… about whom I once wrote a little poem.
By the way, did you hear the apocryphal story about when Johnson was asked by a Scot what he thought of Scotland (that land ‘where there is nothing to be got’ and there exists ‘a diffusion of learning’)?
His reply: ‘That it is a very vile country, to be sure, Sir’.
To which the young Scot rejoined, ‘Well, Sir! God made it’.
‘Certainly he did’, quipped Johnson, ‘but we must always remember that he made it for Scotchmen, and comparisons are odious, Mr. S——; but God made hell’.
Ouch! Of course, the Londoner had himself made a pleasant enough journey to Scotland once, in 1773 with James Boswell, very much enjoying the women and the ‘little Highland steed[s]’, but concluding from their three-month holiday (their twin accounts were subsequently published as The Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland and The Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides) that ‘the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England!’