VII. LADY BOYD
’Be sorry at corruption.’—Rutherford.
Out of various published and unpublished writings of her day we are able to gather an interesting and impressive picture of Lady Boyd’s life and character. But there was a carefully written volume of manuscript, that I much fear she must have burned when on her death-bed, that would have been invaluable to us to-night. Lady Boyd kept a careful diary for many years of her later life, and it was not a diary of court scandal or of social gossip or even of family affairs, it was a memoir of herself that would have satisfied even John Foster, for in it she tried with all fidelity to ’discriminate the successive states of her mind, and so to trace the progress of her character, a progress that gives its chief importance to human life.’ Lady Boyd’s diary would, to a certainty, have pleased the austere Essayist, for she was a woman after his own heart, ‘grave, diligent, prudent, a rare pattern of Christianity.’
Thomas Hamilton, Lady Boyd’s father, was an excellent scholar and a very able man. He rose from being a simple advocate at the Scottish Bar to be Lord President of the Court of Session, after which, for his great services, he was created Earl of Haddington. Christina, his eldest daughter, inherited no small part of her father’s talents and strength of character. By the time we know her she has been some ten years a widow, and all her children are promising to turn out an honour to her name and a blessing to her old age. And, under the Divine promise, we do not wonder at that, when we see what sort of mother they had. For with all sovereign and inscrutable exceptions the rule surely still holds, ’Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.’ All her days Lady Boyd was on the most intimate terms with