February 1.—I feel a return of the cursed rheumatism. How could it
miss, with my wetting? Also feverish, and a slight headache. So much for
claret and champagne. I begin to be quite unfit for a good fellow. Like
Mother Cole in the Minor, a thimbleful upsets me, —I mean, annoys
my stomach, for my brains do not suffer. Well, I have had my time of
these merry doings.
"The haunch of the deer, and the wine's red dye,
Never bard loved them better than I."
Foote's Comedy, Act I. Sc. 1.
But it was for the sake of sociality; never either for the flask or the
venison. That must end—is ended. The evening sky of life does not
reflect those brilliant flashes of light that shot across its morning
and noon. Yet I thank God it is neither gloomy nor disconsolately
lowering; a sober twilight—that is all.
I am in great hopes that the Bannatyne Club, by the assistance of
Thomson's wisdom, industry, and accuracy, will be something far superior
to the Dilettanti model on which it started. The Historie of K. James
VI., Melville's Memoirs, and other works, executed or in hand, are
decided boons to Scottish history and literature.
February 2.—In confirmation of that which is above stated, I see in
Thorpe's sale-catalogue a set of the Bannatyne books, lacking five,
priced £25. Had a dry walk from the Court by way of dainty, and made it
a long one. Anne went at night to Lady Minto's.
Hear of Miss White's death. Poor Lydia! she had a party at dinner on the
Friday before, and had written with her own hand invitations for
another party. Twenty years ago she used to tease me with her youthful
affectations—her dressing like the Queen of Chimney-sweeps on May-day
morning, and sometimes with rather a free turn in conversation, when she
let her wit run wild. But she was a woman of much wit, and had a feeling
and kind heart. She made her point good, a bas-bleu in London to a
point not easily attained, and contrived to have every evening a very
good literary mêlée, and little dinners which were very entertaining.
She had also the newest lions upon town. In a word, she was not and
would not be forgotten, even when disease obliged her, as it did for
years, to confine herself to her couch; and the world, much abused for
hard-heartedness, was kind in her case—so she lived in the society she
liked. No great expenditure was necessary for this. She had an easy
fortune, but not more. Poor Lydia! I saw the Duke of York and her in
London, when Death, it seems, was brandishing his dart over them. 
"The view o't gave them little fright." 
Scott, who had accompanied this lady to the Highlands in
the summer of 1808, wrote from Edinburgh on 19th January:—"We have here
a very diverting lion and sundry wild beasts; but the most meritorious
is Miss Lydia White, who is what Oxonians call a lioness of the first
order, with stockings nineteen times dyed blue; very lively, very
good-humoured, and extremely absurd. It is very diverting to see the
sober Scotch ladies staring at this phenomenon."—Life, vol. iii. pp.
38, 95, 96.
Did not get quite a day's work finished to-day, thanks to my walk.
Burns's "Twa Dogs."—J.G.L.
February 3.—There is nought but care on every hand. James Hogg writes
that he is to lose his farm,  on which he laid out, or rather threw
away, the profit of all his publications.
Then Terry has been pressed by Gibson for my debt to him. That I may get
I sometimes doubt if I am in what the good people call the right way.
Not to sing my own praises, I have been willing always to do my friends
what good was in my power, and have not shunned personal responsibility.
But then that was in money matters, to which I am naturally indifferent,
unless when the consequences press on me. But then I am a bad comforter
in case of inevitable calamity; and feeling proudly able to endure in my
own case, I cannot sympathise with those whose nerves are of a feebler
Dined at Jeffrey's, with Lord and Lady Minto, John Murray and his
lady,  a Mr. Featherstone, an Americo-Yorkshireman, and some others.
Mrs. Murray is a very amiable person, and seems highly accomplished;
plays most brilliantly.
John Archibald Murray, whose capital bachelors' dinner on
Dec. 8 Scott so pleasantly describes (on page 320), had married in the
interval Miss Rigby, a Lancashire lady, who was long known in Edinburgh
for her hospitality and fine social qualities as Lady Murray. (See page
378, April 2, 1827.) Miss Martineau celebrated her parliamentary
Tea-Table in London, when her husband was Lord Advocate, and Lord
Cockburn, the delights of Strachur on Loch Fyne.
February 4.—R.R. These two letters, you must understand, do not
signify, as in Bibliomania phrase, a double degree of rarity, but,
chirurgically, a double degree of rheumatism. The wine gets to weak
places, Ross says. I have a letter from no less a person than that pink
of booksellers, Sir Richard Phillips, who, it seems, has been ruined,
and as he sees me floating down the same dark tide, sings out his nos
February 5.—R. One R. will do to-day. If this cursed rheumatism gives
way to February weather, I will allow she has some right to be called a
spring month, to which otherwise her pretensions are slender. I worked
this morning till two o'clock, and visited Mr. Grant's  pictures,
who has them upon sale. They seem, to my inexperienced eye, genuine, or
at least, good paintings. But I fear picture-buying, like
horse-jockeyship, is a profession a gentleman cannot make much of
without laying aside some of his attributes. The pictures are too
high-priced, I should think, for this market. There is a very knowing
catalogue by Frank Grant himself. Next went to see a show of wild
beasts; it was a fine one. I think they keep them much cleaner than
formerly, when the strong smell generally gave me a headache for the
day. The creatures are also much tamer, which I impute to more knowledge
of their habits and kind treatment. A lion and tigress went through
their exercise like poodles—jumping, standing, and lying down at the
word of command. This is rather degrading. I would have the Lord
Chancellor of Beasts good-humoured, not jocose. I treated the elephant,
who was a noble fellow, to a shilling's worth of cakes. I wish I could
have enlarged the space in which so much bulk and wisdom is confined. He
kept swinging his head from side to side, looking as if he marvelled why
all the fools that gaped at him were at liberty, and he cooped up in the
Mr. (afterwards Sir Francis) Grant became a member of the
Scottish Academy in 1830, an associate of Royal Academy in 1842, and
Academician in 1851. His successful career as a painter secured his
elevation to the Presidentship of the Academy in 1866. Sir Francis died
at Melton-Mowbray in October 1878, aged 75.
Dined at the Royal Society Club—about thirty present. Went to the
Society in the evening, and heard an essay by Peter Tytler  on the
first encourager of Greek learning in England. 
Patrick Fraser Tytler, the Scottish historian. He died on
Christmas-day 1849, aged fifty-eight.—See Burgon's Memoirs, 8vo,
February 6.—Was at Court till two; afterwards wrote a good deal,
which has become a habit with me. Dined at Sir John Hay's, where met the
Advocate and a pleasant party. There had been a Justiciary trial
yesterday, in which something curious had occurred. A woman of rather
the better class, a farmer's wife, had been tried on the 5th for
poisoning her maid-servant. There seems to have been little doubt of her
guilt, but the motive was peculiar. The unfortunate girl had an intrigue
with her son, which this Mrs. Smith (I think that is the name) was
desirous to conceal, from some ill-advised puritanic notions, and also
for fear of her husband. She could find no better way of hiding the
shame than giving the girl (with her own knowledge and consent, I
believe) potions to cause abortion, which she afterwards changed for
arsenic, as the more effectual silencing medicine. In the course of the
trial one of the jury fell down in an epileptic fit, and on his recovery
was far too much disordered to permit the trial to proceed. With only
fourteen jurymen it was impossible to go on. But the Advocate, Sir
William Rae, says she shall be tried anew, since she has not tholed an
assize. Sic Paulus ait—et recte quidem. But, having been half
tried, I think she should have some benefit of it, as far as saving her
life, if convicted on the second indictment. The Advocate declares,
however, she shall be hanged, as certainly she deserves. But it looks
something like hanging up a man who has been recovered by the surgeons,
which has always been accounted harsh justice.
Audubon says in his Journal of the same date:—"Captain
Hall led me to a seat immediately opposite to Sir Walter Scott, the
President, where I had a perfect view of the great man, and studied
Nature from Nature's noblest work."
The publication of Audubon's great work, The Birds of America,
commenced in 1827, and was completed in 1839, forming 4 vols. in the
largest folio size, and containing 435 plates. It shows the indomitable
courage of the author, that even when the work was completed, he had
only 161 subscribers, 82 of whom were in America. The price of the book
was two guineas for each part with 5 coloured plates. During the last
dozen years its price at auctions runs about £250 to £300. Audubon died
in New York in 1851.—See Life, by Buchanan, 8vo, London, 1866.
February 7.—Wrote six leaves to-day, and am tired—that's all.
February 8.—I lost much time to-day. I got from the Court about
half-past twelve, therefore might have reckoned on four hours, or three
at least, before dinner. But I had to call on Dr. Shortt at two, which
made me lounge till that hour came. Then I missed him, and, too tired to
return, went to see the exhibition, where Skene was hanging up the
pictures, and would not let me in. Then to the Oil Gas Company, who
propose to send up counsel to support their new bill. As I thought the
choice unadvisedly made, I fairly opposed the mission, which, I suppose,
will give much offence; but I have no notion of being shamefaced in
doing my duty, and I do not think I should permit forward persons to
press into situations for which their vanity alone renders them
competent. Had many proof-sheets to correct in the evening.
February 9.—We had a long day of it at Court, but I whipped you off
half-a-dozen of letters, for, as my cases stood last on the roll, I
could do what I liked in the interim. This carried me on till two
o'clock. Called on Baron Hume, and found him, as usual, in high spirits,
notwithstanding his late illness. Then crept home—my rheumatism much
better, though. Corrected lives of Lord Somerville and the King [George
III.]  for the Prose Works, which took a long time; but I had the
whole evening to myself, as Anne dined with the Swintons, and went to a
ball at the Justice-Clerk's. N.B.—It is the first and only ball which
has been given this season—a sign the times are pinching.
Biographical Notices had been sent to the Weekly
Journal in 1826, and are now included in the Miscell. Prose Works,
vol. iv. pp. 322-342.
February 10.—I got a present of Lord Francis Gower's printed but
unpublished Tale of the Mill.  It is a fine tale of terror in
itself, and very happily brought out. He has certainly a true taste for
poetry. I do not know why, but from my childhood I have seen something
fearful, or melancholy at least, about a mill. Whether I had been
frightened at the machinery when very young, of which I think I have
some shadowy recollection—whether I had heard the stories of the miller
of Thirlestane  and similar molendinar tragedies, I cannot tell; but
not even recollection of the Lass of Patie's Mill, or the Miller of
Mansfield, or he who "dwelt on the river Dee," have ever got over my
inclination to connect gloom with a mill, especially when sun is
setting. So I entered into the spirit of the terror with which Lord
Francis has invested his haunted spot. I dine with the Solicitor to-day,
so quoad labour 'tis a blank. But then to-morrow is a new day.
"To-morrow to fresh meads and pastures new." 
Afterwards included in The Pilgrimage and other Poems,
February 11.—Wrought a good deal in the morning, and landed Boney at
Smolensk. But I have him to bring off again; and, moreover, I must
collate the authorities on the movements of the secondary armies of
Witgenstein and the Admiral with the break-tooth name. Dined with Lord
Minto, where I met Thomson, Cranstoun, and other gay folks. These dinner
parties narrow my working hours; yet they must sometimes be, or one
would fall out of the line of society, and go to leeward entirely, which
is not right to venture. This is the high time for parties in Edinburgh;
no wonder one cannot keep clear.
See Craig Brown's Selkirkshire, vol. i. pp. 285-86.
Milton's Lycidas, varied.
February 12.—I was obliged to read instead of writing, and the
infernal Russian names, which everybody spells ad libitum, makes it
difficult to trace the operations on a better map than mine. I called
to-day on Dr. Shortt, principal surgeon at Saint Helena, and who
presided at the opening of Bonaparte's body. He mentions as certain the
falsehood of a number of the assertions concerning his usage, the
unhealthy state of the island, and so forth. I have jotted down his
evidence elsewhere. I could not write when I came home. Nervous a
little, I think, and not yet up to the motions of Tchitchagoff, as I
must be before I can write. Will [Clerk] and Sir A. Ferguson dine here
to-day—the first time any one has had that honour for long enough,
unless at Abbotsford. The good Lord Chief-Commissioner invited himself,
and I asked his son, Admiral Adam. Col. Ferguson is of the party.
February 13.—The dining parties come thick, and interfere with work
extremely. I am, however, beforehand very far. Yet, as James B.
says—the tortoise comes up with the hare. So Puss must make a new
start; but not this week. Went to see the exhibition—certainly a good
one for Scotland—and less trash than I have seen at Somerset-House
(begging pardon of the pockpuddings). There is a beautiful thing by
Landseer—a Highlander and two stag-hounds engaged with a deer. Very
spirited, indeed. I forgot my rheumatism, and could have wished myself
of the party. There were many fine folks, and there was a collation,
chocolate, and so forth. We dine at Sir H. Jardine's, with Lord
Ch.-Com., Lord Chief-Baron, etc.
February 14.—"Death's gi'en the art an unco devel."  Sir George
Beaumont's dead; by far the most sensible and pleasing man I ever knew;
kind, too, in his nature, and generous; gentle in society, and of those
mild manners which tend to soften the causticity of the general London
[tone] of persiflage and personal satire. As an amateur, he was a
painter of the very highest rank. Though I know nothing of the matter,
yet I should hold him a perfect critic on painting, for he always made
his criticisms intelligible, and used no slang. I am very sorry, as much
as is in my nature to be, for one whom I could see but seldom. He was
the great friend of Wordsworth, and understood his poetry, which is a
rare thing, for it is more easy to see his peculiarities than to feel
his great merit, or follow his abstract ideas. I dined to-day at Lord
Ch.-Commissioner's—Lord Minto, and Lord Ch.-Baron, also Harden. Little
February 15.—Rheumatism returns with the snow. I had thoughts of
going to Abbotsford on Saturday, but if this lasts, it will not do; and,
sooth to speak, it ought not to do; though it would do me much pleasure
if it would do.
"Death's gi'en the Lodge an unco devel,
Tam Samson's dead."
I have a letter from Baron Von Goethe,  which I must have read to
me; for though I know German, I have forgot their written hand. I make
it a rule seldom to read, and never to answer, foreign letters from
literary folks. It leads to nothing but the battle-dore and shuttle-cock
intercourse of compliments, as light as cork and feathers. But Goethe is
different, and a wonderful fellow, the Ariosto at once, and almost the
Voltaire of Germany. Who could have told me thirty years ago I should
correspond, and be on something like an equal footing, with the author
of Goetz? Ay, and who could have told me fifty things else that have
befallen me? 
For letter and reply see Life, vol. ix. pp. 92, 98.
February 16.—R. Still snow; and, alas! no time for work, so hard am I
fagged by the Court and the good company of Edinburgh. I almost wish my
rheumatics were bad enough to give me an apology for staying a week at
home. But we have Sunday and Monday clear. If not better, I will cribb
off Tuesday; and Wednesday is Teind day. We dined to-day with Mr.
Borthwick, younger of Crookston.
Sir Walter at this date returned the valuable MSS. lent
him by the Duke of Wellington in Nov. 1826 (see ante, p. 306) with the
"EDINBURGH, 15th February 1827.
"My dear Lord Duke,—The two manuscripts safely packed leave this by
post to-day, as I am informed your Grace's franks carry any weight.
* * *
"I have been reading with equal instruction and pleasure the memoir on
the Russian campaign, which demonstrates as plainly as possible that the
French writers have taken advantage of the snow to cover under it all
their General's blunders, and impute to it all their losses. This I
observe is Bonaparte's general practice, and that of his admirers.
Whenever they can charge anything upon the elements or upon accident, he
and they combine in denying all bravery and all wisdom to their enemies.
The conduct of Kutusow on more than one occasion in the retreat seems to
have been singularly cautious, or rather timorous. For it is impossible
to give credit to the immense superiority claimed by Ségur, Beauchamp,
etc., for the French troops over the Russians. Surely they were the same
Russians who had fought so bravely against superior force, and how
should the twentieth part of the French army have been able to clear
their way without cavalry or artillery in a great measure? and it seems
natural to suppose that we must impute to tardy and inactive conduct on
the part of their General what we cannot account for on the idea of the
extremely superior valour or discipline claimed for the French soldiers
by their country. The snow seems to have become serious on the 6th
November, when Napoleon was within two marches of Smolensk, which he
soon after reached, and by that time it appears to me that his army was
already mouldered away from 100,000 men who left Moscow, to about 35,000
only, so that his great loss was incurred before the snow began.
"I am afraid your Grace has done me an unparalleled injury in one
respect, that the clearness, justice, and precision of your Grace's
reasoning puts me out of all patience with my own attempts. I dare
hardly hope in this increase of business for a note or two on Waterloo;
but if your Grace had any, however hasty, which could be copied by a
secretary, the debt would be never to be forgotten.
"I am going to mention a circumstance, which I do with great
apprehension, lest I should be thought to intrude upon your Grace's
goodness. It respects a youth, the son of one of my most intimate
friends, a gentleman of good family and fortune, who is extremely
desirous of being admitted a cadet of artillery. His father is the best
draughtsman in Scotland, and the lad himself shows a great deal of
talent both in science and the ordinary branches of learning. I enclose
a note of the youth's age, studies, and progress, in case your Grace
might think it possible to place on your list for the Engineer service
the name of a poor Scots Hidalgo; your Grace knows Scotland is a
breeding not a feeding country, and we must send our sons abroad, as we
send our black cattle to England; and, as old Lady Campbell of
Ardkinglas proposed to dispose of her nine sons, we have a strong
tendency to put our young folks 'a' to the sword.'
"I have too long detained you, my Lord Duke, from the many high
occupations which have been redoubled upon your Grace's head, and beg
your Grace to believe me, with an unusually deep sense of respect and
obligation, my dear Lord Duke, your Grace's much honoured and grateful,
humble servant, WALTER SCOTT."—Wellington's Despatches, etc.
(Continuation), vol. iii. pp. 590-1. London, 8vo, 1868.
February 17.—James Ferguson ill of the rheumatism in head and neck,
and Hector B. Macdonald in neck and shoulders. I wonder, as Commodore
Trunnion says, what the blackguard hell's-baby has to say to the Clerks
of Session.  Went to the Second Division to assist Hector.
N.B.—Don't like it half so well as my own, for the speeches are much
longer. Home at dinner, and wrought in the evening.
Smollett's Peregrine Pickle, VOL. i. cap. 13.
February 18.—Very cold weather. I am rather glad I am not in the
country. What says Dean Swift—
"When frost and snow come both together,
Then sit by the fire and save shoe leather."
Wrought all morning and finished five pages. Missie dined with us.
February 19.—As well I give up Abbotsford, for Hamilton is laid up
with the gout. The snow, too, continues, with a hard frost. I have seen
the day I would have liked it all the better. I read and wrote at the
bitter account of the French retreat from Moscow, in 1812, till the
little room and coal fire seemed snug by comparison. I felt cold in its
rigour in my childhood and boyhood, but not since. In youth and advanced
life we get less sensible to it, but I remember thinking it worse than
hunger. Uninterrupted to-day, and did eight leaves. 
One page of his MS. answers to four or five of the close
printed pages of the original edition of his Bonaparte.—J.G.L.
February 20.—At Court, and waited to see the poisoning woman. She is
clearly guilty, but as one or two witnesses said the poor wench hinted
an intention to poison herself, the jury gave that bastard verdict, Not
proven. I hate that Caledonian medium quid. One who is not proven
guilty is innocent in the eye of law. It was a face to do or die, or
perhaps to do to die. Thin features, which had been handsome, a flashing
eye, an acute and aquiline nose, lips much marked, as arguing decision,
and, I think, bad temper—they were thin, and habitually compressed,
rather turned down at the corners, as one of a rather melancholy
disposition. There was an awful crowd; but, sitting within the bar, I
had the pleasure of seeing much at my ease; the constables knocking the
other folks about, which was of course very entertaining. 
Lord Cockburn says:—"Scott's description of the woman is
very correct; she was like a vindictive masculine witch. I remember him
sitting within the bar looking at her. As we were moving out, Sir
Walter's remark upon the acquittal was, 'Well, sirs, all I can say is
that if that woman was my wife I should take good care to be my own
cook.'"—Circuit Journeys, 8vo, Edinburgh, 1888, p. 12.
Lord Liverpool is ill of an apoplexy. I am sorry for it. He will be
missed. Who will be got for Premier? Not B—— certainly;  he wants
weight. If Peel would consent to be made a peer, he would do better; but
I doubt his ambition will prefer the House of Commons. Wrought a a good
This can scarcely be taken to refer to Brougham, though
at the time
February 21.—Being the vacant Wednesday I wrote all the morning. Had
an answer from D. of W., unsuccessful in getting young Skene put upon
the engineer list; he is too old. Went out at two with Anne, and visited
the exhibition; also called on the Mansfield family and on Sydney Smith.
Jeffrey unwell from pleading so long and late for the poisoning woman.
He has saved her throat and taken a quinsey in his own. Adam Ferguson
has had a fall with his horse.
"Canning calls Brougham his Learned Friend.
'My honours come and share 'em.
Reformers their assistance give
To countenance old Sarum."
It may, however, stand for Lord Bathurst, who became President of the
Council shortly afterwards in Wellington's Administration.
February 22.—Was at Court till two, then lounged till Will
Murray  came to speak about a dinner for the Theatrical Fund, in
order to make some arrangements. There are 300 tickets given out.  I
fear it will be uncomfortable; and whatever the stoics may say, a bad
dinner throws cold water on the charity. I have agreed to preside, a
situation in which I have been rather felicitous, not by much
superiority of wit or wisdom, far less of eloquence; but by two or three
simple rules which I put down here for the benefit of posterity.
Mr. W.H. Murray, Manager of the Theatre Royal, Edinburgh.
This excellent actor retired from the stage with a competency, and spent
the last years of his life in St. Andrews, where he died in March 1852,
1st. Always hurry the bottle round for five or six rounds without
prosing yourself or permitting others to prose. A slight fillip of wine
inclines people to be pleased, and removes the nervousness which
prevents men from speaking—disposes them, in short, to be amusing and
to be amused.
This was the dinner at which the veil was publicly
withdrawn from the authorship of Waverley; it took place on Friday,
23d February 1827, and a full account of the proceedings is given in the
Life, vol. ix. pp. 79-84.
2d. Push on, keep moving, as Punch says. Do not think of saying fine
things—nobody cares for them any more than for fine music, which is
often too liberally bestowed on such occasions. Speak at all ventures,
and attempt the mot pour rire. You will find people satisfied with
wonderfully indifferent jokes if you can but hit the taste of the
company, which depends much on its character. Even a very high party,
primed with all the cold irony and non est tanti feelings, or no
feelings, of fashionable folks, may be stormed by a jovial, rough,
round, and ready preses. Choose your texts with discretion, the sermon
may be as you like. If a drunkard or an ass breaks in with anything out
of joint, if you can parry it with a jest, good and well—if not, do not
exert your serious authority, unless it is something very bad. The
authority even of a chairman ought to be very cautiously exercised. With
patience you will have the support of every one.
When you have drunk a few glasses to play the good fellow, and banish
modesty if you are unlucky enough, to have such a troublesome companion,
then beware of the cup too much. Nothing is so ridiculous as a drunken
Lastly. Always speak short, and Skeoch doch na skiel—cut a tale with
"This is the purpose and intent
Of gude Schir Walter's testament." 
Sir Walter parodies the conclusion of King Robert the
Bruce's "Maxims or Political Testament."—See Hailes' Annals, A.D.
We dined to-day at Mrs. Dundas of Arniston, Dowager.
February 24.—I carried my own instructions into effect the best I
could, and if our jests were not good, our laugh was abundant. I think I
will hardly take the chair again when the company is so miscellaneous;
though they all behaved perfectly well. Meadowbank taxed me with the
novels, and to end that farce at once I pleaded guilty, so that splore
is ended. As to the collection, it was much cry and little woo', as the
deil said when he shore the sow. Only £280 from 300 people, but many
were to send money to-morrow. They did not open books, which was
impolitic, but circulated a box, where people might put in what they
pleased—and some gave shillings, which gives but a poor idea of the
company. Yet there were many respectable people and handsome donations.
But this fashion of not letting your right hand see what your left hand
doeth is no good mode of raising a round sum. Your penny-pig collections
don't succeed. I got away at ten at night. The performers performed very
like gentlemen, especially Will Murray. They attended as stewards with
white rods, and never thought of sitting down till after dinner, taking
care that the company was attended to.
February 25.—Very bad report of the speeches in the papers. We dined
at Jeffrey's with Sydney Smith—funny and good-natured as usual. One of
his daughters is very pretty indeed; both are well-mannered, agreeable,
and sing well. The party was pleasant.
February 26.—At home, and settled to work; but I know not why I was
out of spirits—quite Laird of Humdudgeon, and did all I could to shake
it off, and could not. James Ballantyne dined with me.
February 27.—Humdudgeonish still; hang it, what fools we are! I
worked, but coldly and ill. Yet something is done. I wonder if other
people have these strange alternations of industry and incapacity. I am
sure I do not indulge myself in fancies, but it is accompanied with
great drowsiness—bile, I suppose, and terribly jaded spirits. I
received to-day Dr. Shortt and Major Crocket, who was orderly-officer on
Boney at the time of his death.
February 28.—Sir Adam breakfasted. One of the few old friends left
out of the number of my youthful companions. In youth we have many
companions, few friends perhaps; in age companionship is ended, except
rarely, and by appointment. Old men, by a kind of instinct, seek younger
companions who listen to their stories, honour their grey hairs while
present, and mimic and laugh at them when their backs are turned. At
least that was the way in our day, and I warrant our chicks of the
present day crow to the same tune. Of all the friends that I have left I
have none who has any decided attachment to literature. So either I must
talk on that subject to young people—in other words, turn proser, or I
must turn tea-table talker and converse with ladies. I am too old and
too proud for either character, so I'll live alone and be contented.
Lockhart's departure for London was a loss to me in this way. Came home
late from the Court, but worked tightly in the evening. I think
discontinuing smoking, as I have done for these two months past, leaves
me less muzzy after dinner. At any rate, it breaks a custom—I despise