Anne Lister diary transcriptions Anne Lister's diary 1828 Anne Lister's diary July 1828

Wednesday 2 July 1828


Remembering last night what she said on Sunday but was not good and had one kiss. I do not fancy this refraining kind of goodness is what she wishes. Miss McL- could not sleep scarce at all last night on account of bugs. Almost devoured. She roused herself to hunt for them by the twilight. I let them quietly bite & slept. Quite as bad as at Dunfermline in spite of the chamber maid’s protestations that there was no such thing in the house. Great many rooms backward. Might have some of them. What better should we be? Miss McL- wrote to Lady Elizabeth Thackeray to say we would dine with them. Very kind note back asking us to retake possessions of our rooms. Miss McL- wrote back to say we would do so & be with them at 6½.

Cimex lectularius the Bed-bug.The plant is Alliaria petiolata (Sauce-alone)
John Curtis (1836) British Entomology

Breakfast at 10½. The chaise came as ordered at 11. Had to wait for Lady Elizabeth Thackeray’s answer to the first note & then write the answer, so not off till 11½. Rainy morning. Drive to Mr Hunter’s office, 5 North St. David Street. A very good humoured, thoroughly amiable-looking sort of little man with a cork shoe (right) & walking very lame. Very civil. Very cordially asked me to go to Doonholme (his mother’s, but where his wife & family are) in Ayrshire, 40 miles from Glasgow, but said he would drive over & meet me there & take me back! Drew upon Messers Hammersley’s payable at sight “with or without advice” for £100, which Mr Hunter let me have. About 20 minutes with him & off for Dalkeith at 11 55/60. Rained all the way so went inside & alighted at the palace gate (no carriage allowed to enter) at 1. Short distance to walk. ¾ hour in the palace (vid. Scottish Tourist, 27/415). No great external appearance. Merely that of a large but common house. Very comfortable within and good, handsome, lofty rooms, but nothing particularly splendid. The grey veined marble Corinthian pillars & wainscoting at the foot of the stairs very handsome. Some large interesting views of Venice. Great many chiefly family portraits which ones does not care much for. The rooms the king had very comfortable. The large 4 posted bed taken down & a large French bed put up for his majesty who likes his bed stocks & bed to be low. Just walked along the grounds as far as the bridge, whence a good view of the house & the fine, green shrubbery basin just below it. The scenery about the river seemed as if very pretty. Off again at 2. Dalkeith goodish town. Good church being (except a small part of the east end) old church (destroyed, of course, by John Knox) repaired. The other small part being still ruins, no glass in the windows & I think no roof.

Dalkeith Palace
By John Preston Neale (1824) in Views of the Seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Second Series
Original held and digitised by the British Library

¼ hour from Dalkeith pass Melville Castle (right), square white house with a rounded tower at each corner & one wing. Then down upon the good village of Lasswade (pronounced Lă-swade) (it being fair, tho’ now very windy, went on the dicky from Dalkeith all the rest of the way). At 2 50/60 large village of Lonehead. At 3 5/60 alight at Roslin inn (Mr Oughton). An officious sort of man shewed us the chapel (vid. Scottish Tourist, 24-5/415). Very beautiful remain. Very beautiful highly wrought specimen of the florid gothic. Very much pleased with it. Glad not to have missed seeing it. The wreathed column called the ‘prentice column because done by him in his master’s absence. The master got the design from Rome, but going there to study it, stayed so long that he found the column done on his return & in his rage took up a hammer & killed the ‘prentice. So said our guide.

The ‘prentice column
Photo by Guinnog,  licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Some of the scripture history carving along the groining of the side aisles & the capitals of the pillars is very fine & perfect. The roof perfect. Very beautiful. Covered. Finished in compartments (5?) of roses, stars & 2 or 3 other flowers of 4 petals? rounded & pointed? The original design (to have been a miniature sort of cathedral?) not completed. Would not some of the proportions of the present remain make a fine room in a gothic house?

Rosslyn Chapel, Ceiling of Chancel
Photo by George Washington Wilson, circa 1865
This image is from the Cornell University Library‘s The Commons Flickr stream

Then walked down to the remains (not very considerable, merely detached pieces of wall & tower) of the old castle. Very picturesque & finely situated over looking the river (North Esk) & its wooded bank, towards Hawthorden, only to be seen on Thursday. ¾ hour at the chapel & castle. The chapel at the top of a hill above the castle 1/8 mile distant? Inquired at the house at the castle after the old lady said in the newspapers to have fallen into the river & been saved by a young man with difficulty. All a hum. On getting back to the little inn sat down, as everybody does during the strawberry season, for 40 minutes to eat strawberries & cream & got 2 baskets to take back to Thackeray’s. Very good but a little spoilt by the rain.

Roslin Castle by Paul Sandby, circa 1780

Off from Roslin at 4½, pass Hunter’s Tryst (Scottish Tourist, 31/415) and at 5½ pass thro’ the very prettily situated village of Colinton said (Miss McL-) to be one of the prettiest villages in Scotland. At 5 50/60 at Slateford & fine aqueduct over the Leith water. 8 arches. Then, at a little distance, one arch more thro’ the high grass-covered embankment. Back at the Crown Hotel, Princes Street at 6 10/60. Paid the bill & got our baggage, then, in passing, stopped at Gianetti’s, George Street & had my hair curled (3 of them at it) in ¼ hour, and got to the Thackeray’s at 6¾. Took off pelisse and put on gown and dinner at 7¼. The Thackerays really appeared glad to see us & are very kindly civil. Message too from Mrs Stuart McKenzie to know when we leave town tomorrow. Lady Elizabeth Thackeray played a little on the piano. Yet after all they are a stupidish pair. I should soon be tired of living with them but she is a ladyship and he gentlemanly. Came to my room at 11 25/60. Rainy morning till our arrival at Dalkeith. Afterwards fair but windy.  

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