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“ I envied your management of the pencil when at Malta, as frequently elsewhere; it is quite a place made to be illustrated ; by the way, I have got an esquisse of Old Smailholm Tower from the pencil of Mr Turner. Besides the other advantages of Malta, it possesses John Hookham Frere, who is one of the most entertaining men I know, and with whom I spent much of my time.
“ Although I rather prefer Malta, I have no reason to complain of Naples. The society is very numerous and gay, and somewhat too frivolous for my time of life and infirmities : however, there are exceptions; especially poor Sir William Gell, a very accomplished scholar, who is lamer than I am, and never out of humour, though worried perpetually by the gout, which he bears with the greatest complaisance. He is engaged in vindicating, from the remains of the various public works in Italy, the truth, which Bryant and others have disputed, concerning the Roman History, as given by Livy and other authors, whom it has been of late fashionable to discredit. The Dilletante Society have, greatly to their credit, resolved to bring out this interesting book.
“ It has been Carnival time, and the balls are without number, besides being pelted to death with sugar-plums, which is quite the rage. But now Lent is approaching to sober us after all our gaiety, and
every one seems ashamed of being happy, and preparing to look grave with all his might.
“ I should have said something of my health, but have nothing to say, except that I am pretty well, and take exercise regularly, though as Parson Adams says, it must be of the vehicular kind. I think I shall never ride or walk again. But I must not complain, for my plan of paying my debts, which you know gave me so much trouble some years since, has been, thank God, completely successful; and, what I think worth telling, I have paid very near £120,000, without owing any one a halfpenny—at least I am sure this will be the case by midsummer. I know the laird will give me much joy on this occasion, which, considering the scale upon which I have accomplished it, is a great feat. I wish I were better worthy the kindness of the public; but I am at least entitled to say
''Twas meant for merit, though it fell on me.'
Also some industry and some steadiness were necessary. I believe, indeed, I made too great an exertion ; but if I get better, as seems likely, it is little enough for so happy a result. The young people have been very happy — which makes me think that about next spring I will give your young couple a neighbourly dance. It will be about this time that I take the
management of my affairs again. You must patronise me.
“ My love to Henry, as well as to the young couple. He should go and do likewise. Your somewhat ancient, but very sincere friend,
Death of Goethe — Rome — Memoranda by Sir
W. Gell and Mr Edward Cheney - Journey to Frankfort — The Rhine Steam-boat — Fatal seizure at Nimeguen - Arrival in London Jermyn Street — Edinburgh - Abbotsford – Death and Burial.
His friend Sir Frederick Adam had urgently invited Sir Walter to visit the Ionian Islands, and he had consented to do so. But Sir Frederick was suddenly recalled from that government, and appointed to one in India, and the Greek scheme dropt. From that time his companions ceased to contend against his wishes for returning home. Since he would again work, what good end could it serve to keep him from working at his own desk? And as their entreaties, and the warnings of foreign doctors, proved alike unavailing as to the regulation of his diet, what remaining chance could there be on that score, unless from replacing him under the eye of the friendly physicians whose authority had formerly seemed to have due influence on his mind? He had wished to return by the route of the Tyrol and Germany, partly for the sake of the remarkable chapel and monuments of the old Austrian princes at Inspruck, and the feudal ruins upon the Rhine, but chiefly that he might have an interview with Goethe at Weimar. That poet died on the 22d of March, and the news seemed to act upon Scott exactly as the illness of Borthwickbrae had done in the August before. His impatience redoubled : all his fine dreams of recovery seemed to vanish at once-“ Alas for Goethe !” he exclaimed: “ but he at least died at home - Let us to Abbotsford.” And he quotes more than once in his letters the first hemistick of the line from Politian with which he had closed his early memoir of Leyden—“ Grata quies Patriæ.”
When the season was sufficiently advanced, then, the party set out, Mr Charles Scott having obtained leave to accompany his father; which was quite necessary, as his elder brother had already been obliged to rejoin his regiment. They quitted Naples on the 16th of April, in an open barouche, which could at pleasure be converted into a bed.
It will be seen from notes about to be quoted,