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a ruined chapel, near Sir Allan Maclean's house, in which I buried some human bones I found there.* Dr. Johnson praised me for what I had done, though he owned he could not have done it. He showed in the chapel at Rasay his horror at dead men's bones. He showed it again at Col's house. In the charter-room there was a remarkably large shin-bone, which was said to have been a bone of John Garve, one of the lairds.t Dr. Johnson would not look at it; but started away.
At breakfast, I asked, “What is the reason that we are angry at a trader's having opulence ?”—JOHNSON : Why, sir, the reason is (though I don't undertake to prove that there is a reason), we see no qualities in trade that should entitle a man to superiority. We are not angry at a soldier's getting riches, because we see that he possesses qualities which we have not. If a man returns from a battle, having lost one hand, and with the other full of gold, we feel that he deserves the gold; but we cannot think that a fellow, by sitting all day at a desk, is entitled to get above us.”—BOSWELL: “But, sir, may we not suppose a merchant to be a man of an enlarged mind, such as Addison in the “Spectator” describes Sir Andrew Freeport to have been ? "_JOHNSON : “Why, sir, we may suppose any fictitious character. We may suppose a philosophical day-labourer, who is happy in reflecting that, by his labour, he contributes to the fertility of the earth, and to the support of his fellow-creatures; but we find no such philosophical day-labourer. A merchant may, perhaps, be a man of an enlarged mind; but there is nothing in trade connected with an enlarged mind.”
I mentioned that I had heard Dr. Solander say he was a Swedish Laplander.-JOHNSON: "Sir, I don't believe he is a Laplander. The Laplanders are not much above four feet high. He is as tall as you; and he has not the copper colour of a Laplander.—BOSWELL: “But what motive could he have to make himself a Laplander ?"1-JOHNSON: “ Why, sir, he must either mean the word Laplander in a very extensive sense, or may mean a voluntary degradation of himself. • For all my being the great man that you see me now, I was origi
* Johnson, always interested in the ruins of religious houses, describes this chapel ninutely, and in a letter to Mrs. Thrale gives a characteristic anecdote of his fellow: traveller. He says—“ Boswell, who is very pious, went into it at night to perform his devotions, but came back in haste, for fear of spectres."-ED.
† John Garve was the first laird of Coll, and founder of the Coll branch of the Macleans. He held the principal part of the estate by a charter granted by James II. of Scotland.-ED.
* A very pertinent question, and one which Johnson answered but lamely. Dr. Solander was born at Norland, in Sweden. His labours as a botanist, and his voyage with Cook in company with Sir Joseph Banks, have justly rendered him eminent. He died in London, May 13, 1782.-ED.
mally a barbarian ;' as if Burke should say, 'I came over a wild Irishman :' which he might say in his present state of exaltation.”
Having expressed a desire to have an island like Inchkenneth, Dr. Johnson set himself to think what would be necessary for a man in such a situation. “Sir, I should build me a fortification, if I came to live here; for, if you have it not, what should hinder a parcel of ruffians to land in the night, and carry off everything you have in the house, which, in a remote country, would be more valuable than cows and sheep? Add to all this the danger of having your throat cut."-BOSWELL: “I would have a large dog."-JOHNSON : “So you may, sir; but a large dog is of no use but to alarm.” He, however, I apprehend, thinks too lightly of the power of that animal. I have heard him say, that he is afraid of no dog. “He would take him up by the hinder legs, which would render him quite helpless, and then knock his head against a stone, and beat out his brains.” Topham Beauclerk told me, that at his house in the country, two large ferocious dogs were fighting. Dr. Johnson looked steadily at them for a little while; and then, as one would separate two little boys, who were foolishly hurting each other, he ran up to them, and coffed their heads till he drove them asunder. * But few men have his intrepidity, Herculean strength, or presence of mind. Most thieves or robbers would be afraid to encounter a mastiff.
I observed, that, when young Col talked of the lands belonging to his family, he always said, “my lands." For this he had a plausible pretence; for he told me, there has been a custom in this family that the laird resigns the estate to the eldest son when he comes of age, reserving to himself only a certain life-rent. He said, it was a voluntary custom; but I think I found an instance in the charter-room that there was such an obligation in a contract of marriage. If the custom was voluntary, it was only curious ; but if founded on obligation, it might be dangerous ; for I have been told, that in Otaheite, whenever a child is born (a son, I think), the father loses his right
I to the estate and honours; and that this unnatural, or rather absurd, custom occasions the murder of many children.
Young Col told us he could run down a greyhound; "for (said he,) the dog runs himself out of breath by going too quick, and then I get up with him.” I accounted for his advantage over the dog, by remarking that Col had the faculty of reason, and knew how to moderate his pace, which the dog had not sense enough to do. Dr.
*“When we inquired into the truth of this story, he answered, “The dogs have been somewhat magnified, I believe. They were, as I remember, two stout young pointers, but the story has gained but little.”—Mrs. Piozzi's Anecdotes. Johnson woald have thought it had gained a good deal if related of any other party. -Ed.
Johnson sald, “ He is a noble animal. He is as complete an islander as the mind can figure. He is a farmer, a sailor, a hunter, a fisher: he will run you down a dog. If any man has a tail, it is Col. He is hospitable; and he has intrepidity of talk, whether he understands the subject or not. I regret that he is not more intellectual.”.
Dr. Johnson observed, that there was nothing of which he would not undertake to persuade a Frenchman in a foreign country. carry a Frenchman to St. Paul's Churchyard, and I'll tell him, “By our law you may walk half round the church; but, if you walk round the whole, you will be punished capitally;' and he will believe me at once. Now, no Englishman would readily swallow such a thing: he would go and inquire of somebody else.”—The Frenchman's credulity, I observed, must be owing to his being accustomed to implicit submission; whereas every Englishman reasons upon the laws of his country, and instructs his representatives, who compose the legislature.
This day was passed in looking at a small island adjoining Inchkenneth, which afforded nothing worthy of observation; and in such social and gay entertainments as our little society could furnish.
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 19. After breakfast, we took leave of the young ladies, and of our excellent companion Col, to whom we had been so much obliged. He had now put us under the care of his chief, and was to hasten back to Sky. We parted from him with very strong feelings of kindness and gratitude; and we hoped to have had some future opportunity of proving to him the sincerity of what we felt; but in the following year he was unfortunately lost in the sound between Ulva and Mull; and this imperfect memorial, joined to the high honour of being tenderly and respectfully mentioned by Dr. Johnson, is the only return which the uncertainty of human events has permitted us to make to this deserving young man.
Sir Allan, who obligingly undertook to accompany us to Icolmkill, had a strong, good boat, with four stout rowers. We coasted along Mull till we reached Gribon, where is what is called Mackinnon's
* September 25, 1774, Archibald Murdoch, Esq., younger, of Gartincaber, Mr. Maclean, of Coll, Mr. Fisher from England, and Mr. Malcolm Macdonald, drover in Mull, with five attendants, unfortunately drowned in crossing a ferry in the Isle of Mull. Mr. Murdoch had gone to Mull on a visit to Mr. Maclaine, of Lochbuy, and having dined in a friend's house, the melancholy accident happened on their return. The barge overset within a gunshot of the lands of Ulva and Mull. Mr. Maclaine of Lochbuy, and three young men in the barge, having got hold of the mast, continued dashing in the waves for three quarters of an hour, and were saved by the ferry-boat of Ulva, which reached them just as they were ready to sink. (“ Scots' Magazine.") In 1797 Dr. E. D. Clarke, when in the Highlands, experienced great kindness from the brother of the lamented Coll The hospitality of the family was proverbial.-ED.
cave, compared with which that at Ulinish is inconsiderable. It is in a rock of great height, close to the sea. Upon the left of its entrance there is a cascade, almost perpendicular from the top to the bottom of the rock. There is a tradition that it was conducted thither artificially, to supply the inhabitants of the cave with water. Dr. Johnson gave no credit to this tradition. As, on the one hand, his faith in the Christian religion is firmly founded upon good grounds; so, on the other, he is incredulous when there is no sufficient reason for belief; being, in this respect, just the reverse of modern infidels, who, however nice and scrupulous in weighing the evidences of religion, are yet often so ready to believe the most absurd and improbable tales of another nature, that Lord Hailes well observed, a good essay might be written, Sur la credulité des Incredules. The height of this cave I cannot tell with any
tolerable exactness; but it seemed to be very lofty, and to be a pretty regular arch. We penetrated, by candle-light, a great way; by our measurement, no less than four hundred and eighty-five feet. Tradition says, that a piper and twelve men once advanced into this cave, nobody can tell how far, and never returned. At the distance to which we proceeded, the air was quite pure, for the candle burned freely, without the least appearance of the flame growing globular; but, as we had only one, we thought it dangerous to venture farther, lest, should it have been extinguished, we should have had no means of ascertaining whether we could remain without danger. Dr. Johnson said this was the greatest natural curiosity he had ever seen.
We saw the island of Staffa, at no very great distance, but could not land upon it, the surge was so high on its rocky coast.
Sir Allan, anxious for the honour of Mull, was still talking of its woods, and pointing them out to Dr. Johnson, as appearing at a distance on the skirts of that island, as we sailed along.-JOHNSON : “Sir, I saw at Tobermorie what they called a wood, which I unluckily took for heath. If you show me what I shall take for furze, it will be something."
* The author of the statistical account of the parish supposes that the cave was formed by the wasting of a trap vein. The breadth at the entrance is about forty-five feet, and the roof, rising almost in a regular arch, is so high and lofty that the torches and lights used are insufficient to show it distinctly; and from its general depth or length it is not very possible to form a notion of its dimensions from any point of view Passing inwards from the sea to a great depth on the right-hand side, is a narrow pas sage about six feet wide, obstructed by large stones, over which, having passed, there is a second cave of about twenty-five feet in breadth; and bere is a square stone called Fingal's Table. Onwards still the cave leads, until tokens of a feculent or corrupted atmosphere, beginning to affect the lights, warn the traveller as to the propriety of returning. The cave derives its name from a tradition that a gentleman of the name of Mackinnon was lost in seeking to explore the cave.-ED.
In the afternoon we went ashore on the coast of Mull, and partook of a cold repast, which we carried with us. We hoped to have procured some rum or brandy, for our boatmen and servants, from a public-house near where we landed; but, unfortunately, a funeral a few days before had exhausted all their store. Mr. Campbell, however, one of the Duke of Argyle's tacksmen, who lived in the neighbourhood, on receiving a message from Sir Allan, sent us a liberal supply.
We continued to coast along Mull, and passed by Nuns’ Island, which, it is said, belonged to the nuns of Icolmkill, and from which, we are told, the stone for the buildings there was taken. As we sailed along by moonlight, in a sea somewhat rough, and often between black and gloomy rocks, Dr. Johnson said, “If this be not roving among the Hebrides, nothing is.”—The repetition of words which he had so often previously used, made a strong impression on my imagination; and, by a natural course of thinking, led me to consider how our present adventures would appear to me at a future period.
I have often experienced, that scenes through which a man has passed, improve by lying in the memory: they grow mellow. Acti labores sunt jucundi. This may be owing to comparing them with present listless ease. Even harsh scenes acquire a softness by length