July 1, [Abbotsford].—A most delicious day, in the course of which
I have not done
"The least right thing."
Before breakfast I employed myself in airing my old bibliomaniacal
hobby, entering all the books lately acquired into a temporary
catalogue, so as to have them shelved and marked. After breakfast I went
out, the day being delightful—warm, yet cooled with a gentle breeze,
all around delicious; the rich luxuriant green refreshing to the eye,
soft to the tread, and perfume to the smell. Wandered about and looked
at my plantations. Came home, and received a visit from Sir Adam.
Loitered in the library till dinner-time. If there is anything to be
done at all to-day, it must be in the evening. But I fear there will be
nothing. One can't work always nowther.
"Neque semper arcum tendit Apollo."
There's warrant for it.
July 2.—Wrote in the morning, correcting the Essay on the Highlands,
which is now nearly completed. Settled accounts with Tom and Bogie. Went
over to Huntly Burn at two o'clock, and reconnoitred the proposed
plantation to be called Jane's Wood. Dined with the Fergusons.
July 3—- Worked in the morning upon the Introduction to the
Chronicles; it may be thought egotistical. Learned a bad accident had
happened yesterday. A tinker (drunk I suppose) entered the stream
opposite to Faldonside with an ass bearing his children. The ass was
carried down by the force of the stream, and one of the little
creatures was drowned; the other was brought out alive, poor innocent,
clinging to the ass. It had floated as far down as Deadwater-heugh. Poor
thing, it is as well dead as to live a tinker! The Fergusons dine with
us en masse; also Dr. Brewster.
July 4, [Edinburgh].—Worked a little in the morning, and took a
walk after breakfast, the day so delicious as makes it heart-breaking to
leave the country. Set out, however, about four o'clock, and reached
Edinburgh a little after nine. Slept part of the way; read De Vere the
rest.  It is well written, in point of language and sentiment, but has
too little action in it to be termed a pleasing novel. Everything is
brought out by dialogue—or worse: through the medium of the author's
reflections, which is the clumsiest of all expedients.
 Written by R. Plumer Ward, author of Tremaine and other
works. Mr. Ward's Political Life, including a Diary to 1820, was
published in 1850. in two vols. 8vo, edited by Hon. E. Phipps.
July 5.—This morning worked, and sent off to J.B. the Introduction to
the Chronicles, containing my Confessions,  and did something, but
not fluently, to the Confessions themselves. Not happy, however; the
black dog worries me. Bile, I suppose. "But I will rally and combat the
reiver." Reiver it is, that wretched malady of the mind; got quite well
in the forenoon. Went out to Portobello after dinner, and chatted with
little Johnnie, and told him the history of the Field of Prestonpans.
Few remain who care about these stories.
 See post, p. 60, note.
July 6.—This morning wrought a good deal, but scarce a task. The
Court lasted till half-past three; exhausting work in this hot weather.
I returned to dine alone, Anne going to Roslin with a party. After noon
a Miss Bell broke in upon me, who bothered me some time since about a
book of hers, explaining and exposing the conduct of a Methodist
Tartuffe, who had broken off (by anonymous letters) a match betwixt her
and an accepted admirer. Tried in vain to make her comprehend how little
the Edinburgh people would care about her wrongs, since there was no
knowledge of the parties to make the scandal acceptable. I believe she
has suffered great wrong.  Letter from Longman and Co. to J.B.
grumbling about bringing out the second edition, because they have,
forsooth, 700 copies in hand out of 5000, five days after the first
edition  is out. What would they have? It is uncomfortable, though.
 See ante, vol. i. pp. 101-2.
July 7.—Night dreadfully warm, and bilious; I could not be fool
enough surely to be anxious for these wise men of the East's
prognostication. Letters from Lockhart give a very cheerful prospect; if
there had been any thundering upsetting broadside, he would have noticed
it surely more or less. R. Cadell quite stout, and determined to go on
with the second edition. Well, I hope all's right—thinking won't help
it. Charles came down this morning penniless, poor fellow, but we will
soon remedy that. Lockhart remits £100 for reviewing; I hope the next
will be for Sophia, for cash affairs loom well in the offing, and if the
trust funds go right, I was never so easy. I will take care how I get
into debt again. I do not like this croaking of these old owls of Saint
Paul's when all is done. The pitcher has gone often to the well.
But—However, I worked away at the Chronicles. I will take pains with
them. I will, by Jove!
July 8.—I did little to-day but arrange papers, and put bills,
receipts, etc., into apple-pie order. I believe the fair prospect I have
of clearing off some encumbrances, which are like thorns in my flesh,
nay, in my very eye, contribute much to this. I did not even correct
proof-sheets; nay, could not, for I have cancelled two sheets, instante
Jacobo, and I myself being of his opinion; for, as I said yesterday, we
must and will take pains. The fiddle-faddle of arranging all the things
was troublesome, but they give a good account of my affairs. The money
for the necessary payments is ready, and therefore there is a sort of
pleasure which does not arise out of any mean source, since it has for
its object the prospect of doing justice and achieving independence.
J.B. dined with me, poor fellow, and talked of his views as hopeful and
prosperous. God send honest industry a fair riddance.
July 9.—Wrote in the morning. At eleven went by appointment with
Colin Mackenzie to the New Edinburgh Academy. In the fifth class, Mr.
Mitchell's, we heard Greek, of which I am no otherwise a judge than that
it was fluently read and explained. In the rector Mr. Williams's class
we heard Virgil and Livy admirably translated ad aperturam libri, and,
what I thought remarkable, the rector giving the English, and the pupils
returning, with singular dexterity, the Latin, not exactly as in the
original, but often by synonymes, which showed that the exercise
referred to the judgment, and did not depend on the memory. I could not
help saying, with great truth, that, as we had all long known how much
the pupils were fortunate in a rector, so we were now taught that the
rector was equally lucky in his pupils. Of my young friends, I saw a son
of John Swinton, a son of Johnstone of Alva, and a son of Craufurd
Tait.  Dined at John Murray's; Mr. and Mrs. Philips of Liverpool,
General and Charles Stuart of Blantyre, Lord Abercromby, Clerk and
Thomson. Pleasant evening.
 Archibald Campbell Tait, afterwards Archbishop of
July 10.—Corrected proofs, but wrote nothing. To Court till two
o'clock. I went to Cadell's by the Mound, a long roundabout; transacted
some business. I met Baron Hume coming home, and walked with him in the
Gardens. His remarkable account of his celebrated uncle's last moments
is in these words:—Dr. Black called on Mr. D. Hume  on the morning on
which he died. The patient complained of having suffered a great deal
during the night, and expressed a fear that his struggle might be
prolonged, to his great distress, for days or weeks longer. "No, sir,"
said Dr. Black, with the remarkable calmness and sincerity which
characterised him, "I have examined the symptoms, and observe several
which oblige me to conclude that dissolution is rapidly approaching."
"Are you certain of that, Doctor?" "Most assuredly so," answered the
physician. The dying philosopher extended his arm, and shook hands with
his medical friend. "I thank you," he said, "for the news." So little
reason there was for the reports of his having been troubled in mind
when on his deathbed.
 David Hume, the historian, died August 25, 1776.
Dined at Lord Abercromby's, to meet Lord Melville in private. We had an
interview betwixt dinner and tea. I was sorry to see my very old friend,
this upright statesman and honourable gentleman, deprived of his power
and his official income, which the number of his family must render a
matter of importance. He was cheerful, not affectedly so, and bore his
declension like a wise and brave man. I had nursed the idea that he had
been hasty in his resignation; but, from the letters which he showed me
confidentially, which passed betwixt him and Canning, it is clear his
resignation was to be accomplished, not I suppose for personal
considerations, but because it rendered the Admiralty vacant for the
Duke of Clarence, as his resignation was eagerly snapped at. It cannot
be doubted that if he had hesitated or hung back behind his friends,
forcible means would have been used to compel to the measure, which with
more dignity he took of his own accord—at least so it seemed to me. The
first intimation which Lord Melville received of his successor was
through Mr.——, who told him, as great news, that there was to be a new
Duke of York . Lord M. understood the allusion so little, as to
inquire whether his informant meant that the Duke of Cambridge had taken
the Duke of York's situation, when it was explained to refer to the Duke
of Clarence getting the Admiralty. There are some few words that speak
volumes. Lord Melville said that none of them suspected Canning's
negotiations with the Whigs but the Duke of Wellington, who found it out
through the ladies ten days before. I asked him how they came to be so
unprepared, and could not help saying I thought they had acted without
consideration, and that they might have shown a face even to Canning. He
allowed the truth of what I said, and seemed to blame Peel's want of
courage. In his place, he said, he would have proposed to form a
government disclaiming any personal views for himself as being Premier
and the like, but upon the principle of supporting the measures of Lord
Castlereagh and Lord Liverpool. I think this would have been acceptable
to the King. Mr. Peel obviously feared his great antagonist Canning, and
perhaps threw the game up too soon. Canning said the office of Premier
was his inheritance; he could not, from constitution, hold it above two
years, and then it would descend to Peel. Such is ambition! Old friends
forsaken—old principles changed—every effort used to give the vessel
of the State a new direction, and all to be Palinurus for two years!
 To please the king, Canning appointed the Duke of Clarence
as first Lord of the Admiralty, but Greville says it was a most
judicious stroke of policy, and nothing served so much to disconcert his
opponents. Lord Melville had held the office from March 25, 1812, to
April 13, 1827. The Duke resigned in the following year.—See Croker's
Correspondence, vol. i. pp. 264 (letter to Blomfield), 427, 429; also
ante, vol. i. p. 262. Lord Melville was President of the India Board
in the Duke of Wellington's administration in 1828, and again First Lord
from Sept. 17 of the same year until Nov. 22, 1830.
July 11, [Abbotsford].—Worked at proofs in the morning; composed
nothing. Got off by one, and to this place between six and seven.
July 12.—Unpacking and arranging; the urchins are stealing the
cherries in the outer garden. But I can spare a thousand larch-trees to
put it in order with a good fence for next year. It is not right to
leave fruit exposed; for if Adam in the days of innocence fell by an
apple, how much may the little gossoon Jamie Moffatt be tempted by
apples of gold in an age of iron! Anne and I walked to Huntly Burn—a
delicious excursion. That place is really become beautiful; the Miss
Fergusons have displayed a great deal of taste.
July 13.—Two agreeable persons—Rev. Mr. Gilly , one of the
prebendaries of Durham, with his wife, a pretty little woman—dined with
us, and met Mr. Scrope. I heard the whole history of the discovery of
St. Cuthbert's  body at Durham Cathedral. The Catholics will deny the
identity, of course; but I think it is constaté by the dress and other
circumstances. Made a pleasant day of it, and with a good conscience,
for I had done my task this morning.
 The Rev. William Stephen Gilly, D.D., Vicar of Norham,
author of Narrative of an Excursion to the Mountains of Piemont, 1823;
Researches among the Vaudois or Waldenses, 1827-31.
July 14.—Did task this morning, and believe that I shall get on now
very well. Wrote about five leaves. I have been baking and fevering
myself like a fool for these two years in a room exposed to the south;
comfortable in winter, but broiling in the hot weather. Now I have
removed myself into the large cool library, one of the most refreshing
as well as handsomest rooms in Scotland, and will not use the study
again till the heats are past. Here is an entry as solemn as if it
respected the Vicar of Wakefield's removal from the yellow room to the
brown. But I think my labours will advance greatly in consequence of
this arrangement. Walked in the evening to the lake.
 See Raine's St. Cuthbert, 4to, Durham, 1828.
July 15.—Achieved six pages to-day, and finished volume i. of
Chronicles. It is rather long; but I think the last story interesting,
and it should not be split up into parts. J.B. will, I fear, think it
low; and if he thinks so, others will. Yet—vamos. Drove to Huntly Burn
in the evening.
July 16.—Made a good morning's work of the Tales. In the day-time
corrected various proofs. J.B. thinks that in the proposed introduction
I contemn too much the occupation by which I have thriven so well, and
hints that I may easily lead other people to follow my opinion in
vilipending my talents, and the use I have made of them. I cannot tell.
I do not like, on the one hand, to suppress my own opinion of the
flocci-pauci-nihili-pilification with which I regard these things; but
yet, in duty to others, I cannot afford to break my own bow, or befoul
my own nest, and there may be something like affectation and nolo
episcopari in seeming to underrate my own labours; so, all things
considered, I will erase the passage. Truth should not be spoke at all
times. In the evening we had a delightful drive to Ashestiel with
Colonel and Miss Ferguson.
July 17.—I wrote a laborious task; seven pages of Tales. Kept about
the doors all day. Gave Bogie £10 to buy cattle to-morrow at St.
Boswell's Fair. Here is a whimsical subject of affliction. Mr. Harper, a
settler, who went from this country to Botany Bay, thinking himself
obliged to me for a recommendation to General M'Allister and Sir Thomas
Brisbane, has thought proper to bring me home a couple of Emus. I wish
his gratitude had either taken a different turn, or remained as
quiescent as that of others whom I have obliged more materially. I at
first accepted the creatures, conceiving them, in my ignorance, to be
some sort of blue and green parrot, which, though I do not admire their
noise, might scream and yell at their pleasure if hung up in the hall
among the armour. But your emu, it seems, stands six feet high on his
stocking soles, and is little better than a kind of cassowary or
ostrich. Hang them! they might [eat] up my collection of old arms for
what I know. It reminds me of the story of the adjutant birds in
Theodore Hook's novel . No; I'll no Emuses!
 See Danvers in First Series of Sayings and Doings.
July 18.—Entered this morning on the history of Sir William Wallace.
I wish I may be able to find my way between what the child can
comprehend and what shall not yet be absolutely uninteresting to the
grown readers. Uncommon facts I should think the best receipt. Learn
that Mr. Owen Rees and John Gibson have amicably settled their
differences about the last edition of Napoleon, the Trustees allowing
the publishers nine months' credit. My nerves have for these two or
three last days been susceptible of an acute excitement from the
slightest causes; the beauty of the evening, the sighing of the summer
breeze, brings the tears into my eyes not unpleasingly. But I must take
exercise, and caseharden myself. There is no use in encouraging these
moods of the mind. It is not the law we live on.
We had a little party with some luncheon at the lake, where Mr.
Bainbridge fished without much success. Captain Hamilton and two Messrs.
Stirling, relatives of my old friend Keir, were there, and walked with
me a long round home. I walked better than I had done for some days. Mr.
Scrope dined with us; he was complaining of gout, which is a bad
companion for the stag-shooting.
July 19.—I made out my task this forenoon, and a good deal more. Sent
five or six pages to James Ballantyne, i.e. got them ready, and wrote
till the afternoon, then I drove over to Huntly Burn, and walked through
the glens till dinner-time. After dinner read and worked till bed-time.
Yet I have written well, walked well, talked well, and have nothing to
July 20.—Despatched my letters to J.B., with supply of copy, and made
up more than my task—about four leaves, I think. Offered my Emuses to
the Duke of Buccleuch. I had an appointment with Captain Hamilton and
his friends the Stirlings, that they were to go up Yarrow to-day. But
the weather seems to say no.
My visitors came, however, and we went up to Newark. Here is a little
misfortune, for Spice left me, and we could not find her. As we had no
servant with us on horseback, I was compelled to leave her to her fate,
resolving to send in quest of her to-morrow morning. The keepers are my
bonos socios, as the host says in the Devil of Edmonton >, and would
as soon shoot a child as a dog of mine. But there are scamps and traps,
and I am ashamed to say how reluctantly I left the poor little terrier
to its fate.
 The Merry Devil of Edmonton, a play by "T.B.," which has
also been attributed to Anthony Brewer.
She came home to me, however, about an hour and a half after we were
home, to my great delectation. Our visitors dined with us.
July 21.—This morning wrote five pages of children's history. Went to
Minto, where we met, besides Lord M. and his delightful countess, Thomas
Thomson, Kennedy of Dunure , Lord Carnarvon, and his younger son and
daughter-in-law; the dowager Lady Minto also, whom I always delight to
see, she is so full of spirit and intelligence. We rubbed up some
recollections of twenty years ago, when I was more intimate with the
family till Whig and Tory separated us for a time. By the way, nobody
talks Whig or Tory just now, and the fighting men on each side go about
muzzled and mute like dogs after a proclamation about canine madness. Am
I sorry for this truce or not? Half and half. It is all we have left to
stir the blood, this little political brawling; but better too little of
it than too much.
 Right Hon. Thomas Francis Kennedy, M.P. for Ayr Burghs,
1818-34. Died at the age of ninety at Dalquharran in 1879.
July 22, [Abbotsford].—Rose a little later than usual, and wrote a
letter to Mrs. Joanna Baillie. She is writing a tragedy  on
witchcraft. I shall be curious to see it. Will it be real
witchcraft—the ipsissimus diabolus—or an impostor, or the
half-crazed being who believes herself an ally of condemned spirits, and
desires to be so? That last is a sublime subject. We set out after
breakfast, and reached this about two. I walked from two till four;
chatted a long time with Charles after dinner, and thus went my day
sine linea. But we will make it up. James Ballantyne dislikes my
"Drovers." But it shall stand. I must have my own way sometimes.
 This powerful drama, entitled Witchcraft: a Tragedy in
Prose, was suggested, as the author says in her preface, by reading a
scene in The Bride of Lammermoor.
I received news of two deaths at once: Lady Die Scott, my very old
friend, and Archibald Constable, the bookseller.
July 23.—Yes! they are both for very different reasons subjects of
reflection. Lady Diana Scott, widow of Walter Scott of Harden, was the
last person whom I recollect so much older than myself, that she kept
always at the same distance in point of years, so that she scarce seemed
older to me (relatively) two years ago, when in her ninety-second year,
than fifty years before. She was the daughter (alone remaining) of
Pope's Earl of Marchmont, and, like her father, had an acute mind and an
eager temper. She was always kind to me, remarkably so indeed when I was
Constable's death might have been a most important thing to me if it had
happened some years ago, and I should then have lamented it much. He has
lived to do me some injury; yet, excepting the last £5000, I think most
unintentionally. He was a prince of booksellers; his views sharp,
powerful, and liberal; too sanguine, however, and, like many bold and
successful schemers, never knowing when to stand or stop, and not always
calculating his means to his objects with mercantile accuracy. He was
very vain, for which he had some reason, having raised himself to great
commercial eminence, as he might also have attained great wealth with
good management. He knew, I think, more of the business of a bookseller
in planning and executing popular works than any man of his time. In
books themselves he had much bibliographical information, but none
whatever that could be termed literary. He knew the rare volumes of his
library not only by the eye, but by the touch, when blindfolded. Thomas
Thomson saw him make this experiment, and, that it might be complete,
placed in his hand an ordinary volume instead of one of these libri
rariores. He said he had over-estimated his memory; he could not
recollect that volume. Constable was a violent-tempered man with those
that he dared use freedom with. He was easily overawed by people of
consequence, but, as usual, took it out of those whom poverty made
subservient to him. Yet he was generous, and far from bad-hearted. In
person good-looking, but very corpulent latterly; a large feeder, and
deep drinker, till his health became weak. He died of water in the
chest, which the natural strength of his constitution set long at
defiance. I have no great reason to regret him; yet I do. If he deceived
me, he also deceived himself. 
 Did Constable ruin Scott, as has been generally supposed?
It is right to say that such a charge was not made during the lifetime
of either. Immediately after Scott's death Miss Edgeworth wrote to Sir
James Gibson-Craig and asked him for authentic information as to Sir
Walter's connection with Constable. Sir James in reply stated that to
his personal knowledge Mr. Constable had, in his anxiety to save Scott,
about 1814 , commenced a system of accommodation bills which could
not fail to produce, and actually did produce, the ruin of both parties.
To another correspondent, some years later, he wrote still more strongly
(Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 457).
Wrote five pages to-day, and went to see Mr. Scrope, who is fast with
the gout—a bad companion to attend him
Scott appears to have been aware of the facts so far, as he says to
Laidlaw, in a letter of December 16, 1825, "The confusion of 1814 is a
joke to this ... but it arises out of the nature of the same connection
which gives, and has given, me a fortune;" and Mr. Lockhart says that
the firm of J.B. & Co. "had more than once owed its escape from utter
ruin and dishonour" through Constable's exertions.—Life, vol. v. p.
On reading the third volume of Constable's Memoirs (3 vols. 8vo, 1873),
one cannot fail to see that all the three parties—printer, publisher,
and author—were equal sharers in the imprudences that led to the
disaster in 1826. Whether Mr. Constable was right in recommending
further advances to the London house is doubtful; but if it was an error
of judgment, it was one which appears to have been shared by Mr. Cadell
and Mr. James Ballantyne. It must be admitted that the three firms were
equally culpable in maintaining for so many years a system of fictitious
credit. Constable, at least, from a letter to Scott, printed in vol.
iii. p. 274, had become seriously alarmed as early as August 8, 1823.
That Constable was correct in his estimate of the value of the literary
property has been shown by the large sums realised from the sale of
Scott's works since 1829; and that his was the brain ("the pendulum of
the clock" as Scott termed it) to plan is also shown by the fact that
the so-called "favourite" edition, the magnum opus, appears to have
been Constable's idea (Memoirs, vol. iii. p. 255), although, according
to the Annual Register of 1849, Mr. Cadell claimed the merit of a
scheme which he had "quietly and privately matured."
"to Athole Braes,
To shoot the dun deer down, down—
To shoot the dun deer down."
July 24.—Finished five pages before eleven o'clock, at which time Mr.
Deputy Register  arrived from Minto, and we had an agreeable
afternoon, talking about the old days we have had together. I was
surprised to find that Thomson knew as little as I do myself how to
advise Charles to a good course of Scottish History. Hailes and
Pinkerton, Robertson and Laing—there is nothing else for it—and
Pinkerton is poor work. Laing, besides his party spirit, has a turn for
generalising, which renders him rather dull, which was not the nature of
the acute Orcadian.
 Thomas Thomson, Depute-Clerk Register for Scotland under
Lord Frederick Campbell.
July 25.—Thomson left us this morning early. I finished four pages,
and part of a fifth, then drove to Huntly Burn and returned through the
Glen; I certainly turn heavy-footed, not in the female sense, however.
I had one or two falls among the slippy heather, not having Tom Purdie
to give me his arm. I suppose I shall need a go-cart one of these days;
and if it must be so—so let it be. Fiat voluntas tua.
A letter from John Gibson in the evening brought me word that Lord
Newton had adjudged the profits of Woodstock and Napoleon to be my
own. This is a great matter, and removes the most important part of my
dispute with Constable's creditors. I waked in the middle of the night.
Sure I am not such a feather-headed gull as not to be able to sleep for
good news. I am thankful that it is as it is. Had it been otherwise, I
could have stood it. The money realised will pay one-third of all that I
owe in the world—and what will pay the other two-thirds? I am as well
and as capable as when those misfortunes began—January was a year. The
public favour may wane, indeed, but it has not failed as yet, and I must
not be too anxious about that possibility.
James B. has found fault with my tales for being too historical;
formerly it was for being too infantine. He calls out for starch, and is
afraid of his cravat being too stiff. O ye critics, will nothing melt
July 26.—Wrote till one o'clock, and finished the first volume of
Tales—about six leaves. To-morrow I resume the Chronicles, tooth
and nail. They must be good, if possible. After all, works of fiction,
viz., cursed lies, are easier to write, and much more popular than the
best truths. Walked over to the head of the Roman road, coming round by
Bauchland and the Abbot's Walk. Wrote letters in the evening.
July 27.—In the morning still busied with my correspondence. No great
desire to take up the Chronicles. But it must be done. Devil take the
necessity, and the folly and knavery, that occasioned it! But this is no
matter now. Accordingly I set tightly to work, and got on till two, when
I took a walk. Was made very happy by the arrival of Sophia and her
babies, all in good health and spirits.
July 28.—Worked hard in the morning. The two Ballantynes, and Mr.
Hogarth with them. Owen Rees came early in the day. Fergusons came to
dinner. Rees in great kindness and good-humour, but a little drumlie, I
think, about Napoleon. We heard Sandie's violin after dinner—
"——Whose touch harmonious can remove
The pangs of guilty power and hopeless love." 
 Johnson's Epitaph on Claude Phillips.
I do not understand or care about fine music; but there is something in
his violin which goes to the very heart. Sophia sung too, and we were
once more merry in hall—the first time for this many a month and many a
July 29.—Could not do more than undertake my proofs to-day, of which
J.B. has brought out a considerable quantity. Walked at one with Hogarth
and Rees—the day sultry, hot, and we hot accordingly, but crept about
notwithstanding. I am sorry to see my old and feal friend James rather
unable to walk—once so stout and active—so was I in my way once. Ah!
that vile word, what a world of loss it involves!
July 30.—One of the most peppering thunder-storms which I have heard
for some time. Routed and roared from six in the morning till eight
"The thunder ceased not, nor the fire reposed;
Well done, old Botherby."
Time wasted, though very agreeably, after breakfast. At noon, set out
for Chiefswood in the carriage, and walked home, footing it over rough
and smooth, with the vigour of early days. James Ballantyne marched on
too, somewhat meltingly, but without complaint. We again had beautiful
music after dinner. The heart of age arose. I have often wondered
whether I have a taste for music or no. My ear appears to me as dull as
my voice is incapable of musical expression, and yet I feel the utmost
pleasure in any such music as I can comprehend, learned pieces always
excepted. I believe I may be about the pitch of Terry's connoisseurship,
and that "I have a reasonable good ear for a jig, but your solos and
sonatas give me the spleen."
July 31.—Employed the morning writing letters and correcting proofs;
this is the second day and scarce a line written, but circumstances are
so much my apology that even Duty does not murmur, at least not much.
We had a drive up to Galashiels, and sent J.B. off to Edinburgh in the
Mail. Music in the evening as before.