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lence in thine art cannot be attained without much labour, so neither can it be extended, or even maintained, without constant and unremitted exertion; and farther, that the decorum of a performer's private character (and it gladdeth me to hear that thine is respectable) addeth not a little to the value of his public exertions.
“ Finally, in respect there is nothing perfect in this world, —at least I have never received a wholly faultless version from the very best of my pupils — I pray thee not to let Rob Roy twirl thee around in the ecstacy of thy joy, in regard it oversteps the limits of nature, which otherwise thou so sedulously preservest in thine admirable national portraicture of Bailie Nicol Jarvie.— I remain thy sincere friend and well-wisher, JEDEDIAH CLEISHBOTHAM."
Recurrence of Scott's illness — Death of the Duke of Buccleuch — Letters to Captain Fergusson, Lord Montagu, Mr Southey, and Mr Shortreed— Scotts sufferings while dictating the Bride of Lammermoor — Anecdotes by James Ballantyne, &c.— Appearance of the Third Series of Tales of my Landlord - Anecdote of the Earl of Buchan.
MARCH — JUNE, 1819.
It had beeen Scott's purpose to spend the Easter vacation in London, and receive his baronetcy; but this was prevented by the serious recurrence of the malady which so much alarmed his friends in the early part of the year 1817, and which had continued ever since to torment him at intervals. The subsequent correspondence will show that afflictions of various sorts were accumulated on his head at the same period:
“ To the Lord Montagu, Ditton Park, Windsor.
“ Edinburgh, 4th March 1819. “ My Dear Lord,
“ The Lord President tells me he has a letter from his son, Captain Charles Hope, R. N., who had just taken leave of our High Chief, upon the deck of the Liffey. He had not seen the Duke for a fortnight, and was pleasingly surprised to find his health and general appearance so very much improved. For my part, having watched him with such unremitting attention, I feel very confident in the effect of a change of air and of climate. It is with great pleasure that I find the Duke bas received an answer from me respecting a matter about which he was anxious, and on which I could make his mind quite easy. His Grace wished Adam Fergusson to assist him as his confidential secretary; and with all the scrupulous delicacy that belongs to his character, he did not like to propose this, except through my medium as a common friend. Now, I can answer for Adam, as I can for myself, that he will have the highest pleasure in giving assistance in every possible way the Duke can desire; and if forty years' intimacy can entitle one man to speak for another, I believe the Duke can find nowhere a person so highly qualified for such a confidential situation. He was edu
cated for business, understands it well, and was long a military secretary—his temper and manners your Lordship can judge as well as I can, and his worth and honour are of the very first water. I confess I should not be surprised if the Duke should wish to continue the connexion even afterwards, for I have often thought that two hours' letter-writing, which is his Grace's daily allowance, is rather worse than the duty of a Clerk of Session, because there is no vacation. Much of this might surely be saved by an intelligent friend, on whose style of expression, prudence, and secrecy, his Grace could put perfect reliance. Two words, marked on any letter by his own hand, would enable such a person to refuse more or less positively—to grant directly or conditionally or, in short, to maintain the exterior forms of the very troublesome and extensive correspondence which his Grace's high situation entails upon him. I think it is Mons. Le Duc de Saint Simon who tells us of one of Louis XIV.'s ministers qui'l avoit la plume
- which he explains by saying, it was his duty to imitate the King's handwriting so closely, as to be almost undistinguishable, and make him on all occasions parler très noblement. I wonder how the Duke gets on without such a friend. In the mean time, however, I am glad I can assure him of Fergusson's willing and ready assistance while abroad; and I am happy to find still farther that he had got that assurance before they sailed, for tedious hours occur on board of ship, when it will serve as a relief to talk over any of the private affairs which the Duke wishes to intrust to him.
“ I have been very unwell from a visitation of my old enemy, the cramp in my stomach, which much resembles, as I conceive, the process by which the deil would make one's king's-hood into a spleuchan,* according to the anathema of Burns. Unfortunately, the opiates which the medical people think indispensable to relieve spasms, bring on a habit of body which has to be counteracted by medicines of a different tendency, so as to produce a most disagreeable see-saw-- a kind of pull-devil, pull-baker contention, the field of battle being my unfortunate præcordia. I am better to-day, and I trust shall be able to dispense with these alternations. I still hope to be in London in April.
“ I will write to the Duke regularly, for distance of place acts in a contrary ratio on the mind and on the eye: trifles, instead of being diminished, as in prospect, become important and interesting, and therefore he shall have a budget of them. Hogg is here busy with his Jacobite songs. I wish he may get handsomely through, for he is profoundly ignorant of history, and it is an awkward thing to read in
* King's-Hond — " The second of the four stomachs of rumi. nating animals.” JAMIESON. - Spleuchan - The Gaelic name of the Highlander's tobacco-pouch.