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Page:Footsteps of Dr. Johnson.djvu/98

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On Friday, August 6th, 1773, Dr. Johnson set off from London on his famous tour to the Western Islands of Scotland. His companion as far as Newcastle was Robert Chambers, Principal of New Inn Hall, Oxford, who had been lately appointed one of the new judges for India, and was going down to his native town to take leave of his family. The two friends travelled in a post- chaise. " Life has not many better things than this," said Johnson once when he was driven rapidly along in one with Boswell. 1 It was too costly a pleasure for him to indulge in often unless he could find a companion to share the expense. The charge for a chaise and pair of horses for two passengers from London to Edinburgh could scarcely have been kept under twenty-two pounds." The weather was bright and hot. :i At Newcastle Chambers's place in the chaise was taken by a fellow-townsman who was destined to go far beyond him in the career of the law- William Scott, afterwards Lord Stowell, the great judge of the High Court of Admiralty. The travellers entered Scotland by Berwick-on-Tweed, passing near to those nine wells which gave their name to the estate which had come down to Uavid Hume's father through many generations. Very likely they dined at Dunbar, that " high and windy town," and thought, as they crossed the Brocksburn, how Cromwell's horse and foot charged across it in the mingled light of the harvest-moon and the early dawn on that September morning one hundred and twenty-three years before. Their next stage would bring them to Haddington, past the ruined Abbey where nearly a hundred years later that great Scotchman, Johnson's foremost champion, was often with a contrite and almost broken heart to seek his wife's grave in the desolate chancel. As they drove on they passed by the wide plain, shut in by the sea on one side and by a morass on the other, over which, only twenty-eight

1 Boswell's fohnson, ii. 453. paid at the turnpikes amounted to a considerable " The charge for a chaise and pair was nine- sum in a long journey. The duty was sub- pence a mile ; in some districts more. There sequently increased. See Mostyn Armstrong's was a duty on each horse of one penny per mile. Actual Survey, etc., p. 4, and Paterson's liritish The driver expected a shilling or eighteen pence Itinerary, vol. i. preface, p. vii. for each stage of ten or twelve miles, and always 3 See the Table of Weather in the Gentleman's found good reasons for asking for more. The tolls Magazine tot 1774, p. 290.

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