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THE

LIFE

OF

SAMUEL JOHNSON, LL.D.

JOHNSONIANA.

PART XXI.

ANECDOTES OF DR. JOHNSON,

BY JOHN NORTHCOTE, R. A. (1)

474. Poverty and Mortification.

Ar the time when Sir Joshua Reynolds resided in Newport Street, he one afternoon, accompanied by his sister Frances, paid a visit to the Miss Cotterells, who lived much in the fashionable world. Johnson was also of the party on this tea visit; and, at that time, being very poor, he was, as might be expected, rather shabbily apparelled. The maid servant, by accident, attended at the door to let them in, but did not know Johnson, who was the last of the three that came in; when the servant maid, seeing this uncouth and dirty figure of a man, and not conceiving that he could be one of the

(1) [From Northcote's "Memoirs of Sir Joshua Reynolds."]

company who came to visit her mistresses, laid hold of his coat just as he was going up stairs, and pulled him back again, saying, "You fellow! what is your business here? I suppose you intended to rob the house." This most unlucky accident threw poor Johnson into such a fit of shame and anger, that he roared out, like a bull, "What have I done? what have I done?" Nor could he recover himself for the remainder of the evening from this mortifying circumstance,

475, Richardson.

Dr. Johnson had a great desire to cultivate the friendship of Richardson, the author of " Clarissa ;" and, with this view, paid him frequent visits. These were received very coldly by the latter; " but," observed the Doctor, in speaking of this to a friend, "I was determined to persist till I had gained my point; because I knew very well that, when I had once overcome his reluctance and shyness of humour, our intimacy would contribute to the happiness of both." The event verified the Doctor's prediction.

476. Idle Curiosity.

Dr. Johnson was displeased if he supposed himself at any time made the object of idle curiosity. When Miss Reynolds once desired him to dine at Sir Joshua's, on a day fixed upon by herself, he readily accepted the invitation; yet, having doubts as to the importance of her companions, or of her reasons for inviting him, he added, at the same time," but I will not be made a show of."

477. "Clarissa."

Johnson introduced Sir Joshua Reynolds and his sister to Richardson; but hinted to them, at the same time, that, if they wished to see the latter in good humour, they must expatiate on the excellencies of his "Clarissa."

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