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Dr. M'Pherson's " Dissertations on Scottish Antiquities," which he had looked at when at Corrichataehin, being mentioned, he remarked, that " you might read half an hour,
aud ask yourself what you bad been reading: there were so many words to so little matter, that there was no getting through the book."
As soon as we reached the shore, we took leave of Kingsburgh, and mounted our horses. We passed through a wild moor, in many places so soft that we were obliged to walk, which was very fatiguing to Dr. Johnson. Once he had advanced on horseback to a very bad step. There was a steep declivity on his left, to which he was so near, that there was not room for him to dismount in the usual way. He tried to alight on the other side, as if he had been a young buck indeed, but in the attempt he fell at his length upon the ground; from which, however, he got up immediately without being hurt. During this dreary ride, we were sometimes relieved by a view of branches of the sea, that universal medinm of connection amongst mankind. A guide, who had been sent with us from Kingsburgh, explored the way (much in the same manner as, I suppose, is pursued in the wilds of America) by observing certain marks known only to the inhabitants, We arrived at Dunvegan late in the afternoon. The great size of the castle, which is partly old and partly new, and is built upon a rock close to the sea, while the land around it presents nothing but wild, moorish, hilly, and craggy appearances, gave a rude magnificence to the scene. Having dismounted, we ascended a flight of steps, which was rnade by the late Macleod, for the accommodation of persons coming to him by laud, there formerly being, for security, no other access to the castle but from the sea; ao that visitors who came by the land were under the necessity of getting into a boat, and sailed round to the only place where it could be approached. We were introduced into a stately dining-room, and received by Lady Macleod,. mother of the Laird, who, with his friend Talieker, having been detained on the road, did not arrive till some time after us.
We found the lady of the house a very polite and sensible woman, who had lived for some time in London, and had there been in Dr. Johnson's company. After we had dined, we repaired to the drawing-room, where some of the young ladies of the family, with their mother, were at tea. This room had formerly been the bed-chamber of Sir Roderick Macleod, one of the old lairds: and he chose it, because behind it there was a considerable cascade, the sound of which disposed him to sleep. Above his bed was this inscription :—" Sir Rorie Macleod of Dun vegan, Knight. God send good rest!" Rorie is the contraction of Roderick, He was called Rorie More, that is, great Rorie, not from his size, but from his spirit. Our entertainment here was in so elegant a style, and reminded my fellow-traveller so much of England, that he became quite joyous. He laughed, and said, " Boswell, we came in at the wrong end of this island." "Sir," said I, "it was best to keep this for the last." He answered, " I would have it both first and last." Tuesday, Sept. 14.—Dr. Johnson said in the morning, "Is not this a fine lady ?" l There was not a word now of his " impatience to be in civilized life;" though indeed I should beg pardon—he found it here. We had slept well, aud lain long. After breakfast we surveyed the castle and the garden. Mr. Bethune, the parish Minister, Magnus Macleod of Claggan, brother to Talisker, and Macleod of Bay, two substantial gentlemen of the clan, dined with us. We had admirable venison, generous wine: in a word, all that a good table has. This was really the hall of a chief. Lady Macleod had been much obliged to my father, who had settled, by arbitration, a variety of perplexed claims between her and her relation, the Laird of Brodie, which
1 She was the daughter of Alexander Brodie, Esq., of Brodie, Lyon King at Arms. She had lately come with her daughters out of Hampshire, to superintend her son's household at Dun vegan. This respectable lady died in 1803. It has been said that she expressed considerable dissatisfaction at Dr. Johnson's rude behaviour at Dunvegan. Her grandson, the present Macleod, assures ine that it was not so : " they were all," he says emphatically, "delighted with him;" and, indeed, his fathers memoirs* give the same impression of satisfaction on all points but Ossian.—Croker.
* They were published by Mr. Crokcr in his first edition of Boswell's Life, vol ii., pp. 554-560, Appendix.—Editor.
she now repaid by particular attention to me. Macleod started the subject of making women do penance in the church for fornication. Johnson. "It is right, Sir. Infamy is attached to the crime, by universal opinion, as soon as it is known. I would not be the man who would discover it, if I alone knew it, for a woman may reform; nor would I commend a parson who divulges a woman's first offence; but being once divulged, it ought to be infamous. Consider of what importance to society the chastity of women is. Upon that all the property in the world depends. We hang a thief for stealing a sheep, but the unchastity of a woman transfers sheep, and farm, and all, from the right owner. I have much more reverence for a common prostitute than for a woman who conceals her guilt. The prostitute is known. She cannot deceive. She cannot bring a strumpet into the arms of an honest man, without his knowledge." Boswell. "There is, however, a great difference between the licentiousness of a single woman, and that of a married woman." Johnson. "Yes, Sir; there is a great difference between stealing a shilling and stealing a thousand pounds; between simply taking a man's purse, and murdering him first, and then taking it. But when one begins to be vicious, it is easy to go on. Where single women are licentious, you rarely find faithful married women." Boswell. "And yet we are told, that in some nations in India, the distinction is strictly observed." Johnson. "Nay, don't give us India. That puts me in mind of Montesquien, who is really a fellow of genins too in many respects; whenever he wants to support a strange opinion, he quotes you the practice of Japan, or of some other distant country, of which he knows nothing. To support polygamy, he tells you of the island of Formosa.1 where there are ten women born for one man. He had but to suppose another island, where there are ten men born for one woman, and so make a marriage between them."
'See L'Esprit des Loix, livre xxiii., chap. 16.—Editor.
2 What my friend treated as so wild a supposition, has actually happened in the western islands of Scotland, if we may believe Martin, who tells it of the islands of Col and Tyr-y i, and says that it is proved by the parish registers.
"The isle of Col produces more boys than girls, and tlie isle of Tyr-yi
At supper, Lady Macleod mentioned Dr. Cadogan's book on the gout. Johnson. "It is a good book in general, but a foolish one in particulars. It is good in general, as recommending temperance, and exercise, and cheerfulness. In that respect it is only Dr. Cheyne's book told in a new way; and there should come out such a book every thirty years, dressed in the mode of the times. It is foolish, in maintaining that the gout is not hereditary, and that one fit of it, when gone, is like a fever when gone." Lady Macleod objected that the author does not practice what he teaches.1 Johnson. "I cannot help that, Madam. That does not make his book the worse. People are influenced more by what a man says, if his practice is suitable to it, because they are blockheads. The more intellectual people are, the readier will they attend to what a man tells them. If it is just, they will follow it, be his practice what it will. No man practises as well as he writes. I have, all my life long, been lying till noon; yet I tell all young men, and tell them with great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any good. Only consider! You read a book; you are convinced by it; you do not know the author. Suppose you afterwards know him, and find that he does not practise what he teaches; are you to give up your former conviction? At this rate you would be kept in a state of equilibrium, when reading every book, till you knew how the author practised." "But," said Lady Macleod, " you would think better of Dr. Cadogan, if he acted according to his principles." Johnson. "Why, Madam, to be sure, a man, who acts in the face of light is worse than a man who does not
more girls than boys, as if Nature intended both these islt« for mutual alliances, without being at the trouble of going to the adjnoent isles or continent to be matched. The parish book in which the number of the baptized is to be seen, confirms this observation." Martin, p. 271.— Editor.
1 This was a general reflection against Dr. Cadogan, when his very popular book was first published. It was said, thut whatever precepts he might give to others, he himself indulged freely in the bottle. But I have since had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him, and, if his own testimony may be bclie\Kl (and 1 have never heard it impeached), his course of life has been confoi amble to his doctrine.
.Dr. Cadogan dii-d in 1797, in the eighty-sixth year of his age.—
know so much; yet I think no man should be the worse thought of for publishing good principles. There is something noble in publishing truth, though it condemns one's self." I expressed some surprise atCadogan's recommending good humour, as if it were quite in our own power to attain it. Johnson "Why, Sir, a man grows better humoured as he grows older. He improves by experience. When young, he thinks himself of great consequence, and every thing of importance. As he advances in life, he learns to think himself of no consequence, and little things of little importance; and so he becomes more patient, and better pleased. All good humour and complaisance are acquired. Naturally a child seizes directly what it sees, and thinks of pleasing itself only. By degrees, it is taught to please others, and to prefer others; and that this will ultimately produce the greatest happiness. If a man is not convinced of that, he never will practise it. Common language speaks the truth as to this: we say, a person is well bred. As it is said, that all material motion is primarily in a right line, and is never per circuiturn, never in another form, unless by some particular cause; so it may be said intellectual motion is." Lady Macleod asked, if no man was naturally good? Johnson. "No, Madam, no more than a wolf." Boswell. "Nor no woman, Sir?" Johnson. "No, Sir." Lady Macleod started at this, saving, in a low voice, "This is worse than Swift."
Macleod of Ulinish had come in the afternoon. We were a jovial company at supper. The Laird, surrounded by so many of his clan, was to me a pleasing sight. They listened with wonder and pleasure while Dr. Johnson harangued. I am vexed that I cannot take down his full strain of eloquence.
Wednesday, Sept. 15.—The gentlemen of the clan went away early in the morning to the harbour of Lochbraccadale, to take leave of some of their friends who were going to America. It was a very wet day. We looked at Borie Move's horn, which is a large cow's horn, with the month of it ornamented with silver curiously carved. It holds rather more than a bottle and a half. Every Laird of Macleod, it is said, must, as a proof of his manhood,