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knife. But that made no impression on James. Col.
Ferguson he forgot the next day, but Sir Walter he
never forgot till he came back again, always denomin-
ating him, "The man wi' the gude knife."

The last time Margaret saw him was at his own
house in Maitland Street, a very short time before he
finally left it. We were passing from Charlotte Square
to make a call in Laurieston, when I said, " see, yon is
Sir Walter's house, at yon red lamp." "O let me go in
and see him once more?" said she.

"No, no, Margaret," said I, "you know how little time
we have, and it would be too bad to intrude on his
hours of quiet and study at this time of the day." "O,
but I must go in," said she, " and get a shake of his
kind, honest hand once more. I cannot go by." So I,
knowing that

"Nought's to be won at woman's hand
Unless ye gie her a' the plea,"

was obliged to comply. In we went, and were received
with all the affection of old friends, but his whole dis-

Sir Walter Scott. 89

course was addressed to my wife, while I was left to
shift for myself among books and newspapers. He
talked to her of our family, and of our prospects of
being able to give them a good education, which he
recommended at every risk, and at every sacrifice. He
talked to her of his own family one by one, and of Mr.
Lockhart's family, giving her a melancholy account of
little Hugh John Lockhart (the celebrated Hugh
Littlejohn), who was a great favourite of his, but whom,
as he said that day, he despaired of ever seeing reach

The only exchange of words I got with him during
that short visit, which did not extend to the space of
an hour, was of a very important nature indeed. In
order to attract his attention from my wife to one who, I
thought, as well deserved it, I went close up to him with
a scrutinizing look, and said, "Gudeness guide us, Sir
Walter, but ye hae gotten a braw gown !" On which
he laughed, and said, " I got it made for me in Paris
(such a year), when certain great personages chose to
call on me of a morning, and I never thought of putting
it on since, until the day before yesterday, on finding
that my every-day one had been sent to Abbotsford.
But I shall always think the more highly of my braw
gown, Mr. Hogg, for your notice of it." I think it was
made of black twilled satin and lined.

But to return to some general anecdotes, with which
I could fill volumes. When I first projected my literary
paper the Spy, I went and consulted him, as I generally
did in everything regarding literature. He shook his


90 Domestic Manners of

head, and let fall his heavy eyebrows, but said nothing.
The upper lip came particularly far down. I did not
like these prognostics at all; so I was obliged to broach
the subject again, without having received one word in

"Do you not think it rather dangerous ground to
take after Addison, Johnson, and Henry M'Kenzie ? "
said he.

" No a bit ! " said I, " I'm no the least feard for that.
My papers may not be sae yelegant as theirs, but I
expect to make them mair original."

" Yes, they will certainly be original enough, with a
vengeance ! " said he.

I asked him if he thought threepence would be a
remunerating price ? He answered, with very heavy
brows, that, " taking the extent of the sale into proper
calculation, he suspected she must be a fourpenny cut."
He said this with a sneer which I could never forget.
I asked him if he would lend me his assistance in it ?
He said he would first see how I came on, and if he saw
the least prospect of my success, he would support me,
and with this answer I was obliged to be content. He
only sent me one letter for the work, enclosing two
poems of Leyden's. He was, however, right in dis-
couraging it, and I was wrong in adventuring it. I never
knew him wrong in any of his calculations or inhibitions
but once, and then I am sure my countrymen will join
with me in saying that he was wrong. He wrote to me
once when I was living in Nithsdale, informing me that
he was going to purchase the estate of Broadmeadows,

Sir Walter Scott. 91

on Yarrow ; that he was the highest offerer and was,
he believed, sure of getting it ; and that he had offered
a half more on my account that I might be his chief
shepherd and manager of all his rural affairs. The
plan misgave. Mr. Boyd overbid him and became the
purchaser, on which Sir Walter was so vexed, on
my account, I having kept myself out of a place,
depending upon his, and he actually engaged me to Lord
Porchester as his chief shepherd, where I was to have a
handsome house, a good horse, a small pendicle, rent
free, and twenty pounds a year. I approved of the con-
ditions as more than I expected or was entitled to, only
they were given with this proviso, that " I was to put
my poetical talent under lock and key for ever!" I
have the letter. Does anybody think Sir Walter was
right there ? I can't believe it, and I am sure my friend,
the present Lord Porchester, would have been the last
man to have exacted such a stipulation. I spurned the
terms, and refused to implement the bargain. This is
the circumstance alluded to in the " Queen's Wake," as
a reflection on Walter the Abbot, which I think it proper
to copy here, to save researches for an extract where it
may be impossible to find it. It alludes to the magic
harp of Ettrick banks and Yarrow braes.

"The day arrived blest be the day,
Walter the Abbot came that way
The sacred relic met his view :
Ah ! well the pledge of heaven he knew ;
He screw'd the chords, he tried a strain,
'Twas wild he tuned and tried again.

92 Domestic Manners of

Then pour'd the numbers, bold and free,
The ancient magic melody.
The land was charm'd to list his lays,
It knew the harp of ancient days.
The Border Chiefs, that long had been
In sepulchres, unhearsed and green,
Pass'd from their mouldy vaults away
In armour red and stern array ;
And by their moonlit halls were seen,
In vizor, helm, and habergeon.
Even fairies sought our land again,
So powerful was the magic strain.

Blest be his generous heart for aye,
He told me where the relic lay,
Pointed my way with ready will
Afar on Ettrick's wildest hill ;
Watch'd my first notes with curious eye,
And wondered at my minstrelsy.
He little weened a parent's tongue
Such strains had o'er my cradle sung !
O, could the bard I loved so long
Eeprove my fond aspiring song ?
Or could his tongue of candour say
That I should throw my harp away :
Just when her notes began with skill
To sound beneath the Southern hill,
And twine around my bosom's core ?
How could we part for evermore?
J Twas kindness all, I cannot blame,
For bootless is the minstrel flame.
But sure a bard might well have known
Another's feelings by his own ! "

QUEEN'S WAKE. 6th edit. p. 336-7.
I never knew any gentleman so shy and chary of his

Sir Walter Scott. 93

name and interest as Sir Walter was, and though I
know Allan Cunningham and Captain J. G. Burns will
not join me in this, "Let every man roose the ford as he
finds it." He never would do anything for me in that,
save by the honour of his undeviating friendship and
genuine good advices, both of which were of great value
to me, insuring me a welcome among all the genteel
company of the kingdom, and the other tending greatly
to guide my path in a sphere with which I was entirely
unacquainted, and these I set a high value on. But he
would never bring me forward in any way by the
shortest literary remark in any periodical never would
review any of my works, although he once promised to
do it. No, he did not promise; he only said before
several friends, to whom he had been speaking very
highly of the work, that he was thinking of doing it.
But seeing, I suppose, that the poem did not take so
well as he had anticipated, he never accomplished his
kind intent. I asked him the following year why he
had not fulfilled his promise to me.

" Why, the truth is, Hogg," said he, "that I began the
thing, and took a number of notes, marking extracts, but
I found that to give a proper view of your poetical pro-
gress and character, I was under the necessity of
beginning with the ballads and following through ' The
Wake ' and all the rest, and, upon the whole, I felt that
we were so much of the same school, that, if I had said
of you as I wished to say, I would have been thought
by the world to be applauding myself."

I cannot aver that these were Sir Walter's very

94 Domestic Manners of

words, but they were precisely to that purport. But I,
like other disappointed men, not being by half satisfied
with the answer, said, " Dear Sir Walter, ye can never
suppose that I belang to your school of chivalry ! Ye
are the king o' that school, but I'm the king o' the
mountain and fairy school, which is a far higher ane nor

He rather hung down his brows, and said, "The
higher the attempt to ascend, the greater might be the
fall;" and changed the subject, by quoting the saying
of some old English baronet in a fox chase.

He paid two high compliments to me, without
knowing of either, and although some other person
should have related these rather than me, I cannot
refrain from it. One of them was derogatory to him-
self too, a thing which a young poet is not very apt to
publish. He was, he said, quarter-master to the Edin-
burgh gentlemen cavalry, and composed a song for the
corps, got a friend to learn it and sing it at the mess,
but it did not take very well. At length a Mr.
Robertson got up and said, " Come, come, that's but a
drool of a song. Let us have Donald M'Donald." On
which Donald M'Donald was struck up, and was joined
in with such glee that all the mess got up, joined hands,
and danced round the table, and, added Scott, "I joined
the ring too and danced as well as I could, and there
were four chaps, all of the clan Donachie, who got so
elevated that they got upon the top of the table and
danced a Highland reel to the song." He did not know
it was mine until after he had told the anecdote, when

Sir Walter Scott. 95

I said, "Dear man, that sang's mine, and was written
sax or seven years bygane. I wonder ye didna ken

There was another day, as we were walking round the
north side of St. Andrew's Square, to call on Sir C.
Sharpe in York Place, he said to me, laughing very
heartily, " I found Ballantyne in a fine quandary yester-
day, as I called on leaving the Parliament-house. He
was standing behind his desk, actually staring, and his
mouth quite open. ' I am glad you have come in, Mr.
Scott,' said he, 'to tell me if you think I am in my
right senses to-day, or that I am in a dream ? ' ' O, it
is quite manifest, from the question, that you are not in
your right senses! ' said I, ' what is the matter? ' 'Here
is a poem sent me by Mr. Gillies, to publish in a work
of his,' said he ; ' it is in his own handwriting, and the
gradation of the ascent is so regular and well-managed,
that I am bound to believe it is his. Well, before you
came in, I read and read on, in these two proofs, until
at last I said to myself, Good Lord, is this the poetry of
Mr. Gillies that I am reading ? I must be asleep, and
dreaming. And then I bit my little finger, to prove if
I was not asleep, and I thought I was not. But sit
down and judge for yourself.' "

" So James read the poem to me from beginning to
end," continued he, " and then said, ' Now, what think
you of this ? ' ' The only thing that I can say,' said I,
' is, that the former part of the poem is very like the
writing of an eunuch, and the latter part like that of a
man. The style is altogether unknown to me, but Mr.

96 Domestic Mariners of

Gillies's it cannot be.' " I was sorry I durst not inform
him it was mine, for it had been previously agreed
between Mr. Gillies and me that no one should know.
It was a blank verse poem, but I have entirely
forgotten what it was about ; the latter half only was

" ' So you say that the poetry is not the composition
of Mr. Gillies ? ' said James.

" ' Yes, I do, positively. The thing is impossible.'

" ' Well, sir, I can take your word for that ; and I
have not lost my senses, nor am I dreaming at all.' "

There was one day that I met with him on the North
Bridge, on his return from the Court of Session, when
he took my arm, and said, "Come along with me, Hogg,
I want to introduce you to a real brownie, one who does
a great deal of work for me, for which I am paid rather
liberally." I accompanied him into one of the register
offices, where a good-looking, little, spruce fellow, his
deputy clerk, I suppose, produced papers, bunch
after bunch, to the amount of some hundreds, all of
which he signed with W. Scott, laughing and chatting
with me all the while.* We then took a walk round
the Calton Hill, till dinner time, when I went home
with him and met Ballantyne and Terry. I think it
was on that day, for it was during a walk round the
Calton Hill, and I never enjoyed that pleasure with him
but twice in my life, that we were discussing the merits
of his several poems. " The Lady of the Lake " had an

* We recommend this to the special notice of Mr. Wallace of Kelly.

Sir Walter Scott. 97

unprecedented run previous to that, and as it was really
my favourite, I was extolling it highly, assured that I
was going on safe ground, but I found that he preferred
" Marmion," and said something to the following effect :
that " The Lady of the Lake " would always be the
favourite with ladies and people who read merely for
amusement, but that " Marmion " would have the pre-
ference by real judges of poetry. I have heard people
of the first discernment express the same opinion since.
For me, I think in " The Lady of the Lake " he reached
his acme in poetry ; for, in fact, the whole, both of his
poetry and prose, have always appeared to me as two
splendid arches, of which "The Lady of the Lake" is the
key-stone of one, and "Guy Mannering" and "Old
Mortality " the joint key-stones of the other. I should
like very well to write a review of his whole works, but
that is quite out of my way at present.

The only other walk that I ever got with him round
the Calton Hill was several years subsequent to that.
At that time I did not believe that he was the author
of the celebrated novels, for Johnnie Ballantyne had
fairly sworn me out of my original fixed belief, so I
began about them very freely, and he did the same,
laughing heartily at some of the jokes, and often stand-
ing still and sitting down and telling me where he
thought the author had succeeded best and where
least, and there were some places where he did not
scruple to say he had failed altogether. He never tried
to defend any passage when it was attacked, but
generally laughed at the remarks.

98 Domestic Manners of

There cannot be a better trait of Sir Walter's
character than this, that all who knew him intimately
loved him ; nay, many of them almost worshipped him.
The affection and subservience of the two Messrs.
Ballantyne far surpassed description. They were
entrusted with all his secrets, and all his transactions,
and faithful to the last, and I know, that had he taken
some most serious advices which James gave him, he
never would have been involved as he was. In James
he always reposed the most implicit confidence. John
he likewise trusted with everything, and loved him as a
wayward brother, but he often broke a joke at his
expense. There was one day I was telling the Sheriff
some great secret about the author of a certain work or
article, I have quite forgot what it was, when he said,
"I suspect you are widely misinformed there, Mr.
Hogg, for I think I know the author to be a very
different person."

"Na, na, Mr. Scott, you are clean wrang," said I, "for
Johnnie Ballantyne tauld me, an' he couldna but ken."

" Ay, but ye should hae ascertained whether it was
leeing Johnnie or true Johnnie who told you that, before
you avouched it; for they are two as different persons
as exist on the face of the earth," said he, "Had James
told you so, you might have averred it, for James never
diverges from the rightforward truth." As Mr. Southey
once told me the very same thing, I think I am at
liberty to publish the sentiments of two such eminent
men of the amiable deceased. James was a man of
pomp and circumstance, but he had a good affectionate

Sir Walter Scott, 99

heart. It was too good and too kind for this world, and
the loss, first of his lady, and then of his great patron
and friend, broke it, and he followed him instantly to
the land of forgetfulness. How strange it is that all
connected with those celebrated novels have been
hunted off the stage of time as it were together ! The
publisher, the author, the two printers, and, last of all,
the corrector of the press, the honest and indefatigable
Daniel M'Corkingdale, all gone ! and none to tell the
secrets of that faithful and devoted little community.

There was no man knew Scott so well as James
Ballantyne, and I certainly never knew a man admire
and revere a friend and patron so much. If any person
ventured to compare other modern productions with
those of Scott, he stared with astonishment, and took it
as a personal insult to himself. There was one time
that, in my usual rash, forward way, I said that Miss
Ferrier's novels were better than Sir Walter's. James
drew himself up I wish any reader of this had seen his
looks of utter astonishment, for he was always a sort of
actor, James " What do I hear ? what do I hear ? "
cried he, with prodigious emphasis, "is it possible that
I hear, sir, such a sentiment drop from your lips ? "
I was obliged to burst out a-laughing and run away.

Sir Walter's attached and devoted friends were with-
out number, but William Erskine and James Ballantyne
were his constant and daily associates. It is a pity that
Ballantyne had not left a written character of him, for
he could and would have done him justice. But the
interesting part of their correspondence will soon all

100 Domestic Manners of

come to light in Lockhart's life of his illustrious father-
in-law. He was the only one I ever knew whom no
man, either poor or rich, held at ill-will. I was the
only exception myself, that ever came to my knowledge,
but that was only for a short season, and all the while
it never lessened his interest in my welfare. I found
that he went uniformly on one system. If he could do
good to any one, he would do it, but he would do harm
to no man. He never resented a literary attack, how-
ever virulent, of which there were some at first, but
always laughed at them. This showed a superiority of
mind and greatness of soul which no other young
author is capable of. He never retaliated, but trusted
to his genius to overcome all ; and it was not on a
bruised reed that he leaned.

Although so shy of his name and literary assistance,
which, indeed, he would not grant to any one, on any
account, save to Lockhart, yet to poor men of literary
merit his purse-strings were always open, as far as it
was in his power to assist them. I actually knew
several unsuccessful authors who for years depended on
his bounty for their daily bread. And then there was
a delicacy in his way of doing it, which was quite
admirable. He gave them some old papers or old
ballads to copy for him, pretending to be greatly
interested in them, for which he sent them a supply
every week, making them believe that they were reap-
ing the genuine fruit of their own labours.

There was one day, when I was chatting with Ballan-
tyne in his office, where I was generally a daily visitor,

Sir Walter Scott. 101

as well as my illustrious friend, I chanced to say that I
never in my life knew a man like Scott; for that I knew
to a certainty he was at that time, feeling himself a
successful author, lending pecuniary assistance to very
many unsuccessful ones, and the best thing of all, he
never let his left hand know what his right hand was

Ballantyne's face glowed with delight, and the tear
stood in his eye, " You never were more right in your
life," said he, "you never were more right in your life !
and I am glad that you know and so duly appreciate
the merits of our noble, our invaluable friend. Look
here," and with that he turned up his day-book, and
added, "some word it seems had reached Scott that
Maturin, the Irish poet, was lying in prison for a small
debt, and here have I, by Mr. Scott's orders, been
obliged to transmit him a bill of exchange for sixty
pounds, and Maturin is never to know from whom or
whence it came." I have said it oft, and now say it
again for the last time, that those who knew Scott only
from the few hundreds, or, I might say hundreds of
thousands of volumes to which he has given birth and
circulation through the world, knew only one-half
of the man, and that not the best half either. As a
friend, he was sometimes stern, but always candid and
sincere, and I always found his counsels of the highest
value, if I could have followed them. I was indebted to
him for the most happy and splendid piece of humorous
ballad poetry which I ever wrote. He said to me one
day after dinner, " It was but very lately, Mr. Hogg,

102 Domestic Manners of

that I was drawn by our friend, Kirkpatrick Sharpe, to
note the merits of your ballad, ' The Witch of Fife.'
There never was such a thing written for genuine and
ludicrous humour, but why in the name of wonder did
you suffer the gude auld man to be burnt skin and bone
by the English at Carlisle ? (for, in the first and second
editions, that was the issue). I never saw a piece of
such bad taste in all my life. What had the poor old
carl done to deserve such a fate ? Only taken a drappy
o' drink too much, at another man's expense ; which you
and I have done often. It is a finale which I cannot
bear, and you must bring off the old man, by some
means or other, no matter how extravagant or ridiculous
in such a ballad as yours ; but by all means bring off
the fine old fellow, for the present termination of the
ballad is one which I cannot brook." I went home, and
certainly brought off the old man with flying colours,
which is by far the best part of the ballad. I never
adopted a suggestion of his, either in prose or verse,
which did not improve the subject. He knew mankind
well. He knew the way to the human heart, and he
certainly had the art of leading the taste of an empire,
I may say, of a world, above all men that ever existed.
As long as Sir Walter Scott wrote poetry, there was
neither man nor woman ever thought of either reading
or writing anything but poetry ; but the instant that
he gave over writing poetry, there was neither man nor
woman ever read it more ! All turned to tales and
novels, which I, among others, was reluctantly obliged
to do. Yes, I was obliged, from the tide, the irre-

Sir Walter Scott. 103

sistible current that followed him, to forego the talent
which God had given me at my birth, and enter into a
new sphere with which I had no acquaintance. The
world of imagination had been opened wide to me, but
the world of real life I knew nothing of. Sir Walter
knew it, in all its shade and gradations, and could
appreciate any singular character at once. He had a
clear head, as well as a benevolent heart ; was a good
man; an anxiously kind husband; an indulgent parent;
and a sincere, forgiving friend ; a just judge, and a
punctual correspondent. I believed that he answered
every letter sent to him, either from rich or poor, and
generally not very shortly. Such is the man we have
lost, and such a man we will never see again. He was
truly an extraordinary man the greatest man in the
world. What are kings or emperors compared with
him? Dust and sand ! And, unless when connected
with literary men, the greater part of their names
either not remembered at all, or only remembered with
detestation. But here is a name, which, next to that of
William Shakespeare, will descend with rapt admiration
to all the ages of futurity. And is it not a proud boast
for an old shepherd, that, for thirty years, he could call
this man friend, and associate with him every day and
hour that he chose?

Yes, it is my proudest boast. Sir Walter sought me
out in the wilderness, and attached himself to me before
I had ever seen him, and, although I took cross fits
with him, his interest in me never subsided for one day
or one moment. He never scrupled to let me know

104 Domestic Manners of

that I behoved to depend entirely on myself for my
success in life, but at the same time always assured me
that I had talents to ensure that success, if properly

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