LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter II 1827

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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My wife and I spent the summer of 1827, partly at a sea-bathing place near Edinburgh, and partly in Roxburghshire; and I shall, in. my account of the sequel of this year, draw, as it may happen, on Sir Walter’s Diary, his letters, the memoranda of friendly visiters, or my own recollections. The arrival of his daughter and her children at Portobello was a source of constant refreshment to him during June; for every other day he came down and dined there, and strolled about afterwards on the beach; thus interrupting, beneficially for his health, and I doubt not for the result of his labours also, the new custom of regular night-work, or, as he called it, of serving double-tides. When the Court released him, and he returned to Abbotsford, his
family did what they could to keep him to his ancient evening habits; but nothing was so useful as the presence of his invalid grandson. The poor child was at this time so far restored as to be able to sit his pony again; and Sir Walter, who had, as the reader observed, conceived, the very day he finished
Napoleon, the notion of putting together a series of stories on the history of Scotland, somewhat in the manner of Mr Croker’s on that of England, rode daily among the woods with his “Hugh Littlejohn,” and told the tale, and ascertained that it suited the comprehension of boyhood, before he reduced it to writing. Sibyl Grey had been dismissed in consequence of the accident at the Catrail; and he had now stooped his pride to a sober, steady creature, of very humble blood; dun, with black mane and legs; by name Douce Davie, alias the Covenanter. This, the last of his steeds, by the way, had been previously in the possession of a jolly old laird in a neighbouring county, and acquired a distinguished reputation by its skill in carrying him home safely when dead drunk. Douce Davie, on such occasions, accommodated himself to the swerving balance of his rider with such nice discrimination, that, on the laird’s death, the country people expected a vigorous competition for the sagacious animal; but the club-companions of the defunct stood off to a man, when it was understood that the Sheriff coveted the succession.

The Chronicles of the Canongate proceeded pari passu with these historical tales; and both works were published before the end of the year. He also superintended, at the same time, the first collection of his Prose Miscellanies, in six volumes 8vo—several articles being remodelled and extended to adapt them for a more permanent sort of existence than had been originally thought of. Moreover, Sir Walter penned, that autumn,
his beautiful and instructive paper on the
Planting of Waste Lands, which is indeed no other than a precious chapter of his autobiography, for the Quarterly Review.* What he wrote of new matter between June and December, fills from five to six volumes in the late uniform edition of his works; but all this was light and easy after the perilous drudgery of the preceding eighteen months.

The Blair-Adam Club, this year, had their headquarters at Charleton, in Fife—the seat of the founder’s son-in-law, Mr Anstruther Thomson; and one of their drives was to the two ancient mansions of Ely and Balcasky. “The latter,” says Sir Walter in his Diary, “put me in mind of poor Philip Anstruther, dead and gone many a long year since. He was a fine, gallant, light-hearted young sailor. I remember the story of his drawing on his father for some cash, which produced an angry letter from old Sir Robert, to which Philip replied, that if he did not know how to write like a gentleman, he did not desire any more of his correspondence. Balcasky is much dilapidated; but they are restoring the house in the good old style, with its terraces and yew hedges.”

Another morning was given to St Andrews, which one of the party had never before visited. “The ruins,” he says, “have been lately cleared out. They had been chiefly magnificent from their size, not their richness in ornament.† I did not go up to St Rule’s Tower, as on former occasions; this is a falling off, for when before did I remain sitting below when there was a steeple to be ascended? But the rheumatism has begun to change

* See Miscellaneous Prose Works (edition 1836) vol. xxi.

† I believe there is no doubt that the Metropolitan Cathedral of St Andrews had been the longest in Europe—a very remarkable fact, when one thinks of the smallness and poverty of the country. It is stated, with minute calculations, and much exultation, by an old Scotch writer—Volusenus (i. e. Wilson) in his once celebrated treatise—De Tranquillitate Animi.

that vein for some time past, though I think this is the first decided sign of acquiescence in my lot. I sat down on a grave-stone, and recollected the first visit I made to St Andrews, now thirty-four years ago. What changes in my feelings and my fortunes have since then taken place!—some for the better, many for the worse. I remembered the
name I then carved in runic characters on the turf beside the castle-gate, and I asked why it should still agitate my heart. But my friends came down from the tower, and the foolish idea was chased away.”

On the 22d of July his Diary bears the date of Minto. He then says “We rubbed up some recollections of twenty years ago, when I was more intimate in the family, till Whig and Tory separated us for a time. By the way, nobody talks Whig or Tory just now, and the fighting men on each side go about muzzled and mute, like dogs after a proclamation about canine madness. Am I sorry for this truce or not Half and half. It is all we have left to stir the blood, this little political brawling. But better too little of it than too much. Here I have received news of two deaths at once; Lady Die Scott, my very old friend, and Archibald Constable, the bookseller.”—He adds next day—“Yes! they are both, for very different reasons, subjects of reflection. Lady Diana Scott, widow of Walter Scott of Harden, was the last person whom I recollect so much older than myself, that she kept always at the same distance in point of age, so that she scarce seemed older to me (relatively) two years ago, when in her ninety-second year, than fifty years before. She was the daughter (alone remaining) of Pope’s Earl of Marchmont, and, like her father, had an acute mind, and an eager temper. She was always kind to me, remarkably so indeed when I was a boy.—Constable’s death might have been a most important thing to me if it had happened some years
ago, and I should then have lamented it much. He has lived to do me some injury; yet, excepting the last L.5000, I think most unintentionally. He was a prince of booksellers; his views sharp, powerful, and liberal; too sanguine, however, and like many bold and successful schemers, never knowing when to stand or stop, and not always calculating his means to his object with mercantile accuracy. He was very vain, for which he had some reason, having raised himself to great commercial eminence, as he might also, with good management, have attained great wealth. He knew, I think, more of the business of a bookseller, in planning and executing popular works, than any man of his time. In books themselves he had much bibliographical information, but none whatever that could be termed literary. He knew the rare volumes of his library not only by the eye, but by the touch, when blindfolded.
Thomas Thomson saw him make this experiment, and that it might be complete, placed in his hand an ordinary volume instead of one of these libri rariores. He said he had over-estimated his memory; he could not recollect that volume. Constable was a violent tempered man with those he dared use freedom with. He was easily overawed by people of consequence; but, as usual, took it out of those whom poverty made subservient to him. Yet he was generous, and far from bad-hearted:—in person good-looking, but very corpulent latterly; a large feeder, and deep drinker, till his health became weak. He died of water in the chest, which the natural strength of his constitution set long at defiance. I have no great reason to regret him; yet I do. If he deceived me, he also deceived himself.”

Constable’s spirit had been effectually broken by his downfall. To stoop from being primus absque secundo among the Edinburgh booksellers, to be the occupant
of an obscure closet of a shop, without capital, without credit, all his mighty undertakings abandoned or gone into other hands, except indeed his Miscellany, which he had now no resources for pushing on in the fashion he once contemplated—this reverse was too much for that proud heart. He no longer opposed a determined mind to the ailments of the body, and sunk on the 21st of this month, having, as I am told, looked long ere he took to his bed at least ten years older than he was. He died in his 54th year; but into that space he had crowded vastly more than the usual average of zeal and energy, of hilarity and triumph, and perhaps of anxiety and misery.

About this time the rumour became prevalent that Mr Canning’s health was breaking up among toils and mortifications of another order, and Scott’s Diary has some striking entries on this painful subject. Meeting Lord Melville casually at the seat of a common friend towards the end of July, he says, “I was sorry to see my very old friend, this upright statesman and honourable gentleman, deprived of his power, and his official income, which the number of his family must render a matter of importance. He was cheerful, not affectedly so, and bore his declension like a wise and brave man. Canning said the office of Premier was his by inheritance; he could not, from constitution, hold it above two years, and then it would descend to Peel. Such is ambition! Old friends forsaken—old principles changed—every effort used to give the vessel of the State a new direction, and all to be Palinurus for two years!”

Of the 10th of August—when the news of Mr Canning’s death reached Abbotsford—and the day following, are these entries: “The death of the Premier is announced—late George Canning—the witty, the accomplished,
the ambitious;—he who had toiled thirty years, and involved himself in the most harassing discussions, to attain this dizzy height; he who had held it for three months of intrigue and obloquy—and now a heap of dust, and that is all. He was an early and familiar friend of mine, through my intimacy with
George Ellis. No man possessed a gayer and more playful wit in society; no one, since Pitt’s time, had more commanding sarcasm in debate; in the House of Commons he was the terror of that species of orators called the Yelpers. His lash fetched away both skin and flesh, and would have penetrated the hide of a rhinoceros. In his conduct as a statesman he had a great fault; he lent himself too willingly to intrigue. Thus he got into his quarrel with Lord Castlereagh, and lost credit with the country for want of openness. Thus, too, he got involved with the Queen’s party to such an extent, that it fettered him upon that miserable occasion, and obliged him to butter Sir Robert Wilson with dear friend, and gallant general, and so forth. The last composition with the Whigs was a sacrifice of principle on both sides. I have some reason to think they counted on getting rid of him in two or three years. To me Canning was always personally most kind. I saw, with pain, a great change in his health when I met him at Colonel Bolton’s, at Storrs, in 1825. In London last year I thought him looking better. My nerves have for these two or three last days been susceptible of an acute excitement from the slightest causes; the beauty of the evening, the sighing of the summer breeze, bring the tears into my eyes not unpleasantly. But I must take exercise, and case-harden myself. There is no use in encouraging these moods of the mind.

August 11.—Wrote nearly five pages; then walked.
A visit from
Henry Scott; nothing known as yet about politics. A High Tory Administration would be a great evil at this time. There are repairs in the structure of our constitution which ought to be made at this season, and without which the people will not long be silent. A pure Whig Administration would probably play the devil by attempting a thorough repair. As to a compound, or melo-dramatic Ministry, the parts out of which such a one could be organized just now are at a terrible discount in public estimation, nor will they be at par in a hurry again. The public were generally shocked at the complete lack of principle testified on the late occasion, and by some who till then had high credit. The Duke of Wellington has risen by his firmness on the one side, Earl Grey on the other.”

He received, about this time, a third visit from Mr J. L. Adolphus. The second occurred in August 1824, and since that time they had not met. I transcribe a few paragraphs from my friend’s memoranda, on which I formerly drew so largely: He says—

“Calamity had borne heavily upon Sir Walter in the interval; but the painful and anxious feeling with which a friend is approached for the first time under such circumstances, gave way at once to the unassumed serenity of his manner. There were some signs of age about him which the mere lapse of time would scarcely have accounted for; but his spirits were abated only, not broken; if they had sunk, they had sunk equably and gently. It was a declining, not a clouded sun. I do not remember, at this period, hearing him make any reference to the afflictions he had suffered, except once, when, speaking of his Life of
Napoleon, he said ‘he knew that it had some inaccuracies, but he believed it would be found right in all essential points;’ and then added, in a quiet, but affecting tone, ‘I could have done it better, if I could have written at more leisure, and with a mind more at ease.’ One morning a party was made to breakfast at Chiefswood; and any one who on that occasion looked at and heard Sir Walter Scott, in the midst of his children, and grandchildren, and friends, must have rejoiced to see that life still yielded him a store of pleasures, and that his heart was as open to their influence as ever.

“I was much struck by a few words which fell from him on this subject a short time afterwards. After mentioning an accident which had spoiled the promised pleasure of a visit to his daughter in London, he then added, ‘I am like Seged, Lord of Ethiopia, in the Rambler, who said that he would have ten happy days, and all turned to disappointment. But, however, I have had as much happiness in my time as most men, and I must not complain now.’ I said that, whatever had been his share of happiness, no man could have laboured better for it. He answered, ‘I consider the capacity to labour as part of the happiness I have enjoyed.’

“Abbotsford was not much altered since 1824. I had then seen it complete even to the statue of Maida at the door, though in 1824 old Maida was still alive, and now and then raised a majestic bark from behind the house. It was one of the little scenes of Abbotsford life which should have been preserved by a painter, when Sir Walter strolled out in a sunny morning to caress poor Maida, and condole with him upon being so ‘very frail;’ the aged hound dragging his gaunt limbs forward, painfully, yet with some remains of dignity, to
meet the hand and catch the deep affectionate tones of his master.

“The greatest observable difference which the last three years had made in the outward appearance of Abbotsford, was in the advanced growth of the plantations. Sir Walter now showed me some rails and palisades, made of their wood, with more self-complacency than I ever saw him betray on any other subject. The garden did not appear to interest him so much, and the ‘mavis and merle’ were, upon principle, allowed to use their discretion as to the fruit. His favourite afternoon exercise was to ramble through his grounds, conversing with those who accompanied him, and trimming his young trees with a large knife. Never have I received an invitation more gladly than when he has said, ‘If you like a walk in the plantations, I will bestow my tediousness upon you after one o’clock.’ His conversation at such times ran in that natural, easy, desultory course, which accords so well with the irregular movements of a walk over hill and woodland, and which he has himself described so well in his Epistle to Mr Skene.* I remember with particular pleasure one of our walks through the romantic little ravine of the Huntly-Burn. Our progress was leisurely, for the path was somewhat difficult to him. Occasionally he would stop, and, leaning on his walking-stick and fixing his eyes on those of the hearer, pour forth some sonorous stanza of an old poem applicable to the scene, or to the last subject of theconversation. Several times we paused to admire the good taste, as it seemed, with which his great Highland staghound Nimrod always displayed himself on those prominent points of the little glen, where his figure, in combination with the

* See Poetical Works, Vol, VII., p. 182.

scenery, had the most picturesque effect. Sir Walter accounted for this by observing that the situations were of that kind which the dog’s instinct would probably draw him to if looking out for game. In speaking of the Huntly-Burn I used the word ‘brook.’ ‘It is hardly that,’ said he, ‘it is just a runnel.’ Emerging into a more open country, we saw a road a little below us, on each side of which were some feathery saplings. ‘I like,’ he said, ‘that way of giving an eyelash to the road.’ Independently of the recollections called up by particular objects, his eye and mind always seemed to dwell with a perfect complacency on his own portion of the vale of Tweed: he used to say that he did not know a more ‘liveable’ country.

“A substitute for walking, which he always very cheerfully used, and which at last became his only resource for any distant excursion, was a ride in a four-wheeled open carriage, holding four persons, but not absolutely limited to that number on an emergency. Tame as this exercise might be in comparison with riding on horseback, or with walking under propitious circumstances, yet as he was rolled along to Melrose, or Bowhill, or Yair, his spirits always freshened; the air, the sounds, the familiar yet romantic scenes, wakened up all the poetry of his thoughts, and happy were they who heard it resolve itself into words. At the sight of certain objects for example, in passing the green foundations of the little chapel of Lindean, where the body of the ‘Dark Knight of Liddesdale’ was deposited, on its way to Melrose, it would, I suppose, been impossible for him, unless with a companion hopelessly unsusceptible or pre-occupied, to forbear some passing comment, some harping (if the word may be favourably used) on the tradition of the place. This was, perhaps, what he called ‘bestowing his tedious-
ness;’ but if any one could think these effusions tedious because they often broke forth, such a man might have objected against the rushing of the Tweed, or the stirring of the trees in the wind, or any other natural melody, that he had heard the same thing before.

“Some days of my visit were marked by an almost perpetual confinement to the house; the rain being incessant. But the evenings were as bright and cheerful as the atmosphere of the days was dreary. Not that the gloomiest morning could ever be wearisome under a roof where, independently of the resources in society which the house afforded, the visiter might ransack a library, unique, I suppose, in some of its collections, and in all its departments interesting and characteristic of the founder. So many of the volumes were enriched with anecdotes or comments in his own hand, that to look over his books was in some degree conversing with him. And sometimes this occupation was pleasantly interrupted by a snatch of actual conversation with himself, when he entered from his own room, to consult or take away a book. How often have I heard with pleasure, after a long silence, the uneven step, the point of the stick striking against the floor, and then seen the poet himself emerge from, his study, with a face of thought but yet of cheerfulness, followed perhaps by Nimrod, who stretched his limbs and yawned, as if tired out with some abstruse investigation.

“On one of the rainy days I have alluded to, when walking at the usual hour became hopeless, Sir Walter asked me to sit with him while he continued his morning occupation, giving me, for my own employment, the publications of the Bannatyne Club. His study, as I recollect it, was strictly a work-room, though an elegant one. It has been fancifully decked out in
pictures, but it had, I think, very few articles of mere ornament. The chief of these was the print of
Stothard’s Canterbury Pilgrims, which hung over the chimney-piece, and, from the place assigned to it, must have been in great favour, though Sir Walter made the characteristic criticism upon it, that, if the procession were to move, the young squire who is prancing in the foreground would in another minute be over his horse’s head. The shelves were stored with serviceable books; one door opened into the great library, and a hanging stair within the room itself communicated with his bedroom. It would have been a good lesson to a desultory student, or even to a moderately active amanuensis, to see the unintermitted energy with which Sir Walter Scott applied himself to his work. I conjectured that he was at this time writing the Tales of a Grandfather. When we had sat down to our respective employments, the stillness of the room was unbroken, except by the light rattle of the rain against the windows, and the dashing trot of Sir Walter’s pen over his paper; sounds not very unlike each other, and which seemed to vie together in rapidity and continuance. Sometimes, when he stopped to consult a book, a short dialogue would take place upon the subjects with which I was occupied; about Mary Queen of Scots, perhaps, or Viscount Dundee; or, again, the silence might be broken for a moment by some merry outcry in the hall, from one of the little grandchildren, which would half waken Nimrod, or Bran, or Spice, as they slept at Sir Walter’s feet, and produce a growl or a stifled bark, not in anger, but by way of protest. For matters like these, work did not proceed the worse, nor, as it seemed to me, did Sir Walter feel at all discomposed by such interruptions as a message, or the entrance of a visiter. One door of his study opened into the hall, and there did not ap-
pear to be any understanding that he should not be disturbed. At the end of our morning we attempted a sortie, but had made only a little way in the shrubbery-walks overlooking the Tweed, when the rain drove us back. The river, swollen and discoloured, swept by majestically, and the sight drew from Sir Walter his favourite lines—
‘I’ve seen Tweed’s silver streams, glittering in the sunny beams,
Turn drumly and dark, as they roll’d on their way.’
There could not have been a better moment for appreciating the imagery of the last line. I think it was in this short walk that he mentioned to me, with great satisfaction, the favourable prospects of his literary industry, and spoke sanguinely of retrieving his ‘losses with the booksellers.’

“Those who have seen Abbotsford will remember that there is at the end of the hall, opposite to the entrance of the library, an arched door-way leading to other rooms. One night some of the party observed that, by an arrangement of light, easily to be imagined, a luminous space was formed upon the library door, in which the shadow of a person standing in the opposite archway made a very imposing appearance, the body of the hall remaining quite dark. Sir Walter had some time before told his friends of the deception of sight (mentioned in his Demonology) which made him for a moment imagine a figure of Lord Byron standing in the same hall.* The discoverers of the little phantasmagoria which I have just described, called to him to come and see their ghost. Whether he thought that raising ghosts at a man’s door was not a comely amusement, or whether the parody upon a circumstance which had made some impression upon his own fancy was a little too strong, he certainly did not enter into the jest.

* See Scott’s Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft, p. 38.


“On the subjects commonly designated as the ‘marvellous,’ his mind was susceptible, and it was delicate. He loved to handle them in his own manner and at his own season, not to be pressed with them, or brought to any thing like a test of belief or disbelief respecting them. There is, perhaps, in most minds, a point more or less advanced, at which incredulity on these subjects may be found to waver. Sir Walter Scott, as it seemed to me, never cared to ascertain very precisely where this point lay in his own mental constitution; still less, I suppose, did he wish the investigation to be seriously pursued by others. In no instance, however, was his colloquial eloquence more striking than when he was well launched in some ‘tale of wonder.’ The story came from him with an equally good grace, whether it was to receive a natural solution, to be smiled at as merely fantastical, or to take its chance of a serious reception.”

About the close of August Sir Walter’s Diary is chiefly occupied with an affair which, as the reader of the previous chapter is aware, did not come altogether unexpectedly on him. Among the documents laid before him in the Colonial Office, when he was in London at the close of 1826, were some which represented one of Buonaparte’s attendants at St Helena, General Gourgaud, as having been guilty of gross unfairness, giving the English Government private information that the Emperor’s complaints of ill-usage were utterly unfounded, and yet then, and afterwards, aiding and assisting the delusion in France as to the harshness of Sir Hudson Lowe’s conduct towards his captive. Sir Walter, when using these remarkable documents, guessed that Gourgaud might be inclined to fix a personal quarrel on himself; and there now appeared in the newspapers
a succession of hints that the General was seriously bent on this purpose. He applied, as “Colonel Grogg” would have done forty years before, to “The Baronet.”

Diary.—“August 27.—A singular letter from a lady, requesting me to father a novel of hers. That won’t pass. Cadell transmits a notice from the French papers that Gourgaud has gone, or is going, to London; and the bibliopolist is in a great funk. I lack some part of his instinct. I have done Gourgaud no wrong. I have written to Will Clerk, who has mettle in him, and will think of my honour, as well as my safety.”

To William Clerk, Esq., Rose Court, Edinburgh.
“Abbotsford, 27th August, 1827.
“My dear Clerk,

“I am about to claim an especial service from you in the name of our long and intimate friendship. I understand, from a passage in the French papers, that General Gourgaud has, or is about to set out for London, to verify the facts averred concerning him in my history of Napoleon. Now, in case of a personal appeal to me, I have to say that his confessions to Baron Sturmer, Count Balmain, and others at St Helena, confirmed by him in various recorded conversations with Mr Goulburn, then Under Secretary of State—were documents of a historical nature which I found with others in the Colonial Office, and was therefore perfectly entitled to use. If his language has been misrepresented, he has certainly been very unfortunate; for it has been misrepresented by four or five different people to whom he said the same things, true or false he knows best. I also acted with delicacy towards him, leaving out whatever related to his private quarrels
Bertrand, &c., so that, in fact, he has no reason to complain of me, since it is ridiculous to suppose I was to suppress historical evidence, furnished by him voluntarily, because his present sentiments render it unpleasing for him that those which he formerly entertained should be known. Still, like a man who finds himself in a scrape, General Gourgaud may wish to fight himself out of it, and if the quarrel should be thrust on me—why, I will not baulk him, Jackie. He shall not dishonour the country through my sides I can assure him. I have, of course, no wish to bring the thing to such an arbitrement. Now, in this case, I shall have occasion for a sensible and resolute friend, and I naturally look for him in the companion of my youth, on whose firmness and sagacity I can with such perfect confidence rely. If you can do me this office of friendship, will you have the kindness to let me know where or how we can form a speedy junction, should circumstances require it.

“After all, the matter may be a Parisian on dit. But it is best to be prepared. The passages are in the ninth volume of the book. Pray look at them. I have an official copy of the principal communication. Of the others I have abridged extracts. Should he desire to see them, I conceive I cannot refuse to give him copies, as it is likely they may not admit him to the Colonial Office. But if he asks any apology or explanation for having made use of his name, it is my purpose to decline it and stand to consequences. I am aware I could march off upon the privileges of literature, and so forth, but I have no taste for that species of retreat; and if a gentleman says to me I have injured him, however captious the quarrel may be, I certainly do not think, as a man of honour, I can avoid giving him satisfaction, without doing intolerable injury to my own feelings, and giving rise to the most malig-
nant animadversions. I need not say that I shall be anxious to hear from you, and that I always am, dear
Clerk, affectionately yours,

Walter Scott.”

Diary.—“September 4.—William Clerk quite ready and willing to stand my friend if Gourgaud should come my road. He agrees with me that there is no reason why he should turn on me, but that if he does, reason or none, it is best to stand buff to him. It appears to me that what is least forgiven in a man of any mark or likelihood, is want of that article blackguardly called pluck. All the fine qualities of genius cannot make amends for it. We are told the genius of poets, especially, is irreconcilable with this species of grenadier accomplishment. If so, quel chien de genre!

September 10.—Gourgaud’s wrath has burst forth in a very distant clap of thunder, in which he accuses me of contriving, with the Ministry, to slander his rag of a reputation. He be d——d for a fool, to make his case worse by stirring. I shall only revenge myself by publishing the whole extracts I made from the records of the Colonial Office, in which he will find enough to make him bite his nails.

September 17.—Received from James Ballantyne the proofs of my Reply, with some cautious balaam from mine honest friend, alarmed by a Highland colonel, who had described Gourgaud as a mauvais garçon, famous fencer, marksman, and so forth. I wrote, in answer, which is true, that I hoped all my friends would trust to my acting with proper caution and advice; but that if I were capable, in a moment of weakness, of doing any thing short of what my honour demanded, I
should die the death of a poisoned rat in a hole, out of mere sense of my own degradation. God knows, that, though life is placid enough with me, I do not feel any thing to attach me to it so strongly as to occasion my avoiding any risk which duty to my character may demand from me. I set to work with the
Tales of a Grandfather, second volume, and finished four pages.”

To the Editor of the Edinburgh Weekly Journal.
Abbotsford, Sept. 14, 1827.

“Sir, I observed in the London papers which I received yesterday, a letter from General Gourgaud, which I beg you will have the goodness to reprint, with this communication and the papers accompanying it.

“It appears, that the General is greatly displeased, because, availing myself of formal official documents, I have represented him, in my Life of Buonaparte, as communicating to the British Government and the representatives of others of the Allied Powers, certain statements in matter, which he seems at present desirous to deny or disavow, though in what degree, or to what extent, he has not explicitly stated.

“Upon these grounds, for I can discover no other, General Gourgaud has been pleased to charge me, in the most intemperate terms, as the agent of a plot, contrived by the late British Ministers, to slander and dishonour him. I will not attempt to imitate the General either in his eloquence or his invective, but confine myself to the simple fact, that his accusation against me is as void of truth as it is of plausibility. I undertook, and carried on, the task of writing the Life of Napoleon Buonaparte, without the least intercourse
with, or encouragement from, the Ministry of the time, or any person connected with them; nor was it until my task was very far advanced, that I asked and obtained permission from the
Earl Bathurst, then Secretary for the Colonial Department, to consult such documents as his office afforded, concerning the residence of Napoleon at St Helena. His Lordship’s liberality, with that of Mr Hay, the Under Secretary, permitted me, in the month of October last, personal access to the official records, when I inspected more than sixteen quarto volumes of letters, from which I made memoranda or extracts at my own discretion, unactuated by any feeling excepting the wish to do justice to all parties.

“The papers relating to General Gourgaud and his communications were not pointed out to me by any one. They occurred, in the course of my researches, like other pieces of information, and were of too serious and important a character, verified as they were, to be omitted in the history. The idea that, dated and authenticated as they are, they could have been false documents, framed to mislead future historians, seems as absurd, as it is positively false that they were fabricated on any understanding with me, who had not at the time of their date the slightest knowledge of their existence.

“To me, evidence, ex facie the most unquestionable, bore, that General Gourgaud had attested certain facts of importance to different persons, at different times and places; and it did not, I own, occur to me that what he is stated to have made the subject of grave assertion and attestation, could or ought to be received as matter of doubt, because it rested only on a verbal communication made before responsible witnesses, and was not concluded by any formal signature of the party. I have been
accustomed to consider a gentleman’s word as equally worthy of credit with his handwriting.

“At the same time, in availing myself of these documents, I felt it a duty to confine myself entirely to those particulars which concerned the history of Napoleon, his person and his situation at St. Helena; omitting all subordinate matters in which General Gourgaud, in his communications with our Ministers and others, referred to transactions of a more private character, personal to himself and other gentlemen residing at St. Helena. I shall observe the same degree of restraint as far as possible, out of the sincere respect I entertain for the honour and fidelity of General Gourgaud’s companions in exile, who might justly complain of me for reviving the memory of petty altercations; but out of no deference to General Gourgaud, to whom I owe none. The line which General Gourgaud has adopted, obliges me now, in respect to my own character, to lay the full evidence before the public—subject only to the above restriction—that it may appear how far it bears out the account given of those transactions in my History of Napoleon. I should have been equally willing to have communicated my authorities to General Gourgaud in private, had he made such a request, according to the ordinary courtesies of society.

“I trust that, upon reference to the Life of Napoleon, I shall be found to have used the information these documents afforded with becoming respect to private feelings, and, at the same time, with the courage and candour due to the truth of history. If I were capable of failing in either respect, I should despise myself as much, if possible, as I do the resentment of General Gourgaud. The historian’s task of exculpation is of course ended, when he has published authorities of apparent authenticity. If General Gourgaud shall undertake to prove that the subjoined documents are false and forged,
in whole or in part, the burden of the proof will lie with himself; and something better than the assertion of the party interested will be necessary to overcome the testimony of
Mr Goulburn and the other evidence.

“There is indeed another course. General Gourgaud may represent the whole of his communications as a trick played off upon the English Ministers, in order to induce them to grant his personal liberty. But I cannot imitate the General’s disregard of common civility so far as to suppose him capable of a total departure from veracity, when giving evidence upon his word of honour. In representing the Ex-Emperor’s health as good, his finances as ample, his means of escape as easy and frequent, while he knew his condition to be the reverse in every particular, General Gourgaud must have been sensible, that the deceptive views thus impressed on the British Ministers must have had the natural effect of adding to the rigours of his patron’s confinement. Napoleon, it must be recollected, would receive the visits of no English physician in whom Sir Hudson Lowe seemed to repose confidence, and he shunned, as much as possible, all intercourse with the British. Whom, therefore, were Sir Hudson Lowe and the British Ministers to believe concerning the real state of his health and circumstances, if they were to refuse credit to his own aide-decamp, an officer of distinction, whom no one could suppose guilty of slandering his master for the purpose of obtaining a straight passage to England for himself, instead of being subjected to the inconvenience of going round by the Cape of Good Hope? And again, when General Gourgaud, having arrived in London, and the purpose of his supposed deception being fully attained, continued to represent Napoleon as feigning poverty whilst in affluence, affecting illness whilst in health, and possessing ready means of escape whilst he was com-
plaining of unnecessary restraint—what effect could such statements produce on
Lord Bathurst and the other members of the British Ministry, except a disregard to Napoleon’s remonstrances, and a rigorous increase of every precaution necessary to prevent his escape? They had the evidence of one of his most intimate personal attendants to justify them for acting thus; and their own responsibility to Britain, and to Europe, for the safe custody of Napoleon, would have rendered them inexcusable had they acted otherwise.

“It is no concern of mine, however, how the actual truth of the fact stands. It is sufficient to me to have shown, that I have not laid to General Gourgaud’s charge a single expression for which I had not the most indubitable authority. If I have been guilty of over credulity in attaching more weight to General Gourgaud’s evidence than it deserves, I am well taught not to repeat the error, and the world, too, may profit by the lesson. I am, Sir, your humble servant,

Walter Scott.”

To this letter Gourgaud made a fiery rejoinder; but Scott declined to prolong the paper war, simply stating in Ballantyne’s print that “while leaving the question to the decision of the British public, he should have as little hesitation in referring it to the French nation, provided the documents he had produced were allowed to be printed in the French newspapers, from which hitherto they had been excluded.” And he would indeed have been idle had he said more than this, for his cause had been taken up on the instant by every English Journal, of whatever politics, and The Times thus summed up its very effective demolition of his antagonist:—

Sir Walter Scott did that which would have occurred to every honest man, whose fair-dealing had violent imputations cast upon
it. He produced bis authorities, extracted from the Colonial Office. To these
General Gourgaud’s present pamphlet professes to be a reply; but we do conscientiously declare, that with every readiness to acknowledge and, indeed, with every wish to discover something like a defence of the character of General Gourgaud, whose good name has alone been implicated (for that of Sir Walter was abundantly cleared, even had the official documents which he consulted turned out to be as false as they appear to be unquestionable), the charge against the General stands precisely where it was before this ill-judged attempt at refutation was published; and in no one instance can we make out a satisfactory answer to the plain assertion, that Gourgaud had in repeated instances either betrayed Buonaparte, or sacrificed the truth. In the General’s reply to Sir Walter Scott’s statement, there is enough, even to satiety, of declamation against the English Government under Lord Castlereagh, of subterfuge and equivocation with regard to the words on record against himself, and of gross abuse and Billingsgate against the historian who has placarded him; but of direct and successful negative there is not one syllable. The Aide-de-camp of St Helena shows himself to be nothing better than a cross between a blusterer and a sophist.”

Sir Walter’s family were, of course, relieved from considerable anxiety, when the newspapers ceased to give paragraphs about General Gourgaud; and the blowing over of this alarm was particularly acceptable to his eldest daughter, who had to turn southwards about the beginning of October. He himself certainly cared little or nothing about that (or any similar) affair; and if it had any effect at all upon his spirits, they were pleasurably excited and stimulated. He possessed a pair of pistols taken from Napoleon’s carriage at Waterloo, and presented to him, I believe, by the late Honourable Colonel James Stanhope, and he said he designed to make use of them, in case the controversy should end in a rencounter, and his friend Clerk should think as well as he did of their fabric. But this was probably a jest. I may observe that I once saw Sir Walter shoot at a mark with pistols, and he acquitted himself well; so
much so as to excite great admiration in some young officers whom he had found practising in his barn on a rainy day. With the rifle he is said by those who knew him in early life to have been a very good shot indeed.

Before Gourgaud fell quite asleep, Sir Walter made an excursion to Edinburgh to meet his friends, Mrs MacLean Clephane and Lady Northampton, with whom he had some business to transact; and they, feeling, as all his intimate friends at this time did, that the kindliest thing they could do by him was to keep him as long as possible away from his desk, contrived to seduce him into escorting them as far as Greenock on their way to the Hebrides. He visited on his return his esteemed kinsman, Mr Campbell of Blythswood, in whose park he saw, with much interest, the Argyle Stone, marking the spot where the celebrated Earl was taken prisoner in 1685. He notes in his Diary, that “the Highland drovers are still apt to break Blythswood’s fences to see this Stone;” and then records the capital turtle, &c. of his friend’s entertainment, and some good stories told at table, especially this: “Prayer of the minister of the Cumbrays, two miserable islands in the mouth of the Clyde: ‘O Lord, bless and be gracious to the Greater and the Lesser Cumbrays, and in thy mercy do not forget the adjacent islands of Great Britain and Ireland.’ This is nos poma natamus with a vengeance.”

Another halt was at the noble seat of his early friend Cranstoun, by the Falls of the Clyde. He says:—“Cranstoun and I walked before dinner. I never saw the Great Fall of Corra Linn from this side before, and I think it the best point perhaps; at all events, it is not that from which it is usually seen; so Lord Corehouse has the sight, and escapes the locusts. This is a superb place. Cranstoun has as much feeling about improvement as other things. Like all new improvers, he is at
more expense than is necessary, plants too thick, and trenches where trenching is superfluous. But this is the eagerness of a young artist. Besides the grand lion the Fall of Clyde, he has more than one lion’s whelp—a fall of a brook in a cleugh called Mill’s Gill must be superb in rainy weather. The old Castle of Corehouse, too, is much more castle-like on this than from the other side. My old friend was very happy when I told him the favourable prospect of my affairs. To be sure, if I come through, it will be wonder to all, and most to myself.”

On returning from this trip, Scott found an invitation from Lord and Lady Ravensworth to meet the Duke of Wellington at their castle near Durham. The Duke was then making a progress in the north of England, to which additional importance was given by the uncertain state of political arrangements;—the chance of Lord Goderich’s being able to maintain himself as Canning’s successor seeming very precarious—and the opinion that his Grace must soon be called to a higher station than that of Commander of the Forces, which he had accepted under the new Premier, gaining ground every day. Sir Walter, who felt for the Great Captain the pure and exalted devotion that might have been expected from some honoured soldier of his banners, accepted this invitation, and witnessed a scene of enthusiasm with which its principal object could hardly have been more gratified than he was.

Diary.—“October 1.—I set about work for two hours, and finished three pages; then walked for two hours; then home, adjusted sheriff processes, and cleared the table. I am to set off to-morrow for Ravensworth Castle, to meet the Duke of Wellington; a great let-off, I suppose. Yet I would almost rather stay, and see two days more of Lockhart and my daughter, who will be off before my
return. Perhaps—— But there is no end to perhaps. We must cut the rope, and let the vessel drive down the tide of destiny.

October 2.—Set out in the morning at seven, and reached Kelso by a little past ten with my own horses. Then took the Wellington coach to carry me to Wellington—smart that. Nobody inside but an old lady, who proved a toy-woman in Edinburgh; her head furnished with as substantial ware as her shop, but a good soul, I’se warrant her. Heard all her debates with her landlord about a new door to the cellar and the propriety of paying rent on the 15th or 25th of May. Landlords and tenants will have different opinions on that subject. We dined at Wooler, where an obstreperous horse retarded us for an hour at least, to the great alarm of my friend the toy-woman. N. B. She would have made a good feather-bed if the carriage had happened to fall, and her undermost. The heavy roads had retarded us near an hour more, so that I hesitated to go to Ravensworth so late; but my goodwoman’s tales of dirty sheets, and certain recollections of a Newcastle inn, induced me to go on. When I arrived, the family had just retired. Lord Ravensworth and Mr Liddell came down, however, and both received me as kindly as possible.

October 3.—Rose about eight or later. My morals begin to be corrupted by travel and fine company. Went to Durham with Lord Ravensworth betwixt one and two. Found the gentlemen of Durham county and town assembled to receive the Duke of Wellington. I saw several old friends, and with difficulty suited names to faces, and faces to names. There were Dr Philpotts, Dr Gilly, and his wife, and a world of acquaintance,—among others, Sir Thomas Lawrence; whom I asked to
come on to Abbotsford, but he could not. He is, from habit of coaxing his subjects I suppose, a little too fair-spoken, otherwise very pleasant. The Duke arrived very late. There were bells, and cannon, and drums, trumpets, and banners, besides a fine troop of yeomanry. The address was well expressed, and as well answered by the Duke. The enthusiasm of the ladies and the gentry was great—the common people more lukewarm. The Duke has lost popularity in accepting political power. He will be more useful to his country, it may be, than ever, but will scarce be so gracious in the people’s eyes—and he will not care a curse for what outward show he has lost. But I must not talk of curses, for we are going to take our dinner with the
Bishop of Durham. We dined about one hundred and forty or fifty men, a distinguished company for rank and property. Marshal Beresford, and Sir John,* amongst others—Marquis of Lothian, Lord Feversham, Marquis Londonderry—and I know not who besides—
‘Lords and Dukes, and noble Princes,
All the pride and flower of Spain.’
We dined in the old baronial hall, impressive from its rude antiquity, and fortunately free from the plaster of former improvement, as I trust it will long be from the gingerbread taste of modern Gothicizers. The bright moon streaming in through the old Gothic windows contrasted strangely with the artificial lights within; spears, banners, and armour were intermixed with the pictures of old bishops, and the whole had a singular mixture of baronial pomp with the grave and more chastened dignity of prelacy. The conduct of our reverend entertainer suited the character

* Admiral Sir John Beresford had some few years before this commanded on the Leith station when Sir Walter and he saw a great deal of each other—“and merry men were they.”

remarkably well. Amid the welcome of a Count Palatine he did not for an instant forget the gravity of the Church dignitary. All his toasts were gracefully given, and his little speeches well made, and the more affecting that the failing voice sometimes reminded us that our host laboured under the infirmities of advanced life. To me personally the Bishop was very civil.”

In writing to me next day, Sir Walter says, “The dinner was one of the finest things I ever saw; it was in the old Castle Hall, untouched, for aught I know, since Anthony Beck feasted Edward Longshanks on his way to invade Scotland.* The moon streamed through the high latticed windows as if she had been curious to see what was going on.” I was also favoured with a letter on the subject from Dr Philpotts (now Bishop of Exeter), who said, “I wish you had witnessed this very striking scene. I never saw curiosity and enthusiasm so highly excited, and I may add, as to a great part of the company, so nearly balanced. Sometimes I doubted whether the hero or the poet was fixing most attention—the latter, I need hardly tell you, appeared unconscious that he was regarded differently from the others about him, until the good Bishop rose and proposed his health.” Another friend, the Honourable Henry Liddell, enables me to give the words (“ipsissima verba”) of Sir Walter in acknowledging this toast. He says:—“The manner in which Bishop Van Mildert proceeded on this occasion will never be forgotten by those who know how to appreciate scholarship without pedantry, and dignity without ostentation. Sir Walter had been observed throughout the day with extraordinary interest I should

* The warlike Bishop Beck accompanied Edward I. in his Scotch expedition, and if we may believe Blind Harry, very narrowly missed having the honour to die by the hand of Wallace in a skirmish on the street of Glasgow.

rather say enthusiasm.—The Bishop gave his health with peculiar felicity, remarking that he could reflect upon the labours of a long literary life, with the consciousness that every thing he had written tended to the practice of virtue, and to the improvement of the human race. Sir Walter replied ‘that upon no occasion of his life had he ever returned thanks for the honour done him in drinking his health, with a stronger sense of obligation to the proposer of it than on the present—that hereafter he should always reflect with great pride upon that moment of his existence, when his health had been given in such terms, by the Bishop of Durham in his own baronial hall, surrounded and supported by the assembled aristocracy of the two northern counties, and in the presence of the
Duke of Wellington.’”

The Diary continues—

Mrs Van Mildert held a sort of drawing-room after we rose from table, at which a great many ladies attended. After this we went to the Assembly-rooms, which were crowded with company. Here I saw some very pretty girls dancing merrily that old-fashioned thing called a country-dance, which Old England has now thrown aside, as she would do her creed, if there were some foreign frippery offered instead. We got away after midnight, a large party, and reached Ravensworth Castle—Duke of Wellington, Lord Londonderry, and about twenty besides about half-past one. Soda water, and to bed by two.

October 4.—Slept till nigh ten—fatigued by our toils of yesterday, and the unwonted late hours. Still too early for this Castle of Indolence, for I found few of last night’s party yet appearing. I had an opportunity of some talk with the Duke. He does not consider Foy’s book as written by himself, but as a thing got up perhaps
from notes. Mentioned that Foy, when in Spain, was, like other French officers, very desirous of seeing the English papers, through which alone they could collect any idea of what was going on without their own cantonments, for
Napoleon permitted no communication of that kind with France. The Duke growing tired of this, at length told Baron Tripp, whose services he chiefly used in communications with the outposts, that he was not to give them the newspapers. ‘What reason shall I allege for withholding them?’ said Tripp. ‘None,’ replied the Duke—‘Let them allege some reason why they want them.’ Foy was not at a loss to assign a reason. He said he had considerable sums of money in the English funds, and wanted to see how stocks fell and rose. The excuse, however, did not go down—I remember Baron Tripp, a Dutch nobleman, and a dandy of the first water, and yet with an energy in his dandyism which made it respectable. He drove a gig as far as Dunrobin Castle, and back again, without a whip. He looked after his own horse, for he had no servant, and after all his little establishment of clothes and necessaries, with all the accuracy of a petit maître. He was one of the best-dressed men possible, and his horse was in equally fine condition as if he had had a dozen of grooms. I met him at Lord Somerville’s, and liked him much. But there was something exaggerated, as appeared from the conclusion of his life. Baron Tripp shot himself in Italy for no assignable cause.

“What is called great society, of which I have seen a good deal in my day, is now amusing to me, because from age and indifference I have lost the habit of considering myself as a part of it, and have only the feelings of looking on as a spectator of the scene, who can neither play his part well nor ill, instead of being one of the dramatis personæ; so, careless what is thought of
myself, I have full time to attend to the motions of others.

“Our party went to-day to Sunderland, when the Duke was brilliantly received by an immense population, chiefly of seamen. The difficulty of getting into the rooms was dreadful—an ebbing and flowing of the crowd, which nearly took me off my legs. The entertainment was handsome; about two hundred dined, and appeared most hearty in the cause which had convened them—some indeed so much so, that, finding themselves so far on the way to perfect happiness, they e’en would go on. After the dinner-party broke up, there was a ball, numerously attended, where there was a prodigious anxiety discovered for shaking of hands. The Duke had enough of it, and I came in for my share; for, though as jackall to the lion, I got some part in whatever was going. We got home about half-past two in the morning, sufficiently tired.”

Some months afterwards, Sir Cuthbert Sharp, who had been particularly kind and attentive to Scott when at Sunderland, happened, in writing to him on some matter of business, to say he hoped he had not forgotten his friends in that quarter. Sir Walter’s answer to Sir Cuthbert (who had been introduced to him by his old and dear friend Mr Surtees of Mainsforth) begins thus,—

“Forget thee? No! my worthy fere!
Forget blithe mirth and gallant cheer!
Death sooner stretch me on my bier!
Forget thee? No.
“Forget the universal shout
When ‘canny Sunderland’ spoke out—
A truth which knaves affect to doubt—
Forget thee? No.
SUNDERLAND—OCT. 4, 1827. 77
“Forget you? No—though now-a-day
I’ve heard your knowing people say,
Disown the debt you cannot pay,
You’ll find it far the thriftiest way—
But I?—O no.
‘Forget your kindness found for all room,
In what, though large, seem’d still a small room,
Forget my Surtees in a ball-room—
Forget you? No.
“Forget your sprightly dumpty-diddles,
And beauty tripping to the fiddles,
Forget my lovely friends the Liddells
Forget you? No.

“So much for oblivion, my dear Sir C., and now, having dismounted from my Pegasus, who is rather spavined, I charge a-foot, like an old dragoon as I am,” &c. &c.

Diary.—October 5—A quiet day at Ravensworth Castle, giggling and making giggle among the kind and frankhearted young people. The Castle is modern, excepting always two towers of great antiquity. Lord R. manages his woods admirably well. In the evening plenty of fine music, with heart as well as voice and instrument. Much of this was the spontaneous effusions of Mrs Arkwright (a daughter of Stephen Kemble), who has set Hohenlinden, and other pieces of poetry to music of a highly-gifted character. The Miss Liddells and Mrs Barrington sang ‘The Campbells are coming,’ in a tone that might have waked the dead.

“October 6.—Left Ravensworth this morning, and travelled as far as Whittingham with Marquis of Lothian. Arrived at Alnwick to dinner, where I was very kindly
received. The
Duke of Northumberland is a handsome man, who will be corpulent if he does not continue to take hard exercise. The Duchess very pretty and lively, but her liveliness is of that kind which shows at once it is connected with thorough principle, and is not liable to be influenced by fashionable caprice. The habits of the family are early and regular; I conceive they may be termed formal and old-fashioned by such visiters as claim to be the pink of the mode. The Castle is a fine old pile, with various courts and towers, and the entrance is magnificent. It wants, however, the splendid feature of a keep. The inside fitting up is an attempt at Gothic, but the taste is meagre and poor, and done over with too much gilding. It was done half a century ago, when this kind of taste was ill understood. I found here the Bishop of Worcester,* &c. &c.

“October 7.—This morning went to church, and heard an excellent sermon from the Bishop of Worcester; he has great dignity of manner, and his accent and delivery are forcible. Drove out with the Duke in a phaeton, and saw part of the park, which is a fine one lying along the Alne. But it has been ill planted. It was laid out by the celebrated Brown, who substituted clumps of birch and Scottish firs for the beautiful oaks and copse which grow no where so freely as in Northumberland. To complete this the late Duke did not thin, so the wood is in a poor state. All that the Duke cuts down is so much waste, for the people will not buy it where coals are so cheap. Had they been oak-coppice, the bark would have fetched its value; had they been grown oaks, the sea-ports would have found a market. Had they been larch, the country demands for ruder purposes would have been unanswerable. The

* Dr Cornwall.

Duke does the best he can to retrieve his woods, but seems to despond more than a young man ought to do. It is refreshing to see such a man in his situation give so much of his time and thoughts to the improvement of his estates, and the welfare of the people. He tells me his people in Keeldar were all quite wild the first time his father went up to shoot there. The women had no other dress than a bed-gown and petticoat. The men were savage, and could hardly be brought to rise from the heath, either from sullenness or fear. They sung a wild tune, the burden of which was orsina, orsina, orsina. The females sang, the men danced round, and at a certain point of the tune they drew their dirks, which they always wore.

“We came by the remains of an old Carmelite Monastery, which form a very fine object in the park. It was finished by De Vesci. The gateway of Alnwick Abbey, also a fine specimen, is standing about a mile distant. The trees are much finer on the left side of the Alne, where they have been let alone by the capability villain. Visited the enceinte of the Castle, and passed into the dungeon. There is also an armoury, but damp, and the arms in indifferent order. One odd petard-looking thing struck me.—Mem. to consult Grose. I had the honour to sit in Hotspur’s seat, and to see the Bloody Gap, a place where the external wall must have been breached. The Duchess gave me a book of etchings of the antiquities of Alnwick and Wark worth from her own drawings. I had half a mind to stay to see Warkworth, but Anne is alone. We had prayers in the evening read by the Archdeacon.”*

On the 8th Sir Walter reached Abbotsford, and forthwith resumed his Grandfather’s Tales, which he

* Probably Mr Archdeacon Singleton.

composed throughout with the ease and heartiness reflected in this entry: “This morning was damp, dripping, and unpleasant; so I even made a work of necessity, and set to the Tales like a dragon. I murdered Maclellan of Bomby at the Thrieve Castle; stabbed the Black Douglas in the town of Stirling; astonished King James before Roxburgh; and stifled the Earl of Mar in his bath, in the Canongate. A wild world, my masters, this Scotland of ours must have been. No fear of want of interest; no lassitude in those days for want of work—
‘For treason, d’ye see,
Was to them a dish of tea,
And murder bread and butter.’”

Such was his life in autumn 1827. Before I leave the period, I must note how greatly I admired the manner in which all his dependents appeared to have met the reverse of his fortunes—a reverse which inferred very considerable alteration in the circumstances of every one of them. The butler, instead of being the easy chief of a large establishment, was now doing half the work of the house, at probably half his former wages. Old Peter, who had been for five-and-twenty years a dignified coachman, was now ploughman in ordinary, only putting his horses to the carriage upon high and rare occasions; and so on with all the rest that remained of the ancient train. And all, to my view, seemed happier than they had ever done before. Their good conduct had given every one of them a new elevation in his own mind—and yet their demeanour had gained, in place of losing, in simple humility of observance. The great loss was that of William Laidlaw, for whom (the estate being all but a fragment in the hands of the trustees and their agent) there was now no occupation here. The
AUTUMN, 1827.81
cottage, which his taste had converted into a loveable retreat, had found a rent-paying tenant; and he was living a dozen miles off on the farm of a relation in the Vale of Yarrow. Every week, however, he came down to have a ramble with
Sir Walter over their old haunts—to hear how the pecuniary atmosphere was darkening or brightening; and to read in every face at Abbotsford, that it could never be itself again until circumstances should permit his re-establishment at Kaeside.

All this warm and respectful solicitude must have had a preciously soothing influence on the mind of Scott, who may be said to have lived upon love. No man cared less about popular admiration and applause; but for the least chill on the affection of any near and dear to him he had the sensitiveness of a maiden. I cannot forget, in particular, how his eyes sparkled when he first pointed out to me Peter Mathieson guiding the plough on the haugh: “Egad,” said he, “auld Pepe (this was the children’s name for their good friend)—auld Pepe’s whistling at his darg. The honest fellow said, a yoking in a deep field would do baith him and the blackies good. If things get round with me, easy shall be Pepe’s cushion.” In general, during that autumn, I thought Sir Walter enjoyed much his usual spirits; and often, no doubt, he did so. His Diary shows (what perhaps many of his intimates doubted during his lifetime) that, in spite of the dignified equanimity which characterised all his conversation with mankind, he had his full share of the delicate sensibilities, the mysterious ups and downs, the wayward melancholy, and fantastic sunbeams of the poetical temperament. It is only with imaginative minds, in truth, that sorrows of the spirit are enduring. Those he had encountered were veiled from the eye of the world, but they lasted with his life. What a picture have we in his entry about the Runic letters he had
carved in the day of young passion on the turf among the grave-stones of St Andrews! And again, he wrote neither sonnets, nor elegies, nor monodies, nor even an epitaph on his wife—but what an epitaph is his Diary throughout the year 1826—ay, and down to the close!

There is one entry of that Diary for the period we are leaving, which paints the man in his tenderness, his fortitude, and his happy wisdom:—“September 24.—Worked in the morning as usual, and sent off the proofs and copy. Something of the black dog still hanging about me; but I will shake him off. I generally affect good spirits in company of my family, whether I am enjoying them or not. It is too severe to sadden the harmless mirth of others by suffering your own causeless melancholy to be seen; and this species of exertion is, like virtue, its own reward; for the good spirits, which are at first simulated, become at length real.”

The first series of Chronicles of the Canongate (which title supplanted that of “The Canongate Miscellany, or Traditions of the Sanctuary”)—was published early in the winter. The contents were, the Highland Widow, the Two Drovers, and the Surgeon’s Daughter—all in their styles excellent, except that the Indian part of the last does not well harmonize with the rest; and certain preliminary chapters which were generally considered as still better than the stories they introduce. The portraiture of Mrs Murray Keith, under the name of Mrs Bethune Baliol, and that of Chrystal Croftangry throughout, appear to me unsurpassed in Scott’s writings. In the former, I am assured he has mixed up various features of his own beloved mother; and in the latter, there can be no doubt that a good deal was taken from nobody but himself. In fact, the choice of the hero’s residence, the original title of the book, and a world
of minor circumstances, were suggested by the actual condition and prospects of the author’s affairs; for it appears from his Diary, though I have not thought it necessary to quote those entries, that from time to time, between December 1826 and November 1827, he had renewed threatenings of severe treatment from the Jewish brokers,
Messrs Abud and Co.; and, on at least one occasion, he made every preparation for taking shelter in the Sanctuary of Holyrood-house. Although these people were well aware that at Christmas 1827 a very large dividend would be paid on the Ballantyne estate, they would not understand that their interest, and that of all the creditors, lay in allowing Scott the free use of his time; that by thwarting and harassing him personally, nothing was likely to be achieved but the throwing up of the trust, and the settlement of the insolvent house’s affairs on the usual terms of a sequestration; in which case there could be no doubt that he would, on resigning all his assets, be discharged absolutely, with liberty to devote his future exertions to his own sole benefit. The Jews would understand nothing, but that the very unanimity of the other creditors as to the propriety of being gentle with him, rendered it extremely probable that their harshness might be rewarded by immediate payment of their whole demand. They fancied that the trustees would clear off any one debt, rather than disturb the arrangements generally adopted; they fancied that, in case they laid Sir Walter Scott in prison, there would be some extraordinary burst of feeling in Edinburgh—that private friends would interfere—in short, that in one way or another, they should get hold, without farther delay, of their “pound of flesh.”—Two or three paragraphs from the Diary will be enough as to this unpleasant subject.


October 31.—Just as I was merrily cutting away among my trees, arrives Mr Gibson with a very melancholy look, and indeed the news he brought was shocking enough. It seems Mr Abud, the same who formerly was disposed to disturb me in London, has given positive orders to take out diligence against me for his debt. This breaks all the measures we had resolved on, and prevents the dividend from taking place, by which many poor persons will be great sufferers. For me the alternative will be more painful to my feelings than prejudicial to my interests. To submit to a sequestration, and allow the creditors to take what they can get, will be the inevitable consequence. This will cut short my labour by several years, which I might spend, and spend in vain, in endeavouring to meet their demands. We shall know more on Saturday, and not sooner. I went to Bowhill with Sir Adam Ferguson to dinner, and maintained as good a countenance in the midst of my perplexities as a man need desire. It is not bravado; I feel firm and resolute.

November 1.—I waked in the night and lay two hours in feverish meditation. This is a tribute to natural feeling. But the air of a fine frosty morning gave me some elasticity of spirit. It is strange that about a week ago I was more dispirited for nothing at all, than I am now for perplexities which set at defiance my conjectures concerning their issue. I suppose that I, the Chronicler of the Canongate, will have to take up my residence in the Sanctuary, unless I prefer the more airy residence of the Calton Jail, or a trip to the Isle of Man. It is to no purpose being angry with Abud or Ahab, or whatever name he delights in. He is seeking his own, and thinks by these harsh measures to render his road to it more speedy.—Sir Adam Ferguson left
Bowhill this morning for Dumfriesshire. I returned to Abbotsford to
Anne, and told her this unpleasant news. She stood it remarkably well, poor body.

November 2.—I was a little bilious this night no wonder. Had sundry letters without any power of giving my mind to answer them—one about Gourgaud with his nonsense. I shall not trouble my head more on that score. Well, it is a hard knock on the elbow; I knew I had a life of labour before me, but I was resolved to work steadily; now they have treated me like a recusant turnspit, and put in a red-hot cinder into the wheel alongst with me. But of what use is philosophy—and I have always pretended to a little of a practical character—if it cannot teach us to do or suffer? The day is glorious, yet I have little will to enjoy it; yet, were a twelvemonth over, I should perhaps smile at what makes me now very serious. Smile!—No—that can never be. My present feelings cannot be recollected with cheerfulness; but I may drop a tear of gratitude.

November 3.—Slept ill, and lay one hour longer than usual in the morning. I gained an hour’s quiet by it, that is much. I feel a little shaken at the result of to-day’s post. I am not able to go out. My poor workers wonder that I pass them without a word. I can imagine no alternative but the Sanctuary or the Isle of Man. Both shocking enough. But in Edinburgh I am always on the scene of action, free from uncertainty, and near my poor daughter; so I think I shall prefer it, and thus I rest in unrest. But I will not let this unman me. Our hope, heavenly and earthly, is poorly anchored, if the cable parts upon the stream. I believe in God, who can change evil into good; and I am confident that what befalls us is always ultimately for the best.


November 4.—Put my papers in some order, and prepared for the journey. It is in the style of the Emperors of Abyssinia, who proclaim—Cut down the Kantuffa in the four quarters of the world, for I know not where I am going. Yet, were it not for poor Anne’s doleful looks, I would feel firm as a piece of granite. Even the poor dogs seem to fawn on me with anxious meaning, as if there were something going on they could not comprehend. They probably notice the packing of the clothes, and other symptoms of a journey.

“Set off at twelve, firmly resolved in body and mind. Dined at Fushie Bridge. Ah! good Mrs Wilson, you know not you are like to lose an old customer!*

“But when I arrived in Edinburgh at my faithful friend, Mr Gibson’s—lo! the scene had again changed, and a new hare is started,” &c. &c.

The “new hare” was this. It transpired in the very nick of time that a suspicion of usury attached to these Israelites without guile, in a transaction with Hurst and Robinson, as to one or more of the bills for which the house of Ballantyne had become responsible. This suspicion, upon investigation, assumed a shape sufficiently tangible to justify Ballantyne’s trustees in carrying the point before the Court of Session; but they failed to establish their allegation. The amount was then settled—but how and in what manner was long unknown to Scott. Sir William Forbes, whose banking-house was one of Messrs Ballantyne’s chief creditors, crowned his

* Mrs Wilson, landlady of the inn at Fushie, one stage from Edinburgh,—an old dame of some humour, with whom Sir Walter always had a friendly colloquy in passing. I believe the charm was, that she had passed her childhood among the Gipsies of the Border. But her fiery Radicalism latterly was another source of high merriment.

generous efforts for Scott’s relief by privately paying the whole of
Abud’s demand (nearly L.2000) out of his own pocket—ranking as an ordinary creditor for the amount; and taking care at the same time that his old friend should be allowed to believe that the affair had merged quietly in the general measures of the trustees. In fact it was not until some time after Sir William’s death, that Sir Walter learned what he had done on this occasion; and I may as well add here, that he himself died in utter ignorance of some services of a like sort, which he owed to the secret liberality of three of his brethren at the Clerks’ table—Hector Macdonald Buchanan, Colin Mackenzie, and Sir Robert Dundas.

I ought not to omit that as soon as Sir Walter’s eldest son heard of the Abud business, he left Ireland for Edinburgh; but before he reached his father the alarm had blown over.

This vision of the real Canongate has drawn me away from the Chronicles of Mr Croftangry. The scenery of his patrimonial inheritance was sketched from that of Carmichael, the ancient and now deserted mansion of the noble family of Hyndford; but for his strongly Scottish feelings about parting with his land, and stern efforts to suppress them, the author had not to go so far a-field. Christie Steele’s brief character of Croftangry’s ancestry too, appears to suit well all that we have on record concerning his own more immediate progenitors of the stubborn race of Raeburn: “They werena ill to the poor folk, sir, and that is aye something; they were just decent bien bodies. Ony poor creature that had face to beg got an awmous, and welcome; they that were shamefaced gaed by, and twice as welcome. But they keepit an honest walk before God and man, the Croftangrys, and as I said before, if they did little good, they did as little ill. They lifted their rents and
spent them, called in their kain and eat them; gaed to the kirk of a Sunday; bowed civilly if folk took aff their bannets as they gaed by, and lookit as black as sin at them that keepit them on.” I hope I shall give no offence by adding, that many things in the character and manners of Mr Gideon Gray of Middlemas in the
Tale of the Surgeon’s Daughter, were considered at the time by Sir Walter’s neighbours on Tweedside as copied from Dr Ebenezer Clarkson of Selkirk. “He was,” says the Chronicler, of “such reputation in the medical world, that he had been often advised to exchange the village and its meagre circle of practice for Edinburgh. There is no creature in Scotland that works harder, and is more poorly requited than the country doctor, unless perhaps it may be his horse. Yet the horse is, and indeed must be, hardy, active, and indefatigable, in spite of a rough coat and indifferent condition; and so you will often find in his master, under a blunt exterior, professional skill and enthusiasm, intelligence, humanity, courage, and science.” A true picture a portrait from the life of Scott’s hard-riding, benevolent, and sagacious old friend, “to all the country dear.”

These Chronicles were not received with exceeding favour at the time; and Sir Walter was a good deal discouraged. Indeed he seems to have been with some difficulty persuaded by Cadell and Ballantyne, that it would not do for him to “lie fallow” as a novelist; and then, when he in compliance with their entreaties began a Second Canongate Series, they were both disappointed with his MS., and told him their opinions so plainly, that his good-nature was sharply tried. The Tales which they disapproved of, were those of “My Aunt Margaret’s Mirror,” and “The Laird’s Jock;” he consented to lay them aside, and began St Valentine’s
NOVEMBER, 1827.89
Eve, or
the Fair Maid of Perth, which from the first pleased his critics. It was in the brief interval occasioned by these misgivings and debates, that his ever elastic mind threw off another charming paper for the Quarterly Review that on Ornamental Gardening, by way of sequel to the Essay on Planting Waste Lands. Another fruit of his leisure was a sketch of the life of George Bannatyne, the collector of ancient Scottish poetry, for the Club which bears his name.

Diary—“Edinburgh, November 6.—Wrought upon an introduction to the notices which have been recovered of George Bannatyne, author or rather transcriber of the famous Repository of Scottish Poetry, generally known by the name of the Bannatyne MS. They are very jejune these same notices—a mere record of matters of business, putting forth and calling in sums of money, and such like. Yet it is a satisfaction to know that this great benefactor to the literature of Scotland had a prosperous life, and enjoyed the pleasures of domestic society, and, in a time peculiarly perilous, lived unmolested and died in quiet.”

He had taken, for that winter, the house No. 6, Shandwick Place, which he occupied by the month, during the remainder of his servitude as a Clerk of Session. Very near this house, he was told a few days after he took possession, dwelt the aged mother of his first love—the lady of the Runic characters—and he expressed to his friend Mrs Skene a wish that she should carry him to renew an acquaintance which seems to have been interrupted from the period of his youthful romance. Mrs Skene complied with his desire, and she tells me that a very painful scene ensued, adding, “I think it highly probable that it was on re-
turning from this call that he committed to writing the verses, To Time, by his early favourite, which you have printed at p. 244 of your first volume.” I believe Mrs Skene will have no doubt on that matter when the following entries from his Diary meet her eye:—

November 7.—Began to settle myself this morning, after the hurry of mind and even of body which I have lately undergone.—I went to make a visit, and fairly softened myself, like an old fool, with recalling old stories, till I was fit for nothing but shedding tears and repeating verses for the whole night. This is sad work. The very grave gives up its dead, and time rolls back thirty years to add to my perplexities. I don’t care. I begin to grow case-hardened, and, like a stag turning at bay, my naturally good temper grows fierce and dangerous. Yet what a romance to tell,—and told, I fear, it will one day be. And then my three years of dreaming, and my two years of wakening, will be chronicled, doubtless. But the dead will feel no pain.

November 10.—Wrote out my task and little more. At twelve o’clock I went again to poor Lady —— to talk over old stories. I am not clear that it is a right or healthful indulgence to be ripping up old sores, but it seems to give her deep-rooted sorrow words, and that is a mental bloodletting. To me these things are now matter of calm and solemn recollection, never to be forgotten, yet scarce to be remembered with pain. We go out to Saint Catherine’s to-day. I am glad of it, for I would not have these recollections haunt me, and society will put them out of my head.”

Sir Walter has this entry on reading the Gazette of the battle of Navarino:—“November 14.—We have
NOVEMBER, 1827.91
thumped the Turks very well. But as to the justice of our interference, I will only suppose some Turkish plenipotentiary, with an immense turban and long loose trousers, comes to dictate to us the mode in which we should deal with our refractory liegemen, the Catholics of Ireland. We hesitate to admit his interference, on which the Moslem runs into Cork Bay, or Bantry Bay, alongside of a British squadron, and sends a boat to tow on a fire-ship. A vessel fires on the boat and sinks it. Is there an aggression on the part of those who fired first, or of those whose manoeuvres occasioned the firing?”

A few days afterwards he received a very agreeable piece of intelligence. The King had not forgotten his promise with respect to the poet’s second son; and Lord Dudley, then Secretary of State for the Foreign Department, was a much attached friend from early days—(he had been partly educated at Edinburgh under the roof of Dugald Stewart)—his lordship had therefore been very well disposed to comply with the royal recommendation. “November 30.—The great pleasure of a letter from Lord Dudley, informing me that he has received his Majesty’s commands to put down the name of my son Charles for the first vacancy that shall occur in the Foreign Office, and at the same time to acquaint me with his gracious intentions, which were signified in language the most gratifying to me. This makes me really feel light and happy, and most grateful to the kind and gracious sovereign who has always shown, I may say, so much friendship towards me. Would to God the King’s errand might lie in the cadger’s gait, that I might have some better way of showing my feelings than merely by a letter of thanks, or this private memorandum of my gratitude. Public affairs look awkward. The present Ministry are neither Whig nor
Tory, and divested of the support of either of the great parties of the state, stand supported by the will of the sovereign alone. This is not constitutional, and though it may be a temporary augmentation of the prince’s personal influence, yet it cannot but prove hurtful to the Crown upon the whole, by tending to throw that responsibility on him of which the law has deprived him. I pray to God I may be wrong, but, I think, an attempt to govern par bascule, by trimming betwixt the opposite parties, is equally unsafe for the Crown and detrimental to the country, and cannot do for a long time. That with a neutral Administration this country, hard ruled at any time, can be long governed, I for one do not believe. God send the good King, to whom I owe so much, as safe and honourable extrication as the circumstances render possible.” The dissolution of the
Goderich Cabinet confirmed very soon these shrewd guesses; and Sir Walter anticipated nothing but good from the Premiership of the Duke of Wellington.

The settlement of Charles Scott was rapidly followed by more than one fortunate incident in Sir Walter’s literary and pecuniary history. The first Tales of a Grandfather appeared early in December, and their reception was more rapturous than that of any one of his works since Ivanhoe. He had solved for the first time the problem of narrating history, so as at once to excite and gratify the curiosity of youth, and please and instruct the wisest of mature minds. The popularity of the book has grown with every year that has since elapsed; it is equally prized in the library, the boudoir, the schoolroom, and the nursery; it is adopted as the happiest of manuals, not only in Scotland, but whereever the English tongue is spoken; nay, it is to be seen in the hands of old and young all over the civilized world, and has, I have little doubt, extended the know-
ledge of Scottish history in quarters where little or no interest had ever before been awakened as to any other parts of that subject, except those immediately connected with
Mary Stuart and the Chevalier. This success effectually rebuked the trepidation of the author’s bookseller and printer, and inspired the former with new courage as to a step which he had for some time been meditating, and which had given rise to many a long and anxious discussion between him and Sir Walter.

The question as to the property of the Life of Napoleon and Woodstock having now been settled by the arbiter (Lord Newton) in favour of the author, the relative affairs of Sir Walter and the creditors of Constable were so simplified, that the trustee on that sequestrated estate resolved to bring into the market, with the concurrence of Ballantyne’s trustees, and without further delay, a variety of very valuable copyrights. This important sale comprised Scott’s novels from Waverley to Quentin Durward inclusive, besides a majority of the shares of the Poetical Works.

Mr Cadell’s family and private friends were extremely desirous that he should purchase part at least of these copyrights; and Sir Walter’s were not less so that he should seize this last opportunity of recovering a share in the prime fruits of his genius. The relations by this time established between him and Cadell were those of strict confidence and kindness; and both saw well that the property would be comparatively lost, were it not secured, that thenceforth the whole should be managed as one unbroken concern. It was in the success of an uniform edition of the Waverley novels, with prefaces and notes by the author, that both anticipated the means of finally extinguishing the debt of Ballantyne and Co.; and, after some demur, the trustees of that house’s creditors were wise enough to adopt their views. The
result was, that the copyrights exposed to sale for behoof of
Constable’s creditors were purchased, one half for Sir Walter, the other half for Cadell, at the price of L.8,500—a sum which was considered large at the moment, but which the London competitors soon afterwards convinced themselves they ought to have outbid.

The Diary says:—“December 17.—Sent off the new beginning of the Chronicles to Ballantyne. I hate cancels, they are a double labour. Mr Cowan, trustee for Constable’s creditors, called in the morning by appointment, and we talked about the sale of the copyrights of Waverley, &c. It is to be hoped the high upset price fixed (L.5000) will
‘Fright the fuds
Of the pock-puds.’
This speculation may be for good or for evil, but it tends incalculably to increase the value of such copyrights as remain in my own person; and if a handsome and cheap edition of the whole, with notes, can be instituted in conformity with
Cadell’s plan, it must prove a mine of wealth for my creditors. It is possible, no doubt, that the works may lose their effect on the public mind; but this must be risked, and I think the chances are greatly in our favour. Death (my own, I mean) would improve the property, since an edition with a Life would sell like wildfire. Perhaps those who read this prophecy may shake their heads and say, ‘Poor fellow, he little thought how he should see the public interest in him and his extinguished even during his natural existence.’ It may be so, but I will hope better. This I know, that no literary speculation ever succeeded with me but where my own works were concerned; and that, on the other hand, these have rarely failed.

DECEMBER, 1827. 95

December 20.—Anent the copyrights—the pock-puds were not frightened by our high price. They came on briskly, four or five bidders abreast, and went on till the lot was knocked down to Cadell at L.8500; a very large sum certainly, yet he has been offered profit on it already. The activity of the contest serves to show the value of the property. On the whole I am greatly pleased with the acquisition.”

Well might the “pockpuddings”—the English booksellers—rue their timidity on this day; but it was the most lucky one that ever came for Sir Walter Scott’s creditors. A dividend of six shillings in the pound was paid at this Christmas on their whole claims. The result of their high-hearted debtor’s exertions, between January 1826 and January 1828, was in all very nearly L.40,000. No literary biographer, in all likelihood, will ever have such another fact to record. The creditors unanimously passed a vote of thanks for the indefatigable industry which had achieved so much for their behoof.

On returning to Abbotsford at Christmas, after completing these transactions, he says in his Diary:—“My reflections in entering my own gate to-day were of a very different and more pleasing cast, than those with which I left this place about six weeks ago. I was then in doubt whether I should fly my country, or become avowedly bankrupt, and surrender up my library and household furniture, with the liferent of my estate, to sale. A man of the world will say I had better done so. No doubt, had I taken this course at once, I might have employed the money I have made since the insolvency of Constable and Robinson’s houses in compounding my debts. But I could not have slept sound as I now can, under the comfortable impression of receiving the thanks of my creditors, and the conscious feeling of
discharging my duty as a man of honour and honesty. I see before me a long, tedious, and dark path, but it leads to stainless reputation. If I die in the harrows, as is very likely, I shall die with honour; if I achieve my task, I shall have the thanks of all concerned, and the approbation of my own conscience. And so, I think, I can fairly face the return of Christmas-day.”

And again, on the 31st December, he says:—

“Looking back to the conclusion of 1826, I observe that the last year ended in trouble and sickness, with pressures for the present and gloomy prospects for the future. The sense of a great privation so lately sustained, together with the very doubtful and clouded nature of my private affairs, pressed hard upon my mind. I am now restored in constitution; and though I am still on troubled waters, yet I am rowing with the tide, and less than the continuation of my exertions of 1827 may, with God’s blessing, carry me successfully through 1828, when we may gain a more open sea, if not exactly a safe port. Above all, my children are well. Sophia’s situation excites some natural anxiety; but it is only the accomplishment of the burden imposed on her sex. Walter is happy in the view of his majority, on which matter we have favourable hopes from the Horse-Guards. Anne is well and happy. Charles’s entry on life under the highest patronage, and in a line for which, I hope, he is qualified, is about to take place presently.

“For all these great blessings it becomes me well to be thankful to God, who, in his good time and good pleasure, sends us good as well as evil.”