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All this time he continued to recognise his daughters, Laidlaw, and myself, whenever we spoke to him — and received every attention with a most touching thankfulness. Mr. Clarkson, too, was always saluted with the old courtesy, though the cloud opened but a moment for him to do so. Most truly might it be said that the gentleman survived the genius.
After two or three weeks had passed in this way, I was obliged to leave Sir Walter for a single day, and go into Edinburgh to transact business, on his account, with Mr. Henry Cockburn (now Lord Cockburn), then Solicitor-General for Scotland. The Scotch Reform Bill threw a great burden of new duties and responsibilities upon the Sheriffs; and Scott's Sheriff-substitute, the Laird of Raeburn, not having been regularly educated for the law, found himself unable to encounter these novelties, especially as regarded the registration of voters, and other details connected with the recent enlargement of the electoral franchise. Under such circumstances, as no one but the Sheriff could appoint another substitute, it became necessary for Sir Walter's family to communicate the state he was in in a formal manner to the Law Officers of the Crown; and the Lord Advocate (Mr. Jeffrey), in consequence, introduced and carried through Parliament a short bill (2 and 3 William IV. cap. 101), authorising the Government to appoint a new Sheriff of Selkirkshire, "during the incapacity or non-resignation of Sir Walter Scott." It was on this bill that the Solicitor-General had expressed a wish to converse with me: but there was little to be said, as the temporary nature of the new appointment gave no occasion for any pecuniary question; and, if that had been otherwise, the circumstances of the case would have rendered Sir Walter's family entirely indifferent upon such a subject. There can be no doubt, that if he had recovered in so far as to be capable of executing a resignation, the Government would have considered it just to reward thirty-two years' faithful services by a retired allowance equivalent to his salary — and as little, that the Government would have had sincere satisfaction in settling that matter in the shape most acceptable to himself. And perhaps (though I feel that it is scarcely worth while) I may as well here express my regret that a statement highly unjust and injurious should have found its way into the pages of some of Sir
Walter's biographers. These writers have thought fit to insinuate that there was a want of courtesy and respect on the part of the Lord Advocate, and the other official persons connected with this arrangement. On the contrary, nothing could be more handsome and delicate than the whole of their conduct in it; Mr. Cockburn could not have entered into the case with greater feeling and tenderness, had it concerned a brother of his own; and when Mr. Jeffrey introduced his bill in the House of Commons, he used language so graceful and touching, that both Sir Robert Peel and Mr. Croker went across the House to thank him cordially for it.
Perceiving, towards the close of August, that the end was near, and thinking it very likely that Abbotsford might soon undergo many changes, and myself, at all events, never see it again, I felt a desire to have some image preserved of the interior apartments as occupied by their founder, and invited from Edinburgh for that purpose Sir Walter's dear friend, Sir William Allan - whose presence, I well knew, would even under the circumstances of that time be nowise troublesome to any of the family, but the contrary in all respects. Sir William willingly complied, and executed a series of beautiful drawings. He also shared our watchings, and witnessed all but the last moments. Sir Walter's cousins, the ladies of Ashestiel, came down frequently, for a day or two at a time, and did whatever sisterly affection could prompt, both for the sufferer and his daughters. Miss Mary Scott (daughter of his uncle Thomas), and Mrs. Scott of Harden, did the like.
As I was dressing on the morning of Monday the 17th of September, Nicolson came into my room, and told me that his master had awoke in a state of composure and consciousness, and wished to see me immediately. I found him entirely himself, though in the last extreme of feebleness. His eye was clear and calm every trace of the wild fire of delirium extinguished. "Lockhart," he said, "I may have but a minute to speak to you. My dear, be a good man - be virtuous - be religious be a good man. Nothing else will give you any comfort when you come to lie here." He paused, and I said "Shall I send for Sophia and Anne ?" "No," said he, "don't disturb them. Poor souls! I know they were up all night God bless you all." With this he sunk into a
very tranquil sleep, and, indeed, he scarcely afterwards gave any
sign of consciousness, except for an instant on the arrival of his
They, on learning that the scene was about to close, obtained a new leave of absence from their posts, and both reached Abbotsford on the 19th. About half-past one p.m. on the 21st of September, Sir Walter breathed his last, in the presence of all his children. It was a beautiful day - so warm, that every window was wide open and so perfectly still, that the sound of all others most delicious to his ear, the gentle ripple of the Tweed over its pebbles, was distinctly audible as we knelt around the bed, and his eldest son kissed and closed his eyes.
THOMAS BABINGTON MACAULAY
FANNY BURNEY AT COURT
[From "Madame D'Arblay," 1843, in Critical and Miscellaneous Essays. Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1870.
ARBLAY, FRANCES (BURNEY), MADAME D' (1752-1840), novelist, daughter of Dr. Burney; self-educated; published her first novel, ‘Evelina,' anonymously (though her father soon divulged the secret), 1778; brought by its success to the notice of most of the literary personages of the day; published 'Cecilia,' with similar success, 1782; made the acquaintance of Mrs. Delaney, who procured her the appointment of second keeper of the queen's robes, 1786; being broken in health, obtained with difficulty permission to retire, 1790; married General d'Arblay, a French refugee in England, 1793; published 'Camilla,' 1796; joined her husband, who had endeavoured to obtain employment in Paris, 1802; returned to England, 1812; published her last novel, The Wanderer,' 1814; rejoined her husband in Paris, and retired to Belgium; passed the rest of her life in England, after the Waterloo campaign; edited her father's 'Memoirs,' 1832; published 'Diary and Letters, 1842-6. — Index and Epitome of D. N. B.
"A style to dazzle, to gain admirers everywhere, to attract imitators in multitude! A style brilliant, metallic, exterior; making strong points, alternating invective with eulogy, wrapping in a robe of rhetoric the thing it represents; not, with the soft play of life, following and rendering the thing's very form and pressure. For, indeed, in rendering things in this fashion, Macaulay's gift did not lie." - MATTHEW ARNOLD, "A French Critic on Milton," Mixed Essays, pp. 237-238. Macmillan & Co., New York, 1879.
"Shall we go back to the art of which Macaulay was so great a master? We could do worse. It must be a great art that can make men lay aside the novel and take up the history, to find there, in very fact, the movement and
drama of life. What Macaulay does well he does incomparably. Who else can mass the details as he does, and yet not mar or obscure, but only heighten, the effect of the picture as a whole? Who else can bring so amazing a profusion of knowledge within the strait limits of a simple plan, nowhere encumbered, everywhere free and obvious in its movement? How sure the
strokes, and how bold and vivid the result! Yet when we have laid the book aside, when the charm and the excitement of the telling narrative have worn off, when we have lost step with the swinging gait at which the style goes, when the details have faded from our recollection, and we sit removed and thoughtful, with only the greater outlines of the story sharp upon our minds, a deep misgiving and dissatisfaction take possession of us. We are no longer young, and we are chagrined that we should have been so pleased and taken with the glitter and color and mere life of the picture." — WOODROW WILSON, Mere Literature and Other Essays, pp. 167, 168. Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston, 1896.]
In December 1785, Miss Burney was on a visit to Mrs. Delany at Windsor. The dinner was over. The old lady was taking a nap. Her grandniece, a little girl of seven, was playing at some Christmas game with the visitors, when the door opened, and a stout gentleman entered unannounced, with a star on his breast, and "What? what? what?" in his mouth. A cry of "The King!" was set up. A general scampering followed. Miss Burney owns that she could not have been more terrified if she had seen a ghost. But Mrs. Delany came forward to pay her duty to her royal friend, and the disturbance was quieted. Frances was then presented, and underwent a long examination and cross examination about all that she had written and all that she meant to write. The Queen soon made her appearance and his Majesty repeated, for the benefit of his consort, the information which he had extracted from Miss Burney. The good-nature of the royal pair might have softened even the authors of the Probationary Odes, and could not but be delightful to a young lady who had been brought up a Tory. In a few days the visit was repeated. Miss Burney was more at ease than before. His Majesty, instead of seeking for information, condescended to impart it, and passed sentence on many great writers, English and foreign. Voltaire he pronounced a monster. Rousseau he liked rather better. "But was there ever," he cried, "such stuff as great part of Shakspeare? Only one must not say so. But what think you? What? Is there What?"
not sad stuff? What?
The next day Frances enjoyed the privilege of listening to some
equally valuable criticism uttered by the Queen touching Goethe and Klopstock, and might have learned an important lesson of economy from the mode in which her Majesty's library had been formed. "I picked the book up on a stall," said the Queen. “Oh, it is amazing what good books there are on stalls!" Mrs. Delany, who seems to have understood from these words that her Majesty was in the habit of exploring the booths of Moorfields and Holywell Street in person, could not suppress an exclamation of surprise. "Why," said the Queen, "I don't pick them up myself. But I have a servant very clever; and, if they are not to be had at the booksellers, they are not for me more than for another." Miss Burney describes this conversation as delightful; and, indeed, we cannot wonder that, with her literary tastes, she should be delighted at hearing in how magnificent a manner the greatest lady in the land encouraged literature.
The truth is, that Frances was fascinated by the condescending kindness of the two great personages to whom she had been presented. Her father was even more infatuated than herself. The result was a step of which we cannot think with patience, but which, recorded as it is, with all its consequences, in these volumes, deserves at least this praise, that it has furnished a most impressive warning.
A German Lady of the name of Haggerdorn, one of the keepers of the Queen's robes, retired about this time; and her Majesty offered the vacant post to Miss Burney. When we consider that Miss Burney was decidedly the most popular writer of fictitious narrative then living, that competence, if not opulence, was within her reach, and that she was more than usually happy in her domestic circle, and when we compare the sacrifice which she was invited to make with the remuneration which was held out to her, we are divided between laughter and indignation.
What was demanded of her was that she should consent to be almost as completely separated from her family and friends as if she had gone to Calcutta, and almost as close a prisoner as if she had been sent to gaol for a libel; that with talents which had instructed and delighted the highest living minds, she should now be employed only in mixing snuff and sticking pins; that she should be summoned by a waiting-woman's bell to a waiting