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these men. "0 ho! Sir," said I, "you are flying to me for refuge!" He never, in any situation, was at a loss for a ready repartee. He answered, with quick vivacity, "It is of two evils choosing the least." I was delighted with this flash bursting from the cloud which hung upon his mind, closed my letter directly, and joined the company.
We supped at Professor Anderson's. The general impression upon my memory is, that we had not much conversation at Glasgow, where the professors, like their brethren at Aberdeen, did not venture to expose them selves much to the battery of cannon which they knew might play upon them.1 Dr. Johnson, who was fully conscious of his own superior powers, afterwards praised Principal Robertsou for his caution in this respect. He said to me, "Robertson, Sir, was in the right. Robertson is a man of eminence, and the head of a college at Edinburgh. He had a character to maintain, and did well not to risk its being lessened."
Saturday, Oct. 30.—We set out towards Ayrshire. I sent Joseph on to Loudoun, with a message, that if the earl was at home, Dr. Johnson and I would have the honour to dine with him. Joseph met us on the road, and reported that the earl "jumped for joy," and said, "I shall be very happy to see them." We were received with a most pleasing courtesy by his lordship, and by the countess his mother,2 who, in her ninety-fifth year, had all her faculties
1 Boswell himself was callous to the contacts of Dr. Johnson; and when telling them, always reminds one of a jockey receivinga kick from the horse which he is showing off to a customer, and is grinning with pain while he is trying tx> cry out, "pretty rogue—no vice—all fun." To him Johnson's rudeness was only "pretty Fanny's way." Dr. Robertson had a sense of good breeding which inclined him rather to forego the benefit of Johnson's conversation than awaken his rudeness.— Walter Scott.
2 Lady Margaret Dalrymple, only daughter of John Earl of Stair, married, in 1700, to Hugh, third Earl of Loudoun. She died in 1777, aged one hundred. Of this venerable lady, and of the Countess of Eglintoune whom Johnson visited next day, lie thus speaks in his Journey:—" Length of life is distributed impartially to very different modes of life in very different climates; and the mountains have no greater examples of age and health than the Lowlands, where I was introduced to two ladies of high quality, one of whom (Lady Loudoun). in her ninety-fourth year, presided at her table with the full exercise of all
quite unimpaired. This was a veiy cheering sight to Dr. Johnson, who had an extraordinary desire for long life. Her ladyship was sensible and well-informed, and had seen a great deal of the world. Her lord had held several high offices, and she was sister to the great Earl of Stair.
I cannot here refrain from paying a just tribute to the character of John, Earl of Loudoun,1 who did more service to the county of Ayr in general, as well as to individuals in it, than any man we have ever had. It is painful to think that he met with much ingratitude from persons both in high and low rank: but such was his temper, such his knowledge of " base mankind," 2 that, as if he had expected no other return, his mind was never soured, and ho retained his good humour and benevolence to the last. The tenderness of his heart was proved in 1745-6, when he had an important command in the Highlands, and behaved with a generous humanity to the unfortunate. I cannot figure a more honest politician; for though his interest in our county was great and generally successful, he not only did not deceive by fallacious promises, but was anxious that people should not deceive themselves by too sanguine expectations. His kind and dutiful attention to his mother was unremitted. At his house was true hospitality; a plain but a plentiful table; and every guest being left at perfect freedom, felt himself quite easy and happy. While I live I shall honour the memory of this amiable man.
At night, we advanced a few miles farther, to the house of Mr. Campbell, of Treesbank, who was married to one of my wife's sisters, and were entertained very agreeably by a worthy couple.
Sunday, Oct. 31.—We reposed here in tranquillity. Dr. Johnson was pleased to find a numerous and excellent collection of books, which had mostly belonged to the Rev. Mr. John Campbell, brother of our host. I was desirous to have procured for my fellow-traveller, to-day, the company of Sir John Cuninghame, of Caprington, whose castle
her powers; and the other (Lady Eglintoune), had attained her eightyfourth year, without any diminution of her vivacity, and little reason to ticcuse time of depredations on her beauty."—Croker. 1 [Fourth Earl, born in 1705, died in 1782.] '"The unwilling gratitude of base mankind."—PorE.
was but two miles from us. He was a very distinguished scholar, was long abroad, and during part of the time lived much with the learned Cuninghame, the opponent of Bentley as a critic upon Horace. He wrote Latin with great elegance, and what is very remarkable, read Homeland Ariosto through every year.
I wrote to him to request he would come to us; but unfortunately he was prevented by indisposition.
Monday, Nov. 1.—Though Dr. Johnson was lazy and averse to move, I insisted that he should go with me, and pav a visit to the Countess of Eglintoune, mother of the late and present earl. I assured him he would find himself amply recompensed for the trouble; and he yielded to my solicitations, though with some unwillingness. We Avere well mounted, and had not many miles to ride. He talked of the attention that is necessary in order to distribute our charity judiciously. "If thoughtlessly done, we may neglect the most deserving objects ; and, as every man has but a certain portion to give, if it is lavished upon those who first present themselves, there may be nothing left for such as have a better claim. A man should first relieve those who are nearly connected with him, by whatever tie; and then if he has any thing to spare, may extend his bounty to a wider circle."
As we passed very near the castle of Dundouald, which was one of the many residences of the kings of Scotland, and in which Robert the Second lived and died, Dr. Johnson wished to survey it particularly. It stands on a beautiful rising ground, which is seen at a great distance on several quarters and from whence there is an extensive prospect of the rich district of Cuninghame, the western sea, the isle of Arran, and a part of the northern coast of Ireland. It has long been unroofed; and, though of considerable size, we could not, by any power of imagination, figure it as having been a suitable habitation for majesty. Dr. Johnson, to irritate my old Scottish enthusiasm, was very jocular on the homely accommodation of " King Bob," and roared and laughed till the ruins echoed.
Lady Eglintoune,1 though she was now in her eighty
1 Susanna, daughter of Sir Alex. Kennedy, of Culzeen, third wife of the ninth Eurl of Eglintoune. She was a patroness of the Belles Lettres. fifth year, and had lived in the retirement of the country for almost half a century, was still a very agreeable woman. She was of the noble house of Kennedy, and had all the elevation which the consciousness of such birth inspires. Her figure was majestic, her manners high bred, her reading extensive, and her conversation elegant. She had been the admiration of the gay circles of life, and the patronness of poets. Dr. Johnson was delighted with his reception here. Her principles in church and state were congenial with his. She knew all his merit, and had heard much of him from her son, Earl Alexander, who loved to cultivate the acquaintance of men of talents in every department.
All who knew his lordship will allow that his understanding and accomplishments were of no ordinary rate. From the gay habits which he had early acquired, he spent too much of his time with men, and in pursuits, far beneath such a mind as his. He afterwards became sensible of it, and turned his thoughts to objects of importance; but was cut off in the prime of his life. I cannot speak but with emotions of the most affectionate regret of one, in whose company many of my early days were passed, and to whose kindness I was much indebted.
Often must I have occasion to upbraid myself that soon after our return to the main land, I allowed indolence to prevail over me so much as to shrink from the labour of continuing my journal with the same minuteness as before; sheltering myself in the thought that we had done with the Hebrides; and not considering that Dr. Johnson's memorabilia were likely to be more valuable when we were restored to a more polished society. Much has thus been irrecoverably lost.
In the course of our conversation this day it came out that Lady Egliutoune was married the year before Dr.
Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd was dedicated to her in a very fulsome style of panegyric. She died in Ayrshire in 1780, aged ninety-one. The eighth Earl ot Eglintoune, the father of her Lord, had married, as his second wife, Catherine St. Quintin the widow of three husbands, and aged above ninety at the date of her last marriage, being, it is presumed, the oldest bride on record. So that the lives of the mother and danghterin-law extended over 172 years, from 1608 to 1780; a circumstance unparalleled, I suppose, since the Deluge.— Croker.
Johnson was born: upon which she graciously said to him that she might have been his mother, and that she now adopted him; and when we were going away, she embraced him, saying, " My dear son, farewell!" My friend was much pleased with this day's entertainment, and owned that I had done well to force him out.
Tuesday, Nov. 2.—We were now in a country not only of "saddles and bridles," but of post-chaises; and having ordered one from Kilmarnock, we got to Auchinleck before dinner.
My father was not quite a year and a half older than Dr. Johnson; but his conscientious discharge of his laborious duty as a judge in Scotland, where the law proceedings are almost all in writing,—a severe complaint which ended in his death,—and the loss of my mother,1 a woman of almost unexampled piety and goodness,—had before this time in some degree affected his spirits, and rendered him less disposed to exert his faculties: for he had originally a very strong mind, and cheerful temper. He assured me he never had felt one moment of what is called low spirits, or uneasiness, without a real cause. He had a great many good stories, which he told uncommonly well, and he was remarkable for " humour, incolumi gravitate," as Lord Monboddo used to characterize it. His age, his office, and his character had long given him an acknowledged claim to great attention, in whatever company he was; and he could ill brook any diminution of it. He was as sanguine a Whig and presbyterian as Dr. Johnson was a Tory and Church-of-England man: and as he had not much leisure to be informed of Dr. Johnson's great merits by reading his works, he had a partial and unfavourable notion of him, founded on his supposed political tenets; which were so discordant to his own, that instead of speaking of him with that respect to which he was entitled, he used to call him, "a Jacobite fellow." Knowing all this, I should not have ventured to bring them together, had not my father, out of kindness to me, desired me to invite Dr. Johnson to his house.
I was very anxious that all should be well; and begged
1 Euphemia Erskine, of the family of the Earl of Buchan.—Croker.