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[282] most comical Scotch expressions of face, half-way between cunning and humor, and added, ‘All I wish is, that Jedediah Cleishbotham could be here to enjoy it!’

I met him in court one morning, when he was not occupied, and he proposed to take a walk with me. He carried me round and showed me the houses of Ferguson, Blair, Hume, Smith, Robertson, Black, and several others, telling, at the same time, amusing anecdotes of these men, and bringing out a story for almost every lane and close we passed; explained and defended more at large the opinion he has advanced in ‘Guy Mannering,’ that the days of these men were the golden days of Edinburgh, and that we live in the decline of society there. I am not certain we do not; but I was never less disposed to acknowledge it than at that moment.

Among other anecdotes, Mr. Scott told me1 that he once travelled with Tom Campbell in a stage-coach alone, and that, to beguile the time, they talked of poetry and began to repeat some. At last Scott asked Campbell for something of his own, and he said there was one thing he had written but never printed, that was full of ‘drums and trumpets and blunderbusses and thunder,’ and he did n't know if there was anything good in it. And then he repeated ‘Hohenlinden.’ Scott listened with the greatest interest, and when he had finished, broke out, ‘But, do you know, that's devilish fine; why, it's the finest thing you ever wrote, and it must be printed!’

On Monday, March 15, early in the morning, I left Edinburgh. I was not alone, for Cogswell came with me, and we had a pleasant drive of six or seven hours down into the Border country, and finally stopped at Kelso, a pleasant town on the beautiful banks of the Tweed. We went immediately to see the ruins of the old abbey. . . . .

March 16.—Two miles farther on [beyond Melrose] is the magician's own house,—Scott's, I mean, or the ‘sherrie's,’ as the postilion called him, because he is sheriff of the county,—as odd-looking a thing as can well be seen, neither house nor castle, ancient nor modern, nor an imitation of either, but a complete nondescript.2 The situation is not very good, though on the bank of the Tweed and opposite the entrance of the Gala, for it is under a hill and has little


1 This anecdote was dictated by Mr. Ticknor in later years.

2 It was still a cottage in dimensions, very different from the later erection.

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