LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter IX 1814

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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I question if any man ever drew his own character more fully or more pleasingly than Scott has clone in the preceding diary of a six weeks’ pleasure voyage. We have before us, according to the scene and occasion, the poet, the antiquary, the magistrate, the planter, and the agriculturist; but every where the warm yet sagacious philanthropist—every where the courtesy, based on the unselfishness, of the thoroughbred gentleman;—and surely never was the tenderness of a manly heart portrayed more touchingly than in the closing pages. I ought to mention that Erskine received the news of the Duchess of Buccleuch’s death on the day when the party landed at Dunstaffnage; but, knowing how it would affect Scott, took means to prevent its reaching him until the expedition should be concluded. He heard the event casually mentioned by a stranger during dinner at Port Rush, and was for the moment quite overpowered.


Of the letters which Scott wrote to his friends during those happy six weeks, I have recovered only one, and it is, thanks to the leisure of the yacht, in verse. The strong and easy heroics of the first section prove, I think, that Mr Canning did not err when he told him that if he chose he might emulate even Dryden’s command of that noble measure; and the dancing anapaests of the second show that he could with equal facility have rivalled the gay graces of Cotton, Anstey, or Moore. This epistle did not reach the Duke of Buccleuch until his lovely Duchess was no more; and I shall annex to it some communications relating to that affliction which afford a contrast, not less interesting than melancholy, to the light-hearted glee reflected in the rhymes from the region of Magnus Troill.

To his Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, &c. &c. &c.
“Lighthouse Yacht in the Sound of Lerwick, Zetland,
8th August, 1814.
“Health to the Chieftain from his clansman true!
From her true minstrel health to fair Buccleuch!
Health from the isles, where dewy Morning weaves
Her chaplet with the tints that Twilight leaves;
Where late the sun scarce vanished from the sight,
And his bright pathway graced the short-lived night,
Though darker now as autumn’s shades extend,
The north winds whistle and the mists ascend.
Health from the land where eddying whirlwinds toss
The storm-rocked cradle of the Cape of Noss;
On outstretched cords the giddy engine slides,
His own strong arm the bold adventurer guides,
And he that lists such desperate feat to try,
May, like the sea-mew, skim ’twixt surf and sky,
And feel the mid-air gales around him blow,
And see the billows rage five hundred feet below.
‘Here by each stormy peak and desert shore,
The hardy islesman tugs the daring oar,
Practised alike his venturous course to keep
Through the white breakers or the pathless deep,
By ceaseless peril and by toil to gain
A wretched pittance from the niggard main.
And when the worn-out drudge old ocean leaves,
What comfort greets him and what hut receives?
Lady! the worst your presence ere has cheered
(When want and sorrow fled as you appeared)
Were to a Zetlander as the high dome
Of proud Drumlanrig to my humble home.
Here rise no groves, and here no gardens blow,
Here even the hardy heath scarce dares to grow;
But rocks on rocks, in mist and storm arrayed,
Stretch far to sea their giant colonnade,
With many a cavern seam’d, the dreary haunt
Of the dun seal and swarthy cormorant.
Wild round their rifted brows with frequent cry,
As of lament, the gulls and gannets fly,
And from their sable base, with sullen sound,
In sheets of whitening foam the waves rebound.
“Yet even these coasts a touch of envy gain
From those whose land has known oppression’s chain;
For here the industrious Dutchman comes once more
To moor his fishing craft by Bressay’s shore;
Greets every former mate and brother tar,
Marvels how Lerwick ’scaped the rage of war,
Tells many a tale of Gallic outrage done,
And ends by blessing God and Wellington.
Here too the Greenland tar, a fiercer guest,
Claims a brief hour of riot, not of rest;
Proves each wild frolic that in wine has birth,
And wakes the land with brawls and boisterous mirth.
A sadder sight on yon poor vessel’s prow
The captive Norse-man sits in silent wo,
And eyes the flags of Britain as they flow.
Hard fate of war, which bade her terrors sway
His destined course, and seize so mean a prey;
A bark with planks so warp’d and seams so riven,
She scarce might face the gentlest airs of heaven:
Pensive he sits, and questions oft if none
Can list his speech and understand his moan;
In vain—no islesman now can use the tongue
Of the bold Norse, from whom their lineage sprung.
Not thus of old the Norse-men hither came,
Won by the love of danger or of fame;
On every storm-beat cape a shapeless tower
Tells of their wars, their conquests, and their power;
For ne’er for Grecia’s vales, nor Latian Land,
Was fiercer strife than for this barren strand—
A race severe—the isle and ocean lords,
Loved for its own delight the strife of swords—
With scornful laugh the mortal pang defied,
And blessed their gods that they in battle died.
“Such were the sires of Zetland’s simple race,
And still the eye may faint resemblance trace
In the blue eye, tall form, proportion fair,
The limbs athletic, and the long light hair—
(Such was the mien, as Scald and Minstrel sings,
Of fair-haired Harold, first of Norway’s Kings);
But their high deeds to scale these crags confined,
Their only warfare is with waves and wind.
“Why should I talk of Mousa’s castled coast?
Why of the horrors of the Sumburgh Rost?
May not these bald disjointed lines suffice,
Penn’d while my comrades whirl the rattling dice—
While down the cabin skylight lessening shine
The rays, and eve is chased with mirth and wine?—
Imagined, while down Mousa’s desert bay
Our well-trimm’d vessel urged her nimble way—
While to the freshening breeze she leaned her side—
And bade her bowsprit kiss the foamy tide—?
“Such are the lays that Zetland Isles supply;
Drenched with the drizzly spray and dropping sky,
Weary and wet, a sea-sick minstrel I.— W. Scott.”
“Kirkwall, Orkney, Aug. 13, 1814.
“In respect that your grace has commissioned a Kraken,
You will please be informed that they seldom are taken;
It is January two years, the Zetland folks say,
Since they saw the last Kraken in Scalloway bay;
He lay in the offing a fortnight or more,
But the devil a Zetlander put from the shore,
Though bold in the seas of the North to assail
The morse and the sea-horse, the grampus and whale.
If your Grace thinks I’m writing the thing that is not,
You may ask at a namesake of ours, Mr Scott
(He’s not from our clan, though his merits deserve it,
But springs, I’m inform’d, from the Scotts of Scotstarvet);*
He questioned the folks, who beheld it with eyes,
But they differed confoundedly as to its size.
For instance, the modest and diffident swore
That it seemed like the keel of a ship, and no more—
Those of eyesight more clear, or of fancy more high,
Said it rose like an island ’twixt ocean and sky—
But all of the hulk had a steady opinion
That ’twas sure a live subject of Neptune’s dominion—
And I think, my Lord Duke, your Grace hardly would wish
To cumber your house such a kettle of fish.
Had your order related to night-caps or hose,
Or mittens of worsted, there’s plenty of those.
Or would you be pleased but to fancy a whale?
And direct me to send it—by sea or by mail?
The season, I’m told, is nigh over, but still
I could get you one fit for the lake at Bowhill.
Indeed, as to whales, there’s no need to be thrifty,
Since one day last fortnight two hundred and fifty,
Pursued by seven Orkney men’s boats and no more,
Betwixt Truffness and Luffness were drawn on the shore!
You’ll ask if I saw this same wonderful sight;
I own that I did not, but easily might—
For this mighty shoal of leviathans lay
On our lee-beam a mile, in the loop of the bay,’
And the islesmen of Sanda were all at the spoil,
And flinching (so term it) the blubber to boil;
(Ye spirits of lavender drown the reflection
That awakes at the thoughts of this odorous dissection).
To see this huge marvel, full fain would we go,

* The Scotts of Scotstarvet, and other families of the name in. Fife and elsewhere, claim no kindred with the great clan of the Border and their aruiorial bearings are entirely different.

But Wilson, the wind, and the current said no.
We have now got to Kirkwall, and needs I must stare
When I think that in verse I have once called it fair;
’Tis a base little borough, both dirty and mean—
There is nothing to hear, and there’s nought to be seen,
Save a church, where, of old times, a prelate harangued,
And a palace that’s built by an earl that was hanged.
But farewell to Kirkwall—aboard we are going,
The anchor’s a-peak, and the breezes are blowing;
Our Commodore calls all his band to their places,
And ’tis time to release you—good night to your Graces!”
To His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, &c.
“Glasgow, Sept. 8, 1814.
“My dear Lord Duke,

“I take the earliest opportunity, after landing, to discharge a task so distressing to me, that I find reluctance and fear even in making the attempt, and for the first time address so kind and generous a friend without either comfort and confidence in myself, or the power of offering a single word of consolation to his affliction. I learned the late calamitous news (which indeed no preparation could have greatly mitigated) quite unexpectedly, when upon the Irish coast; nor could the shock of an earthquake have affected me in the same proportion. Since that time I have been detained at sea, thinking of nothing but what has happened, and of the painful duty I am now to perform. If the deepest interest in this inexpressible loss could qualify me for expressing myself upon a subject so distressing, I know few whose attachment and respect for the lamented object of our sorrows can, or ought to exceed my own, for never was more attractive kindness and condescension displayed by one of her sphere, or returned with deeper and more heartfelt gratitude by one in my own. But selfish regret and sorrow, while they claim a painful and unavailing as-
cendance, cannot drown the recollection of the virtues lost to the world, just when their scene of acting had opened wider, and to her family when the prospect of their speedy entry upon life rendered her precept and example peculiarly important. And such an example! for of all whom I have ever seen, in whatever rank, she possessed most the power of rendering virtue lovely𔃊combining purity of feeling and soundness of judgment with a sweetness and affability which won the affections of all who had the happiness of approaching her. And this is the partner of whom it has been God’s pleasure to deprive your Grace, and the friend for whom I now sorrow, and shall sorrow while I can remember any thing. The recollection of her excellencies can but add bitterness, at least in the first pangs of calamity, yet it is impossible to forbear the topic: it runs to my pen as to my thoughts, till I almost call in question, for an instant, the Eternal Wisdom which has so early summoned her from this wretched world, where pain and grief and sorrow is our portion, to join those to whom her virtues, while upon earth, gave her so strong a resemblance. Would to God I could say, be comforted; but I feel every common topic of consolation must be, for the time at least, even an irritation to affliction. Grieve, then, my dear Lord, or I should say my dear and much honoured friend, for sorrow for the time levels the highest distinctions of rank; but do not grieve as those who have no hope. I know the last earthly thoughts of the departed sharer of your joys and sorrows must have been for your Grace and the dear pledges she has left to your care. Do not, for their sake, suffer grief to take that exclusive possession which disclaims care for the living, and is not only useless to the dead, but is what their wishes would have most earnestly deprecated. To time, and to God, whose are both time and eternity, belongs
the office of future consolation; it is enough to require from the sufferer under such a dispensation to bear his burthen of sorrow with fortitude, and to resist those feelings which prompt us to believe that that which is galling and grievous is therefore altogether beyond our strength to support. Most bitterly do I regret some levity which I fear must have reached you when your distress was most poignant, and most dearly have I paid for venturing to anticipate the time which is not ours, since I received these deplorable news at the very moment when I was collecting some trifles that I thought might give satisfaction to the person whom I so highly honoured, and who, among her numerous excellencies, never failed to seem pleased with what she knew was meant to afford her pleasure.

“But I must break off, and have perhaps already written too much. I learn by a letter from Mrs Scott, this day received, that your Grace is at Bowhill𔃊in the beginning of next week𔃊I will be in the vicinity and when your Grace can receive me without additional pain, I shall have the honour of waiting upon you. I remain, with the deepest sympathy, my Lord Duke, your Grace’s truly distressed and most grateful servant,

Walter Scott.”

The following letter was addressed to Scott by the Duke of Buccleuch, before he received that which the Poet penned on landing at Glasgow. I present it here, because it will give a more exact notion of what Scott’s relations with his noble patron really were, than any other single document which I could produce; and to set that matter in its just light is essential to the business of this narrative. But I am not ashamed to confess that I embrace with satisfaction
the opportunity of thus offering to the readers of the present time a most instructive lesson. They will here see what pure and simple virtues and humble piety may be cultivated as the only sources of real comfort in this world and consolation in the prospect of futurity,𔃊among circles which the giddy and envious mob are apt to regard as intoxicated with the pomps and vanities of wealth and rank; which so many of our popular writers represent systematically as sunk in selfish indulgence𔃊as viewing all below them with apathy and indifference𔃊and last, not least, as upholding, when they do uphold, the religious institutions of their country, merely because they have been taught to believe that their own hereditary privileges and possessions derive security from the prevalence of Christian maxims and feelings among the mass of the people.

To Walter Scott, Esq., Post Office, Greenock.
“Bowhill, Sept. 3, 1814.
“My dear Sir,

“It is not with the view of distressing you with my griefs, in order to relieve my own feelings, that I address you at this moment. But knowing your attachment to myself, and more particularly the real affection which you bore to my poor wife, I thought that a few lines from me would be acceptable, both to explain the state of my mind at present, and to mention a few circumstances connected with that melancholy event.

“I am calm and resigned. The blow was so severe that it stunned me, and I did not feel that agony of mind which might have been expected. I now see the full extent of my misfortune; but that extended view of it has come gradually upon me. I am fully aware how imperative it is upon me to exert myself to the utmost
on account of my children. I must not depress their spirits by a display of my own melancholy feelings. I have many new duties to perform,—or rather, perhaps, I now feel more pressingly the obligation of duties which the unceasing exertions of my poor wife rendered less necessary, or induced me to attend to with less than sufficient accuracy. I have been taught a severe lesson; it may and ought to be a useful one. I feel that my lot, though a hard one, is accompanied by many alleviations denied to others. I have a numerous family, thank God, in health, and profiting, according to their different ages, by the admirable lessons they have been taught. My daughter,
Anne, worthy of so excellent a mother, exerts herself to the utmost to supply her place, and has displayed a fortitude and strength of mind beyond her years, and (as I had foolishly thought) beyond her powers. I have most kind friends willing and ready to afford me every assistance. These are my worldly comforts, and they are numerous and great.

“Painful as it may be, I cannot reconcile it to myself to be totally silent as to the last scene of this cruel tragedy. As she had lived, so she died—an example of every noble feeling—of love, attachment, and the total want of every thing selfish. Endeavouring to the last to conceal her suffering, she evinced a fortitude, a resignation, a Christian courage, beyond all power of description. Her last injunction was to attend to her poor people. It was a dreadful but instructive moment. I have learned that the most truly heroic spirit may be lodged in the tenderest and the gentlest breast. Need I tell you that she expired in the full hope and expectation, nay, in the firmest certainty of passing to a better world, through a steady reliance on her Saviour. If ever there was a proof of the efficacy of our religion in moments of the deepest affliction, and in the hour of
death, it was exemplified in her conduct. But I will no longer dwell upon a subject which must be painful to you. Knowing her sincere friendship for you, I have thought it would give you pleasure, though a melancholy one, to hear from me that her last moments were such as to be envied by every lover of virtue, piety, and true and genuine religion.

“I will endeavour to do in all things what I know she would wish. I have therefore determined to lay myself open to all the comforts my friends can afford me. I shall be most happy to cultivate their society as heretofore. I shall love them more and more because I know they loved her. Whenever it suits your convenience I shall he happy to see you here. I feel that it is particularly my duty not to make my house the house of mourning to my children; for I know it was her decided opinion that it is most mischievous to give an early impression of gloom to the mind.

“You will find me tranquil, and capable of going through the common occupations of society. Adieu for the present. Yours very sincerely,

Buccleuch, &c.”
To His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch, &c. &;c. &c.
“Edinburgh, 11th Sept. 1814.
“My dear Lord Duke,

“I received your letter (which had missed me at Greenock) upon its being returned to this place, and cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for the kindness which, at such a moment, could undertake the task of writing upon such a subject to relieve the feelings of a friend. Depend upon it, I am so far worthy of your Grace’s kindness that, among many proofs of it, this affecting and most distressing one can never be forgotten. It
gives me great though melancholy satisfaction, to find that your Grace has had the manly and Christian fortitude to adopt that resigned and patient frame of spirit, which can extract from the most bitter calamity a wholesome mental medicine. I trust in God that, as so many and such high duties are attached to your station, and as he has blessed you with the disposition that draws pleasure from the discharge of them, your Grace will find your first exertions, however painful, rewarded with strength to persevere, and finally, with that comfort which attends perseverance in that which is right. The happiness of hundreds depends upon your Grace almost directly, and the effect of your example in the country, and of your constancy in support of a constitution daily undermined by the wicked and designing, is almost incalculable. Justly, then, and well has your Grace resolved to sacrifice all that is selfish in the indulgence of grief, to the duties of your social and public situation. Long may you have health and strength to be to your dear and hopeful family an example and guide in all that becomes their high rank. It is enough that one light, and alas, what a light that was! has. been recalled by the Divine Will to another and a better sphere.

“I wrote a hasty and unconnected letter immediately on landing. I am detained for two days in this place, but shall wait upon your Grace immediately on my return to Abbotsford. If my society cannot, in the circumstances, give much pleasure, it will, I trust, impose no restraint.

Mrs Scott desires me to offer her deepest sympathy upon this calamitous occasion. She has much reason, for she has lost the countenance of a friend such as she cannot expect the course of human life again to supply
I am ever, with much and affectionate respect, your Grace’s truly faithful humble servant,

Walter Scott.”

To J. B. S. Morritt, Esq., M.P., Worthing.
“Edinburgh, September 14, 1814.
“My dear Morritt,

“‘At the end of my tour on the 22d August’!!! Lord help us!—this comes of going to the Levant and the Hellespont, and your Euxine, and so forth. A poor devil who goes to Nova Zembla and Thule is treated as if he had been only walking as far as Barnard Castle or Cauldshiel’s Loch.* I would have you to know I only returned on the 10th current, and the most agreeable thing I found was your letter. I am sure you must know I had need of something pleasant, for the news of

* Lord Byron writes to Mr Moore, August 3, 1814:—“Oh! I nave had the most amusing letter from Hogg, the Ettrick Minstrel and Shepherd. I think very highly of him as a poet, but he and half of these Scotch and Lake troubadours are spoilt by living in little circles and petty coteries. London and the world is the only place to take the conceit out of a man—in the milling phrase. Scott, he says, is gone to the Orkneys in a gale of wind, during which wind, he affirms, the said Scott he is sure is not at his ease, to say the least of it. Lord! Lord! if these home-keeping minstrels had crossed your Atlantic or my Mediterranean, and tasted a little open boating in a white squall—or a gale in ‘the Gut,’—or the Bay of Biscay, with no gale at all—how it would enliven and introduce them to a few of the sensations!—to say nothing of an illicit amour or two upon shore, in the way of Essay upon the Passions, beginning with simple adultery, and compounding it as they went along.” Life and Works, vol. iii. p. 102. Lord Byron, by the way, had written on July the 24th to Mr Murray, “Waverley is the best and most interesting novel I have redde since—I don’t know when,” &c. Ibid. p. 98.

the death of the beautiful, the kind, the affectionate, and generous
Duchess of Buccleuch gave me a shock, which, to speak God’s truth, could not have been exceeded unless by my own family’s sustaining a similar deprivation. She was indeed a light set upon a hill, and had all the grace which the most accomplished manners and the most affable address could give to those virtues by which she was raised still higher than by rank. As she always distinguished me by her regard and confidence, and as I had many opportunities of seeing her in the active discharge of duties in which she rather resembled a descended angel than an earthly being, you will excuse my saying so much about my own feelings on an occasion where sorrow has been universal. But I will drop the subject. The survivor has displayed a strength and firmness of mind seldom equalled, where the affection has been so strong and mutual, and amidst the very high station and commanding fortune which so often render self-control more difficult, because so far from being habitual. I trust for his own sake, as well as for that of thousands to whom his life is directly essential, and hundreds of thousands to whom his example is important, that God, as he has given him fortitude to bear this inexpressible shock, will add strength of constitution to support him in the struggle. He has written to me on the occasion in a style becoming a man and a Christian, submissive to the will of God, and willing to avail himself of the consolations which remain among his family and friends. I am going to see him, and how we shall meet, God knows; but though ‘an iron man of iron mould’ upon many of the occasions of life in which I see people most affected, and a peculiar contemner of the commonplace sorrow which I see paid to the departed, this is a case in which my stoicism will not serve me. They both gave me reason to think they
loved me, and I returned their regard with the most sincere attachment—the distinction of rank being, I think, set apart on all sides. But God’s will be done. I will dwell no longer upon this subject. It is much to learn that
Mrs Morritt is so much better, and that if I have sustained a severe wound from a quarter so little expected, I may promise myself the happiness of your dear wife’s recovery.

“I will shortly mention the train of our voyage, reserving particulars till another day. We sailed from Leith and skirted the Scottish coast, visiting the Buller of Buchan and other remarkable objects—went to Shetland—thence to Orkney—from thence round Cape Wrath to the Hebrides, making descents every where, where there was any thing to be seen—thence to Lewis and the Long Island—to Skye—to Iona—and so forth, lingering among the Hebrides as long as we could. Then we stood over to the coast of Ireland, and visited the Giant’s Causeway and Port Rush, where Dr Richardson, the inventor (discoverer I would say) of the celebrated fiorin grass resides. By the way, he is a chattering charlatan, and his fiorin a mere humbug. But if he were Cicero, and his invention were potatoes, or any thing equally useful, I should detest the recollection of the place and the man, for it was there I learned the death of my friend. Adieu, my dear Morritt; kind compliments to your lady; like poor Tom, ‘I cannot daub it farther.’ When I hear where you are, and what you are doing, I will write you a more cheerful epistle. Poor Mackenzie, too, is gone—the brother of our friend Lady Hood—and another Mackenzie, son to the Man of Feeling. So short time have I been absent, and such has been the harvest of mortality among those whom I regarded.

“I will attend to your corrections in Waverley. My
principal employment for the autumn will be reducing the knowledge I have acquired of the localities of the islands into scenery and stage-room for the ‘
Lord of the Isles,’ of which renowned romance I think I have repeated some portions to you. It was elder born than Rokeby, though it gave place to it in publishing.

“After all, scribbling is an odd propensity. I don’t believe there is any ointment, even that of the Edinburgh Review, which can cure the infected. Once more yours entirely,

Walter Scott.”

Before I pass from the event which made August 1814 so black a month in Scott’s calendar, I may be excused for once more noticing the kind interest which the Duchess of Buccleuch had always taken in the fortunes of the Ettrick Shepherd, and introducing a most characteristic epistle which she received from him a few months before her death. The Duchess—“fearful” (as she said) “of seeing herself in print” did not answer the Shepherd, but forwarded his letter to Scott, begging him to explain that circumstances did not allow the Duke to concede what he requested, but to assure him that they both retained a strong wish to serve him whenever a suitable opportunity should present itself. Hogg’s letter was as follows:—

To her Grace the Duchess of Buccleuch, Dalkeith Palace. Favoured by Messrs Grieve and Scott, hatters, Edinburgh.*
“Ettrickbank, March 17, 1814.
“May it please your Grace,

“I have often grieved you by my applications for

* Mr Grieve was a man of cultivated mind and generous disposition, and a most kind and zealous friend of the Shepherd.

this and that. I am sensible of this, for I have had many instances of your wishes to be of service to me, could you have known what to do for that purpose. But there are some eccentric characters in the world, of whom no person can judge or know what will prove beneficial, or what may prove their bane. I have again and again received of your Grace’s private bounty, and though it made me love and respect you the more, I was nevertheless grieved at it. It was never your Grace’s money that I wanted, but the honour of your countenance; indeed my heart could never yield to the hope of being patronised by any house save that of Buccleuch, whom I deemed bound to cherish every plant that indicated any thing out of the common way on the Braes of Ettrick and Yarrow.

“I know you will be thinking that this long prelude is to end with a request. No, Madam! I have taken the resolution of never making another request. I will, however, tell you a story which is, I believe, founded on a fact:

“There is a small farm at the head of a water called * * * * * , possessed by a mean fellow named * * *. A third of it has been taken off and laid into another farm—the remainder is as yet unappropriated. Now, there is a certain poor bard, who has two old parents, each of them upwards of eighty-four years of age; and that bard has no house nor home to shelter those poor parents in, or cheer the evening of their lives. A single line, from a certain very great and very beautiful lady, to a certain Mr Riddell,* would ensure that small pendicle to the bard at once. But she will grant no such thing! I appeal to your Grace if she is not a

* Major Riddell, the Duke’s Chamberlain at Branksome Castle.

very bad lady that? I am your Grace’s ever obliged and grateful

James Hogg,
The Ettrick Shepherd.”

Though the Duke of Buccleuch would not dismiss a poor tenant merely because Hogg called him “a mean fellow,” he had told Scott that if he could find an unappropriated “pendicle,” such as this letter referred to, he would most willingly bestow it on the Shepherd. It so happened, that when Scott paid his first visit at Bowhill after the death of the Duchess, the Ettrick Shepherd was mentioned: “My friend,” said the Duke, “I must now consider this poor man’s case as her legacy;” and to this feeling Hogg owed, very soon afterwards, his establishment at Altrive, on his favourite Braes of Yarrow.

As Scott passed through Edinburgh on his return from his voyage, the negotiation as to the Lord of the Isles, which had been protracted through several months, was completed—Constable agreeing to give fifteen hundred guineas for one half of the copyright, while the other moiety was retained by the author. The sum mentioned had been offered by Constable at an early stage of the affair, but it was not until now accepted, in consequence of the earnest wish of Scott and Ballantyne to saddle the publisher of the new poem with part of their old “quire stock,”—which, however, Constable ultimately persisted in refusing. It may easily be believed that John Ballantyne’s management of money matters during Scott’s six weeks’ absence had been such as to render it doubly convenient for the Poet to have this matter settled on his arrival in Edinburgh—and it may also be supposed that the progress of Waverley
during that interval had tended to put the chief parties in good humour with each other.

In returning to Waverley, I must observe most distinctly that nothing can be more unfounded than the statement which has of late years been frequently repeated in Memoirs of Scott’s Life, that the sale of the first edition of this immortal Tale was slow. It appeared on the 7th of July, and the whole impression (1000 copies) had disappeared within five weeks; an occurrence then unprecedented in the case of an anonymous novel, put forth, at what is called among publishers, the dead season. A second edition, of 2000 copies, was at least projected by the 24th of the same month,*—that appeared before the end of August, and it too had gone off so rapidly, that when Scott passed through Edinburgh, on his way from the Hebrides, he found Constable eager to treat, on the same terms as before, for a third of 1000 copies. This third edition was published in October, and when a fourth of the like extent was called for in November, I find Scott writing to John Ballantyne:—“I suppose Constable won’t quarrel with a work on which he has netted L.612 in four months, with a certainty of making it L.1000 before the year is out:” and, in fact, owing to the diminished expense of advertising, the profits of this fourth edition were to each party L.440. To avoid recurring to these details, I may as well state at once that a fifth edition of 1000 copies appeared in January 1815; a sixth of 1500 in June 1816; a seventh of 2000 in October 1817; an eighth of 2000 in April 1821; that in the collective editions, prior to 1829, 11,000 were disposed of; and that the sale of the current edition, with notes, begun in 1829, has already reached 40,000 copies. Well might Constable

* See letter to Mr Morritt, ante, p. 129.

regret that he had not ventured to offer L.1000 for the whole copyright of Waverley!

I must now look back for a moment to the history of the composition. The letter of September 1810 was not the only piece of discouragement which Scott had received, during the progress of Waverley, from his first confidant. My good friend, James Ballantyne, in his death-bed memorandum, says,—“When Mr Scott first questioned me as to my hopes of him as a novelist, it somehow or other did chance that they were not very high. He saw this, and said—‘Well, I don’t see why I should not succeed as well as other people. At all events, faint heart never won fair lady—’tis only trying.’ When the first volume was completed, I still could not get myself to think much of the Waverley-Honour scenes; and in this I afterwards found that I sympathized with many. But, to my utter shame be it spoken, when I reached the exquisite descriptions of scenes and manners at Tully-Veolan, what did I do but pronounce them at once to be utterly vulgar! When the success of the work so entirely knocked me down as a man of taste, all that the good-natured author said was—‘Well, I really thought you were wrong about the Scotch. Why, Burns, by his poetry, had already attracted universal attention to every thing Scottish, and I confess I couldn’t see why I should not be able to keep the flame alive, merely because I wrote Scotch in prose, and he in rhyme.’”—It is, I think, very agreeable to have this manly avowal to compare with the delicate allusion which Scott makes to the affair in his Preface to the Novel.

The only other friends originally intrusted with his secret appear to have been Mr Erskine and Mr Morritt. I know not at what stage the former altered the opinion which he formed on seeing the tiny fragment of 1805.
The latter did not, as we have seen, receive the book until it was completed; but he anticipated, before he closed the first volume, the station which public opinion would ultimately assign to Waverley. “How the story may continue,” Mr Morritt then wrote, “I am not able to divine; but, as far as I have read, pray let us thank you for the Castle of Tully-Veolan, and the delightful drinking-bout at Lucky Mac-Leary’s, for the characters of the Laird of Balmawhapple and the Baron of Bradwardine: and no less for Davie Gellatly, whom I take to be a transcript of
William Rose’s motley follower, commonly yclept Caliban.* If the completion be equal to what we have just devoured, it deserves a place among our standard works far better than its modest appearance and anonymous titlepage will at first gain it in these days of prolific story-telling. Your manner of narrating is so different from the slipshod sauntering verbiage of common novels, and from the stiff, precise, and prim sententiousness of some of our female moralists, that I think it can’t fail to strike any body who knows what style means; but, amongst the gentle class, who swallow every blue-backed book in a circulating library for the sake of the story, I should fear half the knowledge of nature it contains, and all the real humour, may be thrown away. Sir Everard, Mrs Rachael, and the Baron, are, I think, in the first rank of portraits for nature and character; and I could depone to their likeness in any court of taste. The ballad of St Swithin, and scraps of old songs, were measures of danger, if you meant to continue your concealment; but, in truth, you

* Of David Hinves, Mr Rose’s faithful and affectionate attendant, here alluded to, the reader will find some notices hereafter; for when he appeared at Abbotsford in my time he seemed to be considered by Scott, not in the light of an ordinary servant, but as the friend of his master, and consequently as his own friend too.

wear your disguise something after the manner of Bottom, the weaver; and in spite of you the truth will soon peep out.” And next day he resumes,—“We have finished
Waverley, and were I to tell you all my admiration, you would accuse me of complimenting. You have quite attained the point which your postscript-preface mentions as your object—the discrimination of Scottish character, which had hitherto been slurred over with clumsy national daubing.” He adds, a week or two later,—“After all, I need not much thank you for your confidence. How could you have hoped that I should not discover you? I had heard you tell half the anecdotes before some turns you owe to myself; and no doubt most of your friends must have the same sort of thing to say.”

Monk Lewis’s letter on the subject is so short, that I must give it as it stands:

To Walter Scott, Esq., Abbotsford.
“The Albany, Aug. 17, 1814.
“My dear Scott,

“I return some books of yours which you lent me ‘sixty years since’ and I hope they will reach you safe. I write in great haste; and yet I must mention, that hearing ‘Waverley’ ascribed to you, I bought it, and read it with all impatience. I am now told it is not yours, but William Erskine’s. If this is so, pray tell him from me that I think it excellent in every respect, and that I believe every word of it. Ever yours,

M. G. Lewis.”

Another friend (and he had, I think, none more dear), the late Margaret Maclean Clephane of Torloisk, afterwards Marchioness of Northampton, writes thus from Kirkness, in Kinross-shire, on the 11th October:—“In
this place I feel a sort of pleasure, not unallied to pain, from the many recollections that every venerable tree, and every sunny bank, and every honeysuckle bower occasions; and I have found something here that speaks to me in the voice of a valued friend—
Waverley. The question that rises, it is perhaps improper to give utterance to. If so, let it pass as an exclamation.—Is it possible that Mr Erskine can have written it? The poetry, I think, would prove a different descent in any court in Christendom. The turn of the phrases in many places is so peculiarly yours, that I fancy I hear your voice repeating them; and there wants but verse to make all Waverley an enchanting poem—varying to be sure from grave to gay, but with so deepening an interest as to leave an impression on the mind that few very few poems could awaken.—But, why did not the author allow me to be his Gaelic Dragoman? Oh! Mr ——, whoever you are, you might have safely trusted M. M. C.”

There was one person with whom it would, of course, have been more than vain to affect any concealment. On the publication of the third edition, I find him writing thus to his brother Thomas, who had by this time gone to Canada as paymaster of the 70th regiment:—“Dear Tom, a novel here, called Waverley, has had enormous success. I sent you a copy, and will send you another, with the Lord of the Isles, which will be out at Christmas. The success which it has had, with some other circumstances, has induced people
‘To lay the bantling at a certain door,
Where laying store of faults, they’d fain heap more.’
You will guess for yourself how far such a report has credibility; but by no means give the weight of your opinion to the Transatlantic public; for you must know there is also a counter-report, that you have written the
said Waverley. Send me a novel intermixing your exuberant and natural humour, with any incidents and descriptions of scenery you may see particularly with characters and traits of manners. I will give it all the cobbling that is necessary, and, if you do but exert yourself, I have not the least doubt it will be worth L.500; and, to encourage you, you may, when you send the MS., draw on me for L.100, at fifty days’ sight so that your labours will at any rate not be quite thrown away. You have more fun and descriptive talent than most people; and all that you want—i. e. the mere practice of composition—I can supply, or the devil’s in it. Keep this matter a dead secret, and look knowing when Waverley is spoken of. If you are not Sir John Falstaff, you are as good a man as he, and may therefore face Colville of the Dale. You may believe I don’t want to make you the author of a book you have never seen; but if people will, upon their own judgment suppose so, and also on their own judgment give you L.500 to try your hand on a novel, I don’t see that you are a pin’s-point the worse. Mind that your MS. attends the draft. I am perfectly serious and confident, that in two or three months you might clear the cobs. I beg my compliments to the hero who is afraid of
Jeffrey’s scalping-knife.”

In truth, no one of Scott’s intimate friends ever had, or could have had, the slightest doubt as to the parentage of Waverley: nor, although he abstained from communicating the fact formally to most of them, did he ever affect any real concealment in the case of such persons; nor, when any circumstance arose which rendered the withholding of direct confidence on the subject incompatible with perfect freedom of feeling on both sides, did he hesitate to make the avowal.

Nor do I believe that the mystification ever answered
much purpose, among literary men of eminence beyond the circle of his personal acquaintance. But it would be difficult to suppose that he had ever wished that to be otherwise; it was sufficient for him to set the mob of readers at gaze, and above all, to escape the annoyance of having productions, actually known to be his, made the daily and hourly topics of discussion in his presence.
Mr Jeffrey had known Scott from his youth and, in reviewing Waverley, he was at no pains to conceal his conviction of its authorship. He quarrelled, as usual, with carelessness of style, and some artificialities of plot, but rendered justice to the substantial merits of the work, in language which I shall not mar by abridgement. The Quarterly was far less favourable in its verdict. Indeed, the articles on Waverley, and afterwards on Guy Mannering, which appeared in that journal, will bear the test of ultimate opinion as badly as any critical pieces which our time has produced. They are written in a captious, cavilling strain of quibble, which shows as complete blindness to the essential interest of the narrative, as the critic betrays on the subject of the Scottish dialogue, which forms its liveliest ornament, when he pronounces that to be “a dark dialogue of Anglified Erse.” With this remarkable exception, the professional critics were, on the whole, not slow to confess their belief that, under a hackneyed name and trivial form, there had at last appeared a work of original creative genius, worthy of being placed by the side of the very few real masterpieces of prose fiction. Loftier romance was never blended with easier, quainter humour, by Cervantes himself. In his familiar delineations, he had combined the strength of Smollett with the native elegance and unaffected pathos of Goldsmith; in his darker scenes, he had revived that real tragedy which appeared to have left our stage with the age of Shakspeare; and elements
of interest so diverse had been blended and interwoven with that nameless grace which, more surety perhaps than even the highest perfection in the command of any one strain of sentiment, marks the master-mind cast in Nature’s most felicitous mould.

Scott, with the consciousness avowed long afterwards in his General Preface that he should never in all likelihood have thought of a Scotch novel had he not read Maria Edgeworth’s exquisite pieces of Irish character, desired James Ballantyne to send her a copy of Waverley on its first appearance, inscribed “from the author.” Miss Edgeworth, whom Scott had never then seen, though some literary correspondence had passed between them, thanked the nameless novelist, under cover to Ballantyne, with the cordial generosity of kindred genius; and the following answer, not from Scott, but from Ballantyne—(who had kept a copy, now before me)—is not to be omitted:—

To Miss Edgeworth, Edgeworthstown, Ireland.
“Edinburgh, 11th November, 1814.

“I am desired by the Author of Waverley to acknowledge, in his name, the honour you have done him by your most flattering approbation of his work a distinction which he receives as one of the highest that could be paid him, and which he would have been proud to have himself stated his sense of, only that being impersonal, he thought it more respectful to require my assistance, than to write an anonymous letter.

“There are very few who have had the opportunities that have been presented to me, of knowing how very elevated is the admiration entertained by the Author of Waverley for the genius of Miss Edgeworth. From the intercourse that took place betwixt us while the work
was going through my press, I know that the exquisite truth and power of your characters operated on his mind at once to excite and subdue it. He felt that the success of his book was to depend upon the characters, much more than upon the story; and he entertained so just and so high an opinion of your eminence in the management of both, as to have strong apprehensions of any comparison which might be instituted betwixt his picture and story and yours; besides, that there is a richness and naiveté in Irish character and humour, in which the Scotch are certainly defective, and which could hardly fail, as he thought, to render his delineations cold and tame by the contrast. ‘If I could but hit Miss Edgeworth’s wonderful power of vivifying all her persons, and making them live as beings in your mind, I should not be afraid:’—Often has the Author of Waverley used such language to me; and I knew that I gratified him most when I could say,—‘Positively, this is equal to Miss Edgeworth.’ You will thus judge, Madam, how deeply he must feel such praise as you have bestowed upon his efforts. I believe he himself thinks the Baron the best drawn character in his book—I mean the Bailie—honest Bailie Macwheeble. He protests it is the most true, though from many causes he did not expect it to be the most popular. It appears to me, that amongst so many splendid portraits, all drawn with such strength and truth, it is more easy to say which is your favourite than which is best.
Mr Henry Mackenzie agrees with you in your objection to the resemblance to Fielding. He says, you should never be forced to recollect, maugre all its internal evidence to the contrary, that such a work is a work of fiction, and all its fine creations but of air. The character of Rose is less finished than the author had at one period intended; but I believe the characters of humour grew
upon his liking, to the prejudice, in some degree, of those of a more elevated and sentimental kind. Yet what can surpass Flora and her gallant brother?

“I am not authorized to say—but I will not resist my impulse to say to Miss Edgeworth, that another novel, descriptive of more ancient manners still, may be expected ere long from the Author of Waverley. But I request her to observe, that I say this in strict confidence—not certainly meaning to exclude from the knowledge of what will give them pleasure, her respectable family.

Mr Scott’s poem, the Lord of the Isles, promises fully to equal the most admired of his productions. It is, I think, equally powerful, and certainly more uniformly polished and sustained. I have seen three Cantos. It will consist of six.

“I have the honour to be, Madam, with the utmost admiration and respect,

Your most obedient
and most humble servant,
James Ballantyne.”