inconvenienced by this identification, he proposes I should apply to the
King to forward his restoration and advance in the service (he writes
himself late Lieutenant 4th Dragoon Guards) as an atonement for having
occasioned him (though unintentionally no doubt) so great an injury.
This is one road to promotion, to be sure. Lieutenant Macturk is, I
suppose, tolerably mad.
We dined together, Anne, Walter, and I, and were happy at our reunion,
when, as I was despatching my packet to London,
In started to heeze up our howp
John Gibson, radiant with good-natured joy. He had another letter from
Cadell, enclosing one from Robinson, in which the latter pledges himself
to make the most explicit affidavit.
On these two last days I have written only three pages, but not from
inaptitude or incapacity to labour. It is odd enough - I think it
difficult to place me in a situation of danger, or disagreeable
circumstances, purely personal, which would shake my powers of mind, yet
they sink under mere lowness of spirits, as this Journal bears evidence
in too many passages.
_November_ 13. - Wrote a little in the morning, but not above a page.
Went to the Court about one, returned, and made several visits with Anne
and Walter. Cadell came, glorious with the success of his expedition,
but a little allayed by the prospect of competition for the copyrights,
on which he and I have our eyes as joint purchasers. We must have them
if possible, for I can give new value to an edition corrected with
notes. _Nous verrons!_ Captain Musgrave, of the house of Edenhall, dined
with us. After dinner, while we were over our whisky and water and
cigars, enter the merry knight. Misses Kerr came to tea, and we had fun
and singing in the evening.
_November_ 14. - A little work in the morning, but no gathering to my
tackle. Went to Court, remained till nigh one. Then came through a
pitiless shower; dressed and went to the christening of a boy of John
Richardson's who was baptized Henry Cockburn. Read the _Gazette_ of the
great battle of Navarino, in which we have thumped the Turks very well.
But as to the justice of our interference, I will only suppose some
Turkish plenipotentiary, with an immense turban and long loose trousers,
comes to dictate to us the mode in which we should deal with our
refractory liegemen the Catholics of Ireland. We hesitate to admit his
interference, on which the Moslem admiral runs into Cork Bay or Bantry
Bay, alongside of a British squadron, and sends a boat to tow aside a
fire-ship. A vessel fires on the boat and sinks her. Is there an
aggression on the part of those who fired first, or of those whose
manoeuvres occasioned the firing?
Dined at Henry Cockburn's with the christening party.
_November_ 15. - Wrote a little in the morning. Detained in Court till
two; then returned home wet enough. Met with Chambers, and complimented
him about his making a clever book of the 1745 for Constable's
_Miscellany_. It is really a lively work, and must have a good sale.
Before dinner enter Cadell, and we anxiously renewed our plan for buying
the copyrights on 19th December. It is most essential that the whole of
the Waverley Novels should be kept under our management, as it is
called. I may then give them a new impulse by a preface and notes; and
if an edition, of say 30 volumes, were to be published monthly to the
tune of 5000, which may really be expected if the shops were once
cleared of the over-glut, it would bring in Â£10,000 clear profit, over
all outlay, and so pay any sum of copy-money that might be ventured. I
must urge these things to Gibson, for except these copyrights be saved
our plans will go to nothing.
Walter and Anne went to hear Madame Pasta sing after dinner. I remained
at home; wrote to Sir William Knighton, and sundry other letters of
_November_ 16. - There was little to do in Court to-day, but one's time
is squandered, and his ideas broken strangely. At three we had a select
meeting of the Gas Directors to consider what line we were to take in
the disastrous affairs of the company. Agreed to go to Parliament a
second time. James Gibson [Craig] and I to go up as our solicitors. So
curiously does interest couple up individuals, though I am sure I have
no objection whatever to Mr. James Gibson-Craig.
_November_ 17. - Returned home in early time from the Court. Settled on
the review of Ornamental Gardening for Lockhart, and wrote hard. Want
several quotations, though - that is the bore of being totally without
books. Anne and I dined quietly together, and I wrote after tea - an
_November_ 18. - This has been also a day of exertion. I was interrupted
for a moment by a visit from young Davidoff with a present of a steel
snuff-box [Tula work], wrought and lined with gold, having my arms on
the top, and on the sides various scenes from the environs and principal
public buildings of St. Petersburg - a _joli cadeau_ - and I take it very
kind of my young friend. I had a letter from his uncle, Denis Davidoff,
the black captain of the French retreat. The Russians are certainly
losing ground and men in Persia, and will not easily get out of the
scrape of having engaged an active enemy in a difficult and unhealthy
country. I am glad of it; it is an overgrown power; and to have them
kept quiet at least is well for the rest of Europe. I concluded the
evening - after writing a double task - with the trial of Malcolm
Gillespie, renowned as a most venturous excise officer, but now like to
lose his life for forgery. A bold man in his vocation he seems to have
been, but the law seems to have got round to the wrong side of him on
the present occasion.
_November_ 19. - Corrected the last proof of _Tales of my Grandfather_.
Received Cadell at breakfast, and conversed fully on the subject of the
_Chronicles_ and the application of the price of 2d series, say Â£4000,
to the purchase of the moiety of the copyrights now in the market, and
to be sold this day month. If I have the command of a new Edition and
put it into an attractive shape, with notes, introductions, and
illustrations that no one save I myself can give, I am confident it will
bring home the whole purchase-money with something over, and lead to
the disposal of a series of the subsequent volumes of the following
St. Ronan's Well, 3 vols.
Redgauntlet, 3 "
Tales of Crusaders, 4 "
Woodstock, 3 "
- - -
make a series of 7 vols.! The two series of the _Chronicles_ and others
will be ready about the same time.
_November_ 20. - Wrought in the morning at the review, which I fear will
be lengthy. Called on Hector as I came home from the Court, and found
him better, and keeping a Highland heart. I came home like a crow
through the mist, half dead with a rheumatic headache caused by the
beastly north-east wind.
"What am I now when every breeze appals me?" I dozed for
half-an-hour in my chair for pain and stupidity. I omitted to say
yesterday that I went out to Melville Castle to inquire after my Lord
Melville, who had broke his collar-bone by a fall from his horse in
mounting. He is recovering well, but much bruised. I came home with Lord
Chief-Commissioner Adam. He told me a dictum of old Sir Gilbert Elliot,
speaking of his uncles. "No chance of opulence," he said, "is worth the
risk of a competence." It was not the thought of a great man, but
perhaps that of a wise one. Wrought at my review, and despatched about
half or better, I should hope. I incline to longer extracts in the next
_November_ 21. - Wrought at the review. At one o'clock I attended the
general meeting of the Union Scottish Assurance Company. There was a
debate arose whether the ordinary acting directors should or should not
have a small sum, amounting to about a crown a piece allotted to them
each day of their regular attendance. The proposal was rejected by many,
and upon grounds which sound very well, - such as the shabbiness of men
being influenced by a trifling consideration like this, and the
absurdity of the Company volunteering a bounty to one set of men, when
there are others willing to act gratuitously, and many gentlemen
volunteered their own services; though I cannot help suspecting that, as
in the case of ultroneous offers of service upon most occasions, it was
not likely to be acceptable. The motion miscarried, however - impoliticly
rejected, as I think. The sound of five shillings sounds shabby, but the
fact is that it does in some sort reconcile the party to whom it is
offered to leave his own house and business at an exact hour; whereas,
in the common case, one man comes too late - another does not come at
all - the attendance is given by different individuals upon different
days, so that no one acquires the due historical knowledge of the
affairs of the Company. Besides, the Directors, by taking even this
trifling sum of money, render themselves the paid servants of the
Company, and are bound to use a certain degree of diligence, much
greater than if they continued to serve, as hitherto, gratuitously. The
pay is like enlisting money which, whether great or small, subjects to
engagements under the Articles of war.
A china-merchant spoke, - a picture of an orator with bandy legs,
squinting eyes, and a voice like an ungreased cart-wheel - a liberty boy,
I suppose. The meeting was somewhat stormy, but I preserved order by
listening with patience to each in turn; determined that they should
weary out the patience of the meeting before I lost mine. An orator is
like a top. Let him alone and he must stop one time or another - flog
him, and he may go on for ever.
Dined with Directors, of whom I only knew the Manager, Sutherland
Mackenzie, Sir David Milne, and Wauchope, besides one or two old Oil Gas
friends. It went off well enough.
_November_ 22. - Wrought in the morning. Then made arrangements for a
dinner to celebrate the Duke of Buccleuch coming of age - that which was
to have been held at Melville Castle being postponed, owing to Lord M.'s
accident. Sent copy of Second Series of _Chronicles of Canongate_ to
_November_ 23. - I bilked the Court to-day, and worked at the review. I
wish it may not be too long, yet know not how to shorten it. The post
brought me a letter from the Duke of Buccleuch, acquainting me with his
grandmother, the Duchess-Dowager's death. She was a woman of
unbounded beneficence to, and even beyond, the extent of her princely
fortune. She had a masculine courage, and great firmness in enduring
affliction, which pressed on her with continued and successive blows in
her later years. She was about eighty-four, and nature was exhausted; so
life departed like the extinction of a lamp for lack of oil. Our dinner
on Monday is put off. I am not superstitious, but I wish this festival
had not been twice delayed by such sinister accidents - first, the injury
sustained by Lord Melville, and then this event spreading crape like the
shroud of Saladin over our little festival. God avert bad omens!
Dined with Archie Swinton. Company - Sir Alexander and Lady Keith, Mr.
and Mrs. Anderson, Clanronald, etc. Clanronald told us, as an instance
of Highland credulity, that a set of his kinsmen, Borradale and others,
believing that the fabulous Water Cow inhabited a small lake near his
house, resolved to drag the monster into day. With this view they
bivouacked by the side of the lake, in which they placed, by way of
night-bait, two small anchors, such as belong to boats, each baited with
the carcase of a dog slain for the purpose. They expected the Water Cow
would gorge on this bait, and were prepared to drag her ashore the next
morning, when, to their confusion of face, the baits were found
untouched. It is something too late in the day for setting baits for
_November_ 24. - Wrote at review in the morning. I have made my
revocation of the invitation for Monday. For myself it will give me time
to work. I could not get home to-day till two o'clock, and was quite
tired and stupid. So I did little but sleep or dose till dressing-time.
Then went to Sir David Wedderburn's, where I met three beauties of my
own day, Margaret Brown, Maria Brown, and Jane Wedderburn, now Lady
Wedderburn, Lady Hampden, and Mrs. Oliphant. We met the pleasant Irish
family of Meath. The resemblance between the Earl of Meath and the Duke
of Wellington is something remarkably striking - it is not only the
profile, but the mode of bearing the person, and the person itself. Lady
Theodora Brabazon, the Earl's daughter, and a beautiful young lady, told
me that in Paris her father was often taken for Lord Wellington.
_November_ 25. - This forenoon finished the review, and despatched it to
Lockhart before dinner. Will Clerk, Tom Thomson, and young Frank Scott
dined with me. We had a pleasant day. I have wrought pretty well to-day.
But I must
Do a little more
And produce a little ore.
_November_ 26. - Corrected proof-sheets of _Chronicles_ and _Tales_.
Advised Sheriff processes, and was busy.
Dined with Robert Dundas of Arniston, Lord Register, etc. An agreeable
_November_ 27. - Corrected proofs in the morning, and attended the Court
till one or two o'clock, Mr. Hamilton being again ill. I visited Lady S.
on my return. Came home too fagged to do anything to purpose.
Anecdote from George Bell. In the days of Charles II. or his brother,
flourished an old Lady Elphinstone, so old that she reached the
extraordinary period of 103. She was a keen Whig, so did not relish
Graham of Clavers. At last, having a curiosity to see so aged a person,
he obtained or took permission to see her, and asked her of the
remarkable things she had seen. "Indeed," said she, "I think one of the
most remarkable is, that when I entered the world there was one Knox
deaving us a' with his clavers, and now that I am going out of it, there
is one Clavers deaving us with his knocks."
_November_ 28. - Corrected proofs and went to Court. Returned about one,
and called on the Lord Chief-Baron. Dined with the Duchess of Bedford at
the Waterloo, and renewed, as I may say, an old acquaintance, which
began while her Grace was Lady Georgiana. She has now a fine family,
two young ladies silent just now, but they will find their tongues, or
they are not right Gordons, a very fine child, Alister, who shouted,
sung, and spoke Gaelic with much spirit. They are from a shooting-place
in the Highlands, called Invereshie, in Badenoch, which the Duke has
taken to gratify the Duchess's passion for the heather.
_November_ 29. - My course of composition is stopped foolishly enough. I
have sent four leaves to London with Lockhart's review. I am very sorry
for this blunder, and here is another. Forgetting I had been engaged for
a long time to Lord Gillies - a first family visit too - the devil
tempted me to accept of the office of President of the Antiquarian
Society. And now they tell me people have come from the country to be
present, and so forth, of which I may believe as much as I may. But I
must positively take care of this absurd custom of confounding
invitations. My conscience acquits me of doing so by malice _prepense_,
yet one incurs the suspicion. At any rate it is uncivil and must be
amended. Dined at Lord C. Commissioner's - to meet the Duchess and her
party. She can be extremely agreeable, but I used to think her Grace
_journaliÃ¨re_. She may have been cured of that fault, or I may have
turned less jealous of my dignity. At all events let a pleasant hour go
by unquestioned, and do not let us break ordinary gems to pieces because
they are not diamonds. I forgot to say Edwin Landseer was in the
Duchess's train. He is, in my mind, one of the most striking masters of
the modern school. His expression both in man and animals is capital. He
showed us many sketches of smugglers, etc., taken in the Highlands, all
"Some gaed there, and some gaed here,
And a' the town was in a steer,
And Johnnie on his brocket mear,
He raid to fetch the howdie."
_November_ 30. - Another idle morning, with letters, however. Had the
great pleasure of a letter from Lord Dudley acquainting me that he
had received his Majesty's commands to put down the name of my son
Charles for the first vacancy that should occur in the Foreign Office,
and at the same time to acquaint me with his gracious intentions, which
were signified in language the most gratifying to me. This makes me
really feel light and happy, and most grateful to the kind and gracious
sovereign who has always shown, I may say, so much friendship towards
me. Would to God _the King's errand might lie in the cadger's gait_,
that I might have some better way of showing my gratitude than merely
by a letter of thanks or this private memorandum of my gratitude. The
lad is a good boy and clever, somewhat indolent I fear, yet with the
capacity of exertion. Presuming his head is full enough of Greek and
Latin, he has now living languages to study; so I will set him to work
on French, Italian, and German, that, like the classic Cerberus, he may
speak a leash of languages at once. Dined with Gillies, very pleasant;
Lord Chief-Commissioner, Will Clerk, Cranstoun, and other old friends. I
saw in the evening the celebrated Miss Grahame Stirling, so remarkable
for her power of personifying a Scottish old lady. Unluckily she came
late, and I left early in the evening, so I could not find out wherein
her craft lay. She looked like a sensible woman. I had a conference with
my trustees about the purchase (in company with Cadell) of the
copyrights of the novels to be exposed to sale on the 19th December, and
had the good luck to persuade them fully of the propriety of the
project. I alone can, by notes and the like, give these works a new
value, and in fact make a new edition. The price is to be made good from
the Second Series _Chronicles of Canongate_, sold to Cadell for Â£4000;
and it may very well happen that we shall have little to pay, as part of
the copyrights will probably be declared mine by the arbiter, and these
I shall have without money and without price. Cadell is most anxious on
the subject. He thinks that two years hence Â£10,000 may be made of a new
 Holyrood remained an asylum for civil debtors until 1880, when by
the Act 43 & 44 Victoria, cap. 34 imprisonment for debt was abolished.
For description of bounds see _Chronicles of the Canongate,_ p. 7. (vol.
 The book was published during November, under the following title,
_Chronicles of the Canongate_ (First Series). By the author of
_Waverley_, etc. - SIC ITUR AD ASTRA, motto of Canongate arms. In two
vols. _The Two Drovers_, _The Highland Widow_, _The Surgeon's Daughter_.
Edinburgh, printed for Cadell and Co., and Simpkin Marshall. London
The introduction to this work contains sketches of Scott's own life,
with portraits of his friends, unsurpassed in any of his earlier
writings; for example, what could be better than the description of his
ancestors the Scotts of Raeburn, vol. xli. p. 61: -
"_They werena ill to them, sir, and that is aye something; they were
just decent bien bodies. Ony poor creature that had face to beg got an
awmous and welcome; they that were shamefaced gaed by, and twice as
welcome. But they keepit an honest walk before God and man, the
Croftangrys, and as I said before, if they did little good, they did as
little ill. They lifted their rents and spent them; called in their kain
and eat them; gaed to the kirk of a Sunday, bowed civilly if folk took
aff their bannets as they gaed by, and lookit as black as sin at them
that keepit them on_."
 Mrs. Wilson, landlady of the inn at Fushie, one stage from
Edinburgh, - an old dame of some humour, with whom Sir Walter always had
a friendly colloquy in passing. I believe the charm was, that she had
passed her childhood among the Gipsies of the Border. But her fiery
Radicalism latterly was another source of high merriment. - J.G.L.
 The "new hare" was this: "It transpired in the very nick of time,
that a suspicion of usury attached to these Israelites without guile, in
a transaction with Hurst and Robinson, as to one or more of the bills
for which the house of Ballantyne had become responsible. This
suspicion, upon investigation, assumed a shape sufficiently tangible to
justify Ballantyne's trustees in carrying the point before the Court of
Session; but they failed to establish their allegation." - _Life_, vol.
ix. pp. 178-9.
 A favourite domestic at Abbotsford, whose name was never to be
mentioned by any of Scott's family without respect and
gratitude. - _Life_, vol. x. p. 3.
 Lady Jane Stuart's house was No. 12 Maitland Street, opposite
Shandwick Place. Mrs. Skene told Mr. Lockhart that at Sir Walter's first
meeting with his old friend a very painful scene occurred, and she
added - "I think it highly probable that it was on returning from this
call that he committed to writing the verses, _To Time_, by his early
favourite." - _Life_, vol. ix, p. 183.
The lines referred to are given below -
Friend of the wretch oppress'd with grief. Whose lenient hand, though
slow, supplies The balm that lends to care relief, That wipes her
tears - that checks her sighs!
'Tis thine the wounded soul to heal That hopeless bleeds for sorrow's
smart, From stern misfortune's shaft to steal The barb that rankles in
What though with thee the roses fly, And jocund youth's gay reign is
o'er; Though dimm'd the lustre of the eye, And hope's vain dreams
enchant no more.
Yet in thy train come dove-eyed peace, Indifference with her heart of
snow; At her cold couch, lo! sorrows cease, No thorns beneath her roses
O haste to grant thy suppliant's prayer, To me thy torpid calm impart:
Rend from my brow youth's garland fair, But take the thorn that's in my
Ah! why do fabling poets tell That thy fleet wings outstrip the wind?
Why feign thy course of joy the knell, And call thy slowest pace unkind?
To me thy tedious feeble pace Comes laden with the weight of years; With
sighs I view morn's blushing face, And hail mild evening with my tears.
_ - Life,_ vol. i. pp. 334-336.
 Sir William Forbes crowned his generous efforts for Scott's relief
by privately paying the whole of Abud's demand (nearly Â£2000) out of his
own pocket - ranking as an ordinary creditor for the amount; and taking
care at the same time that his old friend should be allowed to believe
that the affair had merged quietly in the general measures of the
trustees. In fact it was not until some time after Sir William's death
(in the following year) that Sir Walter learned what he had
done. - _Life_, vol. ix. p. 179.
 _St. Valentine's Day_ or _Fair Maid of Perth_.
 A Royal Commission, of which Sir Walter was a member, had been
appointed in 1826 to visit the Universities of Scotland. At the
suggestion of Lord Aberdeen, a hundred guinea prize had been offered for
the best essay on the national character of the Athenians. This prize,
which excited great interest among the Edinburgh students, was won by
John Brown Patterson, and ordered to be read before the Commissioners,
and the other public bodies, with the result described by Sir Walter. It
was read on the 17th November before a distinguished audience.
 Sir William Rae's house, in Liberton parish, near Edinburgh.
 From the old song _Andrew and his Cutty Gun_.
 Sir James Gibson-Craig, one of the Whig leaders, and a prominent
advocate of reform at the end of last century.
 Gillespie was tried at Aberdeen before Lord Alloway on September
26, and sentenced to be executed on Friday, 16th November 1827.
 Slightly altered from _Macbeth_, Act II. Sc. 2.
 Lady Elizabeth Montagu, daughter of George Duke of Montagu.
 Saladin's shroud, which was said to have been displayed as a
standard "to admonish the East of the instability of human
greatness." - GIBBON.
 The belief in the existence of the 'Water Cow' is not even yet
extinct in the Highlands. In Mr. J.H. Dixon's book on _Gairloch_, 8vo,
1886, it is said the monster lives or did live in Loch na Beiste! Some
years ago the proprietor, moved by the entreaties of the people, and on
the positive testimony of two elders of the Free Church, that the
creature was hiding in his loch, attempted its destruction by pumping
and running off the water; this plan having failed owing to the
smallness of the pumps, though it was persevered in for two years, he