Page images

with the bishop. The bishop's house, and those of the other clergy, which are still pretty entire, do not seem to have been proportioned to the magnificence of the cathedral, which has been of great extent, and had very fine carved work. The ground within the walls of the cathedral is employed as a burying-place. The family of Gordon have their vault here; but it has nothing grand.

We passed Gordon Castle' this forenoon, which has a princely appearance. Fochabers, the neighbouring village, is a poor place, many of the houses being ruinous; but it is remarkable, they have in general orchards well stored with appletrees. Elgin has what in England are called piazzas, that run in many places on each, side of the street. It must have been a much better place formerly. Probably it had piazzas all along the town, as I have seen at Bologna. I approved much of such structures in a town, on account of their convenience in wet weather. Dr. Johnson disapproved of them, " because," said he, "it makes the undei story of a house very dark, which greatly overbalances the conveniency, when it is considered how small a part of the year it rains; how few are usually in the street at such times; that many who are might as well be at home; and

award not to his liking. The indemnification that the see obtained was, that the Lord of Badenoch stood for three days barefooted at the great gate of the cathedral. The story is in the chartnhiry of Elgin."

The ruins of this cathedral, founded by Bishop Moray, July 19, A.d. 1224—attest its former magnificence. It was 282 ft. in length, 86 ft. in breadth, the transept 115 ft..and the tower 198 ft. in height. It was plundered and partinlly burnt in 1390 by the Wolf of Badenoch, Alexander Stewart, a natural son of Bobert II.—no doubt the Highland chief whose irruption was mentioned by Johnson in his Journey; again in 1402 by Alexander, third son of the Lord of the Isles; and lastly, more effectually still, in 1508. when by order of the council of Kegent Murray, the lead was stripped from its roof to be sold in Holland. The cargo of sacrilege was, however, as Johnson relates in his Journey, lost at sea.—Editor.

1 I am not sure whether the Duke was at home: but, not having the honour of being mnch known to his grace, I could not have presumed to enter his castle, though to introduce evnn so celebrated a stranger. We were at any rate in a hurry to get forward to the wildness which we came to see. Perhaps, if this noble familv had still preserved that sequestered magnificence which they maintained when catholics, corresponding with the Grand Duke of Tuscany, we might have been induced to have procured proper letters of introduction, and devoted some time to the contemplation of venerable superstitious state.

the little that people suffer, supposing them to be as much wet as they commonly are in 'walking a street."

We fared but ill at our inn here; and Dr. Johnson said, this was the first time he had seen a dinner in Scotland that he could not eat.1

In the afternoon, we drove over the very heath where Macbeth met the witches, according to tradition.3 Dr. Johnson again solemnly repeated—

"How far is't called to Fores? What are these,
Bo wither'd, and so wild in their attire?
That look not like the inhabitants o' the earth,
And yet are on't?"

He repeated a good deal more of Macbeth. His recitation was grand and affecting, and, as Sir Joshua Reynolds has observed to me, had no more tone than it should have: it was the better for it. He then parodied the "All hail" of the witches to Macbeth, addressing himself to me. I had purchased some land called Dalblair; and, as in Scotland it is customary to distinguish landed men by the name of their estates, I had thus two titles, Dalblair and young Auchinleck. So my friend, in imitation of

"All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!"

condescended to amuse himself with uttering

"All hail, Dalblair! hail to thee, Lord of Auchinleck !"'

1 This was the first time, and except one, the last, that I found any reason to complain of a Scottish table.—Journey, p. 46, First Edition, 1775.—Editor.

2 Mr. William Macpherson, of Trinity College, Cambridge, who favoured me with several remarks on my first edition, observed on this passage, that " lioswell was quite mistaken in imagining that he saw the spot where Macbeth met the witches between Elgin and Fores. The true place is between Fores and Nairn. The "blasted heath" had been .subsequently planted with trees, and when they were cut down some years ago, the late Laird of Brodie preserved a clump to mark the consecrated ground. The moor has been since replanted, but the older grove is still distinguishable from the rest of the wood. The locality of the scene has never been doubted, as far as I can learn."—Croker.

3 Then, as Mr. Boswell tells us, pronounced as a dissyllable, Affleck, but now, as it is written, Auchinleck. So I was informed by his lovely, lively, and intelligent granddaughter, Teresa Lady Elliot, of

"We got to Fores at night, and found an admirable inn, in which Dr. Johnson was pleased to meet with a landlord, who styled himself "Wine-Cooper, from London."

Friday, Aug. 27.—It was dark when we came to Fores last night; so we did not see what is called King Duncan's moTiument.' I shall now mark some gleanings of Dr. Johnson's conversation. I spoke of Leonidas, and said there were some good passages in it. Johnson. "Why, you must geek for them." He said, Paul Whitehead's Manners 2 was a poor performance. Speaking of Derrick, he told me " he had a kindness for him, and had often said, that if his letters2 had been written by one of a more established name, they would have been thought very pretty letters."

This morning I introduced the subject of the origin of evil. Johnson. "Moral evil is occasioned by free will, which implies choice between good and evil. With all the evil that there is, there is no man but would rather be a free agent, than a mere machine without the evil; and what is best for each individual, must be best for the whole. If a man would rather be a machine, I cannot argue with him. He is a different being from me." Boswell. "A man, as a machine, may have agreeable sensations; for instance, he may have pleasure in music." Johnson. "No, Sir, he cannot have pleasure in music; at least no power of producing music ; for he who can produce music may let it alone: he who can play on a fiddle may break it: such a man is not a machine." This reasoning satisfied me. It is certain, there cannot be a free agent, unless there is the power of being evil as well as good. We must take the inherent possibilities of things into consideration, in our reasonings or conjectures concerning the works of God.

Stobbs, who was snatched from her friends by an early death in 1836.— Crotrr.

1 Duncan's monument; a huge column on the roadside near Fores, more than twenty feet high, erected in commemoration of the final retrent of the Danes from Scotland, and properly called Sweno's Stone.— Walter Scott.

* Published in 1739.

2 Letters written from Liverpool, Chester, &c. Dublin, 1769. 2 vols.

We came to Nairn to breakfast. Though a county town and a royal burgh, it is a miserable place. Over the room where we sat, a girl was spinning wool with a great wheel, and singing an Erse song: "I'll warrant you," said Dr. Johnson, " one of the songs of Ossian." He then repeated these lines:—

"Verse sweetens toil, however rude the sound.

All at her work the village maiden sings;
Nor, while she turns the giddy wheel around,

Kevolves the sad vicissitude of things."

I thought I had heard these lines before. Johnson. "I fancy not, Sir; for they are in a detached poem, the name of which I do not remember, written by one Giffard, a. parson."

I expected Mr. Kenneth M'Aulay, the minister of Calder, who published the History of St. Kilda,1 a book which Dr. Johnson liked, would have met us here, as I had written to him from Aberdeen. But I received a letter from him telling me that he could not leave home, as he was to administer the sacrament the following Sunday, and earnestly requesting to see us at his manse. "We'll go," said Dr. Johnson; which we accordingly did. Mrs. M'Aulay received us, and told us her husband was in the church distributing tokens.2 We arrived between twelve and one o'clock, and it was near three before he came to us.

Dr. Johnson thanked him for his book, and said "it is a very pretty piece of topography." M'Aulay did not seem much to mind the compliment. From his conversation, Dr. Johnson was persuaded that he had not written the book which goes under his name. I myself always sus]iected so; and I have been told it was written by the learned Dr. John M'Pherson of Sky, from the materials collected by M'Aulay. Dr. Johnson said privately to me, "There is a combination in it of which M'Aulay is not capable."' However, he was exceedingly hospitable; and, as he obligingly promised us a route for our Tour through the Western Isles, we agreed to stay with him all night.

1 London, 1704. 8vo.

2 In Scotland there is a great deal of preparation before administering the sacrament. The minuter of the parish examines the people as to their fitness, and to those of whum he approves gives little pieces of tin, stamped with the name of the parish, as tokens, which they must produce before receiving it. This is a species of priestly power, and sometimes may be abused. I remember a lawsuit brought by a person against his parish minister, for refusing him admission to that sacred ordinance.

After dinner, we walked to the old castle of Calder (pronounced Cawder), the Thane of Cawdor's seat. I was sorry that my friend, this "prosperous gentleman,"2 was not there. The old tower must be of great antiquity. There is a drawbridge—what has been a moat—and an ancient court. There is a hawthorn tree, which rises like a wooden pillar through the rooms of the castle; for, by a strange conceit, the walls have been built round it. The thickness of the walls, the small slanting windows, and a great iron door at the entrance on the second story as you ascend the stairs, all indicate the rude times in which this castle was erected. There were here some large venerable trees.2

I was afraid of a quarrel between Dr. Johnson and Mr. M'Aulay, who talked slightingly of the lower English clergy. The Doctor gave him a frowning look, and said, "This is a day of novelties: I have seen old trees in Scotlaud, and I have heard the English clergy treated with disrespect."

I dreaded that a whole evening at Calder manse would be heavy; however, Mr. Grant, an intelligent and wellbred minister in the neighbourhood, was there, and assisted us by his conversation. Dr. Johnson, talking of hereditary occupations in the Highlands, said, " There is no harm in such a custom as this; but it is wrong to enforce it, and oblige a man to be a tailor or a smith, because his father has been one." This custom, however, is not peculiar to

1 "A decision, which to those who happen to have read the work, will give a very poor notion of my ancestor's abilities.''—Trevclyan's Life of Lord Maomlay, vol. i., p. 6. Mr. Croker, on the authority of Mr. Wilbam Macpherson, supports the surmise of Johnson and of Boswell, and accepts Mr. Macpherson's assertion that Dr. John Macpherson was the author of the book which goes under M'Aulay's name.—Editor.

2 Mr. Campbell of Cawder was elevated to the peerage in 1796, by the title of Lord Cawdor.—Lockhart.

2 Cawder Castle, here described, has been since much damaged by fire.— Walter Scott.

« PreviousContinue »