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The Life and Letters of John Gibson Lockhart
Chapter 15: 1828-32

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
LONDON, 1828-1832
Catholic Emancipation.—Lockhart a moderate Tory.—No despot as Editor.—His salary raised.—His literary schemes.—Life of Bonaparte.—Letter to Wilson.—The Family Library.—Letter from De Quincey.—Proposes an “integrated Gibbon.”—Letters to Scott.—“Peel utterly undone.”—Scott on Peel.—An honest man.—Criticism by Hugh Littlejohn.—His want of sympathy with Civilisation.—The Duke’s duel.—Lockhart asked to be a “reptile journalist.”—Scott on the gentlemen of the Press.—“Rather sell gin.”—Distrust of Croker.—Scott’s illness.—Last days at Abbotsford.—Guests at Abbotsford.—Visit to the graves of the Douglasses.—Lockhart as Biographer.—Scott visits Italy.—His latest days.—Death of Hugh Littlejohn.—Letter to Dr. Lockhart.

In the year 1828, when the claims of the Catholics for emancipation were pressing, and (in spite of Southey’s drastic proposals in the Quarterly) were about to be granted, Lockhart did not show any feverish partisanship. He was indeed, as Scott advised him to proclaim himself, “a moderate Tory.” In 1817 he confessed to a friend his detestation of Croker’s and Southey’s politics. Now he had to endure and accept them. His editorial position was never despotic. In Albemarle Street he was the most constitutional of monarchs; and this was the easier to him, as his interests and faculties were mainly literary, not political. “Alas, we are all getting old,” he wrote to Mr. Murray
in 1828, “and it is so difficult to whip up any interest about any subject in jaded bosoms.” His age was thirty-four, but the year 1826, and domestic misfortune, and life begun very young, had aged him already, and, with
Milman, he “was excessively anxious to see new hands and new blood” in the Quarterly.1 Mr. Murray spurred the flagging energies of his elderly editor by raising his salary to £1300 a year, but £13,000 could not have made Lockhart, at least in his constitutional editorship, a keen political partisan. He hoped, on the literary side of his office, for a Life of Peterborough, and a Life of Red John of the Battles, the Argyll of Malplaquet and Sheriffmuir, from Sir Walter, who liked the themes, but never wrote the books. Nor did Lockhart extract a Naval History of Great Britain from Professor Wilson: with many other works contemplated by Wilson, this remained in the limbo of books unwritten, like the famous treatise, “Sur l’Incommodite des Commodes,” and a large library of other instructive volumes. Lockhart himself had undertaken, for Mr. Murray’s Family Library, a short “Life of Bonaparte,” a piece of hack-work, mainly abridged from Scott’s large work. It was published in 1830, and was excellent in its kind, but, of course, is superseded by the abundance of later Napoleonic literature.2

1Memoir of John Murray,” ii. 269.

2 Lockhart had some scruples about abridging Scott’sNapoleon.” Scott said, “They are a great deal over-delicate,” and speaks of the aid


On the matters of the Family Library, a letter of Lockhart’s to Wilson, and one of De Quincey’s to Lockhart, may here be inserted:—

Professor Wilson,
6 Gloucester Place, Edinburgh.

My dear Wilson,—I have a serious piece of business, or I would not bother a letter-hater with an epistle. Murray is going to start a series of publications, half way between a Miscellany (like Constable’s) and an Encyclopædia. There are to be two vols. 12mo, beautifully illustrated, every month: one being historical, biographical, or literary, the other scientific in some way or other. I have agreed to superintend the literary series, and am to have in return one-third of the property. These are circumstances which I have not told to anybody but Scott and yourself. But I have been at work all summer in making arrangements, and I think there are volumes not a few likely to turn out well on the stocks. . .

“Now, if this concern turns out well, it will be a little fortune for me: I am not sanguine, but I do think it is likely to be at least worth something; and I therefore expect with perfect confidence that you will do what you can to assist me. . . .

“I think these are services which you would under similar circumstances expect me to render

which Lockhart had given him. “By all means do what the Emperor” (Mr. Murray) “asks. He is what Emperor Napoleon was not, much a gentleman. . . .” (“Life,” ix. 269.)

without much hesitation. . . . —Your affectionate friend,

J. G. Lockhart.
“24 Sussex Place, Regent’s Park,
, Nov. 4, 1828.

“‘Strictly anonymous,’ if you please. . . .”

De Quincey writes at a later date:—

Grasmere, Near Ambleside,
March 10, 1830.

My dear Sir,—I feel greatly indebted to you for your obliging and very encouraging answer to my application. . . .

“First, with regard to the Lakes, I am ashamed to say that I want much of the commonest knowledge called for in so miscellaneous a subject. I am not an Ornithologist, nor an Ichthyologist (unless a dissertation on Potted Char would avail me, for that I could obtain); I am no Botanist, no Mineralogist: as a Naturalist, in short, I am shamefully ignorant. And, in this age of accuracy in that department, I doubt whether anybody less than a Humboldt or a Davy would satisfy the miscellaneous demands of this subject. By the way, I do not remember to have seen any scientific theme treated with so much grace and attractions of popularity, combined with so much original observation, as those of Forest Trees and the Salmon Fisheries, &c, by Sir Walter Scott; and had I
been within a thousand degrees so extensive an observer, or even extensive in the same degree as I myself am accurate, I would not have shrunk from the subject merely because I was not a regular school-built Naturalist. But my hatred of all science, excepting mathematics and its dependencies, is exquisite; and my ignorance, in consequence, such as cannot be disguised. Further, is not the subject threadbare? In all that part of it which relates to the picturesque, I fear that I have been forestalled by
Wordsworth. Finally, I should clash inevitably with both Wordsworth and with Wilson. Wilson’s book is yet, I believe, unpublished; nor do I remember to have heard him say in what way he had treated the subject; but, I presume, with great variety—both from the size of his work (as then projected), not less than three volumes, and from the extraordinary activity of his mind, whenever he does not wilfully throw it asleep under the sentimental, which, to my thinking, is his evil genius. . . .

“Now, generally as to the want of materials for works of any research wheresoever there are no great libraries, what you say is feelingly known to me from long and rueful experience. How Southey manages in that respect, even with his private advantages of a tolerably well-mounted library, and his extensive connections, I never could divine. For myself, as well on this account as for the benefit of my children with a view
to ordinary accomplishments, either London or my old residence, Bath, is the mark I aim at within a year or so. Meantime would not such a work as this which follows be useful to the Family Library—a digest, at most in three, at least in two volumes, of the ‘Corpus Historian Byzantinæ;’ that is, a continuous narrative (woven out of the Byzantine Historians) of the fortunes of the Lower Empire from
Constantine to its destruction? There has been, you know, of late an expurgated Gibbon; and, I believe, it has found favour with the public: but an interpolated Gibbon, or perhaps, more accurately speaking, an integrated Gibbon, I imagine to be more of a desideratum.1 . . .

“I commend the project earnestly to your indulgent consideration. A readable—a popular book, I am satisfied that I could make it. And the accurate abstracts which I could manage to interweave, of dissertations upon the Byzantine Aulic ritual, and concerning works that, generally speaking, do not let themselves be read (to borrow a phrase from our German friends), might contribute to give it a permanent value, be the same little or much.

“Extremum (I speak of the epistolary bores I am inflicting on you—in that sense) Extremum hunc concede laborem.—And believe me, ever yours,

Thomas De Quincey.

“My letters have to travel to Ambleside in the

1 De Quincey’s idea was executed by Dean Milman.

pockets of country louts; for we have no post-office here. Excuse them, therefore, if they have come into your hands soiled.”

Lockhart’s letters to Sir Walter, on his return to town, are mainly concerned, as Scott’s favourite quotation runs—
“With things that are long enough ago,’
And with Dickie Macphalion that’s slain.”

Peel was, on Feb. 9, 1829, the Macphalion of the moment.

“As for Peel, he is utterly undone as an independent power in the country, and I hear Whig, Radical, and Tory speak of him uniformly with the same pity.”

Peel lived to run away on later occasions. Here is Sir Walter’s opinion:—

“As for Peel, I own I think him playing an honest part. He has sacrificed the situation of leader of a party and every chance of elevated ambition, and exposed himself to much obloquy, loss of immediate consequence, loss of personal friendship; and for what has he sacrificed this? Not surely, opulent as he is, for the mere income of his place—not for ambition, for the fall for the time is evident. On my soul, I give him credit for making the concessions from complete conviction.

“I certainly see remote danger in the concessions,
but they are remote, and there is a chance of their being evaded, whereas I see little less than ruin in declaring for a break up. . . .”

In these excited days Master Hugh Littlejohn arose as a critic, and sent, through Mrs. Hughes, the following censure on “The Tales of a Grandfather,” with which every child will agree:—

“He very much dislikes the chapter on Civilisation, and it is his desire that you will never say anything more about it, for he dislikes it extremely.”

“Up wi’ the bonny blue bonnet,” was Hugh Littlejohn’s motto, and the very name of Civilisation was hateful to this amateur of dirks.1

Lockhart had less domestic, though equally uncivilised, intelligence to send on March 25. The Duke of Wellington had fought a duel, luckily bloodless, with Lord Winchilsea. The Duke’s lack of halfpence, and detention at a toll-bar; the popular suggestion of the lookers-on that the belligerents should use their fists; the Duke’s rapid ride to Windsor after the affair; the King’s annoyance, are all vividly narrated, but the letter has already been published in a note to Sir Walter’s Journal.2 In the same way Lockhart’s letter of March 30, on Croker’s attempt to connect him with “the Reptile Press,” has been anticipated.3 The

1 Mrs. Hughes told Sir Walter that the parish records of Cumnor showed an unbroken line of Lambournes, the family of Mike Lambourne in “Kenilworth,” all, down to the time of writing, “most decided scamps.”

2 ii. 258. 3 Ibid., ii. 262.

Duke, according to Croker, wanted to buy a newspaper, “and could I do anything for it? I said I was as well inclined to serve the Duke as he could be, but it must be in other fashion.” Croker, in brief, wished Lockhart to be, as he himself had been, the go-between of a paid paper and the Treasury. “I will not, even to serve the Duke, mix myself up with newspapers. That work it is which has damned Croker. . . . I don’t admire, after all that has come and gone, being applied to through the medium of friend Crokey.” He goes on (this part of the letter is unpublished): “As for Croker’s hints about the advantages of being constantly among the rulers of the land, why, I do not envy being constantly before them in that capacity. Moreover, the great rulers I should see would be, I take it, mostly the
Plantas, Croker, et hoc genus. Their illustrious society does not much flatter me.”

Sir Walter’s answer illustrates that view of an enlightened Press which was commonly taken in his time.

Abbotsford, 3rd April 1829.

My dear Lockhart,—Nothing could meet my ideas and wishes so perfectly as your conduct on the late proposal. It seems to me that C––r, having intrigued himself out of the Duke’s favour, has now a mind to play the necessary person and intrigue himself back again. Your connection with any newspaper would be disgrace and degradation.
I would rather sell gin to the poor people and poison them that way. Besides, no gentleman can ever do that sort of work but by halves. He must, while he retains a rag of a shirt to cover his nakedness, be inferior to the bronzed, mother-naked, through-going gentleman of the Press. I owe Croker regard for former favours, and as far as I can help him in his literary undertaking1 I will; but for confidence, I have it no longer to give, and therefore, as dealing with a customer who has passed bad money, I will always look at both sides of every shilling he offers. I am surprised at his project or the Duke’s of rallying the Tories again to one interest. I doubt he will find them too much broken, dispersed, and disunited. Do you remember Merlin’s prophecy—
‘At Arthur’s hest the clarion sounds,
With rapid clangour, hurried far;
Each distant dell the note rebounds,
But when return the sons of war?
Offspring of stern necessity,
Dull peace, the valley yields to thee,
And owns thy melancholy sway.’

“Thus I have some doubt that the ancient Tories are too much scattered to be rallied even by King Arthur’s horn. If, however, national danger shall arise, which is not unlikely, they will rally round him as the flock does round the dogs when alarmed by the wolf.

1 His “Boswell’s Johnson.”


“We are much relieved by Johnnie’s amended health. I shall hope, if he gets tolerably well over this spring, that the tendency of the complaint will wear itself out.

“When the hurly-burly’s done, I hope that we shall have the Stuart papers, which would be a capital thing, or something else. I trust they do not intend, like Beau Tibbs, after talking of Ortolan and Burgundy, to fob us off with a slice of ox cheek passing hot, and a bottle of the smart small beer his Grace was so fond of.

“A thousand loves to Sophia and the children, and to the Morritts when you see him.

“I have quarrelled with ‘Anne of Geierstein’ for the present; besides, it would be insanity to bring out anything till ‘the battle’s fought and won.’”

Sir Walter was never pleased with his “Anne of Geierstein, damn her,” as he frankly observed. “Anne” was, practically, the last of his works of imagination, for “Count Robert of Paris” followed a stroke of apoplexy. At this time he was reviewing Tytler’sHistory of Scotland,” and Lockhart, with proper caution, asks, “Pray are you sure of the story of the Attacotti?”—Scots, ex hypothesi, whom St. Jerome accused of cannibalism.

“I recollect that Gibbon’s statement of that anecdote called forth a controversy, and rather think the result was against our grandpapas’ cannibalism. Does Jerome say he saw them eat the unclean
thing, or only that he saw them, and was told of their eating? I suppose they were savages exhibited in a show-booth or waggon—but you speak as if Jerome had seen a tribe.”

Sir Walter answers, “I have quoted the ipsissima verba of St. Jerome. I have no doubt a trick was put on him”—a patriotic conclusion.

Lockhart tried to keep Sir Walter in good heart about “Anne of Geierstein,” and ideas were interchanged frequently about the Stuart papers. It was hoped that Lockhart, Dr. Gooch, and Sir Walter would be appointed to edit that great mass of manuscripts belonging to the exiled royal family, which, after a perfect Odyssey of romantic adventures, were now in the possession of George IV. To these the following letter of Sir Walter refers:—

[Postmark, July 8, 1829.]

My dear Lockhart,—I have a regular official letter from Lord Aberdeen, intimating that the King has named Dodo Gooch, yourself, and me to succeed the late Commission in the duty of arranging and reporting the Stuart papers. . . . I hope before you come down you will make yourself in some degree master of the general state in which the papers are, that we may converse about the measures to be taken. The Invisible1 has proved true of promise, but I have heard nothing from him directly.

1 Sir William Knighton.


“I can send you no news of Sophia and the children. Johnnie made out his journey to Abbotsford pretty well, and by a letter from Anne this morning, I learn he is in his usual state of health. I never saw so engaging a child as Walter. I understand he runs about the woods like a guinea-fowl, and is lost twice or thrice a day. I hope to see them all on Saturday, when I will be at Abbotsford, setting out so soon as the Court rises. I should be glad to have a few lines from you about the Stuart Commission with which we are invested. I hope they propose to remunerate our trouble, meaning yours, by some means or other. . . . —Yours ever,

W. Scott.”

It is a matter for regret that the task of editing these documents was never assigned to Lockhart. Many extracts from the letters of King James, Prince Charles, and the Jacobite leaders, were later published by Mr. Browne, in his “History of the Highland Clans.” One volume, of the King’s and Bishop Atterbury’s Letters, about 1720-1730, was edited by Dr. Glover. But the enormous mass of the Stuart papers lie, excellently arranged, yet uncalendared, in the Royal Library at Windsor. The work that Lockhart was born to do, as it were, was never entrusted to his hands. In November 1829, however, he had actually “put hand” to it, as he says, in St. James’s Palace; but his labours were interrupted. Croker, as we shall see, had reported
on the MSS. on the expense of publication, and so forth, as if he had been a bookseller’s reader. So the papers remain as they were, and the history of diplomacy is a loser.

The correspondence, on Lockhart’s side, is scanty in the later part of 1829. Mrs. Lockhart had written to him in London from Abbotsford, on November 1, announcing Tom Purdie’s sudden death: “I never saw papa so affected; he won’t go out, and says for the first time in his life he wishes the day over. He has sent for Mr. Laidlaw, whom we expect to-day, and hopes to make some arrangement with him to return to Kaeside; but even with that I hardly see how papa is to get over it, for Tom was everything to him. Poor Di, the dog, is in the most dreadful state of distress now they have put the body in the coffin, and they think the creature will die. The funeral takes place on Tuesday, and papa lays the head in the grave.”

Mrs. Lockhart herself was at this time suffering so much from rheumatism that she could not walk, but had to be carried by a servant named Ludlow. “The nurse gave me,” says Mrs. Lockhart, “the extraordinary intelligence that all his former mistresses had died, the last of rheumatism, and he had carried her for some years.”

Lockhart, writing to Sir Walter, said: “I cannot get Tom Purdie out of my head for ten minutes. I am sure there are not half-a-dozen people, beyond immediate connections, in the world, whose death
would have given me so much pain. What, then, must it be with you! Poor fellow, I think the woods will never look the same again. . . .

“Everybody says that Peel is anxious to take the first opportunity of going to the House of Lords. . . . The King is dreaming of dressing the Guards, and afterwards all the infantry, in blue. This is the Duke of Cumberland’s Prussian nonsense.1 Chantrey gave us a laughable description, the other night, of his Majesty’s forenoon council—himself about statues, and Wardrop about the stuffing of the camelopard, on one side of the bed; the Duke of Cumberland and a tailor on the other: the King in a white cotton night-cap and a rather dirty flannel jacket, propped up with pillows, and sipping his chocolate—amidst this divan. The Duke of Wellington is announced! His Majesty gets on forthwith a black velvet cap with a gold tassel, and a grand blue silk douillette, and walks out of the bedroom to receive him in the character of George the Fourth. After half-an-hour (he had bade them all remain) he came back, and tumbled into bed again among them, to resume the blue breeks. But this is all treason.”

Among the scanty materials for tracing Lockhart’s uneventful days, Sir Walter’s Journal fails us from July 20, 1829, to May 25, 1830. The Lockhart children had been with their grandfather, and this

1 Hence, perhaps, Mr. Weller’s obscure ejaculation, “My Proosian blue!”

was the crowning pleasure of poor
Johnnie’s year; but Scott noticed the sad change in the child. It is plain, from the Journal in the summer of 1829, that his own energies were waning. On November 23, Mr. Cadell wrote to Sir Walter, making a very wise suggestion, that he should finish the notes and introductions to the whole of the Magnum Opus, in place of attempting a new work of fiction. “This done, my life on it, you will get all you want, and spontaneously.” Scott had only reached “Ivanhoe” in his annotations, and he had a good deal of material, in the way of historical anecdote, which had not been used. Lockhart, as his Biography of Scott shows, had great confidence in Mr. Cadell, and might, indeed, well be grateful to him were it but for this letter. It was calculated, based as it was on calculations of a strictly “business” character, to set Sir Walter’s mind entirely at rest as regards finance, and the scheme suggested was not to him laborious. Doubtless Mr. Cadell observed the waning powers, which the very disuse of the Journal indicates. But there was to be “no rest for Sir Walter but in the woollen.” His mind had taken a ply which was only strengthened by the approach of cerebral disease. He was actually dreaming his old dream, the purchase of Faldonside, interesting to him as the estate of Andrew Ker, the most ruffianly of Rizzio’s murderers, and the second husband of John Knox’s second wife. Again, he was working at his drama, “The Ayrshire Tragedy:”
his activity could not be abated. These causes for grave anxiety were accompanied by a severe illness of
Mrs. Lockhart’s, and culminated when, on Feb. 15, 1830, Sir Walter was stricken with apoplexy, in the presence of Miss Anne Scott and Miss Violet Lockhart.

On Feb. 23, 1830, Lockhart wrote to Sir Walter, thankful for a physician’s report of his “recovery from his brief malady,” and inviting him to take a holiday in London. Either the reports had made as little as might be of the attack, or it was thought wise not to display anxiety. Lockhart referred to the Shakespeare, projected and begun in 1825, which Mr. Cadell was not enthusiastic about, while Mr. Murray was ready to take it up. Scott himself was already anxious to be at work again, and Lockhart thought that a volume for Mr. Murray’s “Family Library” would be most welcome. “I am every day more anxious to see this property established on a sure footing, because every day shows me more clearly the impossibility of the Quarterly Review being, in these days of mutation, the stepping-stone to any permanent benefits in my case, unless I chose to sacrifice its interests to mine, which it is needless to say I never could do. . . . Ministers . . . consider literary allies as worse than useless, unless they be prepared to shift at every breath, like the Courier, which, by-the-bye, such shifting has utterly ruined. . . . Would it be amusement to you to write a little tome on
Witchcraft? Pitcairn’sTrials’ put this in my head, as the story might surely be told in a more interesting manner. I wonder who was Agnes Simpson’s poet.” (Agnes was one of the witches tried.) “Her charm—
All the souls that ever ye be,
In Goddis name I conjure ye,
seems to me very grandly done. You have a whole library De Re Magica at Abbotsford, and with
David Hume’s Commentaries, and Law’sMemorials,’ I think the task would not be a hard one.”

This suggestion led to the “Letters on Demonology and Witchcraft.” “There is in it a cloudiness both of words and arrangement,” says Lockhart in the “Life.”

Scott’s illness, as appears from a letter written to him by Mr. Charles Scott, was, in fact, to be spoken of in the family as “a stomach attack,” from which he had “recovered” in less than a week. Indeed, by the beginning of March, Sir Walter was collecting materials, and was aided by Mr. Pitcairn;1 and by March 30 he was inquiring for Byzantine historians. “Count Robert of Paris” must have been already in his mind. On his mind, too, were jars between James Ballantyne, as printer, and

1 Mr. Pitcairn, speaking of Christian Shaw of Bargarran, the bewitched girl who later founded the Renfrew thread industry, says “the imposture was discovered.” I am entirely unacquainted with any evidence in favour of this detection.

Mr. Cadell, as publisher, of the Magnum Opus, the annotated Waverley Novels. For reasons which will be conspicuous later, these squabbles had their own importance in Lockhart’s history. Mr. Cadell found Ballantyne (who was much unhinged by the loss of his wife) vague, unbusiness-like, neglectful, and “feckless,” as the Scotch say, to a distressing degree. He writes a long letter about Ballantyne’s failings as a printer and manager, on April 12, 1830. “Mr. Cowan and I do everything we can to keep him right,” and many odd details are given as to James’s lack of energy. Even Scott writes, “My pity begins to give way to anger.” Now Mr. Cadell was the chief source of Lockhart’s comments on the Ballantynes as men of business, in his “Life of Scott.” It is plain that Mr. Cadell did not wait till 1838 to express his extreme dissatisfaction, a dissatisfaction which he perhaps communicated to Lockhart, though there is evidence that Lockhart attempted to discount any “personal bias.”

On May 17, Lockhart wrote to Sir Walter a letter full of the political gossip so interesting at the moment, and now so vacant. The King’s death was expected almost daily: “he expresses his earnest desire to be released.” The air was full of rumours, for the health of the prospective William IV. was far from good, and on his decease there would be a long minority. Meanwhile the Tories were all at odds, the Whigs strong and hopeful, and the era of “concessions” had begun. Of himself
Lockhart writes, “You will be surprised to hear that I have begun at last to make a little money,” and he mentions a sum at which a popular modern novelist would smile, though a successful man of letters in any other field but fiction would despair of attaining the amount. Probably these “golden joys” mainly accrued from Lockhart’s share in
Mr. Murray’s “Family Library.” He consulted Scott about entering Parliament, attracted by the contagious excitement which arises from living in political society. But, like Hal of the Wynd, he would “fight for his own hand”—not as an item in a Tory aggregate. Sir Walter answered, approving—that is, if Lockhart were not making too sanguine an estimate of his finances on the strength of one successful year, and if he could sit as “a member entirely unfettered, and left to act according to the weal of the public, or what you conceive such.” But he must speak if he enters Parliament. “When I have heard you speak, you seemed always sufficiently up to the occasion both in words and matter, but too indifferent in the manner in which you pressed your argument. . . . If you are not considered as gravely interested in what you say, and conscious of its importance, your audience will not be so.”1

Sir Walter, who read men very clearly, had indeed taken Lockhart’s measure. There was in his character much of the quality which Montaigne

1 This letter is published in a note in Scott’s Journal, ii. 229.

commends, a kind of aloofness above his own fortunes, his own efforts, a habitual sense of non est tanti, which is an insuperable bar to success in public life. This shows itself in his neglect of his own poetry, and in the self-repression of his critical essays. If a man has a really just estimate of his own powers, his own place in the world, and if he lets that be seen, the world will make a great discount from his low self-valuation, and will underrate him. The “sad lucidity of soul” in Lockhart, combined with his shyness, was always at war with such ambitions as he entertained, and, in no very long time, he ceased to entertain any ambition.

Soon afterwards the Lockharts went to Scotland and abode at Chiefswood; Sir Walter’s journals speak of their visit and the better hopes about Johnnie. But in all the correspondence of Mrs. Lockhart when she and her husband were separated for a time, it is easy to read that the child had never a chance of even a moderately long and healthy life. His pains, his coughs, his fevered nights, are again and again the melancholy burden of her letters, and Lockhart’s intense anxiety demanded letters almost every day. “I cannot promise you a light heart, but I bring a warm one,” he writes on one occasion, when about to rejoin her. On June 21, Lockhart wrote from Chiefswood to Sir Walter in Edinburgh, about the King’s supposed recovery. On the 27th, as Sir Walter was walking over the field of battle at Gladsmuir, the
“Prince’s Park,” and “Cope’s Loan,” the bells tolled for the death of the last of the Georges.

During the remainder of the summer and autumn the Lockharts remained at Chiefswood, and Will Laidlaw was installed at Kaeside. “However languid, Sir Walter’s spirits revived at seeing the children, and the greatest pleasure he had was in pacing Douce Davie through the green lanes among his woods, with them clustered about him on ponies and donkeys, while Laidlaw, the ladies, and myself walked by, and obeyed his directions about pruning and marking trees.”

But Sir Walter, to Lockhart’s regret, would toil, as of old, at his desk, and James Ballantyne, the most uncompromising of critics, no longer excited him by praise. “Why,” one is inclined to ask, “why, with Lockhart at his side, did Scott turn to Ballantyne for criticism?” The truth probably is that in Ballantyne, comparatively uneducated, and ignorant of things which one supposes everybody to know, Scott thought that he had a measure of the ordinary taste, and a judge who would never veil his actual opinion, nor “seek for a glossy periphrase.”

About this time, on September 6, I find Mr. Cadell making a formal offer for the book which he ingeniously suggested, the “Reliquiæ Trotcosienses,” anecdotes about the “gabions,” or historical curiosities of Abbotsford, including the Library. I have seen the manuscript of this fragment, and the earlier
pages, which
Sir Walter tried to write with his own hand, give melancholy assurance of his temporary incapacity for any literary task. But he abandoned the “Reliquiæ,” ambitious of higher work, and took up “Count Robert of Paris,” which, as has been said, he obviously contemplated soon after his attack in February. The Journal, too, was abandoned from September 5 to December 20. Lockhart mentions a fit of apoplexy in November, and it seems a reasonable inference, from the manuscript of the “Reliquiæ,” that there had been a similar illness in September, or that Scott did not really take the “Reliquiæ” in hand till after his November illness. By November 2, Lockhart was in town again, and he asked Scott for a review of Pitcairn’sCriminal Trials.” This was to be the last of Sir Walter’s writings in the Quarterly. Half a year before this date, in February, Scott had said to him, “I would be driven mad with idleness.” On November 10 he sent the review of Pitcairn, written in a week.

In January Lockhart invited Sir Walter to London. “Your coming would be the source of unspeakable comfort and delight to one and all of the establishment.” He added a little gossip.

Moore is undergoing a pleasant course of regimen under Leigh Hunt’s care. The Cockney revenges himself for Moore’s abuse of his vulgarity in the second volume of Byron’sLife,’ by pub-
lishing in a daily paper of his—modestly yclept the
Tatler—bushel on bushel of Tommy’s early letters to himself, in which encomiums are lavished on the man and his writings, such as it is impossible to read without convulsions of laughter. This was in the days of libelling the Regent, when they were sworn confederates. By-the-bye, there is one shabby thing: Moore, writing from Lord Moira’s seat in the country, says nothing can ever efface his sense of gratitude; but he must confess that his patron deserves, on public grounds, to be well basted in such a paper as the Examiner, which Tommy calls the paragon of all papers,” &c, &c

Through the distracted spring of 1831, Lockhart, who attended the debates on Reform, kept sending bulletins to Sir Walter. These, though they contain the reflections of an acute observer, add little to what is already known. Laidlaw warned Lockhart that politics and fear of change were the worst things on which he could write about to Scott, in his shattered health. Lockhart wished Scott to come to London for medical advice, and the society of his family; Mrs. Lockhart and the children would visit Abbotsford in spring. “Croker has had the whooping-cough,” writes Lockhart on February 28, “but will be in the House to-morrow and speak: he had better have written, for he has neither manner nor character to win or command attention in the House.” Croker, however, astonished his party by his harangue on the Bill as
affecting Scotland. In these years, at least, his relations with Lockhart were decidedly those of alliance, in the
Quarterly, rather than of friendship. Neither Lockhart nor Sir Walter then trusted Croker. From Croker, in any case, Lockhart got much of the political gossip with which he entertained or depressed Sir Walter. On all sides he “witnessed a deep and bitter fierceness, such as never met my observation before.”

On February 22, Lockhart announced a visit of his family to Abbotsford in May: he would follow as soon as possible, and trusted that Scott would come to him in October, as he dreaded a winter at Abbotsford, far from the very best medical advice.

“We were at Mrs. Baring’s on Saturday evening,” Lockhart writes. “The Duke came in, having just heard the news of these Paris rows, and told Sir J. Shelley war was ready now. Old Talleyrand was there, looking as if dug out of a mummy pit. . . . The story of the Citizen King having remarked, on rising from his dinner table, ‘The weight of a crown is not a nothing,’ and his son Nemours ejaculating thereon, ‘Particularly when it is not one’s own’—is, I hear, quite true. . . . If it be true that Lafayette and Soult are now forming a Cabinet, no doubt a Republic will be the next thing, and so on, God knows through how many changes, to Henri V.”—who made il gran rifiuto.

On March 1, Lockhart was “disgusted with the
juvenile namby-pamby style of
Lord John Russell’s method of announcing ‘the scheme of Reform.’” Joseph Hume said, in his high brazen note, “I’m not that ill-satisfied with the scheme.” On March 2, “there was no good speaking, except young Macaulay’s on the Whig side.” Out of doors, “the defensive party is doing absolutely nothing.” This is the burden of his letters; but a characteristic anecdote of an author is given.

“Sotheby has published his trashy ‘Iliad’ in two mortal tomes. He came in, two or three days ago, when Phillpots, Mackintosh, Sharpe, and some others were all sitting round the fire at the Athenæum, talking over the debate of the night before. ‘Well,’ said Phillpots, ‘Well, Mr. Sotheby, what do you say to all this?’ ‘Why,’ he responded, ‘you are very good to be so much interested. Murray says, considering the excitement about other things, the sale is really not amiss.’”

On April 16, Lockhart announces the death-blow to all work on the Stuart papers. “Croker, by his mean suggestions in one of the Reports of the original Commission (which I never saw until the second had been issued), seems to have done everything to throw cold water on the affair—entering into calculations as to what booksellers would give the Crown, &c, &c, estimating the proper remuneration for editorship—in a word, furnishing any Government with sufficient pretext for that
shabbiness to which all Governments are naturally inclined.1

“The gay world holds on, Whig and Tory alike, in one stream of seeming carelessness and voluptuous levity. That persons with little but their brains and hands should be unable to look on without such feelings, while so many hollow, blown-up boobies—with so much to lose, and nothing to gain—continue staring about them with faces as meaningless and vacant as of old, may well seem odd.”

Lockhart seems to have been in a democratic mood, without asking the pretty obvious democratic question, “What is the use of maintaining blown-up boobies?”

On April 22, Lockhart had heard of Sir Walter’s severe apoplectic attack of April 16. He sent down Mrs. Lockhart and the children, and followed himself in May. About this time, in a temporary absence of Lockhart’s from home, his wife wrote: “Watt’s love of gardening has carried him into a strange mistake. For a fortnight past, Mary missed many articles of his clothes, and yesterday Bogie (?) found five pair of his socks buried in the garden, and, on Watt being examined, he confessed

1 Booksellers would give the Crown very little for these historical documents. But the Historical Manuscripts Commission might perhaps be serviceable, if it were but to the extent of publishing a Calendar of Papers which curiously illustrate the diplomacy of the last century, and throw a little light (hitherto not made public) on the long mystery of the incognito of Prince Charles (1749-1766).

having planted the stockings that they might grow up into a great tree, with fifteen pair of stockings hanging on it.”

A sentence follows which might have made Rogers blush, if he really said that “I always thought Lockhart hated Scott, and now I know it”—on the publication of the “Life.”

Mrs. Lockhart writes: “I used to think it was both selfish and wrong, my marrying; but when I hear papa talk of you, and see the comfort you are to him, dear Lockhart, I feel I can never be grateful enough to you.”1

From this date, Lockhart’s letters to Scott are not included in the volumes of Sir Walter’s correspondence. From this point, too (May 10, 1831), Lockhart tells the tale of his own life as far as it was blended with that of the great man now mortally smitten.2 The narrative could only be spoiled by abridgment. The pages in which he describes Scott’s daily sorrows; his struggles with “Count Robert of Paris,” condemned by Cadell and Ballantyne; the sad matter of the disturbances

1 But few quotations from Mrs. Lockhart’s many letters have been made here, because they are almost always occupied with domestic matters, and especially with the health of Johnnie. They are all, like Lockhart’s letters to his wife, proofs of the most complete trust and affection on either side, in this happiest of marriages, as far as love can make life happy, in despite of many grave anxieties and sorrows. The beautiful lines in which Homer describes a perfect wedlock, constantly recur to the reader’s mind (“Odyssey,” vi. 180-185).

2Life,” x. 66-106.

at Hawick and Jedburgh; the beginning of “
Castle Dangerous”; the pilgrimage past Yair, Ashestiel, Traquair (haunted ground), to the tombs of the Douglasses; the warning given by Borthwickbrae’s sudden death after meeting Sir Walter at Milton Lockhart;—these pages surpass all other achievements of biography. The restrained regret, the silent affection, the sorrow stoically yet sweetly borne, remind us, indeed, of lines in the “Agricola” of Tacitus. But that masterpiece did not, and could not, exhibit the perfection of romance, the high and passionate strain of this chapter of Lockhart’s, which has no rival except in the most exalted poetry. Indeed, the piece is an epitome of all Scott’s life. We see him here as the humourist; as “the Shirra”; for the last time at Milton Lockhart as the boon companion; as the antiquary; above all, as the poet who “with half his heart inhabits other worlds,” and lives in other times. And for this once, he is beheld by human eye “as his companions in the meridian vigour of his life never saw him,” when “the softer and gentler emotions trembled to the surface” of his nature.

“It was a darkish, cloudy day, with some occasional mutterings of distant thunder,” when, fresh from the visit to the dust of the Douglasses, Sir Walter again repeated the lines that, long ago, he had chanted, in tormentis, in deathly agony, when he thought of Lockhart:—

“My wound is deep, I fain would sleep,
Take thou the vanguard of the three,
And hide me beneath the bracken bush
That grows on yonder lily lee.”

For twelve years the younger man had faithfully stood by his chief; nor, in all the documents that exist, is there one trace of a shadow on their affection. Indeed, it seems as if, in that darkly-guessed-at Wisdom which governs our world, Lockhart had been born to love Scott, and, beyond even that regard which Scott’s works awaken in every gentle heart, to make him by all men yet more beloved. Lockhart has given to us a friend, the object of his own intense and undemonstrative devotion; and we, who find that even his death before our day cannot sever from our living affection the man whom, “not having seen, we love,” owe this great debt to Lockhart, and, for very gratitude, must forgive all that in him which is less noble than himself—quia multum amavit.

The last of the old Abbotsford summers has been described by Lockhart. Again they dined in that haunted hall, where Scott saw the apparition of Byron which resolved itself into an illusion. Once more they feasted below the trees at Chiefswood, and rode with the children to fish for perch in Cauldshiels loch, and to watch “the sun upon the Weirdlaw hill.” Turner came, and had to be implored not to dress Lowlanders in the kilt when he sketched Smailholme Tower. Mr. Adolphus, too,
was a guest, and explained to the author of the “
Demonology” that he could accept “a modest ghost story”—what he could not accept was the “explanations” of these narratives. Mr. Cadell accompanied the great painter. With much tact he kept “Count Robert” in type, but did not throw off an edition till Sir Walter had gone abroad. In fact, the novel was more deeply marked by the author’s malady than it is in the published version, and Lockhart overcame his reluctance to alter some lines from the master’s hand.1 As Lockhart has thought it right and just to say, Sir Walter had begun to entertain the intermittent delusion that his task was done, and that his debts were paid. He now went to his last coursing match, and took delight in the horsemanship of his eldest son. On Sept. 16, Wordsworth announced that he was on the road. His eyes were weak, and he writes that a child cried as he entered Carlisle, “There’s a man wi’ a veil, and a lass driving.” Sir Adam Fergusson introduced Colonel Glencairn Burns, the son of the great poet; and, with Wordsworth, Scott visited Newark, for that last time of all. In Lockhart’s company Scott reached London, on September 28, in the midst of the Reform riots. On October 29, Sir Walter set sail. It was not till

1 Mr. Cadell’s letters of criticism to Sir Walter are written with equal frankness and delicacy. A debatable point in the structure of the novel was at issue. The point is settled in Mr. Cadell’s sense: Scott’s plan was humorous but “realistic”

June 13 that Lockhart saw him again, a dying man; “he recognised us with many marks of tenderness.” On July 7, he went, attended by the Lockharts, from London by steamer; on the 11th he drove from Edinburgh to Abbotsford. He woke to fresh life as he recognised the old spots, Gala Water, Buckholm, Torwoodlee.

Another, who watched Sir Walter on that day, was to make the same journey, and, dying, was to lean from the carriage and gaze on these same dear scenes of youth and happiness. It is his pen that records Scott’s last hours, with a tenderness and a delicate self-control unsurpassed in literature, so that, however often we may have studied the immortal pages, we read them with dim eyes. Strangely, indeed, were Scott’s final experiences to be echoed in those of Lockhart. The very words which Sir Walter spoke “in the last extreme of feebleness,” namely, “Lockhart, I may have but a minute to speak to you. My dear, be a good man, be virtuous, be religious, be a good man;” these words were to reverberate in almost the last letter of Lockhart to his beloved daughter.

During Sir Walter’s absence, another sorrow, long looked for, had befallen those whom he loved. On December 15, 1831, Lockhart wrote to his father:—

“It has this day pleased Almighty God to release our poor boy from his long sufferings. His end was not painful; and as hope had for years been dead
within us, we have, besides a natural pang, no feeling so strong as that of thankfulness to the Merciful Dispenser of all things.
Sophia will feel relieved by-and-by—she is calm already. . . . God bless you all. My dearest mother will not expect a longer letter.”

Thus, after extreme endurance, the inheritor of so much genius and sorrow had gone to his rest. A figure as of one of Charles Lamb’s Dream-Children haunts the little beck at Chiefswood, and on that haugh at Abbotsford, where Lockhart read the manuscript of the “Fortunes of Nigel,” fancy may see Hugh Littlejohn “throwing stones into the burn,” for so he called the Tweed. While children study the “Tales of a Grandfather,” he does not want friends in this world to remember and envy the boy who had Sir Walter to tell him stories.