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return to his house in North Castle Street, the arrival of an unexpected guest put everything else out of his head, and alas !—Sir Walter sat down upon it. The innocent cause of this misfortune was the old parson-poet George Crabbe, who was unlucky in the circumstances of his long-deferred visit to the North. His brother author, though glad to entertain him in his Edinburgh house, was fain to be content at this busy time with half an hour's chat in the evening, and for the rest handing him. over to his son-in-law; but he was so careful of the old man's welfare, that he engaged a caddie to look after him during his evening rambles in the old town. Scott said that he could not tell whether Crabbe enjoyed all the hurly-burly of the royal visit, but he was sure that he was astonished by it. On the morning after his arrival the old poet was discovered in the parlour "with two high chiefs of the West Highlands whom he (hearing them speak together in Gaelic) regretted he could not address in French, which he thought would be more germane to their comprehension than English." The Lowland host came to the rescue with an English "good morning"; and one may read in a journal kept by the reverend author of Tales of the Hall that he got to like the wild Highlandmen well enough when he came to know them.
At six o'clock that morning Sir Walter, "arrayed in the garb of Old Gaul," had been attending a muster of the Celtic Club in the Queen Street Gardens, presenting them with colours for the coming procession,
and communicating to them some of his own enthusiasm. Throughout the day he was "in a most bardish state of excitement," being much elated at the success of his arduous labours.
"I wish you could have seen the ancient front of Holyrood Palace, alive as it was with all the Scottish officers of State and of the Crown in their antique dresses, and the singularity of so many plaids and plumes and shields and drawn broadswords, all under banners that had not seen the sun since 1745," writes the skilful stage-manager of Scotland's show to his friend Lady Abercorn. "The readiness of all the country to take arms was very singular. You saw children of ten and twelve years old with target and broadsword, and one little [fellow], the son of the chief of MacGregor, was very indignant when I laughed at him."
The proscribed clan was not forgotten; for Rob Roy was duly played before the King at the Edinburgh Theatre. The ceremonial at Holyrood was somewhat marred by the antics of a city alderman, a certain Sir William Curtis, who bid fair to eclipse Glengarry, Macleod, yea, the Hanoverian Stewart himself, by the imposing figure which he made in his costly and all too gorgeous kilt. One of the most magnificent "functions" planned by Sir Walter was the procession from Holyrood to the Castle, representing the old "Riding of the Parliament." There were sixty thousand people in the streets, "without," as Scott boasted, "the least appearance, I do not say of riot, but even of crowding or inconvenience. All stood perfectly firm, and until the King passed, quite silent; whilst his progress was
marked by a rolling cheer" from the different bodies, "all separated into their different crafts," which lined the route. Sir Robert (then Mr. Secretary) Peel, in a speech delivered some years after the great Scotsman's death, recalled how on the same day he had passed along the High Street in company with Sir Walter, each hoping to escape notice in the crowd. Scott modestly expressed his opinion that everyone was entirely absorbed in
loyalty; but, said the minister, "he was recognised from one extremity of the street to the other, and never did I see such an instance of national devotion expressed." Scott was naturally a constant guest at Dalkeith, where the new Duke of Buccleuch was entertaining his Sovereign. He received at the conclusion of the royal visit the King's "warm personal acknowledgments" for his unremitting activity, and the knowledge he had shown of his countrymen evidenced "by the
just estimation" in which they held him. He made use of the royal favour not only to obtain titles for his friend Captain Ferguson and the artist Raeburn (whose portrait of Scott was his last work), but for other than personal aims. The restoration of the peerages forfeited in the '15 and the '45 was a boon fittingly granted to the author of Waverley and Rob Roy; and Scottish antiquaries were gratified by the promised return to their capital of the old cannon Mons Meg, which the greatest of their number asked for as a personal favour.
In the midst of the immense fatigue and exacting festivities of the royal visit, Scott was tried by the severer strain of a deep personal affliction. An unfounded calumny gave the last blow to the failing health of William Erskine, Lord Kinnedder, his dearest friend, his most trusted literary adviser; and on one of the noisiest days of the Edinburgh festivities Lockhart and Mr. Thomas Thomson accompanied him to the funeral at Queensferry. No sooner was it over than public duties again demanded his presence, though his son-inlaw had never seen him in such a state of dejection. The result was a feverish attack which his healthy constitution was able to throw off, but which for some weeks quite prostrated him. And the first attack of apoplexy, which came upon Sir Walter during the autumn, he attributes partly to "depression of spirits arising from the loss of friends." One who knew both men intimately expressed the opinion that a more entire