Yet, crap as 500 miles undoubtedly is, this is not quite the equivalent of Ed Milliband asking Kirsty Young to play The Internationale. Nor is it the equivalent of David Cameron requesting Pomp and Circumstance by Elgar. The reasons for this come from the curious nature of Scottish nationalism and identity.
|The young George III by Allan Ramsay|
Boswell's contacts in London, at least initially, are mainly Scots who are acutely aware of their identity. A friend's wife then, is described as good humoured, yet 'that sort of character which is often met with in England: very lively without much wit.' Much more obvious nationalism bubbles forth from Boswell at the theatre, where he prepares to watch the comic opera Love in a Village. As two Highland officers walk in and prepare to take their seats, the English mob in the upper gallery roars out. 'No Scots! No Scots! Out with them!' Hissed at, the officers are pelted with apples. Boswell's 'Scotch blood boiled with indignation'. Jumping to the benches he cries 'Damn you, you rascals!' Then, talking to the officers, he finds out they have come from Havana. 'And this is the thanks that we get - to be hissed when we come home. If it was French, what could they do worse.'