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morning (the 7th), on looking from one of our windows across the street, I observed him sitting in an easy-chair in the parlour of his hotel, a book in his hand, and apparently reading attentively:— his window was wide open, and I remember wishing much for the power of making a picture of him just as he sat. But about eleven o'clock Miss Scott came over to me, looking much frightened, and saying that she feared he was about to have another paralytic attack. He had, she said, been rather confused in mind the day before, and the dinner-party had been too much for him. She had observed that on trying to answer a note from the Admiral that morning, he had not been able to form a letter on the paper, and she thought he was now sitting in a sort of stupor. She begged that Dr Davy would visit him as soon as possible, and that I would accompany him, so that he might not suppose it a medical visit, for to all such he had an utter objection. I sent for Dr D. instantly, and the moment he returned we went together to the hotel. We found Sir Walter sitting near a fire, dressed, as I had seen him just before, in a large silk dressing-gown, his face a good deal Alushed, and his eyes heavy. He rose, however, as I went up to him, and, addressing me by my mother's name, • Mrs Fletcher,' asked kindly whether I was quite recovered from a little illness I had complained of the day before, and then walked to a table on the
other side of the room, to look at some views of the new Volcano in the Mediterranean, which, by way of apology for our early visit, we had carried with us. With these he seemed pleased ; but there was great indistinctness in his manner of speaking. after sat down, and began, of his own accord, to converse with Dr Davy on the work he was then engaged in the Life of Sir Humphrey — saying that he was truly glad he was thus engaged, as he did not think justice had been done to the character of his friend by Dr Paris. In speaking of the scientific distinction attained by Sir Humphrey, he said — I hope, Dr Davy, your mother lived to see it. There must have been such great pleasure in that to her.' We both remember with much interest this kindly little observation; and it was but one of
that dropt from him as naturally at the different times we met, showing that, fallen' as the mighty' was, and his weapons of war perished,' the springs of fancy dried up, and memory on most subjects much impaired, his sense of the value of home-bred worth and affection was in full force. His way of mentioning my son Charles, poor fellow,' whom he was longing to meet at Naples
my own Tweedside,' which in truth he seemed to lament ever having quitted — was often really affecting. Our visit together on this morning was of course short, but Dr Davy saw him repeatedly in the course of the same
day. Leeches were applied to his head, and though they did not give immediate relief to his uncomfortable sensations, he was evidently much better next morning, and disposed to try a drive into the country. Some lameness having befallen one of the horses provided for his use, I, at his request, ordered a little open carriage of ours to the door about twelve o'clock, and prepared to accompany him to St Antonio, a garden residence of the Governor's, about two miles from Valetta, then occupied by Mr Frere, whose own house at the Pietà was under repair. It was not without fear and trembling I undertook this little drive — not on account of the greatness of my companion, for assuredly he was the most humane of lions, but I feared he might have some new seizure of illness, and that I should be very helpless to him in such a case.
I proposed that Dr D. should go instead; but, like most men when they are ill or unhappy, he preferred having womankind about him, — said he would like Mrs Davy better;' so I went. The notices of his carriage talk,' I give exactly as I find them noted down the day after omitting only the story of Sir H. Davy and the Tyrolese rifle, which I put on record separately for my husband, for insertion in his book.*
* See Dr Davy's Memoirs of his brother, vol. i. p. 506, — for the account of Speckbacker's rifle, now in the Armoury at Abbots ford.
My little note-book of December 9 says
The day was very beautiful — (like a good English day about the end of May)—and the whole way
in going to St Antonio he was cheerful, and inclined to talk on any matter that was suggested. He admired the streets of Valetta much as we passed through them, noticing particularly the rich effect of the carved stone balconies, and the images of saints at every corner, saying several times, “ This town is really quite like a dream. Something (suggested, I believe, by the appearances of Romish superstition on all sides of us) brought him to speak of the Irish-of whose native character he expressed a high opinion ; and spoke most feelingly of the evil fate that seemed constantly to attend them. Some link from this subject--(I do not exactly know what — for the rattling progress of our little vehicle over ill-paved ways, and his imperfect utterance together, made it difficult to catch all his words) — brought to his recollection a few fine lines from · O'Connor's Child,' in the passage
* And ranged, as to the judgment seat,
which he repeated with his accustomed energy, and then went on to speak of Campbell
, whom, as a poet, he honours. On my saying something of Campbell's youth at the publication of his first poem, he said —
Ay, he was very young — but he came out at once, ye may say, like the Irish rebels, a hundred thousand strong'
“ There was no possibility of admiring the face of the country as we drove along after getting clear of the city gates; but I was pleased to see how refreshing the air seemed to Sir Walter — and perhaps this made him go back, as he did, to his days of long walks, over moss and moor, which he told me he had often traversed at the rate of five-and-twenty miles a-day, with a gun on his shoulder. He snuffed with great delight the perfume of the new oranges, which hung thickly on each side as we drove up
the long avenue to the court-yard, or stable-yard rather, of St Antonio and was amused at the Maltese untidiness of two or three pigs running at large under the trees. • That's just like my friend Frere, he said — quite content to let pigs run about in his orange-groves. We did not find Mr Frere at home, and therefore drove back without waiting. Among some other talk, in returning, he spoke with praise of Miss Ferrier as a novelist, and then with still higher praise of Miss Austen. Of the latter he said
— I find myself every now and then with one of her books in my hand. There's a finishing-off in some of her scenes that is really quite above everybody else. And there's that Irish lady, too, but I forget everybody's name now'— Miss Edgeworth,'