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The song be
lilt of a tune to · Patrick Fleming. gins
• Patrick Fleming was a gallant soldier,
“ From another verse in the same song, it seems the hero was in such a predicament as your own
• If you be Peter Fleming, as I suppose you be, sir,
“ To Walter Scott, Esq., 18th Hussars, Cappoquin.
“ London, 17th March 1821. “ My Dear Commandant of Cappoquin,
“ Wishing you joy of your new government, these are to inform you that I am still in London. The late aspersion on your regiment induced me to protract my stay here, with a view to see the Duke of York on your behalf, which I did yesterday. H. R. Highness expressed himself most obligingly disposed, and promised to consider what could best be done to forward your military education. I told him frankly, that in giving you to the King's service I had done all that was in my power to show our attachment to his Majesty and the country which had been so kind to me, and that it was my utmost ambition that you should render yourself capable of serving them both well. He said he would give the affair his particular consideration, and see whether he could put you on the establishment at Sandhurst, without any violent infringement on the rules; and hinted that he would make an exception to the rule of seniority of standing and priority of application in your favour when an opportunity occurs.
“ From H. R. H.'s very kind expressions I have little doubt you will have more than justice done you in the patronage necessary to facilitate your course through life; but it must be by your own exertions, my dearest boy, that you must render yourself qualified to avail yourself of the opportunities which you may have offered to you. Work therefore as hard as you can, and do not be discontented for want of assistance of masters, &c., because the knowledge which we acquire by our own unaided efforts, is much more tenaciously retained by the memory, while the exertion necessary to gain it strengthens the understanding. At the same time, I would enquire whether there may not be some Catholic priest, or Protestant clergyman, or scholar of any description, who, for love or money, would give you a little assistance occasionally. Such persons are to be found almost everywhere; not professed teachers, but capable of smoothing the road to a willing student. Let me earnestly recommend in your reading to keep fast to particular hours, and suffer no one thing to encroach on the other.
“ Charles's last letter was uncommonly steady, and prepared me for one from Mr Williams, in which he expresses satisfaction with his attention, and with his progress in learning, in a much stronger degree than formerly. This is truly comfortable, and may relieve me from the necessity of sending the poor boy to India.
“ All in Edinburgh are quite well, and no fears exist, saving those of little Catherine* for the baby, lest the fairies take it away before the christening. I will send some books to you from hence, if I can find means to transmit them. I should like you to read with care the campaigns of Buonaparte, which have been written in French with much science.f
“ I hope, indeed I am sure, I need not remind you to be very attentive to your duty. You have but a small charge, but it is a charge, and rashness or carelessness may lead to discredit in the commandant of Cappoquin, as well as in a field-marshal. In the exercise of your duty, be tender of the lower classes ; and as you are strong be merciful. In this you will do your master good service, for show me
* Mrs. Lockhart's maid.
+ This letter was followed by a copy of General Jomini's celebrated work.
the manners of the man, and I will judge those of the master.
“ In your present situation, it may be interesting to you to know that the bill for Catholic Emancipation will pass the Commons without doubt, and very probably the Peers also, unless the Spiritual Lords make a great rally. Nobody here cares much about it, and if it does not pass this year, it will the next without doubt.
“ Among other improvements, I wish you would amend your hand. It is a deplorable scratch, and far the worst of the family. Charles writes a firm good hand in comparison.
“ You may address your next to Abbotsford, where I long to be, being heartily tired of fine company and fine living, from dukes and duchesses, down to turbot and plover's eggs. It is very well for a while, but to be kept at it makes one feel like a poodle dog compelled to stand for ever on his hind legs. — Most affectionately yours,
During this visit to London, Sir Walter appears to have been consulted by several persons in authority as to the project of a Society of Literature, for which the King's patronage had been solicited, and which was established soon afterwards — though on a scale less extensive than had been proposed at the
outset. He expressed his views on this subject in writing at considerable length to his friend the Hon. John Villiers (afterwards Earl of Clarendon ;*) but of that letter, described to me as a most admirable one, I have as yet failed to recover a copy. I have little doubt, that both the letter in question, and the following, addressed, soon after his arrival at Abbotsford, to the then Secretary of State for the Home Department, were placed in the hands of the King; but it seems probable, that whatever his Majesty may have thought of Scott's representations, he considered himself as already, in some measure, pledged to countenance the projected academy.
“ To the Right Hon. the Lord Viscount Sidmouth,
&c. &c. &c., Whitehall.
“ Abbotsford, April 20, 1821. “ My Dear Lord,
“ Owing to my retreat to this place, I was only honoured with your Lordship’s letter yesterday. Whatever use can be made of my letter to stop the very ill contrived project to which it relates, will answer the purpose for which it was written. I do not well remember the terms in which my remonstrance to Mr Villiers was couched, for it was positively written betwixt sleeping and waking ; but your Lordship will best judge how far the contents
* The third Earl (of the Villierscs) died in 1838.