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Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/364

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296 NEW HAILES.

dine with Mr. Cambridge at Twickenham. "No sooner," says Hoswell. " had we made our bow to Mr. Cambridge in his library than [ohnson ran eagerly to one side of the room, intent on poring over the backs of the books." Perhaps he turned to Lord Hailes, as he turned to Dr. Burney, on seeing his library, and said, " You are an honest man to have formed so great an accumulation of knowledge."

The house, like so many in Scotland, is built more after the continental than the English fashion. In the front is a square courtyard, on a level with which are the offices. The hall is reached by a flight of stone steps. As I came up to it a peacock was perched on the top. Above the door is inscribed the motto, Laudo manentem. Johnson's bedroom was at one end of the house, on the same floor as the hall ; but as the ground is higher on this side, it was on a level with the llower-garden, which was just beneath the windows. He had also a dressing-room, whence I looked out on pleasant hayfields, where the haymakers were hard at work. All about the house are fine trees, many of them planted, no doubt, by the old Popish architect ; while on one side there is a lofty grove of beeches with a column in the middle, inscribed

" Joanni Coniiti de Stair

De I'atria et Principe optima merito

Viventi positum

MDCCXLVI."

The Earl of Stair was a Dalrymple. At the Jacobite rebellion in 1745 he had been appointed Field-Marshal and Commander-in- Chief of the Forces in South Britain. a Horace Walpole did not think highly of his services at this time for, after describing in the November of that year how " the Prince of Wales, the night of his son's christening, had the citadel of Carlisle in sugar at supper, and the company besieged it with sugar-plums," he continues, " One thing was very proper; old Marshal Stair was there, who is grown child enough to be fit to war only with such artillery." 3 We can picture to ourselves Johnson walking up and down under the beech trees, reading the inscription, and telling how kindly he had been welcomed a few days earlier by the earl's sister, the Countess of Loudoun, an old lady, " who in her ninety-fifth year had all her faculties entire. This," adds Boswell, " was a very cheering

1 Boswell's f ohnson, ii. 364. a Smollett's History of England, iii. 169.

3 Walpole's Letters, i. 407.

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