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absence as great a relief as when you found that a certain good friend was only going to escort us as far as Darnick toll, and had no intention of being kirked with us. Neither will I be so inquisitive as to ask how often Rebecca and Pixie were turned into the coach with you, while the gallant Captain, like the man in the little clock called the Dutch Weather House, turned out to smoke his cigar al fresco on the box."
With his eldest son, despite his indifference to literature, Scott was very well satisfied, though he expresses a kind of humorous annoyance at his defective handwriting (resembling "a partridge scratching in the dust below a hedge") and his general lack of method. Walter, he tells Miss Edgeworth, reminds him of L'homme qui cherche in the fairy tale :
"He has just sent a pressing request that a cartouche-box forgotten in Edinburgh shall be sent without delay to Dublin, and what is worse, I rather suspect that two horses worth £200 are seeking their owner through the Isle of Erin, or on the opposite shores of the other kingdom."
Of the second son, Charles, Sir Walter had high hopes. He had been promised a writership for him in the service of the East India Company, which meant an immediate income and excellent prospects; but instead of availing himself of the opening, sent the young man to Oxford-an additional proof, it has been remarked, of his confidence in his own financial security. None the less did he impress upon his cadet the necessity of exerting his talents to the utmost. "But you, my dear Charles, must be distinguished; it will not do to be moderate." Unfortunately a delicate constitution marred
the youth's intellectual gifts, and he only survived his father a few years. We shall hear of him again, in Sir Walter's last days. Besides his own two sons, there was a third, Tom Scott's child, another Walter, to whom he was practically a father, and whom he provided for till he was able to go out to India as an engineer. With the three young men he is in constant correspondence at this period; and never did any man less permit his own numerous and exacting occupations to interfere with the interests and responsibilities of a parent.
One of the strongest testimonies to Scott's domestic character is that of Basil Hall, the traveller, who was a guest at Abbotsford this year :—
"I have never seen any person on more delightful terms with his family. The youngest of his nephews and nieces can joke with him, and seem at all times perfectly at ease in his presence. His coming into the room only increases the laugh and never checks it he either joins in what is going on or passes. No one notices him any more than if he were one of themselves."
The same want of assumption marked his conduct towards his servants, one of whom said of him, "Sir Walter speaks to every man as if they were bloodrelations." Not that he did not expect good work from them, and exact it too, when necessary. The feeling which he inspired is exemplified in the story of the death of a poor tailor, one of his tenants, who made most of the hangings and curtains for Abbotsford. His name was Goodfellow-of course Scott called him Robin. Soon after his work was done the poor man fell ill. One
night Scott came to visit him in his cottage, and thought him dead. The sound of his voice speaking kind words roused the sufferer, who opened his eyes, sat up in bed, and clasping his hands, cried loudly, "The Lord bless and reward you!" It was his dying effort.
And now a word on Abbotsford itself.
It is, we should think, scarcely possible, in spite of Wilkie's commendation, to defend the conception of the whole building. Scott himself admitted that he had "gambolled a little in the entrance hall," and knew that it was not in very good taste; and he once apologised for his wish to "trick out his dwellings with something fantastical" on the ground that he had so little that was fanciful or poetical about his own person. The result was, if not a thing of shreds and patches, at least a congeries of antiquarian odds and ends; in its general effect-except to the eye of him who planned it -more quaint than dignified, and yet both pleasing and deeply interesting. Looking at the outside of Scott's Abbotsford, built of blue whin in contrast with the light freestone of the later additions, you see a high tower at each end, many crowfooted gables, a myriad of indentations and parapets, machicolated eaves, fantastic waterspouts, balconies of different sizes and shapes, groups of Elizabethan chimneys. Many of the labelled windows have painted glass, and the stones are carved with heraldry let in here and there in the wall. The projecting gateway is modelled on that of the old palace of Linlithgow.
The dining-room contains those portraits of his ancestors which Sir Walter was never tired of contemplating. In the drawing-room, besides family pictures (including the Raeburn full-length of Scott himself), there is the curious painting of Queen Mary after her execution, besides portraits of Cromwell, Dryden, and James VI. Representations of the chief Abbotsford servants hang in the armoury. Here, too, is the face of little John Ballantyne. The armoury has treasures of all ages and countries. Pistols that once belonged to Claverhouse and to Napoleon; Montrose's sword; Prince Charlie's hunting knives; the keys of Loch Leven Castle; and Sir Walter's own yeomanry equipments are among the most notable. In the library are more peaceful mementoes, such as Queen Mary's seal, Prince Charlie's quaigh, locks of his hair, as well as of Wellington's and Nelson's, Napoleon's blotting-book and pen-tray, and Burns's tumbler. The Chantrey bust of the first Sir Walter and Allan's portrait of the second are in this room. Among the books are a hundred and forty volumes of the Variorum Classics sent by Constable, who had been much pleased by Scott's gift to him, after the death of Erskine, of the manuscripts of his novels. George IV. and the Pope also made handsome donations.
Sir Walter's study adjoins the library. It has a gallery running round three sides of it, with oaken shelves rising above and behind, to which a small stair