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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 3: 1813-15
John Gibson Lockhart to Jonathan Christie, 3 January 1815

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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Produced by CATH
January 3, 1815.

My dear Christie,—I am very much delighted by your letter, for it shows you to be somewhat in better humour with yourself and this world than some of the last did. This I attribute partly to your cold having subsided, but principally to the collision which you have enjoyed with Williams. Not to mention other good qualities, I think his sort of steady spirits render him a most valuable companion. What other people effect by politeness
and painstaking he does by nature in this matter. He talks of composing Florilegiums, &c. I think it may be a good enough way of making £50 or so—rather better than breaking iron-stone on a road in July. I am grieved that W. takes offence at my tolerance for some of the
Wordsworth school: I am not sure that I would say so much as I have said after reading the ‘Excursion,’ at least the Jeffreys (sic) give one a bad scent of it. But from their having omitted to quote any of several divine passages which I have read I doubt not they are unfair. However, you in one of your letters lately mention, among the absurdities of this age’s producing, sentimental braziers and tender-hearted Jews. I daresay Coleridge has by this time added philosophising pedlars to the list. Upon the whole, I doubt we have had bad luck on the lakes this year on both sides the Atlantic.

“I have never been so solitary all my days as I am now, and have been for some months. I feel no sympathy with the mercantile souls here, and have really no companion whatever. I don’t know what I would not have given to spend Christmas with the Welchman and you. I fancy Bristol may be cursedly like this place, for you—tant pis.

“T’other day I went to a Glasgow ball, almost, I may say, for the first time. On entering the room a buzz of ‘sugars,’ ‘cottons,’ ‘coffee,’ ‘pullicates,’ assailed my ears from the four winds of heaven. Every now and then the gemmen were deserting
their partners, and rushing into the caper course to talk over the samples of the morning. One sedulous dog seemed to insist on another’s putting his finger into his waistcoat pocket. The being did so, and forthwith put the tip to his lips, but the countenance was so mealy that I could not tell whether it smacked of sugar or Genseng.

“There is nobody affords me so much amusement here as a dentist—a little, fat, coarse, bandy fellow, who commonly goes by the name of Count Pulltuski. This man carries personal vanity to the most daring height I ever witnessed. It becomes quite magnanimous in him. He makes no bones of speaking it out, in a broad and open way, that he considers himself as the greatest man now alive. I won his heart one evening at a punch party. They were roasting him upon the narrow and illiberal branch of the medical trade to which he confines himself. I took up the cudgels for him, and maintained that I thought the circumstance of such a man being a tooth doctor one of the best proofs of the advanced civilisation of this age, and added that I hoped this country would soon learn, like ancient Egypt, to have no physicians who undertake all manner of cures, but restrict every practitioner to some lith or limb of his own.

Pulltuski sported me a royal dinner the day after. He had a set of rich, vulgar dogs about him, who all pretend to the title of humorists, or, according to the local phraseology, gaggers.
N.B.—Gaggery, in the Glasgow idiom, means that sort of fun which consists in saying things that stop one’s mouth; and the coarser the gag, they seem to reckon the joke the more exquisite. There is what they call a Gag club. I went to it one night as visitor. . . . They sang ‘The pigs they lie,’ in chorus, &c. Says the President, ‘I was sent for t’other day to
Lord Douglass. I took particular care to dress myself in silks, powdered highly, and arrived in my gig about seven in the evening. I was shown into the dining-room—dinner just over. Sat next my lady, a whisper through the room, “who’s that?”—“’tis the great Scott—the dentist—Pulltuski—a remarkably genteel-looking man. . . .”’ This chiel is President also of the Newtonian Scientific Society of Glasgow, &c, &c. But ’tis all nothing unless one could write his face. I drew him in a box great-coat with nineteen necks and a comforter round his neck. He has got this varnished and put in a two-guinea frame over his mantelpiece. He sent round with his dessert, after dinner, the jaw of a Roman soldier, and a set of teeth from Borodino, which last produced twenty jokes on the high profits of his import trade, &c. He drank his wine out of a glass about a foot high. . . . So much for him.

Hamilton has lately become a member of the Antiquarian Society of Edinburgh. Traill has passed his civil law trials, as I am told, with éclat, which means without being plucked. Hamilton
lately made his first attempt at a speech, but immediately lost every ray of recollection, and raved about like a madman for some minutes, and then stuck dumb. What unfortunate nerves for a barrister. He has become a great student of magic, and talks of publishing a history of Dæmonology, but I see
W. Scott announces a novel on Astrology, and I fancy that will be enough of the black art for us all. Hannay, I hear, is a great dab at the bar for his time, and brought off a sheepstealer at Kirkcudbright assizes.

“Will you be in Oxon Easter and Act? I think the essay subjects are both d—— bad, but if I think of either it will be the Latin. I read during summer some of the late German histories of philosophy, and think I must make something of it.—Yours,

“J. G. L.”