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It was considered due to Sir Walter's physicians, and to the public, that the nature of his malady should be distinctly ascertained. The result was, that there appeared the traces of a very slight mollification in one part of the substance of the brain.*
His funeral was conducted in an unostentatious manner, but the attendance was very great. Few of his old friends then in Scotland were absent, and many, both friends and strangers, came from a great distance. His old domestics and foresters made it their petition that no hireling hand might assist in carrying his remains. They themselves bore the coffin to the hearse, and from the hearse to the grave. The pall-bearers were his sons, his son-in
* “ Abbotsford, Sept. 23, 1832.— This forenoon, in presence of Dr Adolphus Ross, from Edinburgh, and my father, I proceeded to examine the head of Sir Walter Scott.
“On removing the upper part of the cranium, the vessels on the surface of the brain appeared slightly turgid, and on cutting into the brain the cineritious substance was found of a darker hue than natural, and a greater than usual quantity of serum in the ventricles. Excepting these appearances, the right hemisphere seemed in a healthy state ; but in the left, in the choroid plexus, three distinct though small hydatids were found; and on reaching the corpus striatum it was discovered diseased — a considerable portion of it being in a state of ramolissement. The blood vessels were in a healthy state. The brain was not large — and the cranium thinner than it is usually found to be.
J. B. CLARKSON.”
law, and his little grandson ; his cousins, Charles Scott of Nesbitt, James Scott of Jedburgh (sons to his uncle Thomas), William Scott of Raeburn, Robert Rutherford, Clerk to the Signet, Colonel (now Sir James) Russell of Ashestiel, William Keith (brother to Sir Alexander Keith of Ravelstone), and the chief of his family, Hugh Scott of Harden, now Lord Polwarth.
When the company were assembled, according to the usual Scotch fashion, prayers were offered up by the Very Reverend Dr Baird, Principal of the University of Edinburgh, and by the Reverend Dr David Dickson, Minister of St Cuthbert's, who both expatiated in a very striking manner on the virtuous example of the deceased.
The court-vard and all the precincts of Abbotsford were crowded with uncovered spectators as the procession was arranged; and as it advanced through Darnick and Melrose, and the adjacent villages, the whole population appeared at their doors in like manner, almost all in black. The train of carriages extended, I understand, over more than a mile; the Yeomanry followed in great numbers on horseback ; and it was late in the day ere we reached Dryburgh. Some accident, it was observed, had caused the hearse to halt for several minutes on the summit of the hill at Bemerside — exactly where a prospect of remarkable richness opens, and where Sir Walter
had always been accustomed to rein up his horse. The day was dark and lowering, and the wind high.
The wide enclosure at the Abbey of Dryburgh was thronged with old and young; and when the coffin was taken from the hearse, and again laid on the shoulders of the afflicted serving-men, one deep sob burst from a thousand lips. Mr Archdeacon Williams read the Burial Service of the Church of England; and thus, about half-past five o'clock in the evening of Wednesday the 26th September 1832, the remains of SIR WALTER SCOTT were laid by the side of his wife in the sepulchre of his ancestors “ in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall change our vile body that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself.”
We read in Solomon — “ The heart knoweth his own bitterness, and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy ;” — and a wise poet of our own time thus beautifully expands the saying:
“ Why should we faint and fear to live alone,
Since all alone, so Heaven has willed, we die,
Knows half the reasons why we smile and sigh ?” *
Such considerations have always induced me to regard with small respect, any attempt to delineate fully and exactly any human being's character. I distrust, even in very humble cases, our capacity for judging our neighbour fairly; and I cannot but pity the presumption that must swell in the heart and brain of any ordinary brother of the race, when he dares to pronounce ex cathedrâ, on the whole structure and complexion of a great mind, from the comparatively narrow and scanty materials which can by possibility have been placed before him. Nor is the difficulty to my view lessened, — perhaps it is rather increased, when the great man is a great artist. It is true, that many of the feelings common to our nature can only be expressed adequately, and that some of the finest of them can only be expressed at all, in the language of art; and more especially in the language of poetry. But it is equally true, that high and sane art never attempts to express that for which the artist does not claim and expect general sympathy; and however much of what we had thought to be our own secrets he ventures to give shape to, it becomes, I can never help believing, modest understandings to rest convinced that there remained a world of deeper mysteries to which the dignity of genius would refuse any utterance.
* See Keble's Christian Year, p. 261.
I have therefore endeavoured to lay before the reader those parts of Sir Walter's character to which we have access, as they were indicated in his sayings and doings through the long series of his years — making use, whenever it was possible, of his own letters and diaries rather than of any other materials ; -- but refrained from obtruding almost anything of comment. It was my wish to let the character deve