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in the Commons, on the 22d of March, by a majority of one; and a third to the last really good portrait that was painted of himself. This was the work of Mr Francis Grant (brother of the Laird of Kilgraston), whose subsequent career has justified the Diarist's prognostications. This excellent picture, in which, from previous familiarity with the subject, he was able to avoid the painful features of recent change, was done for his and Sir Walter's friend, Lady Ruthven.
“ March 20.— Little of this day, but that it was so uncommonly windy that I was almost blown off my pony, and was glad to grasp the mane to prevent its actually happening. I began the third volume of Count Robert of Paris, which has been on the anvil during all these vexatious circumstances of politics and health. But the blue heaven bends over all. It may be ended in a fortnight, if I keep my scheme. But I will take time enough. I thought I was done with politics; but it is easy getting into the mess, but difficult, and sometimes disgraceful, to get out. I have a letter from Sheriff Oliver, desiring me to go to Jedburgh on Monday, and show countenance by adhering to a set of propositions. Though not well drawn, they are uncompromising enough ; so I will not part company.
“ March 22.– Went yesterday at nine o'clock to the meeting; a great number present, with a moh of Reformers, who showed their sense of propriety by hissing, hooting, and making all sorts of noises. And these unwashed artificers are from henceforth to select our legislators. What can be expected from them except such a thick-headed plebeian as will be 6a hare-brained Hotspur, guided by a whim?' There was some speaking, but not good. I said something, for I could not sit quiet. I did not get home till past nine, having fasted the whole time.
“ March 25.— The measure carried by a single vote. In other circumstances one would hope for the interference of the House of Lords; but it is all hab nab at a venture, as Cervantes says.
The worst is, that there is a popular party, who want personal power, and are highly unfitted to enjoy it. It has fallen easily, the old constitution ; no bullying Mirabeau to assail, no eloquent Maury to defend. It has been thrown away like a child's broken toy. Well the good sense of the people is much trusted to; we shall see what it will do for us. The curse of Cromwell on those whose conceit brought us to this pass! Sed transeat. It is vain to mourn what cannot be mended,
“ March 26. — Frank Grant and his lady came
here. Frank will, I believe, if he attends to his profession, be one of the celebrated men of the age. He has long been well known to me as the companion of my sons and the partner of my daughters. In youth, that is in extreme youth, he was passionately fond of fox-hunting and other sports, but not of any species of gambling. He had also a strong passion for painting, and made a little collection. As he had sense enough to feel that a younger brother's fortune would not last long under the expenses of a good stud and a rare collection of chefs d'æuvre, he used to avow his intention to spend his patrimony, about £10,000, and then again to make his fortune by the law. The first he soon accomplished. But the law is not a profession so easily acquired, nor did Frank's talents lie in that direction. His passion for painting turned out better. Connoisseurs approved of his sketches, both in pencil and oil, but not without the sort of criticisms made on these occasions that they were admirable for an amateur -- but it could not be expected that he should submit to the actual drudgery absolutely necessary for a profession---- and all that species of criticism which gives way before natural genius and energy of character. In the meantime Frank saw the necessity of doing something to keep himself independent, having, I
* Mr Francis Grant had recently married Viss Norman, a niece of the Duke of Rutland's.
think, too much spirit to become a Jock the Laird's brither, drinking out the last glass of the bottle, riding the horses which the laird wishes to sell, and drawing sketches to amuse the lady and the children. He was above all this, and honourably resolved to cultivate his taste for painting, and become a professional artist. I am no judge of painting, but I am conscious that Francis Grant possesses, with much cleverness, a sense of beauty derived from the best source, that is, the observation of really good society, while, in
modern artists, the want of that species of feeling is so great as to be revolting. His former acquaintances render his immediate entrance into business completely secure, and it will rest with himself to carry on his success. He has, I think, that degree of force of character which will make him keep and enlarge any reputation which he may acquire. He has confidence, too, in his own powers, always requisite for a young gentleman trying things of this sort, whose aristocratic pretensions must be envied.- - March 29. Frank Grant is still with me, and is well pleased, I think very advisedly so, with a cabinet picture of myself, armour and so forth, together with my two noble stag-hounds. The dogs sat charmingly, but the picture took up some time.”
I must insert a couple of letters written about this
time. That to the Secretary of the Literary Fund, one of the most useful and best managed charities in London, requires no explanation. The other was addressed to the Rev. Alexander Dyce, on receiving a copy of that gentleman's edition of Greene's Plays, with a handsome dedication. Sir Walter, it appears, designed to make Peele, Greene, and Webster, the subject of an article in the Quarterly Review. It is proper to observe that he had never met their editor, though two or three letters had formerly passed between them. The little volume which he sent in return to Mr Dyce, was “the Trial of Duncan Terig and Alexander Macdonald,” — one of the Bannatyne Club books.
“ To B. Nichols, Esq., Registrar of the Literary
Abbotsford, 29th March 1831.
“ I am honoured with your obliging letter of the 25th current, flattering me with the information that
you had placed my name on the list of stewards for the Literary Fund, at which I am sorry to say it will not be in my power to attend, as I do not come to London this season. You, sir, and the