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father, and to myself during my minority, when he was one of my tutors and curators; being resolved, now that the said Alexander Macdonald is advanced in years, to contribute my endeavours for making his old age placid and comfortable—” Therefore he grants him an annuity of fifty pounds sterling.
Dr. Johnson went to bed soon. When one bowl of punch was finished, I rose, and was near the door, in my way up stairs to bed; but Corrichatachin said, it was the first time Col had been in his house, and he should have his bowl; and would not I join in drinking it? The heartiness of my honest landlord, and the desire of doing social honour to our very obliging conductor, induced me to sit down again. Col's bowl was finished; and by that time we were well warmed. A third bowl was soon made, and that too was finished. We were cordial and merry to a high degree; but of what passed I have no recollection, with any accuracy. I remember calling Corrichatachin by the familiar appellation of Corri, which his friends do.* A fourth bowl was made, by which time Col and young Mackinnon, Corrichatachin's son, slipped away to bed. I continued a little with Corri and Knockow; but at last I left them. It was near five in the morning when I got to bed.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26.
I awaked at noon, with a severe headache. I was much vexed that I should have been guilty of such a riot, and afraid of a reproof from Dr. Johnson. I thought it very inconsistent with that conduct which I ought to maintain while the companion of the "Rambler." About one, he came into my room, and accosted me, "What, drunk yet?" His tone of voice was not that of severe upbraiding; so I was relieved a little." Sir,” said I, "they kept me up." He answered, "No, you kept them up, you drunken dog." This he said with goodhumoured English pleasantry. Soon afterwards, Corrichatachin, Col, and other friends assembled round my bed. Corri had a brandy-bottle and glass with him, and insisted I should take a dram.-"Ay," said Dr. Johnson, “fill him drunk again. Do it in the morning, that we may laugh at him all day. It is a poor thing for a fellow to get drunk at night, and skulk to bed, and let his friends have no sport." Finding him thus jocular, I became quite easy; and when I offered to get up, he very good-naturedly said, "You need be in no such hurry now."†
*This is now the universal practice; Corrichatachin has, both in speech and writing, been commuted into Corry.-ED.
+ My ingenuously relating this occasional instance of intemperance has, I find, been made the subject both of serious criticism and ludicrous banter. With the banterers I shall not trouble myself, but I wonder that those who pretend to the appellation of serious critics should not have had sagacity enough to perceive that here, as in every
I took my host's advice, and drank some brandy, which I found an effectual cure for my headache. When I rose, I went into Dr. Johnson's room, and taking up Mrs. Mackinnon's Prayer-book, I opened it at the twentieth Sunday after Trinity, in the epistle for which I read, "And be not drunk with wine, wherein there is excess." Some would have taken this as a divine interposition.
Mrs. Mackinnon told us at dinner that old Kingsburgh, her father, was examined at Mugstot, by General Campbell, as to the particulars of the dress of the person who had come to his house in woman's clothes, along with Miss Flora Macdonald, as the general had received intelligence of that disguise. The particulars were taken down in writing, that it might be seen how far they agreed with the dress of the Irish girl who went with Miss Flora from the Long Island. Kingsburgh, she said, had but one song, which he always sung when he was merry over a glass. She dictated the words to me, which are foolish enough:
Green sleeves and pudding pies,
Tell me where my mistress lies,
And I'll be with her before she rise,
May our affairs abroad succeed,
And may our king come home with speed,
And all pretenders shake for dread,
And let his health go round.
To all our injured friends in need,
Green sleeves, &c.
While the examination was going on, the present Talisker, who was there as one of Macleod's militia, could not resist the pleasantry of asking Kingsburgh, in allusion to his only song, "Had she green
other part of the present work, my principal object was to delineate Dr. Johnson's manners and character. In justice to him I would not omit an anecdote which, though in some degree to my own disadvantage, exhibits in so strong a light the indulgence and good-humour with which he could treat those excesses in his friends of which he highly disapproved. In some other instances, the critics have been equally wrong as to the true motive of my recording particulars, the objections to which I saw as clearly as they. But it would be an endless task for an author to point out upon every occasion the precise object he has in view. Contenting himself with the approbation of readers of discernment and taste, he ought not to complain that some are found who cannot or will not understand him.-Boswell.
[Among the banterers on this occasion was Peter Pindar (Dr. Wolcot), who gave a very humorous travesty of Boswell's confession, and which concludes with this couplet
"Alas! says I, the sinner that I am;
And having made my speech, I took a dram "—ED.]
sleeves?" Kingsburgh gave him no answer. Lady Margaret Macdonald was very angry at Talisker for joking on such a serious occasion, as Kingsburgh was really in danger of his life. Mrs. Mackinnon added that Lady Margaret was quite adored in Sky. That when she travelled through the island, the people ran in crowds before her, and took the stones off the road, lest her horse should stumble and she be hurt.* Her husband, Sir Alexander, is also remembered with great regard. We were told that every week a hogshead of claret was drunk at his table.†
• Lady Margaret, in one of her journeys from Skye, had crossed the Kyle, attended by her servants, and escorted by a number of the Skye gentlemen on horseback. When they reached the summit of one of the mountains of the mainland, the cavalcade dismounted to rest near a summer shealing, from which a comely young wife came out to offer the party such refreshment as her temporary abode afforded, being only curds and cream. The toil of the ascent and the heat of the day made the simple food highly palatable, and Lady Margaret desired that her entertainer should approach to receive her thanks personally for her hospitality. The woman, however, understood no English, and Lady Margaret, who was struck with her good looks, said to one of her train, "Tell her that I thank her for her entertainment, and that I have not seen such a pretty face for a long time." "Does her ladyship say so?" was the reply," then it must have been a long time since she looked into her own glass (mirror)."-ED.
+ Sir Alexander Macdonald died at Bernera, in Glenelg, November 23rd, 1746. Kingsburgh had been chamberlain or factor of the Macdonald estate for twenty-eight years previous to the Rebellion, and great exertions were made to obtain his release from confinement in Edinburgh Castle, both on account of his own worth, and that he might continue his management of the property after Sir Alexander's death. Duncan Forbes, of Culloden, the Lord President, used all his influence for this purpose, but Kingsburgh was not liberated until the general amnesty in July, 1747. He obtained a whole year's lodging, as was said at the time, for affording a lodging for one night! The circumstance that Lady Macdonald had also been concerned with Kingsburgh in the escape of the Prince no doubt weakened the force of the applications in his favour. "All the fine ladies," said Duncan Forbes, "except one or two, became passionately fond of the young adventurer, and used all their arts and industry for him in the most intemperate manner." Lady Margaret was of a Jacobite family-one of the beautiful daughters of the Countess of Eglinton-and was secretly attached to the cause of Charles Edward, though Sir Alexander was in arms against him. In a letter to President Forbes the lady denied having seen the Pretender, but she must have repented having put on "the fragile armour of untruth," for the same packet contained a letter from her husband, in which the facts of the case were correctly given! Charles Edward was then in a state of wretched destitution, and few could have resisted the temptation to aid a prince flying from misery and danger. Lady Margaret described (we have no doubt truly) the Jacobitism of honest Kingsburgh as an accidental circumstance, "proceeding rather from an excess of good nature and compassion upon a miserable person, than from disloyalty or rebellious principles."— ("Culloden Papers," p. 291.) It has been related that while Kingsburgh was a prisoner at Fort Augustus, previous to his being conveyed to Edinburgh, he was asked if he would know the Pretender's head; upon which he answered, "that he would know it if it were on his shoulders, but not otherwise." This refers to a romantic incident connected with the pursuit after Charles. A young man, Roderick Mackenzie, who bore a strong resemblance to the Prince, and had been in his army, whilst travelling in Glenmoriston, was beset by a military party; and finding escape impossible, with a view to relax the vigilance of the Prince's pursuers, he exclaimed, at his fall, “You
This was another day of wind and rain; but good cheer and good society helped to beguile the time. I felt myself comfortable enough in the afternoon. I then thought that my last night's riot was no more than such a social excess as may happen without much moral blame; and recollected that some physicians maintained, that a fever produced by it was, upon the whole, good for health: so different are our reflections on the same subject, at different periods; and such the excuses with which we palliate what we know to be wrong.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27.
Mr. Donald Macleod, our original guide, who had parted from us at Dunvegan, joined us again to-day. The weather was still so bad that we could not travel. I found a closet here with a good many books, beside those that were lying about. Dr. Johnson told me he found a library in his room at Talisker; and observed, that it was one of the remarkable things of Sky, that there were so many books in it.
Though we had here great abundance of provisions, it is remarkable that Corrichatachin has literally no garden-not even a turnip, a carrot, or a cabbage. After dinner we talked of the crooked spade used in Sky, already described, and they maintained that it was better than the usual garden spade, and that there was an art in tossing it, by which those who were accustomed to it could work very easily with it. "Nay," said Dr. Johnson, "it may be useful in land where there are many stones to raise; but it certainly is not a good instrument for digging good land. A man may toss it, to be sure ; but he will toss a light spade much better: its weight makes it an incumbrance. A man may dig any land with it; but he has no occasion for such a weight in digging good land.* You may take a fieldpiece to shoot sparrows; but all the sparrows you can bring home will not be worth the charge."-He was quite social and easy amongst them; and, though he drank no fermented liquor, toasted Highland have killed your Prince!" The soldiers cut off his head and carried it to Fort Augustus. The people of Glenmoriston, who received the tale from their fathers, say this chivalrous youth was a travelling merchant, who made stated journeys to the Highlands, and was well known. The body of Mackenzie was buried by the roadside, and the little green mound, marked by a stone at each extremity, is regarded with peculiar affection and veneration.-ED.
*The crooked spade, or cas-chrom, is certainly a sufficiently awkward-looking implement, but it is well adapted to its own purposes. Johnson's sagacity made him discover the advantage of such a powerful lever in stony ground; but he ought to have been told that with it a man can turn twice as much ground as he could do with the common square spade in the same time. The ground, to be sure, will not be so well turned as it would be with the square spade; but it will be better turned than it would be by the ordinary horse plough.-ED.
beauties with great readiness. His conviviality engaged them so much, that they seemed eager to show their attention to him, and vied with each other in crying out, with a strong Celtic pronunciation, "Toctor Shonson, Toctor Shonson, your health!"
This evening one of our married ladies, a lively pretty little woman, good-humouredly sat down upon Dr. Johnson's knee, and being encouraged by some of the company, put her hands round his neck, and kissed him.-"Do it again," said he, "and let us see who will tire first."-He kept her on his knee some time, while he and she drank tea. He was now like a buck indeed. All the company were much entertained to find him so easy and pleasant. To me it was highly comic, to see the grave philosopher-the "Rambler "-toying with a Highland beauty! But what could he do? He must have been surly, and weak too, had he not behaved as he did. He would have been laughed at, and not more respected, and less loved.
He read to-night to himself, as he sat in company, a great deal of my "Journal," and said to me, "The more I read of this, I think the more highly of you." The gentlemen sat a long time at their punch, after he and I had retired to our chambers. The manner in which they were attended struck me as singular. The bell being broken, a smart lad lay on a table in the corner of the room, ready to spring up and bring the kettle, whenever it was wanted. They continued drinking and singing Erse songs till near five in the morning, when they all came into my room, where some of them had beds. Unluckily for me, they found a bottle of punch in a corner, which they drank; and Corrichatachin went for another, which they also drank. They made many apologies for disturbing me. I told them, that having been kept awake by their mirth, I had once thoughts of getting up, and joining them again. Honest Corrichatachin said, "To have had you done so, I would have given a cow."
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28.
The weather was worse than yesterday. I felt as if imprisoned. Dr. Johnson said, it was irksome to be detained thus; yet he seemed to have less uneasiness, or more patience, than I had. What made our situation worse here was, that we had no rooms that we could command; for the good people had no notion that a man could have any occasion but for a mere sleeping-place; so, during the day, the bedchambers were common to all the house. Servants ate in Dr. Johnson's; and mine was a general rendezvous of all under the roof, chil
* This Highland lady," so buxom, blithe and debonnair," was daughter of the elder and sister of the younger Mra. Mackinnon. She was the wife of a medical gentleman, Dr. Macdonald, father of the present Laird of Innisdrynich, in Argyleshire.--FD.