March 1.—Wrought a little this morning; always creeping on. We had a
hard pull at the Court, and after it I walked a little for exercise, as
I fear indigestion from dining out so often.
Dined to-day with the bankers who went as delegates to London in Malachi
Malagrowther's days. Sir John Hay Kinnear and Tom Allan were my only
acquaintances of the party; the rest seemed shrewd capable men. I
particularly remarked a Mr. Sandeman with as intellectual a head as I
March 2.—A day of hard work with little interruption, and completed
volume second. I am not much pleased with it. It wants what I desire it
to have, and that is passion.
The two Ballantynes and Mr. Cadell dined with me quietly. Heard from
London; all well.
March 3.—I set about clearing my desk of unanswered letters, which I
had suffered to accumulate to an Augean heap. I daresay I wrote twenty
cards that might have been written at the time without half-a-minute
being lost. To do everything when it ought to be done is the soul of
expedition. But then, if you are interrupted eternally with these petty
avocations, the current of the mind is compelled to flow in shallows,
and you lose the deep intensity of thought which alone can float plans
of depth and magnitude. I sometimes wish I were one of those formalists
who can assign each hour of the day its special occupations, not to be
encroached upon; but it always returns upon my mind that I do better à
la débandade, than I could with rules of regular study. A work begun is
with me a stone turned over with the purpose of rolling it down hill.
The first revolutions are made with difficulty—but vires acquirit
eundo. Now, were the said stone arrested in its progress, the whole
labour would be to commence again. To take a less conceited simile: I am
like a spavined horse, who sets out lame and stiff, but when he warms in
his gear makes a pretty good trot of it, so that it is better to take a
good stage of him while you can get it. Besides, after all, I have known
most of those formalists, who were not men of business or of office to
whom hours are prescribed as a part of duty, but who voluntarily make
"Slaves to an hour, and vassals to a bell," —
to be what I call very poor creatures.
 Oldham—"Lines addressed to a friend about to leave the
University."—Poems and Translations, 8vo. Lond. 1694.
General Ainslie looked in, and saddened me by talking of poor Don. The
General is a medallist, and entertains an opinion that the bonnet-piece
of James V. is the work of some Scottish artist who died young, and
never did anything else. It is far superior to anything which the Mint
produced since the Roman denarii. He also told me that the name of
Andrea de Ferrara is famous in Italy as an armourer.
Dined at home, and went to the Royal Society in the evening after
sending off my processes for the Sheriff Court. Also went after the
Society to Mr. James Russell's symposium.
March 4.—A letter from Italy signed J.S. with many acute remarks on
inaccuracies in the life of Bonaparte.
His tone is hostile decidedly, but that shall not prevent my making use
of all his corrections where just.
The wretched publication of Leigh Hunt on the subject of Byron is to
bring forward Tom Moore's life of that distinguished poet, and I am
honoured and flattered by the information that he means to dedicate it
to me. 
 On the 20th April Moore writes to Scott: "I am delighted
you do not reject my proffered dedication, though between two such names
as yours and Byron's I shall but realise the description in the old
couplet of Wisdom and Wit,
A great deal of worry in the Court to-day, and I lost my spectacles, and
was a dark and perplexed man—found them again though. Wrote to Lockhart
and to Charles, and will do more if I can, but am sadly done up. An old
friend came and pressed unmercifully some selfish request of his own to
ask somebody to do something for his son. I shall be glad to be at
Abbotsford to get rid of this town, where I have not, in the proper and
social sense of the word, a single friend whose company pleases me. In
the country I have always Tom Purdie.
'With folly at full length between.'
However, never mind; in cordial feeling and good fellowship I flatter
myself I am a match for either of you."
Dined at the Lord Chief Commissioner's, where I met, the first time for
thirty years, my old friend and boon companion, with whom I shared the
wars of Bacchus, Venus, and sometimes of Mars. The past rushed on me
like a flood and almost brought tears into my eyes. It is no very
laudable exploit to record, but I once drank three bottles of wine with
this same rogue—Sir William Forbes and Sir Alexander Wood being of the
party. David Erskine of Cardross keeps his looks better than most of our
contemporaries. I hope we shall meet for a longer time.
March 5.—I corrected sheets, and, being a Teind Wednesday, began the
second volume and proceeded as far as page fourth.
We dined at Hector Macdonald's with several Highlanders, most of whom
were in their garb, intending to go to a great fancy ball in the
evening. There were young Cluny Macpherson, Campbell Airds, Campbell
Saddell, and others of the race of Diarmid. I went for an hour to the
ball, where there were many gay and some grotesque figures. A dressed
ball is, for the first half-hour, a splendid spectacle; you see youth
and beauty dressed in their gayest attire, unlimited, save by their own
taste, and enjoying the conscious power of charming, which gives such
life and alacrity to the features. But the charm ceases in this like
everything else. The want of masks takes away the audacity with which
the disguised parties conduct themselves at a masquerade, and [leaves]
the sullen sheepishness which makes them, I suppose, the worst maskers
in Europe. At the only real masquerade which I have known in Edinburgh
there were many, if not most, of those who had determined to sustain
characters, who had more ill-breeding than facetiousness. The jests were
chiefly calculated to give pain, and two or three quarrels were with
difficulty prevented from ripening into duels. A fancy ball has no
offence in it, therefore cannot be wrecked on this rock. But, on the
other hand, it is horribly dull work when the first coup d'œil is
There were some good figures, and some grossly absurd. A very gay
cavalier with a broad bright battle-axe was pointed out to me as an
eminent distiller, and another knight in the black coarse armour of a
cuirassier of the 17th century stalked about as if he thought himself
the very mirror of chivalry. He was the son of a celebrated upholsterer,
so might claim the broad axe from more titles than one. There was some
good dancing; Cluny Macpherson footed it gallantly.
March 6.—Wrote two pages this morning before breakfast. Went to the
Court, where I learned that the "Colliers" are in alarm at the
determination shown by our Committee, and are willing to give better
terms. I hope this is so—but Cogan na Shie—peace or war, I care not.
I never felt less anxiety about where I went and what I did. A feather
just lighted on the ground can scarce be less concerned where the next
blast may carry it. If I go, I shall see my children—if I stay, I
shall mend my fortune. Dined at home and went to the play in the
evening. Lady Torphichen had commanded the play, and there were all my
Swinton cousins young and old. The play was "A Bold Stroke for a
Wife," —Charles Kemble acting as Feignwell. The plot is extravagant
nonsense, but with lively acting the ludicrousness of the situation
bears it through, and few comedies act better. After this came Rob
Roy, where the Bailie played with his usual excellence. The piece was
not over until near one in the morning, yet I did not feel tired—which
 By Mrs. Centlivre.
March 7.—To-day I wrought and corrected proof-sheets; went to the
Court, and had a worry at the usual trashy small wares which are
presented at the end of a Session. An official predecessor of mine, the
facetious Robert Sinclair, was wont to say the three last days of the
Session should be abolished by Act of Parliament.  Came home late,
and was a good deal broken in upon by visitors. Amongst others, John
Swinton, now of Swinton, brought me the skull of his ancestor, Sir Allan
Swinton, who flourished five hundred years ago. I will get a cast made
of the stout old carle. It is rare to see a genuine relic of the mortal
frame drawing so far back. Went to my Lord Gillies's to dinner, and
witnessed a singular exhibition of personification.
 See Life, vol. viii. p. 257 n.
Miss Stirling Grame,  a lady of the Duntroon family, from which
Clavers was descended, looks like thirty years old, and has a face of
the Scottish cast, with a good expression in point of good sense and
good humour. Her conversation, so far as I have had the advantage of
hearing it, is shrewd and sensible, but no ways brilliant. She dined
with us, went off as to the play, and returned in the character of an
old Scottish lady. Her dress and behaviour were admirable, and the
conversation unique. I was in the secret, of course, did my best to keep
up the ball, but she cut me out of all feather. The prosing account she
gave of her son, the antiquary, who found an auld wig in a slate quarry,
was extremely ludicrous, and she puzzled the Professor of Agriculture
with a merciless account of the succession of crops in the parks around
her old mansion-house. No person to whom the secret was not intrusted
had the least guess of an impostor, except one shrewd young lady
present, who observed the hand narrowly and saw it was plumper than the
age of the lady seemed to warrant. This lady, and Miss Bell  of
Coldstream, have this gift of personification to a much higher degree
than any person I ever saw.
 Miss Graham tells us in her Mystifications (Edin. 1864)
that Sir Walter, on leaving the room, whispered in her ear, "Awa, awa,
the Deil's ower grit wi' you." "To meet her in company," wrote Dr. John
Brown half a century later, when she was still the charm and the delight
as well as the centre of a large circle of friends, "one saw a quiet,
unpretending, sensible, shrewd, kindly little lady; perhaps you would
not remark anything extraordinary in her, but let her put on the old
lady; it was as if a warlock spell had passed over her; not merely her
look but her nature was changed: her spirit had passed into the
character she represented; and jest, quick retort, whimsical fancy, the
wildest nonsense flowed from her lips, with a freedom and truth to
nature which appeared to be impossible in her own personality."
March 8.—Wrote in the morning, then to Court, where we had a sederunt
till nigh two o'clock. From thence to the Coal Gas Committee, with whom
we held another, and, thank God, a final meeting. Gibson went with me.
They had Mr. Munro, Trotter, Tom Burns, and Inglis. The scene put me in
mind of Chichester Cheyne's story of a Shawnee Indian and himself,
dodging each other from behind trees, for six or seven hours, each in
the hope of a successful shot. There was bullying on both sides, but we
bullied to best purpose, for we must have surrendered at discretion,
notwithstanding the bold face we put on it. On the other hand, I am
convinced they have got a capital bargain.
With this faculty for satire and imitation, Miss Graham never used it to
give pain. She was as much at home, too, with old Scotch sayings as Sir
Walter himself. For example, speaking of a field of cold, wet land she
said, "It grat a' winter and girned a' simmer," and of herself one
morning at breakfast when she thought she was getting too much attention
from her guests (she was at this time over ninety) she exclaimed, "I'm
like the bride in the old song:—
'Twa were blawing at her nose
And three were buckling at her shoon.'"
Miss Graham's friends will never forget the evenings they have spent at
29 Forth Street, Edinburgh, or their visits at Duntrune, where the
venerable lady died in her ninety-sixth year in September 1877.
 Miss Elizabeth Bell, daughter of the Rev. James Bell,
minister of the parish of Coldstream from 1778 to 1794. This lady lived
all her life in her native county, and died at a great age at a house on
the Tweed, named Springhill, in 1876.
March 9.—I set about arranging my papers, a task which I always take
up with the greatest possible ill-will and which makes me cruelly
nervous. I don't know why it should be so, for I have nothing
particularly disagreeable to look at; far from it, I am better than I
was at this time last year, my hopes firmer, my health stronger, my
affairs bettered and bettering. Yet I feel an inexpressible nervousness
in consequence of this employment. The memory, though it retains all
that has passed, has closed sternly over it; and this rummaging, like a
bucket dropped suddenly into a well, deranges and confuses the ideas
which slumbered on the mind. I am nervous, and I am bilious, and, in a
word, I am unhappy. This is wrong, very wrong; and it is reasonably to
be apprehended that something of serious misfortune will be the deserved
punishment of this pusillanimous lowness of spirits. Strange that one
who, in most things, may be said to have enough of the 'care na by',
should be subject to such vile weakness! Well, having written myself
down an ass, I will daub it no farther, but e'en trifle till the humour
of work comes.
Before the humour came I had two or three long visits. Drummond Hay, the
antiquary and lyon-herald, came in.  I do not know anything which
relieves the mind so much from the sullens as trifling discussion about
antiquarian old-womanries. It is like knitting a stocking, diverting
the mind without occupying it; or it is like, by Our Lady, a mill-dam,
which leads one's thoughts gently and imperceptibly out of the channel
in which they are chafing and boiling. To be sure, it is only
conducting them to turn a child's mill; what signifies that?—the
diversion is a relief, though the object is of little importance. I
cannot tell what we talked of; but I remember we concluded with a
lamentation on the unlikelihood that Government would give the Museum
£2000 to purchase the bronze Apollo lately discovered in France,
although the God of Delos stands six feet two in his stocking-soles, and
is perfectly entire, saving that on the right side he wants half a hip,
and the leg from the knee, and that on the left his heel is much
damaged. Colonel Ferguson just come to town—dines with us.
 Ante, vol. i. p. 253.
March 10.—I had a world of trumpery to do this morning: cards to
write, and business to transact, visits to make, etc. Received letters
from the youth who is to conduct The Keepsake, with blarney on a £200
Bank note. No blarney in that. I must set about doing something for
these worthies. I was obliged to go alone to dine at Mr. Scott Gala's.
Met the Sinclair family. Lady Sinclair told me a singular story of a
decrepit man keeping a lonely toll at a place called the Rowan-tree, on
the frontiers, as I understood, between Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire
[Wigtownshire?]. It was a wild, lonely spot, and was formerly inhabited
by robbers and assassins, who murdered passengers. They were discovered
by a boy whom they had taken into the cottage as a menial. He had seen
things which aroused his attention, and was finally enlightened as to
the trade of his masters by hearing one of them, as he killed a goat,
remark that the cries of the creature resembled those of the last man
they had dealt with. The boy fled from the house, lodged an information,
and the whole household was seized and executed. The present inhabitants
Lady Sinclair described as interesting. The man's feet and legs had been
frost-bitten while herding the cattle, and never recovered the strength
of natural limbs. Yet he had acquired some education, and was a country
schoolmaster for some time, till the distance and loneliness of the spot
prevented pupils from attending. His daughter was a reader, and begged
for some old magazines, newspapers, or any printed book, that she might
enjoy reading. They might have been better had they been allowed to keep
a cow. But if they had been in comfortable circumstances, they would
have had visitors and lodgers, who might have carried guns to destroy
the gentleman's creation, i.e. game; and for this risk the wretches
were kept in absolute and abject poverty. I would rather be—himself
than this brutal Earl. The daughter showed Lady Sinclair a well in the
midst of a small bog, of great depth, into which, like Thurtell and
Probert, they used to thrust the bodies of their victims till they had
an opportunity of burying them. Lady Sinclair stooped to taste the
water, but the young woman said, with a strong expression of horror,
"You would not drink it?" Such an impression had the tale, probably two
centuries old, made upon the present inhabitants of this melancholy
spot. The whole legend is curious; I will try to get hold of it. 
 The Murder Hole, a story founded on the tradition and
under this name, was printed in Blackwood's Mag., vol. xxv. p. 189:
March 11.—I sent Reynolds a sketch of two Scottish stories for
subjects of art for his Keepsake—the death of the Laird's Jock the
one, the other the adventure of Duncan Stuart with the stag.
Mr. Drummond Hay breakfasted with me—a good fellow, but a considerable
bore. He brought me a beautiful bronze statue of Hercules, about ten
inches or a foot in height, beautifully wrought. He bought it in France
for 70 francs, and refused £300 from Payne Knight. It is certainly a
most beautiful piece of art. The lion's hide which hung over the
shoulders had been of silver, and, to turn it to account, the arm over
which it hung was cut off; otherwise the statue was perfect and
extremely well wrought. Allan Swinton's skull sent back to Archibald
March 12.—The boy got four leaves of copy to-day, and I wrote three
more. Received by Mr. Cadell from Treuttel and Wurtz for articles in
Foreign Review £52, 10s., which is at my credit with him. Poor Gillies
has therefore kept his word so far, but it is enough to have sacrificed
£100 to him already in literary labour, which I make him welcome to. I
cannot spare him more—which, besides, would do him no good.
March 13, [Abbotsford].—I wrote a little in the morning and sent
off some copy. We came off from Edinburgh at ten o'clock, and got to
Abbotsford by four, where everything looks unusually advanced; the birds
singing and the hedges budding, and all other prospects of spring too
premature to be rejoiced in.
I found that, like the foolish virgins, the servants had omitted to get
oil for my lamp, so I was obliged to be idle all the evening. But though
I had a diverting book, the Tales of the Munster Festivals,  yet
an evening without writing hung heavy on my hands. The Tales are
admirable. But they have one fault, that the crisis is in more cases
than one protracted after a keen interest has been excited, to explain
and to resume parts of the story which should have been told before.
Scenes of mere amusement are often introduced betwixt the crisis of the
plot and the final catastrophe. This is impolitic. But the scenes and
characters are traced by a firm, bold, and true pencil, and my very
criticism shows that the catastrophe is interesting,—otherwise who
would care for its being interrupted?
 Written by Gerald Griffin
March [14 to] 16.—The same record applies to these three days. From
seven to half-past nine writing—from half-past nine to a quarter past
ten a hearty breakfast. From eleven or thereby, to one or two, wrote
again, and from one or two ride, drive, or walk till dinner-time—for
two or three hours—five till seven, dine and rest yourself—seven till
nine, wrote two pages more, from nine to quarter past ten lounge, read
the papers, and then go to bed. If your story is tolerably forward you
may, I think, keep at this rate for twelve days, which would be a
volume. But no brain could hold it out longer. Wrote two additional
leaves in the evening.
March 17.—Sent away copy this morning to J.B. with proofs. I then
wrote all the day till two o'clock, walked round the thicket and by the
water-side, and returning set to work again. So that I have finished
five leaves before dinner, and may discuss two more if I can satisfy
myself with the way of winding up the story. There are always at the end
such a plaguey number of stitches to take up, which usually are never so
well done but they make a botch. I will try if the cigar will inspire
me. Hitherto I have been pretty clear, and I see my way well enough,
only doubt of making others see it with sufficient simplicity. But it is
near five, and I am too hungry to write more. 
"Ego nunquam potui scribere jejunus."
 St. Valentine's Eve, or The Fair Maid of Perth.
March 18.—I was sorely worried by the black dog this morning, that
vile palpitation of the heart—that tremor cordis—that hysterical
passion which forces unbidden sighs and tears, and falls upon a
contented life like a drop of ink on white paper, which is not the less
a stain because it conveys no meaning. I wrought three leaves, however,
and the story goes on. I dined at the Club of the Selkirkshire yeomanry,
"The Eldrich knight gave up his arms
With many a sorrowful sigh."
The dissolution of the Yeomanry was the act of the last ministry. The
present did not alter the measure on account of the expense saved. I am
one of the oldest, if not the very oldest Yeoman in Scotland, and have
seen the rise, progress, and now the fall of this very constitutional
part of the national force. Its efficacy, on occasions of insurrection,
was sufficiently proved in the Radical time. But besides, it kept up a
spirit of harmony between the proprietors of land and the occupiers, and
made them known to and beloved by each other; and it gave to the young
men a sort of military and high-spirited character, which always does
honour to a country. The manufacturers are in great glee on this
occasion. I wish Parliament, as they have turned the Yeoman adrift
somewhat scornfully, may not have occasion to roar them in again. 
 Coriolanus, Act VI. Sc. 6.
March 19.—I applied myself again to my labour, my mind flowing in a
less, gloomy current than yesterday. I laboured with little
interruption, excepting a walk as far as Faldonside with the dogs, and
at night I had not finished more than three leaves. But, indeed, it is
pretty fair; I must not work my brains too hard, in case of provoking
the hypochondria which extreme exertion or entire indolence are equally
March 20.—Thomson breakfasted. I left him soon, being desirous to
finish my labours. The volume is finished, all but one fourth or
somewhat shorter; four days should despatch it easily, but I have
letters to write and things are getting into disorder. I took a drive
with my daughter, for exercise, and called at Huntly Burn. This evening
went on with work as usual; there was not above four pages finished, but
my conscience is quiet on my exertions.
March 21.—I received young Whytbank to breakfast, and talked
genealogy, which he understands well; I have not a head for it. I only
value it as interspersed with anecdote. Whytbank's relationship and mine
exists by the Shaws. A younger brother of Shaw of Sauchie, afterwards
Greenock, chief of the name, was minister of the Kirk of Selkirk. My
great-grandfather, John Rutherford, minister of the gospel at Yarrow,
married one of this reverend gentleman's daughters; and John Pringle,
rector of Fogo, great-grandfather of the present Whytbank, married
another. It was Christian Shaw, my grandmother, who possessed the
manuscript respecting the murder of the Shaws by the Master of
Sinclair.  She could not, according to the reckoning of that age, be
a distant relation. Whytbank parted, agreeing to return to dinner to
meet the bride and bridegroom. I had little time to write, for Colonel
Russell, my cousin, called between one and two, and he also agreed to
stay dinner; so I had a walk of three hours with him in the plantations.
At dinner we had Mr. and Mrs. Bruce, Mr. Scrope, Mrs. and Dr. Brewster,
Whytbank, Russell, and young Nicol Milne, who will be a pleasant lad if
he had a little polish. I was glad of the society, as I had rather felt
the besoin de parler, which was perhaps one cause of my recent dumps.
Scrope and Colonel Russell stayed all night; the rest went home.
 Ante, p. 40.
March 22.—Had a packet from James—low about the novel; but I had
another from Cadell equally uppish. He proposes for three novels in
eighteen months, which would be £12,600. Well, I like the bookseller's
predictions better than the printer's. Neither are bad judges; but
James, who is the best, is not sensible of historical descriptions, and
likes your novel style out and out.
Cadell's letter also contained a state of cash matters, since much
improved. I will arrange them a day or two hence. I wrote to-day and
took a long walk. The thought more than once passed over me, Why go to
London? I shall but throw away £150 or £200 which were better saved.
Then on the other hand, it is such a gratification to see all the
children that I must be tempted. If I were alone, I could scrub it, but
there's no doing that with Anne.
March 23.—I wrought regularly till one, and then took the wood and
marked out to Tom the places I would have thinned, particularly at the
Carlin's hole, which will require much thinning. I had a letter from
Cadell stating that 3000 Tales of a Grandfather must go to press,
bringing a return to me of £240, the price being £80 per thousand. This
is snug enough, and will prettily cover my London journey, and I really
think ought in fairness to silence my prudential remorse. With my usual
delight in catching an apology for escaping the regular task of the day,
I threw by the novel of St. Valentine's Eve and began to run through and
correct the Grandfather's Tales for the press. If I live to finish
them, they will be a good thing for my younger children. If I work to
the amount of £10,000 a year for the creditors, I think I may gain a few
hundreds for my own family at by-hours.
March 24.—Sent copy and proof to J.B.  I continued my revision of
the Tales of a Grandfather till half-past one. Then went to Torwoodlee
to wait on George Pringle and his bride. We did not see the young
people, but the old Laird and Miss Pringle gave us a warm reception, and
seemed very happy on the occasion. We had friends to dinner, Mr. and
Mrs. Theobald, Charles Kerr and his wife, my old acquaintance Magdalen
Hepburn, whose whole [kin] was known to me and mine. I have now seen the
fifth generation of the family in Mrs. Kerr's little girl, who travels
with them. Well—I partly wish we had been alone. Yet it is perhaps
better. We made our day out tolerably well, having the advantage of Mr.
Davidoff and his friend Mr. Collyer to assist us.
 It may have been with this packet that the following
admonitory note was sent to Ballantyne:—"DEAR JAMES,—I return the
sheets of Tales with some waste of Napoleon for ballast. Pray read
like a lynx, for with all your devoted attention things will escape.
Imagine your printing that the Douglases after James II. had dirked the
Earl, trailed the royal safe-conduct at the TAIL of a serving man,
instead of the tail of a starved Mare.—Yours truly, however, W.S."
So printed in first edition, vol. ii. p. 129, but corrected in the
subsequent editions to "a miserable cart jade."
March 25.—Mr. and Mrs. Kerr left us, Mr. Davidoff and Mr. Collyer
also. Mr. Davidoff showed himself a good deal affected. I hope well of
this young nobleman, and trust the result will justify my expectations,
but it may be doubted if his happiness be well considered by those who
send a young person, destined to spend his life under a despotic
government, to receive the ideas and opinions of such a people as we
"where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise." 
 Gray's Ode on Eton.
We drove as far as Yair with Mr. and Mrs. Theobald. The lady read after
dinner—and read well.
March 26.—The Theobalds left us, giving me time to work a little. A
walk of two hours diversified my day. I received Cadell's scheme for the
new edition. I fear the trustees will think Cadell's plan expensive in
the execution. Yet he is right; for, to ensure a return of speedy sale,
the new edition should be both handsome and cheap. He proposes size a
Royal 12mo, with a capital engraving to each volume from a design by the
best artists. This infers a monstrous expense, but in the present humour
of the public ensures the sale. The price will be 5s. per volume, and
the whole set, 32 volumes, from Waverley to Woodstock included, will
March 27.—This also was a day of labour, affording only my usual
interval of a walk. Five or six sheets was the result. We now
appropinque an end. My story has unhappily a divided interest; there are
three distinct strands of the rope, and they are not well twisted
together. "Ah, Sirs, a foul fawt," as Captain Tommy says.
March 28.—The days have little to distinguish each other, very
little. The morning study, the noontide walk, all monotonous and
inclined to be melancholy; God help me! But I have not had any nervous
attack. Read Tales of an Antiquary,  one of the chime of bells
which I have some hand in setting a-ringing. He is really entitled to
the name of an antiquary; but he has too much description in proportion
to the action. There is a capital wardrobe of properties, but the
performers do not act up to their character.
 By Richard Thomson, author of Chronicles of London
Bridge, etc. He died in 1865.
March 29.—Finished volume third this morning. I have let no grass
grow beneath my heels this bout.
Mr. Cadell with J. and A. Ballantyne came to dinner. Mr. and Mrs. George
Pringle, new married, dined with us and old Torwoodlee. Sandy's music
made the evening go sweetly down.
March 30.—A long discourse with Cadell, canvassing his scheme. He
proposes I should go on immediately with the new novel. This will
furnish a fund from which may be supplied the advances necessary for the
new work, which are considerable, and may reach from £4000 to £8000—the
last sum quite improbable—before it makes returns. Thus we can face the
expenditure necessary to set on foot our great work. I have written to
recommend the plan to John Gibson. This theme renewed from time to time
during the forenoon. Dr. Clarkson  dined with us. We smoked and had
whisky and water after.
 Dr. Ebenezer Clarkson, a Surgeon of distinguished merit
at Selkirk and through life a trusty friend and crony of the
March 31.—The Ballantynes and Cadell left us in high spirits,
expecting much from the new undertaking, and I believe they are not
wrong. As for me, I became torpid after a great influx of morning
"In Mr. Gideon Gray, in The Surgeon's Daughter, Sir Walter's
neighbours on Tweedside saw a true picture—a portrait from life of
Scott's hard-riding and sagacious old friend to all the country
dear."—Life, vol. ix. p. 181.
"I grew vapourish and odd,
And would not do the least right thing,
Neither for goddess nor for god—
Nor paint nor jest nor laugh, nor sing."
I was quite reluctant to write letters, or do anything whatsoever, and
yet I should surely write to Sir Cuthbert Sharp and Surtees. We dined
alone. I was main stupid, indeed, and much disposed to sleep, though my
dinner was very moderate.