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"It is here, Sir," said she, supposing he had refused it to save the trouble of bringing it in. They thus went on at cross purposes, till he confirmed his refusal in a manner not to be misunderstood; while I sat quietly by and enjoyed my success.
After breakfast, we surveyed the old castle, in the pit or dungeon of which Lochbuy had some years before taken upon him to imprison several persons; and though he had been fined in a considerable sum by the Court of Justiciary, he was so little affected by it, that while we were examining the dungeon, he said to me, with a smile, "Your father knows something of this;" (alluding to my father's having sat as one of the judges on his trial.) Sir Allan whispered me, that the laird could not be persuaded that he had lost his heritable jurisdiction.
We then set out for the ferry, by which we were to cross to the main land of Argyleshire. Lochbuy and Sir Allan accompanied us. We were told much of a war-saddle, on which this reputed Don Quixote used to be mounted; but we did not see it, for the young laird had applied it to a less noble purpose, having taken it to Falkirk fair with a drove of black cattle.
We bade adien to Lochbuy, and to our very kind conductor,1 Sir Allan M'Lean, on the shore of Mull, and then
rosse, who fought a duel for the honour of Aberdeen butter. I have passed over all the Doctor's other reproaches upon Scotland, but the sheep's head I will defend totis viribus. Dr. Johnson himself must have forgiven my zeal on this occasion; for if, as he says, dinner be the thing of which a man thinks oftenest during the day, breakfast must be that of which he thinks first in the morning.— Waltir Scott.
1 Sir Allan M'Li'an, like many Highland chiefs, was embarrassed in his private affairs, and exposed to unpleasant solicitations from attorneys, called, in Scotland, writers (which indeed was the chief motive of his retiring to Inchkenneth). Upon one occasion he made a visit to a friend, then residing at Carron lodge, on the banks of the Carron, where the banks of that river are studded with pretty villas: Sir Allan, admiring the landscape, asked his friend, whom that handsome seat
belonged to. "M , the writer to the signet," was the reply. "Umph!"
said Sir Allan, but not with an accent of assent, "I mean that other
house." "Oh! that belongs to a very honest fellow, Jamie , also a
writer to the signet." "Umph!" said the Highland chief of M'Lean, with more emphasis than before, "And yon smaller house?" "That belongs to a Stirling man; I forget his name, but I am sure he is a writer too; for ." Sir Allan, who had recoiled a quarter of a
cot into the ferry-boat, the bottom of which was strewed with branches of trees or bushes, upon which we sat. We had a good day and a fine passage, and in the evening landed at Oban, where we found a tolerable inn. After having been so long confined at different times in islands, from which it was always uncertain when we could get away, it was comfortable to be now on the main land, and to know that, if in health, we might get to any place in Scotland or England in a certain number of days.
Here we discovered, from the conjectures which were formed, that the people of the main land were entirely ignorant of our motions; for in a Glasgow newspaper wo found a paragraph, which, as it contains a just and wellturned compliment to my illustrious friend, I shall here insert:—
"We are well assured that Dr. Johnson is confined by tempestuous weather to the isle of Sky; it being unsafe to venture in a small boat upon such a stormy surge as is very common there at this time of the year. Such a philosopher, detained on an almost barren island, resembles a whale left upon the strand. The latter will be welcome to every body, on account of his oil, his bone, &c., and the other will charm his companions, and the rude inhabitants, with his superior knowledge and wisdom, calm resignation, and unbounded benevolence."
Saturday, Oct. 23.—After a good night's rest, we breakfasted at our leisure. We talked of Goldsmith's "Traveller," of which Dr. Johnson spoke highly; and while I was helping him on with his great coat, he repeated from it the character of the British nation, which he did with such energy that the tear started into his eye:—
"Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her state,
With daring aims irregularly great,
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of humankind pass by,
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
By forms unfashion'd, fresh from nature's hand;
circle backward lit every response, now wheeled the circle entire, and turned his back on the landscape, saying, " My good friend, I must owt> you have a pretty situation here; but d—n your neighbourhood."— Walter Scott.
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True in imagined right, above controul,
While even the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man."
We could get but one bridle here, which, according to the maxim detur digniori, was appropriated to Dr. Johnson's sheltie. I and Joseph rode with halters. We crossed in a ferry-boat a pretty wide lake, and on the farther side of it, close by the shore, found a hut for our inn. We were much wet. I changed my clothes in part, and was at pains to get myself well dried. Dr. Johnson resolutely kept on all his clothes, wet as they were, letting them steam before the smoky turf fire. I thought him in the wrong; but his firmness was, perhaps, a species of heroism.
I remember but little of our conversation. I mentioned Shenstone's saying of Pope, that he had the art of condensing sense more than any body. Dr. Johnson said, " It is not true, Sir. There is more sense in a line of Cowley than in a page (or a sentence, or ten lines—I am not quite certain of the very phrase) of Pope."
He maintained that Archibald, Duke of Argyle, was a narrow man. I wondered at this; and observed, that his building so great a house at Inverary was not like a narrow man. "Sir," said he, "when a narrow man has resolved to build a house, he builds it like another man. But Archibald, Duke of Argyle, was narrow in his ordinary expenses, in his quotidian expenses."
The distinction is very just. It is in the ordinary expenses of life that a man's liberality or narrowness is to be discovered. I never heard the word quotidian in this sense, and I imagined it to be a word of Dr. Johnson's own fabrication; but I have since found it in Young's "Night Thoughts" (Night fifth),
"Death's a destroyer of quotidian prey,"
and in my friend's Dictionary, supported by the authorities of Charles I. and Dr. Donne.1
1 iChaucer, Shakespeare, and Milton use it substantively, for an ngne,
It rained very hard as we journeyed on after dinner. The roar of torrents from the mountains, as we passed along in the dusk, and the other circumstances attending our ride this evening, have been mentioned with so much animation by Dr. Johnson, that I shall not attempt to say any thing on the subject.1
We got at night to Inverary, where we found an excellent inn. Even here, Dr. Johnson would not change his wet clothes.
The prospect of good accommodation cheered us much. We supped well; and after supper, Dr. Johnson, whom I had not seen taste any fermented liquor during all our travels, called for a gill of whisky. "Come," said he, "let me know what it is that makes a Scotchman happy!" He drank it all but a drop, which I begged leave to pour into my glass, that I might say we had drunk whisky together. I proposed Mrs. Thrale should be our toast. He would not have her drunk in whisky, but rather " some insular lady;" so we drank one of the ladies whom we had lately left. He owned to-night, that he got as good a room and bed as at an English inn.
I had here the pleasure of finding a letter from home, which relieved me from the anxiety I had suffered, in consequence of not having received any account of my family for many weeks. I also found a letter from Mr. Garrick, which was a regale as agreeable as a pine-apple would be in a desert. He had favoured me with his correspondence for many years; and when Dr. Johnson and I were at Inverness, I had written to him as follows:—
returning every day. But Phillips's World of Words has it in the general sense of daily. So has Blount in his Glossographia.—Croker.
Phillips stole every thing that is good in the World of Words from the Glossographia.—P. Cunningham.
1 As the fine passage referred to is short as well as striking, I shall venture to give it:—
"The night came on while we had yet a great part of the way to go, though not so dark but that we could discern the cataracts which poured down the hills on one side, and fell into one general channel that ran with great violence on the other. The wind was loud, the rain was heavy, and the whistling of the blast, the fall of the shower, the rush of the cataracts, and the roar of the torrent, made a nobler chorus of the rough music of nature than it had ever been my chance to hear before "— Journey, p. 370.— Croker.
"Inverness, Sunday, August 29th, 1773. "Mr Dear Sir,
"Here I am, and Mr. Samuel Johnson actually with me. We were a night at Fores, in coming to which, in the dusk of the evening, we passed over the bleak and blasted heath where Macbeth met the witches. Your old preceptor repeated, with much solemnity, the speech,
'How far is 't called to Fores? What are these,
This day we visited the ruins of Maebeth's castle at Inverness. I hare had great romantic satisfaction in seeing Johnson upon the classical scenes of Shakspeare in Scotland; which I really looked upon as almost as improbable as that 'Birnam Wood should come to Dunsinane.' Indeed, as I have always been accustomed to view him as a permanent London object, it would not be much more wonderful to me to see St. Paid's church moving along where we now are. As yet we have travelled in post-chaises; but to-morrow we are to mount on horseback, and ascend into the mountains by Fort Augustus, and so on to the ferry, where we are to cross to Sky. We shall see that island fully, and then visit some more of the Hebrides; after which we are to land in Argylcshire, proceed by Glasgow to Auebinleck, repose there a competent time, and then return to Edinburgh, from whence the Rambler will depart for old England again, as soon as he finds it convenient. Hitherto we have had a very prosperous expedition. I flatter myself, scrvetur ad imum qualis ab incepto processerit. He is in excellent spirits, and I have a rich journal of his conversation. Look back, Dan/.1 to Lichfield; run up through the time that has elapsed since you first knew Mr. Johnson, and enjoy with me his present extraordinary tour. I could not resist the impulse of writing to you from this place. The situation of the old castle corresponds exactly to Shakspeare's description. While we were there to-day, it happened oddly, that a raven perched upon one of the chimney-tops, and croaked. Then I in my turn repeated—
'The raven himself is hoarse
1 I took the liberty of giving this familiar appellation to my celebrated friend, to bring in a more lively manner to his remembrance the period when he was Dr. Johnson's pupil.