He was easily overawed by people of consequence, but, as usual, took it out of those whom poverty made subservient to him. Yet he was generous, and far from bad-hearted. In person good-looking, but very corpulent latterly; a large feeder, and deep drinker, till his health became weak. He died of water in the chest, which the natural strength of his constitution set long at defiance. I have no great reason to regret him; yet I do.
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If he deceived me, he also deceived himself. Wrote five pages to-day, and went to see Mr. Scrope, who is fast with the gout—a bad companion to attend him. Deputy Register  arrived from Minto, and we had an agreeable afternoon, talking about the old days we have had together. I was surprised to find that Thomson knew as little as I do myself how to advise Charles to a good course of Scottish History.
Hailes and Pinkerton, Robertson and Laing—there is nothing else for it—and Pinkerton is poor work. Laing, besides his party spirit, has a turn for generalising, which renders him rather dull, which was not the nature of the acute Orcadian. I finished four pages, and part of a fifth, then drove to Huntly Burn and returned through the Glen; I certainly turn heavy-footed , not in the female sense, however.
I had one or two falls among the slippy heather, not having Tom Purdie to give me his arm. I suppose I shall need a go-cart one of these days; and if it must be so—so let it be. Fiat voluntas tua. A letter from John Gibson in the evening brought me word that Lord Newton had adjudged the profits of Woodstock and Napoleon to be my own.
This is a great matter, and removes the most important part of my dispute with Constable's creditors.
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I waked in the middle of the night. Sure I am not such a feather-headed gull as not to be able to sleep for good news. I am thankful that it is as it is.
Had it been otherwise, I could have stood it. The money realised will pay one-third of all that I owe in the world—and what will pay the other two-thirds? I am as well and as capable as when those misfortunes began—January was a year. The public favour may wane, indeed, but it has not failed as yet, and I must not be too anxious about that possibility. James B. He calls out for starch, and is afraid of his cravat being too stiff.
O ye critics, will nothing melt ye? To-morrow I resume the Chronicles , tooth and nail. They must be good, if possible. After all, works of fiction, viz. Walked over to the head of the Roman road, coming round by Bauchland and the Abbot's Walk. Wrote letters in the evening.
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No great desire to take up the Chronicles. But it must be done. Devil take the necessity, and the folly and knavery, that occasioned it! But this is no matter now. Accordingly I set tightly to work, and got on till two, when I took a walk. Was made very happy by the arrival of Sophia and her babies, all in good health and spirits. The two Ballantynes, and Mr.
Hogarth with them. Owen Rees came early in the day. Fergusons came to dinner. Rees in great kindness and good-humour, but a little drumlie, I think, about Napoleon. We heard Sandie's violin after dinner—.
I do not understand or care about fine music; but there is something in his violin which goes to the very heart. Sophia sung too, and we were once more merry in hall—the first time for this many a month and many a day. Walked at one with Hogarth and Rees—the day sultry, hot, and we hot accordingly, but crept about notwithstanding. I am sorry to see my old and feal friend James rather unable to walk—once so stout and active—so was I in my way once.
Routed and roared from six in the morning till eight continuously.
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Time wasted, though very agreeably, after breakfast. At noon, set out for Chiefswood in the carriage, and walked home, footing it over rough and smooth, with the vigour of early days. James Ballantyne marched on too, somewhat meltingly, but without complaint. We again had beautiful music after dinner. The heart of age arose.
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I have often wondered whether I have a taste for music or no. My ear appears to me as dull as my voice is incapable of musical expression, and yet I feel the utmost pleasure in any such music as I can comprehend, learned pieces always excepted. I believe I may be about the pitch of Terry's connoisseurship, and that "I have a reasonable good ear for a jig, but your solos and sonatas give me the spleen.
We had a drive up to Galashiels, and sent J. Music in the evening as before. August 1. Finished five pages. Dined alone, excepting Huntly Gordon, who is come on a visit, poor lad. I hope he is well fixed under Mr. Planta's  patronage. Smoked a cigar after dinner. Laughed with my daughters, and read them the review of Hoffmann's production out of Gillies's new Foreign Review.
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The undertaking would do, I am convinced, in any other person's hands than those of the improvident editor; but I hear he is living as thoughtlessly as ever in London, has hired a large house, and gives Burgundy to his guests. August 2. Went over to breakfast at Huntly Burn; the great object was to see my cascade in the Glen suitably repaired. I have had it put to rights by puddling and damming. What says the frog in the Fairy Tale? Having seen the job pretty tightly done, walked deliciously home through the woods.
But no work all this while. Then for up and at it.
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