we went to the Grove, the Earl of Clarendon's country-seat. The house
looks small and of little consequence, but contains many good portraits,
as I was told, of the Hyde family. The park has fine views and
We went to Cashiobury, belonging to the Earl of Essex, an old mansion,
apparently, with a fine park. The Colne runs through the grounds, or
rather creeps through them.
"For the Colne
Is black and swollen,
Snake-like, he winds his way,
Unlike the burns
From Highland urns
That dance by crag and brae."
Borthwick-brae came to dinner from town, and we had a very pleasant
evening. My excellent old friend reminded me of the old and bitter feud
between the Scotts and the Haliburtons, and observed it was curious I
should have united the blood of two hostile clans.
_May_ 28. - We took leave of our kind old host after breakfast, and set
out for our own land. Our elegant researches carried us out of the
high-road and through a labyrinth of intricate lanes, - which seem made
on purpose to afford strangers the full benefit of a dark night and a
drunk driver, - in order to visit Gill's Hill, famous for the murder of
The place has the strongest title to the description of Wordsworth: -
"A merry spot, 'tis said, in days of yore,
But something ails it now - - the place is cursed."
The principal part of the house has been destroyed, and only the kitchen
remains standing. The garden has been dismantled, though a few laurels
and garden shrubs, run wild, continue to mark the spot. The fatal pond
is now only a green swamp, but so near the house that one cannot
conceive how it was ever chosen as a place of temporary concealment of
the murdered body. Indeed the whole history of the murder, and the
scenes which ensued, are strange pictures of desperate and short-sighted
wickedness. The feasting - the singing - the murderer with his hands
still bloody hanging round the neck of one of the females - the
watch-chain of the murdered man, argue the utmost apathy. Even Probert,
the most frightened of the party, fled no further for relief than to the
brandy bottle, and is found in the very lane, and at the spot of the
murder, seeking for the murderous weapon, and exposing himself to the
view of the passengers. Another singular mark of stupid audacity was
their venturing to wear the clothes of their victim. There was a want of
foresight in the whole arrangement of the deed, and the attempts to
conceal it, which argued strange inconsideration, which a professed
robber would not have exhibited. There was just one single shade of
redeeming character about a business so brutal, perpetrated by men above
the very lowest rank of life - it was the mixture of revenge which
afforded some relief to the circumstances of treachery and premeditation
which accompanied it. But Weare was a cheat, and had no doubt pillaged
Thurtell, who therefore deemed he might take greater liberties with him
than with others.
The dirt of the present habitation equalled its wretched desolation, and
a truculent-looking hag, who showed us the place, and received
half-a-crown, looked not unlike the natural inmate of such a mansion.
She indicated as much herself, saying the landlord had dismantled the
place because no respectable person would live there. She seems to live
entirely alone, and fears no ghosts, she says.
One thing about this mysterious tragedy was never explained. It is said
that Weare, as is the habit of such men, always carried about his
person, and between his flannel waistcoat and shirt, a sum of ready
money, equal to £1500 or £2000. No such money was ever recovered, and as
the sum divided by Thurtell among his accomplices was only about £20, he
must, in slang phrase, have _bucketed his pals_.
We came on as far as Alconbury, where we slept comfortably.
_May_ 29. - We travelled from Alconbury Hill to Ferry Bridge, upwards of
a hundred miles, amid all the beauties of "flourish" and verdure which
spring awakens at her first approach in the midland counties of England,
but without any variety save those of the season's making. I do believe
this great north road is the dullest in the world, as well as the most
convenient for the traveller. Nothing seems to me to have been altered
within twenty or thirty years, save the noses of the landlords, which
have bloomed and given place to another set of proboscises as germane us
the old ones to the _very welcome_, - _please to light_ - _'Orses
forward,_ and _ready out_. The skeleton at Barnby Moor has deserted his
gibbet, and that is the only change I recollect.
I have amused myself to-day with reading Lockhart's _Life of Burns_,
which is very well written - in fact, an admirable thing. He has
judiciously slurred over his vices and follies; for although Currie, I
myself, and others, have not said a word more on that subject than is
true, yet as the dead corpse is straightened, swathed, and made decent,
so ought the character of such an inimitable genius as Burns to be
tenderly handled after death. The knowledge of his vicious weaknesses or
vices is only a subject of sorrow to the well-disposed, and of triumph
to the profligate.
_May_ 30. - We left Ferry Bridge at seven, and turning westwards, or
rather northwestward, at Borough Bridge, we roach Rokeby at past three.
A mile from the house we met Morritt looking for us. I had great
pleasure at finding myself at Rokeby, and recollecting a hundred
passages of past time. Morritt looks well and easy in his mind, which I
am delighted to see. He is now one of my oldest, and, I believe, one of
my most sincere, friends, a man unequalled in the mixture of sound good
sense, high literary cultivation, and the kindest and sweetest temper
that ever graced a human bosom. His nieces are much attached to him,
and are deserving and elegant, as well as beautiful young women. What
there is in our partiality to female beauty that commands a species of
temperate homage from the aged, as well as ecstatic admiration from the
young, I cannot conceive, but it is certain that a very large proportion
of some other amiable quality is too little to counterbalance the
absolute want of this advantage. I, to whom beauty is and shall
henceforth be a picture, still look upon it with the quiet devotion of
an old worshipper, who no longer offers incense on the shrine, but
peaceably presents his inch of taper, taking special care in doing so
not to burn his own fingers. Nothing in life can be more ludicrous or
contemptible than an old man aping the passions of his youth.
Talking of youth, there was a certain professor at Cambridge who used to
keep sketches of all the youths who, from their conduct at college,
seemed to bid fair for distinction in life. He showed them, one day, to
an old shrewd sarcastic Master of Arts, who looked over the collection,
and then observed, "A promising nest of eggs; what a pity the great part
will turn out addle!" And so they do; looking round amongst the young
men, one sees to all appearance fine flourish - but it ripens not.
_May_ 31. - I have finished Napier's _War in the Peninsula_. It is
written in the spirit of a Liberal, but the narrative is distinct and
clear, and I should suppose accurate. He has, however, given a bad
sample of accuracy in the case of Lord Strangford, where his pointed
affirmation has been as pointedly repelled. It is evident he would
require probing. His defence of Moore is spirited and well argued,
though it is evident he defends the statesman as much as the general. As
a Liberal and a military man, Colonel Napier finds it difficult to steer
his course. The former character calls on him to plead for the
insurgent Spaniards; the latter induces him to palliate the cruelties of
the French. Good-even to him until next volume, which I shall long to
see. This was a day of pleasure and nothing else. After breakfast I
walked with Morritt in the new path he has made up the Tees. When last
here, his poor nephew was of the party. It hangs on my mind, and perhaps
on Morritt's. When we returned we took a short drive as far as Barnard
Castle; and the business of eating and drinking took up the remainder of
the evening, excepting a dip into the Greta Walk.
 See _ante_, vol. i. p. 14. Lady Francis Leveson Gower was the
eldest daughter of Charles Greville.
 Mr. Lockhart writes: - "Among other songs Mrs. Arkwright delighted
Sir Walter with her own set of -
'Farewell! farewell! the voice you hear Has left its last soft tone with
you; Its next must join the seaward cheer, And shout among the shouting
He was sitting by me, at some distance from the lady, and whispered, as
she closed, 'Capital words - whose are they? Byron's, I suppose, but I
don't remember them.' He was astonished when I told him they were his
own in _The Pirate_. He seemed pleased at the moment, but said next
minute, 'You have distressed me - if memory goes, all is up with me, for
that was always my strong point.'" - _Life_, vol. ix. p. 236.
 Milton's _L'Allegro,_ ver. 137, 294.
 Afterwards second Earl Powis.
 Regarding the Chancery business, see _infra_, p. 191, _n_.
 Sir Walter had shortly before been one of the contributors to a
subscription for Mr. Haydon. The imprisonment from which the
subscription released the artist produced, I need scarcely say, the
picture mentioned in the Diary. - J.G.L. Haydon died in June 1846. See
his _Life_, 3 vols., 1853, edited by Tom Taylor.
 The Duke of Wellington, in after years, said to Lord Mahon, "He
had observed on several occasions that Sir Walter was talked down by
Croker and Bankes! who forgot that we might have them every
day." - _Notes_, p. 100.
 _Romeo and Juliet_, Act III. Sc. 1.
 Sir W. Knighton, as a Devonshire man, naturally wished to have the
portrait painted by Northcote, who was a brother Devonian. Cunningham
said of tins picture that the conception was good, and reality given by
the introduction of the painter, palette in hand, putting the finishing
touch to the head of the poet. "The likenesses were considered
good." - _Cunningham's Lives_, vol. vi. p. 124. It was exhibited in 1871
in Edinburgh; its size is 4 ft. 2 in. x 3 ft. 2 in. Mr. David Laing,
differing from Allan Cunningham, considered that the picture presented
"anything but a fortunate likeness." Northcote died July 13th, 1831, in
his eighty-fifth year.
 Act III. Sc. 2.
 John Fuller, long M.P. for Surrey, an eccentric character, and
looked upon as standing jester to the House of Commons. Scott first met
him in Chantrey's studio in 1820. - See _Life_, vol. vi. pp. 206, 207. He
died in his 77th year, in 1831, without apparently having carried out
his intention of editing Foote.
 A process in English copyhold law.
 Hazlitt said of Northcote, that talking with him was like
conversing with the dead: "You see a little old man, pale and fragile,
with eyes gleaming like the lights hung in tombs. He seems little better
than a ghost, and hangs wavering and trembling on the very verge of
life; you would think a breath would blow him away, and yet what fine
things he says!" - _Conversations_.
 Born 1752, died 1832; Master of the Rolls from 1801 to 1817.
 The _Magnum Opus_ was dedicated to George IV. - J.G.L.
 Whose son afterwards married Dora, Wordsworth's daughter.
 At the last sitting Northcote remarked, "You have often sat for
"Yes," said Sir Walter; "my dog Maida and I have sat frequently - so
often that Maida, who had little philosophy, conceived such a dislike to
painters, that whenever he saw a man take out a pencil and paper, and
look at him, he set up a howl, and ran off to the Eildon Hill. His
unfortunate master, however well he can howl, was never able to run
much; he was therefore obliged to abide the event. Yes, I have
frequently sat for my picture." - Cunningham's _Painters_, vol. vi. pp.
 See _ante_, May 1st, p. 170, note.
 Mr. Ellis, afterwards created Baron Dover, was the author of
_Historical Inquiries into the Character of Lord Clarendon_. 8vo, Lond.,
 Sir F. Chantrey was at this time executing his _second_ bust of
Sir Walter - that ordered by Sir Robert Peel, and which is now at
Drayton. - J.G.L.
 Lady Shelley of Maresfield Park. Mr. Lockhart says the young lady
was Miss Shelley, who became in 1834 the Hon. Mrs. George Edgcumbe.
 Scott had dined at Holland House in 1806, but in consequence of
some remarks by Lord Holland in the House of Lords in 1810, on Thomas
Scott's affairs, there had apparently been no renewal of the
acquaintanceship until now.
 See _Miscellaneous Prose Works_, vol. iv. p. 20.
 David Hinves, Mr. W. Stewart Rose's faithful and affectionate
attendant, furnished Scott with some hints for his picture of Davie
Gellatly in _Waverley_.
Mr. Lockhart tells us that Hinves was more than forty years in Mr.
Rose's service; he had been a bookbinder by trade and a preacher among
"A sermon heard casually under a tree in the New Forest contained such
touches of good feeling and broad humour that Rose promoted the preacher
to be his valet on the spot. He was treated more like a friend than a
servant by his master and by all his master's intimate friends. Scott
presented him with all his works; and Coleridge gave him a corrected (or
rather an altered) copy of _Christabel_ with this inscription on the
fly-leaf: 'Dear Hinves, - Till this book is concluded, and with it
_Gundimore_, a poem by the same "author," accept of this _corrected_
copy of _Christabel_ as a _small_ token of regard; yet such a
testimonial as I would not pay to any one I did not esteem, though he
were an emperor.
"'Be assured I will send you for your private library every work I have
published (if there be any to be had) and whatever I shall publish. Keep
steady to the FAITH. If the fountainhead be always full, the stream
cannot be long empty. - Yours sincerely, S.T. COLERIDGE.
"'11 _November_ 1816, _Mudford.'" - Life,_ vol. iv. pp. 397-8.
Hinves died in Mr. Rose's service _circa_ 1838, and his master followed
him on the 30th April 1843, a few weeks after his friend Morritt.
 An analysis of these letters was published by Mr. Lockhart in the
_Life_, vol. vi. pp. 346-386.
 Created Earl of Leicester in 1837.
 It is worth noting that Sir Walter first wrote "grasp" - and then
deleted the word in favour of the technical term - "fathom."
 W. Withers had just published a _Letter to Sir Walter Scott
exposing certain fundamental errors in his late Essay on
Planting_, - Holt: Norfolk, 1828.
 A deep pool in the Tweed, in which Scott had had a singular
nocturnal adventure while "burning the water" in company with Hogg and
Laidlaw. Hogg records that the crazy coble went to the bottom while
Scott was shouting -
"An' gin the boat were bottomless, An' seven miles to row."
The scene was not forgotten when he came to write the twenty-sixth
chapter of _Guy Mannering_.
 This refers to the splendid edition of Walton and Cotton, edited
by Nicolas, and illustrated by Stothard and Inskipp, published in 1836
after nearly ten years' preparation, in two vols. large 8vo.
 Sir William Scott, Lord Stowell, died 28th January 1836, aged
 Moore writes: "On our arrival at Hampton (where we found the
Wordsworths), walked about, - the whole party in the gay walk where the
band plays, to the infinite delight of the Hampton _blues_, who were all
_eyes_ after Scott. The other scribblers not coming in for a glance. The
dinner odd; but being near Scott I found it agreeable, and was delighted
to see him so happy, with his tall son, the Major," etc. etc, - _Diary_,
vol. v. p. 287.
 The author of _Evelina_ died at Bath in 1840, at the age of
eighty-eight. Subsequent to this meeting with Scott she published
memoirs of her father, Dr. Burney (in 1832). It is stated that for her
novel _Camilla_, published in 1796, she received a subscription of 3000
guineas, and for the _Wanderer_, in 1814, £1500 for the copyright. This
was the year in which _Waverley_ appeared, for the copyright of which
Constable did not see his way to offer more than £700.
 This item refers to money which had belonged to Lady Scott's
 It contains half of Chancellor Clarendon's famous collection - the
other half is at Bothwell Castle.
 William Elliot Lockhart of Cleghorn and Borthwick-brae, long M.P.
 Weare, Thurtell, and the rest were professed gamblers. See _ante_,
July 10, 1826, and _Life_, vol. viii. p. 381.
 The first volume had just been published in 1828. The book was
completed in 6 vols. in 1840.
_June_ 1. - We took leave of our friends at Rokeby after breakfast, and
pursued our well-known path over Stanmore to Brough, Appleby, Penrith,
and Carlisle. As I have this road by heart, I have little amusement save
the melancholy task of recalling the sensations with which I have traced
it in former times, all of which refer to decay of animal strength, and
abatement if not of mental powers, at least of mental energy. The _non
est tanti_ grows fast at my time of life. We reached Carlisle at seven
o'clock, and were housed for the night. My books being exhausted, I
lighted on an odd volume of the _Gentleman's Magazine_, a work in which,
as in a pawnbroker's shop, much of real curiosity and value are stowed
away and concealed amid the frippery and trumpery of those reverend old
gentlewomen who were the regular correspondents of the work.
_June_ 2. - We intended to walk to the Castle, but were baffled by rainy
weather. I was obliged to wait for a certificate from the parish
register - _Hei mihi_!! I cannot have it till ten o'clock, or rather, as
it chanced, till past eleven, when I got the paper for which I
waited. We lunched at Hawick, and concluded our pilgrimage at
Abbotsford about nine at night, where the joyful barking of the dogs,
with the sight of the kind familiar faces of our domestics, gave us
welcome, and I enjoyed a sound repose on my own bed. I remark that in
this journey I have never once experienced depression of spirits, or the
_tremor cordis_ of which I have sometimes such unpleasant visits.
Dissipation, and a succession of trifling engagements, prevent the mind
from throwing itself out in the manner calculated to exhaust the owner,
and to entertain other people. There is a lesson in this.
_June_ 3, [_Abbotsford_]. - This was a very idle day. I waked to walk
about my beautiful young woods with old Tom and the dogs. The sun shone
bright, and the wind fanned my cheek as if it were a welcoming. I did
not do the least right thing, except packing a few books necessary for
writing the continuation of the Tales. In this merry mood I wandered as
far as Huntly Burn, where I found the Miss Fergusons well and happy;
then I sauntered back to Abbotsford, sitting on every bench by the way,
"It grew to dinner in conclusion."
A good appetite made my simple meal relish better than the magnificent
cheer which I have lately partaken of. I smoked a cigar, slept away an
hour, and read Mure of Auchendrane's trial, and thus ended the day. I
cannot afford to spend many such, nor would they seem so pleasant.
_June_ 4, [_Edinburgh_]. - The former part of this day was employed much
as yesterday, but some packing was inevitable. Will Laidlaw came to
dinner, of which we partook at three o'clock. Started at half-past four,
and arrived at home, if we must call it so, at nine o'clock in the
evening. I employed my leisure in the chaise to peruse Mure of
Auchendrane's trial, out of which something might be coopered up for
the public. It is one of the wildest stories I ever read. Something
might surely be twisted out of it.
_June_ 5. - Cadell breakfasted; in great spirits with the success of the
_Fair Maid of Perth_. A disappointment being always to be apprehended, I
too am greatly pleased that the evil day is adjourned, for the time must
come - and yet I can spin a tough yarn still with any one now going.
I was much distressed to find that the last of the Macdonald Buchanans,
a fine lad of about twenty-one, is now decidedly infected by the same
pulmonary complaint which carried off his four brothers in succession.
This is indeed a cruel stroke, and it is melancholy to witness the
undaunted Highland courage of the father.
I went to Court, and when I returned did some work upon the Tales.
"And now again, boys, to the oar."
_June_ 6. - I have determined to work sans intermission for lost time,
and to make up at least my task every day. J. Gibson called on me with
good hopes that the trustees will authorise the _grand opus_ to be set
afloat. They are scrupulous a little about the expense of
engravings, but I fear the taste of the town will not be satisfied
without them. It is time these things were settled. I wrought both
before and after dinner, and finished five pages, which is two above
_June_ 7. - Saturday was another working day, and nothing occurred to
_June_ 8. - I finished five sheets this day. Will Clerk and Francis Scott
of Harden came to dinner, and we spent a pleasant evening.
_June_ 9. - I laboured till about one, and was then obliged to go to
attend a meeting of the Oil Gas Company, - as I devoutly hope for the
After that I was obliged to go to sit to Colvin Smith, which is an
atrocious bore, but cannot be helped.
Cadell rendered me report of accounts paid for me with vouchers, which
very nearly puts me out of all shop debts. God grant me grace to keep
_June_ 10-14. - During these five days almost nothing occurred to
diversify the ordinary task of the day, which, I must own, was dull
enough. I rose to my task by seven, and, less or more, wrought it out in
the course of the day, far exceeding the ordinary average of three
leaves per day. I have attended the Parliament House with the most
strict regularity, and returned to dine alone with Anne. Also, I gave
three sittings to Mr. Colvin Smith, who I think has improved since I saw
Of important intelligence nothing occurs save the termination of all
suspense on the subject of poor James Macdonald Buchanan. He died at
Malta. The celebrated Dugald Stewart is also dead, famous for his
intimate acquaintance with the history and philosophy of the human mind.
There is much of water-painting in all metaphysics, which consist rather
of words than ideas. But Stewart was most impressive and eloquent. In
former days I was frequently with him, but not for many years. Latterly,
I am told, he had lost not the power of thinking, but the power of
expressing his thoughts by speech. This is like the Metamorphosis of
Ovid, the bark binding in and hardening the living flesh.
_June_ 15. - W. Clerk, Francis Scott, and Charles Sharpe dined with me,
but my task had been concluded before dinner.
_June_ 16. - Dined at Dalmahoy, with the young Earl and Countess of
Morton. I like these young noble folks particularly well. Their manners
and style of living are easy and unaffected, and I should like to see
them often. Came home at night. The task finished to-day. I should
mention that the plan about the new edition of the novels was considered
at a meeting of trustees, and finally approved of. I trust it will
answer; yet, who can warrant the continuance of popularity? Old
Corri, who entered into many projects, and could never set the
sails of a wind-mill so as to catch the _aura popularis_, used to say
that he believed that were he to turn baker, it would put bread out of
fashion. I have had the better luck to dress my sails to every wind; and
so blow on, good wind, and spin round, whirligig.
_June_ 17. - Violent rheumatic headache all day. Wrought, however. But
what difference this troublesome addition may make on the quality of the
stuff produced, truly I do not know. I finished five leaves.
_June_ 18. - Some Italian gentlemen landed here, under the conveyance of
the Misses Haig of Bemerside. They were gentlemanlike men; but as I did
not dare to speak bad French, I had not much to say to foreigners. Gave
them and their pretty guides a good breakfast, however. The scene seemed
to me to resemble Sheridan's scene in the _Critic_. There are a
number of very civil gentlemen trying to make themselves understood, and
I do not know which is the interpreter. After all, it is not my fault.
They who wish to see me should be able to speak my language. I called on