January 1.—A year has passed—another has commenced. These solemn
divisions of time influence our feelings as they recur. Yet there is
nothing in it; for every day in the year closes a twelvemonth as well as
the 31st December. The latter is only the solemn pause, as when a guide,
showing a wild and mountainous road, calls on a party to pause and look
back at the scenes which they have just passed. To me this new year
opens sadly. There are these troublesome pecuniary difficulties, which
however, I think, this week should end. There is the absence of all my
children, Anne excepted, from our little family festival. There is,
besides, that ugly report of the 15th Hussars going to India. Walter, I
suppose, will have some step in view, and will go, and I fear Jane will
not dissuade him.
A hard, frosty day—cold, but dry and pleasant under foot. Walked into
the plantations with Anne and Anne Russell. A thought strikes me,
alluding to this period of the year. People say that the whole human
frame in all its parts and divisions is gradually in the act of decaying
and renewing. What a curious timepiece it would be that could indicate
to us the moment this gradual and insensible change had so completely
taken place, that no atom was left of the original person who had
existed at a certain period, but there existed in his stead another
person having the same limbs, thews, and sinews, the same face and
lineaments, the same consciousness—a new ship built on an old plank—a
pair of transmigrated stockings, like those of Sir John Cutler, 
all green silk, without one thread of the original black silk left!
Singular—to be at once another and the same.
The parsimonious yet liberal London merchant, whose
miserly habits gave Arbuthnot the materials of the story. See Professor
Brown's Lectures on the Philosophy of the Human Mind, vol i. p. 244,
and Martin Scriblerns, cap. xii., Pope, vol. iv. p. 54, Edin. 1776.
January 2.—Weather clearing up in Edinburgh once more, and all will,
I believe, do well. I am pressed to get on with Woodstock, and must
try. I wish I could open a good vein of interest which would breathe
freely. I must take my old way, and write myself into good-humour with
my task. It is only when I dally with what I am about, look back, and
aside, instead of keeping my eyes straight forward, that I feel these
cold sinkings of the heart. All men I suppose do, less or more. They are
like the sensation of a sailor when the ship is cleared for action, and
all are at their places—gloomy enough; but the first broadside puts all
to rights. Dined at Huntly Burn with the Fergusons en masse.
January 3.—Promises a fair day, and I think the progress of my
labours will afford me a little exercise, which I greatly need to help
off the calomel feeling. Walked with Colonel Russell from eleven till
two—the first good day's exercise I have had since coming here. We went
through all the Terrace, the Roman Planting,  over by the Stiel and
Haxellcleuch, and so by the Rhymer's Glen to Chiefswood,  which gave
my heart a twinge, so disconsolate it seemed. Yet all is for the best.
Called at Huntly Burn, and shook hands with Sir Adam and his Lady just
going off. When I returned, signed the bond for £10,000, which will
disencumber me of all pressing claims;  when I get forward W——k
and Nap. there will be £12,000 and upwards, and I hope to add £3000
against this time next year, or the devil must hold the dice. J.B.
writes me seriously on the carelessness of my style. I do not think I am
more careless than usual; but I dare say he is right. I will be more
This plantation now covers the remains of an old Roman
road from the Great Camp on the Eildon Hills to the ford below Scott's
January 4.—Despatched the deed yesterday executed. Mr. and Mrs.
Skene, my excellent friends, came to us from Edinburgh. Skene,
distinguished for his attainments as a draughtsman, and for his highly
gentlemanlike feelings and character, is Laird of Rubislaw, near
Aberdeen. Having had an elder brother, his education was somewhat
neglected in early life, against which disadvantage he made a most
gallant [fight], exerting himself much to obtain those accomplishments
which he has since possessed. Admirable in all exercises, there entered
a good deal of the cavalier into his early character. Of late he has
given himself much to the study of antiquities. His wife, a most
excellent person, was tenderly fond of Sophia. They bring so much
old-fashioned kindness and good-humour with them, besides the
recollections of other times, that they must be always welcome guests.
Letter from Mr. Scrope,  announcing a visit.
The residence for several years of Mr. and Mrs.
When settling his estate on his eldest son, Sir Walter
had retained the power of burdening it with £10,000 for behoof of his
younger children; he now raised the sum for the assistance of the
struggling firms.—J.G.L. See Dec. 14, 1825.
William Scrope, author of Days of Deer Stalking, roy.
8vo, 1839; and Days and Nights of Salmon Fishing, roy. 8vo, 1843; died
in his 81st year in 1852. Mr. Lockhart says of this enthusiastic
sportsman that at this time "he had a lease of Lord Somerville's
pavilion opposite Melrose, and lived on terms of affectionate intimacy
with Sir Walter Scott."
January 5.—Got the desired accommodation with Coutts, which will put
J.B. quite straight, but am a little anxious still about Constable. He
has immense stock, to be sure, and most valuable, but he may have
sacrifices to make to convert a large proportion of it into ready money.
The accounts from London are most disastrous. Many wealthy persons
totally ruined, and many, many more have been obliged to purchase their
safety at a price they will feel all their lives. I do not hear things
are so bad in Edinburgh; and J.B.'s business has been transacted by the
banks with liberality.
Colonel Russell told us last night that the last of the Moguls, a
descendant of Kubla-Khan, though having no more power than his effigies
at the back of a set of playing-cards, refused to meet Lord Hastings,
because the Governor-General would not agree to remain standing in his
presence. Pretty well for the blood of Timur in these degenerate days!
Much alarmed. I had walked till twelve with Skene and Col. Russell, and
then sat down to my work. To my horror and surprise I could neither
write nor spell, but put down one word for another, and wrote nonsense.
I was much overpowered at the same time, and could not conceive the
reason. I fell asleep, however, in my chair, and slept for two hours. On
waking my head was clearer, and I began to recollect that last night I
had taken the anodyne left for the purpose by Clarkson, and being
disturbed in the course of the night, I had not slept it off.
Obliged to give up writing to-day—read Pepys instead. The Scotts of
Harden were to have dined, but sent an apology,—storm coming on.
Russells left us this morning to go to Haining.
January 6.—This seems to be a feeding storm, coming on by little and
little. Wrought all day, and dined quiet. My disorder is wearing off,
and the quiet society of the Skenes suits with my present humour. I
really thought I was in for some very bad illness. Curious expression of
an Indian-born boy just come from Bengal, a son of my cousin George
Swinton. The child saw a hare run across the fields, and exclaimed,
"See, there is a little tiger!"
January 7, Sunday.—Knight, a young artist, son of the performer,
came to paint my picture at the request of Terry. This is very far from
being agreeable, as I submitted to this distressing state of constraint
last year to Newton, at request of Lockhart; to Leslie at request of my
American friend;  to Wilkie, for his picture of the King's arrival
at Holyrood House; and some one besides. I am as tired of the operation
as old Maida, who had been so often sketched that he got up and went
away with signs of loathing whenever he saw an artist unfurl his paper
and handle his brushes. But this young man is civil and modest; and I
have agreed he shall sit in the room while I work, and take the best
likeness he can, without compelling me into fixed attitudes or the
yawning fatigues of an actual sitting. I think, if he has talent, he may
do more my way than in the customary mode; at least I can't have the
hang-dog look which the unfortunate Theseus has who is doomed to sit for
what seems an eternity. 
Mr. George Ticknor of Boston. He saw much of Scott and
his family in the spring of 1819 in Edinburgh and at Abbotsford; and was
again in Scotland in 1838. Both visits are well described in his
journals, published in Boston in 1876.
I wrought till two o'clock—indeed till I was almost nervous with
correcting and scribbling. I then walked, or rather was dragged, through
the snow by Tom Purdie, while Skene accompanied. What a blessing there
is in a man like Tom, whom no familiarity can spoil, whom you may scold
and praise and joke with, knowing the quality of the man is unalterable
in his love and reverence to his master. Use an ordinary servant in the
same way and he will be your master in a month. We should thank God for
the snow as well as summer flowers. This brushing exercise has put all
my nerves into tone again, which were really jarred with fatigue until
my very backbone seemed breaking. This comes of trying to do too much.
J.B.'s news are as good as possible.—Prudence, prudence, and all will
Mrs. Lockhart was of opinion that Leslie's portrait of her father was
the best extant, "and nothing equals it except Chantrey's
bust."—Ticknor's Life, vol. i. p. 107.
Leslie himself thought Chantrey's was the best of all the portraits.
"The gentle turn of the head, inclined a little forward and down, and
the lurking humour in the eye and about the mouth, are Scott's
own."—Autobiographical Recollections of Leslie, edited by Taylor,
vol. i. p. 118.
... sedet, eternumque sedebit Infelix Theseus ...
January 8.—Frost and snow still. Write to excuse myself from
attending the funeral of my aunt, Mrs. Curle, which takes place
to-morrow at Kelso. She was a woman of the old Sandy-Knowe breed, with
the strong sense, high principle, and indifferent temper which belonged
to my father's family. She lived with great credit on a moderate income,
and, I believe, gave away a great deal of it. 
In a letter of this date to his sister-in-law, Mrs.
Thomas Scott, Sir Walter says:—"Poor aunt Curle died like a Roman, or
rather like one of the Sandy-Knowe bairns, the most stoical race I ever
knew. She turned every one out of the room, and drew her last breath
alone. So did my uncle, Captain Robert Scott, and several others of that
January 9.—Mathews the comedian and his son came to spend a day at
Abbotsford. The last is a clever young man, with much of his father's
talent for mimicry. Rather forward though.  Mr. Scrope also came
out, which fills our house.
See letter addressed by C.J. Mathews to his mother, in
which he says, "I took particular notice of everything in the room (Sir
Walter's sanctum), and if he had left me there, should certainly have
read all his notes." Memoirs, edited by Dickens, 2 vols., London,
1879, vol. i. p. 284.
January 10.—Bodily health, the mainspring of the microcosm, seems
quite restored. No more flinching or nervous fits, but the sound mind in
the sound body. What poor things does a fever-fit or an overflowing of
the bile make of the masters of creation!
The snow begins to fall thick this morning—
"The landlord then aloud did say,
As how he wished they would go away."
To have our friends shut up here would be rather too much of a good
The day cleared up and was very pleasant. Had a good walk and looked at
the curling. Mr. Mathews made himself very amusing in the evening. He
has the good-nature to show his accomplishments without pressing, and
without the appearance of feeling pain. On the contrary, I dare say he
enjoys the pleasure he communicates.
January 11.—I got proof-sheets, in which it seems I have repeated a
whole passage of history which had been told before. James is in an
awful stew, and I cannot blame him; but then he should consider the
hyoscyamus which I was taking, and the anxious botheration about the
money-market. However, as Chaucer says:—
"There is na workeman
That can bothe worken wel and hastilie;
This must be done at leisure parfitly." 
Merchant's Tale, lines 9706-8, slightly altered.
January 12.—Mathews last night gave us a very perfect imitation of
old Cumberland, who carried the poetic jealousy and irritability further
than any man I ever saw. He was a great flatterer too, the old rogue.
Will Erskine used to admire him. I think he wanted originality. A very
high-bred man in point of manners in society.
My little artist, Knight, gets on better with his portrait—the features
are, however, too pinched, I think.
Upon the whole, the days pass pleasantly enough—work till one or two,
then an hour or two's walk in the snow, then lighter work, or reading.
Late dinner, and singing or chat in the evening. Mathews has really all
the will, as well as the talent, to be amusing. He confirms my idea of
ventriloquism (which is an absurd word), as being merely the art of
imitating sounds at a greater or less distance, assisted by some little
points of trick to influence the imagination of the audience—the vulgar
idea of a peculiar organisation (beyond fineness of ear and of
utterance) is nonsense.
January 13.—Our party are about to disperse—
"Like youthful steers unyoked, east, north, and south." 
2 King Henry IV., Act iv. Sc. 2.—J.G.L.
I am not sorry, being one of those whom too much mirth always inclines
to sadness. The missing so many of my own family, together with the
serious inconveniences to which I have been exposed, gave me at present
a desire to be alone. The Skenes return to Edinburgh, so does Mr.
Scrope—item, the little artist; Mathews to Newcastle; his son to
Liverpool. So exeunt omnes. 
"I had long been in the habit of passing the Christmas
with Sir Walter in the country, when he had great pleasure in assembling
what he called 'a fireside party,' where he was always disposed to
indulge in the free and unrestrained outpouring of his cheerful and
convivial disposition. Upon one of these occasions the Comedian Mathews
and his son were at Abbotsford, and most entertaining they were, giving
us a full display of all their varied powers in scenic representations,
narrations, songs, ventriloquism, and frolic of every description, as
well as a string of most amusing anecdote, connected with the
professional adventures of the elder, and the travels of the son, who
seemed as much a genius as his father. He has never appeared on the
stage, although abundantly fit to distinguish himself in that
department, but has taken to the profession of architecture.
Notwithstanding that the snow lay pretty deep on the ground, Sir Walter,
old Mathews, and myself set out with the deerhounds and terriers to have
a large range through the woods and high grounds; and a most amusing
excursion it was, from the difficulties which Mathews, unused to that
sort of scrambling, had to encounter, being also somewhat lame from an
accident he had met with in being thrown out of a gig,—the
good-humoured manner with which each of my two lame companions strove to
get over the bad passes, their jokes upon it, alternately shouting for
my assistance to help them through, and with all the liveliness of their
conversation, as every anecdote which one told was in emulation tried to
be outdone by the other by some incident equally if not more
entertaining,—and it may be well supposed that the healthful exercise
of a walk of this description disposed every one to enjoy the festivity
which was to close the day."—Mr. Skene's Reminiscences.
Mathews assures me that Sheridan was generally very dull in society, and
sate sullen and silent, swallowing glass after glass, rather a hindrance
than a help. But there was a time when he broke out with a resumption of
what had been going on, done with great force, and generally attacking
some person in the company, or some opinion which he had expressed. I
never saw Sheridan but in large parties. He had a Bardolph countenance,
with heavy features, but his eye possessed the most distinguished
brilliancy. Mathews says it is very simple in Tom Moore to admire how
Sheridan came by the means of paying the price of Drury Lane Theatre,
when all the world knows he never paid it at all; and that Lacy, who
sold it, was reduced to want by his breach of faith.  Dined quiet
with Anne, Lady Scott, and Gordon.
See Moore's Life of Sheridan, vol. i. p. 191. This work
was published late in 1825.—J.G.L.
January 14.—An odd mysterious letter from Constable, who is gone post
to London, to put something to rights which is wrong betwixt them, their
banker, and another moneyed friend. It strikes me to be that sort of
letter which I have seen men write when they are desirous that their
disagreeable intelligence should be rather apprehended than avowed. I
thought he had been in London a fortnight ago, disposing of property to
meet this exigence, and so I think he should. Well, I must have
patience. But these terrors and frights are truly annoying. Luckily the
funny people are gone, and I shall not have the task of grinning when I
am serious enough. Dined as yesterday.
A letter from J.B. mentioning Constable's journey, but without
expressing much, if any, apprehension. He knows C. well, and saw him
before his departure, and makes no doubt of his being able easily to
extricate whatever may be entangled. I will not, therefore, make myself
uneasy. I can help doing so surely, if I will. At least, I have given up
cigars since the year began, and have now no wish to return to the
habit, as it is called. I see no reason why one should not be able to
vanquish, with God's assistance, these noxious thoughts which foretell
evil but cannot remedy it.
January 15.—Like yesterday, a hard frost. Thermometer at 10; water in
my dressing-room frozen to flint; yet I had a fine walk yesterday, the
sun dancing delightfully on "grim Nature's visage hoar."  Were it
not the plague of being dragged along by another person, I should like
such weather as well as summer; but having Tom Purdie to do this office
reconciles me to it. I cannot cleik with John, as old Mrs. Mure [of
Caldwell] used to say. I mean, that an ordinary menial servant thus
hooked to your side reminds me of the twin bodies mentioned by
Pitscottie, being two trunks on the same waist and legs. One died before
the other, and remained a dead burden on the back of its companion. 
Such is close union with a person whom you cannot well converse with,
and whose presence is yet indispensable to your getting on. An actual
companion, whether humble or your equal, is still worse. But Tom Purdie
is just the thing, kneaded up between the friend and servant, as well as
Uncle Toby's bowling-green between sand and clay. You are certain he is
proud as well as patient under his burthen, and you are under no more
constraint than with a pony. I must ride him to-day if the weather holds
up. Meantime I will correct that curious fellow Pepys' Diary,—I mean
the article I have made of it for the Quarterly.
Edinburgh, January 16.—Came through cold roads to as cold news. Hurst
and Robinson have suffered a bill of £1000 to come back upon Constable,
which I suppose infers the ruin of both houses. We shall soon see.
Constable, it seems, who was to have set off in the last week of
December, dawdled here till in all human probability his going or
staying became a matter of mighty little consequence. He could not be
there till Monday night, and his resources must have come too late.
Dined with the Skenes. 
Lindsay's Chronicles of Scotland 2 vols. Edin. 1814,
Mr. Skene in his Reminiscences says:—"The family had
been at Abbotsford, and it had long been their practice the day they
came to town to take a family dinner at my house, which had accordingly
been complied with upon the present occasion, and I never had seen Sir
Walter in better spirits or more agreeable. The fatal intimation of his
bankruptcy, however, awaited him at home, and next morning early I was
surprised by a verbal message to come to him as soon as I had got up.
Fearful that he had got a fresh attack of the complaint from which he
had now for some years been free, or that he had been involved in some
quarrel, I went to see him by seven o'clock, and found him already by
candle-light seated at his writing-table, surrounded by papers which he
was examining, holding out his hand to me as I entered, he said, "Skene,
this is the hand of a beggar. Constable has failed, and I am ruined de
fond en comble. It's a hard blow, but I must just bear up; the only
thing which wrings me is poor Charlotte and the bairns.""
January 17.—James Ballantyne this morning—good honest fellow, with a
visage as black as the crook.  He hopes no salvation; has indeed
taken measures to stop. It is hard, after having fought such a battle.
Have apologised for not attending the Royal Society Club, who have a
gaudeamus on this day, and seemed to count much on my being the
Crook. The chain and hook hanging from the crook-tree
over the fire in Scottish cottages.
My old acquaintance, Miss Elizabeth Clerk, sister of Willie, died
suddenly. I cannot choose but wish it had been S.W.S., and yet the
feeling is unmanly. I have Anne, my wife, and Charles to look after. I
felt rather sneaking as I came home from the Parliament House—felt as
if I were liable monstrari digito in no very pleasant way. But this
must be borne cum caeteris; and, thank God, however uncomfortable, I
do not feel despondent.
I have seen Cadell, Ballantyne, and Hogarth. All advise me to execute a
trust of my property for payment of my obligations. So does John
Gibson,  and so I resolve to do. My wife and daughter are gloomy,
but yet patient. I trust by my hold on the works to make it every man's
interest to be very gentle with me. Cadell makes it plain that by
prudence they will, in six months, realise £20,000, which can be
attainable by no effort of their own.
[Sir Walter's private law-agent.] Mr. John Gibson, Junr.,
W.S., Mr. James Jollie, W.S., and Mr. Alexander Monypenny, W.S., were
the three gentlemen who ultimately agreed to take charge, as trustees,
of Sir Walter Scott's affairs; and certainly no gentlemen ever acquitted
themselves of such an office in a manner more honourable to themselves,
or more satisfactory to a client and his creditors.—J.G.L. Mr. Gibson
wrote a little volume of Reminiscences of Scott, which was published
in 1871. This old friend died in 1879. "In the month of January 1826,"
says Mr. Gibson, "Sir Walter called upon me, and explained how matters
stood with the two houses referred to, adding that he himself was a
partner in one of them—that bills were falling due and dishonoured—and
that some immediate arrangement was indispensably necessary. In such
circumstances, only two modes of proceeding could be thought of—either
that he should avail himself of the Bankrupt Act, and allow his estate
to be sequestrated, or that he should execute a trust conveyance for
behoof of his creditors. The latter course was preferred for various
reasons, but chiefly out of regard for his own feeling."
Reminiscences, p. 12. See entry in Journal under Jan. 24.
January 18.—He that sleeps too long in the morning, let him borrow
the pillow of a debtor. So says the Spaniard, and so say I. I had of
course an indifferent night of it. I wish these two days were over; but
the worst is over. The Bank of Scotland has behaved very well;
expressing a resolution to serve Constable's house and me to the
uttermost; but as no one can say to what extent Hurst and Robinson's
failure may go, borrowing would but linger it out.
January 19.—During yesterday I received formal visits from my
friends, Skene and Colin Mackenzie (who, I am glad to see, looks well),
with every offer of service. The Royal Bank also sent Sir John Hope and
Sir Henry Jardine  to offer to comply with my wishes. The Advocate
came on the same errand. But I gave all the same answer—that my
intention was to put the whole into the hands of a trustee, and to be
contented with the event, and that all I had to ask was time to do so,
and to extricate my affairs. I was assured of every accommodation in
this way. From all quarters I have had the same kindness. Letters from
Constable and Robinson have arrived. The last persist in saying they
will pay all and everybody. They say, moreover, in a postscript, that
had Constable been in town ten days sooner, all would have been well.
When I saw him on 24th December, he proposed starting in three days, but
dallied, God knows why, in a kind of infatuation, I think, till things
had got irretrievably wrong. There would have been no want of support
then, and his stock under his own management would have made a return
immensely greater than it can under any other. Now I fear the loss
must be great, as his fall will involve many of the country dealers who
traded with him.
Sir John Hope of Pinkie and Craighall, 11th Baronet; Sir
Henry Jardine, King's Remembrancer from 1820 to 1837; and Sir William
Rae, Lord Advocate, son of Lord Eskgrove, were all Directors of the
Royal Bank of Scotland.
I feel quite composed and determined to labour. There is no remedy. I
guess (as Mathews makes his Yankees say) that we shall not be troubled
with visitors, and I calculate that I will not go out at all; so what
can I do better than labour? Even yesterday I went about making notes on
Waverley, according to Constable's plan. It will do good one day.
To-day, when I lock this volume, I go to W[oodstock]. Heigho!
Knight came to stare at me to complete his portrait. He must have read a
tragic page, compared to what he saw at Abbotsford. 
John Prescott Knight, the young artist referred to,
afterwards R.A., and Secretary to the Academy, wrote (in 1871) to Sir
William Stirling Maxwell, an interesting account of the picture and its
accidental destruction on the very day of Sir Walter's death. Scott
Exhibition Catalogue, 4to, Edin. p. 199. Mr. Knight died in 1881.
We dined of course at home, and before and after dinner I finished about
twenty printed pages of Woodstock, but to what effect others must
judge. A painful scene after dinner, and another after supper,
endeavouring to convince these poor dear creatures that they must not
look for miracles, but consider the misfortune as certain, and only to
be lessened by patience and labour.
January 20.—Indifferent night—very bilious, which may be want of
exercise. A letter from Sir J. Sinclair, whose absurd vanity bids him
thrust his finger into every man's pie, proposing that Hurst and
Robinson should sell their prints, of which he says they have a large
collection, by way of lottery like Boydell.
"In scenes like these which break our heart
Comes Punch, like you and——"
Mais pourtant, cultivons notre jardin. The public favour is my only
lottery. I have long enjoyed the foremost prize, and something in my
breast tells me my evil genius will not overwhelm me if I stand by
myself. Why should I not? I have no enemies—many attached friends. The
popular ascendency which I have maintained is of the kind which is
rather improved by frequent appearances before the public. In fact,
critics may say what they will, but "hain your reputation, and tyne
your reputation," is a true proverb. 
To hain anything is, Anglicè, to deal very carefully,
penuriously about it—tyne, to lose. Scott often used to say "hain a
pen and tyne a pen," which is nearer the proverb alluded to.—J.G.L.
Sir William Forbes called—the same kind, honest friend as ever, with
all offers of assistance,  etc. etc. All anxious to serve me, and
careless about their own risk of loss. And these are the cold, hard,
money-making men whose questions and control I apprehended.
The late Sir William Forbes, Baronet, succeeded his
father (the biographer of Beattie) as chief of the head private
banking-house in Edinburgh. Scott's amiable friend died 24th Oct.
Lord Chief Commissioner Adam also came to see me, and the meeting,
though pleasing, was melancholy. It is the first time we have met since
the break up of his hopes in the death of his eldest son on his return
from India, where he was Chief in Council and highly esteemed.  The
Commissioner is not a very early friend of mine, for I scarce knew him
till his settlement in Scotland with his present office.  But I have
since lived much with him, and taken kindly to him as one of the most
pleasant, kind-hearted, benevolent, and pleasing men I have ever known.
It is high treason among the Tories to express regard for him, or
respect for the Jury Court in which he presides. I was against that
experiment as much as any one. But it is an experiment, and the
establishment (which the fools will not perceive) is the only thing
which I see likely to give some prospects of ambition to our bar, which
has been otherwise so much diminished. As for the Chief Commissioner, I
dare say he jobs, as all other people of consequence do, in elections,
and so forth. But he is the personal friend of the King, and the decided
enemy of whatever strikes at the constitutional rights of the Monarch.
Besides, I love him for the various changes which he has endured through
life, and which have been so great as to make him entitled to be
regarded in one point of view as the most fortunate—in the other, the
most unfortunate—man in the world. He has gained and lost two fortunes
by the same good luck, and the same rash confidence, which raised, and
now threatens, my peculium. And his quiet, honourable, and generous
submission under circumstances more painful than mine,—for the loss of
world's wealth was to him aggravated by the death of his youngest and
darling son in the West Indies,—furnished me at the time and now with a
noble example. So the Tories and Whigs may go be d——d together, as
names that have disturbed old Scotland, and torn asunder the most kindly
feelings since the first day they were invented. Yes, —— them, they
are spells to rouse all our angry passions, and I dare say,
notwithstanding the opinion of my private and calm moments, I will open
on the cry again so soon as something occurs to chafe my mood; and yet,
God knows, I would fight in honourable contest with word or blow for my
political opinions; but I cannot permit that strife to "mix its waters
with my daily meal," those waters of bitterness which poison all mutual
love and confidence betwixt the well-disposed on either side, and
prevent them, if need were, from making mutual concessions and balancing
the constitution against the ultras of both parties. The good man seems
something broken by these afflictions.
John Adam, Esq., died on shipboard on his passage
homewards from Calcutta, 4th June 1825.—J.G.L.
January 21.—Susannah in Tristram Shandy thinks death is best met in
bed. I am sure trouble and vexation are not. The watches of the night
pass wearily when disturbed by fruitless regrets and disagreeable
anticipations. But let it pass.
The Right Hon. W. Adam of Blairadam, born in 1751. When
trial by Jury in civil cases was introduced into Scotland in 1815, he
was made Chief Commissioner of the Jury Court, which office he held till
Mr. Lockhart adds (Life, vol. v. p. 46): "This most amiable and
venerable gentleman, my dear and kind friend, died at Edinburgh, on the
17th February 1839, in the 89th year of his age. He retained his strong
mental faculties in their perfect vigour to the last days of this long
life, and with them all the warmth of social feelings which had endeared
him to all who were so happy as to have any opportunity of knowing
"Well, Goodman Time, or blunt, or keen,
Move thou quick, or take thy leisure,
Longest day will have its e'en,
Weariest life but treads a measure."
I have seen Cadell, who is very much downcast for the risk of their
copyrights being thrown away by a hasty sale. I suggested that if they
went very cheap, some means might be fallen on to keep up their value or
purchase them in. I fear the split betwixt Constable and Cadell will
render impossible what might otherwise be hopeful enough. It is the
Italian race-horses, I think, which, instead of riders, have spurs tied
to their sides, so as to prick them into a constant gallop. Cadell tells
me their gross profit was sometimes £10,000 a year, but much swallowed
up with expenses, and his partner's draughts, which came to £4000
yearly. What there is to show for this, God knows. Constable's apparent
expenses were very much within bounds.
Colin Mackenzie entered, and with his usual kindness engages to use his
influence to recommend some moderate proceeding to Constable's
creditors, such as may permit him to go on and turn that species of
property to account, which no man alive can manage so well as he.
Followed Mr. Gibson with a most melancholy tale. Things are so much
worse with Constable than I apprehended that I shall neither save
Abbotsford nor anything else. Naked we entered the world, and naked we
leave it—blessed be the name of the Lord!
January 22.—I feel neither dishonoured nor broken down by the
bad—now really bad news I have received. I have walked my last on the
domains I have planted—sate the last time in the halls I have built.
But death would have taken them from me if misfortune had spared them.
My poor people whom I loved so well! There is just another die to turn
up against me in this run of ill-luck; i.e. if I should break my magic
wand in the fall from this elephant, and lose my popularity with my
fortune. Then Woodstock and Bony may both go to the paper-maker, and
I may take to smoking cigars and drinking grog, or turn devotee, and
intoxicate the brain another way. In prospect of absolute ruin, I wonder
if they would let me leave the Court of Session. I would like, methinks,
to go abroad,
"And lay my bones far from the Tweed."
But I find my eyes moistening, and that will not do. I will not yield
without a fight for it. It is odd, when I set myself to work doggedly,
as Dr. Johnson would say, I am exactly the same man that I ever was,
neither low-spirited nor distrait. In prosperous times I have
sometimes felt my fancy and powers of language flag, but adversity is to
me at least a tonic and bracer; the fountain is awakened from its inmost
recesses, as if the spirit of affliction had troubled it in his passage.
Poor Mr. Pole the harper sent to offer me £500 or £600, probably his
all.  There is much good in the world, after all. But I will
involve no friend, either rich or poor. My own right hand shall do
it—else will I be done in the slang language, and undone in common
Mr. Pole had long attended Sir Walter Scott's daughters
as teacher of the harp. In the end Scott always spoke of his conduct as
the most affecting circumstance that accompanied his disasters.—J.G.L.
For Mr. Pole's letter see Life, vol. viii. p. 205. Mr. Pole went to
live in England and died at Kensington.
I am glad that, beyond my own family, who are, excepting L.S., young and
able to bear sorrow, of which this is the first taste to some of them,
most of the hearts are past aching which would have once been
inconsolable on this occasion. I do not mean that many will not
seriously regret, and some perhaps lament, my misfortunes. But my dear
mother, my almost sister, Christy R[utherfor]d,  poor Will
Erskine—these would have been mourners indeed.
Scott's mother's sister. See Life, vols. i., iii., v.,
Well—exertion—exertion. O Invention, rouse thyself! May man be kind!
May God be propitious! The worst is, I never quite know when I am right
or wrong; and Ballantyne, who does know in some degree, will fear to
tell me. Lockhart would be worth gold just now, but he too would be too
diffident to speak broad out. All my hope is in the continued indulgence
of the public. I have a funeral-letter to the burial of the Chevalier
Yelin, a foreigner of learning and talent, who has died at the Royal
Hotel. He wished to be introduced to me, and was to have read a paper
before the Royal Society when this introduction was to have taken place.
I was not at the Society that evening, and the poor gentleman was taken
ill at the meeting and unable to proceed. He went to his bed and never
rose again; and now his funeral will be the first public place I shall
appear at. He dead, and I ruined; this is what you call a meeting. 
Chevalier Yelin, the friend and travelling companion of
Baron D'Eichthal, was a native of Bavaria. His wife had told him
playfully that he must not leave Scotland without having seen the great
bard; and he prolonged his stay in Edinburgh until Scott's return,
hoping to meet him at the Royal Society on this evening.
January 23.—Slept ill, not having been abroad these eight
days—splendida bilis. Then a dead sleep in the morning, and when the
awakening comes, a strong feeling how well I could dispense with it for
once and for ever. This passes away, however, as better and more dutiful
thoughts arise in my mind. I know not if my imagination has flagged;
probably it has; but at least my powers of labour have not diminished
during the last melancholy week. On Monday and Tuesday my exertions were
suspended. Since Wednesday inclusive I have written thirty-eight of my
close manuscript pages, of which seventy make a volume of the usual
Wrote till twelve A.M., finishing half of what I call a good day's
work—ten pages of print, or rather twelve. Then walked in Princes
Street pleasure-grounds with good Samaritan James Skene, the only one
among my numerous friends who can properly be termed amicus curarum
mearum, others being too busy or too gay, and several being estranged
by habit. 
On the morning of this day Sir Walter wrote the following
note to his friend:—
The walks have been conducted on the whole with much taste, though Skene
has undergone much criticism, the usual reward of public exertions, on
account of his plans. It is singular to walk close beneath the grim old
Castle, and to think what scenes it must have seen, and how many
generations of three score and ten have risen and passed away. It is a
place to cure one of too much sensation over earthly subjects of
mutation. My wife and girl's tongues are chatting in a lively manner in
the drawing-room. It does me good to hear them.
"DEAR SKENE,—If you are disposed for a walk in your gardens any
time this morning, I would gladly accompany you for an hour, since
keeping the house so long begins rather to hurt me, and you, who
supported the other day the weight of my body, are perhaps best
disposed to endure the gloom of my mind.—Yours ever, W.S.
"CASTLE STREET, 23 January.
"I will call when you please: all hours after twelve are the same
On his return from this walk, Mr. Skene wrote out his recollections of
the conversation that had taken place. Of his power to rebuild his
shattered fortunes, Scott said, "'But woe's me, I much mistrust my
vigour, for the best of my energies are already expended. You have seen,
my dear Skene, the Roman coursers urged to their speed by a loaded spur
attached to their backs to whet the rusty metal of their ager—ay! it is
a leaden spur indeed, and it goads hard.'
"I added, 'But what do you think, Scott, of the bits of flaming paper
that are pasted on the flanks of the poor jades? If we could but stick
certain small documents on your back, and set fire to them, I think you
might submit for a time to the pricking of the spur.' He laughed, and
said, 'Ay! Ay!—these weary bills, if they were but as the thing that is
not—come, cheer me up with an account of the Roman Carnival.' And,
accordingly, with my endeavour to do so, he seemed as much interested as
if nothing had happened to discompose the usual tenor of his mind, but
still our conversation ever and anon dropt back into the same subject,
in the course of which he said to me, 'Do you know I experience a sort
of determined pleasure in confronting the very worst aspect of this
sudden reverse,—in standing, as it were, in the breach that has
overthrown my fortunes, and saying, Here I stand, at least an honest
man. And God knows, if I have enemies, this I may at least with truth
say, that I have never wittingly given cause of enmity in the whole
course of my life, for even the burnings of political hate seemed to
find nothing in my nature to feed the flame. I am not conscious of
having borne a grudge towards any man, and at this moment of my
overthrow, so help me God, I wish well and feel kindly to every one. And
if I thought that any of my works contained a sentence hurtful to any
one's feelings, I would burn it. I think even my novels (for he did not
disown any of them) are free from that blame.'
"He had been led to make this protestation from my having remarked to
him the singularly general feeling of goodwill and sympathy towards him
which every one was anxious to testify upon the present occasion. The
sentiments of resignation and of cheerful acquiescence in the
dispensation of the Almighty which he expressed were those of a
Christian thankful for the blessings left, and willing, without
ostentation, to do his best. It was really beautiful to see the workings
of a strong and upright mind under the first lash of adversity calmly
reposing upon the consolation afforded by his own integrity and manful
purposes. 'Lately,' he said, 'you saw me under the apprehension of the
decay of my mental faculties, and I confess that I was under mortal fear
when I found myself writing one word for another, and misspelling every
word, but that wore off, and was perhaps occasioned by the effects of
the medicine I had been taking, but have I not reason to be thankful
that that misfortune did not assail me?—Ay! few have more reason to
feel grateful to the Disposer of all events than I have.'"—Mr. Skene's
January 24.—Constable came yesterday, and saw me for half an hour. He
seemed irritable, but kept his temper under command. Was a little
shocked when I intimated that I was disposed to regard the present works
in progress as my own. I think I saw two things:—(1) That he is
desirous to return into the management of his own affairs without
Cadell, if he can. (2) That he relies on my connection as the way of
helping us out of the slough. Indeed he said he was ruined utterly
without my countenance. I certainly will befriend him if I can, but
Constable without Cadell is like getting the clock without the
pendulum—the one having the ingenuity, the other the caution of the
business. I will see my way before making any bargain, and I will help
them, I am sure, if I can, without endangering my last cast for freedom.
Worked out my task yesterday. My kind friend Mrs. Coutts has got the
cadet-ship for Pringle Shortreed, in which he was peculiarly interested.
I went to the Court for the first time to-day, and, like the man with
the large nose, thought everybody was thinking of me and my mishaps.
Many were, undoubtedly, and all rather regrettingly; some obviously
affected. It is singular to see the difference of men's manner whilst
they strive to be kind or civil in their way of addressing me. Some
smile as they wish me good-day, as if to say, "Think nothing about it,
my lad; it is quite out of our thoughts." Others greeted me with the
affected gravity which one sees and despises at a funeral. The best
bred—all, I believe, meaning equally well—just shook hands and went
on. A foolish puff in the papers, calling on men and gods to assist a
popular author, who, having choused the public of many thousands, had
not the sense to keep wealth when he had it. If I am hard pressed, and
measures used against me, I must use all means of legal defence, and
subscribe myself bankrupt in a petition for sequestration. It is the
course I would have advised a client to take, and would have the effect
of saving my land, which is secured by my son's contract of marriage. I
might save my library, etc., by assistance of friends, and bid my
creditors defiance. But for this I would, in a court of honour, deserve
to lose my spurs. No, if they permit me, I will be their vassal for
life, and dig in the mine of my imagination to find diamonds (or what
may sell for such) to make good my engagements, not to enrich myself.
And this from no reluctance to allow myself to be called the Insolvent,
which I probably am, but because I will not put out of the [power] of my
creditors the resources, mental or literary, which yet remain to me.
Went to the funeral of Chevalier Yelin, the literary foreigner mentioned
on 22d. How many and how various are the ways of affliction! Here is
this poor man dying at a distance from home, his proud heart broken, his
wife and family anxiously expecting letters, and doomed only to learn
they have lost a husband and father for ever. He lies buried on the
Calton Hill, near learned and scientific dust—the graves of David Hume
and John Playfair being side by side.
January 25.—Anne is ill this morning. May God help us! If it should
prove serious, as I have known it in such cases, where am I to find
courage or comfort? A thought has struck me—Can we do nothing for
creditors with the goblin drama, called Fortunes of Devorgoil? Could
it not be added to Woodstock as a fourth volume? Terry refused a gift
of it, but he was quite and entirely wrong; it is not good, but it may
be made so. Poor Will Erskine liked it much.  Gave my wife her £12
allowance. £24 to last till Wednesday fortnight.
"The energy with which Sir Walter had set about turning
his resources, both present and past, to immediate account, with a view
to prove to his creditors, with as little delay as possible, that all
that could depend upon himself should be put in operation to retrieve
his affairs, made him often reluctant to quit his study however much he
found himself exhausted. However, the employment served to occupy his
mind, and prevent its brooding over the misfortune which had befallen
him, and joined to the natural contentedness of his disposition
prevented any approach of despondency. 'Here is an old effort of mine to
compose a melo-drama' (showing me one day a bundle of papers which he
had found in his repositories). 'This trifle would have been long ago
destroyed had it not been for our poor friend Kinnedder, who arrested my
hand as he thought it not bad, and for his sake it was kept. I have just
read it over, and, do you know, with some satisfaction. Faith, I have
known many worse things make their way very well in the world, so, God
willing, it shall e'en see the light, if it can do aught in the hour of
need to help the hand that fashioned it.' Upon asking the name of this
production, he said, 'I suspect I must change it, having already
forestalled it by the Fortunes of Nigel. I had called it the Fortunes
of Devorgoil, but we must not begin to double up in that way, for if
you leave anything hanging loose, you may be sure that some malicious
devil will tug at it. I think I shall call it The Doom of Devorgoil.
It will make a volume of itself, and I do not see why it should not come
out by particular desire as a fourth volume to Woodstock. They have
some sort of connection, and it would not be a difficult matter to bind
the connection a little closer. As the market goes, I have no doubt of
the Bibliopolist pronouncing it worth £1000, or £1500.' I asked him if
he meant it for the stage. 'No, no; the stage is a sorry job, that
course will not do for these hard days; besides, there is too much
machinery in the piece for the stage.' I observed that I was not sure of
that, for pageant and machinery was the order of the day, and had
Shakespeare been of this date he might have been left to die a
deer-stealer. 'Well, then, with all my heart, if they can get the beast
to lead or to drive, they may bring it on the stage if they like. It is
a sort of goblin tale, and so was the Castle Spectre, which had its
run.' I asked him if the Castle Spectre had yielded Lewis much.
'Little of that, in fact to its author absolutely nothing, and yet its
merits ought to have brought something handsome to poor Mat. But
Sheridan, then manager, you know, generally paid jokes instead of cash,
and the joke that poor Mat got was, after all, not a bad one. Have you
heard it? Don't let me tell you a story you know.' As I had not heard
it, he proceeded. 'Well, they were disputing about something, and Lewis
had clenched his argument by proposing to lay a bet about it. I shall
lay what you ought long ago to have paid me for my Castle, Spectre.'
"No, no, Mat," said Sheridan, "I never lay large bets; but come, I will
bet a trifle with you—I'll bet what the Castle Spectre was worth."
Now Constable managed differently; he paid well and promptly, but devil
take him, it was all spectral together. Moonshine and no merriment. He
sowed my field with one hand, and as liberally scattered the tares with
the other.'"—Mr. Skene's Reminiscences.
to J.B. last night about Devorgoil, who does not seem to relish the
proposal, alleging the comparative failure of Halidon Hill. Ay, says
Self-Conceit, but he has not read it; and when he does, it is the sort
of wild fanciful work betwixt heaven and earth, which men of solid parts
do not estimate. Pepys thought Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream
the most silly play he had ever seen, and Pepys was probably judging on
the same grounds with J.B., though presumptuous enough to form
conclusions against a very different work from any of mine. How if I
send it to Lockhart by and by?
I called to-day at Constable's; both partners seemed secure that Hurst
and Robinson were to go on and pay. Strange that they should have
stopped. Constable very anxious to have husbanding of the books. I told
him the truth that I would be glad to have his assistance, and that he
should have the benefit of the agency, but that he was not to consider
past transactions as a rule for selling them in future, since I must
needs make the most out of the labours I could: item, that I, or
whoever might act for me, would of course, after what has happened, look
especially to the security. He said if Hurst and Robinson were to go on,
bank notes would be laid down. I conceive indeed that they would take
Woodstock and Napoleon almost at loss rather than break the
connection in the public eye. Sir William Arbuthnot and Mr. Kinnear were
very kind. But cui bono? 
These two gentlemen were at this time Directors of the
Bank of Scotland.
Gibson comes with a joyful face announcing all the creditors had
unanimously agreed to a private trust. This is handsome and
confidential, and must warm my best efforts to get them out of the
scrape. I will not doubt—to doubt is to lose. Sir William Forbes took
the chair, and behaved as he has ever done, with the generosity of
ancient faith and early friendship. They  are deeper concerned than
most. In what scenes have Sir William and I not borne share
together—desperate, and almost bloody affrays, rivalries, deep
drinking-matches, and, finally, with the kindest feelings on both sides,
somewhat separated by his retiring much within the bosom of his family,
and I moving little beyond mine. It is fated our planets should cross
though, and that at the periods most interesting for me. Down—down—a
Sir W. Forbes and Co.'s Banking House.
Jane Russell drank tea with us.
I hope to sleep better to-night. If I do not I shall get ill, and then I
cannot keep my engagements. Is it not odd? I can command my eyes to be
awake when toil and weariness sit on my eyelids, but to draw the curtain
of oblivion is beyond my power. I remember some of the wild Buccaneers,
in their impiety, succeeded pretty well by shutting hatches and burning
brimstone and assafœtida in making a tolerable imitation of hell—but
the pirates' heaven was a wretched affair. It is one of the worst
things about this system of ours, that it is a hundred times more easy
to inflict pain than to create pleasure.
January 27.—Slept better and less bilious, owing doubtless to the
fatigue of the preceding night, and the more comfortable news. I drew my
salaries of various kinds amounting to £300 and upwards and sent, with
John Gibson's consent, £200 to pay off things at Abbotsford which must
be paid. Wrote Laidlaw with the money, directing him to make all
preparations for reduction.  Anne ill of rheumatism: I believe
caught cold by vexation and exposing herself to bad weather.
An extract from what is probably the letter to Laidlaw
written on this day was printed in Chambers's Journal for July 1845.
The italics are the editor's:—
The Celtic Society present me with the most splendid broadsword I ever
saw; a beautiful piece of art, and a most noble weapon. Honourable Mr.
Stuart (second son of the Earl of Moray), General Graham Stirling, and
MacDougal, attended as a committee to present it. This was very kind of
my friends the Celts, with whom I have had so many merry meetings. It
will be a rare legacy to Walter;—for myself, good lack! it is like Lady
Dowager Don's prize in a lottery of hardware; she—a venerable lady who
always wore a haunch-hoop, silk négligé, and triple ruffles at the
elbow—having the luck to gain a pair of silver spurs and a whip to
"For you, my dear friend, we must part—that is, as laird and
factor—and it rejoices me to think that your patience and endurance,
which set me so good an example, are like to bring round better days.
You never flattered my prosperity, and in my adversity it is not the
least painful consideration that I cannot any longer be useful to you.
But Kaeside, I hope, will still be your residence, and I will have the
advantage of your company and advice, and probably your service as
amanuensis. Observe, I am not in indigence, though no longer in
affluence, and if I am to exert myself in the common behalf, I must have
honorable and easy means of life, although it will be my inclination to
observe the most strict privacy, the better to save expense, and also
time. Lady Scott's spirits were affected at first, but she is getting
better. For myself, I feel like the Eildon Hills—quite firm, though
a little cloudy.
"I do not dislike the path which lies before me. I have seen all that
society can show, and enjoyed all that wealth can give me, and I am
satisfied much is vanity, if not vexation of spirit. What can I say
more, except that I will write to you the instant I know what is to be
January 28.—Ballantyne and Cadell wish that Mr. Alex. Cowan should be
Constable's Trustee instead of J.B.'s. Gibson is determined to hold by
Cowan. I will not interfere, although I think Cowan's services might do
us more good as Constable's Trustee than as our own, but I will not
begin with thwarting the managers of my affairs, or even exerting strong
influence; it is not fair. These last four or five days I have wrought
little; to-day I set on the steam and ply my paddles.
January 29.—The proofs of vol. i.  came so thick in yesterday
that much was not done. But I began to be hard at work to-day, and must
not gurnalise much.
Life of Bonaparte. (?)
Mr. Jollie, who is to be my trustee, in conjunction with Gibson, came to
see me:—a, pleasant and good-humoured man, and has high reputation as a
man of business. I told him, and I will keep my word, that he would at
least have no trouble by my interfering and thwarting their management,
which is the not unfrequent case of trusters and trustees. 
"In the management of his Trust," Mr. Gibson remarks,
"everything went on harmoniously—the chief labour devolving upon
myself, but my co-Trustees giving their valuable aid and advice when
required."—Reminiscences, p. 16.
Constable's business seems unintelligible. No man thought the house
worth less than £150,000. Constable told me when he was making his will
that he was worth £80,000. Great profits on almost all the adventures.
No bad speculations—yet neither stock nor debt to show: Constable might
have eaten up his share; but Cadell was very frugal. No doubt trading
almost entirely on accommodation is dreadfully expensive. 
The total liabilities of the three firms amounted in
round numbers to nearly half-a-million sterling. Sir Walter, as the
partner of Ballantyne and Co., was held responsible for about
£130,000;—this large sum was ultimately paid in full by Scott and his
representatives. The other two firms paid their creditors about 10 per
cent, of the amounts due. It must be kept in mind, however, as far as
Constable's house was concerned, that their property appears to have
been foolishly sacrificed by forced sales of copyrights and stock.
January 30.—False delicacy. Mr. Gibson, Mr. Cowan, Mr. J.B., were
with me last night to talk over important matters, and suggest an
individual for a certain highly confidential situation. I was led to
mention a person of whom I knew nothing but that he was an honest and
intelligent man. All seemed to acquiesce, and agreed to move the thing
to the party concerned this morning, and so Mr. G. and Mr. C. left me,
when J.B. let out that it was their unanimous opinion that we should be
in great trouble were the individual appointed, from faults of temper,
etc., which would make it difficult to get on with him. With a hearty
curse I hurried J.B. to let them know that I had no partiality for the
man whatever, and only named him because he had been proposed for a
similar situation elsewhere. This is provoking enough, that they would
let me embarrass my affairs with a bad man (an unfit one, I mean)
rather than contradict me. I dare say great men are often used so.
I laboured freely yesterday. The stream rose fast—if clearly, is
another question; but there is bulk for it, at least—about thirty
"And now again, boys, to the oar."
January 31.—There being nothing in the roll to-day, I stay at home
from the Court, and add another day's perfect labour to Woodstock,
which is worth five days of snatched intervals, when the current of
thought and invention is broken in upon, and the mind shaken and
diverted from its purpose by a succession of petty interruptions. I have
now no pecuniary provisions to embarrass me, and I think, now the shock
of the discovery is past and over, I am much better off on the whole; I
am as if I had shaken off from my shoulders a great mass of garments,
rich, indeed, but cumbrous, and always more a burden than a comfort. I
am free of an hundred petty public duties imposed on me as a man of
consideration—of the expense of a great hospitality—and, what is
better, of the great waste of time connected with it. I have known, in
my day, all kinds of society, and can pretty well estimate how much or
how little one loses by retiring from all but that which is very
intimate. I sleep and eat, and work as I was wont; and if I could see
those about me as indifferent to the loss of rank as I am, I should be
completely happy. As it is, Time must salve that sore, and to Time I
Since the 14th of this month no guest has broken bread in my house save
G.H. Gordon  one morning at breakfast. This happened never before
since I had a house of my own. But I have played Abou Hassan long
enough; and if the Caliph came I would turn him back again.
Mr. Gordon was at this time Scott's amanuensis; he
copied, that is to say, the MS. for press.—J.G.L.