Mrs. Stewart Mackenzie. She received me with all the kindness of former
days, and I was delighted to see her. I sat about an hour with her. My
head aches, for all that, and I have heavy fits of drowsiness. Well, I
have finished my task, and have a right to sleep if I have a mind.
I dine to-day with Lord Mackenzie, where I hope to meet Mrs. Stewart
Mackenzie again, for I love her warm heart and lively fancy. Accordingly
I enjoyed this pleasure.
_June_ 19. - Scribbled away lustily. Went to the P.H. Wrote when I came
home, both before and after dinner - that's all, I think. I am become a
sort of writing automaton, and truly the joints of my knees, especially
the left, are so stiff and painful in rising and sitting down, that I
can hardly help screaming - I that was so robust and active; I get into a
carriage with great difficulty. My head, too, is bothered with rheumatic
headaches. Why not? I got headaches by my folly when I was young, and
now I am old they come uncalled. Infirmity gives what indiscretion
_June_ 20. - My course is still the same. But I have a painful letter
from Lockhart, which takes away the last hope of poor Johnnie's
recovery. It is no surprise to me. The poor child, so amiable in its
disposition, and so promising from its talents, was not formed to be
long with us, and I have long expected that it must needs come to this.
I hope I shall not outlive my children in other cases, and I think there
is little chance of it. My father did not long survive the threescore
and ten; it will be wonderful if I reach that goal of ordinary
mortality. God send it may find me prepared; and, whatever I may have
been formerly, high spirits are not now like to carry me away.
_June_, 21. - At Court, and called on Ballantyne on my return. I was
obliged to go to the Register Office at one, where I waited nearly an
hour without meeting my brethren. But I wrote a letter to Lockhart in
the meantime. My niece Ann arrived, to my great satisfaction. I am glad
that Anne, my daughter, has such a sensible and clever companion. Dined
at Baron Hume's.
_June_ 22. - Wrought. Had a note from Ballantyne complaining of my
manuscript, and requesting me to read it over. I would give Â£1000 if I
could; but it would take me longer to read than to write. I cannot trace
my _pieds de mouche_ but with great labour and trouble; so e'en take
your own share of the burden, my old friend; and, since I cannot read,
be thankful I can write. I will look at his proof, however, and then be
quiet and idle for the rest of the evening. I am come to Charles the
First's trial, and though I have it by heart, I must refresh myself with
a reading of Clarendon. Charles Sharpe and Francis Scott came in the
_June_ 23. - This morning the two Annes and I went to Sir Robert Liston
at Milburn Tower - a beautiful retreat. The travels of the venerable
diplomatist are indicated by the various articles of curiosity which he
has picked up in different corners of the world, and put together with
much taste. The conservatory and gardens are very fine, and contain, I
suppose, very curious plants; - I am sure, hard names enough. But then
the little Gothic tower, embowered amid trees and bushes, surrounded by
these pleasant gardens, offering many a sunny walk for winter, many a
shade for summer, are inexpressibly pleasing. The good old knight and
his lady are worthy of it, for they enjoy it. The artificial piece of
water is a failure, like most things of the kind. The offices, without
being on an extravagant scale, are most substantial; the piggery, in
particular, is quite a palace, and the animals clean and comfortable. I
think I have caught from them a fit of piggish obstinacy. I came at one,
and cannot prevail upon myself to go to work. I answer the calls of
duty as Caliban does those of Prospero, "There's wood enough within." To
be sure, I have not got the Clarendon.
_June_ 24. - It was my father's own son, as John Hielandman said, who did
little both yesterday and to-day - I mean little in the way of literary
work, for, as to positive work, I have been writing letters about
Chancery business till I am sick of it. There was a long _hearing_, and
while Jeffrey exerted his eloquence in the Inner House, I plied my
eloquence _de billet_ in the Library. So, on the whole, I am no bad boy.
Besides, the day is not yet over.
_June_ 25. - I was surprised to hear that our Academy Rector, Williams,
has renounced the chair of Roman learning in the new London University.
His alarm was excited by the interest taken by the prelates in opposing
a High Church institution to that desired by Mr. Brougham. Both the
Bishops and Williams have been unwise. The former have manoeuvred ill.
They should, in the outset, have taken the establishment out of the
hands of the Whigs, without suffering them to reinforce themselves by
support from [others]. And Williams was equally precipitate in joining
an institution which a small degree of foresight might have assured him
would be opposed by his spiritual superiors. However, there he stands,
deprived of his professorship by his resignation, and of his rectorship
by our having engaged with a successor. I think it very doubtful whether
the Bishops will now [admit] him into their alliance. He has in that
case offended both parties. But if they are wise, they will be glad to
pick up the best schoolmaster in Europe, though he comes for the present
_GraiÃ¢ ex urbe_. I accomplished more than my task to-day.
_June_, 26. - Wrote a long letter to Lockhart about Williams' situation,
saying how, by sitting betwixt two stools, he
" - - - Had fallen with heavy thump
Upon his reverential rump,"
and how the Bishops should pick him up if they wanted their
establishment to succeed. It is an awkward position in which Williams
has placed himself. He loses the Whig chair, and has perhaps no chance
of favour from the High Church for having been willing to accept it.
Even if they now give him promotion, there will be a great outcry on his
having left one institution to join another. He would be thick-skinned
if he stands the clamour. Yet he has to all appearance rather sacrificed
than advanced his interest. However, I say again, the Bishops ought not
to omit securing him.
Mr. Macintosh Mackay breakfasted with me, modest, intelligent, and
gentle. I did my duty and more in the course of the day.
I am vexed about Mackay missing the church of Cupar in Angus. It is in
the Crown's gift, and Peel, finding that two parties in the town
recommended two opposite candidates, very wisely chose to disappoint
them both, and was desirous of bestowing the presentation on public
grounds. I heard of this, and applied to Mr. Peel for Macintosh Mackay,
whose quiet patience and learning are accompanied by a most excellent
character as a preacher and a clergyman, but unhappily Mr. Peel had
previously put himself into the hands of Sir George Murray, who applied
to Sir Peter his brother, who naturally applied to certain leaders of
the Church at Edinburgh, and these reverend gentlemen have recommended
that the church which the minister desired to fill up on public grounds
should be bestowed on a boy, the nephew of one of their number, of
whom the best that can be said is that nothing is known, since he has
only been a few months in orders. This comes of kith, kin, and ally, but
Peel shall know of it, and may perhaps judge for himself another time.
_June_ 27. - I came out after Court to Blair Adam, with our excellent
friend the Rev. John Thomson of Duddingston, so modest and so
accomplished; - delightful drive and passage at the ferry. We found at
Blair Adam the C.C. and family, Admiral Adam and lady, James Thomson of
Charlton, and Miss T., Will Clerk, and last, not least, Lord Chief Baron
Shepherd - all in high spirits for our excursions.
Thomson described to me a fine dungeon in the old tower at Cassillis in
Ayrshire. There is an outer and inner vaulted [chamber], each secured
with iron doors. At the upper end of the innermost are two great stones
or blocks to which the staples and chains used in securing the prisoners
are still attached. Between these stone seats is an opening like the
mouth of a still deeper dungeon. The entrance descends like the mouth of
a draw-well or shaft of a mine, and deep below is heard the sullen roar
of the river Doon, one branch of which, passing through the bottom of
the shaft, has probably swept away the body of many a captive, whose
body after death may have been thus summarily disposed of. I may find
use for such a place - Story of [_Kittleclarkie_?]
_June_ 28. - Off we go to Castle Campbell after breakfast, _i.e._ Will
Clerk, Admiral Adam, J. Thomson, and myself. Tremendous hot is the day,
and the steep ascent of the Castle, which rises for two miles up a
rugged and broken path, was fatiguing enough, yet not so much so as the
streets in London. Castle Campbell is unaltered; the window, of which
the disjointed stone projects at an angle from the wall, and seems at
the point of falling, has still found power to resist the laws of
gravitation. Whoever built that tottering piece of masonry has been long
in a forgotten grave, and yet what he has made seems to survive in spite
of nature itself. The curious cleft called Kemp's Score, which gave the
garrison access to the water in case of siege, is obviously natural,
but had been improved by steps, now choked up. A girl who came with us
recollected she had shown me the way down to the bottom of this terrible
gulf seven years ago. I am not able for it now.
"Wont to do's awa frae me,
Frae silly auld John Ochiltree."
_June_ 29. - Being Sunday we kept about the doors, and after two took the
drosky and drove over the hill and round by the Kiery Craigs. I should
have said Williams came out in the morning to ask my advice about
staying another year in Edinburgh. I advised him if possible to gain a
few days' time till I should hear from Lockhart. He has made a pretty
mess for himself, but if the Bishops are wise, they may profit by it.
The sound, practical advice of Williams at the first concoction would be
of the last consequence. I suspect their systems of eating-houses are
the most objectionable part of the college discipline. When their
attentions are to be given to the departments of the cook and the
butler, all zeal in the nobler paths of education is apt to decay.
Well, to return to the woods. I think, notwithstanding Lord Chief
Commissioner's assiduity, they are in some places too thick. I saw a
fine larch, felled seventy-two years old, value about five pounds.
Hereditary descent in the Highlands. A clergyman showed J.T. the island
of Inch Mahome in the Port of Monteith, and pointed out the boatman as a
remarkable person, the representative of the hereditary gardeners of the
Earls of Monteith, while these Earls existed. His son, a priggish boy,
follows up the theme - "Feyther, when Donald MacCorkindale dees will not
the family be extinct?" Father - "No; I believe there is a man in
Balquhidder who takes up the _succession_."
_June_ 30. - We made our pleasant excursion to-day round the hill of
Bennarty _par terre_, and returned _par mer_. Our route by land led us
past Lochore, where we made a pause for a few moments. Then proceeded to
Ballingray or Bingray, and so by Kirkness, where late ravages are
supplied by the force of vegetation down to the shores of Lochleven. We
embarked and went upon Saint Serf's Island, supposed to have been
anciently a cell of the Culdees. An old pinfold, or rather a modern
pinfold, constructed out of the ancient chapel, is all that attests its
former sanctity. We landed on Queen Mary's Island, a miserable scene,
considering the purpose for which the Castle was appointed. And yet the
captivity and surrender of the Percy was even a worse tale, since it was
an eternal blight on the name of Douglas. Well, we got to Blair Adam in
due time, and our fine company began to separate, Lord Chief Baron going
off after dinner. We had wine and wassail, and John Thomson's delightful
flute to help us through the evening.
Thus end the delectations of the Blair Adam Club for this year. Mrs.
Thomson of Charlton talks of Beaton's House, and other Fife wonders for
the next year, but who knows what one year may bring forth? Our Club has
been hitherto fortunate. It has subsisted twelve years.
 About this time Miss Anne Scott wrote to Mrs. Lockhart: "Early in
the morning, before we started, papa took me with him to the Cathedral.
This he had done often before; but he said he must stand once more on
the spot where he married poor mamma. After that we went to the Castle,
where a new showman went through the old trick of pointing out Fergus
MacIvor's _very_ dungeon. Peveril said, 'Indeed, are you quite sure,
sir?' And on being told there could be no doubt, was troubled with a fit
of coughing, which ended in a laugh. The man seemed exceeding indignant;
so, when papa moved on, I whispered who it was. I wish you had seen the
man's start, and how he stared and bowed as he parted from us; and then
rammed his keys into his pocket and went off at a hand-gallop to warn
the rest of the garrison. But the carriage was ready, and we escaped a
row." - _Life_, vol. ix. pp. 256-7.
 See _The Doom of Devorgoil: A Melo-Drama. Auchendrane: or the
Ayrshire Tragedy_. Published by Cadell in 8vo. 1830.
 Referring to the uniform edition of the Waverley Novels in 48
vols., which began to be issued in June 1829. The great cost of the
publication naturally caused the Trustees much anxiety at this period.
 _Ante_, p. 120, February 2d.
 Natali Corri, born in Italy, but settled in Edinburgh, where,
among other schemes, he tried to set up an Italian opera. In conjunction
with a brother he published several musical works. He died at Trieste in
 See Act II. Sc. 2. The Italian family's morning call.
"And thou, gentle Dame, who must bear to thy grief For thy clan and thy
country the cares of a Chief, Whom brief rolling moons, in six changes
have left Of thy husband, and father, and brethren bereft; To thine ear
of affection how sad is the hail That salutes thee, the heir of the line
of Kintail." _Poetical Works_, vol. viii. p. 394.
Mary, daughter of Francis, Lord Seaforth, was born in Ross-shire in
1784, married, at Barbadoes in 1804, Sir Samuel Hood, and left a widow
in 1814. She married again, in 1817, Mr. J.A. Stewart, who assumed the
name of Mackenzie. Mrs. Stewart Mackenzie died at Brahan Castle in 1862;
her funeral was one of the largest ever witnessed in the North.
 Patrick James Stevenson was licensed in 1825, and ordained in
1828. - Scott's _Fasti_, vol. vi. p. 746.
 Ramsay's _Tea-table Miscellany_ (1795), vol. i. p. 125.
"Up in the morning's no for me."
Yet here I am up at five - no horses come from the North Ferry yet.
"O Mr. Mitchell, Mr. Mitchell,
Your promises and time keep stitch ill."
_July_ I, _[Edinburgh]._ - Got home, however, by nine, and went to the
Parliament House, where we were detained till four o'clock. Miss - - -
dined with us, a professed lion-huntress, who travels the country to
rouse the peaceful beasts out of their lair, and insists on being hand
and glove with all the leonine race. She is very plain, besides
frightfully red-haired, and out-Lydia-ing even my poor friend Lydia
White. An awful visitation! I think I see her with javelin raised and
buskined foot, a second Diana, roaming the hills of Westmoreland in
quest of the lakers. Would to God she were there or anywhere but here!
Affectation is a painful thing to witness, and this poor woman has the
bad taste to think direct flattery is the way to make her advances to
friendship and intimacy.
_July_ 2. - I believe I was cross yesterday. I am at any rate very ill
to-day with a rheumatic headache, and a still more vile hypochondriacal
affection, which fills my head with pain, my heart with sadness, and my
eyes with tears. I do not wonder at the awful feelings which visited men
less educated and less firm than I may call myself. It is a most
hang-dog cast of feeling, but it may be chased away by study or by
exercise. The last I have always found most successful, but the first is
most convenient. I wrought therefore, and endured all this forenoon,
being a Teind Wednesday. I am now in such a state that I would hardly be
surprised at the worst news which could be brought to me. And all this
without any rational cause why to-day should be sadder than yesterday.
Two things to lighten my spirits - First, Cadell comes to assure me that
the stock of 12mo novels is diminished from 3800, which was the quantity
in the publishers' hands in March 1827, to 600 or 700. This argues
gallant room for the publication of the New Series. Second, said Cadell
is setting off straight for London to set affairs a-going. If I have
success in this, it will greatly assist in extricating my affairs.
My aches of the heart terminated in a cruel aching of the
head - rheumatic, I suppose. But Sir Adam and Clerk came to dinner, and
laughed and talked the sense of pain and oppression away. We cannot at
times work ourselves into a gay humour, any more than we can tickle
ourselves into a fit of laughter; foreign agency is necessary. My
huntress of lions again dined with us. I have subscribed to her Album,
and done what was civil.
_July_ 3. - Corrected proofs in the morning, and wrote a little. I was
forced to crop vol. i. as thirty pages too long; there is the less to
write behind. We were kept late at the Court, and when I came out I
bethought me, like Christian in the Castle of Giant Despair, "Wherefore
should I walk along the broiling and stifling streets when I have a
little key in my bosom which can open any lock in Princes Street Walks,
and be thus on the Castle banks, rocks, and trees in a few minutes?" I
made use of my key accordingly, and walked from the Castle Hill down to
Wallace's Tower, and thence to the west end of Princes Street,
through a scene of grandeur and beauty perhaps unequalled, whether the
foreground or distant view is considered - all down hill, too. Foolish
never to think of this before. I chatted with the girls a good while
after dinner, but wrote a trifle when we had tea.
_July_ 4. - The two Annes set off to Abbotsford, though the weather was
somewhat lowering for an open carriage, but the day cleared up finely.
Hamilton is unwell, so we had a long hearing of his on our hands. It was
four ere I got home, but I had taken my newly discovered path by rock,
bush, and ruin. I question if Europe has such another path. We owe this
to the taste of James Skene. But I must dress to go to Dr. Hope's, who
makes _chÃ¨re exquise_, and does not understand being kept late.
_July_ 5. - Saturday, corrected proofs and wrought hard. Went out to
dinner at Oxenfoord Castle, and returned in the company of Lord Alloway,
Chief Baron, Clerk, etc., and Mr. Bouverie, the English Commissioner.
_July_ 6. - A day of hard work. The second volume is now well
advanced - wellnigh one half. Dined alone, and pursued my course after
dinner. Seven pages were finished. Solitude's a fine thing for work, but
then you must lie by like a spider, till you collect materials to
continue your web. Began Simond's Switzerland - clever and intelligent,
but rather conceited, as the manner of an American Frenchman. I hope to
knock something out of him though.
_July_ 7. - Williams seems in uncertainty again, and I can't guess what
he will be at. Surely it is a misery to be so indecisive; he will
certainly gain the ill word of both parties and might have had the good
word of all; and, indeed, deserves it. We received his resignation
to-day, but if the King's College are disposed to thrive, they will keep
eyes on this very able man.
_July_ 8. - Hard work in the Court, the sederunts turn long and
burthensome. I fear they will require some abridgment of vacation.
[_From July_ 8, 1828, _to January_ 10, 1829, _there are no entries in
 Burns's song.
 Now called Wellhouse Tower.
Having omitted to carry on my Diary for two or three days, I lost heart
to make it up, and left it unfilled for many a month and day. During
this period nothing has happened worth particular notice. The same
occupations, the same amusements, the same occasional alternations of
spirits, gay or depressed, the same absence of all sensible or rational
cause for the one or the other. I half grieve to take up my pen, and
doubt if it is worth while to record such an infinite quantity of
nothing, but hang it! I hate to be beat, so here goes for better
_January_ 10. - I resume my task at Abbotsford. We are here alone, except
Lockhart, on a flying visit. Morritt, his niece, Sir James Stuart,
Skene, and an occasional friend or two, have been my guests since 31st
December. I cannot say I have been happy, for the feeling of increasing
weakness in my lame leg is a great affliction. I walk now with pain and
difficulty at all times, and it sinks my soul to think how soon I may be
altogether a disabled cripple. I am tedious to my friends, and I doubt
the sense of it makes me fretful.
Everything else goes off well enough. My cash affairs are clearing, and
though last year was an expensive one, I have been paying debt. Yet I
have a dull contest before me which will probably outlast my life. If
well maintained, however, it will be an honourable one, and if the
_Magnum Opus_ succeed, it will afford me some repose.
_January_ 11. - I did not write above a page yesterday; most weary,
stale, and unprofitable have been my labours. Received a letter I
suppose from Mad. T. - - , proposing a string of historical subjects not
proper for my purpose. People will not consider that a thing may already
be so well told in history, that romance ought not in prudence to meddle
The ground covered with snow, which, by slipperiness and the pain
occasioned by my lameness, renders walking unpleasant.
_January_ 12. - This is the third day I have not walked out, pain and
lameness being the cause. This bodes very ill for my future life. I made
a search yesterday and to-day for letters of Lord Byron to send to Tom
Moore, but I could only find two. I had several others, and am shocked
at missing them. The one which he sent me with a silver cup I regret
particularly. It was stolen out of the cup itself by some vile
inhospitable scoundrel, for a servant would not have thought such a
theft worth while.
My spirits are low, yet I wot not why. I have been writing to my sons.
Walter's majority was like to be reduced, but is spared for the present.
Charles is going on well I trust at the Foreign Office, so I hope all is
Loitered out a useless day, half arranging half disarranging books and
papers, and packing the things I shall want. _Der Abschiedstag ist da_.
_January_ 13. - The day of return to Edinburgh is come. I don't know why,
but I am more happy at the change than usual. I am not working hard, and
it is what I ought to do, and must do. Every hour of laziness cries fie
upon me. But there is a perplexing sinking of the heart which one cannot
always overcome. At such times I have wished myself a clerk,
quill-driving for twopence per page. You have at least application, and
that is all that is necessary, whereas unless your lively faculties are
awake and propitious, your application will do you as little good as if
you strained your sinews to lift Arthur's Seat.
_January_ 14, [_Edinburgh_]. - Got home last night after a freezing
journey. This morning I got back some of the last copy, and tugged as
hard as ever did soutar to make ends meet. Then I will be reconciled to
my task, which at present disgusts me. Visited Lady Jane, then called on
Mr. Robison and instructed him to call a meeting of the Council of the
Royal Society, as Mr. Knox proposes to read an essay on some
dissections. A bold proposal truly from one who has had so lately the
boldness of trading so deep in human flesh! I will oppose his reading in
the present circumstances if I should stand alone, but I hope he will be
wrought upon to withdraw his essay or postpone it at least. It is very
bad taste to push himself forward just now. Lockhart dined with us,
which made the evening a pleasant but an idle one. Well! I must rouse
"Awake! Arise, or be for ever fallen."
_January_ 15. - Day began with beggars as usual, and John Nicolson has
not sense to keep them out. I never yield, however, to this importunity,