November 1.—I waked in the night and lay two hours in feverish
meditation. This is a tribute to natural feeling. But the air of a fine
frosty morning gave me some elasticity of spirit. It is strange that
about a week ago I was more dispirited for nothing at all than I am now
for perplexities which set at defiance my conjectures concerning their
issue. I suppose that I, the Chronicler of the Canongate, will have to
take up my residence in the Sanctuary  for a week or so, unless I
prefer the more airy residence of the Calton Jail, or a trip to the Isle
of Man. These furnish a pleasing choice of expedients. It is to no
purpose being angry at Ehud or Ahab, or whatever name he delights in. He
is seeking his own, and thinks by these harsh measures to render his
road to it more speedy. And now I will trouble myself no more about the
matter than I can possibly help, which will be quite enough after all.
Perhaps something may turn up better for me than I now look for. Sir
Adam Ferguson left Bowhill this morning for Dumfriesshire. I returned to
Abbotsford to Anne, and told her this unpleasant news. She stood it
remarkably well, poor body.
 Holyrood remained an asylum for civil debtors until 1880,
when by the Act 43 & 44 Victoria, cap. 34 imprisonment for debt was
abolished. For description of bounds see Chronicles of the Canongate,
p. 7. (vol. xli.).
November 2.—I was a little bilious to-night—no wonder. Had sundry
letters without any power of giving my mind to answer them—one about
Gourgaud with his nonsense. I shall not trouble my head more on that
score. Well, it is a hard knock on the elbow; I knew I had a life of
labour before me, but I was resolved to work steadily; now they have
treated me like a recusant turnspit, and put in a red-hot cinder into
the wheel alongst with [me]. But of what use is philosophy—and I have
always pretended to a little of a practical character—if it cannot
teach us to do or suffer? The day is glorious, yet I have little will to
enjoy it, but sit here ruminating upon the difference and comparative
merits of the Isle of Man and of the Abbey. Small choice betwixt them.
Were a twelvemonth over, I should perhaps smile at what makes me now
Smile!—No, that can never be. My present feelings cannot be recollected
with cheerfulness; but I may drop a tear of gratitude. I have finished
my Tales  and have now nothing literary in hand. It would be an
evil time to begin anything.
 The book was published during November, under the
following title, Chronicles of the Canongate (First Series). By the
author of Waverley, etc.—SIC ITUR AD ASTRA, motto of Canongate arms.
In two vols. The Two Drovers, The Highland Widow, The Surgeon's
Daughter. Edinburgh, printed for Cadell and Co., and Simpkin Marshall.
November 3.—Slept ill, and lay one hour longer than usual in the
morning. I gained an hour's quiet by it, that is much. I feel a little
shaken at the result of to-day's post. Bad it must be, whatsoever be the
alternative. I am not able to go out, my poor workers wonder that I pass
them without a word. I can imagine no alternative but either retreat to
the Sanctuary or to the Isle of Man. Both shocking enough. But in
Edinburgh I am always near the scene of action, free from uncertainty
and near my poor daughter; so I think I will prefer it, and thus I rest
in unrest. But I will not let this unman me. Our hope, heavenly and
earthly, is poorly anchored, if the cable parts upon the strain. I
believe in God who can change evil into good; and I am confident that
what befalls us is always ultimately for the best. I have a letter from
Mr. Gibson, purporting the opinion of the trustees and committee of
creditors, that I should come to town, and interesting themselves warmly
in the matter. They have intimated that they will pay Mr. Abud a
composition of six shillings per pound on his debt. This is a handsome
offer, but I understand he is determined to have his pound of flesh. If
I can prevent it, he shall not take a shilling by his hard-hearted
The introduction to this work contains sketches of Scott's own life,
with portraits of his friends, unsurpassed in any of his earlier
writings; for example, what could be better than the description of his
ancestors the Scotts of Raeburn, vol. xli. p. 61:—
"They werena ill to them, sir, and that is aye something; they were
just decent bien bodies. Ony poor creature that had face to beg got an
awmous and welcome; they that were shamefaced gaed by, and twice as
welcome. But they keepit an honest walk before God and man, the
Croftangrys, and as I said before, if they did little good, they did as
little ill. They lifted their rents and spent them; called in their kain
and eat them; gaed to the kirk of a Sunday, bowed civilly if folk took
aff their bannets as they gaed by, and lookit as black as sin at them
that keepit them on."
November 4.—Put my papers in some order, and prepared for my journey.
It is in the style of the Emperors of Abyssinia who proclaim—Cut down
the Kantuffa in the four quarters of the world,—for I know not where I
am going. Yet, were it not for poor Anne's doleful looks, I would feel
firm as a piece of granite. Even the poor dogs seem to fawn on me with
anxious meaning, as if there were something going on they could not
comprehend. They probably notice the packing of the clothes, and other
symptoms of a journey.
Set off at twelve, firmly resolved in body and in mind. Dined at Fushie
Bridge. Ah! good Mrs. Wilson, you know not you are like to lose an old
 Mrs. Wilson, landlady of the inn at Fushie, one stage from
Edinburgh,—an old dame of some humour, with whom Sir Walter always had
a friendly colloquy in passing. I believe the charm was, that she had
passed her childhood among the Gipsies of the Border. But her fiery
Radicalism latterly was another source of high merriment.—J.G.L.
But when I arrived in Edinburgh at my faithful friend, Mr. Gibson's,
lo! the scene had again changed, and a new hare is started. 
 The "new hare" was this: "It transpired in the very nick
of time, that a suspicion of usury attached to these Israelites without
guile, in a transaction with Hurst and Robinson, as to one or more of
the bills for which the house of Ballantyne had become responsible. This
suspicion, upon investigation, assumed a shape sufficiently tangible to
justify Ballantyne's trustees in carrying the point before the Court of
Session; but they failed to establish their allegation."—Life, vol.
ix. pp. 178-9.
The trustees were clearly of opinion that the matter should be probed to
the very bottom; so Cadell sets off to-morrow in quest of Robinson,
whose haunts he knows. There was much talk concerning what should be
done, how to protect my honour's person, and to postpone commencing a
defence which must make Ahab desperate, before we can ascertain that the
grounds are really tenable. This much I think I can see, that the
trustees will rather pay the debt than break off the trust and go into a
sequestration. They are clearly right for themselves, and I believe for
me also. Whether it is in human possibility that I can clear off these
obligations or not, is very doubtful. But I would rather have it written
on my monument that I died at the desk than live under the recollection
of having neglected it. My conscience is free and happy, and would be so
if I were to be lodged in the Calton Jail. Were I shirking exertion I
should lose heart, under a sense of general contempt, and so die like a
poisoned rat in a hole.
Dined with Gibson and John Home. His wife is a pretty lady-like woman.
Slept there at night.
November 6.—I took possession of No. 6 Shandwick Place, Mrs. Jobson's
house. Mr. Cadell had taken it for me; terms £100 for four months—cheap
enough, as it is a capital house. I offered £5 for immediate entrance,
as I do not like to fly back to Abbotsford. So here we are established,
i.e. John Nicolson  and I, with good fires and all snug.
 A favourite domestic at Abbotsford, whose name was never
to be mentioned by any of Scott's family without respect and
gratitude.—Life, vol. x. p. 3.
I waited on L.J.S.; an affecting meeting. 
 Lady Jane Stuart's house was No. 12 Maitland Street,
opposite Shandwick Place. Mrs. Skene told Mr. Lockhart that at Sir
Walter's first meeting with his old friend a very painful scene
occurred, and she added—"I think it highly probable that it was on
returning from this call that he committed to writing the verses, To
Time, by his early favourite."—Life, vol. ix, p. 183.
Sir William Forbes came in before dinner to me, high-spirited noble
fellow as ever, and true to his friend. Agrees with my feelings to a
comma. He thinks Cadell's account must turn up trumps, and is for going
the vole. 
The lines referred to are given below—
Friend of the wretch oppress'd with grief.
Whose lenient hand, though slow, supplies
The balm that lends to care relief,
That wipes her tears—that checks her sighs!
'Tis thine the wounded soul to heal
That hopeless bleeds for sorrow's smart,
From stern misfortune's shaft to steal
The barb that rankles in the heart.
What though with thee the roses fly,
And jocund youth's gay reign is o'er;
Though dimm'd the lustre of the eye,
And hope's vain dreams enchant no more.
Yet in thy train come dove-eyed peace,
Indifference with her heart of snow;
At her cold couch, lo! sorrows cease,
No thorns beneath her roses grow.
O haste to grant thy suppliant's prayer,
To me thy torpid calm impart:
Rend from my brow youth's garland fair,
But take the thorn that's in my heart.
Ah! why do fabling poets tell
That thy fleet wings outstrip the wind?
Why feign thy course of joy the knell,
And call thy slowest pace unkind?
To me thy tedious feeble pace
Comes laden with the weight of years;
With sighs I view morn's blushing face,
And hail mild evening with my tears.
mdash;Life, vol. i. pp. 334-336.
 Sir William Forbes crowned his generous efforts for
Scott's relief by privately paying the whole of Abud's demand (nearly
£2000) out of his own pocket—ranking as an ordinary creditor for the
amount; and taking care at the same time that his old friend should be
allowed to believe that the affair had merged quietly in the general
measures of the trustees. In fact it was not until some time after Sir
William's death (in the following year) that Sir Walter learned what he
had done.—Life, vol. ix. p. 179.
November 7.—Began to settle myself this morning, after the hurry of
mind, and even of body, which I have lately undergone. Commenced a
review—that is, an essay, on Ornamental Gardening for the Quarterly.
But I stuck fast for want of books. As I did not wish to leave the mind
leisure to recoil on itself, I immediately began the Second Series of
the Chronicles of Canongate, the First having been well approved. I
went to make another visit, and fairly softened myself like an old fool,
with recalling old stories till I was fit for nothing but shedding
tears and repeating verses for the whole night. This is sad work. The
very grave gives up its dead, and time rolls back thirty years to add to
my perplexities. I don't care. I begin to grow over-hardened, and, like
a stag turning at bay, my naturally good temper grows fierce and
dangerous. Yet what a romance to tell, and told I fear it will one day
be. And then my three years of dreaming and my two years of wakening
will be chronicled doubtless. But the dead will feel no pain.
November 8.—Domum mansi, lanam feci. I may borrow the old
sepulchral motto of the Roman matron. I stayed at home, and began the
third volume of Chronicles, or rather the first volume of the Second
Series.  This I pursued with little intermission from morning till
night, yet only finished nine pages. Like the machinery of a
steam-engine, the imagination does not work freely when first set upon a
 St. Valentine's Day or Fair Maid of Perth.
November 9.—Finished my task after breakfast, at least before twelve.
Then went to College to hear this most amusing good matter of the Essay
read.  Imprimis occurs a dispute whether the magistrates, as
patrons of the University, should march in procession before the Royal
visitors; and it was proposed on our side that the Provost, who is
undoubtedly the first man in his own city, should go in attendance on
the Principal, with the Chairman of the Commission on the Principal's
right hand, and the whole Commission following, taking pas of the
other Magistrates as well as of the Senatus Academicus—or whether we
had not better waive all question of precedence, and let the three
bodies find their way separately as they best could. This last method
was just adopted when we learned that the question was not in what order
of procession we should reach the place of exhibition, but whether we
were to get there at all, which was presently after reported as an
impossibility. The lads of the College had so effectually taken
possession of the class-room where the essay was to be read, that,
neither learning or law, neither Magistrates nor Magisters, neither
visitors nor visited, could make way to the scene of action. So we
grandees were obliged to adjourn the sederunt till Saturday the
17th—and so ended the collie-shangie.
 A Royal Commission, of which Sir Walter was a member, had
been appointed in 1826 to visit the Universities of Scotland. At the
suggestion of Lord Aberdeen, a hundred guinea prize had been offered for
the best essay on the national character of the Athenians. This prize,
which excited great interest among the Edinburgh students, was won by
John Brown Patterson, and ordered to be read before the Commissioners,
and the other public bodies, with the result described by Sir Walter. It
was read on the 17th November before a distinguished audience.
November 10.—Wrote out my task and little more. At twelve o'clock I
went to poor Lady J.S. to talk over old stories. I am not clear that it
is right or healthful indulgence to be ripping up old sorrows, but it
seems to give her deep-seated sorrow words, and that is a mental
bloodletting. To me these things are now matter of calm and solemn
recollection, never to be forgotten, yet scarce to be remembered with
We go out to Saint Catherine's  to-day. I am glad of it, for I would
not have these recollections haunt me, and society will put them out of
 Sir William Rae's house, in Liberton parish, near
November 11.—Sir William Rae read us prayers. Sauntered about the
doors, and talked of old cavalry stories. Then drove to Melville, and
saw the Lord and Lady, and family. I think I never saw anything more
beautiful than the ridge of Carnethy (Pentland) against a clear frosty
sky, with its peaks and varied slopes. The hills glowed like purple
amethysts, the sky glowed topaz and vermilion colours. I never saw a
finer screen than Pentland, considering that it is neither rocky nor
November 12.—I cannot say I lost a minute's sleep on account of what
the day might bring forth; though it was that on which we must settle
with Abud in his Jewish demand, or stand to the consequences. I
breakfasted with an excellent appetite, laughed in real genuine easy
fun, and went to Edinburgh, resolved to do what should best become me.
When I came home I found Walter, poor fellow, who had come down on the
spur, having heard from John Lockhart how things stand. Gibson having
taken out a suspension makes us all safe for the present. So we dined
merrily. He has good hopes of his Majesty, and I must support his
interest as well as I can. Wrote letters to Lady Shelley, John L., and
one or two chance correspondents. One was singular. A gentleman, writing
himself James Macturk, tells me his friends have identified him with
Captain Macturk of St. Ronan's Well, and finding himself much
inconvenienced by this identification, he proposes I should apply to the
King to forward his restoration and advance in the service (he writes
himself late Lieutenant 4th Dragoon Guards) as an atonement for having
occasioned him (though unintentionally no doubt) so great an injury.
This is one road to promotion, to be sure. Lieutenant Macturk is, I
suppose, tolerably mad.
We dined together, Anne, Walter, and I, and were happy at our reunion,
when, as I was despatching my packet to London,
In started to heeze up our howp 
 From the old song Andrew and his Cutty Gun.
John Gibson, radiant with good-natured joy. He had another letter from
Cadell, enclosing one from Robinson, in which the latter pledges himself
to make the most explicit affidavit.
On these two last days I have written only three pages, but not from
inaptitude or incapacity to labour. It is odd enough—I think it
difficult to place me in a situation of danger, or disagreeable
circumstances, purely personal, which would shake my powers of mind, yet
they sink under mere lowness of spirits, as this Journal bears evidence
in too many passages.
November 13.—Wrote a little in the morning, but not above a page.
Went to the Court about one, returned, and made several visits with Anne
and Walter. Cadell came, glorious with the success of his expedition,
but a little allayed by the prospect of competition for the copyrights,
on which he and I have our eyes as joint purchasers. We must have them
if possible, for I can give new value to an edition corrected with
notes. Nous verrons! Captain Musgrave, of the house of Edenhall, dined
with us. After dinner, while we were over our whisky and water and
cigars, enter the merry knight. Misses Kerr came to tea, and we had fun
and singing in the evening.
November 14.—A little work in the morning, but no gathering to my
tackle. Went to Court, remained till nigh one. Then came through a
pitiless shower; dressed and went to the christening of a boy of John
Richardson's who was baptized Henry Cockburn. Read the Gazette of the
great battle of Navarino, in which we have thumped the Turks very well.
But as to the justice of our interference, I will only suppose some
Turkish plenipotentiary, with an immense turban and long loose trousers,
comes to dictate to us the mode in which we should deal with our
refractory liegemen the Catholics of Ireland. We hesitate to admit his
interference, on which the Moslem admiral runs into Cork Bay or Bantry
Bay, alongside of a British squadron, and sends a boat to tow aside a
fire-ship. A vessel fires on the boat and sinks her. Is there an
aggression on the part of those who fired first, or of those whose
manoeuvres occasioned the firing?
Dined at Henry Cockburn's with the christening party.
November 15.—Wrote a little in the morning. Detained in Court till
two; then returned home wet enough. Met with Chambers, and complimented
him about his making a clever book of the 1745 for Constable's
Miscellany. It is really a lively work, and must have a good sale.
Before dinner enter Cadell, and we anxiously renewed our plan for buying
the copyrights on 19th December. It is most essential that the whole of
the Waverley Novels should be kept under our management, as it is
called. I may then give them a new impulse by a preface and notes; and
if an edition, of say 30 volumes, were to be published monthly to the
tune of 5000, which may really be expected if the shops were once
cleared of the over-glut, it would bring in £10,000 clear profit, over
all outlay, and so pay any sum of copy-money that might be ventured. I
must urge these things to Gibson, for except these copyrights be saved
our plans will go to nothing.
Walter and Anne went to hear Madame Pasta sing after dinner. I remained
at home; wrote to Sir William Knighton, and sundry other letters of
November 16.—There was little to do in Court to-day, but one's time
is squandered, and his ideas broken strangely. At three we had a select
meeting of the Gas Directors to consider what line we were to take in
the disastrous affairs of the company. Agreed to go to Parliament a
second time. James Gibson [Craig] and I to go up as our solicitors. So
curiously does interest couple up individuals, though I am sure I have
no objection whatever to Mr. James Gibson-Craig. 
 Sir James Gibson-Craig, one of the Whig leaders, and a
prominent advocate of reform at the end of last century.
November 17.—Returned home in early time from the Court. Settled on
the review of Ornamental Gardening for Lockhart, and wrote hard. Want
several quotations, though—that is the bore of being totally without
books. Anne and I dined quietly together, and I wrote after tea—an
November 18.—This has been also a day of exertion. I was interrupted
for a moment by a visit from young Davidoff with a present of a steel
snuff-box [Tula work], wrought and lined with gold, having my arms on
the top, and on the sides various scenes from the environs and principal
public buildings of St. Petersburg—a joli cadeau—and I take it very
kind of my young friend. I had a letter from his uncle, Denis Davidoff,
the black captain of the French retreat. The Russians are certainly
losing ground and men in Persia, and will not easily get out of the
scrape of having engaged an active enemy in a difficult and unhealthy
country. I am glad of it; it is an overgrown power; and to have them
kept quiet at least is well for the rest of Europe. I concluded the
evening—after writing a double task—with the trial of Malcolm
Gillespie, renowned as a most venturous excise officer, but now like to
lose his life for forgery. A bold man in his vocation he seems to have
been, but the law seems to have got round to the wrong side of him on
the present occasion. 
 Gillespie was tried at Aberdeen before Lord Alloway on
September 26, and sentenced to be executed on Friday, 16th November
November 19.—Corrected the last proof of Tales of my Grandfather.
Received Cadell at breakfast, and conversed fully on the subject of the
Chronicles and the application of the price of 2d series, say £4000,
to the purchase of the moiety of the copyrights now in the market, and
to be sold this day month. If I have the command of a new Edition and
put it into an attractive shape, with notes, introductions, and
illustrations that no one save I myself can give, I am confident it will
bring home the whole purchase-money with something over, and lead to
the disposal of a series of the subsequent volumes of the following
St. Ronan's Well, 3 vols.
Redgauntlet, 3 "
Tales of Crusaders, 4 "
Woodstock, 3 "
make a series of 7 vols.! The two series of the Chronicles and others
will be ready about the same time.
November 20.—Wrought in the morning at the review, which I fear will
be lengthy. Called on Hector as I came home from the Court, and found
him better, and keeping a Highland heart. I came home like a crow
through the mist, half dead with a rheumatic headache caused by the
beastly north-east wind.
"What am I now when every breeze appals me?"  I dozed for
half-an-hour in my chair for pain and stupidity. I omitted to say
yesterday that I went out to Melville Castle to inquire after my Lord
Melville, who had broke his collar-bone by a fall from his horse in
mounting. He is recovering well, but much bruised. I came home with Lord
Chief-Commissioner Adam. He told me a dictum of old Sir Gilbert Elliot,
speaking of his uncles. "No chance of opulence," he said, "is worth the
risk of a competence." It was not the thought of a great man, but
perhaps that of a wise one. Wrought at my review, and despatched about
half or better, I should hope. I incline to longer extracts in the next
 Slightly altered from Macbeth, Act II. Sc. 2.
November 21.—Wrought at the review. At one o'clock I attended the
general meeting of the Union Scottish Assurance Company. There was a
debate arose whether the ordinary acting directors should or should not
have a small sum, amounting to about a crown a piece allotted to them
each day of their regular attendance. The proposal was rejected by many,
and upon grounds which sound very well,—such as the shabbiness of men
being influenced by a trifling consideration like this, and the
absurdity of the Company volunteering a bounty to one set of men, when
there are others willing to act gratuitously, and many gentlemen
volunteered their own services; though I cannot help suspecting that, as
in the case of ultroneous offers of service upon most occasions, it was
not likely to be acceptable. The motion miscarried, however—impoliticly
rejected, as I think. The sound of five shillings sounds shabby, but the
fact is that it does in some sort reconcile the party to whom it is
offered to leave his own house and business at an exact hour; whereas,
in the common case, one man comes too late—another does not come at
all—the attendance is given by different individuals upon different
days, so that no one acquires the due historical knowledge of the
affairs of the Company. Besides, the Directors, by taking even this
trifling sum of money, render themselves the paid servants of the
Company, and are bound to use a certain degree of diligence, much
greater than if they continued to serve, as hitherto, gratuitously. The
pay is like enlisting money which, whether great or small, subjects to
engagements under the Articles of war.
A china-merchant spoke,—a picture of an orator with bandy legs,
squinting eyes, and a voice like an ungreased cart-wheel—a liberty boy,
I suppose. The meeting was somewhat stormy, but I preserved order by
listening with patience to each in turn; determined that they should
weary out the patience of the meeting before I lost mine. An orator is
like a top. Let him alone and he must stop one time or another—flog
him, and he may go on for ever.
Dined with Directors, of whom I only knew the Manager, Sutherland
Mackenzie, Sir David Milne, and Wauchope, besides one or two old Oil Gas
friends. It went off well enough.
November 22.—Wrought in the morning. Then made arrangements for a
dinner to celebrate the Duke of Buccleuch coming of age—that which was
to have been held at Melville Castle being postponed, owing to Lord M.'s
accident. Sent copy of Second Series of Chronicles of Canongate to
November 23.—I bilked the Court to-day, and worked at the review. I
wish it may not be too long, yet know not how to shorten it. The post
brought me a letter from the Duke of Buccleuch, acquainting me with his
grandmother, the Duchess-Dowager's death.  She was a woman of
unbounded beneficence to, and even beyond, the extent of her princely
fortune. She had a masculine courage, and great firmness in enduring
affliction, which pressed on her with continued and successive blows in
her later years. She was about eighty-four, and nature was exhausted; so
life departed like the extinction of a lamp for lack of oil. Our dinner
on Monday is put off. I am not superstitious, but I wish this festival
had not been twice delayed by such sinister accidents—first, the injury
sustained by Lord Melville, and then this event spreading crape like the
shroud of Saladin over our little festival.  God avert bad omens!
 Lady Elizabeth Montagu, daughter of George Duke of
Dined with Archie Swinton. Company—Sir Alexander and Lady Keith, Mr.
and Mrs. Anderson, Clanronald, etc. Clanronald told us, as an instance
of Highland credulity, that a set of his kinsmen, Borradale and others,
believing that the fabulous Water Cow inhabited a small lake near his
house, resolved to drag the monster into day. With this view they
bivouacked by the side of the lake, in which they placed, by way of
night-bait, two small anchors, such as belong to boats, each baited with
the carcase of a dog slain for the purpose. They expected the Water Cow
would gorge on this bait, and were prepared to drag her ashore the next
morning, when, to their confusion of face, the baits were found
untouched. It is something too late in the day for setting baits for
Water Cows. 
 Saladin's shroud, which was said to have been displayed as
a standard "to admonish the East of the instability of human
 The belief in the existence of the 'Water Cow' is not even
yet extinct in the Highlands. In Mr. J.H. Dixon's book on Gairloch,
8vo, 1886, it is said the monster lives or did live in Loch na Beiste!
Some years ago the proprietor, moved by the entreaties of the people,
and on the positive testimony of two elders of the Free Church, that the
creature was hiding in his loch, attempted its destruction by pumping
and running off the water; this plan having failed owing to the
smallness of the pumps, though it was persevered in for two years, he
next tried poisoning the water by emptying into the loch a quantity of
quick lime!!—Whatever harm was thus done to the trout none was
experienced by the Beast, which it is rumoured has been seen in the
neighbourhood as late as 1884 (p. 162). This transaction formed an
element in a case before the Crofters' Commission at Aultbea in May
November 24.—Wrote at review in the morning. I have made my
revocation of the invitation for Monday. For myself it will give me time
to work. I could not get home to-day till two o'clock, and was quite
tired and stupid. So I did little but sleep or dose till dressing-time.
Then went to Sir David Wedderburn's, where I met three beauties of my
own day, Margaret Brown, Maria Brown, and Jane Wedderburn, now Lady
Wedderburn, Lady Hampden, and Mrs. Oliphant. We met the pleasant Irish
family of Meath. The resemblance between the Earl of Meath and the Duke
of Wellington is something remarkably striking—it is not only the
profile, but the mode of bearing the person, and the person itself. Lady
Theodora Brabazon, the Earl's daughter, and a beautiful young lady, told
me that in Paris her father was often taken for Lord Wellington.
November 25.—This forenoon finished the review, and despatched it to
Lockhart before dinner. Will Clerk, Tom Thomson, and young Frank Scott
dined with me. We had a pleasant day. I have wrought pretty well to-day.
But I must
Do a little more
And produce a little ore.
November 26.—Corrected proof-sheets of Chronicles and Tales.
Advised Sheriff processes, and was busy.
Dined with Robert Dundas of Arniston, Lord Register, etc. An agreeable
November 27.—Corrected proofs in the morning, and attended the Court
till one or two o'clock, Mr. Hamilton being again ill. I visited Lady S.
on my return. Came home too fagged to do anything to purpose.
Anecdote from George Bell. In the days of Charles II. or his brother,
flourished an old Lady Elphinstone, so old that she reached the
extraordinary period of 103. She was a keen Whig, so did not relish
Graham of Clavers. At last, having a curiosity to see so aged a person,
he obtained or took permission to see her, and asked her of the
remarkable things she had seen. "Indeed," said she, "I think one of the
most remarkable is, that when I entered the world there was one Knox
deaving us a' with his clavers, and now that I am going out of it, there
is one Clavers deaving us with his knocks."
November 28.—Corrected proofs and went to Court. Returned about one,
and called on the Lord Chief-Baron. Dined with the Duchess of Bedford at
the Waterloo, and renewed, as I may say, an old acquaintance, which
began while her Grace was Lady Georgiana.  She has now a fine family,
two young ladies silent just now, but they will find their tongues, or
they are not right Gordons, a very fine child, Alister, who shouted,
sung, and spoke Gaelic with much spirit. They are from a shooting-place
in the Highlands, called Invereshie, in Badenoch, which the Duke has
taken to gratify the Duchess's passion for the heather.
 Daughter of Alexander, fourth Duke of Gordon.
November 29.—My course of composition is stopped foolishly enough. I
have sent four leaves to London with Lockhart's review. I am very sorry
for this blunder, and here is another. Forgetting I had been engaged for
a long time to Lord Gillies—a first family visit too—the devil
tempted me to accept of the office of President of the Antiquarian
Society. And now they tell me people have come from the country to be
present, and so forth, of which I may believe as much as I may. But I
must positively take care of this absurd custom of confounding
invitations. My conscience acquits me of doing so by malice prepense,
yet one incurs the suspicion. At any rate it is uncivil and must be
amended. Dined at Lord C. Commissioner's—to meet the Duchess and her
party. She can be extremely agreeable, but I used to think her Grace
journalière. She may have been cured of that fault, or I may have
turned less jealous of my dignity. At all events let a pleasant hour go
by unquestioned, and do not let us break ordinary gems to pieces because
they are not diamonds. I forgot to say Edwin Landseer was in the
Duchess's train. He is, in my mind, one of the most striking masters of
the modern school. His expression both in man and animals is capital. He
showed us many sketches of smugglers, etc., taken in the Highlands, all
"Some gaed there, and some gaed here,
And a' the town was in a steer,
And Johnnie on his brocket mear,
He raid to fetch the howdie."
November 30.—Another idle morning, with letters, however. Had the
great pleasure of a letter from Lord Dudley  acquainting me that he
had received his Majesty's commands to put down the name of my son
Charles for the first vacancy that should occur in the Foreign Office,
and at the same time to acquaint me with his gracious intentions, which
were signified in language the most gratifying to me. This makes me
really feel light and happy, and most grateful to the kind and gracious
sovereign who has always shown, I may say, so much friendship towards
me. Would to God the King's errand might lie in the cadger's gait,
that I might have some better way of showing my gratitude than merely
by a letter of thanks or this private memorandum of my gratitude. The
lad is a good boy and clever, somewhat indolent I fear, yet with the
capacity of exertion. Presuming his head is full enough of Greek and
Latin, he has now living languages to study; so I will set him to work
on French, Italian, and German, that, like the classic Cerberus, he may
speak a leash of languages at once. Dined with Gillies, very pleasant;
Lord Chief-Commissioner, Will Clerk, Cranstoun, and other old friends. I
saw in the evening the celebrated Miss Grahame Stirling, so remarkable
for her power of personifying a Scottish old lady. Unluckily she came
late, and I left early in the evening, so I could not find out wherein
her craft lay. She looked like a sensible woman. I had a conference with
my trustees about the purchase (in company with Cadell) of the
copyrights of the novels to be exposed to sale on the 19th December, and
had the good luck to persuade them fully of the propriety of the
project. I alone can, by notes and the like, give these works a new
value, and in fact make a new edition. The price is to be made good from
the Second Series Chronicles of Canongate, sold to Cadell for £4000;
and it may very well happen that we shall have little to pay, as part of
the copyrights will probably be declared mine by the arbiter, and these
I shall have without money and without price. Cadell is most anxious on
the subject. He thinks that two years hence £10,000 may be made of a new
 Lord Dudley, then Secretary of State for the Foreign
Department, was an early friend of Scott's. He had been partly educated
in Edinburgh, under Dugald Stewart's care.