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Chronicles of the Canongate by Sir Walter Scott

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by Sir Walter Scott, Bart.


Introduction to Chronicles of the Canongate.
Appendix to Introduction--The Theatrical Fund Dinner.
Introductory--Mr. Chrystal Croftangry.
The Highland Widow.
The Two Drovers.


The preceding volume of this Collection concluded the last of the
pieces originally published under the NOMINIS UMBRA of The Author
of Waverley; and the circumstances which rendered it impossible
for the writer to continue longer in the possession of his
incognito were communicated in 1827, in the Introduction to the
first series of Chronicles of the Canongate, consisting (besides
a biographical sketch of the imaginary chronicler) of three
tales, entitled "The Highland Widow," "The Two Drovers," and "The
Surgeon's Daughter." In the present volume the two first named
of these pieces are included, together with three detached
stories which appeared the year after, in the elegant compilation
called "The Keepsake." "The Surgeon's Daughter" it is thought
better to defer until a succeeding volume, than to

"Begin, and break off in the middle."

I have, perhaps, said enough on former occasions of the
misfortunes which led to the dropping of that mask under which I
had, for a long series of years, enjoyed so large a portion of
public favour. Through the success of those literary efforts, I
had been enabled to indulge most of the tastes which a retired
person of my station might be supposed to entertain. In the pen
of this nameless romancer, I seemed to possess something like the
secret fountain of coined gold and pearls vouchsafed to the
traveller of the Eastern Tale; and no doubt believed that I might
venture, without silly imprudence, to extend my personal
expenditure considerably beyond what I should have thought of,
had my means been limited to the competence which I derived from
inheritance, with the moderate income of a professional
situation. I bought, and built, and planted, and was considered
by myself, as by the rest of the world, in the safe possession of
an easy fortune. My riches, however, like the other riches of
this world, were liable to accidents, under which they were
ultimately destined to make unto themselves wings, and fly away.
The year 1825, so disastrous to many branches of industry and
commerce, did not spare the market of literature; and the sudden
ruin that fell on so many of the booksellers could scarcely have
been expected to leave unscathed one whose career had of
necessity connected him deeply and extensively with the pecuniary
transactions of that profession. In a word, almost without one
note of premonition, I found myself involved in the sweeping
catastrophe of the unhappy time, and called on to meet the
demands of creditors upon commercial establishments with which
my fortunes had long been bound up, to the extent of no less a
sum than one hundred and twenty thousand pounds.

The author having, however rashly, committed his pledges thus
largely to the hazards of trading companies, it behoved him, of
course, to abide the consequences of his conduct, and, with
whatever feelings, he surrendered on the instant every shred of
property which he had been accustomed to call his own. It became
vested in the hands of gentlemen whose integrity, prudence, and
intelligence were combined with all possible liberality and
kindness of disposition, and who readily afforded every
assistance towards the execution of plans, in the success of
which the author contemplated the possibility of his ultimate
extrication, and which were of such a nature that, had assistance
of this sort been withheld, he could have had little prospect of
carrying them into effect. Among other resources which occurred
was the project of that complete and corrected edition of his
Novels and Romances (whose real parentage had of necessity been
disclosed at the moment of the commercial convulsions alluded
to), which has now advanced with unprecedented favour nearly to
its close; but as he purposed also to continue, for the behoof of
those to whom he was indebted, the exercise of his pen in the
same path of literature, so long as the taste of his countrymen
should seem to approve of his efforts, it appeared to him that it
would have been an idle piece of affectation to attempt getting
up a new incognito, after his original visor had been thus dashed
from his brow. Hence the personal narrative prefixed to the
first work of fiction which he put forth after the paternity of
the "Waverley Novels" had come to be publicly ascertained; and
though many of the particulars originally avowed in that Notice
have been unavoidably adverted to in the Prefaces and Notes to
some of the preceding volumes of the present collection, it is
now reprinted as it stood at the time, because some interest is
generally attached to a coin or medal struck on a special
occasion, as expressing, perhaps, more faithfully than the same
artist could have afterwards conveyed, the feelings of the moment
that gave it birth. The Introduction to the first series of
Chronicles of the Canongate ran, then, in these words:--


All who are acquainted with the early history of the Italian
stage are aware that Arlecchino is not, in his original
conception, a mere worker of marvels with his wooden sword, a
jumper in and out of windows, as upon our theatre, but, as his
party-coloured jacket implies, a buffoon or clown, whose mouth,
far from being eternally closed, as amongst us, is filled, like
that of Touchstone, with quips, and cranks, and witty devices,
very often delivered extempore. It is not easy to trace how he
became possessed of his black vizard, which was anciently made in
the resemblance of the face of a cat; but it seems that the mask
was essential to the performance of the character, as will appear
from the following theatrical anecdote:--

An actor on the Italian stage permitted at the Foire du St.
Germain, in Paris, was renowned for the wild, venturous, and
extravagant wit, the brilliant sallies and fortunate repartees,
with which he prodigally seasoned the character of the party-
coloured jester. Some critics, whose good-will towards a
favourite performer was stronger than their judgment, took
occasion to remonstrate with the successful actor on the subject
of the grotesque vizard. They went wilily to their purpose,
observing that his classical and Attic wit, his delicate vein of
humour, his happy turn for dialogue, were rendered burlesque and
ludicrous by this unmeaning and bizarre disguise, and that those
attributes would become far more impressive if aided by the
spirit of his eye and the expression of his natural features.
The actor's vanity was easily so far engaged as to induce him to
make the experiment. He played Harlequin barefaced, but was
considered on all hands as having made a total failure. He had
lost the audacity which a sense of incognito bestowed, and with
it all the reckless play of raillery which gave vivacity to his
original acting. He cursed his advisers, and resumed his
grotesque vizard, but, it is said, without ever being able to
regain the careless and successful levity which the consciousness
of the disguise had formerly bestowed.

Perhaps the Author of Waverley is now about to incur a risk of
the same kind, and endanger his popularity by having laid aside
his incognito. It is certainly not a voluntary experiment, like
that of Harlequin; for it was my original intention never to have
avowed these works during my lifetime, and the original
manuscripts were carefully preserved (though by the care of
others rather than mine), with the purpose of supplying the
necessary evidence of the truth when the period of announcing it
should arrive. [These manuscripts are at present (August 1831)
advertised for public sale, which is an addition, though a small
one, to other annoyances.] But the affairs of my publishers
having, unfortunately, passed into a management different from
their own, I had no right any longer to rely upon secrecy in that
quarter; and thus my mask, like my Aunt Dinah's in "Tristram
Shandy," having begun to wax a little threadbare about the chin,
it became time to lay it aside with a good grace, unless I
desired it should fall in pieces from my face, which was now
become likely.

Yet I had not the slightest intention of selecting the time and
place in which the disclosure was finally made; nor was there any
concert betwixt my learned and respected friend LORD MEADOWBANK
and myself upon that occasion. It was, as the reader is probably
aware, upon the 23rd February last, at a public meeting, called
for establishing a professional Theatrical Fund in Edinburgh,
that the communication took place. Just before we sat down to
table, Lord Meadowbank [One of the Supreme Judges of Scotland,
termed Lords of Council and Session.] asked me privately whether
I was still anxious to preserve my incognito on the subject of
what were called the Waverley Novels? I did not immediately see
the purpose of his lordship's question, although I certainly
might have been led to infer it, and replied that the secret had
now of necessity become known to so many people that I was
indifferent on the subject. Lord Meadowbank was thus induced,
while doing me the great honour of proposing my health to the
meeting, to say something on the subject of these Novels so
strongly connecting them with me as the author, that by remaining
silent I must have stood convicted, either of the actual
paternity, or of the still greater crime of being supposed
willing to receive indirectly praise to which I had no just
title. I thus found myself suddenly and unexpectedly placed in
the confessional, and had only time to recollect that I had been
guided thither by a most friendly hand, and could not, perhaps,
find a better public opportunity to lay down a disguise which
began to resemble that of a detected masquerader.

I had therefore the task of avowing myself, to the numerous and
respectable company assembled, as the sole and unaided author of
these Novels of Waverley, the paternity of which was likely at
one time to have formed a controversy of some celebrity, for the
ingenuity with which some instructors of the public gave their
assurance on the subject was extremely persevering. I now think
it further necessary to say that, while I take on myself all the
merits and demerits attending these compositions, I am bound to
acknowledge with gratitude hints of subjects and legends which I
have received from various quarters, and have occasionally used
as a foundation of my fictitious compositions, or woven up with
them in the shape of episodes. I am bound, in particular, to
acknowledge the unremitting kindness of Mr. Joseph Train,
supervisor of excise at Dumfries, to whose unwearied industry I
have been indebted for many curious traditions and points of
antiquarian interest. It was Mr. Train who brought to my
recollection the history of Old Mortality, although I myself had
had a personal interview with that celebrated wanderer so far
back as about 1792, when I found him on his usual task. He was
then engaged in repairing the Gravestones of the Covenanters who
had died while imprisoned in the Castle of Dunnottar, to which
many of them were committed prisoners at the period of Argyle's
rising. Their place of confinement is still called the Whigs'
Vault. Mr. Train, however, procured for me far more extensive
information concerning this singular person, whose name was
Patterson, than I had been able to acquire during my own short
conversation with him. [See, for some further particulars, the
notes to Old Mortality, in the present collective edition.] He
was (as I think I have somewhere already stated) a native of the
parish of Closeburn, in Dumfriesshire; and it is believed that
domestic affliction, as well as devotional feeling, induced him
to commence the wandering mode of life which he pursued for a
very long period. It is more than twenty years since Robert
Patterson's death, which took place on the highroad near
Lockerby, where he was found exhausted and expiring. The white
pony, the companion of his pilgrimage, was standing by the side
of its dying master the whole furnishing a scene not unfitted for
the pencil. These particulars I had from Mr. Train.

Another debt, which I pay most willingly, I owe to an unknown
correspondent (a lady), [The late Mrs. Goldie.] who favoured me
with the history of the upright and high-principled female, whom,
in the Heart of Mid-Lothian, I have termed Jeanie Deans. The
circumstance of her refusing to save her sister's life by an act
of perjury, and undertaking a pilgrimage to London to obtain her
pardon, are both represented as true by my fair and obliging
correspondent; and they led me to consider the possibility of
rendering a fictitious personage interesting by mere dignity of
mind and rectitude of principle, assisted by unpretending good
sense and temper, without any of the beauty, grace, talent,
accomplishment, and wit to which a heroine of romance is supposed
to have a prescriptive right. If the portrait was received with
interest by the public, I am conscious how much it was owing to
the truth and force of the original sketch, which I regret that I
am unable to present to the public, as it was written with much
feeling and spirit.

Old and odd books, and a considerable collection of family
legends, formed another quarry, so ample that it was much more
likely that the strength of the labourer should be exhausted than
that materials should fail. I may mention, for example's sake,
that the terrible catastrophe of the Bride of Lammermoor actually
occurred in a Scottish family of rank. The female relative, by
whom the melancholy tale was communicated to me many years since,
was a near connection of the family in which the event happened,
and always told it with an appearance of melancholy mystery which
enhanced the interest. She had known in her youth the brother
who rode before the unhappy victim to the fatal altar, who,
though then a mere boy, and occupied almost entirely with the
gaiety of his own appearance in the bridal procession, could not
but remark that the hand of his sister was moist, and cold as
that of a statue. It is unnecessary further to withdraw the veil
from this scene of family distress, nor, although it occurred
more than a hundred years since, might it be altogether agreeable
to the representatives of the families concerned in the
narrative. It may be proper to say that the events alone are
imitated; but I had neither the means nor intention of copying
the manners, or tracing the characters, of the persons concerned
in the real story. Indeed, I may here state generally that,
although I have deemed historical personages free subjects of
delineation, I have never on any occasion violated the respect
due to private life. It was indeed impossible that traits proper
to persons, both living and dead, with whom I have had
intercourse in society, should not have risen to my pen in such
works as Waverley, and those which followed it. But I have
always studied to generalize the portraits, so that they should
still seem, on the whole, the productions of fancy, though
possessing some resemblance to real individuals. Yet I must own
my attempts have not in this last particular been uniformly
successful. There are men whose characters are so peculiarly
marked, that the delineation of some leading and principal
feature inevitably places the whole person before you in his
individuality. Thus, the character of Jonathan Oldbuck, in the
Antiquary, was partly founded on that of an old friend of my
youth, to whom I am indebted for introducing me to Shakespeare,
and other invaluable favours; but I thought I had so completely
disguised the likeness that his features could not be recognized
by any one now alive. I was mistaken, however, and indeed had
endangered what I desired should be considered as a secret; for I
afterwards learned that a highly-respectable gentleman, one of
the few surviving friends of my father, and an acute critic,
[James Chalmers, Esq., Solicitor at Law, London, who (died during
the publication of the present edition of these Novels. (Aug.
1831.)] had said, upon the appearance of the work, that he was
now convinced who was the author of it, as he recognized in the
Antiquary of Monkbarns traces of the character of a very intimate
friend of my father's family.

I may here also notice that the sort of exchange of gallantry
which is represented as taking place betwixt the Baron of
Bradwardine and Colonel Talbot, is a literal fact. The real
circumstances of the anecdote, alike honourable to Whig and Tory,
are these:--

Alexander Stewart of Invernahyle--a name which I cannot write
without the warmest recollections of gratitude to the friend of
my childhood, who first introduced me to the Highlands, their
traditions, and their manners--had been engaged actively in the
troubles of 1745. As he charged at the battle of Preston with
his clan, the Stewarts of Appin, he saw an officer of the
opposite army standing alone by a battery of four cannon, of
which he discharged three on the advancing Highlanders, and then
drew his sword. Invernahyle rushed on him, and required him to
surrender. "Never to rebels!" was the undaunted reply,
accompanied with a lunge, which the Highlander received on his
target, but instead of using his sword in cutting down his now
defenceless antagonist, he employed it in parrying the blow of a
Lochaber axe aimed at the officer by the Miller, one of his own
followers, a grim-looking old Highlander, whom I remember to have
seen. Thus overpowered, Lieutenant-Colonel Allan Whitefoord, a
gentleman of rank and consequence, as well as a brave officer,
gave up his sword, and with it his purse and watch, which
Invernahyle accepted, to save them from his followers. After the
affair was over, Mr. Stewart sought out his prisoner, and they
were introduced to each other by the celebrated John Roy Stewart,
who acquainted Colonel Whitefoord with the quality of his captor,
and made him aware of the necessity of receiving back his
property, which he was inclined to leave in the hands into which
it had fallen. So great became the confidence established
betwixt them, that Invernahyle obtained from the Chevalier his
prisoner's freedom upon parole; and soon afterwards, having been
sent back to the Highlands to raise men, he visited Colonel
Whitefoord at his own house, and spent two happy days with him
and his Whig friends, without thinking on either side of the
civil war which was then raging.

When the battle of Culloden put an end to the hopes of Charles
Edward, Invernahyle, wounded and unable to move, was borne from
the field by the faithful zeal of his retainers. But as he had
been a distinguished Jacobite, his family and property were
exposed to the system of vindictive destruction too generally
carried into execution through the country of the insurgents. It
was now Colonel Whitefoord's turn to exert himself, and he
wearied all the authorities, civil and military, with his
solicitations for pardon to the saver of his life, or at least
for a protection for his wife and family. His applications were
for a long time unsuccessful. "I was found with the mark of the
Beast upon me in every list," was Invernahyle's expression. At
length Colonel Whitefoord applied to the Duke of Cumberland, and
urged his suit with every argument which he could think of, being
still repulsed, he took his commission from his bosom, and having
said something of his own and his family's exertions in the cause
of the House of Hanover, begged to resign his situation in their
service, since he could not be permitted to show his gratitude to
the person to whom he owed his life. The duke, struck with his
earnestness, desired him to take up his commission, and granted
the protection required for the family of Invernahyle.

The chieftain himself lay concealed in a cave near his own house,
before which a small body of regular soldiers were encamped. He
could hear their muster-roll called every morning, and their
drums beat to quarters at night, and not a change of the
sentinels escaped him. As it was suspected that he was lurking
somewhere on the property, his family were closely watched, and
compelled to use the utmost precaution in supplying him with
food. One of his daughters, a child of eight or ten years old,
was employed as the agent least likely to be suspected. She was
an instance, among others, that a time of danger and difficulty
creates a premature sharpness of intellect. She made herself
acquainted among the soldiers, till she became so familiar to
them that her motions escaped their notice; and her practice was
to stroll away into the neighbourhood of the cave, and leave what
slender supply of food she carried for that purpose under some
remarkable stone, or the root of some tree, where her father
might find it as he crept by night from his lurking-place. Times
became milder, and my excellent friend was relieved from
proscription by the Act of Indemnity. Such is the interesting
story which I have rather injured than improved by the manner in
which it is told in Waverley.

This incident, with several other circumstances illustrating the
Tales in question, was communicated by me to my late lamented
friend, William Erskine (a Scottish judge, by the title of Lord
Kinedder), who afterwards reviewed with far too much partiality
the Tales of my Landlord, for the Quarterly Review of January
1817. [Lord Kinedder died in August 1822. EHEU! (Aug. 1831.)]
In the same article are contained other illustrations of the
Novels, with which I supplied my accomplished friend, who took
the trouble to write the review. The reader who is desirous of
such information will find the original of Meg Merrilies, and, I
believe, of one or two other personages of the same cast of
character, in the article referred to.

I may also mention that the tragic and savage circumstances which
are represented as preceding the birth of Allan MacAulay in the
Legend of Montrose, really happened in the family of Stewart of
Ardvoirlich. The wager about the candlesticks, whose place was
supplied by Highland torch-bearers, was laid and won by one of
the MacDonalds of Keppoch.

There can be but little amusement in winnowing out the few grains
of truth which are contained in this mass of empty fiction. I
may, however, before dismissing the subject, allude to the
various localities which have been affixed to some of the scenery
introduced into these Novels, by which, for example, Wolf's Hope
is identified with Fast Castle in Berwickshire, Tillietudlem with
Draphane in Clydesdale, and the valley in the Monastery, called
Glendearg, with the dale of the river Allan, above Lord
Somerville's villa, near Melrose. I can only say that, in these
and other instances, I had no purpose of describing any
particular local spot; and the resemblance must therefore be of
that general kind which necessarily exists between scenes of the
same character. The iron-bound coast of Scotland affords upon
its headlands and promontories fifty such castles as Wolf's Hope;
every county has a valley more or less resembling Glendearg; and
if castles like Tillietudlem, or mansions like the Baron of
Bradwardine's, are now less frequently to be met with, it is
owing to the rage of indiscriminate destruction, which has
removed or ruined so many monuments of antiquity, when they were
not protected by their inaccessible situation. [I would
particularly intimate the Kaim of Uric, on the eastern coast of
Scotland, as having suggested an idea for the tower called Wolf's
Crag, which the public more generally identified with the ancient
tower of Fast Castle.]

The scraps of poetry which have been in most cases tacked to the
beginning of chapters in these Novels are sometimes quoted either
from reading or from memory, but, in the general case, are pure
invention. I found it too troublesome to turn to the collection
of the British Poets to discover apposite mottoes, and, in the
situation of the theatrical mechanist, who, when the white paper
which represented his shower of snow was exhausted, continued the
storm by snowing brown, I drew on my memory as long as I could,
and when that failed, eked it out with invention. I believe that
in some cases, where actual names are affixed to the supposed
quotations, it would be to little purpose to seek them in the
works of the authors referred to. In some cases I have been
entertained when Dr. Watts and other graver authors have been
ransacked in vain for stanzas for which the novelist alone was

And now the reader may expect me, while in the confessional, to
explain the motives why I have so long persisted in disclaiming
the works of which I am now writing. To this it would be
difficult to give any other reply, save that of Corporal Nym--it
was the author's humour or caprice for the time. I hope it will
not be construed into ingratitude to the public, to whose
indulgence I have owed my SANG-FROID much more than to any merit
of my own, if I confess that I am, and have been, more
indifferent to success or to failure as an author, than may be
the case with others, who feel more strongly the passion for
literary fame, probably because they are justly conscious of a
better title to it. It was not until I had attained the age of
thirty years that I made any serious attempt at distinguishing
myself as an author; and at that period men's hopes, desires, and
wishes have usually acquired something of a decisive character,
and are not eagerly and easily diverted into a new channel. When
I made the discovery--for to me it was one--that by amusing
myself with composition, which I felt a delightful occupation, I
could also give pleasure to others, and became aware that
literary pursuits were likely to engage in future a considerable
portion of my time, I felt some alarm that I might acquire those
habits of jealousy and fretfulness which have lessened, and even
degraded, the character even of great authors, and rendered them,
by their petty squabbles and mutual irritability, the laughing-
stock of the people of the world. I resolved, therefore, in this
respect to guard my breast--perhaps an unfriendly critic may add,
my brow--with triple brass, [Not altogether impossible, when it
is considered that I have been at the bar since 1792. (Aug.
1831.)] and as much as possible to avoid resting my thoughts and
wishes upon literary success, lest I should endanger my own peace
of mind and tranquillity by literary failure. It would argue
either stupid apathy or ridiculous affectation to say that I have
been insensible to the public applause, when I have been honoured
with its testimonies; and still more highly do I prize the
invaluable friendships which some temporary popularity has
enabled me to form among those of my contemporaries most
distinguished by talents and genius, and which I venture to hope
now rest upon a basis more firm than the circumstances which gave
rise to them. Yet, feeling all these advantages as a man ought
to do, and must do, I may say, with truth and confidence, that I
have, I think, tasted of the intoxicating cup with moderation,
and that I have never, either in conversation or correspondence,
encouraged discussions respecting my own literary pursuits. On
the contrary, I have usually found such topics, even when
introduced from motives most flattering to myself, Rather
embarrassing and disagreeable.

I have now frankly told my motives for concealment, so far as I
am conscious of having any, and the public will forgive the
egotism of the detail, as what is necessarily connected with it.
The author, so long and loudly called for, has appeared on the
stage, and made his obeisance to the audience. Thus far his
conduct is a mark of respect. To linger in their presence would
be intrusion.

I have only to repeat that I avow myself in print, as formerly in
words, the sole and unassisted author of all the Novels published
as works of "The Author of Waverley." I do this without shame,
for I am unconscious that there is any thing in their composition
which deserves reproach, either on the score of religion or
morality; and without any feeling of exultation, because,
whatever may have been their temporary success, I am well aware
how much their reputation depends upon the caprice of fashion;
and I have already mentioned the precarious tenure by which it is
held, as a reason for displaying no great avidity in grasping at
the possession.

I ought to mention, before concluding, that twenty persons, at
least, were, either from intimacy, or from the confidence which
circumstances rendered necessary, participant of this secret; and
as there was no instance, to my knowledge, of any one of the
number breaking faith, I am the more obliged to them, because the
slight and trivial character of the mystery was not qualified to
inspire much respect in those entrusted with it. Nevertheless,
like Jack the Giant-Killer, I was fully confident in the
advantage of my "Coat of Darkness;" and had it not been from
compulsory circumstances, I would have, indeed, been very
cautious how I parted with it.

As for the work which follows, it was meditated, and in part
printed, long before the avowal of the novels took place, and
originally commenced with a declaration that it was neither to
have introduction nor preface of any kind. This long proem,
prefixed to a work intended not to have any, may, however, serve
to show how human purposes in the most trifling, as well as the
most important affairs, are liable to be controlled by the course
of events. Thus we begin to cross a strong river with our eyes
and our resolution fixed on that point of the opposite shore on
which we purpose to land; but gradually giving way to the
torrent, are glad, by the aid perhaps of branch or bush, to
extricate ourselves at some distant and perhaps dangerous
landing-place, much farther down the stream than that on which we
had fixed our intentions.

Hoping that the Courteous Reader will afford to a known and
familiar acquaintance some portion of the favour which he
extended to a disguised candidate for his applause, I beg leave
to subscribe myself his obliged humble servant,




Such was the little narrative which I thought proper to put forth
in October 1827; nor have I much to add to it now. About to
appear for the first time in my own name in this department of
letters, it occurred to me that something in the shape of a
periodical publication might carry with it a certain air of
novelty, and I was willing to break, if I may so express it, the
abruptness of my personal forthcoming, by investing an imaginary
coadjutor with at least as much distinctness of individual
existence as I had ever previously thought it worth while to
bestow on shadows of the same convenient tribe. Of course, it
had never been in my contemplation to invite the assistance of
any real person in the sustaining of my quasi-editorial character
and labours. It had long been my opinion, that any thing like a
literary PICNIC is likely to end in suggesting comparisons,
justly termed odious, and therefore to be avoided; and, indeed, I
had also had some occasion to know, that promises of assistance,
in efforts of that order, are apt to be more magnificent than the
subsequent performance. I therefore planned a Miscellany, to be
dependent, after the old fashion, on my own resources alone, and
although conscious enough that the moment which assigned to the
Author of Waverley "a local habitation and a name," had seriously
endangered his spell, I felt inclined to adopt the sentiment of
my old hero Montrose, and to say to myself, that in literature,
as in war,--

"He either fears his fate too much,
Or his deserts are small,
Who dares not put it to the touch,
To win or lose it all."

To the particulars explanatory of the plan of these Chronicles,
which the reader is presented with in Chapter II. by the
imaginary Editor, Mr. Croftangry, I have now to add, that the
lady, termed in his narrative, Mrs. Bethune Balliol, was designed
to shadow out in its leading points the interesting character of
a dear friend of mine, Mrs. Murray Keith, whose death occurring
shortly before, had saddened a wide circle, much attached to her,
as well for her genuine virtue and amiable qualities of
disposition, as for the extent of information which she
possessed, and the delightful manner in which she was used to
communicate it. In truth, the author had, on many occasions,
been indebted to her vivid memory for the SUBSTRATUM of his
Scottish fictions, and she accordingly had been, from an early
period, at no loss to fix the Waverley Novels on the right

[The Keiths of Craig, in Kincardineshire, descended from John
Keith, fourth son of William, second Earl Marischal, who got from
his father, about 1480, the lands of Craig, and part of Garvock,
in that county. In Douglas's Baronage, 443 to 445, is a pedigree
of that family. Colonel Robert Keith of Craig (the seventh in
descent from John) by his wife, Agnes, daughter of Robert Murray
of Murrayshall, of the family of Blackbarony, widow of Colonel
Stirling, of the family of Keir, had one son--namely Robert Keith
of Craig, ambassador to the court of Vienna, afterwards to St.
Petersburgh, which latter situation he held at the accession of
King George III.--who died at Edinburgh in 1774. He married
Margaret, second daughter of Sir William Cunningham of
Caprington, by Janet, only child and heiress of Sir James Dick of
Prestonfield; and, among other children of this marriage were the
late well-known diplomatist, Sir Robert Murray Keith, K.B., a
general in the army, and for some time ambassador at Vienna; Sir
Basil Keith, Knight, captain in the navy, who died Governor of
Jamaica; and my excellent friend, Anne Murray Keith, who
ultimately came into possession of the family estates, and died
not long before the date of this Introduction (1831).]

In the sketch of Chrystal Croftangry's own history, the author
has been accused of introducing some not polite allusions to
respectable living individuals; but he may safely, he presumes,
pass over such an insinuation. The first of the narratives which
Mr. Croftangry proceeds to lay before the public, "The Highland
Widow," was derived from Mrs. Murray Keith, and is given, with
the exception of a few additional circumstances--the introduction
of which I am rather inclined to regret--very much as the
excellent old lady used to tell the story. Neither the Highland
cicerone Macturk nor the demure washingwoman, were drawn from
imagination; and on re-reading my tale, after the lapse of a few
years, and comparing its effect with my remembrance of my worthy
friend's oral narration, which was certainly extremely affecting,
I cannot but suspect myself of having marred its simplicity by
some of those interpolations, which, at the time when I penned
them, no doubt passed with myself for embellishments.

The next tale, entitled "The Two Drovers," I learned from another
old friend, the late George Constable, Esq. of Wallace-Craigie,
near Dundee, whom I have already introduced to my reader as the
original Antiquary of Monkbarns. He had been present, I think,
at the trial at Carlisle, and seldom mentioned the venerable
judges charge to the jury, without shedding tears,--which had
peculiar pathos, as flowing down features, carrying rather a
sarcastic or almost a cynical expression.

This worthy gentleman's reputation for shrewd Scottish sense,
knowledge of our national antiquities, and a racy humour peculiar
to himself, must be still remembered. For myself, I have pride
in recording that for many years we were, in Wordsworth's

"A pair of friends, though I was young,
And 'George' was seventy-two."

W. S.

ABBOTSFORD, AUG. 15, 1831.



[It has been suggested to the Author that it might be well to
reprint here a detailed account of the public dinner alluded to
in the foregoing Introduction, as given in the newspapers of the
time; and the reader is accordingly presented with the following
extract from the EDINBURGH WEEKLY JOURNAL for Wednesday, 28th
February, 1827.]


Before proceeding with our account of this very interesting
festival--for so it may be termed--it is our duty to present to
our readers the following letter, which we have received from the


Sir,--I am extremely sorry I have not leisure to correct the copy
you sent me of what I am stated to have said at the dinner for
the Theatrical Fund. I am no orator, and upon such occasions as
are alluded to, I say as well as I can what the time requires.

However, I hope your reporter has been more accurate in other
instances than in mine. I have corrected one passage, in which I
am made to speak with great impropriety and petulance, respecting
the opinions of those who do not approve of dramatic
entertainments. I have restored what I said, which was meant to
be respectful, as every objection founded in conscience is, in my
opinion, entitled to be so treated. Other errors I left as I
found them, it being of little consequence whether I spoke sense
or nonsense in what was merely intended for the purpose of the

I am, sir,

Your obedient servant,



The Theatrical Fund Dinner, which took place on Friday, in the
Assembly Rooms, was conducted with admirable spirit. The
Chairman, Sir WALTER SCOTT, among his other great qualifications,
is well fitted to enliven such an entertainment. His manners are
extremely easy, and his style of speaking simple and natural, yet
full of vivacity and point; and he has the art, if it be art, of
relaxing into a certain homeliness of manner, without losing one
particle of his dignity. He thus takes off some of that solemn
formality which belongs to such meetings, and, by his easy, and
graceful familiarity, imparts to them somewhat of the pleasing
character of a private entertainment. Near Sir W. Scott sat the
Earl of Fife, Lord Meadowbank, Sir John Hope of Pinkie, Bart.,
Admiral Adam, Baron Clerk Rattray, Gilbert Innes, Esq., James
Walker, Esq., Robert Dundas, Esq., Alexander Smith, Esq., etc.

The cloth being removed, "Non nobis, Domine," was sung by Messrs.
Thorne, Swift, Collier, and Hartley, after which the following
toasts were given from the chair:--

"The King"--all the honours.

"The Duke of Clarence and the Royal Family."

The CHAIRMAN, in proposing the next toast, which he wished to be
drunk in solemn silence, said it was to the memory of a
regretted-prince, whom we had lately lost. Every individual
would at once conjecture to whom he alluded. He had no intention
to dwell on his military merits. They had been told in the
senate; they had been repeated in the cottage; and whenever a
soldier was the theme, his name was never far distant. But it
was chiefly in connection with the business of this meeting,
which his late Royal Highness had condescended in a particular
manner to patronize, that they were called on to drink his
health. To that charity he had often sacrificed his time, and
had given up the little leisure which he had from important
business. He was always ready to attend on every occasion of
this kind, and it was in that view that he proposed to drink to
the memory of his late Royal Highness the Duke of York.--Drunk in
solemn silence.

The CHAIRMAN then requested that gentlemen would fill a bumper as
full as it would hold, while he would say only a few words. He
was in the habit of hearing speeches, and he knew the feeling
with which long ones were regarded. He was sure that it was
perfectly unnecessary for him to enter into any vindication of
the dramatic art, which they had come here to support. This,
however, he considered to be the proper time and proper occasion
for him to say a few words on that love of representation which
was an innate feeling in human nature. It was the first
amusement that the child had. It grew greater as he grew up; and
even in the decline of life nothing amuses so much as when a
common tale is told with appropriate personification. The first
thing a child does is to ape his schoolmaster by flogging a
chair. The assuming a character ourselves, or the seeing others
assume an imaginary character, is an enjoyment natural to
humanity. It was implanted in our very nature to take pleasure
from such representations, at proper times and on proper
occasions. In all ages the theatrical art had kept pace with the
improvement of mankind, and with the progress of letters and the
fine arts. As man has advanced from the ruder stages of society,
the love of dramatic representations has increased, and all works
of this nature have keen improved in character and in structure.
They had only to turn their eyes to the history of ancient
Greece, although he did not pretend to be very deeply versed in
its ancient drama. Its first tragic poet commanded a body of
troops at the battle of Marathon. Sophocles and Euripides were
men of rank in Athens when Athens was in its highest renown.
They shook Athens with their discourses, as their theatrical
works shook the theatre itself. If they turned to France in the
time of Louis the Fourteenth--that era which is the classical
history of that country--they would find that it was referred to
by all Frenchmen as the golden age of the drama there. And also
in England in the time of Queen Elizabeth the drama was at its
highest pitch, when the nation began to mingle deeply and wisely
in the general politics of Europe, not only not receiving laws
from others, but giving laws to the world, and vindicating the
rights of mankind. (Cheers.) There have been various times when
the dramatic art subsequently fell into disrepute. Its
professors have been stigmatized, and laws have been passed
against them, less dishonourable to them than to the statesmen by
whom they were proposed, and to the legislators by whom they were
adopted. What were the times in which these laws were passed?
Was it not when virtue was seldom inculcated as a moral duty that
we were required to relinquish the most rational of all our
amusements, when the clergy were enjoined celibacy, and when the
laity were denied the right to read their Bibles? He thought
that it must have been from a notion of penance that they erected
the drama into an ideal place of profaneness, and spoke of the
theatre as of the tents of sin. He did not mean to dispute that
there were many excellent persons who thought differently from
him, and he disclaimed the slightest idea of charging them with
bigotry or hypocrisy on that account. He gave them full credit
for their tender consciences, in making these objections,
although they did not appear relevant to him. But to these
persons, being, as he believed them, men of worth and piety, he
was sure the purpose of this meeting would furnish some apology
for an error, if there be any, in the opinions of those who
attend. They would approve the gift, although they might differ
in other points. Such might not approve of going to the theatre,
but at least could not deny that they might give away from their
superfluity what was required for the relief of the sick, the
support of the aged, and the comfort of the afflicted. These
were duties enjoined by our religion itself. (Loud cheers.)

The performers are in a particular manner entitled to the support
or regard, when in old age or distress, of those who have
partaken of the amusements of those places which they render an
ornament to society. Their art was of a peculiarly delicate and
precarious nature. They had to serve a long apprenticeship. It
was very long before even the first-rate geniuses could acquire
the mechanical knowledge of the stage business. They must
languish long in obscurity before they can avail themselves of
their natural talents; and after that they have but a short space
of time, during which they are fortunate if they can provide the
means of comfort in the decline of life. That comes late, and
lasts but a short time; after which they are left dependent.
Their limbs fail--their teeth are loosened--their voice is lost
and they are left, after giving happiness to others, in a most
disconsolate state. The public were liberal and generous to
those deserving their protection. It was a sad thing to be
dependent on the favour, or, he might say, in plain terms, on the
caprice, of the public; and this more particularly for a class of
persons of whom extreme prudence is not the character. There
might be instances of opportunities being neglected. But let
each gentleman tax himself, and consider the opportunities THEY
had neglected, and the sums of money THEY had wasted; let every
gentleman look into his own bosom, and say whether these were
circumstances which would soften his own feelings, were he to be
plunged into distress. He put it to every generous bosom--to
every better feeling--to say what consolation was it to old age
to be told that you might have made provision at a time which had
been neglected--(loud cheers)--and to find it objected, that if
you had pleased you might have been wealthy. He had hitherto
been speaking of what, in theatrical language, was called STARS;
but they were sometimes falling ones. There was another class of
sufferers naturally and necessarily connected with the theatre,
without whom it was impossible to go on. The sailors have a
saying, Every man cannot be a boatswain. If there must be a
great actor to act Hamlet, there must also be people to act
Laertes, the King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern, otherwise a
drama cannot go on. If even Garrick himself were to rise from
the dead, he could not act Hamlet alone. There must be generals,
colonels, commanding-officers, subalterns. But what are the
private soldiers to do? Many have mistaken their own talents,
and have been driven in early youth to try the stage, to which
they are not competent. He would know what to say to the
indifferent poet and to the bad artist. He would say that it was
foolish, and he would recommend to the poet to become a scribe,
and the artist to paint sign-posts. (Loud laughter.) But you
could not send the player adrift; for if he cannot play Hamlet,
he must play Guildenstern. Where there are many labourers, wages
must be low and no man in such a situation can decently support a
wife and family, and save something off his income for old age.
What is this man to do in later life? Are you to cast him off
like an old hinge, or a piece of useless machinery, which has
done its work? To a person who had contributed to our amusement,
this would be unkind, ungrateful, and unchristian. His wants are
not of his own making, but arise from the natural sources of
sickness and old age. It cannot be denied that there is one
class of sufferers to whom no imprudence can be ascribed, except
on first entering on the profession. After putting his hand to
the dramatic plough, he cannot draw back, but must continue at
it, and toil, till death release him from want, or charity, by
its milder influence, steps in to render that want more
tolerable. He had little more to say, except that he sincerely
hoped that the collection to-day, from the number of respectable
gentlemen present, would meet the views entertained by the
patrons. He hoped it would do so. They should not be
disheartened. Though they could not do a great deal, they might
do something. They had this consolation, that everything they
parted with from their superfluity would do some good. They
would sleep the better themselves when they had been the means of
giving sleep to others. It was ungrateful and unkind that those
who had sacrificed their youth to our amusement should not
receive the reward due to them, but should be reduced to hard
fare in their old age. We cannot think of poor Falstaff going to
bed without his cup of sack, or Macbeth fed on bones as
marrowless as those of Banquo. (Loud cheers and laughter.) As he
believed that they were all as fond of the dramatic art as he was
in his younger days, he would propose that they should drink "The
Theatrical Fund," with three times three.

Mr. MACKAY rose, on behalf of his brethren, to return their
thanks for the toast just drunk. Many of the gentlemen present,
he said, were perhaps not fully acquainted with the nature and
intention of the institution, and it might not be amiss to enter
into some explanation on the subject. With whomsoever the idea
of a Theatrical Fund might have originated (and it had been
disputed by the surviving relatives of two or three individuals),
certain it was that the first legally constituted Theatrical Fund
owed its origin to one of the brightest ornaments of the
profession, the late David Garrick. That eminent actor conceived
that, by a weekly subscription in the theatre, a fund might be
raised among its members, from which a portion might be given to
those of his less fortunate brethren, and thus an opportunity
would be offered for prudence to provide what fortune had denied
--a comfortable provision for the winter of life. With the
welfare of his profession constantly at heart, the zeal with
which he laboured to uphold its respectability, and to impress
upon the minds or his brethren, not only the necessity, but the
blessing of independence, the Fund became his peculiar care. He
drew up a form of laws for its government, procured at his own
expense the passing of an Act of Parliament for its confirmation,
bequeathed to it a handsome legacy, and thus became the father of
the Drury Lane Fund. So constant was his attachment to this
infant establishment, that he chose to grace the close of the
brightest theatrical life on record by the last display of his
transcendent talent on the occasion of a benefit for this child
of his adoption, which ever since has gone by the name of the
Garrick Fund. In imitation of his noble example, funds had been
established in several provincial theatres in England; but it
remained for Mrs. Henry Siddons and Mr. William Murray to become
the founders of the first Theatrical Fund in Scotland. (Cheers.)
This Fund commenced under the most favourable auspices. It was
liberally supported by the management, and highly patronized by
the public. Notwithstanding, it fell short in the accomplishment
of its intentions. What those intentions were, he (Mr. Mackay)
need not recapitulate, but they failed; and he did not hesitate
to confess that a want of energy on the part of the performers
was the probable cause. A new set of Rules and Regulations were
lately drawn up, submitted to and approved of at a general
meeting of the members of the Theatre, and accordingly the Fund
was remodelled on the 1st of January last. And here he thought
he did but echo the feelings of his brethren, by publicly
acknowledging the obligations they were under to the management
for the aid given and the warm interest they had all along taken
in the welfare of the Fund. (Cheers.) The nature and object of
the profession had been so well treated of by the President that
he would say nothing; but of the numerous offspring of science
and genius that court precarious fame, the actor boasts the
slenderest claim of all--the sport of fortune, the creatures of
fashion, and the victims of caprice, they are seen, heard, and
admired, but to be forgot. They leave no trace, no memorial of
their existence--they "come like shadows, so depart." (Cheers.)
Yet humble though their pretensions be, there was no profession,
trade, or calling where such a combination of requisites, mental
and bodily, were indispensable. In all others the principal may
practise after he has been visited by the afflicting hand of
Providence--some by the loss of limb, some of voice, and many,
when the faculty of the mind is on the wane, may be assisted by
dutiful children or devoted servants. Not so the actor, He must
retain all he ever did possess, or sink dejected to a mournful
home. (Applause.) Yet while they are toiling for ephemeral
theatric fame, how very few ever possess the means of hoarding in
their youth that which would give bread in old age! But now a
brighter prospect dawned upon them, and to the success of this
their infant establishment they looked with hope, as to a
comfortable and peaceful home in their declining years. He
concluded by tendering to the meeting, in the name of his
brethren and sisters, their unfeigned thanks for their liberal
support, and begged to propose "The Health of the Patrons of the
Edinburgh Theatrical Fund." (Cheers.)

Lord MEADOWBANK said that, by desire of his Hon. Friend in the
chair, and of his Noble Friend at his right hand, he begged leave
to return thanks for the honour which had been conferred on the
Patrons of this excellent institution. He could answer for
himself--he could answer for them all--that they were deeply
impressed with the meritorious objects which it has in view, and
of their anxious wish to promote its interests. For himself, he
hoped he might be permitted to say that he was rather surprised
at finding his own name as one of the Patrons, associated with so
many individuals of high rank and powerful influence. But it was
an excuse for those who had placed him in a situation so
honourable and so distinguished, that when this charity was
instituted he happened to hold a high and responsible station
under the Crown, when he might have been of use in assisting and
promoting its objects. His Lordship much feared that he could
have little expectation, situated as he now was, of doing either;
but he could confidently assert that few things would give him
greater gratification than being able to contribute to its
prosperity and support. And indeed, when one recollects the
pleasure which at all periods of life he has received from the
exhibitions of the stage, and the exertions of the meritorious
individuals for whose aid this Fund has been established, he must
be divested both of gratitude and feeling who would not give his
best endeavours to promote its welfare. And now, that he might
in some measure repay the gratification which had been afforded
himself, he would beg leave to propose a toast, the health of one
of the Patrons, a great and distinguished individual, whose name
must always stand by itself, and which, in an assembly such as
this, or in any other assembly of Scotsmen, can never be
received, not, he would say, with ordinary feelings of pleasure
or of delight, but with those of rapture and enthusiasm. In
doing so he felt that he stood in a somewhat new situation.
Whoever had been called upon to propose the health of his Hon.
Friend to whom he alluded, some time ago, would have found
himself enabled, from the mystery in which certain matters were
involved, to gratify himself and his auditors by allusions which
found a responding chord in their own feelings, and to deal in
the language, the sincere language, of panegyric, without
intruding on the modesty of the great individual to whom he
referred. But it was no longer possible, consistently with the
respect to one's auditors, to use upon this subject terms either
of mystification or of obscure or indirect allusion. The clouds
have been dispelled; the DARKNESS VISIBLE has been cleared away;
and the Great Unknown--the minstrel of our native land--the
mighty magician who has rolled back the current of time, and
conjured up before our living senses the men and the manners of
days which have long passed away--stands revealed to the hearts
and the eyes of his affectionate and admiring countrymen. If he
himself were capable of imagining all that belonged to this
mighty subject--were he even able to give utterance to all that,
as a friend, as a man, and as a Scotsman, he must feel regarding
it--yet knowing, as he well did, that this illustrious individual
was not more distinguished for his towering talents than for
those feelings which rendered such allusions ungrateful to
himself, however sparingly introduced, he would, on that account,
still refrain from doing that which would otherwise be no less
pleasing to him than to his audience. But this his Lordship,
hoped he would be allowed to say (his auditors would not pardon
him were he to say less), we owe to him, as a people, a large and
heavy debt of gratitude. He it is who has opened to foreigners
the grand and characteristic beauties of our country. It is to
him that we owe that our gallant ancestors and the struggles of
our illustrious patriots--who fought and bled in order to obtain
and secure that independence and that liberty we now enjoy--have
obtained a fame no longer confined to the boundaries of a remote
and comparatively obscure nation, and who has called down upon
their struggles for glory and freedom the admiration of foreign
countries. He it is who has conferred a new reputation on our
national character, and bestowed on Scotland an imperishable
name, were it only by her having given birth to himself. (Loud
and rapturous applause.)

Sir WALTER SCOTT certainly did not think that, in coming here to-
day, he would have the task of acknowledging, before three
hundred gentlemen, a secret which, considering that it was
communicated to more than twenty people, had been remarkably well
kept. He was now before the bar of his country, and might be
understood to be on trial before Lord Meadowbank as an offender;
yet he was sure that every impartial jury would bring in a
verdict of Not Proven. He did not now think it necessary to
enter into the reasons of his long silence. Perhaps caprice
might have a consider able share in it. He had now to say,
however, that the merits of these works, if they had any, and
their faults, were entirely imputable to himself. (Long and loud
cheering.) He was afraid to think on what he had done. "Look
on't again I dare not." He had thus far unbosomed himself and he
knew that it would be reported to the public. He meant, then,
seriously to state, that when he said he was the author, he was
the total and undivided author. With the exception of
quotations, there was not a single word that was not derived from
himself, or suggested in the course of his reading. The wand was
now broken, and the book buried. You will allow me further to
say, with Prospero, it is your breath that has filled my sails,
and to crave one single toast in the capacity of the author of
these novels; and he would dedicate a bumper to the health of one
who has represented some of those characters, of which he had
endeavoured to give the skeleton, with a degree of liveliness
which rendered him grateful. He would propose "The Health of
his friend Bailie Nicol Jarvie"--(loud applause)--and he was sure
that when the author of Waverley and Rob Roy drinks to Nicol
Jarvie, it would be received with that degree of applause to
which that gentleman has always been accustomed, and that they
would take care that on the present occasion it should be
PRODIGIOUS! (Long and vehement applause.)

Mr. MACKAY, who here spoke with great humour in the character of
Bailie Jarvie.--My conscience! My worthy father the deacon could
not have believed that his son could hae had sic a compliment
paid to him by the Great Unknown!

Sir WALTER SCOTT.--The Small Known now, Mr. Bailie.

Mr. MACKAY.--He had been long identified with the Bailie, and he
was vain of the cognomen which he had now worn for eight years;
and he questioned if any of his brethren in the Council had given
such universal satisfaction. (Loud laughter and applause.)
Before he sat down, he begged to propose "The Lord Provost and
the City of Edinburgh."

Sir WALTER SCOTT apologized for the absence of the Lord Provost,
who had gone to London on public business.

Tune--"Within a mile of Edinburgh town."

Sir WALTER SCOTT gave "The Duke of Wellington and the army."

Glee--"How merrily we live."

Lord Melville and the Navy, that fought till they left nobody to
fight with, like an arch sportsman who clears all and goes after
the game."

Mr. PAT. ROBERTSON.--They had heard this evening a toast, which
had been received with intense delight, which will be published
in every newspaper, and will be hailed with joy by all Europe.
He had one toast assigned him which he had great pleasure in
giving. He was sure that the stage had in all ages a great
effect on the morals and manners of the people. It was very
desirable that the stage should be well regulated; and there was
no criterion by which its regulation could be better determined
than by the moral character and personal respectability of the
performers. He was not one of those stern moralists who objected
to the theatre. The most fastidious moralist could not possibly
apprehend any injury from the stage of Edinburgh, as it was
presently managed, and so long as it was adorned by that
illustrious individual, Mrs. Henry Siddons, whose public
exhibitions were not more remarkable for feminine grace and
delicacy than was her private character for every virtue which
could be admired in domestic life. He would conclude with
reciting a few words from Shakespeare, in a spirit not of
contradiction to those stern moralists who disliked the theatre,
but of meekness: "Good, my lord, will you see the players well
bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used, for they are the
abstract and brief chronicles of the time." He then gave "Mrs.
Henry Siddons, and success to the Theatre Royal of Edinburgh."

Mr. MURRAY.--Gentlemen, I rise to return thanks for the honour
you have done Mrs. Siddons, in doing which I am somewhat
difficulted, from the extreme delicacy which attends a brother's
expatiating upon a sister's claims to honours publicly paid--
(hear, hear)--yet, gentlemen, your kindness emboldens me to say
that, were I to give utterance to all a brother's feelings, I
should not exaggerate those claims. (Loud applause.) I
therefore, gentlemen, thank you most cordially for the honour you
have done her, and shall now request permission to make an
observation on the establishment of the Edinburgh Theatrical
Fund. Mr. Mackay has done Mrs. Henry Siddons and myself the
honour to ascribe the establishment to us. But no, gentlemen, it
owes its origin to a higher source--the publication of the novel
of Rob Roy--the unprecedented success of the opera adapted from
that popular production. (Hear, hear.) It was that success which
relieved the Edinburgh Theatre from its difficulties, and enabled
Mrs. Siddons to carry into effect the establishment of a fund she
had long desired, but was prevented from effecting from the
unsettled state of her theatrical concerns. I therefore hope
that in future years, when the aged and infirm actor derives
relief from this fund, he will, in the language of the gallant
Highlander, "Cast his eye to good old Scotland, and not forget
Rob Roy." (Loud applause.)

Sir WALTER SCOTT here stated that Mrs. Siddons wanted the means
but not the will of beginning the Theatrical Fund. He here
alluded to the great merits of Mr. Murray's management, and to
his merits as an actor, which were of the first order, and of
which every person who attends the Theatre must be sensible; and
after alluding to the embarrassments with which the Theatre had
been at one period threatened, he concluded by giving "The Health
of Mr. Murray," which was drunk with three times three.

Mr. MURRAY.--Gentlemen, I wish I could believe that in any degree
I merited the compliments with which it has pleased Sir Walter
Scott to preface the proposal of my health, or the very
flattering manner in which you have done me the honour to receive
it. The approbation of such an assembly is most gratifying to
me, and might encourage feelings of vanity, were not such
feelings crushed by my conviction that no man holding the
situation I have so long held in Edinburgh could have failed,
placed in the peculiar circumstances in which I have been placed.
Gentlemen, I shall not insult your good taste by eulogiums upon
your judgment or kindly feeling, though to the first I owe any
improvement I may have made as an actor, and certainly my success
as a manager to the second. (Applause.) When, upon the death of
my dear brother, the late Mr. Siddons, it was proposed that I
should undertake the management of the Edinburgh Theatre, I
confess I drew back, doubting my capability to free it from the
load of debt and difficulty with which it was surrounded. In
this state of anxiety, I solicited the advice of one who had ever
honoured me with his kindest regard, and whose name no member of
my profession can pronounce without feelings of the deepest
respect and gratitude. I allude to the late Mr. John Kemble.
(Great applause.) To him I applied, and with the repetition of
his advice I shall cease to trespass upon your time--(hear, hear)
--"My dear William, fear not. Integrity and assiduity must prove
an overmatch for all difficulty; and though I approve your not
indulging a vain confidence in your own ability, and viewing with
respectful apprehension the judgment of the audience you have to
act before, yet be assured that judgment will ever be tempered by
the feeling that you are acting for the widow and the
fatherless." (Loud applause.) Gentlemen, those words have never
passed from my mind; and I feel convinced that you have pardoned
my many errors, from the feeling that I was striving for the
widow and the fatherless. (Long and enthusiastic applause
followed Mr. Murray's address.)

Sir WALTER SCOTT gave "The Health of the Stewards."

Mr. VANDENHOFF.---Mr. President and Gentlemen, the honour
conferred upon the Stewards, in the very flattering compliment
you have just paid us, calls forth our warmest acknowledgments.
In tendering you our thanks for the approbation you have been
pleased to express of our humble exertions, I would beg leave to
advert to the cause in which we have been engaged. Yet,
surrounded as I am by the genius--the eloquence--of this
enlightened city, I cannot but feel the presumption which
ventures to address you on so interesting a subject. Accustomed
to speak in the language of others, I feel quite at a loss for
terms wherein to clothe the sentiments excited by the present
occasion. (Applause.) The nature of the institution which has
sought your fostering patronage, and the objects which it
contemplates, have been fully explained to you. But, gentlemen,
the relief which it proposes is not a gratuitous relief, but to
be purchased by the individual contribution of its members
towards the general good. This Fund lends no encouragement to
idleness or improvidence, but it offers an opportunity to
prudence in vigour and youth to make provision against the
evening of life and its attendant infirmity. A period is fixed
at which we admit the plea of age as an exemption from
professional labour. It is painful to behold the veteran on the
stage (compelled by necessity) contending against physical decay,
mocking the joyousness of mirth with the feebleness of age, when
the energies decline, when the memory fails! and "the big, manly
voice, turning again towards childish treble, pipes and whistles
in the sound." We would remove him from the mimic scene, where
fiction constitutes the charm; we would not view old age
caricaturing itself. (Applause.) But as our means may be found,
in time of need, inadequate to the fulfilment of our wishes--
fearful of raising expectations which we may be unable to
gratify--desirous not "to keep the word of promise to the ear,
and break it to the hope"--we have presumed to court the
assistance of the friends of the drama to strengthen our infant
institution. Our appeal has been successful beyond our most
sanguine expectations. The distinguished patronage conferred on
us by your presence on this occasion, and the substantial support
which your benevolence has so liberally afforded to our
institution, must impress every member of the Fund with the most
grateful sentiments--sentiments which no language can express, no
time obliterate. (Applause.) I will not trespass longer on your
attention. I would the task of acknowledging our obligation had
fallen into abler hands. (Hear, hear.) In the name of the
Stewards, I most respectfully and cordially thank you for the
honour you have done us, which greatly overpays our poor
endeavours. (Applause.)

[This speech, though rather inadequately reported, was one of the
best delivered on this occasion. That it was creditable to Mr.
Vandenhoff's taste and feelings, the preceding sketch will show;
but how much it was so, it does not show.]

Mr. J. CAY gave "Professor Wilson and the University of
Edinburgh, of which he was one of the brightest ornaments"

Lord MEADOWBANK, after a suitable eulogium, gave "The Earl of
Fife," which was drunk with three times three.

Earl FIFE expressed his high gratification at the honour
conferred on him. He intimated his approbation of the
institution, and his readiness to promote its success by every
means in his power. He concluded with giving "The Health of the
Company of Edinburgh."

Mr. JONES, on rising to return thanks, being received with
considerable applause, said he was truly grateful for the kind
encouragement he had experienced, but the novelty of the
situation in which he now was renewed all the feelings he
experienced when he first saw himself announced in the bills as a
young gentleman, being his first appearance on any stage.
(Laughter and applause.) Although in the presence of those whose
indulgence had, in another sphere, so often shielded him from the
penalties of inability, he was unable to execute the task which
had so unexpectedly devolved upon him in behalf of his brethren
and himself. He therefore begged the company to imagine all that
grateful hearts could prompt the most eloquent to utter, and that
would be a copy of their feelings. (Applause.) He begged to
trespass another moment on their attention, for the purpose of
expressing the thanks of the members of the Fund to the Gentlemen
of the Edinburgh Professional Society of Musicians, who, finding
that this meeting was appointed to take place on the same evening
with their concert, had, in the handsomest manner, agreed to
postpone it. Although it was his duty thus to preface the toast
he had to propose, he was certain the meeting required no further
inducement than the recollection of the pleasure the exertions of
those gentlemen had often afforded them within those walls, to
join heartily in drinking "Health and Prosperity to the Edinburgh
Professional Society of Musicians." (Applause.)

Mr. PAT. ROBERTSON Proposed "The Health of Mr. Jeffrey," whose
absence was owing to indisposition. The public was well aware
that he was the most distinguished advocate at the bar. He was
likewise distinguished for the kindness, frankness, and cordial
manner in which he communicated with the junior members of the
profession, to the esteem of whom his splendid talents would
always entitle him.

Mr. J. MACONOCHIE gave "The Health of Mrs. Siddons, senior, the
most distinguished ornament of the stage."

Sir W. SCOTT said that if anything could reconcile him to old
age, it was the reflection that he had seen the rising as well as
the setting sun of Mrs. Siddons. He remembered well their
breakfasting near to the Theatre--waiting the whole day--the
crushing at the doors at six o'clock--and their going in and
counting their fingers till seven o'clock. But the very first
step--the very first word which she uttered--was sufficient to
overpay him for all his labours. The house was literally
electrified; and it was only from witnessing the effects of her
genius that he could guess to what a pitch theatrical excellence
could be carried. Those young gentlemen who have only seen the
setting sun of this distinguished performer, beautiful and serene
as that was, must give us old fellows, who have seen its rise and
its meridian, leave to hold our heads a little higher.

Mr. DUNDAS gave "The Memory of Home, the author of Douglas."

Mr. MACKAY here announced that the subscriptions for the night
amounted to L280, and he expressed gratitude for this substantial
proof of their kindness. [We are happy to state that
subscriptions have since flowed in very liberally.]

Mr. MACKAY here entertained the company with a pathetic song.

Sir WALTER SCOTT apologized for having so long forgotten their
native land. He would now give "Scotland, the land of Cakes."
He would give every river, every loch, every hill, from Tweed to
Johnnie Groat's house--every lass in her cottage and countess in
her castle--and may her sons stand by her, as their fathers did
before them; and he who would not drink a bumper to his toast,
may he never drink whisky more!

Sir WALTER SCOTT here gave "Lord Meadowbank," who returned

Mr. H. G. BELL said that he should not have ventured to intrude
himself upon the attention of the assembly, did he not feel
confident that the toast he begged to have the honour to propose
would make amends for the very imperfect manner in which he might
express his sentiments regarding it. It had been said that,
notwithstanding the mental supremacy of the present age--
notwithstanding that the page of our history was studded with
names destined also for the page of immortality--that the genius
of Shakespeare was extinct, and the fountain of his inspiration
dried up. It might be that these observations were unfortunately
correct, or it might be that we were bewildered with a name, not
disappointed of the reality; for though Shakespeare had brought a
Hamlet, an Othello, and a Macbeth, an Ariel, a Juliet, and a
Rosalind, upon the stage, were there not authors living who had
brought as varied, as exquisitely painted, and as undying a range
of characters into our hearts? The shape of the mere mould into
which genius poured its golden treasures was surely a matter of
little moment, let it be called a Tragedy, a Comedy, or a
Waverley Novel. But even among the dramatic authors of the
present day, he was unwilling to allow that there was a great and
palpable decline from the glory of preceding ages, and his toast
alone would bear him out in denying the truth of the proposition.
After eulogizing the names of Baillie, Byron, Coleridge, Maturin,
and others, he begged to have the honour of proposing "The Health
of James Sheridan Knowles."

Sir WALTER SCOTT. Gentlemen, I crave a bumper all over. The
last toast reminds me of a neglect of duty. Unaccustomed to a
public duty of this kind, errors in conducting the ceremonial of
it may be excused, and omissions pardoned. Perhaps I have made
one or two omissions in the course of the evening for which I
trust you will grant me your pardon and indulgence. One thing in
particular I have omitted, and I would now wish to make amends
for it by a libation of reverence and respect to the memory of
SHAKESPEARE. He was a man of universal genius, and from a period
soon after his own era to the present day he has been universally
idolized. When I come to his honoured name, I am like the sick
man who hung up his crutches at the shrine, and was obliged to
confess that he did not walk better than before. It is indeed
difficult, gentlemen, to compare him to any other individual.
The only one to whom I call at all compare him is the wonderful
Arabian dervise, who dived into the body of each, and in this way
became familiar with the thoughts and secrets of their hearts.
He was a man of obscure origin, and, as a player, limited in his
acquirements; but he was born evidently with a universal genius.
His eyes glanced at all the varied aspects of life, and his fancy
portrayed with equal talents the king on the throne and the clown
who crackles his chestnuts at a Christmas fire. Whatever note he
takes, he strikes it just and true, and awakens a corresponding
chord in our own bosoms, Gentlemen, I propose "The Memory of
William Shakespeare."

Glee--"Lightly tread, 'tis hallowed ground."

After the glee, Sir WALTER rose and begged to propose as a toast
the health of a lady, whose living merit is not a little
honourable to Scotland. The toast (said he) is also flattering
to the national vanity of a Scotchman, as the lady whom I intend
to propose is a native of this country. From the public her
works have met with the most favourable reception. One piece of
hers, in particular, was often acted here of late years, and gave
pleasure of no mean kind to many brilliant and fashionable
audiences. In her private character she (he begged leave to say)
is as remarkable as in a public sense she is for her genius. In
short, he would in one word name--"Joanna Baillie."

This health being drunk, Mr. THORNE was called on for a song, and
sung, with great taste and feeling, "The Anchor's Weighed."

W. MENZIES, Esq., Advocate, rose to propose the health of a
gentleman for many years connected at intervals with the dramatic
art in Scotland. Whether we look at the range of characters he
performs, or at the capacity which he evinces in executing those
which he undertakes, he is equally to he admired. In all his
parts he is unrivalled. The individual to whom he alluded is
(said he) well known to the gentlemen present, in the characters
of Malvolio, Lord Ogleby, and the Green Man; and in addition to
his other qualities, he merits, for his perfection in these
characters, the grateful sense of this meeting. He would wish,
in the first place, to drink his health as an actor. But he was
not less estimable in domestic life, and as a private gentleman;
and when he announced him as one whom the chairman had honoured
with his friendship, he was sure that all present would cordially
join him in drinking "The Health of Mr. Terry."

Mr. WILLIAM ALLAN, banker, said that he did not rise with the
intention of making a speech. He merely wished to contribute in
a few words to the mirth of the evening--an evening which
certainly had not passed off without some blunders. It had been
understood--at least he had learnt or supposed from the
expressions of Mr. Pritchard--that it would be sufficient to put
a paper, with the name of the contributor, into the box, and that
the gentleman thus contributing would be called on for the money
next morning. He, for his part, had committed a blunder but it
might serve as a caution to those who may be present at the
dinner of next year. He had merely put in his name, written on a
slip of paper, without the money. But he would recommend that,
as some of the gentlemen might be in the same situation, the box
should be again sent round, and he was confident that they, as
well as he, would redeem their error.

Sir WALTER SCOTT said that the meeting was somewhat in the
situation of Mrs. Anne Page, who had L300 and possibilities. We
have already got, said he, L280, but I should like, I confess, to
have the L300. He would gratify himself by proposing the health
of an honourable person, the Lord Chief Baron, whom England has
sent to us, and connecting with it that of his "yokefellow on the
bench," as Shakespeare says, Mr. Baron Clerk--The Court of

Mr. Baron CLERK regretted the absence of his learned brother.
None, he was sure, could be more generous in his nature, or more
ready to help a Scottish purpose.

Sir WALTER SCOTT,--There is one who ought to be remembered on
this occasion. He is, indeed, well entitled to our grateful
recollection--one, in short, to whom the drama in this city owes
much. He succeeded, not without trouble, and perhaps at some
considerable sacrifice, in establishing a theatre. The younger
part of the company may not recollect the theatre to which I
allude, but there are some who with me may remember by name a
place called Carrubber's Close. There Allan Ramsay established
his little theatre. His own pastoral was not fit for the stage,
but it has its admirers in those who love the Doric language in
which it is written; and it is not without merits of a very
peculiar kind. But laying aside all considerations of his
literary merit, Allan was a good, jovial, honest fellow, who
could crack a bottle with the best. "The Memory of Allan

Mr. MURRAY, on being requested, sung "'Twas merry in the hall,"
and at the conclusion was greeted with repeated rounds of

Mr. JONES.--One omission I conceive has been made. The cause of
the Fund has been ably advocated, but it is still susceptible, in
my opinion, of an additional charm--

"Without the smile from partial beauty won,
Oh, what were man?--a world without a sun!"

And there would not be a darker spot in poetry than would be the
corner in Shakespeare Square, if, like its fellow, the Register
Office, the Theatre were deserted by the ladies. They are, in
fact, our most attractive stars. "The Patronesses of the
Theatre, the Ladies of the City of Edinburgh." This toast I ask
leave to drink with all the honours which conviviality can

Mr. PATRICK ROBERTSON would be the last man willingly to
introduce any topic calculated to interrupt the harmony of the
evening; yet he felt himself treading upon ticklish ground when
he approached the region of the Nor' Loch. He assured the
company, however, that he was not about to enter on the subject
of the Improvement Bill. They all knew that if the public were
unanimous--if the consent of all parties were obtained--if the
rights and interests of everybody were therein attended to,
saved, reserved, respected, and excepted--if everybody agreed to
it--and, finally, a most essential point, if nobody opposed it
--then, and in that case, and provided also that due intimation
were given, the bill in question might pass--would pass--or
might, could, would, or should pass--all expenses being defrayed.
(Laughter.) He was the advocate of neither champion, and would
neither avail himself of the absence of the Right Hon. the Lord
Provost, nor take advantage of the non-appearance of his friend,
Mr. Cockburn. (Laughter.) But in the midst of these civic broils
there had been elicited a ray of hope that, at some future
period, in Bereford Park, or some other place, if all parties
were consulted and satisfied, and if intimation were duly made at
the kirk doors of all the parishes in Scotland, in terms of the
statute in that behalf provided--the people of Edinburgh might by
possibility get a new Theatre. (Cheers and laughter.) But
wherever the belligerent powers might be pleased to set down this
new Theatre, he was sure they all hoped to meet the Old Company
in it. He should therefore propose "Better Accommodation to the
Old Company in the new Theatre, site unknown."--Mr. Robertson's
speech was most humorously given, and he sat down amidst loud
cheers and laughter.

Sir WALTER SCOTT.--Wherever the new Theatre is built, I hope it
will not be large. There are two errors which we commonly
commit--the one arising from our pride, the other from our
poverty. If there are twelve plans, it is odds but the largest,
without any regard to comfort, or an eye to the probable expense,
is adopted. There was the College projected on this scale, and
undertaken in the same manner, and who shall see the end of it?
It has been building all my life, and may probably last during
the lives of my children, and my children's children. Let not
the same prophetic hymn be sung when we commence a new Theatre,
which was performed on the occasion of laying the foundation-
stone of a certain edifice, "Behold the endless work begun."
Playgoing folks should attend somewhat to convenience. The new
Theatre should, in the first place, be such as may be finished in
eighteen months or two years; and, in the second place, it should
be one in which we can hear our old friends with comfort. It is
better that a moderate-sized house should be crowded now and
then, than to have a large theatre with benches continually
empty, to the discouragement of the actors and the discomfort of
the spectators. (Applause.) He then commented in flattering
terms on the genius of Mackenzie and his private worth, and
concluded by proposing "The Health of Henry Mackenzie, Esq."

Immediately afterwards he said:--Gentlemen, it is now wearing
late, and I shall request permission to retire. Like Partridge,
I may say, "NON SUM QUALIS ERAM." At my time of day I can agree
with Lord Ogilvie as to his rheumatism, and say, "There's a
twinge." I hope, therefore, you will excuse me for leaving the
chair.--The worthy Baronet then retired amidst long, loud, and
rapturous cheering.

Mr. PATRICK ROBERTSON was then called to the chair by common

Gentlemen, said Mr. Robertson, I take the liberty of asking you
to fill a bumper to the very brim. There is not one of us who
will not remember, while he lives, being present at this day's
festival, and the declaration made this night by the gentleman
who has just left the chair. That declaration has rent the veil
from the features of the Great Unknown--a name which must now
merge in the name of the Great Known. It will be henceforth
coupled with the name of SCOTT, which will become familiar like a
household word. We have heard the confession from his own
immortal lips--(cheering)--and we cannot dwell with too much or
too fervent praise on the merits of the greatest man whom
Scotland has produced.

After which several other toasts were given, and Mr. Robertson
left the room about half-past eleven. A few choice spirits,
however, rallied round Captain Broadhead of the 7th Hussars, who
was called to the chair, and the festivity was prolonged till an
early hour on Saturday morning.

The band of the Theatre occupied the gallery, and that of the 7th
Hussars the end of the room, opposite the chair, whose
performances were greatly admired. It is but justice to Mr. Gibb
to state that the dinner was very handsome (though slowly served
in), and the wines good. The attention of the stewards was
exemplary. Mr. Murray and Mr. Vandenhoff, with great good taste,
attended on Sir Walter Scott's right and left, and we know that
he has expressed himself much gratified by their anxious
politeness and sedulity.





Sic itur ad astra.

"This is the path to heaven." Such is the ancient motto attached
to the armorial bearings of the Canongate, and which is
inscribed, with greater or less propriety, upon all the public
buildings, from the church to the pillory, in the ancient quarter
of Edinburgh which bears, or rather once bore, the same relation
to the Good Town that Westminster does to London, being still
possessed of the palace of the sovereign, as it formerly was
dignified by the residence of the principal nobility and gentry.
I may therefore, with some propriety, put the same motto at the
head of the literary undertaking by which I hope to illustrate
the hitherto undistinguished name of Chrystal Croftangry.

The public may desire to know something of an author who pitches
at such height his ambitious expectations. The gentle reader,
therefore--for I am much of Captain Bobadil's humour, and could
to no other extend myself so far--the GENTLE reader, then, will
be pleased to understand that I am a a Scottish gentleman of the
old school, with a fortune, temper, and person, rather the worse
for wear. I have known the world for these forty years, having
written myself man nearly since that period--and I do not think
it is much mended. But this is an opinion which I keep to myself
when I am among younger folk, for I recollect, in my youth,
quizzing the Sexagenarians who carried back their ideas of a
perfect state of society to the days of laced coats and triple
ruffles, and some of them to the blood and blows of the Forty-
five. Therefore I am cautious in exercising the right of
censorship, which is supposed to be acquired by men arrived at,
or approaching, the mysterious period of life, when the numbers
of seven and nine multiplied into each other, form what sages
have termed the Grand Climacteric.

Of the earlier part of my life it is only necessary to say, that
I swept the boards of the Parliament-House with the skirts of my
gown for the usual number of years during which young Lairds were
in my time expected to keep term--got no fees--laughed, and made
others laugh--drank claret at Bayle's, Fortune's, and Walker's--
and ate oysters in the Covenant Close.

Becoming my own master, I flung my gown at the bar-keeper, and
commenced gay man on my own account. In Edinburgh, I ran into
all the expensive society which the place then afforded. When I
went to my house in the shire of Lanark, I emulated to the utmost
the expenses of men of large fortune, and had my hunters, my
first-rate pointers, my game-cocks, and feeders. I can more
easily forgive myself for these follies, than for others of a
still more blamable kind, so indifferently cloaked over, that my
poor mother thought herself obliged to leave my habitation, and
betake herself to a small inconvenient jointure-house, which she
occupied till her death. I think, however, I was not exclusively
to blame in this separation, and I believe my mother afterwards
condemned herself for being too hasty. Thank God, the adversity
which destroyed the means of continuing my dissipation, restored
me to the affections of my surviving parent.

My course of life could not last. I ran too fast to run long;
and when I would have checked my career, I was perhaps too near
the brink of the precipice. Some mishaps I prepared by my own
folly, others came upon me unawares. I put my estate out to
nurse to a fat man of business, who smothered the babe he should
have brought back to me in health and strength, and, in dispute
with this honest gentleman, I found, like a skilful general, that
my position would be most judiciously assumed by taking it up
near the Abbey of Holyrood. [See Note 1.--Holyrood.] It was then
I first became acquainted with the quarter, which my little work
will, I hope, render immortal, and grew familiar with those
magnificent wilds, through which the Kings of Scotland once
chased the dark-brown deer, but which were chiefly recommended to
me in those days, by their being inaccessible to those
metaphysical persons, whom the law of the neighbouring country
terms John Doe and Richard Roe. In short, the precincts of the
palace are now best known as being a place of refuge at any time
from all pursuit for civil debt.

Dire was the strife betwixt my quondam doer and myself; during
which my motions were circumscribed, like those of some conjured
demon, within a circle, which, "beginning at the northern gate of
the King's Park, thence running northways, is bounded on the left
by the King's garden-wall, and the gutter, or kennel, in a line
wherewith it crosses the High Street to the Watergate, and
passing through the sewer, is bounded by the walls of the Tennis
Court and Physic Gardens, etc. It then follows the wall of the
churchyard, joins the north west wall of St Ann's Yards, and
going east to the clackmill-house, turns southward to the
turnstile in the King's Park wall, and includes the whole King's
Park within the Sanctuary."

These limits, which I abridge from the accurate Maitland, once
marked the Girth, or Asylum, belonging to the Abbey of Holyrood,
and which, being still an appendage to the royal palace, has
retained the privilege of an asylum for civil debt. One would
think the space sufficiently extensive for a man to stretch his
limbs in, as, besides a reasonable proportion of level ground
(considering that the scene lies in Scotland), it includes within
its precincts the mountain of Arthur's Seat and the rocks and
pasture land called Salisbury Crags. But yet it is inexpressible
how, after a certain time had elapsed, I used to long for Sunday,
which permitted me to extend my walk without limitation. During
the other six days of the week I felt a sickness of heart, which,
but for the speedy approach of the hebdomadal day of liberty, I
could hardly have endured. I experienced the impatience of a
mastiff who tugs in vain to extend the limits which his chain

Day after day I walked by the side of the kennel which divides
the Sanctuary from the unprivileged part of the Canongate; and
though the month was July, and the scene the old town of
Edinburgh, I preferred it to the fresh air and verdant turf which
I might have enjoyed in the King's Park, or to the cool and
solemn gloom of the portico which surrounds the palace. To an
indifferent person either side of the gutter would have seemed
much the same, the houses equally mean, the children as ragged
and dirty, the carmen as brutal--the whole forming the same
picture of low life in a deserted and impoverished quarter of a
large city. But to me the gutter or kennel was what the brook
Kidron was to Shimei: death was denounced against him should he
cross it, doubtless because it was known to his wisdom who
pronounced the doom that, from the time the crossing the stream
was debarred, the devoted man's desire to transgress the precept
would become irresistible, and he would be sure to draw down on
his head the penalty which he had already justly incurred by
cursing the anointed of God. For my part, all Elysium seemed
opening on the other side of the kennel; and I envied the little
blackguards, who, stopping the current with their little dam-
dykes of mud, had a right to stand on either side of the nasty
puddle which best pleased them. I was so childish as even to
make an occasional excursion across, were it only for a few
yards, and felt the triumph of a schoolboy, who, trespassing in
an orchard, hurries back again with a fluttering sensation of joy
and terror, betwixt the pleasure of having executed his purpose
and the fear of being taken or discovered.

I have sometimes asked myself what I should have done in case of
actual imprisonment, since I could not bear without impatience a
restriction which is comparatively a mere trifle; but I really
could never answer the question to my own satisfaction. I have
all my life hated those treacherous expedients called MEZZO-
TERMINI, and it is possible with this disposition I might have
endured more patiently an absolute privation of liberty than the
more modified restrictions to which my residence in the Sanctuary
at this period subjected me. If, however, the feelings I then
experienced were to increase in intensity according to the
difference between a jail and my actual condition, I must have
hanged myself, or pined to death--there could have been no other

Amongst many companions who forgot and neglected me, of course,
when my difficulties seemed to be inextricable, I had one true
friend; and that friend was a barrister, who knew the laws of his
country well, and tracing them up to the spirit of equity and
justice in which they originate, had repeatedly prevented, by his
benevolent and manly exertions, the triumphs of selfish cunning
over simplicity and folly. He undertook my cause, with the
assistance of a solicitor of a character similar to his own. My
quondam doer had ensconced himself chin-deep among legal
trenches, hornworks, and covered ways; but my two protectors
shelled him out of his defences, and I was at length a free man,
at liberty to go or stay wheresoever my mind listed.

I left my lodgings as hastily as if it had been a pest-house. I
did not even stop to receive some change that was due to me on
settling with my landlady, and I saw the poor woman stand at her
door looking after my precipitate flight, and shaking her head as
she wrapped the silver which she was counting for me in a
separate piece of paper, apart from the store in her own moleskin
purse. An honest Highlandwoman was Janet MacEvoy, and deserved a
greater remuneration, had I possessed the power of bestowing it.
But my eagerness of delight was too extreme to pause for
explanation with Janet. On I pushed through the groups of
children, of whose sports I had been so often a lazy, lounging
spectator. I sprung over the gutter as if it had been the fatal
Styx, and I a ghost, which, eluding Pluto's authority, was making
its escape from Limbo lake. My friend had difficulty to restrain
me from running like a madman up the street; and in spite of his
kindness and hospitality, which soothed me for a day or two, I
was not quite happy until I found myself aboard of a Leith smack,
and, standing down the Firth with a fair wind, might snap my
fingers at the retreating outline of Arthur's Seat, to the
vicinity of which I had been so long confined.

It is not my purpose to trace my future progress through life. I
had extricated myself, or rather had been freed by my friends,
from the brambles and thickets of the law; but, as befell the
sheep in the fable, a great part of my fleece was left behind me.
Something remained, however: I was in the season for exertion,
and, as my good mother used to say, there was always life for
living folk. Stern necessity gave my manhood that prudence which
my youth was a stranger to. I faced danger, I endured fatigue, I
sought foreign climates, and proved that I belonged to the nation
which is proverbially patient of labour and prodigal of life.
Independence, like liberty to Virgil's shepherd, came late, but
came at last, with no great affluence in its train, but bringing
enough to support a decent appearance for the rest of my life,
and to induce cousins to be civil, and gossips to say, "I wonder
whom old Croft will make his heir? He must have picked up
something, and I should not be surprised if it prove more than
folk think of."

My first impulse when I returned home was to rush to the house of
my benefactor, the only man who had in my distress interested
himself in my behalf. He was a snuff-taker, and it had been the
pride of my heart to save the IPSA CORPORA of the first score of
guineas I could hoard, and to have them converted into as
tasteful a snuff-box as Rundell and Bridge could devise. This I
had thrust for security into the breast of my waistcoat, while,
impatient to transfer it to the person for whom it was destined,
I hastened to his house in Brown Square. When the front of the
house became visible a feeling of alarm checked me. I had been
long absent from Scotland; my friend was some years older than I;
he might have been called to the congregation of the just. I
paused, and gazed on the house as if I had hoped to form some
conjecture from the outward appearance concerning the state of
the family within. I know not how it was, but the lower windows
being all closed, and no one stirring, my sinister forebodings
were rather strengthened. I regretted now that I had not made
inquiry before I left the inn where I alighted from the mail-
coach. But it was too late; so I hurried on, eager to know the
best or the worst which I could learn.

The brass-plate bearing my friend's name and designation was
still on the door, and when it was opened the old domestic
appeared a good deal older, I thought, than he ought naturally to
have looked, considering the period of my absence. "Is Mr.
Sommerville at home?" said I, pressing forward.

"Yes, sir," said John, placing himself in opposition to my
entrance, "he is at home, but--"

"But he is not in," said I. "I remember your phrase of old,
John. Come, I will step into his room, and leave a line for

John was obviously embarrassed by my familiarity. I was some
one, he saw, whom he ought to recollect. At the same time it was
evident he remembered nothing about me.

"Ay, sir, my master is in, and in his own room, but--"

I would not hear him out, but passed before him towards the well-
known apartment. A young lady came out of the room a little
disturbed, as it seemed, and said, "John, what is the matter?"

"A gentleman, Miss Nelly, that insists on seeing my master."

"A very old and deeply-indebted friend," said I, "that ventures
to press myself on my much-respected benefactor on my return from

"Alas, sir," replied she, "my uncle would be happy to see you,

At this moment something was heard within the apartment like the
falling of a plate, or glass, and immediately after my friend's
voice called angrily and eagerly for his niece. She entered the
room hastily, and so did I. But it was to see a spectacle,
compared with which that of my benefactor stretched on his bier
would have been a happy one.

The easy-chair filled with cushions, the extended limbs swathed
in flannel, the wide wrapping-gown and nightcap, showed illness;
but the dimmed eye, once so replete with living fire--the blabber
lip, whose dilation and compression used to give such character
to his animated countenance--the stammering tongue, that once
poured forth such floods of masculine eloquence, and had often
swayed the opinion of the sages whom he addressed,--all these sad
symptoms evinced that my friend was in the melancholy condition
of those in whom the principle of animal life has unfortunately
survived that of mental intelligence. He gazed a moment at me,
but then seemed insensible of my presence, and went on--he, once
the most courteous and well-bred--to babble unintelligible but
violent reproaches against his niece and servant, because he
himself had dropped a teacup in attempting to place it on a table
at his elbow. His eyes caught a momentary fire from his
irritation; but he struggled in vain for words to express himself
adequately, as, looking from his servant to his niece, and then
to the table, he laboured to explain that they had placed it
(though it touched his chair) at too great a distance from him.

The young person, who had naturally a resigned Madonna-like
expression of countenance, listened to his impatient chiding with
the most humble submission, checked the servant, whose less
delicate feelings would have entered on his justification, and
gradually, by the sweet and soft tone of her voice, soothed to
rest the spirit of causeless irritation.

She then cast a look towards me, which expressed, "You see all
that remains of him whom you call friend." It seemed also to
say, "Your longer presence here can only be distressing to us

"Forgive me, young lady," I said, as well as tears would permit;
"I am a person deeply obliged to your uncle. My name is

"Lord! and that I should not hae minded ye, Maister Croftangry,"
said the servant. "Ay, I mind my master had muckle fash about
your job. I hae heard him order in fresh candles as midnight
chappit, and till't again. Indeed, ye had aye his gude word, Mr.
Croftangry, for a' that folks said about you."

"Hold your tongue, John," said the lady, somewhat angrily; and
then continued, addressing herself to me, "I am sure, sir, you
must be sorry to see my uncle in this state. I know you are his
friend. I have heard him mention your name, and wonder he never
heard from you." A new cut this, and it went to my heart. But
she continued, "I really do not know if it is right that any
should--If my uncle should know you, which I scarce think
possible, he would be much affected, and the doctor says that any
agitation--But here comes Dr. -- to give his own opinion."

Dr. -- entered. I had left him a middle-aged man. He was now an
elderly one; but still the same benevolent Samaritan, who went
about doing good, and thought the blessings of the poor as good a
recompense of his professional skill as the gold of the rich.

He looked at me with surprise, but the young lady said a word of
introduction, and I, who was known to the doctor formerly,
hastened to complete it. He recollected me perfectly, and
intimated that he was well acquainted with the reasons I had for
being deeply interested in the fate of his patient. He gave me a
very melancholy account of my poor friend, drawing me for that
purpose a little apart from the lady. "The light of life," he
said, "was trembling in the socket; he scarcely expected it would
ever leap up even into a momentary flash, but more was
impossible." He then stepped towards his patient, and put some
questions, to which the poor invalid, though he seemed to
recognize the friendly and familiar voice, answered only in a
faltering and uncertain manner.

The young lady, in her turn, had drawn back when the doctor
approached his patient. "You see how it is with him," said the
doctor, addressing me. "I have heard our poor friend, in one of
the most eloquent of his pleadings, give a description of this
very disease, which he compared to the tortures inflicted by
Mezentius when he chained the dead to the living. The soul, he
said, is imprisoned in its dungeon of flesh, and though retaining
its natural and unalienable properties, can no more exert them
than the captive enclosed within a prison-house can act as a free
agent. Alas! to see HIM, who could so well describe what this
malady was in others, a prey himself to its infirmities! I shall
never forget the solemn tone of expression with which he summed
up the incapacities of the paralytic--the deafened ear, the
dimmed eye, the crippled limbs--in the noble words of Juvenal,--
Membrorum damno major, dementia, quae nec
Nomina servorum, nec vultum agnoscit amici.'"

As the physician repeated these lines, a flash of intelligence
seemed to revive in the invalid's eye--sunk again--again
struggled, and he spoke more intelligibly than before, and in the
tone of one eager to say something which he felt would escape him
unless said instantly. "A question of death-bed, a question of
death-bed, doctor--a reduction EX CAPITE LECTI--Withering against
Wilibus--about the MORBUS SONTICUS. I pleaded the cause for
the pursuer--I, and--and--why, I shall forget my own name--I,
and--he that was the wittiest and the best-humoured man living--"

The description enabled the doctor to fill up the blank, and the
patient joyfully repeated the name suggested. "Ay, ay," he said,
"just he--Harry--poor Harry--" The light in his eye died away,
and he sunk back in his easy-chair.

"You have now seen more of our poor friend, Mr. Croftangry," said
the physician, "than I dared venture to promise you; and now I
must take my professional authority on me, and ask you to retire.
Miss Sommerville will, I am sure, let you know if a moment should
by any chance occur when her uncle can see you."

What could I do? I gave my card to the young lady, and taking my
offering from my bosom--"if my poor friend," I said, with accents
as broken almost as his own, "should ask where this came from,
name me, and say from the most obliged and most grateful man
alive. Say, the gold of which it is composed was saved by grains
at a time, and was hoarded with as much avarice as ever was a
miser's. To bring it here I have come a thousand miles; and now,
alas, I find him thus!"

I laid the box on the table, and was retiring with a lingering
step. The eye of the invalid was caught by it, as that of a
child by a glittering toy, and with infantine impatience he
faltered out inquiries of his niece. With gentle mildness she
repeated again and again who I was, and why I came, etc. I was
about to turn, and hasten from a scene so painful, when the
physician laid his hand on my sleeve. "Stop," he said, "there is
a change."

There was, indeed, and a marked one. A faint glow spread over
his pallid features--they seemed to gain the look of intelligence
which belongs to vitality--his eye once more kindled--his lip
coloured--and drawing himself up out of the listless posture he
had hitherto maintained, he rose without assistance. The doctor
and the servant ran to give him their support. He waved them
aside, and they were contented to place themselves in such a
position behind as might ensure against accident, should his
newly-acquired strength decay as suddenly as it had revived.

"My dear Croftangry," he said, in the tone of kindness of other
days, "I am glad to see you returned. You find me but poorly;
but my little niece here and Dr. -- are very kind. God bless
you, my dear friend! We shall not meet again till we meet in a
better world."

I pressed his extended hand to my lips--I pressed it to my bosom
--I would fain have flung myself on my knees; but the doctor,
leaving the patient to the young lady and the servant, who
wheeled forward his chair, and were replacing him in it, hurried
me out of the room. "My dear sir," he said, "you ought to be
satisfied; you have seen our poor invalid more like his former
self than he has been for months, or than he may be perhaps again
until all is over. The whole Faculty could not have assured such
an interval. I must see whether anything can be derived from it
to improve the general health. Pray, begone." The last argument
hurried me from the spot, agitated by a crowd of feelings, all of
them painful.

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