Open main menu

Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/96

This page needs to be proofread.


could well bear, " but the climate required it." The " patriotic Knox" describes the inhabitants of Edinburgh as being "not only courteous, obliging, open, and hospitable, but well-inclined to the bottle." It was not to the climate that he attributed this joyous devotion, but " to their social dispositions and the excellence of their wines." Boswell has left us a description of a supper which he enjoyed at Hume's new house in St. Andrew's Square. He had 1 )r. Robertson and Lord Kames for his fellow-guests, and three sorts of ice-creams among the dishes. " What' think you of the northern Epicurus style ? " he asked. He complained, however, that he could recollect no conversation. " Our writers here are really not prompt on all occasions as those of London." He had been spoilt by the talk in the taverns of Fleet Street and the Turk's Head Club, and was discontented because he did not find in St. Andrew's Square a Johnson, a Burke, a Wilkes, and a Beauclerk. He even thought that his friend Dr. Adams, the Master of Pem- broke College, had done wrong when he had met by invitation " that infidel writer" at dinner, and " had treated him with smooth civility." 5 Yet a man who could yield to the temptation of the talk of Jack Wilkes had no right to stand aloof from David Hume. We should like to know what he would have thought of that philosopher's soupc a la rcine made from a receipt which he had copied in his own neat hand, or of his " beef and cabbage (a charming dish) and old mutton and old claret, in which," he boasted, " no man excelled him." Perhaps, however, if Johnson could have been persuaded to taste the claret, old as it was, he would have shaken his head over it and called it "poor stuff."" The sheep-head broth he would certainly have refused, though one Mr. Keith did speak of it Tor eight days after, 7 and the Duke de Nivernois would have bound himself apprentice to Hume's lass to learn it. 8 " The stye of that

1 Topham's Letters from Edinburgh, p. 66. fourteen feet high. The kitchen and the cellars

- Knox's Tour, p. 9. were evidently contrived fur a man who intended

3 Letters of Bosu'ell to Temple, p. 203. to boast with justice of his dinners and his wine.

' This house for many years not much less From the windows of every floor there must have

than seventy, I was told has been occupied as a been an uninterrupted view of the shores of Fife,

tailor's shop. By the kindness of the heads of the across the Firth of Forth, and of the house in

firm, Messrs. Lander and Ilardie, I was shown Kirkaldy, where Adam Smith was living.

over the building. Though it has been a good ' Boswell's_/a4;z.w, ii. 441.

deal altered for the purposes of business it is still c Ib. iii. 381.

substantially the same solid stone house which ' Eight days is, I suppose, one of Hume's

Hume in his prosperity built for the closing years Gallicisms.

of his life.. The rooms are lofty, being about " Letters of Hume to Strahan, p. 116.

�� �