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acquired a good stock of impudence, which I find is of great advantage, for if we can't speak for ourselves nobody else will. I have now had an opportunity of seeing the English ladies, who, I find, differ materially from the Scotch unless we walk arm in arm in the strect, and show them all complacency and keep continually talking, we are considered as insignificant sort of fellows. However, I have got quite up to all this, and can manage extremely well. You may tell George Veitch that I am grown so much the man of gallantry, that the ladies I meet on the way at night often fall in love with me, and very often entreat me to walk home with them, although I never saw them before. You may also tell him, that I frequently get into the theatres of Drury Lane and Covent Garden for the small sum of a sixpence, which, if he will please to recollect, is much cheaper than he and I used to go to the theatre in Edinburgh. I am at present in hopes of getting into some employment in the portrait line; at any rate, I will try and make all the shifts I can to keep myself here, for it is too soon to return to Scotland yet.

But the young artist neither forgot his Scotch nationality, his father's homely fireside, nor failed to follow the peculiar bent of his native genius. These features are pleasantly shown by the presents he sent to the manse of Cults, and by the particularities of a letter he wrote to his sister in 1814, relative to his widowed mother's removal to London, when among other cherished household goods he mentions "the old brass pan for making jelly," which he would fain have brought along with her. We must now introduce a few widely scattered and miscellaneous notices indicative of the career of the popular artist, and the personages with whom he came in contact, This of Lady Hamilton:

I there met for the first time the too celebrated Lady Hamilton; she had with her a girl supposed to be the daughter of Lord Nelson, a creature of great sweetness; Lady Hamilton, knowing me by name, called me and said that her daughter had the finest taste imaginable, and that she excelled in graceful attitudes. She then made her stand in the middle of the room with a piece of drapery, and throw herself into a number of those elegant. postures for which her ladyship in her prime was so distinguished. She afterwards told me of all else her daughter could do, and concluded by asking me if I did not think her very like her father. I said I had never seen that eminent person. Lady Hamilton is lusty, and tall, and of fascinating manners, but her features are bold and masculine. Her daughter's name is Horatio Hamilton.

Behold Wilkie and his amiable friend Sir George Beaumont :

Sir George Beaumont, with a delicacy of which only fine minds are capable, a day or two after the opening of the academy, and the presence of the painter's genius was missed, wrote to him, saying," My dear Wilkie, I have long felt deeply in your debt, but your delicacy' has always stood in the way of its discharge. I thought of deferring it to another opportunity; but

it may be so long before that occurs, that I am, for various reasons, induced to send you the enclosed-let this be a secret between us." The high and still rising fame of the painter had, indeed, increased so much the value of The Blind Fiddler, that he might safely intimate, which he did, that he regarded himself as still in his debt; yet there can be no doubt, that Sir George, in his delicate way, desired to sustain the sensitive mind of Wilkie, which he was afraid might require such support; neither, perhaps, was it out of his thoughts that the sale of his pictures, by which he lived, might be injured. That Sir George Beaumont addressed a spirit akin to his own, may be gathered from the following reply:

To Sir George Beaumont, Bart.

[No date.] Dear Sir George,―The letter which I had the honour to receive from you this morning, enclosing a cheque for fifty pounds, took me so much by surprise, that some time was necessary for reflection. But the more I weigh the matter in my mind, the more inexcusable should I think myself were I to harbour a thought of receiving any further consideration for what I have already been so much overpaid. In order to show that I am not actuated by mere feelings of diffidence, I beg leave to state, that for the permission you have so kindly given me to have The Blind Fiddler engraved, which, by-the-bye, I had no right to expect, and could not ask for from every person that has got my pictures, I am to receive fifty guineas. This, in addition to what I considered on a former occasion to be a fair and liberal price, would make it an absolute act of injustice in me not to refuse what you have I therefore, with the highest sense of your generosity, beg of you to receive the cheque again, and take the liberty of enclosing it. D. W.

sent me.

The painter and the great duke:

Called at Apsley House. Mr. Long there; and after waiting a considerable time, the Duke of Wellington came from a review in the Park. He showed Mr. Long the two sketches of the Chelsea Pensioners; stating what he liked and disliked, and observing that out of the two a picture might be made that would do. He preferred the one with the young figures; but as Mr. Long remonstrated against the old fellows being taken out, the Duke agreed that the man reading should be a pensioner, besides some others in the picture. He wished that the piper might be put in, also the old man with the wooden leg; but he objected to the man with the opthalmia. Mr. Long preferred the composition of the first sketch in the grouping on the right hand.

I then asked the Duke if I might now begin the picture; and he said immediately if I pleased. I brought the sketches home with me.

The Captain of the age critical:

Had the honour of a call from the Duke of Wellington, to see the picture. He seemed highly pleased with it: took notice of the Black's head and old Doggy, and of the black dog which followed the Blues in Spain: observed that it was more finished than any I had done was interested with what I

told him of the people, and where they had served; and seemed pleased with the young man at the table, and with the circumstance that old Doggy had been at the siege of Gibraltar.

The Duke of Wellington called with a lady and gentleman. His Grace wished to see the engravings from my pictures: I accordingly showed those in the parlour; with which they all seemed much interested. The Duke said to his friends that the "Rent Day" was the first that he had ever seen of my works, and that he was much struck with it.

George the Fourth and the "Reading of the Will:"

Sir Thomas told me he had a request to make on behalf of his Majesty, respecting my picture now in the exhibition; which is, whether he might have the picture, and whether a duplicate might not be sent of it to Bavaria.

I told Sir Thomas, that my first desire was to comply with his Majesty's request, in as far as my time and labour were concerned; but that the difficulty would be with my first employer; but before giving an answer, I said I must consult with the Marquis of Stafford.

I accordingly went to the Marquis, and told him; but he said he did not wish to interfere, and that the Baron Pfeffil was the most proper person to speak to. I then went to the Baron; and, with great acuteness, he put the case in this way-that either the picture was mine, or that it belongs to the King of Bavaria. If mine, I may dispose of it as I please; but if it was the King of Bavaria's, then the matter could only be arranged by an application from the King of Great Britain to the King of Bavaria. I told him that if the picture was approved of by the King of Bavaria, and the money paid I had engaged to paint it for, that it was certainly the King of Bavaria's picture. The Baron recommended, if any application was to be made about it, that Sir Thomas Lawrence should write to Mr. Brook Taylor at his Court, who would settle it in a friendly way. Left the Baron, and went to a coffee-house, and wrote the substance of what the Baron had told me to Sir Thomas Lawrence.

Again :

Had a call from the Baron Pfeffil, who told me he had received a letter from Baden, and that the King of Bavaria was most desirous to possess my picture, and desired that it might be sent immediately to Munich, and that the banker of the Bavarian Court in London should be ordered to pay to me the sum of £425; that is, £100 in addition to the sum I engaged to paint the picture for, and 25 for the frame.

Waited upon Sir Thomas Lawrence; who showed me a letter he had from Sir Brook Taylor, which stated that he had received Sir Thomas's communication from the King respecting my picture; but as the King of Bavaria had not been at Munich, he had not had any opportunity of mentioning it to his Majesty, as he thought it a very delicate subject; he could not trust it to be mentioned by any one else, consequently it might still be some days before he could have any opportunity, as his Majesty had not yet returned to Munich, &c.

Received a letter from Sir Thomas Lawrence, enclosing one for Sir Benjamin Bloomfield, stating that the King did not wish Mr. Taylor to urge

the relinquishment of the picture, unless the King of Bavaria should, upon an inspection of it, not see so much merit in the work as the description gave him reason to expect. After writing to Sir Thomas in answer, sent to the Baron Pfeffil to tell him that I now felt at full liberty to make over the picture to his Excellency, and would order a packing-case for it immediately. Received from the Bavarian Minister the sum of 4477. 10s., the price of the picture of the "Reading of the Will."

We return for a few seconds to Wilkie's childhood:

Unostentatious simplicity in manses generally prevailed: the linen of ordinary households was spun from lint sown in a neighbouring farmer's grounds and bleached on the nearest burn-bank by the hands which spun it; the butter, the milk, and cheese, for the kitchen and the hall, came from the cows which were grazing within sight; the fowls which in feasting times smoked on the table were fattened at the nearest barn-door; the dove-cot was at hand to supply an unexpected visiter at the manse; the herbs which seasoned the national dishes grew in the kitchen garden; while over the whole system of in-door economy the mistress of the house considered it her duty to preside in a gown the fruit of her own thrift and skill.

It was well for the vigour and simplicity of the great painter's character that he was bred in such a school. David was a silent though stirring child, and loved, when scarce escaped from his mother's bosom, to draw such figures as struck his young fancy on the sand by the stream side, on the smooth stones of the field, on the floors of the manse; nor was it unobserved that most of these early scratchings had a leaning towards the humorous and the absurd. He has been heard, when his fame was high, to declare, that he could draw before he could read, and paint before he could spell; nor is it forgotten that he was seen, when a mere child, to sketch a female head with chalk upon the floor; and, on being questioned what he was doing, he answered, "Making bonnie Lady Gonnie;" and that the rude outline contained some of the lineaments of Lady Balgonie, whom he had but newly seen at his father's fireside.

Wilkie's love of home:

It is still remembered as one of those dreams in which men of genius sometimes love to indulge, that Sir David, as his fame increased, talked of buying back, if possible, the family inheritance, some fifty or sixty acres ; of building a mansion where the grey old gable of Ratho-Byres stood; and of adorning it with pictures from his own pencil, recording deeds and scenes of Scottish glory. The birthplace of his fathers was dear to his heart; he loved to speak of Gogarburn, a small trout stream, as poets speak of the Tweed and the Tay; and of the scenes of skirmishes nigh Ratho, between the Scots, the English, and the Danes, as actions which history had done wrong to neglect, and which painting, had such art then existed, would have done well to record. He used to relate, with pleasure, that Ratho possessed the old Scots parliamentary Bible of the Regent Morton, a folio, of a clear, and for the times, a beautiful type, embellished with rude cuts, on which he had looked with interest; nor did he fail in these reminiscences to remember

that, in 1745, a female relation, whom a fear of Prince Charles and his highlandmen had driven from Edinburgh to Ratho-Byres, prepared and presented to his grandfather the first cup of tea ever drank in the house of Wilkie, or indeed in the district.

The gradations of appreciation in Scotland:

The Wilkie who sought for fame and bread among the towns and straths of Fife, and who was regarded with cloudy brows by the pious of Cults, for presuming to trace their faces as they slumbered in their pews at church, and the Wilkie whom high earls were proud to employ, and whom the first-born of the realm courted to come to their country seats, seemed different persons. He was first spoken of in the north as an ingenious young man; for the Scotch are slow in saying all they think: then the mercury of their praise rose a few degrees, and he was a very clever painter of humble subjects; and, finally, he became, without excelling far his first productions, our distinguished countryman, and our own immortal Wilkie.

The artist's studies for the "Chelsea Pensioners :"

The Waterloo Gazette was like a spell on Wilkie during the whole of the year 1821, and as far into the succeeding year as the month of April, when it went to the exhibition: those who were curious in such things might have met him, after measuring the ground, as it were, where the scene of his picture is laid, watching the shadows of the houses and trees, eyeing every picturesque pensioner who passed, and taking heed of jutting houses, projecting signs, and odd gates, in the old rabblement of houses which, in days before the cholera and amended taste, formed the leading street, or rather road, of Chelsea. Nor had he seen without emotion, as I have heard him say, the married soldiers when they returned from the dreadful wars; sometimes two legs, as he observed, to three men, accompanied by women, most of whom had seen and some had shared in the perils and hardships of the Spanish campaigns, or had witnessed the more dreadful Waterloo, and soothed or ministered to the wounded as they were borne from the field

"When from each anguish-laden vein
The blood-drops laid the dust like rain."

With these, Chelsea mingled veterans who had been at Bunker's Hill and Saratoga; others were blinded with the hot sands of India or Egypt, or carried the scars of the Duke of York's campaign in the outbreak of the great war of the French Revolution. He brooded over all these matters. Every time he visited Chelsea, and saw groups of soldiers paid and disbanded, and observed their convivialities, the more was he confirmed that the choice of the picture was excellent, and that even the desire of the Duke to mingle the soldiers of his own great battles with the hoary veterans of the American war had its advantages.


passage more: it is from the journal :

To church; where I heard Sydney Smith preach a sermon, which for its eloquence and power of reasoning, exceeded anything I had ever heard.

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