« 이전계속 »
England, except the Bible, is a most valuable help to devotion ; and in addition to it I would recommend two sermons on the saine subject, by Mr. Pott, Archdeacon of St. Alban's, equally distinguished for piety and elegance. I am sorry to have it to say, that Scotland is the only Christian country, Catholic or Protestant, where the great events of our religion are pot splemoly commemorated by its ecclesiastical establishment, on days set apart for the purpose.
Mr. Hector was so good as to accompany me to see the great works of Mr. Bolion, at a place which he has called Soho, about two miles f om Birminghain, which the very ingenious proprietor shewed me himself to the best advantage. I wished Juhnson had been with us : for it was a scene which I should have been glad 10 contemplate by his light. The vastness and the contrivance of some of the machinery would have u matched his inighty mind." I shall never forget Mr. Bolton's expression to me, “ I sell here, Sir, what all the world desires to have POWER.”
He had about seven hundred people at work, I contenplated him as an iron chieftain, and he seemed to be a father to his tribe. One of then came to him, complained grievously of his landlord for having distrained his goods. Your landlord is in the right, Smith, (said Bolton.) But I'll tell you what : find you a friend who will lay down one half of your rent, and I'll lay down the other half; and you shall have your goods again,
From Mr. Hector I now learnt toany particulars of Dr. Johnson's early life, which, with others that he gave me at different times since, have contributed to the formation of this work,
Dr. Johnson said to me in the morning, You will see, Sir, at Mr. Hector's, his sister, Mrs. Careless, a clergyman's widow. She was the first woman with whom I was in love. It dropt out of my head imperceptibly; but she and I shall always have a kindness for each other. He laughed at the notion that a man cao never be really in love but once, and considered it as a mere romantic fancy. i On our return from Mr. 'Bolton's, Mr. Hector took me to his house, where we found Johnson sitting placidly at sea, with his first love ; who, though now adyanced in years, was a genteel woman, very agreeable and well bred.
Johnson lamented to Mr. Hector the state of one of their school-felJows, Mr. Charles Coogreve, a clergy man, which he thus described : “He obtained, I believe, cousiderable preferment in Ireland, but now lives iv London, quite as a valetudinarian, afraid to go into any house but bis own. He takes a short airing in his post-chaise every day. He has an elderly woman, whom he calls cousin, who lives with him, and joge his elbow, when bis glass has stood too long empty, and encourages him in drioking, in which he is rery willing to be encouraged; not that he gets drunk, for he is a very pious man, but he is always muddy. He confesses to one bottle of port every day, and he probably drinks more. He is quite unsocial ; his conversation is quite monosyllabical; and when,
last visit, I asked him what o'clock it was that signal of my
departure had so pleasing an effect on him, that he sprung up to look at his watch, like a greyhound bounding at a hare. When Johnson took leave of Mr. Hector, he said, Don't grow like Congreve; nor let me grow like him, when you are near me.
When he again talked of Mrs. Careless to-night, he seemed to have had his affection revived; for he said, If I had married her, it might have been as happy for me. Boswell. Pray, Sir, do you not suppose that there are fifty women in the world, with any one of whom a man may be as happy, as with any one woman in particular. Johnson, Ay, Sir, fifty thousand. Boswell. Then, Sir, you are not of opinion with some who imagine, that certain men and certain women are made for each other; and that they cannot be happy if they miss their counterparis. Johnson. To be sure not, Sir. I believe marriages would in general be as happy, and often more so, if they were all made by the Lord Chancellor, upon a due consideration of the characters and circumstances, without the parties having any choice in the matter.
I wished to have staid at Birmingham to-night, to have talked more with Mr. Hector; but my friend was impatient to reach bis native city; so we drove on that stage in the dark, and were long pensive and silent. When we came within the focus of the Lichfield lamps, Now (said he,) we are getting out of a state of death. We put up at the Three Crowns, not one of the great inns, but a good old fashioned one, which was kept by Mr. Wilkins, and was the very next house to that in which Johnson was born and brought up, and which was still his own property.
We had a comfortable supper, and got into high spirits. I felt all my Toryism glow in this old capital of Staffordshire. I could have offered incense yenio loci; and I indulged in libations of that ale, which Boniface, ia “The Beaux Stratagem;" recommends with such an eloquent jollity.
Next inorning he introduced me to Mrs. Lucy Porter, his step-daughter. She was now an old maid, with much simplicity of manner. She had never been in London. Her brother, a Captain in the navy, had left her a fortune of ten thousand pounds; about a third of which she had laid out in building a stately house, and making a handsome garden, in an elevated situation in Lichfield. Johnson, when here by himself, used to live at her house. She reverenced him, and he had a parental tenderness for her.
We then visited Mr. Peter Garrick, who had that morning received a letter from his brother David, announcing our coming to Lichfield. Не was engaged to dinner, but asked us to tea, and to sleep at his house. Johnson, however, would not quit his old acquaintance Wilkins, of the Three Crowns. The family likeness of the Garricks was very striking ; and Johnson thought that David's vivacity was not so peculiar to himself as was supposed. Sir, (said he,) I don't know but if Peter had cultivated all the arts of gaiety, as much as David has done, he might have been as brisk and lively. Depend upon it, Sir, vivacity is much an art, and depends greatly on habit. I believe there is a good deal of truth in this, notwithstanding a ludicrous story told me by a lady ubroad, of a heavy German baroi), who had lived much with the young English at Geneva, and was ambitious to be as lively as they ; with which view, he, with assiduous exertion, was jumping over the tables and chairs in his lodgings; and when the people of the house ran in and asked, with surprize, what was the matter, he answered, “Sh' apprens t'etre fif.
We dined at our ion, and had with us a Mr. Jackson, one of Johnson's school-fellows, whom he treated with much kindness, though he seemed to be a low man, dull and untaught. He had a coarse grey coat, black waistcoat, greasy leather breeches, and a yellow uncurled wig; and his countenance had the ruddiness which betokens one who is in no haste to “ leave bis can.” He drank only ale. He had tried to be a cutler at Birmingham, but had not succeeded; and now he lived poorly at home, and had some scheme of dressing leather in a better nia nner than common; to his indistinct account of which, Dr. Johnson listened with patient attention, that he might assist him with his advice.
Here was an instance of genuine humanity and real kindness in this great man, who has been most unjustly represented as altogether harsh and destitute of tenderness, A thousand such instances might have been recorded in the course of his long life; though that his temper was warm and hasty, and his manner often rough, cannot be denied.
I saw here, for the first time, oat ale; and oat cakes, not hard as in Scotland, but soft like a Yorkshire cake, were served at breakfast. It was pleasant to me to find, that “Oats" the “food of horses,” were so much used as the food of the people in Dr. Jolinson's own towu. He expatiated in praise of Lichfield and its inhabitants, who, he said, were "he most sober, decent people in England, the genteelest in proportion to their wealth, and spoke the purest English." I doubted as to the last article of this eulogy : for they had several provincial sounds; as there, pronounced like fear, instead of like fair ; once pronounced woonse, instead of wunce, or wonce. Johoson himself never got entirely free of those provincial accents. Garrick sometimes used to take bim off, squeezing a lemon into a punch-bowl, with uncouth gesticulations, looking round the company, and calling out “Who's for poonsh?”
Very little business appeared to be going forward in Lichfield. I found however two strange manufactures for so inland a place, sail-cloth and streamers for ships; and I observed them making some saddlecloths, and dressing sheep-skins: but upon the whole, the busy haud of industry seemed to be quite slackened. Surely, Sir, (suid I,) you are ao idle set of people. Sır, (said Johnson,) we are a city of philosophers, we work with our heads, and make the boobies of Birmingham work for us with their hands.
There was at this time a company of players performing at Lichfield, The manager, Mr. Stanton, sent his compliments, and begged leave to wait on Dr. Johnson. Johnson received him very courteously, and he No, 7.
drank a glass of wine with us. He was a plain decent well-behaved man, and expressed bis gratitude to Dr. Johnson for having once got him permission from Dr. Taylor at Ashbourne to play there upon moderate terms. Garrick's name was soon introduced. Johnson. Gar. rick's conversation is gay and grotesque. It is a dish of all sorts, but all good things. There is no solid meat in it: there is a want of sentiment in it. Not but that he has sentiment sometimes, and sentiment, too, very powerful and very pleasing: but it has not its full proportion in his conversation.
When we were by ourselves he told me, Forty years ago, Sir, I was in love with an actress here, Mrs. Emmet, who acted Flora, in Hob in the Well.' What merit this lady had as an actress, or what was her figure, or her manner, I have not been informed; but, if
believe Mr. Garrick, his old master's taste in theatrical merit was by no means jefined; he was not an elegant formarum spectator. Garrick 1 sed to tell, that Johnson said of an actor, who played Sir Harry Wildair at Lichfield, “There is a courtly vivacity about the fellow:” when in fact according to Garrick's account, “he was the most vulgar ruffian that ever went upon boards."
We had promised Mr. Stanton to be at his theatre on Monday. Dr. Johnson jocularly proposed to me, to write a Prologue for the occasion : "A Prologue, by James Boswell, Esq. from the Hebrides.” I was really inclined to take the bint. Methought, “Prologue, spoken before Dr. Samuel Johnson, at Lichfield, 1776;" would have sounded as well
Prologue spoken before the Duke of York at Oxford,” in Charles the Seconds tiine. Much might have been said of what Lichfield had done for Shakspeare, by producing Johnson and Garrick. But I found he was averse to it,
We went and viewed the museum of Mr. Richard Green, apothecary here, who told me he was proud of being a relation of Dr. Johnson's. It was, truly, a wonderful collection, both of antiquities and uatural curiosities, and ingenious works of art. He had all the articles accurately arranged, with their names upou labels, printed at his own little press; dud on the staircase leading to it was a board, with the names of contributors marked in gold letters. A printed catalogue of the collection was to b: had at a bookseller's. Johnson expressed his admiration of the activity and diligence and good foriune of Mr. Green, in getting together, in bis situation, so great a variety of things; and Mr. Green told me that Johnson once said to him, “Sir, I should as soon have thought of building a man of war, as of collecting such 4 museum,” Mr. Green's obliging alacrity in shewing it was very pleasing. His engraved portrait, with which he has favoured me, has u motto truly characteristical of bis disposition, “Nemo sibi vivat."
A physician being mentioned who hud lost his practice, because his whimsically changing liis religiou had inade people distrustful of him, I
maintained that this was upreasonable, as religion is unconnected with medical skill. Johnson. Sir, it is not unreasonable; for when people see a man absurd in what they understand, they may conclude the same of him in what they do not understand. If a physician were to take to eating of horse-flesh, nobody would employ him; though one may eat horse-flesh, and be a very s
riskilful physician. If a man were educated in an absurd religion, his continuing to profess it would not hurt him, though his changing to it would,
We drank tea and coffee at Mr. Peter Garrick's, where was Mrs. Aşton, one of the maiden sisters of Mrs. Walmsley, wife of Johnson's first friend, aod sister also of the lady of whom Johnson used to speak with the warmest admiration, by the name of Molly Aston, who was afterwards married to Captain Brodie of the navy.
On Sunday, March 24, we breakfasted with Mrs. Cobb, a widow lady, who lived in an agreeable sequestered place close by the town, called the Friary, it having been formerly a religious house. She and her niece, Miss Adey, were great admirers of Dr. Johnson ; and he behaved to them with a kindness and easy pleasantry, such as we see between old and intimate acquaintance. He accolo panied Mrs, Cobb to St. Mary's church, and I went to the cathedral, where I was very much delighted with the music, finding it to be peculiarly solemn, and accordant with the words of the service.
We dined at Mr. Peter Garrick's, who was in a very lively humour, aad verified Johnson's saying, that if he had cultivated gaiety as much as his brother David, he might have equally excelled in it. He was to-day quite a Loudon narrator, telling us a variety of anecdotes with that earnestuess and attempt at mimickry which we usually find in the wits of the metropolis. Dr. Johnson went with me to the cathedral in the afternoon. It was grand and pleasing to contemplate this illustrious writer, now full of fame, worshipping in “the solemn temple” of his native city.
I returned to tea and coffee at Mr. Peter Garrick's, and then found Dr. Johnson's at the Reverend Mr. Seward's, Canon Residentiary, who johabited the Bishop's palace, in which Mr. Walmsley lived, and which had been the scene of many happy hours in Johoson's early life. Mr. Seward had, with ecclesiastical hospitality aud politeness, asked me in the morning, merely as a stranger, to dine with him; aud in the afternoon, when I was introduced to him, he asked Dr. Johnson and ine to spend the evening and sup.with.hiin. He was a genteel well-breil dignified clergyman, had travelled with Lord Charles Fitzroy, nucle of ile present Duke of Grafton, who died when abroad, and he had lived much in the great world. He was an ingenious and literary man, had published an edition of Beaumont and Fletcher, and written verses in Dodsley's collection. His lady was the daughter of Mr. Hunter, Jobinson's first schoolmaster. And now, for the first time, I had the pleasure of seeing his celebrated daughter, Miss Anna Seward, to whom I have