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the wind and rain. Philosophers there are who try to make themselves believe that this life is happy; but they believe it only while they are saying it, and never yet produced conviction in a single mind: he whom want of words or images sunk into silence, still thought, as he thought before, that privation of pleasure can never please, and that content is not to be much envied when it has no other principle than ignorance of good.
"This gloomy tranquillity, which some may call fortitude, and others wisdom, was, I believe, for a long time to be very frequently found in these dens of poverty. Every man was content to live like his neighbours, and never wandering from home saw no mode of life preferable to his own, except at the house of the laird, or the laird's nearest relations, whom he considered as a superiour order of beings, to whose luxuries or honours he had no pretensions. But the end of this reverence and submission seems now approaching: the Highlanders have learned that there are countries less bleak and barren than their own, where, instead of working for the laird, every man may till his own ground, and eat the produce of his own labour. Great numbers have been induced by this discovery to go every year for some time past to America. Macdonald and Macleod of Skie have lost many tenants and many labourers, but Raarsa has not yet been forsaken by a single inhabitant.
"Rona is yet more rocky and barren than Raarsa; and though it contains perhaps four thousand acres, is possessed only by a herd of cattle and the keepers.
"I find myself not very able to walk upon the mountains, but one day I went out to see the walls yet standing of an ancient chapel. In almost every island the superstitious votaries of the Romish churcn erected places of worship, in which the drones of convents or cathedrals performed the holy offices, but by the active zeal of protestant devotion almost all of them have sunk into ruin'. The chapel at Raarsa is now only considered as the burying-place of the family, and I suppose of the whole island.
maid, through the English forces from the island of Lewes; and, when she came to Skie, dined with the English officers, and left her maid below. She must then have been a very young lady; she is now not old, of a pleasing person, and elegant behaviour. She told me that she thought herself honoured by my visit, and I am sure that whatever regard she bestowed on me was liberally repaid. If thou likest her opinions, thou wilt praise her virtue.' She was carried to London, but dismissed without a trial, and came down with Malcolm Macleod, against whom sufficient evidence could not be procured. She and her husband are poor, and are going to try their fortune in America. Sic rerum volvitur orbis !
"At Kingsburgh we were very liberally feasted, and I slept in the bed on which the prince reposed in his distress: the sheets which he used were never put to any meaner offices, but were wrapped up by the lady of the house, and at last, according to her desire, were laid round her in her grave. These are not whigs!
"We would now have gone away and left room for others to enjoy the pleasures of this little court, but the wind detained us till the 12th, when, though it was Sunday, we thought it proper to snatch the opportunity of a calm day. Raarsa accompanied us in his six-oared boat, which he said was his coach and six. It is indeed the vehicle in which the ladies take the air and pay their visits, but they have taken very little care for accommodations. There is no way in or out of the boat for a woman but by being carried; and in the boat thus dignified with a pompous name there is no seat but an occasional bundle of straw. Thus we left Raarsa, the seat of plenty, civility, and cheerfulness.
"On the 13th, travelling partly on horseback where we could not row, and partly on foot where we could not ride, we came to Dunvegan, which I have described already. Here, though poor Macleod had been left by his grandfather overwhelmed with debts, we had another exhibition of feudal hospitality. There were two stags in the house, and venison came to the table every day in its various forms. Macleod, besides his estate in Skie-larger I suppose than some English counties-is proprietor of nine inhabited isles; and of his islands uninhabited I doubt if he very exactly knows the number. I told him that he was a mighty monarch. Such dominions fill an Englishman with envious wonder; but when he surveys the naked mountain, and treads the quaking moor, and wanders over the wild regions of gloomy barrenness, his wonder may continue, but his envy ceases. The unprofitableness of these vast domains can be conceived only by the means of positive instances. The heir of Col, an island not far distant, has lately told me how wealthy he should be if he could let Rum, another of his islands, for twopence halfpenny an acre; and Macleod has an estate, which the surveyor reports to contain eighty thousand acres, rented at six hundred pounds a year.
"While we were at Dunvegan, the wind was high and the rain violent, so that we were not able to put forth a boat to fish in the sea, or to visit the adjacent islands, which may be seen from the house; but we filled up the time as we could, sometimes by talk, sometimes by reading I have never wanted books in the isle of Skie.
"We were visited one day by the laird and lady of Muck, one of the western islands, two miles long, and three quarters of a mile high. He has half his island in his own culture, and upon the other half live one hundred and fifty dependants, who not only live upon the product, but export corn sufficient for the payment of their rent.
"We dined at a publick-house at Port Re, so called because one of the Scottish kings landed there in a progress through the western isles. Raarsa paid the reckoning privately. We then got on horseback, and by a short but very tedious Journey came to Kingsburgh, at which the same king lodged after he landed. Here I had the honour of saluting the far-famed Miss Flora Mac-lived with them very easily. The hospitality of donald, who conducted the prince, dressed as her this remote region is like that of the golden age. We have found ourselves treated at every house as if we came to confer a benefit.
"Lady Macleod had a son and four daughters: they have lived leng in England, and have the language and manners of English ladies. We
[Is it necessary to point out the irony here?-ED.]
"We were eight days at Dunvegan, but we took the first opportunity which the weather afforded, after the first days, of going away, and on the 21st went to Ulinish, where we were well entertained, and wandered a little after curiosities. In the afternoon an interval of calm sunshine courted us out to see a cave on the shore famous for its echo. When we went into the boat, one of our companions was asked in Erse, by the boatmen, who they were that came with him? He gave us characters, I suppose, to our tage, and was asked, in the spirit of the Highlands, whether I could recite a long series of ancestors? The boatmen said, as I perceived afterwards, that they heard the cry of an English ghost. This, Boswell says, disturbed him. We came to the cave, and clambering up the rocks came to an arch, open at one end, one hundred and eighty feet long, thirty broad in the broadest part, and about thirty high. There was no echo; such is the fidelity of report; but I saw what I had never seen before, muscles and whilks in their natural state. There was another arch in the rock, open at both ends.
'Sept. 23d, we removed to Talisker, a house occupied by Mr. Macleod, a lieutenant-colonel in the Dutch service. Talisker has been long in the possession of gentlemen, and therefore has a garden well cultivated; and, what is here very rare, is shaded by trees: a place where the imagination is more amused cannot easily be found. The mountains about it are of great height, with waterfalls succeeding one another so fast, that as one ceases to be heard another begins. Between the mountains there is a small valley extending to the sea, which is not far off, beating upon a coast very difficult of access.
"You remember the Doge of Genoa, who, being asked what struck him most at the French court, answered, " Myself." I cannot think things here more likely to affect the fancy than to see Johnson ending his sixty-fourth year in the wilderness of the Hebrides.
"Mr. Thrale probably wonders how I live all this time without sending to him for money. Travelling in Scotland is dear enough, dearer in proportion to what the country affords than in advan-England; but residence in the isles is unexpensive. Company is, I think, considered as a supply of pleasure, and a relief of that tediousness of life which is felt in every place, elegant or rude. Of wine and punch they are very liberal, for they get them cheap; but as there is no custom-house on the island, they can hardly be considered as smugglers. Their punch is made without lemons or any substitute.
"Their tables are very plentiful; but a very nice man would not be pampered. As they have no meat but as they kill it, they are obliged to live while it lasts upon the same flesh. They kill a sheep, and set mutton boiled and roast on the table together. They have fish both of the sea and of the brooks; but they can hardly conceive that it requires any sauce. To sauce in general they are strangers: now and then butter is melted, but I dare not always take, lest I should offend by disliking it. Barley-broth is a constant dish, and is made well in every house. A stranger, if he is prudent, will secure his share, for it is not certain that he will be able to eat any thing else.
"Two nights before our arrival, two boats were driven upon this coast by the tempest: one of them had a pilot that knew the passage, the second followed, but a third missed the true course, and was driven forward, with great danger of being forced into the vast ocean, but however gained at last some other island. The crews crept to Talisker, almost lifeless with wet, cold, fatigue, and terrour; but the lady took care of them. She is a woman of more than common qualifications: having travelled with her husband, she speaks four languages.
"Their meat being often newly killed is very tough, and, as nothing is sufficiently subdued by the fire, is not easily to be eaten. Carving is here a very laborious employment, for the knives are never whetted. Table-knives are not of long subsistence in the Highlands: every man, while arms were a regular part of dress, had his knife and fork appendant to his dirk. Knives they now lay upon the table, but the handles are apt to show that they have been in other hands, and the blades have neither brightness nor edge.
"Of silver there is no want; and it will last long, for it is never cleaned. They are a nation just rising from barbarity; long contented with necessaries, now somewhat studious of convenience, but not yet arrived at delicate discrimina"You find that all the islanders, even in tions. Their linen is however both clean and fine. these recesses of life, are not barbarous. One of Bread, such as we mean by that name, I have he ministers who has adhered to us almost all the never seen in the isle of Skie. They have ovens, time is an excellent scholar. We have now with for they bake their pies; but they never ferment us the young laird of Col, who is heir, perhaps, their meal, nor mould a loaf. Cakes of oats and to two hundred square miles of land. He has first barley are brought to the table, but I believe studied at Aberdeen, and afterwards gone to Hert-wheat is reserved for strangers. They are comfordshire to learn agriculture, being much impress-monly too hard for me, and therefore I take poed with desire of improvement: he likewise has tatoes to my meat, and am sure to find them on the notions of a chief, and keeps a piper. At almost every table. Macleod's the bagpipe always played while we were dining.
"Col has undertaken, by the permission of the waves and wind, to carry us about several of the islands, with which he is acquainted enough to show us whatever curious is given by nature or left by antiquity; but we grew afraid of deviating from our way home, lest we should be shut up for months upon some little protuberance of rock, that just appears above the sea, and perhaps is scarcely marked upon a map.
They retain so much of the pastoral life, that some preparation of milk is commonly one of the dishes both at dinner and supper. Tea is always drank at the usual times; but in the morning the table is polluted with a plate of slices of strong cheese. This is peculiar to the Highlands: at Edinburgh there are always honey and sweetmeats on the morning tea-table.
"Strong liquors they seem to love. Every man, perhaps woman, begins the day with a dram; and the punch is made both at dinner and supper
"They have neither wood nor coal for fuel, but burn peat or turf in their chimneys. It is dug out of the moors or mosses, and makes a strong and lasting fire-not always very sweet, and somewhat apt to smoke the pot.
"The houses of inferior gentlemen are very small, and every room serves many purposes. In , the bed-rooms, perhaps, are laid up stores of different kinds; and the parlour of the day is a bed-high wind. It seems to be little more than one continued rock, covered from space to space with a thin layer of earth. It is, however, according to the Highland notion, very populous, and life is improved beyond the manners of Skie; for the huts are collected into little villages, and every one has a small garden of roots and cabbage. The laird has a new house built by his uncle, and an old castle inhabited by his ancestors. The young laird entertained us very liberally: he is heir, perhaps, to three hundred square miles of land, which, at ten shillings an acre, would bring him ninety-six thousand pounds a year. He is desirous of improving the agriculture of his country; and, in imitation of the czar, travelled for improvement, and worked with his own hands upon a farm in Hertfordshire, in the neighbourhood of your uncle, Sir Thomas Salusbury. He talks of doing useful things, and has introduced turnips for winter fodder. He has made a small essay towards a road.
room at night. In the room which I inhabited last, about fourteen feet square, there were three chests of drawers, a long chest for larger clothes, two closet cupboards, and the bed. Their rooms are commonly dirty, of which they seem to have little sensibility; and if they had more, clean floors would be difficultly kept where the first step from the door is into the dirt. They are very much inclined to carpets, and seldom fail to lay down something under their feet-better or worse, as they happen to be furnished.
"The highland dress being forbidden by law is very little used: sometimes it may be seen; but the English traveller is struck with nothing so much as the nudité des pieds of the common people.
"Skie is the greatest island, or the greatest but one, among the Hebrides. Of the soil I have already given some account: it is generally barren, but some spots are not wholly unfruitful. The gardens have apples and pears, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, currants, and gooseberries; but all the fruit that. I have seen is small. They attempt to sow nothing but oats and barley. Oats constitute the bread corn of the place. Their harvest is about the beginning of October; and being so late, is very much subject to dissappointments from the rains that follow the equinox. This year has been particularly disastrous. Their rainy season lasts from autunin to spring. They have seldom very hard frosts; nor was it ever known that a lake was covered with ice strong enough to bear a skater. The sea round them is always open. The snow falls, but soon melts; only in 1771 they had a cold spring, in which the island was so long covered with it, that many beasts, both wild and domestick, perished, and the whole country was reduced to distress, from which I know not if it is even yet recovered.
"October 3d. The wind is now changed, and if we snatch the moment of opportunity, an escape from this island is become practicable. I have no reason to complain of my reception. yet I long to be again at home.
thought, with a fair wind; but a violent gust,
"You and my master may perhaps expect, after this description of Skie, some account of my self. My eye is, I am afraid, not fully recovered; my ears are not mended; my nerves seem to grow weaker, and I have been otherwise not as well as I sometimes am, but think myself lately better. This climate, perhaps, is not within my degree of healthy latitude."
Mull, 15th October, 1773. "October 8d. After having been detained by storms many days at Skie, we left it, as we
There is literally no tree upon the island: part of it is a sandy waste, over which it would be really dangerous to travel in dry weather and with a
"The animals here are not remarkably small; perhaps they recruit their breed from the main land. The cows are sometimes without horns. The horned and unhorned cattle are not accidental variations, but different species: they will, how-of ever, breed together.
"Col is but a barren place. Description has here few opportunities of spreading her colours. The difference of day and night is the only vicissitude. The succession of sunshine to rain, or of calmns to tempests, we have not known: wind and rain have been our only weather.
"At last, after about nine days, we hired a sloop; and having lain in it all night, with such accommodations as these miserable vessels can afford, were landed yesterday on the isle of Mull, from which we expect an easy passage into Scotland. I am sick in a ship, but recover by lying down.
"Inverary, 23d October, 1773. "My last letters were written from Mull, the third island of the Hebrides in extent. There is no post, and I took the opportunity of a gentleman's passage to the main land.
"In Mull we were confined two days by the weather: on the third we got on horseback; and after a journey difficult and tedious, over rocks naked and valleys untracked, through a country
barrenness and solitude, we came, almost in the dark, to the sea-side, weary and de ected, having met with nothing but water falling from the mountains that could raise any image of delight. Our company was the young laird of Col and his servant. Col made every Maclean open his house where we came, and supply us with horses when we departed; but the horses of this country are small, and I was not mounted to my wish.
"At the sea-side we found the ferry-boat departed; if it had been where it was expected, the wind was against us, and the hour was late, nor was it very desirable to cross the sea in darkness with a small boat. The captain of a sloop that had been driven thither by the storms saw our distress, and as we were hesitating and deliberating, sent his boat. which, by Col's order. trans
"The only family on the island is that of Sir Allan, the chief of the ancient and numerous clan of Maclean; the clan which claims the second place, yielding only to Macdonald in the line of battle. Sir Allan, a chieftain, a baronet, and a soldier, inhabits in this insulated desert a thatched hut with no chambers. Young Col, who owns him as his chief, and whose cousin was his lady, had, I believe, given him some notice of our visit; he received us with the soldier's frankness and the gentleman's elegance, and introduced us to his daughters, two young ladies, who have not wanted education suitable to their birth, and who, in their cottage, neither forgot their dignity, nor affected to remember it. Do not you wish to have been with us?
"Sir Allan's affairs are in disorder by the fault of his ancestors; and while he formis some scheme for retrieving them, he has retreated hither.
"When our salutations were over, he showed us the island. We walked uncovered into the chapel, and saw in the reverend ruin the effects of precipitate reformation. The floor is covered with ancient grave-stones, of which the inscriptions are not now legible; and without, some of the chief families still continue the right of sepulture. The altar is not yet quite demolished; beside it, on the right side, is a bas relief of the Virgin with her child, and an angel hovering over her. On the other side still stands a hand-bell, which, though it has no clapper, neither presbyterian bigotry nor barbarian wantonness has yet taken away. The chapel is thirty-eight feet long, and eighteen broad. Boswell, who is very pious, went into it at night to perform his devotions, but came back in haste, for fear of spectres. Near the chapel is a fountain, to which the water, remarkably pure, is conveyed from a distant hill, through pipes made by the Romish clergy, which still perform the office of conveyance, though they have never been repaired since popery was suppressed. "We soon after went in to dinner, and wanted neither the comforts nor the elegancies of life. There were several dishes, and variety of liquors. The servants live in another cottage; in which, I suppose, the meat is dressed.
"Towards evening Sir Allan told us, that Sunday never passed over him like another day. One of the ladies read, and read very well, the evening service; and paradise was opened in the wild.'
"Next day, 18th, we went and wandered among the rocks on the shore, while the boat was busy in catching oysters, of which there is a great bed. Oysters lie upon the sand, one, I
think, sticking to another, and cockles are found a few inches under the sand.
"We then went in the boat to Sondiland, a little island very near. We found it a wild rock,
of about ten acres ; part naked, part covered with sand, out of which we picked shells; and part clothed with a thin layer of mould, on the grass of which a few sheep are sometimes fed. We then came back and dined. I passed part of the afternoon in reading, and in the evening one of the ladies played on her harpsichord, and Boswell and Col danced a reel with the other.
"On the 19th, we persuaded Sir Allan to launch his boat again, and go with us to Icolmkill, where the first great preacher of christianity to the Scots built a church, and settled a monastery. In our way we stopped to examine a very uncommon cave on the coast of Mull. We had some difficulty to make our way over the vast masses of broken rocks that lie before the entrance, and at the mouth were embarrassed with stones, which the sea had accumulated, as at Brighthelmstone; but as we advanced, we reached a floor of soft sand, and as we left the light behind us, walked along a very spacious cavity, vaulted over head with an arch almost regular, by which a mountain was sustained, at least a very lofty rock. From this magnificent cavern went a narrow passage to the right hand, which we entered with a candle, and though it was obstructed with great stones, clambered over them to a second expansion of the cave, in which there lies a great square stone, which might serve as a table. The air here was very warm, but not oppressive, and the flame of the candle continued pyramidal. The cave goes onward to an unknown extent, but we were now one hundred and sixty yards under ground; we had but one candle, and had never heard of any that went further and came back; we therefore thought it prudent to return.
Going forward in our boat, we came to a cluster of rocks, black and horrid, which Sir Allan chose for the place where he would eat his dinner. We climbed till we got seats. The stores were opened, and the repast taken.
"We then entered the boat again; the night came upon us; the wind rose; the sea swelled; and Boswell desired to be set on dry ground: we however pursued our navigation, and passed by several little islands, in the silent solemnity of faint moonshine, seeing little, and hearing only the wind and the water. At last we reached the island, the venerable seat of ancient sanctity; where secret piety reposed, and where fallen greatness was reposited. The island has no house of entertainment, and we manfully made our bed in a farmer's barn. The description I hope to give you another time.”
"Inverary, 25 October, 1773. "Yesterday we landed, and to-day came hither. We purpose to visit Auchenleck, the seat of Mr. Boswell's father, then to pass a day at Glasgow, and return to Edinburgh.
"About ten miles of this day's journey were uncommonly amusing. We travelled with very little light, in a storm of wind and rain; we passed about fifty-five streams that crossed our way, and fell into a river that, for a very great part of our road, foamed and roared beside us;
all the rougher powers of nature, except thunder, were in motion, but there was no danger. I should have been sorry to have missed any of the inconveniences, to have had more light or less rain, for the co-operation crowded the scene and filled
"Inverary, 26th Oct. 1773.
"The duke kept us yesterday, or we should have gone forward. Inverary is a stately place. We are now going to Edinburgh by Lochlomond, Glasgow, and Auchenleck."
"Glasgow, 28th Oct. 1773. "I have been in this place about two hours. On Monday, 25th, we dined with the Duke and Duchess of Argyle, and the duke lent me a horse for my next day's journey.
"26th. We travelled along a deep valley between lofty mountains, covered only with barren heath; entertained with a succession of cataracts on the left hand, and a roaring torrent on the right. The duke's horse went well; the road was good and the journey pleasant, except that we were incommoded by perpetual rain. In all September we had, according to Boswell's register, only one day and a half of fair weather; and October perhaps not more. At night we came to the house of Sir James Cohune, who lives upon the banks of Lochlomond; of which the Scotch boast, and boast with reason.
"27th. We took a boat to rove upon the lake, which is in length twenty-four miles, in breadth from perhaps two miles to half a mile. It has about thirty islands, of which twenty belong to Sir James. Young Cohune went into the boat with us, but a little agitation of the water frighted him to shore. We passed up and down, and landed upon one small island, on which are the ruins of a castle; and upon another much larger, which serves Sir James for a park, and is remarkable for a large wood of eugh trees.
"We then returned, very wet, to dinner, and Sir James lent us his coach to Mr. Smollet's, a relation of Dr. Smollet, for whom he has erected a monumental column on the banks of the Leven, a river which issues from the Loch. This was his native place. I was desired to revise the inscription.
"When I was upon the deer island, I gave the keeper who attended me a shilling, and he said it was too much. Boswell afterwards offered him another, and he excused himself from taking it because he had been rewarded already.
"This day I came hither, and go to Auchenleck on Monday."
"Auchenleck, 3d Nov. 1773.
August 23d. Mrs. [Boswell] has the mien and manners of a gentlewoman; and such a person and mind as would not be in any place either admired or contenined. She is in a proper degree inferior to her husband; she cannot rival him, nor can he ever be ashamed of her.
"I have done thinking of1
we now call Sir Sawney. He has disgusted all mankind by injudicious parsimony, and given occasion to so many stories, that * * * * * has some thoughts of collecting them, and making a novel of his life. Scrambling I have not willingly left off; the power of scrambling has left me; I have however been forced to exert it on many occasions. I am, I thank God, better than I was. I am grown very much superior to wind and rain; and am too well acquainted both with mire and with rocks to be afraid of a Welsh journey. I had rather have Bardsey and Macleod's island, though I am told much of the beauty of my new property, which the storms did not suffer me to visit. well will praise my resolution and perseverance; and I shall in return celebrate his good humour and perpetual cheerfulness. He has better faculties than I had imagined; more justness of discernment; and more fecundity of images. It is very convenient to travel with him, for there is no house where he is not received with kindness and respect.
"Little Miss [Veronica Boswell], when I left her, was like any other miss of seven months. I believe she is thought pretty; and her father and mother have a mind to think her wise.
"I will now continue my narrative.
"Oct. 29th was spent in surveying the city and college of Glasgow. I was not much pleased with any of the professors. The town is opulent and handsome.
"30th. We dined with the Earl of Loudon, and saw his mother the countess, who at ninety-three has all her faculties, helps at table, and exerts all the powers of conversation that she ever had. Though not tall, she stoops very much. She had lately a daughter, Lady Betty, whom at seventy she used to send after supper early to bed, for girls must not use late hours, while she sat up to entertain the company.
"31st. Sunday, we passed at Mr. Campbell's, who married Mr. Boswell's sister.
"Nov. 1st. We paid a visit to the Countess of Eglington, a lady who for many years gave the laws of elegance to Scotland. She is in full vigour of mind, and not much impaired in form. She is only eighty-three. She was remarking that her marriage was in the year eight; and I told her my birth was in nine. Then, says she, I am just old enough to be your mother, and I will take you for my son. She called Boswell, the boy: yes, madam, said I, we will send him to school. He is already, said she, in a good school; and expressed her hope of his improvement. At last night came, and I was sorry to leave her.
"2d. We came to Auchenleck. The house is like other houses in this country built of stone, scarcely yet finished, but very magnificent and very convenient. We purpose to stay here some days; more or fewer as we are used. I shall find no kindness such as will suppress my desire of returning home."
"Edinburgh, 12th Nov. 1773. "We came hither on the ninth of this month. I long to come under your care, but for some days cannot decently get away. They congratulate our return as if we had been with Phipps or Banks: I am ashamed of their salutations."
1 [Sir A. Macdonald.-ED.]
END OF VOL. 1.