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received from Sir Walter's dear friend and kinsman, Mr Scott of Gala: _ “ The last time I saw Sir W. Scott was in Sussex Place, the day after he arrived from Scotland, on his way to Italy. I was prepared for a change in his appearance, but was not struck with so great a one as I had expected. He evidently had lost strength since I saw him at Abbotsford the previous autumn, but his eye was good. In his articulation, however, there was too manifest an imperfection. We conversed shortly, as may be supposed, on his health. “Weakness,' he observed, was his principal complaint. I said that I supposed he had been rather too fatigued with his journey to leave the house since his arrival. Oh no,' he replied, “I felt quite able for a drive to-day, and have just come from the city. I paid a visit to my friend Whittaker to ask him for some book of travels likely to be of use to me on my expedition to the Mediterranean. Here's old Brydone accordingly, still as good a companion as any he could recommend! A very agreeable one certainly,' I replied. — Brydone' (said he)
was sadly failed during his latter years. Did you ever hear of his remark on his own works ?' * Never.'—" Why, his family usually read a little for his amusement of an evening, and on one occasion he was asked if he would like to hear some of his travels to Sicily. He assented, and seemed to listen with much pleasure for some time, but he was too
far gone to continue his attention long, and starting up from a doze exclaimed, “That's really a very amusing book, and contains many curious anecdotes
- I wonder if they are all true.”! — Sir Walter then spoke of as strange a tale as any traveller could imagine — a new volcanic island, viz. which had appeared very lately—and seemed anxious to see it, “if it would wait for him,' he said. The offer of a King's ship had gratified him, and he ascribed this very much to the exertions of Basil Hall : « That curious fellow,' said he, “ who takes charge of every one's business without neglecting his own, has done a great deal for me in this matter.' – I observed that Malta would interest him much. The history of the knights, their library, &c., he immediately entered on keenly. – I fear I shall not be able to appreciate Italy as it deserves, continued he, as I understand little of painting, and nothing of music.' —But there are many other subjects of interest,' I replied, and to you particularly — Naples, St Elmo, Pæstum, La Montagna, Pompeii — in fact, I am only afraid you may have too much excitement, the bad effects of which I, as an invalid, am too well aware of.' - I had before this, from my own experience, ventured several hints on the necessity of caution with regard to over-exertion, but to these he always lent an unwilling ear.
" Sir Walter often digressed during our conver
sation, to the state of the country, about which he seemed to have much anxiety. I said we had no Napoleon to frighten us into good fellowship, and from want of something to do, began fighting with each other ---Aye,' said he, after conquering that Jupiter Scapin, and being at the height of glory, one would think the people might be content to sit down and eat the pudding ; but no such thing:'--'When we've paid more of the cash it has cost, they will be more content:' I doubt it: they are so flattered and courted by Government, that their appetite for power (pampered as it is) won't be easily satisfied now.'—When talking of Italy, by the way, I mentioned that at Naples he would probably find a sister of Mat. Lewis's, Lady Lushington, wife of the English consul, a pleasant family, to whom Lewis introduced me when there in 1817 very kindly ;* Ah, poor Mat. !' said he; he never wrote anything so good as the Monk—he kad certainly talents, but they would not stand much creaming.'
“ The Forest and our new road (which had cost both so much consultation) were of course touched on. The foundation of one of the new bridges had been laid by him—and this should be commemorated by an inscription on it. —Well,' said he,“ how I should like to have a ride with you along our new road, just opposite Abbotsford —- I will hope to be able for it some day.' Most heartily did I join in the wish, and could not help flattering myself it might yet be possible. When we parted, he shook hands with me for some time. He did so once more, but added firmly — Well, we'll have a ride yet, some day. I pleased myself with the hope that he augured rightly. But on leaving him, many misgivings presented themselves; and the accounts from the continent served but too surely to confirm these apprehensions — never more did I meet with my illustrious friend. There is reason I believe to be thankful that it was so—nothing could have been more painful than to witness the wreck of a mind like his.”
During his stay, which was till the 23d of October, Sir Walter called on many of his old friends ; but he accepted of no hospitalities except breakfasting once with Sir Robert Inglis, on Clapham Common, and once or twice with Lady Gifford at Roehampton. Usually he worked a little in the morning at notes for the Magnum.
Dr Robert Fergusson, one of the family with which Sir Walter had lived all his days in such brother-like affection, saw him constantly while he remained in the Regent's Park; and though neither the invalid nor his children could fancy any other medical advice necessary, it was only due to Fergusson that some of his seniors should be called in occasionally with him. Sir Henry Halford (whom Scott reverenced as the friend of Baillie) and Dr Holland (an esteemed friend of his own), came accordingly; and all the three concurred in recognising certain evidence that there was incipient disease in the brain. There were still, however, such symptoms of remaining vigour, that they flattered themselves, if their patient would submit to a total intermission of all literary labour during some considerable space of time, the malady might yet be arrested. When they left him after the first inspection, they withdrew into an adjoining room, and on soon rejoining him found, that in the interim he had wheeled his chair into a dark corner, so that he might see their faces without their being able to read his. When he was informed of the comparatively favourable views they entertained, he expressed great thankfulness; promised to obey all their directions as to diet and repose most scrupulously; and he did not conceal from them, that “ he had feared insanity and feared them."
The following are extracts from his Diary :“ London, October 2, 1831.—I have been very ill, and if not quite unable to write, I have been unfit to do it. I have wrought, however, at two Waverley things, but not well. A total prostration of bodily strength is my chief complaint. I cannot walk half a mile. There is, besides, some mental confusion, with the extent of which I am not, perhaps, fully acquainted. I am perhaps setting. I am myself inclined to think so, and like a day that has VOL. X.