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a stratum of common clay under the rock of marble. He was voraciously fond of good eating; and he had a great deal of that quality called humour, which gives an oiliness and a gloss to every other quality.
I am, I flatter myself, completely a citizen of the world. In my travels through Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Corsica, France, I never felt myself from home; and I sincerely love "every kindred and tongue and people and nation." subscribe to what my late truly learned and philosophical friend Mr. Crosbie (1) said, that the English are better animals than the Scots; they are nearer the sun; their blood is richer, and more mellow: but when I humour any of them in an outrageous contempt of Scotland, I fairly own I treat them as children. And thus I have, at some moments, found myself obliged to treat even Dr. Johnson.
To Scotland, however, he ventured; and he returned from it in great good humour, with his prejudices much lessened, and with very grateful! feelings of the hospitality with which he was treated; as is evident from that admirable work, his "Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland," which, to my utter astonishment, has been misapprehended, even to rancour, by many of my countrymen.
To have the company of Chambers and Scott, he delayed his journey so long, that the court of session, which rises on the 11th of August, was broke up before he got to Edinburgh.
(1) [Mr. Crosbie, one of the most eminent advocates then at the Scotch bar. See post, August 16. 1773.]
On Saturday, the 14th of August, 1773, late in the evening, I received a note from him, that he was arrived at Boyd's inn (1), at the head of the Canon-gate.
"Mr. Johnson sends his compliments to Mr. Boswell, being just arrived at Boyd's."
I went to him directly. He embraced me cordially; and I exulted in the thought that I now had him actually in Caledonia. Mr. Scott's amiable manners, and attachment to our Socrates, at once united me to him. He told me that, before I came in, the Doctor had unluckily had a bad specimen of Scottish cleanliness. He then drank no fermented liquor. He asked to have his lemonade made sweeter; upon which the waiter, with his greasy fingers, lifted a lump of sugar, and put it into it. The Doctor, in indignation, threw it out of the window. Scott said he was afraid he would have knocked the waiter down. (2) Mr. Johnson [has since] told me that such another trick was played him at the
(1) The sign of the White Horse. It continued a place from which coaches used to start till the end of the eighteenth century; some twelve or fifteen years ago it was a carrier's inn, and has since been held unworthy even of that occupation, and the sign is taken down. It was a base hovel. - WALTER SCOTT. [It was the best of the only three inns in Edinburgh, where, at that time, people of any condition could be accommodated. The room in which Johnson had sat used to be pointed out by its later occupants. — CHAMBERS.]
(2) The house was kept by a woman, and she was called Luckie, which it seems is synonymous to Goody in England. I, at first, thought the appellation very inappropriate, and that Unlucky would have been better, for Dr. Johnson had a mind to have thrown the waiter, as well as the lemonade, out of the window, STOWELL.
house of a lady in Paris. (1) He was to do me the honour to lodge under my roof. I regretted sincerely that I had not also a room for Mr. Scott. Mr. Johnson and I walked arm-in-arm, up the High Street, to my house in James's Court (2): it was a dusky night: I could not prevent his being assailed by the evening effluvia of Edinburgh. I heard a late baronet, of some distinction in the political world in the beginning of the present reign, observe, that "walking the streets of Edinburgh at night was pretty perilous, and a good deal odoriferous." The peril is much abated, by the care which the magistrates have taken to enforce the city laws against throwing foul water from the windows; but, from the structure of the houses in the old town, which consist of many stories, in each of which a different family lives, and there being no covered sewers, the odour still continues. A zealous Scots
man would have wished Mr. Johnson to be without one of his five senses upon this occasion. As we marched slowly along, he grumbled in my ear, "I smell you in the dark !" But he acknowledged that the breadth of the street, and the loftiness of the buildings on each side, made a noble appearance.
My wife had tea ready for him, which it is well known he delighted to drink at all hours, particularly when sitting up late, and of which his able defence against Mr. Jonas Hanway should have obtained him a magnificent reward from the East India Com
(1) See post, Nov. 1775.-C.
(2) "Boswell has very handsome and spacious rooms, level with the ground at one side of the house, and on the other four stories high."- Lett. i. 109. [The house is now occupied by a printer. CHAMBERS.
pany. He showed much complacency upon finding that the mistress of the house was so attentive to his singular habit; and as no man could be more polite when he chose to be so, his address to her was most courteous and engaging; and his conversation soon charmed her into a forgetfulness of his external appearance.
I did not begin to keep a regular full journal till some days after we had set out from Edinburgh; but I have luckily preserved a good many fragments of his Memorabilia from his very first evening in Scotland.
We had a little before this had a trial for murder, in which the judges had allowed the lapse of twenty years since its commission as a plea in bar, in conformity with the doctrine of prescription in the civil law, which Scotland and several other countries in Europe have adopted. (1) He at first disapproved of this; but then he thought there was something in it if there had been for twenty years a neglect to prosecute a crime which was known. He would not allow that a murder, by not being discovered for twenty years, should escape punishment. We talked of the ancient trial by duel. He did not think it so absurd as is generally supposed;
for," said he, "it was only allowed when the question was in equilibrio, as when one affirmed and another denied; and they had a notion that Providence would interfere in favour of him who was in the right. But as it was found that, in a duel, he who was in the right had not a better chance than he who was in the wrong, therefore
(1) See post, August 22. 1773. — C.
society instituted the present mode of trial, and gave the advantage to him who is in the right."
We sat till near two in the morning, having chatted a good while after my wife left us. She had insisted, that, to show all respect to the sage, she would give up her own bedchamber to him, and take a worse. This I cannot but gratefully mention as one of a thousand obligations which I owe her, since the great obligation of her being pleased to accept of me as her husband.
Sunday, Aug. 15.-Mr. Scott came to breakfast, at which I introduced to Dr. Johnson, and him, my friend Sir William Forbes, now of Pitsligo (1), a man of whom too much good cannot be said; who, with distinguished abilities and application in his profession of a banker, is at once a good companion and a good Christian, which, I think, is saying enough. Yet it is but justice to record, that once, when he was in a dangerous illness, he was watched with the anxious apprehension of a general calamity; day and night his house was beset with affectionate inquiries, and, upon his recovery, Te Deum was the universal chorus from the hearts of his country
Mr. Johnson was pleased with my daughter Veronica(2), then a child about four months old. She
(1) This respectable baronet, who published a Life of Beattie, died in 1806, at the age of sixty-eight. -C.
(2) The saint's name of Veronica was introduced into our family through my great grandmother Veronica, Countess of Kincardine, a Dutch lady of the noble house of Sommelsdyck, of which there is a full account in Bayle's Dictionary. The family had once a princely right in Surinam. The governor of that settlement was appointed by the states-general, the town of Amsterdam, and Sommelsdyck. The states-general have acquired Sommelsdyck's right; but the family has still great