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at hoping. Johnson, melancholy, and hypochondriacal, and prone to apprehend the worst, yet sternly resolute to battle with and conquer it, had made his way doggedly and gloomily, but with a noble principle of self-reliance and a disregard of foreign aid. Both had been irregular at college : Goldsmith, as we 5 have shown, from the levity of his nature and his social and convivial habits ; Johnson, from his acerbity and gloom. When, in after-life, the latter heard himself spoken of as gay and frolicsome at college, because he had joined in some riotous excesses there, 6
Ah, sir!” replied he, “I was mad and violent. It was 10 bitterness which they mistook for frolic. I was miserably poor, and I thought to fight my way by my literature and my wit. So I disregarded all power and all authority.”
Goldsmith's poverty was never accompanied by bitterness; but neither was it accompanied by the guardian pride which 15 kept Johnson from falling into the degrading shifts of poverty. Goldsmith had an unfortunate facility at borrowing, and helping himself along by the contributions of his friends; no doubt trusting in his hopeful way, of one day making retribution. Johuson never hoped, and therefore never borrowed. In his 20 sternest trials he proudly bore the ills he could not master. In his youth, when some unknown friend, seeing his shoes completely worn out, left a new pair at his chamber-door, he disdained to accept the boon, and threw them away.
Though like Goldsmith an immethodical student, he had im- 25 bibed deeper draughts of knowledge, and made himself a riper scholar. While Goldsmith's happy constitution and genial humors carried him abroad into sunshine and enjoyment, Johnson's physical infirmities and mental gloom drove him upon himself; to the resources of reading and meditation; threw a 30 deeper though darker enthusiasm into his mind, and stored a retentive memory with all kinds of knowledge.
After several years of youth passed in the country as usher, teacher, and an occasional writer for the press, Johnson, when twenty-eight years of age, came up to London with a half-writ- 35 ten tragedy in his pocket; and David Garrick, late his pupil, and several years his junior, as a companion, both poor
penniless, – both, like Goldsmith, seeking their fortune in the metropolis. “We rode and tied,” said Garrick sportively in
after years of prosperity, when he spoke of their humble way. faring. “I came to London,” said Johnson, “with twopence halfpenny in my pocket.”—“Eh, what's that you say?" cried Garrick, “with twopence halfpenny in your pocket?” 5“Why, yes : I came with twopence halfpenny in my pocket, and thou, Davy, with but three halfpence in thine.” Nor was there much exaggeration in the picture ; for so poor were they in purse and credit, that after their arrival they had, with
difficulty, raised five pounds, by giving their joint note to a book10 seller in the Strand.
Many, many years had Johnson gone on obscurely in London, fighting his way by his literature and his wit;” enduring all the hardships and miseries of a Grub-Street writer : so destitute
at one time, that he and Savageo the poet had walked all night 15 about St. James's Square, both too poor to pay for a night's
lodging, yet both full of poetry and patriotism, and determined to stand by their country; so shabby in dress at another time, that, when he dined at Cave's, his bookseller, when there was
prosperous company, he could not make his appearance at. 20 table, but had his dinner handed to him behind a screen.
Yet through all the long and dreary struggle, often diseased in mind as well as in body, he had been resolutely self-dependent, and proudly self-respectful; he had fulfilled his college vow,
he had “fought his way by his literature and his wit.” His 25 Rambler and Idler had made him the great moralist of the
age, and his Dictionary and History of the English Language, that stupendous monument of individual labor, had excited the admiration of the learned world. He was now at the head
of intellectual society; and had become as distinguished by 30 his conversational as his literary powers.
He had become as much an autocrat in his sphere as his fellow-wayfarer and adventurer Garrick had become of the stage, and had been humorously dubbed by Smollett, “ The Great Cham of Literature.”
Such was Dr. Johnson, when on the 31st of May, 1761, he 35 was to make his appearance as a guest at a literary supper
given by Goldsmith to a numerous party at his new lodgings in Wine-Office Court. It was the opening of their acquaint
Johnson had felt and acknowledged the merit of Goldsmith as
an author, and been pleased by the honorable
mention made of himself in the Bee and the Chinese Letters. Dr. Percy called upon Johnson to take him to Goldsmith's lodgings; he found Johnson arrayed with unusual care in a new suit of clothes, a new hat, and a well-powdered wig; and could not but notice his uncommon spruceness. “Why, sir,” 5 replied Johnson, “ I hear that Goldsmith, who is a very great sloven, justifies his disregard of cleanliness and decency by quoting my practice, and I am desirous this night to show him a better example.”
The acquaintance thus commenced ripened into intimacy in 10 the course of frequent meetings at the shop of Davies, the bookseller, in Russell Street, Covent Garden. As this was one of the great literary gossiping-places of the day, especially to the circle over which Johnson presided, it is worthy of some specification. Mr. Thomas Davies, noted in after-times as the 15 biographer of Garrick, had originally been on the stage, and though a small man, had enacted tyrannical tragedy with a pomp and magniloquence beyond his size, if we may trust the description given of him by Churchill in the Rosciado: “ Statesman all over in plots famous grown,
20 He mouths a sentence as curs mouth a bone." This unlucky sentence is said to have crippled him in the midst of his tragic career, and ultimately to have driven him from the stage. He carried into the bookselling craft somewhat of the grandiose manner of the stage, and was prone to 25 be mouthy and magniloquent.
Churchill had intimated, that while on the stage he was more noted for his pretty wife than his good acting :
“With him came mighty Davies ; on my life,
That fellow has a very pretty wife.” Pretty Mrs. Davies” continued to be the loadstar of his fortunes. Her tea-table became almost as much a literary lounge as her husband's shop. She found favor in the eyes of the Ursa Major of literature by her winning ways, as she poured out for him cups without stint of his favorite beverage. 35 Indeed it is suggested that she was one leading cause of his habitual resort to this literary haunt. Others were drawn
thither for the sake of Johnson's conversation, and thus it became a resort of many of the notorieties of the day. Here might occasionally be seen Bennet Langton, George Steevens, Dr. Percy, celebrated for his ancient ballads, and sometimes 5 Warburton in prelatic state. Garrick resorted to it for a time, but soon grew shy and suspicious, declaring that most of the authors who frequented Mr. Davies's shop went merely to abuse him.
Foote, the Aristophanes of the day, was a frequent visitor; 10 his broad face beaming with fun and waggery, and his satirical
eye ever on the lookout for characters and incidents for his farces. He was struck with the odd habits and appearance of Johnson and Goldsmith, now so often brought together in
Davies's shop. He was about to put on the stage a farce called 15 The Orators, intended as a hit at the Robin Hood debating
club, and resolved to show up the two doctors in it for the entertainment of the town.
“What is the common price of an oak stick, sir?” said Johnson to Davies. Sixpence,” was the reply. Why then, sir, give 20 me leave to send your servant to purchase a shilling one. I'll
have a double quantity, for I am told Foote means to take me off as he calls it, and I am determined the fellow shall not do it with impunity."
Foote had no disposition to undergo the criticism of the 25 cudgel wielded by such potent hands, so the farce of The
Orators appeared without the caricatures of the lexicographer and the essayist.
Oriental Projects. - Literary Jobs. — The Cherokee Chiefs. – Merry
Islington and the White Conduit House. - Letters on the History of England. - James Boswell. — Dinner of Davies. — Anecdotes of Johnson and Goldsmith.
NOTWITHSTANDING his growing success, Goldsmith continued to consider literature a mere makeshift, and his vagrant imagi30 nation teemed with schemes and plans of a grand but indefinite
nature. One was for visiting the East and exploring the interior of Asia. He had, as has been before observed, a vague notion that valuable discoveries were to be made there, and many useful inventions in the arts brought back to the stock of European knowledge. “ Thus, in Siberian Tartary,” observes 5 he, in one of his writings, “ the natives extract a strong spirit from milk, which is a secret probably unknown to the chemists of Europe. In the most savage parts of India they are possessed of the secret of dyeing vegetable substances scarlet, and that of refining lead into a metal which, for hardness and color, is little 10 inferior to silver."O
Goldsmith adds a description of the kind of person suited to such an enterprise, in which he evidently had himself in view.
“He should be a man of philosophical turn, one apt to deduce consequences of general utility from particular occurrences ; 15 neither swoln with pride, nor hardened by prejudice; neither wedded to one particular system, nor instructed only in one particular science; neither wholly a botanist, nor quite an antiquarian; his mind should be tinctured with miscellaneous knowledge, and his manners humanized by an intercourse 20 with men. He should be in some measure an enthusiast to the design; fond of travelling, from a rapid imagination and an innate love of change; furnished with a body capable of sustaining every fatigue, and a heart not easily terrified at danger.”
In 1761, when Lord Bute became prime minister on the acces- 25 sion of George the Third, Goldsmith drew up a memorial on the subject, suggesting the advantages to be derived from a mission to those countries solely for useful and scientific purposes; and, the better to insure success, he preceded his application to the government by an ingenious essay to the same 30 effect in the Public Ledger.
His memorial and his essay were fruitless, his project most probably being deemed the dream of a visionary. Still it continued to haunt his mind, and he would often talk of making an expedition to Aleppo some time or other, when his means 35 were greater, to inquire into the arts peculiar to the East, and to bring home such as might be valuable. Johnson, who knew how little poor Goldsmith was fitted by scientific lore for this favorite scheme of his fancy, scoffed at the project when it was