LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoir of John Murray
Walter Scott to John Murray, 23 March 1818

Vol. 1 Contents
Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
Chapter XIII.
Chapter XIV.
Chapter XV.
Chapter XVI.
Chapter XVII.
Chapter XVIII.
Chapter XIX.
Vol. 2 Contents
Chap. XX.
Chap. XXI.
Chap. XXII.
Chap. XXIII.
Chap. XXIV.
Chap. XXV.
Chap. XXVI.
Chap. XXVII.
Chap. XXIX.
Chap. XXX.
Chap. XXXI.
Chap. XXXII.
Chap. XXXIV.
Chap. XXXV.
Chap. XXXVI.
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Produced by CATH
Abbotsford, March 23rd, 1818.
Dear Murray,
“Grieve not for me, my dearest dear,
I am not dead; but sleepeth here.”

I have little to plead for myself, but the old and vile apologies of laziness and indisposition. I think I have been so unlucky of late as to have always the will to work when sitting at the desk hurts me, and the irresistible propensity to be lazy, when I might, like the man whom Hogarth introduces into Bridewell with his hands strapped up against the wall, “better work than stand thus.” I laid Kirkton aside when half finished, from a desire to get the original edition of the ‘Lives of Cameron,’ &c., by Patrick Walker, which I had not seen since a boy, and now I have got it, and find, as I suspected, that some curious morceaux have been cut out by subsequent editors. I will, without loss of time, finish the article, and think you will like it. Blackwood kidnapped an article for his Magazine on the Frankenstein story, which I intended for you. A very old friend and school companion of mine, and a gallant soldier, Sir Howard Douglas, has asked me to review his work on ‘Military Bridges.’ I must get a friend’s assistance for the scientific part, and add some Balaam of mine own (as printers’ devils say) to make up four or five pages. I have no objection to attempt ‘Lord Orford,’ if I have time, and find that I can do it with ease. Though far from admiring his character, I have always had a high opinion of his talents, and am well acquainted with his works. The letters you have published are, I think, his very best—lively, entertaining, and unaffected. I am greatly obliged to you for these, and other literary treasures, which I owe to your goodness from time to time. Although not thankfully acknowledged as they should be in course, these things are never thanklessly received. I could have sworn

* A considerable part but not the whole of this letter is published in Lockhart’sLife of Scott.’

that ‘
Beppo’ was founded on ‘Whistlecraft,’ as both were on ‘Anthony Hall,’ who, like ‘Beppo,’ had more wit than grace. I am not, however, in spirits at present for treating either of these worthies, or my friend Rose, though few have warmer wishes for any of the trio. But this confounded changeable weather has twice brought back my cramp in the stomach. Attacks, however, are not at all of the formidable description they were at first, still they only give way to laudanum, a medicine which disagrees with me particularly. We have had snow and frost alternately, and I have so much the habits of robust health that I am too apt to run after my workpeople in all weathers, but I suppose time and pain will make me wiser at last.

I do not know anything about Mr. Ballantyne’s arrangements with Constable. I only understand generally that he had some unexpected difficulties in settling with Blackwood; and doing the best he can for an author who does not act for himself, I suppose he has tried to mend his market elsewhere. I have no reason to think my interference en the occasion could be of service in the way you mention.

The newspapers have been croaking, I hope inaccurately, respecting Lady Byron’s health. I should like much to know how she is. Adieu. My next shall be with a packet.

Yours truly,
Walter Scott.

P.S.—Direct to Edinburgh if anything occurs. How do you stand with ‘Paul’s Letters’? The other publishers are, I believe, out. I do not, however, mean to press a new edition unless I should go abroad again. Remember me kindly to Gifford.