« ElőzőTovább »
We had the Marquis of Bute and Francis Jeffrey very brilliant in George Street, and I think one grocer besides. I was hard threatened by letter, but I caused my servant to say in the quarter where I thought the threatening came from, that I should suffer my windows to be broken like a Christian, but if anything else was attempted, I should become as great a heathen as the Dey of Algiers. We were passed over, but many houses were terribly Cossaqué, as was the phrase in Paris 1814 and 1815. The next night, being, like true Scotsmen, wise behind the hand, the bailies had a sufficient force sufficiently arranged, and put down every attempt to riot. If the same precautions had been taken before, the town would have been saved some disgrace, and the loss of at least £1000 worth of property. — Hay Donaldson* is getting stout again, and up to the throat in business; there is no getting a word out of him that does not smell of parchment and special service. He asked me, as it is to be a mere law service, to act as chancellor on the Duke's inquest, which honourable office I will of course undertake with great willingness, and discharge — I mean the hospitable part of it—to the best of my power. I think you are right to avoid a more extended service, as £1000 certainly would not clear the expense, as you would . have to dine at least four counties, and as sweetly sing, with Duke Wharton on Chevy Chase,
* This gentleman, Scott's friend and confidential solicitor, had obtained (I believe), on his recommendation, the legal management of the Buccleuch affairs in Scotland.
Pity it were
Before they had their fill.
I hope we shall all live to see our young baron take his own chair, and feast the land in his own way. Ever your Lordship’s most truly faithful
“ P.S.— In the illumination row, young Romilly was knocked down and robbed by the mob, just while he was in the act of declaiming on the impropriety of having constables and volunteers to interfere with the harmless mirth of the people."
6 To Mr Charles Scott;
“ Edinburgh, 19th Dec. 1820. “ My Dear Charles
“We begin to be afraid that, in improving your head, you have lost the use of your fingers, or got so deep into the Greek and Latin grammar, that you have forgotten how to express yourself in your own language. To ease our anxious minds in these
important doubts, we beg you will write as soon as possible, and give us a full account of your proceedings, as I do not approve of long intervals of silence, or think that you need to stand very rigorously upon' the exchange of letters, especially as mine are so much the longest.
“I rely upon it that you are now working hard in the classical mine, getting out the rubbish as fast as you can, and preparing yourself to collect the ore. I cannot too much impress upon your mind that labour is the condition which God has imposed on us in every station of life—there is nothing worth having, that can be had without it, from the bread which the peasant wins with the sweat of his brow, to the sports by which the rich man must get rid of his ennui. The only difference betwixt them is, that the poor man labours to get a dinner to his appetite, the rich man to get an appetite to his dinner. As for knowledge, it can no more be planted in the human mind without labour, than a field of wheat can be produced without the previous use of the plough. There is indeed this great difference, that chance or circumstances may so cause it that another shall reap what the farmer sows; but no man can be deprived, whether by accident or misfortune, of the fruits of his own studies; and the liberal and extended acquisitions of knowledge which he makes are all for his own use. Labour, my dear boy, therefore, and improve the time. In youth our steps are
light, and our minds are ductile, and knowledge is easily laid up. But if we neglect our spring, our summers will be useless and contemptible, our har· vest will be chaff, and the winter of our old age unrespected and desolate.
“ It is now Christmas-tide, and it comes sadly round to me as reminding me of your excellent grandmother, who was taken from us last year at this time. Do you, my dear Charles, pay attention to the wishes of your parents while they are with you, that you may have no self-reproach when you think of them at a future period.
“ You hear the Welsh spoken much about you, and if you can pick it up without interfering with more important labours, it will be worth while. I suppose you can easily get a grammar and dictionary. It is, you know, the language spoken by the Britons before the invasion of the Anglo-Saxons, who brought in the principal ingredients of our present language, called from thence English. It was afterwards, however, much mingled with Norman French, the language of William the Conqueror and his followers; so if you can pick up a little of the Cambro-British speech, it will qualify you hereafter to be a good philologist, should your genius turn towards languages. Pray, have you yet learned who Howel Dha was?—Glendower you are well acquainted with by reading Shakspeare. The wild mysterious barbaric grandeur with which he has invested that chief
LETTER TO CHARLES SCOTT.
LETTER TO CHARLES SCOTT. 289 tain has often struck me as very fine. I wish we had some more of him.
“ We are all well here, and I hope to get to Abbotsford for a few days — they cannot be many —in the ensuing vacation, when I trust to see the planting has got well forward. All are well here, and Mr Cadell* is come back, and gives a pleasant account of your journey. Let me hear from you very soon, and tell me if you expect any skating, and whether there is any ice in Wales. I presume there will be a merry Christmas, and beg my best wishes on the subject to Mr Williams, his sister and family. The Lockharts dine with us, and the Scotts of Harden, James Scottf with his pipes, and I hope Captain Adam. We will remember your health in a glass of claret just about six o'clock at night; so that you will know exactly (allowing for variation of time) what we are doing at the same nioment.
“ But I think I have written quite enough to a young Welshman, who has forgot all his Scots kith, kin, and allies. Mamma and Anne send many loves. Walter came like a shadow, and so departed—after about ten days' stay. The effect was quite dramatic, for the door was flung open as we were about to go down to dinner, and Turner announced Captain
* Mr. Robert Cadell, of the house of Constable, had this year conveyed ( harles Scott from Abbotsford to Lampeter.
+ Sir Walter's cousin, a son of his uncle Thomas. See ante, Vol. I. p. 102.