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are only "as yesterday, when it is past," and never again to be perceived. I hoped that ever after having been in this holy place, I should maintain an exemplary conduct. One has a strange propensity to fix upon some point of time from whence a better course of life may begin.
Being desirous to visit the opposite shore of the island, where Saint Columba is said to have landed, I procured a horse from one M'Ginnis, who ran along as my guide. The M'Ginnises are said to be a branch of the clan of M'Lean. Sir Allan had been told that this man had refused to send him some rum, at which the knight was in great indignation. "You rascal!" said he, " don't you know that I can hang you, if I please?" Not adverting to the chieftain's power over his clan, I imagined that Sir Allan had known of some capital crime that the fellow had committed, which he could discover, and so get him condemned; and said, "How so ?"—" Why," said Sir Allan, "are they not all my people?" Sensible of my inadvertency, and most willing to contribute what I could towards the continuation of feudal authority, "Very true," said I. Sir Allan went on; "Refuse to send rum to me, you rascal! Don't you know that if I order you to go and cut a man's throat, you are to do it?"—"Yes, an't please your honour! and my own too, and hang myself too." The poor fellow denied that he had refused to send the rum. His making these professions was not merely a pretence in presence of his chief; for after he and I were out of Sir Allan's hearing, he told me, "Had he sent his dog for the rum, I would have given it: I would cut my bones for him." It was very remarkable to find such an attachment to a chief, though he had then no connection with the island, and had not been there for fourteen years. Sir Allan, by way of upbraiding the fellow, said, "I believe you are a Campbell"
The place which I went to see is about two miles from the village. They call it Portawherry, from the wherry in which Columba came; though, when they show the length of his vessel, as marked on the beach by two heaps of stones, they say, " Here is the length of the Currach," using the Erse word.
Icolmkill is a fertile island. The inhabitants export some cattle and grain; and I was told they import nothing but iron and salt. They are industrious, and make their own woollen and linen cloth; and they brew a good deal of beer, which we did not find in any of the other islands.
We set sail again about mid-day, and in the evening landed on Mull, near the house of the Rev. Mr. Neil MacLeod, who having been informed of our coming, by a message from Sir Allan, came out to meet us. We were this night very agreeably entertained at his house. Dr. Johnson observed to me that he was the cleanest-headed' man that he had met with in the Western Islands. He seemed to be well acquainted with Dr. Johnson's writings, and courteously said, " I have been often obliged to you, though I never had the pleasure of seeing you before."
He told us he had lived for some time in St. Kilda, under the tuition of the minister or catechist there, and had there first read Horace and Virgil. The scenes which they describe must have been a strong contrast to the dreary waste around him.
Thursday, Oct. 21.—This morning the subject of politics was introduced. Johnson. "Pulteney was as paltry a fellow as could be. He was a Whig who pretended to be honest; and you know it is ridiculous for a Whig to pretend to be honest. He cannot hold it out." He called Mr. Pitt a meteor; Sir Robert Walpole a fixed star. He said, "it is wonderful to think that all the force of government was required to prevent Wilkes from being chosen the chief magistrate of London, though the liverymen knew he would rob their shops,—knew he would debauch their daughters."'
1 Quere clearest? but it is cleanest in all the editions,and probably rightly. Dr. Johnson—whichever word he used—meant, no doubt, most logical—freest from prejudice.—Crokrr.
* I think it incumbent on me to make some observation on this strong satirical sally on my classical companion, Mr. Wilkes. Reporting it lately from memory, in his presence, I expressed it thus :—" They knew he would rob their shops, if he durst; they knew he would debauch their daughters, if he could; which, according to the French phrase, may be said rench(rir on Dr. Johnson; but on looking into my Journal, I found it as above, and would by no means make any addition. Mr. Wilkes received both readings with a good humour that I cannot enough admire. Indeed both he and I (as, with respect to myself, the reader bas more than once had occasion to observe in the course of this Jour
Boswell. "The History of England is so strange, that, if it were not so well vouched as it is, it would hardly be credible." Johnson. "Sir, if it were told as shortly, and with as little preparation for introducing the different events, as the History of the Jewish Kings, it would be equally liable to objections of improbability." Mr. MacLeod was much pleased with the justice and novelty of the thought. Dr. Johnson illustrated what he had said as follows: "Take, as an instance, Charles the First's concessions to his parliament, which were greater and greater, in proportion as the parliament grew more insolent, and less deserving of trust. Had these concessions been related nakedly, without any detail of the circumstances which generally led to them, they would not have been believed."
Sir Allan M'Lean bragged, that Scotland had the advantage of England by its having more water. Johnson. "Sir, we would not have your water, to take the vile bogs which produce it. You have too much! A man who is drowned has more water than either of us ;"—and then he laughed. (But this was surely robust sophistry; for the people of taste in England, who have seen Scotland, own that its variety of rivers and lakes makes it naturally more beautiful than England, in that respect.) Pursuing his victory over Sir Allan, he proceeded; "Your country consists of two things, stone and water. There is, indeed, a little earth above the stone in some places, but a very little; and the stone is always appearing. It is like a man in rags—the naked skin is still peeping out."
He took leave of Mr. Macleod, saying, " Sir, I thank you for your entertainment, and your conversation."
nal) are too fond of a bon mot, not to relish it, though we should be ourselves the object of it. Let me add, in justice to the gentleman here mentioned, that, at a subsequent period, he was elected chief magistrate of London, and discharged the duties of that high office with great honour to himself, and advantage to the city. Some years before Dr. Johnson died, I was fortunate enough to bring him and Mr. Wilkes together; the consequence of which was, that they were ever afterwards on easy and not unfriendly terms. The particulars I shall have great pleasure in relating at large in my Life of Dr. Johnson.*
* See the inimitable account of the dinner at Dilly's, Life, vol. iii.,
p. 108, el seyq.—Editor.
Mr. Campbell, who had been so polite yesterday, came this morning on purpose to breakfast with us, and very obligingly furnished us with horses to proceed on our journey to Mr. M'Lean's of Lochbuy, where we were to pass the night. We dined at the house of Dr. Alexander M'Lean, another physician at Mull, who was so much struck with the uncommon conversation of Dr. Johnson, that he observed to me, "This man is just a hogshead of sense."
Dr. Johnson said of the "Turkish Spy," which lay in ihe room, that it told nothing but what every body might have known at that time; and that what was good in it did not pay you for the trouble of reading to find it.
After a very tedious ride, through what appeared to me the most gloomy and desolate country I had ever beheld, we arrived, between seven and eight o'clock, at Moy, the seat of the Laird of Lochbuy. Buy, in Erse, signifies yellow, and I at first imagined that the loch or branch of the sea here was thus denominated, in the same manner as the Red Sea; but I afterwards learned that it derived its name from a hill above it, which, being of a yellowish hue, has the epithet of Buy.
We had heard much of Lochbuy's being a great roaring braggadocio, a kind of Sir John Falstaff, both in size and manners; but we found that they had swelled him up to a fictitious size, and clothed him in imaginary qualities. Col's idea of him was equally extravagant, though very different: he told us he was quite a Don Quixote; and said, he would give a great deal to see him and Dr. Johnson together. The truth is, that Lochbuy proved to be only a bluff, comely, noisy, old gentleman, proud of his hereditary consequence, and a very hearty and hospitable landlord. Lady Lochbuy was sister to Sir Allan M'Lean, but much older. He said to me, "They are quite Antedilitvians." Being told that Dr. Johnson did not hear well, Lochbuy bawled out to him, "Are you of the Johnstons of Glencro, or of Ardnamurchan?" Dr. Johnson gave him a significant look, but made no answer; and I told Lochbuy that he was not Johnston, but Johnsow, and that he was an Englishman.1
1 Boswell totally misapprehended Lockbuy's meaning. There are two :v>pts of the powerful clan of M'Donald, who are called Mae-I:m. that is,
Loclihiy some years ago tried to prove himself a weak man, liable to imposition, or, as we term it in Scotland, a facile man, in order to set aside a lease which he had granted; but failed in the attempt. On my mentioning this circumstance to Dr. Johnson, he seemed much surprised that such a suit was admitted by the Scottish law, and observed, that "in England no man is allowed to stultify himself."'
Sir Allan, Lochbuy, and I, had the conversation chiefly to ourselves to-night. Dr. Johnson, being extremely weary, went to bed soon after supper.
Friday. Oct. 22.—Before Dr. Johnson came to breakfast, Lady Lochbuy said, "he was a dungeon of wit;" a very common phrase in Scotland to express a profoundness of intellect, though he afterwards told me that he never had heard it.2 She proposed that he should have some cold sheep's head for breakfast. Sir Allan seemed displeased at his sister's vulgarity, and wondered how such a thought should come into her head. From a mischievous love of sport, I took the lady's part; and very gravely said, "I think it is but fair to give him an offer of it. If he does not choose it, he may let it alone." "I think so," said the lady, looking at her brother with an air of victory. Sir Allan, finding the matter desperate, strutted about the room, and took snuff. When Dr. Johnson came in, she called to him, " Do you choose any cold sheep's head, Sir r" "No, Madam," said he, with a tone of surprise and anger.3
John's son; and as Highlanders often translate their names when they go to the Lowlands—as Gregor-son tor Moc-Gregor, Farquhar-son for Mac-Farquhar—Lochlmy supposed that Dr. Johnson might be one of the Mae-laus of Ardnamurchan, or of Glencro. Bosweli's explanation was nothing to the purpose. The Johnstons are a clan distinguished in Scottish border history, and as brave as any Highland clan that ever wore brogues; but they lay entirely out of Lochbuy' s knowledge—nor was he thinking of them. — Walter Scott.
1 This maxim, however, has been controverted. See Blackstones Commentaries, vol. ii., p. 292; and the authorities there quoted.
2 It is also common in the north of Ireland, and is somewhat more emphatic than the eulogy in a former page, of being a hogshead of sense. —Croker.
3 Begging pardon of the Doctor and his conductor, I have often seen and partaken of cold sheep's head at as good breakfast-tables as ever they sat at. This protest is something in the manner of the late Cul