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June 1830

June 1.--Proofs and Court, the inevitable employment of the day. Louisa Kerr dined with us, and Williams looked in. We talked a good deal on Celtic witchery and fairy lore. I was glad to renew my acquaintance with this able and learned man.

June 2.--The Lockharts left us again this morning, and although three masons are clanking at their work to clear a well, the noise is mitigated, now the poor babies' clang of tongues is removed. I set myself to write, determining to avoid reasoning, and to bring in as many stories as possible. Being a Teind Wednesday, I may work undisturbed, and I will try to get so far ahead as may permit a journey to Abbotsford on Saturday. At nine o'clock was as far ahead as page 57. It runs out well, and 150 pages will do.

June 3.--Finished my proofs, and sent them off with copy. I saw Mr. Dickinson[365] on Tuesday: a right plain sensible man. He is so confident in my matters, that, being a large creditor himself, he offers to come down, with the support of all the London creditors, to carry through any measure that can be devised for my behoof. Mr. Cadell showed him that we are four years forward in matter prepared for the press. Got Heath's illustrations, which, I dare say, are finely engraved, but commonplace enough in point of art.

June 4.--Court as usual, and not long detained. Visited Cadell. All right, and his reports favourable, it being the launch of our annual volume, now traversing a year, with unblemished reputation and success uninterrupted. I should have said I overhauled proofs and furnished copy in the morning between seven and ten o'clock.

After coming from the Court I met Woll and Gala, and agreed upon the measures to be attempted at Selkirk on the eighth at the meeting of trustees. In the evening smoked an extra cigar (none since Tuesday), and dedicated the rest to putting up papers, etc., for Abbotsford. Anne wants me to go to hear the Tyrolese Minstrels, but though no one more esteems that bold and high-spirited people, I cannot but think their yodelling, if this be the word, is a variation, or set of variations, upon the tones of a jackass, so I remain to dribble and scribble at home.

June 5.--I rose at seven as usual, and, to say truth, dawdled away my time in putting things to rights, which is a vile amusement, and writing letters to people who write to ask my opinion of their books, which is as much as to say--"Tom, come tickle me." This is worse than the other pastime, but either may serve for a broken day, and both must be done sometimes.

[Abbotsford.]--After the Court, started for Abbotsford at half-past twelve at noon, and here we are at half-past five _impransi_. The country looks beautiful, though the foliage, larches in particular, have had a blight. Yet they can hardly be said to lose foliage since they have but a sort of brushes at best.

June 6.--Went through a good deal of duty as to proofs, and the like. At two set out and reached by four Chiefswood, where I had the happiness to find the Lockharts all in high spirits, well and happy. Johnnie must be all his life a weakly child, but he may have good health, and possesses an admirable temper. We dined with the Lockharts, and were all very happy.

June 7.--Same duty carefully performed. I continued working till about one, when Lockhart came to walk. We took our course round by the Lake. I was a good deal fagged, and must have tired my companion by walking slow. The Fergusons came over--Sir Adam in all his glory--and "the night drave on wi' sangs and clatter."[366]

June 8.--Had not time to do more than correct a sheet or two. About eleven set off for Selkirk, where there was a considerable meeting of road trustees. The consideration of the new road was intrusted to a committee which in some measure blinks the question; yet I think it must do in the end. I dined with the Club, young Chesters president. It is but bad fun, but I might be father of most of them, and must have patience. At length

    "Hame cam our gudeman at e'en,
      And hame cam he."[367]
June 9.--In the morning I advised Sheriff Court processes, carried on the _Demonology_ till twelve, then put books, etc., in some order to leave behind me. Will it be ordered that I come back not like a stranger, or sojourner, but to inhabit here? I do not know; I shall be happy either way. It is perhaps a violent change in the end of life to quit the walk one has trod so long, and the cursed splenetic temper, which besets all men, makes you value opportunities and circumstances when one enjoys them no longer. Well! things must be as they may, as says that great philosopher Corporal Nym.[368]

[Edinburgh.]--I had my walk, and on my return found the Lockharts come to take luncheon, and leave of us. Reached Edinburgh at nine o'clock. Found, among less interesting letters, two from Lord Northampton on the death of the poor Marchioness,[369] and from Anna Jane Clephane on the same melancholy topic. _Hei mihi!_

June 10.--Corrected proofs, prepared some copy, and did all that was right. Dined and wrought in the evening, yet I did not make much way after all.

June 11.--In the morning, the usual labour of two hours. God bless that habit of being up at seven! I could do nothing without it, but it keeps me up to the scratch, as they say. I had a letter this morning with deep mourning paper and seal; the mention of my nephew in the first line made me sick, fearing it had related to Walter. It was from poor Sir Thomas Bradford, who has lost his lady, but was indeed an account of Walter,[370] and a good one.

June 12.--A day of general labour and much weariness.

June 13.--The same may be said of this day.

June 14.--And of this, only I went out for an hour and a half to Mr. Colvin Smith, to conclude a picture for Lord Gillies. This is a sad relief from labour.

    "... Sedet æternumque sedebit
    Infelix Theseus."[371]
But Lord Gillies has been so kind and civil that I must have his picture as like as possible.

June 15.--I had at breakfast the son of Mr. Fellenburg[372] of Hofwyll, Switzerland, a modest young man. I used to think his father something of a quack, in proposing to discover how a boy's natural genius lies, with a view to his education. How would they have made me a scholar, is a curious question. Whatever was forced on me as a task I should have detested. There was also a gentlemanlike little man, the Chevalier de----, silent, and speaks no English. Poor George Scott, Harden, is dead of the typhus fever. Poor dear boy! I am sorry for him, and yet more for his parents. I have a letter from Henry on the subject.

June 16.--I wrote this forenoon till I completed the 100 pages, which is well done. I had a call from Colin Mackenzie, whom I had not seen for nearly two years. He has not been so well, and looks ghastly, but I think not worse than I have seen him of late years. We are very old acquaintances. I remember he was one of a small party at college, that formed ourselves into a club called the Poetical Society. The other members were Charles Kerr of Abbotrule (a singular being), Colin M'Laurin (insane), Colin, and I, who have luckily kept our wits. I also saw this morning a Mr. Low, a youth of great learning, who has written a good deal on the early history of Scotland.[373] He is a good-looking, frank, gentlemanlike lad; with these good gifts only a parish schoolmaster in Aberdeenshire. Having won a fair holiday I go to see Miss Kemble for the first time. It is two or three years since I have been in a theatre, once my delight.

June 17.--Went last night to theatre, and saw Miss Fanny Kemble's Isabella,[374] which was a most creditable performance. It has much of the genius of Mrs. Siddons, her aunt. She wants her beautiful countenance, her fine form, and her matchless dignity of step and manner. On the other hand, Miss Fanny Kemble has very expressive, though not regular, features, and what is worth it all, great energy mingled with and chastened by correct taste. I suffered by the heat, lights, and exertion, and will not go back to-night, for it has purchased me a sore headache this theatrical excursion. Besides, the play is Mrs. Beverley,[375] and I hate to be made miserable about domestic distress, so I keep my gracious presence at home to-night, though Ive and respect Miss Kemble for giving her active support to her father in his need, and preventing Covent Garden from coming down about their ears. I corrected proofs before breakfast, attended Court, but was idle in the forenoon, the headache annoying me much. Dinner will make me better. And so it did. I wrote in the evening three pages, and tolerably well, though I may say with the Emperor Titus (not Titus Oates) that I have lost a day.

June 18, [Blair-Adam].--Young John Colquhoun of Killermont and his wife breakfasted with us,--a neat custom that, and saves wine and wassail. Then to Court, and arranged for our departure for Blair-Adam, it being near midsummer when the club meets. Anne with me, and Sir Adam Ferguson. The day was execrable. Our meeting at Blair-Adam was cordial, but our numbers diminished; the good and very clever Lord Chief Baron[376] is returned to his own country, with more regrets than in Scotland usually attend a stranger. Will Clerk has a bad cold, [Thomas] Thomson is detained, but the Chief Commissioner, Admiral Adam, Sir Adam, John Thomson and I, make an excellent concert. I only hope our venerable host will not fatigue himself. To-morrow we go to Culross, which Sir Robert Preston is repairing, and the wise are asking for whose future enjoyment. He is upwards of ninety, but still may enjoy the bustle of life.

June 19.--Arose and expected to work a little, but a friend's house is not favourable; you are sure to want the book you have not brought, and are in short out of sorts, like the minister who could not preach out of his own pulpit. There is something fanciful in this, and something real too, and I have forgot my watch and left half my glasses at home.

Off we set at half-past eight o'clock, Lord Chief Commissioner being left at home owing to a cold. We breakfasted at Luscar, a place belonging to Adam Rolland, but the gout had arrested him at Edinburgh, so we were hospitably received by his family. The weather most unpropitious, very cold and rainy. After breakfast to Culross, where the veteran, Sir Robert Preston,[377] showed us his curiosities. Life has done as much for him as most people. In his ninety-second year he has an ample fortune, a sound understanding, not the least decay of eyes, ears, or taste; is as big as two men, and eats like three. Yet he too experiences the _singula prædantur anni_, and has lost something since I last saw him. If his appearance renders old age tolerable, it does not make it desirable. But I fear when death comes we shall be unwilling for all that to part with our bundle of sticks. Sir Robert amuses himself with repairing the old House of Culross, built by the Lord Bruce of Kinloss. To what use it is destined is not very evident to me. It is too near his own comfortable mansion of Valleyfield to be useful as a residence, if indeed it could be formed into a comfortable modern house. But it is rather like a banqueting house. Well, he follows his own fancy. We had a sumptuous cold dinner. Adam grieves it was not hot, so little can war and want break a man to circumstances. We returned to Blair-Adam in the evening, through "the wind but and the rain." For June weather it is the most ungenial I have seen. The beauty of Culross consists in magnificent terraces rising on the sea-beach, and commanding the opposite shore of Lothian; the house is repairing in the style of James the Sixth. The windows have pediments like Heriot's Work.[378] There are some fine relics of the old Monastery, with large Saxon arches. At Luscar I saw with pleasure the painting by Raeburn, of my old friend Adam Rolland, Esq.,[379] who was in the external circumstances, but not in frolic or fancy, my prototype for Paul Pleydell.[380]

June 20.--We settled this morning to go to church at Lochore, that is, at Ballingray; but when we came to the earthly paradise so called, we were let off for there was no sermon, for which I could not in my heart be sorry. So, after looking at Lochore, back we came to lounge and loiter about till dinner-time. The rest of the day was good company, good cheer, and good conversation. Yet to be idle here is not the thing, and to be busy is impossible, so I wish myself home again in spite of good entertainment. We leave to-night after an early dinner, and I will get to work again.

June 21, [Edinburgh].--Wrote to Walter a long letter. The day continued dropping occasionally, but Sir Adam was in high fooling, and we had an amazing deal of laughing. We stole a look at the Kiery Craigs between showers. In the meantime George Cheape and his son came in. We dined at half-past three, but it was seven ere we set off, and did not reach the house in Shandwick Place till eleven at night. Thus ended our Club for the year 1830, its thirteenth anniversary. Its numbers were diminished by absence and indisposition, but its spirit was unabated.

June 22.--Finished proofs and some copy in the morning. Returned at noon, and might have laboured a good day's work, but was dull, drowsy, and indolent, and could not, at least did not, write above half a page. It was a day lost, and indeed it is always with me the consequence of mental indolence for a day or two, so I had a succession of eating and dozing, which I am ashamed of, for there was nothing to hinder me but "thick-coming fancies." Pshaw, rabbit un!

June 23.--Worked well this morning, and then to Court. At two called on Mr. Gibson, and find him disposed for an instalment. Cadell has £10,000, and Gibson thinks £12,000 will pay 2s. 6d. I wish it could be made three shillings, which would be £15,000.

Presided at a meeting of the Bannatyne Club. The Whigs made a strong party to admit Kennedy of Dunure, which set aside Lord Medwyn, who had been longer on the roll of candidates. If politics get into this Club it will ruin the literary purpose of the meeting, and the general good-humour with which it has gone on. I think it better to take the thing good-humouredly, and several of them volunteered to say that Medwyn must be the next, which will finish all _à l'aimable_. If it come to party-work I will cut and run. Confound it! my eyes are closing now, even _now_, at half-past four.

Dined with Lord Medwyn, a pleasant party. The guest of importance, Mrs. Peter Latouche from Dublin, a fine old dame, who must have been beautiful when young, being pleasant and comely at seventy,--saintly it appears.

June 24.--Hard work with Ballantyne's proofs and revises, but got them accomplished. I am at the twelfth hour, but I think I shall finish this silly book before the tenth of July.

Notwithstanding this sage resolution I did not write half a page of the said _Demonology_ this day. I went to the Court, called on Mr. Cadell, returned dog-tired, and trifled my time with reading the trial of Corder. What seemed most singular was his love to talk of the young woman he had murdered, in such a manner as to insinuate the circumstances of his own crime, which is a kind of necessity which seems to haunt conscience-struck men. Charles Sharpe came in at night and supped with us.

June 25.--Slept little later than I should. The proofs occupied the morning. The Court and walk home detained me till two. When I returned, set to work and reached page 210 of copy. There is little or nothing else to say. Skene was with me for a few minutes. I called at Cadell's also, who thinks a dividend of 3s. per pound will be made out.[381] This will be one-half of the whole debts, and leave a sinking fund for the rest about £10,000 a year "if the beast live and the branks bide hale."[382]

June 26.--Miss Kemble and her father breakfasted here, with Sir Adam and Lady Ferguson. I like the young lady very much, respecting both her talents and the use she has made of them. She seems merry, unaffected, and good-humoured. She said she did not like the apathy of the Scottish audiences, who are certain not to give applause upon credit. I went to the Court, but soon returned; a bad cold in my head makes me cough and sneeze like the Dragon of Wantley. The Advocates' Bill[383] is read a third time. I hardly know whether to wish it passed or no, and am therefore _in utrumque paratus_.

June 27.--In the morning worked as usual at proofs and copy of my infernal _Demonology_--a task to which my poverty and not my will consents. About twelve o'clock I went to the country to take a day's relaxation. We (i.e. Mr. Cadell, James Ballantyne, and I) went to Prestonpans, and, getting there about one, surveyed the little village, where my aunt and I were lodgers for the sake of sea-bathing in 1778, I believe. I knew the house of Mr. Warroch, where we lived,--a poor cottage, of which the owners and their family are extinct. I recollected my juvenile ideas of dignity attendant on the large gate, a black arch which lets out upon the sea. I saw the church where I yawned under the inflictions of a Dr. M'Cormick, a name in which dulness seems to have been hereditary. I saw the Links where I arranged my shells upon the turf, and swam my little skiffs in the pools. Many comparisons between the man, and the recollections of my kind aunt, of old George Constable, who, I think, dangled after her; of Dalgetty, a veteran half-pay lieutenant, who swaggered his solitary walk on the parade, as he called a little open space before the same pool. We went to Preston, and took refuge from a thunder-plump in the old tower. I remembered the little garden where I was crammed with gooseberries, and the fear I had of Blind Harry's spectre of Fawdon showing his headless trunk at one of the windows. I remembered also a very good-natured pretty girl (my Mary Duff), whom I laughed and romped with and loved as children love. She was a Miss Dalrymple, daughter of Lord Westhall,[384] a Lord of Session; was afterwards married to Anderson of Winterfield, and her daughter is now [the spouse] of my colleague Robert Hamilton. So strangely are our cards shuffled. I was a mere child, and could feel none of the passion which Byron alleges, yet the recollection of this good-humoured companion of my childhood is like that of a morning dream, nor should I now greatly like to dispel it by seeing the original, who must now be sufficiently time-honoured.

Well, we walked over the field of battle, saw the Prince's Park, Cope's Loan, marked by slaughter in his disastrous retreat, the thorn-tree which marks the centre of the battle, and all besides that was to be seen or supposed. We saw two broadswords, found on the field of battle, one a Highlander's, an Andrew Ferrara, another the dragoon's sword of that day. Lastly, we came to Cockenzie, where Mr. Francis Cadell, my publisher's brother, gave us a kind reception. I was especially glad to see the mother of the family, a fine old lady, who was civil to my aunt and me, and, I recollect well, used to have us to tea at Cockenzie. Curious that I should long afterwards have an opportunity to pay back this attention to her son Robert. Once more, what a kind of shuffling of the hand dealt us at our nativity. There was Mrs. F. Cadell, and one or two young ladies, and some fine fat children. I should be a bastard to the time[385] did I not tell our fare. We had a _tiled_ whiting,[386] a dish unknown elsewhere, so there is a bone for the gastronomers to pick. Honest John Wood,[387] my old friend, dined with us. I only regret I cannot understand him, as he has a very powerful memory, and much curious information. The whole day of pleasure was damped by the news of the King's death; it was fully expected, however, as the termination of his long illness. But he was very good to me personally, and a kind sovereign. The common people and gentry join in their sorrow. Much is owing to a kindly recollection of his visit to this country, which gave all men an interest in him.

June 29.--The business of the Court was suspended, so back I came, without stop or stay, and to work went I. As I had risen early I was sadly drowsy; however, I fought and fagged away the day. I am still in hope to send my whole manuscript to Ballantyne before the 10th July. Well, I must devise something to myself; I must do something better than this Demonological trash. It is nine o'clock, and I am weary, yea, my very spirit's tired.[388] After ten o'clock Mr. Daveis,[389] an American barrister of eminence, deputed to represent the American States in a dispute concerning the boundaries of Nova Scotia and New England, with an introduction to me from Mr. Ticknor, called. I was unable to see him, and put him off till to-morrow morning at breakfast.

June 30.--The new King was proclaimed, and the College of Justice took the oaths. I assisted Mr. Daveis, who is a pleasant and well-informed man, to see the ceremony, which, probably, he would hardly witness in his own country. A day of noise and bustle. We dined at Mr. and Mrs. Strange, _chère exquise_ I suppose. Many friends of the Arniston family. I thought there was some belief of Lord Melville losing his place. That he may exchange it for another is very likely, but I think the Duke will not desert him who adhered to him so truly.

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FOOTNOTES:

[365] Mr. John Dickinson of Nash Mill, Herts, the eminent papermaker.--J.G.L. _Ante_, p. 31.

[366] Burns's _Tam o' Shanter_.

[367] See Johnson's _Musical Museum_ Illustrations, Pt. v. No. 454.

[368] _Henry V._ Act II. Sc. 1.

[369] Daughter of his old friend, Mrs. Maclean Clephane of Torloisk.

[370] "Little Walter," Thomas Scott's son, who went to India in 1826, _ante_, vol. i. p. 103. He became a General in the Indian Army, and died in 1873.

[371] _Æneid_ VI. 617.

[372] Emanuel de Fellenburg, who died in 1844.

[373] "The History of Scotland from the Earliest Period to the Middle of the Ninth Century," by the Rev. Alex. Low. 8vo, Edinburgh, 1826.--See _Misc. Prose Works_, vol. xx. pp. 374-6.

[374] Southerne's _Fatal Marriage_.

[375] In the _Gamester_ by Moore.

[376] Sir Samuel Shepherd.--See _ante_, vol. i. p. 51 _n_.

[377] Sir Robert Preston, Bart., died in May 1834, aged ninety-five.--- J.G.L.

[378] Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh.

[379] See _ante_, p. 279 note, and for sketch of Adam Rolland of Gask, Cockburn's _Memorials_, pp. 360-3.

[380] The "frolic and fancy" of Councillor Pleydell were commonly supposed to have been found in Andrew Crosbie, Advocate, but as Crosbie died when Scott was only fourteen, and had retired from the bar for some years, the latter could scarcely have known him personally. See p. 281 _n_.

[381] A second dividend of 3s. was declared on December 17, 1830.

[382] An old Galloway proverb. _Branks_, "a sort of bridle used by country people in riding."--_Jamieson_. Burns in a Scotch letter to Nicol of June 1, 1787, says, "I'll be in Dumfries the morn gif the beast be to the fore and the branks bide hale."--Cromek's _Reliques_, p. 29.

[383] Relating to the changes in the Court of Session.

[384] David Dalrymple of Westhall was a judge of the Court of Session from 1777 till his death in 1784.

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

[386] A whiting dried in the sun; but "tiled haddocks" and "tiled whitings" are now unknown to the fisher-folk of Cockenzie.

[387] John Philip Wood, editor of _Douglas's Peerage of Scotland_, etc., was deaf and dumb; he died in 1838 in his seventy-fourth year.

[388] _Coriolanus_, Act I. Sc. 9.

[389] Charles S. Daveis of Portland, a friend of Mr. George Ticknor, in whose Life (2 vols. 8vo, Boston, 1876) he is often mentioned.

Sir Walter Scott