LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter IV 1828

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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Sir Walter remained at this time six weeks in London. His eldest son’s regiment was stationed at Hampton Court; the second had recently taken his desk at the Foreign Office, and was living at his sister’s in the Regent’s Park; he had thus looked forward to a happy meeting with all his family—but he encountered scenes of sickness and distress, in consequence of which I saw but little of him in general society. I shall cull a few notices from his private volume, which, however, he now opened much less regularly than formerly, and which offers a total blank for the latter half of the year 1828. In coming up to town he diverged a little for the sake of seeing the interesting subject of the first of these extracts.


April 8.—Learning from Washington Irving’s description of Stratford, that the hall of Sir Thomas Lucy, the justice who rendered Warwickshire too hot for Shakspeare, was still extant, we went in quest of it.

“Charlecote is in high preservation, and inhabited by Mr Lucy, descendant of the worshipful Sir Thomas. The Hall is about three hundred years old, a brick mansion with a gate-house in advance. It is surrounded by venerable oaks, realizing the imagery which Shakspeare loved to dwell upon; rich verdant pastures extend on every side, and numerous herds of deer were reposing in the shade. All showed that the Lucy family had retained their ‘land and beeves.’ While we were surveying the antlered old hall, with its painted glass and family pictures, Mr Lucy came to welcome us in person, and to show the house, with the collection of paintings, which seems valuable.

“He told me the park from which Shakspeare stole the buck was not that which surrounds Charlecote, but belonged to a mansion at some distance, where Sir Thomas Lucy resided at the time of the trespass. The tradition went that they hid the buck in a barn, part of which was standing a few years ago, but now totally decayed. This park no longer belongs to the Lucys. The house bears no marks of decay, but seems the abode of ease and opulence. There were some fine old books, and I was told of many more which were not in order. How odd if a folio Shakspeare should be found amongst them. Our early breakfast did not permit taking advantage of an excellent repast offered by the kindness of Mr and Mrs Lucy, the last a lively Welshwoman. This visit gave me great pleasure; it really brought Justice Shallow freshly before my eyes;—the luces ‘which do become an old coat well,’* were

* Henry IV., Act III., Scene 2.

not more plainly portrayed in his own armorials in the hall window, than was his person in my mind’s eye. There is a picture shown as that of the old Sir Thomas, but
Mr Lucy conjectures it represents his son. There were three descents of the same name of Thomas. The portrait hath ‘the eye severe, and beard of formal cut,’ which fill up with judicial austerity the otherwise social physiognomy of the worshipful presence, with his ‘fair round belly, with good capon lined.’*

Regent’s Park, April 17.—Made up my journal, which had fallen something behind. In this phantasmagorial place the objects of the day come and depart like shadows. Went to Murray’s, where I met Mr Jacob, the great economist. He is proposing a mode of supporting the poor, by compelling them to labour under a species of military discipline. I see no objection to it, only it will make a rebellion to a certainty; and the tribes of Jacob will cut Jacob’s throat.†

Canning’s conversion from popular opinions was strangely brought round. While he was studying in the Temple, and rather entertaining revolutionary opinions, Godwin sent to say that he was coming to breakfast with him, to speak on a subject of the highest importance. Canning knew little of him, but received his visit, and learned to his astonishment, that in expectation of a new order of things, the English Jacobins designed to place him, Canning, at the head of their revolution. He was much struck, and asked time to think what course he should take—and having thought the matter over, he went to Mr Pitt, and made the Anti-Jacobin confession of faith, in which he persevered

* As You Like It, Act I., Scene 7.

† I believe Mr Jacob published at this time some tracts concerning the Poor Colonies instituted by the King of the Netherlands.

APRIL, 1828.125
until ——. Canning himself mentioned this to
Sir W. Knighton upon occasion of giving a place in the Charter-house of some ten pounds a-year to Godwin’s brother. He could scarce do less for one who had offered him the dictator’s curule chair.

“Dined with Rogers with all my own family, and met Sharp, Lord John Russell, Jekyll, and others. The conversation flagged as usual, and jokes were fired like minute-guns, producing an effect not much less melancholy. A wit should always have an atmosphere congenial to him, otherwise he will not shine.

April 18.—Breakfasted at Hampstead with Joanna Baillie, and found that gifted person extremely well, and in the display of all her native knowledge of character and benevolence. I would give as much to have a capital picture of her as for any portrait in the world. Dined with the Dean of Chester, Dr Philpotts
‘Where all above us was a solemn row
Of priests and deacons—so were all below.’*
There were the amiable Bishop of London (
Howley), Copplestone, whom I remember the first man at Oxford, now Bishop of Llandaff, and Dean of St Paul’s (strongly intelligent), and other dignitaries, of whom I knew less. It was a very pleasant day—the wigs against the wits for a guinea, in point of conversation. Anne looked queer, and much disposed to laugh, at finding herself placed betwixt two prelates in black petticoats.

April 19.—Breakfasted with Sir George Phillips. Had his receipt against the blossoms being injured by frost. It consists in watering them plentifully before sunrise. This is like the mode of thawing beef. We

* Crabbe’s Tale of ‘the Dumb Orators.’

had a pleasant morning, much the better that
Morritt was with us. Dined with Sir Robert Inglis, and met Sir Thomas Acland, my old and kind friend. I was happy to see him. He may be considered now as the head of the religious party in the House of Commons, a powerful body which Wilberforce long commanded. It is a difficult situation; for the adaptation of religious motives to earthly policy is apt among the infinite delusions of the human heart to be a snare. But I could confide much in Sir T. Acland’s honour and integrity. Bishop Bloomfield of Chester, one of the most learned prelates of the church, also dined.

April 22.—Sophia left this to take down poor Johnnie to Brighton. I fear—I fear—but we must hope the best. Anne went with her sister.

Lockhart and I dined with Sotheby, where we met a large party, the orator of which was that extraordinary man Coleridge. After eating a hearty dinner, during which he spoke not a word, he began a most learned harangue on the Samothracian Mysteries, which he regards as affording the germ of all tales about fairies past, present, and to come. He then diverged to Homer, whose Iliad he considered as a collection of poems by different authors, at different times, during a century. Morritt, a zealous worshipper of the old bard, was incensed at a system which would turn him into a polytheist, gave battle with keenness, and was joined by Sotheby. Mr Coleridge behaved with the utmost complaisance and temper, but relaxed not from his exertions. ‘Zounds, I was never so bethumped with words.’ Morritt’s impatience must have cost him an extra sixpence worth of snuff.

April 23.—Dined at Lady Davy’s with Lord
LONDON, APRIL, 1828.127
Lady Lansdowne and several other fine folks—my keys were sent to Bramah’s with my desk, so I have not had the means of putting down matters regularly for several days. But who cares for the whipp’d cream of London society?

April 24.—Spent the day in rectifying a road bill which drew a turnpike road through all the Darnickers’ cottages, and a good field of my own. I got it put to rights. I was in some apprehension of being obliged to address the Committee. I did not fear them, for I suppose they are no wiser or better in their capacity of legislators than I find them every day at dinner. But I feared for my reputation. They would have expected something better than the occasion demanded, or the individual could produce, and there would have been a failure. We had one or two persons at home in great wretchedness to dinner. I was not able to make any fight, and the evening went off as heavily as any I ever spent in the course of my life.

April 26.—We dined at Richardson’s with the two Chief Barons of England* and Scotland,† odd enough, the one being a Scotsman and the other an Englishman—far the pleasantest day we have had. I suppose I am partial, but I think the lawyers beat the bishops, and the bishops beat the wits.

April 26.—This morning I went to meet a remarkable man, Mr Boyd of the house of Boyd, Benfield, & Co., which broke for a very large sum at the beginning of the war. Benfield went to the devil I believe. Boyd, a man of very different stamp, went over to Paris to look after some large claims which his house had

* Sir William Alexander. Sir Samuel Shepherd.

on the French Government. They were such as, it seems, they could not disavow, however they might be disposed to do so. But they used every effort, by foul means and fair, to induce Mr Boyd to depart. He was reduced to poverty; he was thrown into prison: and the most flattering prospects were, on the other hand, held out to him if he would compromise his claims. His answer was uniform. It was the property, he said, of his creditors, and he would die ere he resigned it. His distresses were so great, that a subscription was made amongst his Scottish friends, to which I was a contributor, through the request of poor
Will Erskine. After the peace of Paris the money was restored, and, faithful to the last, Boyd laid the whole at his creditors’ disposal; stating, at the same time, that he was penniless unless they consented to allow him a moderate sum in name of per centage, in consideration of twenty years of exile, poverty, and danger, all of which evils he might have escaped by surrendering their rights. Will it be believed, that a muck-worm was base enough to refuse his consent to this deduction, alleging he had promised to his father, on his death-bed, never to compromise this debt? The wretch, however, was overpowered by the execrations of all around him, and concurred, with others, in setting apart for Mr Boyd a sum of L.40,000 or L.50,000 out of half a million. This is a man to whom statues should be erected, and pilgrims should go to see him. He is good looking, but old and infirm. Bright dark eyes and eyebrows contrast with his snowy hair, and all his features mark vigour of principle and resolution.

April 30.—We have Mr Adolphus, and his father, the celebrated lawyer, to breakfast, and I was greatly delighted with the information of the latter. A barrister
LONDON, MAY, 1828.129
of extended practice, if he has any talents at all, is the best companion in the world. Dined with
Lord Alvanley and met Lord Fitzroy Somerset, Marquis and Marchioness of Worcester, &c. Lord Alvanley’s wit made this party very pleasant, as well as the kind reception of my friends the Misses Arden.

May 1.—Breakfasted with Lord and Lady Francis Gower, and enjoyed the splendid treat of hearing Mrs Arkwright sing her own music, which is of the highest order—no forced vagaries of the voice, no caprices of tone, but all telling upon and increasing the feeling the words require. This is ‘marrying music to immortal verse.’ Most people place them on separate maintenance.*

May 2.—I breakfasted with a Mr ——, and narrowly escaped Mr Irving the celebrated preacher. The two ladies of his house seemed devoted to his opinions, and quoted him at every word. Mr —— himself made some apologies for the Millenium. He is a neat antiquary, who thinks he ought to have been a man of letters, and that his genius has been misdirected in

* Among other songs Mrs Arkwright (see ante, p. 77), delighted Sir Walter with her own set of—
“Farewell! Farewell!—the voice you hear
Has left its last soft tone with you,
Its next must join the seaward cheer,
And shout among the shouting crew,” &c.
He was sitting by me, at some distance from the lady, and whispered as she closed, “capital words whose are they?
Byron’s I suppose, but I don’t remember them.” He was astonished when I told him that they were his own in the Pirate—he seemed pleased at the moment—but said next minute—“You have distressed me—if memory goes, all is up with me, for that was always my strong point.”

turning towards the law. I endeavoured to combat this idea, which his handsome house and fine family should have checked. Compare his dwelling, his comforts, with poor
Tom Campbell’s.

May 5.—Breakfasted with Haydon, and sat for my head. I hope this artist is on his legs again. The King has given him a lift, by buying his clever picture of the Mock Election in the King’s Bench prison, to which he is adding a second part, representing the chairing of the member at the moment it was interrupted by the entry of the guards. Haydon was once a great admirer and companion of the champions of the Cockney school, and is now disposed to renounce them and their opinions. To this kind of conversation I did not give much way. A painter should have nothing to do with politics. He is certainly a clever fellow, but too enthusiastic, which, however, distress seems to have cured in some degree. His wife, a pretty woman, looked happy to see me, and that is something. Yet it was very little I could do to help them.*

May 8.—Dined with Mrs Alexander of Ballochmyle: Lord and Lady Meath, who were kind to us in Ireland, and a Scottish party, pleasant from having the broad accents and honest thoughts of my native land. A large circle in the evening. A gentleman came up to me and asked ‘If I had seen the Casket, a curious work, the most beautiful, the most highly ornamented,—and then the editor or editress—a female so interesting,—might he ask a very great favour?’ and

* Sir Walter had shortly before been one of the contributors to a subscription for Mr Haydon. The imprisonment from which this subscription relieved the artist produced, I need scarcely say, the picture mentioned in the Diary.

LONDON, MAY, 1828.131
out he pulled a piece of this pic-nic. I was really angry, and said for a subscription he might command me—for a contributor—No. This may be misrepresented, but I care not. Suppose this patron of the Muses gives five guineas to his distressed lady, he will think he does a great deal, yet he takes fifty from me with the calmest air in the world; for the communication is worth that if it be worth any thing. There is no equalizing in the proposal.

May 9.—Grounds of Foote’s farce of the Cozeners. Lady —— A certain Mrs Phipps audaciously set up in a fashionable quarter of the town as a person through whose influence, properly propitiated, favours and situations of importance might certainly be obtained always for a consideration. She cheated many people, and maintained the trick for months. One trick was to get the equipages of Lord North, and other persons of importance, to halt before her door, as if their owners were within. With respect to most of them, this was effected by bribing the drivers. But a gentleman who watched her closely, observed that Charles J. Fox actually left his carriage and went into the house, and this more than once. He was then, it must be noticed, in the Ministry. When Mrs Phipps was blown up, this circumstance was recollected as deserving explanation, which Fox readily gave at Brookes’ and elsewhere. It seems Mrs Phipps had the art to persuade him that she had the disposal of what was then called a hyæna, that is, an heiress—an immense Jamaica heiress, in whom she was willing to give or sell her interest to Charles Fox. Without having perfect confidence in the obliging proposal, the great statesman thought the thing worth looking after, and became so earnest in it, that Mrs Phipps was desirous to back out for fear of discovery.
With this view she made confession one fine morning, with many professions of the deepest feelings, that the hyæna had proved a frail monster, and given birth to a girl or boy—no matter which. Even this did not make Charles quit chase of the hyæna. He intimated that if the cash was plenty and certain, the circumstance might be overlooked. Mrs Phipps had nothing for it but to double the disgusting dose. ‘The poor child,’ she said, ‘was unfortunately of a mixed colour, somewhat tinged with the blood of Africa; no doubt Mr Fox was himself very dark, and the circumstance might not draw attention,’ &c. &c. This singular anecdote was touched upon by Foote, and is the cause of introducing the negress into the Cozeners, though no express allusion to Charles Fox was admitted. Lady —— tells me that, in her youth, the laugh was universal so soon as the black woman appeared. It is one of the numerous hits that will be lost to posterity.

“This day, at the request of Sir William Knighton, I sat to Northcote, who is to introduce himself in the same piece in the act of painting me, like some pictures of the Venetian school. The artist is an old man, low in stature, and bent with years—fourscore at least. But the eye is quick and the countenance noble. A pleasant companion, familiar with recollections of Sir Joshua, Samuel Johnson, Burke, Goldsmith, &c. His account of the last confirms all that we have heard of his oddities.

May 11.—Another long sitting to the old Wizard Northcote. He really resembles an animated mummy. Dined with his Majesty in a very private party, five or six only being present. I was received most kindly, as usual. It is impossible to conceive a more friendly manner than that his Majesty used towards me. I spoke to Sir William Knighton about the dedication of the
LONDON, MAY, 1828.133
collected novels, and he says it will be highly well taken.*

May 17.—A day of busy idleness. Richardson came and breakfasted with me, like a good fellow. Then I went to Mr Chantrey. Thereafter, about 12 o’clock, I went to breakfast the second at Lady Shelley’s, where there was a great morning party. A young lady begged a lock of my hair, which was not worth refusing. I stipulated for a kiss, which I was permitted to take. From this I went to the Duke of Wellington, who gave me some hints or rather details. Afterwards I drove out to Chiswick, where I had never been before. A numerous and gay party were assembled to walk and enjoy the beauties of that Palladian dome. The place and highly ornamented gardens belonging to it resemble a picture of Watteau. There is some affectation in the picture, but in the ensemble the original looked very well. The Duke of Devonshire received every one with the best possible manners. The scene was dignified by the presence of an immense elephant, who, under charge of a groom, wandered up and down, giving an air of Asiatic pageantry to the entertainment. I was never before sensible of the dignity which largeness of size and freedom of movement give to this otherwise very ugly animal. As I was to dine at Holland House, I did not partake in the magnificent repast which was offered to us, and took myself off about five o’clock. I contrived to make a demi-toilette at Holland House, rather than drive all the way to London. Rogers came to the dinner, which was very entertaining. Lady Holland pressed us to stay all night, which we did accordingly.

May 18.—The freshness of the air, the singing of

* The Magnum Opus was dedicated to King George IV.

the birds, the beautiful aspect of nature, the size of the venerable trees, gave me altogether a delightful feeling this morning. It seemed there was pleasure even in living and breathing without any thing else. We (i. e.
Rogers and I) wandered into a green lane, bordered with fine trees, which might have been twenty miles from a town. It will be a great pity when this ancient house must come down and give way to rows and crescents. It is not that Holland House is fine as a building,—on the contrary it has a tumble-down look; and although decorated with the bastard Gothic of James I.’s time, the front is heavy. But it resembles many respectable matrons, who having been absolutely ugly during youth, acquire by age an air of dignity. But one is chiefly affected by the air of deep seclusion which is spread around the domain.

May 19.—Dined by command with the Duchess of Kent. I was very kindly recognised by Prince Leopold—and presented to the little Princess Victoria—I hope they will change her name—the heir-apparent to the crown as things now stand. How strange that so large and fine a family as that of his late Majesty should have died off, or decayed into old age, with so few descendants. Prince George of Cumberland is, they say, a fine boy about nine years old—a bit of a Pickle. This little lady is educating with much care, and watched so closely that no busy maid has a moment to whisper, ‘You are heir of England.’ I suspect if we could dissect the little heart, we should find that some pigeon or other bird of the air had carried the matter. She is fair, like the Royal family—the Duchess herself very pleasing and affable in her manners. I sat by Mr Spring Rice, a very agreeable man. There were also Charles Wynn and his lady—and the evening, for a court evening, went agreeably
off. I am commanded for two days by Prince Leopold, but will send excuses.

May 24.—This day dined at Richmond Park with Lord Sidmouth. Before dinner his Lordship showed me letters which passed between his father, Dr. Addington, and the great Lord Chatham. There was much of that familiar friendship which arises, and must arise, between an invalid, the head of an invalid family, and their medical adviser, supposing the last to be a wise and wellbred man. The character of Lord Chatham’s handwriting is strong and bold, and his expressions short and manly. There are intimations of his partiality for William, whose health seems to have been precarious during boyhood. He talks of William imitating him in all he did, and calling for ale because his father was recommended to drink it. ‘If I should smoke,’ he said, ‘William would instantly call for a pipe;’ and, he wisely infers, ‘I must take care what I do.’ The letters of the late William Pitt are of great curiosity; but as, like all real letters of business, they only allude to matters with which his correspondent is well acquainted, and do not enter into details, they would require an ample commentary. I hope Lord Sidmouth will supply this, and have urged it as much as I can. I think, though I hate letters, and abominate interference, I will write to him on this subject. Here I met my old and much esteemed friend, Lord Stowell, looking very frail and even comatose. Quantum mutatus. He was one of the pleasantest men I ever knew.

“Respecting the letters, I picked up from those of Pitt that he was always extremely desirous of peace with France, and even reckoned upon it at a moment when he ought to have despaired. I suspect this false view of the state of France (for such it was) which in-
duced the British Minister to look for peace when there was no chance of it, damped his ardour in maintaining the war. He wanted the lofty ideas of his father—you read it in his handwriting, great statesman as he was. I saw a letter or two of
Burke’s, in which there is an epanchement de cœur not visible in those of Pitt, who writes like a Premier to his colleague. Burke was under the strange hallucination that his son, who predeceased him, was a man of greater talents than himself. On the contrary, he had little talent, and no nerve. On moving some resolutions in favour of the Catholics, which were ill-received by the House of Commons, young Burke actually ran away, which an Orangeman compared to a cross-reading in the newspapers. ‘Yesterday the Catholic resolutions were moved, &c. but the pistol missing fire, the villains ran off!!’”

May 25.—After a morning of letter-writing, leave-taking, papers destroying, and God knows what trumpery, Sophia and I set out for Hampton Court, carrying with us the following lions and lionesses—Samuel Rogers, Tom Moore, Wordsworth, with wife and daughter. “We were very kindly and properly received by Walter and his wife, and had a very pleasant day. At parting Rogers gave me a gold-mounted pair of glasses, which I will not part with in a hurry. I really like S. R., and have always found him most friendly.”

This is the last London entry; but I must mention two circumstances that, occurred during that visit. Breakfasting one morning with Allan Cunningham, and commending one of his publications, he looked round the table and said, “what are you going to make of all these boys, Allan?” “I ask that question often at my own heart,” said Allan, “and I cannot answer it.”
“What does the eldest point to?” “The callant would fain be a soldier,
Sir Walter—and I have a half promise of a commission in the king’s army for him; but I wish rather he could go to India, for there the pay is a maintenance, and one does not need interest at every step to get on.” Scott dropped the subject, but went an hour afterwards to Lord Melville (who was now President of the Board of Control), and begged a cadetship for young Cunningham. Lord Melville promised to enquire if he had one at his disposal, in which case he would gladly serve the son of honest Allan; but the point being thus left doubtful, Scott, meeting Mr John Loch, one of the East India Directors, at dinner the same evening, at Lord Stafford’s, applied to him, and received an immediate assent. On reaching home at night he found a note from Lord Melville, intimating that he had enquired, and was happy in complying with his request. Next morning Sir Walter appeared at Sir F. Chantrey’s breakfast table, and greeted the sculptor (who is a brother of the angle) with—“I suppose it has sometimes happened to you to catch one trout (which was all you thought of) with the fly, and another with the bobber. I have done so, and I think I shall land them both. Don’t you think Cunningham would like very well to have cadetships for two of those fine lads?” “To be sure he would,” said Chantrey, “and if you’ll secure the commissions, I’ll make the outfit easy.” Great was the joy in Allan’s household on this double good news; but I should add, that before the thing was done he had to thank another benefactor. Lord Melville, after all, went out of the Board of Control before he had been able to fulfil his promise; but his successor, Lord Ellenborough, on hearing the circumstances of the case, desired Cunningham to set his mind at rest, and both his young men are now prospering in the India service.


Another friend’s private affairs occupied more unpleasantly much of Scott’s attention during this residence in London. He learned, shortly after his arrival, that misfortunes (as foreseen by himself in May, 1825) had gathered over the management of the Adelphi Theatre.* The following letter has been selected from among several on the same painful subject.

To Daniel Terry, Esq. Boulogne-sur-Mer.
“London, Lockhart’s, April 15, 1828.
“My dear Terry,

“I received with sincere distress your most melancholy letter. Certainly want of candour with one’s friends is blameable, and procrastination in circumstances of embarrassment is highly unwise. But they bring such a fearful chastisement on the party who commits them that he may justly expect, not the reproaches, but the sympathy and compassion of his friends; at least of all such whose conscience charges them with errors of their own. For my part I feel as little title, as God knows I have wish, to make any reflections on the matter, more than are connected with the most sincere regret on your own account. The sum at which I stand noted in the schedule is of no consequence in the now more favourable condition of my affairs, and the loss to me personally is the less, that I always considered L.200 of the same as belonging to my godson; but he is young, and may not miss the loss when he comes to be fitted out for the voyage of life; we must hope the best. I told your solicitor that I desired he would consider me as a friend of yours, desirous, to take as a creditor the measures which seemed best to forward your interest. It might be inconvenient to me were I called upon to make up such instalments of

* See ante, vol. vi. p. 20.

the price of the theatre as are unpaid, but of this, I suppose, there can be no great danger. Pray let me know as soon as you can, how this stands. I think you are quite right to stand to the worst, and that your retiring was an injudicious measure which cannot be too soon retraced, coute qui coute. I am at present in London with
Lockhart, who, as well as my daughter, are in deep sorrow for what has happened, as they, as well as I on their account, consider themselves as deeply obliged to Mrs Terry’s kindness, as well as from regard to you. These hard times must seem still harder while you are in a foreign country. I am not, you know, so wealthy as I have been, but L.20 or L.30 are heartily at your service if you will let me know how the remittance can reach you. It does not seem to me that an arrangement with your creditors will be difficult; but for God’s sake do not temporize and undertake burdens which you cannot discharge, and which will only lead to new difficulties.

“As to your views about an engagement at Edinburgh I doubt much, though an occasional visit would probably succeed. My countrymen, taken in their general capacity, are not people to have recourse to in adverse circumstances. John Bull is a better beast in misfortune. Your objections to an American trip are quite satisfactory, unless the success of your Solicitor’s measures should in part remove them, when it may be considered as a pis-aller. As to Walter there can be no difficulty in procuring his admission to the Edinburgh Academy, and if he could be settled with his grandfather, or under his eye, as to domestic accommodation, I would willingly take care of his schooling, and look after him when I am in town. I shall be anxious, indeed, till I hear that you are once more restored to the unrestrained use of your talents; for I am sensible how
dreadfully annoying must be your present situation, which leaves so much time for melancholy retrospection without any opportunity of exertion. Yet this state, like others, must be endured with patience; the furiously impatient horse only plunges himself deeper in the slough, as our old hunting excursions may have taught us. In general, the human mind is strong in proportion to the internal energy which it possesses. Evil fortune is as transient as good, and if the endangered ship is still manned by a sturdy and willing crew, why then
‘Up and rig a jury foremast,
She rights, she rights, boys, we’re offshore.’
This was the system I argued upon in my late distresses, and, therefore, I strongly recommend it to you; I beg my kindest compliments to
Mrs Terry, and I hope better days may come. I shall be here till the beginning of May; therefore we may meet; believe me, very truly yours,

Walter Scott.”

On the afternoon of the 28th of May Sir Walter started for the north, but could not resist going out of his way to see the spot where “Mr William Weare, who dwelt in Lyon’s Inn,” was murdered. His Diary says:

“Our elegant researches carried us out of the high-road and through a labyrinth of intricate lanes, which seem made on purpose to afford strangers the full benefit of a dark night and a drunk driver, in order to visit Gill’s Hill, in Hertfordshire, famous for the murder of Mr Weare. The place has the strongest title to the description of Wordsworth,
‘A merry spot ’tis said in days of yore,
But something ails it now—the place is curst.’
The principal part of the house has been destroyed, and
GILL’S HILL—MAY, 1828.141
only the kitchen remains standing. The garden has been dismantled, though a few laurels and flowering-shrubs, run wild, continue to mark the spot. The fatal pond is now only a green swamp, but so near the house that one cannot conceive how it was ever chosen as a place of temporary concealment for the murdered body. Indeed the whole history of the murder, and the scenes which ensued, are strange pictures of desperate and short-sighted wickedness. The feasting—the singing—the murderer, with his hands still bloody, hanging round the neck of one of the females the watch-chain of the murdered man—argue the utmost apathy. Even Probart, the most frightened of the party, fled no farther for relief than to the brandy bottle, and is found in the very lane, nay, at the very spot of the murder, seeking for the weapon, and exposing himself to the view of the passengers. Another singular mark of stupid audacity was their venturing to wear the clothes of their victim. There was a want of foresight in the whole arrangements of the deed, and the attempts to conceal it, which a professed robber would not have exhibited. There was just one shade of redeeming character about a business so brutal, perpetrated by men above the very lowest rank of life—it was the mixture of revenge, which afforded some relief to the circumstances of treachery and premeditation. But Weare was a cheat,* and had no doubt pillaged
Thurtell, who therefore deemed he might take greater liberties with him than with others. The dirt of the present habitation equalled its wretched desolation, and a truculent-looking hag, who showed us the place, and received half-a-crown, looked not unlike the natural inmate of such a mansion. She hinted as much herself, saying the landlord had dis-

* Weare, Thurtell, and all the rest were professed gamblers. See ante, Vol. VI. p. 330.

mantled the place, because no respectable person would live there. She seems to live entirely alone, and fears no ghosts, she says. One thing about this tragedy was never explained. It is said that Weare, as is the habit of such men, always carried about his person, and between his flannel waistcoat and shirt, a sum of ready money, equal to L.1500 or L.2000. No such money was ever recovered, and as the sum divided by Thurtell among his accomplices was only about L.20, he must, in slang phrase, have bucketed his palls.

May 29.—We travelled from Alconbury Hill to Ferry Bridge, upwards of a hundred miles, amid all the beauties of flourish and verdure which spring awakens at her first approach in the midland counties of England, but without any variety, save those of the season’s making. I do believe this great north road is the dullest in the world, as well as the most convenient for the travellers. The skeleton at Barnby Moor has deserted his gibbet, and that is the only change I recollect.

Rokeby, May 30.—We left Ferry Bridge-at seven, and reached this place at past three. A mile from the house we met Morritt, looking for us. I had great pleasure in finding myself at Rokeby, and recollecting a hundred passages of past time. Morritt looks well and easy in his mind, which I am delighted to see. He is now one of my oldest, and, I believe, one of my most sincere friends; a man unequalled in the mixture of sound good sense, high literary cultivation, and the kindest and sweetest temper that ever graced a human bosom. His nieces are much attached to him, and are deserving and elegant, as well as beautiful young women. What there is in our partiality to female beauty that commands a species of temperate homage from the aged, as
MAY, 1828.143
well as ecstatic admiration from the young, I cannot conceive; but it is certain that a very large portion of some other amiable quality is too little to counterbalance the absolute want of this advantage. I, to whom beauty is, and shall henceforward be a picture, still look upon it with the quiet devotion of an old worshipper, who no longer offers incense on the shrine, but peaceably presents his inch of taper, taking special care in doing so not to burn his own fingers. Nothing in life can be more ludicrous or contemptible than an old man aping the passions of his youth.

“Talking of youth, there was a certain professor at Cambridge who used to keep sketches of all the lads who, from their conduct at college, seemed to bid fair for distinction in life. He showed them one day to an old shrewd sarcastic master of arts, who looked over the collection, and then observed, ‘A promising nest of eggs; what a pity the great part will turn out addle!’ And so they do:—looking round amongst the young men one sees to all appearances fine flourish—but it ripens not.

May 31.—I have finished Napier’s War in the Peninsula.* It is written in the spirit of a Liberal, but the narrative is distinct and clear. He has, however, given a bad sample of accuracy in the case of Lord Strangford, where his pointed affirmation has been as pointedly repelled. It is evident he would require probing. His defence of Moore is spirited and well argued, though it is evident he defends the statesman as much as the general. As a Liberal and a military man, Napier finds it difficult to steer his course. The former character calls on him to plead for the insur-

* The first volume of Colonel Napier’s work had recently been published.

gent Spaniards; the latter induces him to palliate the cruelties of the French. Good-even to him until next volume, which I shall long to see. This was a day of pleasure, and nothing else.”

Next night Sir Walter rested at Carlisle. “A sad place,” says the Diary, “in my domestic remembrances, since here I married my poor Charlotte. She is gone, and I am following faster, perhaps, than I wot off. It is something to have lived and loved; and our poor children are so hopeful and affectionate, that it chastens the sadness attending the thoughts of our separation. My books being finished, I lighted on an odd volume of the Gentleman’s Magazine, a work in which, as in a pawnbroker’s shop, much of real curiosity and value are stowed away amid the frippery and trumpery of those reverend old gentlewomen who were the regular correspondents of Mr Urban.”

His companion wrote thus a day or two afterwards to her sister*—“Early in the morning before we started, papa took me with him to the Cathedral. This he had often done before; but he said he must stand once more on the spot where he married poor mamma. After that we went to the Castle, where a new showman went through the old trick of pointing out Fergus Mac Ivor’s very dungeon. Peveril said ‘Indeed? Are you quite sure, sir?’ And on being told there could be no doubt, was troubled with a fit of coughing, which ended in a laugh. The man seemed exceeding indignant: so when Papa moved on, I whispered who it was. I wish you had seen the man’s start, and how he stared and bowed as he

* I copy from a letter which has no date, so that I cannot be quite sure of this being the halt at Carlisle it refers to. I once witnessed a scene almost exactly the same at Stirling Castle, where an old soldier called Sir Walter’s attention to the “very dungeon” of Rhoderick Dhu.

AUTUMN, 1828.145
parted from us; and then rammed his keys into his pocket, and went off at a hand-gallop to warn the rest of the garrison. But the carriage was ready, and we escaped a row.”

They reached Abbotsford that night, and a day or two afterwards Edinburgh; where Sir Walter was greeted with the satisfactory intelligence, that his plans as to the “opus magnum” had been considered at a meeting of his trustees, and finally approved in toto. As the scheme inferred a large outlay on drawings and engravings, and otherwise, this decision had been looked for with much anxiety by him and Mr Cadell. He says, “I trust it will answer; yet who can warrant the continuance of popularity? Old Nattali Corri, who entered into many projects, and could never set the sails of a windmill to catch the aura popularis, used to say he believed that, were he to turn baker, it would put bread out of fashion. I have had the better luck to dress my sails to every wind; and so blow on, good wind, and spin round, whirligig.” The Corri here alluded to was an unfortunate adventurer, who, among many other wild schemes, tried to set up an Italian Opera at Edinburgh.

The Diary for the next month records the usual meeting at Blair-Adam but nothing worth quoting, that was done or said, except, perhaps, these two scraps

Salutation of two old Scottish Lairds—‘Ye’re maist obedient hummil servant, Tannachy-Tulloch.’—‘Your nain man, Kilspindie.’

Hereditary descent in the Highlands. A clergyman showed John Thomson the island of Inchmachome, on the Port of Monteith, and pointed out the boatman as a remarkable person, the representative of the hereditary gardeners of the Earls of Monteith, while these Earls existed. His son, a puggish boy, follows up the theme,
—‘Feyther, when Donald MacCorkindale dees will not the family be extinct?’—Father ‘No; I believe there is a man in Balquhidder who takes up the succession.’”

During the remainder of this year, as I already mentioned, Sir Walter never opened his “locked book.” Whether in Edinburgh or the country, his life was such, that he describes himself, in several letters, as having become “a writing automaton.” He had completed, by Christmas, the Second Series of Tales on Scottish History, and made considerable progress in another novel—Anne of Geierstein: he had also drawn up for the Quarterly Review his article on Mr Morier’s Hajji Baba in England; and that delightful one on Sir Humphry Davy’s Salmonia—which, like those on Planting and Gardening, abounds in sweet episodes of personal reminiscence: And, whenever he had not proof-sheets to press him, his hours were bestowed on the opus magnum.

A few extracts from his correspondence may supply in part this blank in the Diary. Several of them touch on the affairs of Mr Terry, whose stamina were not sufficient to resist the stroke of misfortune. He had a paralytic seizure, very shortly after the ruin of his theatre was made public. One, addressed to a dear and early friend, Sir Alexander Wood, was written on the death of his brother-in-law, Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo—the same modest, gentle, and high-spirited man with whose history Sir Walter’s had (as the Diary of 1826 tells) been very remarkably intertwined.

To J. G. Lockhart, Esq. Regent’s Park.
“Abbotsford, July 14, 1828
“My dear L.

“I wrote myself blind and sick last week about
* * * * † God forgive me for having thought it possible that a schoolmaster should be out and out a rational being. I have a letter from Terry—but written by his poor wife—his former one was sadly scrawled. I hope he may yet get better—but I suspect the shot has gone near the heart.
‘O what a world of worlds were it,
Would sorrow, pain, and sickness spare it,
And aye a rowth roast-beef and claret;
Syne wha would starve?’

“If it be true that Longman and Co. have offered L.1000 for a history of Ireland, Scotland must stand at fifty per cent discount, for they lately offered me L.500 for one of the latter country, which of course I declined. I have also had Murray’s request to do some biography for his new undertaking.‡ But I really can’t think of any Life I could easily do, excepting Queen Mary’s, and that I decidedly would not do, because my opinion, in point of fact, is contrary both to the popular feeling and to my own. I see, by the by, that your Life of Burns is going to press again, and therefore send you a few letters which may be of use to you. In one of them (to that singular old curmudgeon, Lady Winifred Constable) you will see he plays high Jacobite, and, on that account, it is curious; though I imagine his Jacobitism, like my own, belonged to the fancy rather than the reason. He was, however, a great Pittite down to a certain period. There were some passing stupid verses in the papers, attacking and defending his satire on a certain preacher,

† These letters, chiefly addressed to Sir Walter’s excellent friend, James Heywood Markland, Esq. (Editor of the Chester Mysteries), were on a delicate subject connected with the incipient arrangements of King’s College, London.

Mr Murray of Albemarle Street was at this time projecting his Family Library, one of the many imitations of Constable’s last scheme.

whom he termed ‘an unco calf.’ In one of them occurred these lines in vituperation of the adversary—
‘A Whig, I guess. But Rab’s a Tory,
An gies us mony a funny story.’

“This was in 1787—Ever yours,

Walter Scott.”

To Robert Cadell, Esq., Edinburgh.
“Abbotsford, 4th October, 1828.
“My dear Sir,

“We were equally gratified and surprised by the arrival of the superb time-piece, with which you have ornamented our halls. There are grand discussions where it is to be put, and we are only agreed upon one point, that it is one of the handsomest things of the kind we ever saw, and that we are under great obligations to the kind donor. On my part, I shall never look on it without recollecting that the employment of my time is a matter of consequence to you, as well as myself.*

“I send you two letters, of which copies will be requisite for the magnum opus. They must be copied separately. I wish you would learn from Mr Walter Dickson, with my best respects, the maiden name of Mrs Goldie, and the proper way in which she ought to be designated. Another point of information I wish to have is, concerning the establishment of the King’s beadsmen or blue-gowns. Such should occur in any account of the Chapel-Royal, to which they were an appendage, but I have looked into Arnott and Maitland, without being able to find any thing. My friend, Dr Lee, will know at once where this is to be sought for.

* The allusion is to a clock in the style of Louis Quatorze, now in the drawing-room at Abbotsford.

OCTOBER—1828. 149

“Here is a question. Burns in his poetry repeatedly states the idea of his becoming a beggar—these passages I have. But there is a remarkable one in some of his prose, stating with much spirit the qualifications he possessed for the character. I have looked till I am sick, through all the letters of his which I have seen, and cannot find this. Do you know any amateur of the Ayrshire Bard who can point it out? It will save time, which is precious with me.*

J. B. has given me such a dash of criticism, that I have laid by the Maid of the Mist for a few days, but I am working hard, mean-while, at the illustrations, so no time is lost.—Yours very truly,

Walter Scott.”

To Mrs Lockhart, Brighton.
“Abbotsford, 24th October, 1828.
“My dear Sophia,

“I write to you rather than to the poor Terrys, on the subject of their plans, which appear to me to require reconsideration, as I have not leisure so to modify my expressions as to avoid grating upon feelings which may be sore enough already. But if I advise I must be plain. The plan of a cottage in this neighbourhood is quite visionary. London or its vicinity is the best place for a limited income, because you can get every thing you want without taking a pennyweight more of it than you have occasion for. In the country (with us at least) if you want a basin of milk every day, you must keep a cow—if you want a bunch of straw, you must have a farm. But what is still worse, it seems to me that such a plan would remove Terry out of his natural

* These queries all point to the annotation of The Antiquary.

sphere of action. It is no easy matter, at any rate, to retreat from the practice of an art to the investigation of its theory; but common sense says, that if there is one branch of literature which has a chance of success for our friend, it must be that relating to the drama. Dramatic works, whether designed for the stage or the closet,—dramatic biography (an article in which the public is always interested)—dramatic criticism these can all be conducted with best advantage in London, or, rather, they can be conducted nowhere else. In coming down to Scotland, therefore, Terry would be leaving a position in which, should he prove able to exert himself and find the public favourable, he might possibly do as much for his family as he could by his profession. But then he will require to be in book-shops and publishing houses, and living among those up to the current of public opinion. And although poor Terry’s spirits might not at first be up to this exertion, he should remember that the power of doing things easily is only to be acquired by resolution and habit, and if he really could give heart and mind to literature in any considerable degree, I can’t see how, amidst so many Bijoux, and Albums, and Souvenirs—not to mention daily papers, critics, censors, and so forth—I cannot see how he could fail to make L.200 or L.300 a-year. In Edinburgh there is nothing of this kind going forwards, positively nothing. Since
Constable’s fall, all exertion is ended in the Gude Town in the publishing business, excepting what I may not long be able to carry on.

“We have had little Walter Terry with us. He is a nice boy. I have got him sent to the New Academy in Edinburgh, and hope he will do well. Indeed, I have good hopes as to them all, but the prospect of success must remain, first, with the restoration of Terry to the power of thought and labour, a matter which is in God’s
OCTOBER, 1828.151
hand; and, secondly, on the choice he shall make of a new sphere of occupation. On these events no mortal can have influence, unless so far as
Mrs Terry may be able to exert over him that degree of power which mind certainly possesses over body.

“Our worthy old aunt, Lady Raeburn, is gone, and I am now the eldest living person of my father’s family. My old friend, Sir William Forbes, is extremely ill, dying I fear, and the winter seems to approach with more than usual gloom. We are well here, however, and send love to Lockhart and the babies. I want to see L. much, and hope he may make a run down at Christmas.

“You will take notice, that all the advice I venture to offer to the Terrys is according as matters now stand.* Indeed, I think he is better now, than when struggling against a losing concern, turning worse every day. With health I have little doubt he may do well yet, and without it what can any one do? Poor Rose, he too seems to be very badly, and so end, if I lose him, wit, talent, frolic beyond the bounds of sobriety, all united with an admirable heart and feelings.

“Besides all other objections to Terry’s plan, the poor invalid would be most uncomfortable here. As my guest, it was another thing; but without power to entertain the better sort of folk, and liable from his profession to the prejudices of our middling people, without means too of moving about, he must, while we are not at Abbotsford, be an absolute hermit. Besides, health may be restored so as to let him act again—regimen and quiet living do much in such cases and he should not rashly throw up professional connexions. If they

* Mr Terry died in London on the 22d June, 1829. His widow to whom these Memoirs have owed many of their materials, is now (1837), married to Mr Charles Richardson of Tulse Hill, the author of the well-known Dictionary of the English Language, &c.

be bent on settling in Scotland, a small house in Edinburgh would be much better than the idea of residing here.

“I have been delighted with your views of coming back to Chiefswood next summer,—but had you not better defer that for another year? Here is plenty of room for you all—plenty of beef and mutton—plenty of books for L., and he should have the little parlour (the monkey-room, as Morritt has christened it) inviolate—and he and I move on easily without interrupting each other. Pray think of all this, and believe that, separated as I am so much from you both and the grandchildren, the more I can see of you all while I have eyes left to see you with, the greater will be my pleasure. I am turning a terrible fixture with rheumatism, and go about little but in the carriage, and round the doors. A change of market-days, but seams will slit, and elbows will out. My general health is excellent.—I am always, dearest, Sophia, your affectionate father,

Walter Scott.”
To Sir Alexander Wood, &c. &c. &c., Colinton House, Edinburgh.
“Abbotsford, Oct. 28, 1828.
“My dear Sir Alexander,

“Your letter brought me the afflicting intelligence of the death of our early and beloved friend Sir William. I had little else to expect, from the state of health in which he was when I last saw him, but that circumstance does not diminish the pain with which I now reflect that I shall never see him more. He was a man who, from his habits, could not be intimately known to many, although every thing which he did partook of that high feeling and generosity which belongs perhaps to a better age than that we live in. In him I feel I have sustained a loss which no after years of my life can fill up
to me. Our early friendship none knew better than you; and you also well know that if I look back to the gay and happy hours of youth, they must be filled with recollections of our departed friend. In the whole course of life our friendship has been uninterrupted as his kindness has been unwearied. Even the last time I saw him (so changed from what I knew him) he came to town when he was fitter to have kept his room, merely because he could be of service to some affairs of mine. It is most melancholy to reflect that the life of a man whose principles were so excellent, and his heart so affectionate, should have, in the midst of external prosperity, been darkened, and I fear, I may say, shortened, by domestic affliction. But ‘those whom He loveth, he chasteneth;’ and the o’er-seeing Providence, whose ways are as just and kind as they are inscrutable, has given us, in the fate of our dear friend, an example that we must look to a better world for the reward of sound religion, active patriotism, and extended benevolence. I need not write more to you on this subject; you must feel the loss more keenly than any one. But there is ‘another and a better world,’ in which, I trust in God, those who have loved each other in this transitory scene, may meet and recognise the friends of youth, and companions of more advanced years.

“I beg my kindest compliments and sincere expression of sympathy to Lady Wood, and to any of the sorrowing family who may be gratified by the interest of one of their father’s oldest friends and most afflicted survivors.

“God bless you, my dear Wood! and I am sure you will believe me

Yours in sorrow as in gladness,
Walter Scott.”
To J. G. Lockhart, Esq. Brighton.
“October 30, 1828.
“Dear John,

“I have a sad affliction in the death of poor Sir William Forbes. You loved him well, I know, but it is impossible that you should enter into all my feelings on this occasion. My heart bleeds for his children. God help all!

“Your scruples about doing an epitome of the Life of Bony, for the Family Library that is to be, are a great deal over delicate. My book in nine thick volumes can never fill the place which our friend Murray wants you to fill, and which, if you don’t, some one else will right soon. Moreover, you took much pains in helping me when I was beginning my task, which I afterwards greatly regretted that Constable had no means of remunerating, as no doubt he intended, when you were giving him so much good advice in laying down his grand plans about the Miscellany. By all means do what the Emperor asks. He is what Emperor Nap. was not, much a gentleman, and, knowing our footing in all things, would not have proposed any thing that ought to have excited scruples on your side. Alas, poor Crafty! Do you remember his exultation when my Bony affair was first proposed? Good God, I see him as he then was at this moment—how he swelled and rolled and reddened, and outblarneyed all blarney! Well, so be it. I hope
‘After life’s fitful fever he sleeps well.’*
But he has cost me many a toilsome dreary day, and drearier night, and will cost me more yet.

“I am getting very unlocomotive—something like

* Macbeth.

OCTOBER, 1828.155
an old cabinet that looks well enough in its own corner, but will scarce bear wheeling about even to be dusted. But my work has been advancing gaily, or at least rapidly nevertheless, all this harvest.
Master Littlejohn will soon have three more tomes in his hand, and the Swiss story too will be ready early in the year. I shall send you Vol. I. with wee Johnnie’s affair. Fat James, as usual, has bored and bothered me with his criticisms, many of which, however, may have turned to good. At first my not having been in Switzerland was a devil of a poser for him—but had I not the honour of an intimate personal acquaintance with every pass in the Highlands; and if that were not enough, had I not seen pictures and prints galore? I told him I supposed he was becoming a geologist, and afraid of my misrepresenting the strata of some rock on which I had to perch my Maid of the Mist, but that he should be too good a Christian to join those humbugging sages, confound them, who are all tarred with the same stick as Mr Whiston
‘Who proved as sure as God’s in Gloster,
That Moses was a grand impostor;’*
and that at any rate I had no mind to rival the accuracy of the traveller, I forget who, that begins his chapter on Athens with a disquisition on the formation of the Acropolis Rock. Mademoiselle de Geierstein, is now, however, in a fair way—I mean of being married and a’ the lave o’t, and I of having her ladyship off my hands. I have also twined off a world of not bad balaam in the way of notes, &c., for my Magnum, which if we could but manage the artists decently, might soon be afloat, and will, I do think, do wonders for my extrication. I have no other news to trouble you

* Swift.

with. It is possible the
Quarterly may be quite right to take the Anti-Catholic line so strongly; but I greatly doubt the prudence of the thing, for I am convinced the question must and will be carried very soon, whoever may or may not be Minister; and as to the Duke of Wellington, my faith is constant, that there is no other man living who can work out the salvation of this country. I take some credit to myself for having foreseen his greatness, before many would believe him to be any thing out of the ordinary line of clever officers. He is such a man as Europe has not seen since Julius Cæsar; and if Spain had had the brains to make him king, that country might have been one of the first of the world before his death. Ever affectionately yours,

Walter Scott.”

Of the same date was the following letter, addressed to the Editor of a work, entitled, “The Courser’s Manual.” He had asked Sir Walter for a contribution; and received therewith the ancient Scottish ditty of “Auld Heck:”—

“Dear Sir,

“I have loved the sport of coursing so well, and pursued it so keenly for several years, that I would with pleasure have done any thing in my power to add to your collection on the subject; but I have long laid aside the amusement, and still longer renounced the poetical pen, which ought to have celebrated it; and I could only send you the laments of an old man, and the enumeration of the number of horses and dogs which have been long laid under the sod. I cannot, indeed, complain with the old huntsman, that—
‘——No one now,
Dwells in the hall of Ivor,
OCTOBER, 1828.157
Men, dogs, and horses, all are dead,
And I the sole survivor;’*
but I have exchanged my whip for a walking-stick, my smart hack has dwindled into a Zetland shelty, and my two brace of greyhounds into a pair of terriers. Instead of entering on such melancholy topics, I judge it better to send you an Elegy on ‘Bonny Heck,’ an old Scottish poem, of very considerable merit in the eyes of those who understand the dialect.

“The elegy itself turns upon a circumstance which, when I kept greyhounds, I felt a considerable alloy to the sport; I mean, the necessity of despatching the instruments and partakers of our amusement, when they begin to make up, by cunning, for the deficiency of youthful vigour. A greyhound is often termed an inferior species of the canine race, in point of sagacity, and in the eyes of an accomplished sportsman it is desirable they should be so, since they are valued for their spirit, not their address. Accordingly, they are seldom admitted to the rank of personal favourites, I have had such greyhounds, however, and they possessed as large a share of intelligence, attachment, and sagacity, as any other species of dog that I ever saw. In such cases, it becomes difficult or impossible to execute the doom upon the antiquated greyhound, so coolly recommended by Dame Juliana Berners:—
And when he comes to that yere,
Have him to the tannere,
For the best whelp ever bitch had
At nine years is full bad.’
Modern sportsmen anticipate the doom by three years at least.

“I cannot help adding to the ‘Last Words of Bonny Heck,’ a sporting anecdote, said to have happened in

* Wordsworth.

Fife, and not far from the residence of that famous greyhound, which may serve to show in what regard the rules of fair play between hound and hare are held by Scottish sportsmen. There was a coursing club, once upon a time, which met at Balchristy, in the Province, or, as it is popularly called, the Kingdom of Fife. The members were elderly social men, whom a very moderate allowance of sport served as an introduction to a hearty dinner and jolly evening. Now, there had her seat on the ground where they usually met, a certain large stout hare, who seemed made on purpose to entertain these moderate sportsmen. She usually gave the amusement of three or four turns, as soon as she was put up—a sure sign of a strong hare, when practised by any beyond the age of a leveret,—then stretched out in great style, and after affording the gentlemen an easy canter of a mile or two, threw out the dogs, by passing through a particular gap in an inclosure. This sport the same hare gave to the same party for one or two seasons, and it was just enough to afford the worthy members of the club a sufficient reason to be alleged to their wives, or others whom it may concern, for passing the day in the public-house. At length, a fellow who attended the hunt nefariously thrust his plaid, or great coat, into the gap I mentioned, and poor puss, her retreat being thus cut off, was, in the language of the dying Desdemona, ‘basely—basely murdered.’ The sport of the Balchristy club seemed to end with this famous hare. They either found no hares, or such as afforded only a halloo and a squeak, or such, finally, as gave them farther runs than they had pleasure of following. The spirit of the meeting died away, and at length it was altogether given up.

“The publican was, of course, the party most especially affected by the discontinuance of the club, and
OCTOBER, 1828.159
regarded, it may be supposed, with no complacency, the person who had prevented the hare from escaping, and even his memory. One day, a gentleman asked him what was become of such a one, naming the obnoxious individual. ‘He is dead, sir,’ answered mine host, with an angry scowl, ‘and his soul kens this day whether the hare of Balchristy got fair play or not.’

Walter Scott.”

Resuming his journal at the close of the year, he says, “Having omitted to carry on my Diary for two or three days, I lost heart to make it up, and left it unfilled for many a month and day. During this period nothing has happened worth particular notice:—the same occupations,—the same amusements,—the same occasional alternations of spirits, gay or depressed,—the same absence, for the most part, of all sensible or rational cause for the one or the other. I half grieve to take up my pen, and doubt if it is worth my while to record such an infinite quantity of nothing.”