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table and truly polite reception which we found at Rasay. In a little while arrived Mr. Donald Macqueen himself; a decent minister, an elderly man with his own black hair, courteous, and rather slow of speech, but candid, sensible, and well informed-nay, learned. Along with him came, as our pilot, a gentleman whom I had a great desire to see, Mr. Malcolm Macleod, one of the Rasay family, celebrated in the year 1745-6. He was now sixty-two years of age, hale and well-proportioned, with a manly countenance, and tanned by the weather, yet having a ruddiness in his checks, over a great part of which his rough beard extended. His eye was quick and lively, yet his look was not fierce, but he appeared at once firm and good-humoured. He wore a pair of brogues, Tartan hose which came up only near to his knees, and left them bare, a purple camblet kilt, a black waistcoat, a short green cloth coat bound with gold cord, a yellowish bushy wig, a large blue bonnet with a gold thread button. I never saw a figure that gave a more perfect representation of a Highland gentleman. I wished much to have a picture of him just as he was. I found him frank and polite, in the true sense of the word.
The good family at Corrichatachin said they hoped to see us on our return. We rode down to the shore, but Malcolm walked with graceful agility,
We got into Rasay's carriage, which was a good strong open boat made in Norway. The wind had now risen pretty high, and was against us; but we had four stout rowers, particularly a Macleod, a robust black-haired fellow, half naked and bare-headed, something between a wild Indian and an English tar. Dr. Johnson sat high on the stern, like a magnificent Triton. Malcolm sung an Erse song, the chorus of which was "Hatyin foam foam eri,” with words of his own. The tune resembled "Owr the muir amang the heather." The boatmen and Mr. Macqueen chorused, and all went well. At length Malcolm himself took an oar, and rowed vigorously. We sailed along the coast of Scalpa, a rugged island, about four miles in length. Dr. Johnson proposed that he and I should buy it, and found a good school and an episcopal church (Malcolm said he would come to it), and have a printing-press, where he would print all the Erse that could be found.
Here I was strongly struck with our long-projected scheme of visiting the Hebrides being realised. I called to him, "We are contending with seas;" which I think were the words of one of his letters Not much," said he; and though the wind made the sea lash considerably upon us, he was not discomposed. After we were out of the shelter of Scalpa, and in the sound between it and Rasay, which extended about a league, the wind made the sea very rough. I did not like it.-JOHNSON: "This, now, is the Atlantic. If I should tell at a tea-table in London that I have crossed the Atlantic in an open boat, how they'd shudder, and what a fool they'd think me to expose myself to such danger!" He then repeated Horace's ode,
In the confusion and hurry of this boisterous sail, Dr. Johnson's spurs, of which Joseph had charge, were carried overboard into the sea and lost. This was the first misfortune that had befallen us. Dr. Johnson was a little angry at first, observing that "there was some thing wild in letting a pair of spurs be carried into the sea cut of a boat;" but then he remarked that, as Janes the naturalist had
"When clouds the moon's fair lustre hide,
The sailor, 'id the raging seas,
Suppliant implores the gods for ease."
said upon losing his pocket-book, it was rather an inconvenience than a loss. He told us he now recollected that he dreamt the night before that he put his staff into a river, and chanced to let it go, and it was carried down the stream and lost. "So now you see," said he, "that I have lost my spurs; and this story is better than many of those which we have concerning second-sight and dreams.” Mr. Macqueen said he did not believe the second-sight; that he never met with any well-attested instances; and if he should, he should impute them to chance; because all who pretend to that quality often fail in their predictions, though they take a great scope, and sometimes interpret literally, sometimes figuratively, so as to suit the
He told us, that since he came to be minister of the parish where he now is, the belief of witchcraft or charms was very com mon, insomuch that he had many prosecutions before his session (the parochial ecclesiastical court) against women, for having by those means carried off the milk from people's cows. He disregarded them; and there is not now the least vestige of that superstition. He preached against it; and in order to give a strong proof to the people that there was nothing in it, he said from the pulpit that every woman in the parish was welcome to take the milk from his cows, provided she did not touch them.*
Dr. Johnson asked him as to Fingal. He said he could repeat some passages in the original, that he heard his grandfather had a copy of it; but that he could not affirm that Ossian composed all that poem as it is now published. This came pretty much to what Dr. Johnson had maintained, though he goes farther and contends that it is no better than such an epic poem as he could make from the song of Robin Hood; that is to say, that, except a few passages, there is nothing truly ancient but the names and some vague traditions. Mr. Macqueen alleged that Homer was made up of detached
*Mr. Macqueen communicated to Pennant an account of the Grugaich Stones, honoured with libations of milk from the hand of the dairy-maid. The offering to Grugach was made upon the Sunday, for the preservation of the cattle on the ensuing week. It appears from the statistical account, that so late as 1770, the women who attended a herd of cattle in the island of Trodda, were in the habit of pouring daily a quantity of milk on a hollow stone for the Grugach. Mr. Macqueen went to Trodda on purpose to preach down the superstition, but he was not successful. The worthy minister had, early in life, been a partial believer in the second-sight. In that strange farrago of absurdity and vanity, the "Treatise on the Second Sight, by Theophilus Insulanus" (Macleod of Hamir, 1763), is a letter from Mr. Macqueen to the author, in which he states that the visions were not seen by the external organ, otherwise all clearsighted people must have seen them, but that the vision was a representation made to the imagination by some spirit, either good or bad. The worthy minister lived to discard the whole shadowy tribe of the seers; and nothing can be more puerile or ridiculous than the cases cited by Martin and Theophilus Insulanus.-ED
fragments. Dr. Johnson denied this; observing that it had been one work originally, and that you could not put a book of the Iliad out of its place; and he believed the same might be said of the Odyssey.
The approach to Rasay was very pleasing. We saw before us a beautiful bay, well defended by a rocky coast; a good family mansion; a fine verdure about it, with a considerable number of trees, and beyond it hills and mountains in gradation of wildness. Our boatmen sung with great spirit. Dr. Johnson observed that naval music was very ancient. As we came near the shore the singing of our rowers was succeeded by that of reapers, who were busy at work, and who seemed to shout as much as to sing while they worked with a bounding activity. Just as we landed I observed a cross, or rather the ruins of one, upon a rock, which had to me a pleasing vestige of religion. I perceived a large company coming out from the house; we met them as we walked up. There were Rasay himself, his brother Dr. Macleod, his nephew the Laird of Mackinnon, the Laird of Macleod, Colonel Macleod of Talisker, an officer in the Dutch service, a very genteel man, and a faithful branch of the family, Mr. Macleod, of Muiravenside, best known by the name of Sandy Macleod, who was long in exile on account of the part which he took in 1745,* and several other persons. We were welcomed upon the green and conducted into the house, where we were introduced to Lady Rasay, who was surrounded by a numerous family, consisting of three sons and ten daughters. The laird of Rasay is a sensible, polite, and most hospitable gentleman. I was told that his island of Rasay and that of Rona (from which the eldest son of the family has his title), and a considerable extent of the land which he has in Sky, do not altogether yield him a very large revenue, and yet he lives in great splendour; and so far is he from distressing his people, that in the present rage for emigration not a man has left his estate.
* Mr. Macleod was a cousin of Clanranald's, and was deputed by the Jacobite party to proceed to the Isle of Skye, in order to induce Macleod and Sir Alexander Macdonald to join in the rising. If he had succeeded in procuring the adhesion of those two powerful chiefs, the Prince's army would have been a much more formidable force. It is said they could have brought twelve hundred broadswords to the field. Both Macleod and Sir Alexander, however, continued firm to the Royalist cause. The Prince landed about the middle of July; and so early as August 3rd we find Macleod writing to his friend Duncan Forbes, of Culloden, the Lord President, that Sir Alexander Macdonald and himself gave no countenance to the rebels, but used all the interest they had with their neighbours to follow the same prudent course. ("Culloden Papers," p. 204.) Macleod afterwards joined the Royalist army with a body of 400 men; but there can be little doubt that both the Macleod and Macdonald clans would rather have been on the other side. A pardon to Mr. A. Macleod passed the Great Seal July 11, 1778. He died December 30, 1784.-ED.
It was past six o'clock when we arrived. Some excellent brandy was served round immediately, according to the custom of the Highlands, where a dram is generally taken every day; they call it a scalch. On a side-board was placed for us who had come off the sea a substantial dinner and a variety of wines; then we had coffee and tea. I observed in the room several elegantly bound books and other marks of improved life. Soon afterwards a fiddler appeared, and a little ball began. Rasay himself danced with as much spirit as any man, and Malcolm bounded like a roe. Sandy Macleod, who has at times an excessive flow of spirits, and had it now, was, in his days of absconding, known by the name of M'Cruslick, which, it seems, was the designation of a kind of wild man, in the Highlands, something between Proteus and Don Quixote, and so he was called here; he made much jovial noise. Dr. Johnson was so delighted with this scene, that he said, "I know not how we shall get away." It entertained me to observe him sitting by while we danced, sometimes in deep meditation, sometimes smiling complacently, sometimes looking upon Hooke's Roman History, and sometimes talking a little, amidst the noise of the ball, to Mr. Donald Macqueen, who anxiously gathered knowledge from him. He was pleased with Macqueen, and said to me, "This is a critical man, sir. There must be great vigour of mind to make him cultivate learning so much in the isle of Sky, where he might do without it; it is wonderful how many of the new publications he has; there must be a snatch of every opportunity." Mr. Macqueen told me that his brother (who is the fourth generation of the family following each other as ministers of the parish of Snizort) and he joined together and bought, from time to time, such books as had reputation. Soon after we came in, a black cock and grey hen which had been shot were shown with their feathers on to Dr. Johnson, who had never seen that species of bird before. We had a company of thirty at supper, and all was good humour and gaiety without intemperance.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9.
At breakfast this morning, among a profusion of other things, there were oat-cakes, made of what is called graddaned meal; that is, meal made of grain separated from the husks, and toasted by fire, instead of being threshed and kiln-dried. This seems to be bad management, as so much fodder is consumed by it. Mr. Macqueen, however, defended it by saying that it is doing the thing much quicker, as one operation effects what is otherwise done by two. His chief reason, however, was, that the servants in Sky are, according to him, a faithless pack, and steal what they can; so that much is