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making others wiser and happier. I was much pleased with the tale that you told me of being tutor to your sisters. I, who have no sisters, nor brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to be born to friends (1); and cannot see, without wonder, how rarely that native union is afterwards regarded. It sometimes, indeed, happens, that some supervenient cause of discord may overpower this original amity; but it seems to me more frequently thrown away with levity, or lost by negligence, than destroyed by injury or violence. We tell the ladies that good wives make good husbands; I believe it is a more certain position that good brothers make good sisters.
"I am satisfied with your stay at home, as Juvenal with his friend's retirement to Cuma: I know that absence is best, though it be not best for me.
'Quamvis digressu veteris confusus amici,
Laudo tamen vacuis quod sedem figere Cumis
Langton is a good Cumæ, but who must be Sibylla? Mrs. Langton is as wise as Sibyl, and as good; and will
(1) See, however, antè (p. 3.). Gibbon, in his Memoirs, alludes to this subject with good taste and feeling :-"From my childhood to the present hour, I have deeply and sincerely regretted my sister, whose life was somewhat prolonged, and whom I remember to have seen an amiable infant. The relation of a brother and a sister, particularly if they do not marry, appears to me of a very singular nature. It is a familiar and tender friendship with a female much about our own age; an affection perhaps softened by the secret influence of the sex, but pure from any mixture of sensual desire the sole species of Platonic love that can be indulged with truth and without danger."- Mem., p. 25. — CROKER.
(2) ["Grieved though I am to see the man depart,
Who long has shared, and still must share my heart,
And give on Cuma's solitary coast,
The Sibyl-one inhabitant to boast!"— GIFFORD.] VOL. II.
live, if my wishes can prolong life, till she shall in time be as old. But she differs in this, that she has not scattered her precepts in the wind, at least not those which she bestowed upon you.
"The two Wartons just looked into the town, and were taken to see Cleone, where, David [Garrick] says, they were starved for want of company to keep them warm. David and Doddy (1) have had a new quarrel and, I think, cannot conveniently quarrel any more. 'Cleone' was well acted by all the characters, but Bellamy (2) left nothing to be desired. I went the first night, and supported it as well as I might; for Doddy, you know, is my patron, and I would not desert him. The play was very well received. Doddy, after the danger was over, went every night to the stage-side, and cried at the distress of poor Cleone.
"I have left off housekeeping, and therefore made presents of the game which you were pleased to send me. The pheasant I gave to Mr. Richardson (3), the bustard to Dr. Lawrence, and the pot I placed with Miss Williams, to be eaten by myself. She desires that her compliments and good wishes may be accepted by the family; and I make the same request for myself.
"Mr. Reynolds has within these few days raised his price to twenty guineas a head (4), and Miss (5) is much
(1) Mr. Dodsley, the author of Cleone.
(2) The well-known Miss George Ann Bellamy, who played the heroine.-C.-[An Apology for her very irregular Life, written by Herself, in six volumes, was published in 1785.]
(3) The author of Clarissa.
(4) Sir Joshua afterwards greatly advanced his price. I have been informed by Sir Thomas Lawrence, his admirer and rival, that in 1787 his prices were, two hundred guineas for the whole length, one hundred for the half-length, seventy for the kit-cat, and fifty for (what is called) the three-quarters. But even on these prices some increase must have been made, as Horace Walpole said, "Sir Joshua, in his old age, becomes avaricious. He had one thousand guineas for my picture of the three ladies Waldegrave."-Walpoliana. This picture are half-lengths o. the three ladies on one canvas. - C.
(5) Miss Reynolds, the sister of Sir Joshua. — C.
employed in miniatures.
I know not any body [else] whose prosperity has increased since you left them. Murphy is to have his 'Orphan of China' acted next month; and is therefore, I suppose, happy. I wish I could tell you of any great good to which I was approaching, but at present my prospects do not much delight me; however, I am always pleased when I find that you, dear Sir, remember your affectionate, humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."
TO MR. BURNEY,
"London, March 1. 1758. SIR,-Your kindness is so great, and my claim to any particular regard from you so little, that I am at a loss how to express my sense of your favours (1); but I am, indeed, much pleased to be thus distinguished by
"I am ashamed to tell you that my Shakspeare will not be out so soon as I promised my subscribers; but I did not promise them more than I promised myself. It will, however, be published before summer.
"I have sent you a bundle of proposals, which, I think, do not profess more than I have hitherto performed. I have printed many of the plays, and have hitherto left very few passages unexplained; where I am quite at loss, I confess my ignorance, which is seldom done by commentators.
"I have, likewise, enclosed twelve receipts; not that I mean to impose upon you the trouble of pushing them with more importunity than may seem proper, but that you may rather have more than fewer than you shall want. The proposals you will disseminate as there shall be an opportunity. I once printed them at
(1) This letter was an answer to one, in which was enclosed a draft for the payment of some subscriptions to his Shakspeare.
length in the Chronicle, and some of my friends (I be lieve Mr. Murphy, who formerly wrote the Gray's-Inn Journal) introduced them with a splendid encomium.
"Since the Life of Browne, I have been a little engaged, from time to time, in the Literary Magazine, but not very lately. I have not the collection by me, and therefore cannot draw out a catalogue of my own parts, but will do it, and send it. Do not buy them, for I will gather all those that have anything of mine in them, and send them to Mrs. Burney, as a small token of gratitude for the regard which she is pleased to bestow upon me.
"I am, Sir, your most obliged, and most humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."
Dr. Burney has kindly favoured me with the following memorandum, which I take the liberty to insert in his own genuine easy style. I love to exhibit sketches of my illustrious friend by various eminent hands.
"Soon after this, Mr. Burney, during a visit to the capital, had an interview with him in Gough Square, where he dined and drank tea with him, and was introduced to the acquaintance of Mrs. Williams. After dinner, Mr. Johnson proposed to Mr. Burney to go up with him into his garret, which being accepted, he there found about five or six Greek folios, a deal writing-desk, and a chair and a half. Johnson giving to his guest the entire seat, tottered himself on one with only three legs and one arm. Here he gave Mr. Burney Mrs. Williams's history, and showed him some volumes of his Shakspeare already printed, to prove that he was in earnest. Upon Mr. Burney's opening the first volume, at the Merchant of Venice, he observed to him that he seemed to be more severe on Warburton than Theobald. 'O poor Tib.! (said Johnson) he was
ready knocked down to my hands; Warburton stands between me and him.'. 'But, Sir, (said Mr. Burney,) you'll have Warburton upon your bones, won't you? No, Sir; he'll not come out: he'll only growl in his den.'. -'But you think, Sir, that Warburton is a superior critic to Theobald?'-'O, Sir, he'd make two-andfifty Theobalds, cut into slices! The worst of Warburton is, that he has a rage for saying something, when there's nothing to be said.'-Mr. Burney then asked him whether he had seen the letter which War-burton had written in answer to a pamphlet, addressed 'To the most impudent man alive.' He answered in the negative. Mr. Burney told him it was supposed to be written by Mallet. The controversy now raged between the friends of Pope and Bolingbroke; and Warburton and Mallet were the leaders of the several parties. Mr. Burney asked him then if he had seen Warburton's book against Bolingbroke's Philosophy?'No, Sir; I have never read Bolingbroke's impiety, and therefore am not interested about its confutation.'
On the fifteenth of April he began a new periodical paper, entitled "THE IDLER," which came out every Saturday in a weekly newspaper, called "The Universal Chronicle, or Weekly Gazette," published by Newbery.() These essays were continued till April 5. 1760. Of one hundred and three, their total number, twelve were contributed by his friends; of which, Nos. 33. 93. and 96. were written by Mr. Thomas Warton; No. 67. by Mr. Langton; and
(1) This is a slight mistake. The first number of "The Idler" appeared on the 15th of April, 1758, in No. 2. of the Universal Chronicle, &c., which was published by J. Payne, for whom also the Rambler had been printed. On the 29th of April this newspaper assumed the title of " Payne's Univer. 1 Chronicle," &c.-M.