Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Hebrid.

[ocr errors]

Tour to to be a miser: I believe we must take him appren

tice.”/ BOSWELL. “He would grudge giving half a
guinea to be taught.” Johnson. “Nay, sir, you
must, teach him gratis. You must give him an op-
portunity to practise your precepts.'

Let me now go back, and glean Johnsoniana.
The Saturday before we sailed from Slate, I sat
awhile in the afternoon with Dr. Johnson in his
room, in a quiet serious frame. I observed, that
hardly any man was accurately prepared for dying;
but almost every one left something undone, some-
thing in confusion; that my father, indeed, told me
he knew one man (Carlisle of Limekilns), after whose
death all his papers were found in exact order; and
nothing was omitted in his will. JOHNSON. “Sir, I
had an uncle who died so; but such attention re-
quires great leisure, and great firmness of mind. If
one was to think constantly of death, the business of
life would stand still. I am no friend to making
religion appear too hard. Many good people have
done harm, by giving severe notions of it. In the
same way as to learning: I never frighten young
people with difficulties; on the contrary, I tell them
that they may very easily get as much as will do very
well. I do not indeed tell them that they will be
Bentleys.1

The night we rode to Col's house, I said, “ Lord Elibank is probably wondering what is become of us.” JOHNSON. “No, no; he is not thinking of us.' BOSWELL. “But recollect the warmth with which he wrote. Are we not to believe a man, when he says he has a great desire to see another? Don't you believe that I was very impatient for your coming to Scotland ?" JOHNSON. “Yes,

Johnson. “Yes, sir; I believe you

[ocr errors]

1 [If Miss Seward's story of his having had an uncle hanged had been true, Johnson could not have made such an allusion as this...Ev.]

2

were; and I was impatient to come to you. A young Tour to

Hebrid. man feels so, but seldom an old man." I however convinced him that Lord Elibank, who has much of the spirit of a young man, might feel so. He asked me if our jaunt had answered expectation. I said it had much exceeded it. I expected much difficulty with him, and had not found it. “ And," he added, “ wherever we have come, we have been received like princes in their progress.

He said, he would not wish not to be disgusted in the Highlands; for that would be to lose the power of distinguishing, and a man might then lie down in the middle of them. He wished only to conceal his disgust.

At Captain M‘Lean's, I mentioned Pope's friend, Spence. JOHNSON. “ He was a weak conceited man?.” BOSWELL. “A good scholar, sir?” JOHNSON. “Why, no, sir.” BOSWELL. “He was a pretty scholar.” JOHNSON. “ You have about reached him."

Last night at the inn, when the factor in Tyr-yi spoke of his having heard that a roof was put on some part of the buildings at Icolmkill, I unluckily said, “ It will be fortunate if we find a cathedral with a roof on it.” I said this from a foolish anxiety to engage Dr. Johnson's curiosity more.

He took me short at once. “ What, sir ? how can you talk so? If we shall find a cathedral roofed! as if we were going to a terra incognita: when every thing that is at Icolmkill is so well known. You are like some New England-men who came to the mouth of the Thames. Come,' said they, let us go up and see

: Mr. Langton thinks this must have been the hasty expression of a splenetick moment, as he has heard Dr. Johnson speak of Mr. Spence's judgment in criticism with so high a degree of respect, as to show that this was not his settled opinion of him. Let me add that, in the preface to the Preceptor, he recommends Spence's Essay on Pope's Odyssey, and that his admirable Lives of the English Poets are much enriched by Spence's Anecdotes of Pope.--BOSWELL.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Tour to what sort of inhabitants there are here. They talked, Hebrid

sir, as if they had been to go up the Susquehannah, or any other American river.”

Saturday, 16th October.—This day there was a new moon, and the weather changed for the better. Dr. Johnson said of Miss M'Lean, “ She is the most accomplished lady that I have found in the Highlands. She knows French, musick, and drawing, sews neatly, makes shell-work, and can milk cows; in short, she can do every thing. She talks sensibly, and is the first person whom I have found, that cari translate Erse poetry literally.”. We set out, mounted on little Mull horses. Mull corresponded exactly with the idea which I had always had of it; a hilly country, diversified with heath and grass, and many rivulets. Dr. Johnson was not in very good humour. He said, it was a dreary country, much worse than Sky.. I differed from him. “O, sir," said he, “ a most dolorous country!”

We had a very hard journey to-day. I had no bridle for my sheltie, but only a halter; and Joseph rode without a saddle. At one place, a loch having swelled over the road, we were obliged to plunge through pretty deep water. Dr. Johnson observed, how helpless a man would be, were he travelling here alone, and should meet with any accident; and said, " he longed to get to a country of saddles and bridles.

He was more out of humour to-day than he has been in the course of our tour, being fretted to find that his little horse could scarcely support his weight; and having suffered a loss, which, though small in itself, was of some consequence to him, while travelling the rugged steeps of Mull, where he was at times obliged to walk. The loss that I allude to was that of the large oak-stick, which, as I formerly mentioned, he had brought with him from London.

It was of great use to him in our wild peregrination; Tour to

Hebrid. for, ever since his last illness in 1766, he has had a weakness in his knees, and has not been able to walk easily. It had too the properties of a measure ; for one nail was driven into it at the length of a foot ; another at that of a yard. In return for the services it had done him, he said, this morning, he would make a present of it to some museum ; but he little thought he was so soon to lose it. As he preferred riding with a switch, it was intrusted to a fellow to be delivered to our baggage-man, who followed us at some distance; but we never saw it more. I could not persuade him out of a suspicion that it had been stolen. “ No, no, my friend,” said he; “ it is not to be expected that any man in Mull, who has got it, will part with it. Consider, sir, the value of such a piece of timber here !"

As we travelled this forenoon, we met Dr. M'Lean, who expressed much regret at his having been so unfortunate as to be absent while we were at his house.

We were in hopes to get to Sir Allan Maclean's, at Inchkenneth, to-night; but the eight miles, of which our road was said to consist, were so very long, that we did not reach the opposite coast of Mull till seven at night, though we had set out about eleven in the forenoon; and when we did arrive there, we found the wind strong against us.

Col determined that we should pass the night at M‘Quarrie's, in the island of Ulva, which lies between Mull and Inchkenneth; and a servant was sent forward to the ferry, to secure the boat for us: but the boat was gone to the Ulva side, and the wind was so high that the people could not hear him call; and the night so dark that they could not see a signal. We should have been in a very bad situation, had there not

Hebrid.

Tour to fortunately been lying in the little sound of Ulva an

Irish vessel, the Bonnetta, of Londonderry, Captain M'Lure, master. He himself was at M‘Quarrie's; but his men obligingly came with their long-boat, and ferried us over.

M‘Quarrie's house was mean; but we were agreeably surprised with the appearance of the master, whom we found to be intelligent, polite, and much a man of the world'. Though his clan is not numerous, he is a very ancient chief, and has a burialplace at Icolmkill. He told us, his family had possessed Ulva for nine hundred years; but I was distressed to hear that it was soon to be sold for payment of his debts.

Captain M‘Lure, whom we found here, was of Scotch extraction, and properly a Macleod, being descended of some of the Macleods who went with Sir Norman of Bernera to the battle of Worcester"; and after the defeat of the royalists, fled to Ireland, and, to conceal themselves, took a different name. He told me, there was a great number of them about Londonderry; some of good property. I said, they should now resume their real name. The Laird of Macleod should go over, and assemble them, and make them all drink the large horn full, and from that time they should be Macleods. The captain informed us, he had named his ship the Bonnetta, ou of gratitude to Providence ; for once, when he was sailing to America with a good number of passengers, the ship in which he then sailed was becalmed for five weeks, and during all that time, numbers of the fish Bonnetta swam close to her, and were caught for food; he resolved, therefore, that

[M‘Quarrie was hospitable to an almost romantic degree. He lived to an extreme old age.-WALTER Scott.]

[See Macleod's Memoirs, ante, v. ii. p. 555.-Ed.

2

« ZurückWeiter »