LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 8: 1819-20

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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EDINBURGH, 1819-1820
“Peter’s Letters.”—Scott’s bequest of his baton.—Scott’s politics.—His comments on “Peter’s Letters” in Blackwood.—On Allan, the painter.—Lockhart revisits Abbotsford.—Rides with Scott.—Scott’s illness.—Praises “Peter’s Letters.”—Analysis of “Peter’s Letters.”—Mr. Wastle of Wastle.—Jeffrey.—Goethe.—A Burns Dinner.—Wilson.—The Shepherd.—Neglect of Greek.—Lockhart’s supposed irony.—The Edinburgh Review.—Jeffrey as a critic.—Lockhart compared with Carlyle.—Defence of Coleridge.—The booksellers.—Mr. Blackwood.—Story of Gabriel’s Road.—John Hamilton Reynolds.—Description of Scott at Abbotsford.—His woods.—The Kirk.—Letters to Coleridge.—Reynolds suggested as editor of a Tory paper.—Popular commotions.—Lockhart as a yeoman.—Ballads attributed to him.—His betrothal to Miss Sophia Scott.—Her letters.—Prince Gustavus.—Descriptions of Miss Scott.—Scott asleep.

While trailing his gown in the Parliament House, where “nae man speered his price,” and “dancing after young ladies” (or one young lady), and scribbling comic rhymes for Blackwood, and caricaturing the lieges, Lockhart was busy, at this time, on his singular work, “Peter’s Letters to his Kinsfolk.”1 On March 23, 1819, Scott wrote to him from Abbotsford, where cramp held him in torment.

1 The name, of course, is borrowed from Scott’sPaul’s Letters to his Kinsfolk.”

“I thought of you amid all this agony, and of the great game which, with your parts and principles, lies before you in Scotland.” For long Scott had been the only Tory man of letters north of Tweed, the sole writer not dazzled by the radiance of “enlightenment.” This very solitude might have given Scott pause, but he deemed that he was “at least standing by, if he could not support, the banner of ancient faith and loyalty.” In his physical anguish he was mentally bequeathing his baton to Lockhart, he said, and the ladies who attended him were astonished to hear him quote—
“Take thou the vanguard of the Three,
And bury me by the bracken bush
That grows on yon lily lea.”

Why Scott had Lockhart and the dying Douglas in his mind during his torments, shall be explained later.

Sir Walter had a habit of uttering these unexpected snatches of old song, which showed his companions where his mind was, often enough in an unlooked-for situation. Thus during his last days in Italy, at a point where the Lake of Avernus, the Lucrine Lake, Misenum, and Baiae, and the sea are all in view, Sir William Gell heard him murmur—
“Up the craggy mountain,
And down the mossy glen,
We daurna gang a milking
For Charlie and his men.”
His mind’s eye looked on Moidart, “and he in dreams beheld the Hebrides.”1

So it was with him when he quoted “The Hunting of Cheviot” in his racking pains, for his heart was with his cause, as he, and he only, conceived of that cause, and the death-words of the Douglas he was applying to Lockhart, as his own successor.

There could be no such successor. Scott’s peculiar Toryism, like that of his own Invernahyle, was a loyalty to the old feudal order which, though now forlorn, had once, in ideal if not in reality, been a reasoned system of life and of society. No other system to be called rational has risen on its ruins. Whiggery is the negation of a system, an inn, not a dwelling. Socialism was, as yet, incoherent. Scott’s sympathies were certainly more with some of the tenets of Socialism, with many of its aims at least, than with a Whiggish industrialism. He himself, in his relations with peasants and peers, lived in the light of the ideal of Feudalism; the friend and protector of all beneath him, his “men”;—the friend and true “man” of his chiefs. His political creed was a transferred allegiance from the rightful kings, who (in the male line) were no more, to the king whom, by some odd cantrip of logic, he regarded as their legitimate successor. His loyalty—so hateful and so incomprehensible to Hazlitt, for example—blossomed like a white rose, among the ruins of what had been

1 The explanation occurs later in a letter of Lockhart’s from Italy.

a stately tower, and above the graves where the royal and exiled dead sleep after their lifelong wanderings.

This was the creed, these were the politics, of a poet and a dreamer of dreams. That airy baton of his he could bequeath to no man. And Lockhart (though, as I shall show later, his imagination could share and nobly interpret the creed of Scott), must have known the truth very well, and smiled sadly enough at the bequest. Though a free lance of Toryism, he was not essentially a party man, as he discovered before the end came. But it is plain that Lockhart had bewitched his future father-in-law from the first, and that for Rodrigue this Don Diègue had les yeux de Chèmene.

Descending from his characteristic dream, and his snatch of minstrelsy, Scott, in his letter, thanks Lockhart for “the pleaders’ portraits,” in Blackwood (Nos. xxiii., xxiv.) sketches of Cranstoun, Clerk, and Jeffrey, which later appeared in “Peter’s Letters.” The articles in Blackwood pretended, but with a most transparent pretence, to offer extracts from “Peter’s” first edition,—which never existed. In fact the Reviewer says, like Coleridge of his journal, The Friend, “it is as good as MS.” The latest extracts were those which so much pleased Scott.

In his letter of March 23, 1819, he adds remarks (now first published) on a scheme of Lockhart’s for assisting Mr. Allan, the Scotch painter.


“I am delighted with your plan for poor Allan. It would be a shame to us all were we not to make an exertion for so wonderful a little fellow. Pray put me down for three shares. I think I shall get two names—D. Buccleugh and Lord Montagu, for two more—indeed I am almost sure of the former. Could not something be eked to the plan in the way of engraving so as to make it still further productive? I hope to be so well as to go up to London, and trust I shall get Allan an order to paint Archbishop Sharpe’s murder, of which he has made a superb sketch. If my stomach would let me exert my energies as usual, I should hope to be able to treat myself to some of his productions. But at present my nose is held to the grindstone in every way.”

It was, apparently, on April 10, 1819, that Lockhart rode to Abbotsford with John Ballantyne, and found Sir Walter, his hair bleached by the stress of his malady (“Life,” vi. 69; “Letters,” ii. 40). In the night the family was aroused by the cries of Scott, in a recurrence of his pains, and Lockhart, naturally, intended to leave early next morning. But the indomitable Sheriff took him on horseback “up Yarrow,” as we say at home, past all his dear legendary scenes, doing election business with my grandfather on the way. They rode by Carterhaugh, where the Forest waters meet,1 and where Janet

1 Ettrick and Yarrow. Lockhart afterwards gave their names to two Dandie Dinmonts, presented to the Queen.

rescued Tamlane from the Fairy Queen. They rode by Philiphaugh, where
Leslie broke on Montrose’s sleeping men, through the mist; and they passed over Minchmoor, whereby Montrose galloped to the Tweed; and Newark; and Slain Man’s Lee, where the Covenanters butchered prisoners taken under promise of quarter. Next day they rode up Ail water, and on Bowden Moor, summoned by a rising wreath of smoke, Scott met a trembling Tory voter, skulking, like a Jacobite, from Whig scrutiny. Then they heard the story of “ancient Riddell’s wide domain,” now dispeopled of its lords. Next day, from Eildon crest, Lockhart was shown the kingdom of Border romance—
“Mertoun’s wood,
And Tweed’s fair flood,
And all down Teviotdale,”
and Smailholme Tower, and the ruined shell of Ercildoune, where the hare kindles on the
Rhymer’s hearthstone. There Scott repeated the charmed lines of Minstrel Burne—
“For many a place stands in hard case,
Where blithe folk kenned nae sorrow,
With Homes that dwelt on Leader braes,
And Scotts that dwelt on Yarrow.”
Times were blithe with Scotts that dwelt on Tweedside, though too soon the Minstrel’s burden was to sing sooth.


Of one charm in Abbotsford, more potent than even the Wizard’s spells, Lockhart, of course, says nothing, but we may believe that already his heart was given to her from whom, in life and death, that loyal heart never wandered.

On the night after the ride to Eildon Hill, Scott suffered from another attack, and Lockhart left him “with dark prognostications” that this visit to Abbotsford was to be his last.

On July 19, 1819, Scott acknowledged a present of “Peter’s Letters.”1 The letter need not be reprinted. “The Epistles of the imaginary Dr. Morris have so often been denounced” (says Lockhart, after apologising for the book, as that of “a very young and a very thoughtless person”) “as a mere string of libels, that I think it fair to show how much more leniently Scott judged of them at the time. Indeed Sir Walter writes, ‘The general turn of the book is perhaps too favourable, both to the state of our public society, and of individual character.’ He wished Dr. Morris to revive every half century, ‘to record the fleeting manners of the age, and the interesting features of those who will only be known to posterity by their works.’ He ‘purrs and puts up his back, like his own grey cat,’ Hins of Hinsfeldt, ‘bribed by the doctor’s kind and delicate account of his visit to Abbotsford.’”

Indeed, had Lockhart never lived to write his

1Life,” vol. vi. pp. 100, 103.

famous Biography, Dr. Morris’s description of Abbotsford would remain the locus classicus.

Peter’s Letters,” in spite of its ill repute, really contains infinitely more of good than evil. Dr. Morris, a scholar of some twoscore years, is supposed to arrive in his shandrydan from Wales. He meets a Mr. Wastle of Wastle, an old Oxford friend, and an impossible, irreconcilable Cavalier Tory. Wastle’s “sudden elopement from Oxford, without a degree, after having astonished the examining masters by the splendid commencement of his examination,” is a trait adapted from the tradition about De Quincey. The personal description is that of Lockhart himself, grown some twenty years older, while Wastle’s learned enthusiasm for Old Edinburgh is borrowed from Scott. Lockhart liked the character, and made Wastle responsible for much prose and verse in Blackwood. “This yellow visage of his, with his close, firm lips, and his grey eyes . . . one would less wonder to meet with in Valladolid than in Edinburgh.” This is worth quoting, as there is no effort to hide, but rather to proclaim Lockhart, though he is, later, introduced briefly in his proper person. Wastle’s very passion for heraldry is Lockhart’s. The attitude towards the Scotch people, especially as concerns their devotions, is exactly that of Lockhart in his “Life of Burns.” He sees them, at the sermon, rejoice when they detect a chink in the armour of the preacher’s logic, and “bowed in the dust”
before “some solitary gleam of warm affectionate eloquence—the only weapon they have no power to resist.” There occur, of course, frequent portraits of “local celebrities,” beginning with
Jeffrey. Dr. Morris contrasts Jeffrey’s head with Goethe’s (whom Lockhart met at Weimar), “the sublime simplicity of his Homeric beauty, the awful pile of forehead, the large deep eyes, with their melancholy lightnings, the whole countenance, so radiant with divinity.” As to Jeffrey’s own eyes, “the scintillation of a star is not more fervid.” “I think their prevailing language is, after all, rather a melancholy than a merry one; it is, at least, very full of reflection.” There follows a dinner (purely Barmecide) with Jeffrey, Playfair, Leslie, and others. The sages and philosophers are described as practising leaping, a curious and by no means very humorous invention. For this the brilliant and delicate account of Jeffrey’s conversational manner might make some amends. Playfair, the victim of Lauerwinkel, “left a feeling of quiet, respectful, and affectionate admiration upon my mind.” The superiority of the Whigs in law is admitted, and in literature. But where now is their literature? Aaron’s serpent in the Magician’s hand, hath swallowed all the serpents of the Edinburgh literary Whiggery of that day.

Henry Mackenzie, the Man of Feeling, is described very favourably. In 1823, Lockhart dedicated “Reginald Dalton” to this sometime enemy
Blackwood. At a Burns Dinner, in “Peter’s Letters,” Jeffrey does not propose the poet’s memory, and Dr. Morris censures his critical severity to Burns, making a very fair and unexaggerated appeal for tenderness to the poet’s failings. He tells how Mr. Maule of Panmure settled £50 a year on Mrs. Burns, and how one of the poet’s sons, as soon as he obtained a medical practice in India, provided for her so well that she was able to relieve Mr. Maule from the slight burden on his kindness. Many poets were toasted, including Crabbe, Rogers, and Montgomery, but not Wordsworth, Southey, or Coleridge, Tory minstrels. The organisers of the feast were Whigs! If Dr. Morris fables not, this is an odd proof of Whig liberality. Here, and throughout, Wordsworth is praised “with both hands.”

Wilson, of course, was present: “His hair is of the true Sicambrian yellow; his eyes are of the lightest, and at the same time of the clearest blue, and the blood glows in his cheeks with as firm a fervour as it did, according to the description of Jornandes, in those of the bello gaudentes, prælio ridentes Teutones of Attila. I had never suspected, before I saw him, that such extreme fairness and freshness of complexion could be compatible with so much variety and tenderness, but, above all, with so much depth of expression.” The variety, luxury, and feeling of Wilson’s eloquence, and “the tremulous music of a voice that is equally at home in the highest and
lowest of notes,” are sympathetically described. He proposed
Hogg’s health; the Shepherd made a brief hearty reply, and Dr. Morris “began to be quite in love with the Ettrick Shepherd.” When the doctor sang “Donald Macdonald,” the Shepherd, its author, confessed a kindred flame,—and toddy set in. The “dreadful tusks” and other features of the “Great Boar” are described in a manner not wholly pleasing to any personal vanity which Hogg may have cherished, but “his towering brow, and eye of genius,” atone for all. The evening finished under Mr. Patrick Robertson’s (“Lord Peter’s”) chairmanship.

Dr. Morris’s view of Scotch education, of the “facetious and rejoicing ignorance” of Greek, has been already cited. It was as in Dr. Johnson’s days, “every man has a mouthful of learning, no man has a bellyful.” There is a really admirable defence of Greek, and of historical study. It is vain to talk of reading the Greeks in translations. “Wherein does the essence of a nation exist, if not in her mind? and how is that mind to be penetrated or understood, if we neglect the pure and faithful mirror in which of old it has stamped its likeness, her language? Men may talk as they please about translations, there is, in brevity and in truth, no such thing as a translation!” As for the Scotch, as compared with the English Universities, “they have different objects, and they are both excellent in their different ways.”
The copious descriptions of leading advocates are incisive, and probably just; but a barrister, like an actor, has his fame in his lifetime, nor can we now care greatly to read about men who have left only names, and these, except at the Scotch Bar, well-nigh forgotten.

A very distinguished Scotsman, who remembers, “’tis sixty years since,” a bad inn described by Lockhart as still deserving his description, writes to me: “Lockhart shows a good deal of malice and irony, and does not even spare the chief of his own party—witness his account of the President of the Court of Session, Charles Hope, and his address to the corrupt attorney.” (“Letters,” third edition, ii. 102-105.) “He manages to make the President ridiculous, while exalting his eloquence and solemnity.”

Now I have read the whole passage, a most eloquent and impressive passage, carefully, and cannot detect a grain of irony, or a shade of ridicule. The piece concludes—“As I came away through the crowd, I heard a pale, anxious-looking old man, who, I doubt not, had a cause in Court, whisper to himself, ‘God be thanked, there’s one true Gentleman at the head of them all.’”

The passage, in fact, describes the strong, almost overwhelming emotion of pain, with which “a true gentleman,” in supreme place, prepares himself for the cruel task of publicly rebuking a fellow-creature, and “the haughtiness of insulted virtue, the scorn
of honour, the coldness of disdain, the bitterness of pity,” with which the inevitable reprimand is inflicted.

Apparently there are, and were, two ways of reading “Peter’s Letters,” and Lockhart may have been suspected of irony where he was serious, or the sense of irony, in myself as in Scott, may be deficient. I am, of course, inclined to prefer my own interpretation, but it is well to state (what I certainly could never have guessed), that there is another.

From the lawyers, Dr. Morris turns to the men of letters, and, of course, to Jeffrey and his Review. The learned doctor anticipates Carlyle’s line of thought. The Edinburgh Reviewers are “the legitimate offspring of the sceptical philosophers of the last age,” and their scepticism as to the value, for example, of thought on the great problems of thought, has resulted in petulance and persiflage. In truth, the Reviewers are not “earnest,” as Mr. Carlyle would have said. The fact that Sir William Hamilton never contributed to the Review, under Jeffrey, and that when he did, under Macvey Napier, Jeffrey was vexed and puzzled, is an illustration of Lockhart’s meaning. “Cousin I pronounce the most unreadable thing that ever appeared in the Review” says Jeffrey about Hamilton’s essay on Cousin.1 Hamilton “affects to understand the worst part of the mysticism” (of

1Correspondence of Macvey Napier,” p. 70.

Cousin), “and to explain it, and to think it very ingenious and respectable, and it is mere gibberish.” Jeffrey’s famous letter of advice to Carlyle, analysed by
Mr. Froude, “England will never admire, nor indeed endure, your German divinities” (Goethe is in question), supplies another example. The German philosophers are “Dousterswivels,” and so forth.1 Of Goethe, Lockhart had an extreme admiration. Himself a mocker on occasion, he was absolutely in earnest about the great works of great minds. He found Jeffrey habitually misunderstanding, or never trying to understand, what was not superficial. He found him applauding vehemently “The Paradise of Coquettes,” and beginning a review of Wordsworth with “This will never do!” He found him ministering to the vanity of a nation, “which had become at once very fond of scepticism, and very weary of learning.” He saw him “counteracting, by a continued series of sarcastic and merry antidotes, the impression likely to be produced by works appealing to the graver and more mysterious feelings of the human heart.” In contemporary literature, the Review was so conducted that “I do not, on my conscience, believe that there is one Whig in Edinburgh to whom the name of my friend Charles Lamb would convey any distinct or definite idea.” As for Wordsworth, “the reading public of Edinburgh do not criticise Mr. Wordsworth, they think him below their criticism.”

1Life of Thomas Carlyle,” ii. 38.


Nobody can deny the element, the much-needed element, of truth in all this censure. The world is not so clear and comprehensible as the Jeffreyan intellect supposes. Great and ultimate, if finally insoluble problems, “blank misgivings of a creature moving about in worlds not realised,” cannot be sneered away. Ernst ist das Leben, whether we like it or not. This is, in essence, what Lockhart had to say—this is what Carlyle would have called his “message.” His was vox clamantis in eremo, in a wilderness tempered by toddy and punch, port and claret. Carlyle, not to speak profanely, came clad in camel’s hair and eating locusts and wild honey. Lockhart, amidst the complexities of his character, had the prophet’s message, but not his spirit of martyrdom and renunciation.

Prophesying cannot be done on these terms, and Dr. Morris wanders off to a disquisition on that very mundane School of the Prophets, Blackwood’s Magazine. But even Blackwood is under the Edinburgh spell. In the evil article on Coleridge, which opened the campaign, it is written: “If Mr. Coleridge should make his appearance suddenly among any company of well-educated people on this side the Tweed, he would meet with some difficulty in making them comprehend who he was.” “What a fine idea,” cries Lockhart, “for a Scottish critic to hug himself upon! How great is the blessing of a contented disposition!”

The talk of Dr. Morris about the bookseller’s
shops is now, of course, antiquated.
Constable’s, in the High Street, was “a low dusky chamber,” without the luxuries of Mr. Murray’s emporium in Albemarle Street. There was Manner’s and Miller’s, for a modern lounge; and Laing’s, for lovers of old books and black letter, reminded Lockhart of Parker’s, in Oxford. There is a long description of Blackwood’s, in Princes Street, but we have had enough of Ebony. Mr. Blackwood is praised for shrewdness, decision, and energy, and it would be “unfair” (one does not see why) to blame him for the excesses of his Magazine. “Well, Dr. Morris,” exclaimed the Man in Plain Apparel, “have you seen our last number? Is it not perfectly glorious? My stars! doctor, there is nothing equal to it,” and so on, the author’s natural turn for banter getting the better of him here, at all events. They dine at Ambrose’s, the tavern of the “Noctes Ambrosianæ,” and Lockhart tells, very well, the tragic old story of Gabriel’s double murder, wrought here when the road was a dell in a wood. There follows a history of the Magazine, a kind of confession of contrition, a defence of the Cockney articles, an eulogy on Coleridge. Keats’s friend, John Hamilton Reynolds, “a very promising writer,” is excepted from the general abuse of the Londoners; partly, perhaps, because Christie knew Reynolds; partly because his really was “a very gay, humorous pen, capable, too, of charming poetry.”

The painters come next, and Raeburn is pro-
nounced “in no important particular inferior even to
Sir Thomas Lawrence.” The end of the volume deals with the visit to Abbotsford, and Scott. “There is no kind of rank which I should suppose it so difficult to bear with perfect ease, as the universally honoured nobility of universally honoured genius; but all this sits as lightly upon this great man, as ever a plumed casque did upon the head of one of his own graceful knights.” Scott quotes a ballad, his face alters, his quick eyes beneath his heavy brows are fixed “with a sober solemn lustre. . . . I shall certainly never forget the fine heroic enthusiasm of look with which he spoke the lines, nor the grand melancholy roll of voice, which showed with what a world of thoughts and feelings every fragment of the old legend was associated within his breast.”

One criticism Lockhart makes, which Scott may not have welcomed. His stripling woods were dearer than his poems to the Sheriff. Lockhart speaks of the plantations, and the agriculture which will take advantage of their shelter. “To say the truth, I do not think with much pleasure of the prospect of any such changes. . . . There hovers at present over the most of this district a certain delicious atmosphere of pastoral loneliness, and I think there would be something like sacrilege in disturbing it, even by things that elsewhere would confer interest as well as ornament.”

The Kirk and the General Assembly next en-
gaged the attention of Dr. Morris. He found the Assembly to be little more than a kind of clerical wappenshaw, so much had Party (as of Moderates and High Flyers) declined in our national Zion. Dr. Morris listened to many sermons, described several ministers, among others
the Griffin, visited Glasgow, and dealt with its local habit of “gaggery,” reiterated his praises of Wilson, especially as a poet, and gave one of his best chapters to an occasion, or Holy Fair, as Burns called the open-air administration of the Sacrament. These are pages marked by an almost Wordsworthian sense of the nature of that impressive and singular celebration.1 They are conceived in the best and most sympathetic sense, and especially deserve the attention of students of Burns’s brilliant satire. Lockhart’s memory was full of comic anecdotes about rural ministers, but his Dr. Morris repeats none of them. To “a mischievous Oxford puppy,” of Scotch birth, the foibles of his countrymen afford a tempting target, but Lockhart, in his assumed character of a Welsh physician, avoids temptation, and scarcely ever shoots at national folly as she waddles by.

Indeed it is not easy to understand the frame of mind to which “Peter’s Letters” appeared “a string of libels.” The dinner at Craigcrook, Jeffrey’s house, was a fancy sketch, far better omitted; the “portraits of the pleaders” were portraits of public

1 These pages are not by Professor Wilson.

men in their public function, and certainly did not offend
Scott. At our distance in time there may be sins which escape us, and others may have been invented or imagined. The introduction of himself, perhaps by the mysterious “other hand,” may have been an error, but it was partly warranted, as Lockhart was already a “lion” of Edinburgh, though such a young one, and was, in fact, stared at as he walked the streets: to this Mr. Lawrence Lockhart bears witness. The disguise, it must be repeated, is designedly flimsy. Lockhart’s authorship was the most open of secrets, the very drawings were a signature.

In the third edition appears a letter to Coleridge from Dr. Morris. The doctor attributes the hubbub to the arrogance of the Scotch Whigs, which is very amusingly described. After reading Lord Cockburn’sMemorials,” with his description of Jeffrey as “the First of British Critics,” we feel that exaggeration was impossible. Much of the book is now antiquated, but many admirable passages of living interest might be extracted. The doctor’s craniological speculations are obsolete, but it is almost as true to say that a few excisions would present a useful work, as to say that many selections would be valuable. The author insists on his old private opinion, that Scotch intellect is sufficiently represented by Hume and Adam Smith, but that Scotch character is an inexhaustible mine. As for the personalities, the Whigs had welcomed, two or three
years before, a
personal volume by a traveller, one Simond, in which Scotch Tories had suffered grievous things.1 It is only necessary to add that an unlucky description of the Black Bull Inn, as noisy and untidy, led to legal proceedings, and Lockhart had to pay £400 of damages, without going into court. “Lockhart’s account of the inn is very correct,” says a friend already quoted, who remembers “The Black Bull,” but toute vérité n’est pas bonne à dire.

On October 31, 1819, I find Lockhart writing to Scott, from Edinburgh, about his endeavours to obtain an editor for a new Tory newspaper.2 The Scotsman of the period was probably thought to need an antidote. To abridge a mere letter of business, Lockhart had asked Christie to invite Mr. Murray of the Times to take the vacant post. Mr. Murray was in all respects well qualified, as a political writer, and a man acquainted with the material side of newspaper publication. But Mr. Murray’s connection with a well-established and successful London paper made him hesitate, and, finally, decline. Lockhart also consulted Wilson, “who appears to enter into it with all his

1 Among critics who, like Scott, did not reckon Peter’s book a pestilent libel, was that respectable authority, Dr. Jenkyns, Master of Balliol. “‘Peter’s Letters’ have been much read in the South,” writes the Master, “and with great pleasure, which I felt at the perusal of them. I could not help recognising the connection between Dr. Morris and our portly friend of Ystraed Meirie.” (Williams.) The Master then invites Lockhart to stay with him at Balliol.

2 Scott’sLetters,” ii. 97.

characteristic ardour. When the thing is once set afoot, the only difficulty will be restraining his vehemence: there will certainly be no need of any stimulus, I mean in regard to the tendency and scope of his lucubrations. As to the regularity of their forthcoming there will be a necessity for very serious pressing indeed. I speak, as you know, from abundant experience. Perhaps, if you will pardon me for hinting such a thing, a few lines from yourself, even at this stage of the business, might be of great use in leading him to turn his mind steadfastly to an examination and preparation of his many resources. . . . —Believe me, ever faithfully and affectionately yours,

J. G. Lockhart.”

In an undated note, Lockhart sends Murray’s letter of refusal to Sir Walter, and admits that he can think of no substitute in the chair editorial. Christie, in London, was equally at a loss. He wisely declined, for his own part, to abandon his prospects at the Bar. He could think of nobody eligible, except John Hamilton Reynolds, the friend of Keats; but Reynolds was “Master T’otherside,” as Scott says on another occasion. Reynolds had been a writer in the Champion (to which Keats occasionally refers), but the paper, Christie thought, was waning under the editorship of Mr. John Scott, the first mention of that ill-starred name in this correspondence. At the same time Mr. Croker wrote
his first letter to Lockhart (November 18, 1819), trying to enlist Wilson and him in a paper to be called the Constitution, but, in practice, styled the
Guardian. The Tories of these days were poor hands at journalism, and the position of an editor was not deemed worthy of a gentleman. For the inchoate Scotch paper, Scott suggested (1.) James Ballantyne, (2.) Washington Irving! In the latter case a gentleman, at all events, would have been an editor. He, of course, declined.1

In these months an alarm, or panic, about a Radical rising was current, and Scott was very busy with his picturesque Buccleuch Legion.

Lockhart was a volunteer, with the rest; even Lord Cockburn was enrolled in some kind of armed force. Lockhart rode about in the various unopposed marches and counter marches, the Raid of Airdrie, the Trot of Kilmarnock, but he does not seem to have taken his military character seriously. “The Songs of the Edinburgh Troop” (published in 1825), are usually attributed to him.2

Therein the poet sings:
“Sometimes the thing will happen,
The rear rides o’er the front;
Myself, I once came slapping,
And fell with such a dunt!

1 Scott’sLetters,” ii. 57, 61.

2 Dean Burgon assigns them to Patrick Fraser Tytler.

I hate the gloom of Borthwick’s plume!
There’s wisdom in my tune,
Make your will, ere you drill,
Each desperate Dragoon.”
Or again—
“’Twas at Bathgate this war might be said to commence,
To the tune, as was fitting, of ‘D——n the expense.’”

In later days Lockhart’s interest in sterile disputes of party nearly vanished; it was never very strong, and social questions, “the condition of England,” occupied his sympathies. Even in 1819 it is pleasant to note that his heart was not all set on force as a remedy. His “Clydesdale Yeoman’s Return,” attributed to his friend “The Odontist,” describes a Lanarkshire farmer’s view of a Radical meeting, and his readiness to rise and ride as a volunteer. But his good wife is of gentler mood—
“Now, God preserve the King,” said Jean, “and bless the Prince, his son,
And send good trade to weaver-lads, and this work will all be done;
For ’tis idle hand makes busy tongue, and troubles all the land
With noisy fools, that prate of things they do not understand.
But if worse fall out, then up, my man—was never holier cause,
God’s blessed Word, King George’s crown, and proud old Scotland’s laws.”

But Lockhart’s comic verse is the topic of a
separate dissertation. So varied were his pursuits, that he had already begun his well-known translations of the
Spanish Ballads. The first instalment appeared in Blackwood’s for February 1820. In the following month Mr. Wastle began a Literary Diary in the Magazine, praising, incidentally, the author of a review of the Waverley Novels, in a new serial, Baldwins, or The London Magazine. This reviewer was the Editor, John Scott.

Lockhart had other than literary engagements at this moment. By the middle of February it had been arranged that he should marry Miss Scott. Lockhart always treasured the little notes written to him, at this time, by his future wife. The earliest begins “My dear Sir,” and is written “without Papa’s knowledge,” a thing which must never occur again. Miss Scott had spoken to her father, and Sir Walter had hinted at a little prudent delay. “Do not, for God’s sake, be so unhappy,” she writes. The unhappiness did not last long. The later notes always begin “Dear Mr. Lockhart,” kind, happy, playful missives, ending “Always affectionately yours.” Lockhart accompanied the family on a flying visit to Abbotsford, on a Saturday, of which he has left the chronicle.1 In a walk from Huntly Burn his future country home was fixed, the cottage of Chiefswood, on a little haugh beside the haunted Bogle burn, which flows through the Rhymer’s Glen. An additional gable

1Life,” vi. 187.

has been built in the cottage, with its tiny rooms, separated only by the burn from an ancient Holy Well. Otherwise the place is unaltered. The bureau where Scott wrote “
The Pirate” keeps its old place; the same venerable trees shade the lawn: the avenue is that which John Ballantyne wanted to mark out by a cross-country ride “on the Sabbath-day.” The glen is now haunted, indeed, by many memories.

In this February, Scott and Lockhart, with Prince Gustavus, the exiled heir of Sweden, saw George IV. proclaimed, where, in 1745, King James the Eighth had been vainly announced, at the Cross of Edinburgh. The Swedish exile listened, with melancholy interest, to Scott’s anecdotes of that other wanderer, Prince Charles, who, on this very scene, had snatched from Fate one hour of royalty. Scott drew Lockhart to a window apart, “Poor lad, poor lad, God help him!” he said with a natural emotion.

On March 15, 1820, Scott announces to Lady Abercorn his daughter’s approaching marriage “to a young man of uncommon talents, indeed of as promising a character as I know.” All his correspondence attests his satisfaction with the match.1 Lockhart’s letter, announcing to his father his betrothal, lies before me, but such documents

1Letters,” ii. 73. A ludicrous rumour that Scott’s letters to Rogers expressed “detestation” of Lockhart is published in the “Life and Letters of Charles Summer,” i. 358.

deserve to be respected at any distance of time. It is enough to say, that
Miss Scott’s charming character, displayed during her father’s illness, even more than her personal beauty, is assigned as the cause of his affection. Mr. Christie sent his congratulations on March 17.

“Your letter has given me more pleasure than any I ever received from you. . . . I do not question that you have better reasons to expect happiness in your wife than birth can bestow, however exalted, either from title or illustrious character. But surely it must be matter for congratulation to marry the daughter of the most illustrious man of the age. . . . Depend upon it, woman’s goodness is greater than the faultiness of our nature can ever permit us to equal.”

Of Scott’s eldest daughter and dearest, “the flower and blossom of his house,” not much is said, of course, in published memorials. I take a quaint vignette of her, from an unpublished letter to Sir Walter by Mr. Edward Everett. (Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 28, 1820.)

“Just before I had the happiness of visiting you, a party of ladies and gentlemen, travelling into Scotland, determined to see you, wandered into your enclosure, and surprised you seated before your door, in that condition into which Horace says your great master Homer sometimes fell. This fact I have upon the authority of Miss Sophia, who came out and found them all standing round
you in a ring, without breaking the quiet of your siesta.”

These were strange gentlemen and ladies, but the little picture of Scott asleep in white hat and green coat, of the gaping tourists who had calmly walked up to his door, and of Miss Scott contemplating the scene, is worth preserving.

The following page is a sketch of Miss Scott as she was in 1817, extracted from the unpublished journal of a tour by two Miss Penroses, and Miss Trevennen.1

The English ladies, being in Melrose, were visited by the Scotts, the Constables, and Miss Russel of Ashestiel. Naturally they were taken to the Abbey.

“In the chancel Miss Scott, a very charming lively girl of seventeen, pointed out to us ‘The Wizard’s Grave,’ and then the black stone in the form of a coffin, to which the allusion is made in the poem, ‘A Scottish monarch sleeps below,’—said to be the tomb of Alexander II. ‘But I will tell you a secret,’ she half-whispered; ‘only don’t you tell Johnny Bower’ (the cicerone). ‘There is no Scottish monarch there at all, nor anybody else, for papa had the stone taken up, not long ago, and no coffin or anything was to be found. And then Johnny came and begged me not to tell

1 For this I am indebted to the kindness of my friend, Mr. Ernest Hartley Coleridge.

people so.1 “For what wull I do, Miss Scott, when I show the ruins, if I canna point to this bit, and say, ‘A Scottish monarch sleeps below’?” As, however, he had the pleasure of saying this to us the evening before, Miss Scott thought we might fairly have her secret.2

. . . . . . . . . . . . .

“We now set out for Dryburgh, about five miles. Mr. Scott placed his daughter in our carriage, that she might point out the different places as we passed them. We could not have had a better director, nor a more lively entertaining companion. Every spot was known to her, and in this fairy land her quick imagination seemed to delight in all the legendary lore she had heard, and could so promptly apply, of the Goblin burn, where still the common people deemed fairy elves and spirits loved to hold their moonlit revels. . . . In a short time, at the view of some distant mountains, Miss Scott suddenly exclaimed, ‘Look, there are the Cheviots; are you not glad to see England again?’ We assured her we were, though we should quit Scotland with so much regret. ‘Well,’ she said, ‘she should not have liked us if we were not glad to return home.’ Her father had taken her to London the

1 See Washington Irving on Johnny Bower, in his “Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey.”

2 Most of the graves of Catholic Scotland have been rifled, for any personal property they might contain. “They howkit up the Papist corpses, and toomed them ower the brae” above the sea, in the present century, at St. Andrews.

year before, and she was delighted to get back again, and to hail the Cheviots on her return. It was plain to see she was her father’s darling, and she talked of him with enthusiasm. She has a very natural, unaffected character, with a strong tincture of romantic feeling, which seemed judiciously kept in check by him, as she said he did not allow her to read much poetry, nor had she even read all his own poems, which were never to be found in the way, at their house. She spoke of her sister and her brothers, with a warmth of affection very pleasing, and if we may judge by so short an acquaintance, she seems likely to become a valuable character. On asking what was become of Camp (the dog drawn in the painting of Mr. Scott), she shook her head, and said he was dead. ‘You must never come to Abbotsford when any of the dogs die, for there is a sad weeping amongst us all.’”

Miss Scott, as Lockhart says, in his brief and beautiful tribute to her memory, was, of all his children, the one most like Sir Walter. It was she who nearly fainted with emotion, at the discovery of the Scottish Regalia. (February 5, 1818.) “He never spoke all the way home, but every now and then I felt his arm tremble; and from that time I fancied he began to treat me more like a woman than a child. I thought he liked me better, too, than he had ever done before.”1 She it was who

1Life,” v. 283.

sang the old songs that her father loved; she was the
Duke of Buccleuch’s “little Jacobite.” Her portrait, by Nicholson, in a kind of peasant costume, with a great hound looking up into her face, has an expression of the sweetest humour and friendly charm. It is barely worth noting, as an argument in the little controversy as to Sir Walter’s Presbyterian or Episcopalian leanings, that Miss Scott and her sister Anne were confirmed in April 1820.1 Lockhart and Miss Scott were married at Abbotsford, in the evening, more Scotico, of April 29, 1820. Among the marriages of men of letters, often far from happy, this, in spite of La Rochefoucauld, was un mariage délicieux, uninterrupted in its happiness, save by the misfortunes of Sir Walter, and the ill health, first of the eldest boy, and, later, of Mrs. Lockhart.

1Life,” vi. 216.