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her fall down "two pair of stairs were due to accident, foul play, or a purpose of self-destruction, now lies buried in the church of St. Mary the Virgin at Oxford ; and the tradition that her ghost haunts a certain pond in the parish which never freezes is all that is remembered of her in the Berkshire village, where she spent so much of her married life. The tomb of Anthony Foster, however, whom the novelist admitted that he had calumniated, is still to be seen in the fine old church with its chained Bible. An arch and some windows from his house were, many years since, built into Wytham Church in the neighbourhood.
SCOTT ATTENDS GEORGE IV.'S CORONATION, AND
WRITES “THE PIRATE” AND “NIGEL"
TITHIN a month of the publication of Kenil
worth Scott was in London. He set out
on a matter of private business, but remained to watch the progress through Parliament of a Bill which concerned the Clerks of the Court of Session. When he went to Court, the King received him like an old friend, according him the then unusual honour of a handshake in public. Before returning to Scotland, he succeeded in securing the promise of an Indian cadetship for his nephew and namesake, and the appointment of Keeper of the Scottish Regalia for his old friend and neighbour, Adam Ferguson, who was just about to be married. Another instance of his kindness of heart occurred on this visit. A friend of Lockhart's had recently, as the result of a journalistic dispute, in which Lockhart himself was at first the chief person involved, been forced into a duel. The meeting took place at Chalk Farm at nine in the evening, and Mr. Christie, after first firing in the air, had the misfortune to mortally wound his opponent with his second shot. Sir Walter not only sought out the unhappy victor
(who was in hiding preparatory to crossing the Channel) and offered him every imaginable assistance, but also undertook the delicate commission of writing to break the news to the father of the unfortunate duellist, a clergyman. The letter has unhappily disappeared. Christie and his second afterwards surrendered, and were tried for murder, but a verdict of “not guilty ” terminated the matter.
Whilst absent in London Scott received the news that he was a grandfather, and wrote to make the characteristic inquiry if the little Lockhart could “grip hard as a Scott should.” The grandsire himself was not yet turned fifty. In the course of the summer he saw the last of his protégé John Ballantyne, whose death-bed he and Lockhart attended. The end of the little man, who died in debt, but left a legacy of £2,000 towards the completion of the Abbotsford library, was worthy of his life. His tender-hearted patron, as he stood by his grave in the Canongate churchyard, whispered to his son-in-law, “I feel as if there would be less sunshine for me from this day forth.” Before long he was to suffer a loss which touched him even more deeply. Having got through the duties of the legal term, Scott was again in London in July to witness that gorgeous pageant, the Coronation of George IV. He went in the new steamship City of Edinburgh, which he suggested should have been called the New Reekie, and which made the journey in sixty hours, “thus beating the mail-coach, with the full advantage of
sleep and stretching of limbs." With kindly forethought he had made arrangements to take with him the newlymarried Ettrick Shepherd, whose fortunes he thought he might have a chance of pushing at Court, while the poet might in his turn render good service to the cause of monarchy by a coronation ode or patriotic pamphlet. Hogg would fain have gone, but found on reflection that he could not miss St. Boswell's Fair and leave his farm half stocked. From his naive note it is clear that Scott had made a more than usually generous offer of pecuniary assistance in the strait to which his father-inlaw's sudden bankruptcy had reduced him.
Sir Walter was highly delighted with the grand ceremonial, of which he wrote a description in James Ballantyne's Weekly Journal; and he was probably at least as much gratified at an incident which befell him personally. Between two and three in the morning he and a younger friend found themselves wedged in among the crowd near Whitehall, and unable to get at the carriage which should have taken them home. A vain appeal had been made to the military for passage, when a surging of the crowd elicited a cry from his companion of “Take care, Sir Walter Scott, take care!" The effect upon the sergeant of Scots Greys, with whom the Great Unknown had been parleying, was magical ; and his hearty “Make room, men, for Sir Walter Scott, our illustrious countryman,” was zealously responded to amid cries of “Sir Walter, God bless him!” Before leaving town, Scott gave some more sittings to Sir
Francis Chantrey. The marble bust which the great sculptor executed for him supplied copies for the King and the Duke of Wellington, as well as for the artist himself. It was at Chantrey's studio that he met a man whom he greatly admired for the bravery with which he had foiled a desperate attempt to rob his premises at midnight. This romance in robbing, when related to Allan Cunningham, brought into his mind the great scene in Guy Mannering in which Meg Merrilies meets her death in the cavern.
An important result of Scott's attendance at the Coronation was George IV.'s visit to Scotland in the following year.
How great was the novelist's part in the “doings” which then took place, we shall soon have to relate. Meanwhile he had brought back with him to Scotland plans for the completion of his house at Abbotsford. With some reluctance he sanctioned the demolition of the “little old cottage” and its porch covered with roses and jessamine; and in the following February he tells his friend Morritt that “the smaller or butt-end of Abbotsford, where we used to be so happy, is now, as the sailor says, on its beam ends.” However, before this had been done half of the new house had been built, so that guests, welcome or unwelcome, were able to come and go as usual. From the unwelcome and frequently uninvited the laird of Abbotsford found his daughter's cottage, Chiefswood, a welcome refuge. Thither during the autumn of 1821 he often found his way with his dogs in the early morning, and there after