Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/172

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


��me that in the Kirk Session Records is a minute by Macaulay " most beautifully expressed." I had hoped to sit in the very parlour where Johnson had reproached him with being "a bigot to laxness," and where he had given his little son a Sallust, pro- mising at the same time to get him a servitorship at Oxford when he was ready for the University. But hopes that are based on the permanence of buildings are often disappointed. Of the old manse nothing remains. The minister, who rejoiced in having a more comfortable home than his predecessors, refused to share in my sentimental regrets. The situation seemed a pleasant one, as I saw it on a fine evening in July, with the sun setting behind the

hills on the other side of the Moray Firth. The haymakers were busy at their work close to the house, in a field which is bounded on one side by a deep hollow, with a little brook flowing at the bottom, and in front by a row of old ash trees.

In the company of Macaulay Boswell " had dreaded that a whole evening would be heavy. I Iowever,"headds,"Mr.

Grant, an intelligent and well-bred minister in the neighbourhood, was there, and assisted us by his conversation." His grandson is Colonel Grant, who shares with Captain Speke the glory of having discovered the sources of the Nile. It was indeed an unusual gathering that August evening in the parlour of the quiet manse- Johnson, the first of talkers, Boswell, the first of biographers, the great-uncle of our famous historian, and the grandfather of our famous discoverer. My hopes rose high when I was told that a diary which Mr. Grant kept was still in existence. Of this even- ing's talk some record surely would have been made. With sorrow I learnt from his grandson that " accounts of expenses, sermons preached, peat-cutting, stipends, washing twice a year, births, &c., are the principal things which are mentioned." This

��� �