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would let it be known that he had such a place for naughty ladies, he might make it a very profitable island.-We had, in the course of
our tour, heard of St. Kilda poetry. Dr. Johnson observed, "It must be very poor, because they have very few images."-Boswell. "There may be a poetical genius shown in combining these, and in
century be practised in the Hebrides. In the same collection, the Earl of Argyle gives a picturesque account of an embassy from the great M'Neil, of Barra, as that insular chief used to be denominated. "I received a letter yesterday from M'Neil, of Barra, who lives very far off, sent by a gentleman in all formality, offering his service, which had made you laugh to see his entry. His style of his letter runs as if he were of another kingdom," p. 643.-BosWELL.
[The abduction of Lady Grange-which her husband, by a curious travesty of legal phraseology, termed sequestrating his wife-took place on the night of the 22nd of January, 1732. She was kept till August in an old tower at Wester Polmaise, county of Stirling, and then carried off on horseback to the Highlands, passing through the lands of Lovat and Glengary. At Lochourn, an arm of the sea on the west coast, she was transferred to a vessel, and taken to the small island of Heskir, belonging to Sir Alexander Macdonald. There she was kept for nearly two years. In June, 1734, she was conveyed to St. Kilda, the property of Macleod of Macleod, and was kept there seven years. Macleod's steward came once a-year to the island to collect the feathers of the sea-fowl-the representative of rent in St. Kilda-and on these occasions he brought with him, for the captive lady, a supply of tea, sugar, wheat, and whiskey. Of the latter she appears to have been too fond: at times she drank to excess, and was subject to ungovernable fits of passion. These inherent defects led first to a separation between Lady Grange and her husband, and afterwards prompted the savage expedient of confining her on a solitary island, cut off from her family and from all congenial or suitable society. Writing-materials were at first debarred her; but in the winter of 1740-1 a communication from Lady Grange reached her friends
making poetry of them."-JOHNSON. "Sir, a man cannot make fire but in proportion as he has fuel. He cannot coin guineas but in proportion as he has gold.”—At tea he talked of his intending to go to Italy in 1775. Macleod said he would like Paris better.-JOHNSON. No, sir; there are none of the French literati now alive, to visit whom I would cross a sea. I can find in Buffon's book all that he
After supper, he said, "I am sorry that prize-fighting is gone out; every art should be preserved, and the art of defence is surely important. It is absurd that our soldiers should have swords, and not be taught the use of them. Prize-fighting made people accustomed not to be alarmed at seeing their own blood, or feeling a little pain from a wound. I think the heavy glaymore was an ill-contrived weapon. A man could only strike once with it. It employed both his hands, and he must of course be soon fatigued with wielding it; so that if his antagonist could only keep playing for a while, he was sure of him. I would fight with a dirk against Rorie More's sword. I could ward off a blow with a dirk, and then run in upon my enemy. When within that heavy sword, I have him; he is quite helpless, and I could stab him at my leisure, like a calf. It is thought by sensible military men, that the English do not enough avail themselves of their superior strength of body against the French; for that must
by means of the minister of St. Kilda and his wife, who had quarrelled with Macleod's steward, and left the island. Legal steps were taken to rescue the lady, but they fell through, and Lady Grange was removed to the Macleod country in Skye. She survived till May, 1745, when she died at Waternish, and was secretly interred in the churchyard of Trumpan. The parties who assisted Grange in the abduction were the notorious Lord Lovat, Mr. Forster, of Corsebonny, and Mr. John Macleod, advocate. Sir Alexander Macdonald and Macleod were also principals in the affair, for without their concurrence the detention and concealment could not have been accomplished. It is probable they all believed the lady to be partially insane, as well as mischievious. She was of a violent race, her father, Chiesly of Dalry, having murdered Sir George Lockhart, the Lord President. Lord Grange's defence was, that "there was great reason to think she would daily go on to do mischief to her family, and to affront and bring a blot on her children, especially her daughters. These," he added, "were things that could not be redressed in a court of justice, and we had not then a madhouse to lock such unhappy people up in." There was another cause. Grange, as the brother of the Earl of Mar, who headed the enterprise in 1715, was connected with the Jacobite party, and was said to be privy to some treasonable designs. He denied this, but admitted that his wife possessed a letter written by him, in which he had made reflections on Sir Robert Walpole, and which letter she had threatened to take to London, and use to his disadvantage. The story of Lady Grange is told at length in Mr. Chambers's "Traditions of Edinburgh," and some letters of Lord Grange on the subject have been published in one of the volumes of the Spalding Club.-ED.]
* I doubt the justice of my fellow-traveller's remark concerning the French literati, many of whom, I am told, have considerable merit in conversation, as well as in their writings. That of Monsieur de Buffon, in particular, I am well assured, is highly instructive and entertaining.-BoswELL.
always have a great advantage in pushing with bayonets. I have heard an officer say, that if women could be made to stand, they would do as well as men in a mere interchange of bullets from a distance; but if a body of men should come close up to them, then to be sure, they must be overcome: [now," said he, "in the same manner the weaker-bodied French must be overcome by our strong soldiers."*
The subject of duelling was introduced.-JOHNSON. "There is no case in England where one or other of the combatants must die; if you have overcome your adversary by disarming him, that is sufficient, though you should not kill him; your honour, or the honour of your family is restored, as much as it can be by a duel. It is cowardly to force your antagonist to renew the combat, when you know that you have the advantage of him by superior skill. You might just as well go and cut his throat while he is asleep in his bed. When a duel begins, it is supposed there may be an equality; because it is not always skill that prevails. It depends much on presence of mind; nay, on accidents. The wind may be in a man's face; he may fall. Many such things may decide the superiority. A man is sufficiently punished by being called out, and subjected to the risk that is in a duel."-But on my suggesting that the injured person is equally subjected to risk, he fairly owned he could not explain the rationality of duelling.†
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20.
When I awaked, the storm was higher still. It abated about
*This was proved during the late Peninsular war. The superior physical strength of the English made them irresistible in a charge with bayonets.-ED.
+ See this subject further discussed in "Boswell's Life of Johnson," under date 1783; Illustrated Library edition, voi. iv. p. 147. Johnson was in error in stating that there was no case in England in which one of the parties in a duel must die. There was a famous case in the reign of James I. On the 8th of November, 1609, Lord Wharton and James Stewart of Blantyre, son of Treasurer Stewart, met in single combat on Islington Fields; at the first thrust each killed the other, and they fell dead in one another's arms. Boswell little imagined that his own son and heir, Sir Alexander Boswell, was to perish in a duel. This accomplished and ill-fated gentleman having written some political squibs imputing cowardice to another Scottish gentleman, Stuart of Duncarn, was challenged by Mr. Stuart. The parties met on the 26th of March, 1822. Sir Alexander, conscious that he had in an unhappy moment injured his opponent, fired into the air; but Mr. Stuart's shot took effect, and the baronet died in the course of the next day. What rendered this affair more melancholy was the circumstance that Sir Alexander had just returned from paying the last duties to his brother, James Boswell, who died at his chambers in the Middle Temple, March 24th, 1822, aged forty-three. Mr. James Boswell was the literary executor of Malone, and associated with him in his enlarged edition of Shakspeare. His elder brother, Sir Alexander, was author of some humourous Scottish songs. Both inherited the social qualities and lively talents of their father, with superior taste and judgment.-ED.
nine, and the sun shone; but it rained again very soon, and it was not a day for travelling. At breakfast, Dr. Johnson told us, "there was once a pretty good tavern in Catherine-street in the Strand, where very good company met in an evening, and each man called for his own half-pint of wine, or gill, if he pleased; they were frugal men, and nobody paid but for what he himself drank. The house furnished no supper; but a woman attended with mutton-pies, which any body might purchase. I was introduced to this company by Cumming the Quaker, and used to go there sometimes when I drank wine. In the last age, when my mother lived in London, there were two sets of people, those who gave the wall, and those who took it— the peaceable and the quarrelsome. When I returned to Lichfield, after having been in London, my mother asked me whether I was one of those who gave the wall, or those who took it. Now, it is fixed that every man keeps to the right; or, if one is taking the wall, another yields it, and it is never a dispute."-He was very severe on a lady, whose name was mentioned. He said, he would have sent
her to St. Kilda. That she was as bad as negative badness could be, and stood in the way of what was good; that insipid beauty would not go a great way; and that such a woman might be cut out of a cabbage, if there was a skilful artificer.
Macleod was too late in coming to breakfast. Dr. Johnson said, laziness was worse than the toothach.-BoSWELL. "I cannot agree with you, sir; a basin of cold water or a horsewhip will cure laziness." -JOHNSON. 66 No, sir, it will only put off the fit; it will not cure the disease. I have been trying to cure my laziness all my life, and could not do it."-BOSWELL. "But if a man does in a shorter time what might be the labour of a life, there is nothing to be said against him."-JOHNSON (perceiving at once that I alluded to him and his Dictionary). Suppose that flattery to be true, the consequence would be, that the world would have no right to censure a man; but that will not justify him to himself.”
After breakfast, he said to me, "A Highland Chief should now endeavour to do everything to raise his rents by means of the industry of his people. Formerly, it was right for him to have his house full of idle fellows: they were his defenders, his servants, his dependents, his friends. Now they may be better employed. The system of things is now so much altered, that the family cannot have influence but by riches, because it has no longer the power of ancient feudal times. An individual of a family may have it; but it cannot now belong to a family, unless you could have a perpetuity of men with the same views. Macleod has four times the land that the Duke of Bedford has. I think, with his spirit, he may in time make himself the great
est man in the king's dominions; for land may always be improved to a certain degree. I would never have any man sell land to throw money into the funds, as is often done, or to try any other species of trade. Depend upon it, this rage of trade will destroy itself. You and I shall not see it; but the time will come when there will be an end of it. Trade is like gaming. If a whole company are gamesters, play must cease; for there is nothing to be won. When all nations are traders, there is nothing to be gained by trade, and it will stop first where it is brought to the greatest perfection. Then the proprietors of land only will be the great men."-I observed, it was hard that Macleod should find ingratitude in so many of his people.— JOHNSON. "Sir, gratitude is a fruit of great cultivation; you do not find it among gross people."—I doubt of this. Nature seems to have implanted gratitude in all living creatures. The lion, mentioned by Aulus Gellius, had it.* It appears to me that culture, which brings luxury and selfishness with it, has a tendency rather to weaken than promote this affection.
Dr. Johnson said this morning, when talking of our setting out, that he was in the state in which Lord Bacon represents kings. He desired the end, but did not like the means. He wished much to get home, but was unwilling to travel in Sky.-"You are like kings, too, in this sir," said I, "that you must act under the direction of others."
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21.
The uncertainty of our present situation having prevented me from receiving any letters from home for some time, I could not help being uneasy. Dr. Johnson had an advantage over me in this respect, he having no wife or child to occasion anxious apprehensions in his mind. It was a good morning, so we resolved to set out. But, before quitting this castle, where we have been so well entertained, let me give a short description of it.
Along the edge of the rock, there are the remains of a wall, which is now covered with ivy. A square court is formed by buildings of different ages, particularly some towers, said to be of great antiquity; and at one place there is a row of false cannon of stone. There is a very large unfinished pile, four stories high, which we were told was here when Leod, the first of this family,came from the Isle of Man, married the heiress of the M'Crails [Mac Railts], the ancient possessors of Dunvegan, and afterwards acquired by conquest as much land as he had got by marriage. He surpassed the House of Austria; for he was
*Aul. Gellius, lib. v., c. 14.-BOSWELL.