- ? oo LORI) KL1HANK.
to free conversation, and an interchange of discourse with those whom I most love ; I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight." ' Though Johnson was fon'd of his society, and once said "that he was never in his company without learning something," yet speaking of him on another occasion he said, " Sir, there is nothing conclusive in his talk." Lord Elibank's admiration of Johnson was very high. Yet he need not have gone so far as to flatter him at the expense of his own country. Having missed seeing him on his first visit to Edinburgh, he wrote to Boswell : " I could not persuade myself there was anything in Scotland worthy to have a summer of Samuel Johnson bestowed on it ; but since he has done us that compliment, for heaven's sake inform me of your motions. I will attend them most religiously, and though I should regret to let Mr. Johnson go a mile out of his way on my account, old as I am, I shall be glad to go five hundred miles to enjoy a day of his com- pany." Johnson, in his plain truthfulness, on the very day on which Lord Elibank wrote this extravagant letter, said that " he would go two miles out of his way to see Lord Monbodclo." As five hundred to two, so perhaps was Johnson's accuracy of talk to Lord Elibank's. To the mean way in which his lordship spoke of Scotland, as if it were beneath the great Englishman's notice, I much prefer the spirit of his countryman, who, according to Boswell, " would say of Dr. Johnson, ' Damned rascal ! to talk as he does of the Scotch !" However, he had none of that small- ness of mind common enough among the high-born, which would not let him enjoy Johnson's strong talk. He was "one of the great who sought his society. He well observed that if a great man procured an interview with him, and did not wish to see him more, it showed a mere idle curiosity, and a wretched want of relish for extraordinary powers of mind." Such an idle curiosity and such a wretched want of relish were shown by George III.
The old house at Ballencrieff, in which Johnson "passed two nights and dined thrice," as Boswell accurately records, is now a melancholy ruin. It was burnt down about twenty years ago. For many years previously, deserted by its owners, it had been left in the care of a woman who lived in an outbuilding, which in the old days had formed the kitchen. It was here, I believe, that
1 When I had the honour of meeting Mr. he quoted this passage in his strong deep voice, Gladstone in his visit to Oxford early this year, and praised it highly.