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236

Lady Macleod.

(Sept. 13.

it could be approached. We were introduced into a stately dining-room, and received by Lady M'Leod, mother of the laird, who, with his friend Talisker, having been detained on the road, did not arrive till some time after us.

We found the lady of the house a very polite and sensible woman, who had lived for some time in London, and had there been in Dr. Johnson's company. After we had dined, we repaired to the drawing-room, where some of the young ladies of the family, with their mother, were at tea'. This room had formerly been the bed-chamber of Sir Roderick M'Leod, one of the old Lairds; and he chose it, because, behind it, there was a considerable cascade', the sound of which disposed him to sleep. Above his bed was this inscription : "Sir Rorie M‘Leod of Dunvegan, Knight. GOD send good rest!' Rorie is the contraction of Roderick. He was called Rorie More, that is, great Rorie, not from his size, but from his spirit. Our entertainment here was in so elegant a style, and reminded my fellow-traveller so much of England, that he became quite joyous. He laughed, and said, 'Boswell, we came in at the wrong end of this island.' 'Sir, (said I,) it was best to keep this for the last.' He answered, I would have it both first and last.'

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14. Dr. Johnson said in the morning, “Is not this a fine lady'?' There was not a word now of his impatience to be

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It is related that at Dunvegan Lady Macleod, having poured out for Dr. Johnson sixteen cups of tea, asked him if a small basin would not save him trouble, and be more agreeable. “I wonder, Madam," answered he roughly, “why all the ladies ask me such questions. It is to save yourselves trouble, Madam, and not me." The lady was silent and resumed her task.' Northcote's Reynolds, i. 81.

In the garden-or rather the orchard which was formerly the garden-is a pretty cascade, divided into two branches, and called Rorie More's Nurse, because he loved to be lulled to sleep by the sound of it. Lockhart's Scott, iv. 304.

• It has been said that she expressed considerable dissatisfaction at Dr. Johnson's rude behaviour at Dunvegan. Her grandson, the present Macleod, assures me that it was not so: 'they were all,' he

in

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Sept. 14.] Importance of the chastity of women.

237

in civilized life';'-though indeed I should beg pardon,-he found it here. We had slept well, and lain long. After breakfast we surveyed the castle, and the garden. Mr. Bethune, the parish minister,--Magnus M.Leod, of Claggan, brother to Talisker, and M‘Leod of Bay, two substantial gentlemen of the clan, dined with us. We had admirable venison, generous wine; in a word, all that a good table has. This was really the hall of a chief. Lady M.Leod had been much obliged to my father, who had settled by arbitration a variety of perplexed claims between her and her relation, the Laird of Brodie, which she now repaid by particular attention to me. M‘Leod started the subject of making women do penance in the church for fornication. JOHNSON. 'It is right, Sir. Infamy is attached to the crime, by universal opinion, as soon as it is known. I would not be the man who would discover it, if I alone knew it, for a woman may reform; nor would I commend a parson who divulges a woman's first offence; but being once divulged, it ought to be infamous. Consider, of what importance to society the chastity of women is. Upon that all the property in the world depends'. We hang a thief for stealing a sheep; but the unchastity of a woman transfers sheep, and farm and all, from the right owner. I have much more reverence for a common prostitute than for a woman who conceals her guilt. The prostitute is known. She cannot deceive: she cannot bring a strumpet into the arms of an honest man, without his knowledge.' BOSWELL. “There is, however, a

says emphatically, 'delighted with him.' CROKER. Mr. Croker refers, I think, to a communication from Sir Walter Scott, published in the Croker Corres. ii. 33. Scott writes :

—When wind-bound at Dunvegan, Johnson's temper became most execrable, and beyond all endurance, save that of his guide. The Highlanders, who are very courteous in their way, held him in great contempt for his want of breeding, but had an idea at the same time there was something respectable about him, they could not tell what, and long spoke of him as the Sassenach mohr, or large Saxon.'

"I long to be again in civilized like.' Ante, p. 208. · See ante, iii. 462.

great

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Importance of the chastity of women. (Sept. 14.

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great difference between the licentiousness of a single woman, and that of a married woman.' JOHNSON. “Yes, Sir; there is a great difference between stealing a shilling, and stealing a thousand pounds; between simply taking a man's purse, and murdering him first, and then taking it. But when one begins to be vicious, it is easy to go on. Where single women are licentious, you rarely find faithful married women.' BOSWELL. “And yet we are told that in some nations in India, the distinction is strictly observed.' JOHNSON. Nay, don't give us India. That puts me in mind of Montesquieu, who is really a fellow of genius too in many respects; whenever he wants to support a strange opinion, he quotes you the practice of Japan or of some other distant country of which he knows nothing. To support polygamy, he tells you of the island of Formosa, where there are ten women born for one man'. He had but to suppose another island, where there are ten men born for one woman, and so make a marriage between them”.'

At supper, Lady M‘Leod mentioned Dr. Cadogan's book on the gout. JOHNSON. “It is a good book in general, but a foolish one in particulars. It is good in general, as recommending temperance and exercise, and cheerfulness. In that respect it is only Dr. Cheyne's book told in a new way;

· Johnson refers, I think, to a passage in L'Esprit des Lois, Book xvi. chap. 4, where Montesquieu says :—J'avoue que si ce que les relations nous disent était vrai, qu'à Bantam il y a dix femmes pour un homme, ce serait un cas bien particulier de la polygamie. Dans tout ceci je ne justifie pas les usages, mais j'en rends les raisons.'

• What my friend treated as so wild a supposition, has actually happened in the Western islands of Scotland, if we may believe Martin, who tells it of the islands of Col and Tyr-yi, and says that it is proved by the parish registers. Boswell. The Isle of Coll produces more boys than girls, and the Isle of Tire-iy more girls than boys; as if nature intended both these isles for mutual alliances, without being at the trouble of going to the adjacent isles or continent to be matched. The parish-book in which the number of the baptised is to be seen, confirms this observation. Martin's Western Islands, p. 271.

"A Dissertation on the Gout, by W. Cadogan, M.D., 1771. It went through nine editions in its first year.

and

Sept. 14.] The doctrine and practice of authours.

239

and there should come out such a book every thirty years, dressed in the mode of the times. It is foolish, in maintaining that the gout is not hereditary, and that one fit of it, when gone, is like a fever when gone.' Lady M'Leod objected that the author does not practise what he teaches'. JOHNSON. 'I cannot help that, madam. That does not make his book the worse. People are influenced more by what a man says, if his practice is suitable to it,-because they are blockheads. The more intellectual people are, the readier will they attend to what a man tells them. If it is just, they will follow it, be his practice what it will. No man practises so well as he writes. I have, all my life long, been lying till noon’; yet I tell all young men, and tell them with great sincerity, that nobody who does not rise early will ever do any good. Only consider! You read a book; you are convinced by it; you do not know the authour. Suppose you afterwards know him, and find that he does not practise what he teaches; are you to give up your former conviction? At this rate you would be kept in a state of equilibrium, when reading every book, till you knew how the authour practised'' ‘But,' said Lady M'Leod, 'you would .

‘ think better of Dr. Cadogan, if he acted according to his

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' This was a general reflection against Dr. Cadogan, when his very popular book was first published. It was said, that whatever precepts he might give to others, he himself indulged freely in the bottle. But I have since had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with him, and if his own testimony may be believed, (and I have never heard it impeached), his course of life has been conformable to his doctrine. BOSWELL.

• April 7, 1765. I purpose to rise at eight, because, though I shall not yet rise early, it will be much earlier than I now rise, for I often lie till two.' Pr. and Med. p. 62. Sept. 18, 1771. My nocturnal complaints grow less troublesome towards morning; and I am tempted to repair the deficiencies of the night. I think, however, to try to rise every day by eight, and to combat indolence as I shall obtain strength. Ib. p. 105. April 14, 1775.

April 14, 1775. As my life has from my earliest years been wasted in a morning bed, my purpose is from Easter day to rise early, not later than eight.' Ib. p. 139. · See post, Oct. 25.

principles.'

.

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Good humour acquirable.

(Sept. 14.

principles.' JOHNSON. 'Why, Madam, to be sure, a man who acts in the face of light, is worse than a man who does not know so much ; yet I think no man should be the worse thought of for publishing good principles. There is something noble in publishing truth, though it condemns one's self'.' I expressed some surprize at Cadogan's recommend ing good humour, as if it were quite in our own power to attain it. JOHNSON. Why, Sir, a man grows better humoured as he grows older. He improves by experience. When young, he thinks himself of great consequence, and every thing of importance. As he advances in life, he learns to think himself of no consequence, and little things of little importance; and so he becomes more patient, and better pleased. All good-humour and complaisance are acquired. Naturally a child seizes directly what it sees, and thinks of pleasing itself only. By degrees, it is taught to please others, and to prefer others; and that this will ultimately produce the greatest happiness. If a man is not convinced of that, he never will practise it. Common language speaks the truth as to this: we say, a person is well bred. As it is said, that all material motion is primarily in a right line, and is never per circuitum, never in another form, unless by some particular cause; so it may be said intellectual motion is.' Lady M'Leod asked, if no man was naturally good ? JOHNSON. “No, Madam, no more than a wolf.' BOSWELL. Nor no woman, Sir?" JOHNSON. “No, Sir”.' Lady M'Leod started at this, saying, in a low voice, 'This is worse than Swift.'

M‘Leod of Ulinish had come in the afternoon. We were a jovial company at supper. The Laird, surrounded by so many of his clan, was to me a pleasing sight. They listened

" See ante, iv. under Dec. 2, 1784.

• Miss Mulso (Mrs. Chapone) wrote in 1753:— I had the assurance to dispute with Mr. Johnson on the subject of human malignity, and wondered to hear a man, who by his actions shews so much benevolence, maintain that the human heart is naturally malevolent, and that all the benevolence we see in the few who are good is acquired by reason and religion.' Life of Mrs. Chapone, p. 73. See post, p. 244.

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