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more helpless than before. Even then, however, the name was sure to tempt some ludicrous twisting of words. A little after this time he dictated a reviewal (never published) of a book called Robson's British Herald ; and in mentioning it to me, he says have given Laidlaw a long spell to-day at the saltires and fesses. No thanks to me, for my machine is away to be tightened in one bit, and loosened in another. I was telling Willie Laidlaw that I might adopt, with a slight difference, the motto of the noble Tullibardine :— Furth Fortune and file the Fetters.'
Of this excursion to Edinburgh, the Diary says“ Abbotsford, February 9. The snow became impassable, and in Edinburgh I remained immoveably fixed for ten days, never getting out of doors, save once or twice to dinner, when I went and returned in a sedan-chair. Cadell made a point of my coming to his excellent house, where I had no less excellent an apartment, and the most kind treatment; that is, no making a show of me, for which I was in but bad tune. Abercrombie and Ross had me bled with cupping-glasses, reduced me confoundedly, and restricted me of all creature comforts. But they did me good, as I am sure they sincerely meant to do; I got rid
*“ Fill the fetters,” in the original. No bad motto for the Duke of Athole's ancestors - great predatory chiefs of the Highland frontier.
of a giddy feeling, which I had been plagued with, and have certainly returned much better. I did not neglect my testamentary affairs. I executed my last will, leaving Walter burdened with £1000 to Sophia, £2000 to Anne, and the same to Charles. He is to advance them this money if they want it; if not, to pay them interest. All this is his own choice, otherwise I would have sold the books and rattletraps. I have made provisions for clearing my estate by my publications, should it be possible; and should that prove possible, from the time of such clearance being effected, to be a fund available to all my children who shall be alive or leave representatives. My bequests must many of them seem hypothetical.
“ During this unexpected stay in town I dined with the Lord Chief-Commissioner, with the Skenes twice, with Lord Medwyn, and was as happy as anxiety about my daughter would permit me. The appearance of the streets was most desolate; the hackney-coaches strolling about like ghosts with four horses; the foot passengers few, except the lowest of the people. I wrote a good deal of Count Robert, yet, I cannot tell why, my pen stammers egregiously, and I write horridly incorrect. I longed to have friend Laidlaw's assistance.
“ A heavy and most effective thaw coming on, I got home about five at night, and found the haugh covered with water; dogs, pigs, cows, to say nothing of human beings, all that slept at the offices in danger of being drowned. They came up to the mansionhouse about midnight, with such an infernal clamour, that Anne thought we were attacked by Captain Swing and all the Radicals.”
After this the Diary offers but a few unimportant entries during several weeks. He continued working at the Novel, and when discouraged about it, gave a day to his article on Heraldry: but he never omitted to spend many hours, either in writing or in dictating something; and Laidlaw, when he came down a few minutes beyond the appointed time, was sure to be rebuked. At the beginning of March, he was anew roused about political affairs; and bestowed four days on drawing up an address against the Reform Bill, which he designed to be adopted by the Freeholders of the Forest. They, however, preferred a shorter one from the
of a plain practical country gentleman (the late Mr Elliot Lockhart of Borthwickbrae), who had often represented them in Parliament: and Sir Walter, it is probable, felt this disappointment more acutely than he has chosen to indicate in his Journal.
“ February 10.--I set to work with Mr Laidlaw, and had after that a capital ride. My pony, little used, was somewhat frisky, but I rode on to HuntlyBurn. Began my diet on my new regime, and like it well, especially porridge to supper. It is wouderful how old tastes rise. -Feb. 23, 24, 25. These three days I can hardly be said to have varied from my ordinary. Rose at seven, dressed before eight-wrote letters, or did any little business till a quarter past nine. Then breakfasted. Mr. Laidlaw comes from ten till one. Then take the pony, and ride-quantum mutatus two or three miles, John Swanston walking by my bridle-rein lest I fall off. Come home about three or four. Then to dinner on a single plain dish and half a tumbler, or, by’r Lady, three fourths of a tumbler of whisky and water. Then sit till six o'clock, when enter Mr Laidlaw again, who works commonly till eight. After this, work usually alone till half-past ten; sup on porridge and milk, and so to bed. The work is half done. If any one asks what time I take to think on the composition, I might say, in one point of view, it was seldom five minutes out of my head the whole day — in another light, it was never the serious subject of consideration at all, for it never occupied my thoughts for five minutes together, except when I was dictating. Feb. 27. Being Saturday, no Mr Laidlaw came yesterday evening — nor to-day, being Sunday. — Feb. 28. Past ten, and Mr Laidlaw, the model of clerks in other respects, is not come yet. He has never known the value of time, so is not quite accurate in punctuality; but that, I hope, will come, if I can
drill him into it without hurting him. I think I hear him coming. I am like the poor wizard, who is first puzzled how to raise the devil, and then how to employ him. Worked till one, then walked with great difficulty and pain. — March 5. I have a letter from our member Whytbank, adjuring me to assist the gentlemen of the county with an address against the Reform Bill, which menaces them with being blended with Peebles-shire, and losing, of consequence, one-half of their functions. Sandy Pringle conjures me not to be very nice in choosing my epithets. Torwoodlee comes over and speaks to the same purpose, adding, it will be the greatest service I can do the country, &c. This, in a manner, drives me out of a resolution to keep myself clear of politics, and let them fight dog, fight bear. But I am too easy to be persuaded to bear a hand. The young Duke of Buccleuch comes to visit me also; so I promised to shake my duds, and give them a cast of my calling — fall back, fall edge.
“ March 7, 8, 9, 10.-- In these four days I drew up, with much anxiety, an address in reprobation of the Bill, both with respect to Selkirkshire, and in its general purport. Mr Laidlaw, though he is on tother side on the subject, thinks it the best thing I ever wrote; and I myself am happy to find that it cannot be said to smell of the apoplexy. But it was