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before the fire." "Nay," said Johnson, laughing 66 I cannot answer that: that is too much for me.'
I observed, that wine did some people harm, by inflaming, confusing, and irritating their minds; but that the experience of mankind had declared in favour of moderate drinking. JOHNSON. "Sir, I do not say it is wrong to produce self-complacency by drinking; I only deny that it improves the mind. When I drank wine ('), I scorned to drink it when in company. I have drunk many a bottle by myself; in the first place, because I had need of it to raise my spirits; in the second place, because I would have nobody to witness its effects upon me." (2)
He told us, "almost all his Ramblers were written just as they were wanted for the press; that he sent a certain portion of the copy of an essay, and
(1) At one period of his life, however, he was reconciled to the bottle. Sweet wines were his chief favourites; when none of these were before him, he would sometimes drink port with a lump of sugar in every glass. The strongest liquors, and in very large quantities, produced no other effect on him than moderate exhilaration. Once, and but once, he is known to have had his dose; a circumstance which he himself discovered, on finding one of his sesquipedalian words hang fire; he then started up, and gravely observed, - I think it time we should go to bed. "After a ten years' forbearance of every fluid except tea and sherbet, I drank," said he, "one glass of wine to the health of Sir Joshua Reynolds, on the evening of the day on which he was knighted. I never swallowed another drop, till old Madeira was prescribed to me as a cordial during my present indisposition; but this liquor did not relish as formerly, and I therefore discontinued it."— -HAWKINS.
(2) See antè, Vol. I. p. 236.; but I must observe, on the assertion made there by Mrs. Piozzi, "that the paper on Procras tination was written in Sir Joshua Reynolds's parlour;"-tha. both she and Mr. Boswell appear to have been in error as to the date of the acquaintance between Sir Joshua and Dr. Johnson. See antè, Vol. I. p. 291. n. 2. "The Rambler" was ended before they could have been acquainted. C.
wrote the remainder, while the former part of it was printing. When it was wanted, and he had fairly sat down to it, he was sure it would be done."
He said, that, for general improvement, a man should read whatever his immediate inclination prompts him to; though, to be sure, if a man has a science to learn, he must regularly and resolutely advance. He added, "What we read with inclination makes a much stronger impression. If we read without inclination, half the mind is employed in fixing the attention; so there is but one half to be employed on what we read." He told us, he read Fielding's "Amelia" through without stopping. (1) He said, "If a man begins to read in the middle of a book, and feels an inclination to go on, let him not quit it, to go to the beginning. He may, perhaps, not feel again the inclination."
Sir Joshua mentioned Mr. Cumberland's "Odes," which were just published. JOHNSON. "Why, Sir, they would have been thought as good as odes commonly are, if Cumberland had not put his name to them; but a name immediately draws censure, unless it be a name that bears down every thing before
(1) We have here an involuntary testimony to the excellence of this admirable writer, to whom we have seen that Dr. John
son directly allowed so little merit. B. -Johnson appears to have been particularly pleased with the character of the heroine of this novel. "His attention to veracity," says Mrs. Piozzi, "was without equal or example;" and when I mentioned Clarissa as a perfect character, "On the contrary," said he, "you may observe there is always something which she prefers to truth." Fielding's Amelia was the most pleasing heroine of all the romances," he said; "but that vile broken nose, never cured, ruined the sale of perhaps the only book, of which, being printed off (published?) betimes one morning, a new edition was called for before night."— Anecdotes, p. 221.-M.
it. Nay, Cumberland has made his 'Odes' subsidiary to the fame of another man. (1) They might have run well enough by themselves; but he has not only loaded them with a name, but has made them carry double."
We talked of the reviews, and Dr. Johnson spoke of them as he did at Thrale's. Sir Joshua said, what I have often thought, that he wondered to find so much good writing employed in them, when the authors were to remain unknown, and so could not have the motive of fame. JOHNSON. "Nay, Sir, those who write in them, write well, in order to be paid well."
TO MISS REYNOLDS.
"April 15. 1776. "DEAREST MADAM, When you called on Mrs. Thrale, I find by enquiry that she was really abroad. The same thing happened to Mrs. Montagu, of which I beg you to inform her, for she went likewise by my opinion. The denial, if it had been feigned, would not have pleased me. Your visits, however, are kindly paid, and very kindly taken. We are going to Bath this morning; but I could not part without telling you the real state of your visit. I am, dearest Madam, &c. "SAM. JOHNSON."
Soon after this day, he went to Bath with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale. I had never seen that beautiful city, and wished to take the opportunity of visiting it while Johnson was there. Having written to him,
I received the following answer: —
(1) Mr. Romney, the painter, who has now deservedly established a high reputation.
LETTER 247. TO JAMES BOSWELL, ESQ.
"DEAR SIR, — Why do you talk of neglect? When did I neglect you? If you will come to Bath, we shall all be glad to see you. Come therefore, as soon as you - But I have a little business for you at London. Bid Francis look in the paper drawer of the chest of drawers in my bed-chamber, for two cases; one for the attorney-general, and one for the solicitor-general. They lie, I think, at the top of my papers; otherwise they are somewhere else, and will give me more trouble.
"Please to write to me immediately, if they can be found. Make my compliments to all our friends round the world, and to Mrs. Williams at home. — I am, Sir, your, &c.
"Search for the papers as soon as you can, that, if it is necessary, I may write to you again before you come down.'
On the 26th April, I went to Bath; and on my arrival at the Pelican inn, found lying for me an obliging invitation from Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, by whom I was agreeably entertained almost constantly during my stay. They were gone to the rooms: but there was a kind note from Dr. Johnson, that he should sit at home all the evening. I went to him directly; and before Mr. and Mrs. Thrale returned, we had by ourselves some hours of tea-drinking and talk.
I shall group together such of his sayings as I preserved during the few days that I was at Bath. Of a person (1) who differed from him in politics,
he said, "In private life he is a very honest gentleman; but I will not allow him to be so in public life. People may be honest, though they are doing wrong: that is, between their Maker and them. But we, who are suffering by their pernicious conduct, are to destroy them. We are sure that [Burke] acts from interest. We know what his genuine principles were. (1) They who allow their passions to confound the distinctions between right and wrong, are criminal. They may be convinced; but they have not come honestly by their conviction."
It having been mentioned, I know not with what truth, that a certain female political writer (2), whose doctrines he disliked, had of late become very fond of dress, sat hours together at her toilet, and even put on rouge: JOHNSON. "She is better employed at her toilet, than using her pen. It is better she should be reddening her own cheeks, than blackening other people's characters."
He told us that "Addison wrote Budgell's papers in the Spectator, at least mended them so much that he made them almost his own; and that Draper, Tonson's partner, assured Mrs. Johnson, that the much admired Epilogue to 'The Distressed Mother,' which came out in Budgell's name, was in reality written by Addison."
(1) He means, that, in earlier life, they, at the Club, knew that Burke was not what Johnson would call a Whig. Mr. Burke ended as he began ·
"This sun of empire, where he rose, he set !"— C.
(2) Mrs. Macaulay. — C.