Drifting and striding, in Hollywood and elsewhere, with Geoff Nicholson - author of The Lost Art of Walking, and Walking in Ruins withcholson, author of Toff Nidrifting and stomping withcholson, author of The Lost Art of Walking, considers the narrower and wider shores of obsessive pedestrianism.
Showing posts with label James Burnett. Show all posts
Showing posts with label James Burnett. Show all posts

Friday, January 20, 2017


Here’s some fairly minor walking lore relating to James Burnett, Lord Monboddo (1714-1799), a Scottish judge, linguist, and (I suppose you’d have to say) philosopher, one of the early theorists of evolution. On no obvious scientific basis he posited the notion that men were descended from apes.  He’s even mentioned in Martin Chuzzlewick.

He seems not to have been taken all that seriously by contemporaries.  According to a piece in The Herald and Genealogist, Volume the Third, 1866, “it is said that Lord Kames, to whom he would on one occasion have yielded precedence, declined it, saying. ‘By no means, my Lord, you must walk first, that I may see your tail’.”

That's him below on the far right, Lord Kames on far left, Hugo Arnot in the middle: the etching is by John Kay:

And he's the fellow second from the right in this one:

There’s another walking story about Monboddo that I have yet to fully fathom.  On one occasion he came out of court to find it was raining.  A sedan chair was waiting for him but he declined to use it, calmly placed his wig in the chair, and walked home in the rain.  Some sources say this was because he employed the methods of “the ancients” to keep fit, but that hardly seems a complete explanation.