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Title: Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Volume 6
Author: Lockhart, J. G. (John Gibson), 1794-1854
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  Large-Paper Edition





[Illustration: WALTER SCOTT IN 1820

_From the painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence_]




  In Ten Volumes


  [Illustration: Editor's logo.]

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

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

  Six Hundred Copies Printed


  Chap.                                                           Page

  XLIII. Declining Health of Charles, Duke of Buccleuch. --
    Letter on the Death of Queen Charlotte. -- Provincial
    Antiquities, etc. -- Extensive Sale of Copyrights to Constable
    & Co. -- Death of Mr. Charles Carpenter. -- Scott accepts the
    Offer of a Baronetcy. -- He declines to renew his Application
    for a Seat on the Exchequer Bench. -- Letters to Morritt,
    Richardson, Miss Baillie, the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Montagu,
    and Captain Ferguson. -- Rob Roy played at Edinburgh. -- Letter
    from Jedediah Cleishbotham to Mr. Charles Mackay. 1818-1819      1

  XLIV. Recurrence of Scott's Illness. -- Death of the Duke of
    Buccleuch. -- Letters to Captain Ferguson, Lord Montagu, Mr.
    Southey, and Mr. Shortreed. -- Scott's Sufferings while
    dictating The Bride of Lammermoor. -- Anecdotes by James
    Ballantyne, etc. -- Appearance of the Third Series of Tales of
    my Landlord. -- Anecdote of the Earl of Buchan. 1819            24

  XLV. Gradual Reëstablishment of Scott's Health. -- Ivanhoe in
    Progress. -- His Son Walter joins the Eighteenth Regiment of
    Hussars. -- Scott's Correspondence with his Son. --
    Miscellaneous Letters to Mrs. Maclean Clephane, M. W.
    Hartstonge, J. G. Lockhart, John Ballantyne, John Richardson,
    Miss Edgeworth, Lord Montagu, etc. -- Abbotsford visited by
    Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg. -- Death of Mrs. William
    Erskine. 1819                                                   69

  XLVI. Political Alarms. -- The Radicals. -- Levies of
    Volunteers. -- Project of the Buccleuch Legion. -- Death of
    Scott's Mother, her Brother Dr. Rutherford, and her Sister
    Christian. -- Letters to Lord Montagu, Mr. Thomas Scott, Cornet
    Scott, Mr. Laidlaw, and Lady Louisa Stuart. -- Publication of
    Ivanhoe. 1819                                                  106

  XLVII. The Visionary. -- The Peel of Darnick. -- Scott's
    Saturday Excursions to Abbotsford. -- A Sunday there in
    February. -- Constable. -- John Ballantyne. -- Thomas Purdie,
    etc. -- Prince Gustavus Vasa. -- Proclamation of King George
    IV. -- Publication of The Monastery. 1820                      132

  XLVIII. Scott revisits London. -- His Portrait by Lawrence, and
    Bust by Chantrey. -- Anecdotes by Allan Cunningham. -- Letters
    to Mrs. Scott, Laidlaw, etc. -- His Baronetcy gazetted. --
    Marriage of his Daughter Sophia. -- Letter to "the Baron of
    Galashiels." -- Visit of Prince Gustavus Vasa at Abbotsford. --
    Tenders of Honorary Degrees from Oxford and Cambridge. --
    Letter to Mr. Thomas Scott. 1820                               147

  XLIX. Autumn at Abbotsford. -- Scott's Hospitality. -- Visit of
    Sir Humphry Davy, Henry Mackenzie, Dr. Wollaston, and William
    Stewart Rose. -- Coursing on Newark Hill. -- Salmon-fishing. --
    The Festival at Boldside. -- The Abbotsford Hunt. -- The Kirn,
    etc. 1820                                                      172

  L. Publication of The Abbot. -- The Blair-Adam Club. -- Kelso,
    Walton Hall, etc. -- Ballantyne's Novelists' Library. --
    Acquittal of Queen Caroline. -- Service of the Duke of
    Buccleuch. -- Scott elected President of the Royal Society of
    Edinburgh. -- The Celtic Society. -- Letters to Lord Montagu,
    Cornet Scott, Charles Scott, Allan Cunningham, etc. --
    Kenilworth published. 1820-1821                                189

  LI. Visit to London. -- Project of the Royal Society of
    Literature. -- Affairs of the 18th Hussars. -- Marriage of
    Captain Adam Ferguson. -- Letters to Lord Sidmouth, Lord
    Montagu, Allan Cunningham, Mrs. Lockhart, and Cornet Scott.
    1821                                                           219

  LII. Illness and Death of John Ballantyne. -- Extract from his
    Pocketbook. -- Letters from Blair-Adam. -- Castle-Campbell. --
    Sir Samuel Shepherd. -- "Bailie Mackay," etc. -- Coronation of
    George IV. -- Correspondence with James Hogg and Lord Sidmouth.
    -- Letter on the Coronation. -- Anecdotes. -- Allan
    Cunningham's Memoranda. -- Completion of Chantrey's Bust. 1821 241

  LIII. Publication of Mr. Adolphus's Letters on the Authorship
    of Waverley. 1821                                              267

  LIV. New Buildings at Abbotsford. -- Chiefswood. -- William
    Erskine. -- Letter to Countess Purgstall. -- Progress of The
    Pirate. -- Franck's Northern Memoir, and Notes of Lord
    Fountainhall, published. -- Private Letters in the Reign of
    James I. -- Commencement of The Fortunes of Nigel. -- Second
    Sale of Copyrights. -- Contract for "Four Works of Fiction." --
    Enormous Profits of the Novelist, and Extravagant Projects of
    Constable. -- The Pirate published. -- Lord Byron's Cain,
    dedicated to Scott. -- Affair of the Beacon Newspaper. 1821    288



  WALTER SCOTT IN 1820                                  _Frontispiece_
  From the painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence, P. R. A., in the
  Royal Gallery, Windsor Castle.

  CHARLES MACKAY AS BAILIE NICOL JARVIE                             22
  From the painting by Sir D. Macnee, P. R. S. A., in the
  Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh.

  After the painting at Abbotsford.

  SOPHIA SCOTT (Mrs. J. G. LOCKHART)                               136
  After the painting at Abbotsford by William Nicholson,
  R. S. A.

  WALTER SCOTT IN 1820                                             150
  From the pencil sketch by Sir Francis Chantrey, R. A.

  CHIEFSWOOD                                                       288
  After the drawing by J. M. W. Turner, R. A.



     Declining Health of Charles, Duke of Buccleuch. -- Letter on the
     Death of Queen Charlotte. -- Provincial Antiquities, Etc. --
     Extensive Sale of Copyrights to Constable and Co. -- Death of Mr.
     Charles Carpenter. -- Scott Accepts the Offer of a Baronetcy. --
     He Declines to Renew his Application for a Seat on the Exchequer
     Bench. -- Letters to Morritt, Richardson, Miss Baillie, The Duke
     of Buccleuch, Lord Montagu, and Captain Ferguson. -- Rob Roy
     Played at Edinburgh. -- Letter from Jedediah Cleishbotham to Mr.
     Charles Mackay.


I have now to introduce a melancholy subject--one of the greatest
afflictions that ever Scott encountered. The health of Charles, Duke
of Buccleuch was by this time beginning to give way, and Scott thought
it his duty to intimate his very serious apprehensions to his noble
friend's brother.


                                       EDINBURGH, 12th November, 1818.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I am about to write to you with feelings of the
     deepest anxiety. I have hesitated for two or three days whether I
     should communicate to your Lordship the sincere alarm which I
     entertain on account of the Duke's present state of health, but I
     have come to persuade myself, that it will be discharging a part
     of the duty which I owe to him, to mention my own most
     distressing apprehensions. I was at the cattle-show on the 6th,
     and executed the delegated task of toast-master, and so forth. I
     was told by **** that the Duke is under the influence of the
     muriatic bath, which occasions a good deal of uneasiness when the
     medicine is in possession of the system. The Duke observed the
     strictest diet, and remained only a short time at table, leaving
     me to do the honors, which I did with a sorrowful heart,
     endeavoring, however, to persuade myself that ****'s account, and
     the natural depression of spirits incidental to his finding
     himself unable for the time to discharge the duty to his guests,
     which no man could do with so much grace and kindness, were
     sufficient to account for the alteration of his manner and
     appearance. I spent Monday with him quietly and alone, and I must
     say that all I saw and heard was calculated to give me the
     greatest pain. His strength is much less, his spirits lower, and
     his general appearance far more unfavorable than when I left him
     at Drumlanrig a few weeks before. What ****, and indeed what the
     Duke himself, says of the medicine, may be true--but **** is very
     sanguine, and, like all the personal physicians attached to a
     person of such consequence, he is too much addicted to the
     _placebo_--at least I think so--too apt to fear to give offence
     by contradiction, or by telling that sort of truth which may
     controvert the wishes or habits of his patient. I feel I am
     communicating much pain to your Lordship, but I am sure that,
     excepting yourself, there is not a man in the world whose sorrow
     and apprehension could exceed mine in having such a task to
     discharge; for, as your Lordship well knows, the ties which bind
     me to your excellent brother are of a much stronger kind than
     usually connect persons so different in rank. But the alteration
     in voice and person, in features, and in spirits, all argue the
     decay of natural strength, and the increase of some internal
     disorder, which is gradually triumphing over the system. Much has
     been done in these cases by change of climate. I hinted this to
     the Duke at Drumlanrig, but I found his mind totally averse to
     it. But he made some inquiries of Harden (just returned from
     Italy), which seemed to imply that at least the idea of a winter
     in Italy or the south of France was not altogether out of his
     consideration. Your Lordship will consider whether he can or
     ought to be pressed upon this point. He is partial to Scotland,
     and feels the many high duties which bind him to it. But the air
     of this country, with its alternations of moisture and dry frost,
     although excellent for a healthy person, is very trying to a

     I should not have thought of volunteering to communicate such
     unpleasant news, but that the family do not seem alarmed. I am
     not surprised at this, because, where the decay of health is very
     gradual, it is more easily traced by a friend who sees the
     patient from interval to interval, than by the affectionate eyes
     which are daily beholding him.

     Adieu, my dear Lord. God knows you will scarce read this letter
     with more pain than I feel in writing it. But it seems
     indispensable to me to communicate my sentiments of the Duke's
     present situation to his nearest relation and dearest friend. His
     life is invaluable to his country and to his family, and how dear
     it is to his friends can only be estimated by those who know the
     soundness of his understanding, the uprightness and truth of his
     judgment, and the generosity and warmth of his feelings.

     I am always, my dear Lord, most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

Scott's letters of this and the two following months are very much
occupied with the painful subject of the Duke of Buccleuch's health;
but those addressed to his Grace himself are, in general, in a more
jocose strain than usual. His friend's spirits were sinking, and he
exerted himself in this way, in the hope of amusing the hours of
languor at Bowhill. These letters are headed "Edinburgh Gazette
Extraordinary," No. 1, No. 2, and so on; but they deal so much in
laughable gossip about persons still living, that I find it difficult
to make any extracts from them. The following paragraphs, however,
from the Gazette of November the 20th, give a little information as to
his own minor literary labors:--

"The article on Gourgaud's Narrative[1] _is_ by a certain _Vieux
Routier_ of your Grace's acquaintance, who would willingly have some
military hints from you for the continuation of the article, if at any
time you should feel disposed to amuse yourself with looking at the
General's most marvellous performance. His lies are certainly like the
father who begot them. Do not think that at any time the little
trumpery intelligence this place affords can interrupt my labors,
while it amuses your Grace. I can scribble as fast in the Court of
Session as anywhere else, without the least loss of time or hindrance
of business. At the same time, I cannot help laughing at the
miscellaneous trash I have been putting out of my hand, and the
various motives which made me undertake the jobs. An article for the
Edinburgh Review[2]--this for the love of Jeffrey, the editor--the
first for ten years. Do., being the article _Drama_ for the
Encyclopædia--this for the sake of Mr. Constable, the publisher. Do.
for the Blackwoodian Magazine--this for love of the cause I espoused.
Do. for the Quarterly Review[3]--this for the love of myself, I
believe, or, which is the same thing, for the love of £100, which I
wanted for some odd purpose. As all these folks fight like dog and cat
among themselves, my situation is much like the _Suave mare magno_,
and so forth....

[Footnote 1: Article on _General Gourgaud's Memoirs_ in _Blackwood's
Magazine_ for November, 1818.]

[Footnote 2: Article on Maturin's _Women, or Pour et Contre_.
(_Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xviii.)]

[Footnote 3: Article on _Childe Harold_, Canto IV. (_Miscellaneous
Prose Works_, vol. xvii.)]

"I hope your Grace will never think of answering the Gazettes at all,
or even replying to letters of business, until you find it quite
convenient and easy. The Gazette will continue to appear as materials
occur. Indeed I expect, in the end of next week, to look in upon
Bowhill, per the Selkirk mail, about eight at night, with the hope of
spending a day there, which will be more comfortable than at
Abbotsford, where I should feel like a mouse below a firlot. If I find
the Court can spare so important a person for one day, I shall order
my pony up to meet me at Bowhill, and, supposing me to come on Friday
night, I can easily return by the Blucher on Monday, dining and
sleeping at Huntly Burn on the Sunday. So I shall receive all
necessary reply in person."

Good Queen Charlotte died on the 17th of this month; and in writing to
Mr. Morritt on the 21st, Scott thus expresses what was, I believe, the
universal feeling at the moment:--

"So we have lost the old Queen. She has only had the sad prerogative
of being kept alive by nursing for some painful weeks, whereas perhaps
a subject might have closed the scene earlier. I fear the effect of
this event on public manners--were there but a weight at the back of
the drawing-room door, which would slam it in the face of w----s, its
fall ought to be lamented; and I believe that poor Charlotte really
adopted her rules of etiquette upon a feeling of duty. If we should
suppose the Princess of Wales to have been at the head of the
matronage of the land for these last ten years, what would have been
the difference on public opinion! No man of experience will ever
expect the breath of a court to be favorable to correct morals--_sed
si non caste caute tamen_. One half of the mischief is done by the
publicity of the evil, which corrupts those which are near its
influence, and fills with disgust and apprehension those to whom it
does not directly extend. Honest old Evelyn's account of Charles the
Second's court presses on one's recollection, and prepares the mind
for anxious apprehensions."

Towards the end of this month Scott received from his kind friend Lord
Sidmouth, then Secretary of State for the Home Department, the formal
announcement of the Prince Regent's desire (which had been privately
communicated some months earlier through the Lord Chief Commissioner
Adam) to confer on him the rank of Baronet. When Scott first heard of
the Regent's gracious intention, he had signified considerable
hesitation about the prudence of his accepting any such accession of
rank; for it had not escaped his observation, that such airy sounds,
however modestly people may be disposed to estimate them, are apt to
entail in the upshot additional cost upon their way of living, and to
affect accordingly the plastic fancies, feelings, and habits of their
children. But Lord Sidmouth's letter happened to reach him a few days
after he had heard of the sudden death of his wife's brother, Charles
Carpenter, who had bequeathed the reversion of his fortune to his
sister's family; and this circumstance disposed Scott to waive his
scruples, chiefly with a view to the professional advantage of his
eldest son, who had by this time fixed on the life of a soldier. As is
usually the case, the estimate of Mr. Carpenter's property transmitted
at the time to England proved to have been an exaggerated one; as
nearly as my present information goes, the amount was doubled. But as
to the only question of any interest, to wit, how Scott himself felt
on all these matters at the moment, the following letter to one whom
he had long leaned to as a brother, will be more satisfactory than
anything else it is in my power to quote:--


                                        EDINBURGH, 7th December, 1818.

     MY DEAR MORRITT,--I know you are indifferent to nothing that
     concerns us, and therefore I take an early opportunity to
     acquaint you with the mixture of evil and good which has very
     lately befallen us. On Saturday last we had the advice of the
     death of my wife's brother, Charles Carpenter, commercial
     resident at Salem, in the Madras Establishment. This event has
     given her great distress. She has not, that we know of, a single
     blood-relation left in the world, for her uncle, the Chevalier de
     la Volere,[4] colonel of a Russian regiment, is believed to have
     been killed in the campaign of 1813. My wife has been very unwell
     for two days, and is only now sitting up and mixing with us. She
     has that sympathy which we are all bound to pay, but feels she
     wants that personal interest in her sorrow which could only be
     grounded on a personal acquaintance with the deceased.

     Mr. Carpenter has, with great propriety, left his property in
     life-rent to his wife--the capital to my children. It seems to
     amount to about £40,000. Upwards of £30,000 is in the British
     funds; the rest, to an uncertain value, in India. I hope this
     prospect of independence will not make my children different from
     that which they have usually been--docile, dutiful, and
     affectionate. I trust it will not. At least, the first expression
     of their feelings was honorable, for it was a unanimous wish to
     give up all to their mother. This I explained to them was out of
     the question; but that, if they should be in possession at any
     time of this property, they ought, among them, to settle an
     income of £400 or £500 on their mother for her life, to supply
     her with a fund at her own uncontrolled disposal, for any
     indulgence or useful purpose that might be required. Mrs. Scott
     will stand in no need of this; but it is a pity to let kind
     affections run to waste; and if they never have it in their power
     to pay such a debt, their willingness to have done so will be a
     pleasant reflection. I am Scotchman enough to hate the breaking
     up of family ties, and the too close adherence to personal
     property. For myself, this event makes me neither richer nor
     poorer _directly_; but indirectly it will permit me to do
     something for my poor brother Tom's family, besides pleasing
     myself in "_plantings_, and _policies_, and _biggings_,"[5] with
     a safe conscience.

     There is another thing I have to whisper to your faithful ear.
     Our fat friend, being desirous to honor Literature in my unworthy
     person, has intimated to me, by his organ the Doctor,[6] that,
     with consent ample and unanimous of all the potential voices of
     all his ministers, each more happy than another of course on so
     joyful an occasion, he proposes to dub me Baronet. It would be
     easy saying a parcel of fine things about my contempt of rank,
     and so forth; but although I would not have gone a step out of my
     way to have asked, or bought, or begged or borrowed a
     distinction, which to me personally will rather be inconvenient
     than otherwise, yet, coming as it does directly from the source
     of feudal honors, and as an honor, I am really gratified with
     it;--especially as it is intimated that it is his Royal
     Highness's pleasure to heat the oven for me expressly, without
     waiting till he has some new _batch_ of Baronets ready in dough.
     In plain English, I am to be gazetted _per se_. My poor friend
     Carpenter's bequest to my family has taken away a certain degree
     of _impecuniosity_, a necessity of saving cheese-parings and
     candle-ends, which always looks inconsistent with any little
     pretension to rank. But as things now stand, Advance banners in
     the name of God and Saint Andrew. Remember, I anticipate the
     jest, "I like not such grinning honor as Sir Walter hath."[7]
     After all, if one must speak for himself, I have my quarters and
     emblazonments, free of all stain but Border theft and High
     Treason, which I hope are gentlemanlike crimes; and I hope Sir
     Walter Scott will not sound worse than Sir Humphry Davy, though
     my merits are as much under his, in point of utility, as can well
     be imagined. But a name is something, and mine is the better of
     the two. Set down this flourish to the account of national and
     provincial pride, for you must know we have more Messieurs de
     Sotenville[8] in our Border counties than anywhere else in the
     Lowlands--I cannot say for the Highlands. The Duke of Buccleuch,
     greatly to my joy, resolves to go to France for a season. Adam
     Ferguson goes with him, to glad him by the way. Charlotte and the
     young folks join in kind compliments.

                                       Most truly yours, WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 4: I know nothing of the history or fate of this gentleman,
except that he was an ardent Royalist, and emigrated from France early
in the Revolution.]

[Footnote 5: I believe this is a quotation from some old Scotch
chronicler on the character of King James V.]

[Footnote 6: _The Doctor_ was Mr. Canning's nickname for Lord
Sidmouth, the son of an accomplished physician, the intimate friend of
the great Lord Chatham. Mr. Sheridan, when the Scotch Members deserted
the Addington administration upon a trying vote, had the grace to say
to the Premier, across the table of the House of Commons,--"Doctor!
the Thanes fly from thee!"]

[Footnote 7: Sir Walter Blunt--_1st King Henry IV._, Act V. Scene 3.]

[Footnote 8: See Molière's _George Dandin_.]

A few additional circumstances are given in a letter of the same week
to Joanna Baillie. To her, after mentioning the testamentary
provisions of Mr. Carpenter, Scott says:--

     MY DEAR FRIEND,--I am going to tell you a little secret. I have
     changed my mind, or rather existing circumstances have led to my
     altering my opinions in a case of sublunary honor. I have now
     before me Lord Sidmouth's letter, containing the Prince's
     gracious and unsolicited intention to give me a Baronetcy. It
     will neither make me better nor worse than I feel myself--in
     fact it will be an incumbrance rather than otherwise; but it may
     be of consequence to Walter, for the title is worth something in
     the army, although not in a learned profession. The Duke of
     Buccleuch and Scott of Harden, who, as the heads of my clan and
     the sources of my gentry, are good judges of what I ought to do,
     have both given me their earnest opinion to accept of an honor
     directly derived from the source of honor, and neither begged nor
     bought, as is the usual fashion. Several of my ancestors bore the
     title in the seventeenth century; and were it of consequence, I
     have no reason to be ashamed of the decent and respectable
     persons who connect me with that period when they carried into
     the field, like Madoc--

       "The crescent, at whose gleam the _Cambrian_ oft,
        Cursing his perilous tenure, wound his horn"--

     so that, as a gentleman, I may stand on as good a footing as
     other new creations. Respecting the reasons peculiar to myself
     which have made the Prince show his respect for general
     literature in my person, I cannot be a good judge, and your
     friendly zeal will make you a partial one: the purpose is fair,
     honorable, and creditable to the Sovereign, even though it should
     number him among the monarchs who made blunders in literary
     patronage. You know Pope says:--

       "The Hero William, and the Martyr Charles,
        One knighted Blackmore, and one pensioned Quarles."[9]

     So let the intention sanctify the error, if there should be one
     on this great occasion. The time of this grand affair is
     uncertain: it is coupled with an invitation to London, which it
     would be inconvenient to me to accept, unless it should happen
     that I am called to come up by the affairs of poor Carpenter's
     estate. Indeed, the prospects of my children form the principal
     reason for a change of sentiments upon this flattering offer,
     joined to my belief that, though I may still be a scribbler from
     inveterate habit, I shall hardly engage again in any work of

     We had a delightful visit from the Richardsons, only rather too
     short. He will give you a picture of Abbotsford, but not as it
     exists in my mind's eye, waving with all its future honors. The
     pinasters are thriving very well, and in a year or two more
     Joanna's Bower will be worthy of the name. At present it is like
     Sir Roger de Coverley's portrait, which hovered between its
     resemblance to the good knight and to a Saracen. Now the said
     bower has still such a resemblance to its original character of a
     gravel pit, that it is not fit to be shown to "bairns and fools,"
     who, according to our old canny proverb, should never see
     half-done work; but Nature, if she works slowly, works surely,
     and your laurels at Abbotsford will soon flourish as fair as
     those you have won on Parnassus. I rather fear that a quantity of
     game, which was shipped awhile ago at Inverness for the Doctor,
     never reached him: it is rather a transitory commodity in London;
     there were ptarmigan, grouse, and black game. I shall be grieved
     if they have miscarried.--My health, thank God, continues as
     strong as at any period in my life; only I think of rule and diet
     more than I used to do, and observe as much as in me lies the
     advice of my friendly physician, who took such kind care of me:
     my best respects attend him, Mrs. Baillie, and Mrs. Agnes. Ever,
     my dear friend, most faithfully yours,

                                                                 W. S.

[Footnote 9: _Imitations of Horace._ B. ii. Ep. 1. v. 386.]

In the next of these letters Scott alludes, among other things, to a
scene of innocent pleasure which I often witnessed afterwards. The
whole of the ancient ceremonial of the _daft days_, as they are called
in Scotland, obtained respect at Abbotsford. He said it was _uncanny_,
and would certainly have felt it very uncomfortable, not to welcome
the new year in the midst of his family and a few old friends, with
the immemorial libation of a _het pint_; but of all the consecrated
ceremonies of the time, none gave him such delight as the visit which
he received as _Laird_ from all the children on his estate, on the
last morning of every December--when, in the words of an obscure poet
often quoted by him,

  "The cottage bairns sing blithe and gay,
   At the ha' door for _hogmanay_."


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 1st January, 1819.

     MY DEAR FRIEND,--Many thanks for your kind letter. Ten brace of
     ptarmigan sailed from Inverness about the 24th, directed for Dr.
     Baillie;--if they should have reached, I hope you would seize
     some for yourself and friends, as I learn the Doctor is on duty
     at Windsor. I do not know the name of the vessel, but they were
     addressed to Dr. Baillie, London, which I trust was enough, for
     there are not _two_. The Doctor has been exercising his skill
     upon my dear friend and chief, the Duke of Buccleuch, to whom I
     am more attached than to any person beyond the reach of my own
     family, and has advised him to do what, by my earnest advice, he
     ought to have done three years ago--namely, to go to Lisbon: he
     left this vicinity with much reluctance to go to Toulouse, but if
     he will be advised, should not stop save in Portugal or the south
     of Spain. The Duke is one of those retired and high-spirited men
     who will never be known until the world asks what became of the
     huge oak that grew on the brow of the hill, and sheltered such an
     extent of ground. During the late distress, though his own
     immense rents remained in arrears, and though I know he was
     pinched for money, as all men were, but more especially the
     possessors of entailed estates, he absented himself from London
     in order to pay with ease to himself the laborers employed on his
     various estates. These amounted (for I have often seen the roll
     and helped to check it) to nine hundred and fifty men, working at
     day wages, each of whom on a moderate average might maintain
     three persons, since the single men have mothers, sisters, and
     aged or very young relations to protect and assist. Indeed it is
     wonderful how much even a small sum, comparatively, will do in
     supporting the Scottish laborer, who is in his natural state
     perhaps one of the best, most intelligent, and kind-hearted of
     human beings; and in truth I have limited my other habits of
     expense very much since I fell into the habit of employing mine
     honest people. I wish you could have seen about a hundred
     children, being almost entirely supported by their fathers' or
     brothers' labor, come down yesterday to dance to the pipes, and
     get a piece of cake and bannock, and pence apiece (no very deadly
     largess) in honor of _hogmanay_. I declare to you, my dear
     friend, that when I thought the poor fellows who kept these
     children so neat, and well taught, and well behaved, were slaving
     the whole day for eighteen-pence or twenty-pence at the most, I
     was ashamed of their gratitude, and of their becks and bows. But,
     after all, one does what one can, and it is better twenty
     families should be comfortable according to their wishes and
     habits, than half that number should be raised above their
     situation. Besides, like Fortunio in the fairy tale, I have my
     gifted men--the best wrestler and cudgel-player--the best runner
     and leaper--the best shot in the little district; and as I am
     partial to all manly and athletic exercises, these are great
     favorites, being otherwise decent persons, and bearing their
     faculties meekly. All this smells of sad egotism, but what can I
     write to you about, save what is uppermost in my own thoughts:
     and here am I, thinning old plantations and planting new ones;
     now undoing what has been done, and now doing what I suppose no
     one would do but myself, and accomplishing all my magical
     transformations by the arms and legs of the aforesaid genii,
     conjured up to my aid at eighteen-pence a day. There is no one
     with me but my wife, to whom the change of scene and air, with
     the facility of easy and uninterrupted exercise, is of service.
     The young people remain in Edinburgh to look after their
     lessons, and Walter, though passionately fond of shooting, only
     stayed three days with us, his mind running entirely on
     mathematics and fortification, French and German. One of the
     excellencies of Abbotsford is very bad pens and ink; and besides,
     this being New Year's Day, and my writing-room above the
     servants' hall, the progress of my correspondence is a little
     interrupted by the Piper singing Gaelic songs to the servants,
     and their applause in consequence. Adieu, my good and indulgent
     friend: the best influences of the New Year attend you and yours,
     who so well deserve all that they can bring. Most affectionately

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

Before quitting the year 1818, I ought to have mentioned that among
Scott's miscellaneous occupations in its autumn, he found time to
contribute some curious materials toward a new edition of Burt's
Letters from the North of Scotland, which had been undertaken by his
old acquaintance, Mr. Robert Jameson. During the winter session he
appears to have made little progress with his novel; his painful
seizures of cramp were again recurring frequently, and he probably
thought it better to allow the story of Lammermoor to lie over until
his health should be reëstablished. In the mean time he drew up a set
of topographical and historical essays, which originally appeared in
the successive numbers of the splendidly illustrated work, entitled
Provincial Antiquities of Scotland.[10] But he did this merely to
gratify his own love of the subject, and because, well or ill, he must
be doing something. He declined all pecuniary recompense; but
afterwards, when the success of the publication was secure, accepted
from the proprietors some of the beautiful drawings by Turner,
Thomson, and other artists, which had been prepared to accompany his
text. These drawings are now in the little breakfast-room at
Abbotsford--the same which had been constructed for his own den, and
which I found him occupying as such in the spring of 1819.

[Footnote 10: These charming essays are now reprinted in his
_Miscellaneous Prose Works_ (Edition 1834) vol. vii.]

In the course of December, 1818, he also opened an important
negotiation with Messrs. Constable, which was completed early in the
ensuing year. The cost of his building had, as is usual, exceeded his
calculation; and he had both a large addition to it, and some new
purchases of land, in view. Moreover, his eldest son had now fixed on
the cavalry, in which service every step infers very considerable
expense. The details of this negotiation are remarkable;--Scott
considered himself as a very fortunate man when Constable, who at
first offered £10,000 for all his then existing copyrights, agreed to
give for them £12,000. Meeting a friend in the street, just after the
deed had been executed, he said he wagered no man could guess at how
large a price Constable had estimated his "eild kye" (cows barren from
age). The copyrights thus transferred were, as specified in the

  "The said Walter Scott, Esq.'s present share, being the entire copyright,
                            of Waverley.

  Do.    do                    Guy Mannering.
  Do.    do                    Antiquary.
  Do.    do                    Rob Roy.
  Do.    do                    Tales of My Landlord, 1st Series.
  Do.    do                         do.               2d Series.
  Do.    do                         do.               3d Series.
  Do.    do                    Bridal of Triermain.
  Do.    do                    Harold the Dauntless.
  Do.    do                    Sir Tristrem.
  Do.    do                    Roderick Collection,
  Do.    do                    Paul's Letters.
  Do. being one eighth of      The Lay of the Last Minstrel.
  Do. being one half of        The Lady of the Lake.
  Do. being one half of        Rokeby.
  Do. being one half of        The Lord of the Isles."

The instrument contained a clause binding Messrs. Constable never to
divulge the name of the Author of Waverley during his life, under a
penalty of £2000.

I may observe, that had these booksellers fulfilled their part of this
agreement, by paying off, prior to their insolvency in 1826, the whole
bonds for £12,000, which they signed on the 2d of February, 1819, no
interest in the copyrights above specified could have been expected to
revert to the Author of Waverley: but more of this in due season.

He alludes to the progress of the treaty in the following letter to
Captain Adam Ferguson, who had, as has already appeared, left Scotland
with the Duke of Buccleuch. His Grace hearing, when in London, that
one of the Barons of Exchequer at Edinburgh meant speedily to resign,
the Captain had, by his desire, written to urge on Scott the propriety
of renewing his application for a seat on that bench; which, however,
Scott at once refused to do. There were several reasons for this
abstinence; among others, he thought such a promotion at this time
would interfere with a project which he had formed of joining "the
Chief and the Aide-de-Camp" in the course of the spring, and
accomplishing in their society the tour of Portugal and Spain--perhaps
of Italy also. Some such excursion had been strongly recommended to
him by his own physicians, as the likeliest means of interrupting
those habits of sedulous exertion at the desk, which they all regarded
as the true source of his recent ailments, and the only serious
obstacle to his cure; and his standing as a Clerk of Session,
considering how largely he had labored in that capacity for infirm
brethren, would have easily secured him a twelve-month's leave of
absence from the Judges of his Court. But the principal motive was, as
we shall see, his reluctance to interfere with the claims of the then
Sheriff of Mid-Lothian, his own and Ferguson's old friend and
schoolfellow, Sir William Rae--who, however, accepted the more
ambitious post of Lord Advocate, in the course of the ensuing summer.


                                                   15th January, 1819.

     DEAR ADAM,--Many thanks for your kind letter, this moment
     received. I would not for the world stand in Jackie (I beg his
     pardon, Sir John) Peartree's way.[11] He has merited the cushion
     _en haut_, and besides he needs it. To me it would make little
     difference in point of income. The _otium cum dignitate_, if it
     ever come, will come as well years after this as now. Besides, I
     am afraid the opening will be soon made, through the death of our
     dear friend the Chief Baron, of whose health the accounts are
     unfavorable.[12] Immediate promotion would be inconvenient to me,
     rather than otherwise, because I have the desire, like an old
     fool as I am, _courir un peu le monde_. I am beginning to draw
     out from my literary commerce. Constable has offered me £10,000
     for the copyrights of published works which have already produced
     more than twice the sum. I stand out for £12,000. Tell this to
     the Duke; he knows how I managed to keep the hen till the rainy
     day was past. I will write two lines to Lord Melville, just to
     make my bow for the present, resigning any claims I have through
     the patronage of my kindest and best friend, for I have no other,
     till the next opportunity. I should have been truly vexed if the
     Duke had thought of writing about this. I don't wish to hear from
     him till I can have his account of the lines of Torres Vedras. I
     care so little how or where I travel, that I am not sure at all
     whether I shall not come to Lisbon and surprise you, instead of
     going to Italy by Switzerland; that is, providing the state of
     Spain will allow me, without any unreasonable danger of my
     throat, to get from Lisbon to Madrid, and thence to Gibraltar. I
     am determined to roll a little about, for I have lost much of my
     usual views of summer pleasure here. But I trust we shall have
     one day the Maid of Lorn (recovered of her lameness), and Charlie
     Stuart (reconciled to bogs), and Sibyl Grey (no longer
     retrograde), and the Duke set up by a southern climate, and his
     military and civil aides-de-camp, with all the rout of younkers
     and dogs, and a brown hillside, introductory to a good dinner at
     Bowhill or Drumlanrig, and a merry evening. Amen, and God send
     it. As to my mouth being stopped with the froth of the title,
     that is, as the learned Partridge says, a _non sequitur_. You
     know the schoolboy's expedient of first asking mustard for his
     beef, and then beef for his mustard. Now, as they put the mustard
     on my plate, without my asking it, I shall consider myself, time
     and place serving, as entitled to ask a slice of beef; that is to
     say, I would do so if I cared much about it; but as it is, I
     trust it to time and chance, which, as you, dear Adam, know, have
     (added to the exertions of kind friends) been wonderful allies of
     mine. People usually wish their letters to come to hand, but I
     hope you will not receive this in Britain. I am impatient to hear
     you have sailed. All here are well and hearty. The Baronet[13]
     and I propose to go up to the Castle to-morrow to fix on the most
     convenient floor of the Crown House for your mansion, in hopes
     you will stand treat for gin-grog and Cheshire cheese on your
     return, to reward our labor. The whole expense will fall within
     the Treasury order, and it is important to see things made
     convenient. I will write a long letter to the Duke to Lisbon.
     Yours ever,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--No news here, but that the goodly hulk of conceit and
     tallow, which was called Macculloch, of the Royal Hotel, Prince's
     Street, was put to bed dead-drunk on Wednesday night, and taken
     out the next morning dead-by-itself-dead. Mair skaith at

[Footnote 11: _Jackie Peartree_ had, it seems, been Sir William Rae's
nickname at the High School. He probably owed it to some exploit in an

[Footnote 12: The Right Honorable Robert Dundas of Arniston, Chief
Baron of the Scotch Exchequer, died 17th June, 1819. See _post_, p.

[Footnote 13: Mr. William Clerk.]


                                        EDINBURGH, 18th January, 1819.

     MY DEAR RICHARDSON,--Many thanks for your kind letter. I own I
     did mystify Mrs. **** a little about the report you mention; and
     I am glad to hear the finesse succeeded.[14] She came up to me
     with a great overflow of gratitude for the delight and pleasure,
     and so forth, which she owed to me on account of these books.
     Now, as she knew very well that I had never owned myself the
     author, this was not _polite_ politeness, and she had no right to
     force me up into a corner and compel me to tell her a word more
     than I chose, upon a subject which concerned no one but
     myself--and I have no notion of being pumped by any old dowager
     Lady of Session, male or female. So I gave in dilatory defences,
     under protestation to add and eik; for I trust, in learning a new
     slang, you have not forgot the old. In plain words, I denied the
     charge, and as she insisted to know who else _could_ write these
     novels, I suggested Adam Ferguson as a person having all the
     information and capacity necessary for that purpose. But the
     inference that he _was_ the author was of her own deducing; and
     thus ended her attempt, notwithstanding her having primed the
     pump with a good dose of flattery. It is remarkable, that among
     all my real friends to whom I did not choose to communicate this
     matter, not one ever thought it proper or delicate to tease me
     about it. Respecting the knighthood, I can only say, that coming
     as it does, and I finding myself and my family in circumstances
     which will not render the _petit titre_ ridiculous, I think there
     would be more vanity in declining than in accepting what is
     offered to me by the express wish of the Sovereign as a mark of
     favor and distinction. Will you be so kind as to inquire and let
     me know what the fees, etc., of a baronetcy amount to--for I must
     provide myself accordingly, not knowing exactly when this same
     title may descend upon me. I am afraid the sauce is rather smart.
     I should like also to know what is to be done respecting
     registration of arms and so forth. Will you make these inquiries
     for me _sotto voce_? I should not suppose, from the persons who
     sometimes receive this honor, that there is any inquiry about
     descent or genealogy; mine were decent enough folks, and enjoyed
     the honor in the seventeenth century, so I shall not be first of
     the title; and it will sound like that of a Christian knight, as
     Sir Sidney Smith said.

     I had a letter from our immortal Joanna some fortnight since,
     when I was enjoying myself at Abbotsford. Never was there such a
     season, flowers springing, birds singing, grubs eating the
     wheat--as if it was the end of May. After all, nature had a
     grotesque and inconsistent appearance, and I could not help
     thinking she resembled a withered beauty who persists in looking
     youthy, and dressing conform thereto. I thought the loch should
     have had its blue frozen surface, and russet all about it,
     instead of an unnatural gayety of green. So much are we the
     children of habit, that we cannot always enjoy thoroughly the
     alterations which are most for our advantage.--They have filled
     up the historical chair here. I own I wish it had been with our
     friend Campbell, whose genius is such an honor to his country.
     But he has cast anchor I suppose in the south. Your friend, Mrs.
     Scott, was much cast down with her brother's death. His bequest
     to my family leaves my own property much at my own disposal,
     which is pleasant enough. I was foolish enough sometimes to be
     vexed at the prospect of my library being sold _sub hasta_, which
     is now less likely to happen. I always am, most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 14: The wife of one of the Edinburgh Judges is alluded to.]

On the 15th of February, 1819, Scott witnessed the first
representation, on the Edinburgh boards, of the most meritorious and
successful of all the _Terryfications_, though Terry himself was not the
manufacturer. The drama of Rob Roy will never again be got up so well,
in all its parts, as it then was by William Murray's company; the
manager's own _Captain Thornton_ was excellent--and so was the _Dugald
Creature_ of a Mr. Duff--there was also a good _Mattie_--(about whose
equipment, by the bye, Scott felt such interest that he left his box
between the acts to remind Mr. Murray that she "must have a mantle with
her lanthorn;")--but the great and unrivalled attraction was the
personification of _Bailie Jarvie_, by Charles Mackay, who, being
himself a native of Glasgow, entered into the minutest peculiarities of
the character with high _gusto_, and gave the west-country dialect in
its most racy perfection. It was extremely diverting to watch the play
of Scott's features during this admirable realization of his conception;
and I must add, that the behavior of the Edinburgh audience on all such
occasions, while the secret of the novels was preserved, reflected great
honor on their good taste and delicacy of feeling. He seldom, in those
days, entered his box without receiving some mark of general respect and
admiration; but I never heard of any pretext being laid hold of to
connect these demonstrations with the piece he had come to witness, or,
in short, to do or say anything likely to interrupt his quiet enjoyment
of the evening in the midst of his family and friends. The Rob Roy had a
continued run of forty-one nights, during February and March; and it was
played once a week, at least, for many years afterwards.[15] Mackay, of
course, always selected it for his benefit;--and I now print from
Scott's MS. a letter, which, no doubt, reached the mimic Bailie in the
handwriting of one of the Ballantynes, on the first of these

[Footnote 15: "Between February 15, 1819, and March 14, 1837, _Rob
Roy_ was played in the Theatre-Royal, Edinburgh, 285 times."--_Letter
from Mr. W. Murray._ [Nicol Jarvie remained Mr. Mackay's masterpiece,
but his Dominie Sampson and Meg Dods in the dramas founded on _Guy
Mannering_ and _St. Ronan's Well_ were very successful. He died in
Glasgow in 1857.]]



     FRIEND MACKAY,--My lawful occasions having brought me from my
     residence at Gandercleuch to this great city, it was my lot to
     fall into company with certain friends, who impetrated from me a
     consent to behold the stage-play, which hath been framed forth of
     an history entitled Rob (_seu potius_ Robert) Roy; which history,
     although it existeth not in mine erudite work, entitled Tales of
     my Landlord, hath nathless a near relation in style and structure
     to those pleasant narrations. Wherefore, having surmounted those
     arguments whilk were founded upon the unseemliness of a personage
     in my place and profession appearing in an open stage-play house,
     and having buttoned the terminations of my cravat into my bosom,
     in order to preserve mine incognito, and indued an outer coat
     over mine usual garments, so that the hue thereof might not
     betray my calling, I did place myself (much elbowed by those who
     little knew whom they did incommode) in that place of the Theatre
     called the two-shilling gallery, and beheld the show with great
     delectation, even from the rising of the curtain to the fall

[Illustration: CHARLES MACKAY

_From the painting by Sir D. Macnee_]

     Chiefly, my facetious friend, was I enamored of the very lively
     representation of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, in so much that I became
     desirous to communicate to thee my great admiration thereof,
     nothing doubting that it will give thee satisfaction to be
     apprised of the same. Yet further, in case thou shouldst be of
     that numerous class of persons who set less store by good words
     than good deeds, and understanding that there is assigned unto
     each stage-player a special night, called a benefit (it will do
     thee no harm to know that the phrase cometh from two Latin words,
     _bene_ and _facio_), on which their friends and patrons show
     forth their benevolence, I now send thee mine in the form of a
     five-ell web (_hoc jocose_, to express a note for £5), as a meet
     present for the Bailie, himself a weaver, and the son of a worthy
     deacon of that craft. The which propine I send thee in token that
     it is my purpose, business and health permitting, to occupy the
     central place of the pit on the night of thy said beneficiary or

     Friend Mackay! from one, whose profession it is to teach others,
     thou must excuse the freedom of a caution. I trust thou wilt
     remember that, as excellence in thine art cannot be attained
     without much labor, so neither can it be extended, or even
     maintained, without constant and unremitted exertion; and
     further, that the decorum of a performer's private character (and
     it gladdeth me to hear that thine is respectable) addeth not a
     little to the value of his public exertions.

     Finally, in respect there is nothing perfect in this world,--at
     least I have never received a wholly faultless version from the
     very best of my pupils--I pray thee not to let Rob Roy twirl thee
     around in the ecstasy of thy joy, in regard it oversteps the
     limits of nature, which otherwise thou so sedulously preservest
     in thine admirable national portraiture of Bailie Nicol
     Jarvie.--I remain thy sincere friend and well-wisher,

                                                JEDEDIAH CLEISHBOTHAM.


     Recurrence of Scott's Illness. -- Death of the Duke of Buccleuch.
     -- Letters to Captain Ferguson, Lord Montagu, Mr. Southey, and
     Mr. Shortreed. -- Scott's Sufferings while Dictating the Bride of
     Lammermoor. -- Anecdotes by James Ballantyne, Etc. -- Appearance
     of the Third Series of Tales of My Landlord. -- Anecdote of the
     Earl of Buchan.


It had been Scott's purpose to spend the Easter vacation in London,
and receive his baronetcy; but this was prevented by the serious
recurrence of the malady which so much alarmed his friends in the
early part of the year 1817, and which had continued ever since to
torment him at intervals. The subsequent correspondence will show that
afflictions of various sorts were accumulated on his head at the same


                                           EDINBURGH, 4th March, 1819.

     MY DEAR LORD,--The Lord President tells me he has a letter from
     his son, Captain Charles Hope, R. N., who had just taken leave of
     our High Chief, upon the deck of the Liffey. He had not seen the
     Duke for a fortnight, and was pleasingly surprised to find his
     health and general appearance so very much improved. For my part,
     having watched him with such unremitting attention, I feel very
     confident in the effect of a change of air and of climate. It is
     with great pleasure that I find the Duke has received an answer
     from me respecting a matter about which he was anxious, and on
     which I could make his mind quite easy. His Grace wished Adam
     Ferguson to assist him as his confidential secretary; and with
     all the scrupulous delicacy that belongs to his character, he did
     not like to propose this, except through my medium as a common
     friend. Now, I can answer for Adam, as I can for myself, that he
     will have the highest pleasure in giving assistance in every
     possible way the Duke can desire; and if forty years' intimacy
     can entitle one man to speak for another, I believe the Duke can
     find nowhere a person so highly qualified for such a confidential
     situation. He was educated for business, understands it well, and
     was long a military secretary;--his temper and manners your
     Lordship can judge as well as I can, and his worth and honor are
     of the very first water. I confess I should not be surprised if
     the Duke should wish to continue the connection even afterwards,
     for I have often thought that two hours' letter-writing, which is
     his Grace's daily allowance, is rather worse than the duty of a
     Clerk of Session, because there is no vacation. Much of this
     might surely be saved by an intelligent friend, on whose style of
     expression, prudence, and secrecy, his Grace could put perfect
     reliance. Two words marked on any letter by his own hand would
     enable such a person to refuse more or less positively--to grant
     directly or conditionally--or, in short, to maintain the exterior
     forms of the very troublesome and extensive correspondence which
     his Grace's high situation entails upon him. I think it is
     Monsieur le Duc de Saint-Simon who tells us of one of Louis
     XIV.'s ministers _qu'il avoit la plume_--which he explains by
     saying that it was his duty to imitate the King's handwriting so
     closely, as to be almost undistinguishable, and make him on all
     occasions _parler très noblement_. I wonder how the Duke gets on
     without such a friend. In the mean time, however, I am glad I can
     assure him of Ferguson's willing and ready assistance while
     abroad; and I am happy to find still further that he had got that
     assurance before they sailed, for tedious hours occur on board of
     ship, when it will serve as a relief to talk over any of the
     private affairs which the Duke wishes to entrust to him.

     I have been very unwell from a visitation of my old enemy, the
     cramp in my stomach, which much resembles, as I conceive, the
     process by which _the deil_ would make one's _king's-hood_ into a
     _spleuchan_,[16] according to the anathema of Burns.
     Unfortunately, the opiates which the medical people think
     indispensable to relieve spasms, bring on a habit of body which
     has to be counteracted by medicines of a different tendency, so
     as to produce a most disagreeable see-saw--a kind of pull-devil,
     pull-baker contention, the field of battle being my unfortunate
     _præcordia_. I am better to-day, and I trust shall be able to
     dispense with these alternations. I still hope to be in London in

     I will write to the Duke regularly, for distance of place acts in
     a contrary ratio on the mind and on the eye: trifles, instead of
     being diminished, as in prospect, become important and
     interesting, and therefore he shall have a budget of them. Hogg
     is here busy with his Jacobite songs. I wish he may get
     handsomely through, for he is profoundly ignorant of history, and
     it is an awkward thing to read in order that you may write.[17] I
     give him all the help I can, but he sometimes poses me. For
     instance, he came yesterday, open mouth, inquiring what great
     dignified clergyman had distinguished himself at
     Killiecrankie--not exactly the scene where one would have
     expected a churchman to shine--and I found, with some difficulty,
     that he had mistaken Major-General Canon, called, in Kennedy's
     Latin Song, _Canonicus Gallovidiensis_, for the canon of a
     cathedral. _Ex ungue leonem._ Ever, my dear Lord, your truly
     obliged and faithful

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 16: _King's-Hood_--"The second of the four stomachs of
ruminating animals." JAMIESON.--_Spleuchan_--The Gaelic name of the
Highlander's tobacco-pouch.]

[Footnote 17: "I am sure I produced two volumes of Jacobite Relics,
such as no man in Scotland or England could have produced but myself."
So says Hogg, _ipse_--see his _Autobiography_, 1832, p. 88. I never
saw the Shepherd so elated as he was on the appearance of a very
severe article on this book in the _Edinburgh Review_; for, to his
exquisite delight, the hostile critic selected for _exceptive_
encomium one "old Jacobite strain," namely, _Donald M'Gillavry_, which
Hogg had fabricated the year before. Scott, too, enjoyed this joke
almost as much as the Shepherd.]

Before this letter reached Lord Montagu, his brother had sailed for
Lisbon. The Duke of Wellington had placed his house in that capital
(the Palace _das Necessidades_) at the Duke of Buccleuch's disposal;
and in the affectionate care and cheerful society of Captain Ferguson,
the invalid had every additional source of comfort that his friends
could have wished for him. But the malady had gone too far to be
arrested by a change of climate; and the letter which he had addressed
to Scott, when about to embark at Portsmouth, is endorsed with these
words: "_The last I ever received from my dear friend the Duke of
Buccleuch.--Alas! alas!_" The principal object of this letter was to
remind Scott of his promise to sit to Raeburn for a portrait, to be
hung up in that favorite residence where the Duke had enjoyed most of
his society. "My prodigious undertaking," writes his Grace, "of a west
wing at Bowhill, is begun. A library of forty-one feet by twenty-one
is to be added to the present drawing-room. A space for one picture is
reserved over the fireplace, and in this warm situation I intend to
place the Guardian of Literature. I should be happy to have my friend
Maida appear. It is now almost proverbial, 'Walter Scott and his Dog.'
Raeburn should be warned that I am as well acquainted with my friend's
hands and arms as with his nose--and Vandyke was of my opinion. Many
of R.'s works are shamefully finished--the face studied, but
everything else neglected. This is a fair opportunity of producing
something really worthy of his skill."

I shall insert by and by Scott's answer--which never reached the
Duke's hand--with another letter of the same date to Captain Ferguson;
but I must first introduce one, addressed a fortnight earlier to Mr.
Southey, who had been distressed by the accounts he received of
Scott's health from an American traveller, Mr. George Ticknor of
Boston--a friend, and worthy to be such, of Mr. Washington Irving.[18]
The Poet Laureate, by the way, had adverted also to an impudent trick
of a London bookseller, who shortly before this time announced certain
volumes of Grub Street manufacture, as "A New Series of the Tales of
my Landlord," and who, when John Ballantyne, as the "agent for the
Author of Waverley," published a declaration that the volumes thus
advertised were not from that writer's pen, met John's declaration by
an audacious rejoinder--impeaching his authority, and asserting that
nothing but the personal appearance in the field of the gentleman for
whom Ballantyne pretended to act, could shake his belief that he was
himself in the confidence of the true Simon Pure.[19] This affair gave
considerable uneasiness at the time, and for a moment the dropping of
Scott's mask seems to have been pronounced advisable by both
Ballantyne and Constable. But he was not to be worked upon by such
means as these. He calmly replied, "The author who lends himself to
such a trick must be a blockhead--let them publish, and that will
serve our purpose better than anything we ourselves could do." I have
forgotten the names of the "tales," which, being published
accordingly, fell still-born from the press. Mr. Southey had likewise
dropped some allusions to another newspaper story of Scott's being
seriously engaged in a dramatic work--a rumor which probably
originated in the assistance he had lent to Terry in some of the
recent highly popular adaptations of his novels to the purposes of the
stage; though it is not impossible that some hint of the _Devorgoil_
matter may have transpired. "It is reported," said the Laureate, "that
you are about to bring forth a play, and I am greatly in hopes it may
be true; for I am verily persuaded that in this course you might run
as brilliant a career as you have already done in narrative--both in
prose and rhyme;--for as for believing that you have a double in the
field--not I! Those same powers would be equally certain of success in
the drama, and were you to give them a dramatic direction, and reign
for a third seven years upon the stage, you would stand alone in
literary history. Indeed already I believe that no man ever afforded
so much delight to so great a number of his contemporaries in this or
in any other country. God bless you, my dear Scott, and believe me
ever yours affectionately, R. S." Mr. Southey's letter had further
announced his wife's safe delivery of a son; the approach of the
conclusion of his History of Brazil; and his undertaking of the Life
of Wesley.

[Footnote 18: [In _The Life, Letters, and Journals of George Ticknor_
will be found some interesting notes regarding his visits to Castle
Street, and two days spent at Abbotsford in March, 1819.]]

[Footnote 19: June, 1839.--A friend has sent me the following
advertisement from an Edinburgh newspaper of 1819:--


     "The Public are respectfully informed, that the Work announced
     for publication under the title of 'TALES OF MY LANDLORD, Fourth
     Series, containing _Pontefract Castle_,' is not written by the
     Author of the First, Second, and Third Series of TALES OF MY
     LANDLORD, of which we are the Proprietors and Publishers.

                                           ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE & CO."]


                                          ABBOTSFORD, 4th April, 1819.

     MY DEAR SOUTHEY,--Tidings from you must be always acceptable,
     even were the bowl in the act of breaking at the fountain--and my
     health is at present very _totterish_. I have gone through a
     cruel succession of spasms and sickness, which have terminated in
     a special fit of the jaundice, so that I might sit for the image
     of Plutus, the god of specie, so far as complexion goes. I shall
     like our American acquaintance the better that he has sharpened
     your remembrance of me, but he is also a wondrous fellow for
     romantic lore and antiquarian research, considering his country.
     I have now seen four or five well-lettered Americans, ardent in
     pursuit of knowledge, and free from the ignorance and forward
     presumption which distinguish many of their countrymen. I hope
     they will inoculate their country with a love of letters, so
     nearly allied to a desire of peace and a sense of public
     justice--virtues to which the great Transatlantic community is
     more strange than could be wished. Accept my best and most
     sincere wishes for the health and strength of your latest pledge
     of affection. When I think what you have already suffered, I can
     imagine with what mixture of feelings this event must necessarily
     affect you; but you need not to be told that we are in better
     guidance than our own. I trust in God this late blessing will be
     permanent, and inherit your talents and virtues. When I look
     around me, and see how many men seem to make it their pride to
     misuse high qualifications, can I be less interested than I truly
     am in the fate of one who has uniformly dedicated his splendid
     powers to maintaining the best interests of humanity? I am very
     angry at the time you are to be in London, as I must be there in
     about a fortnight, or so soon as I can shake off this depressing
     complaint, and it would add not a little that I should meet you
     there. My chief purpose is to put my eldest son into the army. I
     could have wished he had chosen another profession, but have no
     title to combat a choice which would have been my own had my
     lameness permitted. Walter has apparently the dispositions and
     habits fitted for the military profession, a very quiet and
     steady temper, an attachment to mathematics and their
     application, good sense, and uncommon personal strength and
     activity, with address in most exercises, particularly

     --I had written thus far last week when I was interrupted, first
     by the arrival of our friend Ticknor with Mr. Cogswell, another
     well-accomplished Yankee--(by the bye, we have them of all sorts,
     _e. g._, one Mr. ****, rather a fine man, whom the girls have
     christened, with some humor, the Yankee Doodle _Dandie_). They
     have had Tom Drum's entertainment, for I have been seized with
     one or two successive _crises_ of my cruel malady, lasting in the
     utmost anguish from eight to ten hours. If I had not the strength
     of a team of horses, I could never have fought through it, and
     through the heavy fire of medical artillery, scarce less
     exhausting--for bleeding, blistering, calomel, and ipecacuanha
     have gone on without intermission--while, during the agony of the
     spasms, laudanum became necessary in the most liberal doses,
     though inconsistent with the general treatment. I did not lose my
     senses, because I resolved to keep them, but I thought once or
     twice they would have gone overboard, top and top-gallant. I
     should be a great fool, and a most ungrateful wretch, to complain
     of such inflictions as these. My life has been, in all its
     private and public relations, as fortunate perhaps as was ever
     lived, up to this period; and whether pain or misfortune may lie
     behind the dark curtain of futurity, I am already a sufficient
     debtor to the bounty of Providence to be resigned to it. Fear is
     an evil that has never mixed with my nature, nor has even
     unwonted good fortune rendered my love of life tenacious; and so
     I can look forward to the possible conclusion of these scenes of
     agony with reasonable equanimity, and suffer chiefly through the
     sympathetic distress of my family.

     --Other ten days have passed away, for I would not send this
     Jeremiad to tease you, while its termination seemed doubtful. For
     the present,

       "The game is done--I've won, I've won,
        Quoth she, and whistles thrice."[20]

     I am this day, for the first time, free from the relics of my
     disorder, and, except in point of weakness, perfectly well. But
     no broken-down hunter had ever so many sprung sinews, whelks, and
     bruises. I am like Sancho after the doughty affair of the
     Yanguesian Carriers, and all through the unnatural twisting of
     the muscles under the influence of that _Goule_, the cramp. I
     must be swathed in Goulard and Rosemary spirits--_probatum est_.

     I shall not fine and renew a lease of popularity upon the
     theatre. To write for low, ill-informed, and conceited actors,
     whom you must please, for your success is necessarily at their
     mercy, I cannot away with. How would you, or how do you think I
     should relish being the object of such a letter as Kean[21] wrote
     t'other day to a poor author, who, though a pedantic blockhead,
     had at least the right to be treated as a gentleman by a
     copper-laced, twopenny tearmouth, rendered mad by conceit and
     success? Besides, if this objection were out of the way, I do not
     think the character of the audience in London is such that one
     could have the least pleasure in pleasing them. One half come to
     prosecute their debaucheries, so openly that it would degrade a
     bagnio. Another set to snooze off their beef-steaks and port
     wine; a third are critics of the fourth column of the newspaper;
     fashion, wit, or literature, there is not; and, on the whole, I
     would far rather write verses for mine honest friend Punch and
     his audience. The only thing that could tempt me to be so silly,
     would be to assist a friend in such a degrading task who was to
     have the whole profit and shame of it.

     Have you seen decidedly the most full and methodized collection
     of Spanish romances (ballads) published by the industry of
     Depping (Altenburgh and Leipsic), 1817? It is quite delightful.
     Ticknor had set me agog to see it, without affording me any hope
     it could be had in London, when by one of these fortunate chances
     which have often marked my life, a friend, who had been lately on
     the Continent, came unexpectedly to inquire for me, and plucked
     it forth _par manière de cadeau_. God prosper you, my dear
     Southey, in your labors; but do not work too hard--_experto
     crede_. This conclusion, as well as the confusion of my letter,
     like the Bishop of Grenada's sermon, savors of the apoplexy. My
     most respectful compliments attend Mrs. S.

     Yours truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--I shall long to see the conclusion of the Brazil history,
     which, as the interest comes nearer, must rise even above the
     last noble volume. Wesley you alone can touch; but will you not
     have the hive about you? When I was about twelve years old, I
     heard him preach more than once, standing on a chair, in Kelso
     churchyard. He was a most venerable figure, but his sermons were
     vastly too colloquial for the taste of Saunders. He told many
     excellent stories. One I remember, which he said had happened to
     him at Edinburgh. "A drunken dragoon," said Wesley, "was
     commencing an assertion in military fashion, G--d eternally d--n
     me, just as I was passing. I touched the poor man on the
     shoulder, and when he turned round fiercely, said calmly, you
     mean _God bless you_." In the mode of telling the story he failed
     not to make us sensible how much his patriarchal appearance, and
     mild yet bold rebuke, overawed the soldier, who touched his hat,
     thanked him, and, I think, came to chapel that evening.

[Footnote 20: These lines are from Coleridge's _Ancient Mariner_.]

[Footnote 21: The reader will find something about this actor's
quarrel with Mr. Bucke, author of _The Italians_, in Barry Cornwall's
_Life of Kean_, vol. ii. p. 178.]


                                         ABBOTSFORD, 13th April, 1819.

     DEAR BOB,--I am very desirous to procure, and as soon as
     possible, Mrs. Shortreed's excellent receipt for making yeast.
     The Duke of Buccleuch complains extremely of the sour yeast at
     Lisbon as disagreeing with his stomach, and I never tasted half
     such good bread as Mrs. Shortreed has baked at home. I am sure
     you will be as anxious as I am that the receipt should be
     forwarded to his Grace as soon as possible. I remember Mrs.
     Shortreed giving a most distinct account of the whole affair. It
     should be copied over in a very distinct hand, lest Monsieur
     Florence makes blunders.

     I am recovering from my late indisposition, but as weak as water.
     To write these lines is a fatigue. I scarce think I can be at the
     circuit at all--certainly only for an hour or two. So on this
     occasion I will give Mrs. Shortreed's kind hospitality a little
     breathing time. I am tired even with writing these few lines.
     Yours ever,

                                                     WALTER SCOTT.[22]

[Footnote 22: "Sir Walter got not only the recipe for making bread
from us--but likewise learnt the best mode of cutting it 'in a family
way.' The breadboard and large knife used at Abbotsford at
breakfast-time were adopted by Sir Walter, after seeing them 'work
well' in our family."--_Note by Mr. Andrew Shortreed._]


                                         ABBOTSFORD, 15th April, 1819.

     MY DEAR LORD DUKE,--How very strange it seems that this should be
     the first letter I address to your Grace, and you so long absent
     from Scotland, and looking for all the news and nonsense of which
     I am in general such a faithful reporter. Alas, I have been
     ill--very--very ill--only Dr. Baillie says there is nothing of
     consequence about my malady _except the pain_--a pretty
     exception--said pain being intense enough to keep me roaring as
     loud as your Grace's _ci-devant_ John of Lorn, and of, generally
     speaking, from six to eight hours' incessant duration, only
     varied by intervals of deadly sickness. Poor Sophia was alone
     with me for some time, and managed a half-distracted pack of
     servants with spirit, and sense, and presence of mind, far
     beyond her years, never suffering her terror at seeing me in a
     state so new to her, and so alarming, to divert her mind an
     instant from what was fit and proper to be done. Pardon this side
     compliment to your Grace's little Jacobite, to whom you have
     always been so kind. If sympathy could have cured me, I should
     not have been long ill. Gentle and simple were all equally kind,
     and even old Tom Watson crept down from Falshope to see how I was
     coming on, and to ejaculate "if anything ailed the Shirra, it
     would be sair on the Duke." The only unwelcome resurrection was
     that of old ****, whose feud with me (or rather dryness) I had
     well hoped was immortal; but he came jinking over the moor with
     daughters and ponies, and God knows what, to look after my
     precious health. I cannot tolerate that man; it seems to me as if
     I hated him for things not only past and present, but for some
     future offence, which is as yet in the womb of fate.

     I have had as many remedies sent me for cramp and jaundice as
     would set up a quack doctor: three from Mrs. Plummer, each better
     than the other--one at least from every gardener in the
     neighborhood--besides all sorts of recommendations to go to
     Cheltenham, to Harrowgate, to Jericho for aught I know. Now if
     there is one thing I detest more than another, it is a
     watering-place, unless a very pleasant party be previously
     formed, when, as Tony Lumpkin says, "a gentleman may be in a
     concatenation." The most extraordinary recipe was that of my
     Highland piper, John Bruce, who spent a whole Sunday in selecting
     twelve stones from twelve _south-running_ streams, with the
     purpose that I should sleep upon them, and be whole. I caused him
     to be told that the recipe was infallible, but that it was
     absolutely necessary to success that the stones should be wrapt
     up in the petticoat of a widow who had never wished to marry
     again; upon which the piper renounced all hope of completing the
     charm. I had need of a softer couch than Bruce had destined me,
     for so general was the tension of the nerves all over the body,
     although the pain of the spasms in the stomach did not suffer the
     others to be felt, that my whole left leg was covered with
     swelling and inflammation, arising from the unnatural action of
     the muscles, and I had to be carried about like a child. My right
     leg escaped better, the muscles there having less irritability,
     owing to its lame state. Your Grace may imagine the energy of
     pain in the nobler parts, when cramps in the extremities,
     sufficient to produce such effects, were unnoticed by me during
     their existence. But enough of so disagreeable a subject.

     Respecting the portrait, I shall be equally proud and happy to
     sit for it, and hope it may be so executed as to be in some
     degree worthy of the preferment to which it is destined.[23] But
     neither my late golden hue (for I was covered with jaundice), nor
     my present silver complexion (looking much more like a spectre
     than a man), will present any idea of my quondam beef-eating
     physiognomy. I must wait till the _age of brass_, the true
     juridical bronze of my profession, shall again appear on my
     frontal. I hesitate a little about Raeburn, unless your Grace is
     quite determined. He has very much to do; works just now chiefly
     for cash, poor fellow, as he can have but a few years to make
     money; and has twice already made a very chowder-headed person of
     me. I should like much (always with your approbation) to try
     Allan, who is a man of real genius, and has made one or two
     glorious portraits, though his predilection is to the historical
     branch of the art. We did rather a handsome thing for him,
     considering that in Edinburgh we are neither very wealthy nor
     great amateurs. A hundred persons subscribed ten guineas apiece
     to raffle[24] for his fine picture of the Circassian Chief
     selling Slaves to the Turkish Pacha--a beautiful and highly
     poetical picture. There was another small picture added by way of
     second prize, and, what is curious enough, the only two peers on
     the list, Lord Wemyss and Lord Fife, both got prizes. Allan has
     made a sketch which I shall take to town with me when I can go,
     in hopes Lord Stafford, or some other picture-buyer, may fancy
     it, and order a picture. The subject is the murder of Archbishop
     Sharp on Magus Moor, prodigiously well treated. The savage
     ferocity of the assassins, crowding one on another to strike at
     the old prelate on his knees--contrasted with the old man's
     figure--and that of his daughter endeavoring to interpose for his
     protection, and withheld by a ruffian of milder mood than his
     fellows:--the dogged fanatical severity of Rathillet's
     countenance, who remained on horseback, witnessing, with stern
     fanaticism, the murder he did not choose to be active in, lest it
     should be said that he struck out of private revenge--are all
     amazingly well combined in the sketch. I question if the artist
     can bring them out with equal spirit in the painting which he
     meditates.[25] Sketches give a sort of fire to the imagination of
     the spectator, who is apt to fancy a great deal more for himself,
     than the pencil, in the finished picture, can possibly present to
     his eye afterwards.--Constable has offered Allan three hundred
     pounds to make sketches for an edition of the Tales of my
     Landlord, and other novels of that cycle, and says he will give
     him the same sum next year, so, from being pinched enough, this
     very deserving artist suddenly finds himself at his ease. He was
     long at Odessa with the Duke of Richelieu, and is a very
     entertaining person.

[Footnote 23: The position in the Library at Bowhill, originally
destined by the late Duke of Buccleuch for a portrait that never was
executed, is now filled by that which Raeburn painted in 1808 for

[Footnote 24: Three pictures were ultimately raffled for; and the
following note, dated April the 1st, 1819, shows how keenly and
practically Scott, almost in the crisis of his malady, could attend to
the details of such a business:--


     ... I have been dreadfully ill since I wrote to you, but I think
     I have now got the turn fairly. It was quite time, for though the
     doctors say the disease is not dangerous, yet I could not have
     endured six days more agony. I have a summons from the ingenious
     Mr. David Bridges to attend to my interests at his shop next
     Saturday, or send some qualified person to act on my behalf. I
     suppose that this mysterious missive alludes to the plan about
     Allan's pictures, and at any rate I hope you will act for me. I
     should think a raffle with dice would give more general
     satisfaction than a lottery. Yon would be astonished what
     unhandsome suspicions well-educated and sensible persons will
     take into their heads, when a selfish competition awakens the
     mean and evil passions of our nature. Let each subscriber throw
     the dice in person or by proxy, leaving out all who throw under a
     certain number, and let this be repeated till the number is so
     far reduced that the three who throw highest may hold the prizes.
     I have much to say to you, and should you spare me a day about
     the end of next week, I trust you will find me pretty _bobbish_.

                               Always yours affectionately,      W. S.

The Mr. David Bridges here mentioned has occurred already.--See
_ante_, vol. v. p. 262. The jokers in _Blackwood_ made him happy by
dubbing him, "The Director-General of the Fine Arts for Scotland."--He
says the subscribers for the Allan-Raffle were not so numerous as
Scott had supposed. (Mr. Bridges died in November, 1840, in his 64th

[Footnote 25: The fine picture which Allan executed is in the
possession of Mr. Lockhart of Milton-Lockhart, and has been well

     I saw with great pleasure Wilkie's sketch of your Grace, and I
     think when I get to town I shall coax him out of a copy, to me
     invaluable. I hope, however, when you return, you will sit to
     Lawrence. We should have at least one picture of your Grace from
     the real good hand. Sooth to speak, I cannot say much for the
     juvenile representations at Bowhill and in the library at
     Dalkeith. Return, however, with the original features in good
     health, and we shall not worry you about portraits. The library
     at Bowhill will be a delightful room, and will be some
     consolation to me who must, I fear, lose for some time the
     comforts of the eating-room, and substitute panada and toast and
     water for the bonny haunch and buxom bottle of claret. Truth is,
     I must make great restrictions on my creature-comforts, at least
     till my stomach recovers its tone and ostrich-like capacity of
     digestion. Our spring here is slow, but not unfavorable: the
     country looking very well, and my plantings for the season quite
     completed. I have planted quite up two little glens, leading
     from the Aide-de-Camp's habitation up to the little loch, and
     expect the blessings of posterity for the shade and shelter I
     shall leave, where, God knows, I found none.

     It is doomed this letter is not to close without a request. I
     conclude your Grace has already heard from fifty applicants that
     the kirk of Middlebie is vacant, and I come forward as the
     fifty-first (always barring prior engagements and better claims)
     in behalf of George Thomson, a son of the minister of Melrose,
     being the grinder of my boys, and therefore deeply entitled to my
     gratitude and my good offices, as far as they can go. He is
     nearer Parson Abraham Adams than any living creature I ever
     saw--very learned, very religious, very simple, and extremely
     absent. His father, till very lately, had but a sort of half
     stipend, during the incumbency of a certain notorious Mr.
     MacLagan, to whom he acted only as assistant. The poor devil was
     brought to the grindstone (having had the want of precaution to
     beget a large family), and became the very figure of a fellow who
     used to come upon the stage to sing "Let us all be unhappy
     together." This poor lad George was his saving angel, not only
     educating himself, but taking on him the education of two of his
     brothers, and maintaining them out of his own scanty pittance. He
     is a sensible lad, and by no means a bad preacher, a stanch
     Anti-Gallican, and orthodox in his principles. Should your Grace
     find yourself at liberty to give countenance to this very
     innocent and deserving creature, I need not say it will add to
     the many favors you have conferred on me; but I hope the
     parishioners will have also occasion to say, "Weel bobbit, George
     of Middlebie." Your Grace's Aide-de-Camp, who knows young Thomson
     well, will give you a better idea of him than I can do. He lost a
     leg by an accident in his boyhood, which spoiled as bold and
     fine-looking a grenadier as ever charged bayonet against a
     Frenchman's throat. I think your Grace will not like him the
     worse for having a spice of military and loyal spirit about him.
     If you knew the poor fellow, your Grace would take uncommon
     interest in him, were it but for the odd mixture of sense and
     simplicity, and spirit and good morals. Somewhat too much of him.

     I conclude you will go to Mafra, Cintra, or some of these places,
     which Baretti describes so delightfully, to avoid the great
     heats, when the Palace de las Necessidades must become rather
     oppressive. By the bye, though it were only for the credit of the
     name, I am happy to learn it has that useful English comfort, a
     water-closet. I suppose the armorer of the Liffey has already put
     it in complete repair. Your Grace sees the most secret passages
     respecting great men cannot be hidden from their friends. There
     is but little news here but death in the clan. Harden's sister is
     dead--a cruel blow to Lady Die,[26] who is upwards of
     eighty-five, and accustomed to no other society. Again, Mrs.
     Frank Scott, his uncle's widow, is dead, unable to survive the
     loss of two fine young men in India, her sons, whose death
     closely followed each other. All this is sad work; but it is a
     wicked and melancholy world we live in. God bless you, my dear,
     dear Lord. Take great care of your health for the sake of all of
     us. You are the breath of our nostrils, useful to thousands, and
     to many of these thousands indispensable. I will write again very
     soon, when I can keep my breast longer to the desk without pain,
     for I am not yet without frequent relapses, when they souse me
     into scalding water without a moment's delay, where I lie, as my
     old _grieve_ Tom Purdie said last night, being called to assist
     at the operation, "like a _haulded saumon_." I write a few lines
     to the Aide-de-Camp, but I am afraid of putting this letter
     beyond the bounds of Lord Montagu's frank. When I can do anything
     for your Grace here, you know I am most pleased and happy.--Ever
     respectfully and affectionately your Grace's

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 26: See _ante_, vol. i. p. 230.]


                                           ABBOTSFORD, April 16, 1819.

     MY DEAR ADAM,--Having only been able last night to finish a long
     letter to the Chief, I now add a few lines for the Aide-de-Camp.
     I have had the pleasure to hear of you regularly from Jack,[27]
     who is very regular in steering this way when packets arrive; and
     I observe with great satisfaction that you think our good Duke's
     health is on the mending hand. Climate must operate as an
     alterative, and much cannot perhaps be expected from it at first.
     Besides, the great heat must be a serious drawback. But I hope
     you will try by and by to get away to Cintra, or some of those
     sequestered retreats where there are shades and cascades to cool
     the air. I have an idea the country there is eminently beautiful.
     I am afraid the Duke has not yet been able to visit Torres
     Vedras, but _you_ must be meeting with things everywhere to put
     you in mind of former scenes. As for the Senhoras, I have little
     doubt that the difference betwixt your military hard fare and
     Florence's high sauces and jellies will make them think that time
     has rather improved an old friend than otherwise. Apropos of
     these ticklish subjects. I am a suitor to the Duke, with little
     expectation of success (for I know his engagements), for the kirk
     of Middlebie to George Thomson, the very Abraham Adams of
     Presbytery. If the Duke mentions him to you (not otherwise) pray
     lend him a lift. With a kirk and a manse the poor fellow might
     get a good farmer's daughter, and beget grenadiers for his
     Majesty's service. But as I said before, I dare say all St.
     Hubert's black pack are in full cry upon the living, and that he
     has little or no chance. It is something, however, to have tabled
     him, as better may come of it another day.

     All at Huntly Burn well and hearty, and most kind in their
     attentions during our late turmoils. Bauby[28] came over to offer
     her services as sick-nurse, and I have drunk scarce anything but
     delicious ginger-beer of Miss Bell's brewing, since my troubles
     commenced. They have been, to say the least, damnable; and I
     think you would hardly know me. When I crawl out on Sibyl Grey, I
     am the very image of Death on the pale horse--lanthorn-jawed,
     decayed in flesh, stooping as if I meant to eat the pony's ears,
     and unable to go above a footpace. But although I have had, and
     must expect, frequent relapses, yet the attacks are more slight,
     and I trust I shall mend with the good weather. Spring sets in
     very pleasantly, and in a settled fashion. I have planted a
     number of shrubs, etc., at Huntly Burn, and am snodding up the
     drive of the old farmhouse, enclosing the Toftfield, and making a
     good road from the parish road to your gate. This I tell you to
     animate you to pick up a few seeds both of forest trees, shrubs,
     and vegetables; we will rear them in the hot-house, and divide
     honorably. _Avis au lecteur._ I have been a good deal entrusted
     to the care of Sophia, who is an admirable sick-nurse. Mamma has
     been called to town by two important avocations: to get a
     cook--no joking matter,--and to see Charles, who was but
     indifferent, but has recovered. You must have heard of the death
     of Joseph Hume, David's only son. Christ! what a calamity!--just
     entering life with the fairest prospects--full of talent, and the
     heir of an old and considerable family--a fine career before him:
     all this he was one day, or rather one hour--or rather in the
     course of five minutes--so sudden was the death--and then--a heap
     of earth. His disease is unknown; something about the heart, I
     believe; but it had no alarming appearance, nothing worse than a
     cold and sore throat, when convulsions came, and death ensued. It
     is a complete smash to poor David, who had just begun to hold
     his head up after his wife's death. But he bears it stoutly, and
     goes about his business as usual. A woeful case. London is now
     out of the question with me; I have no prospect of being now able
     to stand the journey by sea or land; but the best is, I have no
     pressing business there. The Commie[29] takes charge of Walter's
     matters--cannot, you know, be in better hands; and Lord Melville
     talks of gazetting _quam primum_. I will write a long letter very
     soon, but my back, fingers, and eyes ache with these three pages.
     All here send love and fraternity. Yours ever most truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--By the bye, old Kennedy, the tinker, swam for his life at
     Jedburgh, and was only, by the sophisticated and timid evidence
     of a seceding doctor, who differed from all his brethren, saved
     from a well-deserved gibbet. He goes to botanize for fourteen
     years. Pray tell this to the Duke, for he was

       "An old soldier of the Duke's,
        And the Duke's old soldier."

     Six of his brethren, I am told, were in court, and kith and kin
     without end. I am sorry so many of the clan are left. The cause
     of quarrel with the murdered man was an old feud between two
     gypsy clans, the Kennedies and Irvings, which, about forty years
     since, gave rise to a desperate quarrel and battle on Hawick
     Green, in which the grandfathers of both Kennedy, and Irving whom
     he murdered, were engaged.

[Footnote 27: Captain John Ferguson, R. N.]

[Footnote 28: Bauby--_i. e._, Barbara, was a kind old housekeeper of
the Miss Fergusons.]

[Footnote 29: The Lord Chief-Commissioner Adam.]

In the next of these letters there is allusion to a drama, on the
story of The Heart of Mid-Lothian, of which Mr. Terry had transmitted
the MS. to Abbotsford--and which ultimately proved very successful.
Terry had, shortly before this time, become the acting manager of the
Haymarket Theatre.


                                         ABBOTSFORD, 18th April, 1819.

     DEAR TERRY,--I am able (though very weak) to answer your kind
     inquiries. I have thought of you often, and been on the point of
     writing or dictating a letter, but till very lately I could have
     had little to tell you of but distress and agony, with constant
     relapses into my unhappy malady, so that for weeks I seemed to
     lose rather than gain ground, all food nauseating on my stomach,
     and my clothes hanging about me like a potato-bogle,[30] with
     from five or six to ten hours of mortal pain every third day;
     latterly the fits have been much milder, and have at last given
     way to the hot bath without any use of opiates; an immense point
     gained, as they hurt my general health extremely. Conceive my
     having taken, in the course of six or seven hours, six grains of
     opium, three of hyoscyamus, near 200 drops of laudanum--and all
     without any sensible relief of the agony under which I labored.
     My stomach is now getting confirmed, and I have great hopes the
     bout is over; it has been a dreadful set-to. I am sorry to hear
     Mrs. Terry is complaining; you ought not to let her labor,
     neither at Abbotsford sketches nor at anything else, but to study
     to keep her mind amused as much as possible. As for Walter, he is
     a shoot of an _Aik_,[31] and I have no fear of him: I hope he
     remembers Abbotsford and his soldier namesake.

     I send the MS.--I wish you had written for it earlier. My
     touching, or even thinking of it, was out of the question; my
     corrections would have smelled as cruelly of the cramp as the
     Bishop of Grenada's homily did of the apoplexy. Indeed I hold
     myself inadequate to estimate those criticisms which rest on
     stage effect, having been of late very little of a play-going
     person. Would to Heaven these sheets could do for you what Rob
     Roy has done for Murray; he has absolutely netted upwards of
     £3000: to be sure, the man who played the Bailie made a piece of
     acting equal to whatever has been seen in the profession. For my
     own part, I was actually electrified by the truth, spirit, and
     humor which he threw into the part. It was the living Nicol
     Jarvie: conceited, pragmatical, cautious, generous, proud of his
     connection with Rob Roy, frightened for him at the same time, and
     yet extremely desirous to interfere with him as an adviser: the
     tone in which he seemed to give him up for a lost man after
     having provoked him into some burst of Highland violence, "Ah
     Rab! Rab!" was quite inimitable. I do assure you I never saw a
     thing better played. It is like it may be his only part, for no
     doubt the Patavinity and knowledge of the provincial character
     may have aided him much; but still he must be a wonderful fellow;
     and the houses he drew were tremendous.

     I am truly glad you are settled in London--"a rolling
     stone"--"the proverb is something musty:"[32] it is always
     difficult to begin a new profession; I could have wished you
     quartered nearer us, but we shall always hear of you. The
     becoming stage-manager at the Haymarket I look upon as a great
     step: well executed, it cannot but lead to something of the same
     kind elsewhere. You must be aware of stumbling over a propensity
     which easily besets you from the habit of not having your time
     fully employed--I mean what the women very expressively call
     _dawdling_. Your motto must be _Hoc age_. Do instantly whatever
     is to be done, and take the hours of reflection or recreation
     after business, and never before it. When a regiment is under
     march, the rear is often thrown into confusion because the front
     do not move steadily and without interruption. It is the same
     thing with business. If that which is first in hand is not
     instantly, steadily, and regularly despatched, other things
     accumulate behind till affairs begin to press all at once, and
     no human brain can stand the confusion: pray mind this, it is one
     of your few weak points--ask Mrs. Terry else. A habit of the mind
     it is which is very apt to beset men of intellect and talent,
     especially when their time is not regularly filled up, but left
     at their own arrangement. But it is like the ivy round the oak,
     and ends by limiting, if it does not destroy, the power of manly
     and necessary exertion. I must love a man so well to whom I offer
     such a word of advice, that I will not apologize for it, but
     expect to hear you are become as regular as a Dutch clock--hours,
     quarters, minutes, all marked and appropriated. This is a great
     cast in life, and must be played with all skill and caution.

     We wish much to have a plan of the great bed, that we may hang up
     the tester. Mr. Atkinson offered to have it altered or exchanged;
     but with the expense of land-carriage and risk of damage, it is
     not to be thought of. I enclose a letter to thank him for all his
     kindness. I should like to have the invoice when the things are
     shipped. I hope they will send them to Leith, and not to Berwick.
     The plasterer has broke a pane in the armory. I enclose a sheet
     with the size, the black lines being traced within the lead; and
     I add a rough drawing of the arms, which are those of my mother.
     I should like it replaced as soon as possible, for I will set the
     expense against the careless rascal's account.

     I have got a beautiful scarlet paper, inlaid with gold (rather
     crimson than scarlet) in a present from India, which will hang
     the parlor to a T; but we shall want some articles from town to
     enable us to take possession of the parlor--namely, a
     _carpet_--you mentioned a _wainscot pattern_, which would be
     delightful--item, _grates_ for said parlor and armory--a plain
     and unexpensive pattern, resembling that in my room (which vents
     most admirably), and suited by half-dogs for burning wood. The
     sideboard and chairs you have mentioned. I see Mr. Bullock
     (George's brother) advertises his museum for sale. I wonder if a
     good set of _real tilting_ armor could be got cheap there. James
     Ballantyne got me one very handsome bright steel cuirassier of
     Queen Elizabeth's time, and two less perfect, for £20--dog cheap;
     they make a great figure in the armory. Hangings, curtains, etc.,
     I believe we shall get as well in Edinburgh as in London; it is
     in your joiner and cabinet work that your infinite superiority

     Write to me if I can do aught about the play--though I fear not:
     much will depend on Dumbiedikes, in whom Listen will be strong.
     Sophia has been chiefly my nurse, as an indisposition of little
     Charles called Charlotte to town. She returned yesterday with
     him. All beg kind compliments to you and Mrs. Terry and little
     Walter. I remain your very feeble but convalescent to command,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--We must not forget the case for the leaves of the table
     while out of use; without something of the kind, I am afraid they
     will be liable to injury, which is a pity, as they are so very

[Footnote 30: _Anglice_--Scarecrow.]

[Footnote 31: _Anglice_--an Oak.]

[Footnote 32: _Hamlet_, Act III. Scene 2.]

[Footnote 33: The Duke of Buccleuch gave Scott some old oak-roots from
Drumlanrig, out of which a very beautiful set of dinner-tables were
manufactured by Messrs. Bullock.]

The accounts of Scott's condition circulated in Edinburgh in the
course of this April were so alarming, that I should not have thought
of accepting his invitation to revisit Abbotsford, unless John
Ballantyne had given me better tidings about the end of the
month.[34] He informed me that his "illustrious friend" (for so both
the Ballantynes usually spoke of him) was so much recovered as to have
resumed his usual literary tasks, though with this difference, that he
now, for the first time in his life, found it necessary to employ the
hand of another. I have now before me a letter of the 8th April, in
which Scott says to Constable: "Yesterday I began to dictate, and did
it easily and with comfort. This is a great point, but I must proceed
by little and little; last night I had a slight return of the enemy,
but baffled him;"--and he again writes to the bookseller on the 11th,
"John Ballantyne is here, and returns with copy, which my increasing
strength permits me to hope I may now furnish regularly."

[Footnote 34: [An extract from a letter of March 23 will show how warm
a regard Scott already felt for Lockhart: "I am but just on my feet
after a fourth very severe spasmodic affection, which held me from
half-past six last night to half-past three this morning in a state
little short of the extreme agony, during which time, to the infinite
consternation of my terrified family, I waltzed with Madam Cramp to my
own sad music.

  I sighed and howl'd,
  And groaned and growl'd,
    A wild and wondrous sound;

incapable of lying in one posture, yet unable to find any possible
means of changing it. I thought of you amid all this agony, and of the
great game which with your parts and principles lies before you in
Scotland, and having been for very many years the only man of letters
who at least stood by, if he could not support, the banner of ancient
faith and loyalty, I was mentally bequeathing to you my baton, like
old Douglas:--

  'Take _thou_ the vanguard of the three
    And bury me by the bracken bush,
  That grows upon yon lily lea.'

"I believe the women thought I was growing light-headed as they heard
me repeat a rhyme apparently so little connected with my situation. I
have much to say to you on these subjects, for which I hope we shall
have a fit time; for, like old Sir Anthony Absolute, I hope still to
live long and be very troublesome to you. Indeed, the surgeon could
not help expressing his astonishment at the great strength of my
temperament, and I think had an eye to my ribs as glorious hoops for a
skeleton."--_Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p. 38.]]

The _copy_ (as MS. for the press is technically called) which Scott
was thus dictating, was that of The Bride of Lammermoor, and his
amanuenses were William Laidlaw and John Ballantyne;--of whom he
preferred the latter, when he could be at Abbotsford, on account of
the superior rapidity of his pen; and also because John kept his pen
to the paper without interruption, and, though with many an arch
twinkle in his eyes, and now and then an audible smack of his lips,
had resolution to work on like a well-trained clerk; whereas good
Laidlaw entered with such keen zest into the interest of the story as
it flowed from the author's lips, that he could not suppress
exclamations of surprise and delight--"Gude keep us a'!--the like o'
that!--eh sirs! eh sirs!"--and so forth--which did not promote
despatch. I have often, however, in the sequel, heard both these
secretaries describe the astonishment with which they were equally
affected when Scott began this experiment. The affectionate Laidlaw
beseeching him to stop dictating, when his audible suffering filled
every pause, "Nay, Willie," he answered, "only see that the doors are
fast. I would fain keep all the cry as well as all the wool to
ourselves; but as to giving over work, that can only be when I am in
woollen." John Ballantyne told me, that after the first day he always
took care to have a dozen of pens made before he seated himself
opposite to the sofa on which Scott lay, and that though he often
turned himself on his pillow with a groan of torment, he usually
continued the sentence in the same breath. But when dialogue of
peculiar animation was in progress, spirit seemed to triumph
altogether over matter--he arose from his couch and walked up and down
the room, raising and lowering his voice, and as it were acting the
parts. It was in this fashion that Scott produced the far greater
portion of The Bride of Lammermoor--the whole of the Legend of
Montrose--and almost the whole of Ivanhoe. Yet, when his health was
fairly reëstablished, he disdained to avail himself of the power of
dictation, which he had thus put to the sharpest test, but resumed,
and for many years resolutely adhered to, the old plan of writing
everything with his own hand. When I once, some time afterwards,
expressed my surprise that he did not consult his ease, and spare his
eyesight at all events, by occasionally dictating, he answered, "I
should as soon think of getting into a sedan chair while I can use my

On one of the envelopes in which a chapter of The Bride of Lammermoor
reached the printer in the Canongate about this time (May 2, 1819),
there is this note in the author's own handwriting:--

     DEAR JAMES,--These matters will need more than your usual
     carefulness. Look sharp--double sharp--my trust is constant in

       "Tarry woo, tarry woo,
        Tarry woo is ill to spin;
        Card it weel, card it weel,
        Card it weel ere ye begin.
        When 'tis carded, row'd, and spun,
        Then the work is hafflins done;
        But when woven, drest, and clean,
        It may be cleading for a queen."

                                                      So be it,--W. S.

But to return: I rode out to Abbotsford with John Ballantyne towards
the end of the spring vacation, and though he had warned me of a sad
change in Scott's appearance, it was far beyond what I had been led to
anticipate. He had lost a great deal of flesh--his clothes hung loose
about him--his countenance was meagre, haggard, and of the deadliest
yellow of the jaundice--and his hair, which a few weeks before had
been but slightly sprinkled with gray, was now almost literally
snow-white. His eye, however, retained its fire unquenched; indeed it
seemed to have gained in brilliancy from the new languor of the other
features; and he received us with all the usual cordiality, and even
with little perceptible diminishment in the sprightliness of his
manner. He sat at the table while we dined, but partook only of some
rice pudding; and after the cloth was drawn, while sipping his toast
and water, pushed round the bottles in his old style, and talked with
easy cheerfulness of the stout battle he had fought, and which he now
seemed to consider as won.

"One day there was," he said, "when I certainly began to have great
doubts whether the mischief was not getting at my mind--and I'll tell
you how I tried to reassure myself on that score. I was quite unfit
for anything like original composition; but I thought if I could turn
an old German ballad I had been reading into decent rhymes, I might
dismiss my worst apprehensions--and you shall see what came of the
experiment." He then desired his daughter Sophia to fetch the MS. of
The Noble Moringer, as it had been taken down from his dictation,
partly by her and partly by Mr. Laidlaw, during one long and painful
day while he lay in bed. He read it to us as it stood, and seeing that
both Ballantyne and I were much pleased with the verses, he said he
should copy them over,--make them a little "tighter about the
joints,"--and give me them to be printed in the Edinburgh Annual
Register for 1816,--to consult him about which volume had partly been
the object of my visit; and this promise he redeemed before I left

The reading of this long ballad, however (it consists of forty-three
stanzas),[35] seemed to have exhausted him: he retired to his bedroom;
and an hour or two after, when we were about to follow his example,
his family were distressed by the well-known symptoms of another sharp
recurrence of his affliction. A large dose of opium and the hot bath
were immediately put in requisition. His good neighbor, Dr. Scott of
Darnlee, was sent for, and soon attended; and in the course of three
or four hours we learned that he was once more at ease. But I can
never forget the groans which, during that space, his agony extorted
from him. Well knowing the iron strength of his resolution, to find
him confessing its extremity, by cries audible not only all over the
house, but even to a considerable distance from it (for Ballantyne and
I, after he was put into his bath, walked forth to be out of the way,
and heard him distinctly at the bowling-green), it may be supposed
that this was sufficiently alarming, even to my companion; how much
more to me, who had never before listened to that voice, except in the
gentle accents of kindness and merriment.

[Footnote 35: See Scott's _Poetical Works_ (Ed. 1834), vol. vi. p. 343
[Cambridge Ed. p. 444].]

I told Ballantyne that I saw this was no time for my visit, and that I
should start for Edinburgh again at an early hour--and begged he would
make my apologies--in the propriety of which he acquiesced. But as I
was dressing, about seven next morning, Scott himself tapped at my
door, and entered, looking better I thought than at my arrival the day
before. "Don't think of going," said he; "I feel hearty this morning,
and if my devil does come back again, it won't be for three days at
any rate. For the present, I want nothing to set me up except a good
trot in the open air, to drive away the accursed vapors of the
laudanum I was obliged to swallow last night. You have never seen
Yarrow, and when I have finished a little job I have with Jocund
Johnny, we shall all take horse and make a day of it." When I said
something about a ride of twenty miles being rather a bold experiment
after such a night, he answered that he had ridden more than forty, a
week before, under similar circumstances, and felt nothing the worse.
He added, that there was an election on foot, in consequence of the
death of Sir John Riddell, of Riddell, Member of Parliament for the
Selkirk district of Burghs, and that the bad health and absence of the
Duke of Buccleuch rendered it quite necessary that he should make
exertions on this occasion. "In short," said he, laughing, "I have an
errand which I shall perform--and as I must pass Newark, you had
better not miss the opportunity of seeing it under so excellent a
cicerone as the old minstrel,

  'Whose withered cheek and tresses grey
   Shall yet see many a better day.'"

About eleven o'clock, accordingly, he was mounted, by the help of Tom
Purdie, upon a stanch, active cob, yclept Sibyl Grey,--exactly such a
creature as is described in Mr. Dinmont's _Dumple_--while Ballantyne
sprang into the saddle of noble _Old Mortality_, and we proceeded to
the town of Selkirk, where Scott halted to do business at the
Sheriff-Clerk's, and begged us to move onward at a gentle pace until
he should overtake us. He came up by and by at a canter, and seemed in
high glee with the tidings he had heard about the canvass. And so we
rode by Philiphaugh, Carterhaugh, Bowhill, and Newark, he pouring out
all the way his picturesque anecdotes of former times--more especially
of the fatal field where Montrose was finally overthrown by Leslie. He
described the battle as vividly as if he had witnessed it; the passing
of the Ettrick at daybreak by the Covenanting General's heavy
cuirassiers, many of them old soldiers of Gustavus Adolphus, and the
wild confusion of the Highland host when exposed to their charge on an
extensive _haugh_ as flat as a bowling-green. He drew us aside at
_Slain-men's-lee_, to observe the green mound that marks the
resting-place of the slaughtered royalists; and pointing to the
apparently precipitous mountain, Minchmoor, over which Montrose and
his few cavaliers escaped, mentioned that, rough as it seemed, his
mother remembered passing it in her early days in a coach and six, on
her way to a ball at Peebles--several footmen marching on either side
of the carriage to prop it up, or drag it through bogs, as the case
might require. He also gave us, with all the dramatic effect of one of
his best chapters, the history of a worthy family who, inhabiting at
the time of the battle a cottage on his own estate, had treated with
particular kindness a young officer of Leslie's army quartered on them
for a night or two before. When parting from them to join the troops,
he took out a purse of gold, and told the good woman that he had a
presentiment he should not see another sun set, and in that case would
wish his money to remain in her kind hands; but, if he should survive,
he had no doubt she would restore it honestly. The young man returned
mortally wounded, but lingered awhile under her roof, and finally
bequeathed to her and hers his purse and his blessing. "Such," he
said, "was the origin of the respectable lairds of----, now my good

The prime object of this expedition was to talk over the politics of
Selkirk with one of the Duke of Buccleuch's great store-farmers, who,
as the Sheriff had learned, possessed private influence with a
doubtful bailie or deacon among the Souters. I forget the result, if
ever I heard it. But next morning, having, as he assured us, enjoyed a
good night in consequence of this ride, he invited us to accompany him
on a similar errand across Bowden Moor, and up the Valley of the Ayle;
and when we reached a particularly bleak and dreary point of that
journey, he informed us that he perceived in the waste below a wreath
of smoke, which was the appointed signal that a _wavering_ Souter of
some consequence had agreed to give him a personal interview where no
Whiggish eyes were likely to observe them;--and so, leaving us on the
road, he proceeded to thread his way westward, across moor and bog,
until we lost view of him. I think a couple of hours might have passed
before he joined us again, which was, as had been arranged, not far
from the village of Lilliesleaf. In that place, too, he had some
negotiation of the same sort to look after; and when he had finished
it, he rode with us all round the ancient woods of Riddell, but would
not go near the house; I suppose lest any of the afflicted family
might still be there. Many were his lamentations over the catastrophe
which had just befallen them. "They are," he said, "one of the most
venerable races in the south of Scotland--they were here long before
these glens had ever heard the name of Soulis or of Douglas--to say
nothing of Buccleuch: they can show a Pope's bull of the tenth
century, authorizing the then Riddell to marry a relation within the
forbidden degrees. Here they have been for a thousand years at least;
and now all the inheritance is to pass away, merely because one good
worthy gentleman would not be contented to enjoy his horses, his
hounds, and his bottle of claret, like thirty or forty predecessors,
but must needs turn scientific agriculturist, take almost all his fair
estate into his own hand, superintend for himself perhaps a hundred
ploughs, and try every new nostrum that has been tabled by the
quackish _improvers_ of the time. And what makes the thing ten times
more wonderful is, that he kept day-book and ledger, and all the rest
of it, as accurately as if he had been a cheesemonger in the
Grassmarket." Some of the most remarkable circumstances in Scott's own
subsequent life have made me often recall this conversation--with more
wonder than he expressed about the ruin of the Riddells.

I remember he told us a world of stories, some tragical, some comical,
about the old lairds of this time-honored lineage; and among others,
that of the seven Bibles and the seven bottles of ale, which he
afterwards inserted in a note to The Bride of Lammermoor.[36] He was
also full of anecdotes about a friend of his father's, a minister of
Lilliesleaf, who reigned for two generations the most popular preacher
in Teviotdale; but I forget the orator's name. When the original of
Saunders Fairford congratulated him in his latter days on the
undiminished authority he still maintained--every kirk in the
neighborhood being left empty when it was known he was to mount the
_tent_ at any country sacrament--the shrewd divine answered: "Indeed,
Mr. Walter, I sometimes think it's vera surprising. There's aye a talk
of this or that wonderfully gifted young man frae the college; but
whenever I'm to be at the same _occasion_ with ony o' them, I e'en
mount the white horse in the Revelations, and he dings them a'."

[Footnote 36: "It was once the universal custom to place ale, wine, or
some strong liquor, in the chamber of an honored guest, to assuage his
thirst should he feel any on awakening in the night, which,
considering that the hospitality of that period often reached excess,
was by no means unlikely. The author has met some instances of it in
former days, and in old-fashioned families. It was, perhaps, no poetic
fiction that records how

  'My cummer and I lay down to sleep
   With two pint stoups at our bed feet;
   And aye when we waken'd we drank them dry;
   What think you o' my cummer and I?'

"It is a current story in Teviotdale, that in the house of an ancient
family of distinction, much addicted to the Presbyterian cause, a
Bible was always put into the sleeping apartment of the guests, along
with a bottle of strong ale. On some occasion there was a meeting of
clergymen in the vicinity of the castle, all of whom were invited to
dinner by the worthy Baronet, and several abode all night. According
to the fashion of the times, seven of the reverend guests were
allotted to one large barrack-room, which was used on such occasions
of extended hospitality. The butler took care that the divines were
presented, according to custom, each with a Bible and a bottle of ale.
But after a little consultation among themselves, they are said to
have recalled the domestic as he was leaving the apartment. 'My
friend,' said one of the venerable guests, 'you must know, when we
meet together as brethren, the youngest minister reads aloud a portion
of Scripture to the rest;--only one Bible, therefore, is necessary;
take away the other six, and in their place bring six more bottles of

"This synod would have suited the 'hermit sage' of Johnson, who
answered a pupil who inquired for the real road to happiness with the
celebrated line,

  'Come, my lad, and drink some beer!'"

--See _The Bride of Lammermoor_, note to chap. xiv.]

Thus Scott amused himself and us as we jogged homewards: and it was
the same the following day, when (no election matters pressing) he
rode with us to the western peak of the Eildon hills, that he might
show me the whole panorama of his Teviotdale, and expound the
direction of the various passes by which the ancient forayers made
their way into England, and tell the names and the histories of many a
monastic chapel and baronial peel, now mouldering in glens and dingles
that escape the eye of the traveller on the highways. Among other
objects on which he descanted with particular interest, were the ruins
of the earliest residence of the Kerrs of Cessford, so often opposed
in arms to his own 'chieftains of Branksome, and a desolate little
kirk on the adjoining moor, where the Dukes of Roxburghe are still
buried in the same vault with the hero who fell at Turn-again. Turning
to the northward, he showed us the crags and tower of Smailholm, and
behind it the shattered fragment of Ercildoune--and repeated some
pretty stanzas ascribed to the last of the real wandering minstrels of
this district, by name _Burn_:--

  "Sing Erceldoune, and Cowdenknowes,
   Where Homes had ance commanding,
   And Drygrange, wi' the milk-white ewes,
  'Twixt Tweed and Leader standing.
   The bird that flees through Redpath trees
   And Gledswood banks each morrow,
   May chaunt and sing--_sweet Leader's haughs_
   And _Bonny howms of Yarrow_.

  "But Minstrel Burn cannot assuage
   His grief while life endureth,
   To see the changes of this age
   Which fleeting time procureth;
   For mony a place stands in hard case,
   Where blythe folks kent nae sorrow,
   With Homes that dwelt on Leader side,
   And Scotts that dwelt on Yarrow."[37]

[Footnote 37: [See _ante_, vol. ii. p. 114, note.]]

That night he had again an attack of his cramp, but not so serious as
the former. Next morning he was again at work with Ballantyne at an
early hour; and when I parted from him after breakfast, he spoke
cheerfully of being soon in Edinburgh for the usual business of his
Court. I left him, however, with dark prognostications; and the
circumstances of this little visit to Abbotsford have no doubt dwelt
on my mind the more distinctly, from my having observed and listened
to him throughout under the painful feeling that it might very
probably be my last.

On the 5th of May he received the intelligence of the death of the
Duke of Buccleuch, which had occurred at Lisbon on the 20th April; and
next morning he wrote as follows to his Grace's brother:--


                                            ABBOTSFORD, 6th May, 1819.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I heard from Lord Melville, by yesterday's post,
     the calamitous news which your Lordship's very kind letter this
     moment confirmed, had it required confirmation. For this
     fortnight past, my hopes have been very faint indeed, and on
     Wednesday, when I had occasion to go to Yarrow, and my horse
     turned from habit to go up the avenue at Bowhill, I felt deeply
     impressed that it was a road I should seldom travel for a long
     time at least. To your Lordship--let me add, to myself--this is
     an irreparable loss; for such a fund of excellent sense, high
     principle, and perfect honor have been rarely combined in the
     same individual. To the country the inestimable loss will be soon
     felt, even by those who were insensible to his merits, or wished
     to detract from them, when he was amongst us. In my opinion he
     never recovered from his domestic calamity. He wrote to me, a few
     days after that cruel event, a most affectionate and remarkable
     letter, explaining his own feelings, and while he begged that I
     would come to him, assuring me that I should find him the same he
     would be for the future years of his life. He kept his word; but
     I could see a grief of that calm and concentrated kind which
     claims the hours of solitude and of night for its empire, and
     gradually wastes the springs of life.

     Among the thousand painful feelings which this melancholy event
     had excited, I have sometimes thought of his distance from home.
     Yet this was done with the best intention, and upon the best
     advice, and was perhaps the sole chance which remained for
     reëstablishment. It has pleased God that it has failed; but the
     best means were used under the best direction, and mere mortality
     can do no more. I am very anxious about the dear young ladies,
     whose lives were so much devoted to their father, and shall be
     extremely desirous of knowing how they are. The Duchess has so
     much firmness of mind, and Lady M. so much affectionate prudence,
     that they will want no support that example and kindness can
     afford. To me the world seems a sort of waste without him. We had
     many joint objects, constant intercourse, and unreserved
     communication, so that through him and by him I took interest in
     many things altogether out of my own sphere, and it seems to me
     as if the horizon were narrowed and lowered around me. But God's
     will be done; it is all that brother or friend can or dare
     say.--I have reluctance to mention the trash which is going on
     here. Indeed, I think little is altered since I wrote to your
     Lordship fully, excepting that last night late, Chisholm[38]
     arrived at Abbotsford from Lithgow, recalled by the news which
     had somehow reached Edinburgh,--as I suspect by some
     officiousness of ****. He left Lithgow in such a state that there
     is no doubt he will carry that burgh, unless Pringle[39] gets
     Selkirk. He is gone off this morning to try the possible and
     impossible to get the single vote which he wants, or to prevail
     on one person to stand neuter. It is possible he may succeed,
     though this event, when it becomes generally known, will be
     greatly against his efforts. I should care little more about the
     matter, were it not for young Walter,[40] and for the despite I
     feel at the success of speculations which were formed on the
     probability of the event which has happened. Two sons of *******
     came here yesterday, and with their father's philosophical spirit
     of self-accommodation, established themselves for the night.
     Betwixt them and Chisholm's noise, my head and my stomach
     suffered so much (under the necessity of drowning feelings which
     I could not express), that I had a return of the spasms, and I
     felt as if a phantasmagoria was going on around me. Quiet, and
     some indulgence of natural and solitary sorrow, have made me
     well. To-day I will ride up to Selkirk and see the magistrates,
     or the chief of them. It is necessary they should not think the
     cause deserted. If it is thought proper to suspend the works at
     Bowhill, perhaps the measure may be delayed till the decision of
     this matter.

     I am sure, my dear Lord, you will command me in all I can do. I
     have only to regret it is so little. But to show that my
     gratitude has survived my benefactor, would be the pride and
     delight of my life. I never thought it possible that a man could
     have loved another so much, where the distance of rank was so
     very great. But why recur to things so painful? I pity poor Adam
     Ferguson, whose affections were so much engaged by the Duke's
     kindness, and who has with his gay temper a generous and feeling
     heart. The election we may lose, but not our own credit, and that
     of the family--that you may rest assured of. My best respects and
     warmest sympathy attend the dear young ladies, and Lady Montagu.
     I shall be anxious to know how the Duchess-Dowager does under
     this great calamity. The poor boy--what a slippery world is
     before him, and how early a dangerous, because a splendid, lot is
     presented to him! But he has your personal protection. Believe
     me, with a deep participation in your present distress, your
     Lordship's most faithfully,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 38: Mr. Chisholm was the Tory candidate for the Selkirk

[Footnote 39: Mr. Pringle of Clifton, the Whig candidate.]

[Footnote 40: Walter Francis, the present Duke of Buccleuch.]

Scott drew up for Ballantyne's newspaper of that week the brief
character of Charles, Duke of Buccleuch, which has since been included
in his Prose Miscellanies (vol. iv.); and the following letter
accompanied a copy of it to Ditton Park:--


     MY DEAR LORD,--I send you the newspaper article under a different
     cover. I have studied so much to suppress my own feelings, and
     so to give a just, calm, and temperate view of the excellent
     subject of our present sorrow, such as I conceive might be drawn
     by one less partially devoted to him, that it has to my own eye a
     cold and lifeless resemblance of an original so dear to me. But I
     was writing to the public, and to a public less acquainted with
     him than a few years' experience would have made them. Even his
     own tenantry were but just arrived at the true estimation of his
     character. I wrote, therefore, to insure credit and belief, in a
     tone greatly under my own feelings. I have ordered twenty-five
     copies to be put in a different shape, of which I will send your
     Lordship twenty. It has been a painful task, but I feel it was
     due from me. I am just favored with your letter. I beg your
     Lordship will not write more frequently than you find quite
     convenient, for you must have now more than enough upon you. The
     arrangement respecting Boughton[41] is what I expected--the
     lifeless remains will be laid where the living thoughts had long
     been. I grieve that I shall not see the last honors, yet I hardly
     know how I could have gone through the scene.

     Nothing in the circumstances could have given me the satisfaction
     which I receive from your Lordship's purpose of visiting
     Scotland, and bringing down the dear young ladies, who unite so
     many and such affecting ties upon the regard and affection of
     every friend of the family. It will be a measure of the highest
     necessity for the political interest of the family, and your
     Lordship will have an opportunity of hearing much information of
     importance, which really could not be made the subject of
     writing. The extinction of fire on the hearths of this great
     house would be putting out a public light and a public beacon in
     the time of darkness and storms. Ever your most faithful

                                                                 W. S.

[Footnote 41: Boughton, in Northamptonshire. This seat came into the
possession of Henry, Duke of Buccleuch, by his marriage with the
daughter and heiress of John, the last Duke of Montagu, who survived
for many years her son, Duke Charles. At Boughton, as the reader will
see, Scott's early friend, the Duchess Harriet of Buccleuch, had been
buried in 1814.]

On the 11th of May, Scott returned to Edinburgh, and was present next
day at the opening of the Court of Session; when all who saw him were
as much struck as I had been at Abbotsford with the lamentable change
his illness had produced in his appearance. He was unable to persist
in attendance at the Clerks' Table--for several weeks afterwards I
think he seldom if ever attempted it;--and I well remember that, when
the Third Series of the Tales of my Landlord at length came out (which
was on the 10th of June), he was known to be confined to bed, and the
book was received amidst the deep general impression that we should
see no more of that parentage. On the 13th he wrote thus to Captain
Ferguson, who had arrived in London with the remains of the Duke of


     MY DEAR ADAM,--I am sorry to say I have had another eight days'
     visit of my disorder, which has confined me chiefly to my bed. It
     is not attended with so much acute pain as in spring, but with
     much sickness and weakness. It will perhaps shade off into a mild
     chronic complaint--if it returns frequently with the same
     violence, I shall break up by degrees, and follow my dear Chief.
     I do not mean that there is the least cause for immediate
     apprehension, but only that the constitution must be injured at
     last, as well by the modes of cure, or rather of relief, as by
     the pain. My digestion as well as my appetite are for the present
     quite gone--a change from former days of Leith and Newhaven
     parties. I thank God I can look at this possibility without much
     anxiety, and without a shadow of fear.

     Will you, if your time serves, undertake two little commissions
     for me? One respects a kind promise of Lord Montagu to put George
     Thomson's name on a list for kirk preferment. I don't like to
     trouble him with letters--he must be overwhelmed with business,
     and has his dear brother's punctuality in replying even to those
     which require none. I would fain have that Scottish Abraham Adams
     provided for if possible. My other request is, that you will, if
     you can, see Terry, and ask him what is doing about my
     dining-room chairs, and especially about the carpet, for I shall
     not without them have the use of what Slender calls "mine own
     great parlor" this season. I should write to him, but am really
     unable. I hope you will soon come down--a sight of you would do
     me good at the worst turn I have yet had. The Baronet[42] is very
     kind, and comes and sits by me. Everybody likes the Regalia, and
     I have heard of no one grudging their _hog_[43]--but you must get
     something better. I have been writing to the Commie[44] about
     this. He has been inexpressibly kind in Walter's matter, and the
     Duke of York has promised an early commission. When you see our
     friend, you can talk over this, and may perhaps save him the
     trouble of writing particular directions what further is to be
     done. Iago's rule, I suppose--"put money in thy purse." I wish in
     passing you would ask how the ladies are in Piccadilly. Yours

                                                             W. SCOTT.

[Footnote 42: Mr. William Clerk.]

[Footnote 43: A shilling.]

[Footnote 44: The Lord Chief-Commissioner Adam.]

The Bride of Lammermoor, and A Legend of Montrose, would have been
read with indulgence had they needed it; for the painful circumstances
under which they must have been produced were known wherever an
English newspaper made its way; but I believe that, except in numerous
typical errors, which sprung of necessity from the author's inability
to correct any proof sheets, no one ever affected to perceive in
either tale the slightest symptom of his malady. Dugald Dalgetty was
placed by acclamation in the same rank with Bailie Jarvie--a
conception equally new, just, and humorous, and worked out in all the
details, as if it had formed the luxurious entertainment of a chair as
easy as was ever shaken by Rabelais; and though the character of
Montrose himself seemed hardly to have been treated so fully as the
subject merited, the accustomed rapidity of the novelist's execution
would have been enough to account for any such defect. Of Caleb
Balderstone--(the hero of one of the many ludicrous delineations which
he owed to the late Lord Haddington, a man of rare pleasantry, and one
of the best tellers of old Scotch stories that I ever heard)--I cannot
say that the general opinion was then, nor do I believe it ever since
has been, very favorable. It was pronounced at the time, by more than
one critic, a mere caricature; and though Scott himself would never in
after-days admit this censure to be just, he allowed that "he might
have sprinkled rather too much parsley over his chicken." But even
that blemish, for I grant that I think it a serious one, could not
disturb the profound interest and pathos of The Bride of
Lammermoor--to my fancy the most pure and powerful of all the
tragedies that Scott ever penned. The reader will be well pleased,
however, to have, in place of any critical observations on this work,
the following particulars of its composition from the notes which its
printer dictated when stretched on the bed from which he well knew he
was never to rise.

     "The book" (says James Ballantyne) "was not only written, but
     published, before Mr. Scott was able to rise from his bed; and he
     assured me, that when it was first put into his hands in a
     complete shape, he did not recollect one single incident,
     character, or conversation it contained! He did not desire me to
     understand, nor did I understand, that his illness had erased
     from his memory the original incidents of the story, with which
     he had been acquainted from his boyhood. These remained rooted
     where they had ever been; or, to speak more explicitly, he
     remembered the general facts of the existence of the father and
     mother, of the son and daughter, of the rival lovers, of the
     compulsory marriage, and the attack made by the bride upon the
     hapless bridegroom,[45] with the general catastrophe of the
     whole. All these things he recollected just as he did before he
     took to his bed: but he literally recollected nothing else--not a
     single character woven by the romancer, not one of the many
     scenes and points of humor, nor anything with which he was
     connected as the writer of the work. 'For a long time,' he said,
     'I felt myself very uneasy in the course of my reading, lest I
     should be startled by meeting something altogether glaring and
     fantastic. However, I recollected that you had been the printer,
     and I felt sure that you would not have permitted anything of
     this sort to pass.' 'Well,' I said, 'upon the whole, how did you
     like it?' 'Why,' he said, 'as a whole, I felt it monstrous gross
     and grotesque; but still the worst of it made me laugh, and I
     trusted the good-natured public would not be less indulgent.' I
     do not think I ever ventured to lead to the discussion of this
     singular phenomenon again; but you may depend upon it, that what
     I have now said is as distinctly reported as if it had been taken
     down in short-hand at the moment; I should not otherwise have
     ventured to allude to the matter at all. I believe you will agree
     with me in thinking that the history of the human mind contains
     nothing more wonderful."

[Footnote 45: There appeared in the _Edinburgh Evening Post_ of
October 10, 1840, a letter dated September 5, 1823, addressed by Sir
J. Horne Dalrymple Elphinstone, Bart., to the late Sir James Stewart
Denham of Coltness, Bart., both descendants of the Lord President
Stair, whose daughter was the original of the Bride of Lammermoor,
from which it appears that, according to the traditional creed of the
Dalrymple family, the lady's unhappy lover, Lord Rutherford, had found
means to be secreted in the nuptial chamber, and that the wound of the
bridegroom, Sir David Dunbar of Baldoon, was inflicted by his
Lordship's hand. The letter in question will be appended to future
editions of the novel.--(1841.)]

Soon after Scott reappeared in the Parliament House, he came down one
Saturday to the vaulted chambers below, where the Advocates' Library
was then kept, to attend a meeting of the Faculty, and as the assembly
was breaking up, he asked me to walk home with him, taking
Ballantyne's printing-office in our way. He moved languidly, and said,
if he were to stay in town many days, he must send for Sibyl Grey; but
his conversation was heart-whole; and, in particular, he laughed till,
despite his weakness, the stick was flourishing in his hand, over the
following almost incredible specimen of that most absurd personage the
late Earl of Buchan.

Hearing one morning shortly before this time, that Scott was actually
_in extremis_, the Earl proceeded to Castle Street, and found the
knocker tied up. He then descended to the door in the area, and was
there received by honest Peter Mathieson, whose face seemed to confirm
the woeful tidings, for in truth his master was ill enough. Peter told
his Lordship that he had the strictest orders to admit no visitor; but
the Earl would take no denial, pushed the bashful coachman aside, and
elbowed his way upstairs to the door of Scott's bedchamber. He had his
fingers upon the handle before Peter could give warning to Miss Scott;
and when she appeared to remonstrate against such an intrusion, he
patted her on the head like a child, and persisted in his purpose of
entering the sickroom so strenuously, that the young lady found it
necessary to bid Peter see the Earl downstairs again, at whatever
damage to his dignity. Peter accordingly, after trying all his
eloquence in vain, gave the tottering, bustling, old, meddlesome
coxcomb a single shove,--as respectful, doubt not, as a shove can ever
be,--and he accepted that hint, and made a rapid exit. Scott,
meanwhile, had heard the confusion, and at length it was explained to
him; when, fearing that Peter's gripe might have injured Lord Buchan's
feeble person, he desired James Ballantyne, who had been sitting by
his bed, to follow the old man home--make him comprehend, if he could,
that the family were in such bewilderment of alarm, that the ordinary
rules of civility were out of the question--and, in fine, inquire what
had been the object of his Lordship's intended visit. James proceeded
forthwith to the Earl's house in George Street and found him strutting
about his library in a towering indignation. Ballantyne's elaborate
demonstrations of respect, however, by degrees softened him, and he
condescended to explain himself. "I wished," said he, "to embrace
Walter Scott before he died, and inform him that I had long considered
it as a satisfactory circumstance that he and I were destined to rest
together in the same place of sepulture. The principal thing, however,
was to relieve his mind as to the arrangements of his funeral--to show
him a plan which I had prepared for the procession--and, in a word, to
assure him that I took upon myself the whole conduct of the ceremonial
at Dryburgh." He then exhibited to Ballantyne a formal programme, in
which, as may be supposed, the predominant feature was not Walter
Scott, but David, Earl of Buchan. It had been settled, _inter alia_,
that the said Earl was to pronounce an eulogium over the grave, after
the fashion of French Academicians in the _Père la Chaise_.

And this silliest and vainest of busybodies was the elder brother of
Thomas and Henry Erskine! But the story is well known of his boasting
one day to the late Duchess of Gordon of the extraordinary talents of
his family--when her unscrupulous Grace asked him, very coolly,
whether the wit had not come by the mother, and been all settled on
the younger branches?

Scott, as his letters to be quoted presently will show, had several
more attacks of his disorder, and some very severe ones, during the
autumn of 1819; nor, indeed, had it quite disappeared until about
Christmas. But from the time of his return to Abbotsford in July, when
he adopted the system of treatment recommended by a skilful physician
(Dr. Dick), who had had large experience in maladies of this kind
during his Indian life, the seizures gradually became less violent,
and his confidence that he was ultimately to baffle the enemy remained

[Footnote 46: ["For nearly two years he had to struggle for his life
with that severe illness, which the natural strength of his
constitution at length proved sufficient to throw off. With its
disappearance, although restored to health, disappeared also much of
his former vigor of body, activity, and power of undergoing fatigue,
while in personal appearance he had advanced twenty years in the
downward course of life; his hair had become bleached to pure white
and scanty locks; the fire of his eye quenched; and his step, more
uncertain, had lost the vigorous swinging gait with which he was used
to proceed; in fact, old age had by many years anticipated its usual
progress and marked how severely he had suffered."--James Skene's
_Reminiscences_,--See _Journal_, vol. ii. p. 97, note.]]

As I had no opportunity of seeing him again until he was almost
entirely reëstablished, I shall leave the progress of his restoration
to be collected from his correspondence. But I must not forget to set
down what his daughter Sophia afterwards told me of his conduct upon
one night in June, when he really did despair of himself. He then
called his children about his bed, and took leave of them with solemn
tenderness. After giving them, one by one, such advice as suited their
years and characters, he added: "For myself, my dears, I am
unconscious of ever having done any man an injury, or omitted any fair
opportunity of doing any man a benefit. I well know that no human life
can appear otherwise than weak and filthy in the eyes of God: but I
rely on the merits and intercession of our Redeemer." He then laid his
hand on their heads, and said, "God bless you! Live so that you may
all hope to meet each other in a better place hereafter. And now leave
me, that I may turn my face to the wall." They obeyed him; but he
presently fell into a deep sleep; and when he awoke from it after many
hours, the crisis of extreme danger was felt by himself, and
pronounced by his physician, to have been overcome.


     Gradual Reëstablishment of Scott's Health. -- Ivanhoe in
     Progress. -- His Son Walter Joins the Eighteenth Regiment of
     Hussars. -- Scott's Correspondence with Hhis Son. --
     Miscellaneous Letters to Mrs. Maclean Clephane, M. W. Hartstonge,
     J. G. Lockhart, John Ballantyne, John Richardson, Miss Edgeworth,
     Lord Montagu, Etc. -- Abbotsford Visited by Prince Leopold of
     Saxe-Coburg. -- Death of Mrs. William Erskine.


Before Scott left Edinburgh, on the 12th of July, he had not only
concluded his bargain with Constable for another novel, but, as will
appear from some of his letters, made considerable progress in the
dictation of Ivanhoe.

That he already felt great confidence on the score of his health may
be inferred from his allowing his son, Walter, about the middle of the
month, to join the 18th regiment of Hussars in which he had, shortly
before, received his commission as Cornet.

Scott's letters to his son, the first of his family that left the
house, will merit henceforth a good deal of the reader's attention.
Walter was, when he thus quitted Abbotsford to try his chances in the
active world, only in the eighteenth year of his age; and the fashion
of education in Scotland is such, that he had scarcely ever slept a
night under a different roof from his parents, until this separation
occurred. He had been treated from his cradle with all the indulgence
that a man of sense can ever permit himself to show to any of his
children; and for several years he had now been his father's daily
companion in all his out-of-doors occupations and amusements. The
parting was a painful one; but Scott's ambition centred in the heir of
his name, and instead of fruitless pinings and lamentings, he
henceforth made it his constant business to keep up such a frank
correspondence with the young man as might enable himself to exert
over him, when at a distance, the gentle influence of kindness,
experience, and wisdom. The series of his letters to his son is, in my
opinion, by far the most interesting and valuable, as respects the
personal character and temper of the writer. It will easily be
supposed that, as the young officer entered fully into his father's
generous views of what their correspondence ought to be, and detailed
every little incident of his new career with the same easy confidence
as if he had been writing to a friend or elder brother not very widely
differing from himself in standing, the answers abound with opinions
on subjects with which I have no right to occupy or entertain my
readers: but I shall introduce in the prosecution of this work, as
many specimens of Scott's paternal advice as I can hope to render
generally intelligible without indelicate explanations--and more
especially such as may prove serviceable to other young persons when
first embarking under their own pilotage upon the sea of life. Scott's
manly kindness to his boy, whether he is expressing approbation or
censure of his conduct, can require no pointing out; and his practical
wisdom was of that liberal order, based on such comprehensive views of
man and the world, that I am persuaded it will often be found
available to the circumstances of their own various cases, by young
men of whatever station or profession.

I shall, nevertheless, adhere as usual to the chronological order; and
one or two miscellaneous letters must accordingly precede the first
article of his correspondence with the Cornet. He alludes, however, to
the youth's departure in the following:--


                                            ABBOTSFORD, July 15, 1819.

     DEAR MRS. CLEPHANE,--Nothing could give me more pleasure than to
     hear you are well, and thinking of looking this way. You will
     find all my things in very different order from when you were
     here last, and plenty of room for matron and miss, man and maid.
     We have no engagements, except to Newton Don about the 20th
     August--if we be alive--no unreasonable proviso in so long an
     engagement. My health, however, seems in a fair way of being
     perfectly restored. It is a joke to talk of any other remedy than
     that forceful but most unpleasant one--_calomel_. I cannot say I
     ever felt advantage from anything else; and I am perfectly
     satisfied that, used as an alterative, and taken in very small
     quantities for a long time, it must correct all the inaccuracies
     of the biliary organs. At least it has done so in my case more
     radically than I could have believed possible. I have intermitted
     the régime for some days, but begin a new course next week for
     precaution. Dr. Dick, of the East India Company's service, has
     put me on this course of cure,[47] and says he never knew it fail
     unless when the liver was irreparably injured. I believe I shall
     go to Carlsbad next year. If I must go to a watering-place, I
     should like one where I might hope to see and learn something new
     myself, instead of being hunted down by some of the confounded
     lion-catchers who haunt English spas. I have not the art of being
     savage to those people, though few are more annoyed by them. I
     always think of Snug the Joiner--

       "----If I should as lion _come in strife_
        Into such place, 't were pity on my life."

     I have been delayed in answering your kind letter by Walter's
     departure from us to join his regiment, the 18th Dragoons. He has
     chosen a profession for which he is well suited, being of a calm
     but remarkably firm temper--fond of mathematics, engineering, and
     all sorts of calculation--clear-headed, and good-natured. When
     you add to this a good person and good manners, with great
     dexterity in horsemanship and all athletic exercises, and a
     strong constitution, one hopes you have the grounds of a good
     soldier. My own selfish wish would have been that he should have
     followed the law; but he really had no vocation that way, wanting
     the acuteness and liveliness of intellect indispensable to making
     a figure in that profession. So I am satisfied all is for the
     best, only I shall miss my gamekeeper and companion in my rides
     and walks. But so it was, is, and must be--the young must part
     from the nest, and learn to wing their own way against the storm.

     I beg my best and kindest compliments to Lady Compton. Stooping
     to write hurts me, or I would have sent her a few lines. As I
     shall be stationary here for all this season, I shall not see
     her, perhaps, for long enough. Mrs. Scott and the girls join in
     best love, and I am ever, dear Mrs. Clephane, your faithful and
     most obedient servant,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 47: [An interesting letter from Dr. Dick to Scott will be
found in _Familiar Letters_ (vol. ii. p. 53), in which he speaks of
their common friend, Leyden, and expresses sorrow at the tone
regarding him taken by some of the Edinburgh periodicals, which
ridiculed the idea of comparing him with Sir William Jones as a
linguist. The writer, who knew both, shows Leyden to have been in this
respect much the greater of the two. The Doctor makes light of his
efficient services in Scott's case, and says: "I have only to offer my
grateful thanks for your intended present, which, however, I must beg
leave to decline, because I am rewarded already a thousandfold, by
being allowed the honor of prescribing for you, and by being assured,
under your own hand, that you are so well.... But if you will send me
one volume of any kind, and write on it that it is from yourself, I
shall consider it a great favor. I have the vanity to wish that my son
and his descendants may have it to show as a proof that I was honored
with the friendship of the author."]]

I have had some hesitation about introducing the next letter--which
refers to the then recent publication of a sort of mock-tour in
Scotland, entitled Peter's Letters to his Kinsfolk. Nobody but a very
young and a very thoughtless person could have dreamt of putting forth
such a book; yet the Epistles of the imaginary Dr. Morris have been so
often denounced as a mere string of libels, that I think it fair to
show how much more leniently Scott judged of them at the time.
Moreover, his letter is a good specimen of the liberal courtesy with
which, on all occasions, he treated the humblest aspirants in
literature. Since I have alluded to Peter's Letters at all, I may as
well take the opportunity of adding that they were not wholly the work
of one hand.[48]

[Footnote 48: [The other hand is supposed to have been Wilson's. It is
difficult for any reader of to-day to understand why these clever and
interesting sketches of the men and manners of the Edinburgh of 1819
should have been so emphatically denounced in certain quarters. This
is not the first occasion on which Scott sent words of praise
concerning the _Letters_, which first appeared in part in _Blackwood's
Magazine_. He says of the Pleaders' portraits [John Clerk, Cranstoun,
and Jeffrey], they "are about the best I ever read, and will preserve
these three very remarkable and original men, for all of whom, however
differing in points whereon I wish we had agreed, I entertain not only
deep respect, but sincere friendship and regard."--_Familiar Letters_,
vol. ii. p. 39.]]


                                            ABBOTSFORD, July 19, 1819.

     MY DEAR SIR,--_Distinguendum est._ When I receive a book _ex
     dono_ of the author, in the general case I offer my thanks with
     all haste before I cut a leaf, lest peradventure I should feel
     more awkward in doing so afterwards, when they must not only be
     tendered for the well-printed volumes themselves, and the
     attention which sent them my way, but moreover for the supposed
     pleasure I have received from the contents. But with respect to
     the learned Dr. Morris, the case is totally different, and I
     formed the immediate resolution not to say a word about that
     gentleman's labors without having read them at least twice
     over--a pleasant task, which has been interrupted partly by my
     being obliged to go down the country, partly by an invasion of
     the Southron, in the persons of Sir John Shelley, famous on the
     turf, and his lady. I wish Dr. Morris had been of the party,
     chiefly for the benefit of a little Newmarket man, called
     Cousins, whose whole ideas, similes, illustrations, etc., were
     derived from the course and training stable. He was perfectly
     good-humored, and I have not laughed more this many a day.

     I think the Doctor has got over his ground admirably;--only the
     general turn of the book is perhaps too favorable, both to the
     state of our public society, and of individual character:--

       "His fools have their follies so lost in a crowd
        Of virtues and feelings, that folly grows proud."[49]

     But it was, in every point of view, right to take this more
     favorable tone, and to throw a Claude Lorraine tint over our
     northern landscape. We cannot bear the actual bare truth, either
     in conversation, or that which approaches nearest to
     conversation, in a work like the Doctor's, published within the
     circle to which it refers.

     For the rest, the Doctor has fully maintained his high character
     for force of expression, both serious and comic, and for
     acuteness of observation--_rem acu tetigit_--and his scalpel has
     not been idle, though his lenient hand has cut sharp and clean,
     and poured balm into the wound. What an acquisition it would have
     been to our general information to have had such a work written,
     I do not say fifty, but even five-and-twenty years ago; and how
     much of grave and gay might then have been preserved, as it were,
     in amber, which have now mouldered away. When I think that at an
     age not much younger than yours I knew Black, Ferguson,
     Robertson, Erskine, Adam Smith, John Home, etc., etc., and at
     least saw Burns, I can appreciate better than any one the value
     of a work which, like this, would have handed them down to
     posterity in their living colors. Dr. Morris ought, like
     Nourjahad, to revive every half century, to record the fleeting
     manners of the age, and the interesting features of those who
     will be only known to posterity by their works. If I am very
     partial to the Doctor, which I am not inclined to deny, remember
     I have been bribed by his kind and delicate account of his visit
     to Abbotsford. Like old Cumberland, or like my own gray cat, I
     will e'en purr and put up my back, and enjoy his kind flattery,
     even when I know it goes beyond my merits.

     I wish you would come and spend a few days here, while this
     delightful weather lasts. I am now so well as quite to enjoy the
     society of my friends, instead of the woeful pickle in which I
     was in spring, when you last favored me. It was, however, _dignus
     vindice nodus_, for no less a deity descended to my aid than the
     potent Mercury himself, in the shape of calomel, which I have
     been obliged to take daily, though in small quantities, for these
     two months past. Notwithstanding the inconveniences of this
     remedy, I thrive upon it most marvellously, having recovered both
     sleep and appetite; so when you incline to come this way, you
     will find me looking pretty _bobbishly_. Yours very truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 49: Goldsmith's _Retaliation_.]

On the same day, Scott wrote as follows to John Ballantyne, who had
started for London, on his route to Paris in quest of articles for
next winter's auction-room--and whose good offices he was anxious to
engage on behalf of the Cornet, in case they should happen to be in
the metropolis at the same time:--


                                            ABBOTSFORD, July 19, 1819.

     DEAR JOHN,--I have only to say, respecting matters here, that
     they are all going on quietly. The first volume is very nearly
     finished, and the whole will be out in the first or second week
     of September. It will be well if you can report yourself in
     Britain by that time at farthest, as something must be done on
     the back of this same Ivanhoe.

     Walter left us on Wednesday night, and will be in town by the
     time this reaches you, looking, I fancy, very like a cow in a
     fremd loaning.[50] He will be heard of at Miss Dumergue's. Pray
     look after him, and help him about his purchases.

     I hope you will be so successful in your foreign journey as to
     diddle the Edinburgh folk out of some cash this winter. But don't
     forget September, if you wish to partake the advantages thereof.

     I wish you would see what good reprints of old books are come out
     this year at Triphook's, and send me a note of them.--Yours very

                                                             W. SCOTT.

[Footnote 50: _Anglice_--a strange pasture.]

John Ballantyne found the Cornet in London, and did for him what his
father had requested.


                                            ABBOTSFORD, July 26, 1819.

     DEAR JOHN,--I have yours with the news of Walter's rattle-traps,
     which are abominably extravagant. But there is no help for it but
     submission. The things seem all such as cannot well be wanted.
     How the devil they mount them to such a price, the tailors best
     know. They say it takes _nine_ tailors to make a man--apparently,
     one is sufficient to ruin him. We shall rub through here well
     enough, though James is rather glumpy and dumpy--chiefly, I
     believe, because his child is unwell. If you can make any more
     money for me in London, good and well. I have no spare cash till
     Ivanhoe comes forth. Yours truly,

                                                             W. SCOTT.

     P. S.--Enclosed are sundry letters of introduction for the
     _ci-devant_ Laird of Gilnockie.


                                            ABBOTSFORD, July 21, 1819.

     MY DEAR MISS EDGEWORTH,--When this shall happen to reach your
     hands, it will be accompanied by a second edition of Walter
     Scott, a _tall_ copy, as collectors say, and bound in Turkey
     leather, garnished with all sorts of fur and frippery--not quite
     so well _lettered_, however, as the old and vamped original
     edition. In other and more intelligible phrase, the tall Cornet
     of Hussars, whom this will introduce to you, is my eldest son,
     who is now just leaving me to join his regiment in Ireland. I
     have charged him, and he is himself sufficiently anxious, to
     avoid no opportunity of making your acquaintance, as to be known
     to the good and the wise is by far the best privilege he can
     derive from my connection with literature. I have always felt the
     value of having access to persons of talent and genius to be the
     best part of a literary man's prerogative, and you will not
     wonder, I am sure, that I should be desirous this youngster
     should have a share of the same benefit.

     I have had dreadful bad health for many months past, and have
     endured more pain than I thought was consistent with life. But
     the thread, though frail in some respects, is tough in others;
     and here am I with renewed health, and a fair prospect of
     regaining my strength, much exhausted by such a train of

     I do not know when this will reach you, my son's motions being
     uncertain. But, find you where or when it will, it comes, dear
     Miss Edgeworth, from the sincere admirer of your genius, and of
     the patriotic and excellent manner in which it has always been
     exerted. In which character I subscribe myself ever yours truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

I believe, at the time when the foregoing letter was written, Scott
and Miss Edgeworth had never met. The next was addressed to a
gentleman whose acquaintance the poet had formed when collecting
materials for his edition of Swift. On that occasion Mr. Hartstonge
was of great service to Scott--and he appears to have paid him soon
afterwards a visit at Abbotsford. Mr. Hartstonge was an amiable and
kind-hearted man, and enthusiastically devoted to literature; but his
own poetical talents were undoubtedly of the sort that finds little
favor either with gods or columns. He seems to have written shortly
before this time to inquire about his old acquaintance's health.


                                            ABBOTSFORD, July 21, 1819.

     MY DEAR SIR,--... Fortunately at present my system is pretty
     strong. In the mean while my family are beginning to get
     forwards. Walter (you remember my wading into Cauldshiels Loch to
     save his little frigate from wreck) is now a Cornet of six feet
     two inches in your Irish 18th Hussars; the regiment is now at
     Cork, and will probably be next removed to Dublin, so you will
     see your old friend with a new face; be-furred, be-feathered, and
     be-whiskered in the highest military _ton_. I have desired him to
     call upon you, should he get to Dublin on leave, or come there
     upon duty. I miss him here very much, for he was my companion,
     gamekeeper, etc., etc., and when one loses one's own health and
     strength, there are few things so pleasant as to see a son
     enjoying both in the vigor of hope and promise. Think of this, my
     good friend, and as you have kind affections to make some good
     girl happy, settle yourself in life while you are young, and lay
     up, by so doing, a stock of domestic happiness, against age or
     bodily decay. There are many good things in life, whatever
     satirists and misanthropes may say to the contrary; but probably
     the best of all, next to a conscience void of offence (without
     which, by the bye, they can hardly exist), are the quiet exercise
     and enjoyment of the social feelings, in which we are at once
     happy ourselves, and the cause of happiness to them who are
     dearest to us.

     I have no news to send you from hence. The addition to my house
     is completed with battlement and bartisan, but the old cottage
     remains hidden among creepers, until I shall have leisure--_i.
     e._, time and money--to build the rest of my mansion--which I
     will not do hastily, as the present is amply sufficient for
     accommodation. Adieu, my dear sir; never reckon the degree of my
     regard by the regularity of my correspondence, for besides the
     vile diseases of laziness and procrastination, which have always
     beset me, I have had of late both pain and languor sufficient to
     justify my silence. Believe me, however, always most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

The first letter the young Cornet received from his father after
mounting his "rattle-traps" was the following:--


                                           ABBOTSFORD, August 1, 1819.

     DEAR WALTER,--I was glad to find you got safe to the hospitable
     quarters of Piccadilly, and were put on the way of achieving your
     business well and expeditiously. You would receive a packet of
     introductory letters by John Ballantyne, to whom I addressed

     I had a very kind letter two days ago from your Colonel.[51] Had
     I got it sooner it would have saved some expense in London, but
     there is no help for it now. As you are very fully provided with
     all these appointments, you must be particular in taking care of
     them, otherwise the expense of replacing them will be a great
     burden. Colonel Murray seems disposed to show you much attention.
     He is, I am told, rather a reserved man, which indeed is the
     manner of his family. You will, therefore, be the more attentive
     to what he says, as well as to answer all advances he may make to
     you with cordiality and frankness; for if you be shy on the one
     hand, and he reserved on the other, you cannot have the benefit
     of his advice, which I hope and wish you may gain. I shall be
     guided by his opinion respecting your allowance: he stipulates
     that you shall have only two horses (not to be changed without
     his consent), and on no account keep a gig. You know of old how I
     detest that mania of driving wheel-barrows up and down, when a
     man has a handsome horse, and can ride him. They are both foolish
     and expensive things, and, in my opinion, are only fit for
     English bagmen--therefore gig it not, I pray you.

     In buying your horses you will be very cautious. I see Colonel
     Murray has delicacy about assisting you directly in the
     matter--for he says very truly that some gentlemen make a sort of
     traffic in horse-flesh--from which his duty and inclination
     equally lead him to steer clear. But he will take care that you
     don't buy any that are unfit for service, as in the common course
     they must be approved by the commandant as _chargers_. Besides
     which, he will probably give you some private hints, of which
     avail yourself, as there is every chance of your needing much
     advice in this business. Two things I preach on my own
     experience: _1st_, Never to buy an aged horse, however showy. He
     must have done work, and, at any rate, will be unserviceable in a
     few years. _2dly_, To buy rather when the horse is something low
     in condition, that you may the better see all his points. Six
     years is the oldest at which I would purchase. You will run risk
     of being jockeyed by knowing gentlemen of your own corps parting
     with their _experienced_ chargers to _oblige_ you. Take care of
     this. Any good-tempered horse learns the dragoon duty in
     wonderfully short time, and you are rider enough not to want one
     quite broke in. Look well about you, and out into the country.
     Excellent horses are bred all through Munster, and better have a
     clever young one than an old regimental brute foundered by
     repeated charges and bolts. If you see a brother-officer's horse
     that pleases you much, and seems reasonable, look particularly
     how he stands on his forelegs, and for that purpose see him in
     the stable. If he shifts and shakes a little, have nothing to say
     to him. This is the best I can advise, not doubting you will be
     handsomely excised after all. The officer who leaves his corps
     may be disposing of good horses, and perhaps selling reasonable.
     One who continues will not, at least should not, part with a good
     horse without some great advantage.

     You will remain at Cork till you have learned your regimental
     duty, and then probably be despatched to some outquarter. I need
     not say how anxious I am that you should keep up your languages,
     mathematics, and other studies. To have lost that which you
     already in some degree possess--and that which we don't practise
     we soon forget--would be a subject of unceasing regret to you
     hereafter. You have good introductions, and don't neglect to
     avail yourself of them. Something in this respect your name may
     do for you--a fair advantage, if used with discretion and
     propriety. By the way, I suspect you did not call on John

     The girls were very dull after you left us; indeed the night you
     went away, Anne had hysterics, which lasted some time. Charles
     also was down in the mouth, and papa and mamma a little grave and
     dejected. I would not have you think yourself of too great
     importance neither, for the greatest personages are not always
     long missed, and to make a bit of a parody,--

       "Down falls the rain, up gets the sun,
        Just as if Walter were not gone."

     We comfort ourselves with the hopes that you are to be happy in
     the occupation you have chosen, and in your new society. Let me
     know if there are any well-informed men among them, though I
     don't expect you to find out that for some time. Be civil to all,
     till you can by degrees find out who are really best deserving.

     I enclose a letter from Sophia, which doubtless contains all the
     news. St. Boswell's Fair rained miserably, and disappointed the
     misses. The weather has since been delightful, and harvest
     advances fast. All here goes its old round--the habits of age do
     not greatly change, though those of youth do. Mamma has been
     quite well, and so have I--but I still take calomel. I was
     obliged to drink some claret with Sir A. Don, Sir John Shelley,
     and a funny little Newmarket quizzy, called Cousins, whom they
     brought here with them the other day, but I was not the worse. I
     wish you had Sir J. S. at your elbow when you are buying your
     horses--he is a very knowing man on the turf. I like his lady
     very much. She is perfectly feminine in her manners, has good
     sense, and plays divinely on the harp; besides all which, she
     shoots wild boars, and is the boldest horsewoman I ever saw. I
     saw her at Paris ride like a lapwing, in the midst of all the
     aide-de-camps and suite of the Duke of Wellington.

     Write what your horses come to, etc. Your outfit will be an
     expensive matter; but once settled, it will be fairly launching
     you into life in the way you wished, and I trust you will see the
     necessity of prudence and a gentlemanlike economy, which consists
     chiefly in refusing one's self trifling indulgences until we can
     easily pay for them. Once more, I beg you to be attentive to
     Colonel Murray and to his lady. I hear of a disease among the
     moorfowl. I suppose they are dying for grief at your departure.

     Ever, my dear boy, your affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 51: The then commandant of the 18th Hussars was
Lieutenant-Colonel the Hon. Henry Murray, brother to the Earl of


                                                     7th August, 1819.

     DEAR WALTER,--... I shall be curious to know how you like your
     brother-officers, and how you dispose of your time. The drills
     and riding-school will, of course, occupy much of your mornings
     for some time. I trust, however, you will keep in view drawing,
     languages, etc. It is astonishing how far even half an hour a day
     regularly bestowed on one object, will carry a man in making
     himself master of it. The habit of dawdling away time is easily
     acquired, and so is that of putting every moment either to use or
     to amusement.

     You will not be hasty in forming intimacies with any of your
     brother-officers, until you observe which of them are most
     generally respected, and likely to prove most creditable friends.
     It is seldom that the people who put themselves hastily forward
     to please are those most worthy of being known. At the same time
     you will take care to return all civility which is offered, with
     readiness and frankness. The Italians have a proverb, which I
     hope you have not forgot poor Pierrotti's lessons so far as not
     to comprehend, "_Volto sciolto e pensieri stretti_." There is no
     occasion to let any one see what you exactly think of him; and it
     is the less prudent, as you will find reason, in all probability,
     to change your opinion more than once.

     I shall be glad to hear of your being fitted with a good servant.
     Most of the Irish of that class are scapegraces--drink, steal,
     and lie like the devil. If you could pick up a canny Scot, it
     would be well. Let me know about your mess. To drink hard is none
     of your habits; but even drinking what is called a certain
     quantity every day, hurts the stomach, and by hereditary descent
     yours is delicate. I believe the poor Duke of Buccleuch laid the
     foundation of that disease which occasioned his premature death
     in the excesses of Villars's regiment; and I am sorry and
     ashamed to say, for your warning, that the habit of drinking
     wine, so much practised when I was a young man, occasioned, I am
     convinced, many of my cruel stomach complaints. You had better
     drink a bottle of wine on any particular occasion, than sit and
     soak and sipple at an English pint every day.

     All our bipeds are well. Hamlet had an inflammatory attack, and I
     began to think he was going mad, after the example of his great
     namesake, but Willie Laidlaw bled him, and he has recovered.
     Pussy is very well. Mamma, the girls, and Charlie, join in love.
     Yours affectionately,

                                                                 W. S.

     P. S.--Always mention what letters of mine you have received, and
     write to me whatever comes into your head. It is the privilege of
     great boys when distant that they cannot tire papas by any length
     of detail upon any subject.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, 13th August, 1819.

     MY DEAREST WALTER,--I am very much obliged to Colonel Murray for
     the trouble he has taken on your behalf. I hope he has received
     the letter which I wrote to him a fortnight since under Mr.
     Freeling's cover. It enclosed a parcel of letters to you. I took
     the liberty of asking his advice what allowance you should have
     to assist you. You know pretty well my circumstances and your
     own, and that I wish you to be comfortable, but not in any
     respect extravagant; and this for your own sake, and not for that
     of money, which I never valued very much, perhaps not so much as
     I ought to have done. I think by speaking to Colonel Murray you
     may get at his opinion, and I have so much trust in your honor
     and affection as to confide in your naming your own allowance.
     Meantime, lest the horse should starve while the grass grows, I
     enclose a cheque upon Messrs. Coutts for £50, to accompt of your
     first year's allowance. Your paymaster will give you the money
     for it I dare say. You have to endorse the bill, _i. e._, write
     your name on the back of it.

     All concerned are pleased with your kind tokens of remembrance
     from London. Mamma and I like the caricatures very much. I think,
     however, scarce any of them shows the fancy and talent of old
     Gilray: he became insane, I suppose by racking his brain in
     search of extravagant ideas, and was supported in his helpless
     condition by the woman who keeps the great print-shop in St.
     James's Street, who had the generosity to remember that she had
     made thousands by his labor.

     Everything here goes on in the old fashion, and we are all as
     well as possible, saving that Charles rode to Lawrence fair
     yesterday in a private excursion, and made himself sick with
     eating gingerbread, whereby he came to disgrace.

     Sophia has your letter of the 4th, which she received yesterday.
     The enclosed will help you to set up shop and to get and pay
     whatever is necessary. I wish we had a touch of your hand to make
     the parties rise in the morning, at which they show as little
     alertness as usual.

     I beg you will keep an account of money received and paid. Buy a
     little book ruled for the purpose, for pounds, shillings, and
     pence, and keep an account of cash received and expended. The
     balance ought to be cash in purse, if the book is regularly kept.
     But any very small expenses you can enter as "Sundries, £0: 3:
     6," which saves trouble.

     You will find this most satisfactory and useful. But, indeed,
     arithmetic is indispensable to a soldier who means to rise in his
     profession. All military movements depend upon calculation of
     time, numbers, and distance.

     Dogs all well--cat sick--supposed with eating birds in their
     feathers. Sisters, brother, and mamma join in love to the "poor
     wounded hussa-a-r;"--I dare say you have heard the song; if not,
     we shall send it for the benefit of the mess. Yours

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--Yesterday, _the 12th_, would, I suppose, produce some
     longings after the Peel heights.

In the following letter to Mr. Richardson, we see Scott busied about
certain little matters of heraldic importance which had to be settled
before his patent of baronetcy could be properly made out. He also
alludes to two little volumes, which he edited during this autumn--the
Memorials of the Haliburtons, a thin quarto (never published)--and the
poems of Patrick Carey, of which he had given specimens some years
before in the Annual Register.


                                         ABBOTSFORD, 22d August, 1819.

     MY DEAR RICHARDSON,--I am sorry Walter did not get to your kind
     domicile. But he stayed but about five or six days in London, and
     great was his haste, as you may well suppose. He had a world of
     trinkums to get, for you know there goes as much to the
     man-millinery of a young officer of hussars as to that of an
     heiress on her bridal day. His complete equipage, horses not
     included, cost about £360, and if you add a couple of blood
     horses, it will be £200 more, besides the price of his
     commission, for the privilege of getting the hardness of his
     skull tried by a brick-bat at the next meeting of Radical
     Reformers. I am not much afraid of these folks, however, because
     I remember 1793 and 1794, when the same ideas possessed a much
     more formidable class of the people, being received by a large
     proportion of farmers, shopkeepers, and others, possessed of
     substance. A mere mob will always be a fire of loose straw; but
     it is melancholy to think of the individual mischief that may be
     done. I did not find it quite advisable to take so long a journey
     as London this summer. I am quite recovered; but my last attack
     was of so dreadful a nature, that I wish to be quite insured
     against another--_i. e._, as much as one can be insured against
     such a circumstance--before leaving home for any length of time.

     To return to the vanities of this world, from what threatened to
     hurry me to the next: I enclose a drawing of my arms, with the
     supporters which the heralds here assign me. Our friend Harden
     seems to wish I would adopt one of his Mer-maidens, otherwise
     they should be both Moors, as on the left side. I have also added
     an impression of my seal. You can furnish Sir George Naylor with
     as much of my genealogy as will serve the present purpose. I
     shall lose no time in connecting myself by a general service with
     my grand-uncle, the last Haliburton of Dryburgh Abbey, or
     Newmains, as they call it. I spoke to the Lyon-office people in
     Edinburgh. I find my entry there will be an easy matter, the
     proofs being very pregnant and accessible. I would not stop for a
     trifling expense to register my pedigree in England, as far as
     you think may be necessary, to show that it is a decent one. My
     ancestors were brave and honest men, and I have no reason to be
     ashamed of them, though they were neither wealthy nor great.

     As something of an antiquary and genealogist, I should not like
     there were any mistakes in this matter, so I send you a small
     note of my descent by my father and my paternal grandmother, with
     a memorandum of the proofs by which they may be supported, to
     which I might add a whole cloud of oral witnesses. I hate the
     being suspected of fishing for a pedigree, or bolstering one up
     with false statements. How people can bring themselves to this, I
     cannot conceive. I send you a copy of the Haliburton MS., of
     which I have printed twenty for the satisfaction of a few
     friends. You can have any part of them copied in London which
     ought to be registered. I should like if Sir George Naylor would
     take the trouble of looking at the proofs, which are chiefly
     extracts from the public records. I take this opportunity to send
     you also a copy of a little amateur-book--Carey's Poems--a
     thoroughbred Cavalier, and, I think, no bad versifier. Kind
     compliments to Mrs. Richardson. Yours, my dear Richardson, most

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                      ABBOTSFORD, 4th September, 1819.

     DEAR WALTER,--Your very acceptable letter of the 26th reached me
     to-day. I had begun to be apprehensive that the draft had fallen
     into the hands of the Philistines, but the very long calm must
     have made the packets slow in their progress, which I suppose was
     the occasion of the delay. Respecting the allowance, Colonel
     Murray informs me that from £200 to £250, in addition to the pay
     of a Cornet, ought to make a young man very comfortable. He adds,
     which I am much pleased to hear, that your officers are, many of
     them, men of moderate fortune, and disposed to be economical. I
     had thought of £200 as what would suit us both, but when I see
     the account which you very properly keep, I shall be better able
     to determine. It must be considered that any uncommon expense, as
     the loss of a horse or the like, may occasion an extra draft over
     and above the allowance. I like very much your methodical
     arrangement as to expenses; it is rather a tiresome thing at
     first to keep an accompt of pounds, shillings, and pence, but it
     is highly necessary, and enables one to see how the money
     actually goes. It is, besides, a good practical way of keeping up
     acquaintance with arithmetic, and you will soon find that the
     principles on which all military movements turn are arithmetical,
     and that though one may no doubt learn to do them by rote, yet to
     _understand_ them, you must have recourse to numbers. Your
     adjutant will explain this to you. By the way, as he is a
     foreigner, you will have an opportunity to keep up a little of
     your French and German. Both are highly necessary to you; the
     knowledge of the last, with few other qualifications, made
     several officers' fortunes last war.

     I observe with pleasure you are making acquaintances among the
     gentry, which I hope you will not drop for want of calling, etc.
     I trust you have delivered all your recommendations, for it is an
     affront to omit doing so, both to the person who writes them, and
     those for whom they are designed. On the other hand, one always
     holds their head a little better up in the world when they keep
     good society. Lord and Lady Melville are to give you
     recommendations when you go to Dublin. I was at Melville Castle
     for two days, and found them both well. I was also one day at
     Langholm Lodge to meet Lord Montagu. Possibly, among your Irish
     friends, you may get some shooting. I shall be glad you avail
     yourself of any such opportunities, and also that, when you get
     your own horses, you hunt in the winter, if you be within the
     reach of hounds. Nothing confirms a man in horsemanship so well
     as hunting, though I do not recommend it to beginners, who are
     apt to learn to ride like grooms. Besides the exercise,
     field-sports make a young soldier acquainted with the country,
     and habituate him to have a good eye for distance and for taking
     up the _carte de pays_ in general, which is essential to all, but
     especially to officers of light troops, who are expected to
     display both alertness and intelligence in reporting the nature
     of the country, being in fact the _eyes_ of the army. In every
     point of view, field-sports are preferable to the indoors
     amusement of a billiard-table, which is too often the
     lounging-place for idle young officers, where there is nothing to
     be got but a habit of throwing away time, and an acquaintance
     with the very worst society--I mean at public billiard-rooms--for
     unquestionably the game itself is a pretty one, when practised
     among gentlemen, and not made a constant habit of. But public
     billiard-tables are almost always the resort of blacklegs and
     sharpers, and all that numerous class whom the French call
     _chevaliers d'industrie_, and we, _knights of the whipping-post_.

     I am glad you go to the anatomical lectures. An acquaintance with
     our own very extraordinary frame is a useful branch of general
     knowledge, and as you have some turn for drawing, it will also
     enable you to judge of the proper mode of disposing the limbs and
     muscles of your figures, should you prosecute the art so far. In
     fact, there is no branch of study can come much amiss to a young
     man, providing he does study, and very often the precise
     occupation of the time must be trusted to taste and opportunity.

     The White Boys made a great noise when I was a boy. But Ireland
     (the more is the pity) has never been without White Boys, or
     Right Boys, or Defenders, or Peep-of-day Boys, or some wild
     association or another for disturbing the peace of the country.
     We shall not be many degrees better if the Radical Reformers be
     not checked. The Manchester Yeomen behaved very well, upsetting
     the most immense crowd ever was seen, and notwithstanding the
     lies in the papers, without any unnecessary violence. Mr. Hunt
     pretends to have had several blows on his head with sabres, but
     has no wound to show for it. I am disposed to wish he had got
     such a one as once on a day I could have treated him to. I am apt
     to think his politic pate would have broached no more sedition.

     Miss Rutherford and Eliza Russell are now with us. We were also
     favored with a visit of the Miss ----s, who are rather empty
     canisters, though I dare say very good girls. Anne tired of them
     most inhospitably. Mrs. Maclean Clephane and her two unmarried
     daughters are now here; being, as we say, pears of another tree.
     Your sisters seem very fond of the young ladies, and I am glad of
     it, for they will see that a great deal of accomplishment and
     information may be completely reconciled with liveliness, fun,
     good-humor, and good-breeding.

     All here send love. Dogs and cat are well. I dare say you have
     heard from some other correspondent that poor Lady Wallace died
     of an inflammation, after two days' illness. Trout[52] has
     returned here several times, poor fellow, and seems to look for
     you; but Henry Scott is very kind to him, and he is a great

     As you Hussars smoke, I will give you one of my pipes, but you
     must let me know how I can send it safely. It is a very handsome
     one, though not my best. I will keep my _Meerschaum_ until I make
     my Continental tour, and then you shall have that also. I hope
     you will get leave for a few months, and go with me. Yours very

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 52: _Lady Wallace_ was a pony; _Trout_ a favorite pointer
which the Cornet had given, at leaving home, to the young Laird of
Harden, now the Master of Polwarth.]

About this time, as the succeeding letters will show, Abbotsford had
the honor of a short visit from Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, now
King of the Belgians. Immediately afterwards Scott heard of the death
of Mrs. William Erskine, and repaired to Edinburgh to condole with his
afflicted friend.[53] His allusions, meanwhile, to views of buying
more land on Tweedside, are numerous. These speculations are explained
in a most characteristic style to the Cornet; and we see that one of
them was cut short by the tragical death of a _bonnet-laird_ already
introduced to the reader's notice--namely, _Lauchie Longlegs_, the
admired of Geoffrey Crayon.

[Footnote 53: For Scott's Epitaph for Mrs. Erskine, see his _Poetical
Works_ (Ed. 1834), vol. xi. p. 347 [Cambridge Ed. p. 447].]


                                     ABBOTSFORD, 27th September, 1819.

     MY DEAR WALTER,--Your letter of the 10th gave me the pleasant
     assurance that you are well and happy, and attending to your
     profession. We have been jogging on here in the old fashion,
     somewhat varied by an unexpected visit, on Friday last, from no
     less a person than Prince Leopold. I conclude you will have all
     the particulars of this important event from the other members
     of the family, so I shall only say that when I mentioned the
     number of your regiment, the Prince said he had several friends
     in the 18th, and should now think he had one more, which was very
     polite. By the way, I hear an excellent character of your
     officers for regularity and gentlemanlike manners. This report
     gives me great pleasure, for to live in bad society will deprave
     the best manners, and to live in good will improve the worst.

     I am trying a sort of bargain with neighbor Nicol Milne at
     present. He is very desirous of parting with his estate of
     Faldonside, and if he will be contented with a reasonable price,
     I am equally desirous to be the purchaser. I conceive it will
     come to about £30,000 at least. I will not agree to give a penny
     more; and I think that sum is probably £2000 and more above its
     actual marketable value. But then it lies extremely convenient
     for us, and would, joined to Abbotsford, make a very
     gentlemanlike property, worth at least £1800 or £2000 a year. I
     can command about £10,000 of my own, and if I be spared life and
     health, I should not fear rubbing off the rest of the price, as
     Nicol is in no hurry for payment. As you will succeed me in my
     landed property, I think it right to communicate my views to you.
     I am much moved by the prospect of getting at about £2000 or
     £3000 worth of marle, which lies on Milne's side of the loch, but
     which can only be drained on my side, so that he can make no use
     of it. This would make the lands of Abbotsford worth 40_s._ an
     acre over-head, excepting the sheep farm. I am sensible I might
     dispose of my money to more advantage, but probably to none
     which, in the long run, would be better for you--certainly to
     none which would be productive of so much pleasure to myself. The
     woods are thriving, and it would be easy, at a trifling expense,
     to restore Faldonside loch, and stock it with fish. In fact, it
     would require but a small dam-head. By means of a little
     judicious planting, added to what is already there, the estate
     might be rendered one of the most beautiful in this part of
     Scotland. Such are my present plans, my dear boy, having as much
     your future welfare and profit in view as the immediate
     gratification of my own wishes.

     I am very sorry to tell you that poor Mrs. William Erskine is no
     more. She was sent by the medical people on a tour to the lakes
     of Cumberland, and was taken ill at Lowood, on Windermere.
     Nature, much exhausted by her previous indisposition, sunk under
     four days' illness. Her husband was with her, and two of her
     daughters--he is much to be pitied.

     Mr. Rees, the bookseller, told me he had met you in the streets
     of Cork, and reported well of the growth of your _Schnurr-bart_.
     I hope you know what that means. Pray write often, as the post
     comes so slow. I keep all your letters, and am much pleased with
     the frankness of the style. No word of your horses yet? but it is
     better not to be impatient, and to wait for good ones. I have
     been three times on Newark, and killed six hares each time. The
     two young dogs are capital good.

     I must not omit to tell you our old, and, I may add, our kind
     neighbor Lauchie, has departed, or, as Tom expresses it, has been
     fairly _flytten out o' the warld_. You know the old quarrel
     betwixt his brother and him about the wife: in an ill-fated hour
     Jock the brother came down to Lochbreist with a sister from
     Edinburgh, who was determined to have her share of the
     scolding-match; they attacked poor old Lauchie like mad folks,
     and reviled his wife in all sort of evil language. At length his
     passion was wrought up to a great pitch, and he answered with
     much emotion, that if she were the greatest ---- in Edinburgh, it
     was not their business, and as he uttered this speech, he fell
     down on his back, and lay a dead man before them. There is little
     doubt the violence of the agitation had broke a blood-vessel in
     the heart or brain. A very few days since he was running up and
     down calling for a coffin, and wishing to God he was in one; to
     which Swanston,[54] who was present, answered, he could not apply
     to a better hand, and he would make him one if he had a mind. He
     has left a will of his own making, but from some informality I
     think it will be set aside. His land cannot come into the market
     until his girl comes of age, which, by the way, makes me more
     able for the other bargain.... The blackcocks are very plenty. I
     put up fourteen cocks and hens in walking up the Clappercleuch to
     look at the wood. Do you not wish you had been on the outside
     with your gun? Tom has kept us well supplied with game; he boasts
     that he shot fifteen times without a miss. I shall be glad to
     hear that you do the same on Mr. Newenham's grounds. Mamma, the
     girls, and Charles, all join in love and affection. Believe me
     ever, dear Walter, your affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 54: John Swanston had then the care of the sawmill at
Toftfield; he was one of Scott's most valued dependents, and in the
sequel succeeded Tom Purdie as his henchman.]


                                         ABBOTSFORD, 3d October, 1819.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I am honored with your Buxton letter.... _Anent_
     Prince Leopold, I only heard of his approach at eight o'clock in
     the morning, and he was to be at Selkirk by eleven. The
     magistrates sent to ask me to help them to receive him. It
     occurred to me he might be coming to Melrose to see the Abbey, in
     which case I could not avoid asking him to Abbotsford, as he must
     pass my very door. I mentioned this to Mrs. Scott, who was lying
     quietly in bed, and I wish you had heard the scream she gave on
     the occasion. "What have we to offer him?"--"Wine and cake," said
     I, thinking to make all things easy; but she ejaculated, in a
     tone of utter despair, "Cake!! where am I to get cake?" However,
     being partly consoled with the recollection that his visit was a
     very improbable incident, and curiosity, as usual, proving too
     strong for alarm, she set out with me in order not to miss a peep
     of the great man. James Skene and his lady were with us, and we
     gave our carriages such additional dignity as a pair of leaders
     could add, and went to meet him in full puff. The Prince very
     civilly told me, that, though he could not see Melrose on this
     occasion, he wished to come to Abbotsford for an hour. New
     despair on the part of Mrs. Scott, who began to institute a
     domiciliary search for cold meat through the whole city of
     Selkirk, which produced _one shoulder of cold lamb_. In the mean
     while, his Royal Highness received the civic honors of the
     BIRSE[55] very graciously. I had hinted to Bailie Lang,[56] that
     it ought only to be licked _symbolically_ on the present
     occasion; so he flourished it three times before his mouth, but
     without touching it with his lips, and the Prince followed his
     example as directed. Lang made an excellent speech--sensible, and
     feeling, and well delivered. The Prince seemed much surprised at
     this great propriety of expression and behavior in a magistrate,
     whose people seemed such a rabble, and whose whole band of music
     consisted in a drum and fife. He noticed to Bailie Anderson that
     Selkirk seemed very populous in proportion to its extent. "On an
     occasion like this it seems so," answered the Bailie,--neatly
     enough, I thought. I question if any magistrates in the kingdom,
     lord mayors and aldermen not excepted, could have behaved with
     more decent and quiet good-breeding. Prince Leopold repeatedly
     alluded to this during the time he was at Abbotsford. I do not
     know how Mrs. Scott ultimately managed; but with broiled salmon,
     and blackcock, and partridges, she gave him a very decent lunch;
     and I chanced to have some very fine old hock, which was mighty
     germane to the matter.

     The Prince seems melancholy, whether naturally or from habit, I
     do not pretend to say; but I do not remember thinking him so at
     Paris, where I saw him frequently, then a much poorer man than
     myself; yet he showed some humor, for, alluding to the crowds
     that followed him everywhere, he mentioned some place where he
     had gone out to shoot, but was afraid to proceed for fear of
     "bagging a boy." He said he really thought of getting some
     shooting-place in Scotland, and promised me a longer visit on his
     return. If I had had a day's notice to have _warned the waters_,
     we could have met him with a very respectable number of the
     gentry; but there was no time for this, and probably he liked it
     better as it was. There was only young Clifton who could have
     come, and he was shy and cubbish, and would not, though requested
     by the Selkirk people. He was perhaps ashamed to march through
     Coventry with them. It hung often and sadly on my mind that _he_
     was wanting who could and would have received him like a Prince
     indeed; and yet the meeting betwixt them, had they been fated to
     meet, would have been a very sad one. I think I have now given
     your Lordship a very full, true, and particular account of our
     royal visit, unmatched even by that of King Charles at the Castle
     of Tillietudlem. That we did not speak of it for more than a week
     after it happened, and that that emphatic monosyllable, _The
     Prince_, is not heard amongst us more than ten times a day, is,
     on the whole, to the credit of my family's understanding. The
     piper is the only one whose brain he seems to have endangered;
     for, as the Prince said he preferred him to any he had heard in
     the Highlands--(which, by the way, shows his Royal Highness knows
     nothing of the matter)--the fellow seems to have become incapable
     of his ordinary occupation as a forester, and has cut stick and
     stem without remorse to the tune of _Phail Phranse_, _i. e._, the
     Prince's Welcome.

     I am just going to the head-court with Donaldson, and go a day
     sooner to exhume certain old monuments of the Rutherfords at
     Jedburgh. Edgerstone[57] is to meet me at Jedburgh for this
     research, and then we shall go up with him to dinner. My best
     respects attend Lady Montagu. I wish this letter may reach you on
     a more lively day than it is written in, for it requires little
     to add to its dulness. Tweed is coming down very fast, the first
     time this summer. Believe me, my dear Lord, most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 55: See _ante_, vol. v. p. 88.]

[Footnote 56: Scott's good friend, Mr. Andrew Lang, Sheriff-Clerk for
Selkirkshire, was then chief magistrate of the county town. [He was
the grandfather of the accomplished man of letters who bears his

[Footnote 57: The late John Rutherford of Edgerstone, long M. P. for
Roxburghshire, was a person of high worth, and universally esteemed.
Scott used to say Edgerstone was his _beau ideal_ of the character of
a country gentleman. He was, I believe, the head of the once great and
powerful clan of Rutherford.]


                                       ABBOTSFORD, 14th October, 1819.

     DEAR WALTER,--I had your last letter, and am very glad you find
     pleasant society. Mrs. Dundas of Arniston is so good as to send
     you some introductions, which you will deliver as soon as
     possible. You will be now in some degree accustomed to meet with
     strangers, and to form your estimate of their character and
     manners. I hope, in the mean time, the French and German are
     attended to; please to mention in your next letter what you are
     reading, and in what languages. The hours of youth, my dear
     Walter, are too precious to be spent all in gayety. We must lay
     up in that period when our spirit is active, and our memory
     strong, the stores of information which are not only to
     facilitate our progress through life, but to amuse and interest
     us in our later stage of existence. I very often think what an
     unhappy person I should have been, if I had not done something
     more or less towards improving my understanding when I was at
     your age; and I never reflect, without severe self-condemnation,
     on the opportunities of acquiring knowledge which I either
     trifled with, or altogether neglected. I hope you will be wiser
     than I have been, and experience less of that self-reproach.

     My last acquainted you with Mrs. Erskine's death, and I grieve to
     say we have just received intelligence that our kind neighbor and
     good friend Lord Somerville is at the very last gasp. His disease
     is a dysentery, and the symptoms, as his brother writes to Mr.
     Samuel Somerville, are mortal. He is at Vevay, upon his road, I
     suppose, to Italy, where he had purposed spending the winter. His
     death, for I understand nothing else can be expected, will be
     another severe loss to me; for he was a kind, good friend, and at
     my time of day men do not readily take to new associates. I must
     own this has been one of the most melancholy years I ever passed.
     The poor Duke, who loved me so well--Mrs. Erskine--Lord
     Somerville--not to mention others with whom I was less intimate,
     make it one year of mourning. I should not forget the Chief
     Baron, who, though from ill health we met of late seldom, was
     always my dear friend, and indeed very early benefactor. I must
     look forwards to seeing in your success and respectability, and
     in the affection and active improvement of all of you, those
     pleasures which are narrowed by the death of my contemporaries.
     Men cannot form new intimacies at my period of life, but must be
     happy or otherwise according to the good fortune and good conduct
     of those near relatives who rise around them.

     I wish much to know if you are lucky in a servant. Trust him with
     as little cash as possible, and keep short accounts. Many a good
     servant is spoiled by neglecting this simple precaution. The man
     is tempted to some expense of his own, gives way to it, and then
     has to make it up by a system of overcharge and peculation; and
     thus mischief begins, and the carelessness of the master makes a
     rogue out of an honest lad, and cheats himself into the bargain.

     I have a letter from your uncle Tom, telling me his eldest
     daughter is to be forthwith married to a Captain Huxley of his
     own regiment. As he has had a full opportunity of being
     acquainted with the young gentleman, and approves of the match, I
     have to hope that it will be a happy one. I fear there is no
     great fortune in the case on either side, which is to be

     Of domestic affairs I have little to tell you. The harvest has
     been excellent, the weather delightful; but this I must often
     have repeated. To-day I was thinning out fir-trees in the
     thicket, and the men were quite exhausted with the heat, and I
     myself, though only marking the trees, felt the exercise
     sufficiently warm. The wood is thriving delightfully. On the 28th
     we are to have a dance in honor of your birthday. I wish you
     could look in upon us for the day at least--only I am afraid we
     could not part with you when it was over, and so you would be in
     the guise of Cinderella, when she outstayed her time at the ball,
     and all her finery returned into its original base materials.
     Talking of balls, the girls would tell you the Melrose hop, where
     mamma presided, went off well.

     I expect poor Erskine and his daughter next week, or the week
     after. I went into town to see him--and found him bearing his
     great loss with his natural gentleness and patience. But he was
     sufficiently distressed, as he has great reason to be. I also
     expect Lord and Lady Melville here very soon. Sir William Rae
     (now Lord Advocate) and his lady came to us on Saturday. On
     Sunday Maida walked with us, and in jumping the paling at the
     Greentongue park contrived to hang himself up by the hind leg. He
     howled at first, but seeing us making towards him he stopped
     crying, and waved his tail, by way of signal, it was supposed,
     for assistance. He sustained no material injury, though his leg
     was strangely twisted into the bars, and he was nearly hanging
     by it. He showed great gratitude, in his way, to his deliverers.
     This is a long letter, and little in it; but that is nothing
     extraordinary. All send best love--and I am ever, dear Walter,
     your affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                       ABBOTSFORD, 16th October, 1819.

     DEAR TOM,--I received yesterday your very acceptable letter,
     containing the news of Jessie's approaching marriage, in which,
     as a match agreeable to her mother and you, and relieving your
     minds from some of the anxious prospects which haunt those of
     parents, I take the most sincere interest. Before this reaches
     you the event will probably have taken place. Meantime, I enclose
     a letter to the bride or wife, as the case may happen to be. I
     have sent a small token of good-will to ballast my good wishes,
     which you will please to value for the young lady, that she may
     employ it as most convenient or agreeable to her. A little more
     fortune would perhaps have done the young folks no harm; but
     Captain Huxley, being such as you describe him, will have every
     chance of getting forward in his profession; and the happiest
     marriages are often those in which there is, at first, occasion
     for prudence and economy. I do certainly feel a little of the
     surprise which you hint at, for time flies over our heads one
     scarce marks how, and children become marriageable ere we
     consider them as out of the nursery. My eldest son, Walter, has
     also wedded himself--but it is to a regiment of hussars. He is at
     present a cornet in the 18th, and quartered in Cork barracks. He
     is capital at most exercises, but particularly as a horseman. I
     do not intend he shall remain in the cavalry, however, but shall
     get him into the line when he is capable of promotion. Since he
     has chosen this profession, I shall be desirous that he follows
     it out in good earnest, and that can only be done by getting into
     the infantry.

     My late severe illness has prevented my going up to London to
     receive the honor which the Prince Regent has announced his
     intention to inflict upon me. My present intention is, if I
     continue as well as I have been, to go up about Christmas to get
     this affair over. My health was restored (I trust permanently) by
     the use of calomel, a very severe and painful remedy, especially
     in my exhausted state of body, but it has proved a radical one.
     By the way, _Radical_ is a word in very bad odor here, being used
     to denote a set of blackguards a hundred times more mischievous
     and absurd than our old friends in 1794 and 1795. You will learn
     enough of the doings of the _Radical Reformers_ from the papers.
     In Scotland we are quiet enough, excepting in the manufacturing
     districts, and we are in very good hands, as Sir William Rae, our
     old commander, is Lord Advocate. Rae has been here two or three
     days, and left me yesterday; he is the old man, sensible,
     cool-headed, and firm, always thinking of his duty, never of
     himself. He inquired kindly after you, and I think will be
     disposed to serve you, should an opportunity offer. Poor William
     Erskine has lost his excellent wife, after a long and wasting
     illness. She died at Lowood on Windermere, he having been
     recommended to take her upon a tour about three weeks before her
     death. I own I should scarce forgive a physician who should
     contrive to give me this addition to family distress. I went to
     town last week to see him, and found him, upon the whole, much
     better than I expected. I saw my mother on the same occasion,
     admirably well indeed. She is greatly better than this time two
     years, when she rather quacked herself a little too much. I have
     sent your letter to our mother, and will not fail to transmit to
     our other friends the agreeable news of your daughter's
     settlement. Our cousin, Sir Harry Macdougal, is marrying his
     eldest daughter to Sir Thomas Brisbane, a very good match on
     both sides. I have been paying a visit on the occasion, which
     suspends my closing this letter. I hope to hear very soon from
     you. Respecting our silence, I, like a ghost, only waited to be
     spoken to, and you may depend on me as a regular correspondent,
     when you find time to be one yourself. Charlotte and the girls
     join in kind love to Mrs. Scott and all the family. I should like
     to know what you mean to do with young Walter, and whether I can
     assist you in that matter. Believe me, dear Tom, ever your
     affectionate brother,

                                                             W. SCOTT.


                                        ABBOTSFORD, November 10, 1819.

     MY DEAR TERRY,--I should be very sorry if you thought the
     interest I take in you and yours so slight as not to render your
     last letter extremely interesting. We have all our various
     combats to fight in this best of all possible worlds, and, like
     brave fellow-soldiers, ought to assist one another as much as
     possible. I have little doubt, that if God spares me till my
     little namesake be fit to take up his share of the burden, I may
     have interest enough to be of great advantage to him in the
     entrance of life. In the present state of your own profession,
     you would not willingly, I suppose, choose him to follow it; and,
     as it is very seductive to young people of a lively temper and
     good taste for the art, you should, I think, consider early how
     you mean to dispose of little Walter, with a view, that is, to
     the future line of life which you would wish him to adopt. Mrs.
     Terry has not the good health which all who know her amiable
     disposition and fine accomplishments would anxiously wish her;
     yet, with impaired health and the caution which it renders
     necessary, we have very frequently instances of the utmost verge
     of existence being attained, while robust strength is cut off in
     the middle career. So you must be of good heart, and hope the
     best in this as in other cases of a like affecting nature. I go
     to town on Monday, and will forward under Mr. Freeling's cover as
     much of Ivanhoe as is finished in print. It is completed, but in
     the hands of a very slow transcriber; when I can collect it, I
     will send you the MS., which you will please to keep secret from
     every eye. I think this will give a start, if it be worth taking,
     of about a month, for the work will be out on the 20th of
     December. It is certainly possible to adapt it to the stage, but
     the expense of scenery and decorations would be great, this being
     a tale of chivalry, not of character. There is a tale in
     existence, by dramatizing which, I am certain, a most powerful
     effect might be produced: it is called Undine, and I believe has
     been translated into French by Mademoiselle Montolieu, and into
     English from her version: do read it, and tell me your opinion:
     in German the character of Undine is exquisite. The only
     objection is, that the catastrophe is unhappy, but this might be
     altered. I hope to be in London for ten days the end of next
     month; and so good-by for the present, being in great haste, most
     truly yours,

                                                             W. SCOTT.

I conclude this chapter with a letter written two or three days before
Scott quitted Abbotsford for the winter session. It is addressed to
his friend Hartstonge, who had taken the opportunity of the renewal of
Scott's correspondence to solicit his opinion and assistance touching
a MS. drama; and the reader will be diverted with the style in which
the amiable tragedian is treated to his _quietus_:--


                                      ABBOTSFORD, 11th November, 1819.

     MY DEAR SIR,--I was duly favored with your packet, containing the
     play, as well as your very kind letter. I will endeavor (though
     extremely unwilling to offer criticism on most occasions) to meet
     your confidence with perfect frankness. I do not consider the
     Tragedy as likely to make that favorable impression on the public
     which I would wish that the performance of a friend should
     effect--and I by no means recommend to you to hazard it upon the
     boards. In other compositions, the neglect of the world takes
     nothing from the merit of the author; but there is something
     ludicrous in being _affiché_ as the author of an unsuccessful
     play. Besides, you entail on yourself the great and eternal
     plague of altering and retrenching to please the humors of
     performers, who are, speaking generally, extremely ignorant, and
     capricious in proportion. These are not vexations to be
     voluntarily undertaken; and the truth is, that in the present day
     there is only one reason which seems to me adequate for the
     encountering the plague of trying to please a set of conceited
     performers and a very motley audience,--I mean the want of money,
     from which, fortunately, you are exempted. It is very true that
     some day or other a great dramatic genius may arise to strike out
     a new path; but I fear till this happens no great effect will be
     produced by treading in the old one. The reign of Tragedy seems
     to be over, and the very considerable poetical abilities which
     have been lately applied to it, have failed to revive it. Should
     the public ever be indulged with small theatres adapted to the
     hours of the better ranks in life, the dramatic art may recover;
     at present it is in abeyance--and I do therefore advise you in
     all sincerity to keep the Tragedy (which I return under cover)
     safe under your own charge. Pray think of this as one of the most
     unpleasant offices of friendship--and be not angry with me for
     having been very frank, upon an occasion when frankness may be
     more useful than altogether palatable.

     I am much obliged to you for your kind intentions towards my
     young Hussar. We have not heard from him for three weeks. I
     believe he is making out a meditated visit to Killarney. I am
     just leaving the country for Edinburgh, to attend my duty in the
     courts; but the badness of the weather in some measure reconciles
     me to the unpleasant change. I have the pleasure to continue the
     most satisfactory accounts of my health; it is, to external
     appearance, as strong as in my strongest days--indeed, after I
     took once more to Sancho's favorite occupations of eating and
     sleeping, I recovered my losses wonderfully. Very truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


     Political Alarms. -- The Radicals. -- Levies of Volunteers. --
     Project of the Buccleuch Legion. -- Death of Scott's Mother, her
     Brother Dr. Rutherford, and her Sister Christian. -- Letters to
     Lord Montagu, Mr. Thomas Scott, Cornet Scott, Mr. Laidlaw, and
     Lady Louisa Stuart. -- Publication of Ivanhoe.



_After the painting at Abbotsford_]

Towards the winter of 1819 there prevailed a spirit of alarming
insubordination among the mining population of Northumberland and the
weavers of the West of Scotland; and Scott was particularly gratified
with finding that his own neighbors at Galashiels had escaped the
contagion. There can be little doubt that this exemption was
principally owing to the personal influence and authority of the Laird
of Abbotsford and Sheriff of the Forest; but the people of Galashiels
were also fortunate in the qualities of their own beneficent
landlords, Mr. Scott of Gala, and Mr. Pringle of Torwoodlee. The
progress of the western _Reformers_ by degrees led even the most
important Whigs in that district to exert themselves in the
organization of volunteer regiments, both mounted and dismounted; and,
when it became generally suspected that Glasgow and Paisley maintained
a dangerous correspondence with the refractory colliers of
Northumberland--Scott, and his friends the Lairds of Torwoodlee and
Gala, determined to avail themselves of the loyalty and spirit of the
men of Ettrick and Teviotdale, and proposed first raising a company
of sharpshooters among their own immediate neighbors, and
afterwards--this plan receiving every encouragement--a legion or
brigade upon a large scale, to be called the Buccleuch Legion. During
November and December, 1819, these matters formed the chief daily care
and occupation of the author of Ivanhoe; and though he was still
obliged to dictate most of the chapters of his novel, we shall see
that, in case it should be necessary for the projected levy of
Foresters to march upon Tynedale, he was prepared to place himself at
their head.

He had again intended, as soon as he should have finished Ivanhoe, to
proceed to London, and receive his baronetcy; but as that affair had
been crossed at Easter by his own illness, so at Christmas it was
again obliged to be put off in consequence of a heavy series of
domestic afflictions. Within one week Scott lost his excellent mother,
his uncle Dr. Daniel Rutherford, Professor of Botany in the University
of Edinburgh--and their sister, Christian Rutherford, already often
mentioned as one of the dearest and most esteemed of all his friends
and connections.

The following letters require no further introduction or comment:--


                                      ABBOTSFORD, 12th November, 1819.

     MY DEAR LORD,--... I wish I had any news to send your Lordship;
     but the best is, we are all quiet here. The Galashiels weavers,
     both men and masters, have made their political creed known to
     me, and have sworn themselves anti-radical. They came in solemn
     procession, with their banners, and my own piper at their head,
     whom they had borrowed for the nonce. But the Tweed being in
     flood, we could only communicate like Wallace and Bruce across
     the Carron. However, two deputies came through in the boat, and
     made me acquainted with their loyal purposes. The evening was
     crowned with two most distinguished actions--the weavers
     refusing, in the most peremptory manner, to accept of a couple of
     guineas to buy whiskey, and the renowned John of Skye, piper in
     ordinary to the Laird of Abbotsford, no less steadily refusing a
     very handsome collection, which they offered him for his
     minstrelsy. All this sounds very nonsensical, but the people must
     be humored and countenanced when they take the right turn,
     otherwise they will be sure to take the wrong. The accounts from
     the West sometimes make me wish our little Duke five or six years
     older, and able to get on horseback. It seems approaching to the
     old song--

       "Come fill up our cup, come fill up our can,
        Come saddle the horses, and call up our men,
        Come open the gates, and let us go free,
        And we'll show them the bonnets of bonny Dundee."[58]

     I am rather too old for that work now, and I cannot look forward
     to it with the sort of feeling that resembled pleasure--as I did
     in my younger and more healthy days. However, I have got a good
     following here, and will endeavor to keep them together till
     times mend.

     My respectful compliments attend Lady Montagu, and I am always,
     with the greatest regard, your Lordship's very faithful

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 58: See Scott's _Poetical Works_, vol. xii. p. 195
[Cambridge Ed. p. 485].]


                                       EDINBURGH, 13th November, 1819.

     DEAR WALTER,--I am much surprised and rather hurt at not hearing
     from you for so long a while. You ought to remember that, however
     pleasantly the time may be passing with you, we at home have some
     right to expect that a part of it (a very small part will serve
     the turn) should be dedicated, were it but for the sake of
     propriety, to let us know what you are about. I cannot say I
     shall be flattered by finding myself under the necessity of again
     complaining of neglect. To write once a week, to one or other of
     us, is no great sacrifice, and it is what I earnestly pray you to

     We are to have great doings in Edinburgh this winter. No less
     than Prince Gustavus of Sweden is to pass the season here, and do
     what Princes call studying. He is but half a Prince either, for
     this Northern Star is somewhat shorn of his beams. His father
     was, you know, dethroned by Buonaparte, at least by the influence
     of his arms, and one of his generals, Bernadotte, made heir of
     the Swedish throne in his stead. But this youngster, I suppose,
     has his own dreams of royalty, for he is nephew to the Emperor of
     Russia (by the mother's side), and that is a likely connection to
     be of use to him, should the Swedish nobles get rid of
     Bernadotte, as it is said they wish to do. Lord Melville has
     recommended the said Prince particularly to my attention, though
     I do not see how I can do much for him.

     I have just achieved my grand remove from Abbotsford to
     Edinburgh--a motion which you know I do not make with great
     satisfaction. We had the Abbotsford hunt last week. The company
     was small, as the newspapers say, but select, and we had
     excellent sport, killing eight hares. We coursed on Gala's
     ground, and he was with us. The dinner went off with its usual
     alacrity, but we wanted you and Sally to ride and mark for us.

     I enclose another letter from Mrs. Dundas of Arniston. I am
     afraid you have been careless in not delivering those I formerly
     forwarded, because in one of them, which Mrs. Dundas got from a
     friend, there was enclosed a draft for some money. I beg you will
     be particular in delivering any letters entrusted to you, because
     though the good-nature of the writers may induce them to write to
     be of service to you, yet it is possible that they may, as in
     this instance, add things which are otherwise of importance to
     their correspondents. It is probable that you may have picked up
     among your military friends the idea that the mess of a regiment
     is all in all sufficient to itself; but when you see a little of
     the world you will be satisfied that none but pedants--for there
     is pedantry in all professions--herd exclusively together, and
     that those who do so are laughed at in real good company. This
     you may take on the authority of one who has seen more of life
     and society, in all its various gradations, from the highest to
     the lowest, than a whole hussar regimental mess, and who would be
     much pleased by knowing that you reap the benefit of an
     experience which has raised him from being a person of small
     consideration to the honor of being father of an officer of
     hussars. I therefore enclose another letter from the same kind
     friend, of which I pray you to avail yourself. In fact, those
     officers who associate entirely among themselves see and know no
     more of the world than their messman, and get conceited and
     disagreeable by neglecting the opportunities offered for
     enlarging their understanding. Every distinguished soldier whom I
     have known, and I have known many, was a man of the world, and
     accustomed to general society.

     To sweeten my lecture, I have to inform you that, this being
     quarter-day, I have a remittance of £50 to send you whenever you
     are pleased to let me know it will be acceptable--for, like a
     ghost, I will not speak again till I am spoken to.

     I wish you not to avail yourself of your leave of absence this
     winter, because, if my health continues good, I shall endeavor to
     go on the Continent next summer, and should be very desirous to
     have you with me; therefore, I beg you to look after your French
     and German. We had a visit from a very fine fellow indeed at
     Abbotsford,--Sir Thomas Brisbane, who long commanded a brigade in
     the Peninsula. He is very scientific, but bores no one with it,
     being at the same time a well-informed man on all subjects, and
     particularly alert in his own profession, and willing to talk
     about what he has seen. Sir Harry Hay Macdougal, whose eldest
     daughter he is to marry, brought him to Abbotsford on a sort of
     wedding visit, as we are cousins according to the old fashion of
     country kin; Beardie, of whom Sir Harry has a beautiful picture,
     being a son of an Isabel Macdougal, who was, I fancy, grand-aunt
     to Sir Harry.

     Once more, my dear Walter, write more frequently, and do not
     allow yourself to think that the first neglect in correspondence
     I have ever had to complain of has been on your part. I hope you
     have received the Meerschaum pipe.--I remain your affectionate

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                         EDINBURGH, 3d December, 1819.

     MY DEAR WALTER,--I hope your servant proves careful and trusty.
     Pray let me know this. At any rate, do not trust him a bit
     further than you can help it, for in buying anything you will get
     it much cheaper yourself than he will. We are now settled for the
     winter; that is, all of them excepting myself, who must soon look
     southwards. On Saturday we had a grand visitor, _i. e._, the
     Crown Prince of Sweden, under the name of Count Itterburg. His
     travelling companion or tutor is Baron de Polier, a Swiss of
     eminence in literature and rank. They took a long look at King
     Charles XII., who, you cannot have forgotten, keeps his post over
     the dining-room chimney; and we were all struck with the
     resemblance betwixt old Ironhead, as the janissaries called him,
     and his descendant. The said descendant is a very fine lad, with
     very soft and mild manners, and we passed the day very
     pleasantly. They were much diverted with Captain Adam,[59] who
     outdid his usual outdoings, and, like the Barber of Bagdad,
     danced the dance and sung the song of every person he spoke of.

     I am concerned I cannot give a very pleasant account of things
     here. Glasgow is in a terrible state. The Radicals had a plan to
     seize on 1000 stand of arms, as well as a depôt of ammunition,
     which had been sent from Edinburgh Castle for the use of the
     volunteers. The Commander-in-Chief, Sir Thomas Bradford, went to
     Glasgow in person, and the whole city was occupied with patrols
     of horse and foot, to deter them from the meditated attack on the
     barracks. The arms were then delivered to the volunteers, who are
     said to be 4000 on paper; how many effective and trustworthy, I
     know not. But it was a new sight in Scotland on a Sunday to see
     all the inhabitants in arms, soldiers patrolling the streets, and
     the utmost precaution of military service exacted and observed in
     an apparently peaceful city.

     The Old Blue Regiment of volunteers was again summoned together
     yesterday. They did not muster very numerous, and looked most of
     them a little _ancient_. However, they are getting recruits fast,
     and then the veterans may fall out of the ranks. The
     Commander-in-Chief has told the President that he may soon be
     obliged to leave the charge of the Castle to these armed
     citizens. This looks serious. The President[60] made one of the
     most eloquent addresses that ever was heard, to the Old Blues.
     The Highland Chiefs have offered to raise their clans, and march
     them to any point in Scotland where their services shall be
     required. To be sure, the Glasgow folks would be a little
     surprised at the arrival of Dugald Dhu, "brogues an' brochan an'
     a'." I shall, I think, bid Ballantyne send you a copy of his
     weekly paper, which often contains things you would like to see,
     and will keep you in mind of Old Scotland.

     They are embodying a troop of cavalry in Edinburgh--nice young
     men and good horses. They have paid me the compliment to make me
     an honorary member of the corps, as my days of active service
     have been long over. Pray take care, however, of my sabre, in
     case the time comes which must turn out all.

     I have almost settled that, if things look moderately tranquil in
     Britain in spring and summer, I will go abroad, and take Charles,
     with the purpose of leaving him, for two or three years, at the
     famous institution of Fellenborg, near Berne, of which I hear
     very highly. Two of Fraser Tytler's sons are there, and he makes
     a very favorable report of the whole establishment. I think that
     such a residence abroad will not only make him well acquainted
     with French and German, as indeed he will hear nothing else, but
     also prevent his becoming an Edinburgh _petit-maître_ of fourteen
     or fifteen, which he could otherwise scarce avoid. I mentioned to
     you that I should be particularly glad to get you leave of
     absence, providing it does not interfere with your duty, in order
     that you may go with us. If I have cash enough, I will also take
     your sister and mamma, and you might return home with them by
     Paris, in case I went on to Italy. All this is doubtful, but I
     think it is almost certain that Charles and I go, and hope to
     have you with us. This will be probably about July next, and I
     wish you particularly to keep it in view. If these dark prospects
     become darker, which God forbid! neither you nor I will have it
     in our power to leave the post to which duty calls us.

     Mamma and the girls are quite well, and so is Master Charles, who
     is of course more magnificent, as being the only specimen of
     youthhead at home. He has got an old broadsword hanging up at his
     bed-head, which, to be the more ready for service, hath no
     sheath. To this I understand we are to trust for our defence
     against the Radicals. Anne (notwithstanding the assurance) is so
     much afraid of the disaffected, that last night, returning with
     Sophia from Portobello, where they had been dancing with the
     Scotts of Harden, she saw a Radical in every man that the
     carriage passed. Sophia is of course wise and philosophical, and
     mamma has not yet been able to conceive why we do not catch and
     hang the whole of them, untried and unconvicted. Amidst all their
     various emotions, they join in best love to you; and I always am
     very truly yours,

                                                             W. SCOTT.

     P. S.--I shall set off for London on the 25th.

[Footnote 59: Sir Adam Ferguson.]

[Footnote 60: The Right Honorable Charles Hope, Lord President of the
Court of Session, was Colonel-commandant of the Old Blues, or First
Regiment of Edinburgh Volunteers.]


                                       EDINBURGH, 17th December, 1819.

     MY DEAR WALTER,--I have a train of most melancholy news to
     acquaint you with. On Saturday I saw your grandmother perfectly
     well, and on Sunday the girls drank tea with her, when the good
     old lady was more than usually in spirits; and, as if she had
     wished to impress many things on their memory, told over a number
     of her old stories with her usual alertness and vivacity. On
     Monday she had an indisposition, which proved to be a paralytic
     affection, and on Tuesday she was speechless, and had lost the
     power of one side, without any hope of recovery, although she may
     linger some days. But what is very remarkable, and no less
     shocking, Dr. Rutherford, who attended his sister in perfect
     health upon Tuesday, died himself upon the Wednesday morning. He
     had breakfasted without intimating the least illness, and was
     dressed to go out, and particularly to visit my mother, when he
     sunk backwards, and died in his daughter Anne's arms, almost
     without a groan. To add to this melancholy list, our poor friend,
     Miss Christie, is despaired of. She was much affected by my
     mother's fatal indisposition, but does not know as yet of her
     brother's death.

     Dr. Rutherford was a very ingenious as well as an excellent man,
     more of a gentleman than his profession too often are, for he
     could not take the back-stairs mode of rising in it, otherwise he
     might have been much more wealthy. He ought to have had the
     Chemistry class, as he was one of the best chemists in
     Europe;[61] but superior interest assigned it to another, who,
     though a neat experimentalist, is not to be compared to poor
     Daniel for originality of genius. Since you knew him, his health
     was broken and his spirits dejected, which may be traced to the
     loss of his eldest son on board an East Indiaman, and also, I
     think, to a slight paralytic touch which he had some years ago.

     To all this domestic distress I have to add the fearful and
     unsettled state of the country. All the regular troops are gone
     to Glasgow. The Mid-Lothian Yeomanry and other corps of
     volunteers went there on Monday, and about 5000 men occupied the
     town. In the mean while, we were under considerable apprehension
     here, the Castle being left in the charge of the city volunteers
     and a few veterans.

     All our corner, high and low, is loyal. Torwoodlee, Gala, and I,
     have offered to raise a corps, to be called the Loyal Foresters,
     to act anywhere south of the Forth. If matters get worse, I will
     ask leave of absence for you from the Commander-in-Chief, because
     your presence will be materially useful to levy men, and you can
     only be idle where you are, unless Ireland should be disturbed.
     Your old corps of the Selkirkshire Yeomanry have been under
     orders, and expect to be sent either to Dumfries or Carlisle.
     Berwick is dismantled, and they are removing the stores, cannon,
     etc., from one of the strongest places here, for I defy the devil
     to pass the bridge at Berwick, if reasonably well kept by 100
     men. But there is a spirit of consternation implied in many of
     the orders, which, _entre nous_, I like worse than what I see or
     know of the circumstances which infer real danger. For myself I
     am too old to fight, but nobody is too old to die, like a man of
     virtue and honor, in defence of the principles he has always

     I would have you to keep yourself ready to return here suddenly,
     in case the Duke of York should permit your temporary services in
     your own country, which, if things grow worse, I will certainly
     ask. The fearful thing is the secret and steady silence observed
     by the Radicals in all they do. Yet, without anything like
     effective arms or useful discipline, without money and without a
     commissariat, what can they do, but, according to their favorite
     toast, have blood and plunder? Mamma and the girls, as well as
     Charles, send kind love. Your affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 61: "The subject of his _Thesis_ is singular, and entitles
Rutherford to rank very high among the chemical philosophers of modern
times. Its title is _De Aere Mephitico_, etc.--It is universally
admitted that Dr. Rutherford first discovered this gas--the reputation
of his discovery being speedily spread through Europe, his character
as a chemist of the first eminence was firmly established, and much
was augured from a young man in his twenty-second year having
distinguished himself so remarkably."--Bower's _History of the
University of Edinburgh_, vol. iii. (1830), pp. 260, 261.]


                                         EDINBURGH, December 20, 1819.

     MY DEAR WILLIE,--Distress has been very busy with me since I
     wrote to you. I have lost, in the course of one week, my valued
     relations, Dr. and Miss Rutherford--happy in this, that neither
     knew of the other's dissolution. My dear mother has offered me
     deeper subject of affliction, having been struck with the palsy,
     and being now in such a state that I scarce hope to see her

     But the strange times compel me, under this pressure of domestic
     distress, to attend to public business. I find Mr. Scott of Gala
     agrees with me in thinking we should appeal at this crisis to the
     good sense and loyalty of the lower orders, and we have resolved
     to break the ice, and be the first in the Lowlands, so far as I
     have yet heard of, to invite our laborers and those over whom
     circumstances and fortune give us influence, to rise with us in
     arms, and share our fate. You know, as well as any one, that I
     have always spent twice the income of my property in giving work
     to my neighbors, and I hope they will not be behind the
     Galashiels people, who are very zealous. Gala and I go hand in
     hand, and propose to raise at least a company each of men, to be
     drilled as sharpshooters or infantry, which will be a lively and
     interesting amusement for the young fellows. The dress we propose
     to be as simple, and at the same time as serviceable, as
     possible;--a jacket and trousers of Galashiels gray cloth, and a
     smart bonnet with a small feather, or, to save even that expense,
     a sprig of holly. And we will have shooting at the mark, and
     prizes, and fun, and a little whiskey, and daily pay when on duty
     or drill. I beg of you, dear Willie, to communicate my wish to
     all who have received a good turn at my hand, or may expect one,
     or may be desirous of doing me one--(for I should be sorry
     Darnick and Brigend were beat)--and to all other free and honest
     fellows who will take share with me on this occasion. I do not
     wish to take any command farther than such as shall entitle me to
     go with the corps, for I wish it to be distinctly understood
     that, in whatever capacity, _I go with them_, and take a share in
     good or bad as it casts up. I cannot doubt that I will have your
     support, and I hope you will use all your enthusiasm in our
     behalf. Morrison volunteers as our engineer. Those who I think
     should be spoke to are the following, among the higher class:--

     John Usher.[62] He should be lieutenant, or his son ensign.

     Sam Somerville.[63] I will speak to him--he may be lieutenant,
     if Usher declines; but I think, in that case, Usher should give
     us his son.

     Young Nicol Milne[64] is rather young, but I will offer to his
     father to take him in.

     Harper[65] is a _sine qua non_. Tell him I depend on him for the
     honor of Darnick. I should propose to him to take a gallant

     Adam Ferguson thinks you should be our adjutant. John Ferguson I
     propose for captain. He is steady, right bold, and has seen much
     fire. The auld captain will help us in one shape or other. For
     myself, I know not what they propose to make of me, but it cannot
     be anything very active. However, I should like to have a steady
     quiet horse, drilled to stand fire well, and if he has these
     properties, no matter how stupid, so he does not stumble. In this
     case the price of such a horse will be no object.

     These, my dear friend, are your beating orders. I would propose
     to raise about sixty men, and not to take old men. John the
     Turk[66] will be a capital corporal; and I hope in general that
     all my young fellows will go with me, leaving the older men to go
     through necessary labor. Sound Tom what he would like. I think,
     perhaps, he would prefer managing matters at home in your absence
     and mine at drill.

     John of Skye is cock-a-hoop upon the occasion, and I suppose has
     made fifty blunders about it by this time. You must warn Tom
     Jamieson, Gordon Winness, John Swanston (who will carry off all
     the prizes at shooting), Davidson, and so forth.

     If you think it necessary, a little handbill might be
     circulated. But it may be better to see if Government will accept
     our services; and I think, in the situation of the country, when
     work is scarce, and we offer pay for their playing themselves, we
     should have choice of men. But I would urge no one to do what he
     did not like.

     The very precarious state of my poor mother detains me here, and
     makes me devolve this troublesome duty upon you. All you have to
     do, however, is to sound the men, and mark down those who seem
     zealous. They will perhaps have to fight with the pitmen and
     colliers of Northumberland for defence of their firesides, for
     these literal _blackguards_ are got beyond the management of
     their own people. And if such is the case, better keep them from
     coming into Scotland, than encounter the mischief they might do

     Yours always most truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 62: Mr. Usher has already been mentioned as Scott's
predecessor in the property of Toftfield. He now resided near those
lands, and was Scott's tenant on the greater part of them.]

[Footnote 63: Samuel Somerville, W. S. (a son of the historian of
Queen Anne), had a pretty villa at Lowood, on the Tweed, immediately
opposite the seat of his relation, Lord Somerville, of whose estate he
had the management.]

[Footnote 64: Nicol Milne, Esq. (now advocate), eldest son of the
Laird of Faldonside.]

[Footnote 65: Harper, keeper of a little inn at Darnick, was a gallant
and spirited yeoman--uniformly the gainer of the prizes at every
contest of strength and agility in that district.]

[Footnote 66: One of Scott's foresters--thus designated as being, in
all senses of the word, a _gallant_ fellow.]


                                        EDINBURGH, 22d December, 1819.

     MY DEAR TOM,--I wrote you about ten days since, stating that we
     were all well here. In that very short space a change so sudden
     and so universal has taken place among your friends here, that I
     have to communicate to you a most miserable catalogue of losses.
     Our dear mother was on Sunday the 12th December in all her usual
     strength and alertness of mind. I had seen and conversed with her
     on the Saturday preceding, and never saw her better in my life of
     late years. My two daughters drank tea with her on Sunday, when
     she was uncommonly lively, telling them a number of stories, and
     being in rather unusual spirits, probably from the degree of
     excitation which sometimes is remarked to precede a paralytic
     affection. In the course of Monday she received that fatal
     summons, which at first seemed slight; but in the night betwixt
     Monday and Tuesday our mother lost the use both of speech and of
     one side. Since that time she has lain in bed constantly, yet so
     sensible as to see me and express her earnest blessing on all of
     us. The power of speech is totally lost; nor is there any hope,
     at her advanced age, that the scene can last long. Probably a few
     hours will terminate it. At any rate, life is not to be wished,
     even for our nearest and dearest, in those circumstances. But
     this heavy calamity was only the commencement of our family
     losses. Dr. Rutherford, who had seemed perfectly well, and had
     visited my mother upon Tuesday the 14th, was suddenly affected
     with gout in his stomach, or some disease equally rapid, on
     Wednesday the 15th, and, without a moment's warning or complaint,
     fell down a dead man, almost without a single groan. You are
     aware of his fondness for animals: he was just stroking his cat
     after eating his breakfast, as usual, when, without more warning
     than a half-uttered exclamation, he sunk on the ground, and died
     in the arms of his daughter Anne. Though the Doctor had no formed
     complaint, yet I have thought him looking poorly for some months;
     and though there was no failure whatever in intellect, or
     anything which approached it, yet his memory was not so good; and
     I thought he paused during the last time he attended me, and had
     difficulty in recollecting the precise terms of his recipe.
     Certainly there was a great decay of outward strength. We were
     very anxious about the effect this fatal news was likely to
     produce on the mind and decayed health of our aunt, Miss C.
     Rutherford, and resolved, as her health had been gradually
     falling off ever since she returned from Abbotsford, that she
     should never learn anything of it until it was impossible to
     conceal it longer. But God had so ordered it that she was never
     to know the loss she had sustained, and which she would have felt
     so deeply. On Friday the 17th December, the second day after her
     brother's death, she expired, without a groan and without
     suffering, about six in the morning. And so we lost an excellent
     and warm-hearted relation, one of the few women I ever knew
     whose strength of mental faculties enabled her, at a mature
     period of life, to supply the defects of an imperfect education.
     It is a most uncommon and afflicting circumstance, that a brother
     and two sisters should be taken ill the same day--that two of
     them should die, without any rational possibility of the
     survivance of the third--and that no one of the three could be
     affected by learning the loss of the other. The Doctor was buried
     on Monday the 20th, and Miss Rutherford this day (Wednesday the
     22d), in the burial-place adjoining to and surrounding one of the
     new Episcopal chapels,[67] where Robert Rutherford[68] had
     purchased a burial-ground of some extent, and parted with one
     half to the Russells. It is surrounded with a very high wall, and
     all the separate burial-grounds (five, I think, in number) are
     separated by party-walls going down to the depth of twelve feet,
     so as to prevent the possibility either of encroachment, or of
     disturbing the relics of the dead. I have purchased one half of
     Miss Russell's interest in this sad spot, moved by its extreme
     seclusion, privacy, and security. When poor Jack was buried in
     the Greyfriars' Churchyard, where my father and Anne lie,[69] I
     thought their graves more encroached upon than I liked to
     witness; and in this new place I intend to lay our poor mother
     when the scene shall close; so that the brother and the two
     sisters, whose fate has been so very closely entwined in death,
     may not be divided in the grave,--and this I hope you will
     approve of.

     _Thursday, December 23d._--My mother still lingers this morning,
     and as her constitution is so excellent, she may perhaps continue
     to exist some time, or till another stroke. It is a great
     consolation that she is perfectly easy. All her affairs of every
     sort have been very long arranged for this great change, and
     with the assistance of Donaldson and Macculloch, you may depend,
     when the event takes place, that your interest will be attended
     to most pointedly.--I hope our civil tumults here are like to be
     ended by the measures of Parliament. I mentioned in my last that
     Kinloch of Kinloch was to be tried for sedition. He has forfeited
     his bail, and was yesterday laid under outlawry for
     non-appearance. Our neighbors in Northumberland are in a
     deplorable state; upwards of 50,000 blackguards are ready to rise
     between Tyne and Wear.[70] On the other hand, the Scottish
     frontiers are steady and loyal, and arming fast. Scott of Gala
     and I have offered 200 men, all fine strapping young fellows, and
     good marksmen, willing to go anywhere with us. We could easily
     double the number. So the necessity of the times has made me get
     on horseback once more. Our mother has at different times been
     perfectly conscious of her situation, and knew every one, though
     totally unable to speak. She seemed to take a very affectionate
     farewell of me the last time I saw her, which was the day before
     yesterday; and as she was much agitated, Dr. Keith advised I
     should not see her again, unless she seemed to desire it, which
     hitherto she has not done. She sleeps constantly, and will
     probably be so removed. Our family sends love to yours. Yours
     most affectionately:--

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 67: St. John's Chapel.]

[Footnote 68: Robert Rutherford, Esq., W. S., son to the Professor of

[Footnote 69: "Our family heretofore buried in the Greyfriars'
Churchyard, close by the entrance to Heriot's Hospital, and on the
southern or left-hand side as you pass from the churchyard."--_MS.

[Footnote 70: This was a ridiculously exaggerated report of that
period of alarm.]

Scott's excellent mother died on the 24th December--the day after he
closed the foregoing letter to his brother.

On the 18th, in the midst of these accumulated afflictions, the
romance of Ivanhoe made its appearance. The date has been torn from
the following letter, but it was evidently written while all these
events were fresh and recent:--


     DEAR LADY LOUISA,--I am favored with your letter from Ditton, and
     am glad you found anything to entertain you in Ivanhoe.[71]
     Novelty is what this giddy-paced time demands imperiously, and I
     certainly studied as much as I could to get out of the old beaten
     track, leaving those who like to keep the road, which I have
     rutted pretty well. I have had a terrible time of it this year,
     with the loss of dear friends and near relations; it is almost
     fearful to count up my losses, as they make me bankrupt in
     society. My brother-in-law; our never-to-be-enough regretted
     Duke; Lord Chief Baron, my early, kind, and constant friend, who
     took me up when I was a young fellow of little mark or
     likelihood; the wife of my intimate friend William Erskine; the
     only son of my friend David Hume, a youth of great promise, and
     just entering into life, who had grown up under my eye from
     childhood; my excellent mother; and, within a few days, her
     surviving brother and sister. My mother was the only one of these
     whose death was the natural consequence of very advanced life.
     And our sorrows are not at an end. A sister of my mother's, Mrs.
     Russell of Ashestiel, long deceased, had left (besides several
     sons, of whom only one now survives and is in India) three
     daughters, who lived with her youngest sister, Miss Rutherford,
     and were in the closest habits of intimacy with us. The eldest of
     these girls, and a most excellent creature she is, was in summer
     so much shocked by the sudden news of the death of one of the
     brothers I have mentioned, that she was deprived of the use of
     her limbs by an affection either nervous or paralytic. She was
     slowly recovering from this afflicting and helpless situation,
     when the sudden fate of her aunts and uncle, particularly of her
     who had acted as a mother to the family, brought on a new shock;
     and though perfectly possessed of her mind, she has never since
     been able to utter a word. Her youngest sister, a girl of one or
     two and twenty, was so much shocked by this scene of accumulated
     distress, that she was taken very ill, and having suppressed and
     concealed her disorder, relief came too late, and she has been
     taken from us also. She died in the arms of the elder sister,
     helpless as I have described her; and to separate the half dead
     from the actual corpse was the most melancholy thing possible.
     You can hardly conceive, dear Lady Louisa, the melancholy feeling
     of seeing the place of last repose belonging to the devoted
     family open four times within so short a space, and to meet the
     same group of sorrowing friends and relations on the same
     sorrowful occasion. Looking back on those whom I have lost, all
     well known to me excepting my brother-in-law, whom I could only
     judge of by the general report in his favor, I can scarce
     conceive a group possessing more real worth and amiable
     qualities, not to mention talents and accomplishments. I have
     never felt so truly what Johnson says so well,--

       "Condemn'd to Hope's delusive mine,
          As on we toil from day to day,
        By sudden blasts, or slow decline,
          Our social comforts drop away."[72]

     I am not sure whether it was your Ladyship, or the poor Duchess
     of Buccleuch, who met my mother once, and flattered me by being
     so much pleased with the good old lady. She had a mind peculiarly
     well stored with much acquired information and natural talent,
     and as she was very old, and had an excellent memory, she could
     draw without the least exaggeration or affectation the most
     striking pictures of the past age. If I have been able to do
     anything in the way of painting the past times, it is very much
     from the studies with which she presented me. She connected a
     long period of time with the present generation, for she
     remembered, and had often spoken with, a person who perfectly
     recollected the battle of Dunbar, and Oliver Cromwell's
     subsequent entry into Edinburgh. She preserved her faculties to
     the very day before her final illness; for our friends Mr. and
     Mrs. Scott of Harden visited her on the Sunday; and, coming to
     our house after, were expressing their surprise at the alertness
     of her mind, and the pleasure which she had in talking over both
     ancient and modern events. She had told them with great accuracy
     the real story of the Bride of Lammermuir, and pointed out
     wherein it differed from the novel. She had all the names of the
     parties, and detailed (for she was a great genealogist) their
     connection with existing families. On the subsequent Monday she
     was struck with a paralytic affection, suffered little, and that
     with the utmost patience; and what was God's reward, and a great
     one to her innocent and benevolent life, she never knew that her
     brother and sister, the last thirty years younger than herself,
     had trodden the dark path before her. She was a strict economist,
     which she said enabled her to be liberal; out of her little
     income of about £300 a year, she bestowed at least a third in
     well-chosen charities, and with the rest lived like a
     gentlewoman, and even with hospitality more general than seemed
     to suit her age; yet I could never prevail on her to accept of
     any assistance. You cannot conceive how affecting it was to me to
     see the little preparations of presents which she had assorted
     for the New Year--for she was a great observer of the old
     fashions of her period--and to think that the kind heart was cold
     which delighted in all these acts of kindly affection. I should
     apologize, I believe, for troubling your ladyship with these
     melancholy details; but you would not thank me for a letter
     written with constraint, and my mind is at present very full of
     this sad subject, though I scarce know any one to whom I would
     venture to say so much. I hear no good news of Lady Anne, though
     Lord Montagu writes cautiously. The weather is now turning
     milder, and may, I hope, be favorable to her complaint. After my
     own family, my thought most frequently turns to these orphans,
     whose parents I loved and respected so much.--I am always, dear
     Lady Louisa, your very respectful and obliged

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 71: [Lady Louisa's letter was written January 16, 1820, and
can be found in _Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p. 71. In it she says:--

"Everybody in this house has been reading an odd new kind of a book
called _Ivanhoe_, and nobody, as far as I have observed, has willingly
laid it down again till finished. By this, I conclude that its success
will be fully equal to that of its predecessors, notwithstanding it
has quite abandoned their ground and ploughed up a field hitherto
untouched. The interest of it, indeed, is most powerful; few things in
prose or verse seize upon one's mind so strongly, or are read with
such breathless eagerness, as the storming of the castle, related by
Rebecca, and her trial at Templestowe. Few characters ever were so
forcibly painted as hers: the Jew, too, the Templar, the courtly
knight De Bracy, the wavering, inconstant wickedness of John, are all
worthy of Shakespeare. I must not omit paying my tribute to Cedric,
that worthy forefather of the genuine English country gentleman....
And according to what has been alleged against the author in some
other instances, the hero and the heroine are the people one cares
least about. But provided one does but care enough about somebody, it
is all one to me; and I think the cavil is like that against Milton
for making the Devil his hero."]]

[Footnote 72: _Lines on the Death of Mr. Robert Levett._]

There is in the library at Abbotsford a fine copy of Baskerville's
folio Bible, two volumes, printed at Cambridge in 1763; and there
appears on the blank leaf, in the trembling handwriting of Scott's
mother, this inscription: "_To my dear son, Walter Scott, from his
affectionate mother, Anne Rutherford,--January 1st, 1819._" Under
these words her son has written as follows: "This Bible was the gift
of my grandfather Dr. John Rutherford, to my mother, and presented by
her to me; being, alas, the last gift which I was to receive from that
excellent parent, and, as I verily believe, the thing which she most
loved in the world,--not only in humble veneration of the sacred
contents, but as the dearest pledge of her father's affection to her.
As such she gave it to me; and as such I bequeath it to those who may
represent me--charging them carefully to preserve the same, in memory
of those to whom it has belonged. 1820."

       *       *       *       *       *

If literary success could have either filled Scott's head or hardened
his heart, we should have no such letters as those of December, 1819.
Ivanhoe was received throughout England with a more clamorous delight
than any of the Scotch novels had been. The volumes (three in number)
were now, for the first time, of the post 8vo form, with a finer paper
than hitherto, the press-work much more elegant, and the price
accordingly raised from eight shillings the volume to ten; yet the
copies sold in this original shape were twelve thousand.

I ought to have mentioned sooner, that the original intention was to
bring out Ivanhoe as the production of a new hand, and that, to assist
this impression, the work was printed in a size and manner unlike the
preceding ones; but Constable, when the day of publication approached,
remonstrated against this experiment, and it was accordingly

The reader has already been told that Scott dictated the greater part
of this romance. The portion of the MS. which is his own, appears,
however, not only as well and firmly executed as that of any of the
Tales of my Landlord, but distinguished by having still fewer erasures
and interlineations, and also by being in a smaller hand. The fragment
is beautiful to look at--many pages together without one
alteration.[73] It is, I suppose, superfluous to add, that in no
instance did Scott rewrite his prose before sending it to the press.
Whatever may have been the case with his poetry, the world uniformly
received the _prima cura_ of the novelist.

[Footnote 73: Three of these MS. pages were a fair day's work in the
author's estimation--equal to fifteen or sixteen of the original

As a work of art, Ivanhoe is perhaps the first of all Scott's
efforts, whether in prose or in verse; nor have the strength and
splendor of his imagination been displayed to higher advantage than in
some of the scenes of this romance. But I believe that no reader who
is capable of thoroughly comprehending the author's Scotch character
and Scotch dialogue will ever place even Ivanhoe, as a work of genius,
on the same level with Waverley, Guy Mannering, or The Heart of

There is, to me, something so remarkably characteristic of Scott's
mind and manner in a particular passage of the Introduction, which he
penned ten years afterwards for this work, that I must be pardoned for
extracting it here. He says: "The character of the fair Jewess found
so much favor in the eyes of some fair readers, that the writer was
censured, because, when arranging the fates of the characters of the
drama, he had not assigned the hand of Wilfred to Rebecca, rather than
the less interesting Rowena. But, not to mention that the prejudices
of the age rendered such a union almost impossible, the author may, in
passing, observe that he thinks a character of a highly virtuous and
lofty stamp is degraded rather than exalted by an attempt to reward
virtue with temporal prosperity. Such is not the recompense which
Providence has deemed worthy of suffering merit; and it is a dangerous
and fatal doctrine to teach young persons, the most common readers of
romance, that rectitude of conduct and of principle are either
naturally allied with, or adequately rewarded by, the gratification of
our passions, or attainment of our wishes. In a word, if a virtuous
and self-denied character is dismissed with temporal wealth,
greatness, rank, or the indulgence of such a rashly formed or
ill-assorted passion as that of Rebecca for Ivanhoe, the reader will
be apt to say, verily Virtue has had its reward. But a glance on the
great picture of life will show that the duties of self-denial, and
the sacrifice of passion to principle, are seldom thus remunerated;
and that the internal consciousness of their high-minded discharge of
duty produces on their own reflections a more adequate recompense, in
the form of that peace which the world cannot give or take away."

The introduction of the charming Jewess and her father originated, I
find, in a conversation that Scott held with his friend Skene during
the severest season of his bodily sufferings in the early part of this
year. "Mr. Skene," says that gentleman's wife, "sitting by his
bedside, and trying to amuse him as well as he could in the intervals
of pain, happened to get on the subject of the Jews, as he had
observed them when he spent some time in Germany in his youth. Their
situation had naturally made a strong impression; for in those days
they retained their own dress and manners entire, and were treated
with considerable austerity by their Christian neighbors, being still
locked up at night in their own quarter by great gates; and Mr. Skene,
partly in seriousness, but partly from the mere wish to turn his mind
at the moment upon something that might occupy and divert it,
suggested that a group of Jews would be an interesting feature if he
could contrive to bring them into his next novel." Upon the appearance
of Ivanhoe, he reminded Mr. Skene of this conversation, and said, "You
will find this book owes not a little to your German reminiscences."
Mrs. Skene adds: "Dining with us one day, not long before Ivanhoe was
begun, something that was mentioned led him to describe the sudden
death of an advocate of his acquaintance, a Mr. Elphinstone, which
occurred in the _Outer-house_ soon after he was called to the Bar. It
was, he said, no wonder that it had left a vivid impression on his
mind, for it was the first sudden death he ever witnessed; and he now
related it so as to make us all feel as if we had the scene passing
before our eyes. In the death of the Templar in Ivanhoe, I recognized
the very picture--I believe I may safely say the very words."[74]

[Footnote 74: See _Ivanhoe_, end of chap. xliv.]

By the way, before Ivanhoe made its appearance, I had myself been
formally admitted to the author's secret; but had he favored me with
no such confidence, it would have been impossible for me to doubt that
I had been present some months before at the conversation which
suggested, and indeed supplied all the materials of, one of its most
amusing chapters. I allude to that in which our Saxon terms for
animals in the field, and our Norman equivalents for them as they
appear on the table, and so on, are explained and commented on. All
this Scott owed to the after-dinner talk one day in Castle Street of
his old friend Mr. William Clerk,--who, among other elegant pursuits,
has cultivated the science of philology very deeply.[75]

[Footnote 75: [It is said that the character of Rebecca was suggested
to Scott by Washington Irving's description of Rebecca Gratz of
Philadelphia, a lady belonging to a Jewish family of high position in
that city, with whom Irving was intimate. Miss Gratz had been a friend
of his betrothed, Matilda Hoffman, and in her youth had loved
devotedly a man in every way worthy of her, but the difference of
religion made their union impossible. During a conversation with
Scott, Irving spoke with much feeling of Rebecca Gratz, of her
extraordinary beauty, of her adherence to her faith under most trying
circumstances, of her nobility, distinction, and loveliness of
character, and her untiring zeal in works of charity, greatly
interesting his host, as the guest recalled when _Ivanhoe_ appeared.

Rebecca Gratz died in 1869 in her eighty-ninth year. A sketch of her,
with a portrait after a miniature by Malbone, was published in the
_Century Magazine_ for September, 1882.]]

I cannot conclude this chapter without observing that the publication
of Ivanhoe marks the most brilliant epoch in Scott's history as the
literary favorite of his contemporaries. With the novel which he next
put forth, the immediate sale of these works began gradually to
decline; and though, even when that had reached its lowest declension,
it was still far above the most ambitious dreams of any other
novelist, yet the publishers were afraid the announcement of anything
like a falling-off might cast a damp over the spirits of the author.
He was allowed to remain, for several years, under the impression
that whatever novel he threw off commanded at once the old triumphant
sale of ten or twelve thousand, and was afterwards, when included in
the collective edition, to be circulated in that shape also as widely
as Waverley or Ivanhoe. In my opinion, it would have been very unwise
in the booksellers to give Scott any unfavorable tidings upon such
subjects after the commencement of the malady which proved fatal to
him,--for that from the first shook his mind; but I think they took a
false measure of the man when they hesitated to tell him exactly how
the matter stood, throughout 1820 and the three or four following
years, when his intellect was as vigorous as it ever had been, and his
heart as courageous; and I regret their scruples (among other
reasons), because the years now mentioned were the most costly ones in
his life; and for every twelvemonth in which any man allows himself,
or is encouraged by others, to proceed in a course of unwise
expenditure, it becomes proportionably more difficult for him to pull
up when the mistake is at length detected or recognized.


     The Visionary. -- The Peel of Darnick. -- Scott's Saturday
     Excursions to Abbotsford. -- A Sunday there in February. --
     Constable. -- John Ballantyne. -- Thomas Purdie, Etc. -- Prince
     Gustavus Vasa. -- Proclamation of King George IV. -- Publication
     of the Monastery.


In the course of December, 1819 and January, 1820, Scott drew up three
essays, under the title of The Visionary, upon certain popular
doctrines or delusions, the spread of which at this time filled with
alarm, not only Tories like him, but many persons who had been
distinguished through life for their adherence to political
liberalism. These papers appeared successively in James Ballantyne's
Edinburgh Weekly Journal, and their parentage being obvious, they
excited much attention in Scotland. Scott collected them into a
pamphlet, which had also a large circulation; and I remember his
showing very particular satisfaction when he observed a mason reading
it to his comrades, as they sat at their dinner, by a new house on
Leith Walk. During January, however, his thoughts continued to be
chiefly occupied with the details of the proposed corps of Foresters;
of which, I believe it was at last settled, as far as depended on the
other gentlemen concerned in it, that he should be the Major. He wrote
and spoke on this subject with undiminished zeal, until the whole fell
to the ground in consequence of the Government's ultimately declining
to take on itself any part of the expense; a refusal which must have
been fatal to any such project when the Duke of Buccleuch was a minor.
He felt the disappointment keenly; but, in the mean time, the hearty
alacrity with which his neighbors of all classes gave in their
adhesion had afforded him much pleasure, and, as regarded his own
immediate dependents, served to rivet the bonds of affection and
confidence, which were to the end maintained between him and them.
Darnick had been especially ardent in the cause, and he thenceforth
considered its volunteers as persons whose individual fortunes closely
concerned him. I could fill many a page with the letters which he
wrote at subsequent periods, with the view of promoting the success of
these spirited young fellows in their various departments of industry:
they were proud of their patron, as may be supposed, and he was highly
gratified, as well as amused, when he learned that--while the rest of
the world were talking of "The Great Unknown"--his usual _sobriquet_
among these villagers was "The Duke of Darnick." Already his
possessions almost encircled this picturesque and thriving hamlet; and
there were few things on which he had more strongly fixed his fancy
than acquiring a sort of symbol of seigniory there, by becoming the
purchaser of a certain then ruinous tower that predominated, with a
few coeval trees, over the farmhouses and cottages of his _ducal_
vassals. A letter, previously quoted, contains an allusion to this
Peelhouse of Darnick; which is moreover exactly described in the novel
which he had now in hand--The Monastery. The interest Scott seemed to
take in the Peel awakened, however, the pride of its hereditary
proprietor: and when that worthy person, who had made some money by
trade in Edinburgh, resolved on fitting it up for the evening retreat
of his own life, _his Grace of Darnick_ was too happy to waive his

This was a winter of uncommon severity in Scotland; and the snow lay
so deep and so long as to interrupt very seriously all Scott's
country operations. I find, in his letters to Laidlaw, various
paragraphs expressing the concern he took in the hardships which his
poor neighbors must be suffering. Thus, on the 19th of January, he

     DEAR WILLIE,--I write by the post that you may receive the
     enclosed, or rather subjoined, cheque for £60, in perfect safety.
     This dreadful morning will probably stop Mercer.[76] It makes me
     shiver in the midst of superfluous comforts to think of the
     distress of others. £10 of the £60 I wish you to distribute among
     our poorer neighbors, so as may best aid them. I mean not only
     the actually indigent, but those who are, in our phrase, _ill
     aff._ I am sure Dr. Scott[77] will assist you with his advice in
     this labor of love. I think part of the wood-money,[78] too,
     should be given among the Abbotstown folks if the storm keeps
     them off work, as is like. Yours truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     Deep, deep snow lying here. How do the goodwife and bairns? The
     little bodies will be half-buried in snow-drift.

[Footnote 76: The weekly Darnick carrier.]

[Footnote 77: Dr. Scott of Darnlee.--See _ante_, vol. v. p. 277. This
very amiable, modest, and intelligent friend of Sir Walter Scott's
died in 1837.]

[Footnote 78: Some money expected from the sale of larches.]

And again, on the 25th, he writes thus:--

     DEAR WILLIE,--I have yours with the news of the inundation,
     which, it seems, has done no damage. I hope _Mai_ will be taken
     care of. He should have a bed in the kitchen, and always be
     called indoors after it is dark, for all the kind are savage at
     night. Please cause Swanston to knock him up a box, and fill it
     with straw from time to time. I enclose a cheque for £50 to pay
     accounts, etc. Do not let the poor bodies want for a £5, or even
     a £10, more or less;--

       "We'll get a blessing wi' the lave,
        And never miss 't."[79]


                                                                 W. S.

[Footnote 79: Burns--_Lines to a Mouse._]

In the course of this month, through the kindness of Mr. Croker, Scott
received from the late Earl Bathurst, then Colonial Secretary of
State, the offer of an appointment in the civil service of the East
India Company for his second son: and this seemed at the time too good
a thing not to be gratefully accepted; though the apparently
increasing prosperity of his fortunes induced him, a few years
afterwards, to indulge his parental feelings by throwing it up. He
thus alludes to this matter in a letter to his good old friend at


                                        EDINBURGH, 19th January, 1820.

     MY DEAR SIR,--I heartily congratulate you on getting the
     appointment for your son William in a manner so very pleasant to
     your feelings, and which is, like all Whytbank does, considerate,
     friendly, and generous.[80] I am not aware that I have any
     friends at Calcutta, but if you think letters to Sir John Malcolm
     and Lieut.-Colonel Russell would serve my young friend, he shall
     have my best commendations to them.

     It is very odd that almost the same thing has happened to me; for
     about a week ago I was surprised by a letter, saying that an
     unknown friend (who since proves to be Lord Bathurst, whom I
     never saw or spoke with) would give my second son a Writer's
     situation for India. Charles is two years too young for this
     appointment; but I do not think I am at liberty to decline an
     offer so advantageous, if it can be so arranged that, by
     exchange or otherwise, it can be kept open for him. Ever yours

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 80: "An India appointment, with the name blank, which the
late Mr. Pringle of Whytbank sent unsolicited, believing it might be
found useful to a family where there were seven sons to provide
for."--_Note by Mr. A. Shortreed._]


_After the painting by William Nicholson_]

About the middle of February--it having been ere that time arranged
that I should marry his eldest daughter[81] in the course of the
spring--I accompanied him and part of his family on one of those
flying visits to Abbotsford, with which he often indulged himself on a
Saturday during term. Upon such occasions Scott appeared at the usual
hour in Court, but wearing, instead of the official suit of black, his
country morning dress--green jacket and so forth--under the clerk's
gown; a license of which many gentlemen of the long robe had been
accustomed to avail themselves in the days of his youth--it being then
considered as the authentic badge that they were lairds as well as
lawyers--but which, to use the dialect of the place, had fallen into
_desuetude_ before I knew the Parliament House. He was, I think, one
of the two or three, or at most the half dozen, who still adhered to
this privilege of their order; and it has now, in all likelihood,
become quite obsolete, like the ancient custom, a part of the same
system, for all Scotch barristers to appear without gowns or wigs, and
in colored clothes, when upon circuit. At noon, when the Court broke
up, Peter Mathieson was sure to be in attendance in the Parliament
Close, and five minutes after, the gown had been tossed off, and
Scott, rubbing his hands for glee, was under weigh for Tweedside. On
this occasion, he was, of course, in mourning; but I have thought it
worth while to preserve the circumstance of his usual Saturday's
costume. As we proceeded, he talked without reserve of the novel of
The Monastery, of which he had the first volume with him; and
mentioned, what he had probably forgotten when he wrote the
Introduction of 1830, that a good deal of that volume had been
composed before he concluded Ivanhoe. "It was a relief," he said, "to
interlay the scenery most familiar to me with the strange world for
which I had to draw so much on imagination."

[Footnote 81: [Of Miss Scott, not long before her marriage, Mr. George
Ticknor writes:--

"Sophia Scott is a remarkable girl, with great simplicity and
naturalness of manners, full of enthusiasm, with tact in everything, a
lover of old ballads, a Jacobite, and, in short, in all respects, such
a daughter as Scott ought to have and ought to be proud of. And he is
proud of her, as I saw again and again when he could not conceal it.

"One evening, after dinner, he told her to take her harp and play five
or six ballads he mentioned to her, as a specimen of the different
ages of Scottish music. I hardly ever heard anything of the kind that
moved me so much. And yet, I imagine, many sing better; but I never
saw such an air and manner, such spirit and feeling, such decision and
power.... I was so much excited that I turned round to Mr. Scott and
said to him, probably with great emphasis, 'I never heard anything so
fine;' and he, seeing how involuntarily I had said it, caught me by
the hand, and replied, very earnestly, 'Everybody says so, sir,' but
added in an instant, blushing a little, 'but I must not be too vain of

"I was struck, too, with another little trait in her character and
his, that exhibited itself the same evening. Lady Hume asked her to
play _Rob Roy_, an old ballad. A good many persons were present, and
she felt a little embarrassed by the recollection of how much her
father's name had been mentioned in connection with this strange
Highlander's; but, as upon all occasions, she took the most direct
means to settle her difficulties; ... she ran across the room to her
father, and, blushing pretty deeply, whispered to him. 'Yes, my dear,'
he said, loud enough to be heard, 'play it, to be sure, if you are
asked, and _Waverley_ and the _Antiquary_, too, if there be any such
ballads.' ... She is as perfectly right-minded as I ever saw one so
young, and, indeed, perhaps right-mindedness is the prevailing feature
in her character."--_Life of George Ticknor_, vol. i. pp. 281, 283.]]

Next morning there appeared at breakfast John Ballantyne, who had at
this time a shooting or hunting box a few miles off, in the vale of
the Leader, and with him Mr. Constable, his guest; and it being a fine
clear day, as soon as Scott had read the Church service and one of
Jeremy Taylor's sermons, we all sallied out, before noon, on a
perambulation of his upland territories; Maida and the rest of the
favorites accompanying our march. At starting we were joined by the
constant henchman, Tom Purdie--and I may save myself the trouble of
any attempt to describe his appearance, for his master has given us
an inimitably true one in introducing a certain personage of his
Redgauntlet: "He was, perhaps, sixty years old; yet his brow was not
much furrowed, and his jet black hair was only grizzled, not whitened,
by the advance of age. All his motions spoke strength unabated; and,
though rather undersized, he had very broad shoulders, was
square-made, thin-flanked, and apparently combined in his frame
muscular strength and activity; the last somewhat impaired, perhaps,
by years, but the first remaining in full vigor. A hard and harsh
countenance; eyes far sunk under projecting eyebrows, which were
grizzled like his hair: a wide mouth, furnished from ear to ear with a
range of unimpaired teeth of uncommon whiteness, and a size and
breadth which might have become the jaws of an ogre, completed this
delightful portrait." Equip this figure in Scott's cast-off green
jacket, white hat and drab trousers; and imagine that years of kind
treatment, comfort, and the honest consequence of a confidential
_grieve_, had softened away much of the hardness and harshness
originally impressed on the visage by anxious penury and the sinister
habits of a _black-fisher_,--and the Tom Purdie of 1820 stands before

We were all delighted to see how completely Scott had recovered his
bodily vigor, and none more so than Constable, who, as he puffed and
panted after him up one ravine and down another, often stopped to wipe
his forehead, and remarked that "it was not every author who should
lead him such a dance." But Purdie's face shone with rapture as he
observed how severely the swag-bellied bookseller's activity was
tasked. Scott exclaiming exultingly, though perhaps for the tenth
time, "This will be a glorious spring for our trees, Tom!"--"You may
say that, Shirra," quoth Tom,--and then lingering a moment for
Constable--"My certy," he added, scratching his head, "and I think it
will be a grand season for _our buiks_ too." But indeed Tom always
talked of _our buiks_ as if they had been as regular products of the
soil as _our aits_ and _our birks_.[82] Having threaded, first the
Haxelcleugh, and then the Rhymer's Glen, we arrived at Huntly Burn,
where the hospitality of the kind _Weird-Sisters_, as Scott called the
Miss Fergusons, reanimated our exhausted Bibliopoles, and gave them
courage to extend their walk a little further down the same famous
brook. Here there was a small cottage in a very sequestered situation,
by making some little additions to which Scott thought it might be
converted into a suitable summer residence for his daughter and future
son-in-law. The details of that plan were soon settled--it was agreed
on all hands that a sweeter scene of seclusion could not be fancied.
He repeated some verses of Rogers's Wish, which paint the spot:--

  "Mine be a cot beside the hill--
   A bee-hive's hum shall soothe my ear;
   A willowy brook that turns a mill,
   With many a fall shall linger near:" etc.

[Footnote 82: [Mr. Skene, in his _Reminiscences_, says of Tom

"He used to talk of Sir Walter's publications as our books, and said
that the reading of them was the greatest comfort to him, for whenever
he was off his sleep, which sometimes happened, he had only to take
one of the novels, and before he read two pages it was sure to set him
asleep. Tom, with the usual shrewdness common to his countrymen in
that class of life, joined a quaintness and drollery in his notions
and mode of expressing himself that was very amusing; he was familiar,
but at the same time perfectly respectful, although he was sometimes
tempted to deal sharp cuts, particularly at Sir Adam Ferguson, whom he
seemed to take a pleasure in assailing. When Sir Walter obtained the
honor of knighthood for Sir Adam, upon the plea of his being Custodier
of the Regalia of Scotland, Tom was very indignant, because, he said,
'It would take some of the shine out of us,' meaning Sir Walter.... He
was remarkably fastidious in his care of the Library, and it was
exceedingly amusing to see a clodhopper (for he was always in the garb
of a ploughman) moving about in the splendid apartment, scrutinizing
the state of the books, putting derangement to rights, remonstrating
when he observed anything that indicated carelessness."--See
_Journal_, vol. ii. p. 318, note.]]

But when he came to the stanza,--

  "And Lucy at her wheel shall sing,
   In russet-gown and apron blue,"

he departed from the text, adding,--

  "But if Bluestockings here you bring,
   The Great Unknown won't dine with you."

Johnny Ballantyne, a projector to the core, was particularly zealous
about this embryo establishment. Foreseeing that he should have had
walking enough ere he reached Huntly Burn, his dapper little Newmarket
groom had been ordered to fetch Old Mortality thither, and now,
mounted on his fine hunter, he capered about us, looking pallid and
emaciated as a ghost, but as gay and cheerful as ever, and would fain
have been permitted to ride over hedge and ditch to mark out the
proper line of the future avenue. Scott admonished him that the
country-people, if they saw him at such work, would take the whole
party for heathens; and clapping spurs to his horse, he left us. "The
deil's in the body," quoth Tom Purdie; "he'll be ower every _yett_
atween this and Turn-again, though it be the Lord's day. I wadna
wonder if he were to be _ceeted_ before the Session." "Be sure, Tam,"
cries Constable, "that ye egg on the Dominie to blaw up his father--I
wouldna grudge a hundred miles o' gait to see the ne'er-do-weel on the
stool, and neither, I'll be sworn, would the Sheriff."--"Na, na,"
quoth the Sheriff; "we'll let sleeping dogs be, Tam."

As we walked homeward, Scott, being a little fatigued, laid his left
hand on Tom's shoulder, and leaned heavily for support, chatting to
his "Sunday pony," as he called the affectionate fellow, just as
freely as with the rest of the party, and Tom put in his word shrewdly
and manfully, and grinned and grunted whenever the joke chanced to be
within his apprehension. It was easy to see that his heart swelled
within him from the moment that the Sheriff got his collar in his

There arose a little dispute between them about what tree or trees
ought to be cut down in a hedge-row that we passed, and Scott seemed
somewhat ruffled with finding that some previous hints of his on that
head had not been attended to. When we got into motion again, his
hand was on Constable's shoulder--and Tom dropped a pace or two to the
rear, until we approached a gate, when he jumped forward and opened
it. "Give us a pinch of your snuff, Tom," quoth the Sheriff. Tom's
mull was produced, and the hand resumed its position. I was much
diverted with Tom's behavior when we at length reached Abbotsford.
There were some garden chairs on the green in front of the cottage
porch. Scott sat down on one of them to enjoy the view of his new
tower as it gleamed in the sunset, and Constable and I did the like.
Mr. Purdie remained lounging near us for a few minutes, and then asked
the Sheriff "to speak a word." They withdrew together into the
garden--and Scott presently rejoined us with a particularly comical
expression of face. As soon as Tom was out of sight, he said--"Will ye
guess what he has been saying, now?--Well, this is a great
satisfaction! Tom assures me that he has thought the matter over, and
_will take my advice_ about the thinning of that clump behind Captain

[Footnote 83: I am obliged to my friend Mr. Scott of Gala for
reminding me of the following trait of Tom Purdie. The first time Mr.
John Richardson of Fludyer Street came to Abbotsford, Tom (who took
him for a Southron) was sent to attend upon him while he tried for a
_fish_ (_i. e._, a salmon) in the neighborhood of Melrose Bridge. As
they walked thither, Tom boasted grandly of the size of the fish he
had himself caught there, evidently giving the stranger no credit for
much skill in the Waltonian craft. By and by, however, Richardson, who
is an admirable angler, hooked a vigorous fellow, and after a
beautiful exhibition of the art, landed him in safety. "A fine _fish_,
Tom."--"Oo, aye, Sir," quoth Tom, "it's a bonny grilse." "A _grilse_,
Tom!" says Mr. R., "it's as heavy a _salmon_ as the heaviest you were
telling me about." Tom showed his teeth in a smile of bitter
incredulity; but while they were still debating, Lord Somerville's
fisherman came up with scales in his basket, and Richardson insisted
on having his victim weighed. The result was triumphant for the
captor. "Weel," says Tom, letting the salmon drop on the turf, "weel,
ye _are_ a meikle fish, mon--and a meikle _fule_, too" (he added in a
lower key), "to let yoursell be kilt by an Englander."--(1839.)

[Mr. Richardson's own account of this incident can be found in the
memorial sketch of him in the _North British Review_ for November,
1864. The scene was not Abbotsford, but Ashestiel, in September,

I must not forget that, whoever might be at Abbotsford, Tom always
appeared at his master's elbow on Sunday, when dinner was over, and
drank long life to the Laird and the Lady and all the good company, in
a quaigh of whiskey, or a tumbler of wine, according to his fancy. I
believe Scott has somewhere expressed in print his satisfaction that,
among all the changes of our manners, the ancient freedom of personal
intercourse may still be indulged between a master and an
_out-of-doors_ servant; but in truth he kept by the old fashion even
with domestic servants, to an extent which I have hardly seen
practised by any other gentleman. He conversed with his coachman if he
sat by him, as he often did on the box--with his footman, if he
happened to be in the rumble; and when there was any very young lad in
the household, he held it a point of duty to see that his employments
were so arranged as to leave time for advancing his education, made
him bring his copy-book once a week to the library, and examined him
as to all that he was doing. Indeed he did not confine this humanity
to his own people. Any steady servant of a friend of his was soon
considered as a sort of friend too, and was sure to have a kind little
colloquy to himself at coming and going. With all this, Scott was a
very rigid enforcer of discipline--contrived to make it thoroughly
understood by all about him, that they must do their part by him as he
did his by them; and the result was happy. I never knew any man so
well served as he was--so carefully, so respectfully, and so silently;
and I cannot help doubting if, in any department of human operations,
real kindness ever compromised real dignity.

In a letter, already quoted, there occurs some mention of the Prince
Gustavus Vasa, who was spending this winter in Edinburgh, and his
Royal Highness's accomplished attendant, the Baron Polier. I met them
frequently in Castle Street, and remember as especially interesting
the first evening that they dined there. The only portrait in Scott's
Edinburgh dining-room was one of Charles XII. of Sweden, and he was
struck, as indeed every one must have been, with the remarkable
resemblance which the exiled Prince's air and features presented to
the hero of his race. Young Gustavus, on his part, hung with keen and
melancholy enthusiasm on Scott's anecdotes of the expedition of
Charles Edward Stewart.--The Prince, accompanied by Scott and myself,
witnessed the ceremonial of the proclamation of King George IV. on the
2d of February at the Cross of Edinburgh, from a window over Mr.
Constable's shop in the High Street; and on that occasion, also, the
air of sadness that mixed in his features with eager curiosity was
very affecting. Scott explained all the details to him, not without
many lamentations over the barbarity of the Auld Reekie bailies, who
had removed the beautiful Gothic Cross itself, for the sake of
widening the thoroughfare. The weather was fine, the sun shone bright;
and the antique tabards of the heralds, the trumpet notes of _God save
the King_, and the hearty cheerings of the immense uncovered multitude
that filled the noble old street, produced altogether a scene of great
splendor and solemnity. The Royal Exile surveyed it with a flushed
cheek and a watery eye, and Scott, observing his emotion, withdrew
with me to another window, whispering: "Poor lad! poor lad! God help
him." Later in the season, the Prince spent a few days at Abbotsford;
but I have said enough to explain some allusions in the next letter to
Lord Montagu, in which Scott also adverts to several public events of
January and February, 1820,--the assassination of the Duke of Berri,
the death of King George III., the general election which followed the
royal demise, and its more unhappy consequence, the reagitation of the
old disagreement between George IV. and his wife, who, as soon as she
learned his accession to the throne, announced her resolution of
returning from the Continent (where she had been leading for some
years a wandering life), and asserting her rights as Queen. The Tory
gentleman, in whose canvass of the Selkirk boroughs Scott was now
earnestly concerned, was his worthy friend, Mr. Henry Monteith of
Carstairs, who ultimately carried the election.


                                        EDINBURGH, 22d February, 1820.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I have nothing to say, except that Selkirk has
     declared decidedly for Monteith, and that his calling and
     election seem to be sure. Roxburghshire is right and tight.
     Harden will not stir for Berwickshire. In short, within my sphere
     of observation, there is nothing which need make you regret your
     personal absence; and I hope my dear young namesake and chief
     will not find his influence abated while he is unable to head it
     himself. It is but little I can do, but it shall always be done
     with a good will--and merits no thanks, for I owe much more to
     his father's memory than ever I can pay a tittle of. I often
     think what he would have said or wished, and, within my limited
     sphere, _that_ will always be a rule to me while I have the means
     of advancing in any respect the interest of his son;--certainly,
     if anything could increase this desire, it would be the banner
     being at present in your Lordship's hand. I can do little but
     look out ahead, but that is always something. When I look back on
     the house of Buccleuch, as I once knew it, it is a sad
     retrospect. But we must look forward, and hope for the young
     blossom of so goodly a tree. I think your Lordship judged quite
     right in carrying Walter in his place to the funeral.[84] He will
     long remember it, and may survive many occasions of the same
     kind, to all human appearance.--Here is a horrid business of the
     Duke de Berri. It was first told me yesterday by Count Itterburg
     (_i. e._, Prince Gustavus of Sweden, son of the ex-King), who
     comes to see me very often. No fairy tale could match the
     extravagance of such a tale being told to a private Scotch
     gentleman by such a narrator, his own grandfather having perished
     in the same manner. But our age has been one of complete
     revolution, baffling all argument and expectation. As to the King
     and Queen, or, to use the abbreviation of an old Jacobite of my
     acquaintance, who, not loving to hear them so called at full
     length, and yet desirous to have the newspapers read to him,
     commanded these words always to be pronounced as the letters K.
     and Q.--I say then, as to the K. and the Q., I venture to think,
     that whichever strikes the first blow will lose the battle. The
     sound, well-judging, and well-principled body of the people will
     be much shocked at the stirring such a hateful and disgraceful
     question. If the K. urges it unprovoked, the public feeling will
     put him in the wrong; if he lets her alone, her own imprudence,
     and that of her hot-headed adviser Harry Brougham, will push on
     the discussion; and, take a fool's word for it, as Sancho says,
     the country will never bear her coming back, foul with the
     various kinds of infamy she has been stained with, to force
     herself into the throne. On the whole, it is a discussion most
     devoutly to be deprecated by those who wish well to the Royal

     Now for a very different subject. I have a report that there is
     found on the farm of Melsington, in a bog, the limb of a bronze
     figure, full size, with a spur on the heel. This has been
     reported to Mr. Riddell, as Commissioner, and to me as Antiquary
     in chief, on the estate. I wish your Lordship would permit it to
     be sent provisionally to Abbotsford, and also allow me, if it
     shall seem really curious, to make search for the rest of the
     statue. Clarkson[85] has sent me a curious account of it; and
     that a Roman statue (for such it seems) of that size should be
     found in so wild a place, has something very irritating to the
     curiosity. I do not of course desire to have anything more than
     the opportunity of examining the relique. It may be the
     foundation of a set of bronzes, if stout Lord Walter should turn
     to _virtu_.

     Always, my dear Lord, most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 84: The funeral of George III. at Windsor: the young Duke of
Buccleuch was at this time at Eton.]

[Footnote 85: Ebenezer Clarkson, Esq., a surgeon of distinguished
skill at Selkirk, and through life a trusty friend and crony of the

The novel of The Monastery was published by Messrs. Longman and
Company in the beginning of March. It appeared, not in the post 8vo
form of Ivanhoe, but in three volumes 12mo, like the earlier works of
the series. In fact, a few sheets of The Monastery had been printed
before Scott agreed to let Ivanhoe have "By the Author of Waverley" on
its title-page; and the different shapes of the two books belonged to
the abortive scheme of passing off "Mr. Laurence Templeton" as a
hitherto unheard-of candidate for literary success.


     Scott Revisits London. -- His Portrait by Lawrence, and Bust by
     Chantrey. -- Anecdotes by Allan Cunningham. -- Letters to Mrs. Scott,
     Laidlaw, Etc. -- His Baronetcy Gazetted. -- Marriage of his Daughter
     Sophia. -- Letter to "The Baron of Galashiels." -- Visit of Prince
     Gustavus Vasa at Abbotsford. -- Tenders of Honorary Degrees from
     Oxford and Cambridge. -- Letter to Mr. Thomas Scott.


At the rising of his Court on the 12th of March, Scott proceeded to
London, for the purpose of receiving his baronetcy, which he had been
prevented from doing in the spring of the preceding year by his own
illness, and again at Christmas by accumulated family afflictions. On
his arrival in town, his son, the Cornet, met him; and they both
established themselves at Miss Dumergue's.

One of his first visitors was Sir Thomas Lawrence, who informed him
that the King had resolved to adorn the great gallery, then in
progress at Windsor Castle, with portraits by his hand of his
Majesty's most distinguished contemporaries; all the reigning monarchs
of Europe, and their chief ministers and generals, had already sat for
this purpose: on the same walls the King desired to see exhibited
those of his own subjects who had attained the highest honors of
literature and science--and it was his pleasure that this series
should commence with Walter Scott. The portrait was of course begun
immediately, and the head was finished before Scott left town. Sir
Thomas has caught and fixed with admirable skill one of the loftiest
expressions of Scott's countenance at the proudest period of his life:
to the perfect truth of the representation, every one who ever
surprised him in the act of composition at his desk, will bear
witness. The expression, however, was one with which many who had seen
the man often were not familiar; and it was extremely unfortunate that
Sir Thomas filled in the figure from a separate sketch after he had
quitted London. When I first saw the head, I thought nothing could be
better; but there was an evident change for the worse when the picture
appeared in its finished state--for the rest of the person had been
done on a different scale, and this neglect of proportion takes
considerably from the majestic effect which the head itself, and
especially the mighty pile of forehead, had in nature. I hope one day
to see a good engraving of the head alone, as I first saw it floating
on a dark sea of canvas.

Lawrence told me, several years afterwards, that, in his opinion, the
two greatest men he had painted were the Duke of Wellington and Sir
Walter Scott; "and it was odd," said he, "that they both chose usually
the same hour for sitting--seven in the morning. They were both as
patient sitters as I ever had. Scott, however, was, in my case at
least, a very difficult subject. I had selected what struck me as his
noblest look; but when he was in the chair before me, he talked away
on all sorts of subjects in his usual style, so that it cost me great
pains to bring him back to solemnity, when I had to attend to anything
beyond the outline of a subordinate feature. I soon found that the
surest recipe was to say something that would lead him to recite a bit
of poetry. I used to introduce, by hook or by crook, a few lines of
Campbell or Byron--he was sure to take up the passage where I left it,
or _cap_ it by something better--and then, when he was, as Dryden
says of one of his heroes,--

  'Made up of three parts fire--so full of heaven
   It sparkled at his eyes'--

then was my time--and I made the best use I could of it. The hardest
day's work I had with him was once when *****[86] accompanied him to
my painting room. ***** was in particularly gay spirits, and nothing
would serve him but keeping both artist and sitter in a perpetual
state of merriment by anecdote upon anecdote about poor Sheridan. The
anecdotes were mostly in themselves black enough--but the style of the
_conteur_ was irresistibly quaint and comical. When Scott came next,
he said he was ashamed of himself for laughing so much as he listened
to them; 'for truly,' quoth he, 'if the tithe was fact, ***** might
have said to Sherry--as Lord Braxfield once said to an eloquent
culprit at the Bar--"Ye 're a vera clever chiel', man, but ye wad be
nane the waur o' a hanging."'"

[Footnote 86: A distinguished Whig friend.]

It was also during this visit to London that Scott sat to Mr. (now Sir
Francis) Chantrey for that bust which alone preserves for posterity
the cast of expression most fondly remembered by all who ever mingled
in his domestic circle. Chantrey's request that Scott would sit to him
was communicated through Mr. Allan Cunningham, then (as now) employed
as Clerk of the Works in our great Sculptor's establishment. Mr.
Cunningham, in his early days, when gaining his bread as a stonemason
in Nithsdale, made a pilgrimage on foot into Edinburgh, for the sole
purpose of seeing the author of Marmion as he passed along the street.
He was now in possession of a celebrity of his own, and had mentioned
to his patron his purpose of calling on Scott to thank him for some
kind message he had received, through a common friend, on the subject
of those Remains of Nithsdale and Galloway Song, which first made his
poetical talents known to the public. Chantrey embraced this
opportunity of conveying to Scott his own long-cherished ambition of
modelling his head; and Scott at once assented to the flattering
proposal. "It was about nine in the morning," says Mr. Cunningham,
"that I sent in my card to him at Miss Dumergue's in Piccadilly. It
had not been gone a minute, when I heard a quick heavy step coming,
and in he came, holding out both hands, as was his custom, and saying,
as he pressed mine, 'Allan Cunningham, I am glad to see you.' I said
something," continues Mr. C., "about the pleasure I felt in touching
the hand that had charmed me so much. He moved his hand, and with one
of his comic smiles, said, 'Ay--and a big brown hand it is.' I was a
little abashed at first: Scott saw it, and soon put me at my ease; he
had the power--I had almost called it the art, but art it was not--of
winning one's heart and restoring one's confidence beyond any man I
ever met." Then ensued a little conversation, in which Scott
complimented Allan on his ballads, and urged him to try some work of
more consequence, quoting Burns's words, "for dear auld Scotland's
sake;" but being engaged to breakfast in a distant part of the town,
he presently dismissed his visitor, promising to appear next day at an
early hour, and submit himself to Mr. Chantrey's inspection.

[Illustration: WALTER SCOTT IN 1820

_The Chantrey Bust_]

Chantrey's purpose had been the same as Lawrence's--to seize a
poetical phasis of Scott's countenance; and he proceeded to model the
head as looking upwards, gravely and solemnly. The talk that passed,
meantime, had equally amused and gratified both, and fortunately, at
parting, Chantrey requested that Scott would come and breakfast with
him next morning before they recommenced operations in the studio.
Scott accepted the invitation, and when he arrived again in Ecclestone
Street, found two or three acquaintances assembled to meet him,--among
others, his old friend Richard Heber. The breakfast was, as any party
in Sir Francis Chantrey's house is sure to be, a gay and joyous
one, and not having seen Heber in particular for several years,
Scott's spirits were unusually excited by the presence of an intimate
associate of his youthful days. I transcribe what follows from Mr.
Cunningham's Memorandum:--

     "Heber made many inquiries about old friends in Edinburgh, and
     old books and old houses, and reminded the other of their early
     socialities. 'Ay,' said Mr. Scott, 'I remember we once dined out
     together, and sat so late that when we came away the night and
     day were so neatly balanced, that we resolved to walk about till
     sunrise. The moon was not down, however, and we took advantage of
     her Ladyship's lantern, and climbed to the top of Arthur's Seat;
     when we came down we had a rare appetite for breakfast.'--'I
     remember it well,' said Heber; 'Edinburgh was a wild place in
     those days,--it abounded in clubs--convivial clubs.'--'Yes,'
     replied Mr. Scott, 'and abounds still; but the conversation is
     calmer, and there are no such sallies now as might be heard in
     other times. One club, I remember, was infested with two Kemps,
     father and son; when the old man had done speaking, the young one
     began,--and before he grew weary, the father was refreshed, and
     took up the song. John Clerk, during a pause, was called on for a
     stave; he immediately struck up, in a psalm-singing tone, and
     electrified the club with a verse which sticks like a burr to my

      "Now, God Almighty judge James Kemp,
         And likewise his son John,
       And hang them over Hell in hemp,
         And burn them in brimstone."'--

     "In the midst of the mirth which this specimen of psalmody
     raised, John (commonly called _Jack_) Fuller, the member for
     Surrey, and standing jester of the House of Commons, came in.
     Heber, who was well acquainted with the free and joyous character
     of that worthy, began to lead him out by relating some festive
     anecdotes: Fuller growled approbation, and indulged us with some
     of his odd sallies; things which he assured us 'were damned good,
     and true too, which was better.' Mr. Scott, who was standing when
     Fuller came in, eyed him at first with a look grave and
     considerate; but as the stream of conversation flowed, his keen
     eye twinkled brighter and brighter; his stature increased, for he
     drew himself up, and seemed to take the measure of the hoary
     joker, body and soul. An hour or two of social chat had meanwhile
     induced Mr. Chantrey to alter his views as to the bust, and when
     Mr. Scott left us, he said to me privately, 'This will never
     do--I shall never be able to please myself with a perfectly
     serene expression. I must try his conversational look, take him
     when about to break out into some sly funny old story.' As
     Chantrey said this, he took a string, cut off the head of the
     bust, put it into its present position, touched the eyes and the
     mouth slightly, and wrought such a transformation upon it, that
     when Scott came to his third sitting, he smiled and said,--'Ay,
     ye're mair like yoursel now!--Why, Mr. Chantrey, no witch of old
     ever performed such cantrips with clay as this.'"[87]

[Footnote 87: [Mr. C. R. Leslie, himself the painter of an admirable
portrait of Scott, says of Chantrey's work:--

"Of the many portraits of him, Chantrey's bust is, to my mind, the
most perfect; ... the gentle turn of the head, inclined a little
forwards and down, and the lurking humor in the eye and about the
mouth, are Scott's own. Chantrey watched Sir Walter in company, and
invited him to breakfast previous to the sittings, and by these means
caught the expression that was most characteristic."--_Leslie's
Autobiographical Recollections._]]

These sittings were seven in number; but when Scott revisited London a
year afterwards, he gave Chantrey several more, the bust being by that
time in marble. Allan Cunningham, when he called to bid him farewell,
as he was about to leave town on the present occasion, found him in
court dress, preparing to kiss hands at the Levee, on being gazetted
as Baronet. "He seemed anything but at his ease," says Cunningham, "in
that strange attire; he was like one in armor--the stiff cut of the
coat--the large shining buttons and buckles--the lace ruffles--the
queue--the sword--and the cocked hat, formed a picture at which I
could not forbear smiling. He surveyed himself in the glass for a
moment, and burst into a hearty laugh. 'O Allan,' he said, 'O Allan,
what creatures we must make of ourselves in obedience to Madam
Etiquette! Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion
is? how giddily she turns about all the hot bloods between fourteen
and five-and-thirty?'"[88]

[Footnote 88: _Much Ado about Nothing_, Act III. Scene 3.]

Scott's baronetcy was conferred on him, not in consequence of any
Ministerial suggestion, but by the King personally, and of his own
unsolicited motion; and when the poet kissed his hand, he said to him,
"I shall always reflect with pleasure on Sir Walter Scott's having
been the first creation of my reign."

The Gazette announcing his new dignity was dated March 30, and
published on the 2d of April, 1820; and the Baronet, as soon
afterwards as he could get away from Lawrence, set out on his return
to the North; for he had such respect for the ancient prejudice (a
classical as well as a Scottish one) against marrying in May, that he
was anxious to have the ceremony in which his daughter was concerned
over before that unlucky month should commence.[89] It is needless to
say, that during this stay in London he had again experienced, in its
fullest measure, the enthusiasm of all ranks of his acquaintance; and
I shall now transcribe a few paragraphs from domestic letters, which
will show, among other things, how glad he was when the hour came that
restored him to his ordinary course of life.

[Footnote 89: [On March 15 Scott had written to Lady Abercorn: "Sophia
is going to be married, and to a young man of uncommon talents,--indeed
of as promising a character as I know. He is highly accomplished, a
beautiful poet and fine draughtsman, and, what is better, of a most
honorable and gentlemanlike disposition. He is handsome besides, and I
like everything about him, except that he is more grave and retired than
I (who have been all my life something of an _étourdi_) like
particularly, but it is better than the opposite extreme. In point of
situation they have enough to live upon, and 'the world for the
winning.' ... Your Ladyship will see some beautiful lines of his writing
in the last number of a very clever periodical publication called
_Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine_. The verses are in an essay on the
ballad poetry of the Spaniards, which he illustrates by some beautiful
translations which--to speak truth--are much finer than the
originals.... The youngster's name is John Gibson Lockhart; he comes of
a good Lanarkshire family, and is very well connected. His father is a

Two months later, in a letter to Morritt, Sir Walter says:--

"To me, as it seems neither of my sons have a strong literary turn,
the society of a son-in-law possessed of learning and talent must be a
very great acquisition, and relieve me from some anxiety with respect
to a valuable part of my fortune, consisting of copyrights, etc.,
which, though advantageous in my lifetime, might have been less so at
my decease, unless under the management of a person acquainted with
the nature of such property. All I have to fear on Lockhart's part, is
a certain rashness, which I trust has been the effect of youth and
high spirits, joined to lack of good advice, as he seems perfectly
good-humored and very docile. So I trust your little friend Sophia,
who I know has an interest in your bosom, has a very fair chance for
such happiness as this motley world can afford."--_Familiar Letters_,
vol. ii. pp. 73, 77.]]


                                         PICCADILLY, 20th March, 1820.

     MY DEAR CHARLOTTE,--I have got a delightful plan for the addition
     at Abb----, which I think will make it quite complete, and
     furnish me with a handsome library, and you with a drawing-room
     and better bedroom, with good bedrooms for company, etc. It will
     cost me a little hard work to meet the expense, but I have been a
     good while idle. I hope to leave this town early next week, and
     shall hasten back with great delight to my own household gods.

     I hope this will find you from under Dr. Ross's charge. I expect
     to see you quite in beauty when I come down, for I assure you I
     have been coaxed by very pretty ladies here, and look for merry
     faces at home. My picture comes on, and will be a grand thing,
     but the sitting is a great bore. Chantrey's bust is one of the
     finest things he ever did. It is quite the fashion to go to see
     it--there's for you. Yours, my dearest love, with the most
     sincere affection,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                                 PICCADILLY, March 27.

     MY DEAR CHARLOTTE,--I have the pleasure to say that Lord Sidmouth
     has promised to dismiss me in all my honors by the 30th, so that
     I can easily be with you by the end of April; and you and Sophia
     may easily select the 28th, 29th, or 30th, for the ceremony. I
     have been much fêted here, as usual, and had a very quiet dinner
     at Mr. Arbuthnot's yesterday with the Duke of Wellington, where
     Walter heard the great Lord in all his glory talk of war and
     Waterloo. Here is a hellish--yes, literally a hellish bustle. My
     head turns round with it. The whole mob of the Middlesex
     blackguards pass through Piccadilly twice a day, and almost drive
     me mad with their noise and vociferation.[90] Pray do, my dear
     Charlotte, write soon. You know those at a distance are always
     anxious to hear from home. I beg you to say what would give you
     pleasure that I could bring from this place, and whether you want
     anything from Mrs. Arthur for yourself, Sophia, or Anne; also
     what would please little Charles. You know you may stretch a
     point on this occasion. Richardson says your honors will be
     gazetted on Saturday; certainly very soon, as the King, I
     believe, has signed the warrant. When, or how I shall see him, is
     not determined, but I suppose I shall have to go to Brighton. My
     best love attends the girls, little Charles, and all the

     I conclude that the marriage will take place in Castle Street,
     and want to know where they go, etc. All this you will have to
     settle without my wise head; but I shall be terribly critical--so
     see you do all right. I am always, dearest Charlotte, most
     affectionately yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

    (_For the Lady Scott of Abbotsford--to be._)

[Footnote 90: The general election was going on.]


                                            96 PICCADILLY, 28th March.

     DEAR JAMES,--I am much obliged by your attentive letter.
     Unquestionably Longman and Co. sell their books at subscription
     price, because they have the first of the market, and only one
     third of the books; so that, as they say with us, "let them care
     that come ahint." This I knew and foresaw, and the ragings of the
     booksellers, considerably aggravated by the displeasure of
     Constable and his house, are ridiculous enough; and as to their
     injuring the work, if it have a principle of locomotion in it,
     they cannot stop it--if it has not, they cannot make it move. I
     care not a bent twopence about their quarrels; only I say now, as
     I always said, that Constable's management is best, both for
     himself and the author; and, had we not been controlled by the
     narrowness of discount, I would put nothing past him. I agree
     with the public in thinking the work not very interesting; but it
     was written with as much care as the others--that is, with no
     care at all; and,

      "If it is na weil bobbit, we'll bobb it again."

     On these points I am Atlas. I cannot write much in this bustle of
     engagements, with Sir Francis's mob holloing under the windows. I
     find that even this light composition demands a certain degree of
     silence, and I might as well live in a cotton-mill. Lord Sidmouth
     tells me I will obtain leave to quit London by the 30th, which
     will be delightful news, for I find I cannot bear late hours and
     great society so well as formerly; and yet it is a fine thing to
     hear politics talked of by Ministers of State, and war discussed
     by the Duke of Wellington.[91]

[Footnote 91: [Soon after his return, Scott writes to Morritt:--

"London I thought incredibly tiresome; I wanted my sheet anchors,--you
and poor George Ellis,--by whom I could ride at quiet moorings without
mixing entirely in the general vortex. The great lion--great in every
sense--was the gigantic Belzoni, the handsomest man (for a giant) I
ever saw or could suppose to myself. He is said completely to have
overawed the Arabs, your old friends, by his great strength, height,
and energy. I had one delightful evening in company with the Duke of
Wellington, and heard him fight over Waterloo and his other battles
with the greatest good-humor. It is odd, he says, that the most
distinct writer on military affairs whose labors he has perused is
James II., in the warlike details given in his own Memoirs. I have not
read over these Memoirs lately, but I think I do not recollect much to
justify the eulogium of so great a master."--_Familiar Letters_, vol.
ii. p. 77.]]

     My occasions here will require that John or you send me two notes
     payable at Coutts's for £300 each, at two and three months' date.
     I will write to Constable for one at £350, which will settle my
     affairs here--which, with fees and other matters, come, as you
     may think, pretty heavy. Let the bills be drawn payable at
     Coutts's, and sent without delay. I will receive them safe if
     sent under Mr. Freeling's cover. Mention particularly what you
     are doing, for now is your time to push miscellaneous work. Pray
     take great notice of inaccuracies in the Novels. They are very,
     very many--some mine, I dare say--but all such as you may and
     ought to correct. If you would call on William Erskine (who is
     your well-wisher, and a little mortified he never sees you), he
     would point out some of them.

     Do you ever see Lockhart? You should consult him on every doubt
     where you would refer to me if present. Yours very truly,

                                                                 W. S.

     You say nothing of John, yet I am anxious about him.


                                                LONDON, April 2, 1820.

     DEAR WILLIE,--I had the great pleasure of your letter, which
     carries me back to my own braes, which I love so dearly, out of
     this place of bustle and politics. When I can see my Master--and
     thank him for many acts of favor--I think I will bid adieu to
     London forever; for neither the hours nor the society suit me so
     well as a few years since. There is too much necessity for
     exertion, too much brilliancy and excitation from morning till

     I am glad the sheep are away, though at a loss. I should think
     the weather rather too dry for planting, judging by what we have
     here. Do not let Tom go on sticking in plants to no
     purpose--better put in firs in a rainy week in August. Give my
     service to him. I expect to be at Edinburgh in the end of this
     month, and to get a week at Abbotsford before the Session sits
     down. I think you are right to be in no hurry to let Broomielees.
     There seems no complaint of wanting money here just now, so I
     hope things will come round.

     Ever yours truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                                LONDON, April 3, 1820.

     DEAR SOPHIA,--I have no letter from any one at home excepting
     Lockhart, and he only says you are all well; and I trust it is
     so. I have seen most of my old friends, who are a little the
     worse for the wear, like myself. A five years' march down the
     wrong side of the hill tells more than ten on the right side. Our
     good friends here are kind as kind can be, and no frumps. They
     lecture the Cornet a little, which he takes with becoming
     deference and good-humor. There is a certain veil of Flanders
     lace floating in the wind for a certain occasion, from a certain
     godmother, but that is more than a dead secret.

     We had a very merry day yesterday at Lord Melville's, where we
     found Lord Huntly[92] and other friends, and had a bumper to the
     new Baronet, whose name was Gazetted that evening. Lady Huntly
     plays Scotch tunes like a Highland angel. She ran a set of
     variations on "Kenmure's on and awa'," which I told her were
     enough to raise a whole country-side. I never in my life heard
     such fire thrown into that sort of music. I am now laying anchors
     to windward, as John Ferguson says, to get Walter's leave
     extended. We saw the Duke of York, who was very civil, but wants
     altogether the courtesy of the King. I have had a very gracious
     message from the King. He is expected up very soon, so I don't go
     to Brighton, which is so far good. I fear his health is not
     strong. Meanwhile all goes forward for the Coronation. The
     expense of the robes for the peers may amount to £400 apiece. All
     the ermine is bought up at the most extravagant prices. I hear so
     much of it, that I really think, like Beau Tibbs,[93] I shall be
     tempted to come up and see it, if possible. Indeed, I don't see
     why I should not stay here, as I seem to be forgotten at home.
     The people here are like to smother me with kindness, so why
     should I be in a great hurry to leave them?

     I write, wishing to know what I could bring Anne and you and
     mamma down, that would be acceptable; and I shall be much obliged
     to you to put me up to that matter. To little Charles also I
     promised something, and I wish to know what he would like. I hope
     he pays attention to Mr. Thomson, to whom remember my best
     compliments. I hope to get something for him soon.

     To-day I go to spend my Sabbath quietly with Joanna Baillie and
     John Richardson, at Hampstead. The long Cornet goes with me. I
     have kept him amongst the seniors; nevertheless he seems pretty
     well amused. He is certainly one of the best-conditioned lads I
     ever saw, in point of temper.

     I understand you and Anne have gone through the ceremony of
     confirmation. Pray write immediately, and let me know how you are
     all going on, and what you would like to have, all of you. You
     know how much I would like to please you.

     Yours, most affectionately,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 92: The late Duke of Gordon.]

[Footnote 93: See Goldsmith's _Citizen of the World_, No. 105.]

While Scott remained in London, the Professorship of Moral Philosophy
in the University of Edinburgh became vacant by the death of Dr.
Thomas Brown; and among others who proposed themselves as candidates
to fill it, was the author of the Isle of Palms. He was opposed in
the Town Council (who are the patrons of most of the Edinburgh
Chairs), on various pretences, but solely, in fact, on party
grounds,--certain humorous political pieces having much exacerbated
the Whigs of the North against him; and I therefore wrote to Scott,
requesting him to animate the Tory Ministers in his behalf. Sir Walter
did so, and Mr. Wilson's canvass was successful.[94] The answer to my
communication was in these terms:--

[Footnote 94: [This academic struggle was as fiercely contested as
though it had been a political contest, which in truth it was.
Lockhart celebrated Wilson's victory in the _Testimonium_ (prefacing
the seventh volume of _Blackwood_), thus keeping alive the passion of
the hour. In July Scott wrote to his son-in-law, and through him to
Wilson, a letter which is especially interesting, as showing the
writer's attitude in regard to the personalities of _Maga_, which his
political opponents were inclined to believe had at least his tacit
approval. The letter, from which these extracts are taken, will be
found in Lang's _Life of Lockhart_ (vol. i. pp. 239-245), where it was
published for the first time:--

... "I am sure our friend has been taught the danger of giving way to
high spirits in mixed society, where there is some one always ready to
laugh at the joke and to put it into his pocket to throw in the
jester's face on some future occasion. It is plain Wilson must have
walked the course had he been cautious in selecting the friends of his
lighter hours, and now, clothed with philosophical dignity, his
friends will really expect he should be on his guard in this respect,
and add to his talents and amiable disposition the proper degree of
_retenue_ becoming a moral teacher. Try to express all this to him in
your own way, and believe that, as I have said it from the best
motives, so I would wish it conveyed in the most delicate terms, as
from one who equally honors Wilson's genius and loves his benevolent,
ardent, and amiable disposition, but who would willingly see them
mingled with the caution which leaves calumny no pin to hang her
infamous accusations upon.

"For the reasons above mentioned I wish you had not published the
_Testimonium_. It is very clever, but descends to too low game. If
Jeffrey or Cranstoun, or any of the dignitaries, chose to fight such
skirmishes, there would be some credit in it; but I do not like to see
you turn out as a sharpshooter with ****. 'What does thou drawn among
these heartless hinds?' ... I have hitherto avoided saying anything on
this subject, though some little turn towards personal satire is, I
think, the only drawback to your great and powerful talents, and I
think I may have hinted as much to you. But I wished to see how this
matter of Wilson's would turn, before making a clean breast upon this
subject. It might have so happened that you could not handsomely or
kindly have avoided a share in his defence, if the enemy had
prevailed, and where friendship, or country, or any strong call
demands the use of satiric talent, I hope I should neither fear risk
myself or desire a friend to shun it. But now that he has triumphed, I
think it would be bad taste to cry out,--

  'Strike up our drums--pursue the scattered stray.'

Besides, the natural consequence of his new situation must be his
relinquishing his share in these compositions--at least, he will
injure himself in the opinion of many friends, and expose himself to a
continuation of galling and vexatious disputes to the embittering of
his life, should he do otherwise. In that case I really hope you will
pause before you undertake to be the Boaz of the _Maga_; I mean in the
personal and satirical department, when the Jachin has seceded.

"Besides all other objections of personal enemies, personal quarrels,
constant obloquy, and all uncharitableness, such an occupation will
fritter away your talents, hurt your reputation both as a lawyer and a
literary man, and waste away your time in what at best will be but a
monthly wonder. What has been done in this department will be very
well as a frolic of young men, but let it suffice, 'the gambol has
been shown'--the frequent repetition will lose its effect even as
pleasantry, for Peter Pindar, the sharpest of personal satirists,
wrote himself down, and wrote himself out, and is forgotten....

"Revere yourself, my dear boy, and think you were born to do your
country better service than in this species of warfare. I make no
apology (I am sure you will require none) for speaking plainly what my
anxious affection dictates. As the old warrior says, 'May the name of
Mevni be forgotten among the people, and may they only say, Behold the
father of Gaul.' I wish you to have the benefit of my experience
without purchasing it; and be assured, that the consciousness of
attaining complete superiority over your calumniators and enemies by
the force of your general character, is worth a dozen of triumphs over
them by the force of wit and raillery. I am sure Sophia, as much as
she can or ought to form any judgment respecting the line of conduct
you have to pursue in your new character of a man married and settled,
will be of my opinion in this matter, and that you will consider her
happiness and your own, together with the respectability of both, by
giving what I have said your anxious consideration."

Lockhart's reply to this letter, expressing gratitude, and promising
amendment, can be found in _Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p. 86.]]


                                             LONDON, 30th March, 1820.

     DEAR LOCKHART,--I have yours of the Sunday morning, which has
     been terribly long of coming. There needed no apology for
     mentioning anything in which I could be of service to Wilson;
     and, so far as good words and good wishes _here_ can do, I think
     he will be successful; but the battle must be fought in
     Edinburgh. You are aware that the only point of exception to
     Wilson may be, that, with the fire of genius, he has possessed
     some of its eccentricities; but, did he ever approach to those of
     Henry Brougham, who is the god of Whiggish idolatry? If the high
     and rare qualities with which he is invested are to be thrown
     aside as useless, because they may be clouded by a few grains of
     dust which he can blow aside at pleasure, it is less a punishment
     on Mr. Wilson than on the country. I have little doubt he would
     consider success in this weighty matter as a pledge for binding
     down his acute and powerful mind to more regular labor than
     circumstances have hitherto required of him, for indeed, without
     doing so, the appointment could in no point of view answer his
     purpose. He must stretch to the oar for his own credit, as well
     as that of his friends; and if he does so, there can be no doubt
     that his efforts will be doubly blessed, in reference both to
     himself and to public utility. He must make every friend he can
     amongst the Council. Palladio Johnstone should not be omitted. If
     my wife canvasses him, she may do some good.[95]

     You must, of course, recommend to Wilson great temper in his
     canvass--for wrath will do no good. After all, he must leave off
     sack, purge and live cleanly as a gentleman ought to do;
     otherwise people will compare his present ambition to that of Sir
     Terry O'Fag, when he wished to become a judge. "Our pleasant
     follies are made the whips to scourge us," as Lear says; for
     otherwise, what could possibly stand in the way of his
     nomination? I trust it will take place, and give him the
     consistence and steadiness which are all he wants to make him
     the first man of the age.

     I am very angry with Castle Street--not a soul has written me,
     save yourself, since I came to London.

     Yours very truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 95: Mr. Robert Johnstone, a grocer on a large scale on the
North Bridge of Edinburgh, and long one of the leading Bailies, was
about this time the prominent patron of some architectural novelties
in Auld Reekie, which had found no favor with Scott;--hence his
prænomen of _Palladio_--which he owed, I believe, to a song in
_Blackwood's Magazine_. The good Bailie had been at the High School
with Sir Walter, and their friendly intercourse was never interrupted
but by death.]

Sir Walter, accompanied by the Cornet, reached Edinburgh late in
April, and on the 29th of that month he gave me the hand of his
daughter Sophia. The wedding, _more Scotico_, took place in the
evening; and adhering on all such occasions to ancient modes of
observance with the same punctiliousness which he mentions as
distinguishing his worthy father, he gave a jolly supper afterwards to
all the friends and connections of the young couple.[96]

[Footnote 96: ["On Friday evening I gave away Sophia to Mr.
Lockhart.... I own my house seems lonely to me since she left us, but
that is a natural feeling, which will soon wear off. I have every
reason to think I have consulted her happiness in the match, as became
the father of a most attached and dutiful daughter, who never in her
life gave me five minutes' vexation. In the mean time the words run
strangely in my ear:--

  'Ah me! the flower and blossom of my house
   The wind has blown away to other towers.'"

     --Scott to Lady Abercorn--_Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p. 75.]]

His excursions to Tweedside during Term-time were, with very rare
exceptions, of the sort which I have described in the preceding
chapter; but he departed from his rule about this time in honor of the
Swedish Prince, who had expressed a wish to see Abbotsford before
leaving Scotland, and assembled a number of his friends and neighbors
to meet his Royal Highness. Of the invitations which he distributed on
this occasion, I insert one specimen--that addressed to Mr. Scott of

  _To the Baron of Galashiels
  The Knight of Abbotsford sends greeting._

     Trusty and well-beloved,--Whereas Gustavus, Prince Royal of
     Sweden, proposeth to honor our poor house of Abbotsford with his
     presence on Thursday next, and to repose himself there for
     certain days, We do heartily pray you, out of the love and
     kindness which is and shall abide betwixt us, to be aiding to us
     at this conjuncture, and to repair to Abbotsford with your lady,
     either upon Thursday or Friday, as may best suit your convenience
     and pleasure, looking for no denial at your hands. Which loving
     countenance we will, with all thankfulness, return to you at your
     mansion of Gala. The hour of appearance being five o'clock, we
     request you to be then and there present, as you love the honor
     of the name; and so advance banners in the name of God and St.

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     Given at EDINBURGH,
     20th May, 1820.

The visit of Count Itterburg is alluded to in this letter to the
Cornet, who had now rejoined his regiment in Ireland. It appears that
on reaching headquarters he had found a charger _hors de combat_.


                                          CASTLE STREET, May 31, 1820.

     DEAR WALTER,--I enclose the cheque for the allowance; pray take
     care to get good notes in exchange. You had better speak to the
     gentleman whom Lord Shannon introduced you to, for, when banks
     take a-breaking, it seldom stops with the first who go. I am very
     sorry for your loss. You must be economical for a while, and
     bring yourself round again, for at this moment I cannot so well
     assist as I will do by and by. So do not buy anything but what
     you _need_.

     I was at Abbotsford for three days last week, to receive Count
     Itterburg, who seemed very happy while with us, and was much
     affected when he took his leave. I am sorry for him--his
     situation is a very particular one, and his feelings appear to be
     of the kindest order. When he took leave of me, he presented me
     with a beautiful seal, with all our new blazonries cut on a fine
     amethyst; and what I thought the prettiest part, on one side of
     the setting is cut my name, on the other the Prince's--_Gustaf_.
     He is to travel through Ireland, and will probably be at Cork.
     You will, of course, ask the Count and Baron to mess, and offer
     all civilities in your power, in which, I dare say, Colonel
     Murray will readily join. They intend to inquire after you.

     I have bought the land adjoining to the Burnfoot cottage, so that
     we now march with the Duke of Buccleuch all the way round that
     course. It cost me £2300--but there is a great deal of valuable
     fir planting, which you may remember; fine roosting for the black
     game. Still I think it is £200 too dear, but Mr. Laidlaw thinks
     it can be made worth the money, and it rounds the property off
     very handsomely. You cannot but remember the ground; it lies
     under the Eildon, east of the Chargelaw.

     Mamma, Anne, and Charles are all well. Sophia has been
     complaining of a return of her old sprain. I told her Lockhart
     would return her on our hands as not being sound wind and limb.

     I beg you to look at your French, and have it much at heart that
     you should study German. Believe me, always affectionately yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

In May, 1820, Scott received from both the English Universities the
highest compliment which it was in their power to offer him. The
Vice-Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge communicated to him, in the
same week, their request that he would attend at the approaching
Commemorations, and accept the honorary degree of Doctor in Civil Law.
It was impossible for him to leave Scotland again that season; and on
various subsequent renewals of the same flattering proposition from
either body, he was prevented, by similar circumstances, from
availing himself of their distinguished kindness.

In the course of a few months, Scott's family arrangements had
undergone, as we have seen, considerable alteration. Meanwhile he
continued anxious to be allowed to adopt, as it were, the only son of
his brother Thomas; and the letter, in consequence of which that
promising youth was at last committed to his charge, contains so much
matter likely to interest parents and guardians, that, though long, I
cannot curtail it.


                                           ABBOTSFORD, 23d July, 1820.

     MY DEAR TOM,--Your letter of May, this day received, made me
     truly happy, being the first I have received from you since our
     dear mother's death, and the consequent breaches which fate has
     made in our family. My own health continues quite firm, at no
     greater sacrifice than bidding adieu to our old and faithful
     friend John Barleycorn, whose life-blood has become a little too
     heavy for my stomach. I wrote to you from London concerning the
     very handsome manner in which the King behaved to me in
     conferring my _petit titre_, and also of Sophia's intended
     marriage, which took place in the end of April, as we intended. I
     got Walter's leave prolonged, that he might be present, and I
     assure you, that when he attended the ceremony in full
     regimentals, you have scarce seen a handsomer young man. He is
     about six feet and an inch, and perfectly well made. Lockhart
     seems to be everything I could wish,--and as they have enough to
     live easily upon for the present, and good expectations for the
     future, life opens well with them. They are to spend their
     vacations in a nice little cottage, in a glen belonging to this
     property, with a rivulet in front, and a grove of trees on the
     east side to keep away the cold wind. It is about two miles
     distant from this house, and a very pleasant walk reaches to it
     through my plantations, which now occupy several hundred acres.
     Thus there will be space enough betwixt the old man of letters
     and the young one. Charles's destination to India is adjourned
     till he reaches the proper age: it seems he cannot hold a
     Writership until he is sixteen years old, and then is admitted to
     study for two years at Hertford College.

     After my own sons, my most earnest and anxious wish will be, of
     course, for yours,--and with this view I have pondered well what
     you say on the subject of your Walter; and whatever line of life
     you may design him for, it is scarce possible but that I can be
     of considerable use to him. Before fixing, however, on a point so
     very important, I would have you consult the nature of the boy
     himself. I do not mean by this that you should ask his opinion,
     because at so early an age a well bred up child naturally takes
     up what is suggested to him by his parents; but I think you
     should consider, with as much impartiality as a parent can, his
     temper, disposition, and qualities of mind and body. It is not
     enough that you think there is an opening for him in one
     profession rather than another,--for it were better to sacrifice
     the fairest prospects of that kind than to put a boy into a line
     of life for which he is not calculated. If my nephew is steady,
     cautious, fond of a sedentary life and quiet pursuits, and at the
     same time a proficient in arithmetic, and with a disposition
     towards the prosecution of its highest branches, he cannot follow
     a better line than that of an accountant. It is highly
     respectable--and is one in which, with attention and skill, aided
     by such opportunities as I may be able to procure for him, he
     must ultimately succeed. I say ultimately--because the harvest is
     small and the laborers numerous in this as in other branches of
     our legal practice; and whoever is to dedicate himself to them,
     must look for a long and laborious tract of attention ere he
     reaches the reward of his labors. If I live, however, I will do
     all I can for him, and see him put under a proper person, taking
     his 'prentice fee, etc., upon myself. But if, which may possibly
     be the case, the lad has a decided turn for active life and
     adventure, is high-spirited, and impatient of long and dry labor,
     with some of those feelings not unlikely to result from having
     lived all his life in a camp or a barrack, do not deceive
     yourself, my dear brother--you will never make him an accountant;
     you will never be able to convert such a sword into a
     pruning-hook, merely because you think a pruning-hook the better
     thing of the two. In this supposed case, your authority and my
     recommendation might put him into an accountant's office; but it
     would be just to waste the earlier years of his life in idleness,
     with all the temptations to dissipation which idleness gives way
     to; and what sort of a place a writing-chamber is, you cannot but
     remember. So years might wear away, and at last the youth starts
     off from his profession, and becomes an adventurer too late in
     life, and with the disadvantage, perhaps, of offended friends and
     advanced age standing in the way of his future prospects.

     This is what I have judged fittest in my own family, for Walter
     would have gone to the Bar had I liked; but I was sensible (with
     no small reluctance did I admit the conviction) that I should
     only spoil an excellent soldier to make a poor and
     undistinguished gownsman. On the same principle I shall send
     Charles to India,--not, God knows, with my will, for there is
     little chance of my living to see him return; but merely that,
     judging by his disposition, I think the voyage of his life might
     be otherwise lost in shallows. He has excellent parts, but they
     are better calculated for intercourse with the world than for
     hard and patient study. Having thus sent one son abroad from my
     family, and being about to send off the other in due time, you
     will not, I am sure, think that I can mean disregard to your
     parental feelings in stating what I can do for your Walter.
     Should his temper and character incline for active life, I think
     I can promise to get him a cadetship in the East India Company's
     service; so soon as he has had the necessary education, I will
     be at the expense of his equipment and passage-money; and when he
     reaches India, there he is completely provided, secure of a
     competence if he lives, and with great chance of a fortune if he
     thrives. I am aware this would be a hard pull at Mrs. Scott's
     feelings and yours; but recollect, your fortune is small, and the
     demands on it numerous, and pagodas and rupees are no bad things.
     I can get Walter the first introductions, and if he behaves
     himself as becomes your son, and my nephew, I have friends enough
     in India, and of the highest class, to insure his success, even
     his rapid success--always supposing my recommendations to be
     seconded by his own conduct. If, therefore, the youth has
     anything of your own spirit, for God's sake do not condemn him to
     a drudgery which he will never submit to--and remember, to
     sacrifice his fortune to your fondness will be sadly mistaken
     affection. As matters stand, unhappily you must be separated; and
     considering the advantages of India, the mere circumstance of
     distance is completely counterbalanced. Health is what will
     naturally occur to Mrs. Scott; but the climate of India is now
     well understood, and those who attend to ordinary precautions
     live as healthy as in Britain. And so I have said my say. Most
     heartily will I do my best in any way you may ultimately decide
     for; and as the decision really ought to turn on the boy's temper
     and disposition, you must be a better judge by far than any one
     else. But if he should resemble his father and uncle in certain
     indolent habits, I fear he will make a better subject for an
     animating life of enterprise than for the technical labor of an
     accountant's desk. There is no occasion, fortunately, for forming
     any hasty resolution. When you send him here, I will do all that
     is in my power to stand in the place of a father to him, and you
     may fully rely on my care and tenderness. If he should ultimately
     stay at Edinburgh, as both my own boys leave me, I am sure I
     shall have great pleasure in having the nearest in blood after
     them with me. Pray send him as soon as you can, for at his age,
     and under imperfect opportunities of education, he must have a
     good deal to make up. I wish I could be of the same use to you
     which I am sure I can be to your son.

     Of public news I have little to send. The papers will tell you
     the issue of the Radical row for the present. The yeomanry
     behaved most gallantly. There is in Edinburgh a squadron as fine
     as ours was--all young men, and zealous soldiers. They made the
     western campaign with the greatest spirit, and had some hard and
     fatiguing duty, long night-marches, surprises of the enemy, and
     so forth, but no fight, for the whole Radical plot went to the
     devil when it came to gun and sword. Scarce any blood was shed,
     except in a trifling skirmish at Bonnymuir, near Carron. The
     rebels were behind a wall, and fired on ten hussars and as many
     yeomen--the latter under command of a son of James Davidson, W.
     S. The cavalry cleared the wall, and made them prisoners to a
     man. The Commission of Oyer and Terminer is now busy trying them
     and others. The Edinburgh young men showed great spirit; all took
     arms, and my daughters say (I was in London at the time) that not
     a feasible-looking beau was to be had for love or money. Several
     were like old Beardie; they would not shave their moustaches till
     the Radicals were put down, and returned with most awful
     whiskers. Lockhart is one of the cavalry, and a very good
     trooper. It is high to hear these young fellows talk of the Raid
     of Airdrie, the trot of Kilmarnock, and so on, like so many

     The Queen is making an awful bustle, and though by all accounts
     her conduct has been most abandoned and beastly, she has got the
     whole mob for her partisans, who call her injured innocence, and
     what not. She has courage enough to dare the worst, and a most
     decided desire to be revenged of _him_, which, by the way, can
     scarce be wondered at. If she had as many followers of high as
     of low degree (in proportion), and funds to equip them, I should
     not be surprised to see her fat bottom in a pair of buckskins,
     and at the head of an army--God mend all. The things said of her
     are beyond all usual profligacy. Nobody of any fashion visits
     her. I think myself monstrously well clear of London and its
     intrigues, when I look round my green fields, and recollect I
     have little to do, but to

       ----"make my grass mow,
       And my apple-tree grow."

     I beg my kind love to Mrs. Huxley. I have a very acceptable
     letter from her, and I trust to retain the place she promises me
     in her remembrance. Sophia will be happy to hear from Uncle Tom,
     when Uncle Tom has so much leisure. My best compliments attend
     your wife and daughters, not forgetting Major Huxley and Walter.
     My dear Tom, it will be a happy moment when circumstances shall
     permit us a meeting on this side Jordan, as Tabitha says, to talk
     over old stories, and lay new plans. So many things have fallen
     out which I had set my heart upon strongly, that I trust this may
     happen amongst others.--Believe me, yours very affectionately,

                                                     WALTER SCOTT.[97]

[Footnote 97: Here ended Vol. IV. of the Original Edition.--(1839.)]


     Autumn at Abbotsford. -- Scott's Hospitality. -- Visit of Sir
     Humphry Davy, Henry Mackenzie, Dr. Wollaston, and William Stewart
     Rose. -- Coursing on Newark Hill. -- Salmon-fishing. -- The
     Festival at Boldside. -- The Abbotsford Hunt. -- The Kirn, Etc.


About the middle of August, my wife and I went to Abbotsford; and we
remained there for several weeks, during which I became familiarized
to Sir Walter Scott's mode of existence in the country. It was
necessary to observe it, day after day, for a considerable period,
before one could believe that such was, during nearly half the year,
the routine of life with the most productive author of his age. The
humblest person who stayed merely for a short visit, must have
departed with the impression that what he witnessed was an occasional
variety; that Scott's courtesy prompted him to break in upon his
habits when he had a stranger to amuse; but that it was physically
impossible that the man who was writing the Waverley romances at the
rate of nearly twelve volumes in the year, could continue, week after
week, and month after month, to devote all but a hardly perceptible
fraction of his mornings to out-of-doors occupations, and the whole of
his evenings to the entertainment of a constantly varying circle of

The hospitality of his afternoons must alone have been enough to
exhaust the energies of almost any man; for his visitors did not
mean, like those of country-houses in general, to enjoy the landlord's
good cheer and amuse each other; but the far greater proportion
arrived from a distance, for the sole sake of the Poet and Novelist
himself, whose person they had never before seen, and whose voice they
might never again have any opportunity of hearing. No other villa in
Europe was ever resorted to from the same motives, and to anything
like the same extent, except Ferney; and Voltaire never dreamt of
being visible to his _hunters_, except for a brief space of the
day;--few of them even dined with him, and none of them seem to have
slept under his roof. Scott's establishment, on the contrary,
resembled in every particular that of the affluent idler, who, because
he has inherited, or would fain transmit, political influence in some
province, keeps open house--receives as many as he has room for, and
sees their apartments occupied, as soon as they vacate them, by
another troop of the same description. Even on gentlemen guiltless of
inkshed, the exercise of hospitality upon this sort of scale is found
to impose a heavy tax; few of them, nowadays, think of maintaining it
for any large portion of the year: very few indeed below the highest
rank of the nobility--in whose case there is usually a staff of
led-captains, led-chaplains, servile dandies, and semi-professional
talkers and jokers from London, to take the chief part of the burden.
Now, Scott had often in his mouth the pithy verses,--

  "Conversation is but carving:--
   Give no more to every guest,
   Than he's able to digest;
   Give him always of the prime,
   And but little at a time;
   Carve to all but just enough,
   Let them neither starve nor stuff,
  _And that you may have your due,
   Let your neighbors carve for you:_"--

and he, in his own familiar circle always, and in other circles where
it was possible, furnished a happy exemplification of these rules and
regulations of the Dean of St. Patrick's. But the same sense and
benevolence which dictated adhesion to them among his old friends and
acquaintance, rendered it necessary to break them when he was
receiving strangers of the class I have described above at Abbotsford:
he felt that their coming was the best homage they could pay to his
celebrity, and that it would have been as uncourteous in him not to
give them their fill of his talk, as it would be in your every-day
lord of manors to make his casual guests welcome indeed to his
venison, but keep his grouse-shooting for his immediate allies and

Every now and then he received some stranger who was not indisposed to
take his part in the _carving_; and how good-humoredly he surrendered
the lion's share to any one that seemed to covet it--with what perfect
placidity he submitted to be bored even by bores of the first water,
must have excited the admiration of many besides the daily observers
of his proceedings. I have heard a spruce Senior Wrangler lecture him
for half an evening on the niceties of the Greek epigram; I have heard
the poorest of all parliamentary blunderers try to detail to him the
_pros_ and _cons_ of what he called the _Truck System_; and in either
case the same bland eye watched the lips of the tormentor. But, with
such ludicrous exceptions, Scott was the one object of the Abbotsford
pilgrims; and evening followed evening only to show him exerting, for
their amusement, more of animal spirits, to say nothing of
intellectual vigor, than would have been considered by any other man
in the company as sufficient for the whole expenditure of a week's
existence. Yet this was not the chief marvel; he talked of things that
interested himself, because he knew that by doing so he should give
most pleasure to his guests. But how vast was the range of subjects on
which he could talk with unaffected zeal; and with what admirable
delicacy of instinctive politeness did he select his topic according
to the peculiar history, study, pursuits, or social habits of the
stranger!--How beautifully he varied his style of letter-writing,
according to the character and situation of his multifarious
correspondents, the reader has already been enabled to judge; but to
carry the same system into practice _at sight_--to manage utter
strangers, of many and widely different classes, in the same fashion,
and with the same effect--called for a quickness of observation, and
fertility of resource, such as no description can convey the slightest
notion of to those who never witnessed the thing for themselves. And
all this was done without approach to the unmanly trickery of what is
called _catching the tone_ of the person one converses with. Scott
took the subject on which he thought such a man or woman would like
best to hear him speak--but not to handle it in their way, or in any
way but what was completely, and most simply his own;--not to flatter
them by embellishing, with the illustration of his genius, the views
and opinions which they were supposed to entertain,--but to let his
genius play out its own variations, for his own delight and theirs, as
freely and easily, and with as endless a multiplicity of delicious
novelties, as ever the magic of Beethoven or Mozart could fling over
the few primitive notes of a village air.

It is the custom in some, perhaps in many country-houses, to keep a
register of the guests, and I have often regretted that nothing of the
sort was ever attempted at Abbotsford. It would have been a curious
record--especially if so contrived (as I have seen done) that the
names of each day should, by their arrangement on the page, indicate
the exact order in which the company sat at dinner. It would hardly, I
believe, be too much to affirm, that Sir Walter Scott entertained,
under his roof, in the course of the seven or eight brilliant seasons
when his prosperity was at its height, as many persons of distinction
in rank, in politics, in art, in literature, and in science, as the
most princely nobleman of his age ever did in the like space of
time.--I turned over, since I wrote the preceding sentence, Mr.
Lodge's compendium of the British Peerage, and on summing up the
titles which suggested _to myself_ some reminiscence of this kind, I
found them nearly as one out of six.--I fancy it is not beyond the
mark to add, that of the eminent foreigners who visited our island
within this period, a moiety crossed the Channel mainly in consequence
of the interest with which his writings had invested Scotland--and
that the hope of beholding the man under his own roof was the crowning
motive with half that moiety. As for countrymen of his own, like him
ennobled, in the higher sense of that word, by the display of their
intellectual energies, if any one such contemporary can be pointed out
as having crossed the Tweed, and yet not spent a day at Abbotsford, I
shall be surprised.

It is needless to add, that Sir Walter was familiarly known, long
before the days I am speaking of, to almost all the nobility and
higher gentry of Scotland; and consequently, that there seldom wanted
a fair proportion of them to assist him in doing the honors of his
country. It is still more superfluous to say so respecting the heads
of his own profession at Edinburgh: _Sibi et amicis_--Abbotsford was
their villa whenever they pleased to resort to it, and few of them
were ever absent from it long. He lived meanwhile in a constant
interchange of easy visits with the gentlemen's families of Teviotdale
and the Forest; so that, mixed up with his superfine admirers of the
Mayfair breed, his staring worshippers from foreign parts, and his
quick-witted coevals of the Parliament House--there was found
generally some hearty homespun laird, with his dame--the young laird,
a bashful bumpkin, perhaps, whose ideas did not soar beyond his gun
and pointer--or perhaps a little pseudo-dandy, for whom the Kelso
race-course and the Jedburgh ball were "Life," and "the World;" and
not forgetting a brace of "Miss Rawbolds,"[98] in whom, as their mamma
prognosticated, some of Sir Walter's young Waverleys or Osbaldistones
might peradventure discover a Flora MacIvor or a Die Vernon. To
complete the _olla podrida_, we must remember that no old
acquaintance, or family connections, however remote their actual
station or style of manners from his own, were forgotten or lost sight
of. He had some, even near relations, who, except when they visited
him, rarely, if ever, found admittance to what the haughty dialect of
the upper world is pleased to designate exclusively as _society_.
These were welcome guests, let who might be under that roof; and it
was the same with many a worthy citizen of Edinburgh, habitually
moving in the obscurest of circles, who had been in the same class
with Scott at the High School, or his fellow-apprentice when he was
proud of earning threepence a page by the use of his pen. To dwell on
nothing else, it was surely a beautiful perfection of real universal
humanity and politeness, that could enable this great and good man to
blend guests so multifarious in one group, and contrive to make them
all equally happy with him, with themselves, and with each other.

[Footnote 98:

  "There were the six Miss Rawbolds--pretty dears!
   All song and sentiment; whose hearts were set
   Less on a convent than a coronet."

                    _Don Juan_, canto xiii. st. 85.]

I remember saying to William Allan one morning as the whole party
mustered before the porch after breakfast, "A faithful sketch of what
you at this moment see would be more interesting a hundred years
hence, than the grandest so-called historical picture that you will
ever exhibit at Somerset House;" and my friend agreed with me so
cordially, that I often wondered afterwards he had not attempted to
realize the suggestion. The subject ought, however, to have been
treated conjointly by him (or Wilkie) and Edwin Landseer. It was a
clear, bright September morning, with a sharpness in the air that
doubled the animating influence of the sunshine, and all was in
readiness for a grand coursing-match on Newark Hill. The only guest
who had chalked out other sport for himself was the stanchest of
anglers, Mr. Rose;--but he, too, was there on his _shelty_, armed with
his salmon-rod and landing-net, and attended by his humorous squire
Hinves, and Charlie Purdie, a brother of Tom, in those days the most
celebrated fisherman of the district. This little group of Waltonians,
bound for Lord Somerville's preserve, remained lounging about to
witness the start of the main cavalcade. Sir Walter, mounted on Sibyl,
was marshalling the order of procession with a huge hunting-whip; and
among a dozen frolicsome youths and maidens, who seemed disposed to
laugh at all discipline, appeared, each on horseback, each as eager as
the youngest sportsman in the troop, Sir Humphry Davy, Dr. Wollaston,
and the patriarch of Scottish belles-lettres, Henry Mackenzie. The Man
of Feeling, however, was persuaded with some difficulty to resign his
steed for the present to his faithful negro follower, and to join Lady
Scott in the sociable, until we should reach the ground of our
_battue_. Laidlaw, on a long-tailed wiry Highlander, yclept _Hoddin
Grey_, which carried him nimbly and stoutly, although his feet almost
touched the ground as he sat, was the adjutant. But the most
picturesque figure was the illustrious inventor of the safety-lamp. He
had come for his favorite sport of angling, and had been practising it
successfully with Rose, his travelling companion, for two or three
days preceding this, but he had not prepared for coursing fields, or
had left Charlie Purdie's troop for Sir Walter's on a sudden thought;
and his fisherman's costume--a brown hat with flexible brims,
surrounded with line upon line, and innumerable fly-hooks--jack-boots
worthy of a Dutch smuggler, and a fustian surtout dabbled with the
blood of salmon, made a fine contrast with the smart jackets,
white-cord breeches, and well-polished jockey-boots of the less
distinguished cavaliers about him. Dr. Wollaston was in black, and,
with his noble serene dignity of countenance, might have passed for a
sporting archbishop.[99] Mr. Mackenzie, at this time in the
seventy-sixth year of his age, with a white hat turned up with green,
green spectacles, green jacket, and long brown leathern gaiters
buttoned upon his nether anatomy, wore a dog-whistle round his neck,
and had all over the air of as resolute a devotee as the gay Captain
of Huntly Burn. Tom Purdie and his subalterns had preceded us by a few
hours with all the greyhounds that could be collected at Abbotsford,
Darnick, and Melrose; but the giant Maida had remained as his master's
orderly, and now gambolled about Sibyl Grey, barking for mere joy like
a spaniel puppy.

[Footnote 99: [William Hyde Wollaston, the distinguished physiologist,
chemist, and physicist.]]

The order of march had been all settled, and the sociable was just
getting under weigh, when _the Lady Anne_ broke from the line,
screaming with laughter, and exclaimed, "Papa, papa, I knew you could
never think of going without your pet." Scott looked round, and I
rather think there was a blush as well as a smile upon his face, when
he perceived a little black pig frisking about his pony, and evidently
a self-elected addition to the party of the day. He tried to look
stern, and cracked his whip at the creature, but was in a moment
obliged to join in the general cheers. Poor piggy soon found a strap
round its neck, and was dragged into the background:--Scott, watching
the retreat, repeated with mock pathos the first verse of an old
pastoral song,--

  "What will I do gin my hoggie[100] die?
     My joy, my pride, my hoggie!
   My only beast, I had nae mae,
     And wow! but I was vogie!"

--the cheers were redoubled--and the squadron moved on.

[Footnote 100: _Hog_ signifies in the Scotch dialect a young sheep
that has never been shorn. Hence, no doubt, the name of the Poet of
Ettrick--derived from a long line of shepherds. Mr. Charles Lamb,
however, in one of his sonnets suggests this pretty origin of _his_
"Family Name:"--

  "Perhaps some shepherd on Lincolnian plains,
   In manners guileless as his own sweet flocks,
   Received it first amid the merry mocks
   And arch allusions of his fellow swains."]

This pig had taken--nobody could tell how--a most sentimental
attachment to Scott, and was constantly urging its pretensions to be
admitted a regular member of his _tail_ along with the greyhounds and
terriers; but, indeed, I remember him suffering another summer under
the same sort of pertinacity on the part of an affectionate hen. I
leave the explanation for philosophers--but such were the facts. I
have too much respect for the vulgarly calumniated donkey to name him
in the same category of pets with the pig and the hen; but a year or
two after this time, my wife used to drive a couple of these animals
in a little garden chair, and whenever her father appeared at the door
of our cottage, we were sure to see Hannah More and Lady Morgan (as
Anne Scott had wickedly christened them) trotting from their pasture
to lay their noses over the paling, and, as Washington Irving says of
the old white-haired hedger with the Parisian snuff-box, "to have a
pleasant crack wi' the laird."

But to return to our _chasse_. On reaching Newark Castle, we found
Lady Scott, her eldest daughter, and the venerable Mackenzie, all
busily engaged in unpacking a basket that had been placed in their
carriage, and arranging the luncheon it contained upon the mossy rocks
overhanging the bed of the Yarrow. When such of the company as chose
had partaken of this refection, the Man of Feeling resumed his pony,
and all ascended the mountain, duly marshalled at proper distances, so
as to beat in a broad line over the heather, Sir Walter directing the
movement from the right wing--towards Blackandro. Davy, next to whom
I chanced to be riding, laid his whip about the fern like an
experienced hand, but cracked many a joke, too, upon his own
jack-boots, and surveying the long eager battalion of bushrangers,
exclaimed, "Good heavens! is it thus that I visit the scenery of The
Lay of the Last Minstrel?" He then kept muttering to himself, as his
glowing eye (the finest and brightest that I ever saw) ran over the
landscape, some of those beautiful lines from the _Conclusion_ of the

                   ---- "But still,
  When summer smiled on sweet Bowhill,
  And July's eve, with balmy breath,
  Waved the blue-bells on Newark heath,
  When throstles sung in Hareheadshaw,
  And corn was green on Carterhaugh,
  And flourished, broad, Blackandro's oak,
  The aged harper's soul awoke," etc.

Mackenzie, spectacled though he was, saw the first sitting hare, gave
the word to slip the dogs, and spurred after them like a boy. All the
seniors, indeed, did well as long as the course was upwards, but when
puss took down the declivity, they halted and breathed themselves upon
the knoll--cheering gayly, however, the young people, who dashed at
full speed past and below them. Coursing on such a mountain is not
like the same sport over a set of fine English pastures. There were
gulfs to be avoided and bogs enough to be threaded--many a stiff nag
stuck fast--many a bold rider measured his length among the
peat-hags--and another stranger to the ground besides Davy plunged
neck-deep into a treacherous well-head, which, till they were
floundering in it, had borne all the appearance of a piece of delicate
green turf. When Sir Humphry emerged from his involuntary bath, his
habiliments garnished with mud, slime, and mangled water-cresses, Sir
Walter received him with a triumphant _encore!_ But the philosopher
had his revenge, for joining soon afterwards in a brisk gallop, Scott
put Sibyl Grey to a leap beyond her prowess, and lay humbled in the
ditch, while Davy, who was better mounted, cleared it and him at a
bound. Happily there was little damage done--but no one was sorry that
the sociable had been detained at the foot of the hill.

I have seen Sir Humphry in many places, and in company of many
different descriptions; but never to such advantage as at Abbotsford.
His host and he delighted in each other, and the modesty of their
mutual admiration was a memorable spectacle. Davy was by nature a
poet--and Scott, though anything but a philosopher in the modern sense
of that term, might, I think it very likely, have pursued the study of
physical science with zeal and success, had he happened to fall in
with such an instructor as Sir Humphry would have been to him, in his
early life. Each strove to make the other talk--and they did so in
turn more charmingly than I ever heard either on any other occasion
whatsoever. Scott in his romantic narratives touched a deeper chord of
feeling than usual, when he had such a listener as Davy; and Davy,
when induced to open his views upon any question of scientific
interest in Scott's presence, did so with a degree of clear energetic
eloquence, and with a flow of imagery and illustration, of which
neither his habitual tone of table-talk (least of all in London), nor
any of his prose writings (except, indeed, the posthumous Consolations
of Travel) could suggest an adequate notion. I say his prose
writings--for who that has read his sublime quatrains on the doctrine
of Spinoza can doubt that he might have united, if he had pleased, in
some great didactic poem, the vigorous ratiocination of Dryden and the
moral majesty of Wordsworth? I remember William Laidlaw whispering to
me, one night, when their "rapt talk" had kept the circle round the
fire until long after the usual bedtime of Abbotsford: "Gude preserve
us! this is a very superior occasion! Eh, sirs!" he added, cocking his
eye like a bird, "I wonder if Shakespeare and Bacon ever met to screw
ilk other up?"

Since I have touched on the subject of Sir Walter's autumnal
diversions in these his later years, I may as well notice here two
annual festivals, when sport was made his pretext for assembling his
rural neighbors about him--days eagerly anticipated, and fondly
remembered by many. One was a solemn bout of salmon-fishing for the
neighboring gentry and their families, instituted originally, I
believe, by Lord Somerville, but now, in his absence, conducted and
presided over by the Sheriff. Charles Purdie, already mentioned, had
charge (partly as lessee) of the salmon-fisheries for three or four
miles of the Tweed, including all the water attached to the lands of
Abbotsford, Gala, and Allwyn; and this festival had been established
with a view, besides other considerations, of recompensing him for the
attention he always bestowed on any of the lairds or their visitors
that chose to fish, either from the banks or the boat, within his
jurisdiction. His selection of the day, and other precautions,
generally secured an abundance of sport for the great anniversary; and
then the whole party assembled to regale on the newly caught prey,
boiled, grilled, and roasted in every variety of preparation, beneath
a grand old ash, adjoining Charlie's cottage at Boldside, on the
northern margin of the Tweed, about a mile above Abbotsford. This
banquet took place earlier in the day or later, according to
circumstances; but it often lasted till the harvest moon shone on the
lovely scene and its revellers. These formed groups that would have
done no discredit to Watteau--and a still better hand has painted the
background in the Introduction to The Monastery: "On the opposite bank
of the Tweed might be seen the remains of ancient enclosures,
surrounded by sycamores and ash-trees of considerable size. These had
once formed the crofts or arable ground of a village, now reduced to a
single hut, the abode of a fisherman, who also manages a ferry. The
cottages, even the church which once existed there, have sunk into
vestiges hardly to be traced without visiting the spot, the
inhabitants having gradually withdrawn to the more prosperous town of
Galashiels, which has risen into consideration within two miles of
their neighborhood. Superstitious eld, however, has tenanted the
deserted grove with aërial beings, to supply the want of the mortal
tenants who have deserted it. The ruined and abandoned churchyard of
Boldside has been long believed to be haunted by the Fairies, and the
deep broad current of the Tweed, wheeling in moonlight round the foot
of the steep bank, with the number of trees originally planted for
shelter round the fields of the cottagers, but now presenting the
effect of scattered and detached groves, fill up the idea which one
would form in imagination for a scene that Oberon and Queen Mab might
love to revel in. There are evenings when the spectator might believe,
with Father Chaucer, that the

  ----'Queen of Faëry,
  With harp, and pipe, and symphony,
  Were dwelling in the place.'"

Sometimes the evening closed with a "burning of the water;" and then
the Sheriff, though now not so agile as when he practised that rough
sport in the early times of Ashestiel, was sure to be one of the party
in the boat,--held a torch, or perhaps took the helm,--and seemed to
enjoy the whole thing as heartily as the youngest of his company,--

  "'T is blithe along the midnight tide,
   With stalwart arm the boat to guide--
   On high the dazzling blaze to rear,
   And heedful plunge the barbed spear;
   Rock, wood, and scaur, emerging bright,
   Fling on the stream their ruddy light,
   And from the bank our band appears
   Like Genii armed with fiery spears."[101]

[Footnote 101: See _Poetical Works_, vol. xi. pp 334, 335 [Cambridge
Ed. p. 467].]

The other "superior occasion" came later in the season; the 28th of
October, the birthday of Sir Walter's eldest son, was, I think, that
usually selected for _the Abbotsford Hunt_. This was a coursing-field on
a large scale, including, with as many of the young gentry as pleased to
attend, all Scott's personal favorites among the yeomen and farmers of
the surrounding country. The Sheriff always took the field, but latterly
devolved the command upon his good friend Mr. John Usher, the ex-laird
of Toftfield; and he could not have had a more skilful or a
better-humored lieutenant. The hunt took place either on the moors above
the Cauldshiels Loch, or over some of the hills on the estate of Gala,
and we had commonly, ere we returned, hares enough to supply the wife of
every farmer that attended, with soup for a week following. The whole
then dined at Abbotsford, the Sheriff in the chair, Adam Ferguson
croupier, and Dominie Thomson, of course, chaplain. George, by the way,
was himself an eager partaker in the preliminary sport; and now he would
favor us with a grace, in Burns's phrase, "as long as my arm," beginning
with thanks to the Almighty, who had given man dominion over the fowls
of the air, and the beasts of the field, and expatiating on this text
with so luculent a commentary, that Scott, who had been fumbling with
his spoon long before he reached his Amen, could not help exclaiming as
he sat down, "Well done, Mr. George! I think we've had everything but
the view holla!" The company, whose onset had been thus deferred, were
seldom, I think, under thirty in number, and sometimes they exceeded
forty. The feast was such as suited the occasion--a baron of beef,
roasted, at the foot of the table, a salted round at the head, while
tureens of hare-soup, hotchpotch, and cocky-leeky, extended down the
centre, and such light articles as geese, turkeys, entire sucking-pigs,
a singed sheep's head, and the unfailing haggis, were set forth by way
of side dishes. Blackcock and moorfowl, bushels of snipe, _black
puddings_, _white puddings_, and pyramids of pancakes, formed the
second course. Ale was the favorite beverage during dinner, but there
was plenty of port and sherry for those whose stomachs they suited. The
quaighs of Glenlivet were filled brimful, and tossed off as if they held
water. The wine decanters made a few rounds of the table, but the hints
for hot punch and toddy soon became clamorous. Two or three bowls were
introduced, and placed under the supervision of experienced
manufacturers,--one of these being usually the Ettrick Shepherd,--and
then the business of the evening commenced in good earnest. The faces
shone and glowed like those at Camacho's wedding: the chairman told his
richest stories of old rural life, Lowland or Highland; Ferguson and
humbler heroes fought their peninsular battles o'er again; the stalwart
Dandie Dinmonts lugged out their last winter's snowstorm, the parish
scandal, perhaps, or the dexterous bargain of the Northumberland
_tryste_; and every man was knocked down for the song that he sung best,
or took most pleasure in singing. Sheriff-Substitute Shortreed (a
cheerful, hearty, little man, with a sparkling eye and a most infectious
laugh) gave us Dick o' the Cow, or Now Liddesdale has ridden a Raid; his
son Thomas (Sir Walter's assiduous disciple and assistant in Border
Heraldry and Genealogy) shone without a rival in The Douglas Tragedy and
The Twa Corbies; a weather-beaten, stiff-bearded veteran, _Captain_
Ormistoun, as he was called (though I doubt if his rank was recognized
at the Horse-Guards), had the primitive pastoral of Cowdenknowes in
sweet perfection; Hogg produced The Women Folk, or The Kye comes Hame;
and, in spite of many grinding notes, contrived to make everybody
delighted, whether with the fun or the pathos of his ballad; the Melrose
doctor sang in spirited style some of Moore's masterpieces; a couple of
retired sailors joined in Bould Admiral Duncan upon the High Sea;--and
the gallant croupier crowned the last bowl with Ale, good Ale, thou art
my Darling! Imagine some smart Parisian _savant_--some dreamy pedant of
Halle or Heidelberg--a brace of stray young Lords from Oxford or
Cambridge, or perhaps their prim college tutors, planted here and there
amidst these rustic wassailers--this being their first vision of the
author of Marmion and Ivanhoe, and he appearing as heartily at home in
the scene as if he had been a veritable _Dandie_ himself--his face
radiant, his laugh gay as childhood, his chorus always ready. And so it
proceeded until some worthy, who had fifteen or twenty miles to ride
home, began to insinuate that his wife and bairns would be getting
sorely anxious about the fords, and the Dumples and Hoddins were at last
heard neighing at the gate, and it was voted that the hour had come for
_doch an dorrach_--the stirrup-cup--to wit, a bumper all round of the
unmitigated _mountain dew_. How they all contrived to get home in
safety, Heaven only knows--but I never heard of any serious accident
except upon one occasion, when James Hogg made a bet at starting that he
would leap over his wall-eyed pony as she stood, and broke his nose in
this experiment of "o'ervaulting ambition." One comely goodwife, far off
among the hills, amused Sir Walter by telling him, the next time he
passed her homestead after one of these jolly doings, what her husband's
first words were when he alighted at his own door: "Ailie, my woman, I'm
ready for my bed, and oh lass (he gallantly added), I wish I could sleep
for a towmont, for there's only ae thing in this warld worth living for,
and that's the Abbotsford Hunt!"

It may well be supposed that the President of the Boldside Festival
and the Abbotsford Hunt did not omit the good old custom of _the
Kirn_. Every November, before quitting the country for Edinburgh, he
gave a _harvest-home_, on the most approved model of former days, to
all the peasantry on his estate, their friends and kindred, and as
many poor neighbors besides as his barn could hold. Here old and
young danced from sunset to sunrise,--John of Skye's bagpipe being
relieved at intervals by the violin of some Wandering Willie;--and the
laird and all his family were present during the early part of the
evening--he and his wife to distribute the contents of the first tub
of whiskey-punch, and his young people to take their due share in the
endless reels and hornpipes of the earthen floor. As Mr. Morritt has
said of him as he appeared at Laird Nippy's kirn of earlier days, "To
witness the cordiality of his reception might have unbent a
misanthrope." He had his private joke for every old wife or "gausie
carle," his arch compliment for the ear of every bonny lass, and his
hand and his blessing for the head of every little _Eppie Daidle_ from
Abbotstown or Broomielees.

"The notable paradox," he says in one of the most charming of his
essays, "that the residence of a proprietor upon his estate is of as
little consequence as the bodily presence of a stockholder upon
Exchange, has, we believe, been renounced. At least, as in the case of
the Duchess of Suffolk's relationship to her own child, the vulgar
continue to be of opinion that there is some difference in favor of
the next hamlet and village, and even of the vicinage in general, when
the squire spends his rents at the manor-house, instead of cutting a
figure in France or Italy. A celebrated politician used to say he
would willingly bring in one bill to make poaching felony, another to
encourage the breed of foxes, and a third to revive the decayed
amusements of cock-fighting and bullbaiting--that he would make, in
short, any sacrifice to the humors and prejudices of the country
gentlemen, in their most extravagant form, provided only he could
prevail upon them to 'dwell in their own houses, be the patrons of
their own tenantry, and the fathers of their own children.'"[102]

[Footnote 102: Essay on Landscape Gardening, _Miscellaneous Prose
Works_, vol. xxi. p. 77.]


     Publication of the Abbot. -- The Blair-Adam Club. -- Kelso,
     Walton Hall, Etc. -- Ballantyne's Novelists' Library. --
     Acquittal of Queen Caroline. -- Service of the Duke of Buccleuch.
     -- Scott Elected President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. --
     The Celtic Society. -- Letters to Lord Montagu, Cornet Scott,
     Charles Scott, Allan Cunningham, Etc. -- Kenilworth Published.


In the September of 1820, Longman, in conjunction with Constable,
published The Abbot--the continuation, to a certain extent, of The
Monastery, of which I barely mentioned the appearance under the
preceding March. I had nothing of any consequence to add to the
information which the subsequent Introduction affords us respecting
the composition and fate of the former of these novels. It was
considered as a failure--the first of the series on which any such
sentence was pronounced;--nor have I much to allege in favor of the
White Lady of Avenel, generally criticised as the primary blot--or of
Sir Piercie Shafton, who was loudly, though not quite so generally,
condemned. In either case, considered separately, he seems to have
erred from dwelling (in the German taste) on materials that might have
done very well for a rapid sketch. The phantom, with whom we have
leisure to become familiar, is sure to fail--even the witch of Endor
is contented with a momentary appearance and five syllables of the
shade she evokes. And we may say the same of any grotesque absurdity
in human manners. Scott might have considered with advantage how
lightly and briefly Shakespeare introduces _his_ Euphuism--though
actually the prevalent humor of the hour when he was writing. But
perhaps these errors might have attracted little notice had the
novelist been successful in finding some reconciling medium capable of
giving consistence and harmony to his naturally incongruous materials.
"These," said one of his ablest critics, "are joined--but they refuse
to blend. Nothing can be more poetical in conception, and sometimes in
language, than the fiction of the White Maid of Avenel; but when this
ethereal personage, who rides on the cloud which 'for Araby is
bound'--who is

  'Something between heaven and hell,
   Something that neither stood nor fell,'

whose existence is linked by an awful and mysterious destiny to the
fortunes of a decaying family; when such a being as this descends to
clownish pranks, and promotes a frivolous jest about a tailor's
bodkin, the course of our sympathies is rudely arrested, and we feel
as if the author had put upon us the old-fashioned pleasantry of
selling a bargain."[103]

[Footnote 103: Adolphus's _Letters to Heber_, p. 13.]

The beautiful natural scenery, and the sterling Scotch characters and
manners introduced in The Monastery are, however, sufficient to redeem
even these mistakes; and, indeed, I am inclined to believe that it
will ultimately occupy a securer place than some romances enjoying
hitherto a far higher reputation, in which he makes no use of Scottish

Sir Walter himself thought well of The Abbot when he had finished it.
When he sent me a complete copy I found on a slip of paper at the
beginning of volume first, these two lines from Tom Crib's Memorial to

  "Up he rose in a funk, lapped a toothful of brandy,
   And _to it_ again!--any odds upon Sandy!"--

and whatever ground he had been supposed to lose in The Monastery,
part at least of it was regained by this tale, and especially by its
most graceful and pathetic portraiture of Mary Stuart. "The Castle of
Lochleven," says the Chief-Commissioner Adam, "is seen at every turn
from the northern side of Blair-Adam. This castle, renowned and
attractive above all the others in my neighborhood, became an object
of much increased attention, and a theme of constant conversation,
after the author of Waverley had, by his inimitable power of
delineating character--by his creative poetic fancy in representing
scenes of varied interest--and by the splendor of his romantic
descriptions, infused a more diversified and a deeper tone of feeling
into the history of Queen Mary's captivity and escape."

I have introduced this quotation from a little book privately printed
for the amiable Judge's own family and familiar friends, because Sir
Walter owned to myself at the time, that the idea of The Abbot had
arisen in his mind during a visit to Blair-Adam. In the pages of the
tale itself, indeed, the beautiful localities of that estate are
distinctly mentioned, with an allusion to the virtues and manners that
adorn its mansion, such as must have been intended to satisfy the
possessor (if he could have had any doubts on the subject) as to the
authorship of those novels.

The Right Honorable William Adam (who must pardon my mentioning him
here as the only man I ever knew that rivalled Sir Walter Scott in
uniform graciousness of _bonhomie_ and gentleness of humor)[104] was
appointed, in 1815, to the Presidency of the Court for Jury Trial in
Civil Cases, then instituted in Scotland, and he thenceforth spent a
great part of his time at his paternal seat in Kinross-shire. Here,
about midsummer, 1816, he received a visit from his near relation
William Clerk, Adam Ferguson, his hereditary friend and especial
favorite, and their lifelong intimate, Scott. They remained with him
for two or three days, in the course of which they were all so much
delighted with their host, and he with them, that it was resolved to
reassemble the party, with a few additions, at the same season of
every following year. This was the origin of the Blair-Adam Club, the
regular members of which were in number nine; namely, the four already
named--the Chief-Commissioner's son, Admiral Sir Charles Adam--his
son-in-law, the late Mr. Anstruther Thomson of Charleton, in
Fifeshire--Mr. Thomas Thomson, the Deputy-Register of Scotland--his
brother, the Rev. John Thomson, minister of Duddingston, who, though a
most diligent and affectionate parish priest, has found leisure to
make himself one of the first masters of the British School of
Landscape Painting--and the Right Hon. Sir Samuel Shepherd, who, after
filling with high distinction the office of Attorney-General in
England, became Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland,
shortly after the third anniversary of this brotherhood, into which he
was immediately welcomed with unanimous cordiality. They usually
contrived to meet on a Friday; spent the Saturday in a ride to some
scene of historical interest within an easy distance; enjoyed a quiet
Sunday at home--"duly attending divine worship at the Kirk of Cleish
(not Cleishbotham)"--gave Monday morning to another antiquarian
excursion, and returned to Edinburgh in time for the Courts of
Tuesday. From 1816 to 1831 inclusive, Sir Walter was a constant
attendant at these meetings. He visited in this way Castle Campbell,
Magus Moor, Falkland, Dunfermline, St. Andrews, and many other scenes
of ancient celebrity: to one of those trips we must ascribe his
dramatic sketch of Macduff's Cross--and to that of the dog-days of
1819, we owe the weightier obligation of The Abbot.

[Footnote 104: See _ante_, vol. v. p. 34.]

I expect an easy forgiveness for introducing from the _liber
rarissimus_ of Blair-Adam the page that belongs to that particular
meeting--which, though less numerous than usual, is recorded as having
been "most pleasing and delightful." "There were," writes the
President, "only five of us; the Chief Baron, Sir Walter, Mr. Clerk,
Charles Adam, and myself. The weather was sultry, almost beyond
bearing. We did not stir beyond the bounds of the pleasure-ground,
indeed not far from the vicinity of the house; wandering from one
shady place to another, lolling upon the grass, or sitting upon
prostrate trees not yet carried away by the purchaser. Our
conversation was constant, though tranquil; and what might be expected
from Mr. Clerk, who is a superior converser, and whose mind is stored
with knowledge; and from Sir Walter Scott, who has let the public know
what his powers are. Our talk was of all sorts (except of _beeves_).
Besides a display of their historic knowledge, at once extensive and
correct, they touched frequently on the pleasing reminiscences of
their early days. Shepherd and I could not go back to those periods;
but we could trace our own intimacy and constant friendship for more
than forty years back, when in 1783 we began our professional pursuits
on the Circuit. So that if Scott could describe, with inconceivable
humor, their doings at Mr. Murray's of Simprim, when emerging from
boyhood; when he, and Murray, and Clerk, and Adam Ferguson, acted
plays in the schoolroom (Simprim making the dominie bear his
part)--when Ferguson was prompter, orchestra, and audience--and as
Scott said, representing the whole pit, kicked up an 'O. P.' row by
anticipation; and many other such recollections--Shepherd and I could
tell of our Circuit fooleries, as old Fielding (the son of the great
novelist) called them--of the Circuit songs which Will Fielding made
and sung,--and of the grave Sir William Grant (then a briefless
barrister), ycleped by Fielding the Chevalier Grant, bearing his part
in those fooleries, enjoying all our pranks with great zest, and who
talked of them with delight to his dying day. When the conversation
took a graver tone, and turned upon literary subjects, the Chief-Baron
took a great share in it; for notwithstanding his infirmity of
deafness, he is a most pleasing and agreeable converser, and readily
picks up what is passing; and having a classical mind and classical
information, gives a pleasing, gentlemanly, and well-informed tone to
general conversation.--Before I bring these recollections of our
social and cheerful doings to a close, let me observe, that there was
a characteristic feature attending them, which it would be injustice
to the individuals who composed our parties not to mention. The whole
set of us were addicted to take a full share of conversation, and to
discuss every subject that occurred with sufficient keenness. The
topics were multifarious, and the opinions of course various; but
during the whole time of our intercourse, for so many years, four days
at a time, and always together, except when we were asleep, there
never was the least tendency, on any occasion, to any unruly debate,
nor to anything that deviated from the pure delight of social

The Chief-Commissioner adds the following particulars in his

     "Our return from Blair-Adam (after the first meeting of the Club)
     was very early on a Tuesday morning, that we might reach the
     Courts by nine o'clock. An occurrence took place near the Hawes'
     Inn, which left little doubt upon my mind that Sir Walter Scott
     was the author of Waverley, of Guy Mannering, and of The
     Antiquary, his only novels then published. The morning was
     prodigiously fine, and the sea as smooth as glass. Sir Walter and
     I were standing on the beach, enjoying the prospect; the other
     gentlemen were not come from the boat. The porpoises were rising
     in great numbers, when Sir Walter said to me, 'Look at them, how
     they are showing themselves; what fine fellows they are! I have
     the greatest respect for them: I would as soon kill a man as a
     phoca.' I could not conceive that the same idea could occur to
     two men respecting this animal, and set down that it could only
     be Sir Walter Scott who made the phoca have the better of the
     battle with the Antiquary's nephew, Captain M'Intyre.[105]

     "Soon after, another occurrence quite confirmed me as to the
     authorship of the novels. On that visit to Blair-Adam, in course
     of conversation, I mentioned an anecdote about Wilkie, the author
     of The Epigoniad, who was but a formal poet, but whose
     conversation was most amusing, and full of fancy. Having heard
     much of him in my family, where he had been very intimate, I
     went, when quite a lad, to St. Andrews, where he was a Professor,
     for the purpose of visiting him. I had scarcely let him know who
     I was, when he said, 'Mr. William, were you ever in this place
     before?' I said, no. 'Then, sir, you must go and look at Regulus'
     Tower,--no doubt you will have something of an eye of an
     architect about you;--walk up to it at an angle, advance and
     recede until you get to see it at its proper distance, and come
     back and tell me whether you ever saw anything so beautiful in
     building: till I saw that tower and studied it, I thought the
     beauty of architecture had consisted in curly-wurlies, but now I
     find it consists in symmetry and proportion.' In the following
     winter Rob Roy was published, and there I read that the Cathedral
     of Glasgow was 'a respectable Gothic structure, without any

     "But what confirmed, and was certainly meant to disclose to me
     the author (and that in a very elegant manner), was the mention
     of the Kiery Craigs--a picturesque piece of scenery in the
     grounds of Blair-Adam--as being in the vicinity of Kelty Bridge,
     the _howf_ of Auchtermuchty, the Kinross carrier.--It was only an
     intimate friend of the family, in the habit of coming to
     Blair-Adam, who could know anything of the Kiery Craigs or its
     name; and both the scenery and the name had attractions for Sir

     "At our first meeting after the publication of The Abbot, when
     the party was assembled on the top of the rock, the Chief-Baron
     Shepherd, looking Sir Walter full in the face, and stamping his
     staff on the ground, said, 'Now, Sir Walter, I think we be upon
     the top of the Kiery _Craggs_.' Sir Walter preserved profound
     silence; but there was a conscious looking down, and a
     considerable elongation of his upper lip."

[Footnote 105: The good Chief-Commissioner makes a little mistake
here--a _Phoca_ being, not a porpoise, but a _Seal_.]

Since I have obtained permission to quote from this private volume, I
may as well mention that I was partly moved to ask that favor, by the
author's own confession that his "Blair-Adam, from 1733 to 1834,"
originated in a suggestion of Scott's. "It was," says the Judge, "on a
fine Sunday, lying on the grassy summit of Bennarty, above its craggy
brow, that Sir Walter said, looking first at the flat expanse of
Kinross-shire (on the south side of the Ochils), and then at the space
which Blair-Adam fills between the hill of Drumglow (the highest of
the Cleish hills) and the valley of Lochore, 'What an extraordinary
thing it is, that here to the north so little appears to have been
done, when there are so many proprietors to work upon it; and to the
south, here is a district of country entirely made by the efforts of
one family, in three generations, and one of them amongst us in the
full enjoyment of what has been done by his two predecessors and
himself. Blair-Adam, as I have always heard, had a wild, uncomely, and
unhospitable appearance, before its improvements were begun. It would
be most curious to record in writing its original state, and trace its
gradual progress to its present condition.'" Upon this suggestion,
enforced by the approbation of the other members present, the
President of the Blair-Adam Club commenced arranging the materials for
what constitutes a most instructive as well as entertaining history of
the agricultural and arboricultural progress of his domains, in the
course of a hundred years, under his grandfather, his father (the
celebrated architect), and himself. And Sir Walter had only suggested
to his friend of Kinross-shire what he was resolved to put into
practice with regard to his own improvements on Tweedside; for he
begun at precisely the same period to keep a regular Journal of all
his rural transactions, under the title of Sylva Abbotsfordiensis.

For reasons, as we have seen, connected with the affairs of the
Ballantynes, Messrs. Longman published the first edition of The
Monastery; and similar circumstances induced Sir Walter to associate
this house with that of Constable in the succeeding novel. Constable
disliked its title, and would fain have had The Nunnery instead: but
Scott stuck to his Abbot. The bookseller grumbled a little, but was
soothed by the author's reception of his request that Queen Elizabeth
might be brought into the field in his next romance, as a companion to
the Mary Stuart of The Abbot.[106] Scott would not indeed indulge him
with the choice of the particular period of Elizabeth's reign,
indicated in the proposed title of The Armada; but expressed his
willingness to take up his own old favorite, the legend of Meikle's
ballad. He wished to call the novel, like the ballad, Cumnor-Hall, but
in further deference to Constable's wishes, substituted Kenilworth.
John Ballantyne objected to this title, and told Constable the result
would be "something worthy of the kennel;" but Constable had all
reason to be satisfied with the child of his christening. His partner,
Mr. Cadell, says: "His vanity boiled over so much at this time, on
having his suggestion gone into, that when in his high moods, he used
to stalk up and down his room, and exclaim, 'By G--, I am all but the
author of the Waverley Novels!'" Constable's bibliographical
knowledge, however, it is but fair to say, was really of most
essential service to Scott upon many of these occasions; and his
letter (now before me) proposing the subject of The Armada, furnished
the Novelist with such a catalogue of materials for the illustration
of the period as may, probably enough, have called forth some very
energetic expression of thankfulness.

[Footnote 106: [Scott writes in December to Lady Louisa Stuart: "I do
not design any scandal about Queen Bess, whom I admire much, although,
like an old _true blue_, I have malice against her on Queen Mary's
account. But I think I shall be very fair. The story is the tragedy of
Leicester's first wife, and I have made it, as far as my facilities
would permit, 'a pleasant tragedy, stuffed with most pitiful
mirth.'"--_Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p. 102.]]

Scott's kindness secured for John Ballantyne the usual interest in the
profits of Kenilworth, the last of his great works in which this
friend was to have any concern. I have already mentioned the obvious
drooping of his health and strength; and a document, to be introduced
presently, will show that John himself had occasional glimpses, at
least, of his danger, before the close of 1819. Nevertheless, his
spirits continued, at the time of which I am now treating, to be in
general as high as ever;--nay, it was now, after his maladies had
taken a very serious shape, and it was hardly possible to look on him
without anticipating a speedy termination of his career, that the gay
hopeful spirit of the shattered and trembling invalid led him to
plunge into a new stream of costly indulgence. It was an amiable point
in his character that he had always retained a tender fondness for his
native place. He had now taken up the ambition of rivalling his
illustrious friend, in some sort, by providing himself with a summer
retirement amidst the scenery of his boyhood; and it need not be
doubted, at the same time, that in erecting a villa at Kelso, he
anticipated and calculated on substantial advantages from its vicinity
to Abbotsford.

One fine day of this autumn I accompanied Sir Walter to inspect the
progress of this edifice, which was to have the title of Walton Hall.
John had purchased two or three old houses of two stories in height,
with notched gables and thatched roofs, near the end of the long
original street of Kelso, and not far from the gateway of the Duke of
Roxburghe's magnificent park, with their small gardens and paddocks
running down to the margin of the Tweed. He had already fitted up
convenient bachelor's lodgings in one of the primitive tenements, and
converted the others into a goodly range of stabling, and was now
watching the completion of his new _corps de logis_ behind, which
included a handsome entrance-hall, or saloon, destined to have old
Piscator's bust, on a stand, in the centre, and to be embellished all
round with emblems of his sport. Behind this were spacious rooms
overlooking the little _pleasance_, which was to be laid out somewhat
in the Italian style, with ornamental steps, a fountain and _jet
d'eau_, and a broad terrace hanging over the river, and commanding an
extensive view of perhaps the most beautiful landscape in Scotland. In
these new dominions John received us with pride and hilarity; and we
then walked with him over this pretty town, lounged away an hour among
the ruins of the Abbey, and closed our perambulation with _the
Garden_, where Scott had spent some of the happiest of his early
summers, and where he pointed out with sorrowful eyes the site of the
Platanus under which he first read Percy's Reliques. Returning to
John's villa, we dined gayly, _al fresco_, by the side of his
fountain; and after not a few bumpers to the prosperity of Walton
Hall, he mounted Old Mortality, and escorted us for several miles on
our ride homewards. It was this day that, overflowing with kindly
zeal, Scott revived one of the long-forgotten projects of their early
connection in business, and offered his services as editor of a
Novelists' Library, to be printed and published for the sole benefit
of his host. The offer was eagerly embraced, and when, two or three
mornings afterwards John returned Sir Walter's visit, he had put into
his hands the MS. of that admirable life of Fielding, which was
followed at brief intervals, as the arrangements of the projected work
required, by others of Smollett, Richardson, Defoe, Sterne, Johnson,
Goldsmith, Le Sage, Horace Walpole, Cumberland, Mrs. Radcliffe,
Charles Johnstone, Clara Reeve, Charlotte Smith, and Robert Bage. The
publication of the first volume of Ballantyne's Novelists' Library did
not take place, however, until February, 1821; and the series was
closed soon after the proprietor's death in the ensuing summer. In
spite of the charming prefaces, in which Scott combines all the
graces of his easy narrative with a perpetual stream of deep and
gentle wisdom in commenting on the tempers and fortunes of his best
predecessors in novel literature, and also with expositions of his own
critical views, which prove how profoundly he had investigated the
principles and practice of those masters before he struck out a new
path for himself--in spite of these delightful and valuable essays,
the publication was not prosperous. Constable, after Ballantyne's
death, would willingly have resumed the scheme. But Scott had by that
time convinced himself that it was in vain to expect much success for
a collection so bulky and miscellaneous, and which must of necessity
include a large proportion of matter, condemned by the purity, whether
real or affected, of modern taste. He could hardly have failed to
perceive, on reflection, that his own novels, already constituting an
extensive library of fiction, in which no purist could pretend to
discover danger for the morals of youth, had in fact superseded the
works of less strait-laced days in the only permanently and solidly
profitable market for books of this order. He at all events declined
Constable's proposition for renewing and extending this attempt. What
he did, was done gratuitously for John Ballantyne's sake; and I have
dwelt on it thus long, because, as the reader will perceive by and by,
it was so done during (with one exception) the very busiest period of
Scott's literary life.

Shortly before Scott wrote the following letters, he had placed his
second son (at this time in his fifteenth year) under the care of the
Reverend John Williams, who had been my intimate friend and companion
at Oxford, with a view of preparing him for that University.[107] Mr.
Williams was then Vicar of Lampeter, in Cardiganshire, and the high
satisfaction with which his care of Charles Scott inspired Sir Walter,
induced several other Scotch gentlemen of distinction by and by to
send their sons also to his Welsh parsonage; the result of which
northern connections was important to the fortunes of one of the most
accurate and extensive scholars and most skilful teachers of the
present time.

[Footnote 107: [Writing to Lady Louisa Stuart, December 14, Scott
says: "My youngest son, who is very clever and very idle, I have sent
to a learned clergyman ... to get more thoroughly grounded in
classical learning. For two years Mr. Williams has undertaken to speak
with him in Latin, and, as everybody else talks Welsh, he will have
nobody to show off his miscellaneous information to, and thus a main
obstacle to his improvement will be removed. It would be a pity any
stumbling-block were left for him to break his shins over, for he has
a most active mind and a good disposition."--_Familiar Letters_, vol.
ii. p. 103.]]


                                       EDINBURGH, 14th November, 1820.

     MY DEAR WALTER,--I send you a cheque on Coutts for your quarter's
     allowance. I hope you manage your cash like a person of
     discretion--above all, avoid the card-tables of ancient dowagers.
     Always remember that my fortune, however much my efforts may
     increase it, and although I am improving it for your benefit, not
     for any that can accrue in my own time,--yet never can be more
     than a decent independence, and therefore will make a poor figure
     unless managed with good sense, moderation, and prudence--which
     are habits easily acquired in youth, while habitual extravagance
     is a fault very difficult to be afterwards corrected.

     We came to town yesterday, and bade adieu to Abbotsford for the
     season. Fife,[108] to mamma's great surprise and scandal, chose
     to stay at Abbotsford with Mai, and plainly denied to follow the
     carriage--so our canine establishment in Castle Street is reduced
     to little Ury.[109] We spent two days at Arniston, on the
     road,--and on coming here, found Sophia as nicely and orderly
     settled in her house as if she had been a married woman these
     five years. I believe she is very happy--perhaps unusually so,
     for her wishes are moderate, and all seem anxious to please her.
     She is preparing in due time for the arrival of a little
     stranger, who will make you an uncle, and me (God help me!) a

     The Round Towers you mention are very curious, and seem to have
     been built, as the Irish hackney-coachman said of the Martello
     one at the Black Rock, "to puzzle posterity." There are two of
     them in Scotland--both excellent pieces of architecture; one at
     Brechin, built quite close to the old church, so as to appear
     united with it, but in fact it is quite detached from the church,
     and sways from it in a high wind, when it vibrates like a
     lighthouse. The other is at Abernethy in Perthshire--said to have
     been the capital city of the Picts. I am glad to see you observe
     objects of interest and curiosity, because otherwise a man may
     travel over the universe without acquiring any more knowledge
     than his horse does.

     We had our hunt, and our jollification after it, on last
     Wednesday. It went off in great style, although I felt a little
     sorry at having neither Charles nor you in the field. By the way,
     Charles seems most admirably settled. I had a most sensible
     letter on the subject from Mr. Williams, who appears to have
     taken great pains, and to have formed a very just conception both
     of his merits and foibles. When I have an opportunity, I will
     hand you his letter; for it will entertain you, it is so correct
     a picture of Monsieur Charles.

     Dominie Thomson has gone to a Mrs. Dennistoun, of Colgrain, to
     drill her youngsters. I am afraid he will find a change; but I
     hope to have a nook open to him by and by--as a sort of retreat
     or harbor on his lee. Adieu, my dear--always believe me your
     affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 108: _Finette_--a spaniel of Lady Scott's.]

[Footnote 109: _Urisk_ [Ourisque]--a small terrier of the long
silky-haired Kintail breed.]


_Care of the Rev. John Williams, Lampeter._

                                       EDINBURGH, 14th November, 1820.

     MY DEAR BOY CHARLES,--Your letters made us all very happy, and I
     trust you are now comfortably settled and plying your task hard.
     Mr. Williams will probably ground you more perfectly in the
     grammar of the classical languages than has hitherto been done,
     and this you will at first find but dry work. But there are many
     indispensable reasons why you must bestow the utmost attention
     upon it. A perfect knowledge of the classical languages has been
     fixed upon, and not without good reason, as the mark of a
     well-educated young man; and though people may have scrambled
     into distinction without it, it is always with the greatest
     difficulty, just like climbing over a wall, instead of giving
     your ticket at the door. Perhaps you may think another proof of a
     youth's talents might have been adopted; but what good will arise
     from your thinking so, if the general practice of society has
     fixed on this particular branch of knowledge as the criterion?
     Wheat or barley were as good grain, I suppose, as _sesamum_; but
     it was only to _sesamum_ that the talisman gave way, and the rock
     opened; and it is equally certain that, if you are not a
     well-founded grammatical scholar in Greek and Latin, you will in
     vain present other qualifications to distinction. Besides, the
     study of grammar, from its very asperities, is calculated to
     teach youth that patient labor which is necessary to the useful
     exertion of the understanding upon every other branch of
     knowledge; and your great deficiency is want of steadiness and of
     resolute application to the dry as well as the interesting parts
     of your learning. But exerting yourself, as I have no doubt you
     will do, under the direction of so learned a man and so excellent
     a teacher as Mr. Williams, and being without the temptations to
     idleness which occurred at home, I have every reason to believe
     that to your natural quickness you will presently add such a
     _habit_ of application and steadiness, as will make you a
     respected member of society, perhaps a distinguished one. It is
     very probable that the whole success of your future life may
     depend on the manner in which you employ _the next two years_;
     and I am therefore most anxious you should fully avail yourself
     of the opportunities now afforded you.

     You must not be too much disconcerted with the apparent dryness
     of your immediate studies. Language is the great mark by which
     man is distinguished from the beasts, and a strict acquaintance
     with the manner in which it is composed becomes, as you follow it
     a little way, one of the most curious and interesting exercises
     of the intellect.

     We had our grand hunt on Wednesday last, a fine day, and plenty
     of sport. We hunted all over Huntly wood, and so on to Halidon
     and Prieston--saw twelve hares, and killed six, having very hard
     runs, and tiring three packs of grews completely. In absence of
     Walter and you, Stenhouse the horse-couper led the field, and
     rode as if he had been a piece of his horse, sweltering like a
     wild-drake all through Marriage-Moss, at a motion betwixt
     swimming and riding. One unlucky accident befell;--Queen Mab, who
     was bestrode by Captain Adam, lifted up her heels against Mr.
     Craig of Galashiels,[110] whose leg she greeted with a thump like
     a pistol-shot, while by the same movement she very nearly sent
     the noble Captain over her ears. Mr. Craig was helped from horse,
     but would not permit his boot to be drawn off, protesting he
     would faint if he saw the bone of his leg sticking through the
     stocking. Some thought he was reluctant to exhibit his legs in
     their primitive and unclothed simplicity, in respect they have an
     unhappy resemblance to a pair of tongs. As for the Captain, he
     declared that if the accident had happened _in action_, the
     surgeon and drum-boys would have had off, not his _boot_ only,
     but his _leg to boot_, before he could have uttered a
     remonstrance. At length Gala and I prevailed to have the boot
     drawn, and to my great joy I found the damage was not serious,
     though the pain must have been severe.

     On Saturday we left Abbotsford, and dined and spent Sunday at
     Arniston, where we had many inquiries after you from Robert
     Dundas, who was so kind to you last year.

     I must conclude for the present, requesting your earnest pursuit
     of such branches of study as Mr. Williams recommends. In a short
     time, as you begin to comprehend the subjects you are learning,
     you will find the path turn smoother, and that which at present
     seems wrapped up in an inextricable labyrinth of thorns and
     briers, will at once become easy and attractive.--Always, dear
     Charlie, your affectionate father,

                                                                 W. S.

[Footnote 110: Mr. George Craig, factor to the laird of Gala, and
manager of a little branch bank at Galashiels. This worthy man was one
of the regular members of the Abbotsford Hunt.]

On the same day Scott wrote as follows to the manly and amiable author
of Sir Marmaduke Maxwell, who had shortly before sent the MS. of that
romantic drama to Abbotsford for his inspection:--


_Care of F. Chantrey, Esq., R. A., London._

                                       EDINBURGH, 14th November, 1820.

     MY DEAR ALLAN,--I have been meditating a long letter to you for
     many weeks past; but company, and rural business, and rural
     sports, are very unfavorable to writing letters. I have now a
     double reason for writing, for I have to thank you for sending me
     in safety a beautiful specimen of our English Michael's talents
     in the cast of my venerable friend Mr. Watt: it is a most
     striking resemblance, with all that living character which we are
     apt to think life itself alone can exhibit. I hope Mr. Chantrey
     does not permit his distinguished skill either to remain
     unexercised, or to be lavished exclusively on subjects of little
     interest. I would like to see him engaged on some subject of
     importance completely adapted to the purpose of his chisel, and
     demanding its highest powers. Pray remember me to him most

     I have perused twice your curious and interesting manuscript.
     Many parts of the poetry are eminently beautiful, though I fear
     the great length of the piece, and some obscurity of the plot,
     would render it unfit for dramatic representation. There is also
     a fine tone of supernatural impulse spread over the whole action,
     which I think a common audience would not be likely to adopt or
     comprehend--though I own that to me it has a very powerful
     effect. Speaking of dramatic composition in general, I think it
     is almost essential (though the rule be most difficult in
     practice) that the plot, or business of the piece, should advance
     with every line that is spoken. The fact is, the drama is
     addressed chiefly to the eyes, and as much as can be, by any
     possibility, represented on the stage, should neither be told nor
     described. Of the miscellaneous part of a large audience, many do
     not understand, nay, many cannot hear, either narrative or
     description, but are solely intent upon the action exhibited. It
     is, I conceive, for this reason that very bad plays, written by
     performers themselves, often contrive to get through, and not
     without applause; while others, immeasurably superior in point of
     poetical merit, fail, merely because the author is not
     sufficiently possessed of the trick of the scene, or enough aware
     of the importance of a maxim pronounced by no less a performer
     than Punch himself--(at least he was the last authority from whom
     I heard it),--_Push on, keep moving!_[111] Now, in your very
     ingenious dramatic effort, the interest not only stands still,
     but sometimes retrogrades. It contains, notwithstanding, many
     passages of eminent beauty,--many specimens of most interesting
     dialogue; and, on the whole, if it is not fitted for the modern
     stage, I am not sure that its very imperfections do not render it
     more fit for the closet, for we certainly do not always read with
     the greatest pleasure those plays which act best.

     If, however, you should at any time wish to become a candidate
     for dramatic laurels, I would advise you, in the first place, to
     consult some professional person of judgment and taste. I should
     regard friend Terry as an excellent Mentor, and I believe he
     would concur with me in recommending that at least one third of
     the drama be retrenched, that the plot should be rendered
     simpler, and the motives more obvious, and I think the powerful
     language and many of the situations might then have their full
     effect upon the audience. I am uncertain if I have made myself
     sufficiently understood; but I would say, for example, that it is
     ill explained by what means Comyn and his gang, who land as
     shipwrecked men, become at once possessed of the old lord's
     domains, merely by killing and taking possession. I am aware of
     what you mean--namely, that being attached to the then rulers, he
     is supported in his ill-acquired power by their authority. But
     this is imperfectly brought out, and escaped me at the first
     reading. The superstitious motives, also, which induced the
     shepherds to delay their vengeance, are not likely to be
     intelligible to the generality of the hearers. It would seem more
     probable that the young Baron should have led his faithful
     vassals to avenge the death of his parents; and it has escaped me
     what prevents him from taking this direct and natural course.
     Besides it is, I believe, a rule (and it seems a good one) that
     one single interest, to which every other is subordinate, should
     occupy the whole play,--each separate object having just the
     effect of a mill-dam, sluicing off a certain portion of the
     sympathy, which should move on with increasing force and rapidity
     to the catastrophe. Now, in your work, there are several divided
     points of interest; there is the murder of the old Baron--the
     escape of his wife--that of his son--the loss of his bride--the
     villainous artifices of Comyn to possess himself of her
     person--and, finally, the fall of Comyn, and acceleration of the
     vengeance due to his crimes. I am sure your own excellent sense,
     which I admire as much as I do your genius, will give me credit
     for my frankness in these matters; I only know, that I do not
     know many persons on whose performances I would venture to offer
     so much criticism.

     I will return the manuscript under Mr. Freeling's Post-Office
     cover, and I hope it will reach you safe.--Adieu, my leal and
     esteemed friend--yours truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 111: _Punch_ had been borrowing from _Young Rapid_, in the
_Cure for the Heart-ache_.]

Shortly afterwards, Mr. Cunningham, thanking his critic, said he had
not yet received back his MS.; but that he hoped the delay had been
occasioned by Sir Walter's communication of it to some friend of
theatrical experience. He also mentioned his having undertaken a
collection of The Songs of Scotland, with notes. The answer was in
these terms:--


     MY DEAR ALLAN,--It was as you supposed--I detained your
     manuscript to read it over with Terry. The plot appears to Terry,
     as to me, ill-combined, which is a great defect in a drama,
     though less perceptible in the closet than on the stage. Still,
     if the mind can be kept upon one unbroken course of interest, the
     effect even in perusal is more gratifying. I have always
     considered this as the great secret in dramatic poetry, and
     conceive it one of the most difficult exercises of the invention
     possible, to conduct a story through five acts, developing it
     gradually in every scene, so as to keep up the attention, yet
     never till the very conclusion permitting the nature of the
     catastrophe to become visible,--and all the while to accompany
     this by the necessary delineation of character and beauty of
     language. I am glad, however, that you mean to preserve in some
     permanent form your very curious drama, which, if not altogether
     fitted for the stage, cannot be read without very much and very
     deep interest.

     I am glad you are about Scottish song. No man--not Robert Burns
     himself--has contributed more beautiful effusions to enrich it.
     Here and there I would pluck a flower from your Posy to give what
     remains an effect of greater simplicity; but luxuriance can only
     be the fault of genius, and many of your songs are, I think,
     unmatched. I would instance, It's Hame and it's Hame, which my
     daughter Mrs. Lockhart sings with such uncommon effect. You
     cannot do anything either in the way of original composition, or
     collection, or criticism, that will not be highly acceptable to
     all who are worth pleasing in the Scottish public--and I pray you
     to proceed with it.

     Remember me kindly to Chantrey. I am happy my effigy is to go
     with that of Wordsworth,[112] for (differing from him in very
     many points of taste) I do not know a man more to be venerated
     for uprightness of heart and loftiness of genius. Why he will
     sometimes choose to crawl upon all fours, when God has given him
     so noble a countenance to lift to heaven, I am as little able to
     account for, as for his quarrelling (as you tell me) with the
     wrinkles which time and meditation have stamped his brow withal.

     I am obliged to conclude hastily, having long letters to
     write--God wot upon very different subjects. I pray my kind
     respects to Mrs. Chantrey.--Believe me, dear Allan, very truly
     yours, etc.,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 112: Mr. Cunningham had told Scott that Chantrey's bust of
Wordsworth (another of his noblest works) was also to be produced at
the Royal Academy's Exhibition for 1821.]

The following letter touches on the dropping of the Bill which had
been introduced by Government for the purpose of degrading the consort
of George the Fourth; the riotous rejoicings of the Edinburgh mob on
that occasion; and Scott's acquiescence in the request of the
guardians of the young Duke of Buccleuch, that he should act as
chancellor of the jury about to _serve_ his grace _heir_ (as the law
phrase goes) to the Scottish estates of his family.


                                       EDINBURGH, 30th November, 1820.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I had your letter some time since, and have now to
     congratulate you on your two months' spell of labor-in-vain duty
     being at length at an end. The old sign of the Labor-in-vain
     Tavern was a fellow attempting to scrub a black-a-moor white; but
     the present difficulty seems to lie in showing that one _is_
     black. Truly, I congratulate the country on the issue; for, since
     the days of Queen Dollalolla[113] and the _Rumti-iddity_ chorus
     in Tom Thumb, never was there so jolly a representative of
     royalty. A good ballad might be made, by way of parody, on Gay's
     Jonathan Wild,--

       "Her Majesty's trial has set us at ease,
        And every wife round me may kiss if she please."

     We had the Marquis of Bute and Francis Jeffrey, very brilliant in
     George Street, and I think one grocer besides. I was hard
     threatened by letter, but I caused my servant to say in the
     quarter where I thought the threatening came from, that I should
     suffer my windows to be broken like a Christian, but if anything
     else was attempted, I should become as great a heathen as the Dey
     of Algiers. We were passed over, but many houses were terribly
     _Cossaqué_, as was the phrase in Paris in 1814 and 1815. The next
     night, being, like true Scotsmen, wise behind the hand, the
     bailies had a sufficient force sufficiently arranged, and put
     down every attempt to riot. If the same precautions had been
     taken before, the town would have been saved some disgrace, and
     the loss of at least £1000 worth of property.--Hay Donaldson[114]
     is getting stout again, and up to the throat in business; there
     is no getting a word out of him that does not smell of parchment
     and special service. He asked me, as it is to be a mere _law_
     service, to act as chancellor on the Duke's inquest, which
     honorable office I will of course undertake with great
     willingness, and discharge--I mean the _hospitable_ part of
     it--to the best of my power. I think you are right to avoid a
     more extended service, as £1000 certainly would not clear the
     expense, as you would have to dine at least four counties, and as
     sweetly sing, with Duke Wharton on Chevy Chase,

                       "Pity it were
         So much good wine to spill,
       As these bold freeholders would drink,
         Before they had their fill."

     I hope we shall all live to see our young baron take his own
     chair, and feast the land in his own way. Ever your Lordship's
     most truly faithful

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--In the illumination row, young Romilly was knocked down
     and robbed by the mob, just while he was in the act of declaiming
     on the impropriety of having constables and volunteers to
     interfere with the harmless mirth of the people.

[Footnote 113:

  _Queen._--"What though I now am half-seas o'er,
                   I scorn to baulk this bout;
                 Of stiff rack-punch fetch bowls a score,
                   'Fore George, I'll see them out!

  _Chorus._--"Rumti-iddity, row, row, row,
                  If we'd a good sup, we'd take it now."

  Fielding's _Tom Thumb_.]

[Footnote 114: This gentleman, Scott's friend and confidential
solicitor, had obtained (I believe), on his recommendation, the legal
management of the Buccleuch affairs in Scotland.]


_Care of the Rev. John Williams, Lampeter._

                                       EDINBURGH, 19th December, 1820.

     MY DEAR CHARLES,--We begin to be afraid that, in improving your
     head, you have lost the use of your fingers, or got so deep into
     the Greek and Latin grammar, that you have forgotten how to
     express yourself in your own language. To ease our anxious minds
     in these important doubts, we beg you will write as soon as
     possible, and give us a full account of your proceedings, as I do
     not approve of long intervals of silence, or think that you need
     to stand very rigorously upon the exchange of letters, especially
     as mine are so much the longest.

     I rely upon it that you are now working hard in the classical
     mine, getting out the rubbish as fast as you can, and preparing
     yourself to collect the ore. I cannot too much impress upon your
     mind that _labor_ is the condition which God has imposed on us in
     every station of life--there is nothing worth having, that can be
     had without it, from the bread which the peasant wins with the
     sweat of his brow, to the sports by which the rich man must get
     rid of his ennui. The only difference betwixt them is, that the
     poor man labors to get a dinner to his appetite, the rich man to
     get an appetite to his dinner. As for knowledge, it can no more
     be planted in the human mind without labor, than a field of wheat
     can be produced without the previous use of the plough. There is
     indeed this great difference, that chance or circumstances may so
     cause it that another shall reap what the farmer sows; but no man
     can be deprived, whether by accident or misfortune, of the fruits
     of his own studies; and the liberal and extended acquisitions of
     knowledge which he makes are all for his own use. Labor, my dear
     boy, therefore, and improve the time. In youth our steps are
     light, and our minds are ductile, and knowledge is easily laid
     up; but if we neglect our spring, our summers will be useless and
     contemptible, our harvest will be chaff, and the winter of our
     old age unrespected and desolate.

     It is now Christmas-tide, and it comes sadly round to me as
     reminding me of your excellent grandmother, who was taken from us
     last year at this time. Do you, my dear Charles, pay attention
     to the wishes of your parents while they are with you, that you
     may have no self-reproach when you think of them at a future

     You hear the Welsh spoken much about you, and if you can pick it
     up without interfering with more important labors, it will be
     worth while. I suppose you can easily get a grammar and
     dictionary. It is, you know, the language spoken by the Britons
     before the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons, who brought in the
     principal ingredients of our present language, called from thence
     English. It was afterwards, however, much mingled with Norman
     French, the language of William the Conqueror and his followers;
     so if you can pick up a little of the Cambro-British speech, it
     will qualify you hereafter to be a good philologist, should your
     genius turn towards languages. Pray, have you yet learned who
     Howel Dha was?--Glendower you are well acquainted with by reading
     Shakespeare. The wild mysterious barbaric grandeur with which he
     has invested that chieftain has often struck me as very fine. I
     wish we had some more of him.

     We are all well here, and I hope to get to Abbotsford for a few
     days--they cannot be many--in the ensuing vacation, when I trust
     to see the planting has got well forward. All are well here, and
     Mr. Cadell[115] is come back, and gives a pleasant account of
     your journey. Let me hear from you very soon, and tell me if you
     expect any _skating_, and whether there is any ice in Wales. I
     presume there will be a merry Christmas, and beg my best wishes
     on the subject to Mr. Williams, his sister, and family. The
     Lockharts dine with us, and the Scotts of Harden, James
     Scott[116] with his pipes, and I hope Captain Adam. We will
     remember your health in a glass of claret just about _six_
     o'clock at night; so that you will know exactly (allowing for
     variation of time) what we are doing at the same moment.

     But I think I have written quite enough to a young Welshman, who
     has forgot all his Scots kith, kin, and allies. Mamma and Anne
     send many loves. Walter came like a shadow, and so
     departed--after about ten days' stay. The effect was quite
     dramatic, for the door was flung open as we were about to go down
     to dinner, and Turner announced _Captain Scott_. We could not
     conceive who was meant, when in walked Walter as large as life.
     He is positively a new edition of the Irish giant.--I beg my kind
     respects to Mr. Williams. At his leisure I should be happy to
     have a line from him.--I am, my dear little boy, always your
     affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 115: Mr. Robert Cadell, of the house of Constable, had this
year conveyed Charles Scott from Abbotsford to Lampeter.]

[Footnote 116: Sir Walter's cousin, a son of his uncle Thomas. See
_ante_, vol. i. p. 62.]

The next letter contains a brief allusion to an affair, which in the
life of any other man of letters would have deserved to be considered
as of some consequence. The late Sir James Hall of Dunglass resigned,
in November, 1820, the Presidency of the Royal Society of Edinburgh;
and the Fellows, though they had on all former occasions selected a
man of science to fill that post, paid Sir Walter the compliment of
unanimously requesting him to be Sir James's successor in it. He felt
and expressed a natural hesitation about accepting this honor--which
at first sight seemed like invading the proper department of another
order of scholars. But when it was urged upon him that the Society is
really a double one,--embracing a section for literature as well as
one of science,--and that it was only due to the former to let it
occasionally supply the chief of the whole body,--Scott acquiesced in
the flattering proposal; and his gentle skill was found effective, so
long as he held the Chair, in maintaining and strengthening the tone
of good feeling and good manners which can alone render the meetings
of such a Society either agreeable or useful. The new President
himself soon began to take a lively interest in many of their
discussions--those at least which pointed to any discovery of
practical use;--and he by and by added some eminent men of science,
with whom his acquaintance had hitherto been slight, to the list of
his most valued friends: I may mention in particular Doctor, now Sir
David, Brewster.

Sir Walter also alludes to an institution of a far different
description,--that called "The Celtic Society of Edinburgh;" a club
established mainly for the patronage of ancient Highland manners and
customs, especially the use of "the Garb of Old Gaul"--though part of
their funds have always been applied to the really important object of
extending education in the wilder districts of the north. At their
annual meetings Scott was, as may be supposed, a regular attendant. He
appeared, as in duty bound, in the costume of the Fraternity, and was
usually followed by "John of Skye," in a still more complete, or
rather incomplete, style of equipment.


                                        EDINBURGH, 17th January, 1821.

     MY DEAR LORD,--We had a tight day of it on Monday last, both dry
     and wet. The dry part was as dry as may be, consisting in
     rehearsing the whole lands of the Buccleuch estate for five
     mortal hours, although Donaldson had kindly selected a clerk
     whose tongue went over baronies, lordships, and regalities, at as
     high a rate of top speed as ever Eclipse displayed in clearing
     the course at Newmarket. The evening went off very
     well--considering that while looking forward with the natural
     feelings of hope and expectation on behalf of our young friend,
     most of us who were present could not help casting looks of sad
     remembrance on the days we had seen. However, we did very well,
     and I kept the chair till eleven, when we had coffee, and
     departed, "no very fou, but gaily yet."[117] Besides the law
     gentlemen, and immediate agents of the family, I picked up on my
     own account Tom Ogilvie,[118] Sir Harry Hay Macdougal, Harden and
     his son, Gala, and Captain John Ferguson, whom I asked as from
     myself, stating that the party was to be quite private. I suppose
     there was no harm in this, and it helped us well on. I believe
     your nephew and my young chief enters life with as favorable
     auspices as could well attend him, for to few youths can attach
     so many good wishes, and _none_ can look back to more estimable
     examples both in his father and grandfather. I think he will
     succeed to the warm and social affections of his relatives,
     which, if they sometimes occasion pain to those who possess them,
     contain also the purest sources of happiness as well as of

     Our late Pitt meeting amounted to about 800, a most tremendous
     multitude. I had charge of a separate room, containing a
     detachment of about 250, and gained a headache of two days, by
     roaring to them for five or six hours almost incessantly. The
     Foxites had also a very numerous meeting,--500 at least, but sad
     scamps. We had a most formidable band of young men, almost all
     born gentlemen and zealous proselytes. We shall now begin to
     look anxiously to London for news. I suppose they will go by the
     ears in the House of Commons: but I trust Ministers will have a
     great majority. If not, they should go out, and let the others
     make the best of it with their acquitted Queen, who will be a
     ticklish card in their hand, for she is by nature _intrigante_
     more ways than one. The loss of Canning is a serious
     disadvantage; many of our friends have good talents and good
     taste; but I think he alone has that higher order of parts which
     we call genius. I wish he had had more prudence to guide it. He
     has been a most unlucky politician. Adieu. Best love to all at
     Ditton, and great respect withal. My best compliments attend my
     young chief, now seated, to use an Oriental phrase, upon the
     _Musnud_. I am almost knocked up with public meetings, for the
     triple Hecate was a joke to my plurality of offices this week. On
     Friday I had my Pittite stewardship;--on Monday my
     chancellorship;--yesterday my presidentship of the Royal Society;
     for I had a meeting of that learned body at my house last night,
     where mulled wine and punch were manufactured and consumed
     according to the latest philosophical discoveries. Besides all
     this, I have before my eyes the terrors of a certain Highland
     Association, who dine bonneted and _kilted_ in the old fashion
     (all save myself, of course), and armed to the teeth. This is
     rather severe service; but men who wear broadswords, dirks, and
     pistols, are not to be neglected in these days; and the Gael are
     very loyal lads, so it is as well to keep up an influence with
     them. Once more, my dear Lord, farewell, and believe me always
     most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 117: ["It was often remarked as a proof that they [the
novels] were all Sir Walter's, that he was never known to refer to
them, though they were the constant topic of conversation in every
company at the time. I recollect, however, one striking instance to
the contrary. In the month of January, 1821, a dinner was given in the
Waterloo Rooms, Edinburgh, to a large party of gentlemen, to celebrate
the serving Heir, as it is called in Scotland, of a young gentleman,
to the large estates of his ancestors. Sir Walter having been
Chancellor of the Inquest, also presided at the dinner, and after the
usual toasts on such occasions, he rose, and, with a smiling face,
spoke to the following effect: 'Gentlemen, I dare say you have read of
a man called Dandie Dinmont, and his dogs. He had old Pepper and old
Mustard, and young Pepper and young Mustard, and little Pepper and
little Mustard; but he used to say that "beast or body, education
should aye be minded; a dog is good for nothing until it has been weel
entered; I have always had my dogs weel entered." Now, gentlemen, I am
sure [the Duke] has been weel entered, and if you please we shall
drink to the health of his guardians.'"--Gibson's _Reminiscences of
Sir Walter Scott_.]]

[Footnote 118: The late Thomas Elliot Ogilvie, Esq., of Chesters, in
Roxburghshire--one of Sir Walter's good friends among his country

In the course of the riotous week commemorated in the preceding
letter, appeared Kenilworth, in three volumes post 8vo, like Ivanhoe,
which form was adhered to with all the subsequent novels of the
series. Kenilworth was one of the most successful of them all at the
time of publication; and it continues, and, I doubt not, will ever
continue to be placed in the very highest rank of prose fiction.[119]
The rich variety of character, and scenery, and incident in this
novel, has never indeed been surpassed; nor, with the one exception of
The Bride of Lammermoor, has Scott bequeathed us a deeper and more
affecting tragedy than that of Amy Robsart.

[Footnote 119: [Mr. Morritt writes to Scott, January 28, 1821: "I feel
that I am leaving Rokeby in your debt, and before I set out for town,
amongst other things I have to settle, I may as well discharge my
account by paying you a reasonable and no small return of thanks for
_Kenilworth_, which was duly delivered, read, re-read, and thumbed
with great delight by our fireside. You know, when I first heard that
Queen Elizabeth was to be brought forward as a heroine of a novel, how
I trembled for her reputation. Well knowing your not over-affectionate
regard for that flower of maidenhood, I dreaded lest all her venerable
admirers on this side of the Tweed would have been driven to despair
by a portrait of her Majesty after the manner of Mr. Sharpe's
ingenious sketches. The author, however, has been so very fair, and
has allowed her so many of her real historical merits, that I think he
really has, like Squire Western, a fair right to demand that we should
at least allow her to have been a b----. I am not sure that I do not
like and enjoy _Kenilworth_ quite as much as any of its predecessors.
I think it peculiarly happy in the variety and facility of its
portraits, and the story is so interesting, and so out of the track of
the common sources of novel interest, that perhaps I like it better
from its having so little of the commonplace heroes and heroines who
adorn all other tales of the sort."--_Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p.


     Visit to London. -- Project of the Royal Society of Literature.
     -- Affairs of the 18th Hussars. -- Marriage of Captain Adam
     Ferguson. -- Letters to Lord Sidmouth, Lord Montagu, Allan
     Cunningham, Mrs. Lockhart, and Cornet Scott.


Before the end of January, 1821, Scott went to London at the request
of the other Clerks of Session, that he might watch over the progress
of an Act of Parliament, designed to relieve them from a considerable
part of their drudgery, in attesting recorded deeds by signature;--and
his stay was prolonged until near the beginning of the Summer term of
his Court. His letters while in London are mostly to his own family,
and on strictly domestic topics; but I shall extract a few of them,
chiefly (for reasons which I have already sufficiently intimated)
those addressed to his son the Cornet. I need not trespass on the
reader's attention by any attempt to explain in detail the matters to
which these letters refer. It will be seen that Sir Walter had heard
some rumors of irregularity in the interior of the 18th Hussars; and
that the consequent interference of the then Commander of the Forces
in Ireland, the late Sir David Baird, had been received in anything
but a spirit of humility. The reports that reached Scott proved to
have been most absurdly exaggerated; but nevertheless his observations
on them seem well worth quoting. It so happened that the 18th was one
of several regiments about to be reduced at this time; and as soon as
that event took place, Cornet Scott was sent to travel in Germany,
with a view to his improvement in the science of his profession. He
afterwards spent a brief period, for the same purpose, in the Royal
Military College of Sandhurst; and erelong he obtained a commission as
lieutenant in the 15th or King's Hussars, in which distinguished corps
his father lived to see him Major.

It will also be seen, that during this visit to London Sir Walter was
released from considerable anxiety on account of his daughter Sophia,
whom he had left in a weak state of health at Edinburgh, by the
intelligence of her safe accouchement of a boy,--John Hugh Lockhart,
the "Hugh Littlejohn" of the Tales of a Grandfather. The approaching
marriage of Captain, now Sir Adam Ferguson, to which some jocular
allusions occur, may be classed with these objects of family interest;
and that event was the source of unmixed satisfaction to Scott, as it
did not interrupt his enjoyment of his old friend's society in the
country; for the Captain, though he then pitched a tent for himself,
did so at a very short distance from Huntly Burn. I believe the
ensuing extracts will need no further commentary.


                                       DITTON PARK, February 18, 1821.

     MY DEAREST SOPHIA,--I received as much pleasure, and was relieved
     from as much anxiety, as ever I felt in my life, by Lockhart's
     kind note, which acquainted me with the happy period that has
     been put to your suffering, and, as I hope and trust, to the
     complaints which occasioned it. You are now, my dearest girl,
     beginning a new course of pleasures, anxieties, and duties, and
     the best I can wish for you is, that your little boy may prove
     the same dutiful and affectionate child which you have always
     been to me, and that God may give him a sound and healthy mind,
     with a good constitution of body--the greatest blessings which
     this earth can bestow. Pray be extremely careful of yourself for
     some time. Young women are apt to injure their health by thinking
     themselves well too soon. I beg you to be cautious in this

     The news of the young stranger's arrival was most joyfully
     received here, and his health and yours toasted in a bumper. Lady
     Anne is quite well, and Isabella also; and Lady Charlotte, who
     has rejoined them, is a most beautiful creature indeed. This
     place is all light and splendor, compared to London, where I was
     forced to use candles till ten o'clock at least. I have a gay
     time of it. To-morrow I return to town, and dine with old
     Sotheby; on Tuesday with the Duke of Wellington; Wednesday with
     Croker, and so on. Love to L., the Captain, and the Violet, and
     give your bantling a kiss extraordinary for Grandpapa. I hope
     Mungo[120] approves of the child, for that is a serious point.
     There are no dogs in the hotel where I lodge, but a tolerably
     conversible cat, who eats a mess of cream with me in the morning.
     The little chief and his brother have come over from Eton to see
     me, so I must break off.--I am, my dear love, most affectionately

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 120: Mungo was a favorite Newfoundland dog.]


                                        WATERLOO HOTEL, Jermyn Street,
                                                    February 19, 1821.

     MY DEAR WALTER,--I have just received your letter. I send you a
     draft for £50, which you must make go as far as you can.

     There is what I have no doubt is a very idle report here, of your
     paying rather marked attention to one young lady in particular. I
     beg you would do nothing that can justify such a rumor, as it
     would excite my _highest displeasure_ should you either entangle
     yourself or any other person. I am, and have always been, quite
     frank with you, and beg you will be equally so with me. One
     should, in justice to the young women they live with, be very
     cautious not to give the least countenance to such rumors. They
     are not easily avoided, but are always highly prejudicial to the
     parties concerned; and what begins in folly ends in serious
     misery--_avis au lecteur._

     Believe me, dear Cornet, your affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--I wish you could pick me up the Irish lilt of a tune to
     "Patrick Fleming." The song begins,--

       "Patrick Fleming was a gallant soldier,
        He carried his musket over his shoulder.
        When I cock my pistol, when I draw my raper,
        I make them stand in awe of me, for I am a taker.
                                                Falala," etc.

     From another verse in the same song, it seems the hero was in
     such a predicament as your own:--

       "If you be Peter Fleming, as I suppose you be, sir,
        We are three pedlars walking on so free, sir.
        We are three pedlars a-walking on to Dublin,
        With nothing in our pockets to pay for our lodging.
                                                Falala," etc.


                                             LONDON, 17th March, 1821.

     MY DEAR COMMANDANT OF CAPPOQUIN,--Wishing you joy of your new
     government, these are to inform you that I am still in London.
     The late aspersion on your regiment induced me to protract my
     stay here, with a view to see the Duke of York on your behalf,
     which I did yesterday. His Royal Highness expressed himself most
     obligingly disposed, and promised to consider what could best be
     done to forward your military education. I told him frankly, that
     in giving you to the King's service I had done all that was in my
     power to show our attachment to his Majesty and the country which
     had been so kind to me, and that it was my utmost ambition that
     you should render yourself capable of serving them both well. He
     said he would give the affair his particular consideration, and
     see whether he could put you on the establishment at Sandhurst,
     without any violent infringement on the rules; and hinted that he
     would make an exception to the rule of seniority of standing and
     priority of application in your favor when an opportunity occurs.

     From H. R. H.'s very kind expressions, I have little doubt you
     will have more than justice done you in the patronage necessary
     to facilitate your course through life; but it must be by your
     own exertions, my dearest boy, that you must render yourself
     qualified to avail yourself of the opportunities which you may
     have offered to you. Work, therefore, as hard as you can, and do
     not be discontented for want of assistance of masters, etc.,
     because the knowledge which we acquire by our own unaided
     efforts, is much more tenaciously retained by the memory, while
     the exertion necessary to gain it strengthens the understanding.
     At the same time, I would inquire whether there may not be some
     Catholic priest, or Protestant clergyman, or scholar of any
     description, who, for love or money, would give you a little
     assistance occasionally. Such persons are to be found almost
     everywhere; not professed teachers, but capable of smoothing the
     road to a willing student. Let me earnestly recommend in your
     reading to keep fast to particular hours, and suffer no one thing
     to encroach on the other.

     Charles's last letter was uncommonly steady, and prepared me for
     one from Mr. Williams, in which he expresses satisfaction with
     his attention, and with his progress in learning, in a much
     stronger degree than formerly. This is truly comfortable, and may
     relieve me from the necessity of sending the poor boy to India.

     All in Edinburgh are quite well, and no fears exist, saving those
     of little Catherine[121] for the baby, lest the fairies take it
     away before the christening. I will send some books to you from
     hence, if I can find means to transmit them. I should like you to
     read with care the campaigns of Buonaparte, which have been
     written in French with much science.[122]

     I hope, indeed I am sure, I need not remind you to be very
     attentive to your duty. You have but a small charge, but it is a
     charge, and rashness or carelessness may lead to discredit in the
     commandant of Cappoquin, as well as in a field-marshal. In the
     exercise of your duty, be tender of the lower classes; and as you
     are strong, be merciful. In this you will do your master good
     service, for show me the manners of the man, and I will judge
     those of the master.

     In your present situation, it may be interesting to you to know
     that the bill for Catholic Emancipation will pass the Commons
     without doubt, and very probably the Peers also, unless the
     Spiritual Lords make a great rally. Nobody here cares much about
     it, and if it does not pass this year, it will the next, without

     Among other improvements, I wish you would amend your hand. It is
     a deplorable scratch, and far the worst of the family. Charles
     writes a firm good hand in comparison.

     You may address your next to Abbotsford, where I long to be,
     being heartily tired of fine company and fine living, from dukes
     and duchesses, down to turbot and plovers' eggs. It is very well
     for a while, but to be kept at it makes one feel like a poodle
     dog compelled to stand forever on his hind legs.--Most
     affectionately yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 121: Mrs. Lockhart's maid.]

[Footnote 122: This letter was followed by a copy of General Jomini's
celebrated work.]

During this visit to London, Sir Walter appears to have been consulted
by several persons in authority as to the project of a Society of
Literature, for which the King's patronage had been solicited, and
which was established soon afterwards--though on a scale less
extensive than had been proposed at the outset. He expressed his views
on this subject in writing at considerable length to his friend the
Hon. John Villiers (afterwards Earl of Clarendon);[123] but of that
letter, described to me as a most admirable one, I have as yet failed
to recover a copy. I have little doubt that both the letter in
question, and the following, addressed, soon after his arrival at
Abbotsford, to the then Secretary of State for the Home Department,
were placed in the hands of the King; but it seems probable, that
whatever his Majesty may have thought of Scott's representations, he
considered himself as already, in some measure, pledged to countenance
the projected academy.

[Footnote 123: The third Earl (of the Villierses) died in 1838.]


                                           ABBOTSFORD, April 20, 1821.

     MY DEAR LORD,--Owing to my retreat to this place, I was only
     honored with your Lordship's letter yesterday. Whatever use can
     be made of my letter to stop the very ill-contrived project to
     which it relates, will answer the purpose for which it was
     written. I do not well remember the terms in which my
     remonstrance to Mr. Villiers was couched, for it was positively
     written betwixt sleeping and waking; but your Lordship will best
     judge how far the contents may be proper for his Majesty's eye;
     and if the sentiments appear a little in dishabille, there is the
     true apology that they were never intended to go to Court. From
     more than twenty years' intercourse with the literary world,
     during which I have been more or less acquainted with every
     distinguished writer of my day, and, at the same time, an
     accurate student of the habits and tastes of the reading public,
     I am enabled to say, with a feeling next to certainty, that the
     plan can only end in something very unpleasant. At all events,
     his Majesty should get out of it; it is nonsense to say or
     suppose that any steps have been taken which, in such a matter,
     can or ought to be considered as irrevocable. The fact is, that
     nobody knows as yet how far the matter has gone beyond the
     _projet_ of some well-meaning but misjudging persons, and the
     whole thing is asleep and forgotten so far as the public is
     concerned. The Spanish proverb says, "God help me from my
     friends, and I will keep myself from my enemies;" and there is
     much sense in it; for the zeal of misjudging adherents often
     contrives, as in the present case, to turn to matter of reproach
     the noblest feelings on the part of a sovereign.

     Let men of letters fight their own way with the public, and let
     his Majesty, according as his own excellent taste and liberality
     dictate, honor with his patronage, expressed in the manner fitted
     to their studies and habits, those who are able to distinguish
     themselves, and alleviate by his bounty the distresses of such
     as, with acknowledged merit, may yet have been unfortunate in
     procuring independence. The immediate and direct favor of the
     Sovereign is worth the patronage of ten thousand societies. But
     your Lordship knows how to set all this in a better light than I
     can, and I would not wish the cause of letters in better hands.

     I am now in a scene changed as completely as possible from those
     in which I had the great pleasure of meeting your Lordship
     lately, riding through the moors on a pony, instead of traversing
     the streets in a carriage, and drinking whiskey-toddy with mine
     honest neighbors, instead of Champagne and Burgundy. I have
     gained, however, in point of exact political information; for I
     find we know upon Tweedside with much greater accuracy what is
     done and intended in the Cabinet, than ever I could learn when
     living with the Ministers five days in the week. Mine honest
     Teviotdale friends, whom I left in a high Queen-fever, are now
     beginning to be somewhat ashamed of themselves, and to make as
     great advances towards retracting their opinion as they are ever
     known to do, which amounts to this: "God judge me, Sir W----, the
     King's no been so dooms far wrong after a' in yon Queen's job
     like;" which, being interpreted, signifies, "We will fight for
     the King to the death." I do not know how it was in other places;
     but I never saw so sudden and violent a delusion possess the
     minds of men in my life, even those of sensible, steady,
     well-intentioned fellows, that would fight knee-deep against the
     Radicals. It is well over, thank God.

     My best compliments attend the ladies. I ever am, my dear Lord,
     your truly obliged and faithful humble servant,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

I have thought it right to insert the preceding letter, because it
indicates with sufficient distinctness what Scott's opinions always
were as to a subject on which, from his experience and position, he
must have reflected very seriously. In how far the results of the
establishment of the Royal Society of Literature have tended to
confirm or to weaken the weight of his authority on these matters, I
do not presume to have formed any judgment. He received, about the
same time, a volume of poetry by Allan Cunningham, which included the
drama of Sir Marmaduke Maxwell; and I am happy to quote his letter of
acknowledgment to that high-spirited and independent author in the
same page with the foregoing monition to the dispensers of patronage.


                                               ABBOTSFORD, 27th April.

     DEAR ALLAN,--Accept my kind thanks for your little modest volume,
     received two days since. I was acquainted with most of the
     pieces, and yet I perused them all with renewed pleasure, and
     especially my old friend Sir Marmaduke with his new face, and by
     the assistance of an April sun, which is at length, after many a
     rough blast, beginning to smile on us. The drama has, in my
     conception, more poetical conception and poetical expression in
     it, than most of our modern compositions. Perhaps, indeed, it
     occasionally sins even in the richness of poetical expression;
     for the language of passion, though bold and figurative, is brief
     and concise at the same time. But what would, in acting, be a
     more serious objection, is the complicated nature of the plot,
     which is very obscure. I hope you will make another dramatic
     attempt; and, in that case, I would strongly recommend that you
     should previously make a model or skeleton of your incidents,
     dividing them regularly into scenes and acts, so as to insure the
     dependence of one circumstance upon another, and the simplicity
     and union of your whole story. The common class of readers, and
     more especially of spectators, are thick-skulled enough, and can
     hardly comprehend what they see and hear, unless they are hemmed
     in, and guided to the sense at every turn.

     The unities of time and place have always appeared to me
     fopperies, as far as they require close observance of the French
     rules. Still, the nearer you can come to them, it is always, no
     doubt, the better, because your action will be more probable. But
     the unity of action--I mean that continuity which unites every
     scene with the other, and makes the catastrophe the natural and
     probable result of all that has gone before--seems to me a
     critical rule which cannot safely be dispensed with. Without such
     a regular deduction of incidents, men's attention becomes
     distracted, and the most beautiful language, if at all listened
     to, creates no interest, and is out of place. I would give, as an
     example, the suddenly entertained and as suddenly abandoned
     jealousy of Sir Marmaduke (p. 85), as a useless excrescence in
     the action of the drama.

     I am very much unaccustomed to offer criticism, and when I do so,
     it is because I believe in my soul that I am endeavoring to pluck
     away the weeds which hide flowers well worthy of cultivation. In
     your case, the richness of your language, and fertility of your
     imagination, are the snares against which I would warn you. If
     the one had been poor, and the other costive, I would never have
     made remarks which could never do good, while they only gave
     pain. Did you ever read Savage's beautiful poem of The Wanderer?
     If not, do so, and you will see the fault which, I think,
     attaches to Lord Maxwell--a want of distinct precision and
     intelligibility about the story, which counteracts, especially
     with ordinary readers, the effect of beautiful and forcible
     diction, poetical imagery, and animated description.

     All this freedom you will excuse, I know, on the part of one who
     has the truest respect for the manly independence of character
     which rests for its support on honest industry, instead of
     indulging the foolish fastidiousness formerly supposed to be
     essential to the poetical temperament, and which has induced some
     men of real talents to become coxcombs--some to become sots--some
     to plunge themselves into want--others into the equal miseries of
     dependence, merely because, forsooth, they were men of genius,
     and wise above the ordinary, and, I say, the manly duties of
     human life.

       "I'd rather be a kitten, and cry, Mew!"[124]

     than write the best poetry in the world on condition of laying
     aside common sense in the ordinary transactions and business of
     the world; and therefore, dear Allan, I wish much the better to
     the Muse whom you meet by the fireside in your hours of leisure
     when you have played your part manfully through a day of labor. I
     should like to see her making those hours also a little
     profitable. Perhaps something of the dramatic romance, if you
     could hit on a good subject, and combine the scenes well, might
     answer. A beautiful thing with appropriate music, scenes, etc.,
     might be woven out of the Mermaid of Galloway.

     When there is any chance of Mr. Chantrey coming this way, I hope
     you will let me know; and if you come with him, so much the
     better. I like him as much for his manners as for his genius.

      "He is a man without a clagg;
       His heart is frank without a flaw."

     This is a horrible long letter for so vile a correspondent as I
     am. Once more, my best thanks for the little volume, and believe
     me yours truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 124: _1st King Henry IV._ Act III. Scene 1.]

I now return to Sir Walter's correspondence with the Cornet at


                                           ABBOTSFORD, April 21, 1821.

     MY DEAR WALTER,--...A democrat in any situation is but a silly
     sort of fellow, but a democratical soldier is worse than an
     ordinary traitor by ten thousand degrees, as he forgets his
     military honor, and is faithless to the master whose bread he
     eats. Three distinguished heroes of this class have arisen in my
     time--Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Colonel Despard, and Captain
     Thistlewood--and, with the contempt and abhorrence of all men,
     they died the death of infamy and guilt. If a man of honor is
     unhappy enough to entertain opinions inconsistent with the
     service in which he finds himself, it is his duty at once to
     resign his commission; in acting otherwise, he disgraces himself
     forever.... The reports are very strange, also, with respect to
     the private conduct of certain officers.... Gentlemen maintain
     their characters even in following their most licentious
     pleasures, otherwise they resemble the very scavengers in the
     streets.... I had written you a long letter on other subjects,
     but these circumstances have altered my plans, as well as given
     me great uneasiness on account of the effects which the society
     you have been keeping may have had on your principles, both
     political and moral. Be very frank with me on this subject. I
     have a title to expect perfect sincerity, having always treated
     you with openness on my part.

     Pray write immediately, and at length.--I remain your
     affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                           ABBOTSFORD, April 28, 1821.

     DEAR WALTER,--... The great point in the mean while is to acquire
     such preliminary information as may render you qualified to
     profit by Sandhurst when you get thither. Amongst my
     acquaintance, the men of greatest information have been those who
     seemed but indifferently situated for the acquisition of it, but
     who exerted themselves in proportion to the infrequency of their

     The noble Captain Ferguson was married on Monday last. I was
     present at the bridal, and I assure you the like hath not been
     seen since the days of Lesmahago. Like his prototype, the Captain
     advanced in a jaunty military step, with a kind of leer on his
     face that seemed to quiz the whole affair. You should write to
     your brother sportsman and soldier, and wish the veteran joy of
     his entrance into the band of Benedicts. Odd enough that I should
     christen a grandchild and attend the wedding of a contemporary
     within two days of each other. I have sent John of Skye with Tom,
     and all the rabblement which they can collect, to play the pipes,
     shout, and fire guns below the Captain's windows this morning;
     and I am just going over to hover about on my pony, and witness
     their reception. The happy pair returned to Huntly Burn on
     Saturday; but yesterday being Sunday, we permitted them to enjoy
     their pillows in quiet. This morning they must not expect to get
     off so well. Pray write soon, and give me the history of your
     still-huntings, etc.--Ever yours affectionately,

                                                             W. SCOTT.


_Care of the Rev. Mr. Williams, Lampeter._

                                            ABBOTSFORD, 9th May, 1821.

     MY DEAR CHARLES,--I am glad to find, by your letter just
     received, that you are reading Tacitus with some relish. His
     style is rather quaint and enigmatical, which makes it difficult
     to the student; but then his pages are filled with such admirable
     apothegms and maxims of political wisdom, as infer the deepest
     knowledge of human nature; and it is particularly necessary that
     any one who may have views as a public speaker should be master
     of his works, as there is neither ancient nor modern who affords
     such a selection of admirable quotations. You should exercise
     yourself frequently in trying to make translations of the
     passages which most strike you, trying to invest the sense of
     Tacitus in as good English as you can. This will answer the
     double purpose of making yourself familiar with the Latin author,
     and giving you the command of your own language, which no person
     will ever have who does not study English composition in early
     life.... I conclude somewhat abruptly, having trees to cut, and
     saucy Tom watching me like a Calmuck with the axe in his hand.

     Yours affectionately,

                                                             W. SCOTT.


                                           ABBOTSFORD, 10th May, 1821.

     DEAR WALTER,--I wrote yesterday, but I am induced immediately to
     answer your letter, because I think you expect from it an effect
     upon my mind different from what it produces. A man may be
     violent and outrageous in his liquor, but wine seldom makes a
     gentleman a blackguard, or instigates a loyal man to utter
     sedition. Wine unveils the passions and throws away restraint,
     but it does not create habits or opinions which did not
     previously exist in the mind. Besides, what sort of defence is
     this of intemperance? I suppose if a private commits riot, or is
     disobedient in his cups, his officers do not admit whiskey to be
     an excuse. I have seen enough of that sort of society where
     habitual indulgence drowned at last every distinction between
     what is worthy and unworthy,--and I have seen young men with the
     fairest prospects, turn out degraded miserable outcasts before
     their life was half spent, merely from soaking and sotting, and
     the bad habits these naturally lead to. You tell me *** and ***
     frequent good society, and are well received in it; and I am very
     glad to hear this is the case. But such stories as these will
     soon occasion their seclusion from the _best_ company. There may
     remain, indeed, a large enough circle, where ladies, who are
     either desirous to fill their rooms or to marry their daughters,
     will continue to receive any young man in a showy uniform,
     however irregular in private life; but if these cannot be called
     _bad_ company, they are certainly anything but _very good_, and
     the facility of access makes the _entrée_ of little consequence.

     I mentioned in my last that you were to continue in the 18th
     until the regiment went to India, and that I trusted you would
     get the step within the twelve months that the corps yet remains
     in Europe, which will make your exchange easier. But it is of far
     more importance that you learn to command yourself, than that you
     should be raised higher in commanding others. It gives me pain to
     write to you in terms of censure, but _my duty_ must be done,
     else I cannot expect you to do _yours_. All here are well, and
     send love.--I am your affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                            EDINBURGH, 15th May, 1821.

     DEAR WALTER,--I have your letter of May 6th, to which it is
     unnecessary to reply very particularly. I would only insinuate to
     you that the _lawyers_ and _gossips_ of Edinburgh, whom your
     military politeness handsomely classes together in writing to a
     lawyer, know and care as little about the 18th as they do about
     the 19th, 20th, or 21st, or any other regimental number which
     does not happen for the time to be at Piershill, or in the
     Castle. Do not fall into the error and pedantry of young military
     men, who, living much together, are apt to think themselves and
     their actions the subject of much talk and rumor among the public
     at large.--I will transcribe Fielding's account of such a person,
     whom he met with on his voyage to Lisbon, which will give two or
     three hours' excellent amusement when you choose to peruse it:--

         "In his conversation it is true there was something
         military enough, as it consisted chiefly of oaths, and of
         the great actions and wise sayings of Jack, Will, and Tom
         of _ours_, a phrase eternally in his mouth, and he seemed
         to conclude that it conveyed to all the officers such a
         degree of public notoriety and importance that it entitled
         him, like the head of a profession, or a first minister,
         to be the subject of conversation amongst those who had
         not the least personal acquaintance with him."

     Avoid this silly narrowness of mind, my dear boy, which only
     makes men be looked on in the world with ridicule and contempt.
     Lawyer and gossip as I may be, I suppose you will allow I have
     seen something of life in most of its varieties; as much at least
     as if I had been, like you, eighteen months in a cavalry
     regiment, or, like Beau Jackson in Roderick Random, had cruised
     for half a year in the chops of the Channel. Now, I have never
     remarked any one, be he soldier, or divine, or lawyer, that was
     exclusively attached to the narrow habits of his own profession,
     but what such person became a great twaddle in good society,
     besides, what is of much more importance, becoming narrow-minded,
     and ignorant of all general information.

     That this letter may not be unacceptable in all its parts, I
     enclose your allowance without stopping anything for the hackney.
     Take notice, however, my dear Walter, that this is to last you
     till midsummer.--We came from Abbotsford yesterday, and left all
     well, excepting that Mr. Laidlaw lost his youngest child, an
     infant, very unexpectedly. We found Sophia, Lockhart, and their
     child in good health, and all send love.

     I remain your affectionate father,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


                                            EDINBURGH, 26th May, 1821.

     MY DEAR WALTER,--I see you are of the mind of the irritable
     prophet Jonah, who persisted in maintaining "he did well to be
     angry," even when disputing with Omnipotence. I am aware that Sir
     David is considered as a severe and ill-tempered man; and I
     remember a story that, when report came to Europe that Tippoo's
     prisoners (of whom Baird was one) were chained together two and
     two, his mother said, "God pity the poor lad that's chained to
     _our Davie_." But though it may be very true that he may have
     acted towards you with caprice and severity, yet you are always
     to remember,--1st, That in becoming a soldier you have subjected
     yourself to the caprice and severity of superior officers, and
     have no comfort except in contemplating the prospect of
     commanding others in your turn. In the mean while, you have in
     most cases no remedy so useful as patience and submission. But,
     _2dly_, As you seem disposed to admit that you yourselves have
     been partly to blame, I submit to you, that in turning the
     magnifying end of the telescope on Sir D.'s faults, and the
     diminishing one on your own, you take the least useful mode of
     considering the matter. By studying _his_ errors, you can acquire
     no knowledge that will be useful to you till you become
     Commander-in-Chief in Ireland,--whereas, by reflecting on _your
     own_, Cornet Scott and his companions may reap some immediate
     moral advantage. Your fine of a dozen of claret, upon any one who
     shall introduce females into your mess in future, reminds me of
     the rule of a country club, that whoever "behaved ungenteel"
     should be fined in a pot of porter. Seriously, I think there was
     bad taste in the style of the forfeiture.

     I am well pleased with your map, which is very businesslike.
     There was a great battle fought between the English and native
     Irish near the Blackwater, in which the former were defeated, and
     Bagenal the Knight-Marshal killed. Is there any remembrance of
     this upon the spot? There is a clergyman in Lismore, Mr. John
     Graham--originally, that is by descent, a Borderer. He lately
     sent me a manuscript which I intend to publish, and I wrote to
     him enclosing a cheque on Coutts. I wish you could ascertain if
     he received my letter safe. You can call upon him with my
     compliments. You need only say I was desirous to know if he had
     received a letter from me lately. The manuscript was written by a
     certain Mr. Gwynne, a Welsh loyalist in the great Civil War, and
     afterwards an officer in the guards of Charles II. This will be
     an object for a ride to you.[125]

     I presided last night at the dinner of the Celtic Society, "all
     plaided and plumed in their tartan array," and such jumping,
     skipping, and screaming you never saw. Chief-Baron Shepherd dined
     with us, and was very much pleased with the extreme enthusiasm of
     the Gael when liberated from the thraldom of breeches. You were
     voted a member by acclamation, which will cost me a tartan dress
     for your long limbs when you come here. If the King takes
     Scotland in coming or going to Ireland (as has been talked of), I
     expect to get you leave to come over.--I remain your affectionate

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

     P. S.--I beg you will not take it into your wise noddle that I
     will act either hastily or unadvisedly in your matters. I have
     been more successful in life than most people, and know well how
     much success depends, first upon desert, and then on knowledge of
     the _carte de pays_.

[Footnote 125: The Rev. John Graham is known as the author of a
_History of the Siege of Londonderry, Annals of Ireland_, and various
political tracts. Sir Walter Scott published _Gwynne's Memoirs_, with
a Preface, etc., in 1822.]

The following letter begins with an allusion to a visit which Captain
Ferguson, his bride, and his youngest sister, Miss Margaret Ferguson,
had been paying at Ditton Park:--


                                            EDINBURGH, 21st May, 1821.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I was much diverted with the account of Adam and
     Eve's visit to Ditton, which, with its surrounding moat, might
     make no bad emblem of Eden, but for the absence of snakes and
     fiends. He is a very singular fellow; for, with all his humor and
     knowledge of the world, he by nature is a remarkably shy and
     modest man, and more afraid of the possibility of intrusion than
     would occur to any one who only sees him in the full stream of
     society. His sister Margaret is extremely like him in the turn of
     thought and of humor, and he has two others who are as great
     curiosities in their way. The eldest is a complete old maid, with
     all the gravity and shyness of the character, but not a grain of
     its bad humor or spleen; on the contrary, she is one of the
     kindest and most motherly creatures in the world. The second,
     Mary, was in her day a very pretty girl; but her person became
     deformed, and she has the sharpness of features with which that
     circumstance is sometimes attended. She rises very early in the
     morning, and roams over all my wild land in the neighborhood,
     wearing the most complicated pile of handkerchiefs of different
     colors on her head, and a stick double her own height in her
     hand, attended by two dogs, whose powers of yelping are truly
     terrific. With such garb and accompaniments, she has very nearly
     established the character in the neighborhood of being _something
     no canny_--and the urchins of Melrose and Darnick are frightened
     from gathering hazel-nuts and cutting wands in my cleugh, by the
     fear of meeting _the daft lady_. With all this quizzicality, I do
     not believe there ever existed a family with so much mutual
     affection and such an overflow of benevolence to all around them,
     from men and women down to hedge-sparrows and lame ass-colts,
     more than one of which they have taken under their direct and
     special protection.

     I am sorry there should be occasion for caution in the case of
     little Duke Walter, but it is most lucky that the necessity is
     early and closely attended to. How many actual valetudinarians
     have outlived all their robust contemporaries, and attained the
     utmost verge of human life, without ever having enjoyed what is
     usually called high health. This is taking the very worst view of
     the case, and supposing the constitution habitually delicate. But
     how often has the strongest and best confirmed health succeeded
     to a delicate childhood--and such, I trust, will be the Duke's
     case. I cannot help thinking that this temporary recess from Eton
     may be made subservient to Walter's improvement in general
     literature, and particularly in historical knowledge. The habit
     of reading useful, and at the same time entertaining books of
     history, is often acquired during the retirement which delicate
     health in convalescence imposes on us. I remember we touched on
     this point at Ditton; and I think again, that though classical
     learning be the _Shibboleth_ by which we judge, generally
     speaking, of the proficiency of the youthful scholar, yet, when
     this has been too exclusively and pedantically impressed on his
     mind as the one thing needful, he very often finds he has
     entirely a new course of study to commence, just at the time when
     life is opening all its busy or gay scenes before him, and when
     study of any kind becomes irksome.

     For this species of instruction I do not so much approve of tasks
     and set hours for serious reading, as of the plan of endeavoring
     to give a taste for history to the youths themselves, and
     suffering them to gratify it in their own way, and at their own
     time. For this reason I would not be very scrupulous what books
     they began with, or whether they began at the middle or end. The
     knowledge which we acquire of free will and by spontaneous
     exertion, is like food eaten with appetite--it digests well, and
     benefits the system ten times more than the double cramming of an
     alderman. If a boy's attention can be drawn in conversation to
     any interesting point of history, and the book is pointed out to
     him where he will find the particulars conveyed in a lively
     manner, he reads the passage with so much pleasure that he very
     naturally recurs to the book at the first unoccupied moment, to
     try if he cannot pick more amusement out of it; and when once a
     lad gets the spirit of information, he goes on himself with
     little trouble but that of selecting for him the best and most
     agreeable books. I think Walter has naturally some turn for
     history and historical anecdote, and would be disposed to read as
     much as could be wished in that most useful line of
     knowledge;--for in the eminent situation he is destined to by his
     birth, acquaintance with the history and institutions of his
     country, and her relative position with respect to others, is a
     _sine qua non_ to his discharging its duties with propriety. All
     this is extremely like prosing, so I will harp on that string no

     Kind compliments to all at Ditton; you say nothing of your own
     rheumatism. I am here for the session, unless the wind should
     blow me south to see the coronation, and I think 800 miles rather
     a long journey to see a show.

     I am always, my dear Lord,

     Yours very affectionately,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.


     Illness and Death of John Ballantyne. -- Extract from his
     Pocketbook. -- Letters from Blair-Adam. -- Castle-Campbell. --
     Sir Samuel Shepherd. -- "Bailie Mackay," Etc. -- Coronation of
     George IV. -- Correspondence with James Hogg and Lord Sidmouth.
     -- Letter on the Coronation. -- Anecdotes. -- Allan Cunningham's
     Memoranda. -- Completion of Chantrey's Bust.


On the 4th of June, Scott, being then on one of his short Sessional
visits to Abbotsford, received the painful intelligence that his
friend John Ballantyne's maladies had begun to assume an aspect of
serious and even immediate danger. The elder brother made the
communication in these terms:--


                                     EDINBURGH, Sunday, 3d June, 1821.

     DEAR SIR,--I have this morning had a most heart-breaking letter
     from poor John, from which the following is an extract. You will
     judge how it has affected me, who, with all his peculiarities of
     temper, love him very much. He says,--

     "A spitting of blood has commenced, and you may guess the
     situation into which I am plunged. We are all accustomed to
     consider death as certainly inevitable; but his obvious approach
     is assuredly the most detestable and abhorrent feeling to which
     human nature can be subject."

     This is truly doleful. There is something in it more absolutely
     bitter to my heart than what I have otherwise suffered. I look
     back to my mother's peaceful rest, and to my infant's
     blessedness--if life be not the extinguishable worthless spark
     which I cannot think it--but here, cut off in the very middle of
     life, with good means and strong powers of enjoying it, and
     nothing but reluctance and repining at the close--I say the truth
     when I say that I would joyfully part with my right arm to avert
     the approaching result. Pardon this, dear sir; my heart and soul
     are heavy within me.

     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     With the deepest respect and gratitude,

                                                                 J. B.

At the date of this letter, the invalid was in Roxburghshire; but he
came to Edinburgh a day or two afterwards, and died there on the 16th
of the same month. I accompanied Sir Walter when one of their last
interviews took place, and John's deathbed was a thing not to be
forgotten. We sat by him for perhaps an hour, and I think half that
space was occupied with his predictions of a speedy end, and details
of his last will, which he had just been executing, and which lay on
his coverlid; the other half being given, five minutes or so at a
time, to questions and remarks, which intimated that the hope of life
was still flickering before him--nay, that his interest in all its
concerns remained eager. The proof sheets of a volume of his
Novelists' Library lay also by his pillow; and he passed from them to
his will, and then back to them, as by jerks and starts the unwonted
veil of gloom closed upon his imagination, or was withdrawn again. He
had, as he said, left his great friend and patron £2000 towards the
completion of the new library at Abbotsford,--and the spirit of the
auctioneer virtuoso flashed up as he began to describe what would, he
thought, be the best style and arrangement of the bookshelves. He was
interrupted by an agony of asthma, which left him with hardly any
signs of life; and ultimately he did expire in a fit of the same kind.
Scott was visibly and profoundly shaken by this scene and its sequel.
As we stood together a few days afterwards, while they were smoothing
the turf over John's remains in the Canongate Churchyard, the heavens,
which had been dark and slaty, cleared up suddenly, and the midsummer
sun shone forth in his strength. Scott, ever awake to the "skiey
influences," cast his eye along the overhanging line of the Calton
Hill, with its gleaming walls and towers, and then turning to the
grave again, "I feel," he whispered in my ear, "I feel as if there
would be less sunshine for me from this day forth."

As we walked homewards, Scott told me, among other favorable traits of
his friend, one little story which I must not omit. He remarked one
day to a poor student of divinity attending his auction, that he
looked as if he were in bad health. The young man assented with a
sigh. "Come," said Ballantyne, "I think I ken the secret of a sort of
draft that would relieve you--particularly," he added, handing him a
cheque for £5 or £10--"particularly, my dear, if taken upon an empty

John died in his elder brother's house in St. John Street; a
circumstance which it gives me pleasure to record, as it confirms the
impression of their affectionate feelings towards each other at this
time, which the reader must have derived from James's letter to Scott
last quoted. Their confidence and cordiality had undergone
considerable interruption in the latter part of John's life; but the
close was in all respects fraternal.

A year and a half before John's exit,--namely, on the last day of
1819,--he happened to lay his hand on an old pocketbook, which roused
his reflections, and he filled two or three of its pages with a brief
summary of the most active part of his life, which I think it due to
his character, as well as Sir Walter Scott's, to transcribe in this

     "31st Dec., 1819. In moving a bed from the fireplace to-day
     upstairs, I found an old memorandum-book, which enables me to
     trace the following recollections of _this day_, the last of the

     "1801. A shopkeeper in Kelso; at this period my difficulties had
     not begun in business; was well, happy, and 27 years old; new
     then in a connection which afterwards gave me great pain, but can
     never be forgotten.

     "1802. 28 old: In Kelso as before--could scarcely be
     happier--hunted, shot, kept ****'s company, and neglected
     business, the fruits whereof I soon found.

     "1803. 29: Still fortunate, and happy from same cause. James in
     Edinburgh thriving as a printer. When I was ennuied at home,
     visited him. Business neglected every way.

     "1804. 30: Material change; getting into difficulties; all wrong,
     and changes in every way approaching.

     "1805. 31: All consummated; health miserable all summer and ****
     designated in an erased mem., _the scoundrel_. I yet recollect
     the cause--can I ever forget it? My furniture, goods, etc., sold
     at Kelso, previous to my going to Edinburgh to become my
     brother's clerk; whither I _did_ go, for which God be praised
     eternally, on Friday, 3d January, 1806, on £200 a year. My
     effects at Kelso, with labor, paid my debts, and left me

     "From this period till 1808. 34: I continued in this
     situation--then the scheme of a bookselling concern in Hanover
     Street was adopted, which I was to manage; it was £300 a year,
     and one fourth of the profits besides.

     "1809. 35: Already the business in Hanover Street getting into
     difficulty, from our ignorance of its nature, and most
     extravagant and foolish advances from its funds to the printing
     concern. I ought to have resisted this, but I was thoughtless,
     although not young, or rather reckless, and lived on as long as I
     could make ends meet.

     "1810. 36: Bills increasing--the destructive system of
     accommodations adopted.

     "1811. 37: Bills increased to a most fearful degree. Sir Wm.
     Forbes and Co. shut their account. No bank would discount with
     us, and everything leading to irretrievable failure.

     "1812. 38: The first partner stepped in, at a crisis so
     tremendous, that it shakes my soul to think of it. By the most
     consummate wisdom, and resolution, and unheard-of exertions, he
     put things in a train that finally (so early as 1817) paid even
     himself (who ultimately became the sole creditor of the house)
     _in full_, with a balance of a thousand pounds.

     "1813. 39: In business as a literary auctioneer in Prince's
     Street; from which period to the present I have got gradually
     forward, both in that line and as third of a partner of the works
     of the Author of Waverley, so that I am now, at 45, worth about
     (I owe £2000) £5000, with, however, alas, many changes--my strong
     constitution much broken; my father and mother dead, and James
     estranged--the chief enjoyment and glory of my life being the
     possession of the friendship and confidence of the greatest of

In communicating John's death to the Cornet, Sir Walter says: "I have
had a very great loss in poor John Ballantyne, who is gone, after a
long illness. He persisted to the very last in endeavoring to take
exercise, in which he was often imprudent, and was up and dressed the
very morning before his death. In his will the grateful creature has
left me a legacy of £2000, life-rented, however, by his wife; and the
rest of his little fortune goes betwixt his two brothers. I shall miss
him very much, both in business, and as an easy and lively companion,
who was eternally active and obliging in whatever I had to do."

I am sorry to take leave of John Ballantyne with the remark, that his
last will was a document of the same class with too many of his
_states_ and _calendars_. So far from having £2000 to bequeath to Sir
Walter, he died as he had lived, ignorant of the situation of his
affairs, and deep in debt.[126]

[Footnote 126: No specimen of John's inaccuracy as to
business-statements could be pointed out more extraordinary than his
assertion in the above sketch of his career, that the bookselling
concern, of which he had had the management, was finally wound up with
a balance of £1000 in favor of the first partner. At the time he
refers to (1817), John's name was on floating bills to the extent of
at least £10,000, representing _part_ of the debt which had been
accumulated on the bookselling house, and which, on its dissolution,
was assumed by the printing company in the Canongate.--(1839.)]

The two following letters, written at Blair-Adam, where the Club
were, as usual, assembled for the dog-days, have been selected from
among several which Scott at this time addressed to his friends in the
South, with the view of promoting Mr. Mackay's success in his _début_
on the London boards as Bailie Jarvie.


     The immediate motive of my writing to you, my dearest friend, is
     to make Mrs. Agnes and you aware that a Scots performer, called
     Mackay, is going up to London to play Bailie Nicol Jarvie for a
     single night at Covent Garden, and to beg you of all dear loves
     to go and see him; for, taking him in that single character, I am
     not sure I ever saw anything in my life possessing so much truth
     and comic effect at the same time: he is completely the personage
     of the drama, the purse-proud consequential magistrate, humane
     and irritable in the same moment, and the true Scotsman in every
     turn of thought and action; his variety of feelings towards Rob
     Roy, whom he likes, and fears, and despises, and admires, and
     pities all at once, is exceedingly well expressed. In short, I
     never saw a part better sustained, certainly; I pray you to
     collect a party of Scotch friends to see it. I have written to
     Sotheby to the same purpose, but I doubt whether the exhibition
     will prove as satisfactory to those who do not know the original
     from which the resemblance is taken. I observe the English demand
     (as is natural) broad caricature in the depicting of national
     peculiarities: they did so as to the Irish till Jack Johnstone
     taught them better, and at first I should fear Mackay's reality
     will seem less ludicrous than Liston's humorous extravagances. So
     let it not be said that a dramatic genius of Scotland wanted the
     countenance and protection of Joanna Baillie: the Doctor and Mrs.
     Baillie will be much diverted if they go also, but somebody said
     to me that they were out of town. The man, I am told, is
     perfectly respectable in his life and habits, and consequently
     deserves encouragement every way. There is a great difference
     betwixt his _bailie_ and all his other performances: one would
     think the part made for him, and him for the part--and yet I may
     do the poor fellow injustice, and what we here consider as a
     falling off may arise from our identifying Mackay so completely
     with the worthy Glasgow magistrate, that recollections of Nicol
     Jarvie intrude upon us at every corner, and mar the
     personification of any other part which he may represent for the

     I am here for a couple of days with our Chief-Commissioner, late
     Willie Adam, and we had yesterday a delightful stroll to
     Castle-Campbell, the Rumbling Brig, Cauldron Linns, etc. The
     scenes are most romantic, and I know not by what fatality it has
     been, that living within a step of them, I never visited any of
     them before. We had Sir Samuel Shepherd with us, a most
     delightful person, but with too much English fidgetiness about
     him for crags and precipices,--perpetually afraid that rocks
     would give way under his weight which had over-brow'd the torrent
     for ages, and that good well-rooted trees, moored so as to resist
     ten thousand tempests, would fall because he grasped one of their
     branches; he must certainly be a firm believer in the simile of
     the lover of your native land, who complains,--

       "I leant my back unto an aik,
        I thought it was a trusty tree,
        But first it bow'd and then it brake," etc., etc., etc.[127]

     Certes these Southrons lack much the habits of the wood and
     wilderness,--for here is a man of taste and genius, a fine
     scholar and a most interesting companion, haunted with fears that
     would be entertained by no shopkeeper from the Luckenbooths or
     the Saut Market. A sort of _Cockneyism_ of one kind or another
     pervades their men of professional habits, whereas every
     Scotchman, with very few exceptions, holds country exercises of
     all kinds to be part of his nature, and is ready to become a
     traveller, or even a soldier on the slightest possible notice.
     The habits of the moorfowl shooting, salmon-fishing, and so
     forth, may keep this much up among the gentry, a name which our
     pride and pedigree extend so much wider than in England; and it
     is worth notice that these amusements, being cheap and tolerably
     easy come at by all the petty dunniewassals, have a more general
     influence on the national character than fox-hunting, which is
     confined to those who can mount and keep a horse worth at least
     100 guineas. But still this hardly explains the general and wide
     difference betwixt the countries in this particular. Happen how
     it will, the advantage is much in favor of Scotland: it is true
     that it contributes to prevent our producing such very
     accomplished lawyers, divines, or artisans[128] as when the whole
     mind is bent with undivided attention upon attaining one branch
     of knowledge,--but it gives a strong and muscular character to
     the people in general, and saves men from all sorts of causeless
     fears and flutterings of the heart, which give quite as much
     misery as if there were real cause for entertaining apprehension.
     This is not furiously to the purpose of my letter, which, after
     recommending Monsieur Mackay, was to tell you that we are all
     well and happy. Sophia is getting stout and pretty, and is one of
     the wisest and most important little mammas that can be seen
     anywhere. Her bower is _bigged in gude green wood_, and we went
     last Saturday in a body to enjoy it, and to consult about
     furniture; and we have got the road stopt which led up the hill,
     so it is now quite solitary and approached through a grove of
     trees, actual well-grown trees, not Lilliputian forests like
     those of Abbotsford. The season is dreadfully backward. Our ashes
     and oaks are not yet in leaf, and will not be, I think, in
     anything like full foliage this year, such is the rigor of the
     east winds.--Always, my dear and much respected friend, most
     affectionately yours,

                                                             W. SCOTT.

     BLAIR-ADAM, 11 June, 1821,
     In full sight of Lochleven.

     P. S.--Pray read, or have read to you by Mrs. Agnes, The Annals
     of the Parish. Mr. Galt wrote the worst tragedies ever seen, and
     has now written a most excellent novel, if it can be called so.

[Footnote 127: Ballad of the Marchioness of Douglas, "O waly, waly, up
yon bank!" etc.]

[Footnote 128: The great engineer, James Watt, of Birmingham--in whose
talk Scott took much delight--told him, that though hundreds probably
of his northern countrymen had sought employment at his establishment,
he never could get one of them to become a first-rate artisan. "Many
of them," said he, "were too good for that, and rose to be valuable
clerks and book-keepers; but those incapable of this sort of
advancement had always the same insuperable aversion to toiling so
long at any one point of mechanism as to gain the highest wages among
the workmen." I have no doubt Sir Walter was thinking of Mr. Watt's
remark when he wrote the sentence in the text.]


                                            BLAIR-ADAM, June 11, 1821.

     MY DEAR LORD,--There is a man going up from Edinburgh to play one
     night at Covent Garden, whom, as having the very unusual power of
     presenting on the stage a complete Scotsman, I am very desirous
     you should see. He plays Bailie Nicol Jarvie in Rob Roy, but with
     a degree of national truth and understanding, which makes the
     part equal to anything I have ever seen on the stage, and I have
     seen all the best comedians for these forty years. I wish much,
     if you continue in town till he comes up, that you would get into
     some private box and take a look of him. Sincerely, it is a real
     treat--the English will not enjoy it, for it is not broad enough,
     or sufficiently caricatured for their apprehensions, but to a
     Scotsman it is inimitable, and you have the Glasgow Bailie before
     you, with all his bustling conceit and importance, his real
     benevolence, and his irritable habits. He will want in London a
     fellow who, in the character of the Highland turnkey, held the
     backhand to him admirably well. I know how difficult it is for
     folks of condition to get to the theatre, but this is worth an
     exertion,--and, besides, the poor man (who I understand is very
     respectable in private life) will be, to use an admirable simile
     (by which one of your father's farmers persuaded the Duke to go
     to hear his son, a probationer in divinity, preach his first
     sermon in the town of Ayr), _like a cow in a fremd loaning_, and
     glad of Scots countenance.

     I am glad the Duke's cold is better--his stomach will not be put
     to those trials which ours underwent in our youth, when deep
     drinking was the fashion. I hope he will always be aware,
     however, that his is not a strong one.

     Campbell's Lives of the Admirals is an admirable book, and I
     would advise your Lordship e'en to redeem your pledge to the Duke
     on some rainy day. You do not run the risk from the perusal which
     my poor mother apprehended. She always alleged it sent her eldest
     son to the navy, and did not see with indifference any of her
     younger olive branches engaged with Campbell except myself, who
     stood in no danger of the cockpit or quarterdeck. I would not
     swear for Lord John though. Your Lordship's tutor was just such a
     well-meaning person as mine, who used to take from me old Lindsay
     of Pitscottie, and set me down to get by heart Rollin's infernal
     list of the Shepherd Kings, whose hard names could have done no
     good to any one on earth, unless he had wished to raise the
     devil, and lacked language to conjure with.--Always, my dear
     Lord, most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

The coronation of George IV., preparations for which were (as has been
seen) in active progress by March, 1820, had been deferred, in
consequence of the unhappy affair of the Queen's Trial. The 19th of
July, 1821, was now announced for this solemnity, and Sir Walter
resolved to be among the spectators. It occurred to him that if the
Ettrick Shepherd were to accompany him, and produce some memorial of
the scene likely to catch the popular ear in Scotland, good service
might thus be done to the cause of loyalty. But this was not his only
consideration. Hogg had married a handsome and most estimable young
woman, a good deal above his own original rank in life, the year
before; and expecting with her a dowry of £1000, he had forthwith
revived the grand ambition of an earlier day, and become a candidate
for an extensive farm on the Buccleuch estate, at a short distance
from Altrive Lake. Various friends, supposing his worldly
circumstances to be much improved, had supported his application, and
Lord Montagu had received it in a manner for which the Shepherd's
letters to Scott express much gratitude. Misfortune pursued the
Shepherd--the unforeseen bankruptcy of his wife's father interrupted
the stocking of the sheep-walk; and the arable part of the new
possession was sadly mismanaged by himself. Scott hoped that a visit
to London, and a coronation poem, or pamphlet, might end in some
pension or post that would relieve these difficulties, and he wrote to
Hogg, urging him to come to Edinburgh, and embark with him for the
great city. Not doubting that this proposal would be eagerly accepted,
he, when writing to Lord Sidmouth, to ask a place for himself in the
Hall and Abbey of Westminster, mentioned that Hogg was to be his
companion, and begged suitable accommodation for him also. Lord
Sidmouth, being overwhelmed with business connected with the
approaching pageant, answered by the pen of the Under-Secretary of
State, Mr. Hobhouse, that Sir Walter's wishes, both as to himself and
the Shepherd, should be gratified, _provided_ they would both dine
with him the day after the coronation, in Richmond Park, "where," says
the letter before me, "his Lordship will invite the Duke of York and a
few other Jacobites to meet you." All this being made known to the
tenant of Mount-Benger, he wrote to Scott, as he says, "with the tear
in his eye," to signify, that if he went to London he must miss
attending the great annual Border fair, held on St. Boswell's Green,
in Roxburghshire, on the 18th of every July; and that his absence from
that meeting so soon after entering upon business as a store-farmer,
would be considered by his new compeers as highly imprudent and
discreditable. "In short," James concludes, "the thing is impossible.
But as there is no man in his Majesty's dominions admires his great
talents for government, and the energy and dignity of his
administration, so much as I do, I will write something at home, and
endeavor to give it you before you start." The Shepherd probably
expected that these pretty compliments would reach the royal ear; but
however that may have been, his own Muse turned a deaf ear to him--at
least I never heard of anything that he wrote on this occasion.

Scott embarked without him, on board a new steamship called The City
of Edinburgh, which, as he suggested to the master, ought rather to
have been christened The New Reekie. This vessel was that described
and lauded in the following letter:--


                                              EDINBURGH, July 1, 1821.

     MY DEAR LORD,--I write just now to thank you for your letter. I
     have been on board the steamship, and am so delighted with it,
     that I think I shall put myself aboard for the coronation. It
     runs at nine knots an hour (_me ipso teste_) against wind and
     tide, with a deck as long as a frigate's to walk upon, and to
     sleep on also, if you like, as I have always preferred a cloak
     and a mattress to these crowded cabins. This reconciles the speed
     and certainty of the mail-coach with the ease and convenience of
     being on shipboard. So I really think I will run up to see the
     grandee show, and run down again. I scorn to mention economy,
     though the expense is not one fifth, and that is something in
     hard times, especially to me, who, to choose, would always rather
     travel in a public conveyance, than with my domestic's good
     company in a po-chay.

     But now comes the news of news. I have been instigating the great
     Caledonian Boar, James Hogg, to undertake a similar trip--with
     the view of turning an honest penny, to help out his stocking, by
     writing some sort of Shepherd's Letters, or the like, to put the
     honest Scots bodies up to this whole affair. I am trying with
     Lord Sidmouth to get him a place among the newspaper gentry to
     see the ceremony. It is seriously worth while to get such a
     popular view of the whole as he will probably hit off.

     I have another view for this poor fellow. You have heard of the
     Royal Literary Society, and how they propose to distribute solid
     pudding, _alias_ pensions, to men of genius. It is, I think, a
     very problematical matter, whether it will do the good which is
     intended; but if they do mean to select worthy objects of
     encouragement, I really know nobody that has a better or an equal
     claim to poor Hogg. Our friend Villiers takes a great charge of
     this matter, and good-naturedly forgave my stating to him a
     number of objections to the first concoction, which was to have
     been something resembling the French Academy. It has now been
     much modified. Perhaps there may be some means fallen upon, with
     your Lordship's assistance, of placing Hogg under Mr. Villiers's
     view. I would have done so myself, but only I have battled the
     point against the whole establishment so keenly, that it would be
     too bad to bring forward a protégé of my own to take advantage of
     it. They intended at one time to give pensions of about £100 a
     year to thirty persons. I know not where they could find half a
     dozen with such pretensions as the Shepherd's.

     There will be risk of his being lost in London, or kidnapped by
     some of those ladies who open literary _menageries_ for the
     reception of _lions_. I should like to see him at a rout of
     blue-stockings. I intend to recommend him to the protection of
     John Murray the bookseller; and I hope he will come equipped with
     plaid, kent, and colley.[129]

     I wish to heaven Lord Melville would either keep the Admiralty,
     or in Hogg's phrase,--

           "O I would eagerly press him
       The keys of the _east_ to require,"--

     for truly the Board of Control is the Corn Chest for Scotland,
     where we poor gentry must send our younger sons, as we send our
     black cattle to the south.--Ever most truly yours,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

[Footnote 129: _Kent_ is the shepherd's staff--_Colley_ his dog. Scott
alludes to the old song of the _Lea Rig_,--

"Nae herds wi' kent and colley there," etc.]

From London, on the day after the coronation, Sir Walter addressed a
letter descriptive of the ceremonial to his friend James Ballantyne,
who published it in his newspaper. It has been since reprinted--but
not in any collection of Scott's own writings; and I therefore insert
it here. It will probably possess considerable interest for the
student of English history and manners in future times; for the
coronation of George the Fourth's successor was conducted on a vastly
inferior scale of splendor and expense--and the precedent of
curtailment in any such matters is now seldom neglected.


                                                LONDON, July 20, 1821.

     SIR,--I refer you to the daily papers for the details of the
     great National Solemnity which we witnessed yesterday, and will
     hold my promise absolved by sending a few general remarks upon
     what I saw with surprise amounting to astonishment, and which I
     shall never forget. It is, indeed, impossible to conceive a
     ceremony more august and imposing in all its parts, and more
     calculated to make the deepest impression both on the eye and on
     the feelings. The most minute attention must have been bestowed
     to arrange all the subordinate parts in harmony with the rest; so
     that, amongst so much antiquated ceremonial, imposing singular
     dresses, duties, and characters, upon persons accustomed to move
     in the ordinary routine of society, nothing occurred either
     awkward or ludicrous which could mar the general effect of the
     solemnity. Considering that it is but one step from the sublime
     to the ridiculous, I own I consider it as surprising that the
     whole ceremonial of the day should have passed away without the
     slightest circumstance which could derange the general tone of
     solemn feeling which was suited to the occasion.

     You must have heard a full account of the only disagreeable event
     of the day. I mean the attempt of the misguided lady, who has
     lately furnished so many topics of discussion, to intrude herself
     upon a ceremonial, where, not being in her proper place, to be
     present in any other must have been voluntary degradation. That
     matter is a fire of straw which has now burnt to the very embers,
     and those who try to blow it into life again will only blacken
     their hands and noses, like mischievous children dabbling among
     the ashes of a bonfire. It seems singular, that being determined
     to be present at all hazards, this unfortunate personage should
     not have procured a Peer's ticket, which, I presume, would have
     insured her admittance. I willingly pass to pleasanter matters.

     The effect of the scene in the Abbey was beyond measure
     magnificent. Imagine long galleries stretched among the aisles of
     that venerable and august pile--those which rise above the altar
     pealing back their echoes to a full and magnificent choir of
     music--those which occupied the sides filled even to crowding
     with all that Britain has of beautiful and distinguished, and the
     cross-gallery most appropriately occupied by the Westminster
     schoolboys, in their white surplices, many of whom might on that
     day receive impressions never to be lost during the rest of their
     lives. Imagine this, I say, and then add the spectacle upon the
     floor,--the altar surrounded by the Fathers of the Church, the
     King encircled by the Nobility of the land and the Counsellors of
     his throne, and by warriors wearing the honored marks of
     distinction bought by many a glorious danger;--add to this the
     rich spectacle of the aisles crowded with waving plumage, and
     coronets, and caps of honor, and the sun, which brightened and
     saddened as if on purpose, now beaming in full lustre on the rich
     and varied assemblage, and now darting a solitary ray, which
     catched, as it passed, the glittering folds of a banner, or the
     edge of a group of battle-axes or partizans, and then rested full
     on some fair form, "the cynosure of neighboring eyes," whose
     circlet of diamonds glistened under its influence. Imagine all
     this, and then tell me if I have made my journey of four hundred
     miles to little purpose. I do not love your _cui bono_ men, and
     therefore I will not be pleased if you ask me in the damping tone
     of sullen philosophy, what good all this has done the spectators.
     If we restrict life to its real animal wants and necessities, we
     shall indeed be satisfied with "food, clothes, and fire;" but
     Divine Providence, who widened our sources of enjoyment beyond
     those of the animal creation, never meant that we should bound
     our wishes within such narrow limits; and I shrewdly suspect that
     those _non est tanti_ gentlefolks only depreciate the natural and
     unaffected pleasure which men like me receive from sights of
     splendor and sounds of harmony, either because they would seem
     wiser than their simple neighbors at the expense of being less
     happy, or because the mere pleasure of the sight and sound is
     connected with associations of a deeper kind, to which they are
     unwilling to yield themselves.

     Leaving these gentlemen to enjoy their own wisdom, I still more
     pity those, if there be any, who (being unable to detect a peg on
     which to hang a laugh) sneer coldly at this solemn festival, and
     are rather disposed to dwell on the expense which attends it,
     than on the generous feelings which it ought to awaken. The
     expense, so far as it is national, has gone directly and
     instantly to the encouragement of the British manufacturer and
     mechanic; and so far as it is personal to the persons of rank
     attendant upon the Coronation, it operates as a tax upon wealth
     and consideration for the benefit of poverty and industry; a tax
     willingly paid by the one class, and not the less acceptable to
     the other because it adds a happy holiday to the monotony of a
     life of labor.

     But there were better things to reward my pilgrimage than the
     mere pleasures of the eye and ear; for it was impossible, without
     the deepest veneration, to behold the voluntary and solemn
     interchange of vows betwixt the King and his assembled People,
     whilst he, on the one hand, called God Almighty to witness his
     resolution to maintain their laws and privileges, whilst they
     called, at the same moment, on the Divine Being, to bear witness
     that they accepted him for their liege Sovereign, and pledged to
     him their love and their duty. I cannot describe to you the
     effect produced by the solemn, yet strange mixture of the words
     of Scripture, with the shouts and acclamations of the assembled
     multitude, as they answered to the voice of the Prelate, who
     demanded of them whether they acknowledged as their Monarch the
     Prince who claimed the sovereignty in their presence. It was
     peculiarly delightful to see the King receive from the royal
     brethren, but in particular from the Duke of York, the fraternal
     kiss in which they acknowledged their sovereign. There was an
     honest tenderness, an affectionate and sincere reverence in the
     embrace interchanged betwixt the Duke of York and his Majesty,
     that approached almost to a caress, and impressed all present
     with the electrical conviction, that the nearest to the throne in
     blood was the nearest also in affection. I never heard plaudits
     given more from the heart than those that were thundered upon the
     royal brethren when they were thus pressed to each other's
     bosoms,--it was an emotion of natural kindness, which, bursting
     out amidst ceremonial grandeur, found an answer in every British
     bosom. The King seemed much affected at this and one or two other
     parts of the ceremonial, even so much so as to excite some alarm
     among those who saw him as nearly as I did. He completely
     recovered himself, however, and bore (generally speaking) the
     fatigue of the day very well. I learn from one near his person,
     that he roused himself with great energy, even when most
     oppressed with heat and fatigue, when any of the more interesting
     parts of the ceremony were to be performed, or when anything
     occurred which excited his personal and immediate attention. When
     presiding at the banquet, amid the long line of his Nobles, he
     looked "every inch a King;" and nothing could exceed the grace
     with which he accepted and returned the various acts of homage
     rendered to him in the course of that long day.

     It was also a very gratifying spectacle to those who think like
     me, to behold the Duke of Devonshire and most of the
     distinguished Whig nobility assembled round the throne on this
     occasion; giving an open testimony that the differences of
     political opinions are only skin-deep wounds, which assume at
     times an angry appearance, but have no real effect on the
     wholesome constitution of the country.

     If you ask me to distinguish who bore him best, and appeared most
     to sustain the character we annex to the assistants in such a
     solemnity, I have no hesitation to name Lord Londonderry, who, in
     the magnificent robes of the Garter, with the cap and high plume
     of the order, walked alone, and by his fine face and majestic
     person formed an adequate representative of the order of Edward
     III., the costume of which was worn by his Lordship only. The
     Duke of Wellington, with all his laurels, moved and looked
     deserving the baton, which was never grasped by so worthy a hand.
     The Marquis of Anglesea showed the most exquisite grace in
     managing his horse, notwithstanding the want of his limb, which
     he left at Waterloo. I never saw so fine a bridle-hand in my
     life, and I am rather a judge of "noble horsemanship." Lord
     Howard's horse was worse bitted than those of the two former
     noblemen, but not so much so as to derange the ceremony of
     retiring back out of the Hall.

     The Champion was performed (as of right) by young Dymocke, a
     fine-looking youth, but bearing, perhaps, a little too much the
     appearance of a maiden-knight to be the challenger of the world
     in a King's behalf. He threw down his gauntlet, however, with
     becoming manhood, and showed as much horsemanship as the crowd of
     knights and squires around him would permit to be exhibited. His
     armor was in good taste, but his shield was out of all propriety,
     being a round _rondache_, or Highland target, a defensive weapon
     which it would have been impossible to use on horseback, instead
     of being a three-corner'd, or _heater-shield_, which in time of
     the tilt was suspended round the neck. Pardon this antiquarian
     scruple, which, you may believe, occurred to few but myself. On
     the whole, this striking part of the exhibition somewhat
     disappointed me, for I would have had the Champion less
     embarrassed by his assistants, and at liberty to put his horse on
     the _grand pas_. And yet the young Lord of Scrivelsbaye looked
     and behaved extremely well.

     Returning to the subject of costume, I could not but admire what
     I had previously been disposed much to criticise,--I mean the
     fancy dress of the Privy-Councillors, which was of white and blue
     satin, with trunk-hose and mantles, after the fashion of Queen
     Elizabeth's time. Separately, so gay a garb had an odd effect on
     the persons of elderly or ill-made men; but when the whole was
     thrown into one general body, all these discrepancies
     disappeared, and you no more observed the particular manner or
     appearance of an individual, than you do that of a soldier in the
     battalion which marches past you. The whole was so completely
     harmonized in actual coloring, as well as in association, with
     the general mass of gay and gorgeous and antique dress which
     floated before the eye, that it was next to impossible to attend
     to the effect of individual figures. Yet a Scotsman will detect a
     Scotsman amongst the most crowded assemblage, and I must say that
     the Lord Justice-Clerk of Scotland[130] showed to as great
     advantage in his robes of Privy-Councillor, as any by whom that
     splendid dress was worn on this great occasion. The common
     Court-dress used by the Privy-Councillors at the last coronation
     must have had a poor effect in comparison of the present, which
     formed a gradation in the scale of gorgeous ornament, from the
     unwieldy splendor of the heralds, who glowed like huge masses of
     cloth of gold and silver, to the more chastened robes and ermine
     of the Peers. I must not forget the effect produced by the Peers
     placing their coronets on their heads, which was really august.

     The box assigned to the foreign Ambassadors presented a most
     brilliant effect, and was perfectly in a blaze with diamonds.
     When the sunshine lighted on Prince Esterhazy, in particular, he
     glimmered like a galaxy. I cannot learn positively if he had on
     that renowned coat which has visited all the courts of Europe
     save ours, and is said to be worth £100,000, or some such trifle,
     and which costs the Prince £100 or two every time he puts it on,
     as he is sure to lose pearls to that amount. This was a hussar
     dress, but splendid in the last degree; perhaps too fine for good
     taste--at least it would have appeared so anywhere else. Beside
     the Prince sat a good-humored lass, who seemed all eyes and ears
     (his daughter-in-law, I believe), who wore as many diamonds as if
     they had been Bristol stones. An honest Persian was also a
     remarkable figure, from the dogged and imperturbable gravity with
     which he looked on the whole scene, without ever moving a limb or
     a muscle during the space of four hours. Like Sir Wilful Witwoud,
     I cannot find that your Persian is orthodox; for if he scorned
     everything else, there was a Mahometan paradise extended on his
     right hand along the seats which were occupied by the peeresses
     and their daughters, which the Prophet himself might have looked
     on with emotion. I have seldom seen so many elegant and beautiful
     girls as sat mingled among the noble matronage of the land; and
     the waving plumage of feathers, which made the universal
     head-dress, had the most appropriate effect in setting off their

     I must not omit that the foreigners, who are apt to consider us
     as a nation _en frac_, and without the usual ceremonials of dress
     and distinction, were utterly astonished and delighted to see the
     revival of feudal dresses and feudal grandeur when the occasion
     demanded it, and that in a degree of splendor which they averred
     they had never seen paralleled in Europe.

     The duties of service at the Banquet, and of attendance in
     general, were performed by pages drest very elegantly in Henri
     Quatre coats of scarlet, with gold lace, blue sashes, white silk
     hose, and white rosettes. There were also marshal's-men for
     keeping order, who wore a similar dress, but of blue, and having
     white sashes. Both departments were filled up almost entirely by
     young gentlemen, many of them of the very first condition, who
     took these menial characters to gain admission to the show. When
     I saw many of my young acquaintance thus attending upon their
     fathers and kinsmen, the Peers, Knights, and so forth, I could
     not help thinking of Crabbe's lines, with a little alteration:--

       'T was schooling pride to see the menial wait,
       Smile on his father, and receive his plate.

     It must be owned, however, that they proved but indifferent
     valets, and were very apt, like the clown in the pantomime, to
     eat the cheer they should have handed to their masters, and to
     play other _tours de page_, which reminded me of the caution of
     our proverb "not to man yourself with your kin." The Peers, for
     example, had only a cold collation, while the Aldermen of London
     feasted on venison and turtle; and similar errors necessarily
     befell others in the confusion of the evening. But these slight
     mistakes, which indeed were not known till afterwards, had not
     the slightest effect on the general grandeur of the scene.

     I did not see the procession between the Abbey and Hall. In the
     morning a few voices called _Queen! Queen!_ as Lord Londonderry
     passed, and even when the Sovereign appeared. But these were only
     signals for the loud and reiterated acclamations in which these
     tones of discontent were completely drowned. In the return, no
     one dissonant voice intimated the least dissent from the shouts
     of gratulation which poured from every quarter; and certainly
     never Monarch received a more general welcome from his assembled

     You will have from others full accounts of the variety of
     entertainments provided for John Bull in the Parks, the River, in
     the Theatres, and elsewhere. Nothing was to be seen or heard but
     sounds of pleasure and festivity; and whoever saw the scene at
     any one spot, was convinced that the whole population was
     assembled there, while others found a similar concourse of
     revellers in every different point. It is computed that about
     _five hundred thousand people_ shared in the Festival in one way
     or another; and you may imagine the excellent disposition by
     which the people were animated, when I tell you, that, excepting
     a few windows broken by a small bodyguard of ragamuffins, who
     were in immediate attendance on the Great Lady in the morning,
     not the slightest political violence occurred to disturb the
     general harmony--and that the assembled populace seemed to be
     universally actuated by the spirit of the day--loyalty, namely,
     and good-humor. Nothing occurred to damp those happy
     dispositions; the weather was most propitious, and the
     arrangements so perfect, that no accident of any kind is reported
     as having taken place.--And so concluded the coronation of GEORGE
     IV., whom GOD long preserve. Those who witnessed it have seen a
     scene calculated to raise the country in their opinion, and to
     throw into the shade all scenes of similar magnificence, from the
     Field of the Cloth of Gold down to the present day. I remain,
     your obedient servant,

                                                       AN EYE-WITNESS.

[Footnote 130: Scott's schoolfellow, the Right Hon. D. Boyle.]

At the close of this brilliant scene, Scott received a mark of homage
to his genius which delighted him not less than Laird Nippy's
reverence for the _Sheriff's Knoll_, and the Sheffield cutler's dear
acquisition of his signature on a visiting ticket. Missing his
carriage, he had to return home on foot from Westminster, after the
banquet--that is to say, between two or three o'clock in the
morning;--when he and a young gentleman his companion found themselves
locked in the crowd, somewhere near Whitehall, and the bustle and
tumult were such that his friend was afraid some accident might happen
to the lame limb. A space for the dignitaries was kept clear at that
point by the Scots Greys. Sir Walter addressed a sergeant of this
celebrated regiment, begging to be allowed to pass by him into the
open ground in the middle of the street. The man answered shortly,
that his orders were strict--that the thing was impossible. While he
was endeavoring to persuade the sergeant to relent, some new wave of
turbulence approached from behind, and his young companion exclaimed
in a loud voice, "Take care, Sir Walter Scott, take care!" The
stalwart dragoon, on hearing the name, said, "What! Sir Walter Scott?
He shall get through anyhow!" He then addressed the soldiers near him:
"Make room, men, for Sir Walter Scott, our illustrious countryman!"
The men answered, "Sir Walter Scott!--God bless him!"--and he was in a
moment within the guarded line of safety.

I shall now take another extract from the _memoranda_ with which I
have been favored by my friend Allan Cunningham. After the particulars
formerly quoted about Scott's sitting to Chantrey in the spring of
1820, he proceeds as follows:--

     "I saw Sir Walter again, when he attended the coronation, in
     1821. In the mean time his bust had been wrought in marble, and
     the sculptor desired to take the advantage of his visit to
     communicate such touches of expression or lineament as the new
     material rendered necessary. This was done with a happiness of
     eye and hand almost magical: for five hours did the poet sit, or
     stand, or walk, while Chantrey's chisel was passed again and
     again over the marble, adding something at every touch.

     "'Well, Allan,' he said, when he saw me at this last sitting,
     'were you at the coronation? it was a splendid sight.'--'No, Sir
     Walter,' I answered, 'places were dear and ill to get: I am told
     it was a magnificent scene: but having seen the procession of
     King Crispin at Dumfries, I was satisfied.' I said this with a
     smile: Scott took it as I meant it, and laughed heartily. 'That's
     not a bit better than Hogg,' he said. 'He stood balancing the
     matter whether to go to the coronation or the fair of Saint
     Boswell--and the fair carried it.'

     "During this conversation, Mr. Bolton the engineer came in.
     Something like a cold acknowledgment passed between the poet and
     him. On his passing into an inner room, Scott said, 'I am afraid
     Mr. Bolton has not forgot a little passage that once took place
     between us. We met in a public company, and in reply to the
     remark of some one, he said, "That's like the old saying,--in
     every quarter of the world you will find a Scot, a rat, and a
     Newcastle grindstone." This touched my Scotch spirit, and I said,
     "Mr. Bolton, you should have added--_and a Brummagem button_."
     There was a laugh at this, and Mr. Bolton replied, "We make
     something better in Birmingham than buttons--we make
     steam-engines, sir."

     "'I like Bolton,' thus continued Sir Walter; 'he is a brave
     man,--and who can dislike the brave? He showed this on a
     remarkable occasion. He had engaged to coin for some foreign
     prince a large quantity of gold. This was found out by some
     desperadoes, who resolved to rob the premises, and as a
     preliminary step tried to bribe the porter. The porter was an
     honest fellow,--he told Bolton that he was offered a hundred
     pounds to be blind and deaf next night. "Take the money," was the
     answer, "and I shall protect the place." Midnight came--the gates
     opened as if by magic--the interior doors, secured with patent
     locks, opened as of their own accord--and three men with dark
     lanterns entered and went straight to the gold. Bolton had
     prepared some flax steeped in turpentine--he dropt fire upon it,
     a sudden light filled all the place, and with his assistants, he
     rushed forward on the robbers,--the leader saw in a moment he was
     betrayed, turned on the porter, and shooting him dead, burst
     through all obstruction, and with an ingot of gold in his hand,
     scaled the wall and escaped.'

     "'That is quite a romance in robbing,' I said;--and I had nearly
     said more, for the cavern scene and death of Meg Merrilies rose
     in my mind;--perhaps the mind of Sir Walter was taking the
     direction of the Solway too, for he said, 'How long have you been
     from Nithsdale?'--'A dozen years.' 'Then you will remember it
     well. I was a visitor there in my youth; my brother was at
     Closeburn school, and there I found Creehope Linn, a scene ever
     present to my fancy. It is at once fearful and beautiful. The
     stream jumps down from the moorlands, saws its way into the
     freestone rock of a hundred feet deep, and, in escaping to the
     plain, performs a thousand vagaries. In one part it has actually
     shaped out a little chapel,--the peasants call it the Sutors'
     Chair. There are sculptures on the sides of the linn too, not
     such as Mr. Chantrey casts, but etchings scraped in with a knife
     perhaps, or a harrow-tooth.'--'Did you ever hear,' said Sir
     Walter, 'of Patrick Maxwell, who, taken prisoner by the King's
     troops, escaped from them on his way to Edinburgh, by flinging
     himself into that dreadful linn on Moffat water, called the
     Douglasses' Beef-tub?'--'Frequently,' I answered; 'the country
     abounds with anecdotes of those days: the popular feeling
     sympathizes with the poor Jacobites, and has recorded its
     sentiments in many a tale and many a verse.'--'The Ettrick
     Shepherd has collected not a few of those things,' said Scott,
     'and I suppose many snatches of song may yet be found.'--_C._ 'I
     have gathered many such things myself, Sir Walter, and as I still
     propose to make a collection of all Scottish songs of poetic
     merit, I shall work up many of my stray verses and curious
     anecdotes in the notes.'--_S._ 'I am glad that you are about such
     a thing; any help which I can give you, you may command; ask me
     any questions, no matter how many, I shall answer them if I can.
     Don't be timid in your selection; our ancestors fought boldly,
     spoke boldly, and sang boldly too. I can help you to an old
     characteristic ditty not yet in print:--

       "There dwalt a man into the wast,
          And O gin he was cruel,
        For on his bridal night at e'en
          He gat up and grat for gruel.

       "They brought to him a gude sheep's head,
          A bason, and a towel;
        Gar take thae whim-whams far frae me,
          I winna want my gruel."'

     "_C._--'I never heard that verse before: the hero seems related
     to the bridegroom of Nithsdale,--

       "The bridegroom grat as the sun gade down,
        The bridegroom grat as the sun gade down;
        To ony man I'll gie a hunder marks sae free,
        This night that will bed wi' a bride for me."'

     "_S._--'A cowardly loon enough. I know of many crumbs and
     fragments of verse which will be useful to your work; the Border
     was once peopled with poets, for every one that could fight could
     make ballads, some of them of great power and pathos. Some such
     people as the minstrels were living less than a century
     ago.'--_C._ 'I knew a man, the last of a race of district
     tale-tellers, who used to boast of the golden days of his youth,
     and say, that the world, with all its knowledge, was grown
     sixpence a day worse for him.'--_S._ 'How was that? how did he
     make his living?--by telling tales, or singing ballads?'--_C._
     'By both: he had a devout tale for the old, and a merry song for
     the young; he was a sort of beggar.'--_S._ 'Out upon thee,
     Allan--dost thou call that begging? Why, man, we make our bread
     by story-telling, and honest bread it is.'"

I ought not to close this extract without observing that Sir F.
Chantrey presented the original bust, of which Mr. Cunningham speaks,
to Sir Walter himself; by whose remotest descendants it will
undoubtedly be held in additional honor on that account. The poet had
the further gratification of learning that three copies were executed
in marble before the original quitted the studio: One for Windsor
Castle--a second for Apsley House--and a third for the friendly
sculptor's own private collection. The casts of this bust have since
been multiplied beyond perhaps any example whatever.

Sir Walter returned to Scotland in company with his friend William
Stewart Rose; and they took the way by Stratford-upon-Avon, where, on
the wall of the room in which Shakespeare is supposed to have been
born, the autograph of these pilgrims may still, I believe, be




During Scott's visit to London in July, 1821, there appeared a work
which was read with eager curiosity and delight by the public--with
much private diversion besides by his friends--and which he himself
must have gone through with a very odd mixture of emotions. I allude
to the volume entitled "Letters to Richard Heber, Esq., containing
critical remarks on the series of novels beginning with Waverley, and
an attempt to ascertain their author;" which was soon known to have
been penned by Mr. John Leycester Adolphus, a distinguished alumnus of
the University then represented in Parliament by Sir Walter's early
friend Heber.[131] Previously to the publication of these letters, the
opinion that Scott was the author of Waverley had indeed become well
settled in the English, to say nothing of the Scottish mind; a great
variety of circumstances, external as well as internal, had by degrees
coöperated to its general establishment: yet there were not wanting
persons who still dissented, or at least affected to dissent from it.
It was reserved for the enthusiastic industry, and admirable ingenuity
of this juvenile academic, to set the question at rest by an
accumulation of critical evidence which no sophistry could evade, and
yet produced in a style of such high-bred delicacy, that it was
impossible for the hitherto "veiled prophet" to take the slightest
offence with the hand that had forever abolished his disguise. The
only sceptical scruple that survived this exposition was extinguished
in due time by Scott's avowal of the _sole and unassisted_ authorship
of his novels; and now Mr. Adolphus's Letters have shared the fate of
other elaborate arguments, the thesis of which has ceased to be
controverted. Hereafter, I am persuaded, his volume will be revived
for its own sake;--but, in the mean time, regarding it merely as
forming, by its original effect, an epoch in Scott's history, I think
it my duty to mark my sense of its importance in that point of view,
by transcribing the writer's own summary of its


     "LETTER I.--Introduction--General reasons for believing the
     novels to have been written by the author of Marmion.

     "LETTER II.--Resemblance between the novelist and poet in their
     tastes, studies, and habits of life, as illustrated by their
     works--Both Scotchmen--Habitual residents in
     Edinburgh--Poets--Antiquaries--German and Spanish scholars--Equal
     in classical attainment--Deeply read in British
     history--Lawyers--Fond of field sports--Of dogs--Acquainted with
     most manly exercises--Lovers of military subjects--The novelist
     apparently not a soldier.

     "LETTER III.--The novelist is, like the poet, a man of good
     society--His stories never betray forgetfulness of honorable
     principles, or ignorance of good manners--Spirited pictures of
     gentlemanly character--Colonel Mannering--Judicious treatment of
     elevated historical personages--The novelist quotes and praises
     most contemporary poets, except the author of Marmion--Instances
     in which the poet has appeared to slight his own unacknowledged,
     but afterwards avowed productions.

     "LETTER IV.--Comparison of the works themselves--All
     distinguished by good morals and good sense--The latter
     particularly shown in the management of character--Prose
     style--Its general features--Plainness and facility--Grave
     banter--Manner of telling a short
     story--Negligence--Scotticisms--Great propriety and correctness
     occasionally, and sometimes unusual sweetness.

     "LETTER V.--Dialogue in the novels and poems--Neat colloquial
     turns in the former, such as cannot be expected in romantic
     poetry--Happy adaptation of dialogue to character, whether merely
     natural, or artificially modified, as by profession, local
     habits, etc.--Faults of dialogue, as connected with character of
     speakers--Quaintness of language and thought--Bookish air in
     conversation--Historical personages alluding to their own
     celebrated acts and sayings--Unsuccessful attempts at broad
     vulgarity--Beauties of composition peculiar to the
     dialogue--Terseness and spirit--These qualities well displayed in
     quarrels; but not in scenes of polished raillery--Eloquence.

     "LETTER VI.--The poetry of the author of Marmion generally
     characterized--His habits of composition and turn of mind as a
     poet, compared with those of the novelist--Their descriptions
     simply conceived and composed, without abstruse and far-fetched
     circumstances or refined comments--Great advantage derived by
     both from accidental combinations of images, and the association
     of objects in the mind with persons, events, etc.--Distinctness
     and liveliness of effect in narrative and description--Narrative
     usually picturesque or dramatic, or both--Distinctness, etc., of
     effect, produced in various ways--Striking pictures of
     individuals--Their persons, dress, etc.--Descriptions sometimes
     too obviously picturesque--Subjects for painters--Effects of
     light frequently noticed and finely described--Both writers excel
     in grand and complicated scenes--Among detached and occasional
     ornaments, the similes particularly noticed--Their frequency and
     beauty--Similes and metaphors sometimes quaint, and pursued too

     "LETTER VII.--Stories of the two writers compared--These are
     generally connected with true history, and have their scene laid
     in a real place--Local peculiarities diligently attended
     to--Instances in which the novelist and poet have celebrated the
     same places--they frequently describe these as seen by a
     traveller (the hero or some other principal personage) for the
     first time--Dramatic mode of relating story--Soliloquies--Some
     scenes degenerate into melodrame--Lyrical pieces introduced
     sometimes too theatrically--Comparative unimportance of
     heroes--Various causes of this fault--Heroes rejected by ladies,
     and marrying others whom they had before slighted--Personal
     struggle between a civilized and a barbarous hero--Characters
     resembling each other--Female portraits in general--Fathers and
     daughters--Characters in Paul's Letters--Wycliffe and
     Risingham--Glossin and Hatteraick--Other characters
     compared--Long periods of time abruptly passed over--Surprises,
     unexpected discoveries, etc.--These sometimes too forced and
     artificial--Frequent recourse to the marvellous--Dreams well
     described--Living persons mistaken for spectres--Deaths of
     Burley, Risingham, and Rashleigh.

     "LETTER VIII.--Comparison of particular
     passages--Descriptions--Miscellaneous thoughts--Instances in
     which the two writers have resorted to the same sources of
     information, and borrowed the same incidents, etc.--Same authors
     quoted by both--The poet, like the novelist, fond of mentioning
     his contemporaries, whether as private friends or as men publicly
     distinguished--Author of Marmion never notices the Author of
     Waverley (see Letter III.)--Both delight in frequently
     introducing an antiquated or fantastic dialect--Peculiarities of
     expression common to both writers--Conclusion."

[Footnote 131: [John Leycester Adolphus, son of John Adolphus, eminent
as a barrister and the author of various historical works, was born in
1795, and was educated at Merchant Taylors', and St. John's College,
Oxford, where in 1814 he gained the Newdigate prize for English verse.
He held a reputable position in his father's profession, and, beside
the work described in the text, published _Letters from Spain in 1856
and 1857_. He also wrote a number of clever metrical _jeux d'esprit_.
He was engaged in completing his father's _History of England under
George III._ at the time of his death in 1862.]]

I wish I had space for extracting copious specimens of the felicity
with which Mr. Adolphus works out these various points of his problem.
As it is, I must be contented with a narrow selection--and I shall
take two or three of the passages which seem to me to connect
themselves most naturally with the main purpose of my own compilation.

     "A thorough knowledge and statesmanlike understanding of the
     domestic history and politics of Britain at various and distant
     periods; a familiar acquaintance with the manners and prevailing
     spirit of former generations, and with the characters and habits
     of their most distinguished men, are of themselves no cheap or
     common attainments; and it is rare indeed to find them united
     with a strong original genius, and great brilliancy of
     imagination. We know, however, that the towering poet of Flodden
     Field is also the diligent editor of Swift and Dryden, of Lord
     Somers's Tracts, and of Sir Ralph Sadler's State Papers; that in
     these and other parts of his literary career he has necessarily
     plunged deep into the study of British history, biography, and
     antiquities, and that the talent and activity which he brought to
     these researches have been warmly seconded by the zeal and
     liberality of those who possessed the amplest and rarest sources
     of information. 'The Muse found him,' as he himself said long
     ago, 'engaged in the pursuit of historical and traditional
     antiquities, and the excursions which he has made in her company
     have been of a nature which increases his attachment to his
     original study.' Are we then to suppose that another writer has
     combined the same powers of fancy with the same spirit of
     investigation, the same perseverance, and the same good fortune?
     and shall we not rather believe, that the labor employed in the
     illustration of Dryden has helped to fertilize the invention
     which produced Montrose and Old Mortality?...

     "However it may militate against the supposition of his being a
     poet, I cannot suppress my opinion, that our novelist is a 'man
     of law.' He deals out the peculiar terms and phrases of that
     science (as practised in Scotland) with a freedom and confidence
     beyond the reach of any uninitiated person. If ever, in the
     progress of his narrative, a legal topic presents itself (which
     very frequently happens), he neither declines the subject, nor
     timidly slurs it over, but enters as largely and formally into
     all its technicalities, as if the case were actually 'before the
     fifteen.' The manners, humors, and professional _bavardage_ of
     lawyers, are sketched with all the ease and familiarity which
     result from habitual observation. In fact, the subject of law,
     which is a stumbling-block to others, is to the present writer a
     spot of repose; upon this theme he lounges and gossips, he is
     _discinctus et soleatus_, and, at times, almost forgets that when
     an author finds himself at home and perfectly at ease, he is in
     great danger of falling asleep.--If, then, my inferences are
     correct, the unknown writer who was just now proved to be an
     excellent poet, must also be pronounced a follower of the law:
     the combination is so unusual, at least on this side of the
     Tweed, that, as Juvenal says on a different occasion--

                             ... 'bimembri
        Hoc monstrum puero, vel mirandis sub aratro
        Piscibus inventis, et foetæ comparo mulsæ.'

     Nature has indeed presented us with one such prodigy in the
     author of Marmion; and it is probable, that in the author of
     Waverley, we only see the same specimen under a different aspect;
     for, however sportive the goddess may be, she has too much wit
     and invention to wear out a frolic by many repetitions....

     "A striking characteristic of both writers is their ardent love
     of rural sports, and all manly and robust exercises.--But the
     importance given to the canine race in these works ought to be
     noted as a characteristic feature by itself. I have seen some
     drawings by a Swiss artist, who was called the Raphael of cats;
     and either of the writers before us might, by a similar phrase,
     be called the Wilkie of dogs. Is it necessary to justify such a
     compliment by examples? Call Yarrow, or Lufra, or poor Fangs,
     Colonel Mannering's Plato, Henry Morton's Elphin, or Hobbie
     Elliot's Kilbuck, or Wolfe of Avenel Castle:--see Fitz-James's
     hounds returning from the pursuit of the lost stag--

        'Back limped with slow and crippled pace
         The sulky leaders of the chase'--

     or swimming after the boat which carries their Master--

        'With heads erect and whimpering cry
         The hounds behind their passage ply.'

     See Captain Clutterbuck's dog _quizzing_ him when he missed a
     bird, or the scene of 'mutual explanation and remonstrance'
     between 'the venerable patriarchs old Pepper and Mustard,' and
     Henry Bertram's rough terrier Wasp. If these instances are not
     sufficient, turn to the English bloodhound assailing the young

        'And hark! and hark! the deep-mouthed bark
             Comes nigher still and nigher;
         Bursts on the path a dark blood-hound,
         His tawny muzzle tracked the ground,
             And his red eye shot fire.
         Soon as the wildered child saw he,
         He flew at him right furiouslie....
         I ween you would have seen with joy
         The bearing of the gallant boy....
         So fierce he struck, the dog, afraid,
         At cautious distance hoarsely bayed,
         But still in act to spring.'

     Or Lord Ronald's deerhounds, in the haunted forest of

        'Within an hour return'd each hound;
           In rush'd the rousers of the deer;
         They howl'd in melancholy sound,
           Then closely couch beside the seer....
         Sudden the hounds erect their ears,
           And sudden cease their moaning howl;
         Close press'd to Moy, they mark their fears
           By shivering limbs and stifled growl.
         Untouch'd the harp began to ring,
           As softly, slowly, oped the door,' etc.

     Or look at Cedric the Saxon, in his antique hall, attended by his
     greyhounds and slowhounds, and the terriers which 'waited with
     impatience the arrival of the supper; but, with the sagacious
     knowledge of physiognomy peculiar to their race, forbore to
     intrude upon the moody silence of their master.' To complete the
     picture, 'One grisly old wolf-dog alone, with the liberty of an
     indulged favorite, had planted himself close by the chair of
     state, and occasionally ventured to solicit notice by putting his
     large hairy head upon his master's knee, or pushing his nose into
     his hand. Even he was repelled by the stern command, "Down,
     Balder, down! I am not in the humor for foolery."'

     "Another animated sketch occurs in the way of simile:--'The
     interview between Ratcliffe and Sharpitlaw had an aspect
     different from all these. They sate for five minutes silent, on
     opposite sides of a small table, and looked fixedly at each
     other, with a sharp, knowing, and alert cast of countenance, not
     unmingled with an inclination to laugh, and resembled, more than
     anything else, two dogs, who, preparing for a game at romps, are
     seen to crouch down, and remain in that posture for a little
     time, watching each other's movements, and waiting which shall
     begin the game.'

     "Let me point out a still more amusing study of canine life:
     'While the Antiquary was in full declamation, Juno, who held him
     in awe, according to the remarkable instinct by which dogs
     instantly discover those who like or dislike them, had peeped
     several times into the room, and, encountering nothing very
     forbidding in his aspect, had at length presumed to introduce her
     full person, and finally, becoming bold by impunity, she actually
     ate up Mr. Oldbuck's toast, as, looking first at one, then at
     another of his audience, he repeated with self-complacence,--

           "'Weave the warp, and weave the woof.'--

     You remember the passage in the Fatal Sisters, which, by the way,
     is not so fine as in the original--But, hey-day! my toast has
     vanished! I see which way--Ah, thou type of womankind, no wonder
     they take offence at thy generic appellation!"--(So saying, he
     shook his fist at Juno, who scoured out of the parlor.)'

     "In short, throughout these works, wherever it is possible for a
     dog to contribute in any way to the effect of a scene, we find
     there the very dog that was required, in his proper place and
     attitude. In Branksome Hall, when the feast was over,--

        'The stag-hounds, weary with the chase,
           Lay stretched upon the rushy floor,
         And urged, in dreams, the forest race
           From Teviot-stone to Eskdale-moor.'

     The gentle Margaret, when she steals secretly from the castle,

        'Pats the shaggy blood-hound
         As he rouses him up from his lair.'

     When Waverley visits the Baron of Bradwardine, in his concealment
     at Janet Gellatley's, Ban and Buscar play their parts in every
     point with perfect discretion; and in the joyous company that
     assembles at Little Veolan, on the Baron's enlargement, these
     honest animals are found 'stuffed to the throat with food, in the
     liberality of Macwheeble's joy,' and 'snoring on the floor.' In
     the perilous adventure of Henry Bertram, at Portanferry gaol, the
     action would lose half its interest, without the by-play of
     little Wasp. At the funeral ceremony of Duncraggan (in The Lady
     of the Lake), a principal mourner is

        ----'Stumah, who, the bier beside,
        His master's corpse with wonder eyed;
        Poor Stumah! whom his least halloo
        Could send like lightning o'er the dew.'

     Ellen Douglas smiled (or did not smile)

        ----'to see the stately drake,
        Lead forth his fleet upon the lake,
        While her vexed spaniel from the beach,
        Bayed at the prize beyond his reach.'

     "I will close this growing catalogue of examples with one of the
     most elegant descriptions that ever sprang from a poet's fancy:--

        'Delightful praise! like summer rose,
         That brighter in the dew-drop glows,
         The bashful maiden's cheek appeared,
         For Douglas spoke, and Malcolm heard.
         The flush of shame-faced joy to hide,
         The hounds, the hawk, her cares divide;
         The loved caresses of the maid
         The dogs with crouch and whimper paid;
         And, at her whistle, on her hand,
         The falcon took his favorite stand,
         Closed his dark wing, relaxed his eye,
         Nor, though unhooded, sought to fly.'
         . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     "Their passion for martial subjects, and their success in
     treating them, form a conspicuous point of resemblance between
     the novelist and poet. No writer has appeared in our age (and few
     have ever existed) who could vie with the author of Marmion in
     describing battles and marches, and all the terrible grandeur of
     war, except the author of Waverley. Nor is there any man of
     original genius and powerful inventive talent as conversant with
     the military character, and as well schooled in tactics, as the
     author of Waverley, except the author of Marmion. Both seem to
     exult in camps, and to warm at the approach of a soldier. In
     every warlike scene that awes and agitates, or dazzles and
     inspires, the poet triumphs; but where any effect is to be
     produced by dwelling on the minutiæ of military habits and
     discipline, or exhibiting the blended hues of individual humor
     and professional peculiarity, as they present themselves in the
     mess-room or the guard-room, every advantage is on the side of
     the novelist. I might illustrate this position by tracing all the
     gradations of character marked out in the novels, from the Baron
     of Bradwardine to Tom Halliday: but the examples are too well
     known to require enumeration, and too generally admired to stand
     in need of panegyric. Both writers, then, must have bestowed a
     greater attention on military subjects, and have mixed more
     frequently in the society of soldiers, than is usual with persons
     not educated to the profession of arms.

     "It may be asked, why we should take for granted that the writer
     of these novels is not himself a member of the military
     profession? The conjecture is a little improbable if we have been
     right in concluding that the minuteness and multiplicity of our
     author's legal details are the fruit of his own study and
     practice, although the same person may certainly, at different
     periods of life, put on the helmet and the wig, the gorget and
     the band; attend courts and lie in trenches; head a charge and
     lead a cause. I cannot help suspecting, however (it is with the
     greatest diffidence I venture the remark), that in those warlike
     recitals which so strongly interest the great body of readers, an
     army critic would discover several particulars that savor more of
     the amateur than of the practised campaigner. It is not from any
     technical improprieties (if such exist) that I derive this
     observation, but, on the contrary, from a too great minuteness
     and over-curious diligence, at times perceptible in the military
     details; which, amidst a seeming fluency and familiarity, betray,
     I think, here and there, the lurking vestiges of labor and
     contrivance, like the marks of pickaxes in an artificial grotto.
     The accounts of operations in the field, if not more
     circumstantial than a professional author would have made them,
     are occasionally circumstantial on points which such an author
     would have thought it idle to dwell upon. A writer who derived
     his knowledge of war from experience would, no doubt, like the
     Author of Waverley, delight in shaping out imaginary manoeuvres,
     or in filling up the traditional outline of those martial
     enterprises and conflicts, which have found a place in history;
     perhaps, too, he would dwell on these parts of his narrative a
     little longer than was strictly necessary; but in describing (for
     example) the advance of a party of soldiers, threatened by an
     ambuscade, he would scarcely think it worth while to relate at
     large that the captain 're-formed his line of march, commanded
     his soldiers to unsling their firelocks and fix their bayonets,
     and formed an advanced and rear-guard, each consisting of a
     non-commissioned officer and two privates, who received strict
     orders to keep an alert look-out:' or that when the enemy
     appeared, 'he ordered the rear-guard to join the centre, and both
     to close up to the advance, doubling his files, so as to occupy
     with his column the whole practicable part of the road,' etc.
     Again, in representing a defeated corps retiring and pressed by
     the enemy, he would probably never think of recording (as our
     novelist does in his incomparable narrative of the engagement at
     Drumclog) that the commanding officer gave such directions as
     these: 'Let Allan form the regiment, and do you two retreat up
     the hill in two bodies, each halting alternately as the other
     falls back. I'll keep the rogues in check with the rear-guard,
     making a stand and facing from time to time.' I do not offer
     these observations for the purpose of depreciating a series of
     military pictures, which have never been surpassed in richness,
     animation, and distinctness; I will own, too, that such details
     as I have pointed out are the fittest that could be selected for
     the generality of novel-readers; I merely contend, that a writer
     practically acquainted with war would either have passed over
     these circumstances as too common to require particular mention,
     or if he had thought it necessary to enlarge upon these, would
     have dwelt with proportionate minuteness on incidents of a less
     ordinary kind, which the recollections of a soldier would have
     readily supplied, and his imagination would have rested on with
     complacency. He would, in short, have left as little undone for
     the military, as the present author has for the legal part of his
     narratives. But the most ingenious writer who attempts to
     discourse with technical familiarity on arts or pursuits with
     which he is not habitually conversant, will too surely fall into
     a superfluous particularity on common and trivial points,
     proportioned to his deficiency in those nicer details which imply
     practical knowledge....

        "'The prince of darkness is a gentleman.'[132]

     "Another point of resemblance between the author of Waverley and
     him of Flodden Field is, that both are unquestionably men of good
     society. Of the anonymous writer I infer this from his works; of
     the poet it is unnecessary to deduce such a character from his
     writings, because they are not anonymous. I am the more inclined
     to dwell upon this merit in the novelist, on account of its
     rarity; for among the whole multitude of authors, well or ill
     educated, who devote themselves to poetry or to narrative or
     dramatic fiction, how few there are who give any proof in their
     works, of the refined taste, the instinctive sense of propriety,
     the clear spirit of honor, nay, of the familiar acquaintance with
     conventional forms of good-breeding, which are essential to the
     character of a gentleman! Even of the small number who, in a
     certain degree, possess these qualifications, how rarely do we
     find one who can so conduct his fable, and so order his dialogue
     throughout, that nothing shall be found either repugnant to
     honorable feelings, or inconsistent with polished manners! How
     constantly, even in the best works of fiction, are we disgusted
     with such offences against all generous principle, as the reading
     of letters by those for whom they were not intended; taking
     advantage of accidents to overhear private conversation;
     revealing what in honor should have remained secret; plotting
     against men as enemies, and at the same time making use of their
     services; dishonest practices on the passions or sensibilities of
     women by their admirers; falsehoods, not always indirect; and an
     endless variety of low artifices, which appear to be thought
     quite legitimate if carried on through subordinate agents. And
     all these knaveries are assigned to characters which the reader
     is expected to honor with his sympathy, or at least to receive
     into favor before the story concludes.

     "The sins against propriety in manners are as frequent and as
     glaring. I do not speak of the hoyden vivacity, harlot
     tenderness, and dancing-school affability, with which vulgar
     novel-writers always deck out their countesses and
     _principessas_, chevaliers, dukes, and marquises; but it would be
     easy to produce, from authors of a better class, abundant
     instances of bookish and laborious pleasantry, of pert and
     insipid gossip or mere slang, the wrecks, perhaps, of an obsolete
     fashionable dialect, set down as the brilliant conversation of a
     witty and elegant society; incredible outrages on the common
     decorum of life, represented as traits of eccentric humor;
     familiar raillery pushed to downright rudeness; affectation or
     ill-breeding over-colored so as to become insupportable
     insolence; extravagant rants on the most delicate topics indulged
     in before all the world; expressions freely interchanged between
     gentlemen, which, by the customs of that class, are neither used
     nor tolerated; and quarrels carried on most bombastically and
     abusively, even to mortal defiance, without a thought bestowed
     upon the numbers, sex, nerves, or discretion of the bystanders.

     "You will perceive, that in recapitulating the offences of other
     writers, I have pronounced an indirect eulogium on the Author of
     Waverley. No man, I think, has a clearer view of what is just and
     honorable in principle and conduct, or possesses in a higher
     degree that elegant taste, and that chivalrous generosity of
     feeling, which, united with exact judgment, give an author the
     power of comprehending and expressing, not merely the right and
     fit, but the graceful and exalted in human action. As an
     illustration of these remarks, a somewhat homely one perhaps, let
     me call to your recollection the incident, so wild and
     extravagant in itself, of Sir Piercie Shafton's elopement with
     the miller's daughter. In the address and feeling with which the
     author has displayed the high-minded delicacy of Queen
     Elizabeth's courtier to the unguarded village nymph, in his brief
     reflections arising out of this part of the narrative, and indeed
     in his whole conception and management of the adventure, I do not
     know whether the moralist or the gentleman is most to be admired:
     it is impossible to praise too warmly either the sound taste, or
     the virtuous sentiment which have imparted so much grace and
     interest to such a hazardous episode.

     "It may, I think, be generally affirmed, on a review of all the
     six-and-thirty volumes, in which this author has related the
     adventures of some twenty or more heroes and heroines (without
     counting second-rate personages), that there is not an unhandsome
     action or degrading sentiment recorded of any person who is
     recommended to the full esteem of the reader. To be blameless on
     this head is one of the strongest proofs a writer can give of
     honorable principles implanted by education and refreshed by good

     "The correctness in morals is scarcely more remarkable than the
     refinement and propriety in manners, by which these novels are
     distinguished. Where the character of a gentleman is introduced,
     we generally find it supported without affectation or constraint,
     and often with so much truth, animation, and dignity, that we
     forget ourselves into a longing to behold and converse with the
     accomplished creature of imagination. It is true that the
     volatile and elegant man of wit and pleasure, and the gracefully
     fantastic _petite-maîtresse_, are a species of character scarcely
     ever attempted, and even the few sketches we meet with in this
     style are not worthy of so great a master. But the aristocratic
     country gentleman, the ancient lady of quality, the gallant
     cavalier, the punctilious young soldier, and the jocund veteran,
     whose high mind is mellowed, not subdued by years, are drawn with
     matchless vigor, grace, and refinement. There is, in all these
     creations, a spirit of gentility, not merely of that negative
     kind which avoids giving offence, but of a strong, commanding,
     and pervading quality, blending unimpaired with the richest humor
     and wildest eccentricity, and communicating an interest and an
     air of originality to characters which, without it, would be
     wearisome and insipid, or would fade into commonplace. In
     Waverley, for example, if it were not for this powerful charm,
     the severe but warm-hearted Major Melville and the generous
     Colonel Talbot would become mere ordinary machines for carrying
     on the plot, and Sir Everard, the hero of an episode that might
     be coveted by Mackenzie, would encounter the frowns of every
     impatient reader, for unprofitably retarding the story at its

     "But without dwelling on minor instances, I will refer you at
     once to the character of Colonel Mannering, as one of the most
     striking representations I am acquainted with, of a gentleman in
     feelings and in manners, in habits, taste, predilections; nay, if
     the expression may be ventured, a gentleman even in prejudices,
     passions, and caprices. Had it been less than all I have
     described; had any refinement, any nicety of touch, been wanting,
     the whole portrait must have been coarse, common, and repulsive,
     hardly distinguishable from the moody father and domineering
     chieftain of every hackneyed romance-writer. But it was no vulgar
     hand that drew the lineaments of Colonel Mannering: no ordinary
     mind could have conceived that exquisite combination of sternness
     and sensibility, injurious haughtiness and chivalrous courtesy;
     the promptitude, decision, and imperious spirit of a military
     disciplinarian; the romantic caprices of an untamable enthusiast;
     generosity impatient of limit or impediment; pride scourged but
     not subdued by remorse; and a cherished philosophical severity,
     maintaining ineffectual conflicts with native tenderness and
     constitutional irritability. Supposing that it had entered into
     the thoughts of an inferior writer to describe a temper of mind
     at once impetuous, kind, arrogant, affectionate, stern,
     sensitive, deliberate, fanciful; supposing even that he had had
     the skill to combine these different qualities harmoniously and
     naturally,--yet how could he have attained the Shakespearean
     felicity of those delicate and unambitious touches, by which this
     author shapes and chisels out individual character from general
     nature, and imparts a distinct personality to the creature of his
     invention? Such are (for example) the slight tinge of
     superstition, contracted by the romantic young Astrologer in his
     adventure at Ellangowan, not wholly effaced in maturer life, and
     extending itself by contagion to the mind of his daughter," etc.,

[Footnote 132: _King Lear_, Act III. Scene 4.]

It would have gratified Mr. Adolphus could he have known when he
penned these pages a circumstance which the reperusal of them brings
to my memory. When Guy Mannering was first published, the Ettrick
Shepherd said to Professor Wilson, "I have done wi' doubts now.
Colonel Mannering is just Walter Scott, painted by himself." This was
repeated to James Ballantyne, and he again mentioned it to Scott--who
smiled in approbation of the Shepherd's shrewdness, and often
afterwards, when the printer expressed an opinion in which he could
not concur, would cut him short with, "James--James--you'll find that
Colonel Mannering has laid down the law on this point."--I resume my

     "All the productions I am acquainted with, both of the poet and
     of the prose writer, recommend themselves by a native piety and
     goodness, not generally predominant in modern works of
     imagination; and which, where they do appear, are too often
     disfigured by eccentricity, pretension, or bad taste. In the
     works before us there is a constant tendency to promote the
     desire of excellence in ourselves, and the love of it in our
     neighbors, by making us think honorably of our general nature.
     Whatever kindly or charitable affection, whatever principle of
     manly and honest ambition exists within us, is roused and
     stimulated by the perusal of these writings; our passions are won
     to the cause of justice, purity, and self-denial; and the old,
     indissoluble ties that bind us to country, kindred, and
     birthplace, appear to strengthen as we read, and brace themselves
     more firmly about the heart and imagination. Both writers,
     although peculiarly happy in their conception of all chivalrous
     and romantic excellencies, are still more distinguished by their
     deep and true feeling and expressive delineation of the graces
     and virtues proper to domestic life. The gallant, elevated, and
     punctilious character which a Frenchman contemplates in speaking
     of '_un honnête homme_,' is singularly combined, in these
     authors, with the genial, homely good qualities that win from a
     Caledonian the exclamation of 'honest man!' But the crown of
     their merits, as virtuous and moral writers, is the manly and
     exemplary spirit with which, upon all seasonable occasions, they
     pay honor and homage to religion, ascribing to it its just
     preëminence among the causes of human happiness, and dwelling on
     it as the only certain source of pure and elevated thoughts, and
     upright, benevolent, and magnanimous actions.

     "This, then, is common to the books of both writers,--that they
     furnish a direct and distinguished contrast to the atrabilious
     gloom of some modern works of genius, and the wanton, but not
     artless levity of others. They yield a memorable, I trust an
     immortal, accession to the evidences of a truth not always
     fashionable in literature, that the mind of man may put forth all
     its bold luxuriance of original thought, strong feeling, and
     vivid imagination, without being loosed from any sacred and
     social bond, or pruned of any legitimate affection; and that the
     Muse is indeed a 'heavenly goddess,' and not a graceless, lawless

        '[Greek: aphrêtôr, athemistos, anestios].'

     "Good sense, the sure foundation of excellence in all the arts,
     is another leading characteristic of these productions. Assuming
     the author of Waverley and the author of Marmion to be the same
     person, it would be difficult in our times to find a second
     equally free from affectation, prejudice, and every other
     distortion or depravity of judgment, whether arising from
     ignorance, weakness, or corruption of morals. It is astonishing
     that so voluminous and successful a writer should so seldom be
     betrayed into any of those 'fantastic tricks' which, in such a
     man, make 'the angels weep,' and (_è converso_) the critics
     laugh. He adopts no fashionable cant, colloquial, philosophical,
     or literary; he takes no delight in being unintelligible; he does
     not amuse himself by throwing out those fine sentimental and
     metaphysical threads which float upon the air, and tease and
     tickle the passengers, but present no palpable substance to their
     grasp; he aims at no beauties that 'scorn the eye of vulgar
     light;' he is no dealer in paradoxes; no affecter of new
     doctrines in taste or morals; he has no eccentric sympathies or
     antipathies; no maudlin philanthropy, or impertinent cynicism; no
     nondescript hobby-horse; and with all his matchless energy and
     originality of mind, he is content to admire popular books, and
     enjoy popular pleasures; to cherish those opinions which
     experience has sanctioned; to reverence those institutions which
     antiquity has hallowed; and to enjoy, admire, cherish, and
     reverence all these with the same plainness, simplicity, and
     sincerity as our ancestors did of old.

     . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

     "I cannot help dwelling for a moment on the great similarity of
     manner apparent in the female portraits of the two writers. The
     pictures of their heroines are executed with a peculiar fineness,
     delicacy, and minuteness of touch, and with a care at times
     almost amounting to timidity, so that they generally appear more
     highly finished, but less boldly and strikingly thrown out, than
     the figures with which they are surrounded. Their elegance and
     purity are always admirable, and are happily combined, in most
     instances, with unaffected ease and natural spirit. Strong
     practical sense is their most prevailing characteristic,
     unaccompanied by any repulsive air of selfishness, pedantry, or
     unfeminine harshness. Few writers have ever evinced, in so strong
     a degree as the authors of Marmion and Waverley, that manly
     regard, and dignified but enthusiastic devotion, which may be
     expressed by the term loyalty to the fair sex, the honorable
     attribute of chivalrous and romantic ages. If they touch on the
     faults of womankind, their satire is playful, not contemptuous;
     and their acquaintance with female manners, graces, and foibles,
     is apparently drawn, not from libertine experience, but from the
     guileless familiarity of domestic life.

     "Of all human ties and connections there is none so frequently
     brought in view, or adorned with so many touches of the most
     affecting eloquence by both these writers, as the pure and tender
     relation of father and daughter. Douglas and Ellen in The Lady of
     the Lake will immediately occur to you as a distinguished
     example. Their mutual affection and solicitude; their pride in
     each other's excellencies; the parent's regret of the obscurity
     to which fate has doomed his child; and the daughter's
     self-devotion to her father's welfare and safety, constitute the
     highest interest of the poem, and that which is most uniformly
     sustained; nor does this or any other romance of the same author
     contain a finer stroke of passion than the overboiling of
     Douglas's wrath, when, mixed as a stranger with the crowd at
     Stirling, he sees his daughter's favorite Lufra chastised by the
     royal huntsman.

     "In Rokeby, the filial attachment and duteous anxieties of
     Matilda form the leading feature of her character, and the chief
     source of her distresses. The intercourse between King Arthur and
     his daughter Gyneth, in The Bridal of Triermain, is neither long,
     nor altogether amicable; but the monarch's feelings on first
     beholding that beautiful 'slip of wilderness,' and his manner of
     receiving her before the queen and court, are too forcibly and
     naturally described to be omitted in this enumeration.

     "Of all the novels, there are at most but two or three in which a
     fond father and affectionate daughter may not be pointed out
     among the principal characters, and in which the main interest of
     many scenes does not arise out of that paternal and filial
     relation. What a beautiful display of natural feeling, under
     every turn of circumstances that can render the situations of
     child and parent agonizing or delightful, runs through the
     history of David Deans and his two daughters! How affecting is
     the tale of Leicester's unhappy Countess, after we have seen her
     forsaken father consuming away with moody sorrow in his joyless
     manor-house! How exquisite are the grouping and contrast of
     Isaac, the kind but sordid Jew, and his heroic Rebecca, of the
     buckram Baron of Bradwardine and the sensitive Rose, the reserved
     but ardent Mannering, and the flighty coquette Julia! In The
     Antiquary, and Bride of Lammermoor, anxiety is raised to the most
     painful height by the spectacle of father and daughter exposed
     together to imminent and frightful peril. The heroines in Rob Roy
     and The Black Dwarf are duteous and devoted daughters, the one of
     an unfortunate, the other of an unworthy parent. In the whole
     story of Kenilworth there is nothing that more strongly indicates
     a master-hand than the paternal carefulness and apprehensions of
     the churl Foster; and among the most striking scenes in A Legend
     of Montrose is that in which Sir Duncan Campbell is attracted by
     an obscure yearning of the heart toward his unknown child, the
     supposed orphan of Darlinvarach."

I must not attempt to follow out Mr. Adolphus in his most ingenious
tracings of petty coincidences in thought, and, above all, in
expression, between the poet of Marmion and the novelist of Waverley.
His apology for the minuteness of his detail in that part of his work
is, however, too graceful to be omitted: "It cannot, I think, appear
frivolous or irrelevant, in the inquiry we are pursuing, to dwell on
these minute coincidences. Unimportant indeed they are if looked upon
as subjects of direct criticism; but considered with reference to our
present purpose, they resemble those light substances which, floating
on the trackless sea, discover the true setting of some mighty
current: they are the buoyant driftwood which betrays the hidden
communication of two great poetic oceans."

I conclude with re-quoting a fragment from one of the quaint tracts of
Sir Thomas Urquhart. The following is the epigraph of Mr. Adolphus's
5th Letter:--

     "O with how great liveliness did he represent the conditions of
     all manner of men! From the overweening monarch to the peevish
     swaine, through all intermediate degrees of the superficial
     courtier or proud warrior, dissembling churchman, doting old man,
     cozening lawyer, lying traveler, covetous merchant, rude seaman,
     pedantick scolar, the amorous shepheard, envious artisan,
     vain-glorious master, and tricky servant;----He had all the
     jeers, squibs, flouts, buls, quips, taunts, whims, jests,
     clinches, gybes, mokes, jerks, with all the several kinds of
     equivocations and other sophistical captions, that could properly
     be adapted to the person by whose representation he intended to
     inveagle the company into a fit of mirth!"

I have it not in my power to produce the letter in which Scott
conveyed to Heber his opinion of this work. I know, however, that it
ended with a request that he should present Mr. Adolphus with his
thanks for the handsome terms in which his poetical efforts had been
spoken of throughout, and request him, in the name of the _author of
Marmion_, not to revisit Scotland without reserving a day for
Abbotsford; and the _Eidolon_ of the author of _Waverley_ was made, a
few months afterwards, to speak as follows in the Introduction to The
Fortunes of Nigel: "These letters to the member for the University of
Oxford show the wit, genius, and delicacy of the author, which I
heartily wish to see engaged on a subject of more importance; and
show, besides, that the preservation of my character of _incognito_
has engaged early talent in the discussion of a curious question of
evidence. But a cause, however ingeniously pleaded, is not therefore
gained. You may remember the neatly wrought chain of circumstantial
evidence, so artificially brought forward to prove Sir Philip
Francis's title to the Letters of Junius, seemed at first
irrefragable; yet the influence of the reasoning has passed away, and
Junius, in the general opinion, is as much unknown as ever. But on
this subject I will not be soothed or provoked into saying one word
more. To say who I am not, would be one step towards saying who I am;
and as I desire not, any more than a certain Justice of Peace
mentioned by Shenstone, the noise or report such things make in the
world, I shall continue to be silent on a subject which, in my
opinion, is very undeserving the noise that has been made about it,
and still more unworthy of the serious employment of such ingenuity as
has been displayed by the young letter-writer."


     New Buildings at Abbotsford. -- Chiefswood. -- William Erskine.
     -- Letter to Countess Purgstall. -- Progress of the Pirate. --
     Franck's Northern Memoir, and Notes of Lord Fountainhall,
     Published. -- Private Letters in the Reign of James I. --
     Commencement of the Fortunes of Nigel. -- Second Sale of
     Copyrights. -- Contract for "Four Works of Fiction." -- Enormous
     Profits of the Novelist, and Extravagant Projects of Constable.
     -- The Pirate Published. -- Lord Byron's Cain, Dedicated to
     Scott. -- Affair of the Beacon Newspaper.


[Illustration: CHIEFSWOOD

_After the drawing by J. M. W. Turner_]

When Sir Walter returned from London, he brought with him the detailed
plans of Mr. Atkinson for the completion of his house at Abbotsford;
which, however, did not extend to the gateway or the beautiful screen
between the court and the garden--for these graceful parts of the
general design were conceptions of his own, reduced to shape by the
skill of the Messrs. Smith of Darnick. It would not, indeed, be easy
for me to apportion rightly the constituent members of the whole
edifice;--throughout there were numberless consultations with Mr.
Blore, Mr. Terry, and Mr. Skene, as well as with Mr. Atkinson--and the
actual builders placed considerable inventive talents, as well as
admirable workmanship, at the service of their friendly employer.
Every preparation was now made by them, and the foundations might
have been set about without farther delay; but he was very
reluctant to authorize the demolition of the rustic porch of the old
cottage, with its luxuriant overgrowth of roses and jessamines; and,
in short, could not make up his mind to sign the death-warrant of this
favorite bower until winter had robbed it of its beauties. He then
made an excursion from Edinburgh, on purpose to be present at its
downfall--saved as many of the creepers as seemed likely to survive
removal, and planted them with his own hands about a somewhat similar
porch, erected expressly for their reception, at his daughter Sophia's
little cottage of Chiefswood.

There my wife and I spent this summer and autumn of 1821--the first of
several seasons, which will ever dwell on my memory as the happiest of
my life. We were near enough Abbotsford to partake as often as we
liked of its brilliant society; yet could do so without being exposed
to the worry and exhaustion of spirit which the daily reception of
newcomers entailed upon all the family except Sir Walter himself. But,
in truth, even he was not always proof against the annoyances
connected with such a style of open-house-keeping. Even his temper
sunk sometimes under the solemn applauses of learned dulness, the
vapid raptures of painted and periwigged dowagers, the horse-leech
avidity with which underbred foreigners urged their questions, and the
pompous simpers of condescending magnates. When sore beset at home in
this way, he would every now and then discover that he had some very
particular business to attend to on an outlying part of his estate,
and craving the indulgence of his guests overnight, appear at the
cabin in the glen before its inhabitants were astir in the morning.
The clatter of Sibyl Grey's hoofs, the yelping of Mustard and Spice,
and his own joyous shout of _reveillée_ under our windows, were the
signal that he had burst his toils, and meant for that day to "take
his ease in his inn." On descending, he was to be found seated with
all his dogs and ours about him, under a spreading ash that
overshadowed half the bank between the cottage and the brook, pointing
the edge of his woodman's axe for himself, and listening to Tom
Purdie's lecture touching the plantation that most needed thinning.
After breakfast, he would take possession of a dressing-room upstairs,
and write a chapter of The Pirate; and then, having made up and
despatched his packet for Mr. Ballantyne, away to join Purdie wherever
the foresters were at work--and sometimes to labor among them as
strenuously as John Swanston himself--until it was time either to
rejoin his own party at Abbotsford, or the quiet circle of the
cottage.--When his guests were few and friendly, he often made them
come over and meet him at Chiefswood in a body towards evening;[133]
and surely he never appeared to more amiable advantage than when
helping his young people with their little arrangements upon such
occasions. He was ready with all sorts of devices to supply the wants
of a narrow establishment; he used to delight particularly in sinking
the wine in a well under the _brae_ ere he went out, and hauling up
the basket just before dinner was announced--this primitive process
being, he said, what he had always practised when a young housekeeper;
and in his opinion far superior in its results to any application of
ice; and, in the same spirit, whenever the weather was sufficiently
genial, he voted for dining out of doors altogether, which at once
got rid of the inconvenience of very small rooms, and made it natural
and easy for the gentlemen to help the ladies, so that the paucity of
servants went for nothing. Mr. Rose used to amuse himself with
likening the scene and the party to the closing act of one of those
little French dramas, where "Monsieur le Comte" and "Madame la
Comtesse" appear feasting at a village bridal under the trees; but in
truth, our "M. le Comte" was only trying to live over again for a few
simple hours his own old life of Lasswade.

[Footnote 133: [Among the friendly visitors at this time was Mr.
Charles Young, who brought with him his son. The latter in his diary
sketches, not without some vivid touches, the days spent at
Abbotsford. One slight incident connected with Scott's greeting of his
guests may be noted. On hearing the lad's Christian name, he exclaimed
with emphasis, "Why, whom is he called after?" On being told that the
name was in memory of the boy's mother, Julia Anne, he replied, "Well,
it is a capital name for a novel, I must say;" a remark which Julian
Young naturally recalled when _Peveril_ was published. The Youngs also
visited Chiefswood, and the youthful diarist was much impressed by
Lockhart's strikingly handsome face, while "his deference and
attention to his father-in-law were delightful to witness."--See
_Memoir of Charles Mayne Young_, pp. 88-96.]]

When circumstances permitted, he usually spent one evening at least in
the week at our little cottage; and almost as frequently he did the
like with the Fergusons, to whose table he could bring chance
visitors, when he pleased, with equal freedom as to his daughter's.
Indeed it seemed to be much a matter of chance, any fine day when
there had been no alarming invasion of the Southron, whether the three
families (which, in fact, made but one) should dine at Abbotsford,
Huntly Burn, or at Chiefswood; and at none of them was the party
considered quite complete, unless it included also Mr. Laidlaw. Death
has laid a heavy hand upon that circle--as happy a circle I believe as
ever met. Bright eyes now closed in dust, gay voices forever silenced,
seem to haunt me as I write. With three exceptions, they are all gone.
Even since the last of these volumes[134] was finished, she whom I may
now sadly record as, next to Sir Walter himself, the chief ornament
and delight at all those simple meetings--she to whose love I owed my
own place in them--Scott's eldest daughter, the one of all his
children who in countenance, mind, and manners, most resembled
himself, and who indeed was as like him in all things as a gentle
innocent woman can ever be to a great man deeply tried and skilled in
the struggles and perplexities of active life--she, too, is no more.
And in the very hour that saw her laid in her grave, the only other
female survivor, her dearest friend Margaret Ferguson, breathed her
last also.--But enough--and more than I intended--I must resume the
story of Abbotsford.

[Footnote 134: The 4th vol. of the original edition was published in
July--the 5th (of which this was the sixth chapter) in October, 1837.]

During several weeks of that delightful summer, Scott had under his
roof Mr. William Erskine and two of his daughters; this being, I
believe, their first visit to Tweedside since the death of Mrs.
Erskine in September, 1819. He had probably made a point of having his
friend with him at this particular time, because he was desirous of
having the benefit of his advice and corrections from day to day as he
advanced in the composition of The Pirate--with the localities of
which romance the Sheriff of Orkney and Zetland was of course
thoroughly familiar. At all events, the constant and eager delight
with which Erskine watched the progress of the tale has left a deep
impression on my memory; and indeed I heard so many of its chapters
first read from the MS. by him, that I can never open the book now
without thinking I hear his voice. Sir Walter used to give him at
breakfast the pages he had written that morning; and very commonly,
while he was again at work in his study, Erskine would walk over to
Chiefswood, that he might have the pleasure of reading them aloud to
my wife and me under our favorite tree, before the packet had to be
sealed up for the printer, or rather for the transcriber in Edinburgh.
I cannot paint the delight and the pride with which he acquitted
himself on such occasions. The little artifice of his manner was
merely superficial, and was wholly forgotten as tender affection and
admiration, fresh as the impulses of childhood, glistened in his eye,
and trembled in his voice.

This reminds me that I have not yet attempted any sketch of the person
and manners of Scott's most intimate friend. Their case was no
contradiction to the old saying, that the most attached comrades are
often very unlike each other in character and temperament. The mere
physical contrast was as strong as could well be, and this is not
unworthy of notice here; for Erskine was, I think, the only man in
whose society Scott took great pleasure, during the more vigorous part
of his life, that had neither constitution nor inclination for any of
the rough bodily exercises in which he himself delighted. The
Counsellor (as Scott always called him) was a little man of feeble
make, who seemed unhappy when his pony got beyond a footpace, and had
never, I should suppose, addicted himself to any out-of-doors sport
whatever. He would, I fancy, have as soon thought of slaying his own
mutton as of handling a fowling-piece: he used to shudder when he saw
a party equipped for coursing, as if murder were in the wind; but the
cool meditative angler was in his eyes the abomination of
abominations. His small elegant features, hectic cheek, and soft hazel
eyes, were the index of the quick sensitive gentle spirit within. He
had the warm heart of a woman, her generous enthusiasm, and some of
her weaknesses. A beautiful landscape, or a fine strain of music,
would send the tears rolling down his cheek; and though capable, I
have no doubt, of exhibiting, had his duty called him to do so, the
highest spirit of a hero or a martyr, he had very little command over
his nerves amidst circumstances such as men of ordinary mould (to say
nothing of iron fabrics like Scott's) regard with indifference. He
would dismount to lead his horse down what his friend hardly perceived
to be a descent at all; grew pale at a precipice; and, unlike the
White Lady of Avenel, would go a long way round for a bridge.

Erskine had as yet been rather unfortunate in his professional career,
and thought a sheriffship by no means the kind of advancement due to
his merits, and which his connections might naturally have secured for
him. These circumstances had at the time when I first observed him
tinged his demeanor; he had come to intermingle a certain wayward
snappishness now and then with his forensic exhibitions, and in
private seemed inclined (though altogether incapable of abandoning the
Tory party) to say bitter things of people in high places; but with
these exceptions, never was benevolence towards all the human race
more lively and overflowing than his evidently was, even when he
considered himself as one who had reason to complain of his luck in
the world. Now, however, these little asperities had disappeared; one
great real grief had cast its shadow over him, and submissive to the
chastisement of heaven, he had no longer any thoughts for the petty
misusage of mankind. Scott's apprehension was, that his ambition was
extinguished with his resentment; and he was now using every endeavor,
in connection with their common friend the Lord Advocate Rae, to
procure for Erskine that long-coveted seat on the bench, about which
the subdued widower himself had ceased to occupy his mind. By and by
these views were realized to Scott's high satisfaction, and for a
brief season with the happiest effect on Erskine's own spirits;--but I
shall not anticipate the sequel.

Meanwhile he shrunk from the collisions of general society in
Edinburgh, and lived almost exclusively in his own little circle of
intimates. His conversation, though somewhat precise and finical on
the first impression, was rich in knowledge. His literary ambition,
active and aspiring at the outset, had long before this time merged in
his profound veneration for Scott; but he still read a great deal, and
did so as much I believe with a view to assisting Scott by hints and
suggestions, as for his own amusement. He had much of his friend's
tact in extracting the picturesque from old, and, generally speaking,
dull books; and in bringing out his stores he often showed a great
deal of quaint humor and sly wit.

Scott, on his side, respected, trusted, and loved him, much as an
affectionate husband does the wife who gave him her heart in youth,
and thinks his thoughts rather than her own in the evening of life; he
soothed, cheered, and sustained Erskine habitually. I do not believe a
more entire and perfect confidence ever subsisted than theirs was and
always had been in each other; and to one who had duly observed the
creeping jealousies of human nature, it might perhaps seem doubtful on
which side the balance of real nobility of heart and character, as
displayed in their connection at the time of which I am speaking,
ought to be cast.

Among the common friends of their young days, of whom they both
delighted to speak--and always spoke with warm and equal
affection--was the sister of their friend Cranstoun, the confidant of
Scott's first unfortunate love, whom neither had now seen for a period
of more than twenty years. This lady had undergone domestic
afflictions more than sufficient to have crushed almost any spirit but
her own. Her husband, the Count Purgstall, had died some years before
this time, leaving her an only son, a youth of the most amiable
disposition, and possessing abilities which, had he lived to develop
them, must have secured for him a high station in the annals of
genius. This hope of her eyes, the last heir of an illustrious
lineage, followed his father to the tomb in the nineteenth year of his
age. The desolate Countess was urged by her family in Scotland to
return, after this bereavement, to her native country; but she had
vowed to her son on his deathbed, that one day her dust should be
mingled with his; and no argument could induce her to depart from the
resolution of remaining in solitary Styria. By her desire, a valued
friend of the house of Purgstall, who had been born and bred up on
their estates, the celebrated Orientalist, Joseph von Hammer, compiled
a little memoir of The Two Last Counts of Purgstall, which he put
forth, in January, 1821, under the title of Denkmahl, or Monument; and
of this work the Countess sent a copy to Sir Walter (with whom her
correspondence had been during several years suspended), by the hands
of her eldest brother, Mr. Henry Cranstoun, who had been visiting her
in Styria, and who at this time occupied a villa within a few miles of
Abbotsford. Scott's letter of acknowledgment never reached her; and
indeed I doubt if it was ever despatched. He appears to have meditated
a set of consolatory verses for its conclusion, and the Muse not
answering his call at the moment, I suspect he had allowed the sheet,
which I now transcribe, to fall aside and be lost sight of among his
multifarious masses of MS.


     MY DEAR AND MUCH-VALUED FRIEND,--You cannot imagine how much I
     was interested and affected by receiving your token of your kind
     recollection, after the interval of so many years. Your brother
     Henry breakfasted with me yesterday, and gave me the letter and
     the book, which served me as a matter of much melancholy
     reflection for many hours.

     Hardly anything makes the mind recoil so much upon itself, as the
     being suddenly and strongly recalled to times long past, and that
     by the voice of one whom we have so much loved and respected. Do
     not think I have ever forgotten you, or the many happy days I
     passed in Frederick Street, in society which fate has separated
     so far, and for so many years.

     The little volume was particularly acceptable to me, as it
     acquainted me with many circumstances, of which distance and
     imperfect communication had either left me entirely ignorant, or
     had transmitted only inaccurate information.

     Alas, my dear friend, what can the utmost efforts of friendship
     offer you, beyond the sympathy which, however sincere, must sound
     like an empty compliment in the ear of affliction? God knows with
     what willingness I would undertake anything which might afford
     you the melancholy consolation of knowing how much your old and
     early friend interests himself in the sad event which has so
     deeply wounded your peace of mind. The verses, therefore, which
     conclude this letter, must not be weighed according to their
     intrinsic value, for the more inadequate they are to express the
     feelings they would fain convey, the more they show the author's
     anxious wish to do what may be grateful to you.

     In truth, I have long given up poetry. I have had my day with the
     public; and being no great believer in poetical immortality, I
     was very well pleased to rise a winner, without continuing the
     game till I was beggared of any credit I had acquired. Besides, I
     felt the prudence of giving way before the more forcible and
     powerful genius of Byron. If I were either greedy, or jealous of
     poetical fame--and both are strangers to my nature--I might
     comfort myself with the thought, that I would hesitate to strip
     myself to the contest so fearlessly as Byron does; or to command
     the wonder and terror of the public, by exhibiting, in my own
     person, the sublime attitude of the dying gladiator. But with the
     old frankness of twenty years since, I will fairly own, that this
     same delicacy of mine may arise more from conscious want of vigor
     and inferiority, than from a delicate dislike to the nature of
     the conflict. At any rate, there is a time for everything, and
     without swearing oaths to it, I think my time for poetry has gone

     My health suffered horridly last year, I think from over-labor
     and excitation; and though it is now apparently restored to its
     usual tone, yet during the long and painful disorder (spasms in
     the stomach) and the frightful process of cure, by a prolonged
     use of calomel, I learned that my frame was made of flesh, and
     not of iron--a conviction which I will long keep in remembrance,
     and avoid any occupation so laborious and agitating as poetry
     must be, to be worth anything.

     In this humor I often think of passing a few weeks on the
     Continent--a summer vacation if I can--and of course my
     attraction to Gratz would be very strong. I fear this is the only
     chance of our meeting in this world--we, who once saw each other
     daily! for I understand from George and Henry that there is
     little chance of your coming here. And when I look around me, and
     consider how many changes you would see in feature, form, and
     fashion, amongst all you knew and loved; and how much, no sudden
     squall, or violent tempest, but the slow and gradual progress of
     life's long voyage, has severed all the gallant fellowships whom
     you left spreading their sails to the morning breeze, I really am
     not sure that you would have much pleasure.

     The gay and wild romance of life is over with all of us. The
     real, dull, and stern history of humanity has made a far greater
     progress over our heads; and age, dark and unlovely, has laid his
     crutch over the stoutest fellow's shoulders. One thing your old
     society may boast, that they have all run their course with
     honor, and almost all with distinction; and the brother suppers
     of Frederick Street have certainly made a very considerable
     figure in the world, as was to be expected from her talents under
     whose auspices they were assembled.

     One of the most pleasant sights which you would see in Scotland,
     as it now stands, would be your brother George in possession of
     the most beautiful and romantic place in Clydesdale--Corehouse. I
     have promised often to go out with him, and assist him with my
     deep experience as a planter and landscape gardener. I promise
     you my oaks will outlast my laurels; and I pique myself more upon
     my compositions for manure than on any other compositions
     whatsoever to which I was ever accessary. But so much does
     business of one sort or other engage us both, that we never have
     been able to fix a time which suited us both; and with the utmost
     wish to make out the party, perhaps we never may.

     This is a melancholy letter, but it is chiefly so from the sad
     tone of yours--who have had such real disasters to lament--while
     mine is only the humorous sadness, which a retrospect on human
     life is sure to produce on the most prosperous. For my own course
     of life, I have only to be ashamed of its prosperity, and afraid
     of its termination; for I have little reason, arguing on the
     doctrine of chances, to hope that the same good fortune will
     attend me forever. I have had an affectionate and promising
     family, many friends, few unfriends, and, I think, no
     enemies--and more of fame and fortune than mere literature ever
     procured for a man before.

     I dwell among my own people, and have many whose happiness is
     dependent on me, and which I study to the best of my power. I
     trust my temper, which you know is by nature good and easy, has
     not been spoiled by flattery or prosperity; and therefore I have
     escaped entirely that irritability of disposition which I think
     is planted, like the slave in the poet's chariot, to prevent his
     enjoying his triumph.

     Should things, therefore, change with me--and in these times, or
     indeed in any times, such change is to be apprehended--I trust I
     shall be able to surrender these adventitious advantages, as I
     would my upper dress, as something extremely comfortable, but
     which I can make shift to do without.[135]...

[Footnote 135: In communicating this letter to my friend Captain Hall,
when he was engaged in his Account of a Visit to Madame de Purgstall
during the last months of her life, I suggested to him, in consequence
of an expression about Scott's health, that it must have been written
in 1820. The date of the _Denkmahl_, to which it refers, is, however,
sufficient evidence that I ought to have said 1821.]

As I may have no occasion hereafter to allude to the early friend with
whose sorrows Scott thus sympathized amidst the meridian splendors of
his own worldly career, I may take this opportunity of mentioning,
that Captain Basil Hall's conjecture, of her having been the original
of Diana Vernon, appeared to myself from the first chimerical; and
that I have since heard those who knew her best in the days of her
intercourse with Sir Walter, express the same opinion in the most
decided manner. But to return.

While The Pirate was advancing under Mr. Erskine's eye, Scott had even
more than the usual allowance of minor literary operations on hand. He
edited a reprint of a curious old book, called Franck's Northern
Memoir, and the Contemplative Angler; and he also prepared for the
press a volume published soon after, under the title of "Chronological
Notes on Scottish Affairs, 1680 to 1701, from the Diary of Lord
Fountainhall." The professional writings of that celebrated old lawyer
had been much in his hands from his early years, on account of the
incidental light which they throw on the events of a most memorable
period in Scottish history: and he seems to have contemplated some
more considerable selection from his remains, but to have dropped
these intentions, on being given to understand that they might
interfere with those of Lord Fountainhall's accomplished
representative, the present Sir Thomas Dick Lauder, Baronet. It is,
however, to be regretted that Sir Thomas's promise of a Life of his
eminent ancestor has not yet been redeemed.

In August appeared the volume of the Novelists' Library containing
Scott's Life of Smollett; and it being now ascertained that John
Ballantyne had died a debtor, the editor offered to proceed with this
series of prefaces, on the footing that the whole profits of the work
should go to his widow. Mr. Constable, whose health was now beginning
to break, had gone southwards in quest of more genial air, and was at
Hastings when he heard of this proposition. He immediately wrote to
me, entreating me to represent to Sir Walter that the undertaking,
having been coldly received at first, was unlikely to grow in favor if
continued on the same plan--that in his opinion the bulk of the
volumes, and the small type of their text, had been unwisely chosen,
for a work of mere entertainment, and could only be suitable for one
of reference; that Ballantyne's Novelists' Library, therefore, ought
to be stopped at once, and another in a lighter shape, to range with
the late collected edition of the first series of the Waverley
Romances, announced with his own name as publisher, and Scott's as
editor. He proposed at the same time to commence the issue of a Select
Library of English Poetry, with prefaces and a few notes by the same
hand; and calculating that each of these collections should extend to
twenty-five volumes, and that the publication of both might be
concluded within two years--"the writing of the prefaces, etc.,
forming perhaps an occasional relief from more important labors"!--the
bookseller offered to pay their editor in all the sum of £6000: a
small portion of which sum, as he hinted, would undoubtedly be more
than Mrs. John Ballantyne could ever hope to derive from the
prosecution of her husband's last publishing adventure. Various causes
combined to prevent the realization of these magnificent projects.
Scott now, as at the beginning of his career of speculation, had views
about what a collection of English Poetry should be, in which even
Constable could not, on consideration, be made to concur; and I have
already explained the coldness with which he regarded further attempts
upon our Elder Novelists. The Ballantyne Library crept on to the tenth
volume, and was then dropped abruptly; and the double negotiation with
Constable was never renewed.

Lady Louisa Stuart had not, I fancy, read Scott's Lives of the
Novelists until, some years after this time, they were collected into
two little piratical duodecimos by a Parisian bookseller; and on her
then expressing her admiration of them, together with her astonishment
that the speculation of which they formed a part should have attracted
little notice of any sort, he answered as follows: "I am delighted
they afford any entertainment, for they are rather flimsily written,
being done merely to oblige a friend: they were yoked to a great,
ill-conditioned, lubberly, double-columned book, which they were as
useful to tug along as a set of fleas would be to draw a mail-coach.
It is very difficult to answer your Ladyship's curious question
concerning change of taste; but whether in young or old, it takes
place insensibly without the parties being aware of it.[136] A
grand-aunt of my own, Mrs. Keith of Ravelston,--who was a person of
some condition, being a daughter of Sir John Swinton of
Swinton,--lived with unabated vigor of intellect to a very advanced
age. She was very fond of reading, and enjoyed it to the last of her
long life. One day she asked me, when we happened to be alone
together, whether I had ever seen Mrs. Behn's novels?--I confessed the
charge.--Whether I could get her a sight of them?--I said, with some
hesitation, I believed I could; but that I did not think she would
like either the manners, or the language, which approached too near
that of Charles II.'s time to be quite proper reading. 'Nevertheless,'
said the good old lady, 'I remember them being so much admired, and
being so much interested in them myself, that I wish to look at them
again.' To hear was to obey. So I sent Mrs. Aphra Behn, curiously
sealed up, with 'private and confidential' on the packet, to my gay
old grand-aunt. The next time I saw her afterwards, she gave me back
Aphra, properly wrapped up, with nearly these words: 'Take back your
bonny Mrs. Behn; and, if you will take my advice, put her in the
fire, for I found it impossible to get through the very first novel.
But is it not,' she said, 'a very odd thing that I, an old woman of
eighty and upwards, sitting alone, feel myself ashamed to read a book
which, sixty years ago, I have heard read aloud for the amusement of
large circles, consisting of the first and most creditable society in
London?' This, of course, was owing to the gradual improvement of the
national taste and delicacy. The change that brings into and throws
out of fashion particular styles of composition, is something of the
same kind. It does not signify what the greater or less merit of the
book is;--the reader, as Tony Lumpkin says, must be in a concatenation
accordingly--the fashion, or the general taste, must have prepared him
to be pleased, or put him on his guard against it. It is much like
dress. If Clarissa should appear before a modern party in her lace
ruffles and head-dress, or Lovelace in his wig, however genteelly
powdered, I am afraid they would make no conquests; the fashion which
makes conquests of us in other respects, is very powerful in literary
composition, and adds to the effect of some works, while in others it
forms their sole merit."

[Footnote 136: [Lady Louisa in her letter, written in 1826, after
speaking of the delight which the _Lives_ had given to some of her
friends, tells of their being induced, by something said of Mackenzie,
to read aloud _The Man of Feeling_. The experiment failed sadly, the
(supposedly) finest touches only causing laughter. And yet the writer
could remember when the book had been read with rapture and many
tears. In her girlhood the _Nouvelle Héloïse_ was the prohibited book
which all young persons longed to read. Now she finds that if it falls
in their way, it interests them not at all. So she propounds the
question which Sir Walter tries to answer.--See _Selections from the
Manuscripts of Lady Louisa Stuart_, pp. 233-236.]]

Among other miscellaneous work of this autumn, Scott amused some
leisure hours with writing a series of Private Letters, supposed to
have been discovered in the repositories of a Noble English Family,
and giving a picture of manners in town and country during the early
part of the reign of James I. These letters were printed as fast as he
penned them, in a handsome quarto form, and he furnished the margin
with a running commentary of notes, drawn up in the character of a
disappointed chaplain, a keen Whig, or rather Radical, overflowing on
all occasions with spleen against Monarchy and Aristocracy. When the
printing had reached the 72d page, however, he was told candidly by
Erskine, by James Ballantyne, and also by myself, that, however clever
his imitation of the epistolary style of the period in question, he
was throwing away in these letters the materials of as good a romance
as he had ever penned; and a few days afterwards he said to
me--patting Sibyl's neck till she danced under him,--"You were all
quite right: if the letters had passed for genuine they would have
found favor only with a few musty antiquaries, and if the joke were
detected, there was not story enough to carry it off. I shall burn the
sheets, and give you Bonny King Jamie and all his tail in the old
shape, as soon as I can get Captain Goffe within view of the gallows."

Such was the origin of The Fortunes of Nigel. As one set of the
uncompleted Letters has been preserved, I shall here insert a specimen
of them, in which the reader will easily recognize the germ of more
than one scene of the novel.[137]

[Footnote 137: [Two of Sir Walter's friends were to assist him in
these _Private Letters_. On June 16 he writes to Mr. Morritt: "Pray,
my good Lord of Rokeby, be my very gracious good lord, and think of
our pirated letters. It will be an admirable amusement for you, and I
hold you accountable for two or three academical epistles of the
period, full of thumping quotations of Greek and Latin in order to
explain what needs no explanation, and fortify sentiments which are
indisputable." In another letter, one of his last, written to Lockhart
from Naples in the spring of 1832, Scott says: "You may remember a
work in which our dear and accomplished friend, Lady Louisa,
condescended to take an oar, and which she handled most admirably. It
is a supposed set of extracts ... from a collection in James VI.'s
time, the costume admirably preserved, and like the fashionable wigs
more natural than one's own hair."--_Familiar Letters_, vol. ii. p.
120, and _Journal_, vol. ii. p. 473.]]


     MY LORD,--Towching this new mishappe of Sir Thomas, whereof your
     Lordshippe makes querie of me, I wolde hartilie that I could,
     truth and my bounden dutie alweys firste satisfied, make suche
     answer as were fullie pleasaunte to me to write, or unto your
     Lordshippe to reade. But what remedy? young men will have
     stirring bloodes; and the courtier-like gallants of the time will
     be gamesome and dangerous, as they have beene in dayes past. I
     think your Lordshippe is so wise as to caste one eye backe to
     your own more juvenile time, whilest you looke forward with the
     other upon this mischaunce, which, upon my lyfe, will be founde
     to be no otherwise harmful to Sir Thomas than as it shews him an
     hastie Hotspur of the day, suddenlie checking at whatsoever may
     seem to smirche his honour. As I am a trew man, and your
     Lordship's poore kinsman and bounden servant, I think ther lives
     not a gentleman more trew to his friende than Sir Thomas; and
     although ye be but brothers uterine, yet so dearly doth he holde
     your favour, that his father, were the gode knight alyve, should
     not have more swaye with him than shalle your Lordship; and,
     also, it is no kindly part to sow discord betwene brethrene; for,
     as the holy Psalmist saythe, "_Ecce quam bonum et quam jucundum
     habitare fratres_," etc. And moreover, it needes not to tell your
     Lordshippe that Sir Thomas is suddene in his anger; and it was
     but on Wednesday last that he said to me, with moche
     distemperature,--Master Jenkin, I be tolde that ye meddle and
     make betwene me and my Lorde my brother; wherfore, take this for
     feyr warninge, that when I shall fynde you so dooyng, I will
     incontinent put my dager to the hilte in you:--and this was
     spoken with all earnestness of visage and actioun, grasping of
     his poinard's handle, as one who wolde presentlie make his words
     good. Surely, my Lord, it is not fair carriage toward you pore
     kinsman if anie out of your house make such reports of me, and of
     that which I have written to you in sympleness of herte, and in
     obedience to your commandemente, which is my law on this matter.
     Truely, my Lord, I wolde this was well looked to, otherweys my
     rewarde for trew service might be to handsell with my herte's
     blode the steel of a Milan poignado. Natheless, I will procede
     with my mater, fal back fal edge, trustyng all utterly in the
     singleness of my integretie, and in your Lordshippe's

     My Lorde, the braule which hath befallen chaunced this waye, and
     not otherwise. It hap'd that one Raines, the master of the
     ordinarie where his honour Sir Thomas eteth well nie dailie (when
     he is not in attendance at courte, wherein he is perchance more
     slacke than were wise), shoulde assemble some of the beste who
     haunte his house, havyng diet ther for money. The purpose, as
     shewn forthe, was to tast a new piece of choice wyne, and ther
     Sir Thomas must nedes be, or the purpos holdes not, and the
     Alicant becometh Bastard. Wel, my Lord, dice ther wer and music,
     lustie helthes and dizzie braines,--some saye fair ladyes also,
     of which I know nought, save that suche cockatrices hatch wher
     such cockes of the game do haunt. Alweys ther was revel and
     wassail enow and to spare. Now it chaunced, that whilst one
     Dutton, of Graie's-Inn, an Essex man, held the dice, Sir Thomas
     fillethe a fulle carouse to the helth of the fair Ladie
     Elizabeth. Trulie, my Lord, I cannot blame his devotioun to so
     fair a saint, though I may wish the chapel for his adoration had
     been better chosen, and the companie more suitable; _sed respice
     finem_. The pledge being given, and alle men on foote, aye, and
     some on knee, to drink the same, young Philip Darcy, a near
     kinsman of my Lorde's, or so callyng himself, takes on him to
     check at the helthe, askyng Sir Thomas if he were willinge to
     drink the same in a Venetian glasse? the mening of whiche hard
     sentence your Lordshippe shal esilie construe. Whereupon Sir
     Thomas, your Lordshippe's brother, somewhat shrewishly demanded
     whether that were his game or his earnest; to which demaunde the
     uther answers recklessly as he that wolde not be brow-beaten,
     that Sir Thomas might take it for game or ernest as him listed.
     Whereupon your Lordshippe's brother, throwing down withal the
     woodcocke's bill, with which, as the fashioun goes, he was
     picking his teeth, answered redily, he cared not that for his
     game or ernest, for that neither were worth a bean. A small
     matter this to make such a storie, for presentlie young Darcie up
     with the wine-pot in which they had assaid the freshe hogshede,
     and heveth it at Sir Thomas, which vessel missing of the mark it
     was aym'd at, encountreth the hede of Master Dutton, when the
     outside of the flaggon did that which peradventure the inside had
     accomplish'd somewhat later in the evening, and stretcheth him on
     the flore; and then the crie arose, and you might see twenty
     swords oute at once, and none rightly knowing wherfor. And the
     groomes and valets, who waited in the street and in the kitchen,
     and who, as seldom failes, had been as besy with the beer as
     their masters with the wine, presentlie fell at odds, and betoke
     themselves to their weapones; so ther was bouncing of bucklers,
     and bandying of blades, instede of clattering of quart pottles,
     and chiming of harpis and fiddles. At length comes the wache,
     and, as oft happens in the like affraies, alle men join ageynst
     them, and they are beten bak: An honest man, David Booth,
     constable of the night, and a chandler by trade, is sorely hurt.
     The crie rises of Prentices, prentices, Clubs, clubs, for word
     went that the court-gallants and the Graie's-Inn men had
     murther'd a citizen; all mene take the street, and the whole ward
     is uppe, none well knowing why. Menewhile our gallants had the
     lucke and sense to disperse their company, some getting them into
     the Temple, the gates wherof were presentlie shut to prevent
     pursuite I warrant, and some taking boat as they might; water
     thus saving whom wyne hath endaunger'd. The Alderman of the ward,
     worthy Master Danvelt, with Master Deputy, and others of repute,
     bestow'd themselves not a litel to compose the tumult, and so al
     past over for the evening.

     My Lord, this is the hole of the mater, so far as my earnest and
     anxious serch had therein, as well for the sake of my
     blode-relation to your honourable house, as frome affectioun to
     my kinsman Sir Thomas, and especiallie in humble obedience to
     your regarded commandes. As for other offence given by Sir
     Thomas, whereof idle bruites are current, as that he should have
     call'd Master Darcie a codshead or an woodcocke, I can lerne of
     no such termes, nor any nere to them, only that when he said he
     cared not for his game or ernest, he flung down the woodcock's
     bill, to which it may be there was sticking a part of the head,
     though my informant saithe otherwise; and he stode so close by
     Sir Thomas, that he herde the quart-pot whissel as it flew
     betwixt there too hedes. Of damage done among the better sort,
     there is not muche; some cuts and thrusts ther wer, that had
     their sequents in blood and woundes, but none dedlie. Of the
     rascal sort, one fellowe is kill'd, and sundrie hurt. Hob Hilton,
     your brother's grome, for life a maymed man, having a slash over
     the right hande, for faulte of a gauntlet.--Marry he has been a
     brave knave and a sturdie: and if it pleses your goode
     Lordshippe, I fynd he wolde gladlie be preferr'd when tym is
     fitting, to the office of bedle. He hath a burlie frame, and
     scare-babe visage; he shall do wel enoughe in such charge, though
     lackyng the use of four fingers.[138] The hurtyng of the
     constabel is a worse matter; as also the anger that is between
     the courtiers and Graie's-Inn men; so that yf close hede be not
     given, I doubt me we shall here of more _Gesto Graiorum_. Thei
     will not be persuaded but that the quarrel betwixt Sir Thomas and
     young Darcie was simulate; and that Master Button's hurte wes
     wilful; whereas, on my lyfe, it will not be founde so.

     The counseyl hath taen the matter up, and I here H. M. spoke many
     things gravely and solidly, and as one who taketh to hert such
     unhappie chaunces, both against brauling and drinking. Sir
     Thomas, with others, hath put in plegge to be forthcoming; and so
     strictly taken up was the unhappie mater of the Scots Lord,[139]
     that if Booth shulde die, which God forefend, there might be a
     fereful reckoning: For one cityzen sayeth, I trust falslie, he
     saw Sir Thomas draw back his hand, having in it a drawn sword,
     just as the constabel felle. It seems but too constant, that thei
     were within but short space of ech other when his unhappy chaunce
     befel. My Lord, it is not for me to saie what course your
     Lordshippe should steer in this storm, onlie that the Lord
     Chansellour's gode worde wil, as resen is, do yeoman's service.
     Schulde it come to fine or imprisonment, as is to be fered, why
     should not your Lordshippe cast the weyght into the balance for
     that restraint which goode Sir Thomas must nedes bear himself,
     rather than for such penalty as must nedes pinche the purses of
     his frendes. Your Lordship always knoweth best; but surely the
     yonge knyght hath but litel reson to expect that you shulde
     further engage yourself in such bondes as might be necessary to
     bring this fine unto the Chequer. Nether have wise men helde it
     unfit that heated bloode be coold by sequestration for a space
     from temptation. There is dout, moreover, whether he may not hold
     himself bounden, according to the forme of faythe which such
     gallants and stirring spirits profess, to have further meeting
     with Master Philip Darcie, or this same Dutton, or with bothe, on
     this rare dependence of an woodcocke's hede, and a quart-pot;
     certeynly, methoughte, the last tym we met, and when he bare
     himself towards me, as I have premonish'd your Lordshippe, that
     he was fitter for quiet residence under safe keeping, than for a
     free walk amongst peceful men.

     And thus, my Lord, ye have the whole mater before you; trew ye
     shall find it,--my dutie demands it,--unpleasing, I cannot amende
     it: But I truste neither more evil _in esse_ nor _in posse_, than
     I have set forth as above. From one who is ever your Lordshippe's
     most bounden to command, etc.--J. H.

[Footnote 138: "The death of the _rascal_ sort is mentioned as he
would have commemorated that of a dog; and his readiest plan of
providing for a profligate menial, is to place him in superintendence
of the unhappy poor, over whom his fierce looks and rough demeanor are
to supply the means of authority, which his arm can no longer enforce
by actual violence!"]

[Footnote 139: "Perhaps the case of Lord Sanquhar. His Lordship had
the misfortune to be hanged, for causing a poor fencing-master to be
assassinated, which seems the unhappy matter alluded to."]

I think it must have been about the middle of October that he dropped
the scheme of this fictitious correspondence. I well remember the
morning that he began The Fortunes of Nigel. The day being destined
for Newark Hill, I went over to Abbotsford before breakfast, and found
Mr. Terry (who had been staying there for some time) walking about
with his friend's master-mason (John Smith), of whose proceedings he
took a fatherly charge, as he might well do, since the plan of the
building had been in a considerable measure the work of his own taste.
While Terry and I were chatting, Scott came out, bare-headed, with a
bunch of MS. in his hand, and said, "Well, lads, I've laid the keel of
a new lugger this morning--here it is--be off to the waterside, and
let me hear how you like it." Terry took the papers, and walking up
and down by the river, read to me the first chapter of Nigel. He
expressed great delight with the animated opening, and especially with
the contrast between its thorough stir of London life, and a chapter
about Norna of the Fitful-head, in the third volume of The Pirate,
which had been given to him in a similar manner the morning before. I
could see that (according to the Sheriff's phrase) _he smelt roast
meat_; here there was every prospect of a fine field for the art of
_Terryfication_. The actor, when our host met us returning from the
haugh, did not fail to express his opinion that the new novel would be
of this quality. Sir Walter, as he took the MS. from his hand, eyed
him with a gay smile, in which genuine benevolence mingled with mock
exultation, and then throwing himself into an attitude of comical
dignity, he rolled out, in the tones of John Kemble, one of the
loftiest bursts of Ben Jonson's Mammon:--

  "Come on, sir. Now you set your foot on shore
  In _Novo orbe_--
  ----------------Pertinax, my Surly,[140]
  Again I say to thee aloud, Be rich,
  This day thou shalt have ingots."

[Footnote 140: The fun of this application of "my Surly" will not
escape any one who remembers the kind and good-humored Terry's power
of assuming a peculiarly saturnine aspect. This queer grimness of look
was invaluable to the comedian in several of his best parts; and in
private he often called it up when his heart was most cheerful.]

This was another period of "refreshing the machine." Early in
November, I find Sir Walter writing thus to Constable's partner, Mr.
Cadell: "I want two books, Malcolm's London Redivivus, or some such
name, and Derham's Artificial Clock-maker." [The reader of Nigel will
understand these requests.] "All good luck to you, commercially and
otherwise. I am grown a shabby letter-writer, for my eyes are not so
young as they were, and I grudge everything that does not go to
press." Such a feeling must often have been present with him; yet I
can find no period when he grudged writing a letter that might by
possibility be of use to any of his family or friends, and I must
quote one of the many which about this very time reached his second


_Care of the Rev. Mr. Williams, Lampeter._

                                                  21st November, 1821.

     MY DEAR CHARLES,--I had the pleasure of your letter two days
     since, being the first symptom of your being alive and well which
     I have had _directly_ since you left Abbotsford. I beg you will
     be more frequent in your communications, which must always be
     desirable when you are at such a distance. I am very glad to hear
     you are attending closely to make up lost time. Sport is a good
     thing both for health and pastime; but you must never allow it to
     interfere with serious study. You have, my dear boy, your own
     fortune to make, with better assistance of every kind than I had
     when the world first opened on me; and I assure you that had I
     not given some attention to learning (I have often regretted
     that, from want of opportunity, indifferent health, and some
     indolence, I did not do all I might have done), my own situation,
     and the advantages which I may be able to procure for you, would
     have been very much bounded. Consider, therefore, study as the
     principal object. Many men have read and written their way to
     independence and fame; but no man ever gained it by exclusive
     attention to exercises or to pleasures of any sort. You do not
     say anything of your friend Mr. Surtees,[141] who I hope is well.
     We all remember him with much affection, and should be sorry to
     think we were forgotten.

     Our Abbotsford Hunt went off extremely well. We killed seven
     hares, I think, and our dogs behaved very well. A large party
     dined, and we sat down about twenty-five at table. Every
     gentleman present sung a song, _tant bien que mal_, excepting
     Walter, Lockhart, and I myself. I believe I should add the
     melancholy Jaques, Mr. Waugh, who, on this occasion, however, was
     not melancholy.[142] In short, we had a very merry and sociable

     There is, I think, no news here. The hedger, Captain
     Davidson,[143] has had a bad accident, and injured his leg much
     by the fall of a large stone. I am very anxious about him as a
     faithful and honest servant. Every one else at Abbotsford, horses
     and dogs included, are in great preservation.

     You ask me about reading history. You are quite right to read
     Clarendon--his style is a little long-winded; but, on the other
     hand, his characters may match those of the ancient historians,
     and one thinks they would know the very men if you were to meet
     them in society. Few English writers have the same precision,
     either in describing the actors in great scenes, or the deeds
     which they performed. He was, you are aware, himself deeply
     engaged in the scenes which he depicts, and therefore colors them
     with the individual feeling, and sometimes, doubtless, with the
     partiality of a partisan. Yet I think he is, on the whole, a fair
     writer; for though he always endeavors to excuse King Charles,
     yet he points out his mistakes and errors, which certainly are
     neither few nor of slight consequence. Some of his history
     regards the country in which you are now a resident; and you will
     find that much of the fate of that Great Civil War turned on the
     successful resistance made by the city of Gloucester, and the
     relief of that place by the Earl of Essex, by means of the
     trained bands of London,--a sort of force resembling our local
     militia or volunteers. They are the subject of ridicule in all
     the plays and poems of the time; yet the sort of practice of arms
     which they had acquired, enabled them to withstand the charge of
     Prince Rupert and his gallant cavalry, who were then foiled for
     the first time. Read, my dear Charles, read, and read that which
     is useful. Man only differs from birds and beasts, because he has
     the means of availing himself of the knowledge acquired by his
     predecessors. The swallow builds the same nest which its father
     and mother built; and the sparrow does not improve by the
     experience of its parents. The son of the learned pig, if it had
     one, would be a mere brute, fit only to make bacon of. It is not
     so with the human race. Our ancestors lodged in caves and
     wigwams, where we construct palaces for the rich, and comfortable
     dwellings for the poor; and why is this--but because our eye is
     enabled to look back upon the past, to improve upon our
     ancestors' improvements, and to avoid their errors? This can only
     be done by studying history, and comparing it with passing
     events. God has given you a strong memory, and the power of
     understanding that which you give your mind to with
     attention--but all the advantage to be derived from these
     qualities must depend on your own determination to avail yourself
     of them, and improve them to the uttermost. That you should do
     so, will be the greatest satisfaction I can receive in my
     advanced life, and when my thoughts must be entirely turned on
     the success of my children. Write to me more frequently, and
     mention your studies particularly, and I will on my side be a
     good correspondent.

     I beg my compliments to Mr. and Mrs. Williams. I have left no
     room to sign myself your affectionate father,

                                                                 W. S.

[Footnote 141: Mr. Villiers Surtees, a schoolfellow of Charles Scott's
at Lampeter, had spent the vacation of this year at Abbotsford. He is
now one of the Supreme Judges at the Mauritius.]

[Footnote 142: Mr. Waugh was a retired West Indian, of very dolorous
aspect, who had settled at Melrose, built a large house there,
surrounded it and his garden with a huge wall, and seldom emerged from
his own precincts except upon the grand occasion of the Abbotsford
Hunt. The villagers called him "the Melancholy Man"--and considered
him as already "dreein' his dole for doings amang the poor niggers."]

[Footnote 143: This hedger had got the title of Captain, in memory of
his gallantry at some _row_.]

To return to business and Messrs. Constable.--Sir Walter concluded,
before he went to town in November, another negotiation of importance
with this house. They agreed to give for the remaining copyright of
the four novels published between December, 1819, and January,
1821--to wit, Ivanhoe, The Monastery, The Abbot, and Kenilworth--the
sum of five thousand guineas. The stipulation about not revealing the
author's name, under a penalty of £2000, was repeated. By these four
novels, the fruits of scarcely more than twelve months' labor, he had
already cleared at least £10,000 before this bargain was completed.
They, like their predecessors, were now issued in a collective shape,
under the title of "Historical Romances, by the Author of Waverley."

I cannot pretend to guess what the actual state of Scott's pecuniary
affairs was at the time when John Ballantyne's death relieved them
from one great source of complication and difficulty. But I have said
enough to satisfy every reader, that when he began the second, and
far the larger division of his building at Abbotsford, he must have
contemplated the utmost sum it could cost him as a mere trifle in
relation to the resources at his command. He must have reckoned on
clearing £30,000 at least in the course of a couple of years by the
novels written within such a period. The publisher of his Tales, who
best knew how they were produced, and what they brought of gross
profit, and who must have had the strongest interest in keeping the
author's name untarnished by any risk or reputation of failure, would
willingly, as we have seen, have given him £6000 more within a space
of two years for works of a less serious sort, likely to be despatched
at leisure hours, without at all interfering with the main
manufacture. But alas, even this was not all. Messrs. Constable had
such faith in the prospective fertility of his imagination, that they
were by this time quite ready to sign bargains and grant bills for
novels and romances to be produced hereafter, but of which the
subjects and the names were alike unknown to them and to the man from
whose pen they were to proceed.[144] A forgotten satirist well says,--

  "The active principle within
   Works on some brains the effect of gin;"

but in his case, every external influence combined to stir the flame,
and swell the intoxication of restless exuberant energy. His allies
knew, indeed, what he did not, that the sale of his novels was rather
less than it had been in the days of Ivanhoe; and hints had sometimes
been dropped to him that it might be well to try the effect of a
pause. But he always thought--and James Ballantyne had decidedly the
same opinion--that his best things were those which he threw off the
most easily and swiftly; and it was no wonder that his booksellers,
seeing how immeasurably even his worst excelled in popularity, as in
merit, any other person's best, should have shrunk from the experiment
of a decisive damper. On the contrary, they might be excused for from
time to time flattering themselves that if the books sold at a less
rate, this might be counterpoised by still greater rapidity of
production. They could not make up their minds to cast the peerless
vessel adrift; and, in short, after every little whisper of prudential
misgiving, echoed the unfailing burden of Ballantyne's song--to push
on, hoisting more and more sail as the wind lulled.

[Footnote 144: Mr. Cadell says: "This device for raising the wind was
the only real legacy left by John Ballantyne to his generous friend;
it was invented to make up for the bad book stock of the Hanover
Street concern, which supplied so much good money for the passing

He was as eager to do as they could be to suggest--and this I well
knew at the time. I had, however, no notion, until all his
correspondence lay before me, of the extent to which he had permitted
himself thus early to build on the chances of life, health, and
continued popularity. Before The Fortunes of Nigel issued from the
press, Scott had exchanged instruments, and received his bookseller's
bills, for no less than four "works of fiction"--not one of them
otherwise described in the deeds of agreement--to be produced in
unbroken succession, each of them to fill at least three volumes, but
with proper saving clauses as to increase of copy-money, in case any
of them should run to four. And within two years all this anticipation
had been wiped off by Peveril of the Peak, Quentin Durward, St.
Ronan's Well, and Redgauntlet; and the new castle was by that time
complete, and overflowing with all its splendor; but by that time the
end also was approaching!

The splendid romance of The Pirate was published in the beginning of
December, 1821; and the wild freshness of its atmosphere, the
beautiful contrast of Minna and Brenda, and the exquisitely drawn
character of Captain Cleveland, found the reception which they
deserved. The work was analyzed with remarkable care in the Quarterly
Review, by a critic second to few, either in the manly heartiness of
his sympathy with the felicities of genius, or in the honest acuteness
of his censure in cases of negligence and confusion. This was the
second of a series of articles in that Journal, conceived and executed
in a tone widely different from those given to Waverley, Guy
Mannering, and The Antiquary. I fancy Mr. Gifford had become convinced
that he had made a grievous mistake in this matter, before he
acquiesced in Scott's proposal about "quartering the child" in
January, 1816; and if he was fortunate in finding a contributor able
and willing to treat the rest of Father Jedediah's progeny with
excellent skill, and in a spirit more accordant with the just and
general sentiments of the public, we must also recognize a pleasing
and honorable trait of character in the frankness with which the
recluse and often despotic editor now delegated the pen to Mr. Senior.

On the 13th December, Sir Walter received a copy of Cain, as yet
unpublished, from Lord Byron's bookseller, who had been instructed to
ask whether he had any objection to having the "Mystery" dedicated to
him. He replied in these words:--


                                       EDINBURGH, 17th December, 1821.

     MY DEAR SIR,--I accept with feelings of great obligation the
     flattering proposal of Lord Byron to prefix my name to the very
     grand and tremendous drama of Cain. I may be partial to it, and
     you will allow I have cause; but I do not know that his Muse has
     ever taken so lofty a flight amid her former soarings. He has
     certainly matched Milton on his own ground. Some part of the
     language is bold, and may shock one class of readers, whose tone
     will be adopted by others out of affectation or envy. But then
     they must condemn the Paradise Lost, if they have a mind to be
     consistent. The fiendlike reasoning and bold blasphemy of the
     fiend and of his pupil lead exactly to the point which was to be
     expected--the commission of the first murder, and the ruin and
     despair of the perpetrator.

     I do not see how any one can accuse the author himself of
     Manichæism. The devil takes the language of that sect, doubtless;
     because, not being able to deny the existence of the Good
     Principle, he endeavors to exalt himself--the Evil Principle--to
     a seeming equality with the Good; but such arguments, in the
     mouth of such a being, can only be used to deceive and to betray.
     Lord Byron might have made this more evident, by placing in the
     mouth of Adam, or of some good and protecting spirit, the reasons
     which render the existence of moral evil consistent with the
     general benevolence of the Deity. The great key to the mystery
     is, perhaps, the imperfection of our own faculties, which see and
     feel strongly the partial evils which press upon us, but know too
     little of the general system of the universe, to be aware how the
     existence of these is to be reconciled with the benevolence of
     the great Creator.--Ever yours truly,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

In some preceding narratives of Sir Walter Scott's Life, I find the
principal feature for 1821 to be an affair of which I have as yet said
nothing; and which, notwithstanding the examples I have before me, I
must be excused for treating on a scale commensurate with his real
share and interest therein. I allude to an unfortunate newspaper, by
name The Beacon, which began to be published in Edinburgh in January,
1821, and was abruptly discontinued in the August of the same year. It
originated in the alarm with which the Edinburgh Tories contemplated
the progress of Radical doctrines during the agitation of the Queen's
business in 1820--and the want of any adequate counteraction on the
part of the Ministerial newspapers in the north. James Ballantyne had
on that occasion swerved from his banner--and by so doing given not a
little offence to Scott. He approved, therefore, of the project of a
new Weekly Journal, to be conducted by some steadier hand;[145] and
when it was proposed to raise the requisite capital for the
speculation by private subscription, expressed his willingness to
contribute whatever sum should be named by other gentlemen of his
standing. This was accepted of course; but every part of the advice
with which the only man in the whole conclave that understood a jot
about such things coupled his tender of alliance, was departed from in
practice. No experienced and responsible editor of the sort he pointed
out as indispensable was secured; the violence of disaffected spleen
was encountered by a vein of satire which seemed more fierce than
frolicsome; the Law Officers of the Crown, whom he had most
strenuously cautioned against any participation in the concern, were
rash enough to commit themselves in it; the subscribers, like true
Scotchmen, in place of paying down their money, and thinking no more
of that part of the matter, chose to put their names to a bond of
security on which the sum-total was to be advanced by bankers; and
thus, by their own over-caution as to a few pounds, laid the
foundation for a long train of humiliating distresses and disgraces;
and finally, when the rude drollery of the young hot bloods to whom
they had entrusted the editorship of their paper, produced its natural
consequences, and the ferment of Whig indignation began to boil over
upon the dignified patrons of what was denounced as a systematic
scheme of calumny and defamation--these seniors shrunk from the
dilemma as rashly as they had plunged into it, and instead of
compelling the juvenile allies to adopt a more prudent course, and
gradually give the journal a tone worthy of open approbation, they,
at the first blush of personal difficulty, left their instruments in
the lurch, and, without even consulting Scott, ordered the Beacon to
be extinguished at an hour's notice.

[Footnote 145: It has been asserted, since this work first appeared,
that the editorship of the proposed journal was offered to Ballantyne,
and declined by him. If so, he had no doubt found the offer
accompanied with a requisition of political pledges, which he could
not grant.--(1839.)]

A more pitiable mass of blunder and imbecility was never heaped
together than the whole of this affair exhibited; and from a very
early period Scott was so disgusted with it, that he never even saw
the newspaper, of which Whigs and Radicals believed, or affected to
believe, that the conduct and management were in some degree at least
under his dictation. The results were lamentable: the Beacon was made
the subject of Parliamentary discussion, from which the then heads of
Scotch Toryism did not escape in any very consolatory plight; but
above all, the Beacon bequeathed its rancor and rashness, though not
its ability, to a Glasgow paper of similar form and pretensions,
entitled The Sentinel. By that organ the personal quarrels of the
Beacon were taken up and pursued with relentless industry; and
finally, the Glasgow editors disagreeing, some moment of angry
confusion betrayed a box of MSS., by which the late Sir Alexander
Boswell of Auchinleck was revealed as the writer of certain truculent
enough pasquinades. A leading Edinburgh Whig, who had been pilloried
in one or more of these, challenged Boswell--and the Baronet fell in
as miserable a quarrel as ever cost the blood of a high-spirited

This tragedy occurred in the early part of 1822; and soon afterwards
followed those debates on the whole business in the House of Commons,
for which, if any reader feels curiosity about them, I refer him to
the Parliamentary Histories of the time. A single extract from one of
Scott's letters to a member of the then Government in London will be
sufficient for my purpose; and abundantly confirm what I have said as
to his personal part in the affairs of the Beacon:--

[Footnote 146: [James Stuart of Dunearn was Boswell's opponent.
Lockhart in writing to Scott of Sir Alexander's death [March 27] adds:
"I hope I need not say how cordially I enter into the hope you
express, that this bloody lesson may be a sufficient and lasting one.
I can never be sufficiently grateful for the advice which kept me from
having any hand in all these newspaper skirmishes. Wilson also is
totally free from any concern in any of them, and for this I am sure
he also feels himself chiefly indebted to your counsel."--_Familiar
Letters_, vol. ii. p. 137. Stuart's trial took place on June 10, and
his acquittal was hailed as a triumph by the Whigs. Lord Cockburn was
one of Stuart's counsel, and in his _Memorials_, pp. 392-399, will be
found an account of the affair, as viewed by a distinguished member of
that party.]]


     MY DEAR CROKER,--... I had the fate of Cassandra in the Beacon
     matter from beginning to end. I endeavored in vain to impress on
     them the necessity of having an editor who was really up to the
     business, and could mix spirit with discretion--one of those
     "gentlemen of the press," who understand the exact lengths to
     which they can go in their vocation. Then I wished them, in place
     of that _Bond_, to have each thrown down his hundred pounds, and
     never inquired more about it--and lastly, I exclaimed against the
     Crown Counsel being at all concerned. In the two first
     remonstrances I was not listened to--in the last I thought myself
     successful, and it was not till long afterwards that I heard they
     had actually subscribed the Bond. Then the hasty renunciation of
     the thing, as if we had been doing something very atrocious, put
     me mad altogether. The younger brethren, too, allege that they
     are put into the front of the fight, and deserted on the first
     pinch; and on my word I cannot say the accusation is altogether
     false, though I have been doing my best to mediate betwixt the
     parties, and keep the peace if possible. The fact is, it is a
     blasted business, and will continue long to have bad
     consequences.--Yours in all love and kindness,

                                                         WALTER SCOTT.

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