LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter IX 1826

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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Abbotsford, March 15, 9 at night.—The naturally unpleasant feelings which influenced me in my ejectment, for such it is virtually, readily evaporated in the course of the journey, though I had no pleasanter companions than Mrs Mackay the housekeeper and one of the maids; and I have a shyness of disposition, which looks like pride, but is not, which makes me awkward in speaking to my household domestics. With an out-of-doors’ labourer or an old woman gathering sticks I can crack for ever. I was welcomed here on my arrival by the tumult great of men and dogs, all happy to see me. One of my old labourers killed by the fall of a stone working at Gattonside Bridge. Old Will Straiton, my man of wisdom and proverbs, also dead. He was entertaining from his importance and self-conceit, but really a sensible old man. When he heard of my misfortunes, he went to bed, and said he would not rise again, and kept his word. He was very infirm when I last saw him. Tom Purdie in great glory, being released from all farm duty, and destined to attend the woods and be my special assistant.


March 17.—Sent off a packet to J. B.; only three pages copy—so must work hard for a day or two. I wish I could wind up my bottom handsomely (an odd but accredited phrase); the conclusion will not be luminous; we must try to make it dashing. Have a good deal to do between hands in sorting up—hourly arrival of books. I need not have exulted so soon in having attained ease and quiet. I am robbed of both with a vengeance. A letter from Lockhart. My worst augury is verified; the medical people think poor Johnnie is losing strength; he is gone with his mother to Brighton. The bitterness of this probably impending calamity is extreme. The child was almost too good for this world; beautiful in features; and though spoiled by every one, having one of the sweetest tempers as well as the quickest intellect I ever saw; a sense of humour quite extraordinary in a child, and, owing to the general notice which was taken of him, a great deal more information than suited his hours. He was born in the eighth month, and such children are never strong—seldom long-lived. I look on this side and that, and see nothing but protracted misery, a crippled frame, and decayed constitution, occupying the attention of his parents for years, and dying at the end of that period, when their hearts were turned on him; or the poor child may die before Sophia’s confinement, and that may again be a dangerous and bad affair; or she may, by increase of attention to him, injure her own health. In short, to trace into how many branches such a misery may flow is impossible. The poor dear love had so often a slow fever, that when it pressed its little lips to mine, I always foreboded to my own heart what all I fear are now aware of.

March 18.—Slept indifferently, and under the
DIARY—MARCH, 1826.277
influence of Queen Mab, seldom auspicious to me. Dreamed of reading the tale of the Prince of the Black Marble Islands to little
Johnnie, extended on a paralytic chair, and yet telling all his pretty stories about Ha-Papa, as he calls me, and Chiefswood—and waked to think I should see the little darling no more, or see him as a thing that had better never have existed. Oh misery, misery, that the best I can wish for him is early death, with all the wretchedness to his parents that is likely to ensue! I had intended to have staid at home to-day; but Tom more wisely had resolved that I should walk, and hung about the window with his axe and my own in his hand till I turned out with him, and helped to cut some fine paling.

March 19.—Lady S., the faithful and true companion of my fortunes, good and bad, for so many years, has, but with difficulty, been prevailed on to see Dr Abercrombie, and his opinion is far from favourable. Her asthmatic complaints are fast terminating in hydropsy, as I have long suspected; yet the announcement of the truth is overwhelming. They are to stay a little longer in town, to try the effects of a new medicine. On Wednesday they propose to return hither—a new affliction, where there was enough before; yet her constitution is so good, that if she will be guided by advice, things may be yet ameliorated. God grant it! for really these misfortunes come too close upon each other.

March 20.—Despatched proofs and copy this morning; and Swanston the carpenter coming in, I made a sort of busy idle day of it with altering and hanging pictures and prints, to find room for those which came from Edinburgh, and by dint of being on foot from ten
to near five, put all things into apple-pie order. What strange beings we are! The serious duties I have on hand cannot divert my mind from the most melancholy thoughts; and yet the talking of these workmen, and the trifling occupation which they give me, serves to dissipate my attention. The truth is, I fancy that a body under the impulse of violent motion cannot be stopped or forced back, but may indirectly be urged into a different channel. In the evening I read and sent off my sheriff-court processes.

March 21.—Perused an attack upon myself, done with as much ability as truth, by no less a man than Joseph Hume, the night-work man of the House of Commons, who lives upon petty abuses, and is a very useful man by so doing. He has had the kindness to say that I am interested in keeping up the taxes; I wish I had any thing else to do with them than to pay them. But he is an ass, and not worth a man’s thinking about. Joseph Hume indeed!—I say Joseph Hum,—and could add a Swiftian rhyme, but forbear. Busy in unpacking and repacking. I wrote five pages of Woodstock, which work begins
‘To appropinque an end.’

March 23.—Lady Scott arrived yesterday to dinner. She was better than I expected, but Anne, poor soul, looked very poorly, and had been much worried with the fatigue and discomfort of the last week. Lady S. takes the digitalis, and, as she thinks, with advantage, though the medicine makes her very sick. Yet on the whole, things are better than my gloomy apprehensions had anticipated. Took a brushing walk, but not till I had done a good task.

DIARY—MARCH, 1826. 279

March 24.—Sent off copy, proofs, &c., to J. B.; clamorous for a motto. It is foolish to encourage people to expect such decoraments. It is like being in the habit of showing feats of strength, which you gain little praise by accomplishing, while some shame occurs in failure.

March 26.—Here is a disagreeable morning, snowing and hailing, with gleams of bright sunshine between, and all the ground white, and all the air frozen. I don’t like this jumbling of weather. It is ungenial, and gives chilblains. Besides, with its whiteness, and its coldness, and its discomfort, it resembles that most disagreeable of all things, a vain, cold, empty, beautiful woman, who has neither mind nor heart, but only features like a doll. I do not know what is so like this disagreeable day, when the sun is so bright, and yet so uninfluential, that
‘One may gaze upon its beams,
Till he is starved with cold.’
No matter, it will serve as well as another day to finish
Woodstock. Walked right to the lake, and coquetted with this disagreeable weather, whereby I catch chilblains in my fingers, and cold in my head. Fed the swans. Finished Woodstock however, cum tota sequela of title-page, introduction, &c., and so, as Dame Fortune says in Quevedo,
‘Go wheel, and may the devil drive thee.’

March 27.—Another bright cold day. I answered two modest requests from widow ladies. One, whom I had already assisted in some law business, on the footing of her having visited my mother, requested me to write to Mr Peel, saying, on her authority, that her second son, a youth of infinite merit and accomplish-
ment, was fit for any situation in a public office, and that I requested he might be provided accordingly. Another widowed dame, whose claim is having read
Marmion and the Lady of the Lake, besides a promise to read all my other works—Gad, it is a rash engagement!—demands that I shall either pay L.200 to get her cub into some place or other, or settle him in a seminary of education. Really this is very much after the fashion of the husbandman of Miguel Turra’s requests of Sancho when Governor. ‘Have you any thing else to ask, honest man?’ quoth Sancho. But what are the demands of an honest man to those of an honest woman, and she a widow to boot? I do believe your destitute widow, especially if she hath a charge of children, and one or two fit for patronage, is one of the most impudent animals living. Went to Galashiels, and settled the dispute about Sandie’s Wall.

March 28.—We have now been in solitude for some time, myself nearly totally so, excepting at meals. One is tempted to ask himself, knocking at the door of his own heart, Do you love this extreme loneliness? I can answer conscientiously, I do. The love of solitude was with me a passion of early youth; when in my teens, I used to fly from company to indulge in visions and airy castles of my own, the disposal of ideal wealth, and the exercise of imaginary power. This feeling prevailed even till I was eighteen, when love and ambition awakening with other passions, threw me more into society, from which I have, however, at times withdrawn myself, and have been always even glad to do so. I have risen from a feast satiated; and unless it be one or two persons of very strong intellect, or whose spirits and good-humour amuse me, I wish neither to see the high, the low, nor the middling class of society.
DIARY—MARCH, 1826.281
This is a feeling without the least tinge of misanthropy, which I always consider as a kind of blasphemy of a shocking description. If God bears with the very worst of us, we may surely endure each other. If thrown into society, I always have, and always will endeavour to bring pleasure with me, at least to show willingness to please. But for all this ‘I had rather live alone,’ and I wish my appointment, so convenient otherwise, did not require my going to Edinburgh. But this must be, and in my little lodging I shall be lonely enough. Reading at intervals a novel called
Granby, one of the class that aspire to describe the actual current of society, whose colours are so evanescent that it is difficult to fix them on the canvass. It is well written, but over-laboured—too much attempt to put the reader exactly up to the thoughts and sentiments of the parties. The women do this better; Edgeworth, Ferrier, Austen, have all given portraits of real society, far superior to any thing man, vain man, has produced of the like nature.

March 29.—Worked in the morning. Walked from one till half-past four. A fine flashy disagreeable day, snow-clouds sweeping past among sunshine, driving down the valley, and whitening the country behind them. Mr Gibson came suddenly in after dinner. Brought very indifferent news from Constable’s house. It is not now hoped that they will pay above three or four shillings in the pound. Robinson supposed not to be much better. Mr G. goes to London immediately, to sell Woodstock. This work may fail perhaps, though better than some of its predecessors. If so, we must try some new manner. I think I could catch the dogs yet. A beautiful and perfect lunar rainbow to-night.

April 1.—Ex uno die disce omnes.—Rose at seven or
sooner, studied and wrote till breakfast, with
Anne, about a quarter before ten. Lady Scott seldom able to rise till twelve or one. Then I write or study again till one. At that hour to-day I drove to Huntly-Burn, and walked home by one of the hundred and one pleasing paths which I have made through the woods I have planted—now chatting with Tom Purdie, who carries my plaid and speaks when he pleases, telling long stories of hits and misses in shooting twenty years back—sometimes chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy—and sometimes attending to the humours of two curious little terriers of the Dandie Dinmont breed, together with a noble wolf-hound puppy which Glengarry has given me to replace Maida. This brings me down to the very moment I do tell—the rest is prophetic. I shall feel drowsy when this book is locked, and perhaps sleep until Dalgliesh brings the dinner summons. Then I shall have a chat with Lady S. and Anne; some broth or soup, a slice of plain meat and man’s chief business, in Dr Johnson’s estimation, is briefly despatched. Half an hour with my family, and half an hour’s coquetting with a cigar, a tumbler of weak whisky and water, and a novel perhaps, lead on to tea, which sometimes consumes another half hour of chat; then write and read in my own room till ten o’clock at night; a little bread, and then a glass of porter, and to bed: and this, very rarely varied by a visit from some one, is the tenor of my daily life—and a very pleasant one indeed, were it not for apprehensions about Lady S. and poor Johnnie Hugh. The former will, I think, do well; for the latter—I fear—I fear—

April 2.—I am in a wayward humour this morning. I received yesterday the last proof-sheets of Woodstock, and I ought to correct them. Now, this ought sounds as like as possible to must, and must I cannot abide. I
would go to Prester John’s country of free good-will, sooner than I would must it to Edinburgh. Yet this is all folly, and silly folly too; and so must shall be for once obeyed after I have thus written myself out of my aversion to its peremptory sound.—Corrected the said proofs till twelve o’clock—when I think I will treat resolution, not to a dram, as the fellow said after he had passed the gin-shop, but to a walk, the rather that my eyesight is somewhat uncertain and wavering.

April 3.—I have the extraordinary and gratifying news that Woodstock is sold for L.8228; all ready money—a matchless sale for less than three months’ work.* If Napoleon does as well, or near it, it will put the trust affairs in high flourish. Four or five years of leisure and industry would, with such success, amply replace my losses. I have a curious fancy; I will go set two or three acorns, and judge by their success in growing whether I shall succeed in clearing my way or not. I have a little toothach keeps me from working much to-day, besides I sent off, per Blucher, copy for Napoleon, as well as the d——d proofs. A blank forenoon!—But how could I help it, Madam Duty? I was not lazy; on my soul I was not. I did not cry for half holiday for the sale of Woodstock. But in came Colonel Ferguson with Mrs Stewart of Blackhill, or hall, or some thing, and I must show her the garden, pictures, &c. This lasts till one; and just as they are at their lunch, and about to go off, guard is relieved by the Laird and Lady Harden, and Miss Eliza Scott—and my dear Chief, whom I love very much, proving a little obsidional or so, remains till three. That same crown, composed of

* The reader will understand that, the Novel being sold for the behoof of James Ballantyne and Company’s creditors, this sum includes the cost of printing the first edition, as well as paper.

the grass which grew on the walls of besieged places, should be offered to visiters who stay above an hour in any eident* person’s house. Wrote letters this evening.

April 4.—Wrote two pages in the morning. Then went to Ashestiel with Colonel Ferguson. Found my cousin Russell settled kindly to his gardening, &c. He seems to have brought home with him the enviable talent of being interested and happy in his own place. Ashestiel looks waste I think at this time of the year, but is a beautiful place in summer, where I passed some happy years. Did I ever pass unhappy years any where? None that I remember, save those at the High School, which I thoroughly detested on account of the confinement. I disliked serving in my father’s office, too, from the same hatred to restraint. In other respects, I have had unhappy days, unhappy weeks—even, on one or two occasions, unhappy months; but Fortune’s finger has never been able to play a dirge on me for a quarter of a year together. I am sorry to see the Peel-wood and other natural coppice decaying and abridged about Ashestiel—
‘The horrid plough has razed the green,
Where once my children play’d;
The axe has fell’d the hawthorn screen,
The schoolboy’s summer shade.’†

“There was a very romantic pasturage, called the Cow-park, which I was particularly attached to, from its wild and sequestered character. Having been part of an old wood which had been cut down, it was full of copse—hazel, and oak, and all sorts of young trees, irregularly scattered over fine pasturage, and affording a hundred intricacies so delicious to the eye and the ima-

* Eident, i. e. eagerly diligent.

† These lines are slightly altered from Logan.

DIARY—APRIL, 1826.285
gination. But some misjudging friend had cut down and cleared away without mercy, and divided the varied and sylvan scene (which was divided by a little rivulet) into the two most formal things in the world—a thriving plantation, many-angled, as usual—and a park laid down in grass, wanting, therefore, the rich graminivorous variety which Nature gives her carpet, and showing instead a braid of six days’ growth—lean and hungry growth too—of rye-grass and clover. As for the rill, it stagnates in a deep square ditch, which silences its prattle, and restrains its meanders with a witness. The original scene was, of course, imprinted still deeper on
Russell’s mind than mine, and I was glad to see he was intensely sorry for the change.

April 5.—Rose late in the morning to give the cold and toothach time to make themselves scarce, which they have obligingly done. Yesterday every tooth on the right side of my head was absolutely waltzing. I would have drawn by the half-dozen, but country dentists are not to be lippened* to. To-day all is quietness, but a little stiffness and swelling in the jaw. Worked a fair task; dined, and read Clapperton’s journey and Denman’s into Bornou. Very entertaining, and less botheration about mineralogy, botany, and so forth, than usual. Pity Africa picks off so many brave men, however. Work again in the evening.

April 6.—Wrote in the morning. Went at one to Huntly-Burn, where I had the great pleasure to hear, through a letter from Sir Adam, that Sophia was in health, and Johnnie gaining strength. It is a fine exchange from deep and aching uncertainty on so interesting a subject to the little spitfire feeling of ‘well,

* Lippened—i. e. relied upon.

but they might have taken the trouble to write;’ but so wretched a correspondent as myself has not much to say, so I will but grumble sufficiently to maintain the patriarchal dignity. I returned in time to work, and to have a shoal of things from
J. B. Among others, a letter from an Irish lady, who, for the beaux yeux which I shall never look upon, desires I may forthwith send her all the Waverley Novels, which she assures me will be an era in her life. She may find out some other epocha.

April 7.—Made out my morning’s task at one drove to Chiefswood, and walked home by the Rhymer’s Glen, Mar’s Lee, and Haxell-Cleugh. Took me three hours. The heath gets somewhat heavier for me every year—but never mind, I like it altogether as well as the day I could tread it best. The plantations are getting all into green leaf, especially the larches, if theirs may be called leaves, which are only a sort of hair. As I returned, there was, in the phraseology of that most precise of prigs in a white collarless coat and chapeau bras, Mister Commissary ******, ‘a rather dense inspissation of rain.’ Diel care.
‘Lord, who would live turmoiled in the Court,
And may enjoy such quiet walks as these?’ *
Yet misfortune comes our way too. Poor
Laidlaw lost a fine prattling child of five years old yesterday. It is odd enough—John, the Kentish Esquire, has just made the ejaculation which I adopted in the last page, when he kills Cade, and posts away up to Court to get the price set upon his head. Here is a letter come from Lockhart, full of Court news, and all sorts of news. He erroneously supposes that I think of applying to Ministers about Charles. I would not make such an

* 2d King Henry VI. Act. IV. Scene 10.

DIARY—APRIL, 1826.287
application for millions; I think if I were to ask patronage it would not be through them, for some time at least, and I might have better access.*

April 8.—We expect a raid of folks to visit us this morning, whom we must have dined before our misfortunes. Save time, wine, and money these misfortunes—and so far are convenient things. Besides, there is a dignity about them when they come only like the gout in its mildest shape, to authorize diet and retirement, the night-gown and the velvet shoe; when the one comes to chalk-stones, and you go to prison through the other, it is the devil. Or compare the effects of Sieur Gout and absolute poverty upon the stomach—the necessity of a bottle of laudanum in the one case, the want of a morsel of meat in the other. Laidlaw’s infant which died on Wednesday is buried to-day. The people coming to visit prevent my going, and I am glad of it. I hate funerals—always did. There is such a mixture of mummery with real grief—the actual mourner perhaps heart-broken, and all the rest making solemn faces, and whispering observations on the weather and public news, and here and there a greedy fellow enjoying the cake and wine. To me it is a farce of most tragical mirth, and I am not sorry (like Provost Coulter†) but glad that I shall not see my own. This is a most unfilial tendency of mine, for my father absolutely loved a funeral; and as he was a man of a fine presence, and looked the mourner well, he was asked to every interment of distinction. He seemed to preserve the list of a whole bead-roll of cousins, merely for the pleasure of being at their funerals, which he was often asked to superintend, and I suspect had sometimes

* In a letter of the same day he says—“My interest, as you might have known, lies Windsor-way.”

† See ante, vol. ii. p. 269.

to pay for. He carried me with him as often as he could to these mortuary ceremonies; but feeling I was not, like him, either useful or ornamental, I escaped as often as I could. I saw the poor child’s funeral from a distance. Ah, that Distance! What a magician for conjuring up scenes of joy or sorrow, smoothing all asperities, reconciling all incongruities, veiling all absurdities, softening every coarseness, doubling every effect by the influence of the imagination. A Scottish wedding should be seen at a distance—the gay band of dancers just distinguished amid the elderly group of the spectators—the glass held high, and the distant cheers as it is swallowed, should be only a sketch, not a finished Dutch picture, when it becomes brutal and boorish. Scotch psalmody, too, should be heard from a distance. The grunt and the snivel, and the whine and the scream, should all be blended in that deep and distant sound, which, rising and falling like the Eolian harp, may have some title to be called the praise of one’s Maker. Even so the distant funeral—the few mourners on horseback, with their plaids wrapped around them—the father heading the procession as they enter the river, and pointing out the ford by which his darling is to be carried on the last long road—none of the subordinate figures in discord with the general tone of the incident—but seeming just accessions, and no more—this is affecting.

April 12.—I have finished my task this morning at half-past eleven—easily and early and, I think, not amiss. I hope J. B. will make some great points of admiration!!!—otherwise I shall be disappointed. If this work answers—if it but answers, it must set us on our legs; I am sure worse trumpery of mine has had a great run. I remember with what great difficulty I was brought to think myself something better than common,
DIARY—APRIL, 1826.289
and now I will not in mere faintness of heart give up good hopes.

April 13.—On my return from my walk yesterday I learnt with great concern the death of my old friend, Sir Alexander Don. He cannot have been above six or seven-and-forty. Without being much together, we had, considering our different habits, lived in much friendship, and I sincerely regret his death. His habits were those of a gay man, much connected with the turf; but he possessed strong natural parts, and in particular few men could speak better in public when he chose. He had tact, with power of sarcasm, and that indescribable something which marks the gentleman. His manners in society were extremely pleasing, and as he had a taste for literature and the fine arts, there were few more agreeable companions, besides being a highly-spirited, steady, and honourable man. His indolence prevented his turning these good parts towards acquiring the distinction he might have attained. He was among the detenus whom Buonaparte’s iniquitous commands confined so long in France; and coming into possession of a large estate in right of his mother, the heiress of the Glencairn family, he had the means of being very expensive, and probably then acquired those gay habits which rendered him averse to serious business. Being our member for Roxburghshire, his death will make a stir amongst us. I prophesy Harden will be here, to talk about starting his son Henry.—Accordingly the Laird and Lady called. I exhorted him to write instantly. There can be no objection to Henry Scott for birth, fortune, or political principles; and I do not see where we could get a better representative.

April 15.—Received last night letters from Sir
John Scott Douglas, and Sir William Elliot of Stobbs, both canvassing for the county. Young Harry’s the lad for me. Poor Don died of a disease in the heart; the body was opened, which was very right. Odd enough, too, to have a man, probably a friend two days before, slashing at one’s heart as it were a bullock’s. I had a letter yesterday from John Gibson. The House of Longman and Co. guarantee the sale of Woodstock. Also I made up what was due of my task both for 13th and 14th. So hey for a Swiftianism—

I loll in my chair,
And around me I stare,
With a critical air,
Like a calf at a fair;
And, say I, Mrs Duty,
Good morrow to your beauty,
I kiss your sweet shoe-tie,
And hope I can suit ye.

“Fair words butter no parsnips, says Duty; don’t keep talking, then, but go to your work again. Here is a day’s task before you the siege of Toulon. Call you that a task? d—me, I’ll write it as fast as Boney carried it on.

April 16.—I am now far a-head with Nap. Lady Scott seems to make no way. A sad prospect! In the evening a despatch from Lord Melville, written with all the familiarity of former times. I am very glad of it.

Jedburgh, April 17.—Came over to Jedburgh this morning, to breakfast with my good old friend Mr Shortreed, and had my usual warm reception. Lord Gillies held the Circuit Court, and there was no criminal trial for any offence whatever. I have attended these circuits with tolerable regularity since 1792, and though there is
DIARY—APRIL, 1826.291
seldom much of importance to be done, yet I never remember before the Porteous roll being quite blank. The judge was presented with a pair of white gloves, in consideration of its being a maiden circuit.

“Received L.100 from John Lockhart, for review of Pepys; but this is by far too much—L.50 is plenty. Still ‘I must impeticoat the gratuity’* for the present. Wrote a great many letters. Dined with the Judge, where I met the disappointed candidate, Sir J. S. D., who took my excuse like a gentleman.

April 18.—This morning I go down to Kelso to poor Don’s funeral. It is, I suppose, forty years since I saw him first. I was staying at Sydenham, a lad of fourteen, or by’r Lady some sixteen; and he, a boy of six or seven, was brought to visit me on a pony, a groom holding the leading rein—and now I, an old grey man, am going to lay him in his grave. Sad work. The very road I go, is a road of grave recollections.

Abbotsford, April 19.—Returned last night from the house of death and mourning to my own, now the habitation of sickness and anxious apprehension. The result cannot yet be judged. Two melancholy things last night. I left my pallet in our family apartment, to make way for a female attendant, and removed to a dressing-room adjoining, when to return, or whether ever, God only can tell. Also my servant cut my hair, which used to be poor Charlotte’s personal task. I hope she will not observe it. The funeral yesterday was very mournful; about fifty persons present, and all seemed affected. The domestics in particular were very much so. Sir Alexander was a kind, though an exact master. It was

* Twelfth Night, Act II. Sc. 3.

melancholy to see those apartments, where I have so often seen him play the graceful and kind landlord, filled with those who were to carry him to his long home. There was very little talk of the election, at least till the funeral was over.

April 20.—Another death; Thomas Riddell, younger of Camiston, serjeant-major of the Edinburgh Troop in the sunny days of our yeomanry, and a very good fellow.—The day was so tempting that I went out with Tom Purdie to cut some trees, the rather that my task was very well advanced. He led me into the wood, as the blind King of Bohemia was led by his four knights into the thick of the battle at Agincourt or Cressy, and then, like the old king, ‘I struck good strokes more than one,’ which is manly exercise.

April 24.—Good news from Brighton. Sophia is confined, and both she and her baby are doing well, and the child’s name is announced to be Walter, a favourite name in our family, and I trust of no bad omen. Yet it is no charm for life. Of my father’s family, I was the second Walter, if not the third. I am glad the name came my way, for it was borne by my father, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather; also by the grandsire of that last named venerable person, who was the first laird of Raeburn. Hurst and Robinson, the Yorkshire tykes, have failed, after all their swaggering. But if Woodstock and Napoleon take with the public I shall care little about their insolvency; and if they do not, I don’t think their solvency would have lasted long. Constable is sorely broken down.
‘Poor fool and knave, I have one part in my heart
That’s sorry yet for thee.’
His conduct has not been what I deserved at his hand,
DIARY—APRIL, 1826.293
but I believe that, walking blindfold himself, he misled me without malice prepense. It is best to think so at least, until the contrary be demonstrated. To nourish angry passions against a man whom I really liked, would be to lay a blister on my own heart.

April 27.—This is one of those abominable April mornings which deserve the name of Sans Cullotides, as being cold, beggarly, coarse, savage, and intrusive. The earth lies an inch deep with snow, to the confusion of the worshippers of Flora. It is as imprudent to attach yourself to flowers in Scotland as to a caged bird; the cat, sooner or later, snaps up the one, and these Sans Cullotides annihilate the other. It was but yesterday I was admiring the glorious flourish of the pears and apricots, and now hath come the ‘killing frost.’ But let it freeze without, we are comfortable within. Lady Scott continues better, and, we may hope, has got the turn of her disease.

April 28.—Beautiful morning, but ice as thick as pasteboard, too surely showing that the night has made good yesterday’s threat. Dalgliesh, with his most melancholy face, conveys the most doleful tidings from Bogie. But servants are fond of the woful, it gives such consequence to the person who communicates bad news. Wrote two letters, and read till twelve, and now for a stout walk among the plantations till four.—Found Lady Scott obviously better, I think, than I had left her in the morning. In walking I am like a spavined horse, and heat as I get on. The flourishing plantations around me are a great argument for me to labour hard. ‘Barbarus has segetes?’ I will write my finger-ends off first.

April 29.—I was always afraid, privately, that
Woodstock would not stand the test. In that case my fate would have been that of the unfortunate minstrel and trumpeter Maclean at the battle of Sheriffmuir
‘Through misfortune he happened to fa’, man,
But saving his neck
His trumpet did break,
And came off without music at a’, man.’”

J. B. corroborated my doubts by his raven-like croaking and criticizing; but the good fellow writes me this morning that he is written down an ass, and that the approbation is unanimous. It is but Edinburgh, to be sure; but Edinburgh has always been a harder critic than London. It is a great mercy, and gives encouragement for future exertion. Having written two leaves this morning, I think I will turn out to my walk, though two hours earlier than usual. Egad, I could not persuade myself that it was such bad Balaam,† after all.

May 2.—Yesterday was a splendid May-day today seems inclined to be soft, as we call it; but tant mieux. Yesterday had a twang of frost in it. I must get to work and finish Boaden’s Life of Kemble, and Kelly’s Reminiscences, for the Quarterly.‡—I wrote and read for three hours, and then walked, the day being soft and delightful; but, alas, all my walks are lonely from the absence of my poor companion. She does not suffer, thank God, but strength must fail at last. Since Sunday there has been a gradual change—very gradual—but,

* Hogg’s Jacobite Relics, vol. ii. p. 5.

Balaam is the cant name in a newspaper office for Asinine paragraphs, about monstrous productions of nature and the like, kept standing in type to be used whenever the real news of the day leave an awkward space that must be filled up somehow.

‡ See Miscellaneous Prose Works, vol. xx. pp. 152-244.

DIARY—MAY, 1826.295
alas, to the worse. My hopes are almost gone. But I am determined to stand this grief as I have done others.

May 4.—On visiting Lady Scott’s sick-room this morning I found her suffering, and I doubt if she knew me. Yet, after breakfast, she seemed serene and composed. The worst is, she will not speak out about the symptoms under which she labours. Sad, sad work; I am under the most melancholy apprehension, for what constitution can hold out under these continued and wasting attacks. My niece, Anne Scott, a prudent, sensible, and kind young woman, arrived to-day, having come down to assist us in our distress from so far as Cheltenham. This is a great consolation. Henry Scott carries the county without opposition.

May 6.—The same scene of hopeless (almost) and unavailing anxiety. Still welcoming me with a smile, and asserting she is better. I fear the disease is too deeply entwined with the principles of life. Still labouring at this Review, without heart or spirits to finish it. I am a tolerable Stoic, but preach to myself in vain.
‘Are these things then necessities?
Then let us meet them like necessities.’*

May 7.—Hammered on at the Review till my backbone ached. But I believe it was a nervous affection, for a walk cured it. Sir Adam and the Colonel dined here. So I spent the evening as pleasantly as I well could, considering I am so soon to go like a stranger to the town of which I have been so long a citizen, and leave my wife lingering, without prospect of recovery, under the charge of two poor girls. Talia cogit dura necessitas.

* 2l King Henry VI., Act III. Scene 1.


May 8.—I went over to the election at Jedburgh. There was a numerous meeting; the Whigs, who did not bring ten men to the meeting, of course took the whole matter under their patronage, which was much of a piece with the Blue Bottle drawing the carriage. To see the difference of modern times! We had a good dinner, and excellent wine; and I had ordered my carriage at half-past seven, almost ashamed to start so soon. Every body dispersed at so early an hour, however, that when Henry had left the chair, there was no carriage for me, and Peter proved his accuracy by showing me it was but a quarter past seven. In the days that I remember they would have kept it up till day-light; nor do I think poor Don would have left the chair before midnight. Well, there is a medium. Without being a veteran Vice, a grey Iniquity, like Falstaff, I think an occasional jolly-bout, if not carried to excess, improved society; men were put into good humour; when the good wine did its good office, the jest, the song, the speech, had double effect; men were happy for the night, and better friends ever after, because they had been so.

May 11.—

Der Abschied’s tag est da,
Schwer liegt es auf den herzen—schwer.’*

Charlotte was unable to take leave of me, being in a sound sleep, after a very indifferent night. Perhaps it was as well. Emotion might have hurt her; and nothing I could have expressed would have been worth the risk. I have foreseen, for two years and more, that this menaced event could not be far distant. I have seen plainly,

* This is the opening couplet of a German trooper’s song, alluded to, ante—vol. i. p. 294. The literal translation is
The day of departure is come,
Heavy lies it on the hearts heavy.

DIARY—MAY, 1826.297
within the last two months, that recovery was hopeless. And yet to part with the companion of twenty-nine years when so very ill—that I did not, could not foresee. It withers my heart to think of it, and to recollect that I can hardly hope again to seek confidence and counsel from that ear to which all might be safely confided. But in her present lethargic state, what would my attendance have availed—and
Anne has promised close and constant intelligence. I must dine with James Ballantyne to-day en famille. I cannot help it; but would rather be at home and alone. However, I can go out too. I will not yield to the barren sense of hopelessness which struggles to invade me.

Edinburgh—Mrs Brown’s lodgings, North St David Street—May 12.—I passed a pleasant day with kind J. B., which was a great relief from the black dog, which would have worried me at home. He was quite alone.

“Well, here I am in Arden. And I may say with Touchstone, ‘When I was at home I was in a better place;’* I must, when there is occasion, draw to my own Bailie Nicol Jarvie’s consolation ‘One cannot carry the comforts of the Saut-Market about with one.’ Were I at ease in mind, I think the body is very well cared for. Only one other lodger in the house, a Mr Shandy—a clergyman; and, despite his name, said to be a quiet one.

May 13.—The projected measure against the Scottish bank-notes has been abandoned. Malachi might clap his wings upon this, but, alas! domestic anxiety has cut his comb. I think very lightly in general of praise; it costs men nothing, and is usually only lip-salve. Some praise, however, and from some people, does at once de-

* As You Like it, Act I. Scene 4.

light and strengthen the mind; and I insert in this place the quotation with which
Ld. C. Baron Shepherd concluded a letter concerning me to the Chief Commissioner:—“Magna etiam illa laus, et admirabilis videri solet, tulisse casus sapienter adversos, non fractum esse fortuna, retinuisse in rebus asperis dignitatem.”* I record these words, not as meriting the high praise they imply, but to remind me that such an opinion being partially entertained of me by a man of a character so eminent, it becomes me to make my conduct approach as much as possible to the standard at which he rates it. As I must pay some cash in London, I have borrowed from Mr Alexander Ballantyne the sum of L.500. If God should call me before next November, when my note falls due, I request my son Walter will, in reverence to my memory, see that Mr Alexander Ballantyne does not suffer for having obliged me in a sort of exigency—e cannot afford it, and God has given my son the means to repay him.

May 14.—A fair good morrow to you Mr Sun, who are shining so brightly on these dull walls. Methinks you look as if you were looking as bright on the banks of the Tweed; but look where you will, Sir Sun, you look upon sorrow and suffering. Hogg was here yesterday in danger, from having obtained an accommodation of L.100 from James Ballantyne, which he is now obliged to repay. I am unable to help the poor fellow, being obliged to borrow myself. But I long ago remonstrated against the transaction at all, and gave him L.50 out of my pocket to avoid granting the accommodation, but it did no good.

May 15.—Received the melancholy intelligence that all is over at Abbotsford.

* Cicero, de Orat. ii. 346.


Abbotsford, May 16.—She died at nine in the morning, after being very ill for two days easy at last. I arrived here late last night. Anne is worn out, and has had hysterics, which returned on my arrival. Her broken accents were like those of a child, the language as well as the tones broken, but in the most gentle voice of submission. ‘Poor mamma—never return again—gone for ever a better place.’ Then, when she came to herself, she spoke with sense, freedom, and strength of mind, till her weakness returned. It would have been inexpressibly moving to me as a stranger—what was it then to the father and the husband? For myself, I scarce know how I feel, sometimes as firm as the Bass Rock, sometimes as weak as the water that breaks on it. I am as alert at thinking and deciding as I ever was in my life. Yet, when I contrast what this place now is, with what it has been not long since, I think my heart will break. Lonely, aged, deprived of my family—all but poor Anne; an impoverished, an embarrassed man, deprived of the sharer of my thoughts and counsels, who could always talk down my sense of the calamitous apprehensions which break the heart that must bear them alone.—Even her foibles were of service to me, by giving me things to think of beyond my weary self-reflections.

“I have seen her. The figure I beheld is, and is not my Charlotte—my thirty years’ companion. There is the same symmetry of form, though those limbs are rigid which were once so gracefully elastic—but that yellow masque, with pinched features, which seems to mock life rather than emulate it, can it be the face that was once so full of lively expression? I will not look on it again. Anne thinks her little changed, because the latest idea she had formed of her mother is as she appeared under circumstances of extreme pain. Mine
go back to a period of comparative ease. If I write long in this way, I shall write down my resolution, which I should rather write up, if I could. I wonder how I shall do with the large portion of thoughts which were hers for thirty years. I suspect they will be hers yet for a long time at least. But I will not blaze cambric and crape in the public eye, like a disconsolate widower, that most affected of all characters.

May 17.—Last night Anne, after conversing with apparent ease, dropped suddenly down as she rose from the supper-table, and lay six or seven minutes, as if dead. Clarkson, however, has no fear of these affections.

May 18.—Another day, and a bright one to the external world, again opens on us; the air soft, and the flowers smiling, and the leaves glittering. They cannot refresh her to whom mild weather was a natural enjoyment. Cerements of lead and of wood already hold her; cold earth must have her soon. But it is not my Charlotte, it is not the bride of my youth, the mother of my children, that will be laid among the ruins of Dryburgh, which we have so often visited in gaiety and pastime. No, no. She is sentient and conscious of my emotions somewhere—somehow; where we cannot tell; how we cannot tell; yet would I not at this moment renounce the mysterious yet certain hope that I shall see her in a better world, for all that this world can give me. The necessity of this separation, that necessity which rendered it even a relief, that and patience must be my comfort. I do not experience those paroxysms of grief which others do on the same occasion. I can exert myself, and speak even cheerfully with the poor girls. But alone, or if any thing touches me, the choking sensation. I have been
to her room; there was no voice in it—no stirring; the pressure of the coffin was visible on the bed, but it had been removed elsewhere; all was neat, as she loved it, but all was calm—calm as death. I remembered the last sight of her; she raised herself in bed, and tried to turn her eyes after me, and said, with a sort of smile, ‘You all have such melancholy faces.’ These were the last words I ever heard her utter, and I hurried away, for she did not seem quite conscious of what she said—when I returned, immediately departing, she was in a deep sleep. It is deeper now. This was but seven days since.

“They are arranging the chamber of death; that which was long the apartment of connubial happiness, and of whose arrangements (better than in richer houses) she was so proud. They are treading fast and thick. For weeks you could have heard a foot-fall. Oh, my God!

May 19.—Anne, poor love, is ill with her exertions and agitation—cannot walk—and is still hysterical, though less so. I ordered flesh-brush and tepid bath, which I think will bring her about. We speak freely of her whom we have lost, and mix her name with our ordinary conversation. This is the rule of nature. All primitive people speak of their dead, and I think virtuously and wisely. The idea of blotting the names of those who are gone out of the language and familiar discourse of those to whom they were dearest, is one of the rules of ultra-civilisation which, in so many instances, strangle natural feeling by way of avoiding a painful sensation. The Highlanders speak of their dead children as freely as of their living members; how poor Colin or Robert would have acted in such or such a situation. It is a generous and manly tone of feeling;
and, so far as it may be adopted without affectation or contradicting the general habits of society, I reckon on observing it.

May 20.—To-night, I trust, will bring Charles or Lockhart, or both; at least I must hear from them. A letter from Violet Lockhart gave us the painful intelligence that she had not mentioned to Sophia the dangerous state in which her mother was. Most kindly meant, but certainly not so well judged. I have always thought that truth, even when painful, is a great duty on such occasions, and it is seldom that concealment is justifiable. Sophia’s baby was christened on Sunday 14th May, at Brighton, by the name of Walter Scott. May God give him life and health to wear it with credit to himself and those belonging to him. Melancholy to think that the next morning after this ceremony deprived him of so near a relation!

May 21.—Our sad preparations for to-morrow continue. A letter from Lockhart; doubtful if Sophia’s health will let him be here. If things permit he comes to-night. From Charles not a word; but I think I may expect him. I wish to-morrow were over; not that I fear it, for my nerves are pretty good, but it will be a day of many recollections.

May 22.—Charles arrived last night, much affected, of course. Anne had a return of her fainting-fits on seeing him, and again upon seeing Mr Ramsay,* the gentleman who performs the service. I heard him do so with the utmost propriety for my late friend, Lady

* The Rev. E. B. Ramsay, A.M. Oxon. of the Scottish Episcopal Communion, St John’s Chapel, Edinburgh.

Alvanley,* the arrangement of whose funeral devolved upon me. How little I could guess when, where, and with respect to whom I should next hear those solemn words. Well, I am not apt to shrink from that which is my duty, merely because it is painful; but I wish this day over. A kind of cloud of stupidity hangs about me, as if all were unreal that men seem to be doing and talking about——

May 23.—About an hour before the mournful ceremony of yesterday, Walter arrived, having travelled express from Ireland on receiving the news. He was much affected, poor fellow, and no wonder. Poor Charlotte nursed him, and perhaps for that reason she was over partial to him. The whole scene floats as a sort of dream before me—the beautiful day, the grey ruins covered and hidden among clouds of foliage and flourish, where the grave, even in the lap of beauty, lay lurking and gaped for its prey. Then the grave looks, the hasty important bustle of men with spades and mattocks the train of carriages—the coffin containing the creature that was so long the dearest on earth to me, and whom I was to consign to the very spot which in pleasure-parties we so frequently visited. It seems still as if this could not be really so. But it is so—and duty to God and to my children must teach me patience. Poor Anne has had longer fits since our arrival from Dryburgh than before, but yesterday was the crisis. She desired to hear prayers read by Mr Ramsay, who performed the duty in the most solemn manner. But her strength could not carry it through. She fainted before the service was concluded.

May 24.—Slept wretchedly, or rather waked wretch-

* Lady Alvanley died at Edinburgh, 17th January, 1825—and was buried in the chapel of Holyrood.

edly all night, and was very sick and bilious in consequence, and scarce able to hold up my head with pain. A walk, however, with my sons did me a deal of good; indeed their society is the greatest support the world can afford me. Their ideas of every thing are so just and honourable, kind towards their sisters, and affectionate to me, that I must be grateful to God for sparing them to me, and continue to battle with the world for their sakes, if not for my own.

May 25.—I had sound sleep to-night, and waked with little or nothing of the strange dreamy feeling, which had made me for some days feel like one bewildered in a country where mist or snow has disguised those features of the landscape which are best known to him. This evening Walter left us, being anxious to return to his wife as well as to his regiment.

May 26.—A rough morning makes me think of St George’s Channel, which Walter must cross to-night or to-morrow to get to Athlone. The wind is almost due east, however, and the Channel at the narrowest point between Port-Patrick and Donaghadee. His absence is a great blank in our circle, especially I think to his sister Anne, to whom he shows invariably much kindness. But indeed they do so without exception, each towards the other; and in weal or wo, have shown themselves a family of love. I will go to town on Monday and resume my labours. Being now of a grave nature, they cannot go against the general temper of my feelings, and in other respects the exertion, as far as I am concerned, will do me good; besides, I must re-establish my fortune for the sake of the children, and of my own character. I have not leisure to indulge the disabling and discouraging thoughts that press on me.
DIARY—MAY, 1826.305
Were an enemy coming upon my house, would I not do my best to fight, although oppressed in spirits, and shall a similar despondency prevent me from mental exertion? It shall not, by Heaven! This day and to-morrow I give to the currency of the ideas which have of late occupied my mind, and with Monday they shall be mingled at least with other thoughts and cares.—Last night
Charles and I walked late on the terrace at Kæside, when the clouds seemed accumulating in the wildest masses both on the Eildon Hills and other mountains in the distance. This rough morning reads the riddle. Dull, drooping, cheerless, has this day been. I cared not to carrying my own gloom to the girls, and so sate in my own room, dawdling with old papers, which awakened as many stings as if they had been the nest of fifty scorpions. Then the solitude seemed so absolute—my poor Charlotte would have been in the room half-a-score of times to see if the fire burned, and to ask a hundred kind questions. Well, that is over and if it cannot be forgotten, must be remembered with patience.

May 27.—A sleepless night. It is true, I should be up and be doing, and a sleepless night sometimes furnishes good ideas. Alas! I have no companion now with whom I can communicate to relieve the loneliness of these watches of the night. But I must not fail myself and my family—and the necessity of exertion becomes apparent. I must try a hors d’œuvre, something that can go on between the necessary intervals of Nap. Mrs Murray Keith’s Tale of the Deserter, with her interview with the lad’s mother, may be made most affecting, but will hardly endure much expansion.* The framework may be a Highland tour, under the guardianship

* The Highland Widow. Waverley Novels, vol. xli.

of the sort of postilion whom Mrs M. K. described to me—a species of conducteur who regulated the motions of his company, made their halts, and was their Cicerone.

May 28.—I wrote a few pages yesterday, and then walked. I believe the description of the old Scottish lady may do, but the change has been unceasingly rung upon Scottish subjects of late, and it strikes me that the introductory matter may be considered as an imitation of Washington Irving—yet not so neither. In short, I will go on. To-day make a dozen of close pages ready, and take J. B.’s advice. I intend the work as an olla podrida, into which any odds and ends of narrative or description may be thrown. I wrote easily. I think the exertion has done me good. I slept sound last night, and at waking, as is usual with me, I found I had some clear views and thoughts upon the subject of this trifling work. I wonder if others find so strongly as I do the truth of the Latin proverb, Aurora musis amica.

Edinburgh, May 30.—Returned to town last night with Charles. This morning resume ordinary habits of rising early, working in the morning, and attending the Court. All will come easily round. But it is at first as if men looked strange on me, and bite their lip when they wring my hand, and indicated suppressed feelings. It is natural this should be—undoubtedly it has been so with me. Yet it is strange to find one’s self resemble a cloud, which darkens gaiety wherever it interposes its chilling shade. Will it be better when, left to my own feelings, I see the whole world pipe and dance around me? I think it will. Their sympathy intrudes on my private affliction. I finished correcting the proofs for the Quarterly; it is but a flimsy article, but then the circumstances were most untoward.—This has been
DIARY—MAY, 1826.307
a melancholy day—most melancholy. I am afraid poor Charles found me weeping. I do not know what other folks feel, but with me the hysterical passion that impels tears is a terrible violence—a sort of throttling sensation—then succeeded by a state of dreaming stupidity, in which I ask if my poor
Charlotte can actually be dead. I think I feel my loss more than at the first blow. Poor Charles wishes to come back to study here when his term ends at Oxford. I can see the motive.

May 31.—The melancholy horrors of yesterday must not return. To encourage that dreamy state of incapacity is to resign all authority over the mind, and I have been used to say—
‘My mind to me a kingdom is.’
I am rightful monarch; and, God to aid, I will not be dethroned by any rebellious passion that may rear its standard against me. Such are morning thoughts, strong as carle-hemp—says
‘Come, firm Resolve, take thou the van,
Thou stalk of carle-hemp in man.’
Charles went by the steam-boat this morning at six. We parted last night mournfully on both sides. Poor boy, this is his first serious sorrow. Wrote this morning a Memorial on the Claim, which Constable’s people prefer as to the copyrights of Woodstock and Napoleon. My argument amounts to this, that being no longer accountable as publishers, they cannot claim the character of such, or assert any right arising out of the contracts entered into while they held that capacity.—I also finished a few trifling memoranda on a book called the Omen, at Blackwood’s request.”*

* See Blackwood’s Magazine, July 1826, or Scott’s Miscellaneous Prose Works, vol. xviii. p. 333.