« 이전계속 »
siderable appointment, and I had some intention of accompanying him. Had I thought then as I do now, I should have gone : but at that time I had objectious to quitting Eugland.”
Boswell mentioned a new gaming-club, of which Mr. Beanclerk had given him an account, where the members played to a desperate extent. JOHNSON. “ Depend upon it, sir, this is mere talk. Who is ruined by gaining ? You will not find six instances in an age. There is a strange rout made about deep play: whereas you have many more ruined by ad. venturous trade, and yet we do not hear such an outcry against it.” THRALE, “ There may be few people absolutely ruined by deep play; but very many are much hurt in their circumstances by it." JOHNSON. “ Yes, sir, and so are very many by other kinds of expense.” Boswell adds, “ I had heard him talk once before in the same manner; and at Oxford he said, “ he wished he had learned to play at cards.' The truth, however, is, that he loved to display his ingenuity in argument, and therefore would sometimes in conversation maintain opinions, which he was sensible were wrong, but in supporting which, his reasoning and wit would be most conspicuous. He would begin thus : 'Why, sir, as to the good or evil of card-playing— Now,' said Garrick, he is thinking which side he shall take.' He appeared to have a pleasure in contradiction, especially when any opinion whatever was delivered with an air of confidence ; so that there was hardly any topic, if not one of the great truths of religion and morality, that he might not have been incited to argue either for or against.”
Johnson spoke of St. Kilda, the most remote of
the Hebrides. Boswell told him he thought of buying it. Johnson. “ Pray do, sir. We will go and pass a winter amid the blasts there. We shall have fine fish, and we will take some dried tongues with us, and some books. We will have a strong built vessel, and some Orkney men to navigate her. We must build a tolerable house : but we may carry with us a wooden house ready inade, and requiring nothing but to be put up. Consider, sir, by buying St. Kilda, you may keep the people from falling into worse hands. We must give them a clergyman, and he shall be one of Beattie's choosing. He shall be educated at Marischal college. I'll be your lord chancellor, or what you please." Boswell. “ Are you serious, sir, in advising me to buy St. Kilda ? for if you should advise me to go to Japan, I believe I should do it.”. Johnson. “ Why, yes, sir, I am serious.” Boswell. “ Why, then, I'll see what can be done.”
Boswell told Dr. Johnson he had been talking of him to Mr. Dunning a few days before, and had said, that in his company we did not so much interchange conversation, as listen to him; and that Dunning observed, upon this, “ One is always willing to listen to Dr. Johnson;" to which Boswell answered, “That is a great deal from you, sir.”—“ Yes, sir,” said Johnson, “ a great deal indeed. Here is a man will. ing to listen, to whom the world is listening all the rest of the year.” BOSWELL. “ I think, sir, it is right to tell one man of such a handsome thing which has been said of him by another. It tends to increase benevolence.” JOHNSON, " Undoubtedly, it is right, sir.”
“ I told him," says Boswell, “ that our friend
Goldsmith had complained to me, that he had come too late into the world, for that Pope and other poets had taken up the places in the temple of Fame; so that as but a few at any period can pos. sess poetical reputation, a man of genius can now hardly acquire it. Johnson. " That is one of the most sensible things I have ever heard of Goldsmith. It is difficult to get literary fame, and it is every day growing more difficult.'"
Boswell' described to him an impudent fellow from Scotland, who affected to be a savage, and railed at all established systems. JOHNSON. “There is nothing surprising in this, sir. He wants to make himself conspicuous. He would tumble in a hogsty, as long as you looked at him, and called to him to come out : but let him alone, never mind him, and he'll soon give it over.” Boswell.“ The same person maintains that there is no distinction between virtue and vice.” JOHNSON. “ Why, sir, if the fellow does not think as he speaks, he is lying; and I see not what honour he can propose to himself from having the character of a liar. But if he does really think that there is no distinction between virtue and vice, why, sir, when he leaves our houses, let us count our spoons."
Having come from the Pantheon, Boswell said there was not half-a-guinea's worth of pleasure in seeing that place. Joinson. “ But, sir, there is half-a-guinea's worth of inferiority to other people in not having seen it." BOSWELL. “ I doubt, sir, whether there are many happy people here." JOHNSON. “ Yes, sir, there are many happy people here. There are many people here who are watching hun. dreds, and who think hundreds are watching them."
Happening to meet sir Adam Ferguson, Boswell presented him to Dr. Johnson, Sir Adam expressed some apprehension that the Pantheon would encourage luxury. “ Sir,” said Johnson, “I am a great friend to public amusements; for they keep people from vice."
When one of his friends endeavoured to maintain that a country gentleman might contrive to pass bis life very agreeably, “Sir," said he, “ you cannot give me an instance of any man who is permitted to lay out his own time, contriving not to have tedious hours." This observation, however, is equally applicable to gentlemen who live in cities, and are of no profession,
Mr. Strahan talked of launching into the great ocean of London, in order to have a chance for rising into eminence; and observing, that many men were kept back from trying their fortunes there, because they were born to a competency, said, “ Small certainties are the bane of men of talents ;" which Johnson confirmed. Mr. Stralian put Johnson in mind of a reniark which he had made to him-" There are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in geting money." “ The more one thinks of this,” said Strahan, “ the juster it will appear."
He disliked much all speculative desponding considerations, which tended to discourage men from diligence and exertion. He was in this like Dr. Shaw, the great traveller, who, according to Mr. Daines Barrington, used to say, “ I hate a cui bono man." Upon being asked by a friend, what he should think of a man who was apt to say non est tanti ;-"That he's a stupid fellow, sir;" answered
Johnson : “ what would these tanti men be doing the while ?” When Boswell, in a low-spirited fit, was talking to him with indifference of the pursuits which generally engage us in a course of action, and inquiring a reason for taking so much trouble; “ Sir," said he, in an animated tone, “it is driving on the system of life.”
-When Boswell visited Lichfield in company with Johnson, very little business appeared to be going forward there. He found, however, two strange manufactures for so inland a place, sail-cloth and streamers for ships; and observed them making some saddle-cloths, and dressing sheep-skins : but upon the whole, the busy hand of industry seemed to be quite slackened. “Surely, sir,” said Boswell, « you are an idle set of people.” “ Sir,” 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."
Upon the question, whether a man who had been guilty of vicious actions would do well to force himself into solitude and sadness ? Johnson. “ No, sir, unless it prevent him from being vicious again. With some people, gloomy penitence is only madness turned upside down. A man may be gloomy, till, in order to be relieved from gloom, he has recourse again to criminal indulgences." ;
Johnson called on Boswell with Mrs. Williams, in Mr. Strahan's coach, and carried him out to dine with Mr. Elphinstone, at his academy at Kensington. A printer having acquired a sufficient fortune to keep his coach was a good topic for the credit of litera. ture. Mrs. Williams said, “ That another printer, Mr. Hamilton, had not waited so long as Mr.