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(Captain John Jamieson), as well as the agents of the proprietors, made every arrangement in their power for the convenience of the invalid. The Captain gave up for Sir Walter's use his own private cabin, which was a separate erection a sort of cottage on the deck; and he seemed unconscious, after being laid in bed there, that any new removal had occurred. On arriving at Newhaven, late on the 9th, we found careful preparations made for his landing by the manager of the Shipping Company (Mr. Hamilton) — and Sir Walter, prostrate in his carriage, was slung on shore, and conveyed from thence to Douglas's hotel, in St. Andrew's Square, in the same complete apparent unconsciousness. Mrs. Douglas had in former days been the Duke of Buccleuch's housekeeper at Bowhill, and she and her husband had also made the most suitable provision.
At a very early hour on the morning of Wednesday the 11th, we again placed him in his carriage, and he lay in the same torpid state during the first two stages on the road to Tweedside. But as we descended the vale of the Gala he began to gaze about him, and by degrees it was obvious that he was recognising the features of that familiar landscape. Presently he murmured a name or two "Gala Water, surely — Buckholm Torwoodlee." As we rounded the hill at Ladhope, and the outline of the Eildons burst on him, he became greatly excited; and when, turning himself on the couch, his eye caught at length his own towers at the distance of a mile, he sprang up with a cry of delight. The river being in flood, we had to go round a few miles by Melrose bridge; and during the time this occupied, his woods and house being within prospect, it required occasionally both Dr. Watson's strength and mine, in addition to Nicolson's, to keep him in the carriage. After passing the bridge, the road for a couple of miles loses sight of Abbotsford, and he relapsed into his stupor; but on gaining the bank immediately above it, his excitement became again ungovernable.
Mr. Laidlaw was waiting at the porch, and assisted us in lifting him into the dining-room, where his bed had been prepared. He sat bewildered for a few moments, and then resting his eye on Laidlaw, said "Ha! Willie Laidlaw! O man, how often have I thought of you!" By this time his dogs had assembled about
his chair they began to fawn upon him and lick his hands, and he alternately sobbed and smiled over them, until sleep oppressed him.
Dr. Watson having consulted on all things with Mr. Clarkson of Melrose and his father, the good old "Country Surgeon" of Selkirk, resigned the patient to them, and returned to London. None of them could have any hope but that of soothing irritation. Recovery was no longer to be thought of: but there might be Euthanasia.
And yet something like a ray of hope did break in upon us next morning. Sir Walter awoke perfectly conscious where he was, and expressed an ardent wish to be carried out into his garden. We procured a Bath chair from Huntley Burn, and Laidlaw and I wheeled him out before his door, and up and down for some time on the turf, and among the rose-beds then in full bloom. The grand-children admired the new vehicle, and would be helping in their way to push it about. He sat in silence, smiling placidly on them and the dogs their companions, and now and then admiring the house, the screen of the garden, and the flowers and trees. By and by he conversed a little, very composedly, with us said he was happy to be at home - that he felt better than he had ever done since he left it, and would perhaps disappoint the doctors after all. He then desired to be wheeled through his rooms, and we moved him leisurely for an hour or more up and down the hall and the great library: "I have seen much," he kept saying, "but nothing like my ain house — give me one turn more!" He was gentle as an infant, and allowed himself to be put to bed again the moment we told him that we thought he had had enough for one day.
Next morning he was still better. After again enjoying the Bath chair for perhaps a couple of hours out of doors, he desired to be drawn into the library, and placed by the central window, that he might look down upon the Tweed. Here he expressed a wish that I should read to him, and when I asked from what book, he said — “Need you ask? There is but one." I chose the 14th chapter of St. John's Gospel; he listened with mild devotion, and said when I had done "Well, this is a great comfort I have followed you distinctly, and I feel as if I were yet to be myself
again." In this placid frame he was again put to bed, and had many hours of soft slumber.
On the third day Mr. Laidlaw and I again wheeled him about the small piece of lawn and shrubbery in front of the house for some time; and the weather being delightful, and all the richness of summer around him, he seemed to taste fully the balmy influences of nature. The sun getting very strong, we halted the chair in a shady corner, just within the verge of his verdant arcade around the court-wall; and breathing the coolness of the spot, he said, "Read me some amusing thing read me a bit of Crabbe." I brought out the first volume of his old favourite that I could lay hand on, and turned to what I remembered as one of his most favourite passages in it the description of the arrival of the Players in the Borough. He listened with great interest, and also, as I soon perceived, with great curiosity. Every now and then he exclaimed, "Capital excellent very good Crabbe has lost nothing" and we were too well satisfied that he considered himself as hearing a new production, when, chuckling over one couplet, he said, "Better and better but how will poor Terry 1 endure these cuts?" I went on with the poet's terrible sarcasms upon the theatrical life, and he listened eagerly, muttering, "Honest Dan!"-"Dan won't like this." At length I reached those lines
"Sad happy race! soon raised, and soon depressed,
Your days all passed in jeopardy and jest;
Poor without prudence, with afflictions vain,
"Shut the book," said Sir Walter - "I can't stand more of this it will touch Terry to the very quick."
On the morning of Sunday the 15th, he was again taken out into the little pleasaunce, and got as far as his favourite terrace-walk between the garden and the river, from which he seemed to survey the valley and the hills with much satisfaction. On re-entering the house, he desired me to read to him from the New Testament, and after that he again called for a little of Crabbe; but whatever I selected from that poet seemed to be listened to as if it made part
1 Daniel Terry, an actor, and friend of Scott.
of some new volume published while he was in Italy. He attended with this sense of novelty even to the tale of Phoebe Dawson, which not many months before he could have repeated every line of, and which I chose for one of these readings, because, as is known to every one, it had formed the last solace of Mr. Fox's deathbed. On the contrary, his recollection of whatever I read from the Bible appeared to be lively; and in the afternoon, when we made his grandson, a child of six years, repeat some of Dr. Watts' hymns by his chair, he seemed also to remember them perfectly. That evening he heard the Church service, and when I was about to close the book, said — “Why do you omit the visitation for the sick?" which I added accordingly.
On Monday he remained in bed, and seemed extremely feeble; but after breakfast on Tuesday the 17th he appeared revived somewhat, and was again wheeled about on the turf. Presently he fell asleep in his chair, and after dozing for perhaps half an hour, started awake, and shaking the plaids we had put about him from off his shoulders, said "This is sad idleness. I shall forget what I have been thinking of, if I don't set it down now. Take me into my own room, and fetch the keys of my desk." He repeated this so earnestly, that we could not refuse; his daughters went into his study, opened his writing-desk, and laid paper and pens in the usual order, and I then moved him through the hall and into the spot where he had always been accustomed to work. When the chair was placed at the desk, and he found himself in the old position, he smiled and thanked us, and said — “Now give me my pen, and leave me for a little to myself." Sophia put the pen into his hand, and he endeavoured to close his fingers upon it, but they refused their office — it dropped on the paper. He sank back among his pillows, silent tears rolling down his cheeks; but composing himself by and by, motioned to me to wheel him out of doors again. Laidlaw met us at the porch, and took his turn of the chair. Sir Walter, after a little while, again dropped into slumber. When he was awaking, Laidlaw said to me — “Sir Walter has had a little repose."—"“No Willie,” said he —“no repose for Sir Walter but in the grave." The tears again rushed from his eyes. "Friends,” said he, “don't let me expose myself — get me to bed that's the only place."
With this scene ended our glimpse of daylight. Sir Walter never, I think, left his room afterwards, and hardly his bed, except for an hour or two in the middle of the day; and after another week he was unable even for this. During a few days he was in a state of painful irritation and I saw realised all that he had himself prefigured in his description of the meeting between Chrystal Croftangry and his paralytic friend. Dr. Ross came out from Edinburgh, bringing with him his wife, one of the dearest nieces of the Clerks' table. Sir Walter with some difficulty recognised the Doctor; but on hearing Mrs. Ross's voice, exclaimed at once "Isn't that Kate Hume?” These kind friends remained for two or three days with us. Clarkson's lancet was pronounced necessary, and the relief it afforded was, I am happy to say, very effectual.
After this he declined daily, but still there was great strength to be wasted, and the process was long. He seemed, however, to suffer no bodily pain; and his mind, though hopelessly obscured, appeared, when there was any symptom of consciousness, to be dwelling, with rare exceptions, on serious and solemn things; the accent of the voice grave, sometimes awful, but never querulous, and very seldom indicative of any angry or resentful thoughts. Now and then he imagined himself to be administering justice as Sheriff; and once or twice he seemed to be ordering Tom Purdie about trees. A few times also, I am sorry to say, we could perceive that his fancy was at Jedburgh — and Burk Sir Walter escaped him in a melancholy tone. But commonly whatever we could follow him in was a fragment of the Bible (especially the Prophecies of Isaiah and the Book of Job), of some petition in the litany, or a verse of some psalm (in the old Scotch metrical version), or of some of the magnificent hymns of the Romish ritual, in which he had always delighted, but which probably hung on his memory now in connection with the Church services he had attended while in Italy. We very often heard distinctly the cadence of the Dies Ira; and I think the very last stanza that we could make out was the first of a still greater favourite:
"Stabat Mater dolorosa,
Juxta crucem lachrymosa,