brought the matter to a point - 'Come, speak out, my good fellow, what
has put it in your head to be on ceremony with me? But the result is in
one word - disappointment!' My silence admitted his inference to its
fullest extent. His countenance certainly did look rather blank for a
few seconds (for it is a singular fact, that before the public, or
rather the booksellers, gave _their_ decision he no more knew whether he
had written well or ill, than whether a die, which he threw out of a
box, was to turn out a sise or an ace). However, he almost instantly
resumed his spirits and expressed his wonder rather that his popularity
had lasted so long, than that it should have given way at last. At
length, with a perfectly cheerful manner, he said, 'Well, well, James,
but you know we must not droop - for you know we can't and won't give
over - we must just try something else, and the question is, what it's to
be?' Nor was it any wonder he spoke thus, for he could not fail to be
unconsciously conscious, if I dare use such a term, of his own gigantic,
and as yet undeveloped, powers, and was somewhat under forty years old.
I am by no means sure whether he then alluded to _Waverley_, as if he
had mentioned it to me for the first time, for my memory has greatly
failed me touching this, or whether he alluded to it, as in fact appears
to have been the case, as having been commenced and laid aside several
years before, but I well recollect that he consulted me with his usual
openness and candour respecting his probability of succeeding as a
novelist, and I confess my expectations were not very sanguine. He saw
this and said, 'Well, I don't see why I should not succeed as well as
other people. Come, faint heart never won fair lady - let us try.' I
remember when the work was put into my hands, I could not get myself to
think much, of the Waverley Honour scenes, but to my shame be it spoken,
when he had reached the exquisite scenes of Scottish manners at
Tully-Veolan, I thought them, and pronounced them, vulgar! When the
success of the book so utterly knocked me down as a man of taste, all
that the good-natured Author observed was, 'Well, I really thought you
might be wrong about the Scotch. Why, Burns had already attracted
universal attention to all about Scotland, and I confess I could not see
why I should not be able to keep the flame alive, merely because I wrote
in prose in place of rhyme.'" - _Memorandum_.
 This was a club-house on the London plan, in Princes Street [No.
54], a little eastward from the Mound. On its dissolution soon
afterwards, Sir W. was elected by acclamation into the elder Society,
called the _New Club_, who had then their house in St. Andrew Square
[No. 3], and since 1837 in Princes Street [No. 85].
 Mr. Skene's house was No. 126 Princes Street. Scott's written
answer has been preserved: -
"MY DEAR SKENE, - A thousand thanks for your kind proposal. But I am a
solitary monster by temper, and must necessarily couch in a den of my
own. I should not, I assure you, have made any ceremony in accepting
your offer had it at all been like to suit me.
"But I must make an arrangement which is to last for years, and perhaps
for my lifetime; therefore the sooner I place myself on my footing it
will be so much the better. - Always, dear Skene, your obliged and
faithful, W. SCOTT."
 Pope's _Imitation of Horace_, Bk. ii Sat. 6. - J.G.L.
 These Letters appeared in the _Edinburgh Weekly Journal_ in
February and March 1826. "They were then collected into a pamphlet, and
ran through numerous editions; in the subsequent discussions in
Parliament, they were frequently referred to; and although an elaborate
answer by the then Secretary of the Admiralty, Mr. Croker, attracted
much notice, and was, by the Government of the time, expected to
neutralise the effect of the northern lucubrations - the proposed
measure, as regarded Scotland, was ultimately abandoned, and that result
was universally ascribed to Malachi Malagrowther." - Scott's _Misc.
Works_, vol. xxi.
 _Winter's Tale_, Act iv. Sc. 2, slightly altered.
 The late Mr. Williamson of Cardrona in Peeblesshire, was a strange
humorist, of whom Sir Walter told many stories. The allusion here is to
the anecdote of the _Leetle Anderson_ in the first of _Malachi_'s
Epistles.: - See Scott's _Prose Miscellanies_, vol. xxi. p.
289. - _J.G.L._
 _The Omen_, by Galt, had just been published. - See Sir Walter's
review of this novel in the _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. xviii. p.
333. John Gait died at Greenock in April 1839. - J.G.L.
 "A Letter from Malachi Malagrowther, Esq., to the Editor of the
_Edinburgh Weekly Journal_, on the proposed Change of Currency, and
other late alterations as they affect, or are intended to affect, the
Kingdom of Scotland. 8 vo, Edin. 1826."
The motto to the epistle was: -
"When the pipes begin to play
_Tutti taittie_ to the drum,
Out claymore and down wi' gun,
And to the rogues again."
In the next edition it was suppressed, as some friends thought it might
be misunderstood. Mr. Croker in his reply had urged that if the author
appealed to the edge of the claymore at Prestonpans, he might refer him
to the point of the bayonet at Culloden. - See Croker's _Correspondence_,
vol. i. pp. 317-320, and Scott's _Life_, vol. viii. pp. 301-5.
 Lord Reston, who died at Gladsmuir in 1819. He was one of Scott's
companions at the High School. - See _Life_., vol. i. p. 40.
 See Gray's _Elegy_. - J.G.L.
 In Arthur Murphy's farce of _The Upholsterer, or What News_?
 Lady Anna Maria Elliot, daughter of the first Earl of Minto. She
married Sir Rufane Donkin in 1832.
 Afterwards Lord Advocate, 1834 and 1835, and Judge under the title
of Lord Murray from 1839; he died in 1859.
 The learned editor of the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, in
10 vols. folio, Edin. 1814-24; he succeeded Sir Walter as President of
the Bannatyne Club in 1832, and died in 1852.
 Rose Court, where Mr. Clerk had a bachelor's establishment, was
situated immediately behind St. Andrew's Church, George Street. The name
disappeared from our Street Directories shortly after Mr. Clerk's death
 Burns, in Johnson's _Musical Museum_, No. 319.
 One of the nineteen original members of _The Club_. - See Mr.
Irving's letter with names, _Life_, vol. i. pp. 207-8, and Scott's
joyous visit in 1793 to Meigle, pp. 292-4.
 Dalgleish was Sir Walter's butler. He said he cared not how much
his wages were reduced - but go he would not. - J.G.L.
 Whin-cow - _AnglicÃ¨_, a bush of furze. - J.G.L.
_March_ 1. - _Malachi_ is in the _Edinburgh Journal_ to-day, and reads
like the work of an uncompromising right-forward Scot of the old school.
Some of the cautious and pluckless instigators will be afraid of their
confederate; for if a man of some energy and openness of character
happens to be on the same side with these truckling jobbers, they stand
as much in awe of his vehemence as doth the inexperienced conjurer who
invokes a fiend whom he cannot manage. Came home, in a heavy shower with
the Solicitor. I tried him on the question, but found him reserved and
cautious. The future Lord Advocate must be cautious; but I can tell my
good friend John Hope that, if he acts the part of a firm and resolute
Scottish patriot, both his own country and England will respect him the
more. Ah! Hal Dundas, there was no such truckling in thy day!
Looked out a quantity of things to go to Abbotsford; for we are
flitting, if you please. It is with a sense of pain that I leave
behind a parcel of trumpery prints and little ornaments, once the pride
of Lady S - - 's heart, but which she sees consigned with indifference to
the chance of an auction. Things that have had their day of importance
with me I cannot forget, though the merest trifles. But I am glad that
she, with bad health and enough to vex her, has not the same useless
mode of associating recollections with this unpleasant business. The
best part of it is the necessity of leaving behind, viz., setting rid
of, a set of most wretched daubs of landscapes, in great gilded frames,
of which I have often been heartily ashamed. The history of them was
curious. An amateur artist (a lady) happened to fall into misfortunes,
upon which her landscapes, the character of which had been buoyed up far
beyond their proper level, sank even beneath it, and it was low enough.
One most amiable and accomplished old lady continued to encourage her
pencil, and to order picture after picture, which she sent in presents
to her friends. I suppose I have eight or ten of them, which I could not
avoid accepting. There will be plenty of laughing when they come to be
sold. It would be a good joke enough to cause it to be circulated that
they were performances of my own in early youth, and they would be
looked on and bought up as curiosities. True it is that I took lessons
of oil-painting in youth from a little Jew animalcule, a smouch called
Burrell, a clever sensible creature though; but I could make no progress
either in painting or drawing. Nature denied me correctness of eye and
neatness of hand, yet I was very desirous to be a draughtsman at least,
and laboured harder to attain that point than at any other in my
recollection, to which I did not make some approaches. My oil-paintings
were to Miss - - - above commemorated what hers are to Claude Lorraine.
Yet Burrell was not useless to me altogether neither; he was a Prussian,
and I got from him many a long story of the battles of Frederic, in
whose armies his father had been a commissary, or perhaps a spy. I
remember his picturesque account of seeing a party of the Black Hussars
bringing in some forage carts which they had taken from a body of the
Cossacks, whom he described as lying on the top of the carts of hay,
mortally wounded, and, like the Dying Gladiator, eyeing their own blood
as it ran down through the straw. I afterwards took lessons from Walker,
whom we used to call Blue-beard. He was one of the most conceited
persons in the world, but a good teacher - one of the ugliest
countenances he had too - enough, as we say, to spean weans. The
man was always extremely precise in the quality of everything about him,
his dress, accommodations, and everything else. He became insolvent,
poor man, and for some reason or other I attended the meeting of those
concerned in his affairs. Instead of ordinary accommodations for
writing, each of the persons present was equipped with a large sheet of
drawing paper and a swan's quill. It was mournfully ridiculous enough.
Skirving made an admirable likeness of Walker, not a single scar or
mark of the smallpox which seamed his countenance, but the too accurate
brother of the brush had faithfully laid it down in longitude and
latitude. Poor Walker destroyed it (being in crayons) rather than let
the caricature of his ugliness appear at the sale of his effects. I did
learn myself to take some vile views from Nature. When Will Clerk and I
lived very much together, I used sometimes to make them under his
instruction. He to whom, as to all his family, art is a familiar
attribute, wondered at me as a Newfoundland dog would at a greyhound
which showed fear of the water.
Going down to Liddesdale once, I drew the castle of Hermitage in my
fashion, and sketched it so accurately that with a few verbal
instructions Clerk put it into regular form, Williams (the Grecian)
copied over Clerk's, and _his_ drawing was engraved as the frontispiece
of the first volume of the Kelso edition, _Minstrelsy of the Scottish
Border_. Do you know why you have written all this down, Sir W.?
Because it pleases me to record that this thrice-transmitted drawing,
though taken originally from a sketch of mine, was extremely like
Hermitage, which neither of my colleagues in the task had ever seen? No,
that's not the reason. You want to put off writing _Woodstock_, just as
easily done as these memoranda, but which it happens your duty and your
prudence recommend, and therefore you are loath to begin.
I can't say no;
But this piece of task-work off I can stave, O,
For Malachi's posting into an octavo;
To correct the proof-sheets only this night I have, O,
So, Madame Conscience, you've gotten as good as you gave, O
But to-morrow's a new day and we'll better behave, O,
So I lay down the pen, and your pardon I crave, O."
In the evening Mr. Gibson called and transacted business.
_March_ 2. - I have a letter from Colin Mackenzie, approving
_Malachi_, - "Cold men may say it is too strong; but from the true men of
Scotland you are sure of the warmest gratitude." I never have yet found,
nor do I expect it on this occasion, that ill-will dies in debt, or what
is called gratitude distresses herself by frequent payments. The one is
like a ward-holding and pays its reddendo in hard blows. The other a
blanch-tenure, and is discharged for payment of a red rose or a
peppercorn. He that takes the forlorn hope in an attack, is often
deserted by those that should support him, and who generally throw the
blame of their own cowardice upon his rashness. We shall see this will
end in the same way. But I foresaw it from the beginning. The bankers
will be persuaded that it is a squib which may burn their own fingers,
and will curse the poor pyrotechnist that compounded it; if they do,
they be d - d. Slept indifferently, and dreamed of Napoleon's last
moments, of which I was reading a medical account last night, by Dr.
Arnott. Horrible death - a cancer on the pylorus. I would have given
something to have lain still this morning and made up for lost time. But
_desidiae valedixi_. If you once turn on your side after the hour at
which you ought to rise, it is all over. Bolt up at once. Bad night
last - the next is sure to be better.
"When the drum beats, make ready;
When the fife plays, march away -
To the roll-call, to the roll-call, to the roll-call,
Before the break of day."
Dined with Chief-Commissioner, Admiral Adam, W. Clerk, Thomson, and I.
The excellent old man was cheerful at intervals - at times sad, as was
natural. A good blunder he told us, occurred in the Annandale case,
which was a question partly of domicile. It was proved that leaving
Lochwood, the Earl had given up his _kain_ and _carriages_; this an
English Counsel contended was the best of all possible proofs that the
noble Earl designed an absolute change of residence, since he laid aside
his _walking-stick_ and his _coach_.
First epistle of _Malachi_ is getting out of print, or rather is out of
_March_ 3. - Could not get the last sheets of _Malachi_, Second Epistle,
last night, so they must go out to the world uncorrected - a great loss,
for the last touches are always most effectual; and I expect misprints
in the additional matter. We were especially obliged to have it out this
morning, that it may operate as a gentle preparative for the meeting of
inhabitants at two o'clock. _Vogue la galÃ¨re_ - we shall see if Scotsmen
have any pluck left. If not, they may kill the next Percy themselves. It
is ridiculous enough for me, in a state of insolvency for the present,
to be battling about gold and paper currency. It is something like the
humorous touch in Hogarth's _Distressed Poet_, where the poor starveling
of the Muses is engaged, when in the abyss of poverty, in writing an
Essay on payment of the National Debt; and his wall is adorned with a
plan of the mines of Peru. Nevertheless, even these fugitive attempts,
from the success which they have had, and the noise they are making,
serve to show the truth of the old proverb -
"When house and land are gone and spent,
Then learning is most excellent."
On the whole, I am glad of this brulzie, as far as I am concerned;
people will not dare talk of me as an object of pity - no more
"poor-manning." Who asks how many punds Scots the old champion had in
his pocket when
"He set a bugle to his mouth,
And blew so loud and shrill,
The trees in greenwood shook thereat,
Sae loud rang ilka hill"?
This sounds conceited enough, yet is not far from truth.
The meeting was very numerous, 500 or 600 at least, and unanimous, save
in one Mr. Howden, who having been all his life, as I am told, in bitter
opposition to Ministers, proposed on the present occasion that the whole
contested measure should be trusted to their wisdom. I suppose he chose
the opportunity of placing his own opinion in opposition, single
opposition too, to that of a large assembly. The speaking was very
moderate. Report had said that Jeffrey, J.A. Murray, and other sages of
the economical school, were to unbuckle their mails, and give us their
opinions. But no such great guns appeared. If they had, having the
multitude on my side, I would have tried to break a lance with them. A
few short but well-expressed resolutions were adopted unanimously. These
were proposed by Lord Rollo, and seconded by Sir James Fergusson, Bart.
I was named one of a committee to encourage all sorts of opposition to
the measure. So I have already broken through two good and wise
resolutions - one, that I would not write on political controversy;
another, that I would not be named on public committees. If my good
resolves go this way, like _snaw aff a dyke_ - the Lord help me!
_March_ 4. - Last night I had a letter from Lockhart, who, speaking of
_Malachi_, says, "The Ministers are sore beyond imagination at present;
and some of them, I hear, have felt this new whip on the raw to some
purpose." I conclude he means Canning is offended. I can't help it, as I
said before - _fiat justitia, ruat coelum_. No cause in which I had the
slightest personal interest should have made me use my pen 'gainst them,
blunt or pointed as it may be. But as they are about to throw this
country into distress and danger, by a measure of useless and
uncalled-for experiment, they must hear the opinion of the Scotsmen, to
whom it is of no other consequence than as a general measure affecting
the country at large, - and mine they _shall_ hear. I had determined to
lay down the pen. But now they shall have another of _Malachi_,
beginning with buffoonery, and ending as seriously as I can write it. It
is like a frenzy that they will agitate the upper and middling classes
of society, so very friendly to them, with unnecessary and hazardous
"Oh, thus it was they loved them dear,
And sought how to requite 'em,
And having no friends left but they,
They did resolve to fight them."
The country is very high just now. England may carry the measure if she
will, doubtless. But what will be the consequence of the distress
ensuing, God only can foretell.
Lockhart, moreover, inquires about my affairs anxiously, and asks what
he is to say about them; says, "He has inquiries every day; kind, most
kind all, and among the most interested and anxious, Sir William
Knighton, who told me the king was quite melancholy all the evening
he heard of it." _This_ I can well believe, for the king, educated as a
prince, has, nevertheless, as true and kind a heart as any subject in
his dominions. He goes on: "I do think they would give you a Baron's
gown as soon as possible," etc. I have written to him in answer, showing
I have enough to carry me on, and can dedicate my literary efforts to
clear my land. The preferment would suit me well, and the late Duke of
Buccleuch gave me his interest for it. I dare say the young duke would
do the same, for the unvaried love I have borne his house; and by and by
he will have a voice potential. But there is Sir William Rae in the
meantime, whose prevailing claim I would never place my own in
opposition to, even were it possible by a _tour de force_, such as L.
points at, to set it aside. Meantime, I am building a barrier betwixt me
and promotion. Any prospect of the kind is very distant and very
uncertain. _Come time, come, rath_, as the German says.
In the meanwhile, now I am not pulled about for money, etc., methinks I
am happier without my wealth than with it. Everything is paid. I have no
one wishing to _make up a sum_ of money, and writing for his account to
be paid. Since 17th January I have not laid out a guinea, out of my own
hand, save two or three in charity, and six shillings for a pocket-book.
But the cash with which I set out having run short for family expenses I
drew on Blackwood, through Ballantyne, which was honoured, for Â£25, to
account of _Malachi's Letters_, of which another edition of 1000 is
ordered, and gave it to Lady Scott, because our removal will require
that in hand. This is for a fortnight succeeding Wednesday next, being
the 8th March current. On the 20th my quarter comes in, and though I
have something to pay out of it, I shall be on velvet for expense - and
regular I will be. Methinks all trifling objects of expenditure seem to
grow light in my eyes. That I may regain independence, I must be saving.
But ambition awakes, as love of quiet indulgence dies and is mortified
within me. "Dark Cuthullin will be renowned or dead."
_March_ 5. - Something of toddy and cigar in that last quotation, I
think. Yet I only smoked two, and liquified with one glass of spirits
and water. I have sworn I will not blot out what I have once written
_Malachi_ goes on, but I am dubious about the commencement - it must be
mended at least - reads prosy.
Had letters from Walter and Jane, the dears. All well. Regiment about to
move from Dublin.
_March_ 6. - Finished third _Malachi_, which I don't much like. It
respects the difficulty of finding gold to replace the paper
circulation. Now this should have been considered first. The admitting
that the measure may be imposed is yielding up the question, and
_Malachi_ is like a commandant who should begin to fire from interior
defences before his outworks were carried. If Ballantyne be of my own
opinion I will suppress it. We are all in a bustle shifting things to
Abbotsford. I believe we shall stay here till the beginning of next
week. It is odd, but I don't feel the impatience for the country which I
have usually experienced.
_March_ 7. - Detained in the Court till _three_ by a hearing. Then to the
Committee appointed at the meeting on Friday, to look after the
small-note business. A pack of old _fainÃ©ants_, incapable of managing
such a business, and who will lose the day from mere coldness of heart.
There are about a thousand names at the petition. They have added no
designations - a great blunder; for _testimonia sunt ponderanda, non
numeranda_ should never be lost sight of. They are disconcerted and
helpless; just as in the business of the King's visit, when everybody
threw the weight on me, for which I suffered much in my immediate
labour, and after bad health it brought on a violent eruption on my
skin, which saved me from a fever at the time, but has been troublesome
more or less ever since. I was so disgusted with seeing them sitting in
ineffectual helplessness spitting on the hot iron that lay before them,
and touching it with a timid finger, as if afraid of being scalded,
that at another time I might have dashed in and taken up the hammer,
summoned the deacons and other heads of public bodies, and by consulting
them have carried them with me. But I cannot waste my time, health, and
spirits in fighting thankless battles. I left them in a quarter of an
hour, and presage, unless the country make an alarm, the cause is lost.
The philosophical reviewers manage their affairs better - hold off - avoid
committing themselves, but throw their _vis inertiÃ¦_ into the opposite
scale, and neutralise the feelings which they cannot combat. To force
them to fight on disadvantageous ground is our policy. But we have more
sneakers after Ministerial favour than men who love their country, and
who upon a liberal scale would serve their party. For to force the Whigs
to avow an unpopular doctrine in popular assemblies, or to wrench the
government of such bodies from them, would be a _coup de maÃ®tre_. But
they are alike destitute of manly resolution and sound policy. D - n the
whole nest of them! I have corrected the last of _Malachi_, and let the
thing take its chance. I have made enemies enough, and indisposed enough
_March_ 8. - At the Court, though a teind day. A foolish thing happened
while the Court were engaged with the teinds. I amused myself with
writing on a sheet of paper notes on Frederick Maitland's account of the