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which physicians encourage ; for man lives in air, as fish lives in water; so that if the atmosphere press heavy from above, there is equal resistance from below. To be sure bad weather is hard upon people who are obliged to be abroad ; and men cannot labour so well in the open air in bad weather, as in good; but, sir, a smith or a tailor, whose work is within doors, will surely do as much in rainy weather as in fair. Some delicate frames, indeed, may be affected by wet weather ; but not common constitutions."
Subsequently, however, when seventy-five, Johnson wrote to Dr. Burney: “ The weather, you know, has not been balmy; I am now reduced to think, and am at last reduced to talk, of the weather. Pride must have a fall."
Talking of our feeling for the distresses of others : Johnson. “ Why, sir, there is much noise made about it, but it is greatly exaggerated. No, sir, we have a certain degree of feeling to prompt us to do good; more than that Providence does not intend. It would be misery to no purpose.” Boswell. “ But suppose now, sir, that one of your intimate friends were apprehended for an offence for which he might be hanged.” JOHNSON. “ I should do what I could to bail him, and give him any other assistance; but if he were once fairly hanged, I should uot suffer.” Boswell.“ Would you eat your dinner that day, sir ?” Johnson. “ Yes, sir, and eat it as if he were eating with me. Why, there's Baretti, who is to be tried for his life to-morrow: friends have risen up for him on every side; yet if he should be hanged, none of them will eat a slice of plum-pudding the less. Sir, that sympathetic
feeling goes a very little way in depressing the mind.” BOSWELL. “ I dined lately at Foote's, who showed me a letter, which he had received from Tom Davies, telling him, that he had not been able to sleep from the concern he felt on account of this said affair of Baretti, begging of him to try if he could suggest any thing that might be of service, and at the same time recommending to him an industrious young man who kept a pickle-shop." JOHNSON. “ Ay, sir, here you have a specimen of human sympathy; a friend hạnged, and a cucumber pickled. We know not whether Baretti or the pickle man kept Davies from sleep; nor does he know himself. And as to his not sleeping, sir, Tom Davies is a very great man : Tom has been upon the stage, and knows how to do those things ;
I have not been upon the stage, and cannot do those things." Boswell. “ I have often blamed myself, sir, for pot feeling for others as sensibly as many say they do." Johnson. “ Sir, don't be duped by them any more. You will find these very feeling people are not very ready to do you good. They pay you by feeling."
On another occasion, he said, “ Pity is not patural to man. Children are always cruel. Savages are always cruel. Pity is acquired and improved by the cultivation of reason. We may have uneasy sensations from seeing a creature in distress, without pity; for we have not pity unless we wish to relieve them. When I am on my way to dine with a friend, and finding it late, have bid the coachman make haste, if I happen to attend when he whips his horses, I may feel unpleasantly that the ani
mals are put to pain, but I do not wish him to de. sist. No, sir, I wish him to drive on.”
Yet the reverend Dr. Maxwell of Ireland, some time assistant preacher at the Temple, and for many years the social friend of Johnsou, said of him, “ His philosophy, though austere and solemn, was by no means morose and cynical, and never blunted the laudable sensibilities of his character, or exempted him from the influence of the tender passions. Want of tenderness, he always alleged, was want of parts, and was no less a proof of stupidity than of depravity.”
Speaking of a certain prelate, who exerted himself very laudably in building churches and parsonage-houses; however,"
;" said he, “ I do not find that he is esteemed a man of such professional learning, or a liberal patron of it; yet it is well where a mau possesses any strong positive excellence. Few have all kinds of merit belonging to their character. We must not examine matters too deeply—No, sir, a fallible being will fail somewhere."
He observed, it was a most mortifying reflection for any man to consider whut he had done, com: pared with what he might have done.
He also said, that so many objections might be made to every thing, that nothing could overcome them: but the necessity of doing something. No man would be of any profession, as simply opposed to not being of it; but every one must do some, thing.
On another occasion, however, he made the com. mon remark on the unhappiness which men who
have led a busy life experience, when they retire in expectation of enjoyiug themselves at ease; and that they generally languish for want of their habitual occupation, and wish to return to it. He mentioned as strong an instance of this as can well be imagined. “ An eminent tallow-chandler in Lon. don, who had acquired a considerable fortune, gave up the trade in favour of his foreman, and went to live at a country-house near town. He soon grew weary, and paid frequent visits to his old shop, where he desired they might let him know their melting-days, and he would come and assist them; which he accordingly did. Here, sir, was a man, to whom the most disgusting circumstances in the business to which he had been used, was a relief from idleness."
He said, mankind have a strong attachment to the habitations to which they have been accustomed. "You see the inhabitants of Norway do not, with one consent, quit it, and go to some part of America, where there is a mild climate, and where they may have the same produce from land with the tenth part of labour. No, sir, their affection for their old dwellings, and the terror of a general change, keep them at home. Thus we see many of the finest spots in the world thinly inhabited, and many rugged spots well inhabited.”
Boswell mentioned a friend of his who had resided long in Spain, and was unwilling to return to Britain. JOHNSON. “ Sir, he is attached to some. woman.” BOSWELL. “ I rather believe, sir, it is the fine climate that keeps him there.” JOHNSON. “ Nay, sir, how can you talk so ? What is climate to happiness ? Place me in the heart of Asia,
should I not be exiled ? What proportion does climate bear to the complete system of human life? You may advise me to go to live at Bologna to eat sausages. The sausages there are the best in the world; they lose much by being carried.”
He observed, a principal source of erroneous judgment was viewing things partially, and only on one side: as, for instance, fortune-hunters, when they contemplated the fortunes singly and separately, it was a dazzling and tempting object; but when they came to possess the wives and the fortunes together, they began to suspect they had not made quite so good a bargain.
Boswell gave him an account of the excellent mimicry of a friend of his in Scotland; observing, at the same time, that some people thought it a very mean thing. Johnson. “ Why, sir, it is making a very mean use of mau's powers. But to be a good mimic, requires great powers; great acuteness of observation, great retention of what is observed, and great pliancy of organs, to represent what is observed. I remember a lady of quality of this town, lady *****, who was a wonderful mimic, and used to make me laugh immoderately. I have heard she is now gone mad.” Boswell. “ It is amazing how a mimic can not only give you the gestures and voice of a person whom he represents, but even what a person would say on any particular subjeet.” JOHNSON. “Why, sir, you are to consider that the manner and some particular phrases of a person do much to impress you with an idea of him; and you are not sure that he would say what the mimic says in his character.” Boswell. “I don't think Foote a good mimic, sir.” JOHNSON.