Walter Scott.

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

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question. He seems disposed to concede, yet is Toryissimus. Per-
haps they wish the question ended, but the present opinions of the
Sovereign are too much interested to permit them to quit it.

May 16. Breakfasted with Mr. Reynolds ; a miscellaneous party.
Wordsworth, right welcome unto me, was there. I had also a sight
of Godwin the philosopher, grown old and thin of Douglas Kin-
naird, whom I asked about Byron's statue, which is going forward
of Luttrell, and others whom I knew not. I stayed an instant at
Pickering's, a young publisher's, and bought some dramatic reprints.
I love them very much, but I would [not] advise a young man to un-
dertake them. They are of course dear, and as they have not the
dignity of scarcity, the bibliomaniacs pass them by as if they were
plated candlesticks. They may hold as good a light for all that as if
they were real silver, and therefore I buy them when I can light on

1 See ante. May 1st, p. 380, note 2.



394 JOURNAL [MAY

them. Biit here I am spending money when I have more need to
make it. On Monday, the 26th, it shall be Northward ho !

Dined at Lady Georgiana and Mr. Agar Ellis's.' There were Lord
and Lady Stafford there, and others to whom I am sincerely attached.

May 17. A day of busy idleness. Richardson came and break-
fasted with me like a good fellow. Then I went to Mr. Chantrey,
and sat for an hour to finish the bust. 4 Thereafter, about twelve
o'clock, I went to breakfast the second, at Lady Shelley's, where there
was a great morning party. A young lady s begged a lock of my hair,
which was not worth refusing. I stipulated for a kiss, which 1 was
permitted to take. From this I went to the Duke of Wellington, who
gave me some hints or rather details. Afterwards I drove out to Chis-
wick, where I had never been before. A numerous and gay party
were assembled to walk and enjoy the beauties of that Palladian
[dome ?] ; the place and highly ornamented gardens belonging to it
resemble a picture of Watteau. There is some affectation in the
picture, but in the ensemble the original looked very well. The Duke
of Devonshire received every one with the best possible manners.
The scene was dignified by the presence of an immense elephant,
who, under charge of a groom, wandered up and down, giving an air
of Asiatic pageantry to the entertainment. I was never before sensi-
ble of the dignity which largeness of size and freedom of movement
give to this otherwise very ugly animal. As I was to dine at Holland
House, I did not partake in the magnificent repast which was offered
to us, and took myself off about five o'clock. I contrived to make a
demi-toilette at Holland House rather than drive all the way to Lou-
don. Rogers came to dinner, which was very entertaining. The
Duke of Manchester was there, whom I remember having seen long
ago. He had left a part of his brain in Jamaica by a terrible fract-
ure, yet, notwithstanding the accident and the bad climate, was still
a fine -looking man. Lady Holland 4 pressed me to stay all night,
which I did accordingly.

May 18. The freshness of the air, the singing of the birds, the
beautiful aspect of nature, the size of the venerable trees, all gave me
a delightful feeling this morning. It seemed there was pleasure even
in living and breathing, without anything else. We (i.e. Rogers and
I) wandered into a green lane bordered with fine trees, which might
have been twenty miles from a town. It will be a great pity when
this ancient house must come down and give way to brick works and
brick-houses. It is not that Holland House is fine as a building ; on

1 Mr. Ellis, afterwards created Baron Dover, Lockhart says the young lady was Miss Shel-

was the author of Historical Inquiries into the ley, who became iu 1834 the Hon. Mrs. George

Character of Lord Clarendon. 8vo, Lond. 1827. Edgcumbe.

Scott had dined at Holland House in 180C,

* Sir F. Chantrey was at this time executing but in conse q ueu ce of some remarks by Lord

his second bust of Sir Walter that ordered by Hol | and in the House of Lords iu 1810, on

bir Robert Peel, and which is now at Draytou. Thomas Scott's affairs, there had apparently

* L - been no renewal of the acquaintanceship until

Lady Shelley of Maresneld Park. Mr. now.



1828.] JOURNAL 395

the contrary, it has a tumble -down look; and, although decorated
with the bastard Gothic of James i.'s time, the front is heavy. But
it resembles many respectable matrons, who, having been absolutely
ugly during youth, acquire by age an air of dignity ; though one is
chiefly affected by the air of deep seclusion which is spread around
the domain. I called on Mr. Peel as I returned home, and after that
on Lord Melville. The latter undertook for Allan Cunningham's son's
cadetship, for which I am right glad.

Dined at Mr. and Lady Sarah Ponsonby's, who called on us last
year at Abbotsford. The party was very pleasant, having Lord and
Lady Gower, whom I like, Mr. and Lady Georgiana Ellis, and other
persons of distinction. Saw Wordsworth too, and learned that Tom
Moore was come to town.

May 1 9. A morning of business. Breakfasted with Dumergue
and one or two friends. Dined by command with the Duchess of
Kent. I was very kindly recognised by Prince Leopold. I was pre-
sented to the little Princess Victoria, I hope they will change her
name, the heir apparent to the Crown as things now stand. How
strange that so large and fine a family as that of his late Majesty
should have died off and decayed into old age with so few descend-
ants ! Prince George of Cumberland is, they say, a fine boy about
nine years old a bit of a pickle, swears and romps like a brat that
has been bred in a barrack yard. This little lady is educated with
much care, and watched so closely by the Duchess and the principal
governess, that no busy maid has a moment to whisper, " You are
heir of England." I suspect if we could dissect the little head, we
should find that some pigeon or other bird of the air had carried the
matter. She is fair, like the Royal Family, but does not look as if
she would be pretty. The Duchess herself is very pleasing and affa-
ble in her manners. I sat by Mr. Spring Rice, a very agreeable man.
He is a great leader among the Pro-Catholics. I saw also Charles
Wynn and his lady and the evening, for a Court evening, went agree-
ably off. I am commanded for two days by Prince Leopold, but will
send excuses.

May 20. I set out for Brighton this morning in a light coach,
which performed the distance in six hours otherwise the journey
was uncomfortable. Three women, the very specimens of woman-
kind, I mean trumpery, a child who was sick, but afterwards
looked and smiled, and was the only thing like company. The road
is pleasant enough till it gets into the Wealds of Sussex, a huge suc-
cession of green downs which sweep along the sea-coast for many
miles. Brighton seems grown twice as large since 1815. It is a city
of loiterers and invalids a Vanity Fair for pipers, dancing of bears,
and for the feats of Mr. Punch. I found all my family well except-
ing the poor pale Johnnie ; and he is really a thing to break one's
heart by looking at yet he is better. The rest are in high kelter.

My old friend Will Rose dined with us, also a Doctor Yates and



396 JOURNAL [MAY

his wife the Esculapius of Brighton, who seems a sensible man. I
was entertained with the empire he exerted over him as protector of
his health. I was very happy to find myself at Sophia's quiet table,
and am only sorry that I must quit her so soon.

May 21. This being a fine day, we made some visits in the
morning, in the course of which I waited on Mrs. Davies, sister of
Mrs. Charlotte Smith, 1 and herself the author of the Peacock at Home,
one of the prettiest and liveliest jeux <F esprit in our language. She
is a fine stately old lady not a bit of a literary person, I mean hav-
ing none of the affectation of it, but like a lady of considerable rank.
I am glad I have seen her. Renewed my acquaintance with Lady
Charlotte Hamilton, nee Lady Charlotte Hume, and talked over some
stories thirty years old at least. We then took a fly, as they call the
light carriages, and drove as far as the Devil's Ditch. A rampart it
is of great strength and depth, enclosing, I presume, the precincts of
a British town that must have held 30,000 men at least. I could not
discover where they got water.

We got home at four, and dined at five, and smoked cigars till
eight. Will Rose came in with his man Hinvaes, 8 who is as much a
piece of Rose as Trim was of Uncle Toby. We laughed over tales
" both old and new " till ten o'clock came, and then broke up.

May 22. Left Brighton this morning with a heavy heart. I'.-ur
Johnnie looks so very poorly that I cannot but regard his case as
desperate, and then God help the child's parents ! Amen !

We took the whole of one of the post-coaches, and so came rap-
idly to town, Sophia coming along with us about a new servant.
This enabled me to dine with Mr. Adolphus, the celebrated barrister,
the father to my young friend who wrote so like a gentleman on my
matters. 3 I met Mr. Xjrurney, Archdeacon Wrangham, and a lawver
or two besides. I may be partial, but the conversation of intelligent
barristers amuses me more than that of other professional persons.
There is more of real life in it, with which, in all its phases, people
of business get so well acquainted. Mr. Adolphus is a man of varied

1 See Miscellaneous Prose Works,\o\. iv. p. 20. more, a poem by the same "author," accept of

2 David Hinves, Mr. W. Stewart Rose's faith- this corrected copy of Cliristabel as a small to
ful and affectionate attendant, furnished Scott ken of regard ; yet such a testimonial as I
with some hints for his picture of Davie Gel- would not pay to any one I did not esteem,
liitly in Wavertey. though he were an emperor.

Mr. Lockhart tells us that Hinves was more " Be assured I will send you for your private

than forty years in Mr. Rose's service; he had library every work I have published (if thru-

been a bookbinder by trade and a preacher be any to be had) and whatever I shall pub-

among the Methodists. lish. "Keep steady to the FAITH. If the fouut-

"A sermon heard casually under a tree in aiuhcad be always full, the stream cannot be

the New Forest contained such touches of good long empty. Yours sincerely, S. T. COLKKIDGE.

feeling and broad humour that Rose promoted >< n jvwm4r, 1816, Mudford.'"

the preacher to be his valet on the spot. He ^f e vo [ j v 'pp 397-8

was treated more like a friend than a servant Staves died in Mr. Rose's service circa 1838,

by his master and by all his master s intimate am , big master fo)Iowed him on tne 30th Apri i

friends. Scott presented him with all his 1843 a few weeks aftur his friend Morritt
works; and Coleridge gave him a corrected (or

rather an altered) copy of Christabel with this * An analysis of these letters was published

inscription on the fly-leaf: 'Dear Hinves, by Mr. Lockhart in the Life, vol vi. pp. 340-

Till this book is concluded, and with it Gundi- 380.



1828.] JOURNAL 397

information, and very amusing. He told me a gipsy told him of the
success he should have in life, and how it would be endangered by
his own heat of temper, alluding, I believe, to a quarrel betwixt him
and a brother barrister.

May 23. I breakfasted with Chantrey, and met the celebrated
Coke of Norfolk, 1 a very pleasing man, who gave me some account
of his plantations. I understand from him that, like every wise man,
he planted land that would not let for 5s. per acre, but which now
produces 3000 a year in wood. He talked of the trees which he
had planted as being so thick that a man could not fathom 2 them.
Withers, he said, was never employed save upon one or two small
jobs of about twenty acres on which every expense was bestowed
with a view to early growth. So much for Withers. I shall have a
rod in pickle for him if worth while. 3 After sitting to Chantrey for
the last time, I called on Lady Shelley, P. P. C., and was sorry to find
her worse than she had been. Dined with Lady Stafford, where I
met the two Lochs, John and James. The former gave me his prom-
ise for a cadetship to Allan Cunningham's son ; I have a similar
promise from Lord Melville, and thus I am in the situation in which
I have been at Gladdies Wiel, 4 where I have caught two trouts, one
with the fly, the other with the bobber. I have landed both, and so
I will now. Mr. Loch also promised me to get out Shortreed as a
free mariner. Tom Grenville was at dinner.

May 24. This day we dined at Richmond Park with Lord Sid-
mouth. Before dinner his Lordship showed me letters which passed
between the great Lord Chatham and Dr. Addington, Lord Sidmouth's
[father]. There was much of that familiar friendship which arises,
and must arise, between an invalid, the head of an invalid family,
and their medical adviser, supposing the last to be a wise and well-
bred man. The character of Lord Chatham's handwriting is strong
and bold, and his expressions short and manly. There are intima-
tions of his partiality for William, whose health seems to have been
precarious during boyhood. He talks of William imitating him in
all he did, and calling for ale because his father was recommended
to drink it. " If I should smoke," he said, " William would instantly
call for a pipe ;" and, he wisely infers, " I must take care what I do."
The letters of the late William Pitt are of great curiosity, but as, like
all real letters of business, they only allude to matters with which
his correspondent is well acquainted, and do not enter into details,
they would require an ample commentary. I hope Lord Sidmouth

1 Created Earl of Leicester .in 1837. "burning the water" in company with Hogg

2 It is worth noting that Sir Walter first and Laidlaw. Hogg records that the crazy-
wrote " grasp "and then deleted the word in coble went to the bottom while Scott was
favour of the technical term " fathom." shouting

3 W. Withers had just published a Letter to , .

Sir Walter Scott exposing certain fundamental , *\ e n ihf t^ow!? '

errors in his late Essay on Planting, Holt:

Norfolk, 1828. The scene was not forgotten when he came to

4 A deep pool in the Tweed, in which Scott write the twenty-sixth chapter of Guy Man-
had had a singular nocturnal adventure while wring.



398 JOURNAL [MAY

will supply this, and have urged it as much as I can. I think, though
I hate letters and abominate interference, I will write to him on this
subject.

I have bought a certain quantity of reprints from a bookseller in
Chancery Lane, Pickering by name. I urged him to print the con-
troversy between Greene and the Harveys. He wished me to write
a third part to a fine edition of Cotton's Angler, for which I am quite
incompetent. 1

I met at Richmond my old and much esteemed friend Lord Stow-
cll, a looking very frail and even comatose. Quantum mutatus ! He
was one of the pleasantest men I ever knew.

Respecting the letters, I picked up from those of Pitt that he was
always extremely desirous of peace with France, and even reckoned
upon it at a moment when he ought to have despaired. I suspect
this false view of the state of France (for such it was), which in-
duced the British Minister to look for peace when there was no
chance of it, damped his ardour in maintaining the war. He wanted
the lofty ideas of his father you read it in his handwriting, great
statesman as he was. I saw a letter or two of Burke's in which there
is an epanchement du coeur not visible in those of Pitt, who writes like
a Premier to his colleague. Burke was under the strange hallucina-
tion that his son, who predeceased him, was a man of greater talents
than himself. On the contrary, he had little talent and no resolu-
tion. On moving some resolutions in favour of the Catholics, which
were ill-received by the House of Commons, young Burke actually
ran away, which an Orangeman compared to a cross-reading in the
newspapers : Yesterday the Catholic resolutions were moved, etc.,
but, the pistol missing fire, the villains ran off 1

May 25. After a morning of letter-writing, leave-taking, papers
destroying, and God knows what trumpery, Sophia and I set out for
Hampton Court, carrying with us the following lions and lionesses
Samuel Rogers, Tom Moore, Wordsworth, with wife and daughter.
We were very kindly and properly received by Walter and his wife,
and a very pleasant party.'

May 26. An awful confusion with paying of bills, writing of
cards, and all species of trumpery business. Southey, who is just
come to town, breakfasted with us. He looks, I think, but poorly,
but it may be owing to family misfortune. One is always tempted
to compare Wordsworth and Southey. The latter is unquestionably
the greater scholar I mean possesses the most extensive stock of

1 This refers to the splendid edition of Wai- ton (where we found the Wordsworths), walked

ton and Cotton, edited by Nicolas, and illus- about, the whole party in the gay walk where

trated by Stothard and Inskipp, published in the band plays, to the infinite delight of the

1836 after nearly ten years' preparation, in two Hampton bluet, who were all eyes after Scott,

vols. large 8vo. The other scribblers not corning in for a glance.

Sir William Scott, Lord Stowell, died 28th T hc dinner odd; but being near Scott I found

Jamiarv IRSfi aporl ninptr it agreeable, and was delighted to see him so

January, 1836, aged hap y ^jg hjg ^ gQn> ^ Major> ,, ctc ^ eta

Moore writes: "On our arrival at Hamp- Diary, vol. v. p. 287.



1828.] JOURNAL 399

information, but there is a freshness, vivacity, and spring about Words-
worth's rnind, which, if we may compare two men of uncommon
powers, shows more originality. I say nothing of their poetry.
Wordsworth has a system which disposes him to take the bull by
the horns and offend public taste, which, right or wrong, will always
be the taste of the public ; yet he could be popular if he would,
witness the Feast at Brougham Castle, Song of the Cliffords, I think,
is the name.

I walked down to call, with Rogers, on Mrs. D'Arblay. She
showed me some notes which she was making about her novels,
which she induced me to believe had been recollected and jotted
down in compliance with my suggestions on a former occasion. It
is curious how she contrived to get Evelina printed and published
without her father's knowledge. Her brother placed it in the hands
of one Lowndes, who, after its success, bought it for 20! ! ! and had
the magnanimity to add 10 the price, I think, of Paradise Lost.
One of her sisters betrayed the secret to her father, who then eager-
ly lent his ears to hear what was said of the new novel, and the first
opinion which saluted his delighted ears was the voice of Johnson
energetically recommending it to the perusal of Mrs. Thrale. 1

At parting, Rogers gave me a gold-mounted pair of glasses, which
I will not part with in a hurry. I really like Rogers, and have always
found him most friendly. After many petty delays we set off at last
and reached Bushy Grove to dine with my kind and worthy family
friend and relative, David Haliburton. I am delighted to find him in
all the enjoyment of life, with the vivacity of youth in his sentiments
and enjoyments. Mr. and Mrs. Campbell Marjoribanks are the only
company here, with Miss Parker.

May 27. Well, my retreat from London is now accomplished,
and I may fairly balance the advantage and loss of this London trip.
It has cost me a good deal of money, and Johnnie's illness has taken
away much of the pleasure I had promised myself. But if I can
judge from the reception I have met with, I have the pleasure to know
that I stand as fair with the public, and as high with my personal
friends, as in any period of my life. And this has enabled me to for-
ward the following objects to myself and others :

1st. I have been able to place Lockart on the right footing in
the right quarter, leaving the improvement of his place of vantage to
himself as circumstances should occur.

2d. I have put the Chancery suit in the right train, which without
me could not have been done.'



1 The author of Evelina died at Bath in 1840, copyright. This was the year in which Wa-
al the age of eighty eight. Subsequent to this verley appeared, for the copyright of which
meeting with Scott she published memoirs of Constable did not see his way to offer more
her father, Dr. Burney (in 1832). It is stated than 700.
that for her novel Camilla, published in 179G,

she received a subscription of 3000 guineas, 2 This item refers to money which had be-

and for the Wanderer, in 1814, 1500 for the longed to Lady Scott's parents.



400 JOURNAL [MAY

3d. I picked up some knowledge of the state of existing matters,
which is interesting and may be useful.

4th. I have succeeded in helping to get a commission for James
Skene.

5th. I have got two cadetships for the sons of Allan Cunning-
ham.

6th. I have got leave to Andrew Shortreed to go out to India.

7th. I have put John Eckford into correspondence with Mr. Loch,
who thinks he can do something for his claim.

8th. I have been of material assistance to poor Terry in his affairs.

9th. I have effectually protected my Darnick neighbours and my-
self against the New Road Bill.

Other advantages there are. besides the great one of scouring up
one's own mind a little and renewing intercourse with old friends,
bringing one's-self nearer in short to the currency of the time.

All this may weigh against the expenditure of 200 or 250,
when money is fortunately not very scarce with me.

We went out for a most agreeable drive through the Hertford-
shire Lanes a strange intricate combination of narrow roads passing
through the country, winding and turning among oaks and other large;
timber, just like path-ways cut through a forest. They wind and turn
in so singular a manner, and resemble each other so much, that a
stranger would have difficulty to make way amongst them. We vis-
ited Moor Park (not the house of Sir William Temple, but that
where the Duke and Duchess of Monmouth lived). Having rather
a commanding situation, you look down on the valley, which, being
divided into small enclosures bordered with wood, resembles a forest
when so looked down on. The house has a handsome entrance-hall,
painted by Sir James Thornhill, in a very French tastc,.yet handsome.
He was Hogarth's father-in-law, and not easily reconciled to the
match. Thornhill's paintings are certainly not of the first class, \ <(
the practice of painting the walls and roof of a dwelling-house gives,
in my eyes, a warm and rich air to the apartments. Lord Grosvenor
has now bought this fine place, once Lord Anson's hence the Moor
Park apricot is also called Ansoniana. After seeing Moor Park we
went to the Grove, the Earl of Clarendon's country-seat. The house
looks small and of little consequence, but contains many good por-
traits, as I was told, of the Hyde family. 1 The park has fine views
and magnificent trees.

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,

1 It contains half of Chancellor Clarendon's famous collection the other half is at Bothwell
Castle.



1828.] JOURNAL 401

Unlike the burns
From Highland urns
That dance by crag and brae."

Borth wick-brae 1 came to dinner from town, and we had a very pleas-
ant 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 Mr. Weare.

The place has the strongest title to the description of Words-
worth :

"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



Online LibraryWalter ScottThe journal of Sir Walter Scott, from the original manuscript at Abbotsford → online text (page 49 of 76)