Графични страници
PDF файл
ePub

had gone off, and returned, bringing a very young child. My fellow traveller then ordered the children to be drawn up in a row, and be dealt about his copper, and made them and their parents all happy. The poor M'Craas, whatever may be their present state, were of cousiderable estimation in the year 1715, when there was a line in & song :

“ And aw the brave M'Craas are coming.” 1

There was great diversity in the faces of the circle around us ; some were as black and wild in their appearance as any American savages whatever.

One woman was as comely almost as the figure of Sappho, as we see it painted. We asked the old woman, the mistress of the house where we had the milk (which, by the by, Dr. Johnson told me, for I did not observe it myself, was built not of turf, but of stone), what we should pay. She said what we pleased. One of our guides asked her, in Erse, if a shilling was enou She said, “ Yes.” But some of the men bade her ask more.

This vexed me ; because it showed a desire to impose upon strangers, as they knew that even a shilling was high payment. The woman, however, honestly persisted in her first price ; so I gave her half a

Thus we had one good scene of life uncommon to us. The people were very much pleased, gave us many blessings, and said they had not had such a day since the old Laird of Macleod's time.

Dr. Johnson was much refreshed by this repast. He was pleased when I told him he would make a good chief. He said, “ Were 1 a chief, I would dress my servants better than myself, and knock a

crown.

| The M'Craas, or Macraes, were, since that time, brought into the king's army, by the late Lord Seaforth. When they lay in Edinburgh Castle, in 1778, and were ordered to embark for Jersey, they, with a number of other mon in the regiment, for different reasons, but especially an apprehension that they were to be sold to the East India Company, though enlisted 20t to be sent out of Great Britain without their own consent, made a determined mutiny, and encamped upon the lofty mountain, Arthur's Seat, where they remained three days and three nights, bidding defiance to all the force in Scotland. At last they came down, and embarked peaceably, having obtained formal articles of capitulation, signed by Sir Adolphus Vughton, commander-in-chief, General Skene, deputy commander, the Duke of Buccleugh, and the Earl of Dunmore, which quieted them. Since the secession of the Commons of Rome to the Mons Sacer, a more spirited exertion has not been made. I gave great attention to it from first to last, and have drawn up a particular account of it. Those brave fellows have since served their country effectually at Jersey, and also in the East Indies, to which, after being better informed, they voluntarily agreed to go.-B.

ETAT. 64

THE RATTAKIN.

273

fellow down if he looked saucy to a Macdonald in rags ; but I would not treat men as brates. I would let them know why all of my clan were to have attention paid to them. I would tell my upper servants why, and make them tell the others."

We rode ou well, till we came to the high mountain called the Rattakin, by which time both Dr. Johnson and the horses were a good deal fatigued. It is a terrible steep to climb, notwithstanding the road is formed slanting along it ; however, we made it out. On the top of it we met Captain Macleod, of Balmenoch (a Dutch officer who had come from Sky), riding with his sword slung across him. He asked, “Is this Mr. Boswell ?” which was a proof that we were expected. Going down the hill on the other side was no easy task. As Dr. Johnson was a great weight, the two guides agreed that he should ride the horses alternately. Hay's were the two best, and the Doctor would not ride but upon one or other of them, a black or a brown. But, as Hay complained much after ascending the Rattakin, the Doctor was prevailed with to mount one of Vass's grays. As he rode upon it down hill, it did not go well, and he grumbled. I walked on a little before, but was excessively entertained with the method taken to keep him in good humour. Hay led the horse's head, talking to Dr. Johnson as much as he could ; and (having heard him, in the forenoon, express a pastoral pleasure on seeing the goats browsing) just when the Doctor was uttering his displeasure, the fellow cried, with a very Highland accent, See, such pretty goats 1" Then he whistled whu! and made them jump. Little did he conceive what Dr. Johnson was. Here now was a common ignorant Highland clown imagining that be could divert, as one does a child, Dr. Samuel Johnson ! The ludicrousness, absurdity, and extraordinary contrast between what the fellow fancied, and the reality, was truly comic.

It grew dusky ; and we had a very tedious ride for wbat was called five miles, but I am sure would measure ten.

We had no conversation. I was riding forward to the inn at Glenelg, on the chure opposite to Sky, that I might take proper measures, before Dr. Johnson, who was now advancing in dreary silence, Hay leading his horse, should arrive. Vass also walked by the side of his borse, and Joseph followed behind. As, therefore, he was thus attended, and seemed to be in deep meditation, I thought there could be no harm in leaving him for a little while. He called me back with a tremendous shout, and was really in a passion with me for leaving him. I told him my intentions, but he was not satisfied, and said, “Do you know, I should as soon have thought of picking a pocket, as doing so." Boswell. “I am diverted with you, Sir." Johnson. “Sir, I could never be diverted with incivility. Doing such a thing makes one lose confidence in him who has done it, as one cannot tell what he may do next.” His extraordinary warmth confounded me so much, that I justified myself but lamely to him ; yet my intentions were not improper. I wished to get on, to see how we were to be lodged, and how we were to get a boat; all which I thought I could best settle myself, without his having any trouble. To apply his great mind to minute particulars is wrong : it is like taking an immense balance (such as is kept on quays for weighing cargoes of ships) to weigh a guinea. I knew I had neat little scales, which would do better; and that his attention to everything which falls in his way, and his uncommon desire to be always in the right, would make him weigh, if he knew of the particulars : it was right, therefore, for me to weigh them, and let him have them only in effect. I, however, continued to ride by him, finding he wished I should do so.

As we passed the barracks at Bernéra, I looked at them wishfully, as solliers have always everything in the best order ; but there was only a serjeant and a few men there. We came on to the inn at Glenelg. There was no provender for our horses ; so they were sent to grass, with a man to watch them. A maid showed us up stairs into a room damp and dirty, with bare walls, & variety of bad smells, a coarse black greasy fir table, and forms' of the same kiud ; and out of a wretched bed started a fellow from his sleep, like Edgar in King Lear, Poor Tom's a cold." ;

This ipu was furnished with not a single article that we could either eat or drink ; but Mr. Murchison, factor to the Laird of Mac, Terd, in Glenelg, sent us a bottle of rum and some sugar, with a

i Benches.

? It is amusing to observe the different images which this being presented to Dr. Joaguon and me. The Doctor, in his “ Journey," compares him to a Cyclops

&rat. Oh

GLENELG.

275

polite message, to acquaint us, that he was very sorry that he did not hear of us till we had passed his house, otherwise he should have insisted on our sleeping there that night ; and that, if he were not obliged to set out for Inverness early next morning, he would have waited upon us.

Such extraordinary attention from this gentleman, to entire strangers, deserves the most honourable como memoration.

Our bad accommodation here made me uneasy, and almost fretful. Dr. Johnson was calm. I said he was so from vanity. JOHN. SON. No, Sir; it is from philosophy.” It pleased me to see that the Rambler could practise so well bis own lessons.

I resumed the subject of my leaving him on the road, and endeavoured to defend it better. He was still violent upon that head, and said, “Sir, had you gone on, I was thinking that I should have returned with you to Edinburgh, and then have parted from yon, and never spoken to you more.”

I sent for fresh hay, with which we made beds for ourselves, each in a room equally miserable. Like Wolfe, we had a " choice of difficulties." Dr. Johnson made things easier by comparison. At M'Queen's, last night, he observed, that few were so well lodged in a ship. To-night, he said, we were better than if we had been upon the hill. He lay down buttoned up in his great coat. I had my sheets spread on the hay, and my clothes and great coat laid over me, by way of blankets.'

· This phrase, now 80 common, excited some surprise and criticism when used by Genera) Wolfe, in his despatch from before Quebec.-C.

. Jchnson thus describes this scene to Mrs. Thrale: “I ordered hay to be laid thick upch the bed, and slept upon it in my great coat. Boswell laid sheets upon his bed, and reposed in linen, Uke a gentleman."-0.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Moncl-Isle of Sky-Armidale-Sir Alexander Macdonald-Parish Church of Slato_ode

on Sky-Corrichatachin—Highland Hospitality-Ode to Mrs. Thrale Country life--blao pherson's Dissertations-Second Sight-Sail to Rasay-Fingal-Homer-Rasay-Infidelity Bentley-Mallet-Hooke-Duchess of Marlborough-Heritable Jurisdictions-Insular Le -Laird of Macleod.

Thursday, Sept. 2.—I HAD slept ill. Dr. Johnson's anger had affected me much. I considered that, without any bad intention, I might suddenly forfeit his friendship, and was impatient to see him this morning. I told him how uneasy he had made me by what he had said, and reminded him of his own remark at Aberdeen, upon old friendships being hastily broken off. He owned, he had spoken to me in passion ; that he would not have done what he threatened ; and that, if he had, he should have been ten times worse than I ; that forming intimacies would indeed be "limning the water,” were they liable to such sudden dissolution; and he added, " Let's think no more on’t.” BOSWELL. “Well then, Sir, I shall be easy. Remember, I am to have fair warning in case of any quarrel. You are never to spring a mine on me. It was Absurd in me to beliove you." Johnson. “You deserved about as much, as to believe me from night to morning."

After breakfast, we got into a boat for Sky. It rained much when we set off, but cleared up as we advanced. One of the boat men, who spoke English, said that a mile at land was two miles at

I then observed, that from Glenelg to Armidale in Sky, which was our present course, and is called twelve, was only six miles ; but this he could not understand. "Well,” said Dr. Johnson, “never talk to me of the native good sense of the Highlanders. Here is a fellow who calls one mile two, and yet cannot comprehend that twelve such imaginary miles make in truth but six."

sea.

« ПредишнаНапред »