The Journal of Sir Walter Scott from the Original Manuscript at Abbotsford June, 1830
by Sir Walter Scott
June, 1.—Proofs and Court, the inevitable employment of the day.
Louisa Kerr dined with us, and Williams looked in. We talked a good deal
on Celtic witchery and fairy lore. I was glad to renew my acquaintance
with this able and learned man.
June 2.—The Lockharts left us again this morning, and although three
masons are clanking at their work to clear a well, the noise is
mitigated, now the poor babies' clang of tongues is removed. I set
myself to write, determining to avoid reasoning, and to bring in as many
stories as possible. Being a Teind Wednesday, I may work undisturbed,
and I will try to get so far ahead as may permit a journey to Abbotsford
on Saturday. At nine o'clock was as far ahead as page 57. It runs out
well, and 150 pages will do.
June 3.—Finished my proofs, and sent them off with copy. I saw Mr.
Dickinson  on Tuesday: a right plain sensible man. He is so
confident in my matters, that, being a large creditor himself, he offers
to come down, with the support of all the London creditors, to carry
through any measure that can be devised for my behoof. Mr. Cadell showed
him that we are four years forward in matter prepared for the press. Got
Heath's illustrations, which, I dare say, are finely engraved, but
commonplace enough in point of art.
 Mr. John Dickinson of Nash Mill, Herts, the eminent
papermaker.—J.G.L. Ante, p. 31.
June 4.—Court as usual, and not long detained. Visited Cadell. All
right, and his reports favourable, it being the launch of our annual
volume, now traversing a year, with unblemished reputation and success
uninterrupted. I should have said I overhauled proofs and furnished copy
in the morning between seven and ten o'clock.
After coming from the Court I met Woll and Gala, and agreed upon the
measures to be attempted at Selkirk on the eighth at the meeting of
trustees. In the evening smoked an extra cigar (none since Tuesday), and
dedicated the rest to putting up papers, etc., for Abbotsford. Anne
wants me to go to hear the Tyrolese Minstrels, but though no one more
esteems that bold and high-spirited people, I cannot but think their
yodelling, if this be the word, is a variation, or set of variations,
upon the tones of a jackass, so I remain to dribble and scribble at
June 5.—I rose at seven as usual, and, to say truth, dawdled away my
time in putting things to rights, which is a vile amusement, and writing
letters to people who write to ask my opinion of their books, which is
as much as to say—"Tom, come tickle me." This is worse than the other
pastime, but either may serve for a broken day, and both must be done
[Abbotsford.]—After the Court, started for Abbotsford at half-past
twelve at noon, and here we are at half-past five impransi. The
country looks beautiful, though the foliage, larches in particular, have
had a blight. Yet they can hardly be said to lose foliage since they
have but a sort of brushes at best.
June 6.—Went through a good deal of duty as to proofs, and the like.
At two set out and reached by four Chiefswood, where I had the happiness
to find the Lockharts all in high spirits, well and happy. Johnnie must
be all his life a weakly child, but he may have good health, and
possesses an admirable temper. We dined with the Lockharts, and were all
June 7.—Same duty carefully performed. I continued working till
about one, when Lockhart came to walk. We took our course round by the
Lake. I was a good deal fagged, and must have tired my companion by
walking slow. The Fergusons came over—Sir Adam in all his glory—and
"the night drave on wi' sangs and clatter." 
 Burns's Tam o' Shanter.
June 8.—Had not time to do more than correct a sheet or two. About
eleven set off for Selkirk, where there was a considerable meeting of
road trustees. The consideration of the new road was intrusted to a
committee which in some measure blinks the question; yet I think it must
do in the end. I dined with the Club, young Chesters president. It is
but bad fun, but I might be father of most of them, and must have
patience. At length
"Hame cam our gudeman at e'en,
And hame cam he." 
 See Johnson's Musical Museum Illustrations, Pt. v. No.
June 9.—In the morning I advised Sheriff Court processes, carried on
the Demonology till twelve, then put books, etc., in some order to
leave behind me. Will it be ordered that I come back not like a
stranger, or sojourner, but to inhabit here? I do not know; I shall be
happy either way. It is perhaps a violent change in the end of life to
quit the walk one has trod so long, and the cursed splenetic temper,
which besets all men, makes you value opportunities and circumstances
when one enjoys them no longer. Well! things must be as they may, as
says that great philosopher Corporal Nym. 
 Henry V. Act II. Sc. 1.
[Edinburgh.]—I had my walk, and on my return found the Lockharts come
to take luncheon, and leave of us. Reached Edinburgh at nine o'clock.
Found, among less interesting letters, two from Lord Northampton on the
death of the poor Marchioness,  and from Anna Jane Clephane on the
same melancholy topic. Hei mihi!
 Daughter of his old friend, Mrs. Maclean Clephane of
June 10.—Corrected proofs, prepared some copy, and did all that was
right. Dined and wrought in the evening, yet I did not make much way
June 11.—In the morning, the usual labour of two hours. God bless
that habit of being up at seven! I could do nothing without it, but it
keeps me up to the scratch, as they say. I had a letter this morning
with deep mourning paper and seal; the mention of my nephew in the first
line made me sick, fearing it had related to Walter. It was from poor
Sir Thomas Bradford, who has lost his lady, but was indeed an account of
Walter,  and a good one.
 "Little Walter," Thomas Scott's son, who went to India in
1826, ante, vol. i. p. 103. He became a General in the Indian Army,
and died in 1873.
June 12.—A day of general labour and much weariness.
June 13.—The same may be said of this day.
June 14.—And of this, only I went out for an hour and a half to Mr.
Colvin Smith, to conclude a picture for Lord Gillies. This is a sad
relief from labour.
But Lord Gillies has been so kind and civil that I must have his picture
as like as possible.
June 15.—I had at breakfast the son of Mr. Fellenburg  of
Hofwyll, Switzerland, a modest young man. I used to think his father
something of a quack, in proposing to discover how a boy's natural
genius lies, with a view to his education. How would they have made me a
scholar, is a curious question. Whatever was forced on me as a task I
should have detested. There was also a gentlemanlike little man, the
Chevalier de——, silent, and speaks no English. Poor George Scott,
Harden, is dead of the typhus fever. Poor dear boy! I am sorry for him,
and yet more for his parents. I have a letter from Henry on the subject.
 Emanuel de Fellenburg, who died in 1844.
June 16.—I wrote this forenoon till I completed the 100 pages, which
is well done. I had a call from Colin Mackenzie, whom I had not seen
for nearly two years. He has not been so well, and looks ghastly, but I
think not worse than I have seen him of late years. We are very old
acquaintances. I remember he was one of a small party at college, that
formed ourselves into a club called the Poetical Society. The other
members were Charles Kerr of Abbotrule (a singular being), Colin
M'Laurin (insane), Colin, and I, who have luckily kept our wits. I also
saw this morning a Mr. Low, a youth of great learning, who has written a
good deal on the early history of Scotland.  He is a good-looking,
frank, gentlemanlike lad; with these good gifts only a parish
schoolmaster in Aberdeenshire. Having won a fair holiday I go to see
Miss Kemble for the first time. It is two or three years since I have
been in a theatre, once my delight.
 "The History of Scotland from the Earliest Period to the
Middle of the Ninth Century," by the Rev. Alex. Low. 8vo, Edinburgh,
1826.—See Misc. Prose Works, vol. xx. pp. 374-6.
June 17.—Went last night to theatre, and saw Miss Fanny Kemble's
Isabella,  which was a most creditable performance. It has much of
the genius of Mrs. Siddons, her aunt. She wants her beautiful
countenance, her fine form, and her matchless dignity of step and
manner. On the other hand, Miss Fanny Kemble has very expressive, though
not regular, features, and what is worth it all, great energy mingled
with and chastened by correct taste. I suffered by the heat, lights, and
exertion, and will not go back to-night, for it has purchased me a sore
headache this theatrical excursion. Besides, the play is Mrs.
Beverley,  and I hate to be made miserable about domestic distress,
so I keep my gracious presence at home to-night, though Ive and respect
Miss Kemble for giving her active support to her father in his need, and
preventing Covent Garden from coming down about their ears. I corrected
proofs before breakfast, attended Court, but was idle in the forenoon,
the headache annoying me much. Dinner will make me better. And so it
did. I wrote in the evening three pages, and tolerably well, though I
may say with the Emperor Titus (not Titus Oates) that I have lost a day.
 Southerne's Fatal Marriage.
 In the Gamester by Moore.
June 18, [Blair-Adam].—Young John Colquhoun of Killermont and his
wife breakfasted with us,—a neat custom that, and saves wine and
wassail. Then to Court, and arranged for our departure for Blair-Adam,
it being near midsummer when the club meets. Anne with me, and Sir Adam
Ferguson. The day was execrable. Our meeting at Blair-Adam was cordial,
but our numbers diminished; the good and very clever Lord Chief
Baron  is returned to his own country, with more regrets than in
Scotland usually attend a stranger. Will Clerk has a bad cold, [Thomas]
Thomson is detained, but the Chief Commissioner, Admiral Adam, Sir Adam,
John Thomson and I, make an excellent concert. I only hope our venerable
host will not fatigue himself. To-morrow we go to Culross, which Sir
Robert Preston is repairing, and the wise are asking for whose future
enjoyment. He is upwards of ninety, but still may enjoy the bustle of
 Sir Samuel Shepherd.—See ante, vol. i. p. 51 n.
June 19.—Arose and expected to work a little, but a friend's house is
not favourable; you are sure to want the book you have not brought, and
are in short out of sorts, like the minister who could not preach out of
his own pulpit. There is something fanciful in this, and something real
too, and I have forgot my watch and left half my glasses at home.
Off we set at half-past eight o'clock, Lord Chief Commissioner being
left at home owing to a cold. We breakfasted at Luscar, a place
belonging to Adam Rolland, but the gout had arrested him at Edinburgh,
so we were hospitably received by his family. The weather most
unpropitious, very cold and rainy. After breakfast to Culross, where the
veteran, Sir Robert Preston,  showed us his curiosities. Life has
done as much for him as most people. In his ninety-second year he has
an ample fortune, a sound understanding, not the least decay of eyes,
ears, or taste; is as big as two men, and eats like three. Yet he too
experiences the singula prædantur anni, and has lost something since I
last saw him. If his appearance renders old age tolerable, it does not
make it desirable. But I fear when death comes we shall be unwilling for
all that to part with our bundle of sticks. Sir Robert amuses himself
with repairing the old House of Culross, built by the Lord Bruce of
Kinloss. To what use it is destined is not very evident to me. It is too
near his own comfortable mansion of Valleyfield to be useful as a
residence, if indeed it could be formed into a comfortable modern house.
But it is rather like a banqueting house. Well, he follows his own
fancy. We had a sumptuous cold dinner. Adam grieves it was not hot, so
little can war and want break a man to circumstances. We returned to
Blair-Adam in the evening, through "the wind but and the rain." For June
weather it is the most ungenial I have seen. The beauty of Culross
consists in magnificent terraces rising on the sea-beach, and commanding
the opposite shore of Lothian; the house is repairing in the style of
James the Sixth. The windows have pediments like Heriot's Work. 
There are some fine relics of the old Monastery, with large Saxon
arches. At Luscar I saw with pleasure the painting by Raeburn, of my old
friend Adam Rolland, Esq.,  who was in the external circumstances,
but not in frolic or fancy, my prototype for Paul Pleydell. 
 Sir Robert Preston, Bart., died in May 1834, aged
 Heriot's Hospital, Edinburgh.
 See ante, p. 279 note, and for sketch of Adam Rolland
of Gask, Cockburn's Memorials, pp. 360-3.
 The "frolic and fancy" of Councillor Pleydell were
commonly supposed to have been found in Andrew Crosbie, Advocate, but as
Crosbie died when Scott was only fourteen, and had retired from the bar
for some years, the latter could scarcely have known him personally. See
p. 281 n.
June 20.—We settled this morning to go to church at Lochore, that is,
at Ballingray; but when we came to the earthly paradise so called, we
were let off for there was no sermon, for which I could not in my heart
be sorry. So, after looking at Lochore, back we came to lounge and
loiter about till dinner-time. The rest of the day was good company,
good cheer, and good conversation. Yet to be idle here is not the thing,
and to be busy is impossible, so I wish myself home again in spite of
good entertainment. We leave to-night after an early dinner, and I will
get to work again.
June 21, [Edinburgh].—Wrote to Walter a long letter. The day
continued dropping occasionally, but Sir Adam was in high fooling, and
we had an amazing deal of laughing. We stole a look at the Kiery Craigs
between showers. In the meantime George Cheape and his son came in. We
dined at half-past three, but it was seven ere we set off, and did not
reach the house in Shandwick Place till eleven at night. Thus ended our
Club for the year 1830, its thirteenth anniversary. Its numbers were
diminished by absence and indisposition, but its spirit was unabated.
June 22.—Finished proofs and some copy in the morning. Returned at
noon, and might have laboured a good day's work, but was dull, drowsy,
and indolent, and could not, at least did not, write above half a page.
It was a day lost, and indeed it is always with me the consequence of
mental indolence for a day or two, so I had a succession of eating and
dozing, which I am ashamed of, for there was nothing to hinder me but
"thick-coming fancies." Pshaw, rabbit un!
June 23.—Worked well this morning, and then to Court. At two called
on Mr. Gibson, and find him disposed for an instalment. Cadell has
£10,000, and Gibson thinks £12,000 will pay 2s. 6d. I wish it could be
made three shillings, which would be £15,000.
Presided at a meeting of the Bannatyne Club. The Whigs made a strong
party to admit Kennedy of Dunure, which set aside Lord Medwyn, who had
been longer on the roll of candidates. If politics get into this Club it
will ruin the literary purpose of the meeting, and the general
good-humour with which it has gone on. I think it better to take the
thing good-humouredly, and several of them volunteered to say that
Medwyn must be the next, which will finish all à l'aimable. If it come
to party-work I will cut and run. Confound it! my eyes are closing now,
even now, at half-past four.
Dined with Lord Medwyn, a pleasant party. The guest of importance, Mrs.
Peter Latouche from Dublin, a fine old dame, who must have been
beautiful when young, being pleasant and comely at seventy,—saintly it
June 24.—Hard work with Ballantyne's proofs and revises, but got them
accomplished. I am at the twelfth hour, but I think I shall finish this
silly book before the tenth of July.
Notwithstanding this sage resolution I did not write half a page of the
said Demonology this day. I went to the Court, called on Mr. Cadell,
returned dog-tired, and trifled my time with reading the trial of
Corder. What seemed most singular was his love to talk of the young
woman he had murdered, in such a manner as to insinuate the
circumstances of his own crime, which is a kind of necessity which seems
to haunt conscience-struck men. Charles Sharpe came in at night and
supped with us.
June 25.—Slept little later than I should. The proofs occupied the
morning. The Court and walk home detained me till two. When I returned,
set to work and reached page 210 of copy. There is little or nothing
else to say. Skene was with me for a few minutes. I called at Cadell's
also, who thinks a dividend of 3s. per pound will be made out.  This
will be one-half of the whole debts, and leave a sinking fund for the
rest about £10,000 a year "if the beast live and the branks bide
 A second dividend of 3s. was declared on December 17,
 An old Galloway proverb. Branks, "a sort of bridle used
by country people in riding."—Jamieson. Burns in a Scotch letter to
Nicol of June 1, 1787, says, "I'll be in Dumfries the morn gif the beast
be to the fore and the branks bide hale."—Cromek's Reliques, p. 29.
June 26.—Miss Kemble and her father breakfasted here, with Sir Adam
and Lady Ferguson. I like the young lady very much, respecting both her
talents and the use she has made of them. She seems merry, unaffected,
and good-humoured. She said she did not like the apathy of the Scottish
audiences, who are certain not to give applause upon credit. I went to
the Court, but soon returned; a bad cold in my head makes me cough and
sneeze like the Dragon of Wantley. The Advocates' Bill  is read a
third time. I hardly know whether to wish it passed or no, and am
therefore in utrumque paratus.
 Relating to the changes in the Court of Session.
June 27.—In the morning worked as usual at proofs and copy of my
infernal Demonology—a task to which my poverty and not my will
consents. About twelve o'clock I went to the country to take a day's
relaxation. We (i.e. Mr. Cadell, James Ballantyne, and I) went to
Prestonpans, and, getting there about one, surveyed the little village,
where my aunt and I were lodgers for the sake of sea-bathing in 1778, I
believe. I knew the house of Mr. Warroch, where we lived,—a poor
cottage, of which the owners and their family are extinct. I recollected
my juvenile ideas of dignity attendant on the large gate, a black arch
which lets out upon the sea. I saw the church where I yawned under the
inflictions of a Dr. M'Cormick, a name in which dulness seems to have
been hereditary. I saw the Links where I arranged my shells upon the
turf, and swam my little skiffs in the pools. Many comparisons between
the man, and the recollections of my kind aunt, of old George Constable,
who, I think, dangled after her; of Dalgetty, a veteran half-pay
lieutenant, who swaggered his solitary walk on the parade, as he called
a little open space before the same pool. We went to Preston, and took
refuge from a thunder-plump in the old tower. I remembered the little
garden where I was crammed with gooseberries, and the fear I had of
Blind Harry's spectre of Fawdon showing his headless trunk at one of
the windows. I remembered also a very good-natured pretty girl (my Mary
Duff), whom I laughed and romped with and loved as children love. She
was a Miss Dalrymple, daughter of Lord Westhall,  a Lord of Session;
was afterwards married to Anderson of Winterfield, and her daughter is
now [the spouse] of my colleague Robert Hamilton. So strangely are our
cards shuffled. I was a mere child, and could feel none of the passion
which Byron alleges, yet the recollection of this good-humoured
companion of my childhood is like that of a morning dream, nor should I
now greatly like to dispel it by seeing the original, who must now be
 David Dalrymple of Westhall was a judge of the Court of
Session from 1777 till his death in 1784.
Well, we walked over the field of battle, saw the Prince's Park, Cope's
Loan, marked by slaughter in his disastrous retreat, the thorn-tree
which marks the centre of the battle, and all besides that was to be
seen or supposed. We saw two broadswords, found on the field of battle,
one a Highlander's, an Andrew Ferrara, another the dragoon's sword of
that day. Lastly, we came to Cockenzie, where Mr. Francis Cadell, my
publisher's brother, gave us a kind reception. I was especially glad to
see the mother of the family, a fine old lady, who was civil to my aunt
and me, and, I recollect well, used to have us to tea at Cockenzie.
Curious that I should long afterwards have an opportunity to pay back
this attention to her son Robert. Once more, what a kind of shuffling of
the hand dealt us at our nativity. There was Mrs. F. Cadell, and one or
two young ladies, and some fine fat children. I should be a bastard to
the time  did I not tell our fare. We had a tiled whiting,  a
dish unknown elsewhere, so there is a bone for the gastronomers to pick.
Honest John Wood,  my old friend, dined with us. I only regret I
cannot understand him, as he has a very powerful memory, and much
curious information. The whole day of pleasure was damped by the news of
the King's death; it was fully expected, however, as the termination of
his long illness. But he was very good to me personally, and a kind
sovereign. The common people and gentry join in their sorrow. Much is
owing to a kindly recollection of his visit to this country, which gave
all men an interest in him.
 King John, Act I. Sc. 1.
 A whiting dried in the sun; but "tiled haddocks" and
"tiled whitings" are now unknown to the fisher-folk of Cockenzie.
 John Philip Wood, editor of Douglas's Peerage of
Scotland, etc., was deaf and dumb; he died in 1838 in his
June 29.—The business of the Court was suspended, so back I came,
without stop or stay, and to work went I. As I had risen early I was
sadly drowsy; however, I fought and fagged away the day. I am still in
hope to send my whole manuscript to Ballantyne before the 10th July.
Well, I must devise something to myself; I must do something better than
this Demonological trash. It is nine o'clock, and I am weary, yea, my
very spirit's tired.  After ten o'clock Mr. Daveis,  an American
barrister of eminence, deputed to represent the American States in a
dispute concerning the boundaries of Nova Scotia and New England, with
an introduction to me from Mr. Ticknor, called. I was unable to see him,
and put him off till to-morrow morning at breakfast.
 Coriolanus, Act I. Sc. 9.
 Charles S. Daveis of Portland, a friend of Mr. George
Ticknor, in whose Life (2 vols. 8vo, Boston, 1876) he is often
June 30.—The new King was proclaimed, and the College of Justice took
the oaths. I assisted Mr. Daveis, who is a pleasant and well-informed
man, to see the ceremony, which, probably, he would hardly witness in
his own country. A day of noise and bustle. We dined at Mr. and Mrs.
Strange, chère exquise I suppose. Many friends of the Arniston family.
I thought there was some belief of Lord Melville losing his place. That
he may exchange it for another is very likely, but I think the Duke will
not desert him who adhered to him so truly.