The Journal of Sir Walter Scott - From the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford
by Walter Scott
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June 30.—Redd up my things for moving,[542] which will clear my hands a little on the next final flitting. Corrected proof-sheets. Williams told me an English bull last night. A fellow of a college, deeply learned, sitting at a public entertainment beside a foreigner, tried every means to enter into conversation, but the stranger could speak no dead language, the Doctor no living one but his own. At last the scholar, in great extremity, was enlightened by a happy "Nonne potes loqui cum digitis?"—said as if the difficulty was solved at once.

Abbotsford.—Reached this about six o'clock.[543]


[527] Sheridan's Critic, Act I. Sc, 1.

[528] "No sooner had the Sun uttered these words than Fortune, as if she had been playing on a cymbal, began to unwind her wheel, which, whirling about like a hurricane, huddled all the world into an unparalleled confusion. Fortune gave a mighty squeak, saying, 'Fly, wheel, and the devil drive thee.'"—Fortune in her Wits, Quevedo. English trans. (1798), vol. iii. p. 107.

[529] Burns: "On a Scotch Bard, gone to the West Indies."

[530] Vivian Grey, by Benjamin Disraeli, was published anonymously in 5 vols. 12mo, 1826-7.

[531] If the reader turns to December 18, 1825, he will see that this is not the first allusion in the Journal to his "first love,"—an innocent attachment, to which we owe the tenderest pages, not only of Redgauntlet (1824), but of the Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), and of Rokeby (1813). In all these works the heroine has certain distinctive features drawn from one and the same haunting dream. The lady was "Williamina Belches, sole child and heir of a gentleman who was a cadet of the ancient family of Invermay, and who afterwards became Sir John Stuart of Fettercairn." She married Sir William Forbes in 1797 and died in 1810.—Life, vol. i. p. 333; Shairp's Memoirs of Principal Forbes, pp. 4, 5, 8vo, London, 1873, where her portrait, engraved from a miniature, is given.

[532] Hugh Cleghorn had been Professor of Civil History in St. Andrews for ten years, afterwards becoming tutor to the Earl of Home, and subsequently employed by our Government in various foreign missions. A glimpse of his work is obtainable in Southey's Life, of Dr. Andrew Bell. Mr. Cleghorn died in 1833, aged 83.

[533] Count Paul de Remusat has been good enough to give me another view of this visit which will be read with interest:—"118 Faubourg St. Honore, February 10, 1890.—.... My father has often spoken to me of this visit to Sir Walter Scott—for it was indeed my father, Charles de Remusat, member of the French Academy, and successively Minister of the Interior and for Foreign Affairs, who went at the age of thirty to Abbotsford, and he retained to the last days of his life a most lively remembrance of the great novelist who did not acknowledge the authorship of his novels, and to whom it was thus impossible otherwise than indirectly to pay any compliment. It gives me great pleasure to learn that the visit of those young men impressed him favourably. My father's companion was his contemporary and friend, M. Louis de Guizard, who, like my father, was a contributor at that time to the Liberal press of the Restoration, the Globe and La Revue Francaise, and who, after the Revolution of 1830, entered, as did my father likewise, upon political life. M. de Guizard was first prefet, then depute, and after 1848 became Directeur-general des Beaux Arts. He died about 1877 or 1878, after his retirement from public life."

[534] "Woodstock placed upwards of L8000 in the hands of Sir Walter's creditors. The Napoleon (first and second editions) produced for them a sum which it even now startles me to mention—L18,000. As by the time the historical work was published nearly half of the First Series of Chronicles of the Canongate had been written, it is obvious that the amount to which Scott's literary industry, from the close of 1825 to the 10th of June 1827, had diminished his debt, cannot be stated at less than L28,000. Had health been spared him, how soon must he have freed himself from all his encumbrances!"—J.G.L.

[535] See Life, vol. vi. p. 89. In Mr. Ballantyne's Memorandum, there is a fuller account of the mode in which The Bride of Lammermoor, The Legend of Montrose, and almost the whole of Ivanhoe were produced, and the mental phenomenon which accompanied the preparation of the first-named work:—

"During the progress of composing The Heart of Midlothian, The Bride of Lammermoor, and Legend of Montrose—a period of many months—Mr. Scott's health had become extremely indifferent, and was often supposed to place him in great danger. But it would hardly be credited, were it not for the notoriety of the fact, that although one of the symptoms of his illness was pain of the most acute description, yet he never allowed it to interrupt his labours. The only difference it produced, that I am aware of, was its causing him to employ the hand of an amanuensis in place of his own. Indeed, during the greater part of the day at this period he was confined to his bed. The person employed for this purpose was the respectable and intelligent Mr. Wm. Laidlaw, who acted for him in this capacity in the country, and I think also attended him to town. I have often been present with Mr. Laidlaw during the short intervals of his labour, and it was deeply affecting to hear the account he gave of his patron's severe sufferings, and the indomitable spirit which enabled him to overmaster them. He told me that very often the dictation of Caleb Balderston's and the old cooper's best jokes was mingled with groans extorted from him by pains; but that when he, Mr. L., endeavoured to prevail upon him to take a little respite, the only answer he could obtain from Mr. Scott was a request that he would see that the doors were carefully shut, so that the expressions of his agony might not reach his family—'As to stopping work, Laidlaw,' he said, 'you know that is wholly out of the question.' What followed upon these exertions, made in circumstances so very singular, appears to me to exhibit one of the most singular chapters in the history of the human intellect. The book having been published before Mr. Scott was able to rise from his bed, he assured me that, when it was put into his hands, he did not recollect one single incident, character, or conversation it contained. He by no means desired me to understand, nor did I understand, that his illness had erased from his memory all or any of the original family facts with which he had been acquainted from the period probably of his boyhood. These of course remained rooted where they had ever been, or, to speak more explicitly, where explicitness is so entirely important, he remembered the existence of the father and mother, the son and daughter, the rival lovers, the compulsory marriage, and the attack made by his bride upon the unhappy bridegroom, with the general catastrophe of the whole. All these things he recollected, just as he did before he took to his bed, but the marvel is that he recollected literally nothing else—not a single character woven by the Romancer—not one of the many scenes and points of exquisite humour, nor anything with which he was connected as writer of the work. 'For a long time I felt myself very uneasy,' he said, 'in the course of my reading, always kept on the qui vive lest I should be startled by something altogether glaring and fantastic; however, I recollected that the printing had been performed by James Ballantyne, who I was sure would not have permitted anything of this sort to pass.' 'Well,' I said, 'upon the whole, how did you like it?' 'Oh,' he said, 'I felt it monstrous gross and grotesque, to be sure, but still the worst of it made me laugh, and I trusted therefore the good-natured public would not be less indulgent.' I do not think that I ever ventured to lead to this singular subject again. But you may depend upon it, that what I have said is as distinctly reported as if it had been taken down at the moment in shorthand. I should not otherwise have imparted the phenomenon at all."—Mr. Ballantyne's MSS.

[536] Mr. Lockhart says:—"My wife and I spent the summer of 1827 partly at a sea-bathing place near Edinburgh, and partly in Roxburghshire. The arrival of his daughter and her children at Portobello was a source of constant refreshment to him during June, for every other day he came down and dined there, and strolled about afterwards on the beach, thus interrupting, beneficially for his health, and I doubt not for the result of his labours also, the new custom of regular night-work, or, as he called it, serving double tides."

[537] See Swift, "Mary the cook to Dr. Sheridan."

[538] The answer is printed in the Scott Centenary Catalogue by David Laing, from which the following extracts are given:—

"The expression of the old metrical translation, though homely, is plain, forcible, and intelligible, and very often possesses a rude sort of majesty, which perhaps would be ill-exchanged for mere elegance." "They are the very words and accents of our early Reformers—sung by them in woe and gratitude, in the fields, in the churches, and on the scaffold." "The parting with this very association of ideas is a serious loss to the cause of devotion, and scarce to be incurred without the certainty of corresponding advantages. But if these recollections are valuable to persons of education, they are almost indispensable to the edification of the lower ranks whose prejudices do not permit them to consider as the words of the inspired poetry, the versions of living or modern poets, but persist, however absurdly, in identifying the original with the ancient translation."—p. 158.

[539] Sir James Stuart, the last baronet of Allanbank.

[540] "The Life of Bonaparte, then, was at last published about the middle of June 1827."—Life, ix. 117.

[541] Archdeacon Williams, Rector of the New Edinburgh Academy from 1824 to 1847.

[542] Among the letters which Sir Walter found time to write before leaving Edinburgh, was one to congratulate his old and true friend Mrs. Coutts on her marriage, which took place on the 16th of June. That letter has not been preserved, but it drew from her Grace the following reply:—

"My dear Sir Walter Scott,—Your most welcome letter has 'wandered mony a weary mile after me.' Thanks, many thanks for all your kind congratulations. I am a Duchess at last, that is certain, but whether I am the better for it remains to be proved. The Duke is very amiable, gentle, and well-disposed, and I am sure he has taken pains enough to accomplish what he says has been the first wish of his heart for the last three years. All this is very flattering to an old lady, and we lived so long in friendship with each other that I was afraid I should be unhappy if I did not say I will—yet (whisper it, dear Sir Walter) the name of Coutts—and a right good one it is—is, and ever will be, dear to my heart. What a strange, eventful life has mine been, from a poor little player child, with just food and clothes to cover me, dependent on a very precarious profession, without talent or a friend in the world! 'to have seen what I have seen, seeing what I see.' Is it not wonderful? is it true? can I believe it?—first the wife of the best, the most perfect, being that ever breathed, his love and unbounded confidence in me, his immense fortune so honourably acquired by his own industry, all at my command, ... and now the wife of a Duke. You must write my life; the History of Tom Thumb, Jack the Giant Killer, and Goody Two Shoes, will sink compared with my true history written by the Author of Waverley; and that you may do it well I have sent you an inkstand. Pray give it a place on your table in kind remembrance of your affectionate friend,


"STRATTON STREET, July 16th, 1827."

[543] Next morning the following pleasant little billet was despatched to Kaeside:—

"My dear Mr. Laidlaw, I would be happy if you would come at kail-time to-day. Napoleon (6000 copies) is sold for L11,000.—Yours truly,

"Sunday. W.S."

Abbotsford Notanda, by R. Carruthers, Edin. 1871.



Sir Walter was in the habit of consulting him in those matters more than any of his other friends, having great reliance upon his critical skill. The manuscripts of all his poems, and also of the earlier of his prose works, were submitted to Kinnedder's judgment, and a considerable correspondence on these subjects had taken place betwixt them, which would, no doubt, have constituted one of the most interesting series of letters Sir Walter had left.

Lord Kinnedder was a man of retired habits, but little known except to those with whom he lived on terms of intimacy, and by whom he was much esteemed, and being naturally of a remarkably sensitive mind, he was altogether overthrown by the circumstance of a report having got abroad of some alleged indiscretions on his part in which a lady was also implicated. Whether the report had any foundation in truth or not, I am altogether ignorant, but such an allegation affecting a person in his situation in life as a judge, and doing such violence to the susceptibility of his feelings, had the effect of bringing a severe illness which in a few days terminated his life. I never saw Sir Walter so much affected by any event, and at the funeral, which he attended, he was quite unable to suppress his feelings, but wept like a child. The family, suddenly bereft of their protector, were young, orphans, their mother, daughter of Professor John Robertson, having previously died, found also that they had to struggle against embarrassed circumstances; neither had they any near relative in Scotland to take charge of their affairs. But a lady, a friend of the family, Miss M——, was active in their service, and it so happened, in the course of arranging their affairs, the packet of letters from Sir Walter Scott, containing the whole of his correspondence with Lord Kinnedder, came into her hands. She very soon discovered that the correspondence laid open the secret of the authorship of the Waverley Novels, at that period the subject of general and intense interest, and as yet unacknowledged by Sir Walter.

Considering what under these circumstances it was her duty to do, whether to replace the letters and suffer any accident to bring to light what the author seemed anxious might remain unknown, or to seal them up, and keep them in her own custody undivulged—or finally to destroy them in order to preserve the secret,—with, no doubt, the best and most upright motives, so far as her own judgment enabled her to decide in the matter, in which she was unable to take advice, without betraying what it was her object to respect, she came to the resolution, most unfortunately for the world, of destroying the letters. And, accordingly, the whole of them were committed to the flames; depriving the descendants of Lord Kinnedder of a possession which could not fail to be much valued by them, and which, in connection with Lord Kinnedder's letters to Sir Walter, which are doubtless preserved, would have been equally valuable to the public, as containing the contemporary opinions, prospects, views, and sentiments under which these works were sent forth into the world. It would also have been curious to learn the unbiased impression which the different works created on the mind of such a man as Lord Kinnedder, before the collision of public opinion had suffused its influence over the opinions of people in general in this matter.—Skene's Reminiscences.








Published by BURT FRANKLIN 235 East 44th St., New York, N.Y. 10017 Originally Published: 1890 Reprinted: 1970 Printed in the U.S.A.

S.B.N. 32110 Library of Congress Card Catalog No.: 73-123604 Burt Franklin: Research and Source Works Series 535 Essays in Literature and Criticism 82

"I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when no man can work. I put that text, many a year ago, on my dial-stone; but it often preached in vain."—Scott's Life, x. 88.]

"The evening sky of life does not reflect those brilliant flashes of light that shot across its morning and noon, yet I think God it is neither gloomy nor disconsolately lowering—a sober twilight—that is all."



Portrait, painted by Sir Francis Grant, P.R.A., for the Baroness Ruthven, and now in the National Portrait Gallery of Scotland. Copied by permission of the Hon. The Board of Manufactures, Frontispiece

Vignette on Title-page

"The Dial-Stone" in the Garden, from drawing made at Abbotsford by George Reid, R.S.A.



"I must home to work while it is called day; for the night cometh when no man can work. I put that text, many years ago, on my dial-stone; but it often preached in vain."—Scott's Life, x. 88.



July 1, [Abbotsford].—A most delicious day, in the course of which I have not done

"The least right thing."

Before breakfast I employed myself in airing my old bibliomaniacal hobby, entering all the books lately acquired into a temporary catalogue, so as to have them shelved and marked. After breakfast I went out, the day being delightful—warm, yet cooled with a gentle breeze, all around delicious; the rich luxuriant green refreshing to the eye, soft to the tread, and perfume to the smell. Wandered about and looked at my plantations. Came home, and received a visit from Sir Adam. Loitered in the library till dinner-time. If there is anything to be done at all to-day, it must be in the evening. But I fear there will be nothing. One can't work always nowther.

"Neque semper arcum tendit Apollo."

There's warrant for it.

July 2.—Wrote in the morning, correcting the Essay on the Highlands, which is now nearly completed. Settled accounts with Tom and Bogie. Went over to Huntly Burn at two o'clock, and reconnoitred the proposed plantation to be called Jane's Wood. Dined with the Fergusons.

July 3—- Worked in the morning upon the Introduction to the Chronicles; it may be thought egotistical. Learned a bad accident had happened yesterday. A tinker (drunk I suppose) entered the stream opposite to Faldonside with an ass bearing his children. The ass was carried down by the force of the stream, and one of the little creatures was drowned; the other was brought out alive, poor innocent, clinging to the ass. It had floated as far down as Deadwater-heugh. Poor thing, it is as well dead as to live a tinker! The Fergusons dine with us en masse; also Dr. Brewster.

July 4, [Edinburgh].—Worked a little in the morning, and took a walk after breakfast, the day so delicious as makes it heart-breaking to leave the country. Set out, however, about four o'clock, and reached Edinburgh a little after nine. Slept part of the way; read De Vere the rest.[1] It is well written, in point of language and sentiment, but has too little action in it to be termed a pleasing novel. Everything is brought out by dialogue—or worse: through the medium of the author's reflections, which is the clumsiest of all expedients.

July 5.—This morning worked, and sent off to J.B. the Introduction to the Chronicles, containing my Confessions,[2] and did something, but not fluently, to the Confessions themselves. Not happy, however; the black dog worries me. Bile, I suppose. "But I will rally and combat the reiver." Reiver it is, that wretched malady of the mind; got quite well in the forenoon. Went out to Portobello after dinner, and chatted with little Johnnie, and told him the history of the Field of Prestonpans. Few remain who care about these stories.

July 6.—This morning wrought a good deal, but scarce a task. The Court lasted till half-past three; exhausting work in this hot weather. I returned to dine alone, Anne going to Roslin with a party. After noon a Miss Bell broke in upon me, who bothered me some time since about a book of hers, explaining and exposing the conduct of a Methodist Tartuffe, who had broken off (by anonymous letters) a match betwixt her and an accepted admirer. Tried in vain to make her comprehend how little the Edinburgh people would care about her wrongs, since there was no knowledge of the parties to make the scandal acceptable. I believe she has suffered great wrong.[3] Letter from Longman and Co. to J.B. grumbling about bringing out the second edition, because they have, forsooth, 700 copies in hand out of 5000, five days after the first edition[4] is out. What would they have? It is uncomfortable, though.

July 7.—Night dreadfully warm, and bilious; I could not be fool enough surely to be anxious for these wise men of the East's prognostication. Letters from Lockhart give a very cheerful prospect; if there had been any thundering upsetting broadside, he would have noticed it surely more or less. R. Cadell quite stout, and determined to go on with the second edition. Well, I hope all's right—thinking won't help it. Charles came down this morning penniless, poor fellow, but we will soon remedy that. Lockhart remits L100 for reviewing; I hope the next will be for Sophia, for cash affairs loom well in the offing, and if the trust funds go right, I was never so easy. I will take care how I get into debt again. I do not like this croaking of these old owls of Saint Paul's when all is done. The pitcher has gone often to the well. But—However, I worked away at the Chronicles. I will take pains with them. I will, by Jove!

July 8.—I did little to-day but arrange papers, and put bills, receipts, etc., into apple-pie order. I believe the fair prospect I have of clearing off some encumbrances, which are like thorns in my flesh, nay, in my very eye, contribute much to this. I did not even correct proof-sheets; nay, could not, for I have cancelled two sheets, instante Jacobo, and I myself being of his opinion; for, as I said yesterday, we must and will take pains. The fiddle-faddle of arranging all the things was troublesome, but they give a good account of my affairs. The money for the necessary payments is ready, and therefore there is a sort of pleasure which does not arise out of any mean source, since it has for its object the prospect of doing justice and achieving independence. J.B. dined with me, poor fellow, and talked of his views as hopeful and prosperous. God send honest industry a fair riddance.

July 9.—Wrote in the morning. At eleven went by appointment with Colin Mackenzie to the New Edinburgh Academy. In the fifth class, Mr. Mitchell's, we heard Greek, of which I am no otherwise a judge than that it was fluently read and explained. In the rector Mr. Williams's class we heard Virgil and Livy admirably translated ad aperturam libri, and, what I thought remarkable, the rector giving the English, and the pupils returning, with singular dexterity, the Latin, not exactly as in the original, but often by synonymes, which showed that the exercise referred to the judgment, and did not depend on the memory. I could not help saying, with great truth, that, as we had all long known how much the pupils were fortunate in a rector, so we were now taught that the rector was equally lucky in his pupils. Of my young friends, I saw a son of John Swinton, a son of Johnstone of Alva, and a son of Craufurd Tait.[5] Dined at John Murray's; Mr. and Mrs. Philips of Liverpool, General and Charles Stuart of Blantyre, Lord Abercromby, Clerk and Thomson. Pleasant evening.

July 10.—Corrected proofs, but wrote nothing. To Court till two o'clock. I went to Cadell's by the Mound, a long roundabout; transacted some business. I met Baron Hume coming home, and walked with him in the Gardens. His remarkable account of his celebrated uncle's last moments is in these words:—Dr. Black called on Mr. D. Hume[6] on the morning on which he died. The patient complained of having suffered a great deal during the night, and expressed a fear that his struggle might be prolonged, to his great distress, for days or weeks longer. "No, sir," said Dr. Black, with the remarkable calmness and sincerity which characterised him, "I have examined the symptoms, and observe several which oblige me to conclude that dissolution is rapidly approaching." "Are you certain of that, Doctor?" "Most assuredly so," answered the physician. The dying philosopher extended his arm, and shook hands with his medical friend. "I thank you," he said, "for the news." So little reason there was for the reports of his having been troubled in mind when on his deathbed.

Dined at Lord Abercromby's, to meet Lord Melville in private. We had an interview betwixt dinner and tea. I was sorry to see my very old friend, this upright statesman and honourable gentleman, deprived of his power and his official income, which the number of his family must render a matter of importance. He was cheerful, not affectedly so, and bore his declension like a wise and brave man. I had nursed the idea that he had been hasty in his resignation; but, from the letters which he showed me confidentially, which passed betwixt him and Canning, it is clear his resignation was to be accomplished, not I suppose for personal considerations, but because it rendered the Admiralty vacant for the Duke of Clarence, as his resignation was eagerly snapped at. It cannot be doubted that if he had hesitated or hung back behind his friends, forcible means would have been used to compel to the measure, which with more dignity he took of his own accord—at least so it seemed to me. The first intimation which Lord Melville received of his successor was through Mr.——, who told him, as great news, that there was to be a new Duke of York[7]. Lord M. understood the allusion so little, as to inquire whether his informant meant that the Duke of Cambridge had taken the Duke of York's situation, when it was explained to refer to the Duke of Clarence getting the Admiralty. There are some few words that speak volumes. Lord Melville said that none of them suspected Canning's negotiations with the Whigs but the Duke of Wellington, who found it out through the ladies ten days before. I asked him how they came to be so unprepared, and could not help saying I thought they had acted without consideration, and that they might have shown a face even to Canning. He allowed the truth of what I said, and seemed to blame Peel's want of courage. In his place, he said, he would have proposed to form a government disclaiming any personal views for himself as being Premier and the like, but upon the principle of supporting the measures of Lord Castlereagh and Lord Liverpool. I think this would have been acceptable to the King. Mr. Peel obviously feared his great antagonist Canning, and perhaps threw the game up too soon. Canning said the office of Premier was his inheritance; he could not, from constitution, hold it above two years, and then it would descend to Peel. Such is ambition! Old friends forsaken—old principles changed—every effort used to give the vessel of the State a new direction, and all to be Palinurus for two years!

July 11, [Abbotsford].—Worked at proofs in the morning; composed nothing. Got off by one, and to this place between six and seven. Weather delicious.

July 12.—Unpacking and arranging; the urchins are stealing the cherries in the outer garden. But I can spare a thousand larch-trees to put it in order with a good fence for next year. It is not right to leave fruit exposed; for if Adam in the days of innocence fell by an apple, how much may the little gossoon Jamie Moffatt be tempted by apples of gold in an age of iron! Anne and I walked to Huntly Burn—a delicious excursion. That place is really become beautiful; the Miss Fergusons have displayed a great deal of taste.

July 13.—Two agreeable persons—Rev. Mr. Gilly[8], one of the prebendaries of Durham, with his wife, a pretty little woman—dined with us, and met Mr. Scrope. I heard the whole history of the discovery of St. Cuthbert's[9] body at Durham Cathedral. The Catholics will deny the identity, of course; but I think it is constate by the dress and other circumstances. Made a pleasant day of it, and with a good conscience, for I had done my task this morning.

July 14.—Did task this morning, and believe that I shall get on now very well. Wrote about five leaves. I have been baking and fevering myself like a fool for these two years in a room exposed to the south; comfortable in winter, but broiling in the hot weather. Now I have removed myself into the large cool library, one of the most refreshing as well as handsomest rooms in Scotland, and will not use the study again till the heats are past. Here is an entry as solemn as if it respected the Vicar of Wakefield's removal from the yellow room to the brown. But I think my labours will advance greatly in consequence of this arrangement. Walked in the evening to the lake.

July 15.—Achieved six pages to-day, and finished volume i. of Chronicles. It is rather long; but I think the last story interesting, and it should not be split up into parts. J.B. will, I fear, think it low; and if he thinks so, others will. Yet—vamos. Drove to Huntly Burn in the evening.

July 16.—Made a good morning's work of the Tales. In the day-time corrected various proofs. J.B. thinks that in the proposed introduction I contemn too much the occupation by which I have thriven so well, and hints that I may easily lead other people to follow my opinion in vilipending my talents, and the use I have made of them. I cannot tell. I do not like, on the one hand, to suppress my own opinion of the flocci-pauci-nihili-pilification with which I regard these things; but yet, in duty to others, I cannot afford to break my own bow, or befoul my own nest, and there may be something like affectation and nolo episcopari in seeming to underrate my own labours; so, all things considered, I will erase the passage. Truth should not be spoke at all times. In the evening we had a delightful drive to Ashestiel with Colonel and Miss Ferguson.

July 17.—I wrote a laborious task; seven pages of Tales. Kept about the doors all day. Gave Bogie L10 to buy cattle to-morrow at St. Boswell's Fair. Here is a whimsical subject of affliction. Mr. Harper, a settler, who went from this country to Botany Bay, thinking himself obliged to me for a recommendation to General M'Allister and Sir Thomas Brisbane, has thought proper to bring me home a couple of Emus. I wish his gratitude had either taken a different turn, or remained as quiescent as that of others whom I have obliged more materially. I at first accepted the creatures, conceiving them, in my ignorance, to be some sort of blue and green parrot, which, though I do not admire their noise, might scream and yell at their pleasure if hung up in the hall among the armour. But your emu, it seems, stands six feet high on his stocking soles, and is little better than a kind of cassowary or ostrich. Hang them! they might [eat] up my collection of old arms for what I know. It reminds me of the story of the adjutant birds in Theodore Hook's novel[10]. No; I'll no Emuses!

July 18.—Entered this morning on the history of Sir William Wallace. I wish I may be able to find my way between what the child can comprehend and what shall not yet be absolutely uninteresting to the grown readers. Uncommon facts I should think the best receipt. Learn that Mr. Owen Rees and John Gibson have amicably settled their differences about the last edition of Napoleon, the Trustees allowing the publishers nine months' credit. My nerves have for these two or three last days been susceptible of an acute excitement from the slightest causes; the beauty of the evening, the sighing of the summer breeze, brings the tears into my eyes not unpleasingly. But I must take exercise, and caseharden myself. There is no use in encouraging these moods of the mind. It is not the law we live on.

We had a little party with some luncheon at the lake, where Mr. Bainbridge fished without much success. Captain Hamilton and two Messrs. Stirling, relatives of my old friend Keir, were there, and walked with me a long round home. I walked better than I had done for some days. Mr. Scrope dined with us; he was complaining of gout, which is a bad companion for the stag-shooting.

July 19.—I made out my task this forenoon, and a good deal more. Sent five or six pages to James Ballantyne, i.e. got them ready, and wrote till the afternoon, then I drove over to Huntly Burn, and walked through the glens till dinner-time. After dinner read and worked till bed-time. Yet I have written well, walked well, talked well, and have nothing to regret.

July 20.—Despatched my letters to J.B., with supply of copy, and made up more than my task—about four leaves, I think. Offered my Emuses to the Duke of Buccleuch. I had an appointment with Captain Hamilton and his friends the Stirlings, that they were to go up Yarrow to-day. But the weather seems to say no.

My visitors came, however, and we went up to Newark. Here is a little misfortune, for Spice left me, and we could not find her. As we had no servant with us on horseback, I was compelled to leave her to her fate, resolving to send in quest of her to-morrow morning. The keepers are my bonos socios, as the host says in the Devil of Edmonton[11], and would as soon shoot a child as a dog of mine. But there are scamps and traps, and I am ashamed to say how reluctantly I left the poor little terrier to its fate.

She came home to me, however, about an hour and a half after we were home, to my great delectation. Our visitors dined with us.

July 21.—This morning wrote five pages of children's history. Went to Minto, where we met, besides Lord M. and his delightful countess, Thomas Thomson, Kennedy of Dunure[12], Lord Carnarvon, and his younger son and daughter-in-law; the dowager Lady Minto also, whom I always delight to see, she is so full of spirit and intelligence. We rubbed up some recollections of twenty years ago, when I was more intimate with the family till Whig and Tory separated us for a time. By the way, nobody talks Whig or Tory just now, and the fighting men on each side go about muzzled and mute like dogs after a proclamation about canine madness. Am I sorry for this truce or not? Half and half. It is all we have left to stir the blood, this little political brawling; but better too little of it than too much.

July 22, [Abbotsford].—Rose a little later than usual, and wrote a letter to Mrs. Joanna Baillie. She is writing a tragedy[13] on witchcraft. I shall be curious to see it. Will it be real witchcraft—the ipsissimus diabolus—or an impostor, or the half-crazed being who believes herself an ally of condemned spirits, and desires to be so? That last is a sublime subject. We set out after breakfast, and reached this about two. I walked from two till four; chatted a long time with Charles after dinner, and thus went my day sine linea. But we will make it up. James Ballantyne dislikes my "Drovers." But it shall stand. I must have my own way sometimes.

I received news of two deaths at once: Lady Die Scott, my very old friend, and Archibald Constable, the bookseller.

July 23.—Yes! they are both for very different reasons subjects of reflection. Lady Diana Scott, widow of Walter Scott of Harden, was the last person whom I recollect so much older than myself, that she kept always at the same distance in point of years, so that she scarce seemed older to me (relatively) two years ago, when in her ninety-second year, than fifty years before. She was the daughter (alone remaining) of Pope's Earl of Marchmont, and, like her father, had an acute mind and an eager temper. She was always kind to me, remarkably so indeed when I was a boy.

Constable's death might have been a most important thing to me if it had happened some years ago, and I should then have lamented it much. He has lived to do me some injury; yet, excepting the last L5000, I think most unintentionally. He was a prince of booksellers; his views sharp, powerful, and liberal; too sanguine, however, and, like many bold and successful schemers, never knowing when to stand or stop, and not always calculating his means to his objects with mercantile accuracy. He was very vain, for which he had some reason, having raised himself to great commercial eminence, as he might also have attained great wealth with good management. He knew, I think, more of the business of a bookseller in planning and executing popular works than any man of his time. In books themselves he had much bibliographical information, but none whatever that could be termed literary. He knew the rare volumes of his library not only by the eye, but by the touch, when blindfolded. Thomas Thomson saw him make this experiment, and, that it might be complete, placed in his hand an ordinary volume instead of one of these libri rariores. He said he had over-estimated his memory; he could not recollect that volume. Constable was a violent-tempered man with those that he dared use freedom with. He was easily overawed by people of consequence, but, as usual, took it out of those whom poverty made subservient to him. Yet he was generous, and far from bad-hearted. In person good-looking, but very corpulent latterly; a large feeder, and deep drinker, till his health became weak. He died of water in the chest, which the natural strength of his constitution set long at defiance. I have no great reason to regret him; yet I do. If he deceived me, he also deceived himself.[14]

Wrote five pages to-day, and went to see Mr. Scrope, who is fast with the gout—a bad companion to attend him

"to Athole Braes, To shoot the dun deer down, down— To shoot the dun deer down."

July 24.—Finished five pages before eleven o'clock, at which time Mr. Deputy Register[15] arrived from Minto, and we had an agreeable afternoon, talking about the old days we have had together. I was surprised to find that Thomson knew as little as I do myself how to advise Charles to a good course of Scottish History. Hailes and Pinkerton, Robertson and Laing—there is nothing else for it—and Pinkerton is poor work. Laing, besides his party spirit, has a turn for generalising, which renders him rather dull, which was not the nature of the acute Orcadian.

July 25.—Thomson left us this morning early. I finished four pages, and part of a fifth, then drove to Huntly Burn and returned through the Glen; I certainly turn heavy-footed, not in the female sense, however. I had one or two falls among the slippy heather, not having Tom Purdie to give me his arm. I suppose I shall need a go-cart one of these days; and if it must be so—so let it be. Fiat voluntas tua.

A letter from John Gibson in the evening brought me word that Lord Newton had adjudged the profits of Woodstock and Napoleon to be my own. This is a great matter, and removes the most important part of my dispute with Constable's creditors. I waked in the middle of the night. Sure I am not such a feather-headed gull as not to be able to sleep for good news. I am thankful that it is as it is. Had it been otherwise, I could have stood it. The money realised will pay one-third of all that I owe in the world—and what will pay the other two-thirds? I am as well and as capable as when those misfortunes began—January was a year. The public favour may wane, indeed, but it has not failed as yet, and I must not be too anxious about that possibility.

James B. has found fault with my tales for being too historical; formerly it was for being too infantine. He calls out for starch, and is afraid of his cravat being too stiff. O ye critics, will nothing melt ye?

July 26.—Wrote till one o'clock, and finished the first volume of Tales—about six leaves. To-morrow I resume the Chronicles, tooth and nail. They must be good, if possible. After all, works of fiction, viz., cursed lies, are easier to write, and much more popular than the best truths. Walked over to the head of the Roman road, coming round by Bauchland and the Abbot's Walk. Wrote letters in the evening.

July 27.—In the morning still busied with my correspondence. No great desire to take up the Chronicles. But it must be done. Devil take the necessity, and the folly and knavery, that occasioned it! But this is no matter now. Accordingly I set tightly to work, and got on till two, when I took a walk. Was made very happy by the arrival of Sophia and her babies, all in good health and spirits.

July 28.—Worked hard in the morning. The two Ballantynes, and Mr. Hogarth with them. Owen Rees came early in the day. Fergusons came to dinner. Rees in great kindness and good-humour, but a little drumlie, I think, about Napoleon. We heard Sandie's violin after dinner—

"——Whose touch harmonious can remove The pangs of guilty power and hopeless love."[16]

I do not understand or care about fine music; but there is something in his violin which goes to the very heart. Sophia sung too, and we were once more merry in hall—the first time for this many a month and many a day.

July 29.—Could not do more than undertake my proofs to-day, of which J.B. has brought out a considerable quantity. Walked at one with Hogarth and Rees—the day sultry, hot, and we hot accordingly, but crept about notwithstanding. I am sorry to see my old and feal friend James rather unable to walk—once so stout and active—so was I in my way once. Ah! that vile word, what a world of loss it involves!

July 30.—One of the most peppering thunder-storms which I have heard for some time. Routed and roared from six in the morning till eight continuously.

"The thunder ceased not, nor the fire reposed; Well done, old Botherby."

Time wasted, though very agreeably, after breakfast. At noon, set out for Chiefswood in the carriage, and walked home, footing it over rough and smooth, with the vigour of early days. James Ballantyne marched on too, somewhat meltingly, but without complaint. We again had beautiful music after dinner. The heart of age arose. I have often wondered whether I have a taste for music or no. My ear appears to me as dull as my voice is incapable of musical expression, and yet I feel the utmost pleasure in any such music as I can comprehend, learned pieces always excepted. I believe I may be about the pitch of Terry's connoisseurship, and that "I have a reasonable good ear for a jig, but your solos and sonatas give me the spleen."

July 31.—Employed the morning writing letters and correcting proofs; this is the second day and scarce a line written, but circumstances are so much my apology that even Duty does not murmur, at least not much. We had a drive up to Galashiels, and sent J.B. off to Edinburgh in the Mail. Music in the evening as before.


[1] Written by R. Plumer Ward, author of Tremaine and other works. Mr. Ward's Political Life, including a Diary to 1820, was published in 1850. in two vols. 8vo, edited by Hon. E. Phipps.

[2] See post, p. 60, note.

[3] See ante, vol. i. pp. 101-2.

[4] Napoleon.

[5] Archibald Campbell Tait, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury.

[6] David Hume, the historian, died August 25, 1776.

[7] To please the king, Canning appointed the Duke of Clarence as first Lord of the Admiralty, but Greville says it was a most judicious stroke of policy, and nothing served so much to disconcert his opponents. Lord Melville had held the office from March 25, 1812, to April 13, 1827. The Duke resigned in the following year.—See Croker's Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 264 (letter to Blomfield), 427, 429; also ante, vol. i. p. 262. Lord Melville was President of the India Board in the Duke of Wellington's administration in 1828, and again First Lord from Sept. 17 of the same year until Nov. 22, 1830.

[8] The Rev. William Stephen Gilly, D.D., Vicar of Norham, author of Narrative of an Excursion to the Mountains of Piemont, 1823; Researches among the Vaudois or Waldenses, 1827-31.

[9] See Raine's St. Cuthbert, 4to, Durham, 1828.

[10] See Danvers in First Series of Sayings and Doings.

[11] The Merry Devil of Edmonton, a play by "T.B.," which has also been attributed to Anthony Brewer.

[12] Right Hon. Thomas Francis Kennedy, M.P. for Ayr Burghs, 1818-34. Died at the age of ninety at Dalquharran in 1879.

[13] This powerful drama, entitled Witchcraft: a Tragedy in Prose, was suggested, as the author says in her preface, by reading a scene in The Bride of Lammermoor.

[14] Did Constable ruin Scott, as has been generally supposed? It is right to say that such a charge was not made during the lifetime of either. Immediately after Scott's death Miss Edgeworth wrote to Sir James Gibson-Craig and asked him for authentic information as to Sir Walter's connection with Constable. Sir James in reply stated that to his personal knowledge Mr. Constable had, in his anxiety to save Scott, about 1814 [1813], commenced a system of accommodation bills which could not fail to produce, and actually did produce, the ruin of both parties. To another correspondent, some years later, he wrote still more strongly (Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 457).

Scott appears to have been aware of the facts so far, as he says to Laidlaw, in a letter of December 16, 1825, "The confusion of 1814 is a joke to this ... but it arises out of the nature of the same connection which gives, and has given, me a fortune;" and Mr. Lockhart says that the firm of J.B. & Co. "had more than once owed its escape from utter ruin and dishonour" through Constable's exertions.—Life, vol. v. p. 150.

On reading the third volume of Constable's Memoirs (3 vols. 8vo, 1873), one cannot fail to see that all the three parties—printer, publisher, and author—were equal sharers in the imprudences that led to the disaster in 1826. Whether Mr. Constable was right in recommending further advances to the London house is doubtful; but if it was an error of judgment, it was one which appears to have been shared by Mr. Cadell and Mr. James Ballantyne. It must be admitted that the three firms were equally culpable in maintaining for so many years a system of fictitious credit. Constable, at least, from a letter to Scott, printed in vol. iii. p. 274, had become seriously alarmed as early as August 8, 1823.

That Constable was correct in his estimate of the value of the literary property has been shown by the large sums realised from the sale of Scott's works since 1829; and that his was the brain ("the pendulum of the clock" as Scott termed it) to plan is also shown by the fact that the so-called "favourite" edition, the magnum opus, appears to have been Constable's idea (Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 255), although, according to the Annual Register of 1849, Mr. Cadell claimed the merit of a scheme which he had "quietly and privately matured."

[15] Thomas Thomson, Depute-Clerk Register for Scotland under Lord Frederick Campbell.

[16] Johnson's Epitaph on Claude Phillips.


August 1.—My guests left me and I thought of turning to work again seriously. Finished five pages. Dined alone, excepting Huntly Gordon, who is come on a visit, poor lad. I hope he is well fixed under Mr. Planta's[17] patronage. Smoked a cigar after dinner. Laughed with my daughters, and read them the review of Hoffmann's production out of Gillies's new Foreign Review.

The undertaking would do, I am convinced, in any other person's hands than those of the improvident editor; but I hear he is living as thoughtlessly as ever in London, has hired a large house, and gives Burgundy to his guests. This will hardly suit L500 a year.

August 2.—Got off my proofs. Went over to breakfast at Huntly Burn; the great object was to see my cascade in the Glen suitably repaired. I have had it put to rights by puddling and damming. What says the frog in the Fairy Tale?—

"Stuff with moss, and clog with clay, And that will weize the water away."

Having seen the job pretty tightly done, walked deliciously home through the woods. But no work all this while. Then for up and at it. But in spite of good resolutions I trifled with my children after dinner, and read to them in the evening, and did just nothing at all.

August 3.—Wrote five pages and upwards—scarce amends for past laziness. Huntly Gordon lent me a volume of his father's manuscript memoirs.[18] They are not without interest, for Pryse Gordon, though a bit of a roue, is a clever fellow in his way. One thing struck me, being the story of an Irish swindler, who called himself Henry King Edgeworth, an impudent gawsey fellow, who deserted from Gordon's recruiting party, enlisted again, and became so great a favourite with the Colonel of the regiment which he joined, that he was made pay-sergeant. Here he deserted to purpose with L200 or L300, escaped to France, got a commission in the Corps sent to invade Ireland, was taken, recognised, and hanged. What would Mr. Theobald Wolfe Tone have said to such an associate in his regenerating expedition? These are thy gods, O Israel! The other was the displeasure of the present Cameron of Lochiel, on finding that the forty Camerons, with whom he joined the Duke of Gordon's Northern Fencible regiment, were to be dispersed. He had wellnigh mutinied and marched back with them. This would be a good anecdote for Garth.[19]

August 4.—Spent the morning at Selkirk, examining people about an assault. When I returned I found Charlotte Kerr here with a clever little boy, Charles Scott, grandson of Charles of the Woll, and son of William, and grand-nephew of John of Midgehope. He seems a smart boy, and, considering that he is an only son with expectations, not too much spoiled. General Yermoloff called with a letter from a Dr. Knox, whom I do not know. If it be Vicesimus, we met nearly twenty-five years ago and did not agree. But General Yermoloff's name was luckily known to me. He is a man in the flower of life, about thirty, handsome, bold, and enthusiastic; a great admirer of poetry, and all that. He had been in the Moscow campaign, and those which followed, but must have been very young. He made not the least doubt that Moscow was burned by Rostopchin, and said that there was a general rumour before the French entered the town, and while the inhabitants were leaving it, that persons were left to destroy it. I asked him why the magazine of gunpowder had not been set fire to in the first instance. He answered that he believed the explosion of that magazine would have endangered the retreating Russians. This seemed unsatisfactory. The march of the Russians was too distant from Moscow to be annoyed by the circumstance. I pressed him as well as I could about the slowness of Koutousoff's operations; and he frankly owned that the Russians were so much rejoiced and surprised to see the French in retreat, that it was long ere they could credit the extent of the advantage which they had acquired. This has been but an idle day, so far as composition is concerned, but I was detained late at Selkirk.

August 5.—Wrote near six pages. General Yermoloff left me with many expressions of enthusiastic regard, as foreigners use to do. He is a kinsman of Princess Galitzin, whom I saw at Paris. I walked with Tom after one o'clock. Dined en famille with Miss Todd, a pretty girl, and wrote after dinner.

August 6.—This morning finished proofs and was bang up with everything. When I was about to sit down to write, I have the agreeable tidings that Henderson, the fellow who committed the assault at Selkirk, and who made his escape from the officers on Saturday, was retaken, and that it became necessary that I should go up to examine him. Returned at four, and found Mrs. George Swinton from Calcutta, to whose husband I have been much obliged, with Archie and cousin Peggie Swinton, arrived. So the evening was done up.

August 7.—Cousins still continuing, we went to Melrose. I finished, however, in the first place, a pretty smart task, which is so far well, as we expect the Skenes to-morrow. Lockhart arrived from London. The news are that Canning is dangerously ill. This is the bowl being broken at the cistern with a vengeance. If he dies now, it will be pity it was not five months ago. The time has been enough to do much evil, but not to do any-permanent good.

August 8.—Huntly Gordon proposed to me that I should give him my correspondence, which we had begun to arrange last year. I resolved not to lose the opportunity, and began to look out and arrange the letters from about 1810, throwing out letters of business and such as are private. They are of little consequence, generally speaking, yet will be one day curious. I propose to have them bound up, to save trouble. It is a sad task; how many dead, absent, estranged, and altered! I wrought till the Skenes came at four o'clock. I love them well; yet I wish their visit had been made last week, when other people were here. It kills time, or rather murders it, this company-keeping. Yet what remains on earth that I like so well as a little society? I wrote not a line to-day.

August 9.—I finished the arrangement of the letters so as to put them into Mr. Gordon's hands. It will be a great job done. But, in the meanwhile, it interrupts my work sadly, for I kept busy till one o'clock to-day with this idle man's labour. Still, however, it might have been long enough ere I got a confidential person like Gordon to arrange these confidential papers. They are all in his hands now. Walked after one.

August 10.—This is a morning of fidgety, nervous confusion. I sought successively my box of Bramah pens, my proof-sheets, and last, not least anxiously, my spectacles. I am convinced I lost a full hour in these various chases. I collected all my insubordinate movables at once, but had scarce corrected the proof and written half-a-score of lines, than enter Dalgleish, declaring the Blucher hour is come. The weather, however, is rainy, and fitted for a day of pure work, but I was able only to finish my task of three pages.

The death of the Premier is announced. Late George Canning, the witty, the accomplished, the ambitious; he who had toiled thirty years, and involved himself in the most harassing discussions to attain this dizzy height; he who had held it for three months of intrigue and obloquy—and now a heap of dust, and that is all. He was an early and familiar friend of mine, through my intimacy with George Ellis. No man possessed a gayer and more playful wit in society; no one, since Pitt's time, had more commanding sarcasm in debate; in the House of Commons he was the terror of that species of orators called the Yelpers. His lash fetched away both skin and flesh, and would have penetrated the hide of a rhinoceros. In his conduct as a statesman he had a great fault: he lent himself too willingly to intrigue. Thus he got into his quarrel with Lord Castlereagh,[20] and lost credit with the country for want of openness. Thus too, he got involved with the Queen's party to such an extent that it fettered him upon that memorable quarrel, and obliged him to butter Sir Robert Wilson with dear friend, and gallant general, and so forth. The last composition with the Whigs was a sacrifice of principle on both sides. I have some reason to think they counted on getting rid of him in two or three years. To me Canning was always personally most kind. I saw, with pain, a great change in his health when I met him at Colonel Bolton's at Stors in 1825. In London I thought him looking better.

August 11.—Wrote nearly five pages; then walked. A visit from Henry Scott;[21] nothing known as yet about politics. A high Tory Administration would be a great evil at this time. There are repairs in the structure of our constitution which ought to be made at this season, and without which the people will not long be silent. A pure Whig Administration would probably play the devil by attempting a thorough repair. As to a compound, or melo-dramatic, Ministry, the parts out of which such a one could be organised just now are at a terrible discount in public estimation, nor will they be at par in a hurry again. The public were generally shocked at the complete lack of principle testified by public men on the late occasion, and by some who till then had some credit with the public. The Duke of W. has risen by his firmness on the one side, Earl Grey on the other.

August 12.—Wrote my task and no more. Walked with Lockhart from one o'clock to four. Took in our way the Glen, which looks beautiful. I walked with extreme pain and feebleness until we began to turn homewards, when the relaxation of the ankle sinews seemed to be removed, and I trode merrily home. This is strange; that exercise should restore the nerves from the chill or numbness which is allied to palsy, I am well aware, but how it should restore elasticity to sinews that are too much relaxed, I for one cannot comprehend. Colonel Russell came to dinner with us, and to consult me about some family matters. He has the spirit of a gentleman; that is certain.

August 13.—A letter from booksellers at Brussels informs me of the pleasant tidings that Napoleon is a total failure; that they have lost much money on a version which they were at great expense in preparing, and modestly propose that I should write a novel to make them amends for loss on a speculation which I knew nothing about. "Have you nothing else to ask?" as Sancho says to the farmer, who asks him to stock a farm for his son, portion off his daughters, etc. etc. They state themselves to be young booksellers; certes, they must hold me to be a very young author! Napoleon, however, has failed on the Continent—and perhaps in England also; for, from the mumbling, half-grumbling tone of Longman and Co., dissatisfaction may be apprehended. Well, I can set my face to it boldly. I live not in the public opinion, not I; but egad! I live by it, and that is worse. Tu ne cede malis, sed contra, etc.

I corrected and transmitted sheets before breakfast; afterwards went and cut wood with Tom, but returned about twelve in rather a melancholy humour. I fear this failure may be followed by others; and then what chance of extricating my affairs. But they that look to freits, freits will follow them. Hussards en avant,—care killed a cat. I finished three pages—that is, a full task of the Chronicles—after I returned. Mr. and Mrs. Philips of Manchester came to dinner.

August 14.—Finished my task before breakfast. A bad rainy day, for which I should not have cared but for my guests. However, being good-humoured persons and gifted with taste, we got on very well, by dint of showing prints, curiosities; finally the house up stairs and down; and at length by undertaking a pilgrimage to Melrose in the rain, which pilgrimage we accomplished, but never entered the Abbey Church, having just had wetting enough to induce us, when we arrived at the gate, to "Turn again, Whittington."

August 15.—Wrote in the morning. After breakfast walked with Mr. Philips, who is about to build and plan himself, and therefore seemed to enter con amore into all I had been doing, asked questions, and seemed really interested to learn what I thought myself not ill-qualified to teach. The little feeling of superior information in such cases is extremely agreeable. On the contrary, it is a great scrape to find you have been boring some one who did not care a d—— about the matter, so to speak; and that you might have been as well employed in buttering a whin-stone. Mr. and Mrs. Philips left us about twelve—day bad. I wrote nearly five pages of Chronicles.

August 16.—A wet, disagreeable, sulky day, but such things may be carried to account. I wrote upwards of seven pages, and placed myself rectus in curia with Madam Duty, who was beginning to lift up her throat against me. Nothing remarkable except that Huntly Gordon left us.

August 17.—Wrote my task in the morning. After breakfast went out and cut wood with Tom and John Swanston, and hewed away with my own hand; remained on foot from eleven o'clock till past three, doing, in my opinion, a great deal of good in plantations above the house, where the firs had been permitted to predominate too much over the oak and hardwood. The day was rough and stormy—not the worst for working, and I could do it with a good conscience, all being well forward in the duty line. After tea I worked a little longer. On the whole finished four leaves and upwards—about a printed sheet—which is enough for one day.

August 18.—Finished about five leaves, and then out to the wood, where I chopped away among the trees, laying the foundation for future scenery. These woods will one day occupy a great number of hands. Four years hence they will employ ten stout woodsmen almost every day of the year. Henry and William Scott (Harden) came to dinner.

August 19.—Wrote till about one, then walked for an hour or two by myself entirely; finished five pages before dinner, when we had Captain and Mrs. Hamilton and young Davidoff, who is their guest. They remained with us all night.

August 20.—I corrected proofs and wrote one leaf before breakfast; then went up to Selkirk to try a fellow for an assault. The people there get rather riotous. This is a turbulent fierce fellow. Some of his attitudes were good during the trial. This dissipated my attention for the day, although I was back by half-past two. I did not work any more, so am behind in my reckoning.

August 21.—Wrote four pages, then set out to make a call at Sunderland Hall and Yair, but the old sociable broke down before we had got past the thicket, so we trudged all back on foot, and I wrote another page. This makes up the deficiency of yesterday.

August 22.—I wrote four or five leaves, but begin to get aground for want of Indian localities. Colonel Ferguson's absence is unlucky, and half-a-dozen Qui Hi's besides, willing to write chits,[22] eat tiffin, and vent all their Pagan jargon when one does not want to hear it; and now that I want a touch of their slang, lo! there is not one near me. Mr. Adolphus, son of the celebrated counsel, and author of a work on the Waverley Novels,[23] came to make me a visit. He is a modest as well as an able man, and I am obliged to him for the delicacy with which he treated a matter in which I was personally so much concerned. Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton asked us to breakfast to-morrow.

August 23.—Went to breakfast at Chiefswood, which, with a circuitous walk, have consumed the day. Found, in the first place, my friend Allan, the painter, busy about a picture, into which he intends introducing living characters—a kind of revel at Abbotsford. Second, a whimsical party, consisting of John Stevenson, the bookseller, Peter Buchan from Peterhead, a quiz of a poetical creature, and a bookbinder, a friend of theirs. The plan was to consult me about publishing a great quantity of ballads which this Mr. Buchan has collected. I glanced them over. He has been very successful, for they are obviously genuine, and many of them very curious. Others are various editions of well-known ballads. I could not make the man comprehend that these last were of little value, being generally worse readings of what was already published. A small edition published by subscription may possibly succeed. It is a great pity that few of these ballads are historical, almost all being of the romantic cast. They certainly ought to be preserved, after striking out one or two which have been sophisticated, I suppose by Mr. Buchan himself, which are easily distinguishable from the genuine ballads.[24] No one but Burns ever succeeded in patching up old Scottish songs with any good effect.

August 24.—Corrected proofs and wrote letters in the morning. Began a review upon Monteath's Planter for Lockhart.[25] Other matters at a stand. A drive down to Mertoun, and engaged to dine there on Sunday first. This consumed the day.

August 25.—Mr. Adolphus left us this morning after a very agreeable visit. We all dined at Dr. Brewster's. Met Sir John Wright, Miss Haig, etc. Slandered our neighbours, and were good company. Major John Scott there. I did a little more at the review to-day. But I cannot go on with the tale without I could speak a little Hindostanee—a small seasoning of curry-powder. Ferguson will do it if I can screw it out of him.

August 26.—Encore review. Walked from twelve till three, then drove to Mertoun with Lockhart and Allan. Dined en famille, and home by half-past ten. We thought of adding a third volume to the Chronicles, but Gibson is afraid it would give grounds for a pretext to seize this work on the part of Constable's creditors, who seem determined to take any advantage of me, but they can only show their teeth I trust; though I wish the arbitration was ended.

August 27.—Sent off proofs in morning, revised in afternoon. Walked from one till four. What a life of uniformity! Yet I never wish to change it. I even regret I must go to town to meet Lady Compton[26] next week.

A singular letter from a lady, requesting I would father a novel of hers. That won't pass.[27]

Cadell writes me, transmitting a notice from the French papers that Gourgaud has gone, or is going, to London to verify the facts alleged in my history of Napoleon, and the bibliopolist is in a great funk. I lack some part of his instinct. I have done Gourgaud no wrong: every word imputed to him exists in the papers submitted to me as historical documents[28], and I should have been a shameful coward if I had shunned using them. At my years it is somewhat late for an affair of honour, and as a reasonable man I would avoid such an arbitrament, but will not plead privilege of literature. The country shall not be disgraced in my person, and having stated why I think I owe him no satisfaction, I will at the same time most willingly give it to him.

"Il sera recu, Biribi, A la facon de Barbaru, Mon ami."

I have written to Will Clerk to stand my friend if necessary. He has mettle in him, and thinks of my honour as well as my safety.

August 28.—I am still bothering with the review, but gave Lockhart fifteen leaves, which is something. Learned with regret that Williams leaves his situation of Rector of the New Academy. It is a shot in the wing of the institution; for he is a heaven-born teacher. Walked at two till four along the thicket, and by the river-side, where I go seldom; I can't say why, unless that the walk is less private than those more distant. Lockhart, Allan, and I, talk of an excursion to Kelso to-morrow. I have no friends there now. Yet once how many!

August 29.—Went on our little expedition, breakfasting at Mertoun. Called at Fleurs, where we found Sir John S. and his whole family. The great lady received us well, though we had been very remiss in our duty. From that we went to Kelso, where I saw not a soul to acknowledge former acquaintance. How should I, when my residence there was before 1783, I fancy?[29] The little cottage in which I lived with poor Aunt Jenny is still standing, but the great garden is divided betwixt three proprietors. Its huge platanus tree withered, I was told, in the same season which was fatal to so many of the species. It was cut down. The yew-hedges, labyrinths, wildernesses, and other marks that it had once been the abode of one of the Millers connected with the author of the Gardener's Dictionary (they were a Quaker family), are all obliterated, and the place is as common and vulgar as may be. The lady the cottage belongs to was very civil. Allan, as a man of taste, was much delighted with what he saw. When we returned, we found our party at home increased by Lady Anna Maria Elliot, who had been showing Melrose to two friends, Miss Drinkwaters. Lady M.'s wit and good-humour made the evening go pleasantly off. There were also two friends of Charles's, by name Paley (a nephew of the archdeacon) and Ashworth. They seem nice young men, with modesty and good-breeding. I am glad, as my mother used to say, that his friends are so presentable. Moreover, there came my old, right trusty, and well-beloved friend, John Richardson, so we were a full party. Lady Anna Maria returned in the evening. Francis Scott also dined with us.

August 30.—Disposed of my party as I best might, and worked at my review. Walked out at one, and remained till near five. Mr. Scott of Harden and David Thomson, W.S., dined with us. Walked with Mr. Allan through Haxel Cleugh.

August 31.—Went on with my review; but I have got Sir Henry's original pamphlet,[30] which is very cleverly written. I find I cannot touch on his mode of transplantation at all in this article. It involves many questions, and some of importance, so I will make another article for January. Walked up the Rhymer's Glen with John Richardson.[31]


[17] Right Hon. Joseph Planta (son of Joseph Planta, Principal Librarian of the British Museum from 1799) was at this time one of the Secretaries to the Treasury. He died in 1847.

[18] Personal Memoirs by P.L. Gordon, 2 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1830.

[19] General David Stewart of Garth, author of Sketches of the Highlanders. 2 vols. 8vo, Edin. 1822. General Stewart died in St. Lucia in 1829. Sir Walter said of him that no man was "more regretted, or perhaps by a wider circle of friends and acquaintance."

[20] Resulting in the duel of 21st September 1809.—See Croker's Correspondence, vol. i. p. 20; and Life, vol. iii. ch. xix.

[21] Afterwards Lord Polwarth.

[22] Persian chitty = a short note.

[23] Letters to Richard Heber, Esq., containing Critical Remarks on the Series of Novels beginning with "Waverley," and an Attempt to ascertain their Author. 8vo, London, 1821.

[24] They were published under the title Ancient Ballads and Songs, 2 vols. 8vo, 1828.

[25] The Forester's Guide and Profitable Planter, reviewed in the Quarterly, Oct. 1827. See also "On Planting Waste Lands," in Misc. Prose Works, vol. xxi. pp. 1-76.

[26] Daughter of Mrs. Maclean Clephane, and afterwards Marchioness of Northampton.

[27] Scott's indorsation of this letter is characteristic—"Prodigious, bold request, Tom Thumb."

[28] Among the documents laid before Scott in the Colonial Office, when he was in London at the close of 1826, "were some which represented one of Bonaparte's attendants at St. Helena, General Gourgaud, as having been guilty of gross unfairness, giving the English Government private information that the Emperor's complaints of ill-usage were utterly unfounded, and yet then and afterwards aiding and assisting the delusion in France as to the harshness of Sir Hudson Lowe's conduct towards his captive. Sir Walter, when using these remarkable documents, guessed that Gourgaud might be inclined to fix a personal quarrel on himself; and there now appeared in the newspapers a succession of hints that the General was seriously bent on this purpose. He applied as Colonel Grogg would have done forty years before to The Baronet" [W. Clerk].—Life, vol. ix. pp. 142-3.

A short time previously Gourgaud had had a quarrel with Count Segur regarding the latter's History of the Russian Campaign, to which he wrote a reply in 1825, and then fought a duel with the author in support of his allegations. In Scott's case, however, it came to nothing beyond a paper war, which Sir Walter declined to prolong, leaving the question to be decided by the general public. It is due to Gourgaud to state that on two occasions he saved Napoleon's life, though his subsequent information to the British Government did not tend to increase his popularity with the Bonapartists. He died at Paris in his sixty-ninth year on July 25th, 1852.

[29] Life, vol. i. pp. 47, 155-156.

[30] The Planters' Guide, by Sir Henry Seton Steuart.

[31] In the North British Review, No. 82, there is an extremely interesting sketch of this learned Peerage lawyer. He died in his 85th year, in 1864, at his country seat, Kirklands in Roxburghshire, which he had purchased by Sir Walter's advice.

The following amusing narrative of what took place on Tweedside when these two old friends were in their prime is given in Mr. Richardson's own words:—

"On a beautiful morning in September 1810 I started with Sir Walter from Ashiestiel. We began nearly under the ruins of Elibank, and in sight of the 'Hanging Tree.' I only had a rod, but Sir Walter walked by my side, now quoting Izaak Walton, as, 'Fish me this stream by inches,' and now delighting me with a profusion of Border stories. After the capture of numerous fine trout, I hooked something greater and unseen, which powerfully ran out my line. Sir Walter got into a state of great excitement, exclaiming, 'It's a fish! It's a fish! Hold up your rod! Give him line!' and so on. The rod, which belonged to one of his boys, broke, and put us both into great alarm; but I contrived, by ascending the steep bank and holding down the rod, still to give play to the reel, till, after a good quarter of an hour's struggle, a trout, for so it turned out to be, was conducted round a little peninsula. Sir Walter jumped into the water, seized him, and threw him out on the grass. Tom Purdie came up a little time after, and was certainly rather discomposed at my success. 'It will be some sea brute,' he observed; but he became satisfied that it was a fine river-trout, and such as, he afterwards admitted, had not been killed in Tweed for twenty years; and when I moved down the water, he went, as Sir Walter afterwards observed, and gave it a kick on the head, exclaiming, 'To be ta'en by the like o' him frae Lunnon!'"


September 1.—Colonel Ferguson and Colonel Byers breakfasted; the latter from India, the nephew of the old antiquarian;[32] but I had not an opportunity to speak to him about the Eastern information required for the Chronicles. Besides, my review is not finished, though I wrought hard to-day. Sir William Hamilton and his brother, Captain Hamilton, called; also young Davidoff. I am somewhat sorry for my young friend. His friends permit him to remain too long in Britain to be happy in Russia. Yet this [is a] prejudice of those who suppose that when the institutions and habits by which they are governed come to be known to strangers, they must become exclusively attached to them. This is not so. The Hottentot returns from civilisation to the wild manners of his kraal, and wherefore should not a Russian resume his despotic ideas when returned to his country?

September 2.—This was a very warm day. I remained at home, chiefly engaged in arranging papers, as I go away to-morrow. It is lucky these starts happen from time to time as I should otherwise never get my table clear. At five o'clock the air became cooler, and I sat out of doors and played with the children. Anne, who had been at Mertoun the day before, brought up Anne and Elizabeth Scott[33] with her, and Francis has been with us since yesterday. Richardson left us.

September 3.—Went on with my arranging of papers till twelve, when I took chaise and arrived at Melville Castle.

Found Lord and Lady M. and the two young ladies. Dr. Hope, my old school-fellow James Hope[34] and his son, made up our party, which was very pleasant. After they went away we had some private conversation about politics. The Whigs and Tories of the Cabinet are strangely divided, the former desiring to have Mr. Herries for Chancellor of the Exchequer, the latter to have Lord Palmerston, that Calcraft may be Secretary of War. The King has declared firmly for Herries, on which Lord Goderich with tears entreated Herries to remove the bone of contention by declining to accept. The King called him a blubbering fool. That the King does not like or trust the Whigs is obvious from his passing over Lord Lansdowne, a man who, I should suppose, is infinitely better fitted for a Premier than Goderich. But he probably looks with no greater [favour] on the return of the High Tories. I fear he may wish to govern by the system of bascule, or balancing the two parties, a perilous game[35]. The Advocate[36] also dined with us.

September 4, [Edinburgh].—Came into town after breakfast, and saw Gibson, whose account of affairs is comfortable. Also William Clerk, whom I found quite ready and willing to stand my friend if Gourgaud should come my road. He agrees with me that there is no reason why he should turn on me, but that if he does, reason or none, it is best to stand buff to him. It is clear to me that what is least forgiven in a man of any mark or likelihood is want of that article blackguardly called pluck. All the fine qualities of genius cannot make amends for it. We are told the genius of poets especially is irreconcilable with this species of grenadier accomplishment[37]. If so, quel chien de genie! Saw Lady Compton. I dine with her to-day, and go to Glasgow with her to-morrow.

September 5.—Dined with Lady Compton yesterday, and talked over old stories until nine, our tete-a-tete being a very agreeable one. Then hence to my good friend John Gibson's, and talked with him of sundries. I had an odd dream last night. It seemed to me that I was at a panorama, when a vulgar little man behind me was making some very clever but impudent remarks on the picture, and at the same time seemed desirous of information, which no one would give him. I turned round and saw a young fellow dressed like a common carter, with a blue coat and red waistcoat, and a whip tied across him. He was young, with a hatchet-face, which was turned to a brick colour by exposure to the weather, sharp eyes, and in manner and voice not unlike John Leyden. I was so much struck with his countenance and talents that I asked him about his situation, and expressed a wish to mend it. He followed me, from the hopes which I excited, and we had a dreadful walk among ruins, and afterwards I found myself on horseback, and in front of a roaring torrent. I plunged in as I have formerly done in good sad earnest, and got to the other side. Then I got home among my children and grandchildren, and there also was my genius. Now this would defy Daniel and the soothsayers to boot; nor do I know why I should now put it down, except that I have seldom seen a portrait in life which was more strongly marked on my memory than that man's. Perhaps my genius was Mr. Dickinson, papermaker, who has undertaken that the London creditors who hold Constable's bills will be satisfied with 10s. in the pound. This would be turning a genius to purpose, for 6s. 8d. is provided, and they can have no difficulty about 3s. 4d. These debts, for which I am legally responsible, though no party to their contraction, amount to L30,000 odds. Now if they can be cleared for L15,000 it is just so much gained. This would be a giant step to freedom. I see in my present comfortable quarters[38] some of my own old furniture in Castle St., which gives me rather queer feelings. I remember poor Charlotte and I having so much thought about buying these things. Well, they are in kind and friendly hands.

September 6.—Went with Lady Compton to Glasgow, and had as pleasant a journey as the kindness, wit, and accomplishment of my companion could make it. Lady C. gives an admirable account of Rome, and the various strange characters she has met in foreign parts. I was much taken with some stories out of a romance called Manuscrit trouve a Saragosse, by a certain Count John Polowsky [Potocki?], a Pole. It seems betwixt the style of Cazotti, Count Hamilton and Le Sage. The Count was a toiler after supernatural secrets, an adept, and understood the cabbala. He put himself to death, with many odd circumstances, inferring derangement. I am to get a sight of the book if it be possible. At Glasgow (Buck's Head) we met Mrs. Maclean Clephane and her two daughters, and there was much joy. After the dinner the ladies sung, particularly Anna Jane, who has more taste and talent of every kind than half the people going with great reputations on their backs.

A very pleasant day was paid for by a restless night.

September 7.—This day had calls from Lord Provost and Mr. Rutherford (William) with invitations, which I declined. Read in manuscript a very clever play (comedy) by Miss A.J. Clephane in the old style, which was very happily imitated. The plot was confused—too much taking and retaking of prisoners, but the dialogue was excellent.

Took leave of these dear friends, never perhaps to meet all together again, for two of us are old. Went down by steam to Colonel Campbell's, Blythswood House, where I was most courteously received by him and his sisters. We are kinsfolk and very old acquaintance. His seat here is a fine one; the house is both grand and comfortable.

We walked to Lawrence Lockhart's of Inchinnan, within a mile of Blythswood House. It is extremely nice and comfortable, far beyond the style of a Scotch clergyman; but Lawrence is wealthy. I found John Lockhart and Sophia there, returned from Largs. We all dined at Colonel Campbell's on turtle, and all manner of good things. Miss A. and H. Walker were there. The sleep at night made amends for the Buck's Head.

September 8.—Colonel Campbell carried me to breakfast in Glasgow, and at ten I took chaise for Corehouse, where I found my old friend George Cranstoun rejoiced to see me, and glad when I told him what Lord Newton had determined in my affairs. I should observe I saw the banks of the Clyde above Hamilton much denuded of its copse, untimely cut; and the stools ill cut, and worse kept. Cranstoun and I walked before dinner. I never saw the great fall of Corehouse from this side before, and I think it the best point, perhaps; at all events, it is not that from which it is usually seen; so Lord Corehouse has the sight and escapes the tourists. Dined with him, his sister Mrs. Cunningham, and Corehouse.

I omitted to mention in yesterday's note that within Blythswood plantation, near to the Bridge of Inchinnan, the unfortunate Earl of Argyle was taken in 1685, at a stone called Argyle's Stone. Blythswood says the Highland drovers break down his fences in order to pay a visit to the place. The Earl had passed the Cart river, and was taken on the Renfrew side.

September 9.—This is a superb place of Corehouse's. Cranstoun has as much feeling about improvement as other things. Like all new improvers, he is at more expense than is necessary, plants too thick, and trenches where trenching is superfluous. But this is the eagerness of a young artist. Besides the grand lion, the Fall of Clyde, he has more than one lion's whelp; a fall of a brook in a cleugh called Mill's Gill must be superb in rainy weather. The old Castle of Corehouse is much more castle-like on this than from the other side.

Left Corehouse at eight in the morning, and reached Lanark by half-past nine. I was thus long in travelling three miles because the postilion chose to suppose I was bound for Biggar, and was two miles ere I discovered what he was doing. I thought he aimed at crossing the Clyde by some new bridge above Bonnington. Breakfasted at Lanark with the Lockharts, and reached Abbotsford this evening by nine o'clock.

Thus ends a pleasant expedition among the people I like most. Drawback only one. It has cost me L15, including two gowns for Sophia and Anne; and I have lost six days' labour. Both may be soon made up.

N.B.—We lunched (dined, videlicet) with Professor Wilson at Inverleithen, and met James Hogg,[39]

September 10, [Abbotsford].—Gourgaud's wrath has burst forth in a very distant clap of thunder, in which he accuses me of combining with the ministry to slander his rag of a reputation. He be d——d for a fool, to make his case worse by stirring. I shall only revenge myself by publishing the whole extracts I made from the records of the Colonial Office, in which he will find enough to make him bite his nails. Still I wonder he did not come over and try his manhood otherwise. I would not have shunned him nor any Frenchman who ever kissed Bonaparte's breech.

September 11.—Went to Huntly Burn and breakfasted with Colonel Ferguson, who has promised to have some Indian memoranda ready for me. After breakfast went to choose the ground for a new plantation, to be added next week to the end of Jane's Wood. Came to dinner Lord Carnarvon and his son and daughter; also Lord Francis Leveson Gower, the translator of Faust.

September 12.—Walk with Lord Francis. When we return, behold ye! enter Lady Hampden and Lady Wedderburn. In the days of George Square, Jane and Maria Brown[40], beauties and toasts. There was much pleasure on my side, and some, I suppose, on theirs; and there was a riding, and a running, and a chattering, and an asking, and a showing—a real scene of confusion, yet mirth and good spirits. Our guests quit us next day.

September 13.—Fined a man for an assault at Selkirk. He pleaded guilty, which made short work. The beggarly appearance of the Jury in the new system is very worthy of note. One was a menial servant. When I returned, James Ballantyne and Mr. Cadell arrived. They bring a good account of matters in general. Cadell explained to me a plan for securing the copyright of the novels, which has a very good face. It appears they are going off fast; and if the glut of the market is once reduced by sales, the property will be excellent, and may be increased by notes. James B. brought his son. Robert Rutherford also here, and Miss Russells.

September 14.—In the morning wrote my answer to Gourgaud, rather too keen perhaps, but I owe him nothing; and as for exciting his resentment, I will neither seek nor avoid it.

Cadell's views seem fair, and he is open and explicit. His brothers support him, and he has no want of cash. He sells two or three copies of Bonaparte and one of the novels, or two, almost every day. He must soon, he says, apply to London for copies. Read a Refutation, as it calls itself, of Napoleon's history. It is so very polite and accommodating that every third word is a concession—the work of a man able to judge distinctly on specific facts, but erroneous in his general results. He will say the same of me, perhaps. Ballantyne and Cadell leave us. Enter Miss Sinclairs, two in number, also a translator, and a little Flemish woman, his wife—very good-humoured, rather a little given to compliment; name Fauconpret. They are to return at night in a gig as far as Kelso—a bold undertaking.

September 16.—The ladies went to Church; I, God forgive me, finished the Chronicles[41] with a good deal of assistance from Colonel Ferguson's notes about Indian affairs. The patch is, I suspect, too glaring to be pleasing; but the Colonel's sketches are capitally good. I understand, too, there are one or two East Indian novels which have lately appeared. Naboclish! vogue la galere!

September 17.—Received from James B. the proofs of my reply to General Gourgaud, with some cautious balaam from mine honest friend, alarmed by a Highland Colonel, who had described Gourgaud as a mauvais garcon, famous fencer, marksman, and so forth. I wrote in answer, which is true, that I would hope all my friends would trust to my acting with proper caution and advice; but that if I were capable, in a moment of weakness, of doing anything short of what my honour demanded, I would die the death of a poisoned rat in hole, out of mere sense of my own degradation. God knows, that, though life is placid enough with me, I do not feel anything to attach me to it so strongly as to occasion my avoiding any risk which duty to my character may demand from me.

I set to work with the Tales of a Grandfather, second volume, and finished four pages.

September 18.—Wrote five pages of the Tales. Walked from Huntly Burn, having gone in the carriage. Smoked my cigar with Lockhart after dinner, and then whiled away the evening over one of Miss Austen's novels. There is a truth of painting in her writings which always delights me. They do not, it is true, get above the middle classes of society, but there she is inimitable.

September 19.—Wrote three pages, but dawdled a good deal; yet the Tales get on, although I feel bilious, and vapourish, I believe I must call it. At such times my loneliness, and the increasing inability to walk, come dark over me, but surely these mulligrubs belong to the mind more than the body.

September 22.—Captain and Colonel Ferguson, the last returned from Ireland, dined here. Prayer of the minister of the Cumbrays, two miserable islands in the mouth of the Clyde: "O Lord, bless and be gracious to the Greater and the Lesser Cumbrays, and in thy mercy do not forget the adjacent islands of Great Britain and Ireland."

September 23.—Worked in the morning; then drove over to Huntly Burn, chiefly to get from the good-humoured Colonel the accurate spelling of certain Hindu words which I have been using under his instructions. By the way, the sketches he gave me of Indian manners are highly picturesque. I have made up my Journal, which was three days in arrear. Also I wrought a little, so that the second volume of Grandfather's Tales is nearly half finished.

September 24.—Worked in the morning as usual, and sent off the proofs and copy. Something of the black dog still hanging about me; but I will shake him off. I generally affect good spirits in company of my family, whether I am enjoying them or not. It is too severe to sadden the harmless mirth of others by suffering your own causeless melancholy to be seen; and this species of exertion is, like virtue, its own reward; for the good spirits, which are at first simulated, become at length real.[42]

September 25, [Edinburgh],—Got into town by one o'clock, the purpose being to give my deposition before Lord Newton in a case betwixt me and Constable's creditors. My oath seemed satisfactory; but new reasons were alleged for additional discussion, which is, I trust, to end this wearisome matter. I dined with Mr. Gibson, and slept there. J.B. dined with us, and we had thoughts how to save our copyright by a bargain with Cadell. I hope it will turn to good, as I could add notes to a future edition, and give them some value.

September 26, [Abbotsford].—Set off in mail coach, and my horses met me at Yair Bridge. I travelled with rather a pleasant man, an agent, I found, on Lord Seaford's[43] West Indian Estates. Got home by twelve o'clock, and might have been here earlier if the Tweed had not been too large for fording. I must note down my cash lest it gets out of my head; "may the foul fa' the gear, and the blathrie o't,"[44] and yet there's no doing either with it or without it.

September 27.—The morning was damp, dripping, and unpleasant; so I even made a work of necessity, and set to the Tales like a dragon. I murdered M'Lellan of Bomby at Thrieve Castle; stabbed the Black Douglas in the town of Stirling; astonished King James before Roxburgh; and stifled the Earl of Mar in his bath in the Canongate. A wild world, my masters, this Scotland of ours must have been. No fear of want of interest; no lassitude in those days for want of work,

"For treason, d' ye see, Was to them a dish of tea, And murther bread and butter."

We dined at Gattonside with Mr. Bainbridge, who kindly presented me with six bottles of super-excellent Jamaica rum, and with a manuscript collection of poetry, said to be Swift's handwriting, which it resembles. It is, I think, poor Stella's. Nothing very new in it.

September 28.—Another dropping and busy day. I wrought hard at the Historical Tales, which get on fast.

September 29.—I went on with the little history which now (i.e. vol. ii.) doth appropinque an end. Received in the evening [Nos. 37 to 41?] of the Roxburghe publications. They are very curious, and, generally speaking, well selected. The following struck me:—An Italian poem on the subject of Floddenfield; the legend of St. Robert of Knaresborough; two plays, printed from MS. by Mr. Haslewood. It does not appear that Mr. H. fully appreciated the light which he was throwing on the theatrical history by this valuable communication. It appears that the change of place, or of scene as we term it, was intimated in the following manner.

In the middle of the stage was placed Colchester, and the sign of Pigot's tavern—called the Tarlton—intimated what part of the town was represented. The name was painted above. On one side of the stage was, in like manner, painted a town, which the name announced to be Maldon; on the other side a ranger's lodge. The scene lay through the piece in one or other of these three places, and the entrance of the characters determined where each scene lay. If they came in from Colchester, then Colchester was for the time the scene of action. When that scene was shifted to Maldon, it was intimated by the approach of the actors from the side where it was painted—a clumsy contrivance, doubtless, compared to changeable scenery; yet sufficient to impress the audience with a sense of what was meant.

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