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noblemen into whose company he was admitted. Johnson. " Suppose a shoemaker should claim an equality with him, as he does with a lord : how he would stare. Why, Sir, do you stare ? (says the shoemaker,) I do great service to society. 'Tis true, I am paid for doing it; but so are you Sir: and I am sorry to say it, better paid than I am, for doing something not so necessary.
For mankind could do better without your books, than without my shoes. Thus, Sir, there would be a perpetual struggle for precedence, were there no fixed invariable rules for the distinction of rank, which creates no jealousy, as it is allowed to be accidental.”
He said, Dr. Joseph Warton was a very agreeable man, and his “ Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope," a very pleasing book. I wondered that he delayed so long to give us the continuation of it. Johnson. “ Why, Sir, I suppose he finds himself a little disappointed, in not having been able to persuade the world to be of his opinion as to Pope."
We have now been favoured with the concluding volume, in which, to use a parliamentary expression, he has explained, so as not to appear quite so adverse to the opinion of the world, concerning Pope, as was at first thought; and we must all agree, that his work is a most valuable accession to English literature.
A writer of deserved eminence (1) being men
(1) It is not easy to say who was here meant. Murphy, wno was born poor, was distinguished for elegance of manners and conversation; and Fielding, who could not have been spoken
tioned, Johnson said, “ Why, Sir, he is a man of good parts, but being originally poor, he has got a love of mean company, and low jocularity; a very bad thing, Sir. To laugh is good, as to talk is good. But you ought no more to think it enough if you laugh, than you are to think it enough if you
talk. You may laugh in as many ways as you talk; and surely every way of talking that is practised cannot be esteemed.”
I spoke of a Sir James Macdonald (1) as a young man of most distinguished merit, who united the highest reputation at Eton and Oxford, with the patriarchal spirit of a great Highland chieftain. I mentioned that Sir James had said to me, that he had never seen Mr. Johnson, but he had a great respect for him, though at the same time it was mixed with some degree of terror. Johnson. “ Sir, if he were to be acquainted with me, it might lessen both."
The mention of this gentleman led us to talk of the Western Islands of Scotland, to visit which he expressed a wish that then appeared to me a very
of as alive in 1763, was born to better prospects, though he kept low company, and had it been Goldsmith, Boswell would pro bably have had no scruple in naming him.-C. 1830. The neighbouring mention of the name of Warton, and the allusion to * fondness for low company," with which he has been often reproached (though Dr. Mant says unjustly), inclines me to suspect that he is the person meant. -C. 1835. [Will the editor allow us to suggest the name of Smollett ; who had left London for Italy, the month before this conversation occurs, and might naturally be talked of. Quart. Rev. 1831.]
(1) See post, March 27. 1772, and September 5. 1773. — C. [See also Mrs. Carter's Letters to Mrs. Montague, for a notice of this gentleman's premature death, vol. i. 316. 320.]
romantic fancy, which I little thought would be afterwards realised. He told me, that his father had put Martin's account of those islands into his hands when he was very young, and that he was highly pleased with it; that he was particularly struck with the St. Kilda man's notion that the high church of Glasgow had been hollowed out of a rock (1); a circumstance to which old Mr. Johnson had directed his attention. He said, he would go to the Hebrides with me, when I returned from my travels, unless some very good companion should offer when I was absent, which he did not think probable; adding, “ There are few people to whom I take so much to as to you." And when I talked of my leaving England, he said with a very affectionate air, “ My dear Boswell, I should be very unhappy at parting, did I think we were not to meet again." - I cannot too often remind my readers, that although such instances of his kindness are doubtless very flattering to me, yet I hope my recording them will be ascribed to a better motive than to vanity; for they afford unquestionable evidence of his tenderness and complacency, which some, while they were forced to acknowledge his great powers, have been so strenuous to deny.
He maintained, that a boy at school was the happiest of human beings. I supported a different opinion, from which I have never get varied, that a man is happier : and I enlarged upon the anxiety and sufferings which are endured at school. JOHNSON.
(1) Addison in the Spectator, No. 50., makes the Indian king suppose that St. Paul's was carved out of a rock - C.
“ Ah! Sir, a boy's being flogged is not so severe as a man's having the hiss of the world against him. Men have a solicitude about fame; and the greater share they have of it, the more afraid they are of losing it." I silently asked myself, “ Is it possible that the great SAMUEL Johnson really entertains any such apprehension, and is not confident that his exalted fame is established upon a foundation never to be shaken?”
He this evening drank a bumper to Sir David Dalrymple, as a man of worth, a scholar, and a wit.” “ I have,” said he, “never heard of him, except from you; but let him know my opinion of him : for, as he does not shew himself much in the world, he should have the praise of the few who hear of him."
Table-Talk. — Influence of the Weather. - Swift.
Thomson. Burke. Sheridan. Evidences of Christianity. — Derrick. Day at Greenwich. – The Methodists. Johnson's
The Convocie tion. Blacklock. Johnson accompanies Boswell to Harwich. The Journey.
« Good Eating.” “ Abstinence and Temperance.' Johnson's favourite Dishes. Bishop Berkeley refuted." Burke. - Boswell sails for Holland.
On Tuesday, July 26., I found Mr. Johnson alone. It was a very wet day, and I again complained of the disagreeable effects of such weather. Johnson. “ Sir, this is all imagination, which physicians encourage; for man lives in air, as a fish lives in water; so that, if the atmosphere press heavy from above, there is an 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 tailor, whose work is within doors, will surely do as much in rainy weather as in fair.
Some very delicate frames indeed may be affected by wet weather ; but not commor. constitutions.”