218 A DOLOROUS COUNTRY.
There was a tolerable inn, where " a dish of tea and some good bread and butter" restored Johnson's good humour, which had been somewhat ruffled by the miserable accommodation which he had had on shipboard. They did not pass the night here, but became the guests of a Dr. Macleane who lived close by. " Col," wrote John- son, " made every Macleane open his house where we came, and supply us with horses when we departed." Here they were once more kept prisoners by the weather. Not only was there wind and rain, but the rivers, they were told, were impassable. They had books and good talk. In the daughter of the house Johnson at last found " an interpreter of Erse poetry." At Dunvegan he com- plained that " he could never get the meaning of a song explained to him." Miss Macleane had been bred in the Lowlands, and had gained Gaelic by study. She therefore understood the exact nature of his inquiries.
" She is [he said] the most accomplished lady that I have found in the Highlands. She knows French, music, and drawing, sews neatly, makes shell-work, and can milk cows ; in short, she can do every thing. She talks sensibly, and is the first person whom I have found, that can translate Erse poetry literally."
��ULVA'S ISLE (OCTOBER 16-17).
On Saturday, October 16, the weather changed for the better, owing to a new moon, as Boswell thought. A long clay's journey lay before them, for they hoped to reach Inchkenneth, a little island which lies at the mouth of Loch Na Keal, close to the western coast of Mull. Here they were to be the guest of Sir Allan
_ "We set out [writes Boswell] mounted on little Mull horses. Dr. Johnson was
not in very good humour. He said, it was a dreary country, much worse than Skye. I differed from him. ' O, Sir,' said he, ' a most dolorous country ! ' We had a very hard journey. I had no bridle for my sheltie, but only a halter ; and Joseph rode without a saddle. At one place, a loch having swelled over the road, we were obliged to plunge through pretty deep water. Dr. Johnson observed, how helpless a man would be, were he travelling here alone, and should meet with any accident ; and said, ' he longed to get to a country of saddles and bridles.' "
When he called the country " most dolorous" he had no doubt in mind the lines which describe the march of " the adventurous bands " in Paradise Lost :
"Through many a dark and dreary vale They passed and many a region dolorous."