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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 10: 1821-24
John Gibson Lockhart to Jonathan Christie, [1821]

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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My dear Christie,—My brother William has just left us after spending a couple of days, and telling us all the grand story of the coronation. He vexed me a great deal by saying that you are still looking but poorishly, but rejoiced me by his confirmation of your intended Scottish trip twice, because I think that will inevitably do you much good, and because I am sure it will do me much good to see you, of which pleasure I hope it is not possible I am to be deprived, if you do turn your nose northwards. Is it quite fixed that Mrs. Christie can’t come with you? Might she not venture in the steamboat at least thus far? I mean to Edinburgh?—for the journey from thence to this retirement is but a bagatelle. If she and the bairns could, I need not say how happy it would make Sophia and myself. At all events,

1 Mr. Hayward, in later years, told Lockhart that “Valerius” was used as a handbook at Harvard College in America. A sagacious reviewer described it as “a religious tale by an American.”

you will come. If you come hither first, I will, I think, contrive some very nice trips for you, and I shan’t care how far north I go with you afterwards. Within very easy rides of this are Yarrow, Ettrick, Hermitage Castle, Hume Castle—I know not how many fields of battle, clannish and royal. Even my gardener derives his title of ‘Cock-a-Pistol’ from having his cottage on the place where a certain knight of Buccleuch, or Cessford, was slain. The field in front of the house is ‘Charge-law.’ In short, ’tis all haunted or holy ground. Melrose is within half a mile, Dryburgh four miles off, Jedburgh fourteen. I am sure you could spend days here very tolerably, and sheep’s head and whisky toddy would cut short the evenings.
Sir Walter says he won’t allow me to have you all the while, but we shall not fight about that matter, for he is but two or three miles off. Won’t Traill and you come together? William tells me he gave you a copy of ‘Valerius’ and abuses me for not having sent one myself. I put one up to be carried (with a letter for you, and a baby’s cap from Sophia for Mrs. Christie’s last gift) by Robert Buchanan—shortly after the book was published. But Buchanan sent back the parcel, being obliged to defer his journey to London till some time after. In the meantime I had gone into the country, and the book had been damned, so you will pardon me for not being very anxious to find another method of conveyance. William says Theodore Hook men-
tioned my being the writer. This must have been some guess of
Croker’s, for (unless Blackwood played false) nobody could know but Sir Walter Scott and my brothers. All this is non tanti. I had quite forgot the book, and all that to it pertained, until William revived my recollection. At least, I was trying as much as possible to forget it and the disappointment I had met with, part of which (but this may be the merest vanity) I cannot help attributing to the frigidity of my publisher.

Mr. W. S. Rose is at Abbotsford. I am going up the water of Yarrow with him to-morrow to see Hogg and the wild-ducks (for Rose is a great sportsman for a palsied man, to say nothing of a poetaster); as for myself, of course I have merely an eye to the hodge-podge and the absurdity of such a juxtaposition as the most sensitive of bels esprits, and the roughest of all possible diamonds. If I had thought there was any possibility of seeing the coronation, I would have come up, but without question there will be more of them in our day. The Queen is, I suppose, at Edinburgh by this time. I suppose the Jeffreys will, for Brougham’s sake, make a slight attempt, but on the whole I believe this part of the country was never in better humour.—Yours, most affectionately,

J. G. Lockhart.”