LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter VIII 1796-97

Vol I Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter I
Chapter II 1771-78
Chapter III 1778-83
Chapter IV 1783-86
Chapter V 1786-90
Chapter VI 1790-92
Chapter VII 1792-96
‣ Chapter VIII 1796-97
Chapter IX 1798-99
Chapter X 1800-02
Chapter XI 1802-03
Chapter XII 1803-04
Vol. II Contents.
Chapter I 1804-05
Chapter II 1805
Chapter III 1806
Chapter IV 1806-08
Chapter V 1808
Chapter VI 1808-09
Chapter VII 1809-10
Chapter VIII 1810
Chapter IX 1810
Chapter X 1810-11
Chapter XI 1811
Chapter XII 1811-12
Vol. III Contents.
Chapter I 1812-13
Chapter II 1813
Chapter III 1814
Chapter IV 1814
Chapter V 1814
Chapter VI 1814
Chapter VII 1814
Chapter VIII 1814
Chapter IX 1814
Chapter X 1814-15
Chapter XI 1815
Chapter XII 1815
Vol III Appendix
Vol. IV Contents.
Chapter I 1816
Chapter II 1817
Chapter III 1817
Chapter IV 1818
Chapter V 1818
Chapter VI 1818
Chapter VII 1818-19
Chapter VIII 1819
Chapter IX 1819
Chapter X 1819
Chapter XI 1820
Chapter XII 1820
Vol. V Contents.
Chapter I 1820
Chapter II 1820-21
Chapter III 1821
Chapter IV 1821
Chapter V 1821
Chapter VI 1821
Chapter VII 1822
Chapter VIII 1822
Chapter IX 1822-23
Chapter X 1823
Chapter XI 1823
Chapter XII 1824
Chapter XIII 1824-25
Vol. VI Contents.
Chapter I 1825
Chapter II 1825
Chapter III 1825
Chapter IV 1825
Chapter V 1826
Chapter VI 1826
Chapter VII 1826
Chapter VIII 1826
Chapter IX 1826
Chapter X 1826
Chapter XI 1826
Vol. VII Contents.
Vol VII Preface
Chapter I 1826-27
Chapter II 1827
Chapter III 1828
Chapter IV 1828
Chapter V 1829
Chapter VI 1830
Chapter VII 1830-31
Chapter VIII 1831
Chapter IX 1831
Chapter X 1831-32
Chapter XI 1832
Chapter XII
Vol VII Appendix
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Rebelling, as usual, against circumstances, Scott seems to have turned with renewed ardour to his literary pursuits; and in that same October, 1796, he was “prevailed on,” as he playfully expresses it, “by the request of friends, to indulge his own vanity, by publishing the translation of Lenore, with that of the Wild Huntsman, also from Bürger, in a thin quarto.” The little volume, which has no author’s name on the titlepage, was printed for Manners and Miller of Edinburgh. The first named of these respectable publishers had been a fellow-student in the German class of Dr Willich; and this circumstance probably suggested the negotiation. It was conducted by William Erskine, as appears from his postscript to a letter addressed to Scott by his sister, who, before it reached its destination, had become the wife of Mr Campbell (Colquhoun) of Clathick (and Kellermont)—in after-days Lord Advocate of Scotland. This was another of Scott’s dearest female friends—the humble home which she shared with her brother during his early struggles at the bar, had been the scene of many of his happiest hours; and her letter affords such a pleasing idea of the warm affectionateness of the little circle, that I cannot forbear inserting it.

To Walter Scott, Esq. Rosebank, Kelso.
“Monday Evening.

“If it were not that etiquette and I were constantly at war, I should think myself very blamable in thus trespassing against one of its laws; but as it is long since I foreswore its dominion, I have acquired a prescriptive right to act as I will—and I shall accordingly anticipate the station of a matron in addressing a young man.

“I can express but a very, very little of what I feel, and shall ever feel, for your unintermitting friendship and attention. I have ever considered you as a brother, and shall now think myself entitled to make even larger claims on your confidence. Well do I remember the dark conference we lately held together! The intention of unfolding my own future fate was often at my lips.

“I cannot tell you my distress at leaving this house, wherein I have enjoyed so much real happiness, and giving up the service of so gentle a master, whose yoke was indeed easy. I will therefore only commend him to your care as the last bequest of Mary Anne Erskine, and conjure you to continue to each other through all your pilgrimage as you have commenced it. May every happiness attend you. Adieu!

Your most sincere friend and sister,
M. A. E.

Mr Erskine writes on the other page—“The poems are gorgeous, but I have made no bargain with any bookseller. I have told M. and M. that I won’t be satisfied with indemnity, but an offer must be made. They will be out before the end of the week.” On what terms the publication really took place, I know not.

It has already been mentioned, that Scott owed his copy of Bürger’s works to the young lady of Harden,
whose marriage occurred in the autumn of 1795. She was daughter of
Count Bruhl of Martkirchen, long Saxon ambassador at the court of St James’s, by his second wife the Countess-Dowager of Egremont; and though I believe she had never at this time been out of England, spoke her father’s language perfectly, corresponded regularly with many of her relations on the Continent, and was very fond of the rising literature of the Germans. The young kinsman was introduced to her soon after her arrival at Mertoun, and his attachment to German studies excited her attention and interest. Mrs Scott supplied him with many standard German books, besides Bürger; and the gift of an Adelung’s dictionary from his old ally, George Constable (Jonathan Oldbuck), enabled him to master their contents sufficiently for the purposes of translation. The ballad of the Wild Huntsman appears to have been executed, under Mrs Scott’s eye, during the month that preceded his first publication; and he was thenceforth engaged in a succession of versions from the dramas of Meier and Iffland, several of which are still extant in his MS., marked 1796 and 1797. These are all in prose like their originals; but he also versified at the same time some lyrical fragments of Goëthe, as, for example, the Morlachian Ballad,
“What yonder glimmers so white on the mountain,”
and the song from Claudina von Villa Bella. He consulted his friend at Mertoun on all these essays; and I have often heard him say, that, among those many “obligations of a distant date which remained impressed on his memory, after a life spent in a constant interchange of friendship and kindness,” he counted not as the least the lady’s frankness in correcting his Scotticisms, and more especially his Scottish rhymes.


His obligations to this lady were indeed various—but I doubt, after all, whether these were the most important. He used to say, that she was the first woman of real fashion that took him up; that she used the privileges of her sex and station in the truest spirit of kindness; set him right as to a thousand little trifles, which no one else would have ventured to notice; and, in short, did for him what no one but an elegant woman can do for a young man, whose early days have been spent in narrow and provincial circles. “When I first saw Sir Walter,” she writes to me, “he was about four or five-and-twenty, but looked much younger. He seemed bashful and awkward; but there were from the first such gleams of superior sense and spirit in his conversation, that I was hardly surprised when, after our acquaintance had ripened a little, I felt myself to be talking with a man of genius. He was most modest about himself, and showed his little pieces apparently without any consciousness that they could possess any claim on particular attention. Nothing so easy and good-humoured as the way in which he received any hints I might offer, when he seemed to be tampering with the King’s English. I remember particularly how he laughed at himself, when I made him take notice that ‘the little two dogs,’ in some of his lines, did not please an English ear accustomed to ‘the two little dogs.’”

Nor was this the only person at Mertoun who took a lively interest in his pursuits. Harden entered into all the feelings of his beautiful bride on this subject; and his mother, the Lady Diana Scott, daughter of the last Earl of Marchmont, did so no less. She had conversed, in her early days, with the brightest ornaments of the cycle of Queen Anne, and preserved rich stores of anecdote, well calculated to gratify the curiosity and excite the ambition of a young enthusiast in literature.
Lady Diana soon appreciated the minstrel of the clan; and, surviving to a remarkable age, she had the satisfaction of seeing him at the height of his eminence—the solitary person who could give the author of Marmion personal reminiscences of Pope.*

On turning to James Ballantyne’s Memorandum (already quoted), I find an account of Scott’s journey from Rosebank to Edinburgh, in the November after the Ballads from Bürger were published, which gives an interesting notion of his literary zeal and opening ambition at this remarkable epoch of his life. Mr Ballantyne had settled in Kelso as a solicitor in 1795; but not immediately obtaining much professional practice, time hung heavy on his hands, and he willingly listened, in the summer of 1796, to a proposal of some of the neighbouring nobility and gentry respecting the establishment of a weekly newspaper,† in opposition to one of a democratic tendency, then widely circulated in Roxburghshire and the other Border counties. He undertook the printing and editing of this new journal, and proceeded to London, in order to engage correspondents and make other necessary preparations. While thus for the first time in the metropolis, he happened to meet with two authors, whose reputations were then in full bloom—namely, Thomas Holcroft and William Godwin—the former a popular dramatist and, novelist; the latter, a novelist of far greater merit, but “still more importantly distinguished,” says the Memorandum before me, “by those moral, legal, political, and religious heterodoxies, which his talents enabled him to present to the world in a very captivating man-

* Mr Scott of Harden’s right to the peerage of Polwarth, as representing, through his mother, the line of Marchmont, was allowed by the House of Lords in 1835.

† The Kelso Mail.

ner. His
Caleb Williams had then just come out, and occupied as much public attention as any work has done before or since.” “Both these eminent persons,” Ballantyne continues, “I saw pretty frequently; and being anxious to hear whatever I could tell about the literary men in Scotland, they both treated me with remarkable freedom of communication. They were both distinguished by the clearness of their elocution, and very full of triumphant confidence in the truth of their systems. They were as willing to speak, therefore, as I could be to hear; and as I put my questions with all the fearlessness of a very young man, the result was, that I carried away copious and interesting stores of thought and information; that the greater part of what I heard was full of error, never entered into my contemplation. Holcroft at this time was a fine-looking, lively man, of green old age, somewhere about sixty. Godwin, some twenty years younger, was more shy and reserved. As to me, my delight and enthusiasm were boundless.”

After returning home, Ballantyne made another journey to Glasgow for the purchase of types; and on entering the Kelso coach for this purpose—“It would not be easy,” says he, “to express my joy on finding that Mr Scott was to be one of my partners in the carriage, the only other passenger being a fine, stout, muscular, old Quaker. A very few miles re-established us on our ancient footing. Travelling not being half so speedy then as it is now, there was plenty of leisure for talk, and Mr Scott was exactly what is called the old man. He abounded, as in the days of boyhood, in legendary lore, and had now added to the stock, as his recitations showed, many of those fine ballads which afterwards composed the Minstrelsy. Indeed, I was more delighted with him than ever; and, by way of reprisal, I opened on him my London budget collected
Holcroft and Godwin. I doubt if Boswell ever showed himself a more skilful Reporter than I did on this occasion. Hour after hour passed away, and found my borrowed eloquence still flowing, and my companion still hanging on my lips with unwearied interest. It was customary in those days to break the journey (only forty miles) by dining on the road, the consequence of which was that we both became rather oblivious; and after we had re-entered the coach, the worthy Quaker felt quite vexed and disconcerted with the silence which had succeeded so much conversation. ‘I wish,’ said he, ‘my young friends, that you would cheer up, and go on with your pleasant songs and tales as before: they entertained me much.’ And so,” says Ballantyne, “it went on again until the evening found us in Edinburgh; and from that day, until within a very short time of his death a period of not less than five-and-thirty years I may venture to say that our intercourse never flagged.”

The reception of the two ballads had, in the mean time, been favourable, in his own circle at least. The many inaccuracies and awkwardnesses of rhyme and diction to which he alludes in republishing them towards the close of his life, did not prevent real lovers of poetry from seeing that no one but a poet could have transfused the daring imagery of the German in a style so free, bold, masculine, and full of life; but, wearied as all such readers had been with that succession of feeble, flimsy, lackadaisical trash which followed the appearance of the Reliques by Bishop Percy, the opening of such a new vein of popular poetry as these verses revealed would have been enough to produce lenient critics for far inferior translations. Many, as we have seen, sent forth copies of the Lenore about the same time; and some of these might be thought better than
Scott’s in particular passages; but, on the whole, it seems to have been felt and acknowledged by those best entitled to judge, that he deserved the palm. Meantime, we must not forget that Scotland had lost that very year the great poet Burns, her glory and her shame. It is at least to be hoped that a general sentiment of self-reproach, as well as of sorrow, had been excited by the premature extinction of such a light; and, at all events, it is agreeable to know that they who had watched his career with the most affectionate concern were among the first to hail the promise of a more fortunate successor. Scott found on his table, when he reached Edinburgh, the following letters from two of Burns’s kindest and wisest friends:

To Walter Scott Esq., Advocate, George’s Square.
“My Dear Sir,

“I beg you will accept of my best thanks for the favour you have done me by sending me four copies of your beautiful translations. I shall retain two of them, as Mrs Stewart and I both set a high value on them as gifts from the author. The other two I shall take the earliest opportunity of transmitting to a friend in England, who, I hope, may be instrumental in making their merits more generally known at the time of their first appearance. In a few weeks, I am fully persuaded, they will engage public attention to the utmost extent of your wishes, without the aid of any recommendation whatever. I ever am,

Dear Sir, yours most truly,
Dugald Stewart.
“Canongate, Wednesday evening.”
To the Same.
“Dear Sir,

“On my return from Cardross, where I had been
for a week, I found yours of the 14th, which had surely loitered by the way. I thank you most cordially for your present. I meet with little poetry nowadays that touches my heart; but your translations excite mingled emotions of pity and terror, insomuch, that I would not wish any person of weaker nerves to read
William and Helen before going to bed. Great must be the original if it equals the translation in energy and pathos. One would almost suspect you have used as much liberty with Bürger as Macpherson was suspected of doing with Ossian. It is, however, easier to backspeir you. Sober reason rejects the machinery as unnatural; it reminds me, however, of the magic of Shakspeare. Nothing has a finer effect than the repetition of certain words, that are echoes to the sense, as much as the celebrated lines in Homer about the rolling up and falling down of the stone:—Tramp, tramp, splash, splash, is to me perfectly new;—and much of the imagery is nature. I should consider this same muse of yours (if you carry the intrigue far) more likely to steal your heart from the law than even a wife. I am, Dear Sir, your most obedient, humble servant,

Jo. Ramsay.
“Ochtertyre, 30th Nov. 1796.”

Among other literary persons at a distance, I may mention George Chalmers, the celebrated antiquary, with whom he had been in correspondence from the beginning of this year, supplying him with Border ballads for the illustration of his researches into Scotch history. This gentleman had been made acquainted with Scott’s large collections in that way, by a mutual friend, Dr Somerville, minister of Jedburgh, author of the History of Queen Anne;* and the numerous MS.

* Some extracts from this venerable person’s unpublished Me-

copies communicated to him in consequence, were recalled in the course of 1799, when the plan of the “
Minstrelsy” began to take shape. Chalmers writes in great transports about Scott’s versions; but weightier encouragement came from Mr Taylor of Norwich, himself the first translator of the Lenore.

“I need not tell you, sir” (he writes), “with how much eagerness I opened your volume—with how much glow I followed the Chase—or with how much alarm I came to William and Helen. Of the latter I will say nothing; praise might seem hypocrisy—criticism envy. The ghost nowhere makes his appearance so well as with you, or his exit so well as with Mr Spenser. I like very much the recurrence of
‘The scourge is red, the spur drops blood,
The flashing pebbles flee,’
but of William and Helen I had resolved to say nothing. Let me return to the Chase, of which the metric stanza style pleases me entirely—yet I think a few passages written in too elevated a strain for the general spirit of the poem. This age leans too much to the
Darwin style. Mr Percy’s Lenore owes its coldness to the adoption of this; and it seems peculiarly incongruous in the ballad where habit has taught us to expect simplicity. Among the passages too stately and pompous, I should reckon—

moirs of his own Life, have been kindly sent to me by his son, the well-known physician of Chelsea College; from which it appears that the reverend doctor, and more particularly still his wife, a lady of remarkable talent and humour, had formed a high notion of Scott’s future eminence at a very early period of his life. Dr. S. survived to a great old age, preserving his faculties quite entire, and I have spent many pleasant hours under his hospitable roof in company with Sir Walter Scott. We heard him preach an excellent circuit sermon when he was upwards of ninety-two, and at the Judges’ dinner afterwards he was among the gayest of the company.

‘The mountain echoes startling wake—
And for devotion’s choral swell
Exchange the rude discordant noise—
Fell famine marks the maddening throng
With cold Despair’s averted eye’—
and perhaps one or two more. In the twenty-first stanza I prefer Bürger’s trampling the corn into chaff and dust, to your more metaphorical, and therefore less picturesque, “destructive sweep the field along.” In the thirtieth, “On whirlwind’s pinions swiftly borne,” to me seems less striking than the still disapparition of the tumult and bustle the earth has opened, and he is sinking with his evil genius to the nether world as he approaches, dumpf rauscht es wie ein ferner meer—it should be rendered, therefore, not by “Save what a distant torrent gave,” but by some sounds which shall necessarily excite the idea of being hellsprung—the sound of simmering seas of fire—pinings of goblins damned—or some analogous noise. The forty-seventh stanza is a very great improvement of the original. The profanest blasphemous speeches need not have been softened down, as in proportion to the impiety of the provocation, increases the poetical probability of the final punishment. I should not have ventured upon these criticisms, if I did not think it required a microscopic eye to make any, and if I did not on the whole consider the Chase as a most spirited and beautiful translation. I remain (to borrow in another sense a concluding phrase from the
Spectator), your constant admirer,

W. Taylor, Jun.
“Norwich, 14th Dec. 1796.”

The anticipations of these gentlemen, that Scott’s versions would attract general attention in the south, were not fulfilled. He himself attributes this to the
contemporaneous appearance of so many other translations from
Lenore. “In a word,” he says, “my adventure, where so many pushed off to sea, proved a dead loss, and a great part of the edition was condemned to the service of the trunkmaker. This failure did not operate in any unpleasant degree either on my feelings or spirits. I was coldly received by strangers, but my reputation began rather to increase among my own friends, and on the whole I was more bent to show the world that it had neglected something worth notice, than to be affronted by its indifference; or rather, to speak candidly, I found pleasure in the literary labours in which I had almost by accident become engaged, and laboured less in the hope of pleasing others, though certainly without despair of doing so, than in a pursuit of a new and agreeable amusement to myself.”*

On the 12th of December Scott had the curiosity to witness the trial of one James Mackean, a shoemaker, for the murder of Buchanan, a carrier, employed to convey money weekly from the Glasgow bank to a manufacturing establishment at Lanark. Mackean invited the carrier to spend the evening in his house; conducted family worship in a style of much seeming fervour; and then, while his friend was occupied, came behind him, and almost severed his head from his body by one stroke of a razor. I have heard Scott describe the sanctimonious air which the murderer maintained during his trial preserving throughout the aspect of a devout person, who believed himself to have been hurried into his accumulation of crime by an uncontrollable exertion of diabolical influence; and on his copy of the “Life of James Mackean, executed 25th January, 1797,” I find the following marginal note:—

* Remarks on Popular Poetry. 1830.


“I went to see this wretched man when under sentence of death, along with my friend, Mr William Clerk, advocate. His great anxiety was to convince us that his diabolical murder was committed from a sudden impulse of revengeful and violent passion, not from deliberate design of plunder. But the contrary was manifest from the accurate preparation of the deadly instrument, a razor strongly lashed to an iron bolt, and also from the evidence on the trial, from which it seems he had invited his victim to drink tea with him on the day he perpetrated the murder, and that this was a reiterated invitation. Mackean was a good-looking, elderly man, having a thin face and clear grey eye; such a man as may be ordinarily seen beside a collection-plate at a seceding meeting-house, a post which the said Mackean had occupied in his day. All Mackean’s account of the murder is apocryphal. Buchanan was a powerful man, and Mackean slender. It appeared that the latter had engaged Buchanan in writing, then suddenly clapped one hand on his eyes, and struck the fatal blow with the other. The throat of the deceased was cut through his handkerchief to the back bone of the neck, against which the razor was hacked in several places.”

In his pursuit of his German studies Scott acquired, about this time, a very important assistant in Mr Skene of Rubislaw, in Aberdeenshire; a gentleman considerably his junior, who had just returned to Scotland from a residence of several years in Saxony, where he had obtained a thorough knowledge of the language, and accumulated a better collection of German books than any to which Scott had, as yet, found access. Shortly after Mr Skene’s arrival in Edinburgh, Scott requested to be introduced to him by a mutual friend, Mr Edmonstone of Newton, and their fondness for the same literature, with Scott’s eagerness to profit by his new acquaint-
ance’s superior attainment in it, thus opened an intercourse which general similarity of tastes, and I venture to add, in many of the most important features of character, soon ripened into the familiarity of a tender friendship”“An intimacy,” Mr Skene says, in a paper before me, “of which I shall ever think with so much pride”a friendship so pure and cordial as to have been able to withstand all the vicissitudes of nearly forty years, without ever having sustained even a casual chill from unkind thought or word.” Mr Skene adds: “During the whole progress of his varied life, to that eminent station which he could not but feel he at length held in the estimation, not of his countrymen alone, but of the whole world, I never could perceive the slightest shade of variance from that simplicity of character with which he impressed me on the first hour of our meeting.”

Among the common tastes which served to knit these friends together, was their love of horsemanship, in which, as in all other manly exercises, Skene highly excelled; and the fears of a French invasion becoming every day more serious, their thoughts were turned with corresponding zeal to the project of organizing a force of mounted volunteers in Scotland. “The London Light-horse had set the example”—(says Mr Skene)—“but in truth it was to Scott’s ardour that this force in the North owed its origin. Unable, by reason of his lameness, to serve amongst his friends on foot, he had nothing for it but to rouse the spirit of the moss-trooper, with which he readily inspired all who possessed the means of substituting the sabre for the musket.”

On the 14th February, 1797, these friends and many more met and drew up an offer to serve as a body of volunteer cavalry in Scotland; which offer, being transmitted through the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord-Lieute-
nant of Mid-Lothian, was accepted by Government. The organization of the corps proceeded rapidly; they extended their offer to serve in any part of the island in case of actual invasion; and this also being accepted, the whole arrangement was shortly completed; when
Charles Maitland, Esq. of Rankeillor, was elected Major-Commandant; (Sir) William Rae of St Catharine’s, Captain; James Gordon of Craig, and George Robinson of Clermiston, Lieutenants; (Sir) William Forbes of Pitsligo, and James Skene of Rubislaw, Cornets; Walter Scott, Paymaster, Quartermaster, and Secretary; John Adams, Adjutant. But the treble duties thus devolved on Scott were found to interfere too severely with his other avocations, and Colin Mackenzie of Portmore relieved him soon afterwards from those of paymaster.

“The part of quartermaster,” says Mr Skene, “was properly selected for him, that he might be spared the rough usage of the ranks; but, notwithstanding his infirmity, he had a remarkably firm seat on horseback, and in all situations a fearless one: no fatigue ever seemed too much for him, and his zeal and animation served to sustain the enthusiasm of the whole corps, while his ready ‘mot à rire,’ kept up, in all, a degree of good humour and relish for the service, without which, the toil and privations of long daily drills would not easily have been submitted to by such a body of gentlemen. At every interval of exercise, the order, sit at ease, was the signal for the quartermaster to lead the squadron to merriment; every eye was intuitively turned on ‘Earl Walter,’ as he was familiarly called by his associates of that date, and his ready joke seldom failed to raise the ready laugh. He took his full share in all the labours and duties of the corps, had the highest pride in its progress and proficiency, and was such a trooper himself, as only a very powerful frame of body and the warmest zeal in the
cause could have enabled any one to be. But his habitual good humour was the great charm, and at the daily mess (for we all dined together when in quarters) that reigned supreme.”

Earl Walter’s first charger, by the way, was a tall and powerful animal named Lenore. These daily drills appear to have been persisted in during the spring and summer of 1797; the corps spending moreover some weeks in quarters at Musselburgh. The majority of the troop having professional duties to attend to, the ordinary hour for drill was five in the morning; and when we reflect, that after some hours of hard work in this way, Scott had to produce himself regularly in the Parliament House with gown and wig, for the space of four or five hours at least, while his chamber practice, though still humble, was on the increase—and that he had found a plentiful source of new social engagements in his troop connexions—it certainly could have excited no surprise had his literary studies been found suffering total intermission during this busy period. That such was not the case, however, his correspondence and note-books afford ample evidence.

He had no turn, at this time of his life, for early rising; so that the regular attendance at the morning drills was of itself a strong evidence of his military zeal; but he must have, in spite of them, and of all other circumstances, persisted in what was the usual custom of all his earlier life, namely, the devotion of the best hours of the night to solitary study. In general, both as a young man, and in more advanced age, his constitution required a good allowance of sleep, and he, on principle, indulged in it, saying, “he was but half a man if he had not full seven hours of utter unconsciousness;” but his whole mind and temperament were, at this period, in a state of most fervent exaltation, and spirit
triumphed over matter. His translation of
Steinberg’s Otho of Wittelsbach, is marked “1796-7;” from which, I conclude, it was finished in the latter year. The volume containing that of Meier’sWolfred of Dromberg, a drama of chivalry,” is dated 1797; and, I think, the reader will presently see cause to suspect, that though not alluded to in his imperfect note-book, these tasks must have been accomplished in the very season of the daily drills.

The letters addressed to him in March, April, and June, by Kerr of Abbotrule, George Chalmers, and his uncle at Rosebank, indicate his unabated interest in the collection of coins and ballads; and I shall now make a few extracts from his private note-book, some of which will at all events amuse the survivors of the Edinburgh Light-Horse:

March 15, 1797 Read Stanfield’s trial, and the conviction appears very doubtful indeed. Surely no one could seriously believe, in 1688, that the body of the murdered bleeds at the touch of the murderer, and I see little else that directly touches Philip Stanfield. He was a very bad character, however; and tradition says, that having insulted Welsh, the wild preacher, one day in his early life, the saint called from the pulpit that God had revealed to him that this blasphemous youth would die in the sight of as many as were then assembled. It was believed at the time that Lady Stanfield had a hand in the assassination, or was at least privy to her son’s plans; but I see nothing inconsistent with the old gentleman’s having committed suicide.* The ordeal

* See particulars of Stanfield’s case in Lord Fountainhall’s Chronological Notes of Scottish Affairs, 1680-1701, edited by Sir Walter Scott. 4to, Edinburgh, 1822. Pp, 233-236.

of touching the corpse was observed in Germany. They call it barrecht.

March 27.—

‘The friers of Fail
Gat never owre hard eggs, or owre thin kale;
For they made their eggs thin wi’ butter,
And their kale thick wi’ bread.
And the friers of Fail they made gude kale
On Fridays when they fasted;
They never wanted gear enough
As lang as their neighbours’ lasted.’

“Fairy-rings.—N. B. Delrius says the same appearance occurs wherever the witches have held their Sabbath.

“For the ballad of Willie’s Lady,’ compare Apuleius, lib. i. p. 33. . . .

April 20—The portmanteau to contain the following articles:—2 shirts; 1 black handkerchief; 1 nightcap, woollen; 1 pair pantaloons, blue; 1 flannel shirt with sleeves; 1 pair flannel drawers; 1 waistcoat; 1 pair worsted stockings or socks.

“In the slip, in cover of portmanteau, a case with shaving-things, combs, and a knife, fork, and spoon; a German pipe and tobacco-bag, flint, and steel; pipe-clay and oil, with brush for laying it on; a shoe-brush; a pair of shoes or hussar-boots; a horse-picker, and other loose articles.

“Belt with the flap and portmanteau, currycomb, brush, and mane-comb, with sponge.

“Over the portmanteau the blue overalls, and a spare jacket for stable; a small horse-sheet, to cover the horse’s back with, and a spare girth or two.

“In the cartouche-box, screw-driver and picker for pistol, with three or four spare flints.

“The horse-sheet may be conveniently folded below the saddle, and will save the back in a long march
NOTE-BOOK 1797.263
or bad weather. Beside the holster, two fore-feet shoes.*

May 22.—Apuleius, lib. ii. . . . . . . . . Anthony-a-Wood. . . . . Mr Jenkinson’s name (now Lord Liverpool) being proposed as a difficult one to rhyme to, a lady present hit off this verse extempore. N. B. Both father and son (Lord Hawkesbury) have a peculiarity of vision.

‘Happy Mr Jenkinson,
Happy Mr Jenkinson,
I’m sure to you
Your lady’s true,
For you have got a winking son.’

“23.—Delrius. . . .


I, John Bell of Brackenbrig, lies under this stane;
Four of my sons laid it on my wame.
I was man of my meat, and master of my wife,
And lived in mine ain house without meikle strife.
Gif thou be’st a better man in thy time than I was in mine,
Tak this stane off my wame, and lay it upon thine.’

“25.—Meric Casaubon on Spirits. . . . .


‘There saw we learned Maroe’s golden tombe;
The way he cut an English mile in length
Thorow a rock of stone in one night’s space.’

* Some of Scott’s most intimate friends at the Bar, partly, no doubt, from entertaining political opinions of another cast, were by no means disposed to sympathize with the demonstrations of his military enthusiasm at this period. For example, one of these gentlemen thus writes to another in April, 1797:—“By the way, Scott is become the merest trooper that ever was begotten by a drunken dragoon on his trull in a hay loft. Not an idea crosses his mind, or a word his lips, that has not an allusion to some d——d instrument or evolution of the Cavalry—‘draw your swords—by single files to the right of front—to the left wheel—charge.’ After all, he knows little more about wheels and charges than I do about the wheels of Ezekiel, or the King of Pelew about charges of horning on six days’ date. I saw them charge on Leith Walk a few days ago, and I can assure you it was by no means orderly proceeded. Clerk and I are continually obliged to open a six-pounder upon him in self-defence, but in spite of a temporary confusion, he soon rallies and returns to the attack.”


Christopher Marlowe’s Tragicall History of Dr Faustus a very remarkable thing. Grand subject—end grand. . . . . . Copied ‘Prophecy of Merlin’ from Mr Clerk’s MS.

“27—Read Everybody’s Business is Nobody’s Business, by Andrew Moreton. This was one of Defoe’s many aliases like his pen, in parts . . . . .

‘To Cuthbert, Car, and Collingwood, to Shafto and to Hall;
To every gallant generous heart that for King James did fall.’

“28—. . . . . . Anthony-a-Wood. . . . . Plain Proof of the True Father and Mother of the Pretended Prince of Wales, by W. Fuller. This fellow Was pilloried for a forgery some years. . . . . . . . later Began Nathan der Weise.

“June 29.—Read Introduction to a Compendium on Brief Examination, by W. S.—viz. William Stafford—though it was for a time given to no less a W. S. than William Shakspeare. A curious treatise—the Political Economy of the Elizabethan Day—worth reprinting. . . . .

“July 1.—Read Discourse of Military Discipline, by Captain Barry—a very curious account of the famous Low Countries’ armies—full of military hints worth note. . . . . . Anthony Wood again.

“3.—Nathan der Weise. . . . . Delrius. . . . .

“5.—Geutenberg’s Braut begun.

“6.—The Bride again. Delrius.”

The note-book from which I have been copying is chiefly filled with extracts from Apuleius and Anthony-a-Wood—most of them bearing, in some way, on the subject of popular superstitions. It is a pity that many leaves have been torn out; for if unmutiluted, the record would probably have enabled one to guess whether he had already planned his “Essay on Fairies.”


I have mentioned his business at the bar as increasing at the same time. His fee-book is now before me, and it shows that he made by his first year’s practice L.24, 3s.; by the second, L.57, 15s.; by the third L.84, 4s.; by the fourth L.90; and in his fifth year at the bar that is, from November, 1796, to July, 1797—L. 144, 10s.; of which L.50 were fees from his father’s chamber.

His friend, Charles Kerr of Abbotrule, had been residing a good deal about this time in Cumberland: indeed, he was so enraptured with the scenery of the lakes as to take a house in Keswick with the intention of spending half of all future years there. His letters to Scott (March, April, 1797) abound in expressions of wonder that he should continue to devote so much of his vacations to the Highlands of Scotland, “with every crag and precipice of which,” says he, “I should imagine you would be familiar by this time; nay, that the goats themselves might almost claim you for an acquaintance;” while another district lay so near him at least as well qualified “to give a swell to the fancy.”

After the rising of the Court of Session in July, Scott accordingly set out on a tour to the English lakes, accompanied by his brother John, and Adam Fergusson. Their first stage was Halyards, in Tweeddale, then inhabited by his friend’s father, the philosopher and historian; and they staid there for a day or two, in the course of which Scott had his first and only interview with David Ritchie, the original of his Black Dwarf.* Proceeding southwards, the tourists visited Carlisle, Penrith,—the vale of the Eamont, including Mayburgh and Brougham Castle,—Ulswater and Windermere; and at length fixed their headquarters at the then peaceful and sequestered little watering place of Gilsland, making excursions from

* See the Introduction to this Novel in the edition of 1830.

thence to the various scenes of romantic interest which are commemorated in
The Bridal of Triermain, and otherwise leading very much the sort of life depicted among the loungers of St Ronan’s Well. Scott was, on his first arrival in Gilsland, not a little engaged with the beauty of one of the young ladies lodged under the same roof with him; and it was on occasion of a visit in her company to some part of the Roman Wall that he indited his lines—
“Take these flowers, which, purple waving,
On the ruined rampart grew,” &c.*
But this was only a passing glimpse of flirtation. A week or so afterwards commenced a more serious affair.

Riding one day with Ferguson, they met, some miles from Gilsland, a young lady taking the air on horseback, whom neither of them had previously remarked, and whose appearance instantly struck both so much, that they kept her in view until they had satisfied themselves that she also was one of the party at Gilsland. The same evening there was a ball, at which Captain Scott produced himself in his regimentals, and Ferguson also thought proper to be equipped in the uniform of the Edinburgh Volunteers. There was no little rivalry among the young travellers as to who should first get presented to. the unknown beauty of the morning’s ride; but though both the gentlemen in scarlet had the advantage of being dancing partners, their friend succeeded in handing the fair stranger to supper—and such was his first introduction to Charlotte Margaret Carpenter.

Without the features of a regular beauty, she was

* I owe this circumstance to the recollection of Mr Claud Russel, accountant in Edinburgh, who was one of the party. Previously I had always supposed these verses to have been inspired by Miss Carpenter.

rich in personal attractions; “a form that was fashioned as light as a fay’s;” a complexion of the clearest and lightest olive; eyes large, deep-set and dazzling, of the finest Italian brown; and a profusion of silken tresses, black as the raven’s wing—her address hovering between the reserve of a pretty young Englishwoman who has not mingled largely in general society, and a certain natural archness and gaiety that suited well with the accompaniment of a French accent. A lovelier vision, as all who remember her in the bloom of her days have assured me, could hardly have been imagined; and from that hour the fate of the young poet was fixed.

She was the daughter of Jean Charpentier, of Lyons, a devoted royalist, who held an office under Government,* and Charlotte Volere, his wife. She and her only brother, Charles Charpentier, had been educated in the Protestant religion of their mother; and when their father died, which occurred in the beginning of the Revolution, Madame Charpentier made her escape with her children, first to Paris, and then to England, where they found a warm friend and protector in the late Marquis of Downshire, who had, in the course of his travels in France, formed an intimate acquaintance with the family, and, indeed, spent some time under their roof. M. Charpentier had, in his first alarm as to the coming Revolution, invested £4000 in English securities—part in a mortgage upon Lord Downshire’s estates. On the mother’s death, which occurred soon after her arrival in London, this nobleman took on himself the character of sole guardian to her children; and Charles Charpentier received in due time, through his interest, an appointment in the service of the East India Company, in which he had by this time risen to

* In several deeds which I have seen, M. Charpentier is designed “Ecuyer du roi.” What the post he held was I never heard.

the lucrative situation of commercial resident at Salem. His sister was now making a little excursion, under the care of the lady who had superintended her education,
Miss Jane Nicolson, a daughter of Dr Nicolson, Dean of Exeter, and granddaughter of William Nicolson, Bishop of Carlisle, well known as the editor of “The English Historical Library.” To some connexions which the learned prelate’s family had ever since his time kept up in the diocese of Carlisle, Miss Carpenter owed the direction of her summer tour.

Scott’s father was now in a very feeble state of health, which accounts for his first announcement of this affair being made in a letter to his mother; it is undated;—but by this time the young lady had left Gilsland for Carlisle, where she remained until her destiny was settled.

To Mrs Scott, Georges Square, Edinburgh.
“My Dear Mother,

“I should very ill deserve the care and affection with which you have ever regarded me, were I to neglect my duty so far as to omit consulting my father and you in the most important step which I can possibly take in life, and upon the success of which my future happiness must depend. It is with pleasure, I think, that I can avail myself of your advice and instructions in an affair of so great importance as that which I have at present on my hands. You will probably guess from this preamble, that I am engaged in a matrimonial plan, which is really the case. Though my acquaintance with the young lady has not been of long standing, this circumstance is in some degree counterbalanced by the intimacy in which we have lived, and by the opportunities which that intimacy has afforded me of remarking her conduct and sentiments on many different occasions, some of which were rather of a delicate nature, so that in fact I
have seen more of her during the few weeks we have been together, than I could have done after a much longer acquaintance, shackled by the common forms of ordinary life. You will not expect from me a description of her person,—for which I refer you to my
brother, as also for a fuller account of all the circumstances attending the business than can be comprised in the compass of a letter. Without flying into raptures, for I must assure you that my judgment as well as my affections are consulted upon this occasion; without flying into raptures then, I may safely assure you, that her temper is sweet and cheerful, her understanding good, and what I know will give you pleasure, her principles of religion very serious. I have been very explicit with her upon the nature of my expectations, and she thinks she can accommodate herself to the situation which I should wish her to hold in society as my wife, which, you will easily comprehend, I mean should neither be extravagant nor degrading. Her fortune, though partly dependent upon her brother, who is high in office at Madras, is very considerable—at present L.500 a-year. This, however, we must, in some degree, regard as precarious,—I mean to the full extent; and indeed when you know her you will not be surprised that I regard this circumstance chiefly because it removes those prudential considerations which would otherwise render our union impossible for the present. Betwixt her income and my own professional exertions, I have little doubt we will be enabled to hold the rank in society which my family and situation entitle me to fill.

“My dear mother, I cannot express to you the anxiety I have that you will not think me flighty nor inconsiderate in this business. Believe me, that experience, in one instance—you cannot fail to know to what I allude—is too recent to permit my being so hasty in
my conclusions as the warmth of my temper might have otherwise prompted. I am also most anxious that you should be prepared to show her kindness, which I know the goodness of your own heart will prompt, more especially when I tell you that she is an orphan, without relations, and almost without friends. Her guardian is, I should say was, for she is of age,
Lord Downshire, to whom I must write for his consent, a piece of respect to which he is entitled for his care of her, and there the matter rests at present. I think I need not tell you that if I assume the new character which I threaten, I shall be happy to find that in that capacity, I may make myself more useful to my brothers, and especially to Anne, than I could in any other. On the other hand, I shall certainly expect that my friends will endeavour to show every attention in their power to a woman who forsakes for me, prospects much more splendid than what I can offer, and who comes into Scotland without a single friend but myself. I find I could write a great deal more upon this subject, but as it is late, and as I must write to my father, I shall restrain myself. I think (but you are best judge) that in the circumstances which I stand, you should write to her, Miss Carpenter, under cover to me at Carlisle.

“Write to me very fully upon this important subject—send me your opinion, your advice, and above all, your blessing; you will see the necessity of not delaying a minute in doing so, and in keeping this business strictly private, till you hear farther from me, since you are not ignorant that even at this advanced period, an objection on the part of Lord Downshire, or many other accidents, may intervene; in which case, I should little wish my disappointment to be public.

“Believe me, my dear mother,
ever your dutiful and affectionate son,
Walter Scott.”

Scott remained in Cumberland until the Jedburgh assizes recalled him to his legal duties. On arriving in that town, he immediately sent for his friend Shortreed, whose memorandum records that the evening of the 30th September, 1797, was one of the most joyous he ever spent. “Scott” (he says) “was sair beside himself about Miss Carpenter we toasted her twenty times over and sat together, he raving about her, until it was one in the morning.” He soon returned to Cumberland; and the following letters will throw light on the character and conduct of the parties, and on the nature of the difficulties which were presented by the prudence and prejudices of the young advocate’s family-connexions. It appears that, at one stage of the business, Scott had seriously contemplated leaving the bar at Edinburgh, and establishing himself with his bride (I know not in what capacity) in one of the colonies.

To Walter Scott, Esq., Advocate, Edinburgh.
“Carlisle, October 4, 1797.

“It is only an hour since I received Lord Downshire’s letter. You will say, I hope, that I am indeed very good to write so soon, but I almost fear that all my goodness can never carry me through all this plaguy writing. Lord Downshire will be happy to hear from you. He is the very best man on earth—his letter is kind and affectionate, and full of advice, much in the style of your last. I am to consult most carefully my heart. Do you believe I did not do it when I gave you my consent? It is true I don’t like to reflect on that subject. I am afraid. It is very awful to think it is for life. How can I ever laugh after such tremendous thoughts? I believe never more. I am hurt to find that your friends don’t think the match a prudent one. If it
is not agreeable to them all, you must then forget me, for I have too much pride to think of connecting myself in a family were I not equal to them. Pray, my dear sir, write to Lord D. immediately—explain yourself to him as you would to me, and he will, I am sure, do all he can to serve us. If you really love me, you must love him, and write to him as you would to a friend.

Adieu,—au plaisir devous revoir bientôt.

C. C.
To Robert Shortreed, Esq., Sheriff-Substitute, Jedburgh.
“Selkirk, 8th October 1797.
“Dear Bob,

“This day a long train of anxieties was put an end to by a letter from Lord Downshire, couched in the most flattering terms, giving his consent to my marriage with his ward. I am thus far on my way to Carlisle—only for a visit—because, betwixt her reluctance to an immediate marriage, and the imminent approach of the session, I am afraid I shall be thrown back to the Christmas holidays. I shall be home in about eight days.

“Ever yours, sincerely,
W. Scott.”
To Miss Christian Rutherford, Ashestiel, by Selkirk.

“Has it never happened to you, my dear Miss Christy, in the course of your domestic economy, to meet with a drawer stuffed so very, so extremely full, that it was very difficult to pull it open, however desirous you might be to exhibit its contents? In case this miraculous event has ever taken place, you may somewhat conceive from thence the cause of my silence, which has really proceeded from my having a very great deal to communi-
cate; so much so, that I really hardly know how to begin. As for my affection and friendship for you, believe me, sincerely, they neither slumber nor sleep, and it is only your suspicions of their drowsiness which incline me to write at this period of a business highly interesting to me, rather than when I could have done so with something like certainty—Hem! Hem! It must come out at once—I am in a very fair way of being married to a very amiable young woman, with whom I formed an attachment in the course of my tour. She was born in France—her parents were of English extraction—the name
Carpenter. She was left an orphan early in life, and educated in England, and is at present under the care of a Miss Nicolson, a daughter of the late Dean of Exeter, who was on a visit to her relations in Cumberland. Miss Carpenter is of age, but as she lies under great obligations to the Marquis of Downshire, who was her guardian, she cannot take a step of such importance without his consent—and I daily expect his final answer upon the subject. Her fortune is dependent, in a great measure, upon an only and very affectionate brother. He is Commercial Resident at Salem in India, and has settled upon her an annuity of L.500. Of her personal accomplishments I shall only say, that she possesses very good sense, with uncommon good temper, which I have seen put to most severe trials. I must bespeak your kindness and friendship for her. You may easily believe I shall rest very much both upon Miss R. and you for giving her the carte de pays, when she comes to Edinburgh. I may give you a hint that there is no romance in her composition—and that though born in France, she has the sentiments and manners of an Englishwoman, and does not like to be thought otherwise. A very slight tinge in her pronunciation is all which marks the foreigner. She is at pre-
sent at Carlisle, where I shall join her as soon as our arrangements are finally made. Some difficulties have occurred in settling matters with my father, owing to certain prepossessions which you can easily conceive his adopting. One main article was the uncertainty of her provision, which has been in part removed by the safe arrival of her remittances for this year, with assurances of their being regular and even larger in future, her brother’s situation being extremely lucrative. Another objection was her birth; ‘Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?’ but as it was birth merely and solely, this has been abandoned. You will be more interested about other points regarding her, and I can only say that—though our acquaintance was shorter than ever I could have thought of forming such a connexion upon—it was exceedingly close, and gave me full opportunities for observation—and if I had parted with her, it must have been for ever, which both parties began to think would be a disagreeable thing. She has conducted herself through the whole business with so much propriety as to make a strong impression in her favour upon the minds of my father and mother, prejudiced as they were against her, from the circumstances I have mentioned. We shall be your neighbours in the New Town, and intend to live very quietly; Charlotte will need many lessons from Miss R. in housewifery. Pray show this letter to Miss R. with my very best compliments. Nothing can now stand in the way except Lord Downshire, who may not think the match a prudent one for Miss C.—but he will surely think her entitled to judge for herself at her age, in what she would wish to place her happiness. She is not a beauty, by any means, but her person and face are very engaging. She is a brunette—her manners are lively, but when necessary, she can be very serious. She was baptized and educated a Protestant of the
Church of England. I think I have now said enough upon this subject. Do not write till you hear from me again, which will be when all is settled. I wish this important event may hasten your return to town. I send a goblin story, with best compliments to the misses, and ever am, yours affectionately,

Walter Scott.
The Erl-King.
(The Erl-King is a goblin that haunts the Blade Forest in Thuringia,
—To be read by a candle particularly long in the snuff.
O, who rides by night thro’ the woodland so wild?
It is the fond father embracing his child;
And close the boy nestles within his loved arm,
To hold himself fast, and to keep himself warm.
‘O father, see yonder! see yonder!’ he says;
‘My boy, upon what doest thou fearfully gaze?’
‘O, ’tis the Erl-King with his crown and his shroud.’—
‘No, my son, it is but a dark wreath of the cloud.’
(The Erl-King speaks.)
‘O, come and go with me thou loveliest child,
By many a gay sport shall thy time be beguiled;
My mother keeps for thee full many a fair toy,
And many a fine flower shall she pluck for my boy.’
‘O father, my father, and did you not hear
The Erl-King whisper so low in my ear?’—
‘Be still my heart’s darling, my child, be at ease,
It was but the wild blast as it sung thro’ the trees.’
‘O wilt thou go with me, thou loveliest boy?
My daughter shall tend thee with care and with joy;
She shall bear thee so lightly thro’ wet and thro’ wild,
And press thee, and kiss thee, and sing to my child.’
‘O father, my father, and saw you not plain,
The Erl-King’s pale daughter glide past thro’ the rain?’—
‘O yes, my loved treasure, I knew it full soon,
It was the grey willow that danced to the moon.’
‘Oh come and go with me, no longer delay,
Or else, silly child, I will drag thee away.’—
‘Oh father! Oh father! now, now keep your hold,
The Erl-King has seized me—his grasp is so cold!’
Sore trembled the father, he spurr’d thro’ the wild,
Clasping close to his bosom his shuddering child;
He reaches his dwelling in doubt and in dread,
But, clasp’d to his bosom, the infant was dead!”—

“You see I have not altogether lost the faculty of rhyming. I assure you there is no small impudence in attempting a version of that ballad, as it has been translated by Lewis. All good things be with you.

W. S.”
To Walter Scott, Esq., Advocate, Edinburgh.
“London, October 15, 1797.

“I received your letter with pleasure, instead of considering it as an intrusion. One thing more being fully stated would have made it perfectly satisfactory, namely, the sort of income you immediately possess, and the sort of maintenance Miss Carpenter, in case of your demise, might reasonably expect. Though she is of an age to judge for herself in the choice of an object that she would like to run the race of life with, she has referred the subject to me. As her friend and guardian, I in duty must try to secure her happiness, by endeavouring to keep her comfortable immediately, and to prevent her being left destitute, in case of any unhappy contingency. Her good sense and good education are her chief fortune; therefore, in the worldly way of talking, she is not entitled to much. Her brother, who was also left under my care at an early period, is excessively fond of her; he has no person to think
of but her as yet; and will certainly be enabled to make her very handsome presents, as he is doing very well in India, where I sent him some years ago, and where he bears a very high character, I am happy to say. I do not throw out this to induce you to make any proposal beyond what prudence and discretion recommend; but I hope I shall hear from you by return of post, as I may be shortly called out of town to some distance. As children are in general the consequence of an happy union, I should wish to know what may be your thoughts or wishes upon that subject. I trust you will not think me too particular; indeed I am sure you will not, when you consider that I am endeavouring to secure the happiness and welfare of an estimable young woman whom you admire and profess to be partial and attached to, and for whom I have the highest regard, esteem, and respect. I am, Sir, your obedient humble servant,

To the Same.
“Carlisle, Oct. 22.

“Your last letter, my dear sir, contains a very fine train of perhaps, and of so many pretty conjectures, that it is not flattering you to say you excel in the art of tormenting yourself. As it happens, you are quite wrong in all your suppositions. I have been waiting for Lord D.’s answer to your letter, to give a full answer to your very proper enquiries about my family. Miss Nicolson says, that when she did offer to give you some information, you refused it—and advises me now to wait for Lord D.’s letter. Don’t believe I have been idle; I have been writing very long letters to him, and all about you. How can you think that I will give an answer about the house until I hear
from London?—that is quite impossible; and I believe you are a little out of your senses to imagine I can be in Edinburgh before the twelfth of next month. O, my dear sir, no—you must not think of it this great while. I am much flattered by your mother’s remembrance; present my respectful compliments to her. You don’t mention your father in your last anxious letter—I hope he is better. I am expecting every day to hear from my brother. You may tell your uncle he is commercial resident at Salem. He will find the name of
Charles C. in his India list. My compliments to Captain Scott. Sans adieu,

C. C.
To the Same.
“Carlisle, Oct. 25.

“Indeed, Mr Scott, I am by no means pleased with all this writing. I have told you how much I dislike it, and yet you still persist in asking me to write, and that by return of post. O, you really are quite out of your senses. I should not have indulged you in that whim of yours, had you not given me that hint that my silence gives an air of mystery. I have no reason that can detain me in acquainting you that my father and mother were French, of the name of Charpentier; he had a place under government; their residence was at Lyons, where you would find on enquiries that they lived in good repute and in very good style. I had the misfortune of losing my father before I could know the value of such a parent. At his death we were left to the care of Lord D., who was his very great friend, and very soon after I had the affliction of losing my mother. Our taking the name of Carpenter was on my brother’s going to India, to prevent any little difficulties that might have occurred. I hope now you are pleased. Lord D. could have given you every information, as he has been ac-
quainted with all my family. You say you almost love him, but until your almost comes to a quite, I cannot love you. Before I conclude this famous epistle, I will give you a little hint—that is, not to put so many must in your letters—it is beginning rather too soon; and another thing is, that I take the liberty not to mind them much, but I expect you mind me. You must take care of yourself; you must think of me, and believe me yours sincerely,

C. C.
To the Same.
“Carlisle, Oct. 26.

“I have only a minute before the post goes, to assure you, my dear sir, of the welcome reception of the stranger.* The very great likeness to a friend of mine will endear him to me; he shall be my constant companion, but I wish he could give me an answer to a thousand questions I have to make—one in particular, what reason have you for so many fears you express? Have your friends changed? Pray let me know the truth—they perhaps don’t like me being French. Do write immediately—let it be in better spirits. Et croyez-moi toujours votre sincere

C. C.
To the Same.
“October 31st.

“. . . . All your apprehensions about your friends make me very uneasy. At your father’s age prejudices are not easily overcome—old people have, you know, so much more wisdom and experience, that we must be guided by them. If he has an objection on my being French, I excuse him with all my heart, as I don’t love them myself. O how all these things plague me—when will it end? And to complete the matter, you talk of

* A miniature of Scott.

going to the West Indies. I am certain your father and
uncle say you are a hot heady young man, quite mad, and I assure you I join with them; and I must believe, that, when you have such an idea, you have then determined to think no more of me. I begin to repent of having accepted your picture. I will send it back again, if you ever think again about the West Indies. Your family then would love me very much—to forsake them for a stranger, a person who does not possess half the charms and good qualities that you imagine. I think I hear your uncle calling you a hot heady young man. I am certain of it, and I am generally right in my conjectures. What does your sister say about it? I suspect that she thinks on the matter as I should do, with fears and anxieties for the happiness of her brother. If it be proper, and you think it would be acceptable, present my best compliments to your mother; and to my old acquaintance Captain Scott I beg to be remembered. This evening is the first ball—don’t you wish to be of our party? I guess your answer—it would give me infinite pleasure. En attendant le plaisir de vous revoir, je suis toujours votre constante

To the Same.
“The Castle, Hartford, October 29, 1797.

“I received the favour of your letter. It was so manly, honourable, candid, and so full of good sense, that I think Miss Carpenter’s friends cannot in any way object to the union you propose. Its taking place, when or where, will depend upon herself, as I shall write to her by this night’s post. Any provision that may be given to her by her brother, you will have settled upon
her and her children; and I hope, with all my heart, that every earthly happiness may attend you both. I shall be always happy to hear it, and to subscribe myself your faithful friend and obedient humble servant,

(On the same sheet.)
“Carlisle, Nov. 4.

“Last night I received the enclosed for you from Lord Downshire. If it has your approbation, I shall be very glad to see you as soon as will be convenient. I have a thousand things to tell you; but let me beg of you not to think for some time of a house. I am sure I can convince you of the propriety and prudence of waiting until your father will settle things more to your satisfaction, and until I have heard from my brother. You must be of my way of thinking.—Adieu.

C. C.

Scott obeyed this summons, and I suppose remained in Carlisle until the Court of Session met, which is always on the 12th of November.

To W. Scott, Esq., Advocate, Edinburgh.
“Carlisle, Nov. 14th,

“Your letter never could have come in a more favourable moment. Any thing you could have said would have been well received. You surprise me much at the regret you express you had of leaving Carlisle. Indeed, I can’t believe it was on my account, I was so uncommonly stupid. I don’t know what could be the matter with me, I was so very low, and felt really ill: it was even a trouble to speak. The settling of our little plans—all looked so much in earnest—that I began reflecting more seriously than I generally do, or
approve of. I don’t think that very thoughtful people ever can be happy. As this is my maxim, adieu to all thoughts. I have made a determination of being pleased with every thing, and with every body in Edinburgh; a wise system for happiness, is it not? I enclose the lock. I have had almost all my hair cut off.
Miss Nicolson has taken some, which she sends to London to be made to something, but this you are not to know of, as she intends to present it to you. * * * * I am happy to hear of your father’s being better pleased as to money matters; it will come at last; don’t let that trifle disturb you. Adieu, Monsieur, j’ai l’honneur d’etre votre tres humble et tres

C. C.
“Carlisle, Nov. 27th.

“You have made me very triste all day. Pray never more complain of being poor. Are you not ten times richer than I am? Depend on yourself and your profession. I have no doubt you will rise very high, and be a great rich man, but we should look down to be contented with our lot, and banish all disagreeable thoughts. We shall do very well. I am very sorry to hear you have such a bad head. I hope I shall nurse away all your aches. I think you write too much. When I am mistress I shall not allow it. How very angry I should be with you if you were to part with Lenore. Do you really believe I should think it an unnecessary expense where your health and pleasure can be concerned? I have a better opinion of you, and I am very glad you don’t give up the cavalry, as I love any thing that is stylish. Don’t forget to find a stand for the old carriage, as I shall like to keep it, in case we should have to go any journey; it is so much more
convenient than the post chaises, and will do very well till we can keep our carriage. What an idea of yours was that to mention where you wish to have your bones laid! If you were married, I should think you were tired of me. A very pretty compliment before marriage. I hope sincerely that I shall not live to see that day. If you always have those cheerful thoughts, how very pleasant and gay you must be.

“Adieu, my dearest friend, take care of yourself if you love me, as I have no wish that you should visit that beautiful and romantic scene, the burying-place. Adieu, once more, and believe that you are loved very sincerely by

C. C.
“Dec. 10th.

“If I could but really believe that my letter gave you only half the pleasure you express, I should almost think, my dearest Scott, that I should get very fond of writing merely for the pleasure to indulge you—that is saying a great deal. I hope you are sensible of the compliment I pay you, and don’t expect I shall always be so pretty behaved. You may depend on me, my dearest friend, for fixing as early a day as I possibly can; and if it happens to be not quite so soon as you wish, you must not be angry with me. It is very unlucky you are such a bad housekeeper—as I am no better. I shall try. I hope to have very soon the pleasure of seeing you, and to tell you how much I love you; but I wish the first fortnight was over. With all my love, and those sort of pretty things—adieu.


P.S. Etudiez votre Francais. Remember you are to teach me Italian in return, but I shall be but a stupid scholar. Aimez Charlotte.”

“Carlisle, Dec. 14th.

***** “I heard last night from my friends in London, and I shall certainly have the deed this week. I will send it to you directly; but not to lose so much time, as you have been reckoning, I will prevent any little delay that might happen by the post, by fixing already next Wednesday for your coming here, and on Thursday the 21st, Oh, my dear Scott—on that day I shall be yours for ever. C. C.

“P.S. Arrange it so that we shall see none of your family the night of our arrival. I shall be so tired, and such a fright, I should not be seen to advantage.”

To these extracts I may add the following from the first leaf of an old black-letter Bible at Abbotsford:—

Secundum morem majorum hæc de familiâ Gualteri Scott, Jurisconsulti Edinensis, in librum hunc sacrum manu suâ conscripta sunt.

Gualterus Scott, filius Gualteri Scott et Annæ Rutherford, natus erat apud Edinam 15mo die Augusti, A. D. 1771.

Socius Facultatis Juridicæ Edinensis receptus erat 11mo die Julii, A. D. 1792.

In ecclesiam Sanctæ Mariæ apud Carlisle, uxorem duxit Margaretam Charlottam Carpenter, filiam quondam Joannis Charpentier et Charlottæ Volere, Lugdunensem, 24to die Decembris, 1797.”