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At ten o'clock began where I had left off at my romance. Laidlaw begins to smite the rock for not giving forth the water in quantity sufficient. I have against me the disadvantage of being called the Just, and every one of course is willing to worry me. But they have been long at it, and even those works which have been worst received at their first appearance, now keep their ground fairly enough. So we'll try our old luck another voyage.— It is a close thick rain, and I cannot ride, and I am too dead lame to walk in the house. So feeling really exhausted, I will try to sleep a little. — My nap was a very short one, and was agreeably replaced by Basil Hall's Fragments of Voyages. Everything about the inside of a vessel is interesting, and my friend B. H. has the good sense to know this is the case. I remember when my eldest brother took the humour of going to sea, James Watson used to be invited to George's Square to tell him such tales of hardships as might disgust him with the service. Such were my poor mother's instructions. But Captain Watson* could
* The late Captain James Watson, R. N., was distantly related to Sir Walter's mother. His son, Mr John Watson Gordon, has risen to great eminence as a painter; and his portraits of Scott and Hogg rank among his best pieces. That of the Ettrick Shepherd is indeed perfect; and Sir Walter's has only the disadvantage of having been done a little too late. These masterly pictures are both in Mr Cadell's possession.
not by all this render a sea life disgusting to the young midshipman, or to his brother, who looked on and listened. Hall's accounts of the assistance given to the Spaniards at Cape Finisterre, and the absurd behaviour of the Junta, are highly interesting. A more inefficient, yet a more resolved class of men than the Spaniards, were never conceived. — April 16. Lord Meadowbank and his son. Skene walks with me. Weather enchanting. About one hundred leaves will now complete Robert of Paris. Query, If the last ? Answer -- Not knowing, can't say. I think it will.”_
Apoplectic Paralysis - Miss Ferrier - Dr Mackintosh Mackay - Scenes at Jedburgh and Selkirk — Castle Dangerous — Excursion to Douglasdale — Church of St Bride's, &c. Turner's Designs for the Poetry — Last Visits to Smailholm, Bemerside, Ettrick, 8c. — Visit of Captain Burns — Mr Adolphus — and Mr Wordsworth — “ Yarrow revisited,” and Sonnet on the Eildons.
APRIL — OCT. 1831.
The next entry in the Diary is as follows: “ From Saturday 16th April, to Sunday 24th of the same month, unpleasantly occupied by ill health and its consequences. A distinct stroke of paralysis affecting both my nerves and speech, though beginning only on Monday with a very bad cold. Doctor Abercrombie was brought out by the friendly care of Cadell, but young Clarkson had already done the needful, that is, had bled and blistered, and placed me on a very reduced diet. Whether precautions have been taken in time, I cannot tell. I think they have, though severe in themselves, beat the disease ; but I am alike prepared.”
The preceding paragraph has been deciphered with difficulty. The blow which it records was greatly more severe than any that had gone before it. Sir Walter's friend Lord Meadowbank had come to Abbotsford, as usual when on the Jedburgh circuit; and he would make an effort to receive the Judge in something of the old style of the place; he collected several of the neighbouring gentry to dinner, and tried to bear his wonted part in the conversation. Feeling his strength and spirits flagging, he was tempted to violate his physician's directions, and took two or three glasses of champaign, not having tasted wine for several months before. On retiring to his dressing-room he had this severe shock of apoplectic paralysis, and kept his bed under the surgeon's hands, for several days.
Shortly afterwards, his eldest son and his daughter Sophia arrived at Abbotsford. It may be supposed that they both would have been near him instantly, had that been possible; but, not to mention the dread of seeming to be alarmed about him, Major Scott's regiment was stationed in a very disturbed district, and his sister was still in a disabled state from the relics of a rheumatic fever. I followed her a week later, when we established ourselves at Chiefswood for the rest of the season. Charles Scott had some months before this time gone to Naples, as an attaché to the British Embassy there. During the next six months the Major was at Abbotsford every now and then—as often as circumstances could permit him to be absent from his Hussars.
DIARY — “ April 27, 1831.— They have cut me off from animal food and fermented liquors of every kind; and, thank God, I can fast with any one. I walked out and found the day delightful; the woods too looking charming, just bursting forth to the tune of the birds. I have been whistling on my wits like so many chickens, and cannot miss any of them. I feel on the whole better than I have yet done. I believe I have fined and recovered, and so may be thankful. — April 28, 29. Walter made his appearance here, well and stout, and completely recovered from his stomach complaints by abstinence. He has youth on his side; and I in age must submit to be a Lazarus. The medical men persist in recommending a seton. I am no friend to these remedies, and will be sure of the necessity before I yield consent. The dying like an Indian under tortures is no joke ; and as Commodore Trunnion says, I feel heart-whole as