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Wednesday, 13th October.-COL called me up, Tour to with intelligence that it was a good day for a passage to Mull; and just as we rose, a sailor from the vessel arrived for us. We got all ready with despatch. Dr. Johnson was displeased at my bustling and walking quickly up and down. He said, He said, "It does not hasten us a bit. It is getting on horseback in a ship. All boys do it; and you are longer a boy than others." He himself has no alertness, or whatever it may be called; so he may dislike it, as Oderunt hilarem tristes.
Before we reached the harbour, the wind grew high again. However, the small boat was waiting, and took us on board. We remained for some time in uncertainty what to do; at last it was determined, that, as a good part of the day was over, and it was dangerous to be at sea at night, in such a vessel, and such weather, we should not sail till the morning tide, when the wind would probably be more gentle. We resolved not to go ashore again, but lie here in readiness. Dr. Johnson and I had each a bed in the cabin. Col sat at the fire in the forecastle, with the captain, and Joseph, and the rest. I eat some dry
Tour to oatmeal, of which I found a barrel in the cabin.
had not done this since I was a boy. Dr. Johnson owned that he too was fond of it when a boy; a circumstance which I was highly pleased to hear from him, as it gave me an opportunity of observing that, notwithstanding his joke on the article of OATS, he was himself a proof that this kind of food was not peculiar to the people of Scotland.
Thursday, 14th October.-When Dr. Johnson awaked this morning, he called "Lanky!" having, I suppose, been thinking of Langton, but corrected himself instantly, and cried, "Bozzy!" He has a way of contracting the names of his friends. Goldsmith feels himself so important now, as to be displeased at it *
Between six and seven we hauled our anchor, and set sail with a fair breeze; and, after a pleasant voyage, we got safely and agreeably into the harbour of Tobermorie, before the wind rose, which it always has done, for some days, about noon.
Tobermorie is an excellent harbour. An island lies before it, and it is surrounded by a hilly theatre. The island is too low, otherwise this would be quite a secure port; but, the island not being a sufficient protection, some storms blow very hard here. Not long ago, fifteen vessels were blown from their moorings. There are sometimes sixty or seventy sail here to-day there were twelve or fourteen vessels. To see such a fleet was the next thing to seeing a town. The vessels were from different places; Clyde, Campbell-town, Newcastle, &c.
One was returning
After having been
to Lancaster from Hamburgh.
[Here followed Davies's anecdote about Goldsmith's displeasure at being called Goldy, which will be found ante, vol. ii. p. 242.-ED.]
of people, engaged in different pursuits, gave me Tour to much gaiety of spirit. When we had landed, Dr. Johnson said, "Boswell is now all alive. He is like Antæus; he gets new vigour whenever he touches the ground." I went to the top of a hill fronting the harbour, from whence I had a good view of it. We had here a tolerable inn. Dr. Johnson had owned to me this morning, that he was out of humour. Indeed, he showed it a good deal in the ship; for when I was expressing my joy on the prospect of our landing in Mull, he said, he had no joy, when he recollected that it would be five days before he should get to the main land. I was afraid he would now take a sudden resolution to give up seeing Icolmkill. A dish of tea, and some good bread and butter, did him service, and his bad humour went off. I told him, that I was diverted to hear all the people whom we had visited in our tour say, "Honest man! he's pleased with every thing; he's always content!" "Little do they know," said I. He laughed, and said, "You rogue !"
We sent to hire horses to carry us across the island of Mull to the shore opposite to Inchkenneth, the residence of Sir Allan M'Lean, uncle to young Col, and Chief of the M'Leans, to whose house we intended to go the next day. Our friend Col went to visit his aunt, the wife of Dr. Alexander M'Lean, a physician, who lives about a mile from Tobermorie.
Dr. Johnson and I sat by ourselves at the inn, and talked a good deal. I told him, that I had found, in Leandro Alberti's "Description of Italy," much of what Addison has given us in his "Remarks 1." He said, "The collection of passages from the Classicks has been made by another Italian: it is, however, impossible to detect a man as a plagiary in such a 1 [See post, 7th April, 1775.)
Tour to case, because all who set about making such a collection must find the same passages; but, if you find the same applications in another book, then Addison's learning in his 'Remarks' tumbles down. It is a tedious book; and, if it were not attached to Addison's previous reputation, one would not think much of it. Had he written nothing else, his name would not have lived. Addison does not seem to have gone deep in Italian literature: he shows nothing of it in his subsequent writings. He shows a great deal of French learning. There is, perhaps, more knowledge circulated in the French language than in any other. English."
There is more original knowledge in "But the French," said I, "have the art of accommodating literature 1." JOHNSON. "Yes, sir; we have no such book as Moreri's 'Dictionary."" BOSWELL. "Their Ana' are good." JOHNSON. "A few of them are good; but we have one book of that kind better than any of them, Selden's Table-talk.' 'Table-talk.' As to original literature, the French have a couple of tragick poets who go round the world, Racine and Corneille, and one comick poet, Moliere." BOSWELL. "They have Fenelon." JOHNSON. "Why, sir, Telemachus is pretty well." BosWELL. "And Voltaire, sir." JOHNSON. "He has not stood his trial yet. And what makes Voltaire chiefly circulate is collection, such as his 'Universal History.' BOSWELL. "What do you say to the Bishop of Meaux ?" JOHNSON. "Sir, nobody reads him." He would not allow Massillon and Bourdaloue to go round the world. In general, however, he gave the French much praise for their industry.
[Mr. Boswell probably meant by "accommodating literature," making it more accessible and readier for ordinary use.-ED.]
2 I take leave to enter my strongest protest against this judgment. Bossuet I hold to be one of the first luminaries of religion and literature. If there are who do not read him, it is full time they should begin.-Boswell.
He asked me whether he had mentioned, in any Tour to of the papers of the "Rambler," the description in Virgil of the entrance into Hell, with an application to the press; "for (said he) I do not much remember them." I told him, “No.” I told him, "No." Upon which
he repeated it:
Vestibulum ante ipsum, primisque in faucibus orci,
Pallentesque habitant Morbi, tristisque Senectus,
"Now (said he), almost all these apply exactly to an
The Sunday evening that we sat by ourselves at Aberdeen, I asked him several particulars of his life, from his early years, which he readily told me; and I wrote them down before him. This day I proceeded in my inquiries, also writing them in his presence. I have them on detached sheets *
I have now a vast treasure of his conversation, at different times, since the year 1762, when I first obtained his acquaintance; and by assiduous inquiry, I can make up for not knowing him sooner.
1 Just in the gate, and in the jaws of hell,
Here toils and death, death's half-brother, sleep,
Forms terrible to view, their sentry keep.-DRYDEN.
2 [Here in the original text came the following announcement of the Life of Johnson :-"I shall collect authentick materials for The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL. D.;' and, if I survive him, I shall be one who will most faithfully do honour to his memory." 99 To which this note was appended: "It is no small satisfaction to me to reflect, that Dr. Johnson read this, and after being apprized of my intention, communicated to me, at subsequent periods, many particulars of his life, which probably could not otherwise have been preserved."-BosWELL. [This is a conclusive answer to those who, in the character of friends of Johnson's memory, affected to blame this publication.—ED.]