarendon_, 3 vols. 8vo, 1837-38. Mr. Lister died in his
41st year in 1842.


_April_ 1.--_Ex uno die disce omnes._ Rose at seven or sooner, studied,
and wrote till breakfast with Anne, about a quarter before ten. Lady
Scott seldom able to rise till twelve or one. Then I write or study
again till one. At that hour to-day I drove to Huntly Burn, and walked
home by one of the hundred and one pleasing paths which I have made
through the woods I have planted--now chatting with Tom Purdie, who
carries my plaid, and speaks when he pleases, telling long stories of
hits and misses in shooting twenty years back--sometimes chewing the cud
of sweet and bitter fancy--and sometimes attending to the humours of two
curious little terriers of the Dandie Dinmont breed, together with a
noble wolf-hound puppy which Glengarry has given me to replace Maida.
This brings me down to the very moment I do tell--the rest is prophetic.
I will feel sleepy when this book is locked, and perhaps sleep until
Dalgleish brings the dinner summons. Then I will have a chat with Lady
S. and Anne; some broth or soup, a slice of plain meat--and man's chief
business, in Dr. Johnson's estimation, is briefly despatched. Half an
hour with my family, and half an hour's coquetting with a cigar, a
tumbler of weak whisky and water, and a novel perhaps, lead on to tea,
which sometimes consumes another half hour of chat; then write and read
in my own room till ten o'clock at night; a little bread and then a
glass of porter, and to bed.

And this, very rarely varied by a visit from some one, is the tenor of
my daily life--and a very pleasant one indeed, were it not for
apprehensions about Lady S. and poor Johnnie Hugh. The former will, I
think, do well--for the latter--I fear--I fear--

_April_ 2.--I am in a wayward mood this morning. I received yesterday
the last proof-sheets of _Woodstock_, and I ought to correct them. Now,
this _ought_ sounds as like as possible to _must_, and _must_ I cannot
abide. I would go to Prester John's country of free good-will, sooner
than I would _must_ it to Edinburgh. Yet this is all folly, and silly
folly too; and so _must_ shall be for once obeyed after I have thus
written myself out of my aversion to its peremptory sound. Corrected the
said proofs till twelve o'clock--when I think I will treat resolution,
not to a dram, as the drunken fellow said after he had passed the
dram-shop, but to a walk, the rather that my eyesight is somewhat
uncertain and wavering. I think it must be from the stomach. The whole
page waltzes before my eyes. J.B. writes gloomily about _Woodstock_; but
commends the conclusion. I think he is right. Besides, my manner is
nearly caught, and, like Captain Bobadil[234], I have taught nearly a
hundred gentlemen to fence very nearly, if not altogether, as well as
myself. I will strike out something new.

_April_ 3.--I have from Ballantyne and Gibson the extraordinary and
gratifying news that _Woodstock_ is sold for £8228 in all, ready
money--a matchless sum for less than three months' work[235]. If
Napoleon does as well, or near it, it will put the trust affairs in high
flourish. Four or five years of leisure and industry would, with [such]
success, amply replace my losses, and put me on a steadier footing than
ever. I have a curious fancy: I will go set two or three acorns, and
judge by their success in growing whether I will succeed in clearing my
way or not. I have a little toothache keeps me from working much
to-day, besides I sent off, per Blucher, copy for _Napoleon_, as well as
the d--d proofs.

A blank forenoon! But how could I help it, Madam Duty? I was not lazy;
on my soul I was not. I did not cry for half holiday for the sale of
_Woodstock_. But in came Colonel Ferguson with Mrs. Stewart of
Blackhill, or hall, or something, and I must show her the garden,
pictures, etc. This lasts till one; and just as they are at their lunch,
and about to go off, guard is relieved by the Laird and Lady Harden, and
Miss Eliza Scott--and my dear Chief, whom I love very much, though a
little obsidional or so, remains till three. That same crown, composed
of the grass which grew on the walls of besieged places, should be
offered to visitors who stay above an hour in any eident[236] person's
house. Wrote letters this evening.

_April_ 4.--Wrote two pages in the morning. Then went to Ashestiel in
the sociable, with Colonel Ferguson. Found my cousin Russell settled
kindly to his gardening and his projects. He seems to have brought home
with him the enviable talent of being interested and happy in his own
place. Ashestiel looks worst, I think, at this period of the year; but
is a beautiful place in summer, where I passed nine happy years. Did I
ever pass unhappy years anywhere? None that I remember, save those at
the High School, which I thoroughly detested on account of the
confinement. I disliked serving in my father's office, too, from the
same hatred to restraint. In other respects, I have had unhappy
days--unhappy weeks--even, on one or two occasions, unhappy months; but
Fortune's finger has never been able to play a dirge on me for a quarter
of a year together.

I am sorry to see the Peel-wood, and other natural coppice, decaying and
abridged about Ashestiel--

    'The horrid plough has razed the green,
      Where once my children play'd;
    The axe has fell'd the hawthorn screen,
      The schoolboy's summer shade.'[237]

There was a very romantic pasturage called the Cow-park, which I was
particularly attached to, from its wild and sequestered character.
Having been part of an old wood which had been cut down, it was full of
copse--hazel, and oak, and all sorts of young trees, irregularly
scattered over fine pasturage, and affording a hundred intricacies so
delicious to the eye and the imagination. But some misjudging friend had
cut down and cleared away without mercy, and divided the varied and
sylvan scene, which was divided by a little rivulet, into the two most
formal things in nature--a thriving plantation, many-angled as usual,
and a park laid down in grass; wanting therefore the rich graminivorous
variety which Nature gives its carpet, and having instead a braird of
six days' growth--lean and hungry growth too--of ryegrass and clover. As
for the rill, it stagnates in a deep square ditch, which silences its
prattle, and restrains its meanders with a witness. The original scene
was, of course, imprinted still deeper on Russell's mind than mine, and
I was glad to see he was intensely sorry for the change.

_April_ 5.--Rose late in the morning, past eight, to give the cold and
toothache time to make themselves scarce, which they have obligingly
done. Yesterday every tooth on the right side of my head was absolutely
waltzing. I would have drawn by the half dozen, but country dentists are
not to be lippened to.[238] To-day all is quiet, but a little swelling
and stiffness in the jaw. Went to Chiefswood at one, and marked with
regret forty trees indispensably necessary for paling--much like drawing
a tooth; they _are_ wanted and will never be better, but I am
avaricious of grown trees, having so few.

Worked a fair task; dined, and read Clapperton's journey and Denham's
into Bornou. Very entertaining, and less botheration about mineralogy,
botany, and so forth, than usual. Pity Africa picks up so many brave
men, however. Work in the evening.

_April_ 6.--Wrote in the morning. Went at one to Huntly Burn, where I
had the great pleasure to hear, through a letter from Sir Adam, that
Sophia was in health, and Johnnie gaining strength. It is a fine
exchange from deep and aching uncertainty on so interesting a subject,
to the little spitfire feeling of "Well, but they might have taken the
trouble to write"; but so wretched a correspondent as myself has not
much to say, so I will just grumble sufficiently to maintain the
patriarchal dignity.

I returned in time to work, and to receive a shoal of things from J.B.
Among others, a letter from an Irish lady, who, for the _beaux yeux_,
which I shall never look upon, desires I will forthwith send her all the
Waverley Novels, which are published, with an order to furnish her with
all others in course as they appear, which she assures me will be an
_era_ in her life. She may find out some other epocha.

_April_ 7.--Made out my morning's task; at one drove to Chiefswood, and
walked home by the Rhymer's Glen, Mar's Lee, and Haxell-Cleugh. Took me
three hours. The heath gets somewhat heavier for me every year--but
never mind, I like it altogether as well as the day I could tread it
best. My plantations are getting all into green leaf, especially the
larches, if theirs may be called leaves, which are only a sort of hair,
and from the number of birds drawn to these wastes, I may congratulate
myself on having literally made the desert to sing. As I returned, there
was, in the phraseology of that most precise of prigs in a white
collarless coat and _chapeau bas_, Mister Commissary Ramsay--"a rather
dense inspissation of rain." Deil care.

    "Lord, who would live turmoiled in the Court,
    That might enjoy such quiet walks as these?"[239]

Yet misfortune comes our way too. Poor Laidlaw lost a fine prattling
child of five years old yesterday.

It is odd enough--Iden, the Kentish Esquire, has just made the
ejaculation which I adopted in the last page, when he kills Cade, and
posts away up to Court to get the price set upon his head. Here is a
letter come from Lockhart, full of Court news, and all sort of
news,--best is his wife is well, and thinks the child gains in health.

Lockhart erroneously supposes that I think of applying to Ministers
about Charles, and that notwithstanding Croker's terms of pacification I
should find _Malachi_ stick in my way. I would not make such an
application for millions; I think if I were to ask patronage it would
[not] be through them, for some time at least, and I might have better

_April_ 8.--We expect _a raid_ of folks to visit us this morning, whom
we must have _dined_ before our misfortunes. Save time, wine, and money,
these misfortunes--and so far are convenient things. Besides, there is a
dignity about them when they come only like the gout in its mildest
shape, to authorise diet and retirement, the night-gown and the velvet
shoe; when the one comes to chalkstones, and the other to prison,
though, there would be the devil. Or compare the effects of Sieur Gout
and absolute poverty upon the stomach--the necessity of a bottle of
laudanum in the one case, the want of a morsel of meat in the other.

Laidlaw's infant, which died on Wednesday, is buried to-day. The people
coming to visit prevent my going, and I am glad of it. I hate
funerals--always did. There is such a mixture of mummery with real
grief--the actual mourner perhaps heart-broken, and all the rest making
solemn faces, and whispering observations on the weather and public
news, and here and there a greedy fellow enjoying the cake and wine. To
me it is a farce full of most tragical mirth, and I am not sorry (like
Provost Coulter[241]) but glad that I shall not see my own. This is a
most unfilial tendency of mine, for my father absolutely loved a
funeral; and as he was a man of a fine presence, and looked the mourner
well, he was asked to every interment of distinction. He seemed to
preserve the list of a whole bead-roll of cousins, merely for the
pleasure of being at their funerals, which he was often asked to
superintend, and I suspect had sometimes to pay for. He carried me with
him as often as he could to these mortuary ceremonies; but feeling I was
not, like him, either useful or ornamental, I escaped as often as I

I saw the poor child's funeral from a distance. Ah, that Distance! What
a magician for conjuring up scenes of joy or sorrow, smoothing all
asperities, reconciling all incongruities, veiling all absurdness,
softening every coarseness, doubling every effect by the influence of
the imagination. A Scottish wedding should be seen at a distance; the
gay band of the dancers just distinguished amid the elderly group of the
spectators,--the glass held high, and the distant cheers as it is
swallowed, should be only a sketch, not a finished Dutch picture, when
it becomes brutal and boorish. Scotch psalmody, too, should be heard
from a distance. The grunt and the snuffle, and the whine and the
scream, should be all blended in that deep and distant sound, which,
rising and falling like the Eolian harp, may have some title to be
called the praise of our Maker. Even so the distant funeral: the few
mourners on horseback, with their plaids wrapped around them--the father
heading the procession as they enter the river, and pointing out the
ford by which his darling is to be carried on the last long road--not
one of the subordinate figures in discord with the general tone of the
incident--seeming just accessories, and no more--this _is_ affecting.

_April_ 9.--I worked at correcting proofs in the morning, and, what is
harder, at correcting manuscript, which fags me excessively. I was dead
sick of it by two o'clock, the rather as my hand, O revered "Gurnal," be
it said between ourselves, gets daily worse.

Lockhart's _Review_.[242] Don't like his article on Sheridan's life.
There is no breadth in it, no general views, the whole flung away in
smart but party criticism. Now, no man can take more general and liberal
views of literature than J.G.L. But he lets himself too easily into that
advocatism of style, which is that of a pleader, not a judge or a
critic, and is particularly unsatisfactory to the reader. Lieut.-Col.
Ferguson dined here.

_April_ 10.--Sent off proofs and copy galore before breakfast, and might
be able to give idleness a day if I liked. But it is as well reading for
_Boney_ as for anything else, and I have a humour to make my amusement
useful. Then the day is changeable, with gusts of wind, and I believe a
start to the garden will be my best out-of-doors exercise. No thorough
hill-expedition in this gusty weather.

_April_ 11.--Wrought out my task, although I have been much affected
this morning by the Morbus, as I call it. Aching pain in the back,
rendering one posture intolerable, fluttering of the heart, idle fears,
gloomy thoughts and anxieties, which if not unfounded are at least
bootless. I have been out once or twice, but am driven in by the rain.
Mercy on us, what poor devils we are! I shook this affection off,
however. Mr. Scrope and Col. Ferguson came to dinner, and we twaddled
away the evening well enough.

_April_ 12.--I have finished my task this morning at half-past
eleven--easily and early--and, I think, not amiss. I hope J.B. will make
some great points of admiration!!!--otherwise I will be disappointed. If
this work answers--if it _but_ answers, it must set us on our legs; I am
sure worse trumpery of mine has had a great run. Well, I will console
myself and do my best! But fashion changes, and I am getting old, and
may become unpopular, but it is time to cry out when I am hurt. I
remember with what great difficulty I was brought to think myself
something better than common,[243]--and now I will not in mere faintness
of heart give up good hopes. So Fortune protect the bold. I have
finished the whole introductory sketch of the Revolution--too long for
an introduction. But I think I may now go to my solitary walk.

_April_ 13.--On my return from my walk yesterday I learnt with great
concern the death of my old friend, Sir Alexander Don. He cannot have
been above six-or seven-and-forty. Without being much together, we had,
considering our different habits, lived in much friendship, and I
sincerely regret his death. His habits were those of a gay man, much
connected with the turf; but he possessed strong natural parts, and in
particular few men could speak better in public when he chose. He had
tact, wit, power of sarcasm, and that indescribable something which
marks the gentleman. His manners in society were extremely pleasing, and
as he had a taste for literature and the fine arts, there were few more
pleasant companions, besides being a highly-spirited, steady, and
honourable man. His indolence prevented his turning these good parts
towards acquiring the distinction he might have attained. He was among
the _détenus_ whom Bonaparte's iniquitous commands confined so long in
France;[244] and coming there into possession of a large estate in right
of his mother, the heiress of the Glencairn family, he had the means of
being very expensive, and probably then acquired those gay habits which
rendered him averse to serious business. Being our member for
Roxburghshire, his death will make a stir amongst us. I prophesy
Harden[245] will be here to talk about starting his son Henry.

Accordingly the Laird and Lady called. I exhorted him to write to Lord
Montagu[246] instantly. I do not see what they can do better, and unless
some pickthank intervene to insinuate certain irritating suspicions, I
suppose Lord M. will make no objection. There can be no objection to
Henry Scott for birth, fortune, or political principle; and I do not see
where we could get a better representative.

_April_ 14.--Wrote to Lord M. last night. I hope they will keep the
peace in the county. I am sure it would be to me a most distressing
thing if Buccleuch and Harden were to pull different ways, being so
intimate with both families.

I did not write much yesterday, not above two pages and a half. I have
begun _Boney_, though, and _c'est toujours quelque chose_. This morning
I sent off proofs and manuscript. Had a letter from the famous Denis
Davidoff, the Black Captain, whose abilities as a partisan were so much
distinguished during the retreat from Moscow. If I can but wheedle him
out of a few anecdotes, it would be a great haul.

A kind letter from Colin Mack[enzie]; he thinks the Ministry will not
push the measure against Scotland. I fear they will; there is usually an
obstinacy in weakness. But I will think no more about it. Time draws on.
I have been here a month. Another month carries me to be a hermit in the
city instead of the country. I could scarce think I had been here a
week. I wish I was able, even at great loss, to retire from Edinburgh
entirely. Here is no bile, no visits, no routine, and yet on the whole,
things are as well perhaps as they are.

_April_ 15.--Received last night letters from Sir John Scott Douglas,
and from that daintiest of Dandies, Sir William Elliot of Stobs,
canvassing for the county. Young Harry's[247] the lad for me. But will
he be the lad for Lord Montagu?--there is the point. I should have given
him a hint to attend to Edgerston. Perhaps being at Minto, and not
there, may give offence, and a bad report from that quarter would play
the devil. It is rather too late to go down and tell them this, and, to
say truth, I don't like the air of making myself busy in the matter.

Poor Sir Alexander Don died of a disease in the heart; the body was
opened, which was very right. Odd enough, too, to have a man, probably a
friend two days before, slashing at one's heart as it were a bullock's.
I had a letter yesterday from John Gibson. The House of Longman and Co.
guarantee the sale [of _Woodstock_] to Hurst, and take the work, if
Hurst and Robinson (as is to be feared) can make no play.

Also I made up what was due of my task both for 13th and 14th. So hey
for a Swiftianism--

    "I loll in my chair,
    And around me I stare
    With a critical air,
    Like a calf at a fair;
    And, say I, Mrs. Duty,
    Good-morrow to your beauty,
    I kiss your sweet shoe-tie,
    And hope I can suit ye."

Fair words butter no parsnips, says Duty; don't keep talking then, but
get to your work again. Here is a day's task before you--the siege of
Toulon. Call you that a task? d---- me, I'll write it as fast as _Boney_
carried it on.

_April_ 16.--I am now far ahead with _Nap._ I wrote a little this
morning, but this forenoon I must write letters, a task in which I am
far behind.

    "Heaven sure sent letters for some wretch's plague."[248]

Lady Scott seems to make no way, yet can scarce be said to lose any. She
suffers much occasionally, especially during the night. Sleeps a great
deal when at ease; all symptoms announce water upon the chest. A sad

In the evening a despatch from Lord Melville, written with all the
familiarity of former times, desiring me to ride down and press Mr.
Scott of Harden to let Henry stand, and this in Lord Montagu's name as
well as his own, so that the two propositions cross each other on the
road, and Henry is as much desired by the Buccleuch interest as he
desires their support.

_Jedburgh, April_ 17.--Came over to Jedburgh this morning, to breakfast
with my good old friend Mr. Shortreed, and had my usual warm reception.
Lord Gillies held the Circuit Court, and there was no criminal trial for
any offence whatsoever. I have attended these circuits with tolerable
regularity since 1792, and though there is seldom much of importance to
be done, yet I never remember before the Porteous roll[249] being quite
blank. The judge was presented with a pair of white gloves, in
consideration of its being a maiden circuit. Harden came over and talked
about his son's preferment, naturally much pleased.

Received £100 from John Lockhart, for review of Pepys;[250] but this is
by far too much; £50 is plenty. Still I must impeticos the gratility for
the present,[251]--for Whitsunday will find me only with £300 in hand,
unless Blackwood settles a few scores of pounds for _Malachi_.

Wrote a great many letters. Dined with the Judge, where I met the
disappointed candidate, Sir John Scott Douglas, who took my excuse like
a gentleman. Sir William Elliot, on the other hand, was, being a fine
man, very much out of sorts, that having got his own consent, he could
not get that of the county. He showed none of this, however, to me.

_April_ 18.--This morning I go down to Kelso from Jedburgh to poor Don's
funeral. It is, I suppose, forty years since I saw him first. I was
staying at Sydenham, a lad of fourteen, or by 'r Lady some sixteen; and
he, a boy of six or seven, was brought to visit me on a pony, a groom
holding the leading rein--and now, I, an old grey man, am going to lay
him in his grave. Sad work. I detest funerals; there is always a want of
consistency; it is a tragedy played by strolling performers, who are
more likely to make you laugh than cry. No chance of my being made to
laugh to-day. The very road I go is a road of grave recollections. Must
write to Charles seriously on the choice of his profession, and I will
do it now.

[_Abbotsford_,] _April_ 19.--Returned last night from the house of death
and mourning to my own, now the habitation of sickness and anxious
apprehension. Found Lady S. had tried the foxglove in quantity, till it
made her so sick she was forced to desist. The result cannot yet be
judged. Wrote to Mrs. Thomas Scott to beg her to let her daughter Anne,
an uncommonly, sensible, steady, and sweet-tempered girl, come and stay
with us a season in our distress, who I trust will come forthwith.

Two melancholy things. Last night I left my pallet in our family
apartment, to make way for a female attendant, and removed to a
dressing-room adjoining, when to return, or whether ever, God only can
tell. Also my servant cut my hair, which used to be poor Charlotte's
personal task. I hope she will not observe it.

The funeral yesterday was very mournful; about fifty persons present,
and all seemed affected. The domestics in particular were very much so.
Sir Alexander was a kind, though an exact master. It was melancholy to
see those apartments, where I have so often seen him play the graceful
and kind landlord filled with those who were to carry him to his long

There was very little talk of the election, at least till the funeral
was over.

_April_ 20.--Lady Scott's health in the same harassing state of
uncertainty, yet on my side with more of hope than I had two days since.

Another death; Thomas Riddell, younger of Camiston, Sergeant-Major of
the Edinburgh Troop in the sunny days of our yeomanry, and a very good

The day was so tempting that I went out with Tom Purdie to cut some
trees, the rather that my task was very well advanced. He led me into
the wood, as the blind King of Bohemia was led by his four knights into
the thick of the battle at Agincourt or Crecy,[252] and then, like the
old King, "I struck good strokes more than one," which is manly

_April_ 21.--This day I entertained more flattering hopes of Lady
Scott's health than late events permitted. I went down to Mertoun with
Colonel Ferguson, who returned to dine here, which consumed time so much
that I made a short day's work.

Had the grief to find Lady Scott had insisted on coming downstairs and
was the worse of it. Also a letter from Lockhart, giving a poor account
of the infant. God help us! earth cannot.

_April_ 22.--Lady Scott continues very poorly. Better news of the child.

Wrought a good deal to-day, rather correcting sheets and acquiring
information than actually composing, which is the least toilsome of the

J.G.L. kindly points out some solecisms in my style, as "amid" for
"amidst," "scarce" for "scarcely." "Whose," he says, is the proper
genitive of "which" only at such times as "which" retains its quality of
impersonification. Well! I will try to remember all this, but after all
I write grammar as I speak, to make my meaning known, and a solecism in
point of composition, like a Scotch word in speaking, is indifferent to
me. I never learned grammar; and not only Sir Hugh Evans but even Mrs.
Quickly might puzzle me about Giney's case and horum harum horum.[253] I
believe the Bailiff in _The Good-natured Man_ is not far wrong when he
says, "One man has one way of expressing himself, and another another,
and that is all the difference between them."[254] Went to Huntly Burn
to-day and looked at the Colonel's projected approach. I am sure if the
kind heart can please himself he will please me.

_April_ 23.--A glorious day, bright and brilliant, and, I fancy, mild.
Lady Scott is certainly better, and has promised not to attempt quitting
her room.

Henry Scott has been here, and his canvass comes on like a moor burning.

_April_ 24.--Good news from Brighton. Sophia is confined; both she and
her baby are doing well, and the child's name is announced to be
Walter--a favourite name in our family, and I trust of no bad omen. Yet
it is no charm for life. Of my father's family I was the second Walter,
if not the third. I am glad the name came my way, for it was borne by my
father, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather; also by the
grandsire of that last-named venerable person who was the first laird of

Hurst and Robinson, the Yorkshire tykes, have failed after all their
swaggering, and Longman and Co. take _Woodstock_. But if _Woodstock_ and
_Napoleon_ take with the public I shall care little about their
insolvency, and if they do not, I don't think their solvency would have
lasted long. Constable is sorely broken down.

    "Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
    That's sorry yet for thee."[255]

His conduct has not been what I deserved at his hand, but, I believe
that, walking blindfold himself, he misled me without _malice prepense_.
It is best to think so at least, unless the contrary be demonstrated. To
nourish angry passions against a man whom I really liked would be to lay
a blister on my own heart.

_April_ 25.--Having fallen behind on the 23d, I wrought pretty hard
yesterday; but I had so much reading, and so many proofs to correct,
that I did not get over the daily task, so am still a little behind,
which I shall soon make up. I have got _Nap._, d--n him, into Italy,
where with bad eyes and obscure maps, I have a little difficulty in
tracing out his victorious chess-play.

Lady Scott was better yesterday, certainly better, and was sound asleep
when I looked in this morning. Walked in the afternoon. I looked at a
hooded crow building in the thicket with great pleasure. It is a shorter
date than my neighbour Torwoodlee[256] thought of, when he told me, as
I was bragging a little of my plantations, that it would be long ere
crows built in them.

_April_ 26.--Letters from Walter and Lockharts; all well and doing well.
Lady S. continues better, so the clouds are breaking up. I made a good
day's work yesterday, and sent off proofs, letters, and copy this
morning; so, if this fine day holds good, I will take a drive at one.

There is an operation called putting to rights--_Scotticè_, _redding
up_--which puts me into a fever. I always leave any attempt at it half
executed, and so am worse off than before, and have only embroiled the
fray. Then my long back aches with stooping into the low drawers of old
cabinets, and my neck is strained with staring up to their attics. Then
you are sure never to get the thing you want. I am certain they creep
about and hide themselves. Tom Moore[257] gave us the insurrection of
the papers. That was open war, but this is a system of privy plot and
conspiracy, by which those you seek creep out of the way, and those you
are not wanting perk themselves in your face again and again, until at
last you throw them into some corner in a passion, and then they are the
objects of research in their turn. I have read in a French Eastern tale
of an enchanted person called _L'homme qui cherche_, a sort of "Sir Guy
the Seeker," always employed in collecting the beads of a chaplet,
which, by dint of gramarye, always dispersed themselves when he was
about to fix the last upon the string. It was an awful doom;
transmogrification into the Laidleyworm of Spindlestaneheugh[258] would
have been a blessing in comparison. Now, the explanation of all this is,
that I have been all this morning seeking a parcel of sticks of sealing
wax which I brought from Edinburgh, and the "_Weel Brandt and Vast
houd_"[259] has either melted without the agency of fire or barricaded
itself within the drawers of some cabinet, which has declared itself in
a state of insurrection. A choice subject for a journal, but what better
have I?

I did not quite finish my task to-day, nay, I only did one third of it.
It is so difficult to consult the maps after candles are lighted, or to
read the Moniteur, that I was obliged to adjourn. The task is three
pages or leaves of my close writing per diem, which corresponds to about
a sheet (16 pages) of _Woodstock_, and about 12 of _Bonaparte_, which is
a more comprehensive page. But I was not idle neither, and wrote some
_Balaam_[260] for Lockhart's _Review_. Then I was in hand a leaf above
the tale, so I am now only a leaf behind it.

_April_ 27.--This is one of those abominable April mornings which
deserve the name of _Sans Cullotides_, as being cold, beggarly, coarse,
savage, and intrusive. The earth lies an inch deep with snow, to the
confusion of the worshippers of Flora. By the way, Bogie attended his
professional dinner and show of flowers at Jedburgh yesterday. Here is a
beautiful sequence to their _floralia_. It is this uncertainty in April,
and the descent of snow and frost when one thinks themselves clear of
them, and that after fine encouraging weather, that destroys our
Scottish fruits and flowers. It is as imprudent to attach yourself to
flowers in Scotland as to a caged bird; the cat, sooner or later, snaps
up one, and these--_Sans Cullotides_--annihilate the other. It was but
yesterday I was admiring the glorious flourish of the pears and
apricots, and now hath come the killing frost.[261]

But let it freeze without, we are comfortable within. Lady Scott
continues better, and, we may hope, has got the turn of her disease.

_April_ 28.--Beautiful morning, but ice as thick as pasteboard, too
surely showing that the night has made good yesterday's threat.
Dalgleish, with his most melancholy face, conveys the most doleful
tidings from Bogie. But servants are fond of the woful, it gives such
consequence to the person who communicates bad news.

Wrote two letters, and read till twelve, and then for a stout walk among
the plantations till four. Found Lady Scott obviously better, I think,
than I had left her in the morning. In walking I am like a spavined
horse, and heat as I get on. The flourishing plantations around me are a
great argument for me to labour hard. "_Barbarus has segetes?_" I will
write my finger-ends off first.

_April_ 29.--I was always afraid, privately, that _Woodstock_ would not
stand the test. In that case my fate would have been that of the
unfortunate minstrel trumpeter Maclean at the battle of Sheriffmuir--

    "By misfortune he happened to fa', man;
      By saving his neck
      His trumpet did break,
    And came off without music at a', man."[262]

J.B. corroborated my doubts by his raven-like croaking and criticising;
but the good fellow writes me this morning that he is written down an
ass, and that the approbation is unanimous. It is but Edinburgh, to be
sure; but Edinburgh has always been a harder critic than London. It is a
great mercy, and gives encouragement for future exertion. Having written
two leaves this morning, I think I will turn out to my walk, though two
hours earlier than usual. Egad, I could not persuade myself that it was
such bad _Balaam_ after all.

_April_ 30.--I corrected this morning a quantity of proofs and copy, and
dawdled about a little, the weather of late becoming rather milder,
though not much of that. Methinks Duty looks as if she were but
half-pleased with me; but would the Pagan bitch have me work on the


[234] Ben Jonson's _Every Man in his Humour_, Act IV, Sc. 5.

[235] The reader will understand that the Novel was sold for behoof of
James Ballantyne & Co.'s creditors, and that this sum includes the cost
of printing the first edition as well as paper.--J.G.L.

[236] Eident, _i.e._ eagerly diligent.--J.G.L.

[237] These lines slightly altered from Logan.--J.G.L.

[238] Lippened, _i.e._ relied upon.--J.G.L.

[239] 2 _King Henry VI_., Act IV. Sc. 10, slightly varied.

[240] In a letter of the same day he says--"My interest, as you might
have known, lies Windsor way."--J.G.L.

[241] William Coulter, Lord Provost of Edinburgh, died in office, April
1810, and was said to have been greatly consoled on his deathbed by the
prospect of so grand a funeral as must needs occur in his case.--Scott
_used to take him off_ as saying, at some public meeting, "Gentlemen,
though doomed to the trade of a stocking-weaver, I was born with the
soul of a _Sheepio_" (Scipio).

[242] _Quarterly Review_, No. 66: Lockhart's review of Sheridan's Life.

[243] It is interesting to read what James Ballantyne has recorded on
this subject.--"Sir Walter at all times laboured under the strangest
delusion, as to the merits of his own works. On this score he was not
only inaccessible to compliments, but even insensible to the truth; in
fact, at all times, he hated to talk of any of his productions; as, for
instance, he greatly preferred Mrs. Shelley's _Frankenstein_ to any of
his own romances. I remember one day, when Mr. Erskine and I were dining
with him, either immediately before or immediately after the publication
of one of the best of the latter, and were giving it the high praise we
thought it deserved, he asked us abruptly whether we had read
_Frankenstein_. We answered that we had not. 'Ah,' he said, 'have
patience, read _Frankenstein_, and you will be better able to judge
of----.' You will easily judge of the disappointment thus prepared for
us. When I ventured, as I sometimes did, to press him on the score of
the reputation he had gained, he merely asked, as if he determined to be
done with the discussion, 'Why, what is the value of a reputation which
probably will not last above one or two generations?' One morning, I
recollect, I went into his library, shortly after the publication of the
_Lady of the Lake_, and finding Miss Scott there, who was then a very
young girl, I asked her, 'Well, Miss Sophia, how do you like the _Lady
of the Lake_, with which everybody is so much enchanted?' Her answer
was, with affecting simplicity, 'Oh, I have not read it. Papa says
there's nothing so bad for young girls as reading bad poetry.' Yet he
could not be said to be hostile to compliments in the abstract--nothing
was so easy as to flatter him about a farm or a field, and his manner on
such an occasion plainly showed that he was really open to such a
compliment, and liked it. In fact, I can recall only one instance in
which he was fairly cheated into pleasure by a tribute paid to his
literary merit, and it was a striking one. Somewhere betwixt two and
three years ago I was dining at the Rev. Dr. Brunton's, with a large and
accomplished party, of whom Dr. Chalmers was one. The conversation
turned upon Sir Walter Scott's romances generally, and the course of it
led me very shortly afterwards to call on Sir Walter, and address him as
follows--I knew the task was a bold one, but I thought I saw that I
should get well through it--'Well, Sir Walter,' I said, 'I was dining
yesterday, where your works became the subject of very copious
conversation.' His countenance immediately became overcast--and his
answer was, 'Well, I think, I must say your party might have been better
employed.' 'I knew it would be your answer,'--the conversation
continued,--'nor would I have mentioned it, but that Dr. Chalmers was
present, and was by far the most decided in his expressions of pleasure
and admiration of any of the party.' This instantly roused him to the
most vivid animation. 'Dr. Chalmers?' he repeated; 'that throws new
light on the subject--to have produced any effect upon the mind of such
a man as Dr. Chalmers is indeed something to be proud of. Dr. Chalmers
is a man of the truest genius. I will thank you to repeat all you can
recollect that he said on the subject.' I did so accordingly, and I can
recall no other similar instance."--_James Ballantyne's MS._

[244] For the life led by many of the _détenus_ in France before 1814,
and for anecdotes regarding Sir Alexander Don, see Sir James Campbell of
Ardkinglas' _Memoirs_, 2 vols. 8vo, London 1832, vol. ii. chaps. 7 and

[245] Hugh Scott of Harden, afterwards (in 1835) Lord
Polwarth--succeeded by his son Henry, in 1841.

[246] Henry Jas. Scott, who succeeded to the Barony of Montagu on the
demise of his grandfather, the Duke of Montagu, was the son of Henry, 3d
Duke of Buccleuch. At Lord M.'s death in 1845 the Barony of Montagu

[247] Henry Scott, afterwards Lord Polwarth.

[248] Slightly altered from Pope's _Eloisa to Abelard_.

[249] The Catalogue of Criminals brought before the Circuit Courts at
one time was termed in Scotland the Portuous Roll. The name appears to
have been derived from the practice in early times of delivering to the
judges lists of Criminals for Trials _in Portu_, or in the gateway as
they entered the various towns on their circuit ayres.--Chambers's _Book
of Scotland_, p. 310.

Jamieson suggests that the word may have come from "Porteous" as
originally applied to a Breviary, or portable book of prayers, which
might easily be transferred to a portable roll of indictments.

[250] _Quarterly Review_, No. 66, Pepys' _Diary_.

[251] _Twelfth Night_, Act II. Sc. 3.

[252] See Froissart's account of the Battle of Crecy, Bk. i. cap. 129.

[253] _Merry Wives of Windsor_, Act iv. Sc. 1.

[254] See Goldsmith's Comedy, Act III.

[255] _King Lear_, Act III. Sc. 2.

[256] James Pringle, Convener of Selkirkshire for more than half a
century. For an account of the Pringles of Torwoodlee, see Mr. Craig
Brown's _History of Selkirkshire_, vol. i. pp. 459-470.

[257] "_The Insurrection of the Papers--a Dream_." _The Twopenny
Post-Bag_, 12mo, London, 1812.

[258] The well-known ballads on these two North-country legends were
published by M.G. Lewis and Mr. Lambe, of Norham. "Sir Guy," in the
_Tales of Wonder_, and "The Worm," in Ritson's _Northumberland
Garland_.--See Child's _English and Scottish Ballads_, 8 vols. 12mo,
Boston, 1857, vol. i. p. 386.

[259] _Fyn Segellak wel brand en vast houd_: old brand used by
sealing-wax makers.

[260] _Balaam_ is the cant name in a Newspaper Office for asinine
paragraphs, about monstrous productions of Nature and the like, kept
standing in type to be used whenever the real news of the day leaves an
awkward space that must be filled up somehow.--J.G.L.

[261] _Henry VIII._ Act III. Sc. 2.

[262] Ritson, _Scottish Songs_, xvi.


_May_ 1.--I walked to-day to the western corner of the Chiefswood
plantation, and marked out a large additional plantation to be drawn
along the face of the hill. It cost me some trouble to carry the
boundaries out of the eye, for nothing is so paltry as a plantation of
almost any extent if its whole extent lies defined to the eye. By
availing myself of the undulations of the ground I think I have avoided
this for the present; only when seen from the Eildon Hills the cranks
and turns of the enclosure will seem fantastic, at least until the trees
get high.

This cost Tom and me three or four hours. Lieut.-Colonel Ferguson joined
us as we went home, and dined at Abbotsford.

My cousin, Barbara Scott of Raeburn, came here to see Lady S. I think
she was shocked with the melancholy change. She insisted upon walking
back to Lessudden House, making her walk 16 or 18 miles, and though the
carriage was ordered she would not enter it.

_May_ 2.--Yesterday was a splendid May day--to-day seems inclined to be
_soft_, as we call it; but _tant mieux_. Yesterday had a twang of frost
in it. I must get to work and finish Boaden's _Life of Kemble_, and
Kelly's _Reminiscences_,[263] for the _Quarterly_.

I wrote and read for three hours, and then walked, the day being soft
and delightful; but alas! all my walks are lonely from the absence of my
poor companion. She does not suffer, thank God, but strength must fail
at last. Since Sunday there has been a gradual change--very
gradual--but, alas! to the worse. My hopes are almost gone. But I am
determined to stand this grief as I have done others.

_May_ 3,--Another fine morning. I answered a letter from Mr. Handley,
who has taken the pains to rummage the Chancery Records until he has
actually discovered the fund due to Lady Scott's mother, £1200; it seems
to have been invested in the estates of a Mr. Owen, as it appears for
Madame Charpentier's benefit, but, she dying, the fund was lost sight of
and got into Chancery, where I suppose it must have accumulated, but I
cannot say I understand the matter; at a happier moment the news would
have given poor Charlotte much pleasure, but now--it is a day too late.

_May_ 4.--On visiting Lady Scott's sick-room this morning I found her
suffering, and I doubt if she knew me. Yet, after breakfast, she seemed
serene and composed. The worst is, she will not speak out about the
symptoms under which she labours. Sad, sad work; I am under the most
melancholy apprehension, for what constitution can hold out under these
continued and wasting attacks?

My niece, Anne Scott, a prudent, sensible, and kind young woman, arrived
to-day, having come down to assist us in our distress from so far as
Cheltenham. This is a great consolation.

_May_ 5.--Haunted by gloomy thoughts; but I corrected proofs from seven
to ten, and wrote from half-past ten to one. My old friend Sir Adam
called, and took a long walk with me, which was charity. His gaiety
rubbed me up a little. I had also a visit from the Laird and Lady of
Harden. Henry Scott carries the county without opposition.

_May_ 6.--- The same scene of hopeless (almost) and unavailing anxiety.
Still welcoming me with a smile, and asserting she is better. I fear the
disease is too deeply entwined with the principles of life. Yet the
increase of good weather, especially if it would turn more genial,
might, I think, aid her excellent constitution. Still labouring at this
_Review_, without heart or spirits to finish it. I am a tolerable Stoic,
but preach to myself in vain.

    "Since these things are necessities,
    Then let us meet them like necessities."[264]

And so we will.

_May_ 7.--Hammered on at the _Review_ till my backbone ached. But I
believe it was a nervous affection, for a walk cured it. Sir Adam and
the Colonel dined here. So I spent the evening as pleasantly as I well
could, considering I am so soon to leave my own house, and go like a
stranger to the town of which I have been so long a citizen, and leave
my wife lingering, without prospect of recovery, under the charge of two
poor girls. _Talia cogit dura necessitas._

_May_ 8.--I went over to the election at Jedburgh. There was a numerous
meeting; the Whigs, who did not bring ten men to the meeting, of course
took the whole matter under their patronage, which was much of a piece
with the Blue Bottle drawing the carriage. I tried to pull up once or
twice, but quietly, having no desire to disturb the quiet of the
election. To see the difference of modern times! We had a good dinner,
and excellent wine; and I had ordered my carriage at half-past seven,
almost ashamed to start so soon. Everybody dispersed at so early an
hour, however, that when Henry had left the chair, there was no carriage
for me, and Peter proved his accuracy by showing me it was but a
quarter-past seven. In the days I remember they would have kept it up
till day-light; nor do I think poor Don would have left the chair before
midnight. Well, there is a medium. Without being a veteran Vice, a grey
Iniquity, like Falstaff, I think an occasional jolly bout, if not
carried to excess, improved society; men were put into good humour; when
the good wine did its good office, the jest, the song, the speech, had
double effect; men were happy for the night, and better friends ever
after, because they had been so.

_May_ 9.--My new Liverpool neighbour, Mr. Bainbridge, breakfasts here
to-day with some of his family. They wish to try the fishing in
Cauldshields Loch, and [there is] promise of a fine soft morning. But
the season is too early.

They have had no sport accordingly after trying with Trimmers. Mr.
Bainbridge is a good cut of John Bull--plain, sensible, and downright;
the maker of his own fortune, and son of his own works.

_May_ 10.--To-morrow I leave my home. To what scene I may suddenly be
recalled, it wrings my heart to think. If she would but be guided by the
medical people, and attend rigidly to their orders, something might be
hoped, but she is impatient with the protracted suffering, and no
wonder. Anne has a severe task to perform, but the assistance of her
cousin is a great comfort. Baron Weber, the great composer, wants me
(through Lockhart) to compose something to be set to music by him, and
sung by Miss Stephens--as if I cared who set or who sung any lines of
mine. I have recommended instead Beaumont and Fletcher's unrivalled song
in the _Nice Valour_:

    "Hence, all ye vain delights," etc.

[_Edinburgh_],[265] _May_ 11.--

    "Der Abschiedstag ist da,
    Schwer liegt er auf den Herzen--schwer."[266]

Charlotte was unable to take leave of me, being in a sound sleep, after
a very indifferent night. Perhaps it was as well. Emotion might have
hurt her; and nothing I could have expressed would have been worth the
risk. I have foreseen, for two years and more, that this menaced event
could not be far distant. I have seen plainly, within the last two
months, that recovery was hopeless. And yet to part with the companion
of twenty-nine years when so very ill--that I did not, could not
foresee.[267] It withers my heart to think of it, and to recollect that
I can hardly hope again to seek confidence and counsel from that ear to
which all might be safely confided. But in her present lethargic state,
what would my attentions have availed? and Anne has promised close and
constant intelligence. I must dine with James Ballantyne to-day _en
famille_. I cannot help it; but would rather be at home and alone.
However, I can go out too. I will not yield to the barren sense of
hopelessness which struggles to invade me. I passed a pleasant day with
honest J.B., which was a great relief from the black dog which would
have worried me at home. We were quite alone.

_[Edinburgh,] May_ 12.--Well, here I am in Arden. And I may say with
Touchstone, "When I was at home I was in a better place,"[268] and yet
this is not by any means to be complained of. Good apartments, the
people civil and apparently attentive. No appearance of smoke, and
absolute warrandice against my dreaded enemies, bugs. I must, when there
is occasion, draw to my own Bailie Nicol Jarvie's consolation, "One
cannot carry the comforts of the Saut-Market about with one." Were I at
ease in mind, I think the body is very well cared for. I have two steady
servants, a man and woman, and they seem to set out sensibly enough.
Only one lodger in the house, a Mr. Shandy, a clergyman; and despite his
name, said to be a quiet one.

_May_ 13.--The projected measure against the Scottish bank-notes has
been abandoned, the resistance being general. _Malachi_ might clap his
wings upon this, but, alas! domestic anxiety has cut his comb.

I think very lightly in general of praise; it costs men nothing, and is
usually only lip-salve. They wish to please, and must suppose that
flattery is the ready road to the good will of every professor of
literature. Some praise, however, and from some people, does at once
delight and strengthen the mind, and I insert in this place the
quotation with which Ld. C. Baron Shepherd concluded a letter concerning
me to the Chief Commissioner: "_Magna etiam illa laus et admirabilis
videri solet tulisse casus sapienter adversos, non fractum esse fortunâ,
retinuisse in rebus asperis dignitatem._"[269] I record these words, not
as meriting the high praise they imply, but to remind me that such an
opinion being partially entertained of me by a man of a character so
eminent, it becomes me to make my conduct approach as much as possible
to the standard at which he rates it.

As I must pay back to Terry some cash in London, £170, together with
other matters here, I have borrowed from Mr. Alexander Ballantyne the
sum of £500, upon a promissory note for £512, 10s. payable 15th November
to him or his order. If God should call me before that time, I request
my son Walter will, in reverence to my memory, see that Mr. Alexander
Ballantyne does not suffer for having obliged me in a sort of
exigency--he cannot afford it, and God has given my son the means to
repay him.

_May_ 14.--A fair good-morrow to you, Mr. Sun, who are shining so
brightly on these dull walls. Methinks you look as if you were looking
as bright on the banks of the Tweed; but look where you will, Sir Sun,
you look upon sorrow and suffering. Hogg was here yesterday in danger,
from having obtained an accommodation of £100 from Mr. Ballantyne, which
he is now obliged to repay. I am unable to help the poor fellow, being
obliged to borrow myself. But I long ago remonstrated against the
transaction at all, and gave him £50 out of my pocket to avoid granting
the accommodation, but it did no good.

_May_ 15.--Received the melancholy intelligence that all is over at

[_Abbotsford_,] _May_ 16.--She died at nine in the morning, after being
very ill for two days,--easy at last.

I arrived here late last night. Anne is worn out, and has had hysterics,
which returned on my arrival. Her broken accents were like those of a
child, the language, as well as the tones, broken, but in the most
gentle voice of submission. "Poor mamma--never return again--'gone for
ever--a better place." Then, when she came to herself, she spoke with
sense, freedom, and strength of mind, till her weakness returned. It
would have been inexpressibly moving to me as a stranger--what was it
then to the father and the husband? For myself, I scarce know how I
feel, sometimes as firm as the Bass Rock, sometimes as weak as the wave
that breaks on it.

I am as alert at thinking and deciding as I ever was in my life. Yet,
when I contrast what this place now is, with what it has been not long
since, I think my heart will break. Lonely, aged, deprived of my
family--all but poor Anne, an impoverished and embarrassed man, I am
deprived of the sharer of my thoughts and counsels, who could always
talk down my sense of the calamitous apprehensions which break the heart
that must bear them alone. Even her foibles were of service to me, by
giving me things to think of beyond my weary self-reflections.

I have seen her. The figure I beheld is, and is not, my Charlotte--my
thirty years' companion. There is the same symmetry of form, though
those limbs are rigid which were once so gracefully elastic--but that
yellow masque, with pinched features, which seems to mock life rather
than emulate it, can it be the face that was once so full of lively
expression? I will not look on it again. Anne thinks her little changed,
because the latest idea she had formed of her mother is as she appeared
under circumstances of sickness and pain. Mine go back to a period of
comparative health. If I write long in this way, I shall write down my
resolution, which I should rather write up, if I could. I wonder how I
shall do with the large portion of thoughts which were hers for thirty
years. I suspect they will be hers yet for a long time at least. But I
will not blaze cambric and crape in the public eye like a disconsolate
widower, that most affected of all characters.

_May_ 17.--- Last night Anne, after conversing with apparent ease,
dropped suddenly down as she rose from the supper-table, and lay six or
seven minutes as if dead. Clarkson, however, has no fear of these

_May_ 18.--Another day, and a bright one to the external world, again
opens on us; the air soft, and the flowers smiling, and the leaves
glittering. They cannot refresh her to whom mild weather was a natural
enjoyment. Cerements of lead and of wood already hold her; cold earth
must have her soon. But it is not my Charlotte, it is not the bride of
my youth, the mother of my children, that will be laid among the ruins
of Dryburgh, which we have so often visited in gaiety and pastime. No,
no. She is sentient and conscious of my emotions somewhere--somehow;
_where_ we cannot tell; _how_ we cannot tell; yet would I not at this
moment renounce the mysterious yet certain hope that I shall see her in
a better world, for all that this world can give me. The necessity of
this separation,--that necessity which rendered it even a relief,--that
and patience must be my comfort. I do not experience those paroxysms of
grief which others do on the same occasion. I can exert myself and speak
even cheerfully with the poor girls. But alone, or if anything touches
me--the choking sensation. I have been to her room: there was no voice
in it--no stirring; the pressure of the coffin was visible on the bed,
but it had been removed elsewhere; all was neat as she loved it, but
all was calm--calm as death. I remembered the last sight of her; she
raised herself in bed, and tried to turn her eyes after me, and said,
with a sort of smile, "You all have such melancholy faces." They were
the last words I ever heard her utter, and I hurried away, for she did
not seem quite conscious of what she said. When I returned, immediately
[before] departing, she was in a deep sleep. It is deeper now. This was
but seven days since.

They are arranging the chamber of death; that which was long the
apartment of connubial happiness, and of whose arrangements (better than
in richer houses) she was so proud. They are treading fast and thick.
For weeks you could have heard a foot-fall. Oh, my God!

_May_ 19.--Anne, poor love, is ill with her exertions and
agitation--cannot walk--and is still hysterical, though less so. I
advised flesh-brush and tepid bath, which I think will bring her about.
We speak freely of her whom we have lost, and mix her name with our
ordinary conversation. This is the rule of nature. All primitive people
speak of their dead, and I think virtuously and wisely. The idea of
blotting the names of those who are gone out of the language and
familiar discourse of those to whom they were dearest is one of the
rules of ultra-civilisation which, in so many instances, strangle
natural feeling by way of avoiding a painful sensation. The Highlanders
speak of their dead children as freely as of their living, and mention
how poor Colin or Robert would have acted in such or such a situation.
It is a generous and manly tone of feeling; and, so far as it may be
adopted without affectation or contradicting the general habits of
society, I reckon on observing it.

_May_ 20.--To-night, I trust, will bring Charles or Lockhart, or both;
at least I must hear from them. A letter from Violet [Lockhart] gave us
the painful intelligence that she had not mentioned to Sophia the
dangerous state in which her mother was. Most kindly meant, but
certainly not so well judged. I have always thought that truth, even
when painful, is a great duty on such occasions, and it is seldom that
concealment is justifiable.

Sophia's baby was christened on Sunday, 14th May, at Brighton, by the
name of Walter Scott.[270] May God give him life and health to wear it
with credit to himself and those belonging to him. Melancholy to think
that the next morning after this ceremony deprived him of so near a
relation. Sent Mr. Curle £11 to remit Mrs. Bohn, York Street, Covent
Garden, for books--I thought I had paid the poor woman before.

_May_ 21.--Our sad preparations for to-morrow continue. A letter from
Lockhart; doubtful if Sophia's health or his own state of business will
let him be here. If things permit he comes to-night. From Charles not a
word; but I think I may expect him. I wish to-morrow were over; not that
I fear it, for my nerves are pretty good, but it will be a day of many

_May_ 22.--Charles arrived last night, much affected of course. Anne had
a return of her fainting-fits on seeing him, and again upon seeing Mr.
Ramsay, the gentleman who performs the service.[271] I heard him do so
with the utmost propriety for my late friend, Lady Alvanley,[272] the
arrangement of whose funeral devolved upon me. How little I could guess
when, where, and with respect to whom I should next hear those solemn
words. Well, I am not apt to shrink from that which is my duty, merely
because it is painful; but I wish this day over. A kind of cloud of
stupidity hangs about me, as if all were unreal that men seem to be
doing and talking about.

_May_ 23.--About an hour before the mournful ceremony of yesterday,
Walter arrived, having travelled express from Ireland on receiving the
news. He was much affected, poor fellow, and no wonder. Poor Charlotte
nursed him, and perhaps for that reason she was ever partial to him. The
whole scene floats as a sort of dream before me--the beautiful day, the
grey ruins covered and hidden among clouds of foliage and flourish,
where the grave, even in the lap of beauty, lay lurking and gaped for
its prey. Then the grave looks, the hasty important bustle of men with
spades and mattocks--the train of carriages--the coffin containing the
creature that was so long the dearest on earth to me, and whom I was to
consign to the very spot which in pleasure-parties we so frequently
visited. It seems still as if this could not be really so. But it is
so--and duty to God and to my children must teach me patience.

Poor Anne has had longer fits since our arrival from Dryburgh than
before, but yesterday was the crisis. She desired to hear prayers read
by Mr. Ramsay, who performed the duty in a most solemn manner. But her
strength could not carry it through. She fainted before the service was

_May_ 24.--Slept wretchedly, or rather waked wretchedly, all night, and
was very sick and bilious in consequence, and scarce able to hold up my
head with pain. A walk, however, with my sons did me a great deal of
good; indeed their society is the greatest support the world can afford
me. Their ideas of everything are so just and honourable, kind towards
their sisters, and affectionate to me, that I must be grateful to God
for sparing them to me, and continue to battle with the world for their
sakes, if not for my own.

_May_ 25.--I had sound sleep to-night, and waked with little or nothing
of the strange, dreamy feeling which made me for some days feel like one
bewildered in a country where mist or snow has disguised those features
of the landscape which are best known to him.

Walter leaves me to-day; he seems disposed to take interest in country
affairs, which will be an immense resource, supposing him to tire of the
army in a few years. Charles, he and I, went up to Ashestiel to call
upon the Misses Russell, who have kindly promised to see Anne on
Tuesday. This evening Walter left us, being anxious to return to his
wife as well as to his regiment. We expect he will be here early in
autumn, with his household.

_May_ 26.--A rough morning, and makes me think of St. George's Channel,
which Walter must cross to-night or to-morrow to get to Athlone. The
wind is almost due east, however, and the channel at the narrowest point
between Port-Patrick and Donaghadee. His absence is a great blank in our
circle, especially, I think, to his sister Anne, to whom he shows
invariably much kindness. But indeed they do so without exception each
towards the other; and in weal or woe have shown themselves a family of
love. No persuasion could force on Walter any of his poor mother's
ornaments for his wife. He undid a reading-glass from the gold chain to
which it was suspended, and agreed to give the glass to Jane, but would
on no account retain the chain. I will go to town on Monday and resume
my labours. Being of a grave nature, they cannot go against the general
temper of my feelings, and in other respects the exertion, as far as I
am concerned, will do me good; besides, I must re-establish my fortune
for the sake of the children, and of my own character. I have not
leisure to indulge the disabling and discouraging thoughts that press on
me. Were an enemy coming upon my house, would I not do my best to fight,
although oppressed in spirits, and shall a similar despondency prevent
me from mental exertion? It shall not, by Heaven! This day and to-morrow
I give to the currency of the ideas which have of late occupied my mind,
and with Monday they shall be mingled at least with other thoughts and
cares. Last night Charles and I walked late on the terrace at Kaeside,
when the clouds seemed accumulating in the wildest masses both on the
Eildon Hills and other mountains in the distance. This rough morning
reads the riddle.

Dull, drooping, cheerless has the day been. I cared not to carry my own
gloom to the girls, and so sate in my own room, dawdling with old
papers, which awakened as many stings as if they had been the nest of
fifty scorpions. Then the solitude seemed so absolute--my poor Charlotte
would have been in the room half-a-score of times to see if the fire
burned, and to ask a hundred kind questions. Well, that is over--and if
it cannot be forgotten, must be remembered with patience.

_May_ 27.--A sleepless night. It is time I should be up and be doing,
and a sleepless night sometimes furnishes good ideas. Alas! I have no
companion now with whom I can communicate to relieve the loneliness of
these watches of the night. But I must not fail myself and my
family--and the necessity of exertion becomes apparent. I must try a
_hors d'oeuvre_, something that can go on between the necessary
intervals of _Nap._ Mrs. M[urray] K[eith's] Tale of the Deserter, with
her interview with the lad's mother, may be made most affecting, but
will hardly endure much expansion.[274] The framework may be a Highland
tour, under the guardianship of the sort of postilion, whom Mrs. M.K.
described to me--a species of conductor who regulated the motions of his
company, made their halts, and was their cicerone.

_May_ 28.--I wrote a few pages yesterday, and then walked. I believe the
description of the old Scottish lady may do, but the change has been
unceasingly rung upon Scottish subjects of late, and it strikes me that
the introductory matter may be considered as an imitation of Washington
Irving. Yet not so neither. In short, I will go on, to-day make a dozen
of close pages ready, and take J.B.'s advice. I intend the work as an
_olla podrida_, into which any species of narrative or discussion may be

I wrote easily. I think the exertion has done me good. I slept sound
last night, and at waking, as is usual with me, I found I had some clear
views and thoughts upon the subject of this trifling work. I wonder if
others find so strongly as I do the truth of the Latin proverb, _Aurora
musis amica_. If I forget a thing over-night, I am sure to recollect it
as my eyes open in the morning. The same if I want an idea, or am
encumbered by some difficulty, the moment of waking always supplies the
deficiency, or gives me courage to endure the alternative.[275]

_May_ 29.--To-day I leave for Edinburgh this house of sorrow. In the
midst of such distress, I have the great pleasure to see Anne regaining
her health, and showing both patience and steadiness of mind. God
continue this, for my own sake as well as hers. Much of my future
comfort must depend upon her.

[_Edinburgh_,] _May_ 30.--Returned to town last night with Charles. This
morning resume ordinary habits of rising early, working in the morning,
and attending the Court. All will come easily round. But it is at first
as if men looked strange on me, and bit their lip when they wring my
hand, and indicated suppressed feelings. It is natural this should
be--undoubtedly it has been so with me. Yet it is strange to find
one's-self resemble a cloud which darkens gaiety wherever it interposes
its chilling shade. Will it be better when, left to my own feelings, I
see the whole world pipe and dance around me? I think it will. Thus
sympathy intrudes on my private affliction.

I finished correcting the proofs for the _Quarterly_; it is but a flimsy
article, but then the circumstances were most untoward.

This has been a melancholy day, most melancholy. I am afraid poor
Charles found me weeping. I do not know what other folks feel, but with
me the hysterical passion that impels tears is of terrible violence--a
sort of throttling sensation--then succeeded by a state of dreaming
stupidity, in which I ask if my poor Charlotte can actually be dead. I
think I feel my loss more than at the first blow.

Poor Charles wishes to come back to study here when his term ends at
Oxford. I can see the motive.

_May_ 31.--The melancholy hours of yesterday must not return. To
encourage that dreamy state of incapacity is to resign all authority
over the mind, and I have been wont to say--

    "My mind to me a kingdom is."[276]
I am rightful monarch; and, God to aid, I will not be dethroned by any
rebellious passion that may rear its standard against me. Such are
morning thoughts, strong as carle-hemp--says Burns--

    "Come, firm Resolve, take thou the van,
    Thou stalk of carle-hemp in man."

Charles went by the steam-boat this morning at six. We parted last night
mournfully on both sides. Poor boy, this is his first serious sorrow.
Wrote this morning a Memorial on the Claims which Constable's people
prefer as to the copyrights of _Woodstock_ and _Napoleon_.[277]


[263] See _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xx. pp. 152-244, or
_Quarterly Review_ No. 67, Kelly's _Reminiscences_.

[264] 2 _Henry IV_., Act III. Sc. I, slightly altered.

[265] [Mrs. Brown's Lodgings, No. 6 North St. David Street.]

[266] This is the opening couplet of a German trooper's song, alluded to
in _Life_, vol. ii. p. 13. The literal translation is:--

  "The day of departure is come;
  Heavy lies it on the hearts--heavy."--J.G.L.

[267] Scott had written:--"and yet to part with the companion of twenty
years just six," and had then deleted the three words, "years just six,"
and written "nine" above them. It looks as if he had meant at first to
refer to the change in his fortunes, "just six" MONTHS before, and had
afterwards thought it better to refrain. This would account for a
certain obscurity of meaning.

[268] _As You Like It_, Act II. Sc. 4.

[269] Cicero, _de Orat._ ii. p. 346.--J.G.L.

[270] Walter Scott Lockhart, died at Versailles in 1853, and was buried
in the Cemetery of Notre-Dame there.

[271] The Rev. Edward Bannerman Ramsay, A.M., St. John's College,
Cambridge, incumbent St. John's, Edinburgh, afterwards Dean of the
Diocese in the Scots Episcopal Church, and still more widely known as
the much-loved "Dean Ramsay," author of _Reminiscences of Scottish Life
and Character_. This venerable Scottish gentleman was for many years the
delight of all who had the privilege of knowing him. He died at the age
of eighty-three in his house, 23 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, Dec. 27th,

[272] See _Life_, vol. iv. p. 2.

[273] Mr. Skene has preserved the following note written on this
day:--"I take the advantage of Mr. Ramsay's return to Edinburgh to
answer your kind letter. It would have done no good to have brought you
here when I could not have enjoyed your company, and there were enough
friends here to ensure everything being properly adjusted. Anne,
contrary to a natural weakness of temper, is quite quiet and resigned to
her distress, but has been visited by many fainting fits, the effect, I
am told, of weakness, over-exertion, and distress of mind. Her brothers
are both here--Walter having arrived from Ireland yesterday in time to
assist at the _munus inane_; their presence will do her much good, but I
cannot think of leaving her till Monday next, nor could I do my brethren
much good by coming to town, having still that stunned and giddy feeling
which great calamities necessarily produce. It will soon give way to my
usual state of mind, and my friends will not find me much different from
what I have usually been.

"Mr. Ramsay, who I find is a friend of yours, appears an excellent young
man.--My kind love to Mrs. Skene, and am always, yours truly,


[274] _The Highland Widow_, Waverley Novels, vol. xli.

[275] See February 10, 1826.

[276] This excellent philosophical song appears to have been famous in
the sixteenth century.--Percy's _Reliques_, vol. i. 307.--J.G.L.

[277] See June 2.


_June_ 1.--Yesterday I also finished a few trifling memoranda on a book
called _The Omen_, at Blackwood's request. There is something in the
work which pleases me, and the style is good, though the story is not
artfully conducted. I dined yesterday in family with Skene, and had a
visit from Lord Chief-Commissioner; we met as mourners under a common
calamity. There is something extremely kind in his disposition.

Sir R. D[undas] offers me three days of the country next week, which
tempts me strongly were it but the prospect of seeing Anne. But I think
I must resist and say with Tilburina,

    "Duty, I'm all thine own."[278]

If I do this I shall deserve a holiday about the 15th June, and I think
it is best to wait till then.

_June_ 2.--A pleasant letter from Sophia, poor girl; all doing well
there, for which God be praised.

I wrote a good task yesterday, five pages, which is nearly double the
usual stint.

I am settled that I will not go to Abbotsford till to-morrow fortnight.

I might have spared myself the trouble of my self-denial, for go I
cannot, Hamilton having a fit of gout.

Gibson seems in high spirits on the views I have given to him on the
nature of Constable and Co.'s claim. It amounts to this, that being no
longer accountable as publishers, they cannot claim the character of
such, or plead upon any claim arising out of the contracts entered into
while they held that capacity.

_June_ 3.--I was much disturbed this morning by bile and its
consequences, and lost so much sleep that I have been rather late in
rising by way of indemnification. I must go to the map and study the
Italian campaigns instead of scribbling.

_June_ 4.--I wrote a good task yesterday, and to-day a great one, scarce
stirring from the desk the whole day, except a few minutes when Lady Rae
called. I was glad to see my wife's old friend, with whom in early life
we had so many liaisons. I am not sure it is right to work so hard; but
a man must take himself, as well as other people, when he is in the
humour. A man will do twice as much at one time and in half the time,
and twice as well as he will be able to do at another. People are always
crying out about method, and in some respects it is good, and shows to
great advantage among men of business, but I doubt if men of method, who
can lay aside or take up the pen just at the hour appointed, will ever
be better than poor creatures. Lady L[ouisa] S[tuart] used to tell me of
Mr. Hoole, the translator of _Tasso_ and _Ariosto_, and in that capacity
a noble transmuter of gold into lead, that he was a clerk in the India
House, with long ruffles and a snuff-coloured suit of clothes, who
occasionally visited her father [John, Earl of Bute]. She sometimes
conversed with him, and was amused to find that he _did_ exactly so many
couplets day by day, neither more or less; and habit had made it light
to him, however heavy it might seem to the reader.

Well, but if I lay down the pen, as the pain in my breast hints that I
should, what am I to do? If I think, why, I shall weep--and that's
nonsense; and I have no friend now--none--to receive my tediousness for
half-an-hour of the gloaming. Let me be grateful--I have good news from

_June_ 5.--Though this be Monday, I am not able to feague it away, as
Bayes says.[279] Between correcting proofs and writing letters, I have
got as yet but two pages written, and that with labour and a sensation
of pain in the chest. I may be bringing on some serious disease by
working thus hard; if I had once justice done to other folks, I do not
much care, only I would not like to suffer long pain. Harden made me a
visit. He argued with me that Lord M. affichéd his own importance, too
much at the election, and says Henry is anxious about it. I hinted to
him the necessity of counter-balancing it the next time, which will be

Thomson also called about the Bannatyne Club.

These two interruptions did me good, though I am still a poor wretch.

After all, I have fagged through six pages; and made poor Wurmser lay
down his sword on the glacis of Mantua--and my head aches--my eyes
ache--my back aches--so does my breast--and I am sure my heart aches,
and what can Duty ask more?

_June_ 6.--I arose much better this morning, having taken some medicine,
which has removed the strange and aching feeling in my back and breast.
I believe it is from the diaphragm; it must be looked to, however. I
have not yet breakfasted, yet have cleared half my day's work holding it
at the ordinary stint.

Worked hard. John Swinton, my kinsman, came to see me,--very kind and
affectionate in his manner; my heart always warms to that Swinton
connection, so faithful to old Scottish feelings. Harden was also with
me. I talked with him about what Lord M. did at the election; I find
that he disapproves--I see these visits took place on the 5th.

_June_ 7.--Again a day of hard work, only at half-past eight I went to
the Dean of Faculty's to a consultation about Constable,[280] and met
with said Dean and Mr. [J.S.] More and J. Gibson. I find they have as
high hope of success as lawyers ought to express; and I think I know how
our profession speak when sincere. I cannot interest myself deeply in
it. When I had come home from such a business, I used to carry the news
to poor Charlotte, who dressed her face in sadness or mirth as she saw
the news affect me; this hangs lightly about me. I had almost forgot the
appointment, if J.G. had not sent me a card, I passed a piper in the
street as I went to the Dean's and could not help giving him a shilling
to play _Pibroch a Donuil Dhu_ for luck's sake--what a child I am!

_June_ 8.--Bilious and headache this morning. A dog howl'd all night and
left me little sleep. Poor cur! I dare say he had his distresses, as I
have mine. I was obliged to make Dalgleish shut the windows when he
appeared at half-past six, as usual, and did not rise till nine, when
_me voici_. I have often deserved a headache in my younger days without
having one, and Nature is, I suppose, paying off old scores. Ay, but
then the want of the affectionate care that used to be ready, with
lowered voice and stealthy pace, to smooth the pillow--and offer
condolence and assistance,--gone--gone--for ever--ever--ever. Well,
there is another world, and we'll meet free from the mortal sorrows and
frailties which beset us here. Amen, so be it. Let me change the topic
with hand and head, and the heart must follow.

I think that sitting so many days and working so hard may have brought
on this headache. I must inflict a walk on myself to-day. Strange that
what is my delight in the country is _here_ a sort of penance! Well, but
now I think on it, I will go to the Chief-Baron and try to get his
Lordship's opinion about the question with Constable; if I carry it, as
there is, I trust, much hope I shall, Mr. Gibson says there will be
funds to divide 6s. in the pound, without counting upon getting anything
from Constable or Hurst, but sheer hard cash of my own. Such another
pull is possible, especially if _Boney_ succeeds, and the rogue had a
knack at success. Such another, I say, and we touch ground I believe,
for surely Constable, Robinson, etc., must pay something; the struggle
is worth waring[281] a headache upon.

I finished five pages to-day, headache, laziness, and all.

_June_ 9.--Corrected a stubborn proof this morning. These battles have
been the death of many a man--I think they will be mine. Well but it
clears to windward; so we will fag on.

Slept well last night. By the way, how intolerably selfish this Journal
makes me seem--so much attention to one's naturals and non-naturals!
Lord Mackenzie[282] called, and we had much chat about business. The
late regulations for preparing cases in the Outer-House do not work
well, and thus our old machinery, which was very indifferent, is
succeeded by a kind that will hardly move at all. Mackenzie says his
business is trebled, and that he cannot keep it up. I question whether
the extreme strictness of rules of court be advisable in practice they
are always evaded, upon an equitable showing. I do not, for instance,
lodge a paper _debito tempore_, and for an accident happening, perhaps
through the blunder of a Writer's apprentice, I am to lose my cause. The
penalty is totally disproportioned to the delict, and the consequence
is, that means are found out of evasion by legal fictions and the like.
The judges listen to these; they become frequent, and the rule of Court
ends by being a scarecrow merely. Formerly, delays of this kind were
checked by corresponding _amendes_. But the Court relaxed this petty
fine too often. Had they been more strict, and levied the mulct on the
agents, with _no recourse_ upon their clients, the abuse might have been
remedied. I fear the present rule is too severe to do much good.

One effect of running causes fast through the Courts below is, that they
go by scores to appeal, and Lord Gifford[283] has hitherto decided them
with such judgment, and so much rapidity, as to give great satisfaction.
The consequence will in time be, that the Scottish Supreme Court will be
in effect situated in London. Then down fall--as national objects of
respect and veneration--the Scottish Bench, the Scottish Bar, the
Scottish Law herself, and--and--"there is an end of an auld sang."[284]
Were I as I have been, I would fight knee-deep in blood ere it came to
that. But it is a catastrophe which the great course of events brings
daily nearer--

    "And who can help it, Dick?"

I shall always be proud of _Malachi_ as having headed back the Southron,
or helped to do so, in one instance at least.

_June_ 10.--This was an unusual teind-day at Court. In the morning and
evening I corrected proofs--four sheets in number; and I wrote my task
of three pages and a little more. Three pages a day will come, at
Constable's rate, to about £12,000 to £15,000 per year. They have sent
their claim; it does not frighten me a bit.

_June_ 11.--Bad dreams about poor Charlotte. Woke, thinking my old and
inseparable friend beside me; and it was only when I was fully awake
that I could persuade myself that she was dark, low, and distant, and
that my bed was widowed. I believe the phenomena of dreaming are in a
great measure occasioned by the _double touch_, which takes place when
one hand is crossed in sleep upon another. Each gives and receives the
impression of touch to and from the other, and this complicated
sensation our sleeping fancy ascribes to the agency of another being,
when it is in fact produced by our own limbs acting on each other. Well,
here goes--_incumbite remis_.

_June_ 12.--Finished volume third of _Napoleon_. I resumed it on the 1st
of June, the earliest period that I could bend my mind to it after my
great loss. Since that time I have lived, to be sure, the life of a
hermit, except attending the Court five days in the week for about three
hours on an average. Except at that time I have been reading or writing
on the subject of _Boney_, and have finished last night, and sent to
printer this morning the last sheets of fifty-two written since 1st
June. It is an awful screed; but grief makes me a house-keeper, and to
labour is my only resource. Ballantyne thinks well of the work--very
well, but I shall [expect] inaccuracies. An' it were to do again, I
would get some one to look it over. But who could that some one be? Whom
is there left of human race that I could hold such close intimacy with?
No one. "_Tanneguy du Châtel, ou es-tu!_"[285]. Worked five pages.

_June_ 13.--I took a walk out last evening after tea, and called on Lord
Chief-Commissioner and the Macdonald Buchanans, that kind and friendly
clan. The heat is very great, and the wrath of the bugs in proportion.
Two hours last night I was kept in an absolute fever. I must make some
arrangement for winter. Great pity my old furniture was sold in such a
hurry! The wiser way would have been to have let the house furnished.
But it's all one in the Greek.

"_Peccavi, peccavi, dies quidem sine lineâ!_" I walked to make calls;
got cruelly hot; drank ginger-beer; wrote letters. Then as I was going
to dinner, enter a big splay-footed, trifle-headed, old pottering
minister, who came to annoy me about a claim which one of his
parishioners has to be Earl of Annandale, and which he conceits to be
established out of the Border Minstrelsy. He mentioned a curious
thing--that three brothers of the Johnstone family, on whose descendants
the male representative of these great Border chiefs devolved, were
forced to fly to the north in consequence of their feuds with the
Maxwells, and agreed to change their names. They slept on the side of
the Soutra Hills, and asking a shepherd the name of the place, agreed in
future to call themselves Sowtra or Sowter Johnstones. The old
pudding-headed man could not comprehend a word I either asked him or
told him, and maundered till I wished him in the Annandale
beef-stand.[286] Mr. Gibson came in after tea, and we talked business.
Then I was lazy and stupid, and dosed over a book instead of writing. So
on the whole, _Confiteor, confiteor, culpa mea, culpa mea_!

_June_ 14.--In the morning I began with a page and a half before
breakfast. This is always the best way. You stand like a child going to
be bathed, shivering and shaking till the first pitcherful is flung
about your ears, and then are as blithe as a water-wagtail. I am just
come home from Parliament House; and now, my friend _Nap._, have at you
with a down-right blow! Methinks I would fain make peace with my
conscience by doing six pages to-night. Bought a little bit of Gruyère
cheese, instead of our domestic choke-dog concern. When did I ever
purchase anything for my own eating? But I will say no more of that. And
now to the bread-mill.

_June_ 15.--I laboured all the evening, but made little way. There were
many books to consult; and so all I could really do was to make out my
task of three pages. I will try to make up the deficit of Tuesday to-day
and to-morrow. Letters from Walter--all well. A visit yesterday from
Charles Sharpe.

_June_ 16.--Yesterday sate in the Court till nearly four. I had, of
course, only time for my task. I fear I will have little more to-day,
for I have accepted to dine at Hector's. I got, yesterday, a present of
two engravings from Sir Henry Raeburn's portrait of me, which (poor
fellow!) was the last he ever painted, and certainly not his worst.[287]
I had the pleasure to give one to young Mr. Davidoff for his uncle, the
celebrated Black Captain of the campaign of 1812. Curious that he should
be interested in getting the resemblance of a person whose mode of
attaining some distinction has been very different. But I am sensible,
that if there be anything good about my poetry or prose either, it is a
hurried frankness of composition which pleases soldiers, sailors, and
young people of bold and active disposition. I have been no sigher in
shades--no writer of

    "Songs and sonnets and rustical roundelays,
    Framed on fancies, and whistled on reeds."[288]

[_Abbotsford, Saturday_,] _June_ 17.--Left Edinburgh to-day after
Parliament House to come [here]. My two girls met me at Torsonce, which
was a pleasant surprise, and we returned in the sociable all together.
Found everything right and well at Abbotsford under the new regime. I
again took possession of the family bedroom and my widowed couch. This
was a sore trial, but it was necessary not to blink such a resolution.
Indeed, I do not like to have it thought that there is any way in which
I can be beaten.[289]

_June_ 18.--This morning wrote till half-twelve--good day's work--at
_Canongate Chronicles_. Methinks I can make this work answer. Then drove
to Huntly Burn and called at Chiefswood. Walked home. The country crying
for rain; yet on the whole the weather delicious, dry, and warm, with a
fine air of wind. The young woods are rising in a kind of profusion I
never saw elsewhere. Let me once clear off these encumbrances, and they
shall wave broader and deeper yet. But to attain this I _must work_.

Wrought very fair accordingly till two; then walked; after dinner out
again with the girls. Smoked two cigars, first time these two months.

_June_ 19.--Wrought very fair indeed, and the day being scorching we
dined _al fresco_ in the hall among the armour, and went out early in
the evening. Walked to the lake and back again by the Marle pool; very
delightful evening.

_June_ 20.--This is also a hard-working day. Hot weather is favourable
for application, were it not that it makes the composer sleepy. Pray God
the reader may not partake the sensation! But days of hard work make
short journals. To-day we again dine in the hall, and drive to Ashestiel
in the evening _pour prendre le frais_.

_June_ 21--We followed the same course we proposed. For a party of
pleasure I have attended to business well. Twenty pages of Croftangry,
five printed pages each, attest my diligence, and I have had a
delightful variation by the company of the two Annes. Regulated my
little expenses here.

[_Edinburgh_,] _June_ 22.--Returned to my Patmos. Heard good news from
Lockhart. Wife well, and John Hugh better. He mentions poor Southey
testifying much interest for me, even to tears. It is odd--am I so
hard-hearted a man? I could not have wept for him, though in distress I
would have gone any length to serve him. I sometimes think I do not
deserve people's good opinion, for certainly my feelings are rather
guided by reflection than impulse. But everybody has his own mode of
expressing interest, and mine is stoical even in bitterest grief. _Agere
atque pati, Romanum est._ I hope I am not the worse for wanting the
tenderness that I see others possess, and which is so amiable. I think
it does not cool my wish to be of use where I can. But the truth is, I
am better at enduring or acting than at consoling. From childhood's
earliest hour my heart rebelled against the influence of external
circumstances in myself and others. _Non est tanti!_

To-day I was detained in the Court from half-past ten till near four;
yet I finished and sent off a packet to Cadell, which will finish
one-third of the _Chronicles_, vol. 1st.

Henry Scott came in while I was at dinner, and sat while I ate my
beef-steak. A gourmand would think me much at a loss, coming back to my
ploughman's meal of boiled beef and Scotch broth, from the rather
_recherché_ table at Abbotsford, but I have no philosophy in my
carelessness on that score. It is natural--though I am no ascetic, as my
father was.

_June_ 23.--The heat tremendous, and the drought threatening the hay and
barley crop. Got from the Court at half-twelve, and walked to the
extremity of Heriot Row to see poor Lady Don; left my card as she does
not receive any one. I am glad this painful meeting is adjourned. I
received to-day £10 from Blackwood for the article on _The Omen_. Time
was I would not have taken these small tithes of mint and cummin, but
scornful dogs will eat dirty puddings, and I, with many depending on me,
must do the best I can with my time--God help me!

[_Blair-Adam_,] _June_ 24.--Left Edinburgh yesterday after the Court,
half-past twelve, and came over here with the Lord Chief-Baron and
William Clerk, to spend as usual a day or two at Blair-Adam. In general,
this is a very gay affair. We hire a light coach-and-four, and scour the
country in every direction in quest of objects of curiosity. But the
Lord Chief-Commissioner's family misfortunes and my own make our holiday
this year of a more quiet description than usual, and a sensible degree
of melancholy hangs on the reunion of our party. It was wise, however,
not to omit it, for to slacken your hold on life in any agreeable point
of connection is the sooner to reduce yourself to the indifference and
passive vegetation of old age.

_June_ 25.--Another melting day; thermometer at 78° even here. 80° was
the height yesterday at Edinburgh. If we attempt any active proceeding
we dissolve ourselves into a dew. We have lounged away the morning
creeping about the place, sitting a great deal, and walking as little as
might be on account of the heat.

Blair-Adam has been successively in possession of three generations of
persons attached to and skilled in the art of embellishment, and may be
fairly taken as a place where art and taste have done a great deal to
improve nature. A long ridge of varied ground sloping to the foot of the
hill called Benarty, and which originally was of a bare, mossy, boggy
character, has been clothed by the son, father, and grandfather; while
the undulations and hollows, which seventy or eighty years since must
have looked only like wrinkles in the black morasses, being now drained
and limed, are skirted with deep woods, particularly of spruce, which
thrives wonderfully, and covered with excellent grass. We drove in the
droskie and walked in the evening.

_June_, 26.--Another day of unmitigated heat; thermometer 82; must be
higher in Edinburgh, where I return to-night, when the decline of the
sun makes travelling practicable. It will be well for my work to be
there--not quite so well for me; there is a difference between the
clean, nice arrangement of Blair-Adam and Mrs. Brown's accommodations,
though he who is insured against worse has no right to complain of them.
But the studious neatness of poor Charlotte has perhaps made me
fastidious. She loved to see things clean, even to Oriental
scrupulosity. So oddly do our deep recollections of other kinds
correspond with the most petty occurrences of our life.

Lord Chief-Baron told us a story of the ruling passion strong in death.
A Master in Chancery was on his deathbed--a very wealthy man. Some
occasion of great urgency occurred in which it was necessary to make an
affidavit, and the attorney, missing one or two other Masters, whom he
inquired after, ventured to ask if Mr. ------ would be able to receive
the deposition. The proposal seemed to give him momentary strength; his
clerk sent for, and the oath taken in due form, the Master was lifted up
in bed, and with difficulty subscribed the paper; as he sank down again,
he made a signal to his clerk--"Wallace."--"Sir?"--"Your
ear--lower--lower. Have you got the _half-crown_?" He was dead before

[_Edinburgh_,] _June_ 27.--Returned to Edinburgh late last night, and
had a most sweltering night of it. This day also cruel hot. However, I
made a task or nearly so, and read a good deal about the Egyptian
Expedition. Had comfortable accounts of Anne, and through her of Sophia.
Dr. Shaw doubts if anything is actually the matter with poor Johnnie's
back. I hope the dear child will escape deformity, and the infirmities
attending that helpless state. I have myself been able to fight up very
well, notwithstanding my lameness, but it has cost great efforts, and I
am besides very strong. Dined with Colin Mackenzie; a fine family all
growing up about him, turning men and women, and treading fast on our
heels. Some thunder and showers which I fear will be but partial.

_June_, 28.--Another hot morning, and something like an idle day, though
I have read a good deal. But I have slept also, corrected proofs, and
prepared for a great start, by filling myself with facts and ideas.

_June_ 29.--I walked out for an hour last night, and made one or two
calls--the evening was delightful--

    "Day its sultry fires had wasted,
      Calm and cool the moonbeam rose;
    Even a captive's bosom tasted
      Half oblivion of his woes."[290]

I wonder often how Tom Campbell, with so much real genius, has not
maintained a greater figure in the public eye than he has done of late.
The _Magazine_ seems to have paralysed him. The author, not only of the
_Pleasures of Hope_, but of _Hohenlinden, Lochiel_, etc., should have
been at the very top of the tree. Somehow he wants audacity, fears the
public, and, what is worse, fears the shadow of his own reputation. He
is a great corrector too, which succeeds as ill in composition as in
education. Many a clever boy is flogged into a dunce, and many an
original composition corrected into mediocrity. Yet Tom Campbell ought
to have done a great deal more. His youthful promise was great. John
Leyden introduced me to him. They afterwards quarrelled. When I repeated
_Hohenlinden_ to Leyden, he said, "Dash it, man, tell the fellow that I
hate him, but, dash him, he has written the finest verses that have been
published these fifty years." I did mine errand as faithfully as one of
Homer's messengers, and had for answer, "Tell Leyden that I detest him,
but I know the value of his critical approbation." This feud was
therefore in the way of being taken up. "When Leyden comes back from
India," said Tom Campbell, "what cannibals he will have eaten and what
tigers he will have torn to pieces!"

Gave a poor poetess £1. Gibson writes me that £2300 is offered for the
poor house; it is worth £300 more, but I will not oppose my own opinion,
or convenience to good and well-meant counsel: so farewell, poor No. 39.
What a portion of my life has been spent there! It has sheltered me from
the prime of life to its decline; and now I must bid good-bye to it. I
have bid good-bye to my poor wife, so long its courteous and kind
mistress,--and I need not care about the empty rooms; yet it gives me a
turn. I have been so long a citizen of Edinburgh, now an indweller only.
Never mind; all in the day's work.

J. Ballantyne and B. Cadell dined with me, and, as Pepys would say, all
was very handsome. Drank amongst us one bottle of champagne, one of
claret, a glass or two of port, and each a tumbler of whisky toddy. J.B.
had courage to drink his with _hot_ water; mine was iced.

_June_ 30.--Here is another dreadful warm day, fit for nobody but the
flies. And then one is confined to town.

Yesterday I agreed to let Cadell have the new work,[291] edition 1500,
he paying all charges, and paying also £500--two hundred and fifty at
Lammas, to pay J. Gibson money advanced on the passage of young Walter,
my nephew, to India. It is like a thorn in one's eye this sort of debt,
and Gibson is young in business, and somewhat involved in my affairs
besides. Our plan is, that this same _Miscellany_ or _Chronicle_ shall
be committed quietly to the public, and we hope it will attract
attention. If it does not, we must turn public attention to it
ourselves. About one half of vol. i. is written, and there is worse
abomination, or I mistake the matter.

I was detained in Court till four; dreadfully close, and obliged to
drink water for refreshment, which formerly I used to scorn, even on the
moors, with a burning August sun, the heat of exercise, and a hundred
springs gushing around me.

Corrected proofs, etc., on my return. I think I have conquered the
trustees' objections to carry on the small edition of novels. Got
Cadell's letter about the _Chronicle_.


[278] Sheridan's _Critic_, Act IV. Sc. 2.

[279] Buckingham's _Rehearsal_.--The expression "To Feague" does not
occur in the first edition, where the passage stands thus:--

"_Phys._--When a knotty point comes, I lay my head close to it, with a
pipe of tobacco in my mouth and then _whew_ it away. I' faith.

"_Bayes_.--I do just so, i' gad, always." Act II. Sc. 4.

In some subsequent editions the words are:--"I lay my head close to it
with a _snuff-box in my hand_, and I _feague_ it away. I' faith."

I am indebted to Dr. Murray for this reference, which he kindly
furnished me with from the materials collected for his great English

[280] This alludes to the claim advanced by the creditors of Constable
and Co. to the copyright of _Woodstock_ and the _Life of Napoleon_. The
Dean of the Faculty of Advocates was at that time George Cranstoun,
afterwards a judge on the Scottish Bench under the title; of Lord
Corehouse, from 1826 until 1839, when he retired; he died 1850.

[281] _i.e._ spending.

[282] The eldest son of "_The Man of Feeling_." He had been a judge from
1822; he died at the age of seventy-four in 1851.

[283] Baron Gifford died a few months later, viz., in Sept. 1826; he had
been Attorney-General in 1819, and Chief-Justice in 1824. Lord and Lady
Gifford had visited Abbotsford in the autumn of 1825.

[284] Speech of Lord Chancellor Seafield on the ratification of the
Scottish Union.--See _Miscell. Prose Works_, vol. xxv. p. 93.

[285] See Moréri's _Dictionnaire_, Art. "Tanneguy du Châtel."

[286] An example of Scott's wonderful patience, and his power of
utilising hints gathered from the most unpromising materials. Apropos of
this Mr. Skene relates:--"In one of our frequent walks to the pier of
Leith, to which the freshness of the sea breeze offered a strong
inducement to those accustomed to pass a few of the morning hours within
the close and impure atmosphere of the Court of Session, I happened to
meet with, and to recognise, the Master of a vessel in which I had
sailed in the Mediterranean. Our recognition of each other seemed to
give mutual satisfaction, as the cordial grasp of the seaman's hard fist
effectually indicated. It was some years since we had been shipmates, he
had since visited almost every quarter of the globe, but he shook his
head, and looked serious when he came to mention his last trip. He had
commanded a whaler, and having been for weeks exposed to great stress of
weather in the polar regions, finally terminated in the total loss of
his vessel, with most of her equipage, in the course of a dark
tempestuous night. When thrown on her beam-ends, my friend had been
washed overboard, and in his struggles to keep himself above water had
got hold of a piece of ice, on the top of which he at length succeeded
in raising himself--'and there I was, sir, on a cursed dark dirty night,
squatted on a round lump of floating ice, for all the world like a
tea-table adrift in the middle of a stormy sea, without being able to
see whether there was any hope within sight, and having enough ado to
hold on, cold as my seat was, with sometimes one end of me in the water,
and sometimes the other, as the ill-fashioned crank thing kept whirling,
and whomeling about all night. However, praised be God, daylight had not
been long in, when a boat's crew on the outlook hove in sight, and
taking me for a basking seal, and maybe I was not unlike that same, up
they came of themselves, for neither voice nor hand had I to signal
them, and if they lost their blubber, faith, sir, they did get a willing
prize on board; so, after just a little bit gliff of a prayer for the
mercy that sent them to my help, I soon came to myself again, and now
that I am landed safe and sound, I am walking about, ye see, like a
gentleman, till I get some new craft to try the trade again.'--Sir
Walter, who was leaning on my arm during this narrative, had not taken
any share in the dialogue, and kept gazing to seaward, with his usual
heavy, absorbed expression, and only joined in wishing the seaman better
success in his next trip as we parted. However, the detail had by no
means escaped his notice, but dropping into the fertile soil of his
mind, speedily yielded fruit, quite characteristic of his habits. We
happened that evening to dine in company together; I was not near Sir
Walter at table, but in the course of the evening my attention was
called to listen to a narrative with which he was entertaining those
around him, and he seemed as usual to have excited the eager interest of
his hearers. The commencement of the story I had not heard, but soon
perceived that a shipwreck was the theme, which he described with all
the vivid touches of his fancy, marshalling the incidents and striking
features of the situation with a degree of dexterity that seemed to
bring all the horrors of a polar storm home to every one's mind, and
although it occurred to me that our rencontre in the morning with the
shipwrecked Whaler might have recalled a similar story to his
recollection, it was not until he came to mention _the tea-table of ice_
that I recognised the identity of my friend's tale, which had luxuriated
to such an extent in the fertile soil of the poet's imagination, as to
have left the original germ in comparative insignificance. He cast a
glance towards me at the close, and observed, with a significant nod,
'You see, you did not hear one-half of that honest seaman's story this
morning.' It was such slender hints, which in the common intercourse of
life must have hourly dropped on the soil of his retentive memory, that
fed the exuberance of Sir Walter's invention, and supplied the seemingly
inexhaustible stream of fancy, from which he drew forth at pleasure the
ground-work of romance."--_Reminiscences_.

[287] Painted for Lord Montagu in 1822.--See _Life_, vol. vii. p. 13.

Raeburn apparently executed two "half lengths" of Scott almost identical
at this time, giving Lord Montagu his choice. The picture chosen
remained at Ditton, near Windsor, until 1845, when at Lord Montagu's
death it became the property of his son-in-law, the Earl of Home, and it
is now (1889) at the Hirsel, Coldstream. The engraving referred to was
made from the replica, which remained in the artist's possession, by Mr.
Walker, and published in 1826. Sir Henry Raeburn died in July 1823, and
I do not know what became of the original, which may be identified by an
official chain round the neck, not introduced in the Montagu picture.

[288] Song of _The Hunting of the Hare_.--J.G.L.

[289] This entry reminds one of Hannah More's account of Mrs. Garrick's
conduct after her husband's funeral. "She told me," says Mrs. More,
"that she prayed with great composure, then went and kissed the dear
bed, and got into it with a sad pleasure."--See _Memoirs of Mrs. More_,
vol. i. p. 135.--J.G.L.

[290] Campbell's _Turkish Lady_, slightly altered. The poet was then
editor of the _New Monthly Magazine_, but he soon gave it up.--J.G.L.

[291] Viz.: the first series of _Chronicles of the Canongate_, which was
published in 1827. The title originally proposed was _The Canongate
Miscellany_ or _Traditions of the Sanctuary_.

_Woodstock_ had just been launched under the following
title:--_Woodstock, or the Cavalier; a Tale of the Year Sixteen Hundred
and Fifty-one_, by the author of _Waverley, Tales of the Crusaders_,
etc. "He was a very perfect gentle knight" (Chaucer). Edinburgh: Printed
for Archibald Constable and Co., Edinburgh; and Longman, Rees, Orme,
Brown, and Green, London, 1826. (At the end) Edinburgh: Printed by James
Ballantyne and Co. 3 vols. post 8vo.


[_Edinburgh_,] _July 1st._--Another sunny day. This threatens absolutely
Syrian drought. As the Selkirk election comes on Monday, I go out to-day
to Abbotsford, and carry young Davidoff and his tutor with me, to see
our quiet way of managing the choice of a national representative.

I wrote a page or two last night slumbrously.

[_Abbotsford_,] _July_ 2.--Late at Court. Got to Abbotsford last night
with Count Davidoff about eight o'clock. I worked a little this morning,
then had a long and warm walk. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton from Chiefswood,
the present inhabitants of Lockhart's cottage, dined with us, which made
the society pleasant. He is a fine, soldierly-looking man[292]--though
affected with paralysis--his wife a sweet good-humoured little woman. He
is supposed to be a writer in Blackwood's _Magazine_. Since we were to
lose the Lockharts, we could scarce have had more agreeable folks.

At Selkirk, where Borthwickbrae was elected with the usual unanimity of
the Forest freeholders. This was a sight to my young Muscovite. We
walked in the evening to the lake.

_July_ 5.--Still very hot, but with thunder showers. Wrote till
breakfast, then walked and signed the death-warrant of a number of old
firs at Abbotstown. I hope their deaths will prove useful. Their lives
are certainly not ornamental. Young Mr. Davidoff entered upon the cause
of the late discontents in Russia, which he imputes to a deep-seated
Jacobin conspiracy to overthrow the state and empire and establish a
government by consuls.

[_Edinburgh_,] _July_ 6.--Returned last night with my frozen Muscovites
to the Capital, and suffered as usual from the incursions of the black
horse during the night. It was absolute fever. A bunch of letters, but
little interesting. Mr. Barry Cornwall[293] writes to condole with me. I
think our acquaintance scarce warranted this; but it is well meant and
modestly done. I cannot conceive the idea of forcing myself on strangers
in distress, and I have half a mind to turn sharp round on some of my
consolers. Came home from Court. R.P. Gillies called; he is writing a
satire. He has a singular talent of aping the measure and tone of Byron,
and this poem goes to the tune of _Don Juan_, but it is the Champagne
after it has stood two days with the cork drawn. Thereafter came Charles
K. Sharpe and Will Clerk, as Robinson sayeth, to my exceeding
refreshment.[294] And last, not least, Mr. Jollie, one of the triumvirs
who manage my poor matters. He consents to going on with the small
edition of novels, which he did not before comprehend. All this has
consumed the day, but we will make up tide-way presently. I must dress
to go to Lord Medwyn[295] to dinner, and it is near time.

_July_ 7.--Coming home from Lord Medwyn's last night I fell in with
Willie Clerk, and went home to drink a little shrub and water, over
which we chatted of old stories until half-past eleven. This morning I
corrected two proofs of C[roftangr]y, which is getting on. But there
must be a little check with the throng of business at the close of the
session. D---n the session! I wish it would close its eyes for a
century. It is too bad to be kept broiling here; but, on the other
hand, we must have the instinctive gratitude of the Laird of M'Intosh,
who was for the King that gave M'Intosh half-a-guinea the day and
half-a-guinea the morn. So I retract my malediction.

Received from Blackwood to account sales of _Malachi_ £72 with some odd
shillings. This was for copies sold to Banks. The cash comes far from
ill-timed, having to clear all odds and ends before I leave Edinburgh.
This will carry me on tidily till 25th, when precepts become payable.
Well! if _Malachi_ did me some mischief, he must also contribute _quodam
modo_ to my comfort.

_July_ 8.--Wrote a good task this morning. I may be mistaken; but I do
think the tale of Elspat McTavish[296] in my bettermost manner--but J.B.
roars for chivalry. He does not quite understand that everything may be
overdone in this world, or sufficiently estimate the necessity of
novelty. The Highlanders have been off the field now for some time.

Returning from Court, looked into a show of wild beasts, and saw Nero
the great lion, whom they had the cruelty to bait with bull-dogs,
against whom the noble creature disdained to exert his strength. He was
lying like a prince in a large cage, where you might be admitted if you
wish. I had a month's mind--- but was afraid of the newspapers; I could
be afraid of nothing else, for never did a creature seem more gentle and
yet majestic--I longed to caress him. Wallace, the other lion, born in
Scotland, seemed much less trustworthy. He handled the dogs as his
namesake did the southron.

Enter a confounded Dousterswivel, called Burschal, or some such name,
patronised by John Lockhart, teacher of German and learner of English.

He opened the trenches by making me a present of a German work called
_Der Bibelische Orient_, then began to talk of literature at large; and
display his own pretensions. Asked my opinion of Gray as a poet, and
wished me to subscribe an attestation of his own merits for the purpose
of getting him scholars. As I hinted my want of acquaintance with his
qualifications, I found I had nearly landed myself in a proof, for he
was girding up his loins to repeated thundering translations by himself
into German, Hebrew, until, thinking it superfluous to stand on very
much ceremony with one who used so little with me, hinted at letters to
write, and got him to translate himself elsewhere.

Saw a good house in Brunswick Street, which I liked. This evening supped
with Thomas Thomson about the affairs of the Bannatyne. There was the
Dean, Will Clerk, John Thomson, young Smythe of Methven; very pleasant.

_July_ 9.--Rather slumbrous to-day from having sat up till twelve last
night. We settled, or seemed to settle, on an election for the Bannatyne
Club. There are people who would wish to confine it much to one party.
But those who were together last night saw it in the true and liberal
point of view, as a great national institution, which may do much good
in the way of publishing our old records, providing we do not fall into
the usual habit of antiquarians, and neglect what is useful for things
that are merely curious. Thomson is a host for such an undertaking. I
wrote a good day's work at the Canongate matter, notwithstanding the
intervention of two naps. I get sleepy oftener than usual. It is the
weather I suppose--_Naboclish!_[297] I am near the end of the first
volume, and every step is one out of difficulty.

_July_ 10.--Slept too long this morning. It was eight before I
rose--half-past eight ere I came into the parlour. Terry and J.
Ballantyne dined with me yesterday, and I suppose the wassail, though
there was little enough of it, had stuck to my pillow.

This morning I was visited by a Mr. Lewis, a smart Cockney, whose object
is to amend the handwriting. He uses as a mechanical aid a sort of
puzzle of wire and ivory, which is put upon the fingers to keep them in
the desired position, like the muzzle on a dog's nose to make him bear
himself right in the field. It is ingenious, and may be useful. If the
man comes here, as he proposes, in winter, I will take lessons. Bear
witness, good reader, that if W.S. writes a cramp hand, as is the case,
he is desirous to mend it.

Dined with John Swinton _en famille_. He told me an odd circumstance.
Coming from Berwickshire in the mail coach he met with a passenger who
seemed more like a military man than anything else. They talked on all
sorts of subjects, at length on politics. _Malachi's_ letters were
mentioned, when the stranger observed they were much more seditious than
some expressions for which he had three or four years ago been nearly
sent to Botany Bay. And perceiving John Swinton surprised at this
avowal, he added, "I am Kinloch of Kinloch." This gentleman had got
engaged in the radical business (the only real gentleman by the way who
did), and harangued the weavers of Dundee with such emphasis that he
would have been tried and sent to Botany Bay had he not fled abroad. He
was outlawed, and only restored to his status on a composition with
Government. It seems to have escaped Mr. Kinloch that the conduct of a
man who places a lighted coal in the middle of combustibles, and upon
the floor, is a little different from that of one who places the same
quantity of burning fuel in a fire-grate![298]

_July_ 11.--The last day of the session, and as toilsome a one as I ever
saw. There were about 100 or 120 cases on the roll, and most of them of
an incidental character, which gives us Clerks the greatest trouble, for
it is the grasshopper that is a burthen to us. Came home about four,
tired and hungry. I wrought little or none; indeed I could not, having
books and things to pack. Went in the evening to sup with John
Murray,[299] where I met Will Clerk, Thomson, Henderland, and Charles
Stuart Blantyre, and had of course a pleasant party. I came late home,
though, for me, and was not in bed till past midnight; it would not do
for me to do this often.

_July_ 12.--I have the more reason to eschew evening parties that I
slept two mornings till past eight; these vigils would soon tell on my
utility, as the divines call it, but this is the last day in town, and
the world shall be amended. I have been trying to mediate between the
unhappy R.P. G[illies] and his uncle Lord G. The latter talks like a man
of sense and a good relation, and would, I think, do something for
E.P.G., if he would renounce temporary expedients and bring his affairs
to a distinct crisis. But this E.P. will not hear of, but flatters
himself with ideas which seem to me quite visionary. I could make
nothing of him; but, I conclude, offended him by being of his uncle's
opinion rather than his, as to the mode of extricating his affairs.

I am to dine out to-day, and I would fain shirk and stay at home; never,
Shylock-like, had I less will to feasting forth, but I must go or be
thought sulky. Lord M. and Lady Abercromby called this morning, and a
world of people besides, among others honest Mr. Wilson, late of
Wilsontown, who took so much care of me at London, sending fresh eggs
and all sorts of good things. Well, I have dawdled and written letters
sorely against the grain all day. Also I have been down to see Will
Allan's picture of the Landing of Queen Mary, which he has begun in a
great style; also I have put my letters and papers to rights, which only
happens when I am about to move, and now, having nothing left to do, I
_must_ go and dress myself.

_July_ 13.--Dined yesterday with Lord Abercromby at a party he gave to
Lord Melville and some old friends, who formed the Contemporary Club.
Lord M. and I met with considerable feeling on both sides, and all our
feuds were forgotten and forgiven; I conclude so at least, because one
or two people, whom I know to be sharp observers of the weatherglass on
occasion of such squalls, have been earnest with me to meet Lord M. at
parties--which I am well assured they would not have been (had I been
Horace come to life again[300]) were they not sure the breeze was over.
For myself, I am happy that our usual state of friendship should be
restored, though I could not have _come down proud stomach_ to make
advances, which is, among friends, always the duty of the richer and
more powerful of the two.

To-day I leave Mrs. Brown's lodgings. Altogether I cannot complain, but
the insects were voracious, even until last night when the turtle-soup
and champagne ought to have made me sleep like a top. But I have done a
monstrous sight of work here notwithstanding the indolence of this last
week, which must and shall be amended.

    "So good-by, Mrs. Brown,
    I am going out of town,
    Over dale, over down,
    Where bugs bite not,
    Where lodgers fight not,
    Where below you chairmen drink not,
    Where beside you gutters stink not;
    But all is fresh, and clean, and gay,
    And merry lambkins sport and play,
    And they toss with rakes uncommonly short hay,
    Which looks as if it had been sown only the other day,
    And where oats are at twenty-five shillings a boll, they say,
    But all's one for that, since I must and will away."

_July_ 14, ABBOTSFORD.--Arrived here yesterday before five o'clock.
Anybody would think, from the fal-de-ral conclusion of my journal of
yesterday, that I left town in a very gay humour--_cujus contrarium
verum est_. But nature has given me a kind of buoyancy, I know not what
to call it, that mingles even with my deepest afflictions and most
gloomy hours. I have a secret pride--I fancy it will be so most truly
termed--which impels me to mix with my distresses strange snatches of
mirth "which have no mirth in them." In fact, the journey hither, the
absence of the affectionate friend that used to be my companion on the
journey, and many mingled thoughts of bitterness, have given me a fit of
the bile.

_July_ 15.--This day I did not attempt to work, but spent my time in the
morning in making the necessary catalogue and distribution of two or
three chests of books which I have got home from the binder, Niece Anne
acting as my Amanuensis. In the evening we drove to Huntly Burn, and
took tea there. Returning home we escaped a considerable danger. The
iron screw bolts of the driving-seat suddenly giving way, the servants
were very nearly precipitated upon the backs of the horses. Had it been
down hill instead of being on the level, the horses must have taken
fright, and the consequences might have been fatal. Indeed, they had
almost taken fright as it was, had not Peter Matheson,[301] who, in Mr.
Fag's phrase, I take to be, "the discreetest of whips,"[302] kept his
presence of mind, when losing his equilibrium, so that he managed to
keep the horses in hand until we all got out. I must say it is not the
first imminent danger on which I have seen Peter (my Automedon for near
twenty-five years) behave with the utmost firmness.

_July_ 16.--Very unsatisfactory to-day. Sleepy, stupid,
indolent--finished arranging the books, and after that was totally
useless--unless it can be called study that I slumbered for three or
four hours over a variorum edition of the Gill's-Hill's tragedy.[303]
Admirable recipe for low spirits--for, not to mention the brutality of
so extraordinary a murder, it led John Bull into one of his uncommon
fits of gambols, until at last he become so maudlin as to weep for the
pitiless assassin, Thurtell, and treasure up the leaves and twigs of the
hedge and shrubs in the fatal garden as valuable relics--nay, thronged
the minor theatres to see the very roan horse and yellow gig in which
the body was transported from one place to another. I have not stept
over the threshold to-day, so very stupid have I been.

_July_ 17.--_Desidiæ longum valedixi._ Our time is like our money. When
we change a guinea, the shillings escape as things of small account;
when we break a day by idleness in the morning, the rest of the hours
lose their importance in our eye. I set stoutly to work about seven this
morning to _Boney_--

    And long ere dinner-time, I have
      Full eight close pages wrote;
    What, Duty, hast thou now to crave?
      Well done, Sir Walter Scott!

_July_ 18.--This, as yesterday, has been a day of unremitting labour,
though I only got through half the quantity of manuscript, owing to
drowsiness, a most disarming annoyance. I walked a little before dinner
and after tea, but was unable to go with the girls and Charles to the
top of Cauldshiels Hill. I fear my walking powers are diminishing, but
why not? They have been wonderfully long efficient, all things
considered, only I fear I shall get fat and fall into diseases. Well,
things must be as they may. Let us use the time and faculties which God
has left us, and trust futurity to his guidance. Amen.

This is the day of St. Boswell's Fair. That watery saint has for once
had a dry festival.

_July_ 19.--Wrote a page this morning, but no more. Corrected proofs
however, and went to Selkirk to hold Sheriff Court; this consumed the
forenoon. Colonel and Miss Ferguson, with Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw, dined
and occupied the evening. The rain seemed to set in this night.

_July_ 20.--To-day rainy. A morning and forenoon of hard work. About
five pages, which makes up for yesterday's lee way. I am sadly tired
however. But as I go to Mertoun at four, and spend the night there, the
exertion was necessary.

_July_ 21.--To Mertoun we went accordingly. Lord and Lady Minto were
there, with part of their family, David Haliburton, etc., besides their
own large family. So my lodging was a little room which I had not
occupied since I was a bachelor, but often before in my frequent
intercourse with this kind and hospitable family. Feeling myself
returned to that celibacy, which renders many accommodations indifferent
which but lately were indispensable, my imagination drew a melancholy
contrast between the young man entering the world on fire for fame, and
restless in imagining means of coming by it, and the aged widower,
_blasé_ on the point of literary reputation, deprived of the social
comforts of a married state, and looking back to regret instead of
looking forward to hope. This brought bad sleep and unpleasing dreams.
But if I cannot hope to be what I have been, I will not, if I can help
it, suffer vain repining to make me worse than I may be.

We left Mertoun after breakfast, and the two Annes and I visited Lady
Raeburn at Lessudden. My Aunt is now in her ninetieth year--so clean,
so nice, so well arranged in every respect, that it makes old age
lovely. She talks both of late and former events with perfect possession
of her faculties, and has only failed in her limbs. A great deal of kind
feeling has survived, in spite of the frost of years.

Home to dinner, and worked all the afternoon among the Moniteurs--to
little purpose, for my principal acquisition was a headache. I wrote
nothing to-day but part of a trifle for _Blackwood_.

_July_ 22.--The same severe headache attends my poor pate. But I have
worked a good deal this morning, and will do more. I wish to have half
the volume sent into town on Monday if possible. It will be a royal
effort, and more than make up for the blanks of this week.

_July_ 23.--I wrote very hard this day, and attained page 40; 45 would
be more than half the volume. Colonel Russell came about one, and
carried me out a-walking, which I was all the better of. In the evening
we expected Terry and his wife, but they did not come, which makes me
fear she may be unwell again.

_July_ 24.--A great number of proof-sheets to revise and send off, and
after that I took a fancy to give a more full account of the
Constitution framed by Sieyès--a complicated and ingenious web; it is
but far too fine and critical to be practically useful.

_July_ 25.--Terry and wife arrived yesterday. Both very well. At
dinner-time to-day came Dr. Jamieson[304] of the Scottish Dictionary, an
excellent good man, and full of auld Scottish cracks, which amuse me
well enough, but are _caviare_ to the young people. A little prolix and
heavy is the good Doctor; somewhat prosaic, and accustomed to much
attention on the Sunday from his congregation, and I hope on the six
other days from his family. So _he will_ demand full attention from all
and sundry before he begins a story, and once begun there is no chance
of his ending.

_July_ 26.--This day went to Selkirk, and held a Court. The Doctor and
Terry chose to go with me. Captain and Mrs. Hamilton came to dinner.
Desperate warm weather! Little done in the literary way except sending
off proofs. Roup of standing corn, etc., went off very indifferently.
Letter from Ballantyne wanting me to write about absentees. But I have
enough to do without burning my fingers with politics.

_July_ 27.--Up and at it this morning, and finished four pages. An
unpleasant letter from London, as if I might be troubled by some of the
creditors there, when going to town to get materials for _Nap_. I have
no wish to go,--none at all. I would even like to put off my visit, so
far as John Lockhart and my daughter are concerned, and see them when
the meeting could be more pleasant. But then, having an offer to see the
correspondence from St. Helena, I can make no doubt that I ought to go.
However, if it is to infer any danger to my personal freedom, English
wind will not blow on me. It is monstrous hard to prevent me doing what
is certainly the best for all parties.

_July_ 28.--I am well-nigh choked with the sulphurous heat of the
weather--or I am unwell, for I perspire as if I had been walking hard,
and my hand is as nervous as a paralytic's. Read through and corrected
_St. Ronan's Well_. I am no judge, but I think the language of this
piece rather good. Then I must allow the fashionable portraits are not
the true thing. I am too much out of the way to see and remark the
ridiculous in society. The story is terribly contorted and unnatural,
and the catastrophe is melancholy, which should always be avoided. No
matter; I have corrected it for the press.[305]

The worthy Lexicographer left us to-day. Somewhat ponderous he is, poor
soul! but there are excellent things about him.

Action and Reaction--Scots proverb: "the unrest (_i.e._ pendulum) of a
clock _goes aye as far the ae gait as the t'other_."

Walter's account of his various quarters per last despatch. Query if

    "Loughrea is a blackguard place
      To Gort I give my curse;
    Athlone itself is bad enough,
      But Ballinrobe is worse.
    I cannot tell which is the worst,
      They're all so very bad;
    But of all towns I ever saw,
      Bad luck to Kinnegad."

Old Mr. Haliburton dined with us, also Colonel Russell. What a man for
fourscore or thereby is Old Haly--an Indian too. He came home in 1785.

_July_ 29.--Yesterday I wrought little, and light work, almost stifled
by the smothering heat. To-day I wrought about half task in the morning,
and, as a judgment on me I think for yesterday's sloth, Mr. H. stayed
unusually late in the forenoon. He is my friend, my father's friend, and
an excellent, sensible man besides; and a man of eighty and upwards may
be allowed to talk long, because in the nature of things he cannot have
long to talk. If I do a task to-day, I hope to send a good parcel on
Monday and keep tryst pretty well.

_July_ 30.--I did better yesterday than I had hoped for--four instead of
three pages, which, considering how my time was cut up by prolonged
morning lounging with friend Haly, was pretty fair. I wrote a good task
before eleven o'clock, but then my good friends twaddled and dawdled for
near two hours before they set off. The time devoted to hospitality,
especially to those whom I can reckon upon as sincere good friends, I
never grudge, but like to "welcome the coming, speed the parting
guest." By my will every guest should part at half-past ten, or arrange
himself to stay for the day.

We had a long walk in a sweltering hot day. Met Mr. Blackwood coming to
call, and walked him on with us, so blinked his visit--_gratias,
domine_!! Asked him for breakfast to-morrow to make amends. I rather
over-walked myself--the heat considered.

_July_ 31st_.--I corrected six sheets and sent them off, with eight
leaves of copy, so I keep forward pretty well. Blackwood the bookseller
came over from Chiefswood to breakfast, and this kept me idle till
eleven o'clock. At twelve I went out with the girls in the sociable, and
called on the family at Bemerside, on Dr.[306] and Mrs. Brewster, and
Mr. Bainbridge at Gattonside House. It was five ere we got home, so
there was a day dished, unless the afternoon does something for us. I am
keeping up pretty well, however, and, after all, visitors will come, and
calls must be made. I must not let Anne forego the custom of well-bred


[292] Thomas Hamilton, Esq. (brother of Sir William Hamilton, the
Metaphysician), author of _Cyril Thornton_, _Men and Manners in
America_, _Annals of the Peninsular Campaign_, _etc._ Died in 1842.

[293] Bryan Waller Procter, author of _Dramatic Scenes, and other
Poems_, 1819. He died in London in 1874.

[294] A favourite expression of Scott's, from _Robinson Crusoe_.

[295] John Hay Forbes (Lord Medwyn from 1825 to 1852), second son of Sir
William Forbes of Pitsligo. Lord Medwyn died at the age of seventy-eight
in 1854.

[296] _The Highland Widow_.

[297] A favourite exclamation of Sir Walter's, which he had picked up on
his Irish tour, signifying "don't mind it"--_Na-bac-leis_. Compare Sir
Boyle Roche's dream that his head was cut off and placed upon a table:
"'_Quis separabit?_' says the head; '_Naboclish_,' says I, in the same

[298] That Mr. Kinloch was not singular in his opinion has been shown by
the remarks made in the House of Commons (see _ante_, March 17). Lord
Cockburn in his _Trials for Sedition_ says, "With Botany Bay before him,
and money to make himself comfortable in Paris, George Kinloch would
have been an idiot if he had stayed." Mr. Kinloch had just returned to

[299] His neighbour, John Archibald Murray, then living at 122 George
Street.--See p. 133.

[300] See Molière's _l'École des Femmes_.

[301] In 1827 Scott was one day heard saying, as he saw Peter guiding
the plough on the haugh:--"Egad, auld Pepe's whistling at his darg: if
things get round with me, easy will be his cushion!" Old Peter lived
until he was eighty-four. He died at Abbotsford in 1854, where he had
been well cared for, respected, and beloved by all the members of the
family since Sir Walter's death.

[302] Sheridan's _Rivals_, Act II. Sc. 1.

[303] The murder of Weare by Thurtell and Co., at Gill's-Hill in
Hertfordshire (1824). Sir Walter collected printed trials with great
assiduity, and took care always to have the contemporary ballads and
prints bound up with them. He admired particularly this verse of Mr.
Hook's broadside--

  "They cut his throat from ear to ear,
  His brains they battered in;
  His name was Mr. William Weare,
  He dwelt in Lyon's Inn."


[304] Dr. John Jamieson, formerly minister to a Secession congregation
in Forfar, removed to a like charge in Edinburgh in 1795, where he
officiated for forty-three years; he died in his house in 4 George
Square in 1838, aged seventy-nine.

[305] This novel was passing through the press in 8vo, 12mo, and 18mo,
to complete collective editions in these sizes.--J.G.I.

[306] Afterwards Sir David Brewster. He died at Allerley House on the
Tweed, aged eighty-seven, on February 10, 1868.


_August_ 1.--Yesterday evening did nothing for the _idlesse_ of the
morning. I was hungry; eat and drank and became drowsy; then I took to
arranging the old plays, of which Terry had brought me about a dozen,
and dipping into them scrambled through two. One, called _Michaelmas
Term_,[307] full of traits of manners; and another a sort of bouncing
tragedy, called the _Hector of Germany, or the Palsgrave_.[308] The
last, worthless in the extreme, is, like many of the plays in the
beginning of the seventeenth century, written to a good tune. The
dramatic poets of that time seem to have possessed as joint-stock a
highly poetical and abstract tone of language, so that the worst of them
often remind you of the very best. The audience must have had a much
stronger sense of poetry in those days than now, since language was
received and applauded at the Fortune or at the Red Bull,[309] which
could not now be understood by any general audience in Great Britain.
This leads far.

This morning I wrote two hours, then out with Tom Purdie, and gave
directions about thinning all the plantations above Abbotsford properly
so called. Came in at one o'clock and now set to work. _Debout, debout,
Lyciscas, debout._[310] Finished four leaves.

_August_ 2.--Well; and to-day I finished before dinner five leaves more,
and I would crow a little about it, but here comes Duty like an old
housekeeper to an idle chambermaid. Hear her very words:--

DUTY.--Oh! you crow, do you? Pray, can you deny that your sitting so
quiet at work was owing to its raining heavily all the forenoon, and
indeed till dinner-time, so that nothing would have stirred out that
could help it, save a duck or a goose? I trow, if it had been a fine
day, by noon there would have been aching of the head, throbbing,
shaking, and so forth, to make an apology for going out.

EGOMET IPSE.--And whose head ever throbbed to go out when it rained,
Mrs. Duty?

DUTY.--_Answer not to me with a fool-born jest_, as your poor friend
Erskine used to say to you when you escaped from his good advice under
the fire of some silly pun. You smoke a cigar after dinner, and I never
check you--drink tea, too, which is loss of time; and then, instead of
writing me one other page, or correcting those you have written out, you
rollick into the woods till you have not a dry thread about you; and
here you sit writing down my words in your foolish journal instead of
minding my advice.

EGO.--Why, Mrs. Duty, I would as gladly be friends with [you] as
Crabbe's[311] tradesman fellow with his conscience; but you should have
some consideration with human frailty.

DUTY.--Reckon not on that. But, however, good-night for the present. I
would only recommend to you to think no thoughts in which I am not
mingled--to read no books in which I have no concern--to write three
sheets of botheration all the six days of the week _per diem_, and on
the seventh to send them to the printer. Thus advising, I heartily bid
you farewell.

EGO.--Farewell, madam (exit Duty) and be d--d to ye for an unreasonable
bitch! "The devil must be in this greedy gled!" as the Earl of Angus
said to his hawk; "will she never be satisfied?"[312] I believe in my
soul she is the very hag who haunted the merchant Abudah.[313]

I'll have my great chest upstairs exorcised, but first I'll take a nap
till supper, which must take place within ten minutes.

_August_ 3.--Wrote half a task in the morning. From eleven till
half-past eight in Selkirk taking precognitions about a _row_, and came
home famished and tired. Now, Mrs. Duty, do you think there is no other
Duty of the family but yourself? Or can the Sheriff-depute neglect his
Duty, that the author may mind _his_? The thing cannot be; the people of
Selkirk must have justice as well as the people of England books. So the
two Duties may go pull caps about it. My conscience is clear.

_August_ 4.--Wrote to Miss Edgeworth on her sister's marriage, which
consumed the better part of the morning. I must read for Marengo.
_Item_, I must look at the pruning. _Item_, at the otter hunt; but my
hope is constant to make up a good day's task notwithstanding. Failed in
finding the otter, and was tired and slept, and did but a poor day's

_August_ 6.--Wrote to-day a very good day's work. Walked to Chiefswood,
and saw old Mrs. Tytler,[314] a friend when life was young. Her husband,
Lord Woodhouselee, was a kind, amiable, and accomplished man; and when
we lived at Lasswade Cottage, soon after my marriage, we saw a great
deal of the family, who were very kind to us as newly entered on the
world.[315] Walked home, and worked in the evening; four leaves

_August_ 7.--My niece Anne leaves us this morning, summoned back from
one scene of distress to another. Her uncle, David Macculloch, is
extremely ill--a paralytic stroke, I fancy. She is a charming girl,
lady-like in thought and action, and very pleasant in society. We are to
dine to-day with our neighbours at Gattonside. Meantime I will avail
myself of my disposition to labour, and work instead of journalising.

Mr. H. Cranstoun[316] looked in a morning call. He is become extremely
deaf. He gave me a letter from the Countess Purgstall, his sister, which
I have not the heart to open, so many reproaches I have deserved for not
writing. It is a sad thing, though, to task eyes as hard wrought as mine
to keep up correspondence. Dined at Gattonside.[317]

_August_ 8.--Wrote my task this morning, and now for walk. Dine to-day
at Chiefswood; have company to-morrow. Why, this is dissipation! But no
matter, Mrs. Duty, if the task is done. "Ay, but," says she, "you ought
to do something extra--provide against a rainy day." Not I, I'll make a
rainy day provide against a fair one, Mrs. Duty. I write twice as much
in bad weather. Seriously, I write fully as much as I ought. I do not
like this dull aching in the chest and the back, and its giving way to
exercise shows that it originates in remaining too long in a sitting
posture. So I'll take the field, while the day is good.

_August_ 9.--I wrote only two leaves to-day, but with as many additions
as might rank for three. I had a long and warm walk. Mrs. Tytler of
Woodhouselee, the Hamiltons, and Colonel Ferguson dined here. How many
early stories did the old lady's presence recall! She might almost be my
mother, yet there we sat, like two people of another generation, talking
of things and people the rest knew nothing of. When a certain period of
life is survived, the difference of years between the survivors, even
when considerable, becomes of much less consequence.

_August_ 10.--Rose early, and wrote hard till two, when I went with Anne
to Minto. The place, being new to my companion, gave her much amusement.
We found the Scotts of Harden, etc., and had a very pleasant party. I
like Lady M. particularly, but missed my facetious and lively friend,
Lady A[nna] M[aria].[318] It is the fashion for women and silly men to
abuse her as a blue-stocking. If to have wit, good sense, and
good-humour, mixed with a strong power of observing, and an equally
strong one of expressing the result, be _blue_, she shall be as blue as
they will. Such cant is the refuge of persons who fear those who they
[think] can turn them into ridicule; it is a common trick to revenge
supposed raillery with good substantial calumny. Slept at Minto.

_August_ 11.--I was up as usual, and wrote about two leaves, meaning to
finish my task at home; but found my Sheriff-substitute[319] here on my
return, which took up the evening. But I shall finish the volume on
Sunday; that is less than a month after beginning it. The same exertion
would bring the book out at Martinmas, but December is a better time.

_August_ 12.--Wrote a little in the morning; then Duty and I have
settled that this is to be a kind of holiday, providing the volume be
finished to-morrow. I went to breakfast at Chiefswood, and after that
affair was happily transacted, I wended me merrily to the Black Cock
Stripe, and there caused Tom Purdie and John Swanston cut out a
quantity of firs. Got home about two o'clock, and set to correct a set
of proofs. James Ballantyne presages well of this work, but is afraid of
inaccuracies--so am I--but things must be as they may. There is a kind
of glamour about me, which sometimes makes me read dates, etc., in the
proof-sheets, not as they actually do stand, but as they ought to stand.
I wonder if a pill of holy trefoil would dispel this fascination.

By the way, John Swanston measured a young shoot that was growing
remarkably, and found that for three days successively it grew half an
inch every day. Fine-Ear[320] used to hear the grass grow--how far off
would he have heard this extravagant rapidity of vegetation? The tree is
a silver fir or spruce in the patch at the Green-tongue park.

_August_ 13.--Yesterday I was tired of labouring in the rough ground.
Well, I must be content to feel my disabilities increase. One sure thing
is, that all wise men will soon contrive to lay aside inclination when
performance grows toilsome. I have hobbled over many a rough heugh in my
day--no wonder if I must sing at last--

    "Thus says the auld man to the aik tree,
    Sair failed, hinny, since I kenn'd thee."

But here are many a mile of smooth walk, just when I grow unable to face
bent and brae, and here is the garden when all fails. To a sailor the
length of his quarter-deck is a good space of exercising ground.

I wrote a good task to-day, then walked to the lake, then came back by
three o'clock, hungering and thirsting to finish the volume. I have
seldom such fits of voluntary industry, so Duty shall have the benefit.

Finished volume iv. this evening--_Deo Gratias_.

_August_ 14.--This is a morning I have not seen many a day, for it
appears to set in for a rainy day. It has not kept its word though. I
was seized by a fit of the "clevers," and finished my task by twelve
o'clock, and hope to add something in the evening. I was guilty,
however, of some waywardness, for I began volume v. of _Boney_ instead
of carrying on the _Canongate_ as I proposed. The reason, however, was
that I might not forget the information I had acquired about the Treaty
of Amiens.

_August_ 15.--The weather seems decidedly broken. Yesterday, indeed,
cleared up, but this day seems to persevere in raining. _Naboclish!_
It's a rarity nowadays. I write on, though a little afflicted with the
oppression on my chest. Sometimes I think it is something dangerous, but
as it always goes away on change of posture, it cannot be speedily so. I
want to finish my task, and then good-night. I will never relax my
labour in these affairs, either for fear of pain or love of life. I will
die a free man, if hard working will do it. Accordingly, to-day I
cleared the ninth leaf, which is the tenth part of a volume, in two
days--four and a half leaves a day. Walter and Jane, with Mrs. Jobson,
are arrived to interrupt me.

_August_ 16.--God be praised for restoring to me my dear children in
good health, which has made me happier than anything that has happened
these several months. Walter and Jane appear cordial and happy in each
other; the greatest blessing Heaven can bestow on them or me who witness
it. If we had Lockhart and Sophia, there would be a meeting of the
beings dearest to me in life. Walked to Huntly Burn, where I found a
certain lady on a visit--so youthy, so beautiful, so strong in
voice--with sense and learning--above all, so fond of good conversation,
that, in compassion to my eyes, ears, and understanding, I bolted in the
middle of a tremendous shower of rain, and rather chose to be wet to the
skin than to be bethumped with words at that rate. There seemed more
than I of the same opinion, for Col Ferguson chose the ducking rather
than the conversation. Young Mr. Surtees came this evening.

_August_ 17.--Wrote half a leaf short of my task, having proofs, etc.,
to correct, and being called early to walk with the ladies. I have
gained three leaves in the two following days, so I cannot blame myself.
_Sat cito si sat bene. Sat boni_ I am sure--I may say--a truly execrable
pun that; hope no one will find it out.

In the evening we had music from the girls, and the voice of the harp
and viol were heard in my halls once more, which have been so long
deprived of mirth. It is with a mixed sensation I hear these sounds. I
look on my children and am happy; and yet every now and then a pang
shoots across my heart. It seems so strange that my poor wife should not
be there. But enough of this. Colonel Ferguson dined.

_August_ 18.--Again I fell a half page behind, being summoned out too
early for my task, but I am still two leaves before on the whole week.
It is natural to see as much of these young people as I can. Walter
talks of the Ionian Islands. It is an awful distance. A long walk in
very warm weather. Music in the evening.

_August_ 19.--This morning wrote none, excepting extracts, etc., being
under the necessity of reading and collating a great deal, which lasted
till one o'clock or thereabouts, when Dr. and Mrs. Brewster and their
young people came to spend a day of happiness at the lake. We were met
there by Captain and Mrs. Hamilton and a full party. Since the days of
Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia,[321] these days of appointed sport and
happiness have seldom answered; but we came off indifferently well. We
did not indeed catch much fish; but we lounged about in a delightful
day, eat and drank--and the children, who are very fine infantry, were
clamorously enjoying themselves. We sounded the loch in two or three
different places--the deepest may be sixty feet. I was accustomed to
think it much more, but your deepest pools, like your deepest
politicians and philosophers, often turn out more shallow than was
expected. The whole party dine with us.

_August_ 20.--Wrote four leaves. The day wet and rainy, though not
uniformly so. No temptation, however, to play truant; so this will make
some amends for a blank day yesterday. I am far in advance of the press,
but it is necessary if I go to Drumlanrig on Wednesday as I intend, and
to Lochore next week, which I also meditate. This will be no great
interruption, however, if I can keep the _Canongate_ moving, for I shall
be more than half a volume in advance with _Napoleon_.

_August_ 21.--Wrought out my task, though much bothered with a cold in
my head and face, how caught I know not. Mrs. Crampton, wife of the
Surgeon-General[322] in Ireland, sends to say she is hereabouts, so we
ask her. Hospitality must not be neglected, and most hospitable are the
Cramptons. All the "calliachs"[323] from Huntly Burn are to be here, and
Anne wishes we may have enough of dinner. Naboclish! it is hoped there
will be a _pièce de résistance_.

_August_ 22.--Mrs. and Misses Crampton departed. I was rather sorry to
give them such brief entertainment, for they were extremely kind. But
going to Eildon Hall to-day, and to Drumlanrig to-morrow, there was
nothing more could be done for them. It is raining now "_successfully_,"
as old Macfarlane of the Arroquhar used to say. What is the odds? We get
a soaking before we cross the Birkendailly--wet against dry, ten to one.

_August_ 23 [_Bittock's Bridge_].--Set off cheerily with Walter,
Charles, and Surtees in the sociable, to make our trip to Drumlanrig. We
breakfasted at Mr. Boyd's, Broadmeadows, and were received with Yarrow
hospitality. From thence climbed the Yarrow, and skirted Saint Mary's
Lake, and ascended the Birkhill path, under the moist and misty
influence of the _genius loci_. Never mind; my companions were merry and
I cheerful. When old people can be with the young without fatiguing them
or themselves, their tempers derive the same benefits which some
fantastic physicians of old supposed accrued to their constitutions from
the breath of the young and healthy. You have not, cannot again have,
their gaiety of pleasure in seeing sights, but still it reflects itself
upon you, and you are cheered and comforted. Our luncheon eaten in the
herd's cottage; but the poor woman saddened me unawares, by asking for
poor Charlotte, whom she had often seen there with me. She put me in
mind that I had come twice over those hills and bogs with a
wheeled-carriage, before the road, now an excellent one, was made. I
knew it was true; but, on my soul, looking where we must have gone, I
could hardly believe I had been such a fool. For riding, pass if you
will; but to put one's neck in such a venture with a wheeled-carriage
was too silly. Here we are, however, at Bittock's Inn for this night.

_Drumlanrig, August_ 24.--This morning lunched at Parkgate under a very
heavy shower, and then pushed on to Drumlanrig, where I was pleased to
see the old Castle, and old servants solicitous and anxious to be civil.
What visions does not this magnificent old house bring back to me! The
exterior is much improved since I first knew it. It was then in the
state of dilapidation to which it had been abandoned by the celebrated
old Q.,[324] and was indeed scarce wind and water tight. Then the whole
wood had been felled, and the outraged castle stood in the midst of
waste and desolation, excepting a few scattered old stumps, not judged
worth the cutting. Now, the whole has been, ten or twelve years since,
completely replanted, and the scattered seniors look as graceful as
fathers surrounded by their children. The face of this immense estate
has been scarcely less wonderfully changed. The scrambling tenants, who
held a precarious tenure of lease under the Duke of Queensberry, at the
risk (as actually took place) of losing their possession at his death,
have given room to skilful and labouring men, working their farms
regularly, and enjoying comfortable houses and their farms at a fair
rent, which is enough to forbid idleness, but not enough to overpower

_August_ 25.--Here are Lord and Lady Home,[325] Charles Douglas,[326]
Lord and Lady Charlotte Stopford.[327] I grieve to say the last, though
as beautiful as ever, is extremely thin, and looks delicate. The Duke
himself has grown up into a graceful and apparently strong young man,
and received us most kindly. I think he will be well qualified to
sustain his difficult and important task. The heart is excellent, so are
the talents,--good sense and knowledge of the world, picked up at one of
the great English schools (and it is one of their most important
results), will prevent him from being deceived; and with perfect
good-nature, he has a natural sense of his own situation, which will
keep him from associating with unworthy companions. God bless him! His
father and I loved each other well, and his beautiful mother had as much
of the angel as is permitted to walk this earth. I see the balcony from
which they welcomed poor Charlotte and me, long ere the ascent was
surmounted, streaming out their white handkerchiefs from the
battlements. There were _four_ merry people that day--now one sad
individual is all that remains. _Singula praedantur anni_. I had a long
walk to-day through the new plantation, the Duchess's Walk by the Nith,
etc. (formed by Prior's _Kitty young and gay_[328]); fell in with the
ladies, but their donkeys outwalked me--a flock of sheep afterwards
outwalked me, and I begin to think, on my conscience, that a snail put
in training might soon outwalk me. I must lay the old salve to the old
sore, and be thankful for being able to walk at all.

Nothing was written to-day, my writing-desk having been forgot at
Parkgate, but Tom Crighton kindly fetched it up to-day, so something
more or less may be done to-morrow morning--and now to dress.

[_Bittock's Bridge_,] _August_ 26.--We took our departure from the
friendly halls of Drumlanrig this morning after breakfast and
leave-taking. I trust this young nobleman will be

    "A hedge about his friends,
    A hackle to his foes."[329]

I would have him not quite so soft-natured as his grandfather, whose
kindness sometimes mastered his excellent understanding. His father had
a temper which better lumped with my humour. Enough of ill-nature to
keep your good-nature from being abused is no bad ingredient in their
disposition who have favours to bestow.[330]

In coming from Parkgate here I intended to accomplish a purpose which I
have for some years entertained, of visiting Lochwood, the ancient seat
of the Johnstones, of which King James said, when he visited it, that
the man who built it must have been a thief in his heart. It rained
heavily, however, which prevented my making this excursion, and indeed I
rather overwalked myself yesterday, and have occasion for rest.

     "So sit down, Robin, and rest thee."

_Abbotsford, August_ 27.--To-day we journeyed through the hills and
amongst the storms; the weather rather bullying than bad. We viewed the
Grey Mare's Tail, and I still felt confident in crawling along the
ghastly bank by which you approach the fall. I will certainly get some
road of application to Mr. Hope Johnstone, to pray him to make the place
accessible. We got home before half-past five, having travelled forty

_Blair-Adam, August_ 28.--Set off with Walter and Jane at seven o'clock,
and reached this place in the middle of dinner-time. By some of my not
unusual blunders we had come a day before we were expected. Luckily, in
this ceremonious generation, there are still houses where such blunders
only cause a little raillery, and Blair-Adam is one of them. My
excellent friend is in high health and spirits, to which the presence of
Sir Frederick adds not a little.[331] His lady is here--a beautiful
woman, whose countenance realises all the poetic dreams of Byron. There
is certainly [a] something of full maturity of beauty which seems framed
to be adoring and adored, and it is to be found in the full dark eye,
luxuriant tresses, and rich complexion of Greece, and not among the
pale unripened beauties of the north. What sort of a mind this exquisite
casket may contain is not so easily known. She is anxious to please, and
willing to be pleased, and, with her striking beauty, cannot fail to

_August_ 29.--To-day we designed to go to Lochore. But "heigho! the wind
and the rain." Besides Mrs. and Admiral Adam, Mrs. Loch, and Miss Adam,
I find here Mr. Impey, son of that Sir Elijah celebrated in Indian
history. He has himself been in India, but has, with a great deal of
sense and observation, much better address than always falls to the
share of the Eastern adventurer. The art of quiet and entertaining
conversation, which is always easy as well as entertaining, is chiefly
known in England. In Scotland we are pedantic and wrangle, or we run
away with the harrows on some topic we chance to be discursive upon. In
Ireland they have too much vivacity, and are too desirous to make a
show, to preserve the golden mean. They are the Gascons of Britain.
George Ellis was the best converser I ever knew; his patience and good
breeding made me often ashamed of myself going off at score upon some
favourite topic. Richard Sharp is so celebrated for this peculiar gift
as to be generally called Conversation Sharp.[332] The worst of this
talent is that it seems to lack sincerity. You never know what are the
real sentiments of a good converser, or at least it is very difficult to
discover to what extent he entertains them. His politeness is
inconsistent with energy. For forming a good converser, good taste and
extensive information and accomplishment are the principal requisites,
to which must be added an easy and elegant delivery and a well-toned
voice. I think the higher order of genius is not favourable to this

Mrs. Impey, an intelligent person, likes music, and particularly Scotch
airs, which few people play better than Mrs. Lockhart and Miss Louisa
Adam. Had a letter from Mr. William Upcott, London Institution,
proposing to me to edit an edition of Garrick's Correspondence, which I
declined by letter of this day. Thorough decided downfall of rain.
Nothing for it but patience and proof-sheets.

_August_ 30.--The weather scarce permitted us more licence than
yesterday, yet we went down to Lochore, and Walter and I perambulated
the property, and discussed the necessity of a new road from the
south-west, also that of planting some willows along the ditches in the
low grounds. Returned to Blair-Adam to dinner.

_Abbotsford, August_ 31.--Left Blair at seven in the morning. Transacted
business with Cadell and Ballantyne, but our plans will, I think, be
stopped or impeded by the operations before the Arbiter, Mr. Irving, who
leans more to the side of the opposite [party] than I expected. I have a
letter from Gibson, found on my arrival at Abbotsford, which gives
rather a gloomy account of that matter. It seems strange that I am to be
bound to write for men who have broken every bargain with me.

Arrived at Abbotsford at eight o'clock at night.


[307] By Middleton, 1697.

[308] The Hector of Germanie, or the Palsgrave Prime Elector. An
Honourable History by William Smith. 4to, 1615.

[309] Two London playhouses.--See Knight's _Biography of Shakespeare_.

[310] Molière's _La Princesse d'Élide_ (Prologue).

[311] See Crabbe's Tale of _The Struggles of Conscience_.--J.G.L.

[312] _Tales of a Grandfather_, Miscell. Prose Works, vol. xxiii. p. 72.

[313] See _Tales of the Genii_. _The Talisman of Oromanes_.

[314] Eldest daughter of William Fraser of Balnain.--See Burgon's _Life
of P.F. Tytler_, 8vo, Lond. 1859. Mrs. Tytler died in London, aged
eighty-four, in 1837.

[315] Alexr. Fraser Tytler, 1747-1813. Besides his acknowledged works,
Lord Woodhouselee published anonymously a translation of Schiller's
_Robbers_ as early as 1792.

[316] Henry Cranstoun, elder brother of Lord Corehouse and Countess
Purgstall. He resided for some years near Abbotsford, at the Pavilion on
the Tweed, where he died in 1843, aged eighty-six. An interesting
account of Countess Purgstall is given by Basil Hall, who was with her
in Styria at her death in 1835. This very early friend of Scott's was
thought by Captain Hall to have been the prototype of Diana
Vernon--"that safest of secret keepers."--See _Schloss Hainfeld_, 8vo,
Lond. 1836.

[317] The property of Gattonside had been purchased in 1824 by George
Bainbridge of Liverpool, a keen angler, author of _The Fly Fisher's
Guide_, 8vo, Liverpool, 1816.

[318] Lady Anna Maria Elliot, see _ante_, p. 133.

[319] W. Scott of Maxpopple.

[320] In the fairy tale of Countess D'Aulnoy--_Fortunio_.

[321] See Johnson's _Rambler_, Nos. 204 and 205.

[322] Afterwards Sir Philip Crampton. "The Surgeon-General struck Sir
Walter as being more like Sir Humphry Davy than any man he had met, not
in person only, but in the liveliness and range of his talk."--_Life_,
vol. viii. p. 23.

[323] Gaelic for "old women."

[324] William Douglas, fourth Duke of Queensberry, succeeded, on the
death of his kinsman, Duke Charles, in 1778. He died in 1810 at the age
of eighty-six, when his titles and estates were divided between the Duke
of Buccleuch, Lord Douglas, the Marquis of Queensberry, and the Earl of

See Wordsworth's indignant lines beginning:

  "Degenerate Douglas, oh the unworthy Lord";

also _George Selwyn and his Contemporaries_, 4 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1843-4.

[325] Alexander, tenth Earl of Home, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth,
daughter of Henry, third Duke of Buccleuch.

[326] Charles, second son of Archibald Lord Douglas.

[327] James Thomas, Viscount Stopford, afterwards fourth Earl of
Courtown, and his wife, Lady Charlotte, sister of the then Duke of
Buccleuch, at that time still in his minority. Lady Charlotte died
within eighteen months of this date.


  "Thus Kitty, beautiful and young,
   And wild as colt untamed."

Prior's _Female Phaeton_.

Catherine Hyde, daughter of Henry Earl of Clarendon, and wife of Charles
Duke of Queensberry. She was the friend of Gay, and her beauty, wit, and
oddities have been celebrated in prose and rhyme by the wits and poets
of two generations. Fifty-six years after Prior had sung her "mad
Grace's" praises, Walpole added those two lines to the Female Phaeton--

  "To many a Kitty Love his car, will for a day engage,
   But Prior's Kitty, ever fair, obtained it for an age."

She died at a great age in 1777. For her letter to George II. when
forbid the Court, see Agar Ellis, _Historical Inquiries_, Lond. 1827, p.

[329] Ballad on young Rob Roy's abduction of Jean Key, Cromek's

[330] See Letter to C.K. Sharpe, from Drumlanrig, vol. ii. pp. 369-71.

[331] Sir Frederick Adam, son of the Chief Commissioner--a distinguished
soldier, afterwards High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and
subsequently Governor of Madras; he died in 1853.

[332] Mr. Richard Sharp published in 1834 a very elegant and interesting
little volume of _Letters and Essays, in Prose and Verse_.--See
_Quarterly Review_, 102.--J.G.L. He had been Member of Parliament from
1806 to 1820, and died on the 30th of March 1835 at the age of


_September_ 1.--Awaked with a headache, which the reconsideration of
Gibson's news did not improve. We save _Bonaparte_ however, and that is
a great thing. I will not be downcast about it, let the worst come that
can; but I wish I saw that worst. It is the devil to be struggling
forward, like a man in the mire, and making not an inch by your
exertions, and such seems to be my fate. Well! I have much to comfort
me, and I will take comfort. If there be further wrath to come, I shall
be glad that I bear it alone. Poor Charlotte was too much softened by
prosperity to look adverse circumstances courageously in the face. Anne
is young, and has Sophia and Jane to trust to for assistance.

_September_ 2.--Wrote this morning, but only two pages or thereabouts.
At twelve o'clock set out with Anne and Walter to visit at Makerstoun,
but the road between Makerstoun and Merton being very bad, we drove, I
dare say, thirty miles in going and coming, by a circuitous route, and
only got home at half-past seven at night. Saw Lady Brisbane Makdougall,
but not Sir Thomas.[333] Thought of old Sir Henry and his older father
Sir George. Received a box of Australian seeds, forwarded by Andrew
Murray, now head-gardener to the Governor, whom I detected a clever boy,
among my labourers in 1812, and did a little for him. It is pleasant to
see men thrive and be grateful at the same time, so good luck to "Andrew
Mora," as we called him.

_September_ 3.--Made up my necessary task for yesterday and to-day also,
but not more, writing very heavily. Cousin Archie Swinton came to
dinner. We had a dish of cousinred of course--and _of auld lang

_September_ 4.--Archie Swinton left us this morning early. I wrote from
seven to half-past two; but, partly that I had five proof-sheets to
correct, partly that like old John Fraser[335] "I was not very cleever
to-day." I made out but a page and a half.

_September_ 5.--Wrote task and half a page more. Terry arrived and
brought with him a Mr. Bruce, from Persia, with an introduction,
forsooth, from Mr. Blackwood. I will move a _quo warranto_ against this
species of introduction; and the good gentleman is to be here, he
informs me, for two days. He is a dark, foreign-looking man, of small
stature, and rather blunt manners, which may be easily accounted for by
his having been in the East for thirty years. He has a considerable
share of information, and made good play after dinner.

_September_ 6.--Walter being to return to Ireland for three weeks set
off to-day, and has taken Surtees and Charles with him. I fear this is
but a wild plan, but the prospect seemed to make them so happy that I
could not find in my heart to say "No" sufficiently peremptorily. So
away they all went this morning to be as happy as they can. Youth is a
fine carver and gilder. Went down to Huntly Burn, and dawdled about
while waiting for the carriage to bring me back. Mr. Bruce and Colonel
Ferguson pottered away about Persia and India, and I fell asleep by the
fireside. Here is a fine spate of work--a day diddled away, and nothing
to show for it! I must write letters now, there is nothing else for it.
But--yaw--yaw--I must take a nap first. I had a letter from Jem
Ballantyne, plague on him! full of remonstrance, deep and solemn, upon
the carelessness of _Bonaparte_. The rogue is right too. But as to
correcting my style to the

    "Jemmy jemmy linkum feedle"

tune of what is called fine writing, I'll be d----d if I do. Drew £12 in
favour of Charles for his Irish jaunt; same time exhorted him to make
himself as expensive to Walter, in the way of eating and drinking, as he
could. Mr. and Mrs. Impey arrived to dinner.

_September_ 7.--Mr. Bruce, the bastinadoed, left us this morning
promising wine from Shiraz and arms from India. From our joint
observation he must be a half-caste, probably half an Arab. He told us
of his having been taken by pirates in the Arabian Gulf, and having
received two thousand bastinadoes on the soles of his feet, after which
he was buried in a heap of dung by way of cure. Though the matter was
certainly serious enough to the sufferer, yet it excited our suppressed,
or scarce suppressed, mirth. Alas! let never traveller tell any distress
which borders on the ludicrous if he desires to excite the sympathy of
the audience.

Another thing he mentioned was the mode of seasoning timber for
shipbuilding in the Arabian Gulf. They bury it in the sand within
water-mark, and leave it exposed to the flux and reflux of the tide for
six months at least, but often for twelve or eighteen. The tendency to
vegetation which produces the dry-rot is thus prevented effectually, and
the ships built of this wood last for twenty years.

We drove to Ashestiel in the morning, after I had written a good task,
or nearly so (nay, I lie, it wanted half a page), and passed a pleasant
day. Terry read _Bobadil_ in the evening, which he has, I think,

_September_ 8.--I have rubbed up, by collation with Mr. Impey, Sir
Frederick Adam's idea of the Greeks. He deeply regrets the present war
as premature, undertaken before knowledge and rational education had
extended themselves sufficiently. The neighbourhood of the Ionian
Islands was fast producing civilisation; and as knowledge is power, it
is clear that the example of Europeans, and the opportunities of
education thereby afforded, must soon have given them an immense
superiority over the Turk. This premature war has thrown all back into a
state of barbarism. It was precipitated by the agents of Russia. Sir
Frederick spoke most highly of Byron, the soundness of his views, the
respect in which he was held--his just ideas of the Grecian cause and
character, and the practical and rational wishes which he formed for
them. Singular that a man whose conduct in his own personal affairs had
been anything but practical should be thus able to stand by the helm of
a sinking state! Sir Frederick thinks he might have done much for them
if he had lived. The rantipole friends of liberty, who go about freeing
nations with the same success which Don Quixote had in redressing
wrongs, have, of course, blundered everything which they touched. The
Impeys left us to-day, and Captain Hugh Scott and his lady arrived. Task
is bang-up.

_September_ 9.--I begin to fear _Nap_. will swell to seven volumes. I
have a long letter from James B. threatening me with eight; but that is
impossible. The event of his becoming Emperor is the central point of
his history. Now I have just attained it, and it is the centre of the
third volume. Two volumes and a half may be necessary to complete the
whole. Walked with Hugh Scott up the Rhymer's Glen, and round by the
lake. Mr. Bainbridge of Gattonside House dined, also Colonel Ferguson.
Was bang up to my task again this day.

_September_ 10.--Corrected proof-sheets in the morning, then immured
myself to write, the more willingly that the day seemed showery; but I
found myself obliged to read and study the map so much that I did not
get over half a sheet written. Walked with Hugh Scott through Haxell
Cleuch. Great pleasure to show the young wood to any who understands
them well.

_September_ 11.--Jane and her mother go into town this morning, and Anne
with them, to look out a lodging for us during the time we must pass in
town. It seems strange to have this to do, having had always my father's
house or my own to go to. But--_Sic transit gloria mundi_.

Well, it is half-past twelve o'clock, and at length having regulated all
disappointments as to post-horses, and sent three or four servants three
or four miles to remedy blunders, which a little forethought might have
prevented, my family and guests are separated--

    "Like youthful steers let loose, east, north, and south."[336]

Miss Miln goes to Stirling; the Scotts to Lessudden; Anne and Jane to
Edinburgh; and I am left alone. I must needs go up and see some
operations about the spring which supplies us with water, though I
calculate my presence is not very necessary. So now--to work--to work.

But I reckoned without my host, or, I should rather say, without my
_guest_. Just as I had drawn in my chair, fitted a new "Bramah" on the
stick, and was preparing to feague it away, I had a call from the son of
an old friend, Mr. Waldie of Henderland. As he left me, enter young
Whytbank and Mr. Auriol Hay[337] of the Lyon Office, and we had a long
armorial chat together, which lasted for some time--then the library was
to be looked at, etc. So, when they went away, I had little better to do
than to walk up to the spring which they are digging, and to go to my
solitary dinner on my return.

_September_ 12.--Notwithstanding what is above said, I made out my task
yesterday, or nearly so, by working after dinner. After all, these
interruptions are not such bad things; they make a man keen of the work
which he is withheld from, and differ in that point much from the
indulgence of an indisposition to labour in your own mind, which
increases by indulgence. _Les fâcheux_ seldom interrupt your purpose
absolutely and entirely--you stick to it for contradiction's sake.

Well, I visited the spring in the morning, and completed my task
afterwards. As I slept for a few minutes in my chair, to which I am more
addicted than I could wish, I heard, as I thought, my poor wife call me
by the familiar name of fondness which she gave me. My recollections on
waking were melancholy enough. These be

    "The airy tongues that syllable men's names."[338]

All, I believe, have some natural desire to consider these unusual
impressions as bodements of good or evil to come. But alas! this is a
prejudice of our own conceit. They are the empty echoes of what is past,
not the foreboding voice of what is to come.

I dined at the Club to-day at Selkirk, and acted as croupier. There were
eighteen dined; young men chiefly, and of course young talk. But so it
has been, will be, and must be.

_September_ 13.--Wrote my task in the morning, and thereafter had a
letter from that sage Privy Councillor and booby of a Baronet,----. This
unutterable idiot proposes to me that I shall propose to the Dowager
Duchess of ----, and offers his own right honourable intervention to
bring so beautiful a business to bear. I am struck dumb with the
assurance of his folly--absolutely mute and speechless--and how to
prevent him making me further a fool is not easy, for the wretch has
left me no time to assure him of the absurdity of what he proposes; and
if he should ever hint at such a piece of d----d impertinence, what must
the lady think of my conceit or of my feelings! I will write to his
present quarters, however, that he may, if possible, have warning not to
continue this absurdity.[339]

Dined at Major Scott, my cousin's, where was old Lord Buchan. He, too,
is a prince of Bores, but age has tamed him a little, and like the giant
Pope in the _Pilgrim's Progress_, he can only sit and grin at Pilgrims
as they go past, and is not able to cast a fank[340] over them as
formerly. A few quiet puns seem his most formidable infliction nowadays.

_September_ 14.--I should not have forgotten, among the memorabilia of
yesterday, that Mr. Nasmyth, the dentist, and his family called, and I
showed them the lions, for truly he that has rid a man of the toothache
is well entitled to command a part of his time. _Item_, two young
Frenchmen made their way to our sublime presence in guerdon of a
laudatory copy of French verses sent up the evening before, by way of
"Open Sesame," I suppose. I have not read them, nor shall I. No man that
ever wrote a line despised the _pap_ of praise so heartily as I do.
There is nothing I scorn more, except those who think the ordinary sort
of praise or censure is matter of the least consequence. People have
almost always some private view of distinguishing themselves, or of
gratifying their curiosity--some point, in short, to carry, with which
you have no relation, when they take the trouble to praise you. In
general, it is their purpose to get the person praised to puff away in
return. To me their rank praises no more make amends for their bad
poetry than tainted butter would pass off stale fish.

_September_ 15.--Many proofs to correct and dates to compare. What
signify dates in a true story? I was fidgety after breakfast, owing to
perusing some advices from J. Gibson, poor fellow. I will not be
discouraged, come of things what will. However, I could not write
continuously, but went out by starts, and amused myself by cutting trees
in the avenue. Thus I dawdled till Anne and Jane came home with merry
faces, and raised my spirits of course. After tea I e'en took heart of
grace and finished my task, as I now do this day's journal.

_September_ 16.--Worked hard to-day, and in morning and evening made out
five pages and a half, as much perhaps as one should attempt, yet I was
not overworked. On the contrary, went out with Tom about one o'clock and
cut trees, etc., to clear the avenue; and favour the growth of such
trees as are designed for standards. I received visits too--the Laird of
Bemerside,[341] who had been for nine years in Italy with his
family--also the Laird of Kippielaw. Anne and Jane drove up and called
at the Haining.

I expected James Ballantyne to dinner as he proposed, but the worthy
typographer appeared not. He is sometimes inaccurate in keeping such
appointments, which is not according to the "Academy of compliments."
But in the letter which announced his intended visit, he talked of
having received himself a visit from the Cholera Morbus. I shall be very
sorry if so unwelcome a guest be the cause of the breach of his

_September_ 17.--Rather surprised with a letter from Lord Melville,
informing me that he and Mr. Peel had put me into the Commission for
inquiring into the condition of the Colleges in Scotland. I know little
on the subject, but I dare say as much as some of the official persons
who are inserted of course. The want of efficient men is the reason
alleged. I must of course do my best, though I have little hope of being
useful, and the time it will occupy is half ruinous to me, to whom time
is everything. Besides, I suppose the honour is partly meant as an act
of grace for _Malachi_. I shall never repent of that escapade, although
it offended persons for the time whose good opinion I value. J.B.
continues ill at Teviot Grove, as they call it. I am a little anxious
about him.

I finished my task and an extra page--hope to do another before supper.
Accomplished the said diligent purpose.

_September_ 18.--Rainy and gloomy--that small sifting rain driving on an
eastern gale which intermits not. Wrote letters to Lord Melville, etc,
and agreed to act under the Commission. Settled to be at Melville
Castle, Saturday 24th. I fear this will interfere consumedly with
business. I corrected proof-sheets, and wrote a good deal, but intend to
spend the rest of the day in reading and making notes. No bricks to be
made without straw.

[_Jedburgh_,] _September_ 19.--Circuit. Went to poor Mr. Shortreed's,
and regretted bitterly the distress of the family, though they
endeavoured to bear it bravely, and to make my reception as comfortable
and even cheerful as possible. My old friend R.S. gave me a ring found
in a grave at the Abbey, to be kept in memory of his son. I will
certainly preserve it with especial care.[342]

Many trifles at circuit, chiefly owing to the cheap whisky, as they were
almost all riots. One case of assault on a deaf and dumb woman. She was
herself the chief evidence; but being totally without education, and
having, from her situation, very imperfect notions of a Deity, and a
future state, no oath could be administered. Mr. Kinniburgh, teacher of
the deaf and dumb, was sworn interpreter, together with another person,
a neighbour, who knew the accidental or conventional signs which the
poor thing had invented for herself, as Mr. K. was supposed to
understand the more general or natural signs common to people in such a
situation. He went through the task with much address, and it was
wonderful to see them make themselves intelligible to each other by mere
pantomime. Still I did [not] consider such evidence as much to be
trusted to in a criminal case. Several previous interviews had been
necessary between the interpreter and the witness, and this is very much
like getting up a story. Some of the signs, brief in themselves, of
which Mr. K. gave long interpretations, put me in mind of Lord Burleigh
in the _Critic_: "Did he mean all this by the shake of the head?" "Yes,
if he shook his head as I taught him."[343] The man was found not
guilty. Mr. K. told us of a pupil of his whom he restored, as it may be
said, to humanity, and who told him that his ideas of another world were
that some great person in the skies lighted up the sun in the morning as
he saw his mother light her fire, and the stars in the evening as she
kindled a lamp. He said the witness had ideas of truth and falsehood,
which was, I believe, true; and that she had an idea of punishment in a
future state, which I doubt. He confessed she could not give any guess
at its duration, whether temporary or eternal. I should like to know if
Mr. K. is in that respect much wiser than his pupils. Dined, of course,
with Lord Mackenzie, the Judge.

_September_ 20.--Waked after a restless night, in which I dreamed of
poor Tom Shortreed. Breakfasted with the Rev. Dr. Somerville.[344] This
venerable gentleman is one of the oldest of the literary brotherhood--I
suppose about eighty-seven, and except a little deafness quite entire.
Living all his life in good society as a gentleman born--and having,
besides, professional calls to make among the poor--he must know, of
course, much that is curious concerning the momentous changes which have
passed under his eyes. He talks of them accordingly, and has written
something on the subject, but has scarce the force necessary to seize on
the most striking points, "_palabras,_ neighbour Verges,"[345]--gifts
which God gives. The bowl that rolls easiest along the green goes
furthest, and has least clay sticking to it. I have often noticed that a
kindly, placid good-humour is the companion of longevity, and, I
suspect, frequently the leading cause of it. Quick, keen, sharp
observation, with the power of contrast and illustration, disturbs this
easy current of thought. My good friend, the venerable Doctor, will not,
I think, die of that disease.

Called at Nesbit Mill on my cousin Charles. His wife received me better
than I deserved, for I have been a sad neglectful visitor. She has a
very pleasant countenance.

Some of the Circuit lawyers dined here, namely R. Dundas, Borthwick, the
facetious Peter Robertson,[346] Mr. R. Adam Dundas, and with them Henry
Scott of Harden.

_September_ 21.--Our party breakfasted late, and I was heavy-headed, and
did not rise till eight. Had drank a little more wine than usual, but as
our friend Othello says, "that's not much."[347] However, we dawdled
about till near noon ere all my guests left me. Then I walked a little
and cut some wood. Read afterwards. I can't get on without it. How did
I get on before?--that's a secret. Mr. Thomas Tod[348] and his wife came
to dine. We talked of old stories and got over a pleasant evening.

_September_ 22.--Still no writing. We have materials to collect. D---n
you, Mother Duty, hold your tongue! I tell you, you know nothing of the
matter. Besides, I corrected five sheets. I wish you had to do with some
other people, just to teach you the difference. I grant that the day
being exquisite I went and thinned out the wood from the north front of
the house. Read and noted a great deal.

_September_ 23.--Wrought in the morning, but only at reading and proofs.
That cursed battle of Jena is like to cost me more time than it did
Bonaparte to gain it. I met Colonel Ferguson about one, to see his dogs
run. It is a sport I have loved well, but now, I know not why, I find it
little interesting. To be sure I used to gallop, and that I cannot now
do. We had good sport, however, and killed five hares. I felt excited
during the chase, but the feeling was but momentary. My mind was
immediately turned to other remembrances, and to pondering upon the
change which had taken place in my own feelings. The day was positively
heavenly, and the wild hillside, with our little coursing party, was
beautiful to look at. Yet I felt like a man come from the dead, looking
with indifference on that which interested him while living. So it must

    "When once life's day is near the gloaming."[349]

We dined at Huntly Burn. Kind and comfortable as usual.

_September_ 24.--I made a rally to-day and wrote four pages, or nearly.
Never stirred abroad the whole day, but was made happy after dinner by
the return of Charles and Surtees full of their Irish jaunt, and happy
as young men are with the change of scene. To-morrow I must go to
Melville Castle. I wonder what I can do or say about these
Universities. One thing occurs--the distribution of bursaries only _ex
meritis_. That is, I would have the presentations continue in the
present patrons, but exact that those presented should be qualified by
success in their literary attainments and distinction acquired at school
to hold these scholarships. This seems to be following out the idea of
the founders, who, doubtless, intended the furthering of good
literature. To give education to dull mediocrity is a flinging of the
children's bread to dogs--it is sharpening a hatchet on a razor-strop,
which renders the strop useless, and does no good to the hatchet. Well,
something we will do.

_September_ 25.--Morning spent in making up proofs and copy. Set out for
Melville Castle with Jane, who goes on to her mother at Edinburgh.

Found Lord and Lady M. in great distress. Their son Robert is taken ill
at a Russian town about 350 miles from Moscow--dangerously ill. The
distance increases the extreme distress of the parents, who, however,
bore it like themselves. I was glad to spend a day upon the old terms
with such old friends, and believe my being with them, even in this
moment of painful suspense, as it did not diminish the kindness of my
reception, certainly rather seemed to divert them from the cruel

Dr. Nicoll, Principal of St. Andrews, dined--a very gentlemanlike
sensible man. We spoke of the visitation, of granting degrees, of public
examinations, of abolishing the election of professors by the Senatus
Academicus (a most pregnant source of jobs), and much beside--but all
desultory--and Lord M. had either nothing particular to say to me, or
was too much engrossed with his family distress to enter upon it. He
proposes to be here in the end of October.

_September_ 26.--Returned to Abbotsford after breakfast. Here is a cool
thing of my friend J.W. C[roker]. The Duke of Clarence, dining at the
Pavilion with the King, happened by choice or circumstance to sit lower
than usual at the table, and being at that time on bad terms with the
Board of Admiralty, took an opportunity to say, that were he king he
would do all that away, and assume the office of Lord High Admiral.
"Your R.H. may act with great prudence," said C[roker]. "The last
monarch who did so was James II." Presently after H.M. asked what they
were talking of. "It's only his R.H. of C," answered C[roker], "who is
so condescending as to tell us what he will do when he is king."

A long letter from R.P. Gillies. I wonder how even he could ask me to
announce myself as the author of _Annotations on German Novels_ which he
is to write.

_September_ 27.--A day of honest labour--but having much to read, proofs
to send off, etc., I was only able to execute my task by three o'clock
P.M. Then I went to direct the cutting of wood along the road in front
of the house. Dined at Chiefswood with Captain and Mrs. Hamilton, Lady
Lucy Whitmore, their guest, and neighbours from Gattonside and Huntly

_September_ 28.--Another hard brush, and finished four pages by twelve
o'clock, then drove out to Cowdenknowes, for a morning visit. The house
is ancient and curious, though modernised by vile improvements of a
modern roof and windows. The inhabited part has over the principal door
the letters S.I.H.V.I.H. The first three indicate probably Sir John
Hume, but what are we to make of the rest? I will look at them more
heedfully one day. There is a large room said to have been built for the
reception of Queen Mary; if so, it has been much modernised. The date on
the door is 1576, which would [not] bear out the tradition. The last two
letters probably signify Lady Hume's name, but what are we to make of
the _V_? Dr. Hume thinks it means _Uxor_, but why should that word be in
Latin and the rest in Scotch?

Returned to dinner, corrected proofs, and hope still to finish another
leaf, being in light working humour. Finished the same accordingly.

[_Abbotsford_,] _September_ 29.--- A sort of zeal of working has seized
me, which I must avail myself of. No dejection of mind, and no tremor of
nerves, for which God be humbly thanked. My spirits are neither low nor
high--grave, I think, and quiet--a complete twilight of the mind.

Good news of John Lockhart from Lady Montagu, who most kindly wrote on
that interesting topic.

I wrote five pages, nearly a double task, yet wandered for three hours,
axe in hand, superintending the thinning of the home planting. That does
good too. I feel it give steadiness to my mind. Women, it is said, go
mad much seldomer than men. I fancy, if this be true, it is in some
degree owing to the little manual works in which they are constantly
employed, which regulate in some degree the current of ideas, as the
pendulum regulates the motion of the timepiece. I do not know if this is
sense or nonsense, but I am sensible that if I were in solitary
confinement, without either the power of taking exercise or employing
myself in study, six months would make me a madman or an idiot.

_September_ 30.--Wrote four pages. Honest James Ballantyne came about
five. I had been cutting wood for two hours. He brought his child, a
remarkably fine boy, well-bred, quiet, and amiable. James and I had a
good comfortable chat, the boys being at Gattonside House. I am glad to
see him bear up against misfortune like a man. "Bread we shall eat, or
white or brown," that's the moral of it, Master Muggins.


[333] Sir Thomas Brisbane, who had formerly commanded a brigade in the
Peninsula. In 1832 he succeeded Sir Walter Scott as President of the
Royal Society of Edinburgh. Sir Thomas had married in 1819 a daughter of
Sir Henry Hay Makdougall of Makerstoun, Bart. Sir Thomas died at
Brisbane House, Ayrshire, in January 1860, in the eighty-seventh year of
his age.

[334] For an account of this family see _The Swintons of that Ilk and
their Cadets_, 4to, 1883, a privately printed volume by A.C. Swinton of
Kimmerghame. In a letter to his friend Swinton in 1814, Scott says that
he had been reading the family pedigree "to my exceeding refreshment."

[335] One of the Abbotsford labourers.

[336] _2 Henry IV_. Act IV. Sc. 2.

[337] Mr. E.W. Auriol Drummond Hay, heir-presumptive at one time of Lord
Kinnoul, was then residing in Edinburgh, owing to his official duties in
the Lyon Office; he took a great interest in archaeological matters, and
was for two years Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries before his
departure as Consul General to the Barbary States. He died at Tangier on
the 1st March 1845.

[338] Milton's _Comus_, v. 208.--J.G.L.

[339] Lady Scott had not been quite four months dead, and the entry of
the preceding day shows how extremely ill-timed was this communication
from a gentleman with whom Sir Walter had never had any intimacy. This
was not the only proposition of the kind that reached him during his

[340] A coil of rope.

[341] See _Life_, vol. x. 95, and _The Haigs of Bemersyde_, 8vo, Edin.
1881, edited by J. Russell.

[342] Mr. Thomas Shortreed, a young gentleman of elegant taste and
attainments, devotedly attached to Sir Walter, and much beloved in
return, had recently died.--J.G.L.

[343] See Act III. Sc. 1.

[344] The Rev. Dr. Thomas Somerville, minister of Jedburgh, author of
the _History of Great Britain during the reign of Queen Anne_, and other
works, died 14th May 1830, in the ninetieth year of his age, and
sixty-fourth of his ministry.--J.G.L. Autobiographical Memorials of his
_Life and Times_, 1741-1814, 8vo, Edinburgh, were published in 1861.

[345] _Much Ado about Nothing_, Act III. Sc. 5.

[346] Afterwards Judge in the Court of Session from 1843, author of
_Gleams of Thought reflected from Milton_, etc. It was of this witty and
humorous judge Mr. Lockhart wrote the sportive lines:--

  "Here lies that peerless paper peer Lord Peter,
   Who broke the laws of God and man and metre."

Lord Robertson died in 1855.

[347] Act III. Sc. 3.

[348] One of Scott's old High School mates.--_Life_, vol. i. p. 163.

[349] Burns's _Epistle to J. Smith_.


_October_ 1.--Wrote my task, then walked from one till half-past four.
Dogs took a hare. They always catch one on Sunday--a Puritan would say
the devil was in them. I think I shall get more done this evening. I
would fain conclude the volume at the Treaty of Tilsit, which will make
it a pretty long one, by the by. J.B. expressed himself much pleased
with _Nap_., which gives me much courage. He is gloomy enough when
things are not well. And then I will try something at my _Canongate_.
They talk about the pitcher going to the well; but if it goes not to the
well, how shall we get water? It will bring home none when it stands on
the shelf, I trow. In literature, as in love, courage is half the

    "The public born to be controlled
    Stoops to the forward and the bold."

_October_ 2.--Wrote my task. Went out at one and wrought in the wood
till four. I was made happy by a letter from my nephew, little Walter,
as we used to call him, from his age and size, compared to those of his
cousin. He has been kindly received at Bombay by the Governor
Mountstuart Elphinstone, and by Sir Thomas Bradford. He is taking his
ground, I think, prudently, and is likely to get on. Already first
Lieutenant of Engineers--that is well to begin with.

Colonel Ferguson, Miss Margaret, and some ladies, friends of theirs,
dine, also Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw, and James Laidlaw, and young Mr. N.

_October_ 3.--I wrote my task as usual, but, strange to tell, there is a
want of paper. I expect some to-day. In the meantime, to avoid all
quarrel with Dame Duty, I cut up some other leaves into the usual
statutory size. They say of a fowl that if you draw a chalk line on a
table, and lay chick-a-diddle down with his bill upon it, the poor thing
will imagine himself opposed by an insurmountable barrier, which he will
not attempt to cross. Suchlike are one-half of the obstacles which serve
to interrupt our best resolves, and such is my pretended want of paper.
It is like Sterne's want of _sous_ when he went to relieve the _Pauvre

_October_ 4.--I ought to record with gratitude to God Almighty the
continued health of body and mind, which He hath vouchsafed to grant me.
I have had of late no accesses either of bile or of nervous affection,
and by mixing exercise with literary labour, I have escaped the _tremor
cordis_ which on other occasions has annoyed me cruelly. I went to the
inspection of the Selkirkshire Yeomanry, by Colonel Thornhill, 7th
Hussars. The Colonel is a remarkably fine-looking man, and has a good
address. His brow bears token of the fatigues of war. He is a great
falconer, and has promised to fly his hawks on Friday for my amusement,
and to spend the day at Abbotsford. The young Duke of B. was on the
field looking at the corps, most of whom are his tenants. They did very
well, and are fine, smart young men, and well mounted. Too few of them
though, which is a pity. The exercise is a work which in my time I have
loved well.

Finished my task at night.

_October_ 5.--I was thinking this morning that my time glided away in a
singularly monotonous manner, like one of those dark grey days which
neither promise sunshine nor threaten rain; too melancholy for
enjoyment, too tranquil for repining. But this day has brought a change
which somewhat shakes my philosophy. I find by a letter from J. Gibson
that I _may_ go to London without danger, and if I may, I in a manner
_must_, to examine the papers in the Secretary of State's office about
_Bon_. when at Saint Helena. The opportunity having been offered must be
accepted, and yet I had much rather stay at home. Even the prospect of
seeing Sophia and Lockhart must be mingled with pain, yet this is
foolish too. Lady Hamilton[350] writes me that Pozzo di Borgo,[351] the
Russian Minister at Paris, is willing to communicate to me some
particulars of Bonaparte's early life. Query--might I not go on there?
In for a penny, in for a pound. I intend to take Anne with me, and the
pleasure will be great to her, who deserves much at my hand.

_October_ 6.--Charles and his friend Surtees left us this morning.

Went to see Colonel Thornhill's hawks fly. Some part of the amusement is
very beautiful, particularly the first flight of the hawks, when they
sweep so beautifully round the company, jingling their bells from time
to time, and throwing themselves into the most elegant positions as they
gaze about for their prey. But I do not wonder that the impatience of
modern times has renounced this expensive and precarious mode of
sporting. The hawks are liable to various misfortunes, and are besides
addicted to fly away; one of ours was fairly lost for the day, and one
or two went off without permission, but returned. We killed a crow and
frightened a snipe. There are, however, ladies and gentlemen enough to
make a gallant show on the top of Mintlaw Kipps. The falconer made a
fine figure--a handsome and active young fellow with the falcon on his
wrist. The Colonel was most courteous, and named a hawk after me, which
was a compliment. The hawks are not named till they have merited that
distinction. I walked about six miles and was not fatigued.

There dined with us Colonel Thornhill, Clifton, young Whytbank, Spencer
Stanhope, and his brother, with Miss Tod and my old friend Locker,[352]
Secretary to Greenwich Hospital. We did not break up the party till one
in the morning, and were very well amused.

_October_ 7.--A weary day of rain. Locker and I chatted from time to
time, and I wrought not at _Boney_, but upon the prose works, of which I
will have a volume ready to send in on Monday. I got a letter from John
Gibson, with an offer by Longman for _Napoleon_ of ten thousand five
hundred guineas,[353] which I have advised them to accept. Also I hear
there is some doubt of my getting to London, from the indecision of
these foolish Londoners.

I don't care whether I go or no! And yet it is unpleasant to see how
one's motions depend on scoundrels like these. Besides, I would like to
be there, were it but to see how the cat jumps. One knows nothing of the
world, if you are absent from it so long as I have been.

_October_ 8.--Locker left me this morning. He is of opinion the ministry
must soon assume another form, but that the Whigs will not come in. Lord
Liverpool holds much by Lord Melville--well in point of judgment--and by
the Duke of Wellington--still better, but then the Duke is a soldier--a
bad education for a statesman in a free country. The Chancellor is also
consulted by the Premier on all law affairs. Canning and Huskisson are
at the head of the other party, who may be said to have taken the
Cabinet by storm, through sheer dint of talent. I should like to see
how these ingredients are working; but by the grace of God, I will take
care of putting my finger into the cleft stick.

Locker has promised to get my young cousin Walter Scott on some
quarter-deck or other.

Received from Mr. Cadell the second instalment advance of cash on
_Canongate_. It is in English bills and money, in case of my going to

_October_ 9.--A gracious letter from Messrs. Abud and Son, bill-brokers,
etc.; assure Mr. Gibson that they will institute no legal proceedings
against me for four or five weeks. And so I am permitted to spend my
money and my leisure to improve the means of paying them their debts,
for that is the only use of my present journey. They are Jews: I suppose
the devil baits for Jews with a pork griskin. Were I not to exert
myself, I wonder where their money is to come from.

A letter from Gillies menacing the world with a foreign miscellany. The
plan is a good one, but "he canna haud it," as John Moodie[354] says. He
will think all is done when he has got a set of names, and he will find
the difficulty consists not in that, but in getting articles. I wrote on
the prose works.

Lord and Lady Minto dined and spent the night at Abbotsford.

_October_ 10.--Well, I must prepare for going to London, and perhaps to
Paris. The morning frittered away. I slept till eight o'clock, then our
guests till twelve; then walked out to direct some alterations on the
quarry, which I think may at little expense be rendered a pretty recess.
Wordsworth swears by an old quarry, and is in some degree a supreme
authority on such points. Rain came on; returned completely wet. I had
next the displeasure to find that I had lost the conclusion of vol. v.
of Napoleon, seven or eight pages at least, which I shall have to write
over again, unless I can find it. Well, as Othello says, "that's not
much." My cousin James Scott came to dinner.

I have great unwillingness to set out on this journey; I almost think it
ominous; but

    "They that look to freits, my master dear,
    Their freits will follow them."[355]

I will stick to my purpose. Answered a letter from Gillies about
establishing a foreign journal; a good plan, but I fear in sorry hands.
Of those he names as his assistants they who can be useful will do
little, and the labours of those who are willing to work will rather
hold the publication down. I fear it will not do.

I am downhearted about leaving all my things, after I was quietly
settled; it is a kind of disrooting that recalls a thousand painful
ideas of former happier journeys. And to be at the mercy of these
fellows! God help--but rather God bless--man must help himself.

_October_ 11.--We are ingenious self-tormentors. This journey annoys me
more than anything of the kind in my life. My wife's figure seems to
stand before me, and her voice is in my ears--"Scott, do not go." It
half frightens me. Strong throbbing at my heart, and a disposition to be
very sick. It is just the effect of so many feelings which had been
lulled asleep by the uniformity of my life, but which awaken on any new
subject of agitation. Poor, poor Charlotte!! I cannot daub it further. I
get incapable of arranging my papers too. I will go out for
half-an-hour. God relieve me!

I quelled this _hysterica passio_ by pushing a walk towards Kaeside and
back again, but when I returned I still felt uncomfortable, and all the
papers I wanted were out of the way, and all those I did not want seemed
to place themselves under my fingers; my cash, according to the nature
of riches in general, made to itself wings and fled, I verily believe
from one hiding-place to another. To appease this insurrection of the
papers, I gave up putting my things in order till to-morrow morning.

Dined at Kippielaw with a party of neighbours. They had cigars for me,
very politely. But I must break folks off this. I would [not] willingly
be like old Dr. Parr, or any such quiz, who has his tastes and whims,
forsooth, that must be gratified. So no cigars on the journey.

_October_ 12.[356]--Reduced my rebellious papers to order. Set out after
breakfast, and reached Carlisle at eight o'clock at night.

_Rokeby Park, October_ 13.--We were off before seven, and visiting
Appleby Castle by the way (a most interesting and curious place), we got
to Morritt's[357] about half-past four, where we had as warm a welcome
as one of the warmest hearts in the world could give an old friend. I
saw his nephew's wife for the first time, a very pleasing young person.
It was great pleasure to me to see Morritt happy in the midst of his
family circle, undisturbed, as heretofore, by the sickness of any dear
to him.

On recalling my own recollections during my journey I may note that I
found great pleasure in my companion's conversation, as well as in her
mode of managing all her little concerns on the road. I am apt to judge
of character by good-humour and alacrity in these petty concerns. I
think the inconveniences of a journey seem greater to me than formerly;
while, on the other hand, the pleasures it affords are rather less. The
ascent of Stainmore seemed duller and longer than usual, and Bowes,
which used to strike me as a distinguished feature, seemed an ill-formed
mass of rubbish, a great deal lower than I had supposed; yet I have seen
it twenty times at least. On the other hand, what I lose in my own
personal feelings I gain in those of my companion, who shows an
intelligent curiosity and interest in what she sees. I enjoy therefore,
reflectively, _veluti in speculo_, the sort of pleasure to which I am
now less accessible.

_October_ 14.--Strolled about in the morning with Morritt, and saw his
new walk up the Tees, which he is just concocting. Got a pamphlet he has
written on the Catholic Question. In 1806 he had other views on that
subject, but "live and learn" as they say. One of his squibs against Fox
and Grenville's Administration concludes--

    "Though they sleep with the devil, yet theirs is the hope,
    On the scum of old England, to rise with the Pope."

Set off at two, and reached Wetherby to supper and bed.

It was the Corporation of Leeds that by a subscription of £80,000
brought in the anti-Catholic candidate. I remember their subscribing a
similar sum to bring in Morritt, if he would have stood.

Saw in Morritt's possession an original miniature of Milton by Cooper--a
valuable thing indeed. The pedigree seemed authentic. It was painted
for his favourite daughter--had come into possession of some of the
Davenants--was then in the Devonshire collection from which it was
stolen. Afterwards purchased by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and at his sale by
Morritt or his father.[358] The countenance handsome and dignified, with
a strong expression of genius, probably the only portrait of Milton
taken from the life excepting the drawing from which Faithorne's head is

[_Grantham_,] _October_ 15.--Old England is no changeling. It is long
since I travelled this road, having come up to town chiefly by sea of
late years, but things seem much the same. One race of red-nosed
innkeepers are gone, and their widows, eldest sons, or head-waiters
exercise hospitality in their room with the same bustle and importance.
Other things seem, externally at least, much the same. The land,
however, is much better ploughed; straight ridges everywhere adopted in
place of the old circumflex of twenty years ago. Three horses, however,
or even four, are often seen in a plough yoked one before the other. Ill
habits do not go out at once. We slept at Grantham, where we met with
Captain William Lockhart and his lady, bound for London like ourselves.

[_Biggleswade_,] _October_ 16.--Visited Burleigh this morning; the first
time I ever saw that grand place, where there are so many objects of
interest and curiosity. The house is magnificent, in the style of James
I.'s reign, and consequently in mixed Gothic. Of paintings I know
nothing; so shall attempt to say nothing. But whether to connoisseurs,
or to an ignorant admirer like myself, the Salvator Mundi, by Carlo
Dolci, must seem worth a King's ransom. Lady Exeter, who was at home,
had the goodness or curiosity to wish to see us. She is a beauty after
my own heart; a great deal of liveliness in the face; an absence alike
of form and of affected ease, and really courteous after a genuine and
ladylike fashion.

We reached Biggleswade to-night at six, and paused here to wait for the
Lockharts. Spent the evening together.

[_Pall Mall_,] _October_ 17.--Here am I in this capital once more, after
an April-weather meeting with my daughter and Lockhart. Too much grief
in our first meeting to be joyful; too much pleasure to be
distressing--a giddy sensation between the painful and the pleasurable.
I will call another subject.

Read over _Sir John Chiverton_[359] and _Brambletye House_[360]--novels
in what I may surely claim as the style

    "Which I was born to introduce--
    Refined it first, and show'd its use."

They are both clever books; one in imitation of the days of chivalry;
the other (by Horace Smith, one of the authors of the _Rejected
Addresses_) dated in the time of the Civil Wars, and introducing
historical characters. I read both with great interest during the

I am something like Captain Bobadil[361] who trained up a hundred
gentlemen to fight very nearly, if not altogether, as well as myself.
And so far I am convinced of this, that I believe were I to publish the
_Canongate Chronicles_ without my name (_nom de guerre_, I mean) the
event would be a corollary to the fable of the peasant who made the real
pig squeak against the imitator, while the sapient audience hissed the
poor grunter as if inferior to the biped in his own language. The
peasant could, indeed, confute the long-eared multitude by showing
piggy; but were I to fail as a knight with a white and maiden shield,
and then vindicate my claim to attention by putting "By the Author of
_Waverley_" in the title, my good friend _Publicum_ would defend itself
by stating I had tilted so ill, that my course had not the least
resemblance to my former doings, when indisputably I bore away the
garland. Therefore I am as firmly and resolutely determined that I will
tilt under my own cognisance. The hazard, indeed, remains of being
beaten. But there is a prejudice (not an undue one neither) in favour of
the original patentee; and Joe Manton's name has borne out many a sorry
gun-barrel. More of this to-morrow.

Expense of journey,                    £4100
Anne, pocket-money,                      500
Servants on journey,                     200
Cash in purse (silver not reckoned),     200

This is like to be an expensive journey; but if I can sell an early copy
of the work to a French translator, it should bring me home.

Thank God, little Johnnie Hoo, as he calls himself, is looking well,
though the poor dear child is kept always in a prostrate posture.

_October_ 18.--I take up again my remarks on imitators. I am sure I mean
the gentlemen no wrong by calling them so, and heartily wish they had
followed a better model; but it serves to show me _veluti in speculo_ my
own errors, or, if you will, those of the _style_. One advantage, I
think, I still have over all of them. They may do their fooling with
better grace; but I, like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, do it more
natural.[362] They have to read old books and consult antiquarian
collections to get their knowledge; I write because I have long since
read such works, and possess, thanks to a strong memory, the information
which they have to seek for. This leads to a dragging-in historical
details by head and shoulders, so that the interest of the main piece is
lost in minute descriptions of events which do not affect its progress.
Perhaps I have sinned in this way myself; indeed, I am but too conscious
of having considered the plot only as what Bayes[363] calls the means of
bringing in fine things; so that in respect to the descriptions, it
resembled the string of the showman's box, which he pulls to show in
succession Kings, Queens, the Battle of Waterloo, Bonaparte at Saint
Helena, Newmarket Races, and White-headed Bob floored by Jemmy from
town. All this I may have done, but I have repented of it; and in my
better efforts, while I conducted my story through the agency of
historical personages, and by connecting it with historical incidents, I
have endeavoured to weave them pretty closely together, and in future I
will study this more. Must not let the background eclipse the principal
figures--the frame overpower the picture.

Another thing in my favour is, that my contemporaries steal too openly.
Mr. Smith has inserted in _Brambletye House_ whole pages from Defoe's
_Fire and Plague of London_.

    "Steal! foh! a fico for the phrase--
    Convey, the wise it call!"[364]

When I _convey_ an incident or so, I am at as much pains to avoid
detection as if the offence could be indicted in literal fact at the Old

But leaving this, hard pressed as I am by these imitators, who must put
the thing out of fashion at last, I consider, like a fox at his last
shifts, whether there be a way to dodge them, some new device to throw
them off, and have a mile or two of free ground, while I have legs and
wind left to use it. There is one way to give novelty: to depend for
success on the interest of a well-contrived story. But woe's me! that
requires thought, consideration--the writing out a regular plan or
plot--above all the adhering to one--which I never can do, for the ideas
rise as I write, and bear such a disproportioned extent to that which
each occupied at the first concoction, that (cocksnowns!) I shall never
be able to take the trouble; and yet to make the world stare, and gain a
new march ahead of them all!!! Well, something we still will do.

    "Liberty's in every blow;
    Let us do or die!"

Poor Rob Burns! to tack thy fine strains of sublime patriotism! Better
take Tristram Shandy's vein. Hand me my cap and bells there. So now, I
am equipped. I open my raree-show with

    Ma'am, will you walk in, and fal de ral diddle?
    And, sir, will you stalk in, and fal de ral diddle?
    And, miss, will you pop in, and fal de ral diddle?
    And, master, pray hop in, and fal de ral diddle?

Query--How long is it since I heard that strain of dulcet mood, and
where or how came I to pick it up? It is not mine, "though by your
smiling you seem to say so."[365] Here is a proper morning's work! But I
am childish with seeing them all well and happy here; and as I can
neither whistle nor sing, I must let the giddy humour run to waste on

Sallied forth in the morning; bought a hat. Met S[ir] W[illiam]
K[nighton],[366] from whose discourse I guess that _Malachi_ has done me
no prejudice in a certain quarter; with more indications of the times,
which I need not set down. Sallied again after breakfast, and visited
the Piccadilly ladies.[367] Saw Rogers and Richard Sharp, also good Dr.
and Mrs. Hughes, also the Duchess of Buckingham, and Lady Charlotte
Bury, with a most beautiful little girl. [Owen] Rees breakfasted, and
agreed I should have what the Frenchman has offered for the advantage of
translating _Napoleon_, which, being a hundred guineas, will help my
expenses to town and down again.

_October_ 19.--I rose at my usual time, but could not write; so read
Southey's _History of the Peninsular War_. It is very good
indeed,--honest English principle in every line; but there are many
prejudices, and there is a tendency to augment a work already too long
by saying all that can be said of the history of ancient times
appertaining to every place mentioned. What care we whether Saragossa be
derived from Caesarea Augusta? Could he have proved it to be Numantium,
there would have been a concatenation accordingly.[368]

Breakfasted at Rogers' with Sir Thomas Lawrence; Luttrell, the great
London wit;[369] Richard Sharp, etc. Sam made us merry with an account
of some part of Rose's _Ariosto_; proposed that the Italian should be
printed on the other side for the sake of assisting the indolent reader
to understand the English; and complained of his using more than once
the phrase of a lady having "voided her saddle," which would certainly
sound extraordinary at Apothecaries' Hall. Well, well, Rose carries a
dirk too.[370] The morning was too dark for Westminster Abbey, which we
had projected.

I went to the Foreign Office, and am put by Mr. Wilmot Horton into the
hands of a confidential clerk, Mr. Smith, who promises access to
everything. Then saw Croker, who gave me a bundle of documents. Sir
George Cockburn promises his despatches and journal. In short, I have
ample prospect of materials.

Dined with Mrs. Coutts. Tragi-comic distress of my good friend on the
marriage of her presumptive heir with a daughter of Lucien Bonaparte.

_October_ 20.--Commanded down to pass a day at Windsor. This is very
kind of His Majesty.

At breakfast, Crofton Croker, author of the _Irish Fairy Tales_--little
as a dwarf, keen-eyed as a hawk, and of very prepossessing manners.
Something like Tom Moore. There were also Terry, Allan Cunningham,
Newton, and others. Now I must go to work.

Went down to Windsor, or rather to the Lodge in the Forest, which,
though ridiculed by connoisseurs, seems to be no bad specimen of a royal
retirement, and is delightfully situated. A kind of cottage ornée--too
large perhaps for the style--but yet so managed that in the walks you
only see parts of it at once, and these well composed and grouping with
immense trees. His Majesty received me with the same mixture of kindness
and courtesy which has always distinguished his conduct towards me.
There was no company beside the royal retinue--Lady C[onyngham], her
daughter, and two or three other ladies. After we left table, there was
excellent music by the Royal Band, who lay ambushed in a green-house
adjoining the apartment. The King made me sit beside him and talk a
great deal--_too much_, perhaps--for he has the art of raising one's
spirits, and making you forget the _retenue_ which is prudent
everywhere, especially at court. But he converses himself with so much
ease and elegance, that you lose thoughts of the prince in admiring the
well-bred and accomplished gentleman. He is, in many respects, the model
of a British monarch--has little inclination to try experiments on
government otherwise than through his ministers--sincerely, I believe,
desires the good of his subjects, is kind toward the distressed, and
moves and speaks "every inch a king."[371] I am sure such a man is
fitter for us than one who would long to head armies, or be perpetually
intermeddling with _la grande politique_. A sort of reserve, which
creeps on him daily, and prevents his going to places of public resort,
is a disadvantage, and prevents his being so generally popular as is
earnestly to be desired. This, I think, was much increased by the
behaviour of the rabble in the brutal insanity of the Queen's trial,
when John Bull, meaning the best in the world, made such a beastly

_October_ 21.--Walked in the morning with Sir William Knighton, and had
much confidential chat, not fit to be here set down, in case of
accidents. He undertook most kindly to recommend Charles, when he has
taken his degree, to be attached to some of the diplomatic missions,
which I think is best for the lad after all. After breakfast went to
Windsor Castle, met by appointment my daughters and Lockhart, and
examined the improvements going on there under Mr. Wyattville, who
appears to possess a great deal of taste and feeling for Gothic
architecture. The old apartments, splendid enough in extent and
proportion, are paltry in finishing. Instead of being lined with heart
of oak, the palace of the British King is hung with paper, painted
wainscot colour. There are some fine paintings and some droll ones;
among the last are those of divers princes of the House of
Mecklenburg-Strelitz, of which Queen Charlotte was descended. They are
ill-coloured, orang-outang-looking figures, with black eyes and
hook-noses, in old-fashioned uniforms.

We returned to a hasty dinner [in Pall Mall], and then hurried away to
see honest Dan Terry's house, called the Adelphi Theatre, where we saw
the _Pilot_, from the American novel of that name. It is extremely
popular, the dramatist having seized on the whole story, and turned the
odious and ridiculous parts, assigned by the original author to the
British, against the Yankees themselves. There is a quiet effrontery in
this that is of a rare and peculiar character. The Americans were so
much displeased, that they attempted a row--which rendered the piece
doubly attractive to the seamen at Wapping, who came up and crowded the
house night after night, to support the honour of the British flag.
After all, one must deprecate whatever keeps up ill-will betwixt America
and the mother country; and we in particular should avoid awakening
painful recollections. Our high situation enables us to contemn petty
insults and to make advances towards cordiality. I was, however, glad to
see honest Dan's theatre as full seemingly as it could hold. The heat
was dreadful, and Anne was so very unwell that she was obliged to be
carried into Terry's house,--a curious dwelling, no larger than a
squirrel's cage, which he has contrived to squeeze out of the vacant
spaces of the theatre, and which is accessible by a most complicated
combination of staircases and small passages. Here we had rare good
porter and oysters after the play, and found Anne much better. She had
attempted too much; indeed I myself was much fatigued.

_October_ 22.--This morning Drs. Gooch, Shaw, and Yates breakfasted, and
had a consultation about wee Johnnie. They give us great hopes that his
health will be established, but the seaside or the country seem
indispensable. Mr. Wilmot Horton,[372] Under Secretary of State, also
breakfasted. He is full of some new plan of relieving the poor's-rates
by encouraging emigration. But John Bull will think this savours of
Botany Bay. The attempt to look the poor's-rates in the face is
certainly meritorious.

Laboured in writing and marking extracts to be copied from breakfast to
dinner, with the exception of an hour spent in telling Johnnie the
history of his namesake, Gilpin.

Mr. William and Mrs. Lockhart dined with us. Tom Moore[373] and Sir
Thomas Lawrence came in the evening, which made a pleasant _soirée_.
Smoke my French--Egad, it is time to air some of my vocabulary. It is, I
find, cursedly musty.

_October_ 23.--Sam Rogers and Moore breakfasted here, and we were very
merry fellows. Moore seemed disposed to go to France with us. I visited
the Admiralty, and got Sir George Cockburn's journal, which is
valuable.[374] Also visited Lady Elizabeth and Sir Charles Stewart. My
heart warmed to the former, on account of the old Balcarres connection.
Sir Charles and she were very kind and communicative. I foresee I will
be embarrassed with more communications than I can well use or trust to,
coloured as they must be by the passions of those who make them. Thus I
have a statement from the Duchess d'Escars, to which the Bonapartists
would, I dare say, give no credit. If Talleyrand, for example, could be
communicative, he must have ten thousand reasons for perverting the
truth, and yet a person receiving a direct communication from him would
be almost barred from disputing it.

    "Sing tantararara, rogues all."

We dined at the Residentiary-house with good Dr. Hughes,[375] Allan
Cunningham, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and young Mr. Hughes. Thomas
Pringle[376] is returned from the Cape, and called in my absence. He
might have done well there, could he have scoured his brain of politics,
but he must needs publish a Whig journal at the Cape of Good Hope! He is
a worthy creature, but conceited withal--_hinc illæ lachrymæ._ He
brought me some antlers and a skin, in addition to others he had sent to
Abbotsford four years since. Crofton Croker made me a present of a small
box of curious Irish antiquities containing a gold fibula, etc. etc.

_October_ 24--Laboured in the morning. At breakfast Dr. Holland[377] and
Cohen, whom they now call Palgrave,[378] a mutation of names which
confused my recollections. Item, Moore. I worked at the Colonial Office
pretty hard. Dined with Mr. Wilmot Horton and his beautiful wife, the
original of the "_She walks in Beauty_," etc., of poor Byron.

The conversation is seldom excellent among official people. So many
topics are what Otaheitians call _taboo_. We hunted down a pun or two,
which were turned out, like the stag at the Epping Hunt, for the pursuit
of all and sundry. Came home early, and was in bed by eleven.

_October_ 25.--Good Mr. Wilson[379] and his wife at breakfast; also Sir
Thomas Lawrence. Locker[380] came in afterwards, and made a proposal to
me to give up his intended Life of George III. in my favour on cause
shown. I declined the proposal, not being of opinion that _my_ genius
lies that way, and not relishing hunting in couples. Afterwards went to
the Colonial Office, and had Robert Hay's assistance in my inquiries;
then to the French Ambassador for my passports. Picked up Sotheby, who
endeavoured to saddle me for a review of his polyglot Virgil. I fear I
shall scarce convince him that I know nothing of the Latin lingo. Sir
R.H. Inglis, Richard Sharp, and other friends called. We dined at Miss
Dumergue's, and spent a part of our soirée at Lydia White's. To-morrow,

    "For France, for France, for it is more than need."[381]

[_Calais_,] _October_ 26.--- Up at five, and in the packet by six. A
fine passage--save at the conclusion, while we lay on and off the
harbour of Calais. But the tossing made no impression on my companion or
me; we ate and drank like dragons the whole way, and were able to manage
a good supper and best part of a bottle of Chablis, at the classic
Dessein's, who received us with much courtesy.

_October_ 27.--Custom House, etc., detained us till near ten o'clock,
so we had time to walk on the Boulevards, and to see the fortifications,
which must be very strong, all the country round being flat and marshy.
Lost, as all know, by the bloody papist bitch (one must be vernacular
when on French ground) Queen Mary, of red-hot memory. I would rather she
had burned a score more of bishops. If she had kept it, her sister Bess
would sooner have parted with her virginity. Charles I. had no
temptation to part with it--it might, indeed, have been shuffled out of
our hands during the Civil wars, but Noll would have as soon let
monsieur draw one of his grinders; then Charles II. would hardly have
dared to sell such an old possession, as he did Dunkirk; and after that
the French had little chance till the Revolution. Even then, I think, we
could have held a place that could be supplied from our own element, the
sea. _Cui bono?_ None, I think, but to plague the rogues.--We dined at
Cormont, and being stopped by Mr. Canning having taken up all the
post-horses, could only reach Montreuil that night. I should have liked
to have seen some more of this place, which is fortified; and as it
stands on an elevated and rocky site must present some fine points. But
as we came in late and left early, I can only bear witness to good
treatment, good supper, good _vin de Barsac_, and excellent beds.

_October_ 28.--Breakfasted at Abbeville, and saw a very handsome Gothic
church, and reached Grandvilliers at night. The house is but
second-rate, though lauded by various English travellers for the
moderation of its charges, as was recorded in a book presented to us by
the landlady. There is no great patriotism in publishing that a
traveller thinks the bills moderate; it serves usually as an intimation
to mine host or hostess that John Bull will bear a little more
squeezing. I gave my attestation too, however, for the charges of the
good lady resembled those elsewhere; and her anxiety to please was
extreme. Folks must be harder-hearted than I am to resist the
_empressement_, which may, indeed, be venal, yet has in its expression
a touch of cordiality.

[_Paris_,] _October_ 29.--Breakfasted at Beauvais, and saw its
magnificent cathedral--unfinished it has been left, and unfinished it
will remain, of course,--the fashion of cathedrals being passed away.
But even what exists is inimitable, the choir particularly, and the
grand front. Beauvais is called the _Pucelle_, yet, so far as I can see,
she wears no stays--I mean, has no fortifications. On we run, however.
_Vogue la galère; et voilà nous à Paris_, Hotel de Windsor [_Rue
Rivoli_], where we are well lodged. France, so far as I can see, which
is very little, has not undergone many changes. The image of war has,
indeed, passed away, and we no longer see troops crossing the country in
every direction; villages either ruined or hastily fortified;
inhabitants sheltered in the woods and caves to escape the rapacity of
the soldiers--all this has passed away. The inns are much amended. There
is no occasion for that rascally practice of making a bargain--or
_combien_-ing your landlady, before you unharness your horses, which
formerly was a matter of necessity. The general taste of the English
seems to regulate the travelling--naturally enough, as the hotels, of
which there are two or three in each town, chiefly subsist by them. We
did not see one French equipage on the road; the natives seem to travel
entirely in the Diligence, and doubtless _à bon marché_; the road was
thronged with English.

But in her great features France is the same as ever. An oppressive air
of solitude seems to hover over these rich and extended plains, while we
are sensible that, whatever is the motive of the desolation, it cannot
be sterility. The towns are small, and have a poor appearance, and more
frequently exhibit signs of decayed splendour than of thriving and
increasing prosperity. The château, the abode of the gentleman, and the
villa, the retreat of the thriving _négociant_, are rarely seen till you
come to Beaumont. At this place, which well deserves its name of the
fair mount, the prospect improves greatly, and country-seats are seen in
abundance; also woods, sometimes deep and extensive, at other times
scattered in groves and single trees. Amidst these the oak seldom or
never is found; England, lady of the ocean, seems to claim it
exclusively as her own. Neither are there any quantity of firs. Poplars
in abundance give a formal air to the landscape. The forests chiefly
consist of beeches, with some birches, and the roads are bordered by
elms cruelly cropped, pollarded, and switched. The demand for firewood
occasions these mutilations. If I could waft by a wish the thinnings of
Abbotsford here, it would make a little fortune of itself. But then to
switch and mutilate my trees!--not for a thousand francs. Ay, but sour
grapes, quoth the fox.

_October_ 30.--Finding ourselves snugly settled in our Hotel, we
determined to remain here at fifteen francs per day. We are in the midst
of what can be seen, and we are very comfortably fed and lodged.

This morning wet and surly. Sallied, however, by the assistance of a
hired coach, and left cards for Count Pozzo di Borgo, Lord Granville,
our ambassador, and M. Gallois, author of the _History of Venice_.[382]
Found no one at home, not even the old pirate Galignani,[383] at whose
den I ventured to call. Showed my companion the Louvre (which was
closed, unluckily), the front of the palace with its courts, and all
that splendid quarter which the fame of Paris rests upon in security. We
can never do the like in Britain. Royal magnificence can only be
displayed by despotic power. In England, were the most splendid street
or public building to be erected, the matter must be discussed in
Parliament, or perhaps some sturdy cobbler holds out, and refuses to
part with his stall, and the whole plan is disconcerted. Long may such
impediments exist! But then we should conform to circumstances, and
assume in our public works a certain sober simplicity of character,
which should point out that they were dictated by utility rather than
show. The affectation of an expensive style only places us at a
disadvantageous contrast with other nations, and our substitute of brick
and plaster for freestone resembles the mean ambition which displays
Bristol stones in default of diamonds.

We went to theatre in the evening--Comédie Française the place,
_Rosemunde_ the piece. It is the composition of a young man with a
promising name--Émile de Bonnechose; the story that of Fair Rosamond.
There were some good situations, and the actors in the French taste
seemed to me admirable, particularly Mademoiselle Bourgoin. It would be
absurd to attempt to criticise what I only half understood; but the
piece was well received, and produced a very strong effect. Two or three
ladies were carried out in hysterics; one next to our box was
frightfully ill. A Monsieur _à belles moustaches_--the husband, I trust,
though it is likely they were _en partie fine_--was extremely and
affectionately assiduous. She was well worthy of the trouble, being very
pretty indeed; the face beautiful, even amidst the involuntary
convulsions. The afterpiece was _Femme Juge et Partie_, with which I was
less amused than I had expected, because I found I understood the
language less than I did ten or eleven years since. Well, well, I am
past the age of mending.

Some of our friends in London had pretended that at Paris I might stand
some chance of being encountered by the same sort of tumultuary
reception which I met in Ireland; but for this I see no ground. It is a
point on which I am totally indifferent. As a literary man I cannot
affect to despise public applause; as a private gentleman I have always
been embarrassed and displeased with popular clamours, even when in my
favour. I know very well the breath of which such shouts are composed,
and am sensible those who applaud me to-day would be as ready to toss me
to-morrow; and I would not have them think that I put such a value on
their favour as would make me for an instant fear their displeasure. Now
all this disclamation is sincere, and yet it sounds affected. It puts me
in mind of an old woman who, when Carlisle was taken by the Highlanders
in 1745, chose to be particularly apprehensive of personal violence, and
shut herself up in a closet, in order that she might escape ravishment.
But no one came to disturb her solitude, and she began to be sensible
that poor Donald was looking out for victuals, or seeking for some small
plunder, without bestowing a thought on the fair sex; by and by she
popped her head out of her place of refuge with the petty question,
"Good folks, can you tell when the ravishing is going to begin?" I am
sure I shall neither hide myself to avoid applause, which probably no
one will think of conferring, nor have the meanness to do anything which
can indicate any desire of ravishment. I have seen, when the late Lord
Erskine entered the Edinburgh theatre, papers distributed in the boxes
to mendicate a round of applause--the natural reward of a poor player.

_October_ 31.--At breakfast visited by M. Gallois, an elderly Frenchman
(always the most agreeable class), full of information, courteous and
communicative. He had seen nearly, and remarked deeply, and spoke
frankly, though with due caution. He went with us to the Museum, where I
think the Hall of Sculpture continues to be a fine thing; that of
Pictures but tolerable, when we reflect upon 1815. A number of great
French daubs (comparatively), by David and Gerard, cover the walls once
occupied by the Italian _chefs-d'oeuvre. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum_. We
then visited Notre Dame and the Palace of Justice. The latter is
accounted the oldest building in Paris, being the work of St. Louis. It
is, however, in the interior, adapted to the taste of Louis XIV. We
drove over the Pont Neuf, and visited the fine quays, which was all we
could make out to-day, as I was afraid to fatigue Anne. When we returned
home I found Count Pozzo di Borgo waiting for me, a personable man,
inclined to be rather corpulent--handsome features, with all the
Corsican fire in his eye. He was quite kind and communicative. Lord
Granville had also called, and sent Mr. Jones [his secretary] to invite
us to dinner to-morrow. In the evening at the Odéon, where we saw
_Ivanhoe_. It was superbly got up, the Norman soldiers wearing pointed
helmets and what resembled much hauberks of mail, which looked very
well. The number of the attendants, and the skill with which they were
moved and grouped on the stage, were well worthy of notice. It was an
opera, and of course the story greatly mangled, and the dialogue in a
great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words
which I (then in an agony of pain with spasms in my stomach) dictated to
William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, and for
the amusement of a strange people. I little thought to have survived the
completing of this novel.[384]


[350] Eldest daughter of the illustrious Admiral Lord Duncan, wife of
Sir Hew Hamilton Dalrymple. She died in 1852.

[351] This implacable enemy of Napoleon,--a Corsican, died in his
seventy-fourth year in 1842.

[352] E.H. Locker, Esq., then Secretary, afterwards one of the
Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital--an old and dear friend of
Scott's.--See Oct. 25.

[353] As an illustration of Constable's accuracy in gauging the value of
literary property, it may be stated that in his formal declaration,
after sequestration, he said:--"I was so sanguine as to the success of
the _Memoirs of Napoleon_ that I did not hesitate to express it as my
opinion that I had much confidence in it producing him at least £10,000,
and this I observed, as my expectation, to Sir W. Scott." This opinion
was expressed not only before the sale of the work, but before it was
all written.--_A. Constable and his Correspondents_, vol. iii. p. 313.

[354] Another of the Abbotsford labourers.

[355] See Ballad of _Edom of Gordon_.

[356] "On the 12th of October, Sir Walter left Abbotsford for London,
where he had been promised access to the papers in the Government
offices; and thence he proceeded to Paris, in the hope of gathering from
various eminent persons authentic anecdotes concerning Napoleon. His
Diary shows that he was successful in obtaining many valuable materials
for the completion of his historical work; and reflects, with sufficient
distinctness, the very brilliant reception he on this occasion
experienced both in London and Paris. The range of his society is
strikingly (and unconsciously) exemplified in the record of one day,
when we find him breakfasting at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Park, and
supping on oysters and porter in "honest Dan Terry's house, like a
squirrel's cage," above the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand. There can be
no doubt that this expedition was in many ways serviceable in his _Life
of Napoleon_; and I think as little that it was chiefly so by renewing
his spirits. The deep and respectful sympathy with which his
misfortunes, and gallant behaviour under them, had been regarded by all
classes of men at home and abroad, was brought home to his perception in
a way not to be mistaken. He was cheered and gratified, and returned to
Scotland with renewed hope and courage for the prosecution of his
marvellous course of industry."--_Life_, vol. ix. pp. 2, 3.

[357] John B. Saurey Morritt of Rokeby, a friend of twenty years'
standing, and "one of the most accomplished men that ever shared Scott's

He had published, before making Scott's acquaintance, a _Vindication of
Homer_, in 1798, a treatise on _The Topography of Troy_, 1800, and
translations and imitations of the minor Greek Poets in 1802.

Mr. Morritt survived his friend till February 12th, 1843, when he died
at Rokeby Park, Yorkshire, in his seventy-second year.--See _Life_

[358] _MS. note on margin of Journal_ by Mr. Morritt: "No--it was left
by Reynolds to Mason, by Mason to Burgh, and given to me by Mr. Burgh's

[359] _Chiverton_ was the first publication (anonymous) of Mr. W.
Harrison Ainsworth, the author of _Rookwood_ and other popular

[360] It is interesting to know that Scott would not read this book
until _Woodstock_ was fairly off his hands.

See _ante_, p. 167, and the introduction to the original edition written
in March 1826, in which the author says:--"Some accidental collision
there must be, when works of a similar character are finished on the
same general system of historical manners, and the same historical
personages are introduced. Of course, if such have occurred, I shall be
probably the sufferer. But my intentions have been at least innocent,
since I look on it as one of the advantages attending the conclusion of
_Woodstock_, that the finishing of my own task will permit me to have
the pleasure of reading BRAMBLETYE-HOUSE, from which I have hitherto
conscientiously abstained."--_Novels_, vol. xxxix. pp. lxxv-vi.

[361] Ben Jonson, _Every Man in his Humour_.

[362] _Twelfth Night_, Act II. Sc. 3.

[363] _Rehearsal_, Act III. Sc. 1.

[364] _Merry Wives_, Act I. Sc. 3.

[365] _Hamlet_, Act II. Sc. 2.

[366] Sir Walter had made his acquaintance in August 1822, and ever
afterwards they corresponded with each other--sometimes very

[367] The Dumergues, at 15 Piccadilly West--early friends of Lady
Scott's.--See _Life_., vol. ii. p. 120.

[368] It is amusing to compare this criticism with Sir Walter's own
anxiety to identify his daughter-in-law's place, _Lochore_, with the
_Urbs Orrea_ of the Roman writers. See _Life_, vol. vii. p. 352.--J.G.L.

[369] This brilliant conversationalist was the author of several airy
and graceful productions in verse, which were published anonymously,
such as _Lines written at Ampthill Park_, in 1818; _Advice to Julia, a
letter in Rhyme_, in which he sketched high life in London, in 1820. He
also published _Crockford House_: a rhapsody, in 1827. Moore in his
_Diary_ has embalmed numerous examples of his satiric wit. Henry
Luttrell died in 1851.

[370] The _Orlando Furioso_, by Mr. Stewart Rose, was published in 8
vols. 8vo, London 1823-1831.

[371] _King Lear_, Act IV. Sc. 6.--J.G.L.

[372] Afterwards the Right Hon. Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, Governor of

[373] Moore, on hearing of Scott's arrival, hastened to London from
Sloperton, and had several pleasant meetings, particulars of which are
given in his _Diary_ (vol. v. pp. 121 to 126). He would, as Scott says
on the 23d, have gone to Paris with them--"seemed disposed to go"; but
between that date and 25th fancied that he saw something in Scott's
manner that made him hesitate, and then finally give up the idea. He
adds that Scott's friends had thrown out hints as to the impropriety of
such a political reprobate forming one of the party. This suspicion on
Moore's part shows how he had misunderstood Scott's real character. If
Scott thought it right to ask the Bard of Ireland to be his companion,
no hints from Mr. Wilmot Horton, or any members of the Court party,
would have influenced him, even though they had urged that "this
political reprobate" was author of _The Fudge Family in Paris_ and the
_Twopenny Post-Bag._

[374] Sir George died in 1853. His journal does not appear to have been

[375] Dr. Hughes, who died Jan. 6, 1833, aged seventy-seven, was one of
the Canons-residentiary of St. Paul's, London. He and Mrs. Hughes were
old friends of Sir Walter, who had been godfather to one of their
grandchildren.--See _Life_, vol. vii. pp. 259-260. Their son was John
Hughes, Esq., of Oriel College, whose "Itinerary of the Rhone" is
mentioned with praise in the introduction to _Quentin Durward_.--See
letter to Charles Scott, in _Life_, vol. vii. p. 275.

[376] Mr. Pringle was a Roxburghshire farmer's son who in youth
attracted Sir Walter's notice by his poem called _The Autumnal
Excursion; or, Sketches in Teviotdale_. He was for a short time Editor
of _Blackwood's Magazine_, but the publisher and he had different
politics, quarrelled, and parted. Sir Walter then gave Pringle strong
recommendations to the late Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape
of Good Hope in which colony he settled, and for some years throve under
the Governor's protection; but the newspaper alluded to in the text
ruined his prospects at the Cape; he returned to England, became
Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society, published a charming little
volume entitled _African Sketches_, and died in December 1834. He was a
man of amiable feelings and elegant genius.

[377] An esteemed friend of Sir Walter's, who attended on him during his
illness in October 1831, and in June 1832.

[378] Afterwards Sir Francis Palgrave, Deputy-Keeper of the public
records, and author of the _History of Normandy and England_, 4 vols.
8vo, 1851-1864, and other works.

[379] William Wilson of Wandsworth Common, formerly of Wilsontown, in

[380] E.H. Locker, then Secretary of Greenwich Hospital.--See _ante_,
Oct. 7.

[381] _King John_, Act I. Sc. 1.

[382] There were two well-known Frenchmen of this name at the time of
Scott's visit to Paris: (1) Jean-Antoine-Gauvain Gallois, who was born
about 1755 and died in 1828; (2) Charles-André-Gustave-Léonard Gallois,
born 1789, died 1851. It was the latter of these who translated from the
Italian of Colletta _Cinq jours de l'histoire de Naples_, 8vo, Paris,
1820. But at this date he was only thirty-seven, and it can scarcely be
of him that Scott writes (p. 288) as an "elderly" man. The probability
is that it was the elder Gallois whom Scott saw, and that he ascribed to
him, though the title is misquoted, a work written by the younger.

[383] "When he was in Paris," Hazlitt writes, "and went to Galignani's,
he sat down in an outer room to look at some book he wanted to see; none
of the clerks had the least suspicion who he was. When it was found out,
the place was in a commotion."--From Mr. Alexander Ireland's excellent
_Selections from Hazlitt's writings,_ 8vo, Lond. 1889, p. 482.

[384] _Ivanhoe_ might have borne a motto somewhat analogous to the
inscription which Frederick the Great's predecessor used to affix to his
attempts at portrait-painting when he had the gout: "Fredericus I. in
tormentis pinxit."--_Recollections of Sir Walter Scott_, p. 240. Lond.


_November_ 1.--I suppose the ravishing is going to begin, for we have
had the Dames des Halles, with a bouquet like a maypole, and a speech
full of honey and oil, which cost me ten francs; also a small
worshipper, who would not leave his name, but came _seulement pour avoir
le plaisir, la félicité_ etc. etc. All this jargon I answer with
corresponding _blarney_ of my own, for "have I not licked the black
stone of that ancient castle?" As to French, I speak it as it comes, and
like Doeg in _Absalom and Achitophel_--

    "----dash on through thick and thin,
    Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in."

We went this morning with M. Gallois to the Church of St. Genevieve, and
thence to the College Henri IV., where I saw once more my old friend
Chevalier.[385] He was unwell, swathed in a turban of nightcaps and a
multiplicity of _robes de chambre_; but he had all the heart and the
vivacity of former times. I was truly glad to see the kind old man. We
were unlucky in our day for sights, this being a high festival--All
Souls' Day. We were not allowed to scale the steeple of St. Genevieve,
neither could we see the animals at the Jardin des Plantes, who, though
they have no souls, it is supposed, and no interest of course in the
devotions of the day, observe it in strict retreat, like the nuns of
Kilkenny. I met, however, one lioness walking at large in the Jardin,
and was introduced. This was Madame de Souza,[386] the authoress of some
well-known French romances of a very classical character, I am told,
for I have never read them. She must have been beautiful, and is still
well-looked. She is the mother of the handsome Count de Flahault, and
had a very well-looking daughter with her, besides a son or two. She was
very agreeable. We are to meet again. The day becoming decidedly rainy,
we returned along the Boulevards by the Bridge of Austerlitz, but the
weather was so indifferent as to spoil the fine show.

We dined at the Ambassador's--Lord Granville, formerly Lord Leveson
Gower. He inhabits the same splendid house which Lord Castlereagh had in
1815, namely, Numero 30, Rue du Fauxbourg St. Honoré. It once belonged
to Pauline Borghese, and if its walls could speak, they might tell us
mighty curious stories. Without their having any tongue, they spoke to
my feelings "with most miraculous organ."[387] In these halls I had
often seen and conversed familiarly with many of the great and powerful,
who won the world by their swords, and divided it by their counsel.

Here I saw very much of poor Lord Castlereagh--a man of sense, presence
of mind, courage, and fortitude, which carried him through many an
affair of critical moment, when finer talents might have stuck in the
mire. He had been, I think, indifferently educated, and his mode of
speaking being far from logical or correct, he was sometimes in danger
of becoming almost ridiculous, in spite of his lofty presence, which had
all the grace of the Seymours, and his determined courage.[388] But then
he was always up to the occasion, and upon important matters was an
orator to convince, if not to delight, his hearers. He is gone, and my
friend Stanhope also, whose kindness this town so strongly recalls. It
is remarkable they were the only persons of sense and credibility who
both attested supernatural appearances on their own evidence, and both
died in the same melancholy manner. I shall always tremble when any
friend of mine becomes visionary.[389]

I have seen in these rooms the Emperor Alexander, Platoff,
Schwarzenberg, old Blucher, Fouché, and many a maréchal whose truncheon
had guided armies--all now at peace, without subjects, without dominion,
and where their past life, perhaps, seems but the recollection of a
feverish dream. What a group would this band have made in the gloomy
regions described in the Odyssey! But to lesser things. We were most
kindly received by Lord and Lady Granville, and met many friends, some
of them having been guests at Abbotsford; among these were Lords Ashley
and Morpeth--there were also Charles Ellis (Lord Seaford now), _cum
plurimis aliis_. Anne saw for the first time an entertainment _à la mode
de France_, where the gentlemen left the parlour with the ladies. In
diplomatic houses it is a good way of preventing political discussion,
which John Bull is always apt to introduce with the second bottle. We
left early, and came home at ten, much pleased with Lord and Lady
Granville's kindness, though it was to be expected, as our
recommendations came from Windsor.

_November_ 2.--Another gloomy day--a pize upon it!--and we have settled
to go to Saint Cloud, and dine, if possible, with the Drummonds at
Auteuil. Besides, I expect poor W.R. S[pencer] to breakfast. There is
another thought which depresses me.

Well--but let us jot down a little politics, as my book has a pretty
firm lock. The Whigs may say what they please, but I think the Bourbons
will stand. Gallois, no great Royalist, says that the Duke of Orleans
lives on the best terms with the reigning family, which is wise on his
part, for the golden fruit may ripen and fall of itself, but it would be
dangerous to

    "Lend the crowd his arm to shake the tree."[390]

The army, which was Bonaparte's strength, is now very much changed by
the gradual influence of time, which has removed many, and made invalids
of many more. The citizens are neutral, and if the King will govern
according to the Charte, and, what is still more, according to the
habits of the people, he will sit firm enough, and the constitution will
gradually attain more and more reverence as age gives it authority, and
distinguishes it from those temporary and ephemeral governments, which
seemed only set up to be pulled down. The most dangerous point in the
present state of France is that of religion. It is, no doubt, excellent
in the Bourbons to desire to make France a religious country; but they
begin, I think, at the wrong end. To press the observances and ritual of
religion on those who are not influenced by its doctrines is planting
the growing tree with its head downwards. Rites are sanctified by
belief; but belief can never arise out of an enforced observance of
ceremonies; it only makes men detest what is imposed on them by
compulsion. Then these Jesuits, who constitute emphatically an _imperium
in imperio_, labouring first for the benefit of their own order, and
next for that of the Roman See--what is it but the introduction into
France of a foreign influence, whose interest may often run counter to
the general welfare of the kingdom?

We have enough of ravishment. M. Meurice writes me that he is ready to
hang himself that we did not find accommodation at his hotel; and Madame
Mirbel came almost on her knees to have permission to take my portrait.
I was cruel; but, seeing her weeping-ripe, consented she should come
to-morrow and work while I wrote. A Russian Princess Galitzin, too,
demands to see me in the heroic vein; "_Elle vouloit traverser les mers
pour aller voir S.W.S_.," and offers me a rendezvous at my hotel. This
is precious tomfoolery; however, it is better than being neglected like
a fallen sky-rocket, which seemed like to be my fate last year.

We went to Saint Cloud with my old friend Mr. Drummond, now at a pretty
_maison de campagne_ at Auteuil. Saint Cloud, besides its unequalled
views, is rich in remembrances. I did not fail to revisit the
_Orangerie_, out of which Bon. expelled the Council of [Five Hundred]. I
thought I saw the scoundrels jumping the windows, with the bayonets at
their rumps. What a pity the house was not two stories high! I asked the
Swiss some questions on the _locale_, which he answered with becoming
caution, saying, however, that "he was not present at the time." There
are also new remembrances. A separate garden, laid out as a playground
for the royal children, is called Il Trocadero,[391] from the siege of
Cadiz [1823]. But the Bourbons should not take military ground--it is
firing a pop-gun in answer to a battery of cannon.

All within the house is changed. Every trace of Nap. or his reign
totally done away, as if traced in sand over which the tide has passed.
Moreau and Pichegru's portraits hang in the royal ante-chamber. The
former has a mean look; the latter has been a strong and stern-looking
man. I looked at him, and thought of his death-struggles. In the
guard-room were the heroes of La Vendée--Charette with his white bonnet,
the two La Rochejacqueleins, Lescure, in an attitude of prayer,
Stofflet, the gamekeeper, with others.

We dined at Auteuil. Mrs. Drummond, formerly the beautiful Cecilia
Telfer, has lost her looks, but kept her kind heart. On our return, went
to the Italian opera, and saw _Figaro_. Anne liked the music; to me it
was all caviare. A Mr. ------ dined with us; sensible, liberal in his
politics, but well informed and candid.

_November_ 3.--Sat to Mad. Mirbel--Spencer at breakfast. Went out and
had a long interview with Marshal Macdonald, the purport of which I have
put down elsewhere. Visited Princess Galitzin, and also Cooper, the
American novelist. This man, who has shown so much genius, has a good
deal of the manner, or want of manner, peculiar to his countrymen.[392]
He proposed to me a mode of publishing in America by entering the book
as [the] property of a citizen. I will think of this. Every little
helps, as the tod says, when, etc. At night at the Theatre de Madame,
where we saw two _petit_ pieces, _Le Mariage de Raison_, and _Le plus
beau jour de ma vie_--both excellently played. Afterwards at Lady
Granville's rout, which was as splendid as any I ever saw--and I have
seen _beaucoup dans ce genre_. A great number of ladies of the first
rank were present, and if honeyed words from pretty lips could surfeit,
I had enough of them. One can swallow a great deal of whipped cream, to
be sure, and it does not hurt an old stomach.

_November_ 4.--- Anne goes to sit to Mad. Mirbel. I called after ten,
Mr. Cooper and Gallois having breakfasted with me. The former seems
quite serious in desiring the American attempt. I must, however, take
care not to give such a monopoly as to prevent the American public from
receiving the works at the prices they are accustomed to. I think I may
as well try if the thing can be done.

After ten I went with Anne to the Tuileries, where we saw the royal
family pass through the Glass Gallery as they went to Chapel. We were
very much looked at in our turn, and the King, on passing out, did me
the honour to say a few civil words, which produced a great sensation.
Mad. la Dauphine and Mad. de Berri curtsied, smiled, and looked
extremely gracious; and smiles, bows, and curtsies rained on us like
odours, from all the courtiers and court ladies of the train. We were
conducted by an officer of the Royal Gardes du Corps to a convenient
place in chapel, where we had the pleasure of hearing the grand mass
performed with excellent music.

I had a perfect view of the King and royal family. The King is the same
in age as I knew him in youth at Holyrood House--debonair and courteous
in the highest degree. Mad. Dauphine resembles very much the prints of
Marie Antoinette, in the profile especially. She is not, however,
beautiful, her features being too strong, but they announce a great deal
of character, and the princess whom Bonaparte used to call the _man_ of
the family. She seemed very attentive to her devotions. The Duchess of
Berri seemed less immersed in the ceremony, and yawned once or twice.
She is a lively-looking blonde--looks as if she were good-humoured and
happy, by no means pretty, and has a cast with her eyes; splendidly
adorned with diamonds, however. After this gave Mad. Mirbel a sitting,
where I encountered _le général_, her uncle,[393] who was _chef de
l'état major_ to Bonaparte. He was very communicative, and seemed an
interesting person, by no means over much prepossessed in favour of his
late master, whom he judged impartially, though with affection.

We came home and dined in quiet, having refused all temptations to go
out in the evening; this on Anne's account as well as my own. It is not
quite gospel, though Solomon says it--the eye _can_ be tired with
seeing, whatever he may allege in the contrary. And then there are so
many compliments. I wish for a little of the old Scotch causticity. I am
something like the bee that sips treacle.

_November_ 5.--I believe I must give up my Journal till I leave Paris.
The French are literally outrageous in their civilities--bounce in at
all hours, and drive one half mad with compliments. I am ungracious not
to be so entirely thankful as I ought to this kind and merry people. We
breakfasted with Mad. Mirbel, where were the Dukes of Fitz-James, and, I
think, Duras,[394] goodly company--but all's one for that. I made rather
an impatient sitter, wishing to talk much more than was agreeable to
Madame. Afterwards we went to the Champs Elysées, where a balloon was
let off, and all sorts of frolics performed for the benefit of the _bons
gens de Paris_--besides stuffing them with victuals. I wonder how such a
civic festival would go off in London or Edinburgh, or especially in
Dublin. To be sure, they would not introduce their shillelahs! But in
the classic taste of the French, there were no such gladiatorial doings.
To be sure, they have a natural good-humour and gaiety which inclines
them to be pleased with themselves, and everything about them.

We dined at the Ambassador's, where was a large party, Lord Morpeth, the
Duke of Devonshire, and others--all were very kind. Pozzo di Borgo
there, and disposed to be communicative. A large soirée. Home at eleven.
These hours are early, however.

_November_ 6.--Cooper came to breakfast, but we were _obsédés partout_.
Such a number of Frenchmen bounced in successively, and exploded, I mean
discharged, their compliments, that I could hardly find an opportunity
to speak a word, or entertain Mr. Cooper at all. After this we sat again
for our portraits. Mad. Mirbel took care not to have any one to divert
my attention, but I contrived to amuse myself with some masons finishing
a façade opposite to me, who placed their stones, not like Inigo Jones,
but in the most lubberly way in the world, with the help of a large
wheel, and the application of strength of hand. John Smith of Darnick,
and two of his men, would have done more with a block and pulley than
the whole score of them. The French seem far behind in machinery.--We
are almost eaten up with kindness, but that will have its end. I have
had to parry several presents of busts, and so forth. The funny thing
was the airs of my little friend. We had a most affectionate
parting--wet, wet cheeks on the lady's side.[395] The pebble-hearted cur
shed as few tears as Crab of dogged memory.[396]

Went to Galignani's, where the brothers, after some palaver, offered me
£105 for the sheets of Napoleon, to be reprinted at Paris in English. I
told them I would think of it. I suppose Treuttel and Wurtz had
apprehended something of this kind, for they write me that they had made
a bargain with my publisher (Cadell, I suppose) for the publishing of my
book in all sorts of ways. I must look into this.

Dined with Marshal Macdonald and a splendid party;[397] amongst others,
Marshal Marmont--middle size, stout-made, dark complexion, and looks
sensible. The French hate him much for his conduct in 1814, but it is
only making him the scape-goat. Also, I saw Mons. de Molé, but
especially the Marquis de Lauriston, who received me most kindly. He is
personally like my cousin Colonel Russell. I learned that his brother,
Louis Law,[398] my old friend, was alive, and the father of a large
family. I was most kindly treated, and had my vanity much flattered by
the men who had acted such important parts talking to me in the most
frank manner.

In the evening to Princess Galitzin, where were a whole covey of
Princesses of Russia arrayed in tartan! with music and singing to boot.
The person in whom I was most interested was Mad. de Boufflers,[399]
upwards of eighty, very polite, very pleasant, and with all the
_agrémens_ of a French Court lady of the time of Mad. Sévigné, or of the
correspondent rather of Horace Walpole. Cooper was there, so the Scotch
and American lions took the field together.--Home, and settled our
affairs to depart.

_November_ 7.--Off at seven; breakfasted at Beaumont, and pushed on to
Airaines. This being a forced march, we had bad lodgings, wet wood,
uncomfortable supper, damp beds, and an extravagant charge. I was never
colder in my life than when I waked with the sheets clinging round me
like a shroud.

_November_ 8.--- We started at six in the morning, having no need to be
called twice, so heartily was I weary of my comfortless couch.
Breakfasted at Abbeville; then pushed on to Boulogne, expecting to find
the packet ready to start next morning, and so to have had the advantage
of the easterly tide. But, lo ye! the packet was not to sail till next
day. So after shrugging our shoulders--being the solace _à la mode de
France_--and recruiting ourselves with a pullet and a bottle of Chablis
_à la mode d'Angleterre_, we set off for Calais after supper, and it was
betwixt three and four in the morning before we got to Dessein's, when
the house was full, or reported to be so. We could only get two wretched
brick-paved garrets, as cold and moist as those of Airaines, instead of
the comforts which we were received with at our arrival. But I was
better prepared. Stripped off the sheets, and lay down in my
dressing-gown, and so roughed it out--_tant bien que mal_.

_November_ 9.--At four in the morning we were called; at six we got on
board the packet, where I found a sensible and conversible man--a very
pleasant circumstance. The day was raw and cold, the wind and tide surly
and contrary, the passage slow, and Anne, contrary to her wont,
excessively sick. We had little trouble at the Custom House, thanks to
the secretary of the Embassy, Mr. Jones, who gave me a letter to Mr.
Ward. [At Dover] Mr. Ward came with the Lieutenant-Governor of the
castle, and wished us to visit that ancient fortress. I regretted much
that our time was short, and the weather did not admit of our seeing
views, so we could only thank the gentlemen in declining their civility.

The castle, partly ruinous, seems to have been very fine. The Cliff, to
which Shakespeare gave his immortal name, is, as all the world knows, a
great deal lower than his description implies. Our Dover friends, justly
jealous of the reputation of their cliff, impute this diminution of its
consequence to its having fallen in repeatedly since the poet's time. I
think it more likely that the imagination of Shakespeare, writing
perhaps at a period long after he may have seen the rock, had described
it such as he conceived it to have been. Besides, Shakespeare was born
in a flat country, and Dover Cliff is at least lofty enough to have
suggested the exaggerated features to his fancy. At all events, it has
maintained its reputation better than the Tarpeian Rock;--no man could
leap from it and live.

Left Dover after a hot luncheon about four o'clock, and reached London
at half-past three in the morning. So adieu to _la belle France_, and
welcome merry England.[400]

[_Pall Mall_,] _November_ 10.--Ere I leave _la belle France_, however,
it is fit I should express my gratitude for the unwontedly kind
reception which I met with at all hands. It would be an unworthy piece
of affectation did I not allow that I have been pleased--highly
pleased--to find a species of literature intended only for my own
country has met such an extensive and favourable reception in a foreign
land where there was so much _a priori_ to oppose its progress.

For my work I think I have done a good deal; but, above all, I have been
confirmed strongly in the impressions I had previously formed of the
character of Nap., and may attempt to draw him with a firmer hand.

The succession of new people and unusual incidents has had a favourable
effect [on my mind], which was becoming rutted like an ill-kept highway.
My thoughts have for some time flowed in another and pleasanter channel
than through the melancholy course into which my solitary and deprived
state had long driven them, and which gave often pain to be endured
without complaint, and without sympathy. "For this relief," as Francisco
says in Hamlet, "much thanks."

To-day I visited the public offices, and prosecuted my researches. Left
inquiries for the Duke of York, who has recovered from a most desperate
state. His legs had been threatened with mortification; but he was saved
by a critical discharge; also visited the Duke of Wellington, Lord
Melville, and others, besides the ladies in Piccadilly. Dined and spent
the evening quietly in Pall Mall.

_November_ 11.--Croker came to breakfast, and we were soon after joined
by Theodore Hook, _alias_ "John Bull"[401]; he has got as fat as the
actual monarch of the herd. Lockhart sat still with us, and we had, as
Gil Blas says, a delicious morning, spent in abusing our neighbours, at
which my three neighbours are no novices any more than I am myself,
though (like Puss in Boots, who only caught mice for his amusement) I
am only a chamber counsel in matters of scandal. The fact is, I have
refrained, as much as human frailty will permit, from all satirical
composition. Here is an ample subject for a little black-balling in the
case of Joseph Hume, the great Æconomist, who has [managed] the Greek
loan so egregiously. I do not lack personal provocation (see 13th March
last), yet I won't attack him--at present at least--but _qu'il se garde
de moi_:

    "I'm not a king, nor nae sic thing,
      My word it may not stand;
    And Joseph may a buffet bide,
      Come he beneath my brand."

At dinner we had a little blow-out on Sophia's part: Lord Dudley, Mr.
Hay, Under Secretary of State, [Sir Thomas Lawrence, etc.] _Mistress_
(as she now calls herself) Joanna Baillie, and her sister, came in the
evening. The whole went off pleasantly.

_November_ 12.--Went to sit to Sir T.L. to finish the picture for his
Majesty, which every one says is a very fine one. I think so myself; and
wonder how Sir Thomas has made so much out of an old weather-beaten
block. But I believe the hard features of old Dons like myself are more
within the compass of the artist's skill than the lovely face and
delicate complexion of females. Came home after a heavy shower. I had a
long conversation about ------ with Lockhart. All that was whispered is
true--a sign how much better our domestics are acquainted with the
private affairs of our neighbours than we are. A dreadful tale of incest
and seduction, and nearly of blood also--horrible beyond expression in
its complications and events--"And yet the end is not;"--and this man
was amiable, and seemed the soul of honour--laughed, too, and was the
soul of society. It is a mercy our own thoughts are concealed from each
other. Oh! if, at our social table, we could see what passes in each
bosom around, we would seek dens and caverns to shun human society! To
see the projector trembling for his falling speculations; the voluptuary
rueing the event of his debauchery; the miser wearing out his soul for
the loss of a guinea--all--all bent upon vain hopes and vainer
regrets--we should not need to go to the hall of the Caliph Vathek to
see men's hearts broiling under their black veils.[402] Lord keep us
from all temptation, for we cannot be our own shepherd!

We dined to-day at Lady Stafford's [at West-hill].[403] Lord S. looks
very poorly, but better than I expected. No company, excepting Sam
Rogers and Mr. Grenville,[404]--the latter is better known by the name
of Tom Grenville--a very amiable and accomplished man, whom I knew
better about twenty years since. Age has touched him, as it has
doubtless affected me. The great lady received us with the most cordial
kindness, and expressed herself, I am sure, sincerely, desirous to be of
service to Sophia.

_November_ 13.--I consider Charles's business as settled by a private
intimation which I had to that effect from Sir W.K.; so I need negotiate
no further, but wait the event. Breakfasted at home, and somebody with
us, but the whirl of visits so great that I have already forgot the
party. Lockhart and I dined at an official person's, where there was a
little too much of that sort of flippant wit, or rather smartness, which
becomes the parochial Joe Miller of boards and offices. You must not be
grave, because it might lead to improper discussions; and to laugh
without a joke is a hard task. Your professed wags are treasures to this
species of company. Gil Blas was right in censuring the literary society
of his friend Fabricio; but nevertheless one or two of the mess would
greatly have improved the conversation of his _Commis_.

Went to poor Lydia White's, and found her extended on a couch,
frightfully swelled, unable to stir, rouged, jesting, and dying. She has
a good heart, and is really a clever creature, but unhappily, or rather
happily, she has set up the whole staff of her rest in keeping literary
society about her. The world has not neglected her. It is not always so
bad as it is called. She can always make up her soirée, and generally
has some people of real talent and distinction. She is wealthy, to be
sure, and gives _petit_ dinners, but not in a style to carry the point
_à force d'argent_. In her case the world is good-natured, and perhaps
it is more frequently so than is generally supposed.

_November_ 14.--We breakfasted at honest Allan Cunningham's--honest
Allan--a leal and true Scotsman of the old cast. A man of genius,
besides, who only requires the tact of knowing when and where to stop,
to attain the universal praise which ought to follow it. I look upon the
alteration of "It's hame and it's hame," and "A wet sheet and a flowing
sea," as among the best songs going. His prose has often admirable
passages; but he is obscure, and overlays his meaning, which will not do
now-a-days, when he who runs must read.

Dined at Croker's, at Kensington, with his family, the Speaker,[405] and
the facetious Theodore Hook.

We came away rather early, that Anne and I might visit Mrs. Arbuthnot to
meet the Duke of Wellington. In all my life I never saw him better. He
has a dozen of campaigns in his body--and tough ones. Anne was delighted
with the frank manners of this unequalled pride of British war, and me
he received with all his usual kindness. He talked away about Bonaparte,
Russia, and France.

_November_ 15.--At breakfast a conclave of medical men about poor
little Johnnie Lockhart. They give good words, but I cannot help fearing
the thing is very precarious, and I feel a miserable anticipation of
what the parents are to undergo. It is wrong, however, to despair. I was
myself a very weak child, and certainly am one of the strongest men of
my age in point of constitution. Sophia and Anne went to the Tower, I to
the Colonial Office, where I laboured hard.

Dined with the Duke of Wellington. Anne with me, who could not look
enough at the _vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre_. The party were Mr.
and Mrs. Peel, and Mr. and Mrs. Arbuthnot,[406] Vesey Fitzgerald,
Bankes, and Croker, with Lady Bathurst and Lady Georgina. One gentleman
took much of the conversation, and gave us, with unnecessary emphasis,
and at superfluous length, his opinion of a late gambling transaction.
This spoiled the evening. I am sorry for the occurrence though, for Lord
------ is fetlock deep in it, and it looks like a vile bog. This
misfortune, with the foolish incident at ------, will not be suffered to
fall to the ground, but will be used as a counterpoise to the Greek
loan. Peel asked me, in private, my opinion of three candidates for the
Scotch gown, and I gave it him candidly. We will see if it has

I begin to tire of my gaieties; and the late hours and constant feasting
disagree with me. I wish for a sheep's head and whisky toddy against all
the French cookery and champagne in the world.

Well, I suppose I might have been a Judge of Session this
term--attained, in short, the grand goal proposed to the ambition of a
Scottish lawyer. It is better, however, as it is, while, at least, I can
maintain my literary reputation.

I had some conversation to-day with Messrs. Longman and Co. They agreed
to my deriving what advantage I could in America, and that very

_November_ 16.--Breakfasted with Rogers, with my daughters and Lockhart.
R. was exceedingly entertaining, in his dry, quiet, sarcastic manner. At
eleven to the Duke of Wellington, who gave me a bundle of remarks on
Bonaparte's Russian campaign, written in his carriage during his late
mission to St. Petersburg.[408] It is furiously scrawled, and the
Russian names hard to distinguish, but it _shall_ do me yeoman's
service. Then went to Pentonville, to old Mr. Handley, a solicitor of
the old school, and manager of the Devonshire property. Had an account
of the claim arising on the estate of one Mrs. Owen, due to the
representatives of my poor wife's mother. He was desperately excursive,
and spoke almost for an hour, but the prospect of £4000 to my children
made me a patient auditor. Thence I passed to the Colonial Office, where
I concluded my extracts. [Lockhart and I] dined with Croker at the
Admiralty _au grand couvert_. No less than five Cabinet Ministers were
present--Canning, Huskisson, Melville, [Peel,] and Wellington, with
sub-secretaries by the bushel. The cheer was excellent, but the presence
of too many men of distinguished rank and power always freezes the
conversation. Each lamp shines brightest when placed by itself; when too
close, they neutralise each other.[409]

_November_ 17.--My morning here began with the arrival of Bahauder Jah;
soon after Mr. Wright;[410] then I was called out to James Scott the
young painter. I greatly fear this modest and amiable creature is
throwing away his time. Next came an animal who is hunting out a fortune
in Chancery, which has lain _perdu_ for thirty years. The fellow, who is
in figure and manner the very essence of the creature called a sloth,
has attached himself to this pursuit with the steadiness of a
well-scented beagle. I believe he will actually get the prize.

Sir John Malcolm acknowledges and recommends my Persian visitor Bruce.

Saw the Duke of York. The change on H.R.H. is most wonderful. From a
big, burly, stout man, with a thick and sometimes an inarticulate mode
of speaking, he has sunk into a thin-faced, slender-looking old man, who
seems diminished in his very size. I could hardly believe I saw the same
person, though I was received with his usual kindness. He speaks much
more distinctly than formerly; his complexion is clearer; in short,
H.R.H. seems, on the whole, more healthy after this crisis than when in
the stall-fed state, for such it seemed to be, in which I remember him.
God grant it! his life is of infinite value to the King and country--it
is a breakwater behind the throne.

_November_ 18.--Was introduced by Rogers to Mad. D'Arblay, the
celebrated authoress of _Evelina_ and _Cecilia_,--an elderly lady, with
no remains of personal beauty, but with a gentle manner and a pleasing
expression of countenance. She told me she had wished to see two
persons--myself, of course, being one; the other George Canning. This
was really a compliment to be pleased with--a nice little handsome pat
of butter made up by a neat-handed Phillis[411] of a dairymaid, instead
of the grease, fit only for cart-wheels, which one is dosed with by the
pound. Mad. D'Arblay told us the common story of Dr. Burney, her
father, having brought home her own first work, and recommended it to
her perusal, was erroneous. Her father was in the secret of _Evelina_
being printed. But the following circumstances may have given rise to
the story:--Dr. Burney was at Streatham soon after the publication,
where he found Mrs. Thrale recovering from her confinement, low at the
moment, and out of spirits. While they were talking together, Johnson,
who sat beside in a kind of reverie, suddenly broke out, "You should
read this new work, madam--you should read _Evelina_; every one says it
is excellent, and they are right." The delighted father obtained a
commission from Mrs. Thrale to purchase his daughter's work, and retired
the happiest of men. Mad. D'Arblay said she was wild with joy at this
decisive evidence of her literary success, and that she could only give
vent to her rapture by dancing and skipping round a mulberry-tree in the
garden. She was very young at this time. I trust I shall see this lady
again. She has simple and apparently amiable manners, with quick

Dined at Mr. Peel's with Lord Liverpool, Duke of Wellington, Croker,
Bankes, etc. The conversation very good--Peel taking the lead in his own
house, which he will not do elsewhere. We canvassed the memorable
criminal case of _Ashford_,[412] Peel almost convinced of the man's
innocence. Should have been at the play, but sat too late at Mr. Peel's.

So ends my campaign among these magnificoes and potent signiors,[413]
with whom I have found, as usual, the warmest acceptation. I wish I
could turn a little of my popularity amongst them to Lockhart's
advantage, who cannot bustle for himself. He is out of spirits just
now, and views things _au noir_. I fear Johnnie's precarious state is
the cause.

I finished my sittings to Lawrence, and am heartily sorry there should
be another picture of me except that which he has finished. The person
is remarkably like, and conveys the idea of the stout blunt carle that
cares for few things, and fears nothing. He has represented the author
as in the act of composition, yet has effectually discharged all
affectation from the manner and attitude. He seems pleased with it
himself. He dined with us at Peel's yesterday, where, by the way, we saw
the celebrated Chapeau de Paille, which is not a Chapeau de Paille at

_November_ 19.--Saw this morning Duke of Wellington and Duke of York;
the former so communicative that I regretted extremely the length of
time,[414] but have agreed on a correspondence with him. _Trop d'honneur
pour moi_. The Duke of York saw me by appointment. He seems still
mending, and spoke of state affairs as a high Tory. Were his health
good, his spirit is as strong as ever. H.R.H. has a devout horror of the
liberals. Having the Duke of Wellington, the Chancellor, and (perhaps) a
still greater person on his side, he might make a great fight when they
split, as split they will. But Canning, Huskisson, and a mitigated party
of Liberaux will probably beat them. Canning's will and eloquence are
almost irresistible. But then the Church, justly alarmed for their
property, which is plainly struck at, and the bulk of the landed
interest, will scarce brook a mild infusion of Whiggery into the
Administration. Well, time will show.

We visited our friends Peel, Lord Gwydyr, Arbuthnot, etc., and left our
tickets of adieu. In no instance, during my former visits to London, did
I ever meet with such general attention and respect on all sides.

Lady Louisa Stuart dined--also Wright and Mr. and Mrs. Christie. Dr. and
Mrs. Hughes came in the evening; so ended pleasantly our last night in

[_Oxford_,] _November_ 20.--Left London after a comfortable breakfast,
and an adieu to the Lockhart family. If I had had but comfortable hopes
of their poor, pale, prostrate child, so clever and so interesting, I
should have parted easily on this occasion, but these misgivings
overcloud the prospect. We reached Oxford by six o'clock, and found
Charles and his friend young Surtees waiting for us, with a good fire in
the chimney, and a good dinner ready to be placed on the table. We had
struggled through a cold, sulky, drizzly day, which deprived of all
charms even the beautiful country near Henley. So we came from cold and
darkness into light and warmth and society. _N.B._--We had neither
daylight nor moonlight to see the view of Oxford from the Maudlin
Bridge, which I used to think one of the most beautiful in the world.

Upon finance I must note that the expense of travelling has mounted
high. I am too old to rough it, and scrub it, nor could I have saved
fifty pounds by doing so. I have gained, however, in health, spirits, in
a new stock of ideas, new combinations, and new views. My
self-consequence is raised, I hope not unduly, by the many flattering
circumstances attending my reception in the two capitals, and I feel
confident in proportion. In Scotland I shall find time for labour and
for economy.

[_Cheltenham_,] _November_ 21.--Breakfasted with Charles in his chambers
[at Brasenose], where he had everything very neat. How pleasant it is
for a father to sit at his child's board! It is like an aged man
reclining under the shadow of the oak which he has planted. My poor
plant has some storms to undergo, but were this expedition conducive to
no more than his entrance into life under suitable auspices, I should
consider the toil and the expense well bestowed. We then sallied out to
see the lions--guides being Charles, and friend Surtees, Mr. John
Hughes, young Mackenzie (Fitz-Colin), and a young companion or two of
Charles's. Remembering the ecstatic feelings with which I visited Oxford
more than twenty-five years since, I was surprised at the comparative
indifference with which I revisited the same scenes. Reginald Heber,
then composing his Prize Poem, and imping his wings for a long flight of
honourable distinction, is now dead in a foreign land--Hodgson and other
able men all entombed. The towers and halls remain, but the voices which
fill them are of modern days. Besides, the eye becomes satiated with
sights, as the full soul loathes the honeycomb. I admired indeed, but my
admiration was void of the enthusiasm which I formerly felt. I remember
particularly having felt, while in the Bodleian, like the Persian
magician who visited the enchanted library in the bowels of the
mountain, and willingly suffered himself to be enclosed in its
recesses,[415] while less eager sages retired in alarm. Now I had some
base thoughts concerning luncheon, which was most munificently supplied
by Surtees [at his rooms in University College], with the aid of the
best ale I ever drank in my life, the real wine of Ceres, and worth that
of Bacchus. Dr. Jenkyns,[416] the vice-chancellor, did me the honour to
call, but I saw him not. I called on Charles Douglas at All-Souls, and
had a chat of an hour with him.[417]

Before three set out for Cheltenham, a long and uninteresting drive,
which we achieved by nine o'clock. My sister-in-law [Mrs. Thomas Scott]
and her daughter instantly came to the hotel, and seem in excellent
health and spirits.

_November_ 22.--Breakfasted and dined with Mrs. Scott, and leaving
Cheltenham at seven, pushed on to Worcester to sleep.

_November_ 23.--Breakfasted at Birmingham, and slept at Macclesfield. As
we came in between ten and eleven, the people of the inn expressed
surprise at our travelling so late, as the general distress of the
manufacturers has rendered many of the lower class desperately
outrageous. The inn was guarded by a special watchman, who alarmed us by
giving his signal of turn out, but it proved to be a poor deserter who
had taken refuge among the carriages, and who was reclaimed by his
sergeant. The people talk gloomily of winter, when the distress of the
poor will be increased.

_November_ 24.--Breakfasted at Manchester. Ere we left, the senior
churchwarden came to offer us his services, to show us the town,
principal manufactures, etc. We declined his polite offer, pleading
haste. I found his opinion about the state of trade more agreeable than
I had ventured to expect. He said times were mending gradually but
steadily, and that the poor-rates were decreasing, of which none can be
so good a judge as the churchwarden. Some months back the people had
been in great discontent on account of the power engines, which they
conceived diminished the demand for operative labour. There was no
politics in their discontent, however, and at present it was
diminishing. We again pressed on--and by dint of exertion reached Kendal
to sleep; thus getting out of the region of the stern, sullen, unwashed
artificers, whom you see lounging sulkily along the streets of the towns
in Lancashire, cursing, it would seem by their looks, the stop of trade
which gives them leisure, and the laws which prevent them employing
their spare time. God's justice is requiting, and will yet further
requite those who have blown up this country into a state of
unsubstantial opulence, at the expense of the health and morals of the
lower classes.

_November_ 25.--Took two pair of horses over the Shap Fells, which are
covered with snow, and by dint of exertion reached Penrith to breakfast.
Then rolled on till we found our own horses at Hawick, and returned to
our own home at Abbotsford about three in the morning. It is well we
made a forced march of about one hundred miles, for I think the snow
would have stopped us had we lingered.

[_Abbotsford_,] _November_ 26.--Consulting my purse, found my good £60
diminished to Quarter less Ten. In purse £8. Naturally reflected how
much expense has increased since I first travelled. My uncle's servant,
during the jaunts we made together while I was a boy, used to have his
option of a shilling per diem for board wages, and usually preferred it
to having his charges borne. A servant nowadays, to be comfortable on
the road, should have 4s. or 4s. 6d. board wages, which before 1790
would have maintained his master. But if this be pitiful, it is still
more so to find the alteration in my own temper. When young, on
returning from such a trip as I have just had, my mind would have loved
to dwell on all I had seen that was rich and rare, or have been placing,
perhaps in order, the various additions with which I had supplied my
stock of information--and now, like a stupid boy blundering over an
arithmetical question half obliterated on his slate, I go stumbling on
upon the audit of pounds, shillings, and pence. Why, the increase of
charge I complain of must continue so long as the value of the thing
represented by cash continues to rise, or as the value of the thing
representing continues to decrease--let the economists settle which is
the right way of expressing the process when groats turn plenty and eggs
grow dear--

    "And so 'twill be when I am gone,
    The increasing charge will still go on,
    And other bards shall climb these hills,
    And curse your charge, _dear_ evening bills."

Well, the skirmish has cost me £200. I wished for information--and I
have had to pay for it. The information is got, the money is spent, and
so this is the only mode of accounting amongst friends.

I have packed my books, etc., to go by cart to Edinburgh to-morrow. I
idled away the rest of the day, happy to find myself at home, which is
home, though never so homely. And mine is not so homely neither; on the
contrary, I have seen in my travels none I liked so well--fantastic in
architecture and decoration if you please--but no real comfort
sacrificed to fantasy. "Ever gramercy my own purse," saith the
song;[418] "Ever gramercy my own house," quoth I.

_November_ 27.--We set off after breakfast, but on reaching Fushie
Bridge at three, found ourselves obliged to wait for horses, all being
gone to the smithy to be roughshod in this snowy weather. So we stayed
dinner, and Peter, coming up with his horses, bowled us into town about
eight. Walter came and supped with us, which diverted some heavy
thoughts. It is impossible not to compare this return to Edinburgh with
others in more happy times. But we should rather recollect under what
distress of mind I took up my lodgings in Mrs. Brown's last summer, and
then the balance weighs deeply on the favourable side. This house is
comfortable and convenient.[419]

[_Edinburgh_,] _November_ 28.--Went to Court and resumed old habits.
Dined with Walter and Jane at Mrs. Jobson's. When we returned were
astonished at the news of ----'s death, and the manner of it; a quieter,
more inoffensive, mild, and staid mind I never knew. He was free from
all these sinkings of the imagination which render those who are liable
to them the victims of occasional low spirits. All belonging to this
gifted, as it is called, but often unhappy, class, must have felt at
times that, but for the dictates of religion, or the natural recoil of
the mind from the idea of dissolution, there have been times when they
would have been willing to throw away life as a child does a broken toy.
But poor ------ was none of these: he was happy in his domestic
relations; and on the very day on which the rash deed was committed was
to have embarked for rejoining his wife and child, whom I so lately saw
anxious to impart to him their improved prospects.

O Lord, what are we--lords of nature? Why, a tile drops from a housetop,
which an elephant would not feel more than the fall of a sheet of
pasteboard, and there lies his lordship. Or something of inconceivably
minute origin, the pressure of a bone, or the inflammation of a particle
of the brain takes place, and the emblem of the Deity destroys himself
or some one else. We hold our health and our reason on terms slighter
than one would desire were it in their choice to hold an Irish cabin.

_November_ 29.--Awaked from horrid dreams to reconsideration of the sad
reality; he was such a kind, obliging, assiduous creature. I thought he
came to my bedside to expostulate with me how I could believe such a
scandal, and I thought I detected that it was but a spirit who spoke, by
the paleness of his look and the blood flowing from his cravat. I had
the nightmare in short, and no wonder.

I felt stupefied all this day, but wrote the necessary letters
notwithstanding. Walter, Jane, and Mrs. Jobson dined with us--but I
could not gather my spirits. But it is nonsense, and contrary to my
system, which is of the stoic school, and I think pretty well
maintained. It is the only philosophy I know or can practise, but it
cannot always keep the helm.

_November_ 30.--I went to the Court, and on my return set in order a
sheet or two of copy. We came back about two--the new form of hearing
counsel makes our sederunt a long one. Dined alone, and worked in the


[385] For an account of M. Chevalier, and an interview in 1815 with
David "of the blood-stained brush," see _Life_, vol. v. p. 87.

[386] Madame de Souza-Botelho, author of _Adèle de Senanges_, and other
works, which formed the subject of an article in the _Edinburgh_, No.
68, written by Moore. At the time Scott met her she had just lost her
second husband, who is remembered by his magnificent editions of
Camoens' _Lusiad_, on which it is said he spent about £4000. Mme. de
Souza died in 1836.

[387] _Hamlet_, Act II. Sc. 2.

[388] The following mixed metaphor is said to have been taken from one
of his speeches:--"Ministers were not to look on like Crocodiles, with
their hands in their breeches' pockets, doing nothing."

[389] The story regarding Castlereagh's Radiant Boy, is that one night,
when he was in barracks and alone, he saw a figure glide from the
fireplace, the face becoming brighter as it approached him. On Lord
Castlereagh stepping forward to meet it, the figure retired again, and
as he advanced it gradually faded from his view. Sir Walter does not
tell us of his friend Stanhope's ghostly experience.

[390] Dryden's _Absalom and Achitophel_--Character of

[391] The name has since been bestowed on the high ground on the bank of
the Seine, on which was built the Palace in connection with the
International Exhibition of 1878.

[392] It should be noted that Scott wrote "manner" not "manners," as in
all previous editions the word is printed. Of Cooper, his latest
American biographer, Mr. Lounsbury, says there was in his manner at
times "a self-assertion that often bordered, or seemed to border, on
arrogance" (p. 79).

Of this interview, Cooper is said to have recorded in after years that
Scott was so obliging as to make him a number of flattering speeches,
which, however, he did not repay in kind, giving, as a reason for has
silence, the words of Dr. Johnson regarding his meeting with George
III.: "It was not for me to bandy compliments with my sovereign." These
two "lions" met on four occasions, viz., on the 3d, 4th, and 6th
November, Scott leaving Paris next day.

It cannot be too widely known that if Scott never derived any profits
from the enormous sale of his works in America, it was not the fault of
his brother author, who urged him repeatedly to try the plan here
proposed. Whether the attempt was made is unknown, but it is amusing to
see one cause of Scott's hesitation was the fear that the American
public would not get his works at the low prices to which they had been

[393] General Monthion.

[394] Fitz-James was great-grandson of James II., and Duras was related
to Feversham, James's general at Sedgemoor. Both died in the same year,

[395] Madame Mirbel, who painted Scott at this time, continued to be a
favourite artist with the French (Bonapartist, Bourbon, and Orleanist)
for the next twenty years. Among her latest sitters (1841) was Scott's
angry correspondent of four months later--General Gourgaud. Madame
Mirbel died in 1849. The portrait alluded to was probably a miniature
which has been engraved at least once--by J.T.Wedgwood.

[396] _Two Gentlemen of Verona_, Act II. Sc. 3.--J.G.L.

[397] The Marshal had visited Scotland in 1825--and Scott saw a good
deal of him under the roof of his kinsman, Mr. Macdonald

[398] Lauriston, the ancient seat of the Laws, so famous in French
history, is very near Edinburgh, and the estate was in their possession
at the time of the Revolution. Two or three cadets of the family were of
the first emigration, and one of them (M. Louis Law) was a frequent
guest of the Poet's father, and afterwards corresponded during many
years with himself. I am not sure whether it was M. Louis Law whose
French designation so much amused the people of Edinburgh. One brother
of the Marquis de Lauriston, however, was styled _Le Chevalier de
Mutton-hole_, this being the name of a village on the Scotch

[399] The Madame de Boufflers best known to the world [Hippolyte de
Saujon Comtesse de Boufflers], the correspondent not only of Walpole,
but of David Hume, must have been nearer a hundred than eighty years of
age at this date, if we are to believe the _Biographie Universelle_,
which gives 1724 as the date of her birth. It does not record her death.
It is known that she took refuge in England during the Revolution; but
Count Paul de Rémusat, who has been consulted on the subject, has kindly
pointed out that the lady of whom Scott speaks must have been the widow
of the Chevalier de Boufflers-Remencourt, known by his poems and
stories. Her maiden name was de Jean de Manville, and her first husband
was a Comte de Sabran. She died in 1827.--See _Correspondance inédite de
la Comtesse de Sabran_, Paris, 8vo, 1875.

[400] Readers who may wish to compare with the visit of 1826 Scott's
impressions of Paris in 1815 will find a brilliant record of the latter
in _Paul's Letters_, xii.-xvi.

[401] A Sunday newspaper started in 1820, to advocate the cause of
George IV., and to vilify the Queen and her friends, male and female.
The first number was published on December 17th, and "told at once from
the convulsed centre to the extremity of the Kingdom. There was talent
of every sort in the paper that could have been desired or devised for
such a purpose. It seemed as if a legion of sarcastic devils had brooded
in Synod over the elements of withering derision." Hook, however, was
the master spirit, the majority of the lampoons in prose, and all the
original poetry in the early volumes from the "Hunting the Hare," were
from his own pen, except, perhaps, "Michael's Dinner," which has been
laid at Canning's door.

Oddly enough Scott appears to have been the indirect means of placing
Hook in the editorial chair. When he was in London, in April 1820, a
nobleman called upon him, and asked if he could find him in Edinburgh
some clever fellow to undertake the editorship of a paper about to be
established. Sir Walter suggested that his Lordship need not go so far
a-field, described Hook's situation, and the impression he had received
of him from his table talk, and his Magazine, the _Arcadian_. This was
all that occurred, but when, towards the end of the year, _John Bull_
electrified London, Sir Walter confessed that he could not help fancying
that his mentioning this man's name had had its consequences.

Hook, in spite of his £2000 per annum for several years from _John
Bull_, and large prices received for his novels, died in poverty in
1841, a prematurely aged man. His sad story may be read in a most
powerful sketch in the _Quarterly Review_, attributed to Mr. Lockhart.

[402] See Beckford's _Vathek_, Hall of Eblis.

[403] Lady Stafford says: "We were so lucky as to have Sir W. Scott here
for a day, and were glad to see him look well, and though perfectly
unaltered by his successes, yet enjoying the satisfaction they must have
given him."--Sharpe's _Letters_, vol. ii. p. 379.

[404] The Right Hon. Thomas Grenville died in 1846 at the age of
ninety-one. He left his noble collection of books to the nation.

[405] The Right Hon. Charles Manners Sutton, afterwards Viscount
Canterbury. He died in 1845.

[406] Mrs. Arbuthnot was Harriet, third daughter of the Hon. H. Fane,
and wife of Charles Arbuthnot, a great friend of the Duke of Wellington.
She died in 1838, Mr. Arbuthnot in 1850.

[407] Sir Walter had recommended George Cranstoun, his early friend, one
of the brethren of _the mountain_, who succeeded Lord Hermand, and took
his seat on the Scotch bench before the end of the month. The
appointment satisfied both political parties, though Cockburn said that
"his removal was a great loss to the bar which he had long adorned, and
where he had the entire confidence of the public." An admirable sketch
of Cranstoun is given in No. 32 of _Peter's Letters_. He retired in
1839, and died at Corehouse, his picturesque seat on the Clyde, in 1850.

[408] This striking paper was afterwards printed in full under the
title, "Memorandum on the War in Russia in 1812," in the _Despatches_
edited by his Son (Dec. 1823 to May 1827), Murray, 1868, vol. i. 8vo,
pp. 1-53. Sir Walter Scott's letter to the Duke on the subject is given
at p. 590 of the same volume, and see this Journal under Feb. 15, 1827.

[409] In returning from this dinner Sir Walter said, "I have seen some
of these great men at the same table _for the last time_."--J.G.L.

[410] Mr. William Wright, Barrister, Lincoln's Inn.--See _Life_, vol.
viii. p. 84.

[411] Milton's _L'Allegro._--J.G.L.

[412] A murder committed in 1817. The accused claimed the privilege of
_Wager of Battle_, which was allowed by the Court for the last time, as
the law was abolished in 1819.--See _Notes and Queries_, 2d series, vol.
xi. pp. 88, 259, 317, and p. 431 for a curious account of the
bibliography of this very singular case.

[413] _Othello_,--J.G.L.

[414] Sir Walter no doubt means that he regretted not having seen the
Duke at an earlier period of his historical labours.--J.G.L.

[415] See Weber's _Tales of the East_, 3 vols. 8vo, Edin. 1812. _History
of Avicene_, vol. ii. pp. 452-457.

[416] Dr. Richard Jenkyns, Master of Balliol College.--J.G.L.

[417] Charles Douglas succeeded his brother, Baron Douglas of Douglas,
in 1844.


  "But of all friends in field or town, Ever gramercy," etc.

    _Dame Juliana Berners_.

[419] A furnished house in Walker Street which he had taken for the
winter (No. 3).


_December_ 1[420].--The Court again very long in its sitting, and I
obliged to remain till the last. This is the more troublesome, as in
winter, with my worn-out eyes, I cannot write so well by candle-light.
Naboclish! when I am quite blind, _good-night to you_, as the one-eyed
fellow said when a tennis ball knocked out his remaining luminary. My
short residue of time before dinner was much cut up by calls--all old
friends, too, and men whom I love; but this makes the loss of time more
galling, that one cannot and dare not growl at those on whom it has been
bestowed. However, I made out two hours better than I expected. I am now
once more at my oar, and I will row hard.

_December_ 2.--Returned early from Court, but made some calls by the
way. Dined alone with Anne, and meant to have worked, but--I don't know
how--this horrid story stuck by me, so I e'en read Boutourlin's account
of the Moscow campaign to eschew the foul fiend.

_December_ 3.--Wrote five pages before dinner. Sir Thomas Brisbane and
Sir William Arbuthnot called, also John A. Murray. William dined with
us, all vivid with his Italian ideas, only Jane besides. Made out five
pages, I think, or nearly.

_December_ 4.--Much colded, which is no usual complaint of mine, but
worked about five leaves, so I am quite up with my task-work and better.
But my books from Abbotsford have not arrived. Dined with the Royal
Society Club--about thirty members present--too many for company. After
coffee, the Society were like _Mungo_ in _The Padlock_.[421] I listened,
without understanding a single word, to two scientific papers; one about
the tail of a comet, and the other about a chucky-stone; besides hearing
Basil Hall describe, and seeing him exhibit, a new azimuth. I have half
a mind to cut the whole concern; and yet the situation is honourable,
and, as Bob Acres says, one should think of their honour. We took
possession of our new rooms on the Mound, which are very handsome and

_December_ 5.--Annoyed with the cold and its consequences all night, and
wish I could shirk the Court this morning. But it must not be. Was kept
late, and my cold increased. I have had a regular attack of this for
many years past whenever I return to the sedentary life and heated rooms
of Edinburgh, which are so different from the open air and constant
exercise of the country. Odd enough that during cold weather and cold
nocturnal journeys the cold never touched me, yet I am no sooner settled
in comfortable quarters and warm well-aired couches, but _la voilà_. I
made a shift to finish my task, however, and even a leaf more, so we
are bang up. We dined and supped alone, and I went to bed early.

_December_ 6.--A bad and disturbed night with fever, headache, and some
touch of cholera morbus, which greatly disturbed my slumbers. But I
fancy Nature was scouring the gun after her own fashion. I slept little
till morning, and then lay abed, contrary to my wont, until half-past
nine o'clock, when I came down to breakfast. Went to Court, and returned
time enough to write about five leaves. Dined at Skene's, where we met
Lord Elgin and Mr. Stewart, a son of Sir M. Shaw Stewart, whom I knew
and liked, poor man. Talked among other things and persons of Sir J.
Campbell of Ardkinglas, who is now here.[422] He is happy in escaping
from his notorious title of Callander of Craigforth. In my youth he was
a black-leg and swindler of the first water, and like Pistol did

    "Somewhat lean to cut-purse of quick hand."[423]

He was obliged to give up his estate to his son Colonel Callander, a
gentleman of honour, and as Dad went to the Continent in the midst of
the French Revolution, he is understood to have gone through many
scenes. At one time, Lord Elgin assured us, he seized upon the island of
Zante, as he pretended, by direct authority from the English Government,
and reigned there very quietly for some months, until, to appease the
jealousy of the Turks, Lord Elgin despatched a frigate to dethrone the
new sovereign. Afterwards he traversed India in the dress of a fakir. He
is now eighty and upwards.

I should like to see what age and adventures have done upon him. I
recollect him a very handsome, plausible man. Of all good breeding, that
of a swindler (of good education, be it understood) is the most perfect.

_December_ 7.--Again a very disturbed night, scarce sleeping an hour,
yet well when I rose in the morning. I did not do above a leaf to-day,
because I had much to read. But I am up to one-fourth of the volume, of
400 pages, which I began on the first December current; the 31st must
and shall see the end of vol. vi. We dined alone. I had a book sent me
by a very clever woman, in defence of what she calls the rights of her
sex. Clever, though. I hope she will publish it.

_December_ 8.--Another restless and deplorable Knight--night I should
say--faith, either spelling will suit. Returned early, but much done up
with my complaint and want of sleep last night. I wrought however, but
with two or three long interruptions, my drowsiness being irresistible.
Went to dine with John Murray, where met his brother Henderland,
Jeffrey, Harry Cockburn, Rutherfurd, and others of that file. Very
pleasant--capital good cheer and excellent wine--much laugh and fun.

_December_ 9.--I do not know why it is that when I am with a party of my
Opposition friends, the day is often merrier than when with our own set.
Is it because they are cleverer? Jeffrey and Harry Cockburn are, to be
sure, very extraordinary men, yet it is not owing to that entirely. I
believe both parties meet with the feeling of something like novelty. We
have not worn out our jests in daily contact. There is also a
disposition on such occasions to be courteous, and of course to be
pleased. Wrought all day, but rather dawdled, being abominably drowsy. I
fancy it is bile, a visitor I have not had this long time.

_December_ 10.--An uncomfortable and sleepless night; and the lime water
assigned to cure me seems far less pleasant, and about as inefficacious
as lime punch would be in the circumstances. I felt main stupid the
whole forenoon, and though I wrote my task, yet it was with great
intervals of drowsiness and fatigue which made me, as we Scots says,
dover away in my arm-chair. Walter and Jane came to dinner, also my Coz
Colonel Russell, and above and attour[424] James Ballantyne, poor
fellow. We had a quiet and social evening, I acting on prescription.
Well, I have seen the day--but no matter.

_December_ 11.--Slept indifferent well with a feverish halo about me,
but no great return of my complaint. It paid it off this morning,
however, but the difference was of such consequence that I made an ample
day's work, getting over six pages, besides what I may do. On this, the
11th December, I shall have more than one-third of vol. vi. finished,
which was begun on the first of this current month. Dined quiet and at
home. I must take no more frisks till this fit is over.

    "When once life's day draws near the gloaming,
    Then farewell careless social roaming;
    And farewell cheerful tankards foaming,
                          And social noise;
    And farewell dear deluding woman,
                          The joy of joys!"[425]

Long life to thy fame and peace to thy soul, Rob Burns! When I want to
express a sentiment which I feel strongly, I find the phrase in
Shakespeare--or thee. The blockheads talk of my being like
Shakespeare--not fit to tie his brogues.[426]

_December_ 12.--Did not go to the Parliament House, but drove with
Walter to Dalkeith, where we missed the Duke, and found Mr. Blakeney.
One thing I saw there which pleased me much, and that was my own
picture, painted twenty years ago by Raeburn for Constable, and which
was to have been brought to sale among the rest of the wreck, hanging
quietly up in the dining-room at Dalkeith.[427] I do not care much about
these things, yet it would have been annoying to have been knocked down
to the best bidder even in effigy; and I am obliged to the friendship
and delicacy which placed the portrait where it now is. Dined at Archie
Swinton's, with all the cousins of that honest clan, and met Lord
Cringletie,[428] his wife, and others. Finished my task this day.

_December_ 13.--Went to the Court this morning early, and remained till
past three. Then attended a meeting of the Edinburgh Academy Directors
on account of some discussion about flogging. I am an enemy to corporal
punishment, but there are many boys who will not attend without it. It
is an instant and irresistible motive, and I love boys' heads too much
to spoil them at the expense of their opposite extremity. Then, when
children feel an emancipation on this point, we may justly fear they
will loosen the bonds of discipline altogether. The master, I fear, must
be something of a despot at the risk of his becoming something like a
tyrant. He governs subjects whose keen sense of the present is not
easily ruled by any considerations that are not pressing and immediate.
I was indifferently well beaten at school; but I am now quite certain
that twice as much discipline would have been well bestowed.

Dined at home with Walter and Jane; they with Anne went out in the
evening, I remained, but not I fear to work much. I feel sorely fagged.
I am sadly fagged. Then I cannot get ----'s fate out of my head. I see
that kind, social, beneficent face never turned to me without respect
and complacence, and--I see it in the agonies of death. This is
childish; I tell myself so, and I trust the feeling to no one else. But
here it goes down like the murderer who could not cease painting the
ideal vision of the man he had murdered, and who he supposed haunted
him. A thousand fearful images and dire suggestions glance along the
mind when it is moody and discontented with itself. Command them to
stand and show themselves, and you presently assert the power of reason
over imagination. But if by any strange alterations in one's nervous
system you lost for a moment the talisman which controls these fiends,
would they not terrify into obedience with their mandates, rather than
we would dare longer to endure their presence?

_December_ 14.--Annoyed with this cursed complaint, though I live like a
hermit on pulse and water. Bothered, too, with the Court, which leaves
me little room for proof-sheets, and none for copy. They sat to-day till
past two, so before I had walked home, and called for half an hour on
the Chief Commissioner, the work part of the day was gone; and then my
lassitude--I say lassitude--not indolence--is so great that it costs me
an hour's nap after I come home. We dined to-day with R. Dundas of
Arniston--Anne and I. There was a small cabal about Cheape's election
for Professor of Civil Law, which it is thought we can carry for him. He
deserves support, having been very indifferently used in the affair of
the _Beacon_,[429] where certain high Tories showed a great desire to
leave him to the mercy of the enemy; as _Feeble_ says, "I will never
bear a base mind."[430] We drank some "victorious Burgundy," contrary to
all prescription.

_December_ 15.--Egad! I think I am rather better for my good cheer! I
have passed one quiet night at least, and that is something gained. A
glass of good wine is a gracious creature, and reconciles poor mortality
to itself, and that is what few things can do.

Our election went off very decently; no discussions or aggravating
speeches. Sir John Jackass seconded the Whig's nominee. So much they
will submit to to get a vote. The numbers stood--Cheape,[431] 138; Bell,
132. Majority, 6--mighty hard run. The Tory interest was weak among the
old stagers, where I remember it so strong, but preferment, country
residence, etc., has thinned them. Then it was strong in the younger
classes. The new Dean, James Moncreiff,[432] presided with strict
propriety and impartiality. Walter and Jane dined with us.

_December_ 16.--Another bad night. I remember I used to think a slight
illness was a luxurious thing. My pillow was then softened by the hand
of affection, and all the little cares which were put in exercise to
soothe the languor or pain were more flattering and pleasing than the
consequences of the illness were disagreeable. It was a new sense to be
watched and attended, and I used to think that the _Malade imaginaire_
gained something by his humour. It is different in the latter stages.
The old post-chaise gets more shattered and out of order at every turn;
windows will not be pulled up; doors refuse to open, or being open will
not shut again--which last is rather my case. There is some new subject
of complaint every moment; your sicknesses come thicker and thicker;
your comforting or sympathising friends fewer and fewer; for why should
they sorrow for the course of nature? The recollection of youth, health,
and uninterrupted powers of activity, neither improved nor enjoyed, is a
poor strain of comfort. The best is, the long halt will arrive at last,
and cure all.

We had a long sitting in the Court. Came home through a cold easterly
rain without a greatcoat, and was well wet. A goodly medicine for my
aching bones.[433] Dined at Mr. Adam Wilson's, and had some good singing
in the evening. Saw Dr. Stokoe, who attended Boney in Saint Helena, a
plain, sensible sort of man.[434]

_December_ 17.--This was a day of labour, agreeably varied by a pain
which rendered it scarce possible to sit upright. My Journal is getting
a vile chirurgical aspect.

I begin to be afraid of the odd consequences complaints in the _post
equitem_ are said to produce. Walter and Jane dined. Mrs. Skene came in
the evening.

_December_ 18.--Almost sick with pain, and it stops everything. I shall
tire of my Journal if it is to contain nothing but biles and plasters
and unguents. In my better days I had stories to tell; but death has
closed the long dark avenue upon loves and friendships; and I can only
look at them as through the grated door of a long burial-place filled
with monuments of those who were once dear to me, with no insincere wish
that it may open for me at no distant period, provided such be the will
of God. My pains were those of the heart, and had something flattering
in their character; if in the head, it was from the blow of a bludgeon
gallantly received and well paid back.

I went to the meeting of the Commissioners;[435] there was none to-day.
The carriage had set me down; so I walked from the college in one of the
sourest and most unsocial days which I ever felt. Why should I have
liked this? I do not know; it is my dogged humour to yield little to
external circumstances. Sent an excuse to the Royal Society, however.

_December_ 19.--Went to Court. No, I lie; I had business there. Wrote a
task; no more; could not. Went out to Dalkeith, and dined with the Duke.
It delights me to hear this hopeful young nobleman talk with sense and
firmness about his plans for improving his estate, and employing the
poor. If God and the world spare him, he will be far known as a true
Scots lord.[436]

_December_ 20.--Being a Teind day, I had a little repose. We dined at
Hector Macdonald's with William Clerk and some youngsters. Highland
hospitality as usual. I got some work done to-day.

_December_ 21.--In the house till two o'clock nearly. Came home,
corrected proof-sheets, etc., mechanically. All well, would the machine
but keep in order, but "The spinning wheel is auld and stiff."

I think I shall not live to the usual verge of human existence. I shall
never see the threescore and ten, and shall be summed up at a discount.
No help for it, and no matter either.

_December_ 22.--Poor old Honour and Glory dead--once Lord Moira, more
lately Lord Hastings. He was a man of very considerable talents, but had
an overmastering degree of vanity of the grossest kind. It followed of
course that he was gullible. In fact the propensity was like a ring in
his nose into which any rogue might put a string. He had a high
reputation for war, but it was after the pettifogging hostilities in
America where he had done some clever things. He died, having the
credit, or rather having had the credit, to leave more debt than any man
since Caesar's time. £1,200,000 is said to be the least. There was a
time that I knew him well, and regretted the foibles which mingled with
his character, so as to make his noble qualities sometimes questionable,
sometimes ridiculous. He was always kind to me. Poor Plantagenet! Young
Percival went out to dine at Dalkeith with me.

_December_ 24.--To add to my other grievances I have this day a proper
fit of rheumatism in my best knee. I pushed to Abbotsford, however,
after the Court rose, though compelled to howl for pain as they helped
me out of the carriage.

[_Abbotsford_,] _December_ 25.--By dint of abstinence and opodeldoc I
passed a better night than I could have hoped for; but took up my
lodging in the chapel room, as it is called, for going upstairs was

To-day I have been a mere wretch. I lay in bed till past eleven,
thinking to get rid of the rheumatism; then I walked as far as Turnagain
with much pain, and since that time I have just roasted myself like a
potato by the fireside in my study, slumbering away my precious time,
and unable to keep my eyes open or my mind intent on anything, if I
would have given my life for it. I seemed to sleep tolerably, too, last
night, but I suppose Nature had not her dues properly paid; neither has
she for some time.

I saw the filling up of the quarry on the terrace walk, and was pleased.
Anne and I dined at Mertoun, as has been my old wont and use as
Christmas day comes about. We were late in setting out, and I have
rarely seen so dark a night. The mist rolled like volumes of smoke on
the road before us.

_December_ 26.--Returned to Abbotsford this morning. I heard it reported
that Lord B. is very ill. If that be true it affords ground for hope
that Sir John ------ is not immortal. Both great bores. But the Earl has
something of wild cleverness, far exceeding the ponderous stupidity of
the Cavaliero Jackasso.

_December_ 27.--Still weak with this wasting illness, but it is clearly
going off. Time it should, quoth Sancho. I began my work again, which
had slumbered betwixt pain and weakness. In fact I could not write or
compose at all.

_December_ 28.--Stuck to my work. Mr. Scrope came to dinner, and
remained next day. We were expecting young Percival and his wife, once
my favourite and beautiful Nancy M'Leod, and still a very fine woman;
but they came not.

In bounced G. T[homson], alarmed by an anonymous letter, which
acquainted him that thirty tents full of Catholics were coming to
celebrate high mass in the Abbey church; and to consult me on such a
precious document he came prancing about seven at night. I hope to get
him a kirk before he makes any extraordinary explosion of simplicity.

_December_ 29.--Mr. and Mrs. Percival came to-day. He is son of the late
lamented statesman, equally distinguished by talents and integrity. The
son is a clever young man, and has read a good deal; pleasant, too, in
society; but tampers with phrenology, which is unworthy of his father's
son. There is a certain kind of cleverish men, either half educated or
cock-brained by nature, who are attached to that same turnipology. I am
sorry this gentleman should take such whims--sorry even for his name's
sake. Walter and Jane arrived; so our Christmas party thickens. Sir Adam
and Colonel Ferguson dined.

_December_ 30.--Wrote and wrought hard, then went out a drive with Mr.
and Mrs. Percival; and went round by the lake. If my days of good
fortune should ever return I will lay out some pretty rides at

Last day of an eventful year; much evil and some good; but especially
the courage to endure what Fortune sends without becoming a pipe for her

It is _not_ the last day of the year, but to-morrow being Sunday we hold
our festival of neighbours to-day instead. The Fergusons came _en
masse_, and we had all the usual appliances of mirth and good cheer. Yet
our party, like the chariot-wheels of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, dragged

Some of the party grow old and infirm; others thought of the absence of
the hostess, whose reception of her guests was always kind. We did as
well as we could, however.

    "It's useless to murmur and pout--
    There's no good in making ado;
    'Tis well the old year is out,
    And time to begin a new."

_December_ 31.--It must be allowed that the regular recurrence of annual
festivals among the same individuals has, as life advances, something in
it that is melancholy. We meet on such occasions like the survivors of
some perilous expedition, wounded and weakened ourselves, and looking
through the diminished ranks of those who remain, while we think of
those who are no more. Or they are like the feasts of the Caribs, in
which they held that the pale and speechless phantoms of the deceased
appeared and mingled with the living. Yet where shall we fly from vain
repining? Or why should we give up the comfort of seeing our friends,
because they can no longer be to us, or we to them, what we once were to
each other?


[420] During the winter of 1826-7 Sir Walter suffered great pain (enough
to have disturbed effectually any other man's labours, whether official
or literary) from successive attacks of rheumatism, which seems to have
been fixed on him by the wet sheets of one of his French inns; and his
Diary contains, besides, various indications that his constitution was
already shaking under the fatigue to which he had subjected it.
Formerly, however great the quantity of work he put through his hands,
his evenings were almost all reserved for the light reading of an
elbow-chair, or the enjoyment of his family and friends. Now he seemed
to grudge every minute that was not spent at his desk. The little that
he read of new books, or for mere amusement, was done by snatches in the
course of his meals; and to walk, when he could walk at all, to the
Parliament House, and back again through the Princes Street Gardens, was
his only exercise and his only relaxation. Every ailment, of whatever
sort, ended in aggravating his lameness; and, perhaps, the severest test
his philosophy encountered was the feeling of bodily helplessness that
from week to week crept upon him. The winter, to make bad worse, was a
very cold and stormy one. The growing sluggishness of his blood showed
itself in chilblains, not only on the feet but the fingers, and his
handwriting becomes more and more cramped and confused.--_Life_, vol.
ix. pp. 58-9.

[421] See Bickerstaff's Comic Opera, _The Padlock_.

[422] This gentleman published his own Memoirs (2 vols. 8vo, Lond.
1832). They read like chapters from the _Arabian Nights_. He gives a
somewhat different account of his occupation of Zante, which he says was
effected at Nelson's suggestion, and by Lord Keith's authority. Sir
James died in 1832 at a very great age.

[423] _Henry V_. Act v. Sc. 1.

[424] For _By and attour_, i.e. over and above.

[425] Burns's lines to J. Smith.

[426] Delta's lines on Leslie's portrait of Scott may be recorded

  Brother of Homer and of him
  On Avon's shore, mid twilight dim,
  Who dreamed immortal dreams, and took
  From Nature's hand her picture book;
  Time hath not seen, Time may not see,
  Till ends his reign, a third like thee.

[427] Now at Bowhill.

[428] James Wolfe Murray succeeded Lord Meadowbank on the Bench as Lord
Cringletie, in November 1816, and died in 1836.

[429] A Party Newspaper started by the Tories in Edinburgh at the
beginning of 1821. It was suppressed in the month of August, but during
the interval contrived to give great offence to the Whig leaders by its
personality. Lockhart says of it that "a more pitiable mass of blunders
and imbecility was never heaped together than the whole of this affair
exhibited;" and Scott, who was one of its founders, along with the Lord
Advocate and other official persons, wrote to Erskine, "I am terribly
malcontent about the _Beacon_. I was dragged into the bond against all
reasons I could make, and now they have allowed me no vote regarding
standing or flying. _Entre nous_, our friends went into the thing like
fools, and came out very like cowards." The wretched libels it contained
cost Sir A. Boswell his life, and for a moment endangered that of
Scott.--See _Life_, vol. vi. pp. 426-429, and Cockburn's _Memorials_, p.

[430] _2 Henry IV_. Act III. Sc. 2.

[431] Douglas Cheape, whose Introductory Lecture was published in 1827.
Mr. Cheape died in 1861.

[432] James Moncreiff, son of the Rev. Sir Henry Wellwood. The new Dean
succeeded Lord Alloway on the Scotch Bench in 1829, and died in 1851.
Cockburn writes of him thus:--"During the twenty-one years he was on the
civil and criminal benches, he performed all his duties admirably.
Law-learning and law-reasoning, industry, honesty, and high-minded
purity could do no more for any judge. After forty years of unbroken
friendship, it is a pleasure to record my love of the man, and my
admiration of his character."--_Journals_, vol. ii, p. 264.

[433] _Troilus and Cressida_, Act v. Sc. 2.

[434] Dr. Stokoe, who had settled at Durham, died suddenly at York in
1852. He had been surgeon in the fleet at Trafalgar, and was afterwards
appointed to St. Helena.

[435] The University Commission.--See _ante_, pp. 256, 257.

[436] The long life of Walter, fifth Duke of Buccleuch, more than
fulfilled the hopes and prognostics of his friend. A "true Scots lord,"
he carried with him to the grave in 1884 the love and respect of his

[437] _Hamlet_, Act III. Sc. 2.--J.G.L.



_January_ 1.--God make this a happy year to the King and country, and to
all honest men!

I went with all our family to-day to dine as usual at the kind house of
Huntly Burn; but the same cloud which hung over us on Saturday still had
its influence. The effect of grief upon [those] who, like myself and Sir
A.F., are highly susceptible of humour, has, I think, been finely
touched by Wordsworth in the character of the merry village teacher
Matthew, whom Jeffrey profanely calls the hysterical schoolmaster.[438]
But, with my friend Jeffrey's pardon, I think he loves to see
imagination best when it is bitted and managed and ridden upon, the
_grand pas_. He does not make allowance for starts and sallies and
bounds when Pegasus is beautiful to behold, though sometimes perilous to
his rider. Not that I think the amiable bard of Rydal shows judgment in
choosing such subjects as the popular mind cannot sympathise in. It is
unwise and unjust to himself. I do not compare myself, in point of
imagination, with Wordsworth--far from it; for [his] is naturally
exquisite, and highly cultivated by constant exercise. But I can see as
many castles in the clouds as any man, as many genii in the curling
smoke of a steam engine, as perfect a Persepolis in the embers of a
sea-coal fire. My life has been spent in such day-dreams. But I cry no
roast-meat. There are times a man should remember what Rousseau used to
say: _Tais-toi, Jean-Jacques, car on ne t'entend pas_![439]

_January 2_.--I had resolved to mark down no more griefs and groans,
but I must needs briefly state that I am nailed to my chair like the
unhappy Theseus. The rheumatism, exasperated by my sortie of yesterday,
has seized on my only serviceable knee--and I am, by Proserpine,
motionless as an anvil. Leeches and embrocations are all I have for it.
_Diable_! there was a twinge. The Russells and Fergusons here; but I was
fairly driven off the pit after dinner, and compelled to retreat to my
own bed, there to howl till morning like a dog in his solitary cabin.

_January_ 3.--Mending slowly. Two things are comfortable--1_st_, I lose
no good weather out of doors, for the ground is covered with snow; 2_d_,
That, by exerting a little stoicism, I can make my illness promote the
advance of _Nap_. As I can scarcely stand, however, I am terribly
awkward at consulting books, maps, etc. The work grows under my hand,
however; vol. vi. [_Napoleon_] will be finished this week, I believe.
Russells being still with us, I was able by dint of handing and chairing
to get to the dining-room and the drawing-room in the evening.

Talking of Wordsworth, he told Anne and me a story, the object of which
was to show that Crabbe had not imagination. He, Sir George Beaumont,
and Wordsworth were sitting together in Murray the bookseller's
back-room. Sir George, after sealing a letter, blew out the candle,
which had enabled him to do so, and, exchanging a look with Wordsworth,
began to admire in silence the undulating thread of smoke which slowly
arose from the expiring wick, when Crabbe put on the extinguisher. Anne
laughed at the instance, and inquired if the taper was wax, and being
answered in the negative, seemed to think that there was no call on Mr.
Crabbe to sacrifice his sense of smell to their admiration of beautiful
and evanescent forms. In two other men I should have said "this is
affectations,"[440] with Sir Hugh Evans; but Sir George is the man in
the world most void of affectation; and then he is an exquisite painter,
and no doubt saw where the _incident_ would have succeeded in painting.
The error is not in you yourself receiving deep impressions from slight
hints, but in supposing that precisely the same sort of impression must
arise in the mind of men otherwise of kindred feeling, or that the
commonplace folks of the world can derive such inductions at any time or
under any circumstances.

_January_ 4.--My enemy gained some strength during the watches of the
night, but has again succumbed under scalding fomentations of camomile
flowers. I still keep my state, for my knee, though it has ceased to
pain me, is very feeble. We began to fill the ice-house to-day. Dine
alone--_en famille_, that is, Jane, Anne, Walter, and I. Why, this makes
up for _aiches_, as poor John Kemble used to call them. After tea I
broke off work, and read my young folks the farce of the _Critic_, and
"merry folks were we."

_January_ 5.--I waked, or _aked_ if you please, for five or six hours I
think, then fevered a little. I am better though, God be thanked, and
can now shuffle about and help myself to what I want without ringing
every quarter of an hour. It is a fine clear sunny day; I should like to
go out, but flannel and poultices cry nay. So I drudge away with the
assisting of Pelet, who has a real French head, believing all he desires
should be true, and affirming all he wishes should be believed. Skenes
(Mr. and Mrs., with Miss Jardine) arrived about six o'clock. Skene very
rheumatic, as well as I am.

_January_ 6.--Worked till dusk, but not with much effect; my head and
mind not clear somehow. W. Laidlaw at dinner. In the evening read
Foote's farce of the _Commissary,_ said to have been levelled at Sir
Lawrence Dundas; but Sir Lawrence was a man of family. Walter and Jane
dined at Mertoun.

_January_ 7.--Wrought till twelve, then sallied and walked with Skene
for two miles; home and corrected proofs, and to a large amount. Mr.
Scrope and George Thomson dined.

_January_ 8.--Slept well last night in consequence I think of my walk,
which I will, God willing, repeat to-day. I wrote some letters too long
delayed, and sent off my packets to J.B. Letter from C. Sharpe very
pressing. I should employ my interest at Windsor to oppose the
alterations on the town of Edinburgh. "One word from you, and all that."
I don't think I shall speak that word though. I hate the alterations,
that is certain; but then _ne accesseris in consilium nisi
vocatus_,--what is the use of my volunteering an opinion? Again, the
value of many people's property may depend on this plan going forward.
Have I a right from mere views of amenity to interfere with those
serious interests? I something doubt it. Then I have always said that I
never meddle in such work, and ought I _sotto voce_ now to begin it? By
my faith I won't; there are enough to state the case besides me.[441]

The young Duke of B. came in to bid us good-bye, as he is going off to
England. God bless him! He is a hawk of a good nest. Afterwards I walked
to the Welsh pool, Skene declining to go, for I

    "-----not over stout of limb,
    Seem stronger of the two."

_January_ 9.--This morning received the long-expected news of the Duke
of York's death.[442] I am sorry both on public and private accounts.
His R.H. was, while he occupied the situation of next in the royal
succession, a _Breakwater_ behind the throne. I fear his brother of
Clarence's opinions may be different, and that he will hoist a standard
under which will rendezvous men of desperate hopes and evil designs. I
am sorry, too, on my own account. The Duke of York was uniformly kind to
me, and though I never tasked his friendship deeply, yet I find a
powerful friend is gone. His virtues were honour, good sense, integrity;
and by exertion of these qualities he raised the British army from a
very low ebb to be the pride and dread of Europe. His errors were those
of a sanguine and social temper; he could not resist the temptation of
deep play, which was fatally allied with a disposition to the bottle.
This last is incident to his complaint, which vinous influence soothes
for the time, while it insidiously increases it in the end.

Here blows a gale of wind. I was to go to Galashiels to settle some
foolish lawsuit, and afterwards to have been with Mr. Kerr of Kippilaw
to treat about a march-dike. I shall content myself with the first duty,
for this day does not suit Bowden-moor.

Went over to Galashiels like the devil in a gale of wind, and found a
writer contesting with half-a-dozen unwashed artificers the possession
of a piece of ground the size and shape of a three-cornered
pocket-handkerchief. Tried to "gar them gree," and if I succeed, I shall
think I deserve something better than the _touch of rheumatism_, which
is like to be my only reward.

Scotts of Harden and John Pringle of Clifton dined, and we got on very

_January_ 10.--Enter rheumatism, and takes me by the knee. So much for
playing the peacemaker in a shower of rain. Nothing for it but patience,
cataplasm of camomile, and labour in my own room the whole day till
dinner-time--then company and reading in the evening.

_January_ 11.--Ditto repeated. I should have thought I would have made
more of these solitary days than I find I can do. A morning, or two or
three hours before dinner, have often done more efficient work than six
or seven of these hours of languor, I cannot say of illness, can
produce. A bow that is slackly strung will never send an arrow very far.
Heavy snow. We are engaged at Mr. Scrope's, but I think I shall not be
able to go. I remained at home accordingly, and, having nothing else to
do, worked hard and effectively. I believe my sluggishness was partly
owing to the gnawing rheumatic pain in my knee, for after all I am of
opinion pain is an evil, let Stoics say what they will. Thank God, it is
an evil which is mending with me.

_January_ 12.--All this day occupied with camomile poultices and pen and
ink. It is now four o'clock, and I have written yesterday and to-day ten
of my pages--that is, one-tenth of one of these large volumes--moreover,
I have corrected three proof-sheets. I wish it may not prove fool's
haste, yet I take as much pains too as is in my nature.

_January_ 13.--The Fergusons, with my neighbours Mr. Scrope and Mr.
Bainbridge and young Hume, eat a haunch of venison from Drummond Castle,
and seemed happy. We had music and a little dancing, and enjoyed in
others the buoyancy of spirit that we no longer possess ourselves. Yet I
do not think the young people of this age so gay as we were. There is a
turn for persiflage, a fear of ridicule among them, which stifles the
honest emotions of gaiety and lightness of spirit; and people, when they
give in the least to the expansion of their natural feelings, are always
kept under by the fear of becoming ludicrous. To restrain your feelings
and check your enthusiasm in the cause even of pleasure is now a rule
among people of fashion, as much as it used to be among philosophers.

_January_ 14.--Well--my holidays are out--and I may count my gains and
losses as honest Robinson Crusoe used to balance his accounts of good
and evil.

I have not been able, during three weeks, to stir above once or twice
from the house. But then I have executed a great deal of work, which
would be otherwise unfinished.

Again I have sustained long and sleepless nights and much pain. True;
but no one is the worse of the thoughts which arise in the watches of
the night; and for pain, the complaint which brought on this rheumatism
was not so painful perhaps, but was infinitely more disagreeable and

Something there has been of dulness in our little reunions of society
which did not use to cloud them. But I have seen all my own old and kind
friends, with my dear children (Charles alone excepted); and if we did
not rejoice with perfect joy, it was overshadowed from the same sense of

Again, this new disorder seems a presage of the advance of age with its
infirmities. But age is but the cypress avenue which terminates in the
tomb, where the weary are at rest.

I have been putting my things to rights to go off to-morrow. Though I
always wonder why it should be so, I feel a dislike to order and to
task-work of all kinds--a predominating foible in my disposition. I do
not mean that it influences me in morals; for even in youth I had a
disgust at gross irregularities of any kind, and such as I ran into were
more from compliance with others and a sort of false shame, than any
pleasure I sought or found in dissipation. But what I mean is a
detestation of precise order in petty matters--in reading or answering
letters, in keeping my papers arranged and in order, and so on. Weber,
and then Gordon, used to keep my things in some order--now they are
verging to utter confusion. And then I have let my cash run ahead since
I came from the Continent--I must slump the matter as I can.

_[Shandwick Place,] January_ 15.--- Off we came, and despite of
rheumatism I got through the journey comfortably. Greeted on my arrival
by a number of small accounts whistling like grape-shot; they are of no
great avail, and incurred, I see, chiefly during the time of illness.
But I believe it will take me some hard work till I pay them, and how to
get the time to work? It will be hard purchased if, as I think not
unlikely, this bitch of a rheumatism should once more pin me to my
chair. Coming through Galashiels, we met the Laird of Torwoodlee, who,
on hearing how long I had been confined, asked how I bore it, observing
that he had once in his life (Torwoodlee must be between sixty and
seventy) been confined for five days to the house, and was like to hang
himself. I regret God's free air as much as any man, but I could amuse
myself were it in the Bastile.

_January_ 16.--Went to Court, and returned through a curious atmosphere,
half mist, half rain, famous for rheumatic joints. Yet I felt no
increase of my plaguey malady, but, on the contrary, am rather better. I
had need, otherwise a pair of crutches for life were my prettiest help.

Walter dined with us to-day, Jane remaining with her mother. The good
affectionate creatures leave us to-morrow. God send them a quick passage
through the Irish Channel! They go to Gort, where Walter's troop is
lying--a long journey for winter days.

_January_ 17.--Another proper day of mist, sleet, and rain, through
which I navigated homeward. I imagine the distance to be a mile and a
half. It is a good thing to secure as much exercise.

I observed in the papers my old friend Gifford's funeral. He was a man
of rare attainments and many excellent qualities. The translation of
Juvenal is one of the best versions ever made of a classical author, and
his satire of the Baviad and Maeviad squabashed at one blow a set of
coxcombs who might have humbugged the world long enough.

As a commentator he was capital, could he but have suppressed his
rancour against those who had preceded him in the task, but a
misconstruction or misinterpretation, nay, the misplacing of a comma,
was in Gifford's eyes a crime worthy of the most severe animadversion.
The same fault of extreme severity went through his critical labours,
and in general he flagellated with so little pity, that people lost
their sense of the criminal's guilt in dislike of the savage pleasure
which the executioner seemed to take in inflicting the punishment.

This lack of temper probably arose from indifferent health, for he was
very valetudinary, and realised two verses, wherein he says fortune
assigned him--

      "----- One eye not over good,
    Two sides that to their cost have stood
            A ten years' hectic cough,
    Aches, stitches, all the various ills
    That swell the dev'lish doctor's bills,
    And sweep poor mortals off."

But he might also justly claim, as his gift, the moral qualities
expressed in the next fine stanza--

                  "------A soul
    That spurns the crowd's malign control,
             A firm contempt of wrong:
    Spirits above afflictions' power,
    And skill to soothe the lingering hour
             With no inglorious song."[443]

_January_ 18.--To go on with my subject--Gifford was a little man,
dumpled up together, and so ill-made as to seem almost deformed, but
with a singular expression of talent in his countenance. Though so
little of an athlete, he nevertheless beat off Dr. Wolcot, when that
celebrated person, the most unsparing calumniator of his time, chose to
be offended with Gifford for satirising him in his turn. Peter Pindar
made a most vehement attack, but Gifford had the best of the affray, and
remained, I think, in triumphant possession of the field of action, and
of the assailant's cane. Gifford had one singular custom. He used always
to have a duenna of a housekeeper to sit in his study with him while he
wrote. This female companion died when I was in London, and his distress
was extreme. I afterwards heard he got her place supplied. I believe
there was no scandal in all this.[444]

This is another vile day of darkness and rain, with a heavy yellow mist
that might become Charing Cross--one of the benefits of our extended
city; for that in our atmosphere was unknown till the extent of the
buildings below Queen Street. M'Culloch of Ardwell called.

Wrought chiefly on a critique of Mrs. Charlotte Smith's novels,[445] and

_January_ 19.--Uncle Adam,[446] _vide Inheritance_, who retired last
year from an official situation at the age of eighty-four, although
subject to fits of giddiness, and although carefully watched by his
accomplished daughter, is still in the habit of walking by himself if he
can by possibility make an escape. The other day, in one of these
excursions, he fell against a lamp-post, cut himself much, bled a good
deal, and was carried home by two gentlemen. What said old
Rugged-and-Tough? Why, that his fall against the post was the luckiest
thing could have befallen him, for the bleeding was exactly the remedy
for his disorder.

    "Lo! stout hearts of men!"
Called on said "uncle," also on David Hume, Lord Chief-Commissioner,
Will Clerk, Mrs. Jobson, and others. My knee made no allowance for my
politeness, but has begun to swell again, and to burn like a scorpion's

_January_ 20.--Scarce slept all night; scarce able to stand or move this
morning; almost an absolute fixture.

    "A sleepless knight,
    A weary knight,
          God be the guide."[447]

This is at the Court a blank day, being that of the poor Duke of York's
funeral. I can sit at home, luckily, and fag hard.

And so I have, pretty well; six leaves written, and four or five
proof-sheets corrected. Cadell came to breakfast, and proposes an eighth
volume for _Napoleon_. I told him he might write to Longman for their
opinion. Seven is an awkward number, and will extremely cramp the work.
Eight, too, would go into six octavos, should it ever be called for in
that shape. But it shall be as they list to have it.

_January_ 21.--A long day of some pain relieved by labour. Dr. Ross came
in and recommended some stuff, which did little good. I would like ill
to lose the use of my precious limbs. Meanwhile, Patience, cousin, and
shuffle the cards.

Missie dined with us to-day--an honest Scotch lass, lady-like and frank.
I finished about six leaves, doing indeed little else.

_January_ 22.--Work, varied with camomile; we get on, though. A visit
from Basil Hall, with Mr. Audubon the ornithologist, who has followed
that pursuit by many a long wandering in the American forests. He is an
American by naturalisation, a Frenchman by birth;[448] but less of a
Frenchman than I have ever seen--no dash, or glimmer, or shine about
him, but great simplicity of manners and behaviour; slight in person,
and plainly dressed; wears long hair, which time has not yet tinged; his
countenance acute, handsome, and interesting, but still simplicity is
the predominant characteristic. I wish I had gone to see his drawings;
but I had heard so much about them that I resolved not to see them--"a
crazy way of mine, your honour."--Five more leaves finished.

_January_ 23.--I have got a piece of armour, a knee-cap of chamois
leather, which I think does my unlucky rheumatism some good. I begin,
too, to sleep at night, which is a great comfort. Spent this day
completely in labour; only betwixt dinner and tea, while husbanding a
tumbler of whisky and water, I read the new novel, _Elizabeth de
Bruce_[449]--part of it, that is.

_January_ 24.--Visit from Mr. Audubon, who brings some of his birds. The
drawings are of the first order--the attitudes of the birds of the most
animated character, and the situations appropriate; one of a snake
attacking a bird's nest, while the birds (the parents) peck at the
reptile's eyes--they usually, in the long-run, destroy him, says the
naturalist. The feathers of these gay little sylphs, most of them from
the Southern States, are most brilliant, and are represented with what,
were it [not] connected with so much spirit in the attitude, I would
call a laborious degree of execution. This extreme correctness is of
the utmost consequence to the naturalist, [but] as I think (having no
knowledge of _virtu_), rather gives a stiffness to the drawings. This
sojourner in the desert had been in the woods for months together. He
preferred associating with the Indians to the company of the Back
Settlers; very justly, I daresay, for a civilised man of the lower
order--that is, the dregs of civilisation--when thrust back on the
savage state becomes worse than a savage. They are Wordsworth's

    "Deliberate and undeceived
    The wild men's vices who received,
    And gave them back his own."[450]

The Indians, he says, are dying fast; they seem to pine and die whenever
the white population approaches them. The Shawanese, who amounted, Mr.
Audubon says, to some thousands within his memory, are almost extinct,
and so are various other tribes. Mr. Audubon could never hear any
tradition about the mammoth, though he made anxious inquiries. He gives
no countenance to the idea that the Red Indians were ever a more
civilised people than at this day, or that a more civilised people had
preceded them in North America. He refers the bricks, etc., occasionally
found, and appealed to in support of this opinion, to the earlier
settlers,--or, where kettles and other utensils may have been found, to
the early trade between the Indians and the Spaniards.

John Russell[451] and Leonard Horner[452] came to consult me about the
propriety and possibility of retaining the northern pronunciation of the
Latin in the new Edinburgh Academy.[453] I will think of it until
to-morrow, being no great judge. We had our solitary dinner; indeed, it
is only remarkable nowadays when we have a guest.

_January_ 25.--Thought during the watches of the night and a part of the
morning about the question of Latin pronunciation, and came to the
following conclusions. That the mode of pronunciation approved by
Buchanan and by Milton, and practised by all nations, excepting the
English, assimilated in sound, too, to the Spanish, Italian, and other
languages derived from the Latin, is certainly the best, and is likewise
useful as facilitating the acquisition of sounds which the Englishman
attempts in vain. Accordingly I wish the cockneyfied pedant who first
disturbed it by reading _Emo_ for _Amo_, and _quy_ for _qui_, had choked
in the attempt. But the question is, whether a youth who has been taught
in a manner different from that used all over England will be heard, if
he presumes to use his Latin at the bar or the senate; and if he is to
be unintelligible or ludicrous, the question [arises] whether his
education is not imperfect under one important view. I am very unwilling
to sacrifice our _sumpsimus_ to their old _mumpsimus_--still more to
humble ourselves before the Saxons while we can keep an inch of the
Scottish flag flying. But this is a question which must be decided not
on partialities or prejudices.

I got early from the Court to-day, and settled myself to work hard.

_January_ 26.--My rheumatism is almost gone. I can walk without Major
Weir, which is the name Anne gives my cane, because it is so often out
of the way that it is suspected, like the staff of that famous
wizard,[454] to be capable of locomotion. Went to Court, and tarried
till three o'clock, after which transacted business with Mr. Gibson and
Dr. Inglis as one of Miss Hume's trustees. Then was introduced to young
Mr. Rennie,[455] or he to me, by [Sir] James Hall, a genteel-looking
young man, and speaks well. He was called into public notice by having,
many years before, made a draught of a plan of his father's for London
Bridge. It was sought for when the building was really about to take
place, and the assistance which young Mr. Rennie gave to render it
useful raised his character so high, that his brother and he are now in
first-rate practice as civil engineers.

_January_ 27.--Read _Elizabeth de Bruce_; it is very clever, but does
not show much originality. The characters, though very entertaining, are
in the manner of other authors, and the finished and filled up portraits
of which the sketches are to be found elsewhere. One is too apt to feel
on such occasions the pettish resentment that you might entertain
against one who had poached on your manor. But the case is quite
different, and a claim set up on having been the first who betook
himself to the illustration of some particular class of characters, or
department of life, is no more a right of monopoly than that asserted by
the old buccaneers by setting up a wooden cross, and killing an Indian
or two on some new discovered island. If they can make anything of their
first discovery, the better luck theirs; if not, let others come,
penetrate further into the country, write descriptions, make drawings or
settlements at their pleasure.

We were kept in Parliament House till three. Called to return thanks to
Mr. Menzies of Pitfoddels, who lent some pamphlets about the unhappy
Duke d'Enghien. Read in the evening _Boutourlin_ and _Ségur_, to
prepare for my Russian campaign.

_January_ 28.--Continued my reading with the commentary of the D. of
W.[456] If his broad shoulders cannot carry me through, the devil must
be in the dice. Longman and Company agree to the eight volumes. It will
make the value of the book more than £12,000. Wrought indifferent hard.

_January_ 29.--Mr. Gibson breakfasted with Dr. Marshman,[457] the head
of the missionaries at Serampore, a great Oriental scholar. He is a
thin, dark-featured, middle-sized man, about fifty or upwards, his eye
acute, his hair just beginning to have a touch of the grey. He spoke
well and sensibly, and seemed liberal in his ideas. He was clearly of
opinion that general information must go hand in hand, or even ought to
precede religious instruction. Thinks the influence of European manners
is gradually making changes in India. The natives, so far as their
religion will allow them, are become fond of Europeans, and invite them
to their great festivals. He has a conceit that the Afghans are the
remains of the Ten Tribes. I cannot find he has a better reason than
their own tradition, which calls them Ben-Israel, and says they are not
Ben-Judah. They have Jewish rites and ceremonies, but so have all
Mahometans; neither could I understand that their language has anything
peculiar. The worship of Bhoodah he conceives to have [been] an
original, or rather the original, of Hindu religion, until the Brahmins
introduced the doctrines respecting caste and other peculiarities. But
it would require strong proof to show that the superstition of caste
could be introduced into a country which had been long peopled, and
where society had long existed without such restriction. It is more like
to be adopted in the early history of a tribe, when there are but few
individuals, the descent of whom is accurately preserved. How could the
castes be distinguished or _told off_ in a populous nation? Dr. Marshman
was an old friend of poor John Leyden.

_January_ 30.--Blank day at Court, being the Martyrdom. Wrought hard at
_Bon._ all day, though I had settled otherwise. I ought to have been at
an article for John Lockhart, and one for poor Gillies; but there is
something irresistible in contradiction, even when it consists in doing
a thing equally laborious, but not the thing you are especially called
upon to do. It is a kind of cheating the devil, which a self-willed
monster like me is particularly addicted to. Not to make myself worse
than I am though, I was full of information about the Russian campaign,
which might evaporate unless used, like lime, as soon after it was
wrought up as possible. About three, Pitfoddels called. A bauld crack
that auld papist body, and well informed. We got on religion. He is very
angry with the Irish demagogues, and a sound well-thinking man.[458]
Heard of Walter and Jane; all well, God be praised!

By a letter from Gibson I see the gross proceeds of

_Bonaparte_, at eight volumes, are     £12,600 0 0
Discount, five months,                          210 0 0
                                            £12,390 0 0

I question if more was ever made by a single work, or by a single
author's labours, in the same time. But whether it is deserved or not is
the question.

_January_ 31.--Young Murray, son of Mr. M., in Albemarle Street,
breakfasted with me. English boys have this advantage, that they are
well-bred, and can converse when ours are regular-built cubs. I am not
sure if it is an advantage in the long-run. It is a temptation to
premature display.

Wet to the skin coming from the Court. Called on Skene, to give him, for
the Antiquarian Society, a heart, human apparently, stuck full of pins.
It was found lying opposite to the threshold of an old tenement, in
[Dalkeith], a little below the surface; it is in perfect preservation.
Dined at the Bannatyne Club, where I am chairman. We admitted a batch of
new members, chiefly noblemen and men connected with the public offices
and records in London, such as Palgrave, Petrie, etc. We drank to our
old Scottish heroes, poets, historians, and printers, and were funny
enough, though, like Shylock, I had no will to go abroad. I was
supported by Lord Minto and Lord Eldin.


[438] "A half-crazy sentimental person."--_Edin. Rev_. No. xxiii. p.

[439] Mme. de Boufflers's saying to the author of _Julie_.

[440] _Merry Wives of Windsor_, Act I. Sc. 1.--J.G.L.

[441] Mr. Sharpe was doing what he could by voice and pen to prevent the
destruction of many historic buildings in Edinburgh, which the craze for
"improvements" caused at this time. St. Giles' Church was unfortunately
left to its fate. Witness its external condition at the present day!

The immediate cause of Mr. Sharpe's letter was a hint to him from the
Court, "that one person is all-powerful in everything regarding
Scotland, I mean Sir W.S." This was not the only appeal made to Scott to
interpose, and that he had done so at least in one case effectually may
be seen by referring to Sharpe's _Letters_, vol. ii. pp. 380, 388, 389.

[442] Scott sent a biographical notice of the Duke of York to the
_Weekly Journal_ on this day. It is now included in the _Misc. Prose
Works_, vol. iv. pp. 400-416.

[443] Gifford's _Mæviad_, 12mo, Lond. 1797; Ode to Rev. John Ireland,
slightly altered.

[444] William Gifford, editor of the _Anti-Jacobin_ in 1797, and the
_Quarterly_ from 1809 to 1824. His political opponent, Leigh Hunt, wrote
of him in 1812:--

  'William Gifford's a name, I think, pretty well known.
  Oh! now I remember,' said Phoebus;--'ah true--
  My thanks to that name are undoubtedly due.
  The rod that got rid of the Cruscas and Lauras,
  That plague of the butterflies saved me the horrors,
  The Juvenal too stops a gap in my shelf,
  At least in what Dryden has not done himself,
  _And there's something which even, distaste must respect
  In the self-taught example that conquered neglect_.'--_Feast of the Poets_.

[445] See _Miscell. Prose Works_, vol. iv. pp. 120-70.

[446] James Ferrier, Esq.--See p. 103, February 3. 1826.

[447] _See Midsummer Night's Dream_; a parody on Helena's

  "O weary night O long and tedious night."

[448] John James Audubon was born in Louisiana in the United States in
1780, but educated in France.--Buchanan's _Life of Audubon_, p. 4.

[449] Written by Mrs. J. Johnstone, in after years editor of _Tait's
Magazine_, well known also as the author of _Meg Dods' Cookery Book_,
which Sir Walter refers to in _St. Ronan's Well_. Her sense of humour
and power of delineating character are shown in her stories and sketches
in _Tait_, and a good example of her ready wit has been told by Mr.
Alexander Russel, editor of the _Scotsman_. On a visit to Altrive Mrs.
Johnstone and her party were kindly received by the Ettrick Shepherd,
who did the honours of the district, and among other places took them to
a Fairy Well, from which he drew a glass of sparkling water. Handing it
to the lady the bard of Kilmeny said, "Hae, Mrs. Johnstone, ony merrit
wumman wha drinks a tumbler of this will hae twuns in a twalmont'!" "In
that case, Mr. Hogg," replied the lady, "I shall only take half a

Mrs. Johnstone died in Edinburgh in 1857.

[450] Slightly varied from the lines in _Ruth_,--Poems, vol. ii. p. 112,
Edinburgh, 1836.

[451] John Russell (a grandson of Principal Robertson), long Chief Clerk
in the Jury Court, and Treasurer to the Royal Society and the Edinburgh
Academy. He took a keen interest in education, and published in October
1855 some curious _Statistics of a Class_ [Christison's] _in the High
School_ [of Edinburgh] from 1787 to 1791, of which he had been a member.
Mr. Russell died on January 30, 1862.

[452] Leonard Horner, editor in after years of the Memoirs of his
brother Francis (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1843). He died in 1864.

[453] See _Report by the Directors to the Proprietors of the Edinburgh
Academy on the Pronunciation of Latin_, Edin. 1827. Sir Walter always
took a warm interest in the school. His speech as Chairman at the
opening ceremony, on the 1st October 1824, is quoted in the _Life_, vol.
vii. p. 268.

[454] Burnt at Edinburgh in 1670.--See Arnot's _Crim. Trials_. 4to,
Edin. 1785.

[455] Afterwards Sir John Rennie, knighted on the completion of the

[456] See _ante_, p. 307, and _post_, p. 359.

[457] Dr. Marshman died in 1837. See Marshman's _Lives of Carey,
Marshman, and Ward_. London, 2 vols. 8vo, 1859.

[458] John Menzies of Pitfoddels, the last of an old Aberdeenshire
family, of whom it was said that for thirty-seven years he never became
aware of distress or difficulty without exerting himself to relieve it.
In 1828 he gave the estate of Blairs, near Aberdeen, for the foundation
of the Roman Catholic College established there, and was also a
munificent benefactor to the Convent of St. Margaret, Edinburgh, opened
in 1835. Mr. Menzies died in 1843.


_February_ 1.--I feel a return of the cursed rheumatism. How could it
miss, with my wetting? Also feverish, and a slight headache. So much for
claret and champagne. I begin to be quite unfit for a good fellow. Like
Mother Cole in the _Minor_, a thimbleful upsets me,[459]--I mean, annoys
my stomach, for my brains do not suffer. Well, I have had my time of
these merry doings.

    "The haunch of the deer, and the wine's red dye,
    Never bard loved them better than I."

But it was for the sake of sociality; never either for the flask or the
venison. That must end--is ended. The evening sky of life does not
reflect those brilliant flashes of light that shot across its morning
and noon. Yet I thank God it is neither gloomy nor disconsolately
lowering; a sober twilight--that is all.

I am in great hopes that the Bannatyne Club, by the assistance of
Thomson's wisdom, industry, and accuracy, will be something far superior
to the Dilettanti model on which it started. The _Historie of K. James
VI._, _Melville's Memoirs_, and other works, executed or in hand, are
decided boons to Scottish history and literature.

_February_ 2.--In confirmation of that which is above stated, I see in
Thorpe's sale-catalogue a set of the Bannatyne books, lacking five,
priced £25. Had a dry walk from the Court by way of dainty, and made it
a long one. Anne went at night to Lady Minto's.

Hear of Miss White's death. Poor Lydia! she had a party at dinner on the
Friday before, and had written with her own hand invitations for
another party. Twenty years ago she used to tease me with her youthful
affectations--her dressing like the Queen of Chimney-sweeps on May-day
morning, and sometimes with rather a free turn in conversation, when she
let her wit run wild. But she was a woman of much wit, and had a feeling
and kind heart. She made her point good, a _bas-bleu_ in London to a
point not easily attained, and contrived to have every evening a very
good literary _mêlée_, and little dinners which were very entertaining.
She had also the newest lions upon town. In a word, she was not and
would not be forgotten, even when disease obliged her, as it did for
years, to confine herself to her couch; and the world, much abused for
hard-heartedness, was kind in her case--so she lived in the society she
liked. No great expenditure was necessary for this. She had an easy
fortune, but not more. Poor Lydia! I saw the Duke of York and her in
London, when Death, it seems, was brandishing his dart over them.[460]

    "The view o't gave them little fright."[461]

Did not get quite a day's work finished to-day, thanks to my walk.

_February_ 3.--There is nought but care on every hand. James Hogg writes
that he is to lose his farm,[462] on which he laid out, or rather threw
away, the profit of all his publications.

Then Terry has been pressed by Gibson for my debt to him. That I may get

I sometimes doubt if I am in what the good people call the right way.
Not to sing my own praises, I have been willing always to do my friends
what good was in my power, and have not shunned personal responsibility.
But then that was in money matters, to which I am naturally indifferent,
unless when the consequences press on me. But then I am a bad comforter
in case of inevitable calamity; and feeling proudly able to endure in my
own case, I cannot sympathise with those whose nerves are of a feebler

Dined at Jeffrey's, with Lord and Lady Minto, John Murray and his
lady,[463] a Mr. Featherstone, an Americo-Yorkshireman, and some others.
Mrs. Murray is a very amiable person, and seems highly accomplished;
plays most brilliantly.

_February_ 4.--R.R. These two letters, you must understand, do not
signify, as in Bibliomania phrase, a double degree of rarity, but,
chirurgically, a double degree of rheumatism. The wine gets to weak
places, Ross says. I have a letter from no less a person than that pink
of booksellers, Sir Richard Phillips, who, it seems, has been ruined,
and as he sees me floating down the same dark tide, sings out his _nos
poma natamus_.

_February_ 5.--R. One R. will do to-day. If this cursed rheumatism gives
way to February weather, I will allow she has some right to be called a
spring month, to which otherwise her pretensions are slender. I worked
this morning till two o'clock, and visited Mr. Grant's[464] pictures,
who has them upon sale. They seem, to my inexperienced eye, genuine, or
at least, good paintings. But I fear picture-buying, like
horse-jockeyship, is a profession a gentleman cannot make much of
without laying aside some of his attributes. The pictures are too
high-priced, I should think, for this market. There is a very knowing
catalogue by Frank Grant himself. Next went to see a show of wild
beasts; it was a fine one. I think they keep them much cleaner than
formerly, when the strong smell generally gave me a headache for the
day. The creatures are also much tamer, which I impute to more knowledge
of their habits and kind treatment. A lion and tigress went through
their exercise like poodles--jumping, standing, and lying down at the
word of command. This is rather degrading. I would have the Lord
Chancellor of Beasts good-humoured, not jocose. I treated the elephant,
who was a noble fellow, to a shilling's worth of cakes. I wish I could
have enlarged the space in which so much bulk and wisdom is confined. He
kept swinging his head from side to side, looking as if he marvelled why
all the fools that gaped at him were at liberty, and he cooped up in the

Dined at the Royal Society Club--about thirty present. Went to the
Society in the evening, and heard an essay by Peter Tytler[465] on the
first encourager of Greek learning in England.[466]

_February_ 6.--Was at Court till two; afterwards wrote a good deal,
which has become a habit with me. Dined at Sir John Hay's, where met the
Advocate and a pleasant party. There had been a Justiciary trial
yesterday, in which something curious had occurred. A woman of rather
the better class, a farmer's wife, had been tried on the 5th for
poisoning her maid-servant. There seems to have been little doubt of her
guilt, but the motive was peculiar. The unfortunate girl had an intrigue
with her son, which this Mrs. Smith (I think that is the name) was
desirous to conceal, from some ill-advised puritanic notions, and also
for fear of her husband. She could find no better way of hiding the
shame than giving the girl (with her own knowledge and consent, I
believe) potions to cause abortion, which she afterwards changed for
arsenic, as the more effectual silencing medicine. In the course of the
trial one of the jury fell down in an epileptic fit, and on his recovery
was far too much disordered to permit the trial to proceed. With only
fourteen jurymen it was impossible to go on. But the Advocate, Sir
William Rae, says she shall be tried anew, since she has not tholed an
assize. _Sic Paulus ait_--_et recte quidem._ But, having been half
tried, I think she should have some benefit of it, as far as saving her
life, if convicted on the second indictment. The Advocate declares,
however, she shall be hanged, as certainly she deserves. But it looks
something like hanging up a man who has been recovered by the surgeons,
which has always been accounted harsh justice.

_February_ 7.--Wrote six leaves to-day, and am tired--that's all.

_February_ 8.--I lost much time to-day. I got from the Court about
half-past twelve, therefore might have reckoned on four hours, or three
at least, before dinner. But I had to call on Dr. Shortt at two, which
made me lounge till that hour came. Then I missed him, and, too tired to
return, went to see the exhibition, where Skene was hanging up the
pictures, and would not let me in. Then to the Oil Gas Company, who
propose to send up counsel to support their new bill. As I thought the
choice unadvisedly made, I fairly opposed the mission, which, I suppose,
will give much offence; but I have no notion of being shamefaced in
doing my duty, and I do not think I should permit forward persons to
press into situations for which their vanity alone renders them
competent. Had many proof-sheets to correct in the evening.

_February_ 9.--We had a long day of it at Court, but I whipped you off
half-a-dozen of letters, for, as my cases stood last on the roll, I
could do what I liked in the interim. This carried me on till two
o'clock. Called on Baron Hume, and found him, as usual, in high spirits,
notwithstanding his late illness. Then crept home--my rheumatism much
better, though. Corrected lives of Lord Somerville and the King [George
III.][467] for the Prose Works, which took a long time; but I had the
whole evening to myself, as Anne dined with the Swintons, and went to a
ball at the Justice-Clerk's. _N.B._--It is the first and only ball which
has been given this season--a sign the times are pinching.

_February_ 10.--I got a present of Lord Francis Gower's printed but
unpublished _Tale of the Mill._[468] It is a fine tale of terror in
itself, and very happily brought out. He has certainly a true taste for
poetry. I do not know why, but from my childhood I have seen something
fearful, or melancholy at least, about a mill. Whether I had been
frightened at the machinery when very young, of which I think I have
some shadowy recollection--whether I had heard the stories of the miller
of Thirlestane[469] and similar molendinar tragedies, I cannot tell; but
not even recollection of the Lass of Patie's Mill, or the Miller of
Mansfield, or he who "dwelt on the river Dee," have ever got over my
inclination to connect gloom with a mill, especially when sun is
setting. So I entered into the spirit of the terror with which Lord
Francis has invested his haunted spot. I dine with the Solicitor to-day,
so _quoad_ labour 'tis a blank. But then to-morrow is a new day.

    "To-morrow to fresh meads and pastures new."[470]

_February_ 11.--Wrought a good deal in the morning, and landed Boney at
Smolensk. But I have him to bring off again; and, moreover, I must
collate the authorities on the movements of the secondary armies of
Witgenstein and the Admiral with the break-tooth name. Dined with Lord
Minto, where I met Thomson, Cranstoun, and other gay folks. These dinner
parties narrow my working hours; yet they must sometimes be, or one
would fall out of the line of society, and go to leeward entirely, which
is not right to venture. This is the high time for parties in Edinburgh;
no wonder one cannot keep clear.

_February_ 12.--I was obliged to read instead of writing, and the
infernal Russian names, which everybody spells _ad libitum,_ makes it
difficult to trace the operations on a better map than mine. I called
to-day on Dr. Shortt, principal surgeon at Saint Helena, and who
presided at the opening of Bonaparte's body. He mentions as certain the
falsehood of a number of the assertions concerning his usage, the
unhealthy state of the island, and so forth. I have jotted down his
evidence elsewhere. I could not write when I came home. Nervous a
little, I think, and not yet up to the motions of Tchitchagoff, as I
must be before I can write. Will [Clerk] and Sir A. Ferguson dine here
to-day--the first time any one has had that honour for long enough,
unless at Abbotsford. The good Lord Chief-Commissioner invited himself,
and I asked his son, Admiral Adam. Col. Ferguson is of the party.

_February_ 13.--The dining parties come thick, and interfere with work
extremely. I am, however, beforehand very far. Yet, as James B.
says--the tortoise comes up with the hare. So Puss must make a new
start; but not this week. Went to see the exhibition--certainly a good
one for Scotland--and less trash than I have seen at Somerset-House
(begging pardon of the pockpuddings). There is a beautiful thing by
Landseer--a Highlander and two stag-hounds engaged with a deer. Very
spirited, indeed. I forgot my rheumatism, and could have wished myself
of the party. There were many fine folks, and there was a collation,
chocolate, and so forth. We dine at Sir H. Jardine's, with Lord
Ch.-Com., Lord Chief-Baron, etc.

_February_ 14.--"Death's gi'en the art an unco devel."[471] Sir George
Beaumont's dead; by far the most sensible and pleasing man I ever knew;
kind, too, in his nature, and generous; gentle in society, and of those
mild manners which tend to soften the causticity of the general London
[tone] of persiflage and personal satire. As an amateur, he was a
painter of the very highest rank. Though I know nothing of the matter,
yet I should hold him a perfect critic on painting, for he always made
his criticisms intelligible, and used no slang. I am very sorry, as much
as is in my nature to be, for one whom I could see but seldom. He was
the great friend of Wordsworth, and understood his poetry, which is a
rare thing, for it is more easy to see his peculiarities than to feel
his great merit, or follow his abstract ideas. I dined to-day at Lord
Ch.-Commissioner's--Lord Minto, and Lord Ch.-Baron, also Harden. Little
done to-day.

_February_ 15.--Rheumatism returns with the snow. I had thoughts of
going to Abbotsford on Saturday, but if this lasts, it will not do; and,
sooth to speak, it ought not to do; though it would do me much pleasure
if it would do.

I have a letter from Baron Von Goethe,[472] which I must have read to
me; for though I know German, I have forgot their written hand. I make
it a rule seldom to read, and never to answer, foreign letters from
literary folks. It leads to nothing but the battle-dore and shuttle-cock
intercourse of compliments, as light as cork and feathers. But Goethe is
different, and a wonderful fellow, the Ariosto at once, and almost the
Voltaire of Germany. Who could have told me thirty years ago I should
correspond, and be on something like an equal footing, with the author
of _Goetz_? Ay, and who could have told me fifty things else that have
befallen me?[473]

_February_ 16.--R. Still snow; and, alas! no time for work, so hard am I
fagged by the Court and the good company of Edinburgh. I almost wish my
rheumatics were bad enough to give me an apology for staying a week at
home. But we have Sunday and Monday clear. If not better, I will cribb
off Tuesday; and Wednesday is Teind day. We dined to-day with Mr.
Borthwick, younger of Crookston.

_February_ 17.--James Ferguson ill of the rheumatism in head and neck,
and Hector B. Macdonald in neck and shoulders. I wonder, as Commodore
Trunnion says, what the blackguard hell's-baby has to say to the Clerks
of Session.[474] Went to the Second Division to assist Hector.
_N.B._--Don't like it half so well as my own, for the speeches are much
longer. Home at dinner, and wrought in the evening.

_February_ 18.--Very cold weather. I am rather glad I am not in the
country. What says Dean Swift--

    "When frost and snow come both together,
    Then sit by the fire and save shoe leather."
Wrought all morning and finished five pages. Missie dined with us.

_February_ 19.--As well I give up Abbotsford, for Hamilton is laid up
with the gout. The snow, too, continues, with a hard frost. I have seen
the day I would have liked it all the better. I read and wrote at the
bitter account of the French retreat from Moscow, in 1812, till the
little room and coal fire seemed snug by comparison. I felt cold in its
rigour in my childhood and boyhood, but not since. In youth and advanced
life we get less sensible to it, but I remember thinking it worse than
hunger. Uninterrupted to-day, and did eight leaves.[475]

_February_ 20.--At Court, and waited to see the poisoning woman. She is
clearly guilty, but as one or two witnesses said the poor wench hinted
an intention to poison herself, the jury gave that bastard verdict, _Not
proven_. I hate that Caledonian _medium quid_. One who is not _proven
guilty_ is innocent in the eye of law. It was a face to do or die, or
perhaps to do to die. Thin features, which had been handsome, a flashing
eye, an acute and aquiline nose, lips much marked, as arguing decision,
and, I think, bad temper--they were thin, and habitually compressed,
rather turned down at the corners, as one of a rather melancholy
disposition. There was an awful crowd; but, sitting within the bar, I
had the pleasure of seeing much at my ease; the constables knocking the
other folks about, which was of course very entertaining.[476]

Lord Liverpool is ill of an apoplexy. I am sorry for it. He will be
missed. Who will be got for Premier? Not B---- certainly;[477] he wants
weight. If Peel would consent to be made a peer, he would do better; but
I doubt his ambition will prefer the House of Commons. Wrought a a good

_February_ 21.--Being the vacant Wednesday I wrote all the morning. Had
an answer from D. of W., unsuccessful in getting young Skene put upon
the engineer list; he is too old. Went out at two with Anne, and visited
the exhibition; also called on the Mansfield family and on Sydney Smith.
Jeffrey unwell from pleading so long and late for the poisoning woman.
He has saved her throat and taken a quinsey in his own. Adam Ferguson
has had a fall with his horse.

_February_ 22.--Was at Court till two, then lounged till Will
Murray[478] came to speak about a dinner for the Theatrical Fund, in
order to make some arrangements. There are 300 tickets given out.[479] I
fear it will be uncomfortable; and whatever the stoics may say, a bad
dinner throws cold water on the charity. I have agreed to preside, a
situation in which I have been rather felicitous, not by much
superiority of wit or wisdom, far less of eloquence; but by two or three
simple rules which I put down here for the benefit of posterity.

1st. Always hurry the bottle round for five or six rounds without
prosing yourself or permitting others to prose. A slight fillip of wine
inclines people to be pleased, and removes the nervousness which
prevents men from speaking--disposes them, in short, to be amusing and
to be amused.

2d. Push on, keep moving, as Punch says. Do not think of saying fine
things--nobody cares for them any more than for fine music, which is
often too liberally bestowed on such occasions. Speak at all ventures,
and attempt the _mot pour rire._ You will find people satisfied with
wonderfully indifferent jokes if you can but hit the taste of the
company, which depends much on its character. Even a very high party,
primed with all the cold irony and _non est tanti_ feelings, or no
feelings, of fashionable folks, may be stormed by a jovial, rough,
round, and ready preses. Choose your texts with discretion, the sermon
may be as you like. If a drunkard or an ass breaks in with anything out
of joint, if you can parry it with a jest, good and well--if not, do not
exert your serious authority, unless it is something very bad. The
authority even of a chairman ought to be very cautiously exercised. With
patience you will have the support of every one.

When you have drunk a few glasses to play the good fellow, and banish
modesty if you are unlucky enough, to have such a troublesome companion,
then beware of the cup too much. Nothing is so ridiculous as a drunken

Lastly. Always speak short, and _Skeoch doch na skiel_--cut a tale with
a drink.

    "This is the purpose and intent
    Of gude Schir Walter's testament."[480]

We dined to-day at Mrs. Dundas of Arniston, Dowager.

_February_ 24.--I carried my own instructions into effect the best I
could, and if our jests were not good, our laugh was abundant. I think I
will hardly take the chair again when the company is so miscellaneous;
though they all behaved perfectly well. Meadowbank taxed me with the
novels, and to end that farce at once I pleaded guilty, so that splore
is ended. As to the collection, it was much cry and little woo', as the
deil said when he shore the sow. Only £280 from 300 people, but many
were to send money to-morrow. They did not open books, which was
impolitic, but circulated a box, where people might put in what they
pleased--and some gave shillings, which gives but a poor idea of the
company. Yet there were many respectable people and handsome donations.
But this fashion of not letting your right hand see what your left hand
doeth is no good mode of raising a round sum. Your penny-pig collections
don't succeed. I got away at ten at night. The performers performed very
like gentlemen, especially Will Murray. They attended as stewards with
white rods, and never thought of sitting down till after dinner, taking
care that the company was attended to.

_February_ 25.--Very bad report of the speeches in the papers. We dined
at Jeffrey's with Sydney Smith--funny and good-natured as usual. One of
his daughters is very pretty indeed; both are well-mannered, agreeable,
and sing well. The party was pleasant.

_February_ 26.--At home, and settled to work; but I know not why I was
out of spirits--quite Laird of Humdudgeon, and did all I could to shake
it off, and could not. James Ballantyne dined with me.

_February_ 27.--Humdudgeonish still; hang it, what fools we are! I
worked, but coldly and ill. Yet something is done. I wonder if other
people have these strange alternations of industry and incapacity. I am
sure I do not indulge myself in fancies, but it is accompanied with
great drowsiness--bile, I suppose, and terribly jaded spirits. I
received to-day Dr. Shortt and Major Crocket, who was orderly-officer on
Boney at the time of his death.

_February_ 28.--Sir Adam breakfasted. One of the few old friends left
out of the number of my youthful companions. In youth we have many
companions, few friends perhaps; in age companionship is ended, except
rarely, and by appointment. Old men, by a kind of instinct, seek younger
companions who listen to their stories, honour their grey hairs while
present, and mimic and laugh at them when their backs are turned. At
least that was the way in our day, and I warrant our chicks of the
present day crow to the same tune. Of all the friends that I have left I
have none who has any decided attachment to literature. So either I must
talk on that subject to young people--in other words, turn proser, or I
must turn tea-table talker and converse with ladies. I am too old and
too proud for either character, so I'll live alone and be contented.
Lockhart's departure for London was a loss to me in this way. Came home
late from the Court, but worked tightly in the evening. I think
discontinuing smoking, as I have done for these two months past, leaves
me less muzzy after dinner. At any rate, it breaks a custom--I despise


[459] Foote's Comedy, Act I. Sc. 1.

[460] Scott, who had accompanied this lady to the Highlands in the
summer of 1808, wrote from Edinburgh on 19th January:--"We have here a
very diverting lion and sundry wild beasts; but the most meritorious is
Miss Lydia White, who is what Oxonians call a lioness of the first
order, with stockings nineteen times dyed blue; very lively, very
good-humoured, and extremely absurd. It is very diverting to see the
sober Scotch ladies staring at this phenomenon."--_Life_, vol. iii. pp.
38, 95, 96.

[461] Burns's "Twa Dogs."--J.G.L.

[462] Mount Benger.

[463] John Archibald Murray, whose capital bachelors' dinner on Dec. 8
Scott so pleasantly describes (on page 320), had married in the interval
Miss Rigby, a Lancashire lady, who was long known in Edinburgh for her
hospitality and fine social qualities as Lady Murray. (See page 378,
April 2, 1827.) Miss Martineau celebrated her parliamentary Tea-Table in
London, when her husband was Lord Advocate, and Lord Cockburn, the
delights of Strachur on Loch Fyne.

[464] Mr. (afterwards Sir Francis) Grant became a member of the Scottish
Academy in 1830, an associate of Royal Academy in 1842, and Academician
in 1851. His successful career as a painter secured his elevation to the
Presidentship of the Academy in 1866. Sir Francis died at Melton-Mowbray
in October 1878, aged 75.

[465] Patrick Fraser Tytler, the Scottish historian. He died on
Christmas-day 1849, aged fifty-eight.--See Burgon's _Memoirs_, 8vo,
Lond. 1859.

[466] Audubon says in his Journal of the same date:--"Captain Hall led
me to a seat immediately opposite to Sir Walter Scott, the President,
where I had a perfect view of the great man, and studied Nature from
Nature's noblest work."

The publication of Audubon's great work, _The Birds of America_,
commenced in 1827, and was completed in 1839, forming 4 vols. in the
largest folio size, and containing 435 plates. It shows the indomitable
courage of the author, that even when the work was completed, he had
only 161 subscribers, 82 of whom were in America. The price of the book
was two guineas for each part with 5 coloured plates. During the last
dozen years its price at auctions runs about £250 to £300. Audubon died
in New York in 1851.--See _Life_, by Buchanan, 8vo, London, 1866.

[467] Biographical Notices had been sent to the _Weekly Journal_ in
1826, and are now included in the _Miscell. Prose Works_, vol. iv. pp.

[468] Afterwards included in _The Pilgrimage and other Poems_, Lond.

[469] See Craig Brown's _Selkirkshire_, vol. i. pp. 285-86.

[470] Milton's _Lycidas,_ varied.


  "Death's gi'en the Lodge an unco devel, Tam Samson's dead."


[472] For letter and reply see _Life_, vol. ix. pp. 92, 98.

[473] Sir Walter at this date returned the valuable MSS. lent him by the
Duke of Wellington in Nov. 1826 (see _ante_, p. 306) with the following

"EDINBURGH, 15_th February_ 1827.

"My dear Lord Duke,--The two manuscripts safely packed leave this by
post to-day, as I am informed your Grace's franks carry any weight. * *
* "I have been reading with equal instruction and pleasure the memoir on
the Russian campaign, which demonstrates as plainly as possible that the
French writers have taken advantage of the snow to cover under it all
their General's blunders, and impute to it all their losses. This I
observe is Bonaparte's general practice, and that of his admirers.
Whenever they can charge anything upon the elements or upon accident, he
and they combine in denying all bravery and all wisdom to their enemies.
The conduct of Kutusow on more than one occasion in the retreat seems to
have been singularly cautious, or rather timorous. For it is impossible
to give credit to the immense superiority claimed by Ségur, Beauchamp,
etc., for the French troops over the Russians. Surely they were the same
Russians who had fought so bravely against superior force, and how
should the twentieth part of the French army have been able to clear
their way without cavalry or artillery in a great measure? and it seems
natural to suppose that we must impute to tardy and inactive conduct on
the part of their General what we cannot account for on the idea of the
extremely superior valour or discipline claimed for the French soldiers
by their country. The snow seems to have become serious on the 6th
November, when Napoleon was within two marches of Smolensk, which he
soon after reached, and by that time it appears to me that his army was
already mouldered away from 100,000 men who left Moscow, to about 35,000
only, so that his great loss was incurred before the snow began.

"I am afraid your Grace has done me an unparalleled injury in one
respect, that the clearness, justice, and precision of your Grace's
reasoning puts me out of all patience with my own attempts. I dare
hardly hope in this increase of business for a note or two on Waterloo;
but if your Grace had any, however hasty, which could be copied by a
secretary, the debt would be never to be forgotten.

"I am going to mention a circumstance, which I do with great
apprehension, lest I should be thought to intrude upon your Grace's
goodness. It respects a youth, the son of one of my most intimate
friends, a gentleman of good family and fortune, who is extremely
desirous of being admitted a cadet of artillery. His father is the best
draughtsman in Scotland, and the lad himself shows a great deal of
talent both in science and the ordinary branches of learning. I enclose
a note of the youth's age, studies, and progress, in case your Grace
might think it possible to place on your list for the Engineer service
the name of a poor Scots Hidalgo; your Grace knows Scotland is a
breeding not a feeding country, and we must send our sons abroad, as we
send our black cattle to England; and, as old Lady Campbell of
Ardkinglas proposed to dispose of her nine sons, we have a strong
tendency to put our young folks 'a' to the sword.'

"I have too long detained you, my Lord Duke, from the many high
occupations which have been redoubled upon your Grace's head, and beg
your Grace to believe me, with an unusually deep sense of respect and
obligation, my dear Lord Duke, your Grace's much honoured and grateful,
humble servant, WALTER SCOTT."--_Wellington's Despatches_, etc.
(Continuation), vol. iii. pp. 590-1. London, 8vo, 1868.

[474] Smollett's _Peregrine Pickle_, VOL. i. cap. 13.

[475] One page of his MS. answers to four or five of the close printed
pages of the original edition of his _Bonaparte_.--J.G.L.

[476] Lord Cockburn says:--"Scott's description of the woman is very
correct; she was like a vindictive masculine witch. I remember him
sitting within the bar looking at her. As we were moving out, Sir
Walter's remark upon the acquittal was, 'Well, sirs, all I can say is
that if that woman was my wife I should take good care to be my own
cook.'"--_Circuit Journeys_, 8vo, Edinburgh, 1888, p. 12.

[477] This can scarcely be taken to refer to Brougham, though at the

  "Canning calls Brougham his _Learned_ Friend.
  'My honours come and share 'em.
  Reformers their assistance give
  To countenance old Sarum."

  _Annus Mirabilis_.

It may, however, stand for Lord Bathurst, who became President of the
Council shortly afterwards in Wellington's Administration.

[478] Mr. W.H. Murray, Manager of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. This
excellent actor retired from the stage with a competency, and spent the
last years of his life in St. Andrews, where he died in March 1852, aged

[479] This was the dinner at which the veil was publicly withdrawn from
the authorship of _Waverley_; it took place on Friday, 23d February
1827, and a full account of the proceedings is given in the _Life_, vol.
ix. pp. 79-84.

[480] Sir Walter parodies the conclusion of King Robert the Bruce's
"Maxims or Political Testament."--See Hailes' _Annals_, A.D.


_March_ 1.--At Court until two--wrote letters under cover of the
lawyers' long speeches, so paid up some of my correspondents, which I
seldom do upon any other occasion. I sometimes let letters lie for days
unopened, as if that would postpone the necessity of answering them.
Here I am at home, and to work we go--not for the first time to-day, for
I wrought hard before breakfast. So glides away Thursday 1st. By the by,
it is the anniversary of Bosworth Field. In former days _Richard III._
was always acted at London on this day; now the custom, I fancy, is
disused. Walpole's _Historic Doubts_ threw a mist about this reign. It
is very odd to see how his mind dwells upon it at first as the mere
sport of imagination, till at length they become such Delilahs of his
imagination that he deems it far worse than infidelity to doubt his
Doubts. After all, the popular tradition is so very strong and pointed
concerning the character of Richard, that it is I think in vain to doubt
the general truth of the outline. Shakespeare, we may be sure, wrote his
drama in the tone that was to suit the popular belief, although where
that did Richard wrong, his powerful scene was sure to augment the
impression. There was an action and a reaction.

_March_ 2.--Clerk walked home with me from the Court. I was scarce able
to keep up with him; could once have done it well enough. Funny thing at
the Theatre. Among the discourse in "High Life below Stairs,"[481] one
of the ladies' ladies asks who wrote Shakespeare. One says, "Ben
Jonson," another, "Finis." "No," said Will Murray, "it is Sir Walter
Scott; he confessed it at a public meeting the other day." _March_
3.--Very severe weather, came home covered with snow. White as a
frosted-plum-cake, by jingo! No matter; I am not sorry to find I can
stand a brush of weather yet; I like to see Arthur's Seat and the stern
old Castle with their white watch-cloaks on. But, as Byron said to
Moore, "d---n it, Tom, don't be poetical." I settled to _Boney_, and
wrote right long and well.

_March_ 4.--I sat in by the chimney-neuk with no chance of interruption,
and "feagued it away." Sir Adam came, and had half an hour's chat and
laugh. My jaws ought to be sore, if the unwontedness of the motion could
do it. But I have little to laugh at but myself, and my own bizarreries
are more like to make me cry. Wrought hard, though--there's sense in

_March_ 5.--Our young men of first fashion, in whom tranquillity is the
prime merit, a sort of quietism of foppery, if one can use the
expression, have one capital name for a fellow that _outrés_ and
outroars the fashion, a sort of high-buck as they were called in my
days. They hold him a vulgarian, and call him a tiger. Mr. Gibson came
in, and we talked over my affairs; very little to the purpose I doubt.
Dined at home with Anne as usual, and despatched half-a-dozen Selkirk
processes; among others one which savours of Hamesucken.[482] I think
to-day I have finished a quarter of vol. viii., and last. Shall I be
happy when it is done?--Umph! I think not.

_March_ 6.--A long seat at Court, and an early dinner, as we went to the
play. John Kemble's brother acted Benedick. He is a fine-looking man,
and a good actor, but not superior. He reminds you eternally that he is
acting; and he had got, as the devil directed it, hold of my favourite
Benedick, for which he has no power. He had not the slightest idea of
the part, particularly of the manner in which Benedick should conduct
himself in the quarrelling scene with the Prince and Claudio, in which
his character rises almost to the dignity of tragedy. The laying aside
his light and fantastic humour, and showing himself the man of feeling
and honour, was finely marked of yore by old Tom King.[483] I remember
particularly the high strain of grave moral feeling which he threw upon
the words--"in a false quarrel there is no true valour"--which, spoken
as he did, checked the very brutal levity of the Prince and Claudio.
There were two farces; one I wished to see, and that being the last, was
obliged to tarry for it. Perhaps the headache I contracted made me a
severe critic on Cramond Brig,[484] a little piece ascribed to Lockhart.
Perhaps I am unjust, but I cannot think it his;[485] there are so few
good things in it, and so much prosing transferred from that mine of
marrowless morality called the _Miller of Mansfield_.[486] Yet it

_March_ 7.--We are kept working hard during the expiring days of the
Session, but this being a blank day I wrote hard till dressing time,
when I went to Will Clerk's to dinner. As a bachelor, and keeping a
small establishment, he does not do these things often, but they are
proportionally pleasant when they come round. He had trusted Sir Adam to
bespeak his dinner, who did it _con amore_; so we had excellent cheer,
and the wines were various and capital. As I before hinted, it is not
every day that M'Nab[487] mounts on horseback, and so our landlord had a
little of that solicitude that the party should go off well, which is
very flattering to the guests. We had a very pleasant evening. The
Chief-Commissioner was there, Admiral Adam, Jo. Murray, and Thomson,
etc. etc. Sir Adam predominating at the head, and dancing what he calls
his "merry andrada" in great style. In short, we really laughed, and
real laughter is a thing as rare as real tears. I must say, too, there
was a _heart_,--a kindly feeling prevailed over the party. Can London
give such a dinner? It may, but I never saw one; they are too cold and
critical to be so easily pleased. In the evening I went with some others
to see the exhibition lit up for a promenade, where there were all the
fashionable folks about town; the appearance of the rooms was very gay

_March_ 8.--It snowed all night, which must render the roads impassable,
and will detain me here till Monday. Hard work at Court, as Hammie is
done up with the gout. We dine with Lord Corehouse--that's not true by
the by, for I have mistaken the day. It's to-morrow we dine there.
Wrought, but not too hard.

_March_ 9.--An idle morning. Dalgleish being set to pack my books. Wrote
notes upon a Mr. Kinloch's Collection of Scottish Ballads,[488] which I
communicated to the young author in the Court this present morning. We
were detained till half-past three o'clock, so when I came home I was
fatigued and slept. I walk slow, heavily, and with pain; but perhaps the
good weather may banish the Fiend of the joints. At any rate, impatience
will do nae good at a', man. Letter from Charles for £50. Silver and
gold have I none; but that which I have I will give unto him. We dined
at the Cranstouns,--I beg his pardon, Lord Corehouse; Ferguson, Thomson,
Will Clerk, etc., were there, also the Smiths and John Murray, so we had
a pleasant evening.

_March_ 10.--The business at the Court was not so heavy as I have seen
it the last day of the Session, yet sharp enough. About three o'clock I
got to a meeting of the Bannatyne Club. I hope this institution will be
really useful and creditable. Thomson is superintending a capital
edition of Sir James Melville's Memoirs.[489] It is brave to see how he
wags his Scots tongue, and what a difference there is in the force and
firmness of the language, compared to the mincing English edition in
which he has hitherto been alone known. Nothing to-day but correcting
proofs; Anne went to the play, I remained at home.

_March_ 11.--All my books packed this morning, and this and to-morrow
will be blank days, or nearly such; but I am far ahead of the printer,
who is not done with vol. vii., while I am deep in volume viii. I hate
packing; but my servants never pack books quite to please me. James
Ballantyne dined with us. He kept up my heart about _Bonaparte_, which
sometimes flags; and he is such a grumbler that I think I may trust him
when he is favourable. There must be sad inaccuracies, some which might
certainly have been prevented by care; but as the Lazaroni used to say,
"Did you but know how lazy I am!"

[_Abbotsford_,] _March_ 12.--Away we set, and came safely to Abbotsford
amid all the dulness of a great thaw, which has set the rivers
a-streaming in full tide. The wind is wintry, but for my part

    "I like this rocking of the battlements."[490]

I was received by old Tom and the dogs, with the unsophisticated
feelings of goodwill. I have been trying to read a new novel which I
have heard praised. It is called _Almacks_, and the author has so well
succeeded in describing the cold selfish fopperies of the time, that the
copy is almost as dull as the original. I think I will take up my bundle
of Sheriff-Court processes instead of _Almacks_, as the more
entertaining avocation of the two.

_March_ 13.--Before breakfast, prepared and forwarded the processes to
Selkirk. As I had the loan of £250 at March from Cadell I am now verging
on to the £500 which he promised to allow me in advance on second series
_Canongate Chronicles_. I do not like this, but unless I review or write
to some other purpose, what else can I do? My own expenses are as
limited as possible, but my house expenses are considerable, and every
now and then starts up something of old scores which I cannot turn over
to Mr. Gibson and his co-trustees. Well--time and the hour--money is the
smallest consideration.

Had a pleasant walk to the thicket, though my ideas were
olla-podrida-ish, curiously checkered between pleasure and melancholy. I
have cause enough for both humours, God knows. I expect this will not be
a day of work but of idleness, for my books are not come. Would to God I
could make it light thoughtless idleness, such as I used to have when
the silly smart fancies ran in my brain like the bubbles in a glass of
champagne,--as brilliant to my thinking, as intoxicating as evanescent.
But the wine is somewhat on the lees. Perhaps it was but indifferent
cider after all. Yet I am happy in this place, where everything looks
friendly, from old Tom to young Nym.[491] After all, he has little to
complain of who has left so many things that like him.

_March_ 14.--All yesterday spent in putting to rights books, and so
forth. Not a word written except interlocutors. But this won't do. I
have tow on the rock, and it must be spun off. Let us see our present
undertakings. 1. Napoleon. 2. Review Home, Cranbourne Chase,[492] and
the Mysteries. 3. Something for that poor faineant Gillies. 4. Essay on
Ballad and Song. 5. Something on the modern state of France. These two
last for the Prose Works. But they may

    "--do a little more,
    And produce a little ore."

Come, we must up and be doing. There is a rare scud without, which says,
"Go spin, you jade, go spin." I loitered on, and might have answered,

    "My spinning-wheel is auld and stiff."

Smoked a brace of cigars after dinner as a sedative. This is the first
time I have smoked these two months. I was afraid the custom would
master me. Went to work in the afternoon, and reviewed for Lockhart
Mackenzie's edition of Home's Works.[493] Proceeded as far as the eighth

_March_ 15.--Kept still at the review till two o'clock; not that there
is any hurry, but because I should lose my ideas, which are not worth
preserving. Went on therefore. I drove over to Huntly Burn with Anne,
then walked through the plantations, with Tom's help to pull me through
the snow-wreaths. Returned in a glow of heat and spirits. Corrected
proof-sheets in the evening.

_March_ 16.--

    "A trifling day we have had here,
    Begun with trifle and ended."

But I hope no otherwise so ended than to meet the rubrick of the ballad,
for it is but three o'clock. In the morning I was _l'homme qui
cherche_--everything fell aside,--the very pens absconded, and crept in
among a pack of letters and trumpery, where I had the devil's work
finding them. Thus the time before breakfast was idled, or rather
fidgeted, away. Afterwards it was rather worse. I had settled to finish
the review, when, behold, as I am apt to do at a set task, I jibb'd, and
my thoughts would rather have gone with Waterloo. So I dawdled, as the
women say, with both, now writing a page or two of the review, now
reading a few pages of the Battle of Waterloo by Captain Pringle, a
manuscript which is excellently-written.[494] Well, I will find the
advantage of it by and by. So now I will try to finish this accursed
review, for there is nothing to prevent me, save the untractable
character that hates to work on compulsion, whether of individuals or

_March 17._--I wrought away at the review and nearly finished it. Was
interrupted, however, by a note from Ballantyne, demanding copy, which
brought me back from Home and Mackenzie to _Boney_. I had my walk as
usual, and worked nevertheless very fairly. Corrected proofs.

_March 18._--Took up _Boney_ again. I am now at writing, as I used to be
at riding, slow, heavy, and awkward at mounting, but when I did get
fixed in my saddle, could screed away with any one. I have got six pages
ready for my learned Theban[495] to-morrow morning. William Laidlaw and
his brother George dined with me, but I wrote in the evening all the

_March 19._--Set about my labours, but enter Captain John Ferguson from
the Spanish Main, where he has been for three years. The honest tar sat
about two hours, and I was heartily glad to see him again. I had a
general sketch of his adventures, which we will hear more in detail when
we can meet at kail-time. Notwithstanding this interruption I have
pushed far into the seventh page. Well done for one day. Twenty days
should finish me at this rate, and I read hard too. But allowance must
be made for interruptions.

_March 20._--To-day worked till twelve o'clock, then went with Anne on a
visit of condolence to Mrs. Pringle of Yair and her family. Mr. Pringle
was the friend both of my father and grandfather; the acquaintance of
our families is at least a century old.

_March_ 21.--Wrote till twelve, then out upon the heights though the day
was stormy, and faced the gale bravely. Tom Purdie was not with me. He
would have obliged me to keep the sheltered ground. But, I don't know--

    "Even in our ashes live our wonted fires."

There is a touch of the old spirit in me yet that bids me brave the
tempest,--the spirit that, in spite of manifold infirmities, made me a
roaring boy in my youth, a desperate climber, a bold rider, a deep
drinker, and a stout player at single-stick, of all which valuable
qualities there are now but slender remains. I worked hard when I came
in, and finished five pages.

_March_ 22.--Yesterday I wrote to James Ballantyne, acquiescing in his
urgent request to extend the two last volumes to about 600 each. I
believe it will be no more than necessary after all, but makes one feel
like a dog in a wheel, always moving and never advancing.

_March_ 23.--When I was a child, and indeed for some years after, my
amusement was in supposing to myself a set of persons engaged in various
scenes which contrasted them with each other, and I remember to this day
the accuracy of my childish imagination. This might be the effect of a
natural turn to fictitious narrative, or it might be the cause of it, or
there might be an action and reaction, or it does not signify a pin's
head how it is. But with a flash of this remaining spirit, I imagine my
mother Duty to be a sort of old task-mistress, like the hag of the
merchant Abudah, in the Tales of the Genii--not a hag though, by any
means; on the contrary, my old woman wears a rich old-fashioned gown of
black silk, with ruffles of triple blonde-lace, and a coif as rich as
that of Pearling Jean;[496] a figure and countenance something like Lady
D.S.'s twenty years ago; a clear blue eye, capable of great severity of
expression, and conforming in that with a wrinkled brow, of which the
ordinary expression is a serious approach to a frown--a cautionary and
nervous shake of the head; in her withered hand an ebony staff with a
crutch head,--a Tompion gold watch, which annoys all who know her by
striking the quarters as regularly as if one wished to hear them.
Occasionally she has a small scourge of nettles, which I feel her lay
across my fingers at this moment, and so _Tace_ is Latin for a
candle.[497] I have 150 pages to write yet.

_March_ 24.--Does Duty not wear a pair of round old-fashioned silver
buckles? Buckles she has, but they are square ones. All belonging to
Duty is rectangular. Thus can we poor children of imagination play with
the ideas we create, like children with soap-bubbles. Pity that we pay
for it at other times by starting at our shadows.

    "Man but a rush against Othello's breast."

The hard work still proceeds, varied only by a short walk.

_March_ 25.--Hard work still, but went to Huntly Burn on foot, and
returned in the carriage. Walked well and stoutly--God be praised!--and
prepared a whole bundle of proofs and copy for the Blucher to morrow;
that damned work will certainly end some time or other. As it drips and
dribbles out on the paper, I think of the old drunken Presbyterian
under the spout.

_March 26._--Despatched packets. Colonel and Captain Ferguson arrived to
breakfast. I had previously determined to give myself a day to write
letters; and, as I expect John Thomson to dinner, this day will do as
well as another. I cannot keep up with the world without shying a letter
now and then. It is true the greatest happiness I could think of would
be to be rid of the world entirely. Excepting my own family, I have
little pleasure in the world, less business in it, and am heartily
careless about all its concerns. Mr. Thomson came accordingly--not John
Thomson of Duddingston, whom the letter led me to expect, but John
Anstruther Thomson of Charlton [Fifeshire], the son-in-law of Lord

_March 27._--Wrote two leaves this morning, and gave the day after
breakfast to my visitor, who is a country gentleman of the best
description; knows the world, having been a good deal attached both to
the turf and the field; is extremely good-humoured, and a good deal of a
local antiquary. I showed him the plantations, going first round the
terrace, then to the lake, then came down by the Rhymer's Glen, and took
carriage at Huntly Burn, almost the grand tour, only we did not walk
from Huntly Burn. The Fergusons dined with us.

_March 28._--Mr Thomson left us about twelve for Minto, parting a
pleased guest, I hope, from a pleased landlord. When I see a "gemman as
_is_ a gemman," as the blackguards say, why, I know how to be civil.
After he left I set doggedly to work with _Bonaparte_, who had fallen a
little into arrear. I can clear the ground better now by mashing up my
old work in the Edinburgh Register with my new matter, a species of
_colcannen_, where cold potatoes are mixed with hot cabbage. After all,
I think Ballantyne is right, and that I have some talents for
history-writing after all. That same history in the Register reads
prettily enough. _Coragio_, cry Claymore. I finished five pages, but
with additions from Register they will run to more than double I hope;
like Puff in the Critic, be luxuriant.[498]

Here is snow back again, a nasty, comfortless, stormy sort of a day, and
I will work it off at _Boney_. What shall I do when _Bonaparte_ is done?
He engrosses me morning, noon, and night. Never mind; _Komt Zeit komt
Rath_, as the German says. I did not work longer than twelve, however,
but went out in as rough weather as I have seen, and stood out several
snow blasts.

_March 29, 30._--

    "He walk'd and wrought, poor soul! What then?
    Why, then he walk'd and wrought again."

_March 31._--Day varied by dining with Mr. Scrope, where we found Mr.
Williams and Mr. Simson,[499] both excellent artists. We had not too
much of the palette, but made a very agreeable day out. I contrived to
mislay the proof-sheets sent me this morning, so that I must have a
revise. This frequent absence of mind becomes very exceeding
troublesome. I have the distinct recollection of laying them carefully
aside after I dressed to go to the Pavilion. Well, I have a head--the
proverb is musty.


[481] See Townley's _Farce_.

[482] _Hamesucken_.--The crime of beating or assaulting a person in his
own house. A Scotch law term.

[483] King had retired from the stage in 1801. He died four years later.

[484] _Cramond Brig_ is said to have been written by Mr. W.H. Murray,
the manager of the Theatre, and is still occasionally acted in

[485] Marginal Note in Original MSS. "I never saw it--not mine.--J.G.L."

[486] By Dodsley.

[487] That singular personage, the late M'Nab of _that ilk_, spent his
life almost entirely in a district where a boat was the usual

[488] _Ancient Scottish Ballads, recovered from tradition, with notes_,
etc., by George R. Kinloch, 8vo, London, 1827.

[489] Issued by the Club, June 4, 1827.

[490] Zanga in _The Revenge_, Act I. Sc. 1.--J.G.L.

[491] Nimrod, a staghound.--J.G.L.

[492] _Anecdotes of Cranbourne Chase_, etc., by Chafin. 8vo, London,
1818. Mr. Lockhart says, "I am sorry Sir Walter never redeemed his
promise to make it the subject of an article in the _Quarterly
Review_."--See _Life_, vol. vii. pp. 43-44.

[493] The article appeared in the Number for June 1827, and is now
included in the _Prose Misc. Works_, vol. xix. pp. 283-367.

[494] See Captain John Pringle's remarks on the campaign of 1815 in App.
to Scott's _Napoleon_, vol. ix. pp. 115-160.

[495] _Lear_, Act III. Sc. 4.

[496] "Pearling Jean," the name of the ghost of the Spanish Nun at
Allanbank, Berwickshire. See Sharpe's _Letters_, vol. i. pp. 303-5, and
Ingram's _Haunted Homes_, Lond. 1884, vol. i. pp. 1-4.

[497] This quaint saying, arising out of some forgotten joke, has been
thought to be Scott's own, as it was a favourite with him and his
intimates, and he introduces it in more than one of his works.[A] But
though its origin cannot be traced, Swift uses it in that very curious
collection of proverbs and saws, which he strung together under the
title of _Polite Conversation_, and published about 1738.[B] Fielding
also introduces it in _Amelia_,[C] 1752. See _Notes and Queries_, first
series, vol. i. p. 385; ii. p. 45; iv. p. 450; x. p. 173; sixth series,
vol. iii. p. 213; iv. p. 157.

[A] e.g. _Redgauntlet_, ch. xii. Pate-in-Peril at Dumfries.

[B] _Lord Smart_--"Well, Tom, can you tell me what's Latin for a

_Neverout_--"O, my Lord, I know that [answer]: Brandy is Latin for a
goose! and _Tace_ is Latin for a candle."--SCOTT'S _Swift_, vol. ix. p.

[C] "_Tace_, Madam," added Murphy, "is Latin for a candle."--_Amelia_,
Bk. 1. cap. xi.

[498] Sheridan's Play, Act II. Sc. 1.

[499] William Simson, R.S.A., landscape painter. He died in London,


_April_ 1.--The proofs are not to be found. Applications from R.P.
G[illies]. I must do something for him; yet have the melancholy
conviction that nothing will do him any good. Then he writes letters and
expects answers. Then they are bothering me about writing in behalf of
the oil-gas light, which is going to the devil very fast. I cannot be
going a-begging for them or anybody. Please to look down with an eye of
pity--a poor distressed creature! No, not for the last morsel of bread.
A dry ditch and a speedy death is worth it all.

_April_ 2.--Another letter from R.P.G. I shall begin to wish, like S.,
that he had been murthered and robbed in his walks between Wimbledon and
London. John [Archibald] Murray and his young wife came to dinner, and
in good time. I like her very much, and think he has been very lucky.
She is not in the vaward of youth, but John is but two or three years my
junior. She is pleasing in her manners, and totally free from
affectation; a beautiful musician, and willingly exerts her talents in
that way; is said to be very learned, but shows none of it. A large
fortune is no bad addition to such a woman's society.

_April_ 3.--I had processes to decide; and though I arose at my usual
hour, I could not get through above two of five proofs. After breakfast
I walked with John Murray, and at twelve we went for Melrose, where I
had to show the lions. We came back by Huntly Burn, where the carriage
broke down, and gave us a pretty long walk home. Mr. Scrope dined with
his two artists, and John [Thomson?]. The last is not only the best
landscape-painter of his age and country, but is, moreover, one of the
warmest-hearted men living, with a keen and unaffected feeling of
poetry. Poor fellow! he has had many misfortunes in his family. I drank
a glass or two of wine more than usual, got into good spirits, and _came
from Tripoli_ for the amusement of the good company. I was in good

_April_ 4.--I think I have a little headache this morning; however, as
Othello says, "That's not much." I saw our guests go off by seven in the
morning, but was not in time to give them good-bye.

    "And now again, boys, to the oar."

I did not go to the oar though, but walked a good deal.

_April_ 5.--Heard from Lockhart; the Duke of W[ellington] and Croker are
pleased with my historical labours; so far well--for the former, as a
soldier said of him, "I would rather have his long nose on my side than
a whole brigade." Well! something good may come of it, and if it does it
will be good luck, for, as you and I know, Mother Duty, it has been a
rummily written work. I wrote hard to-day.

_April_ 6.--Do. Do. I only took one turn about the thicket, and have
nothing to put down but to record my labours.

_April_ 7.--The same history occurs; my desk and my exercise. I am a
perfect automaton. _Bonaparte_ runs in my head from seven in the morning
till ten at night without intermission. I wrote six leaves to-day and
corrected four proofs.

_April_ 8.--Ginger, being in my room, was safely delivered in her basket
of four puppies; the mother and children all doing well. Faith! that is
as important an entry as my Journal could desire. The day is so
beautiful that I long to go out. I won't, though, till I have done
something. A letter from Mr. Gibson about the trust affairs. If the
infernal bargain with Constable go on well, there will be a pretty sop
in the pan to the creditors; £35,000 at least. If I could work as
effectually for three years more, I shall stand on my feet like a man.
But who can assure success with the public?

_April_ 9.--I wrote as hard to-day as need be, finished my neat eight
pages, and, notwithstanding, drove out and visited at Gattonside. The
devil must be in it if the matter drags out longer now.

_April_ 10.--Some incivility from the Leith Bank, which I despise with
my heels. I have done for settling my affairs all that any man--much
more than most men--could have done, and they refuse a draught of £20,
because, in mistake, it was £8 overdrawn. But what can be expected of a
_sow_ but a _grumph_? Wrought hard, hard.

_April_ 11.--The parks were rouped for £100 a year more than they
brought last year. Poor Abbotsford will come to good after all. In the
meantime it is _Sic vos non vobis_--but who cares a farthing? If _Boney_
succeeds, we will give these affairs a blue eye, and I will wrestle
stoutly with them, although

    "My _banks_ they are covered with _bees_,"[500]

or rather with wasps. A very tough day's work.

_April_ 12.--_Ha-a-lt_--as we used to say, my proof-sheets being still
behind. Very unhandsome conduct on the part of the Blucher[501] while I
was lauding it so profusely. It is necessary to halt and close up our
files--of correspondence I mean. So it is a chance if, except for
contradiction's sake, or upon getting the proof-sheets, I write a line
to-day at _Boney_. I did, however, correct five revised sheets and one
proof, which took me up so much of the day that I had but one turn
through the courtyard. Owing to this I had some of my flutterings, my
trembling exies, as the old people called the ague. Wrote a great many
letters--but no "copy."

_April_ 13.--I have sometimes wondered with what regularity--that is,
for a shrew of my impatient temper--I have been able to keep this
Journal. The use of the first person being, of course, the very essence
of a diary, I conceive it is chiefly vanity, the dear pleasure of
writing about the best of good fellows, Myself, which gives me
perseverance to continue this idle task. This morning I wrote till
breakfast, then went out and marked trees to be cut for paling, and am
just returned--and what does any one care? Ay, but, Gad! I care myself,
though. We had at dinner to-day Mr. and Mrs. Cranstoun (Burns's Maria of
Ballochmyle[502]), Mr. Bainbridge and daughters, and Colonel Russell.

_April_ 14.--Went to Selkirk to try a fellow for an assault on Dr.
Clarkson--fined him seven guineas, which, with his necessary expenses,
will amount to ten guineas. It is rather too little; but as his income
does not amount to £30 a year, it will pinch him severely enough, and is
better than sending him to an ill-kept jail, where he would be idle and
drunk from morning to night. I had a dreadful headache while sitting in
the Court--rheumatism in perfection. It did not last after I got warm by
the fireside.

_April_ 15.--Delightful soft morning, with mild rain. Walked out and got
wet, as a sovereign cure for the rheumatism. Was quite well, though, and
scribbled away.

_April_ 16.--A day of work and exercise. In the evening a letter from
L[ockhart], with the wonderful news that the Ministry has broken up, and
apparently for no cause that any one can explain. The old grudge, I
suppose, betwixt Peel and Canning, which has gone on augmenting like a
crack in the side of a house, which enlarges from day to day, till down
goes the whole. Mr. Canning has declared himself fully satisfied with
J.L., and sent Barrow to tell him so. His suspicions were indeed most
erroneous, but they were repelled with no little spirit both by L. and
myself, and Canning has not been like another Great Man I know to whom
I showed demonstrably that he had suspected an individual unjustly. "It
may be so," he said, "but his mode of defending himself was

_April_ 17.--Went to dinner to-day to Mr. Bainbridge's Gattonside House,
and had fireworks in the evening, made by Captain Burchard, a
good-humoured kind of Will Wimble.[504] One nice little boy announced to
us everything that was going to be done, with the importance of a
prologue. Some of the country folks assembled, and our party was
enlivened by the squeaks of the wenches and the long-protracted Eh,
eh's! by which a Teviotdale tup testifies his wonder.

_April_ 18.--I felt the impatience of news so much that I walked up to
Mr. Laidlaw, surely for no other purpose than to talk politics. This
interrupted _Boney_ a little. After I returned, about twelve or one,
behold Tom Tack; he comes from Buenos Ayres with a parcel of little
curiosities he had picked up for me. As Tom Tack spins a _tough yarn_, I
lost the morning almost entirely--what with one thing, what with
t'other, as my friend the Laird of Raeburn says. Nor have I much to say
for the evening, only I smoked a cigar more than usual to get the box
ended, and give up the custom for a little.

_April_ 19.--Another letter from Lockhart.[505] I am sorry when I think
of the goodly fellowship of vessels which are now scattered on the
ocean. There is the Duke of Wellington, the Lord Chancellor, Lord
Melville, Mr. Peel, and I wot not who besides, all turned out of office
or resigned! I wonder what they can do in the House of Lords when all
the great Tories are on the wrong side of the House. Canning seems quite
serious in his views of helping Lockhart. I hope it will come to

_April_ 20.--A surly sort of day. I walked for two hours, however, and
then returned chiefly to _Nap_. Egad! I believe it has an end at last,
this blasted work. I have the fellow at Plymouth, or near about it.
Well, I declare, I thought the end of these beastly big eight volumes
was like the end of the world, which is always talked of and never

_April_. 21.--Here is a vile day--downright rain, which disconcerts an
inroad of bairns from Gattonside, and, of course, annihilates a part of
the stock of human happiness. But what says the proverb of your true
rainy day--

    "'Tis good for book, 'tis good for work,
    For cup and can, or knife and fork."

_April_ 22.--Wrote till twelve o'clock, then sallied forth, and walked
to Huntly Burn with Tom; and so, look you, sir, I drove home in the
carriage. Wrought in the afternoon, and tried to read _De Vere_, a
sensible but heavy book, written by an able hand--but a great bore for
all that.[506] Wrote in the evening.

_April 23._--Snowy morning. White as my shirt. The little Bainbridges
came over; invited to see the armoury, etc., which I stood showman to.
It is odd how much less cubbish the English boys are than the Scotch.
Well-mannered and sensible are the southern boys. I suppose the sun
brings them forward. Here comes six o'clock at night, and it is snowing
as if it had not snowed these forty years before. Well, I'll work away a
couple of chapters--three at most will finish _Napoleon_.

_April 24._--Still deep snow--a foot thick in the courtyard, I dare say.
Severe welcome to the poor lambs now coming into the world. But what
signifies whether they die just now, or a little while after to be
united with salad at luncheon-time? It signifies a good deal too. There
is a period, though a short one, when they dance among the gowans, and
seem happy. As for your aged sheep or wether, the sooner they pass to
the Norman side of the vocabulary the better. They are like some old
dowager ladies and gentlemen of my acquaintance,--no one cares about
them till they come to be _cut up_, and then we see how the tallow lies
on the kidneys and the chine.

_April 25._--Snow yet, and it prevents my walking, and I grow bilious. I
wrote hard though. I have now got _Boney_ pegg'd up in the knotty
entrails of Saint Helena, and may make a short pause.

So I finished the review of John Home's works, which, after all, are
poorer than I thought them. Good blank verse and stately sentiment, but
something lukewarmish, excepting Douglas, which is certainly a
masterpiece. Even that does not stand the closet. Its merits are for the
stage; but it is certainly one of the best acting plays going. Perhaps a
play, to act well, should not be too poetical.

There is a talk in London of bringing in the Marquis of Lansdowne, then
Lauderdale will perhaps come in here. It is certain the old Tory party
is down the wind, not from political opinions, but from personal
aversion to Canning. Perhaps his satirical temper has partly occasioned
this; but I rather consider emulation as the source of it, the head and
front of the offending. Croker no longer rhymes to joker. He has made a
good _coup_, it is said, by securing Lord Hertford for the new
administration. D.W. calls him their viper. After all, I cannot
sympathise with that delicacy which throws up office, because the most
eloquent man in England, and certainly the only man who can manage the
House of Commons, is named Minister.[507]

_April_ 26.--The snow still profusely distributed, and the surface, as
our hair used to be in youth, after we had played at some active game,
half black, half white, all in large patches. I finished the criticism
on Home, adding a string of Jacobite anecdotes, like that which boys put
to a kite's tail. Sent off the packet to Lockhart; at the same time sent
Croker a volume of French tracts, containing _La Portefeuille de
Bonaparte_, which he wished to see. Received a great cargo of papers
from Bernadotte, some curious, and would have been inestimable two
months back, but now my siege is almost made. Still my feelings for poor
Count Itterburg,[508] the lineal and legitimate, make me averse to have
much to do with this child of the revolution.

_April_ 27.--This hand of mine gets to be like a kitten's scratch, and
will require much deciphering, or, what may be as well for the writer,
cannot be deciphered at all. I am sure I cannot read it myself. Weather
better, which is well, as I shall get a walk. I have been a little
nervous, having been confined to the house for three days. Well, I may
be disabled from duty, but my tamed spirits and sense of dejection have
quelled all that freakishness of humour which made me a voluntary idler.
I present myself to the morning task, as the hack-horse patiently
trudges to the pole of his chaise, and backs, however reluctantly, to
have the traces fixed. Such are the uses of adversity.

_April_ 28.--Wrought at continuing the Works, with some criticism on
Defoe.[509] I have great aversion, I cannot tell why, to stuffing the
"Border Antiquities" into what they call the Prose Works.

There is no encouragement, to be sure, for doing better, for nobody
seems to care. I cannot get an answer from J. Ballantyne, whether he
thinks the review on the Highlands would be a better substitution.

_April_ 29.--Colonel and Captain Ferguson dined here with Mr. Laidlaw. I
wrote all the morning, then cut some wood. I think the weather gets too
warm for hard work with the axe, or I get too stiff and easily tired.

_April_ 30.--Went to Jedburgh to circuit, where found my old friend and
schoolfellow, D. Monypenny.[510] Nothing to-day but a pack of riff-raff
cases of petty larceny and trash. Dined as usual with the Judge, and
slept at my old friend Mr. Shortreed's.


[500] See Shenstone's _Pastoral Ballad_, Part ii., Hope.

[501] The coach to Edinburgh.

[502] See "The Braes of Ballochmyle;" Currie's _Burns_, vol. iv. p. 294.

[503] The conduct of the _Quarterly_ at this time was in after years
thus commented upon by John Wilson.

"_North._--While we were defending the principles of the British
constitution, bearding its enemies, and administering to them the knout,
the _Quarterly Review_ was meek and mum as a mouse.

"_Tickler._--Afraid to lose the countenance and occasional assistance of
Mr. Canning.

"_North._--There indeed, James, was a beautiful exhibition of party
politics, a dignified exhibition of personal independence."--_Noctes

It is understood that Canning, who had received the King's commands in
April 10, felt keenly the loneliness of his position--estranged from his
old comrades, and deterred by the remembrance of many bitter satires
against them from having close intimacy with his new co-adjutors.

[504] See _Spectator_.

[505] "... Your letter has given me the vertigo--my head turns round
like a chariot wheel, and I am on the point of asking--

'Why, how now? Am I Giles, or am I not?'

"The Duke of Wellington out?--bad news at home, and worse abroad. Lord
Anglesea in his situation?--does not much mend the matter. Duke of
Clarence in the Navy?--wild work. Lord Melville, I suppose, falls of
course--perhaps _cum totâ sequelâ_, about which _sequela_, unless Sir W.
Rae and the Solicitor, I care little. The whole is glamour to one who
reads no papers, and has none to read. I must get one, though, if this
work is to go on, for it is quite bursting in ignorance. Canning is
haughty and prejudiced--but, I think, honourable as well as able: _nous
verrons_. I fear Croker will shake, and heartily sorry I should feel for
that...."--Scott to Lockhart: _Life_, vol. ix. p. 99.

[506] R. Plumer Ward.--See July 4.

[507] A fuller statement of Scott's views at this crisis will be found
in his letters to Lockhart and Morritt in _Life_, vol. ix. (April, May,
and June, 1827).

[508] Count Itterburg, then in his 20th year, was the name under which
Gustavus, the ex-Crown Prince of Sweden, visited Scotland in 1819. It
was his intention to study at the University of Edinburgh during the
winter session, but, his real name becoming known, this was rendered
impracticable by the curiosity and attention of the public. He devoted
himself mainly to the study of military matters, and out-door exercises,
roughing it in all sorts of weather, sometimes,--to his mentor Baron
Polier's uneasiness,--setting out on dark and stormy nights, and making
his way across country from point to point. This self-imposed training
was no doubt with the secret hope that he might some day be called upon
by the Swedes to oust Bernadotte, and mount the throne of the great
Gustavus. Mr. Skene saw a good deal of him, and gives many interesting
details of his life in Edinburgh, such as the following account of a
meeting at his own house. "He was interested with a set of portraits of
the two last generations of the Royal Family of Scotland, which hung in
my dining-room, and which had been presented to my grandfather by Prince
Charles Edward, in consideration of the sacrifices he had made for the
Prince's service during the unfortunate enterprise of the year 1745,
having raised and commanded one of the battalions of Lord Lewis Gordon's
brigade. The portrait of Prince Charles Edward, taken about the same age
as Comte Itterburg, and no doubt also the marked analogy existing in the
circumstances to which they had been each reduced, seemed much to engage
his notice; and when the ladies had retired he begged me to give him
some account of the rebellion, and of the various endeavours of the
Stewarts to regain the Scottish crown. The subject was rather a
comprehensive one, but having done my best to put him in possession of
the leading features, it seemed to have taken very strong hold of his
mind, as he frequently, at our subsequent meetings, reverted to the
subject. Upon another occasion by degrees the topic of conversation
slipped into its wonted channel--the rebellion of 1745, its final
disaster, and the singular escape of the Prince from the pursuit of his
enemies. The Comte inquired what effect the failure of the enterprise
had produced upon the Prince's character, with whose gallant bearing and
enthusiasm, in the conduct of his desperate enterprise, he evinced the
strongest interest and sympathy. I stated briefly the mortifying
disappointments to which Charles Edward was exposed in France, the
hopelessness of his cause, and the indifference generally shown to him
by the continental courts, which so much preyed on his mind as finally
to stifle every spark of his former character, so that he gave himself
up to a listless indifference, which terminated in his becoming a sot
during the latter years of his life. On turning round to the Prince, who
had been listening to these details, I perceived the big drops chasing
each other down his cheeks and therefore changed the subject, and he
never again recurred to it."--_Reminiscences_.

Count Itterburg, or Prince Gustavus Vasa, to give him the title of an
old family dignity which he assumed in 1829, entered the Austrian army,
in which he attained the rank of Lieutenant Field-Marshal. His services,
it is needless to say, were never required by the Swedes, though he
never relinquished his pretensions, and claimed the throne at his
father's death in 1837. He died at Pillnitz on the 4th August 1877,
leaving one daughter, the present Queen of Saxony.

Notices of his visits to 39 Castle Street and Abbotsford are given in
the 6th vol. of _Life_.

[509] This refers to the _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, forming 24 vols.,
the publication of which did not commence until May 1834, although, as
is shown by the Journal, the author was busy in its preparation. The
"criticism on Defoe" will be found in the fourth volume, pp. 247-296,
forming a supplement to John Ballantyne's Biographical Notice of Defoe
in the same volume. The "Essay on Border Antiquities" appeared,
notwithstanding Scott's misgivings, in the seventh volume.

[510] Lord Pitmilly.--See _ante_, p. 125.


_May_ 1.--Brought Andrew Shortreed to copy some things I want. Maxpopple
came with us as far as Lessudden, and we stopped and made a pilgrimage
to Fair Maiden Lilliard's Stone, which has been restored lately, to the
credit of Mr. Walker of Muirhouselaw.[511] Set my young clerk to work
when we came home, and did some laborious business. A letter from Sir
Thomas Lawrence informed me I am chosen Professor of Antiquities to the
Royal Academy--a beautiful professor to be sure!

_May_ 2.--Did nothing but proofs this morning. At ten went to Selkirk to
arrange about the new measures, which, like all new things, will throw
us into confusion for a little at least. The weather was so exquisitely
good that I walked after tea to half-past eight, and enjoyed a sort of
half-lazy, half-sulky humour--like Caliban's, "There's wood enough
within."[512] Well, I may be the bear, but I must mount the ragged staff
all the same. I set my myself to labour for R.P.G.[513] The Germanic
Horrors are my theme, and I think something may be yet made of them.

_May_ 3.--An early visit from Mr. Thomas Stewart, nephew of Duchess of
Wellington, with a letter from his aunt. He seems a well-behaved and
pleasant young man. I walked him through the Glen. Colonel Ferguson came
to help us out at dinner, and then we had our wine and wassail.

_May_ 4.--Corrected proofs in the morning. Mr. Stewart still here, which
prevented work; however, I am far beforehand with everything. We walked
a good deal; asked Mr. Alexander Pringle, Whytbank, to dinner. This is
rather losing time, though.

_May_ 5.--Worked away upon those wild affairs of Hoffmann for Gillies. I
think I have forgot my German very much, and then the stream of
criticism does not come freely at all: I cannot tell why. I gave it up
in despair at half-past one, and walked out.

Had a letter from R.P.G. He seems in spirits about his work. I wish it
may answer. Under good encouragement it certainly might. But--

Maxpopple came to dinner, and Mr. Laidlaw after dinner, so that broke up
a day, which I can ill spare. Mr. Stewart left us this day.

_May_ 6.--Wrought again at Hoffmann--unfructuously I fear--unwillingly I
am certain; but how else can I do a little good in my generation? I will
try a walk. I would fain catch myself in good-humour with my task, but
that will not be easy.

_May_ 7.--Finished Hoffmann, _talis qualis_. I don't like it; but then I
have been often displeased with things that have proved successful. Our
own labours become disgusting in our eyes, from the ideas having been
turned over and over in our own minds. To others, to whom they are
presented for the first time, they have a show of novelty. God grant it
may prove so. I would help the poor fellow if I could, for I am poor

_May_ 8.--Corrected Hoffmann with a view to send him off, which,
however, I could not accomplish. I finished a criticism on Defoe's
Writings.[514] His great forte is his power of _vraisemblance_. This I
have instanced in the story of Mrs. Veal's Ghost. Ettrick Shepherd

_May_ 9.--This day we went to dinner at Mr. Scrope's, at the Pavilion,
where were the Haigs of Bemerside, Isaac Haig, Mr. and Mrs. Bainbridge,
etc. Warm dispute whether par are or are not salmon trout. "Fleas are
not lobsters, d--n their souls."

Mr. Scrope has made a painting of Tivoli, which, when mellowed a little
by time, will be a fine one. Letters from Lockhart, with news concerning
the beautiful mess they are making in London. Henry Scott will be
threatened in Roxburghshire. This would be bad policy, as it would drive
the young Duke to take up his ground, which, unless pressed, he may be
in no hurry to do. Personally, I do not like to be driven to a point, as
I think Canning may do much for the country, provided he does not stand
committed to his new Whig counsellors. But if the push does come, I will
not quit my old friends--_that_ I am freely resolved, and _dissolutely_,
as Slender says.[515]

_May_ 10.--We went to breakfast at Huntly Burn, and I wandered all the
morning in the woods to avoid an English party who came to see the
house. When I came home I found my cousin Col. Russell, and his sister,
so I had no work to-day but my labour at proofs in the morning. To-day I
dismiss my aide-de-camp, Shortreed--a fine lad. The Boar of the Forest
left us after breakfast. Had a present of a medal forming one of a
series from Chantrey's busts. But this is not for nothing: the donor
wants a motto for the reverse of the King's medal. I am a bad hand to
apply to.

_May_ 11.--Hogg called this morning to converse about trying to get him
on the pecuniary list of the Royal Literary Society. Certainly he
deserves it, if genius and necessity could do so. But I do not belong to
the society, nor do I propose to enter it as a coadjutor. I don't like
your royal academies of this kind; they almost always fall into jobs,
and the members are seldom those who do credit to the literature of a
country. It affected, too, to comprehend those men of letters who are
specially attached to the Crown, and though I love and honour my King as
much as any of them can, yet I hold it best, in this free country, to
preserve the exterior of independence, that my loyalty may be the more
impressive, and tell more effectually. Yet I wish sincerely to help poor
Hogg, and have written to Lockhart about it. It may be my own desolate
feelings--it may be the apprehension of evil from this political
hocus-pocus, but I have seldom felt more moody and uncomfortable than
while writing these lines. I have walked, too, but without effect. W.
Laidlaw, whose very ingenious mind is delighted with all novelties,
talked nonsense about the new government, in which men are to resign
principle, I fear, on both sides.

_May_ 12.--Wrote Lockhart on what I think the upright and honest
principle, and am resolved to vex myself no more about it. Walked with
my cousin, Colonel Russell, for three hours in the woods, and enjoyed
the sublime and delectable pleasure of being well,--and listened to on
the subject of my favourite themes of laying out ground and plantation.
Russel seems quite to follow such an excellent authority, and my spirits
mounted while I found I was haranguing to a willing and patient pupil.
To be sure, Ashestiel, planting the high knolls, and drawing woodland
through the pasture, could be made one of the most beautiful forest
things in the world. I have often dreamed of putting it in high order;
and, judging from what I have been able to do here, I think I should
have succeeded. At any rate, my blue devils are flown at the sense of
retaining some sort of consequence. Lord, what fools we are!

_May_ 13.--A most idle and dissipated day. I did not rise till half-past
eight o'clock. Col. and Capt. Ferguson came to breakfast. I walked
half-way home with them, then turned back and spent the day, which was
delightful, wandering from place to place in the woods, sometimes
reading the new and interesting volumes of _Cyril Thornton_,[516]
sometimes chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy which strangely
alternated in my mind, idly stirred by the succession of a thousand
vague thoughts and fears, the gay thoughts strangely mingled with those
of dismal melancholy; tears, which seemed ready to flow unbidden;
smiles, which approached to those of insanity; all that wild variety of
mood which solitude engenders. I scribbled some verses, or rather
composed them in my memory. The contrast at leaving Abbotsford to former
departures is of an agitating and violent description. Assorting papers
and so forth. I never could help admiring the concatenation between
Ahitophel's setting his house in order and hanging himself. The one
seems to me to follow the other as a matter of course. I don't mind the
trouble, though my head swims with it. I do not mind meeting accounts,
which unpaid remind you of your distress, or paid serve to show you you
have been throwing away money you would be glad to have back again. I do
not mind the strange contradictory mode of papers hiding themselves that
you wish to see, and others thrusting themselves into your hand to
confuse and bewilder you. There is a clergyman's letter about the
Scottish pronunciation, to which I had written an answer some weeks
since (the person is an ass, by the by). But I had laid aside my answer,
being unable to find the letter which bore his address; and, in the
course of this day, both his letter with the address, and my answer
which wanted the address, fell into my hands half-a-dozen times, but
separately always. This was the positive malice of some hobgoblin, and I
submit to it as such. But what frightens and disgusts me is those
fearful letters from those who have been long dead, to those who linger
on their wayfare through this valley of tears. These fine lines of
Spencer came into my head--

    "When midnight o'er the pathless skies."[517]

Ay, and can I forget the author!--the frightful moral of his own vision.
What is this world? A dream within a dream--as we grow older each step
is an awakening. The youth awakes as he thinks from childhood--the
full-grown man despises the pursuits of youth as visionary--the old man
looks on manhood as a feverish dream. The Grave the last sleep?--no; it
is the last and final awakening.

_May_ 14.--To town per Blucher coach, well stowed and crushed, but saved
cash, coming off for less than £2; posting costs nearly five, and you
don't get on so fast by one-third. Arrived in my old lodgings here with
a stouter heart than I expected. Dined with Mr. and Mrs. Skene, and met
Lord Medwyn and lady.

_May_ 15.--Parliament House a queer sight. Looked as if people were
singing to each other the noble song of "The sky's falling--chickie
diddle." Thinks I to myself, I'll keep a calm sough.

    "Betwixt both sides I unconcerned stand by;
    Hurt, can I laugh, and honest, need I cry?"

I wish the old Government had kept together, but their personal dislike
to Canning seems to have rendered that impossible.

I dined at a great dinner given by Sir George Clerk to his electors,
the freeholders of Midlothian; a great attendance of Whig and Tory,
huzzaing each other's toasts. _If_ is a good peacemaker, but quarter-day
is a better. I have a guess the best gamecocks would call a truce if a
handful or two of oats were scattered among them.

_May_ 16.--Mr. John Gibson says the Trustees are to allow my expense in
travelling--£300, with £50 taken in in Longman's bill. This will place
me _rectus in curia_, and not much more, faith!

There is a fellow bawling out a ditty in the street, the burthen of
which is

    "There's nothing but poverty everywhere."

He shall not be a penny richer for telling me what I know but too well
without him.

_May_ 17.--Learned with great distress the death of poor Richard
Lockhart, the youngest brother of my son-in-law. He had an exquisite
talent for acquiring languages, and was under the patronage of my
kinsman, George Swinton, who had taken him into his own family at
Calcutta, and now he is drowned in a foolish bathing party.

_May_ 18.--Heard from Abbotsford; all well. Wrought to-day but
awkwardly. Tom Campbell called, warm from his Glasgow Rectorship; he is
looking very well. He seemed surprised that I did not know anything
about the contentions of Tories, Whigs, and Radicals, in the great
commercial city. I have other eggs on the spit. He stayed but a few

_May_ 19.--Went out to-day to Sir John Dalrymple's,[519] at Oxenford, a
pretty place; the lady a daughter of Lord Duncan. Will Clerk and Robert
Graeme went with me. A good dinner and pleasant enough party; but ten
miles going and ten miles coming make twenty, and that is something of a
journey. Got a headache too by jolting about after dinner.

_May_ 20.--Wrote a good deal at Appendix [to Bonaparte], or perhaps I
should say tried to write. Got myself into a fever when I had finished
four pages, and went out at eight o'clock at night to cool myself if
possible. Walked with difficulty as far as Skene's,[520] and there sat
and got out of my fidgety feeling. Learned that the Princes Street
people intend to present me with the key of their gardens, which will be
a great treat, as I am too tender-hoofed for the stones. We must now get
to work in earnest.

_May_ 21.--Accordingly this day I wrought tightly, and though not in my
very best mood I got on in a very businesslike manner. Was at the Gas
Council, where I found things getting poorly on. The Treasury have
remitted us to the Exchequer. The Committee want me to make private
interest with the L.C. Baron. That I won't do, but I will state their
cause publicly any way they like.

_May_ 22.--At Court--home by two, walking through the Princes Street
Gardens for the first time. Called on Mrs. Jobson. Worked two hours.
Must dress to dine at Mr. John Borthwick's, with the _young folk_, now
Mr. and Mrs. Dempster.[521] Kindly and affectionately received by my
good young friends, who seem to have succeeded to their parents' regard
for me.

_May_ 23.--Got some books, etc., which I wanted to make up the Saint
Helena affair. Set about making up the Appendix, but found I had mislaid
a number of the said postliminary affair. Had Hogg's nephew here as a
transcriber, a modest and well-behaved young man--clever, too, I
think.[522] Being Teind Wednesday I was not obliged to go to the Court,
and am now _bang up_, and shall soon finish Mr. Nappy. And how then? Ay,
marry, sir, that's the question.

    "Lord, what will all the people say,
    Mr. Mayor, Mr. Mayor!"

"The fires i' the lowest hell fold in the people!"[523] as Coriolanus
says. I live not in their report, I hope.

_May_ 24.--Mr. Gibson paid me £70 more of my London journey. A good
thought came into my head: to write stories for little Johnnie Lockhart
from the History of Scotland, like those taken from the History of
England. I will not write mine quite so simply as Croker has done. I am
persuaded both children and the lower class of readers hate books which
are written _down_ to their capacity, and love those that are more
composed for their elders and betters. I will make, if possible, a book
that a child will understand, yet a man will feel some temptation to
peruse should he chance to take it up. It will require, however, a
simplicity of style not quite my own. The grand and interesting consists
in ideas, not in words. A clever thing of this kind will have a run--

    "Little to say,
    But wrought away,
    And went out to dine with the Skenes to-day."

Rather too many dinner engagements on my list. Must be hard-hearted. I
cannot say I like my solitary days the worst by any means. I dine, when
I like, on soup or broth, and drink a glass of porter or ginger-beer; a
single tumbler of whisky and water concludes the _debauch_. This agrees
with me charmingly. At ten o'clock bread and cheese, a single draught
of small beer, porter, or ginger-beer, and to bed.

_May_ 26.--I went the same dull and weary round out to the Parliament
House, which bothers one's brains for the day. Nevertheless, I get on.
Pages vanish from under my hand, and find their way to J. Ballantyne,
who is grinding away with his presses. I think I may say, now I begin to
get rid of the dust raised about me by so many puzzling little facts,
that it is plain sailing to the end.

Dined at Skene's with George Forbes and lady. But that was yesterday.

_May_ 27.--I got ducked in coming home from the Court. Naboclish!--I
thank thee, Pat, for teaching me the word. Made a hard day of it. Scarce
stirred from one room to another, but at bed-time finished a handsome
handful of copy. I have quoted Gourgaud's evidence; I suppose he will be
in a rare passion, and may be addicted to vengeance, like a
long-moustached son of a French bitch as he is. Naboclish! again for

    "Frenchman, Devil, or Don,
     Damn him, let him come on,
       He shan't scare a son of the Island."[524]

_May_ 28.--Another day of uninterrupted study; two such would finish the
work with a murrain. I have several engagements next week; I wonder how
I was such a fool as to take them. I think I shall be done, however,
before Saturday. What shall I have to think of when I lie down at night
and awake in the morning? What will be my plague and my pastime, my
curse and my blessing, as ideas come and the pulse rises, or as they
flag and something like a snow haze covers my whole imagination? I have
my _Highland Tales_--and then--never mind, sufficient for the day is the
evil thereof.

_May_ 29.--Detained at the House till near three. Made a call on Mrs.
Jobson and others; also went down to the printing-office. I hope James
Ballantyne will do well. I think and believe he will. Wrought in the

_May_ 30.--Having but a trifle on the roll to-day, I set hard to work,
and brought myself in for a holiday, or rather played truant. At two
o'clock went to a Mr. Mackenzie in my old house at Castle Street, to
have some touches given to Walker's print.[525] Afterwards, having young
Hogg with me as an amanuensis, I took to the oar till near ten

_May_ 31.--Being a Court day I was engaged very late. Then I called at
the printing-house, but got no exact calculation how we come on. Met Mr.
Cadell, who bids, as the author's copy [money] 1s. profit on each book
of _Hugh Little-john_. I thought this too little. My general calculation
is on such profits, that, supposing the book to sell to the public for
7s. 6d., the price ought to go in three shares--one to the trade, one to
the expense of print and paper, and one to the author and publisher
between them, which of course would be 1s. 3d., not 1s. to the author.
But in stating this rule I omitted to observe that books for young
persons are half bound before they go out into the trade. This comes to
about 9d. for two volumes. The allowance to the trade is also heavy, so
that 1s. a book is very well on great numbers. There may besides be a
third volume.

Dined at James Ballantyne's, and heard his brother Sandy sing and play
on the violin, beautifully as usual. James himself sang the Reel of
Tullochgorum, with hearty cheer and uplifted voice. When I came home I
learned that we had beat the Coal Gas Company, which is a sort of


[511] The rude inscription on the stone placed over the grave of this
Border amazon, slain at Ancrum Moor, A.D. 1545, ran thus--

  "Fair maiden Lilliard lies under this stane,
  Little was her stature but great was her fame,
  Upon the English louns she laid many thumps,
  And when her legs were cuttet off she fought upon her stumps."

_See New Stat. Account Scot._, "Roxburgh," p. 244.

[512] _Tempest_, Act I. Sc. 2.

[513] An article for the _Foreign Quarterly Review_, regarding which Mr.
Lockhart says:--"It had then been newly started under the Editorship of
Mr. R.P. Gillies. This article, it is proper to observe, was a
benefaction to Mr. Gillies, whose pecuniary affairs rendered such
assistance very desirable. Scott's generosity in this matter--for it was
exactly giving a poor brother author £100 at the expense of considerable
time and drudgery to himself--I think it necessary to mention; the date
of the exertion requires it of me."--_Life_, vol. ix. pp. 72-3; see
_Misc. Prose Works_, vol. xviii. p. 270.

[514] See note 1, p. 387.

[515] _Merry Wives_, Act I. Sc. 1.

[516] _The Youth and Manhood of Cyril Thornton_, by Captain Thomas
Hamilton, had just been published anonymously.

[517] Mr. Lockhart adds the following lines:--

  "The shade of youthful hope is there,
  That lingered long, and latest died;
  Ambitions all dissolved to air,
  With phantom honours by his side.

  "What empty shadows glimmer nigh?
  They once were friendship, truth, and love!
  Oh, die to thought, to memory die,
  Since lifeless to my heart ye prove."

(Poems by the Hon. W.R. Spencer, London, 1811, p. 68.) "The best writer
of _vers de société_ in our time, and one of the most charming of
companions, was exactly Sir Walter's contemporary, and, like him, first
attracted notice by a version of Bürger's _Lenore_. Like him, too, this
remarkable man fell into pecuniary distress in the disastrous year 1825,
and he was now (1826) an involuntary resident in Paris, where he died in
October 1834, _anno ætat_. 65."--J.G.L.

[518] The following note to Mr. and Mrs. Skene belongs to this day:--

My dear Friends,--I am just returned from Court dreeping like the Water
Kelpy when he had finished the Laird of Morphey's Bridge, and am, like
that ill-used drudge, disposed to sing--

Sair back and sair banes.[D]

In fact I have the rheumatism in head and shoulders, and am obliged to
deprive myself of the pleasure of waiting upon you to-day to dinner, to
my great mortification.--Always yours, WALTER SCOTT.


_Friday, 18th May, 1827_.

--_Skene's Reminiscences_.


  Sair back and sair banes
  Carrying the Lord of Morphey's stanes.

_Border Minstrelsy_, vol. iii. pp. 360, 365.

[519] Afterwards (in 1840) eighth Karl of Stair.

[520] 126 Princes Street.

[521] George Dempster of Skibo had just married a daughter of the House
of Arniston. This lady has had the singular gratification of listening
to these pleasant impressions of a dinner party given in her honour
sixty-two years ago, and which she never forgot, nor Sir Walter's talk
as he sat next her at table, and with unfeigned kindness devoted himself
to her entertainment.

[522] See _Life_, vol. ix. p. 114.

[523] _Coriolanus_, Act III. Sc. 3.

[524] Sir Walter _varies_ a verse of _The tight little Island_.--J.G.L.

[525] The engraving from Raeburn's picture.--See _ante_, p. 212.

[526] Mr. Robert Hogg relates that during these few days Sir W. and he
laboured from six in the morning till the same hour in the evening, with
the exception of the intervals allowed for breakfast and lunch, which
were served in the room to save time. He noted a striking peculiarity in
Scott's dictation, that with the greatest ease he was able to carry on
two trains of thought at one time, "one of which was already arranged,
and in the act of being spoken, while at the same time he was in advance
considering what was afterwards to be said."--See his interesting letter
to Mr. Lockhart, _Life_, vol. ix. pp. 115-117.


_June_ 1.--Settled my household-book. Sophia does not set out till the
middle of the week, which is unlucky, our antiquarian skirmish beginning
in Fife just about the time she is to arrive. Letter from John touching
public affairs; don't half like them, and am afraid we shall have the
Whig alliance turn out like the calling in of the Saxons. I told this to
Jeffrey, who said they would convert us, as the Saxons did the British.
I shall die in my Paganism for one. I don't like a bone of them as a
party. Ugly reports of the King's health; God pity this poor country
should that be so, but I think it a thing devised by the enemy. Anne
arrived from Abbotsford. I dined at Sir Robert Dundas's, with Mrs.
Dundas, Arniston, and other friends. Worked a little, not much.

_June_ 2.--Do. Do. Dined at Baron Hume's. These dinners are cruelly in
the way, but _que faut-il faire_? the business of the Court must be
done, and it is impossible absolutely to break off all habits of
visiting. Besides, the correcting of proof-sheets in itself is now
become burdensome. Three or four a day is hard work.

_June_ 3.--Wrought hard. I think I have but a trifle more to do, but new
things cast up; we get beyond the life, however, for I have killed him
to-day. The newspapers are very saucy; _The Sun_ says I have got £4000
for suffering a Frenchman to look over my manuscript. Here is a proper
fellow for you! I wonder what he thinks Frenchmen are made of--walking
money-bags, doubtless. Now as Sir Fretful Plagiary[527] says, another
man would be mad at this, but I care not one brass farthing.

_June_ 4.--The birthday of our good old king. It was wrong not to keep
up the thing as it was of yore with dinners, and claret, and squibs, and
crackers, and saturnalia. The thoughts of the subjects require sometimes
to be turned to the sovereign, were it but only that they may remember
there is such a person.

The Bannatyne edition of Melville's _Memoirs_ is out, and beats all
print. Gad, it is a fine institution that; a rare one, by Jove! beats
the Roxburghe. Wrought very bobbishly to-day, but went off at
dinner-time to Thomas Thomson, where we had good cheer and good fun. By
the way, we have lost our Coal Gas Bill. Sorry for it, but I can't cry.

_June_ 5.--Proofs. Parliament House till two. Commenced the character of
_Bonaparte_. To-morrow being a Teind-day I will hope to get it finished.
Meantime I go out to-night to see _Frankenstein_ at the theatre.

_June_ 6.--_Frankenstein_ is entertaining for once--considerable art in
the man that plays the Monster, to whom he gave great effect. Cooper is
his name; played excellently in the farce too, as a sailor--a more
natural one, I think, than my old friend Jack Bannister, though he has
not quite Jack's richness of humour. I had seven proof-sheets to correct
this morning, by Goles. So I did not get to composition till nine; work
on with little interruption (save that Mr. Verplanck, an American,
breakfasted with us) until seven, and then walked, for fear of the black
dog or devil that worries me when I work too hard.

_June_ 7.--This morning finished _Boney_. And now, as Dame Fortune says,
in Quevedo's Visions, _Go, wheel, and the devil drive thee_.[528] It was
high time I brought up some reinforcements, for my pound was come to
half-crowns, and I had nothing to keep house when the Lockharts come.
Credit enough to be sure, but I have been taught by experience to make
short reckonings. Some great authors now will think it a degradation to
write a child's book; I cannot say I feel it such. It is to be inscribed
to my grandson, and I will write it not only without a sense of its
being _infra dig_. but with a grandfather's pleasure.

I arranged with Mr. Cadell for the property of _Tales of a Grandfather_,
10,000 copies for £787, 10s.

_June_ 8.--A Mr. Maywood, much protected by poor Alister Dhu, brought me
a letter from the late Colonel Huxley. His connection and approach to me
is through the grave, but I will not be the less disposed to assist him
if an opportunity offers. I made a long round to-day, going to David
Laing's about forwarding the books of the Bannatyne Club to Sir George
Rose and Duke of Buckingham. Then I came round by the printing-office,
where the presses are groaning upon _Napoleon_, and so home through the
gardens. I have done little to-day save writing a letter or two, for I
was fatigued and sleepy when I got home, and nodded, I think, over Sir
James Melville's _Memoirs_. I will do something, though, when I have
dined. By the way, I corrected the proofs for Gillies; they read better
than I looked for.

_June_ 9.--Corrected proofs in the morning. When I came home from Court
I found that John Lockhart and Sophia were arrived by the steam-boat at
Portobello, where they have a small lodging. I went down with a bottle
of Champagne, and a flask of Maraschino, and made buirdly cheer with
them for the rest of the day. Had the great pleasure to find them all in
high health. Poor Johnny is decidedly improved in his general health,
and the injury on the spine is got no worse. Walter is a very fine

_June_ 10.--Rose with the odd consciousness of being free of my daily
task. I have heard that the fish-women go to church of a Sunday with
their creels new washed, and a few stones in them for ballast, just
because they cannot walk steadily without their usual load. I feel
somewhat like this, and rather inclined to pick up some light task, than
to be altogether idle. I have my proof-sheets, to be sure; but what are
these to a whole day? Fortunately my thoughts are agreeable; cash
difficulties, etc., all provided for, as far as I can see, so that we go
on hooly and fairly. Betwixt and August 1st I should receive £750, and I
cannot think I have more than the half of it to pay away. Cash, to be
sure, seems to burn in my pocket. "He wasna gien to great misguiding,
but coin his pouches wouldna bide in."[529] By goles, this shall be
corrected, though! Lockhart gives a sad account of Gillies's
imprudences. Lockhart dined with us. Day idle.

_June_ 11.--The attendance on the Committee, and afterwards the general
meeting of the Oil Gas Company took up my morning, and the rest dribbled
away in correcting proofs and trifling; reading, among the rest, an odd
volume of _Vivian Grey_;[530] clever, but not so much so as to make me,
in this sultry weather, go up-stairs to the drawing-room to seek the
other volumes. Ah! villain, but you smoked when you read.--Well, Madam,
perhaps I think the better of the book for that reason. Made a
blunder,--went to Ravelston on the wrong day. This Anne's fault, but I
did not reproach her, knowing it might as well have been my own.

_June_ 12.--At Court, a long hearing. Got home only about three.
Corrected proofs, etc. Dined with Baron Clerk, and met several old
friends; Will Clerk in particular.

_June_ 13.--Another long seat at Court. Almost overcome by the heat in
walking home, and rendered useless for the day. Let me be thankful,
however; my lameness is much better, and the nerves of my unfortunate
ankle are so much strengthened that I walk with comparatively little
pain. Dined at John Swinton's; a large party. These festive occasions
consume much valuable time, besides trying the stomach a little by late
hours, and some wine shed, though that's not much.

_June_ 14.--Anne and Sophia dined. Could not stay at home with them
alone. We had the Skenes and Allan, and amused ourselves till ten

_June_ 15.--This being the day long since appointed for our cruise to
Fife, Thomas Thomson, Sir A. Ferguson, Will Clerk, and I, set off with
Miss Adam, and made our journey successfully to Charlton, where met Lord
Chief-Baron and Lord Chief-Commissioner, all in the humour to be happy,
though time is telling with us all. Our good-natured host, Mr. A.
Thomson, his wife, and his good-looking daughters, received us most
kindly, and the conversation took its old roll, in spite of woes and
infirmities. Charlton is a good house, in the midst of highly-cultivated
land, and immediately surrounded with gardens and parterres, together
with plantations, partly in the old, partly in the new, taste; I like it
very much; though, as a residence, it is perhaps a little too much
finished. Not even a bit of bog to amuse one, as Mr. Elphinstone said.

_June_ 16.--This day we went off in a body to St. Andrews, which Thomas
Thomson had never seen. On the road beyond Charlton saw a small cottage
said to have been the heritable appanage of a family called the _Keays_
[?]. He had a right to feed his horse for a certain time on the
adjoining pasture. This functionary was sent to Falkland with the fish
for the royal table. The ruins at St. Andrews have been lately cleared
out. They had been chiefly magnificent from their size--not their extent
of ornament. I did not go up to St. Rule's Tower as on former occasions;
this is a falling off, for when before did I remain sitting below when
there was a steeple to be ascended? But the rheumatism has begun to
change that vein for some time past, though I think this is the first
decided sign of acquiescence in my lot. I sat down on a grave-stone, and
recollected the first visit I made to St. Andrews, now thirty-four years
ago. What changes in my feeling and my fortune have since then taken
place! some for the better, many for the worse. I remembered the name I
then carved in Runic characters on the turf beside the castle-gate, and
I asked why it should still agitate my heart. But my friends came down
from the tower, and the foolish idea was chased away.[531]

_June_ 17.--Lounged about while the good family went to church. The day
is rather cold and disposed to rain. The papers say that the Corn Bill
is given up in consequence of the Duke of Wellington having carried the
amendment in the House of Lords. All the party here--Sir A.F. perhaps
excepted--are Ministerialists on the present double bottom. They say the
names of Whig and Tory are now to exist no longer. Why have they existed
at all?

In the forenoon we went off to explore the environs; we visited two
ancient manor-houses, those of Elie and Balcaskie. Large roomy mansions,
with good apartments, two or three good portraits, and a collection of
most extraordinary frights, prodigiously like the mistresses of King
George I., who "came for all the goods and chattels" of old England.
There are at Elie House two most ferocious-looking Ogresses of this
cast. There are noble trees about the house. Balcaskie put me in mind of
poor Philip Anstruther, dead and gone many a long year since. He was a
fine, gallant, light-hearted young sailor. I remember the story of his
drawing on his father for some cash, which produced an angry letter from
old Sir Robert, to which Philip replied, that if he did not know how to
write like a gentleman, he did not desire any more of his
correspondence. Balcaskie is much dilapidated; but they are restoring
the house in the good old style, with its terraces and yew-hedges. The
beastly fashion of bringing a bare ill-kept park up to your very doors
seems going down. We next visited with great pleasure the Church of St.
Monans, which is under repair, designed to correspond strictly with the
ancient plan, which is the solid, gloomy, but impressive Gothic It was
built by David II., in the fulfilment of a vow made to St. Monan on the
field of battle at Neville's Cross. One would have judged the king to be
thankful for small mercies, for certainly St. Monan proved but an
ineffective patron.

Mr. Hugh Cleghorn[532] dined at Charlton, and I saw him for the first
time, having heard of him all my life. He is an able man, has seen much,
and speaks well. Age has clawed him in his clutch, and he has become
deaf. There is also Captain Black of the navy, second lieutenant of the
Mars at Trafalgar. Villeneuve was brought on board that ship after the
debate. He had no expectation that the British fleet would have fought
till they had formed a regular line. Captain Black disowns the idea of
the French and Spaniards being drawn up chequer form for resisting the
British attack, and imputes the appearance of that array to sheer
accident of weather.

_June_ 18.--We visited Wemyss Castle on our return to Kinghorn. On the
left, before descending to the coast, are considerable remains of a
castle, called popularly the old castle, or Macduff's Castle. That of
the Thane was situated at Kennochquay, at no great distance. The front
of Wemyss Castle, to the land, has been stripped entirely of its
castellated appearance, and narrowly escaped a new front. To the sea it
has a noble situation, overhanging the red rocks; but even there the
structure has been much modernised and tamed. Interior is a good old
house, with large oak staircases, family pictures, etc. We were received
by Captain Wemyss--a gallant sea-captain, who could talk against a
north-wester,--by his wife Lady Emma, and her sister Lady
Isabella--beautiful women of the house of Errol, and vindicating its
title to the _handsome Hays_. We reached the Pettycur about half-past
one, crossed to Edinburgh, and so ended our little excursion. Of
casualties we had only one: Triton, the house-dog at Charlton, threw
down Thomson and he had his wrist sprained. A restive horse threatened
to demolish our landau, but we got off for the fright. Happily L.C.B.
was not in our carriage.

Dined at William M'Kenzie's to meet the Marquis and Marchioness of
Stafford, who are on their road to Dunrobin. Found them both very well.

_June_ 19.--Lord Stafford desires to be a member of the Bannatyne
Club--also Colin M'Kenzie. Sent both names up accordingly.

The day furnishes a beggarly record of trumpery. From eight o'clock till
nine wrote letters, then Parliament House, where I had to wait on
without anything to do till near two, when rain forced me into the
Antiquarian museum. Lounged there till a meeting of the Oil Gas
Committee at three o'clock. There remained till near five. Home and
smoked a cheroot after dinner. Called on Thomson, who is still disabled
by his sprain. _Pereat inter hæc_. We must do better to-morrow.

_June_ 20.--Kept my word, being Teind Wednesday. Two young Frenchmen,
friends of Gallois, rather interrupted me. I had asked them to
breakfast, but they stayed till twelve o'clock, which is scarce fair,
and plagued me with compliments. Their names are Rémusat and
Guyzard.[533] Pleasant, good-humoured young men. Notwithstanding this
interruption I finished near six pages, three being a good Session-day's
work. _Allons, vogue la galère_. Dined at the Solicitor's with Lord
Hopetoun, and a Parliament House party.

_June_ 21.--Finished five leaves--that is, betwixt morning and
dinner-time. The Court detained me till two o'clock. About nine leaves
will make the volume quite large enough.

By the way, the booksellers have taken courage to print up 2000 more of
the first edition [of Napoleon]; which, after the second volume, they
curtailed from 8000 to 6000. This will be £1000 more in my way, at
least, and that is a good help. We dine with the Skenes to-day, Lockhart
being with us.[534]

_June_ 22.--Wrought in the morning as usual. Received to breakfast Dr.
Bishop, a brother of Bishop the composer. He tells me his brother was
very ill when he wrote "The Chough and Crow," and other music for Guy
Mannering. Singular! but I do think illness, if not too painful, unseals
the mental eye, and renders the talents more acute, in the study of the
fine arts at least.[535]

I find the difference on 2000 additional copies will be £3000 instead of
£1000 in favour of the author. My good friend Publicum is impatient.
Heaven grant his expectations be not disappointed! _Coragio, andiamos_!
Such another year of labour and success would do much towards making me
a free man of the forest. But I must to work since we have to dine with
Lord and Lady Gray. By the way, I forgot an engagement to my old friend,
Lord Justice-Clerk. This is shockingly ill-bred. But the invitation was
a month old, and that is some defence.

_June_ 23.--I corrected proofs and played the grandfather in the
morning. After Court saw Lady Wedderburn, who asked my advice about
printing some verses of Mrs. Hemans in honour of the late Lord James
Murray, who died in Greece. Also Lord Gray, who wishes me to write some
preliminary matter to his ancestor, the Master of Gray's correspondence.
I promised. But ancestor was a great rogue, and if I am to write about
him at all, I must take my will of him. Anne and I dined at home. She
went to the play, and I had some mind to go too. But Miss Foote was the
sole attraction, and Miss Foote is only a very pretty woman, and if she
played Rosalind better than I think she can, it is a bore to see
Touchstone and Jacques murdered. I have a particular respect for _As You
Like It_. It was the first play I ever saw, and that was at Bath in 1776
or 1777. That is not yesterday, yet I remember the piece very well. So I
remained at home, smoked a cigar, and worked leisurely upon the review
of the Culloden Papers, which, by dint of vamping and turning, may make
up the lacking copy for the "Works" better, I think, than that lumbering
Essay on Border Antiquities.

_June_ 24.--I don't care who knows it, I was lazy this morning. But I
cheated my laziness capitally, as you shall hear. My good friend, Sir
Watt, said I to my esteemed friend, it is hard you should be obliged to
work when you are so disinclined to it. Were I you, I would not be quite
idle though. I would do something that you are not obliged to do, just
as I have seen a cowardly dog willing to fight with any one save that
which his master would have desired him to yoke with. So I went over the
review of the Culloden Papers, and went a great way to convert it into
the Essay on Clanship, etc., which I intend for the Prose Works. I wish
I had thought of it before correcting that beastly border essay.

_June_ 25.--Wrote five pages of the _Chronicles_, and hope to conquer
one or two more ere night to fetch up the leeway. Went and saw Allan's
sketch of a picture for Abbotsford, which is promising; a thing on the
plan of Watteau. He intends to introduce some interesting characters,
and some, I suspect, who have little business there. Yesterday I dined
with the Lockharts at Portobello.[536] To-day at home with Anne and Miss
Erskine. They are gone to walk. I have a mind to go to trifle, so I do
not promise to write more to-night, having begun the dedication
(advertisement I mean) to the _Chronicles_. I have pleasant subjects of
reflection. The fund in Gibson's hands will approach £40,000, I think.

Lord Melville writes desiring to be a candidate for the Bannatyne Club.

I made a balance of my affairs, and stuck it into my book: it should
answer very well, but still

    "I am not given to great misguiding,
     But coin my pouches will na bide in,
     With me it ne'er was under hiding,
       I dealt it free."

I must, however, and will, be independent.

_June_ 26.--Well, if ever I saw such another thing since my mother bound
up my head![537] Here is nine of clock strucken and I am still fast
asleep abed. I have not done the like of this many a day. However, it
cannot be helped. Went to Court, which detained me till two o'clock. A
walk home consumed the hour to three! Wrote in the Court, however, to
the Duke of Wellington and Lord Bloomfield. and that is a good job over.

I have a letter from a member of the Commission of the Psalmody of the
Kirk, zealous and pressing. I shall answer him, I think.[538] One from
Sir James Stuart,[539] on fire with Corfe Castle, with a drawing of King
Edward, occupying one page, as he hurries down the steep, mortally
wounded by the assassin. Singular power of speaking at once to the eye
and the ear. Dined at home. After dinner sorted papers. Rather idle.

_June_ 27.--Corrected proofs and wrote till breakfast. Then the Court.
Called on Skene and Charles K. Sharpe, and did not get home until three
o'clock, and then so wet as to require a total change. We dine at Hector
Buchanan Macdonald's, where there are sometimes many people and little
conversation. Sent a little chest of books by the carrier to Abbotsford.

A visit from a smart young man, Gustavus Schwab of Königsberg; he gives
a flattering picture of Prussia, which is preparing for freedom. The
King must keep his word, though, or the people may chance to tire of
waiting. Dined at H.B. Macdonald's with rather a young party for Colin
M'Kenzie and me.

_June_ 28.--Wrote a little and corrected proofs. How many things have I
unfinished at present?

Chronicles, first volume not ended.

do., second volume begun.

Introduction to ditto.

Tales of My Grandfather.

Essay on Highlands. This unfinished, owing to certain causes, chiefly
want of papers and books to fill up blanks, which I will get at
Abbotsford. Came home through rain about two, and commissioned John
Stevenson to call at three about binding some books. Dined with Sophia;
visited, on invitation, a fine old little Commodore Trunnion, who, on
reading a part of Napoleon's history, with which he had himself been
interested, as commanding a flotilla, thought he had detected a mistake,
but was luckily mistaken, to my great delight.

    "I fear thee, ancient mariner."

To be cross-examined by those who have seen the true thing is the devil.
And yet these eye-witnesses are not all right in what they repeat
neither, indeed cannot be so, since you will have dozens of
contradictions in their statements.

_June_ 29.--A distressing letter from Haydon; imprudent, probably, but
who is not? A man of rare genius. What a pity I gave that £10 to Craig!
But I have plenty of ten pounds sure, and I may make it something. I
will get £100 at furthest when I come back from the country. Wrote at
proofs, but no copy; I fear I shall wax fat and kick against Madam Duty,
but I augur better things.

Just as we were sitting down to dinner, Cadell burst in in high spirits
with the sale of _Napoleon_[540] the orders for which pour in, and the
public report is favourable. Detected two gross blunders though, which I
have ordered for cancel. Supped (for a wonder) with Colin Mackenzie and
a bachelor party. Mr. Williams[541] was there, whose extensive
information, learning, and lively talent makes him always pleasant
company. Up till twelve--a debauch for me nowadays.

_June_ 30.--_Redd up_ my things for moving,[542] which will clear my
hands a little on the next final flitting. Corrected proof-sheets.
Williams told me an English bull last night. A fellow of a college,
deeply learned, sitting at a public entertainment beside a foreigner,
tried every means to enter into conversation, but the stranger could
speak no dead language, the Doctor no living one but his own. At last
the scholar, in great extremity, was enlightened by a happy "_Nonne
potes loqui cum digitis_?"--said as if the difficulty was solved at

_Abbotsford_.--Reached this about six o'clock.[543]



[527] Sheridan's _Critic_, Act I. Sc, 1.

[528] "No sooner had the Sun uttered these words than Fortune, as if she
had been playing on a cymbal, began to unwind her wheel, which, whirling
about like a hurricane, huddled all the world into an unparalleled
confusion. Fortune gave a mighty squeak, saying, 'Fly, wheel, and the
devil drive thee.'"--_Fortune in her Wits_, Quevedo. English trans.
(1798), vol. iii. p. 107.

[529] Burns: "On a Scotch Bard, gone to the West Indies."

[530] _Vivian Grey_, by Benjamin Disraeli, was published anonymously in
5 vols. 12mo, 1826-7.

[531] If the reader turns to December 18, 1825, he will see that this is
not the first allusion in the Journal to his "first love,"--an innocent
attachment, to which we owe the tenderest pages, not only of
_Redgauntlet_ (1824), but of the _Lay of the Last Minstrel_ (1805), and
of _Rokeby_ (1813). In all these works the heroine has certain
distinctive features drawn from one and the same haunting dream. The
lady was "Williamina Belches, sole child and heir of a gentleman who was
a cadet of the ancient family of Invermay, and who afterwards became Sir
John Stuart of Fettercairn." She married Sir William Forbes in 1797 and
died in 1810.--_Life_, vol. i. p. 333; Shairp's _Memoirs of Principal
Forbes_, pp. 4, 5, 8vo, London, 1873, where her portrait, engraved from
a miniature, is given.

[532] Hugh Cleghorn had been Professor of Civil History in St. Andrews
for ten years, afterwards becoming tutor to the Earl of Home, and
subsequently employed by our Government in various foreign missions. A
glimpse of his work is obtainable in Southey's _Life, of Dr. Andrew
Bell_. Mr. Cleghorn died in 1833, aged 83.

[533] Count Paul de Rémusat has been good enough to give me another view
of this visit which will be read with interest:--"118 Faubourg St.
Honoré, February 10, 1890.--.... My father has often spoken to me of
this visit to Sir Walter Scott--for it was indeed my father, Charles de
Rémusat, member of the French Academy, and successively Minister of the
Interior and for Foreign Affairs, who went at the age of thirty to
Abbotsford, and he retained to the last days of his life a most lively
remembrance of the great novelist who did not acknowledge the authorship
of his novels, and to whom it was thus impossible otherwise than
indirectly to pay any compliment. It gives me great pleasure to learn
that the visit of those young men impressed him favourably. My father's
companion was his contemporary and friend, M. Louis de Guizard, who,
like my father, was a contributor at that time to the Liberal press of
the Restoration, the _Globe_ and _La Revue Française,_ and who, after
the Revolution of 1830, entered, as did my father likewise, upon
political life. M. de Guizard was first _préfet_, then _député_, and
after 1848 became Directeur-général des Beaux Arts. He died about 1877
or 1878, after his retirement from public life."

[534] "_Woodstock_ placed upwards of £8000 in the hands of Sir Walter's
creditors. The _Napoleon_ (first and second editions) produced for them
a sum which it even now startles me to mention--£18,000. As by the time
the historical work was published nearly half of the First Series of
_Chronicles of the Canongate_ had been written, it is obvious that the
amount to which Scott's literary industry, from the close of 1825 to the
10th of June 1827, had diminished his debt, cannot be stated at less
than £28,000. Had health been spared him, how soon must he have freed
himself from all his encumbrances!"--J.G.L.

[535] See _Life_, vol. vi. p. 89. In Mr. Ballantyne's _Memorandum_,
there is a fuller account of the mode in which _The Bride of
Lammermoor_, _The Legend of Montrose_, and almost the whole of _Ivanhoe_
were produced, and the mental phenomenon which accompanied the
preparation of the first-named work:--

"During the progress of composing _The Heart of Midlothian_, _The Bride
of Lammermoor_, and _Legend of Montrose_--a period of many months--Mr.
Scott's health had become extremely indifferent, and was often supposed
to place him in great danger. But it would hardly be credited, were it
not for the notoriety of the fact, that although one of the symptoms of
his illness was pain of the most acute description, yet he never allowed
it to interrupt his labours. The only difference it produced, that I am
aware of, was its causing him to employ the hand of an amanuensis in
place of his own. Indeed, during the greater part of the day at this
period he was confined to his bed. The person employed for this purpose
was the respectable and intelligent Mr. Wm. Laidlaw, who acted for him
in this capacity in the country, and I think also attended him to town.
I have often been present with Mr. Laidlaw during the short intervals of
his labour, and it was deeply affecting to hear the account he gave of
his patron's severe sufferings, and the indomitable spirit which enabled
him to overmaster them. He told me that very often the dictation of
Caleb Balderston's and the old cooper's best jokes was mingled with
groans extorted from him by pains; but that when he, Mr. L., endeavoured
to prevail upon him to take a little respite, the only answer he could
obtain from Mr. Scott was a request that he would see that the doors
were carefully shut, so that the expressions of his agony might not
reach his family--'As to stopping work, Laidlaw,' he said, 'you know
that is wholly out of the question.' What followed upon these exertions,
made in circumstances so very singular, appears to me to exhibit one of
the most singular chapters in the history of the human intellect. The
book having been published before Mr. Scott was able to rise from his
bed, he assured me that, when it was put into his hands, he did not
recollect one single incident, character, or conversation it contained.
He by no means desired me to understand, nor did I understand, that his
illness had erased from his memory all or any of the original family
facts with which he had been acquainted from the period probably of his
boyhood. These of course remained rooted where they had ever been, or,
to speak more explicitly, where explicitness is so entirely important,
he remembered the existence of the father and mother, the son and
daughter, the rival lovers, the compulsory marriage, and the attack made
by his bride upon the unhappy bridegroom, with the general catastrophe
of the whole. All these things he recollected, just as he did before he
took to his bed, but the marvel is that he recollected literally nothing
else--not a single character woven by the Romancer--not one of the many
scenes and points of exquisite humour, nor anything with which he was
connected as writer of the work. 'For a long time I felt myself very
uneasy,' he said, 'in the course of my reading, always kept on the _qui
vive_ lest I should be startled by something altogether glaring and
fantastic; however, I recollected that the printing had been performed
by James Ballantyne, who I was sure would not have permitted anything of
this sort to pass.' 'Well,' I said, 'upon the whole, how did you like
it?' 'Oh,' he said, 'I felt it monstrous gross and grotesque, to be
sure, but still the worst of it made me laugh, and I trusted therefore
the good-natured public would not be less indulgent.' I do not think
that I ever ventured to lead to this singular subject again. But you may
depend upon it, that what I have said is as distinctly reported as if it
had been taken down at the moment in shorthand. I should not otherwise
have imparted the phenomenon at all."--_Mr. Ballantyne's MSS_.

[536] Mr. Lockhart says:--"My wife and I spent the summer of 1827 partly
at a sea-bathing place near Edinburgh, and partly in Roxburghshire. The
arrival of his daughter and her children at Portobello was a source of
constant refreshment to him during June, for every other day he came
down and dined there, and strolled about afterwards on the beach, thus
interrupting, beneficially for his health, and I doubt not for the
result of his labours also, the new custom of regular night-work, or, as
he called it, serving double tides."

[537] See Swift, "Mary the cook to Dr. Sheridan."

[538] The answer is printed in the _Scott Centenary Catalogue_ by David
Laing, from which the following extracts are given:--

"The expression of the old metrical translation, though homely, is
plain, forcible, and intelligible, and very often possesses a rude sort
of majesty, which perhaps would be ill-exchanged for mere elegance."
"They are the very words and accents of our early Reformers--sung by
them in woe and gratitude, in the fields, in the churches, and on the
scaffold." "The parting with this very association of ideas is a serious
loss to the cause of devotion, and scarce to be incurred without the
certainty of corresponding advantages. But if these recollections are
valuable to persons of education, they are almost indispensable to the
edification of the lower ranks whose prejudices do not permit them to
consider as the words of the inspired poetry, the versions of living or
modern poets, but persist, however absurdly, in identifying the original
with the ancient translation."--p. 158.

[539] Sir James Stuart, the last baronet of Allanbank.

[540] "The _Life of Bonaparte_, then, was at last published about the
middle of June 1827."--_Life_, ix. 117.

[541] Archdeacon Williams, Rector of the New Edinburgh Academy from 1824
to 1847.

[542] Among the letters which Sir Walter found time to write before
leaving Edinburgh, was one to congratulate his old and true friend Mrs.
Coutts on her marriage, which took place on the 16th of June. That
letter has not been preserved, but it drew from her Grace the following

"My dear Sir Walter Scott,--Your most welcome letter has 'wandered mony
a weary mile after me.' Thanks, many thanks for all your kind
congratulations. I am a Duchess at last, that is certain, but whether I
am the better for it remains to be proved. The Duke is very amiable,
gentle, and well-disposed, and I am sure he has taken pains enough to
accomplish what he says has been the first wish of his heart for the
last three years. All this is very flattering to an old lady, and we
lived so long in friendship with each other that I was afraid I should
be unhappy if I did not say I _will_--yet (whisper it, dear Sir Walter)
the name of Coutts--and a right good one it is--is, and ever will be,
dear to my heart. What a strange, eventful life has mine been, from a
poor little player child, with just food and clothes to cover me,
dependent on a very precarious profession, without talent or a friend in
the world! 'to have seen what I have seen, seeing what I see.' Is it not
wonderful? is it true? can I believe it?--first the wife of the best,
the most perfect, being that ever breathed, his love and unbounded
confidence in me, his immense fortune so honourably acquired by his own
industry, all at my command, ... and now the wife of a Duke. You must
write my life; the History of Tom Thumb, Jack the Giant Killer, and
Goody Two Shoes, will sink compared with my true history written by the
Author of _Waverley_; and that you may do it well I have sent you an
inkstand. Pray give it a place on your table in kind remembrance of your
affectionate friend,


"STRATTON STREET, _July 16th, 1827_."

[543] Next morning the following pleasant little billet was despatched
to Kaeside:--

"My dear Mr. Laidlaw, I would be happy if you would come at _kail-time_
to-day. _Napoleon_ (6000 copies) is sold for £11,000.--Yours truly,

"_Sunday._ W.S."

--_Abbotsford Notanda_, by R. Carruthers, Edin. 1871.



Sir Walter was in the habit of consulting him in those matters more than
any of his other friends, having great reliance upon his critical skill.
The manuscripts of all his poems, and also of the earlier of his prose
works, were submitted to Kinnedder's judgment, and a considerable
correspondence on these subjects had taken place betwixt them, which
would, no doubt, have constituted one of the most interesting series of
letters Sir Walter had left.

Lord Kinnedder was a man of retired habits, but little known except to
those with whom he lived on terms of intimacy, and by whom he was much
esteemed, and being naturally of a remarkably sensitive mind, he was
altogether overthrown by the circumstance of a report having got abroad
of some alleged indiscretions on his part in which a lady was also
implicated. Whether the report had any foundation in truth or not, I am
altogether ignorant, but such an allegation affecting a person in his
situation in life as a judge, and doing such violence to the
susceptibility of his feelings, had the effect of bringing a severe
illness which in a few days terminated his life. I never saw Sir Walter
so much affected by any event, and at the funeral, which he attended, he
was quite unable to suppress his feelings, but wept like a child. The
family, suddenly bereft of their protector, were young, orphans, their
mother, daughter of Professor John Robertson, having previously died,
found also that they had to struggle against embarrassed circumstances;
neither had they any near relative in Scotland to take charge of their
affairs. But a lady, a friend of the family, Miss M----, was active in
their service, and it so happened, in the course of arranging their
affairs, the packet of letters from Sir Walter Scott, containing the
whole of his correspondence with Lord Kinnedder, came into her hands.
She very soon discovered that the correspondence laid open the secret of
the authorship of the Waverley Novels, at that period the subject of
general and intense interest, and as yet unacknowledged by Sir Walter.

Considering what under these circumstances it was her duty to do,
whether to replace the letters and suffer any accident to bring to light
what the author seemed anxious might remain unknown, or to seal them up,
and keep them in her own custody undivulged--or finally to destroy them
in order to preserve the secret,--with, no doubt, the best and most
upright motives, so far as her own judgment enabled her to decide in the
matter, in which she was unable to take advice, without betraying what
it was her object to respect, she came to the resolution, most
unfortunately for the world, of destroying the letters. And,
accordingly, the whole of them were committed to the flames; depriving
the descendants of Lord Kinnedder of a possession which could not fail
to be much valued by them, and which, in connection with Lord
Kinnedder's letters to Sir Walter, which are doubtless preserved, would
have been equally valuable to the public, as containing the contemporary
opinions, prospects, views, and sentiments under which these works were
sent forth into the world. It would also have been curious to learn the
unbiased impression which the different works created on the mind of
such a man as Lord Kinnedder, before the collision of public opinion had
suffused its influence over the opinions of people in general in this
matter.--_Skene's Reminiscences_.









Published by BURT FRANKLIN
235 East 44th St., New York, N.Y. 10017
Originally Published: 1890
Reprinted: 1970
Printed in the U.S.A.

S.B.N. 32110
Library of Congress Card Catalog No.: 73-123604
Burt Franklin: Research and Source Works Series 535
Essays in Literature and Criticism 82

[Illustration: ΝΥΞ ΓΑΡ ΕΡΧΕΤΑΙ.

"_I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when
no man can work. I put that text, many a year ago, on my dial-stone; but
it often preached in vain_."--Scott's _Life_, x. 88.]

     "_The evening sky of life does not reflect those brilliant flashes
     of light that shot across its morning and noon, yet I think God it
     is neither gloomy nor disconsolately lowering--a sober
     twilight--that is all_."



Portrait, painted by Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A., for the Baroness
Ruthven, and now in the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland. Copied by
permission of the Hon. The Board of Manufactures, _Frontispiece_

Vignette on Title-page

     "The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by
     George Reid, R.S.A.



     "_I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh
     when no man can work. I put that text, many years ago, on my
     dial-stone; but it often preached in vain_."--Scott's _Life_, x.



_July_ 1, [_Abbotsford_].--A most delicious day, in the course of which
I have not done

    "The least right thing."

Before breakfast I employed myself in airing my old bibliomaniacal
hobby, entering all the books lately acquired into a temporary
catalogue, so as to have them shelved and marked. After breakfast I went
out, the day being delightful--warm, yet cooled with a gentle breeze,
all around delicious; the rich luxuriant green refreshing to the eye,
soft to the tread, and perfume to the smell. Wandered about and looked
at my plantations. Came home, and received a visit from Sir Adam.
Loitered in the library till dinner-time. If there is anything to be
done at all to-day, it must be in the evening. But I fear there will be
nothing. One can't work always _nowther_.

    "_Neque semper arcum tendit Apollo_."

There's warrant for it.

_July_ 2.--Wrote in the morning, correcting the Essay on the Highlands,
which is now nearly completed. Settled accounts with Tom and Bogie. Went
over to Huntly Burn at two o'clock, and reconnoitred the proposed
plantation to be called Jane's Wood. Dined with the Fergusons.

_July_ 3--- Worked in the morning upon the Introduction to the
_Chronicles_; it may be thought egotistical. Learned a bad accident had
happened yesterday. A tinker (drunk I suppose) entered the stream
opposite to Faldonside with an ass bearing his children. The ass was
carried down by the force of the stream, and one of the little
creatures was drowned; the other was brought out alive, poor innocent,
clinging to the ass. It had floated as far down as Deadwater-heugh. Poor
thing, it is as well dead as to live a tinker! The Fergusons dine with
us _en masse_; also Dr. Brewster.

_July_ 4, [_Edinburgh_].--Worked a little in the morning, and took a
walk after breakfast, the day so delicious as makes it heart-breaking to
leave the country. Set out, however, about four o'clock, and reached
Edinburgh a little after nine. Slept part of the way; read _De Vere_ the
rest.[1] It is well written, in point of language and sentiment, but has
too little action in it to be termed a pleasing novel. Everything is
brought out by dialogue--or worse: through the medium of the author's
reflections, which is the clumsiest of all expedients.

_July_ 5.--This morning worked, and sent off to J.B. the Introduction to
the _Chronicles_, containing my Confessions,[2] and did something, but
not fluently, to the Confessions themselves. Not happy, however; the
black dog worries me. Bile, I suppose. "But I will rally and combat the
reiver." Reiver it is, that wretched malady of the mind; got quite well
in the forenoon. Went out to Portobello after dinner, and chatted with
little Johnnie, and told him the history of the Field of Prestonpans.
Few remain who care about these stories.

_July_ 6.--This morning wrought a good deal, but scarce a task. The
Court lasted till half-past three; exhausting work in this hot weather.
I returned to dine alone, Anne going to Roslin with a party. After noon
a Miss Bell broke in upon me, who bothered me some time since about a
book of hers, explaining and exposing the conduct of a Methodist
Tartuffe, who had broken off (by anonymous letters) a match betwixt her
and an accepted admirer. Tried in vain to make her comprehend how little
the Edinburgh people would care about her wrongs, since there was no
knowledge of the parties to make the scandal acceptable. I believe she
has suffered great wrong.[3] Letter from Longman and Co. to J.B.
grumbling about bringing out the second edition, because they have,
forsooth, 700 copies in hand out of 5000, five days after the first
edition[4] is out. What would they have? It is uncomfortable, though.

_July_ 7.--Night dreadfully warm, and bilious; I could not be fool
enough surely to be anxious for these wise men of the East's
prognostication. Letters from Lockhart give a very cheerful prospect; if
there had been any thundering upsetting broadside, he would have noticed
it surely more or less. R. Cadell quite stout, and determined to go on
with the second edition. Well, I hope all's right--thinking won't help
it. Charles came down this morning penniless, poor fellow, but we will
soon remedy that. Lockhart remits £100 for reviewing; I hope the next
will be for Sophia, for cash affairs loom well in the offing, and if the
trust funds go right, I was never so easy. I will take care how I get
into debt again. I do not like this croaking of these old owls of Saint
Paul's when all is done. The pitcher has gone often to the well.
But--However, I worked away at the _Chronicles_. I will take pains with
them. I will, by Jove!

_July_ 8.--I did little to-day but arrange papers, and put bills,
receipts, etc., into apple-pie order. I believe the fair prospect I have
of clearing off some encumbrances, which are like thorns in my flesh,
nay, in my very eye, contribute much to this. I did not even correct
proof-sheets; nay, could not, for I have cancelled two sheets, _instante
Jacobo_, and I myself being of his opinion; for, as I said yesterday, we
must and will take pains. The fiddle-faddle of arranging all the things
was troublesome, but they give a good account of my affairs. The money
for the necessary payments is ready, and therefore there is a sort of
pleasure which does not arise out of any mean source, since it has for
its object the prospect of doing justice and achieving independence.
J.B. dined with me, poor fellow, and talked of his views as hopeful and
prosperous. God send honest industry a fair riddance.

_July_ 9.--Wrote in the morning. At eleven went by appointment with
Colin Mackenzie to the New Edinburgh Academy. In the fifth class, Mr.
Mitchell's, we heard Greek, of which I am no otherwise a judge than that
it was fluently read and explained. In the rector Mr. Williams's class
we heard Virgil and Livy admirably translated _ad aperturam libri_, and,
what I thought remarkable, the rector giving the English, and the pupils
returning, with singular dexterity, the Latin, not exactly as in the
original, but often by synonymes, which showed that the exercise
referred to the judgment, and did not depend on the memory. I could not
help saying, with great truth, that, as we had all long known how much
the pupils were fortunate in a rector, so we were now taught that the
rector was equally lucky in his pupils. Of my young friends, I saw a son
of John Swinton, a son of Johnstone of Alva, and a son of Craufurd
Tait.[5] Dined at John Murray's; Mr. and Mrs. Philips of Liverpool,
General and Charles Stuart of Blantyre, Lord Abercromby, Clerk and
Thomson. Pleasant evening.

_July_ 10.--Corrected proofs, but wrote nothing. To Court till two
o'clock. I went to Cadell's by the Mound, a long roundabout; transacted
some business. I met Baron Hume coming home, and walked with him in the
Gardens. His remarkable account of his celebrated uncle's last moments
is in these words:--Dr. Black called on Mr. D. Hume[6] on the morning on
which he died. The patient complained of having suffered a great deal
during the night, and expressed a fear that his struggle might be
prolonged, to his great distress, for days or weeks longer. "No, sir,"
said Dr. Black, with the remarkable calmness and sincerity which
characterised him, "I have examined the symptoms, and observe several
which oblige me to conclude that dissolution is rapidly approaching."
"Are you certain of that, Doctor?" "Most assuredly so," answered the
physician. The dying philosopher extended his arm, and shook hands with
his medical friend. "I thank you," he said, "for the news." So little
reason there was for the reports of his having been troubled in mind
when on his deathbed.

Dined at Lord Abercromby's, to meet Lord Melville in private. We had an
interview betwixt dinner and tea. I was sorry to see my very old friend,
this upright statesman and honourable gentleman, deprived of his power
and his official income, which the number of his family must render a
matter of importance. He was cheerful, not affectedly so, and bore his
declension like a wise and brave man. I had nursed the idea that he had
been hasty in his resignation; but, from the letters which he showed me
confidentially, which passed betwixt him and Canning, it is clear his
resignation was to be accomplished, not I suppose for personal
considerations, but because it rendered the Admiralty vacant for the
Duke of Clarence, as his resignation was eagerly snapped at. It cannot
be doubted that if he had hesitated or hung back behind his friends,
forcible means would have been used to compel to the measure, which with
more dignity he took of his own accord--at least so it seemed to me. The
first intimation which Lord Melville received of his successor was
through Mr.----, who told him, as great news, that there was to be a new
Duke of York[7]. Lord M. understood the allusion so little, as to
inquire whether his informant meant that the Duke of Cambridge had taken
the Duke of York's situation, when it was explained to refer to the Duke
of Clarence getting the Admiralty. There are some few words that speak
volumes. Lord Melville said that none of them suspected Canning's
negotiations with the Whigs but the Duke of Wellington, who found it out
through the ladies ten days before. I asked him how they came to be so
unprepared, and could not help saying I thought they had acted without
consideration, and that they might have shown a face even to Canning. He
allowed the truth of what I said, and seemed to blame Peel's want of
courage. In his place, he said, he would have proposed to form a
government disclaiming any personal views for himself as being Premier
and the like, but upon the principle of supporting the measures of Lord
Castlereagh and Lord Liverpool. I think this would have been acceptable
to the King. Mr. Peel obviously feared his great antagonist Canning, and
perhaps threw the game up too soon. Canning said the office of Premier
was his inheritance; he could not, from constitution, hold it above two
years, and then it would descend to Peel. Such is ambition! Old friends
forsaken--old principles changed--every effort used to give the vessel
of the State a new direction, and all to be Palinurus for two years!

_July_ 11, [_Abbotsford_].--Worked at proofs in the morning; composed
nothing. Got off by one, and to this place between six and seven.
Weather delicious.

_July 12_.--Unpacking and arranging; the urchins are stealing the
cherries in the outer garden. But I can spare a thousand larch-trees to
put it in order with a good fence for next year. It is not right to
leave fruit exposed; for if Adam in the days of innocence fell by an
apple, how much may the little _gossoon_ Jamie Moffatt be tempted by
apples of gold in an age of iron! Anne and I walked to Huntly Burn--a
delicious excursion. That place is really become beautiful; the Miss
Fergusons have displayed a great deal of taste.

_July_ 13.--Two agreeable persons--Rev. Mr. Gilly[8], one of the
prebendaries of Durham, with his wife, a pretty little woman--dined with
us, and met Mr. Scrope. I heard the whole history of the discovery of
St. Cuthbert's[9] body at Durham Cathedral. The Catholics will deny the
identity, of course; but I think it is _constaté_ by the dress and other
circumstances. Made a pleasant day of it, and with a good conscience,
for I had done my task this morning.

_July_ 14.--Did task this morning, and believe that I shall get on now
very well. Wrote about five leaves. I have been baking and fevering
myself like a fool for these two years in a room exposed to the south;
comfortable in winter, but broiling in the hot weather. Now I have
removed myself into the large cool library, one of the most refreshing
as well as handsomest rooms in Scotland, and will not use the study
again till the heats are past. Here is an entry as solemn as if it
respected the Vicar of Wakefield's removal from the yellow room to the
brown. But I think my labours will advance greatly in consequence of
this arrangement. Walked in the evening to the lake.

_July_ 15.--Achieved six pages to-day, and finished volume i. of
_Chronicles_. It is rather long; but I think the last story interesting,
and it should not be split up into parts. J.B. will, I fear, think it
low; and if he thinks so, others will. Yet--vamos. Drove to Huntly Burn
in the evening.

_July_ 16.--Made a good morning's work of the _Tales_. In the day-time
corrected various proofs. J.B. thinks that in the proposed introduction
I contemn too much the occupation by which I have thriven so well, and
hints that I may easily lead other people to follow my opinion in
vilipending my talents, and the use I have made of them. I cannot tell.
I do not like, on the one hand, to suppress my own opinion of the
_flocci-pauci-nihili-pilification_ with which I regard these things; but
yet, in duty to others, I cannot afford to break my own bow, or befoul
my own nest, and there may be something like affectation and _nolo
episcopari_ in seeming to underrate my own labours; so, all things
considered, I will erase the passage. Truth should not be spoke at all
times. In the evening we had a delightful drive to Ashestiel with
Colonel and Miss Ferguson.

_July 17_.--I wrote a laborious task; seven pages of _Tales_. Kept about
the doors all day. Gave Bogie £10 to buy cattle to-morrow at St.
Boswell's Fair. Here is a whimsical subject of affliction. Mr. Harper, a
settler, who went from this country to Botany Bay, thinking himself
obliged to me for a recommendation to General M'Allister and Sir Thomas
Brisbane, has thought proper to bring me home a couple of Emus. I wish
his gratitude had either taken a different turn, or remained as
quiescent as that of others whom I have obliged more materially. I at
first accepted the creatures, conceiving them, in my ignorance, to be
some sort of blue and green parrot, which, though I do not admire their
noise, might scream and yell at their pleasure if hung up in the hall
among the armour. But your emu, it seems, stands six feet high on his
stocking soles, and is little better than a kind of cassowary or
ostrich. Hang them! they might [eat] up my collection of old arms for
what I know. It reminds me of the story of the adjutant birds in
Theodore Hook's novel[10]. No; I'll no Emuses!

_July 18_.--Entered this morning on the history of Sir William Wallace.
I wish I may be able to find my way between what the child can
comprehend and what shall not yet be absolutely uninteresting to the
grown readers. Uncommon facts I should think the best receipt. Learn
that Mr. Owen Rees and John Gibson have amicably settled their
differences about the last edition of _Napoleon_, the Trustees allowing
the publishers nine months' credit. My nerves have for these two or
three last days been susceptible of an acute excitement from the
slightest causes; the beauty of the evening, the sighing of the summer
breeze, brings the tears into my eyes not unpleasingly. But I must take
exercise, and caseharden myself. There is no use in encouraging these
moods of the mind. It is not the law we live on.

We had a little party with some luncheon at the lake, where Mr.
Bainbridge fished without much success. Captain Hamilton and two Messrs.
Stirling, relatives of my old friend Keir, were there, and walked with
me a long round home. I walked better than I had done for some days. Mr.
Scrope dined with us; he was complaining of gout, which is a bad
companion for the stag-shooting.

_July 19_.--I made out my task this forenoon, and a good deal more. Sent
five or six pages to James Ballantyne, _i.e._ got them ready, and wrote
till the afternoon, then I drove over to Huntly Burn, and walked through
the glens till dinner-time. After dinner read and worked till bed-time.
Yet I have written well, walked well, talked well, and have nothing to

_July 20_.--Despatched my letters to J.B., with supply of copy, and made
up more than my task--about four leaves, I think. Offered my Emuses to
the Duke of Buccleuch. I had an appointment with Captain Hamilton and
his friends the Stirlings, that they were to go up Yarrow to-day. But
the weather seems to say no.

My visitors came, however, and we went up to Newark. Here is a little
misfortune, for Spice left me, and we could not find her. As we had no
servant with us on horseback, I was compelled to leave her to her fate,
resolving to send in quest of her to-morrow morning. The keepers are my
_bonos socios_, as the host says in the Devil of Edmonton[11], and would
as soon shoot a child as a dog of mine. But there are scamps and traps,
and I am ashamed to say how reluctantly I left the poor little terrier
to its fate.

She came home to me, however, about an hour and a half after we were
home, to my great delectation. Our visitors dined with us.

_July_ 21.--This morning wrote five pages of children's history. Went to
Minto, where we met, besides Lord M. and his delightful countess, Thomas
Thomson, Kennedy of Dunure[12], Lord Carnarvon, and his younger son and
daughter-in-law; the dowager Lady Minto also, whom I always delight to
see, she is so full of spirit and intelligence. We rubbed up some
recollections of twenty years ago, when I was more intimate with the
family till Whig and Tory separated us for a time. By the way, nobody
talks Whig or Tory just now, and the fighting men on each side go about
muzzled and mute like dogs after a proclamation about canine madness. Am
I sorry for this truce or not? Half and half. It is all we have left to
stir the blood, this little political brawling; but better too little of
it than too much.

_July_ 22, [_Abbotsford_].--Rose a little later than usual, and wrote a
letter to Mrs. Joanna Baillie. She is writing a tragedy[13] on
witchcraft. I shall be curious to see it. Will it be real
witchcraft--the _ipsissimus diabolus_--or an impostor, or the
half-crazed being who believes herself an ally of condemned spirits, and
desires to be so? That last is a sublime subject. We set out after
breakfast, and reached this about two. I walked from two till four;
chatted a long time with Charles after dinner, and thus went my day
_sine linea_. But we will make it up. James Ballantyne dislikes my
"Drovers." But it shall stand. I must have my own way sometimes.

I received news of two deaths at once: Lady Die Scott, my very old
friend, and Archibald Constable, the bookseller.

_July_ 23.--Yes! they are both for very different reasons subjects of
reflection. Lady Diana Scott, widow of Walter Scott of Harden, was the
last person whom I recollect so much older than myself, that she kept
always at the same distance in point of years, so that she scarce seemed
older to me (relatively) two years ago, when in her ninety-second year,
than fifty years before. She was the daughter (alone remaining) of
Pope's Earl of Marchmont, and, like her father, had an acute mind and an
eager temper. She was always kind to me, remarkably so indeed when I was
a boy.

Constable's death might have been a most important thing to me if it had
happened some years ago, and I should then have lamented it much. He has
lived to do me some injury; yet, excepting the last £5000, I think most
unintentionally. He was a prince of booksellers; his views sharp,
powerful, and liberal; too sanguine, however, and, like many bold and
successful schemers, never knowing when to stand or stop, and not always
calculating his means to his objects with mercantile accuracy. He was
very vain, for which he had some reason, having raised himself to great
commercial eminence, as he might also have attained great wealth with
good management. He knew, I think, more of the business of a bookseller
in planning and executing popular works than any man of his time. In
books themselves he had much bibliographical information, but none
whatever that could be termed literary. He knew the rare volumes of his
library not only by the eye, but by the touch, when blindfolded. Thomas
Thomson saw him make this experiment, and, that it might be complete,
placed in his hand an ordinary volume instead of one of these _libri
rariores_. He said he had over-estimated his memory; he could not
recollect that volume. Constable was a violent-tempered man with those
that he dared use freedom with. He was easily overawed by people of
consequence, but, as usual, took it out of those whom poverty made
subservient to him. Yet he was generous, and far from bad-hearted. In
person good-looking, but very corpulent latterly; a large feeder, and
deep drinker, till his health became weak. He died of water in the
chest, which the natural strength of his constitution set long at
defiance. I have no great reason to regret him; yet I do. If he deceived
me, he also deceived himself.[14]

Wrote five pages to-day, and went to see Mr. Scrope, who is fast with
the gout--a bad companion to attend him

                 "to Athole Braes,
    To shoot the dun deer down, down--
    To shoot the dun deer down."

_July_ 24.--Finished five pages before eleven o'clock, at which time Mr.
Deputy Register[15] arrived from Minto, and we had an agreeable
afternoon, talking about the old days we have had together. I was
surprised to find that Thomson knew as little as I do myself how to
advise Charles to a good course of Scottish History. Hailes and
Pinkerton, Robertson and Laing--there is nothing else for it--and
Pinkerton is poor work. Laing, besides his party spirit, has a turn for
generalising, which renders him rather dull, which was not the nature of
the acute Orcadian.

_July_ 25.--Thomson left us this morning early. I finished four pages,
and part of a fifth, then drove to Huntly Burn and returned through the
Glen; I certainly turn _heavy-footed_, not in the female sense, however.
I had one or two falls among the slippy heather, not having Tom Purdie
to give me his arm. I suppose I shall need a go-cart one of these days;
and if it must be so--so let it be. _Fiat voluntas tua_.

A letter from John Gibson in the evening brought me word that Lord
Newton had adjudged the profits of _Woodstock_ and _Napoleon_ to be my
own. This is a great matter, and removes the most important part of my
dispute with Constable's creditors. I waked in the middle of the night.
Sure I am not such a feather-headed gull as not to be able to sleep for
good news. I am thankful that it is as it is. Had it been otherwise, I
could have stood it. The money realised will pay one-third of all that I
owe in the world--and what will pay the other two-thirds? I am as well
and as capable as when those misfortunes began--January was a year. The
public favour may wane, indeed, but it has not failed as yet, and I must
not be too anxious about that possibility.

James B. has found fault with my tales for being too historical;
formerly it was for being too infantine. He calls out for starch, and is
afraid of his cravat being too stiff. O ye critics, will nothing melt

_July_ 26.--Wrote till one o'clock, and finished the first volume of
_Tales_--about six leaves. To-morrow I resume the _Chronicles_, tooth
and nail. They must be good, if possible. After all, works of fiction,
viz., cursed lies, are easier to write, and much more popular than the
best truths. Walked over to the head of the Roman road, coming round by
Bauchland and the Abbot's Walk. Wrote letters in the evening.

_July_ 27.--In the morning still busied with my correspondence. No great
desire to take up the _Chronicles_. But it must be done. Devil take the
necessity, and the folly and knavery, that occasioned it! But this is no
matter now. Accordingly I set tightly to work, and got on till two, when
I took a walk. Was made very happy by the arrival of Sophia and her
babies, all in good health and spirits.

_July_ 28.--Worked hard in the morning. The two Ballantynes, and Mr.
Hogarth with them. Owen Rees came early in the day. Fergusons came to
dinner. Rees in great kindness and good-humour, but a little drumlie, I
think, about _Napoleon_. We heard Sandie's violin after dinner--

    "----Whose touch harmonious can remove
    The pangs of guilty power and hopeless love."[16]

I do not understand or care about fine music; but there is something in
his violin which goes to the very heart. Sophia sung too, and we were
once more merry in hall--the first time for this many a month and many a

_July_ 29.--Could not do more than undertake my proofs to-day, of which
J.B. has brought out a considerable quantity. Walked at one with Hogarth
and Rees--the day sultry, hot, and we hot accordingly, but crept about
notwithstanding. I am sorry to see my old and feal friend James rather
unable to walk--once so stout and active--so was I in my way _once_. Ah!
that vile word, what a world of loss it involves!

_July_ 30.--One of the most peppering thunder-storms which I have heard
for some time. Routed and roared from six in the morning till eight

    "The thunder ceased not, nor the fire reposed;
                  Well done, old Botherby."

Time wasted, though very agreeably, after breakfast. At noon, set out
for Chiefswood in the carriage, and walked home, footing it over rough
and smooth, with the vigour of early days. James Ballantyne marched on
too, somewhat meltingly, but without complaint. We again had beautiful
music after dinner. The heart of age arose. I have often wondered
whether I have a taste for music or no. My ear appears to me as dull as
my voice is incapable of musical expression, and yet I feel the utmost
pleasure in any such music as I can comprehend, learned pieces always
excepted. I believe I may be about the pitch of Terry's connoisseurship,
and that "I have a reasonable good ear for a jig, but your solos and
sonatas give me the spleen."

_July_ 31.--Employed the morning writing letters and correcting proofs;
this is the second day and scarce a line written, but circumstances are
so much my apology that even Duty does not murmur, at least not _much_.
We had a drive up to Galashiels, and sent J.B. off to Edinburgh in the
Mail. Music in the evening as before.


[1] Written by R. Plumer Ward, author of _Tremaine_ and other works. Mr.
Ward's _Political Life_, including a _Diary_ to 1820, was published in
1850. in two vols. 8vo, edited by Hon. E. Phipps.

[2] See _post_, p. 60, note.

[3] See _ante_, vol. i. pp. 101-2.

[4] _Napoleon_.

[5] Archibald Campbell Tait, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.

[6] David Hume, the historian, died August 25, 1776.

[7] To please the king, Canning appointed the Duke of Clarence as first
Lord of the Admiralty, but Greville says it was a most judicious stroke
of policy, and nothing served so much to disconcert his opponents. Lord
Melville had held the office from March 25, 1812, to April 13, 1827. The
Duke resigned in the following year.--See Croker's _Correspondence_,
vol. i. pp. 264 (letter to Blomfield), 427, 429; also _ante_, vol. i. p.
262. Lord Melville was President of the India Board in the Duke of
Wellington's administration in 1828, and again First Lord from Sept. 17
of the same year until Nov. 22, 1830.

[8] The Rev. William Stephen Gilly, D.D., Vicar of Norham, author of
_Narrative of an Excursion to the Mountains of Piemont_, 1823;
_Researches among the Vaudois or Waldenses_, 1827-31.

[9] See Raine's _St. Cuthbert_, 4to, Durham, 1828.

[10] See _Danvers_ in First Series of _Sayings and Doings_.

[11] _The Merry Devil of Edmonton_, a play by "T.B.," which has also
been attributed to Anthony Brewer.

[12] Right Hon. Thomas Francis Kennedy, M.P. for Ayr Burghs, 1818-34.
Died at the age of ninety at Dalquharran in 1879.

[13] This powerful drama, entitled _Witchcraft: a Tragedy in Prose_, was
suggested, as the author says in her preface, by reading a scene in _The
Bride of Lammermoor_.

[14] Did Constable ruin Scott, as has been generally supposed? It is
right to say that such a charge was not made during the lifetime of
either. Immediately after Scott's death Miss Edgeworth wrote to Sir
James Gibson-Craig and asked him for authentic information as to Sir
Walter's connection with Constable. Sir James in reply stated that to
his personal knowledge Mr. Constable had, in his anxiety to save Scott,
about 1814 [1813], commenced a system of accommodation bills which could
not fail to produce, and actually did produce, the ruin of both parties.
To another correspondent, some years later, he wrote still more strongly
(_Memoirs,_ vol. iii. p. 457).

Scott appears to have been aware of the facts so far, as he says to
Laidlaw, in a letter of December 16, 1825, "The confusion of 1814 is a
joke to this ... but it arises out of the nature of the same connection
which gives, and has given, me a fortune;" and Mr. Lockhart says that
the firm of J.B. & Co. "had more than once owed its escape from utter
ruin and dishonour" through Constable's exertions.--_Life_, vol. v. p.

On reading the third volume of Constable's Memoirs (3 vols. 8vo, 1873),
one cannot fail to see that all the three parties--printer, publisher,
and author--were equal sharers in the imprudences that led to the
disaster in 1826. Whether Mr. Constable was right in recommending
further advances to the London house is doubtful; but if it was an error
of judgment, it was one which appears to have been shared by Mr. Cadell
and Mr. James Ballantyne. It must be admitted that the three firms were
equally culpable in maintaining for so many years a system of fictitious
credit. Constable, at least, from a letter to Scott, printed in vol.
iii. p. 274, had become seriously alarmed as early as August 8, 1823.

That Constable was correct in his estimate of the value of the literary
property has been shown by the large sums realised from the sale of
Scott's works since 1829; and that his was the brain ("the pendulum of
the clock" as Scott termed it) to plan is also shown by the fact that
the so-called "favourite" edition, the _magnum opus_, appears to have
been Constable's idea (_Memoirs_, vol. iii. p. 255), although, according
to the _Annual Register_ of 1849, Mr. Cadell claimed the merit of a
scheme which he had "quietly and privately matured."

[15] Thomas Thomson, Depute-Clerk Register for Scotland under Lord
Frederick Campbell.

[16] Johnson's _Epitaph on Claude Phillips_.


_August_ 1.--My guests left me and I thought of turning to work again
seriously. Finished five pages. Dined alone, excepting Huntly Gordon,
who is come on a visit, poor lad. I hope he is well fixed under Mr.
Planta's[17] patronage. Smoked a cigar after dinner. Laughed with my
daughters, and read them the review of Hoffmann's production out of
Gillies's new _Foreign Review_.

The undertaking would do, I am convinced, in any other person's hands
than those of the improvident editor; but I hear he is living as
thoughtlessly as ever in London, has hired a large house, and gives
Burgundy to his guests. This will hardly suit £500 a year.

_August_ 2.--Got off my proofs. Went over to breakfast at Huntly Burn;
the great object was to see my cascade in the Glen suitably repaired. I
have had it put to rights by puddling and damming. What says the frog in
the Fairy Tale?--

    "Stuff with moss, and clog with clay,
    And that will weize the water away."

Having seen the job pretty tightly done, walked deliciously home through
the woods. But no work all this while. Then for up and at it. But in
spite of good resolutions I trifled with my children after dinner, and
read to them in the evening, and did just nothing at all.

_August_ 3.--Wrote five pages and upwards--scarce amends for past
laziness. Huntly Gordon lent me a volume of his father's manuscript
memoirs.[18] They are not without interest, for Pryse Gordon, though a
bit of a _roué_, is a clever fellow in his way. One thing struck me,
being the story of an Irish swindler, who called himself Henry King
Edgeworth, an impudent gawsey fellow, who deserted from Gordon's
recruiting party, enlisted again, and became so great a favourite with
the Colonel of the regiment which he joined, that he was made
pay-sergeant. Here he deserted to purpose with £200 or £300, escaped to
France, got a commission in the Corps sent to invade Ireland, was taken,
recognised, and hanged. What would Mr. Theobald Wolfe Tone have said to
such an associate in his regenerating expedition? These are thy gods, O
Israel! The other was the displeasure of the present Cameron of Lochiel,
on finding that the forty Camerons, with whom he joined the Duke of
Gordon's Northern Fencible regiment, were to be dispersed. He had
wellnigh mutinied and marched back with them. This would be a good
anecdote for Garth.[19]

_August_ 4.--Spent the morning at Selkirk, examining people about an
assault. When I returned I found Charlotte Kerr here with a clever
little boy, Charles Scott, grandson of Charles of the Woll, and son of
William, and grand-nephew of John of Midgehope. He seems a smart boy,
and, considering that he is an only son with expectations, not _too_
much spoiled. General Yermoloff called with a letter from a Dr. Knox,
whom I do not know. If it be Vicesimus, we met nearly twenty-five years
ago and did not agree. But General Yermoloff's name was luckily known to
me. He is a man in the flower of life, about thirty, handsome, bold, and
enthusiastic; a great admirer of poetry, and all that. He had been in
the Moscow campaign, and those which followed, but must have been very
young. He made not the least doubt that Moscow was burned by Rostopchin,
and said that there was a general rumour before the French entered the
town, and while the inhabitants were leaving it, that persons were left
to destroy it. I asked him why the magazine of gunpowder had not been
set fire to in the first instance. He answered that he believed the
explosion of that magazine would have endangered the retreating
Russians. This seemed unsatisfactory. The march of the Russians was too
distant from Moscow to be annoyed by the circumstance. I pressed him as
well as I could about the slowness of Koutousoff's operations; and he
frankly owned that the Russians were so much rejoiced and surprised to
see the French in retreat, that it was long ere they could credit the
extent of the advantage which they had acquired. This has been but an
idle day, so far as composition is concerned, but I was detained late at

_August_ 5.--Wrote near six pages. General Yermoloff left me with many
expressions of enthusiastic regard, as foreigners use to do. He is a
kinsman of Princess Galitzin, whom I saw at Paris. I walked with Tom
after one o'clock. Dined _en famille_ with Miss Todd, a pretty girl, and
wrote after dinner.

_August_ 6.--This morning finished proofs and was _bang up_ with
everything. When I was about to sit down to write, I have the agreeable
tidings that Henderson, the fellow who committed the assault at Selkirk,
and who made his escape from the officers on Saturday, was retaken, and
that it became necessary that I should go up to examine him. Returned at
four, and found Mrs. George Swinton from Calcutta, to whose husband I
have been much obliged, with Archie and cousin Peggie Swinton, arrived.
So the evening was done up.

_August_ 7.--Cousins still continuing, we went to Melrose. I finished,
however, in the first place, a pretty smart task, which is so far well,
as we expect the Skenes to-morrow. Lockhart arrived from London. The
news are that Canning is dangerously ill. This is the bowl being broken
at the cistern with a vengeance. If he dies now, it will be pity it was
not five months ago. The time has been enough to do much evil, but not
to do any-permanent good.

_August_ 8.--Huntly Gordon proposed to me that I should give him my
correspondence, which we had begun to arrange last year. I resolved not
to lose the opportunity, and began to look out and arrange the letters
from about 1810, throwing out letters of business and such as are
private. They are of little consequence, generally speaking, yet will be
one day curious. I propose to have them bound up, to save trouble. It is
a sad task; how many dead, absent, estranged, and altered! I wrought
till the Skenes came at four o'clock. I love them well; yet I wish their
visit had been made last week, when other people were here. It kills
time, or rather murders it, this company-keeping. Yet what remains on
earth that I like so well as a little society? I wrote not a line

_August_ 9.--I finished the arrangement of the letters so as to put them
into Mr. Gordon's hands. It will be a great job done. But, in the
meanwhile, it interrupts my work sadly, for I kept busy till one o'clock
to-day with this idle man's labour. Still, however, it might have been
long enough ere I got a confidential person like Gordon to arrange these
confidential papers. They are all in his hands now. Walked after one.

_August_ 10.--This is a morning of fidgety, nervous confusion. I sought
successively my box of Bramah pens, my proof-sheets, and last, not least
anxiously, my spectacles. I am convinced I lost a full hour in these
various chases. I collected all my insubordinate movables at once, but
had scarce corrected the proof and written half-a-score of lines, than
enter Dalgleish, declaring the Blucher hour is come. The weather,
however, is rainy, and fitted for a day of pure work, but I was able
only to finish my task of three pages.

The death of the Premier is announced. Late George Canning, the witty,
the accomplished, the ambitious; he who had toiled thirty years, and
involved himself in the most harassing discussions to attain this dizzy
height; he who had held it for three months of intrigue and obloquy--and
now a heap of dust, and that is all. He was an early and familiar friend
of mine, through my intimacy with George Ellis. No man possessed a gayer
and more playful wit in society; no one, since Pitt's time, had more
commanding sarcasm in debate; in the House of Commons he was the terror
of that species of orators called the Yelpers. His lash fetched away
both skin and flesh, and would have penetrated the hide of a rhinoceros.
In his conduct as a statesman he had a great fault: he lent himself too
willingly to intrigue. Thus he got into his quarrel with Lord
Castlereagh,[20] and lost credit with the country for want of openness.
Thus too, he got involved with the Queen's party to such an extent that
it fettered him upon that memorable quarrel, and obliged him to butter
Sir Robert Wilson with dear friend, and gallant general, and so forth.
The last composition with the Whigs was a sacrifice of principle on both
sides. I have some reason to think they counted on getting rid of him in
two or three years. To me Canning was always personally most kind. I
saw, with pain, a great change in his health when I met him at Colonel
Bolton's at Stors in 1825. In London I thought him looking better.

_August_ 11.--Wrote nearly five pages; then walked. A visit from Henry
Scott;[21] nothing known as yet about politics. A high Tory
Administration would be a great evil at this time. There are repairs in
the structure of our constitution which ought to be made at this season,
and without which the people will not long be silent. A pure Whig
Administration would probably play the devil by attempting a thorough
repair. As to a compound, or melo-dramatic, Ministry, the parts out of
which such a one could be organised just now are at a terrible discount
in public estimation, nor will they be at par in a hurry again. The
public were generally shocked at the complete lack of principle
testified by public men on the late occasion, and by some who till then
had some credit with the public. The Duke of W. has risen by his
firmness on the one side, Earl Grey on the other.

_August_ 12.--Wrote my task and no more. Walked with Lockhart from one
o'clock to four. Took in our way the Glen, which looks beautiful. I
walked with extreme pain and feebleness until we began to turn
homewards, when the relaxation of the ankle sinews seemed to be removed,
and I trode merrily home. This is strange; that exercise should restore
the nerves from the chill or numbness which is allied to palsy, I am
well aware, but how it should restore elasticity to sinews that are too
much relaxed, I for one cannot comprehend. Colonel Russell came to
dinner with us, and to consult me about some family matters. He has the
spirit of a gentleman; that is certain.

_August_ 13.--A letter from booksellers at Brussels informs me of the
pleasant tidings that _Napoleon_ is a total failure; that they have lost
much money on a version which they were at great expense in preparing,
and modestly propose that I should write a novel to make them amends for
loss on a speculation which I knew nothing about. "Have you nothing else
to ask?" as Sancho says to the farmer, who asks him to stock a farm for
his son, portion off his daughters, etc. etc. They state themselves to
be young booksellers; certes, they must hold me to be a _very_ young
author! Napoleon, however, has failed on the Continent--and perhaps in
England also; for, from the mumbling, half-grumbling tone of Longman and
Co., dissatisfaction may be apprehended. Well, I can set my face to it
boldly. I live not in the public opinion, not I; but egad! I live _by_
it, and that is worse. _Tu ne cede malis, sed contra_, etc.

I corrected and transmitted sheets before breakfast; afterwards went and
cut wood with Tom, but returned about twelve in rather a melancholy
humour. I fear this failure may be followed by others; and then what
chance of extricating my affairs. But they that look to freits, freits
will follow them. _Hussards en avant_,--care killed a cat. I finished
three pages--that is, a full task of the _Chronicles_--after I returned.
Mr. and Mrs. Philips of Manchester came to dinner.

_August 14._--Finished my task before breakfast. A bad rainy day, for
which I should not have cared but for my guests. However, being
good-humoured persons and gifted with taste, we got on very well, by
dint of showing prints, curiosities; finally the house up stairs and
down; and at length by undertaking a pilgrimage to Melrose in the rain,
which pilgrimage we accomplished, but never entered the Abbey Church,
having just had wetting enough to induce us, when we arrived at the
gate, to "Turn again, Whittington."

_August_ 15.--Wrote in the morning. After breakfast walked with Mr.
Philips, who is about to build and plan himself, and therefore seemed to
enter _con amore_ into all I had been doing, asked questions, and seemed
really interested to learn what I thought myself not ill-qualified to
teach. The little feeling of superior information in such cases is
extremely agreeable. On the contrary, it is a great scrape to find you
have been boring some one who did not care a d---- about the matter, so
to speak; and that you might have been as well employed in buttering a
whin-stone. Mr. and Mrs. Philips left us about twelve--day bad. I wrote
nearly five pages of _Chronicles_.

_August_ 16.--A wet, disagreeable, sulky day, but such things may be
carried to account. I wrote upwards of seven pages, and placed myself
_rectus in curia_ with Madam Duty, who was beginning to lift up her
throat against me. Nothing remarkable except that Huntly Gordon left

_August 17._--Wrote my task in the morning. After breakfast went out and
cut wood with Tom and John Swanston, and hewed away with my own hand;
remained on foot from eleven o'clock till past three, doing, in my
opinion, a great deal of good in plantations above the house, where the
firs had been permitted to predominate too much over the oak and
hardwood. The day was rough and stormy--not the worst for working, and I
could do it with a good conscience, all being well forward in the duty
line. After tea I worked a little longer. On the whole finished four
leaves and upwards--about a printed sheet--which is enough for one day.

_August_ 18.--Finished about five leaves, and then out to the wood,
where I chopped away among the trees, laying the foundation for future
scenery. These woods will one day occupy a great number of hands. Four
years hence they will employ ten stout woodsmen almost every day of the
year. Henry and William Scott (Harden) came to dinner.

_August_ 19.--Wrote till about one, then walked for an hour or two by
myself entirely; finished five pages before dinner, when we had Captain
and Mrs. Hamilton and young Davidoff, who is their guest. They remained
with us all night.

_August_ 20.--I corrected proofs and wrote one leaf before breakfast;
then went up to Selkirk to try a fellow for an assault. The people there
get rather riotous. This is a turbulent fierce fellow. Some of his
attitudes were good during the trial. This dissipated my attention for
the day, although I was back by half-past two. I did not work any more,
so am behind in my reckoning.

_August_ 21.--Wrote four pages, then set out to make a call at
Sunderland Hall and Yair, but the old sociable broke down before we had
got past the thicket, so we trudged all back on foot, and I wrote
another page. This makes up the deficiency of yesterday.

_August_ 22.--I wrote four or five leaves, but begin to get aground for
want of Indian localities. Colonel Ferguson's absence is unlucky, and
half-a-dozen Qui Hi's besides, willing to write chits,[22] eat tiffin,
and vent all their Pagan jargon when one does not want to hear it; and
now that I want a touch of their slang, lo! there is not one near me.
Mr. Adolphus, son of the celebrated counsel, and author of a work on the
_Waverley Novels_,[23] came to make me a visit. He is a modest as well
as an able man, and I am obliged to him for the delicacy with which he
treated a matter in which I was personally so much concerned. Mr. and
Mrs. Hamilton asked us to breakfast to-morrow.

_August_ 23.--Went to breakfast at Chiefswood, which, with a circuitous
walk, have consumed the day. Found, in the first place, my friend Allan,
the painter, busy about a picture, into which he intends introducing
living characters--a kind of revel at Abbotsford. Second, a whimsical
party, consisting of John Stevenson, the bookseller, Peter Buchan from
Peterhead, a quiz of a poetical creature, and a bookbinder, a friend of
theirs. The plan was to consult me about publishing a great quantity of
ballads which this Mr. Buchan has collected. I glanced them over. He has
been very successful, for they are obviously genuine, and many of them
very curious. Others are various editions of well-known ballads. I could
not make the man comprehend that these last were of little value, being
generally worse readings of what was already published. A small edition
published by subscription may possibly succeed. It is a great pity that
few of these ballads are historical, almost all being of the romantic
cast. They certainly ought to be preserved, after striking out one or
two which have been sophisticated, I suppose by Mr. Buchan himself,
which are easily distinguishable from the genuine ballads.[24] No one
but Burns ever succeeded in patching up old Scottish songs with any good

_August_ 24.--Corrected proofs and wrote letters in the morning. Began a
review upon Monteath's Planter for Lockhart.[25] Other matters at a
stand. A drive down to Mertoun, and engaged to dine there on Sunday
first. This consumed the day.

_August_ 25.--Mr. Adolphus left us this morning after a very agreeable
visit. We all dined at Dr. Brewster's. Met Sir John Wright, Miss Haig,
etc. Slandered our neighbours, and were good company. Major John Scott
there. I did a little more at the review to-day. But I cannot go on with
the tale without I could speak a little Hindostanee--a small seasoning
of curry-powder. Ferguson will do it if I can screw it out of him.

_August_ 26.--Encore review. Walked from twelve till three, then drove
to Mertoun with Lockhart and Allan. Dined _en famille_, and home by
half-past ten. We thought of adding a third volume to the _Chronicles_,
but Gibson is afraid it would give grounds for a pretext to seize this
work on the part of Constable's creditors, who seem determined to take
any advantage of me, but they can only show their teeth I trust; though
I wish the arbitration was ended.

_August_ 27.--Sent off proofs in morning, revised in afternoon. Walked
from one till four. What a life of uniformity! Yet I never wish to
change it. I even regret I must go to town to meet Lady Compton[26] next

A singular letter from a lady, requesting I would father a novel of
hers. That won't pass.[27]

Cadell writes me, transmitting a notice from the French papers that
Gourgaud has gone, or is going, to London to verify the facts alleged in
my history of Napoleon, and the bibliopolist is in a great funk. I lack
some part of his instinct. I have done Gourgaud no wrong: every word
imputed to him exists in the papers submitted to me as historical
documents[28], and I should have been a shameful coward if I had shunned
using them. At my years it is somewhat late for an affair of honour, and
as a reasonable man I would avoid such an arbitrament, but will not
plead privilege of literature. The country shall not be disgraced in my
person, and having stated why I think I owe him no satisfaction, I will
at the same time most willingly give it to him.

    "Il sera reçu,
    A la façon de Barbaru,
      Mon ami."

I have written to Will Clerk to stand my friend if necessary. He has
mettle in him, and thinks of my honour as well as my safety.

_August_ 28.--I am still bothering with the review, but gave Lockhart
fifteen leaves, which is something. Learned with regret that Williams
leaves his situation of Rector of the New Academy. It is a shot in the
wing of the institution; for he is a heaven-born teacher. Walked at two
till four along the thicket, and by the river-side, where I go seldom; I
can't say why, unless that the walk is less private than those more
distant. Lockhart, Allan, and I, talk of an excursion to Kelso
to-morrow. I have no friends there now. Yet once how many!

_August_ 29.--Went on our little expedition, breakfasting at Mertoun.
Called at Fleurs, where we found Sir John S. and his whole family. The
great lady received us well, though we had been very remiss in our duty.
From that we went to Kelso, where I saw not a soul to acknowledge former
acquaintance. How should I, when my residence there was before 1783, I
fancy?[29] The little cottage in which I lived with poor Aunt Jenny is
still standing, but the great garden is divided betwixt three
proprietors. Its huge platanus tree withered, I was told, in the same
season which was fatal to so many of the species. It was cut down. The
yew-hedges, labyrinths, wildernesses, and other marks that it had once
been the abode of one of the Millers connected with the author of the
_Gardener's Dictionary_ (they were a Quaker family), are all
obliterated, and the place is as common and vulgar as may be. The lady
the cottage belongs to was very civil. Allan, as a man of taste, was
much delighted with what he saw. When we returned, we found our party at
home increased by Lady Anna Maria Elliot, who had been showing Melrose
to two friends, Miss Drinkwaters. Lady M.'s wit and good-humour made the
evening go pleasantly off. There were also two friends of Charles's, by
name Paley (a nephew of the archdeacon) and Ashworth. They seem nice
young men, with modesty and good-breeding. I am glad, as my mother used
to say, that his friends are so presentable. Moreover, there came my
old, right trusty, and well-beloved friend, John Richardson, so we were
a full party. Lady Anna Maria returned in the evening. Francis Scott
also dined with us.

_August_ 30.--Disposed of my party as I best might, and worked at my
review. Walked out at one, and remained till near five. Mr. Scott of
Harden and David Thomson, W.S., dined with us. Walked with Mr. Allan
through Haxel Cleugh.

_August_ 31.--Went on with my review; but I have got Sir Henry's
original pamphlet,[30] which is very cleverly written. I find I cannot
touch on his mode of transplantation at all in this article. It involves
many questions, and some of importance, so I will make another article
for January. Walked up the Rhymer's Glen with John Richardson.[31]


[17] Right Hon. Joseph Planta (son of Joseph Planta, Principal Librarian
of the British Museum from 1799) was at this time one of the Secretaries
to the Treasury. He died in 1847.

[18] _Personal Memoirs_ by P.L. Gordon, 2 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1830.

[19] General David Stewart of Garth, author of _Sketches of the
Highlanders_. 2 vols. 8vo, Edin. 1822. General Stewart died in St. Lucia
in 1829. Sir Walter said of him that no man was "more regretted, or
perhaps by a wider circle of friends and acquaintance."

[20] Resulting in the duel of 21st September 1809.--See Croker's
_Correspondence_, vol. i. p. 20; and _Life_, vol. iii. ch. xix.

[21] Afterwards Lord Polwarth.

[22] Persian _chitty_ = a short note.

[23] _Letters to Richard Heber, Esq., containing Critical Remarks on the
Series of Novels beginning with_ "Waverley," _and an Attempt to
ascertain their Author_. 8vo, London, 1821.

[24] They were published under the title _Ancient Ballads and Songs_, 2
vols. 8vo, 1828.

[25] _The Forester's Guide and Profitable Planter_, reviewed in the
_Quarterly_, Oct. 1827. See also "On Planting Waste Lands," in _Misc.
Prose Works_, vol. xxi. pp. 1-76.

[26] Daughter of Mrs. Maclean Clephane, and afterwards Marchioness of

[27] Scott's indorsation of this letter is characteristic--"Prodigious,
bold request, Tom Thumb."

[28] Among the documents laid before Scott in the Colonial Office, when
he was in London at the close of 1826, "were some which represented one
of Bonaparte's attendants at St. Helena, General Gourgaud, as having
been guilty of gross unfairness, giving the English Government private
information that the Emperor's complaints of ill-usage were utterly
unfounded, and yet then and afterwards aiding and assisting the delusion
in France as to the harshness of Sir Hudson Lowe's conduct towards his
captive. Sir Walter, when using these remarkable documents, guessed that
Gourgaud might be inclined to fix a personal quarrel on himself; and
there now appeared in the newspapers a succession of hints that the
General was seriously bent on this purpose. He applied as _Colonel
Grogg_ would have done forty years before to _The Baronet_" [W.
Clerk].--_Life_, vol. ix. pp. 142-3.

A short time previously Gourgaud had had a quarrel with Count Ségur
regarding the latter's _History of the Russian Campaign_, to which he
wrote a reply in 1825, and then fought a duel with the author in support
of his allegations. In Scott's case, however, it came to nothing beyond
a paper war, which Sir Walter declined to prolong, leaving the question
to be decided by the general public. It is due to Gourgaud to state that
on two occasions he saved Napoleon's life, though his subsequent
information to the British Government did not tend to increase his
popularity with the Bonapartists. He died at Paris in his sixty-ninth
year on July 25th, 1852.

[29] _Life_, vol. i. pp. 47, 155-156.

[30] _The Planters' Guide_, by Sir Henry Seton Steuart.

[31] In the _North British Review_, No. 82, there is an extremely
interesting sketch of this learned Peerage lawyer. He died in his 85th
year, in 1864, at his country seat, Kirklands in Roxburghshire, which he
had purchased by Sir Walter's advice.

The following amusing narrative of what took place on Tweedside when
these two old friends were in their prime is given in Mr. Richardson's
own words:--

"On a beautiful morning in September 1810 I started with Sir Walter from
Ashiestiel. We began nearly under the ruins of Elibank, and in sight of
the 'Hanging Tree.' I only had a rod, but Sir Walter walked by my side,
now quoting Izaak Walton, as, 'Fish me this stream by inches,' and now
delighting me with a profusion of Border stories. After the capture of
numerous fine trout, I hooked something greater and unseen, which
powerfully ran out my line. Sir Walter got into a state of great
excitement, exclaiming, 'It's a fish! It's a fish! Hold up your rod!
Give him line!' and so on. The rod, which belonged to one of his boys,
broke, and put us both into great alarm; but I contrived, by ascending
the steep bank and holding down the rod, still to give play to the reel,
till, after a good quarter of an hour's struggle, a trout, for so it
turned out to be, was conducted round a little peninsula. Sir Walter
jumped into the water, seized him, and threw him out on the grass. Tom
Purdie came up a little time after, and was certainly rather discomposed
at my success. 'It will be some sea brute,' he observed; but he became
satisfied that it was a fine river-trout, and such as, he afterwards
admitted, had not been killed in Tweed for twenty years; and when I
moved down the water, he went, as Sir Walter afterwards observed, and
gave it a kick on the head, exclaiming, 'To be ta'en by the like o' him
frae Lunnon!'"


_September_ 1.--Colonel Ferguson and Colonel Byers breakfasted; the
latter from India, the nephew of the old antiquarian;[32] but I had not
an opportunity to speak to him about the Eastern information required
for the _Chronicles_. Besides, my review is not finished, though I
wrought hard to-day. Sir William Hamilton and his brother, Captain
Hamilton, called; also young Davidoff. I am somewhat sorry for my young
friend. His friends permit him to remain too long in Britain to be happy
in Russia. Yet this [is a] prejudice of those who suppose that when the
institutions and habits by which they are governed come to be known to
strangers, they must become exclusively attached to them. This is not
so. The Hottentot returns from civilisation to the wild manners of his
kraal, and wherefore should not a Russian resume his despotic ideas when
returned to his country?

_September_ 2.--This was a very warm day. I remained at home, chiefly
engaged in arranging papers, as I go away to-morrow. It is lucky these
starts happen from time to time as I should otherwise never get my table
clear. At five o'clock the air became cooler, and I sat out of doors and
played with the children. Anne, who had been at Mertoun the day before,
brought up Anne and Elizabeth Scott[33] with her, and Francis has been
with us since yesterday. Richardson left us.

_September_ 3.--Went on with my arranging of papers till twelve, when I
took chaise and arrived at Melville Castle.

Found Lord and Lady M. and the two young ladies. Dr. Hope, my old
school-fellow James Hope[34] and his son, made up our party, which was
very pleasant. After they went away we had some private conversation
about politics. The Whigs and Tories of the Cabinet are strangely
divided, the former desiring to have Mr. Herries for Chancellor of the
Exchequer, the latter to have Lord Palmerston, that Calcraft may be
Secretary of War. The King has declared firmly for Herries, on which
Lord Goderich with _tears_ entreated Herries to remove the bone of
contention by declining to accept. The King called him a blubbering
fool. That the King does not like or trust the Whigs is obvious from his
passing over Lord Lansdowne, a man who, I should suppose, is infinitely
better fitted for a Premier than Goderich. But he probably looks with no
greater [favour] on the return of the High Tories. I fear he may wish to
govern by the system of _bascule_, or balancing the two parties, a
perilous game[35]. The Advocate[36] also dined with us.

_September 4, [Edinburgh]_.--Came into town after breakfast, and saw
Gibson, whose account of affairs is comfortable. Also William Clerk,
whom I found quite ready and willing to stand my friend if Gourgaud
should come my road. He agrees with me that there is no reason why he
should turn on me, but that if he does, reason or none, it is best to
stand buff to him. It is clear to me that what is least forgiven in a
man of any mark or likelihood is want of that article blackguardly
called _pluck_. All the fine qualities of genius cannot make amends for
it. We are told the genius of poets especially is irreconcilable with
this species of grenadier accomplishment[37]. If so, _quel chien de
génie_! Saw Lady Compton. I dine with her to-day, and go to Glasgow with
her to-morrow.

_September 5_.--Dined with Lady Compton yesterday, and talked over old
stories until nine, our _tête-à-tête_ being a very agreeable one. Then
hence to my good friend John Gibson's, and talked with him of sundries.
I had an odd dream last night. It seemed to me that I was at a panorama,
when a vulgar little man behind me was making some very clever but
impudent remarks on the picture, and at the same time seemed desirous of
information, which no one would give him. I turned round and saw a young
fellow dressed like a common carter, with a blue coat and red waistcoat,
and a whip tied across him. He was young, with a hatchet-face, which was
turned to a brick colour by exposure to the weather, sharp eyes, and in
manner and voice not unlike John Leyden. I was so much struck with his
countenance and talents that I asked him about his situation, and
expressed a wish to mend it. He followed me, from the hopes which I
excited, and we had a dreadful walk among ruins, and afterwards I found
myself on horseback, and in front of a roaring torrent. I plunged in as
I have formerly done in good sad earnest, and got to the other side.
Then I got home among my children and grandchildren, and there also was
my genius. Now this would defy Daniel and the soothsayers to boot; nor
do I know why I should now put it down, except that I have seldom seen a
portrait in life which was more strongly marked on my memory than that
man's. Perhaps my genius was Mr. Dickinson, papermaker, who has
undertaken that the London creditors who hold Constable's bills will be
satisfied with 10s. in the pound. This would be turning a genius to
purpose, for 6s. 8d. is provided, and they can have no difficulty about
3s. 4d. These debts, for which I am legally responsible, though no party
to their contraction, amount to £30,000 odds. Now if they can be cleared
for £15,000 it is just so much gained. This would be a giant step to
freedom. I see in my present comfortable quarters[38] some of my own
old furniture in Castle St., which gives me rather queer feelings. I
remember poor Charlotte and I having so much thought about buying these
things. Well, they are in kind and friendly hands.

_September 6_.--Went with Lady Compton to Glasgow, and had as pleasant a
journey as the kindness, wit, and accomplishment of my companion could
make it. Lady C. gives an admirable account of Rome, and the various
strange characters she has met in foreign parts. I was much taken with
some stories out of a romance called _Manuscrit trouvé à Saragosse_, by
a certain Count John Polowsky [Potocki?], a Pole. It seems betwixt the
style of Cazotti, Count Hamilton and Le Sage. The Count was a toiler
after supernatural secrets, an adept, and understood the cabbala. He put
himself to death, with many odd circumstances, inferring derangement. I
am to get a sight of the book if it be possible. At Glasgow (Buck's
Head) we met Mrs. Maclean Clephane and her two daughters, and there was
much joy. After the dinner the ladies sung, particularly Anna Jane, who
has more taste and talent of every kind than half the people going with
great reputations on their backs.

A very pleasant day was paid for by a restless night.

_September_ 7.--This day had calls from Lord Provost and Mr. Rutherford
(William) with invitations, which I declined. Read in manuscript a very
clever play (comedy) by Miss A.J. Clephane in the old style, which was
very happily imitated. The plot was confused--too much taking and
retaking of prisoners, but the dialogue was excellent.

Took leave of these dear friends, never perhaps to meet all together
again, for two of us are old. Went down by steam to Colonel Campbell's,
Blythswood House, where I was most courteously received by him and his
sisters. We are kinsfolk and very old acquaintance. His seat here is a
fine one; the house is both grand and comfortable.

We walked to Lawrence Lockhart's of Inchinnan, within a mile of
Blythswood House. It is extremely nice and comfortable, far beyond the
style of a Scotch clergyman; but Lawrence is wealthy. I found John
Lockhart and Sophia there, returned from Largs. We all dined at Colonel
Campbell's on turtle, and all manner of good things. Miss A. and H.
Walker were there. The sleep at night made amends for the Buck's Head.

_September_ 8.--Colonel Campbell carried me to breakfast in Glasgow, and
at ten I took chaise for Corehouse, where I found my old friend George
Cranstoun rejoiced to see me, and glad when I told him what Lord Newton
had determined in my affairs. I should observe I saw the banks of the
Clyde above Hamilton much denuded of its copse, _untimely cut_; and the
stools ill cut, and worse kept. Cranstoun and I walked before dinner. I
never saw the great fall of Corehouse from this side before, and I think
it the best point, perhaps; at all events, it is not that from which it
is usually seen; so Lord Corehouse has the sight and escapes the
tourists. Dined with him, his sister Mrs. Cunningham, and Corehouse.

I omitted to mention in yesterday's note that within Blythswood
plantation, near to the Bridge of Inchinnan, the unfortunate Earl of
Argyle was taken in 1685, at a stone called Argyle's Stone. Blythswood
says the Highland drovers break down his fences in order to pay a visit
to the place. The Earl had passed the Cart river, and was taken on the
Renfrew side.

_September_ 9.--This is a superb place of Corehouse's. Cranstoun has as
much feeling about improvement as other things. Like all new improvers,
he is at more expense than is necessary, plants too thick, and trenches
where trenching is superfluous. But this is the eagerness of a young
artist. Besides the grand lion, the Fall of Clyde, he has more than one
lion's whelp; a fall of a brook in a cleugh called Mill's Gill must be
superb in rainy weather. The old Castle of Corehouse is much more
castle-like on this than from the other side.

Left Corehouse at eight in the morning, and reached Lanark by half-past
nine. I was thus long in travelling three miles because the postilion
chose to suppose I was bound for Biggar, and was two miles ere I
discovered what he was doing. I thought he aimed at crossing the Clyde
by some new bridge above Bonnington. Breakfasted at Lanark with the
Lockharts, and reached Abbotsford this evening by nine o'clock.

Thus ends a pleasant expedition among the people I like most. Drawback
only one. It has cost me £15, including two gowns for Sophia and Anne;
and I have lost six days' labour. Both may be soon made up.

_N.B._--We lunched (dined, _videlicet_) with Professor Wilson at
Inverleithen, and met James Hogg,[39]

_September 10, [Abbotsford]_.--Gourgaud's wrath has burst forth in a
very distant clap of thunder, in which he accuses me of combining with
the ministry to slander his rag of a reputation. He be d----d for a
fool, to make his case worse by stirring. I shall only revenge myself
by publishing the whole extracts I made from the records of the Colonial
Office, in which he will find enough to make him bite his nails. Still I
wonder he did not come over and try his manhood otherwise. I would not
have shunned him nor any Frenchman who ever kissed Bonaparte's breech.

_September_ 11.--Went to Huntly Burn and breakfasted with Colonel
Ferguson, who has promised to have some Indian memoranda ready for me.
After breakfast went to choose the ground for a new plantation, to be
added next week to the end of Jane's Wood. Came to dinner Lord Carnarvon
and his son and daughter; also Lord Francis Leveson Gower, the
translator of _Faust_.

_September_ 12.--Walk with Lord Francis. When we return, behold ye!
enter Lady Hampden and Lady Wedderburn. In the days of George Square,
Jane and Maria Brown[40], beauties and toasts. There was much pleasure
on my side, and some, I suppose, on theirs; and there was a riding, and
a running, and a chattering, and an asking, and a showing--a real scene
of confusion, yet mirth and good spirits. Our guests quit us next day.

_September_ 13.--Fined a man for an assault at Selkirk. He pleaded
guilty, which made short work. The beggarly appearance of the Jury in
the new system is very worthy of note. One was a menial servant. When I
returned, James Ballantyne and Mr. Cadell arrived. They bring a good
account of matters in general. Cadell explained to me a plan for
securing the copyright of the novels, which has a very good face. It
appears they are going off fast; and if the glut of the market is once
reduced by sales, the property will be excellent, and may be increased
by notes. James B. brought his son. Robert Rutherford also here, and
Miss Russells.

_September_ 14.--In the morning wrote my answer to Gourgaud, rather too
keen perhaps, but I owe him nothing; and as for exciting his resentment,
I will neither seek nor avoid it.

Cadell's views seem fair, and he is open and explicit. His brothers
support him, and he has no want of cash. He sells two or three copies of
Bonaparte and one of the novels, or two, almost every day. He must soon,
he says, apply to London for copies. Read a Refutation, as it calls
itself, of Napoleon's history. It is so very polite and accommodating
that every third word is a concession--the work of a man able to judge
distinctly on specific facts, but erroneous in his general results. He
will say the same of me, perhaps. Ballantyne and Cadell leave us. Enter
Miss Sinclairs, two in number, also a translator, and a little Flemish
woman, his wife--very good-humoured, rather a little given to
compliment; name Fauconpret. They are to return at night in a gig as far
as Kelso--a bold undertaking.

_September_ 16.--The ladies went to Church; I, God forgive me, finished
the _Chronicles_[41] with a good deal of assistance from Colonel
Ferguson's notes about Indian affairs. The patch is, I suspect, too
glaring to be pleasing; but the Colonel's sketches are capitally good. I
understand, too, there are one or two East Indian novels which have
lately appeared. Naboclish! _vogue la galère_!

_September_ 17.--Received from James B. the proofs of my reply to
General Gourgaud, with some cautious balaam from mine honest friend,
alarmed by a Highland Colonel, who had described Gourgaud as a _mauvais
garçon_, famous fencer, marksman, and so forth. I wrote in answer, which
is true, that I would hope all my friends would trust to my acting with
proper caution and advice; but that if I were capable, in a moment of
weakness, of doing anything short of what my honour demanded, I would
die the death of a poisoned rat in hole, out of mere sense of my own
degradation. God knows, that, though life is placid enough with me, I do
not feel anything to attach me to it so strongly as to occasion my
avoiding any risk which duty to my character may demand from me.

I set to work with the _Tales of a Grandfather_, second volume, and
finished four pages.

_September_ 18.--Wrote five pages of the _Tales_. Walked from Huntly
Burn, having gone in the carriage. Smoked my cigar with Lockhart after
dinner, and then whiled away the evening over one of Miss Austen's
novels. There is a truth of painting in her writings which always
delights me. They do not, it is true, get above the middle classes of
society, but there she is inimitable.

_September_ 19.--Wrote three pages, but dawdled a good deal; yet the
_Tales_ get on, although I feel bilious, and vapourish, I believe I must
call it. At such times my loneliness, and the increasing inability to
walk, come dark over me, but surely these mulligrubs belong to the mind
more than the body.

_September_ 22.--Captain and Colonel Ferguson, the last returned from
Ireland, dined here. Prayer of the minister of the Cumbrays, two
miserable islands in the mouth of the Clyde: "O Lord, bless and be
gracious to the Greater and the Lesser Cumbrays, and in thy mercy do not
forget the adjacent islands of Great Britain and Ireland."

_September_ 23.--Worked in the morning; then drove over to Huntly Burn,
chiefly to get from the good-humoured Colonel the accurate spelling of
certain Hindu words which I have been using under his instructions. By
the way, the sketches he gave me of Indian manners are highly
picturesque. I have made up my Journal, which was three days in arrear.
Also I wrought a little, so that the second volume of _Grandfather's
Tales_ is nearly half finished.

_September_ 24.--Worked in the morning as usual, and sent off the
proofs and copy. Something of the black dog still hanging about me; but
I will shake him off. I generally affect good spirits in company of my
family, whether I am enjoying them or not. It is too severe to sadden
the harmless mirth of others by suffering your own causeless melancholy
to be seen; and this species of exertion is, like virtue, its own
reward; for the good spirits, which are at first simulated, become at
length real.[42]

_September 25, [Edinburgh]_,--Got into town by one o'clock, the purpose
being to give my deposition before Lord Newton in a case betwixt me and
Constable's creditors. My oath seemed satisfactory; but new reasons were
alleged for additional discussion, which is, I trust, to end this
wearisome matter. I dined with Mr. Gibson, and slept there. J.B. dined
with us, and we had thoughts how to save our copyright by a bargain with
Cadell. I hope it will turn to good, as I could add notes to a future
edition, and give them some value.

_September 26, [Abbotsford]_.--Set off in mail coach, and my horses met
me at Yair Bridge. I travelled with rather a pleasant man, an agent, I
found, on Lord Seaford's[43] West Indian Estates. Got home by twelve
o'clock, and might have been here earlier if the Tweed had not been too
large for fording. I must note down my cash lest it gets out of my head;
"may the foul fa' the gear, and the blathrie o't,"[44] and yet there's
no doing either with it or without it.

_September_ 27.--The morning was damp, dripping, and unpleasant; so I
even made a work of necessity, and set to the _Tales_ like a dragon. I
murdered M'Lellan of Bomby at Thrieve Castle; stabbed the Black Douglas
in the town of Stirling; astonished King James before Roxburgh; and
stifled the Earl of Mar in his bath in the Canongate. A wild world, my
masters, this Scotland of ours must have been. No fear of want of
interest; no lassitude in those days for want of work,

    "For treason, d' ye see,
    Was to them a dish of tea,
        And murther bread and butter."

We dined at Gattonside with Mr. Bainbridge, who kindly presented me with
six bottles of super-excellent Jamaica rum, and with a manuscript
collection of poetry, said to be Swift's handwriting, which it
resembles. It is, I think, poor Stella's. Nothing very new in it.

_September_ 28.--Another dropping and busy day. I wrought hard at the
_Historical Tales_, which get on fast.

_September_ 29.--I went on with the little history which now (_i.e._
vol. ii.) doth appropinque an end. Received in the evening [Nos. 37 to
41?] of the Roxburghe publications. They are very curious, and,
generally speaking, well selected. The following struck me:--An Italian
poem on the subject of Floddenfield; the legend of St. Robert of
Knaresborough; two plays, printed from MS. by Mr. Haslewood. It does not
appear that Mr. H. fully appreciated the light which he was throwing on
the theatrical history by this valuable communication. It appears that
the change of place, or of scene as we term it, was intimated in the
following manner.

In the middle of the stage was placed Colchester, and the sign of
Pigot's tavern--called the Tarlton--intimated what part of the town was
represented. The name was painted above. On one side of the stage was,
in like manner, painted a town, which the name announced to be Maldon;
on the other side a ranger's lodge. The scene lay through the piece in
one or other of these three places, and the entrance of the characters
determined where each scene lay. If they came in from Colchester, then
Colchester was for the time the scene of action. When that scene was
shifted to Maldon, it was intimated by the approach of the actors from
the side where it was painted--a clumsy contrivance, doubtless, compared
to changeable scenery; yet sufficient to impress the audience with a
sense of what was meant.

_September_ 30.--Wet, drizzling, dismal day. I finished odds and ends,
scarce stirring out of my room, yet doing little to the purpose. Wrote
to Sir Henry [Seton Steuart] about his queries concerning transplanted
trees, and to Mr. Freeling concerning the Roxburghe Club books. I have
settled to print the manuscript concerning the murder of the two Shaws
by the Master of Sinclair. I dallied with the precious time rather than
used it. Read the two Roxburghe plays; they are by William Percy, a son
of the eighth Earl of Northumberland; worthless and very gross, but
abounding with matter concerning scenery, and so forth, highly
interesting to the dramatic antiquary.

     NOTE _on the "grenadier accomplishment" mentioned in_ p. 30.

     In a letter to the Duke of Buccleuch, of May 1818, Scott gives the
     following amusing account of an incident in the life of the Ettrick

     "Our poor friend Hogg has had an _affair of honour_.... Two
     mornings ago, about seven in the morning, my servant announced,
     while I was shaving in my dressing-room, that Mr. Hogg wished
     earnestly to speak with me. He was ushered in, and I cannot
     describe the half-startled, half-humorous air with which he said,
     scratching his head most vehemently, 'Odd, Scott, here's twae
     fo'k's come frae Glasgow to provoke mey to fecht a duel.' 'A duel,'
     answered I, in great astonishment, 'and what do you intend to do?'
     'Odd, I just locket them up in my room and sent the lassie for twae
     o' the police, and just gie'd the men ower to their chairge, and I
     thocht I wad come and ask you what I should do....' He had already
     settled for himself the question whether he was to fight or not,
     and all that he had to do was to go to the Police Office and tell
     the charge he had to bring against the two Glasgow gentlemen....
     The Glaswegians were greatly too many for him [in Court].... They
     returned in all triumph and glory, and Hogg took the wings of the
     morning and fled to his cottage at Altrive, not deeming himself
     altogether safe in the streets of Edinburgh! Now, although I do not
     hold valour to be an essential article in the composition of a man
     like Hogg, yet I heartily wish he could have prevailed on himself
     to swagger a little.... But considering his failure in the field
     and the Sheriff Office, I am afraid we must apply to Hogg the
     apology which is made for Waller by his biographer: 'Let us not
     condemn him with untempered severity because he was not such a
     prodigy as the world has seldom seen--because his character
     included not the poet, the orator, and the hero.'"


[32] James Byers, 1733-1817.

[33] Anne Scott of Harden, afterwards wife of Lord Jerviswoode, and
Elizabeth of Colonel Charles Wyndham.

[34] James Hope, W.S., Scott's school-fellow, died in Edinburgh 14th
November 1842.

[35] _Greville_, vol. i. pp. 110-113.

[36] Sir W. Rae, who was Lord Advocate from 1819 to 1830.

[37] See letter to Duke of Buccleuch on James Hogg at p. 40.

[38] No. 10 Walker Street.

[39] Scott's unwearied interest in James Hogg, despite the waywardness
of this imaginative genius, is one of the most beautiful traits in his
character. Readers of Mr. Lockhart's _Life_, do not require to be
reminded of the active part he took in promoting the welfare of the
"Ettrick Shepherd" on many occasions, from the outset of their
acquaintance in 1801 until the end of his life.

Hogg was a strange compound of boisterous roughness and refinement in
expression, and these odd contrasts surprised strangers such as Moore
and Ticknor. The former was shocked, and the latter said his
conversation was a perpetual contradiction to the exquisite delicacy of

The critics of the day, headed by Professor Wilson, declared he was
Burns's rival as a song-writer, and his superior in anything relating to
external nature! indeed they wrote of him as unsurpassed by poet or
painter in his fairy tales of ancient time, dubbing him Poet Laureate to
the Queen of Elfland; and yet his unrefined manner tempted these friends
to speak of him familiarly as the greatest hog in all Apollo's herd, or
the Boar of the Forest, etc. etc.

Wordsworth, however, on November 21, 1835, when his brother bard had
just left the sunshine for the sunless land, wrote from his heart the
noble lines ending--

"Death upon the Braes of Yarrow Closed the Poet Shepherd's eyes."

[40] Another, sister Georgiana, married General the Honourable Sir
Alexander Hope, G.C.B., grandfather of Mrs. Maxwell Scott.

[41] _Chronicles of the Canongate_. First Series, ending with the story
of _The Surgeon's Daughter_.

[42] Mr. Lockhart justly remarks that this entry "paints the man in his
tenderness, his fortitude, and happy wisdom."

[43] Charles Rose Ellis had been created Baron Seaford in 1826.

[44] See Cromek's _Reliques of Burns_, p. 210.


_October_ 1.--I set about work for two hours, and finished three pages;
then walked for two hours; then home, adjusted sheriff processes, and
cleared the table. I am to set off to-morrow for Ravensworth Castle, to
meet the Duke of Wellington;[45] a great let off, I suppose. Yet I would
almost rather stay and see two days more of Lockhart and my daughter,
who will be off before my return. Perhaps. But there is no end to
perhaps. We must cut the rope and let the vessel drive down the tide of

_October_ 2.--Set out in the morning at seven, and reached Kelso by a
little past ten with my own horses. Then took the Wellington coach to
carry me to Wellington--smart that. Nobody inside but an old lady, who
proved a toy-woman in Edinburgh; her head furnished with as substantial
ware as her shop, but a good soul, I'se warrant her. Heard all her
debates with her landlord about a new door to the cellar, etc. etc.;
propriety of paying rent on the 15th or 25th of May. Landlords and
tenants have different opinions on that subject. Danger of dirty sheets
in inns. We dined at Wooler, and I found out Dr. Douglas on the outside,
son of my old acquaintance Dr. James Douglas of Kelso. This made us even
lighter in mind till we came to Whittingham. Thence to Newcastle, where
an obstreperous horse retarded us for an hour at least, to the great
alarm of my friend the toy-woman. _N.B._--She would have made a good
feather-bed if the carriage had happened to fall, and her undermost. The
heavy roads had retarded us near an hour more, so that I hesitated to go
to Ravensworth so late; but my good woman's tales of dirty sheets, and
certain recollections of a Newcastle inn, induced me to go on. When I
arrived the family had just retired. Lord Ravensworth and Mr. Liddell
came down, however, and really received me as kindly as possible.

_October_ 3.--Rose about eight or later. My morals begin to be corrupted
by travelling and fine company. Went to Durham with Lord Ravensworth
betwixt one and two. Found the gentlemen of Durham county and town
assembled to receive the Duke of Wellington. I saw several old friends,
and with difficulty suited names to faces, and faces to names. There was
Headlam, Dr. Gilly and his wife, and a world of acquaintance besides,
Sir Thomas Lawrence too, with Lord Londonderry. I asked him to come on
with me, but he could not. He is, from habit of coaxing his subjects I
suppose, a little too fair-spoken, otherwise very pleasant. The Duke
arrived very late. There were bells and cannon and drums, trumpets and
banners, besides a fine troop of yeomanry. The address was well
expressed, and as well answered by the Duke. The enthusiasm of the
ladies and the gentry was great--the common people were lukewarm[46].
The Duke has lost popularity in accepting political power. He will be
more useful to his country it may be than ever, but will scarce be so
gracious in the people's eyes; and he will not care a curse for what
outward show he has lost. But I must not talk of curses, for we are
going to take our dinner with the Bishop of Durham[47], a man of amiable
and courteous manners, who becomes his station well, but has traces of
bad health on his countenance.

We dined, about one hundred and forty or fifty men, a distinguished
company for rank and property. Marshal Beresford, and Sir John[48],
amongst others, Marquis of Lothian, Lord Duncombe, Marquis Londonderry,
and I know not who besides:

    "Lords and Dukes and noble Princes,
    All the pride and flower of Spain."

We dined in the rude old baronial hall, impressive from its antiquity,
and fortunately free from the plaster of former improvement, as I trust
it will, from the gingerbread taste of modern Gothicisers. The bright
moon streaming in through the old Gothic windows, made a light which
contrasted strangely with the artificial lights within; spears, banners,
and armour were intermixed with the pictures of old, and the whole had a
singular mixture of baronial pomp with the graver and more chastened
dignity of prelacy. The conduct of our reverend entertainer suited the
character remarkably well. Amid the welcome of a Count Palatine he did
not for an instant forget the gravity of the Church dignitary. All his
toasts were gracefully given, and his little speeches well made, and the
more affecting that the failing voice sometimes reminded us that our
aged host laboured under the infirmities of advanced life. To me
personally the Bishop was very civil, and paid me his public
compliments by proposing my health in the most gratifying manner.[49]

The Bishop's lady received a sort of drawing-room after we rose from
table, at which a great many ladies attended. I ought not to forget that
the singers of the choir attended at dinner, and sung the Anthem _Non
nobis Domine_, as they said who understood them, very well--and, as I
think, who did not understand the music, with an unusual degree of
spirit and interest. It is odd how this can be distinguished from the
notes of fellows who use their throats with as little feeling of the
notes they utter as if they were composed of the same metal as their

After the drawing-room we went to the Assembly-rooms, which were crowded
with company. I saw some very pretty girls dancing merrily that
old-fashioned thing called a country-dance which Old England has now
thrown aside, as she would do her creed, if there were some foreign
frippery offered instead. We got away after midnight, a large party, and
reached Ravensworth Castle--Duke of Wellington, Lord Londonderry, and
about twenty besides--about half-past one. Soda water, and to bed by

_October_ 4.--Slept till nigh ten--fatigued by our toils of yesterday,
and the unwonted late hours. Still too early for this Castle of
Indolence, for I found few of last night's party yet appearing. I had an
opportunity of some talk with the Duke. He does not consider Foy's
book[50] as written by himself, but as a thing _got up_ perhaps from
notes. Says he knew Foy very well in Spain. Mentioned that he was, like
other French officers, very desirous of seeing the English papers,
through which alone they could collect any idea of what was going on
without their own cantonments, for Napoleon permitted no communication
of that kind with France. The Duke, growing tired of this, at length
told Baron Tripp, whose services he chiefly used in communication with
the outposts, that he was not to give them the newspapers. "What reason
shall I allege for withholding them?" said Baron Tripp. "None," replied
the Duke. "Let them allege some reason why they want them." Foy was not
at a loss to assign a reason. He said he had considerable sums of money
in the English funds and wanted to see how Stocks fell and rose. The
excuse did not, however, go down[51]. I remember Baron Tripp, a Dutch
nobleman, and a dandy of the first water, and yet with an energy in his
dandyism which made it respectable. He drove a gig as far as Dunrobin
Castle, and back again, _without a whip_. He looked after his own horse,
for he had no servant, and after all his little establishment of clothes
and necessaries, with all the accuracy of a _petit-maître_. He was one
of the best-dressed men, and his horse was in equally fine condition as
if he had had a dozen of grooms. I met him at Lord Somerville's, and
liked him much. But there was something exaggerated, as appeared from
the conclusion of his life. Baron Tripp shot himself in Italy for no
assignable cause.

What is called great society, of which I have seen a good deal in my
day, is now amusing to me, because from age and indifference I have lost
the habit of considering myself as a part of it, and have only the
feelings of looking on as a spectator of the scene, who can neither play
his part well nor ill, instead of being one of the _dramatis personæ_;
and, careless what is thought of myself, I have full time to attend to
the motions of others.

Our party went to-day to Sunderland, where the Duke was brilliantly
received by an immense population, chiefly of seamen. The difficulty of
getting into the rooms was dreadful, for we chanced to march in the rear
of an immense Gibraltar gun, etc., all composed of glass, which is here
manufactured in great quantities. The disturbance created by this thing,
which by the way I never saw afterwards, occasioned an ebbing and
flowing of the crowd, which nearly took me off my legs. I have seen the
day I would have minded it little. The entertainment was handsome; about
two hundred dined, and appeared most hearty in the cause which had
convened them--some indeed so much so, that, finding themselves so far
on the way to perfect happiness, they e'en ... After the dinner-party
broke up there was a ball, numerously attended, where there was a
prodigious anxiety discovered for shaking of hands. The Duke had enough
of it, and I came in for my share; for, though as jackal to the lion, I
got some part in whatever was going. We got home about half-past two in
the morning, sufficiently tired. The Duke went to Seaham, a house of
Lord Londonderry's. After all, this Sunderland trip might have been

_October 5_.--A quiet day at Ravensworth Castle, giggling and making
giggle among the kind and frank-hearted young people. Ravensworth Castle
is chiefly modern, excepting always two towers of great antiquity. Lord
Ravensworth manages his woods admirably well, and with good taste. His
castle is but half-built. Elections[52] have come between. In the
evening, plenty of fine music, with heart as well as voice and
instrument. Much of the music was the spontaneous effusions of Mrs.
Arkwright, who had set Hohenlinden and other pieces of poetry. Her music
was of a highly-gifted character. She was the daughter of Stephen
Kemble. The genius she must have inherited from her mother, who was a
capital actress. The Miss Liddells and Mrs. Barrington sang the "The
Campbells are coming," in a tone that might have waked the dead.

_October_ 6.--Left Ravensworth this morning, and travelled as far as
Whittingham with Marquis of Lothian. Arrived at Alnwick to dinner, where
I was very kindly received. The Duke is a handsome man,[53] who will be
corpulent if he does not continue to take hard exercise. The Duchess
very pretty and lively, but her liveliness is of that kind which shows
at once it is connected with thorough principle, and is not liable to be
influenced by fashionable caprice. The habits of the family are early
and regular; I conceive they may be termed formal and old-fashioned by
such visitors as claim to be the pink of the mode. The Castle is a fine
old pile, with various courts and towers, and the entrance is
magnificent. It wants, however, the splendid feature of a keep. The
inside fitting up is an attempt at Gothic, but the taste is meagre and
poor, and done over with too much gilding. It was done half a century
ago, when this kind of taste was ill-understood. I found here the Bishop
of [Gloucester], etc. etc.

_October 7_.--This morning went to church and heard an excellent sermon
from the Bishop of Gloucester;[54] he has great dignity of manner, and
his accent and delivery were forcible. Drove out with the Duke in a
phaeton, and saw part of the park, which is a fine one, lying along the
Alne. But it has been ill-planted. It was laid out by the celebrated
Brown,[55] who substituted clumps of birch and Scottish firs for the
beautiful oaks and copse which grows nowhere so freely as in
Northumberland. To complete this, the late Duke did not thin, so the
wood is in poor state. All that the Duke cuts down is so much waste, for
the people will not buy it where coals are so cheap. Had they been
oak-wood, the bark would have fetched its value; had they been grown
oaks, the sea-ports would have found a market. Had they been [larch],
the country demands for ruder purposes would have been unanswerable. The
Duke does the best he can to retrieve his woods, but seems to despond
more than a young man ought to do. It is refreshing to see a man in his
situation give so much of his time and thoughts to the improvement of
his estates, and the welfare of the people. The Duke tells me his people
in Keeldar were all quite wild the first time his father went up to
shoot there. The women had no other dress than a bed-gown and petticoat.
The men were savage and could hardly be brought to rise from the heath,
either from sullenness or fear. They sung a wild tune, the burden of
which was Ourina, ourina, ourina. The females sung, the men danced
round, and at a certain part of the tune they drew their dirks, which
they always wore.

We came by the remains of the old Carmelite Monastery of Hulne, which is
a very fine object in the park. It was finished by De Vesci. The gateway
of Alnwick Abbey, also a fine specimen, is standing about a mile
distant. The trees are much finer on the left side of the Alne, where
they have been let alone by the capability-villain. Visited the enceinte
of the Castle, and passed into the dungeon. There is also an armoury,
but damp, and the arms in indifferent order. One odd petard-looking
thing struck me.--_Mem_. to consult Grose. I had the honour to sit in
Hotspur's seat, and to see the Bloody Gap, where the external wall must
have been breached. The Duchess gave me a book of etchings of the
antiquities of Alnwick and Warkworth from her own drawings.[56] I had
half a mind to stay to see Warkworth, but Anne is alone. We had prayers
in the evening read by the Archdeacon.[57]

The Marquis of Lothian on Saturday last told me a remarkable thing,
which he had from good authority. Just before Bonaparte's return from
Elba there was much disunion at the Congress of Vienna. Russia and
Prussia, conscious of their own merits, made great demands, to which
Austria, France, and Britain, were not disposed to accede. This went so
far that war became probable, and the very Prussian army which was so
useful at Waterloo was held in readiness to attack the English. On the
other hand, England, Austria, and France entered into a private
agreement to resist, beyond a certain extent, Prussia's demands of a
barrier on the Rhine, etc., and, what is most singular of all, it was
from Bonaparte that the Emperor Alexander first heard of this triple
alliance.[58] But the circumstance of finding Napoleon interesting
himself so far in the affairs of Europe alarmed the Emperor more than
the news he sent him. On the same authority, Gneisenau and most of
Blücher's personal suite remained behind a house at the battle of Ligny,
and sent out an officer from time to time, but did not remain even in
sight of the battle, till Blücher put himself at the head of the cavalry
with the zeal of an old hussar.

_October_ 8.--Left Alnwick, where I have experienced a very kind
reception, and took coach at Whittingham at eleven o'clock. I find there
is a new road to be made between Alnwick and Wooler, which will make the
communication much easier, and avoid Remside Moor.

Saw some fine young plantations about Whittingham suffering from
neglect, which is not the case under the Duke's own eye. He has made
two neat cottages at Percy's Cross, to preserve that ancient monument of
the fatal battle of Hedgeley Moor. The stones marking the adjacent spot
called Percy's Leap are thirty-three feet asunder. To show the
uncertainty of human testimony, I measured the distance (many years
since, it is true), and would have said and almost sworn that it was but
eighteen feet. Dined at Wooler, and reached home about seven o'clock,
having left Alnwick at half-past nine. So it would be easy to go there
to dinner from Abbotsford, starting at six in the morning, or seven
would do very well.

_October 9, [Abbotsford]_.--No proofs here, which I think odd of Jas. B.
But I am not sorry to have a day to write letters, and besides I have a
box of books to arrange. It is a bad mizzling day, and might have been a
good day for work, yet it is not quite uselessly spent.

_October_ 10.--Breakfasted at Huntly Burn with the merry knight, Sir
Adam Ferguson. When we returned we found a whole parcel of proofs which
had been forgot yesterday at the toll--so here ends play and begins
work. Dr. Brewster and Mr. Thornhill. The latter gave me a box, made of
the real mulberry-tree.[59] Very kind of him.

_October_ 11.--Being a base melancholy weeping day I e'en made the best
of it, and set in for work. Wrote ten leaves this day, equivalent to
forty pages. But then the theme was so familiar, being Scottish history,
that my pen never rested. It is more than a triple task.

_October_ 12.--Sent off proofs and copy, a full task of three pages. At
one Anne drove me to Huntly Burn, and I examined the earthen fence
intended for the new planting, and altered the line in some points. This
employed me till near four, the time of my walking home being included.

_October_ 13.--Wrote in the forenoon. Lord Bessborough and Mr. and Mrs.
Ponsonby called to see the place. His lady used to be civil to me in
London--an accomplished and pleasing woman. They only stayed an hour. At
dinner we had Lord and Lady Bathurst, and my friend Lady Georgiana--also
Marquis of Lothian and Lord Castlereagh, plenty of fine folks. Expected
also the Lord Register and Mrs. Dundas, but they could not come. Lord
Bathurst told me that Gourgaud had negotiated with the French Government
to the last moment of his leaving London, and that he had been told so
by the French Ambassador. Lord B. refused to see him, because he
understood he talked disrespectfully of Napoleon.

_October_ 14.--I read prayers to the company of yesterday, and we took a
drive round by Drygrange Bridge. Lord B. told me that the late king made
it at one time a point of conscience to read every word of every act of
parliament before giving his assent to it. There was a mixture of
principle and nonsense in this. Lord Lothian left us. I did a full task
to-day, which is much, considering I was a good deal occupied.

_October_ 15.--My noble guests departed, pleased I believe with their
visit. I have had to thank Lord Bathurst for former kindness. I respect
him too, as one who being far from rich, has on the late occasion
preferred political consistency to a love of office and its emoluments.
He seems to expect no opposition of a formal kind this next session.
What is wonderful, no young man of talents seems to spring up in the
House of Commons. I wonder what comes of all the clever lads whom we see
at college. The fruit apparently does not ripen as formerly. Lord
Castlereagh remained with us. I bestowed a little advice on him. He is a
warm-hearted young fellow, with some of the fashionable affectations of
the age about him, but with good feelings and an inclination to come

_October_ 16.--With all this racketing the work advances fast. The third
volume of the _Tales_ is now half finished, and will, I think, be a
useful work. Some drizzling days have been of great use to its progress.
This visiting has made some dawdling, but not much, perhaps not more
than there ought to be for such a task.

I walked from Huntly Burn up the little Glen, which was in all the
melancholy beauty of autumn, the little brook brawling and bickering in
fine style over its falls and currents.

_October_ 17.--Drove down to Mertoun and brought up Elizabeth Scott to
be our guest for some days or so. Various chance guests arrived. One of
the most welcome was Captain MacKenzie of the Celtic Society and the 72d
regiment, a picture of a Highlander in his gigantic person and innocent
and generous disposition. Poor fellow, he is going to retreat to
Brittany, to make his half-pay support a wife and family. I did not dare
to ask how many. God send I may have the means of serving him.

He told me a Maclean story which was new to me. At the battle of
Sheriffmuir that clan was commanded by a chief called Hector. In the
action, as the chief rushed forward, he was frequently in situations of
peril. His foster-father followed him with seven sons, whom he reserved
as a body-guard, whom he threw forward into the battle as he saw his
chief pressed. The signal he gave was, "Another for Hector!" The youths
replied, "Death for Hector!" and were all successively killed. These
words make the sign and countersign at this day of the clan Gillian.[60]

Young Shortreed dined with us and the two Fergusons, Sir Adam and the
Colonel. We had a pleasant evening.

_October_ 19.--Wrought out my task, and better--as I have done for these
several days past. Lady Anna Maria Elliot arrived unexpectedly to
dinner, and though she had a headache, brought her usual wit and
good-humour to enliven us.

_October_ 20.--The day being basely muggy, I had no walk, which I was
rather desirous to secure. I wrought, however; and two-thirds of the
last volume of _Tales of my Grandfather_ are finished. I received a
large packet of proofs, etc., which for some reason had been delayed. We
had two of Dr. Brewster's boys to dinner--fine children; they are
spirited, promising, and very well-behaved.

_October_ 21.--Wrought till one o'clock, then walked out for two hours,
though with little comfort, the bushes being loaded with rain; but
exercise is very necessary to me, and I have no mind to die of my
arm-chair. A letter from Skene, acquainting me that the Censors of the
French press have prohibited the insertion of my answer to the man
Gourgaud. This is their freedom of the press! The fact is there is an
awkward "composition" between the Government and the people of France,
that the latter will endure the former so long as they will allow them
to lull themselves asleep with recollections of their past glory, and
neither the one nor the other sees that truth and honesty and freedom of
discussion are the best policy. He knows, though, there _is_ an answer;
and that is all I care about.

_October_ 22.--Another vile damp drizzling day. I do not know any
morning in my life so fit for work, on which I nevertheless, while
desirous of employing it to purpose, make less progress. A hang-dog
drowsy feeling wrought against me, and I was obliged to lay down the pen
and indulge myself in a drumly sleep.

The Haigs of Bemerside, Captain Hamilton, Mr. Bainbridge and daughter,
with young Nicol Milne and the Fergusons, dined here. Miss Haig sings
Italian music better than any person I ever heard out of the
Opera-house. But I am neither a judge nor admirer of the science. I do
not know exactly what is aimed at, and therefore cannot tell what is
attained. Had a letter from Colin Mackenzie, who has proposed himself
for the little situation in the Register House. I have written, him,
begging him to use the best interest in his own behalf, and never mind

_October_ 23.--Another sullen rainy day. "Hazy weather, Mr. Noah," as
Punch says in the puppet-show.[61] I worked slow, however, and
untowardly, and fell one leaf short of my task.

Went to Selkirk, and dined with the forest Club, for the first time I
have been there this season. It was the collar-day, but being extremely
rainy, I did not go to see them course. _N.B._--Of all things, the
greatest bore is to hear a dull and bashful man sing a facetious song.

_October_ 24.--Vilely low in spirits. I have written a page and a half,
and doubt whether I can write more to-day. A thick throbbing at my
heart, and fancies thronging on me. A disposition to sleep, or to think
on things melancholy and horrible while I wake. Strange that one's
nerves should thus master them, for nervous the case is, as I know too
well. I am beginning to tire of my Journal, and no wonder, faith, if I
have only such trash as this to record. But the best is, a little
exertion or a change of the current of thought relieves me.

God, who subjects us to these strange maladies, whether of mind or body
I cannot say, has placed the power within our own reach, and we should
be grateful. I wrestled myself so far out of the Slough of Despond as to
take a good long walk, and my mind is restored to its elasticity. I did
not attempt to work, especially as we were going down to Mertoun, and
set off at five o'clock.

_October_ 25.--We arrived at Mertoun yesterday, and heard with some
surprise that George had gone up in an air balloon, and ascended two
miles and a half above this sublunary earth. I should like to have an
account of his sensations, but his letters said nothing serious about
them. Honest George, I certainly did not suspect him of being so
flighty! I visited the new plantations on the river-side with Mrs.
Scott; I wish her lord and master had some of her taste for planting.
When I came home I walked through the Rhymer's Glen, and I thought how
the little fall would look if it were heightened. When I came home a
surprise amounting nearly to a shock reached me in another letter from
L.J.S.[62] Methinks this explains the gloom which hung about me
yesterday. I own that the recurrence to these matters seems like a
summons from the grave. It fascinates me. I ought perhaps to have
stopped it at once, but I have not nerve to do so. Alas! alas!--But why
alas? _Humana perpessi sumus_.

_October 26._--Sent off copy to Ballantyne. Drove over to Huntly Burn at
breakfast, and walked up to the dike they are building for the new
plantation. Returned home. The Fergusons dined; and we had the kirn
Supper.[63] I never saw a set of finer lads and lasses, and blithely did
they ply their heels till five in the morning. It did me good to see
them, poor things.

_October 27._--This morning went again to Huntly Burn to breakfast.
There picked up Sir Adam and the Colonel, and drove down to old Melrose
to see the hounds cast off upon the Gateheugh, the high rocky
amphitheatre which encloses the peninsula of old Melrose, the Tweed
pouring its dark and powerful current between them. The galloping of the
riders and hallooing of the huntsmen, the cry of the hounds and the
sight of sly Reynard stealing away through the brakes, waked something
of the old spirit within me--

    "Even in our ashes glow their wonted fires."

On return home I had despatches of consequence. John Gibson writes that
Lord Newton has decided most of the grand questions in our favour. Good,
that! Rev. Mr. Turner writes that he is desirous, by Lord Londonderry's
consent, to place in my hands a quantity of original papers concerning
the public services of the late Lord Londonderry, with a view to drawing
up a memoir of his life. Now this task they desire to transfer to me. It
is highly complimentary; and there is this of temptation in it, that I
should be able to do justice to that ill-requited statesman in those
material points which demand the eternal gratitude of his country. But
then for me to take this matter up would lead me too much into the
hackneyed politics of the House of Commons, which _odi et arceo_.
Besides, I would have to study the Irish question, and I detest study.
_Item_.--I might arrive at conclusions different from those of my Lord
of Londonderry, and I have a taste for expressing that which I think.
Fourthly, I think it is sinking myself into a party writer. Moreover, I
should not know what to say to the disputes with Canning; and, to
conclude, I think my Lord Londonderry, if he desired such a thing at my
hands, ought to have written to me. For all which reasons, good, bad,
and indifferent, I will write declining the undertaking.

_October_ 28.--Wrote several letters, and one to Mr. Turner, declining
the task of Lord Castlereagh's Memoirs,[64] with due acknowledgments.
Had his public and European politics alone been concerned, I would have
tried the task with pleasure. I wrote out my task and something more,
corrected proofs, and made a handsome remittance of copy to the press.

_October 31._--Just as I was merrily cutting away among my trees,
arrives Mr. Gibson with a melancholy look, and indeed the news he
brought was shocking enough. It seems Mr. Abud, the same Jew broker who
formerly was disposed to disturb me in London, has given the most
positive orders to take out diligence against me for his debt of £1500.
This breaks all the measures we had resolved on, and prevents the
dividend from taking place, by which many poor persons will be great
sufferers. For me the alternative will be more painful to my feelings
than prejudicial to my interest. To take out a sequestration and allow
the persons to take what they can get will be the inevitable
consequence. This will cut short my labour by several years, which I
might spend and spend in vain in labouring to meet their demands. No
doubt they may in the interim sell the liferent of this place, with the
books and furniture. But, perhaps, it may be possible to achieve some
composition which may save these articles, as I would make many
sacrifices for that purpose. Gibson strongly advises taking a
sequestration at all events. But if the creditors choose to let Mr. Abud
have his pound of flesh out of the first cut, my mind will not be
satisfied with the plan of deranging, for the pleasure of disappointing
him, a plan of payment to which all the others had consented. We will
know more on Saturday, and not sooner. I went to Bowhill with Sir Adam
Ferguson to dinner, and maintained as good a countenance in the midst of
my perplexities as a man need desire. It is not bravado; I literally
feel myself firm and resolute.


[45] "The Duke was then making a progress in the North of England, to
which additional importance was given by the uncertain state of
political arrangements; the chance of Lord Goderich's being able to
maintain himself as Canning's successor seeming very precarious, and the
opinion that his Grace must soon be called to a higher station than that
of Commander of the Forces, which he had accepted under the new Premier,
gaining ground every day. Sir Walter, who felt for the great Captain the
pure and exalted devotion that might have been expected from some
honoured soldier of his banners, accepted this invitation, and witnessed
a scene of enthusiasm with which its principal object could hardly have
been more gratified than he was."--_Life_, vol. ix. pp. 156-7.

[46] See _Correspondence of Princess Lieven and Earl Grey_ for Lord
Grey's opinion, vol. i. p. 60.

[47] Dr. William Van Mildert had been appointed to the See of Durham in
1826 on the death of Dr. Shute Barrington. He died in 1836.

[48] Admiral Sir John Beresford had some few years before this commanded
on the Leith Station--when Sir Walter and he saw a great deal of each
other--"and merry men were they."--J.G.L.

[49] An eye-witness writes:--"The manner in which Bishop Van Mildert
proceeded on this occasion will never be forgotten by those who know how
to appreciate scholarship without pedantry, and dignity without
ostentation. Sir Walter had been observed throughout the day with
extraordinary interest--I should say enthusiasm. The Bishop gave his
health with peculiar felicity, remarking that he could reflect upon the
labours of a long literary life, with the consciousness that everything
he had written tended to the practice of virtue, and to the improvement
of the human race."--Hon. Henry Liddell. _Life_, vol. ix. p. 160.

[50] _Histoire de la guerre de la Péninsule sous Napoléon_, etc. Publiée
par Madame la Comtesse Foy. Paris, 4 vols. 8vo, 1827. See _Croker_, vol.
i. p. 352.

[51] This story is told also in Lord Stanhope's _Conversations with the
Duke of Wellington_. 8vo, London, 1888, p. 54.

[52] The present generation are apt to forget the enormous sums spent in
Parliamentary elections; _e.g._, Mme. de Lieven tells Earl Grey (_Cor._
ii. p. 215) that Lord Ravensworth's neighbour, the Duke of
Northumberland, will subscribe £100,000 towards the election of 1831.

[53] Hugh, third Duke of Northumberland.

[54] Dr. Bethell, who had been tutor to the Duke of Northumberland, held
at this time the See of Gloucester.--J.G.L.

[55] Launcelot Brown, 1715-1782.

[56] A quarto volume, containing 39 etchings (privately printed in
1823), still preserved at Abbotsford.

[57] Mr. Archdeacon Singleton.--J.G.L.

[58] Stanhope's _Notes_, p. 24; and _Croker_, vol. ii. p. 233.

[59] From Stratford-on-Avon.

[60] For the utilisation of this story, see _Fair Maid of Perth_,
published in the following year.

[61] See M.G. Lewis's _Journal of a West Indian Proprietor_. 8vo, Lond.,
1834, p. 47; and Introduction to _Fair Maid of Perth_, p. 16.

[62] On the 13th of October Sir Walter had received a letter from "one
who had in former happy days been no stranger," and on turning to the
signature he found to his astonishment that it was from Lady Jane
Stuart, with whom he had had no communication since the memorable visit
he had made to Invermay in the autumn of 1796. The letter was simply a
formal request on behalf of a friend for permission to print some
ballads in Scott's handwriting which were in an album that had
apparently belonged to her daughter, yet it stirred his nature to its
depths. The substance of his reply may be gathered from the second
letter, which he had just read before making this sad entry in his
Journal.--Lady Jane tells him that she would convey to him the
Manuscript Book

    --,"as a _secret_ and _sacred_ Treasure, could I but know that you
    would take it as I give it without a drawback or misconstruction of
    my intentions;"

and she adds--

    "Were I to lay open my heart (of which you know little indeed) you
    would find how it has and ever shall be warm towards you. My age
    [she was then seventy-four] encourages me, and I have longed to tell
    you. Not the mother who bore you followed you more anxiously (though
    secretly) with her blessing than I! Age has tales to tell and
    sorrows to unfold."

As is seen by his Journal Sir Walter resumed his personal intercourse
with his venerable friend on November 6th and continued it until her
death, which took place in the winter of 1829.--_Ante_, vol. i. p. 404,
and _Life_, vol. i. pp. 329-336.

[63] Kirn, the feast at the end of the harvest in Scotland.

[64] The correspondence of Robert, second Marquis of Londonderry, was
edited by his brother in 1850, but there was no memoir published until
Alison wrote the _Lives of Lord Castlereagh and Sir Charles Stewart,
Second and Third Marquesses of Londonderry_. 3 vols. 8vo, Edinburgh,


_November_ 1.--I waked in the night and lay two hours in feverish
meditation. This is a tribute to natural feeling. But the air of a fine
frosty morning gave me some elasticity of spirit. It is strange that
about a week ago I was more dispirited for nothing at all than I am now
for perplexities which set at defiance my conjectures concerning their
issue. I suppose that I, the Chronicler of the Canongate, will have to
take up my residence in the Sanctuary[65] for a week or so, unless I
prefer the more airy residence of the Calton Jail, or a trip to the Isle
of Man. These furnish a pleasing choice of expedients. It is to no
purpose being angry at Ehud or Ahab, or whatever name he delights in. He
is seeking his own, and thinks by these harsh measures to render his
road to it more speedy. And now I will trouble myself no more about the
matter than I can possibly help, which will be quite enough after all.
Perhaps something may turn up better for me than I now look for. Sir
Adam Ferguson left Bowhill this morning for Dumfriesshire. I returned to
Abbotsford to Anne, and told her this unpleasant news. She stood it
remarkably well, poor body.

_November_ 2.--I was a little bilious to-night--no wonder. Had sundry
letters without any power of giving my mind to answer them--one about
Gourgaud with his nonsense. I shall not trouble my head more on that
score. Well, it is a hard knock on the elbow; I knew I had a life of
labour before me, but I was resolved to work steadily; now they have
treated me like a recusant turnspit, and put in a red-hot cinder into
the wheel alongst with [me]. But of what use is philosophy--and I have
always pretended to a little of a practical character--if it cannot
teach us to do or suffer? The day is glorious, yet I have little will to
enjoy it, but sit here ruminating upon the difference and comparative
merits of the Isle of Man and of the Abbey. Small choice betwixt them.
Were a twelvemonth over, I should perhaps smile at what makes me now
very serious.

Smile!--No, that can never be. My present feelings cannot be recollected
with cheerfulness; but I may drop a tear of gratitude. I have finished
my _Tales_[66] and have now nothing literary in hand. It would be an
evil time to begin anything.

_November_ 3.--Slept ill, and lay one hour longer than usual in the
morning. I gained an hour's quiet by it, that is much. I feel a little
shaken at the result of to-day's post. Bad it must be, whatsoever be the
alternative. I am not able to go out, my poor workers wonder that I pass
them without a word. I can imagine no alternative but either retreat to
the Sanctuary or to the Isle of Man. Both shocking enough. But in
Edinburgh I am always near the scene of action, free from uncertainty
and near my poor daughter; so I think I will prefer it, and thus I rest
in unrest. But I will not let this unman me. Our hope, heavenly and
earthly, is poorly anchored, if the cable parts upon the strain. I
believe in God who can change evil into good; and I am confident that
what befalls us is always ultimately for the best. I have a letter from
Mr. Gibson, purporting the opinion of the trustees and committee of
creditors, that I should come to town, and interesting themselves warmly
in the matter. They have intimated that they will pay Mr. Abud a
composition of six shillings per pound on his debt. This is a handsome
offer, but I understand he is determined to have his pound of flesh. If
I can prevent it, he shall not take a shilling by his hard-hearted

_November_ 4.--Put my papers in some order, and prepared for my journey.
It is in the style of the Emperors of Abyssinia who proclaim--Cut down
the Kantuffa in the four quarters of the world,--for I know not where I
am going. Yet, were it not for poor Anne's doleful looks, I would feel
firm as a piece of granite. Even the poor dogs seem to fawn on me with
anxious meaning, as if there were something going on they could not
comprehend. They probably notice the packing of the clothes, and other
symptoms of a journey.

Set off at twelve, firmly resolved in body and in mind. Dined at Fushie
Bridge. Ah! good Mrs. Wilson, you know not you are like to lose an old

But when I arrived in Edinburgh at my faithful friend, Mr. Gibson's,
lo! the scene had again changed, and a new hare is started.[68]

The trustees were clearly of opinion that the matter should be probed to
the very bottom; so Cadell sets off to-morrow in quest of Robinson,
whose haunts he knows. There was much talk concerning what should be
done, how to protect my honour's person, and to postpone commencing a
defence which must make Ahab desperate, before we can ascertain that the
grounds are really tenable. This much I think I can see, that the
trustees will rather pay the debt than break off the trust and go into a
sequestration. They are clearly right for themselves, and I believe for
me also. Whether it is in human possibility that I can clear off these
obligations or not, is very doubtful. But I would rather have it written
on my monument that I died at the desk than live under the recollection
of having neglected it. My conscience is free and happy, and would be so
if I were to be lodged in the Calton Jail. Were I shirking exertion I
should lose heart, under a sense of general contempt, and so die like a
poisoned rat in a hole.

Dined with Gibson and John Home. His wife is a pretty lady-like woman.
Slept there at night.

_November_ 6.--I took possession of No. 6 Shandwick Place, Mrs. Jobson's
house. Mr. Cadell had taken it for me; terms £100 for four months--cheap
enough, as it is a capital house. I offered £5 for immediate entrance,
as I do not like to fly back to Abbotsford. So here we are established,
_i.e._ John Nicolson[69] and I, with good fires and all snug.

I waited on L.J.S.; an affecting meeting.[70]

Sir William Forbes came in before dinner to me, high-spirited noble
fellow as ever, and true to his friend. Agrees with my feelings to a
comma. He thinks Cadell's account must turn up trumps, and is for going
the vole.[71]

_November_ 7.--Began to settle myself this morning, after the hurry of
mind, and even of body, which I have lately undergone. Commenced a
review--that is, an essay, on Ornamental Gardening for the _Quarterly_.
But I stuck fast for want of books. As I did not wish to leave the mind
leisure to recoil on itself, I immediately began the Second Series of
the _Chronicles of Canongate_, the First having been well approved. I
went to make another visit, and fairly softened myself like an old fool,
with recalling old stories till I was fit for nothing but shedding
tears and repeating verses for the whole night. This is sad work. The
very grave gives up its dead, and time rolls back thirty years to add to
my perplexities. I don't care. I begin to grow over-hardened, and, like
a stag turning at bay, my naturally good temper grows fierce and
dangerous. Yet what a romance to tell, and told I fear it will one day
be. And then my three years of dreaming and my two years of wakening
will be chronicled doubtless. But the dead will feel no pain.

_November_ 8.--_Domum mansi, lanam feci_. I may borrow the old
sepulchral motto of the Roman matron. I stayed at home, and began the
third volume of _Chronicles_, or rather the first volume of the Second
Series.[72] This I pursued with little intermission from morning till
night, yet only finished nine pages. Like the machinery of a
steam-engine, the imagination does not work freely when first set upon a
new task.

_November_ 9.--Finished my task after breakfast, at least before twelve.
Then went to College to hear this most amusing good matter of the Essay
read.[73] _Imprimis_ occurs a dispute whether the magistrates, as
patrons of the University, should march in procession before the Royal
visitors; and it was proposed on our side that the Provost, who is
undoubtedly the first man in his own city, should go in attendance on
the Principal, with the Chairman of the Commission on the Principal's
right hand, and the whole Commission following, taking _pas_ of the
other Magistrates as well as of the Senatus Academicus--or whether we
had not better waive all question of precedence, and let the three
bodies find their way separately as they best could. This last method
was just adopted when we learned that the question was not in what order
of procession we should reach the place of exhibition, but whether we
were to get there at all, which was presently after reported as an
impossibility. The lads of the College had so effectually taken
possession of the class-room where the essay was to be read, that,
neither learning or law, neither Magistrates nor Magisters, neither
visitors nor visited, could make way to the scene of action. So we
grandees were obliged to adjourn the sederunt till Saturday the
17th--and so ended the collie-shangie.

_November_ 10.--Wrote out my task and little more. At twelve o'clock I
went to poor Lady J.S. to talk over old stories. I am not clear that it
is right or healthful indulgence to be ripping up old sorrows, but it
seems to give her deep-seated sorrow words, and that is a mental
bloodletting. To me these things are now matter of calm and solemn
recollection, never to be forgotten, yet scarce to be remembered with

We go out to Saint Catherine's[74] to-day. I am glad of it, for I would
not have these recollections haunt me, and society will put them out of
my head.

_November_ 11.--Sir William Rae read us prayers. Sauntered about the
doors, and talked of old cavalry stories. Then drove to Melville, and
saw the Lord and Lady, and family. I think I never saw anything more
beautiful than the ridge of Carnethy (Pentland) against a clear frosty
sky, with its peaks and varied slopes. The hills glowed like purple
amethysts, the sky glowed topaz and vermilion colours. I never saw a
finer screen than Pentland, considering that it is neither rocky nor
highly elevated.

_November_ 12.--I cannot say I lost a minute's sleep on account of what
the day might bring forth; though it was that on which we must settle
with Abud in his Jewish demand, or stand to the consequences. I
breakfasted with an excellent appetite, laughed in real genuine easy
fun, and went to Edinburgh, resolved to do what should best become me.
When I came home I found Walter, poor fellow, who had come down on the
spur, having heard from John Lockhart how things stand. Gibson having
taken out a suspension makes us all safe for the present. So we dined
merrily. He has good hopes of his Majesty, and I must support his
interest as well as I can. Wrote letters to Lady Shelley, John L., and
one or two chance correspondents. One was singular. A gentleman, writing
himself James Macturk, tells me his friends have identified him with
Captain Macturk of St. Ronan's Well, and finding himself much
inconvenienced by this identification, he proposes I should apply to the
King to forward his restoration and advance in the service (he writes
himself late Lieutenant 4th Dragoon Guards) as an atonement for having
occasioned him (though unintentionally no doubt) so great an injury.
This is one road to promotion, to be sure. Lieutenant Macturk is, I
suppose, tolerably mad.

We dined together, Anne, Walter, and I, and were happy at our reunion,
when, as I was despatching my packet to London,

    In started to heeze up our howp[75]

John Gibson, radiant with good-natured joy. He had another letter from
Cadell, enclosing one from Robinson, in which the latter pledges himself
to make the most explicit affidavit.

On these two last days I have written only three pages, but not from
inaptitude or incapacity to labour. It is odd enough--I think it
difficult to place me in a situation of danger, or disagreeable
circumstances, purely personal, which would shake my powers of mind, yet
they sink under mere lowness of spirits, as this Journal bears evidence
in too many passages.

_November_ 13.--Wrote a little in the morning, but not above a page.
Went to the Court about one, returned, and made several visits with Anne
and Walter. Cadell came, glorious with the success of his expedition,
but a little allayed by the prospect of competition for the copyrights,
on which he and I have our eyes as joint purchasers. We must have them
if possible, for I can give new value to an edition corrected with
notes. _Nous verrons!_ Captain Musgrave, of the house of Edenhall, dined
with us. After dinner, while we were over our whisky and water and
cigars, enter the merry knight. Misses Kerr came to tea, and we had fun
and singing in the evening.

_November_ 14.--A little work in the morning, but no gathering to my
tackle. Went to Court, remained till nigh one. Then came through a
pitiless shower; dressed and went to the christening of a boy of John
Richardson's who was baptized Henry Cockburn. Read the _Gazette_ of the
great battle of Navarino, in which we have thumped the Turks very well.
But as to the justice of our interference, I will only suppose some
Turkish plenipotentiary, with an immense turban and long loose trousers,
comes to dictate to us the mode in which we should deal with our
refractory liegemen the Catholics of Ireland. We hesitate to admit his
interference, on which the Moslem admiral runs into Cork Bay or Bantry
Bay, alongside of a British squadron, and sends a boat to tow aside a
fire-ship. A vessel fires on the boat and sinks her. Is there an
aggression on the part of those who fired first, or of those whose
manoeuvres occasioned the firing?

Dined at Henry Cockburn's with the christening party.

_November_ 15.--Wrote a little in the morning. Detained in Court till
two; then returned home wet enough. Met with Chambers, and complimented
him about his making a clever book of the 1745 for Constable's
_Miscellany_. It is really a lively work, and must have a good sale.
Before dinner enter Cadell, and we anxiously renewed our plan for buying
the copyrights on 19th December. It is most essential that the whole of
the Waverley Novels should be kept under our management, as it is
called. I may then give them a new impulse by a preface and notes; and
if an edition, of say 30 volumes, were to be published monthly to the
tune of 5000, which may really be expected if the shops were once
cleared of the over-glut, it would bring in £10,000 clear profit, over
all outlay, and so pay any sum of copy-money that might be ventured. I
must urge these things to Gibson, for except these copyrights be saved
our plans will go to nothing.

Walter and Anne went to hear Madame Pasta sing after dinner. I remained
at home; wrote to Sir William Knighton, and sundry other letters of

_November_ 16.--There was little to do in Court to-day, but one's time
is squandered, and his ideas broken strangely. At three we had a select
meeting of the Gas Directors to consider what line we were to take in
the disastrous affairs of the company. Agreed to go to Parliament a
second time. James Gibson [Craig] and I to go up as our solicitors. So
curiously does interest couple up individuals, though I am sure I have
no objection whatever to Mr. James Gibson-Craig.[76]

_November_ 17.--Returned home in early time from the Court. Settled on
the review of Ornamental Gardening for Lockhart, and wrote hard. Want
several quotations, though--that is the bore of being totally without
books. Anne and I dined quietly together, and I wrote after tea--an
industrious day.

_November_ 18.--This has been also a day of exertion. I was interrupted
for a moment by a visit from young Davidoff with a present of a steel
snuff-box [Tula work], wrought and lined with gold, having my arms on
the top, and on the sides various scenes from the environs and principal
public buildings of St. Petersburg--a _joli cadeau_--and I take it very
kind of my young friend. I had a letter from his uncle, Denis Davidoff,
the black captain of the French retreat. The Russians are certainly
losing ground and men in Persia, and will not easily get out of the
scrape of having engaged an active enemy in a difficult and unhealthy
country. I am glad of it; it is an overgrown power; and to have them
kept quiet at least is well for the rest of Europe. I concluded the
evening--after writing a double task--with the trial of Malcolm
Gillespie, renowned as a most venturous excise officer, but now like to
lose his life for forgery. A bold man in his vocation he seems to have
been, but the law seems to have got round to the wrong side of him on
the present occasion.[77]

_November_ 19.--Corrected the last proof of _Tales of my Grandfather_.
Received Cadell at breakfast, and conversed fully on the subject of the
_Chronicles_ and the application of the price of 2d series, say £4000,
to the purchase of the moiety of the copyrights now in the market, and
to be sold this day month. If I have the command of a new Edition and
put it into an attractive shape, with notes, introductions, and
illustrations that no one save I myself can give, I am confident it will
bring home the whole purchase-money with something over, and lead to
the disposal of a series of the subsequent volumes of the following

St. Ronan's Well,        3 vols.
Redgauntlet,             3  "
Tales of Crusaders,      4  "
Woodstock,               3  "

make a series of 7 vols.! The two series of the _Chronicles_ and others
will be ready about the same time.

_November_ 20.--Wrought in the morning at the review, which I fear will
be lengthy. Called on Hector as I came home from the Court, and found
him better, and keeping a Highland heart. I came home like a crow
through the mist, half dead with a rheumatic headache caused by the
beastly north-east wind.

"What am I now when every breeze appals me?"[78] I dozed for
half-an-hour in my chair for pain and stupidity. I omitted to say
yesterday that I went out to Melville Castle to inquire after my Lord
Melville, who had broke his collar-bone by a fall from his horse in
mounting. He is recovering well, but much bruised. I came home with Lord
Chief-Commissioner Adam. He told me a dictum of old Sir Gilbert Elliot,
speaking of his uncles. "No chance of opulence," he said, "is worth the
risk of a competence." It was not the thought of a great man, but
perhaps that of a wise one. Wrought at my review, and despatched about
half or better, I should hope. I incline to longer extracts in the next

_November_ 21.--Wrought at the review. At one o'clock I attended the
general meeting of the Union Scottish Assurance Company. There was a
debate arose whether the ordinary acting directors should or should not
have a small sum, amounting to about a crown a piece allotted to them
each day of their regular attendance. The proposal was rejected by many,
and upon grounds which sound very well,--such as the shabbiness of men
being influenced by a trifling consideration like this, and the
absurdity of the Company volunteering a bounty to one set of men, when
there are others willing to act gratuitously, and many gentlemen
volunteered their own services; though I cannot help suspecting that, as
in the case of ultroneous offers of service upon most occasions, it was
not likely to be acceptable. The motion miscarried, however--impoliticly
rejected, as I think. The sound of five shillings sounds shabby, but the
fact is that it does in some sort reconcile the party to whom it is
offered to leave his own house and business at an exact hour; whereas,
in the common case, one man comes too late--another does not come at
all--the attendance is given by different individuals upon different
days, so that no one acquires the due historical knowledge of the
affairs of the Company. Besides, the Directors, by taking even this
trifling sum of money, render themselves the paid servants of the
Company, and are bound to use a certain degree of diligence, much
greater than if they continued to serve, as hitherto, gratuitously. The
pay is like enlisting money which, whether great or small, subjects to
engagements under the Articles of war.

A china-merchant spoke,--a picture of an orator with bandy legs,
squinting eyes, and a voice like an ungreased cart-wheel--a liberty boy,
I suppose. The meeting was somewhat stormy, but I preserved order by
listening with patience to each in turn; determined that they should
weary out the patience of the meeting before I lost mine. An orator is
like a top. Let him alone and he must stop one time or another--flog
him, and he may go on for ever.

Dined with Directors, of whom I only knew the Manager, Sutherland
Mackenzie, Sir David Milne, and Wauchope, besides one or two old Oil Gas
friends. It went off well enough.

_November_ 22.--Wrought in the morning. Then made arrangements for a
dinner to celebrate the Duke of Buccleuch coming of age--that which was
to have been held at Melville Castle being postponed, owing to Lord M.'s
accident. Sent copy of Second Series of _Chronicles of Canongate_ to

_November_ 23.--I bilked the Court to-day, and worked at the review. I
wish it may not be too long, yet know not how to shorten it. The post
brought me a letter from the Duke of Buccleuch, acquainting me with his
grandmother, the Duchess-Dowager's death.[79] She was a woman of
unbounded beneficence to, and even beyond, the extent of her princely
fortune. She had a masculine courage, and great firmness in enduring
affliction, which pressed on her with continued and successive blows in
her later years. She was about eighty-four, and nature was exhausted; so
life departed like the extinction of a lamp for lack of oil. Our dinner
on Monday is put off. I am not superstitious, but I wish this festival
had not been twice delayed by such sinister accidents--first, the injury
sustained by Lord Melville, and then this event spreading crape like the
shroud of Saladin over our little festival.[80] God avert bad omens!

Dined with Archie Swinton. Company--Sir Alexander and Lady Keith, Mr.
and Mrs. Anderson, Clanronald, etc. Clanronald told us, as an instance
of Highland credulity, that a set of his kinsmen, Borradale and others,
believing that the fabulous Water Cow inhabited a small lake near his
house, resolved to drag the monster into day. With this view they
bivouacked by the side of the lake, in which they placed, by way of
night-bait, two small anchors, such as belong to boats, each baited with
the carcase of a dog slain for the purpose. They expected the Water Cow
would gorge on this bait, and were prepared to drag her ashore the next
morning, when, to their confusion of face, the baits were found
untouched. It is something too late in the day for setting baits for
Water Cows.[81]

_November_ 24.--Wrote at review in the morning. I have made my
revocation of the invitation for Monday. For myself it will give me time
to work. I could not get home to-day till two o'clock, and was quite
tired and stupid. So I did little but sleep or dose till dressing-time.
Then went to Sir David Wedderburn's, where I met three beauties of my
own day, Margaret Brown, Maria Brown, and Jane Wedderburn, now Lady
Wedderburn, Lady Hampden, and Mrs. Oliphant. We met the pleasant Irish
family of Meath. The resemblance between the Earl of Meath and the Duke
of Wellington is something remarkably striking--it is not only the
profile, but the mode of bearing the person, and the person itself. Lady
Theodora Brabazon, the Earl's daughter, and a beautiful young lady, told
me that in Paris her father was often taken for Lord Wellington.

_November_ 25.--This forenoon finished the review, and despatched it to
Lockhart before dinner. Will Clerk, Tom Thomson, and young Frank Scott
dined with me. We had a pleasant day. I have wrought pretty well to-day.
But I must

    Do a little more
    And produce a little ore.

_November_ 26.--Corrected proof-sheets of _Chronicles_ and _Tales_.
Advised Sheriff processes, and was busy.

Dined with Robert Dundas of Arniston, Lord Register, etc. An agreeable

_November_ 27.--Corrected proofs in the morning, and attended the Court
till one or two o'clock, Mr. Hamilton being again ill. I visited Lady S.
on my return. Came home too fagged to do anything to purpose.

Anecdote from George Bell. In the days of Charles II. or his brother,
flourished an old Lady Elphinstone, so old that she reached the
extraordinary period of 103. She was a keen Whig, so did not relish
Graham of Clavers. At last, having a curiosity to see so aged a person,
he obtained or took permission to see her, and asked her of the
remarkable things she had seen. "Indeed," said she, "I think one of the
most remarkable is, that when I entered the world there was one Knox
deaving us a' with his clavers, and now that I am going out of it, there
is one Clavers deaving us with his knocks."

_November_ 28.--Corrected proofs and went to Court. Returned about one,
and called on the Lord Chief-Baron. Dined with the Duchess of Bedford at
the Waterloo, and renewed, as I may say, an old acquaintance, which
began while her Grace was Lady Georgiana.[82] She has now a fine family,
two young ladies silent just now, but they will find their tongues, or
they are not right Gordons, a very fine child, Alister, who shouted,
sung, and spoke Gaelic with much spirit. They are from a shooting-place
in the Highlands, called Invereshie, in Badenoch, which the Duke has
taken to gratify the Duchess's passion for the heather.

_November_ 29.--My course of composition is stopped foolishly enough. I
have sent four leaves to London with Lockhart's review. I am very sorry
for this blunder, and here is another. Forgetting I had been engaged for
a long time to Lord Gillies--a first family visit too--the devil
tempted me to accept of the office of President of the Antiquarian
Society. And now they tell me people have come from the country to be
present, and so forth, of which I may believe as much as I may. But I
must positively take care of this absurd custom of confounding
invitations. My conscience acquits me of doing so by malice _prepense_,
yet one incurs the suspicion. At any rate it is uncivil and must be
amended. Dined at Lord C. Commissioner's--to meet the Duchess and her
party. She can be extremely agreeable, but I used to think her Grace
_journalière_. She may have been cured of that fault, or I may have
turned less jealous of my dignity. At all events let a pleasant hour go
by unquestioned, and do not let us break ordinary gems to pieces because
they are not diamonds. I forgot to say Edwin Landseer was in the
Duchess's train. He is, in my mind, one of the most striking masters of
the modern school. His expression both in man and animals is capital. He
showed us many sketches of smugglers, etc., taken in the Highlands, all

    "Some gaed there, and some gaed here,
    And a' the town was in a steer,
    And Johnnie on his brocket mear,
      He raid to fetch the howdie."

_November_ 30.--Another idle morning, with letters, however. Had the
great pleasure of a letter from Lord Dudley[83] acquainting me that he
had received his Majesty's commands to put down the name of my son
Charles for the first vacancy that should occur in the Foreign Office,
and at the same time to acquaint me with his gracious intentions, which
were signified in language the most gratifying to me. This makes me
really feel light and happy, and most grateful to the kind and gracious
sovereign who has always shown, I may say, so much friendship towards
me. Would to God _the King's errand might lie in the cadger's gait_,
that I might have some better way of showing my gratitude than merely
by a letter of thanks or this private memorandum of my gratitude. The
lad is a good boy and clever, somewhat indolent I fear, yet with the
capacity of exertion. Presuming his head is full enough of Greek and
Latin, he has now living languages to study; so I will set him to work
on French, Italian, and German, that, like the classic Cerberus, he may
speak a leash of languages at once. Dined with Gillies, very pleasant;
Lord Chief-Commissioner, Will Clerk, Cranstoun, and other old friends. I
saw in the evening the celebrated Miss Grahame Stirling, so remarkable
for her power of personifying a Scottish old lady. Unluckily she came
late, and I left early in the evening, so I could not find out wherein
her craft lay. She looked like a sensible woman. I had a conference with
my trustees about the purchase (in company with Cadell) of the
copyrights of the novels to be exposed to sale on the 19th December, and
had the good luck to persuade them fully of the propriety of the
project. I alone can, by notes and the like, give these works a new
value, and in fact make a new edition. The price is to be made good from
the Second Series _Chronicles of Canongate_, sold to Cadell for £4000;
and it may very well happen that we shall have little to pay, as part of
the copyrights will probably be declared mine by the arbiter, and these
I shall have without money and without price. Cadell is most anxious on
the subject. He thinks that two years hence £10,000 may be made of a new


[65] Holyrood remained an asylum for civil debtors until 1880, when by
the Act 43 & 44 Victoria, cap. 34 imprisonment for debt was abolished.
For description of bounds see _Chronicles of the Canongate,_ p. 7. (vol.

[66] The book was published during November, under the following title,
_Chronicles of the Canongate_ (First Series). By the author of
_Waverley_, etc.--SIC ITUR AD ASTRA, motto of Canongate arms. In two
vols. _The Two Drovers_, _The Highland Widow_, _The Surgeon's Daughter_.
Edinburgh, printed for Cadell and Co., and Simpkin Marshall. London

The introduction to this work contains sketches of Scott's own life,
with portraits of his friends, unsurpassed in any of his earlier
writings; for example, what could be better than the description of his
ancestors the Scotts of Raeburn, vol. xli. p. 61:--

"_They werena ill to them, sir, and that is aye something; they were
just decent bien bodies. Ony poor creature that had face to beg got an
awmous and welcome; they that were shamefaced gaed by, and twice as
welcome. But they keepit an honest walk before God and man, the
Croftangrys, and as I said before, if they did little good, they did as
little ill. They lifted their rents and spent them; called in their kain
and eat them; gaed to the kirk of a Sunday, bowed civilly if folk took
aff their bannets as they gaed by, and lookit as black as sin at them
that keepit them on_."

[67] Mrs. Wilson, landlady of the inn at Fushie, one stage from
Edinburgh,--an old dame of some humour, with whom Sir Walter always had
a friendly colloquy in passing. I believe the charm was, that she had
passed her childhood among the Gipsies of the Border. But her fiery
Radicalism latterly was another source of high merriment.--J.G.L.

[68] The "new hare" was this: "It transpired in the very nick of time,
that a suspicion of usury attached to these Israelites without guile, in
a transaction with Hurst and Robinson, as to one or more of the bills
for which the house of Ballantyne had become responsible. This
suspicion, upon investigation, assumed a shape sufficiently tangible to
justify Ballantyne's trustees in carrying the point before the Court of
Session; but they failed to establish their allegation."--_Life_, vol.
ix. pp. 178-9.

[69] A favourite domestic at Abbotsford, whose name was never to be
mentioned by any of Scott's family without respect and
gratitude.--_Life_, vol. x. p. 3.

[70] Lady Jane Stuart's house was No. 12 Maitland Street, opposite
Shandwick Place. Mrs. Skene told Mr. Lockhart that at Sir Walter's first
meeting with his old friend a very painful scene occurred, and she
added--"I think it highly probable that it was on returning from this
call that he committed to writing the verses, _To Time_, by his early
favourite."--_Life_, vol. ix, p. 183.

The lines referred to are given below--

Friend of the wretch oppress'd with grief. Whose lenient hand, though
slow, supplies The balm that lends to care relief, That wipes her
tears--that checks her sighs!

'Tis thine the wounded soul to heal That hopeless bleeds for sorrow's
smart, From stern misfortune's shaft to steal The barb that rankles in
the heart.

What though with thee the roses fly, And jocund youth's gay reign is
o'er; Though dimm'd the lustre of the eye, And hope's vain dreams
enchant no more.

Yet in thy train come dove-eyed peace, Indifference with her heart of
snow; At her cold couch, lo! sorrows cease, No thorns beneath her roses

O haste to grant thy suppliant's prayer, To me thy torpid calm impart:
Rend from my brow youth's garland fair, But take the thorn that's in my

Ah! why do fabling poets tell That thy fleet wings outstrip the wind?
Why feign thy course of joy the knell, And call thy slowest pace unkind?

To me thy tedious feeble pace Comes laden with the weight of years; With
sighs I view morn's blushing face, And hail mild evening with my tears.

_--Life,_ vol. i. pp. 334-336.

[71] Sir William Forbes crowned his generous efforts for Scott's relief
by privately paying the whole of Abud's demand (nearly £2000) out of his
own pocket--ranking as an ordinary creditor for the amount; and taking
care at the same time that his old friend should be allowed to believe
that the affair had merged quietly in the general measures of the
trustees. In fact it was not until some time after Sir William's death
(in the following year) that Sir Walter learned what he had
done.--_Life_, vol. ix. p. 179.

[72] _St. Valentine's Day_ or _Fair Maid of Perth_.

[73] A Royal Commission, of which Sir Walter was a member, had been
appointed in 1826 to visit the Universities of Scotland. At the
suggestion of Lord Aberdeen, a hundred guinea prize had been offered for
the best essay on the national character of the Athenians. This prize,
which excited great interest among the Edinburgh students, was won by
John Brown Patterson, and ordered to be read before the Commissioners,
and the other public bodies, with the result described by Sir Walter. It
was read on the 17th November before a distinguished audience.

[74] Sir William Rae's house, in Liberton parish, near Edinburgh.

[75] From the old song _Andrew and his Cutty Gun_.

[76] Sir James Gibson-Craig, one of the Whig leaders, and a prominent
advocate of reform at the end of last century.

[77] Gillespie was tried at Aberdeen before Lord Alloway on September
26, and sentenced to be executed on Friday, 16th November 1827.

[78] Slightly altered from _Macbeth_, Act II. Sc. 2.

[79] Lady Elizabeth Montagu, daughter of George Duke of Montagu.

[80] Saladin's shroud, which was said to have been displayed as a
standard "to admonish the East of the instability of human

[81] The belief in the existence of the 'Water Cow' is not even yet
extinct in the Highlands. In Mr. J.H. Dixon's book on _Gairloch_, 8vo,
1886, it is said the monster lives or did live in Loch na Beiste! Some
years ago the proprietor, moved by the entreaties of the people, and on
the positive testimony of two elders of the Free Church, that the
creature was hiding in his loch, attempted its destruction by pumping
and running off the water; this plan having failed owing to the
smallness of the pumps, though it was persevered in for two years, he
next tried poisoning the water by emptying into the loch a quantity of
quick lime!!--Whatever harm was thus done to the trout none was
experienced by _the Beast_, which it is rumoured has been seen in the
neighbourhood as late as 1884 (p. 162). This transaction formed an
element in a case before the Crofters' Commission at Aultbea in May

[82] Daughter of Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon.

[83] Lord Dudley, then Secretary of State for the Foreign Department,
was an early friend of Scott's. He had been partly educated in
Edinburgh, under Dugald Stewart's care.


_December_ 1.--This morning again I was idle. But I must work, and so I
will to-morrow whether the missing sheets arrive, ay or no, by goles!
After Court I went with Lord Wriothesley Russell,[84] to Dalkeith House,
to see the pictures; Charles K. Sharpe alongst with us. We satisfied
ourselves that they have actually frames, and that, I think, was all we
could be sure of. Lord Wriothesley, who is a very pleasant young man,
well-informed, and with some turn for humour, dined with us, and Mr.
Davidoff met him. The Misses Kerr also dined and spent the evening with
us in that sort of society which I like best. Charles Sharpe came in and
we laughed over oysters and sherry,

    "And a fig for your Sultan and Sophi."

_December_ 2.--Laboured to make lee-way, and finished nearly seven pages
to eke on to the end of the missing sheets when returned. I have yoked
Charles to Monsieur Surenne, an old soldier in Napoleon's Italian army,
and I think a clever little fellow, with good general ideas of
etymology. Signor Bugnie is a good Italian teacher; and for a German,
why, I must look about. It is not the least useful language of the

_December_ 3.--A day of petty business, which killed a holiday. Finished
my tale of the Mirror;[85] went with Tom Allan to see his building at
Lauriston, where he has displayed good taste--supporting instead of
tearing down or destroying the old chateau, which once belonged to the
famous Mississippi Law. The additions are in very good taste, and will
make a most comfortable house. Mr. Burn, architect, would fain have had
the old house pulled down, which I wonder at in him,[86] though it would
have been the practice of most of his brethren. When I came up to town I
was just in time for the Bannatyne Club, where things are going on
reasonably well. I hope we may get out some good historical documents in
the course of the winter. Dined at the Royal Society Club. At the
society had some essays upon the specific weight of the ore of
manganese, which was caviare to the President, and I think most of the
members. But it seemed extremely accurate, and I have little doubt was
intelligible to those who had the requisite key. We supped at Mr.
Russell's, where the conversation was as gay as usual. Lieut-Col.
Ferguson was my guest at the dinner.

_December_ 4.--Had the agreeable intelligence that Lord Newton had
finally issued his decree in my favour, for all the money in the bank,
amounting to £32,000. This will make a dividend of six shillings in the
pound, which is presently to be paid. A meeting of the creditors was
held to-day, at which they gave unanimous approbation of all that has
been done, and seemed struck by the exertions which had produced £22,000
within so short a space. They all separated well pleased. So far so
good. Heaven grant the talisman break not! I sent copy to Ballantyne
this morning, having got back the missing sheets from John Lockhart last
night. I feel a little puzzled about the character and style of the next
tale. The world has had so much of chivalry. Well, I will dine merrily,
and thank God, and bid care rest till to-morrow. How suddenly things are
overcast, and how suddenly the sun can break out again! On the 31st
October I was dreaming as little of such a thing as at present, when
behold there came tidings which threatened a total interruption of the
amicable settlement of my affairs, and menaced my own personal liberty.
In less than a month we are enabled to turn chase on my persecutors, who
seem in a fair way of losing their recourse upon us. _Non nobis,

_December_ 5.--I did a good deal in the way of preparing my new tale,
and resolved to make something out of the story of Harry Wynd. The North
Inch of Perth would be no bad name, and it may be possible to make a
difference betwixt the old Highlander and him of modern date. The fellow
that swam the Tay, and escaped, would be a good ludicrous character. But
I have a mind to try him in the serious line of tragedy. Miss Baillie
has made the Ethling[87] a coward by temperament, and a hero when
touched by filial affection. Suppose a man's nerves supported by
feelings of honour, or say by the spur of jealousy supporting him
against constitutional timidity to a certain point, then suddenly giving
way,--I think something tragic might be produced. James Ballantyne's
criticism is too much moulded upon the general taste of novels to admit,
I fear, this species of reasoning. But what can one do? I am hard up as
far as imagination is concerned, yet the world calls for novelty. Well,
I'll try my brave coward or cowardly brave man. _Valeat quantum_. Being
a teind day, remained at home, adjusting my ideas on this point until
one o'clock, then walked as far as Mr. Cadell's. Finally, went to dine
at Hawkhill with Lord and Lady Binning. Party were Lord
Chief-Commissioner, Lord Chief-Baron, Solicitor, John Wilson, Lord
Corehouse. The night was so dark and stormy that I was glad when we got
upon the paved streets.

_December_ 6.--Corrected proofs and went to Court. Bad news of Ahab's
case. I hope he won't beat us after all. It would be mortifying to have
them paid in full, as they must be while better men must lie by. _Spero

I think that copy of Beard's _Judgments_ is the first book which I have
voluntarily purchased for nearly two years. So I am cured of one folly
at least.[88]

_December_ 7.--Being a blank day in the rolls, I stayed at home and
wrote four leaves--not very freely or happily; I was not in the vein.
Plague on it! Stayed at home the whole day. There is one thing I believe
peculiar to me--I work, that is, meditate for the purpose of working,
best, when I have a _quasi_ engagement with some other book for example.
When I find myself doing ill, or like to come to a stand-still in
writing, I take up some slight book, a novel or the like, and usually
have not read far ere my difficulties are removed, and I am ready to
write again. There must be two currents of ideas going on in my mind at
the same time,[89] or perhaps the slighter occupation serves like a
woman's wheel or stocking to ballast the mind, as it were, by preventing
the thoughts from wandering, and so give the deeper current the power to
flow undisturbed. I always laugh when I hear people say, Do one thing at
once. I have done a dozen things at once all my life. Dined with the
family. After dinner Lockhart's proofs came in and occupied me for the
evening. I wish I have not made that article too long, and Lockhart will
not snip away.

_December_ 8.--Went to Court and stayed there a good while. Made some
consultations in the Advocates' Library, not furiously to the purpose.

Court in the morning. Sent off Lockhart's proof, which I hope will do
him some good. A precatory letter from Gillies. I must do Molière for
him, I suppose; but it is wonderful that knowing the situation I am in,
the poor fellow presses so hard. Sure, I am pulling for life, and it is
hard to ask me to pull another man's oar as well as my own. Yet, if I
can give a little help,

    "We'll get a blessing wi' the lave,
    And never miss 't."[90]

Went to John Murray's, where were Sir John Dalrymple and Lady, Sir John
Cayley, Mr. Hope Vere, and Lady Elizabeth Vere, a sister of the Marquis
of Tweeddale, and a pleasant sensible woman. Some turn for antiquity too
she shows--and spoke a good deal of the pictures at Yester. Henderland
was there too. Mrs. John Murray made some very agreeable music.

_December_ 9.--I set hard to work, and had a long day with my new tale.
I did about twelve leaves. Cadell came in, and we talked upon the great
project of buying in the copyrights. He is disposed to _finesse_ a
little about it, but I do not think it will do much good; all the fine
arguments will fly off and people just bid or not bid as the report of
the trade may represent the speculation as a good or bad one. I daresay
they will reach £7000; but £8000 won't stop us, and that for books
over-printed so lately and to such an extent is a pro-di-gi-ous price!

_December_ 10.--I corrected proofs and forwarded copy. Went out for an
hour to Lady J.S. Home and dozed a little, half stupefied with a cold in
my head--made up this Journal, however. Settled I would go to Abbotsford
on the 24th from Arniston. Before that time I trust the business of the
copyrights will be finally settled. If they can be had on anything like
fair terms, they will give the greatest chance I can see of extricating
my affairs. Cadell seems to be quite confident in the advantage of
making the purchase upon almost any terms, and truly I am of his
opinion. If they get out of Scotland it will not be all I can do that
will enable me to write myself a free man during the space I have to
remain in this world.

I smoked a couple of cigars for the first time since I came from the
country; and as Anne and Charles went to the play, I muddled away the
evening over my Sheriff-Court processes, and despatched a hugeous parcel
to Will Scott at Selkirk. It is always something off hand.

_December_ 11.--Wrote a little, and seemed to myself to get on. I went
also to Court. On return, had a formal communication from Ballantyne,
enclosing a letter from Cadell of an unpleasant tenor. It seems Mr.
Cadell is dissatisfied with the moderate success of the First Series of
_Chronicles;_[91] and disapproves of about half the volume already
written of the Second Series, obviously rueing his engagement. I have
replied that I was not fool enough to suppose that my favour with the
public could last for ever, and was neither shocked nor alarmed to find
that it had ceased now, as cease it must one day soon; it might he
inconvenient for me in some respects, but I would be quite contented to
resign the bargain rather than that more loss should be incurred. I saw,
I told them, no other receipt than lying lea for a little, while taking
a fallow-break to relieve my imagination, which may be esteemed nearly
cropped out. I can make shift for myself amid this failure of prospects;
but I think both Cadell and J.B. will be probable sufferers. However,
they are very right to speak their mind, and may be esteemed tolerably
good representatives of the popular taste. So I really think their
censure may be a good reason for laying aside this work, though I may
preserve some part of it till another day.

_December_ 12.--Reconsidered the probable downfall of my literary
reputation. I am so constitutionally indifferent to the censure or
praise of the world, that never having abandoned myself to the feelings
of self-conceit which my great success was calculated to inspire, I can
look with the most unshaken firmness upon the event as far as my own
feelings are concerned. If there be any great advantage in literary
reputation, I have had it, and I certainly do not care for losing it.

They cannot say but what I _had_ the _crown_. It is unhappily
inconvenient for my affairs to lay by my [work] just now, and that is
the only reason why I do not give up literary labour; but, at least, I
will not push the losing game of novel-writing. I will take back the
sheets now objected to, but it cannot be expected that I am to write
upon return. I cannot but think that a little thought will open some
plan of composition which may promise novelty at the least. I suppose I
shall hear from or see these gentlemen to-day; if not, I must send for
them to-morrow. How will this affect the plan of going shares with
Cadell in the novels of earlier and happier date? Very-much, I doubt,
seeing I cannot lay down the cash. But surely the trustees may find some
mode of providing this, or else with cash to secure these copyrights. At
any rate, I will gain a little time for thought and discussion.

Went to Court. At returning settled with Chief-Commissioner that I
should receive him on 26th December at Abbotsford.

After all, may there not be, in this failure to please, some reliques of
the very unfavourable matters in which I have been engaged of late,--the
threat of imprisonment, the resolution to become insolvent? I cannot
feel that there is. What I suffer by is the difficulty of not setting my
foot upon such ground as I have trod before, and thus instead of
attaining novelty I lose spirit and nature. On the other hand, who
would 'thank me for "repented sheets"? Here is a good joke enough, lost
to all who have not known the Clerk's table before the Jurisdiction Act.

My two learned Thebans are arrived, and departed after a long
consultation. They deprecated a fallow-break as ruin. I set before them
my own sense of the difficulties and risks in which I must be involved
by perseverance, and showed them I could occupy my own time as well for
six months or a twelvemonth, and let the public gather an appetite. They
replied (and therein was some risk) that the expectation would in that
case be so much augmented that it would be impossible for any mortal to
gratify it. To this is to be added what they did not touch upon--the
risk of being thrust aside altogether, which is the case with the horses
that neglect keeping the lead when once they have got it. Finally, we
resolved the present work should go on, leaving out some parts of the
Introduction which they object to. They are good specimens of the public
taste in general; and it is far best to indulge and yield to them,
unless I was very, _very_ certain that I was right and they wrong.
Besides, I am not afraid of their being hypercritical in the
circumstances, being both sensible men, and not inclined to sacrifice
chance of solid profit to the vagaries of critical taste. So the word is
"as you were."

_December_ 13.--A letter from Lockhart announcing that Murray of
Albemarle Street would willingly give me my own terms for a volume on
the subject of planting and landscape gardening. This will amuse me very
much indeed. Another proposal invites me, on the part of Colburn, to
take charge of the Garrick papers. The papers are to be edited by
Colman, and then it is proposed to me to write a life of Garrick in
quarto.[92] Lockhart refused a thousand pounds which were offered, and
_carte blanche_ was then sent. But I will not budge. My book and
Colman's would run each other down. It is an attempt to get more from
the public out of the subject than they will endure. Besides, my name
would be only useful in the way of _puff_, for I really know nothing of
the subject. So I will refuse; that's flat.

Having turned over my thoughts with some anxiety about the important
subject of yesterday, I think we have done for the best. If I can rally
this time, as I did in the Crusaders, why, there is the old trade open
yet. If not, retirement will come gracefully after my failure. I must
get the return of the sales of the three or four last novels so as to
judge what style of composition has best answered. Add to this, giving
up just now loses £4000 to the trustees, which they would not
understand, whatever may be my nice authorial feelings. And moreover, it
ensures the purchase of the copyrights--_i.e._ almost ensures them.

_December_ 14.--Summoned to pay arrears of our unhappy Oil Gas
concern--£140--which I performed by draft on Mr. Cadell. This will pinch
a little close, but it is a debt of honour, and must be paid. The public
will never bear a public man who shuns either to draw his purse or his
sword when there is an open and honest demand on him.

_December_ 15.--Worked in the morning on the sheets which are to be
cancelled, and on the Tale of _St. Valentine's Eve_--a good title, by
the way. Had the usual _quantum sufficit_ of the Court, which, if it did
not dissipate one's attention so much, is rather an amusement than
otherwise. But the plague is to fix one's attention to the sticking
point, after it has been squandered about for two or three hours in such
a way. It keeps one, however, in the course and stream of actual life,
which is a great advantage to a literary man.

I missed an appointment, for which I am very sorry. It was about our
Advocates' Library, which is to be rebuilt. During all my life we have
mismanaged the large funds expended on the rooms of our library,
totally mistaking the objects for which a library is built; and instead
of taking a general and steady view of the subject, patching up
disconnected and ill-sized rooms, totally unequal to answer the
accommodation demanded, and bestowing an absurd degree of ornament and
finery upon the internal finishing. All this should be reversed: the new
library should be calculated upon a plan which ought to suffice for all
the nineteenth century at least, and for that purpose should admit of
being executed progressively; then there should be no ornament other
than that of strict architectural proportion, and the rooms should be
accessible one through another, but divided with so many partitions, as
to give ample room for shelves. These small rooms would also facilitate
the purposes of study. Something of a lounging room would not be amiss,
which might serve for meetings of Faculty occasionally. I ought to take
some interest in all this, and I do. So I will attend the next meeting
of committee. Dined at Baron Hume's, and met General Campbell of
Lochnell, and his lady.

_December_ 16.--Worked hard to-day and only took a half hour's walk with
Hector Macdonald! Colin Mackenzie unwell; his asthma seems rather to
increase, notwithstanding his foreign trip! Alas! long-seated complaints
defy Italian climate. We had a small party to dinner. Captain and Mrs.
Hamilton, Davidoff, Frank Scott, Harden, and his chum Charles Baillie,
second son of Mellerstain, who seems a clever young man.[93] Two or
three of the party stayed to take wine and water.

_December_ 17.--Sent off the beginning of the _Chronicles_ to
Ballantyne. I hate cancels; they are a double labour.

Mr. Cowan, Trustee for Constable's creditors, called in the morning by
appointment, and we talked about the upset price of the copyrights of
Waverley, etc. I frankly told him that I was so much concerned that
they should remain more or less under my control, that I was willing,
with the advice of my trustees, to offer a larger upset than that of
£4750, which had been fixed, and that I proposed the price set up should
be £250 for the poetry, Paul's letters, etc., and £5250 for the novels,
in all £5500; but that I made this proposal under the condition, that in
case no bidding should ensue, then the copyrights should be mine so soon
as the sale was adjourned, without any one being permitted to bid after
the sale. It is to be hoped this high upset price will

    "Fright the fuds
    Of the pock-puds."

This speculation may be for good or for evil, but it tends incalculably
to increase the value of such copyrights as remain in my own person;
and, if a handsome and cheap edition of the whole, with notes, can be
instituted in conformity with Cadell's plan, it must prove a mine of
wealth, three-fourths of which will belong to me or my creditors. It is
possible, no doubt, that the works may lose their effect on the public
mind; but this must be risked, and I think the chances are greatly in
our favour. Death (my own I mean) would improve the property, since an
edition with a Life would sell like wildfire. Perhaps those who read
this prophecy may shake their heads and say, "Poor fellow, he little
thought how he should see the public interest in him and his
extinguished even during his natural existence." It may be so, but I
will hope better. This I know, that no literary speculation ever
succeeded with me but where my own works were concerned; and that, on
the other hand, these have rarely failed. And so--_Vogue la galère!_

Dined with the Lord Chief-Commissioner, and met Lord and Lady Binning,
Lord and Lady Abercromby, Sir Robert O'Callaghan, etc. These dinners put
off time well enough, and I write so painfully by candle-light that they
do not greatly interfere with business.

_December_ 18.--Poor Huntly Gordon writes me in despair about £180 of
debt which he has incurred. He wishes to publish two sermons which I
wrote for him when he was taking orders; but he would get little money
for them without my name, and that is at present out of the question.
People would cry out against the undesired and unwelcome zeal of him who
stretched out his hands to help the ark with the best intentions, and
cry sacrilege. And yet they would do me gross injustice, for I would, if
called upon, die a martyr for the Christian religion, so completely is
(in my poor opinion) its divine origin proved by its beneficial effects
on the state of society. Were we but to name the abolition of slavery
and of polygamy, how much has in these two words been granted to mankind
by the lessons of our Saviour![94]

_December_ 19.--Wrought upon an introduction to the notices which have
been recovered of George Bannatyne,[95] author, or rather transcriber,
of the famous Repository of Scottish Poetry, generally known by the
Bannatyne MS. They are very _jejune_ these same notices--a mere record
of matters of business, putting forth and calling in of sums of money,
and such like. Yet it is a satisfaction to learn that this great
benefactor to the literature of Scotland lived a prosperous life, and
enjoyed the pleasures of domestic society, and, in a time peculiarly
perilous, lived unmolested and died in quiet.

At eleven o'clock I had an appointment with a person unknown. A youth
had written me, demanding an audience. I excused myself by alleging the
want of leisure, and my dislike to communicate with a person perfectly
unknown on unknown business. The application was renewed, and with an
ardour which left me no alternative, so I named eleven this day. I am
too much accustomed to the usual cant of the followers of the muses who
endeavour by flattery to make their bad stale butter make amends for
their stinking fish. I am pretty well acquainted with that sort of
thing. I have had madmen on my hands too, and once nearly was Kotzebued
by a lad of the name of Sharpe. All this gave me some curiosity, but it
was lost in attending to the task I was engaged in; when the door opened
and in walked a young woman of middling rank and rather good address,
but something resembling our secretary David Laing, if dressed in female
habiliments. There was the awkwardness of a moment in endeavouring to
make me understand that she was the visitor to whom I had given the
assignation. Then there were a few tears and sighs. "I fear, Madam, this
relates to some tale of great distress." "By no means, sir;" and her
countenance cleared up. Still there was a pause; at last she asked if it
were possible for her to see the king. I apprehended then that she was a
little mad, and proceeded to assure her that the king's secretary
received all such applications as were made to his Majesty, and disposed
of them. Then came the mystery. She wished to relieve herself from a
state of bondage, and to be rendered capable of maintaining herself by
acquiring knowledge. I inquired what were her immediate circumstances,
and found she resided with an uncle and aunt. Not thinking the case
without hope, I preached the old doctrine of patience and resignation, I
suppose with the usual effect.

Went to the Bannatyne Club; and on the way met Cadell out of breath,
coming to say he had bought the copyrights after a smart contention. Of
this to-morrow. There was little to do at the club.

Afterwards dined with Lord and Lady Abercromby, where I met my old and
kind friend, Major Buchanan of Cambusmore. His father was one of those
from whom I gained much information about the old Highlanders, and at
whose house I spent many merry days in my youth.[96] The last time I saw
old Cambusmore was in----. He sat up an hour later on the occasion,
though then eighty-five. I shall never forget him, and was delighted to
see the Major, who comes seldom to town.

_December_ 20.--Anent the copyrights--the pock-puds were not frightened
by our high price. They came on briskly, four or five bidders abreast,
and went on till the lot was knocked down to Cadell at £8400; a very
large sum certainly, yet he has been offered profit on it already. For
my part I think the loss would have been very great had we suffered
these copyrights to go from those which we possessed. They would have
been instantly stereotyped and forced on the market to bring home the
price, and by this means depreciated for ever, and all ours must have
shared the same fate. Whereas, husbanded and brought out with care, they
cannot fail to draw in the others in the same series, and thus to be a
sure and respectable source of profit. Considered in this point of view,
even if they were worth only the £8400 to others, they were £10,000 to
us. The largeness of the price arising from the activity of the contest
only serves to show the value of the property.[97] Had at the same time
the agreeable intelligence that the octavo sets, which were bought by
Hurst and Company at a depreciated rate, are now rising in the market,
and that instead of 1500 sold, they have sold upwards of 2000 copies.
This mass will therefore in all probability be worn away in a few months
and then our operations may commence. On the whole, I am greatly pleased
with the acquisition. If this first series be worth £8400, the remaining
books must be worth £10,000, and then there is _Napoleon_, which is
gliding away daily, for which I would not take the same sum, which would
come to £24,200 in all for copyrights; besides £20,000 payable by
insurance.[98] Add the value of my books and furniture, plate, etc.,
there would be £50,000. So this may be considered my present progress.
There will still remain upwards of £35,000.

    "Heaven's arm strike with us--'tis a fearful odds."[99]

Yet with health and continued popularity there are chances in my favour.

Dine at James Ballantyne's, and happy man is he at the result of the
sale; indeed it must have been the making or marring of him. Sir Henry
Steuart there, who "fooled me to the top of my bent."

_December_ 21.--A very sweet pretty-looking young lady, the Prima Donna
of the Italian Opera, now performing here, by name Miss Ayton,[100] came
to breakfast this morning, with her father, (a bore, after the manner of
all fathers, mothers, aunts, and other chaperons of pretty actresses)!
Miss Ayton talks very prettily, and, I dare say, sings beautifully,
though too much in the Italian manner, I fear, to be a great favourite
of mine. But I did not hear her, being called away by the Clerk's coach.
I am like Jeremy in _Love for Love_[101]--have a reasonable good ear for
a jig, but your solos and sonatas give me the spleen.

Called at Cadell's, who is still enamoured of his bargain, and with
good reason, as the London booksellers were offering him £1000 or £2000
to give it up to them. He also ascertained that all the copies with
which Hurst and Robinson loaded the market would be off in a half year.
Make us thankful! the weather is clearing to windward. Cadell is
cautious, steady, and hears good counsel; and Gibson quite inclined,
were I too confident, to keep a good look-out ahead.

_December_ 22.--Public affairs look awkward. The present Ministry are
neither Whig nor Tory, and, divested of the support of either of the
great parties of the State, stand supported by the will of the sovereign
alone. This is not constitutional, and though it may be a temporary
augmentation of the sovereign's personal influence, yet it cannot but
prove hurtful to the Crown upon the whole, by tending to throw that
responsibility on the Sovereign of which the law has deprived him. I
pray to God I may be wrong, but an attempt to govern _par bascule_--by
trimming betwixt the opposite parties--is equally unsafe for the crown
and detrimental to the country, and cannot do for a long time. The fact
seems to be that Lord Goderich, a well-meaning and timid man, finds
himself on a precipice--that his head is grown dizzy and he endeavours
to cling to the person next him. This person is Lord Lansdowne, who he
hopes may support him in the House of Lords against Lord Grey, so he
proposes to bring Lord Lansdowne into the Cabinet. Lord G. resigns, and
his resignation is accepted. Lord Harrowby is then asked to place
himself at the head of a new Administration,--declines. The tried
abilities of Marquis Wellesley are next applied to; it seems he also
declines, and then Lord Goderich comes back, his point about Lord
Lansdowne having failed, and his threatened resignation goes for
nothing. This must lower the Premier in the eyes of every one. It is
plain the K. will not accept the Whigs; it is equally plain that he has
not made a move towards the Tories, and that with a neutral
administration, this country, hard ruled at anytime, can he long
governed, I, for one, cannot believe. God send the good King, to whom I
owe so much, as safe and honourable extrication as the circumstances
render possible.[102]

After Court Anne set out for Abbotsford with the Miss Kerrs. I came off
at three o'clock to Arniston, where I found Lord Register and lady, R.
Dundas and lady, Robt. Adam Dundas, Durham of Calderwood and lady, old
and young friends. Charles came with me.

_December_ 23.--Went to church to Borthwick with the family, and heard a
well-composed, well-delivered, sensible discourse from Mr. Wright,[103]
the clergyman--a different sort of person, I wot, from my old half-mad,
half-drunken, little hump-back acquaintance Clunie,[104] renowned for
singing "The Auld Man's Mear's dead," and from the circumstance of his
being once interrupted in his minstrelsy by the information that his own
horse had died in the stable.

After sermon we looked at the old castle, which made me an old man. The
castle was not a bit older for the twenty-five years which had passed
away, but the ruins of the visitor were very apparent; to climb up round
staircases, to creep through vaults and into dungeons, were not the
easy labours but the positive sports of my younger years; but that time
is gone by, and I thought it convenient to attempt no more than the
access to the large and beautiful hall in which, as it is somewhere
described, an armed horseman might brandish his lance. The feeling of
growing and increasing inability is painful to one like me, who boasted,
in spite of my infirmity, great boldness and dexterity in such feats;
the boldness remains, but hand and foot, grip and accuracy of step, have
altogether failed me; the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, and
so I must retreat into the invalided corps and tell them of my former
exploits, which may very likely pass for lies. We drove to Dalhousie
Castle, where the gallant Earl, who had done so much to distinguish the
British name in all and every quarter of the globe, is repairing the
castle of his ancestors, which of yore stood a siege against John of
Gaunt. I was Lord Dalhousie's companion at school, where he was as much
beloved by his companions as he has been ever respected by his
companions-in-arms, and the people over whom he has been deputed to
exercise the authority of his sovereign. He was always steady, wise, and
generous. The old Castle of Dalhousie--_potius Dalwolsey_--was mangled
by a fellow called, I believe, Douglas, who destroyed, as far as in him
lay, its military and baronial character, and roofed it after the
fashion of a poor-house. The architect, Burn, is now restoring and
repairing in the old taste, and I think creditably to his own feeling.
God bless the roof-tree!

We returned home through the Temple banks by the side of the South Esk,
where I had the pleasure to see that Robert Dundas is laying out his
woods with taste, and managing them with care. His father and uncle took
notice of me when I was a "fellow of no mark or likelihood," and I am
always happy in finding myself in the old oak room at Arniston, where I
have drunk many a merry bottle, and in the fields where I have seen many
a hare killed.

_December_ 24.--Left Arniston after breakfast and arrived to dinner at

My reflections on entering my own gate were of a very different and more
pleasing cast than those with which I left my house about six weeks ago.
I was then in doubt whether I should fly my country or become avowedly
bankrupt, and surrender my library and household furniture, with the
liferent of my estate, to sale. A man of the world will say I had better
done so. No doubt had I taken this course at once, I might have employed
the £25,000 which I made since the insolvency of Constable and
Robinson's houses in compounding my debts. But I could not have slept
sound as I now can, under the comfortable impression of receiving the
thanks of my creditors and the conscious feeling of discharging my duty
like a man of honour and honesty. I see before me a long tedious and
dark path, but it leads to true fame and stainless reputation. If I die
in the harrows, as is very likely, I shall die with honour; if I achieve
my task I shall have the thanks of all concerned, and the approbation of
my own conscience. And so I think I can fairly face the return of
Christmas Day.

_December_ 25.--- I drove over to Huntly Burn, and saw the plantation
which is to be called Janeswood, in honour of my daughter-in-law. All
looking well and in order. Before dinner, arrived Mrs. George Ellis and
her nephew and niece, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ellis, whom I was delighted
to see, as there are a thousand kind recollections of old days. Mrs.
George Ellis is less changed in manner and appearance than any one I
know. The gay and light-hearted have in that respect superiority over
those who are of a deeper mould and a heavier. There is something even
in the slightness and elasticity of person which outlasts the ponderous
strength which is borne down by its own weight. Colonel Ellis is an
enthusiastic soldier: and, though young, served in Spain and at

    "And so we held our Christmastide
    With mirth and burly cheer."

_December_ 26.--Colonel Ellis and I took a pretty long walk round by the
glen, etc., where I had an extraordinary escape from the breaking down
of a foot-bridge as I put my foot upon it. I luckily escaped either
breaking my leg by its passing through the bridge in so awkward a
manner, or tearing it by some one of the hundred rusty nails through
which it fell. However, I was not, thanks to Heaven, hurt in the
slightest degree. Tom Purdie, who had orders to repair the bridge long
since, was so scandalised at the consequence of his negligence that the
bridge is repaired by the time I am writing this. But how the noiseless
step of Fate dogs us in our most seeming safe and innocent sports.

On returning home we were joined by the Lord Chief-Commissioner, the
Lord Chief Baron, and William Clerk, of gentlemen; and of ladies, Miss
Adam and young Miss Thomson of Charlton. Also the two Miss Kerrs, Lord
Robert's daughters, and so behold us a gallant Christmas party, full of
mirth and harmony. Moreover, Captain John Ferguson came over from Huntly
Burn, so we spent the day jocundly. I intend to take a holiday or two
while these friends are about us. I have worked hard enough to merit it,

    "... Maggie will not sleep
            For that, ere summer."[105]

_December_ 27.--This morning we took a drive up the Yarrow in great
force, and perambulated the Duchess's Walk with all the force of our
company. The weather was delightful, the season being considered; and
Newark Castle, amid its leafless trees, resembled a dear old man who
smiles upon the ruins which time has spread around him. It is looking
more venerable than formerly, for the repairs