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September 1830

September 5.--In spite of resolution I have left my Diary for some weeks, I cannot tell why. We have had the usual number of travelling Counts and Countesses, Yankees male and female, and a Yankee-Doodle-Dandy into the bargain, a smart young Virginia man. We have had friends of our own also, the Miss Ardens, young Mrs. Morritt and Anne Morritt, most agreeable visitors.[404] Cadell came out here yesterday with his horn filled with good news. This will in effect put an end to the trust; only the sales and produce must be pledged to insure the last £15,000 and the annuity interest of £600. In this way Mr. Cadell will become half-partner in the remaining volumes of the books following _St. Ronan's_; with all my heart, but he must pay well for it, for it is good property. Neither is any value stated for literary profits; yet, four years should have four novels betwixt 1830-4. This at £2500 per volume might be £8000, which would diminish Mr. Cadell's advance considerably. All this seems feasible enough, so my fits of sullen alarm are ill placed. It makes me care less about the terms I retire upon. The efforts by which we have advanced thus far are new in literature, and what is gained is secure.

[No entry between September 5 and December 20.]



[404] Sir Walter had written to Morritt on his retirement from the Court of Session, and his old friend responded in the following cordial letter:--

"November, 1830.

"MY DEAR SCOTT,--... I am sorry to read what you tell me of your lameness, but legs are not so obedient to many of us at our age as they were twenty years ago, _non immunes ab illis malis sumus_, as the learned Partridge and Lilly's Grammar tells us. I find mine swell, and am forced to bandage, and should not exert them with impunity in walking as I used to do, either in long walks or in rough ground. I am glad, however, you have escaped from the Court of Session, even at the risk of sometimes feeling the want you allude to of winter society. You think you shall tire of solitude in these months: and in spite of books and the love of them, I have discovered by experience the possibility of such a feeling; but can we not in some degree remedy this? Why should we both be within two days' march of each other and not sometimes together, as of old? How I have enjoyed in your house the _summum bonum_ of Sir Wm. Temple's philosophy, 'something which is not Home and yet with the liberty of Home, which is not Solitude, and yet hath the ease of Solitude, and which is only found in the house of an old friend.' Our summer months are well provided with summer friends. You have plenty and to spare of sightseers, Lions, and their hunters, and I have travellers, moor-shooters, etc., in equal abundance, but now when the country is abandoned, and Walter is leaving you, how I wish you would bring dear Anne and partake for a while our little circle here--we stir not till Christmas--if before that time such a pleasure could be attainable. Well, then, for auld lang syne, will you not, now that the Session has no claim on you, combine our forces against the possibility of _ennui_. If you will do this, I will positively, and in good faith, hold myself in readiness to do as much by you in the next November, and in every alternate November, nor shall the month ever pass without bringing us together. Do not tell me, as Wm. Rose would not fail to do if I gave him so good an opportunity, that my proposal would be a greater bore than the solitude it destroyed. It shall be no such thing, but only the trouble of a journey. I feel too, as I grow older, the _vis inertię_, and fancy that locomotion is more difficult, but let us abjure the doctrine, for it baulks much pleasure. Pray--pray as the children say--come to us, think of it first as not impossible, then weigh fairly the objections, and if they resolve themselves into mere aversion to change, overcome them by an assurance that the very change will give value to the resumption of your home avocations. If I plead thus strongly, perhaps it is because I feel the advantage to myself. Time has made gaps in the list of old friends as in yours; young ones, though very cheering and useful, are not, and cannot be, the same. I enjoy them too when present, but in absence I regret the others. What remains but to make the most of those we have still left when both body and mind permit us [to enjoy] them. I have books; also a room that shall [be your own], and a [pony] off which I can shoot, which I will engage shall neither tumble himself or allow you to tumble in any excursion on which you may venture. Dear Anne will find and make my womenkind as happy as you will make me, and we have only to beg you to stay long and be most cordially welcome. ... Adieu, dear Scott. I fear you will not come for all I can say. I could almost lose a tooth or a finger (if it were necessary) to find myself mistaken. Come, and come soon; stay long; be assured of welcome.

"All unite in this and in love to you and Anne, with your assured friend,


Sir Walter Scott