Friday, 22nd October 1773: Lochbuie, Oban
Before Dr Johnson came to breakfast, Lady Lochbuy said, 'he was a DUNGEON of wit'; a very common phrase in Scotland to express a profoundness of intellect, though he afterwards told me, that he never had heard it. She proposed that he should have some cold sheep's head for breakfast. Sir Allan seemed displeased at his sister's vulgarity, and wondered how such a thought should come into her head. From a mischievous love of sport, I took the lady's part; and very gravely said, 'I think it is but fair to give him an offer of it. If he does not choose it, he may let it alone.' 'I think so,' said the lady, looking at her brother with an air of victory. Sir Allan, finding the matter desperate, strutted about the room, and took snuff. When Dr Johnson came in, she called to him, 'Do you choose any cold sheep's-head, sir?' 'No, Madam,' said he, with a tone of surprise and anger. 'It is here, sir,' said she, supposing he had refused it to save the trouble of bringing it in. They thus went on at cross purposes, till he confirmed his refusal in a manner not to be misunderstood; while I sat quietly by, and enjoyed my success.
After breakfast, we surveyed the old castle, in the pit or dungeon of which Lochbuy had some years before taken upon him to imprison several persons; and though he had been fined a considerable sum by the Court of Justiciary, he was so little affected by it, that while we were examining the dungeon, he said to me, with a smile, 'Your father knows something of this' (alluding to my father's having sat as one of the judges on his trial). Sir Allan whispered me, that the laird could not be persuaded, that he had lost his heritable jurisdiction.
We then set out for the ferry, by which we were to cross to the main land of Argyleshire. Lochbuy and Sir Allan accompanied us. We were told much of a war-saddle, on which this reputed Don Quixote used to be mounted; but we did not see it, for the young laird had applied it to a less noble purpose, having taken it to Falkirk fair WITH A DROVE OF BLACK CATTLE.
We bade adieu to Lochbuy, and to our very kind conductor. Sir Allan M'Lean, on the shore of Mull, and then got into the ferry-boat, the bottom of which was strewed with branches of trees or bushes, upon which we sat. We had a good day and a fine passage, and in the evening landed at Oban, where we found a tolerable inn. After having been so long confined at different times in islands, from which it was always uncertain when we could get away, it was comfortable to be now on the main land, and to know that, if in health, we might get to any place in Scotland or England in a certain number of days.
Here we discovered from the conjectures which were formed, that the people on the main land were intirely ignorant of our motions; for in a Glasgow news-paper we found a paragraph, which, as it contains a just and well-turned compliment to my illustrious friend, I shall insert:
We are well assured that Dr Johnson is confined by tempestuous weather to the isle of Sky; it being unsafe to venture, in a small boat upon such a stormy surge as is very common there at this time of the year. Such a philosopher, detained on an almost barren island, resembles a whale left upon the strand. The latter will be welcome to every body, on account of his oil, his bone, etc. and the other will charm his companions, and the rude inhabitants, with his superior knowledge and wisdom, calm resignation, and unbounded benevolence.
Saturday, 23rd October 1773: Oban, Inveraray
After a good night's rest, we breakfasted at our leisure. We talked of Goldsmith's Traveller, of which Dr Johnson spoke highly; and, while I was helping him on with his great coat, he repeated from it the character of the British nation, which he did with such energy, that the tear started into his eye:
'"Stern o'er each bosom reason holds her
With daring aims irregularly great,
Pride in their port, defiance in their eye,
I see the lords of humankind pass by,
Intent on high designs, a thoughtful band,
By forms unfashion'd; fresh from nature's hand;
Fierce in their native hardiness of soul,
True to imagin'd right, above control,
While ev'n the peasant boasts these rights to scan,
And learns to venerate himself as man."'
We could get but one bridle here, which, according to the maxim detur digniori, was appropriated to Dr Johnson's sheltie. I and Joseph rode with halters. We crossed in a ferry-boat a pretty wide lake, and on the farther side of it, close by the shore, found a hut for our inn. We were much wet. I changed my clothes in part, and was at pains to get myself well dried. Dr Johnson resolutely kept on all his clothes, wet as they were, letting them steam before the smoky turf fire. I thought him in the wrong; but his firmness was, perhaps, a species of heroism.
I remember but little of our conversation. I mentioned Shenstone's saying of Pope, that he had the art of condensing sense more than any body. Dr Johnson said, 'It is not true, sir. There is more sense in a line of Cowley than in a page' (or a sentence of ten lines--I am not quite certain of the very phrase) 'of Pope.' He maintained that Archibald, Duke of Argyle, was a narrow man. I wondered at this; and observed, that his building so great a house at Inveraray was not like a narrow man. 'Sir,' said he, 'when a narrow man has resolved to build a house, he builds it like another man. But Archibald, Duke of Argyle, was narrow in his ordinary expences, in his quotidian expences.'
The distinction is very just. It is in the ordinary expences of life that a man's liberality or narrowness is to be discovered. I never heard the word quotidian in this sense, and I imagined it to be a word of Dr Johnson's own fabrication; but I have since found it in Young's Night Thoughts (Night fifth) and in my friend's Dictionary, supported by the authorities of Charles I and Dr Donne.
It rained very hard as we journied on after dinner. The roar of torrents from the mountains, as we passed along in the dusk, and the other circumstances attending our ride this evening, have been mentioned with so much animation by Dr Johnson, that I shall not attempt to say any thing on the subject. We got at night to Inveraray, where we found an excellent inn. Even here, Dr Johnson would not change his wet clothes. The prospect of good accommodation cheered us much. We supped well; and after supper, Dr Johnson, whom I had not seen taste any fermented liquor during all our travels, called for a gill of whisky. 'Come,' said he, 'let me know what it is that makes a Scotchman happy!' He drank it all but a drop, which I begged leave to pour into my glass, that I might say we had drunk whisky together. I proposed Mrs Thrale should be our toast. He would not have HER drunk in whisky, but rather 'some insular lady', so we drank one of the ladies whom we had lately left. He owned tonight, that he got as good a room and bed as at an English inn.
I had here the pleasure of finding a letter from home, which relieved me from the anxiety I had suffered, in consequence of not having received any account of my family for many weeks. I also found a letter from Mr Garrick, which was a regale as agreeable as a pineapple would be in a desert. He had favoured me with his correspondence for many years; and when Dr Johnson and I were at Inverness, I had written to him as follows:
My dear Sir,
Sunday, 29 August, 1773
Here I am, and Mr Samuel Johnson actually with me. We were a night at Fores, in coming to which, in the dusk of the evening, we passed over a bleak and blasted heath where Macbeth met the witches. Your old preceptor repeated, with much solemnity, the speech
How far is't called to Fores? What
This day we visited the ruins of Macbeth's castle at Inverness. I have had great romantick satisfaction in seeing Johnson upon the classical scenes of Shakspeare in Scotland; which I really looked upon as almost as improbable as that 'Birnam wood should come to Dunsinane'. Indeed, as I have always been accustomed to view him as a permanent London object, it would not be much more wonderful to me to see St Paul's church moving along where we now are. As yet we have travelled in postchaises; but to-morrow we are to mount on horseback, and ascend into the mountains by Fort Augustus, and so on to the ferry, where we are to cross to Sky. We shall see that island fully, and then visit some more of the Hebrides; after which we are to land in Argyleshire, proceed by Glasgow to Auchinleck, repose there a competent time, and then return to Edinburgh, from whence the Rambler will depart for old England again, as soon as he finds it convenient. Hitherto we have had a very prosperous expedition. I flatter myself servetur ad imum, qualis ab incepto processerit. He is in excellent spirits, and I have a rich Journal of his conversation. Look back, Davy, [Footnote: I took the liberty of giving this familiar appellation to my celebrated friend, to bring in a more lively manner to his remembrance the period when he was Dr Johnson's pupil.] to Litchfield; run up through the time that has elapsed since you first knew Mr Johnson, and enjoy with me his present extraordinary tour. I could not resist the impulse of writing to you from this place. The situation of the old castle corresponds exactly to Shakspeare's description. While we were there to-day, it happened oddly, that a raven perched upon one of the chimney-tops, and croaked. Then I in my turn repeated,
'The raven himself is hoarse.
I wish you had been with us. Think what enthusiastick happiness I shall have to see Mr Samuel Johnson walking among the romantick rocks and woods of my ancestors at Auchinleck! Write to me at Edinburgh. You owe me his verses on great George and tuneful Cibber, and the bad verses which led him to make his fine ones on Philips the musician. Keep your promise, and let me have them. I offer my very best compliments to Mrs Garrick, and ever am
Your warm admirer and friend,
His answer was as follows.
You stole away from London, and left us all in the lurch; for we expected you one night at the club, and knew nothing of your departure. Had I payed you what I owed you, for the book you bought for me, I should only have grieved for the loss of your company, and slept with a quiet conscience; but, wounded as it is, it must remain so till I see you again, though I am sure our good friend Mr Johnson will discharge the debt for me, if you will let him. Your account of your journey to Fores, the RAVEN, OLD CASTLE, &c. &c. made me half mad. Are you not rather too late in the year for fine weather, which is the life and soul of seeing places? I hope your pleasure will continue qualis ab incepto, &c.
Your friend---[Footnote: I have suppressed my Mend's name from an apprehension of wounding his sensibility; but I would not withhold from my readers a passage which shews Mr Gamck's mode of writing as the Manager of a Theatre, and contains a pleasing trait of his domestick life. His judgment of dramatick pieces, so far as concerns their exhibition on the stage, must be allowed to have considerable weight. But from the effect which a perusal of the tragedy here condemned had upon myself, and from the opinions of some eminent criticks. I venture to pronounce that it has much poetical merit; and Its author has distinguished himself by several performances which shew that the epithet poetaster was, in the present Instance, much misapplied.] threatens me much. I only wish that he would put his threats in execution, and, if he prints his play, I will forgive him. I remember he complained to you, that his bookseller called for the money for some copies of his--, which I subscribed for, and that I desired him to call again. The truth is, that my wife was not at home, and that for weeks together I have not ten shillings in my pocket. However, had it been otherwise, it was not so great a crime to draw his poetical vengeance upon me. I despise all that he can do, and am glad that I can so easily get rid of him and his ingratitude. I am hardened both to abuse and ingratitude.
You, I am sure, will no more recommend your poetasters to my civility and good offices.
Shall I recommend to you a play of Eschylus (the Prometheus), published and translated by poor old Morel], who is a good scholar, and an acquaintance of mine. It will be but half a guinea, and your name shall be put in the list I am making for him. You will be in very good company.
Now for the Epitaphs!
(These, together with the verses on George the Second, and Colley Gibber, as his Poet Laureat, of which imperfect copies are gone about, will appear in my Life of Dr Johnson.)
I have no more paper, or I should have said more to you. My love and respects to Mr Johnson.
Sunday, 24th October 1773: Inveraray
We passed the forenoon calmly and placidly. I prevailed on Dr Johnson to read aloud Ogden's sixth sermon on prayer, which he did with a distinct expression, and pleasing solemnity. He praised my favourite preacher, his elegant language, and remarkable acuteness; and said, he fought infidels with their own weapons.
As a specimen of Ogden's manner, I insert the following passage from the sermon which Dr Johnson now read. The preacher, after arguing against that vain philosophy which maintains, in conformity with the hard principle of eternal necessity, or unchangeable predetermination, that the only effect of prayer for others, although we are exhorted to pray for them, is to produce good dispositions in ourselves towards them; thus expresses himself:
A plain man may be apt to ask, But if this then, though enjoined in the holy Scriptures, is to be my real aim and intention, when I am taught to pray for other persons, why is it that I do not plainly so express it? Why is not the form of the petition brought nearer to the meaning? Give them, say I to our heavenly father, what is good. But this, I am to understand, will be as it will be, and is not for me to alter. What is it then that I am doing? I am desiring to become charitable myself; and why may I not plainly say so? Is there shame in it, or impiety? The wish is laudable: why should I form designs to hide it?
Or is it, perhaps, better to be brought about by indirect means, and in this artful manner? Alas! who is it that I would impose on? From whom can it be, in this commerce, that I desire to hide any thing? When, as my Saviour commands me, I have 'entered into my closet, and shut my door', there are but two parties privy to my devotions, God and my own heart; which of the two am I deceiving?
He wished to have more books, and, upon inquiring if there were any in the house, was told that a waiter had some, which were brought to him; but I recollect none of them, except Hervey's Meditations. He thought slightingly of this admired book. He treated it with ridicule, and would not allow even the scene of the dying husband and father to be pathetick. I am not an impartial judge; for Hervey's Meditations engaged my affections in my early years. He read a passage concerning the moon, ludicrously, and shewed how easily he could, in the same style, make reflections on that planet, the very reverse of Hervey's, representing her as treacherous to mankind. He did this with much humour; but I have not preserved the particulars. He then indulged a playful fancy, in making a Meditation on a Pudding, of which I hastily wrote down, in his presence, the following note; which, though imperfect, may serve to give my readers some idea of it.
MEDITATION ON A PUDDING
Let us seriously reflect of what a pudding is composed. It is composed of flour that once waved in the golden grain, and drank the dews of the morning; of milk pressed from the swelling udder by the gentle hand of the beauteous milk-maid, whose beauty and innocence might have recommended a worse draught; who, while she stroked the udder, indulged no ambitious thoughts of wandering in palaces, formed no plans for the destruction of her fellow-creatures: milk, which is drawn from the cow, that useful animal, that eats the grass of the field, and supplies us with that which made the greatest part of the food of mankind in the age which the poets have agreed to call golden. It is made with an egg, that miracle of nature, which the theoretical Burnet has compared to creation. An egg contains water within its beautiful smooth surface; and an unformed mass, by the incubation of the parent, becomes a regular animal, furnished with bones and sinews, and covered with feathers. Let us consider; can there be more wanting to complete the Meditation on a Pudding? If more is wanting, more may be found. It contains salt, which keeps the sea from putrefaction: salt, which is made the image of intellectual excellence, contributes to the formation of a pudding.
In a magazine I found a saying of Dr Johnson's, something to this purpose; that the happiest part of a man's life is what he passes lying awake in bed in the morning. I read it to him. He said, 'I may, perhaps, have said this; for nobody, at times, talks more laxly than I do.' I ventured to suggest to him, that this was dangerous from one of his authority.
I spoke of living in the country, and upon what footing one should be with neighbours. I observed that some people were afraid of being on too easy a footing with them, from an apprehension that their time would not be their own. He made the obvious remark, that it depended much on what kind of neighbours one has, whether it was desirable to be on an easy footing with them, or not. I mentioned a certain baronet, who told me, he never was happy in the country, till he was not on speaking terms with his neighbours, which he contrived in different ways to bring about. 'Lord ---', said he, 'stuck along; but at last the fellow pounded my pigs, and then I got rid of him.' JOHNSON. 'Nay, sir, My Lord got rid of Sir John, and shewed how little he valued him, by putting his pigs in the pound.'
I told Dr Johnson I was in some difficulty how to act at Inveraray. I had reason to think that the Duchess of Argyle disliked me, on account of my zeal in the Douglas cause; but the Duke of Argyle had always been pleased to treat me with great civility. They were now at the castle, which is a very short walk from our inn; and the question was, whether I should go and pay my respects there. Dr Johnson, to whom I had stated the case, was clear that I ought; but, in his usual way, he was very shy of discovering a desire to be invited there himself. Though from a conviction of the benefit of subordination to society, he has always shewn great respect to persons of high rank, when he happened to be in their company, yet his pride of character has ever made him guard against any appearance of courting the great. Besides, he was impatient to go to Glasgow, where he expected letters. At the same time he was, I believe, secretly not unwilling to have attention paid him by so great a chieftain, and so exalted a nobleman. He insisted that I should not go to the castle this day before dinner, as it would look like seeking an invitation. 'But,' said I, 'if the duke invites us to dine with him to-morrow, shall we accept?' 'Yes, sir,' I think he said, 'to be sure.' But, he added, 'He won't ask us!' I mentioned, that I was afraid my company might be disagreeable to the duchess. He treated this objection with a manly disdain: 'THAT, sir, he must settle with his wife.' We dined well. I went to the castle just about the time when I supposed the ladies would be retired from dinner. I sent in my name; and, being shewn in, found the amiable duke sitting at the head of his table with several gentlemen. I was most politely received, and gave his grace some particulars of the curious journey which I had been making with Dr Johnson. When we rose from table, the duke said to me, 'I hope you and Dr Johnson will dine with us to-morrow.' I thanked his grace; but told him, my friend was in a great hurry to get back to London. The duke, with a kind complacency, said, 'He will stay one day; and I will take care he shall see this place to advantage.' I said, I should be sure to let him know his grace's invitation. As I was going away, the duke said, 'Mr Boswell, won't you have some tea?' I thought it best to get over the meeting with the duchess this night; so respectfully agreed. I was conducted to the drawing-room by the duke, who announced my name; but the duchess, who was sitting with her daughter, Lady Betty Hamilton, and some other ladies, took not the least notice of me. I should have been mortified at being thus coldly received by a lady of whom I, with the rest of the world, have always entertained a very high admiration, had I not been consoled by the obliging attention of the duke.
When I returned to the inn, I informed Dr Johnson of the Duke of Argyle's invitation, with which he was much pleased, and readily accepted of it. We talked of a violent contest which was then carrying on, with a view to the next general election for Ayrshire; where one of the candidates, in order to undermine the old and established interest, had artfully held himself out as a champion for the independency of the county against aristocratick influence, and had persuaded several gentlemen into a resolution to oppose every candidate who was supported by peers. 'Foolish fellows!' said Dr Johnson. 'Didn't they see that they are as much dependent upon the peers one way as the other. The peers have but to OPPOSE a candidate, to ensure him success. It is said, the only way to make a pig go forward, is to pull him back by the tail. These people must be treated like pigs.'
Monday, 25th October 1773: Inveraray
My acquaintance, the Reverend Mr John M'Aulay, one of the ministers of Inveraray, and brother to our good friend at Calder, came to us this morning, and accompanied us to the castle, where I presented Dr Johnson to the Duke of Argyle. We were shewn through the house; and I never shall forget the impression made upon my fancy by some of the ladies' maids tripping about in neat morning dresses. After seeing for a long time little but rusticity, their lively manner, and gay inviting appearance, pleased me so much, that I thought, for the moment, I could have been a knight-errant for them. [Footnote: On reflection, at the distance of several years, I wonder that my venerable fellow-traveller should have read this passage without censuring my levity.]
We then got into a low one-horse chair, ordered for us by the duke, in which we drove about the place. Dr Johnson was much struck by the grandeur and elegance of this princely seat. He thought, however, the castle too low, and wished it had been a story higher. He said, 'What I admire here, is the total defiance of expence.' I had a particular pride in shewing him a great number of fine old trees, to compensate for the nakedness which had made such an impression on him on the eastern coast of Scotland.
When we came in, before dinner, we found the duke and some gentlemen in the hall. Dr Johnson took much notice of the large collection of arms, which are excellently disposed there. I told what he had said to Sir Alexander McDonald, of his ancestors not suffering their arms to rust. 'Well,' said the doctor, 'but let us be glad we live in times when arms MAY rust. We can sit to-day at his grace's table, without any risk of being attacked, and perhaps sitting down again wounded or maimed.' The duke placed Dr Johnson next himself at table. I was in fine spirits; and though sensible that I had the misfortune of not being in favour with the duchess, I was not in the least disconcerted, and offered her grace some of the dish that was before me. It must be owned that I was in the right to be quite unconcerned, if I could. I was the Duke of Argyle's guest; and I had no reason to suppose that he adopted the prejudices and resentments of the Duchess of Hamilton.
I knew it was the rule of modern high life not to drink to any body; but, that I might have the satisfaction for once to look the duchess in the face, with a glass in my hand, I with a respectful air addressed her, 'My Lady Duchess, I have the honour to drink your grace's good health.' I repeated the words audibly, and with a steady countenance. This was, perhaps, rather too much; but some allowance must be made for human feelings.
The duchess was very attentive to Dr Johnson. I know not how a middle state came to be mentioned. Her grace wished to hear him on that point. 'Madam,' said he, 'your own relation, Mr Archibald Campbell, can tell you better about it than I can. He was a bishop of the nonjuring communion, and wrote a book upon the subject.' [Footnote: As this book is now become very scarce, I shall subjoin the title, which is curious:
'The Doctrines of a Middle State between Death and the Resurrection: Of Prayers for the Dead: And the Necessity of Purification: plainly proved from the holy Scriptures, and the Writings of the Fathers of the Primitive Church: And acknowledged by several learned Fathers and great Divines of the Church of England and others since the Reformation. To which is added, an Appendix concerning the Descent of the Soul of Christ into Hell, while his Body lay in the Grave. Together with the Judgment of the Reverend Dr Hickes concerning this Book, so far as relates to a Middle State, particular Judgment, and Prayers for the Dead as it appeared in the first Edition. And a Manuscript of the Right Reverend Bishop Overall upon the Subject of a Middle State, and never before printed. Also, a Preservative against several of the Errors of the Roman Church, in six small Treatises. By the Honourable Archibald Campbell.' Folio, 1721.] He engaged to get it for her grace. He afterwards gave a full history of Mr Archibald Campbell, which I am sorry I do not recollect particularly. He said, Mr Campbell had been bred a violent Whig, but afterwards 'kept BETTER COMPANY, and became a Tory'. He said this with a smile, in pleasant allusion, as I thought, to the opposition between his own political principles and those of the duke's clan. He added that Mr Campbell, after the Revolution, was thrown in gaol on account of his tenets; but, on application by letter to the old Lord Townshend, was released: that he always spoke of his Lordship with great gratitude, saying, 'though a WHIG, he had humanity'.
Dr Johnson and I passed some time together, in June 1784, at Pembroke College, Oxford, with the Reverend Dr Adams, the master, and I having expressed a regret that my note relative to Mr Archibald Campbell was imperfect, he was then so good as to write with his own hand, on the blank page of my Journal, opposite to that which contains what I have now mentioned, the following paragraph; which, however, is not quite so full as the narrative he gave at Inveraray:
The Honourable Archibald Campbell was, I believe, the nephew of the Marquis of Argyle. He began life by engaging in Monmouth's rebellion, and, to escape the law, lived some time in Surinam. When he returned, he became zealous for episcopacy and monarchy; and at the Revolution adhered not only to the Nonjurors, but to those who refused to communicate with the Church of England, or to be present at any worship where the usurper was mentioned as king. He was, I believe, more than once apprehended in the reign of King William, and once at the accession of George. He was the familiar friend of Hicks and Nelson; a man of letters, but injudicious; and very curious and inquisitive, but credulous. He lived in 1743, or 44, about 75 years old.
The subject of luxury having been introduced, Dr Johnson defended it. 'We have now,' said he, 'a splendid dinner before us. Which of all these dishes is unwholsome?' The duke asserted, that he had observed the grandees of Spain diminished in their size by luxury. Dr Johnson politely refrained from opposing directly an observation which the duke himself had made; but said, 'Man must be very different from other animals, if he is diminished by good living; for the size of all other animals is increased by it.' I made some remark that seemed to imply a belief in second sight. The duchess said, 'I fancy you will be a METHODIST.' This was the only sentence her grace deigned to utter to me; and I take it for granted, she thought it a good hit on my CREDULITY in the Douglas cause.
A gentleman in company, after dinner, was desired by the duke to go to another room, for a specimen of curious marble, which his grace wished to shew us. He brought a wrong piece, upon which the duke sent him back again. He could not refuse; but, to avoid any appearance of servility, he whistled as he walked out of the room, to show his independency. On my mentioning this afterwards to Dr Johnson, he said, it was a nice trait of character.
Dr Johnson talked a great deal, and was so entertaining, that Lady Betty Hamilton, after dinner, went and placed her chair close to his, leaned upon the back of it, and listened eagerly. It would have made a fine picture to have drawn the Sage and her at this time in their several attitudes. He did not know, all the while, how much he was honoured. I told him afterwards. I never saw him so gentle and complaisant as this day.
We went to tea. The duke and I walked up and down the drawing-room, conversing. The duchess still continued to shew the same marked coldness for me; for which, though I suffered from it, I made every allowance, considering the very warm part that I had taken for Douglas, cause in which she thought her son deeply interested. Had not her grace discovered some displeasure towards me, I should have suspected her of insensibility or dissimulation.
Her grace made Dr Johnson come and sit by her, and asked him why he made his journey so late in the year. 'Why, madam,' said he, 'you know Mr Boswell must attend the Court of Session, and it does not rise till the twelfth of August.' She said, with some sharpness, 'I KNOW NOTHING of Mr Boswell.' Poor Lady Lucy Douglas, to whom I mentioned this, observed, 'She knew TOO MUCH of Mr Boswell.' I shall make no remark on her grace's speech. I indeed felt it as rather too severe; but when I recollected that my punishment was inflicted by so dignified a beauty, I had that kind of consolation which a man would feel who is strangled by a SILKEN CORD. Dr Johnson was all attention to her grace. He used afterwards a droll expression, upon her enjoying the three titles of Hamilton, Brandon, and Argyle. Borrowing an image from the Turkish empire, he called her a 'Duchess with three tails'.
He was much pleased with our visit at the castle of Inveraray. The Duke of Argyle was exceedingly polite to him, and, upon his complaining of the shelties which he had hitherto ridden being too small for him, his grace told him he should be provided with a good horse to carry him next day.
Mr John M'Aulay passed the evening with us at our inn. When Dr Johnson spoke of people whose principles were good, but whose practice was faulty, Mr M'Aulay said, he had no notion of people being in earnest in their good professions, whose practice was not suitable to them. The Doctor grew warm, and said, 'Sir, you are so grossly ignorant of human nature, as not to know that a man may be very sincere in good principles, without having good practice?'
Dr Johnson was unquestionably in the right; and whoever examines himself candidly, will be satisfied of it, though the inconsistency between principles and practice is greater in some men than in others.
I recollect very little of this night's conversation. I am sorry that indolence came upon me towards the conclusion of our journey, so that I did not write down what passed with the same assiduity as during the greatest part of it.
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