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order that you may write. * I give him all the help I can, but he sometimes poses me. For instance he came yesterday, open mouth, enquiring what great dignified clergyman had distinguished himself at Killiecrankie—not exactly the scene where one would have expected a churchman to shine—and I found with some difficulty, that he had mistaken MajorGeneral Canon, called, in Kennedy's Latin Song, Canonicus Gallovidiensis, for the capon of a cathedral. Ex ungue leonem. Ever, my dear Lord, your truly obliged and faithful
Before this letter reached Lord Montagu, his brother had sailed for Lisbon. The Duke of Wellington had placed his house in that capital (the Palace das Necessidades) at the Duke of Buccleuch's disposal; and in the affectionate care and cheerful society of Captain Fergusson, the invalid had every additional source of comfort that his friends could have wished for him. But the malady' had gone too far to be arrested by a change of climate; and the letter which he had addressed to Scott, when about to embark at Portsmouth, is endorsed with these words — “ The last I ever received from my dear friend the Duke of Buccleuch.-- Alas! alas !” The principal object of this letter was to remind Scott of his promise to sit to Raeburn for a portrait, to be hung up in that favourite residence where the Duke had enjoyed most of his society. “My prodigious undertaking,” writes his Grace, “ of a west wing at Bowhill, is begun. A library of forty-one feet by twenty-one, is to be added to the present drawingroom. A space for one picture is reserved over the fire-place, and in this warm situation I intend to place the Guardian of Literature. I should be happy to have my friend Maida appear. It is now almost proverbial, · Walter Scott and his Dog: Raeburn should be warned that I am as well acquainted with my friend's hands and arms as with his nose—and Vandyke was of my opinion. Many of R.’s works are shamefully finished — the face studied, but every thing else neglected. This is a fair opportunity of producing something really worthy of his skill.”
*“ I am sure I produced two volumes of Jacobite Relics, such as no man in Scotland or England could have produced but myself.” So says Hogg, ipse — see his Autobiography, 1832, p. 88. I never saw the Shepherd so elated as he was on the appearance of a very severe article on this book in the Edinburgh Review; for, to his exquisite delight, the hostile critic selected for exceptive encomium one “ old Jacobite strain,” viz. “ Donald M‘Gillavry,” which Hogg had fabricated the year before. Scott, too, enjoyed this joke almost as much as the Shepherd.
I shall insert by and by Scott's answer— which never reached the Duke's hand — with another letter of the same date to Captain Fergusson; but I must first introduce one, addressed a fortnight earlier to Mr Southey, who had been distressed by the accounts he received of Scott's health from an American traveller, Mr George Ticknor of Boston—a friend, and
worthy to be such, of Mr Washington Irving. The Poet Laureate, by the way, had adverted also to an impudent trick of a London bookseller, who shortly before this time announced certain volumes of Grub Street manufacture, as “ A New Series of the Tales of my Landlord,” and who, when John Ballantyne, as the “ agent for the Author of Waverley,” published a declaration that the volumes thus advertised were not from that writer's pen, met John's declaration by an audacious rejoinder-impeaching his authority, and asserting that nothing but the personal appearance in the field of the gentleman for whom Ballantyne pretended to act, could shake his belief that he was himself in the confidence of the true Simon Pure.* This affair gave considerable uneasiness at the time, and for a moment the dropping of Scott's, mask seems to have been pronounced advisable by both Ballantyne and Constable. But he was not to be worked upon by such means as these. He calmly replied, “ The Author who lends himself to such a trick must be a blockhead let them publish, and
* June 1839.—A friend has sent me the following advertisement from an Edinburgh newspaper of 1819:
“ TALES OF MY LANDLORD. “ The Public are respectfully informed, that the Work an. nounced for publication under the title of · Tales OF MY LANDLORD, Fourth Series, containing Pontefract Castle,' is not written by the Author of the First, Second, and Third Series of TALES OF MY LANDLORD, of which we are the Proprietors and Publishers.
ARCHIBALD Constable & Co.”
that will serve our purpose better than anything we ourselves could do.” I have forgotten the names of the “ tales,” which, being published accordingly, fell still-born from the press. Mr Southey had likewise dropped some allusions to another newspaper story of Scott's being seriously engaged in a dramatic work; a rumour which probably originated in the assistance he had lent to Terry in some of the recent highly popular adaptations of his novels to the purposes of the stage; though it is not impossible that some hint of the Devorgoil matter may have transpired. “ It is reported,” said the Laureate, “ that you are about to bring forth a play, and I am greatly in hopes it may be true; for I am verily persuaded that in this. course you might run as brilliant a career as you have already done in narrative—both in prose and rhyme;
– for as for believing that you have a dc uble in the field — not I! Those same powers would be equally certain of success in the drama, and were you to give them a dramatic direction, and reign for a third seven years upon the stage, you would stand alone in literary history. Indeed already I believe that no man ever afforded so much delight to so great a number of his contemporaries in this or in any other country. God bless you, my dear Scott, and believe me ever yours affectionately, R. S.” Mr Southey's letter had further announced his wife's safe delivery of a son; the approach of the conclusion of his History of Brazil; and his undertaking of the Life of Wesley.
“ To Robert Southey, Esq., Keswick,
Abbotsford, 4th April 1819. “ My Dear Southey,
“ Tidings from you must be always acceptable, even were the bowl in the act of breaking at the fountain—and my health is at present very totterish. I have gone through a cruel succession of spasms and sickness, which have terminated in a special fit of the jaundice, so that I might sit for the image of Plutus, the god of specie, so far as complexion goes. I shall like our American acquaintance the better that he has sharpened your remembrance of me, but he is also a wondrous fellow for romantic lore and antiquarian research, considering his country. I have now seen four or five well-lettered Americans, ardent in pursuit of knowledge, and free from the ignorance and forward presumption which distinguish many of their countrymen. I hope they will inoculate their country with a love of letters, so nearly allied to a desire of peace and a sense of public justice, virtues to which the great Transatlantic community is more strange than could be wished. Accept my best and most sincere wishes for the health and strength of your latest pledge of affection. When I think what you have already suffered, I can imagine with what mixture of feelings this event must necessarily affect you; but you need not to be told that we are in