LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter XII 1815

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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The poem of “the Field of Waterloo” was published before the end of October; the profits of the first edition being the author’s contribution to the fund raised for the relief of the widows and children of the soldiers slain in the battle. This piece appears to have disappointed those most disposed to sympathize with the author’s views and feelings. The descent is indeed heavy from his Bannockburn to his Waterloo: the presence, or all but visible reality of what his dreams cherished, seems to have overawed his imagination, and tamed it into a weak pomposity of movement. The burst of pure native enthusiasm upon the Scottish heroes that fell around the Duke of Wellington’s person, bears, however, the broadest marks of “the Mighty Minstrel.”—
“Saw gallant Miller’s fading eye
Still bent where Albyn’s standards fly,
And Cameron, in the shock of steel,
Die like the offspring of Lochiel,” &c.;—
and this is far from being the only redeeming passage. There is one, indeed, in which he illustrates what he then thought
Buonaparte’s poorness of spirit in adversity, which always struck me as pre-eminently characteristic of Scott’s manner of interweaving, both in prose and verse, the moral energies with analogous natural description, and combining thought with imagery—

“Or is thy soul like mountain tide,
That swelled by winter storm and shower,
Rolls down in turbulence of power,
A torrent fierce and wide;
Reft of these aids, a rill obscure,
Shrinking unnoticed, mean and poor,
Whose channel shows displayed
The wrecks of its impetuous course,
But not one symptom of the force
By which these wrecks were made!”

The poem was the first upon a subject likely to be sufficiently hackneyed; and, having the advantage of coming out in a small cheap form—(prudently imitated from Murray’s innovation with the tales of Byron, which was the death-blow to the system of verse in quarto)—it attained rapidly a measure of circulation above what had been reached either by Rokeby or the Lord of the Isles.

Meanwhile the revision of Paul’s Letters was proceeding; and Scott had almost immediately on his return to Abbotsford concluded his bargain for the first edition of a third novel—The Antiquary—to be published also in the approaching winter. Harold the Dauntless, too, was from time to time taken up as the amusement of horæ subsecivæ. As for Scott’s out of doors occupations of that autumn, sufficient light will be thrown on them by the following letter; from which it is seen that he had now completed a rather tedious negotiation with an-
other bonnet-laird, and definitively added the lands of Kaeside to the original estate of Abbotsford.

To Miss Joanna Baillie, Hamptead.
“November 12, 1815, Abbotsford.

“I have been long in acknowledging your letter, my dear friend, and yet you have not only been frequent in my thoughts, as must always be the case, but your name has been of late familiar in my mouth as a household word. You must know that the pinasters you had the goodness to send me some time since, which are now fit to be set out of the nursery, have occupied my mind as to the mode of disposing of them. Now, mark the event; there is in the middle of what will soon be a bank of fine young wood, a certain old gravel-pit, which is the present scene of my operations. I have caused it to be covered with better earth, and gently altered with the spade, so as, if possible, to give it the air of one of those accidental hollows which the surface of a hill frequently presents. Having arranged my ground, I intend to plant it all round with the pinasters, and other varieties of the pine species, and in the interior I will have a rustic seat, surrounded by all kinds of evergreen shrubs (laurels in particular), and all varieties of the holly and cedar, and so forth, and this is to be called and entitled Joanna’s Bower. We are determined in the choice of our ornaments by necessity, for our ground fronts (in poetic phrase) the rising sun, or, in common language, looks to the east; and being also on the north side of the hill—(don’t you shiver at the thought?)—why, to say truth, George Wynnos and I are both of opinion that nothing but evergreens will flourish there; but I trust I shall convert a present deformity into a very pretty little hobby-horsical sort of thing. It will
not bear looking at for years, and that is a pity: but it will so far resemble the person from whom it takes name, that it is planted, as she has written, for the benefit as well of posterity as for the passing generation. Time and I, says the Spaniard, against any two; and, fully confiding in the proverb, I have just undertaken another grand task. You must know, I have purchased a large lump of wild land, lying adjoining to this little property, which greatly more than doubles my domains. The land is said to be reasonably bought, and I am almost certain I can turn it to advantage by a little judicious expenditure; for this place is already allowed to be worth twice what it cost me; and our people here think so little of planting, and do it so carelessly, that they stare with astonishment at the alteration which well planted woods make on the face of a country. There is, besides, a very great temptation, from the land running to within a quarter of a mile of a very sweet wild sheet of water, of which (that is, one side of it) I have every chance to become proprietor: this is a poetical circumstance not to be lost sight of, and accordingly I keep it full in my view. Amid these various avocations, past, present, and to come, I have not thought much about
Waterloo, only that I am truly glad you like it. I might, no doubt, have added many curious anecdotes, but I think the pamphlet long enough as it stands, and never had any design of writing copious notes.

“I do most devoutly hope Lord Byron will succeed in his proposal of bringing out one of your dramas; that he is your sincere admirer is only synonymous with his being a man of genius; and he has, I am convinced, both the power and inclination to serve the public, by availing himself of the treasures you have laid before them. Yet I long for ‘some yet untasted spring,’ and
heartily wish you would take Lord B. into your counsels, and adjust, from your yet unpublished materials, some drama for the public. In such a case, I would, in your place, conceal my name till the issue of the adventure. It is a sickening thing to think how many angry and evil passions the mere name of admitted excellence brings into full activity. I wish you would consider this hint, and I am sure the result would be great gratification to the public, and to yourself that sort of satisfaction which arises from receiving proofs of having attained the mark at which you aimed. Of this last, indeed, you cannot doubt, if you consult only the voices of the intelligent and the accomplished; but the object of the dramatist is professedly to delight the public at large, and therefore I think you should make the experiment fairly.

Little Sophia is much obliged by your kind and continued recollection: she is an excellent good child, sufficiently sensible, very affectionate, not without perception of character; but the gods have not made her poetical, and I hope she will never attempt to act a part which nature has not called her to. I am myself a poet, writing to a poetess, and therefore cannot be suspected of a wish to degrade a talent, to which, in whatever degree I may have possessed it, I am indebted for much happiness: but this depends only on the rare coincidence of some talent falling in with a novelty in style and diction and conduct of story, which suited the popular taste; and were my children to be better poets than me, they would not be such in general estimation, simply because the second cannot be the first, and the first (I mean in point of date) is every thing, while others are nothing, even with more intrinsic merit. I am therefore particularly anxious to store the heads of my young damsels with something better than the tags
of rhymes; and I hope Sophia is old enough (young though she be) to view her little incidents of celebrity, such as they are, in the right point of view.
Mrs Scott and she are at present in Edinburgh: the rest of the children are with me in this place; my eldest boy is already a bold horseman and a fine shot, though only about fourteen years old. I assure you I was prouder of the first black cock he killed, than I have been of any thing whatever since I first killed one myself, and that is twenty years ago. This is all stupid gossip; but, as Master Corporal Nym says, ‘things must be as they may:’ you cannot expect grapes from thorns, or much amusement from a brain bewildered with thorn hedges at Kaeside, for such is the sonorous title of my new possession, in virtue of which I subscribe myself,

Abbotsford & Kaeside.”

There is now to be mentioned a little pageant of December 1815, which perhaps interested Abbotsford and Kaeside, not very much less than the “Field of the Cloth of Gold,” as James Ballantyne calls it, of the preceding autumn. This was no other than a football match, got up under the auspices of the Duke of Buccleuch, between the men of the Vale of Yarrow and the Burghers of Selkirk, the particulars of which will be sufficiently explained by an extract from Ballantyne’s newspaper, written, I can have no doubt, by the Sheriff of the Forest. But the part taken in this solemnity by the Ettrick Shepherd reminds me of an extraordinary epistle which Scott had received from him some months before this time, and of the account given by Hogg himself, in one of his autobiographies, of the manner in which Scott’s kindness terminated the alienation it refers to.

The Shepherd, being as usual in pecuniary straits,
had projected a work, to be called “
The Poetic Mirror,” in which should appear some piece by each popular poet of the time, the whole to be edited by himself, and published for his benefit; and he addressed, accordingly, to his brother bards, a circular petition for their best assistance. Scott—like Byron and most of the other persons thus applied to—declined the proposition. The letter in which he signified his refusal has not been preserved; indeed it is sufficiently remarkable, that of all the many letters which Hogg must have received from his distinguished contemporaries, he appears to have kept not one; but Scott’s decided aversion to joint-stock adventures in authorship must have been well known ere now to Hogg—and at all events nobody can suspect that his note of refusal was meant to be an unfriendly communication. The Shepherd, however, took some phrase in high dudgeon, and penned an answer virulently insolent in spirit and in language, accusing him of base jealousy of his own superior natural genius. I am not sure whether it was on this or another occasion of the like sort, that James varied the usual formulas of epistolary composition, by beginning with “Damned Sir,” and ending, “Believe me, sir, yours with disgust, &c.;” but certainly the performance was such that no intercourse took place between the parties for some weeks, or perhaps months, afterwards. The letter in which Hogg at length solicits a renewal of kindliness, says nothing, it may be observed, of the circumstance which, according to his autobiography, confirmed by the recollection of two friends, whom he names in the letter itself (Mr John Grieve and Mr William Laidlaw), had really caused him to repent of his suspicions, and their outrageous expression. The fact was, that hearing, shortly after the receipt of the offensive epistle, that Hogg was confined to his lodgings, in an obscure
alley of Edinburgh called Gabriel’s Road, by a dangerous illness, Scott called on Mr Grieve to make enquiries about him, and to offer to take on himself the expenses of the best medical attendance. He had, however, cautioned the worthy hatter that no hint of this offer must reach Hogg; and in consequence, it might perhaps be the Shepherd’s feeling at the time that he should not, in addressing his life-long benefactor, betray any acquaintance with this recent interference on his behalf. There can be doubt, however, that he obeyed the genuine dictates of his better nature when he penned this apologetic effusion:—

To Walter Scott, Esq. Castle Street.
“Gabriel’s Road, February 28, 1815.
Mr Scott,

“I think it is great nonsense for two men who are friends at heart, and who ever must be so—indeed it is not in the nature of things that they can be otherwise—should be professed enemies.

Mr Grieve and Mr Laidlaw, who were very severe on me, and to whom I was obliged to show your letter, have long ago convinced me that I mistook part of it, and that it was not me you held in such contempt, but the opinion of the public. The idea that you might mean that (though I still think the reading will bear either construction) has given me much pain; for I know I answered yours intemperately, and in a mortal rage. I meant to have enclosed yours, and begged of you to return mine, but I cannot find it, and am sure that some one to whom I have been induced to show it, has taken it away. However, as my troubles on that subject were never like to wear to an end, I could no longer resist telling you that I am extremely vexed about it. I desire not a renewal of our former intimacy,
for haply, after what I have written, your family would not suffer it; but I wish it might be understood that, when we meet by chance, we might shake hands, and speak to one another, as old acquaintances, and likewise that we may exchange a letter occasionally, for I find there are many things which I yearn to communicate to you, and the tears rash to my eyes when I consider that I may not.

“If you allow of this, pray let me know, and if you do not, let me know. Indeed, I am anxious to hear from you, for ‘as the day of trouble is with me, so shall my strength be.’ To be friends from the teeth forwards is common enough; but it strikes me that there is something still more ludicrous in the reverse of the picture, and so to be enemies—and why should I be, from the teeth forwards,

Yours sincerely,
James Hogg?”

Scott’s reply was, as Hogg says, “a brief note, telling him to think no more of the business, and come to breakfast next morning.” The misunderstanding being thus closed, they appear to have counselled and co-operated together in the most cordial fashion, in disciplining their rural allies for the muster of Carterhaugh the Duke of Buccleuch’s brother-in-law, the Earl of Home, having appointed the Shepherd his Lieutenant over the Yarrow Band, while the Sheriff took under his special cognizance the Sutors, i.e. shoemakers, of Selkirk—for so the burgesses of that town have for ages styled themselves, and under that denomination their warlike prowess in days of yore has been celebrated in many an old ballad, besides the well-known one which begins with
“’Tis up wi’ the Sutors o’ Selkirk,
And ’tis down wi’ the Earl of Home!”
In order to understand all the allusions in the newspaper record of this important day, one must be familiar with the notes to the
Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border; but I shall not burden it with further comment here.

football match.

“On Monday, 4th December, there was played, upon the extensive plain of Carterhaugh, near the junction of the Ettrick and Yarrow, the greatest match at the ball which has taken place for many years. It was held by the people of the Dale of Yarrow, against those of the parish of Selkirk; the former being brought to the field by the Right Hon. the Earl of Home, and the Gallant Sutors by their Chief Magistrate, Ebenezer Clarkson, Esq. Both sides were joined by many volunteers from other parishes; and the appearance of the various parties marching from their different glens to the place of rendezvous, with pipes playing and loud acclamations, carried back the coldest imagination to the old times when the Foresters assembled with the less peaceable purpose of invading the English territory, or defending their own. The romantic character of the scenery aided the illusion, as well as the performance of a feudal ceremony previous to commencing the games.

“His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch and Queensberry came upon the ground about 11 o’clock, attended by his sons, the young Earl of Dalkeith and Lord John Scott; the Countess of Home; the Ladies Ann, Charlotte, and Isabella Scott; Lord and Lady Montagu and family; the Hon. General Sir Edward Stopford, K. B.; Sir John Riddell of Riddell; Sir Alexander Don of Newton; Mr Elliot Lockhart, member for the county; Mr Pringle of Whytebank, younger; Mr Pringle of Torwoodlee; Captain Pringle, Royal Navy; Mr Boyd of Broadmeadows and family; Mr Chisholm of Chisholm; Major Pott of Todrig; Mr Walter Scott, Sheriff of Selkirkshire, and family,—and many other gentlemen and ladies.—The ancient banner of the Buccleuch family, a curious and venerable relique, emblazoned with armorial bearings, and with the word “Bellendaine” the ancient war-cry of the clan of Scott, was then displayed, as on former occasions when the chief took the field in person, whether for the purpose of war or sport. The banner was delivered by Lady Ann Scott to Master Walter Scott, younger of Abbotsford, who attended suitably mounted and armed, and riding over the field, displaying it to the sound of the war-pipes, and amid
the acclamations of the assembled spectators, who could not be fewer than 2000 in number. That this singular renewal of an ancient military custom might not want poetical celebrity,
verses were distributed among the spectators, composed for the occasion by Mr Walter Scott and the Ettrick Shepherd.—Mr James Hogg acted as aide-de-camp to the Earl of Home in the command of the Yarrow men, and Mr Robert Henderson of Selkirk to Mr Clarkson, both of whom contributed not a little to the good order of the day.

“The ball was thrown up between the parties by the Duke of Buccleuch, and the first game was gained, after a severe conflict of an hour and a half duration, by the Selkirk men. The second game was still more severely contested, and after a close and stubborn struggle of more than three hours, with various fortune, and much display of strength and agility on both sides, was at length carried by the Yarrow men. The ball should then have been thrown up a third time, but considerable difficulty occurred in arranging the voluntary auxiliaries from other parishes, so as to make the match equal; and, as the day began to close, it was found impossible to bring the strife to an issue, by playing a decisive game.

“Both parties, therefore, parted with equal honours, but, before they left the ground, the Sheriff threw up his hat, and in Lord Dalkeith’s name and his own, challenged the Yarrow men, on the part of the Sutors, to a match to be played upon the first convenient opportunity, with 100 picked men only on each side. The challenge was mutually accepted by Lord Home, on his own part, and for Lord John Scott, and was received with acclamation by the players on both sides. The principal gentlemen present took part with one side or other, except the Duke of Buccleuch, who remains neutral. Great play is expected, and all bets are to be paid by the losers to the poor of the winning parish. We cannot dismiss the subject without giving our highest commendation to the Earl of Home, and to Mr Clarkson, for the attention which they showed in promoting the spirit and good order of the day. For the players themselves, it was impossible to see a finer set of active and athletic young fellows than appeared on the field. But what we chiefly admired in their conduct was, that though several hundreds in number, exceedingly keen for their respective parties, and engaged in so rough and animated a contest, they maintained the most perfect good humour, and showed how unnecessary it is to discourage manly and athletic exercises among the common people, under pretext of maintaining subordination and good order. We have only to regret, that the great concourse of spectators rendered it difficult to mention the names of
the several players who distinguished themselves by feats of strength or agility; but we must not omit to record, that the first ball was hailed by Robert Hall, mason in Selkirk, and the second by George Brodie, from Greatlaws, upon Aill-water.

“The Selkirk party wore slips of fir as their mark of distinction—the Yarrow men, sprigs of heath.

“Refreshments were distributed to the players by the Duke of Buccleuch’s domestics, in a booth erected for the purpose; and no persons were allowed to sell ale or spirits on the field.

“In the evening there was a dance at the Duke’s hunting-seat at Bowhill, attended by the nobility and gentry who had witnessed the sport of the day; and the fascination of Gow’s violin and band detained them in the dancing-room till the dawn of the winter morning.”

The newspaper then gives the songs above alluded to—viz., Scott’sLifting of the Banner:”—
“From the brown crest of Newark its summons extending,
Our signal is waving in smoke and in flame,
And each Forester blythe, from his mountain descending,
Bounds light o’er the heather to join in the game;
Then up with the Banner! let forest winds fan her!
She has blazed over Ettrick eight ages and more;
In sport we’ll attend her, in battle defend her,
With heart and with hand, like our Fathers before,” &c.*
—and that excellent ditty by
Hogg, entitled “The Ettrick Garland, to the Ancient Banner of the House of Buccleuch:”—
“And hast thou here, like hermit grey,
Thy mystic characters unroll’d,
O’er peaceful revellers to play,
Thou emblem of the days of old?”
“All hail! memorial of the brave,
The liegeman’s pride, the Border’s awe!
May thy grey pennon never wave
On sterner field than Carterhaugh!” &c.

I have no doubt the Sheriff of the Forest was a prouder

* See Poetical Works, (Edit. 1834) vol. xi. p. 312.

man, when he saw his boy ride about Carterhaugh with the pennon of Bellenden, than when
Platoff mounted himself for the imperial review of the Champ de Mars. It is a pity that I should have occasion to allude, before I quit a scene so characteristic of Scott, to another outbreak of Hogg’s jealous humour. His Autobiography informs us, that when the more distinguished part of the company assembled on the conclusion of the sport to dine at Bowhill, he was proceeding to place himself at a particular table—but the Sheriff seized his arm, told him that was reserved for the nobility, and seated him at an inferior board “between himself and the Laird of Harden”—the first gentleman of the clan Scott. “The fact is,” says Hogg, “I am convinced he was sore afraid of my getting to be too great a favourite among the young ladies of Buccleuch!” Who can read this, and not be reminded of Sancho Panza and the Duchess? And, after all, he quite mistook what Scott had said to him; for certainly there was, neither on this, nor on any similar occasion at Bowhill, any high table for the nobility, though there was a side-table for the children, at which when the Shepherd of Ettrick was about to seat himself, his friend probably whispered that it was reserved for the “little lords and ladies, and their playmates.” This blunder may seem undeserving of any explanation; but it is often in small matters that the strongest feelings are most strikingly betrayed—and this story is, in exact proportion to its silliness, indicative of the jealous feeling which mars and distorts so many of Hogg’s representations of Scott’s conduct and demeanour.

It appears from the account of this football match in the Edinburgh Journal, that Scott took a lead in proposing a renewal of the contest. This, however, never occurred; and that it ought not to do so, had probably occurred from the first to the Duke of Buccleuch, who
is mentioned as having alone abstained from laying any bets on the final issue.

When Mr Washington Irving visited Scott two years afterwards at Abbotsford, he told his American friend that “the old feuds and local interests, and revelries and animosities of the Scotch, still slept in their ashes, and might easily be roused; their hereditary feeling for names was still great; it was not always safe to have even the game of football between villages;—the old clannish spirit was too apt to break out.”*

The good Duke of Buccleuch’s solitary exemption from these heats of Carterhaugh, might read a significant lesson to minor politicians of all parties on more important scenes. In pursuance of the same peace-making spirit, he appears to have been desirous of doing something gratifying to the men of the town of Selkirk, who had on this occasion taken the field against his Yarrow tenantry. His Grace consulted Scott about the design of a piece of plate to be presented to their community; and his letter on this weighty subject must not be omitted in the memoirs of a Sheriff of Selkirk:

To his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, &c., Bowhill.
“Edinburgh, Thursday.
“My dear Lord,

“I have proceeded in my commission about the cup. It will be a very handsome one. But I am still puzzled to dispose of the birse† in a becoming manner.

* Irving’s Abbotsford and Newstead, 1835, p. 40.

† A birse, or bunch of hog’s bristles, forms the cognizance of the sutors. When a new burgess is admitted into their community, the birse passes round with the cup of welcome, and every elder brother dips it into the wine, and draws it through his mouth, before it reaches the happy neophyte, who of course pays it similar respect.

It is a most unmanageable decoration. I tried it upright on the top of the cup; it looked like a shaving-brush, and the goblet might be intended to make the lather. Then I thought I had a brilliant idea. The arms of Selkirk are a female seated on a sarcophagus, decorated with the arms of Scotland, which will make a beautiful top to the cup. So I thought of putting the birse into the lady’s other hand; but, alas! it looked so precisely like the rod of chastisement uplifted over the poor child, that I laughed at the drawing for half an hour. Next, I tried to take off the castigatory appearance, by inserting the bristles in a kind of handle; but then it looked as if the poor woman had been engaged in the capacities of housemaid and child-keeper at once, and, fatigued with her double duty, had sat down on the wine-cooler, with the broom in one hand, and the bairn in the other. At length, after some conference with
Charles Sharpe, I have hit on a plan, which, I think, will look very well, if tolerably executed, namely, to have the lady seated in due form on the top of the lid (which will look handsome and will be well taken), and to have a thistle wreathed around the sarcophagus and rising above her head, and from the top of the thistle shall proceed the birse. I will bring a drawing with me, and they shall get the cup ready in the mean time. I hope to be at Abbotsford on Monday night, to stay for a week. My cat has eat two or three birds, while regaling on the crumbs that were thrown for them. This was a breach of hospitality; but oportet vivere—and micat inter omnes—with which stolen pun, and my respectful compliments to Lord Montagu and the ladies, I am, very truly, your Grace’s most faithful and obliged servant,

Walter Scott.”

“P.S.—Under another cover, which I have just re-
ceived, I send the two drawings of the front and reverse of the lid of the proposed cup. Your Grace will be so good as understand that the thistle, the top of which is garnished with the bristle,—is entirely detached, in working, from the figure, and slips into a socket. The following lines are humbly suggested for a motto, being taken from an ancient Scottish canzonetta,—unless the Yarrow committee can find any better:—

‘The sutor ga’e the sow a kiss;
Grumph! quo’ the sow, it’s a’ for my birss.’”

Some weeks before the year 1815 closed, Mr Morritt sustained the heaviest of domestic afflictions; and several letters on that sad subject had passed between Rokeby and Abbotsford, before the date of the following:—

To J. B. S. Morritt, Esq., M.P., Rokeby Park.
“Edinburgh, 22d Dec. 1815.
“My dear Morritt,

“While you know what satisfaction it would have given me to have seen you here, I am very sensible of the more weighty reasons which you urge for preferring to stay at Rokeby for some time. I only hope you will remember that Scotland has claims on you, whenever you shall find your own mind so far at ease as to permit you to look abroad for consolation; and if it should happen that you thought of being here about our time of vacation, I have my time then entirely at my own command, and I need not say, that as much of it as could in any manner of way contribute to your amusement, is most heartily at yours. I have myself at present the melancholy task of watching the declining health of my elder brother, Major Scott, whom, I think, you have seen.


“My literary occupation is getting through the press the Letters of Paul, of whose lucubrations I trust soon to send you a copy. As the observations of a bystander, perhaps you will find some amusement in them, especially as I had some channels of information not accessible to every one. The recess of our courts, which takes place to-morrow, for three weeks, will give me ample time to complete this job, and also the second volume of Triermain, which is nearly finished,—a strange rude story, founded partly on the ancient northern traditions respecting the Berserkers, whose peculiar habits, and fits of martial frenzy, make such a figure in the Sagas. I shall then set myself seriously to the Antiquary, of which I have only a very general sketch at present; but when once I get my pen to the paper it will walk fast enough. I am sometimes tempted to leave it alone, and try whether it will not write as well without the assistance of my head as with it. A hopeful prospect for the reader. In the mean while, the snow, which is now falling so fast as to make it dubious when this letter may reach Rokeby, is likely to forward these important avocations, by keeping me a constant resident in Edinburgh, in lieu of my plan of going to Abbotsford, where I had a number of schemes in hand in the way of planting and improving. I believe I told you I have made a considerable addition to my little farm, and extended my domains towards a wild lake, which I have a good prospect of acquiring also. It has a sort of legendary fame; for the persuasion of the solitary shepherds who approach its banks, is, that it is tenanted by a very large amphibious animal, called by them a water-bull, and which several of them pretend to have seen. As his dimensions greatly exceed those of an otter, I am tempted to think with Trinculo, ‘This is the devil, and no monster.’ But, after all, is it not strange, that as to almost all
the lakes in Scotland, both Lowland and Highland, such a belief should prevail? and that the description popularly given uniformly corresponds with that of the hippopotamus? Is it possible, that at some remote period, that remarkable animal, like some others which have now disappeared, may have been an inhabitant of our large lakes? Certainly the vanishing of the mammoth and other animals from the face of creation, renders such a conjecture less wild than I would otherwise esteem it. It is certain we have lost the beaver, whose bones have been more than once found in our Selkirkshire bogs and marl-mosses. The remains of the wild bull are very frequently found; and I have more than one scull, with the horns of most formidable dimensions.

“About a fortnight ago, we had a great foot-ball match in Selkirkshire, when the Duke of Buccleuch raised his banner (a very curious and ancient pennon) in great form. Your friend Walter was banner-bearer, dressed like a forester of old, in green, with a green bonnet, and an eagle feather in it; and, as he was well mounted, and rode handsomely over the field, he was much admired by all his clansmen.

“I have thrown these trifles together, without much hope that they will afford you amusement; but I know you will wish to know what I am about, and I have but trifles to send to those friends who interest themselves about a trifler. My present employment is watching, from time to time, the progress of a stupid cause, in order to be ready to reduce the sentence into writing, when the court shall have decided whether Gordon of Kenmore or MacMichan of Meikleforthhead be the superior of the lands of Tarschrechan and Dalbrattie, and entitled to the feudal casualities payable forth thereof, which may amount to twopence sterling, once in half a-dozen of years. Marry, sir, they make part of a freehold quali-
fication, and the decision may wing a voter. I did not send the book you received by the Selkirk coach. I wish I could have had sense enough to send any thing which could afford you consolation. I think our friend
Lady Louisa was likely to have had this attention; she has, God knows, been herself tried with affliction, and is well acquainted with the sources from which comfort can be drawn. My wife joins in kindest remembrances, as do Sophia and Walter. Ever yours affectionately,

Walter Scott.”

This letter is dated the 22d of December. On the 26th, John Ballantyne, being then at Abbotsford, writes to Messrs Constable: “Paul is all in hand;” and an envelope, addressed to James Ballantyne on the 29th, has preserved another little fragment of Scott’s playful doggrell:

“Dear James—I’m done, thank God, with the long yarns
Of the most prosy of Apostles—Paul;
And now advance, sweet Heathen of Monkbarns,
Step out, old quizz, as fast as I can scrawl.”