at the top of dun caan

At the top of Dun Caan, a mountain on the Isle of Raasay, James Boswell and two Highlanders danced a reel after washing down their picnic with brandy and punch. In the satirical version below, the fat and sottish Boswell cavorts with his journal clutched in one hand and his inkhorn dangling from a buttonhole. “My exertions as a dancer,” Boswell himself explained on another occasion, “are all forced by a reflex desire to promote lively good humor.”

—Dancing atop Dun Can (also from Picturesque Beauties of Boswell)—Read More:


(see link at end)…Boswell:We danced to-night to the musick of the bagpipe, which made us beat the ground with prodigious force. I thought it better to endeavour to conciliate the kindness of the people of Sky, by joining heartily in their amusements, than to play the abstract scholar. I looked on this Tour to the Hebrides as a copartnership between Dr. Johnson and me. Each was to do all he could to promote its success; and I have some reason to flatter myself, that my gayer exertions were of service to us. Dr. Johnson’s immense fund of knowledge and wit was a wonderful source of admiration and delight to them; but they had it only at times; and they required to have the intervals agreeably filled up, and even little elucidations of his learned text. I was also fortunate enough frequently to draw him forth to talk, when he would otherwise have been silent. The fountain was at times locked up, till I opened the spring. — It was curious to hear the Hebridians, when any dispute happened while he was out of the room, saying, ‘Stay till Dr. Johnson comes: say that to him!’ Read More:

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