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Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott, Bart.
Chapter VI 1830

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’s reviewal of the early parts of Mr Pitcairn’s Ancient Criminal Trials had, of course, much gratified the editor, who sent him, on his arrival in Edinburgh, the proof-sheets of the Number then in hand, and directed his attention particularly to its details on the extraordinary case of Mure of Auchindrane, A.D. 1611. Scott was so much interested with these documents, that he resolved to found a dramatic sketch on their terrible story; and the result was a composition far superior to any of his previous attempts of that nature. Indeed there are several passages in his “Ayrshire Tragedy”—especially that where the murdered corpse floats upright in the wake of the assassin’s bark,
—(an incident suggested by a lamentable chapter in
Lord Nelson’s history) which may bear comparison with any thing but Shakspeare. Yet I doubt whether the prose narrative of the preface be not, on the whole, more dramatic than the versified scenes. It contains, by the way, some very striking allusions to the recent atrocities of Gill’s Hill and the West Port. This piece was published in a thin octavo early in the year; and the beautiful Essays on Ballad Poetry, composed with a view to a collective edition of all his Poetical Works in small cheap volumes, were about the same time attached to the octavo edition then on sale; the state of stock not as yet permitting the new issue to be begun.

Sir Walter was now to pay the penalty of his unparalleled toils. On the 15th of February, about two o’clock in the afternoon, he returned from the Parliament House apparently in his usual state, and found an old acquaintance, Miss Young of Hawick, waiting to show him some MS. memoirs of her father (a dissenting minister of great worth and talents), which he had undertaken to revise and correct for the press. The old lady sat by him for half an hour while he seemed to be occupied with her papers; at length he rose, as if to dismiss her, but sunk down again—a slight convulsion agitating his features. After a few minutes he got up and staggered to the drawing-room, where Anne Scott and my sister Violet Lockhart were sitting. They rushed to meet him, but he fell at all his length on the floor ere they could reach him. He remained speechless for about ten minutes, by which time a surgeon had arrived and bled him. He was cupped again in the evening, and gradually recovered possession of speech and of all his faculties in so far that, the occurrence being kept quiet, when he appeared abroad again after a short interval, people in general do not seem to have observed any serious change. He submitted to the
utmost severity of regimen, tasting nothing but pulse and water for some weeks, and the alarm of his family and intimate friends subsided. By and by he again mingled in society much as usual, and seems to have almost persuaded himself that the attack had proceeded merely from the stomach, though his letters continued ever and anon to drop hints that the symptoms resembled apoplexy or paralysis. When we recollect that both his father and his elder brother died of paralysis, and consider the terrible violences of agitation and exertion to which Sir Walter had been subjected during the four preceding years, the only wonder is that this blow (which had, I suspect, several indistinct harbingers) was deferred so long; there can be none that it was soon followed by others of the same description.

He struggled manfully, however, against his malady, and during 1830 covered almost as many sheets with his MS. as in 1829. About March I find, from his correspondence with Ballantyne, that he was working regularly at his Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft for Murray’s Family Library, and also on a Fourth Series of the Tales of a Grandfather—the subject being French history. Both of these books were published by the end of the year; and the former contains many passages worthy of his best day—little snatches of picturesque narrative and the like—in fact, transcripts of his own familiar fireside stories. The shrewdness with which evidence is sifted on legal cases attests, too, that the main reasoning faculty remained unshaken. But, on the whole, these works can hardly be submitted to a strict ordeal of criticism. There is in both a cloudiness both of words and arrangement. Nor can I speak differently of the second volume of his Scottish History for Lardner’s Cyclopædia, which was published in May.
His very pretty
reviewal of Mr Southey’s Life and Edition of Bunyan was done in August—about which time his recovery seems to have reached its acmé.

In the course of the Spring Session, circumstances rendered it highly probable that Sir Walter’s resignation of his place as Clerk of Session might be acceptable to the Government—and it is not surprising that he should have, on the whole, been pleased to avail himself of this opportunity.

His Diary was resumed in May, and continued at irregular intervals for the rest of the year; but its contents are commonly too medical for quotation. Now and then, however, occur entries which I cannot think of omitting. For example:—

“Abbotsford, May 23, 1830.—About a year ago I took the pet at my Diary, chiefly because I thought it made me abominably selfish; and that by recording my gloomy fits, I encouraged their recurrence, whereas out of sight, out of mind, is the best way to get rid of them; and now I hardly know why I take it up again, but here goes. I came here to attend Raeburn’s funeral. I am near of his kin, my great-grandfather, Walter Scott, being the second son or first cadet of this small family. My late kinsman was also married to my aunt, a most amiable old lady. He was never kind to me, and at last utterly ungracious. Of course I never liked him, and we kept no terms. He had forgot, though, an infantine cause of quarrel, which I always remembered. When I was four or five years old, I was staying at Lessudden Place, an old mansion, the abode of this Raeburn. A large pigeon-house was almost destroyed with starlings, then a common bird, though now seldom seen. They were seized in their nests and put in a bag, and I think
drowned, or thrashed to death, or put to some such end. The servants gave one to me, which I in some degree tamed, and the brute of a laird seized and wrung its neck. I flew at his throat like a wild-cat, and was torn from him with no little difficulty. Long afterwards I did him the mortal offence to recall some superiority which my father had lent to the laird to make up a qualification, which he meant to exercise by voting for
Lord Minto’s interest against the Duke of Buccleuch’s. This made a total breach between two relations who had never been friends; and though I was afterwards of considerable service to his family, he kept his ill humour, alleging, justly enough, that I did these kind actions for the sake of his wife and name, not for his benefit. I now saw him at the age of eighty-two or three deposited in the ancestral grave; dined with my cousins, and returned to Abbotsford about eight o’clock.

Edinburgh, May 26.—Wrought with proofs, &c. at the Demonology, which is a cursed business to do neatly. I must finish it though. I went to the Court, from that came home, and scrambled on with half writing, half reading, half idleness till evening. I have laid aside smoking much; and now, unless tempted by company, rarely take a cigar. I was frightened by a species of fit which I had in March [February], which took from me my power of speaking. I am told it is from the stomach. It looked woundy like palsy or apoplexy. Well, be what it will, I can stand it.

May 27.—Court as usual. I am agitating a proposed retirement from the Court. As they are only to have four instead of six Clerks of Session in Scotland, it will be their interest to let me retire on a superannuation. Probably I shall make a bad bargain, and get
DIARY—JUNE, 1830.207
only two-thirds of the salary, instead of three-fourths. This would be hard, but I could save between two or three hundred pounds by giving up town residence. At any rate, jacta est alea
Sir Robert Peel and the Advocate acquiesce in the arrangement, and Sir Robert Dundas retires alongst with me. I think the difference will be infinite in point of health and happiness. Yet I do not know. It is perhaps a violent change in the end of life to quit the walk one has trod so long, and the cursed splenetic temper which besets all men makes you value opportunities and circumstances when one enjoys them no longer. Well ‘Things must be as they may,’ as says that great philosopher Corporal Nym.

June 3.—I finished my proofs, and sent them off with copy. I saw Mr Dickinson* on Tuesday; a right plain sensible man. He is so confident in my matters, that, being a large creditor himself, he offers to come down, with the support of all the London creditors, to carry through any measure that can be devised for my behoof. Mr Cadell showed him that we were four years forward in matter prepared for the press. Got Heath’s Illustrations, which I dare say are finely engraved, but commonplace enough in point of art.

June 17.—Went last night to Theatre, and saw Miss Fanny Kemble’s Isabella, which was a most creditable performance. It has much of the genius of Mrs Siddons, her aunt. She wants her beautiful countenance, her fine form, and her matchless dignity of step and manner. On the other hand, Miss Fanny Kemble has very expressive, though not regular features, and what is worth

* Mr John Dickinson of Nash-mill, Herts, the eminent papermaker.

it all, great energy mingled with and chastised by correct taste. I suffered by the heat, lights, and exertion, and will not go back to-night, for it has purchased me a sore headach this theatrical excursion. Besides, the play is
Mrs Beverley, and I hate to be made miserable about domestic distress, so I keep my gracious presence at home to-night, though I love and respect Miss Kemble for giving her active support to her father in his need, and preventing Covent Garden from coming down about their ears. I corrected proofs before breakfast, attended Court, but was idle in the forenoon, the headach annoying me much.

Blair-Adam, June 18.—Our meeting cordial, but our numbers diminished; the good and very clever Lord Chief Baron [Shepherd] is returned to his own country with more regrets than in Scotland usually attend a stranger. Will Clerk has a bad cold, Tom Thomson is detained, but the Chief Commissioner, Admiral Adam, Sir Adam, John Thomson and I, make an excellent concert.

June 19.—Arose and expected to work a little, but a friend’s house is not favourable; you are sure to want the book you have not brought, and are, in short, out of sorts, like the minister who could not preach out of his own pulpit. There is something fanciful in this, and something real too. After breakfast to Culross, where the veteran, Sir Robert Preston, showed us his curiosities. Life has done as much for him as most people. In his ninety-second year, he has an ample fortune, a sound understanding, not the least decay of eyes, ears, or taste, is as big as two men, and eats like three. Yet he too experiences the “singula prædantur” and has lost something since I last saw him. If his appearance renders old
DIARY—JUNE, 1830.209
age tolerable, it does not make it desirable. But I fear when death comes we shall be unwilling for all that to part with our bundle of sticks. Sir Robert amuses himself with repairing the old House of Culross, built by the Lord Bruce. What it is destined for is not very evident. It is too near his own mansion of Valleyfield to be useful as a residence, if indeed it could be formed into a comfortable modern house. But it is rather like a banqueting-house. Well, he follows his own fancy. We had a sumptuous cold dinner.
Sir Adam grieves it was not hot, so little can war and want break a man to circumstances. The beauty of Culross consists in magnificent terraces rising on the sea beach, and commanding the opposite shore of Lothian; the house is repairing in the style of James VI. There are some fine relics of the Old Monastery, with large Saxon arches. At Anstruther I saw with pleasure the painting, by Raeburn, of my old friend Adam Rolland, Esq., who was in the external circumstances, but not in frolic or fancy, my prototype for Paul Pleydell.

June 9.—Dined with the Bannatyne, where we had a lively party. Touching the songs, an old roué must own an improvement in the times, when all paw-paw words are omitted;—and yet, when the naughty innuendoes are gazers, one is apt to say—
‘Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art,
A good mouth-filling oath, and leave Forsooth,
And such protests of petty gingerbread.’
I think there is more affectation than improvement in the new mode.”

Not knowing how poor Maida had been replaced, Miss Edgeworth at this time offered Sir Walter a fine Irish staghound. He replies thus:—

To Miss Edgeworth, Edgeworthstown.
“Edinburgh, 23d June, 1830.
“My Dear Miss Edgeworth,

“Nothing would be so valuable to me as the mark of kindness which you offer, and yet my kennel is so much changed since I had the pleasure of seeing you, that I must not accept of what I wished so sincerely to possess. I am the happy owner of two of the noble breed, each of gigantic size, and the gift of that sort of Highlander whom we call a High Chief, so I would hardly be justified in parting with them even to make room for your kind present, and I should have great doubts whether the mountaineers would receive the Irish stranger with due hospitality. One of them I had from poor Glengarry, who, with all wild and fierce points of his character, had a kind, honest, and warm heart. The other from a young friend, whom Highlanders call MacVourigh, and Lowlanders MacPherson of Cluny. He is a fine spirited boy, fond of his people and kind to them, and the best dancer of a Highland reel now living. I fear I must not add a third to Nimrod and Bran, having little use for them except being pleasant companions. As to labouring in their vocation, we have only one wolf which I know of, kept in a friend’s menagerie near me, and no wild deer. Walter has some roebucks indeed, but Lochore is far off, and I begin to feel myself distressed at running down these innocent and beautiful creatures, perhaps because I cannot gallop so fast after them as to drown sense of the pain we are inflicting. And yet I suspect I am like the sick fox; and if my strength and twenty years could come back, I would become again a copy of my namesake, remembered by the sobriquet of Walter ill to hauld (to hold, that is). ‘But age has clawed me in its clutch,’ and there is no remedy for increasing disability except dying, which is an awkward score.


“There is some chance of my retiring from my official situation upon the changes in the Court of Session. They cannot reduce my office, though they do not wish to fill it up with a new occupant. I shall be therefore de trop; and in these days of economy they will be better pleased to let me retire on three parts of my salary than to keep me a Clerk of Session on the whole; and small grief at our parting, as the old horse said to the broken cart. And yet, though I thought such a proposal when first made was like a Pisgah peep of Paradise, I cannot help being a little afraid of changing the habits of a long life all of a sudden and for ever. You ladies have always your work-basket and stocking-knitting to wreak an hour of tediousness upon. The routine of business serves, I suspect, for the same purpose to us male wretches; it is seldom a burden to the mind, but a something which must be done, and is done almost mechanically; and though dull judges and duller clerks, the routine of law proceedings, and law forms, are very unlike the plumed troops and the tug of war, yet the result is the same. The occupation’s gone.* The morning, that the day’s news must all be gathered from other sources that the jokes which the principal Clerks of Session have laughed at weekly for a century, and which would not move a muscle of any other person’s face, must be laid up to perish like those of Sancho in the Sierra Morena—I don’t above half like forgetting all these moderate habits, and yet
‘Ah, freedom is a noble thing!’
as says the
old Scottish poet.† So I will cease my regrets, or lay them by to be taken up and used as arguments of comfort, in case I do not slip my cable after all, which is highly possible. Lockhart and Sophia

* Othello, Act. III., Sc. 3. Barbour’s Bruce.

have taken up their old residence at Chiefswood. They are very fond of the place; and I am glad also my grandchildren will be bred near the heather, for certain qualities which I think are best taught there.

“Let me enquire about all my friends, Mrs Fox, Mr and Mrs Butler, Mrs Edgeworth, the hospitable squire, and plan of education, and all and sundry of the household of Edgeworthstown. I shall long remember our delightful days—especially those under the roof of Protestant Frank.*

“Have you forsworn merry England, to say nothing of our northern regions? This meditated retreat will make me more certain of being at Abbotsford the whole year; and I am now watching the ripening of those plans which I schemed five years, ten years, twenty years ago. Anne is still the Beatrix you saw her; Walter, now major, predominating with his hussars at Nottingham and Sheffield; but happily there has been no call to try Sir Toby’s experiment of drawing three souls out of the body of one weaver. Ireland seems to be thriving. A friend of mine laid out L.40,000 or L.50,000 on an estate there, for which he gets 7 per cent; so you are looking up. Old England is distressed enough—we are well enough here—but we never feel the storm till it has passed over our neighbours. I ought to get a frank for this, but our members are all up mending the stops of the great fiddle. The termination of the King’s illness is considered as inevitable, and expected with great apprehension and anxiety. Believe me always with the greatest regard, yours,

Walter Scott.”

On the 26th of June Sir Walter heard of the death of

* I believe the ancestor who built the House at Edgeworthstown was distinguished by this appellation.

DIARY—JUNE, 1830.213
King George IV. with the regret of a devoted and obliged subject. He had received almost immediately before two marks of his Majesty’s kind attention. Understanding that his retirement from the Court of Session was at hand, Sir William Knighton suggested to the King that Sir Walter might henceforth be more frequently in London, and that he might very fitly be placed at the head of a new commission for examining and editing the MSS. collections of the exiled Princes of the House of Stuart, which had come into the King’s hands on the death of the Cardinal of York. This Sir Walter gladly accepted, and contemplated with pleasure spending the ensuing winter in London. But another proposition, that of elevating him to the rank of Privy Counsellor, was unhesitatingly declined. He felt that any increase of rank under the circumstances of diminished fortune and failing health would be idle and unsuitable, and desired his friend, the Lord Chief Commissioner, whom the King had desired to ascertain his feelings on the subject, to convey his grateful thanks, with his humble apology.

He heard of the King’s death, on what was otherwise a pleasant day. The Diary says—“June 27.—Yesterday morning I worked as usual at proofs and copy of my infernal Demonology, a task to which my poverty and not my will consents. About twelve o’clock, I went to the country to take a day’s relaxation. We (i. e. Mr Cadell, James Ballantyne, and I) went to Prestonpans, and getting there about one, surveyed the little village, where my aunt and I were lodgers for the sake of sea-bathing, in 1778, I believe. I knew the house of Mr Warroch, where we lived, a poor cottage, of which the owners and their family are extinct. I recollected my juvenile ideas of dignity attendant on the large gate, a black arch which lets out upon the sea. I saw the church where I yawned under the inflictions of a Dr
M’Cormack, a name in which dulness seems to have been hereditary. I saw the links where I arranged my shells upon the turf, and swam my little skiff in the pools. Many comparisons between the man and the boy—many recollections of my kind aunt—of old George Constable, who, I think, dangled after her of Dalgetty, a virtuous half-pay lieutenant, who swaggered his solitary walk on the parade, as he called a little open space before the same port. We went to Preston, and took refuge from a thunder-plump in the old tower. I remembered the little garden where I was crammed with gooseberries, and the fear I had of Blind Harry’s Spectre of Fawdon showing his headless trunk at one of the windows. I remembered also a very good-natured pretty girl (my Mary Duff), whom I laughed and romped with, and loved as children love. She was a Miss Dalrymple, daughter of Lord Westhall, a Lord of Session; was afterwards married to Anderson of Winterfield, and her daughter is now the spouse of my colleague, Robert Hamilton. So strangely are our cards shuffled. I was a mere child, and could feel none of the passion which Byron alleges, yet the recollection of this good-humoured companion of my childhood is like that of a morning dream, nor should I greatly like to dispel it by seeing the original, who must now be sufficiently time-honoured.

“Well, we walked over the field of battle; saw the Prince’s Park, Cope’s Road, marked by slaughter in his disastrous retreat, the thorn-tree which marks the centre of the battle, and all besides that was to be seen or supposed. We saw two broadswords, found on the field of battle, one a Highlander’s, an Andrew Ferrara, another the dragoon’s sword of that day.* Lastly, we came to Cockenzie, where Mr Francis Cadell, my pub-

* The Laird of Cockenzie kindly sent these swords next day to the armoury at Abbotsford.

lisher’s brother, gave us a kind reception. I was especially glad to see the
mother of the family, a fine old lady, who was civil to my aunt and me, and, I recollect well, used to have us to tea at Cockenzie. Curious that I should long afterwards have an opportunity to pay back this attention to her son Robert. Once more, what a kind of shuffling of the hand dealt us at our nativity. There was Mrs F. Cadell and one or two young ladies, and some fine fat children. I should be “a Bastard to the Time” did I not tell our fare; we had a tiled whiting, a dish unknown elsewhere, so there is a bone for the gastronomers to pick. Honest John Wood, my old friend, dined with us; I only regret I cannot understand him, as he has a very powerful memory, and much curious information.* The whole day of pleasure was damped by the news of the King’s death; it was fully expected, indeed, as the termination of his long illness; but he was very good to me personally, and a kind sovereign. The common people and gentry join in their sorrows. Much is owing to kindly recollections of his visit to this country, which gave all men an interest in him.”

When the term ended in July the affair of Sir Walter’s retirement was all but settled; and soon afterwards he was informed that he had ceased to be a Clerk of Session, and should thenceforth have, in lieu of his salary, &c. (L.1300) an allowance of L.800 per annum. This was accompanied by an intimation from the Home Secretary that the Ministers were quite ready to grant him a pension covering the reduction in his income. Considering himself as the bond-slave of his creditors, he made known

* Mr Wood published a History of the Parish of Cramond, in 1794—an enlarged edition of Sir Robert Douglas’s Peerage of Scotland, 2 vols. folio, in 1813—and a Life of the celebrated John Law, of Laurieston, in 1824. In the preface to the Cramond History he describes himself as scopulis surdior Icari.

to them this proposition, and stated that it would be extremely painful to him to accept of it; and with the delicacy and generosity which throughout characterised their conduct towards him, they, without hesitation, entreated him on no account to do injury to his own feelings in such a matter as this. Few things gave him more pleasure than this handsome communication.

Just after he had taken leave of Edinburgh, as he seems to have thought for ever, he received a communication of another sort, as inopportune as any that ever reached him. His Diary for the 13th July says briefly—“I have a letter from a certain young gentleman, announcing that his sister had so far mistaken the intentions of a lame baronet nigh sixty years old, as to suppose him only prevented by modesty from stating certain wishes and hopes, &c. The party is a woman of rank, so my vanity may be satisfied. But I excused myself, with little picking upon the terms.”

During the rest of the summer and autumn his daughter and I were at Chiefswood, and saw him of course daily. Laidlaw, too, had been restored to the cottage at Kseside; and though Tom Purdie made a dismal blank, old habits went on, and the course of life seemed little altered from what it had used to be. He looked jaded and worn before evening set in, yet very seldom departed from the strict regimen of his doctors, and often brightened up to all his former glee, though passing the bottle, and sipping toast and water. His grandchildren especially saw no change. However languid, his spirits revived at the sight of them, and the greatest pleasure he had was in pacing Douce Davie through the green lanes among his woods, with them clustered about him on ponies and donkeys, while Laidlaw, the ladies, and myself, walked by, and obeyed his directions about pruning and marking trees. After the immediate alarms
of the spring, it might have been even agreeable to witness this placid twilight scene, but for our knowledge that nothing could keep him from toiling many hours daily at his desk, and alas! that he was no longer sustained by the daily commendations of his printer. It was obvious, as the season advanced, that the manner in which
Ballantyne communicated with him was sinking into his spirits, and Laidlaw foresaw, as well as myself, that some trying crisis of discussion could not be much longer deferred. A nervous twitching about the muscles of the mouth was always more or less discernible from the date of the attack in February; but we could easily tell, by the aggravation of that symptom, when he had received a packet from the Canongate. It was distressing indeed to think that he might, one of these days, sustain a second seizure, and be left still more helpless, yet with the same undiminished appetite for literary labour. And then, if he felt his printer’s complaints so keenly, what was to be expected in the case of a plain and undeniable manifestation of disappointment on the part of the public, and consequently of the bookseller?

All this was for the inner circle. Country neighbours went and came without, I believe, observing almost any thing of what grieved the family. Nay, this autumn he was far more troubled with the invasions of strangers, than he had ever been since his calamities of 1826. The astonishing success of the new editions was, as usual, doubled or trebled by rumour. The notion that he had already all but cleared off his incumbrances seems to have been widely prevalent, and no doubt his refusal of a pension tended to confirm it. Abbotsford was, for some weeks at least, besieged much as it had used to be in the golden days of 1823 and 1824; and if sometimes his guests brought animation
and pleasure with them, even then the result was a legacy of redoubled lassitude. The Diary, among a very few and far separated entries, has this:

September 5.—In spite of Resolution, I have left my Diary for some weeks, I cannot well tell why. We have had abundance of travelling Counts and Countesses, Yankees, male and female, and a Yankee-Doodle-Dandy into the bargain, a smart young Virginia-man. But we have had friends of our own also, the Miss Ardens, young Mrs Morritt and Anne Morritt, most agreeable visiters. Cadell came out here yesterday with his horn filled with good news. He calculates that in October the debt will be reduced to the sum of L.60,000, half of its original amount. This makes me care less about the terms I retire upon. The efforts by which we have advanced thus far are new in literature, and what is gained is secure.”

Mr Cadell’s great hope, when he offered this visit, had been that the good news of the Magnum might induce Sir Walter to content himself with working at notes and prefaces for its coming volumes, without straining at more difficult tasks. He found his friend, however, by no means disposed to adopt such views; and suggested very kindly, and ingeniously too, by way of mezzo-termine, that before entering upon any new novel, he should draw up a sort of catalogue raisonnée of the most curious articles in his library and museum. Sir Walter grasped at this, and began next morning to dictate to Laidlaw what he designed to publish in the usual novel shape, under the title of “Reliquiæ Trottcosienses, or the Gabions of Jonathan Oldbuck.” Nothing, as it seemed to all about him, could have suited the time better; but after a few days he said he found this was not sufficient—that he should proceed in it during horæ subcesivæ, but must bend himself to the composition of a
JEDBURGH, 1830.219
romance, founded on a story which he had more than once told cursorily already, and for which he had been revolving the various titles of Robert of the Isle—Count Robert de L’Isle—and
Count Robert of Paris. There was nothing to be said in reply to the decisive announcement of this purpose. The usual agreements were drawn out; and the Tale was begun.

But before I come to the results of this experiment, I must relieve the reader by Mr Adolphus’s account of some more agreeable things. The death of George IV. occasioned a general election; and the Revolution of France in July, with its rapid imitation in the Netherlands, had been succeeded by such a quickening of hope among the British Liberals, as to render this in general a scene of high excitement and desperate struggling of parties. In Teviotdale, however, all was as yet quiescent. Mr Adolphus says:

“One day, during my visit of 1830, 1 accompanied Sir Walter to Jedburgh, when the eldest son of Mr Scott of Harden (now Lord Polwarth) was for the third time elected member for Roxburghshire. There was no contest; an opposition had been talked of, but was adjourned to some future day. The meeting in the Court-house, where the election took place, was not a very crowded or stirring scene; but among those present, as electors or spectators, were many gentlemen of the most ancient and honourable names in Roxburghshire and the adjoining counties. Sir Walter seconded the nomination. It was the first time I had heard him speak in public, and I was a little disappointed. His manner was very quiet and natural, but seemed to me too humble, and wanting in animation. His air was sagacious and reverend; his posture somewhat stooping; he rested, or rather pressed, the palm of one hand on the head of his stick, and used a very little gesticulation with the other. As he went on,
his delivery acquired warmth, but it never became glowing. His points, however, were very well chosen, and his speech, perhaps, upon the whole, was such as a sensible country gentleman should have made to an assembly of his neighbours upon a subject on which they were all well agreed. Certainly the feeling of those present in favour of the candidate required no stimulus.

“The new member was to give a dinner to the electors at three o’clock. In the mean-time Sir Walter strolled round the ancient Abbey. It amused me on this and on one or two other occasions, when he was in frequented places, to see the curiosity with which some zealous stranger would hover about his line of walk or ride, to catch a view of him, though a distant one for it was always done with caution and respect; and he was not disturbed—perhaps not displeased—by it. The dinner party was in number, I suppose, eighty or ninety, and the festival passed off with great spirit. The croupier, Mr Baillie of Jerviswood, who had nominated the candidate in the morning, proposed, at its proper time, in a few energetic words, the health of Sir Walter Scott. All hearts were ‘thirsty for the noble pledge;’ the health was caught up with enthusiasm; and any one who looked round must have seen with pleasure that the popularity of Sir Walter Scott—European, and more than European as it was—had its most vigorous roots at the threshold of his own home. He made a speech in acknowledgment, and this time I was not disappointed. It was rich in humour and feeling, and graced by that engaging manner of which he had so peculiar a command. One passage I remembered, for its whimsical homeliness, long after the other, and perhaps better parts of the speech had passed from my recollection. Mr Baillie had spoken of him as a man pre-eminent among those who had done honour and service to Scotland.
He replied that, in what he had done for Scotland as a writer, he was no more entitled to the merit which had been ascribed to him than the servant who scours the ‘brasses’ to the credit of having made them; that he had perhaps been a good housemaid to Scotland, and given the country a ‘rubbing up;’ and in so doing might have deserved some praise for assiduity, and that was all. Afterwards, changing the subject, he spoke very beautifully and warmly of the re-elected candidate who sat by him; alluded to the hints which had been thrown out in the morning of a future opposition and Reform, and ended with some verses (I believe they were
Burns’s, parcé detorta), pressing his hand upon the shoulder of Mr Scott as he uttered the concluding lines,
‘But we ha’ tried this Border lad,
And we’ll try him yet again.’*

“He sat down under a storm of applauses; and there were many present whose applause even he might excusably take some pride in. His eye, as he reposed himself after this little triumph, glowed with a hearty but chastened exultation on the scene before him; and when I met his look it seemed to say, ‘I am glad you should see how these things pass among us.’

“His constitution had in the preceding winter suffered one of those attacks which at last prematurely overthrew it. ‘Such a shaking hands with death’ (I am told he said) ‘was formidable;’ but there were few vestiges of it which might not be overlooked by those who were anxious not to see them; and he was more cheerful than I had sometimes found him in former years. On one of our carriage excursions, shortly after the Jedburgh dinner, his spirits actually rose to the pitch of singing, an accomplishment I had never before heard him exhibit except in chorus. We had been to

* See Burns’s ballad of The Five Carlines—an election squib.

Selkirk and Bowhill, and were returning homewards in one of those days so inspiriting in a hill country, when, after heavy rains, the summer bursts forth again in its full splendour.
Sir Walter was in his best congenial humour. As we looked up to Carterhaugh, his conversation ran naturally upon Tamlane and Fair Janet, and the ballad recounting their adventures; then it ran upon the Dii agrestes, ghosts and wizards, Border anecdotes and history, the bar, his own adventures as advocate and as sheriff; and then returning to ballads, it fell upon the old ditty of Tom o’ the Linn, or Thomas O’Linn, which is popular alike, I believe, in Scotland, and in some parts of England, and of which I as well as he had boyish recollections. As we compared versions he could not forbear, in the gaiety of his heart, giving out two or three of the stanzas in song. I cannot say that I ever heard this famous lyric sung to a very regular melody, but his set of it was extraordinary.

“Another little incident in this morning’s drive is worth remembering. We crossed several fords, and after the rain they were wide and deep. A little, long, wise-looking, rough terrier, named Spice, which ran after us, had a cough, and as often as we came to a water, Spice, by the special order of her master, was let into the carriage till we had crossed. His tenderness to his brute dependants was a striking point in the general benignity of his character. He seemed to consult not only their bodily welfare, but their feelings, in the human sense. He was a gentleman even to his dogs. His roughest rebuke to little Spice, when she was inclined to play the wag with a sheep, was, ‘Ha! fie! fie!’ It must be owned that his ‘tail’ (as his retinue of dogs was called at Abbotsford), though very docile and unobtrusive animals in the house, were sometimes a little wild in their frolics out of doors. One day when
I was walking with
Sir Walter and Miss Scott, we passed a cottage, at the door of which sat on one side a child, and on the other a slumbering cat. Nimrod bounded from us in great gaiety, and the unsuspecting cat had scarcely time to squall before she was demolished. The poor child set up a dismal wail. Miss Scott was naturally much distressed, and Sir Walter a good deal out of countenance. However, he put an end to the subject by saying with an assumed stubbornness, ‘Well! the cat is worried;’ but his purse was in his hand; Miss Scott was despatched to the house, and I am very sure it was not his fault if the cat had a poor funeral. In the confusion of the moment I am afraid the culprit went off without even a reprimand.

“Except in this trifling instance (and it could hardly be called an exception), I cannot recollect seeing Sir Walter Scott surprised out of his habitual equanimity. Never, I believe, during the opportunities I had of observing him, did I hear from him an acrimonious tone, or see a shade of ill-humour on his features. In a phlegmatic person this serenity might have been less remarkable, but it was surprising in one whose mind was so susceptible, and whose voice and countenance were so full of expression. It was attributable, I think, to a rare combination of qualities; thoroughly cultivated manners, great kindness of disposition, great patience and self-control, an excellent flow of spirits, and lastly, that steadfastness of nerve which, even in the inferior animals, often renders the most powerful and resolute creature the most placid and forbearing. Once, when he was exhibiting some weapons, a gentleman, after differing from him as to the comparative merits of two sword-blades, inadvertently flourished one of them almost into Sir Walter’s eye. I looked quickly towards him, but could not see in his
face the least sign of shrinking, or the least approach to a frown. No one, however, could for a moment infer from this evenness of manner and temper, that he was a man with whom an intentional liberty could be taken; and I suppose very few persons during his life ever thought of making the experiment. If it happened at any time that some trivial etourderie in conversation required at his hand a slight application of the rein, his gentle explaining tone was an appeal to good taste which no common wilfulness could have withstood.

“Two or three times at most during my knowledge of him do I recollect hearing him utter a downright oath, and then it was not in passion or upon personal provocation, nor was the anathema levelled at any individual. It was rather a concise expression of sentiment than a malediction. In one instance it was launched at certain improvers of the town of Edinburgh; in another it was bestowed very evenly upon all political parties in France, shortly after the glorious days of July, 1830.”

As one consequence of these “glorious days,” the unfortunate Charles X. was invited by the English Government to resume his old quarters at Holyrood; and among many other things that about this time vexed and mortified Scott, none gave him more pain than to hear that the popular feeling in Edinburgh had been so much exacerbated against the fallen monarch (especially by an ungenerous article in the great literary organ of the place), that his reception there was likely to be rough and insulting. Sir Walter thought that on such an occasion his voice might, perhaps, be listened to. He knew his countrymen well in their strength, as well as in their weakness, and put forth this touching appeal to their better feelings, in Ballantyne’s newspaper for the 20th of October:—

CHARLES X.—1830. 225

“We are enabled to announce, from authority, that Charles of Bourbon, the ex-King of France, is about to become once more our fellow-citizen, though probably for only a limited space, and is presently about to repair to Edinburgh, in order again to inhabit the apartments which he long ago occupied in Holyrood House. This temporary arrangement, it is said, has been made in compliance with his own request, with which our benevolent Monarch immediately complied, willing to consult, in every respect possible, the feelings of a Prince under the pressure of misfortunes, which are perhaps the more severe, if incurred through bad advice, error, or rashness. The attendants of the late sovereign will be reduced to the least possible number, and consist chiefly of ladies and children, and his style of life will be strictly retired. In these circumstances, it would be unworthy of us as Scotsmen, or as men, if this most unfortunate family should meet a word or look from the meanest individual tending to aggravate feelings, which must be at present so acute as to receive injury from insults, which mother times could be passed with perfect disregard.

“His late opponents in his kingdom have gained the applause of Europe for the generosity with which they have used their victory, and the respect which they have paid to themselves in moderation towards an enemy. It would be a gross contrast to that part of their conduct which has been most generally applauded, were we, who are strangers to the strife, to affect a deeper resentment than those it concerned closely.

“Those who can recollect the former residence of this unhappy Prince in our northern capital, cannot but remember the unobtrusive and quiet manner in which his little court was then conducted; and now, still further restricted and diminished, he may naturally expect to be received with civility and respect by a nation whose good
will he has done nothing to forfeit. Whatever may have been his errors towards his own subjects, we cannot but remember, in his adversity, that he did not in his prosperity forget that Edinburgh had extended her hospitality towards him, but, at the period when the fires consumed so much of the city, sent a princely benefaction to the sufferers, with a letter which made it more valuable, by stating the feelings towards the city of the then royal donor. We also state, without hazard of contradiction, that his attention to individuals connected with this city was uniformly and handsomely rendered to those entitled to claim them. But he never did or could display a more flattering confidence, than when he shows that the recollections of his former asylum here have inclined him a second time to return to the place where he then found refuge.

“If there can be any who retain angry or invidious recollections of late events in France, they ought to remark that the ex-Monarch has, by his abdication, renounced the conflict into which, perhaps, he was engaged by bad advisers; that he can no longer be the object of resentment to the brave, but remains to all the most striking emblem of the mutability of human affairs which our mutable times have afforded. He may say with our own deposed Richard—
‘With mine own tears I washed away my balm,
With mine own hands I gave away my crown,
With my own tongue deny mine sacred state.’*
He brings among us his ‘grey discrowned head;’ and in ‘a nation of gentlemen,’ as we were emphatically termed by the very highest authority, f it is impossible, I

* King Richard II. Act IV. Scene 1.

† This was the expression of King George IV., at the close of the first day he spent in Scotland.

CHARLES X.—1830.227
trust, to find a man mean enough to insult the slightest hair of it.

“It is impossible to omit stating, that if angry recollections or keen party feelings should make any person consider the exiled and deposed Monarch as a subject of resentment, no token of such feelings could be exhibited without the greater part of the pain being felt by the helpless females, of whom the Duchess of Angouleme, in particular, has been so long distinguished by her courage and her misfortunes.

“The person who writes these few lines is leaving his native city, never to return as a permanent resident. He has some reason to be proud of distinctions received from his fellow-citizens; and he has not the slightest doubt that the taste and good feeling of those whom he will still term so, will dictate to them the quiet, civil, and respectful tone of feeling, which will do honour both to their heads and their hearts, which have seldom been appealed to in vain.

“The Frenchman Melinet, in mentioning the refuge afforded by Edinburgh to Henry VI. in his distress, records it as the most hospitable town in Europe. It is a testimony to be proud of, and sincerely do I hope there is little danger of forfeiting it upon the present occasion.”

The effect of this manly admonition was even more complete than the writer had anticipated. The royal exiles were received with perfect decorum, which their modest bearing to all classes, and unobtrusive, though magnificent benevolence to the poor, ere long converted into a feeling of deep and affectionate respectfulness. During their stay in Scotland, the King took more than one opportunity of conveying to Sir Walter his gratitude for this salutary interference on his behalf. The ladies of the royal family had a curiosity to see Abbots-
ford, but being aware of his reduced health and wealth, took care to visit the place when he was known to be from home. Several French noblemen of the train, however, paid him their respects personally. I remember with particular pleasure a couple of days that the
Duke of Laval Montmorency spent with him: he was also much gratified with a visit from Marshal Bourmont, though unfortunately that came after his ailments had much advanced. The Marshal was accompanied by the Baron d’Haussez, one of the Polignac Ministry, whose published account of his residence in this country contains no specimen of vain imbecility more pitiable than the page he gives to Abbotsford. So far from comprehending any thing of his host’s character or conversation, the Baron had not even eyes to observe that he was in a sorely dilapidated condition of bodily health. The reader will perceive by and by that he had had another fit only a few days before he received these strangers; and that, moreover, he was engaged at the moment in a most painful correspondence with his printer and bookseller.

I conclude this chapter with a letter to Lady Louisa Stuart, who had, it seems, formed some erroneous guesses about the purport of the forthcoming Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft. That volume had been some weeks out of hand—but, for booksellers’ reasons, it was not published until Christmas.

To the Right Hon. Lady Louisa Stuart, care of Lord Montagu.
“Abbotsford, October 31, 1830.
“ My dear Lady Louisa,

“I come before your Ladyship for once, in the character of Not Guilty. I am a wronged man, who deny, with Lady Teazle, the butler and the coach-horse. Positively, in sending a blow to explode old and worn
out follies, I could not think I was aiding and abetting those of this—at least I had no purpose of doing so. Your Ladyship cannot think me such an owl as to pay more respect to animal magnetism, or scullology, I forget its learned name, or any other ology of the present day. The sailors have an uncouth proverb that every man must eat a peck of dirt in the course of his life, and thereby reconcile themselves to swallow unpalatable messes. Even so say I, every age must swallow a certain deal of superstitious nonsense; only, observing the variety which nature seems to study through all her works, each generation takes its nonsense, as heralds say, with a difference. I was early behind the scenes, having been in childhood patient of no less a man than the celebrated
Dr Graham, the great quack of that olden day. I had, being, as Sir Hugh Evans says, a fine sprag boy, a shrewd idea that his magnetism was all humbug; but Dr Graham, though he used a different method, was as much admired in his day as any of the French fops. I did once think of turning on the modern mummers, but I did not want to be engaged in so senseless a controversy, which would, nevertheless, have occupied some time and trouble. The inference was pretty plain, that the same reasons which explode the machinery of witches and ghosts proper to our ancestors, must be destructive of the supernatural nonsense of our own days.

“Your acquaintance with Shakspeare is intimate, and you remember why, and when it is said,
‘He words me, girl, he words me.’
Our modern men of the day have done this to the country. They have devised a new phraseology to convert

* Antony and Cleopatra, Act V. Scene 2.

good into evil, and evil into good, and the ass’s ears of John Bull are gulled with it as if words alone made crime or virtue. Have they a mind to excuse the tyranny of
Buonaparte? why, the Lord love you, he only squeezed into his government a grain too much of civilisation. The fault of Robespierre was too active liberalism; a noble error. Thus the most blood-thirsty anarchy is glossed over by opening the account under a new name. The varnish might be easily scraped off all this trumpery; and I think my friends the brave Belges are like to lead to the conclusion that the old names of murder and fire-raising are still in fashion. But what is worse, the natural connexion between the higher and lower classes is broken. The former reside abroad and become gradually, but certainly, strangers to their country’s laws, habits, and character. The tenant sees nothing of them but the creditor for rent, following on the heels of the creditor for taxes. Our Ministers dissolve the yeomanry, almost the last tie which held the laird and the tenant together. The best and worthiest are squabbling together, like a mutinous crew in a sinking vessel, who make the question, not how they are to get her off the rocks, but by whose fault she came on them. In short but I will not pursue any further the picture more frightful than any apparition in my Demonology. Would to God I could believe it ideal! I have confidence still in the Duke of Wellington, but even he has sacrificed to the great deity of humbug, and what shall we say to meaner and more ordinary minds? God avert evil, and, what is next best, in mercy remove those who could only witness without preventing it. Perhaps I am somewhat despondent in all this. But totally retired from the world as I now am, depression is a natural consequence of so calamitous a prospect as politics now present. The only probable course of safety would be a confederacy
between the good and the honest; and they are so much divided by petty feuds, that I see little chance of it.

“I will send this under Lord Montagu’s frank, for it is no matter how long such a roll of lamentation may be in reaching your Ladyship. I do not think it at all likely that I shall be in London next spring, although I suffer Sophia to think so. I remain, in all my bad humour, ever your Ladyship’s most obedient and faithful humble servant,

Walter Scott.”