« 이전계속 »
agreed; and though troubled with a shortness of breathing, labored up a long flight of steps, till we came to the place where the wondrous chest stood. “There, (said Catcot, with a bouncing confident credulity,) there is the very chest itself.” After this ocular demonstration, there was no more to be said.
Johnson said of Chatterton, “This is the most extraordinary young man that has encountered my knowledge. It is wonderful how the whelp has written such things."
We were by no means pleased with our inn at Bristol. “Let us see now, (said I,) how we should describe it." Johnson was ready with his raillery. "Describe it, Sir?- Why, it was so bad, that Boswell wished to be in Scotland!”
“Though many men are nominally entrusted with the administration of hospitals and other public institutions, almost all the good is done by one man, by whom the rest are driven on; owing to confidence in him, and indolence in them.”
“Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son, I think, might be made a very pretty book. Take out the immorality, and it should be put in the hands of every young gentleman. An elegant manner and casiness of behavior are acquired gradually and imperceptibly. No man can say, I'll be genteel.' There are ten genteel women for one genteel man, because they are more restrained. A man without some degree of restraint is insufferable; but we are all less restrained than women.” No man was a more attentive and nice observer of behavior in those in whose company he happened to be, than Johnson; or however strange it may seem to many, had a higher estimation of its refinements. Lord Eliot in
forms me, that one day when Johnson and he were at dinner in a gentleman's house in London, upon Lord Chesterfield's Letters being mentioned, Johnson surprised the company by this sentence:
“Every man of any education would rather be called a rascal, than accused of deficiency in the graces." Mr. Gibbon turned to a lady, and in his quaint manner, tapping his box, “Don't you think, Madam, (looking towards Johnson,) that among all your acquaintance you could find one exception?”
The uncommon vivacity of General Oglethorpe's mind, and variety of knowledge, having sometimes made his conversation seem too desultory, Johnson observed, “Oglethorpe, Sir, never completes what he has to say.”
He on the same account made a similar remark on Patrick Lord Elibank: "Sir, there is nothing conclusive in his talk."
When I complained of having dined at a splendid table without hearing one sentence of conversation worthy of being remembered, he said, “Sir, there seldom is any such conversation." BoSWELL. “Why then meet at table?” Johnson. "Why to eat and drink together, and to promote kindness; and, Sir, this is better done when there is no solid conversation; for when there is, people differ in opinion, and get into bad humor, or some of the company who are not capable of such conversation, are left out, and feel themselves uneasy.
Being irritated by hearing a gentleman ask Mr. Levett a variety of questions concerning him, when he was sitting by he broke out, “Sir, you have but two topics, yourself and me. I am sick of both." “Aman, (said he,) should not talk of himself, nor
much of any particular person. He should take care not to be made a proverb; and, therefore, should avoid having any one topic of which people can say, “We shall hear him on it.'"
“Every man is to take existence on the terms on which it is given to him. To some men it is given on condition of not taking liberties, which other men may take without much harm. One may drink wine, and be nothing the worse for it; on another, wine may have effects so inflammatory as to injure him both in body and mind, and perhaps, make him commit something for which he may deserve to be hanged.'
I am now to record a very curious incident in Dr. Johnson's life, which fell under my own observation; of which pars magna fui, and which I am persuaded will, with the liberal-minded, be much to his credit.
My desire of being acquainted with celebrated men of every description, had made me, much about the same time, obtain an introduction to Dr. Samuel Johnson and to John Wilkes, Esq. Two men more different could perhaps not be selected out of all mankind. They had even attacked one another with some asperity in their writings; yet I lived in habits of friendship with both. I could fully relish the excellence of each; for I have ever delighted in that intellectual chemistry, which can separate good qualities from evil in the same person,
Sir John Pringle, "mine own friend and my father's friend," between whom and Dr. Johnson I in vain wished to establish an acquaintance, as I respected and lived in intimacy with both of them, observed to me once, very ingeniously, "It is not in
friendship as in mathematics, where two things, each equal to a third, are equal between themselves. You agree with Johnson as a middle quality, and you agree with me as a middle quality; but Johnson and I should not agree." Sir John was not sufficiently flexible; so I desisted; knowing, indeed, that the repulsion was equally strong on the part of Johnson; who, I know not from what cause, unless his being a Scotchman, had formed a very erroneous opinion of Sir John. But I conceived an irresistible wish, if possible, to bring Dr. Johnson and Mr. Wilkes together. How to manage it, was a nice and difficult manner.
My worthy booksellers and friends, Messieurs Dilly in the Poultry, at whose hospitable and wellcovered table I have seen a greater number of literary men, than at any other, except that of Sir Joshua Reynolds, had invited me to meet Mr. Wilkes and some more gentlemen, on Wednesday, May 15. “Pray (said I, let us have Dr. Johnson."-"What, with Mr. Wilkes? not for the world, said Mr. Edward Dilly); Dr. Johnson would never forgive me.”—“Come, (said I,) if you'll let me negotiate for you, I will be answerable that all shall go well." Dilly. Nay, if you will take it upon you, I am sure I shall be very happy to see them both here.
Dr. Johnson was sometimes actuated by the spirit of contradiction, and by means of that I hoped I should gain my point. If I had come upon him with a direct proposal, “Sir, will you dine in company with Jack Wilkes?”' he would have flown into a passion, and would probably have answered, “Dine with Jack Wilkes, Sir! I'd as soon dine with Jack Ketch." I therefore, while we were sitting quietly
by ourselves at his house in an evening, took occasion to open my plan thus "Mr. Dilly, Sir, sends his respectful compliments to you, and would be happy if you would do him the honor to dine with him on Wednesday next along with me, as I must soon go to Scotland.” Johnson. “Sir, I am obliged to Mr. Dilly. I will wait upon him—" BOSWELL. “Provided, Sir, I suppose, that the company which he is to have, is agreeable to you. Johnson. “What do you mean, Sir? What do you take me for? Do you think I am so ignorant of the world, as to imagine that I am to prescribe to a gentleman what company he is to have at his table?”' BOSWELL. “I beg your pardon, Sir, for wishing to prevent you from meeting people whom you might not like. Perhaps he may have some of what he calls his patriotic friends with him." Johnson. “Well, Sir, and what then? What care I for his patriotic friends? Poh!” BOSWELL. “I should not be surprised to find Jack Wilkes there." Johnson. “And if Jack Wilkes should be there, what is that to me, Sir? My dear friend, let us have no more of this. I am sorry to be angry with you; but really it is treating me strangely to talk to me as if I could not meet any company whatever, occasionally.” BosWELL. “Pray, forgive me, Sir; I meant well. But you shall meet whoever comes, for me. Thus I secured him, and told Dilly that he would find him very well pleased to be one of his guests on the day appointed.
Upon the much expected Wednesday, I called on him about half an hour before dinner, as I often did when we were to dine out together, to see that he was ready in time, and to accompany him. I