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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Sir Walter Scott to John Gibson Lockhart, 5 February 1828

Vol. I. Preface
Vol. I Contents.
Chapter 1: 1794-1808
Chapter 2: 1808-13
Chapter 3: 1813-15
Chapter 4: 1815-17
Chapter 5: 1817-18
Chapter 6: 1817-19
Chapter 7: 1818-20
Chapter 8: 1819-20
Chapter 9: 1820-21
Chapter 10: 1821-24
Chapter 11: 1817-24
Chapter 12: 1821-25
Chapter 13: 1826
Vol. II Contents
Chapter 14: 1826-32
Chapter 15: 1828-32
Chapter 16: 1832-36
Chapter 17: 1837-39
Chapter 18: 1837-43
Chapter 19: 1828-48
Chapter 20: 1826-52
Chapter 21: 1842-50
Chapter 22: 1850-53
Chapter 23: 1853-54
Chapter 24: Conclusion
Vol. II Index
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Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH
Edinburgh, 5th February 1828.

My dear Lockhart,—I send you enclosed a letter from Horace Smith,1 which I received this morning. I knew him only from seeing him once at breakfast, but what he wishes seems only to be justice to him. I am by no means sure that Leigh Hunt was completely in bona fides in his panegyric, which I have not seen; but Mr. Smith seems sensible it is over-coloured, for the purpose of including him in the group of Liberals. You will do in it what you please; only I am sure you will give currency to his disclamation of Atheism.2 I am speaking in the idea that you are taking Leigh Hunt in hand, which he richly deserves; only remember the lash is administered with most cutting severity when the executioner keeps his temper. Hunt has behaved like a hyena to Byron, whom he has dug up to girn and howl over him in the same breath. I have not seen Moore’s lines, but I hear they are clever.

“The world (bookselling world) seem mad about ‘Forget-me-nots’ and Christmas boxes. Here has been Heath the artist offering me £800 per annum to take charge of such a concern, which I declined, of course. Perhaps it might be turned your way if you liked it. I would support as well as I could, and the labour would be no great thing. The book is the ‘Keepsake,’ I think, a book

1 Mr. John Scott’s second in 1821.

2 Lockhart took the hint.

singularly beautiful in respect of the prints; the letterpress is sorry enough. Mr. Heath is well enough for his profession; a
Mr. Reynolds who was with him, is a son of the dramatist, and a forward chip of the old block. I gave him, at his particular request, a note of introduction to you, which I think it is right to do. I rather think they want to frame some proposal to you. Certainly there could be little difficulty in giving such a thing a superiority in point of merit. I pointed out to Mr. Heath, that having already the superiority in point of art, I saw no great object could be obtained by being at great expense to obtain as great a superiority in literature, because two candles do not give twice as much light as one, though they cost double price. But he seemed to think he could increase his income.

“I see you have got a critic in the Athenæum; pray don’t take the least notice of so trumpery a fellow. There is a custom among the South American Indians to choose their chief by the length of time during which he is able to sustain a temporary interment in an owl’s nest. Literary respect and eminence is won by similar powers of endurance.

Charles has received his appointment in the Foreign Office, and will be up on Friday night, and I hope you and Sophia will find him a quiet inmate.

“I have heard with pleasure of the christening. Whether we shall come up or not is in the womb of fate. Certainly, were it not for Sophia and you and
the dear babies, all other circumstances would make me wish to stay where I am, making money, instead of going where I must spend it. All things are clearing up here very well.

“Love to Sophia and babies, especially the Ciceronian John, who understands what folks say to him.”