John Buchan said of Scott: "The greatest figure he ever drew is in the Journal, and it is the man Walter Scott".
Scott began to write his diary only in November 1825 when he was 54 years old, famous, happy and wealthy. Within a few weeks his publisher Constable and printer Ballantyne had gone bankrupt and he found himself responsible for the enormous debt of both firms as well as his own. Within six months his wife had died. The Journal became the account of the heroic struggle of an elderly man in adversity, devoting all his time and dwindling energy to writing to pay off those debts with extraordinary courage.
The first short passages which follow record the announcement of the financial crash:
The next three extracts give some picture of his daily life at Abbotsford and in Edinburgh - a story of unremitting literary work, interspersed with illness, interrupted by social callers and by the public calls on his time.
The final passage, written when he was visiting London, reminds us of the fame he acquired as the Author of Waverley.