- 6 4 MAM RATTAKIN.
climb, " Good-bye, Mam Rattakin, I hope never to see your face again." ' They did not reach it till late in the afternoon. Both Johnson and the horses were weary, and they had "a terrible steep to climb." Going down was almost worse than going up, for his horse now and then stumbled beneath his great weight. On the edge of one of the precipices he was, he thought, in real danger. He grew fretful with fatigue, and was not comforted by the absurd attempt made by his guide to amuse him.
" Having heard him, in the forenoon, express a pastoral pleasure on seeing the goats browsing, just when the doctor was uttering his displeasure, the fellow cried, with a very Highland accent, 'See, such pretty goats !' Then he whistled u>hu ! and made them jump. Little did he conceive what Dr. Johnson was. Here now was a common ignorant Highland clown imagining that he could divert, as one does a child, Dr. Samuel Johnson I The ludicrousncss, absurdity, and extraordinary con- trast between what the fellow fancied, and the reality, was truly comic."
At the bottom of the mountain a dreary ride of six or seven long miles through a flat and uninteresting country still awaited them. They were too tired even for talk. Boswell urged on his horse so that some preparation might be made for the great man at the inn at Glenelg.
" He called me back," he writes, " with a tremendous shout, and was really in a passion with me for leaving him. I told him my intentions, but he was not satisfied, and said, ' I >o you know, I should as soon have thought of picking a pocket, as doing so.' lioswKi.i,. 'I am diverted with you, Sir.' JOHNSON. 'Sir, I could never be diverted with incivility. Doing such a thing makes one lose confidence in him who has done it, as one cannot tell what he may do next.' "
Even after he had reached the inn his violence continued. " Sir," he said, " had you gone on, I was thinking that I should have returned with you to Edinburgh, and then have parted from you, and never spoken to you more." The next morning " he owned that he had spoken in passion ; that he would not have done what he threatened ; and that if he had, he should have been ten times worse than I ; and he added, ' Let's think no more on't.' " As we drove down the mountain on a summer afternoon the peacefulness of the pastoral scene, the sheep dotted about quietly nibbling the grass, with their lambs by their side, the hazy air on the hills, all seemed to contrast strangely with the violence of his passion. To an old man, however, tired with a long clay's ride over rough ways, and in want of his dinner, something must be forgiven. He is not
1 See ante, p. 2. Boswell calls the mountain Rattakin, Johnson Ratiken. Its name I was told is properly written Rattagun.