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Title: The Journal of Sir Walter Scott

Author: Walter Scott

Editor: David Douglas

Release date: February 1, 2005 [eBook #14860]
Most recently updated: January 27, 2023

Language: English

Credits: Riikka Talonpoika, Susan Skinner and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team






"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by GEORGE REID, R.S.A.



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

There is no longer any reason why the Journal should not be published in its entirety, and by the permission of the Hon.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

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

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

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

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

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

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


October 1, 1890.



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

VIGNETTE on Title-page

"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by GEORGE REID, R.S.A.



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

MAP OF ABBOTSFORD, from the Ordnance Survey, 1858, to face p. 414.


PORTRAIT, painted by SIR FRANCIS GRANT, P.R.A., for the Baroness Ruthven, and now in the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland. Copied by permission of the Hon. The Board of Manufactures, Frontispiece

VIGNETTE on Title-page

"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by George Reid, R.S.A.



"I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when no man can work. I put that text, many years ago, on my dial-stone; but it often preached in vain."—Scott's Life, x. 88.












Published by BURT FRANKLIN
235 East 44th St., New York, N.Y. 10017
Originally Published: 1890
Reprinted: 1970
Printed in the U.S.A.

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



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

Sir Walter Scott, Baronet of Abbotsford. HIS GURNAL

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



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

VIGNETTE on Title-page

"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by GEORGE REID, R.S.A.



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

MAP OF ABBOTSFORD, from the Ordnance Survey, 1858, to face p. 414.



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It would be a delightful addition to life, if T.M. had a cottage within two miles of one. We went to the theatre together, and the house, being luckily a good one, received T.M. with rapture. I could have hugged them, for it paid back the debt of the kind reception I met with in Ireland.[14]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"We make the giants first, and then—do not kill them."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

N.B. Within eight weeks after recording this graceful act of submission, I found I was unable to keep a carriage at all.

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

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

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

No more building;

No purchases of land till times are quite safe;

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

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

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

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

I was obliged to give this up in consequence of my own misfortunes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I cannot conceive what possesses me, over every person besides, to mislay papers. I received a letter Saturday at e'en, enclosing a bill for £750; no deaf nuts. Well, I read it, and note the contents; and this day, as if it had been a wind-bill in the literal sense of the words, I search everywhere, and lose three hours of my morning—turn over all my confusion in the writing-desk—break open one or two letters, lest I should have enclosed the sweet and quickly convertible document in them,—send for a joiner, and disorganise my scrutoire, lest it should have fallen aside by mistake. I find it at last—the place where is of little consequence; but this trick must be amended.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 11.—A touch of the morbus eruditorum, to which I am as little subject as most folks, and have it less now than when young. It is a tremor of the heart, the pulsation of which becomes painfully sensible—a disposition to causeless alarm—much lassitude—and decay of vigour of mind and activity of intellect. The reins feel weary and painful, and the mind is apt to receive and encourage gloomy apprehensions and causeless fears. Fighting with this fiend is not always the best way to conquer him. I have always found exercise and the open air better than reasoning. But such weather as is now without doors does not encourage la petite guerre, so we must give him battle in form, by letting both mind and body know that, supposing one the House of Commons and the other the House of Peers, my will is sovereign over both. There is a good description of this species of mental weakness in the fine play of Beaumont and Fletcher called The Lover's Progress, where the man, warned that his death is approaching, works himself into an agony of fear, and calls for assistance, though there is no apparent danger. The apparition of the innkeeper's ghost, in the same play, hovers between the ludicrous and [the terrible]. To me the touches of the former quality which it contains seem to augment the effect of the latter—they seem to give reality to the supernatural, as being circumstances with which an inventor would hardly have garnished his story.[68]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Fountain heads, and pathless groves
Places which pale passion loves."[77]
Footnote to page 44 in the original MS.:—"Turn back to page 41 and 42. I turned the page accidentally, and the partner of a bankrupt concern ought not to waste two leaves of paper."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This was a mistake.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Constable's licence for the Dedication is come, which will make him happy.[83]

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

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

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

Life could not be endured were it seen in reality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The snow begins to fall thick this morning—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 13.—Our party are about to disperse—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"And lay my bones far from the Tweed."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jane Russell drank tea with us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

February 3.—This is the first morning since my troubles that I felt at awaking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 7.—Had letters yesterday from Lady Davy and Lady Louisa Stuart,[152] two very different persons. Lady Davy, daughter and co-heiress of a wealthy Antigua merchant, has been known to me all my life. Her father was a relation of ours of a Scotch calculation. He was of a good family, Kerr of Bloodielaws, but decayed. Miss Jane Kerr married first Mr. Apreece, son of a Welsh Baronet. The match was not happy. I had lost all acquaintance with her for a long time, when about twenty years ago we renewed it in London. She was then a widow, gay, clever, and most actively ambitious to play a distinguished part in London society. Her fortune, though handsome and easy, was not large enough to make way by dint of showy entertainments, and so forth. So she took the blue line, and by great tact and management actually established herself as a leader of literary fashion. Soon after, she visited Edinburgh for a season or two, and studied the Northern Lights. One of the best of them, poor Jack Playfair,[153] was disposed "to shoot madly from his sphere,"[154] and, I believe, asked her, but he was a little too old. She found a fitter husband in every respect in Sir Humphry Davy, to whom she gave a handsome fortune, and whose splendid talents and situation as President of the Royal Society gave her naturally a distinguished place in the literary society of the Metropolis. Now this is a very curious instance of an active-minded woman forcing her way to the point from which she seemed furthest excluded. For, though clever and even witty, she had no peculiar accomplishment, and certainly no good taste either for science or letters naturally. I was once in the Hebrides with her, and I admired to observe how amidst sea-sickness, fatigue, some danger, and a good deal of indifference as to what she saw, she gallantly maintained her determination to see everything.[155] It marked her strength of character, and she joined to it much tact, and always addressed people on the right side. So she stands high, and deservedly so, for to these active qualities, more French I think than English, and partaking of the Creole vivacity and suppleness of character, she adds, I believe, honourable principles and an excellent heart. As a lion-catcher, I could pit her against the world. She flung her lasso (see Hall's South America) over Byron himself. But then, poor soul, she is not happy. She has a temper, and Davy has a temper, and these tempers are not one temper, but two tempers, and they quarrel like cat and dog, which may be good for stirring up the stagnation of domestic life, but they let the world see it, and that is not so well. Now in all this I may be thought a little harsh on my friend, but it is between my Gurnal and me, and, moreover, I would cry heartily if anything were to ail my little cousin, though she be addicted to rule the Cerulean atmosphere.[156] Then I suspect the cares of this as well as other empires overbalance its pleasures. There must be difficulty in being always in the right humour to hold a court. There are usurpers to be encountered, and insurrections to be put down, an incessant troop, bienséances to be discharged, a sort of etiquette which is the curse of all courts. An old lion cannot get hamstrung quietly at four hundred miles distance, but the Empress must send him her condolence and a pot of lipsalve. To be sure the monster is consanguinean, as Sir Toby says.[157]

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

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

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

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

Mr. Laidlaw[159] came in from Abbotsford and dined with us. We spent the evening in laying down plans for the farm, and deciding whom we should keep and whom dismiss among the people. This we did on the true negro-driving principle of self-interest, the only principle I know which never swerves from its objects. We chose all the active, young, and powerful men, turning old age and infirmity adrift. I cannot help this, for a guinea cannot do the work of five; but I will contrive to make it easier to the sufferers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yesterday I had an anecdote from old Sir James Steuart Denham,[165] which is worth writing down. His uncle, Lord Elcho, was, as is well known, engaged in the affair of 1745. He was dissatisfied with the conduct of matters from beginning to end. But after the left wing of the Highlanders was repulsed and broken at Culloden, Elcho rode up to the Chevalier and told him all was lost, and that nothing remained except to charge at the head of two thousand men, who were still unbroken, and either turn the fate of the day or die sword in hand, as became his pretensions. The Chevalier gave him some evasive answer, and, turning his horse's head, rode off the field. Lord Elcho called after him (I write the very words), "There you go for a damned cowardly Italian," and never would see him again, though he lost his property and remained an exile in the cause. Lord Elcho left two copies of his memoirs, one with Sir James Steuart's family, one with Lord Wemyss. This is better evidence than the romance of Chevalier Johnstone; and I have little doubt it is true. Yet it is no proof of the Prince's cowardice, though it shows him to have been no John of Gaunt. Princes are constantly surrounded with people who hold up their own life and safety to them as by far the most important stake in any contest; and this is a doctrine in which conviction is easily received. Such an eminent person finds everybody's advice, save here and there that of a desperate Elcho, recommend obedience to the natural instinct of self-preservation, which very often men of inferior situations find it difficult to combat, when all the world are crying to them to get on and be damned, instead of encouraging them to run away. At Prestonpans the Chevalier offered to lead the van, and he was with the second line, which, during that brief affair, followed the first very close. Johnstone's own account, carefully read, brings him within a pistol-shot of the first line. At the same time, Charles Edward had not a head or heart for great things, notwithstanding his daring adventure; and the Irish officers, by whom he was guided, were poor creatures. Lord George Murray was the soul of the undertaking.[166]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now this seems unequal measure, and would besides of itself totally destroy any power of fancy or genius, if it deserves the name, which may remain to me. A man cannot write in the House of Correction; and this species of peine forte et dure which is threatened would render it impossible for one to help himself or others. So I told Gibson I had my mind made up as far back as the 24th of January, not to suffer myself to be harder pressed than law would press me. If this great commercial company, through whose hands I have directed so many thousands, think they are right in taking every advantage and giving none, it must be my care to see that they take none but what law gives them. If they take the sword of the law, I must lay hold of the shield. If they are determined to consider me as an irretrievable bankrupt, they have no title to object to my settling upon the usual terms which the Statute requires. They probably are of opinion that I will be ashamed to do this by applying publicly for a sequestration. Now, my feelings are different. I am ashamed to owe debts I cannot pay; but I am not ashamed of being classed with those to whose rank I belong. The disgrace is in being an actual bankrupt, not in being made a legal one. I had like to have been too hasty in this matter. I must have a clear understanding that I am to be benefited or indulged in some way, if I bring in two such funds as those works in progress, worth certainly from £10,000 to £15,000.

Clerk came in last night and drank wine and water.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 22.—Paid Lady Scott her fortnight's allowance, £24.

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

"But shall we go mourn for that, my dear?
The cold moon shines by night,
And when we wander here and there,
We then do go most right."[183]

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

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

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

"More Atés, more Atés! stir them on."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

In the evening Mr. Gibson called and transacted business.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 9.—I foresaw justly,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March 12.—Resumed Woodstock, and wrote my task of six pages. I was interrupted by a slumberous feeling which made me obliged to stop once or twice. I shall soon have a remedy in the country, which affords the pleasanter resource of a walk when such feelings come on. I hope I am the reverse of the well-known line, "sleepy myself, to give my readers sleep." I cannot gurnalise at any rate, having wrought my eyes nearly out.[218]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Ha til mi tulidh'!—"[223]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"To appropinque an end."[229]

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

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

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

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

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

March 24.—Sent off copy, proofs, etc. J.B. clamorous for a motto.

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

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

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

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

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

Finished Woodstock, however, cum tota sequela of title-page, introduction, etc., and so, as Dame Fortune says in Quevedo,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A beautiful and perfect lunar rainbow to-night.

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

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

March 31.—

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lockhart erroneously supposes that I think of applying to Ministers about Charles, and that notwithstanding Croker's terms of pacification I should find Malachi stick in my way. I would not make such an application for millions; I think if I were to ask patronage it would [not] be through them, for some time at least, and I might have better access.[240]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 16.—I am now far ahead with Nap. I wrote a little this morning, but this forenoon I must write letters, a task in which I am far behind.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 22.—Lady Scott continues very poorly. Better news of the child.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

May 2.—Yesterday was a splendid May day—to-day seems inclined to be soft, as we call it; but tant mieux. Yesterday had a twang of frost in it. I must get to work and finish Boaden's Life of Kemble, and Kelly's Reminiscences,[263] for the Quarterly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And so we will.

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

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

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

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

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

"Hence, all ye vain delights," etc.

[Edinburgh],[265] May 11.—

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May 15.—Received the melancholy intelligence that all is over at Abbotsford.

[Abbotsford,] May 16.—She died at nine in the morning, after being very ill for two days,—easy at last.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Poor Anne has had longer fits since our arrival from Dryburgh than before, but yesterday was the crisis. She desired to hear prayers read by Mr. Ramsay, who performed the duty in a most solemn manner. But her strength could not carry it through. She fainted before the service was concluded.[273]

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

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

Walter leaves me to-day; he seems disposed to take interest in country affairs, which will be an immense resource, supposing him to tire of the army in a few years. Charles, he and I, went up to Ashestiel to call upon the Misses Russell, who have kindly promised to see Anne on Tuesday. This evening Walter left us, being anxious to return to his wife as well as to his regiment. We expect he will be here early in autumn, with his household.

May 26.—A rough morning, and makes me think of St. George's Channel, which Walter must cross to-night or to-morrow to get to Athlone. The wind is almost due east, however, and the channel at the narrowest point between Port-Patrick and Donaghadee. His absence is a great blank in our circle, especially, I think, to his sister Anne, to whom he shows invariably much kindness. But indeed they do so without exception each towards the other; and in weal or woe have shown themselves a family of love. No persuasion could force on Walter any of his poor mother's ornaments for his wife. He undid a reading-glass from the gold chain to which it was suspended, and agreed to give the glass to Jane, but would on no account retain the chain. I will go to town on Monday and resume my labours. Being of a grave nature, they cannot go against the general temper of my feelings, and in other respects the exertion, as far as I am concerned, will do me good; besides, I must re-establish my fortune for the sake of the children, and of my own character. I have not leisure to indulge the disabling and discouraging thoughts that press on me. Were an enemy coming upon my house, would I not do my best to fight, although oppressed in spirits, and shall a similar despondency prevent me from mental exertion? It shall not, by Heaven! This day and to-morrow I give to the currency of the ideas which have of late occupied my mind, and with Monday they shall be mingled at least with other thoughts and cares. Last night Charles and I walked late on the terrace at Kaeside, when the clouds seemed accumulating in the wildest masses both on the Eildon Hills and other mountains in the distance. This rough morning reads the riddle.

Dull, drooping, cheerless has the day been. I cared not to carry my own gloom to the girls, and so sate in my own room, dawdling with old papers, which awakened as many stings as if they had been the nest of fifty scorpions. Then the solitude seemed so absolute—my poor Charlotte would have been in the room half-a-score of times to see if the fire burned, and to ask a hundred kind questions. Well, that is over—and if it cannot be forgotten, must be remembered with patience.

May 27.—A sleepless night. It is time I should be up and be doing, and a sleepless night sometimes furnishes good ideas. Alas! I have no companion now with whom I can communicate to relieve the loneliness of these watches of the night. But I must not fail myself and my family—and the necessity of exertion becomes apparent. I must try a hors d'oeuvre, something that can go on between the necessary intervals of Nap. Mrs. M[urray] K[eith's] Tale of the Deserter, with her interview with the lad's mother, may be made most affecting, but will hardly endure much expansion.[274] The framework may be a Highland tour, under the guardianship of the sort of postilion, whom Mrs. M.K. described to me—a species of conductor who regulated the motions of his company, made their halts, and was their cicerone.

May 28.—I wrote a few pages yesterday, and then walked. I believe the description of the old Scottish lady may do, but the change has been unceasingly rung upon Scottish subjects of late, and it strikes me that the introductory matter may be considered as an imitation of Washington Irving. Yet not so neither. In short, I will go on, to-day make a dozen of close pages ready, and take J.B.'s advice. I intend the work as an olla podrida, into which any species of narrative or discussion may be thrown.

I wrote easily. I think the exertion has done me good. I slept sound last night, and at waking, as is usual with me, I found I had some clear views and thoughts upon the subject of this trifling work. I wonder if others find so strongly as I do the truth of the Latin proverb, Aurora musis amica. If I forget a thing over-night, I am sure to recollect it as my eyes open in the morning. The same if I want an idea, or am encumbered by some difficulty, the moment of waking always supplies the deficiency, or gives me courage to endure the alternative.[275]

May 29.—To-day I leave for Edinburgh this house of sorrow. In the midst of such distress, I have the great pleasure to see Anne regaining her health, and showing both patience and steadiness of mind. God continue this, for my own sake as well as hers. Much of my future comfort must depend upon her.

[Edinburgh,] May 30.—Returned to town last night with Charles. This morning resume ordinary habits of rising early, working in the morning, and attending the Court. All will come easily round. But it is at first as if men looked strange on me, and bit their lip when they wring my hand, and indicated suppressed feelings. It is natural this should be—undoubtedly it has been so with me. Yet it is strange to find one's-self resemble a cloud which darkens gaiety wherever it interposes its chilling shade. Will it be better when, left to my own feelings, I see the whole world pipe and dance around me? I think it will. Thus sympathy intrudes on my private affliction.

I finished correcting the proofs for the Quarterly; it is but a flimsy article, but then the circumstances were most untoward.

This has been a melancholy day, most melancholy. I am afraid poor Charles found me weeping. I do not know what other folks feel, but with me the hysterical passion that impels tears is of terrible violence—a sort of throttling sensation—then succeeded by a state of dreaming stupidity, in which I ask if my poor Charlotte can actually be dead. I think I feel my loss more than at the first blow.

Poor Charles wishes to come back to study here when his term ends at Oxford. I can see the motive.

May 31.—The melancholy hours of yesterday must not return. To encourage that dreamy state of incapacity is to resign all authority over the mind, and I have been wont to say—

"My mind to me a kingdom is."[276]

I am rightful monarch; and, God to aid, I will not be dethroned by any rebellious passion that may rear its standard against me. Such are morning thoughts, strong as carle-hemp—says Burns—

"Come, firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk of carle-hemp in man."

Charles went by the steam-boat this morning at six. We parted last night mournfully on both sides. Poor boy, this is his first serious sorrow. Wrote this morning a Memorial on the Claims which Constable's people prefer as to the copyrights of Woodstock and Napoleon.[277]


June 1.—Yesterday I also finished a few trifling memoranda on a book called The Omen, at Blackwood's request. There is something in the work which pleases me, and the style is good, though the story is not artfully conducted. I dined yesterday in family with Skene, and had a visit from Lord Chief-Commissioner; we met as mourners under a common calamity. There is something extremely kind in his disposition.

Sir R. D[undas] offers me three days of the country next week, which tempts me strongly were it but the prospect of seeing Anne. But I think I must resist and say with Tilburina,

"Duty, I'm all thine own."[278]

If I do this I shall deserve a holiday about the 15th June, and I think it is best to wait till then.

June 2.—A pleasant letter from Sophia, poor girl; all doing well there, for which God be praised.

I wrote a good task yesterday, five pages, which is nearly double the usual stint.

I am settled that I will not go to Abbotsford till to-morrow fortnight.

I might have spared myself the trouble of my self-denial, for go I cannot, Hamilton having a fit of gout.

Gibson seems in high spirits on the views I have given to him on the nature of Constable and Co.'s claim. It amounts to this, that being no longer accountable as publishers, they cannot claim the character of such, or plead upon any claim arising out of the contracts entered into while they held that capacity.

June 3.—I was much disturbed this morning by bile and its consequences, and lost so much sleep that I have been rather late in rising by way of indemnification. I must go to the map and study the Italian campaigns instead of scribbling.

June 4.—I wrote a good task yesterday, and to-day a great one, scarce stirring from the desk the whole day, except a few minutes when Lady Rae called. I was glad to see my wife's old friend, with whom in early life we had so many liaisons. I am not sure it is right to work so hard; but a man must take himself, as well as other people, when he is in the humour. A man will do twice as much at one time and in half the time, and twice as well as he will be able to do at another. People are always crying out about method, and in some respects it is good, and shows to great advantage among men of business, but I doubt if men of method, who can lay aside or take up the pen just at the hour appointed, will ever be better than poor creatures. Lady L[ouisa] S[tuart] used to tell me of Mr. Hoole, the translator of Tasso and Ariosto, and in that capacity a noble transmuter of gold into lead, that he was a clerk in the India House, with long ruffles and a snuff-coloured suit of clothes, who occasionally visited her father [John, Earl of Bute]. She sometimes conversed with him, and was amused to find that he did exactly so many couplets day by day, neither more or less; and habit had made it light to him, however heavy it might seem to the reader.

Well, but if I lay down the pen, as the pain in my breast hints that I should, what am I to do? If I think, why, I shall weep—and that's nonsense; and I have no friend now—none—to receive my tediousness for half-an-hour of the gloaming. Let me be grateful—I have good news from Abbotsford.

June 5.—Though this be Monday, I am not able to feague it away, as Bayes says.[279] Between correcting proofs and writing letters, I have got as yet but two pages written, and that with labour and a sensation of pain in the chest. I may be bringing on some serious disease by working thus hard; if I had once justice done to other folks, I do not much care, only I would not like to suffer long pain. Harden made me a visit. He argued with me that Lord M. affichéd his own importance, too much at the election, and says Henry is anxious about it. I hinted to him the necessity of counter-balancing it the next time, which will be soon.

Thomson also called about the Bannatyne Club.

These two interruptions did me good, though I am still a poor wretch.

After all, I have fagged through six pages; and made poor Wurmser lay down his sword on the glacis of Mantua—and my head aches—my eyes ache—my back aches—so does my breast—and I am sure my heart aches, and what can Duty ask more?

June 6.—I arose much better this morning, having taken some medicine, which has removed the strange and aching feeling in my back and breast. I believe it is from the diaphragm; it must be looked to, however. I have not yet breakfasted, yet have cleared half my day's work holding it at the ordinary stint.

Worked hard. John Swinton, my kinsman, came to see me,—very kind and affectionate in his manner; my heart always warms to that Swinton connection, so faithful to old Scottish feelings. Harden was also with me. I talked with him about what Lord M. did at the election; I find that he disapproves—I see these visits took place on the 5th.

June 7.—Again a day of hard work, only at half-past eight I went to the Dean of Faculty's to a consultation about Constable,[280] and met with said Dean and Mr. [J.S.] More and J. Gibson. I find they have as high hope of success as lawyers ought to express; and I think I know how our profession speak when sincere. I cannot interest myself deeply in it. When I had come home from such a business, I used to carry the news to poor Charlotte, who dressed her face in sadness or mirth as she saw the news affect me; this hangs lightly about me. I had almost forgot the appointment, if J.G. had not sent me a card, I passed a piper in the street as I went to the Dean's and could not help giving him a shilling to play Pibroch a Donuil Dhu for luck's sake—what a child I am!

June 8.—Bilious and headache this morning. A dog howl'd all night and left me little sleep. Poor cur! I dare say he had his distresses, as I have mine. I was obliged to make Dalgleish shut the windows when he appeared at half-past six, as usual, and did not rise till nine, when me voici. I have often deserved a headache in my younger days without having one, and Nature is, I suppose, paying off old scores. Ay, but then the want of the affectionate care that used to be ready, with lowered voice and stealthy pace, to smooth the pillow—and offer condolence and assistance,—gone—gone—for ever—ever—ever. Well, there is another world, and we'll meet free from the mortal sorrows and frailties which beset us here. Amen, so be it. Let me change the topic with hand and head, and the heart must follow.

I think that sitting so many days and working so hard may have brought on this headache. I must inflict a walk on myself to-day. Strange that what is my delight in the country is here a sort of penance! Well, but now I think on it, I will go to the Chief-Baron and try to get his Lordship's opinion about the question with Constable; if I carry it, as there is, I trust, much hope I shall, Mr. Gibson says there will be funds to divide 6s. in the pound, without counting upon getting anything from Constable or Hurst, but sheer hard cash of my own. Such another pull is possible, especially if Boney succeeds, and the rogue had a knack at success. Such another, I say, and we touch ground I believe, for surely Constable, Robinson, etc., must pay something; the struggle is worth waring[281] a headache upon.

I finished five pages to-day, headache, laziness, and all.

June 9.—Corrected a stubborn proof this morning. These battles have been the death of many a man—I think they will be mine. Well but it clears to windward; so we will fag on.

Slept well last night. By the way, how intolerably selfish this Journal makes me seem—so much attention to one's naturals and non-naturals! Lord Mackenzie[282] called, and we had much chat about business. The late regulations for preparing cases in the Outer-House do not work well, and thus our old machinery, which was very indifferent, is succeeded by a kind that will hardly move at all. Mackenzie says his business is trebled, and that he cannot keep it up. I question whether the extreme strictness of rules of court be advisable in practice they are always evaded, upon an equitable showing. I do not, for instance, lodge a paper debito tempore, and for an accident happening, perhaps through the blunder of a Writer's apprentice, I am to lose my cause. The penalty is totally disproportioned to the delict, and the consequence is, that means are found out of evasion by legal fictions and the like. The judges listen to these; they become frequent, and the rule of Court ends by being a scarecrow merely. Formerly, delays of this kind were checked by corresponding amendes. But the Court relaxed this petty fine too often. Had they been more strict, and levied the mulct on the agents, with no recourse upon their clients, the abuse might have been remedied. I fear the present rule is too severe to do much good.

One effect of running causes fast through the Courts below is, that they go by scores to appeal, and Lord Gifford[283] has hitherto decided them with such judgment, and so much rapidity, as to give great satisfaction. The consequence will in time be, that the Scottish Supreme Court will be in effect situated in London. Then down fall—as national objects of respect and veneration—the Scottish Bench, the Scottish Bar, the Scottish Law herself, and—and—"there is an end of an auld sang."[284] Were I as I have been, I would fight knee-deep in blood ere it came to that. But it is a catastrophe which the great course of events brings daily nearer—

"And who can help it, Dick?"

I shall always be proud of Malachi as having headed back the Southron, or helped to do so, in one instance at least.

June 10.—This was an unusual teind-day at Court. In the morning and evening I corrected proofs—four sheets in number; and I wrote my task of three pages and a little more. Three pages a day will come, at Constable's rate, to about £12,000 to £15,000 per year. They have sent their claim; it does not frighten me a bit.

June 11.—Bad dreams about poor Charlotte. Woke, thinking my old and inseparable friend beside me; and it was only when I was fully awake that I could persuade myself that she was dark, low, and distant, and that my bed was widowed. I believe the phenomena of dreaming are in a great measure occasioned by the double touch, which takes place when one hand is crossed in sleep upon another. Each gives and receives the impression of touch to and from the other, and this complicated sensation our sleeping fancy ascribes to the agency of another being, when it is in fact produced by our own limbs acting on each other. Well, here goes—incumbite remis.

June 12.—Finished volume third of Napoleon. I resumed it on the 1st of June, the earliest period that I could bend my mind to it after my great loss. Since that time I have lived, to be sure, the life of a hermit, except attending the Court five days in the week for about three hours on an average. Except at that time I have been reading or writing on the subject of Boney, and have finished last night, and sent to printer this morning the last sheets of fifty-two written since 1st June. It is an awful screed; but grief makes me a house-keeper, and to labour is my only resource. Ballantyne thinks well of the work—very well, but I shall [expect] inaccuracies. An' it were to do again, I would get some one to look it over. But who could that some one be? Whom is there left of human race that I could hold such close intimacy with? No one. "Tanneguy du Châtel, ou es-tu!"[285]. Worked five pages.

June 13.—I took a walk out last evening after tea, and called on Lord Chief-Commissioner and the Macdonald Buchanans, that kind and friendly clan. The heat is very great, and the wrath of the bugs in proportion. Two hours last night I was kept in an absolute fever. I must make some arrangement for winter. Great pity my old furniture was sold in such a hurry! The wiser way would have been to have let the house furnished. But it's all one in the Greek.

"Peccavi, peccavi, dies quidem sine lineâ!" I walked to make calls; got cruelly hot; drank ginger-beer; wrote letters. Then as I was going to dinner, enter a big splay-footed, trifle-headed, old pottering minister, who came to annoy me about a claim which one of his parishioners has to be Earl of Annandale, and which he conceits to be established out of the Border Minstrelsy. He mentioned a curious thing—that three brothers of the Johnstone family, on whose descendants the male representative of these great Border chiefs devolved, were forced to fly to the north in consequence of their feuds with the Maxwells, and agreed to change their names. They slept on the side of the Soutra Hills, and asking a shepherd the name of the place, agreed in future to call themselves Sowtra or Sowter Johnstones. The old pudding-headed man could not comprehend a word I either asked him or told him, and maundered till I wished him in the Annandale beef-stand.[286] Mr. Gibson came in after tea, and we talked business. Then I was lazy and stupid, and dosed over a book instead of writing. So on the whole, Confiteor, confiteor, culpa mea, culpa mea!

June 14.—In the morning I began with a page and a half before breakfast. This is always the best way. You stand like a child going to be bathed, shivering and shaking till the first pitcherful is flung about your ears, and then are as blithe as a water-wagtail. I am just come home from Parliament House; and now, my friend Nap., have at you with a down-right blow! Methinks I would fain make peace with my conscience by doing six pages to-night. Bought a little bit of Gruyère cheese, instead of our domestic choke-dog concern. When did I ever purchase anything for my own eating? But I will say no more of that. And now to the bread-mill.

June 15.—I laboured all the evening, but made little way. There were many books to consult; and so all I could really do was to make out my task of three pages. I will try to make up the deficit of Tuesday to-day and to-morrow. Letters from Walter—all well. A visit yesterday from Charles Sharpe.

June 16.—Yesterday sate in the Court till nearly four. I had, of course, only time for my task. I fear I will have little more to-day, for I have accepted to dine at Hector's. I got, yesterday, a present of two engravings from Sir Henry Raeburn's portrait of me, which (poor fellow!) was the last he ever painted, and certainly not his worst.[287] I had the pleasure to give one to young Mr. Davidoff for his uncle, the celebrated Black Captain of the campaign of 1812. Curious that he should be interested in getting the resemblance of a person whose mode of attaining some distinction has been very different. But I am sensible, that if there be anything good about my poetry or prose either, it is a hurried frankness of composition which pleases soldiers, sailors, and young people of bold and active disposition. I have been no sigher in shades—no writer of

"Songs and sonnets and rustical roundelays,
Framed on fancies, and whistled on reeds."[288]

[Abbotsford, Saturday,] June 17.—Left Edinburgh to-day after Parliament House to come [here]. My two girls met me at Torsonce, which was a pleasant surprise, and we returned in the sociable all together. Found everything right and well at Abbotsford under the new regime. I again took possession of the family bedroom and my widowed couch. This was a sore trial, but it was necessary not to blink such a resolution. Indeed, I do not like to have it thought that there is any way in which I can be beaten.[289]

June 18.—This morning wrote till half-twelve—good day's work—at Canongate Chronicles. Methinks I can make this work answer. Then drove to Huntly Burn and called at Chiefswood. Walked home. The country crying for rain; yet on the whole the weather delicious, dry, and warm, with a fine air of wind. The young woods are rising in a kind of profusion I never saw elsewhere. Let me once clear off these encumbrances, and they shall wave broader and deeper yet. But to attain this I must work.

Wrought very fair accordingly till two; then walked; after dinner out again with the girls. Smoked two cigars, first time these two months.

June 19.—Wrought very fair indeed, and the day being scorching we dined al fresco in the hall among the armour, and went out early in the evening. Walked to the lake and back again by the Marle pool; very delightful evening.

June 20.—This is also a hard-working day. Hot weather is favourable for application, were it not that it makes the composer sleepy. Pray God the reader may not partake the sensation! But days of hard work make short journals. To-day we again dine in the hall, and drive to Ashestiel in the evening pour prendre le frais.

June 21—We followed the same course we proposed. For a party of pleasure I have attended to business well. Twenty pages of Croftangry, five printed pages each, attest my diligence, and I have had a delightful variation by the company of the two Annes. Regulated my little expenses here.

[Edinburgh,] June 22.—Returned to my Patmos. Heard good news from Lockhart. Wife well, and John Hugh better. He mentions poor Southey testifying much interest for me, even to tears. It is odd—am I so hard-hearted a man? I could not have wept for him, though in distress I would have gone any length to serve him. I sometimes think I do not deserve people's good opinion, for certainly my feelings are rather guided by reflection than impulse. But everybody has his own mode of expressing interest, and mine is stoical even in bitterest grief. Agere atque pati, Romanum est. I hope I am not the worse for wanting the tenderness that I see others possess, and which is so amiable. I think it does not cool my wish to be of use where I can. But the truth is, I am better at enduring or acting than at consoling. From childhood's earliest hour my heart rebelled against the influence of external circumstances in myself and others. Non est tanti!

To-day I was detained in the Court from half-past ten till near four; yet I finished and sent off a packet to Cadell, which will finish one-third of the Chronicles, vol. 1st.

Henry Scott came in while I was at dinner, and sat while I ate my beef-steak. A gourmand would think me much at a loss, coming back to my ploughman's meal of boiled beef and Scotch broth, from the rather recherché table at Abbotsford, but I have no philosophy in my carelessness on that score. It is natural—though I am no ascetic, as my father was.

June 23.—The heat tremendous, and the drought threatening the hay and barley crop. Got from the Court at half-twelve, and walked to the extremity of Heriot Row to see poor Lady Don; left my card as she does not receive any one. I am glad this painful meeting is adjourned. I received to-day £10 from Blackwood for the article on The Omen. Time was I would not have taken these small tithes of mint and cummin, but scornful dogs will eat dirty puddings, and I, with many depending on me, must do the best I can with my time—God help me!

[Blair-Adam,] June 24.—Left Edinburgh yesterday after the Court, half-past twelve, and came over here with the Lord Chief-Baron and William Clerk, to spend as usual a day or two at Blair-Adam. In general, this is a very gay affair. We hire a light coach-and-four, and scour the country in every direction in quest of objects of curiosity. But the Lord Chief-Commissioner's family misfortunes and my own make our holiday this year of a more quiet description than usual, and a sensible degree of melancholy hangs on the reunion of our party. It was wise, however, not to omit it, for to slacken your hold on life in any agreeable point of connection is the sooner to reduce yourself to the indifference and passive vegetation of old age.

June 25.—Another melting day; thermometer at 78° even here. 80° was the height yesterday at Edinburgh. If we attempt any active proceeding we dissolve ourselves into a dew. We have lounged away the morning creeping about the place, sitting a great deal, and walking as little as might be on account of the heat.

Blair-Adam has been successively in possession of three generations of persons attached to and skilled in the art of embellishment, and may be fairly taken as a place where art and taste have done a great deal to improve nature. A long ridge of varied ground sloping to the foot of the hill called Benarty, and which originally was of a bare, mossy, boggy character, has been clothed by the son, father, and grandfather; while the undulations and hollows, which seventy or eighty years since must have looked only like wrinkles in the black morasses, being now drained and limed, are skirted with deep woods, particularly of spruce, which thrives wonderfully, and covered with excellent grass. We drove in the droskie and walked in the evening.

June, 26.—Another day of unmitigated heat; thermometer 82; must be higher in Edinburgh, where I return to-night, when the decline of the sun makes travelling practicable. It will be well for my work to be there—not quite so well for me; there is a difference between the clean, nice arrangement of Blair-Adam and Mrs. Brown's accommodations, though he who is insured against worse has no right to complain of them. But the studious neatness of poor Charlotte has perhaps made me fastidious. She loved to see things clean, even to Oriental scrupulosity. So oddly do our deep recollections of other kinds correspond with the most petty occurrences of our life.

Lord Chief-Baron told us a story of the ruling passion strong in death. A Master in Chancery was on his deathbed—a very wealthy man. Some occasion of great urgency occurred in which it was necessary to make an affidavit, and the attorney, missing one or two other Masters, whom he inquired after, ventured to ask if Mr. ——— would be able to receive the deposition. The proposal seemed to give him momentary strength; his clerk sent for, and the oath taken in due form, the Master was lifted up in bed, and with difficulty subscribed the paper; as he sank down again, he made a signal to his clerk—"Wallace."—"Sir?"—"Your ear—lower—lower. Have you got the half-crown?" He was dead before morning.

[Edinburgh,] June 27.—Returned to Edinburgh late last night, and had a most sweltering night of it. This day also cruel hot. However, I made a task or nearly so, and read a good deal about the Egyptian Expedition. Had comfortable accounts of Anne, and through her of Sophia. Dr. Shaw doubts if anything is actually the matter with poor Johnnie's back. I hope the dear child will escape deformity, and the infirmities attending that helpless state. I have myself been able to fight up very well, notwithstanding my lameness, but it has cost great efforts, and I am besides very strong. Dined with Colin Mackenzie; a fine family all growing up about him, turning men and women, and treading fast on our heels. Some thunder and showers which I fear will be but partial. Hot—hot—hot.

June, 28.—Another hot morning, and something like an idle day, though I have read a good deal. But I have slept also, corrected proofs, and prepared for a great start, by filling myself with facts and ideas.

June 29.—I walked out for an hour last night, and made one or two calls—the evening was delightful—

"Day its sultry fires had wasted,
Calm and cool the moonbeam rose;
Even a captive's bosom tasted
Half oblivion of his woes."[290]

I wonder often how Tom Campbell, with so much real genius, has not maintained a greater figure in the public eye than he has done of late. The Magazine seems to have paralysed him. The author, not only of the Pleasures of Hope, but of Hohenlinden, Lochiel, etc., should have been at the very top of the tree. Somehow he wants audacity, fears the public, and, what is worse, fears the shadow of his own reputation. He is a great corrector too, which succeeds as ill in composition as in education. Many a clever boy is flogged into a dunce, and many an original composition corrected into mediocrity. Yet Tom Campbell ought to have done a great deal more. His youthful promise was great. John Leyden introduced me to him. They afterwards quarrelled. When I repeated Hohenlinden to Leyden, he said, "Dash it, man, tell the fellow that I hate him, but, dash him, he has written the finest verses that have been published these fifty years." I did mine errand as faithfully as one of Homer's messengers, and had for answer, "Tell Leyden that I detest him, but I know the value of his critical approbation." This feud was therefore in the way of being taken up. "When Leyden comes back from India," said Tom Campbell, "what cannibals he will have eaten and what tigers he will have torn to pieces!"

Gave a poor poetess £1. Gibson writes me that £2300 is offered for the poor house; it is worth £300 more, but I will not oppose my own opinion, or convenience to good and well-meant counsel: so farewell, poor No. 39. What a portion of my life has been spent there! It has sheltered me from the prime of life to its decline; and now I must bid good-bye to it. I have bid good-bye to my poor wife, so long its courteous and kind mistress,—and I need not care about the empty rooms; yet it gives me a turn. I have been so long a citizen of Edinburgh, now an indweller only. Never mind; all in the day's work.

J. Ballantyne and B. Cadell dined with me, and, as Pepys would say, all was very handsome. Drank amongst us one bottle of champagne, one of claret, a glass or two of port, and each a tumbler of whisky toddy. J.B. had courage to drink his with hot water; mine was iced.

June 30.—Here is another dreadful warm day, fit for nobody but the flies. And then one is confined to town.

Yesterday I agreed to let Cadell have the new work,[291] edition 1500, he paying all charges, and paying also £500—two hundred and fifty at Lammas, to pay J. Gibson money advanced on the passage of young Walter, my nephew, to India. It is like a thorn in one's eye this sort of debt, and Gibson is young in business, and somewhat involved in my affairs besides. Our plan is, that this same Miscellany or Chronicle shall be committed quietly to the public, and we hope it will attract attention. If it does not, we must turn public attention to it ourselves. About one half of vol. i. is written, and there is worse abomination, or I mistake the matter.

I was detained in Court till four; dreadfully close, and obliged to drink water for refreshment, which formerly I used to scorn, even on the moors, with a burning August sun, the heat of exercise, and a hundred springs gushing around me.

Corrected proofs, etc., on my return. I think I have conquered the trustees' objections to carry on the small edition of novels. Got Cadell's letter about the Chronicle.


[Edinburgh,] July 1st.—Another sunny day. This threatens absolutely Syrian drought. As the Selkirk election comes on Monday, I go out to-day to Abbotsford, and carry young Davidoff and his tutor with me, to see our quiet way of managing the choice of a national representative.

I wrote a page or two last night slumbrously.

[Abbotsford,] July 2.—Late at Court. Got to Abbotsford last night with Count Davidoff about eight o'clock. I worked a little this morning, then had a long and warm walk. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton from Chiefswood, the present inhabitants of Lockhart's cottage, dined with us, which made the society pleasant. He is a fine, soldierly-looking man[292]—though affected with paralysis—his wife a sweet good-humoured little woman. He is supposed to be a writer in Blackwood's Magazine. Since we were to lose the Lockharts, we could scarce have had more agreeable folks.

At Selkirk, where Borthwickbrae was elected with the usual unanimity of the Forest freeholders. This was a sight to my young Muscovite. We walked in the evening to the lake.

July 5.—Still very hot, but with thunder showers. Wrote till breakfast, then walked and signed the death-warrant of a number of old firs at Abbotstown. I hope their deaths will prove useful. Their lives are certainly not ornamental. Young Mr. Davidoff entered upon the cause of the late discontents in Russia, which he imputes to a deep-seated Jacobin conspiracy to overthrow the state and empire and establish a government by consuls.

[Edinburgh,] July 6.—Returned last night with my frozen Muscovites to the Capital, and suffered as usual from the incursions of the black horse during the night. It was absolute fever. A bunch of letters, but little interesting. Mr. Barry Cornwall[293] writes to condole with me. I think our acquaintance scarce warranted this; but it is well meant and modestly done. I cannot conceive the idea of forcing myself on strangers in distress, and I have half a mind to turn sharp round on some of my consolers. Came home from Court. R.P. Gillies called; he is writing a satire. He has a singular talent of aping the measure and tone of Byron, and this poem goes to the tune of Don Juan, but it is the Champagne after it has stood two days with the cork drawn. Thereafter came Charles K. Sharpe and Will Clerk, as Robinson sayeth, to my exceeding refreshment.[294] And last, not least, Mr. Jollie, one of the triumvirs who manage my poor matters. He consents to going on with the small edition of novels, which he did not before comprehend. All this has consumed the day, but we will make up tide-way presently. I must dress to go to Lord Medwyn[295] to dinner, and it is near time.

July 7.—Coming home from Lord Medwyn's last night I fell in with Willie Clerk, and went home to drink a little shrub and water, over which we chatted of old stories until half-past eleven. This morning I corrected two proofs of C[roftangr]y, which is getting on. But there must be a little check with the throng of business at the close of the session. D—-n the session! I wish it would close its eyes for a century. It is too bad to be kept broiling here; but, on the other hand, we must have the instinctive gratitude of the Laird of M'Intosh, who was for the King that gave M'Intosh half-a-guinea the day and half-a-guinea the morn. So I retract my malediction.

Received from Blackwood to account sales of Malachi £72 with some odd shillings. This was for copies sold to Banks. The cash comes far from ill-timed, having to clear all odds and ends before I leave Edinburgh. This will carry me on tidily till 25th, when precepts become payable. Well! if Malachi did me some mischief, he must also contribute quodam modo to my comfort.

July 8.—Wrote a good task this morning. I may be mistaken; but I do think the tale of Elspat McTavish[296] in my bettermost manner—but J.B. roars for chivalry. He does not quite understand that everything may be overdone in this world, or sufficiently estimate the necessity of novelty. The Highlanders have been off the field now for some time.

Returning from Court, looked into a show of wild beasts, and saw Nero the great lion, whom they had the cruelty to bait with bull-dogs, against whom the noble creature disdained to exert his strength. He was lying like a prince in a large cage, where you might be admitted if you wish. I had a month's mind—- but was afraid of the newspapers; I could be afraid of nothing else, for never did a creature seem more gentle and yet majestic—I longed to caress him. Wallace, the other lion, born in Scotland, seemed much less trustworthy. He handled the dogs as his namesake did the southron.

Enter a confounded Dousterswivel, called Burschal, or some such name, patronised by John Lockhart, teacher of German and learner of English.

He opened the trenches by making me a present of a German work called Der Bibelische Orient, then began to talk of literature at large; and display his own pretensions. Asked my opinion of Gray as a poet, and wished me to subscribe an attestation of his own merits for the purpose of getting him scholars. As I hinted my want of acquaintance with his qualifications, I found I had nearly landed myself in a proof, for he was girding up his loins to repeated thundering translations by himself into German, Hebrew, until, thinking it superfluous to stand on very much ceremony with one who used so little with me, hinted at letters to write, and got him to translate himself elsewhere.

Saw a good house in Brunswick Street, which I liked. This evening supped with Thomas Thomson about the affairs of the Bannatyne. There was the Dean, Will Clerk, John Thomson, young Smythe of Methven; very pleasant.

July 9.—Rather slumbrous to-day from having sat up till twelve last night. We settled, or seemed to settle, on an election for the Bannatyne Club. There are people who would wish to confine it much to one party. But those who were together last night saw it in the true and liberal point of view, as a great national institution, which may do much good in the way of publishing our old records, providing we do not fall into the usual habit of antiquarians, and neglect what is useful for things that are merely curious. Thomson is a host for such an undertaking. I wrote a good day's work at the Canongate matter, notwithstanding the intervention of two naps. I get sleepy oftener than usual. It is the weather I suppose—Naboclish![297] I am near the end of the first volume, and every step is one out of difficulty.

July 10.—Slept too long this morning. It was eight before I rose—half-past eight ere I came into the parlour. Terry and J. Ballantyne dined with me yesterday, and I suppose the wassail, though there was little enough of it, had stuck to my pillow.

This morning I was visited by a Mr. Lewis, a smart Cockney, whose object is to amend the handwriting. He uses as a mechanical aid a sort of puzzle of wire and ivory, which is put upon the fingers to keep them in the desired position, like the muzzle on a dog's nose to make him bear himself right in the field. It is ingenious, and may be useful. If the man comes here, as he proposes, in winter, I will take lessons. Bear witness, good reader, that if W.S. writes a cramp hand, as is the case, he is desirous to mend it.

Dined with John Swinton en famille. He told me an odd circumstance. Coming from Berwickshire in the mail coach he met with a passenger who seemed more like a military man than anything else. They talked on all sorts of subjects, at length on politics. Malachi's letters were mentioned, when the stranger observed they were much more seditious than some expressions for which he had three or four years ago been nearly sent to Botany Bay. And perceiving John Swinton surprised at this avowal, he added, "I am Kinloch of Kinloch." This gentleman had got engaged in the radical business (the only real gentleman by the way who did), and harangued the weavers of Dundee with such emphasis that he would have been tried and sent to Botany Bay had he not fled abroad. He was outlawed, and only restored to his status on a composition with Government. It seems to have escaped Mr. Kinloch that the conduct of a man who places a lighted coal in the middle of combustibles, and upon the floor, is a little different from that of one who places the same quantity of burning fuel in a fire-grate![298]

July 11.—The last day of the session, and as toilsome a one as I ever saw. There were about 100 or 120 cases on the roll, and most of them of an incidental character, which gives us Clerks the greatest trouble, for it is the grasshopper that is a burthen to us. Came home about four, tired and hungry. I wrought little or none; indeed I could not, having books and things to pack. Went in the evening to sup with John Murray,[299] where I met Will Clerk, Thomson, Henderland, and Charles Stuart Blantyre, and had of course a pleasant party. I came late home, though, for me, and was not in bed till past midnight; it would not do for me to do this often.

July 12.—I have the more reason to eschew evening parties that I slept two mornings till past eight; these vigils would soon tell on my utility, as the divines call it, but this is the last day in town, and the world shall be amended. I have been trying to mediate between the unhappy R.P. G[illies] and his uncle Lord G. The latter talks like a man of sense and a good relation, and would, I think, do something for E.P.G., if he would renounce temporary expedients and bring his affairs to a distinct crisis. But this E.P. will not hear of, but flatters himself with ideas which seem to me quite visionary. I could make nothing of him; but, I conclude, offended him by being of his uncle's opinion rather than his, as to the mode of extricating his affairs.

I am to dine out to-day, and I would fain shirk and stay at home; never, Shylock-like, had I less will to feasting forth, but I must go or be thought sulky. Lord M. and Lady Abercromby called this morning, and a world of people besides, among others honest Mr. Wilson, late of Wilsontown, who took so much care of me at London, sending fresh eggs and all sorts of good things. Well, I have dawdled and written letters sorely against the grain all day. Also I have been down to see Will Allan's picture of the Landing of Queen Mary, which he has begun in a great style; also I have put my letters and papers to rights, which only happens when I am about to move, and now, having nothing left to do, I must go and dress myself.

July 13.—Dined yesterday with Lord Abercromby at a party he gave to Lord Melville and some old friends, who formed the Contemporary Club. Lord M. and I met with considerable feeling on both sides, and all our feuds were forgotten and forgiven; I conclude so at least, because one or two people, whom I know to be sharp observers of the weatherglass on occasion of such squalls, have been earnest with me to meet Lord M. at parties—which I am well assured they would not have been (had I been Horace come to life again[300]) were they not sure the breeze was over. For myself, I am happy that our usual state of friendship should be restored, though I could not have come down proud stomach to make advances, which is, among friends, always the duty of the richer and more powerful of the two.

To-day I leave Mrs. Brown's lodgings. Altogether I cannot complain, but the insects were voracious, even until last night when the turtle-soup and champagne ought to have made me sleep like a top. But I have done a monstrous sight of work here notwithstanding the indolence of this last week, which must and shall be amended.

"So good-by, Mrs. Brown,
I am going out of town,
Over dale, over down,
Where bugs bite not,
Where lodgers fight not,
Where below you chairmen drink not,
Where beside you gutters stink not;
But all is fresh, and clean, and gay,
And merry lambkins sport and play,
And they toss with rakes uncommonly short hay,
Which looks as if it had been sown only the other day,
And where oats are at twenty-five shillings a boll, they say,
But all's one for that, since I must and will away."

July 14, ABBOTSFORD.—Arrived here yesterday before five o'clock. Anybody would think, from the fal-de-ral conclusion of my journal of yesterday, that I left town in a very gay humour—cujus contrarium verum est. But nature has given me a kind of buoyancy, I know not what to call it, that mingles even with my deepest afflictions and most gloomy hours. I have a secret pride—I fancy it will be so most truly termed—which impels me to mix with my distresses strange snatches of mirth "which have no mirth in them." In fact, the journey hither, the absence of the affectionate friend that used to be my companion on the journey, and many mingled thoughts of bitterness, have given me a fit of the bile.

July 15.—This day I did not attempt to work, but spent my time in the morning in making the necessary catalogue and distribution of two or three chests of books which I have got home from the binder, Niece Anne acting as my Amanuensis. In the evening we drove to Huntly Burn, and took tea there. Returning home we escaped a considerable danger. The iron screw bolts of the driving-seat suddenly giving way, the servants were very nearly precipitated upon the backs of the horses. Had it been down hill instead of being on the level, the horses must have taken fright, and the consequences might have been fatal. Indeed, they had almost taken fright as it was, had not Peter Matheson,[301] who, in Mr. Fag's phrase, I take to be, "the discreetest of whips,"[302] kept his presence of mind, when losing his equilibrium, so that he managed to keep the horses in hand until we all got out. I must say it is not the first imminent danger on which I have seen Peter (my Automedon for near twenty-five years) behave with the utmost firmness.

July 16.—Very unsatisfactory to-day. Sleepy, stupid, indolent—finished arranging the books, and after that was totally useless—unless it can be called study that I slumbered for three or four hours over a variorum edition of the Gill's-Hill's tragedy.[303] Admirable recipe for low spirits—for, not to mention the brutality of so extraordinary a murder, it led John Bull into one of his uncommon fits of gambols, until at last he become so maudlin as to weep for the pitiless assassin, Thurtell, and treasure up the leaves and twigs of the hedge and shrubs in the fatal garden as valuable relics—nay, thronged the minor theatres to see the very roan horse and yellow gig in which the body was transported from one place to another. I have not stept over the threshold to-day, so very stupid have I been.

July 17.—Desidiæ longum valedixi. Our time is like our money. When we change a guinea, the shillings escape as things of small account; when we break a day by idleness in the morning, the rest of the hours lose their importance in our eye. I set stoutly to work about seven this morning to Boney

And long ere dinner-time, I have
Full eight close pages wrote;
What, Duty, hast thou now to crave?
Well done, Sir Walter Scott!

July 18.—This, as yesterday, has been a day of unremitting labour, though I only got through half the quantity of manuscript, owing to drowsiness, a most disarming annoyance. I walked a little before dinner and after tea, but was unable to go with the girls and Charles to the top of Cauldshiels Hill. I fear my walking powers are diminishing, but why not? They have been wonderfully long efficient, all things considered, only I fear I shall get fat and fall into diseases. Well, things must be as they may. Let us use the time and faculties which God has left us, and trust futurity to his guidance. Amen.

This is the day of St. Boswell's Fair. That watery saint has for once had a dry festival.

July 19.—Wrote a page this morning, but no more. Corrected proofs however, and went to Selkirk to hold Sheriff Court; this consumed the forenoon. Colonel and Miss Ferguson, with Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw, dined and occupied the evening. The rain seemed to set in this night.

July 20.—To-day rainy. A morning and forenoon of hard work. About five pages, which makes up for yesterday's lee way. I am sadly tired however. But as I go to Mertoun at four, and spend the night there, the exertion was necessary.

July 21.—To Mertoun we went accordingly. Lord and Lady Minto were there, with part of their family, David Haliburton, etc., besides their own large family. So my lodging was a little room which I had not occupied since I was a bachelor, but often before in my frequent intercourse with this kind and hospitable family. Feeling myself returned to that celibacy, which renders many accommodations indifferent which but lately were indispensable, my imagination drew a melancholy contrast between the young man entering the world on fire for fame, and restless in imagining means of coming by it, and the aged widower, blasé on the point of literary reputation, deprived of the social comforts of a married state, and looking back to regret instead of looking forward to hope. This brought bad sleep and unpleasing dreams. But if I cannot hope to be what I have been, I will not, if I can help it, suffer vain repining to make me worse than I may be.

We left Mertoun after breakfast, and the two Annes and I visited Lady Raeburn at Lessudden. My Aunt is now in her ninetieth year—so clean, so nice, so well arranged in every respect, that it makes old age lovely. She talks both of late and former events with perfect possession of her faculties, and has only failed in her limbs. A great deal of kind feeling has survived, in spite of the frost of years.

Home to dinner, and worked all the afternoon among the Moniteurs—to little purpose, for my principal acquisition was a headache. I wrote nothing to-day but part of a trifle for Blackwood.

July 22.—The same severe headache attends my poor pate. But I have worked a good deal this morning, and will do more. I wish to have half the volume sent into town on Monday if possible. It will be a royal effort, and more than make up for the blanks of this week.

July 23.—I wrote very hard this day, and attained page 40; 45 would be more than half the volume. Colonel Russell came about one, and carried me out a-walking, which I was all the better of. In the evening we expected Terry and his wife, but they did not come, which makes me fear she may be unwell again.

July 24.—A great number of proof-sheets to revise and send off, and after that I took a fancy to give a more full account of the Constitution framed by Sieyès—a complicated and ingenious web; it is but far too fine and critical to be practically useful.

July 25.—Terry and wife arrived yesterday. Both very well. At dinner-time to-day came Dr. Jamieson[304] of the Scottish Dictionary, an excellent good man, and full of auld Scottish cracks, which amuse me well enough, but are caviare to the young people. A little prolix and heavy is the good Doctor; somewhat prosaic, and accustomed to much attention on the Sunday from his congregation, and I hope on the six other days from his family. So he will demand full attention from all and sundry before he begins a story, and once begun there is no chance of his ending.

July 26.—This day went to Selkirk, and held a Court. The Doctor and Terry chose to go with me. Captain and Mrs. Hamilton came to dinner. Desperate warm weather! Little done in the literary way except sending off proofs. Roup of standing corn, etc., went off very indifferently. Letter from Ballantyne wanting me to write about absentees. But I have enough to do without burning my fingers with politics.

July 27.—Up and at it this morning, and finished four pages. An unpleasant letter from London, as if I might be troubled by some of the creditors there, when going to town to get materials for Nap. I have no wish to go,—none at all. I would even like to put off my visit, so far as John Lockhart and my daughter are concerned, and see them when the meeting could be more pleasant. But then, having an offer to see the correspondence from St. Helena, I can make no doubt that I ought to go. However, if it is to infer any danger to my personal freedom, English wind will not blow on me. It is monstrous hard to prevent me doing what is certainly the best for all parties.

July 28.—I am well-nigh choked with the sulphurous heat of the weather—or I am unwell, for I perspire as if I had been walking hard, and my hand is as nervous as a paralytic's. Read through and corrected St. Ronan's Well. I am no judge, but I think the language of this piece rather good. Then I must allow the fashionable portraits are not the true thing. I am too much out of the way to see and remark the ridiculous in society. The story is terribly contorted and unnatural, and the catastrophe is melancholy, which should always be avoided. No matter; I have corrected it for the press.[305]

The worthy Lexicographer left us to-day. Somewhat ponderous he is, poor soul! but there are excellent things about him.

Action and Reaction—Scots proverb: "the unrest (i.e. pendulum) of a clock goes aye as far the ae gait as the t'other."

Walter's account of his various quarters per last despatch. Query if original:—

"Loughrea is a blackguard place
To Gort I give my curse;
Athlone itself is bad enough,
But Ballinrobe is worse.
I cannot tell which is the worst,
They're all so very bad;
But of all towns I ever saw,
Bad luck to Kinnegad."

Old Mr. Haliburton dined with us, also Colonel Russell. What a man for fourscore or thereby is Old Haly—an Indian too. He came home in 1785.

July 29.—Yesterday I wrought little, and light work, almost stifled by the smothering heat. To-day I wrought about half task in the morning, and, as a judgment on me I think for yesterday's sloth, Mr. H. stayed unusually late in the forenoon. He is my friend, my father's friend, and an excellent, sensible man besides; and a man of eighty and upwards may be allowed to talk long, because in the nature of things he cannot have long to talk. If I do a task to-day, I hope to send a good parcel on Monday and keep tryst pretty well.

July 30.—I did better yesterday than I had hoped for—four instead of three pages, which, considering how my time was cut up by prolonged morning lounging with friend Haly, was pretty fair. I wrote a good task before eleven o'clock, but then my good friends twaddled and dawdled for near two hours before they set off. The time devoted to hospitality, especially to those whom I can reckon upon as sincere good friends, I never grudge, but like to "welcome the coming, speed the parting guest." By my will every guest should part at half-past ten, or arrange himself to stay for the day.

We had a long walk in a sweltering hot day. Met Mr. Blackwood coming to call, and walked him on with us, so blinked his visit—gratias, domine!! Asked him for breakfast to-morrow to make amends. I rather over-walked myself—the heat considered.

July 31st.—I corrected six sheets and sent them off, with eight leaves of copy, so I keep forward pretty well. Blackwood the bookseller came over from Chiefswood to breakfast, and this kept me idle till eleven o'clock. At twelve I went out with the girls in the sociable, and called on the family at Bemerside, on Dr.[306] and Mrs. Brewster, and Mr. Bainbridge at Gattonside House. It was five ere we got home, so there was a day dished, unless the afternoon does something for us. I am keeping up pretty well, however, and, after all, visitors will come, and calls must be made. I must not let Anne forego the custom of well-bred society.


August 1.—Yesterday evening did nothing for the idlesse of the morning. I was hungry; eat and drank and became drowsy; then I took to arranging the old plays, of which Terry had brought me about a dozen, and dipping into them scrambled through two. One, called Michaelmas Term,[307] full of traits of manners; and another a sort of bouncing tragedy, called the Hector of Germany, or the Palsgrave.[308] The last, worthless in the extreme, is, like many of the plays in the beginning of the seventeenth century, written to a good tune. The dramatic poets of that time seem to have possessed as joint-stock a highly poetical and abstract tone of language, so that the worst of them often remind you of the very best. The audience must have had a much stronger sense of poetry in those days than now, since language was received and applauded at the Fortune or at the Red Bull,[309] which could not now be understood by any general audience in Great Britain. This leads far.

This morning I wrote two hours, then out with Tom Purdie, and gave directions about thinning all the plantations above Abbotsford properly so called. Came in at one o'clock and now set to work. Debout, debout, Lyciscas, debout.[310] Finished four leaves.

August 2.—Well; and to-day I finished before dinner five leaves more, and I would crow a little about it, but here comes Duty like an old housekeeper to an idle chambermaid. Hear her very words:—

DUTY.—Oh! you crow, do you? Pray, can you deny that your sitting so quiet at work was owing to its raining heavily all the forenoon, and indeed till dinner-time, so that nothing would have stirred out that could help it, save a duck or a goose? I trow, if it had been a fine day, by noon there would have been aching of the head, throbbing, shaking, and so forth, to make an apology for going out.

EGOMET IPSE.—And whose head ever throbbed to go out when it rained, Mrs. Duty?

DUTY.—Answer not to me with a fool-born jest, as your poor friend Erskine used to say to you when you escaped from his good advice under the fire of some silly pun. You smoke a cigar after dinner, and I never check you—drink tea, too, which is loss of time; and then, instead of writing me one other page, or correcting those you have written out, you rollick into the woods till you have not a dry thread about you; and here you sit writing down my words in your foolish journal instead of minding my advice.

EGO.—Why, Mrs. Duty, I would as gladly be friends with [you] as Crabbe's[311] tradesman fellow with his conscience; but you should have some consideration with human frailty.

DUTY.—Reckon not on that. But, however, good-night for the present. I would only recommend to you to think no thoughts in which I am not mingled—to read no books in which I have no concern—to write three sheets of botheration all the six days of the week per diem, and on the seventh to send them to the printer. Thus advising, I heartily bid you farewell.

EGO.—Farewell, madam (exit Duty) and be d—d to ye for an unreasonable bitch! "The devil must be in this greedy gled!" as the Earl of Angus said to his hawk; "will she never be satisfied?"[312] I believe in my soul she is the very hag who haunted the merchant Abudah.[313]

I'll have my great chest upstairs exorcised, but first I'll take a nap till supper, which must take place within ten minutes.

August 3.—Wrote half a task in the morning. From eleven till half-past eight in Selkirk taking precognitions about a row, and came home famished and tired. Now, Mrs. Duty, do you think there is no other Duty of the family but yourself? Or can the Sheriff-depute neglect his Duty, that the author may mind his? The thing cannot be; the people of Selkirk must have justice as well as the people of England books. So the two Duties may go pull caps about it. My conscience is clear.

August 4.—Wrote to Miss Edgeworth on her sister's marriage, which consumed the better part of the morning. I must read for Marengo. Item, I must look at the pruning. Item, at the otter hunt; but my hope is constant to make up a good day's task notwithstanding. Failed in finding the otter, and was tired and slept, and did but a poor day's work.

August 6.—Wrote to-day a very good day's work. Walked to Chiefswood, and saw old Mrs. Tytler,[314] a friend when life was young. Her husband, Lord Woodhouselee, was a kind, amiable, and accomplished man; and when we lived at Lasswade Cottage, soon after my marriage, we saw a great deal of the family, who were very kind to us as newly entered on the world.[315] Walked home, and worked in the evening; four leaves finished.

August 7.—My niece Anne leaves us this morning, summoned back from one scene of distress to another. Her uncle, David Macculloch, is extremely ill—a paralytic stroke, I fancy. She is a charming girl, lady-like in thought and action, and very pleasant in society. We are to dine to-day with our neighbours at Gattonside. Meantime I will avail myself of my disposition to labour, and work instead of journalising.

Mr. H. Cranstoun[316] looked in a morning call. He is become extremely deaf. He gave me a letter from the Countess Purgstall, his sister, which I have not the heart to open, so many reproaches I have deserved for not writing. It is a sad thing, though, to task eyes as hard wrought as mine to keep up correspondence. Dined at Gattonside.[317]

August 8.—Wrote my task this morning, and now for walk. Dine to-day at Chiefswood; have company to-morrow. Why, this is dissipation! But no matter, Mrs. Duty, if the task is done. "Ay, but," says she, "you ought to do something extra—provide against a rainy day." Not I, I'll make a rainy day provide against a fair one, Mrs. Duty. I write twice as much in bad weather. Seriously, I write fully as much as I ought. I do not like this dull aching in the chest and the back, and its giving way to exercise shows that it originates in remaining too long in a sitting posture. So I'll take the field, while the day is good.

August 9.—I wrote only two leaves to-day, but with as many additions as might rank for three. I had a long and warm walk. Mrs. Tytler of Woodhouselee, the Hamiltons, and Colonel Ferguson dined here. How many early stories did the old lady's presence recall! She might almost be my mother, yet there we sat, like two people of another generation, talking of things and people the rest knew nothing of. When a certain period of life is survived, the difference of years between the survivors, even when considerable, becomes of much less consequence.

August 10.—Rose early, and wrote hard till two, when I went with Anne to Minto. The place, being new to my companion, gave her much amusement. We found the Scotts of Harden, etc., and had a very pleasant party. I like Lady M. particularly, but missed my facetious and lively friend, Lady A[nna] M[aria].[318] It is the fashion for women and silly men to abuse her as a blue-stocking. If to have wit, good sense, and good-humour, mixed with a strong power of observing, and an equally strong one of expressing the result, be blue, she shall be as blue as they will. Such cant is the refuge of persons who fear those who they [think] can turn them into ridicule; it is a common trick to revenge supposed raillery with good substantial calumny. Slept at Minto.

August 11.—I was up as usual, and wrote about two leaves, meaning to finish my task at home; but found my Sheriff-substitute[319] here on my return, which took up the evening. But I shall finish the volume on Sunday; that is less than a month after beginning it. The same exertion would bring the book out at Martinmas, but December is a better time.

August 12.—Wrote a little in the morning; then Duty and I have settled that this is to be a kind of holiday, providing the volume be finished to-morrow. I went to breakfast at Chiefswood, and after that affair was happily transacted, I wended me merrily to the Black Cock Stripe, and there caused Tom Purdie and John Swanston cut out a quantity of firs. Got home about two o'clock, and set to correct a set of proofs. James Ballantyne presages well of this work, but is afraid of inaccuracies—so am I—but things must be as they may. There is a kind of glamour about me, which sometimes makes me read dates, etc., in the proof-sheets, not as they actually do stand, but as they ought to stand. I wonder if a pill of holy trefoil would dispel this fascination.

By the way, John Swanston measured a young shoot that was growing remarkably, and found that for three days successively it grew half an inch every day. Fine-Ear[320] used to hear the grass grow—how far off would he have heard this extravagant rapidity of vegetation? The tree is a silver fir or spruce in the patch at the Green-tongue park.

August 13.—Yesterday I was tired of labouring in the rough ground. Well, I must be content to feel my disabilities increase. One sure thing is, that all wise men will soon contrive to lay aside inclination when performance grows toilsome. I have hobbled over many a rough heugh in my day—no wonder if I must sing at last—

"Thus says the auld man to the aik tree,
Sair failed, hinny, since I kenn'd thee."

But here are many a mile of smooth walk, just when I grow unable to face bent and brae, and here is the garden when all fails. To a sailor the length of his quarter-deck is a good space of exercising ground.

I wrote a good task to-day, then walked to the lake, then came back by three o'clock, hungering and thirsting to finish the volume. I have seldom such fits of voluntary industry, so Duty shall have the benefit.

Finished volume iv. this evening—Deo Gratias.

August 14.—This is a morning I have not seen many a day, for it appears to set in for a rainy day. It has not kept its word though. I was seized by a fit of the "clevers," and finished my task by twelve o'clock, and hope to add something in the evening. I was guilty, however, of some waywardness, for I began volume v. of Boney instead of carrying on the Canongate as I proposed. The reason, however, was that I might not forget the information I had acquired about the Treaty of Amiens.

August 15.—The weather seems decidedly broken. Yesterday, indeed, cleared up, but this day seems to persevere in raining. Naboclish! It's a rarity nowadays. I write on, though a little afflicted with the oppression on my chest. Sometimes I think it is something dangerous, but as it always goes away on change of posture, it cannot be speedily so. I want to finish my task, and then good-night. I will never relax my labour in these affairs, either for fear of pain or love of life. I will die a free man, if hard working will do it. Accordingly, to-day I cleared the ninth leaf, which is the tenth part of a volume, in two days—four and a half leaves a day. Walter and Jane, with Mrs. Jobson, are arrived to interrupt me.

August 16.—God be praised for restoring to me my dear children in good health, which has made me happier than anything that has happened these several months. Walter and Jane appear cordial and happy in each other; the greatest blessing Heaven can bestow on them or me who witness it. If we had Lockhart and Sophia, there would be a meeting of the beings dearest to me in life. Walked to Huntly Burn, where I found a certain lady on a visit—so youthy, so beautiful, so strong in voice—with sense and learning—above all, so fond of good conversation, that, in compassion to my eyes, ears, and understanding, I bolted in the middle of a tremendous shower of rain, and rather chose to be wet to the skin than to be bethumped with words at that rate. There seemed more than I of the same opinion, for Col Ferguson chose the ducking rather than the conversation. Young Mr. Surtees came this evening.

August 17.—Wrote half a leaf short of my task, having proofs, etc., to correct, and being called early to walk with the ladies. I have gained three leaves in the two following days, so I cannot blame myself. Sat cito si sat bene. Sat boni I am sure—I may say—a truly execrable pun that; hope no one will find it out.

In the evening we had music from the girls, and the voice of the harp and viol were heard in my halls once more, which have been so long deprived of mirth. It is with a mixed sensation I hear these sounds. I look on my children and am happy; and yet every now and then a pang shoots across my heart. It seems so strange that my poor wife should not be there. But enough of this. Colonel Ferguson dined.

August 18.—Again I fell a half page behind, being summoned out too early for my task, but I am still two leaves before on the whole week. It is natural to see as much of these young people as I can. Walter talks of the Ionian Islands. It is an awful distance. A long walk in very warm weather. Music in the evening.

August 19.—This morning wrote none, excepting extracts, etc., being under the necessity of reading and collating a great deal, which lasted till one o'clock or thereabouts, when Dr. and Mrs. Brewster and their young people came to spend a day of happiness at the lake. We were met there by Captain and Mrs. Hamilton and a full party. Since the days of Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia,[321] these days of appointed sport and happiness have seldom answered; but we came off indifferently well. We did not indeed catch much fish; but we lounged about in a delightful day, eat and drank—and the children, who are very fine infantry, were clamorously enjoying themselves. We sounded the loch in two or three different places—the deepest may be sixty feet. I was accustomed to think it much more, but your deepest pools, like your deepest politicians and philosophers, often turn out more shallow than was expected. The whole party dine with us.

August 20.—Wrote four leaves. The day wet and rainy, though not uniformly so. No temptation, however, to play truant; so this will make some amends for a blank day yesterday. I am far in advance of the press, but it is necessary if I go to Drumlanrig on Wednesday as I intend, and to Lochore next week, which I also meditate. This will be no great interruption, however, if I can keep the Canongate moving, for I shall be more than half a volume in advance with Napoleon.

August 21.—Wrought out my task, though much bothered with a cold in my head and face, how caught I know not. Mrs. Crampton, wife of the Surgeon-General[322] in Ireland, sends to say she is hereabouts, so we ask her. Hospitality must not be neglected, and most hospitable are the Cramptons. All the "calliachs"[323] from Huntly Burn are to be here, and Anne wishes we may have enough of dinner. Naboclish! it is hoped there will be a pièce de résistance.

August 22.—Mrs. and Misses Crampton departed. I was rather sorry to give them such brief entertainment, for they were extremely kind. But going to Eildon Hall to-day, and to Drumlanrig to-morrow, there was nothing more could be done for them. It is raining now "successfully," as old Macfarlane of the Arroquhar used to say. What is the odds? We get a soaking before we cross the Birkendailly—wet against dry, ten to one.

August 23 [Bittock's Bridge].—Set off cheerily with Walter, Charles, and Surtees in the sociable, to make our trip to Drumlanrig. We breakfasted at Mr. Boyd's, Broadmeadows, and were received with Yarrow hospitality. From thence climbed the Yarrow, and skirted Saint Mary's Lake, and ascended the Birkhill path, under the moist and misty influence of the genius loci. Never mind; my companions were merry and I cheerful. When old people can be with the young without fatiguing them or themselves, their tempers derive the same benefits which some fantastic physicians of old supposed accrued to their constitutions from the breath of the young and healthy. You have not, cannot again have, their gaiety of pleasure in seeing sights, but still it reflects itself upon you, and you are cheered and comforted. Our luncheon eaten in the herd's cottage; but the poor woman saddened me unawares, by asking for poor Charlotte, whom she had often seen there with me. She put me in mind that I had come twice over those hills and bogs with a wheeled-carriage, before the road, now an excellent one, was made. I knew it was true; but, on my soul, looking where we must have gone, I could hardly believe I had been such a fool. For riding, pass if you will; but to put one's neck in such a venture with a wheeled-carriage was too silly. Here we are, however, at Bittock's Inn for this night.

Drumlanrig, August 24.—This morning lunched at Parkgate under a very heavy shower, and then pushed on to Drumlanrig, where I was pleased to see the old Castle, and old servants solicitous and anxious to be civil. What visions does not this magnificent old house bring back to me! The exterior is much improved since I first knew it. It was then in the state of dilapidation to which it had been abandoned by the celebrated old Q.,[324] and was indeed scarce wind and water tight. Then the whole wood had been felled, and the outraged castle stood in the midst of waste and desolation, excepting a few scattered old stumps, not judged worth the cutting. Now, the whole has been, ten or twelve years since, completely replanted, and the scattered seniors look as graceful as fathers surrounded by their children. The face of this immense estate has been scarcely less wonderfully changed. The scrambling tenants, who held a precarious tenure of lease under the Duke of Queensberry, at the risk (as actually took place) of losing their possession at his death, have given room to skilful and labouring men, working their farms regularly, and enjoying comfortable houses and their farms at a fair rent, which is enough to forbid idleness, but not enough to overpower industry.

August 25.—Here are Lord and Lady Home,[325] Charles Douglas,[326] Lord and Lady Charlotte Stopford.[327] I grieve to say the last, though as beautiful as ever, is extremely thin, and looks delicate. The Duke himself has grown up into a graceful and apparently strong young man, and received us most kindly. I think he will be well qualified to sustain his difficult and important task. The heart is excellent, so are the talents,—good sense and knowledge of the world, picked up at one of the great English schools (and it is one of their most important results), will prevent him from being deceived; and with perfect good-nature, he has a natural sense of his own situation, which will keep him from associating with unworthy companions. God bless him! His father and I loved each other well, and his beautiful mother had as much of the angel as is permitted to walk this earth. I see the balcony from which they welcomed poor Charlotte and me, long ere the ascent was surmounted, streaming out their white handkerchiefs from the battlements. There were four merry people that day—now one sad individual is all that remains. Singula praedantur anni. I had a long walk to-day through the new plantation, the Duchess's Walk by the Nith, etc. (formed by Prior's Kitty young and gay[328]); fell in with the ladies, but their donkeys outwalked me—a flock of sheep afterwards outwalked me, and I begin to think, on my conscience, that a snail put in training might soon outwalk me. I must lay the old salve to the old sore, and be thankful for being able to walk at all.

Nothing was written to-day, my writing-desk having been forgot at Parkgate, but Tom Crighton kindly fetched it up to-day, so something more or less may be done to-morrow morning—and now to dress.

[Bittock's Bridge,] August 26.—We took our departure from the friendly halls of Drumlanrig this morning after breakfast and leave-taking. I trust this young nobleman will be

"A hedge about his friends,
A hackle to his foes."[329]

I would have him not quite so soft-natured as his grandfather, whose kindness sometimes mastered his excellent understanding. His father had a temper which better lumped with my humour. Enough of ill-nature to keep your good-nature from being abused is no bad ingredient in their disposition who have favours to bestow.[330]

In coming from Parkgate here I intended to accomplish a purpose which I have for some years entertained, of visiting Lochwood, the ancient seat of the Johnstones, of which King James said, when he visited it, that the man who built it must have been a thief in his heart. It rained heavily, however, which prevented my making this excursion, and indeed I rather overwalked myself yesterday, and have occasion for rest.

"So sit down, Robin, and rest thee."

Abbotsford, August 27.—To-day we journeyed through the hills and amongst the storms; the weather rather bullying than bad. We viewed the Grey Mare's Tail, and I still felt confident in crawling along the ghastly bank by which you approach the fall. I will certainly get some road of application to Mr. Hope Johnstone, to pray him to make the place accessible. We got home before half-past five, having travelled forty miles.

Blair-Adam, August 28.—Set off with Walter and Jane at seven o'clock, and reached this place in the middle of dinner-time. By some of my not unusual blunders we had come a day before we were expected. Luckily, in this ceremonious generation, there are still houses where such blunders only cause a little raillery, and Blair-Adam is one of them. My excellent friend is in high health and spirits, to which the presence of Sir Frederick adds not a little.[331] His lady is here—a beautiful woman, whose countenance realises all the poetic dreams of Byron. There is certainly [a] something of full maturity of beauty which seems framed to be adoring and adored, and it is to be found in the full dark eye, luxuriant tresses, and rich complexion of Greece, and not among the pale unripened beauties of the north. What sort of a mind this exquisite casket may contain is not so easily known. She is anxious to please, and willing to be pleased, and, with her striking beauty, cannot fail to succeed.

August 29.—To-day we designed to go to Lochore. But "heigho! the wind and the rain." Besides Mrs. and Admiral Adam, Mrs. Loch, and Miss Adam, I find here Mr. Impey, son of that Sir Elijah celebrated in Indian history. He has himself been in India, but has, with a great deal of sense and observation, much better address than always falls to the share of the Eastern adventurer. The art of quiet and entertaining conversation, which is always easy as well as entertaining, is chiefly known in England. In Scotland we are pedantic and wrangle, or we run away with the harrows on some topic we chance to be discursive upon. In Ireland they have too much vivacity, and are too desirous to make a show, to preserve the golden mean. They are the Gascons of Britain. George Ellis was the best converser I ever knew; his patience and good breeding made me often ashamed of myself going off at score upon some favourite topic. Richard Sharp is so celebrated for this peculiar gift as to be generally called Conversation Sharp.[332] The worst of this talent is that it seems to lack sincerity. You never know what are the real sentiments of a good converser, or at least it is very difficult to discover to what extent he entertains them. His politeness is inconsistent with energy. For forming a good converser, good taste and extensive information and accomplishment are the principal requisites, to which must be added an easy and elegant delivery and a well-toned voice. I think the higher order of genius is not favourable to this talent.

Mrs. Impey, an intelligent person, likes music, and particularly Scotch airs, which few people play better than Mrs. Lockhart and Miss Louisa Adam. Had a letter from Mr. William Upcott, London Institution, proposing to me to edit an edition of Garrick's Correspondence, which I declined by letter of this day. Thorough decided downfall of rain. Nothing for it but patience and proof-sheets.

August 30.—The weather scarce permitted us more licence than yesterday, yet we went down to Lochore, and Walter and I perambulated the property, and discussed the necessity of a new road from the south-west, also that of planting some willows along the ditches in the low grounds. Returned to Blair-Adam to dinner.

Abbotsford, August 31.—Left Blair at seven in the morning. Transacted business with Cadell and Ballantyne, but our plans will, I think, be stopped or impeded by the operations before the Arbiter, Mr. Irving, who leans more to the side of the opposite [party] than I expected. I have a letter from Gibson, found on my arrival at Abbotsford, which gives rather a gloomy account of that matter. It seems strange that I am to be bound to write for men who have broken every bargain with me.

Arrived at Abbotsford at eight o'clock at night.


September 1.—Awaked with a headache, which the reconsideration of Gibson's news did not improve. We save Bonaparte however, and that is a great thing. I will not be downcast about it, let the worst come that can; but I wish I saw that worst. It is the devil to be struggling forward, like a man in the mire, and making not an inch by your exertions, and such seems to be my fate. Well! I have much to comfort me, and I will take comfort. If there be further wrath to come, I shall be glad that I bear it alone. Poor Charlotte was too much softened by prosperity to look adverse circumstances courageously in the face. Anne is young, and has Sophia and Jane to trust to for assistance.

September 2.—Wrote this morning, but only two pages or thereabouts. At twelve o'clock set out with Anne and Walter to visit at Makerstoun, but the road between Makerstoun and Merton being very bad, we drove, I dare say, thirty miles in going and coming, by a circuitous route, and only got home at half-past seven at night. Saw Lady Brisbane Makdougall, but not Sir Thomas.[333] Thought of old Sir Henry and his older father Sir George. Received a box of Australian seeds, forwarded by Andrew Murray, now head-gardener to the Governor, whom I detected a clever boy, among my labourers in 1812, and did a little for him. It is pleasant to see men thrive and be grateful at the same time, so good luck to "Andrew Mora," as we called him.

September 3.—Made up my necessary task for yesterday and to-day also, but not more, writing very heavily. Cousin Archie Swinton came to dinner. We had a dish of cousinred of course—and of auld lang syne.[334]

September 4.—Archie Swinton left us this morning early. I wrote from seven to half-past two; but, partly that I had five proof-sheets to correct, partly that like old John Fraser[335] "I was not very cleever to-day." I made out but a page and a half.

September 5.—Wrote task and half a page more. Terry arrived and brought with him a Mr. Bruce, from Persia, with an introduction, forsooth, from Mr. Blackwood. I will move a quo warranto against this species of introduction; and the good gentleman is to be here, he informs me, for two days. He is a dark, foreign-looking man, of small stature, and rather blunt manners, which may be easily accounted for by his having been in the East for thirty years. He has a considerable share of information, and made good play after dinner.

September 6.—Walter being to return to Ireland for three weeks set off to-day, and has taken Surtees and Charles with him. I fear this is but a wild plan, but the prospect seemed to make them so happy that I could not find in my heart to say "No" sufficiently peremptorily. So away they all went this morning to be as happy as they can. Youth is a fine carver and gilder. Went down to Huntly Burn, and dawdled about while waiting for the carriage to bring me back. Mr. Bruce and Colonel Ferguson pottered away about Persia and India, and I fell asleep by the fireside. Here is a fine spate of work—a day diddled away, and nothing to show for it! I must write letters now, there is nothing else for it. But—yaw—yaw—I must take a nap first. I had a letter from Jem Ballantyne, plague on him! full of remonstrance, deep and solemn, upon the carelessness of Bonaparte. The rogue is right too. But as to correcting my style to the

"Jemmy jemmy linkum feedle"

tune of what is called fine writing, I'll be d——d if I do. Drew £12 in favour of Charles for his Irish jaunt; same time exhorted him to make himself as expensive to Walter, in the way of eating and drinking, as he could. Mr. and Mrs. Impey arrived to dinner.

September 7.—Mr. Bruce, the bastinadoed, left us this morning promising wine from Shiraz and arms from India. From our joint observation he must be a half-caste, probably half an Arab. He told us of his having been taken by pirates in the Arabian Gulf, and having received two thousand bastinadoes on the soles of his feet, after which he was buried in a heap of dung by way of cure. Though the matter was certainly serious enough to the sufferer, yet it excited our suppressed, or scarce suppressed, mirth. Alas! let never traveller tell any distress which borders on the ludicrous if he desires to excite the sympathy of the audience.

Another thing he mentioned was the mode of seasoning timber for shipbuilding in the Arabian Gulf. They bury it in the sand within water-mark, and leave it exposed to the flux and reflux of the tide for six months at least, but often for twelve or eighteen. The tendency to vegetation which produces the dry-rot is thus prevented effectually, and the ships built of this wood last for twenty years.

We drove to Ashestiel in the morning, after I had written a good task, or nearly so (nay, I lie, it wanted half a page), and passed a pleasant day. Terry read Bobadil in the evening, which he has, I think, improved.

September 8.—I have rubbed up, by collation with Mr. Impey, Sir Frederick Adam's idea of the Greeks. He deeply regrets the present war as premature, undertaken before knowledge and rational education had extended themselves sufficiently. The neighbourhood of the Ionian Islands was fast producing civilisation; and as knowledge is power, it is clear that the example of Europeans, and the opportunities of education thereby afforded, must soon have given them an immense superiority over the Turk. This premature war has thrown all back into a state of barbarism. It was precipitated by the agents of Russia. Sir Frederick spoke most highly of Byron, the soundness of his views, the respect in which he was held—his just ideas of the Grecian cause and character, and the practical and rational wishes which he formed for them. Singular that a man whose conduct in his own personal affairs had been anything but practical should be thus able to stand by the helm of a sinking state! Sir Frederick thinks he might have done much for them if he had lived. The rantipole friends of liberty, who go about freeing nations with the same success which Don Quixote had in redressing wrongs, have, of course, blundered everything which they touched. The Impeys left us to-day, and Captain Hugh Scott and his lady arrived. Task is bang-up.

September 9.—I begin to fear Nap. will swell to seven volumes. I have a long letter from James B. threatening me with eight; but that is impossible. The event of his becoming Emperor is the central point of his history. Now I have just attained it, and it is the centre of the third volume. Two volumes and a half may be necessary to complete the whole. Walked with Hugh Scott up the Rhymer's Glen, and round by the lake. Mr. Bainbridge of Gattonside House dined, also Colonel Ferguson. Was bang up to my task again this day.

September 10.—Corrected proof-sheets in the morning, then immured myself to write, the more willingly that the day seemed showery; but I found myself obliged to read and study the map so much that I did not get over half a sheet written. Walked with Hugh Scott through Haxell Cleuch. Great pleasure to show the young wood to any who understands them well.

September 11.—Jane and her mother go into town this morning, and Anne with them, to look out a lodging for us during the time we must pass in town. It seems strange to have this to do, having had always my father's house or my own to go to. But—Sic transit gloria mundi.

Well, it is half-past twelve o'clock, and at length having regulated all disappointments as to post-horses, and sent three or four servants three or four miles to remedy blunders, which a little forethought might have prevented, my family and guests are separated—

"Like youthful steers let loose, east, north, and south."[336]

Miss Miln goes to Stirling; the Scotts to Lessudden; Anne and Jane to Edinburgh; and I am left alone. I must needs go up and see some operations about the spring which supplies us with water, though I calculate my presence is not very necessary. So now—to work—to work.

But I reckoned without my host, or, I should rather say, without my guest. Just as I had drawn in my chair, fitted a new "Bramah" on the stick, and was preparing to feague it away, I had a call from the son of an old friend, Mr. Waldie of Henderland. As he left me, enter young Whytbank and Mr. Auriol Hay[337] of the Lyon Office, and we had a long armorial chat together, which lasted for some time—then the library was to be looked at, etc. So, when they went away, I had little better to do than to walk up to the spring which they are digging, and to go to my solitary dinner on my return.

September 12.—Notwithstanding what is above said, I made out my task yesterday, or nearly so, by working after dinner. After all, these interruptions are not such bad things; they make a man keen of the work which he is withheld from, and differ in that point much from the indulgence of an indisposition to labour in your own mind, which increases by indulgence. Les fâcheux seldom interrupt your purpose absolutely and entirely—you stick to it for contradiction's sake.

Well, I visited the spring in the morning, and completed my task afterwards. As I slept for a few minutes in my chair, to which I am more addicted than I could wish, I heard, as I thought, my poor wife call me by the familiar name of fondness which she gave me. My recollections on waking were melancholy enough. These be

"The airy tongues that syllable men's names."[338]

All, I believe, have some natural desire to consider these unusual impressions as bodements of good or evil to come. But alas! this is a prejudice of our own conceit. They are the empty echoes of what is past, not the foreboding voice of what is to come.

I dined at the Club to-day at Selkirk, and acted as croupier. There were eighteen dined; young men chiefly, and of course young talk. But so it has been, will be, and must be.

September 13.—Wrote my task in the morning, and thereafter had a letter from that sage Privy Councillor and booby of a Baronet,——. This unutterable idiot proposes to me that I shall propose to the Dowager Duchess of ——, and offers his own right honourable intervention to bring so beautiful a business to bear. I am struck dumb with the assurance of his folly—absolutely mute and speechless—and how to prevent him making me further a fool is not easy, for the wretch has left me no time to assure him of the absurdity of what he proposes; and if he should ever hint at such a piece of d——d impertinence, what must the lady think of my conceit or of my feelings! I will write to his present quarters, however, that he may, if possible, have warning not to continue this absurdity.[339]

Dined at Major Scott, my cousin's, where was old Lord Buchan. He, too, is a prince of Bores, but age has tamed him a little, and like the giant Pope in the Pilgrim's Progress, he can only sit and grin at Pilgrims as they go past, and is not able to cast a fank[340] over them as formerly. A few quiet puns seem his most formidable infliction nowadays.

September 14.—I should not have forgotten, among the memorabilia of yesterday, that Mr. Nasmyth, the dentist, and his family called, and I showed them the lions, for truly he that has rid a man of the toothache is well entitled to command a part of his time. Item, two young Frenchmen made their way to our sublime presence in guerdon of a laudatory copy of French verses sent up the evening before, by way of "Open Sesame," I suppose. I have not read them, nor shall I. No man that ever wrote a line despised the pap of praise so heartily as I do. There is nothing I scorn more, except those who think the ordinary sort of praise or censure is matter of the least consequence. People have almost always some private view of distinguishing themselves, or of gratifying their curiosity—some point, in short, to carry, with which you have no relation, when they take the trouble to praise you. In general, it is their purpose to get the person praised to puff away in return. To me their rank praises no more make amends for their bad poetry than tainted butter would pass off stale fish.

September 15.—Many proofs to correct and dates to compare. What signify dates in a true story? I was fidgety after breakfast, owing to perusing some advices from J. Gibson, poor fellow. I will not be discouraged, come of things what will. However, I could not write continuously, but went out by starts, and amused myself by cutting trees in the avenue. Thus I dawdled till Anne and Jane came home with merry faces, and raised my spirits of course. After tea I e'en took heart of grace and finished my task, as I now do this day's journal.

September 16.—Worked hard to-day, and in morning and evening made out five pages and a half, as much perhaps as one should attempt, yet I was not overworked. On the contrary, went out with Tom about one o'clock and cut trees, etc., to clear the avenue; and favour the growth of such trees as are designed for standards. I received visits too—the Laird of Bemerside,[341] who had been for nine years in Italy with his family—also the Laird of Kippielaw. Anne and Jane drove up and called at the Haining.

I expected James Ballantyne to dinner as he proposed, but the worthy typographer appeared not. He is sometimes inaccurate in keeping such appointments, which is not according to the "Academy of compliments." But in the letter which announced his intended visit, he talked of having received himself a visit from the Cholera Morbus. I shall be very sorry if so unwelcome a guest be the cause of the breach of his appointment.

September 17.—Rather surprised with a letter from Lord Melville, informing me that he and Mr. Peel had put me into the Commission for inquiring into the condition of the Colleges in Scotland. I know little on the subject, but I dare say as much as some of the official persons who are inserted of course. The want of efficient men is the reason alleged. I must of course do my best, though I have little hope of being useful, and the time it will occupy is half ruinous to me, to whom time is everything. Besides, I suppose the honour is partly meant as an act of grace for Malachi. I shall never repent of that escapade, although it offended persons for the time whose good opinion I value. J.B. continues ill at Teviot Grove, as they call it. I am a little anxious about him.

I finished my task and an extra page—hope to do another before supper. Accomplished the said diligent purpose.

September 18.—Rainy and gloomy—that small sifting rain driving on an eastern gale which intermits not. Wrote letters to Lord Melville, etc, and agreed to act under the Commission. Settled to be at Melville Castle, Saturday 24th. I fear this will interfere consumedly with business. I corrected proof-sheets, and wrote a good deal, but intend to spend the rest of the day in reading and making notes. No bricks to be made without straw.

[Jedburgh,] September 19.—Circuit. Went to poor Mr. Shortreed's, and regretted bitterly the distress of the family, though they endeavoured to bear it bravely, and to make my reception as comfortable and even cheerful as possible. My old friend R.S. gave me a ring found in a grave at the Abbey, to be kept in memory of his son. I will certainly preserve it with especial care.[342]

Many trifles at circuit, chiefly owing to the cheap whisky, as they were almost all riots. One case of assault on a deaf and dumb woman. She was herself the chief evidence; but being totally without education, and having, from her situation, very imperfect notions of a Deity, and a future state, no oath could be administered. Mr. Kinniburgh, teacher of the deaf and dumb, was sworn interpreter, together with another person, a neighbour, who knew the accidental or conventional signs which the poor thing had invented for herself, as Mr. K. was supposed to understand the more general or natural signs common to people in such a situation. He went through the task with much address, and it was wonderful to see them make themselves intelligible to each other by mere pantomime. Still I did [not] consider such evidence as much to be trusted to in a criminal case. Several previous interviews had been necessary between the interpreter and the witness, and this is very much like getting up a story. Some of the signs, brief in themselves, of which Mr. K. gave long interpretations, put me in mind of Lord Burleigh in the Critic: "Did he mean all this by the shake of the head?" "Yes, if he shook his head as I taught him."[343] The man was found not guilty. Mr. K. told us of a pupil of his whom he restored, as it may be said, to humanity, and who told him that his ideas of another world were that some great person in the skies lighted up the sun in the morning as he saw his mother light her fire, and the stars in the evening as she kindled a lamp. He said the witness had ideas of truth and falsehood, which was, I believe, true; and that she had an idea of punishment in a future state, which I doubt. He confessed she could not give any guess at its duration, whether temporary or eternal. I should like to know if Mr. K. is in that respect much wiser than his pupils. Dined, of course, with Lord Mackenzie, the Judge.

September 20.—Waked after a restless night, in which I dreamed of poor Tom Shortreed. Breakfasted with the Rev. Dr. Somerville.[344] This venerable gentleman is one of the oldest of the literary brotherhood—I suppose about eighty-seven, and except a little deafness quite entire. Living all his life in good society as a gentleman born—and having, besides, professional calls to make among the poor—he must know, of course, much that is curious concerning the momentous changes which have passed under his eyes. He talks of them accordingly, and has written something on the subject, but has scarce the force necessary to seize on the most striking points, "palabras, neighbour Verges,"[345]—gifts which God gives. The bowl that rolls easiest along the green goes furthest, and has least clay sticking to it. I have often noticed that a kindly, placid good-humour is the companion of longevity, and, I suspect, frequently the leading cause of it. Quick, keen, sharp observation, with the power of contrast and illustration, disturbs this easy current of thought. My good friend, the venerable Doctor, will not, I think, die of that disease.

Called at Nesbit Mill on my cousin Charles. His wife received me better than I deserved, for I have been a sad neglectful visitor. She has a very pleasant countenance.

Some of the Circuit lawyers dined here, namely R. Dundas, Borthwick, the facetious Peter Robertson,[346] Mr. R. Adam Dundas, and with them Henry Scott of Harden.

September 21.—Our party breakfasted late, and I was heavy-headed, and did not rise till eight. Had drank a little more wine than usual, but as our friend Othello says, "that's not much."[347] However, we dawdled about till near noon ere all my guests left me. Then I walked a little and cut some wood. Read afterwards. I can't get on without it. How did I get on before?—that's a secret. Mr. Thomas Tod[348] and his wife came to dine. We talked of old stories and got over a pleasant evening.

September 22.—Still no writing. We have materials to collect. D—-n you, Mother Duty, hold your tongue! I tell you, you know nothing of the matter. Besides, I corrected five sheets. I wish you had to do with some other people, just to teach you the difference. I grant that the day being exquisite I went and thinned out the wood from the north front of the house. Read and noted a great deal.

September 23.—Wrought in the morning, but only at reading and proofs. That cursed battle of Jena is like to cost me more time than it did Bonaparte to gain it. I met Colonel Ferguson about one, to see his dogs run. It is a sport I have loved well, but now, I know not why, I find it little interesting. To be sure I used to gallop, and that I cannot now do. We had good sport, however, and killed five hares. I felt excited during the chase, but the feeling was but momentary. My mind was immediately turned to other remembrances, and to pondering upon the change which had taken place in my own feelings. The day was positively heavenly, and the wild hillside, with our little coursing party, was beautiful to look at. Yet I felt like a man come from the dead, looking with indifference on that which interested him while living. So it must be

"When once life's day is near the gloaming."[349]

We dined at Huntly Burn. Kind and comfortable as usual.

September 24.—I made a rally to-day and wrote four pages, or nearly. Never stirred abroad the whole day, but was made happy after dinner by the return of Charles and Surtees full of their Irish jaunt, and happy as young men are with the change of scene. To-morrow I must go to Melville Castle. I wonder what I can do or say about these Universities. One thing occurs—the distribution of bursaries only ex meritis. That is, I would have the presentations continue in the present patrons, but exact that those presented should be qualified by success in their literary attainments and distinction acquired at school to hold these scholarships. This seems to be following out the idea of the founders, who, doubtless, intended the furthering of good literature. To give education to dull mediocrity is a flinging of the children's bread to dogs—it is sharpening a hatchet on a razor-strop, which renders the strop useless, and does no good to the hatchet. Well, something we will do.

September 25.—Morning spent in making up proofs and copy. Set out for Melville Castle with Jane, who goes on to her mother at Edinburgh.

Found Lord and Lady M. in great distress. Their son Robert is taken ill at a Russian town about 350 miles from Moscow—dangerously ill. The distance increases the extreme distress of the parents, who, however, bore it like themselves. I was glad to spend a day upon the old terms with such old friends, and believe my being with them, even in this moment of painful suspense, as it did not diminish the kindness of my reception, certainly rather seemed to divert them from the cruel subject.

Dr. Nicoll, Principal of St. Andrews, dined—a very gentlemanlike sensible man. We spoke of the visitation, of granting degrees, of public examinations, of abolishing the election of professors by the Senatus Academicus (a most pregnant source of jobs), and much beside—but all desultory—and Lord M. had either nothing particular to say to me, or was too much engrossed with his family distress to enter upon it. He proposes to be here in the end of October.

September 26.—Returned to Abbotsford after breakfast. Here is a cool thing of my friend J.W. C[roker]. The Duke of Clarence, dining at the Pavilion with the King, happened by choice or circumstance to sit lower than usual at the table, and being at that time on bad terms with the Board of Admiralty, took an opportunity to say, that were he king he would do all that away, and assume the office of Lord High Admiral. "Your R.H. may act with great prudence," said C[roker]. "The last monarch who did so was James II." Presently after H.M. asked what they were talking of. "It's only his R.H. of C," answered C[roker], "who is so condescending as to tell us what he will do when he is king."

A long letter from R.P. Gillies. I wonder how even he could ask me to announce myself as the author of Annotations on German Novels which he is to write.

September 27.—A day of honest labour—but having much to read, proofs to send off, etc., I was only able to execute my task by three o'clock P.M. Then I went to direct the cutting of wood along the road in front of the house. Dined at Chiefswood with Captain and Mrs. Hamilton, Lady Lucy Whitmore, their guest, and neighbours from Gattonside and Huntly Burn.

September 28.—Another hard brush, and finished four pages by twelve o'clock, then drove out to Cowdenknowes, for a morning visit. The house is ancient and curious, though modernised by vile improvements of a modern roof and windows. The inhabited part has over the principal door the letters S.I.H.V.I.H. The first three indicate probably Sir John Hume, but what are we to make of the rest? I will look at them more heedfully one day. There is a large room said to have been built for the reception of Queen Mary; if so, it has been much modernised. The date on the door is 1576, which would [not] bear out the tradition. The last two letters probably signify Lady Hume's name, but what are we to make of the V? Dr. Hume thinks it means Uxor, but why should that word be in Latin and the rest in Scotch?

Returned to dinner, corrected proofs, and hope still to finish another leaf, being in light working humour. Finished the same accordingly.

[Abbotsford,] September 29.—A sort of zeal of working has seized me, which I must avail myself of. No dejection of mind, and no tremor of nerves, for which God be humbly thanked. My spirits are neither low nor high—grave, I think, and quiet—a complete twilight of the mind.

Good news of John Lockhart from Lady Montagu, who most kindly wrote on that interesting topic.

I wrote five pages, nearly a double task, yet wandered for three hours, axe in hand, superintending the thinning of the home planting. That does good too. I feel it give steadiness to my mind. Women, it is said, go mad much seldomer than men. I fancy, if this be true, it is in some degree owing to the little manual works in which they are constantly employed, which regulate in some degree the current of ideas, as the pendulum regulates the motion of the timepiece. I do not know if this is sense or nonsense, but I am sensible that if I were in solitary confinement, without either the power of taking exercise or employing myself in study, six months would make me a madman or an idiot.

September 30.—Wrote four pages. Honest James Ballantyne came about five. I had been cutting wood for two hours. He brought his child, a remarkably fine boy, well-bred, quiet, and amiable. James and I had a good comfortable chat, the boys being at Gattonside House. I am glad to see him bear up against misfortune like a man. "Bread we shall eat, or white or brown," that's the moral of it, Master Muggins.


October 1.—Wrote my task, then walked from one till half-past four. Dogs took a hare. They always catch one on Sunday—a Puritan would say the devil was in them. I think I shall get more done this evening. I would fain conclude the volume at the Treaty of Tilsit, which will make it a pretty long one, by the by. J.B. expressed himself much pleased with Nap., which gives me much courage. He is gloomy enough when things are not well. And then I will try something at my Canongate. They talk about the pitcher going to the well; but if it goes not to the well, how shall we get water? It will bring home none when it stands on the shelf, I trow. In literature, as in love, courage is half the battle.

"The public born to be controlled
Stoops to the forward and the bold."

October 2.—Wrote my task. Went out at one and wrought in the wood till four. I was made happy by a letter from my nephew, little Walter, as we used to call him, from his age and size, compared to those of his cousin. He has been kindly received at Bombay by the Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone, and by Sir Thomas Bradford. He is taking his ground, I think, prudently, and is likely to get on. Already first Lieutenant of Engineers—that is well to begin with.

Colonel Ferguson, Miss Margaret, and some ladies, friends of theirs, dine, also Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw, and James Laidlaw, and young Mr. N. Milne.

October 3.—I wrote my task as usual, but, strange to tell, there is a want of paper. I expect some to-day. In the meantime, to avoid all quarrel with Dame Duty, I cut up some other leaves into the usual statutory size. They say of a fowl that if you draw a chalk line on a table, and lay chick-a-diddle down with his bill upon it, the poor thing will imagine himself opposed by an insurmountable barrier, which he will not attempt to cross. Suchlike are one-half of the obstacles which serve to interrupt our best resolves, and such is my pretended want of paper. It is like Sterne's want of sous when he went to relieve the Pauvre Honteux.

October 4.—I ought to record with gratitude to God Almighty the continued health of body and mind, which He hath vouchsafed to grant me. I have had of late no accesses either of bile or of nervous affection, and by mixing exercise with literary labour, I have escaped the tremor cordis which on other occasions has annoyed me cruelly. I went to the inspection of the Selkirkshire Yeomanry, by Colonel Thornhill, 7th Hussars. The Colonel is a remarkably fine-looking man, and has a good address. His brow bears token of the fatigues of war. He is a great falconer, and has promised to fly his hawks on Friday for my amusement, and to spend the day at Abbotsford. The young Duke of B. was on the field looking at the corps, most of whom are his tenants. They did very well, and are fine, smart young men, and well mounted. Too few of them though, which is a pity. The exercise is a work which in my time I have loved well.

Finished my task at night.

October 5.—I was thinking this morning that my time glided away in a singularly monotonous manner, like one of those dark grey days which neither promise sunshine nor threaten rain; too melancholy for enjoyment, too tranquil for repining. But this day has brought a change which somewhat shakes my philosophy. I find by a letter from J. Gibson that I may go to London without danger, and if I may, I in a manner must, to examine the papers in the Secretary of State's office about Bon. when at Saint Helena. The opportunity having been offered must be accepted, and yet I had much rather stay at home. Even the prospect of seeing Sophia and Lockhart must be mingled with pain, yet this is foolish too. Lady Hamilton[350] writes me that Pozzo di Borgo,[351] the Russian Minister at Paris, is willing to communicate to me some particulars of Bonaparte's early life. Query—might I not go on there? In for a penny, in for a pound. I intend to take Anne with me, and the pleasure will be great to her, who deserves much at my hand.

October 6.—Charles and his friend Surtees left us this morning.

Went to see Colonel Thornhill's hawks fly. Some part of the amusement is very beautiful, particularly the first flight of the hawks, when they sweep so beautifully round the company, jingling their bells from time to time, and throwing themselves into the most elegant positions as they gaze about for their prey. But I do not wonder that the impatience of modern times has renounced this expensive and precarious mode of sporting. The hawks are liable to various misfortunes, and are besides addicted to fly away; one of ours was fairly lost for the day, and one or two went off without permission, but returned. We killed a crow and frightened a snipe. There are, however, ladies and gentlemen enough to make a gallant show on the top of Mintlaw Kipps. The falconer made a fine figure—a handsome and active young fellow with the falcon on his wrist. The Colonel was most courteous, and named a hawk after me, which was a compliment. The hawks are not named till they have merited that distinction. I walked about six miles and was not fatigued.

There dined with us Colonel Thornhill, Clifton, young Whytbank, Spencer Stanhope, and his brother, with Miss Tod and my old friend Locker,[352] Secretary to Greenwich Hospital. We did not break up the party till one in the morning, and were very well amused.

October 7.—A weary day of rain. Locker and I chatted from time to time, and I wrought not at Boney, but upon the prose works, of which I will have a volume ready to send in on Monday. I got a letter from John Gibson, with an offer by Longman for Napoleon of ten thousand five hundred guineas,[353] which I have advised them to accept. Also I hear there is some doubt of my getting to London, from the indecision of these foolish Londoners.

I don't care whether I go or no! And yet it is unpleasant to see how one's motions depend on scoundrels like these. Besides, I would like to be there, were it but to see how the cat jumps. One knows nothing of the world, if you are absent from it so long as I have been.

October 8.—Locker left me this morning. He is of opinion the ministry must soon assume another form, but that the Whigs will not come in. Lord Liverpool holds much by Lord Melville—well in point of judgment—and by the Duke of Wellington—still better, but then the Duke is a soldier—a bad education for a statesman in a free country. The Chancellor is also consulted by the Premier on all law affairs. Canning and Huskisson are at the head of the other party, who may be said to have taken the Cabinet by storm, through sheer dint of talent. I should like to see how these ingredients are working; but by the grace of God, I will take care of putting my finger into the cleft stick.

Locker has promised to get my young cousin Walter Scott on some quarter-deck or other.

Received from Mr. Cadell the second instalment advance of cash on Canongate. It is in English bills and money, in case of my going to town.

October 9.—A gracious letter from Messrs. Abud and Son, bill-brokers, etc.; assure Mr. Gibson that they will institute no legal proceedings against me for four or five weeks. And so I am permitted to spend my money and my leisure to improve the means of paying them their debts, for that is the only use of my present journey. They are Jews: I suppose the devil baits for Jews with a pork griskin. Were I not to exert myself, I wonder where their money is to come from.

A letter from Gillies menacing the world with a foreign miscellany. The plan is a good one, but "he canna haud it," as John Moodie[354] says. He will think all is done when he has got a set of names, and he will find the difficulty consists not in that, but in getting articles. I wrote on the prose works.

Lord and Lady Minto dined and spent the night at Abbotsford.

October 10.—Well, I must prepare for going to London, and perhaps to Paris. The morning frittered away. I slept till eight o'clock, then our guests till twelve; then walked out to direct some alterations on the quarry, which I think may at little expense be rendered a pretty recess. Wordsworth swears by an old quarry, and is in some degree a supreme authority on such points. Rain came on; returned completely wet. I had next the displeasure to find that I had lost the conclusion of vol. v. of Napoleon, seven or eight pages at least, which I shall have to write over again, unless I can find it. Well, as Othello says, "that's not much." My cousin James Scott came to dinner.

I have great unwillingness to set out on this journey; I almost think it ominous; but

"They that look to freits, my master dear,
Their freits will follow them."[355]

I will stick to my purpose. Answered a letter from Gillies about establishing a foreign journal; a good plan, but I fear in sorry hands. Of those he names as his assistants they who can be useful will do little, and the labours of those who are willing to work will rather hold the publication down. I fear it will not do.

I am downhearted about leaving all my things, after I was quietly settled; it is a kind of disrooting that recalls a thousand painful ideas of former happier journeys. And to be at the mercy of these fellows! God help—but rather God bless—man must help himself.

October 11.—We are ingenious self-tormentors. This journey annoys me more than anything of the kind in my life. My wife's figure seems to stand before me, and her voice is in my ears—"Scott, do not go." It half frightens me. Strong throbbing at my heart, and a disposition to be very sick. It is just the effect of so many feelings which had been lulled asleep by the uniformity of my life, but which awaken on any new subject of agitation. Poor, poor Charlotte!! I cannot daub it further. I get incapable of arranging my papers too. I will go out for half-an-hour. God relieve me!

I quelled this hysterica passio by pushing a walk towards Kaeside and back again, but when I returned I still felt uncomfortable, and all the papers I wanted were out of the way, and all those I did not want seemed to place themselves under my fingers; my cash, according to the nature of riches in general, made to itself wings and fled, I verily believe from one hiding-place to another. To appease this insurrection of the papers, I gave up putting my things in order till to-morrow morning.

Dined at Kippielaw with a party of neighbours. They had cigars for me, very politely. But I must break folks off this. I would [not] willingly be like old Dr. Parr, or any such quiz, who has his tastes and whims, forsooth, that must be gratified. So no cigars on the journey.

October 12.[356]—Reduced my rebellious papers to order. Set out after breakfast, and reached Carlisle at eight o'clock at night.

Rokeby Park, October 13.—We were off before seven, and visiting Appleby Castle by the way (a most interesting and curious place), we got to Morritt's[357] about half-past four, where we had as warm a welcome as one of the warmest hearts in the world could give an old friend. I saw his nephew's wife for the first time, a very pleasing young person. It was great pleasure to me to see Morritt happy in the midst of his family circle, undisturbed, as heretofore, by the sickness of any dear to him.

On recalling my own recollections during my journey I may note that I found great pleasure in my companion's conversation, as well as in her mode of managing all her little concerns on the road. I am apt to judge of character by good-humour and alacrity in these petty concerns. I think the inconveniences of a journey seem greater to me than formerly; while, on the other hand, the pleasures it affords are rather less. The ascent of Stainmore seemed duller and longer than usual, and Bowes, which used to strike me as a distinguished feature, seemed an ill-formed mass of rubbish, a great deal lower than I had supposed; yet I have seen it twenty times at least. On the other hand, what I lose in my own personal feelings I gain in those of my companion, who shows an intelligent curiosity and interest in what she sees. I enjoy therefore, reflectively, veluti in speculo, the sort of pleasure to which I am now less accessible.

October 14.—Strolled about in the morning with Morritt, and saw his new walk up the Tees, which he is just concocting. Got a pamphlet he has written on the Catholic Question. In 1806 he had other views on that subject, but "live and learn" as they say. One of his squibs against Fox and Grenville's Administration concludes—

"Though they sleep with the devil, yet theirs is the hope,
On the scum of old England, to rise with the Pope."

Set off at two, and reached Wetherby to supper and bed.

It was the Corporation of Leeds that by a subscription of £80,000 brought in the anti-Catholic candidate. I remember their subscribing a similar sum to bring in Morritt, if he would have stood.

Saw in Morritt's possession an original miniature of Milton by Cooper—a valuable thing indeed. The pedigree seemed authentic. It was painted for his favourite daughter—had come into possession of some of the Davenants—was then in the Devonshire collection from which it was stolen. Afterwards purchased by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and at his sale by Morritt or his father.[358] The countenance handsome and dignified, with a strong expression of genius, probably the only portrait of Milton taken from the life excepting the drawing from which Faithorne's head is done.

[Grantham,] October 15.—Old England is no changeling. It is long since I travelled this road, having come up to town chiefly by sea of late years, but things seem much the same. One race of red-nosed innkeepers are gone, and their widows, eldest sons, or head-waiters exercise hospitality in their room with the same bustle and importance. Other things seem, externally at least, much the same. The land, however, is much better ploughed; straight ridges everywhere adopted in place of the old circumflex of twenty years ago. Three horses, however, or even four, are often seen in a plough yoked one before the other. Ill habits do not go out at once. We slept at Grantham, where we met with Captain William Lockhart and his lady, bound for London like ourselves.

[Biggleswade,] October 16.—Visited Burleigh this morning; the first time I ever saw that grand place, where there are so many objects of interest and curiosity. The house is magnificent, in the style of James I.'s reign, and consequently in mixed Gothic. Of paintings I know nothing; so shall attempt to say nothing. But whether to connoisseurs, or to an ignorant admirer like myself, the Salvator Mundi, by Carlo Dolci, must seem worth a King's ransom. Lady Exeter, who was at home, had the goodness or curiosity to wish to see us. She is a beauty after my own heart; a great deal of liveliness in the face; an absence alike of form and of affected ease, and really courteous after a genuine and ladylike fashion.

We reached Biggleswade to-night at six, and paused here to wait for the Lockharts. Spent the evening together.

[Pall Mall,] October 17.—Here am I in this capital once more, after an April-weather meeting with my daughter and Lockhart. Too much grief in our first meeting to be joyful; too much pleasure to be distressing—a giddy sensation between the painful and the pleasurable. I will call another subject.

Read over Sir John Chiverton[359] and Brambletye House[360]—novels in what I may surely claim as the style

"Which I was born to introduce—
Refined it first, and show'd its use."

They are both clever books; one in imitation of the days of chivalry; the other (by Horace Smith, one of the authors of the Rejected Addresses) dated in the time of the Civil Wars, and introducing historical characters. I read both with great interest during the journey.

I am something like Captain Bobadil[361] who trained up a hundred gentlemen to fight very nearly, if not altogether, as well as myself. And so far I am convinced of this, that I believe were I to publish the Canongate Chronicles without my name (nom de guerre, I mean) the event would be a corollary to the fable of the peasant who made the real pig squeak against the imitator, while the sapient audience hissed the poor grunter as if inferior to the biped in his own language. The peasant could, indeed, confute the long-eared multitude by showing piggy; but were I to fail as a knight with a white and maiden shield, and then vindicate my claim to attention by putting "By the Author of Waverley" in the title, my good friend Publicum would defend itself by stating I had tilted so ill, that my course had not the least resemblance to my former doings, when indisputably I bore away the garland. Therefore I am as firmly and resolutely determined that I will tilt under my own cognisance. The hazard, indeed, remains of being beaten. But there is a prejudice (not an undue one neither) in favour of the original patentee; and Joe Manton's name has borne out many a sorry gun-barrel. More of this to-morrow.

Expense of journey,£4100
Anne, pocket-money,500
Servants on journey,200
Cash in purse (silver not reckoned),200

This is like to be an expensive journey; but if I can sell an early copy of the work to a French translator, it should bring me home.

Thank God, little Johnnie Hoo, as he calls himself, is looking well, though the poor dear child is kept always in a prostrate posture.

October 18.—I take up again my remarks on imitators. I am sure I mean the gentlemen no wrong by calling them so, and heartily wish they had followed a better model; but it serves to show me veluti in speculo my own errors, or, if you will, those of the style. One advantage, I think, I still have over all of them. They may do their fooling with better grace; but I, like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, do it more natural.[362] They have to read old books and consult antiquarian collections to get their knowledge; I write because I have long since read such works, and possess, thanks to a strong memory, the information which they have to seek for. This leads to a dragging-in historical details by head and shoulders, so that the interest of the main piece is lost in minute descriptions of events which do not affect its progress. Perhaps I have sinned in this way myself; indeed, I am but too conscious of having considered the plot only as what Bayes[363] calls the means of bringing in fine things; so that in respect to the descriptions, it resembled the string of the showman's box, which he pulls to show in succession Kings, Queens, the Battle of Waterloo, Bonaparte at Saint Helena, Newmarket Races, and White-headed Bob floored by Jemmy from town. All this I may have done, but I have repented of it; and in my better efforts, while I conducted my story through the agency of historical personages, and by connecting it with historical incidents, I have endeavoured to weave them pretty closely together, and in future I will study this more. Must not let the background eclipse the principal figures—the frame overpower the picture.

Another thing in my favour is, that my contemporaries steal too openly. Mr. Smith has inserted in Brambletye House whole pages from Defoe's Fire and Plague of London.

"Steal! foh! a fico for the phrase—
Convey, the wise it call!"[364]

When I convey an incident or so, I am at as much pains to avoid detection as if the offence could be indicted in literal fact at the Old Bailey.

But leaving this, hard pressed as I am by these imitators, who must put the thing out of fashion at last, I consider, like a fox at his last shifts, whether there be a way to dodge them, some new device to throw them off, and have a mile or two of free ground, while I have legs and wind left to use it. There is one way to give novelty: to depend for success on the interest of a well-contrived story. But woe's me! that requires thought, consideration—the writing out a regular plan or plot—above all the adhering to one—which I never can do, for the ideas rise as I write, and bear such a disproportioned extent to that which each occupied at the first concoction, that (cocksnowns!) I shall never be able to take the trouble; and yet to make the world stare, and gain a new march ahead of them all!!! Well, something we still will do.

"Liberty's in every blow;
Let us do or die!"

Poor Rob Burns! to tack thy fine strains of sublime patriotism! Better take Tristram Shandy's vein. Hand me my cap and bells there. So now, I am equipped. I open my raree-show with

Ma'am, will you walk in, and fal de ral diddle?
And, sir, will you stalk in, and fal de ral diddle?
And, miss, will you pop in, and fal de ral diddle?
And, master, pray hop in, and fal de ral diddle?

Query—How long is it since I heard that strain of dulcet mood, and where or how came I to pick it up? It is not mine, "though by your smiling you seem to say so."[365] Here is a proper morning's work! But I am childish with seeing them all well and happy here; and as I can neither whistle nor sing, I must let the giddy humour run to waste on paper.

Sallied forth in the morning; bought a hat. Met S[ir] W[illiam] K[nighton],[366] from whose discourse I guess that Malachi has done me no prejudice in a certain quarter; with more indications of the times, which I need not set down. Sallied again after breakfast, and visited the Piccadilly ladies.[367] Saw Rogers and Richard Sharp, also good Dr. and Mrs. Hughes, also the Duchess of Buckingham, and Lady Charlotte Bury, with a most beautiful little girl. [Owen] Rees breakfasted, and agreed I should have what the Frenchman has offered for the advantage of translating Napoleon, which, being a hundred guineas, will help my expenses to town and down again.

October 19.—I rose at my usual time, but could not write; so read Southey's History of the Peninsular War. It is very good indeed,—honest English principle in every line; but there are many prejudices, and there is a tendency to augment a work already too long by saying all that can be said of the history of ancient times appertaining to every place mentioned. What care we whether Saragossa be derived from Caesarea Augusta? Could he have proved it to be Numantium, there would have been a concatenation accordingly.[368]

Breakfasted at Rogers' with Sir Thomas Lawrence; Luttrell, the great London wit;[369] Richard Sharp, etc. Sam made us merry with an account of some part of Rose's Ariosto; proposed that the Italian should be printed on the other side for the sake of assisting the indolent reader to understand the English; and complained of his using more than once the phrase of a lady having "voided her saddle," which would certainly sound extraordinary at Apothecaries' Hall. Well, well, Rose carries a dirk too.[370] The morning was too dark for Westminster Abbey, which we had projected.

I went to the Foreign Office, and am put by Mr. Wilmot Horton into the hands of a confidential clerk, Mr. Smith, who promises access to everything. Then saw Croker, who gave me a bundle of documents. Sir George Cockburn promises his despatches and journal. In short, I have ample prospect of materials.

Dined with Mrs. Coutts. Tragi-comic distress of my good friend on the marriage of her presumptive heir with a daughter of Lucien Bonaparte.

October 20.—Commanded down to pass a day at Windsor. This is very kind of His Majesty.

At breakfast, Crofton Croker, author of the Irish Fairy Tales—little as a dwarf, keen-eyed as a hawk, and of very prepossessing manners. Something like Tom Moore. There were also Terry, Allan Cunningham, Newton, and others. Now I must go to work.

Went down to Windsor, or rather to the Lodge in the Forest, which, though ridiculed by connoisseurs, seems to be no bad specimen of a royal retirement, and is delightfully situated. A kind of cottage ornée—too large perhaps for the style—but yet so managed that in the walks you only see parts of it at once, and these well composed and grouping with immense trees. His Majesty received me with the same mixture of kindness and courtesy which has always distinguished his conduct towards me. There was no company beside the royal retinue—Lady C[onyngham], her daughter, and two or three other ladies. After we left table, there was excellent music by the Royal Band, who lay ambushed in a green-house adjoining the apartment. The King made me sit beside him and talk a great deal—too much, perhaps—for he has the art of raising one's spirits, and making you forget the retenue which is prudent everywhere, especially at court. But he converses himself with so much ease and elegance, that you lose thoughts of the prince in admiring the well-bred and accomplished gentleman. He is, in many respects, the model of a British monarch—has little inclination to try experiments on government otherwise than through his ministers—sincerely, I believe, desires the good of his subjects, is kind toward the distressed, and moves and speaks "every inch a king."[371] I am sure such a man is fitter for us than one who would long to head armies, or be perpetually intermeddling with la grande politique. A sort of reserve, which creeps on him daily, and prevents his going to places of public resort, is a disadvantage, and prevents his being so generally popular as is earnestly to be desired. This, I think, was much increased by the behaviour of the rabble in the brutal insanity of the Queen's trial, when John Bull, meaning the best in the world, made such a beastly figure.

October 21.—Walked in the morning with Sir William Knighton, and had much confidential chat, not fit to be here set down, in case of accidents. He undertook most kindly to recommend Charles, when he has taken his degree, to be attached to some of the diplomatic missions, which I think is best for the lad after all. After breakfast went to Windsor Castle, met by appointment my daughters and Lockhart, and examined the improvements going on there under Mr. Wyattville, who appears to possess a great deal of taste and feeling for Gothic architecture. The old apartments, splendid enough in extent and proportion, are paltry in finishing. Instead of being lined with heart of oak, the palace of the British King is hung with paper, painted wainscot colour. There are some fine paintings and some droll ones; among the last are those of divers princes of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, of which Queen Charlotte was descended. They are ill-coloured, orang-outang-looking figures, with black eyes and hook-noses, in old-fashioned uniforms.

We returned to a hasty dinner [in Pall Mall], and then hurried away to see honest Dan Terry's house, called the Adelphi Theatre, where we saw the Pilot, from the American novel of that name. It is extremely popular, the dramatist having seized on the whole story, and turned the odious and ridiculous parts, assigned by the original author to the British, against the Yankees themselves. There is a quiet effrontery in this that is of a rare and peculiar character. The Americans were so much displeased, that they attempted a row—which rendered the piece doubly attractive to the seamen at Wapping, who came up and crowded the house night after night, to support the honour of the British flag. After all, one must deprecate whatever keeps up ill-will betwixt America and the mother country; and we in particular should avoid awakening painful recollections. Our high situation enables us to contemn petty insults and to make advances towards cordiality. I was, however, glad to see honest Dan's theatre as full seemingly as it could hold. The heat was dreadful, and Anne was so very unwell that she was obliged to be carried into Terry's house,—a curious dwelling, no larger than a squirrel's cage, which he has contrived to squeeze out of the vacant spaces of the theatre, and which is accessible by a most complicated combination of staircases and small passages. Here we had rare good porter and oysters after the play, and found Anne much better. She had attempted too much; indeed I myself was much fatigued.

October 22.—This morning Drs. Gooch, Shaw, and Yates breakfasted, and had a consultation about wee Johnnie. They give us great hopes that his health will be established, but the seaside or the country seem indispensable. Mr. Wilmot Horton,[372] Under Secretary of State, also breakfasted. He is full of some new plan of relieving the poor's-rates by encouraging emigration. But John Bull will think this savours of Botany Bay. The attempt to look the poor's-rates in the face is certainly meritorious.

Laboured in writing and marking extracts to be copied from breakfast to dinner, with the exception of an hour spent in telling Johnnie the history of his namesake, Gilpin.

Mr. William and Mrs. Lockhart dined with us. Tom Moore[373] and Sir Thomas Lawrence came in the evening, which made a pleasant soirée. Smoke my French—Egad, it is time to air some of my vocabulary. It is, I find, cursedly musty.

October 23.—Sam Rogers and Moore breakfasted here, and we were very merry fellows. Moore seemed disposed to go to France with us. I visited the Admiralty, and got Sir George Cockburn's journal, which is valuable.[374] Also visited Lady Elizabeth and Sir Charles Stewart. My heart warmed to the former, on account of the old Balcarres connection. Sir Charles and she were very kind and communicative. I foresee I will be embarrassed with more communications than I can well use or trust to, coloured as they must be by the passions of those who make them. Thus I have a statement from the Duchess d'Escars, to which the Bonapartists would, I dare say, give no credit. If Talleyrand, for example, could be communicative, he must have ten thousand reasons for perverting the truth, and yet a person receiving a direct communication from him would be almost barred from disputing it.

"Sing tantararara, rogues all."

We dined at the Residentiary-house with good Dr. Hughes,[375] Allan Cunningham, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and young Mr. Hughes. Thomas Pringle[376] is returned from the Cape, and called in my absence. He might have done well there, could he have scoured his brain of politics, but he must needs publish a Whig journal at the Cape of Good Hope! He is a worthy creature, but conceited withal—hinc illæ lachrymæ. He brought me some antlers and a skin, in addition to others he had sent to Abbotsford four years since. Crofton Croker made me a present of a small box of curious Irish antiquities containing a gold fibula, etc. etc.

October 24—Laboured in the morning. At breakfast Dr. Holland[377] and Cohen, whom they now call Palgrave,[378] a mutation of names which confused my recollections. Item, Moore. I worked at the Colonial Office pretty hard. Dined with Mr. Wilmot Horton and his beautiful wife, the original of the "She walks in Beauty," etc., of poor Byron.

The conversation is seldom excellent among official people. So many topics are what Otaheitians call taboo. We hunted down a pun or two, which were turned out, like the stag at the Epping Hunt, for the pursuit of all and sundry. Came home early, and was in bed by eleven.

October 25.—Good Mr. Wilson[379] and his wife at breakfast; also Sir Thomas Lawrence. Locker[380] came in afterwards, and made a proposal to me to give up his intended Life of George III. in my favour on cause shown. I declined the proposal, not being of opinion that my genius lies that way, and not relishing hunting in couples. Afterwards went to the Colonial Office, and had Robert Hay's assistance in my inquiries; then to the French Ambassador for my passports. Picked up Sotheby, who endeavoured to saddle me for a review of his polyglot Virgil. I fear I shall scarce convince him that I know nothing of the Latin lingo. Sir R.H. Inglis, Richard Sharp, and other friends called. We dined at Miss Dumergue's, and spent a part of our soirée at Lydia White's. To-morrow,

"For France, for France, for it is more than need."[381]

[Calais,] October 26.—Up at five, and in the packet by six. A fine passage—save at the conclusion, while we lay on and off the harbour of Calais. But the tossing made no impression on my companion or me; we ate and drank like dragons the whole way, and were able to manage a good supper and best part of a bottle of Chablis, at the classic Dessein's, who received us with much courtesy.

October 27.—Custom House, etc., detained us till near ten o'clock, so we had time to walk on the Boulevards, and to see the fortifications, which must be very strong, all the country round being flat and marshy. Lost, as all know, by the bloody papist bitch (one must be vernacular when on French ground) Queen Mary, of red-hot memory. I would rather she had burned a score more of bishops. If she had kept it, her sister Bess would sooner have parted with her virginity. Charles I. had no temptation to part with it—it might, indeed, have been shuffled out of our hands during the Civil wars, but Noll would have as soon let monsieur draw one of his grinders; then Charles II. would hardly have dared to sell such an old possession, as he did Dunkirk; and after that the French had little chance till the Revolution. Even then, I think, we could have held a place that could be supplied from our own element, the sea. Cui bono? None, I think, but to plague the rogues.—We dined at Cormont, and being stopped by Mr. Canning having taken up all the post-horses, could only reach Montreuil that night. I should have liked to have seen some more of this place, which is fortified; and as it stands on an elevated and rocky site must present some fine points. But as we came in late and left early, I can only bear witness to good treatment, good supper, good vin de Barsac, and excellent beds.

October 28.—Breakfasted at Abbeville, and saw a very handsome Gothic church, and reached Grandvilliers at night. The house is but second-rate, though lauded by various English travellers for the moderation of its charges, as was recorded in a book presented to us by the landlady. There is no great patriotism in publishing that a traveller thinks the bills moderate; it serves usually as an intimation to mine host or hostess that John Bull will bear a little more squeezing. I gave my attestation too, however, for the charges of the good lady resembled those elsewhere; and her anxiety to please was extreme. Folks must be harder-hearted than I am to resist the empressement, which may, indeed, be venal, yet has in its expression a touch of cordiality.

[Paris,] October 29.—Breakfasted at Beauvais, and saw its magnificent cathedral—unfinished it has been left, and unfinished it will remain, of course,—the fashion of cathedrals being passed away. But even what exists is inimitable, the choir particularly, and the grand front. Beauvais is called the Pucelle, yet, so far as I can see, she wears no stays—I mean, has no fortifications. On we run, however. Vogue la galère; et voilà nous à Paris, Hotel de Windsor [Rue Rivoli], where we are well lodged. France, so far as I can see, which is very little, has not undergone many changes. The image of war has, indeed, passed away, and we no longer see troops crossing the country in every direction; villages either ruined or hastily fortified; inhabitants sheltered in the woods and caves to escape the rapacity of the soldiers—all this has passed away. The inns are much amended. There is no occasion for that rascally practice of making a bargain—or combien-ing your landlady, before you unharness your horses, which formerly was a matter of necessity. The general taste of the English seems to regulate the travelling—naturally enough, as the hotels, of which there are two or three in each town, chiefly subsist by them. We did not see one French equipage on the road; the natives seem to travel entirely in the Diligence, and doubtless à bon marché; the road was thronged with English.

But in her great features France is the same as ever. An oppressive air of solitude seems to hover over these rich and extended plains, while we are sensible that, whatever is the motive of the desolation, it cannot be sterility. The towns are small, and have a poor appearance, and more frequently exhibit signs of decayed splendour than of thriving and increasing prosperity. The château, the abode of the gentleman, and the villa, the retreat of the thriving négociant, are rarely seen till you come to Beaumont. At this place, which well deserves its name of the fair mount, the prospect improves greatly, and country-seats are seen in abundance; also woods, sometimes deep and extensive, at other times scattered in groves and single trees. Amidst these the oak seldom or never is found; England, lady of the ocean, seems to claim it exclusively as her own. Neither are there any quantity of firs. Poplars in abundance give a formal air to the landscape. The forests chiefly consist of beeches, with some birches, and the roads are bordered by elms cruelly cropped, pollarded, and switched. The demand for firewood occasions these mutilations. If I could waft by a wish the thinnings of Abbotsford here, it would make a little fortune of itself. But then to switch and mutilate my trees!—not for a thousand francs. Ay, but sour grapes, quoth the fox.

October 30.—Finding ourselves snugly settled in our Hotel, we determined to remain here at fifteen francs per day. We are in the midst of what can be seen, and we are very comfortably fed and lodged.

This morning wet and surly. Sallied, however, by the assistance of a hired coach, and left cards for Count Pozzo di Borgo, Lord Granville, our ambassador, and M. Gallois, author of the History of Venice.[382] Found no one at home, not even the old pirate Galignani,[383] at whose den I ventured to call. Showed my companion the Louvre (which was closed, unluckily), the front of the palace with its courts, and all that splendid quarter which the fame of Paris rests upon in security. We can never do the like in Britain. Royal magnificence can only be displayed by despotic power. In England, were the most splendid street or public building to be erected, the matter must be discussed in Parliament, or perhaps some sturdy cobbler holds out, and refuses to part with his stall, and the whole plan is disconcerted. Long may such impediments exist! But then we should conform to circumstances, and assume in our public works a certain sober simplicity of character, which should point out that they were dictated by utility rather than show. The affectation of an expensive style only places us at a disadvantageous contrast with other nations, and our substitute of brick and plaster for freestone resembles the mean ambition which displays Bristol stones in default of diamonds.

We went to theatre in the evening—Comédie Française the place, Rosemunde the piece. It is the composition of a young man with a promising name—Émile de Bonnechose; the story that of Fair Rosamond. There were some good situations, and the actors in the French taste seemed to me admirable, particularly Mademoiselle Bourgoin. It would be absurd to attempt to criticise what I only half understood; but the piece was well received, and produced a very strong effect. Two or three ladies were carried out in hysterics; one next to our box was frightfully ill. A Monsieur à belles moustaches—the husband, I trust, though it is likely they were en partie fine—was extremely and affectionately assiduous. She was well worthy of the trouble, being very pretty indeed; the face beautiful, even amidst the involuntary convulsions. The afterpiece was Femme Juge et Partie, with which I was less amused than I had expected, because I found I understood the language less than I did ten or eleven years since. Well, well, I am past the age of mending.

Some of our friends in London had pretended that at Paris I might stand some chance of being encountered by the same sort of tumultuary reception which I met in Ireland; but for this I see no ground. It is a point on which I am totally indifferent. As a literary man I cannot affect to despise public applause; as a private gentleman I have always been embarrassed and displeased with popular clamours, even when in my favour. I know very well the breath of which such shouts are composed, and am sensible those who applaud me to-day would be as ready to toss me to-morrow; and I would not have them think that I put such a value on their favour as would make me for an instant fear their displeasure. Now all this disclamation is sincere, and yet it sounds affected. It puts me in mind of an old woman who, when Carlisle was taken by the Highlanders in 1745, chose to be particularly apprehensive of personal violence, and shut herself up in a closet, in order that she might escape ravishment. But no one came to disturb her solitude, and she began to be sensible that poor Donald was looking out for victuals, or seeking for some small plunder, without bestowing a thought on the fair sex; by and by she popped her head out of her place of refuge with the petty question, "Good folks, can you tell when the ravishing is going to begin?" I am sure I shall neither hide myself to avoid applause, which probably no one will think of conferring, nor have the meanness to do anything which can indicate any desire of ravishment. I have seen, when the late Lord Erskine entered the Edinburgh theatre, papers distributed in the boxes to mendicate a round of applause—the natural reward of a poor player.

October 31.—At breakfast visited by M. Gallois, an elderly Frenchman (always the most agreeable class), full of information, courteous and communicative. He had seen nearly, and remarked deeply, and spoke frankly, though with due caution. He went with us to the Museum, where I think the Hall of Sculpture continues to be a fine thing; that of Pictures but tolerable, when we reflect upon 1815. A number of great French daubs (comparatively), by David and Gerard, cover the walls once occupied by the Italian chefs-d'oeuvre. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum. We then visited Notre Dame and the Palace of Justice. The latter is accounted the oldest building in Paris, being the work of St. Louis. It is, however, in the interior, adapted to the taste of Louis XIV. We drove over the Pont Neuf, and visited the fine quays, which was all we could make out to-day, as I was afraid to fatigue Anne. When we returned home I found Count Pozzo di Borgo waiting for me, a personable man, inclined to be rather corpulent—handsome features, with all the Corsican fire in his eye. He was quite kind and communicative. Lord Granville had also called, and sent Mr. Jones [his secretary] to invite us to dinner to-morrow. In the evening at the Odéon, where we saw Ivanhoe. It was superbly got up, the Norman soldiers wearing pointed helmets and what resembled much hauberks of mail, which looked very well. The number of the attendants, and the skill with which they were moved and grouped on the stage, were well worthy of notice. It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled, and the dialogue in a great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I (then in an agony of pain with spasms in my stomach) dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, and for the amusement of a strange people. I little thought to have survived the completing of this novel.[384]


November 1.—I suppose the ravishing is going to begin, for we have had the Dames des Halles, with a bouquet like a maypole, and a speech full of honey and oil, which cost me ten francs; also a small worshipper, who would not leave his name, but came seulement pour avoir le plaisir, la félicité etc. etc. All this jargon I answer with corresponding blarney of my own, for "have I not licked the black stone of that ancient castle?" As to French, I speak it as it comes, and like Doeg in Absalom and Achitophel

"——dash on through thick and thin,
Through sense and nonsense, never out nor in."

We went this morning with M. Gallois to the Church of St. Genevieve, and thence to the College Henri IV., where I saw once more my old friend Chevalier.[385] He was unwell, swathed in a turban of nightcaps and a multiplicity of robes de chambre; but he had all the heart and the vivacity of former times. I was truly glad to see the kind old man. We were unlucky in our day for sights, this being a high festival—All Souls' Day. We were not allowed to scale the steeple of St. Genevieve, neither could we see the animals at the Jardin des Plantes, who, though they have no souls, it is supposed, and no interest of course in the devotions of the day, observe it in strict retreat, like the nuns of Kilkenny. I met, however, one lioness walking at large in the Jardin, and was introduced. This was Madame de Souza,[386] the authoress of some well-known French romances of a very classical character, I am told, for I have never read them. She must have been beautiful, and is still well-looked. She is the mother of the handsome Count de Flahault, and had a very well-looking daughter with her, besides a son or two. She was very agreeable. We are to meet again. The day becoming decidedly rainy, we returned along the Boulevards by the Bridge of Austerlitz, but the weather was so indifferent as to spoil the fine show.

We dined at the Ambassador's—Lord Granville, formerly Lord Leveson Gower. He inhabits the same splendid house which Lord Castlereagh had in 1815, namely, Numero 30, Rue du Fauxbourg St. Honoré. It once belonged to Pauline Borghese, and if its walls could speak, they might tell us mighty curious stories. Without their having any tongue, they spoke to my feelings "with most miraculous organ."[387] In these halls I had often seen and conversed familiarly with many of the great and powerful, who won the world by their swords, and divided it by their counsel.

Here I saw very much of poor Lord Castlereagh—a man of sense, presence of mind, courage, and fortitude, which carried him through many an affair of critical moment, when finer talents might have stuck in the mire. He had been, I think, indifferently educated, and his mode of speaking being far from logical or correct, he was sometimes in danger of becoming almost ridiculous, in spite of his lofty presence, which had all the grace of the Seymours, and his determined courage.[388] But then he was always up to the occasion, and upon important matters was an orator to convince, if not to delight, his hearers. He is gone, and my friend Stanhope also, whose kindness this town so strongly recalls. It is remarkable they were the only persons of sense and credibility who both attested supernatural appearances on their own evidence, and both died in the same melancholy manner. I shall always tremble when any friend of mine becomes visionary.[389]

I have seen in these rooms the Emperor Alexander, Platoff, Schwarzenberg, old Blucher, Fouché, and many a maréchal whose truncheon had guided armies—all now at peace, without subjects, without dominion, and where their past life, perhaps, seems but the recollection of a feverish dream. What a group would this band have made in the gloomy regions described in the Odyssey! But to lesser things. We were most kindly received by Lord and Lady Granville, and met many friends, some of them having been guests at Abbotsford; among these were Lords Ashley and Morpeth—there were also Charles Ellis (Lord Seaford now), cum plurimis aliis. Anne saw for the first time an entertainment à la mode de France, where the gentlemen left the parlour with the ladies. In diplomatic houses it is a good way of preventing political discussion, which John Bull is always apt to introduce with the second bottle. We left early, and came home at ten, much pleased with Lord and Lady Granville's kindness, though it was to be expected, as our recommendations came from Windsor.

November 2.—Another gloomy day—a pize upon it!—and we have settled to go to Saint Cloud, and dine, if possible, with the Drummonds at Auteuil. Besides, I expect poor W.R. S[pencer] to breakfast. There is another thought which depresses me.

Well—but let us jot down a little politics, as my book has a pretty firm lock. The Whigs may say what they please, but I think the Bourbons will stand. Gallois, no great Royalist, says that the Duke of Orleans lives on the best terms with the reigning family, which is wise on his part, for the golden fruit may ripen and fall of itself, but it would be dangerous to

"Lend the crowd his arm to shake the tree."[390]

The army, which was Bonaparte's strength, is now very much changed by the gradual influence of time, which has removed many, and made invalids of many more. The citizens are neutral, and if the King will govern according to the Charte, and, what is still more, according to the habits of the people, he will sit firm enough, and the constitution will gradually attain more and more reverence as age gives it authority, and distinguishes it from those temporary and ephemeral governments, which seemed only set up to be pulled down. The most dangerous point in the present state of France is that of religion. It is, no doubt, excellent in the Bourbons to desire to make France a religious country; but they begin, I think, at the wrong end. To press the observances and ritual of religion on those who are not influenced by its doctrines is planting the growing tree with its head downwards. Rites are sanctified by belief; but belief can never arise out of an enforced observance of ceremonies; it only makes men detest what is imposed on them by compulsion. Then these Jesuits, who constitute emphatically an imperium in imperio, labouring first for the benefit of their own order, and next for that of the Roman See—what is it but the introduction into France of a foreign influence, whose interest may often run counter to the general welfare of the kingdom?

We have enough of ravishment. M. Meurice writes me that he is ready to hang himself that we did not find accommodation at his hotel; and Madame Mirbel came almost on her knees to have permission to take my portrait. I was cruel; but, seeing her weeping-ripe, consented she should come to-morrow and work while I wrote. A Russian Princess Galitzin, too, demands to see me in the heroic vein; "Elle vouloit traverser les mers pour aller voir S.W.S.," and offers me a rendezvous at my hotel. This is precious tomfoolery; however, it is better than being neglected like a fallen sky-rocket, which seemed like to be my fate last year.

We went to Saint Cloud with my old friend Mr. Drummond, now at a pretty maison de campagne at Auteuil. Saint Cloud, besides its unequalled views, is rich in remembrances. I did not fail to revisit the Orangerie, out of which Bon. expelled the Council of [Five Hundred]. I thought I saw the scoundrels jumping the windows, with the bayonets at their rumps. What a pity the house was not two stories high! I asked the Swiss some questions on the locale, which he answered with becoming caution, saying, however, that "he was not present at the time." There are also new remembrances. A separate garden, laid out as a playground for the royal children, is called Il Trocadero,[391] from the siege of Cadiz [1823]. But the Bourbons should not take military ground—it is firing a pop-gun in answer to a battery of cannon.

All within the house is changed. Every trace of Nap. or his reign totally done away, as if traced in sand over which the tide has passed. Moreau and Pichegru's portraits hang in the royal ante-chamber. The former has a mean look; the latter has been a strong and stern-looking man. I looked at him, and thought of his death-struggles. In the guard-room were the heroes of La Vendée—Charette with his white bonnet, the two La Rochejacqueleins, Lescure, in an attitude of prayer, Stofflet, the gamekeeper, with others.

We dined at Auteuil. Mrs. Drummond, formerly the beautiful Cecilia Telfer, has lost her looks, but kept her kind heart. On our return, went to the Italian opera, and saw Figaro. Anne liked the music; to me it was all caviare. A Mr. ——— dined with us; sensible, liberal in his politics, but well informed and candid.

November 3.—Sat to Mad. Mirbel—Spencer at breakfast. Went out and had a long interview with Marshal Macdonald, the purport of which I have put down elsewhere. Visited Princess Galitzin, and also Cooper, the American novelist. This man, who has shown so much genius, has a good deal of the manner, or want of manner, peculiar to his countrymen.[392] He proposed to me a mode of publishing in America by entering the book as [the] property of a citizen. I will think of this. Every little helps, as the tod says, when, etc. At night at the Theatre de Madame, where we saw two petit pieces, Le Mariage de Raison, and Le plus beau jour de ma vie—both excellently played. Afterwards at Lady Granville's rout, which was as splendid as any I ever saw—and I have seen beaucoup dans ce genre. A great number of ladies of the first rank were present, and if honeyed words from pretty lips could surfeit, I had enough of them. One can swallow a great deal of whipped cream, to be sure, and it does not hurt an old stomach.

November 4.—Anne goes to sit to Mad. Mirbel. I called after ten, Mr. Cooper and Gallois having breakfasted with me. The former seems quite serious in desiring the American attempt. I must, however, take care not to give such a monopoly as to prevent the American public from receiving the works at the prices they are accustomed to. I think I may as well try if the thing can be done.

After ten I went with Anne to the Tuileries, where we saw the royal family pass through the Glass Gallery as they went to Chapel. We were very much looked at in our turn, and the King, on passing out, did me the honour to say a few civil words, which produced a great sensation. Mad. la Dauphine and Mad. de Berri curtsied, smiled, and looked extremely gracious; and smiles, bows, and curtsies rained on us like odours, from all the courtiers and court ladies of the train. We were conducted by an officer of the Royal Gardes du Corps to a convenient place in chapel, where we had the pleasure of hearing the grand mass performed with excellent music.

I had a perfect view of the King and royal family. The King is the same in age as I knew him in youth at Holyrood House—debonair and courteous in the highest degree. Mad. Dauphine resembles very much the prints of Marie Antoinette, in the profile especially. She is not, however, beautiful, her features being too strong, but they announce a great deal of character, and the princess whom Bonaparte used to call the man of the family. She seemed very attentive to her devotions. The Duchess of Berri seemed less immersed in the ceremony, and yawned once or twice. She is a lively-looking blonde—looks as if she were good-humoured and happy, by no means pretty, and has a cast with her eyes; splendidly adorned with diamonds, however. After this gave Mad. Mirbel a sitting, where I encountered le général, her uncle,[393] who was chef de l'état major to Bonaparte. He was very communicative, and seemed an interesting person, by no means over much prepossessed in favour of his late master, whom he judged impartially, though with affection.

We came home and dined in quiet, having refused all temptations to go out in the evening; this on Anne's account as well as my own. It is not quite gospel, though Solomon says it—the eye can be tired with seeing, whatever he may allege in the contrary. And then there are so many compliments. I wish for a little of the old Scotch causticity. I am something like the bee that sips treacle.

November 5.—I believe I must give up my Journal till I leave Paris. The French are literally outrageous in their civilities—bounce in at all hours, and drive one half mad with compliments. I am ungracious not to be so entirely thankful as I ought to this kind and merry people. We breakfasted with Mad. Mirbel, where were the Dukes of Fitz-James, and, I think, Duras,[394] goodly company—but all's one for that. I made rather an impatient sitter, wishing to talk much more than was agreeable to Madame. Afterwards we went to the Champs Elysées, where a balloon was let off, and all sorts of frolics performed for the benefit of the bons gens de Paris—besides stuffing them with victuals. I wonder how such a civic festival would go off in London or Edinburgh, or especially in Dublin. To be sure, they would not introduce their shillelahs! But in the classic taste of the French, there were no such gladiatorial doings. To be sure, they have a natural good-humour and gaiety which inclines them to be pleased with themselves, and everything about them.

We dined at the Ambassador's, where was a large party, Lord Morpeth, the Duke of Devonshire, and others—all were very kind. Pozzo di Borgo there, and disposed to be communicative. A large soirée. Home at eleven. These hours are early, however.

November 6.—Cooper came to breakfast, but we were obsédés partout. Such a number of Frenchmen bounced in successively, and exploded, I mean discharged, their compliments, that I could hardly find an opportunity to speak a word, or entertain Mr. Cooper at all. After this we sat again for our portraits. Mad. Mirbel took care not to have any one to divert my attention, but I contrived to amuse myself with some masons finishing a façade opposite to me, who placed their stones, not like Inigo Jones, but in the most lubberly way in the world, with the help of a large wheel, and the application of strength of hand. John Smith of Darnick, and two of his men, would have done more with a block and pulley than the whole score of them. The French seem far behind in machinery.—We are almost eaten up with kindness, but that will have its end. I have had to parry several presents of busts, and so forth. The funny thing was the airs of my little friend. We had a most affectionate parting—wet, wet cheeks on the lady's side.[395] The pebble-hearted cur shed as few tears as Crab of dogged memory.[396]

Went to Galignani's, where the brothers, after some palaver, offered me £105 for the sheets of Napoleon, to be reprinted at Paris in English. I told them I would think of it. I suppose Treuttel and Wurtz had apprehended something of this kind, for they write me that they had made a bargain with my publisher (Cadell, I suppose) for the publishing of my book in all sorts of ways. I must look into this.

Dined with Marshal Macdonald and a splendid party;[397] amongst others, Marshal Marmont—middle size, stout-made, dark complexion, and looks sensible. The French hate him much for his conduct in 1814, but it is only making him the scape-goat. Also, I saw Mons. de Molé, but especially the Marquis de Lauriston, who received me most kindly. He is personally like my cousin Colonel Russell. I learned that his brother, Louis Law,[398] my old friend, was alive, and the father of a large family. I was most kindly treated, and had my vanity much flattered by the men who had acted such important parts talking to me in the most frank manner.

In the evening to Princess Galitzin, where were a whole covey of Princesses of Russia arrayed in tartan! with music and singing to boot. The person in whom I was most interested was Mad. de Boufflers,[399] upwards of eighty, very polite, very pleasant, and with all the agrémens of a French Court lady of the time of Mad. Sévigné, or of the correspondent rather of Horace Walpole. Cooper was there, so the Scotch and American lions took the field together.—Home, and settled our affairs to depart.

November 7.—Off at seven; breakfasted at Beaumont, and pushed on to Airaines. This being a forced march, we had bad lodgings, wet wood, uncomfortable supper, damp beds, and an extravagant charge. I was never colder in my life than when I waked with the sheets clinging round me like a shroud.

November 8.—We started at six in the morning, having no need to be called twice, so heartily was I weary of my comfortless couch. Breakfasted at Abbeville; then pushed on to Boulogne, expecting to find the packet ready to start next morning, and so to have had the advantage of the easterly tide. But, lo ye! the packet was not to sail till next day. So after shrugging our shoulders—being the solace à la mode de France—and recruiting ourselves with a pullet and a bottle of Chablis à la mode d'Angleterre, we set off for Calais after supper, and it was betwixt three and four in the morning before we got to Dessein's, when the house was full, or reported to be so. We could only get two wretched brick-paved garrets, as cold and moist as those of Airaines, instead of the comforts which we were received with at our arrival. But I was better prepared. Stripped off the sheets, and lay down in my dressing-gown, and so roughed it out—tant bien que mal.

November 9.—At four in the morning we were called; at six we got on board the packet, where I found a sensible and conversible man—a very pleasant circumstance. The day was raw and cold, the wind and tide surly and contrary, the passage slow, and Anne, contrary to her wont, excessively sick. We had little trouble at the Custom House, thanks to the secretary of the Embassy, Mr. Jones, who gave me a letter to Mr. Ward. [At Dover] Mr. Ward came with the Lieutenant-Governor of the castle, and wished us to visit that ancient fortress. I regretted much that our time was short, and the weather did not admit of our seeing views, so we could only thank the gentlemen in declining their civility.

The castle, partly ruinous, seems to have been very fine. The Cliff, to which Shakespeare gave his immortal name, is, as all the world knows, a great deal lower than his description implies. Our Dover friends, justly jealous of the reputation of their cliff, impute this diminution of its consequence to its having fallen in repeatedly since the poet's time. I think it more likely that the imagination of Shakespeare, writing perhaps at a period long after he may have seen the rock, had described it such as he conceived it to have been. Besides, Shakespeare was born in a flat country, and Dover Cliff is at least lofty enough to have suggested the exaggerated features to his fancy. At all events, it has maintained its reputation better than the Tarpeian Rock;—no man could leap from it and live.

Left Dover after a hot luncheon about four o'clock, and reached London at half-past three in the morning. So adieu to la belle France, and welcome merry England.[400]

[Pall Mall,] November 10.—Ere I leave la belle France, however, it is fit I should express my gratitude for the unwontedly kind reception which I met with at all hands. It would be an unworthy piece of affectation did I not allow that I have been pleased—highly pleased—to find a species of literature intended only for my own country has met such an extensive and favourable reception in a foreign land where there was so much a priori to oppose its progress.

For my work I think I have done a good deal; but, above all, I have been confirmed strongly in the impressions I had previously formed of the character of Nap., and may attempt to draw him with a firmer hand.

The succession of new people and unusual incidents has had a favourable effect [on my mind], which was becoming rutted like an ill-kept highway. My thoughts have for some time flowed in another and pleasanter channel than through the melancholy course into which my solitary and deprived state had long driven them, and which gave often pain to be endured without complaint, and without sympathy. "For this relief," as Francisco says in Hamlet, "much thanks."

To-day I visited the public offices, and prosecuted my researches. Left inquiries for the Duke of York, who has recovered from a most desperate state. His legs had been threatened with mortification; but he was saved by a critical discharge; also visited the Duke of Wellington, Lord Melville, and others, besides the ladies in Piccadilly. Dined and spent the evening quietly in Pall Mall.

November 11.—Croker came to breakfast, and we were soon after joined by Theodore Hook, alias "John Bull"[401]; he has got as fat as the actual monarch of the herd. Lockhart sat still with us, and we had, as Gil Blas says, a delicious morning, spent in abusing our neighbours, at which my three neighbours are no novices any more than I am myself, though (like Puss in Boots, who only caught mice for his amusement) I am only a chamber counsel in matters of scandal. The fact is, I have refrained, as much as human frailty will permit, from all satirical composition. Here is an ample subject for a little black-balling in the case of Joseph Hume, the great Æconomist, who has [managed] the Greek loan so egregiously. I do not lack personal provocation (see 13th March last), yet I won't attack him—at present at least—but qu'il se garde de moi:

"I'm not a king, nor nae sic thing,
My word it may not stand;
And Joseph may a buffet bide,
Come he beneath my brand."

At dinner we had a little blow-out on Sophia's part: Lord Dudley, Mr. Hay, Under Secretary of State, [Sir Thomas Lawrence, etc.] Mistress (as she now calls herself) Joanna Baillie, and her sister, came in the evening. The whole went off pleasantly.

November 12.—Went to sit to Sir T.L. to finish the picture for his Majesty, which every one says is a very fine one. I think so myself; and wonder how Sir Thomas has made so much out of an old weather-beaten block. But I believe the hard features of old Dons like myself are more within the compass of the artist's skill than the lovely face and delicate complexion of females. Came home after a heavy shower. I had a long conversation about ——— with Lockhart. All that was whispered is true—a sign how much better our domestics are acquainted with the private affairs of our neighbours than we are. A dreadful tale of incest and seduction, and nearly of blood also—horrible beyond expression in its complications and events—"And yet the end is not;"—and this man was amiable, and seemed the soul of honour—laughed, too, and was the soul of society. It is a mercy our own thoughts are concealed from each other. Oh! if, at our social table, we could see what passes in each bosom around, we would seek dens and caverns to shun human society! To see the projector trembling for his falling speculations; the voluptuary rueing the event of his debauchery; the miser wearing out his soul for the loss of a guinea—all—all bent upon vain hopes and vainer regrets—we should not need to go to the hall of the Caliph Vathek to see men's hearts broiling under their black veils.[402] Lord keep us from all temptation, for we cannot be our own shepherd!

We dined to-day at Lady Stafford's [at West-hill].[403] Lord S. looks very poorly, but better than I expected. No company, excepting Sam Rogers and Mr. Grenville,[404]—the latter is better known by the name of Tom Grenville—a very amiable and accomplished man, whom I knew better about twenty years since. Age has touched him, as it has doubtless affected me. The great lady received us with the most cordial kindness, and expressed herself, I am sure, sincerely, desirous to be of service to Sophia.

November 13.—I consider Charles's business as settled by a private intimation which I had to that effect from Sir W.K.; so I need negotiate no further, but wait the event. Breakfasted at home, and somebody with us, but the whirl of visits so great that I have already forgot the party. Lockhart and I dined at an official person's, where there was a little too much of that sort of flippant wit, or rather smartness, which becomes the parochial Joe Miller of boards and offices. You must not be grave, because it might lead to improper discussions; and to laugh without a joke is a hard task. Your professed wags are treasures to this species of company. Gil Blas was right in censuring the literary society of his friend Fabricio; but nevertheless one or two of the mess would greatly have improved the conversation of his Commis.

Went to poor Lydia White's, and found her extended on a couch, frightfully swelled, unable to stir, rouged, jesting, and dying. She has a good heart, and is really a clever creature, but unhappily, or rather happily, she has set up the whole staff of her rest in keeping literary society about her. The world has not neglected her. It is not always so bad as it is called. She can always make up her soirée, and generally has some people of real talent and distinction. She is wealthy, to be sure, and gives petit dinners, but not in a style to carry the point à force d'argent. In her case the world is good-natured, and perhaps it is more frequently so than is generally supposed.

November 14.—We breakfasted at honest Allan Cunningham's—honest Allan—a leal and true Scotsman of the old cast. A man of genius, besides, who only requires the tact of knowing when and where to stop, to attain the universal praise which ought to follow it. I look upon the alteration of "It's hame and it's hame," and "A wet sheet and a flowing sea," as among the best songs going. His prose has often admirable passages; but he is obscure, and overlays his meaning, which will not do now-a-days, when he who runs must read.

Dined at Croker's, at Kensington, with his family, the Speaker,[405] and the facetious Theodore Hook.

We came away rather early, that Anne and I might visit Mrs. Arbuthnot to meet the Duke of Wellington. In all my life I never saw him better. He has a dozen of campaigns in his body—and tough ones. Anne was delighted with the frank manners of this unequalled pride of British war, and me he received with all his usual kindness. He talked away about Bonaparte, Russia, and France.

November 15.—At breakfast a conclave of medical men about poor little Johnnie Lockhart. They give good words, but I cannot help fearing the thing is very precarious, and I feel a miserable anticipation of what the parents are to undergo. It is wrong, however, to despair. I was myself a very weak child, and certainly am one of the strongest men of my age in point of constitution. Sophia and Anne went to the Tower, I to the Colonial Office, where I laboured hard.

Dined with the Duke of Wellington. Anne with me, who could not look enough at the vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre. The party were Mr. and Mrs. Peel, and Mr. and Mrs. Arbuthnot,[406] Vesey Fitzgerald, Bankes, and Croker, with Lady Bathurst and Lady Georgina. One gentleman took much of the conversation, and gave us, with unnecessary emphasis, and at superfluous length, his opinion of a late gambling transaction. This spoiled the evening. I am sorry for the occurrence though, for Lord ------ is fetlock deep in it, and it looks like a vile bog. This misfortune, with the foolish incident at ———, will not be suffered to fall to the ground, but will be used as a counterpoise to the Greek loan. Peel asked me, in private, my opinion of three candidates for the Scotch gown, and I gave it him candidly. We will see if it has weight.[407]

I begin to tire of my gaieties; and the late hours and constant feasting disagree with me. I wish for a sheep's head and whisky toddy against all the French cookery and champagne in the world.

Well, I suppose I might have been a Judge of Session this term—attained, in short, the grand goal proposed to the ambition of a Scottish lawyer. It is better, however, as it is, while, at least, I can maintain my literary reputation.

I had some conversation to-day with Messrs. Longman and Co. They agreed to my deriving what advantage I could in America, and that very willingly.

November 16.—Breakfasted with Rogers, with my daughters and Lockhart. R. was exceedingly entertaining, in his dry, quiet, sarcastic manner. At eleven to the Duke of Wellington, who gave me a bundle of remarks on Bonaparte's Russian campaign, written in his carriage during his late mission to St. Petersburg.[408] It is furiously scrawled, and the Russian names hard to distinguish, but it shall do me yeoman's service. Then went to Pentonville, to old Mr. Handley, a solicitor of the old school, and manager of the Devonshire property. Had an account of the claim arising on the estate of one Mrs. Owen, due to the representatives of my poor wife's mother. He was desperately excursive, and spoke almost for an hour, but the prospect of £4000 to my children made me a patient auditor. Thence I passed to the Colonial Office, where I concluded my extracts. [Lockhart and I] dined with Croker at the Admiralty au grand couvert. No less than five Cabinet Ministers were present—Canning, Huskisson, Melville, [Peel,] and Wellington, with sub-secretaries by the bushel. The cheer was excellent, but the presence of too many men of distinguished rank and power always freezes the conversation. Each lamp shines brightest when placed by itself; when too close, they neutralise each other.[409]

November 17.—My morning here began with the arrival of Bahauder Jah; soon after Mr. Wright;[410] then I was called out to James Scott the young painter. I greatly fear this modest and amiable creature is throwing away his time. Next came an animal who is hunting out a fortune in Chancery, which has lain perdu for thirty years. The fellow, who is in figure and manner the very essence of the creature called a sloth, has attached himself to this pursuit with the steadiness of a well-scented beagle. I believe he will actually get the prize.

Sir John Malcolm acknowledges and recommends my Persian visitor Bruce.

Saw the Duke of York. The change on H.R.H. is most wonderful. From a big, burly, stout man, with a thick and sometimes an inarticulate mode of speaking, he has sunk into a thin-faced, slender-looking old man, who seems diminished in his very size. I could hardly believe I saw the same person, though I was received with his usual kindness. He speaks much more distinctly than formerly; his complexion is clearer; in short, H.R.H. seems, on the whole, more healthy after this crisis than when in the stall-fed state, for such it seemed to be, in which I remember him. God grant it! his life is of infinite value to the King and country—it is a breakwater behind the throne.

November 18.—Was introduced by Rogers to Mad. D'Arblay, the celebrated authoress of Evelina and Cecilia,—an elderly lady, with no remains of personal beauty, but with a gentle manner and a pleasing expression of countenance. She told me she had wished to see two persons—myself, of course, being one; the other George Canning. This was really a compliment to be pleased with—a nice little handsome pat of butter made up by a neat-handed Phillis[411] of a dairymaid, instead of the grease, fit only for cart-wheels, which one is dosed with by the pound. Mad. D'Arblay told us the common story of Dr. Burney, her father, having brought home her own first work, and recommended it to her perusal, was erroneous. Her father was in the secret of Evelina being printed. But the following circumstances may have given rise to the story:—Dr. Burney was at Streatham soon after the publication, where he found Mrs. Thrale recovering from her confinement, low at the moment, and out of spirits. While they were talking together, Johnson, who sat beside in a kind of reverie, suddenly broke out, "You should read this new work, madam—you should read Evelina; every one says it is excellent, and they are right." The delighted father obtained a commission from Mrs. Thrale to purchase his daughter's work, and retired the happiest of men. Mad. D'Arblay said she was wild with joy at this decisive evidence of her literary success, and that she could only give vent to her rapture by dancing and skipping round a mulberry-tree in the garden. She was very young at this time. I trust I shall see this lady again. She has simple and apparently amiable manners, with quick feelings.

Dined at Mr. Peel's with Lord Liverpool, Duke of Wellington, Croker, Bankes, etc. The conversation very good—Peel taking the lead in his own house, which he will not do elsewhere. We canvassed the memorable criminal case of Ashford,[412] Peel almost convinced of the man's innocence. Should have been at the play, but sat too late at Mr. Peel's.

So ends my campaign among these magnificoes and potent signiors,[413] with whom I have found, as usual, the warmest acceptation. I wish I could turn a little of my popularity amongst them to Lockhart's advantage, who cannot bustle for himself. He is out of spirits just now, and views things au noir. I fear Johnnie's precarious state is the cause.

I finished my sittings to Lawrence, and am heartily sorry there should be another picture of me except that which he has finished. The person is remarkably like, and conveys the idea of the stout blunt carle that cares for few things, and fears nothing. He has represented the author as in the act of composition, yet has effectually discharged all affectation from the manner and attitude. He seems pleased with it himself. He dined with us at Peel's yesterday, where, by the way, we saw the celebrated Chapeau de Paille, which is not a Chapeau de Paille at all.

November 19.—Saw this morning Duke of Wellington and Duke of York; the former so communicative that I regretted extremely the length of time,[414] but have agreed on a correspondence with him. Trop d'honneur pour moi. The Duke of York saw me by appointment. He seems still mending, and spoke of state affairs as a high Tory. Were his health good, his spirit is as strong as ever. H.R.H. has a devout horror of the liberals. Having the Duke of Wellington, the Chancellor, and (perhaps) a still greater person on his side, he might make a great fight when they split, as split they will. But Canning, Huskisson, and a mitigated party of Liberaux will probably beat them. Canning's will and eloquence are almost irresistible. But then the Church, justly alarmed for their property, which is plainly struck at, and the bulk of the landed interest, will scarce brook a mild infusion of Whiggery into the Administration. Well, time will show.

We visited our friends Peel, Lord Gwydyr, Arbuthnot, etc., and left our tickets of adieu. In no instance, during my former visits to London, did I ever meet with such general attention and respect on all sides.

Lady Louisa Stuart dined—also Wright and Mr. and Mrs. Christie. Dr. and Mrs. Hughes came in the evening; so ended pleasantly our last night in London.

[Oxford,] November 20.—Left London after a comfortable breakfast, and an adieu to the Lockhart family. If I had had but comfortable hopes of their poor, pale, prostrate child, so clever and so interesting, I should have parted easily on this occasion, but these misgivings overcloud the prospect. We reached Oxford by six o'clock, and found Charles and his friend young Surtees waiting for us, with a good fire in the chimney, and a good dinner ready to be placed on the table. We had struggled through a cold, sulky, drizzly day, which deprived of all charms even the beautiful country near Henley. So we came from cold and darkness into light and warmth and society. N.B.—We had neither daylight nor moonlight to see the view of Oxford from the Maudlin Bridge, which I used to think one of the most beautiful in the world.

Upon finance I must note that the expense of travelling has mounted high. I am too old to rough it, and scrub it, nor could I have saved fifty pounds by doing so. I have gained, however, in health, spirits, in a new stock of ideas, new combinations, and new views. My self-consequence is raised, I hope not unduly, by the many flattering circumstances attending my reception in the two capitals, and I feel confident in proportion. In Scotland I shall find time for labour and for economy.

[Cheltenham,] November 21.—Breakfasted with Charles in his chambers [at Brasenose], where he had everything very neat. How pleasant it is for a father to sit at his child's board! It is like an aged man reclining under the shadow of the oak which he has planted. My poor plant has some storms to undergo, but were this expedition conducive to no more than his entrance into life under suitable auspices, I should consider the toil and the expense well bestowed. We then sallied out to see the lions—guides being Charles, and friend Surtees, Mr. John Hughes, young Mackenzie (Fitz-Colin), and a young companion or two of Charles's. Remembering the ecstatic feelings with which I visited Oxford more than twenty-five years since, I was surprised at the comparative indifference with which I revisited the same scenes. Reginald Heber, then composing his Prize Poem, and imping his wings for a long flight of honourable distinction, is now dead in a foreign land—Hodgson and other able men all entombed. The towers and halls remain, but the voices which fill them are of modern days. Besides, the eye becomes satiated with sights, as the full soul loathes the honeycomb. I admired indeed, but my admiration was void of the enthusiasm which I formerly felt. I remember particularly having felt, while in the Bodleian, like the Persian magician who visited the enchanted library in the bowels of the mountain, and willingly suffered himself to be enclosed in its recesses,[415] while less eager sages retired in alarm. Now I had some base thoughts concerning luncheon, which was most munificently supplied by Surtees [at his rooms in University College], with the aid of the best ale I ever drank in my life, the real wine of Ceres, and worth that of Bacchus. Dr. Jenkyns,[416] the vice-chancellor, did me the honour to call, but I saw him not. I called on Charles Douglas at All-Souls, and had a chat of an hour with him.[417]

Before three set out for Cheltenham, a long and uninteresting drive, which we achieved by nine o'clock. My sister-in-law [Mrs. Thomas Scott] and her daughter instantly came to the hotel, and seem in excellent health and spirits.

November 22.—Breakfasted and dined with Mrs. Scott, and leaving Cheltenham at seven, pushed on to Worcester to sleep.

November 23.—Breakfasted at Birmingham, and slept at Macclesfield. As we came in between ten and eleven, the people of the inn expressed surprise at our travelling so late, as the general distress of the manufacturers has rendered many of the lower class desperately outrageous. The inn was guarded by a special watchman, who alarmed us by giving his signal of turn out, but it proved to be a poor deserter who had taken refuge among the carriages, and who was reclaimed by his sergeant. The people talk gloomily of winter, when the distress of the poor will be increased.

November 24.—Breakfasted at Manchester. Ere we left, the senior churchwarden came to offer us his services, to show us the town, principal manufactures, etc. We declined his polite offer, pleading haste. I found his opinion about the state of trade more agreeable than I had ventured to expect. He said times were mending gradually but steadily, and that the poor-rates were decreasing, of which none can be so good a judge as the churchwarden. Some months back the people had been in great discontent on account of the power engines, which they conceived diminished the demand for operative labour. There was no politics in their discontent, however, and at present it was diminishing. We again pressed on—and by dint of exertion reached Kendal to sleep; thus getting out of the region of the stern, sullen, unwashed artificers, whom you see lounging sulkily along the streets of the towns in Lancashire, cursing, it would seem by their looks, the stop of trade which gives them leisure, and the laws which prevent them employing their spare time. God's justice is requiting, and will yet further requite those who have blown up this country into a state of unsubstantial opulence, at the expense of the health and morals of the lower classes.

November 25.—Took two pair of horses over the Shap Fells, which are covered with snow, and by dint of exertion reached Penrith to breakfast. Then rolled on till we found our own horses at Hawick, and returned to our own home at Abbotsford about three in the morning. It is well we made a forced march of about one hundred miles, for I think the snow would have stopped us had we lingered.

[Abbotsford,] November 26.—Consulting my purse, found my good £60 diminished to Quarter less Ten. In purse £8. Naturally reflected how much expense has increased since I first travelled. My uncle's servant, during the jaunts we made together while I was a boy, used to have his option of a shilling per diem for board wages, and usually preferred it to having his charges borne. A servant nowadays, to be comfortable on the road, should have 4s. or 4s. 6d. board wages, which before 1790 would have maintained his master. But if this be pitiful, it is still more so to find the alteration in my own temper. When young, on returning from such a trip as I have just had, my mind would have loved to dwell on all I had seen that was rich and rare, or have been placing, perhaps in order, the various additions with which I had supplied my stock of information—and now, like a stupid boy blundering over an arithmetical question half obliterated on his slate, I go stumbling on upon the audit of pounds, shillings, and pence. Why, the increase of charge I complain of must continue so long as the value of the thing represented by cash continues to rise, or as the value of the thing representing continues to decrease—let the economists settle which is the right way of expressing the process when groats turn plenty and eggs grow dear—

"And so 'twill be when I am gone,
The increasing charge will still go on,
And other bards shall climb these hills,
And curse your charge, dear evening bills."

Well, the skirmish has cost me £200. I wished for information—and I have had to pay for it. The information is got, the money is spent, and so this is the only mode of accounting amongst friends.

I have packed my books, etc., to go by cart to Edinburgh to-morrow. I idled away the rest of the day, happy to find myself at home, which is home, though never so homely. And mine is not so homely neither; on the contrary, I have seen in my travels none I liked so well—fantastic in architecture and decoration if you please—but no real comfort sacrificed to fantasy. "Ever gramercy my own purse," saith the song;[418] "Ever gramercy my own house," quoth I.

November 27.—We set off after breakfast, but on reaching Fushie Bridge at three, found ourselves obliged to wait for horses, all being gone to the smithy to be roughshod in this snowy weather. So we stayed dinner, and Peter, coming up with his horses, bowled us into town about eight. Walter came and supped with us, which diverted some heavy thoughts. It is impossible not to compare this return to Edinburgh with others in more happy times. But we should rather recollect under what distress of mind I took up my lodgings in Mrs. Brown's last summer, and then the balance weighs deeply on the favourable side. This house is comfortable and convenient.[419]

[Edinburgh,] November 28.—Went to Court and resumed old habits. Dined with Walter and Jane at Mrs. Jobson's. When we returned were astonished at the news of ——'s death, and the manner of it; a quieter, more inoffensive, mild, and staid mind I never knew. He was free from all these sinkings of the imagination which render those who are liable to them the victims of occasional low spirits. All belonging to this gifted, as it is called, but often unhappy, class, must have felt at times that, but for the dictates of religion, or the natural recoil of the mind from the idea of dissolution, there have been times when they would have been willing to throw away life as a child does a broken toy. But poor ——— was none of these: he was happy in his domestic relations; and on the very day on which the rash deed was committed was to have embarked for rejoining his wife and child, whom I so lately saw anxious to impart to him their improved prospects.

O Lord, what are we—lords of nature? Why, a tile drops from a housetop, which an elephant would not feel more than the fall of a sheet of pasteboard, and there lies his lordship. Or something of inconceivably minute origin, the pressure of a bone, or the inflammation of a particle of the brain takes place, and the emblem of the Deity destroys himself or some one else. We hold our health and our reason on terms slighter than one would desire were it in their choice to hold an Irish cabin.

November 29.—Awaked from horrid dreams to reconsideration of the sad reality; he was such a kind, obliging, assiduous creature. I thought he came to my bedside to expostulate with me how I could believe such a scandal, and I thought I detected that it was but a spirit who spoke, by the paleness of his look and the blood flowing from his cravat. I had the nightmare in short, and no wonder.

I felt stupefied all this day, but wrote the necessary letters notwithstanding. Walter, Jane, and Mrs. Jobson dined with us—but I could not gather my spirits. But it is nonsense, and contrary to my system, which is of the stoic school, and I think pretty well maintained. It is the only philosophy I know or can practise, but it cannot always keep the helm.

November 30.—I went to the Court, and on my return set in order a sheet or two of copy. We came back about two—the new form of hearing counsel makes our sederunt a long one. Dined alone, and worked in the evening.


December 1[420].—The Court again very long in its sitting, and I obliged to remain till the last. This is the more troublesome, as in winter, with my worn-out eyes, I cannot write so well by candle-light. Naboclish! when I am quite blind, good-night to you, as the one-eyed fellow said when a tennis ball knocked out his remaining luminary. My short residue of time before dinner was much cut up by calls—all old friends, too, and men whom I love; but this makes the loss of time more galling, that one cannot and dare not growl at those on whom it has been bestowed. However, I made out two hours better than I expected. I am now once more at my oar, and I will row hard.

December 2.—Returned early from Court, but made some calls by the way. Dined alone with Anne, and meant to have worked, but—I don't know how—this horrid story stuck by me, so I e'en read Boutourlin's account of the Moscow campaign to eschew the foul fiend.

December 3.—Wrote five pages before dinner. Sir Thomas Brisbane and Sir William Arbuthnot called, also John A. Murray. William dined with us, all vivid with his Italian ideas, only Jane besides. Made out five pages, I think, or nearly.

December 4.—Much colded, which is no usual complaint of mine, but worked about five leaves, so I am quite up with my task-work and better. But my books from Abbotsford have not arrived. Dined with the Royal Society Club—about thirty members present—too many for company. After coffee, the Society were like Mungo in The Padlock.[421] I listened, without understanding a single word, to two scientific papers; one about the tail of a comet, and the other about a chucky-stone; besides hearing Basil Hall describe, and seeing him exhibit, a new azimuth. I have half a mind to cut the whole concern; and yet the situation is honourable, and, as Bob Acres says, one should think of their honour. We took possession of our new rooms on the Mound, which are very handsome and gentlemanlike.

December 5.—Annoyed with the cold and its consequences all night, and wish I could shirk the Court this morning. But it must not be. Was kept late, and my cold increased. I have had a regular attack of this for many years past whenever I return to the sedentary life and heated rooms of Edinburgh, which are so different from the open air and constant exercise of the country. Odd enough that during cold weather and cold nocturnal journeys the cold never touched me, yet I am no sooner settled in comfortable quarters and warm well-aired couches, but la voilà. I made a shift to finish my task, however, and even a leaf more, so we are bang up. We dined and supped alone, and I went to bed early.

December 6.—A bad and disturbed night with fever, headache, and some touch of cholera morbus, which greatly disturbed my slumbers. But I fancy Nature was scouring the gun after her own fashion. I slept little till morning, and then lay abed, contrary to my wont, until half-past nine o'clock, when I came down to breakfast. Went to Court, and returned time enough to write about five leaves. Dined at Skene's, where we met Lord Elgin and Mr. Stewart, a son of Sir M. Shaw Stewart, whom I knew and liked, poor man. Talked among other things and persons of Sir J. Campbell of Ardkinglas, who is now here.[422] He is happy in escaping from his notorious title of Callander of Craigforth. In my youth he was a black-leg and swindler of the first water, and like Pistol did

"Somewhat lean to cut-purse of quick hand."[423]

He was obliged to give up his estate to his son Colonel Callander, a gentleman of honour, and as Dad went to the Continent in the midst of the French Revolution, he is understood to have gone through many scenes. At one time, Lord Elgin assured us, he seized upon the island of Zante, as he pretended, by direct authority from the English Government, and reigned there very quietly for some months, until, to appease the jealousy of the Turks, Lord Elgin despatched a frigate to dethrone the new sovereign. Afterwards he traversed India in the dress of a fakir. He is now eighty and upwards.

I should like to see what age and adventures have done upon him. I recollect him a very handsome, plausible man. Of all good breeding, that of a swindler (of good education, be it understood) is the most perfect.

December 7.—Again a very disturbed night, scarce sleeping an hour, yet well when I rose in the morning. I did not do above a leaf to-day, because I had much to read. But I am up to one-fourth of the volume, of 400 pages, which I began on the first December current; the 31st must and shall see the end of vol. vi. We dined alone. I had a book sent me by a very clever woman, in defence of what she calls the rights of her sex. Clever, though. I hope she will publish it.

December 8.—Another restless and deplorable Knight—night I should say—faith, either spelling will suit. Returned early, but much done up with my complaint and want of sleep last night. I wrought however, but with two or three long interruptions, my drowsiness being irresistible. Went to dine with John Murray, where met his brother Henderland, Jeffrey, Harry Cockburn, Rutherfurd, and others of that file. Very pleasant—capital good cheer and excellent wine—much laugh and fun.

December 9.—I do not know why it is that when I am with a party of my Opposition friends, the day is often merrier than when with our own set. Is it because they are cleverer? Jeffrey and Harry Cockburn are, to be sure, very extraordinary men, yet it is not owing to that entirely. I believe both parties meet with the feeling of something like novelty. We have not worn out our jests in daily contact. There is also a disposition on such occasions to be courteous, and of course to be pleased. Wrought all day, but rather dawdled, being abominably drowsy. I fancy it is bile, a visitor I have not had this long time.

December 10.—An uncomfortable and sleepless night; and the lime water assigned to cure me seems far less pleasant, and about as inefficacious as lime punch would be in the circumstances. I felt main stupid the whole forenoon, and though I wrote my task, yet it was with great intervals of drowsiness and fatigue which made me, as we Scots says, dover away in my arm-chair. Walter and Jane came to dinner, also my Coz Colonel Russell, and above and attour[424] James Ballantyne, poor fellow. We had a quiet and social evening, I acting on prescription. Well, I have seen the day—but no matter.

December 11.—Slept indifferent well with a feverish halo about me, but no great return of my complaint. It paid it off this morning, however, but the difference was of such consequence that I made an ample day's work, getting over six pages, besides what I may do. On this, the 11th December, I shall have more than one-third of vol. vi. finished, which was begun on the first of this current month. Dined quiet and at home. I must take no more frisks till this fit is over.

"When once life's day draws near the gloaming,
Then farewell careless social roaming;
And farewell cheerful tankards foaming,
And social noise;
And farewell dear deluding woman,
The joy of joys!"[425]

Long life to thy fame and peace to thy soul, Rob Burns! When I want to express a sentiment which I feel strongly, I find the phrase in Shakespeare—or thee. The blockheads talk of my being like Shakespeare—not fit to tie his brogues.[426]

December 12.—Did not go to the Parliament House, but drove with Walter to Dalkeith, where we missed the Duke, and found Mr. Blakeney. One thing I saw there which pleased me much, and that was my own picture, painted twenty years ago by Raeburn for Constable, and which was to have been brought to sale among the rest of the wreck, hanging quietly up in the dining-room at Dalkeith.[427] I do not care much about these things, yet it would have been annoying to have been knocked down to the best bidder even in effigy; and I am obliged to the friendship and delicacy which placed the portrait where it now is. Dined at Archie Swinton's, with all the cousins of that honest clan, and met Lord Cringletie,[428] his wife, and others. Finished my task this day.

December 13.—Went to the Court this morning early, and remained till past three. Then attended a meeting of the Edinburgh Academy Directors on account of some discussion about flogging. I am an enemy to corporal punishment, but there are many boys who will not attend without it. It is an instant and irresistible motive, and I love boys' heads too much to spoil them at the expense of their opposite extremity. Then, when children feel an emancipation on this point, we may justly fear they will loosen the bonds of discipline altogether. The master, I fear, must be something of a despot at the risk of his becoming something like a tyrant. He governs subjects whose keen sense of the present is not easily ruled by any considerations that are not pressing and immediate. I was indifferently well beaten at school; but I am now quite certain that twice as much discipline would have been well bestowed.

Dined at home with Walter and Jane; they with Anne went out in the evening, I remained, but not I fear to work much. I feel sorely fagged. I am sadly fagged. Then I cannot get ——'s fate out of my head. I see that kind, social, beneficent face never turned to me without respect and complacence, and—I see it in the agonies of death. This is childish; I tell myself so, and I trust the feeling to no one else. But here it goes down like the murderer who could not cease painting the ideal vision of the man he had murdered, and who he supposed haunted him. A thousand fearful images and dire suggestions glance along the mind when it is moody and discontented with itself. Command them to stand and show themselves, and you presently assert the power of reason over imagination. But if by any strange alterations in one's nervous system you lost for a moment the talisman which controls these fiends, would they not terrify into obedience with their mandates, rather than we would dare longer to endure their presence?

December 14.—Annoyed with this cursed complaint, though I live like a hermit on pulse and water. Bothered, too, with the Court, which leaves me little room for proof-sheets, and none for copy. They sat to-day till past two, so before I had walked home, and called for half an hour on the Chief Commissioner, the work part of the day was gone; and then my lassitude—I say lassitude—not indolence—is so great that it costs me an hour's nap after I come home. We dined to-day with R. Dundas of Arniston—Anne and I. There was a small cabal about Cheape's election for Professor of Civil Law, which it is thought we can carry for him. He deserves support, having been very indifferently used in the affair of the Beacon,[429] where certain high Tories showed a great desire to leave him to the mercy of the enemy; as Feeble says, "I will never bear a base mind."[430] We drank some "victorious Burgundy," contrary to all prescription.

December 15.—Egad! I think I am rather better for my good cheer! I have passed one quiet night at least, and that is something gained. A glass of good wine is a gracious creature, and reconciles poor mortality to itself, and that is what few things can do.

Our election went off very decently; no discussions or aggravating speeches. Sir John Jackass seconded the Whig's nominee. So much they will submit to to get a vote. The numbers stood—Cheape,[431] 138; Bell, 132. Majority, 6—mighty hard run. The Tory interest was weak among the old stagers, where I remember it so strong, but preferment, country residence, etc., has thinned them. Then it was strong in the younger classes. The new Dean, James Moncreiff,[432] presided with strict propriety and impartiality. Walter and Jane dined with us.

December 16.—Another bad night. I remember I used to think a slight illness was a luxurious thing. My pillow was then softened by the hand of affection, and all the little cares which were put in exercise to soothe the languor or pain were more flattering and pleasing than the consequences of the illness were disagreeable. It was a new sense to be watched and attended, and I used to think that the Malade imaginaire gained something by his humour. It is different in the latter stages. The old post-chaise gets more shattered and out of order at every turn; windows will not be pulled up; doors refuse to open, or being open will not shut again—which last is rather my case. There is some new subject of complaint every moment; your sicknesses come thicker and thicker; your comforting or sympathising friends fewer and fewer; for why should they sorrow for the course of nature? The recollection of youth, health, and uninterrupted powers of activity, neither improved nor enjoyed, is a poor strain of comfort. The best is, the long halt will arrive at last, and cure all.

We had a long sitting in the Court. Came home through a cold easterly rain without a greatcoat, and was well wet. A goodly medicine for my aching bones.[433] Dined at Mr. Adam Wilson's, and had some good singing in the evening. Saw Dr. Stokoe, who attended Boney in Saint Helena, a plain, sensible sort of man.[434]

December 17.—This was a day of labour, agreeably varied by a pain which rendered it scarce possible to sit upright. My Journal is getting a vile chirurgical aspect.

I begin to be afraid of the odd consequences complaints in the post equitem are said to produce. Walter and Jane dined. Mrs. Skene came in the evening.

December 18.—Almost sick with pain, and it stops everything. I shall tire of my Journal if it is to contain nothing but biles and plasters and unguents. In my better days I had stories to tell; but death has closed the long dark avenue upon loves and friendships; and I can only look at them as through the grated door of a long burial-place filled with monuments of those who were once dear to me, with no insincere wish that it may open for me at no distant period, provided such be the will of God. My pains were those of the heart, and had something flattering in their character; if in the head, it was from the blow of a bludgeon gallantly received and well paid back.

I went to the meeting of the Commissioners;[435] there was none to-day. The carriage had set me down; so I walked from the college in one of the sourest and most unsocial days which I ever felt. Why should I have liked this? I do not know; it is my dogged humour to yield little to external circumstances. Sent an excuse to the Royal Society, however.

December 19.—Went to Court. No, I lie; I had business there. Wrote a task; no more; could not. Went out to Dalkeith, and dined with the Duke. It delights me to hear this hopeful young nobleman talk with sense and firmness about his plans for improving his estate, and employing the poor. If God and the world spare him, he will be far known as a true Scots lord.[436]

December 20.—Being a Teind day, I had a little repose. We dined at Hector Macdonald's with William Clerk and some youngsters. Highland hospitality as usual. I got some work done to-day.

December 21.—In the house till two o'clock nearly. Came home, corrected proof-sheets, etc., mechanically. All well, would the machine but keep in order, but "The spinning wheel is auld and stiff."

I think I shall not live to the usual verge of human existence. I shall never see the threescore and ten, and shall be summed up at a discount. No help for it, and no matter either.

December 22.—Poor old Honour and Glory dead—once Lord Moira, more lately Lord Hastings. He was a man of very considerable talents, but had an overmastering degree of vanity of the grossest kind. It followed of course that he was gullible. In fact the propensity was like a ring in his nose into which any rogue might put a string. He had a high reputation for war, but it was after the pettifogging hostilities in America where he had done some clever things. He died, having the credit, or rather having had the credit, to leave more debt than any man since Caesar's time. £1,200,000 is said to be the least. There was a time that I knew him well, and regretted the foibles which mingled with his character, so as to make his noble qualities sometimes questionable, sometimes ridiculous. He was always kind to me. Poor Plantagenet! Young Percival went out to dine at Dalkeith with me.

December 24.—To add to my other grievances I have this day a proper fit of rheumatism in my best knee. I pushed to Abbotsford, however, after the Court rose, though compelled to howl for pain as they helped me out of the carriage.

[Abbotsford,] December 25.—By dint of abstinence and opodeldoc I passed a better night than I could have hoped for; but took up my lodging in the chapel room, as it is called, for going upstairs was impossible.

To-day I have been a mere wretch. I lay in bed till past eleven, thinking to get rid of the rheumatism; then I walked as far as Turnagain with much pain, and since that time I have just roasted myself like a potato by the fireside in my study, slumbering away my precious time, and unable to keep my eyes open or my mind intent on anything, if I would have given my life for it. I seemed to sleep tolerably, too, last night, but I suppose Nature had not her dues properly paid; neither has she for some time.

I saw the filling up of the quarry on the terrace walk, and was pleased. Anne and I dined at Mertoun, as has been my old wont and use as Christmas day comes about. We were late in setting out, and I have rarely seen so dark a night. The mist rolled like volumes of smoke on the road before us.

December 26.—Returned to Abbotsford this morning. I heard it reported that Lord B. is very ill. If that be true it affords ground for hope that Sir John ——— is not immortal. Both great bores. But the Earl has something of wild cleverness, far exceeding the ponderous stupidity of the Cavaliero Jackasso.

December 27.—Still weak with this wasting illness, but it is clearly going off. Time it should, quoth Sancho. I began my work again, which had slumbered betwixt pain and weakness. In fact I could not write or compose at all.

December 28.—Stuck to my work. Mr. Scrope came to dinner, and remained next day. We were expecting young Percival and his wife, once my favourite and beautiful Nancy M'Leod, and still a very fine woman; but they came not.

In bounced G. T[homson], alarmed by an anonymous letter, which acquainted him that thirty tents full of Catholics were coming to celebrate high mass in the Abbey church; and to consult me on such a precious document he came prancing about seven at night. I hope to get him a kirk before he makes any extraordinary explosion of simplicity.

December 29.—Mr. and Mrs. Percival came to-day. He is son of the late lamented statesman, equally distinguished by talents and integrity. The son is a clever young man, and has read a good deal; pleasant, too, in society; but tampers with phrenology, which is unworthy of his father's son. There is a certain kind of cleverish men, either half educated or cock-brained by nature, who are attached to that same turnipology. I am sorry this gentleman should take such whims—sorry even for his name's sake. Walter and Jane arrived; so our Christmas party thickens. Sir Adam and Colonel Ferguson dined.

December 30.—Wrote and wrought hard, then went out a drive with Mr. and Mrs. Percival; and went round by the lake. If my days of good fortune should ever return I will lay out some pretty rides at Abbotsford.

Last day of an eventful year; much evil and some good; but especially the courage to endure what Fortune sends without becoming a pipe for her fingers.[437]

It is not the last day of the year, but to-morrow being Sunday we hold our festival of neighbours to-day instead. The Fergusons came en masse, and we had all the usual appliances of mirth and good cheer. Yet our party, like the chariot-wheels of Pharaoh in the Red Sea, dragged heavily.

Some of the party grow old and infirm; others thought of the absence of the hostess, whose reception of her guests was always kind. We did as well as we could, however.

"It's useless to murmur and pout—
There's no good in making ado;
'Tis well the old year is out,
And time to begin a new."

December 31.—It must be allowed that the regular recurrence of annual festivals among the same individuals has, as life advances, something in it that is melancholy. We meet on such occasions like the survivors of some perilous expedition, wounded and weakened ourselves, and looking through the diminished ranks of those who remain, while we think of those who are no more. Or they are like the feasts of the Caribs, in which they held that the pale and speechless phantoms of the deceased appeared and mingled with the living. Yet where shall we fly from vain repining? Or why should we give up the comfort of seeing our friends, because they can no longer be to us, or we to them, what we once were to each other?



January 1.—God make this a happy year to the King and country, and to all honest men!

I went with all our family to-day to dine as usual at the kind house of Huntly Burn; but the same cloud which hung over us on Saturday still had its influence. The effect of grief upon [those] who, like myself and Sir A.F., are highly susceptible of humour, has, I think, been finely touched by Wordsworth in the character of the merry village teacher Matthew, whom Jeffrey profanely calls the hysterical schoolmaster.[438] But, with my friend Jeffrey's pardon, I think he loves to see imagination best when it is bitted and managed and ridden upon, the grand pas. He does not make allowance for starts and sallies and bounds when Pegasus is beautiful to behold, though sometimes perilous to his rider. Not that I think the amiable bard of Rydal shows judgment in choosing such subjects as the popular mind cannot sympathise in. It is unwise and unjust to himself. I do not compare myself, in point of imagination, with Wordsworth—far from it; for [his] is naturally exquisite, and highly cultivated by constant exercise. But I can see as many castles in the clouds as any man, as many genii in the curling smoke of a steam engine, as perfect a Persepolis in the embers of a sea-coal fire. My life has been spent in such day-dreams. But I cry no roast-meat. There are times a man should remember what Rousseau used to say: Tais-toi, Jean-Jacques, car on ne t'entend pas![439]

January 2.—I had resolved to mark down no more griefs and groans, but I must needs briefly state that I am nailed to my chair like the unhappy Theseus. The rheumatism, exasperated by my sortie of yesterday, has seized on my only serviceable knee—and I am, by Proserpine, motionless as an anvil. Leeches and embrocations are all I have for it. Diable! there was a twinge. The Russells and Fergusons here; but I was fairly driven off the pit after dinner, and compelled to retreat to my own bed, there to howl till morning like a dog in his solitary cabin.

January 3.—Mending slowly. Two things are comfortable—1st, I lose no good weather out of doors, for the ground is covered with snow; 2d, That, by exerting a little stoicism, I can make my illness promote the advance of Nap. As I can scarcely stand, however, I am terribly awkward at consulting books, maps, etc. The work grows under my hand, however; vol. vi. [Napoleon] will be finished this week, I believe. Russells being still with us, I was able by dint of handing and chairing to get to the dining-room and the drawing-room in the evening.

Talking of Wordsworth, he told Anne and me a story, the object of which was to show that Crabbe had not imagination. He, Sir George Beaumont, and Wordsworth were sitting together in Murray the bookseller's back-room. Sir George, after sealing a letter, blew out the candle, which had enabled him to do so, and, exchanging a look with Wordsworth, began to admire in silence the undulating thread of smoke which slowly arose from the expiring wick, when Crabbe put on the extinguisher. Anne laughed at the instance, and inquired if the taper was wax, and being answered in the negative, seemed to think that there was no call on Mr. Crabbe to sacrifice his sense of smell to their admiration of beautiful and evanescent forms. In two other men I should have said "this is affectations,"[440] with Sir Hugh Evans; but Sir George is the man in the world most void of affectation; and then he is an exquisite painter, and no doubt saw where the incident would have succeeded in painting. The error is not in you yourself receiving deep impressions from slight hints, but in supposing that precisely the same sort of impression must arise in the mind of men otherwise of kindred feeling, or that the commonplace folks of the world can derive such inductions at any time or under any circumstances.

January 4.—My enemy gained some strength during the watches of the night, but has again succumbed under scalding fomentations of camomile flowers. I still keep my state, for my knee, though it has ceased to pain me, is very feeble. We began to fill the ice-house to-day. Dine alone—en famille, that is, Jane, Anne, Walter, and I. Why, this makes up for aiches, as poor John Kemble used to call them. After tea I broke off work, and read my young folks the farce of the Critic, and "merry folks were we."

January 5.—I waked, or aked if you please, for five or six hours I think, then fevered a little. I am better though, God be thanked, and can now shuffle about and help myself to what I want without ringing every quarter of an hour. It is a fine clear sunny day; I should like to go out, but flannel and poultices cry nay. So I drudge away with the assisting of Pelet, who has a real French head, believing all he desires should be true, and affirming all he wishes should be believed. Skenes (Mr. and Mrs., with Miss Jardine) arrived about six o'clock. Skene very rheumatic, as well as I am.

January 6.—Worked till dusk, but not with much effect; my head and mind not clear somehow. W. Laidlaw at dinner. In the evening read Foote's farce of the Commissary, said to have been levelled at Sir Lawrence Dundas; but Sir Lawrence was a man of family. Walter and Jane dined at Mertoun.

January 7.—Wrought till twelve, then sallied and walked with Skene for two miles; home and corrected proofs, and to a large amount. Mr. Scrope and George Thomson dined.

January 8.—Slept well last night in consequence I think of my walk, which I will, God willing, repeat to-day. I wrote some letters too long delayed, and sent off my packets to J.B. Letter from C. Sharpe very pressing. I should employ my interest at Windsor to oppose the alterations on the town of Edinburgh. "One word from you, and all that." I don't think I shall speak that word though. I hate the alterations, that is certain; but then ne accesseris in consilium nisi vocatus,—what is the use of my volunteering an opinion? Again, the value of many people's property may depend on this plan going forward. Have I a right from mere views of amenity to interfere with those serious interests? I something doubt it. Then I have always said that I never meddle in such work, and ought I sotto voce now to begin it? By my faith I won't; there are enough to state the case besides me.[441]

The young Duke of B. came in to bid us good-bye, as he is going off to England. God bless him! He is a hawk of a good nest. Afterwards I walked to the Welsh pool, Skene declining to go, for I

"———not over stout of limb,
Seem stronger of the two."

January 9.—This morning received the long-expected news of the Duke of York's death.[442] I am sorry both on public and private accounts. His R.H. was, while he occupied the situation of next in the royal succession, a Breakwater behind the throne. I fear his brother of Clarence's opinions may be different, and that he will hoist a standard under which will rendezvous men of desperate hopes and evil designs. I am sorry, too, on my own account. The Duke of York was uniformly kind to me, and though I never tasked his friendship deeply, yet I find a powerful friend is gone. His virtues were honour, good sense, integrity; and by exertion of these qualities he raised the British army from a very low ebb to be the pride and dread of Europe. His errors were those of a sanguine and social temper; he could not resist the temptation of deep play, which was fatally allied with a disposition to the bottle. This last is incident to his complaint, which vinous influence soothes for the time, while it insidiously increases it in the end.

Here blows a gale of wind. I was to go to Galashiels to settle some foolish lawsuit, and afterwards to have been with Mr. Kerr of Kippilaw to treat about a march-dike. I shall content myself with the first duty, for this day does not suit Bowden-moor.

Went over to Galashiels like the devil in a gale of wind, and found a writer contesting with half-a-dozen unwashed artificers the possession of a piece of ground the size and shape of a three-cornered pocket-handkerchief. Tried to "gar them gree," and if I succeed, I shall think I deserve something better than the touch of rheumatism, which is like to be my only reward.

Scotts of Harden and John Pringle of Clifton dined, and we got on very well.

January 10.—Enter rheumatism, and takes me by the knee. So much for playing the peacemaker in a shower of rain. Nothing for it but patience, cataplasm of camomile, and labour in my own room the whole day till dinner-time—then company and reading in the evening.

January 11.—Ditto repeated. I should have thought I would have made more of these solitary days than I find I can do. A morning, or two or three hours before dinner, have often done more efficient work than six or seven of these hours of languor, I cannot say of illness, can produce. A bow that is slackly strung will never send an arrow very far. Heavy snow. We are engaged at Mr. Scrope's, but I think I shall not be able to go. I remained at home accordingly, and, having nothing else to do, worked hard and effectively. I believe my sluggishness was partly owing to the gnawing rheumatic pain in my knee, for after all I am of opinion pain is an evil, let Stoics say what they will. Thank God, it is an evil which is mending with me.

January 12.—All this day occupied with camomile poultices and pen and ink. It is now four o'clock, and I have written yesterday and to-day ten of my pages—that is, one-tenth of one of these large volumes—moreover, I have corrected three proof-sheets. I wish it may not prove fool's haste, yet I take as much pains too as is in my nature.

January 13.—The Fergusons, with my neighbours Mr. Scrope and Mr. Bainbridge and young Hume, eat a haunch of venison from Drummond Castle, and seemed happy. We had music and a little dancing, and enjoyed in others the buoyancy of spirit that we no longer possess ourselves. Yet I do not think the young people of this age so gay as we were. There is a turn for persiflage, a fear of ridicule among them, which stifles the honest emotions of gaiety and lightness of spirit; and people, when they give in the least to the expansion of their natural feelings, are always kept under by the fear of becoming ludicrous. To restrain your feelings and check your enthusiasm in the cause even of pleasure is now a rule among people of fashion, as much as it used to be among philosophers.

January 14.—Well—my holidays are out—and I may count my gains and losses as honest Robinson Crusoe used to balance his accounts of good and evil.

I have not been able, during three weeks, to stir above once or twice from the house. But then I have executed a great deal of work, which would be otherwise unfinished.

Again I have sustained long and sleepless nights and much pain. True; but no one is the worse of the thoughts which arise in the watches of the night; and for pain, the complaint which brought on this rheumatism was not so painful perhaps, but was infinitely more disagreeable and depressing.

Something there has been of dulness in our little reunions of society which did not use to cloud them. But I have seen all my own old and kind friends, with my dear children (Charles alone excepted); and if we did not rejoice with perfect joy, it was overshadowed from the same sense of regret.

Again, this new disorder seems a presage of the advance of age with its infirmities. But age is but the cypress avenue which terminates in the tomb, where the weary are at rest.

I have been putting my things to rights to go off to-morrow. Though I always wonder why it should be so, I feel a dislike to order and to task-work of all kinds—a predominating foible in my disposition. I do not mean that it influences me in morals; for even in youth I had a disgust at gross irregularities of any kind, and such as I ran into were more from compliance with others and a sort of false shame, than any pleasure I sought or found in dissipation. But what I mean is a detestation of precise order in petty matters—in reading or answering letters, in keeping my papers arranged and in order, and so on. Weber, and then Gordon, used to keep my things in some order—now they are verging to utter confusion. And then I have let my cash run ahead since I came from the Continent—I must slump the matter as I can.

[Shandwick Place,] January 15.—Off we came, and despite of rheumatism I got through the journey comfortably. Greeted on my arrival by a number of small accounts whistling like grape-shot; they are of no great avail, and incurred, I see, chiefly during the time of illness. But I believe it will take me some hard work till I pay them, and how to get the time to work? It will be hard purchased if, as I think not unlikely, this bitch of a rheumatism should once more pin me to my chair. Coming through Galashiels, we met the Laird of Torwoodlee, who, on hearing how long I had been confined, asked how I bore it, observing that he had once in his life (Torwoodlee must be between sixty and seventy) been confined for five days to the house, and was like to hang himself. I regret God's free air as much as any man, but I could amuse myself were it in the Bastile.

January 16.—Went to Court, and returned through a curious atmosphere, half mist, half rain, famous for rheumatic joints. Yet I felt no increase of my plaguey malady, but, on the contrary, am rather better. I had need, otherwise a pair of crutches for life were my prettiest help.

Walter dined with us to-day, Jane remaining with her mother. The good affectionate creatures leave us to-morrow. God send them a quick passage through the Irish Channel! They go to Gort, where Walter's troop is lying—a long journey for winter days.

January 17.—Another proper day of mist, sleet, and rain, through which I navigated homeward. I imagine the distance to be a mile and a half. It is a good thing to secure as much exercise.

I observed in the papers my old friend Gifford's funeral. He was a man of rare attainments and many excellent qualities. The translation of Juvenal is one of the best versions ever made of a classical author, and his satire of the Baviad and Maeviad squabashed at one blow a set of coxcombs who might have humbugged the world long enough.

As a commentator he was capital, could he but have suppressed his rancour against those who had preceded him in the task, but a misconstruction or misinterpretation, nay, the misplacing of a comma, was in Gifford's eyes a crime worthy of the most severe animadversion. The same fault of extreme severity went through his critical labours, and in general he flagellated with so little pity, that people lost their sense of the criminal's guilt in dislike of the savage pleasure which the executioner seemed to take in inflicting the punishment.

This lack of temper probably arose from indifferent health, for he was very valetudinary, and realised two verses, wherein he says fortune assigned him—

"———One eye not over good,
Two sides that to their cost have stood
A ten years' hectic cough,
Aches, stitches, all the various ills
That swell the dev'lish doctor's bills,
And sweep poor mortals off."

But he might also justly claim, as his gift, the moral qualities expressed in the next fine stanza—

"———A soul
That spurns the crowd's malign control,
A firm contempt of wrong:
Spirits above afflictions' power,
And skill to soothe the lingering hour
With no inglorious song."[443]

January 18.—To go on with my subject—Gifford was a little man, dumpled up together, and so ill-made as to seem almost deformed, but with a singular expression of talent in his countenance. Though so little of an athlete, he nevertheless beat off Dr. Wolcot, when that celebrated person, the most unsparing calumniator of his time, chose to be offended with Gifford for satirising him in his turn. Peter Pindar made a most vehement attack, but Gifford had the best of the affray, and remained, I think, in triumphant possession of the field of action, and of the assailant's cane. Gifford had one singular custom. He used always to have a duenna of a housekeeper to sit in his study with him while he wrote. This female companion died when I was in London, and his distress was extreme. I afterwards heard he got her place supplied. I believe there was no scandal in all this.[444]

This is another vile day of darkness and rain, with a heavy yellow mist that might become Charing Cross—one of the benefits of our extended city; for that in our atmosphere was unknown till the extent of the buildings below Queen Street. M'Culloch of Ardwell called.

Wrought chiefly on a critique of Mrs. Charlotte Smith's novels,[445] and proofs.

January 19.—Uncle Adam,[446] vide Inheritance, who retired last year from an official situation at the age of eighty-four, although subject to fits of giddiness, and although carefully watched by his accomplished daughter, is still in the habit of walking by himself if he can by possibility make an escape. The other day, in one of these excursions, he fell against a lamp-post, cut himself much, bled a good deal, and was carried home by two gentlemen. What said old Rugged-and-Tough? Why, that his fall against the post was the luckiest thing could have befallen him, for the bleeding was exactly the remedy for his disorder.

"Lo! stout hearts of men!"

Called on said "uncle," also on David Hume, Lord Chief-Commissioner, Will Clerk, Mrs. Jobson, and others. My knee made no allowance for my politeness, but has begun to swell again, and to burn like a scorpion's bite.

January 20.—Scarce slept all night; scarce able to stand or move this morning; almost an absolute fixture.

"A sleepless knight,
A weary knight,
God be the guide."[447]

This is at the Court a blank day, being that of the poor Duke of York's funeral. I can sit at home, luckily, and fag hard.

And so I have, pretty well; six leaves written, and four or five proof-sheets corrected. Cadell came to breakfast, and proposes an eighth volume for Napoleon. I told him he might write to Longman for their opinion. Seven is an awkward number, and will extremely cramp the work. Eight, too, would go into six octavos, should it ever be called for in that shape. But it shall be as they list to have it.

January 21.—A long day of some pain relieved by labour. Dr. Ross came in and recommended some stuff, which did little good. I would like ill to lose the use of my precious limbs. Meanwhile, Patience, cousin, and shuffle the cards.

Missie dined with us to-day—an honest Scotch lass, lady-like and frank. I finished about six leaves, doing indeed little else.

January 22.—Work, varied with camomile; we get on, though. A visit from Basil Hall, with Mr. Audubon the ornithologist, who has followed that pursuit by many a long wandering in the American forests. He is an American by naturalisation, a Frenchman by birth;[448] but less of a Frenchman than I have ever seen—no dash, or glimmer, or shine about him, but great simplicity of manners and behaviour; slight in person, and plainly dressed; wears long hair, which time has not yet tinged; his countenance acute, handsome, and interesting, but still simplicity is the predominant characteristic. I wish I had gone to see his drawings; but I had heard so much about them that I resolved not to see them—"a crazy way of mine, your honour."—Five more leaves finished.

January 23.—I have got a piece of armour, a knee-cap of chamois leather, which I think does my unlucky rheumatism some good. I begin, too, to sleep at night, which is a great comfort. Spent this day completely in labour; only betwixt dinner and tea, while husbanding a tumbler of whisky and water, I read the new novel, Elizabeth de Bruce[449]—part of it, that is.

January 24.—Visit from Mr. Audubon, who brings some of his birds. The drawings are of the first order—the attitudes of the birds of the most animated character, and the situations appropriate; one of a snake attacking a bird's nest, while the birds (the parents) peck at the reptile's eyes—they usually, in the long-run, destroy him, says the naturalist. The feathers of these gay little sylphs, most of them from the Southern States, are most brilliant, and are represented with what, were it [not] connected with so much spirit in the attitude, I would call a laborious degree of execution. This extreme correctness is of the utmost consequence to the naturalist, [but] as I think (having no knowledge of virtu), rather gives a stiffness to the drawings. This sojourner in the desert had been in the woods for months together. He preferred associating with the Indians to the company of the Back Settlers; very justly, I daresay, for a civilised man of the lower order—that is, the dregs of civilisation—when thrust back on the savage state becomes worse than a savage. They are Wordsworth's adventurer,

"Deliberate and undeceived
The wild men's vices who received,
And gave them back his own."[450]

The Indians, he says, are dying fast; they seem to pine and die whenever the white population approaches them. The Shawanese, who amounted, Mr. Audubon says, to some thousands within his memory, are almost extinct, and so are various other tribes. Mr. Audubon could never hear any tradition about the mammoth, though he made anxious inquiries. He gives no countenance to the idea that the Red Indians were ever a more civilised people than at this day, or that a more civilised people had preceded them in North America. He refers the bricks, etc., occasionally found, and appealed to in support of this opinion, to the earlier settlers,—or, where kettles and other utensils may have been found, to the early trade between the Indians and the Spaniards.

John Russell[451] and Leonard Horner[452] came to consult me about the propriety and possibility of retaining the northern pronunciation of the Latin in the new Edinburgh Academy.[453] I will think of it until to-morrow, being no great judge. We had our solitary dinner; indeed, it is only remarkable nowadays when we have a guest.

January 25.—Thought during the watches of the night and a part of the morning about the question of Latin pronunciation, and came to the following conclusions. That the mode of pronunciation approved by Buchanan and by Milton, and practised by all nations, excepting the English, assimilated in sound, too, to the Spanish, Italian, and other languages derived from the Latin, is certainly the best, and is likewise useful as facilitating the acquisition of sounds which the Englishman attempts in vain. Accordingly I wish the cockneyfied pedant who first disturbed it by reading Emo for Amo, and quy for qui, had choked in the attempt. But the question is, whether a youth who has been taught in a manner different from that used all over England will be heard, if he presumes to use his Latin at the bar or the senate; and if he is to be unintelligible or ludicrous, the question [arises] whether his education is not imperfect under one important view. I am very unwilling to sacrifice our sumpsimus to their old mumpsimus—still more to humble ourselves before the Saxons while we can keep an inch of the Scottish flag flying. But this is a question which must be decided not on partialities or prejudices.

I got early from the Court to-day, and settled myself to work hard.

January 26.—My rheumatism is almost gone. I can walk without Major Weir, which is the name Anne gives my cane, because it is so often out of the way that it is suspected, like the staff of that famous wizard,[454] to be capable of locomotion. Went to Court, and tarried till three o'clock, after which transacted business with Mr. Gibson and Dr. Inglis as one of Miss Hume's trustees. Then was introduced to young Mr. Rennie,[455] or he to me, by [Sir] James Hall, a genteel-looking young man, and speaks well. He was called into public notice by having, many years before, made a draught of a plan of his father's for London Bridge. It was sought for when the building was really about to take place, and the assistance which young Mr. Rennie gave to render it useful raised his character so high, that his brother and he are now in first-rate practice as civil engineers.

January 27.—Read Elizabeth de Bruce; it is very clever, but does not show much originality. The characters, though very entertaining, are in the manner of other authors, and the finished and filled up portraits of which the sketches are to be found elsewhere. One is too apt to feel on such occasions the pettish resentment that you might entertain against one who had poached on your manor. But the case is quite different, and a claim set up on having been the first who betook himself to the illustration of some particular class of characters, or department of life, is no more a right of monopoly than that asserted by the old buccaneers by setting up a wooden cross, and killing an Indian or two on some new discovered island. If they can make anything of their first discovery, the better luck theirs; if not, let others come, penetrate further into the country, write descriptions, make drawings or settlements at their pleasure.

We were kept in Parliament House till three. Called to return thanks to Mr. Menzies of Pitfoddels, who lent some pamphlets about the unhappy Duke d'Enghien. Read in the evening Boutourlin and Ségur, to prepare for my Russian campaign.

January 28.—Continued my reading with the commentary of the D. of W.[456] If his broad shoulders cannot carry me through, the devil must be in the dice. Longman and Company agree to the eight volumes. It will make the value of the book more than £12,000. Wrought indifferent hard.

January 29.—Mr. Gibson breakfasted with Dr. Marshman,[457] the head of the missionaries at Serampore, a great Oriental scholar. He is a thin, dark-featured, middle-sized man, about fifty or upwards, his eye acute, his hair just beginning to have a touch of the grey. He spoke well and sensibly, and seemed liberal in his ideas. He was clearly of opinion that general information must go hand in hand, or even ought to precede religious instruction. Thinks the influence of European manners is gradually making changes in India. The natives, so far as their religion will allow them, are become fond of Europeans, and invite them to their great festivals. He has a conceit that the Afghans are the remains of the Ten Tribes. I cannot find he has a better reason than their own tradition, which calls them Ben-Israel, and says they are not Ben-Judah. They have Jewish rites and ceremonies, but so have all Mahometans; neither could I understand that their language has anything peculiar. The worship of Bhoodah he conceives to have [been] an original, or rather the original, of Hindu religion, until the Brahmins introduced the doctrines respecting caste and other peculiarities. But it would require strong proof to show that the superstition of caste could be introduced into a country which had been long peopled, and where society had long existed without such restriction. It is more like to be adopted in the early history of a tribe, when there are but few individuals, the descent of whom is accurately preserved. How could the castes be distinguished or told off in a populous nation? Dr. Marshman was an old friend of poor John Leyden.

January 30.—Blank day at Court, being the Martyrdom. Wrought hard at Bon. all day, though I had settled otherwise. I ought to have been at an article for John Lockhart, and one for poor Gillies; but there is something irresistible in contradiction, even when it consists in doing a thing equally laborious, but not the thing you are especially called upon to do. It is a kind of cheating the devil, which a self-willed monster like me is particularly addicted to. Not to make myself worse than I am though, I was full of information about the Russian campaign, which might evaporate unless used, like lime, as soon after it was wrought up as possible. About three, Pitfoddels called. A bauld crack that auld papist body, and well informed. We got on religion. He is very angry with the Irish demagogues, and a sound well-thinking man.[458] Heard of Walter and Jane; all well, God be praised!

By a letter from Gibson I see the gross proceeds of

Bonaparte, at eight volumes, are£12,600 0 0
Discount, five months,210 0 0
 £12,390 0 0

I question if more was ever made by a single work, or by a single author's labours, in the same time. But whether it is deserved or not is the question.

January 31.—Young Murray, son of Mr. M., in Albemarle Street, breakfasted with me. English boys have this advantage, that they are well-bred, and can converse when ours are regular-built cubs. I am not sure if it is an advantage in the long-run. It is a temptation to premature display.

Wet to the skin coming from the Court. Called on Skene, to give him, for the Antiquarian Society, a heart, human apparently, stuck full of pins. It was found lying opposite to the threshold of an old tenement, in [Dalkeith], a little below the surface; it is in perfect preservation. Dined at the Bannatyne Club, where I am chairman. We admitted a batch of new members, chiefly noblemen and men connected with the public offices and records in London, such as Palgrave, Petrie, etc. We drank to our old Scottish heroes, poets, historians, and printers, and were funny enough, though, like Shylock, I had no will to go abroad. I was supported by Lord Minto and Lord Eldin.


February 1.—I feel a return of the cursed rheumatism. How could it miss, with my wetting? Also feverish, and a slight headache. So much for claret and champagne. I begin to be quite unfit for a good fellow. Like Mother Cole in the Minor, a thimbleful upsets me,[459]—I mean, annoys my stomach, for my brains do not suffer. Well, I have had my time of these merry doings.

"The haunch of the deer, and the wine's red dye,
Never bard loved them better than I."

But it was for the sake of sociality; never either for the flask or the venison. That must end—is ended. The evening sky of life does not reflect those brilliant flashes of light that shot across its morning and noon. Yet I thank God it is neither gloomy nor disconsolately lowering; a sober twilight—that is all.

I am in great hopes that the Bannatyne Club, by the assistance of Thomson's wisdom, industry, and accuracy, will be something far superior to the Dilettanti model on which it started. The Historie of K. James VI., Melville's Memoirs, and other works, executed or in hand, are decided boons to Scottish history and literature.

February 2.—In confirmation of that which is above stated, I see in Thorpe's sale-catalogue a set of the Bannatyne books, lacking five, priced £25. Had a dry walk from the Court by way of dainty, and made it a long one. Anne went at night to Lady Minto's.

Hear of Miss White's death. Poor Lydia! she had a party at dinner on the Friday before, and had written with her own hand invitations for another party. Twenty years ago she used to tease me with her youthful affectations—her dressing like the Queen of Chimney-sweeps on May-day morning, and sometimes with rather a free turn in conversation, when she let her wit run wild. But she was a woman of much wit, and had a feeling and kind heart. She made her point good, a bas-bleu in London to a point not easily attained, and contrived to have every evening a very good literary mêlée, and little dinners which were very entertaining. She had also the newest lions upon town. In a word, she was not and would not be forgotten, even when disease obliged her, as it did for years, to confine herself to her couch; and the world, much abused for hard-heartedness, was kind in her case—so she lived in the society she liked. No great expenditure was necessary for this. She had an easy fortune, but not more. Poor Lydia! I saw the Duke of York and her in London, when Death, it seems, was brandishing his dart over them.[460]

"The view o't gave them little fright."[461]

Did not get quite a day's work finished to-day, thanks to my walk.

February 3.—There is nought but care on every hand. James Hogg writes that he is to lose his farm,[462] on which he laid out, or rather threw away, the profit of all his publications.

Then Terry has been pressed by Gibson for my debt to him. That I may get managed.

I sometimes doubt if I am in what the good people call the right way. Not to sing my own praises, I have been willing always to do my friends what good was in my power, and have not shunned personal responsibility. But then that was in money matters, to which I am naturally indifferent, unless when the consequences press on me. But then I am a bad comforter in case of inevitable calamity; and feeling proudly able to endure in my own case, I cannot sympathise with those whose nerves are of a feebler texture.

Dined at Jeffrey's, with Lord and Lady Minto, John Murray and his lady,[463] a Mr. Featherstone, an Americo-Yorkshireman, and some others. Mrs. Murray is a very amiable person, and seems highly accomplished; plays most brilliantly.

February 4.—R.R. These two letters, you must understand, do not signify, as in Bibliomania phrase, a double degree of rarity, but, chirurgically, a double degree of rheumatism. The wine gets to weak places, Ross says. I have a letter from no less a person than that pink of booksellers, Sir Richard Phillips, who, it seems, has been ruined, and as he sees me floating down the same dark tide, sings out his nos poma natamus.

February 5.—R. One R. will do to-day. If this cursed rheumatism gives way to February weather, I will allow she has some right to be called a spring month, to which otherwise her pretensions are slender. I worked this morning till two o'clock, and visited Mr. Grant's[464] pictures, who has them upon sale. They seem, to my inexperienced eye, genuine, or at least, good paintings. But I fear picture-buying, like horse-jockeyship, is a profession a gentleman cannot make much of without laying aside some of his attributes. The pictures are too high-priced, I should think, for this market. There is a very knowing catalogue by Frank Grant himself. Next went to see a show of wild beasts; it was a fine one. I think they keep them much cleaner than formerly, when the strong smell generally gave me a headache for the day. The creatures are also much tamer, which I impute to more knowledge of their habits and kind treatment. A lion and tigress went through their exercise like poodles—jumping, standing, and lying down at the word of command. This is rather degrading. I would have the Lord Chancellor of Beasts good-humoured, not jocose. I treated the elephant, who was a noble fellow, to a shilling's worth of cakes. I wish I could have enlarged the space in which so much bulk and wisdom is confined. He kept swinging his head from side to side, looking as if he marvelled why all the fools that gaped at him were at liberty, and he cooped up in the cage.

Dined at the Royal Society Club—about thirty present. Went to the Society in the evening, and heard an essay by Peter Tytler[465] on the first encourager of Greek learning in England.[466]

February 6.—Was at Court till two; afterwards wrote a good deal, which has become a habit with me. Dined at Sir John Hay's, where met the Advocate and a pleasant party. There had been a Justiciary trial yesterday, in which something curious had occurred. A woman of rather the better class, a farmer's wife, had been tried on the 5th for poisoning her maid-servant. There seems to have been little doubt of her guilt, but the motive was peculiar. The unfortunate girl had an intrigue with her son, which this Mrs. Smith (I think that is the name) was desirous to conceal, from some ill-advised puritanic notions, and also for fear of her husband. She could find no better way of hiding the shame than giving the girl (with her own knowledge and consent, I believe) potions to cause abortion, which she afterwards changed for arsenic, as the more effectual silencing medicine. In the course of the trial one of the jury fell down in an epileptic fit, and on his recovery was far too much disordered to permit the trial to proceed. With only fourteen jurymen it was impossible to go on. But the Advocate, Sir William Rae, says she shall be tried anew, since she has not tholed an assize. Sic Paulus aitet recte quidem. But, having been half tried, I think she should have some benefit of it, as far as saving her life, if convicted on the second indictment. The Advocate declares, however, she shall be hanged, as certainly she deserves. But it looks something like hanging up a man who has been recovered by the surgeons, which has always been accounted harsh justice.

February 7.—Wrote six leaves to-day, and am tired—that's all.

February 8.—I lost much time to-day. I got from the Court about half-past twelve, therefore might have reckoned on four hours, or three at least, before dinner. But I had to call on Dr. Shortt at two, which made me lounge till that hour came. Then I missed him, and, too tired to return, went to see the exhibition, where Skene was hanging up the pictures, and would not let me in. Then to the Oil Gas Company, who propose to send up counsel to support their new bill. As I thought the choice unadvisedly made, I fairly opposed the mission, which, I suppose, will give much offence; but I have no notion of being shamefaced in doing my duty, and I do not think I should permit forward persons to press into situations for which their vanity alone renders them competent. Had many proof-sheets to correct in the evening.

February 9.—We had a long day of it at Court, but I whipped you off half-a-dozen of letters, for, as my cases stood last on the roll, I could do what I liked in the interim. This carried me on till two o'clock. Called on Baron Hume, and found him, as usual, in high spirits, notwithstanding his late illness. Then crept home—my rheumatism much better, though. Corrected lives of Lord Somerville and the King [George III.][467] for the Prose Works, which took a long time; but I had the whole evening to myself, as Anne dined with the Swintons, and went to a ball at the Justice-Clerk's. N.B.—It is the first and only ball which has been given this season—a sign the times are pinching.

February 10.—I got a present of Lord Francis Gower's printed but unpublished Tale of the Mill.[468] It is a fine tale of terror in itself, and very happily brought out. He has certainly a true taste for poetry. I do not know why, but from my childhood I have seen something fearful, or melancholy at least, about a mill. Whether I had been frightened at the machinery when very young, of which I think I have some shadowy recollection—whether I had heard the stories of the miller of Thirlestane[469] and similar molendinar tragedies, I cannot tell; but not even recollection of the Lass of Patie's Mill, or the Miller of Mansfield, or he who "dwelt on the river Dee," have ever got over my inclination to connect gloom with a mill, especially when sun is setting. So I entered into the spirit of the terror with which Lord Francis has invested his haunted spot. I dine with the Solicitor to-day, so quoad labour 'tis a blank. But then to-morrow is a new day.

"To-morrow to fresh meads and pastures new."[470]

February 11.—Wrought a good deal in the morning, and landed Boney at Smolensk. But I have him to bring off again; and, moreover, I must collate the authorities on the movements of the secondary armies of Witgenstein and the Admiral with the break-tooth name. Dined with Lord Minto, where I met Thomson, Cranstoun, and other gay folks. These dinner parties narrow my working hours; yet they must sometimes be, or one would fall out of the line of society, and go to leeward entirely, which is not right to venture. This is the high time for parties in Edinburgh; no wonder one cannot keep clear.

February 12.—I was obliged to read instead of writing, and the infernal Russian names, which everybody spells ad libitum, makes it difficult to trace the operations on a better map than mine. I called to-day on Dr. Shortt, principal surgeon at Saint Helena, and who presided at the opening of Bonaparte's body. He mentions as certain the falsehood of a number of the assertions concerning his usage, the unhealthy state of the island, and so forth. I have jotted down his evidence elsewhere. I could not write when I came home. Nervous a little, I think, and not yet up to the motions of Tchitchagoff, as I must be before I can write. Will [Clerk] and Sir A. Ferguson dine here to-day—the first time any one has had that honour for long enough, unless at Abbotsford. The good Lord Chief-Commissioner invited himself, and I asked his son, Admiral Adam. Col. Ferguson is of the party.

February 13.—The dining parties come thick, and interfere with work extremely. I am, however, beforehand very far. Yet, as James B. says—the tortoise comes up with the hare. So Puss must make a new start; but not this week. Went to see the exhibition—certainly a good one for Scotland—and less trash than I have seen at Somerset-House (begging pardon of the pockpuddings). There is a beautiful thing by Landseer—a Highlander and two stag-hounds engaged with a deer. Very spirited, indeed. I forgot my rheumatism, and could have wished myself of the party. There were many fine folks, and there was a collation, chocolate, and so forth. We dine at Sir H. Jardine's, with Lord Ch.-Com., Lord Chief-Baron, etc.

February 14.—"Death's gi'en the art an unco devel."[471] Sir George Beaumont's dead; by far the most sensible and pleasing man I ever knew; kind, too, in his nature, and generous; gentle in society, and of those mild manners which tend to soften the causticity of the general London [tone] of persiflage and personal satire. As an amateur, he was a painter of the very highest rank. Though I know nothing of the matter, yet I should hold him a perfect critic on painting, for he always made his criticisms intelligible, and used no slang. I am very sorry, as much as is in my nature to be, for one whom I could see but seldom. He was the great friend of Wordsworth, and understood his poetry, which is a rare thing, for it is more easy to see his peculiarities than to feel his great merit, or follow his abstract ideas. I dined to-day at Lord Ch.-Commissioner's—Lord Minto, and Lord Ch.-Baron, also Harden. Little done to-day.

February 15.—Rheumatism returns with the snow. I had thoughts of going to Abbotsford on Saturday, but if this lasts, it will not do; and, sooth to speak, it ought not to do; though it would do me much pleasure if it would do.

I have a letter from Baron Von Goethe,[472] which I must have read to me; for though I know German, I have forgot their written hand. I make it a rule seldom to read, and never to answer, foreign letters from literary folks. It leads to nothing but the battle-dore and shuttle-cock intercourse of compliments, as light as cork and feathers. But Goethe is different, and a wonderful fellow, the Ariosto at once, and almost the Voltaire of Germany. Who could have told me thirty years ago I should correspond, and be on something like an equal footing, with the author of Goetz? Ay, and who could have told me fifty things else that have befallen me?[473]

February 16.—R. Still snow; and, alas! no time for work, so hard am I fagged by the Court and the good company of Edinburgh. I almost wish my rheumatics were bad enough to give me an apology for staying a week at home. But we have Sunday and Monday clear. If not better, I will cribb off Tuesday; and Wednesday is Teind day. We dined to-day with Mr. Borthwick, younger of Crookston.

February 17.—James Ferguson ill of the rheumatism in head and neck, and Hector B. Macdonald in neck and shoulders. I wonder, as Commodore Trunnion says, what the blackguard hell's-baby has to say to the Clerks of Session.[474] Went to the Second Division to assist Hector. N.B.—Don't like it half so well as my own, for the speeches are much longer. Home at dinner, and wrought in the evening.

February 18.—Very cold weather. I am rather glad I am not in the country. What says Dean Swift—

"When frost and snow come both together,
Then sit by the fire and save shoe leather."

Wrought all morning and finished five pages. Missie dined with us.

February 19.—As well I give up Abbotsford, for Hamilton is laid up with the gout. The snow, too, continues, with a hard frost. I have seen the day I would have liked it all the better. I read and wrote at the bitter account of the French retreat from Moscow, in 1812, till the little room and coal fire seemed snug by comparison. I felt cold in its rigour in my childhood and boyhood, but not since. In youth and advanced life we get less sensible to it, but I remember thinking it worse than hunger. Uninterrupted to-day, and did eight leaves.[475]

February 20.—At Court, and waited to see the poisoning woman. She is clearly guilty, but as one or two witnesses said the poor wench hinted an intention to poison herself, the jury gave that bastard verdict, Not proven. I hate that Caledonian medium quid. One who is not proven guilty is innocent in the eye of law. It was a face to do or die, or perhaps to do to die. Thin features, which had been handsome, a flashing eye, an acute and aquiline nose, lips much marked, as arguing decision, and, I think, bad temper—they were thin, and habitually compressed, rather turned down at the corners, as one of a rather melancholy disposition. There was an awful crowd; but, sitting within the bar, I had the pleasure of seeing much at my ease; the constables knocking the other folks about, which was of course very entertaining.[476]

Lord Liverpool is ill of an apoplexy. I am sorry for it. He will be missed. Who will be got for Premier? Not B—— certainly;[477] he wants weight. If Peel would consent to be made a peer, he would do better; but I doubt his ambition will prefer the House of Commons. Wrought a a good deal.

February 21.—Being the vacant Wednesday I wrote all the morning. Had an answer from D. of W., unsuccessful in getting young Skene put upon the engineer list; he is too old. Went out at two with Anne, and visited the exhibition; also called on the Mansfield family and on Sydney Smith. Jeffrey unwell from pleading so long and late for the poisoning woman. He has saved her throat and taken a quinsey in his own. Adam Ferguson has had a fall with his horse.

February 22.—Was at Court till two, then lounged till Will Murray[478] came to speak about a dinner for the Theatrical Fund, in order to make some arrangements. There are 300 tickets given out.[479] I fear it will be uncomfortable; and whatever the stoics may say, a bad dinner throws cold water on the charity. I have agreed to preside, a situation in which I have been rather felicitous, not by much superiority of wit or wisdom, far less of eloquence; but by two or three simple rules which I put down here for the benefit of posterity.

1st. Always hurry the bottle round for five or six rounds without prosing yourself or permitting others to prose. A slight fillip of wine inclines people to be pleased, and removes the nervousness which prevents men from speaking—disposes them, in short, to be amusing and to be amused.

2d. Push on, keep moving, as Punch says. Do not think of saying fine things—nobody cares for them any more than for fine music, which is often too liberally bestowed on such occasions. Speak at all ventures, and attempt the mot pour rire. You will find people satisfied with wonderfully indifferent jokes if you can but hit the taste of the company, which depends much on its character. Even a very high party, primed with all the cold irony and non est tanti feelings, or no feelings, of fashionable folks, may be stormed by a jovial, rough, round, and ready preses. Choose your texts with discretion, the sermon may be as you like. If a drunkard or an ass breaks in with anything out of joint, if you can parry it with a jest, good and well—if not, do not exert your serious authority, unless it is something very bad. The authority even of a chairman ought to be very cautiously exercised. With patience you will have the support of every one.

When you have drunk a few glasses to play the good fellow, and banish modesty if you are unlucky enough, to have such a troublesome companion, then beware of the cup too much. Nothing is so ridiculous as a drunken preses.

Lastly. Always speak short, and Skeoch doch na skiel—cut a tale with a drink.

"This is the purpose and intent
Of gude Schir Walter's testament."[480]

We dined to-day at Mrs. Dundas of Arniston, Dowager.

February 24.—I carried my own instructions into effect the best I could, and if our jests were not good, our laugh was abundant. I think I will hardly take the chair again when the company is so miscellaneous; though they all behaved perfectly well. Meadowbank taxed me with the novels, and to end that farce at once I pleaded guilty, so that splore is ended. As to the collection, it was much cry and little woo', as the deil said when he shore the sow. Only £280 from 300 people, but many were to send money to-morrow. They did not open books, which was impolitic, but circulated a box, where people might put in what they pleased—and some gave shillings, which gives but a poor idea of the company. Yet there were many respectable people and handsome donations. But this fashion of not letting your right hand see what your left hand doeth is no good mode of raising a round sum. Your penny-pig collections don't succeed. I got away at ten at night. The performers performed very like gentlemen, especially Will Murray. They attended as stewards with white rods, and never thought of sitting down till after dinner, taking care that the company was attended to.

February 25.—Very bad report of the speeches in the papers. We dined at Jeffrey's with Sydney Smith—funny and good-natured as usual. One of his daughters is very pretty indeed; both are well-mannered, agreeable, and sing well. The party was pleasant.

February 26.—At home, and settled to work; but I know not why I was out of spirits—quite Laird of Humdudgeon, and did all I could to shake it off, and could not. James Ballantyne dined with me.

February 27.—Humdudgeonish still; hang it, what fools we are! I worked, but coldly and ill. Yet something is done. I wonder if other people have these strange alternations of industry and incapacity. I am sure I do not indulge myself in fancies, but it is accompanied with great drowsiness—bile, I suppose, and terribly jaded spirits. I received to-day Dr. Shortt and Major Crocket, who was orderly-officer on Boney at the time of his death.

February 28.—Sir Adam breakfasted. One of the few old friends left out of the number of my youthful companions. In youth we have many companions, few friends perhaps; in age companionship is ended, except rarely, and by appointment. Old men, by a kind of instinct, seek younger companions who listen to their stories, honour their grey hairs while present, and mimic and laugh at them when their backs are turned. At least that was the way in our day, and I warrant our chicks of the present day crow to the same tune. Of all the friends that I have left I have none who has any decided attachment to literature. So either I must talk on that subject to young people—in other words, turn proser, or I must turn tea-table talker and converse with ladies. I am too old and too proud for either character, so I'll live alone and be contented. Lockhart's departure for London was a loss to me in this way. Came home late from the Court, but worked tightly in the evening. I think discontinuing smoking, as I have done for these two months past, leaves me less muzzy after dinner. At any rate, it breaks a custom—I despise custom.


March 1.—At Court until two—wrote letters under cover of the lawyers' long speeches, so paid up some of my correspondents, which I seldom do upon any other occasion. I sometimes let letters lie for days unopened, as if that would postpone the necessity of answering them. Here I am at home, and to work we go—not for the first time to-day, for I wrought hard before breakfast. So glides away Thursday 1st. By the by, it is the anniversary of Bosworth Field. In former days Richard III. was always acted at London on this day; now the custom, I fancy, is disused. Walpole's Historic Doubts threw a mist about this reign. It is very odd to see how his mind dwells upon it at first as the mere sport of imagination, till at length they become such Delilahs of his imagination that he deems it far worse than infidelity to doubt his Doubts. After all, the popular tradition is so very strong and pointed concerning the character of Richard, that it is I think in vain to doubt the general truth of the outline. Shakespeare, we may be sure, wrote his drama in the tone that was to suit the popular belief, although where that did Richard wrong, his powerful scene was sure to augment the impression. There was an action and a reaction.

March 2.—Clerk walked home with me from the Court. I was scarce able to keep up with him; could once have done it well enough. Funny thing at the Theatre. Among the discourse in "High Life below Stairs,"[481] one of the ladies' ladies asks who wrote Shakespeare. One says, "Ben Jonson," another, "Finis." "No," said Will Murray, "it is Sir Walter Scott; he confessed it at a public meeting the other day." March 3.—Very severe weather, came home covered with snow. White as a frosted-plum-cake, by jingo! No matter; I am not sorry to find I can stand a brush of weather yet; I like to see Arthur's Seat and the stern old Castle with their white watch-cloaks on. But, as Byron said to Moore, "d—-n it, Tom, don't be poetical." I settled to Boney, and wrote right long and well.

March 4.—I sat in by the chimney-neuk with no chance of interruption, and "feagued it away." Sir Adam came, and had half an hour's chat and laugh. My jaws ought to be sore, if the unwontedness of the motion could do it. But I have little to laugh at but myself, and my own bizarreries are more like to make me cry. Wrought hard, though—there's sense in that.

March 5.—Our young men of first fashion, in whom tranquillity is the prime merit, a sort of quietism of foppery, if one can use the expression, have one capital name for a fellow that outrés and outroars the fashion, a sort of high-buck as they were called in my days. They hold him a vulgarian, and call him a tiger. Mr. Gibson came in, and we talked over my affairs; very little to the purpose I doubt. Dined at home with Anne as usual, and despatched half-a-dozen Selkirk processes; among others one which savours of Hamesucken.[482] I think to-day I have finished a quarter of vol. viii., and last. Shall I be happy when it is done?—Umph! I think not.

March 6.—A long seat at Court, and an early dinner, as we went to the play. John Kemble's brother acted Benedick. He is a fine-looking man, and a good actor, but not superior. He reminds you eternally that he is acting; and he had got, as the devil directed it, hold of my favourite Benedick, for which he has no power. He had not the slightest idea of the part, particularly of the manner in which Benedick should conduct himself in the quarrelling scene with the Prince and Claudio, in which his character rises almost to the dignity of tragedy. The laying aside his light and fantastic humour, and showing himself the man of feeling and honour, was finely marked of yore by old Tom King.[483] I remember particularly the high strain of grave moral feeling which he threw upon the words—"in a false quarrel there is no true valour"—which, spoken as he did, checked the very brutal levity of the Prince and Claudio. There were two farces; one I wished to see, and that being the last, was obliged to tarry for it. Perhaps the headache I contracted made me a severe critic on Cramond Brig,[484] a little piece ascribed to Lockhart. Perhaps I am unjust, but I cannot think it his;[485] there are so few good things in it, and so much prosing transferred from that mine of marrowless morality called the Miller of Mansfield.[486] Yet it pleases.

March 7.—We are kept working hard during the expiring days of the Session, but this being a blank day I wrote hard till dressing time, when I went to Will Clerk's to dinner. As a bachelor, and keeping a small establishment, he does not do these things often, but they are proportionally pleasant when they come round. He had trusted Sir Adam to bespeak his dinner, who did it con amore; so we had excellent cheer, and the wines were various and capital. As I before hinted, it is not every day that M'Nab[487] mounts on horseback, and so our landlord had a little of that solicitude that the party should go off well, which is very flattering to the guests. We had a very pleasant evening. The Chief-Commissioner was there, Admiral Adam, Jo. Murray, and Thomson, etc. etc. Sir Adam predominating at the head, and dancing what he calls his "merry andrada" in great style. In short, we really laughed, and real laughter is a thing as rare as real tears. I must say, too, there was a heart,—a kindly feeling prevailed over the party. Can London give such a dinner? It may, but I never saw one; they are too cold and critical to be so easily pleased. In the evening I went with some others to see the exhibition lit up for a promenade, where there were all the fashionable folks about town; the appearance of the rooms was very gay indeed.

March 8.—It snowed all night, which must render the roads impassable, and will detain me here till Monday. Hard work at Court, as Hammie is done up with the gout. We dine with Lord Corehouse—that's not true by the by, for I have mistaken the day. It's to-morrow we dine there. Wrought, but not too hard.

March 9.—An idle morning. Dalgleish being set to pack my books. Wrote notes upon a Mr. Kinloch's Collection of Scottish Ballads,[488] which I communicated to the young author in the Court this present morning. We were detained till half-past three o'clock, so when I came home I was fatigued and slept. I walk slow, heavily, and with pain; but perhaps the good weather may banish the Fiend of the joints. At any rate, impatience will do nae good at a', man. Letter from Charles for £50. Silver and gold have I none; but that which I have I will give unto him. We dined at the Cranstouns,—I beg his pardon, Lord Corehouse; Ferguson, Thomson, Will Clerk, etc., were there, also the Smiths and John Murray, so we had a pleasant evening.

March 10.—The business at the Court was not so heavy as I have seen it the last day of the Session, yet sharp enough. About three o'clock I got to a meeting of the Bannatyne Club. I hope this institution will be really useful and creditable. Thomson is superintending a capital edition of Sir James Melville's Memoirs.[489] It is brave to see how he wags his Scots tongue, and what a difference there is in the force and firmness of the language, compared to the mincing English edition in which he has hitherto been alone known. Nothing to-day but correcting proofs; Anne went to the play, I remained at home.

March 11.—All my books packed this morning, and this and to-morrow will be blank days, or nearly such; but I am far ahead of the printer, who is not done with vol. vii., while I am deep in volume viii. I hate packing; but my servants never pack books quite to please me. James Ballantyne dined with us. He kept up my heart about Bonaparte, which sometimes flags; and he is such a grumbler that I think I may trust him when he is favourable. There must be sad inaccuracies, some which might certainly have been prevented by care; but as the Lazaroni used to say, "Did you but know how lazy I am!"

[Abbotsford,] March 12.—Away we set, and came safely to Abbotsford amid all the dulness of a great thaw, which has set the rivers a-streaming in full tide. The wind is wintry, but for my part

"I like this rocking of the battlements."[490]

I was received by old Tom and the dogs, with the unsophisticated feelings of goodwill. I have been trying to read a new novel which I have heard praised. It is called Almacks, and the author has so well succeeded in describing the cold selfish fopperies of the time, that the copy is almost as dull as the original. I think I will take up my bundle of Sheriff-Court processes instead of Almacks, as the more entertaining avocation of the two.

March 13.—Before breakfast, prepared and forwarded the processes to Selkirk. As I had the loan of £250 at March from Cadell I am now verging on to the £500 which he promised to allow me in advance on second series Canongate Chronicles. I do not like this, but unless I review or write to some other purpose, what else can I do? My own expenses are as limited as possible, but my house expenses are considerable, and every now and then starts up something of old scores which I cannot turn over to Mr. Gibson and his co-trustees. Well—time and the hour—money is the smallest consideration.

Had a pleasant walk to the thicket, though my ideas were olla-podrida-ish, curiously checkered between pleasure and melancholy. I have cause enough for both humours, God knows. I expect this will not be a day of work but of idleness, for my books are not come. Would to God I could make it light thoughtless idleness, such as I used to have when the silly smart fancies ran in my brain like the bubbles in a glass of champagne,—as brilliant to my thinking, as intoxicating as evanescent. But the wine is somewhat on the lees. Perhaps it was but indifferent cider after all. Yet I am happy in this place, where everything looks friendly, from old Tom to young Nym.[491] After all, he has little to complain of who has left so many things that like him.

March 14.—All yesterday spent in putting to rights books, and so forth. Not a word written except interlocutors. But this won't do. I have tow on the rock, and it must be spun off. Let us see our present undertakings. 1. Napoleon. 2. Review Home, Cranbourne Chase,[492] and the Mysteries. 3. Something for that poor faineant Gillies. 4. Essay on Ballad and Song. 5. Something on the modern state of France. These two last for the Prose Works. But they may

"—do a little more,
And produce a little ore."

Come, we must up and be doing. There is a rare scud without, which says, "Go spin, you jade, go spin." I loitered on, and might have answered,

"My spinning-wheel is auld and stiff."

Smoked a brace of cigars after dinner as a sedative. This is the first time I have smoked these two months. I was afraid the custom would master me. Went to work in the afternoon, and reviewed for Lockhart Mackenzie's edition of Home's Works.[493] Proceeded as far as the eighth page.

March 15.—Kept still at the review till two o'clock; not that there is any hurry, but because I should lose my ideas, which are not worth preserving. Went on therefore. I drove over to Huntly Burn with Anne, then walked through the plantations, with Tom's help to pull me through the snow-wreaths. Returned in a glow of heat and spirits. Corrected proof-sheets in the evening.

March 16.—

"A trifling day we have had here,
Begun with trifle and ended."

But I hope no otherwise so ended than to meet the rubrick of the ballad, for it is but three o'clock. In the morning I was l'homme qui cherche—everything fell aside,—the very pens absconded, and crept in among a pack of letters and trumpery, where I had the devil's work finding them. Thus the time before breakfast was idled, or rather fidgeted, away. Afterwards it was rather worse. I had settled to finish the review, when, behold, as I am apt to do at a set task, I jibb'd, and my thoughts would rather have gone with Waterloo. So I dawdled, as the women say, with both, now writing a page or two of the review, now reading a few pages of the Battle of Waterloo by Captain Pringle, a manuscript which is excellently-written.[494] Well, I will find the advantage of it by and by. So now I will try to finish this accursed review, for there is nothing to prevent me, save the untractable character that hates to work on compulsion, whether of individuals or circumstances.

March 17.—I wrought away at the review and nearly finished it. Was interrupted, however, by a note from Ballantyne, demanding copy, which brought me back from Home and Mackenzie to Boney. I had my walk as usual, and worked nevertheless very fairly. Corrected proofs.

March 18.—Took up Boney again. I am now at writing, as I used to be at riding, slow, heavy, and awkward at mounting, but when I did get fixed in my saddle, could screed away with any one. I have got six pages ready for my learned Theban[495] to-morrow morning. William Laidlaw and his brother George dined with me, but I wrote in the evening all the same.

March 19.—Set about my labours, but enter Captain John Ferguson from the Spanish Main, where he has been for three years. The honest tar sat about two hours, and I was heartily glad to see him again. I had a general sketch of his adventures, which we will hear more in detail when we can meet at kail-time. Notwithstanding this interruption I have pushed far into the seventh page. Well done for one day. Twenty days should finish me at this rate, and I read hard too. But allowance must be made for interruptions.

March 20.—To-day worked till twelve o'clock, then went with Anne on a visit of condolence to Mrs. Pringle of Yair and her family. Mr. Pringle was the friend both of my father and grandfather; the acquaintance of our families is at least a century old.

March 21.—Wrote till twelve, then out upon the heights though the day was stormy, and faced the gale bravely. Tom Purdie was not with me. He would have obliged me to keep the sheltered ground. But, I don't know—

"Even in our ashes live our wonted fires."

There is a touch of the old spirit in me yet that bids me brave the tempest,—the spirit that, in spite of manifold infirmities, made me a roaring boy in my youth, a desperate climber, a bold rider, a deep drinker, and a stout player at single-stick, of all which valuable qualities there are now but slender remains. I worked hard when I came in, and finished five pages.

March 22.—Yesterday I wrote to James Ballantyne, acquiescing in his urgent request to extend the two last volumes to about 600 each. I believe it will be no more than necessary after all, but makes one feel like a dog in a wheel, always moving and never advancing.

March 23.—When I was a child, and indeed for some years after, my amusement was in supposing to myself a set of persons engaged in various scenes which contrasted them with each other, and I remember to this day the accuracy of my childish imagination. This might be the effect of a natural turn to fictitious narrative, or it might be the cause of it, or there might be an action and reaction, or it does not signify a pin's head how it is. But with a flash of this remaining spirit, I imagine my mother Duty to be a sort of old task-mistress, like the hag of the merchant Abudah, in the Tales of the Genii—not a hag though, by any means; on the contrary, my old woman wears a rich old-fashioned gown of black silk, with ruffles of triple blonde-lace, and a coif as rich as that of Pearling Jean;[496] a figure and countenance something like Lady D.S.'s twenty years ago; a clear blue eye, capable of great severity of expression, and conforming in that with a wrinkled brow, of which the ordinary expression is a serious approach to a frown—a cautionary and nervous shake of the head; in her withered hand an ebony staff with a crutch head,—a Tompion gold watch, which annoys all who know her by striking the quarters as regularly as if one wished to hear them. Occasionally she has a small scourge of nettles, which I feel her lay across my fingers at this moment, and so Tace is Latin for a candle.[497] I have 150 pages to write yet.

March 24.—Does Duty not wear a pair of round old-fashioned silver buckles? Buckles she has, but they are square ones. All belonging to Duty is rectangular. Thus can we poor children of imagination play with the ideas we create, like children with soap-bubbles. Pity that we pay for it at other times by starting at our shadows.

"Man but a rush against Othello's breast."

The hard work still proceeds, varied only by a short walk.

March 25.—Hard work still, but went to Huntly Burn on foot, and returned in the carriage. Walked well and stoutly—God be praised!—and prepared a whole bundle of proofs and copy for the Blucher to morrow; that damned work will certainly end some time or other. As it drips and dribbles out on the paper, I think of the old drunken Presbyterian under the spout.

March 26.—Despatched packets. Colonel and Captain Ferguson arrived to breakfast. I had previously determined to give myself a day to write letters; and, as I expect John Thomson to dinner, this day will do as well as another. I cannot keep up with the world without shying a letter now and then. It is true the greatest happiness I could think of would be to be rid of the world entirely. Excepting my own family, I have little pleasure in the world, less business in it, and am heartily careless about all its concerns. Mr. Thomson came accordingly—not John Thomson of Duddingston, whom the letter led me to expect, but John Anstruther Thomson of Charlton [Fifeshire], the son-in-law of Lord Ch.-Commissioner.

March 27.—Wrote two leaves this morning, and gave the day after breakfast to my visitor, who is a country gentleman of the best description; knows the world, having been a good deal attached both to the turf and the field; is extremely good-humoured, and a good deal of a local antiquary. I showed him the plantations, going first round the terrace, then to the lake, then came down by the Rhymer's Glen, and took carriage at Huntly Burn, almost the grand tour, only we did not walk from Huntly Burn. The Fergusons dined with us.

March 28.—Mr Thomson left us about twelve for Minto, parting a pleased guest, I hope, from a pleased landlord. When I see a "gemman as is a gemman," as the blackguards say, why, I know how to be civil. After he left I set doggedly to work with Bonaparte, who had fallen a little into arrear. I can clear the ground better now by mashing up my old work in the Edinburgh Register with my new matter, a species of colcannen, where cold potatoes are mixed with hot cabbage. After all, I think Ballantyne is right, and that I have some talents for history-writing after all. That same history in the Register reads prettily enough. Coragio, cry Claymore. I finished five pages, but with additions from Register they will run to more than double I hope; like Puff in the Critic, be luxuriant.[498]

Here is snow back again, a nasty, comfortless, stormy sort of a day, and I will work it off at Boney. What shall I do when Bonaparte is done? He engrosses me morning, noon, and night. Never mind; Komt Zeit komt Rath, as the German says. I did not work longer than twelve, however, but went out in as rough weather as I have seen, and stood out several snow blasts.

March 29, 30.—

"He walk'd and wrought, poor soul! What then?
Why, then he walk'd and wrought again."

March 31.—Day varied by dining with Mr. Scrope, where we found Mr. Williams and Mr. Simson,[499] both excellent artists. We had not too much of the palette, but made a very agreeable day out. I contrived to mislay the proof-sheets sent me this morning, so that I must have a revise. This frequent absence of mind becomes very exceeding troublesome. I have the distinct recollection of laying them carefully aside after I dressed to go to the Pavilion. Well, I have a head—the proverb is musty.


April 1.—The proofs are not to be found. Applications from R.P. G[illies]. I must do something for him; yet have the melancholy conviction that nothing will do him any good. Then he writes letters and expects answers. Then they are bothering me about writing in behalf of the oil-gas light, which is going to the devil very fast. I cannot be going a-begging for them or anybody. Please to look down with an eye of pity—a poor distressed creature! No, not for the last morsel of bread. A dry ditch and a speedy death is worth it all.

April 2.—Another letter from R.P.G. I shall begin to wish, like S., that he had been murthered and robbed in his walks between Wimbledon and London. John [Archibald] Murray and his young wife came to dinner, and in good time. I like her very much, and think he has been very lucky. She is not in the vaward of youth, but John is but two or three years my junior. She is pleasing in her manners, and totally free from affectation; a beautiful musician, and willingly exerts her talents in that way; is said to be very learned, but shows none of it. A large fortune is no bad addition to such a woman's society.

April 3.—I had processes to decide; and though I arose at my usual hour, I could not get through above two of five proofs. After breakfast I walked with John Murray, and at twelve we went for Melrose, where I had to show the lions. We came back by Huntly Burn, where the carriage broke down, and gave us a pretty long walk home. Mr. Scrope dined with his two artists, and John [Thomson?]. The last is not only the best landscape-painter of his age and country, but is, moreover, one of the warmest-hearted men living, with a keen and unaffected feeling of poetry. Poor fellow! he has had many misfortunes in his family. I drank a glass or two of wine more than usual, got into good spirits, and came from Tripoli for the amusement of the good company. I was in good fooling.

April 4.—I think I have a little headache this morning; however, as Othello says, "That's not much." I saw our guests go off by seven in the morning, but was not in time to give them good-bye.

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

I did not go to the oar though, but walked a good deal.

April 5.—Heard from Lockhart; the Duke of W[ellington] and Croker are pleased with my historical labours; so far well—for the former, as a soldier said of him, "I would rather have his long nose on my side than a whole brigade." Well! something good may come of it, and if it does it will be good luck, for, as you and I know, Mother Duty, it has been a rummily written work. I wrote hard to-day.

April 6.—Do. Do. I only took one turn about the thicket, and have nothing to put down but to record my labours.

April 7.—The same history occurs; my desk and my exercise. I am a perfect automaton. Bonaparte runs in my head from seven in the morning till ten at night without intermission. I wrote six leaves to-day and corrected four proofs.

April 8.—Ginger, being in my room, was safely delivered in her basket of four puppies; the mother and children all doing well. Faith! that is as important an entry as my Journal could desire. The day is so beautiful that I long to go out. I won't, though, till I have done something. A letter from Mr. Gibson about the trust affairs. If the infernal bargain with Constable go on well, there will be a pretty sop in the pan to the creditors; £35,000 at least. If I could work as effectually for three years more, I shall stand on my feet like a man. But who can assure success with the public?

April 9.—I wrote as hard to-day as need be, finished my neat eight pages, and, notwithstanding, drove out and visited at Gattonside. The devil must be in it if the matter drags out longer now.

April 10.—Some incivility from the Leith Bank, which I despise with my heels. I have done for settling my affairs all that any man—much more than most men—could have done, and they refuse a draught of £20, because, in mistake, it was £8 overdrawn. But what can be expected of a sow but a grumph? Wrought hard, hard.

April 11.—The parks were rouped for £100 a year more than they brought last year. Poor Abbotsford will come to good after all. In the meantime it is Sic vos non vobis—but who cares a farthing? If Boney succeeds, we will give these affairs a blue eye, and I will wrestle stoutly with them, although

"My banks they are covered with bees,"[500]

or rather with wasps. A very tough day's work.

April 12.—Ha-a-lt—as we used to say, my proof-sheets being still behind. Very unhandsome conduct on the part of the Blucher[501] while I was lauding it so profusely. It is necessary to halt and close up our files—of correspondence I mean. So it is a chance if, except for contradiction's sake, or upon getting the proof-sheets, I write a line to-day at Boney. I did, however, correct five revised sheets and one proof, which took me up so much of the day that I had but one turn through the courtyard. Owing to this I had some of my flutterings, my trembling exies, as the old people called the ague. Wrote a great many letters—but no "copy."

April 13.—I have sometimes wondered with what regularity—that is, for a shrew of my impatient temper—I have been able to keep this Journal. The use of the first person being, of course, the very essence of a diary, I conceive it is chiefly vanity, the dear pleasure of writing about the best of good fellows, Myself, which gives me perseverance to continue this idle task. This morning I wrote till breakfast, then went out and marked trees to be cut for paling, and am just returned—and what does any one care? Ay, but, Gad! I care myself, though. We had at dinner to-day Mr. and Mrs. Cranstoun (Burns's Maria of Ballochmyle[502]), Mr. Bainbridge and daughters, and Colonel Russell.

April 14.—Went to Selkirk to try a fellow for an assault on Dr. Clarkson—fined him seven guineas, which, with his necessary expenses, will amount to ten guineas. It is rather too little; but as his income does not amount to £30 a year, it will pinch him severely enough, and is better than sending him to an ill-kept jail, where he would be idle and drunk from morning to night. I had a dreadful headache while sitting in the Court—rheumatism in perfection. It did not last after I got warm by the fireside.

April 15.—Delightful soft morning, with mild rain. Walked out and got wet, as a sovereign cure for the rheumatism. Was quite well, though, and scribbled away.

April 16.—A day of work and exercise. In the evening a letter from L[ockhart], with the wonderful news that the Ministry has broken up, and apparently for no cause that any one can explain. The old grudge, I suppose, betwixt Peel and Canning, which has gone on augmenting like a crack in the side of a house, which enlarges from day to day, till down goes the whole. Mr. Canning has declared himself fully satisfied with J.L., and sent Barrow to tell him so. His suspicions were indeed most erroneous, but they were repelled with no little spirit both by L. and myself, and Canning has not been like another Great Man I know to whom I showed demonstrably that he had suspected an individual unjustly. "It may be so," he said, "but his mode of defending himself was offensive."[503]

April 17.—Went to dinner to-day to Mr. Bainbridge's Gattonside House, and had fireworks in the evening, made by Captain Burchard, a good-humoured kind of Will Wimble.[504] One nice little boy announced to us everything that was going to be done, with the importance of a prologue. Some of the country folks assembled, and our party was enlivened by the squeaks of the wenches and the long-protracted Eh, eh's! by which a Teviotdale tup testifies his wonder.

April 18.—I felt the impatience of news so much that I walked up to Mr. Laidlaw, surely for no other purpose than to talk politics. This interrupted Boney a little. After I returned, about twelve or one, behold Tom Tack; he comes from Buenos Ayres with a parcel of little curiosities he had picked up for me. As Tom Tack spins a tough yarn, I lost the morning almost entirely—what with one thing, what with t'other, as my friend the Laird of Raeburn says. Nor have I much to say for the evening, only I smoked a cigar more than usual to get the box ended, and give up the custom for a little.

April 19.—Another letter from Lockhart.[505] I am sorry when I think of the goodly fellowship of vessels which are now scattered on the ocean. There is the Duke of Wellington, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Melville, Mr. Peel, and I wot not who besides, all turned out of office or resigned! I wonder what they can do in the House of Lords when all the great Tories are on the wrong side of the House. Canning seems quite serious in his views of helping Lockhart. I hope it will come to something.

April 20.—A surly sort of day. I walked for two hours, however, and then returned chiefly to Nap. Egad! I believe it has an end at last, this blasted work. I have the fellow at Plymouth, or near about it. Well, I declare, I thought the end of these beastly big eight volumes was like the end of the world, which is always talked of and never comes.

April. 21.—Here is a vile day—downright rain, which disconcerts an inroad of bairns from Gattonside, and, of course, annihilates a part of the stock of human happiness. But what says the proverb of your true rainy day—

"'Tis good for book, 'tis good for work,
For cup and can, or knife and fork."

April 22.—Wrote till twelve o'clock, then sallied forth, and walked to Huntly Burn with Tom; and so, look you, sir, I drove home in the carriage. Wrought in the afternoon, and tried to read De Vere, a sensible but heavy book, written by an able hand—but a great bore for all that.[506] Wrote in the evening.

April 23.—Snowy morning. White as my shirt. The little Bainbridges came over; invited to see the armoury, etc., which I stood showman to. It is odd how much less cubbish the English boys are than the Scotch. Well-mannered and sensible are the southern boys. I suppose the sun brings them forward. Here comes six o'clock at night, and it is snowing as if it had not snowed these forty years before. Well, I'll work away a couple of chapters—three at most will finish Napoleon.

April 24.—Still deep snow—a foot thick in the courtyard, I dare say. Severe welcome to the poor lambs now coming into the world. But what signifies whether they die just now, or a little while after to be united with salad at luncheon-time? It signifies a good deal too. There is a period, though a short one, when they dance among the gowans, and seem happy. As for your aged sheep or wether, the sooner they pass to the Norman side of the vocabulary the better. They are like some old dowager ladies and gentlemen of my acquaintance,—no one cares about them till they come to be cut up, and then we see how the tallow lies on the kidneys and the chine.

April 25.—Snow yet, and it prevents my walking, and I grow bilious. I wrote hard though. I have now got Boney pegg'd up in the knotty entrails of Saint Helena, and may make a short pause.

So I finished the review of John Home's works, which, after all, are poorer than I thought them. Good blank verse and stately sentiment, but something lukewarmish, excepting Douglas, which is certainly a masterpiece. Even that does not stand the closet. Its merits are for the stage; but it is certainly one of the best acting plays going. Perhaps a play, to act well, should not be too poetical.

There is a talk in London of bringing in the Marquis of Lansdowne, then Lauderdale will perhaps come in here. It is certain the old Tory party is down the wind, not from political opinions, but from personal aversion to Canning. Perhaps his satirical temper has partly occasioned this; but I rather consider emulation as the source of it, the head and front of the offending. Croker no longer rhymes to joker. He has made a good coup, it is said, by securing Lord Hertford for the new administration. D.W. calls him their viper. After all, I cannot sympathise with that delicacy which throws up office, because the most eloquent man in England, and certainly the only man who can manage the House of Commons, is named Minister.[507]

April 26.—The snow still profusely distributed, and the surface, as our hair used to be in youth, after we had played at some active game, half black, half white, all in large patches. I finished the criticism on Home, adding a string of Jacobite anecdotes, like that which boys put to a kite's tail. Sent off the packet to Lockhart; at the same time sent Croker a volume of French tracts, containing La Portefeuille de Bonaparte, which he wished to see. Received a great cargo of papers from Bernadotte, some curious, and would have been inestimable two months back, but now my siege is almost made. Still my feelings for poor Count Itterburg,[508] the lineal and legitimate, make me averse to have much to do with this child of the revolution.

April 27.—This hand of mine gets to be like a kitten's scratch, and will require much deciphering, or, what may be as well for the writer, cannot be deciphered at all. I am sure I cannot read it myself. Weather better, which is well, as I shall get a walk. I have been a little nervous, having been confined to the house for three days. Well, I may be disabled from duty, but my tamed spirits and sense of dejection have quelled all that freakishness of humour which made me a voluntary idler. I present myself to the morning task, as the hack-horse patiently trudges to the pole of his chaise, and backs, however reluctantly, to have the traces fixed. Such are the uses of adversity.

April 28.—Wrought at continuing the Works, with some criticism on Defoe.[509] I have great aversion, I cannot tell why, to stuffing the "Border Antiquities" into what they call the Prose Works.

There is no encouragement, to be sure, for doing better, for nobody seems to care. I cannot get an answer from J. Ballantyne, whether he thinks the review on the Highlands would be a better substitution.

April 29.—Colonel and Captain Ferguson dined here with Mr. Laidlaw. I wrote all the morning, then cut some wood. I think the weather gets too warm for hard work with the axe, or I get too stiff and easily tired.

April 30.—Went to Jedburgh to circuit, where found my old friend and schoolfellow, D. Monypenny.[510] Nothing to-day but a pack of riff-raff cases of petty larceny and trash. Dined as usual with the Judge, and slept at my old friend Mr. Shortreed's.


May 1.—Brought Andrew Shortreed to copy some things I want. Maxpopple came with us as far as Lessudden, and we stopped and made a pilgrimage to Fair Maiden Lilliard's Stone, which has been restored lately, to the credit of Mr. Walker of Muirhouselaw.[511] Set my young clerk to work when we came home, and did some laborious business. A letter from Sir Thomas Lawrence informed me I am chosen Professor of Antiquities to the Royal Academy—a beautiful professor to be sure!

May 2.—Did nothing but proofs this morning. At ten went to Selkirk to arrange about the new measures, which, like all new things, will throw us into confusion for a little at least. The weather was so exquisitely good that I walked after tea to half-past eight, and enjoyed a sort of half-lazy, half-sulky humour—like Caliban's, "There's wood enough within."[512] Well, I may be the bear, but I must mount the ragged staff all the same. I set my myself to labour for R.P.G.[513] The Germanic Horrors are my theme, and I think something may be yet made of them.

May 3.—An early visit from Mr. Thomas Stewart, nephew of Duchess of Wellington, with a letter from his aunt. He seems a well-behaved and pleasant young man. I walked him through the Glen. Colonel Ferguson came to help us out at dinner, and then we had our wine and wassail.

May 4.—Corrected proofs in the morning. Mr. Stewart still here, which prevented work; however, I am far beforehand with everything. We walked a good deal; asked Mr. Alexander Pringle, Whytbank, to dinner. This is rather losing time, though.

May 5.—Worked away upon those wild affairs of Hoffmann for Gillies. I think I have forgot my German very much, and then the stream of criticism does not come freely at all: I cannot tell why. I gave it up in despair at half-past one, and walked out.

Had a letter from R.P.G. He seems in spirits about his work. I wish it may answer. Under good encouragement it certainly might. But—

Maxpopple came to dinner, and Mr. Laidlaw after dinner, so that broke up a day, which I can ill spare. Mr. Stewart left us this day.

May 6.—Wrought again at Hoffmann—unfructuously I fear—unwillingly I am certain; but how else can I do a little good in my generation? I will try a walk. I would fain catch myself in good-humour with my task, but that will not be easy.

May 7.—Finished Hoffmann, talis qualis. I don't like it; but then I have been often displeased with things that have proved successful. Our own labours become disgusting in our eyes, from the ideas having been turned over and over in our own minds. To others, to whom they are presented for the first time, they have a show of novelty. God grant it may prove so. I would help the poor fellow if I could, for I am poor myself.

May 8.—Corrected Hoffmann with a view to send him off, which, however, I could not accomplish. I finished a criticism on Defoe's Writings.[514] His great forte is his power of vraisemblance. This I have instanced in the story of Mrs. Veal's Ghost. Ettrick Shepherd arrived.

May 9.—This day we went to dinner at Mr. Scrope's, at the Pavilion, where were the Haigs of Bemerside, Isaac Haig, Mr. and Mrs. Bainbridge, etc. Warm dispute whether par are or are not salmon trout. "Fleas are not lobsters, d—n their souls."

Mr. Scrope has made a painting of Tivoli, which, when mellowed a little by time, will be a fine one. Letters from Lockhart, with news concerning the beautiful mess they are making in London. Henry Scott will be threatened in Roxburghshire. This would be bad policy, as it would drive the young Duke to take up his ground, which, unless pressed, he may be in no hurry to do. Personally, I do not like to be driven to a point, as I think Canning may do much for the country, provided he does not stand committed to his new Whig counsellors. But if the push does come, I will not quit my old friends—that I am freely resolved, and dissolutely, as Slender says.[515]

May 10.—We went to breakfast at Huntly Burn, and I wandered all the morning in the woods to avoid an English party who came to see the house. When I came home I found my cousin Col. Russell, and his sister, so I had no work to-day but my labour at proofs in the morning. To-day I dismiss my aide-de-camp, Shortreed—a fine lad. The Boar of the Forest left us after breakfast. Had a present of a medal forming one of a series from Chantrey's busts. But this is not for nothing: the donor wants a motto for the reverse of the King's medal. I am a bad hand to apply to.

May 11.—Hogg called this morning to converse about trying to get him on the pecuniary list of the Royal Literary Society. Certainly he deserves it, if genius and necessity could do so. But I do not belong to the society, nor do I propose to enter it as a coadjutor. I don't like your royal academies of this kind; they almost always fall into jobs, and the members are seldom those who do credit to the literature of a country. It affected, too, to comprehend those men of letters who are specially attached to the Crown, and though I love and honour my King as much as any of them can, yet I hold it best, in this free country, to preserve the exterior of independence, that my loyalty may be the more impressive, and tell more effectually. Yet I wish sincerely to help poor Hogg, and have written to Lockhart about it. It may be my own desolate feelings—it may be the apprehension of evil from this political hocus-pocus, but I have seldom felt more moody and uncomfortable than while writing these lines. I have walked, too, but without effect. W. Laidlaw, whose very ingenious mind is delighted with all novelties, talked nonsense about the new government, in which men are to resign principle, I fear, on both sides.

May 12.—Wrote Lockhart on what I think the upright and honest principle, and am resolved to vex myself no more about it. Walked with my cousin, Colonel Russell, for three hours in the woods, and enjoyed the sublime and delectable pleasure of being well,—and listened to on the subject of my favourite themes of laying out ground and plantation. Russel seems quite to follow such an excellent authority, and my spirits mounted while I found I was haranguing to a willing and patient pupil. To be sure, Ashestiel, planting the high knolls, and drawing woodland through the pasture, could be made one of the most beautiful forest things in the world. I have often dreamed of putting it in high order; and, judging from what I have been able to do here, I think I should have succeeded. At any rate, my blue devils are flown at the sense of retaining some sort of consequence. Lord, what fools we are!

May 13.—A most idle and dissipated day. I did not rise till half-past eight o'clock. Col. and Capt. Ferguson came to breakfast. I walked half-way home with them, then turned back and spent the day, which was delightful, wandering from place to place in the woods, sometimes reading the new and interesting volumes of Cyril Thornton,[516] sometimes chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy which strangely alternated in my mind, idly stirred by the succession of a thousand vague thoughts and fears, the gay thoughts strangely mingled with those of dismal melancholy; tears, which seemed ready to flow unbidden; smiles, which approached to those of insanity; all that wild variety of mood which solitude engenders. I scribbled some verses, or rather composed them in my memory. The contrast at leaving Abbotsford to former departures is of an agitating and violent description. Assorting papers and so forth. I never could help admiring the concatenation between Ahitophel's setting his house in order and hanging himself. The one seems to me to follow the other as a matter of course. I don't mind the trouble, though my head swims with it. I do not mind meeting accounts, which unpaid remind you of your distress, or paid serve to show you you have been throwing away money you would be glad to have back again. I do not mind the strange contradictory mode of papers hiding themselves that you wish to see, and others thrusting themselves into your hand to confuse and bewilder you. There is a clergyman's letter about the Scottish pronunciation, to which I had written an answer some weeks since (the person is an ass, by the by). But I had laid aside my answer, being unable to find the letter which bore his address; and, in the course of this day, both his letter with the address, and my answer which wanted the address, fell into my hands half-a-dozen times, but separately always. This was the positive malice of some hobgoblin, and I submit to it as such. But what frightens and disgusts me is those fearful letters from those who have been long dead, to those who linger on their wayfare through this valley of tears. These fine lines of Spencer came into my head—

"When midnight o'er the pathless skies."[517]

Ay, and can I forget the author!—the frightful moral of his own vision. What is this world? A dream within a dream—as we grow older each step is an awakening. The youth awakes as he thinks from childhood—the full-grown man despises the pursuits of youth as visionary—the old man looks on manhood as a feverish dream. The Grave the last sleep?—no; it is the last and final awakening.

May 14.—To town per Blucher coach, well stowed and crushed, but saved cash, coming off for less than £2; posting costs nearly five, and you don't get on so fast by one-third. Arrived in my old lodgings here with a stouter heart than I expected. Dined with Mr. and Mrs. Skene, and met Lord Medwyn and lady.

May 15.—Parliament House a queer sight. Looked as if people were singing to each other the noble song of "The sky's falling—chickie diddle." Thinks I to myself, I'll keep a calm sough.

"Betwixt both sides I unconcerned stand by;
Hurt, can I laugh, and honest, need I cry?"

I wish the old Government had kept together, but their personal dislike to Canning seems to have rendered that impossible.

I dined at a great dinner given by Sir George Clerk to his electors, the freeholders of Midlothian; a great attendance of Whig and Tory, huzzaing each other's toasts. If is a good peacemaker, but quarter-day is a better. I have a guess the best gamecocks would call a truce if a handful or two of oats were scattered among them.

May 16.—Mr. John Gibson says the Trustees are to allow my expense in travelling—£300, with £50 taken in in Longman's bill. This will place me rectus in curia, and not much more, faith!

There is a fellow bawling out a ditty in the street, the burthen of which is

"There's nothing but poverty everywhere."

He shall not be a penny richer for telling me what I know but too well without him.

May 17.—Learned with great distress the death of poor Richard Lockhart, the youngest brother of my son-in-law. He had an exquisite talent for acquiring languages, and was under the patronage of my kinsman, George Swinton, who had taken him into his own family at Calcutta, and now he is drowned in a foolish bathing party.

May 18.—Heard from Abbotsford; all well. Wrought to-day but awkwardly. Tom Campbell called, warm from his Glasgow Rectorship; he is looking very well. He seemed surprised that I did not know anything about the contentions of Tories, Whigs, and Radicals, in the great commercial city. I have other eggs on the spit. He stayed but a few minutes.[518]

May 19.—Went out to-day to Sir John Dalrymple's,[519] at Oxenford, a pretty place; the lady a daughter of Lord Duncan. Will Clerk and Robert Graeme went with me. A good dinner and pleasant enough party; but ten miles going and ten miles coming make twenty, and that is something of a journey. Got a headache too by jolting about after dinner.

May 20.—Wrote a good deal at Appendix [to Bonaparte], or perhaps I should say tried to write. Got myself into a fever when I had finished four pages, and went out at eight o'clock at night to cool myself if possible. Walked with difficulty as far as Skene's,[520] and there sat and got out of my fidgety feeling. Learned that the Princes Street people intend to present me with the key of their gardens, which will be a great treat, as I am too tender-hoofed for the stones. We must now get to work in earnest.

May 21.—Accordingly this day I wrought tightly, and though not in my very best mood I got on in a very businesslike manner. Was at the Gas Council, where I found things getting poorly on. The Treasury have remitted us to the Exchequer. The Committee want me to make private interest with the L.C. Baron. That I won't do, but I will state their cause publicly any way they like.

May 22.—At Court—home by two, walking through the Princes Street Gardens for the first time. Called on Mrs. Jobson. Worked two hours. Must dress to dine at Mr. John Borthwick's, with the young folk, now Mr. and Mrs. Dempster.[521] Kindly and affectionately received by my good young friends, who seem to have succeeded to their parents' regard for me.

May 23.—Got some books, etc., which I wanted to make up the Saint Helena affair. Set about making up the Appendix, but found I had mislaid a number of the said postliminary affair. Had Hogg's nephew here as a transcriber, a modest and well-behaved young man—clever, too, I think.[522] Being Teind Wednesday I was not obliged to go to the Court, and am now bang up, and shall soon finish Mr. Nappy. And how then? Ay, marry, sir, that's the question.

"Lord, what will all the people say,
Mr. Mayor, Mr. Mayor!"

"The fires i' the lowest hell fold in the people!"[523] as Coriolanus says. I live not in their report, I hope.

May 24.—Mr. Gibson paid me £70 more of my London journey. A good thought came into my head: to write stories for little Johnnie Lockhart from the History of Scotland, like those taken from the History of England. I will not write mine quite so simply as Croker has done. I am persuaded both children and the lower class of readers hate books which are written down to their capacity, and love those that are more composed for their elders and betters. I will make, if possible, a book that a child will understand, yet a man will feel some temptation to peruse should he chance to take it up. It will require, however, a simplicity of style not quite my own. The grand and interesting consists in ideas, not in words. A clever thing of this kind will have a run—

"Little to say,
But wrought away,
And went out to dine with the Skenes to-day."

Rather too many dinner engagements on my list. Must be hard-hearted. I cannot say I like my solitary days the worst by any means. I dine, when I like, on soup or broth, and drink a glass of porter or ginger-beer; a single tumbler of whisky and water concludes the debauch. This agrees with me charmingly. At ten o'clock bread and cheese, a single draught of small beer, porter, or ginger-beer, and to bed.

May 26.—I went the same dull and weary round out to the Parliament House, which bothers one's brains for the day. Nevertheless, I get on. Pages vanish from under my hand, and find their way to J. Ballantyne, who is grinding away with his presses. I think I may say, now I begin to get rid of the dust raised about me by so many puzzling little facts, that it is plain sailing to the end.

Dined at Skene's with George Forbes and lady. But that was yesterday.

May 27.—I got ducked in coming home from the Court. Naboclish!—I thank thee, Pat, for teaching me the word. Made a hard day of it. Scarce stirred from one room to another, but at bed-time finished a handsome handful of copy. I have quoted Gourgaud's evidence; I suppose he will be in a rare passion, and may be addicted to vengeance, like a long-moustached son of a French bitch as he is. Naboclish! again for that.

"Frenchman, Devil, or Don,
Damn him, let him come on,
He shan't scare a son of the Island."[524]

May 28.—Another day of uninterrupted study; two such would finish the work with a murrain. I have several engagements next week; I wonder how I was such a fool as to take them. I think I shall be done, however, before Saturday. What shall I have to think of when I lie down at night and awake in the morning? What will be my plague and my pastime, my curse and my blessing, as ideas come and the pulse rises, or as they flag and something like a snow haze covers my whole imagination? I have my Highland Tales—and then—never mind, sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.

May 29.—Detained at the House till near three. Made a call on Mrs. Jobson and others; also went down to the printing-office. I hope James Ballantyne will do well. I think and believe he will. Wrought in the evening.

May 30.—Having but a trifle on the roll to-day, I set hard to work, and brought myself in for a holiday, or rather played truant. At two o'clock went to a Mr. Mackenzie in my old house at Castle Street, to have some touches given to Walker's print.[525] Afterwards, having young Hogg with me as an amanuensis, I took to the oar till near ten o'clock.[526]

May 31.—Being a Court day I was engaged very late. Then I called at the printing-house, but got no exact calculation how we come on. Met Mr. Cadell, who bids, as the author's copy [money] 1s. profit on each book of Hugh Little-john. I thought this too little. My general calculation is on such profits, that, supposing the book to sell to the public for 7s. 6d., the price ought to go in three shares—one to the trade, one to the expense of print and paper, and one to the author and publisher between them, which of course would be 1s. 3d., not 1s. to the author. But in stating this rule I omitted to observe that books for young persons are half bound before they go out into the trade. This comes to about 9d. for two volumes. The allowance to the trade is also heavy, so that 1s. a book is very well on great numbers. There may besides be a third volume.

Dined at James Ballantyne's, and heard his brother Sandy sing and play on the violin, beautifully as usual. James himself sang the Reel of Tullochgorum, with hearty cheer and uplifted voice. When I came home I learned that we had beat the Coal Gas Company, which is a sort of triumph.


June 1.—Settled my household-book. Sophia does not set out till the middle of the week, which is unlucky, our antiquarian skirmish beginning in Fife just about the time she is to arrive. Letter from John touching public affairs; don't half like them, and am afraid we shall have the Whig alliance turn out like the calling in of the Saxons. I told this to Jeffrey, who said they would convert us, as the Saxons did the British. I shall die in my Paganism for one. I don't like a bone of them as a party. Ugly reports of the King's health; God pity this poor country should that be so, but I think it a thing devised by the enemy. Anne arrived from Abbotsford. I dined at Sir Robert Dundas's, with Mrs. Dundas, Arniston, and other friends. Worked a little, not much.

June 2.—Do. Do. Dined at Baron Hume's. These dinners are cruelly in the way, but que faut-il faire? the business of the Court must be done, and it is impossible absolutely to break off all habits of visiting. Besides, the correcting of proof-sheets in itself is now become burdensome. Three or four a day is hard work.

June 3.—Wrought hard. I think I have but a trifle more to do, but new things cast up; we get beyond the life, however, for I have killed him to-day. The newspapers are very saucy; The Sun says I have got £4000 for suffering a Frenchman to look over my manuscript. Here is a proper fellow for you! I wonder what he thinks Frenchmen are made of—walking money-bags, doubtless. Now as Sir Fretful Plagiary[527] says, another man would be mad at this, but I care not one brass farthing.

June 4.—The birthday of our good old king. It was wrong not to keep up the thing as it was of yore with dinners, and claret, and squibs, and crackers, and saturnalia. The thoughts of the subjects require sometimes to be turned to the sovereign, were it but only that they may remember there is such a person.

The Bannatyne edition of Melville's Memoirs is out, and beats all print. Gad, it is a fine institution that; a rare one, by Jove! beats the Roxburghe. Wrought very bobbishly to-day, but went off at dinner-time to Thomas Thomson, where we had good cheer and good fun. By the way, we have lost our Coal Gas Bill. Sorry for it, but I can't cry.

June 5.—Proofs. Parliament House till two. Commenced the character of Bonaparte. To-morrow being a Teind-day I will hope to get it finished. Meantime I go out to-night to see Frankenstein at the theatre.

June 6.—Frankenstein is entertaining for once—considerable art in the man that plays the Monster, to whom he gave great effect. Cooper is his name; played excellently in the farce too, as a sailor—a more natural one, I think, than my old friend Jack Bannister, though he has not quite Jack's richness of humour. I had seven proof-sheets to correct this morning, by Goles. So I did not get to composition till nine; work on with little interruption (save that Mr. Verplanck, an American, breakfasted with us) until seven, and then walked, for fear of the black dog or devil that worries me when I work too hard.

June 7.—This morning finished Boney. And now, as Dame Fortune says, in Quevedo's Visions, Go, wheel, and the devil drive thee.[528] It was high time I brought up some reinforcements, for my pound was come to half-crowns, and I had nothing to keep house when the Lockharts come. Credit enough to be sure, but I have been taught by experience to make short reckonings. Some great authors now will think it a degradation to write a child's book; I cannot say I feel it such. It is to be inscribed to my grandson, and I will write it not only without a sense of its being infra dig. but with a grandfather's pleasure.

I arranged with Mr. Cadell for the property of Tales of a Grandfather, 10,000 copies for £787, 10s.

June 8.—A Mr. Maywood, much protected by poor Alister Dhu, brought me a letter from the late Colonel Huxley. His connection and approach to me is through the grave, but I will not be the less disposed to assist him if an opportunity offers. I made a long round to-day, going to David Laing's about forwarding the books of the Bannatyne Club to Sir George Rose and Duke of Buckingham. Then I came round by the printing-office, where the presses are groaning upon Napoleon, and so home through the gardens. I have done little to-day save writing a letter or two, for I was fatigued and sleepy when I got home, and nodded, I think, over Sir James Melville's Memoirs. I will do something, though, when I have dined. By the way, I corrected the proofs for Gillies; they read better than I looked for.

June 9.—Corrected proofs in the morning. When I came home from Court I found that John Lockhart and Sophia were arrived by the steam-boat at Portobello, where they have a small lodging. I went down with a bottle of Champagne, and a flask of Maraschino, and made buirdly cheer with them for the rest of the day. Had the great pleasure to find them all in high health. Poor Johnny is decidedly improved in his general health, and the injury on the spine is got no worse. Walter is a very fine child.

June 10.—Rose with the odd consciousness of being free of my daily task. I have heard that the fish-women go to church of a Sunday with their creels new washed, and a few stones in them for ballast, just because they cannot walk steadily without their usual load. I feel somewhat like this, and rather inclined to pick up some light task, than to be altogether idle. I have my proof-sheets, to be sure; but what are these to a whole day? Fortunately my thoughts are agreeable; cash difficulties, etc., all provided for, as far as I can see, so that we go on hooly and fairly. Betwixt and August 1st I should receive £750, and I cannot think I have more than the half of it to pay away. Cash, to be sure, seems to burn in my pocket. "He wasna gien to great misguiding, but coin his pouches wouldna bide in."[529] By goles, this shall be corrected, though! Lockhart gives a sad account of Gillies's imprudences. Lockhart dined with us. Day idle.

June 11.—The attendance on the Committee, and afterwards the general meeting of the Oil Gas Company took up my morning, and the rest dribbled away in correcting proofs and trifling; reading, among the rest, an odd volume of Vivian Grey;[530] clever, but not so much so as to make me, in this sultry weather, go up-stairs to the drawing-room to seek the other volumes. Ah! villain, but you smoked when you read.—Well, Madam, perhaps I think the better of the book for that reason. Made a blunder,—went to Ravelston on the wrong day. This Anne's fault, but I did not reproach her, knowing it might as well have been my own.

June 12.—At Court, a long hearing. Got home only about three. Corrected proofs, etc. Dined with Baron Clerk, and met several old friends; Will Clerk in particular.

June 13.—Another long seat at Court. Almost overcome by the heat in walking home, and rendered useless for the day. Let me be thankful, however; my lameness is much better, and the nerves of my unfortunate ankle are so much strengthened that I walk with comparatively little pain. Dined at John Swinton's; a large party. These festive occasions consume much valuable time, besides trying the stomach a little by late hours, and some wine shed, though that's not much.

June 14.—Anne and Sophia dined. Could not stay at home with them alone. We had the Skenes and Allan, and amused ourselves till ten o'clock.

June 15.—This being the day long since appointed for our cruise to Fife, Thomas Thomson, Sir A. Ferguson, Will Clerk, and I, set off with Miss Adam, and made our journey successfully to Charlton, where met Lord Chief-Baron and Lord Chief-Commissioner, all in the humour to be happy, though time is telling with us all. Our good-natured host, Mr. A. Thomson, his wife, and his good-looking daughters, received us most kindly, and the conversation took its old roll, in spite of woes and infirmities. Charlton is a good house, in the midst of highly-cultivated land, and immediately surrounded with gardens and parterres, together with plantations, partly in the old, partly in the new, taste; I like it very much; though, as a residence, it is perhaps a little too much finished. Not even a bit of bog to amuse one, as Mr. Elphinstone said.

June 16.—This day we went off in a body to St. Andrews, which Thomas Thomson had never seen. On the road beyond Charlton saw a small cottage said to have been the heritable appanage of a family called the Keays [?]. He had a right to feed his horse for a certain time on the adjoining pasture. This functionary was sent to Falkland with the fish for the royal table. The ruins at St. Andrews have been lately cleared out. They had been chiefly magnificent from their size—not their extent of ornament. I did not go up to St. Rule's Tower as on former occasions; this is a falling off, for when before did I remain sitting below when there was a steeple to be ascended? But the rheumatism has begun to change that vein for some time past, though I think this is the first decided sign of acquiescence in my lot. I sat down on a grave-stone, and recollected the first visit I made to St. Andrews, now thirty-four years ago. What changes in my feeling and my fortune have since then taken place! some for the better, many for the worse. I remembered the name I then carved in Runic characters on the turf beside the castle-gate, and I asked why it should still agitate my heart. But my friends came down from the tower, and the foolish idea was chased away.[531]

June 17.—Lounged about while the good family went to church. The day is rather cold and disposed to rain. The papers say that the Corn Bill is given up in consequence of the Duke of Wellington having carried the amendment in the House of Lords. All the party here—Sir A.F. perhaps excepted—are Ministerialists on the present double bottom. They say the names of Whig and Tory are now to exist no longer. Why have they existed at all?

In the forenoon we went off to explore the environs; we visited two ancient manor-houses, those of Elie and Balcaskie. Large roomy mansions, with good apartments, two or three good portraits, and a collection of most extraordinary frights, prodigiously like the mistresses of King George I., who "came for all the goods and chattels" of old England. There are at Elie House two most ferocious-looking Ogresses of this cast. There are noble trees about the house. Balcaskie put me in mind of poor Philip Anstruther, dead and gone many a long year since. He was a fine, gallant, light-hearted young sailor. I remember the story of his drawing on his father for some cash, which produced an angry letter from old Sir Robert, to which Philip replied, that if he did not know how to write like a gentleman, he did not desire any more of his correspondence. Balcaskie is much dilapidated; but they are restoring the house in the good old style, with its terraces and yew-hedges. The beastly fashion of bringing a bare ill-kept park up to your very doors seems going down. We next visited with great pleasure the Church of St. Monans, which is under repair, designed to correspond strictly with the ancient plan, which is the solid, gloomy, but impressive Gothic It was built by David II., in the fulfilment of a vow made to St. Monan on the field of battle at Neville's Cross. One would have judged the king to be thankful for small mercies, for certainly St. Monan proved but an ineffective patron.

Mr. Hugh Cleghorn[532] dined at Charlton, and I saw him for the first time, having heard of him all my life. He is an able man, has seen much, and speaks well. Age has clawed him in his clutch, and he has become deaf. There is also Captain Black of the navy, second lieutenant of the Mars at Trafalgar. Villeneuve was brought on board that ship after the debate. He had no expectation that the British fleet would have fought till they had formed a regular line. Captain Black disowns the idea of the French and Spaniards being drawn up chequer form for resisting the British attack, and imputes the appearance of that array to sheer accident of weather.

June 18.—We visited Wemyss Castle on our return to Kinghorn. On the left, before descending to the coast, are considerable remains of a castle, called popularly the old castle, or Macduff's Castle. That of the Thane was situated at Kennochquay, at no great distance. The front of Wemyss Castle, to the land, has been stripped entirely of its castellated appearance, and narrowly escaped a new front. To the sea it has a noble situation, overhanging the red rocks; but even there the structure has been much modernised and tamed. Interior is a good old house, with large oak staircases, family pictures, etc. We were received by Captain Wemyss—a gallant sea-captain, who could talk against a north-wester,—by his wife Lady Emma, and her sister Lady Isabella—beautiful women of the house of Errol, and vindicating its title to the handsome Hays. We reached the Pettycur about half-past one, crossed to Edinburgh, and so ended our little excursion. Of casualties we had only one: Triton, the house-dog at Charlton, threw down Thomson and he had his wrist sprained. A restive horse threatened to demolish our landau, but we got off for the fright. Happily L.C.B. was not in our carriage.

Dined at William M'Kenzie's to meet the Marquis and Marchioness of Stafford, who are on their road to Dunrobin. Found them both very well.

June 19.—Lord Stafford desires to be a member of the Bannatyne Club—also Colin M'Kenzie. Sent both names up accordingly.

The day furnishes a beggarly record of trumpery. From eight o'clock till nine wrote letters, then Parliament House, where I had to wait on without anything to do till near two, when rain forced me into the Antiquarian museum. Lounged there till a meeting of the Oil Gas Committee at three o'clock. There remained till near five. Home and smoked a cheroot after dinner. Called on Thomson, who is still disabled by his sprain. Pereat inter hæc. We must do better to-morrow.

June 20.—Kept my word, being Teind Wednesday. Two young Frenchmen, friends of Gallois, rather interrupted me. I had asked them to breakfast, but they stayed till twelve o'clock, which is scarce fair, and plagued me with compliments. Their names are Rémusat and Guyzard.[533] Pleasant, good-humoured young men. Notwithstanding this interruption I finished near six pages, three being a good Session-day's work. Allons, vogue la galère. Dined at the Solicitor's with Lord Hopetoun, and a Parliament House party.

June 21.—Finished five leaves—that is, betwixt morning and dinner-time. The Court detained me till two o'clock. About nine leaves will make the volume quite large enough.

By the way, the booksellers have taken courage to print up 2000 more of the first edition [of Napoleon]; which, after the second volume, they curtailed from 8000 to 6000. This will be £1000 more in my way, at least, and that is a good help. We dine with the Skenes to-day, Lockhart being with us.[534]

June 22.—Wrought in the morning as usual. Received to breakfast Dr. Bishop, a brother of Bishop the composer. He tells me his brother was very ill when he wrote "The Chough and Crow," and other music for Guy Mannering. Singular! but I do think illness, if not too painful, unseals the mental eye, and renders the talents more acute, in the study of the fine arts at least.[535]

I find the difference on 2000 additional copies will be £3000 instead of £1000 in favour of the author. My good friend Publicum is impatient. Heaven grant his expectations be not disappointed! Coragio, andiamos! Such another year of labour and success would do much towards making me a free man of the forest. But I must to work since we have to dine with Lord and Lady Gray. By the way, I forgot an engagement to my old friend, Lord Justice-Clerk. This is shockingly ill-bred. But the invitation was a month old, and that is some defence.

June 23.—I corrected proofs and played the grandfather in the morning. After Court saw Lady Wedderburn, who asked my advice about printing some verses of Mrs. Hemans in honour of the late Lord James Murray, who died in Greece. Also Lord Gray, who wishes me to write some preliminary matter to his ancestor, the Master of Gray's correspondence. I promised. But ancestor was a great rogue, and if I am to write about him at all, I must take my will of him. Anne and I dined at home. She went to the play, and I had some mind to go too. But Miss Foote was the sole attraction, and Miss Foote is only a very pretty woman, and if she played Rosalind better than I think she can, it is a bore to see Touchstone and Jacques murdered. I have a particular respect for As You Like It. It was the first play I ever saw, and that was at Bath in 1776 or 1777. That is not yesterday, yet I remember the piece very well. So I remained at home, smoked a cigar, and worked leisurely upon the review of the Culloden Papers, which, by dint of vamping and turning, may make up the lacking copy for the "Works" better, I think, than that lumbering Essay on Border Antiquities.

June 24.—I don't care who knows it, I was lazy this morning. But I cheated my laziness capitally, as you shall hear. My good friend, Sir Watt, said I to my esteemed friend, it is hard you should be obliged to work when you are so disinclined to it. Were I you, I would not be quite idle though. I would do something that you are not obliged to do, just as I have seen a cowardly dog willing to fight with any one save that which his master would have desired him to yoke with. So I went over the review of the Culloden Papers, and went a great way to convert it into the Essay on Clanship, etc., which I intend for the Prose Works. I wish I had thought of it before correcting that beastly border essay. Naboclish!

June 25.—Wrote five pages of the Chronicles, and hope to conquer one or two more ere night to fetch up the leeway. Went and saw Allan's sketch of a picture for Abbotsford, which is promising; a thing on the plan of Watteau. He intends to introduce some interesting characters, and some, I suspect, who have little business there. Yesterday I dined with the Lockharts at Portobello.[536] To-day at home with Anne and Miss Erskine. They are gone to walk. I have a mind to go to trifle, so I do not promise to write more to-night, having begun the dedication (advertisement I mean) to the Chronicles. I have pleasant subjects of reflection. The fund in Gibson's hands will approach £40,000, I think.

Lord Melville writes desiring to be a candidate for the Bannatyne Club.

I made a balance of my affairs, and stuck it into my book: it should answer very well, but still

"I am not given to great misguiding,
But coin my pouches will na bide in,
With me it ne'er was under hiding,
I dealt it free."

I must, however, and will, be independent.

June 26.—Well, if ever I saw such another thing since my mother bound up my head![537] Here is nine of clock strucken and I am still fast asleep abed. I have not done the like of this many a day. However, it cannot be helped. Went to Court, which detained me till two o'clock. A walk home consumed the hour to three! Wrote in the Court, however, to the Duke of Wellington and Lord Bloomfield. and that is a good job over.

I have a letter from a member of the Commission of the Psalmody of the Kirk, zealous and pressing. I shall answer him, I think.[538] One from Sir James Stuart,[539] on fire with Corfe Castle, with a drawing of King Edward, occupying one page, as he hurries down the steep, mortally wounded by the assassin. Singular power of speaking at once to the eye and the ear. Dined at home. After dinner sorted papers. Rather idle.

June 27.—Corrected proofs and wrote till breakfast. Then the Court. Called on Skene and Charles K. Sharpe, and did not get home until three o'clock, and then so wet as to require a total change. We dine at Hector Buchanan Macdonald's, where there are sometimes many people and little conversation. Sent a little chest of books by the carrier to Abbotsford.

A visit from a smart young man, Gustavus Schwab of Königsberg; he gives a flattering picture of Prussia, which is preparing for freedom. The King must keep his word, though, or the people may chance to tire of waiting. Dined at H.B. Macdonald's with rather a young party for Colin M'Kenzie and me.

June 28.—Wrote a little and corrected proofs. How many things have I unfinished at present?

Chronicles, first volume not ended.

do., second volume begun.

Introduction to ditto.

Tales of My Grandfather.

Essay on Highlands. This unfinished, owing to certain causes, chiefly want of papers and books to fill up blanks, which I will get at Abbotsford. Came home through rain about two, and commissioned John Stevenson to call at three about binding some books. Dined with Sophia; visited, on invitation, a fine old little Commodore Trunnion, who, on reading a part of Napoleon's history, with which he had himself been interested, as commanding a flotilla, thought he had detected a mistake, but was luckily mistaken, to my great delight.

"I fear thee, ancient mariner."

To be cross-examined by those who have seen the true thing is the devil. And yet these eye-witnesses are not all right in what they repeat neither, indeed cannot be so, since you will have dozens of contradictions in their statements.

June 29.—A distressing letter from Haydon; imprudent, probably, but who is not? A man of rare genius. What a pity I gave that £10 to Craig! But I have plenty of ten pounds sure, and I may make it something. I will get £100 at furthest when I come back from the country. Wrote at proofs, but no copy; I fear I shall wax fat and kick against Madam Duty, but I augur better things.

Just as we were sitting down to dinner, Cadell burst in in high spirits with the sale of Napoleon[540] the orders for which pour in, and the public report is favourable. Detected two gross blunders though, which I have ordered for cancel. Supped (for a wonder) with Colin Mackenzie and a bachelor party. Mr. Williams[541] was there, whose extensive information, learning, and lively talent makes him always pleasant company. Up till twelve—a debauch for me nowadays.

June 30.—Redd up my things for moving,[542] which will clear my hands a little on the next final flitting. Corrected proof-sheets. Williams told me an English bull last night. A fellow of a college, deeply learned, sitting at a public entertainment beside a foreigner, tried every means to enter into conversation, but the stranger could speak no dead language, the Doctor no living one but his own. At last the scholar, in great extremity, was enlightened by a happy "Nonne potes loqui cum digitis?"—said as if the difficulty was solved at once.

Abbotsford.—Reached this about six o'clock.[543]





Sir Walter was in the habit of consulting him in those matters more than any of his other friends, having great reliance upon his critical skill. The manuscripts of all his poems, and also of the earlier of his prose works, were submitted to Kinnedder's judgment, and a considerable correspondence on these subjects had taken place betwixt them, which would, no doubt, have constituted one of the most interesting series of letters Sir Walter had left.

Lord Kinnedder was a man of retired habits, but little known except to those with whom he lived on terms of intimacy, and by whom he was much esteemed, and being naturally of a remarkably sensitive mind, he was altogether overthrown by the circumstance of a report having got abroad of some alleged indiscretions on his part in which a lady was also implicated. Whether the report had any foundation in truth or not, I am altogether ignorant, but such an allegation affecting a person in his situation in life as a judge, and doing such violence to the susceptibility of his feelings, had the effect of bringing a severe illness which in a few days terminated his life. I never saw Sir Walter so much affected by any event, and at the funeral, which he attended, he was quite unable to suppress his feelings, but wept like a child. The family, suddenly bereft of their protector, were young, orphans, their mother, daughter of Professor John Robertson, having previously died, found also that they had to struggle against embarrassed circumstances; neither had they any near relative in Scotland to take charge of their affairs. But a lady, a friend of the family, Miss M——, was active in their service, and it so happened, in the course of arranging their affairs, the packet of letters from Sir Walter Scott, containing the whole of his correspondence with Lord Kinnedder, came into her hands. She very soon discovered that the correspondence laid open the secret of the authorship of the Waverley Novels, at that period the subject of general and intense interest, and as yet unacknowledged by Sir Walter.

Considering what under these circumstances it was her duty to do, whether to replace the letters and suffer any accident to bring to light what the author seemed anxious might remain unknown, or to seal them up, and keep them in her own custody undivulged—or finally to destroy them in order to preserve the secret,—with, no doubt, the best and most upright motives, so far as her own judgment enabled her to decide in the matter, in which she was unable to take advice, without betraying what it was her object to respect, she came to the resolution, most unfortunately for the world, of destroying the letters. And, accordingly, the whole of them were committed to the flames; depriving the descendants of Lord Kinnedder of a possession which could not fail to be much valued by them, and which, in connection with Lord Kinnedder's letters to Sir Walter, which are doubtless preserved, would have been equally valuable to the public, as containing the contemporary opinions, prospects, views, and sentiments under which these works were sent forth into the world. It would also have been curious to learn the unbiased impression which the different works created on the mind of such a man as Lord Kinnedder, before the collision of public opinion had suffused its influence over the opinions of people in general in this matter.—Skene's Reminiscences.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[9] Mrs. Thomas Scott's brother.

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

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

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

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

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

[15] Hurst and Robinson, Booksellers, London.

[16] Woodstock was at this time nearly completed.

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

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

[19] "My Jo Janet," Tea-Table Miscellany.

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

[21] A quarterly journal edited by Leigh Hunt, "The Liberal—Verse and Prose from the South," of which four numbers only were published. 1822-1823.

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

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

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

[25] Henry J.G. Herbert, Lord Porchester, afterwards third Earl of Carnarvon, had published The Moor in 1825, and Don Pedro in 1826.

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

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

[28] See Autobiography, 1787, in Life, vol. i. pp. 39, 40.

[29] Virg. Æn. i. 122.

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

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

[32] Combinations of Workmen. Substance of a speech by Francis Jeffrey. 8vo. Edin. 1825.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[39] Benjamin Disraeli, afterwards Lord Beaconsfield.

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

[41] Storrs, Windermere.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[49] Mrs. Grant of Laggan, author of Letters from the Mountains, Superstitions of the Highlanders, etc. Died at Edin. in 1838, aged 83.

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

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

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

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

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

[55] King Richard III., Act III. Sc. 7.—J.G.L.

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

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

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

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

[60] William Knox died 12th November. He had published Songs of Israel, 1824, A Visit to Dublin, 1824, The Harp of Zion, 1825, etc., besides The Lonely Hearth. His publisher (Mr. Anderson, junior, of Edinburgh) remembers that Sir Walter occasionally wrote to Knox and sent him money—£10 at a time.—J.G.L.

[61] In Ben Jonson's Every Man in his Humour.

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

[63] Measure for Measure, Act iv. Sc. 3.—J.G.L.

[64] Burns's Dedication to Gavin Hamilton.—J.G.L.

[65] Don Quixote, Pt. II. ch. 23.

[66] Spectator, No. 159.—J.G.L.

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

[68] Beaumont and Fletcher, 8vo, Lond. 1788, vol. v. pp. 410-413,419-426.

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

[70] Burns's Address to the Unco Guid.—J.G.L.

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

[72] See 1 King Henry IV., Act II. Sc. 1.

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

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

[75] Robert Sym Wilson, Esq., W.S., Secretary to the Royal Bank of Scotland.—J.G.L.

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

[77] See Nice Valour, by John Fletcher; Beaumont and Fletcher's Works.

[78] From Charles Dibdin's song, The Racehorse.

[79] Sir Samuel Shepherd.

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

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

[82] Sir James Scarlett, first Lord Abinger.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[89] Life of Napoleon.—J.G.L.

[90] See Scott's Poetical Works, vol. xii. pp. 194-97.—J.G.L.

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

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

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

[94] See Canning's German Play, in the Anti-Jacobin.—J.G.L.

[95] See Johnson's Musical Museum, No. 490, slightly altered.

[96] See Candide.—J.G.L.

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

[98] See Constable's Miscellany, vol. v.—J.G.L.

[99] See the Quarterly Review for January 1820—or Scott's Miscellaneous Prose Works.—J.G.L.

[100] As You Like it, Act IV. Sc. 3.—J.G.L.

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

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

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

[104] Woodstock—contracted for in 1823.

[105] A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act III. Sc. 1.

[106] George Huntly Gordon, amanuensis to Scott.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[116] Merchant's Tale, lines 9706-8, slightly altered.

[117] 2 King Henry IV., Act iv. Sc. 2.—J.G.L.

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

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

[120] Burns's Vision.—J.G.L.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr. Lockhart adds (Life, vol. v. p. 46): "This most amiable and venerable gentleman, my dear and kind friend, died at Edinburgh, on the 17th February 1839, in the 89th year of his age. He retained his strong mental faculties in their perfect vigour to the last days of this long life, and with them all the warmth of social feelings which had endeared him to all who were so happy as to have any opportunity of knowing him."

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

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

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

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

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

"CASTLE STREET, 23 January.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[139] Life of Bonaparte. (?)

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

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

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

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

[144] Coleridge's Christabel, Part II.

[145] James Ferrier, one of the Clerks of Session,—the father of the authoress of Marriage, The Inheritance, and Destiny. Mr. Ferrier was born in 1744, and died in 1829.

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

[147] See Tranent Muir by Skirving.

[148] Addison, Cato, i. 4.

[149] See p. 83.

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

[151] See "Glee for King Charles," Waverley Novels, vol. xl. p. 40.—J.G.L.

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

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

Have you seen the famed Bas bleu, the gentle dame Apreece,
Who at a glance shot through and through the Scots Review,
And changed its swans to geese?
Playfair forgot his mathematics, astronomy, and hydrostatics,
And in her presence often swore, he knew not two and two made four.
[Squib of 1811.]

[154] See Midsummer Night's Dream, Act II. Sc. 2.

[155] This journey was made in 1810.—See Life, Chapter xxi. vol. iii. p. 271.

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

[157] Twelfth Night, Act II. Sc. 3.

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

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

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

[160] Flax on her distaff.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[166] "Had Prince Charles slept during the whole of the expedition," says the Chevalier Johnstone, "and allowed Lord George Murray to act for him according to his own judgment, there is every reason for supposing he would have found the crown of Great Britain on his head when he awoke."—Memoirs of the Rebellion of 1745, etc. 4to, p. 140. London, 1810.—J.G.L.

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

[168] Colonel Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry. He died in January 1828.—J.G.L.

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

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

[171] See below, March 12.

[172] Burns's Dedication to Gavin Hamilton—

"May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark
Howl through the dwelling o' the Clerk."
"O born to arms! O worth in youth approved,
O soft humanity in age beloved!"

—See Pope, Epitaphs, 9.

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

[175] Parody on Moore's Minstrel Boy.—J.G.L.

[176] "Le Pas de la Fontaine des Pleurs."—Chroniques Nationales.

[177] This hint was taken up in Count Robert of Paris.—J.G.L.

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

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

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

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

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

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

[181] Pope's Imitation of Horace, Bk. ii Sat. 6.—J.G.L.

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

[183] Winter's Tale, Act iv. Sc. 2, slightly altered.

[184] The late Mr. Williamson of Cardrona in Peeblesshire, was a strange humorist, of whom Sir Walter told many stories. The allusion here is to the anecdote of the Leetle Anderson in the first of Malachi's Epistles.:—See Scott's Prose Miscellanies, vol. xxi. p. 289.—J.G.L.

[185] The Omen, by Galt, had just been published.—See Sir Walter's review of this novel in the Miscellaneous Prose Works, vol. xviii. p. 333. John Gait died at Greenock in April 1839.—J.G.L.

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

The motto to the epistle was:—

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

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

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

[188] See Gray's Elegy.—J.G.L.

[189] In Arthur Murphy's farce of The Upholsterer, or What News?

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

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

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

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

[194] Burns, in Johnson's Musical Museum, No. 319.

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

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

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

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

[199] Spean a wean, i.e. wean a child.

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

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

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

[203] Kain in Scotch law means payment in kind. Carriages in the same phraseology stands for services in driving with horse and cart.

[204] Ballad of Hardyknute, slightly altered.—J.G.L.

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

[206] Ossian.—J.G.L.

[207] Pastoret: Le Duc de Guise à Naples, etc., en 1647 et 1648. 8vo, 1825; also Memoires relating his passage to Naples and heading the Second Revolt of that people. Englished, sm. 8vo, 1669.

"The Reviewal then meditated was afterwards published in Foreign Quarterly Review, vol. iv. p 355, but not included in the Misc. Prose Works."Abbotsford Library Catalogue, p. 36.

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

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

[209] King Henry VIII., Act v. Sc. 2, slightly altered.—J.G.L.

[210] "Watch the sign to hate."—Johnson's Vanity of Human Wishes.

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

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

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

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

[215] Henry Weber died in 1818.

[216] See Life of Bonaparte. Miscellaneous Prose Works, vol. xi. pp. 346-351.—J.G.L.

[217] Plays on the Passions, 2 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1802, vol. ii. pp. 211-215.

[218] He had, however, snatched a moment to write the following playful note to Mr. Sharpe, little dreaming that the sportive allusion to his return in May would be so sadly realised:—"MY DEAR CHARLES,—You promised when I displenished this house that you would accept of the prints of Roman antiquities, which I now send. I believe they were once in some esteem, though now so detestably smoked that they will only suit your suburban villa in the Cowgate when you remove to that classical residence. I also send a print which is an old favourite of mine, from the humorous correspondence between Mr. Mountebank's face and the monkey's. I leave town to-day or to-morrow at furthest. When I return in May I shall be

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

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

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

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

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

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

[223] "I return no more,"—see Mackrimmon's Lament by Scott.—Poetical Works, vol. xi. p. 332.

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

[225] See this Journal, 2 December last.

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

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

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

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

[229] Hudibras.—J.G.L.

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

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

[232] Don Quixote, Pt. II. cap. 47.

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

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

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

[236] Eident, i.e. eagerly diligent.—J.G.L.

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

[238] Lippened, i.e. relied upon.—J.G.L.

[239] 2 King Henry VI., Act IV. Sc. 10, slightly varied.

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

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

[242] Quarterly Review, No. 66: Lockhart's review of Sheridan's Life.

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

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

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

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

[247] Henry Scott, afterwards Lord Polwarth.

[248] Slightly altered from Pope's Eloisa to Abelard.

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

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

[250] Quarterly Review, No. 66, Pepys' Diary.

[251] Twelfth Night, Act II. Sc. 3.

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

[253] Merry Wives of Windsor, Act iv. Sc. 1.

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

[255] King Lear, Act III. Sc. 2.

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

[257] "The Insurrection of the Papers—a Dream." The Twopenny Post-Bag, 12mo, London, 1812.

[258] The well-known ballads on these two North-country legends were published by M.G. Lewis and Mr. Lambe, of Norham. "Sir Guy," in the Tales of Wonder, and "The Worm," in Ritson's Northumberland Garland.—See Child's English and Scottish Ballads, 8 vols. 12mo, Boston, 1857, vol. i. p. 386.

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

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

[261] Henry VIII. Act III. Sc. 2.

[262] Ritson, Scottish Songs, xvi.

[263] See Miscellaneous Prose Works, vol. xx. pp. 152-244, or Quarterly Review No. 67, Kelly's Reminiscences.

[264] 2 Henry IV., Act III. Sc. I, slightly altered.

[265] [Mrs. Brown's Lodgings, No. 6 North St. David Street.]

[266] This is the opening couplet of a German trooper's song, alluded to in Life, vol. ii. p. 13. The literal translation is:—

"The day of departure is come;
Heavy lies it on the hearts—heavy."—J.G.L.

[267] Scott had written:—"and yet to part with the companion of twenty years just six," and had then deleted the three words, "years just six," and written "nine" above them. It looks as if he had meant at first to refer to the change in his fortunes, "just six" MONTHS before, and had afterwards thought it better to refrain. This would account for a certain obscurity of meaning.

[268] As You Like It, Act II. Sc. 4.

[269] Cicero, de Orat. ii. p. 346.—J.G.L.

[270] Walter Scott Lockhart, died at Versailles in 1853, and was buried in the Cemetery of Notre-Dame there.

[271] The Rev. Edward Bannerman Ramsay, A.M., St. John's College, Cambridge, incumbent St. John's, Edinburgh, afterwards Dean of the Diocese in the Scots Episcopal Church, and still more widely known as the much-loved "Dean Ramsay," author of Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character. This venerable Scottish gentleman was for many years the delight of all who had the privilege of knowing him. He died at the age of eighty-three in his house, 23 Ainslie Place, Edinburgh, Dec. 27th, 1872.

[272] See Life, vol. iv. p. 2.

[273] Mr. Skene has preserved the following note written on this day:—"I take the advantage of Mr. Ramsay's return to Edinburgh to answer your kind letter. It would have done no good to have brought you here when I could not have enjoyed your company, and there were enough friends here to ensure everything being properly adjusted. Anne, contrary to a natural weakness of temper, is quite quiet and resigned to her distress, but has been visited by many fainting fits, the effect, I am told, of weakness, over-exertion, and distress of mind. Her brothers are both here—Walter having arrived from Ireland yesterday in time to assist at the munus inane; their presence will do her much good, but I cannot think of leaving her till Monday next, nor could I do my brethren much good by coming to town, having still that stunned and giddy feeling which great calamities necessarily produce. It will soon give way to my usual state of mind, and my friends will not find me much different from what I have usually been.

"Mr. Ramsay, who I find is a friend of yours, appears an excellent young man.—My kind love to Mrs. Skene, and am always, yours truly,


[274] The Highland Widow, Waverley Novels, vol. xli.

[275] See February 10, 1826.

[276] This excellent philosophical song appears to have been famous in the sixteenth century.—Percy's Reliques, vol. i. 307.—J.G.L.

[277] See June 2.

[278] Sheridan's Critic, Act IV. Sc. 2.

[279] Buckingham's Rehearsal.—The expression "To Feague" does not occur in the first edition, where the passage stands thus:—

"Phys.—When a knotty point comes, I lay my head close to it, with a pipe of tobacco in my mouth and then whew it away. I' faith.

"Bayes.—I do just so, i' gad, always." Act II. Sc. 4.

In some subsequent editions the words are:—"I lay my head close to it with a snuff-box in my hand, and I feague it away. I' faith."

I am indebted to Dr. Murray for this reference, which he kindly furnished me with from the materials collected for his great English Dictionary.

[280] This alludes to the claim advanced by the creditors of Constable and Co. to the copyright of Woodstock and the Life of Napoleon. The Dean of the Faculty of Advocates was at that time George Cranstoun, afterwards a judge on the Scottish Bench under the title; of Lord Corehouse, from 1826 until 1839, when he retired; he died 1850.

[281] i.e. spending.

[282] The eldest son of "The Man of Feeling." He had been a judge from 1822; he died at the age of seventy-four in 1851.

[283] Baron Gifford died a few months later, viz., in Sept. 1826; he had been Attorney-General in 1819, and Chief-Justice in 1824. Lord and Lady Gifford had visited Abbotsford in the autumn of 1825.

[284] Speech of Lord Chancellor Seafield on the ratification of the Scottish Union.—See Miscell. Prose Works, vol. xxv. p. 93.

[285] See Moréri's Dictionnaire, Art. "Tanneguy du Châtel."

[286] An example of Scott's wonderful patience, and his power of utilising hints gathered from the most unpromising materials. Apropos of this Mr. Skene relates:—"In one of our frequent walks to the pier of Leith, to which the freshness of the sea breeze offered a strong inducement to those accustomed to pass a few of the morning hours within the close and impure atmosphere of the Court of Session, I happened to meet with, and to recognise, the Master of a vessel in which I had sailed in the Mediterranean. Our recognition of each other seemed to give mutual satisfaction, as the cordial grasp of the seaman's hard fist effectually indicated. It was some years since we had been shipmates, he had since visited almost every quarter of the globe, but he shook his head, and looked serious when he came to mention his last trip. He had commanded a whaler, and having been for weeks exposed to great stress of weather in the polar regions, finally terminated in the total loss of his vessel, with most of her equipage, in the course of a dark tempestuous night. When thrown on her beam-ends, my friend had been washed overboard, and in his struggles to keep himself above water had got hold of a piece of ice, on the top of which he at length succeeded in raising himself—'and there I was, sir, on a cursed dark dirty night, squatted on a round lump of floating ice, for all the world like a tea-table adrift in the middle of a stormy sea, without being able to see whether there was any hope within sight, and having enough ado to hold on, cold as my seat was, with sometimes one end of me in the water, and sometimes the other, as the ill-fashioned crank thing kept whirling, and whomeling about all night. However, praised be God, daylight had not been long in, when a boat's crew on the outlook hove in sight, and taking me for a basking seal, and maybe I was not unlike that same, up they came of themselves, for neither voice nor hand had I to signal them, and if they lost their blubber, faith, sir, they did get a willing prize on board; so, after just a little bit gliff of a prayer for the mercy that sent them to my help, I soon came to myself again, and now that I am landed safe and sound, I am walking about, ye see, like a gentleman, till I get some new craft to try the trade again.'—Sir Walter, who was leaning on my arm during this narrative, had not taken any share in the dialogue, and kept gazing to seaward, with his usual heavy, absorbed expression, and only joined in wishing the seaman better success in his next trip as we parted. However, the detail had by no means escaped his notice, but dropping into the fertile soil of his mind, speedily yielded fruit, quite characteristic of his habits. We happened that evening to dine in company together; I was not near Sir Walter at table, but in the course of the evening my attention was called to listen to a narrative with which he was entertaining those around him, and he seemed as usual to have excited the eager interest of his hearers. The commencement of the story I had not heard, but soon perceived that a shipwreck was the theme, which he described with all the vivid touches of his fancy, marshalling the incidents and striking features of the situation with a degree of dexterity that seemed to bring all the horrors of a polar storm home to every one's mind, and although it occurred to me that our rencontre in the morning with the shipwrecked Whaler might have recalled a similar story to his recollection, it was not until he came to mention the tea-table of ice that I recognised the identity of my friend's tale, which had luxuriated to such an extent in the fertile soil of the poet's imagination, as to have left the original germ in comparative insignificance. He cast a glance towards me at the close, and observed, with a significant nod, 'You see, you did not hear one-half of that honest seaman's story this morning.' It was such slender hints, which in the common intercourse of life must have hourly dropped on the soil of his retentive memory, that fed the exuberance of Sir Walter's invention, and supplied the seemingly inexhaustible stream of fancy, from which he drew forth at pleasure the ground-work of romance."—Reminiscences.

[287] Painted for Lord Montagu in 1822.—See Life, vol. vii. p. 13.

Raeburn apparently executed two "half lengths" of Scott almost identical at this time, giving Lord Montagu his choice. The picture chosen remained at Ditton, near Windsor, until 1845, when at Lord Montagu's death it became the property of his son-in-law, the Earl of Home, and it is now (1889) at the Hirsel, Coldstream. The engraving referred to was made from the replica, which remained in the artist's possession, by Mr. Walker, and published in 1826. Sir Henry Raeburn died in July 1823, and I do not know what became of the original, which may be identified by an official chain round the neck, not introduced in the Montagu picture.

[288] Song of The Hunting of the Hare.—J.G.L.

[289] This entry reminds one of Hannah More's account of Mrs. Garrick's conduct after her husband's funeral. "She told me," says Mrs. More, "that she prayed with great composure, then went and kissed the dear bed, and got into it with a sad pleasure."—See Memoirs of Mrs. More, vol. i. p. 135.—J.G.L.

[290] Campbell's Turkish Lady, slightly altered. The poet was then editor of the New Monthly Magazine, but he soon gave it up.—J.G.L.

[291] Viz.: the first series of Chronicles of the Canongate, which was published in 1827. The title originally proposed was The Canongate Miscellany or Traditions of the Sanctuary.

Woodstock had just been launched under the following title:—Woodstock, or the Cavalier; a Tale of the Year Sixteen Hundred and Fifty-one, by the author of Waverley, Tales of the Crusaders, etc. "He was a very perfect gentle knight" (Chaucer). Edinburgh: Printed for Archibald Constable and Co., Edinburgh; and Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, and Green, London, 1826. (At the end) Edinburgh: Printed by James Ballantyne and Co. 3 vols. post 8vo.

[292] Thomas Hamilton, Esq. (brother of Sir William Hamilton, the Metaphysician), author of Cyril Thornton, Men and Manners in America, Annals of the Peninsular Campaign, etc. Died in 1842.

[293] Bryan Waller Procter, author of Dramatic Scenes, and other Poems, 1819. He died in London in 1874.

[294] A favourite expression of Scott's, from Robinson Crusoe.

[295] John Hay Forbes (Lord Medwyn from 1825 to 1852), second son of Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo. Lord Medwyn died at the age of seventy-eight in 1854.

[296] The Highland Widow.

[297] A favourite exclamation of Sir Walter's, which he had picked up on his Irish tour, signifying "don't mind it"—Na-bac-leis. Compare Sir Boyle Roche's dream that his head was cut off and placed upon a table: "'Quis separabit?' says the head; 'Naboclish,' says I, in the same language."

[298] That Mr. Kinloch was not singular in his opinion has been shown by the remarks made in the House of Commons (see ante, March 17). Lord Cockburn in his Trials for Sedition says, "With Botany Bay before him, and money to make himself comfortable in Paris, George Kinloch would have been an idiot if he had stayed." Mr. Kinloch had just returned to Scotland.

[299] His neighbour, John Archibald Murray, then living at 122 George Street.—See p. 133.

[300] See Molière's l'École des Femmes.

[301] In 1827 Scott was one day heard saying, as he saw Peter guiding the plough on the haugh:—"Egad, auld Pepe's whistling at his darg: if things get round with me, easy will be his cushion!" Old Peter lived until he was eighty-four. He died at Abbotsford in 1854, where he had been well cared for, respected, and beloved by all the members of the family since Sir Walter's death.

[302] Sheridan's Rivals, Act II. Sc. 1.

[303] The murder of Weare by Thurtell and Co., at Gill's-Hill in Hertfordshire (1824). Sir Walter collected printed trials with great assiduity, and took care always to have the contemporary ballads and prints bound up with them. He admired particularly this verse of Mr. Hook's broadside—

"They cut his throat from ear to ear,
His brains they battered in;
His name was Mr. William Weare,
He dwelt in Lyon's Inn."


[304] Dr. John Jamieson, formerly minister to a Secession congregation in Forfar, removed to a like charge in Edinburgh in 1795, where he officiated for forty-three years; he died in his house in 4 George Square in 1838, aged seventy-nine.

[305] This novel was passing through the press in 8vo, 12mo, and 18mo, to complete collective editions in these sizes.—J.G.I.

[306] Afterwards Sir David Brewster. He died at Allerley House on the Tweed, aged eighty-seven, on February 10, 1868.

[307] By Middleton, 1697.

[308] The Hector of Germanie, or the Palsgrave Prime Elector. An Honourable History by William Smith. 4to, 1615.

[309] Two London playhouses.—See Knight's Biography of Shakespeare.

[310] Molière's La Princesse d'Élide (Prologue).

[311] See Crabbe's Tale of The Struggles of Conscience.—J.G.L.

[312] Tales of a Grandfather, Miscell. Prose Works, vol. xxiii. p. 72.

[313] See Tales of the Genii. The Talisman of Oromanes.

[314] Eldest daughter of William Fraser of Balnain.—See Burgon's Life of P.F. Tytler, 8vo, Lond. 1859. Mrs. Tytler died in London, aged eighty-four, in 1837.

[315] Alexr. Fraser Tytler, 1747-1813. Besides his acknowledged works, Lord Woodhouselee published anonymously a translation of Schiller's Robbers as early as 1792.

[316] Henry Cranstoun, elder brother of Lord Corehouse and Countess Purgstall. He resided for some years near Abbotsford, at the Pavilion on the Tweed, where he died in 1843, aged eighty-six. An interesting account of Countess Purgstall is given by Basil Hall, who was with her in Styria at her death in 1835. This very early friend of Scott's was thought by Captain Hall to have been the prototype of Diana Vernon—"that safest of secret keepers."—See Schloss Hainfeld, 8vo, Lond. 1836.

[317] The property of Gattonside had been purchased in 1824 by George Bainbridge of Liverpool, a keen angler, author of The Fly Fisher's Guide, 8vo, Liverpool, 1816.

[318] Lady Anna Maria Elliot, see ante, p. 133.

[319] W. Scott of Maxpopple.

[320] In the fairy tale of Countess D'Aulnoy—Fortunio.

[321] See Johnson's Rambler, Nos. 204 and 205.

[322] Afterwards Sir Philip Crampton. "The Surgeon-General struck Sir Walter as being more like Sir Humphry Davy than any man he had met, not in person only, but in the liveliness and range of his talk."—Life, vol. viii. p. 23.

[323] Gaelic for "old women."

[324] William Douglas, fourth Duke of Queensberry, succeeded, on the death of his kinsman, Duke Charles, in 1778. He died in 1810 at the age of eighty-six, when his titles and estates were divided between the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Douglas, the Marquis of Queensberry, and the Earl of Wemyss.

See Wordsworth's indignant lines beginning:

"Degenerate Douglas, oh the unworthy Lord";

also George Selwyn and his Contemporaries, 4 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1843-4.

[325] Alexander, tenth Earl of Home, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, third Duke of Buccleuch.

[326] Charles, second son of Archibald Lord Douglas.

[327] James Thomas, Viscount Stopford, afterwards fourth Earl of Courtown, and his wife, Lady Charlotte, sister of the then Duke of Buccleuch, at that time still in his minority. Lady Charlotte died within eighteen months of this date.

"Thus Kitty, beautiful and young,
And wild as colt untamed."

Prior's Female Phaeton.

Catherine Hyde, daughter of Henry Earl of Clarendon, and wife of Charles Duke of Queensberry. She was the friend of Gay, and her beauty, wit, and oddities have been celebrated in prose and rhyme by the wits and poets of two generations. Fifty-six years after Prior had sung her "mad Grace's" praises, Walpole added those two lines to the Female Phaeton—

"To many a Kitty Love his car, will for a day engage,
But Prior's Kitty, ever fair, obtained it for an age."

She died at a great age in 1777. For her letter to George II. when forbid the Court, see Agar Ellis, Historical Inquiries, Lond. 1827, p. 40.

[329] Ballad on young Rob Roy's abduction of Jean Key, Cromek's Collections.—J.G.L.

[330] See Letter to C.K. Sharpe, from Drumlanrig, vol. ii. pp. 369-71.

[331] Sir Frederick Adam, son of the Chief Commissioner—a distinguished soldier, afterwards High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and subsequently Governor of Madras; he died in 1853.

[332] Mr. Richard Sharp published in 1834 a very elegant and interesting little volume of Letters and Essays, in Prose and Verse.—See Quarterly Review, 102.—J.G.L. He had been Member of Parliament from 1806 to 1820, and died on the 30th of March 1835 at the age of seventy-six.

[333] Sir Thomas Brisbane, who had formerly commanded a brigade in the Peninsula. In 1832 he succeeded Sir Walter Scott as President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. Sir Thomas had married in 1819 a daughter of Sir Henry Hay Makdougall of Makerstoun, Bart. Sir Thomas died at Brisbane House, Ayrshire, in January 1860, in the eighty-seventh year of his age.

[334] For an account of this family see The Swintons of that Ilk and their Cadets, 4to, 1883, a privately printed volume by A.C. Swinton of Kimmerghame. In a letter to his friend Swinton in 1814, Scott says that he had been reading the family pedigree "to my exceeding refreshment."

[335] One of the Abbotsford labourers.

[336] 2 Henry IV. Act IV. Sc. 2.

[337] Mr. E.W. Auriol Drummond Hay, heir-presumptive at one time of Lord Kinnoul, was then residing in Edinburgh, owing to his official duties in the Lyon Office; he took a great interest in archaeological matters, and was for two years Secretary to the Society of Antiquaries before his departure as Consul General to the Barbary States. He died at Tangier on the 1st March 1845.

[338] Milton's Comus, v. 208.—J.G.L.

[339] Lady Scott had not been quite four months dead, and the entry of the preceding day shows how extremely ill-timed was this communication from a gentleman with whom Sir Walter had never had any intimacy. This was not the only proposition of the kind that reached him during his widowhood.—J.G.L.

[340] A coil of rope.

[341] See Life, vol. x. 95, and The Haigs of Bemersyde, 8vo, Edin. 1881, edited by J. Russell.

[342] Mr. Thomas Shortreed, a young gentleman of elegant taste and attainments, devotedly attached to Sir Walter, and much beloved in return, had recently died.—J.G.L.

[343] See Act III. Sc. 1.

[344] The Rev. Dr. Thomas Somerville, minister of Jedburgh, author of the History of Great Britain during the reign of Queen Anne, and other works, died 14th May 1830, in the ninetieth year of his age, and sixty-fourth of his ministry.—J.G.L. Autobiographical Memorials of his Life and Times, 1741-1814, 8vo, Edinburgh, were published in 1861.

[345] Much Ado about Nothing, Act III. Sc. 5.

[346] Afterwards Judge in the Court of Session from 1843, author of Gleams of Thought reflected from Milton, etc. It was of this witty and humorous judge Mr. Lockhart wrote the sportive lines:—

"Here lies that peerless paper peer Lord Peter,
Who broke the laws of God and man and metre."

Lord Robertson died in 1855.

[347] Act III. Sc. 3.

[348] One of Scott's old High School mates.—Life, vol. i. p. 163.

[349] Burns's Epistle to J. Smith.

[350] Eldest daughter of the illustrious Admiral Lord Duncan, wife of Sir Hew Hamilton Dalrymple. She died in 1852.

[351] This implacable enemy of Napoleon,—a Corsican, died in his seventy-fourth year in 1842.

[352] E.H. Locker, Esq., then Secretary, afterwards one of the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital—an old and dear friend of Scott's.—See Oct. 25.

[353] As an illustration of Constable's accuracy in gauging the value of literary property, it may be stated that in his formal declaration, after sequestration, he said:—"I was so sanguine as to the success of the Memoirs of Napoleon that I did not hesitate to express it as my opinion that I had much confidence in it producing him at least £10,000, and this I observed, as my expectation, to Sir W. Scott." This opinion was expressed not only before the sale of the work, but before it was all written.—A. Constable and his Correspondents, vol. iii. p. 313.

[354] Another of the Abbotsford labourers.

[355] See Ballad of Edom of Gordon.

[356] "On the 12th of October, Sir Walter left Abbotsford for London, where he had been promised access to the papers in the Government offices; and thence he proceeded to Paris, in the hope of gathering from various eminent persons authentic anecdotes concerning Napoleon. His Diary shows that he was successful in obtaining many valuable materials for the completion of his historical work; and reflects, with sufficient distinctness, the very brilliant reception he on this occasion experienced both in London and Paris. The range of his society is strikingly (and unconsciously) exemplified in the record of one day, when we find him breakfasting at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Park, and supping on oysters and porter in "honest Dan Terry's house, like a squirrel's cage," above the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand. There can be no doubt that this expedition was in many ways serviceable in his Life of Napoleon; and I think as little that it was chiefly so by renewing his spirits. The deep and respectful sympathy with which his misfortunes, and gallant behaviour under them, had been regarded by all classes of men at home and abroad, was brought home to his perception in a way not to be mistaken. He was cheered and gratified, and returned to Scotland with renewed hope and courage for the prosecution of his marvellous course of industry."—Life, vol. ix. pp. 2, 3.

[357] John B. Saurey Morritt of Rokeby, a friend of twenty years' standing, and "one of the most accomplished men that ever shared Scott's confidence."

He had published, before making Scott's acquaintance, a Vindication of Homer, in 1798, a treatise on The Topography of Troy, 1800, and translations and imitations of the minor Greek Poets in 1802.

Mr. Morritt survived his friend till February 12th, 1843, when he died at Rokeby Park, Yorkshire, in his seventy-second year.—See Life throughout.

[358] MS. note on margin of Journal by Mr. Morritt: "No—it was left by Reynolds to Mason, by Mason to Burgh, and given to me by Mr. Burgh's widow."

[359] Chiverton was the first publication (anonymous) of Mr. W. Harrison Ainsworth, the author of Rookwood and other popular romances.—J.G.L.

[360] It is interesting to know that Scott would not read this book until Woodstock was fairly off his hands.

See ante, p. 167, and the introduction to the original edition written in March 1826, in which the author says:—"Some accidental collision there must be, when works of a similar character are finished on the same general system of historical manners, and the same historical personages are introduced. Of course, if such have occurred, I shall be probably the sufferer. But my intentions have been at least innocent, since I look on it as one of the advantages attending the conclusion of Woodstock, that the finishing of my own task will permit me to have the pleasure of reading BRAMBLETYE-HOUSE, from which I have hitherto conscientiously abstained."—Novels, vol. xxxix. pp. lxxv-vi.

[361] Ben Jonson, Every Man in his Humour.

[362] Twelfth Night, Act II. Sc. 3.

[363] Rehearsal, Act III. Sc. 1.

[364] Merry Wives, Act I. Sc. 3.

[365] Hamlet, Act II. Sc. 2.

[366] Sir Walter had made his acquaintance in August 1822, and ever afterwards they corresponded with each other—sometimes very confidentially.—J.G.L.

[367] The Dumergues, at 15 Piccadilly West—early friends of Lady Scott's.—See Life., vol. ii. p. 120.

[368] It is amusing to compare this criticism with Sir Walter's own anxiety to identify his daughter-in-law's place, Lochore, with the Urbs Orrea of the Roman writers. See Life, vol. vii. p. 352.—J.G.L.

[369] This brilliant conversationalist was the author of several airy and graceful productions in verse, which were published anonymously, such as Lines written at Ampthill Park, in 1818; Advice to Julia, a letter in Rhyme, in which he sketched high life in London, in 1820. He also published Crockford House: a rhapsody, in 1827. Moore in his Diary has embalmed numerous examples of his satiric wit. Henry Luttrell died in 1851.

[370] The Orlando Furioso, by Mr. Stewart Rose, was published in 8 vols. 8vo, London 1823-1831.

[371] King Lear, Act IV. Sc. 6.—J.G.L.

[372] Afterwards the Right Hon. Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, Governor of Ceylon.

[373] Moore, on hearing of Scott's arrival, hastened to London from Sloperton, and had several pleasant meetings, particulars of which are given in his Diary (vol. v. pp. 121 to 126). He would, as Scott says on the 23d, have gone to Paris with them—"seemed disposed to go"; but between that date and 25th fancied that he saw something in Scott's manner that made him hesitate, and then finally give up the idea. He adds that Scott's friends had thrown out hints as to the impropriety of such a political reprobate forming one of the party. This suspicion on Moore's part shows how he had misunderstood Scott's real character. If Scott thought it right to ask the Bard of Ireland to be his companion, no hints from Mr. Wilmot Horton, or any members of the Court party, would have influenced him, even though they had urged that "this political reprobate" was author of The Fudge Family in Paris and the Twopenny Post-Bag.

[374] Sir George died in 1853. His journal does not appear to have been published.

[375] Dr. Hughes, who died Jan. 6, 1833, aged seventy-seven, was one of the Canons-residentiary of St. Paul's, London. He and Mrs. Hughes were old friends of Sir Walter, who had been godfather to one of their grandchildren.—See Life, vol. vii. pp. 259-260. Their son was John Hughes, Esq., of Oriel College, whose "Itinerary of the Rhone" is mentioned with praise in the introduction to Quentin Durward.—See letter to Charles Scott, in Life, vol. vii. p. 275.

[376] Mr. Pringle was a Roxburghshire farmer's son who in youth attracted Sir Walter's notice by his poem called The Autumnal Excursion; or, Sketches in Teviotdale. He was for a short time Editor of Blackwood's Magazine, but the publisher and he had different politics, quarrelled, and parted. Sir Walter then gave Pringle strong recommendations to the late Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape of Good Hope in which colony he settled, and for some years throve under the Governor's protection; but the newspaper alluded to in the text ruined his prospects at the Cape; he returned to England, became Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society, published a charming little volume entitled African Sketches, and died in December 1834. He was a man of amiable feelings and elegant genius.

[377] An esteemed friend of Sir Walter's, who attended on him during his illness in October 1831, and in June 1832.

[378] Afterwards Sir Francis Palgrave, Deputy-Keeper of the public records, and author of the History of Normandy and England, 4 vols. 8vo, 1851-1864, and other works.

[379] William Wilson of Wandsworth Common, formerly of Wilsontown, in Lanarkshire.—J.G.L.

[380] E.H. Locker, then Secretary of Greenwich Hospital.—See ante, Oct. 7.

[381] King John, Act I. Sc. 1.

[382] There were two well-known Frenchmen of this name at the time of Scott's visit to Paris: (1) Jean-Antoine-Gauvain Gallois, who was born about 1755 and died in 1828; (2) Charles-André-Gustave-Léonard Gallois, born 1789, died 1851. It was the latter of these who translated from the Italian of Colletta Cinq jours de l'histoire de Naples, 8vo, Paris, 1820. But at this date he was only thirty-seven, and it can scarcely be of him that Scott writes (p. 288) as an "elderly" man. The probability is that it was the elder Gallois whom Scott saw, and that he ascribed to him, though the title is misquoted, a work written by the younger.

[383] "When he was in Paris," Hazlitt writes, "and went to Galignani's, he sat down in an outer room to look at some book he wanted to see; none of the clerks had the least suspicion who he was. When it was found out, the place was in a commotion."—From Mr. Alexander Ireland's excellent Selections from Hazlitt's writings, 8vo, Lond. 1889, p. 482.

[384] Ivanhoe might have borne a motto somewhat analogous to the inscription which Frederick the Great's predecessor used to affix to his attempts at portrait-painting when he had the gout: "Fredericus I. in tormentis pinxit."—Recollections of Sir Walter Scott, p. 240. Lond. 1837.

[385] For an account of M. Chevalier, and an interview in 1815 with David "of the blood-stained brush," see Life, vol. v. p. 87.

[386] Madame de Souza-Botelho, author of Adèle de Senanges, and other works, which formed the subject of an article in the Edinburgh, No. 68, written by Moore. At the time Scott met her she had just lost her second husband, who is remembered by his magnificent editions of Camoens' Lusiad, on which it is said he spent about £4000. Mme. de Souza died in 1836.

[387] Hamlet, Act II. Sc. 2.

[388] The following mixed metaphor is said to have been taken from one of his speeches:—"Ministers were not to look on like Crocodiles, with their hands in their breeches' pockets, doing nothing."

[389] The story regarding Castlereagh's Radiant Boy, is that one night, when he was in barracks and alone, he saw a figure glide from the fireplace, the face becoming brighter as it approached him. On Lord Castlereagh stepping forward to meet it, the figure retired again, and as he advanced it gradually faded from his view. Sir Walter does not tell us of his friend Stanhope's ghostly experience.

[390] Dryden's Absalom and Achitophel—Character of Shaftesbury.—J.G.L.

[391] The name has since been bestowed on the high ground on the bank of the Seine, on which was built the Palace in connection with the International Exhibition of 1878.

[392] It should be noted that Scott wrote "manner" not "manners," as in all previous editions the word is printed. Of Cooper, his latest American biographer, Mr. Lounsbury, says there was in his manner at times "a self-assertion that often bordered, or seemed to border, on arrogance" (p. 79).

Of this interview, Cooper is said to have recorded in after years that Scott was so obliging as to make him a number of flattering speeches, which, however, he did not repay in kind, giving, as a reason for has silence, the words of Dr. Johnson regarding his meeting with George III.: "It was not for me to bandy compliments with my sovereign." These two "lions" met on four occasions, viz., on the 3d, 4th, and 6th November, Scott leaving Paris next day.

It cannot be too widely known that if Scott never derived any profits from the enormous sale of his works in America, it was not the fault of his brother author, who urged him repeatedly to try the plan here proposed. Whether the attempt was made is unknown, but it is amusing to see one cause of Scott's hesitation was the fear that the American public would not get his works at the low prices to which they had been accustomed.

[393] General Monthion.

[394] Fitz-James was great-grandson of James II., and Duras was related to Feversham, James's general at Sedgemoor. Both died in the same year, 1835.

[395] Madame Mirbel, who painted Scott at this time, continued to be a favourite artist with the French (Bonapartist, Bourbon, and Orleanist) for the next twenty years. Among her latest sitters (1841) was Scott's angry correspondent of four months later—General Gourgaud. Madame Mirbel died in 1849. The portrait alluded to was probably a miniature which has been engraved at least once—by J.T.Wedgwood.

[396] Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act II. Sc. 3.—J.G.L.

[397] The Marshal had visited Scotland in 1825—and Scott saw a good deal of him under the roof of his kinsman, Mr. Macdonald Buchanan.—J.G.L.

[398] Lauriston, the ancient seat of the Laws, so famous in French history, is very near Edinburgh, and the estate was in their possession at the time of the Revolution. Two or three cadets of the family were of the first emigration, and one of them (M. Louis Law) was a frequent guest of the Poet's father, and afterwards corresponded during many years with himself. I am not sure whether it was M. Louis Law whose French designation so much amused the people of Edinburgh. One brother of the Marquis de Lauriston, however, was styled Le Chevalier de Mutton-hole, this being the name of a village on the Scotch property.—J.G.L.

[399] The Madame de Boufflers best known to the world [Hippolyte de Saujon Comtesse de Boufflers], the correspondent not only of Walpole, but of David Hume, must have been nearer a hundred than eighty years of age at this date, if we are to believe the Biographie Universelle, which gives 1724 as the date of her birth. It does not record her death. It is known that she took refuge in England during the Revolution; but Count Paul de Rémusat, who has been consulted on the subject, has kindly pointed out that the lady of whom Scott speaks must have been the widow of the Chevalier de Boufflers-Remencourt, known by his poems and stories. Her maiden name was de Jean de Manville, and her first husband was a Comte de Sabran. She died in 1827.—See Correspondance inédite de la Comtesse de Sabran, Paris, 8vo, 1875.

[400] Readers who may wish to compare with the visit of 1826 Scott's impressions of Paris in 1815 will find a brilliant record of the latter in Paul's Letters, xii.-xvi.

[401] A Sunday newspaper started in 1820, to advocate the cause of George IV., and to vilify the Queen and her friends, male and female. The first number was published on December 17th, and "told at once from the convulsed centre to the extremity of the Kingdom. There was talent of every sort in the paper that could have been desired or devised for such a purpose. It seemed as if a legion of sarcastic devils had brooded in Synod over the elements of withering derision." Hook, however, was the master spirit, the majority of the lampoons in prose, and all the original poetry in the early volumes from the "Hunting the Hare," were from his own pen, except, perhaps, "Michael's Dinner," which has been laid at Canning's door.

Oddly enough Scott appears to have been the indirect means of placing Hook in the editorial chair. When he was in London, in April 1820, a nobleman called upon him, and asked if he could find him in Edinburgh some clever fellow to undertake the editorship of a paper about to be established. Sir Walter suggested that his Lordship need not go so far a-field, described Hook's situation, and the impression he had received of him from his table talk, and his Magazine, the Arcadian. This was all that occurred, but when, towards the end of the year, John Bull electrified London, Sir Walter confessed that he could not help fancying that his mentioning this man's name had had its consequences.

Hook, in spite of his £2000 per annum for several years from John Bull, and large prices received for his novels, died in poverty in 1841, a prematurely aged man. His sad story may be read in a most powerful sketch in the Quarterly Review, attributed to Mr. Lockhart.

[402] See Beckford's Vathek, Hall of Eblis.

[403] Lady Stafford says: "We were so lucky as to have Sir W. Scott here for a day, and were glad to see him look well, and though perfectly unaltered by his successes, yet enjoying the satisfaction they must have given him."—Sharpe's Letters, vol. ii. p. 379.

[404] The Right Hon. Thomas Grenville died in 1846 at the age of ninety-one. He left his noble collection of books to the nation.

[405] The Right Hon. Charles Manners Sutton, afterwards Viscount Canterbury. He died in 1845.

[406] Mrs. Arbuthnot was Harriet, third daughter of the Hon. H. Fane, and wife of Charles Arbuthnot, a great friend of the Duke of Wellington. She died in 1838, Mr. Arbuthnot in 1850.

[407] Sir Walter had recommended George Cranstoun, his early friend, one of the brethren of the mountain, who succeeded Lord Hermand, and took his seat on the Scotch bench before the end of the month. The appointment satisfied both political parties, though Cockburn said that "his removal was a great loss to the bar which he had long adorned, and where he had the entire confidence of the public." An admirable sketch of Cranstoun is given in No. 32 of Peter's Letters. He retired in 1839, and died at Corehouse, his picturesque seat on the Clyde, in 1850.

[408] This striking paper was afterwards printed in full under the title, "Memorandum on the War in Russia in 1812," in the Despatches edited by his Son (Dec. 1823 to May 1827), Murray, 1868, vol. i. 8vo, pp. 1-53. Sir Walter Scott's letter to the Duke on the subject is given at p. 590 of the same volume, and see this Journal under Feb. 15, 1827.

[409] In returning from this dinner Sir Walter said, "I have seen some of these great men at the same table for the last time."—J.G.L.

[410] Mr. William Wright, Barrister, Lincoln's Inn.—See Life, vol. viii. p. 84.

[411] Milton's L'Allegro.—J.G.L.

[412] A murder committed in 1817. The accused claimed the privilege of Wager of Battle, which was allowed by the Court for the last time, as the law was abolished in 1819.—See Notes and Queries, 2d series, vol. xi. pp. 88, 259, 317, and p. 431 for a curious account of the bibliography of this very singular case.

[413] Othello,—J.G.L.

[414] Sir Walter no doubt means that he regretted not having seen the Duke at an earlier period of his historical labours.—J.G.L.

[415] See Weber's Tales of the East, 3 vols. 8vo, Edin. 1812. History of Avicene, vol. ii. pp. 452-457.

[416] Dr. Richard Jenkyns, Master of Balliol College.—J.G.L.

[417] Charles Douglas succeeded his brother, Baron Douglas of Douglas, in 1844.

"But of all friends in field or town,
Ever gramercy," etc.
Dame Juliana Berners.

[419] A furnished house in Walker Street which he had taken for the winter (No. 3).

[420] During the winter of 1826-7 Sir Walter suffered great pain (enough to have disturbed effectually any other man's labours, whether official or literary) from successive attacks of rheumatism, which seems to have been fixed on him by the wet sheets of one of his French inns; and his Diary contains, besides, various indications that his constitution was already shaking under the fatigue to which he had subjected it. Formerly, however great the quantity of work he put through his hands, his evenings were almost all reserved for the light reading of an elbow-chair, or the enjoyment of his family and friends. Now he seemed to grudge every minute that was not spent at his desk. The little that he read of new books, or for mere amusement, was done by snatches in the course of his meals; and to walk, when he could walk at all, to the Parliament House, and back again through the Princes Street Gardens, was his only exercise and his only relaxation. Every ailment, of whatever sort, ended in aggravating his lameness; and, perhaps, the severest test his philosophy encountered was the feeling of bodily helplessness that from week to week crept upon him. The winter, to make bad worse, was a very cold and stormy one. The growing sluggishness of his blood showed itself in chilblains, not only on the feet but the fingers, and his handwriting becomes more and more cramped and confused.—Life, vol. ix. pp. 58-9.

[421] See Bickerstaff's Comic Opera, The Padlock.

[422] This gentleman published his own Memoirs (2 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1832). They read like chapters from the Arabian Nights. He gives a somewhat different account of his occupation of Zante, which he says was effected at Nelson's suggestion, and by Lord Keith's authority. Sir James died in 1832 at a very great age.

[423] Henry V. Act v. Sc. 1.

[424] For By and attour, i.e. over and above.

[425] Burns's lines to J. Smith.

[426] Delta's lines on Leslie's portrait of Scott may be recorded here:—

Brother of Homer and of him
On Avon's shore, mid twilight dim,
Who dreamed immortal dreams, and took
From Nature's hand her picture book;
Time hath not seen, Time may not see,
Till ends his reign, a third like thee.

[427] Now at Bowhill.

[428] James Wolfe Murray succeeded Lord Meadowbank on the Bench as Lord Cringletie, in November 1816, and died in 1836.

[429] A Party Newspaper started by the Tories in Edinburgh at the beginning of 1821. It was suppressed in the month of August, but during the interval contrived to give great offence to the Whig leaders by its personality. Lockhart says of it that "a more pitiable mass of blunders and imbecility was never heaped together than the whole of this affair exhibited;" and Scott, who was one of its founders, along with the Lord Advocate and other official persons, wrote to Erskine, "I am terribly malcontent about the Beacon. I was dragged into the bond against all reasons I could make, and now they have allowed me no vote regarding standing or flying. Entre nous, our friends went into the thing like fools, and came out very like cowards." The wretched libels it contained cost Sir A. Boswell his life, and for a moment endangered that of Scott.—See Life, vol. vi. pp. 426-429, and Cockburn's Memorials, p. 312.

[430] 2 Henry IV. Act III. Sc. 2.

[431] Douglas Cheape, whose Introductory Lecture was published in 1827. Mr. Cheape died in 1861.

[432] James Moncreiff, son of the Rev. Sir Henry Wellwood. The new Dean succeeded Lord Alloway on the Scotch Bench in 1829, and died in 1851. Cockburn writes of him thus:—"During the twenty-one years he was on the civil and criminal benches, he performed all his duties admirably. Law-learning and law-reasoning, industry, honesty, and high-minded purity could do no more for any judge. After forty years of unbroken friendship, it is a pleasure to record my love of the man, and my admiration of his character."—Journals, vol. ii, p. 264.

[433] Troilus and Cressida, Act v. Sc. 2.

[434] Dr. Stokoe, who had settled at Durham, died suddenly at York in 1852. He had been surgeon in the fleet at Trafalgar, and was afterwards appointed to St. Helena.

[435] The University Commission.—See ante, pp. 256, 257.

[436] The long life of Walter, fifth Duke of Buccleuch, more than fulfilled the hopes and prognostics of his friend. A "true Scots lord," he carried with him to the grave in 1884 the love and respect of his countrymen.

[437] Hamlet, Act III. Sc. 2.—J.G.L.

[438] "A half-crazy sentimental person."—Edin. Rev. No. xxiii. p. 135.—J.G.L.

[439] Mme. de Boufflers's saying to the author of Julie.

[440] Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. Sc. 1.—J.G.L.

[441] Mr. Sharpe was doing what he could by voice and pen to prevent the destruction of many historic buildings in Edinburgh, which the craze for "improvements" caused at this time. St. Giles' Church was unfortunately left to its fate. Witness its external condition at the present day!

The immediate cause of Mr. Sharpe's letter was a hint to him from the Court, "that one person is all-powerful in everything regarding Scotland, I mean Sir W.S." This was not the only appeal made to Scott to interpose, and that he had done so at least in one case effectually may be seen by referring to Sharpe's Letters, vol. ii. pp. 380, 388, 389.

[442] Scott sent a biographical notice of the Duke of York to the Weekly Journal on this day. It is now included in the Misc. Prose Works, vol. iv. pp. 400-416.

[443] Gifford's Mæviad, 12mo, Lond. 1797; Ode to Rev. John Ireland, slightly altered.

[444] William Gifford, editor of the Anti-Jacobin in 1797, and the Quarterly from 1809 to 1824. His political opponent, Leigh Hunt, wrote of him in 1812:—

'William Gifford's a name, I think, pretty well known.
Oh! now I remember,' said Phoebus;—'ah true—
My thanks to that name are undoubtedly due.
The rod that got rid of the Cruscas and Lauras,
That plague of the butterflies saved me the horrors,
The Juvenal too stops a gap in my shelf,
At least in what Dryden has not done himself,
And there's something which even, distaste must respect
In the self-taught example that conquered neglect.'—Feast of the Poets.

[445] See Miscell. Prose Works, vol. iv. pp. 120-70.

[446] James Ferrier, Esq.—See p. 103, February 3. 1826.

[447] See Midsummer Night's Dream; a parody on Helena's

"O weary night
O long and tedious night."

[448] John James Audubon was born in Louisiana in the United States in 1780, but educated in France.—Buchanan's Life of Audubon, p. 4.

[449] Written by Mrs. J. Johnstone, in after years editor of Tait's Magazine, well known also as the author of Meg Dods' Cookery Book, which Sir Walter refers to in St. Ronan's Well. Her sense of humour and power of delineating character are shown in her stories and sketches in Tait, and a good example of her ready wit has been told by Mr. Alexander Russel, editor of the Scotsman. On a visit to Altrive Mrs. Johnstone and her party were kindly received by the Ettrick Shepherd, who did the honours of the district, and among other places took them to a Fairy Well, from which he drew a glass of sparkling water. Handing it to the lady the bard of Kilmeny said, "Hae, Mrs. Johnstone, ony merrit wumman wha drinks a tumbler of this will hae twuns in a twalmont'!" "In that case, Mr. Hogg," replied the lady, "I shall only take half a tumbler."

Mrs. Johnstone died in Edinburgh in 1857.

[450] Slightly varied from the lines in Ruth,—Poems, vol. ii. p. 112, Edinburgh, 1836.

[451] John Russell (a grandson of Principal Robertson), long Chief Clerk in the Jury Court, and Treasurer to the Royal Society and the Edinburgh Academy. He took a keen interest in education, and published in October 1855 some curious Statistics of a Class [Christison's] in the High School [of Edinburgh] from 1787 to 1791, of which he had been a member. Mr. Russell died on January 30, 1862.

[452] Leonard Horner, editor in after years of the Memoirs of his brother Francis (2 vols. 8vo, London, 1843). He died in 1864.

[453] See Report by the Directors to the Proprietors of the Edinburgh Academy on the Pronunciation of Latin, Edin. 1827. Sir Walter always took a warm interest in the school. His speech as Chairman at the opening ceremony, on the 1st October 1824, is quoted in the Life, vol. vii. p. 268.

[454] Burnt at Edinburgh in 1670.—See Arnot's Crim. Trials. 4to, Edin. 1785.

[455] Afterwards Sir John Rennie, knighted on the completion of the Bridge.

[456] See ante, p. 307, and post, p. 359.

[457] Dr. Marshman died in 1837. See Marshman's Lives of Carey, Marshman, and Ward. London, 2 vols. 8vo, 1859.

[458] John Menzies of Pitfoddels, the last of an old Aberdeenshire family, of whom it was said that for thirty-seven years he never became aware of distress or difficulty without exerting himself to relieve it. In 1828 he gave the estate of Blairs, near Aberdeen, for the foundation of the Roman Catholic College established there, and was also a munificent benefactor to the Convent of St. Margaret, Edinburgh, opened in 1835. Mr. Menzies died in 1843.

[459] Foote's Comedy, Act I. Sc. 1.

[460] Scott, who had accompanied this lady to the Highlands in the summer of 1808, wrote from Edinburgh on 19th January:—"We have here a very diverting lion and sundry wild beasts; but the most meritorious is Miss Lydia White, who is what Oxonians call a lioness of the first order, with stockings nineteen times dyed blue; very lively, very good-humoured, and extremely absurd. It is very diverting to see the sober Scotch ladies staring at this phenomenon."—Life, vol. iii. pp. 38, 95, 96.

[461] Burns's "Twa Dogs."—J.G.L.

[462] Mount Benger.

[463] John Archibald Murray, whose capital bachelors' dinner on Dec. 8 Scott so pleasantly describes (on page 320), had married in the interval Miss Rigby, a Lancashire lady, who was long known in Edinburgh for her hospitality and fine social qualities as Lady Murray. (See page 378, April 2, 1827.) Miss Martineau celebrated her parliamentary Tea-Table in London, when her husband was Lord Advocate, and Lord Cockburn, the delights of Strachur on Loch Fyne.

[464] Mr. (afterwards Sir Francis) Grant became a member of the Scottish Academy in 1830, an associate of Royal Academy in 1842, and Academician in 1851. His successful career as a painter secured his elevation to the Presidentship of the Academy in 1866. Sir Francis died at Melton-Mowbray in October 1878, aged 75.

[465] Patrick Fraser Tytler, the Scottish historian. He died on Christmas-day 1849, aged fifty-eight.—See Burgon's Memoirs, 8vo, Lond. 1859.

[466] Audubon says in his Journal of the same date:—"Captain Hall led me to a seat immediately opposite to Sir Walter Scott, the President, where I had a perfect view of the great man, and studied Nature from Nature's noblest work."

The publication of Audubon's great work, The Birds of America, commenced in 1827, and was completed in 1839, forming 4 vols. in the largest folio size, and containing 435 plates. It shows the indomitable courage of the author, that even when the work was completed, he had only 161 subscribers, 82 of whom were in America. The price of the book was two guineas for each part with 5 coloured plates. During the last dozen years its price at auctions runs about £250 to £300. Audubon died in New York in 1851.—See Life, by Buchanan, 8vo, London, 1866.

[467] Biographical Notices had been sent to the Weekly Journal in 1826, and are now included in the Miscell. Prose Works, vol. iv. pp. 322-342.

[468] Afterwards included in The Pilgrimage and other Poems, Lond. 1856.

[469] See Craig Brown's Selkirkshire, vol. i. pp. 285-86.

[470] Milton's Lycidas, varied.

"Death's gi'en the Lodge an unco devel,
Tam Samson's dead."


[472] For letter and reply see Life, vol. ix. pp. 92, 98.

[473] Sir Walter at this date returned the valuable MSS. lent him by the Duke of Wellington in Nov. 1826 (see ante, p. 306) with the following letter:—

"EDINBURGH, 15th February 1827.

"My dear Lord Duke,—The two manuscripts safely packed leave this by post to-day, as I am informed your Grace's franks carry any weight. * * * "I have been reading with equal instruction and pleasure the memoir on the Russian campaign, which demonstrates as plainly as possible that the French writers have taken advantage of the snow to cover under it all their General's blunders, and impute to it all their losses. This I observe is Bonaparte's general practice, and that of his admirers. Whenever they can charge anything upon the elements or upon accident, he and they combine in denying all bravery and all wisdom to their enemies. The conduct of Kutusow on more than one occasion in the retreat seems to have been singularly cautious, or rather timorous. For it is impossible to give credit to the immense superiority claimed by Ségur, Beauchamp, etc., for the French troops over the Russians. Surely they were the same Russians who had fought so bravely against superior force, and how should the twentieth part of the French army have been able to clear their way without cavalry or artillery in a great measure? and it seems natural to suppose that we must impute to tardy and inactive conduct on the part of their General what we cannot account for on the idea of the extremely superior valour or discipline claimed for the French soldiers by their country. The snow seems to have become serious on the 6th November, when Napoleon was within two marches of Smolensk, which he soon after reached, and by that time it appears to me that his army was already mouldered away from 100,000 men who left Moscow, to about 35,000 only, so that his great loss was incurred before the snow began.

"I am afraid your Grace has done me an unparalleled injury in one respect, that the clearness, justice, and precision of your Grace's reasoning puts me out of all patience with my own attempts. I dare hardly hope in this increase of business for a note or two on Waterloo; but if your Grace had any, however hasty, which could be copied by a secretary, the debt would be never to be forgotten.

"I am going to mention a circumstance, which I do with great apprehension, lest I should be thought to intrude upon your Grace's goodness. It respects a youth, the son of one of my most intimate friends, a gentleman of good family and fortune, who is extremely desirous of being admitted a cadet of artillery. His father is the best draughtsman in Scotland, and the lad himself shows a great deal of talent both in science and the ordinary branches of learning. I enclose a note of the youth's age, studies, and progress, in case your Grace might think it possible to place on your list for the Engineer service the name of a poor Scots Hidalgo; your Grace knows Scotland is a breeding not a feeding country, and we must send our sons abroad, as we send our black cattle to England; and, as old Lady Campbell of Ardkinglas proposed to dispose of her nine sons, we have a strong tendency to put our young folks 'a' to the sword.'

"I have too long detained you, my Lord Duke, from the many high occupations which have been redoubled upon your Grace's head, and beg your Grace to believe me, with an unusually deep sense of respect and obligation, my dear Lord Duke, your Grace's much honoured and grateful, humble servant, WALTER SCOTT."—Wellington's Despatches, etc. (Continuation), vol. iii. pp. 590-1. London, 8vo, 1868.

[474] Smollett's Peregrine Pickle, VOL. i. cap. 13.

[475] One page of his MS. answers to four or five of the close printed pages of the original edition of his Bonaparte.—J.G.L.

[476] Lord Cockburn says:—"Scott's description of the woman is very correct; she was like a vindictive masculine witch. I remember him sitting within the bar looking at her. As we were moving out, Sir Walter's remark upon the acquittal was, 'Well, sirs, all I can say is that if that woman was my wife I should take good care to be my own cook.'"—Circuit Journeys, 8vo, Edinburgh, 1888, p. 12.

[477] This can scarcely be taken to refer to Brougham, though at the time

"Canning calls Brougham his Learned Friend.
'My honours come and share 'em.
Reformers their assistance give
To countenance old Sarum."
Annus Mirabilis.

It may, however, stand for Lord Bathurst, who became President of the Council shortly afterwards in Wellington's Administration.

[478] Mr. W.H. Murray, Manager of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh. This excellent actor retired from the stage with a competency, and spent the last years of his life in St. Andrews, where he died in March 1852, aged 61.

[479] This was the dinner at which the veil was publicly withdrawn from the authorship of Waverley; it took place on Friday, 23d February 1827, and a full account of the proceedings is given in the Life, vol. ix. pp. 79-84.

[480] Sir Walter parodies the conclusion of King Robert the Bruce's "Maxims or Political Testament."—See Hailes' Annals, A.D. 1311.—J.G.L.

[481] See Townley's Farce.

[482] Hamesucken.—The crime of beating or assaulting a person in his own house. A Scotch law term.

[483] King had retired from the stage in 1801. He died four years later.

[484] Cramond Brig is said to have been written by Mr. W.H. Murray, the manager of the Theatre, and is still occasionally acted in Edinburgh.

[485] Marginal Note in Original MSS. "I never saw it—not mine.—J.G.L."

[486] By Dodsley.

[487] That singular personage, the late M'Nab of that ilk, spent his life almost entirely in a district where a boat was the usual conveyance.—J.G.L.

[488] Ancient Scottish Ballads, recovered from tradition, with notes, etc., by George R. Kinloch, 8vo, London, 1827.

[489] Issued by the Club, June 4, 1827.

[490] Zanga in The Revenge, Act I. Sc. 1.—J.G.L.

[491] Nimrod, a staghound.—J.G.L.

[492] Anecdotes of Cranbourne Chase, etc., by Chafin. 8vo, London, 1818. Mr. Lockhart says, "I am sorry Sir Walter never redeemed his promise to make it the subject of an article in the Quarterly Review."—See Life, vol. vii. pp. 43-44.

[493] The article appeared in the Number for June 1827, and is now included in the Prose Misc. Works, vol. xix. pp. 283-367.

[494] See Captain John Pringle's remarks on the campaign of 1815 in App. to Scott's Napoleon, vol. ix. pp. 115-160.

[495] Lear, Act III. Sc. 4.

[496] "Pearling Jean," the name of the ghost of the Spanish Nun at Allanbank, Berwickshire. See Sharpe's Letters, vol. i. pp. 303-5, and Ingram's Haunted Homes, Lond. 1884, vol. i. pp. 1-4.

[497] This quaint saying, arising out of some forgotten joke, has been thought to be Scott's own, as it was a favourite with him and his intimates, and he introduces it in more than one of his works.[A] But though its origin cannot be traced, Swift uses it in that very curious collection of proverbs and saws, which he strung together under the title of Polite Conversation, and published about 1738.[B] Fielding also introduces it in Amelia,[C] 1752. See Notes and Queries, first series, vol. i. p. 385; ii. p. 45; iv. p. 450; x. p. 173; sixth series, vol. iii. p. 213; iv. p. 157.

[A] e.g. Redgauntlet, ch. xii. Pate-in-Peril at Dumfries.

[B] Lord Smart—"Well, Tom, can you tell me what's Latin for a candle?"

Neverout—"O, my Lord, I know that [answer]: Brandy is Latin for a goose! and Tace is Latin for a candle."—SCOTT'S Swift, vol. ix. p. 457.

[C] "Tace, Madam," added Murphy, "is Latin for a candle."—Amelia, Bk. 1. cap. xi.

[498] Sheridan's Play, Act II. Sc. 1.

[499] William Simson, R.S.A., landscape painter. He died in London, 1847.

[500] See Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, Part ii., Hope.

[501] The coach to Edinburgh.

[502] See "The Braes of Ballochmyle;" Currie's Burns, vol. iv. p. 294.

[503] The conduct of the Quarterly at this time was in after years thus commented upon by John Wilson.

"North.—While we were defending the principles of the British constitution, bearding its enemies, and administering to them the knout, the Quarterly Review was meek and mum as a mouse.

"Tickler.—Afraid to lose the countenance and occasional assistance of Mr. Canning.

"North.—There indeed, James, was a beautiful exhibition of party politics, a dignified exhibition of personal independence."—Noctes Ambrosianae.

It is understood that Canning, who had received the King's commands in April 10, felt keenly the loneliness of his position—estranged from his old comrades, and deterred by the remembrance of many bitter satires against them from having close intimacy with his new co-adjutors.

[504] See Spectator.

[505] "... Your letter has given me the vertigo—my head turns round like a chariot wheel, and I am on the point of asking—

'Why, how now? Am I Giles, or am I not?'

"The Duke of Wellington out?—bad news at home, and worse abroad. Lord Anglesea in his situation?—does not much mend the matter. Duke of Clarence in the Navy?—wild work. Lord Melville, I suppose, falls of course—perhaps cum totâ sequelâ, about which sequela, unless Sir W. Rae and the Solicitor, I care little. The whole is glamour to one who reads no papers, and has none to read. I must get one, though, if this work is to go on, for it is quite bursting in ignorance. Canning is haughty and prejudiced—but, I think, honourable as well as able: nous verrons. I fear Croker will shake, and heartily sorry I should feel for that...."—Scott to Lockhart: Life, vol. ix. p. 99.

[506] R. Plumer Ward.—See July 4.

[507] A fuller statement of Scott's views at this crisis will be found in his letters to Lockhart and Morritt in Life, vol. ix. (April, May, and June, 1827).

[508] Count Itterburg, then in his 20th year, was the name under which Gustavus, the ex-Crown Prince of Sweden, visited Scotland in 1819. It was his intention to study at the University of Edinburgh during the winter session, but, his real name becoming known, this was rendered impracticable by the curiosity and attention of the public. He devoted himself mainly to the study of military matters, and out-door exercises, roughing it in all sorts of weather, sometimes,—to his mentor Baron Polier's uneasiness,—setting out on dark and stormy nights, and making his way across country from point to point. This self-imposed training was no doubt with the secret hope that he might some day be called upon by the Swedes to oust Bernadotte, and mount the throne of the great Gustavus. Mr. Skene saw a good deal of him, and gives many interesting details of his life in Edinburgh, such as the following account of a meeting at his own house. "He was interested with a set of portraits of the two last generations of the Royal Family of Scotland, which hung in my dining-room, and which had been presented to my grandfather by Prince Charles Edward, in consideration of the sacrifices he had made for the Prince's service during the unfortunate enterprise of the year 1745, having raised and commanded one of the battalions of Lord Lewis Gordon's brigade. The portrait of Prince Charles Edward, taken about the same age as Comte Itterburg, and no doubt also the marked analogy existing in the circumstances to which they had been each reduced, seemed much to engage his notice; and when the ladies had retired he begged me to give him some account of the rebellion, and of the various endeavours of the Stewarts to regain the Scottish crown. The subject was rather a comprehensive one, but having done my best to put him in possession of the leading features, it seemed to have taken very strong hold of his mind, as he frequently, at our subsequent meetings, reverted to the subject. Upon another occasion by degrees the topic of conversation slipped into its wonted channel—the rebellion of 1745, its final disaster, and the singular escape of the Prince from the pursuit of his enemies. The Comte inquired what effect the failure of the enterprise had produced upon the Prince's character, with whose gallant bearing and enthusiasm, in the conduct of his desperate enterprise, he evinced the strongest interest and sympathy. I stated briefly the mortifying disappointments to which Charles Edward was exposed in France, the hopelessness of his cause, and the indifference generally shown to him by the continental courts, which so much preyed on his mind as finally to stifle every spark of his former character, so that he gave himself up to a listless indifference, which terminated in his becoming a sot during the latter years of his life. On turning round to the Prince, who had been listening to these details, I perceived the big drops chasing each other down his cheeks and therefore changed the subject, and he never again recurred to it."—Reminiscences.

Count Itterburg, or Prince Gustavus Vasa, to give him the title of an old family dignity which he assumed in 1829, entered the Austrian army, in which he attained the rank of Lieutenant Field-Marshal. His services, it is needless to say, were never required by the Swedes, though he never relinquished his pretensions, and claimed the throne at his father's death in 1837. He died at Pillnitz on the 4th August 1877, leaving one daughter, the present Queen of Saxony.

Notices of his visits to 39 Castle Street and Abbotsford are given in the 6th vol. of Life.

[509] This refers to the Miscellaneous Prose Works, forming 24 vols., the publication of which did not commence until May 1834, although, as is shown by the Journal, the author was busy in its preparation. The "criticism on Defoe" will be found in the fourth volume, pp. 247-296, forming a supplement to John Ballantyne's Biographical Notice of Defoe in the same volume. The "Essay on Border Antiquities" appeared, notwithstanding Scott's misgivings, in the seventh volume.

[510] Lord Pitmilly.—See ante, p. 125.

[511] The rude inscription on the stone placed over the grave of this Border amazon, slain at Ancrum Moor, A.D. 1545, ran thus—

"Fair maiden Lilliard lies under this stane,
Little was her stature but great was her fame,
Upon the English louns she laid many thumps,
And when her legs were cuttet off she fought upon her stumps."

See New Stat. Account Scot., "Roxburgh," p. 244.

[512] Tempest, Act I. Sc. 2.

[513] An article for the Foreign Quarterly Review, regarding which Mr. Lockhart says:—"It had then been newly started under the Editorship of Mr. R.P. Gillies. This article, it is proper to observe, was a benefaction to Mr. Gillies, whose pecuniary affairs rendered such assistance very desirable. Scott's generosity in this matter—for it was exactly giving a poor brother author £100 at the expense of considerable time and drudgery to himself—I think it necessary to mention; the date of the exertion requires it of me."—Life, vol. ix. pp. 72-3; see Misc. Prose Works, vol. xviii. p. 270.

[514] See note 1, p. 387.

[515] Merry Wives, Act I. Sc. 1.

[516] The Youth and Manhood of Cyril Thornton, by Captain Thomas Hamilton, had just been published anonymously.

[517] Mr. Lockhart adds the following lines:—

"The shade of youthful hope is there,
That lingered long, and latest died;
Ambitions all dissolved to air,
With phantom honours by his side.

"What empty shadows glimmer nigh?
They once were friendship, truth, and love!
Oh, die to thought, to memory die,
Since lifeless to my heart ye prove."

(Poems by the Hon. W.R. Spencer, London, 1811, p. 68.) "The best writer of vers de société in our time, and one of the most charming of companions, was exactly Sir Walter's contemporary, and, like him, first attracted notice by a version of Bürger's Lenore. Like him, too, this remarkable man fell into pecuniary distress in the disastrous year 1825, and he was now (1826) an involuntary resident in Paris, where he died in October 1834, anno ætat. 65."—J.G.L.

[518] The following note to Mr. and Mrs. Skene belongs to this day:—

My dear Friends,—I am just returned from Court dreeping like the Water Kelpy when he had finished the Laird of Morphey's Bridge, and am, like that ill-used drudge, disposed to sing—

Sair back and sair banes.[D]

In fact I have the rheumatism in head and shoulders, and am obliged to deprive myself of the pleasure of waiting upon you to-day to dinner, to my great mortification.—Always yours, WALTER SCOTT.


Friday, 18th May, 1827.

Skene's Reminiscences.

Sair back and sair banes
Carrying the Lord of Morphey's stanes.

Border Minstrelsy, vol. iii. pp. 360, 365.

[519] Afterwards (in 1840) eighth Karl of Stair.

[520] 126 Princes Street.

[521] George Dempster of Skibo had just married a daughter of the House of Arniston. This lady has had the singular gratification of listening to these pleasant impressions of a dinner party given in her honour sixty-two years ago, and which she never forgot, nor Sir Walter's talk as he sat next her at table, and with unfeigned kindness devoted himself to her entertainment.

[522] See Life, vol. ix. p. 114.

[523] Coriolanus, Act III. Sc. 3.

[524] Sir Walter varies a verse of The tight little Island.—J.G.L.

[525] The engraving from Raeburn's picture.—See ante, p. 212.

[526] Mr. Robert Hogg relates that during these few days Sir W. and he laboured from six in the morning till the same hour in the evening, with the exception of the intervals allowed for breakfast and lunch, which were served in the room to save time. He noted a striking peculiarity in Scott's dictation, that with the greatest ease he was able to carry on two trains of thought at one time, "one of which was already arranged, and in the act of being spoken, while at the same time he was in advance considering what was afterwards to be said."—See his interesting letter to Mr. Lockhart, Life, vol. ix. pp. 115-117.

[527] Sheridan's Critic, Act I. Sc, 1.

[528] "No sooner had the Sun uttered these words than Fortune, as if she had been playing on a cymbal, began to unwind her wheel, which, whirling about like a hurricane, huddled all the world into an unparalleled confusion. Fortune gave a mighty squeak, saying, 'Fly, wheel, and the devil drive thee.'"—Fortune in her Wits, Quevedo. English trans. (1798), vol. iii. p. 107.

[529] Burns: "On a Scotch Bard, gone to the West Indies."

[530] Vivian Grey, by Benjamin Disraeli, was published anonymously in 5 vols. 12mo, 1826-7.

[531] If the reader turns to December 18, 1825, he will see that this is not the first allusion in the Journal to his "first love,"—an innocent attachment, to which we owe the tenderest pages, not only of Redgauntlet (1824), but of the Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), and of Rokeby (1813). In all these works the heroine has certain distinctive features drawn from one and the same haunting dream. The lady was "Williamina Belches, sole child and heir of a gentleman who was a cadet of the ancient family of Invermay, and who afterwards became Sir John Stuart of Fettercairn." She married Sir William Forbes in 1797 and died in 1810.—Life, vol. i. p. 333; Shairp's Memoirs of Principal Forbes, pp. 4, 5, 8vo, London, 1873, where her portrait, engraved from a miniature, is given.

[532] Hugh Cleghorn had been Professor of Civil History in St. Andrews for ten years, afterwards becoming tutor to the Earl of Home, and subsequently employed by our Government in various foreign missions. A glimpse of his work is obtainable in Southey's Life, of Dr. Andrew Bell. Mr. Cleghorn died in 1833, aged 83.

[533] Count Paul de Rémusat has been good enough to give me another view of this visit which will be read with interest:—"118 Faubourg St. Honoré, February 10, 1890.—.... My father has often spoken to me of this visit to Sir Walter Scott—for it was indeed my father, Charles de Rémusat, member of the French Academy, and successively Minister of the Interior and for Foreign Affairs, who went at the age of thirty to Abbotsford, and he retained to the last days of his life a most lively remembrance of the great novelist who did not acknowledge the authorship of his novels, and to whom it was thus impossible otherwise than indirectly to pay any compliment. It gives me great pleasure to learn that the visit of those young men impressed him favourably. My father's companion was his contemporary and friend, M. Louis de Guizard, who, like my father, was a contributor at that time to the Liberal press of the Restoration, the Globe and La Revue Française, and who, after the Revolution of 1830, entered, as did my father likewise, upon political life. M. de Guizard was first préfet, then député, and after 1848 became Directeur-général des Beaux Arts. He died about 1877 or 1878, after his retirement from public life."

[534] "Woodstock placed upwards of £8000 in the hands of Sir Walter's creditors. The Napoleon (first and second editions) produced for them a sum which it even now startles me to mention—£18,000. As by the time the historical work was published nearly half of the First Series of Chronicles of the Canongate had been written, it is obvious that the amount to which Scott's literary industry, from the close of 1825 to the 10th of June 1827, had diminished his debt, cannot be stated at less than £28,000. Had health been spared him, how soon must he have freed himself from all his encumbrances!"—J.G.L.

[535] See Life, vol. vi. p. 89. In Mr. Ballantyne's Memorandum, there is a fuller account of the mode in which The Bride of Lammermoor, The Legend of Montrose, and almost the whole of Ivanhoe were produced, and the mental phenomenon which accompanied the preparation of the first-named work:—

"During the progress of composing The Heart of Midlothian, The Bride of Lammermoor, and Legend of Montrose—a period of many months—Mr. Scott's health had become extremely indifferent, and was often supposed to place him in great danger. But it would hardly be credited, were it not for the notoriety of the fact, that although one of the symptoms of his illness was pain of the most acute description, yet he never allowed it to interrupt his labours. The only difference it produced, that I am aware of, was its causing him to employ the hand of an amanuensis in place of his own. Indeed, during the greater part of the day at this period he was confined to his bed. The person employed for this purpose was the respectable and intelligent Mr. Wm. Laidlaw, who acted for him in this capacity in the country, and I think also attended him to town. I have often been present with Mr. Laidlaw during the short intervals of his labour, and it was deeply affecting to hear the account he gave of his patron's severe sufferings, and the indomitable spirit which enabled him to overmaster them. He told me that very often the dictation of Caleb Balderston's and the old cooper's best jokes was mingled with groans extorted from him by pains; but that when he, Mr. L., endeavoured to prevail upon him to take a little respite, the only answer he could obtain from Mr. Scott was a request that he would see that the doors were carefully shut, so that the expressions of his agony might not reach his family—'As to stopping work, Laidlaw,' he said, 'you know that is wholly out of the question.' What followed upon these exertions, made in circumstances so very singular, appears to me to exhibit one of the most singular chapters in the history of the human intellect. The book having been published before Mr. Scott was able to rise from his bed, he assured me that, when it was put into his hands, he did not recollect one single incident, character, or conversation it contained. He by no means desired me to understand, nor did I understand, that his illness had erased from his memory all or any of the original family facts with which he had been acquainted from the period probably of his boyhood. These of course remained rooted where they had ever been, or, to speak more explicitly, where explicitness is so entirely important, he remembered the existence of the father and mother, the son and daughter, the rival lovers, the compulsory marriage, and the attack made by his bride upon the unhappy bridegroom, with the general catastrophe of the whole. All these things he recollected, just as he did before he took to his bed, but the marvel is that he recollected literally nothing else—not a single character woven by the Romancer—not one of the many scenes and points of exquisite humour, nor anything with which he was connected as writer of the work. 'For a long time I felt myself very uneasy,' he said, 'in the course of my reading, always kept on the qui vive lest I should be startled by something altogether glaring and fantastic; however, I recollected that the printing had been performed by James Ballantyne, who I was sure would not have permitted anything of this sort to pass.' 'Well,' I said, 'upon the whole, how did you like it?' 'Oh,' he said, 'I felt it monstrous gross and grotesque, to be sure, but still the worst of it made me laugh, and I trusted therefore the good-natured public would not be less indulgent.' I do not think that I ever ventured to lead to this singular subject again. But you may depend upon it, that what I have said is as distinctly reported as if it had been taken down at the moment in shorthand. I should not otherwise have imparted the phenomenon at all."—Mr. Ballantyne's MSS.

[536] Mr. Lockhart says:—"My wife and I spent the summer of 1827 partly at a sea-bathing place near Edinburgh, and partly in Roxburghshire. The arrival of his daughter and her children at Portobello was a source of constant refreshment to him during June, for every other day he came down and dined there, and strolled about afterwards on the beach, thus interrupting, beneficially for his health, and I doubt not for the result of his labours also, the new custom of regular night-work, or, as he called it, serving double tides."

[537] See Swift, "Mary the cook to Dr. Sheridan."

[538] The answer is printed in the Scott Centenary Catalogue by David Laing, from which the following extracts are given:—

"The expression of the old metrical translation, though homely, is plain, forcible, and intelligible, and very often possesses a rude sort of majesty, which perhaps would be ill-exchanged for mere elegance." "They are the very words and accents of our early Reformers—sung by them in woe and gratitude, in the fields, in the churches, and on the scaffold." "The parting with this very association of ideas is a serious loss to the cause of devotion, and scarce to be incurred without the certainty of corresponding advantages. But if these recollections are valuable to persons of education, they are almost indispensable to the edification of the lower ranks whose prejudices do not permit them to consider as the words of the inspired poetry, the versions of living or modern poets, but persist, however absurdly, in identifying the original with the ancient translation."—p. 158.

[539] Sir James Stuart, the last baronet of Allanbank.

[540] "The Life of Bonaparte, then, was at last published about the middle of June 1827."—Life, ix. 117.

[541] Archdeacon Williams, Rector of the New Edinburgh Academy from 1824 to 1847.

[542] Among the letters which Sir Walter found time to write before leaving Edinburgh, was one to congratulate his old and true friend Mrs. Coutts on her marriage, which took place on the 16th of June. That letter has not been preserved, but it drew from her Grace the following reply:—

"My dear Sir Walter Scott,—Your most welcome letter has 'wandered mony a weary mile after me.' Thanks, many thanks for all your kind congratulations. I am a Duchess at last, that is certain, but whether I am the better for it remains to be proved. The Duke is very amiable, gentle, and well-disposed, and I am sure he has taken pains enough to accomplish what he says has been the first wish of his heart for the last three years. All this is very flattering to an old lady, and we lived so long in friendship with each other that I was afraid I should be unhappy if I did not say I will—yet (whisper it, dear Sir Walter) the name of Coutts—and a right good one it is—is, and ever will be, dear to my heart. What a strange, eventful life has mine been, from a poor little player child, with just food and clothes to cover me, dependent on a very precarious profession, without talent or a friend in the world! 'to have seen what I have seen, seeing what I see.' Is it not wonderful? is it true? can I believe it?—first the wife of the best, the most perfect, being that ever breathed, his love and unbounded confidence in me, his immense fortune so honourably acquired by his own industry, all at my command, ... and now the wife of a Duke. You must write my life; the History of Tom Thumb, Jack the Giant Killer, and Goody Two Shoes, will sink compared with my true history written by the Author of Waverley; and that you may do it well I have sent you an inkstand. Pray give it a place on your table in kind remembrance of your affectionate friend,


"STRATTON STREET, July 16th, 1827."

[543] Next morning the following pleasant little billet was despatched to Kaeside:—

"My dear Mr. Laidlaw, I would be happy if you would come at kail-time to-day. Napoleon (6000 copies) is sold for £11,000.—Yours truly,

"Sunday. W.S."

Abbotsford Notanda, by R. Carruthers, Edin. 1871.





"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by      George Reid, R.S.A.



Published by BURT FRANKLIN
235 East 44th St., New York, N.Y. 10017
Originally Published: 1890
Reprinted: 1970
Printed in the U.S.A.

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



"I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when no man can work. I put that text, many a year ago, on my dial-stone; but it often preached in vain."—Scott's Life, x. 88.

"As I walked by myself, I talked to myself, And thus myself said to me."

"The evening sky of life does not reflect those brilliant flashes of light that shot across its morning and noon, yet I think God it is neither gloomy nor disconsolately lowering—a sober twilight—that is all."



PORTRAIT, painted by SIR FRANCIS GRANT, P.R.A., for the Baroness Ruthven, and now in the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland. Copied by permission of the Hon. The Board of Manufactures, Frontispiece

VIGNETTE on Title-page

"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by George Reid, R.S.A.



"I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when no man can work. I put that text, many years ago, on my dial-stone; but it often preached in vain."—Scott's Life, x. 88.



July 1, [Abbotsford].—A most delicious day, in the course of which I have not done

"The least right thing."

Before breakfast I employed myself in airing my old bibliomaniacal hobby, entering all the books lately acquired into a temporary catalogue, so as to have them shelved and marked. After breakfast I went out, the day being delightful—warm, yet cooled with a gentle breeze, all around delicious; the rich luxuriant green refreshing to the eye, soft to the tread, and perfume to the smell. Wandered about and looked at my plantations. Came home, and received a visit from Sir Adam. Loitered in the library till dinner-time. If there is anything to be done at all to-day, it must be in the evening. But I fear there will be nothing. One can't work always nowther.

"Neque semper arcum tendit Apollo."

There's warrant for it.

July 2.—Wrote in the morning, correcting the Essay on the Highlands, which is now nearly completed. Settled accounts with Tom and Bogie. Went over to Huntly Burn at two o'clock, and reconnoitred the proposed plantation to be called Jane's Wood. Dined with the Fergusons.

July 3—- Worked in the morning upon the Introduction to the Chronicles; it may be thought egotistical. Learned a bad accident had happened yesterday. A tinker (drunk I suppose) entered the stream opposite to Faldonside with an ass bearing his children. The ass was carried down by the force of the stream, and one of the little creatures was drowned; the other was brought out alive, poor innocent, clinging to the ass. It had floated as far down as Deadwater-heugh. Poor thing, it is as well dead as to live a tinker! The Fergusons dine with us en masse; also Dr. Brewster.

July 4, [Edinburgh].—Worked a little in the morning, and took a walk after breakfast, the day so delicious as makes it heart-breaking to leave the country. Set out, however, about four o'clock, and reached Edinburgh a little after nine. Slept part of the way; read De Vere the rest.[1] It is well written, in point of language and sentiment, but has too little action in it to be termed a pleasing novel. Everything is brought out by dialogue—or worse: through the medium of the author's reflections, which is the clumsiest of all expedients.

July 5.—This morning worked, and sent off to J.B. the Introduction to the Chronicles, containing my Confessions,[2] and did something, but not fluently, to the Confessions themselves. Not happy, however; the black dog worries me. Bile, I suppose. "But I will rally and combat the reiver." Reiver it is, that wretched malady of the mind; got quite well in the forenoon. Went out to Portobello after dinner, and chatted with little Johnnie, and told him the history of the Field of Prestonpans. Few remain who care about these stories.

July 6.—This morning wrought a good deal, but scarce a task. The Court lasted till half-past three; exhausting work in this hot weather. I returned to dine alone, Anne going to Roslin with a party. After noon a Miss Bell broke in upon me, who bothered me some time since about a book of hers, explaining and exposing the conduct of a Methodist Tartuffe, who had broken off (by anonymous letters) a match betwixt her and an accepted admirer. Tried in vain to make her comprehend how little the Edinburgh people would care about her wrongs, since there was no knowledge of the parties to make the scandal acceptable. I believe she has suffered great wrong.[3] Letter from Longman and Co. to J.B. grumbling about bringing out the second edition, because they have, forsooth, 700 copies in hand out of 5000, five days after the first edition[4] is out. What would they have? It is uncomfortable, though.

July 7.—Night dreadfully warm, and bilious; I could not be fool enough surely to be anxious for these wise men of the East's prognostication. Letters from Lockhart give a very cheerful prospect; if there had been any thundering upsetting broadside, he would have noticed it surely more or less. R. Cadell quite stout, and determined to go on with the second edition. Well, I hope all's right—thinking won't help it. Charles came down this morning penniless, poor fellow, but we will soon remedy that. Lockhart remits £100 for reviewing; I hope the next will be for Sophia, for cash affairs loom well in the offing, and if the trust funds go right, I was never so easy. I will take care how I get into debt again. I do not like this croaking of these old owls of Saint Paul's when all is done. The pitcher has gone often to the well. But—However, I worked away at the Chronicles. I will take pains with them. I will, by Jove!

July 8.—I did little to-day but arrange papers, and put bills, receipts, etc., into apple-pie order. I believe the fair prospect I have of clearing off some encumbrances, which are like thorns in my flesh, nay, in my very eye, contribute much to this. I did not even correct proof-sheets; nay, could not, for I have cancelled two sheets, instante Jacobo, and I myself being of his opinion; for, as I said yesterday, we must and will take pains. The fiddle-faddle of arranging all the things was troublesome, but they give a good account of my affairs. The money for the necessary payments is ready, and therefore there is a sort of pleasure which does not arise out of any mean source, since it has for its object the prospect of doing justice and achieving independence. J.B. dined with me, poor fellow, and talked of his views as hopeful and prosperous. God send honest industry a fair riddance.

July 9.—Wrote in the morning. At eleven went by appointment with Colin Mackenzie to the New Edinburgh Academy. In the fifth class, Mr. Mitchell's, we heard Greek, of which I am no otherwise a judge than that it was fluently read and explained. In the rector Mr. Williams's class we heard Virgil and Livy admirably translated ad aperturam libri, and, what I thought remarkable, the rector giving the English, and the pupils returning, with singular dexterity, the Latin, not exactly as in the original, but often by synonymes, which showed that the exercise referred to the judgment, and did not depend on the memory. I could not help saying, with great truth, that, as we had all long known how much the pupils were fortunate in a rector, so we were now taught that the rector was equally lucky in his pupils. Of my young friends, I saw a son of John Swinton, a son of Johnstone of Alva, and a son of Craufurd Tait.[5] Dined at John Murray's; Mr. and Mrs. Philips of Liverpool, General and Charles Stuart of Blantyre, Lord Abercromby, Clerk and Thomson. Pleasant evening.

July 10.—Corrected proofs, but wrote nothing. To Court till two o'clock. I went to Cadell's by the Mound, a long roundabout; transacted some business. I met Baron Hume coming home, and walked with him in the Gardens. His remarkable account of his celebrated uncle's last moments is in these words:—Dr. Black called on Mr. D. Hume[6] on the morning on which he died. The patient complained of having suffered a great deal during the night, and expressed a fear that his struggle might be prolonged, to his great distress, for days or weeks longer. "No, sir," said Dr. Black, with the remarkable calmness and sincerity which characterised him, "I have examined the symptoms, and observe several which oblige me to conclude that dissolution is rapidly approaching." "Are you certain of that, Doctor?" "Most assuredly so," answered the physician. The dying philosopher extended his arm, and shook hands with his medical friend. "I thank you," he said, "for the news." So little reason there was for the reports of his having been troubled in mind when on his deathbed.

Dined at Lord Abercromby's, to meet Lord Melville in private. We had an interview betwixt dinner and tea. I was sorry to see my very old friend, this upright statesman and honourable gentleman, deprived of his power and his official income, which the number of his family must render a matter of importance. He was cheerful, not affectedly so, and bore his declension like a wise and brave man. I had nursed the idea that he had been hasty in his resignation; but, from the letters which he showed me confidentially, which passed betwixt him and Canning, it is clear his resignation was to be accomplished, not I suppose for personal considerations, but because it rendered the Admiralty vacant for the Duke of Clarence, as his resignation was eagerly snapped at. It cannot be doubted that if he had hesitated or hung back behind his friends, forcible means would have been used to compel to the measure, which with more dignity he took of his own accord—at least so it seemed to me. The first intimation which Lord Melville received of his successor was through Mr.——, who told him, as great news, that there was to be a new Duke of York[7]. Lord M. understood the allusion so little, as to inquire whether his informant meant that the Duke of Cambridge had taken the Duke of York's situation, when it was explained to refer to the Duke of Clarence getting the Admiralty. There are some few words that speak volumes. Lord Melville said that none of them suspected Canning's negotiations with the Whigs but the Duke of Wellington, who found it out through the ladies ten days before. I asked him how they came to be so unprepared, and could not help saying I thought they had acted without consideration, and that they might have shown a face even to Canning. He allowed the truth of what I said, and seemed to blame Peel's want of courage. In his place, he said, he would have proposed to form a government disclaiming any personal views for himself as being Premier and the like, but upon the principle of supporting the measures of Lord Castlereagh and Lord Liverpool. I think this would have been acceptable to the King. Mr. Peel obviously feared his great antagonist Canning, and perhaps threw the game up too soon. Canning said the office of Premier was his inheritance; he could not, from constitution, hold it above two years, and then it would descend to Peel. Such is ambition! Old friends forsaken—old principles changed—every effort used to give the vessel of the State a new direction, and all to be Palinurus for two years!

July 11, [Abbotsford].—Worked at proofs in the morning; composed nothing. Got off by one, and to this place between six and seven. Weather delicious.

July 12.—Unpacking and arranging; the urchins are stealing the cherries in the outer garden. But I can spare a thousand larch-trees to put it in order with a good fence for next year. It is not right to leave fruit exposed; for if Adam in the days of innocence fell by an apple, how much may the little gossoon Jamie Moffatt be tempted by apples of gold in an age of iron! Anne and I walked to Huntly Burn—a delicious excursion. That place is really become beautiful; the Miss Fergusons have displayed a great deal of taste.

July 13.—Two agreeable persons—Rev. Mr. Gilly[8], one of the prebendaries of Durham, with his wife, a pretty little woman—dined with us, and met Mr. Scrope. I heard the whole history of the discovery of St. Cuthbert's[9] body at Durham Cathedral. The Catholics will deny the identity, of course; but I think it is constaté by the dress and other circumstances. Made a pleasant day of it, and with a good conscience, for I had done my task this morning.

July 14.—Did task this morning, and believe that I shall get on now very well. Wrote about five leaves. I have been baking and fevering myself like a fool for these two years in a room exposed to the south; comfortable in winter, but broiling in the hot weather. Now I have removed myself into the large cool library, one of the most refreshing as well as handsomest rooms in Scotland, and will not use the study again till the heats are past. Here is an entry as solemn as if it respected the Vicar of Wakefield's removal from the yellow room to the brown. But I think my labours will advance greatly in consequence of this arrangement. Walked in the evening to the lake.

July 15.—Achieved six pages to-day, and finished volume i. of Chronicles. It is rather long; but I think the last story interesting, and it should not be split up into parts. J.B. will, I fear, think it low; and if he thinks so, others will. Yet—vamos. Drove to Huntly Burn in the evening.

July 16.—Made a good morning's work of the Tales. In the day-time corrected various proofs. J.B. thinks that in the proposed introduction I contemn too much the occupation by which I have thriven so well, and hints that I may easily lead other people to follow my opinion in vilipending my talents, and the use I have made of them. I cannot tell. I do not like, on the one hand, to suppress my own opinion of the flocci-pauci-nihili-pilification with which I regard these things; but yet, in duty to others, I cannot afford to break my own bow, or befoul my own nest, and there may be something like affectation and nolo episcopari in seeming to underrate my own labours; so, all things considered, I will erase the passage. Truth should not be spoke at all times. In the evening we had a delightful drive to Ashestiel with Colonel and Miss Ferguson.

July 17.—I wrote a laborious task; seven pages of Tales. Kept about the doors all day. Gave Bogie £10 to buy cattle to-morrow at St. Boswell's Fair. Here is a whimsical subject of affliction. Mr. Harper, a settler, who went from this country to Botany Bay, thinking himself obliged to me for a recommendation to General M'Allister and Sir Thomas Brisbane, has thought proper to bring me home a couple of Emus. I wish his gratitude had either taken a different turn, or remained as quiescent as that of others whom I have obliged more materially. I at first accepted the creatures, conceiving them, in my ignorance, to be some sort of blue and green parrot, which, though I do not admire their noise, might scream and yell at their pleasure if hung up in the hall among the armour. But your emu, it seems, stands six feet high on his stocking soles, and is little better than a kind of cassowary or ostrich. Hang them! they might [eat] up my collection of old arms for what I know. It reminds me of the story of the adjutant birds in Theodore Hook's novel[10]. No; I'll no Emuses!

July 18.—Entered this morning on the history of Sir William Wallace. I wish I may be able to find my way between what the child can comprehend and what shall not yet be absolutely uninteresting to the grown readers. Uncommon facts I should think the best receipt. Learn that Mr. Owen Rees and John Gibson have amicably settled their differences about the last edition of Napoleon, the Trustees allowing the publishers nine months' credit. My nerves have for these two or three last days been susceptible of an acute excitement from the slightest causes; the beauty of the evening, the sighing of the summer breeze, brings the tears into my eyes not unpleasingly. But I must take exercise, and caseharden myself. There is no use in encouraging these moods of the mind. It is not the law we live on.

We had a little party with some luncheon at the lake, where Mr. Bainbridge fished without much success. Captain Hamilton and two Messrs. Stirling, relatives of my old friend Keir, were there, and walked with me a long round home. I walked better than I had done for some days. Mr. Scrope dined with us; he was complaining of gout, which is a bad companion for the stag-shooting.

July 19.—I made out my task this forenoon, and a good deal more. Sent five or six pages to James Ballantyne, i.e. got them ready, and wrote till the afternoon, then I drove over to Huntly Burn, and walked through the glens till dinner-time. After dinner read and worked till bed-time. Yet I have written well, walked well, talked well, and have nothing to regret.

July 20.—Despatched my letters to J.B., with supply of copy, and made up more than my task—about four leaves, I think. Offered my Emuses to the Duke of Buccleuch. I had an appointment with Captain Hamilton and his friends the Stirlings, that they were to go up Yarrow to-day. But the weather seems to say no.

My visitors came, however, and we went up to Newark. Here is a little misfortune, for Spice left me, and we could not find her. As we had no servant with us on horseback, I was compelled to leave her to her fate, resolving to send in quest of her to-morrow morning. The keepers are my bonos socios, as the host says in the Devil of Edmonton[11], and would as soon shoot a child as a dog of mine. But there are scamps and traps, and I am ashamed to say how reluctantly I left the poor little terrier to its fate.

She came home to me, however, about an hour and a half after we were home, to my great delectation. Our visitors dined with us.

July 21.—This morning wrote five pages of children's history. Went to Minto, where we met, besides Lord M. and his delightful countess, Thomas Thomson, Kennedy of Dunure[12], Lord Carnarvon, and his younger son and daughter-in-law; the dowager Lady Minto also, whom I always delight to see, she is so full of spirit and intelligence. We rubbed up some recollections of twenty years ago, when I was more intimate with the family till Whig and Tory separated us for a time. By the way, nobody talks Whig or Tory just now, and the fighting men on each side go about muzzled and mute like dogs after a proclamation about canine madness. Am I sorry for this truce or not? Half and half. It is all we have left to stir the blood, this little political brawling; but better too little of it than too much.

July 22, [Abbotsford].—Rose a little later than usual, and wrote a letter to Mrs. Joanna Baillie. She is writing a tragedy[13] on witchcraft. I shall be curious to see it. Will it be real witchcraft—the ipsissimus diabolus—or an impostor, or the half-crazed being who believes herself an ally of condemned spirits, and desires to be so? That last is a sublime subject. We set out after breakfast, and reached this about two. I walked from two till four; chatted a long time with Charles after dinner, and thus went my day sine linea. But we will make it up. James Ballantyne dislikes my "Drovers." But it shall stand. I must have my own way sometimes.

I received news of two deaths at once: Lady Die Scott, my very old friend, and Archibald Constable, the bookseller.

July 23.—Yes! they are both for very different reasons subjects of reflection. Lady Diana Scott, widow of Walter Scott of Harden, was the last person whom I recollect so much older than myself, that she kept always at the same distance in point of years, so that she scarce seemed older to me (relatively) two years ago, when in her ninety-second year, than fifty years before. She was the daughter (alone remaining) of Pope's Earl of Marchmont, and, like her father, had an acute mind and an eager temper. She was always kind to me, remarkably so indeed when I was a boy.

Constable's death might have been a most important thing to me if it had happened some years ago, and I should then have lamented it much. He has lived to do me some injury; yet, excepting the last £5000, I think most unintentionally. He was a prince of booksellers; his views sharp, powerful, and liberal; too sanguine, however, and, like many bold and successful schemers, never knowing when to stand or stop, and not always calculating his means to his objects with mercantile accuracy. He was very vain, for which he had some reason, having raised himself to great commercial eminence, as he might also have attained great wealth with good management. He knew, I think, more of the business of a bookseller in planning and executing popular works than any man of his time. In books themselves he had much bibliographical information, but none whatever that could be termed literary. He knew the rare volumes of his library not only by the eye, but by the touch, when blindfolded. Thomas Thomson saw him make this experiment, and, that it might be complete, placed in his hand an ordinary volume instead of one of these libri rariores. He said he had over-estimated his memory; he could not recollect that volume. Constable was a violent-tempered man with those that he dared use freedom with. He was easily overawed by people of consequence, but, as usual, took it out of those whom poverty made subservient to him. Yet he was generous, and far from bad-hearted. In person good-looking, but very corpulent latterly; a large feeder, and deep drinker, till his health became weak. He died of water in the chest, which the natural strength of his constitution set long at defiance. I have no great reason to regret him; yet I do. If he deceived me, he also deceived himself.[14]

Wrote five pages to-day, and went to see Mr. Scrope, who is fast with the gout—a bad companion to attend him

"to Athole Braes,
To shoot the dun deer down, down—
To shoot the dun deer down."

July 24.—Finished five pages before eleven o'clock, at which time Mr. Deputy Register[15] arrived from Minto, and we had an agreeable afternoon, talking about the old days we have had together. I was surprised to find that Thomson knew as little as I do myself how to advise Charles to a good course of Scottish History. Hailes and Pinkerton, Robertson and Laing—there is nothing else for it—and Pinkerton is poor work. Laing, besides his party spirit, has a turn for generalising, which renders him rather dull, which was not the nature of the acute Orcadian.

July 25.—Thomson left us this morning early. I finished four pages, and part of a fifth, then drove to Huntly Burn and returned through the Glen; I certainly turn heavy-footed, not in the female sense, however. I had one or two falls among the slippy heather, not having Tom Purdie to give me his arm. I suppose I shall need a go-cart one of these days; and if it must be so—so let it be. Fiat voluntas tua.

A letter from John Gibson in the evening brought me word that Lord Newton had adjudged the profits of Woodstock and Napoleon to be my own. This is a great matter, and removes the most important part of my dispute with Constable's creditors. I waked in the middle of the night. Sure I am not such a feather-headed gull as not to be able to sleep for good news. I am thankful that it is as it is. Had it been otherwise, I could have stood it. The money realised will pay one-third of all that I owe in the world—and what will pay the other two-thirds? I am as well and as capable as when those misfortunes began—January was a year. The public favour may wane, indeed, but it has not failed as yet, and I must not be too anxious about that possibility.

James B. has found fault with my tales for being too historical; formerly it was for being too infantine. He calls out for starch, and is afraid of his cravat being too stiff. O ye critics, will nothing melt ye?

July 26.—Wrote till one o'clock, and finished the first volume of Tales—about six leaves. To-morrow I resume the Chronicles, tooth and nail. They must be good, if possible. After all, works of fiction, viz., cursed lies, are easier to write, and much more popular than the best truths. Walked over to the head of the Roman road, coming round by Bauchland and the Abbot's Walk. Wrote letters in the evening.

July 27.—In the morning still busied with my correspondence. No great desire to take up the Chronicles. But it must be done. Devil take the necessity, and the folly and knavery, that occasioned it! But this is no matter now. Accordingly I set tightly to work, and got on till two, when I took a walk. Was made very happy by the arrival of Sophia and her babies, all in good health and spirits.

July 28.—Worked hard in the morning. The two Ballantynes, and Mr. Hogarth with them. Owen Rees came early in the day. Fergusons came to dinner. Rees in great kindness and good-humour, but a little drumlie, I think, about Napoleon. We heard Sandie's violin after dinner—

"——Whose touch harmonious can remove
The pangs of guilty power and hopeless love."[16]

I do not understand or care about fine music; but there is something in his violin which goes to the very heart. Sophia sung too, and we were once more merry in hall—the first time for this many a month and many a day.

July 29.—Could not do more than undertake my proofs to-day, of which J.B. has brought out a considerable quantity. Walked at one with Hogarth and Rees—the day sultry, hot, and we hot accordingly, but crept about notwithstanding. I am sorry to see my old and feal friend James rather unable to walk—once so stout and active—so was I in my way once. Ah! that vile word, what a world of loss it involves!

July 30.—One of the most peppering thunder-storms which I have heard for some time. Routed and roared from six in the morning till eight continuously.

"The thunder ceased not, nor the fire reposed;
Well done, old Botherby."

Time wasted, though very agreeably, after breakfast. At noon, set out for Chiefswood in the carriage, and walked home, footing it over rough and smooth, with the vigour of early days. James Ballantyne marched on too, somewhat meltingly, but without complaint. We again had beautiful music after dinner. The heart of age arose. I have often wondered whether I have a taste for music or no. My ear appears to me as dull as my voice is incapable of musical expression, and yet I feel the utmost pleasure in any such music as I can comprehend, learned pieces always excepted. I believe I may be about the pitch of Terry's connoisseurship, and that "I have a reasonable good ear for a jig, but your solos and sonatas give me the spleen."

July 31.—Employed the morning writing letters and correcting proofs; this is the second day and scarce a line written, but circumstances are so much my apology that even Duty does not murmur, at least not much. We had a drive up to Galashiels, and sent J.B. off to Edinburgh in the Mail. Music in the evening as before.


August 1.—My guests left me and I thought of turning to work again seriously. Finished five pages. Dined alone, excepting Huntly Gordon, who is come on a visit, poor lad. I hope he is well fixed under Mr. Planta's[17] patronage. Smoked a cigar after dinner. Laughed with my daughters, and read them the review of Hoffmann's production out of Gillies's new Foreign Review.

The undertaking would do, I am convinced, in any other person's hands than those of the improvident editor; but I hear he is living as thoughtlessly as ever in London, has hired a large house, and gives Burgundy to his guests. This will hardly suit £500 a year.

August 2.—Got off my proofs. Went over to breakfast at Huntly Burn; the great object was to see my cascade in the Glen suitably repaired. I have had it put to rights by puddling and damming. What says the frog in the Fairy Tale?—

"Stuff with moss, and clog with clay,
And that will weize the water away."

Having seen the job pretty tightly done, walked deliciously home through the woods. But no work all this while. Then for up and at it. But in spite of good resolutions I trifled with my children after dinner, and read to them in the evening, and did just nothing at all.

August 3.—Wrote five pages and upwards—scarce amends for past laziness. Huntly Gordon lent me a volume of his father's manuscript memoirs.[18] They are not without interest, for Pryse Gordon, though a bit of a roué, is a clever fellow in his way. One thing struck me, being the story of an Irish swindler, who called himself Henry King Edgeworth, an impudent gawsey fellow, who deserted from Gordon's recruiting party, enlisted again, and became so great a favourite with the Colonel of the regiment which he joined, that he was made pay-sergeant. Here he deserted to purpose with £200 or £300, escaped to France, got a commission in the Corps sent to invade Ireland, was taken, recognised, and hanged. What would Mr. Theobald Wolfe Tone have said to such an associate in his regenerating expedition? These are thy gods, O Israel! The other was the displeasure of the present Cameron of Lochiel, on finding that the forty Camerons, with whom he joined the Duke of Gordon's Northern Fencible regiment, were to be dispersed. He had wellnigh mutinied and marched back with them. This would be a good anecdote for Garth.[19]

August 4.—Spent the morning at Selkirk, examining people about an assault. When I returned I found Charlotte Kerr here with a clever little boy, Charles Scott, grandson of Charles of the Woll, and son of William, and grand-nephew of John of Midgehope. He seems a smart boy, and, considering that he is an only son with expectations, not too much spoiled. General Yermoloff called with a letter from a Dr. Knox, whom I do not know. If it be Vicesimus, we met nearly twenty-five years ago and did not agree. But General Yermoloff's name was luckily known to me. He is a man in the flower of life, about thirty, handsome, bold, and enthusiastic; a great admirer of poetry, and all that. He had been in the Moscow campaign, and those which followed, but must have been very young. He made not the least doubt that Moscow was burned by Rostopchin, and said that there was a general rumour before the French entered the town, and while the inhabitants were leaving it, tha