Imatges de pÓgina
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To-night I go to Miss Monkton's. (1)

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May 8. 1780. I dine on Thursday at Lord Lucan's, and on Saturday at Lady Craven's; and I dined yesterday with Mrs. Southwel. As to my looks at the Academy, I was not told of them; and as I remember, I was very well, and am well enough now. "May 9. 1780.- My Lives creep on. I have done Addison, Prior, Rowe, Granville, Sheffield, Collins, Pitt, and almost Fenton. I design to take Congreve next into my hand. I hope to have done before you can come home, and then whither shall I go?-Did I tell you that Scot and Jones (2) both offer themselves to represent the University in the place of Sir Roger Newdigate? They are struggling hard for what others think neither of them will obtain."

On the 2d of May I wrote to him, and requested that we might have another meeting somewhere in the north of England in the autumn of this year.

From Mr. Langton I received soon after this time a letter, of which I extract a passage, relative both to Mr. Beauclerk and Dr. Johnson.

(1) The Hon. Mary Monkton, daughter of the first Viscount Galway, born April 1747; married in 1786 to Edmund, seventh Earl of Corke and Orrery. Lodge's Irish Peerage dates her birth 1737, but this is a mistake for an elder sister of the same name. Now in her eighty-ninth year, Lady Corke still entertains and enjoys society with extraordinary health, spirits, and vivacity, and Boswell's description of her fifty-four years ago, as "the lively Miss Monkton, who used always to have the finest bit of blue at her parties," is characteristic to this day. — C. 1835.

(2) Lord Stowell and Sir William Jones. On this occasion Sir W. Dolben was chosen, but Lord Stowell was elected for the University of Oxford in 1801, and represented it till his promotion to the peerage in 1821.- - C.

"The melancholy information you have received concerning Mr. Beauclerk's death is true. Had his talents been directed in any sufficient degree as they ought, I have always been strongly of opinion that they were calculated to make an illustrious figure; and that opinion, as it had been in part formed upon Dr. Johnson's judgment, receives more and more confirmation by hearing what, since his death, Dr. Johnson has said concerning them. A few evenings ago he was at Mr. Vesey's, where Lord Althorpe (1), who was one of a numerous company there, addressed Dr. Johnson on the subject of Mr. Beauclerk's death, saying, Our Club has had a great loss since we met last.' He replied, ́ A loss that perhaps the whole nation could not repair!' The doctor then went on to speak of his endowments, and particularly extolled the wonderful ease with which he uttered what was highly excellent. He said, that no man ever was so free, when he was going to say a good thing, from a look that expressed that it was coming; or, when he had said it, from a look that expressed that it had come.' At Mr. Thrale's, some days. before, when we were talking on the same subject, he said, referring to the same idea of his wonderful facility, 'That Beauclerk's talents were those which he had felt himself more disposed to envy, than those of any whom he had known.'

"On the evening I have spoken of above, at Mr. Vesey's, you would have been much gratified, as it exhibited an instance of the high importance in which Dr. Johnson's character is held, I think even beyond any I ever before was witness to. The company consisted chiefly of ladies; among whom were the Duchess

(1) John George, second Earl Spencer, who has been so kind as to answer some of my inquiries relative to the society, of which he and Lord Stowell are now almost the only survivors. .C. He died November 10. 1834-the possessor of one of the choicest private libraries in the world. C. 1835.

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Dowager of Portland ('), the Duchess of Beaufort, whom, I suppose, from her rank, I must name before her mother, Mrs. Boscawen (2), and her eldest sister, Mrs. Lewson, who was likewise there; Lady Lucan (®), Lady Clermont (4), and others of note both for their station and understandings. Among other gentlemen were Lord Althorpe, whom I have before named, Lord Macartney, Sir Joshua Reynolds, Lord Lucan, Mr. Wraxal, whose book you have probably seen, the Tour to the Northern Parts of Europe,' a very agreeable, ingenious man, Dr. Warren, Mr. Pepys, the master in chancery, whom, I believe, you know, and Dr. Barnard, the provost of Eton. (5) As soon as Dr.

(1) Lady Margaret Cavendish Harley, only child of the second Earl of Oxford and Mortimer; married in 1734 to the second Duke of Portland. She was the heiress of three great families herself of the Harleys; her mother (the Lady Harriet of Prior) was the heiress of John Holles, Duke of Newcastle; and her mother again, the heiress of Henry Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle. "The Duchess of Portland inherited," says the Peerage, "the spirit of her ancestors in her patronage of literature and the arts." Her birth was congratulated by Swift, and her childhood celebrated by Prior in the well-known nursery lines beginning

"My noble, lovely, little Peggy."

The duchess died in 1785.

C.

(2) See antè, p. 186. Mrs. Boscawen and her daughters, Mrs. Leveson (spelled in the text, as it is pronounced, Lewson) Gower and the Duchess of Beaufort, are celebrated in Miss Hannah More's poem entitled "Sensibility," who, speaking of Mrs. Boscawen, says that she

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views, enamoured, in her beauteous race, All Leveson's sweetness and all Beaufort's grace."— C. (3) Margaret Smith; married in 1760 the first Lord Lucan. C.

(+) Frances Murray; married in 1752 to the first Lord Cler- C.

mont.

(5) See antè, p. 314., Johnson's own account of this evening. The gentle and good-natured Langton does not hint at his hav ing driven away "the very agreeable and ingenious Mr. Wraxal.”

Johnson was come in, and had taken the chair, the company began to collect round him till they became not less than four, if not five deep; those behind standing, and listening over the heads of those that were sitting near him. The conversation for some time was chiefly between Dr. Johnson and the provost of Eton, while the others contributed occasionally their remarks. Without attempting to detail the particulars of the conversation, which, perhaps, if I did, I should spin my account out to a tedious length, I thought, my dear Sir, this general account of the respect with which our valued friend was attended to might be acceptable."

LETTER 373. TO MR. THOMAS WARTON.(1)

"Bolt Court, Fleet Street, May 9. 1780.

66 SIR, I have your pardon to ask for an involuntary fault. In a parcel sent from Mr. Boswell I found the enclosed letter, which, without looking on the direction, I broke open; but, finding I did not understand it, soon saw it belonged to you. I am sorry for this appearance of a fault, but believe me it is only the

(1) The formal style of this letter, compared with that of his former correspondence with Mr. Thomas Warton, plainly proves that a coolness or misunderstanding had taken place between them. In Dr. Wooll's Memoirs of Dr. Warton we find the following statement: "The disagreement which took place after a long and warm friendship between Johnson and [Joseph] Warton is much to be lamented: it occurred at the house of Sir Joshua Reynolds, as I am told by one of the company, who only overheard the following conclusion of the dispute: JOHNSON. Sir, I am not used to be contradicted.' WARTON.Better for yourself and friends, Sir, if you were: our admiration could not be increased, but our love might.' The party interfered, and the conversation was stopped. A coolness, however, from that time took place, and was increased by many trifling circumstances, which, before this dispute, would, perhaps, have not been attended to." The style, however, of the second letter to Dr. Warton, written so late in Dr. John son's life, leads us to hope that the difference recorded by Dr. Wooll was transient. C.

appearance.

I did not read enough of the letter to know its purport. I am, Sir, your most humble ser

vant,

SAM. JOHNSON."

LETTER 374. TO DR. WARTON.

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"May 23. 1780.

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"DEAR SIR, -It is unnecessary to tell you how much I was obliged by your useful memorials. shares of Fenton and Broome in the Odyssey I had before from Mr. Spence. Dr. Warburton did not know them. I wish to be told, as the question is of great importance in the poetical world, whence you had your intelligence: if from Spence, it shows at least his consistency; if from any other, it confers corroboration. If any thing useful to me should occur, I depend upon your friendship. Be pleased to make my compliments to the ladies of your house, and to the gentlemen that honoured me with the Greek Epigrams, when I had, what I hope sometime to have again, the pleasure of spending a little time with you at Winchester. I am, dear Sir, your most obliged and most humble servant, "SAM. JOHNSON."

LETTER 375. TO MRS. THRALE.

"May 23. 1780.

"But [Mrs. Montagu] and you have had, with all your adulation, nothing finer said of you than was said last Saturday night of Burke and me. We were at the Bishop of (1) (a bishop little better than your bishop), and towards twelve we fell into talk, to which the ladies listened, just as they do to you; and said, as I heard, there is no rising unless somebody will cry Fire!' I was last night at Miss Monkton's; and there were Lady Craven and Lady Cranburne, and

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(1) The Bishop of St. Asaph's, of whose too constant appearance in general society Dr. Johnson disapproved. C.

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