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and it shall never more be mentioned between us."

Mr. Southey, long afterwards, told me that he was not
the author of that article, and he believed it to have
been written by Scott. If it was, it was rather too bad
of him; but he never said it was not his. It was a
review of modern literature in the " Edinburgh Annual
Register." As some readers of these anecdotes may be
curious to see the offensive passage in the Spy, I shall
here extract it ; that work being long ago extinct, and
only occasionally mentioned by myself, as a parent will

Sir Walter Scott. 73

sometimes mention the name of a dear, unfortunate,
lost child, who has been forgotten by all the world

" The papers which have given the greatest personal
offence are those of Mr. Shuffleton, which popular
clamour obliged the editor reluctantly to discontinue.
Of all the poets and poetesses whose works are there
emblematically introduced, one gentleman alone stood
the test, and his firmness was, even by himself,
attributed to forgiveness. All the rest, male and female,
tossed up their noses and pronounced the writer an
ignorant and an incorrigible barbarian. The Spy here-
by acknowledges himself the author of these papers, and
adheres to the figurative character he has there given of
the poetical works of these authors. He knows, that in
a future edition, it is expected that they are all to be
altered or obliterated. They never shall ! Though the
entreaties of respected friends prevailed on him to
relinquish a topic which was his favourite one, what he
has published, he has published, and no private con-
sideration shall induce him to an act of such manifest
servility as that of making a renunciation. Those who
are so grossly ignorant as to suppose the figurative
characteristics of the poetry, as having the smallest
reference to the personal characters of the authors, are
below reasoning with. And since it has of late become
fashionable with some great poets to give an estimate
of their great powers in periodical works of distinction,
surely others have an equal right to give likewise their
estimates of the works of such bards. It is truly amus-


74 Domestic Manners of

ing to see how artfully a gentleman is placed at the head
of a school of poetry, and one who is, perhaps, his
superior at the tail of it. How he can make himself to
appear as the greatest genius that ever existed.
With what address he can paint his failings as beauties,
and depict his greatest excellencies as slight defects,
finding fault only with those parts which every one must
admire. The design is certainly an original, though
not a very creditable one. Great authors cannot
remain always concealed, let them be as cautious as
they will; the smallest incident often assisting curiosity
in the discovery." Spy for August 24th, 1811.

This last sentence, supposing Sir Walter to have been
the author, which I now suspect he was, certainly con-
tained rather too broad and too insolent a charge to be
passed over with impunity. When I wrote it, I
believed he was, but had I continued to believe so, I
would not have called on him the next morning after
the publication of the paper. Luckily, before putting
the paper to press, I waited on Mr. John Ballantyne,
and asked him who was the author of that insolent
paper in his " Annual Register," which placed me as the
dregs of all the poets in Britain.

"O, the paper was sent to our office by Sou they," said
he, " you know he is editor and part proprietor of the
work, and we never think of objecting to anything that
he sends us. Neither my brother James nor I ever
read the article until it was published, and we both
thought it was a good one."

Now this was a story beside the truth, for I found

Sir Walter Scott. 75

out afterwards that Mr. James Ballantyne had read the
paper from manuscript, in a library, long before its
publication, where it was applauded in the highest
terms. I, however, implicitly believed it, as I have done
everybody all my life. At that period, the whole of the
aristocracy and literature of our country were set
against me, and determined to keep me down ;* nay, to
crush me to a nonentity. Thanks be to God! I have
lived to see the sentiments of my countrymen com-
pletely changed.

There was once more, and only once, that I found Sir
Walter in the same querulous humour with me. It was
the day after the publication of my " Brownie of
Boisbeck." I called on him after his return from the
Parliament-house, on pretence of asking his advice about
some very important affair, but, in fact, to hear his
sentiments of my new work His shaggy eye-brows
were hanging very low down, a bad prelude, which I
knew too well. " I have read through your new work,
Mr. Hogg," said he, "and must tell you downright
plainly, as I always do, that I like it very ill very ill

" What for, Mr. Scott ? "

" Because it is a false and unfair picture of the times
and the existing characters, altogether an exaggerated
and unfair picture ! "

" I dinna ken, Mr. Scott. It is the picture I have
been bred up in the belief o' sin' ever I was born, and I

* What a horrible conspiracy !

76 Domestic Manners of

had it frae them whom I was most bound to honour and
believe. An' mair nor that, there is not one single
incident in the tale not one which I cannot prove
from history to be literally and positively true. I was
obliged sometimes to change the situations to make one
part coalesce with another, but in no one instance have
I related a story of a cruelty or a murder which is not
literally true. An' that's a great deal mair than you
can say for your tale o' ' Auld Mortality.' "

" You are overshooting the mark now, Mr. Hogg. I
wish it were my tale. But it is not with regard to that,
that I find fault with your tale at all, but merely
because it is an unfair and partial picture of the age in
which it is laid."

" No, I shouldna hae said it was your tale, for ye hae
said to your best friends that it was not, an' there I was
wrang. Ye may hinder a man to speak, but ye canna
hinder him to think, an' I can speak at the thinking.
But, whoever wrote ' Auld Mortality,' kenning what I
ken, an' what ye ken, I wadna wonder at you being ill-
pleased with my tale, if ye thought it written as a
counterpoise to that, but ye ken weel it was written lang
afore the other was heard of."

"Yes, I know that a part of it was in manuscript
last year, but I suspect it has been greatly exaggerated

" As I am an honest man, sir, there has not been a
line altered or added, that I remember of. The
original copy was printed. Mr. Blackwood was the
only man, beside yourself, who saw it. He read it

Sir Walter Scott. 77

painfully, which I now know you did not, and I appeal
to him."

" Well, well. As to its running counter with ' Old
Mortality,' I have nothing to say. Nothing in the
world. I only tell you, that with the exception of Old
Nanny, the crop-eared Covenanter, who is by far the
best character you ever drew in your life, I dislike the
tale exceedingly, and assure you it is a distorted, a
prejudiced, and untrue picture of the Royal party."

" It's a devilish deal truer than yours though, and on
that ground I make my appeal to my country."

And with that I rose, and was going off in a great

" No, nc ! stop ! " cried he, " you are not to go, and
leave me again in bad humour. You ought not to be
offended with me for telling you my mind freely."

" Why, to be sure, it is the greatest folly in the world
for me to be sae. But ane's beuks are like his bairns,
he disna like to hear them spoken ill o', especially when
he is conscious that they dinna deserve it."

Sir Walter then, after his customary short good-
humoured laugh, repeated a proverb about the Gordons,
which was exceedingly apropos to my feelings at the
time, but all that I can do I cannot remember it,
though I generally remembered everything that he said
of any import. He then added, "I wish you to take
your dinner with me to-day. There will be nobody with
us but James Ballantyne, who will read you something
new, and I wanted to ask you particularly about some-
thing which has escaped me at this moment. Ay, it

78 Domestic Manners of

was this. Pray had you any tradition on which you
founded that ridiculous story about the Hunt of

" Yes, I had," said I, " as far as the two white hounds
are concerned, and of the one pulling the poisoned cup
twice out of the king's hand when it was at his lips."

" That is very extraordinary," said he, " for the very
first time I read it, it struck me I had heard something
of the same nature before, but how or where I cannot
comprehend. I think it must have been when I was on
the nurse's knee, or lying in the cradle, yet I was sure
I heard it. It is a very ridiculous story that, Mr.
Hogg : the most ridiculous story I ever read. What
a pity it is that you are not master of your own capa-
bilities, for that tale might have been made a good

It was always the same on the publication of any of
my prose works. When " The Three Perils of Man "
appeared, he read me a long lecture on my extrava-
gance in demonology, and assured me I had ruined one
of the best tales in the world. It is manifest, however,
that the tale had made no ordinary impression on him,
as he subsequently copied the whole of the main plot
into his tale of " Castle Dangerous."

Sir Walter's conversation was always amusing, always
interesting; there was a conciseness, a candour, and
judiciousness in it which never was equalled. His
anecdotes were without end, and I am almost certain
they were all made off-hand, for I never heard one
of them either before or after. His were no Joe

Sir Walter Scott. 79

Miller's jokes. The only time ever his conversation
was to me perfectly uninteresting, was with Mr. John
Murray, of Albemarle Street, London. Their whole
conversation was about noblemen, parliamenters, and
literary men of all grades, none of which I had ever
heard of or cared about; but every one of which Mr.
Murray seemed to know, with all their characters,
society, and propensities. This information Sir Walter
seemed to drink in with as much zest as I did his
whisky toddy, and this conversation was carried on for
two days and two nights, with the exception of a few
sleeping hours; and there I sat beside them, all the
while, like a perfect stump : a sheep who never got in
a word, not even a bleat. I wish I had the same oppor-
tunity again.

I first met with Sir Walter at my own cottage in the
wilds of Ettrick Forest, as above narrated, and then I
spent two days and two nights in his company. When
we parted, he shook my hand most heartily, and invited
me to his cottage on the banks of the North Esk, above
Lasswade. " By all means come and see me," said he,
" and I will there introduce you to my wife. She is a
foreigner, as dark as a blackberry, and does not speak
the broad Scots so well as you and me; of course, I don't
expect you to admire her much, but I shall assure you
of a hearty welcome."

I went and visited him the first time I had occasion
to be in Edinburgh, expecting to see Mrs. Scott a kind
of half black-a-moor, whom our sheriff had married for
a great deal of money. I knew nothing about her, and

80 Domestic Manners of

had never heard of her, save from his own description ;
but the words, " as dark as a blackberry," had fixed her
colour indelibly on my mind. Judge of my astonishment
when I was introduced to one of the most beautiful and
handsome creatures, as Mrs. Scott, whom I had ever
seen in my life. A brunette, certainly, with raven hair
and large black eyes, but in my estimation a perfect
beauty. I found her quite affable, and she spoke
English very well, save that she put always the d for the
th, and left the aspiration of the h out altogether. She
called me all her life, Mr. Ogg. I understood perfectly
well what she said, but for many years I could not
make her understand what I said ; she had frequently
to ask an explanation from her husband, and I must say
this of Lady Scott, though it was well known how
jealous she was of the rank of Sir Walter's visitors, yet
I was all my life received with the same kindness as if
I had been a relation or one of the family, although one
of his most homely daily associates. But there were
many others, both poets and play-actors, whom she
received with no very pleasant countenance. Jeffrey
and his satellites she could not endure, and there was
none whom she disliked more than Brougham, for what
reason I do not know, but I have heard her misca' him
terribly, as well as "dat body Jeffrey." It might be
owing to some reasons which I did not know about.
After the review of " Marmion" appeared, she never
would speak to Jeffrey again, for, though not a lady who
possessed great depth of penetration, she knew how to
appreciate the great powers of her lord, from the begin-

Sir Walter Scott. 81

ning, and despised all those who ventured to depreciate

I have heard Sir Walter tell an anecdote of this
review of "Marmion."* As he and Jeffrey, Southey, Cur-
win, and some other body, I have forgotten who, were
sailing on Derwent water, at Keswick, in Cumberland,
one fine day, Mr. Jeffrey, to amuse the party, took from
his pocket the manuscript of the review of " Marmion,"
and read it throughout. This, I think, was honest in
Jeffrey, but the rest of the company were astonished at
his insolence, and at some passages did not know where
to look. When he had finished, he said, " Well, Scott,
what think you of it ? what shall be done about it ?"
" At all events, I have taken my resolution what to do,"
said Scott, "I'll just sink the boat." The review was a
little modified after that.

But to return to Lady Scott, she is cradled in
my remembrance, and ever shall be as a sweet, kind, and
affectionate creature. When any of the cottagers or
retainers about Abbotsford grew ill, they durst not tell
her, as it generally made her worse than the sufferers,
and I have heard of her groaning, and occasionally
weeping for a whole day and a good part of the night,

* We have heard this story with a variation. Jeffrey, in his review
of "Marmion," while praising the author's talents highly, introduced
some censure. Going to sup with Scott, he, in the honesty of his heart,
took the proof sheets of the review with him and read them aloud. Mr.
Jeffrey's manner is unfortunate, and he was considerably Scott's junior.
Scott and all his friends (his wife in particular) took the matter in high
dudgeon. The review was not modified.

82 Domestic Manners of

for an old tailor who was dying, and leaving a small
helpless family behind him. Her daughter Anne was
very like her, in the contour and expression of her
countenance. Who was Lady Scott originally? I
really wish anybody would tell me, for surely somebody
must know. There is a veil of mystery hung over that
dear lady's birth and parentage, which I have been un-
able to see through or lift up ; and there have been
more lies told to me about it, and even published in all
the papers of Britain, by those who ought to have
known, than ever was told about those of any woman
that ever was born. I have, however, a few cogent
reasons for believing that the present Sir Walter's
grandfather was a nobleman of very high rank.*

Like other young authors, Sir Walter was rather vain
of his early productions, and liked to make them the
subject of conversation. He recited " Glenfinlas " one
day to me on horseback, long before its publication. He
read me also, "The Lay of the Last Minstrel," from
manuscript, at least he and William Erskine (Lord
Kineder), and James Ballantyne, read it, canto about.
He always preferred their readings to his own. Not so
with me. I could always take both the poetry and the
story along with me better from his reading than any
other body's whatsoever. Even with his deep-toned
bass voice, and his Berwick burr, he was a far better

* This impression, strange to say, was encouraged by Sir Walter.
Falconbridge was contended to be a king's bastard. The anxiety to be
connected with nobility by a wife's illegitimacy is a step beyond this in
aristocratical devotion.

Sir Walter Scott. 83

reader than he was sensible of.* Everything that he
read was like his discourse : it always made an impres-
sion. He likewise read me "Marmion" before it was
published, but I think it was then in the press, for a
part of it at least was read from proof slips and sheets
with corrections on the margin. The "Marmion"
manuscript was a great curiosity. I wonder what
became of it. It was all written off-hand, in post
letters, from Ashiesteel, Mainsforth, Rokeby, and
London. The readings of "Marmion" began on his own
part. I had newly gone to Edinburgh, and knew nothing
about the work had never heard of it. But the next
morning after my arrival, on going to breakfast with
him, he sought out a proof sheet, and read me his
description of my beloved " St. Mary's Lake," in one of
his introductions, I think to canto second, to ask my
opinion as he said of his correctness, as he had never
seen the scene but once. I said there never was any-
thing more graphic written in this world; and I still
adhere to the assertion, so it was no flattery; and I,
being perfectly mad about poetry then, begged of him
to let me hear the canto that followed that vivid
description, expecting to hear something more about my
native mountains. He was then, to humour me,
obliged to begin at the beginning of the poem, and that
day he read me the two first books.

That night my friends, Grieve and Morison, who were
as great enthusiasts as myself, expressed themselves so


84 Domestic Manners of

bitterly at my advantage over them, that the next
morning I took them both with me, and they heard him
read the two middle cantos, which I am sure neither of
them will ever forget. When we came to the door,
Morison said, " For God's sake, Hogg, don't ring."

" What for," said I.

" Because I know there will be something so terribly
gruff about him, I dare not for my soul go in," said he.

"You never were so far mistaken in your life," said I,
"Sir Walter's manner is just kindness personified," and
rang the bell.

When "The Lady of the Lake" was mostly, or at
least partly, in manuscript, he said to me one evening,
"I am going to adventure a poem on the public quite
different from my two last, perfectly different in its
theme, style, and measure." On which he took the
manuscript from his desk, and read me the course of
" The Fiery Cross" and " The Battle of the Trosachs." I
said, "I could not perceive any difference at all between
the style of that and his former poems, save that,
because it was quite new to me, I thought it rather
better." He was not quite well pleased with the
remark, and was just saying I would think differently
when I had time to pursue the whole poem, when Sir
John Hope came in, and I heard no more.

After that, he never read anything more to me before
publishing, save one ghost story. His fame became so
firmly established that he cared not a fig for the
opinions of his literary friends beforehand. But there
was one forenoon he said to me in his study, " I have

Sir Walter Scott. 85

never durst venture upon a real ghost story, Mr. Hogg,
but you have published some such thrilling ones of
late, that I have been this very day employed in writing
one. I assure you, 'it's no little that gars auld Donald
pegh/ but yon Lewis stories of yours frightened me so
much that I could not sleep, and now I have been try-
ing my hand on one, and here it is." He read it; but it
did not make a great impression on me, for I do not
know, at this moment, not having his works by me,
where it is published. It was about the ghost of a lady,
and, I think, appeared in the "Abbot" or "Monastery."
He read me also a humorous poem in manuscript, which
has never been published that I know of. It was some-
thing about finding out the happiest man, and making
him a present of a new holland shirt.* Paddy got it,
who had never known the good of a shirt. Mr. Scott
asked me what I thought of it. I said the characters
of the various nations were exquisitely hit off, but I
thought the winding up was not so effective as it might
have been made. He said he believed I was perfectly
right. I never heard what became of that poem, or
whether it was ever published or not, for living in the
wilderness, as I have done, for the last twenty years, I
know very little of what is going on in the literary
world. One of Sir Walter's representatives has taken

* It appeared in the "Sale Room," a fourpenny literary weekly,
published by John Ballantyne. It is a circumstance not generally
known, that a communication to this publication, signed Christopher
Corduroy, was the first thing that attracted Scott's notice to Lockhart,
of whom he previously knew nothing.

86 Domestic Manners of

it upon him to assert that Sir Walter always held me
in the lowest contempt! He never was farther wrong
in his life, but Sir Walter would still have been farther
wrong if he had done so. Of that, posterity will judge;
but I assure that individual that there never was a
gentleman in the world who paid more respect or
attention to a friend, than Sir Walter did to me, for the
space of the thirty years that we were acquainted.
True, he sometimes found fault with me, but in that
there was more kindness than all the rest.

I must confess that, before people of high rank, he
did not much encourage my speeches and stories. He
did not then hang down his brows, as when he was ill-
pleased with me, but he raised them up and glowered,
and put his upper lip far over the under one, seeming to
be always terrified at what was to come out next, and
then he generally cut me short, by some droll anecdote,
to the same purport of what I was saying. In this he
did not give me fair justice, for, in my own broad
homely way, I am a very good speaker, and teller of a
story too.

Mrs. Hogg was a favourite of his. He always paid
the greatest deference and attention to her. When we
were married, I, of course, took her down to Abbotsford,
and introduced her, and though the company was
numerous, he did her the honour of leading her into the
dining-room and placing her by his side. When the
ladies retired, he, before all our mutual friends present,
testified himself highly pleased with my choice, and
added, that he wondered how I had the good sense and

Sir Walter Scott. 87

prudence to make such a one. " I dinna thank ye at a'
for the compliment, Sir Walter," said I.

As for her, poor woman, she perfectly adored him.
There was one day, when he was dining with us at
Mount Benger, on going away, he snatched up my little
daughter, Margaret Laidlaw, and kissed her, and then
laying his hand on her head, said, " God Almighty bless
you, my dear child !" on which my wife burst into
tears. On my coming back from seeing him into the
carriage, that stood at the base of the hill, I said,
"What ailed you, Margaret?"

"O," said she, "I thought if he had but just done the
same to them all, I do not know what in the world I
would not have given!"

There was another year previous to that, when he
was dining with me at the same place, he took a great
deal of notice of my only son, James, trying to find out
what was in him, by a number of simple questions, not
one of which James would answer. He then asked me
anent the boy's capabilities. I said he was a very ami-
able and affectionate boy, but I was afraid he would
never be the Cooper of Fogo, for he seemed to be blest
with a very thick head. "Why, but, Mr. Hogg, you
know it is not fair to lay the saddle upon a foal," said
he, "I, for my part, never liked precocity of genius all
my life, and can venture to predict that James will yet
turn out an honour to you and all your kin." I was
gratified by the prediction, and lost not a word of it.

The boy had at that time taken a particular passion
for knives, particularly for large ones, and to amuse him

88 Domestic Manners of

Sir Walter showed him a very large gardener's knife
which he had in his pocket, which contained a saw, but
I never regarded it, and would not have known it the
next day. James, however, never forgot it, and never
has to this day, and I should like very well, if that
knife is still to be found, that James should have it as
a keepsake of his father's warmest and most esteemed
friend. Col. Ferguson, perceiving the boy's ruling pas-
sion, made him a present of a handsome, two-bladed

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