LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter XI 1832

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
Creative Commons License

Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
[ 361 ]

His friend Sir Frederick Adam had urgently invited Sir Walter to visit the Ionian Islands, and he had consented to do so. But Sir Frederick was suddenly recalled from that government, and appointed to one in India, and the Greek scheme dropt. From that time his companions ceased to contend against his wishes for returning home. Since he would again work, what good end could it serve to keep him from working at his own desk? And as their entreaties, and the warnings of foreign doctors, proved alike unavailing as to the regulation of his diet, what remaining chance could there be on that score, unless from replacing him under the eye of the friendly physicians whose authority had formerly seemed to have due influence on his mind? He had wished to return by the route of the Tyrol and Germany, partly for the sake of the remarkable chapel and monuments of the old Austrian princes at Inspruck, and the feudal ruins upon the Rhine, but chiefly that he might have an interview with Goethe at Weimar. That poet died on the 22d of March, and the
news seemed to act upon Scott exactly as the illness of
Borthwickbrae had done in the August before. His impatience redoubled: all his fine dreams of recovery seemed to vanish at once—“Alas for Goethe!” he exclaimed, “but he at least died at home—Let us to Abbotsford.” And he quotes more than once in his letters the first hemistick of the line from Politian with which he had closed his early memoir of LeydenGrata quies Patriæ.”

When the season was sufficiently advanced, then, the party set out, Mr Charles Scott having obtained leave to accompany his father; which was quite necessary, as his elder brother had already been obliged to rejoin his regiment. They quitted Naples on the 16th of April, in an open barouche, which could at pleasure be converted into a bed.

It will be seen from some Memoranda about to be quoted, that Sir Walter was somewhat interested by a few of the objects presented to him in the earlier stages of his route. The certainty that he was on his way home for a time soothed and composed him; arid amidst the agreeable society which again surrounded him on his arrival in Rome, he seemed perhaps as much of himself as he had ever been in Malta or in Naples. For a moment even his literary hope and ardour appear to have revived. But still his daughter entertained no doubt, that his consenting to pause for even a few days in Rome, was dictated mainly by consideration of her natural curiosity. Sir William Gell went to Rome about the same time; and Sir Walter was introduced there to another accomplished countryman, who exerted himself no. less than did Sir William, to render his stay agreeable to him. This was Mr Edward Cheney—whose family had long been on terms of very strict intimacy with the Maclean Clephanes of Torloisk, so that Sir Walter was ready to
regard him at first sight as a friend. I proceed to give some extracts from these gentlemen’s memoranda.

“At Rome” (says Gell) “Sir Walter found an apartment provided for him in the Casa Bernini. On his arrival, he seemed to have suffered but little from the journey; though I believe the length of time he was obliged to sit in a carriage had been occasionally the cause of troublesome symptoms. I found him, however, in very good spirits, and as he was always eager to see any spot remarkable as the scene of particular events recorded in history, so he was keenly bent on visiting the house where Benvenuto Cellini writes that he slew the Constable of Bourbon with a bullet fired from the Castle of St Angelo. The Chevalier Luigi Chiaveri took him to the place, of which, though he quickly forgot the position, he yet retained the history firmly fixed in his mind, and to which he very frequently recurred.

“The introduction of Mr Cheney was productive of great pleasure to Sir Walter, as he possessed at that moment the Villa Muti, at Frescati, which had been for many years the favourite residence of the Cardinal of York, who was Bishop of Tusculum.

“Soon after his arrival I took Sir Walter to St Peter’s, which he had resolved to visit, that he might see the tomb of the last of the Stuarts. I took him to one of the side doors, in order to shorten the walk, and by great good fortune met with Colonel Blair and Mr Phillips, under whose protection he accomplished his purpose. We contrived to tie a glove round the point of his stick, to prevent his slipping in some degree, but to conduct him was really a service of danger and alarm, owing to his infirmity and total want of caution. He has been censured for not having frequently visited the treasures of the Vatican but by those only who were
unacquainted with the difficulty with which he moved. Days and weeks must have been passed in this immense museum, in order to have given him any idea of its value, nor do I know that it would have been possible for him to have ascended the rugged stairs, or to have traced its corridors and interminable galleries, in the state of reduced strength and dislike to being assisted under which he then laboured.

“On the 8th of May we all dined at the Palace of the Duchess Torlonia with a very large company. The dinner was very late and very splendid, and from the known hospitality of the family it was probable that Sir Walter, in the heat of conversation, and with servants on all sides pressing him to eat and drink, as is their custom at Rome, might be induced to eat more than was safe for his malady. Colonel Blair, who sat next him, was requested to take care that this should not happen. Whenever I observed him, however, Sir Walter appeared always to be eating; while the Duchess, who had discovered the nature of the office imposed on the Colonel, was by no means satisfied, and after dinner observed that it was an odd sort of friendship which consisted in starving one’s neighbour to death when he had a good appetite, and there was dinner enough.

“It was at this entertainment that Sir Walter met with the Duke and Duchess of Corchiano, who were both well read in his works, and delighted to have been in company with him. This acquaintance might have led to some agreeable consequences had Sir Walter’s life been spared, for the Duke told him he was possessed of a vast collection of papers, giving true accounts of all the murders, poisonings, intrigues, and curious adventures of all the great Roman families during many centuries, all which were at his service to copy and publish in his own way as historical romances, only disguising the names, so
as not to compromise the credit of the existing descendants of the families in question. Sir Walter listened to the Duke for the remainder of the evening, and was so captivated with all he heard from that amiable and accomplished personage, that at one moment he thought of remaining for a time at Rome, and at another he vowed he would return there in the ensuing winter. Whoever has read any of these memoirs of Italian families, of which many are published and very many exist in manuscript, will acknowledge how they abound in strange events and romantic stories, and may form some idea of the delight with which Sir Walter imagined himself on the point of pouncing upon a treasure after his own heart.

“The eldest son of the Torlonia family is the possessor of the castle of Bracciano, of which he is duke. Sir Walter was anxious to see it, and cited some story, I think of the Orsini, who once were lords of the place. We had permission to visit the castle, and the steward had orders to furnish us with whatever was requisite. We set off on the 9th of May, Sir Walter as usual coming with me, and two ladies and two gentlemen occupying his carriage. One of these last was the son of the Duke of Sermoneta, Don Michelangelo Gaetani, a person of the most amiable disposition, gentlemanly manners, and most remarkable talents. Sir Walter, to whom he had paid every attention during his stay at Rome, had conceived a high opinion of him, and, added to his agreeable qualities, he had a wonderful and accurate knowledge of the history of his own country during the darker ages. The Gaetani figured also among the most ancient and most turbulent of the Roman families during the middle ages, and these historical qualities, added to the amenity of his manners, rendered him naturally a favourite with Sir Walter.


“We arrived at Bracciano, twenty-five miles from Rome, rather fatigued with the roughness of an old Roman road, the pavement of which had generally been half destroyed, and the stones left in disorder on the spot. He was pleased with the general appearance of that stately pile, which is finely seated upon a rock, commanding on one side the view of the beautiful lake with its wooded shores, and on the other overlooking the town of Bracciano. A carriage could not easily ascend to the court, so that Sir Walter fatigued himself still more, as he was not content to be assisted, by walking up the steep and somewhat long ascent to the gateway. He was struck with the sombre appearance of the Gothic towers, built with the black lava which had once formed the pavement of the Roman road, and which adds much to its frowning magnificence. In the interior he could not but be pleased with the grand suite of state apartments, all yet habitable, and even retaining in some rooms the old furniture and the rich silk hangings of the Orsini and Odescalchi. These chambers overlook the lake, and Sir Walter sat in a window for a long time, during a delightful evening, to enjoy the prospect. A very large dog, of the breed called Danish, coming to fawn upon him, he told it he was glad to see it, for it was a proper accompaniment to such a castle, but that he had a larger dog at home, though may be not so good-natured to strangers. This notice of the dog seemed to gain the heart of the steward, and he accompanied Sir Walter in a second tour through the grand suite of rooms, each, as Sir Walter observed, highly pleased with the other’s conversation, though as one spoke French and the other Italian, little of it could be understood. Toward the town, a range of smaller apartments are more convenient, except during the heats of summer, than the great rooms for a small party, and in these we dined and found chambers for
sleeping. At night we had tea and a large fire, and Sir Walter conversed cheerfully. Some of the party went out to walk round the battlements of the castle by moonlight, and a ghost was talked of among the usual accompaniments of such situations. He told me that the best way of making a ghost was to paint it with white on tin, for that in the dusk, after it had been seen, it could be instantly made to vanish, by turning the edge almost without thickness towards the spectator.

“On coming down next morning I found that Sir Walter, who rose early, had already made another tour over part of the Castle with the steward and the dog. After breakfast we set out on our return to Rome; and all the way his conversation was more delightful, and more replete with anecdotes than I had ever known it. He talked a great deal to young Gaetani who sat on the box, and he invited him to Scotland. He asked me when I thought of revisiting England, and I replied, that if my health permitted at a moment when I could afford it, I might perhaps be tempted in the course of the following summer. ‘If the money be the difficulty,’ said the kind-hearted baronet, ‘don’t let that hinder you; I’ve L.300 at your service, and I have a perfect right to give it you, and nobody can complain of me, for I made it myself.’

“He continued to press my acceptance of this sum, till I requested him to drop the subject, thanking him most gratefully for his goodness, and much flattered by so convincing a proof of his desire to see me at Abbotsford.

“I remember particularly a remark, which proved the kindness of his heart. A lady requested him to do something which was very disagreeable to him. He was asked whether he had consented. He replied, ‘Yes.’ He was then questioned why he had agreed to do what was so
inconvenient to him. ‘Why,’ said he, ‘as I am now good for nothing else, I think it as well to be good-natured.’

“I took my leave of my respected friend on the 10th May, 1832. I knew this great genius and estimable man but for a short period; but it was at an interesting moment, and being both invalids, and impressed equally with the same conviction that we had no time to lose, we seemed to become intimate without passing through the usual gradations of friendship. I remembered just enough of Scottish topography and northern antiquities in general to be able to ask questions on subjects on which his knowledge was super-eminent, and to be delighted and edified by his inexhaustible stock of anecdotes, and his curious and recondite erudition; and this was perhaps a reason for the preference he seemed to give me in his morning drives, during which I saw most of him alone. It is a great satisfaction to have been intimate with so celebrated and so benevolent a personage; and I hope, that these recollections of his latter days, may not be without their value, in enabling those who were acquainted with Sir Walter in his most brilliant period, to compare it with his declining moments during his residence in Italy.”

Though some of the same things recur in the notes with which I am favoured by Mr Cheney, yet the reader will pardon this and even be glad to compare the impressions of two such observers. Mr Cheney says:—

“Delighted as I was to see Sir Walter Scott, I remarked with pain the ravages disease had made upon him. He was often abstracted, and it was only when warmed with his subject that the light blue
eye shot from under the pent-house brow with the fire and spirit that recalled the Author of Waverley.

“The first of May was appointed for a visit to Frescati; and it gave me great pleasure to have an opportunity of showing attention to Sir Walter without the appearance of obtrusiveness.

“The Villa Muti, which belonged to the late Cardinal of York, has, since his death, fallen into the hands of several proprietors; it yet retains, however, some relics of its former owner. There is a portrait of Charles I., a bust of the Cardinal, and another of the Chevalier de St George. But, above all, a picture of the fête given on the promotion of the Cardinal in the Piazza de S. S. Apostoli (where the palace in which the Stuarts resided still bears the name of the Palazzo del Pretendente) occupied Sir Walter’s attention. In this picture he discovered, or fancied he did so, the portraits of several of the distinguished followers of the exiled family. One he pointed out as resembling a picture he had seen of Cameron of Lochiel, whom he described as a dark, hard-featured man. He spoke with admiration of his devoted loyalty to the Stuarts. I also showed him an ivory head of Charles I., which had served as the top of Cardinal York’s walking stick. He did not fail to look at it with a lively interest.

“He admired the house, the position of which is of surpassing beauty, commanding an extensive view over the Campagna of Rome; but he deplored the fate of his favourite princes, observing that this was a poor substitute for all the splendid palaces to which they were heirs in England and Scotland. The place where we were suggested the topic of conversation. He was walking, he told me, over the field of Preston, and musing on the unlooked-for event of that day, when he was suddenly startled by the sound of the minute-guns pro-
claiming the death of
George IV. Lost in the thoughts of ephemeral glory suggested by the scene, he had forgotten, in the momentary success of his favourite hero, his subsequent misfortunes and defeat. The solemn sound, he added, admonished him of the futility of all earthly triumphs; and reminded him that the whole race of the Stuarts had passed away, and was now followed to the grave by the first of the rival house of Brunswick who had reigned in the line of legitimate succession.

“During this visit Sir Walter was in excellent spirits; at dinner he talked and laughed, and Miss Scott assured me she had not seen him so gay since he left England. He put salt into his soup before tasting it, smiling as he did so. One of the company said, that a friend of his used to declare that he should eat salt with a limb of Lot’s wife. Sir Walter laughed, observing that he was of Mrs Siddons’ mind, who, when dining with the Provost of Edinburgh, and being asked by her host if the beef were too salt, replied, in her emphatic tones of deep tragedy, which Sir Walter mimicked very comically,
‘Beef cannot be too salt for me, my lord.’

Sir Walter, though he spoke no foreign language with facility, read Spanish as well as Italian. He expressed the most unbounded admiration for Cervantes, and said that the ‘novelas’ of that author had first inspired him with the ambition of excelling in fiction, and that, until disabled by illness, he had been a constant reader of them. He added, that he had formerly made it a practice to read through the ‘Orlando’ of Boiardo, and the ‘Orlando’ of Ariosto, once every year.

“Of Dante he knew little, confessing he found him too obscure and difficult. I was sitting next him at
dinner, at
Lady Coventry’s, when this conversation took place. He added, with a smile, ‘it is mortifying that Dante seemed to think nobody worth being sent to hell but his own Italians, whereas other people had every bit as great rogues in their families, whose misdeeds were suffered to pass with impunity.’ I said that he, of all men, had least right to make this complaint, as his own ancestor, Michael Scott, was consigned to a very tremendous punishment in the twentieth canto of the Inferno. His attention was roused, and I quoted the passage—
‘Quell’ altro, che nei fianchi & cosi poco,
Michele Scotto fu, che veramente
Delle magiche frode seppe il gioco.’
He seemed pleased, and alluded to the subject more than once in the course of the evening.

“One evening when I was with him, a person called to petition him in favour of the sufferers from the recent earthquake at Foligno. He instantly gave his name to the list with a very handsome subscription. This was by no means the only occasion on which I observed him ready and eager to answer the calls of charity.

“I accompanied Sir Walter and Miss Scott one morning to the Protestant burial-ground. The road to this spot runs by the side of the Tyber, at the foot of Mount Aventine, and in our drive we passed several of the most interesting monuments of ancient Rome. The house of the Tribune Rienzi, and the temple of Vesta, arrested his attention. This little circular temple, he said, struck him more than many of the finer ruins. Infirmity had checked his curiosity. ‘I walk with pain,’ he said, ‘and what we see whilst suffering makes little impression on us; it is for this reason that much of what I saw at Naples, and which I should have en-
joyed ten years ago, I have already forgotten.’ The Protestant burying-ground lies near the Porta S. Paolo, at the foot of the noble pyramid of Caius Cestius. Miss Scott was anxious to see the grave of her friend,
Lady Charlotte Stopford. Sir Walter was unable to walk, and while my brother attended Miss Scott to the spot, I remained in the carriage with him. ‘I regret,’ he said, ‘that I cannot go. It would have been a satisfaction to me to have seen the place where they have laid her. She is the child of a Buccleuch; he, you know, is my chief, and all that comes from that house is dear to me.’ He looked on the ground and sighed, and for a moment there was a silence between us.

“We spoke of politics, and of the reform in Parliament, which at that time was pending. I asked his opinion of it; he said he was no enemy to reform—‘If the machine does not work well, it must be mended—but it should be by the best workmen ye have.’

“He regretted not having been at Holland House as he passed through London. ‘Lord Holland,’ he said, ‘is the most agreeable man I ever knew; in criticism, in poetry, he beats those whose whole study they have been. No man in England has a more thorough knowledge of English authors, and he expresses himself so well, that his language illustrates and adorns his thoughts, as light streaming through coloured glass heightens the brilliancy of the objects it falls upon.’

“On the 4th of May he accepted a dinner at our house, and it gave my brother and myself unfeigned satisfaction to have again the pleasure of entertaining him. We collected a party to meet him, and amongst others I invited Don Luigi Santa Croce, one of his most ardent admirers, who had long desired an introduction. He is a man of much ability, and has played his part in the political changes of his country. When
I presented him to
Sir Walter, he bade me tell him, for he speaks no English, how long and how earnestly he had desired to see him, though he had hardly dared to hope it. ‘Tell him,’ he added, with warmth, ‘that in disappointment, in sorrow, and in sickness, his works have been my chief comfort; and while living amongst his imaginary personages, I have succeeded for a moment in forgetting the vexations of blighted hopes, and have found relief in public and private distress.’ The Marchesa Loughi, the beautiful sister of Don Michele Gaetani, whom I also presented to him this evening, begged me to thank him, in her name, for some of the most agreeable moments of her life. ‘She had had,’ she said, ‘though young, her share of sorrows, and in his works she had found not only amusement, but lessons of patience and resignation, which she hoped had not been lost upon her.’ To all these flattering compliments, as well as to the thousand others that were daily showered upon him, Sir Walter replied with unfeigned humility, expressing himself pleased and obliged by the good opinion entertained of him, and delighting his admirers with the good-humour and urbanity with which he received them. Don Luigi talked of the plots of some of the novels, and earnestly remonstrated against the fate of Clara Mowbray, in St Ronan’s Well. ‘I am much obliged to the gentleman for the interest he takes in her,’ said Sir Walter, ‘but I could not save her, poor thing—it is against the rules—she had the bee in her bonnet.’ Don Luigi still insisted. Sir Walter replied, ‘No; but of all the murders that I have committed in that way, and few men have been guilty of more, there is none that went so much to my heart as the poor Bride of Lammermoor; but it could not be helped—it is all true.’

Sir Walter always showed much curiosity about the
Constable Bourbon. I said that a suit of armour belonging to him was preserved in the Vatican. He eagerly asked after the form and construction, and enquired if he wore it on the day of the capture of Rome. That event had greatly struck his imagination. He told me he had always had an idea of weaving it into the story of a romance, and of introducing the traitor Constable as an actor. Cæsar Borgia was also a character whose vices and whole career appeared to him singularly romantic. Having heard him say this, I begged Don Michele Gaetani, whose ancestors had been dispossessed of their rich fiefs by that ambitious upstart, to show Sir Walter a sword, now in the possession of his family, which had once belonged to Borgia. The blade, which is very long and broad, is richly ornamented, and the arms of the Borgias are inlaid upon it, bearing the favourite motto of that tremendous personage. ‘Aut Cæsar, aut nihil.’ Sir Walter examined it with attention, commenting on the character of Borgia, and congratulating Don Michele on the possession of a relic doubly interesting in his hands.

“I continued a constant visiter at his house whilst he remained in Rome, and I also occasionally dined in his company, and took every opportunity of conversing with him. I observed with extreme pleasure, that he accepted willingly from me those trifling attentions which his infirmities required, and which all would have been delighted to offer. I found him always willing to converse on any topic. He spoke of his own works and of himself without reserve; never, however, introducing the subject nor dwelling upon it. His conversation had neither affectation nor restraint, and he was totally free from the morbid egotism of some men of genius. What surprised me most, and in one too who had so long been the object of universal admiration, was the unaf-
fected humility with which he spoke of his own merits, and the sort of surprise with which he surveyed his own success. That this was a real feeling none could doubt. The natural simplicity of his manner must have convinced the most incredulous. He was courteous and obliging to all, and towards women there was a dignified simplicity in his manner that was singularly pleasing. He would not allow even his infirmities to exempt him from the little courtesies of society. He always endeavoured to rise to address those who approached him, and once when my brother and myself accompanied him in his drive, it was not without difficulty that we could prevail on him not to seat himself with his back to the horses.

“I asked him if he meant to be presented at the Vatican, as I knew that his arrival had been spoken of, and that the Pope had expressed an interest about him. He said he respected the Pope as the most ancient sovereign in Europe, and should have great pleasure in paying his respects to him, did his state of health permit it. We talked of the ceremonies of the Church. He had been much struck with the benediction from the balcony of St Peter’s. I advised him to wait to see the procession of the Corpus Domini, and to hear the Pope
‘Saying the high, high mass,
All on St Peter’s day.’
He smiled, and said those things were more poetical in description than in reality, and that it was all the better for him not to have seen it before he wrote about it—that any attempt to make such scenes more exact injured the effect without conveying a clearer image to the mind of the reader—as the Utopian scenes and manners of
Mrs Radcliffe’s Novels captivated the imagination more than the most laboured descriptions, or the greatest historical accuracy.


“The morning after our arrival at Bracciano, when I left my room, I found Sir Walter already dressed, and seated in the deep recess of a window which commands an extensive view over the lake and surrounding country. He speculated on the lives of the turbulent lords of this ancient fortress, and listened with interest to such details as I could give him of their history. He drew a striking picture of the contrast between the calm and placid scene before us, and the hurry, din, and tumult of other days.

“Insensibly we strayed into more modern times. I never saw him more animated and agreeable. He was exactly what I could imagine him to have been in his best moments. Indeed I have several times heard him complain that his disease sometimes confused and bewildered his senses, while at others he was left with little remains of illness, except a consciousness of his state of infirmity. He talked of his Northern journey, of Manzoni, for whom he expressed a great admiration, of Lord Byron, and lastly of himself. Of Lord Byron he spoke with admiration and regard, calling him always ‘poor Byron.’ He considered him, he said, the only poet we have had since Dryden, of transcendent talents, and possessing more amiable qualities than the world in general gave him credit for.

“In reply to my question if he had never seriously thought of complying with the advice so often given him to write a tragedy, he answered ‘Often, but the difficulty deterred me—my turn was not dramatic.’ Some of the mottoes, I urged, prefixed to the chapters of his novels, and subscribed ‘old play,’ were eminently in the taste of the old dramatists, and seemed to ensure success. ‘Nothing so easy,’ he replied, ‘when you are full of an author, as to write a few lines in his taste and style; the difficulty is to keep it up—besides,’ he added,
‘the greatest success would be but a spiritless imitation, or, at best, what the Italians call a centone from
Shakspeare. No author has ever had so much cause to be grateful to the public as I have. All I have written has been received with indulgence.’

“He said he was the more grateful for the flattering reception he had met with in Italy, as he had not always treated the Catholic religion with respect. I observed, that though he had exposed the hypocrites of all sects, no religion had any cause to complain of him, as he had rendered them all interesting by turns. Jews, Catholics, and Puritans had all their saints and martyrs in his works. He was much pleased with this.

“He spoke of Goethe with regret; he had been in correspondence with him before his death, and had purposed visiting him at Weimar in returning to England, I told him I had been to see Goëthe the year before, and that I had found him well, and though very old, in the perfect possession of all his faculties. ‘Of all his faculties!’ he replied; ‘it is much better to die than to survive them, and better still to die than live in the apprehension of it; but the worst of all,’ he added thoughtfully, ‘would have been to have survived their partial loss, and yet to be conscious of his state.’—He did not seem to be, however, a great admirer of some of Goethe’s works. Much of his popularity, he observed, was owing to pieces which, in his latter moments, he might have wished recalled. He spoke with much feeling. I answered that he must derive great consolation in the reflection that his own popularity was owing to no such cause. He remained silent for a moment, with his eyes fixed on the ground; when he raised them, as he shook me by the hand, I perceived the light blue eye sparkled with unusual moisture. He added, ‘I am drawing near
to the close of my career; I am fast shuffling off the stage. I have been perhaps the most voluminous author of the day; and it is a comfort to me to think that I have tried to unsettle no man’s faith, to corrupt no man’s principle, and that I have written nothing which, on my death-bed, I should wish blotted.’ I made no reply; and while we were yet silent, Don Michele Gaetani joined us, and we walked through the vast hall into the court of the castle, where our friends were expecting us.

“After breakfast, Sir Walter returned to Rome. The following day he purposed setting out on his northern journey. It was Friday. I was anxious that he should prolong his stay in Rome; and reminding him of his superstition, I told him he ought not to set out on the unlucky day. He answered, laughing, ‘Superstition is very picturesque, and I make it at times stand me in great stead; but I never allow it to interfere with interest or convenience.’

“As I helped him down the steep court to his carriage, he said, as he stepped with pain and difficulty, ‘This is a sore change with me. Time was when I would hunt and shoot with the best of them, and thought it but a poor day’s sport when I was not on foot from ten to twelve hours; but we must be patient.’

“I handed him into his carriage; and in taking leave of me, he pressed me, with eager hospitality, to visit him at Abbotsford. The door closed upon him, and I stood for some moments watching the carriage till it was out of sight, as it wound through the portal of the Castle of Bracciano.

“Next day, Friday, May 11, Sir Walter left Rome.

“During his stay there he had received every mark of attention and respect from the Italians, who in not
APRIL—MAY, 1832.379
crowding to visit him were deterred only by their delicacy and their dread of intruding on an invalid. The use of villas, libraries, and museums was pressed upon him. This enthusiasm was by no means confined to the higher orders. His fame, and even his works, are familiar to all classes—the stalls are filled with translations of his novels, in the cheapest forms; and some of the most popular plays and operas have been founded upon them. Some time after he left Italy, when I was travelling in the mountains of Tuscany, it has more than once occurred to me to be stopped in little villages, hardly accessible to carriages, by an eager admirer of
Sir Walter, to enquire after the health of my illustrious countryman.”

The last jotting of Sir Walter’s Diary—perhaps the last specimen of his handwriting—records his starting from Naples on the 16th of April. After the 11th of May the story can hardly be told too briefly.

The irritation of impatience, which had for a moment been suspended by the aspect and society of Rome, returned the moment he found himself on the road, and seemed to increase hourly. His companions could with difficulty prevail on him to see even the Falls of Terni, or the Church of Santa Croce at Florence. On the 17th, a cold and dreary day, they passed the Apennines, and dined on the top of the mountains. The snow and the pines recalled Scotland, and he expressed pleasure at the sight of them. That night they reached Bologna, but he would see none of the interesting objects there—and next day, hurrying in like manner through Ferrara, he proceeded as far as Monselice. On the 19th he arrived at Venice; and he remained there till the 23d;
but showed no curiosity about any thing except the Bridge of Sighs and the adjoining dungeons—down into which he would scramble, though the exertion was exceedingly painful to him. On the other historical features of that place—one so sure in other days to have inexhaustible attractions for him—he would not even look; and it was the same with all that he came within reach of—even with the fondly anticipated chapel at Inspruck—as they proceeded through the Tyrol, and so onwards, by Munich, Ulm, and Heidelberg, to Frankfort. Here (June 5) he entered a bookseller’s shop; and the people seeing an English party, brought out among the first things a lithographed print of Abbotsford. He said, “I know that already, sir,” and hastened back to the inn without being recognised. Though in some parts of the journey they had very severe weather, he repeatedly wished to travel all the night as well as all the day; and the symptoms of an approaching fit were so obvious, that he was more than once bled, ere they reached Mayence, by the hand of his affectionate domestic.

At this town they embarked, on the 8th June in the Rhine steam-boat; and while they descended the famous river through its most picturesque region, he seemed to enjoy, though he said nothing, the perhaps unrivalled scenery it presented to him. His eye was fixed on the successive crags and castles, and ruined monasteries, each of which had been celebrated in some German ballad familiar to his ear, and all of them blended in the immortal panorama of Childe Harold. But so soon as he resumed his carriage at Cologne, and nothing but flat shores, and here and there a grove of poplars and a village spire were offered to the vision, the weight of misery sunk down again upon him. It was near Nimeguen, on the evening of the 9th, that he sustained an-
LONDON—JUNE, 1832.381
other serious attack of apoplexy, combined with paralysis.
Nicolson’s lancet restored, after the lapse of some minutes, the signs of animation; but this was the crowning blow. Next day he insisted on resuming his journey, and on the 11th was lifted from the carriage into a steam-boat at Rotterdam.

He reached London about six o’clock on the evening of Wednesday the 13th of June. Owing to the unexpected rapidity of the journey, his eldest daughter had had no notice when to expect him; and fearful of finding her either out of town, or unprepared to receive him and his attendants under her roof, Charles Scott drove to the St James’s hotel in Jermyn Street, and established his quarters there before he set out in quest of his sister and myself. When we reached the hotel, he recognised us with many marks of tenderness, but signified that he was totally exhausted; so no attempt was made to remove him further, and he was put to bed immediately. Dr Ferguson saw him the same night, and next day Sir Henry Halford and Dr Holland saw him also; and during the next three weeks the two former visited him daily, while Ferguson was scarcely absent from his pillow. The Major was soon on the spot. To his children, all assembled once more about him, he repeatedly gave his blessing in a very solemn manner, as if expecting immediate death, but he was never in a condition for conversation, and sunk either into sleep or delirious stupor upon the slightest effort.

Mrs Thomas Scott came to town as soon as she heard of his arrival, and remained to help us. She was more than once recognised and thanked. Mr Cadell too arrived from Edinburgh, to render any assistance in his power. I think Sir Walter saw no other of his friends except Mr John Richardson, and him only once. As usual, he woke up at the sound of a familiar voice, and
made an attempt to put forth his hand, but it dropped powerless, and he said, with a smile, “Excuse my hand.” Richardson made a struggle to suppress his emotion, and, after a moment, got out something about Abbotsford and the woods, which he had happened to see shortly before. The eye brightened, and he said, “How does Kirklands get on?” Mr Richardson had lately purchased the estate so called on the Teviot, and Sir Walter had left him busied with plans of building. His friend told him that his new house was begun, and that the
Marquis of Lothian had very kindly lent him one of his own, meantime, in its vicinity. “Ay, Lord Lothian is a good man,” said Sir Walter; “he is a man from whom one may receive a favour, and that’s saying a good deal for any man in these days.” The stupor then sank back upon him, and Richardson never heard his voice again. This state of things continued till the beginning of July.

During these melancholy weeks great interest and sympathy were manifested. Allan Cunningham mentions that, walking home late one night, he found several working-men standing together at the corner of Jermyn Street, and one of them asked him, as if there was but one deathbed in London, “Do you know, sir, if this is the street where he is lying?” The enquiries both at the hotel and at my house were incessant; and I think there was hardly a member of the royal family who did not send every day. The newspapers teemed with paragraphs about Sir Walter; and one of these, it appears, threw out a suggestion that his travels had exhausted his pecuniary resources, and that if he were capable of reflection at all, cares of that sort might probably harass his pillow. This paragraph came from a very ill-informed, but, I daresay, a well-meaning quarter. It caught the attention of some members of the then Government; and, in consequence, I received a private
LONDON—JUNE, 1832.383
communication, to the effect that, if the case were as stated, Sir Walter’s family had only to say what sum would relieve him from embarrassment, and it would be immediately advanced by the Treasury. The then Paymaster of the Forces,
Lord John Russell, had the delicacy to convey this message through a lady with whose friendship he knew us to be honoured. We expressed our grateful sense of his politeness, and of the liberality of the Government, and I now beg leave to do so once more; but his Lordship was of course informed that Sir Walter Scott was not situated as the journalist had represented.

Dr Ferguson’s memorandum on Jermyn Street will be acceptable to the reader. He says:—

“When I saw Sir Walter he was lying in the second floor back-room of the St James’s Hotel, in Jermyn Street, in a state of stupor, from which, however, he could be roused for a moment by being addressed, and then he recognised those about him, but immediately relapsed. I think I never saw any thing more magnificent than the symmetry of his colossal bust, as he lay on the pillow with his chest and neck exposed. During the time he was in Jermyn Street he was calm but never collected, and in general either in absolute stupor or in a waking dream. He never seemed to know where he was, but imagined himself to be still in the steam-boat. The rattling of carriages, and the noises of the street sometimes disturbed this illusion, and then he fancied himself at the polling booth of Jedburgh, where he had been insulted and stoned.

“During the whole of this period of apparent helplessness, the great features of his character could not be mistaken. He always exhibited great self-possession, and acted his part with wonderful power when-
ever visited, though he relapsed the next moment into the stupor from which strange voices had roused him. A gentleman stumbled over a chair in his dark room;—he immediately started up, and though unconscious that it was a friend, expressed as much concern and feeling as if he had never been labouring under the irritability of disease. It was impossible even for those who most constantly saw and waited on him in his then deplorable condition, to relax from the habitual deference which he had always inspired. He expressed his will as determinedly as ever, and enforced it with the same apt and good-natured irony as he was wont to use.

“At length his constant yearning to return to Abbotsford induced his physicians to consent to his removal, and the moment this was notified to him it seemed to infuse new vigour into his frame. It was on a calm, clear afternoon of the 7th July, that every preparation was made for his embarkation on board the steam-boat. He was placed on a chair by his faithful servant Nicolson, half-dressed, and loosely wrapt in a quilted dressing-gown. He requested Lockhart and myself to wheel him towards the light of the open window, and we both remarked the vigorous lustre of his eye. He sat there silently gazing on space for more than half an hour, apparently wholly occupied with his own thoughts, and having no distinct perception of where he was or how he came there. He suffered himself to be lifted into his carriage, which was surrounded by a crowd, among whom were many gentlemen on horseback, who had loitered about to gaze on the scene.

“His children were deeply affected, and Mrs Lockhart trembled from head to foot and wept bitterly. Thus surrounded by those nearest to him, he alone was unconscious of the cause or the depth of their grief, and while yet alive seemed to be carried to his grave.”

JULY, 1832. 385

On this his last journey Sir Walter was attended by his two daughters, Mr Cadell, and myself—and also by Dr James Watson, who (it being impossible for Dr Ferguson to leave town at that moment) kindly undertook to see him safe at Abbotsford. We embarked in the James Watt steam-boat, the master of which (Captain John Jamieson), as well as the agent of the proprietors, made every arrangement in their power for the convenience of the invalid. The Captain gave up for Sir Walter’s use his own private cabin, which was a separate erection, a sort of cottage, on the deck; and he seemed unconscious, after laid in bed there, that any new removal had occurred. On arriving at Newhaven, late on the 9th, we found careful preparations made for his landing by the manager of the Shipping Company (Mr Hamilton); and Sir Walter, prostrate in his carriage, was slung on shore, and conveyed from thence to Douglas’s hotel, in St Andrew’s Square, in the same complete apparent unconsciousness. Mrs Douglas had in former days been the Duke of Buccleuch’s housekeeper at Bowhill, and she and her husband had also made the most suitable provision. At a very early hour on the morning of Wednesday the 11th, we again placed him in his carriage, and he lay in the same torpid state during the first two stages on the road to Tweedside. But as we descended the vale of the Gala he began to gaze about him, and by degrees it was obvious that he was recognising the features of that familiar landscape. Presently he murmured a name or two—“Gala Water, surely—Buckholm—Torwoodlee.” As we rounded the hill at Ladhope, and the outline of the Eildons burst on him, he became greatly excited, and when turning himself on the couch his eye caught at length his own towers, at the distance of a mile, he sprang up with a cry of delight. The river being in
flood we had to go round a few miles by Melrose bridge, and during the time this occupied, his woods and house being within prospect, it required occasionally both Dr Watson’s strength and mine, in addition to
Nicolson’s, to keep him in the carriage. After passing the bridge the road for a couple of miles loses sight of Abbotsford, and he relapsed into his stupor; but on gaining the bank immediately above it, his excitement became again ungovernable.

Mr Laidlaw was waiting at the porch, and assisted us in lifting him into the dining-room, where his bed had been prepared. He sat bewildered for a few moments, and then resting his eye on Laidlaw, said, “Ha! Willie Laidlaw! O man, how often have I thought of you!” By this time his dogs had assembled about his chair—they began to fawn upon him and lick his hands, and he alternately sobbed and smiled over them, until sleep oppressed him.

Dr Watson having consulted on all things with Mr Clarkson and his father, resigned the patient to them, and returned to London. None of them could have any hope, but that of soothing irritation. Recovery was no longer to be thought of: but there might be Euthanasia.

And yet something like a ray of hope did break in upon us next morning. Sir Walter awoke perfectly conscious where he was, and expressed an ardent wish to be carried out into his garden. We procured a Bath chair from Huntly-Burn, and Laidlaw and I wheeled him out before his door, and up and down for some time on the turf, and among the rose-beds then in full bloom. The grandchildren admired the new vehicle, and would be helping in their way to push it about. He sat in silence, smiling placidly on them and the dogs their companions, and now and then admiring the house, the screen of the garden, and the flowers and trees. By and by he con-
versed a little, very composedly, with us—said he was happy to be at home—that he felt better than he had ever done since he left it, and would perhaps disappoint the doctors after all.

He then desired to be wheeled through his rooms, and we moved him leisurely for an hour or more up and down the hall and the great library: “I have seen much,” he kept saying, “but nothing like my ain house—give me one turn more!” He was gentle as an infant, and allowed himself to be put to bed again, the moment we told him that we thought he had had enough for one day.

Next morning he was still better: after again enjoying the Bath chair for perhaps a couple of hours out of doors, he desired to be drawn into the library, and placed by the central window, that he might look down upon the Tweed. Here he expressed a wish that I should read to him, and when I asked from what book, he said—“Need you ask? There is but one.” I chose the 14th chapter of St John’s Gospel; he listened with mild devotion, and said when I had done, “Well, this is a great comfort—I have followed you distinctly, and I feel as if I were yet to be myself again.” In this placid frame he was again put to bed, and had many hours of soft slumber.

On the third day Mr Laidlaw and I again wheeled him about the small piece of lawn and shrubbery in front of the house for some time, and the weather being delightful, and all the richness of summer around him, he seemed to taste fully the balmy influences of nature. The sun getting very strong, we halted the chair in a shady corner, just within the verge of his verdant arcade around the court-wall; and breathing the coolness of the spot, he said, “read me some amusing thing—read me a bit of Crabbe.” I brought out the first volume of his old favourite that I could lay hand on, and turned to
what I remembered as one of his most favourite passages in it—the description of the arrival of the Players in the Borough. He listened with great interest, and also, as I soon perceived, with great curiosity. Every now and then he exclaimed, “Capital—excellent—very good—Crabbe has lost nothing” and we were too well satisfied that he considered himself as hearing a new production, when, chuckling over one couplet, he said, “Better and better—but how will poor
Terry endure these cuts?” I went on with the poet’s terrible sarcasms upon the theatrical life, and he listened eagerly, muttering, “Honest Dan!” “Dan won’t like this.” At length I reached those lines,
“Sad happy race! soon raised and soon depressed,
Your days all passed in jeopardy and jest:
Poor without prudence, with afflictions vain,
Not warned by misery, nor enriched by gain.”

“Shut the book,” said Sir Walter,—“I can’t stand more of this—it will touch Terry to the very quick.”

On the morning of Sunday the 15th he was again taken out into the little pleasaunce, and got as far as his favourite terrace-walk between the garden and the river, from which he seemed to survey the valley and the hills with much satisfaction. On re-entering the house, he desired me to read to him from the New Testament, and after that he again called for a little of Crabbe; but whatever I selected from that poet seemed to be listened to as if it made part of some new volume published while he was in Italy. He attended with this sense of novelty even to the tale of Phoebe Dawson, which not many months before he could have repeated every line of, and which I chose for one of these readings, because, as is known to every one, it had formed the last solace of Mr Fox’s deathbed. On the contrary his recollection of whatever I read from the Bible appeared to be lively; and in the
afternoon when we made his grandson, a child of six years, repeat some of
Dr Watts’ hymns by his chair, he seemed also to remember them perfectly. That evening he heard the Church service, and when I was about to close the book, said “why do you omit the visitation for the sick?”—which I added accordingly.

On Monday he remained in bed and seemed extremely feeble; but after breakfast on Tuesday the 17th he appeared revived somewhat, and was again wheeled about on the turf. Presently he fell asleep in his chair, and after dozing for perhaps half an hour, started awake, and shaking the plaids we had put about him from off his shoulders, said, “This is sad idleness. I shall forget what I have been thinking of, if I don’t set it down now. Take me into my own room, and fetch the keys of my desk.” He repeated this so earnestly that we could not refuse; his daughters went into his study, opened his writing-desk, and laid paper and pens in the usual order, and I then moved him through the hall and into the spot where he had always been accustomed to work. When the chair was placed at the desk, and he found himself in the old position, he smiled and thanked us, and said, ‘Now give me my pen and leave me for a little to myself.’ Sophia put the pen into his hand, and he endeavoured to close his fingers upon it, but they refused their office—it dropped on the paper. He sank back among his pillows, silent tears rolling down his cheeks; but composing himself by and by, motioned to me to wheel him out of doors again. Laidlaw met us at the porch, and took his turn of the chair. Sir Walter, after a little while, again dropt into slumber. When he was awaking, Laidlaw said to me “Sir Walter has had a little repose.” “No, Willie,” said he “no repose for Sir Walter but in the grave.” The tears again rushed from his eyes. “Friends,” said he, “don’t
let me expose myself—get me to bed—that’s the only place.”*

With this scene ended our glimpse of daylight. Sir Walter never, I think, left his room afterwards, and hardly his bed, except for an hour or two in the middle of the day; and after another week he was unable even for this. During a few days he was in a state of painful irritation—and I saw realized all that he had himself prefigured in his description of the meeting between Crystal Croftangry and his paralytic friend. Dr Ross came out from Edinburgh, bringing with him his wife, one of the dearest nieces of the Clerk’s Table. Sir Walter with some difficulty recognised the Doctor—but, on hearing Mrs Ross’s voice, exclaimed at once “Isn’t that Kate Hume?” These kind friends remained for two or three days with us. Clarkson’s lancet was pronounced necessary, and the relief it afforded was, I am happy to say, very effectual.

After this he declined daily, but still there was great strength to be wasted, and the process was long. He seemed, however, to suffer no bodily pain, and his mind, though hopelessly obscured, appeared, when there was any symptom of consciousness, to be dwelling, with rare exceptions, on serious and solemn things; the accent of the voice grave, sometimes awful, but never querulous, and very seldom indicative of any angry or resentful thoughts. Now and then he imagined himself to be administering justice as Sheriff; and once or twice he seemed to be ordering Tom Purdie about trees. A few times also, I am sorry to say, we could perceive that his fancy was at Jedburgh—and Burk Sir

* As this is the last time I name Mr Laidlaw, I may as well mention, that this most excellent and amiable man is now factor on the estate of Sir Charles Lockhart Ross, Bart, of Balnagowan, in Ross-shire.

AUGUST, 1832.391
Walter escaped him in a melancholy tone. But commonly whatever we could follow him in was a fragment of the Bible (especially the Prophecies of Isaiah, and the Book of Job)—or some petition in the litany—or a verse of some psalm (in the old Scotch metrical version) or of some of the magnificent hymns of the Romish ritual, in which he had always delighted, but which probably hung on his memory now in connexion with the church services he had attended while in Italy. We very often heard distinctly the cadence of the Dies Iræ; and I think the very last stanza that we could make out, was the first of a still greater favourite.—
“Stabat Mater dolorosa,
Juxta crucem lachrymosa,
Dum pendebat Filius.”

All this time he continued to recognise his daughters, Laidlaw, and myself, whenever we spoke to him—and received every attention with a most touching thankfulness. Mr Clarkson, too, was always saluted with the old courtesy, though the cloud opened but a moment for him to do so. Most truly might it be said that the gentleman survived the genius.

After two or three weeks had passed in this way, I was obliged to leave Sir Walter for a single day, and go into Edinburgh to transact business, on his account, with Mr Henry Cockburn (now Lord Cockburn), then Solicitor-General for Scotland. The Scotch Reform Bill threw a great burden of new duties and responsibilities upon the Sheriffs; and Scott’s Sheriff-substitute, the Laird of Raeburn, not having been regularly educated for the law, found himself incompetent to encounter these novelties, especially as regarded the registration of voters, and other details connected with the recent enlargement of the electoral franchise. Under such circumstances, as no one but the Sheriff could
appoint another Substitute,* it became necessary for Sir Walter’s family to communicate the state he was in in a formal manner to the Law Officers of the Crown; and the Lord Advocate (
Mr Jeffrey), in consequence, introduced and carried through Parliament a short bill (2 and 3 William IV.cap 101), authorizing the Government to appoint anew Sheriff of Selkirkshire, “during the incapacity or non-resignation of Sir Walter Scott.” It was on this bill that the Solicitor-General had expressed a wish to converse with me; but there was little to be said, as the temporary nature of the new appointment gave no occasion for any pecuniary question; and, if that had been otherwise, the circumstances of the case would have rendered Sir Walter’s family entirely indifferent upon such a subject. There can be no doubt, that if he had recovered in so far as to be capable of executing a resignation, the Government would have considered it just to reward thirty-two years’ faithful services by a retired allowance equivalent to his salary—and as little that the Government would have had sincere satisfaction in settling that matter in the shape most acceptable to himself. And perhaps (though I feel that it is scarcely worth while) I may as well here express my regret that a statement highly unjust and injurious should have found its way into the pages of some of Sir Walter’s preceding biographers. These writers have thought fit to insinuate that there was a want of courtesy and respect on the part of the Lord Advocate, and the other official persons connected with this arrangement. On the contrary, nothing could be more handsome and delicate than the whole of their conduct in it; Mr Cockburn could not have entered into the case with greater feeling and tenderness, had it concerned a brother of his own; and when Mr Jeffrey introduced his bill in the House of Commons, he used
SEPTEMBER, 1832.393
language so graceful and touching, that both
Sir Robert Peel and Mr Croker went across the House to thank him cordially for it.

Perceiving, towards the close of August, that the end was near, and thinking it very likely that Abbotsford might soon undergo many changes, and myself, at all events, never see it again, I felt a desire to have some image preserved of the interior apartments as occupied by their founder, and invited from Edinburgh for that purpose Sir Walter’s dear friend, William Allan whose presence, I well knew, would even under the circumstances of that time be nowise troublesome to any of the family, but the contrary in all respects. Mr Allan willingly complied, and executed a series of beautiful drawings, which may probably be engraved hereafter. He also shared our watchings, and witnessed all but the last moments. Sir Walter’s cousins, the ladies of Ashestiel, came down frequently, for a day or two at a time; and did whatever sisterly affections could prompt, both for the sufferer and his daughters. Miss Barbara Scott (daughter of his uncle Thomas), and Mrs Scott of Harden did the like.

As I was dressing on the morning of Monday the 17th of September, Nicolson came into my room, and told me that his master had awoke in a state of composure and consciousness, and wished to see me immediately. I found him entirely himself, though in the last extreme of feebleness. His eye was clear and calm—every trace of the wild fire of delirium extinguished. “Lockhart,” he said “I may have but a minute to speak to you. My dear, be a good man—be virtuous—be religious—be a good man. Nothing else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here.”—He paused, and I said, “Shall I send for Sophia and Anne?”—“No,” said he, “don’t disturb them. Poor souls! I know they
were up all night—God bless you all.”—With this he sunk into a very tranquil sleep, and, indeed, he scarcely afterwards gave any sign of consciousness, except for an instant on the arrival of his sons. They, on learning that the scene was about to close, obtained anew leave of absence from their posts, and both reached Abbotsford on the 19th. About half-past one p.m., on the 21st of September,
Sir Walter breathed his last, in the presence of all his children. It was a beautiful day—so warm that every window was wide open—and so perfectly still, that the sound of all others most delicious to his ear, the gentle ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles, was distinctly audible as we knelt around the bed, and his eldest son kissed and closed his eyes.

No sculptor ever modelled a more majestic image of repose:—
Κειτο μέγας μεγαλωστί, λελασμένος ίπποσυνάων

Almost every newspaper that announced this event in Scotland, and many in England, had the signs of mourning usual on the demise of a king. With hardly an exception, the voice was that of universal, unmixed grief and veneration.

It was considered due to Sir Walter’s physicians, and to the public, that the nature of his malady should be distinctly ascertained. The result was, that there appeared the traces of a very slight mollification in one part of the substance of the brain.*

* “Abbotsford, Sept. 23, 1832. This forenoon, in presence of Dr Adolphus Ross, from Edinburgh, and my father, I proceeded to examine the head of Sir Walter Scott.

“On removing the upper part of the cranium, the vessels on the surface of the brain appeared slightly turgid, and on cutting into the brain the cineritious substance was found of a darker hue than natural, and a greater than usual quantity of serum in the ventricles. Excepting these appearances, the right hemisphere seemed

SEPTEMBER, 1832. 395

His funeral was conducted in an unostentatious manner, but the attendance was very great. Few of his old friends then in Scotland were absent, and many, both friends and strangers, came from a great distance. His old domestics and foresters made it their petition that no hireling hand might assist in carrying his remains. They themselves bore the coffin to the hearse, and from the hearse to the grave. The pall-bearers were his sons, his son-in-law, and his little grandson; his cousins, Charles Scott of Nesbitt, James Scott of Jedburgh (sons to his uncle Thomas), William Scott of Raeburn, Robert Rutherford, Clerk to the Signet, Colonel (now Sir James) Russell of Ashestiel, William Keith (brother to Sir Alexander Keith of Ravelstone), and the chief of his family, Hugh Scott of Harden, now Lord Polwarth.

When the company were assembled, according to the usual Scotch fashion, prayers were offered up by the very Reverend Dr Baird, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, and by the Reverend Dr David Dickson, minister of St Cuthbert’s, who both expatiated in a very striking manner on the virtuous example of the deceased.

The court-yard and all the precincts of Abbotsford were crowded with uncovered spectators as the procession was arranged; and as it advanced through Darnick and Melrose, and the adjacent villages, the whole population appeared at their doors in like manner, almost all in black. The train of carriages extended, I understand,

in a healthy state, but in the left, in the choroid plexus, three distinct, though small hydatids were found; and on reaching the corpus striatum it was discovered diseased—a considerable portion of it being in a state of ramolissement. The blood-vessels were in a healthy state. The brain was not large and the cranium thinner than it is usually found to be.

over more than a mile—the Yeomanry followed in great numbers on horseback—and it was late in the day ere we reached Dryburgh. Some accident, it was observed, had caused the hearse to halt for several minutes on the summit of the hill at Bemerside—exactly where a prospect of remarkable richness opens, and where
Sir Walter had always been accustomed to rein up his horse. The day was dark and lowering, and the wind high.

The wide enclosure at the abbey of Dryburgh was thronged with old and young; and when the coffin was taken from the hearse, and again laid on the shoulders of the afflicted serving-men, one deep sob burst from a thousand lips. Mr Archdeacon Williams read the Burial Service of the Church of England; and thus, about half-past five o’clock in the evening of Wednesday the 26th September, 1832, the remains of Sir Walter Scott were laid by the side of his wife in the sepulchre of his ancestors—“in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.