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October 1826

October 1.--Wrote my task, then walked from one till half-past four. Dogs took a hare. They always catch one on Sunday--a Puritan would say the devil was in them. I think I shall get more done this evening. I would fain conclude the volume at the Treaty of Tilsit, which will make it a pretty long one, by the by. J.B. expressed himself much pleased with _Nap_., which gives me much courage. He is gloomy enough when things are not well. And then I will try something at my _Canongate_. They talk about the pitcher going to the well; but if it goes not to the well, how shall we get water? It will bring home none when it stands on the shelf, I trow. In literature, as in love, courage is half the battle.

    "The public born to be controlled
    Stoops to the forward and the bold."
October 2.--Wrote my task. Went out at one and wrought in the wood till four. I was made happy by a letter from my nephew, little Walter, as we used to call him, from his age and size, compared to those of his cousin. He has been kindly received at Bombay by the Governor Mountstuart Elphinstone, and by Sir Thomas Bradford. He is taking his ground, I think, prudently, and is likely to get on. Already first Lieutenant of Engineers--that is well to begin with.

Colonel Ferguson, Miss Margaret, and some ladies, friends of theirs, dine, also Mr. and Mrs. Laidlaw, and James Laidlaw, and young Mr. N. Milne.

October 3.--I wrote my task as usual, but, strange to tell, there is a want of paper. I expect some to-day. In the meantime, to avoid all quarrel with Dame Duty, I cut up some other leaves into the usual statutory size. They say of a fowl that if you draw a chalk line on a table, and lay chick-a-diddle down with his bill upon it, the poor thing will imagine himself opposed by an insurmountable barrier, which he will not attempt to cross. Suchlike are one-half of the obstacles which serve to interrupt our best resolves, and such is my pretended want of paper. It is like Sterne's want of _sous_ when he went to relieve the _Pauvre Honteux_.

October 4.--I ought to record with gratitude to God Almighty the continued health of body and mind, which He hath vouchsafed to grant me. I have had of late no accesses either of bile or of nervous affection, and by mixing exercise with literary labour, I have escaped the _tremor cordis_ which on other occasions has annoyed me cruelly. I went to the inspection of the Selkirkshire Yeomanry, by Colonel Thornhill, 7th Hussars. The Colonel is a remarkably fine-looking man, and has a good address. His brow bears token of the fatigues of war. He is a great falconer, and has promised to fly his hawks on Friday for my amusement, and to spend the day at Abbotsford. The young Duke of B. was on the field looking at the corps, most of whom are his tenants. They did very well, and are fine, smart young men, and well mounted. Too few of them though, which is a pity. The exercise is a work which in my time I have loved well.

Finished my task at night.

October 5.--I was thinking this morning that my time glided away in a singularly monotonous manner, like one of those dark grey days which neither promise sunshine nor threaten rain; too melancholy for enjoyment, too tranquil for repining. But this day has brought a change which somewhat shakes my philosophy. I find by a letter from J. Gibson that I _may_ go to London without danger, and if I may, I in a manner _must_, to examine the papers in the Secretary of State's office about _Bon_. when at Saint Helena. The opportunity having been offered must be accepted, and yet I had much rather stay at home. Even the prospect of seeing Sophia and Lockhart must be mingled with pain, yet this is foolish too. Lady Hamilton[350] writes me that Pozzo di Borgo,[351] the Russian Minister at Paris, is willing to communicate to me some particulars of Bonaparte's early life. Query--might I not go on there? In for a penny, in for a pound. I intend to take Anne with me, and the pleasure will be great to her, who deserves much at my hand.

October 6.--Charles and his friend Surtees left us this morning.

Went to see Colonel Thornhill's hawks fly. Some part of the amusement is very beautiful, particularly the first flight of the hawks, when they sweep so beautifully round the company, jingling their bells from time to time, and throwing themselves into the most elegant positions as they gaze about for their prey. But I do not wonder that the impatience of modern times has renounced this expensive and precarious mode of sporting. The hawks are liable to various misfortunes, and are besides addicted to fly away; one of ours was fairly lost for the day, and one or two went off without permission, but returned. We killed a crow and frightened a snipe. There are, however, ladies and gentlemen enough to make a gallant show on the top of Mintlaw Kipps. The falconer made a fine figure--a handsome and active young fellow with the falcon on his wrist. The Colonel was most courteous, and named a hawk after me, which was a compliment. The hawks are not named till they have merited that distinction. I walked about six miles and was not fatigued.

There dined with us Colonel Thornhill, Clifton, young Whytbank, Spencer Stanhope, and his brother, with Miss Tod and my old friend Locker,[352] Secretary to Greenwich Hospital. We did not break up the party till one in the morning, and were very well amused.

October 7.--A weary day of rain. Locker and I chatted from time to time, and I wrought not at _Boney_, but upon the prose works, of which I will have a volume ready to send in on Monday. I got a letter from John Gibson, with an offer by Longman for _Napoleon_ of ten thousand five hundred guineas,[353] which I have advised them to accept. Also I hear there is some doubt of my getting to London, from the indecision of these foolish Londoners.

I don't care whether I go or no! And yet it is unpleasant to see how one's motions depend on scoundrels like these. Besides, I would like to be there, were it but to see how the cat jumps. One knows nothing of the world, if you are absent from it so long as I have been.

October 8.--Locker left me this morning. He is of opinion the ministry must soon assume another form, but that the Whigs will not come in. Lord Liverpool holds much by Lord Melville--well in point of judgment--and by the Duke of Wellington--still better, but then the Duke is a soldier--a bad education for a statesman in a free country. The Chancellor is also consulted by the Premier on all law affairs. Canning and Huskisson are at the head of the other party, who may be said to have taken the Cabinet by storm, through sheer dint of talent. I should like to see how these ingredients are working; but by the grace of God, I will take care of putting my finger into the cleft stick.

Locker has promised to get my young cousin Walter Scott on some quarter-deck or other.

Received from Mr. Cadell the second instalment advance of cash on _Canongate_. It is in English bills and money, in case of my going to town.

October 9.--A gracious letter from Messrs. Abud and Son, bill-brokers, etc.; assure Mr. Gibson that they will institute no legal proceedings against me for four or five weeks. And so I am permitted to spend my money and my leisure to improve the means of paying them their debts, for that is the only use of my present journey. They are Jews: I suppose the devil baits for Jews with a pork griskin. Were I not to exert myself, I wonder where their money is to come from.

A letter from Gillies menacing the world with a foreign miscellany. The plan is a good one, but "he canna haud it," as John Moodie[354] says. He will think all is done when he has got a set of names, and he will find the difficulty consists not in that, but in getting articles. I wrote on the prose works.

Lord and Lady Minto dined and spent the night at Abbotsford.

October 10.--Well, I must prepare for going to London, and perhaps to Paris. The morning frittered away. I slept till eight o'clock, then our guests till twelve; then walked out to direct some alterations on the quarry, which I think may at little expense be rendered a pretty recess. Wordsworth swears by an old quarry, and is in some degree a supreme authority on such points. Rain came on; returned completely wet. I had next the displeasure to find that I had lost the conclusion of vol. v. of Napoleon, seven or eight pages at least, which I shall have to write over again, unless I can find it. Well, as Othello says, "that's not much." My cousin James Scott came to dinner.

I have great unwillingness to set out on this journey; I almost think it ominous; but

    "They that look to freits, my master dear,
    Their freits will follow them."[355]
I will stick to my purpose. Answered a letter from Gillies about establishing a foreign journal; a good plan, but I fear in sorry hands. Of those he names as his assistants they who can be useful will do little, and the labours of those who are willing to work will rather hold the publication down. I fear it will not do.

I am downhearted about leaving all my things, after I was quietly settled; it is a kind of disrooting that recalls a thousand painful ideas of former happier journeys. And to be at the mercy of these fellows! God help--but rather God bless--man must help himself.

October 11.--We are ingenious self-tormentors. This journey annoys me more than anything of the kind in my life. My wife's figure seems to stand before me, and her voice is in my ears--"Scott, do not go." It half frightens me. Strong throbbing at my heart, and a disposition to be very sick. It is just the effect of so many feelings which had been lulled asleep by the uniformity of my life, but which awaken on any new subject of agitation. Poor, poor Charlotte!! I cannot daub it further. I get incapable of arranging my papers too. I will go out for half-an-hour. God relieve me!

I quelled this _hysterica passio_ by pushing a walk towards Kaeside and back again, but when I returned I still felt uncomfortable, and all the papers I wanted were out of the way, and all those I did not want seemed to place themselves under my fingers; my cash, according to the nature of riches in general, made to itself wings and fled, I verily believe from one hiding-place to another. To appease this insurrection of the papers, I gave up putting my things in order till to-morrow morning.

Dined at Kippielaw with a party of neighbours. They had cigars for me, very politely. But I must break folks off this. I would [not] willingly be like old Dr. Parr, or any such quiz, who has his tastes and whims, forsooth, that must be gratified. So no cigars on the journey.

October 12.[356]--Reduced my rebellious papers to order. Set out after breakfast, and reached Carlisle at eight o'clock at night.

Rokeby Park, October 13.--We were off before seven, and visiting Appleby Castle by the way (a most interesting and curious place), we got to Morritt's[357] about half-past four, where we had as warm a welcome as one of the warmest hearts in the world could give an old friend. I saw his nephew's wife for the first time, a very pleasing young person. It was great pleasure to me to see Morritt happy in the midst of his family circle, undisturbed, as heretofore, by the sickness of any dear to him.

On recalling my own recollections during my journey I may note that I found great pleasure in my companion's conversation, as well as in her mode of managing all her little concerns on the road. I am apt to judge of character by good-humour and alacrity in these petty concerns. I think the inconveniences of a journey seem greater to me than formerly; while, on the other hand, the pleasures it affords are rather less. The ascent of Stainmore seemed duller and longer than usual, and Bowes, which used to strike me as a distinguished feature, seemed an ill-formed mass of rubbish, a great deal lower than I had supposed; yet I have seen it twenty times at least. On the other hand, what I lose in my own personal feelings I gain in those of my companion, who shows an intelligent curiosity and interest in what she sees. I enjoy therefore, reflectively, _veluti in speculo_, the sort of pleasure to which I am now less accessible.

October 14.--Strolled about in the morning with Morritt, and saw his new walk up the Tees, which he is just concocting. Got a pamphlet he has written on the Catholic Question. In 1806 he had other views on that subject, but "live and learn" as they say. One of his squibs against Fox and Grenville's Administration concludes--

    "Though they sleep with the devil, yet theirs is the hope,
    On the scum of old England, to rise with the Pope."
Set off at two, and reached Wetherby to supper and bed.

It was the Corporation of Leeds that by a subscription of £80,000 brought in the anti-Catholic candidate. I remember their subscribing a similar sum to bring in Morritt, if he would have stood.

Saw in Morritt's possession an original miniature of Milton by Cooper--a valuable thing indeed. The pedigree seemed authentic. It was painted for his favourite daughter--had come into possession of some of the Davenants--was then in the Devonshire collection from which it was stolen. Afterwards purchased by Sir Joshua Reynolds, and at his sale by Morritt or his father.[358] The countenance handsome and dignified, with a strong expression of genius, probably the only portrait of Milton taken from the life excepting the drawing from which Faithorne's head is done.

[Grantham,] October 15.--Old England is no changeling. It is long since I travelled this road, having come up to town chiefly by sea of late years, but things seem much the same. One race of red-nosed innkeepers are gone, and their widows, eldest sons, or head-waiters exercise hospitality in their room with the same bustle and importance. Other things seem, externally at least, much the same. The land, however, is much better ploughed; straight ridges everywhere adopted in place of the old circumflex of twenty years ago. Three horses, however, or even four, are often seen in a plough yoked one before the other. Ill habits do not go out at once. We slept at Grantham, where we met with Captain William Lockhart and his lady, bound for London like ourselves.

[Biggleswade,] October 16.--Visited Burleigh this morning; the first time I ever saw that grand place, where there are so many objects of interest and curiosity. The house is magnificent, in the style of James I.'s reign, and consequently in mixed Gothic. Of paintings I know nothing; so shall attempt to say nothing. But whether to connoisseurs, or to an ignorant admirer like myself, the Salvator Mundi, by Carlo Dolci, must seem worth a King's ransom. Lady Exeter, who was at home, had the goodness or curiosity to wish to see us. She is a beauty after my own heart; a great deal of liveliness in the face; an absence alike of form and of affected ease, and really courteous after a genuine and ladylike fashion.

We reached Biggleswade to-night at six, and paused here to wait for the Lockharts. Spent the evening together.

[Pall Mall,] October 17.--Here am I in this capital once more, after an April-weather meeting with my daughter and Lockhart. Too much grief in our first meeting to be joyful; too much pleasure to be distressing--a giddy sensation between the painful and the pleasurable. I will call another subject.

Read over _Sir John Chiverton_[359] and _Brambletye House_[360]--novels in what I may surely claim as the style

    "Which I was born to introduce--
    Refined it first, and show'd its use."
They are both clever books; one in imitation of the days of chivalry; the other (by Horace Smith, one of the authors of the _Rejected Addresses_) dated in the time of the Civil Wars, and introducing historical characters. I read both with great interest during the journey.

I am something like Captain Bobadil[361] who trained up a hundred gentlemen to fight very nearly, if not altogether, as well as myself. And so far I am convinced of this, that I believe were I to publish the _Canongate Chronicles_ without my name (_nom de guerre_, I mean) the event would be a corollary to the fable of the peasant who made the real pig squeak against the imitator, while the sapient audience hissed the poor grunter as if inferior to the biped in his own language. The peasant could, indeed, confute the long-eared multitude by showing piggy; but were I to fail as a knight with a white and maiden shield, and then vindicate my claim to attention by putting "By the Author of _Waverley_" in the title, my good friend _Publicum_ would defend itself by stating I had tilted so ill, that my course had not the least resemblance to my former doings, when indisputably I bore away the garland. Therefore I am as firmly and resolutely determined that I will tilt under my own cognisance. The hazard, indeed, remains of being beaten. But there is a prejudice (not an undue one neither) in favour of the original patentee; and Joe Manton's name has borne out many a sorry gun-barrel. More of this to-morrow.

Expense of journey,                    £4100
Anne, pocket-money,                      500
Servants on journey,                     200
Cash in purse (silver not reckoned),     200

This is like to be an expensive journey; but if I can sell an early copy of the work to a French translator, it should bring me home.

Thank God, little Johnnie Hoo, as he calls himself, is looking well, though the poor dear child is kept always in a prostrate posture.

October 18.--I take up again my remarks on imitators. I am sure I mean the gentlemen no wrong by calling them so, and heartily wish they had followed a better model; but it serves to show me _veluti in speculo_ my own errors, or, if you will, those of the _style_. One advantage, I think, I still have over all of them. They may do their fooling with better grace; but I, like Sir Andrew Aguecheek, do it more natural.[362] They have to read old books and consult antiquarian collections to get their knowledge; I write because I have long since read such works, and possess, thanks to a strong memory, the information which they have to seek for. This leads to a dragging-in historical details by head and shoulders, so that the interest of the main piece is lost in minute descriptions of events which do not affect its progress. Perhaps I have sinned in this way myself; indeed, I am but too conscious of having considered the plot only as what Bayes[363] calls the means of bringing in fine things; so that in respect to the descriptions, it resembled the string of the showman's box, which he pulls to show in succession Kings, Queens, the Battle of Waterloo, Bonaparte at Saint Helena, Newmarket Races, and White-headed Bob floored by Jemmy from town. All this I may have done, but I have repented of it; and in my better efforts, while I conducted my story through the agency of historical personages, and by connecting it with historical incidents, I have endeavoured to weave them pretty closely together, and in future I will study this more. Must not let the background eclipse the principal figures--the frame overpower the picture.

Another thing in my favour is, that my contemporaries steal too openly. Mr. Smith has inserted in _Brambletye House_ whole pages from Defoe's _Fire and Plague of London_.

    "Steal! foh! a fico for the phrase--
    Convey, the wise it call!"[364]
When I _convey_ an incident or so, I am at as much pains to avoid detection as if the offence could be indicted in literal fact at the Old Bailey.

But leaving this, hard pressed as I am by these imitators, who must put the thing out of fashion at last, I consider, like a fox at his last shifts, whether there be a way to dodge them, some new device to throw them off, and have a mile or two of free ground, while I have legs and wind left to use it. There is one way to give novelty: to depend for success on the interest of a well-contrived story. But woe's me! that requires thought, consideration--the writing out a regular plan or plot--above all the adhering to one--which I never can do, for the ideas rise as I write, and bear such a disproportioned extent to that which each occupied at the first concoction, that (cocksnowns!) I shall never be able to take the trouble; and yet to make the world stare, and gain a new march ahead of them all!!! Well, something we still will do.

    "Liberty's in every blow;
    Let us do or die!"
Poor Rob Burns! to tack thy fine strains of sublime patriotism! Better take Tristram Shandy's vein. Hand me my cap and bells there. So now, I am equipped. I open my raree-show with
    Ma'am, will you walk in, and fal de ral diddle?
    And, sir, will you stalk in, and fal de ral diddle?
    And, miss, will you pop in, and fal de ral diddle?
    And, master, pray hop in, and fal de ral diddle?
Query--How long is it since I heard that strain of dulcet mood, and where or how came I to pick it up? It is not mine, "though by your smiling you seem to say so."[365] Here is a proper morning's work! But I am childish with seeing them all well and happy here; and as I can neither whistle nor sing, I must let the giddy humour run to waste on paper.

Sallied forth in the morning; bought a hat. Met S[ir] W[illiam] K[nighton],[366] from whose discourse I guess that _Malachi_ has done me no prejudice in a certain quarter; with more indications of the times, which I need not set down. Sallied again after breakfast, and visited the Piccadilly ladies.[367] Saw Rogers and Richard Sharp, also good Dr. and Mrs. Hughes, also the Duchess of Buckingham, and Lady Charlotte Bury, with a most beautiful little girl. [Owen] Rees breakfasted, and agreed I should have what the Frenchman has offered for the advantage of translating _Napoleon_, which, being a hundred guineas, will help my expenses to town and down again.

October 19.--I rose at my usual time, but could not write; so read Southey's _History of the Peninsular War_. It is very good indeed,--honest English principle in every line; but there are many prejudices, and there is a tendency to augment a work already too long by saying all that can be said of the history of ancient times appertaining to every place mentioned. What care we whether Saragossa be derived from Caesarea Augusta? Could he have proved it to be Numantium, there would have been a concatenation accordingly.[368]

Breakfasted at Rogers' with Sir Thomas Lawrence; Luttrell, the great London wit;[369] Richard Sharp, etc. Sam made us merry with an account of some part of Rose's _Ariosto_; proposed that the Italian should be printed on the other side for the sake of assisting the indolent reader to understand the English; and complained of his using more than once the phrase of a lady having "voided her saddle," which would certainly sound extraordinary at Apothecaries' Hall. Well, well, Rose carries a dirk too.[370] The morning was too dark for Westminster Abbey, which we had projected.

I went to the Foreign Office, and am put by Mr. Wilmot Horton into the hands of a confidential clerk, Mr. Smith, who promises access to everything. Then saw Croker, who gave me a bundle of documents. Sir George Cockburn promises his despatches and journal. In short, I have ample prospect of materials.

Dined with Mrs. Coutts. Tragi-comic distress of my good friend on the marriage of her presumptive heir with a daughter of Lucien Bonaparte.

October 20.--Commanded down to pass a day at Windsor. This is very kind of His Majesty.

At breakfast, Crofton Croker, author of the _Irish Fairy Tales_--little as a dwarf, keen-eyed as a hawk, and of very prepossessing manners. Something like Tom Moore. There were also Terry, Allan Cunningham, Newton, and others. Now I must go to work.

Went down to Windsor, or rather to the Lodge in the Forest, which, though ridiculed by connoisseurs, seems to be no bad specimen of a royal retirement, and is delightfully situated. A kind of cottage ornée--too large perhaps for the style--but yet so managed that in the walks you only see parts of it at once, and these well composed and grouping with immense trees. His Majesty received me with the same mixture of kindness and courtesy which has always distinguished his conduct towards me. There was no company beside the royal retinue--Lady C[onyngham], her daughter, and two or three other ladies. After we left table, there was excellent music by the Royal Band, who lay ambushed in a green-house adjoining the apartment. The King made me sit beside him and talk a great deal--_too much_, perhaps--for he has the art of raising one's spirits, and making you forget the _retenue_ which is prudent everywhere, especially at court. But he converses himself with so much ease and elegance, that you lose thoughts of the prince in admiring the well-bred and accomplished gentleman. He is, in many respects, the model of a British monarch--has little inclination to try experiments on government otherwise than through his ministers--sincerely, I believe, desires the good of his subjects, is kind toward the distressed, and moves and speaks "every inch a king."[371] I am sure such a man is fitter for us than one who would long to head armies, or be perpetually intermeddling with _la grande politique_. A sort of reserve, which creeps on him daily, and prevents his going to places of public resort, is a disadvantage, and prevents his being so generally popular as is earnestly to be desired. This, I think, was much increased by the behaviour of the rabble in the brutal insanity of the Queen's trial, when John Bull, meaning the best in the world, made such a beastly figure.

October 21.--Walked in the morning with Sir William Knighton, and had much confidential chat, not fit to be here set down, in case of accidents. He undertook most kindly to recommend Charles, when he has taken his degree, to be attached to some of the diplomatic missions, which I think is best for the lad after all. After breakfast went to Windsor Castle, met by appointment my daughters and Lockhart, and examined the improvements going on there under Mr. Wyattville, who appears to possess a great deal of taste and feeling for Gothic architecture. The old apartments, splendid enough in extent and proportion, are paltry in finishing. Instead of being lined with heart of oak, the palace of the British King is hung with paper, painted wainscot colour. There are some fine paintings and some droll ones; among the last are those of divers princes of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, of which Queen Charlotte was descended. They are ill-coloured, orang-outang-looking figures, with black eyes and hook-noses, in old-fashioned uniforms.

We returned to a hasty dinner [in Pall Mall], and then hurried away to see honest Dan Terry's house, called the Adelphi Theatre, where we saw the _Pilot_, from the American novel of that name. It is extremely popular, the dramatist having seized on the whole story, and turned the odious and ridiculous parts, assigned by the original author to the British, against the Yankees themselves. There is a quiet effrontery in this that is of a rare and peculiar character. The Americans were so much displeased, that they attempted a row--which rendered the piece doubly attractive to the seamen at Wapping, who came up and crowded the house night after night, to support the honour of the British flag. After all, one must deprecate whatever keeps up ill-will betwixt America and the mother country; and we in particular should avoid awakening painful recollections. Our high situation enables us to contemn petty insults and to make advances towards cordiality. I was, however, glad to see honest Dan's theatre as full seemingly as it could hold. The heat was dreadful, and Anne was so very unwell that she was obliged to be carried into Terry's house,--a curious dwelling, no larger than a squirrel's cage, which he has contrived to squeeze out of the vacant spaces of the theatre, and which is accessible by a most complicated combination of staircases and small passages. Here we had rare good porter and oysters after the play, and found Anne much better. She had attempted too much; indeed I myself was much fatigued.

October 22.--This morning Drs. Gooch, Shaw, and Yates breakfasted, and had a consultation about wee Johnnie. They give us great hopes that his health will be established, but the seaside or the country seem indispensable. Mr. Wilmot Horton,[372] Under Secretary of State, also breakfasted. He is full of some new plan of relieving the poor's-rates by encouraging emigration. But John Bull will think this savours of Botany Bay. The attempt to look the poor's-rates in the face is certainly meritorious.

Laboured in writing and marking extracts to be copied from breakfast to dinner, with the exception of an hour spent in telling Johnnie the history of his namesake, Gilpin.

Mr. William and Mrs. Lockhart dined with us. Tom Moore[373] and Sir Thomas Lawrence came in the evening, which made a pleasant _soirée_. Smoke my French--Egad, it is time to air some of my vocabulary. It is, I find, cursedly musty.

October 23.--Sam Rogers and Moore breakfasted here, and we were very merry fellows. Moore seemed disposed to go to France with us. I visited the Admiralty, and got Sir George Cockburn's journal, which is valuable.[374] Also visited Lady Elizabeth and Sir Charles Stewart. My heart warmed to the former, on account of the old Balcarres connection. Sir Charles and she were very kind and communicative. I foresee I will be embarrassed with more communications than I can well use or trust to, coloured as they must be by the passions of those who make them. Thus I have a statement from the Duchess d'Escars, to which the Bonapartists would, I dare say, give no credit. If Talleyrand, for example, could be communicative, he must have ten thousand reasons for perverting the truth, and yet a person receiving a direct communication from him would be almost barred from disputing it.

    "Sing tantararara, rogues all."
We dined at the Residentiary-house with good Dr. Hughes,[375] Allan Cunningham, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and young Mr. Hughes. Thomas Pringle[376] is returned from the Cape, and called in my absence. He might have done well there, could he have scoured his brain of politics, but he must needs publish a Whig journal at the Cape of Good Hope! He is a worthy creature, but conceited withal--_hinc illæ lachrymæ._ He brought me some antlers and a skin, in addition to others he had sent to Abbotsford four years since. Crofton Croker made me a present of a small box of curious Irish antiquities containing a gold fibula, etc. etc.

October 24--Laboured in the morning. At breakfast Dr. Holland[377] and Cohen, whom they now call Palgrave,[378] a mutation of names which confused my recollections. Item, Moore. I worked at the Colonial Office pretty hard. Dined with Mr. Wilmot Horton and his beautiful wife, the original of the "_She walks in Beauty_," etc., of poor Byron.

The conversation is seldom excellent among official people. So many topics are what Otaheitians call _taboo_. We hunted down a pun or two, which were turned out, like the stag at the Epping Hunt, for the pursuit of all and sundry. Came home early, and was in bed by eleven.

October 25.--Good Mr. Wilson[379] and his wife at breakfast; also Sir Thomas Lawrence. Locker[380] came in afterwards, and made a proposal to me to give up his intended Life of George III. in my favour on cause shown. I declined the proposal, not being of opinion that _my_ genius lies that way, and not relishing hunting in couples. Afterwards went to the Colonial Office, and had Robert Hay's assistance in my inquiries; then to the French Ambassador for my passports. Picked up Sotheby, who endeavoured to saddle me for a review of his polyglot Virgil. I fear I shall scarce convince him that I know nothing of the Latin lingo. Sir R.H. Inglis, Richard Sharp, and other friends called. We dined at Miss Dumergue's, and spent a part of our soirée at Lydia White's. To-morrow,

    "For France, for France, for it is more than need."[381]
[Calais,] October 26.--- Up at five, and in the packet by six. A fine passage--save at the conclusion, while we lay on and off the harbour of Calais. But the tossing made no impression on my companion or me; we ate and drank like dragons the whole way, and were able to manage a good supper and best part of a bottle of Chablis, at the classic Dessein's, who received us with much courtesy.

October 27.--Custom House, etc., detained us till near ten o'clock, so we had time to walk on the Boulevards, and to see the fortifications, which must be very strong, all the country round being flat and marshy. Lost, as all know, by the bloody papist bitch (one must be vernacular when on French ground) Queen Mary, of red-hot memory. I would rather she had burned a score more of bishops. If she had kept it, her sister Bess would sooner have parted with her virginity. Charles I. had no temptation to part with it--it might, indeed, have been shuffled out of our hands during the Civil wars, but Noll would have as soon let monsieur draw one of his grinders; then Charles II. would hardly have dared to sell such an old possession, as he did Dunkirk; and after that the French had little chance till the Revolution. Even then, I think, we could have held a place that could be supplied from our own element, the sea. _Cui bono?_ None, I think, but to plague the rogues.--We dined at Cormont, and being stopped by Mr. Canning having taken up all the post-horses, could only reach Montreuil that night. I should have liked to have seen some more of this place, which is fortified; and as it stands on an elevated and rocky site must present some fine points. But as we came in late and left early, I can only bear witness to good treatment, good supper, good _vin de Barsac_, and excellent beds.

October 28.--Breakfasted at Abbeville, and saw a very handsome Gothic church, and reached Grandvilliers at night. The house is but second-rate, though lauded by various English travellers for the moderation of its charges, as was recorded in a book presented to us by the landlady. There is no great patriotism in publishing that a traveller thinks the bills moderate; it serves usually as an intimation to mine host or hostess that John Bull will bear a little more squeezing. I gave my attestation too, however, for the charges of the good lady resembled those elsewhere; and her anxiety to please was extreme. Folks must be harder-hearted than I am to resist the _empressement_, which may, indeed, be venal, yet has in its expression a touch of cordiality.

[Paris,] October 29.--Breakfasted at Beauvais, and saw its magnificent cathedral--unfinished it has been left, and unfinished it will remain, of course,--the fashion of cathedrals being passed away. But even what exists is inimitable, the choir particularly, and the grand front. Beauvais is called the _Pucelle_, yet, so far as I can see, she wears no stays--I mean, has no fortifications. On we run, however. _Vogue la galère; et voilà nous à Paris_, Hotel de Windsor [_Rue Rivoli_], where we are well lodged. France, so far as I can see, which is very little, has not undergone many changes. The image of war has, indeed, passed away, and we no longer see troops crossing the country in every direction; villages either ruined or hastily fortified; inhabitants sheltered in the woods and caves to escape the rapacity of the soldiers--all this has passed away. The inns are much amended. There is no occasion for that rascally practice of making a bargain--or _combien_-ing your landlady, before you unharness your horses, which formerly was a matter of necessity. The general taste of the English seems to regulate the travelling--naturally enough, as the hotels, of which there are two or three in each town, chiefly subsist by them. We did not see one French equipage on the road; the natives seem to travel entirely in the Diligence, and doubtless _à bon marché_; the road was thronged with English.

But in her great features France is the same as ever. An oppressive air of solitude seems to hover over these rich and extended plains, while we are sensible that, whatever is the motive of the desolation, it cannot be sterility. The towns are small, and have a poor appearance, and more frequently exhibit signs of decayed splendour than of thriving and increasing prosperity. The château, the abode of the gentleman, and the villa, the retreat of the thriving _négociant_, are rarely seen till you come to Beaumont. At this place, which well deserves its name of the fair mount, the prospect improves greatly, and country-seats are seen in abundance; also woods, sometimes deep and extensive, at other times scattered in groves and single trees. Amidst these the oak seldom or never is found; England, lady of the ocean, seems to claim it exclusively as her own. Neither are there any quantity of firs. Poplars in abundance give a formal air to the landscape. The forests chiefly consist of beeches, with some birches, and the roads are bordered by elms cruelly cropped, pollarded, and switched. The demand for firewood occasions these mutilations. If I could waft by a wish the thinnings of Abbotsford here, it would make a little fortune of itself. But then to switch and mutilate my trees!--not for a thousand francs. Ay, but sour grapes, quoth the fox.

October 30.--Finding ourselves snugly settled in our Hotel, we determined to remain here at fifteen francs per day. We are in the midst of what can be seen, and we are very comfortably fed and lodged.

This morning wet and surly. Sallied, however, by the assistance of a hired coach, and left cards for Count Pozzo di Borgo, Lord Granville, our ambassador, and M. Gallois, author of the _History of Venice_.[382] Found no one at home, not even the old pirate Galignani,[383] at whose den I ventured to call. Showed my companion the Louvre (which was closed, unluckily), the front of the palace with its courts, and all that splendid quarter which the fame of Paris rests upon in security. We can never do the like in Britain. Royal magnificence can only be displayed by despotic power. In England, were the most splendid street or public building to be erected, the matter must be discussed in Parliament, or perhaps some sturdy cobbler holds out, and refuses to part with his stall, and the whole plan is disconcerted. Long may such impediments exist! But then we should conform to circumstances, and assume in our public works a certain sober simplicity of character, which should point out that they were dictated by utility rather than show. The affectation of an expensive style only places us at a disadvantageous contrast with other nations, and our substitute of brick and plaster for freestone resembles the mean ambition which displays Bristol stones in default of diamonds.

We went to theatre in the evening--Comédie Française the place, _Rosemunde_ the piece. It is the composition of a young man with a promising name--Émile de Bonnechose; the story that of Fair Rosamond. There were some good situations, and the actors in the French taste seemed to me admirable, particularly Mademoiselle Bourgoin. It would be absurd to attempt to criticise what I only half understood; but the piece was well received, and produced a very strong effect. Two or three ladies were carried out in hysterics; one next to our box was frightfully ill. A Monsieur _à belles moustaches_--the husband, I trust, though it is likely they were _en partie fine_--was extremely and affectionately assiduous. She was well worthy of the trouble, being very pretty indeed; the face beautiful, even amidst the involuntary convulsions. The afterpiece was _Femme Juge et Partie_, with which I was less amused than I had expected, because I found I understood the language less than I did ten or eleven years since. Well, well, I am past the age of mending.

Some of our friends in London had pretended that at Paris I might stand some chance of being encountered by the same sort of tumultuary reception which I met in Ireland; but for this I see no ground. It is a point on which I am totally indifferent. As a literary man I cannot affect to despise public applause; as a private gentleman I have always been embarrassed and displeased with popular clamours, even when in my favour. I know very well the breath of which such shouts are composed, and am sensible those who applaud me to-day would be as ready to toss me to-morrow; and I would not have them think that I put such a value on their favour as would make me for an instant fear their displeasure. Now all this disclamation is sincere, and yet it sounds affected. It puts me in mind of an old woman who, when Carlisle was taken by the Highlanders in 1745, chose to be particularly apprehensive of personal violence, and shut herself up in a closet, in order that she might escape ravishment. But no one came to disturb her solitude, and she began to be sensible that poor Donald was looking out for victuals, or seeking for some small plunder, without bestowing a thought on the fair sex; by and by she popped her head out of her place of refuge with the petty question, "Good folks, can you tell when the ravishing is going to begin?" I am sure I shall neither hide myself to avoid applause, which probably no one will think of conferring, nor have the meanness to do anything which can indicate any desire of ravishment. I have seen, when the late Lord Erskine entered the Edinburgh theatre, papers distributed in the boxes to mendicate a round of applause--the natural reward of a poor player.

October 31.--At breakfast visited by M. Gallois, an elderly Frenchman (always the most agreeable class), full of information, courteous and communicative. He had seen nearly, and remarked deeply, and spoke frankly, though with due caution. He went with us to the Museum, where I think the Hall of Sculpture continues to be a fine thing; that of Pictures but tolerable, when we reflect upon 1815. A number of great French daubs (comparatively), by David and Gerard, cover the walls once occupied by the Italian _chefs-d'oeuvre. Fiat justitia, ruat coelum_. We then visited Notre Dame and the Palace of Justice. The latter is accounted the oldest building in Paris, being the work of St. Louis. It is, however, in the interior, adapted to the taste of Louis XIV. We drove over the Pont Neuf, and visited the fine quays, which was all we could make out to-day, as I was afraid to fatigue Anne. When we returned home I found Count Pozzo di Borgo waiting for me, a personable man, inclined to be rather corpulent--handsome features, with all the Corsican fire in his eye. He was quite kind and communicative. Lord Granville had also called, and sent Mr. Jones [his secretary] to invite us to dinner to-morrow. In the evening at the Odéon, where we saw _Ivanhoe_. It was superbly got up, the Norman soldiers wearing pointed helmets and what resembled much hauberks of mail, which looked very well. The number of the attendants, and the skill with which they were moved and grouped on the stage, were well worthy of notice. It was an opera, and of course the story greatly mangled, and the dialogue in a great part nonsense. Yet it was strange to hear anything like the words which I (then in an agony of pain with spasms in my stomach) dictated to William Laidlaw at Abbotsford, now recited in a foreign tongue, and for the amusement of a strange people. I little thought to have survived the completing of this novel.[384]



[350] Eldest daughter of the illustrious Admiral Lord Duncan, wife of Sir Hew Hamilton Dalrymple. She died in 1852.

[351] This implacable enemy of Napoleon,--a Corsican, died in his seventy-fourth year in 1842.

[352] E.H. Locker, Esq., then Secretary, afterwards one of the Commissioners of Greenwich Hospital--an old and dear friend of Scott's.--See Oct. 25.

[353] As an illustration of Constable's accuracy in gauging the value of literary property, it may be stated that in his formal declaration, after sequestration, he said:--"I was so sanguine as to the success of the _Memoirs of Napoleon_ that I did not hesitate to express it as my opinion that I had much confidence in it producing him at least £10,000, and this I observed, as my expectation, to Sir W. Scott." This opinion was expressed not only before the sale of the work, but before it was all written.--_A. Constable and his Correspondents_, vol. iii. p. 313.

[354] Another of the Abbotsford labourers.

[355] See Ballad of _Edom of Gordon_.

[356] "On the 12th of October, Sir Walter left Abbotsford for London, where he had been promised access to the papers in the Government offices; and thence he proceeded to Paris, in the hope of gathering from various eminent persons authentic anecdotes concerning Napoleon. His Diary shows that he was successful in obtaining many valuable materials for the completion of his historical work; and reflects, with sufficient distinctness, the very brilliant reception he on this occasion experienced both in London and Paris. The range of his society is strikingly (and unconsciously) exemplified in the record of one day, when we find him breakfasting at the Royal Lodge in Windsor Park, and supping on oysters and porter in "honest Dan Terry's house, like a squirrel's cage," above the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand. There can be no doubt that this expedition was in many ways serviceable in his _Life of Napoleon_; and I think as little that it was chiefly so by renewing his spirits. The deep and respectful sympathy with which his misfortunes, and gallant behaviour under them, had been regarded by all classes of men at home and abroad, was brought home to his perception in a way not to be mistaken. He was cheered and gratified, and returned to Scotland with renewed hope and courage for the prosecution of his marvellous course of industry."--_Life_, vol. ix. pp. 2, 3.

[357] John B. Saurey Morritt of Rokeby, a friend of twenty years' standing, and "one of the most accomplished men that ever shared Scott's confidence."

He had published, before making Scott's acquaintance, a _Vindication of Homer_, in 1798, a treatise on _The Topography of Troy_, 1800, and translations and imitations of the minor Greek Poets in 1802.

Mr. Morritt survived his friend till February 12th, 1843, when he died at Rokeby Park, Yorkshire, in his seventy-second year.--See _Life_ throughout.

[358] _MS. note on margin of Journal_ by Mr. Morritt: "No--it was left by Reynolds to Mason, by Mason to Burgh, and given to me by Mr. Burgh's widow."

[359] _Chiverton_ was the first publication (anonymous) of Mr. W. Harrison Ainsworth, the author of _Rookwood_ and other popular romances.--J.G.L.

[360] It is interesting to know that Scott would not read this book until _Woodstock_ was fairly off his hands.

See _ante_, p. 167, and the introduction to the original edition written in March 1826, in which the author says:--"Some accidental collision there must be, when works of a similar character are finished on the same general system of historical manners, and the same historical personages are introduced. Of course, if such have occurred, I shall be probably the sufferer. But my intentions have been at least innocent, since I look on it as one of the advantages attending the conclusion of _Woodstock_, that the finishing of my own task will permit me to have the pleasure of reading BRAMBLETYE-HOUSE, from which I have hitherto conscientiously abstained."--_Novels_, vol. xxxix. pp. lxxv-vi.

[361] Ben Jonson, _Every Man in his Humour_.

[362] _Twelfth Night_, Act II. Sc. 3.

[363] _Rehearsal_, Act III. Sc. 1.

[364] _Merry Wives_, Act I. Sc. 3.

[365] _Hamlet_, Act II. Sc. 2.

[366] Sir Walter had made his acquaintance in August 1822, and ever afterwards they corresponded with each other--sometimes very confidentially.--J.G.L.

[367] The Dumergues, at 15 Piccadilly West--early friends of Lady Scott's.--See _Life_., vol. ii. p. 120.

[368] It is amusing to compare this criticism with Sir Walter's own anxiety to identify his daughter-in-law's place, _Lochore_, with the _Urbs Orrea_ of the Roman writers. See _Life_, vol. vii. p. 352.--J.G.L.

[369] This brilliant conversationalist was the author of several airy and graceful productions in verse, which were published anonymously, such as _Lines written at Ampthill Park_, in 1818; _Advice to Julia, a letter in Rhyme_, in which he sketched high life in London, in 1820. He also published _Crockford House_: a rhapsody, in 1827. Moore in his _Diary_ has embalmed numerous examples of his satiric wit. Henry Luttrell died in 1851.

[370] The _Orlando Furioso_, by Mr. Stewart Rose, was published in 8 vols. 8vo, London 1823-1831.

[371] _King Lear_, Act IV. Sc. 6.--J.G.L.

[372] Afterwards the Right Hon. Sir Robert Wilmot Horton, Governor of Ceylon.

[373] Moore, on hearing of Scott's arrival, hastened to London from Sloperton, and had several pleasant meetings, particulars of which are given in his _Diary_ (vol. v. pp. 121 to 126). He would, as Scott says on the 23d, have gone to Paris with them--"seemed disposed to go"; but between that date and 25th fancied that he saw something in Scott's manner that made him hesitate, and then finally give up the idea. He adds that Scott's friends had thrown out hints as to the impropriety of such a political reprobate forming one of the party. This suspicion on Moore's part shows how he had misunderstood Scott's real character. If Scott thought it right to ask the Bard of Ireland to be his companion, no hints from Mr. Wilmot Horton, or any members of the Court party, would have influenced him, even though they had urged that "this political reprobate" was author of _The Fudge Family in Paris_ and the _Twopenny Post-Bag._

[374] Sir George died in 1853. His journal does not appear to have been published.

[375] Dr. Hughes, who died Jan. 6, 1833, aged seventy-seven, was one of the Canons-residentiary of St. Paul's, London. He and Mrs. Hughes were old friends of Sir Walter, who had been godfather to one of their grandchildren.--See _Life_, vol. vii. pp. 259-260. Their son was John Hughes, Esq., of Oriel College, whose "Itinerary of the Rhone" is mentioned with praise in the introduction to _Quentin Durward_.--See letter to Charles Scott, in _Life_, vol. vii. p. 275.

[376] Mr. Pringle was a Roxburghshire farmer's son who in youth attracted Sir Walter's notice by his poem called _The Autumnal Excursion; or, Sketches in Teviotdale_. He was for a short time Editor of _Blackwood's Magazine_, but the publisher and he had different politics, quarrelled, and parted. Sir Walter then gave Pringle strong recommendations to the late Lord Charles Somerset, Governor of the Cape of Good Hope in which colony he settled, and for some years throve under the Governor's protection; but the newspaper alluded to in the text ruined his prospects at the Cape; he returned to England, became Secretary to the Anti-Slavery Society, published a charming little volume entitled _African Sketches_, and died in December 1834. He was a man of amiable feelings and elegant genius.

[377] An esteemed friend of Sir Walter's, who attended on him during his illness in October 1831, and in June 1832.

[378] Afterwards Sir Francis Palgrave, Deputy-Keeper of the public records, and author of the _History of Normandy and England_, 4 vols. 8vo, 1851-1864, and other works.

[379] William Wilson of Wandsworth Common, formerly of Wilsontown, in Lanarkshire.--J.G.L.

[380] E.H. Locker, then Secretary of Greenwich Hospital.--See _ante_, Oct. 7.

[381] _King John_, Act I. Sc. 1.

[382] There were two well-known Frenchmen of this name at the time of Scott's visit to Paris: (1) Jean-Antoine-Gauvain Gallois, who was born about 1755 and died in 1828; (2) Charles-André-Gustave-Léonard Gallois, born 1789, died 1851. It was the latter of these who translated from the Italian of Colletta _Cinq jours de l'histoire de Naples_, 8vo, Paris, 1820. But at this date he was only thirty-seven, and it can scarcely be of him that Scott writes (p. 288) as an "elderly" man. The probability is that it was the elder Gallois whom Scott saw, and that he ascribed to him, though the title is misquoted, a work written by the younger.

[383] "When he was in Paris," Hazlitt writes, "and went to Galignani's, he sat down in an outer room to look at some book he wanted to see; none of the clerks had the least suspicion who he was. When it was found out, the place was in a commotion."--From Mr. Alexander Ireland's excellent _Selections from Hazlitt's writings,_ 8vo, Lond. 1889, p. 482.

[384] _Ivanhoe_ might have borne a motto somewhat analogous to the inscription which Frederick the Great's predecessor used to affix to his attempts at portrait-painting when he had the gout: "Fredericus I. in tormentis pinxit."--_Recollections of Sir Walter Scott_, p. 240. Lond. 1837.

Sir Walter Scott