July 1.—This morning wrote letters and sent them off by Charles. It
was Teind Wednesday, so I was at home to witness the departure of my
family, which was depressing. My two daughters, with the poor boy
Johnnie, went off at ten o'clock, my son Charles, with my niece, about
twelve. The house, filled with a little bustle attendant on such a
removal, then became silent as the grave. The voices of the children,
which had lately been so clamorous with their joyous shouts, are now
hushed and still. A blank of this kind is somewhat depressing, and I
find it impossible to resume my general tone of spirits. A lethargy has
crept on me which no efforts can dispel; and as the day is rainy, I
cannot take exercise. I have read therefore the whole morning, and have
endeavoured to collect ideas instead of expending them. I have not been
very successful. In short, diem perdidi.
Localities at Blair-Adam:—
Lochornie and Lochornie Moss,
The Loutingstane and Dodgell's Cross,
Craigen Cat and Craigen Crow,
Craiggaveral, the King's Cross, and Dunglow.
July 2.—I made up for my deficiencies yesterday, and besides
attending the Court wrote five close pages, which I think is very near
double task. I was alone the whole day and without interruption. I have
little doubt I will make my solitude tell upon my labours, especially
since they promise to prove so efficient. I was so languid yesterday
that I did not record that J. Ballantyne, his brother Sandy, and Mr.
Cadell dined here on a beef-steak, and smoked a cigar, and took a view
of our El Dorado.
July 3.—Laboured at Court, where I was kept late, and wrought on my
return home, finishing about five pages. I had the great pleasure to
learn that the party with the infantry got safe to Abbotsford.
July 4.—After Court I came home and set to work, still on the
Tales. When I had finished my bit of dinner, and was in a quiet way
smoking my cigar over a glass of negus, Adam Ferguson comes with a
summons to attend him to the Justice-Clerk's, where, it seems, I was
engaged. I was totally out of case to attend his summons, redolent as I
was of tobacco. But I am vexed at the circumstance. It looks careless,
and, what is worse, affected; and the Justice is an old friend
moreover.  I rather think I have been guilty towards him in this
respect before. Devil take my stupidity! I will call on Monday and say,
Here is my sabre and here is my heart.
 Right Hon. David Boyle.
July 5.—Sir Adam came to breakfast, and with him Mr. and Mrs.
Johnstone of Bordeaux, the lady his cousin. I could not give them a
right Scottish breakfast, being on a Sunday morning. Laboured on the
Tales the whole morning.
The post brought two letters of unequal importance. One from a person
calling himself Haval, announcing to me the terrific circumstance that
he had written against the Waverley Novels in a publication called La
Belle Assemblée, at which doubtless, he supposes, I must be much
annoyed. He be d——, and that's plain speaking. The other from Lord
Aberdeen, announcing that Lockhart, Dr. Gooch, and myself, are invested
with the power of examining the papers of the Cardinal Duke of York, and
reporting what is fit for publication. This makes it plain that the
Invisible  neither slumbers nor sleeps. The toil and remuneration
must be Lockhart's, and to any person understanding that sort of work
the degree of trust reposed holds out hope of advantage. At any rate, it
is a most honourable trust, and I have written in suitable terms to Lord
Aberdeen to express my acceptance of it, adverting to my necessary
occupations here, and expressing my willingness to visit London
occasionally to superintend the progress of the work. Treated myself,
being considerably fagged, with a glass of poor Glengarry's
super-excellent whisky and a cigar, made up my Journal, wrote to the
girls, and so to roost upon a crust of bread and a glass of small beer,
my usual supper.
 5 The familiar name applied to Sir William Knighton,
sometimes also the Great Unseen.
July 6.—I laboured all the morning without anything unusual, save a
call from my cousin, Mary Scott of Jedburgh, whom I persuaded to take
part of my chaise to Abbotsford on Saturday. At two o'clock I walked to
Cadell's, and afterwards to a committee of the Bannatyne Club.
Thereafter I went to Leith, where we had fixed a meeting of The Club,
now of forty-one years' standing.  I was in the chair, and Sir Adam
croupier. We had the Justice-Clerk, Lord Abercromby, Lord Pitmilly, Lord
Advocate, James Ferguson, John Irving, and William Clerk, and passed a
merry day for old fellows. It is a curious thing that only three have
died of this club since its formation. These were the Earl of Selkirk;
James Clerk, Lieutenant in the Navy; and Archibald Miller, W.S. Sir
Patrick Murray was an unwilling absentee. There were absent—Professor
Davidson of Glasgow, besides Glassford, who has cut our society, and
poor James Edmonstoune, whose state of health precludes his ever joining
society again. We took a fair but moderate allowance of wine, sung our
old songs, and were much refreshed with a hundred old stories, which
would have seemed insignificant to any stranger. The most important of
these were old college adventures of love and battle.
 For list of the members of The Club, which was formed
in 1788, see Life, vol. i. p. 208.
July 7.—I was rather apprehensive that I might have felt my unusual
dissipation this morning, but not a whit; I rose as cool as a cucumber,
and set about to my work till breakfast-time. I am to dine with
Ballantyne to-day. To-morrow with John Murray. This sounds sadly like
idleness, except what may be done either in the morning before
breakfast, or in the broken portion of the day between attendance on the
Court and my dinner meal,—a vile, drowsy, yawning, fagged portion of
existence, which resembles one's day, as a portion of the shirt,
escaping betwixt one's waistcoat and breeches, indicates his linen.
Dined with James Ballantyne, who gave us a very pleasant party. There
was a great musician, Mr. Neukomm, a German, a pupil of Haydn, a
sensible, pleasant man.
July 8.—This morning I had an ample dose of proofs and could do
nothing but read them. The Court kept me till two; I was then half
tempted to go to hear Mr. Neukomm perform on the organ, which is said to
be a most masterly exhibition, but I reflected how much time I should
lose by giving way to temptation, and how little such ears as mine would
be benefited by the exhibition, and so I resolved to return to my
proofs, having not a little to do. I was so unlucky as to meet my
foreigner along with Mr. Laine, the French Consul, and his lady, who all
invited me to go with them, but I pleaded business, and was set down,
doubtless, for a Goth, as I deserved. However, I got my proofs settled
before dinner-time, and began to pack up books, etc.
I dined at John Murray's, and met, amongst others, Mr. Schutze, the
brother-in-law of poor George Ellis. We conversed about our mutual
friend, and about the life Canning was to have written about him, and
which he would have done con amore. He gave me two instances of poor
George's neatness of expression, and acuteness of discrimination. Having
met, for the first time, "one Perceval, a young lawyer," he records him
as a person who, with the advantages of life and opportunity, would
assuredly rise to the head of affairs. Another gentleman is briefly
characterised as "a man of few words, and fewer ideas." Schutze himself
is a clever man, with something dry in his manner, owing, perhaps, to an
imperfection of hearing. Murray's parties are always agreeable and well
July 9.—I began an immense arrangement of my papers, but was obliged
to desist by the approach of four o'clock. Having been enabled to shirk
the Court, I had the whole day to do what I wished, and as I made some
progress I hope I will be strengthened to resume the task when at
Heard of the death of poor Bob Shortreed,  the companion of many a
long ride among the hills in quest of old ballads. He was a merry
companion, a good singer and mimic, and full of Scottish drollery. In
his company, and under his guidance, I was able to see much of rural
society in the mountains which I could not otherwise have attained, and
which I have made my use of. He was, in addition, a man of worth and
character. I always burdened his hospitality while at Jedburgh on the
Circuit, and have been useful to some of his family. Poor fellow! He
died at a most interesting period for his family, when his eldest
daughter was about to make an advantageous marriage. So glide our
friends from us—Haec poena diu viventibus. Many recollections die
with him and with poor Terry.  I dined with the Skenes in a family
 Some little time before his death, the worthy
Sheriff-substitute of Roxburghshire received a set of his friend's
works, with this inscription:—"To Robert Shortreed, Esq., the friend of
the author from youth to age, and his guide and companion upon many an
expedition among the Border hills, in quest of the materials of
legendary lore which have at length filled so many volumes, this
collection of the results of their former rambles is presented by his
sincere friend, Walter Scott."—J.G.L.
July 10,—Had a hard day's work at the Court till about two, and then
came home to prepare for the country. I made a talis qualis
arrangement of my papers, which I trust I shall be able to complete at
Abbotsford, for it will do much good. I wish I had a smart boy like Red
Robin the tinker. Wrote also a pack of letters.
 Who had died on the 22d June 1829.
Abbotsford, July 11.—I was detained in the Court till nearly one
o'clock, then set out and reached Abbotsford in five or six hours. Found
all well, and Johnnie rather better. He sleeps, by virtue of being in
the open air, a good deal.
July 12.—The day excessively rainy, or, as we call it, soft. I e'en
unpacked my books and did a great deal to put them in order, but I was
sick of the labour by two o'clock and left several of my books and all
of my papers at sixes and sevens. Sir Adam and the Colonel dined with
us. A Spanish gentleman with his wife, whom I had seen at the French
Consul's, also dropped in. He was a handsome, intelligent, and sensible
man; his name I have forgot. We had a pleasant evening.
July 13.—This day I wrote till one, resuming the History, and making
out a day's task. Then went to Chiefswood, and had the pleasure of a
long walk with a lady, well known in the world of poetry, Mrs. Hemans.
She is young and pretty, though the mother of five children, as she
tells me. There is taste and spirit in her conversation. My daughters
are critical, and call her blue, but I think they are hypercritical. I
will know better when we meet again. I was home at four. Had an evening
walk with little Walter, who held me by the finger, gabbling eternally
much that I did, and more that I did not, understand. Then I had a long
letter to write to Lockhart,  correct and read, and despatch proofs,
etc.; and to bed heartily tired, though with no great exertion.
 See p. 329 n.
July 14.—A rainy forenoon broke the promise of a delightful morning.
I wrote four and a half pages, to make the best of a bad bargain. If I
can double the daily task, I will be something in hand. But I am
resolved to stick to my three pages a day at least. The twelfth of
August will then complete my labours.
July 15.—This day two very pretty and well-bred boys came over to
breakfast with us. I finished my task of three pages and better, and
went to walk with the little fellows round the farm, by the lake, etc.,
etc. They were very good companions. Tom has been busy thinning the
terrace this day or two, and is to go on.
July 16.—I made out my task-work and betook myself to walk about
twelve. I feel the pen turn heavy after breakfast; perhaps my solemn
morning meal is too much for my intellectual powers, but I won't abridge
a single crumb for all that. I eat very little at dinner, and can't
abide to be confined in my hearty breakfast. The work goes on as
task-work must, slow, sure, and I trust not drowsy, though the author
is. I sent off to Dionysius Lardner (Goodness be with us, what a name!)
as far as page thirty-eight inclusive, but I will wait to add
to-morrow's quota. I had a long walk with Tom.  I am walking with
more pleasure and comfort to myself than I have done for many a day.
May Heaven continue this great mercy, which I have so much reason to be
 Mr. Skene in his Reminiscences records that—"Tom
Purdie identified himself with all his master's pursuits and concerns;
he had in early life been a shepherd, and came into Sir Walter's service
upon his first taking up his abode at Ashiestiel, of which he became at
last the farm manager; and upon the family removing to Abbotsford
continued that function, to which was added gamekeeper, forester,
librarian, and henchman to his master in all his rambles about the
property. He used to talk of Sir Walter's publications as our books,
and said that the reading of them was the greatest comfort to him, for
whenever he was off his sleep, which sometimes happened to him, he had
only to take one of the novels, and before he read two pages it was sure
to set him asleep. Tom, with the usual shrewdness common to his
countrymen in that class of life, joined a quaintness and drollery in
his notions and mode of expressing himself that was very amusing; he was
familiar, but at the same time perfectly respectful, although he was
sometimes tempted to deal sharp cuts, particularly at Sir Adam Ferguson,
whom he seemed to take a pleasure in assailing. When Sir Walter obtained
the honour of knighthood for Sir Adam, upon the plea of his being
Custodier of the Regalia of Scotland, Tom was very indignant, because he
said, 'It would take some of the shine out of us,' meaning Sir Walter.
Tom was very fond of salmon fishing, which from an accordance of taste
contributed much to elevate my merits in his eyes, and I believe I was
his greatest favourite of all Sir Walter's friends, which he used
occasionally to testify by imparting to me in confidence some secret
about fishing, which he concluded that no one knew but himself. He was
remarkably fastidious in his care of the Library, and it was exceedingly
amusing to see a clodhopper (for he was always in the garb of a
ploughman) moving about in the splendid apartment which had been fitted
up for the Library, scrutinising the state of the books, putting
derangement to rights, remonstrating when he observed anything that
July 17.—- We called at Chiefswood and asked Captain Hamilton, and
Mrs. H., and Mrs. Hemans, to dinner on Monday. She is a clever person,
and has been pretty. I had a long walk with her tête-à-tête. She told
me of the peculiar melancholy attached to the words no more. I could
not help telling, as a different application of the words, how an old
dame riding home along Cockenzie Sands, pretty bowsy, fell off the
pillion, and her husband, being in good order also, did not miss her
till he came to Prestonpans. He instantly returned with some neighbours,
and found the good woman seated amidst the advancing tide, which began
to rise, with her lips ejaculating to her cummers, who she supposed were
still pressing her to another cup, "Nae ae drap mair, I thank you
kindly." We dined in family, and all well.
July 18.—- A Sunday with alternate showers and sunshine. Wrote double
task, which brings me to page forty-six inclusive. I read the
Spae-wife of Galt. There is something good in it, and the language is
occasionally very forcible, but he has made his story difficult to
understand, by adopting a region of history little known, and having
many heroes of the same name, whom it is not easy to keep separate in
one's memory. Some of the traits of the Spae-wife, who conceits
herself to be a changeling or twin, are very good indeed. His Highland
Chief is a kind of Caliban, and speaks, like Caliban, a jargon never
spoken on earth, but full of effect for all that.
July 19.—I finished two leaves this morning, and received the
Hamiltons and Mrs. Hemans to breakfast. Afterwards we drove to Yarrow
and showed Mrs. Hemans the lions. The party dined with us, and stayed
till evening. Of course no more work.
July 20.—A rainy day, and I am very drowsy and would give the world
to —— . [**Note: dash is a blank space] I wrote four leaves,
however, and then my understanding dropped me. I have made up for
yesterday's short task.
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