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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Sir Walter Scott to the Marchioness of Stafford, 11 April 1825

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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Produced by CATH
Abbotsford,2 April 11, 1825.

My dear Lady Stafford,—Allow me to express my sincere and most grateful thanks for the kind manner in which your ladyship has condescended to Lockhart’s concern. I have heard nothing of the matter myself for several weeks and months. My friend, the advocate, was so intolerably wise and mysterious on the subject, the last time it was mentioned, that I vow that to be made Sheriff of all Scotland, either in a friend’s person or my own, I could not have attempted again to penetrate the deep and awful gloom. The game to be played is a sort of gambit at chess. First, old Mr. Ferriar is

1Life,” vii. 343.

2 From the “Sutherland Book,” by Sir William Frazer, K.C.B., vol. ii. pp. 325, 326.

to be permitted to resign his office of Clerk of Session on some superannuation, the poor gentleman being upwards of eighty years old, and having wasted eyes, years, and understanding to the last dregs in writing the judgments of the Court of Session for thirty or forty (years). This old horse released from the carriage,
James Fergusson, who vacates a place called a commissaryship, where he judges of all the iniquities of marrying and not marrying, and marrying once too often, and getting unmarried again altogether, is to be conferred on your present Sheriff, Charles Ross. Et puis Charles Ross having succeeded to all these functions of marrying and putting asunder, I have been led to entertain hopes that Lockhart may succeed in his place. I should be delighted in it, for it is always getting pignon sur la vie, and I think Lord Stafford and your ladyship would be gratified with his acquaintance, as he is perfectly a gentleman, and with a very uncommon share of talent and information. When this happy consummation will take place, or whether it is likely to take place at all, I really do not know. Like the old beggar with the blue cloak and the pikestaff, I can submit to make one bow, and hold my hat out once, for what is not worth asking is not worth having. But I am too old and stiff to gird up my loins and run after folks’ chariot wheels till they give to importunity. But after all, this is only a petted way of taking the little diplomatic secrecy which great folks observe
on great occasions, such as bestowing Sheriffdoms; and I dare say I am complaining without reason. Only I cannot forget that I went expressly on purpose to Dalkeith when the
Lord Advocate wished to be Sheriff of Edinburgh, which he got entirely by my interest with the late Duke of Buccleuch, and I never kept him a moment in suspense about the matter.”

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