until he was eighty-four. He died at Abbotsford in 1854, where he had
been well cared for, respected, and beloved by all the members of the
family since Sir Walter's death.
 Sheridan's _Rivals_, Act II. Sc. 1.
 The murder of Weare by Thurtell and Co., at Gill's-Hill in
Hertfordshire (1824). Sir Walter collected printed trials with great
assiduity, and took care always to have the contemporary ballads and
prints bound up with them. He admired particularly this verse of Mr.
Hook's broadside -
"They cut his throat from ear to ear,
His brains they battered in;
His name was Mr. William Weare,
He dwelt in Lyon's Inn."
 Dr. John Jamieson, formerly minister to a Secession congregation
in Forfar, removed to a like charge in Edinburgh in 1795, where he
officiated for forty-three years; he died in his house in 4 George
Square in 1838, aged seventy-nine.
 This novel was passing through the press in 8vo, 12mo, and 18mo,
to complete collective editions in these sizes. - J.G.I.
 Afterwards Sir David Brewster. He died at Allerley House on the
Tweed, aged eighty-seven, on February 10, 1868.
_August_ 1. - Yesterday evening did nothing for the _idlesse_ of the
morning. I was hungry; eat and drank and became drowsy; then I took to
arranging the old plays, of which Terry had brought me about a dozen,
and dipping into them scrambled through two. One, called _Michaelmas
Term_, full of traits of manners; and another a sort of bouncing
tragedy, called the _Hector of Germany, or the Palsgrave_. The
last, worthless in the extreme, is, like many of the plays in the
beginning of the seventeenth century, written to a good tune. The
dramatic poets of that time seem to have possessed as joint-stock a
highly poetical and abstract tone of language, so that the worst of them
often remind you of the very best. The audience must have had a much
stronger sense of poetry in those days than now, since language was
received and applauded at the Fortune or at the Red Bull, which
could not now be understood by any general audience in Great Britain.
This leads far.
This morning I wrote two hours, then out with Tom Purdie, and gave
directions about thinning all the plantations above Abbotsford properly
so called. Came in at one o'clock and now set to work. _Debout, debout,
Lyciscas, debout._ Finished four leaves.
_August_ 2. - Well; and to-day I finished before dinner five leaves more,
and I would crow a little about it, but here comes Duty like an old
housekeeper to an idle chambermaid. Hear her very words: -
DUTY. - Oh! you crow, do you? Pray, can you deny that your sitting so
quiet at work was owing to its raining heavily all the forenoon, and
indeed till dinner-time, so that nothing would have stirred out that
could help it, save a duck or a goose? I trow, if it had been a fine
day, by noon there would have been aching of the head, throbbing,
shaking, and so forth, to make an apology for going out.
EGOMET IPSE. - And whose head ever throbbed to go out when it rained,
DUTY. - _Answer not to me with a fool-born jest_, as your poor friend
Erskine used to say to you when you escaped from his good advice under
the fire of some silly pun. You smoke a cigar after dinner, and I never
check you - drink tea, too, which is loss of time; and then, instead of
writing me one other page, or correcting those you have written out, you
rollick into the woods till you have not a dry thread about you; and
here you sit writing down my words in your foolish journal instead of
minding my advice.
EGO. - Why, Mrs. Duty, I would as gladly be friends with [you] as
Crabbe's tradesman fellow with his conscience; but you should have
some consideration with human frailty.
DUTY. - Reckon not on that. But, however, good-night for the present. I
would only recommend to you to think no thoughts in which I am not
mingled - to read no books in which I have no concern - to write three
sheets of botheration all the six days of the week _per diem_, and on
the seventh to send them to the printer. Thus advising, I heartily bid
EGO. - Farewell, madam (exit Duty) and be d - d to ye for an unreasonable
bitch! "The devil must be in this greedy gled!" as the Earl of Angus
said to his hawk; "will she never be satisfied?" I believe in my
soul she is the very hag who haunted the merchant Abudah.
I'll have my great chest upstairs exorcised, but first I'll take a nap
till supper, which must take place within ten minutes.
_August_ 3. - Wrote half a task in the morning. From eleven till
half-past eight in Selkirk taking precognitions about a _row_, and came
home famished and tired. Now, Mrs. Duty, do you think there is no other
Duty of the family but yourself? Or can the Sheriff-depute neglect his
Duty, that the author may mind _his_? The thing cannot be; the people of
Selkirk must have justice as well as the people of England books. So the
two Duties may go pull caps about it. My conscience is clear.
_August_ 4. - Wrote to Miss Edgeworth on her sister's marriage, which
consumed the better part of the morning. I must read for Marengo.
_Item_, I must look at the pruning. _Item_, at the otter hunt; but my
hope is constant to make up a good day's task notwithstanding. Failed in
finding the otter, and was tired and slept, and did but a poor day's
_August_ 6. - Wrote to-day a very good day's work. Walked to Chiefswood,
and saw old Mrs. Tytler, a friend when life was young. Her husband,
Lord Woodhouselee, was a kind, amiable, and accomplished man; and when
we lived at Lasswade Cottage, soon after my marriage, we saw a great
deal of the family, who were very kind to us as newly entered on the
world. Walked home, and worked in the evening; four leaves
_August_ 7. - My niece Anne leaves us this morning, summoned back from
one scene of distress to another. Her uncle, David Macculloch, is
extremely ill - a paralytic stroke, I fancy. She is a charming girl,
lady-like in thought and action, and very pleasant in society. We are to
dine to-day with our neighbours at Gattonside. Meantime I will avail
myself of my disposition to labour, and work instead of journalising.
Mr. H. Cranstoun looked in a morning call. He is become extremely
deaf. He gave me a letter from the Countess Purgstall, his sister, which
I have not the heart to open, so many reproaches I have deserved for not
writing. It is a sad thing, though, to task eyes as hard wrought as mine
to keep up correspondence. Dined at Gattonside.
_August_ 8. - Wrote my task this morning, and now for walk. Dine to-day
at Chiefswood; have company to-morrow. Why, this is dissipation! But no
matter, Mrs. Duty, if the task is done. "Ay, but," says she, "you ought
to do something extra - provide against a rainy day." Not I, I'll make a
rainy day provide against a fair one, Mrs. Duty. I write twice as much
in bad weather. Seriously, I write fully as much as I ought. I do not
like this dull aching in the chest and the back, and its giving way to
exercise shows that it originates in remaining too long in a sitting
posture. So I'll take the field, while the day is good.
_August_ 9. - I wrote only two leaves to-day, but with as many additions
as might rank for three. I had a long and warm walk. Mrs. Tytler of
Woodhouselee, the Hamiltons, and Colonel Ferguson dined here. How many
early stories did the old lady's presence recall! She might almost be my
mother, yet there we sat, like two people of another generation, talking
of things and people the rest knew nothing of. When a certain period of
life is survived, the difference of years between the survivors, even
when considerable, becomes of much less consequence.
_August_ 10. - Rose early, and wrote hard till two, when I went with Anne
to Minto. The place, being new to my companion, gave her much amusement.
We found the Scotts of Harden, etc., and had a very pleasant party. I
like Lady M. particularly, but missed my facetious and lively friend,
Lady A[nna] M[aria]. It is the fashion for women and silly men to
abuse her as a blue-stocking. If to have wit, good sense, and
good-humour, mixed with a strong power of observing, and an equally
strong one of expressing the result, be _blue_, she shall be as blue as
they will. Such cant is the refuge of persons who fear those who they
[think] can turn them into ridicule; it is a common trick to revenge
supposed raillery with good substantial calumny. Slept at Minto.
_August_ 11. - I was up as usual, and wrote about two leaves, meaning to
finish my task at home; but found my Sheriff-substitute here on my
return, which took up the evening. But I shall finish the volume on
Sunday; that is less than a month after beginning it. The same exertion
would bring the book out at Martinmas, but December is a better time.
_August_ 12. - Wrote a little in the morning; then Duty and I have
settled that this is to be a kind of holiday, providing the volume be
finished to-morrow. I went to breakfast at Chiefswood, and after that
affair was happily transacted, I wended me merrily to the Black Cock
Stripe, and there caused Tom Purdie and John Swanston cut out a
quantity of firs. Got home about two o'clock, and set to correct a set
of proofs. James Ballantyne presages well of this work, but is afraid of
inaccuracies - so am I - but things must be as they may. There is a kind
of glamour about me, which sometimes makes me read dates, etc., in the
proof-sheets, not as they actually do stand, but as they ought to stand.
I wonder if a pill of holy trefoil would dispel this fascination.
By the way, John Swanston measured a young shoot that was growing
remarkably, and found that for three days successively it grew half an
inch every day. Fine-Ear used to hear the grass grow - how far off
would he have heard this extravagant rapidity of vegetation? The tree is
a silver fir or spruce in the patch at the Green-tongue park.
_August_ 13. - Yesterday I was tired of labouring in the rough ground.
Well, I must be content to feel my disabilities increase. One sure thing
is, that all wise men will soon contrive to lay aside inclination when
performance grows toilsome. I have hobbled over many a rough heugh in my
day - no wonder if I must sing at last -
"Thus says the auld man to the aik tree,
Sair failed, hinny, since I kenn'd thee."
But here are many a mile of smooth walk, just when I grow unable to face
bent and brae, and here is the garden when all fails. To a sailor the
length of his quarter-deck is a good space of exercising ground.
I wrote a good task to-day, then walked to the lake, then came back by
three o'clock, hungering and thirsting to finish the volume. I have
seldom such fits of voluntary industry, so Duty shall have the benefit.
Finished volume iv. this evening - _Deo Gratias_.
_August_ 14. - This is a morning I have not seen many a day, for it
appears to set in for a rainy day. It has not kept its word though. I
was seized by a fit of the "clevers," and finished my task by twelve
o'clock, and hope to add something in the evening. I was guilty,
however, of some waywardness, for I began volume v. of _Boney_ instead
of carrying on the _Canongate_ as I proposed. The reason, however, was
that I might not forget the information I had acquired about the Treaty
_August_ 15. - The weather seems decidedly broken. Yesterday, indeed,
cleared up, but this day seems to persevere in raining. _Naboclish!_
It's a rarity nowadays. I write on, though a little afflicted with the
oppression on my chest. Sometimes I think it is something dangerous, but
as it always goes away on change of posture, it cannot be speedily so. I
want to finish my task, and then good-night. I will never relax my
labour in these affairs, either for fear of pain or love of life. I will
die a free man, if hard working will do it. Accordingly, to-day I
cleared the ninth leaf, which is the tenth part of a volume, in two
days - four and a half leaves a day. Walter and Jane, with Mrs. Jobson,
are arrived to interrupt me.
_August_ 16. - God be praised for restoring to me my dear children in
good health, which has made me happier than anything that has happened
these several months. Walter and Jane appear cordial and happy in each
other; the greatest blessing Heaven can bestow on them or me who witness
it. If we had Lockhart and Sophia, there would be a meeting of the
beings dearest to me in life. Walked to Huntly Burn, where I found a
certain lady on a visit - so youthy, so beautiful, so strong in
voice - with sense and learning - above all, so fond of good conversation,
that, in compassion to my eyes, ears, and understanding, I bolted in the
middle of a tremendous shower of rain, and rather chose to be wet to the
skin than to be bethumped with words at that rate. There seemed more
than I of the same opinion, for Col Ferguson chose the ducking rather
than the conversation. Young Mr. Surtees came this evening.
_August_ 17. - Wrote half a leaf short of my task, having proofs, etc.,
to correct, and being called early to walk with the ladies. I have
gained three leaves in the two following days, so I cannot blame myself.
_Sat cito si sat bene. Sat boni_ I am sure - I may say - a truly execrable
pun that; hope no one will find it out.
In the evening we had music from the girls, and the voice of the harp
and viol were heard in my halls once more, which have been so long
deprived of mirth. It is with a mixed sensation I hear these sounds. I
look on my children and am happy; and yet every now and then a pang
shoots across my heart. It seems so strange that my poor wife should not
be there. But enough of this. Colonel Ferguson dined.
_August_ 18. - Again I fell a half page behind, being summoned out too
early for my task, but I am still two leaves before on the whole week.
It is natural to see as much of these young people as I can. Walter
talks of the Ionian Islands. It is an awful distance. A long walk in
very warm weather. Music in the evening.
_August_ 19. - This morning wrote none, excepting extracts, etc., being
under the necessity of reading and collating a great deal, which lasted
till one o'clock or thereabouts, when Dr. and Mrs. Brewster and their
young people came to spend a day of happiness at the lake. We were met
there by Captain and Mrs. Hamilton and a full party. Since the days of
Seged, Emperor of Ethiopia, these days of appointed sport and
happiness have seldom answered; but we came off indifferently well. We
did not indeed catch much fish; but we lounged about in a delightful
day, eat and drank - and the children, who are very fine infantry, were
clamorously enjoying themselves. We sounded the loch in two or three
different places - the deepest may be sixty feet. I was accustomed to
think it much more, but your deepest pools, like your deepest
politicians and philosophers, often turn out more shallow than was
expected. The whole party dine with us.
_August_ 20. - Wrote four leaves. The day wet and rainy, though not
uniformly so. No temptation, however, to play truant; so this will make
some amends for a blank day yesterday. I am far in advance of the press,
but it is necessary if I go to Drumlanrig on Wednesday as I intend, and
to Lochore next week, which I also meditate. This will be no great
interruption, however, if I can keep the _Canongate_ moving, for I shall
be more than half a volume in advance with _Napoleon_.
_August_ 21. - Wrought out my task, though much bothered with a cold in
my head and face, how caught I know not. Mrs. Crampton, wife of the
Surgeon-General in Ireland, sends to say she is hereabouts, so we
ask her. Hospitality must not be neglected, and most hospitable are the
Cramptons. All the "calliachs" from Huntly Burn are to be here, and
Anne wishes we may have enough of dinner. Naboclish! it is hoped there
will be a _pièce de résistance_.
_August_ 22. - Mrs. and Misses Crampton departed. I was rather sorry to
give them such brief entertainment, for they were extremely kind. But
going to Eildon Hall to-day, and to Drumlanrig to-morrow, there was
nothing more could be done for them. It is raining now "_successfully_,"
as old Macfarlane of the Arroquhar used to say. What is the odds? We get
a soaking before we cross the Birkendailly - wet against dry, ten to one.
_August_ 23 [_Bittock's Bridge_]. - Set off cheerily with Walter,
Charles, and Surtees in the sociable, to make our trip to Drumlanrig. We
breakfasted at Mr. Boyd's, Broadmeadows, and were received with Yarrow
hospitality. From thence climbed the Yarrow, and skirted Saint Mary's
Lake, and ascended the Birkhill path, under the moist and misty
influence of the _genius loci_. Never mind; my companions were merry and
I cheerful. When old people can be with the young without fatiguing them
or themselves, their tempers derive the same benefits which some
fantastic physicians of old supposed accrued to their constitutions from
the breath of the young and healthy. You have not, cannot again have,
their gaiety of pleasure in seeing sights, but still it reflects itself
upon you, and you are cheered and comforted. Our luncheon eaten in the
herd's cottage; but the poor woman saddened me unawares, by asking for
poor Charlotte, whom she had often seen there with me. She put me in
mind that I had come twice over those hills and bogs with a
wheeled-carriage, before the road, now an excellent one, was made. I
knew it was true; but, on my soul, looking where we must have gone, I
could hardly believe I had been such a fool. For riding, pass if you
will; but to put one's neck in such a venture with a wheeled-carriage
was too silly. Here we are, however, at Bittock's Inn for this night.
_Drumlanrig, August_ 24. - This morning lunched at Parkgate under a very
heavy shower, and then pushed on to Drumlanrig, where I was pleased to
see the old Castle, and old servants solicitous and anxious to be civil.
What visions does not this magnificent old house bring back to me! The
exterior is much improved since I first knew it. It was then in the
state of dilapidation to which it had been abandoned by the celebrated
old Q., and was indeed scarce wind and water tight. Then the whole
wood had been felled, and the outraged castle stood in the midst of
waste and desolation, excepting a few scattered old stumps, not judged
worth the cutting. Now, the whole has been, ten or twelve years since,
completely replanted, and the scattered seniors look as graceful as
fathers surrounded by their children. The face of this immense estate
has been scarcely less wonderfully changed. The scrambling tenants, who
held a precarious tenure of lease under the Duke of Queensberry, at the
risk (as actually took place) of losing their possession at his death,
have given room to skilful and labouring men, working their farms
regularly, and enjoying comfortable houses and their farms at a fair
rent, which is enough to forbid idleness, but not enough to overpower
_August_ 25. - Here are Lord and Lady Home, Charles Douglas,
Lord and Lady Charlotte Stopford. I grieve to say the last, though
as beautiful as ever, is extremely thin, and looks delicate. The Duke
himself has grown up into a graceful and apparently strong young man,
and received us most kindly. I think he will be well qualified to
sustain his difficult and important task. The heart is excellent, so are
the talents, - good sense and knowledge of the world, picked up at one of
the great English schools (and it is one of their most important
results), will prevent him from being deceived; and with perfect
good-nature, he has a natural sense of his own situation, which will
keep him from associating with unworthy companions. God bless him! His
father and I loved each other well, and his beautiful mother had as much
of the angel as is permitted to walk this earth. I see the balcony from
which they welcomed poor Charlotte and me, long ere the ascent was
surmounted, streaming out their white handkerchiefs from the
battlements. There were _four_ merry people that day - now one sad
individual is all that remains. _Singula praedantur anni_. I had a long
walk to-day through the new plantation, the Duchess's Walk by the Nith,
etc. (formed by Prior's _Kitty young and gay_); fell in with the
ladies, but their donkeys outwalked me - a flock of sheep afterwards
outwalked me, and I begin to think, on my conscience, that a snail put
in training might soon outwalk me. I must lay the old salve to the old
sore, and be thankful for being able to walk at all.
Nothing was written to-day, my writing-desk having been forgot at
Parkgate, but Tom Crighton kindly fetched it up to-day, so something
more or less may be done to-morrow morning - and now to dress.
[_Bittock's Bridge_,] _August_ 26. - We took our departure from the
friendly halls of Drumlanrig this morning after breakfast and
leave-taking. I trust this young nobleman will be
"A hedge about his friends,
A hackle to his foes."
I would have him not quite so soft-natured as his grandfather, whose
kindness sometimes mastered his excellent understanding. His father had
a temper which better lumped with my humour. Enough of ill-nature to
keep your good-nature from being abused is no bad ingredient in their
disposition who have favours to bestow.
In coming from Parkgate here I intended to accomplish a purpose which I
have for some years entertained, of visiting Lochwood, the ancient seat
of the Johnstones, of which King James said, when he visited it, that
the man who built it must have been a thief in his heart. It rained
heavily, however, which prevented my making this excursion, and indeed I
rather overwalked myself yesterday, and have occasion for rest.
"So sit down, Robin, and rest thee."
_Abbotsford, August_ 27. - To-day we journeyed through the hills and
amongst the storms; the weather rather bullying than bad. We viewed the
Grey Mare's Tail, and I still felt confident in crawling along the
ghastly bank by which you approach the fall. I will certainly get some
road of application to Mr. Hope Johnstone, to pray him to make the place
accessible. We got home before half-past five, having travelled forty
_Blair-Adam, August_ 28. - Set off with Walter and Jane at seven o'clock,
and reached this place in the middle of dinner-time. By some of my not
unusual blunders we had come a day before we were expected. Luckily, in
this ceremonious generation, there are still houses where such blunders
only cause a little raillery, and Blair-Adam is one of them. My
excellent friend is in high health and spirits, to which the presence of
Sir Frederick adds not a little. His lady is here - a beautiful
woman, whose countenance realises all the poetic dreams of Byron. There
is certainly [a] something of full maturity of beauty which seems framed
to be adoring and adored, and it is to be found in the full dark eye,
luxuriant tresses, and rich complexion of Greece, and not among the
pale unripened beauties of the north. What sort of a mind this exquisite
casket may contain is not so easily known. She is anxious to please, and
willing to be pleased, and, with her striking beauty, cannot fail to
_August_ 29. - To-day we designed to go to Lochore. But "heigho! the wind
and the rain." Besides Mrs. and Admiral Adam, Mrs. Loch, and Miss Adam,
I find here Mr. Impey, son of that Sir Elijah celebrated in Indian
history. He has himself been in India, but has, with a great deal of
sense and observation, much better address than always falls to the
share of the Eastern adventurer. The art of quiet and entertaining
conversation, which is always easy as well as entertaining, is chiefly
known in England. In Scotland we are pedantic and wrangle, or we run
away with the harrows on some topic we chance to be discursive upon. In
Ireland they have too much vivacity, and are too desirous to make a
show, to preserve the golden mean. They are the Gascons of Britain.
George Ellis was the best converser I ever knew; his patience and good
breeding made me often ashamed of myself going off at score upon some
favourite topic. Richard Sharp is so celebrated for this peculiar gift
as to be generally called Conversation Sharp. The worst of this
talent is that it seems to lack sincerity. You never know what are the
real sentiments of a good converser, or at least it is very difficult to
discover to what extent he entertains them. His politeness is
inconsistent with energy. For forming a good converser, good taste and