Walter Scott.

The journal of Sir Walter Scott, from the original manuscript at Abbotsford online

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on great numbers. There may besides be a third volume.

Dined at James Ballantyne's, and heard his brother Sandy sing
and play on the violin, beautifully as usual. James himself sang the
Reel of Tullochgorum, with hearty cheer and uplifted voice. When
I came home I learned that we had beat the Coal Gas Company, which
is a sort of triumph.

1 The engraving from Raeburn's picture. liarity in Scott's dictation, that with the great-
See ante, p. 138. est ease he was able to carry on two trains of

2 Mr. Robert Hogg relates that during those thought at one time, "one of which was al-
few days Sir W. and he laboured from six in ready arranged, and in the act of being spoken,
the morning till the same hour in the evening, while at the same time he was in advance con-
with the exception of the intervals allowed for sidering what was afterwards to be said. " See
breakfast and lunch, which were served in the his interesting letter to Mr. Lockhart, Life, vol.
room to save time. He noted a striking pecu- ix. pp. 115-117.


June 1. Settled my household-book. Sophia does not set out
till the middle of the week, which is unlucky, our antiquarian skir-
mish beginning in Fife just about the time she is to arrive. Letter
from John touching public affairs ; don't half like them, and am afraid
we shall have the Whig alliance turn out like the calling in of the
Saxons. I told this to Jeffrey, who said they would convert us, as
the Saxons did the British. I shall die in my Paganism for one. I
don't like a bone of them as a party. Ugly reports of the King's
health ; God pity this poor country should that be so, but I think it
a thing devised by the enemy. Anne arrived from Abbotsford. I
dined at Sir Robert Dundas's, with Mrs. Dundas, Arniston, and other
friends. Worked a little, not much.

June 2. Do. Do. Dined at Baron Hume's. These dinners are
cruelly in the way, but que faut-il faire ? the business of the Court
must be done, and it is impossible absolutely to break off all habits
of visiting. Besides, the correcting of proof-sheets in itself is now
become burdensome. Three or four a day is hard work.

June 3. Wrought hard. I think I have but a trifle more to do,
but new things cast up ; we get beyond the life, however, for I have
killed him to-day. The newspapers are very saucy ; The Sun says
I have got 4000 for suffering a Frenchman to look over my manu-
script. Here is a proper fellow for you ! I wonder what he thinks
Frenchmen are made of walking money-bags, doubtless. Now as
Sir Fretful Plagiary 1 says, another man would be mad at this, but I
care not one brass farthing.

June 4. The birthday of our good old king. It was wrong not
to keep up the thing as it was of yore with dinners, and claret, and
squibs, and crackers, and saturnalia. The thoughts of the subjects
require sometimes to be turned to the sovereign, were it but only that
they may remember there is such a person.

The Bannatyne edition of Melville's Memoirs is out, and beats all
print. Gad, it is a fine institution that ; a rare one, by Jove ! beats
the Roxburghe. Wrought very bobbishly to-day, but went off at
dinner-time to Thomas Thomson, where we had good cheer and good
fun. By the way, we have lost our Coal Gas Bill. Sorry for it, but
I can't cry.

June 5. Proofs. Parliament House till two. Commenced the

i Sheridan's Critic, Act I. Sc. 1.

JUNE, 1827.] JOURNAL 263

character of Bonaparte. To-morrow being a Teind-day I will hope
to get it finished. Meantime I go out to-night to see Frankenstein at
the theatre.

June 6. Frankenstein is entertaining for once considerable art
in the man that plays the Monster, to whom he gave great effect.
Cooper is his name ; played excellently in the farce too, as a sailor
a more natural one, I think, than my old friend Jack Bannister,
though he has not quite Jack's richness of humour. I had seven
proof-sheets to correct this morning, by Goles. So I did not get to
composition till nine ; work on with little interruption (save that Mr.
Verplanck, an American, breakfasted with us) until seven, and then
walked, for fear of the black dog or devil that worries me when I
work too hard.

Jane 1 . This morning finished Boney. And now, as Dame
Fortune says, in Quevedo's Visions, Go, wheel, and the devil drive thee. 1
It was high time I brought up some reinforcements, for my pound
was come to half-crowns, and I had nothing to keep house when the
Lockharts come. Credit enough to be sure, but I have been taught
by experience to make short reckonings. Some great authors now
will think it a degradation to write a child's book ; I cannot say I feel
it such. It is to be inscribed to my grandson, and I will write it not
only without a sense of its being infra dig. but with a grandfather's

I arranged with Mr. Cadell for the property of Tales of a Grand-
father, 10,000 copies for 787, 10s.

June 8. A Mr. May wood, much protected by poor Alister Dhu,
brought me a letter from the late Colonel Huxley. His connection
and approach to me is through the grave, but I will not be the less
disposed to assist him if an opportunity offers. I made a long round
to-day, going to David Laing's about forwarding the books of the
Bannatyne Club to Sir George Rose and Duke of Buckingham. Then
I came round by the printing-office, where the presses are groaning
upon Napoleon, and so home through the gardens. I have done little
to-day save writing a letter or two, for I was fatigued and sleepy
when I got home, and nodded, I think, over Sir James Melville's Me-
moirs. I will do something, though, when I have dined. By the
way, I corrected the proofs for Gillies ; they read better than I look-
ed for.

June 9. Corrected proofs in the morning. When I came home
from Court I found that John Lockhart and Sophia were arrived by
the steam-boat at Portobello, where they have a small lodging. I
went down with a bottle of Champagne, and a flask of Maraschino,
and made buirdly cheer with them for the rest of the day. Had the

i "No sooner had the Sun uttered these sion. Fortune gave a mighty squeak, saying,

words than Fortune, as if she had been play- 'Fly, wheel, and the devil drive thee.'"-

ing' on a cymbal, began to unwind her wheel, Fortune in her Wits, Quevedo. English trans,

which, whirling about like a hurricane, hud- (1798), vol. iii. p. 107.
died all the world into au unparalleled confu-


great pleasure to find them all in high health. Poor Johnny is de-
cidedly improved in his general health, and the injury on the spine
is got no worse. Walter is a very fine child.

June 10. Rose with the odd consciousness of being free of my
daily task. I have heard that the fish-women go to church of a
Sunday with their creels new washed, and a few stones in them for
ballast, just because they cannot walk steadily without their usual
load. I feel somewhat like this, and rather inclined to pick up some
light task, than to be altogether idle. I have my proof-sheets, to lie
sure ; but what are these to a whole day ? Fortunately my thoughts
are agreeable ; cash difficulties, etc., all provided for, as far as I can
see, so that we go on hooly and fairly. Betwixt and August 1st I
should receive 750, and I cannot think I have more than the half
of it to pay away. Cash, to be sure, seems to burn in my pocket.
" He wasna gien to great misguiding, but coin his pouches wouldna
bide in." ' By goles, this shall be corrected, though ! Lockhart gives
a sad account of Gillies's imprudences. Lockhart dined with us. Day

June 11. The attendance on the Committee, and afterwards the
general meeting of the Oil Gas Company took up my morning, and
the rest dribbled away in correcting proofs and trifling; reading,
among the rest, an odd volume of Vivian Grey ; a clever, but not so
much so as to make me, in this sultry weather, go up-stairs to the
drawing-room to seek the other volumes. Ah ! villain, but you smoked
when you read. Well, Madam, perhaps I think the better of the book
for that reason. Made a blunder, went to Ravelston on the wrong
day. This Anne's fault, but I did not reproach her, knowing it might
as well have been my own.

June 12. At Court, a long hearing. Got home only about three.
Corrected proofs, etc. Dined with Baron Clerk, and met several old
friends ; Will Clerk in particular.

June 13. Another long seat at Court. Almost overcome by the
heat in walking home, and rendered useless for the day. Let me be
thankful, however ; my lameness is much better, and the nerves of
my unfortunate ankle are so much strengthened that I walk with
comparatively little pain. Dined at John Swinton's ; a large party.
These festive occasions consume much valuable time, besides trying
the stomach a little by late hours, and some wine shed, though that's
not much.

June 14. Anne and Sophia dined. Could not stay at home
with them alone. We had the Skenes and Allan, and amused our-
selvtes till ten o'clock.

June 15. This being the day long since appointed for our cruise
to Fife, Thomas Thomson, Sir A. Ferguson, Will Clerk, and I, set off

1 Burns: "On a Scotch Bard, gone to the J Vivian Grey, by Benjamin Disraeli, was
West Indies." published anonymously in 5 vols. 12mo, 1826-7.

1827.] JOURNAL 265

with Miss Adarn, and made our journey successfully to Charlton,
where met Lord Chief-Baron and Lord Chief-Commissioner, all in the
humour to b,e happy, though time is telling with us all. Our good-
natured host, Mr. A. Thomson, his wife, and his good-looking daugh-
ters, received us most kindly, and the conversation took its old roll,
in spite of woes and infirmities. Charlton is a good house, in the
midst of highly - cultivated land, and immediately surrounded with
gardens and parterres, together with plantations, partly in the old,
partly in the new, taste ; I like it very much ; though, as a residence,
it is perhaps a little too much finished. Not even a bit of bog to
amuse one, as Mr. Elphinstone said.

June 16. This day we went off in a body to St. Andrews, which
Thomas Thomson had never seen. On the road beyond Charlton
saw a small cottage said to have been the heritable appanage of a
family called the Keays [?]. He had a right to feed his horse for a
certain time on the adjoining pasture. This functionary was sent to
Falkland with the fish for the royal table. The ruins at St. Andrews
have been lately cleared out. They had been chiefly magnificent
from their size not their extent of ornament. I did not go up to
St. Rule's Tower as on former occasions ; this is a falling off, for when
before did I remain sitting below when there was a steeple to be as-
cended? But the rheumatism has begun to change that vein for
some time past, though I think this is the first decided sign of acqui-
escence in my lot. I sat down on a grave-stone, and recollected the
first visit I made to St. Andrews, now thirty-four years ago. What
changes in my feeling and my fortune have since then taken place !
some for the better, many for the worse. I remembered the name I
then carved in Runic characters on the turf beside the castle-gate,
and I asked why it should still agitate my heart. But my friends
came down from the tower, and the foolish idea was chased away. 1

June 17. Lounged about while the good family went to church.
The day is rather cold and disposed to rain. The papers say that
the Corn Bill is given up in consequence of the Duke of Wellington
having carried the amendment in the House of Lords. All the party
here Sir A. F. perhaps excepted are Ministerialists on the present
double bottom. They say the names of Whig and Tory are now to
exist no longer. Why have they existed at all ?

In the forenoon we went off to explore the environs ; we visited
two ancient manor-houses, those of Elie and Balcaskie. Large roomy
mansions, with good apartments, two or three good portraits, and a

1 If the reader turns to December 18, 1825, was "Williamina Belches, sole child and heir
he will see that this is not the first allusion in of a gentleman who was a cadet of the ancient
the Journal to his "first love," an innocent family of Invermay, and who afterwards he-
attachment, to which we owe the tenderest came Sir John Stuart of Fettercairn." She
pages, not only of Redgauntlet (1824), but of married Sir William Forbes in 1797 and died
the Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805), and of in 1810. Life, vol. i. p. 333; Shairp's Memoirs
Rokeby (1813). In all these works the heroine of Principal Forbes, pp. 4, 5, 8vo, London, 1873,
has certain distinctive features drawn from where her portrait, engraved from a miniature,
one and the same haunting dream. The lady is given.


collection of most extraordinary frights, prodigiously like the mis-
tresses of King George i., who " came for all the goods and chattels"
of old England. There are at Elie House two most ferocious-looking
Ogresses of this cast. There are noble trees about the house. Bal-
caskie put me in mind of poor Philip Anstruther, dead and gone
many a long year since. He was a fine, gallant, light-hearted young
sailor. I remember the story of his drawing on his father for some
cash, which produced an angry letter from old Sir Robert, to which
Philip replied, that if he did not know how to write like a gentleman,
he did not desire any more of his correspondence. Balcaskie is much
dilapidated ; but they are restoring the house in the good old style,
with its terraces and yew-hedges. The beastly fashion of bringing a
bare ill-kept park up to your very doors seems going down. We next
visited with great pleasure the Church of St. Monans, which is under
repair, designed to correspond strictly with the ancient plan, which is
the solid, gloomy, but impressive Gothic. It was built by David ir.,
in the fulfilment of a vow made to St. Monan on the field of battle at
Neville's Cross. One would have judged the king to be thankful for
small mercies, for certainly St. Monan proved but an ineffective patron.

Mr. Hugh Cleghorn 1 dined at Charlton, and I saw him for the
first time, having heard of him all my life. He is an able man, has
seen much, and speaks well. Age has clawed him in his clutch, and
he has become deaf. There is also Captain Black of the navy, sec-
ond lieutenant of the Mars at Trafalgar. Villeneuve was brought
on board that ship after the debate. He had no expectation that the
British fleet would have fought till they had formed a regular line.
Captain Black disowns the idea of the French and Spaniards being
drawn up chequer form for resisting the British attack, and jmputes
the appearance of that array to sheer accident of weather.

June 18. We visited Wemyss Castle on our return to Kinghorn.
On the left, before descending to the coast, are considerable remains
of a castle, called popularly the old castle, or Macduff's Castle. That
of the Thane was situated at Kennochquay, at no great distance. The
front of Wemyss Castle, to the land, has been stripped entirely of its
castellated appearance, and narrowly escaped a new front. To the
sea it has a noble situation, overhanging the red rocks ; but even there
the structure has been much modernised and tamed. Interior is a
good old house, with large oak staircases, family pictures, etc. We
were received by Captain Wemyss a gallant sea-captain, who could
talk against a north-wester, by his wife Lady Emma, and her sister
Lady Isabella beautiful women of the house of Errol, and vindicat-
ing its title to the handsome Hays. We reached the Pettycur about
half-past one, crossed to Edinburgh, and so ended our little excur-

> Hugh Cleghorn had been Professor of Civil ment in various foreign missions. A glimpse

History In St. Andrews for ten years, after- of his work is obtainable in Southey's Life of

wards becoming tutor to the Earl of Home, Dr. Andrew Bell. Mr. Cleghorn died in 1833,

and subsequently employed by our Govern- aged 83.

1827.] JOURNAL 26*

sion. Of casualties we had only one : Triton, the house-dog at Charl-
ton, threw down Thomson and he had his wrist sprained. A restive
horse threatened to demolish our landau, but we got off for the fright.
Happily L. C. B. was not in our carriage.

Dined at William M'Kenzie's to meet the Marquis and Marchion-
ess of Stafford, who are on their road to Dunrobin. Found them
both very well.

June 19. -Lord Stafford desires to be a member of the Bannatyne
Club also Colin M'Kenzie. Sent both names up accordingly.

The day furnishes a beggarly record of trumpery. From eight
o'clock till nine wrote letters, then Parliament House, where I had to
wait on without anything to do till near two, when rain forced me into
the Antiquarian museum. Lounged there till a meeting of the Oil
Gas Committee at three o'clock. There remained till near five. Home
and smoked a cheroot after dinner. Called on Thomson, who is still
disabled by his sprain. Per eat inter hcec. We must do better to-

June 20. Kept my word, being Teind Wednesday. Two young
Frenchmen, friends of Gallois, rather interrupted me. I had asked
them to breakfast, but they stayed till twelve o'clock, which is scarce
fair, and plagued me with compliments. Their names are Remusat
and Guyzard. 1 Pleasant, good-humoured young men. Notwithstand-
ing this interruption I finished near six pages, three being a good
Session-day's work. Allans, vogue la yalere. Dined at the Solicitor's
with Lord Hopetoun, and a Parliament House party.

June 21. Finished five leaves that is, betwixt morning and din-
ner-time. The Court detained me till two o'clock. About nine leaves
will make the volume quite large enough.

By the way, the booksellers have taken courage to print up 2000
more of the first edition [of Napoleon] ; which, after the second vol-
ume, they curtailed from 8000 to 6000. This will be 1000 more in
my way, at least, and that is a good help. We dine with the Skenes
to-day, Lockhart being with us. 2

> Count Paul de R6musat has been good La Remit Franyaise, and who, after the Revo-
enough to give me another view of this visit lution of 1830, entered, as did my father like-
which will be read with interest: "118 Fau- wise, upon political life. M. de Guizard was

bourg St. Honore, February 10, 1890. first prefet, then depute, and after 1848 became

My father has often spoken to me of this visit Directeur - general des Beaux Arts. He died

to Sir Walter Scott for it was indeed my fa- about 1877 or 1878, after his retirement from

ther, Charles de RiL-musat, member of the public life.

French Academy, and successively Minister of 2 " Woodstock placed upwards of 8000 in the

the Interior and for Foreign Afl'airs, who went hands of Sir Walter's creditors. The Napoleon

at the age of thirty to Abbotsford, and he re- (first and second editions) produced for them a

tained to the last days of his life a most lively sum which it even now startles me to mention

remembrance of the great novelist who did not 18,000. As by the time the historical work

acknowledge the authorship of his novels, and was published nearly half of the First Series of

to whom it was thus impossible otherwise than Chronicles of the Canongate had been written,

indirectly to pay any compliment. It gives me it is obvious that the amount to which Scott's

great pleasure to learn that the visit of those literary industry, from the close of 1826 to the

young men impressed him favourably. My fa- 10th of June, 1827, had diminished his debt,

ther's companion was his contemporary aud cannot be stated at less than 28,000. Had

friend-, M. Louis de Guizard, who, like my fa- health been spared him, how soon must he

ther, was a contributor at that time to the Lib- have freed himself from all his encumbrances. "

eral press of the Restoration, the Globe and j. G. L.




June 22. Wrought in the morning as usual. Received to break-
fast Dr. Bishop, a brother of Bishop the composer. He tells me his
brother was very ill when he wrote " The Chough and Crow," and
other music for Guy Mannering. Singular ! but I do think illness, if
not too painful, unseals the mental eye, and renders the talents more
acute, in the study of the fine arts at least. 1

I find the difference on 2000 additional copies will be 3000 in-
stead of 1000 in favour of the author. My good friend Publicum
is impatient. Heaven grant his expectations be not disappointed.
Coragio, andiamos f Such another year of labour and success would
do much towards making me a free man of the forest. But I must
to work since we have to dine with Lord and Lady Gray. By the
way, I forgot an engagement to my old friend, Lord Justice-Clerk.
This is shockingly ill-bred. But the invitation was a month old, and
that is some defence.

June 23. I corrected proofs and played the grandfather in the
morning. After Court saw Lady Wedderburn, who asked my advice

> See Life, vol. vi. p. 89. In Mr. Ballantyne's
Memorandum, there is a fuller account of the
mode in which T/ie Bride of Lammermoor, The
Legend of Montrose, and almost the whole of
Ivanhoe were produced, and the mental phe-
nomenon which accompanied the preparation
of the first-named work:

"During the progress of composing The
Heart of Midlothian, The Bride of Lammer-
moor, and Legend of Montrose a period of
many months Mr. Scott's health had become
extremely indifferent, and was often supposed
to place him in great danger. But it would
hardly be credited, were it not for the noto-
riety of the fact, that although one of the
symptoms of his illness was pain of the most
acute description, yet he never allowed it to
interrupt his labours. The only difference it
produced, that I am aware of, was its causing
him to employ the hand of an amanuensis in
place of his own. Indeed, during the greater
l>art of the day at this period he was confined
to his bed. The person employed for this pur-
pose was the respectable and intelligent Mr.
\Vm. Laidlaw, who acted for him in this ca-
pacity in the country, and I think also attend-
ed him to town. I have often been present
with Mr. l.aidlaw during the short intervals of
his labour, and it was deeply affecting to hear
the account he gave of his patron's severe suf-
ferings, and the indomitable spirit which ena-
bled him to overmaster them. He told me
that very often the dictation of Caleb Balder-
ston's and the old cooper's best jokes was min-
gled with groans extorted f/om him by pains;
but that when he, Mr. L., endeavoured to pre-
vail upon him to take a little respite, the only
answer he could obtain from Mr. Scott was a
request that he would see that the doors were
carefully shut, so that the expressions of his
agony might not reach his family ' As to stop-
ping work, Laidlaw,' he said, 'you know that
is wholly out of the question. ' What followed
upon these exertions, made in circumstances
so very singular, appears to me to exhibit one

of the most singular chapters in the history of
the human intellect. The book having been
published before Mr. Scott was able to rise from
his bed, he assured me that, when it was put
into his hands, he did not recollect one single
incident, character, or conversation it contain-
ed. He by no means desired me to under-
stand, nor did I understand, that his illness
had erased from his memory all or any of the
original family facts with which he had been
acquainted from the period probably of his
boyhood. These of course remained rooted
where they had ever been, or, to speak more
explicitly, where explicitness is so entirely im-
portant, he remembered the existence of tin;
father and mother, the son and daughter, the
rival lovers, the compulsory marriage, and the
attack made by his bride upon the unhappy
bridegroom, with the general catastrophe of
the whole. All these things he recollected,
just as he did before he took to his bed, but
the marvel is that he recollected literally noth-
ing else not a single character woven by the
Romancer not one of the many scenes and
points of exquisite humour, nor anything with
which he was connected as writer of the work.
'For a long time I felt myself very uneasy.' lie
said, ' in the course of my reading, always kept
on the qui vive lest I should be startled by
.something altogether glaring and fantastic ;
however, I recollected that the printing had
been performed by James Ballantyne, who I
was sure would not have permitted anything
of this sort to pass. ' ' Well,' I said, ' upon the
whole, how did you like it?' 'Ob,' he said, ' I
felt it monstrous gross and grotesque, to bo
sure, but still the worst of it made me laugh,
and I trusted therefore the good-naturcii pub-
lic would not be loss indulgent.' I do not think

Online LibraryWalter ScottThe journal of Sir Walter Scott, from the original manuscript at Abbotsford → online text (page 33 of 76)