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Preface

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"I shall have a peep at Bothwell Castle if it is only for half-an-hour. It is a place of many recollections to me, for I cannot but think how changed I am from the same Walter Scott who was so passionately ambitious of fame when I wrote the song of Young Lochinvar at Bothwell; and if I could recall the same feelings, where was I to find an audience so kind and patient, and whose applause was at the same time so well worth having, as Lady Dalkeith and Lady Douglas? When one thinks of these things, there is no silencing one's regret but by Corporal Nym's philosophy: Things must be as they may. One generation goeth and another cometh."--To LORD MONTAGU, June 28th, 1825.

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PREFACE.

On the death of Sir Walter Scott in 1832, his entire literary remains were placed at the disposal of his son-in-law, Mr. John Gibson Lockhart. Among these remains were two volumes of a Journal which had been kept by Sir Walter from 1825 to 1832. Mr. Lockhart made large use of this Journal in his admirable life of his father-in-law. Writing, however, so short a time after Scott's death, he could not use it so freely as he might have wished, and, according to his own statement, it was "by regard for the feelings of living persons" that he both omitted and altered; and indeed he printed no chapter of the Diary in full.

There is no longer any reason why the Journal should not be published in its entirety, and by the permission of the Hon. Mrs. Maxwell-Scott it now appears exactly as Scott left it--but for the correction of obvious slips of the pen and the omission of some details chiefly of family and domestic interest.

The original Journal consists of two small 4to volumes, 9 inches by 8, bound in vellum and furnished with strong locks. The manuscript is closely written on both sides, and towards the end shows painful evidence of the physical prostration of the writer. The Journal abruptly closes towards the middle of the second volume with the following entry--probably the last words ever penned by Scott--

[Illustration: by one of the old Pontiffs, but which, I forget, and so paraded the streets by moonlight to discover, if possible, some appearance of the learned Sir William Gell or the pretty Mrs. Ashley. At length we found our old servant who guided us to the lodgings taken by Sir William Gell, where all was comfortable, a good fire included, which our fatigue and the chilliness of the night required. We dispersed as soon as we had taken some food, wine, and water.

We slept reasonably, but on the next morning]

In the annotations, it seemed most satisfactory to follow as closely as possible the method adopted by Mr. Lockhart. In the case of those parts of the Journal that have been already published, almost all Mr. Lockhart's notes have been reproduced, and these are distinguished by his initials. Extracts from the Life, from James Skene of Rubislaw's unpublished Reminiscences, and from unpublished letters of Scott himself and his contemporaries, have been freely used wherever they seemed to illustrate particular passages in the Journal.

With regard to Scott's quotations a certain difficulty presented itself. In his Journal he evidently quoted from memory, and he not unfrequently makes considerable variations from the originals. Occasionally, indeed, it would seem that he deliberately made free with the exact words of his author, to adapt them more pertinently to his own mood or the impulse of the moment. In any case it seemed best to let Scott's quotations appear as he wrote them. His reading lay in such curious and unfrequented quarters that to verify all the sources is a nearly impossible task. It is to be remembered, also, that he himself held very free notions on the subject of quotation.

I have to thank the Hon. Mrs. Maxwell-Scott for permitting me to retain for the last three years the precious volumes in which the Journal is contained, and for granting me access to the correspondence of Sir Walter preserved at Abbotsford, and I have likewise to acknowledge the courtesy of His Grace the Duke of Buccleuch for allowing me the use of the Scott letters at Dalkeith. To Mr. W.F. Skene, Historiographer Royal for Scotland, my thanks are warmly rendered for intrusting me with his precious heirloom, the volume which contains Sir Walter's letters to his father, and the Reminiscences that accompany them--one of many kind offices towards me during the last thirty years in our relations as author and publisher. I am also obliged to Mr. Archibald Constable for permitting me to use the interesting Memorandum by James Ballantyne.

Finally, I have to express my obligation to many other friends, who never failed cordially to respond to any call I made upon them.

D.D.

EDINBURGH, 22 DRUMMOND PLACE, October 1, 1890.


Sir Walter Scott