continued unabated to the end. A story has been told, on the authority
of the nurse in attendance, that on the morning of the day on which he
died, viz., on the 21st Sept. 1832, he opened his eyes once more, quite
conscious, and calmly asked her to read to him a psalm. She proceeded to
do so, when he gently interposed, saying, "No! no! the Scotch Psalms."
After reading to him a little while, he expressed a wish to be moved
nearer the window, through which he looked long and earnestly up and
down the valley and towards the sky, and then on the woman's face,
saying: "_I'll know it all before night_." This story will find some
confirmation from the entry in the Journal under September 24, 1830: "I
think _I will be in the secret next week_; unless I recruit greatly."
 In a letter to his son at this time he says the "sale of the
Novels is pro-di-gi-ous. If it last but a few years it will clear my
feet of old encumbrances." - _Life_, vol. ix. p. 32.
 Jeffrey, who had just retired from the editorship of the
_Edinburgh Review_, was succeeded by Macvey Napier, whose first No. was
published in October 1829.
_June_ 1. - Being Sunday I remained to work the whole day, and finished
half of the proposed volume of History. I was not disturbed the whole
day, a thing rather unusual.
_June_ 2. - Received Mr. Rees of London and Col. Ferguson to breakfast.
Mr. Rees is clearly of opinion our scheme (the _Magnum_) must
answer. I got to letter-writing after breakfast, and cleared off
old scores in some degree. Dr. Ross called and would hardly hear of my
going out. I was obliged, however, to attend the meeting of the trustees
for the Theatre. The question to be decided was, whether we should
embrace an option left to us of taking the old Theatre at a valuation,
or whether we should leave it to Mrs. Siddons and Mr. Murray to make the
best of it. There were present Sir Patrick Murray, Baron Hume, Lord
Provost, Sir John Hay, Mr. Gilbert Innes, and myself. We were all of
opinion that personally we ought to have nothing to do with it. But I
thought as trustees for the public, we were bound to let the public know
how the matter stood, and that they might, if they pleased, have the
theatrical property for £16,000, which is dog cheap. They were all clear
to give it up (the right of reversion) to Mrs. Siddons. I am glad she
should have it, for she is an excellent person, and so is her brother.
But I think it has been a little jobbish. There is a clause providing
the new patentees may redeem. I desired that the circumstance should be
noted, that we were only exercising our own judgment, leaving the future
trustees to exercise theirs. I rather insisted that there should be some
saving clause of this kind, even for the sake of our honour. But I could
not prevail upon my colleagues to put such a saving clause on the
minutes, though they agreed to the possibility of the new patentees
redeeming on behalf of the public. I do not think we have done right.
I called on Mr. Cadell, whose reports of the _Magnum_ might fill up the
dreams of Alnaschar should he sleep as long as the seven sleepers. The
rest was labour and letters till bed-time.
_June_ 3. - The ugly symptoms still continue. Dr. Ross does not make much
of it, and I think he is apt to look grave. I wrote in the morning.
Dr. Macintosh Mackay came to breakfast, and brought a Gaelic book, which
he has published - the Poetry of Rob Donn - some of which seems pretty as
he explained it. Court kept me till near two, and then home comes I.
Afternoon and evening was spent as usual. In the evening Dr. Ross
ordered me to be cupped, an operation which I only knew from its being
practised by that eminent medical practitioner the barber of Bagdad. It
is not painful; and, I think, resembles a giant twisting about your
flesh between his finger and thumb.
_June_ 4. - I was obliged to absent myself from the Court on Dr. Ross's
positive instance; and, what is worse, I was compelled to send an
apology to Hopetoun House, where I expected to see Madame Caradori, who
was to sing Jock of Hazeldean. I wrote the song for Sophia; and I find
my friends here still prefer her to the foreign syren.
"However, Madame Caradori,
To miss you I am very sorry,
I should have taken it for glory
To have heard you sing my Border story."
I worked at the _Tales of my Grandfather_, but leisurely.
_June_ 5. - Cadell came to dine with me _tête-à-tête,_ for the girls are
gone to Hopetoun House. We had ample matter to converse upon, for his
horn was full of good news. While we were at dinner we had letters from
London and Ireland, which decided him to raise the impression of
_Waverley_ to 15,000. This, with 10,000 on the number line which Ireland
is willing to take, will make £18,000 a year of divisible profit. This
leads to a further speculation, as I said, of great importance. Longman
& Co. have agreed to sell their stock on hand of the Poetry, in which
they have certain shares, their shares included, for £8000. Cadell
thinks he could, by selling off at cheap rates, sorting, making waste,
etc., get rid of the stock for about £5000, leaving £3000 for the
purchase of the copyrights, and proposes to close the bargain as much
cheaper as he can, but at all events to close it. Whatever shall fall
short of the price returned by the stock, the sale of which shall be
entirely at his risk, shall be reckoned as the price of the copyright,
and we shall pay half of that balance. I had no hesitation in
authorising him to proceed in his bargain with Owen Rees of Longman's
house upon that principle. For supposing, according to Cadell's present
idea, the loss on the stock shall amount to £2000 or £3000, the
possession of the entire copyright undivided would enable us,
calculating upon similar success to that of the Novels, to make at least
£500 per cent. Longman & Co. have indeed an excellent bargain, but then
so will we. We pay dear indeed for what the ostensible subject of sale
is, but if it sets free almost the whole of our copyrights, and places
them in our own hands, we get a most valuable _quid pro quo_. There is
only one-fourth, I think, of _Marmion_ in Mr. Murray's hands, and it
must be the deuce if that cannot be [secured]. Mr. Cadell proposed
that, as he took the whole books on his risk, he ought to have
compensation, and that it should consist in the sum to be given to me
for arranging and making additions to the volumes of Poetry thus to be
republished. I objected to this, for in the first place he may suffer no
loss, for the books may go off more rapidly than he thinks or expects.
In the second place, I do not know what my labours in the Poetry may be.
In either case it is a blind bargain; but if he should be a sufferer
beyond the clear half of the loss, which we agree to share with him, I
agreed to make him some compensation, and he is willing to take what I
shall think just; so stands our bargain. Remained at home and wrote
about four pages of _Tales_. I should have done more, but my head, as
Squire Sullen says, "aiked consumedly." Rees has given Cadell a
written offer to be binding till the twelfth; meantime I have written to
Lockhart to ask John Murray if he will treat for the fourth share of
_Marmion_, which he possesses. It can be worth but little to him, and
gives us all the copyrights. I have a letter from Sir Thomas Dick
Lauder, touching a manuscript of Messrs. Hay Allan called the
_Vestiarium Scotiæ_ by a Sir Richard Forrester. If it is an imposition
it is cleverly done, but I doubt the quarter it comes from. These Hay
Allans are men of warm imaginations. It makes the strange averment that
all the Low-Country gentlemen and border clans wore tartan, and gives
sets of them all. I must see the manuscript before I believe in it. The
Allans are singular men, of much accomplishment but little probity - that
is, in antiquarian matters. Cadell lent me £10, - funny enough, after all
our grand expectations, for Croesus to want such a gratility!
_June_ 7. - I rose at seven, and wrote to Sir Thomas Lauder a long
warning on the subject of these Allans and their manuscript.
Proceeded to write, but found myself pulled up by the necessity of
reading a little. This occupied my whole morning. The Lord President
called very kindly to desire me to keep at home to-morrow. I thought of
being out, but it may be as well not. I am somehow or other either
listless or lazy. My head aches cruelly. I made a fight at reading and
working till eleven, and then came sleep with a party-coloured [mantle]
of fantastic hues, and wrapt me into an imaginary world.
_June_, 8. - I wrote the whole morning till two o'clock. Then I went into
the gardens of Princes Street, to my great exhilaration. I never felt
better for a walk; also it is the first I have taken this whole week and
more. I visited some remote garden grounds, where I had not been since I
walked there with the good Samaritan Skene, sadly enough, at the time
of my misfortunes. The shrubs and young trees, which were then
invisible, are now of good size, and gay with leaf and blossom. I, too,
old trunk as I am, have put out tender buds of hope, which seemed
checked for ever.
I may now look with fair hope to freeing myself of obligation from all
men, and spending the rest of my life in ease and quiet. God make me
thankful for so cheering a prospect!
_June_ 9. - I wrote in the morning, set out for a walk at twelve o'clock
as far as Mr. Cadell's. I found him hesitating about his views, and
undecided about the Number plan. He thinks the first plan answers so
much beyond expectation it is a pity to interfere with it, and talks of
re-engraving the plates. This would be touchy, but nothing is resolved
Anne had a little party, where Lady Charlotte Bury, Lady Hopetoun, and
others met the Caradori, who sung to us very kindly. She sung Jock of
Hazeldean very well, and with a peculiar expression of humour. Sandie
Ballantyne kindly came and helped us with fiddle and flageolet. Willie
Clerk was also here. We had a lunch, and were very gay, not the less so
for the want of Mr. Bury, who is a thorough-paced coxcomb, with some
accomplishments, however. I drank two glasses of champagne, which have
muddled my brains for the day. Will Clerk promised to come back and dine
on the wreck of the turkey and tongue, pigeon-pie, etc. He came,
accordingly, and stayed till nine; so no time for work. It was not a
lost day, however.
_June_ 10. - _Nota bene_, my complaint quite gone. I attended the Court,
and sat there till late. Evening had its lot of labour, which is, I
think, a second nature to me. It is astonishing how little I look into a
book of entertainment. I have been reading over the _Five Nights of St.
Albans_, - very much _extra mœnia nostri mundi_, and possessed of
considerable merit, though the author loves to play at cherry-pit
_June_ 11. - I was kept at Court by a hearing till near three. Then sat
to Mr. Graham for an hour and a half. When I came home, behold a letter
from Mr. Murray, very handsomely yielding up the fourth share of
_Marmion_, which he possessed. Afterwards we went to the theatre,
where St. Ronan's Well was capitally acted by Murray and the
Bailie, - the part of Clara Mowbray being heavy for want of Mrs. Siddons.
Poor old Mrs. Renaud, once the celebrated Mrs. Powell, took leave of the
stage. As I was going to bed at twelve at night, in came R.P.Gillies
like a tobacco cask. I shook him off with some difficulty, pleading my
having been lately ill, but he is to call to-morrow morning.
_June_ 12. - Gillies made his appearance. I told him frankly I thought he
conducted his affairs too irregularly for any one to assist him, and I
could not in charity advise any one to encourage subscriptions, but that
I should subscribe myself, so I made over to him about £50, which the
_Foreign Review_ owes me, and I will grow hard-hearted and do no more. I
was not long in the Court, but I had to look at the controversy about
the descent of the Douglas family, then I went to Cadell and found him
still cock-a-hoop. He has raised the edition to 17,000, a monstrous
number, yet he thinks it will clear the 20,000, but we must be quiet in
case people jalouse the failure of the plates. I called on Lady
J.S. When I came home I was sleepy and over-walked. By the way, I
sat till Graham finished my picture. I fell fast asleep before
dinner, and slept for an hour. After dinner I wrote to Walter, Charles,
Lockhart, and John Murray, and took a screed of my novel; so concluded
the evening idly enough.
_June_ 13. - We hear of Sophia's motions. She is to set sail by
steam-boat on the 16th, Tuesday, and Charles is to make a run down with
her. But, alas! my poor Johnnie is, I fear, come to lay his bones in his
native land. Sophia can no longer disguise it from herself, that as his
strength weakens the disease increases. The poor child is so much bent
on coming to see Abbotsford and grandpapa, that it would be cruel not to
comply with his wish - and if affliction comes, we will bear it best
"Not more the schoolboy who expires
Far from his native home desires
To see some friend's familiar face,
Or meet a parent's last embrace."
It must be all as God wills it. Perhaps his native air may be of
More news from Cadell. He deems it necessary to carry up the edition to
[_Abbotsford._] - This day was fixed for a start to Abbotsford, where we
arrived about six o'clock, evening. To my thinking, I never saw a
prettier place; and even the trees and flowers seemed to say to me, We
are your own again. But I must not let imagination jade me thus. It
would be to make disappointment doubly bitter: and, God knows, I have in
my child's family matter enough to check any exuberant joy.
_June 14_. - A delicious day - threatening rain; but with the languid and
affecting manner in which beauty demands sympathy when about to weep. I
wandered about the banks and braes all morning, and got home about
three, and saw everything in tolerable order, excepting that there was
a good number of branches left in the walks. There is a great number of
trees cut, and bark collected. Colonel Ferguson dined with us, and spent
_June_ 15. - Another charming day. Up and despatched packets for
Ballantyne and Cadell; neither of them was furiously to the purpose, but
I had a humour to be alert. I walked over to Huntly Burn, and round by
Chiefswood and Janeswood, where I saw Captain Hamilton. He is busy
finishing his Peninsular campaigns. He will not be cut out by
Napier, whose work has a strong party cast; and being, besides, purely
abstract and professional, to the public seems very dull. I read General
Miller's account of the South American War. I liked it the better
that Basil Hall brought the author to breakfast with me in Edinburgh. A
fine, tall, military figure, his left hand withered like the prophet's
gourd, and plenty of scars on him. There have been rare doings in that
vast continent; but the strife is too distant, the country too unknown,
to have the effect upon the imagination which European wars produce.
This evening I indulged in the _far niente_ - a rare event with me, but
which I enjoy proportionally.
_June_ 16. - Made up parcel for Dr. Lardner; and now I propose to set
forth my memoranda of Byron for Moore's acceptance, which ought in
civility to have been done long since. I will have a walk, however,
in the first place.
I did not get on with Byron so far as I expected - began it though, and
that is always something. I went to see the woods at Huntly Burn, and
Mars Lea, etc. Met Captain Hamilton, who tells me a shocking thing. Two
Messrs. Stirling of Drumpellier came here and dined one day, and seemed
spirited young men. The younger is murdered by pirates. An Indian vessel
in which he sailed was boarded by these miscreants, who behaved most
brutally; and he, offering resistance I suppose, was shockingly mangled
and flung into the sea. He was afterwards taken up alive, but died soon
after. Such horrid accidents lie in wait for those whom we see "all
joyous and unthinking," sweeping along the course of life; and what
end may be waiting ourselves? Who can tell?
_June_ 17. - Must take my leave of sweet Abbotsford, and my leisure hour,
my eve of repose. To go to town will take up the morning.
_[Edinburgh.]_ - We set out about eleven o'clock, got to Edinburgh about
four, where I dined with Baron Clerk and a few Exchequer friends - Lord
Chief Baron, Sir Patrick Murray, Sir Henry Jardine, etc. etc.
_June_ 18. - Corrected proofs for Dr. Dionysius Lardner. Cadell came to
breakfast. Poor fellow, he looks like one who had been overworked; and
the difficulty of keeping paper-makers up to printers, printers up to
draughtsmen, artists to engravers, and the whole party to time, requires
the utmost exertion. He has actually ordered new plates, although the
steel ones which we employ are supposed to throw off 30,000 without
injury. But I doubt something of this. Well, since they will buckle
fortune on our back we must bear it scholarly and wisely. I went to
Court. Called on my return on J.B. and Cadell. At home I set to correct
_Ivanhoe_. I had twenty other things more pressing; but, after all,
these novels deserve a preference. Poor Terry is totally prostrated by a
paralytic affection. Continuance of existence not to be wished for.
To-morrow I expect Sophia and her family by steam.
_June_ 19. - Sophia, and Charles who acted as her escort, arrived at nine
o'clock morning, fresh from the steamboat. They were in excellent
health - also the little boy and girl; but poor Johnnie seems very much
changed indeed, and I should not be surprised if the scene shortly
closes. There is obviously a great alteration in strength and features.
At dinner we had our family chat on a scale that I had not enjoyed for
many years. The Skenes supped with us.
_June_ 20. - Corrected proof-sheets in the morning for Dr. Lardner. Then
I had the duty of the Court to perform.
As I came home I recommended young Shortreed to Mr. Cadell for a
printing job now and then when Ballantyne is over-loaded, which Mr.
Cadell promised accordingly.
Lady Anna Maria Elliot's company at dinner. Helped on our family party,
and passed the evening pleasantly enough, my anxiety considering.
_June_ 21. - A very wet Sunday. I employed it to good purpose, bestowing
much labour on the History, ten pages of which are now finished. Were it
not for the precarious health of poor Johnnie I would be most happy in
this reunion with my family, but, poor child, this is a terrible
_June_ 22. - I keep working, though interruptedly. But the heat in the
midst of the day makes me flag and grow irresistibly drowsy. Mr. and
Mrs. Skene came to supper this evening. Skene has engaged himself in
drawing illustrations to be etched by himself for _Waverley_. I wish it
_June_ 23. - I was detained in the Court till half-past [three]. Captain
William Lockhart dined with Skene. The Captain's kind nature had brought
him to Edinburgh to meet his sister-in-law.
_June_ 24. - I was detained late in the Court, but still had time to go
with Adam Wilson and call upon a gentlemanlike East Indian officer,
called Colonel Francklin, who appears an intelligent and respectable
man. He writes the History of Captain Thomas, a person of the
condition of a common seaman, who raised himself to the rank of a native
prince, and for some time waged a successful war with the powers around
him. The work must be entertaining.
_June_ 25. - Finished correcting proofs for Tales, 3d Series. The Court
was over soon, but I was much exhausted. On the return home quite sleepy
and past work. I looked in on Cadell, whose hand is in his housewife's
cap, driving and pushing to get all the works forward in due order, and
cursing the delays of artists and engravers. I own I wish we had not
hampered ourselves with such causes of delay.
_June_ 26. - Mr. Ellis, missionary from the South Sea Islands,
breakfasted, introduced by Mr. Fletcher, minister of the parish of
Mr. Ellis's account of the progress of civilisation, as connected with
religion, is very interesting. Knowledge of every kind is
diffused - reading, writing, printing, abundantly common. Polygamy
abolished. Idolatry is put down; the priests, won over by the chiefs,
dividing among them the consecrated lands which belonged to their
temples. Great part of the population are still without religion, but
willing to be instructed. Wars are become infrequent; and there is in
each state a sort of representative body, or senate, who are a check on
the despotism of the chief. All this has come hand in hand with
religion. Mr. Ellis tells me that the missionaries of different sects
avoided carefully letting the natives know that there were points of
disunion between them. Not so some Jesuits who had lately arrived, and
who taught their own ritual as the only true one. Mr. Ellis described
their poetry to me, and gave some examples; it had an Ossianic
character, and was composed of metaphor. He gave me a small collection
of hymns printed in the islands. If this gentleman is sincere, which I
have no doubt of, he is an illustrious character. He was just about to
return to the Friendly Islands, having come here for his wife's health.
[_Blairadam._] - After the Court we set off (the two Thomsons and I) for
Blair-Adam, where we held our Macduff Club for the twelfth anniversary.
We met the Chief Baron, Lord Sydney Osborne, Will Clerk, the merry
knight Sir Adam Ferguson, with our venerable host the Lord Chief
Commissioner, and merry men were we.
_June_ 27. - I ought not, where merry men convene, to omit our jovial son
of Neptune, Admiral Adam. The morning proving delightful, we set out for
the object of the day, which was Falkland. We passed through Lochore,
but without stopping, and saw on the road eastward, two or three places,
as Balbedie, Strathendry, and some others known to me by name. Also we
went through the town of Leslie, and saw what remains of the celebrated
rendezvous of rustic gallantry called Christ's Kirk on the Green.
It is now cut up with houses, one of the most hideous of which is a new
church, having the very worst and most offensive kind of Venetian
windows. This, I am told, has replaced a quiet lowly little Gothic
building, coeval, perhaps, with the royal poet who celebrated the spot.
Next we went to Falkland, where we found Mr. Howden, factor of Mr.
Tyndall Bruce, waiting to show us the palace.
Falkland has most interesting remains. A double entrance-tower, and a
side building running east from it, is roofed, and in some degree
habitable; a corresponding building running northward from the eastern
corner is totally ruinous, having been destroyed by fire. The
architecture is highly ornamented, in the style of the Palace at
Stirling. Niches with statues, with projections, cornices, etc, are
lavished throughout. Many cornice medallions exhibited such heads as
those procured from the King's room at Stirling, the originals, perhaps,
being the same. The repeated cypher of James V. and Mary of Guise attest
the builder of this part of the palace. When complete it had been a
quadrangle. There is as much of it as remained when Slezer published his
drawings. Some part of the interior has been made what is called
habitable, that is, a half-dozen of bad rooms have been gotten out of
it. Am clear in my own mind a ruin should be protected, but never
repaired. The proprietor has a beautiful place called Nut-hill, within
ten minutes' walk of Falkland, and commanding some fine views of it and
of the Lomond Hill. This should be the residence. But Mr. Bruce and his
predecessor, my old professor, John Bruce, deserve great credit for
their attention to prevent dilapidation, which was doing its work fast
upon the ancient palace. The only remarkable apartment was a large and
well-proportioned gallery with a painted roof - _tempore Jacobi
Sexti_ - and built after his succession to the throne of England. I
noticed a curious thing, - a hollow column concealed the rope which rung
the Castle bell, keeping it safe from injury and interruption.
The town of Falkland is old, with very narrow streets. The arrival of
two carriages and a gig was an event important enough to turn out the
whole population. They are said to be less industrious, more dissipated,
and readier to become soldiers than their neighbours. So long a court
retains its influence!