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into Dr. Johnson's lemonade, for which he called him "rascal!" It put me in great glee that our landlord was an Englishman. I rallied the Doctor upon this, and he grew quiet. Both Sir John Hawkins's and Dr. Burney's "History of Music" had then been advertised. I asked if this was not unlucky would they not hurt one another? JOHNSON. "No, Sir. They will do good to one another. Some will buy the one, some the other, and compare them; and so a talk is made about a thing, and the books are sold."
He was angry at me for proposing to carry lemons with us to Sky, that he might be sure to have his lemonade. "Sir," said he, "I do not wish to be thought that feeble man who cannot do without any thing. Sir, it is very bad manners to carry provisions to any man's house, as if he could not entertain you. To an inferior, it is oppressive; to a superior, it is insolent."
Having taken the liberty, this evening, to remark to Dr. Johnson, that he very often sat quite silent for a long time, even when in company with only a single friend, which I myself had sometimes sadly experienced, he smiled and said, "It is true, Sir. Tom Tyers (for so he familiarly called our ingenious friend, who, since his death, has paid a biographical tribute to his memory), Tom Tyers described me the best. He once said to me, 'Sir, you are like a ghost: you never speak till you are spoken to.'" (1)
(1) This description of Dr. Johnson appears to have been borrowed from "Tom Jones," book xi. chap. 2.: "The other, who, like a ghost, only wanted to be spoke to, readily answered," &c.-B.-Both are borrowed from a general superstition, that ghosts must be first spoken to.-C.
Montrose. Lawrence Kirk. Monboddo.
Trade of Aberdeen. - Doctrines of the Trinity
Montrose, Saturday, Aug. 21st.-NEITHER the Rev.
wrote the prescription in technical characters. The boy took him for a physician.
I doubted much which road to take, whether to go by the coast, or by Lawrence Kirk and Monboddo. I knew Lord Monboddo and Dr. Johnson did not love each other; yet I was unwilling not to visit his lordship; and was also curious to see them together. (1) I mentioned my doubts to Dr. Johnson, who said he would go two miles out of his way to see Lord Monboddo. I therefore sent Joseph forward, with the following note:
"Montrose, 21st August. "MY DEAR LORD, -Thus far I am come with Mr. Samuel Johnson. We must be at Aberdeen to-night. I know you do not admire him so much as I do; but I cannot be in this country without making you a bow at your old place, as I do not know if I may again have an opportunity of seeing Monboddo, Besides, Mr. Johnson says, he would go two miles out of his way to see Lord Monboddo. I have sent forward my servant, that we may know if your lordship be at home. I am ever, &c. JAMES BOSWELL."
As we travelled onwards from Montrose, we had
(1) There were several points of similarity between them; learning, clearness of head, precision of speech, and a love of research on many subjects which people in general do not investigate. Foote paid Lord Monboddo the compliment of saying, that he was "an Elzevir edition of Johnson." It has been shrewdly observed, that Foote must have meant a diminutive, or pocket edition.-B.-Johnson himself thus describes Lord Monboddo to Mrs. Thrale: "He is a Scotch judge, who has lately written a strange book about the origin of language, in which he traces monkeys up to men, and says that in some countries the human species have tails like other beasts. He inquired for these long-tailed men from [Sir Joseph] Banks, and was not pleased that they had not been found in all his peregrinations. He talked nothing of this to me."- Letters, vol. i. p. 114. See antè, vol. iii. p. 225. - C.
the Grampian hills in our view, and some good land around us, but void of trees and hedges. Dr. Johnson has said ludicrously, in his "Journey," that the hedges were of stone; for, instead of the verdant thorn to refresh the eye, we found the bare wall or dike intersecting the prospect. He observed, that it was wonderful to see a country so divested, so denuded of trees.
We stopped at Lawrence Kirk, where our great grammarian, Ruddiman, was once schoolmaster. We respectfully remembered that excellent man and eminent scholar, by whose labours a knowledge of the Latin language will be preserved in Scotland, if it shall be preserved at all. Lord Gardenston (1), one of our judges, collected money to raise a monument to him at this place, which I hope will be well executed. I know my father gave five guineas towards it. Lord Gardenston is the proprietor of Lawrence Kirk, and has encouraged the building of a manufacturing village, of which he is exceedingly fond, and has written a pamphlet upon it, as if he had founded Thebes, in which, however, there are many useful precepts strongly expressed. The village seemed to be irregularly built, some of the houses being of clay, some of brick, and some of brick and stone. Dr. Johnson observed, they thatched well here.
I was a little acquainted with Mr. Forbes, the minister of the parish. I sent to inform him that a
(1) Francis Garden, a Scotch Lord of Session, who erected a very pretty temple over St. Bernard's Well, on the bank of the Water of Leith. He was a man of talents, but of some irregularity of mind, and died (it is said, under melancholy circumstances) in 1794.-C.
gentleman desired to see him. He returned for answer, "that he would not come to a stranger." I then gave my name, and he came. I remonstrated to him for not coming to a stranger; and, by presenting him to Dr. Johnson, proved to him what a stranger might sometimes be. His Bible inculcates "be not forgetful to entertain strangers,” and mentions the same motive. (1) He defended himself by saying, "He had once come to a stranger, who sent for him; and he found him a little worth person!'"
Dr. Johnson insisted on stopping at the inn, as I told him Lord Gardenston had furnished it with a collection of books, that travellers might have entertainment for the mind as well as the body. He praised the design, but wished there had been more books, and those better chosen.
About a mile from Monboddo, where you turn off the road, Joseph was waiting to tell us my lord expected us to dinner. We drove over a wild moor. It rained, and the scene was somewhat dreary. Dr. Johnson repeated, with solemn emphasis, Macbeth's speech on meeting the witches. As we travelled on, he told me, "Sir, you got into our Club by doing what a man can do. (2) Several of the members wished to keep you out. Burke told me, he doubted if you were fit for it: but, now you are in, none of them are sorry. Burke says, that you have so much good humour naturally, it is
(1)" Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."-Heb. xiii. 2.-C.
(2) This, I find, is considered obscure. I suppose Dr. Johnson meant, that I assiduously and earnestly recommended myself to some of the members, as in a canvass for an election into parliament.