James Boswell died in 1795 believing he had touched and kissed a cache of Shakespeare's original letters and papers discovered by a Mr. Ireland. His friend, Edmond Malone, publicly exposed the lot as a forgery just a year later.
Jean Dempster - sister of MP George Dempster of Dunnichen
Jean DempsterBorn 1736
Daughter of John Dempster, 2nd Laird of Dunnichen, sister of the 3rd Laird of Dunnichen George Dempster, MP.
She lived with her brother for some years, and acted as his housekeeper in London.
Boswell first mentions her when, on November 3, 1762, they met at Paxton's new inn in Grassmarket, Edinburgh, together with Andrew Erskine and her brother George. He described her as "a fine woman, very well-looked indeed, elegant and remarkably witty".
She arrived in London together with the Erskines on Dec 1, 1762. He mentions her again (as Jeanie) on Dec 12 following a visit to them, where he describes her and her brother as very fine people. In a letter to John Johnston of Dec 28, 17621 he describes her (somewhat amourously) as elegant, fine and with good sense. In his journal entry on July 17, 1763, however, she is described as an "ugly disagreeable wretch", but it must be said that he was in very poor spirits on that particular day, as his journal clearly states.
In a letter from George Dempster to Boswell (May 25, 1764), George describes his sister as having been of "very indifferent health since you [Boswell] left us. She is grown a skeleton, and I have the most serious apprehensions about her."2 In a letter of July 17, 1770 from George Dempster to Adam Ferguson, Dempster complains of his sisters' health declining on a daily basis.3 He doesn't tell us the name of the sister, but from the 1764 letter to Boswell we gather that her health was generally poor, and we know that George was close to her, so she may be the one to whom he referred in 1770