William Laidlaw (1780-1845). Hogg worked as a shepherd for his father, James Laidlaw, for ten years and the two were close friends from youth. Indeed, Hogg writes in his Memoir of the Author’s Life that William is “better acquainted with my nature and propensities than I am myself”. The Laidlaws were crucial figures in Hogg’s life: it was through his employment to James that he learnt to read and write. William, meanwhile, was the sole supporter of Hogg’s early literary endeavours and was later responsible for introducing him to Sir Walter Scott, for whom he worked as a steward and amanuensis. William also shared Hogg’s writerly ambitions: he was a fellow contributor to Blackwood’s and a successful poet, his best-known piece being the ballad Lucy’s Flittin’.