Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

November 1827

November 1.--I waked in the night and lay two hours in feverish meditation. This is a tribute to natural feeling. But the air of a fine frosty morning gave me some elasticity of spirit. It is strange that about a week ago I was more dispirited for nothing at all than I am now for perplexities which set at defiance my conjectures concerning their issue. I suppose that I, the Chronicler of the Canongate, will have to take up my residence in the Sanctuary[65] for a week or so, unless I prefer the more airy residence of the Calton Jail, or a trip to the Isle of Man. These furnish a pleasing choice of expedients. It is to no purpose being angry at Ehud or Ahab, or whatever name he delights in. He is seeking his own, and thinks by these harsh measures to render his road to it more speedy. And now I will trouble myself no more about the matter than I can possibly help, which will be quite enough after all. Perhaps something may turn up better for me than I now look for. Sir Adam Ferguson left Bowhill this morning for Dumfriesshire. I returned to Abbotsford to Anne, and told her this unpleasant news. She stood it remarkably well, poor body.

November 2.--I was a little bilious to-night--no wonder. Had sundry letters without any power of giving my mind to answer them--one about Gourgaud with his nonsense. I shall not trouble my head more on that score. Well, it is a hard knock on the elbow; I knew I had a life of labour before me, but I was resolved to work steadily; now they have treated me like a recusant turnspit, and put in a red-hot cinder into the wheel alongst with [me]. But of what use is philosophy--and I have always pretended to a little of a practical character--if it cannot teach us to do or suffer? The day is glorious, yet I have little will to enjoy it, but sit here ruminating upon the difference and comparative merits of the Isle of Man and of the Abbey. Small choice betwixt them. Were a twelvemonth over, I should perhaps smile at what makes me now very serious.

Smile!--No, that can never be. My present feelings cannot be recollected with cheerfulness; but I may drop a tear of gratitude. I have finished my _Tales_[66] and have now nothing literary in hand. It would be an evil time to begin anything.

November 3.--Slept ill, and lay one hour longer than usual in the morning. I gained an hour's quiet by it, that is much. I feel a little shaken at the result of to-day's post. Bad it must be, whatsoever be the alternative. I am not able to go out, my poor workers wonder that I pass them without a word. I can imagine no alternative but either retreat to the Sanctuary or to the Isle of Man. Both shocking enough. But in Edinburgh I am always near the scene of action, free from uncertainty and near my poor daughter; so I think I will prefer it, and thus I rest in unrest. But I will not let this unman me. Our hope, heavenly and earthly, is poorly anchored, if the cable parts upon the strain. I believe in God who can change evil into good; and I am confident that what befalls us is always ultimately for the best. I have a letter from Mr. Gibson, purporting the opinion of the trustees and committee of creditors, that I should come to town, and interesting themselves warmly in the matter. They have intimated that they will pay Mr. Abud a composition of six shillings per pound on his debt. This is a handsome offer, but I understand he is determined to have his pound of flesh. If I can prevent it, he shall not take a shilling by his hard-hearted conduct.

November 4.--Put my papers in some order, and prepared for my journey. It is in the style of the Emperors of Abyssinia who proclaim--Cut down the Kantuffa in the four quarters of the world,--for I know not where I am going. Yet, were it not for poor Anne's doleful looks, I would feel firm as a piece of granite. Even the poor dogs seem to fawn on me with anxious meaning, as if there were something going on they could not comprehend. They probably notice the packing of the clothes, and other symptoms of a journey.

Set off at twelve, firmly resolved in body and in mind. Dined at Fushie Bridge. Ah! good Mrs. Wilson, you know not you are like to lose an old customer.[67]

But when I arrived in Edinburgh at my faithful friend, Mr. Gibson's, lo! the scene had again changed, and a new hare is started.[68]

The trustees were clearly of opinion that the matter should be probed to the very bottom; so Cadell sets off to-morrow in quest of Robinson, whose haunts he knows. There was much talk concerning what should be done, how to protect my honour's person, and to postpone commencing a defence which must make Ahab desperate, before we can ascertain that the grounds are really tenable. This much I think I can see, that the trustees will rather pay the debt than break off the trust and go into a sequestration. They are clearly right for themselves, and I believe for me also. Whether it is in human possibility that I can clear off these obligations or not, is very doubtful. But I would rather have it written on my monument that I died at the desk than live under the recollection of having neglected it. My conscience is free and happy, and would be so if I were to be lodged in the Calton Jail. Were I shirking exertion I should lose heart, under a sense of general contempt, and so die like a poisoned rat in a hole.

Dined with Gibson and John Home. His wife is a pretty lady-like woman. Slept there at night.

November 6.--I took possession of No. 6 Shandwick Place, Mrs. Jobson's house. Mr. Cadell had taken it for me; terms £100 for four months--cheap enough, as it is a capital house. I offered £5 for immediate entrance, as I do not like to fly back to Abbotsford. So here we are established, _i.e._ John Nicolson[69] and I, with good fires and all snug.

I waited on L.J.S.; an affecting meeting.[70]

Sir William Forbes came in before dinner to me, high-spirited noble fellow as ever, and true to his friend. Agrees with my feelings to a comma. He thinks Cadell's account must turn up trumps, and is for going the vole.[71]

November 7.--Began to settle myself this morning, after the hurry of mind, and even of body, which I have lately undergone. Commenced a review--that is, an essay, on Ornamental Gardening for the _Quarterly_. But I stuck fast for want of books. As I did not wish to leave the mind leisure to recoil on itself, I immediately began the Second Series of the _Chronicles of Canongate_, the First having been well approved. I went to make another visit, and fairly softened myself like an old fool, with recalling old stories till I was fit for nothing but shedding tears and repeating verses for the whole night. This is sad work. The very grave gives up its dead, and time rolls back thirty years to add to my perplexities. I don't care. I begin to grow over-hardened, and, like a stag turning at bay, my naturally good temper grows fierce and dangerous. Yet what a romance to tell, and told I fear it will one day be. And then my three years of dreaming and my two years of wakening will be chronicled doubtless. But the dead will feel no pain.

November 8.--_Domum mansi, lanam feci_. I may borrow the old sepulchral motto of the Roman matron. I stayed at home, and began the third volume of _Chronicles_, or rather the first volume of the Second Series.[72] This I pursued with little intermission from morning till night, yet only finished nine pages. Like the machinery of a steam-engine, the imagination does not work freely when first set upon a new task.

November 9.--Finished my task after breakfast, at least before twelve. Then went to College to hear this most amusing good matter of the Essay read.[73] _Imprimis_ occurs a dispute whether the magistrates, as patrons of the University, should march in procession before the Royal visitors; and it was proposed on our side that the Provost, who is undoubtedly the first man in his own city, should go in attendance on the Principal, with the Chairman of the Commission on the Principal's right hand, and the whole Commission following, taking _pas_ of the other Magistrates as well as of the Senatus Academicus--or whether we had not better waive all question of precedence, and let the three bodies find their way separately as they best could. This last method was just adopted when we learned that the question was not in what order of procession we should reach the place of exhibition, but whether we were to get there at all, which was presently after reported as an impossibility. The lads of the College had so effectually taken possession of the class-room where the essay was to be read, that, neither learning or law, neither Magistrates nor Magisters, neither visitors nor visited, could make way to the scene of action. So we grandees were obliged to adjourn the sederunt till Saturday the 17th--and so ended the collie-shangie.

November 10.--Wrote out my task and little more. At twelve o'clock I went to poor Lady J.S. to talk over old stories. I am not clear that it is right or healthful indulgence to be ripping up old sorrows, but it seems to give her deep-seated sorrow words, and that is a mental bloodletting. To me these things are now matter of calm and solemn recollection, never to be forgotten, yet scarce to be remembered with pain.

We go out to Saint Catherine's[74] to-day. I am glad of it, for I would not have these recollections haunt me, and society will put them out of my head.

November 11.--Sir William Rae read us prayers. Sauntered about the doors, and talked of old cavalry stories. Then drove to Melville, and saw the Lord and Lady, and family. I think I never saw anything more beautiful than the ridge of Carnethy (Pentland) against a clear frosty sky, with its peaks and varied slopes. The hills glowed like purple amethysts, the sky glowed topaz and vermilion colours. I never saw a finer screen than Pentland, considering that it is neither rocky nor highly elevated.

November 12.--I cannot say I lost a minute's sleep on account of what the day might bring forth; though it was that on which we must settle with Abud in his Jewish demand, or stand to the consequences. I breakfasted with an excellent appetite, laughed in real genuine easy fun, and went to Edinburgh, resolved to do what should best become me. When I came home I found Walter, poor fellow, who had come down on the spur, having heard from John Lockhart how things stand. Gibson having taken out a suspension makes us all safe for the present. So we dined merrily. He has good hopes of his Majesty, and I must support his interest as well as I can. Wrote letters to Lady Shelley, John L., and one or two chance correspondents. One was singular. A gentleman, writing himself James Macturk, tells me his friends have identified him with Captain Macturk of St. Ronan's Well, and finding himself much inconvenienced by this identification, he proposes I should apply to the King to forward his restoration and advance in the service (he writes himself late Lieutenant 4th Dragoon Guards) as an atonement for having occasioned him (though unintentionally no doubt) so great an injury. This is one road to promotion, to be sure. Lieutenant Macturk is, I suppose, tolerably mad.

We dined together, Anne, Walter, and I, and were happy at our reunion, when, as I was despatching my packet to London,

    In started to heeze up our howp[75]
John Gibson, radiant with good-natured joy. He had another letter from Cadell, enclosing one from Robinson, in which the latter pledges himself to make the most explicit affidavit.

On these two last days I have written only three pages, but not from inaptitude or incapacity to labour. It is odd enough--I think it difficult to place me in a situation of danger, or disagreeable circumstances, purely personal, which would shake my powers of mind, yet they sink under mere lowness of spirits, as this Journal bears evidence in too many passages.

November 13.--Wrote a little in the morning, but not above a page. Went to the Court about one, returned, and made several visits with Anne and Walter. Cadell came, glorious with the success of his expedition, but a little allayed by the prospect of competition for the copyrights, on which he and I have our eyes as joint purchasers. We must have them if possible, for I can give new value to an edition corrected with notes. _Nous verrons!_ Captain Musgrave, of the house of Edenhall, dined with us. After dinner, while we were over our whisky and water and cigars, enter the merry knight. Misses Kerr came to tea, and we had fun and singing in the evening.

November 14.--A little work in the morning, but no gathering to my tackle. Went to Court, remained till nigh one. Then came through a pitiless shower; dressed and went to the christening of a boy of John Richardson's who was baptized Henry Cockburn. Read the _Gazette_ of the great battle of Navarino, in which we have thumped the Turks very well. But as to the justice of our interference, I will only suppose some Turkish plenipotentiary, with an immense turban and long loose trousers, comes to dictate to us the mode in which we should deal with our refractory liegemen the Catholics of Ireland. We hesitate to admit his interference, on which the Moslem admiral runs into Cork Bay or Bantry Bay, alongside of a British squadron, and sends a boat to tow aside a fire-ship. A vessel fires on the boat and sinks her. Is there an aggression on the part of those who fired first, or of those whose manoeuvres occasioned the firing?

Dined at Henry Cockburn's with the christening party.

November 15.--Wrote a little in the morning. Detained in Court till two; then returned home wet enough. Met with Chambers, and complimented him about his making a clever book of the 1745 for Constable's _Miscellany_. It is really a lively work, and must have a good sale. Before dinner enter Cadell, and we anxiously renewed our plan for buying the copyrights on 19th December. It is most essential that the whole of the Waverley Novels should be kept under our management, as it is called. I may then give them a new impulse by a preface and notes; and if an edition, of say 30 volumes, were to be published monthly to the tune of 5000, which may really be expected if the shops were once cleared of the over-glut, it would bring in £10,000 clear profit, over all outlay, and so pay any sum of copy-money that might be ventured. I must urge these things to Gibson, for except these copyrights be saved our plans will go to nothing.

Walter and Anne went to hear Madame Pasta sing after dinner. I remained at home; wrote to Sir William Knighton, and sundry other letters of importance.

November 16.--There was little to do in Court to-day, but one's time is squandered, and his ideas broken strangely. At three we had a select meeting of the Gas Directors to consider what line we were to take in the disastrous affairs of the company. Agreed to go to Parliament a second time. James Gibson [Craig] and I to go up as our solicitors. So curiously does interest couple up individuals, though I am sure I have no objection whatever to Mr. James Gibson-Craig.[76]

November 17.--Returned home in early time from the Court. Settled on the review of Ornamental Gardening for Lockhart, and wrote hard. Want several quotations, though--that is the bore of being totally without books. Anne and I dined quietly together, and I wrote after tea--an industrious day.

November 18.--This has been also a day of exertion. I was interrupted for a moment by a visit from young Davidoff with a present of a steel snuff-box [Tula work], wrought and lined with gold, having my arms on the top, and on the sides various scenes from the environs and principal public buildings of St. Petersburg--a _joli cadeau_--and I take it very kind of my young friend. I had a letter from his uncle, Denis Davidoff, the black captain of the French retreat. The Russians are certainly losing ground and men in Persia, and will not easily get out of the scrape of having engaged an active enemy in a difficult and unhealthy country. I am glad of it; it is an overgrown power; and to have them kept quiet at least is well for the rest of Europe. I concluded the evening--after writing a double task--with the trial of Malcolm Gillespie, renowned as a most venturous excise officer, but now like to lose his life for forgery. A bold man in his vocation he seems to have been, but the law seems to have got round to the wrong side of him on the present occasion.[77]

November 19.--Corrected the last proof of _Tales of my Grandfather_. Received Cadell at breakfast, and conversed fully on the subject of the _Chronicles_ and the application of the price of 2d series, say £4000, to the purchase of the moiety of the copyrights now in the market, and to be sold this day month. If I have the command of a new Edition and put it into an attractive shape, with notes, introductions, and illustrations that no one save I myself can give, I am confident it will bring home the whole purchase-money with something over, and lead to the disposal of a series of the subsequent volumes of the following works,

St. Ronan's Well,        3 vols.
Redgauntlet,             3  "
Tales of Crusaders,      4  "
Woodstock,               3  "
                        -----
                        13
make a series of 7 vols.! The two series of the _Chronicles_ and others will be ready about the same time.

November 20.--Wrought in the morning at the review, which I fear will be lengthy. Called on Hector as I came home from the Court, and found him better, and keeping a Highland heart. I came home like a crow through the mist, half dead with a rheumatic headache caused by the beastly north-east wind.

"What am I now when every breeze appals me?"[78] I dozed for half-an-hour in my chair for pain and stupidity. I omitted to say yesterday that I went out to Melville Castle to inquire after my Lord Melville, who had broke his collar-bone by a fall from his horse in mounting. He is recovering well, but much bruised. I came home with Lord Chief-Commissioner Adam. He told me a dictum of old Sir Gilbert Elliot, speaking of his uncles. "No chance of opulence," he said, "is worth the risk of a competence." It was not the thought of a great man, but perhaps that of a wise one. Wrought at my review, and despatched about half or better, I should hope. I incline to longer extracts in the next sheets.

November 21.--Wrought at the review. At one o'clock I attended the general meeting of the Union Scottish Assurance Company. There was a debate arose whether the ordinary acting directors should or should not have a small sum, amounting to about a crown a piece allotted to them each day of their regular attendance. The proposal was rejected by many, and upon grounds which sound very well,--such as the shabbiness of men being influenced by a trifling consideration like this, and the absurdity of the Company volunteering a bounty to one set of men, when there are others willing to act gratuitously, and many gentlemen volunteered their own services; though I cannot help suspecting that, as in the case of ultroneous offers of service upon most occasions, it was not likely to be acceptable. The motion miscarried, however--impoliticly rejected, as I think. The sound of five shillings sounds shabby, but the fact is that it does in some sort reconcile the party to whom it is offered to leave his own house and business at an exact hour; whereas, in the common case, one man comes too late--another does not come at all--the attendance is given by different individuals upon different days, so that no one acquires the due historical knowledge of the affairs of the Company. Besides, the Directors, by taking even this trifling sum of money, render themselves the paid servants of the Company, and are bound to use a certain degree of diligence, much greater than if they continued to serve, as hitherto, gratuitously. The pay is like enlisting money which, whether great or small, subjects to engagements under the Articles of war.

A china-merchant spoke,--a picture of an orator with bandy legs, squinting eyes, and a voice like an ungreased cart-wheel--a liberty boy, I suppose. The meeting was somewhat stormy, but I preserved order by listening with patience to each in turn; determined that they should weary out the patience of the meeting before I lost mine. An orator is like a top. Let him alone and he must stop one time or another--flog him, and he may go on for ever.

Dined with Directors, of whom I only knew the Manager, Sutherland Mackenzie, Sir David Milne, and Wauchope, besides one or two old Oil Gas friends. It went off well enough.

November 22.--Wrought in the morning. Then made arrangements for a dinner to celebrate the Duke of Buccleuch coming of age--that which was to have been held at Melville Castle being postponed, owing to Lord M.'s accident. Sent copy of Second Series of _Chronicles of Canongate_ to Ballantyne.

November 23.--I bilked the Court to-day, and worked at the review. I wish it may not be too long, yet know not how to shorten it. The post brought me a letter from the Duke of Buccleuch, acquainting me with his grandmother, the Duchess-Dowager's death.[79] She was a woman of unbounded beneficence to, and even beyond, the extent of her princely fortune. She had a masculine courage, and great firmness in enduring affliction, which pressed on her with continued and successive blows in her later years. She was about eighty-four, and nature was exhausted; so life departed like the extinction of a lamp for lack of oil. Our dinner on Monday is put off. I am not superstitious, but I wish this festival had not been twice delayed by such sinister accidents--first, the injury sustained by Lord Melville, and then this event spreading crape like the shroud of Saladin over our little festival.[80] God avert bad omens!

Dined with Archie Swinton. Company--Sir Alexander and Lady Keith, Mr. and Mrs. Anderson, Clanronald, etc. Clanronald told us, as an instance of Highland credulity, that a set of his kinsmen, Borradale and others, believing that the fabulous Water Cow inhabited a small lake near his house, resolved to drag the monster into day. With this view they bivouacked by the side of the lake, in which they placed, by way of night-bait, two small anchors, such as belong to boats, each baited with the carcase of a dog slain for the purpose. They expected the Water Cow would gorge on this bait, and were prepared to drag her ashore the next morning, when, to their confusion of face, the baits were found untouched. It is something too late in the day for setting baits for Water Cows.[81]

November 24.--Wrote at review in the morning. I have made my revocation of the invitation for Monday. For myself it will give me time to work. I could not get home to-day till two o'clock, and was quite tired and stupid. So I did little but sleep or dose till dressing-time. Then went to Sir David Wedderburn's, where I met three beauties of my own day, Margaret Brown, Maria Brown, and Jane Wedderburn, now Lady Wedderburn, Lady Hampden, and Mrs. Oliphant. We met the pleasant Irish family of Meath. The resemblance between the Earl of Meath and the Duke of Wellington is something remarkably striking--it is not only the profile, but the mode of bearing the person, and the person itself. Lady Theodora Brabazon, the Earl's daughter, and a beautiful young lady, told me that in Paris her father was often taken for Lord Wellington.

November 25.--This forenoon finished the review, and despatched it to Lockhart before dinner. Will Clerk, Tom Thomson, and young Frank Scott dined with me. We had a pleasant day. I have wrought pretty well to-day. But I must

    Do a little more
    And produce a little ore.
November 26.--Corrected proof-sheets of _Chronicles_ and _Tales_. Advised Sheriff processes, and was busy.

Dined with Robert Dundas of Arniston, Lord Register, etc. An agreeable evening.

November 27.--Corrected proofs in the morning, and attended the Court till one or two o'clock, Mr. Hamilton being again ill. I visited Lady S. on my return. Came home too fagged to do anything to purpose.

Anecdote from George Bell. In the days of Charles II. or his brother, flourished an old Lady Elphinstone, so old that she reached the extraordinary period of 103. She was a keen Whig, so did not relish Graham of Clavers. At last, having a curiosity to see so aged a person, he obtained or took permission to see her, and asked her of the remarkable things she had seen. "Indeed," said she, "I think one of the most remarkable is, that when I entered the world there was one Knox deaving us a' with his clavers, and now that I am going out of it, there is one Clavers deaving us with his knocks."

November 28.--Corrected proofs and went to Court. Returned about one, and called on the Lord Chief-Baron. Dined with the Duchess of Bedford at the Waterloo, and renewed, as I may say, an old acquaintance, which began while her Grace was Lady Georgiana.[82] She has now a fine family, two young ladies silent just now, but they will find their tongues, or they are not right Gordons, a very fine child, Alister, who shouted, sung, and spoke Gaelic with much spirit. They are from a shooting-place in the Highlands, called Invereshie, in Badenoch, which the Duke has taken to gratify the Duchess's passion for the heather.

November 29.--My course of composition is stopped foolishly enough. I have sent four leaves to London with Lockhart's review. I am very sorry for this blunder, and here is another. Forgetting I had been engaged for a long time to Lord Gillies--a first family visit too--the devil tempted me to accept of the office of President of the Antiquarian Society. And now they tell me people have come from the country to be present, and so forth, of which I may believe as much as I may. But I must positively take care of this absurd custom of confounding invitations. My conscience acquits me of doing so by malice _prepense_, yet one incurs the suspicion. At any rate it is uncivil and must be amended. Dined at Lord C. Commissioner's--to meet the Duchess and her party. She can be extremely agreeable, but I used to think her Grace _journalière_. She may have been cured of that fault, or I may have turned less jealous of my dignity. At all events let a pleasant hour go by unquestioned, and do not let us break ordinary gems to pieces because they are not diamonds. I forgot to say Edwin Landseer was in the Duchess's train. He is, in my mind, one of the most striking masters of the modern school. His expression both in man and animals is capital. He showed us many sketches of smugglers, etc., taken in the Highlands, all capital.

    "Some gaed there, and some gaed here,
    And a' the town was in a steer,
    And Johnnie on his brocket mear,
      He raid to fetch the howdie."
November 30.--Another idle morning, with letters, however. Had the great pleasure of a letter from Lord Dudley[83] acquainting me that he had received his Majesty's commands to put down the name of my son Charles for the first vacancy that should occur in the Foreign Office, and at the same time to acquaint me with his gracious intentions, which were signified in language the most gratifying to me. This makes me really feel light and happy, and most grateful to the kind and gracious sovereign who has always shown, I may say, so much friendship towards me. Would to God _the King's errand might lie in the cadger's gait_, that I might have some better way of showing my gratitude than merely by a letter of thanks or this private memorandum of my gratitude. The lad is a good boy and clever, somewhat indolent I fear, yet with the capacity of exertion. Presuming his head is full enough of Greek and Latin, he has now living languages to study; so I will set him to work on French, Italian, and German, that, like the classic Cerberus, he may speak a leash of languages at once. Dined with Gillies, very pleasant; Lord Chief-Commissioner, Will Clerk, Cranstoun, and other old friends. I saw in the evening the celebrated Miss Grahame Stirling, so remarkable for her power of personifying a Scottish old lady. Unluckily she came late, and I left early in the evening, so I could not find out wherein her craft lay. She looked like a sensible woman. I had a conference with my trustees about the purchase (in company with Cadell) of the copyrights of the novels to be exposed to sale on the 19th December, and had the good luck to persuade them fully of the propriety of the project. I alone can, by notes and the like, give these works a new value, and in fact make a new edition. The price is to be made good from the Second Series _Chronicles of Canongate_, sold to Cadell for £4000; and it may very well happen that we shall have little to pay, as part of the copyrights will probably be declared mine by the arbiter, and these I shall have without money and without price. Cadell is most anxious on the subject. He thinks that two years hence £10,000 may be made of a new edition.

-

FOOTNOTES:

[65] Holyrood remained an asylum for civil debtors until 1880, when by the Act 43 & 44 Victoria, cap. 34 imprisonment for debt was abolished. For description of bounds see _Chronicles of the Canongate,_ p. 7. (vol. xli.).

[66] The book was published during November, under the following title, _Chronicles of the Canongate_ (First Series). By the author of _Waverley_, etc.--SIC ITUR AD ASTRA, motto of Canongate arms. In two vols. _The Two Drovers_, _The Highland Widow_, _The Surgeon's Daughter_. Edinburgh, printed for Cadell and Co., and Simpkin Marshall. London 1827.

The introduction to this work contains sketches of Scott's own life, with portraits of his friends, unsurpassed in any of his earlier writings; for example, what could be better than the description of his ancestors the Scotts of Raeburn, vol. xli. p. 61:--

"_They werena ill to them, sir, and that is aye something; they were just decent bien bodies. Ony poor creature that had face to beg got an awmous and welcome; they that were shamefaced gaed by, and twice as welcome. But they keepit an honest walk before God and man, the Croftangrys, and as I said before, if they did little good, they did as little ill. They lifted their rents and spent them; called in their kain and eat them; gaed to the kirk of a Sunday, bowed civilly if folk took aff their bannets as they gaed by, and lookit as black as sin at them that keepit them on_."

[67] Mrs. Wilson, landlady of the inn at Fushie, one stage from Edinburgh,--an old dame of some humour, with whom Sir Walter always had a friendly colloquy in passing. I believe the charm was, that she had passed her childhood among the Gipsies of the Border. But her fiery Radicalism latterly was another source of high merriment.--J.G.L.

[68] The "new hare" was this: "It transpired in the very nick of time, that a suspicion of usury attached to these Israelites without guile, in a transaction with Hurst and Robinson, as to one or more of the bills for which the house of Ballantyne had become responsible. This suspicion, upon investigation, assumed a shape sufficiently tangible to justify Ballantyne's trustees in carrying the point before the Court of Session; but they failed to establish their allegation."--_Life_, vol. ix. pp. 178-9.

[69] A favourite domestic at Abbotsford, whose name was never to be mentioned by any of Scott's family without respect and gratitude.--_Life_, vol. x. p. 3.

[70] Lady Jane Stuart's house was No. 12 Maitland Street, opposite Shandwick Place. Mrs. Skene told Mr. Lockhart that at Sir Walter's first meeting with his old friend a very painful scene occurred, and she added--"I think it highly probable that it was on returning from this call that he committed to writing the verses, _To Time_, by his early favourite."--_Life_, vol. ix, p. 183.

The lines referred to are given below--

Friend of the wretch oppress'd with grief. Whose lenient hand, though slow, supplies The balm that lends to care relief, That wipes her tears--that checks her sighs!

'Tis thine the wounded soul to heal That hopeless bleeds for sorrow's smart, From stern misfortune's shaft to steal The barb that rankles in the heart.

What though with thee the roses fly, And jocund youth's gay reign is o'er; Though dimm'd the lustre of the eye, And hope's vain dreams enchant no more.

Yet in thy train come dove-eyed peace, Indifference with her heart of snow; At her cold couch, lo! sorrows cease, No thorns beneath her roses grow.

O haste to grant thy suppliant's prayer, To me thy torpid calm impart: Rend from my brow youth's garland fair, But take the thorn that's in my heart.

Ah! why do fabling poets tell That thy fleet wings outstrip the wind? Why feign thy course of joy the knell, And call thy slowest pace unkind?

To me thy tedious feeble pace Comes laden with the weight of years; With sighs I view morn's blushing face, And hail mild evening with my tears.

_--Life,_ vol. i. pp. 334-336.

[71] Sir William Forbes crowned his generous efforts for Scott's relief by privately paying the whole of Abud's demand (nearly £2000) out of his own pocket--ranking as an ordinary creditor for the amount; and taking care at the same time that his old friend should be allowed to believe that the affair had merged quietly in the general measures of the trustees. In fact it was not until some time after Sir William's death (in the following year) that Sir Walter learned what he had done.--_Life_, vol. ix. p. 179.

[72] _St. Valentine's Day_ or _Fair Maid of Perth_.

[73] A Royal Commission, of which Sir Walter was a member, had been appointed in 1826 to visit the Universities of Scotland. At the suggestion of Lord Aberdeen, a hundred guinea prize had been offered for the best essay on the national character of the Athenians. This prize, which excited great interest among the Edinburgh students, was won by John Brown Patterson, and ordered to be read before the Commissioners, and the other public bodies, with the result described by Sir Walter. It was read on the 17th November before a distinguished audience.

[74] Sir William Rae's house, in Liberton parish, near Edinburgh.

[75] From the old song _Andrew and his Cutty Gun_.

[76] Sir James Gibson-Craig, one of the Whig leaders, and a prominent advocate of reform at the end of last century.

[77] Gillespie was tried at Aberdeen before Lord Alloway on September 26, and sentenced to be executed on Friday, 16th November 1827.

[78] Slightly altered from _Macbeth_, Act II. Sc. 2.

[79] Lady Elizabeth Montagu, daughter of George Duke of Montagu.

[80] Saladin's shroud, which was said to have been displayed as a standard "to admonish the East of the instability of human greatness."--GIBBON.

[81] The belief in the existence of the 'Water Cow' is not even yet extinct in the Highlands. In Mr. J.H. Dixon's book on _Gairloch_, 8vo, 1886, it is said the monster lives or did live in Loch na Beiste! Some years ago the proprietor, moved by the entreaties of the people, and on the positive testimony of two elders of the Free Church, that the creature was hiding in his loch, attempted its destruction by pumping and running off the water; this plan having failed owing to the smallness of the pumps, though it was persevered in for two years, he next tried poisoning the water by emptying into the loch a quantity of quick lime!!--Whatever harm was thus done to the trout none was experienced by _the Beast_, which it is rumoured has been seen in the neighbourhood as late as 1884 (p. 162). This transaction formed an element in a case before the Crofters' Commission at Aultbea in May 1888.

[82] Daughter of Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon.

[83] Lord Dudley, then Secretary of State for the Foreign Department, was an early friend of Scott's. He had been partly educated in Edinburgh, under Dugald Stewart's care.

Sir Walter Scott