August 1.--Yesterday evening did nothing for the _idlesse_ of the morning. I was hungry; eat and drank and became drowsy; then I took to arranging the old plays, of which Terry had brought me about a dozen, and dipping into them scrambled through two. One, called _Michaelmas Term_, full of traits of manners; and another a sort of bouncing tragedy, called the _Hector of Germany, or the Palsgrave_. The last, worthless in the extreme, is, like many of the plays in the beginning of the seventeenth century, written to a good tune. The dramatic poets of that time seem to have possessed as joint-stock a highly poetical and abstract tone of language, so that the worst of them often remind you of the very best. The audience must have had a much stronger sense of poetry in those days than now, since language was received and applauded at the Fortune or at the Red Bull, which could not now be understood by any general audience in Great Britain. This leads far.
This morning I wrote two hours, then out with Tom Purdie, and gave directions about thinning all the plantations above Abbotsford properly so called. Came in at one o'clock and now set to work. _Debout, debout, Lyciscas, debout._ Finished four leaves.
August 2.--Well; and to-day I finished before dinner five leaves more, and I would crow a little about it, but here comes Duty like an old housekeeper to an idle chambermaid. Hear her very words:--
DUTY.--Oh! you crow, do you? Pray, can you deny that your sitting so quiet at work was owing to its raining heavily all the forenoon, and indeed till dinner-time, so that nothing would have stirred out that could help it, save a duck or a goose? I trow, if it had been a fine day, by noon there would have been aching of the head, throbbing, shaking, and so forth, to make an apology for going out.
EGOMET IPSE.--And whose head ever throbbed to go out when it rained, Mrs. Duty?
DUTY.--_Answer not to me with a fool-born jest_, as your poor friend Erskine used to say to you when you escaped from his good advice under the fire of some silly pun. You smoke a cigar after dinner, and I never check you--drink tea, too, which is loss of time; and then, instead of writing me one other page, or correcting those you have written out, you rollick into the woods till you have not a dry thread about you; and here you sit writing down my words in your foolish journal instead of minding my advice.
EGO.--Why, Mrs. Duty, I would as gladly be friends with [you] as Crabbe's tradesman fellow with his conscience; but you should have some consideration with human frailty.
DUTY.--Reckon not on that. But, however, good-night for the present. I would only recommend to you to think no thoughts in which I am not mingled--to read no books in which I have no concern--to write three sheets of botheration all the six days of the week _per diem_, and on the seventh to send them to the printer. Thus advising, I heartily bid you farewell.
EGO.--Farewell, madam (exit Duty) and be d--d to ye for an unreasonable bitch! "The devil must be in this greedy gled!" as the Earl of Angus said to his hawk; "will she never be satisfied?" I believe in my soul she is the very hag who haunted the merchant Abudah.
I'll have my great chest upstairs exorcised, but first I'll take a nap till supper, which must take place within ten minutes.
August 3.--Wrote half a task in the morning. From eleven till half-past eight in Selkirk taking precognitions about a _row_, and came home famished and tired. Now, Mrs. Duty, do you think there is no other Duty of the family but yourself? Or can the Sheriff-depute neglect his Duty, that the author may mind _his_? The thing cannot be; the people of Selkirk must have justice as well as the people of England books. So the two Duties may go pull caps about it. My conscience is clear.
August 4.--Wrote to Miss Edgeworth on her sister's marriage, which consumed the better part of the morning. I must read for Marengo. _Item_, I must look at the pruning. _Item_, at the otter hunt; but my hope is constant to make up a good day's task notwithstanding. Failed in finding the otter, and was tired and slept, and did but a poor day's work.
August 6.--Wrote to-day a very good day's work. Walked to Chiefswood, and saw old Mrs. Tytler, a friend when life was young. Her husband, Lord Woodhouselee, was a kind, amiable, and accomplished man; and when we lived at Lasswade Cottage, soon after my marriage, we saw a great deal of the family, who were very kind to us as newly entered on the world. Walked home, and worked in the evening; four leaves finished.
August 7.--My niece Anne leaves us this morning, summoned back from one scene of distress to another. Her uncle, David Macculloch, is extremely ill--a paralytic stroke, I fancy. She is a charming girl, lady-like in thought and action, and very pleasant in society. We are to dine to-day with our neighbours at Gattonside. Meantime I will avail myself of my disposition to labour, and work instead of journalising.
Mr. H. Cranstoun looked in a morning call. He is become extremely deaf. He gave me a letter from the Countess Purgstall, his sister, which I have not the heart to open, so many reproaches I have deserved for not writing. It is a sad thing, though, to task eyes as hard wrought as mine to keep up correspondence. Dined at Gattonside.
August 8.--Wrote my task this morning, and now for walk. Dine to-day at Chiefswood; have company to-morrow. Why, this is dissipation! But no matter, Mrs. Duty, if the task is done. "Ay, but," says she, "you ought to do something extra--provide against a rainy day." Not I, I'll make a rainy day provide against a fair one, Mrs. Duty. I write twice as much in bad weather. Seriously, I write fully as much as I ought. I do not like this dull aching in the chest and the back, and its giving way to exercise shows that it originates in remaining too long in a sitting posture. So I'll take the field, while the day is good.
August 9.--I wrote only two leaves to-day, but with as many additions as might rank for three. I had a long and warm walk. Mrs. Tytler of Woodhouselee, the Hamiltons, and Colonel Ferguson dined here. How many early stories did the old lady's presence recall! She might almost be my mother, yet there we sat, like two people of another generation, talking of things and people the rest knew nothing of. When a certain period of life is survived, the difference of years between the survivors, even when considerable, becomes of much less consequence.
August 10.--Rose early, and wrote hard till two, when I went with Anne to Minto. The place, being new to my companion, gave her much amusement. We found the Scotts of Harden, etc., and had a very pleasant party. I like Lady M. particularly, but missed my facetious and lively friend, Lady A[nna] M[aria]. It is the fashion for women and silly men to abuse her as a blue-stocking. If to have wit, good sense, and good-humour, mixed with a strong power of observing, and an equally strong one of expressing the result, be _blue_, she shall be as blue as they will. Such cant is the refuge of persons who fear those who they [think] can turn them into ridicule; it is a common trick to revenge supposed raillery with good substantial calumny. Slept at Minto.
August 11.--I was up as usual, and wrote about two leaves, meaning to finish my task at home; but found my Sheriff-substitute here on my return, which took up the evening. But I shall finish the volume on Sunday; that is less than a month after beginning it. The same exertion would bring the book out at Martinmas, but December is a better time.
August 12.--Wrote a little in the morning; then Duty and I have settled that this is to be a kind of holiday, providing the volume be finished to-morrow. I went to breakfast at Chiefswood, and after that affair was happily transacted, I wended me merrily to the Black Cock Stripe, and there caused Tom Purdie and John Swanston cut out a quantity of firs. Got home about two o'clock, and set to correct a set of proofs. James Ballantyne presages well of this work, but is afraid of inaccuracies--so am I--but things must be as they may. There is a kind of glamour about me, which sometimes makes me read dates, etc., in the proof-sheets, not as they actually do stand, but as they ought to stand. I wonder if a pill of holy trefoil would dispel this fascination.
By the way, John Swanston measured a young shoot that was growing remarkably, and found that for three days successively it grew half an inch every day. Fine-Ear used to hear the grass grow--how far off would he have heard this extravagant rapidity of vegetation? The tree is a silver fir or spruce in the patch at the Green-tongue park.
August 13.--Yesterday I was tired of labouring in the rough ground. Well, I must be content to feel my disabilities increase. One sure thing is, that all wise men will soon contrive to lay aside inclination when performance grows toilsome. I have hobbled over many a rough heugh in my day--no wonder if I must sing at last--
"Thus says the auld man to the aik tree, Sair failed, hinny, since I kenn'd thee."But here are many a mile of smooth walk, just when I grow unable to face bent and brae, and here is the garden when all fails. To a sailor the length of his quarter-deck is a good space of exercising ground.
I wrote a good task to-day, then walked to the lake, then came back by three o'clock, hungering and thirsting to finish the volume. I have seldom such fits of voluntary industry, so Duty shall have the benefit.
Finished volume iv. this evening--_Deo Gratias_.
August 14.--This is a morning I have not seen many a day, for it appears to set in for a rainy day. It has not kept its word though. I was seized by a fit of the "clevers," and finished my task by twelve o'clock, and hope to add something in the evening. I was guilty, however, of some waywardness, for I began volume v. of _Boney_ instead of carrying on the _Canongate_ as I proposed. The reason, however, was that I might not forget the information I had acquired about the Treaty of Amiens.
August 15.--The weather seems decidedly broken. Yesterday, indeed, cleared up, but this day seems to persevere in raining. _Naboclish!_ It's a rarity nowadays. I write on, though a little afflicted with the oppression on my chest. Sometimes I think it is something dangerous, but as it always goes away on change of posture, it cannot be speedily so. I want to finish my task, and then good-night. I will never relax my labour in these affairs, either for fear of pain or love of life. I will die a free man, if hard working will do it. Accordingly, to-day I cleared the ninth leaf, which is the tenth part of a volume, in two days--four and a half leaves a day. Walter and Jane, with Mrs. Jobson, are arrived to interrupt me.
August 16.--God be praised for restoring to me my dear children in good health, which has made me happier than anything that has happened these several months. Walter and Jane appear cordial and happy in each other; the greatest blessing Heaven can bestow on them or me who witness it. If we had Lockhart and Sophia, there would be a meeting of the beings dearest to me in life. Walked to Huntly Burn, where I found a certain lady on a visit--so youthy, so beautiful, so strong in voice--with sense and learning--above all, so fond of good conversation, that, in compassion to my eyes, ears, and understanding, I bolted in the middle of a tremendous shower of rain, and rather chose to be wet to the skin than to be bethumped with words at that rate. There seemed more than I of the same opinion, for Col Ferguson chose the ducking rather than the conversation. Young Mr. Surtees came this evening.
August 17.--Wrote half a leaf short of my task, having proofs, etc., to correct, and being called early to walk with the ladies. I have gained three leaves in the two following days, so I cannot blame myself. _Sat cito si sat bene. Sat boni_ I am sure--I may say--a truly execrable pun that; hope no one will find it out.
In the evening we had music from the girls, and the voice of the harp and viol were heard in my halls once more, which have been so long deprived of mirth. It is with a mixed sensation I hear these sounds. I look on my children and am happy; and yet every now and then a pang shoots across my heart. It seems so strange that my poor wife should not be there. But enough of this. Colonel Ferguson dined.
August 18.--Again I fell a half page behind, being summoned out too early for my task, but I am still two leaves before on the whole week. It is natural to see as much of these young people as I can. Walter talks of the Ionian Islands. It is an awful distance. A long walk in very warm weather. Music in the evening.
August 19.--This morning wrote none, excepting extracts, etc., being under the necessity of reading and collating a great deal, which lasted till one o'clock or thereabouts, when Dr. and Mrs. Brewster and their young people came to spend a day of happiness at the lake. We were met there by Captain and Mrs. Hamilton and a full party. Since the days of Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia, these days of appointed sport and happiness have seldom answered; but we came off indifferently well. We did not indeed catch much fish; but we lounged about in a delightful day, eat and drank--and the children, who are very fine infantry, were clamorously enjoying themselves. We sounded the loch in two or three different places--the deepest may be sixty feet. I was accustomed to think it much more, but your deepest pools, like your deepest politicians and philosophers, often turn out more shallow than was expected. The whole party dine with us.
August 20.--Wrote four leaves. The day wet and rainy, though not uniformly so. No temptation, however, to play truant; so this will make some amends for a blank day yesterday. I am far in advance of the press, but it is necessary if I go to Drumlanrig on Wednesday as I intend, and to Lochore next week, which I also meditate. This will be no great interruption, however, if I can keep the _Canongate_ moving, for I shall be more than half a volume in advance with _Napoleon_.
August 21.--Wrought out my task, though much bothered with a cold in my head and face, how caught I know not. Mrs. Crampton, wife of the Surgeon-General in Ireland, sends to say she is hereabouts, so we ask her. Hospitality must not be neglected, and most hospitable are the Cramptons. All the "calliachs" from Huntly Burn are to be here, and Anne wishes we may have enough of dinner. Naboclish! it is hoped there will be a _pièce de résistance_.
August 22.--Mrs. and Misses Crampton departed. I was rather sorry to give them such brief entertainment, for they were extremely kind. But going to Eildon Hall to-day, and to Drumlanrig to-morrow, there was nothing more could be done for them. It is raining now "_successfully_," as old Macfarlane of the Arroquhar used to say. What is the odds? We get a soaking before we cross the Birkendailly--wet against dry, ten to one.
August 23 [_Bittock's Bridge_].--Set off cheerily with Walter, Charles, and Surtees in the sociable, to make our trip to Drumlanrig. We breakfasted at Mr. Boyd's, Broadmeadows, and were received with Yarrow hospitality. From thence climbed the Yarrow, and skirted Saint Mary's Lake, and ascended the Birkhill path, under the moist and misty influence of the _genius loci_. Never mind; my companions were merry and I cheerful. When old people can be with the young without fatiguing them or themselves, their tempers derive the same benefits which some fantastic physicians of old supposed accrued to their constitutions from the breath of the young and healthy. You have not, cannot again have, their gaiety of pleasure in seeing sights, but still it reflects itself upon you, and you are cheered and comforted. Our luncheon eaten in the herd's cottage; but the poor woman saddened me unawares, by asking for poor Charlotte, whom she had often seen there with me. She put me in mind that I had come twice over those hills and bogs with a wheeled-carriage, before the road, now an excellent one, was made. I knew it was true; but, on my soul, looking where we must have gone, I could hardly believe I had been such a fool. For riding, pass if you will; but to put one's neck in such a venture with a wheeled-carriage was too silly. Here we are, however, at Bittock's Inn for this night.
Drumlanrig, August 24.--This morning lunched at Parkgate under a very heavy shower, and then pushed on to Drumlanrig, where I was pleased to see the old Castle, and old servants solicitous and anxious to be civil. What visions does not this magnificent old house bring back to me! The exterior is much improved since I first knew it. It was then in the state of dilapidation to which it had been abandoned by the celebrated old Q., and was indeed scarce wind and water tight. Then the whole wood had been felled, and the outraged castle stood in the midst of waste and desolation, excepting a few scattered old stumps, not judged worth the cutting. Now, the whole has been, ten or twelve years since, completely replanted, and the scattered seniors look as graceful as fathers surrounded by their children. The face of this immense estate has been scarcely less wonderfully changed. The scrambling tenants, who held a precarious tenure of lease under the Duke of Queensberry, at the risk (as actually took place) of losing their possession at his death, have given room to skilful and labouring men, working their farms regularly, and enjoying comfortable houses and their farms at a fair rent, which is enough to forbid idleness, but not enough to overpower industry.
August 25.--Here are Lord and Lady Home, Charles Douglas, Lord and Lady Charlotte Stopford. I grieve to say the last, though as beautiful as ever, is extremely thin, and looks delicate. The Duke himself has grown up into a graceful and apparently strong young man, and received us most kindly. I think he will be well qualified to sustain his difficult and important task. The heart is excellent, so are the talents,--good sense and knowledge of the world, picked up at one of the great English schools (and it is one of their most important results), will prevent him from being deceived; and with perfect good-nature, he has a natural sense of his own situation, which will keep him from associating with unworthy companions. God bless him! His father and I loved each other well, and his beautiful mother had as much of the angel as is permitted to walk this earth. I see the balcony from which they welcomed poor Charlotte and me, long ere the ascent was surmounted, streaming out their white handkerchiefs from the battlements. There were _four_ merry people that day--now one sad individual is all that remains. _Singula praedantur anni_. I had a long walk to-day through the new plantation, the Duchess's Walk by the Nith, etc. (formed by Prior's _Kitty young and gay_); fell in with the ladies, but their donkeys outwalked me--a flock of sheep afterwards outwalked me, and I begin to think, on my conscience, that a snail put in training might soon outwalk me. I must lay the old salve to the old sore, and be thankful for being able to walk at all.
Nothing was written to-day, my writing-desk having been forgot at Parkgate, but Tom Crighton kindly fetched it up to-day, so something more or less may be done to-morrow morning--and now to dress.
[Bittock's Bridge,] August 26.--We took our departure from the friendly halls of Drumlanrig this morning after breakfast and leave-taking. I trust this young nobleman will be
"A hedge about his friends, A hackle to his foes."I would have him not quite so soft-natured as his grandfather, whose kindness sometimes mastered his excellent understanding. His father had a temper which better lumped with my humour. Enough of ill-nature to keep your good-nature from being abused is no bad ingredient in their disposition who have favours to bestow.
In coming from Parkgate here I intended to accomplish a purpose which I have for some years entertained, of visiting Lochwood, the ancient seat of the Johnstones, of which King James said, when he visited it, that the man who built it must have been a thief in his heart. It rained heavily, however, which prevented my making this excursion, and indeed I rather overwalked myself yesterday, and have occasion for rest.
"So sit down, Robin, and rest thee."
Abbotsford, August 27.--To-day we journeyed through the hills and amongst the storms; the weather rather bullying than bad. We viewed the Grey Mare's Tail, and I still felt confident in crawling along the ghastly bank by which you approach the fall. I will certainly get some road of application to Mr. Hope Johnstone, to pray him to make the place accessible. We got home before half-past five, having travelled forty miles.
Blair-Adam, August 28.--Set off with Walter and Jane at seven o'clock, and reached this place in the middle of dinner-time. By some of my not unusual blunders we had come a day before we were expected. Luckily, in this ceremonious generation, there are still houses where such blunders only cause a little raillery, and Blair-Adam is one of them. My excellent friend is in high health and spirits, to which the presence of Sir Frederick adds not a little. His lady is here--a beautiful woman, whose countenance realises all the poetic dreams of Byron. There is certainly [a] something of full maturity of beauty which seems framed to be adoring and adored, and it is to be found in the full dark eye, luxuriant tresses, and rich complexion of Greece, and not among the pale unripened beauties of the north. What sort of a mind this exquisite casket may contain is not so easily known. She is anxious to please, and willing to be pleased, and, with her striking beauty, cannot fail to succeed.
August 29.--To-day we designed to go to Lochore. But "heigho! the wind and the rain." Besides Mrs. and Admiral Adam, Mrs. Loch, and Miss Adam, I find here Mr. Impey, son of that Sir Elijah celebrated in Indian history. He has himself been in India, but has, with a great deal of sense and observation, much better address than always falls to the share of the Eastern adventurer. The art of quiet and entertaining conversation, which is always easy as well as entertaining, is chiefly known in England. In Scotland we are pedantic and wrangle, or we run away with the harrows on some topic we chance to be discursive upon. In Ireland they have too much vivacity, and are too desirous to make a show, to preserve the golden mean. They are the Gascons of Britain. George Ellis was the best converser I ever knew; his patience and good breeding made me often ashamed of myself going off at score upon some favourite topic. Richard Sharp is so celebrated for this peculiar gift as to be generally called Conversation Sharp. The worst of this talent is that it seems to lack sincerity. You never know what are the real sentiments of a good converser, or at least it is very difficult to discover to what extent he entertains them. His politeness is inconsistent with energy. For forming a good converser, good taste and extensive information and accomplishment are the principal requisites, to which must be added an easy and elegant delivery and a well-toned voice. I think the higher order of genius is not favourable to this talent.
Mrs. Impey, an intelligent person, likes music, and particularly Scotch airs, which few people play better than Mrs. Lockhart and Miss Louisa Adam. Had a letter from Mr. William Upcott, London Institution, proposing to me to edit an edition of Garrick's Correspondence, which I declined by letter of this day. Thorough decided downfall of rain. Nothing for it but patience and proof-sheets.
August 30.--The weather scarce permitted us more licence than yesterday, yet we went down to Lochore, and Walter and I perambulated the property, and discussed the necessity of a new road from the south-west, also that of planting some willows along the ditches in the low grounds. Returned to Blair-Adam to dinner.
Abbotsford, August 31.--Left Blair at seven in the morning. Transacted business with Cadell and Ballantyne, but our plans will, I think, be stopped or impeded by the operations before the Arbiter, Mr. Irving, who leans more to the side of the opposite [party] than I expected. I have a letter from Gibson, found on my arrival at Abbotsford, which gives rather a gloomy account of that matter. It seems strange that I am to be bound to write for men who have broken every bargain with me.
Arrived at Abbotsford at eight o'clock at night.
 By Middleton, 1697.
 The Hector of Germanie, or the Palsgrave Prime Elector. An Honourable History by William Smith. 4to, 1615.
 Two London playhouses.--See Knight's _Biography of Shakespeare_.
 Molière's _La Princesse d'Élide_ (Prologue).
 See Crabbe's Tale of _The Struggles of Conscience_.--J.G.L.
 _Tales of a Grandfather_, Miscell. Prose Works, vol. xxiii. p. 72.
 See _Tales of the Genii_. _The Talisman of Oromanes_.
 Eldest daughter of William Fraser of Balnain.--See Burgon's _Life of P.F. Tytler_, 8vo, Lond. 1859. Mrs. Tytler died in London, aged eighty-four, in 1837.
 Alexr. Fraser Tytler, 1747-1813. Besides his acknowledged works, Lord Woodhouselee published anonymously a translation of Schiller's _Robbers_ as early as 1792.
 Henry Cranstoun, elder brother of Lord Corehouse and Countess Purgstall. He resided for some years near Abbotsford, at the Pavilion on the Tweed, where he died in 1843, aged eighty-six. An interesting account of Countess Purgstall is given by Basil Hall, who was with her in Styria at her death in 1835. This very early friend of Scott's was thought by Captain Hall to have been the prototype of Diana Vernon--"that safest of secret keepers."--See _Schloss Hainfeld_, 8vo, Lond. 1836.
 The property of Gattonside had been purchased in 1824 by George Bainbridge of Liverpool, a keen angler, author of _The Fly Fisher's Guide_, 8vo, Liverpool, 1816.
 Lady Anna Maria Elliot, see _ante_, p. 133.
 W. Scott of Maxpopple.
 In the fairy tale of Countess D'Aulnoy--_Fortunio_.
 See Johnson's _Rambler_, Nos. 204 and 205.
 Afterwards Sir Philip Crampton. "The Surgeon-General struck Sir Walter as being more like Sir Humphry Davy than any man he had met, not in person only, but in the liveliness and range of his talk."--_Life_, vol. viii. p. 23.
 Gaelic for "old women."
 William Douglas, fourth Duke of Queensberry, succeeded, on the death of his kinsman, Duke Charles, in 1778. He died in 1810 at the age of eighty-six, when his titles and estates were divided between the Duke of Buccleuch, Lord Douglas, the Marquis of Queensberry, and the Earl of Wemyss.
See Wordsworth's indignant lines beginning:
"Degenerate Douglas, oh the unworthy Lord";
also _George Selwyn and his Contemporaries_, 4 vols. 8vo, Lond. 1843-4.
 Alexander, tenth Earl of Home, and his wife, Lady Elizabeth, daughter of Henry, third Duke of Buccleuch.
 Charles, second son of Archibald Lord Douglas.
 James Thomas, Viscount Stopford, afterwards fourth Earl of Courtown, and his wife, Lady Charlotte, sister of the then Duke of Buccleuch, at that time still in his minority. Lady Charlotte died within eighteen months of this date.
"Thus Kitty, beautiful and young, And wild as colt untamed."
Prior's _Female Phaeton_.
Catherine Hyde, daughter of Henry Earl of Clarendon, and wife of Charles Duke of Queensberry. She was the friend of Gay, and her beauty, wit, and oddities have been celebrated in prose and rhyme by the wits and poets of two generations. Fifty-six years after Prior had sung her "mad Grace's" praises, Walpole added those two lines to the Female Phaeton--
"To many a Kitty Love his car, will for a day engage, But Prior's Kitty, ever fair, obtained it for an age."
She died at a great age in 1777. For her letter to George II. when forbid the Court, see Agar Ellis, _Historical Inquiries_, Lond. 1827, p. 40.
 Ballad on young Rob Roy's abduction of Jean Key, Cromek's _Collections_.--J.G.L.
 See Letter to C.K. Sharpe, from Drumlanrig, vol. ii. pp. 369-71.
 Sir Frederick Adam, son of the Chief Commissioner--a distinguished soldier, afterwards High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, and subsequently Governor of Madras; he died in 1853.
 Mr. Richard Sharp published in 1834 a very elegant and interesting little volume of _Letters and Essays, in Prose and Verse_.--See _Quarterly Review_, 102.--J.G.L. He had been Member of Parliament from 1806 to 1820, and died on the 30th of March 1835 at the age of seventy-six.
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