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February 1826

February 1.--A most generous letter (though not more so than I expected) from Walter and Jane, offering to interpose with their fortune, etc. God Almighty forbid! that were too unnatural in me to accept, though dutiful and affectionate in them to offer. They talk of India still. With my damaged fortune I cannot help them to remain by exchange, and so forth. He expects, if they go, to go out eldest Captain, when, by staying two or three years, he will get the step of Major. His whole thoughts are with his profession, and I understand that when you quit or exchange, when a regiment goes on distant or disagreeable service, you are not accounted as serious in your profession; God send what is for the best! Remitted Charles a bill for £40--£35 advance at Christmas makes £75. He must be frugal.

Attended the Court, and saw J.B. and Cadell as I returned. Both very gloomy. Came home to work, etc., about two.

February 2.--An odd visit this morning from Miss Jane Bell of North Shields, whose law-suit with a Methodist parson of the name of Hill made some noise. The worthy divine had in the basest manner interfered to prevent this lady's marriage by two anonymous letters, in which he contrived to refer the lover, to whom they were addressed, for further corroboration to _himself_. The whole imposition makes the subject of a little pamphlet published by Marshall, Newcastle. The lady ventured for redress into the thicket of English law--lost one suit--gained another, with £300 damages, and was ruined. The appearance and person of Miss Bell are prepossessing. She is about thirty years old, a brunette, with regular and pleasing features, marked with melancholy,--an enthusiast in literature, and probably in religion. She had been at Abbotsford to see me, and made her way to me here, in the vain hope that she could get her story worked up into a novel; and certainly the thing is capable of interesting situations. It throws a curious light upon the aristocratic or rather hieratic influence exercised by the Methodist preachers within the _connection_, as it is called. Admirable food this would be for the _Quarterly_, or any other reviewers who might desire to feed fat their grudge against these sectarians. But there are two reasons against such a publication. First, it would do the poor sufferer no good. Secondly, it might hurt the Methodistic connection very much, which I for one would not like to injure. They have their faults, and are peculiarly liable to those of hypocrisy, and spiritual ambition, and priestcraft. On the other hand, they do infinite good, carrying religion into classes in society where it would scarce be found to penetrate, did it rely merely upon proof of its doctrines, upon calm reasoning, and upon rational argument. Methodists add a powerful appeal to the feelings and passions; and though I believe this is often exaggerated into absolute enthusiasm, yet I consider upon the whole they do much to keep alive a sense of religion, and the practice of morality necessarily connected with it. It is much to the discredit of the Methodist clergy, that when this calumniator was actually convicted of guilt morally worse than many men are hanged for, they only degraded him from the _first_ to the _second_ class of their preachers,--leaving a man who from mere hatred at Miss Bell's brother, who was a preacher like himself, had proceeded in such a deep and infamous scheme to ruin the character and destroy the happiness of an innocent person, in possession of the pulpit, and an authorised teacher of others. If they believed him innocent they did too much--if guilty, far too little.[143]

I wrote to my nephew Walter to-day, cautioning him against a little disposition which he has to satire or _méchanceté_, which may be a great stumbling-block in his course in life. Otherwise I presage well of him. He is lieutenant of engineers, with high character for mathematical science--is acute, very well-mannered, and, I think, good-hearted. He has seen enough of the world too, to regulate his own course through life, better than most lads at his age.

February 3.--This is the first morning since my troubles that I felt at awaking

    "I had drunken deep
    Of all the blessedness of sleep."[144]
I made not the slightest pause, nor dreamed a single dream, nor even changed my side. This is a blessing to be grateful for. There is to be a meeting of the creditors to-day, but I care not for the issue. If they drag me into the Court, _obtorto collo_, instead of going into this scheme of arrangement, they would do themselves a great injury, and, perhaps, eventually do me good, though it would give me much pain. James Ballantyne is severely critical on what he calls imitations of Mrs. Radcliffe in _Woodstock_. Many will think with him, yet I am of opinion he is quite wrong, or, as friend J. F[errier] says, _vrong_[145] In the first place, I am to look on the mere fact of another author having treated a subject happily as a bird looks on a potato-bogle which scares it away from a field otherwise as free to its depredations as any one's else! In 2d place, I have taken a wide difference: my object is not to excite fear of supernatural tilings in my reader, but to show the effect of such fear upon the agents in the story--one a man of sense and firmness--one a man unhinged by remorse--one a stupid uninquiring clown--one a learned and worthy, but superstitious divine. In the third place, the book turns on this hinge, and cannot want it. But I will try to insinuate the refutation of Aldiboronti's exception into the prefatory matter.

From the 19th January to the 2d February inclusive is exactly fifteen days, during which time, with the intervention of some days' idleness, to let imagination brood on the task a little, I have written a volume. I think, for a bet, I could have done it in ten days. Then I must have had no Court of Session to take me up two or three hours every morning, and dissipate my attention and powers of working for the rest of the day. A volume, at cheapest, is worth £1000. This is working at the rate of £24,000 a year; but then we must not bake buns faster than people have appetite to eat them. They are not essential to the market, like potatoes.

John Gibson came to tell me in the evening that a meeting to-day had approved of the proposed trust. I know not why, but the news gives me little concern. I heard it as a party indifferent. I remember hearing that Mandrin[146] testified some horror when he found himself bound alive on the wheel, and saw an executioner approach with a bar of iron to break his limbs. After the second and third blow he fell a-laughing, and being asked the reason by his confessor, said he laughed at his own folly which had anticipated increased agony at every blow, when it was obvious that the _first_ must have jarred and confounded the system of the nerves so much as to render the succeeding blows of little consequence. I suppose it is so with the moral feelings; at least I could not bring myself to be anxious whether these matters were settled one way or another.

February 4.--Wrote to Mr. Laidlaw to come to town upon Monday and see the trustees. To farm or not to farm, that is the question. With our careless habits, it were best, I think, to risk as little as possible. Lady Scott will not exceed with ready money in her hand; but calculating on the produce of a farm is different, and neither she nor I are capable of that minute economy. Two cows should be all we should keep. But I find Lady S. inclines much for the four. If she had her youthful activity, and could manage things, it would be well, and would amuse her. But I fear it is too late a week.

Returned from Court by Constable's, and found Cadell had fled to the sanctuary, being threatened with ultimate diligence by the Bank of Scotland. If this be a vindictive movement, it is harsh, useless, and bad of them, and flight, on the contrary, seems no good sign on his part. I hope he won't prove his father or grandfather at Prestonpans:--

"Cadell dressed among the rest, Wi' gun and good claymore, man, On gelding grey he rode that day, Wi' pistols set before, man. The cause was gude, he'd spend his blude Before that he would yield, man, But the night before he left the corps, And never faced the field, man."[147]


Harden and Mrs. Scott called on Mamma. I was abroad. Henry called on me. Wrote only two pages (of manuscript) and a half to-day. As the boatswain said, one can't dance always _nowther_, but, were we sure of the quality of the stuff, what opportunities for labour does this same system of retreat afford us! I am convinced that in three years I could do more than in the last ten, but for the mine being, I fear, exhausted. Give me my popularity--_an awful postulate!_--and all my present difficulties shall be a joke in five years; and it is _not_ lost yet, at least.

February 5.--Rose after a sound sleep, and here am I without bile or anything to perturb my inward man. It is just about three weeks since so great a change took place in my relations in society, and already I am indifferent to it. But I have been always told my feelings of joy and sorrow, pleasure and pain, enjoyment and privation, are much colder than those of other people.

     "I think the Romans call it stoicism."[148]
Missie was in the drawing-room, and overheard William Clerk and me laughing excessively at some foolery or other in the back-room, to her no small surprise, which she did not keep to herself. But do people suppose that he was less sorry for his poor sister,[149] or I for my lost fortune? If I have a very strong passion in the world, it is _pride_, and that never hinged upon world's gear, which was always with me--Light come, light go.

February 6.--Letters received yesterday from Lord Montagu, John Morritt, and Mrs. Hughes--kind and dear friends all--with solicitous inquiries. But it is very tiresome to tell my story over again, and I really hope I have few more friends intimate enough to ask me for it. I dread letter-writing, and envy the old hermit of Prague, who never saw pen or ink. What then? One must write; it is a part of the law we live on. Talking of writing, I finished my six pages, neat and handsome, yesterday. _N.B._ At night I fell asleep, and the oil dropped from the lamp upon my manuscript. Will this extreme unction make it go smoothly down with the public?

    Thus idly we "profane the sacred time"
    By silly prose, light jest, and lighter rhyme.[150]
I have a song to write, too, and I am not thinking of it. I trust it will come upon me at once--a sort of catch it should be.[151] I walked out, feeling a little overwrought. Saw Constable and turned over Clarendon. Cadell not yet out of hiding. This is simple work. Obliged to borrow £240, to be refunded in spring, from John Gibson, to pay my nephew's outfit and passage to Bombay. I wish I could have got this money otherwise, but I must not let the orphan boy, and such a clever fellow, miscarry through my fault. His education, etc., has been at my expense ever since he came from America.

February 7.--Had letters yesterday from Lady Davy and Lady Louisa Stuart,[152] two very different persons. Lady Davy, daughter and co-heiress of a wealthy Antigua merchant, has been known to me all my life. Her father was a relation of ours of a Scotch calculation. He was of a good family, Kerr of Bloodielaws, but decayed. Miss Jane Kerr married first Mr. Apreece, son of a Welsh Baronet. The match was not happy. I had lost all acquaintance with her for a long time, when about twenty years ago we renewed it in London. She was then a widow, gay, clever, and most actively ambitious to play a distinguished part in London society. Her fortune, though handsome and easy, was not large enough to make way by dint of showy entertainments, and so forth. So she took the _blue_ line, and by great tact and management actually established herself as a leader of literary fashion. Soon after, she visited Edinburgh for a season or two, and studied the Northern Lights. One of the best of them, poor Jack Playfair,[153] was disposed "to shoot madly from his sphere,"[154] and, I believe, asked her, but he was a little too old. She found a fitter husband in every respect in Sir Humphry Davy, to whom she gave a handsome fortune, and whose splendid talents and situation as President of the Royal Society gave her naturally a distinguished place in the literary society of the Metropolis. Now this is a very curious instance of an active-minded woman forcing her way to the point from which she seemed furthest excluded. For, though clever and even witty, she had no peculiar accomplishment, and certainly no good taste either for science or letters naturally. I was once in the Hebrides with her, and I admired to observe how amidst sea-sickness, fatigue, some danger, and a good deal of indifference as to what she saw, she gallantly maintained her determination to see everything.[155] It marked her strength of character, and she joined to it much tact, and always addressed people on the right side. So she stands high, and deservedly so, for to these active qualities, more French I think than English, and partaking of the Creole vivacity and suppleness of character, she adds, I believe, honourable principles and an excellent heart. As a lion-catcher, I could pit her against the world. She flung her lasso (see Hall's _South America_) over Byron himself. But then, poor soul, she is not happy. She has a temper, and Davy has a temper, and these tempers are not one temper, but two tempers, and they quarrel like cat and dog, which may be good for stirring up the stagnation of domestic life, but they let the world see it, and that is not so well. Now in all this I may be thought a little harsh on my friend, but it is between my _Gurnal_ and me, and, moreover, I would cry heartily if anything were to ail my little cousin, though she be addicted to rule the Cerulean atmosphere.[156] Then I suspect the cares of this as well as other empires overbalance its pleasures. There must be difficulty in being always in the right humour to hold a court. There are usurpers to be encountered, and insurrections to be put down, an incessant troop, _bienséances_ to be discharged, a sort of etiquette which is the curse of all courts. An old lion cannot get hamstrung quietly at four hundred miles distance, but the Empress must send him her condolence and a pot of lipsalve. To be sure the monster is consanguinean, as Sir Toby says.[157]

Looked in at Constable's coming home; Cadell emerged from Alsatia; borrowed Clarendon. Home by half-past twelve.

My old friend Sir Peter Murray[158] called to offer his own assistance, Lord Justice-Clerk's, and Abercromby's, to negotiate for me a seat upon the Bench [of the Court of Session] instead of my Sheriffdom and Clerkship. I explained to him the use which I could make of my pen was not, I thought, consistent with that situation; and that, besides, I had neglected the law too long to permit me to think of it; but this was kindly and honourably done. I can see people think me much worse off than I think myself. They may be right; but I will not be beat till I have tried a rally, and a bold one.

February 8.--Slept ill, and rather bilious in the morning. Many of the Bench now are my juniors. I will not seek _ex eleemosynâ_ a place which, had I turned my studies that way, I might have aspired to long ago _ex meritis_. My pen should do much better for me than the odd £1000 a year. If it fails, I will lean on what they leave me. Another chance might be, if it fails, in the patronage which might, after a year or two, place me in Exchequer. But I do not count on this unless, indeed, the D[uke] of B[uccleuch], when he comes of age, should choose to make play.

Got to my work again, and wrote easier than the two last days.

Mr. Laidlaw[159] came in from Abbotsford and dined with us. We spent the evening in laying down plans for the farm, and deciding whom we should keep and whom dismiss among the people. This we did on the true negro-driving principle of self-interest, the only principle I know which _never_ swerves from its objects. We chose all the active, young, and powerful men, turning old age and infirmity adrift. I cannot help this, for a guinea cannot do the work of five; but I will contrive to make it easier to the sufferers.

February 9.--A stormy morning, lowering and blustering, like our fortunes. _Mea virtute me involvo._ But I must say to the Muse of fiction, as the Earl of Pembroke said to the ejected nuns of Wilton, "Go spin, you jades, go spin!" Perhaps she has no _tow_ on her _rock_.[160] When I was at Kilkenny last year we went to see a nunnery, but could not converse with the sisters because they were in strict retreat. I was delighted with the red-nosed Padre, who showed us the place with a sort of proud, unctuous humiliation, and apparent dereliction of the world, that had to me the air of a complete Tartuffe; a strong, sanguine, square-shouldered son of the Church, whom a Protestant would be apt to warrant against any sufferings he was like to sustain by privation. My purpose, however, just now was to talk of the "strict retreat," which did not prevent the nuns from walking in their little garden, breviary in hand, peeping at us, and allowing us to peep at them. Well, now, _we_ are in _strict retreat_; and if we had been so last year, instead of gallivanting to Ireland, this affair might not have befallen--if literary labour could have prevented it. But who could have suspected Constable's timbers to have been rotten from the beginning?

Visited the Exhibition on my way home from the Court. The new rooms are most splendid, and several good pictures. The Institution has subsisted but five years, and it is astonishing how much superior the worst of the present collection are to the teaboard-looking things which first appeared. John Thomson, of Duddingston, has far the finest picture in the Exhibition, of a large size--subject _Dunluce_, a ruinous castle of the Antrim family, near the Giant's Causeway, with one of those terrible seas and skies which only Thomson can paint. Found Scrope there improving a picture of his own, an Italian scene in Calabria. He is, I think, greatly improved, and one of the very best amateur painters I ever saw--Sir George Beaumont scarcely excepted. Yet, hang it, _I do_ except Sir George.

I would not write to-day after I came home. I will not say could not, for it is not true; but I was lazy; felt the desire _far niente_, which is the sign of one's mind being at ease. I read _The English in Italy_,[161] which is a clever book.

Byron used to kick and frisk more contemptuously against the literary gravity and slang than any one I ever knew who had climbed so high. Then, it is true, I never knew any one climb so high; and before you despise the eminence, carrying people along with you, as convinced that you are not playing the fox and the grapes, you must be at the top. Moore told me some delightful stories of him. One was that while they stood at the window of Byron's Palazzo in Venice, looking at a beautiful sunset, Moore was naturally led to say something of its beauty, when Byron answered in a tone that I can easily conceive, "Oh! come, d--n me, Tom, don't be poetical." Another time, standing with Moore on the balcony of the same Palazzo, a gondola passed with two English gentlemen, who were easily distinguished by their appearance. They cast a careless look at the balcony and went on. Byron crossed his arms, and half stooping over the balcony said, "Ah! d--n ye, if ye had known what two fellows you were staring at, you would have taken a longer look at us." This was the man, quaint, capricious, and playful, with all his immense genius. He wrote from impulse, never from effort; and therefore I have always reckoned Burns and Byron the most genuine poetical geniuses of my time, and half a century before me. We have, however, many men of high poetical talent, but none, I think, of that ever-gushing and perennial fountain of natural water.

Mr. Laidlaw dined with us. Says Mr. Gibson told him he would dispose of my affairs, were it any but S.W.S.[162] No doubt, so should I, and am wellnigh doing so at any rate. But, _fortuna juvante!_ much may be achieved. At worst, the prospect is not very discouraging to one who wants little. Methinks I have been like Burns's poor labourer,

    "So constantly in Ruin's sight,
    The view o't gives me little fright."

[Edinburgh,] February 10.--Went through, for a new day, the task of buttoning, which seems to me somehow to fill up more of my morning than usual--not, certainly, that such is really the case, but that my mind attends to the process, having so little left to hope or fear. The half hour between waking and rising has all my life proved propitious to any task which was exercising my invention.[163] When I get over any knotty difficulty in a story, or have had in former times to fill up a passage in a poem, it was always when I first opened my eyes that the desired ideas thronged upon me. This is so much the case that I am in the habit of relying upon it, and saying to myself, when I am at a loss, "Never mind, we shall have it at seven o'clock to-morrow morning." If I have forgot a circumstance, or a name, or a copy of verses, it is the same thing. There is a passage about this sort of matutinal inspiration in the Odyssey,[164] which would make a handsome figure here if I could read or write Greek. I will look into Pope for it, who, ten to one, will not tell me the real translation. I think the first hour of the morning is also favourable to the bodily strength. Among other feats, when I was a young man, I was able at times to lift a smith's anvil with one hand, by what is called the _horn_, or projecting piece of iron on which things are beaten to turn them round. But I could only do this before breakfast, and shortly after rising. It required my full strength, undiminished by the least exertion, and those who choose to try it will find the feat no easy one. This morning I had some good ideas respecting _Woodstock_ which will make the story better. The devil of a difficulty is, that one puzzles the skein in order to excite curiosity, and then cannot disentangle it for the satisfaction of the prying fiend they have raised. A letter from Sir James Mackintosh of condolence, prettily expressed, and which may be sung to the old tune of "Welcome, welcome, brother Debtor." A brother son of chivalry dismounted by mischance is sure to excite the compassion of one laid on the arena before him.

Yesterday I had an anecdote from old Sir James Steuart Denham,[165] which is worth writing down. His uncle, Lord Elcho, was, as is well known, engaged in the affair of 1745. He was dissatisfied with the conduct of matters from beginning to end. But after the left wing of the Highlanders was repulsed and broken at Culloden, Elcho rode up to the Chevalier and told him all was lost, and that nothing remained except to charge at the head of two thousand men, who were still unbroken, and either turn the fate of the day or die sword in hand, as became his pretensions. The Chevalier gave him some evasive answer, and, turning his horse's head, rode off the field. Lord Elcho called after him (I write the very words), "There you go for a damned cowardly Italian," and never would see him again, though he lost his property and remained an exile in the cause. Lord Elcho left two copies of his memoirs, one with Sir James Steuart's family, one with Lord Wemyss. This is better evidence than the romance of Chevalier Johnstone; and I have little doubt it is true. Yet it is no proof of the Prince's cowardice, though it shows him to have been no John of Gaunt. Princes are constantly surrounded with people who hold up their own _life_ and _safety_ to them as by far the most important stake in any contest; and this is a doctrine in which conviction is easily received. Such an eminent person finds everybody's advice, save here and there that of a desperate Elcho, recommend obedience to the natural instinct of self-preservation, which very often men of inferior situations find it difficult to combat, when all the world are crying to them to get on and be damned, instead of encouraging them to run away. At Prestonpans the Chevalier offered to lead the van, and he was with the second line, which, during that brief affair, followed the first very close. Johnstone's own account, carefully read, brings him within a pistol-shot of the first line. At the same time, Charles Edward had not a head or heart for great things, notwithstanding his daring adventure; and the Irish officers, by whom he was guided, were poor creatures. Lord George Murray was the soul of the undertaking.[166]

February 11.--Court sat till half-past one. I had but a trifle to do, so wrote letters to Mrs. Maclean Clephane and nephew Walter. Sent the last, £40 in addition to £240 sent on the 6th, making his full equipment £280. A man, calling himself Charles Gray of Carse, wrote to me, expressing sympathy for my misfortunes, and offering me half the profits of what, if I understand him right, is a patent medicine, to which I suppose he expects me to stand trumpeter. He endeavours to get over my objections to accepting his liberality (supposing me to entertain them) by assuring me his conduct is founded on a _sage selfishness_. This is diverting enough. I suppose the Commissioners of, Police will next send me a letter of condolence, begging my acceptance of a broom, a shovel, and a scavenger's greatcoat, and assuring me that they had appointed me to all the emoluments of a well-frequented crossing. It would be doing more than they have done of late for the cleanliness of the streets, which, witness my shoes, are in a piteous pickle. I thanked the selfish sage with due decorum--for what purpose can anger serve? I remember once before, a mad woman, from about Alnwick, baited me with letters and plans--first for charity to herself or some _protégé_. I gave my guinea. Then she wanted to have half the profit of a novel which I was to publish under my name and auspices. She sent me the manuscript, and a _moving_ tale it was, for some of the scenes lay in the _cabinet à l'eau._ I declined the partnership. Lastly, my fair correspondent insisted I was a lover of speculation, and would be much profited by going shares in a patent medicine which she had invented for the benefit of little babies, I believe. I dreaded to have anything to do with such a Herod-like affair, and begged to decline the honour of her correspondence in future. I should have thought the thing a quiz, but that the novel was real and substantial. Anne goes to Ravelston to-day to remain to-morrow. Sir Alexander Don called, and we had a good laugh together.

February 12.--Having ended the second volume of _Woodstock_ last night, I have to begin the third this morning. Now I have not the slightest idea how the story is to be wound up to a catastrophe. I am just in the same case as I used to be when I lost myself in former days in some country to which I was a stranger. I always pushed for the pleasantest road, and either found or made it the nearest. It is the same in writing, I never could lay down a plan--or, having laid it down, I never could adhere to it; the action of composition always diluted some passages, and abridged or omitted others; and personages were rendered important or insignificant, not according to their agency in the original conception of the plan, but according to the success, or otherwise, with which I was able to bring them out. I only tried to make that which I was actually writing diverting and interesting, leaving the rest to fate. I have been often amused with the critics distinguishing some passages as particularly laboured, when the pen passed over the whole as fast as it could move, and the eye never again saw them, except in proof. Verse I write twice, and sometimes three times over. This may be called in Spanish the _Dar donde diere_ mode of composition, in English _hab nab at a venture_; it is a perilous style, I grant, but I cannot help it. When I chain my mind to ideas which are purely imaginative--for argument is a different thing--it seems to me that the sun leaves the landscape, that I think away the whole vivacity and spirit of my original conception, and that the results are cold, tame, and spiritless. It is the difference between a written oration and one bursting from the unpremeditated exertions of the speaker, which have always something the air of enthusiasm and inspiration. I would not have young authors imitate my carelessness, however; _consilium non currum eape_.

Read a few pages of Will D'Avenant, who was fond of having it supposed that Shakespeare intrigued with his mother. I think the pretension can only be treated as Phaeton's was, according to Fielding's farce--

    "Besides, by all the village boys I'm shamed,
    You, the sun's son, you rascal?--you be damn'd."
Egad--I'll put that into _Woodstock_.[167] It might come well from the old admirer of Shakespeare. Then Fielding's lines were not written. What then?--it is an anachronism for some sly rogue to detect. Besides, it is easy to swear they were written, and that Fielding adopted them from tradition. Walked with Skene on the Calton Hill.

February 13.--The Institution for the Encouragment of the Fine Arts opens to-day, with a handsome entertainment in the Exhibition-room, as at Somerset House. It strikes me that the direction given by amateurs and professors to their _protégés_ and pupils, who aspire to be artists, is upon a pedantic and false principle. All the Fine Arts have it for their highest and more legitimate end and purpose, to affect the human passions, or smooth and alleviate for a time the more unquiet feelings of the mind--to excite wonder, or terror, or pleasure, or emotion of some kind or other. It often happens that, in the very rise and origin of these arts, as in the instance of Homer, the principal object is obtained in a degree not equalled by his successors. But there is a degree of execution which, in more refined times, the poet or musician begins to study, which gives a value of its own to their productions of a different kind from the rude strength of their predecessors. Poetry becomes complicated in its rules--music learned in its cadences and harmonies--rhetoric subtle in its periods. There is more given to the labour of executing--less attained by the effect produced. Still the nobler and popular end of these arts is not forgotten; and if we have some productions too learned, too _recherchés_ for public feeling, we have, every now and then, music that electrifies a whole assembly, eloquence which shakes the forum, and poetry which carries men up to the third heaven. But in painting it is different; it is all become a mystery, the secret of which is lodged in a few connoisseurs, whose object is not to praise the works of such painters as produce effect on mankind at large, but to class them according to their proficiency in the inferior rules of the art, which, though most necessary to be taught and learned, should yet only be considered as the _Gradus ad Parnassum_--the steps by which the higher and ultimate object of a great popular effect is to be attained. They have all embraced the very style of criticism which induced Michael Angelo to call some Pope a poor creature, when, turning his attention from the general effect of a noble statue, his Holiness began to criticise the hem of the robe. This seems to me the cause of the decay of this delightful art, especially in history, its noblest branch. As I speak to myself, I may say that a painting should, to be excellent, have something to say to the mind of a man, like myself, well-educated, and susceptible of those feelings which anything strongly recalling natural emotion is likely to inspire. But how seldom do I see anything that moves me much! Wilkie, the far more than Teniers of Scotland, certainly gave many new ideas. So does Will Allan, though overwhelmed with their rebukes about colouring and grouping, against which they are not willing to place his general and original merits. Landseer's dogs were the most magnificent things I ever saw--leaping, and bounding, and grinning on the canvas. Leslie has great powers; and the scenes from Moliere by [Newton] are excellent. Yet painting wants a regenerator--some one who will sweep the cobwebs out of his head before he takes the palette, as Chantrey has done in the sister art. At present we are painting pictures from the ancients, as authors in the days of Louis Quatorze wrote epic poems according to the recipe of Madame Dacier and Co. The poor reader or spectator has no remedy; the compositions are _secundum artem_, and if he does not like them, he is no judge--that's all.

February 14--I had a call from Glengarry[168] yesterday, as kind and friendly as usual. This gentleman is a kind of Quixote in our age, having retained, in their full extent, the whole feelings of clanship and chieftainship, elsewhere so long abandoned. He seems to have lived a century too late, and to exist, in a state of complete law and order, like a Glengarry of old, whose will was law to his sept. Warmhearted, generous, friendly, he is beloved by those who know him, and his efforts are unceasing to show kindness to those of his clan who are disposed fully to admit his pretensions. To dispute them is to incur his resentment, which has sometimes broken out in acts of violence which have brought him into collision with the law. To me he is a treasure, as being full of information as to the history of his own clan, and the manners and customs of the Highlanders in general. Strong, active, and muscular, he follows the chase of the deer for days and nights together, sleeping in his plaid when darkness overtakes him in the forest. He was fortunate in marrying a daughter of Sir William Forbes, who, by yielding to his peculiar ideas in general, possesses much deserved influence with him. The number of his singular exploits would fill a volume[169]; for, as his pretensions are high, and not always willingly yielded to, he is every now and then giving rise to some rumour. He is, on many of these occasions, as much sinned against as sinning; for men, knowing his temper, sometimes provoke him, conscious that Glengarry, from his character for violence, will always be put in the wrong by the public. I have seen him behave in a very manly manner when thus tempted. He has of late prosecuted a quarrel, ridiculous enough in the present day, to have himself admitted and recognised as Chief of the whole Clan Ranald, or surname of Macdonald. The truth seems to be, that the present Clanranald is not descended from a legitimate Chieftain of the tribe; for, having accomplished a revolution in the sixteenth century, they adopted a Tanist, or Captain--that is, a Chief not in the direct line of succession, a certain Ian Moidart, or John of Moidart, who took the title of Captain of Clanranald, with all the powers of Chief, and even Glengarry's ancestor recognised them as chiefs _de facto_ if not _de jure_. The fact is, that this elective power was, in cases of insanity, imbecility, or the like, exercised by the Celtic tribes; and though Ian Moidart was no chief by birth, yet by election he became so, and transmitted his power to his descendants, as would King William III., if he had had any. So it is absurd to set up the _jus sanguinis_ now, which Glengarry's ancestors did not, or could not, make good, when it was a right worth combating for. I wrought out my full task yesterday.

Saw Cadell as I returned from the Court. He seems dejected, apprehensive of another trustee being preferred to Cowan, and gloomy about the extent of stock of novels, etc., on hand. He infected me with his want of spirits, and I almost wish my wife had not asked Mr. Scrope and Charles K. Sharpe for this day. But the former sent such loads of game that Lady Scott's gratitude became ungovernable. I have not seen a creature at dinner since the direful 17th January, except my own family and Mr. Laidlaw. The love of solitude increases by indulgence; I hope it will not diverge into misanthropy. It does not mend the matter that this is the first day that a ticket for sale is on my house. Poor No. 39.[170] One gets accustomed even to stone walls, and the place suited me very well. All our furniture, too, is to go--a hundred little articles that seemed to me connected with all the happier years of my life. It is a sorry business. But _sursum corda_.

My two friends came as expected, also Missie, and stayed till half-past ten. Promised Sharpe the set of Piranesi's views in the dining-parlour. They belonged to my uncle, so I do not like to sell them.[171]

February 15.--Yesterday I did not write a line of _Woodstock_. Partly, I was a little out of spirits, though that would not have hindered. Partly, I wanted to wait for some new ideas--a sort of collecting of straw to make bricks of. Partly, I was a little too far beyond the press. I cannot pull well in long traces, when the draught is too far behind me. I love to have the press thumping, clattering, and banging in my rear; it creates the necessity which almost always makes me work best. Needs must when the devil drives--and drive he does even according to the letter. I must work to-day, however. Attended a meeting of the Faculty about our new library. I spoke--saying that I hoped we would now at length act upon a general plan, and look forward to commencing upon such a scale as would secure us at least for a century against the petty and partial management, which we have hitherto thought sufficient, of fitting up one room after another. Disconnected and distant, these have been costing large sums of money from time to time, all now thrown away. We are now to have space enough for a very large range of buildings, which we may execute in a simple taste, leaving Government to ornament them if they shall think proper--otherwise, to be plain, modest, and handsome, and capable of being executed by degrees, and in such portions as convenience may admit of.

Poor James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd, came to advise with me about his affairs,--he is sinking under the times; having no assistance to give him, my advice, I fear, will be of little service. I am sorry for him if that would help him, especially as, by his own account, a couple of hundred pounds would carry him on.

February 16.---"Misfortune's gowling bark"[172] comes louder and louder. By assigning my whole property to trustees for behoof of creditors, with two works in progress and nigh publication, and with all my future literary labours, I conceived I was bringing into the field a large fund of payment, which could not exist without my exertions, and that thus far I was entitled to a corresponding degree of indulgence. I therefore supposed, on selling this house, and various other property, and on receiving the price of _Woodstock_ and _Napoleon_, that they would give me leisure to make other exertions, and be content with the rents of Abbotsford, without attempting a sale. This would have been the more reasonable, as the very printing of these works must amount to a large sum, of which they will reap the profits. In the course of this delay I supposed I was to have the chance of getting some insight both into Constable's affairs and those of Hurst and Robinson. Nay, employing these houses, under precautions, to sell the works, the publisher's profit would have come in to pay part of their debts. But Gibson last night came in after dinner, and gave me to understand that the Bank of Scotland see this in a different point of view, and consider my contribution of the produce of past, present, and future labours, as compensated in full by their accepting of the trust-deed, instead of pursuing the mode of sequestration, and placing me in the _Gazette_. They therefore expected the trustees instantly to commence a law-suit to reduce the marriage settlement, which settles the estate upon Walter, thus loading me with a most expensive suit, and, I suppose, selling library and whatever they can lay hold on.

Now this seems unequal measure, and would besides of itself totally destroy any power of fancy or genius, if it deserves the name, which may remain to me. A man cannot write in the House of Correction; and this species of _peine forte et dure_ which is threatened would render it impossible for one to help himself or others. So I told Gibson I had my mind made up as far back as the 24th of January, not to suffer myself to be harder pressed than law would press me. If this great commercial company, through whose hands I have directed so many thousands, think they are right in taking every advantage and giving none, it must be my care to see that they take none but what law gives them. If they take the sword of the law, I must lay hold of the shield. If they are determined to consider me as an irretrievable bankrupt, they have no title to object to my settling upon the usual terms which the Statute requires. They probably are of opinion that I will be ashamed to do this by applying publicly for a sequestration. Now, my feelings are different. I am ashamed to owe debts I cannot pay; but I am not ashamed of being classed with those to whose rank I belong. The disgrace is in being an actual bankrupt, not in being made a legal one. I had like to have been too hasty in this matter. I must have a clear understanding that I am to be benefited or indulged in some way, if I bring in two such funds as those works in progress, worth certainly from £10,000 to £15,000.

Clerk came in last night and drank wine and water.

Slept ill, and bilious in the morning. _N.B._--I smoked a cigar, the first for this present year, yesterday evening.

February 17.--Slept sound, for Nature repays herself for the vexation the mind sometimes gives her. This morning put interlocutors on several Sheriff-Court processes from Selkirkshire. Gibson came to-night to say that he had spoken at full length with Alexander Monypenny, proposed as trustee on the part of the Bank of Scotland, and found him decidedly in favour of the most moderate measures, and taking burthen on himself for the Bank of Scotland proceeding with such lenity as might enable me to have some time and opportunity to clear these affairs out. I repose trust in Mr. M. entirely. His father, old Colonel Monypenny, was my early friend, kind and hospitable to me when I was a mere boy. He had much of old Withers about him, as expressed in Pope's epitaph--

    "O youth in arms approved!
    O soft humanity in age beloved."[173]
His son David, and a younger brother, Frank, a soldier who perished by drowning on a boating party from Gibraltar, were my school-fellows; and with the survivor, now Lord Pitmilly,[174] I have always kept up a friendly intercourse. Of this gentleman, on whom my fortunes are to depend, I know little. He was Colin Mackenzie's partner in business while my friend pursued it, and he speaks highly of him: that's a great deal. He is secretary to the Pitt Club, and we have had all our lives the habit _idem sentire de republica_: that's much too. Lastly, he is a man of perfect honour and reputation; and I have nothing to ask which such a man would not either grant or convince me was unreasonable. I have, to be sure, some of my constitutional and hereditary obstinacy; but it is in me a dormant quality. Convince my understanding, and I am perfectly docile; stir my passions by coldness or affronts, and the devil would not drive me from my purpose. Let me record, I have striven against this besetting sin. When I was a boy, and on foot expeditions, as we had many, no creature could be so indifferent which way our course was directed, and I acquiesced in what any one proposed; but if I was once driven to make a choice, and felt piqued in honour to maintain my proposition, I have broken off from the whole party, rather than yield to any one. Time has sobered this pertinacity of mind; but it still exists, and I must be on my guard against it.

It is the same with me in politics. In general I care very little about the matter, and from year's end to year's end have scarce a thought connected with them, except to laugh at the fools who think to make themselves great men out of little, by swaggering in the rear of a party. But either actually important events, or such as seemed so by their close neighbourhood to me, have always hurried me off my feet, and made me, as I have sometimes afterwards regretted, more forward and more violent than those who had a regular jog-trot way of busying themselves in public matters. Good luck; for had I lived in troublesome times, and chanced to be on the unhappy side, I had been hanged to a certainty. What I have always remarked has been, that many who have hallooed me on at public meetings, and so forth, have quietly left me to the odium which a man known to the public always has more than his own share of; while, on the other hand, they were easily successful in pressing before me, who never pressed forward at all, when there was any distribution of public favours or the like. I am horribly tempted to interfere in this business of altering the system of banks in Scotland; and yet I know that if I can attract any notice, I will offend my English friends without propitiating one man in Scotland. I will think of it till to-morrow. It is making myself of too much importance after all.

February 18.--I set about Malachi Malagrowther's Letter on the late disposition to change everything in Scotland to an English model, but without resolving about the publication. They do treat us very provokingly.

    "O Land of Cakes! said the Northern bard,
      Though all the world betrays thee,
    One faithful pen thy rights shall guard,
      One faithful harp shall praise thee."[175]

Called on the Lord Chief Commissioner, who, understanding there was a hitch in our arrangements, had kindly proposed to execute an arrangement for my relief. I could not, I think, have thought of it at any rate. But it is unnecessary.

February 19.--Finished my letter (Malachi Malagrowther) this morning, and sent it to James B., who is to call with the result this forenoon. I am not very anxious to get on with _Woodstock_. I want to see what Constable's people mean to do when they have their trustee. For an unfinished work they must treat with the author. It is the old story of the varnish spread over the picture, which nothing but the artist's own hand could remove. A finished work might be seized under some legal pretence.

Being troubled with thick-coming fancies, and a slight palpitation of the heart, I have been reading the Chronicle of the Good Knight Messire Jacques de Lalain--curious, but dull, from the constant repetition of the same species of combats in the same style and phrase. It is like washing bushels of sand for a grain of gold. It passes the time, however, especially in that listless mood when your mind is half on your book, half on something else. You catch something to arrest the attention every now and then, and what you miss is not worth going back upon; idle man's studies, in short. Still things occur to one. Something might be made out of the Pass or Fountain of Tears,[176] a tale of chivalry,--taken from the Passages of Arms, which Jacques de Lalain maintained for the first day of every month for a twelvemonth.[177] The first mention perhaps of red-hot balls appears in the siege of Oudenarde by the citizens of Ghent. _Chronique_, p. 293. This would be light summer work.

J.B. came and sat an hour. I led him to talk of _Woodstock_; and, to say truth, his approbation did me much good. I am aware it _may_--nay, _must_--be partial; yet is he Tom Tell-truth, and totally unable to disguise his real feelings.[178] I think I make no habit of feeding on praise, and despise those whom I see greedy for it, as much as I should an under-bred fellow, who, after eating a cherry-tart, proceeded to lick the plate. But when one is flagging, a little praise (if it can be had genuine and unadulterated by flattery, which is as difficult to come by as the genuine mountain-dew) is a cordial after all. So now--_vamos corazon_--let us atone for the loss of the morning.

February 20.--Yesterday, though late in beginning, I nearly finished my task, which is six of my close pages, about thirty pages of print, to a full and uninterrupted day's work. To-day I have already written four, and with some confidence. Thus does flattery or praise oil the wheels. It is but two o'clock. Skene was here remonstrating against my taking apartments at the Albyn Club,[179] and recommending that I should rather stay with them.[180] I told him that was altogether impossible; I hoped to visit them often, but for taking a permanent residence I was altogether the country mouse, and voted for

    "--A hollow tree,
    A crust of bread and liberty."[181]
The chain of friendship, however bright, does not stand the attrition of constant close contact.

February 21.--Corrected the proofs of _Malachi_[182] this morning; it may fall dead, and there will be a squib lost; it may chance to light on some ingredients of national feeling and set folk's beards in a blaze--and so much the better if it does. I mean better for Scotland--not a whit for me. Attended the hearing in P[arliament] House till near four o'clock, so I shall do little to-night, for I am tired and sleepy. One person talking for a long time, whether in pulpit or at the bar, or anywhere else, unless the interest be great, and the eloquence of the highest character, always sets me to sleep. I impudently lean my head on my hand in the Court and take my nap without shame. The Lords may keep awake and mind their own affairs. _Quod supra nos nihil ad nos._ These clerks' stools are certainly as easy seats as are in Scotland, those of the Barons of Exchequer always excepted.

February 22.--Paid Lady Scott her fortnight's allowance, £24.

Ballantyne breakfasted, and is to negotiate about _Malachi_ with Constable and Blackwood. It reads not amiss; and if I can get a few guineas for it I shall not be ashamed to take them; for paying Lady Scott, I have just left between £3 and £4 for any necessary occasion and my salary does not become due until 20th March, and the expense of removing, etc., is to be provided for:

    "But shall we go mourn for that, my dear?
      The cold moon shines by night,
    And when we wander here and there,
      We then do go most right."[183]

The mere scarcity of money (so that actual wants are provided) is not poverty--it is the bitter draft to owe money which we cannot pay. Laboured fairly at _Woodstock_ to-day, but principally in revising and adding to _Malachi_, of which an edition as a pamphlet is anxiously desired. I have lugged in my old friend Cardrona[184]--I hope it will not be thought unkindly. The Banks are anxious to have it published. They were lately exercising lenity towards me, and if I can benefit them, it will be an instance of the "King's errand lying in the cadger's gate."

February 23.--Corrected two sheets of _Woodstock_ this morning. These are not the days of idleness. The fact is, that the not seeing company gives me a command of my time which I possessed at no other period in my life, at least since I knew how to make some use of my leisure. There is a great pleasure in sitting down to write with the consciousness that nothing will occur during the day to break the spell. Detained in the Court till past three, and came home just in time to escape a terrible squall. I am a good deal jaded, and will not work till after dinner. There is a sort of drowsy vacillation of mind attends fatigue with me. I can command my pen as the school copy recommends, but cannot equally command my thought, and often write one word for another. Read a little volume called _The_ _Omen_[185]--very well written--deep and powerful language. _Aut Erasmus aut Diabolus_, it is Lockhart or I am strangely deceived. It is passed for Wilson's though, but Wilson has more of the falsetto of assumed sentiment, less of the depth of gloomy and powerful feeling.

February 24.--Went down to printing-office after the Court, and corrected _Malachi_. J.B.'s name is to be on the imprint, so he will subscribe the book. He reproaches me with having taken much more pains on this temporary pamphlet than on works which have a greater interest on my fortunes. I have certainly bestowed enough of revision and correction. But the cases are different. In a novel or poem, I run the course alone--here I am taking up the cudgels, and may expect a drubbing in return. Besides, I do feel that this is public matter in which the country is deeply interested; and, therefore, is far more important than anything referring to my fame or fortune alone. The pamphlet will soon be out--meantime _Malachi_ prospers and excites much attention.[186] The Banks have bespoke 500 copies. The country is taking the alarm; and I think the Ministers will not dare to press the measure. I should rejoice to see the old red lion ramp a little, and the thistle again claim its _nemo me impune_. I do believe Scotsmen will show themselves unanimous at least where their cash is concerned. They shall not want backing. I incline to cry with Biron in _Love's Labour's Lost_,

    "More Atés, more Atés! stir them on."
I suppose all imaginative people feel more or less of excitation from a scene of insurrection or tumult, or of general expression of national feeling. When I was a lad, poor Davie Douglas[187] used to accuse me of being _cupidus novarum rerum_, and say that I loved the stimulus of a broil. It might be so then, and even still--
    "Even in our ashes glow their wonted fires."[188]
Whimsical enough that when I was trying to animate Scotland against the currency bill, John Gibson brought me the deed of trust, assigning my whole estate to be subscribed by me; so that I am turning patriot, and taking charge of the affairs of the country, on the very day I was proclaiming myself incapable of managing my own. What of that? The eminent politician, _Quidnunc_,[189] was in the same condition. Who would think of their own trumpery debts, when they are taking the support of the whole system of Scottish banking on their shoulders? Odd enough too--on this day, for the first time since the awful 17th January, we entertain at dinner--Lady Anna Maria Elliot,[190] W. Clerk, John A. Murray,[191] and Thomas Thomson,[192] as if we gave a dinner on account of my _cessio fori_.

February 25.--Our party yesterday went off very gaily; much laugh and fun, and I think I enjoyed it more from the rarity of the event--I mean from having seen society at home so seldom of late. My head aches slightly though; yet we were but a bottle of Champagne, one of Port, one of old Sherry, and two of Claret, among four gentlemen and three ladies. I have been led from this incident to think of taking chambers near Clerk, in Rose Court.[193] Methinks the retired situation should suit me well. There a man and woman would be my whole establishment. My superfluous furniture might serve, and I could ask a friend or two to dinner, as I have been accustomed to do. I will look at the place to-day.

I must set now to a second epistle of _Malachi_ to the Athenians. If I can but get the sulky Scottish spirit set up, the devil won't turn them.

    "Cock up your beaver, and cock it fu' sprush;
    We'll over the Border, and give them a brush;
    There's somebody there we'll teach better behaviour;
    Hey, Johnnie lad, cock up your beaver."[194]

February 26.--Spent the morning and till dinner on _Malachi's_ second epistle to the Athenians. It is difficult to steer betwixt the natural impulse of one's national feelings setting in one direction, and the prudent regard to the interests of the empire and its internal peace and quiet, recommending less vehement expression. I will endeavour to keep sight of both. But were my own interests alone concerned, d--n me but I would give it them hot! Had some valuable communications from Colin Mackenzie and Lord Medwyn, which will supply my plentiful lack of facts.

Received an anonymous satire in doggrel, which, having read the first verse and last, I committed to the flames. Peter Murray, son of the clever Lord Elibank, called and sat half-an-hour--an old friend, and who, from the peculiarity and originality of his genius, is one of the most entertaining companions I have ever known.[195] But I must finish _Malachi_.

February 27.--_Malachi_ is getting on; I must finish him to-night. I dare say some of my London friends will be displeased--Canning perhaps, for he is _engoué_ of Huskisson. Can't help it.

The place I looked at won't do; but I really must get some lodging, for, reason or none, Dalgleish[196] will not leave me, and cries and makes a scene. Now if I stayed alone in a little set of chambers, he would serve greatly for my accommodation. There are some nice places of the kind in the. New Buildings, but they are distant from the Court, and I cannot walk well on the pavement. It is odd enough that just when I had made a resolution to use my coach frequently I ceased to keep one--in town at least.

February 28.--Completed _Malachi_ to-day. It is more serious than the first, and in some places perhaps too peppery. Never mind, if you would have a horse kick, make a crupper out of a whin-cow,[197] and I trust to see Scotland kick and fling to some purpose. _Woodstock_ lies back for this. But _quid non pro patria_?

-

FOOTNOTES:

[143] _Cause of Truth defended_, etc. Two Trials of the Rev. T. Hill, Methodist Preacher, for defamation of the character of Miss Bell, etc. etc. 8vo. Hull and London, 1827.

[144] Coleridge's _Christabel_, Part II.

[145] James Ferrier, one of the Clerks of Session,--the father of the authoress of _Marriage, The Inheritance_, and _Destiny_. Mr. Ferrier was born in 1744, and died in 1829.

[146] "Authentic Memoirs of the remarkable Life and surprising Exploits of Mandrin, Captain-General of the French Smugglers, who for the space of nine months resolutely stood in defiance of the whole army of France," etc. 8vo, Lond. 1755. See _Waverley Novels_, vol. xxxvii. p. 434, Note.--J.G.L.

[147] See _Tranent Muir_ by Skirving.

[148] Addison, _Cato_, i. 4.

[149] See p. 83.

[150] Variation from 2 _Henry IV._, Act II. Sc. 4.

[151] _See_ "Glee for King Charles," _Waverley Novels_, vol. xl. p. 40.--J.G.L.

[152] Lady Louisa Stuart, youngest daughter of John, third Earl of Bute, and grand-daughter of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu.

[153] The well-known Mathematician and Natural Philosopher. Professor Playfair died in 1819 in his seventy-second year.

Have you seen the famed Bas bleu, the gentle dame Apreece, Who at a glance shot through and through the Scots Review, And changed its swans to geese? Playfair forgot his mathematics, astronomy, and hydrostatics, And in her presence often swore, he knew not two and two made four.

[Squib of 1811.]

[154] See _Midsummer Night's Dream_, Act II. Sc. 2.

[155] This journey was made in 1810.--_See Life_, Chapter xxi. vol. iii. p. 271.

[156] Lady Davy survived her distinguished husband for more than a quarter of a century; she died in London, May 1855.

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

[158] Sir Patrick Murray of Ochtertyre, then a baron of the Court of Exchequer in Scotland; he died in June 1837.

[159] This cherished and confidential friend had been living at Kaeside from 1817, and acting as steward on the estate. Mr. Laidlaw died in Ross-shire in 1845.

Mr. Lockhart says, "I have the best reason to believe that the kind and manly character of Dandie [Dinmont in _Guy Mannering_], the gentle and delicious one of his wife, and some at least of the most picturesque peculiarities of the _ménage_ at Charlieshope were filled up from Scott's observation, years after this period [1792], of a family, with one of whose members he had, through the best part of his life, a close and affectionate connection. To those who were familiar with him, I have perhaps already sufficiently indicated the early home of his dear friend, William Laidlaw." _Life_, vol. i. p. 268. See also vol. ii. p. 59; v. pp. 210-15, 251; vii. p. 168; viii. p. 68, etc.

[160] Flax on her distaff.

[161] _The English in Italy_, 3 vols., Lond. 1825, ascribed to the Marquis of Normanby.

[162] "S.W.S." Scott, in writing of himself, often uses these three letters in playful allusion to a freak of his trusty henchman Tom Purdie, who, in his joy on hearing of the baronetcy, proceeded to mark every sheep on the estate with a large letter "S" in addition to the owner's initials, W.S., which, according to custom, had already been stamped on their backs.

[163] Moore also felt that the morning was his happiest time for work, but he preferred "composing" in bed! He says somewhere that he would have passed half his days in bed for the purpose of composition had he not found it too relaxing.

Macaulay, too, when engaged in his _History_, was in the habit of writing three hours before breakfast daily.

[164] I am assured by Professor Butcher that there is no such passage in the Odyssey, but he suggests "that what Scott had in his mind was merely the Greek idea of a _waking vision_ being a true one. They spoke of it as a [Greek: upar] opposed to an [Greek: onar], a mere dream. These waking visions are usually said to be seen towards morning.

"In the Odyssey there are two such visions which turn out to be realities:--that of Nausicaa, Bk. vi. 20, etc., and that of Penelope, Bk. xix. 535, etc. In the former case we are told that the vision occurred just before dawn; I. 48-49, [Greek: autika d' Êôs êlthen], 'straightway came the Dawn,' etc. In the latter, there is no special mention of the hour. The vision, however, is said to be not a dream, but a true vision which shall be accomplished (547, [Greek: ouk onar all' upar esthlon, o toi tetelesmenon estai]).

"Such passages as these, which are frequent in Greek literature, might easily have given rise to the notion of a 'matutinal inspiration,' of which Scott speaks."

[165] General Sir James Steuart Denham of Coltness, Baronet, Colonel of the Scots Greys. His father, the celebrated political economist, took part in the Rebellion of 1745, and was long afterwards an exile. The reader is no doubt acquainted with "Lady Mary Wortley Montagu's Letters" addressed to him and his wife, Lady Frances.--J.G.L. See also Mrs. Calderwood's _Letters_, 8vo. Edin. 1884. Sir James died in 1839.

[166] "Had Prince Charles slept during the whole of the expedition," says the Chevalier Johnstone, "and allowed Lord George Murray to act for him according to his own judgment, there is every reason for supposing he would have found the crown of Great Britain on his head when he awoke."--_Memoirs of the Rebellion of 1745_, etc. 4to, p. 140. London, 1810.--J.G.L.

[167] The lines are given in _Woodstock_, with the following apology: "We observe this couplet in Fielding's farce of _Tumbledown Dick_, founded on the same classical story. As it was current in the time of the Commonwealth, it must have reached the author of _Tom Jones_ by tradition, for no one will suspect the present author of making the anachronism."

[168] Colonel Ranaldson Macdonell of Glengarry. He died in January 1828.--J.G.L.

[169] "We have had Maréchal Macdonald here. We had a capital account of Glengarry visiting the interior of a convent in the ancient Highland garb, and the effect of such an apparition on the nuns, who fled in all directions."--Scott to Skene, Edinburgh, 24th June 1825.

[170] No. 39 Castle Street, which had been occupied by him from 1802, when he removed from No. 10 in the same street. The situation suited him, as the houses of nearly all his friends were within a circle of a few hundred yards. For description see _Life_, vol. v. pp. 321, 333-4, etc.

[171] See below, _March_ 12.

[172] Burns's _Dedication_ to Gavin Hamilton--

"May ne'er misfortune's gowling bark Howl through the dwelling o' the _Clerk_."

[173]

"O born to arms! O worth in youth approved, O soft humanity in age beloved!"

--See Pope, _Epitaphs_, 9.

[174] David Monypenny had been on the Bench from 1813; he retired in 1830, and died at the age of eighty-one in 1850.

[175] Parody on Moore's _Minstrel Boy_.--J.G.L.

[176] "Le Pas de la Fontaine des Pleurs."--_Chroniques Nationales_.

[177] This hint was taken up in _Count Robert of Paris_.--J.G.L.

[178] James Ballantyne gives an interesting account of an interview a dozen years before this time, when "Tom Telltruth" had a somewhat delicate task to perform:--

"_The Lord of the Isles_ was by far the least popular of the series, and Mr. Scott was very prompt at making such discoveries. In about a week after its publication he took me into his library, and asked me what the people were saying about _The Lord of the Isles_. I hesitated, much in the same manner that Gil Blas might be supposed to do when a similar question was put by the Archbishop of Grenada, but he very speedily brought the matter to a point--'Come, speak out, my good fellow, what has put it in your head to be on ceremony with me? But the result is in one word--disappointment!' My silence admitted his inference to its fullest extent. His countenance certainly did look rather blank for a few seconds (for it is a singular fact, that before the public, or rather the booksellers, gave _their_ decision he no more knew whether he had written well or ill, than whether a die, which he threw out of a box, was to turn out a sise or an ace). However, he almost instantly resumed his spirits and expressed his wonder rather that his popularity had lasted so long, than that it should have given way at last. At length, with a perfectly cheerful manner, he said, 'Well, well, James, but you know we must not droop--for you know we can't and won't give over--we must just try something else, and the question is, what it's to be?' Nor was it any wonder he spoke thus, for he could not fail to be unconsciously conscious, if I dare use such a term, of his own gigantic, and as yet undeveloped, powers, and was somewhat under forty years old. I am by no means sure whether he then alluded to _Waverley_, as if he had mentioned it to me for the first time, for my memory has greatly failed me touching this, or whether he alluded to it, as in fact appears to have been the case, as having been commenced and laid aside several years before, but I well recollect that he consulted me with his usual openness and candour respecting his probability of succeeding as a novelist, and I confess my expectations were not very sanguine. He saw this and said, 'Well, I don't see why I should not succeed as well as other people. Come, faint heart never won fair lady--let us try.' I remember when the work was put into my hands, I could not get myself to think much, of the Waverley Honour scenes, but to my shame be it spoken, when he had reached the exquisite scenes of Scottish manners at Tully-Veolan, I thought them, and pronounced them, vulgar! When the success of the book so utterly knocked me down as a man of taste, all that the good-natured Author observed was, 'Well, I really thought you might be wrong about the Scotch. Why, Burns had already attracted universal attention to all about Scotland, and I confess I could not see why I should not be able to keep the flame alive, merely because I wrote in prose in place of rhyme.'"--_Memorandum_.

[179] This was a club-house on the London plan, in Princes Street [No. 54], a little eastward from the Mound. On its dissolution soon afterwards, Sir W. was elected by acclamation into the elder Society, called the _New Club_, who had then their house in St. Andrew Square [No. 3], and since 1837 in Princes Street [No. 85].

[180] Mr. Skene's house was No. 126 Princes Street. Scott's written answer has been preserved:--

"MY DEAR SKENE,--A thousand thanks for your kind proposal. But I am a solitary monster by temper, and must necessarily couch in a den of my own. I should not, I assure you, have made any ceremony in accepting your offer had it at all been like to suit me.

"But I must make an arrangement which is to last for years, and perhaps for my lifetime; therefore the sooner I place myself on my footing it will be so much the better.--Always, dear Skene, your obliged and faithful, W. SCOTT."

[181] Pope's _Imitation of Horace_, Bk. ii Sat. 6.--J.G.L.

[182] These Letters appeared in the _Edinburgh Weekly Journal_ in February and March 1826. "They were then collected into a pamphlet, and ran through numerous editions; in the subsequent discussions in Parliament, they were frequently referred to; and although an elaborate answer by the then Secretary of the Admiralty, Mr. Croker, attracted much notice, and was, by the Government of the time, expected to neutralise the effect of the northern lucubrations--the proposed measure, as regarded Scotland, was ultimately abandoned, and that result was universally ascribed to Malachi Malagrowther."--Scott's _Misc. Works_, vol. xxi.

[183] _Winter's Tale_, Act iv. Sc. 2, slightly altered.

[184] The late Mr. Williamson of Cardrona in Peeblesshire, was a strange humorist, of whom Sir Walter told many stories. The allusion here is to the anecdote of the _Leetle Anderson_ in the first of _Malachi_'s Epistles.:--See Scott's _Prose Miscellanies_, vol. xxi. p. 289.--_J.G.L._

[185] _The Omen_, by Galt, had just been published.--See Sir Walter's review of this novel in the _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xviii. p. 333. John Gait died at Greenock in April 1839.--J.G.L.

[186] "A Letter from Malachi Malagrowther, Esq., to the Editor of the _Edinburgh Weekly Journal_, on the proposed Change of Currency, and other late alterations as they affect, or are intended to affect, the Kingdom of Scotland. 8 vo, Edin. 1826."

The motto to the epistle was:--

"When the pipes begin to play Tutti taittie to the drum, Out claymore and down wi' gun, And to the rogues again."

In the next edition it was suppressed, as some friends thought it might be misunderstood. Mr. Croker in his reply had urged that if the author appealed to the edge of the claymore at Prestonpans, he might refer him to the point of the bayonet at Culloden.--See Croker's _Correspondence_, vol. i. pp. 317-320, and Scott's _Life_, vol. viii. pp. 301-5.

[187] Lord Reston, who died at Gladsmuir in 1819. He was one of Scott's companions at the High School.--See _Life_., vol. i. p. 40.

[188] See Gray's _Elegy_.--J.G.L.

[189] In Arthur Murphy's farce of _The Upholsterer, or What News_?

[190] Lady Anna Maria Elliot, daughter of the first Earl of Minto. She married Sir Rufane Donkin in 1832.

[191] Afterwards Lord Advocate, 1834 and 1835, and Judge under the title of Lord Murray from 1839; he died in 1859.

[192] The learned editor of the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, in 10 vols. folio, Edin. 1814-24; he succeeded Sir Walter as President of the Bannatyne Club in 1832, and died in 1852.

[193] Rose Court, where Mr. Clerk had a bachelor's establishment, was situated immediately behind St. Andrew's Church, George Street. The name disappeared from our Street Directories shortly after Mr. Clerk's death in 1847.

[194] Burns, in Johnson's _Musical Museum_, No. 319.

[195] One of the nineteen original members of _The Club_.--See Mr. Irving's letter with names, _Life_, vol. i. pp. 207-8, and Scott's joyous visit in 1793 to Meigle, pp. 292-4.

[196] Dalgleish was Sir Walter's butler. He said he cared not how much his wages were reduced--but go he would not.--J.G.L.

[197] Whin-cow--_Anglicè_, a bush of furze.--J.G.L.

Sir Walter Scott