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Sept. 17.]

The temple of Anaitis.

251 name is gone. The name is exhausted by what we see. We have no occasion to go to a distance for what we can pick up under our feet. Had it been an accidental name, the similarity between it and Anaitis might have had something in it; but it turns out to be a mere physiological name.' Macleod said, Mr. M'Queen's knowledge of etymology had destroyed his conjecture. JOHNSON. 'Yes, Sir; Mr. M'Queen is like the eagle mentioned by Waller, who was shot with an arrow feather'd from his own wing'.' Mr. M'Queen would not, however, give up his conjecture. JOHNSON. 'You have one possibility for you, and all possibilities against you. It is possible it may be the temple of ANAITIS. But it is also possible that it may be a fortification; or it may be a place of Christian worship, as the first Christians often chose remote and wild places, to make an impression on the mind; or, if it was a heathen temple, it may have been built near a river, for the purpose of lustration; and there is such a multitude of divinities, to whom it may have been dedicated, that the chance of its being a temple of Anaitis is hardly any thing. It is like throwing a grain of sand upon the sea-shore to-day, and thinking you may find it to-morrow. No, Sir, this temple, like many an illbuilt edifice, tumbles down before it is roofed in.' In his triumph over the reverend antiquarian, he indulged himself in a conceit; for, some vestige of the altar of the goddess being much insisted on in support of the hypothesis, he said, 'Mr. M'Queen is fighting pro aris et focis.'

It was wonderful how well time passed in a remote castle, and in dreary weather. After supper, we talked of Pennant. It was objected that he was superficial. Dr. Johnson defended him warmly'. He said, Pennant has greater variety


'That eagle's fate and mine are one,

Which on the shaft that made him die,
Espy'd a feather of his own,

Wherewith he wont to soar so high.'

Anderson's Poets, v. 480.

See ante, iii. 308,

Epistle to a Lady.




[Sept. 17.

of enquiry than almost any man, and has told us more than perhaps one in ten thousand could have done, in the time that he took. He has not said what he was to tell; so you cannot find fault with him, for what he has not told. If a man comes to look for fishes, you cannot blame him if he does not attend to fowls.' 'But,' said Colonel M'Leod, 'he mentions the unreasonable rise of rents in the Highlands, and says, "the gentlemen are for emptying the bag, without filling it';" for that is the phrase he uses. Why does he not tell how to fill it? JOHNSON. 'Sir, there is no end of negative criticism. He tells what he observes, and as much as he chooses. If he tells what is not true, you may find fault with him; but, though he tells that the land is not well cultivated, he is not obliged to tell how it may be well cultivated. If I tell that many of the Highlanders go barefooted, I am not obliged to tell how they may get shoes. Pennant tells a fact. He need go no farther, except he pleases. He exhausts nothing; and no subject whatever has yet been exhausted. But Pennant has surely told a great deal. Here is a man six feet high, and you are angry because he is not seven.' Notwithstanding this eloquent Oratio pro Pennantio, which they who have read this gentleman's Tours, and recollect the Savage and the Shopkeeper at Monboddo, will probably impute to the spirit of contradiction, I still think that he had better have given more attention to fewer things, than have thrown together such a number of imperfect accounts.

''In England there may be reason for raising the rents (in a certain degree) where the value of lands is increased by accession of commerce,... but here (contrary to all policy) the great men begin at the wrong end, with squeezing the bag, before they have helped the poor tenant to fill it, by the introduction of manufactures.' Pennant's Scotland, ed. 1772, p. 191.

' Boswell refers, not to a passage in Pennant, but to Johnson's admission that in his dispute with Monboddo, he might have taken the side of the savage, had anybody else taken the side of the shopkeeper.' Ante, p. 94.


Sept. 18.] Lady Macleod's wish for a new house. 253


Before breakfast, Dr. Johnson came up to my room to forbid me to mention that this was his birth-day; but I told him I had done it already; at which he was displeased'; I suppose from wishing to have nothing particular done on his account. Lady M'Leod and I got into a warm dispute. She wanted to build a house upon a farm which she has taken, about five miles from the castle, and to make gardens and other ornaments there; all of which I approved of; but insisted that the seat of the family should always be upon the rock of Dunvegan. JOHNSON. 'Ay, in time we'll build all round this rock. You may make a very good house at the farm; but it must not be such as to tempt the Laird of M'Leod to go thither to reside. Most of the great families in England have a secondary residence, which is called a jointure-house: let the new house be of that kind.' The lady insisted that the rock was very inconvenient; that there was no place near it where a good garden could be made; that it must always be a rude place; that it was a Herculean labour to make a dinner here. I was vexed to find the alloy of modern refinement in a lady who had so much old family spirit. Madam, (said I,) if once you quit this rock, there is no knowing where you may settle. You move five miles first;-then to St. Andrews, as the late Laird did; then to Edinburgh ;—and so on till you end at Hampstead, or in France. No, no; keep to the rock: it is the very jewel of the estate. It looks as if it had been let down from heaven by the four corners, to be the residence of a Chief. Have all the comforts and conveniences of life upon it, but never leave Rorie More's cascade.' 'But, (said she,) is it not enough if we keep it? Must we never have more convenience than Rorie More had? he had his beef brought

1 'Boswell, with some of his troublesome kindness, has informed this family and reminded me that the 18th of September is my birthday. The return of my birthday, if I remember it, fills me with thoughts which it seems to be the general care of humanity to escape.' Piozzi Letters, i. 134. See ante, iii. 178.



Boswell's feudal enthusiasm.

[Sept. 18.

to dinner in one basket, and his bread in another. Why not as well be Rorie More all over, as live upon his rock? And should not we tire, in looking perpetually on this rock? It is very well for you, who have a fine place, and every thing easy, to talk thus, and think of chaining honest folks to a rock. You would not live upon it yourself.' 'Yes, Madam, (said I,) I would live upon it, were I Laird of M'Leod, and should be unhappy if I were not upon it.' JOHNSON. (with a strong voice, and most determined manner), ' Madam, rather than quit the old rock, Boswell would live in the pit; he would make his bed in the dungeon.' I felt a degree of elation, at finding my resolute feudal enthusiasm thus confirmed by such a sanction. The lady was puzzled a little. She still returned to her pretty farm,-rich ground, fine garden. 'Madam, (said Dr. Johnson,) were they in Asia, I would not leave the rock.' My opinion on this subject is still the same. An ancient family residence ought to be a primary object; and though the situation of Dunvegan be such that little can be done here in gardening, or pleasure-ground, yet, in addition to the veneration required by the lapse of time, it has many circumstances of natural grandeur, suited to the seat of a Highland Chief: it has the sea,-islands,-rocks,-hills,-a noble cascade: and when the family is again in opulence, something may be done by art.

Mr. Donald M'Queen went away to-day, in order to preach at Bracadale next day. We were so comfortably situated at Dunvegan, that Dr. Johnson could hardly be moved from it. I proposed to him that we should leave it on Monday. 'No, Sir, (said he,) I will not go before Wednesday. I will have some more of this good'.' However, as the weather was at this season so bad, and so very uncertain, and we had a great deal to do yet, Mr. M'Queen and I prevailed with him to agree to set out on Monday, if

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At Dunvegan I had tasted lotus, and was in danger of forgetting that I was ever to depart, till Mr. Boswell sagely reproached me with my sluggishness and softness.' Johnson's Works, ix. 67.


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Sept. 18.]

Johnson's regard for M'Queen.


the day should be good. Mr. M'Queen, though it was inconvenient for him to be absent from his harvest, engaged to wait on Monday at Ulinish for us. When he was going away, Dr. Johnson said, 'I shall ever retain a great regard for you';' then asked him if he had The Rambler. Mr. M'Queen said, 'No; but my brother has it.' JOHNSON. 'Have you The Idler?' M'QUEEN. No, Sir.' JOHNSON. Then I will order one for you at Edinburgh, which you will keep in remembrance of me.' Mr. M'Queen was much pleased with this. He expressed to me, in the strongest terms, his admiration of Dr. Johnson's wonderful knowledge, and every other quality for which he is distinguished. I asked Mr. M'Queen, if he was satisfied with being a minister in Sky. He said he was; but he owned that his forefathers having been so long there, and his having been born there, made a chief ingredient in forming his contentment. I should have mentioned that on our left hand, between Portree and Dr. Macleod's house, Mr. M'Queen told me there. had been a college of the Knights Templars; that tradition said so; and that there was a ruin remaining of their church, which had been burnt: but I confess Dr. Johnson has weakened my belief in remote tradition. In the dispute about Anaitis, Mr. M'Queen said, Asia Minor was peopled by Scythians, and, as they were the ancestors of the Celts, the same religion might be in Asia Minor and Sky. JOHNSON. 'Alas! Sir, what can a nation that has not letters tell of its original. I have always difficulty to be patient when I hear authours gravely quoted, as giving accounts of savage nations, which accounts they had from the savages themselves. What can the M'Craas' tell about themselves a thousand years ago? There is no tracing the connection of

'Johnson wrote of the ministers-I saw not one in the islands whom I had reason to think either deficient in learning, or irregular in life; but found several with whom I could not converse without wishing, as my respect increased, that they had not been Presbyterians.' Johnson's Works, ix. 102.

'See ante, p. 162.


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