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nɔ discontent among them; and the gaiety of the scene was such, that I for a moment doubted whether unhappiness had any place in Rasay. But my delusion was soon dispelled, by recollecting the following lines of my fellow-traveller:
"Yet hope not life from pain or danger free,
Or think the doom of man reversed for thee!"
Colonel Mure Campbell, now Earl of Loudoun; but she died soon afterwards, leaving one daughter.-B. Her daughter, Countess of Loudoun in her own right, married the late Earl of Moira, created Marquis of Hastings, and is the mother of the present Marquis.-C.
Sail to Portree in Sky.- Discourse on Death.- Lord
- His "Seraglio."— Polygamy.
Sunday, Sept. 12. Ir IT was a beautiful day, and although we did not approve of travelling on Sunday, we resolved to set out, as we were in an island from whence one must take occasion as it serves. Macleod and Talisker sailed in a boat of Rasay's for Sconser, to take the shortest way to Dunvegan. M'Cruslick went with them to Sconser, from whence he was to go to Slate, and so to the main land. We were resolved to pay a visit at Kingsburgh, and see the celebrated Miss Flora Macdonald, who is married to the present Mr. Macdonald of Kingsburgh; so took that road, though not so near. All the family, but Lady Rasay, walked down to the shore to see us depart. Rasay himself went with us in a large boat, with eight oars, built in his island; as did Mr. Malcolm Macleod, Mr. Donald M'Queen, Dr. Macleod, and some others. We had a most pleasant sail between Rasay and Sky; and passed by a cave, where Martin says fowls were caught by lighting fire in
the mouth of it. Malcolm remembers this. But it is not now practised, as few fowls come into it.
We spoke of Death. Dr. Johnson on this subject observed, that the boastings of some men, as to dying easily, were idle talk ('), proceeding from partial views. I mentioned Hawthornden's Cypress Grove, where it is said that the world is a mere show; and that it is unreasonable for a man to wish to continue in the show-room after he has seen it. Let him go cheerfully out and give place to other spectators. (2) JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir, if he is sure he is to be well, after he goes out of it. But if he is to grow blind after he goes out of the show-room, and never to see any thing again; or if he does not know whither he is to go next, a man will not go cheerfully out of a show-room. No wise man will be contented to die, if he thinks he is to go into a state of punishment. Nay, no wise man will be contented to die, if he thinks he is to fall into annihilation for however unhappy any man's existence may be, he yet would rather have it, than not exist at all. No; there is no rational principle by which a man can die contented, but a trust in the mercy of God, through the merits of Jesus Christ." This short sermon, delivered with an earnest tone, in a boat upon the sea, which was
(1) [See antè, Vol. III. p. 114.]
(2) [" They which forewent us did leave a room for us, and why should we grieve to doe the same to those which should come after us? Who, being admitted to see the exquisite rarities of some antiquary's cabinet, is grieved, all viewed, to have the curtain drawn, and give place to new Pilgrims?" &c.—Cypress Grove, edit. 1630.]
perfectly calm, on a day appropriated to religious worship, while every one listened with an air of satisfaction, had a most pleasing effect upon my mind.
Pursuing the same train of serious reflection, he added, that it seemed certain that happiness could not be found in this life, because so many had tried to find it, in such a variety of ways, and had not found it.
We reached the harbour of Portree, in Sky, which is a large and good one. There was lying in it a vessel to carry off the emigrants, called the Nestor. It made a short settlement of the differences between a chief and his clan:
"Nestor componere lites
Inter Peleiden festinat et inter Atriden."
We approached her, and she hoisted her colours. Dr. Johnson and Mr. M'Queen remained in the boat: Rasay and I, and the rest, went on board of her. She was a very pretty vessel, and, as we were told, the largest in Clyde. captain, showed her to us. dious, and even elegant. finely bound.
Mr. Harrison, the
The cabin was commoThere was a little library, Portree has its name from King James the Fifth having landed there in his tour through the Western Isles, ree in Erse being king, as re is in Italian; so it is Port-Royal. There was here a tolerable inn. On our landing, I had the pleasure of finding a letter from home; and there were also letters to Dr. Johnson and me, from Lord Elibank. which had been sent after us
from Edinburgh. His lordship's letter to me was as follows:
LETTER 157. TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
"21st August, 1773
"DEAR BOSWELL, I flew to Edinburgh the moment I heard of Mr. Johnson's arrival; but so defective was my intelligence, that I came too late.
"It is but justice to believe, that I could never forgive myself, nor deserve to be forgiven by others, if I was to fail in any mark of respect to that very great genius. I hold him in the highest veneration; for that very reason I was resolved to take no share in the merit, perhaps guilt, of enticing him to honour this country with a visit. I could not persuade myself there was any thing in Scotland worthy to have a summer of Samuel Johnson bestowed on it; but since he has done us that compliment, for Heaven's sake inform me of your motions. I will attend them most religiously; and though I should regret to let Mr. Johnson go a mile out of his way on my account, old as I am (1), I shall be glad to go five hundred miles to enjoy a day of his company. Have the charity to send a councilpost (2) with intelligence; the post does not suit us in the country. At any rate, write to me. I will attend you in the north, when I shall know where to find you. I am, my dear Boswell, your sincerely obedient humble servant, ELIBANK."
The letter to Dr. Johnson was in these words :
TO DR. JOHNSON.
"DEAR SIR, I was to have kissed your hands at Edinburgh, the moment I heard of you, but you was gone.
(1) His lordship was now 70, having been born in 1703.-C.
A term in Scotland for a special messenger, such as was formerly sent with despatches by the Lords of the Council.