of work comes.
Before the humour came I had two or three long visits. Drummond Hay, the
antiquary and lyon-herald, came in. I do not know anything which
relieves the mind so much from the sullens as trifling discussion about
_antiquarian old-womanries_. It is like knitting a stocking, diverting
the mind without occupying it; or it is like, by Our Lady, a mill-dam,
which leads one's thoughts gently and imperceptibly out of the channel
in which they are chafing and boiling. To be sure, it is only
conducting them to turn a child's mill; what signifies that? - the
diversion is a relief, though the object is of little importance. I
cannot tell what we talked of; but I remember we concluded with a
lamentation on the unlikelihood that Government would give the Museum
£2000 to purchase the _bronze Apollo_ lately discovered in France,
although the God of Delos stands six feet two in his stocking-soles, and
is perfectly entire, saving that on the right side he wants half a hip,
and the leg from the knee, and that on the left his heel is much
damaged. Colonel Ferguson just come to town - dines with us.
_March_ 10. - I had a world of trumpery to do this morning: cards to
write, and business to transact, visits to make, etc. Received letters
from the youth who is to conduct _The Keepsake_, with blarney on a £200
Bank note. No blarney in that. I must set about doing something for
these worthies. I was obliged to go alone to dine at Mr. Scott Gala's.
Met the Sinclair family. Lady Sinclair told me a singular story of a
decrepit man keeping a lonely toll at a place called the Rowan-tree, on
the frontiers, as I understood, between Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire
[Wigtownshire?]. It was a wild, lonely spot, and was formerly inhabited
by robbers and assassins, who murdered passengers. They were discovered
by a boy whom they had taken into the cottage as a menial. He had seen
things which aroused his attention, and was finally enlightened as to
the trade of his masters by hearing one of them, as he killed a goat,
remark that the cries of the creature resembled those of the last man
they had dealt with. The boy fled from the house, lodged an information,
and the whole household was seized and executed. The present inhabitants
Lady Sinclair described as interesting. The man's feet and legs had been
frost-bitten while herding the cattle, and never recovered the strength
of natural limbs. Yet he had acquired some education, and was a country
schoolmaster for some time, till the distance and loneliness of the spot
prevented pupils from attending. His daughter was a reader, and begged
for some old magazines, newspapers, or any printed book, that she might
enjoy reading. They might have been better had they been allowed to keep
a cow. But if they had been in comfortable circumstances, they would
have had visitors and lodgers, who might have carried guns to destroy
the gentleman's creation, _i.e._ game; and for this risk the wretches
were kept in absolute and abject poverty. I would rather be - himself
than this brutal Earl. The daughter showed Lady Sinclair a well in the
midst of a small bog, of great depth, into which, like Thurtell and
Probert, they used to thrust the bodies of their victims till they had
an opportunity of burying them. Lady Sinclair stooped to taste the
water, but the young woman said, with a strong expression of horror,
"You would not drink it?" Such an impression had the tale, probably two
centuries old, made upon the present inhabitants of this melancholy
spot. The whole legend is curious; I will try to get hold of it.
_March_ 11. - I sent Reynolds a sketch of two Scottish stories for
subjects of art for his _Keepsake_ - the death of the Laird's Jock the
one, the other the adventure of Duncan Stuart with the stag.
Mr. Drummond Hay breakfasted with me - a good fellow, but a considerable
bore. He brought me a beautiful bronze statue of Hercules, about ten
inches or a foot in height, beautifully wrought. He bought it in France
for 70 francs, and refused £300 from Payne Knight. It is certainly a
most beautiful piece of art. The lion's hide which hung over the
shoulders had been of silver, and, to turn it to account, the arm over
which it hung was cut off; otherwise the statue was perfect and
extremely well wrought. Allan Swinton's skull sent back to Archibald
_March_ 12. - The boy got four leaves of copy to-day, and I wrote three
more. Received by Mr. Cadell from Treuttel and Wurtz for articles in
_Foreign Review_ £52, 10s., which is at my credit with him. Poor Gillies
has therefore kept his word so far, but it is enough to have sacrificed
£100 to him already in literary labour, which I make him welcome to. I
cannot spare him more - which, besides, would do him no good.
_March_ 13, [_Abbotsford_]. - I wrote a little in the morning and sent
off some copy. We came off from Edinburgh at ten o'clock, and got to
Abbotsford by four, where everything looks unusually advanced; the birds
singing and the hedges budding, and all other prospects of spring too
premature to be rejoiced in.
I found that, like the foolish virgins, the servants had omitted to get
oil for my lamp, so I was obliged to be idle all the evening. But though
I had a diverting book, the _Tales of the Munster Festivals,_ yet
an evening without writing hung heavy on my hands. The _Tales_ are
admirable. But they have one fault, that the crisis is in more cases
than one protracted after a keen interest has been excited, to explain
and to resume parts of the story which should have been told before.
Scenes of mere amusement are often introduced betwixt the crisis of the
plot and the final catastrophe. This is impolitic. But the scenes and
characters are traced by a firm, bold, and true pencil, and my very
criticism shows that the catastrophe is interesting, - otherwise who
would care for its being interrupted?
_March_ [14 to] 16. - The same record applies to these three days. From
seven to half-past nine writing - from half-past nine to a quarter past
ten a hearty breakfast. From eleven or thereby, to one or two, wrote
again, and from one or two ride, drive, or walk till dinner-time - for
two or three hours - five till seven, dine and rest yourself - seven till
nine, wrote two pages more, from nine to quarter past ten lounge, read
the papers, and then go to bed. If your story is tolerably forward you
may, I think, keep at this rate for twelve days, which would be a
volume. But no brain could hold it out longer. Wrote two additional
leaves in the evening.
_March_ 17. - Sent away copy this morning to J.B. with proofs. I then
wrote all the day till two o'clock, walked round the thicket and by the
water-side, and returning set to work again. So that I have finished
five leaves before dinner, and may discuss two more if I can satisfy
myself with the way of winding up the story. There are always at the end
such a plaguey number of stitches to take up, which usually are never so
well done but they make a botch. I will try if the cigar will inspire
me. Hitherto I have been pretty clear, and I see my way well enough,
only doubt of making others see it with sufficient simplicity. But it is
near five, and I am too hungry to write more.
"Ego nunquam potui scribere jejunus."
_March_ 18. - I was sorely worried by the black dog this morning, that
vile palpitation of the heart - that _tremor cordis_ - that hysterical
passion which forces unbidden sighs and tears, and falls upon a
contented life like a drop of ink on white paper, which is not the less
a stain because it conveys no meaning. I wrought three leaves, however,
and the story goes on. I dined at the Club of the Selkirkshire yeomanry,
"The Eldrich knight gave up his arms
With many a sorrowful sigh."
The dissolution of the Yeomanry was the act of the last ministry. The
present did not alter the measure on account of the expense saved. I am
one of the oldest, if not the very oldest Yeoman in Scotland, and have
seen the rise, progress, and now the fall of this very constitutional
part of the national force. Its efficacy, on occasions of insurrection,
was sufficiently proved in the Radical time. But besides, it kept up a
spirit of harmony between the proprietors of land and the occupiers, and
made them known to and beloved by each other; and it gave to the young
men a sort of military and high-spirited character, which always does
honour to a country. The manufacturers are in great glee on this
occasion. I wish Parliament, as they have turned the Yeoman adrift
somewhat scornfully, may not have occasion to roar them in again.
_March_ 19. - I applied myself again to my labour, my mind flowing in a
less, gloomy current than yesterday. I laboured with little
interruption, excepting a walk as far as Faldonside with the dogs, and
at night I had not finished more than three leaves. But, indeed, it is
pretty fair; I must not work my brains too hard, in case of provoking
the hypochondria which extreme exertion or entire indolence are equally
_March_ 20. - Thomson breakfasted. I left him soon, being desirous to
finish my labours. The volume is finished, all but one fourth or
somewhat shorter; four days should despatch it easily, but I have
letters to write and things are getting into disorder. I took a drive
with my daughter, for exercise, and called at Huntly Burn. This evening
went on with work as usual; there was not above four pages finished, but
my conscience is quiet on my exertions.
_March_ 21. - I received young Whytbank to breakfast, and talked
genealogy, which he understands well; I have not a head for it. I only
value it as interspersed with anecdote. Whytbank's relationship and mine
exists by the Shaws. A younger brother of Shaw of Sauchie, afterwards
Greenock, chief of the name, was minister of the Kirk of Selkirk. My
great-grandfather, John Rutherford, minister of the gospel at Yarrow,
married one of this reverend gentleman's daughters; and John Pringle,
rector of Fogo, great-grandfather of the present Whytbank, married
another. It was Christian Shaw, my grandmother, who possessed the
manuscript respecting the murder of the Shaws by the Master of
Sinclair. She could not, according to the reckoning of that age, be
a distant relation. Whytbank parted, agreeing to return to dinner to
meet the bride and bridegroom. I had little time to write, for Colonel
Russell, my cousin, called between one and two, and he also agreed to
stay dinner; so I had a walk of three hours with him in the plantations.
At dinner we had Mr. and Mrs. Bruce, Mr. Scrope, Mrs. and Dr. Brewster,
Whytbank, Russell, and young Nicol Milne, who will be a pleasant lad if
he had a little polish. I was glad of the society, as I had rather felt
the _besoin de parler_, which was perhaps one cause of my recent dumps.
Scrope and Colonel Russell stayed all night; the rest went home.
_March_ 22. - Had a packet from James - low about the novel; but I had
another from Cadell equally uppish. He proposes for three novels in
eighteen months, which would be £12,600. Well, I like the bookseller's
predictions better than the printer's. Neither are bad judges; but
James, who is the best, is not sensible of historical descriptions, and
likes your novel style out and out.
Cadell's letter also contained a state of cash matters, since much
improved. I will arrange them a day or two hence. I wrote to-day and
took a long walk. The thought more than once passed over me, Why go to
London? I shall but throw away £150 or £200 which were better saved.
Then on the other hand, it is such a gratification to see all the
children that I must be tempted. If I were alone, I could scrub it, but
there's no doing that with Anne.
_March_ 23. - I wrought regularly till one, and then took the wood and
marked out to Tom the places I would have thinned, particularly at the
Carlin's hole, which will require much thinning. I had a letter from
Cadell stating that 3000 _Tales of a Grandfather_ must go to press,
bringing a return to me of £240, the price being £80 per thousand. This
is snug enough, and will prettily cover my London journey, and I really
think ought in fairness to silence my prudential remorse. With my usual
delight in catching an apology for escaping the regular task of the day,
I threw by the novel of St. Valentine's Eve and began to run through and
correct the _Grandfather's Tales_ for the press. If I live to finish
them, they will be a good thing for my younger children. If I work to
the amount of £10,000 a year for the creditors, I think I may gain a few
hundreds for my own family at by-hours.
_March_ 24. - Sent copy and proof to J.B. I continued my revision of
the _Tales of a Grandfather_ till half-past one. Then went to Torwoodlee
to wait on George Pringle and his bride. We did not see the young
people, but the old Laird and Miss Pringle gave us a warm reception, and
seemed very happy on the occasion. We had friends to dinner, Mr. and
Mrs. Theobald, Charles Kerr and his wife, my old acquaintance Magdalen
Hepburn, whose whole [kin] was known to me and mine. I have now seen the
fifth generation of the family in Mrs. Kerr's little girl, who travels
with them. Well - I partly wish we had been alone. Yet it is perhaps
better. We made our day out tolerably well, having the advantage of Mr.
Davidoff and his friend Mr. Collyer to assist us.
_March_ 25. - Mr. and Mrs. Kerr left us, Mr. Davidoff and Mr. Collyer
also. Mr. Davidoff showed himself a good deal affected. I hope well of
this young nobleman, and trust the result will justify my expectations,
but it may be doubted if his happiness be well considered by those who
send a young person, destined to spend his life under a despotic
government, to receive the ideas and opinions of such a people as we
"where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise."
We drove as far as Yair with Mr. and Mrs. Theobald. The lady read after
dinner - and read well.
_March_ 26. - The Theobalds left us, giving me time to work a little. A
walk of two hours diversified my day. I received Cadell's scheme for the
new edition. I fear the trustees will think Cadell's plan expensive in
the execution. Yet he is right; for, to ensure a return of speedy sale,
the new edition should be both handsome and cheap. He proposes size a
Royal 12mo, with a capital engraving to each volume from a design by the
best artists. This infers a monstrous expense, but in the present humour
of the public ensures the sale. The price will be 5s. per volume, and
the whole set, 32 volumes, from _Waverley_ to _Woodstock_ included, will
_March_ 27. - This also was a day of labour, affording only my usual
interval of a walk. Five or six sheets was the result. We now
appropinque an end. My story has unhappily a divided interest; there are
three distinct strands of the rope, and they are not well twisted
together. "Ah, Sirs, a foul fawt," as Captain Tommy says.
_March_ 28. - The days have little to distinguish each other, very
little. The morning study, the noontide walk, all monotonous and
inclined to be melancholy; God help me! But I have not had any nervous
attack. Read _Tales of an Antiquary_, one of the chime of bells
which I have some hand in setting a-ringing. He is really entitled to
the name of an antiquary; but he has too much description in proportion
to the action. There is a capital wardrobe of properties, but the
performers do not act up to their character.
_March_ 29. - Finished volume third this morning. I have let no grass
grow beneath my heels this bout.
Mr. Cadell with J. and A. Ballantyne came to dinner. Mr. and Mrs. George
Pringle, new married, dined with us and old Torwoodlee. Sandy's music
made the evening go sweetly down.
_March_ 30. - A long discourse with Cadell, canvassing his scheme. He
proposes I should go on immediately with the new novel. This will
furnish a fund from which may be supplied the advances necessary for the
new work, which are considerable, and may reach from £4000 to £8000 - the
last sum quite improbable - before it makes returns. Thus we can face the
expenditure necessary to set on foot our great work. I have written to
recommend the plan to John Gibson. This theme renewed from time to time
during the forenoon. Dr. Clarkson dined with us. We smoked and had
whisky and water after.
_March_ 31. - The Ballantynes and Cadell left us in high spirits,
expecting much from the new undertaking, and I believe they are not
wrong. As for me, I became torpid after a great influx of morning
"I grew vapourish and odd,
And would not do the least right thing,
Neither for goddess nor for god -
Nor paint nor jest nor laugh, nor sing."
I was quite reluctant to write letters, or do anything whatsoever, and
yet I should surely write to Sir Cuthbert Sharp and Surtees. We dined
alone. I was main stupid, indeed, and much disposed to sleep, though my
dinner was very moderate.
 Oldham - "Lines addressed to a friend about to leave the
University." - _Poems and Translations_, 8vo. Lond. 1694.
 On the 20th April Moore writes to Scott: "I am delighted you do
not reject my proffered dedication, though between two such names as
yours and Byron's I shall but realise the description in the old couplet
of Wisdom and Wit,
'With folly at full length between.'
However, never mind; in cordial feeling and good fellowship I flatter
myself I am a match for either of you."
 By Mrs. Centlivre.
 See _Life_, vol. viii. p. 257 _n_.
 Miss Graham tells us in her _Mystifications_ (Edin. 1864) that Sir
Walter, on leaving the room, whispered in her ear, "Awa, awa, the Deil's
ower grit wi' you." "To meet her in company," wrote Dr. John Brown half
a century later, when she was still the charm and the delight as well as
the centre of a large circle of friends, "one saw a quiet, unpretending,
sensible, shrewd, kindly little lady; perhaps you would not remark
anything extraordinary in her, but let her _put on the old lady_; it was
as if a warlock spell had passed over her; not merely her look but her
nature was changed: her spirit had passed into the character she
represented; and jest, quick retort, whimsical fancy, the wildest
nonsense flowed from her lips, with a freedom and truth to nature which
appeared to be impossible in her own personality."
With this faculty for satire and imitation, Miss Graham never used it to
give pain. She was as much at home, too, with old Scotch sayings as Sir
Walter himself. For example, speaking of a field of cold, wet land she
said, "It grat a' winter and girned a' simmer," and of herself one
morning at breakfast when she thought she was getting too much attention
from her guests (she was at this time over ninety) she exclaimed, "I'm
like the bride in the old song: -
'Twa were blawing at her nose And three were buckling at her shoon.'"
Miss Graham's friends will never forget the evenings they have spent at
29 Forth Street, Edinburgh, or their visits at Duntrune, where the
venerable lady died in her ninety-sixth year in September 1877.
 Miss Elizabeth Bell, daughter of the Rev. James Bell, minister of
the parish of Coldstream from 1778 to 1794. This lady lived all her life
in her native county, and died at a great age at a house on the Tweed,
named Springhill, in 1876.
 _Ante_, vol. i. p. 253.
 _The Murder Hole_, a story founded on the tradition and under this
name, was printed in _Blackwood's Mag_., vol. xxv. p. 189: 1829.
 Written by Gerald Griffin
 _St. Valentine's Eve_, or _The Fair Maid of Perth_.
 _Coriolanus_, Act VI. Sc. 6.
 _Ante_, p. 40.
 It may have been with this packet that the following admonitory
note was sent to Ballantyne: - "DEAR JAMES, - I return the sheets of
_Tales_ with some waste of _Napoleon_ for ballast. Pray read like a
lynx, for with all your devoted attention things will escape. Imagine
your printing that the Douglases after James II. had dirked the Earl,
trailed the royal safe-conduct at the TAIL of a _serving man_, instead
of the _tail_ of a _starved Mare_. - Yours truly, however, W.S." So
printed in first edition, vol. ii. p. 129, but corrected in the
subsequent editions to "a miserable cart jade."
 Gray's _Ode on Eton_.
 By Richard Thomson, author of _Chronicles of London Bridge_, etc.
He died in 1865.
 Dr. Ebenezer Clarkson, a Surgeon of distinguished merit at Selkirk
and through life a trusty friend and crony of the Sheriffs. - J.G.L.
"In Mr. Gideon Gray, in _The Surgeon's Daughter_, Sir Walter's
neighbours on Tweedside saw a true picture - a portrait from life of
Scott's hard-riding and sagacious old friend to all the country
dear." - _Life_, vol. ix. p. 181.
_April_ 1. - All Fools' day, the only Saint that keeps up some degree of
credit in the world; for fools we are with a vengeance. On this
memorable festival we played the fool with great decorum at Colonel
Ferguson's, going to visit them in a cold morning. In the evening I had
a distressing letter from Mrs. MacBarnet, or some such name, the
daughter of Captain Macpherson, smothered in a great snow storm. They
are very angry at the _Review_ for telling a raw-head and bloody bones
story about him. I have given the right version of the tale willingly,
but this does not satisfy. I almost wish they would turn out a clansman
to be free of the cumber. The vexation of having to do with ladies, who
on such a point must be unreasonable, is very great. With a man it would
be soon ended or mended. It really hurts my sleep.
_April_ 2. - I wrote the lady as civilly as I could, explaining why I
made no further apology, which may do some good. Then a cursed morning
of putting to rights, which drives me well-nigh mad. At two or three I
must go to a funeral - a happy and interesting relief from my employment.
It is a man I am sorry for, who married my old servant, Bell Ormiston.
He was an excellent person in his way, and a capital mason - a great
_April_ 3. - Set off at eight o'clock, and fought forward to Carlisle - a
sad place in my domestic remembrances, since here I married my poor
Charlotte. She is gone, and I am following faster, perhaps, than I wot
of. It is something to have lived and loved; and our poor children are
so hopeful and affectionate, that it chastens the sadness attending the
thoughts of our separation. We slept at Carlisle. I have not forgiven
them for destroying their quiet old walls, and building two lumpy things
like mad-houses. The old gates had such a respectable appearance once,
"When Scotsmen's heads did guard the wall."
Come, I'll write down the whole stanza, which is all that was known to
exist of David Hume's poetry, as it was written on a pane of glass in
the inn: -
"Here chicks in eggs for breakfast sprawl,
Here godless boys God's glories squall,
Here Scotsmen's heads do guard the wall,
But Corby's walks atone for all."
The poetical works of David Hume, Esq., might, as bookmakers know now,
be driven out to a handsome quarto. Line 1st admits of a descant upon
eggs roasted, boiled or poached; 2d, a history of Carlisle Cathedral
with some reasons why the choir there has been proverbially execrable;
3d, the whole history of 1745 with minute memoirs of such as mounted
guard on the Scotch gate. I remember the spikes the heads stood upon;
lastly, a description of Corby Castle with a plan, and the genealogy of
the Howards. Gad, the booksellers would give me £500 for it. I have a
mind to print it for the Bannatynians.
_April_ 4. - In our stage to Penrith I introduced Anne to the ancient
Petreia, called Old Penrith, and also to the grave of Sir Ewain
Cæsarias, that knight with the puzzling name, which has got more
indistinct. We breakfasted at Buchanan's Inn, Penrith, one of the best
on the road, and a fine stanch fellow owned it. He refused passage to
some of the delegates who traversed the country during the Radical row,
and when the worthies threatened him with popular vengeance, answered
gallantly that he had not lived so long by the Crown to desert it at a
pinch. The Crown is the sign of his inn. Slept at Garstang, an
indifferent house. As a petty grievance, my ink-holder broke loose in
the case, and spilt some of the ink on Anne's pelisse. Misfortunes
seldom come single. "'Tis not alone the inky cloak, good daughter," but
I forgot at Garstang my two breastpins; one with Walter and Jane's hair,
another a harp of pure Irish gold, the gift of the ladies of