« PreviousContinue »
can there be more wanting to complete the meditation on a pudding? If more is wanting, more may be found. It contains salt, which keeps the sea from putrefaction; salt, which is made the image of intellectual excellence, contributes to the formation of a pudding.
In a magazine I found a saying of Dr. Johnson's, something to this purpose—that the happiest part of a man's life is what he passes lying awake in bed in the morning. I read it to him. He said, “ I may, perhaps, have said this; for nobody, at times, talks more laxly than I do.” I ventured to suggest to him, that this was dangerous from one of his authority.
I spoke of living in the country, and upon what footing one should be with neighbours. I observed that some people were afraid of being on too easy a footing with them, from an apprehension that their time would not be their own. He made the obvious remark, that it depended much on what kind of neighbours one has, whether it was desirable to be on an easy footing with them, or not. I mentioned a certain baronet, who told me, he never was happy in the country, till he was not on speaking terms with his neighbours, which he contrived in different ways to bring about.
(said he) stuck long; but at last the fellow pounded my pigs, and then I got rid of him.”—JOHNSON : “Nay, sir, my lord got rid of Sir John, and showed how little he valued him, by putting his pigs in the pound.”
I told Dr. Johnson I was in some difficulty how to act at Inverary. I had reason to think that the Duchess of Argyle disliked me, on account of my zeal in the Douglas cause; but the Duke of Argyle had always been pleased to treat me with great civility. They were now at the castle, which is a very short walk from our inn; and the question was, whether I should go and pay my respects there. Dr. Johnson, to whom I stated the case, was clear that I ought; but, in his usual way, he was very shy of discovering a desire to be invited there himself. Though, from a conviction of the benefit of subordination to society, he has always shown great respect to persons of high rank, when he happened to be in their company, yet his pride of character has ever made him guard against any appearance of courting the great. Besides, he was impatient to go to Glasgow, where he expected letters. At the same time, he was, I believe, secretly not unwilling to have attention paid him by so great a chieftain, and so exalted a nobleman. He insisted that I should not go to the castle this day before dinner, as it would look like seeking an invitation. “Bat," (said I,) if the duke invites us to dine with him to-morrow, shall we accept?”_Yes, sir," I think he said; “ to be sure.” But he added : “ He won't ask us !” — I mentioned, that I was afraid my company might be disagreeable to the duchess. He treated this objection with
a manly disdain : “ That, sir, he must settle with his wife.":— We dined well. I went to the castle just about the time when I supposed the ladies would be retired from dinner. I sent in my name; and, being shown in, found the amiable duke sitting at the head of his table, with several gentlemen. I was most politely received, and gave
grace some particulars of the curious journey which I had been making with Dr. Johnson. When we rose from table, the duke said to me, “I hope you and Dr. Johnson will dine with us to-morrow.” I thanked his grace; but told him, my friend was in a great hurry to get back to London. The duke, with a kind complaisance, said, “He will stay one day; and I will take care he shall see this place to advantage.” I said, I should be sure to let him know his grace's invitation.-As I was going away, the duke said, “ Mr. Boswell, won't you have some tea ?”-I thought it best to get.over the meeting with the duchess this night; so respectfully agreed. I was conducted to the drawing-room by the duke, who announced my name; but the duchess, who was sitting with her daughter, Lady Betty Hamilton, and some other ladies, took not the least notice of
I should have been mortified at being thus coldly received by a lady, of whom I, with the rest of the world, have always entertained a very high admiration, had I not been consoled by the obliging attention of the duke.
When I returned to the inn, I informed Dr. Johnson of the Duke of Argyle's invitation, with which he was much pleased, and readily accepted of it.-We talked of a violent contest which was then carrying on, with a view to the next general election for Ayrshire; where one of the candidates, in order to undermine the old and established interest, had artfully held himself out as a champion for the independency of the county against aristocratic influence, and had persuaded several gentlemen into a resolution to oppose every candidate who was supported by peers.—“Foolish fellows! (said Dr. Johnson,) don't they see that they are as much dependent upon the peers one way as the other. The peers have but to oppose a candidate to ensure him success. It is said the only way to make a pig go forward, is to pull him back by the tail. These people must be treated like pigs."
MONDAY, OCTOBER 25. My acquaintance, the Reverend Mr. John Macaulay, one of the ministers of Inverary, and brother to our good friend at Calder, came to us this morning, and accompanied us to the castle, where I presented Dr. Johnson to the Duke of Argyle. We were shown through the house; and I never shall forget the impression made upon my fancy by some of the ladies' maids tripping about in neat morning
dresses. After seeing for a long time little but rusticity, their lively manner, and gay, inviting appearance, pleased me so much, that I thought, for the moment, I could have been a knight-errant for them.*
We then got into a low one-horse chair, ordered for us by the duke, in which we drove about the place. Dr. Johnson was much struck by the grandeur and elegance of this princely seat. He thought, however, the castle too low, and wished it had been a storey higher. He said, "What I admire here, is the total defiance of expense." I had a particular pride in showing him a great number of fine, old trees, to compensate for the nakedness which had made such an impression on him on the eastern coast of Scotland.
When we came in, before dinner, we found the duke and some gentlemen in the hall. Dr. Johnson took much notice of the large collection of arms, which are excellently disposed there. I told what he had said to Sir Alexander Macdonald, of his ancestors not suffering their arms to rust. "Well," said the doctor, but let us be glad we live in times when arms may rust. We can sit to-day at his grace's table without any risk of being attacked, and perhaps sitting down again wounded or maimed." The duke placed Dr. Johnson next himself at table. I was in fine spirits; and though sensible that I had the misfortune of not being in favour with the duchess, I was not
* On reflection, at the distance of several years, I wonder that my venerable fellow-traveller should have read this passage without censuring my levity.-BOSWELL.
in the least disconcerted, and offered her grace some of the dish that was before me. It must be owned that I was in the right to be quite unconcerned, if I could. I was the Duke of Argyle’s guest; and I had no reason to suppose that he adopted the prejudices and resentments of the Duchess of Hamilton.
I knew it was the rule of modern high life not to drink to any body; but that I might have the satisfaction for once to look the duchess in the face, with a glass in my hand, I, with a respectful air, addressed her: My lady duchess, I have the honour to drink your grace's good health.” I repeated the words audibly, and with a steady countenance. This was, perhaps, rather too much ; but some allowance must be made for human feelings.
The duchess was very attentive to Dr. Johnson. I know not how a middle state came to be mentioned. Her grace wished to hearhim on that point. “ Madam," said he, "your own relation, Mr. Archibald Campbell, can tell you better about it than I can. He was a bishop of the Nonjuring communion, and wrote a book upon the subject.” He engaged to get it for her grace. He afterwards gave a full history of Mr. Archibald Campbell, which I am sorry I do not recollect particularly. He said, Mr. Campbell had been bred a violent Whig, but afterwards “ kept better company, and became a Tory.” He said this with a smile, in pleasant allusion as I thought, to the opposition between his own political principles and those of the duke's clan. He added that Mr. Campbell, after the revolution, was thrown into gaol on account of his tenets; but, on application by letter to the old Lord Townshend, was released: that he always spoke of his lordship with great gratitude, saying, “ though a Whig, he had humanity."
* As this book is now become very scarce, I shall subjoin the title, which is curious:
“ The Doctrines of a Middle State, between Death and the Resurrection : of Prayers for the Dead ; and the Necessity of Purification; plainly proved from the Holy Scriptures, and the Writings of the Fathers of the Primitive Church : and acknowledged by several learned Fathers and Great Divines of the Church of England and others since the Reformation. To which is added an Appendix concerning the Descent of the Soul of Christ into Hell, while his Body lay in the Grave. Together with the judgment of the Reverend Dr. Hickes concerning this Book, so far as relates to a Middle State, particular Judgment, and Prayers for the Dead, as it appeared in the first edition. And a manuscript of the Right Reverend Bishop Overall upon the subject of a Middle State, and never before printed. Also a preservative against several of the errors of the Roman Church, in six small treatises. By the Honourable Archibald Campbell." (Folio, 1721.)—Boswell.
Dr. Johnson and I passed some time together, in June, 1784, at Pembroke College, Oxford, with the Reverend Dr. Adams, the master; and I having expressed a regret that my note relative to Mr. Archibald Campbell was imperfect, he was then so good as to write with his own hand, on the blank page of my Journal, opposite to that which contains what I have mentioned, the following paragraph, which however, is not quite so full as the narrative he gave at Inverary :
“The Honourable Archibald Campbell was, I believe, the nephew (grandson] of the Marquis of Argyle. He began life by engaging in Monmonth's rebellion, and, to escape the law, lived some time in Surin:m. When he returned, he became zealous for episcopacy and monarchy; and at the Revolution adhered not only to the Nonjurors, but to those who refused to communicate with the Church of England, or to be present at any worship where the usurper was mentioned as king. He was, I believe, more than once apprehended in the reign of King William, and once at the accession of George. He was the familar friend of Hicks and Nelson ; a man of letters, but injudicious ; and very curious and inquisitive, but credulous. He lived in 1743 or 1744; about 75 years old.”
The subject of luxury having been introduced, Dr. Johnson defended it. “We have now,” said he, "a splendid dinner before us; which of all these dishes is unwholesome?” The duke asserted, that he had observed the grandees of Spain diminished in their size by luxury. Dr. Johnson politely refrained from opposing directly an observation which the duke himself had made ; but said, “ Man must be very different from other animals, if he is diminished by good living; for the size of all other animals is increased by it.” I made some remark that seemed to imply a belief in second sight. The duchess said, “I fancy you will be a Methodist.” This was the only sentence her grace deigned to utter to me; and I take it for granted she thought it a good hit on my credulity in the Douglas cause.
A gentleman in company, after dinner, was desired by the duke to go into another room, for a specimen of curious marble, which his grace wished to shew us. He brought a wrong piece, upon which the duke sent him back again. He could not refuse ; but, to avoid any appearance of servility, he whistled as he walked out of the room, to shew his independency. On my mentioning this afterwards to Dr. Johnson, he said, it was a nice trait of character.