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from the front of our inn. One of them, Captain Russell Eliott of the Royal Navy, lived in the town, or rather in a villa adjoining it, to the rear of the Spread Eagle. Sir Walter was at last persuaded to accept this courteous adversary's invitation, and accompanied him through some winding lanes to his residence. Peter Mathieson by and by brought the carriage thither, in the same clandestine method, and we escaped from Jedburgh — with one shower more of stones at the Bridge. I believe there would have been a determined onset at that spot, but for the zeal of three or four sturdy Darnickers (Joseph Shillinglaw, carpenter, being their Coryphæus), who, had, unobserved by us, clustered themselves beside the footman in the rumble.
The Diary contains this brief notice:-“ May 18. Went to Jedburgh greatly against the wishes of my daughters. The mob were exceedingly vociferous and brutal, as they usually are nowadays. The population gathered in formidable numbers — a thousand from Hawick also—sad blackguards. The day passed with much clamour and no mischief. Henry Scott was re-elected for the last time, I suppose. Troja fuit. I left the borough in the midst of abuse, and the gentle hint of Burk Sir Walter. Much obliged to the brave lads of Jeddart.”
Sir Walter fully anticipated a scene of similar violence at the Selkirk election, which occurred a few days afterwards ; but though here also, by help of weavers from a distance, there was a sufficiently formidable display of radical power, there occurred hardly anything of what had been apprehended. Here the Sheriff was at home-known intimately to everybody, himself probably knowing almost all of man's estate by head mark, and, in spite of political fanaticism, all but universally beloved as well as feared. The only person who ventured actually to hustle a Tory elector on his way to the poll, attracted Scott's observation at the moment when he was getting out of his carriage; he instantly seized the delinquent with his own hand — the man's spirit quailed, and no one coming to the rescue, he was safely committed to prison until the business of the day was over. Sir Walter had ex officio to preside at this election, and, therefore, his family would probably have made no attempt to dissuade him from attending it, even had he staid away from Jedburgh. Among the exaggerated rumours of the time, was one that Lord William Graham, the Tory candidate for Dumbartonshire, had been actually massacred by the rabble of his county town. He had been grievously maltreated, but escaped murder, though, I believe, narrowly. But I can never forget the high glow which suffused Sir Walter's countenance when he heard the overburdened story, and said calmly, in rather a clear voice, the trace of his calamitous affliction almost disappearing for the moment, —“Well — Lord William died at his post —
“ Non aliter cineres mando jacere meos."*
I am well pleased that the ancient capital of the Forest did not stain its fair name upon this miserable occasion; and I am sorry for Jedburgh and Hawick. This last town stands almost within sight of Branksome Hall, overhanging also sweet Teviot's silver tide. The civilized American or Australian will curse these places, of which he would never have heard but for Scott, as he passes through them in some distant century, when perhaps all that remains of our national glories may be the high literature adopted and extended in new lands planted from our blood.
No doubt these disturbances of the general election had an unfavourable influence on the invalid. When they were over, he grew calmer and more collected ; the surgical experiment appeared to be beneficial ; his speech became, after a little time, much clearer, and such were the symptoms of energy still about him, that I began to think a restoration not hopeless. Some business called me to London about the middle of June, and when I returned at the end of three weeks, I had the satisfaction to find that he had been gradually amending.
* Martial, i. 89.
But, alas! the first use he made of this partial renovation, had been to expose his brain once more to an imaginative task. He began his Castle Dangerous — the groundwork being again an old story which he had told in print, many years before, in a rapid manner.* And now, for the first time, he left Ballantyne out of his secret. He thus writes to Cadell on the 3d of July:- “ I intend to tell this little matter to nobody but Lockhart. Perhaps not even to him; certainly not to J. B., who having turned his back on his old political friends, will no longer have a claim to be a secretary in such matters, though I shall always be glad to befriend him.”
James's criticisms on Count Robert had wounded him — the Diary, already quoted, shows how severely. The last visit this old ally ever paid at Abbotsford, occurred a week or two after. His newspaper had by this time espoused openly the cause of the Reform Bill — and some unpleasant conversation took place on that subject, which might well be a sore one for both parties, and not least, considering the whole of his personal history, for Mr Ballantyne. Next morning, being Sunday, he disappeared abruptly, without saying farewell; and when Scott understood that he had signified an opinion that the reading of the Church service, with a sermon from South or Bar
* See Essay on Chivalry— Miscellaneous Prose Works, vol. vi. p. 36.
row, would be a poor substitute for the mystical eloquence of some new idol down the vale, he expressed considerable disgust. They never met again in this world. In truth, Ballantyne's health also was already much broken ; and if Scott had been entirely himself, he would not have failed to connect that circumstance in a charitable way with this never strongminded man's recent abandonment of his own old terra firma, both religious and political. But this is a subject on which we have no title to dwell. Sir Walter's misgivings about himself, if I read him aright, now rendered him desirous of external support; but this novel inclination his spirit would fain suppress and disguise even from itself.
When I again saw him on the 13th of this month, he showed me several sheets of the new romance, and told me how he had designed at first to have it printed by somebody else than Ballantyne, but that on reflection, he had shrunk from hurting his feelings on so tender a point. I found, however, that he had neither invited nor received any opinion from James as to what he had written, but that he had taken an alarm lest he should fall into some blunder about the scenery fixed on (which he had never seen but once when a schoolboy), and had kept the sheets in proof until I should come back and accompany him in a short excursion to Lanarkshire. He was anxious in particular to see the tombs in the Church of St Bride,