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down my knife and fork, throw myself back upon my chair, and fairly laugh it out. No, Sir, he was irresistible.* He, upon one occasion, experienced, in an extraordinary degree, the efficacy of his powers of entertaining. Amongst the many and various modes which he tried of getting money, he became a partner with a small-beer brewer, and he was to have a share of the profits for procuring customers amongst his numerous acquaintance. Fitzherbert was one who took his small-beer ; but it was so bad that the servants resolved not to drink it. They were at some loss bow to notify their resolution, being afraid of offending their master, who they knew liked Foote much as a companion. At last they fixed upon a little black boy, who was rather a favourite, to be their deputy, and deliver their remonstrance; and having invested hiin with the whole authority of the kitchen, he was to inform Mr. Fitzherbert, in all their names, upon a certain day, that they would drink Foote's small-beer no longer. On that day Foote happened to dine at Fitzherbert's, and this boy served at table; he was so delighted with Foote's stories, and merriment, and grimace, that when he went down stairs, he told them, "This is the finest man I have ever seen. I will not deliver your message. I will drink his small-beer.”
Somebody observed that Garrick could not have done this. WILKES. 66 Garrick would
* Foote told me, that Johnson said of him, “ For loud obstreperous broad-faced mirth, I know not his equal."
have made the small-beer still smaller. He is now leaving the stage; but he will play Scrub all his life.” I know that Johnson would let nobody attack Garrick but himself, as Garrick said to me, and I had heard him praise his liberality; so to bring out his commendation of his celebrated pupil, I said, loudly, “I have heard Garrick is liberal.” Johnson. “ Yes, Sir, I know that Garrick has given away more money than any man in England that I am acquainted with, and that not from ostentatatious views. Garrick was very poor when he began life; so when he came to have money, he probably was very unskilful in giving away, and saved when he should not. But Garrick began to be liberal as soon as he could; and I am of opinion, the reputation of avarice which he has had, has been very lucky for him, and prevented his having many enemies. You despise a man for avarice, but do not hate him. Garrick might have been much better attacked for living with more splendour than is suitable to a player; if they had had the wit to have assaulted him in that quarter, they might have galled him more. But they have kept clamouring about his avarice, which has rescued him from much obliquy and envy.”
Talking of the great diffiiculty of obtaining authentick information for biography, Johnson told us, “When I was a young fellow I wanted to write the Life of Dryden,' and in order to get materials, I applied to the only two persons then alive who had seen him; these were old Swinney, and old Cibber. Swinney's in
formation was uo more than this, " That at
“ Each might his several province well command,
Boswell. “ And his plays are good." JOHN
Yes; but that was his trade; l'esprit du corps; he had been all his life among players and play-writers. I wondered that he had so little to say in conversation, for he had kept the best company, and learnt all that can be got by the ear. He abused Pindar to me, and then shewed me an ode of his own, with an absurd couplet, making a linnet soar on an eagle's wing. I told him that when the ancients made a simile, they always made it like something real."
Mr. Wilkes reniarked, that “among the bold flights of Shakespeare's imagination, the boldest was making Birnam-wood march to Dunsinane; creating a wood where there never was a shrub; a wood in Scotland ! ha! ha! ha!” And he also observed, “ that the clannish slavery of the Highlands of Scotland was the single exception to Milton's remark of The Mountain Nymph, sweet Liberty,' being worshipped in all hilly countries.”_"When I was at Inverary (said he), on a visit to my old friend Archibald Duke of Argyle, his dependents congratulated me on being such a favourite of his Grace. I said, “It is then, gentlemen, truly lucky for me, for if I had displeased the Duke, and he had wished it, there is not a Campbell among you but would have been ready to bring John Wilkes's head to him in a charger. It would have been only,
• Off with his head! so much for Aylesbury,
I was then member for Aylesbury.
Dr. Johnson and Mr. Wilkes talked of the contested passage
in Horace's Art of Poetry, Difficile est proprie communia dicere.” Mr. Wilkes, according to my note, gave the interpretation thus: “ It is difficult to speak with propriety of common things; as, if a poet had to speak of Queen Caroline drinking tea, he must endeavour to avoid the vulgarity of cups and saucers. But upon reading my note, he tells me that he meant to say, that “the word communia, being a Roman law term, signifies here things communis juris, that is to say, what have never yet been treated by any body; and this appears clearly from what followed,
You will easier make a tragedy out of the Iliad than on any.subject not handled before.*
• My very pleasant friend himself, as well as others who remember old stories, will no doubt be surprised, when I observe that John Wilkes here shews himself to be of the WARBURTONIAN SCHOOL. It is nevertheless true, as appears from Dr. Hurd, the Bishop of Worcester's very elegant commentary and notes on the “ Epistola ad Pisones.”
It is necessary to a fair consideration of the question, that the whole passage in which the words occur should be kept in view:
“ Si quid inexpertum scenæ committis, et audes
Interpres; nec desilies imitator in arctum
The “ Commentary" thus illustrates it: “ But the formation of quite new characters is a work of great difficulty and hazard. For here there is no generally received and fixed