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away. ... Burney said she would write—she told you a fil. She writes nothing to me. She can write home fast enough. I have a good mind not to let her know that Dr. Barnard, to whom I had recommended her novel, speaks of it with great commendation; and that the copy which she lent me has been read by Dr. Lawrence three times over. And yet what a gipsy it is! She no more minds me than if I were a Brangton.
You are at all places of high resort, and bring home hearts by dozens ; while I am seeking for something to say of men about whom I know nothing but their verses, and sometimes very little of them. Now I have begun, however, I do not despair of making an end. Mr. Nicholls holds that Addison is the most taking of all that I have done. I doubt they will not be done before you come away.
“Now you think yourself the first writer in the world for a letter about nothing. Can you write such a letter as this ? so miscellaneous, with such noble disdain of regularity, like Shakspeare's works? such graceful negligence of transition, like the ancient enthusiasts? The.. pure voice of nature and of friendship. Now of whom shall I proceed to speak ? Of whom but Mrs. Montagu? Having mentioned Shakspeare and Nature, does not the name of Mon. tagu force itself upon me?? Such were the transitions of the ancients, which now seem abrupt because the intermediate idea is lost to modern understandings."
“ April 15, 1780. “I thought to have finished Rowe's Life to-day, but I have had five or six visiters who hindered me; and I have not been quite well. Next week I hope to despatch four or five of them."
April 18, 1780.—You make verses, and they are read in public, and I know nothing about them. This very crime, I think, broke the lick of amity between Richardson and Miss M ; after a tenderness and confidence of inany years."
April 25, 1780.-How do you think I live? On Thursday I dined with Hamilton, and went thence to Mrs. Ord. On Friday, with much company, at
Memoirs of his own Life; for a passage in which, reflecting on Count Woronzow, he was convicted of a libel, and imprisoned in Newgate. He was born in 1751, and created a Baronet in 1813.-C.
1 Compare this with two former phrases, in which Shakspeare and Mrs. Montagu are mentioned, and wonder at the inconsistencies to which the greatest genius and the highest spirit may be reduced !-C.
2 Miss Mulso, afterwards Mrs. Chapone, one of Richardson's female coterie. When about three and twenty, she had been one of the few contributors to the Rambler. She was born in 1727, married Mr. Chapone in 1760, and died in 1801. She was much connected with Mrs. Carter and Mrs. Montagu, and all the Blues.
3 Probably the Right Hon. W. G. Hamilton.-C.
4 This lady (a celebrated blue stocking of her day) was Miss Anne Dillingham, the only daughter of an eminent surgeon. She was early married to Mr. Ord of Northumberland, who left her a very large property. She died in May, 1808, at the age of eighty. tv0.0.
Mrs. Reynolds's. On Saturday at Dr. Bell's. On Sunday at Dr. Burney's, with your two sweets from Kensington, who are both well; at night came Mrs. Ord, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Greville, &c. On Monday with Reynolds; at night with Lady Lucan; to-day with Mr. Langton; to-morrow with the Bishop of St. Asaph; on Thursday with Mr. Bowles; Friday -; Saturday at the Academy ;Sunday with Mr. Ramsay. I told Lady Lucan how long it was since she sent to me; but she said I must consider how the world rolls about her. I not only scour the town from day to day, but many visiters come to me in the morning, so that my work makes no great progress, but I will try to quicken it. I should certainly like to bustle a little among you, but I am unwilling to quit my post till I have made an end."
Mrs. Thrale now being at Bath with her husband, the correspondence between Johnson and her was carried on briskly. I shall present my readers with one of her original letters to him at this tirne, which will amuse them probably more than those well-written but studied epistles which she has inserted in her collection, because it exhibits the easy vivacity of their literary intercourse. It is also of value as a key to Johnson's answer, which she has printed by itself, and of which I shall subjoin extracts.” :
Bath, Friday, April 28. “I had a very kind letter from you yesterday, dear Sir, with a most cir. cumstantial date. You took trouble with my circulating letter, Mr. Evans writes me word, and I thank you sincerely for so doing; one might do mischief else, not being on the spot.
“ Yesterday's evening was passed at Mrs. Montagu's. There was Mr. Melmoth. I do not like him though, nor he me. It was expected we should have pleased each other; he is, however, just Tory enough to hate the Bishop of Peterborough for Whiggism, and Whig enough to abhor you for Toryism.
“Mrs. Montagu flattered him finely; so he had a good afternoon on't.
1 The annual dinner on opening the Exhibition.-C.
? This insinuation against Mrs. Thrale is quite unfounded : her letters are certainly any. thing but studied epistles; and that one which Mr. Boswell has published is not more easy and unaffected, nor in any respect of a different character from those she herself has given -C.
3 This alludes to Johnson's frequent advice to her and Miss Thrale to date their letters, a laudable habit, which, however, he himself did not always practise.-C.
4 William Melmoth, the author of Fitzosborne's Letters, and the translator of the Letters of Pliny and Cicero, and some of the minor works of the latter. He died in 1799, ætat. 89.-C. 5 Dr. John Hinchliffe. VOL. IV.
This evening we spent at a concert. Poor Queeney's sore eyes have just released her: she had a long confinement, and could neither read nor write, so my master treated her, very good-naturedly, with the visits of a young woman in this town, a tailor's daughter, who professes music, and teaches so as to give six lessons a day to ladies, at five and threepence a lesson. Miss Burney says she is a great performer; and I respect the wench for getting her living so prettily. She is very modest and pretty-mannered, and not seventeen years old.
“You live in a fine whirl indeed. If I did not write regularly, you would half forget me, and that would be very wrong, for I felt my regard for you in my face last night, when the criticisms were going on.
“ This morning it was all connoisseurship. We went to see some pictures painted by a gentleman-artist, Mr. Taylor, of this place. My master makes one everywhere, and has got a good dawdling companion to ride with him
. . He looks well enough, but I have no notion of health for a man whose mouth cannot be sewed up. Burney and I and Queeney tease him every meal he eats, and Mrs. Montagu is quite serious with him; but what can one do? He will eat, I think; and if he does eat, I know he will not live. It makes me very unhappy, but I must bear it. Let me always have your friendship. I am, most sincerely, dear Sir, your faithful servant,
“HL. T." LETTER 372. TO MRS. THRALE.
“ London, May 1, 1780. “DEAREST MADAM,-Mr. Thrale never will live abstinently, till he can persuade himself to live by rule * * *.2 Encourage, as you can, the musical girl.
“Nothing is more common than mutual dislike, where mutual approbation is particularly expected. There is often on both sides a vigilance not overbenevolent; and as attention is strongly excited, so that nothing drops unheeded, any difference in taste or opinion, and some difference where there is no restraint will commonly appear, immediately generates dislike.
“Never let criticisms operate on your face or your mind ; it is very rarely that an author is hurt by his critics. The blaze of reputation cannot be blown out, but it often dies in the socket. A very few names may be considered as perpetual lamps that shine unconsumed. From the author of Fitzosborne's Letters' I cannot think myself in much danger. I met him only once about thirty years ago, and in some small dispute reduced him to whistle. Having not seen him since, that is the last impression. Poor Moore, the fabulist, was one of the company.
“Mrs. Montagu's long stay, against her own inclination, is very convenient. You would, by your own confession, want a companion ; and she is par p'ilribus. Conversing with her you may find varicty in one.'
1 I have taken the liberty to leave out a few lines. ? Line of a song in the Spectator, No. 470.-C.
SOMERSET HOUSE EXHIBITION.
" At Mrs. Ord's I met one Mrs. B , a travelled lady, of great spirit, and some consciousness of her own abilities. We had a contest of gallantry an hour long, so much to the diversion of the company, that, at Ramsay's, last night, in a crowded room, they would have pitted us again. There were Smelt? and the Bishop of St. Asaph, who comes to every place; and Lord Monboddo, and Sir Joshua, and ladies out of tale.
“The exhibition, how will you do, either to see or not to see! The exhibi. tion is eminently splendid. There is contour, and keeping, and grace, and expression, and all the varieties of artificial excellence. The apartments were truly very noble. The pictures, for the sake of a skylight, are at the top of the house : there we dined, and I sat over against the Archbishop of York."
“ May 7, 1780.-I dined on Wednesday with Mr. Fitzmaurice, who almost made me promise to pass part of the summer at Llewenny. To-morrow I dine with Mrs. Southwel; and on Thursday with Lord Lucan. To-night I go to Miss Monkton's. Then I scramble, when you do not quite shut me up: but I am miserably under petticoat government, and yet am not very weary nor much ashamed."
“May 8, 1780.—I dine on Thursday at Lord Lucan's, and on Saturday at Lady Craven's; and I dined yesterday with Mrs. Southwel. As to my looks at the Academy, I was not told of them; and as I remember, I was very well, and am well enough now.”
“May 9, 1780.—My Lives creep on. I have done Addison, Prior, Rowe, Granville, Sheffield, Collins, Pitt, and almost Fenton. I design to take Congreve next into my hand. I hope to have done before you can come home, and then whither shall I go?-Did I tell you that Scott and Jones - both offer themselves to represent the University in the place of Sir Roger Newdigate ? They are struggling hard for what others think neither of them will obtain.”
ney, vol. ii
1 Mrs. Buller, of whom Mrs. D'Arblay writes, “Mrs. Buller is tall and elegant in her per. son, genteel and ugly in her face, and abrupt and singular in her manners. She is very clever, sprightly, witty, and much in vogue—a Greek scholar and a celebrated travellerhaving had the maternal heroism to accompany her son on the Grand Tour."-Mem. of Bur.
p. 291.-C. 2 Leonard Smelt, Esq., sub-governor to the sons of George III. He was much in the bluestocking circle of the day; he died in 1800, at an advanced age.-C.
3 The Hon. Mary Monkton, daughter of the first Viscount Galway, born April, 1747 ; married in 1786 to Edmund, seventh Earl of Corke and Orrery. Lodge's Irish Peerage dates her birth 1737, but this is a mistake for an elder sister of the same name. Now in her eighty-ninth year, Lady Corke still entertains and enjoys society with extraordinary health, spirits, and vivacity, and Boswell's description of her fifty-four years ago, as “the lively Miss Monkton, who used always to have the finest bit of blue at her parties,” is characteristic to this day.C. 1835.
+ Lord Stowell and Sir William Jones. On this occasion Sir W. Dolben was chosen, but Lord Stowell was elected for the University of Oxford in 1801, and represented it till his promotion to the peerage in *821.-C.
On the 2d of May I wrote to him, and requested that we might have another meeting somewhere in the north of England in the autumn of this year.
From Mr. Langton I received soon after this time a letter, of which I extract a passage, relative both to Mr. Beauclerk and Dr. Johnson.
“The melancholy information you have received concerning Mr. Beauclerk's death is true. Had his talents been directed in any sufficient degree as they ought, I have always been strongly of opinion that they were calculated to make an illustrious figure; and that opinion, as it had been in part formed upon Dr. Johnson's judgment, receives more and more confirmation by hearing what, since his death, Dr. Johnson has said concerning them. A few evenings ago he was at Mr. Vesey's, where Lord Althorpe, who was one of a numerous company there, addressed Dr. Johnson on the subject of Mr. Beauclerk's death, saying, “Our Club has had a great loss since we met last.' He replied, “A loss that perhaps the whole nation could not repair! The doctor then went on to speak of his endowments, and particularly extolled the wonderful ease with which he uttered what was highly excellent. He said, that no man ever was so free, when he was going to say a good thing, from a look that expressed that it was coming; or, when he had said it, from a look that expressed that it had come.' At Mr. Thrale's, some days before, when we were talking on the same subject, he said referring to the same idea of his wonderful facility, “That Beauclerk's talents were those which he had felt himself more disposed to envy, than those of any whom he had known.'
“On the evening I have spoken of above, at Mr. Vesey's, you would have been much gratified, as it exhibited an instance of the high importance in which Dr. Johnson's character is held, I think even beyond any I ever before was witness to. The company consisted chiefly of ladies; among whom were the Duchess Dowager of Portland, the Duchess of Beaufort, whom,
1 John George, second Earl Spencer, who has been so kind as to answer some of my inquiries relative to the society, of which he and Lord Stowell are now almost the only survivors. -C. He died November 10, 1834—the possessor of one of the choicest private libraries in the world.-C. 1835.
2 Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, only child of the second Earl of Oxford and Mortimer; married in 1734 to the second Duke of Portland. She was the heiress of three great families : herself of the Harleys; her mother (the Lady Harriet of Prior) was the heiress of John Holles, Duke of Newcastle; and her mother again, the heiress of Henry Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle. “ The Duchess of Portland inherited," says the Peerage, “ the spirit of her ancestors in her patronage of literature and the arts." Her birth was congratulated by Swift, and her childhood celebrated by Prior in the well-known nursery lines beginning
“My noble, lovely, little Peggy." The duchess died in 1785.-C.