Open main menu

Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/316

This page needs to be proofread.


��the wife of two dukes and the mother of four. Her sister had married the Marl of Coventry. " The two beautiful sisters," says 1 lorace Walpole, " were going on the stage, when they are at once exalted almost as high as they could be, were countessed and double- -duchessed." ' The duchess, by her first husband, the Duke of Hamilton, was the mother of the unsuccessful competitor for the Douglas estates, and was therefore " prejudiced against Boswell,

who had shown all the bustling impor- tance of his cha- racter in the Douglas cause. " : Johnson, on hearing the state of the case, " was clear that Boswell ought to pay his re- spects at the castle. I mentioned," con- tinues Boswell, "that I was afraid my company might be disagreeable to the duchess. He treated the objection with a manly disdain, ' That, Sir, he must settle with his wife.' He insisted that I should not go to JOHNSON'S HOST. the castle this day

before dinner, as it

would look like seeking an invitation. ' But,' said I, 'if the duke invites us to dine with him to-morrow, shall we accept ?' ' Yes, Sir,' I think he said, ' to be sure.' But he added, ' He won't ask us.'" By the duke, who was sitting over his wine, Boswell was most politely received ; but when he was taken into the drawing-room and introduced, neither the duchess nor the ladies with her took the least notice of him. The following day he and Johnson were shown through the castle. "It is a stately place," said Johnson.

���1 Walpole's Letters, ix. 358.

��2 Boswell's Johnson, v. 353, . I.

�� �