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quoted, from one of the Ana, an exquisite instance of flattery in a maid of honour in France, who being asked by the queen what o'clock it was, answered, "What your majesty pleases." (1) He admitted that Mr. Burke's classical pun (2) upon Mr. Wilkes's being carried on the shoulders of the mob,

Lege solutis,"

numerisque fertur

was admirable; and though he was strangely unwilling to allow to that extraordinary man the talent of wit (3), he also laughed with approbation at another of his playful conceits; which was, that "Horace has in one line given a description of a good desir?ble manor:

'Est modus in rebus, sunt certi denique fines;

(1) The anecdote is told in "Menagiana," vol. iii. p. 104., but not of a "maid of honour," nor as an instance of "exquisite flattery." "M. de Uzès était chevalier d'honneur de la reine. Čette princesse lui demanda un jour quelle heure il était; il répondit, Madame, l'heure qu'il plaira à votre majesté."" Menage tells it as a pleasantry of M. de Uzès; but M. de la Monnoye says, that this duke was remarkable for naïvetés and blunders, and was a kind of butt, to whom the wits of the court used to attribute all manner of absurdities. C.

- C.

(2) See ante, Vol. IV. p. 23. —

(3) See this question fully investigated in the notes upon the "Journal of a Tour to the Hebrides," antè, Vol. IV. p. 28. et seq. And here, as a lawyer mindful of the maxim Suum cuique tribuito, I cannot forbear to mention, that the additional note, beginning with "I find since the former edition," is not mine, but was obligingly furnished by Mr. Malone, who was so kind as to superintend the press while I was in Scotland, and the first part of the second edition was printing. He would not allow me to ascribe it to its proper author; but, as it is exquisitely acute and elegant, I take this opportunity, without his knowledge, to do him justice.

that is to say, a modus as to the tithes and certain fines." (1)

He observed, "A man cannot with propriety speak of himself, except he relates simple facts; as, ' I was at Richmond:' or what depends on mensuration; as, 'I am six feet high.' He is sure he has been at Richmond; he is sure he is six feet high; but he cannot be sure he is wise. or that he has any other excellence. Then, all censure of a man's self is oblique praise. It is in order to show how much he can spare. It has all the invidiousness of selfpraise and all the reproach of falsehood." BosWELL. "Sometimes it may proceed from a man's strong consciousness of his faults being observed. He knows that others would throw him down, and therefore he had better lie down softly of his own accord."

(1) This, as both Mr. Bindley and Dr. Kearney have observed to me, is the motto to "An Inquiry into Customary Estates and Tenants' Rights, &c.; with some Considerations for restraining excessive Fines," by Everard Fleetwood, Esq. 8vo, 1731. But it is, probably, a mere coincidence. Mr. Burke, perhaps, never saw that pamphlet.-M.

177

CHAPTER VI.

1778.

The first Whig."-Buying Buckles.-Wine.-Tasso.Homer.-Adam Smith.-Pope.—Voltaire.—Henry's Modern Writers. Greece. Rome.

History.
Old Age.
Language.

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· Dr. Robertson. Interest of Money. Existence. Virtue and Vice. Marchmont. "Transpire." Pope's "Universal Prayer."Ford's Ghost.

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- Lord Clive.

Addison. Chinese

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- House of Peers. -Divorces. Parson

ON Tuesday, April 28., he was engaged to dine at General Paoli's, where, as I have already observed, I was still entertained in elegant hospitality, and with all the ease and comfort of a home. I called on him, and accompanied him in a hackney-coach. We stopped first at the bottom of Hedge-lane, into which he went to leave a letter, "with good news for a poor man in distress," as he told me. I did not question him particularly as to this. He himself often resembled Lady Bolingbroke's lively description of Pope: that "he was un politique aux choux et aux raves." He would say, "I dine today in Grosvenor-square;" this might be with a duke; or, perhaps, "I dine to-day at the other end of the town;" or, "A gentleman of great eminence

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called on me yesterday." He loved thus to keep things floating in conjecture: Omne ignotum pro magnifico est. I believe I ventured to dissipate the cloud, to unveil the mystery, more freely and frequently than any of his friends. We stopped again at Wirgman's, the well-known toy-shop in St. James's Street, at the corner of St. James's Place, to which he had been directed, but not clearly, for he searched about some time, and could not find it at first; and said, "To direct one only to a corner shop is toying with one." I supposed he meant this as a play upon the word toy: it was the first time that I knew him stoop to such sport. After he had been some time in the shop, he sent for me to come out of the coach, and help him to choose a pair of silver buckles, as those he had were too small. Probably this alteration in dress had been suggested by Mrs. Thrale, by associating with whom, his external appearance was much improved. He got better clothes; and the dark colour, from which he never deviated, was enlivened by metal buttons. His wigs, too, were much better; and, during their travels in France, he was furnished with a Parismade wig, of handsome construction. (1)

This choosing of silver buckles was a negotiation; "Sir," said he, "I will not have the ridiculous

(1) In general his wigs were very shabby, and their fore parts were burned away by the near approach of the candle, which his short-sightedness rendered necessary in reading. At Streatham, Mr. Thrale's butler had always a better wig ready; and as Johnson passed from the drawing-room when dinner was announced, the servant would remove the ordinary wig, and replace it with the newer one; and this ludicrous ceremony was performed every day. — C.

large ones now in fashion; and I will give no more than a guinea for a pair." Such were the principles of the business; and, after some examination, he was fitted. As we drove along, I found him in a talking humour, of which I availed myself. BosWELL. "I was this morning in Ridley's shop, Sir; and was told, that the collection called 'Johnsoniana' (1) had sold very much." JOHNSON. "Yet the Journey to the Hebrides' has not had a great sale." (2) Boswell. "That is strange." JOHNSON. "Yes, Sir; for in that book I have told the world a great deal that they did not know before."

BOSWELL. "I drank chocolate, Sir, this morning with Mr. Eld; and, to my no small surprise, found him to be a Staffordshire Whig, a being which I did not believe had existed." JOHNSON. "Sir, there are rascals in all countries." BoswELL. "Eld said, a Tory was a creature generated between a nonjuring parson and one's grandmother." JOHNSON. "And I have always said, the first Whig was the Devil." BOSWELL. "He certainly was, Sir. The Devil was impatient of subordination; he was the first who resisted power:

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(2) Here he either was mistaken, or had a different notion of an extensive sale from what is generally entertained: for the fact is, that four thousand copies of that excellent work were sold very quickly. A new edition has been printed since his death, besides that in the collection of his works. — B.- Another edition has been printed since Mr. Boswell wrote the above, besides repeated editions in the general collection of his works during the last twenty years. M. 1804.- Hannah More says, that "Cadell the publisher told her, that he had sold 4000 the first week."-Life, vol. i. p. 39. This enormous sale at first, made, perhaps, Johnson think the subsequent sale scanty. — C.

1835

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