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July 1830

July 1.--Mr. Daveis breakfasted with me. On nearer acquaintance, I was more galled by some portion of continental manners than I had been at first, so difficult is it for an American to correct his manner to our ideas of perfect good-breeding.[390] I did all that was right, however, and asked Miss Ferrier, whom he admires prodigiously, to meet him at dinner. Hither came also a young friend, so I have done the polite thing every way. Thomson also dined with us. After dinner I gave my strangers an airing round the Corstorphine hills, and returned by the Cramond road. I sent to Mr. Gibson, Cadell's project for Lammas, which raises £15,000 for a dividend of 3s. to be then made. I think the trustees should listen to this, which is paying one-half of my debt.

July 2.--Have assurances from John Gibson that £15,000 should be applied as I proposed. If this can be repeated yearly up to 1835 the matter is ended, and well ended; yet, woe's me! the public change their taste, and their favourites get old. Yet if I was born in 1771, I shall only be sixty in 1831, and, by the same reasoning, sixty-four in 1835, so I may rough it out, yet be no Sir Robert Preston. At any rate, it is all I have to trust to.

I did a morning's task, and was detained late at the Court; came home, ate a hearty dinner, slumbered after it in spite of my teeth, and made a poor night's work of it. One's mind gets so dissipated by the fagging, yet insignificant, business of the offices; my release comes soon, but I fear for a term only, for I doubt if they will carry through the Court Bill.

July 3.--My day began at seven as usual. Sir Adam came to breakfast. I read Southey's edition of the _Pilgrim's Progress,_ and think of reviewing the same. I would I had books at hand. To the Court, and remained till two; then went to look at the drawings for repairing Murthly, the house of Sir John or James Stewart, now building by Gillespie Graham, and which he has planned after the fashion of James VI.'s reign, a kind of bastard Grecian[391]--very fanciful and pretty though. Read Hone's _Every-day Book_, and with a better opinion of him than I expected from his anti-religious frenzy. We are to dine with the Skenes to-day.

Which we did accordingly, meeting Mr. and Mrs. Strange, Lord Forbes, and other friends.

July 4.--Was a complete and serious day of work, only interrupted in the evening by----, who, with all the freedom and ease of continental manners, gratified me with his gratuitous presence. Yet it might have been worse, for his conversation is well enough, but it is strange want of tact to suppose one must be alike welcome to a stranger at all hours of the day; but I have stuffed the portfolio, so do not grudge half-an-hour.

July 5.--I was up before seven and resumed my labours, and by breakfast-time I had reached p. 133; it may reach to 160 or 170 as I find space and matter. Buchanan[392] came and wrote about fifteen of his pages, equal to mine in proportion of three to one. We are therefore about p. 138, and in sight of land. At two o'clock went to bury poor George Burnet, the son of Gilbert Innes, in as heavy a rain as I ever saw. Was in Shandwick Place again by four and made these entries. I dine to-day with the Club; grant Heaven it fair before six o'clock!

We met at Barry's,[393] and had a gallant dinner, but only few of our number was present. Alas! sixty does not rally to such meetings with the alacrity of sixteen, and our Club has seen the space between these terms. I was home and abed when Charles arrived and waked me. Poor fellow! he is doing very well with his rheumatic limbs.

July 6.--I did little this morning but correct some sheets, and was at the Court all morning. About two I called at Mr. Cadell's, and I learned the dividend was arranged. Sir Adam fell in with us, and laid anchors to windward to get an invitation to Cockenzie for next year, being struck with my life-like description of a tiled haddock. I came home much fagged, slept for half-an-hour (I don't like this lethargy), read _I Promessi Sposi_, and was idle. Miss Kerr dined and gave us music.

July 7.--This morning corrected proofs, with which J.B. proceeds lazily enough, and alleges printing reasons, of which he has plenty at hand. Though it was the Teind Wednesday the devil would have it that this was a Court of Session day also for a cause of mine; so there I sat hearing a dozen cases of augmentation of stipend pleaded, and wondering within myself whether anything can be predicated of a Scottish parish, in which there cannot be discovered a reason for enlarging the endowments of the minister. I returned after two, with a sousing shower for companion; I got very wet and very warm. But shall we go mourn for that, my dear?[394] I rather like a flaw of weather; it shows something of the old man is left. I had Mr. Buchanan to help pack my papers and things, and got through part of that unpleasant business.

July 8.--I had my letters as usual, but no proofs till I was just going out. Returning from the Court met Skene, who brought me news that our visit was at an end for Saturday, poor Colin having come to town very unwell. I called to see him, and found him suffering under a degree of slow palsy, his spirits depressed, and his looks miserable, worse a great deal than when I last saw him. His wife and daughter were in the room, dreadfully distressed. We spoke but a few words referring to recovery and better days, which, I suspect, neither of us hoped.[395] For I looked only on the ghost of my friend of many a long day; and he, while he said to see me did him good, must have had little thought of our meeting under better auspices. We shall, of course, go straight to Abbotsford, instead of travelling by Harcus as we intended.

July 9.--Two distressed damsels on my hands, one, a friend of Harriet Swinton, translates from the Italian a work on the plan of _I Promessi Sposi_, but I fear she must not expect much from the trade. A translation with them is a mere translation--that is, a thing which can be made their own at a guinea per sheet, and they will not have an excellent one at a higher rate. Second is Miss Young, daughter of the excellent Dr. Young of Hawick. If she can, from her father's letters and memoranda, extract materials for a fair simple account of his life, I would give my name as editor, and I think it might do, but for a large publication--Palabras, neighbour Dogberry,[396] the time is by. Dined with the Bannatyne, where we had a lively party. Touching the songs, an old _roué_ must own an improvement in the times, when all paw-paw words are omitted, and naughty innuendos _gazés_. One is apt to say--

    "Swear me, Kate, like a lady as thou art,
    A good mouth-filling oath, and leave 'in sooth,'
    And such protest of pepper-gingerbread."[397]
I think there is more affectation than improvement in the new mode.

July 10.--Rose rather late: the champagne and turtle, I suppose, for our reform includes no fasting. Then poor Ardwell came to breakfast; then Dr. Young's daughter. I have projected with Cadell a plan of her father's life, to be edited by me.[398] If she does but tolerably, she may have a fine thing of it. Next came the Court, where sixty judgments were pronounced and written by the Clerks, I hope all correctly, though an error might well happen in such a crowd, and----, one of the best men possible, is beastly stupid. Be that as it may, off came Anne, Charles, and I for Abbotsford. We started about two, and the water being too deep didn't arrive till past seven; dinner, etc., filled up the rest of the day.

July 11, Abbotsford.--Corrected my proofs and the lave of it till about one o'clock. Then started for a walk to Chiefswood, which I will take from station to station,[399] with a book in my pouch. I have begun _Lawrie Todd_, which ought, considering the author's undisputed talents, to have been better. He might have laid Cooper aboard, but he follows far behind. No wonder: Galt, poor fellow, was in the King's Bench when he wrote it. No whetter of genius is necessity, though said to be the mother of invention.

July 12.--Another wet day, but I walked twice up and down the terrace, and also wrote a handsome scrap of copy, though mystified by the want of my books, and so forth. Dr. and Mrs. Lockhart and Violet came to luncheon and left us to drive on to Peebles. I read and loitered and longed to get my things in order. Got to work, however, at seven in the morning.

July 13.--Now "what a thing it is to be an ass!"[400] I have a letter from a certain young man, of a sapient family, announcing that his sister had so far mistaken my attentions as to suppose I was only prevented by modesty from stating certain wishes and hopes, etc. The party is a woman of rank: so far my vanity may be satisfied. But to think I would wish to appropriate a grim grenadier made to mount guard at St. James's! The Lord deliver me! I excused myself with little picking upon the terms, and there was no occasion for much delicacy in repelling such an attack.

July 14.--The Court of Session Bill is now committed in the House of Lords, so it fairly goes on this season, and I have, I suppose, to look for my _congé_. I can hardly form a notion of the possibility that I am not to return to Edinburgh. My clerk Buchanan came here, and assists me to finish the _Demonology Letters_, and be d--d to them. But it is done to their hand. Two ladies, Mrs. Latouche of Dublin, and her niece, Miss Boyle, came to spend a day or two. The aunt is a fine old lady; the conversation that of a serious person frightened out of her wits by the violence and superstition of our workers of miracles in the west.[401] Miss Boyle is a pretty young woman, rather quiet for an Irish lass.

July 16.--We visited at Lessudden yesterday, and took Mrs. Latouche thither. To-day, as they had left us, we went alone to Major John's house of Ravenswood and engaged a large party of cousins to dine to-morrow.

In the evening a party of foreigners came around the door, and going out I found Le Comte Ladislaus de Potocki, a great name in Poland, with his lady and brother-in-law, so offered wine, coffee, tea, etc. The lady is strikingly pretty. If such a woman as she had taken an affection for a lame baronet, nigh sixty years old, it would be worth speaking about! I have finished the _Demonology_.[402]

July 17.--Another bad day, wet past all efforts to walk, and threatening a very bad harvest. Persecuted with begging letters; an author's Pegasus is like a post-chaise leaving the door of the inn: the number of beggars is uncountable. The language they hold of my character for charity makes my good reputation as troublesome as that of Joseph Surface.[403] A dinner of cousins, the young Laird of Raeburn, so he must be called, though nearly as old as I am, at their head. His brother Robert, who has been in India for forty years, excepting one short visit: a fine manly fellow, who has belled the cat with fortune, and held her at bay as a man of mould may. Being all kinsmen and friends, we made a merry day of our re-union. All left at night.

July 18.--

    "Time runs, I know not how, away."
Here am I beginning the second week of my vacation--though what needs me note that?--vacation and session will probably be the same to me in the future. The long remove must then be looked to, for the final signal to break up, and that is a serious thought.

I have corrected two sets of proofs, one for the mail, another for the Blucher to-morrow.

[No entry between July 18 and September 5.]

[Mr. Lockhart remarks that it was during this interval that the highest point of his recovery was reached. The following little note accompanied the review of Southey's _Bunyan_ to Chiefswood on August 6th:---

"Dear Lockhart, I send you the enclosed. I intended to have brought it myself with help of 'Daddy Dun,' but I find the weather is making a rain of it to purpose.

"I suppose you are all within doors, and the little gardeners all off work.--Yours, W.S."]

A playful yet earnest petition, showing Sir Walter's continued solicitude for the welfare of the good 'Dominie Sampson,' was also written at this time to the Duke of Buccleuch:--

"ABBOTSFORD, 20th August.

"The minister of ------ having fallen among other black cocks of the season, emboldens me once more to prefer my humble request in favour of George Thomson, long tutor in this family. His case is so well known to your Grace that I would be greatly to blame if I enlarged upon it. His morals are irreproachable, his talents very respectable. He has some oddity of manner, but it is far from attaching to either the head or the heart....

"It would be felt by me among one of the deepest obligations of the many which I owe to the house of Buccleuch. I daresay your Grace has shot a score of black game to-day. Pray let your namesake bag a parson."

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FOOTNOTES:

[390] An amusing illustration of the difficulty of seeing ourselves as others see us may be found written twenty-five years later by Nathaniel Hawthorne, where the author of the _Scarlet Letter_ expresses in like manner his surprise at the want of refinement in Englishmen:--"I had been struck by the very rough aspect of these John Bulls in their morning garb, their coarse frock-coats, grey hats, check trousers, and stout shoes; at dinner-table it was not at first easy to recognise the same individuals.... But after a while, 'you see the same rough figure through all the finery, and become sensible that John Bull cannot make himself fine, whatever he may put on. He is a rough animal, and his female is well adapted to him.'"--_Hawthorne and His Wife_, vol. ii. p. 70. 2 vols. 8vo. Cambridge, U.S.A., 1884.

[391] Architects style it Elizabethan, but Sir Walter's term is not inappropriate.

[392] An amanuensis who was employed by Scott at this time.

[393] British Hotel, 70 Queen St.

[394] See _Winter's Tale_, Act IV. Sc. 2.

[395] See _ante_, January 15, 1828, p. 111. Mr. Mackenzie of Portmore died in September 1830, when Sir Walter wrote Mr. Skene the following letter:--

"DEAR SKENE,--I observe from the papers that our invaluable friend is no more. I have reason to think, that as I surmised when I saw him last, the interval has been a melancholy one, at least to those who had to watch the progress. I never expected to see his kind face more, after I took leave of him in Charlotte Square; yet the certainty that such must be the case is still a painful shock, as I can never hope again to meet, during the remaining span of my own life, a friend in whom high talents for the business of life were more happily mingled with all those affections which form the dearest part of human intercourse. In that respect I believe his like hardly is to be found. I hope Mrs. Skene and you will make my assurance of deep sympathy, of which they know it is expressed by a friend of poor Colin of fifty years' standing.

"I hope my young friend, his son, will keep his father's example before his eyes. His best friend cannot wish him a better model.

"I am just setting off to the West for a long-promised tour of a week. I shall be at Abbotsford after Monday, 27th current, and I hope Mrs. Skene and you, with some of our young friends, will do us the pleasure to come here for a few days. We see how separations may happen among friends, and should not neglect the opportunity of being together while we can. Besides, _entre nous_, it is time to think what is to be done about the Society, as the time of my retirement draws nigh, and I am determined, at whatever loss, not to drag out the last sands of my life in that sand-cart of a place, the Parliament House. I think it hurt poor Colin. This is, however, subject for future consideration, as I have not breathed a syllable about resigning the Chair to any one, but it must soon follow as a matter of course.[C]

"Should you think of writing to let me know how the distressed family are, you may direct, during the beginning of next week, to Drumlanrig, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire.

"My kind love attends my dear Mrs. Skene, girls, boys, and all the family, and I am, always yours,

"WALTER SCOTT.

"ABBOTSFORD, _18th September_ [1830]."

[C] Sir Walter had been President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh for some years; his resignation was not accepted, and he retained the office until he died.

[396] _Much Ado about Nothing_, Act III. Sc. 5.

[397] 1 _King Henry IV._, Act III. Sc. 1.

[398] The biography here spoken of was not published.

[399] Sir Walter had seats placed at suitable distances between the house and Chiefswood.

[400] _Titus Andronicus_, Act IV. Sc. 2.

[401] For an account of these "miracles" see _Peace in Believing_--a memoir of Isabella Campbell of Fernicarry. Roseneath, 8vo, 1829.

[402] _Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft_, addressed to J.G. Lockhart, Esq., was published before the end of the year in Murray's _Family Library_.

[403] _School for Scandal_.

Sir Walter Scott