Open main menu

Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/365

This page needs to be proofread.


��sight to Dr. Johnson, who had an extraordinary desire for long life."

With such a pleasant spot as this to live at, it is not surprising that Lord Hailes for many years would not take a house in Edin- burgh, but resided constantly at New Hailes summer and winter " driving in every morning in session time before breakfast, and returning before dinner." Dr. Alexander Carlyle, who was no bad judge of conviviality, said, " that nowhere did he get more good wine or more good cracks than from Lord Ilailes." 1 Besides his learning and his hospitality he had, like so many of Johnson's Scotch friends, deserved the praise of being a good landlord. He did not raise his rents/ 5 On his death his will could not be found. He had no sons, and the heir-male was about to take possession of his estates to the exclusion of his daughter, Miss Hailes. She had made her preparations for leaving her old home, and had sent some of her servants to lock up his town house in New Street. As one of them was closing the shutters of a window the will dropped out upon the floor from behind a panel. It was found to secure her in the possession of the estates. She enjoyed them for upwards of forty years/'

Johnson paid a visit also to Patrick, Lord Elibank, and stayed two nights " at his seat in the country." I at first thought that this was Darnhall, near Peebles, and accordingly visited that most delightful spot. But I have little doubt that it was at Ballencrieff, in the neighbourhood of Hacklington, where he stayed. 4 Smollett, when he takes Matthew Bramble through this part of the country, makes him say : " I intended to pay my respects to Lord Elibank, whom I had the honour to know at London many years ago. He lives in this part of Lothian, but was gone to the North on a visit. I have long revered him for his humanity and universal intelligence, over and above the entertainment arising from the originality of his character." 6 He was a Jacobite, and a member of that famous Cocoa Tree Club, which, according to Boswell, " was sacred of old to loyalty." The loyalty, by the way, was rather towards the third James than the second George. Horace Walpole tells how, after

1 Scotland and Scotsmen, &c., i. 407. 227 ; ii. 557) it is described as the seat of the

'- fli. t p. 413. Hon. George Murray, while Ballencrieff is men-

3 Chambers's Trcuiilions of Edinburgh, etl. tioned as Lord Elibank's. Murray is the family

1869. p. 145. name of the Elibanks.

1 Darnhall is at present Lord Elibank's seat ; * Humphry Clinker, ii. 219.

but in Paterson's British Itinerary (ed. 1800, i.


�� �