« 이전계속 »
« On Wednesday, July 6,” says Boswell," he was engaged to sup with me at my lodgings in Downingstreet, Westminster ; but on the preceding night my landlord having behaved very rudely to me and some company who were with me, I had resolved not to remain another night in his house.
I was exceedingly uneasy at the awkward appearance I supposed I should make to Johnson and the other gentlemen whom I had invited, not being able to receive them at home, and being obliged to order supper at the Mitre. I went to Johnson in the morning, and talked of it as of a serious distress. He laughed, and said, ' Consider, Sir, how insignificant this will appear a twelvenonth hence.'-Were this consideration to be applied to most of the little vexatious incidents of life, by which our quiet is too often disturbed, it would prevent many painful sensations. I have tried it frequently with good effect.
There is nothing,' continued he, 'in this mighty misfortune; nay, we shall be better at the Mitre.' I told him, that I had been at sir John Fielding's office, complaining of my landlord, and had been in. formed, that though I had taken my lodgings for a year, I might, upon proof of his bad behaviour, quit them when I pleased, without being under an obli. gation to pay rent for any lovger time than while I possessed them. The fertility of Johnson's mind could show itself even upon so small a matter as this. Why, sir,' said he, ' I suppose this must be the law, since you have been told so in Bow-street. But if your landlord could hold you to your bargain, and the lodgings should be yours for a year, you may certainly use them as you think fit. So, sir, you may quarter two life-guardsmen upon him; or
you may send the greatest scoundrel you can find into your apartments; or you may say, that you wish to make some experiments in natural philosophy, and may burn a large quantity of assafætida in his house.'
Boswell mentioned the advice given us by philosophers, to console ourselves, when distressed or embarrassed, by thinking of those who are in a worse situation than ourselves. This, he observed, could not apply to all, for there must be some who have nobody worse than they are. Johnson. “ Why to be sure, sir, there are; but they don't know it. There is no being so poor and so contemptible, who does not think there is somebody still poorer and still more contemptible.”
He often enlarged upon the wretchedness of a sea life. “ A ship is worse than a gaol. There is in a gaol better air, better company, better conveniency of every kind ; and a ship has the additional disad vantage of being in danger. When men come to like a sea life, they are not fit to live on land." Boswell. “ Then it would be cruel in a father to breed his son to the sea." JOHNSON. “ It would be cruel in a father who thinks as I do. Men go to sea before they know the unhappiness of that way of life; and when they have come to know it, they cannot escape from it, because it is then too late to choose another profession; as indeed is generally the case with men, when they hare once engaged in any particular way of life.”
Talking of war : Johnson. “ Every man thinks meanly of himself, for not having been a soldier, or pot having been at sea." Boswell. “ Lord Mansfield does not.” Johnson, “Sir, if lord Mansfield
were in a company of general officers and admirals who have been in service, he would shrink; he'd wish to creep under the table." BosWELL. “ No, he'd think he could try them all.” Johnson. “ Yes, if he could catch them : but they'd try him much sooner. No, sir; were Socrates and Charles the Twelfth of Sweden both present in any coinpany, and Socrates to say, ' Follow me and hear a lecture in philosophy:' and Charles, laying his hand on his sword, to say, Follow me, and dethrone the Czar;' a man would be ashamed to follow Socrates. Sir, the impression is universal : yet it is strange. As to the sailor, when you look down from the quarter. deck to the space below, you see the utmost extremity of human misery : such crowding, such filth, such stench !" BOSWELL. “ Yet sailors are happy." JOHNSON. They are happy as brutes are happy, with a piece of fresh meat,-with the grossest sensuality. But, sir, the profession of soldiers and sailors has the dignity of danger. Mankind reverence those who have got over fear, which is so general a weakness.” Scott. “ But is not courage mechanical, and to be acquired?” JOHNSON.“ Why yes, sir, in a collective sense. Soldiers consider themselves only as part of a great machine.” Scott. “ We find people fond of being sailors.” JOHNSON. “ I cannot account for that, any more than I can account for other strange perversions of imagina. tion."
“His abhorrence of the profession of a sailor," says Boswell, was uniformly violent; but in conversation he always exalted the profession of a soldier : and yet I have, in my large and various collection of his writings, a letter to an eminent friend, in which he expresses himself thus : 'Mygod-sou called on me lately. He is weary, and rationally weary, of a military life. If you can place him in some other state, I think you may increase his happiness, and secure his virtue. A soldier's time is passed in distress and dan. ger, or in idleness and corruption.' Such was his cool reflection in his study; but whenever he was warmed and animated by the presence of company, he, like other philosophers, whose minds are impregnated with poetical fancy, caught the common enthusiasm for splendid renown.
Boswell having mentioned lord Charles Hay, with whom he knew Dr. Johnson had been acquainted. Johnson. “ I wrote something for Lord Charles; and I thought he had nothing to fear from a court-martial. I suffered a great loss when he died; he was a mighty pleasing man in conversa. tion, and a reading man. The character of a soldier is high. They who stand forth the foremost in dan. ger for the community, have the respect of mankind. An officer is much more respected than any other man who has as little money. In a commercial country, money will always purchase respect : but you find, an officer who has, properly speaking, no money, is every where well received, and treated with attention. The character of a soldier always stands him in stead.” BOSWELL." Yet, sir, I think that common soldiers are worse thought of than other men in the same rank of life; such as labourers.” JOHNSON. "6 Why sir, a common soldier is usually a very gross man, and any quality which procures respect may be overwhelmed by grossness. A man of learning may be so vicious, that you can. not respect him. A common soldier too generally
eats more than he can pay for. But when a common soldier is civil in his quarters, his red coat procures him a degree of respect.” The peculiar respect paid to the military character in France was mentioned. BOSWELL. “ I should think, that where military men are so numerous, they would be less valued, as not being rare.” JOHNSON. “ Nay, sir, wherever a particular character or profession is high in the estimation of a people, those who are of it will be valued above other men. We value an Englishman high in this couutry, and yet Englishmen are not rare in it."
The following is one of the many sketches of cha. racter which was treasured in his mind, and which he was wont to produce quite unexpectedly in a very entertaining manuer. “ I lately received a letter from the East Indies from a gentleman whom I formerly knew very well; he had returned from that country with a handsome fortune, as it was reckoned, before means were found to acquire those immense sums which have been brought from thence of late ; he was a scholar, and an agreeable mau, and lived very prettily in London, till his wife died. After her death, he took to dissipation and gaming, and lost all he had. One evening he lost a thousand pounds to a gentleman whose name I am sorry I have forgotten. Next morning he sent the gentleman five hundred pounds, with an apology that it. was all he had in the world. The gentleman sent, the money back to him, declaring he would not accept of it; and adding, that if Mr. *** had occasion for five hundred pounds more, he would lend it to him. He resolved to go out again to the East Indies, and make his fortune anew. He got a con