2To THE GARDEN AT TALISKER.
fruits of his ingenuity in the quantity ut grain aiul luiy raised thereon." He had made it "the seat of plenty, hospitality, and good nature." ' To few places in our islands could Dutch art have been transplanted where it would find nature more kindly. Johnson noticed the prosperous growth of the trees, which, though they were not many years old, were already very high and thick. Could he have seen them at the present clay he would have owned that even in the garden of an Oxford College there are few finer. The soil is so good, we were told, " that things have only to be planted and they grow." So sheltered from all the cold winds is the position, and so great is the warmth diffused by the beneficent Gulf Stream, that the whole year round flowers live out of doors which anywhere but on the southern coasts of Devonshire and Cornwall would be killed by the frosts. The garden is delightfully old-fashioned, entirely free from the dismal formality of ribbon- borders. Fruit trees, flowers, shrubs, and vegetables mingle together. It lies open to the south-west, being enclosed on the other sides with groves of trees. A lawn shaded by a noble sycamore stretches up to the house. Boswell would have been pleased to find that smooth turf now covers the court which in his time was " most injudiciously paved with round blueish-grey pebbles, upon which you walked as if upon cannon-balls driven into the ground." The house "in its snug corner " has been greatly enlarged, but the old building still remains. Unfortunately no tradition has been preserved of the room occupied by Johnson. Much as he admired this sequestered spot "a place where the imagination is more amused cannot easily be found," he said nevertheless it was here that he quoted to Boswell the lines of the
" Every island is a prison
Strongly guarded by the sea ; Kings and princes, for that reason, Prisoners are as well as we."
If Talisker is a prison, it is a goodly one. There are few places which linger more pleasantly in my memory. To the beauty of the scenery and the delightfulness of the weather was added the hospitality which we received from our kind hostess, Mrs. Cameron. Time, alas, failed us to climb " the very high rocky hill " at the back of the house, whence Boswell had " a view of Barra, the Long
1 Knox's Tour, p. 140.