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with a good dose of flattery. It is remarkable, that among all my real friends to whom I did not choose to communicate this matter, not one ever thought it proper or delicate to tease me about it. Respecting the knighthood, I can only say, that coming as it does, and I finding myself and my family in circumstances which will not render the petit titre ridiculous, I think there would be more vanity in declining than in accepting what is offered to me by the express wish of the Sovereign as a mark of favour and distinction. Will you be so kind as to enquire and let me know what the fees, &c., of a baronetcy amount to— for I must provide myself accordingly, not knowing exactly when this same title may descend upon me. I am afraid the sauce is rather smart. I should like also to know what is to be done respecting registration of arms and so forth. Will you make these enquiries for me sotto voce ? I should not suppose, from the persons who sometimes receive this honour, that there is any enquiry about descent or genealogy; mine were decent enough folks, and enjoyed the honour in the seventeenth century, so I shall not be first of the title ; and it will sound like that of a Christian knight, as Sir Sidney Smith said.
“ I had a letter from our immortal Joanna some fortnight since, when I was enjoying myself at Abbotsford. Never was there such a season, flowers
springing, birds singing, grubs eating the wheat -as if it was the end of May. After all, nature had a grotesque and inconsistent appearance, and I could not help thinking she resembled a withered beauty who persists in looking youthy, and dressing conform thereto. I thought the loch should have had its blue frozen surface, and russet all about it, instead of an unnatural gaiety of green. So much are we the children of habit, that we cannot always enjoy thoroughly the alterations which are most for our advantage. They have filled up the historical chair here. I own I wish it had been with our friend Campbell, whose genius is such an honour to his country. But he has cast anchor I suppose in the south. Your friend, Mrs Scott, was much cast down with her brother's death. His bequest to my family leaves my own property much at my own disposal, which is pleasant enough. I was foolish enough sometimes to be vexed at the prospect of my library being sold sub hasta, which is now less likely to happen. I always am, most truly yours,
On the 15th of February 1819, Scott witnessed the first representation, on the Edinburgh boards, of the most meritorious and successful of all the Terryfications, though Terry himself was not the manufacturer. The drama of Rob Roy will never again
be got up so well, in all its parts, as it then was by William Murray's company; the manager's own Captain Thornton was excellent — and so was the Dugald Creature of a Mr Duff — there was also a good Mattie—(about whose equipment, by the by, Scott felt such interest that he left his box between the acts to remind Mr Murray that she “ must have a mantle with her lanthorn;")- but the great and unrivalled attraction was the personification of Bailie Jarvie, by Charles Mackay, who, being himself a native of Glasgow, entered into the minutest peculiarities of the character with high gusto, and gave the west-country dialect in its most racy perfection. It was extremely diverting to watch the play of Scott's features during this admirable realization of his conception; and I must add, that the behaviour of the Edinburgh audience on all such occasions, while the secret of the novels was preserved, reflected great honour on their good taste and delicacy of feeling. He seldom, in those days, entered his box without receiving some mark of general respect and admiration; but I never heard of any pretext being laid hold of to connect these demonstrations with the piece he had come to witness, or, in short, to do or say anything likely to interrupt his quiet enjoyment of the evening in the midst of his family and friends. The Rob Roy had a continued run of fortyone nights, during February and March; and it was played once a-week, at least, for many years after
wards.* Mackay, of course, always selected it for his benefit; and I now print from Scott's M S. a letter, which, no doubt, reached the mimic Bailie in the handwriting of one of the Ballantynes, on the first of these occurrences.
“ To Mr Charles Mackay, Theatre-Royal, Edin".
(Private.) “ Friend Mackay,
.“ My lawful occasions having brought me from my residence at Gandercleuch to this great city, it was my lot to fall into company with certain friends, who impetrated from me a consent to behold the stage-play, which hath been framed forth of an history entitled Rob (scu potius Robert) Roy, which history, although it existeth not in mine erudite work, entitled Tales of my Landlord, hath nathless a near relation in style and structure to those pleasant narrations. Wherefore, having surmounted those arguments whilk were founded upon the unseemliness of a personage in my place and profession appearing in an open stage-play house, and having buttoned the terminations of my cravat into my bosom, in order to preserve mine incognito, and indued an outer coat over mine usual garments, so that the hue thereof
*“ Between February 15th, 1819, and March 14th, 1837, Rob Roy was played in the Theatre-Royal, Edinburgh, 285 times". Ltter from Mr W. Murray.
might not betray my calling, I did place myself (much elbowed by those who little knew whom they did incommode) in that place of the Theatre called the two-shilling gallery, and beheld the show with great delectation, even from the rising of the curtain to the fall thereof.
“Chiefly, my facetious friend, was I enamoured of the very lively representation of Bailie Nicol Jarvie, in so much that I became desirous to communicate to thee my great admiration thereof, nothing doubting that it will give thee satisfaction to be apprised of the same. Yet further, in case thou shouldst be of that numerous class of persons who set less store by good words than good deeds, and understanding that there is assigned unto each stage-player a special night, called a benefit (it will do thee no harm to know that the phrase cometh from two Latin words, bene and facio), on which their friends and patrons show forth their benevolence, I now send thee mine in the form of a five-ell web (hoc jocose, to express a note for £5), as a meet present for the Bailie, himself a weaver, and the son of a worthy deacon of that craft. The which propine I send thee in token that it is my purpose, business and health permitting, to occupy the central place of the pit on the night of thy said beneficiary or benefit.
“ Friend Mackay! from one, whose profession it is to teach others, thou must excuse the freedom of a caution. I trust thou wilt remember that, as excel