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July 1828

"Up in the morning's no for me."[230]

Yet here I am up at five--no horses come from the North Ferry yet.

"O Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Mitchell, Your promises and time keep stitch ill."

July I, [Edinburgh].--Got home, however, by nine, and went to the Parliament House, where we were detained till four o'clock. Miss ------ dined with us, a professed lion-huntress, who travels the country to rouse the peaceful beasts out of their lair, and insists on being hand and glove with all the leonine race. She is very plain, besides frightfully red-haired, and out-Lydia-ing even my poor friend Lydia White. An awful visitation! I think I see her with javelin raised and buskined foot, a second Diana, roaming the hills of Westmoreland in quest of the lakers. Would to God she were there or anywhere but here! Affectation is a painful thing to witness, and this poor woman has the bad taste to think direct flattery is the way to make her advances to friendship and intimacy.

July 2.--I believe I was cross yesterday. I am at any rate very ill to-day with a rheumatic headache, and a still more vile hypochondriacal affection, which fills my head with pain, my heart with sadness, and my eyes with tears. I do not wonder at the awful feelings which visited men less educated and less firm than I may call myself. It is a most hang-dog cast of feeling, but it may be chased away by study or by exercise. The last I have always found most successful, but the first is most convenient. I wrought therefore, and endured all this forenoon, being a Teind Wednesday. I am now in such a state that I would hardly be surprised at the worst news which could be brought to me. And all this without any rational cause why to-day should be sadder than yesterday.

Two things to lighten my spirits--First, Cadell comes to assure me that the stock of 12mo novels is diminished from 3800, which was the quantity in the publishers' hands in March 1827, to 600 or 700. This argues gallant room for the publication of the New Series. Second, said Cadell is setting off straight for London to set affairs a-going. If I have success in this, it will greatly assist in extricating my affairs.

My aches of the heart terminated in a cruel aching of the head--rheumatic, I suppose. But Sir Adam and Clerk came to dinner, and laughed and talked the sense of pain and oppression away. We cannot at times work ourselves into a gay humour, any more than we can tickle ourselves into a fit of laughter; foreign agency is necessary. My huntress of lions again dined with us. I have subscribed to her Album, and done what was civil.

July 3.--Corrected proofs in the morning, and wrote a little. I was forced to crop vol. i. as thirty pages too long; there is the less to write behind. We were kept late at the Court, and when I came out I bethought me, like Christian in the Castle of Giant Despair, "Wherefore should I walk along the broiling and stifling streets when I have a little key in my bosom which can open any lock in Princes Street Walks, and be thus on the Castle banks, rocks, and trees in a few minutes?" I made use of my key accordingly, and walked from the Castle Hill down to Wallace's Tower,[231] and thence to the west end of Princes Street, through a scene of grandeur and beauty perhaps unequalled, whether the foreground or distant view is considered--all down hill, too. Foolish never to think of this before. I chatted with the girls a good while after dinner, but wrote a trifle when we had tea.

July 4.--The two Annes set off to Abbotsford, though the weather was somewhat lowering for an open carriage, but the day cleared up finely. Hamilton is unwell, so we had a long hearing of his on our hands. It was four ere I got home, but I had taken my newly discovered path by rock, bush, and ruin. I question if Europe has such another path. We owe this to the taste of James Skene. But I must dress to go to Dr. Hope's, who makes _chère exquise_, and does not understand being kept late.

July 5.--Saturday, corrected proofs and wrought hard. Went out to dinner at Oxenfoord Castle, and returned in the company of Lord Alloway, Chief Baron, Clerk, etc., and Mr. Bouverie, the English Commissioner.

July 6.--A day of hard work. The second volume is now well advanced--wellnigh one half. Dined alone, and pursued my course after dinner. Seven pages were finished. Solitude's a fine thing for work, but then you must lie by like a spider, till you collect materials to continue your web. Began Simond's Switzerland--clever and intelligent, but rather conceited, as the manner of an American Frenchman. I hope to knock something out of him though.

July 7.--Williams seems in uncertainty again, and I can't guess what he will be at. Surely it is a misery to be so indecisive; he will certainly gain the ill word of both parties and might have had the good word of all; and, indeed, deserves it. We received his resignation to-day, but if the King's College are disposed to thrive, they will keep eyes on this very able man.

July 8.--Hard work in the Court, the sederunts turn long and burthensome. I fear they will require some abridgment of vacation.

[From July 8, 1828, to January 10, 1829, there are no entries in the Journal.]



[230] Burns's song.

[231] Now called Wellhouse Tower.

Sir Walter Scott